Saturday, October 5, 2013

Yam Chew fundraiser for Vannon & Falkor go to South Korea

The first dog treat fundraiser for Vannon & Falkor go to South Korea is our homemade Yam Chews. A natural dog treat that Falkor goes bonkers for, dried yams. Get a bag for $5 (which includes shipping).

To get your yam chews click the donate button below and include your mailing address. Thank You.

These proceeds will go towards keeping our family together. It is that time again when the Navy sends us to our next duty station. This time we are being sent overseas to South Korea. However great this opportunity is for the whole family, we are not prepared wholly for the financial duty of keeping our family together. Vannon and Falkor are members of our family, and this is their forever home. We were not expecting to get overseas orders, but are looking forward to the experience and are ready to take the challenges on together.

We will be on a 3 year tour to South Korea. These dogs are not just pets, they are our family and best friends. At this time we do not know if we will be flying civilian airlines or military airlines. There is a significant price difference. We are trying to raise at least $1,500. These funds will help pay for vet care prior to leaving the United States, airline travel to South Korea, quarantine costs in South Korea, and anything that may come up between point A and B. Any remainder of funds we would like to donate to a South Korean animal shelter. So far I have estimated vet costs at $425, airline costs $1,200 -$1,500 (civilian air), and up to $40 a day for both dogs for quarantine/pet kenneling until we can find housing. Once I get more accurate information I plan to update everyone.

Thank you for donating, and helping us keep our family together,

♥Jess, Chris, Danika, Darius, Vannon & Falkor

Monday, September 30, 2013

Donate to Vannon & Falkor go to South Korea

It is that time again when the Navy sends us to our next duty station. This time we are being sent overseas to South Korea. However great this opportunity is for the whole family, we are not prepared wholly for the financial duty of keeping our family together. Vannon and Falkor are members of our family, and this is their forever home. We were not expecting to get overseas orders, but are looking forward to the experience and are ready to take the challenges on together.

Vannon is a 10 year old Chihuahua. He joined our family in 2003 just after Chris returned from Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Vannon has been an amazing therapy dog in support of Chris’ PTSD. Since then Chris has deployed a handful of times, and Vannon has been there for the kids and I during those hard times.

May 2006- Chris, Danika, and Vannon at military appreciation parade Bremerton, WA

Falkor found us in September of 2010. While at a park in Imperial Beach, CA, this mangy little mutt was fallowing all the kids at the park around. Initially we thought he belonged to one of the two families that were there until we witnessed one of the dads try to kick him, and the other family left. Falkor climbed the stairs to the big toy and would lay there as if it was his home. I could not in my right mind leave him there, so I picked him up and put him in the Jeep. So scared he hid under the seat. He was covered in fleas, wearing a collar that was too small, and what gangly fur he had was all matted. After getting him home, washed, and settled. I called everywhere trying to see if he was reported missing, and posted fliers around the park where we found him. No one stepped up to claim him. Falkor has come a long way with being socialized, and re trusting people. He still suffers from separation anxiety, but is making progress.

Falkor October 2010

We will be on a 3 year tour to South Korea. These dogs are not just pets, they are our family and best friends. At this time we do not know if we will be flying civilian airlines or military airlines. There is a significant price difference. We are trying to raise at least $1,500. These funds will help pay for vet care prior to leaving the United States, airline travel to South Korea, quarantine costs in South Korea, and anything that may come up between point A and B. Any remainder of funds we would like to donate to a South Korean animal shelter. So far I have estimated vet costs at $425, airline costs $1,200 -$1,500 (civilian air), and up to $40 a day for both dogs for quarantine/pet kenneling until we can find housing. Once I get more accurate information I plan to update everyone.

Thank you for donating, and helping us keep our family together,

♥Jess, Chris, Danika, Darius, Vannon & Falkor

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Vannon & Falkor go to Korea

In the recent wake of our upcoming move to South Korea. I thought it would be like any other move we have done with the Navy. I always start on this as soon as I find out we have new orders. I did not know that this overseas move would be ten times as stressful as a normal PCS (Permanent Change of duty Station).

For the last few months we have been thinking about what is best for our furry members of the family. At first we didn't think they would be able to go with us. We talked with members of our extended family, and were hoping someone would be able to care for them without it being a burden. Unfortunately, we did not have anyone able to do so. We also thought it would be less stress on the dogs if they did not have to travel.

Then we found out our two fur babies could indeed go with us. Excited I started getting the ball rolling, and now as much as I'm ready for the challenges I realize we will not be able to fulfill our financial duty. I've decided to put together a fund raiser in order to keep our family together. Any excess funds will be donated to a South Korean animal shelter.

You can donate by visiting our Go Fund Me page at

I plan to do a bake sale as well as dog treats.

Thank you for your donations, and helping us keep our family together,


Monday, September 2, 2013

Let Us Hike: Tijuana River Valley Regional Park

We grabbed our day packs, the two kids, the two dogs, and loaded up in the Jeep. We decided to try a trail we had never been on, or even been near in years. We had a rough idea of where we were going, and how to get there. On account of it being years, I quickly noticed things had changed from my recollections of the roads. Our choice was Border Field State Park. We had heard about it, and been on the border of it, but never actually went in the 8 years we have been in and out of Imperial Beach.

We headed down Saturn Blvd toward the farmlands, and came to a gate that was not there the last time we had been. I remember the road turning left where that gate was. We had no choice but to go right. Fallowing it down we took in the sights of horse corrals and lots of beautiful horses, and foals. Eventually coming to a little trail head, but it wasn't where we wanted to stop. We turned around and headed back down the road, and decided to take another approach off of Dairy Mart Rd heading south toward the border of Mexico. Again passing farms, and ranches. The road becomes Monument Rd, and at the end you will find Border Field State Park. As we come up to the entrance the gate is locked. We got an early start and were out of the house by 7:30am. The park does not open until 9:30am. Then we notice the sign that has a dog on it, and is crossed out with red. After reading the information board, Border Field State Park is home to many migratory birds to which the dogs affect, so to not disrupt the habitat we decide to move on. We had passed up a few trail heads on our way in, so we went back to investigate them. The parking wasn't exactly spacey to unload kids and dogs, so we ended up turning onto Hollister St. Where we came across the Tijuana River Valley Regional Park. There was no entrance fee, vast parking, picnic tables, horse trailer parking, holding corrals, and even a butterfly and bird garden (which I will have to take Danika on a different adventure). The dogs were allowed on leashes, but the kids did not need to be on a leash.

We finally found a staging area, and everyone filed out. Chris took the lead, and I took up the rear as headed down a trail, which was actually a road, the one road with the gate that I swore wasn't there before that turned left. I guess they can make many changes in 11 years. I hardly recognized the place. Back in 2002 we were on this Ghillie suit making kick. One time we came out to the woods to test it out. Well back then it was nothing but canary grass, and a few over sized shrubs on the side of a dirt road. I could tell you that story, but I will save it for a different time.

The trail was a mix of dirt and sand, and the trees provided ample shade. It was a hot day, and pretty humid in the morning still. There were a few little scenic points on the trail to pull off of and discover for a bit. Horse tracks and the occasional pile of horse manure. We really had to keep an eye on our fuzzy dog since he really seems to enjoy rolling in that stuff when we are at the farm visiting family. After going up a slight incline we came across a bigger peak that was a sandy hill, but the view on top was surprising.

I should have set my camera to take a panoramic view, but I forgot I could do that. The view at 360° was amazing. The city, Mexico, the water, and the mountains. Everything from one little peak. Just before this little peak we came to a point where several trails branched off. We back tracked to that point and decided to head toward the river basin. As the trees turned from the dry brittle ones to the vast greener ones it got a bit cooler, but still muggy since it is a river basin.

As I stopped to take this picture I realized I was standing in a plume of mosquitos. Being eaten alive I pronounced we keep moving since I had not packed repellent, and the kids and I were in sleeveless shirts. I guess I spaced the whole river valley thing, and mosquitos love rivers and humid weather. As we keep trekking, and slapping mosquitos the area around us started to look like a place you would find fairies. Both of the kids seemed to really enjoy the exploration of that after all we have been reading The Spiderwick Chronicles.
My one second photo opportunity was not worth the ten mosquito bites we each got while standing still. Chris had ran ahead to see if the trail would give us any relief, but shortly there after I got a text saying turn back or be eaten alive. (Chris managed to make it out of the basin with maybe three bites. The kids and I had at least thirty each scattered over our arms and legs.)
As we got back to the Jeep there where two old guys saddling up their horses, each drinking a Red Stripe beer. While loading up they had noticed our Seabee dozer sticker and struck up a conversation with us. We exchanged some small stories about the trails, and got a few tips from them as they came there often. 
As much as the mosquitos bugged us I would still want to go back, covered in repellent. There was so much more to explore, and the vast change in scenery was relaxing. Especially since it is less than a 5 minute drive from Imperial Beach. I had no idea there was this much nature literally in our backyard.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dinner with a Movie: A League of Their Own

You can not go wrong with dinner and a movie. It is the perfect date night in, whether it is with that special someone, the whole family, the girls, the kids, or just by oneself.

Tonight's recipe inspiration is from A League of Their Own. Staring Tom Hanks, Gina Davis, Madonna, and a handful of other well know actors. This WWII era movie explains the history behind the world of woman's baseball. While their men are at war women keep the American baseball dream alive . Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.

First on the Menu is Roquefort Peach Salad. A little sweet, a little savory, and packs a curveball. Best served with a glass of Riesling. A few of my favorite brands are Schmitt Söhne, Chateau Ste Michelle, and Moselland Black Cat. It pairs up beautifully with the Roquefort blue cheese.

Roquefort Peach Salad

Makes 4 Servings

2 Peaches
4 Cups Spinach
1/3 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/4 Cup Blue Cheese Dressing
1/2 Cup Glazed Pecans (My homemade recipe coming soon)

Dice Peaches. In serving dish combine all ingredients by layering. Starting with spinach, peaches, dressing, blue cheese, and pecans or equally separate ingredients on four salad plates.

The night would not be complete with out Betty's Spaghetti. My kids raved about the meatballs the size of baseballs. I literally got compliments for a week. As simple as this dish is it was a home run.

Betty's Spaghetti

1 lb Lean Ground Beef
1 lb Ground Sweet Italian Sausage
1/2 Cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 Cup Milk
2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

1 lb of Your Favorite Pasta
1 Jar of Your Favorite Sauce

Pre heat over 400°F.
Start boiling water for pasta.
In large bowl (I use my kitchen aid to mix this batch up.) combine meats, bread crumbs, milk, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Shape meat balls just smaller than your palm, and place in deep baking dish. Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes.
Boil pasta, and heat sauce in a pan.

(If you have any left overs after dinner, which I generally do because this recipe makes more than enough to feed my family of four, I place a little sauce in the bottom a baking dish. Dump in the remaining noodles, place the remaining meat balls on top, and cover with remaining sauce. Then I store it in the fridge as another meal. Before I heat it up I add some mozzarella and parmesan to the top. To reheat: Place in 400°F over for 20 minutes, or until cheese is nice bubbly and golden.)


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Life Without Together

As we sit in the gastroenterology office today waiting on Chris' appointment, an old lady wheeled up her little scooter next to me. Huffing away at her oxygen bottle, she struck up a conversation with me about how she needed some fresh air since she was falling asleep. I always listen to my elders no matter how small the conversation. After all one never knows what piece of advice they may have to offer.

She informed me it may be a while since they have been running behind all day. Her husband was in for a procedure. Patiently she had been waiting for him. The conversation had moved to why we were there, as I explained it was for my husband. At first she had assumed it was for me. I guess I didn't look to good with my anticipation on what Chris' diagnosis was going to be. ( I know gastroenterology all to well with my own set of troubles many years back. ) We then exchanged a few qualms about husbands, and how she has been married for 56 years. Her husband is at the beginning stages of dementia. One could see the frustration and pain that is starting to eat at her. Him not remembering the simplest of things, constantly reminding him, and his worries eating him whole as his mind clings to one thought at a time. I joke that even when they are a pain in our ass we still love them (Pun totally intended). Then lovingly she said she could not imagine life without him. He was one of the last Navy Seals to leave Vietnam, she stated. As the thoughts of our years of marriage and our deployments through war times flooded my emotions, Chris was called. I stopped my thoughts, and told her to keep keeping on.

I tried to stop those thoughts. Tuck them away in their compartment. One should never let those thoughts surface, because they make you vulnerable to the weakness of tears. I have come across many veterans in my travels, and always when I least expect it. Their stories stick with me, and sometimes haunt me. Even though there are so many years apart we share a common bond. The Military Life. These stories have given me goose bumps. Especially, when I have been in a similar situations and can empathize with them. Put myself in their shoes. I try not too, but sometimes it can not be helped. My own military life story gives me chills when I actually stop to think about it, and sometimes I can not help but wonder how the hell I got through it. Then I look at my husband and think no matter how bad it has ever been we have made it through. Together, and have become stronger because of it. I could not imagine life without him. Even when he is a pain in my ass.

We finished up in the office, and stopped by the lab for some fallow up blood work. It was pretty empty, only a handful of people for a change. After Chris walked in back to be sucked dry by the vampires, I tried to take a deep breath and just be. About that time the little old lady in her scooter came down the hall. Her husband in tow, one hand on her seat hanging on like a crutch. She got their ticket for line, and their number was called promptly. He couldn't find his wallet, and she panicked that he may have misplaced it but found it in her basket. The clerk helped them, and sent him to the back for his labs. She wheeled her chair back as he walked up to the door. Once at the door he turned around, looking lost he couldn't remember why he was there. She kindly reminded him of the next step. When he did that step, her hands braced her face as she took a deep breath. The frustration of a long day was beginning to set in. I watched silently and was trying to bring my words to the surface when Chris walked out. She noticed him and asked how he was with a perk in her voice. Like she had seen a familiar face that she hadn't seen in a long time. As I stood to meet him she noticed me, and Chris replied with a little small talk as he headed toward the hall. Her face went a little pale as she looked at me, and said "They found cancer".  Instantly I felt her pain. Knowing how anxious she was in the waiting room at the clinic, and then to hear her fear had come to light. I was struggling for the right words. I gave her a hug, and told her to keep being strong. I caught up with Chris, and tried to hold back the tears that welled up in my eyes without him seeing. I failed.

To think enduring such great challenges throughout life with someone for 56 years, and then to start losing them slowly. It struck a cord with me today. I do not want to waste any more time on senseless bull shit. Life is much to short to not forgive mistakes and move forward. This journey is about learning, and making it through the tough stuff together. Even thought we can be a pain in each others asses, I could not imagine life with out Chris.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Swap Meet Finds: Type Writer, Decanter, & Lap Table, Oh My!

Yesterday was a dangerous day at the swap meet for me. There were so many cool finds, but not enough cash in my pockets. That and the upcoming move to South Korea impeding upon my judgment of getting larger pieces for the home. I have not been buying things but mostly purging things of late. However yesterday was an exception. I have been looking for some select things for a while and keep them filed in a list in my head. Hoping that one day I will just stumble upon them as they are meant to be. Yesterday was that day.

I saw this sitting on a table being used as a nice display, then I saw the price tag and noticed it was for sale. Danika thought it was neat, so I asked her if she new what it was used for (I love playing "what is it's intended use?" game with the kids. They give some of the goofiest answers sometimes). She did get it right that it was a table, but was perplexed when I said it was a lap table. After striking up a conversation with the vendor I found out it folds! Completely flat! Which is great because then I can justify it fitting in small spaces. I was going to originally pass on the buy, but from the corner of my eye the booth lit up with that golden beam on that one item that I had been searching for. A portable type writer. I have been waiting to find one with a price I could justify. A typewriter is not only inspirational to writing, but it is also a tool that my children are not familiar with. One that they can use that has so many creative possibilities, and a good one can take a pounding from little fists. Not to mention the fact that they can understand the old technology better. A reminder of how life use to be.

After our conversations with the vendor got more entertaining with the kids finding more items that they have never seen before, and exchanging contacts for other vending opportunities I managed to bundle the set for $40. I can remember banging away on my Mom's typewriter. Although I'm sure she did not appreciate it since it was a top of the line electric at the time. I also remember using lap tables to do all our coloring on the floor. Granted this lap table will only used for my coloring.

I tend to have a soft spot for anything Washington State related. Since moving around as a military family it is always nice to have a piece of home with you. At first glance I had seen a Decanter that was from the 1972 Seattle Seafair. After looking at the other few I noticed this little gem...

... Mount St. Helens. I was excited, but rushed at the same time since my entourage was hungry for lunch. I did a quick look over and noticed the Jim Beam label was pristine, and for the price of $10 I decided I needed this piece of home from 1980. It was not until I got home that I noticed it had much more beauty. The decanter is all glazed except for the topper that is still that ruff and gritty ceramic, much like the ash of the mountain. Then I turned it over to read the label, which is always filled with history. Thereupon I saw it. The little arrow pointing to the side stating "Actual Mt. St. Helens Ash."
 I think I let out a little gasp of excitement and startled Chris as I was standing next to him. It was also amazing that the ash was all still there, and not clumped or dumped out. This bottle brings back memories of the family trips we used to take as kids up to visit the mountain, and museums. My brother, Jeremy, always talked about the terrible disaster even though we both were not born yet. The epic scientific lessons that are behind an event such as this is enough to make me want to have a drink for the survivors.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lychee Champagne Cocktail

It was Friday night, and I felt the need to put the long week behind me. In no mood to leave the house, I went on a pantry raid! (Not to be confused with a panty raid, but by the time you finish this cocktail you might find yourself in the middle of one.) I happened to have a bottle of champagne chilling away in the fridge. (It was given to me as a gift for all my volunteer efforts during a certain Christmas party by some pretty prestigious higher ups.) I was saving it for a celebration, and what better way to celebrate then Friday night after a long week!

Now champagne is good by itself, but why not take it a bit further? In the pantry I found a can of Lychees that I had forgotten I had. What is a Lychee?! Well, they are a fruit with white flesh, that looks pretty gnarly. Do not let it fool you though. The texture of the flesh is something like a grape, but sweet and florally in a flavor all it's own. 

When I was in Singapore, there was a lychee tree right out our window. I would watch the wild monkeys in the tree take one bite out of a not ripe lychee and then throw it at the ground, or each other. It was even more interesting to watch them argue over the ripe ones. The monkeys look cute and cuddly, but those wild monkeys are evil! Not something you would want to come across, alone, on an early morning run... They will chase you!

Lychee Champagne Cocktail

1 Bottle Champagne
1 Can Lychees in syrup

Drain Lychees in sieve over a pitcher. Drop 2 Lychee berries into champagne flute. Pour in one part Lychee syrup to two parts champagne.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fresh Paint: Danika's Doll Bed

Often on our junk shopping adventures we find items to refinish. During the kid's summer break we happened upon this little doll bed. It was in ok condition considering it was part of a bunk bed set, I think, and for $2 I thought it to be a steal.
When doing projects like this, I want the kids to help as much as possible as well as having all the patience in the world at the same time. It can become challenging, but well worth the way they light up when the job is finished. To keep Darius involved without "messing up" his big sisters project, I managed to find him a paint your own car kit for cheap. He was just as busy at his project. I turned her loose with some medium grit sand paper and let her prep it (I was actually refinishing a little bookshelf while we did this project as well, so I was not hovering over her). When she put in a bunch of effort I do a "Mommy Check", and scuff up some places she missed (which is actually my OCD way of keeping control of the project to make sure it still comes out right, but Shhh! They haven't caught on to that yet). After the sand prep, she wiped it down with a dry rag, and I taped it off for her.
I happened to have paint left over from one of my other projects that she loved (win/win). To give her a lesson on how this kind of painting works I started the bottom for her. After that I turned her loose with it. (The husbands old uniform shirts make great painting smocks.)
After a while though she was asking for help, so I jumped in and helped where I could touching up the hard to reach places. We ended up doing 2 coats. After the bed dried for 3 days, I sat down with it and decided to embellish it (to give it my personal touch, that little extra, I love you). I let her know in advance that I was going to do something special, but she had no idea what. I did lock her outside to play (keeping her in suspense) until I was done with the designs. When she came in the look was priceless, she was very happy with the outcome. I was going to rub some wood stain over it to give it that vintage look, but we both decided we liked the boldness of the color as is.
With the painting part done we went to the sewing studio, and whipped up a mattress pad from some left over foam and a pillow. A quilt and other bedding will fallow in the coming weeks, once she figure out what print she wants.
Now if you look closely you see the holes at the tops of the posts (this is the part that makes me think it was a bunk bed), we are not going to leave them open for long. We are discussing whether she likes it as a simple day bed, or if we should make it a canopy day bed. Either way the colors and the vintage inspired tole painting remind me so much of the little doll beds I have seen as a child, and I hope she cherishes it for always. You can not put a price on doing this project with your child, because you get so much more out of it than just a doll bed.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Snappy Beer Pickles

Pickles & Beer. Need I say more? These pickles pack a snap, and a punch. They are the perfect snack food when you are craving that deli pickle crunch, and über simple to make.

Snappy Beer Pickles

3 pounds  Pickling Cucumber
1  12oz  Beer  (Your favorite)
1/4 cup  Water
2 cups  Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup  Sugar
1 tablespoon  Salt
1 tablespoon  Black Peppercorns
1 tablespoon  Mustard Seeds
2 cloves  Garlic  (Smashed)
1/4 teaspoon  Chili Flakes  (More if you like it hot!) 

1. In medium saucepan combine beer, water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, dissolve sugar and bring to a simmer. Then shut off heat.

2. Meanwhile, prep cucumbers. Slice into spears or chips. In a large jar or several smaller jars distribute peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic, and chili flakes evenly. Then pack in the cucumbers (the more you squeeze into a jar the less likely they are to float). Then pour pickling liquid over cucumbers and spices, covering completely.

3. Seal jars, let cool, and store in refrigerator. After 2 days they are ready to eat!

If you would like to store them in the pantry fallow these instructions from Ball ( Step by Step Water Bath Canning )



Friday, July 19, 2013

Hollywood with Kids - a Day Trip

It all started at the beginning of summer while watching a movie, and my 7 year old daughter pointed out the Hollywood sign. She asked me if Hollywood really existed. The look on her face when I started to explain the origin behind the wooden sign was priceless. Her mind filled with wonder she said, “Can we go there?”

Currently we live in Imperial Beach, California. Hollywood is a great day trip. Granted you can stomach the rush hour traffic, and battle the endless “Are we there yet?”s. Luckily the husband lets me drive since I have enough patience for the both of us, and our 2 children are practically intermediate level travelers. Therefore, we have hit a rather sweet spot in our travel procedures. Armed with their day packs (I will have to write a whole other post on what we pack on trips to keep them happy & satisfied), a loose run down of the day, and a vivid imagination we hit the road.

We cut to the chase and made our first stop the Hollywood sign. I wanted to find a place to view the sign that was not too busy or crowded. Plus we could stretch our legs after the long 3 hour car ride (due to rush hour traffic). I chose Hollywood Lake Park. It has a perfect view of the sign (great for pictures), and if you want to walk up the hill a bit you get even more views of the city and the lake. There are swings and a play structure. As well as picnic tables, and a wide open field. Pets are allowed, but unfortunately no bathrooms (or at least any my husband could find).

After taking a few candid shots we headed over to the Walk of Fame. Which is just over the hill at Hollywood & Highland. There were plenty of $10 all day parking lots. The rumbles in our bellies were getting loud, so we started this venture by eating at Mel’s Drive-in. Your classic diner fair, but with a little spin like turkey burger sliders with goat cheese or watermelon and beet salad. The French fries were amazing (although I wish I could have tried the yam fries, but didn’t see them on the menu with all the excited commotion upon arrival). The kids enjoyed their milkshakes, and their food arrived in classic red paper Ford Mustangs. The Juke box in the booth kept them busy picking tunes, and singing along while we waited for our food to arrive. The cost was pretty affordable too.

Unfortunately the Hollywood museum was closed, which is connected to Mel’s. Right on the corner though was Ripley’s Believe it or Not. We let the kids look at the interesting things they had displayed in the lobby before actually deciding whether or not to pay admission. Since they enjoyed the weirdness we decided to take the plunge. Once inside both of them explored with oohs and ahhs. There was a good mix of history, bizarre, and hands on displays. (I do think I enjoy the Ripley’s in Buena Park better though, although it has been a few years since I’ve been to that one.)

Back on the Walk of Fame we fallowed the stars seeking out a few of our favorite fiction characters (there are lists on the web that you can find that have the exact address of the stars). Since it was so crowed and there was some construction going on I opted to just wing it and point out what we saw on our way to Grauman's Chinese Theater (Now known as TCL Chinese Theater). In the courtyard of the theater there are the foot and handprints of many actors. Some are from the early days of Hollywood and some are more recent. We spotted some stairs off to the right and decided to see where they would take us. Little did we know that we stumbled upon a piano staircase! With each step it played a note. We took a few minutes and composed a couple of songs with the kids, even though all the people on the escalator looked at us like we were crazy (they had no idea what fun they were missing! Be healthy and take the stairs J). At the top we realized we were in the Hollywood & Highland Center. Sweet! Candy shop seemed to occupy most of this floor. We didn’t go in, but both of the kids pointed out the window displays which happened to be Willy Wonka inspired. Each window was a different setting and imaginative landscape with an excerpt describing it. Since Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory is one of their favorite movies it was awesome to watch their faces light up at each window. We stumbled upon a splash fountain on the bottom floor. It was a Hot day so the cool water was welcomed. To help us cool down more we got a minty mojito from D’lush. They had quite an assortment of yummy blended drinks, all virgin of course. After our cool down it was time to load up and head to our dinner date in Buena Park, Medieval Times. Which I will have to share in a whole other post.

My final tip is to make sure you visit when you have lots of patience, and everyone is well rested. Hollywood is crowded, and can be overwhelming. It was worth it to see how the kids’ faces lit up as they were star struck.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My Top Summer Movies

Trying to beat the gloomy summer days we have been having lately made me think about my top favorite movies that remind me of how awesome summer can be. The great thing about this list is that most are movies I grew up watching, and now I get to share these lazy mornings with my two little monsters. These movies stir up that loving feeling, those hot summer nights, the childhood memories, and how could that not leave you in a good mood? In no particular order I give you my list:

Gidget  (1959) staring Sandra Dee & James Darren

Dirty Dancing  (1987) staring Jennifer Grey & Patrick Swayze

Grease  (1978) staring John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

Beaches  (1988) staring Bette Midler & Barbara Hershey

Summer School  (1987) staring Mark Harmon & Kirstie Alley

Sandlot  (1993) staring Tom Guiry & Mike Vitar

Stand by Me  (1986) staring Wil Wheaton & River Phoenix

One Crazy Summer  (1986) staring John Cusak & Linda Warren

Build those blanket forts and load up on your favorite munchies. Spend a little down time sharing your favorite summer movies. I'd love to hear what yours are leave me a comment.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Flea Market Finds

One of my all time favorite things to do on a lazy Saturday is parooze the flea market. It is one of those things my husband and I would do almost every weekend before we had kids. Now that we have a super cool entourage we don't go as often, but we get to pass down our love of finding buried treasure.

Armed with their little coin bags, and saved allowances. Our children were extremely excited to start the hunt. Danika is more of a browser. She doesn't really know what she is looking for, but knows when she has found it. Darius on the other hand seems to be set on finding that one perfect thing. More often then not somehow it finds him. I love to see their curiosity, and enthusiasm when they are exploring. Even More so when they find the new in an old thing. I've noticed that they both enjoy the history, and character of the objects they come across. Much like Indiana Jones, and trust me its always and adventure. Improving their math, and negotiation skills (some call it haggling... no names need mentioned... a hum, Chris. But they learn from the best, after all he has haggled in sands of Afghanistan. Bringing us the most wonderfilled, and majestic gifts of the far east.)it is also very rich in education.

Today Danika and I found some wonderful treasures. We've brought new life to old things.

Danika's eyes were drawn to the jewelry today. With in minutes of being at the flea market, she happened across a case full of lockets. A prize she has been searching for, but not just any one would do. It had to be the perfect one... Her cost $3 (but of course I bought it for her, because it was a gift. Telling her that made her face light up, and her heart glow)

For me my find was of the culinary kind. I've been on the hunt for a vintage pepper grinder. I've head hunted one online, but could never find what I was looking for and a price I was comfortable with. Today I stumbled across an amazing little set. Vintage, made in Italy, and a woppin' $4... Win, Win, Win.
Last but not least our final find. A vintage pair of scissors. Not just any scissors though, shears that perfectly fit Danika's hand. Perfect for her love of sewing and cutting fabric. Found for $2. They need a little sharpening, but totally rock the character.
I gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I think of how lucky we are to be able to pass down our favorite pass times with our children. To be able to give life to old things. It is a wonderfilled cycle :0)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rainy Day Poem

Laying here listening to the rain. Imagining that it will wash away the pain. Like a little folded paper boat. Fragile in water, but still able to float. Whisked away by a raging stream. Soon to be off to better things.

-- It is amazing what flows out of our minds when we have one moment of clarity. This poem was inspired by the sound of rain as I was trying to drift off to sleep. Alone and in the dark.