I have a new mission. I’m not sure how long it will take, or how much planning it will require- but our family is going to visit every state park on the list.
California’s State Park System is the largest in the country, offering some of the world’s most varied natural wonders. No matter where you are headed, there are exciting activities to choose from. We hope you enjoy your upcoming visits and that your adventures help you “Discover the many states of California.”
There are 112 beautiful California destinations on the list. I plan on documenting the journey with a Blurb book, this way I can print one book for each kid to have as a keepsake.
So follow along while I take the kids on “112 California Adventures”.
#1 California Poppy Adventure: Point Lobos State National Reserve
Carmel-by-the-sea, Monterey County
Sunday February 7, 2021 (Super Bowl)
53 minute one-way drive time.
We decided to visit this beautiful reserve because a friend suggested it. Growing up in California, I never would have imagined that I was missing out on this majestic place that is less than an hour from my home.
Think little alcoves with crystal clear water and stunning views. Mother nature out did herself with the decoration of succulents on the rocks, scattered amongst the cliffs.
We left the house at 8am and pulled in around 9am. We drove to the furthest parking lot to take the China Cove walk. We had to pick the stroller up on some parts, but it was nothing too crazy. We were not able to bring the stroller to the beach, so we parked it at the top of the stairs. I have never been on such a steep and narrow staircase. The beach had beautiful white sand and tall rock structures. We poked around a bit and when back to the trails for the last thirty minutes.
If I were visiting the ocean for the first time, this would be the place to experience it. So serene and so beautiful.
Preparing for Winter has the property buzzing with tasks. It’s a messy time…
…after the wonder of all the brightly colored leaves fades…
…when the redwood cones draping the lawn looks less magical and more of reminder of chores to be done.
The grass is left a little long and the Summer garden tomatoes have browned and fallen over. After the last blazing heatwave of Autumn has passed, there is a time of transition.
Shaving goats, weather proofing, trimming trees, splitting firewood- chores with a side of anticipation for rainy days stuck inside with hot coffee and a good book. We collect redwood pine cones for potpourri.We dehydrate lemons. We plant garlic.
We work. We anticipate Winter. And we wait.
We wait for chilly days fueled by a roaring fire and the excitement of a brand new seed catalog. We wait for power outages lit by candlelight and time to read books all afternoon. We wait for muddy floors from boots that should have been taken off outside. We wait for cozy knitted blankets on the couch. We wait for sleeping early and waking to a cold house. We wait for the warm glow from the oven holding fresh baked bread.
I love living in Dallas because you can basically fly anywhere in 3ish hours. Spirit airlines offers some awesome deals if you plan on flying light.
Here is a deal I found if you want to take a day trip to Los Angeles:
Take a look at the calendar above. There are so many dates that say $61.19 one way “departing” calendar. If you click on the same day in the “arriving” calendar, there is another flight leaving LAX to DFW the same day for $61.19. Of course you can stay as long as you like, as long as you depart on a day that lists the price at $61.19. This way the roundtrip price works out to $82.40 roundtrip.
After declining the $9 fare club and other add ons, you will reach a screen like the one above with a total of $122.38 for each round trip ticket.
Here’s the catch…
It is always cheaper to purchase Spirit flights at the airport. See where it has a “passenger usage charge” in the flight purchase charge? Well, take that off if you buy it at the airport.
Introduction to recipe rotation- with three weeks of recipes.
My Mom is an excellent cook. She is the type of cook that can make anything without looking at a recipe and make it fabulous. Everyone comments on her cooking. She came to the United States from Singapore in the 80’s and met my dad. Her cooking is an amazing fusion of Asian and American. Everything has flavor- blah foods are not her style.
I am not a cook. I tell this to people all the time, but I never take time to explain. My standards for good food are always judged against my Mom’s food. When we go out, its always, “the food is good but…” While, we do have our favorite restaurants and our favorite dishes, are usually quick to judge them. I am a good critic, influenced by years of watching the original “Iron Chef” on food network when I was in elementary school.
I feel like my story is common- everyone has a good cook in their family and some people learned to become good cooks themselves.
“I learned from my Grandma.”
“I learned from my Aunt.”
“I learned from my Dad.”
Well, I didn’t. I simply accepted my Mom’s talents and never took the time to follow, question and learn from her. I am an adequate cook. I know how to chop onions, boil eggs, and follow recipes. In fact, I follow recipes quite well. Recipes are in-tune with my personality- a set of plans that I follow. I am not a rule breaker or culinary trail blazer. I don’t stray from plans or recipes and I don’t add more of this or take away that. This is what makes me, in my mind, an adequate cook. Great cooks are pioneering these recipes and tweaking recipes. I am following them. In the end, the excellent cooks allow us adequate cooks to produce the same delicious meals to serve.
If you are anything like me, you really do not want to read five chapters about inspiration and rules to follow. Who has time for that anyway? So I am going to keep this extremely simple. 6 days of cooking per week. 3 weeks.
I actually do an 8 week rotation to keep things interesting. You can add on to this plan or you can do your own. Either way, this has saved our family money (no more buying excess amounts of things or eating out) and has saved me time (shop once per week and done).
I shop at Kroger because I love adding all the items to my online lists on the Kroger app. Each week I load the list to my cart and select grocery pick up. The next day, I drive up and they load all the groceries into my car. I have included 3 weeks of grocery lists here, but I have a 8 week rotation with 8 lists. Once I complete those 8 weeks, I start over.
Grocery List Week 1:
1 lb Asparagus
3 bunches green onions
1- 4 oz can diced green chilis
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast meat
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
6 (12 inch) flour tortillas
2 ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn kernels
1 red onion, chopped
2 ⅕ pounds ground beef
5 white onion
4 russet potatoes
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
12 ounces penne pasta
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (15 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 teaspoons minced pickled ginger
1 (8 ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
= 49 total items
Grocery List Week 2
Bakery Fresh French Bread 2 16 Oz
Kroger® Italian Style Bread Crumbs 1 15 oz
Kroger Sweetened Flaked Coconut 1 14 oz
Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup 2 10.75 oz
Kroger Quartered Artichoke Hearts in Brine 1 14 oz
Kroger Whole Peeled Tomatoes 2 28 Oz
Kroger Tomato Paste 1 6 Oz p$$t… Long Grain White Rice 1 5 Lb
Kroger Grated Parmesan Romano Cheese 1 8 Oz
Kroger Shredded Mozzarella Cheese 1 16 Oz
Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Bar 1 8 oz
Pillsbury Grands! Southern Homestyle Buttermilk Biscuits 2 10.2 oz Kroger
Toddler Boy Fall 2018: $140 Capsule Wardrobe at Target
Download the .pdf below
This wardrobe was done for my son who started preschool, but sizes available for most items on the target.com website were 12M-5T. At the time of creating this capsule (September 2018) all the items can be purchased for $140.45 before tax including shoes! This could be cheaper for you because at the time of calculation, none of the items were on sale.
There is a total of 65 combinations of clothing- with 5 school days per week and roughly 4 weeks in a month, this should provide approximately 3 months of school clothes without repeats of the exact outfit. The days of the week are categorized by the pants. This was really made to speed up mornings and make laundry easier.
I planned it out to chose one outfit for each day of the week by pants… this way each day of the week gets a new pair of pants and laundry can wait until the weekend. The pdf below offers a convenient check box so you can mark off outfits as you go.
Here is the links for the 13 items included in this capsule wardrobe:
Improvement at anything is based on thousands of tiny failures and the magnitude of your success is based on how many times you failed at something. If someone is better than you at something, then it’s likely because she/he has failed at it more than you have.
I am really excited for this week! We are from California, so I am especially excited for Tuesday Night’s San Diego Fish Tacos. YUM! I am a little late publishing next weeks meals. I currently have the slow cooker beef stew going and it is making the whole house smell delicious and cozy. It is a a rainy, lazy Saturday here in Texas- stew is complementing the weather perfectly. I am off to the store to grab a loaf of bread to go with the stew, then I am going to make the grocery list for this upcoming week. I will post pictures in this most as the week goes on.