Sunday, October 31, 2010

Things Creepy...And Fairytail Endings

So the last few weeks, we have been dealing with a scorching case of...poison oak.  The boys went for a hike, and ended up trailblazing right through it.  Rob woke up with swollen eyes, and by mid-week needed to go to the doc for some meds.  He really looked like a burn victim- red, swollen, and blistered.  If any of you get it bad, you know exactly what I mean.  Gabe got a bit on his arm, and I got some just 'cause I hugged and smooched them when they got home from their hike.  Thankfully we are all on the tail end of that nasty stuff.

Then Friday I'm sitting on the floor with Ava, and she says, "Look, Mama- a lizard!"  I turn to look at the kitchen in time to see something out of the corner of my eye that looks like something other than a reptile...I run in to find a scared little mouse hiding in the corner behind the trash can.  We have not had a mouse in the house before, and I'll admit I kinda freaked.  I yelled for Gabe, who grabbed his bb gun.  The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to keep it in the corner til Rob got home.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, and you get this:

There goes the lining...

Ready to whack it!

Be VEWWY, VEWWY quiet!
We heard him in the couch, so out went the couch, out went the mouse!  He finally made a run for it,  and got away.  As long as he doesn't end up back in my kitchen, then happy trails!  I personally think the reason he came in is because we went to the Pete's Pumpkin Patch in Camarillo (which was a TOTAL blast, and me, like a lame-O, forgot the camera- AUGH!) and brought this  beautiful Cinderella pumpkin home...he was rather chubby, like Gus-Gus! :)

Who wouldn't want a coach from this?!

The rest of the day was much better: made from scratch blueberry pancakes, costume sewing, and pumpkin carving...which I'll post pics for later.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Donut Hole-y Cross Night

So last night we had another date night- yay!  We've been multi-tasking the last few weeks, sneaking out to fill up our water bottles, and have some time alone.  The water store happens to be by Trader Joe's, so we can even get free coffee and dessert out of it if we play our cards right! :)  A few weeks ago, our friend told us about a too-good-to-be-true spot that we had never heard of: a 24-hour DRIVE-THRU Donut shop!  This was now a quest to find it, since we had vague whereabouts.  We tried to find it a few date-nights back, to no avail.  Last night, Rob brought a thermos full of coffee, and some biscotti that a friend of ours dropped by this week (Thanks Dana!!), so I figured he had a plan.  He wanted to take me up to the Serra Cross, which overlooks Ventura.  We were trying to find a street to lead us up there (can you tell we are still finding our way around?!), when we passed by KFC.  I look and saw a school on the left, and got super-excited!  Why, you ask?  Those were the random landmarks given to us in order to find Donut Shangri-la!  SO we start looking, end up turning around and on the second pass, realized we had driven right by it.  It's a small little house looking building, in the parking lot of another place. The lights are all off, except a small neon sign that says open.  You would never even imagine there is a drive-thru (or that it really is open!), unless you've been given vague directions and a hot tip!  I can't even tell you how excited I was to pull up and order my sugar donut!  It was nothing short of magical.  I was giddy.  We had coffee.  We had donuts.  Now to find the cross.  Rob's inner compass kicked in, he turned down a random street, and, wah-laaaah- The Serra Cross.  It was beautiful up there, with all the city lights.  We get out to look, and are taking in the sights, when we heard a thump, and Rob shudders.  "Did you see that?!"  We didn't realize we had parked by a trash can in the bushes, and a large rat jumped out of the can.  SO romantic! BLAH!!!  We moved the car, and everything was fab...  The best things in life are free....well, at least, under 2 bucks! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy First Day Of OCTOBER!

Sorry for the double-post, but I just couldn't help it!  I LOVE October!  It just feels like the true beginning of all things Autumny :)  Which is the most fabulous season there is, as it's the doorway to chilly nights, bowls of chili, snuggling up on the couch, and baking, baking, baking!  It also means pulling up the scraggly remains of our summer garden, and bringing in the pumpkins!!  I just cut our first sugar pumpkin today- it's so cute!  I will enjoy looking at it til we bake it up into a pie. Or bread.  Or biscotti.  Or soup.  The possibilities are endless.

Livie's first pumpkin- she grew it herself!
On another fall note, did anyone get a chance to see the Harvest Moon?!  Big and Yellow, so beautiful!  We didn't get a picture of it, but a few nights before, Gabe had his telescope out, and we took this shot through the lens:

That's amore!
More fall fun awaits, and all I can say, in the words of Rhino, the hamster, is:  LET IT BEGIN!!!!

Second Wave of Summer Revisited

I can't believe how much fun we crammed into this summer!  I didn't realize it until I started looking back at all the pictures.  SO, let's get to it!

First off, I have to go back to our spontaneous Fourth of July celebration.  I say spontaneous because we had fun plans to hang out with our friend who recently had moved back into her really cool Victorian house.  The day before our fun, I came down with a nasty bit of strep throat.  BLAH.  We were disappointed, the kids were disappointed, our friend was disappointed.  So Rob does what any great Papa needs to do in a time like this: break out the tent for back yard camping complete with s'mores and fireworks.  Instant rescue!

Happy Independence Day to the 6th power!
 After I recovered from the strep factor, we decided that some of the 50lbs of strawberries we got from a local farm on Rob's birthday finally needed to turn into jam...

So we mashed...

And stirred...

And stirred...

And filled...
Until... PRESTO!  Sweet bliss in a jar!

Nothing beats homemade jam!  If you haven't tried it, you really have to next summer.  We hit "Jam Day", where the stand actually sells all the ripest strawberries- and here's the kicker- already de-stemmed for you- for $1 a pound- can you believe it?!  The air is heady and sweet, and you stand in a long line talking with other women who maybe have years of experience canning, or maybe are trying it for the first time.  You bring your own containers and definitely eat a bunch on the way home!  So much fun, definitely will be in line next year!

We also had a jam-packed (no pun intended...!) visit with Wendy, who drove down for a 5 day visit.  We had fun at the beach (with Kat and Lacey too), then came home and got a great surprise visit from Ciara and her family.  It also happened to be Isabel's birthday party night, so we got pizza, and I made 2 berry cherry pies for her, which were finished at 10:30pm, so we stayed up late watching movies and eating pie...mmmm!  Isabel's cousin Mitchel also stopped by that week to say Happy Birthday, and we ended up going for a hike at the creek, then coming home for hot dogs and a crazy game of Sardines- the first game in this house- OH YEAH!  And of course, we made a trip to La Super Rica for amazing food, finished off with a tour around the S.B Mission.  What a great visit!

Wendy's here!
Flowers for his girl :)

Only in a game of sardines does this small shower hold this many people!

Our last hurrah for the summer was a very spontaneous (that word again!) trip up north to see my sister's new adorable baby boy (and family!)  On the way up I realized I didn't have my memory for my camera- LAME!  So very lame, considering all the photo ops we had.  We found an AMAZING "farm" in the most unlikely spot.   Right off the freeway in a gas station parking lot is this fabulous place called Bravo Farms Cheese Factory.  The only reason we stopped was because I had to go to the bathroom REALLY bad :)  So glad I did!  The bathroon/gas station had a bunch of funny signs in it.  Then in front of the Factory building was an old dairy truck with vintage bottles and wooden boxes.  SO cool.  I was practically in the truck, when the guy working there said, "You should go in- we  have donkeys and chickens and goats for the kids."  Say donkey and I'm sold!  You would never know from the gas station parking lot what a cool place lays beyond.  We will definitely go again and I will post a bazillion pictures, cause the whole place is loaded with the coolest vintage stuff, and the funniest signs you've seen.

My sister had both of her babies at the same hospital up north as all our girls were born at.  Sophia was actually the 4th baby born at that hospital- it was brand new, state of the art.  The doctor actually called Rob over while I was in labor and said- "Look at this!  When you point this laser the light will follow it anywhere- COOL, huh?!"  Um, guys, a little FOCUS please!

NEEDLESS to say, without picture taking capacity,  I am waiting on pics from my sis of our visit with them.  We got to stay with my mom for a few days- the kids were so excited to be at grandma's again!  There's just something about the smell of the pine trees, combined with being at Mom's house that is good for the soul. Then we stayed with Sarah and Caleb and family and had a great time before we piled in the car and made the long trek home.  SO glad we got to go, what a perfect way to wrap up summer!

Fairy house made by little hands.
Can you smell the pine?!  Love you Mom!