Wednesday, July 29, 2009

a day outside

Today was a good day. This morning I met my friend and her sweet baby at the DP harbor, one of my favorite places to walk, hang out, people watch, drink coffee, etc. Speaking of people watching there was an interesting NCIS moment that happened. As we were walking over the bridge to the island we noticed the FBI searching a big boat. We could not take our eyes away. We were dying to know what happened, but we did not ask the agents when we walked passed them later. Too chicken and it is not like they are going to tell us.

Later I took the girls to Casper Wilderness Park off Ortega Highway.

It is only a few miles from our house and feels a million miles away. Let me just say it was empty. Of course, it was 90+ degrees, but that place is always empty. They have an awesome playground area. Then we went up to the nature center, which was not open today, but we took in the views from the observation deck. We also viewed an old historic windmill and mining car.

There are mountain lions out here.

The dry San Juan Creek bed is down on the bottom right. If you look real close in the upper right portion of the picture and see the two white water towers, that is where I have worked for the last 16 years. Beautiful. (click to enlarge)

one hot bunny

Here the girls are making rock pies. I have been informed they are just like mud pies, but with rocks. Of course.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

lox of love

I seriously love lox. Fresh cured and smoked salmon. Delicious.

(notice the young child on the tips of her toes peeking at the fare)

The past several months we have been invited over to Grandma and Grandpa Lessman's house for brunch.

Fresh fruit, bagels, cream cheese, turkey, lox, onions, pickles, tomatoes, and oh so yummy desserts.

What do you do after eating all that on a hot day?

Swim of course. We headed to the lagoon with friends.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

the jewel

Down the road is the 7th mission built in California by Father Junipero Serra, Mission San Juan Capistrano. It is considered the jewel of the 21 missions and I agree. It is a small slice of beauty and I enjoy visiting this pretty and historic place.

The girls and I headed there for a few hours to learn, photograph, walk, absorb, and reflect. The gardens are gorgeous and the architecture is awesome. Such a great place for a picnic on a warm summer day.

Highlights? All of it.

The great stone church, sacred garden and bell wall, central courtyard, artifacts, and Serra Chapel are all amazing. The mission is such a great place to take snapshots and I am not kidding when I tell you that I took 180 pictures. How do I choose which ones to share?


Thursdays are story time days at mission during the summer

Sunday, July 12, 2009

too cool for marine science?

These two girls may look real cool in their hip sunglasses, but they are not too cool for school.

Moon jellies, cool! Star fish, cooler! Skates, awesome!


night hike

Night hikes really are wonderful and pleasing. Cricket and swallow songs, African bull frog croaks (they are not natives) and a gorgeous sunset made it all worthwhile even though it probably was 90 degrees out when the hike began. We did another night hike several months ago. You can read about the Astronomy Hike here. Both these hikes were FREE and totally worth it.

listening to stories

burnt trees from the Santiago Canyon Fire 2007

bull frog

petting Cowboy

The hike this time was a local lore hike. Stories were told of Juan Flores and his raid on the San Juan Mission, Limestone Canyon and the hanging tree, and so much more. The history of these canyons are fascinating and Julia cannot get enough of this stuff. Serena, too, did really well and hiked pretty much the entire time. I loved touching and smelling the California Sage.

howling like coyotes

Julia's favorite things from this hike in THIS order:

"touching the California king snake"
"hiking to the top of the highest mountain"
"eating s'mores"
"petting Cowboy the turtle"
"howling like coyotes"
"going through the spooky forest"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

we love parks

Parks are fun. The girls love them and so do I. I prefer some over others. With 2 children I appreciate parks that are a bit more contained so it is easier for me to watch both at the same time. Lately, we have been hitting parks at the beach. The other day we visited this one in Laguna Beach at Aliso Creek. It seriously is the best beach park. The views were gorgeous. I sipped my coffee and reflected while my two little munchkins were able climb, run, and swing to their hearts content.

On another note, I am going to plug my favorite new FREE software, PhotoScape. Lately, I have been working on my antiquated laptop which has a broken cd-rom. I own Photoshop software, but I cannot install it on this old thing and I have not been working on my desktop. So what is one to do when you feel the need to edit photos? Download PhotoScape. I have been using it for a few days and must say it is pretty good for something that costs nothing. It is the poorman's PhotoShop! I do not think it was very hard to figure out how to use at all.

original shot from my camera

after I edited it in PhotoScape

Yes, I made it a bit more saturated, but sometimes I like it that way. I also made it look like a painting which is a bit fun. You need to click on it and enlarge it to see that detail.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the perks of church

You are probably wondering what I mean about the "perks of church" and I bet you cannot guess what perks I am writing of.

Give up?

Okay, I will tell you. Doughnut holes. You heard me, doughnut holes.

This is not a perk of mine, but to children apparently it is. Don't get me wrong. They love church. They are excited to go each week, they love the people, Sunday school, playroom, all of it, but they better get one of those sprinkled little rounds things served after the service.


eating a doughnut by the fountain at church

Sunday, July 5, 2009

four from the 4th

I have been busy lately with school, but my class ended last night so I am finally writing my Independence Day post. It was a sunny, warm day spent with family and friends. We avoided the crowds and the kids were asleep before the big fireworks went off in the night sky. They were beat from the excitement of the day.

our friend lighting "snakes" the good ole' boy scout way

all 3 kids and their scooters

hot dog and watermelon of course

Friday, July 3, 2009

a day in huntington beach with aunt kristi

The girls and I visited Aunt Kristi the other day. We headed to the coldest place on earth...Bolsa Chica State Beach. I am not kidding. How on earth can it be 70 degrees everywhere else except this beach? The wind was blowing fierce. The only way to stay warm was to cover yourself in a blanket and lay low. Other than the freezing cold wind the beach is nice and wide, great sand and not crowded. There is more than enough space to spread out, but again, that is probably because it was FRIGID!. Nonetheless, we had a great time and hung out there for several hours. The girls can have fun anywhere!

Next we headed to Huntington Beach Central Park. This park really is a gem. There are so many neat things to do and if I had a dog I would be in heaven, because this park really caters to the dogs. Again, I am not kidding. Dogs are welcome in the cafes and the cafes even sell dog bones. We did not eat at a cafe this time, but I have taken the girls in the past. Who does not want to eat with the dogs? It is a fun novelty.

We toured the Shipley Nature Center instead. There was no wind and no cold air at the nature center. It was hot instead. About an hour or so was spent hiking the habitat trail, one of a few at the nature center. The girls even found a "secret" hut. Our time spent together was enjoyable and it seemed we were all alone which is always great in crowded southern California.

cottonwood tree