Saturday, December 31, 2011

Prospero Año Nuevo 2012

This year we spent New Years in Flagstaff, AZ with my uncle, aunt, and cousin (KC, Holly, and Wyatt).
It hasn't snowed in over a week, so there was some bare patches, but Wyatt, Fred, and I had fun regardless. It is the perfect way to spend New Year's Eve!

After we got home we went out for sushi with some friends of Holly's, waiting patiently for the famous six foot pine cone to drop outside the Weatherford Hotel.
The New Year's Eve Pine Cone Drop has been a Flagstaff tradition since 1999. 
In my opinion, it is better than watching the crystal ball drop at Times Square, way less wait time.

Lucky for us the pine cone dropped at 10pm (New York time), and we are an hour ahead of California time, so it was easy to stay awake.

We got thirsty while we were waiting so KC, Fred and I snuck off for shots of pomegranate tequila (so good).

Happy New Year!

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day. -Edith Lovejoy Pierce

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Queen Califia's Magical Circle

Today Marla, the girls, my dad, and I went to Kit Carson Park in Escondido to enjoy some local artwork. Kit Carson Park is the largest regional park in the city of San Diego (300 acres). It is home to the only American sculpture garden created by the internationally renowned artist Niki de Saint Phalle. 

Bullhead Totem. 
There are eight large totemic figures symbolizing various monsters, skulls, humans, and animals with various special powers.

Step Totem. 

The circular wall that surrounds the garden is decorated with beautifully colored mosaic serpents. 
Be careful when touching them however, they get HOT!

Yelling Man Totem.

The main attraction in the sculpture garden is Queen Califia. The 11 feet tall sculpture, with a golden egg inside, represents birth, death, and transformation. 
The mosaics are absolutely memorizing. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Surf and Hike

It has been so gorgeous lately Fred and I just had to take advantage of it. 
With our new booties we paddled out at the harbor in Oceanside. My dad met us there (he is a regular at the harbor). 
The booties were a nice way to combat the chilly water. 

After we got home we changed into hiking clothes and were off to Daley Ranch.

We lost the sun quickly but were prepared for the rest of the hike with headlamps. 

 What a perfect day! It really makes you appreciate living in sunny San Diego. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Fred and I spent Christmas morning drinking coffee and opening presents. 
After a banana pecan pancake breakfast we headed up to Temecula. 

What a beautiful day Christmas fell on. Almost 70 degrees, sunny, not a cloud in sight. 
We sat on the patio of Steve and Denise's parents' house drinking more coffee, snacking, and chatting.

Thanks for having us over, and for the presents!
Next stop- my sisters...

You'll shoot your eye out!
Santa gave Elle what she asked for. A pink BB gun.

The girls couldn't wait to open their presents from Fred and I. 
It is nice arriving a little later in the day so the Christmas excitement can be extended. 

I couldn't resist getting these animal hats for the girls. 

A snowboarding iron for Fred and I. Just what we needed!

Our dad got Ruby Just Dance 3 for Wii. 
She enjoyed it, but I think we enjoyed it more. 

The evening ended with our tamale dinner.
I think these were our best tamales yet!
Thanks Marla for hosting!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Hike

It was our mission to find some local snow so Fred took me up to Palomar Mountain. We hiked the Observatory trail, a trail in his district. 

I was a little skeptical but Fred found me SNOW!

It took less than an hour to drive from Escondido to Palomar Mountain.  It is amazing that in such a short drive you can be in a totally different biome. 

The bark on this tree is a work of art. 

I have been obsessed with the sky lately. On our way back down the mountain the view of the ocean was amplified by an inspiring palette of colors. 
What a great way to spend Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Cena de Navidad

For the past few years Marla and I have made tamales for Christmas dinner (why should this only be a Mexican tradition?!) 
My mom made tamales for us growing up and over the years developed a technique that quickened the wrapping process. It is still quite a production that my sister and I undertake but it is so worth it for delicious homemade tamales.

Amo los tamales como una senorita ama su cantante.

We made three types of filling this year:
1- Mom's traditional (chicken, cheese, onions, olives)
2- Spicy veggie (black beans, cheese, jalapeno, onions)
3- Greek veggie (feta, roasted red pepper, spinach, olives, red onions)

It is imperative to get the right masa for the dough.  We always use Maseca Tamales.  We bought the wrong kind on accident but immediately noticed a difference and had to drive to three stores looking for the right stuff. The recipe above is the one on the package, and it is the best one to use. The only thing we do differently is add corn to the dough after it is mixed.

Tamale making timeline:
1 hour- shopping
1 hour- make the filling
1 hour- driving around to find tamale masa in Temecula on Christmas weekend
1 hour- mix the dough
1 hour- wrap tamales
3 hours- steam and cool

It is arduous but well worth it! Plus we have enough tamales to feed a small Mexican Army. 

Although we are saving them for Christmas we had to try a couple to make sure they were completely cooked. They are GOOD.