Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Fred and I had a day off together and were more than happy that my cousin Nancy and my cousin-in-law Vinny could spend time with us.  I could not wait any longer to meet their new baby!  (Nancy found out she was pregnant while we were in Japan.)
The Los Angeles Arboretum is a sign off of the 210 freeway that I have noticed for years.  I thought it was the best place to meet up and catch up, and get in a nice walk.  

Jackson is such a good baby!  He did not cry at all.  He just laughed and smiled and slept.  

People have been coming to this land for thousands of years but it was not developed until Lucky Baldwin (a California businessman, investor, and adventurer) purchased the grounds in 1875.
Now there are over 12,000 different species of plants from all over the world, on 127 acres of prime property open to the public for a small fee.  Much like the Huntington it is a great escape from the city.  

Lucky Baldwin brought the peacocks to his property soon after his purchase.  They are now a thriving, naturalized species and are found wandering the grounds just about everywhere.  

We were there for over three hours but I know there is more to see.  
This is not a place you just visit once.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

Drinking Wine and Catching Fire

Happy Hunger Games! 
Marla and I worked out a perfect plan for some quality sister time.  Dan watched the girls while we went wine tasting, followed by dinner and the new Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire.  Wine tasting and dinner is my birthday present from my sister.  
There is nothing better than drinking outside on a sunny day, at a time of day when it is only socially acceptable to be drinking when you are at a winery, accepted only be the other winos (which is good enough for me!).  

We started at Masia de Yabar, one of Temecula's younger wineries.  The owner made wine in Argentina before moving to Temecula Valley.  
There was only one option for white wine, along with their Brut (which is very tasty), so my sister had to go to the dark side.  

Lisa, a family friend that we have known since I was about 1 year old and before Marla was born, drove up from Vista to taste Temecula wines, and to see the movie of course.  She had never been wine tasting in Temecula.  I think we took her to the perfect place, Frangipani (or as I like to call it Fancy Panties).  
In this picture I was saying through my teeth, 'where's my wine?  I don't have my wine?'.  
Don't worry, I found it.  

Frangipani has a great set up.  There are two windows that connect the bar to the patio so you do not have to leave the sun for wine samples.

This is the picture of they day.
Luckily the nice man who offered to take the picture did not object to climbing on a small padded chair and balancing to take the picture with the best view.  

We enjoyed adding two new wineries to our list.  It was the perfect beginning to our afternoon, which ended with Catching Fire (which was so good).  
We are already ready for a repeat wine afternoon when Mockingjay comes out!  
I can't wait!  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Encinitas Fall Fair

Yep.  Blueberry smiley face pancakes... I am pretty good at doing the aunt thing... 

The girls and I rode the Coaster from Oceanside to Encinitas for the Fall Fair (an annual event).  We had four and a half hours before the train returned (the schedule is limited on Sundays) but I figured that with the beach nearby we had lots of options.  

There was much more to look at than just booths selling stuff, like dogs driving cars for example.  

After lunch at Swami's we walked up the block to the meditation garden.  The girls were so good about being respectful to those who were at the gardens for peace and quiet.  I was very impressed.

Ruby even tried meditating, although she said she couldn't do it because it was too hard to think of nothing.  At least she is open to try new things!

We walked down to the beach just in time to explore the tide pools before the tide was too high.  We got a little wet which is to be expected when you take kids to the beach, and put them in a tide pool as the tide is rising...  

Encinitas has so much to offer, and taking the train was an added bonus.  We didn't take the train, we went on a train ride.  There is a big difference.  

I found chopstick trainers at the the Japanese market and could not resist getting them for the girls; they are so cute!  
I love niece-sitting.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Bazar navideño en el museo comunitario, y un pijamada

El museo comunitario has a annual Christmas event that I wanted to be a part of so I headed down south.  

For Second Breakfast I had my favorite snack from El mejor pan, a spinach empanada.  

Preserves, lunch, dessert, indigenous artifacts and various Christmas items were sold.  I was a bit disappointed there were not more people.  People from the US are intimidated to visit, and people from Tecate do not yet understand the concept of a museum.  Before Hernán and Zellla started CAREM there was not one museum in Tecate. The proceeds from the event goes to CAREM, the non-profit organization whose mission is "to identify, protect, preserve, restore, and present to the public the historical and cultural heritage of Baja California".  It is unfortunate that the public is not present to present the information to.  

Marla met me at my house to drop the girls off and we practically ran out the door to do a quick hike at Daley Ranch while there was still light.  It was well worth it. We saw an amazing rainbow and a brilliant sunset.  

We ended the day with snowballs, make-your-own pizza, games and a PG-13 movie (sorry Mar... Jurassic Park is not that scary!).