Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vacation like days

Sometimes I forget people actually come to Santa Barbara for a vacation. It's a good reminder when I am thinking of places we should be venturing off to for a summer break. I mean, really...
Why am I trying to escape this?
Sand digging fun with cousin Eric.
A little massage from some cuties.

I am pretty sure my kids will never outgrown the carousel.
 My fave pic
 Kalista is such the goof!
Not a bad place to call home, huh?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy in Utah

Summer vacation has been relaxing and a little busy. A good kind of busy though. We spent a few days up in Park City, Utah over the 4th. This was our second time back and it was a nice carefree, no work vacation. Just the way I like it!

Hard to believe this was close to 10:00 PM!

 Fitting in with the locals for the parade.
Patiently waiting for the works.
This was like 8:30 PM!
But I am going to say...
By far the most beautiful skyline of fireworks I had ever seen!

 We spent a day at Utah Olympic Park. So much fun and lots to do and see.
Little chair lift ride to the alpine sled ride:
This is also where training happens
during the summer months:
Can you say, "CRAZY?!"

Some ropes course action for Sophia & David.
This was like no joke and the real deal.
There were some tears from kids at the top and it took A LOT 
of coaxing to get them to completion.
Thank goodness Sophia loved it!
 Couldn't get enough of this:
 And yes, a selfie. But with a story:
A lady stopped me and said, "I just wanted to tell you I think you're beautiful." 
I was super embarrassed! She also went on to say, 
"As women I don't think we compliment other women enough." 
And you know what?! She's absolutely right! 
About complimenting other women, that is. :)
I am going to try and pay it forward when I can!

A little World Cup action while the kids were swimming:

One of our favorite things to do...
walk downtown:
 And eat:

Until next time Park City!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Come back to me...

This girl...
Where did she go?

Dear Kalista,

You have finished your JK year. And what a year it has been. My spunky, outgoing, feisty little gal disappeared this last school year. There were lots of tears shed (a lot from you and a ton from me) from the beginning to the very end. I didn't think we were going to make it to June. You are going off to kindergarten in the fall and there is something I need you to know...

I have missed you; not only physically being by my side, but I have missed your soul. Your dad and I don't know what happened this last year. You went from confident without a care to scared and unsure. You became a mystery. You never put up a fuss getting ready for school and you were always happy as a clam at pick-up. So your dad and I thought maybe it was the adjustment to a new school and new friends. But as the months went by and the tears were still present, I knew it was more than just jitters. You stopped participating in activities you once loved. You were adamant about not wanting to attend birthday parties. You declined having your own birthday party.  I would cross my fingers you would be the Old Kalista and belt out all those songs you happily sang at home.  But no more school recital participation. Only tears. YOU disappeared. And so, for the last school year, all I wanted was for you to come back to me.

One day during Christmas Break I asked you why you were so upset at school drop-offs. And although I had asked you this same question time and time before, this time you were mature enough to give me an answer aside from the shoulder shrug. You looked at me and said, "It's just too hard. The work is too much."

I will never forget that day. Your answer broke my heart. I want you to know, your dad and I had the best intentions for your last year before kindergarten. We wanted to give you the same opportunity we had given Sophia. As a parent, someday you will understand, you want to always make everything equal. But you have taught me it's okay not to always do the same for each child. You and Sophia are completely different kids in the world of academics. The two of you learn at different paces. I am sorry I didn't realize this sooner.

I just want you to know I am so proud of you! You have become a delightful reader and are on your way to mastering math. Everything has been on your own terms and pace. From all this to ballet, to gymnastics, to singing, and swimming - you are an amazing and gifted girl. And I LOVE YOU!
Congratulations my darling. You did great.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Cauliflower Tortillas

Yes, there is such a thing! I think cauliflower has been one of those veggies that gets a bad wrap. I hear them described as tasteless and pungent smelling when cooked - and all is true if you just steam it. I always roast cauliflower with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper; roasting brings out that nuttiness and it's so yummy.

I have seen renditions on other ways to use cauliflower. I think the most popular right now is cauliflower pizza crust. But here is another one that should not be overlooked:

Cauliflower Tortillas

These are not hard to make at all. A little time consuming with prepping the cauliflower but by no means difficult. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break down a head of cauliflower. 
You just want the florets and not the thick stem.

Dump it into a food processor and pulse away.
Stop when it resembles couscous.

Transfer 2 cups to microwave safe bowl and heat for 2 minutes. Stir and then heat for another 2 minutes. Now for the not so fun part...take the cooked cauliflower and strain out all the moisture. You will need cheese cloth and SOME GLOVES CAUSE IT IS HOT!

Whisk a couple of eggs and throw in chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
Stir in the strained cauliflower. Mix well.

Take the mixture and form 6 small tortillas. The mixture will be wet.
Tip: Form the tortillas on top of the line baking sheet. You can easily pat them
into a thin layer this way.

Bake for 10 minutes then flip and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Let them cool on a wire rack. After slightly cooled, heat up a pan and brown each side for about 2 minutes. You can press down slightly while they brown.

Serve warm and with any condiments you like!

PS I made mine a little on the thicker side since I knew I wasn't going to add any fillings. But next time I will make them thinner for soft tacos!

Thank you Recipe Girl for the inspiration!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookie I've Ever Made

Happy Monday!
Oh don't you just roll your eyes when you see something titled, "The best..."? I totally do! I have been in the slumps with my chocolate chip cookie baking. Something hasn't been working with the recipes I have. Even my favorite Doubletree Cookies have fallen short. What was once nice puffy, yet crispy and chewy cookies have turned to crispy, chewy, but FLAT. Same recipe, same oven, same ingredients. What the?! And I tried all those tips on making cookies chewy or cakey or crispy or flat. No matter what...flat has been the outcome. Until today!

Hello layers. I've missed you.

You must try Alice Currah's recipe for THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE EVER. She has a fabulous blog called Savory Sweet Life. So overjoyed to have found this recipe.

Like super happy.

Follow the recipe EXACTLY! Yes, beat the batter for 3 minutes. Yes, beat again for another 2 minutes after adding eggs and vanilla. Yes, you need to open that second bag of chocolate chips if you are using a 12 oz. bag. JUST DO IT.

And no, it's not a typo...preheat oven to 360 F.

No baking rack needed. Let cool on the parchment paper.
No, the cookies will not have soggy bottoms.

And to make sure this was the real deal recipe, I made all different sizes. And each cookie size I tried came out perfect. To me, a good recipe will accommodate any size with the same ingredients and temperature. 

Did I tell you how much I love the layers?

Chewy, crispy, and puffy!


PS This post was inspired by my youngest, for this is what she answered on her Mother's Day card to me...

 And just for a good laugh...