California Dreamin’ – Pt 2

Sunday afternoon was spent leisurely walking along the bay. We ventured over to Hyde Street Pier to look at some of the historic ships.

The history of this city is presented every where you look. The buildings, the boats, the trolleys (which I did not get to ride!), the homes…just every where.

The smell of the bay – it’s pretty much the same smell as on the East Coast. No surprise there! Fish, fish, and umm, more fish!

KODAK Digital Still Camera           Ok – so this is a seal..

The houses aren’t cookie cutters in styles or colors, but they all fit perfectly together along the strip.

The youngest teen stopped in his tracks when he saw the first of a few outdoor workout areas. The concept is pretty cool – but to see people working out, some of those positions are not necessarily outdoor worthy views…if you get what I mean…wish I had a brain scrubber right about now…

We made our way over to a marina where we rested on a bench, watching the boats and seals in the water. A feathered friend decided to join us before the boys decided to play in the grass while we waited for our ride…we used Uber the entire time we were in the city and it was WONDERFUL!!


Life is good!!  ~MJ


California – What a Trip! – Pt. 1

We spent a week in California. And what a week it was!

We split our trip in half – sort of. Three days along the West Coast and the remainder of the week in the California Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, among the rolling hills.

Angels Camp is a beautiful, small town with much to offer visitors. Nestled among the rolling hills in Calaveras County, this tiny town was made famous from many successful gold mines as well as by Mark Twain’s The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…and this will *have* to be a multi-poster. I mean, how can I just haze over some of the most amazing sights that were seen by a couple of East-Coasters?

We left from Louisville, KY for Chicago, IL before heading west. This trip was the first time the 14 year old flew – and the first in over 25 years my husband stepped on a plane. The flight to San Francisco was educational as we were handed Coke cans in Chinese…I think…even the waitress wasn’t sure.

We flew over some pretty landscapes – even boring Interstate 80 looked pretty from above.

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Our first stop – Lombardi Street. The world’s crookedest street. I thought this street was a few blocks, but thankfully, the crooked portion was only one block. We took Uber to the top of the block and walked down.

From the top of the block, you can see the houses over looking the bay. The colorful hydrangeas planted along the block add beauty to the street.Since one photo doesn’t do justice to the street, I took a few…one of which captured my son walking down behind me – the kid flew in from Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning only to go on a trek of the city shortly after breakfast. Yup – we love him to pieces!

From Lombardi Street, we ventured over to the San Francisco Bay. I love history, and seeing Alcatraz in person was another highlight for me. I saw it safely from the pier instead of traveling and dealing with crowds – I do not do large crowds. *shutters at the thought*

We visited the shops and sights of Fisherman’s Wharf along Pier 39. We watched the infamous Sea Lion’s lay claim to their pack of piers.The Sea Lion’s have a fair amount of piers they have taken as their own, to bask in the sun and lounge on one another.

Coit Tower was fascinating to see after watching a movie where the family met there if they got separated, not to mention a point of interest for visitors in Telegraph Hill. The top of the tower resembles that of a fire hose, though that was not the intention of the architect. Instead, it was a tower built in honor of the lady who left money “for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the city I have always loved” in a bequest upon her death in 1929. The tower offers a 360 degree view of the city. We didn’t make it to the tower, but we were able to see it throughout the day.

Now for the food – who goes to a new city in a never-before-visited state and not eat the food?! 20160605_12150420160605_121508

Blackened cod and fish and chips – served in a metal pail! Ha! I do have to add a little tid-bit about the bathroom – it was an “open concept” type…you walked in to a large area with double sinks in the middle of two sets of stalls. Two on each side. <whispers> they were not marked specifically “men” and “women”. It was a little unsettling until it was realized that people knew which side was which…thank goodness for locals!


Car Show Weekend

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Homemade Marbles for Winter

During the week of Christmas break, I had the precious children make some marbles. Ice marbles, that is.

They filled regular balloons with water and a few drops of food coloring. Then placed them in the deep freezer for a couple days. We waited for the predicted snow to arrive before taking them out of the freezer.


Peel the balloon off…yes, peel. Cut the knot away and the balloon peels off easily. I suggest wearing some gloves because the more you handle them, the more your fingers freeze.


Then place them in the front yard – I placed them along the sidewalk in the snow. The first day they were hazy due to the frost of the freezer. But the next day, after the sun melted them a tiny bit (the temperature was barely 34*F) and caused the globe to glaze over. This resulted in a shiny coat and the marble look was more noticeable.






Photo Challenge 5.25.12: Summertime


A period of time where work does not get completed, intentionally or not.
To be free of deadlines and high expectations of someone other than yourself.
To enjoy endless hours from stressful agendas to focus instead on what it truly means to relax.

This is a shot of my son and niece playing in the Smith Lake, Virginia, this past weekend. The two kids are directly in the center of the group of people – see the water splashing? That would be my son…crazy kid.

Welcome to Summertime!



A Very Memorable Weekend

Instead of trying to recapture my thoughts from earlier posts that were sitting in my “edit/proofread” slots, I decided to ditch them all and start with this past weekend.

We took a little trip to Virginia for a few days of family time.

We left home about 4 am and drove through the mountains while the sun was waking up.

 Here’s the sun peeking over the clouds… Along with some fog we encountered…but it was pretty.

The cousins were hanging around after the “serious” pictures were finished. My sons were glad to meet their cousins – it has been 5 years since our last visit and that is too long to wait, if you ask me. The cousins ages are: 15, 10, 10, 8, 6, and 3 years – the missing cousin is 20 but she had to work. Next time – she will be there.

Sunday was spent at Smith Mountain Lake, we were there for several hours. According to one of relatives, this is the same beach where “Dirty Dancing” was filmed. The kids made a sand castle – with the help of an adult.

The evening brought some veggin’ time for the cousins – they were too tired to play outside so they lounged on the floor and played electronic games. It was serious business…

We left on Monday and drove the long way home – we stopped for a fast visit with some friends outside of Knoxville, TN. But the Smoky Mountains were beautiful to drive through. I don’t have many photos of that part of the trip as I was the one behind the wheel. Last I checked, it was difficult to take pictures and drive…

It was truly a memorable weekend had by all.




Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

Yes, that is Darth Vader between some angels.

Darth was the opening act for the children’s Christmas program at our church. My son, the Star Wars freak, wanted to play the part of Darth and was so excited when he got the role he almost fell off his chair — well, he at least stopped playing PS3 for a while.

He isn’t as big of a ham as his older brother is, but he really enjoyed putting on the Darth Vader costume.