Sunday, October 20, 2013

Oak Glen - Apples

We spent the day at Oak Glen where we drove around the 5 mile circle visiting all the different farms and ranches. I wanted to pick apples; but learned earlier in the week that all the apples had been picked.  Oh well, I guess I saved some money though.  Our first stop was Riley's at Los Rio Rancho where we ate a picnic lunch on the grassy hill.  After lunch we explored the country store, got a good smell of tri-tip and roasted corn.  They have plenty of activities for the kids such as a petting zoo, hay rides, cider pressing and a nature trail. 

After Riley's, we drove to they are famous for their apple cider mini donuts.  For about $4 we got a dozen.  You get to see how they are made and they come hot off the press to enjoy a warm snack.  They were delish!

From there we went to Willowbrook Farm for their cider pressing.  They are the only place we found that will sell the cider in a half gallon instead of a gallon.  We did the half gallon for $9.  After tasting the cider we made, we wished we would have bought the gallon.  But I didn't want to spend $15-$16 on cider.  It was a fun and labor intensive experience.  The girls chose the apples they wanted from the variety they had in the very cold watered bucket and filled up a wooden basket.   One girl put the apples in the pressing machine while the other one turned the crank.  Luckily for me the girls did all the work with the help of a friendly employee. 

Our next stop was Riley's Apple Farm where the girls had fun playing in a cabin type playhouse.  They also had some archery, tomahawk throw, hayrides, cider pressing.
Our last stop was Oak Tree Village. I was hoping to try some apple pie at the famous Apple Annies; but the line was wrapped around outside, so I passed.  This area was very crowded.  We stayed only a few minutes since we were getting tired and didn't want to deal with the crowds.  Oak Glen was definitely a fun and different experience.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Party - Valencia Library

The Valencia Library was having a pumpkin party to decorate pumpkins using inexpensive and unique materials.  Thanks to Nancy's Ranch for the pumpkin donations and the library, the girls had a great time decorating their pumpkin, eating cookie treats and listening to some great holiday music.  Here are the pumpkins they made.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Aloha Beach Festival

We escaped to Ventura beach for a taste of Hawaii at the Aloha Beach Festival. 

The festival is free admission; but we did pay $5 for parking.  I've never seen such enthusiasm from a parking attendant before.  He would excitedly wave people into the lot, then start counting the wad of money he had collected. 

At the festival were several vendor and food booths along with an entertainment stage.  We got the lay of the land; and saw surfers out in the distance.  I think there was some sort of surfing contest going on.  A K-9 Frisbee performance was scheduled; but didn't see where that was.  The only thing that we found that the girls were interested in were the hula hoops scattered on the lawn that a vendor was selling.  The girls had fun hula hooping while the hula dancing was being performed. 

Since there was not much else to do, we walked down a few steps to the beach.  We spent quite a bit of time there, then grabbed a sno-cone and left for home.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Children's Hunger Fund - Dressing Dolls

33 volunteers came out to the Sylmar warehouse this morning and prepped dolls for this year's Toy Wrap! The two hours of time will help deliver hope! — at Children's Hunger Fund.

I was expecting to bag beans or pasta today; but we got to dress dolls!  The dolls came inappropriately dressed with mini skirts; so we had to undress them and put them in some decent outfits. Our girls had lots of fun last time we came and were so jealous we got to dress dolls without them.  The toy wrap event is coming up; so they are excited to help wrap all those toys.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fillmore - Fish and Honey

Not much going on today; so we took about a 20 min. drive out to Fillmore to feed fish, taste honey and buy some fresh produce.

Our first stop was at the Fillmore Fish Hatchery, where the girls had fun feeding the trout that were in trout beds as my daughter described it.  We had gathered about 40 dimes to get handfuls of pellet fish food.  We also brought some plastic cups for them to put the food in.  There is a small bird sanctuary next door to do a little bird and duck watching.  The girls spent about an hour here before we ran out of dimes.  My oldest had to make sure every fish was fed, which was impossible to do.

Down the road is Bennett's Honey Farm.  This is really a small gift shop selling honey and bee products.  There are about 5 different types of honey you can taste including avocado, orange, sage and 2 others.  I was excited to try the avocado since I love avocado.  It did taste like avocado; but I didn't like it as a honey flavor.  My favorite was the sage and bought a small honey bear of it that was on clearance.  They also have a small glass encased display of live bees to watch.

After honey tasting we went to Francisco's Fruits to buy some fresh produce.  We had brought a picnic lunch and purposely didn't pack fruit in order to get it here.  They are the produce stand that is recognized for their red and white tent and has the most cars out of all the other produce stands. Everyone got to pick what they wanted.  My oldest picked baby bananas, the youngest picked strawberries which she shared with me and hubby got apricots.  All the fruit was great!  But the strawberries were the best tasting strawberries.  They were much sweeter than the strawberries we normally have.  Even my oldest who is not a big fan of strawberries liked these ones. It was a fun frugal few hours spent out of the house.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Free Breakfast at Chick-fil-A

From September 9-14, 2013, participating Chick-fil-A® restaurants are giving away a variety of FREE breakfast entrees to customers who make a reservation online. To make your reservation, visit this website beginning Thursday, August 29, 2013 and choose your preferred Restaurant, the date, the time and breakfast entree.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Santa Clarita Youth Sports Festival

 We had never been to the annual Sports Festivals; but decided to try it out this year.  The girls had a lot of fun despite the scorching heat.  The first activity they did was ride the big tricycles.  After a few rounds on the obstacle course, we went to spin the wheel at the Valencia Ice Station table.  The girls won a free public ice skating session and a free trial class.  Next they did some archery.  My youngest wanted to be like the girl on Brave, so she was very excited to try this.  After almost getting the target, they decided to do rock wall climbing. 

By this time it was getting really hot to be outside, so we moved indoors.  Inside was the Healthy Family area.  A mini grocery store was set up and the kids were given a bag to go shopping.  They were able to make their own choices of what 3 foods they would like.  They kept their food and went along to the healthy snack table to pick a snack.  There were 3 snacks to pick from such as carrots, bananas and apples accompanied with a dipping sauce.  My girls chose carrots snack; but didn't care for the yogurt dipping sauce to much.  After snack, they did some hula hooping, played indoor soccer and that concluded the 2 hours we were there.  There were many other activities to do; but didn't have time for them all.  The girls had a great time and would like to go back next year.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Children's Hunger Fund - Bagging Beans

This was our 1st time volunteering at the Children's Hunger Fund.  It was a fun experience.  We helped bag the pinto beans! 

The Sylmar warehouse was bulging at the seams with a great group of 73 volunteers who packaged 5 gigantic bins of pasta and beans and built 1,071 Food Paks for kids in Mexico!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Monterey Getaway

We had a few days to take advantage of a weekend getaway to Monterey.  Since it was a long drive, we made our first stop at the Dennis the Menace Playground so they could expel some energy.  We spent a couple hours there before heading to the lake next door to do the paddle boat.  It was a chilly day which was quite the opposite weather back home.  We went from shorts and shirts to jackets and pants. 

Once our 45 min. on the paddle boat was done, we went searching for restaurant who served the best clam chowder.  I couldn't remember if it was at Fisherman's Wharf or at Cannery Row.  We drove to Fisherman's Wharf and it wasn't there.  Then we got on a trolley to go to Cannery Row.  Well we got on the trolley that was going the opposite direction, so we quickly got off.  We realized we were very far from where we needed to be.  At this point we are getting hungry and cranky.  We walked back to the car and drove to the correct destination.  I finally found the Fish Hopper to get my delicious clam chowder in a bread bowl! They have a clam chowder station outside the restaurant to get your food to go.  My bowl was $8.  Hubby and the girls wanted nothing to do with clam chowder; so they got to pizza to go from a nearby restaurant.  We all ate outside the Fish Hopper and enjoyed our dinner overlooking the water.  The chowder was very creamy and is one of the best clam chowders I've eaten.  We took a walk around Cannery Row and browsed the shops before heading to the hotel.

The next day, we went tide pooling at Asilomar beach.  We found some tide pools and also spotted some seals climbing a rock near us.  That was a fun treat.  After tide pooling, we went back to Cannery Row to rent a surrey.  It was pretty packed when we got there. Luckily we got there when we did before everyone took everything.  We rode for about an hour along the beach bike path before heading back.

We were definitely ready for lunch.  So we headed down toward the 17 mile drive to grab a picnic lunch to eat while on the drive.  We stopped at Bruno's Market in Carmel to get our lunch.  We ordered Tri-Tip sandwiches and a turkey sandwich for one of the girls.  We then headed out for the 17 mile drive.  It cost $9 to enter the pretty drive overlooking mansions, beaches, and golf courses.  We even saw some deer walking on the side of the road!  We found some picnic benches off one of the stops along the beach. That's where we stopped to eat our delicious sandwiches.  We finished up the drive and headed back to Cannery Row to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I found a couple tickets on ebay for a good price and just had to pay for the kids.  I was planning to use my AAA card for a discount; but apparently you have to buy them before hand at AAA.  So much for saving $4. All throughout the morning while we were there, it had a huge line; but when we got there around 4:00 there was a very small line.  The girls loved the aquarium enough to stay until it closing time which was 8:00.  Our lunches were so filling, we didn't need dinner.  We just grabbed a small snack and headed back to the hotel.

On our last day in Monterey, we headed out to Moss Landing to go on the Elkhorn Slough boat tour.  This was a really fun tour of getting to see hundreds of wildlife up close and personal.  Me and my girls love otters.  We saw hundreds of them swimming next to us along with many seals and birds and other wildlife.  It was about a 2 hour tour and the guides were friendly and informative.  The girls got to be otter and seal spotters and the adults help keep track of how many of each animal they see.  A very fun trip.

After the boat ride, we stopped at a restaurant nearby for a must have fish and chip lunch.  To conclude our trip, we made our last stop at John Steinbeck's house in Salinas for a short tour. It was $5 per person to take this tour.  Hubby is a big fan, so we squeezed it in for him.  It was an interesting tour.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July

In keeping with our yearly tradition, we went to the Ronald Reagan Library for some crafts and games.  The girls made an handprint eagle craft, played some carnival games, did the water balloon toss and played a few games of presidential bingo.  This time my youngest won a game!

Afterwards, we came home, took a little rest and went to the Church on the Way for their free Soakfest event.  They had a huge truck filled with water that would spray everyone, a ton of water balloons during the event as well as many more saved for their water balloon war at the end.  There were water slides, activities for toddlers and a free hot dog dinner.  It was a fun event.

After getting soaked, we headed back home to change, then headed back out to watch fireworks at the mall.  It was a free fun filled day!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

11th Anniversary in San Diego

Today is our 11th anniversary and are spending the weekend in San Diego.  We arrived late last night to the very romantic Vagabond Inn.  Yes, I am using sarcasm because the Vagabond is not a romantic hotel at all. Unless you get the Jacuzzi suite for $300-$400 a night, then I guess this might be considered a romantic place to go.  But since I'm cheap frugal, we kept it about $80 a night for a decent hotel that included free breakfast, parking and wifi.
They got fancy with the T.P.

We usually never buy anniversary gifts or cards; but make them.  This year the traditional gift for the 11th wedding anniversary was steel.   We decided to make each other a gift with steel as the theme.
These are the gifts we made for each other.

Steel Wool Sheep
I made for Hubby

The Steel Couple
Hubby made for me

Day 1 - Saturday
Our anniversary morning started early since we had a kayak tour at 9:00 in La Jolla which is about 15 min. away.  I got a discount on Goldstar for a Guided Kayak Tour of the Seven Caves through San Diego Bike & Kayak ToursWe had never been kayaking and read this was something you got to do in La Jolla. 

 We checked in, rented a wetsuit, got a locker and walked down to the beach to meet with the rest of the group. There were about 8-10 other double kayaks on the tour; but only a couple of us who had never kayaked.  A lack of kayaking skills showed after they pushed us out over the tides because we started paddling the kayak in circles.  Not once; but twice.  Everyone else was together waiting for us while we figured out how to steer straight.  We finally caught up and continued toward the cave.  We got the hang of how to steer; but speed was our other issue.  We were always the slowest ones and in the back of the group.  Some people with kids were paddling faster than us. 

  Our guide was very friendly and informative.  We got to see sea lions swimming right next to us as well as hanging out on the rocks.  We also saw Garibaldi fish.  The water conditions were good enough that we got to go into one of the caves.  We got lucky we were able to go in.  The time came when we had to go over the tides to get back to shore and let one kayak go at a time.  We saw a few people flip over as the tide came over them.  I was not looking forward to flipping over.  We rode one wave which was pretty fun.  We were almost to shore when I looked back to a huge wave right behind us.  Sure enough we got caught in it and flipped over.  My oar took my arm backwards and hubby got hit in the head with the kayak.  Thank goodness for the helmets they make you wear.  Despite our issues, we still had a fun time!

After Kayaking, we went on a food tour with Bite San Diego.  They often offer half off tickets through places such as Living Social or Groupon.  They have several food tours in San Diego and we did the Hillcrest tour.  I found it interesting that most of the eateries we went to were houses converted into restaurants.
There were about 15 of us in the 3 hr. walking tour.  Our first place we tried was Jimmy Carters Cafe.  There we ate a tostada, a beef and a pork quesadilla type dish and a calamari taco.  I would have never ordered a calamari taco; but it was quite tasty.
This is the table where we sat.

Our next stop was at Sanfilippo's to get a bite of some mushroom pizza.
The 3rd stop was R-Gang Eatery. The Top Chef contestant, Rich Sweeney owns this restaurant.  Here we tried their signature cheddar and chive Tater Tots served with chipotle sauce.
Our next place was Baby Cakes who seemed to be famous for their cupcakes.  They do have a restaurant menu and bar as well.  As we entered, they had us drool over a window case full of delicious looking cupcakes.  But when we got seated, they served us a snicker doodle!  I felt a bit disappointed that we didn't get a cupcake.
Our last stop was at EmpireHouse where they served us a BBQ bacon cheeseburger slider with a pickle on the side.  I can't remember the last time I had a pickle.  Both the slider and the pickle were great.  Our waiter was very friendly and the owner, Larry was a cool guy.  He told us how his restaurant got started, the story behind his industrial farm d├ęcor and his food.
A few hours after stuffing our faces with delicious food, we went to La Jolla for our anniversary dinner at The Steakhouse at Azul La Jolla.  I was looking forward to a steak dinner; but was not very hungry from all the food at the food tour.  However, I ordered the 6 oz Filet with a loaded baked potato.  The meal was very good.  This is now one of my favorite places to eat steak.  They have 2 spots to eat; one is the patio where it's lit at night or the ocean view.  We chose the ocean view seating.  They only have about 5 tables for 2 that are really nice window seats overlooking the ocean.  I reserved one of those; but didn't get it and was not going to wait forever for it.  Instead we got a nice velvet feeling booth that also had a great view.  After dinner, the waiter asked if we were celebrating a birthday or anniversary.  We said, anniversary and he gave us a complimentary brownie alamode.  It was sooo good!  I did not have room for dessert; but had to make some for this. 
 Brownie Alamode

After dinner, we went to check out The Comedy Palace.  I got a discount on tickets through  Tonight's comedians were The GI's of Comedy.  They are 4 guys who are veterans of the armed forces.  They were very funny and got me to laugh at loud.  Since there is a 2 item minimum, we ordered drinks.  Those were watered down and not great.  They couldn't even give me a decent Shirley Temple.  

Day 2 - Sunday
We went on a scavenger hunt through Urban Quest Adventures.  I got a discount through Sweetjack for this too.  We started at Old Town and used our cell phone to answer questions.  They had us go on the MTS to stop in Little Italy and make our way to the Port of San Diego. This tour was really fun and we learned a lot from the cities we went.  This was supposed to be a 3 hr walking tour; but I guess we were a little slow and took our time. 
It ended up taking about 3 1/2 to 4 hrs.
For lunch, we stopped at a place in Little Italy for a slice of pizza to go.  I got sun-dried tomatoes with spinach slice and hubby got a meatball with mozzarella slice.  When we arrived back in Old Town, we each got 2 handmade flour tortillas with butter from El Coyote.  Yum! 
These are some of the places we stopped at.

MTS Transportation

Fire Station Museum - In or near Little Italy

"The less things change, the more they remain the same"



Recipe for Marinara Sauce.
The Star of India is the world's largest sailing ship.
Pathway leading to the transit station.
By the end of our fun weekend, I have sore arms and a sun burn from kayaking, a full stomach from all the eating, and a small blister from all that walking.  Was it all worth it?  Yes! I would do it all over again.