blogging · Easter · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized

Easter celebrations!

I love holidays and getting to celebrate with family and having good food! We started with Easter prep of dying eggs which the girls love doing. We did this on Tuesday evening which meant Emerald got to bring Easter eggs for lunch the next several days, which made my lunch making days easier and made Emerald so happy. She said all the other kids asked why she got a special lunch 🙂 The other prepping I do is decorating the house the week before, this year I tried to keep it pretty simple and did not buy any extra decorations like I normally do. I am trying to keep things simpler and not stress myself out and go over board (Im a little extra sometimes) I even kept the girls easter baskets simple, I used the same baskets from last year and filled them with little goodies I found at the 99cent store (cheap and easy) The last thing I could do to prep a few days early was the decorations for the cupcakes I was making to take to both of our families.

The Friday before Easter this year was passover which we go to Brock’s great Aunts house to celebrate. His aunt takes care of everything which is so nice for us all we have to do is show up and clean up after.

Girls in there Passover outfits.


The next day Brock took the girls to my parent’s house to swim and I got a few hours of pampering! I love getting my hair done I always feel so fabulous after and like I can take on anything life hands me. That evening was a lot of food preping for Easter. I try to bring the same things to both families so that we just double up the recipes, which has made going to both Brock and my families for Holidays much less stressful. Every holiday I feel like all I do is work hard and I never get to enjoy it so I am trying really hard to not overextend myself and PREP so that I am not rushing the day of to get everything done. So Brock helped me prep Saturday night by making and decorating (and eating) the cupcakes and dipping strawberries in orange chocolate to look like carrots, and making lemon bars also diced and sliced everything we could for the next day.

The next morning the girls were up and ready to see what the Easter bunny had brought them, so we started with their easter baskets and while they were playing with everything from their baskets I mixed the crustless quiche together and got it in the oven (we made two, one for breakfast and one to take to Brunch with Brock’s family) and Brock hid the eggs outside(the girls had no idea he was even gone). Then while breakfast baked we took their now empty baskets outside to collect the eggs (that I had filled the night before with little candies) I took a few funny videos that showed how clueless Violet was at first with collecting eggs but she caught on pretty quickly after that. Although our girls are too sweet they kept giving each other their eggs to make sure they each had the same amount and the same colors. What can I say we are raising very considerate little ladies.

After the egg hunt and opening all the eggs and putting all the candy in a bowl although they of course wanted to eat it all before breakfast . . . we had breakfast of crustless ham and cheese quiche with our “carrot” strawberries, so delicious. After breakfast Brock made two potato and pear gratin (one for each family meal) and I got the girls and myself ready. By the time I got all of us ready Brock had already got the dish in the oven and had cleaned up! Woohoo! Next was loading up the car and heading to have lunch with his family first. IMG_20180401_131100_540We took a family picture first thing before those kiddos got wild from all the candy they had been eating. We brought the quiche, potato gratin, lemon bars and cupcakes (ok so I do go a little overboard on making several items, but I love cooking and baking) The girls had a great time running around and playing especially since it was a beautiful day. Their grandpa gave them each an easter basket that they of course tore right into. Next stop my parents house. We brought fresh green beans with parmesan cheese, potato gratin, lemon bars and cupcakes. So I really did get to double up on pretty much everything but green beans.

Here are the yummy desserts we had, my rabbit bottom cupcakes and lemon bars in the back and these adorable rice krispy treats my sister made up front.


The first thing we do at my parents house is always the egg hunt, that way it is still light out since we don’t meet up until the evening. We start with all the little kids. (this year there is only three since both my bothers and their families live out of state)

The girls had a great time collecting the eggs and getting all the fun treats my parents hid for them and this year they did candies, magic grow pellets, and little toys. While we were helping the girls with all of their loot my dad went back out to hide eggs for all of us big kids, Brock and myself and my sister and her husband. They always do egg hunts for us in their neighborhood with money in the eggs. They leave a lot of the eggs empty as a trick (happy April fools day) well guess who found all of those, yup that would be me! I ended up with a total of ten cents! Yup you read that right I was the big loser I got one egg that had a dime in it and the rest were empty. Thank goodness Brock was the big winner and got lots of dollar bills.

After the egg hunt it was dinner time and we were all stuffed by the end of the day but still finished with those yummy desserts and we also had a gluten free cake my parents made (yes we love dessert and sweets!) Well we were all exhausted by the end and had to head home because Emerald had school the next morning. It was a long day but a wonderful day! A few days later and all of the decorations are put away and only some of the Easter candy remains, but we are on to the next family fun filled days.

blogging · cruise · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family cruise!

IMG_20180322_143117_126Well we finally did our first family cruise with both the girls. It was a lot of fun, but so exhausting. We did a 3 night mexico cruise during Emerald’s spring break so she would not miss any school. Brock’s mom and two sisters also came with us. I took a few days to pack since I was trying to get everything in one medium size suitcase and a backpack for all four of us (which I totally did) We we’re not sure how Violet would be (I had crazy insomnia before the cruise cuz I was so stressed out about Violet my wild child running off the ship) so we wanted our hands free and boarding the ship to be as easy as possible.

Well our drive down to the ship it was on the cooler side and a little rainy😒. Thankfully I had planned for this and we all had jackets. Boarding went really well and we carried all our luggage on instead of checking it that way we had anything we might need for Violet (including her mermaid tail blanket that we can’t go anywhere without) We got to our room that had a king bed and two bunks, the girls called their castles. Violet was also convinced that we were at a hotel and she wanted to go back to the big ship. We also had a giant window that the girls immediately wanted to look out.

After dropping off our luggage and the girls jumping around on the beds we headed up for some food because that is what you do most of the time on a cruise is EAT! We sat outside while having our burgers and of course I got pooped on by a seagull. 🤦 Brock cleaned off my jacket and all I could do was laugh.

Yes Violet ditched her jacket right away and got an ice-cream cone. Emerald was so excited for all the fun things she had planned.

We did the early seating for dinner at 6 which was perfect for the girls. We of course ordered way too much food but we wanted to try so many things off the menu plus it’s all included so why not try it! We put Emerald and Violet in the Camp Carnival each evening after dinner so that Brock and I could have a little time to go and do things we wanted to do plus it was a nice little break for us. The girls had a blast in the Camp Carnival they thought it was so much fun and they would always ask us each day to go back to it especially Emerald, I definitely think this was the highlight of the cruise for her she met so many friends. Brock and I loved that Camp Carnival gave us a phone in case anything happened with the girls which we ended up using way more than I ever thought we would. The calls were always because of violet not wanting to be there anymore she also had one night of an accident in her pants because she couldn’t wipe herself after going to the bathroom. The joys of having children and being a parent.

I tried to dress us all in clothes we could wear all day and be comfortable, plus decent enough for dinner.

The first full day we were in Ensenada Mexico we stayed on the boat with the girls we were a little concerned about safety in Mexico, but we had a wonderful time we played mini-golf went swimming and did all the water slides(well Brock and the girls did the waterslides and I watched, the water was too cold for me)

Staying on the boat also made it easier to have Violet take a nap and we all ended up napping. That night was what we called “fancy night” and the girls were so excited they had brought their fanciest dresses (Emerald got a new dress for this occasion since that girls is always growing) to wear to dinner. It was another late night of shows and comedy and the girls stayed in Camp Carnival again after dinner.

The next day was a “sea day” and the pools were crowded so we tried to find other things that the girls would find fun so we did the towel folding class and the towel Theater which they had for the kids. The girls loved both these things they especially loved every night in our room there would be a new towel animal that typically got loved to death by Violet.

The last night of our cruise and I was ready to be home I had started getting really bad motion sickness they say the last day is always the worst because they stay out at sea. Again we put the girls in Camp Carnival after dinner and went to some comedy shows then we went and got them out to bring them to the last show of the cruise they loved it.

The next morning we were docked back at Long Beach and it was time to pack up and go home. Even though I went into this Cruise very stressed out and ended up being a wonderful time for the family. We will definitely be doing another Cruise in the future well maybe the far future. We have been off the cruise a couple days and I still feel like I’m on the boat rocking. Well now we are thinking about what our next family trip will be, I love all the adventures I get to share with my family.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · photography

Family Photos

Trying to take family photos with toddlers and babies is not easy. Brock and I have been taking “Family Photos” since we started dating with one of my closest friends Michelle. We have loved not having the studio look but a more natural feel. These were from our engagement shoot. It was a crazy windy day and we were being sandblasted but you would never know that from looking at our pictures.

So that shoot was a little easier without any children . . . once we added them into the mix it got a little harder trying to find ways to keep them from melting down, after all those are not really the pictures I want to go on my walls.

We did a shoot with Emerald when she was a little over a week old. I definitely did not feel great about myself but I wanted to have a few nice pictures of Emerald. I know that is is becoming more common now to have a photographer in the delivery room, but that is not for me, I actually only have my husband and obviously the doctor anyway getting side tracked. These are a couple of my favorites from that little session of Emeralds baby pictures. I loved this sweet picture of Brock holding Emerald’s tiny little feet and remembering how content she was in Brock’s arms. The other one I loved the lighting that Michelle captured in this although again not really feeling much like myself, but this picture makes me feel empowered some how.

We try to take photos at least once a year and the next time was for Emerald’s first birthday we did another small shoot nothing to fancy just a few pictures at a local park. This session went actually pretty well I even had a few wardrobe changes for Emerald. We are very lucky with Emerald even as a baby she was so sweet and happy most of the time.

The following year we did a session while I was pregnant with Violet. I remember it being a little chilly that day and I was so frustrated trying to find something that “matched” for all of us to wear and clothing options that we all felt good in . . . this seems to be one of our biggest problems especially as the girls are getting older and are more opinionated, anyway again Emerald was so easy, but we made sure the photos were right after her nap so that she was not tired for the photos and we brought snack.

The following session again just a small shoot was when Violet was a little baby again a little after a week it might have been closer to two weeks. We did this one in our house just like Emerald’s and we just threw a sheet over everything to try to cover up the mess of a house I had after just having a baby and having a two year old running around.


This shoot we tried to make Emerald feel included but still had a few of just Violet. It helped having this done at our house and made everyone a little more comfortable plus we had been having Michelle take our pictures for a few years now. I love the silly shots that capture our family dynamic. Pictures that show our love for each other make my heart melt. We decided to do another session about eight mother later (mostly because I love sending out photo christmas cards) I loved this session of the girls Emerald loves being a big sister and I think this captured that so well. This is the shoot when things started to get a little bit more challenging . . . two kiddos that you are trying to coral and they were not always on the same nap schedule which made it harder to schedule a good time, luckily we have an amazing photographer who works so well with keeping the kids interested in taking pictures, but of course these are pictures that happen and you just learn to roll with it and know that they are kids and yes they sometimes eat leaves.

_DSC1453Of course you still get a few good shots and photographers know that it just takes a lot of snaps before you end up with a few wonderful pictures. The one of the two girls I actually made into my mouse pad and the family picture is enlarged on my office wall.

The next year got even more interesting as now both girls were on the move and harder to keep in one area. Incase you can’t tell Violet has a million marshmallows shoved in her mouth. She was so not into taking pictures that day and made sure we all knew it. I brought a ziplock bag of marshmallows that Brock kept in his pocket and would toss at her when she did well, yes I know it was like she was an animal performing for rewards, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and with Violet we have realized there is no correct way to do anything we just have to adjust and keep going. _DSC5456-84This session is the one I currently have up in my living room and I love seeing these everyday (yes I know I am behind on updating my pictures in the frames and hopefully I will do that soon)

This is the last shoot we just did and we had so much fun with it. I let the girls pick their own outfits and accessories and they told me how they wanted their hair. I have been working on being silly with the girls and wanting them to remember their childhood being something they loved and wanting them to feel loved.

Yes I think Brock missed the act crazy memo poor guys surrounded by crazy girls. And the second just shows the sass of Violet and the sweet playfulness of Emerald.

These next ones I love looking at together they were taken with in a few seconds of each other one was us walking together and the other Brock yelled run and well Michelle captured it.DSC_2363DSC_2529-Copy1Yes adding children into the mix has made it interesting but just like with life you find things that work (or don’t work) we adjust and continue to love living this life together as a family with photos as proof (lol)

All photos were taken by Michelle Tachet. You can visit her link and check out her other photos or schedule a session.

blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog · Uncategorized · vacation

Family weekend trip to Solvang CA

Family time is so important to us. The girls are growing up so fast and I want to make sure that they have the best childhood we can give them. So we try to do little trips or family days just the four of us to make sure the girls know that we love and care about them and want to spend time with them. This time we did a weekend trip to Solvang. It was a quick trip we only stayed one night at a hotel. We ended up staying in Buellton which is five minuets away from Solvang, but the hotels are half the price, we stayed at Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn and it was only $100 for a Saturday night, felt like a steal.

We headed up Saturday morning leaving our house at 930am and we only hit traffic in Montecito since they had only reopened the freeway there a few days ago after the mudslide that happened. It saddened me driving through there seeing the aftermath of what the residence had been thru, I can’t even imagine.

We reached the first winery, Lincourt (if you have read my other posts we are member here and we love it!) We had a picnic on the grass area right in front of the tasting room where there is plenty of room for the girls to run around. We had not been in a little while so we had two shipments of wine to pick up. 🙂 The girls had so much fun, they love picnics! Emerald especially loved it since it was all food she had picked out the day before at Trader Joes.

The picnic was followed by dancing and rolling down the grassy hill (Brock and I did not participate in I think it might have been frowned upon if Brock and I rolled down the hill lol)

Next we went to Quicksilver Ranch which is right next to the winery. This place has so many mini ponies! This is another one of our go to places (even when we don’t have the girls with us when we go to Solvang) this time the girls got to walk with one of the mini horses while it was being brought over to a pin to be groomed. The girls were so excited they got to pet the horse for a little while although Violet kept asking the man if she could brush the pony 🙂

After the mini ponies we went to another winery, Firestone Vineyards. Here we got a table outside and let the girls run around again while we tasted wine. This is another one of favorite places, it sits up on a little hill that overlooks the vineyard and is beautiful (although January is not the most beautiful time for vineyards) I unfortunately did not take many pictures at this place . . . sometimes I need a break from picture taking and I try to just enjoy the moments, but we did take pictures inside the wine tasting room on the huge chair they had.

After this winery we went to our hotel, Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn, for a nap the girls were very tired from all of the running around and lets face it Brock and I were pretty tired too. The hotel is pretty clean and a nice enough room for one night plus we don’t spend a ton of time in our room anyway. After naps it was too late for the Ostrich farm so we walked around Solvang for a few minutes before heading to dinner at Hadsten House Restaurant.IMG_20180127_190029618 I have been going to this restaurant for years . . . it has definitely changed through out the years and I miss the large ravioli that they used to have, but we made it for happy hour (early dinner when you have kiddos) The girls were completely wild the whole dinner . . . Emerald making hats out of her napkin and Violet singing her heart out. Brock took the girls on a couple of walks during dinner so they could get their wiggles out. After dinner we headed back to the hotel because the girls really wanted to go swimming, we mostly stayed in the hot tub since it was pretty cold out plus Emerald can stand up in it on her own which makes her so happy. Then it was bed time, it was a long day and we had more to do the next day. We had breakfast at the hotel which was just pastries and juice from one of the bakeries in Solvang.

Our first stop for the day was the Ostrichland USA we got there right when they opened which was pretty nice there were only a couple of other people there. The girls had so much fun feeding the Ostrich and Emu. Brock was having the girls pet them and sure enough first Emerald got bit on her arm and she thought it was funny because Brock told her they were trying to eat the butterfly on her jacket and then a few minutes later Violet got bit on the finger and she screamed her head off. There was no calming her down so her and I went and washed off her hands and she was done but Emerald went and got more food to keep feeding these crazy birds. When we left Violet said she had fun but did not want to go next to one again. Next we headed to the Folded Hills Farmstead, but they were not open. Their website said they opened at 11am, but no such luck. So instead we had a picnic in the back of our car and let the girls pet the animals that are there. This is one of Emerald’s favorite things, if animals are there she loves it. Violet was over the animals pretty quickly and just wanted to eat. Emerald told us the only way she will move from our house is if we move to a farm were she can pick all the animals we will have lol.

We stayed at the farm for awhile before hitting the road. We headed to Ventura for in-n-out lunch and a bathroom break. Then back to our little home we went. It was a short trip, but we packed it as full as possible. I love doing life with my family.

Christmas · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog

Christmas, New Years and Winter break

Colds, Flu and Pneumonia . . . such a fun holiday season in our little house. We were hit with the cold/flu bug hard over the winter break which was not so fun especially since Brock got a week off of work and he spent most of the time having to care for the rest of us. Emerald’s last day of school was December 22 and she loved it because she got to wear pajamas to school that day and thought it was the best thing ever. IMG_20171222_090447_287The following day we tried to rest a little so that we all would have energy for all of the Christmas activities we had planned. We met up with  Brock’s family on Christmas Eve which was pretty low key, just hanging out at the house together which was so nice since I was not feeling amazing and I just kept thinking it was because I was tired.

For Christmas and we tried to limit how many gift we gave the girls this year, so Emerald got a Bike from Santa and Violet asked for a tablet from Santa, (I mean she is two years old and she wanted a tablet), anyway they also got a five other things from us nothing crazy, (because we gave them a kitty, Jazz a few weeks prior). Brock worked with Emerald riding her bike while I finished up breakfast which was cinnamon rolls that I make from scratch (I made extra to take to Brock’s family)

After Breakfast we headed over to Brock’s family where we stayed for a few hours and the girls got a few little gift and we had lunch then we left so that the girls could nap in the car while we drove to my parents house (yes we are crazy and do two places on Christmas) we are pretty lucky that our families are only about a 30 minute drive away from each other. Anyway it was more gifts there too but was so happy my parents this year did a trip for the girls instead of a million gifts that they really don’t need. So they gave them a vacation to Sea World which the girls LOVED they each got their own vacation with Grandma and Papa which they already cashed in on. My parents ended up taking Emerald the following week since she was on winter break from school.

By the time we finished gifts and dinner it was time to head home and I was completely exhausted. The following day I kept telling Brock I was having a hard time breathing he thought I was being overdramatic well I went with my instinct and went to urgent care, they did an X-ray and sure enough I had pneumonia! So I started antibiotics in hopes of winter break not being completely wasted at home I rested the following day and was so glad that Brock was home to help with the girls but was so bummed we did not get to do everything I would have liked, but such is life. Well that week was a bit of a blur for me being so sick. Brock took the girls places with his mom and I stayed home dead to the world. During that time the girls got to go see the horses that were going to be in the Rose Parade and Emerald even got to help with the City of Burbank float and glue on some flowers, she was so proud of herself, so cute.

I made it to my cousin’s and her families going away party, they are moving out of state and we are sad to see them go but are so excited for them and the new adventures they get to have doing such a big move. Next was New Years and we decided on New Years Eve to stay at Brock’s families beach house in Oxnard and the rest of his family came too I still was not a hundred percent but did my best to hang in there plus a little wine and champagne never hurts 🙂 This meant we got to spend New Years at the beach and it was a beautiful day and even though it is crowded staying at the house I was glad we got to have a wonderful day at the beach.

Well Brock was back to work the next day and I had to fend for myself with the girls so we had one day of resting and a zoo day to fill the time before my parents came to pick up Emerald for her Sea World trip, they took her thursday thru Sunday and originally my mother in law was going to take Violet for a couple days but she came down with the stomach flu so I did my best to fill the time with pony rides and ice cream.

Thank goodness after that Brock was back to being off for the weekend and I was gradually getting better (this sickness lasted forever!) While Emerald was having the time of her life with my parents in San Diego we tried to make our time with Violet really special we let her pick everything to do and she of course picked the zoo and getting ice cream at Costco (yes my kid loves Costco and trader joes, mostly because both those places give kiddos treats while you shop)

And the next day was Sunday and we picked up Emerald from my parents and celebrated my sisters birthday at the same time. The next day was back to a regular routine of school for Emerald, although that of course proved to be soooo difficult and it is now thursday and we finally made it to school in the morning with out yelling, crying and fit throwing . .. waiting for the days to get easier and for me to feel completely like myself again. As a mom I have learned I am way stronger than I ever thought and can handle more than I ever wanted too lol.

italy · personal blog · vacation

Our trip to Italy

My husband and I took a nine day trip to Italy and we left the kids with our parents. IT WAS AMAZING!!!! As parents I think it is easy to forget about about our significant other or ourselves and we put so much attention on our children. It was so nice for Brock and I to get away and not have to worry about anything. I think all parents should get away at least once a year if they can to refresh. We came back feeling like way better parents because we put time into ourselves and our relationship. Anyway, about the trip. It took an entire day to fly to Italy, ugh. We flew American Airlines there and it was fine just a regular flight nothing great about it, and we had a layover in Philadelphia which helped break up the flight a little.

Our first stop was Rome! We stayed at Hotel Relais Dei Papi which was only a few blocks away from Vatican City. Well when we got to the hotel completely jet lagged and had just taken a shuttle from the airport we were told they had overbooked the rooms and they did not have one available for us. WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE!!!!! They then said they had reserved a suite for us at a sister hotel right down the street. Ok calmed down a little  . . . .with all that the concierge at out hotel was soooooo amazing he spent so much time going over with us everything that was a must see and the best way to get everywhere. Mostly I think they felt pretty terrible that they made such a mistake. Well we walk over to the new hotel with a bell boy and it was beautiful. Some how it worked out to our advantage getting bumped to another hotel.  The first thing we did when we got to our room was shower to try to wake ourselves up after that long flight, crazy jet lag, and thefrustration of going to another Hotel. We left our room and went exploring all the amazing sights of Rome. We had no real agenda other than to see as many monuments as we could. That day we only lasted until about 8 at night and we were pushing ourselves to keep going. The bed was not so comfortable and we did not sleep great but I think we were running on the excitement of the city.

The next day we got up early so that we could do a tour of Vatican City, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. We did a tour through I Love Rome which was wonderful. There is no way that we would have been able to see all those things on our own, each place has a long line to even get in, but with the tour we got to pass the line and head straight in. We missed seeing the Pope by a day, such a bummer but we did get to learn so much about the Vatican History and what all of the Popes contributed to the Vatican and what they stole from each other as the years went by, very interesting. The Sistine Chapel was beautiful but extremely crowded and I might be a terrible person but I honestly thought a lot of the other artwork through out the Vatican was even more majestic. We finished in St Peter’s Basilica which was very large and beautiful and once the tour was finished Brock and I stayed there to explore the levels below the church which hosts many tombs. We gave ourselves enough time to grab something to eat before heading to our next tour, yes another tour in one day, what can I say we packed our days so full trying to see everything. We met up with our group also through I Love Rome at the Arch of Constantine. This was a tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill which also I don’t know how we could have made it through seeing all of this if we did not have a tour guide. This day was one of my favorites of this trip and I loved Rome. I was in awe seeing everything from so many years ago. Sad to say but history was never my strong suit but getting to see so much in person I have no words. Once done we got some Gelato even tho it was raining. We ended the day with going to one of the restaurants that our Concierge had suggested. Also our bags were moved back to the original hotel we booked and we were sad to see our suite gone but we woke to a wonderful breakfast and delicious cappuccinos. The hotel was nice but still the beds were not to nice for me.

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Our last full day in Rome we went exploring on our own again and tried to go all the places we had not seen yet. Also I got Brock to drink Espresso . . . he put a lot of sugar and still was not a big fan but he drank it.

The next morning we ate breakfast and headed to the train station because we were headed to Florence. Florence was a lot smaller than Rome and was BEAUTIFUL! It was a very quant city and we were able to find our Hotel pretty easily, it was right next to the Duomo, it was Hotel Axial. We dropped off our luggage and went exploring we of course stopped for some gelato as we made our way through out the city. That night we had dinner at the first place that I actually LOVED the food, La Buchetta.

The next day we filled it again with tours, we  headed to Pisa on a bus tour and my goodness the tower leans way more then I could have imagined. They allow you to climb the tower but Brock and I decided to skip that part of the tour and go grab lunch instead and explore a little of the city. The minute we got back to Florence we were back on the bus to head to Chianti

The minute we got back to Florence we were back on the bus to head to Chianti to do a little wine tasting. Brock and I loved this! The bus was mostly filled with a younger crowd who clearly wanted to drink 🙂 The first winery was a small boutique vineyard, that 20 years ago was the vineyard who had supplied the wine for the Vatican but since has opened it doors to the public. It was absolutely stunning and the women who owned it was so sweet. We stopped at a little market area on the way to the next winery and Brock and I shared some mozzarella gelato with some cured ham onto and then got some baked goods at the bakery. The next winery was quite large but very delicious including the extra glass we got after the tour. We then headed back to Florence and back to our hotel since we had a train ride to Venice to catch the next morning.

The train ride had so many beautiful views including it started snowing while we were on the train and everything was getting a white blanket. We stayed at Hotel Scandinavia in Venice. We had such a hard time finding this hotel it felt like we were walking in circles and they have no cars or bikes on the island which would be difficult to have any way since there are SOOOOOO many bridges with stairs. (caring luggage was not so fun halfway through looking for our hotel Brock had to carry all of the luggage up and down all the stairs for me he is amazing, plus it was raining) We finally found our hotel and we were exhausted. Although this hotel was lovely, everything in it was antiques including all the furniture in our room and an actual key to get in our room. You could leave the key with the front desk when you left so that you would not loose the key while you were out exploring. We did not do any tour here, we planned on spending our time here to rest and take in all of the amazing beauty and lifestyle.

We also decided here that I was not the best at reading or speaking Italian. 🙂 this was where I ordered cuddle fish instead of Cod oops. And strangely this was the first place we ate spaghetti. Brock tried pizza in each city we went and I must say I was not a huge fan of most of the pizza. Well we ended out trip with a dinner at the Michelin stared restaurant at the Met. Which I was so excited about I love beautiful and delicious food so this was definitely my pick. The hotel that the restaurant was in was magical and had such a wonderful ambiance, I was in love. The several course dinner was stunning and left us both IMG_20171115_182847_028beyond full, I did the vegetarian menu and Brock did the traditional and we were so glad we did both so that we could try so many things on the menu and off the menu. We were definitely not disappointed. We went back to our hotel and had to be up really early the next morning for our flight home. We even had to order a special water taxi to take us to the airport since the trains were not running yet. I must say that was the first time I have taken a boat to an airport. We flew home on British Airways we had a quick layover in London and that long leg of the fight was soon long. We got up several times to walk around and I started feeling a little stir crazy but was so glad to be headed home to sleep in my own comfy bed. Brock’s mom picked us up from the airport with Emerald, but we did not get to see Violet for a few more days until we got her from my parents. It was nice to have a few days to regroup and spend one on one time with Emerald. The girls were so happy to see us! It was a wonderful trip and now Brock is talking about planning our next adventure, maybe this time we will take the girls?!?!? Im thinking maybe Hawaii or possibly visiting family in Florida.We shall see!



blogging · family · mom life · parenthood · personal blog

Yes, I am just now writing about our Halloween

We have had so much going on lately that I am just now writing about Halloween. I was going to skip it, but . . .  Anyway, the morning started with pumpkin waffles from Trader Joes which makes for an easy breakfast since Emerald had school that day. img_20171031_075150351.jpgIn the past I “try” to do a fancy holiday breakfast but this year we were in a rush. Although I did make homemade whipped cream to put on the waffles and drizzeled chocolate syrup and what breakfast would be complete with out a glass of milk (we do raw organic)The girls loved it and that is all that matters they don’t really appreciate all the hard work that goes into anything over the top and I am gradually learning this and doing my best to put time into other things that matter more to them so with all that said after breakfast I let the girls get in their costumes.

Emerald picked Rapunzel which was amazing since she already has two of those costumes to choose from, but I ordered a wig for her because that is really why she wanted Rapunzel because she wanted the long princess hair. Next was Violet and she picked Snow-white which is her favorite princess right now and has been for a little while so we already had that costume too . . . how did my life get so easy no running around trying to find costumes and no arguing about what they wanted to wear I never thought that day would come.


After getting ready we walked Emerald to school. The girls and I had made salted caramel dip the night before for her teacher and teacher aid and we gave an apple with it. Then back to home to pack up and head to Violet’s Parent and Me class. Violet loved that she got to wear a costume all day and was so excited to have a party in her class she also gave the same gift to her teacher. Violet loved that another little girl in the class also was dressed in snowwhite and she decided that they were best friends for the day (that is what happens when you are two)


It was a busy day after her class we raced back home to meet up with Brock and his mom to walk over to Emerald’s school for the TK and Kindergarden costume parade which was so cute! There was around 100 little five year olds all dressed up for Halloween and they walked around following their teaches in a big circle around the court yard at school and it was the sweetest thing. Emerald’s wig was slidding off during the whole parade but she loved it. Once the parade was done we got to take pictures with the kiddos and then we had to leave Emerald at school for another hour and a half so the rest of us headed back home for lunch and Violet was so tired so she went down for a nap (which is way earlier than normal but again a long day) IMG_20171031_132848_331Brocks mom went back to the school to get Emerald. While she is gone I get a call from her she forgot her ID and the school does not release children to people they dont know and no ID. I at first was really annoyed that she forgot but why not add to a long day. . . a few minutes later I was laughing about it after I spoke to the teacher and they let Emerald leave with her, such is life. After Emerald got home I was busy getting ready for Brock’s family and a few friends to come over for dinner . We did a simple dinner of of shredded crockpot chicken because again I am trying to make my life a little easier and not put such high expectations on myself. After dinner it was trick-or-treating time!img_20171031_185947688.jpgThis picture of the girls kills me! They really did have a great time. Violet kept saying she just wants all the candy and she loved getting to go door to door and she would say “mockmock happy halloween” she was convinced that you had to say knock knock and not just actually knock on the door (crazy kid) and of course this little lady had to be ran back to the house to go potty in the middle of trick or treating. We only did a few blocks of houses beacause really they are five and two and how much candy do these kiddos need. (We still have a ton of candy especially because I only let them have one piece a day) Well once back at the house I promised Emerald a fire and hot coco, Violet did not make it thru that she wanted to go to bed (she is a sleepy little kid and will put herself to sleep if she is tired) It ened up being such a fun day a full day but fun! I love getting to do life with my little family.

personal blog

Mattress shopping online

So my husband and I have been wanting to get a new mattress and he is dead set on ordering one and having it delivered to our house so we can do risk free trials and pick one we really like because lets be honest how can you decide if you like a mattress without sleeping on it for a few nights. The first mattress he ordered was from and we went with the 10inch Gel Memory Foam mattress. When the box arrived I had to wait for my husband to get home from work because the box was so heavy I could not carry it upstair into our room. So if you are interested in getting one delivered keep that in mind. We opened up the box and took out the mattress and I was surprised it did not smell like packaging (which I think most things do when you get

IMG_20170924_125330418them shipped to you) It took maybe an hour for the mattress to completely flatten and I tried laying on it . . . it was comfortable but I was not sold on it. That night I slept terribly I woke up feeling like I had been in a car accident 😦 I promised Brock I would try it a few more nights but if it did not get better I wanted my old mattress back which we kept in our room because who knew what we were going to get with these mattress. I have read so many blogs about all different beds that get shipped to you but I wondered if they were all paid for ???? Needless to say the next few nights were the same. I am typically a side sleeper and not the best back ( I was in a motorcycle accident ten years ago) so if it is not lined up I wake up with a tight back anyway I had my husband contact them and they were extremely nice and offered to send out a mattress pad and a memory foam pad. We got the mattress pad about a week later (that whole time I was hating life) The mattress pad made it better but still not great, you know it can’t be good when I wanted to go back to my old mattress that started the search to begin with. So we contacted them to let them know we did not want to keep the mattress. They had The Salvation Army come pick it up and they gave us a full refund . . . IMG_20171022_161048_905so that process was not too bad (other than a mattress I did not like) and the company was wonderful to deal with just wished the mattress was a better fit for us. While we were waiting for the Salvation Army to pick it up we brought it down to the living room because really who needs more mattresses in their room and we let the girls play on it.

Well of course Brock ordered another mattress and this time from #bestmattressever in soft. Again same thing had to wait for Brock to come home and set it up. This one came with sheets and pillows (I think they really want to you like them lol) I really liked the pillows I am now using the pillows and love them definitely keeping those. I do like this mattress better than the last but again was hesitant the first night I was just so happy to not be sleeping on the last mattress. I would not say that the mattress is as soft as they claim but we definitely sleep way better on this one (although I am using the memory foam pad on it) we are still deciding but this one could be a keeper. I love shopping online for just about everything (especially since now you can shop Nordstrom Rack online) and I might stick with even buying mattresses too. The process was really easy with both the companies we tried and should we need to try another . . . hopefully we can settle on something soon.



Mommy needs a break . . . ladies wine trip

A few of my close friends started a tradition several years back of a ladies wine trip for my birthday. I love my friends they are so amazing! This year since I will be out of the country for my actual birthday (I’m going to Italy!) we went a month early to celebrate. We always go to Solvang, Ca which we love so much, however over the years it has changed . . . We remember when wine tasting was free and a few places $5 and they would give you the wine glass, now it is $15-20 and no wine glass. Crazy how in the last several years it has changed anyway besides the point. 133We met at my house Saturday morning so we could all drive up together . . . ROAD TRIP! We stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Solvang because they have a room with THREE queen beds! This is our favorite place to stay when there is a group of us going it is walking distance to everything in Solvang.

120We started off the trip by stopping at Shoestring Winery for wine tasting and there happened to be jelly and flavored salt tasting too. I bought some of the salt, its Rose Sriracha flavored and so delish! The wine was wonderful and we were happy to be visiting on the weekend since this winery is only open on weekends. This was a perfect start to our ladies wine weekend. Second stop was Lincourt Winery which I absolutely love clearly since I am a member here. I fell in love with the wine and the way this place made me feel so at home. It is an adorable 1926 craftsman home (incase you don’t

128know I am a sucker for these homes, um you know I do live in house built in 1921) We were here for a little while just relaxing in the chairs that overlook the vineyard.  And yes that is me running through the vineyard so happy loving life and enjoying time with my friends. Also I might have been a little tipsy at this point after all it is not that often that I dink more than a glass or two of wine and the two places we had gone already were very generous with the pours and even gave a few extra tastings. 42

Next stop was the little town of Los Olivos for some lunch (and a little more wine tasting never hurts) Our typical spot is the Sides Restaurant however this time we decided to try a little sandwich shop Panino (this place was just ok to me however I am not a huge sandwich fan so probably not the best critic) The wine tasting room next door to Panino, Tensely Wine let us sit inside to eat . . . well and wine taste which was nice to not have to eat outside since it was so warm, we are talking 100 degrees all day YIKES!


By this point we were a little tipsy but having a wonderful time being silly ladies and kid free. To the hotel we went to freshen up and relax before heading to dinner. We ended up at one of my favorite little places Hadsten House Restaurant. By the time we finished dinner it was around 10pm and I was so tired but ended up going out with the ladies for a beer and live music at the Solvang Brewing Company. I am not gonna lie after a long hot day of wine tasting I am typically not in the mood for more alcohol but for some reason I was in the mood for a beer and I was glad I got one (well shared two different beers with the ladies) We ordered a stein which is why we shared that is little too much for any of us. The first was the 1957 Brown ale and it was so good the second was the Odin Stout, which stout is

152typically my favorite the darker the better when it comes to beer for me. We ended that night be completely entertained by a group of guys we met who were also up visiting from Los Angeles but for a guys weekend.

After getting some sleep lets be honest I was completely awake by 730am and headed down to the breakfast at the hotel so that I would not wake the other ladies. It was nice I got a chance to talk to Brock and the girls before headed back to the room to get ready for another filled day. Once all the ladies were ready we left for brunch at the Succulent Cafe which was so good but way to big of portions mostly because I had eaten a cinnamon roll and yogurt a couple hours earlier at the hotel. Brunch was followed by walking around Solvang and window shopping plus sampling the fudge at Old Danish Fudge Kitchen. We ended at Solvang with getting some yummy treats from Olsen Danish Village Bakery. On the drive out we stopped at Firestone Vineyard for one last tasting and this place has a beautiful view.  Another wonderful ladies wine trip in the books, hopefully another one will be planned soon since I love getting my crazy out and having a little mommy break.IMG_62391

disneyland · family · mom life · parenthood

Turning FIVE

We celebrated Emerald over the weekend. My baby girl turned five! We kept her home from school on Friday so that we could go to Disneyland . . . yes I know terrible parents :)We gave Emerald a choice of a party with the kids in her class or going to disneyland and having a princess makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Well I am sure you can only imagine what this disney loving little girl decided on A PRINCESS MAKEOVER. So on Friday my parents came and picked us up on their way and Brock’s mom too and my sister and her family met us there. We let Emerald pick what rides to do and where to eat. We got to Disney around noon so headed to lunch first at Rancho Del Zocalo Restaurante, the girls love getting the chicken platter and I make little burritos for them. After we were fueled up we were off to the rides and of course got a fast pass for Haunted Mansion which is one of Emerald’s favorite rides right now since they switched it over to the holidays and it smells like gingerbread.

Her Bibbidi Bobbidi appointment was at 3pm and while we were waiting at the Boutique Merida came over and talked to the girls for like ten minutes it was so amazing and the girls were so excited. After the makeover we headed to the Princesses at Royal Hall where we got to meet Ariel, Cinderella and Snowhite, basically anytime these kiddos meet princesses it is the best day of their lives and they never get tired of meeting them.

This was followed by more rides and Emerald getting a churro as a snack which we never do, but it was her day to pick everything. We ended at Disneyland with dinner at Plaza Inn and then headed over to California Adventure for the Little Mermaid ride, Bugs land and ice-cream and birthday singing at Ghirardelli Ice-cream shop (which totally embarrassed Emerald all her family singing to her) followed by Cars land and ending the night with the World of Color Show.

Somehow Emerald stayed up the entire time although Violet could not stay awake for the show. It was such a wonderful day and made Emerald so happy which I love seeing her so excited all day. Saturday the girls were so tired that we only ran a few errands and had them take a nap which they ended up sleeping for almost three hours eek it as so nice. I was able to work on setting up for a little unicorn pizza party we were having at the house with family on Sunday (her actual birthday) The party was such a hit Emerald was so excited we let her go crazy at the 99Cent Store and she picked everything  unicorn she even found a piñata. I ended up making a unicorn birthday cake and we had pizza and smores per Emerald’s request. It was another late night for the girls by the time we got them calmed down and bathed and in bed it was 9pm.

Needless to say this morning the girls slept in and Emerald was not feeling up to school . . . I think we are starting a bad habit here. Although poor thing went to bed with a headache last night (I’m guessing from all the sugar her little body is not used to having) and a cough this morning. Hoping she recovers soon so we can be off on our next little family adventure.