Monday, March 9, 2009


What a wonderful surprise weekend in Big Bear! We hadn't planned on making it up this weekend, but we had a change of plans that allowed us to head up Friday night and get on the slopes Saturday morning. It was magical! Mia was skiing by herself and wanted to do a final run on the beginning chair lift. Zoe said she'd try it out when she gets bigger . . . next season (we hope!). Enjoy the pix!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Southern California??? A Winter Wonderland!

What a winter wonderland! It's been a magical week!

For the first time, I saw snow dusting the top of the mountains immediately surrounding Stevenson Ranch. The weather prompted an emergency trip to the mall to purchase winter jackets for the girls (whose regular one's have a home in Big Bear).

As for Big Bear . . . what can I say . . . they've had the most snow in 35 years!!! Getting more than half of the average annual snowfall in just a matter of days. With about 42" of snow, it is truly a winter wonderland! With plans for a Big Bear holiday we loaded up the cars with holiday goodies and caravaned through a snow-covered desert!?!

Armed with chains for both cars we made it to the base of the mountain, attempted to put Craig's on (to no avail), started up the mountain road (which didn't look to bad . . . at first), only to turn around and leave Craig's car at the Sheriff's station (to which the Sheriff said they "couldn't guarantee it's safety" -- we had to chuckle).

We arrived in Big Bear Friday night only to find ourselves snowed-OUT! With one step into hip-deep snow, a twisted-ankle, and a one-night stay in a hotel later . . . we were able to shovel out our front gate and await the snow plow. To make further progress, I opened one of Craig's Xmas present early (a pair of antique snow-shoes) and made my way to the house to put the heat on and load up the sled with boots, snow pants and mittens. Worst case scenario we would pull the girls in on the sled and enjoy the evening in our own beds. Here's a little video montage for you to enjoy . . .


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Attack of the Caramel Apples!!!

As most of you know I La-a-a-a-OVE Halloween! My favorite part . . . . the treats! My ewey-gooey Oreo-encrusted, chocolate-dripped caramel apples are now famous in at least 4 states ;-). But this year they turned on me--and they turned with a vengeance. For you out-of-Staters (who I KNOW miss these devilishly-delicious treats) might wind up with a sinister grin on your face after reading this horror story . . .

It all started like any other Halloween week . . . okay . . . so not exactly like any other Halloween week. The goblins were wreaking havoc on the intestinal tracks of our family and friends. Zoe came down with the stomach flu over the weekend; Mia got it yesterday morning; Craig was hit last night; and Ms. Mary this afternoon. I'm washing my hands like a medic and was considering even passing on the ritualistic apple caramelization process this year to spare any friends of potential cross-contamination. But, this evening, I figured I could at least turn-out a few for Mia's teachers, our neighbors, and Craig's office. Prepped and ready to go, Craig put the girls to bed (despite the devils in his belly) so I could get to work on my treats. With the caramel-a-melting, apples-on-sticks, cookies-crushed, chocolate out; my assembly line was in near-perfect form. Then, not since the "Coke-can incident", has there ever been an accident quite like this one . . .

. . . Oh. Yes, well. Most of you probably don't even know about the "Coke-can incident", so let me diverge for a moment. Little did you know, but pointing your big toe when you have kids and a swimming pool during the summer months is quite a common requirement. I found this out after being diagnosed with a pinched nerve and having to get cortisone shots in the top of my foot a few years ago. I, for the life of me, could not figure out how this could have happened. And then I remembered . . . the edge of that diet Coke can tumbling out of the pantry right onto the top of my foot many months earlier. Ouch. Very much a "Julie accident"; out-of-memory but with a strange side affect.

So. Similar in nature to the "Coke-can Incident", tonight is being coined "Attack of the Caramel Apples" (you can say/read it in a scary monster-voice for more of an effect). As my caramels were melting for the second time, I decided to get a glass of water (you know, a glass of water is an absolute requirement when creating sweets, since the components of the sweets must be taste-tested as you go along. This is crucial to the quality control process).

My microwave timer went off and I grabbed my perfectly super-bubbly caramels out of the microwave.
{Now this next part happened in slow-motion} . . . the caramel bowl tipped slightly with the bubbly-steamy caramel touching the palm of my left hand. Then it tipped the opposite way, slightly, and got the tip of my middle finger on my right hand.
{Now this part seemed to have happened in fast-motion} . . . . I grabbed my water glass from the frig before it overflowed and stuck my fingertip in it; set down the bowl; raced to the sink and put my hand under cold water; went back to the frig for ice for my hand; then realized there was severe pain involved with what is probably a third-degree burn on my hand (it bubbled slightly, so my diagnosis is a third-degree burn).
Blessed with a husband who did not laugh when I asked him not to (before I told him what happened), he helped me mummify my hand and offered to go out and get burn cream for me, even with his stomach flu--too sweet! (But, I went and got that myself. . . . . after I finished dipping the apples, of course. Can't let perfectly good melted-caramel go to waste!).

So now I'm sharing my spooky Halloween story with you, as I sip the "blud from the grape" {you can say/read that like a vampire, for effect}. And, I wish you all the HAPPIEST of HALLOWEENS, free from devilishly horrifying acts (or accidents ;-).

Tune-in next year to see who wins the caramel apples or this mummified mummy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The morning time stood still . . .

There are moments in every parents lives that are permnant snapshots of our children: their brith; their first smile; their first laugh; their first steps; and their first day of school. Today was Mia's first day of kindergarten. The preparations for this day were so exciting! Armed with a new pink leopard backpack, blue sparkly shirt, and Hannah Montana shoes the entire family got up early to walk Mia into school.

As we turned the corner to the school the tears began to fall--her socks. I'm guessing it was just nerves. It started to get me a bit choked up. Then we get to the playground, and daddy started to get choked up. That was it . . . tears everywhere. Thank God I had the foresight not to put any make-up on that day (okay . . . so really it wasn't foresight; it was just yet another day without make-up :-) and I was armed with my sunglasses.

The 2 and a half hours she was there felt like FOREVER! I don't think time has ever moved so slow for me. It was sort-of eery and very foreign to me. I'm sure for her, the morning went by much faster, and she came out of class happy and smiling--all is good!

This was the first day Mia got to take little steps to starting her very own independent life; which will be full of her own unique memories and experiences. Geez . . . what's college going to be like?!? Yikes! I think I'm going to have to start preparing for that one now!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ahh . . . SUMMERTIME!!!!

The month of June has been such a whirlwind! We kicked off the beginning of the month with Mia's dance recital. She was adorable as the girls danced a hip-hop routine to "September" by Earth Wind & Fire.

We followed it up with our annual trip to Ojai for the Ojai Wine Festival. It was another beautiful day, where we only lost one 2 year old for about 15 minutes. (A special thanks to the security at the festival for finding our friends little boy . . . by far the worst parenting moment in my life, and it wasn't even our child. Thankfully everyone was okay, just a little shooken up and heart-sick.)

Mia finished preschool at Christ Lutheran and we celebrated with a wonderful year-end picnic at the park. Kindergarten here she comes!!!

And, both girls started our seasonal swim lesson blitz. Tuesdays through Fridays for a three-week period the girls are immersed in the water. Mia, the beautiful mermaid, is honing her free-style, backstroke, breaststroke, and dolphin-kicks! She also experienced a diving board for the first time this week and was hooked! She wondered why we didn't have a diving board in our 5-feet-deep pool. Honest question for a 5 year old. Then she said we could put one in when our swimming pool wore out! Great idea!!! It's such a joy watching them swim.

And, the death-defying Zoe is fearless in the water. She is on the verge of swimming on her own. She's even taking a few strokes and practicing her her dives (after watching big-sister do them). She also loves going underwater, and will jump off the part of our pool that is about 18 inches above the water. All we have to do is get her to stop splashing the teacher and screaming every time he comes close to her. Poor guy . . . didn't quite know what he was getting himself into with our session.

Other than that, the remainder of June will be filled with a dance camp for Mia, a visit from Papa with the "bald", and relaxing and sipping vino in Big Bear.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

"Knock, knock . . . "

. . . . "Who's there?"

Who doesn't love a good joke! Zoe and Mia LOVE them and constantly come up with new reditions of some of our old favorites. Check out these jokes!

Zoe Translation #1 . . . "Why did the chicken cross the road?
. . . . Because he was stuck to the gum!"

Mia Translation #2 . . . "Why did the the candy cane, and the shade, and the van cross the road?
. . . . To get to the beach to go in the pool!

Who says they have to make sense? So, long as they make you laugh, right?!? Wishing everyone much love and laughter in your life!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mother's Day at Boulder Bay

What more could a mommy want on Mother's Day than to see her two little one's fishing at Boulder Bay? Mia practiced and practiced casting her line at home before we ventured to the lake to try our skills there. On the menu for dinner that evening was fish stew. We had our cooler ready for our catch, but needless to say the fish just weren't biting that day. We only had a about 40 minutes to try our hands at the sport, before we had a lunchtime tea reservation, so maybe we need to commit more time to the process. Or, perhaps we need to try a different corner of the lake. Next time we may even try fishing in the center of the lake. Our life jackets await our journey!