popbar at the anaheim packing house

pop bar pop bar pop bar pop bar pop bar pop bar > pop bar We had too much fun indulging in lots of cold sweets over spring break. Forget the beach, we hit up all the local ice cream places. HA! Well, we do love the beach, but not SoCal traffic, so I rarely make it out there. Anyway, one of the places we had so much fun trying was the Popbar at the Anaheim Packing House. It was our first time there, and we met my BFF there for lunch (it was her first time too). We had some delicious Vietnamese food, and of course, ice cream for dessert.

Popbar is gelato ice cream on a stick, so it’s much creamier than your regular popsicle. I got the hazelnut bar, half dipped with milk chocolate and waffle cone. The other girls picked their own… True got strawberry sorbet dipped in milk chocolate, Soul got vanilla dipped in milk chocolate and waffle cone, Brave got a berry sorbetto dipped in white chocolate and waffle cone, and Glow wanted chocolate everything. After I had finished my bar, I declared that I could totally go for another, so since Linda wanted to try the pistachio, she went back to order that, and we shared (my BFF is the best!). I loved every bite of my popbar, and next time I want to try the peanut butter one.

Popbars aren’t easy to split in half, so each girl got her own. When you have to multiply everything by four, things just cost more (about $25 for 5 popbars). It was spring break though, so we went wild and everyone got one. It’s kind of pricey that way, but it was totally worth it to let everyone enjoy their popbars in peace. #illalwayssayyestoicecream

 

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star wars at legoland

star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland star wars at legoland The girls and I had an adventure a few weeks ago and went to Legoland to check out the unveiling of the Death Star in their Star Wars Miniland. It was a busy week, so I didn’t decide until last minute to go, so I made it a surprise for the girls. They had no clue where we were trekking off to! It was such a lovely day too! There was pretty much no one at the amusement park, we didn’t have to wait in any lines, and it was great to just be out of the house. Our days are full of to-do lists and making sure all their lessons get done, that it was nice to just chill out and have fun.

Up to this point, the girls were only fans of Clone Wars the cartoon, but have never watched Star Wars. Ben and I have tried to coax them to watching it with us, but they said it looks scary, so they always said no. Well, after this little visit, it excited them about Star Wars, and they told us they were ready to finally watch the movies. We started with Episode I last weekend, and finished up Episode II: Attack of the Clones this past weekend. They are so anxious about how it all plays out because they are so baffled at how Anikin becomes Darth Vader. We tell them “Just wait, you’ll see.” The movie also brings about good conversations about what can happen when you just follow your own desires, without disregard to others; it really can lead down a dark path in real life too.

The girls had so much fun at the event. They were excited to make their own starships and see R2-D2 roaming around. Brave was the only one Brave enough to go up to him. Of course, they got a little nervous when Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers came out, but they forgot about them once the Death Star was unveiled. It is an impressive work of Lego art. It spans 8 ft. wide, 13 ft. hight and weighs more than 1900 pounds! We also learned that there are Master Builders that have the job of putting these Lego works of art together. It sounded like a fun job to all of us!
I have a feeling you will start seeing more Star Wars inspired projects in this space. Glow is already requesting to be Yoda for Halloween. She is always giggling anytime we watch his scenes in the movie. It’s so freakin’ cute! Are you or your kids Star Wars geeks? I have fond memories of watching it with my parents when I was little, so it’s special to be able to do that now with my own girls.
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salton sea

salton sea salton sea salton sea salton sea salton sea salton sea salton sea salton sea Ever since I watched a documentary on Netflix about the Salton Sea last year, I’ve been itching to go. Luckily, we pass it on the way to Salvation Mountain, so we made a quick stop there after we did our scavenger hunt. It’s such an interesting place… the smell, the feel of the ground, and just the sight of it. It’s breathtaking, but its vastness is so out of place in the middle of the desert. And I suppose that makes sense, considering it was manmade.

There were so many birds there and True and Brave took off running toward a whole lot of them sitting by the shore to get them flying. Glow didn’t like walking on the rocky, shell-like sand, so I carried her to the shore. On the way back to the car, I told her she needed to walk, but she didn’t want to, so Brave picked her up to carry her the rest of the way. It was so cute! Brave’s such a sweetheart. All the girls are, but Brave has an extra sensitive soul.

If you plan to go to Salvation Mountain, you must stop by Salton Sea (or vice-versa), and then on your way back towards Los Angeles, grab some date shakes at Shields Date Garden. If you have extra time, grab dinner at Native Foods Cafe in Palm Springs and stop by the Ace Hotel to use their photo booth. The photo strip will be a fun souvenir to remember that day. Since we made our trip on Valentine’s Day, after our date shake we picked up sushi and headed home. We still had some surprises to give each other and the kids, so we ran out of time, preventing both Native Foods Cafe and Ace Hotel photo booth stops.

 

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if you ask me if i want ice cream, i’ll always say yes

winter gardening 2015 winter gardening 2015 winter gardening 2015 winter gardening 2015 winter gardening 2015 winter gardening 2015 I told Ben he could buy himself a tree for Valentine’s Day. Really though, he would have bought it anyway, silly holiday or not. Well, he wanted a Wax Jambu (water apple), and he found a seller out in Orange County, so we had to make a trip out there to pick it up. By the way, this fruit was one of the many we tried when we were in Singapore, and we loved it so much, we wanted to grow it.

Back to the story… This is on a Sunday afternoon, and usually, we don’t really do much except go to church and finish other house things at home on Sundays, but when the gentleman who had the tree called to confirm he had it, we all quickly loaded in the car and left. This was as spontaneous as we get! Of course, Ben knew that Snow Monster (we first tried it on my birthday) was really close by, so he said earlier in the day, “Wanna go pick up my tree and get ice cream?” Of course, I said yes. I’ll always say yes to ice cream.

We picked up his tree and then we got ice cream. The girls were very happy to get a large taro and mango shaved ice, and I was especially delighted to get a pistachio macaron and Thai tea ice cream all to myself. We all came home quite elated with our Sunday evening adventure.

 

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scavenger hunt on salvation mountain

salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 salvation mountain 2015 scavenger hunt on salvation  mtn For Valentine’s Day, Ben and I thought Salvation Mountain would be the perfect destination to celebrate love with our children. I made a scavenger hunt to go with the outing, so when we got there, I took out the pieces of paper that would tell them exactly what to look for. The biggest girls were pretty excited about the game. We handed the Fuji Instax Mini to them and they took turns taking pictures of the things they found on their list. They all had the same things to look for, but when there’s four of them, sometimes it’s best to give them each their own paper to prevent any fighting. Soul and Glow didn’t care too much for the hunt, but True and Brave were into it. While Soul wasn’t into looking for things, she did want to get her turn to use the camera.

Salvation Mountain is pretty amazing. It’s not this ginormous mountain, but the creativity and love that Leonard Knight put into the creation of this place is quite evident. The color, the patterns, the texture… they all create this work of art that draws tons of visitors from all over the place.

It’s in the middle of the dessert, so it can get hot when that sun is beating down on you. There are a few shaded areas, so we would frequently walk through there to give the little ones a reprieve from the heat. The biggest girls said their favorite part was walking up the (narrow) stairs to the top. We were there for almost two hours, and while Ben and I probably would have loved to spend more time there, that was good enough for my four girls. They completed the whole scavenger hunt and they were ready to get on their way to go grab some date shakes.

If you want to do your own scavenger hunt, you can use the printout I created. I printed mine out two-sided, but it’s up to you however you’d like to use it for your scavenger hunt!

Print out: Salavation Mountain Scavenger Hunt

on me: dress, vintage from ms. tips. shoes, swedish hasbeens. on true: dress, c/o schoola. shoes, new balance. on brave: shirt and overalls, c/o schoola. doc martens, shoes.com. pin, lelelerele. on soul: dress, vintage from ms. tips. shoes, new balance. on glow: top, vintage from ms. tips. shorts, vintage. shoes, minnetonka moccasin.

 

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our yearly date day in austin

our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas We go to Texas once a year, and (almost) every time, Ben and I sneak away for a day trip to Austin. It usually consists of checking out their local vintage clothing shops to find some shirts for Ben, a walk through Uncommon Objects, lunch with one of Ben’s buddies (this time at South Congress Cafe), and then dinner with just the two of us. This time we also visited Austin City Life (we wanted to check out a local church in case we moved), meandered through some local antique malls, and had dinner at Uchiko.

First off, if you’re ever in Austin, get the crab enchiladas at South Congress Cafe. They were absolutely delicious. While we mostly just go to look at the curiosities at Uncommon Objects, I did get a little wooden cheese box for a project. The highlight of the day though, besides getting some one on one time with Ben, was feasting at Uchiko. Ben’s friend had told us about this place a few years ago, but our first thought, “Sushi?! In Texas?! We live in California, I think we’ll pass.” But man oh man, nothing could prepare us for the amazing culinary experience that awaited us at Uchiko.

We weren’t sure if we wanted to go there for dinner, so we didn’t make reservations (reservations are a must at this place). Last minute, we say, “Why not?!” and head there soon after they opened for dinner. There was an hour+ wait, but the bar was open, and we still would be served the full menu there, so that’s what we opted for. Plus, we got a cozy little spot on the corner, so it felt quite intimate.

The bartenders were so attentive, considering we weren’t at a regular table, it still felt like we had their complete attention when we needed. We weren’t sure what we wanted, but we decided to order a few things from their “sake social” menu (happy hour) and then almost everything from their sushi menu (except one or two). We kind of went to town, and each dish they brought out was absolutely delectable. Ben was feeling intoxicated, and we didn’t even have any alcohol! Seriously. He swore they put drugs in the food or something. Each slice of fish was like butter and there was such creativity in each of the dishes. Things you wouldn’t think to pair together, blended so well, and was like a party in your mouth. Ben and I stuffed ourselves silly! And even though I was as full as can be, I still ordered dessert and ate the whole thing by myself because dessert was just that amazing too. If you ever make it there, get their brussels sprouts and try everything on that sushi menu (and get dessert too)!

It’s a really nice place, and while it’s probably not practical to be ordering sushi there every week (at least not for us), it’s definitely worth the splurge. Plus, Ben and I aren’t ones to go out for date nights weekly or even monthly, so we are okay splurging on special dates like this once in awhile. Sometimes our motto is “Go big or go home,” only sometimes though (like once a year). That motto for sure gets applied to our gardening projects. Anyhow, it’s good to be able to have some time to enjoy each other and treat ourselves out! We loved it so much that we left with a Uchi cookbook and I’m definitely going to try to recreate some of the dishes.

See some previous visits to Austin here and here.

 

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