Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happy Easter!

We celebrated Easter all weekend long here in San Diego. HMH-462 had an Easter party at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Saturday afternoon, with volleyball, egg hunting, paint ball, food, kayaks, and a bouncy house. Josh and I took Gray out in the canoe for a few minutes, but he figured out the paddles long before we got in the water. He thought the canoe was fantastic. 
Dry canoeing. 
Bouncy house fun. 
He loved the egg hunt too but all the big kids were too fast for him, so he only got 5 eggs. Shouldn't the little kids get a head start? 
Egg hunt with Dada.
I would have loved share the reason we celebrate Easter with Gray this year, but it's still a little soon. I'm really excited about being able to talk to him about things like Easter and Christmas in the next year as he gets a little older and his conversation skills start to improve!

Gray woke up Sunday morning and had to check out what the Easter bunny brought him.  He thinks the train set he got is amazing and he enjoyed Megamind as well. He didn't get very much candy, but he has easily finished over half of it. If you want Gray to love you, give him something sweet. 
Checking out what the Easter bunny put in his basket. 
Gray loved the trains the bunny brought. 

I dyed eggs Saturday night and Gray helped "decorate" them Sunday morning. He put a few stickers on them, but he quickly learned that eggs will break if you smash them. Or poke them with little fingers. Apparently he likes eggs though, so there is the silver lining. 

Gray's "decorating." 

Since the egg hunt at the squadron party was less than fantastic (and lasted all of 1 minute) we decided to hide eggs at the house too. Gray had 25+ eggs to find all by himself! He was less than thrilled with the tie I got him, but I forced him to wear it a little while because I thought it was so stinking cute.
Typical.  Me trying to get a shot,
and Gray running the other direction. 
Found a few eggs. 
And a few more. 
Representative of how Gray felt about the tie, not his Dada. 
We squeezed in a Padres' game in the afternoon with some of the guys from HMH-462. Gray was shockingly good for most of the game, but the Padres' lost. It wasn't the best game we have been to, but it was fun. Gray loves to clap when the crowd claps, even if it's for the wrong team. He also loves all the music they play, because dancing is one of his favorite pastimes. I'm not trying to rush time or anything, but I can't wait to take him when he actually enjoys baseball!

Overall Easter was great. I think the only thing that could have improved it would have been Gray hunting Easter eggs with his cousins and spending time with family. I hope your Easter was fantastic and that you got to spend the day with the people you love! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

We see hot air balloons all the time out here, so anytime I would see one flying around I would tell Josh that I was jealous. I was in New Mexico last year on my birthday, but when I got home I received two tickets for a hot air balloon ride. 

I was pumped. 

After scheduling and re-scheduling a minimum of four times for various reasons, we finally made it to Temecula! We met at a winery in Temecula before sunrise, where they served everyone pastries, coffee, and mimosas while we were waiting for the balloons to be ready. We walked through the grapevines down to the balloons, took a few pictures, and got in the baskets. We were in the air about an hour, going up to about 1,500 ft. It was a very relaxing ride and the scenery (with lots of other hot air balloons in the air) was pretty fantastic. Once we landed, they took everyone back to the winery and served more mimosas, coffee, and cheesecake. It was a very relaxing, pleasant morning, minus the 4:20am wake up. 
In the balloon before take-off.
Pre-flight champagne
Beginning our trip over an orange grove.  
Self portraits at 1,000 ft. 
I'm so glad that Josh was listening to my constant whining wanting to go up in a hot air balloon because we both had a great time.  I think it was one of those things that everyone should try once, but it's not necessarily something you have to do more than once (like parasailing or zip lining).

Now I just need to go deep sea fishing. Maybe we can do that for my next birthday...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Lord of the Rings.

Well, it took me a little longer than expected (about 2 weeks), but I finally finished all three books in the Lord of the Rings series. I feel like I've been on an epic journey, so I know Frodo was over it by the time he made it back to the Shire. 

That being said I think the books were good, but I would not recommend them to anyone who isn't into the genre or the movies. I started watching the movies with Josh because he had read part of the series when he was younger. I'm sure the myriad of questions I asked during the movies were rather irritating to him but he had a much better understanding of all thing Ring related. Now that I've finished the books, I think I'll watch the movies again. 
Ole Frodo. 
The next book on the list is Decision Points by George W. I'm assuming it will be much easier to read, since the people and places are not imaginary. I'm open to any suggestions for the book after Decision Points, because I haven't decided what to read yet!

Garlic Firecracker Shrimp

I found this recipe at Ralph's (grocery store) several months back. The recipe was super simple, and most of the ingredients are things you may already have in the pantry. I decided not to fire up the grill for all of 3 minutes of cooking, but I would like to try this again when we are making hamburgers or steaks. They were good, but I can imagine how much better they would be cooked on the grill.  I made them with a side of flavored rice. This was a super quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Garlic Firecracker Shrimp
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons minced garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons dried parsley
3/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a medium bowl combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, parsley, cayenne, and salt to taste. Add shrimp, toss to coat. Refrigerate 45 minutes.
2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Thread shrimp on skewers. Place skewers on grill. Grill 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side or until shrimp turn pink. Serve immediately.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I follow a great quilting blog (Simplify) and several weeks back she posted about this new website, Pintrest. I fell in love instantly. This site allows you to 'pin' photos from all over the internet to your 'boards.' I find this utterly fantastic, because I find things that I want to recreate, buy, or just remember then I forget where I originally found them (never to be seen again). Some of the pictures I have pinned serve no purpose, I just thought they were pretty. 

Anyway, if you are like me and bookmarking things makes you happy, this is an awesome way to do it because you can just 'pin' the photo and it saves the location on the internet for you. It also makes for a beautiful webpage. Seriously. Check it out. If you love it, let me know!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Curried Chicken Salad


Contessa's pic. 
Josh really likes Indian food, but I haven't found anything that I can't live without at an Indian restaurant. I guess I can keep trying new things, but until then I figured I could try some curry recipes at home. I stumbles upon a Barefoot Contessa episode last week where she was making curried chicken. You can find the recipe here. Everything she makes looks amazing, so I thought I would try it. Josh really liked it, so I'll be making it again. I used a rotisserie chicken, omitted the celery, and didn't use quite as much curry as she suggested (I read the recipe wrong and noticed too late to add the extra curry). The next time I make it, I 'll use the recommended amount of curry and see what happens. Also, the raisins seemed like a strange addition, but they were pretty fantastic.

Curried Chicken Salad
-3 whole chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
-olive oil
-Salt and pepper
-1 1/2 cups mayo
-1/3 cup dry white wine
-1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey's)
-3 TBS curry powder
-1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
-1/4 cup chopped green onions
-1/4 cup raisins
-1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews (chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces. 

2. For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. 

3. Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Warrior Dash 2011

This weekend, Josh and I participated in the SoCal Warrior Dash in Lake Elsinore. Our Warrior Dash  was 3.08 miles with obstacles including climbing hay bales, hopping though tires, running through a junk yard, climbing over the warrior wall, walking across planks, jumping over logs in waist-deep water, scrambling across a cargo bridge, up and down some fairly treaterous hills, climbing up a pretty high cargo net, jumping over an open flame, and finally low-crawling though a mud pit under barbed wire. 
Post Warrior Dash
We completed the Warrior Dash with a few other pals from HMH-462 and spouses/friends. We ran in different heats, but met at the end. We all survived. I have a very slightly twisted ankle (as I ran through the lake, I fell in a hole), but other than that we all came out unscathed. 
Warriors after the dash. 

I didn't take my camera through the course, but we snapped these after we were done of the 'warrior roast' and the 'muddy mayhem' obstacles. 
There were two fires we had to jump over near the end. 
The Ninja Turtles going through the mud. 
If the Warrior Dash is coming to a city near you, I recommend you try it out. It was a fun day and I'm glad we participated! If only Gray and Fletch could have gone with us, it would have been perfect! 
Sweet survivor medal! 
The Warrior Dash site is going to put up some pictures, so I may add a few more once I see them!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Robot Birthday Party!

Maybe I went a little craft overboard with Gray's birthday party, but I think it turned out pretty cute! The weather was a little sketchy that morning so we switched to our house from the park at the last minute. It barely sprinkled all of 3 minutes, but I think we were better safe than sorry. The house worked out fine as we were inside and outside and our friends brought over their small bouncy house. The kids loved it while they were outside and they played with Gray's toys inside. 
Robot invites from
If you haven't discovered, please go now!


Josh grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone and Mom made some delish pulled pork too so the food was good. We had a few snacks and cake. Mom and I made the cake. It was more drama-filled than I thought it would be, but I learned not to cut a chocolate cake and try to ice it. Just buy white cake and life will be easier. I'm not sure how the professionals do it, but I think we tried harder than they do because they are bound to know some tricks to prevent the extra effort. 

Robot Cake. 
Goodie bags.
Some of the goodies in the bags.
Robot rubber duckies, robot bubbles, robot crayons, etc!
Part of the birthday banner!
Giant robot! He was about Gray's size!
Birthday boy!
Robot Birthday Shirt!
My last craft mission before the party!
Opening gifts with Dada!
Reading his Curious George book from Grammy!

Blowing out the candle!
Sharing cake with Mommy!
Such a sweet birthday boy!
The weather ended up being beautiful and every one had fun. Gray had a great time with the kids that came to party with him, and he got some really fantastic presents. He hasn't quite figured out the birthday party is all about him, but I think next year he will totally understand! 

If I plan to be this crafty next year, I'm going to need to start on theme ideas. Any suggestions? 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Our most recent visitors were here to celebrate Gray's birthday. We picked up Mom and Claire from the airport a few days before his big day. Gray was so excited about them coming he passed out on the way to the airport. :)  
Claire and Gray on St. Patrick's Day in San Diego!
We went to Lucha Libre for lunch, which was pretty tasty. I saw it on Man VS Food about a week before Mom got here. It is super close to the airport and they got here around lunch time, so that was our first stop. I think the best description of the place would be fresh Mexican fare hosed down with luchador. The portions were pretty epic, but the prices were pretty reasonable. I'm going to take Josh down there sometime soon. I think he will dig it. 
Excuse the cell phone pics. I was trying to take pics on the DL.
Every decoration (even the TV was on luchador wrestling) was about luchadores.
Pretty impressive.
We drove down the coast from LaJolla to Ocean Beach that afternoon. I thought they would enjoy the view from Mt. Soledad. That wasn't really an option because it was the foggiest/cloudiest day ever, so the visibility was pretty terrible. After that we stopped by to see the seals and sea lions in LaJolla. I wanted to see Sunset Cliffs (we walked right past them during the 3Day, but it was raining like crazy, so I didn't even notice them), so we headed South. We ended up in Ocean Beach. Claire got sick, so the tour was over for the day. We took the kids home to rest and play. 

The next day we went down to Old Town and to Miramar for some grocery shopping. It was very glamorous.
Gray, his balloon, and Maam.
Gray's birthday party was Saturday. It was super fun and Gray got lots of gifts. A post will follow this one with more birthday details. 

Our whale watching tour got cancelled Sunday because of gale force winds, so we went to two wineries that are within 15 or 20 miles of home. I drive past Orfila every time we got to the Wild Animal Park, so I wanted to check it out. It was fairly small but the tour was informative and I won a free wine tasting for two by correctly answering a question at the end! 
Maam during the tour.
That's a lot of wine...
Then we were off to the Bernardo Winery (which had no grape vines). They had a tasting room, but it was mostly shops. We did find this room, which I believe must have been used a long time ago.

Just before taking them back to the airport, we stopped at Balboa Park to see the Museum of Man.
Claire and Gray at Balboa Park. 
The Museum of Man was not as cool as I thought it was going to be. It had the potential to be the coolest museum ever, but I think it fell way short of that mark. They dedicated a large portion of the museum to evolution. Without getting into a religious discussion, I wasn't into it. 

The Egyptian part of the museum was the most interesting, but could have been SO much better. In my opinion, the museum was very bare, and there was so much space wasted that could have been filled with interesting/interactive exhibits. It was a huge let down for me, but maybe my expectations were too high going in to the museum. 

The extend of Native American info was in this tiny case. 
One of the most excellent exhibits. C3P0! 
We rushed over to Hash House A Go Go for a quick lunch. The food here is so tasty, the portions are HUGE, and the prices are reasonable. I recommend you try it if you are ever in San Diego. 
Monkey watching Claire... 
Claire playing with knives...
Dropping Mom and Claire off at the airport! We were so glad they came in for Gray's birthday! 
Dropping Mom off at the San Diego Airport. :(