Tuesday, March 21, 2017

West Coast East Cost Work Trip Craze

Could this trip have been any more CRAZY!!!

First off, I don't think I've checked a bag in in almost 2 years.  Since we were traveling with the boys on this work trip, we had quite a bit of things to take with us.  We surprised them saying that were taking them to the airport to meet grandma at the gate and they were going to Aunt Susie's with her.  We got to the shuttle with 1.5 hours to spare and it took forever to arrive.  By the time we got to out terminal to the bag drop, the line was out of control with only an hour before our flight!  Our bags almost didn't get on the plane.  We got stopped at TSA for Rocket having the alan wrench in the skateboard bag and my purse having the giant bag of Cadbury eggs.  Running through the airport at LAX to make it to our gate, we were the last people on the plane!!!!!  We were so relieved we made it and the boys were so surprised when we said, "SURPRISE YOU ARE COMING TO NORTH CAROLINA WITH US!"

Preparing giveaway animals for the trip for Make Your City Wild
MAKEYOURCITYWILD animal giveaways

Rocket's first fat lip skateboarding

Ziggy trying to get over his fear skateboarding

Rocket dancing in the best terminal Detroit airport

Sleepy kids Detroit Airport

We got to Raleigh and had a moment to relax before the spring opening at CAM that evening.  It was such a fun event and the boys looked so cute all dressed up.  Leonardo Drew's exhibit was awesome!!!  He is also the sweetest artist who enjoyed talking with all the kids there.

Leonardo Drew's exhibit at CAM

Rocket and Mathew Curran's mural at CAM

Late night dinner and cocktails after the CAM opening with family

Mat and I had to wake up at 4am to make it on the flight the next morning to get to Birmingham for ABL.  We were so exhausted and went straight to work.  I wished we had more time to see some of the museum we were set up in.  I didn't get to see the Civil Rights Institute museum either.  It was such a hectic day, I passed out behind the crates all night while the event was on until it was over for break down.

We had half the day in Birmingham to explore.  Mat's friend gave us a tour of the Revelator Coffee Company roastery.  It was so pretty and we were envious of the warehouse space.  He showed us the abandoned Sloss Furnace factory.  We walked through some creepy path that reminded me of Netflix's Black Mirror or Stranger Things!  I was mentioning how I would probably not go there at night!

Super awesome signage at Sloss Furnaces Birmingham, Alabama
Sloss Furnace signs Alabama

One of the Revelator Coffee Shops..so beautiful
beautiful revelator coffee shop Alabama

Back to Raleigh and running around making rounds delivering things to Mat's friends for Make Your City Wild and just hellos.  It was non-stop until we left!  But it was such a great trip and it was so nice to see his family.  We got to spend a little time with his mom and Kathi and then his dad and Rose..we even got to see his brother for a quick minute.  Probably the most I got to see of Raleigh ever!!!!   Can't wait until we can go back one day for no reason but just to visit!  Until then, I am grateful for the little chances we do get.  It does make me feel extremely homesick.  He has been able to see his friends and I haven't seen any of mine since I left Hawaii almost 4 years ago.  I do miss home and my friends.  SOMEDAY!

one day of SNOW!
beautiful snow day in Raleigh North Carolina and golden retriever puppy

Friday, March 17, 2017

New Trails at Palos Verdes

Amidst the hectic schedules we have lately, we have tried to make time to take the kids outdoors.  As much work as we have piled up, we know that it is important to take a mini break and MAKE time for an hour or two or else the boys will be cooped up at home everyday waiting for us to finish everything.

Before our crazy work trip, we took them out to Palos Verdes again to make the most of the rainy green vegetation.  It had grown so much taller and we were so excited.  We tried a different trail and saw a sweet little ground squirrel.  We don't see too many animals when we go and I wonder if it's because there is a lot of foot traffic throughout the day.  Mysteries.

I can't wait to go to new places soon.  When time permits, we definitely want to drive out to new mountains and trails.  North would be awesome.  Until then, we will enjoy the nearby happiness.

california trail exploring selfie

green vegetation overgrown at Palos Verdes California

my boys exploring the trails hiking

exploring new trails hiking california with the family

amazing colors and view at the top of PV 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Preparing for Travels and Crazy Skate Kids

Ha! The boys are obsessed with skateboarding. I'm so happy they love something so much. Everyday is filled with a passion to get better.  Which means as parents, we wake up before the sunrise even on our days off to take them before everyone gets up to have the skatepark to ourselves.  Can't wait until they are good enough to skate around other safely..then we'd have more sleep!  We struggle with the constant upset anger, whining, crying and talking back when things don't work out the way they want and hope but it is normal. Or so we'd like to believe hahaha. Mat is really great teaching them. They wouldn't be able to do this much in 6 weeks if it weren't for him teaching them!  We are lucky to have him in all aspects of our lives.

Lucky kids got to meet Rodney Mullen randomly on the beach!  He even offered to let them stand on his sakteboard! Such a down to earth human being. (photo credit: Mathew Curran)
lucky kids got to meet Rodney Mullen at the beach

sunset skateboarding practice
sunset at manhattan beach california

In the meantime, trying to finish up getting animals ready to giveaway when we go on our next trip in a week. Busy busy busy. I also got to talk with the machinist at work the other day and I wish I could learn to use the CNC machines!!!  They are so awesome and create beautiful scraps.  Between the boys, work and everything else we end the day so exhausted it's making us feel so old!

make your city wild snail woodcut stencils
makeyourcitywild kitty cat woodcut stencil

haas cnc mill machine

haas cnc machine shop

scrap metal from haas cnc machine

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mojave Desert Sand Dune Escapes

We made a pit stop at the Kelso Sand Dunes in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  It's been on my to do list for a long time and I was so happy to get there.

kelso sand dune mojave desert summit boys

where's waldo kelso sand dunes summit

shadows mojave desert sand dunes

We did take the wrong turn on a wrong street the first time and wasted a good 45 minutes driving in rough gravel almost taking off the front of my little Yaris!  By the time it got to 2 miles in (with 4 more to go) I said let's double check the directions because I don't think my car can make another 4 miles of this as it gets worse.  Sure enough, Siri and Yelp gave us the wrong directions and we found the correct one and started our trip again.  It was a good hour half to the right place and I was worried we wouldn't make it there before the sun set and it would be too dark and cold to make it to the top.  The boys were tired and didn't want to go, but once we went, they ran up and didn't want to stop til they reached the top.  It makes me so happy to share the outdoors with them and for them to find joy in exploring!  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  You could lose yourself and find a real sense of peace and relaxation there.  The silence was so relaxing.  It being close to sunset, I was surprised that there were actually a good handful of people still there.  It is a definite must see and I would love to go back and explore with lunch next time.

cassie jo mathew curran kelso sand dunes exploring

kelso sand dunes mojave desert middle of nowhere

red cheek faces sand dune hiking
sand dune pretend world of tanks

Monday, February 27, 2017

Exploring St. Louis .. Sort of...

We didn't have much time to explore St. Louis this time around.  It was my first time there and I didn't quite know what to make of it.

Usually when I go to a new city, I get a feel for the energy or architecture from the get go.  This city, I couldn't even come to a feeling about it.  I don't know what it is.  I couldn't find one thing that made me go OH WOW, THAT'S AMAZING.  It didn't help that everyone we were traveling with seemed to have the same feeling..and they had come to STL for many years in a row.

The event was fun as usual.  The venue was a little difficult to get things moving but it was still nice to see everyone.  We got to enjoy some amazing food at Karen's since she lives there and hosted us all at her house for dinner and lunch two days in a row.  Super grateful and I got to try peach cobbler for the first time.  AMAZING!  The one memorable thing about STL was our hotel.  We stayed at the Magnolia Hotel and it was such a beautiful little restored hotel.  I would definitely love to stay there again if we end up in STL.

magnolia hotel st louis

neo locust mathew curran dax art beats lyrics

neo locust art beats lyrics view upstairs

They did have an awesome metro which took us from airport to hotel and was very clean.  I have a thing for subways and metros in cities.  It happened to be Mardi Gras weekend and we saw all the people dressed up on the metro on our way to the airport.  We heard that St. Louis is 2nd to biggest celebration of Mardi Gras to New Orleans!  Crazy!  We got to leave a few of the rats for Make Your City Wild giveaway which is always fun to do on our trips.  Can't wait for the next city...=)

make your city wild rats metro train stl makeyourcitywild

make your city wild rats hotel giveaway stl makeyourcitywild

st louis metrolink train

Monday, February 20, 2017

In the Kitchen: Coconut Almond Energy Balls

It's been a long time since I've made vegan or plant based snacks in our house.

I've been so busy with other things I've forgotten about how much I love making things for is to eat that I know are good for us versus the junk that we tend to grab for.  These are super yummy coconut almond energy balls that tastes like a candy bar!

plant based coconut almond energy balls

Coconut almond energy balls:

1/2 cup peanut butter (or any but butter of your choice. I ran out of almond butter so I used organic peanut butter)
1/2 cup kamut puffs (any grain puff you want to use, this is optional)
1 cup pitted mejool dates
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Chia seeds (or any seeds such as flax, optional)

Soak dates for at least 5 minutes in warm water. Take out and place in food processor with all the other ingredients. Pulse until they form a ball. You can pulse until as smooth or textured as you prefer. I like mine in the middle. Place in a mixing bowl and add a little more shredded coconut for texture and any other seeds. Roll a scoop into a ball and roll the ball in shredded coconut to coat. Place in a bowl or container and repeat until all the mixture is used. Cover and freeze until you eat them. Super easy and quick takes less than 15 minutes to make.

Excuse the bad video clip but it was my first time trying to video myself in the kitchen hahaha