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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting Lost in the Mountains

We got to take a little break and hike rattlesnake trail this weekend.  It has been raining off and on the last few weeks and it made the mountain so green we just couldn't resist. The trail was muddy and we wore the wrong shoes but it was still fun to take the family out.

Got muddy.
Found walking sticks on the trail.
Used the trick we learned on a tv show about how to use your fingers to tell how much sunlight we had remaining.
Watched the water flowing where there is never any water.
And found a peaceful place to just escape from the crazy life we have everyday.
So beautiful and grateful for what we have.

As much as I miss Hawaii, this came pretty damned close to sunrise hikes I used to do back home.

epic mountains and lush greenery california

family hike through rainy palos verdes

gorgeous sunset palos verdes rattlesnake trail

learning to find sticks for walking sticks

searching for walking sticks in the mountain

green trails in southbay

sunset water flowing rarity

Friday, February 17, 2017

Nonstop, No Sleep

Our days have been filled with nonstop activities!  Finding a workable routine has been tough but we are managing to get everything ELSE filled in so we are succeeding in a majority of our things-to-do but not everything.  But then again, who can manage to fit everything in and not forget something?  We have had to fit in activities and work meetings in between work...ARGGGG need more hours in the day to just relax and have a coffee to do nothing! LOL  BUT..I did get to enjoy the most amazing minestrone soup at Gjusta for a work meeting!  One of my favorite places!

amazing minestrone soup at Gjusta Bakery

The boys have become obsessed with skateboarding which is pretty awesome.  I am so happy to see that there is something they really love doing (outside of minecraft) that gets them up in the morning excited.  They come home and want to skate, they wake up at sunrise saying they want to skate  It's pretty cool.  They have progressed so much in the last 3 weeks.  So crazy to think they have only been skating for 3 weeks and have gotten so comfortable on it.  We have been trying to fit in the sunrise and sunset skating as much as we can and finding new skate parks around California to see which ones they like best.  It gives us a good reason to explore cities we have never been to which is a good thing for us because we don't know many places outside of our norm.  We have just had ZERO sleep! HAHAHHA

silly kids cheech and chong skateboards

rain or shine they are skating

houghton skate park long beach california

sunrise skate sessions with kids

learning how to drop in

practice skateboard drop in

sunrise silhouette in the cold

Work and work after work has been exhausting.  But it has to get done right?  I hope someday I can just work doing projects or find a job being someone's assistant in place of my normal job at the warehouse.  It would be nice to have a job that I am passionate about.  =)  Until then, working after work to help on projects has been tiring but fun.  I would rather be super busy than not.  It's my crazy head that can't sit still.  =)  We are finally about to get Make Your City Wild up and it's so exciting.  Constantly thinking of new ideas and what we can do and it's been a really fun project that we are working on.  Yes, more things on our plate when we haven't even found balance with our personal life hahahaha! 

learning to play pool waiting for us to finish working

make your city wild rats for CAM

nonstop working on invoices and shipping make your city wild

mathew curran honey bee for make your city wild

It's been raining to hard the last month or so that California has become green!!!!  We went to make a quick stop at our favorite area in Palos Verdes.  Del Cerro is one of my favorite places to explore and hike but we didn't have time to hike so we just went to take a look at the benefits of the rain.  Everytime we went, it was brown and desert-like.  I know it's still beautiful but I grew up with the green mountains back in Hawaii and everything else is so hard to compare to it.  This time, Del Cerro looked gorgeous and green!!!!!  I had never seen such greenery there and the trails were clearly defined by the greenery!!!  It made me so happy.  If it wasn't so cold and windy, I would have stayed up there for hours in the quiet space relaxing.  Can't wait to hike it before it disappears!

Del Cerro in it's green glory mountain

mountain greenery in california

Thursday, February 2, 2017

How to Find Balance Between Work and Life

Since we've been home, we have been trying to adjust to a normal groove.  The last few months, home or not, have been so crazy hectic that we never had a moment to think about the things that needed to be done outside of the checklist of tasks.  Now that we have a moment to write down the things we should tackle and scheduling time in with work, school, kids, activities, life, etc, it's hard to grasp the actual fact that we need to settle into a slightly normal routine again.

Think we are trying to slow down our pace and minds a little and it's been tough.  The one steady thing has been taking the boys out to skateboard.  They love learning now and all they want to do is skate afterschool.  In a week, they have learned a lot and the crying and falling have been less and less which is a good sign!  Being outdoors has been a nice breather.  Even if it's only an hour or two a day, it does remind us that we need to take a moment and enjoy time.  Now if we could only figure out how to make the time to just have a coffee date without it involving work! HAHAHAH

afterschool skate sessions

skateboarding session stoked

exploring the park climbing trees

cutest friendly squirrel

On the work end, it's been hard to get into the groove of figuring out what to tackle first and how to prioritize everything.  Seems like there are so many things on the list and we don't know where to start or WANT to start!  But things have to get done because life keeps moving regardless of wanting to have downtime.

In the meantime, we are working towards a daily routine and hopefully we can settle into one in the next week or so.  As a person who likes being crazy busy 24/7, it's so hard to get back to a slightly slower pace and not go insane! HAHAHAHA