Bouncing, hiking, bowling and cooking (a quiet life adventureday post)

So this post will be short and sweet. Our quiet life adventuredays are always a challenge for me to write about. While I find beauty, frivolity and joyful chaos in our everyday life it’s hard to tell others “no really, you can do the same! You don’t even have to go far!” we didn’t even venture outside of our county this last weekend.
It started at Sky High . Co had requested we go to “an indoor trampoline park” because he got an award at school. Truth be told. It’s pricey. Sky high is not where I wanted to go bbbuuutttt they had a groupon.



The manager on duty was awesome though and very helpful (cute younger guy with tattoos in his twenties, I provide the description because I didn’t catch his name). Some of our party had arrived late and he was more than accommodating.

The kids had a blast and when the lights went off for the cosmic bounce they were in heaven. There was only one injury and it was one of the adults in our group so (no offense) it was fine. We stayed for about two and a half hours, jumped on the massive trampolines, tried our luck at dunking basketballs and swung into the foam pit. I loved the foam pit. I felt gritty and disgusting after climbing out but I was laughing too hard to care much.
Note for you germaphobes: the requirement is that you have to jump without shoes or socks….I’m super earthy and I had a hard time with that. They do sell socks with grips though. I forked over the $10 for all of us to have some.
Also a note for you fitness buffs. I wore my HRM out of curiosity and I burned 930 calories in 140 minutes. Just keep up with the kids and you’ll get your butt whooped.





20140123-213307.jpg20140123-213332.jpg20140123-213349.jpg20140123-213341.jpg20140123-213320.jpgNext morning we went hiking at our favorite spot. Santiago Oaks Regional Park. Our friend Eboni met up with us and we went with my mom and dad and got about 4 miles in before the sun started killing us (“it was so chilly when we left the house!”). We come to this park often and the many different trails will offer you different views, sights and challenges. Expect to see horses, snakes, mountain bikers and fellow hikers. It’s not always busy but I recommend getting there early. More and more people have discovered my “fossil hunting” location from my grade school years but I try to forgive them.
You do have to pay for parking but it’s only a few dollars and it goes right back to the park. In other words a good cause.


Later that night. Bowling.
We go to Linbrook Bowling in Anaheim. My friend Melinda is in town from Maryland, my friend Misty came by and we discovered that Cohan is much better than any of us at bowling. We played three games and had an amazing time 🙂


The rest of the weekend we spent meal prepping. In other words pre making side dishes for our dinner meal times so I don’t spend a million years cooking after work during the week. On the menu was heirloom roasted tomatoes, asparagus, cauliflower rice, agave roasted Brussels sprouts and Italian kale. Kap helped me get everything chopped, prepped and into Tupperware while we watched the Rifftrax of wizard of oz.

It was such an amazing, simple, fun and memorable weekend.

                                                                                                           I adore the quiet life.



Finding Salvation in the desert : adventureday to the Salton Sea/ Yucca Valley/The 951

It’s a tricky situation to be in when you’re a perpetual homebody
I mean hermit
*cough cough*
who also suffers from wanderlust….or maybe it’s escapism…

Thankfully my children, like myself, find joy in the simple adventures. The beauty of the world (although Cohan’s first question is always “is it a hike?”). This is what took us out to the desert and to Salvation Mountain.

I had seen a picture of Salvation Mountain a few years ago and tucked it into my mind under “places to adventure for another time”. That time arrived when I was pondering places for us to go on our mini vacation this last weekend.

First of all I regard this area of the desert like Radiator Springs, the fictitious town in the movie Cars, before they turn on the neon lights. The area between Palm Springs and Salton Sea are a series of few and far between road side stops, palm tree farms, open desert and abandoned homes. Here and there there are signs of life. People, much tougher than I, that can live in the extreme temperatures that hit this area of Southern California hard.
That’s why we came in the winter. I’m a massive wuss when it comes to the sun and heat. We stayed about an hour and a half away from where Salvation Mountain is located in the city of Banning. I didn’t want anyone to be in the car longer then they had to so staying at the half way mark between our destination and home worked perfectly.

My number one priority was Salvation Mountain. It’s a labor of love created out in the middle of the desert by Leonard Knight. His life and story behind his creation are incredible and his devotion will leave you staggered. To live so simply, so full of hope and love.

To get there, don’t listen to the map app in your iPhone. Seriously.
The best directions are located on the foundations website : “From Los Angeles or Phoenix, take Interstate 10 to the 86S (just east of Indio.) Travel south (11 miles) to 66th Avenue (Hwy 195.) There is a big gas station and truck stop on the left. If you miss this turn, you’ll end up on the wrong side of the Salton Sea. Turn left (east) and go about a ½ mile to Highway 111. Turn right (south) and go about 42 miles to Niland, California. Turn left (east) on Main Street (which eventually turns into Beal Road) and travel for a little over 3 miles. Look to the East. You absolutely cannot miss it.
From San Diego or Yuma, take Interstate 8 to Highway 111 north. Niland is about 32 miles. Turn east on Main Street (turns into Beal Road) and go a little over 3 miles to Salvation Mountain.”

People from all walks of life can be seen climbing over the modest “mountain” as well as helping with the upkeep. Donations are accepted as well as donations of paint to keep the project going. My first impression was mild disappointment. There were about 30 people besides the people working there…I guess I was after a little bit of solitude and my hermit side was showing. After a few minutes I shook it off and started up the “yellow brick road” to the top.
My overall reaction was a feeling of peace and awe. At one point when we walked into the museum (it’s hard to explain but reminded the kids of whoville, you can read more about it on the website posted above) there was an older woman sitting against one of the walls, eyes closed and it didn’t matter if she was praying, meditating, thinking or just resting. Her face reflected pure serenity and it was contagious.

Brayden thought the experience was really cool (a high compliment coming from a 15 year old that I didn’t think was having fun).
Kaplan thought that it was interesting and cool.
Cohan said “salvation mountain? It was fun. But not the yellow brick road” (he took the dirt path on the left to the top, the paint hardened dirt of the yellow brick road made him feel insecure).
George (an agnostic) really liked it. “At first it’s a bit…different. I thought it would be more part of the mountain. The den part (the museum) was really cool though. Peaceful.”
I have to admit, I was a little concerned how George would react. Thankfully the message of love spoke louder than any spiritual or non spiritual differences.

I had packed food for the trip and we started toward the National Wildlife refuge (Sonny Bono wildlife refuge ) to have a picnic. Don’t let the smell of the park turn you away. It’s not overpowering but it is noticeable, it practically screams “birds live here! A lot of them!”. Another thing. If gun shots freak you out, don’t go during dove, duck or geese season. Hunters hover on the rocks in the Salton Sea that border the reserve and wait for the flocks to fly over. For an animal lover like myself, it was disconcerting not because of the guns but because the hunting in earshot of what should be protected threw me off. The view of the Salton Sea is wonderful, the small trail a good stretch of the legs with some of the best bird watching around (if that’s a hobby or passion of yours). The fields and view of Salton Sea are hard to beat right before sunset.

We started back to the hotel stopping by the International Banana Museum to see if it was open this time (we checked on the way to Salvation Mountain and the operating hours were not the true hours. The gentleman, while I read reviews of how awesome he is on Yelp, adheres to his own schedule). It was not open. Two strikes this far away from home I take as a sign and move along.

On our way back we stopped at Native Foodsin Palm Springs . A restaurant we’ve eaten at several times before and enjoy quite a bit but don’t frequent often because for a family of 5 it gets expensive fast. I didn’t know that the Palm Springs location was the original store front so it was fun to realize where we were. Co and I got the Oklahoma Burger, Kap the Brontosaurus Burrito, Brayden the Twister Wrap and George the Chicken Ranch. As I’ve stated in previous blogs, Kap is a mostly vegetarian, Co and Brayden are meat eaters and George and I are Vegan. When we find a place where the boys don’t miss meat at all, we know it’s a keeper. Native Foods is one of those, just as my all time favorite, The Healthy Junk , in Anaheim.

We went “home,” hit the gym and the jacuzzi and passed out *blissful sigh*.

For our last day we packed up and headed to Yucca Valley to the Sky Village Swap Meet . This place is amazing! Not because of the vendors or deals (honestly it was slim pickins) but because the layout and shanty type “booths” have the most random stained glass, oversize chicken statue and wagon wheel decor that all of us were positively charmed. If they could get some structure to the layout or some of the thrift and vintage stores on the main street in there they could really liven it up (in my opinion). Still if you feel like digging through “could be trash, could be treasure” you’re in the right spot.

Continuing toward home we made one last stop at the UC Riverside Botanic Gardens . This place… I have to admit, I had fairly low expectations of after our trip to the Los Angeles Arboretum, which we loved. It was inexpensive to park (25 cents an hour) and a suggested donation of $4 for entry. It wasn’t a must but, after seeing the grounds and the care that obviously goes into it, $4 doesn’t seem like a lot. Overall, it’s not very big but the views from the tops of the hills, the gazebos that spring up around corners, you forget you’re in the middle of a suburb in Riverside. Co, as per his usual, had issues with the height of the hill we climbed but forgot about it soon enough and had “the best time ever!”.

It really was a wonderful time and just what we needed.





















20140105-191830.jpg any pictures of me were taken by George or Cohan 🙂

Happy 2014!

This year the little mice didn’t want to go anywhere for our celebration. No parties, no amusement parks, no mountain tops, they just wanted to be at home. The only addition was a couple of friends to round out our night of relaxation, laughter, games and togetherness.

Just like any of our other Quiet Life Days I tried to shoot for one thing each of us wanted to do and carry it out.

The night is pretty self explanatory through pictures (I’m still in bed to be honest so we can all tell how much effort I’m putting in currently).

I had some work to tie up at the office yesterday morning so I was after a nice long bath after I came home, tidied up, put dinner in the oven and made some vegan brownies for munching on. Oh and flannel. I got all dressed up LAST New Years so this year it wanted to ring it in cozy. A bit self indulgent? yes.

By the way the bath bomb pictured is from Lush, one of my very favorite stores that excels in compassionate practices and products. The brownies are from an organic mix I picked up at Mothers Market and we just made em vegan by using flaxseed.

•Kap wanted to craft it up, sip sparkling cider and be with her family.
•Co wanted to yell outside.
Seriously. That’s it, haha.
•Brayden played video games and got to play a little bit of Monopoly (I’m not sure why he was after that game in particular but it was either that or Cards Against Humanity and that’s not small people appropriate).

Our friend also messed with his Go Pro which makes for pretty entertaining pictures and videos. It would be great to get one for our hiking adventures. In the meantime I see many silly antics in the future with that bit of technology and the big kids haha

We had a great time, a lot of laughs, and enjoyed being together in one of our favorite places, home.

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