Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach

Chillin' at CRT on Xpu Ha Beach
How I'd spend every day if I weren't redecorating, cooking, sewing and blogging!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

California Adventure - Lake Tahoe

For months I was SO excited about our California vacation, then it came AND WENT in a flash! One reason for my excitement was that it would give me something wonderful to share here on my blog. I LOVE traveling and family. I knew pictures would tell our story without boring everyone to tears.  Now, I must remember that even though it is over, we made a lot of wonderful memories and I have photo evidence to support that claim.

I came home with over 1200 pictures and I had to reduce them to a good representation of the trip's awesomeness for a photo book I created on shutterfly.com. It is the longest photo book I've ever created. Thank goodness for coupons! I've shared before about making our photo books for special occasions, if you missed it you can find the post here




We were in California for 10 days and saw new and interesting things every day. I'll break up the posts so you can enjoy the trip.

This trip was epic because it was a "Congratulations on your Graduation" trip for my baby girl.  She had just graduated from beauty college and when we returned she passed her state licensing exam on the first try. applause  She already had a job lined up, so she went right into training and is now working full time for the first time EVER!  She took a few selfies along the way.  Here's one that includes me that I'm not embarrassed to share.



We arrived in the Sacramento area where my aunt, uncle, and cousins live in time for dinner on Wednesday.  We picked up our Mustang convertible (for cruising the PCH) and drove straight to my aunt and uncle's house where we were joined by my cousins with kids, grandkids and dogs in tow. My aunt was anxious to prepare her delicious Filipino cuisine for us and we were even more anxious to eat her wonderful home cooked meal. It was a great start to a wonderful trip, family and food! We had 15 for dinner that night, we were only missing a couple family members from that area.

On Thursday morning, we headed to Lake Tahoe for lunch and sailing. Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited and I couldn't wait to get there.  The morning started with cool wet weather in the mountains so my clothing schedule was shuffled from day one because based on the forecast I needed to wear long pants, a t-shirt and a sweater.  Yes, I planned my clothes for each day.  No, it did not work out.

As usual, on our trips to visit family not everyone can go on all our outings but we had a good turn out on this day that included three generations.



We arrived for lunch at The Beacon Restaurant at Camp Richardson and even though the weather was clearing it was too cool and breezy to eat on the deck. That was a little disappointing but it was still fun, the windows are large and the views amazing.  I ordered fish tacos and they were delicious!


After lunch we walked out onto the pier and all around the historic buildings to the north of the restaurant.  I can just imagine the families gathered here decades ago enjoying their summers in grand style!  There were separate buildings behind this grand home for the cooks, groundskeepers, nannies, laundry, etc. There was even a separate building for the children's play room. Must have been a rough life summering here with all that staff to do the work!



I loved the view from the deep porch and would have been happy to sit here and rock for a while.




The porch of the children's recreation room had a lovely view as well.


Next, we drove to Zephyr Cove to board our sailboat.  I sailed with my siblings and cousins on the lake the last time I visited Lake Tahoe, but SuperDave and my baby girl weren't with me so I was excited for them to get out onto the water.



Due to windy conditions they weren't able to raise the sails and the weather was chilly! But we motored along the shoreline and spent some time below deck where there were also big windows to enjoy the view without the cold wind.  The mountain weather was beautiful, lovely, enjoyable (not hot). This was a real treat for for southern folks in June. No complaints here, only smiles!



My daughter is a gal after my own heart, it was her favorite place we visited on our entire trip.




We spent such a long time in the mountains that we stopped and ate again on the way back to my cousin's house. She and her husband were the best hosts and I'll share some pictures from their lovely home on another post.

Much love and laughter,


Laura


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Friday, August 15, 2014

To Build In or Not to Build In

When it rains, it pours “they” say.  I usually don’t go along with the anonymous “they”, but in the case of this old adage, I think it’s often true.  A couple of months ago we lost the bottom out of a water heater and our microwave died all in the same weekend.

We were extremely thankful it was the water heater in the garage and not the one upstairs.  But the replacement had to be done right away. Even though we have two water heaters, the one that died served both our showers downstairs.  This meant the whole family had to use the upstairs bathroom. I didn’t want go upstairs to shower! (how spoiled is that?) But it really wasn't that bad, I just went up there wrapped in a towel and came back down the same way.

This came just a few weeks prior to our big California Adventure vacation, which is odd since we usually come home from vacation to something broken. We're come home to the AC not running, a dead refrigerator, tree on the neighbor’s house, etc.  It’s one of those Murphy’s Law things around our house. But this time we came home to everything fine because we got those expensive repairs out of the way before we left.  

The water heater was covered (in part) under our home warranty plan. It cost us a little over $400.  I was expecting the $75 co-pay and we were done, but there were some necessary things that were not covered – like the permit from the City and the hoses to connect the water heater, etc.  Anyway, you know what we did….we paid and happily used our master bath again!

Then there was the issue of the microwave.  It was an upscale brand, along with the oven and range installed by the previous owner.  Home warranties only care about features they care nothing about brands and they “lost” the information a time or two between phone calls.  I finally told them to send me a buyout check and shoved the decision to the “back burner” to be dealt with after vacation.  I could do this without too much inconvenience because we had a small microwave that belongs to our daughter to use until I made a decision. 

The reasons for the delay and for most of the moaning and groaning were:

#1 We weren’t going to buy the same brand, because we had the old microwave repaired several times.

    #2 We weren’t sure if we wanted to buy a 'built-in' or frame out the opening and put a counter top microwave into the cabinet. If we didn’t get another “built-in” the home warranty would not cover the new microwave at all.

    #3 If we did get a built-in, we would have to order it without actually seeing it in person because none of the stores seem to carry built-in microwaves (unless you are buying a $1000+ drawer style)

Honestly, I was about ready to pull my hair out, but I finally just made a decision and placed an order and waited for delivery day.

The microwave arrived at the store on a Wednesday and I picked it up that afternoon and brought it home under the false impression that this was a weekend project.  Most women complain that it takes their husbands forever to get a project done, but I don’t have that issue with SuperDave. And I found out quickly once I arrived home and started trying to prepare dinner (in the kitchen) that SuperDave had every intention of installing the new microwave on a Wednesday evening after work.

Git 'er done!

Before the paint
This actually turned out good, because on the weekend he was able to add a couple pieces of trim to the upper cabinet. (did I mention whoever had trimmed out the cabinet above used different sizes of trim?) Then I painted the wood black to match the island paint job.  The black paint really finished it off nicely.  And the long term plan is to paint all the lower cabinets black and the upper cabinets white with opaque glass in the doors. Hey, a girl can dream!

Finished at last!
I chose a black and stainless microwave even though we don’t have other stainless appliances at this time. My thought was that all home buyers seem to love stainless. I hope after all this decision making that the microwave will still be functional when we sell this house and retire!

Close up with weird lighting
How did that happen?


So let me know what you think.  
Do you like the stainless?  Was it a good decision?

Much love and laughter,



Laura


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Little Things

I recently read an article in a magazine that talked about doing little things for your spouse.  They asked happily married couples to tell about little things that their spouse does for them that mean a lot. It was a touching, thought provoking article.  They were ordinary simple things. But when you give out of love to the most important person in your life, little things take on a BIG meaning.  All those little actions say “I LOVE YOU” big and loud, louder than your words could ever say – although saying the words is important too.

SuperDave and I had a discussion over dinner last night about little things.  We are coming up on our 35th wedding anniversary and I told him, "I wish I knew The Secret."  I wish I could tell people THIS is the secret, do this and your marriage will be happy and you’ll stay married forever.  But I feel like I’m just incredibly blessed and I don’t have the answer.

Maybe it’s that we’ve worked at marriage, never taking it for granted.

Maybe it’s that we do almost everything together outside of our jobs.

Maybe it’s that we are both each other’s favorite person.

Maybe it’s being polite and kind to each other.

Maybe it’s because we like a lot of the same activities, movies, music, reading, vacation.

Maybe it’s that we came from similar backgrounds, where family and faith were the center of the home.

Maybe it’s forever thinking of your spouse as your boyfriend/girlfriend, not just your husband/wife and continuing to try to impress them.

Maybe it’s because when one of us makes a mistake, we never berate each other, we just work through a problem together and forgive.

Maybe it’s the little things, bringing a cup of coffee to your wife in bed every morning or sending your husband a mushy card at work, just because it will make him feel special.

Maybe it’s all of the above and too many other things to list.

Maybe it’s not too late to start today showing your spouse that they are your world, your heart, your favorite.


Maybe we all know The Secret, but we just forget to practice it every day.

Much love and laughter,

Laura


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