Little Pieces of July

Something funny about me? I was born in July. However, I do not love summer. I love Fall. So why was I born in the summer? Why did I get married in the summer? Interesting uh? Well I can tell you this, since becoming a mama — I enjoy summer more. I feel like I am transported back to being a kid and feeling the freedoms of summer. When I was a kid, I was a lot more heat tolerant. Now a perfect summer day for me is 85 degrees. Yeah, that hot spell we had over the 4th of July? I was pretty much in a permanent bad mood all week. I tried to fake happy but I was melting on the inside and out. Yearning for a breeze, some fresh air that wasn’t coming out of an air conditioning vent and barely keeping the house tolerable. I won’t go on and on about how Fall is my favorite season. You can read all about that here and here. Before I get all lost in a season that hasn’t even arrived yet, let’s visit July. July was full of fun for our family. Day trips, birthdays, ice cream, July 4th, visits with family — it was an action packed month full of fun memories.

July 1 Collage

 

Some of my favorite parts of July 2013: Day trip to Silver Lake, Planning July 4th with my dear friend Stacie, celebrating my friend Kelly’s birthday {FYI: when the band doesn’t show, use a juke box to have a dance party and singalong}, kayaking with my family, Boeger Winery Sunset Sipping {Hangtown Cooler please!}, doing a little bedroom makeover for my littlest}, kids being creative with Legos, a day trip with my boys which included a hike, some lake time{and crawdad catching} and ice cream at Camp Richardson, back to school shopping, birthday creating and last but not least, celebrating Mason’s birthday on July 26th and wrapping the month up with my birthday which entailed a day trip to Sand Harbor.

I’d say by the looks of things, July was pretty awesome for us! Hope ya’all are enjoying the dog days of summer.

Hangtown Cooler

This easy little cocktail comes courtesy of one of the most beautiful wineries in our area. It’s called Boeger and it’s nestled up in Camino, which is also the home of Apple Hill. More about Apple Hill here. We try and make a trip to Boeger for their Sunset Sipping at least once a year. It’s a Friday night event which entails good friends, wine, a yummy picnic and a band. It’s always a full house and if you so desire, a family affair. I tried this drink there a few years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. It requires two ingredients: Boeger Hangtown Red and Squirt. Yep, that’s it! It’s a crowd pleaser and reminds me of sangria {without all the work}.

You need this which you can get at the winery or I picked mine up at Trader Joes {which is also where the fun photo below comes from and then I altered it using the fabulous new Rhonna Designs Photo App  and Pixlr {these photos apps are very addicting!!}

Hangtown cooler

I also found all of these other recipes on their website. I think I see some recipe sampling happening soon!

Cheers to summer and fun cocktails.

Day 25: 31 Days of Being Present – Disneyland

Well sometimes the best of intentions go array!! I had to skip several days of my 31 days series. I had the best of intentions to pre write my posts and set them to actually post while I was on vacation and then the unspeakable happened {gasp!}. My wifi went out at home!! Yes, this happened right before we left for a 4 day family vacation. We returned late Monday afternoon but after a busy few days, I just got on the phone with our provider yesterday afternoon and a new modem is on it’s way. So I have had very spotty computer access and well, attempting a blog post from my cell phone is far too complicated for me!! Today I am typing this from my local Nugget Market. I’m here all the time buying groceries so hey, why not blog from here? ;)

What can I say about the past several days? Was I present? I think so. We did a family trip to Disneyland. We loaded the van up with our family of 4 plus my dad and sister. We spend three days at the parks. How can you not be present at Disneyland? On day #1 we were luck enough to be joined by my brother, Michael and super adorable nephew, Maverick. My poor sister in law got hit hard by the stomach flu the night before. Bummer!! It was a 24 hour bug so she was able to come and spend the day with us on Sunday {my brother works for Disney Studios so they get in for free — so they can pop over whenever they please. Nice eh?} My other sister, Carly also joined us for a few hours on our first day. Seeing my So Ca family is a wonderful thing!!

That’s my family. There are 4 of us but I am the oldest {and most awesome — just kidding!!}. Well I am the oldest ;) Carly lives in So Ca and so does my brother and his family. My youngest sister, Holly and my dad are local. My dad does not like to look at the camera and my nephew was shocked by the flash. Sorry dude. I didn’t mean to scare you! My kids are so lucky to have amazing aunts and uncles on both sides of the family.

So day #1 was running between parks, spending time with family, riding rides that were awesome {Haunted Mansion at Halloween? Amazing!!}, eating yummy {but bad for you} foods and of course I was in charge of rocking my nephew to sleep. Poor me uh? Who am I kidding — I love rocking babies to sleep!! He made me work for it though. I don’t think I have ever sang Rock a Bye Baby so many times in a row! It worked though. Conked out little fella! Happy and asleep in his Auntie’s arms.

Day #2 was more of the same except we really didn’t spend too much time at Disneyland. It was so incredibly crowded that we felt like cattle being pushed through. It was tight quarters every where we turned. So after a few rides and lunch at Downtown Disney, we headed back to California Adventure. I have to say, I actually love that park more. It has had a total overhaul since we were there two years ago and it is amazing!! I mean seriously. Cars Land is up and running. That was my favorite place to be. It really felt like you were in the movie. I don’t think they could have made it any better. Every detail was covered from characters driving through, cozy cone snack shacks and the buttes. Wow. It was seriously breathtaking. Plus I loved the energy. The music was so fun and everyone was just happy.

Day #3 was all about getting on the Cars Racers so we basically got to the park when it opened. Thankfully my sister Holly is a bit of a pro since she just went to Disney about a month ago. She navigated for us to get this ride done. There are so many rides throughout the parks but the most popular by far was the Radiator Springs Racers. This was a must do. Worth the wait but there is an average two hour wait time. Even the past Fast Pass line was an hour wait right when the park opened. This is when we hustled over to the actual ride which was 1 hour right when it opened. Any other time of day it was 2 hours. We only did it once but it was super cool. We still waited awhile but it was so worth it. Let me just say, I am not a roller coaster kind of girl. This ride has a minute of  ’racing’ {cause McQueen is all about the speed you know}. I was white knuckled during the race cause I’m a big baby but it was still so worth it. After that we managed to squeeze in other rides and then we headed out of the park for lunch and to meet my brother, sister in law and nephew. We also spend a little time at the Lego Store {I have an obsessed 7 year old who thought this trip was about him and the Lego Store and not so much the family and Disneyland!}. Afterwards we headed back to the park for some Animation Academy as well as Turtle Talk with Crush. We wrapped up our time with my brother and his fam with some delicious ice cream from Ghirardelli. They have the best sundaes and they are totally ginourmous share worthy. We continued on to some more rides and wrapped up the night watching World of Color. This was an amazing show but I will tell you, grab a fast pass for some better seating {I was told these are all gone by 1pm} and prepare to plant yourself about an hour before the show. It’s a great time to take a load off. Maybe grab some snacks and just chill. We did not do either of these things and we stood. It was such an amazing and beautiful show but after three days of nonstop walking, our feet were killing us so standing for that long {20 minutes} felt like an eternity and kinda took away from the experience.

A few of my favorite things:

  • Turtle Talk with Crush is a super cute interactive show with Crush from Finding Nemo.
  • California Soaring is a family favorite.
  • Starbucks {listen, it’s an addiction I tell ya!}
  • Pirates of the Carribean
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Toy Story Mania {another must}
  • Cars Land — all of it!
  • Churros {yes, really!}

Steve’s favorites:

  • Screamin’ {which I am terrified of!}
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Beer {we all have our vices}
  • Soaring
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Tower of Terror 

Ben’s favorite things:

  • Grizzy River Run
  • Goofy’s Flight School
  • Churros {takes after his mom}
  • Pirates of the Carribean
  • Pin Trading  {this was a new thing for us but Ben had a blast trading his pins with the cast members}
  • Disney Animation Academy
Mason’s favorite things:
  • Goofy’s Flight School
  • Grizzly River Run
  • Snacking {this kid carb loaded whenever he had the chance}
  • “italian icee” which was really just a Minute Maid frozen lemonade ;)
  • Mators Junkyard Jamboree 
  • The Lego store at Downtown Disney.
Where we stayed:
I am not one that likes to pay a lot for lodging when we won’t be at the hotel much {we are also on a pretty tight budget so we have to plan for that as well} We stayed at the Annabella during prior trips and this time we stayed at Best Western Stovall Inn. It was a great price and a short walk to the parks. Of course we cut through the California Grande which I think would be so fun — someday
Are you a Disney Fan? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them!!

 

Day 15: 31 Days of Being Present

Today was super fun and very easy as far as being present. Probably because I got to spend it with my friend, Julie,  at one of our favorite places, Apple Hill. It’s our annual thing. The kids love to go but we like to sneak up on a weekday when things are less hectic. There are so many fun places to eat. I mean really, it’s gorgeous and all but I {heart} the food!! Apple pie, crisp, donuts, sauce, cider and then there are the caramel apples. Oh. My. Goodness.

Some of my favorite spots:

Ables Acres has an amazing selection of caramel apples. My personal fave is the apple pie one. Whoa. I can’t even put into words how amazing it is. They also have apple fritters as big as my head. Yep, that was breakfast! With a Starbucks of course.

I love the pies at Apple Ridge Farms although I hear that Hooverville makes a pretty amazing pie as well. That being said, we made the journey to Hooverville which is actually off of Highway 49 heading towards Coloma. Let me just tell you a funny story about this  spot. For two girls who are very used to the Apple Hill ranches and farms, this was off the beaten path. Down a one lane road that had arrows that kept pointing us in the right direction. Then a sign that said, “you are 1/2 way”. Wow, seemed like we should have been there by that point. As we are cruising along Julie tells me this story about a TV show she saw years ago that took place in the middle of nowhere and it involved creepy men and peacocks. Oh great story!! Where were we at anyway? Did we have cell service? Well we finally reach Hooverville and parked. There is only one person working but it has a lot of picnic tables and looks like it could be busy on a weekend. It’s Monday. So it was not busy. We parked and got out of the car and guess what I saw? Seriously. Guess. Peacocks!!! I was giggling and said, “Julie” and she said, “Don’t tell me, peacocks?” Yep — lots of them in cages. We just had to laugh and laugh and laugh. What are the chances? I can recall seeing peacocks at two places, the Folsom Zoo and Daffodil Hill. They were not caged at either place. Anyway, it was worth the journey for all of the laughs. Oh the pie? We each bought one so I will give you the verdict on that one later!!

High Hill Ranch has a great selection of food including burgers and sandwiches. I also love the apple cider {free samples} here. There are also several vendors on hand for handmade crafts and gifts.

Boa Vista has great prices on apples. We didn’t even realize this until we overheard someone at High Hill say, “They are $5 cheaper at Boa Vista“. Um OK — on it!! We popped over to Boa Vista and grabbed some apples and they also have other produce as well. Wish I remembered that before I went grocery shopping yesterday. Bell peppers were 69 cents each!

To cap off our day we popped into Placerville and grabbed lunch at The Shoestring. Cause after sugar you need some grease, right? I had a western cheeseburger and Julie had a hot pastrami. Of course we shared fries. They also had crushed ice for the sodas. I have a crush on crushed ice. Seriously. I even asked for a refill which I NEVER do cause I love the ice so much. It’s the little things :)

How often do you make the time to be present doing something that you love?

Apple Cider Floats

Did you know that Apple Hill Season has officially started? Yep — Labor Day is the opening season kick off for many of the Apple Orchards. With that comes apples {duh!} and an abundance of apple treats. I saw this recipe at Rachel Ray and now I want it. We always pick up cider when we make an Apple Hill run. That and donuts. And pie. And apple cake. The list goes on and on. ;)

Apple Cider Floats – Rachel Ray Magazine

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 tablespoon caramel sauce
  • Grated nutmeg

Directions

  • In small saucepan, heat cider with cinnamon stick. Pour cider into 2 float glasses. Top with ice cream, caramel sauce and grating of nutmeg. Serve with spoon.

 

Last year I shared this post on Apple Hill. There is so much to do and so many foods to eat!! Do you visit Apple Hill? If so, do you have a favorite spot?

Fall Porches

If you know me, you know I adore Fall. That is really an understatement. I am giddy when I see the first leaf fall and when there is a breeze knocking off a whole bunch of leaves? Wow. My heart smiles. I am just all about every part of it except for the fact that the season goes way too fast. Then I feel sad. Thankfully when Fall ends, we are heading into Christmas so it helps settle the pain a little ;) Then I go broke while Christmas shopping and that is a whole other issue. Ha ha!

So why Fall? The air is crisper, Apple Hill is open, it just feels like the air is alive in Fall!! Everyone is getting excited about Halloween, Fall Festivals and the change of seasons. I love all of the vibrant colors mixed with the earthy wonder. Brown, red, orange. It’s just all so lovely. Yesterday was a breezy Fall like day here so I decided it was the perfect day to do some yard work. At one point I just sat and watched the leaves fall. I think it was the best part of my day. So lovely!! In honor of my favorite season, I wanted to share some Fall porches with you. So I am scouring the web today and below are my finds. Enjoy!!

Source Unknown

Better Homes and Garden

Source

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

HGTV

Better Homes and Garden

I hope you are inspired!! I know I am :) The first official day of Fall is September 22nd but I like to do my kick off on September 1st. My house — my rules, right??

A Special LOCAL Photography Project

I’ve said it before — I love meeting people and hearing their stories. This past week I had coffee with a mom that I’d chatted a little bit with. We have kids in the same grades and we recently ended up in the same Cub Scout Den. The plan was to discuss an upcoming photography shoot and a fabulous idea she has for a very special book. Well this coffee date turned into a 3 hour coffee date {that could have probably gone on but I had to leave town that afternoon}. I left feeling so inspired and excited to share her idea with all of you in hopes that maybe you could help her idea become a reality.

Jen Tarbox Photograpy is local to El Dorado Hills. She does photography because she loves it. Her goal is to never get too big because she doesn’t want to feel like it is work but more of a hobby that she loves. What I really love is that she is not about making a major profit, she likes the idea of shaping her business {and her world} around charity. For example, a percent of proceeds for photo sessions with get donated to a charity. I love this idea and it seems so unique. Her energy was so inspiring and I seriously left our “date” feeling like I should and could do more with all of my little ideas. She is in the process of revamping her website but you can bookmark her site for whats to come and also follow her along on Facebook.

Now, about this amazing project that she is working on and how you can possibly be a part of it. Jen is planning to create a photography book that highlights the everyday life of local children with special needs and life changing illnesses. It is a book that will tell their stories and also offer information on how to find charities that support these illnesses and special needs. It will also talk about how really, we are all capable of so much — regardless of the things that make us different. I really love the idea as I think teaching our kids about diversity and how we treat others regardless of their uniqueness as people is so important. She personally has a cousin with Downs Syndrome and Leukemia and knows a little girl with Cystic Fibrosis. I have friends with children that have Dwarfism, Autism, Aspergers and Cerebral Palsy. All of these children are just that — children. Regardless of their differences.

If you know of someone who would like to be a part of this project, please contact Jen at (916) 605-9202 or jenmiller.tarbox@gmail.com.  If you’d like to be a part of the book, you will get a FREE photo session {and yes, this can include siblings} as well as a FREE book when it comes together. Again, I am so excited to see this project come to life so if you know of anyone that would want to be a part of this, please pass the word.

 

Farmers Markets 2012

I love Farmers Markets and besides finding fresh fruits and vegetables, I also love all of the other goodies that can be found. A few weeks back, at our local market, I found a crepe booth. Yum! I love crepes. We also have a local bakery and Z Pie even has a booth. I don’t know if you have ever had Z Pie. They are these delicious little pot pies in several flavor combinations. They even have desert pies. But … back to the Farmers Market ;) A lot of the same spots host Farmers Markets weekly but a few local places have changed this year. Briggs Ranch is no longer offering a Farmers Market on Friday mornings but now Palladio in Folsom has one on Thursdays from 8-1 in front of Whole Foods Market.

Photo Source

Here are links for local Farmers Markets for the 2012 season {most markets run from June – October}. Check sites for exact dates.

  • For El Dorado County Markets, click here.
  • For Sacramento, click here.
  • Foothill Farmers Markets is mostly listings for Placer County. Click here for those locations.
  • Davis offers a year round market, click here for times and locations.
Local Harvest is a great resource for Farmers Markets in your area – you can search by zip code. You can also find CSA’s, events and farms.
Now — if my garden starts producing, that will be a whole other post ;)
Happy Weekend friends!


Fun Places for Kids

Ah Summer — it’s upon us and many of us are looking for fun activities & vacations. Well, I know I’d personally love to go to Hawaii. Buuuuuuuuut, that is not in the cards for us {hello backyard redo!!}. So instead of one big, pricey trip how about several small, less expensive trips or even stay local for the day? There was a recent article in the SF Gate about 20 places every California kid should see. Click here for that information.

Some other fun ideas.

Take a hike – yes, really! We have so many beautiful places in Northern California to explore on foot. Click here for a directory of trails. Slack Packer also has a wealth of resources. Check them out here.

Jump in – check out Swimming Holes of Northern California by clicking here. Sac Magazine also shared an article last summer with a few local spots, click here to read that.

Get out of town –  How about a day trip? Here in EDH, we are situated between Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area. We could take off either way and in less then 2 hours, be at so many destinations. A few ideas?

  • Six Flags offers amusement for the whole family.
  • Angel Island is a pretty place and the ferry ride there makes it is that much more fun for the kids. You could make a day of it and then head into Sausalito for some dinner.
  • Take a ride on a paddlewheeler in Tahoe. MS Dixi II and Tahoe Queen offer guided trips along the majestic blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
  • You could also head to Amador or Calavares County for a tour of an old mine or cavern. Click here for details and locations.
  • If you are looking for an adventure, take the short drive to Santa Rosa and take part in a Safari at Safari West. My son actually did this with my sister and had a blast.
  • Enjoy a breathtaking view of Lake Tahoe by riding the gondolas at Heavenly.
  • Squaw Valley  offers activities and plenty of gorgeous scenery in the crisp mountain air. Check out their site for what to do while visiting.
  • Head into San Francisco and visit the Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park or the San Francisco Zoo.
  • Speaking of zoos, I hear that the Oakland Zoo is one of the best around. I’m hoping to get there this summer myself!
  • I also just stumbled across this fab little site called California Day Trips. It is full of great resources from beach to mountain spots to explore as well as various amusement parks and even local events.

Hang out locally

Raging Waters is a great way to cool off in Sacramento. They are offering a great deal right now where you buy a day and get a season pass for free! It’s a pretty great deal.

Golfland Sunsplash in Roseville offers fun in the sun too!

How about a little river fun? You can get out there via kayak or raft. River Rat off of Fair Oaks and Sunrise offers rentals as does American River Rafting on Sunrise Blvd. These are both very family friendly and the waters are not white water conditions at all. If you are looking for something more advanced {for the bigger kids}, check out White Water Voyages or Whitewater Excitement.

Check out your local community pool. I hear that many might close due to budget issues {boo, hiiissss} but check, you never know what might change. In El Dorado Hills, you can check out the CSD website by clicking here. For info on Folsom, click here. For info on Cameron Park, click here. Sacramento has several community pools, click here for locations, times and entry fees.

How about a day of berry picking? Of course a picnic lunch is in order. Patricks Berry Farm in Camino is a fun day trip and you are also surrounded by beautiful Apple Hill. The location can’t be beat. American River Cherry Company got a nice little plug in Sunset Magazine. Call before heading out to do some berry picking as these places have estimated opening dates in the next week but things can change.

Something on our Summer to do list is the drive-in movies. I have not been to a drive-in movie in over 20 years {wow .. really?}. I think my kids would love it!!

These are just a few of so many ideas of how to spend the dog days of summer. What do you have planned? I’d love to hear of any local favorite things to do. Please share ;)

Togs for Dogs and Cats Too!!

There is  new guy  in town .. well sort of new. Eddie and Dina opened up Togs for Dogs and Cats Too!  last Fall and even though it took me this long to get there, I have to share how excited I am about this local business. El Dorado Hills is a pretty small community and a lot of us really like to support our local businesses when we can. This is also how The Local Honey came to be. I wanted to bring awareness to our community and all that it offers.

My introduction to Togs for Dogs came via my recent enrollment in puppy school. Our adopted pup needed some training so we enrolled him in Unleashed which is a local dog school. They offered a class at Togs for Dogs which was appealing because I could expose my pup, Ollie, to real life  situations. Since I started class last Tuesday, I have been back three times. Not only do they offer a great assortment of dog and cat food but they also have lots of every day basics like dog collars and toys. I even picked up a couple of antler pieces which have turned into a favorite chew toy {it is a great way for dogs to chew and more cost effective because they can’t eat right through it}. I also picked up a training pouch and treats to make training my dog easier.

Dina and Eddie are so accommodating and knowledgable of animals and their needs. Having been in the business for nearly 30 years, they can give you information that is fitting for you and your pet. They will not only greet you with a smile and friendly conversation but they will also make friends with your pup — or at least try ;) My guy is a bit shy so Eddie had to work for it today via treats.

What else can you do at Togs for Dogs besides buy items for your pet? Check out the doggy park. A completely gated and covered area for your dog to run and play with friends. Also, be sure to check out their calendar for fun events such as puppy parties on the patio or adoption events. Great local rescues like The Grace Foundation do dog adoptions on location at Togs for Dogs.

If you are in the market for some doggie or kitty treats or it’s time for that new collar for Fido, head on over for Togs for Dogs and Cats Too! Tell them The Local Honey sent you :)

Togs for Dogs and Cats too! is located at 330 Green Valley Road in El Dorado Hills. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday. They are changing hours soon and will be open Mondays but closed Sundays. Check in to verify if you plan to shop either of these days. You can reach them at 916-939-3884. You can also find them online by clicking here.