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Slow Days

One of the things I love most about warmer weather is how we tend to slow down and enjoy all the little things that we ignore when it’s cold and we are in a hurry to get from here to there.


Like many people I know, I struggle with maintaining a positive attitude when the cold weather sticks around for months on end.


I am for sure a warm weather kind of girl. And when the weather finally does decide to stick around we spend our days in the slow lane.


Outside, sun on our faces, dirt on our hands.


Some of like to do yard work


And some of us just like to play


There is nothing better than an extra large stick according to Hud


Who needs a mulching machine when you have a Golden Retriever


I love this dog. He has been the best addition to our family


The boys get mad when I call him my favorite son:)


Blake made this speaker out of an old suitcase- it’s pretty cool and sounds awesome


He is leaving to head to Michigan for the weekend with the lacrosse team.


I will miss him.


But a certain girly has a birthday in a few days and I need to plan.


And Cole has got the crud and is home sick.


Eva says this is circus training


She looks like a bobble head here


When Eva showed these worms to Austin he said “Eva you are such a boy.”


The weather turned chilly again and we were back inside with a bunch of playdoh. Eva made a camp fire and roasted this “smore” until it was black. Then put fire coming out of it and gave it to Cole.


It’s Friday and the sky is sunny- off to enjoy it!

Hannah - Great pictures. I’m so ready to slow down. I’m always ready to slow down 😉

Hudson is like a giant now! Buddy thinks he is on stick patrol too. One of my favorite memories of our dog Purdy was that she would drag trees around. She’d find the biggest tree that she could fit her mouth on and her and her son Sparky would each take an end. You’d look outside and they would be running with a tree in their mouth. It would always crack me up :)

California Part Three


Finally uploaded the final pics from our trip


These are from an afternoon stop at Huntington Beach. We had lunch at a Mexican food place that overlooked the beach but the food was yucky.


We had fun anyway


That night we went to Santa Monica but only two out of four wanted to join us on the pier



It was so pretty


I broke my big zoom lens on Sunday. I am so bummed:(

Hannah - Those are so gorgeous! I love the shadow of the Ferris-wheel and that beach…so dreamy.

What happened to the lens? was it your 70-200?

Tiffany - Looks like you had a great trip…let’s catch up soon!


Chicken Pesto Panini

We bought a panini makera few years ago and the boys have enjoyed it for turkey and cheese sandwiches.

Tonight I decided to try a recipe I had saved on Pinterest.


I used smoked gouda instead of mozz- and I marinated the chicken in Avocado oil and kirkland seasoning When I say I love this stuff I mean I love this stuff.

Here is the original recipe

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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
For the grilled chicken

1 pound chicken breast cutlets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
½ teaspoon granulated onion
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the panini

1 pound mini tomatoes on the vine
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 ciabatta rolls, split
8 slices mozzarella cheese

For the pesto

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil

For the avocado aioli

1 large egg yolk
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon dijon mustard
1 avocado, peeled and pitted
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
pinch of salt
few grinds of black pepper


Preheat oven to 375°F.
Heat an outdoor (or indoor stovetop) grill over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in a bowl and mix it together with the seasonings and oil until evenly coated. Grill the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, flip over and continue to grill for another 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside.
Cut the tomatoes in half and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly combine. Roast in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until soft and slightly charred. Remove from oven and allow to cool down.
To make the pesto: Combine all of the ingredients (except the oil) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to chop it down. While the machine is running, slowly stream in the olive oil until the pesto is somewhat thick but still spreadable. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
To make the avocado aioli: Combine all of the ingredients (except the olive oil) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until smooth and combined. While the machine is running (slowly stream in the olive oil until thick and the consistency of mayo. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
To assemble the sandwiches: Split the ciabatta rolls. Spread one half with pesto and the other half with the avocado aioli. Place a slice of cheese on each half of bread. Then layer with the chicken, tomatoes, and more pesto on the chicken. Close them and then drizzle the tops with a bit of olive oil. Place (two at a time) on a hot panini press and press down on the top. Grill until hot and the cheese has melted. Cut in half and serve warm. Enjoy!


yields: 4 sandwiches

Hannah - This looks so yum. I’m really hungry now too…thanks for that 😉

More California


Next stop was Santa Barbara where we checked out UCSB. It was a fun little campus on the water with a band playing in the common area. Eva and I hung out by the fish and turtle pond. Austin seemed to like it better than Berkeley but still not as much as UNC.

Next up we decided to head to Newport Beach for a couple days of R&R.


Our place had a nice hilly view and the pool had a nice ocean view.


There was a zumba class going on by the pool


And a giant checkers game, pool tables, etc. You name it they had it.


Another cool VW


We decided to take a boat out to see dolphins and whales and sea lions. Oh and a Golden Retriever too.


The beach was right by the place where we were staying so we headed out there as well.


The light was all sorts of amazing


Newport Beach was my favorite area. Next up Santa Monica.

hannah - Such a cool trip. I love the picture of all your people together. So cool.

Jen B - Absolutely beautiful photos!


I’m going to break down the California trip into a few different posts so I don’t have picture overload.


One of the things I loved most is all the different flowers everywhere. I have never seen so many different types and all in bloom


Blake is in love with old cars, trucks, vans, etc. He was in heaven as they were everywhere.


Austin wanted to check out University of California at Berkeley so that was our first stop.


So while he got the tour from Andy’s cousin Chris, Blake and I messed around. He called this one “this is what I would look like if I got better grades and could actually get in here.”



Chris gave Austin lots of info and it was nice having a guided tour.



Cole was wearing a super bright neon shirt so I made him black and white


Next we went to the Golden Gate Bridge


And then down to Baker Beach- a cool little park on the water



The Pacific has such a different feel than the Atlantic we are used to


Austin loved it.


These two were cracking us up the entire trip


He seemed to be my most cooperative photo taker this time


Eva tried to warn them the tide was coming in



He looks so small…


The next day we went to see the Redwoods


Those trees were so tall


15 of them were labeled and had a story to tell


This one was the biggest


And this one you could actually go inside


After the trees we went to Pebble Beach for lunch



It was a gorgeous place.


Here is Blake by his dream car.


Every time one was spotted they would yell “WESTFALIA!” at the top of their lungs. There are a lot of them in California so we heard it a lot.


Then we hit the Pacific Coast Highway


The view is amazing but the road is twisty and Eva puked all over the car. Twice. So we had to take a break and clean her (and the car) up. It was gross but the boys were troopers.


Next Up Santa Barbara.

Adrienne - Been hoping you would share these pictures! Beautiful

Hannah - Very cool. My mom grew up in Cali…she’s cool 😉

Love that you pulled out the big girl camera too. Awesome pictures!