Thursday, December 8, 2016

Arroyo Burro Beach

Arroyo Burro Beach is also known as Hendry's Beach (after the owners of a nearby farm). I have fond memories of coming here as a kid!

Directions: Take the 101N from Santa Barbara to the Las Positas exit. Turn left and follow Las Positas Rd to the end. Take a right at the T onto Cliff Drive. Turn left into the parking lot (preferably the second left at the base of the hill).

Pros
There are bathrooms
There are foot and body showers (not functional during the drought).
There is a restaurant for food options.
This is a park where you can bring your dog.
There is dedicated parking and the beach is only steps away.

Cons
Parking is limited on a busy day.
The restaurant is not kid friendly or quick.
It is a very popular beach on busy days.
It is the only official dog beach in Santa Barbara with off leash areas. Of course, it is hard to keep a happy dog contained to a specific area.
The beach is next to a creek that does bring water into the ocean. I steer further away from the creek.





Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Hans Christian Andersen Park

Over the Thanksgiving break, we headed up to Solvang to visit friends, enjoy the bakery and check out a new park! Hans Christian Andersen Park is just outside the main road in Solvang near the elementary school. The park is large with group areas, tennis courts, an incredible skate park and playground.

The play ground has a 3 story structure over wood chips that is designed for kids aged 5-12. There are two long slides from the top story and one small double slide there is a "rock wall" climbing area as well as two other climbing areas. There is also one regular swing. Note: the park website says there is a second playground next to the skate park, but it appears the play structure has been disassembled.

Pros:
The park has bathrooms.
The 3 story structure is fun and the slides are very long!
The climbing wall is long rather than high.

Cons:
The bathrooms are not close to the playground.
This structure is not good for toddlers.

Grassy field by the playground

5-12 play structure 

Shaded group area

Monday, October 17, 2016

My Recipes on the Blog

My recipes:
Vietnamese Bun Salad
Chicken Taco Salad
Chinese Chicken Salad
Chipotle Sauce


Vietnamese Bun Salad

I was making a meal for a friend who had a baby and was gluten free/dairy free. It was hard to find a recipe to make (life is easier for all you GF people now, seriously!). I found this recipe....somewhere. I would cite it if I knew, but honestly it has morphed into my own over the years (and probably isn't so authentic). When I asked my people which recipes I should submit to the Goleta MOPS cookbook, my 6 year old described this one in detail! Sometimes I make the dressing and sometimes I uses the Annie's Organic Sesame Ginger Dressing.

Ingredients:
2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups bean sprouts
1 1/2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and julienned
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups grilled meat (chicken), diced
1/4 cup peanuts, finely chopped
4 ounces thin rice noodles

Cook the rice noodles according to the package directions.Toss all ingredients. Add peanuts as the garnish.

Dressing
1 T peanut butter
3 T milk
1/2 t garlic powder
1 t tamari (or soy sauce)
1 t chili sauce
1 dash chili flakes

Whisk all ingredient together and add as desired.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Meal Planning

This is my 100th post, y'all! It started just for the parks, but I have loved keeping it going. I have a few more park and beach posts coming, but on another topic....

On Friday, we had a MOPS speaker, Paige, share about meal planning. She had shared before about meal planning 2 plus years ago. Both times it was really helpful! Here are some of the things I have run with.
My first monthly meal plan

1. Start with what you are already doing. When I started, I only had a few meals in my repertoire and I commited to adding one a week. It took a long time,but now I have a 4 week rotation.

4 week meal rotation using themes.
2. Plan around themes. You can plan around mexican meals for a specific night. Or soups,or salads, asian, etc. Here are our themes (in the list above): Mexican, Asian, Pasta, Salads, Soups, and Quinoa Salads.

3. Organize! I know several people who love the Paprika app. I tried it and went back to my binder. Each recipe has its own sleeve after I try it and decide it belongs in the rotation. It is civided into categories: mains, salads, soups, breads, desserts, breakfast, drinks and sauces. The front has a month calendar. You can use a cute one like this or simply print out monthly calendars with the numbers already on it (I print several months at a time.). The back has the weekly planner that I have our themes listed and all 4 options

Recipe Swap: Soups and More

Our last general group of meal themes is soups (and an extra bonus thrown in). This year I have been attempting more crockpot recipes since they are so easily doubled and frozen for another day.

Split Pea
Corn Chowder
Ham and Potato
Greek Lemon

And our favorite gluten free pizza crust!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Recipe Swap: Salads

Summers around here are mild, but our falls are hot!! We love salads on those hot days. We generally have quinoa salad once a week, but at this time of year we also have another salad. These are easy to make during naptime and great to come home to after a playdate. Here are several we love.

Vietnamese Bun (I will post my recipes soon.)
Chicken Pesto Salad This is great with pasta but I also make it with rice. 
Chicken Buffalo Salad This one is spicy and I often give the kids a taste of it along with something else. 
Chinese Chicken Salad I like the dressing on this one, but generally make the other ingredients a bit differently. 

Chinese Chicken Salad
4 cups romaine lettuce
2 cups rotissaire chicken, chopped
2 cups snow peas, halved
2 cups bean sprouts
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Put all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Use the epicurious dressing above or Annie's Sesame Ginger Dressing.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Recipe Swap: Mexican Recipes

The best piece of advice I received on meal planning from my friend Paige was to organize around themes. I have shared several of ours (Asian, Pasta, Quinoa Salad). Our Mexican line up is:

1. Tacos (no recipe: seasoned chicken, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, guacamole/chipotle sauce)
2. Chicken Taco Salad
3. Quinoa Taco Casserole (I add ground beef .)
4. Enchiladas: (still searching for my favorite but here are some in the running)
Green Chili Enchiladas: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/green-chile-enchiladas/
Beef Enchiladas: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/beef-enchiladas-recipe/
Enchilada Casserole: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/enchilada-casserole
Enchilada Sauce: http://pinchofyum.com/5-minute-blender-enchilada-sauce

Friday, October 7, 2016

Recipe Swap: Pasta Recipes

Our meal planning MOPS talk has inspired me to continue sharing my favorite recipes! Another theme we plan around it pasta. Since we have been eating mostly gluten free, the go-to pasta is Trader Joe's Brown Rice Quinoa Pasta. We also often create zoodles for some of the pasta. There are 4 in our rotation.

1. Skinny Chicken Alfredo  I sometime substitute 2t Cajun spice in place of nutmeg.
2. Garlic Bail Chicken
3. Pasta Primavera I make with half of all veggies except tomoatoes and half of the pasta is Zoodles.
4. Red Sauce I add browned ground beef. This makes a lot and  I throw the extra in the freezer for another meal.

40 Recipes of 2016

One of my goals for my big birthday year was to make 40 new recipes! I reported out some on Facebook but here are the final 40 (the last one made yesterday). I have subscribed some to two recipe sites, Relish! Relish! and No More to Go so I can't share all the recipes here. When I first started meal planning, the sites were helpful, but at this point, I can generally find what I want through a Google search, my favorite blogs or Pinterest. Some favorite blogs are: Gimme Some Oven, Pinch of Yum, and I Heart Naptime. I would (and do) make 23 of these again! And about 10 more I might make again.

These ones I will make again:
* Greek Lemon Soup: http://www.aspicyperspective.com/greek-lemon-chicken-soup/ ( I substituted rice—yum!)
* Gluten Free Banana Bread: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/gluten-free-banana-bread
* Cajun Chicken Alfredo: http://www.celebrations.com/c/recipe/skinny-chicken-broccoli-alfredo
I used a different recipe (No More To Go) and still prefer this one:  but will use 2t Cajun spice in place of nutmeg.
* Lemon Chicken:http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/skinny-honey-lemon-chicken-recipe/
My family preferes the orange version, but I like the lemon. 
* Quinoa Taco Casserole: http://www.superhealthykids.com/recipe/one-pot-taco-casserole/?print=free/… (I will add some kind of beef next time.)
* Pad Thai: http://pinchofyum.com/rainbow-vegetarian-pad-thai-with-peanuts-and-basil (I add cooked chicken.)
* Gluten Free Pizza Crust: http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-gluten-free-pizza-crust-sauce/
* Pasta Primavera: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/pasta-primavera-recipe.html (I make with half of all veggies except tomoatoes and half of the pasta is Zoodles.)
* Enchilada Sauce: http://pinchofyum.com/5-minute-blender-enchilada-sauce
* Red Sauce: http://thrivinghomeblog.com/2012/12/slow-cooker-marinara-sauce-recipe/
(Add browned ground beef.)
* Lemon Chicken Picata: http://pinchofyum.com/lemon-chicken-piccata-with-grilled-bread
I loved it --my people not so much.
* Apple, Pecan, Blue Cheese Salad: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/apple-pecan-and-blue-cheese-salad-recipe.html
Garlic Bail Chicken: http://pinchofyum.com/garlic-basil-chicken-with-tomato-butter-sauce
* Baked Salmon: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/34746/baked-salmon-ii/
* Apple Crisp Pie: Make the Bread, Buy the Butter
* Slow Cooker Chicken Tikki Masala: http://spicysouthernkitchen.com/slow-cooker-chicken-tikka-masala/
* Blueberry Muffins: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6865/to-die-for-blueberry-muffins/
* Curried Chicken Salad
* Ham and Potato Soup: http://www.spendwithpennies.com/easy-ham-potato-crockpot-soup/
* Mexican Chicken (Relish! Relish!)
* Hillary's Taco Salad
* Lawn Mower Tacos: http://lifeasmom.com/2010/06/freezer-cooking-with-ground-beef-and-turkey.html

Might Make Again:
* Cheesy Bow-tie Pasta with Peas and Bacon (No More to Go)
* Thai Chicken (Relish! Relish!)
* Enchilada Casserole: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/enchilada-casserole
* Green Chili Enchiladas: http://www.iheartnaptime.net/green-chile-enchiladas/
* Cilantro Lime Chickpea Salad: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/05/27/cilantro-lime-chickpea-salad-sweat-wicking-workout-wear/
* Beef Enchiladas: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/beef-enchiladas-recipe/
* Baked Herbed Stuffed Salmon: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/jamie-oliver/baked-herb-stuffed-salmon-recipe.html
* Slow Cooker Chicken Chicken Cacciatore: http://skinnyms.com/crock-pot-chicken-cacciatore-recipe/
* Lemon Garlic Chicken: (Relish! Relish!)
* Peanut Greens: Paige's Cookbook
* Cornmeal Cornbread Muffins (No More to Go) Still like Jane's better
* Thai Peanut Chicken http://www.fivehearthome.com/2015/05/14/slow-cooker-thai-chicken-with-peanut-sauce/

Not for Me:
* Slow Cooker Chicken Chicken Cacciatore (Nomoretogo)
* Orange Cranberry Coconut Muffins: http://detoxinista.com/2014/11/orange-cranberry-coconut-flour-muffins-paleo/
* Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken (No More to Go)
* Chocolate Coconut Almond Energy Bites: http://www.joyfulhealthyeats.com/bake-dark-chocolate-coconut-almond-butter-energy-bites
* Healthy Avocado Chocolate Cookies: http://sproutedfig.com/healthy-avocado-chocolate-cookies/

Monday, September 26, 2016

40 Year Bucket List Update

Pinterest is a wealth of 40 memes.

1. Finish losing 40 pounds *11 pounds to go -- September 30

2. Run 400 miles this year (2016) * 380 miles on September 30--on track for 500 miles!

3. Run a 10k/6.2 mi (Goleta Lemon Run--9/18/2016)

Before the Lemon Run!
Misty Run!
The Final Stretch!

4. Complete a triathlon (Carpinteria Sprint Triathlon--9/25/2016)
               0.5k Swim, 10 mike ride and 5k (3.1 mi) run
Ready to go!
All set up.
Leaving the water
End of the bike ride
End of the run and race
5. Participate in a promise walk/run (San Diego Promise Walk--5/20/2016)
Family Promise Walk
6. 40 days of buying no new things (2/10/2016-3/27/2016)
First purchase back

7. Give away 40 things (February/March 2016)
Over 40 books given away in pocket libraries 
Over 40 items of clothes plus other stuff
8. Try 40 new recipes Post here



9. Read 40 books (41 books--October 2016) Check out the whole list on Goodreads!




10. Memorize 40 verses (12 verses -- behind on this one unless you include Seeds songs!)

11. Learn to French braid hair

El Carro Park

El Carro Park is centrally located to Carpinteria with beautiful mountaib views. It has a large play area, soccer and baseball fields. There are walking paths picnic tables and benches. There is a 2-5 play structure with a double slide, another slide, 1 climbing area and a tunnel over woodchips. There is also a 5-12 play structure with a triple slide, twisty slide and 5 climbing areas including a tunnel over wood chips. There are also toddler and regular swings.
Directions: Take the 101 S to Linden Ave in Carpinteria. Turn left onto Linden and continue to El Carro Lane. Turn right on to El Carro Lane. The park will be on your left after about 1/2 a block.

Pros:
There are bathrooms (although not always promptly unlocked on the weekend mornings).
There is plenty of parking most days (a lot on either side of the park).
There are several uniqe climbing areas.
This park has the largest number of Tic-Tac-Toe toys I have seen (see below).
The crocodile.

Cons:
The parking is tight on sports weekends.
The bathrooms have been locked in the morning when we were there.

Overall Play Area

2-5 Play Structure (Front)

-5 Play Structure (Back)

5-12 Play Structure (Front)

5-12 Play Structure (Side)
5-12 Play Structure (Back)
Big Kid Swings

Toddler Swings 

Crocodile

Walking Paths

Tic-Tac-Toe Toys



Friday, September 2, 2016

Leadbetter Beach


**2020 Update** This is not a beach where it would be easy to social distance, especially on the weekends.

Leadbetter Beach is a Santa Barbara beach close to the Mesa. It begins below Shoreline Park and ends at the harbor. It is a popular beach where we often meet friends. 

Directions: To reach it, take 101S to Castillo St. Turn right onto Castillo St and follow it to the dead end. Turn right onto Shoreline Dr and follow it until you reach the Leadbetter sign on the left at Loma Alta Dr. More info,

Pros
There is generally plenty for parking (some of it paid).
There are bathrooms.
There are both foot and regular showers.
The parking is close to the beach and it is easy to get stuff onto the beach.
It is close to Shoreline Park.
Waves are gentle and water is shallow.

Cons
SBCC students can park at the beach area with their permits, making it very hard to find parking.
This is a very popular beach especially in the summer and on weekends. It can be very crowded.

Looking West towards Shoreline Park

Looking East toward the harbor

Bathrooms

Showers and foot showers

Thursday, September 1, 2016

West Beach

West Beach is a small beach between the harbor and the pier. It is beautiful and often the beach of Santa Barbara photographs. To get there, take 101S to Castillo St and turn right. Follow Castillo St until it dead ends into Cabrillo Blvd. Turn left to take a chance at parking on the street. The beach is after the harbor and small playground. Turn right to get to the parking lot (take your first left, enter paid parking and follow it through several lots until it dead ends at the launch ramp). More info.

Pros
This is a beautiful, classic Santa Barbara spot.
It is a great volleyball area,
There is a small toddler playground nearby.

Cons
This is where the tourists go. It can be crowded.
There are no bathrooms.
Parking in either paid or difficult to find.

West Beach from the pier
Looking West towards the harbor

Looking East towards the pier

Looking at the water


Padaro Beach


Padaro Beach Beach is located off Santa Claus Lane in Summerland.  To reach it, take 101S to the Santa Claus Lane exit. Continue straight onto Santa Claus Lane and park where you can! Cross the train tracks using your own discretion and follow one of the many paths to the beach. More info here.

Pros
Parking is good during the week especially in the morning.
This beach can be less crowded than some beaches.
The waves are good for body surfing.
You can head over to Padaro Beach Grill for lunch.

Cons
Parking in the summer and on weekends can be almost impossible. Arrive early.
There are no lifeguards. This beach has waves that are not as gentle as some area beaches.
You must cross train tracks to walk in and the tracks might make you nervous even on the beach.
You must carry stuff a ways to come here.
There is a portapotty but no bathrooms.

These pictures were taken on the weekend in July.

Looking East

Looking West

Shallow water

Rocks are between the beach and tracks in some places.

Park and cross the tracks.