Tahoe & Nevada City

With so many visitors these last few months, the Chef Family blog has turned more into a vacation journal than a blog. However, this isn't going to change for a few weeks. :) We have more visitors in store and actually just finished up with a trip to Napa Valley and San Francisco. So ... hop aboard another "vacation" journey with me.

One of our first stops along the way was the Donner Pass Memorial. Do you know what that's about? If not, google "Donner Pass, Donner Party, etc" ... it's a historical sight with significance that everyone should have in their historical bank. Plus, it's a good trivia question, too. Never hurts to learn more about our country, especially with my dad the history buff and the Iron Chef, a knowledge seeker.

After Donner Pass, we actually headed to Truckee to eat breakfast. We managed to get a table and eat at "Squeeze-In." Ever heard of it? Food Network Recommended? Bob Flay competition held there? The historical Truckee? Well, if not, we ate there and we were stuffed! It looks as divey as you'd think but it was one of those restaurants that came with HIGH reviews so it was a must on our list. However, for a $15 omelet, I must admit, I'm not sure if I'd return here. I've definitely had better breakfasts with a price tag of around $70. Gulp, I know. I guess that's Tahoe for you!!! Truckee is a "suburb" of Tahoe.

From there we just headed into the mountains and drove around Tahoe. Explored Squaw Valley, Tahoe Lake and enjoyed the snow. It was beautiful.

Our mini trip wasn't over after Tahoe. We took a different route back home and decided to drive through the mountains to a little shopping district called Nevada City. The drive from Tahoe to Nevada City was GORGEOUS! Through the mountains and begin our downhill climb back to the foothills. Here's the view.

In Nevada City, we indulged in ice cream desserts (the girls) while the men checked out one of the local saloons in town. We ventured in tee-pee's and loved the quaint little city. Apparently this town has a spectacular Christmas "village" in December. We'll most likely be up here again to see the carolers and sip on hot chocolate. Also, just as information, this city of almost 1,000 people has been named one of the top "Green" cities in California. I actually just read that last week in the newspaper.

You can imagine how tired we all were after such a long day. We fit all of this into a one-day car trip. :)


Digging for Gold

Back in the day ... way back in the day ... the surrounding land around the Chef Families' town was more than just the foothills. It was where many people visited during the Gold Rush.

Being the daughter to a history buff, my dad (Ms. A's Papa) was on a mission to learn more about the gold rush, the process of finding gold, and grinding down compounds to "find" the gold. Quite interesting, I must say.

What is even more interesting, is that people still pan for gold today. It is such a "hush hush" kind of hobby that most people don't say anything about it. They don't want you to find their secret spot. In fact, I just found out this past week that our neighbors frequently go into the mountains to pan for gold down the river. Who would have guessed! They must have found a great gold spot.

In the shopping areas just outside the foothills you can find gold museums, information on gold hunting and stores to purchase all the supplies you need.

Although we didn't find any gold during our excursion, we did gain a richness of understand of the industry and why this area was so popular to settlers long ago. We toured a gold mine, visited with a museum representative and toured around a few of the shops.


Vacation Part #3 - Monterey (the last one in this series)

I had to come to a close with our mini vacation series because we have already returned from another mini vacation. haha. Go figure, right? I'm still working on finishing posting photos when we have already gone on another trip. Time to finish this one up.

After finishing up with the 17-mile drive, we headed to Monterey. Probably one of my favorite parts of our trip. Actually, this entire trip was one of my favorites, but this town just had such a "beachy" feel. Plus, we had a corner hotel room and had a little view of the ocean, so I can't complain too much.

We visited the Monterey Aquarium, which was fabulous (and also cost $30/ticket --- seriously??), enjoyed the beach, walked around town, shopped, had great meals, visited Dennis the Menace playgroup, watched MSU basketball games, and had a blast!

Now, time for pictures.


Pink Toes

Today, in between cleaning the house and doing laundry, Ms. A and I had a little spa day. In fact, it was a very big day for her. She had her first pedicure. Having such a foot fetish, this is the first time she has actually let me touch her feet for more than 2 seconds.

Wow, Ms. A's hair is getting very long. I'm debating if I should let it grow or chop it off again into a cute little layered bob.

All smiles during her spa adventure.

The results? The cutest little pink toes. The perfect Opi color for a toddler wearing bright cheery, spring colors.

Letting the nail polish dry.

Enjoying her pretty pink toes.

And if you haven't seen pictures of our master bathroom, there you go!



After a day of running errands in the pouring rain, I came back home to this in my inbox.

The City of Lincoln is placing 500, yes, 500 goats in the preserve area
to rid it of undesirable plants. The goats, shepherd and herd dogs will start at Ferrari Ranch and will work their way around the preserve area. When the goats are in a specific area, the walking trail will be closed. Questions? Contact the City.

Hehehehehe. I guess I've never lived in a city that had free range goats to eat plants. You can be sure to catch a few pictures if we actually have a chance to see the goats.

Railroad Museum

Being that the railroad plays such an important part of our (as in the Chef families') daily life, we decided to venture to Old Historic Sacramento and tour around the railroad museum. Plus, Ms. A's grandparents - Mimi and Papa - were in town and we were looking for a way to enjoy our afternoon.

The museum is apparently first in class for railroad museums and we thoroughly enjoyed our time. My personal favorite was the "moving" train you could walk through that felt like you were actually on a train ride. You could see all parts of the rail cars. You truly felt as if you were a passenger aboard a train.

Ms. A had plenty of roaming room and enjoying walking all around the trains.


It's POOL time

Well, the Chef family hit the pool today for the first time. We wanted to kick off the season a little early before all the crazies roll into the pool and it's mass chaos for a 2-year-old. Plus, with 80 degrees and sunshine, wouldn't you want to be laying by the pool, too? It was a sunday funday indeed!

So pool-it is what we did.

We showed up early and had the place to ourselves for about 15 minutes so I quickly snapped pictures before everyone else started swimming.

As you can see, we'll definitely be spending EVERY SINGLE HOT DAY here at the pool. I'm thankful for this little perk that our subdivision has. It's amazing and I'm glad we've already put it to good use.


Baby Ballet

Pictures simple do not do justice to Ms. A's new baby ballet class. These little girls are the sweetest little dancers. Their emotions and moves will simply make your heart melt.

The ballet ensemble (we're still looking for real ballet shoes/slippers?)

Being shy.

Waiting for Ms. Angie, the ballet instructor.


17-mile Drive - Vacation #3

By far, this has been one of the most scenic California drives thus far. Coupled with the fact it was a beautiful, sunny, warm spring day with a few white puffy clouds scattered in the sky. Seriously, the best kind of weather for a central California coast drive. Beautiful in ever way.

Our tour started off in Pebble Beach. What's not to love about a golf course that costs half a grand to play, requires a caddy, and has been named one of America's top rated public golf course.

Homes on the ocean are considered estates to the finest in the country and range around $35 million dollars. Homes on the "other side of the road - aka the poor side" (directly across from the ocean) are usually about $25 million. What a bargain!

Old men were golfing in knickers and donned official caddies carrying their clubs (this is a driving picture).

There were several other stops along the way. In fact, the tour indicated a drive time of 2.5hours; however, the Chef Family, loving nature and soaking up the beauty around us, was still touring around the area more than 4 hours after we entered onto 17-mile-drive. Everything was just breathtaking.

You may have seen pictures of "The Lone Cypress" in golfing logos or in movies. It's always neat to visit one of the most photographed trees in the world.

Another beautiful entrance to a large estate (driving photo again). The homes were stunning, beautiful, expensive, had large entrances, etc, etc. In my dreams ...

Spending some snuggle time with the Littlest Chef.

Our little lunch spot. We stopped into the market at Pebble Beach and toured the facilities and grabbed a few picnic items. We found the perfect spot.

And now on to one of my favorite spots of our weekend. We found a little secluded beach along 17-mile-drive, the location of our lunch (as shown above). It was tucked in between Spyglass Hill (a golf course) and the ocean. We were the only people at the beach so you can imagine the opportunities we had. It was purely amazing.

We dug in the sand.

Ms. A carrying her bucket like a purse. So super classic, little girlish and ever so delightful.

We pretended to be King of the Hill!

We hunted for hermit crabs ... and found them!

And we just plain enjoyed our afternoon and lunch in the sand and we collected the shells to prove it!

Another beautiful coastline along the drive and a HUGE wave directly behind me. Just in case you're wondering, yes, I did get soaking wet.