Santa Barbara Weekend

Last weekend Dan’s parents were nice enough to offer to watch the kids so we could get a weekend away. We decided to go to Santa Barbara for a wine tasting weekend. We booked a wine tasting tour with Captain Jack’s Santa Barbara Tours. They have a deal with the Ramada Inn, which gets you a 15% discount off your stay when you book a tour with them, so that is where we stayed. We left on Friday around 6 pm and arrived at our hotel around 11 pm. We stopped in Thousand Oaks to have dinner. We had no idea where to go to eat and after meandering around for a while, ended up at a TGI Fridays.

The next morning we had breakfast at our hotel and were picked up for our tour around 9:30. The tour company picks you up at your hotel and brings you back at the end of the tour. It was very nice not having to worry about driving, especially when going on a wine tasting tour. The first place our tour guide, Rob, took us was Gainey Vineyard. We tasted several wines there and ended up buying a Riesling for ourself and a “Recession Red” for Dan’s Dad. The Recession Red is only made in recession years and hasn’t been bottled since 1984.

After our wine tasting, we took a tour of the winery. They have a demonstration vineyard set up that shows several different trellising systems. They explained the different systems and where they are utilized.

We were then shown the stainless steel fermenting tanks and learned all about wine fermenting.

It was very interesting to see the frozen tank, which is how they stop the fermentation process.

The tour then moved on the barrel room, where we learned about different barrels and their uses.

The tour ended in the bottle resting room, where they store the wine after it has been bottled to recover from the trauma of being placed in the bottles. I knew next to nothing about any of this before our tour, it was so interesting to learn about it!

The next stop on our tour was Olive Revolution for an olive oil and vinegar tasting. I never knew you could get so many different flavors of olive oil and vinegar. We ended up buying a bottle of the Santa Ynez Valley Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it tastes very peppery, due to the types of olives used to make it. I can’t wait to use it in cooking. We also bought a small jar of their roasted almonds, which were so good. They are roasted with greek seasonings and are highly addictive.

We headed off to Bridlewood Winery next.

This winery used to be a rehabilitation facility for injured horses. They still have some horses on the property and they also have a gorgeous lake with a waterfall. We tasted several wines here. They are know for their Syrah, which I did like, but we purchased a Chardonnay that I liked better. After doing our tasting, we were able to go and see the horses and lake.

Next we had lunch at The Vineyard House, which was enjoyed by everyone. We then headed off to the final wine tasting of the day at Carhartt Vineyard’s “World’s Smallest Tasting Room”. Carhartt Vineyards is a small family owned business. The owners, Mike and Brooke Carhartt, run the tasting room themselves. They were such interesting people who were happy to answer any and all of our questions. After tasting several blends, we ended up purchasing the “Chase the Blues Away” Rose. The wine is named after their son, Chase, who is in the AG-business/Viticulture program at Cal Poly.

After a lovely drive from Santa Ynez to Santa Barbara, Rob dropped us off back at our hotel around 3:30 pm. Since we still had a few more hours of sunlight left in the day, we decided to go check out the Santa Barbara pier.

We walked out on the pier and enjoyed the views. It was pretty chilly and windy though.

There were some sort of sailing race going on that day too. It was fun to watch the sail boats racing.

After visiting the pier, we drove by the Santa Barbara Mission and then headed off to find a place to eat dinner. We ended up all the way down in Carpinteria at Clementine’s Steak House. It is a small family run restaurant and it was fabulous! I had the steak and Dan had the swordfish. Both meals came with soup or salad, the entry with a side and a a slice of pie you picked from a selection of homemade pies made that morning. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommended checking this place out.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and checked-out. Before leaving the hotel room, I snapped a few pictures of the view from the balcony. Here’s one of them.

We then drove around UCSB for a while. It is a lovely campus right by the beach. Then we headed back to orange county. We took scenic PCH from Malibu to Santa Monica, then jumped back on the freeway. We had lunch at the In-N-Out in Long Beach then drove home. The kids were excited to have us back home. They had all behaved while we were gone and hopefully Dan’s parents will offer to watch them again some weekend.

Open House Night – 2009

The kid’s school had it’s annual open house last night. It is always such fun to see all the work the kids have done on display. We started out visiting the twins kindergarten class.

Here’s the twins with their class quilt that will be auctioned off at the school fund raiser.

Here’s the twins with their teacher, Miss Hellbusch.

We next headed over to the junior high rooms to check out Talia’s work. Here’s some of that work.

Here “Movers and Shakers” project.

A writing/art project.

Math usage in a career project.

We then went over to Kayli’s class to check out all the state floats. Kayli was thrilled to discover that she won 3rd place for most creative. I was especially proud of her because she did about 98% of her project all on her own and the entire idea for her project was hers. That was not the case with a lot of the other winning projects, with the parents doing more of the work on the project than the child.

Here’s a picture of Kayli with her teacher Mrs. Mullin.

Next we went to the computer lab and took a family picture.

We then had to split up with Dan taking Talia over to find out the Science Fair results. Talia was so pleased to find out she got a 3rd place! She did her project on which classroom at the school was the hottest and coldest. She took morning and afternoon temperatures of each class once a week for three months. She determined that the main factor on how hot or cold each classroom was was based on the behavior of the teachers. When and whether or not they opened windows was the main factor driving the room temperatures.

While Dan was in the hall with Talia, I took the rest of the kids to the 2nd grade rooms to check out Aidan’s work.

Here’s a picture of Aidan with his teacher Miss McKinley.

Here’s Aidan with the volcano he made. He did the paper mache and painted it all himself. The only help he had was in shaping the chicken wire for the base of the paper mache.

Falyn was excited to see her friend Sarah in the 2nd grade room. (Sarah’s big sister is in Aidan’s class.)

We next went to check out the autobiographies in the 6th grade rooms, so Kayli could get some ideas for the autobiography that she has to do next year. Then we met back up with Dan and Talia and headed off to Cherry On Top for a yogurt treat (and school fund raiser) to finish up the night.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Dan started out the day by making green eggs and green milk for the kids for breakfast. Talia and Kayli wouldn’t eat them, but the other kids enjoyed them. After dropping Falyn off at preschool, I went to the twins kindergarten class to help out with their St. Patrick’s Day party. It was a lot of fun. We then picked up Falyn from her school, where she also had a party. At the school we were given some green bagels which we enjoyed with our lunch. Tonight we are going to have green sprite and green mashed potatoes (along with some non-green items) for our dinner. I hope you all have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

Here’s few more pictures of Falyn and the twins wearin’ the green:

Talia’s 14 Birthday

We celebrated Talia’s birthday yesterday with a family dinner party. Dan’s parents were there and Aunt Samantha was able to make it too. Here’s a few more pictures.

Falyn Painted Herself With Fingernail Polish

While I was helping Kayli with her state float project and Talia with her science fair display board, Falyn was upstairs in her room painting her fingernails, toenails and legs with Talia’s fingernail polish. Normally, Talia keeps her fingernail polish put up so that Falyn can not get into it. However, Talia had left it out this morning after the girls used it last night during Talia’s slumber party. I told Talia this morning to put it up so that Falyn would not get into it. She moved it, but did not put it away and Falyn found it. Luckily, Falyn did not decide to paint her bedroom floor or her furniture. I asked her why she painted her legs in addition to her fingernails and toenails. Her only answer was that she wanted too. It took almost an hour of scrubbing in the bathtub to get it off her legs. Hopefully Talia will listen when I tell her to put something away in the future.

Here’s some more pictures:

Happy 14th Birthday Talia!

Today Talia turns 14! It is hard to believe that she could be 14. I can’t believe that next year she will be be learning to drive. In a few months she will graduate from 8th grade and be headed off to high school. She is such a smart, caring and beautiful person, both inside and out. For her birthday, she had a sleepover last night with her best friends. Tonight her grandparents and Aunt Samantha are coming over for dinner.

Here’s some portraits I did of Talia for her 14 birthday: