Be Right Back. (San Diego, CA)

South Mission Beach San DiegoWe are taking a break this week and getting out of town.  San Diego is one of those places that has so many meanings for us that it’s almost difficult to capture everything in words alone.  It’s our place to log off, relax and explore.  We hope you have the chance to take some time off this holiday break.  We are going to be back with some travel tips, recipes and farm visits soon!

Farm Tots Weekend.

Struble Ranch Mandarin Farm Visit Placer County CaliforniaThis week at Farm Tots was full of exploring and learning about citrus farming in our area. This was the first year we were able to get out of the house and visit some of our local mandarin farms. My tots are obsessed with mandarins and call them orangies because they are a cuter smaller version of oranges. Instead of buying them at our usual store, Costco, I wanted to get outside and find where we could buy them locally.

We are getting ready for a Farm Tots style Thanksgiving and preparing for some upcoming travel. While I am doing laundry and organizing our household here is what I am thinking about and reading and what my weekend inspiration is this week. (more…)

Free Redwood Parks Day. Redwood Parks in California (CA)

California's 49 Redwood State Parks Map

I can say with conviction that I am not a Black Friday shopper. I think the only Black Friday sale we indulged in was to buy a new dishwasher and it was not on Black Friday and was online not in a store. I am a firm supporter of not participating in any of the insanity associated with “the biggest shopping day of the year.” Don’t get me wrong. I love to shop. I crave deals. I just think that the Thanksgiving holiday is one that should be shared in a relaxing environment surrounded by family and friends.  I am all about this year’s new tradition, Free Redwood Parks Day. (more…)

The Mountain Mandarin Festival. November Tot Friendly Event. (Auburn, CA)

Mountain Mandarin Trees in Penryn, CA

The Mountain Mandarin Festival marks the official beginning of Placer County Mountain Mandarin season. The event takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving every year at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. This 3-day celebration draws 30,000 visitors from as far away as the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno. Just off Hwy 80 between Sacramento and North Lake Tahoe this event is easy to get to and is the perfect stop for anyone on their way to Tahoe.

Festival attendees can sample fresh mandarins hand-picked by Mountain Mandarin Growers’ Association members, as well as a variety of mandarin-based products including olive oils, marinades, marmalades, syrups and mandarin blossom honey. Growers will have plenty of 5 and 10 pound bags of mandarins for sale, ready for holiday enjoyment. Most growers can also ship mandarins to your friends and family. (more…)

Struble Ranch. Mountain Mandarin Farm Visit (Loomis, CA)

Mountain Mandarins at Struble RanchYesterday I walked outside with our puppy in the mid afternoon and it was cold. Really cold. Now cold is a relative term since here in California I realize, only for us here in the Sacramento foothills, a 40 degree day is a sign that the seasons have changed. The icy wind whipped up the valley and I knew it must be mandarin harvest time. Mandarin harvest in the Sacramento area foothills usually begins in early to mid November and continues through December. The warm days and cool nights in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn make the area a perfect place to grow sweet, juicy, seedless mandarins. The mandarins there are tree-ripened and hand-picked to ensure they are perfecty ripe and ready to eat.

I wanted to visit a farm we haven’t been to before and a friend recommended Struble Ranch and said her family has been buying mandarins from them for generations. Turns out the Loomis, CA mandarin farm has been in the Struble family since 1918 and was planted in 1956. In 1961 the Struble boys sold their first mandarins from paper bags out of their garage and they continue this tradition today. (more…)

Farm Tots Weekend.

It’s almost the weekend and since we have been housebound for a while we aren’t up to much. Trying to stay in and get organized for some upcoming travel, getting caught up on my studies, get our winter garden planted and our house clean and ready for the holiday season. Here is what we are thinking, reading and and listening to for our weekend inspiration.

How we are going to decorate for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. I got the idea for tree cutting candle holders when a friend was designing her brother’s wedding decor for his 4th of July wedding in Big Fork, MT this summer. Now I am totally obsessed with the idea of using wood chargers for a forest inspired dinner party (more…)

Get Outside. Free National Park Day. (California)

Golden Gate Bridge from Ft Mason

This week school and work are both out on Wednesday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day. I sort of just realized this as I was doing our weekly meal plan. Would be a perfect day to get out of town for the day and explore somewhere new.

Then I found out that The National Park Service invites all visitors to remember our veterans by visiting any National Park Service site for free on Veterans Day, November 11, 2015 for Free National Park Day. There are many National Parks that honor our military and their long service to our country.

There are gorgeous National Parks right here in California and definitely some worth the off-season visit. This time of year crowds have thinned out some and a midweek visit might be the only opportunity to get up-close to some park attractions that usually are difficult to maneaveur with kids. (more…)

Exploring Apple Hill. The Wineries of Apple Country. (Camino, CA)

Exploring Apple Hill

If you have been following our travels this fall you know our household has been spending lots of time in Apple Hill in Northern California. Apple Hill is located between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe just north of Highway 50. The region is full of apple growers, over 50 of them to be exact. Besides apples the region also beckons visitors with seasonal tree farms, juicy summer berries and all types of local produce. What most people don’t realize is that this part of El Dorado County also offers some unique and award-winning wineries. The wineries of Apple Hill are often overlooked and we aren’t sure why. (more…)