Monday, January 30, 2017

Spring Ride trail hiking, September 2016

When we reached the Spring Ridge trail head at Windy Hill preserve, the sun already started shinning brightly. Many of hikers were already coming back. I thought, our timing was not appropriate. Might be it was going to be burning hot. Though it was near Pacific ocean, but the  Windy hill mountain were sheltered from the prevailing cool weather coming from the Pacific Ocean.

The youngest member of the group

The trail we were about to hike were covered with trees in the beginning. As the trees were scattered on the mountain, the whole trail was not going to be coved with trees.

The dusty path

Anyway, one by one we gathered at the small dusty parking space. One of our fellow hikers lost the road and ended up at the other side of the trailhead. We were getting late, so we started walking. Some time later he joined with us. He literally jogged all the way up to catch us. We already walked more than one mile. The trail was slowly going uphill, that we couldn’t understand at that time. 

Someone wanted to stamp on the tail of the poor creature, so that the tail would come off. However, it was lucky enough, as he was prevented from doing that.

We walked keeping a red pond beside us. We hiked up and down, and reached on the dusty part of the trail. The trail was didn’t have much interesting thing around. The weather was rather pleasant. Though the sun was bright, but due to the cold breeze we didn’t feel the heat. 

Slowly we reached  grass covered the peak. Our plan was to finish the loop. However, as we hiked after a long time, we didn’t have the stamina to finish the loop. 

So, we decided to go back on the same trail path we came, rather going on the loop. As we slowly go uphill, we could see the cloud floating from the top of the mountain. At one time we were walking through the cloud, though the clouds were not thick. We reached the parking space on the other side. Then we decided to come down. When we started coming down, we realized we climbed a lot. We could feel the slope while coming down. Though it was not that much tough hike, compare to other we did, still it was nice hike. 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Five on Friday

Monday was a real busy day. After two days relaxation, again the Monday we started with big rush. I listed down a plenty of jobs to be done on Monday. I told you last week, that I was really working hard on a school project. Our plan was to finish within Thursday. Anyway, that day school was scheduled to be dismissed at 12:00. So, I had to finished other household chores also in the between that time. My son I decided to visit library, we rented a handful of books I yet to start reading those books.
Library visit
Monday to-do list

Tuesday (01/24/ 2017)
I yet to upload pictures of the handmade cards in my Etsy shop. I won't tell that I've no time, it was rather my lethargy. Anyway, as I planned my to-do list ahead I could at least finish the small Valentine's box on Tuesday.

Handmade little box

Wednesday (01/25/2017)
Our school project was going on full swing. Still we were far behind from finishing. So, we decided to stretch the work to home.
My love for owl

Yes, we finished our school project. After coming back from school I sat down and started uploading the pictures of the Valentine's day card on my Etsy shop. Oh my!!! It took me forever. Actually, every card is different from each card. So, I had to write description individually on each card. However, I couldn't finish all of them. I yet to upload many of the cards and boxes.

Here is my Etsy shop link. Please visit: FromMindofaGirl

Friday (01/27/2017)
At last the weekend!!! Though I ad a very busy morning, still I had a very nice coffee time with best friend. Since Thanksgiving we didn't get time to sit together and chat
Yummy rice noodles

Monday, January 23, 2017

Garbanzo bean chicken soup

I have written down many recipes. However, I haven't shared any of them in recent time. So, I think it is the time to share. In December I rented one recipe book from library on chicken recipes. Actually I wanted to cook different recipes on chicken. I know I can get millions of recipes on Internet. However,  when I found the book in library, I just wanted to give a try. This is one of the recipes. I improvised many of the ingredients with whatever was available in my pantry. At the end it turned out good. Here is the one I'm sharing with you.

One cup dry garbanzo beans

One pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

One small onion

Two tsp of garlic powder

Two tsp tomato paste

One tsp dry basil leaves

One tsp. dry oregano

One cup grated parmesan cheese

One tbsp. of oil

Salt and pepper to taste

One cup boiled spaghetti

Soak garbanzo beans for 6 hours, or overnight. I usually soak them overnight, so that, I can cook in the morning.  Pressure cook the beans until soft. It usually takes about fifteen minutes to cook. You can also use canned garbanzo beans. Cut the chicken into small cubes. Finely chop the onion. Heat oil in a deep pan in medium. Add the onion, and sauté for few minutes. Add the chicken and mix well. Let it covering the pan, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato pastor, ands garlic powder, mix well. Let it cook another 10 minutes. Then add the cooked beans. Add one-two cups of water. Bring to boil. Let it cook covering the pan in low-medium heat. Meanwhile cook spaghetti according to the instruction on the package. About ten minutes uncover the pan, simmer it. Cook until chicken is tender. Add all the herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Switch off the stove. Add the hot cooked spaghetti. Mix well, and serve hot.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Five on Friday

Monday was holiday. I didn't want to do anything. I was in a total resting mood. None of us went outside home that day. In fact I didn't even go in our backyard. Only Mr. Man went to backyard to clean our pool. Most of the I spend reading "The Nightingale" by Kristin Hannah. Though I read halfway, but I must say that the book worth reading. The book is about situation of France under Nazi rules. How the people suffered at that time really gives goosebumps.

Holiday was over. Again we got to our normal routine. Tuesday was a little bit busy. Apart from household chores I had volunteer duty in my son's school. I spend there more than three hours. We are making some mathematical tools for the students, for we need to cut out some thousands strips, and truly speaking it's a tedious job.

This time I thought of putting some Valentine's day card on my Amazon Handmade store. For that I'm continuously making cards.

Thursday: Today was not so busy day. I volunteered in school. Rest of the day just went by doing housework.
Fido Dido!!! 25 years back my friend gave it to me from her stash.. still I've kept it. It is a treasure to me.


Today was real busy day. I always cook 4-5 dishes on Friday. So that, I can rest through out the weekend. Cooking always comes with loads of utensils to wash. I don't want to take the pain of huge washing on weekend. On there top of that I had jobs to do in my son's school. Luckily Mr. Man dropped kidie to school. I finished almost all household chores, and went to school. After finished works there I came back around 1 in thew afternoon.After coming back I finished rest of the chores, including laundry.The I knead dough for bread, and went back to school to pick him up. The day didm;t end there. After coming back I sat with the unwilling child with his homework. After that I made pizza for dinner. At last I could end there.

The pizza. Although it doesn't look good, the taste was not bad.. :)

These are the five things on Friday..

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Valentine's day card

Hello My lovely blogging friends,

Valentine's day is very near. Even we don't have one month in our hand. I thought of making some cards for this occasion. I also have some things to make,but I don't know whether I'll be able to make the other things. On the top of that I also have a very big list of crafts for my home. All the cards are handmade from scratch. I did everything with just a pair of scissors, and glue. Just take look. I'm also giving my Amazon Handmade link. Soon I'll post them there.
Thank youKrishna 

More are coming!!
From a girl's mind-Amazon Handmade

Monday, January 16, 2017

Eating out in Wente Vineyard

It was  our Anniversary Day. Mr. Man had been asking what I want from him. In fact I didn’t want anything. I have enough of everything. So, why to buy? When he didn’t get any satisfactory answer he declared that, I must not cook anything, and we would go for lunch. He kept secret where we about to go. 

In morning I was not in the mood to go, as it was drizzling since previous night. As many times I asked him, he never gave me any name of the restaurant. Anyway, we started from home in the rain. The gloomy sky was  telling me to go back home and to snuggle under blanket. Anyway, our car left our town, the familiar hustles, then went through a quiet posh neighborhood, then we came in the middle of vast open land with green mountains everywhere. 

No, the mountains were not green by trees, but green by grass, due to rain. Anyway, on the gloomy day the green vast deserted mountains were looking marvelous. Mr. Man was driving, and driving, I didn’t know where he was heading to. Only I could understand he was going to one of the wineries in Livermore. We had never been there before. We visited many wineries in Napa and Sonoma. Anyway, we reached the Wente Vineyard. First thing I told Mr. Man that I wouldn’t drink any wine. He shushed me and asked me to follow. I must say that was great view. In the cold of November I didn’t want to stay outside, but it was really lovely to walk around the vineyard. 

Crispy Duck Wings

Ahi Tuna
Garden Chicken Salad
Pork Chops

That family owned vineyard was built more than a century ago. The vast hilly land was covered by all grape vines, looking like a bright green blanket from distance. 
Mr. Man already decided what to have, so we didn’t spend much time on the menu. Ahi Tuna, and Crispy Duck Wings were very famous of the restaurant. We ordered both. That was the first time in my life I love duck meat. I had duck at many restaurants, but never liked any of the dish. However, in Wente it was different. For main course Mr. Man ate Pork Chops, but I went for Garden Chicken Salad. That was really heavenly. The ambience inside was a mix of modern and vintage. As we went after Thanksgiving, they already decked up for the Holidays made the inside more homely. May be in future we will go back again there to try different dishes. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Visit to Charlie Brown Museum

I know Charlie Brown, rather the Peanuts through the comic strips on the Sunday newspaper since my childhood. However,I never introduced my son to Charlie Brown. When he was four years old, somehow he managed to find out ‘Charlie brown Thanksgiving’ from Youtube, and from there he came to know about those bunch of big head kids. Anyway,after that he stopped watching until recently when I told him about how he discovered Charlie Brown. Since then, again he has become a huge fan of that little guy. 
He had been watching all the videos whatever available in Youtube on every weekends. One day I had been talking with my friends about his addiction to Charlie Brown. At that time, one of them suggested me taking him to Charlie Brown museum. The name of the museum is  actually Charles Schulz Museum, who was the creator of the character ‘Charlie Brown’. However, I would love to call it Charlie Brown Museum. 

Anyway, after my friend told me about the museum, I decided to take my son there, where he could learn more about the man behind those bunch of kids, who act like a grown up, and sometimes even talk very seriously. Actually, almost all his comic strips were created based on some real life events. The beauty of the comics are that, the children will understand the literal meaning, which will give them fun, but the adults will enjoy the inner meaning. Once Schulz described himself as, “Someone who has to draw something everyday without repeating himself”. Those characters are magically real to us. We enjoy their distinct personality. 

One fine Saturday morning we drove a good eighty miles from our home to reach the museum in Santa Rosa. When we reached there, were very hungry. Just across the street of the museum there was a restaurant named “Warm Puppy Cafe”. The name of the restaurant attracted us so much that we didn’t even think about finding any other restaurant. The restaurant was nothing but a simple burger shop, but the inside of the cafe was so cute, we were totally impressed by that. The place was actually known as ice arena. There was an ice rink just behind the cafe. We could watch the people were skating there sitting inside the cafe. 

Warm Puppy cafe

Charles Schulz, also known as Sparky, he named after a horse name Spark Plug from the comic strip ‘Barney google’. His uncle named him Sparky. He was known as Sparky among his peers. When we watched the documentary of making of ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’, all the people there ,was calling him “Sparky”. Schulz’s father was a barber, even he also had his barber licensee, which we saw in the museum. He faced many ups and downs in his life, and later he incorporated all his experience is his comic strips.  The most popular character among the bunch of kids is the two legged dog,Snoopy.  Schulz’s family had a dog named Spike  from where he got the inspiration in creating the character Snoopy. As usual , my son is also very an avid fan of Snoopy. Few days back we went to watch Christmas decorations in our neighborhood, and he was so disappointed that no one put up a Snoopy on their front yard. 

This was painted by Charles Schulz for their daughter

Charles Schulz grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, areas. Since his childhood he liked drawings. He was also avid ice hockey player. All his hockey gears are kept in the museum. At the age of 20 Schulz served for the United States in WWII. When he was away from home during the war, his mother died at the age of 50. After coming back from the war he started working in an Art school’s cartoon division. While working there he started developing his own style of cartoon. He started posting his cartoon to the newspapers, and he started getting success. The funniest part that the famous “Peanuts” name was not given by him, rather it was chosen by the publishers due to some conflicts arose before publication. He never likes the name Peanuts. 

Schulz's Ice Hockey gears

While living in Colorado after marriage, he painted a wall of their daughter’s room with all the cartoons. The house was bought and sold many times. One of the owners, when came to know that once Charles live in that house, she started to find out whether the cartoonist left any treasure. She found out that one of the wall was painting by Charles for his daughter. She somehow managed to remove the layers of paints and found out the original painting. Later she donated the wall to the museum. 
After moving to California, Charles Schulz settled in Santa Rosa. While he was there, the Schulz museum started taking shape. Unfortunately, he couldn’t see it, as he died in 2000, and the museum has been open to public in 2002. 

Apart from his artwork, we saw several photos of his family, and few of his original sketch. On the second floor, one area is replicated like his original studio in Santa Rosa. We also watched the making Charlie Brown Christmas. The animation was created before computer graphics ear. At that time making animation was very tough and tedious job. Before broadcasting the cartoon on TV, the production house was skeptical about the acceptance of that. However, that was a huge success, and Charlie Brown even won Emmy Award.  

The best part was the huge mural on one of the wall in the museum. The mural was designed by Yoshiteru Otani. It  was built with tiny tiles, and each tile is a comic strip. By all those little comic strips a huge picture of Carlie Brown  and his little sitter holding a football was created . It was a great visit. If you get chance , please visit there, and don’t forget to have lunch at “Warm Puppy Cafe”. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Journey back from Lake Tahoe

Usually I wake up early, whether it is weekday, weekend, or holiday. As usual on second day of January   while we were still in Tahoe, I woke up early in the morning. It was still dark outside. I heard dripping sound of water from outside. I thought that water was dripping from the heater of the cottage. 

Then I peeked out of the window, but couldn’t see anything in dark. Then I open the front door a little. A bitter cold wind brushed my face.

 I looked at the lamp post. It had been snowing since previous evening! Tiny snowflakes were pouring like heavy rain. The little porch in front of the cottage was covered with think layered of cotton soft snow. 

I went to the kitchen, and opened the door a little. The backyard porch was white. The first thing struck in my mind, how would we go back. It would be our first road trip on a snowy day on a mountain road. Mr. Man had office next day. The first day he shouldn’t miss, when there was a pile of pending work.

I was really worried, how could we go, though Mr. Man was very cool. I thought that, as time passed, snowing would gradually decease. However, that didn’t happen. When we went to have breakfast from our cottage to the dinning area, our boots went down at least 3 inches below the snow. It was around 9 o’clock when we were ready to leave Tahoe. The last thing was to put chains on our car tires. This was the first time we put chain. Mr. Man had been struggling with the chains in freezing cold. Then he saw the caretaker guy of the lodge.

 He requested him to help with the chain. That guy helped a lot to put the chain. Though we bought the chain according to the instruction given in the car booklet, still the chain was bigger than the wheels. That guy manage to fix the chains with the wheels. However, as we started our journey, the car was shaking very much. As soon as we hit the road, we stood behind a huge traffic. There was no way to drive fast. Though the snow plowers were removing snow time to time, but that was not enough. Cars were moving even slower than a sloth. On the top of that few cars were breaking the traffic rules and coming  from behind, and tried to enter in front of the line. The sky was dark gray, visibility was almost nothing. 

Mr. Man was just following the car in front of him, as there was no other options.  On the top of that a chunk of ice got stuck on the wipers, causing more discomfort to us. Due to that chunk, the wipers couldn’t work properly, instead of getting clear vision, it was causing blur vision. Roadside electronic boards were continuously warning about the road condition, and urging to put tire chain. The chains of our car were making too much noise, and the car was shaking. 

In the mean time radio news told that road side assistance for chain were available. We decided to check it. The guy who checked the chains, told us, as the chains were bigger than the tires, he needed to cut them to fit, otherwise the chains could damage the tires. We agreed with him, and he cut the chains and fit it with tire costing $40. After that we got rid of the noise, and shaking. At least one concern was over. It had been snowing continuously. Not for a single moment it had stopped. On the top of that strong wind started blowing. The size of snowflakes started getting bigger. We found that we crossed only 10 miles in  two hours. Moreover, wind was blowing very hardly.Every time we saw the elevation was decreasing , we were hoping that snowfall will cease. However, instead of stopping, it was increasing as we were moving. When we came down at 3000 feet, the road side board showed that we could take off the chains. But the ordeal was yet to start.

The sky was still over casted. Thick grey cloud covered every where even the cars  were almost  invisible. The mountains were blanketed with dark cloud, and they were completely invisible from road. Anyway, we pulled our car to the shoulder. The snowstorm again started with full force. I will rather call it blizzard. We were trying take off the chain in hurry. It was difficult to stand outside in the snow. The chain on the passenger side came off very easily. When I asked Mr. Man to turn the wheel in order to take off the chain on driver side, he turned the wheel on wrong side. I was standing outside, in the blizzard started, and Mr. Man was not turning the wheel. I went to him to ask why he had not been not turning the wheel? He dropped the bomb. The steering wheel got jammed. None of us ever faced that. We had no idea how to unlock it. We sought help from the passers by. To our utter despair, no one could help us. At last Mr. Man called the insurance company. They took fifteen minutes to understand the situation. Then we were told to wait for the tow truck. Another fifteen minutes passed, no phone call from the insurance company. Mr. Man called then again. To add more distress, we were told none of the tow company could come, so they tried to arrange police. Almost one hour passed, no help or noting we got. At last a guy from the tow company called, and told that they would come from Auburn, which is 20 mile from the site. It would take more than two hours to reach. Mr. Man explained him the situation, then he came with the solution. With his instruction, he could unlock the steering. No, it didn’t end here. Then we found that the car was not starting. The battery ran out of charge. We didn’t have any remote battery. Mr. Man desperately started asking the passers by. One of them came with a jumpstart. Then we couldn’t find the switch to open the bonnet of the car. That good Samaritan, himself found out the switch. He backed he big pickup truck amid traffic, and charged the battery. He was the real angel to us. I don’t know his name. I don’t know him. How much I thank him that will be nothing to his help. At last after 2 hours we could again start our joinery. Though it was pitch dark outside, at least the blizzard stopped, and we could move. We reached home at 8:30 at night. At last the ordeal came to an end.   

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Junior's ski lesson

Two days already passed of the year 2017. No,I’m not lamenting by telling that I didn’t do any fruitful thing on these two days. I don’t want to do that, as I enjoyed those two days a lot. First day of the year kiddie had his first ski lesson for the entire day. We woke up early in the morning. The sky was clear. Soft golden sun of the morning filled up the top of the dark green conical pine trees. Though, the temperature was showing 22 degree fahrenheit, we couldn’t exactly figure out how could the cold bite us. As soon as we stepped out of the cottage we could realized the strength of the cold.  We realized the how Tahoe winter is. All of us blanketed ourselves with heavy jackets, heavy gloves, and boots. 

Still we had been started shivering. It was eight o’clock , and the sun didn’t help us to overcome the cold. Our car was covered with a thin layer of ice. We put a big pan of warm water on the front glass of our car. Although it helped to clear the layer , but  at the bottom of the glass the water froze within moments. Anyway, we reached Northstar Ski Resort, and handed junior to the school. We wanted to stay for a little while to see how he is doing. Anyway, it became difficult to stand outside. Moreover, my hands and feet cannot sustain cold. Under the layer of two gloves my hands started paining. We went inside the nearby Starbucks. Inside it was cozy and warm. I regained sense in my hands and feet.  Around nine o’clock we  rode gondola , and went to the carpet area, where junior was practicing ski. We stayed back for an hour there, then came back to our cottage. 

It was the first time for all of us were in any ski area. In my life I never skied. When we got down from the gondola, we stomped on a thick layer of ice and reached the area of the lesson. Standing at the foot of the mountain, we could see the white vast mountain before us. Other part of the mountain was covered by long conical trees, so those parts were not for skiing or skateboarding. From the top of the white mountain people had been sliding down in full force in colorful dresses. That was a spectacular site. We watched for an hour. 
After having lunch again we went back around 2 o’clock. The weather started getting worse.   When we reached the carpet area, tiny snow flakes started hitting us. On the top of the hard wind started blowing. I just couldn’t stand there anymore. We went back to the overcrowded  Starbucks again. Everyone had been coming back and wanted to grab cup of hot coffee.Mr. Man went to pick junior from the school. After that we hurriedly came back to our cottage.