Saturday, June 27, 2009

Biking the Silver Strand in Coronado

We have really been into biking this summer.  And even though Neto's parents have an extra car for us to drive all summer, I would rather us bike everywhere.  
Mi Papa here is big into biking and was telling us about a great trail in Coronado.  Coronado is sometimes
 referred to as an island, but as you can see in the map to the right, it's not. (Coronado is in the upper left corner and downtown is across the bay to the left) There is a long thin strip of land that connects it to the mainland, and this is called the Silver Strand.  It is actually a State Park and has nice beaches and quite a few parks along the trail, which is great because there are several restroom stops.  We loaded the four bikes in the van at 11am and headed to the Silver Strand trailhead at Imperial Beach.  
**To reach the trailhead, take Interstate 5, take the Palm Ave exit and go east to 13th st. and turn right (AutoZone on the corner) and there is free parking. 

The Silver Strand State Park covers acres of land, and as far as trails go, it doesn't get much better than this.  There are succulents (my favorite) and palm trees lining the trail and stunning views of the Pacific, San Diego Bay, the Coronado Bridge and the downtown skyline.
The trail runs about 9 miles from Imperial beach and it is frequented by bicycles, in-line skaters, walkers and  runners.  Along the trail you pass through San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge which contains the majority of the remaining wetlands and so as you'd imagine, there were a lot of birds. 
It was a leisurely ride, there was nowhere to be at a certain time and we took advantage of it.   We stopped several times just to look across the bay. Below is the Coronado Bridge. 
At one point I asked mis padres "Do you know how lucky you are to live in this city?"  Their answer was 
"Yes, everyday we feel lucky!"

By the time we reached Orange Street in the center of Coronado, we were hungry and thirsty.  The area is filled with cute restaurants with outdoor seating, great shopping (just window shopping for me) and houses to die for.   It didn't take Neto long to spot the place he wanted to sit.  The Coronado Brewing Co had an extensive beer list we felt so accomplished sitting outside with our pints of beer.  
Ernesto and I rode our bikes a lot faster on the way back, and since we were ahead we went a bit further than where the car was parked...and we ran into this:
salt flats in San Diego?  This city never ceases to amaze me...ha!

Old Town San Diego

If you have ever been to San Diego, chances are that you have visited Old TownOld Town San Diego is considered the "birthplace" of California.  It is the site of the first Spanish settlement in California.  Although it is probably one of the most touristy areas, I really enjoy it.  Filled with restaurants, shopping and a lot of history, it is easy place to spend an afternoon al gusto
Many organized tours of San Diego leave from the center of Old Town on the orange trolley buses.  The church in the background is Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and has been in service since 1917.
I loved seeing this line of people outside the Cafe Coyote waiting for their order of Fresh Tortillas. 
We climbed up the hill to Presidio Park which overlooks Old Town. The view was fabulous and the homes unbelievable. 
The pictures above and below are the Junipero Serra Museum in 1769, which was the first mission church in a string of 21 mission churches in California.  Actually the church had trouble getting a water supply on this hill back then and moved the mission to a new location in Mission Valley called San Diego de Acala. Ernesto and I visited that church when we were here for Christmas
"The Junípero Serra Museum, in Presidio Park, is one of the most familiar landmarks in San Diego. As a major symbol of the city, it stands atop the hill recognized as the site where California began. It was here in 1769 that a Spanish Franciscan missionary, Father Junípero Serra, with a group of soldiers led by Gaspar de Portolá, established Alta California’s first mission and presidio (fort)." (info via San Diego Historical Society.)  Ernesto took my picture in this fabulous archway.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I cant believe my good luck!! What a great surprise! Last night I was going through my Google Reader when I saw a very familiar picture come up on my screen. Claudia over at the the Paris Apartment had my peacock picture [that I took in Cancun] on her front page.  The other day she posted a drawing for this beautiful area rug...and I was the lucky winner!  Yay!  Isn't is beautiful!?  My first item for my home [that I don't have yet] since being back in the country!   Read the announcement here.  I feel so honored to be on her website! Thank you so much Claudia!!
It's funny because I bought her book called The Paris Apartment, Romantic Decor on a Flea Market Budget over 10 years ago and about 6 months ago I stumbled upon her blog and have been reading [read: drooling]  it ever since.  If you would like some serious inspiration,  check out her blog

Claudia takes a bi-annual shopping trip to Paris and with her pictures you feel as if you are shopping with her.  Trust me. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Balboa Park

Balboa Park is a must see if you are in San Diego.  It is one of the largest cultural parks covering 1200 acres, and it's right in the middle of the city.    Inside the park  are 15 museums, performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the famous San Diego Zoo.  It would take at least a week to get through this park.   For me, walking through the gardens alone are  worth the trip.     I love this park too, because it is the finish line for America's Finest Half Marathon held every August (which I have run twice).Today we only ventured into the Air & Space Museum  which was fun, I always enjoy looking at airplanes.  And even though I am not a car girl, the Hod Rod's Then and Now exhibit was cool to walk through.  If had to pic my favorite, it would be this beauty.  The color may have something to do with my choice. 
The Spanish-Renaissance architecture all over the park is screaming to be photographed. 

If I had kids in San Diego [cough cough] I would come here and let them play in the fountain with all the other kids.  They were having so much fun, and one of my favorite past times is to sit in the sun with beautiful scenery. 
See what I mean?  
Behind me in this huge English garden were thousands of purple and blue delphiniums.
Definitely a "beautiful day" worth sharing over at the Inspired Room.

Im Going Going Back Back to Cali Cali

Ahhhhhh San Diego. Estamos aqui!!  Oh how I love this city!  The fact that we get to spend the summer here is a dream come true!  I have always thought that I am a California Girl.  In a couple months I will actually be able to verify if it is true. Stay tuned!

While here, I vow to really get to know San Diego!  That means you will get to know SD too.  I'm going to do something fun outside everyday.  I mean, why not?  This weather is so motivating.  For me, if it is sunny, I want to be outside. period. 
Ernesto's dad wanted to do a hike Sunday.  In all the years I have been coming here, I have never been to the Mission Trails Regional Park.
Its located about 8 miles NE of downtown.  The park covers  5800 acres and has over 40 miles of biking and hiking trails.   The trail we hiked is called Cowles Mountain Trail, and as the name indicates, you are climbing a mountain.  As you can see below, the trail is dirt with huge rocks along the way.
Although it was only 1.25 miles up, it was a great workout!  It took me 28 minutes to reach the top and I was walking fast.  The view was awesome!  You could see all of San Diego.  The lake in the picture is Lake Murray, which is part of the park.   Id like to go there too.  There is a 3 mile trail loop.  You can also fish and boat.
Pictured: Our brother-in-law Jorge (married to Adrianna, Neto's twin)  with their 3 kids,  Andrea, Jorge and Alex.  Neto's brother Jerry and his Dad. 

Monday, June 22, 2009


Although I didn't get to spend the day with my dad, I did just have 2 weeks of quality time with him, which I cherish!

There are so many things I love about my dad.  Besides always being supportive, he is always willing to help.  (He will haul anything to anywhere with his trailer!)  I love that we have a good time hanging out. 

If there is one thing I get from my dad, it is a sense of humor. (He has passed it on to everyone in my family) My dad not only likes to make people laugh, he likes it when people laugh AT him (and it is always with him). Yes, he loves to be made fun of. I don't know what he would do if we didn't talk about him. All of my brothers and sisters have a "dad voice" and we use it often.   I have to say my brother Bill does it best.  He can even imitate my dad's gestures, which really makes us cry [laughing]. There have been so many quotes from my dad over the years that are still repeated to this day, some over 20 years old.  You'd be surprised at how many times they can be used in everyday situations. 

Top 3 Paul Arnold Quotes

"Somethin Different" used when you don't want to say you don't like something.  For example with food: he'll just ask my mom "Is there 'somethin' different' about this rice?"

"Did they say that was it?"  He said this over twenty years ago on a family trip to Yosemite. We were at Old Faithful and we thought it was going to blow, but it just let out a little burp. "Did they say that was it?" was his question to my mom.  Now whenever something is disappointing we use that phrase.

"We may be defeating our purpose" On that same trip out west, we were in front of the Grand Tetons and my parents were discussing what route to take. During the discussion my dad said "we may be defeating our purpose" 

10 things you may or may not know about Paul Arnold
  1. He is silly- prime example to the right.  "the happy dance"
  2. He is the biggest sports ass ever
  3. He started "Paul's Shuttle Service" for his frequent trips to the airport. (mostly to pick me up)
  4. He is an avid bicycler.
  5. He loves mowing his grass.
  6. He loves to play cards (and is the best score keeper)
  7. He is a great loving dad to 5 kids. 
  8. In most cases he would rather drive than fly (to be in control-ha!)
  9. He would like to see a baseball game in every stadium around the US
  10. Cindy is his favorite kid.  (haha just wanted to make sure you read til the end!)

**Also a happy fathers dad to mi suegro, mis hermanos Tim, Bill and Schaffner, and mis cuñados Tavo, Jerry and Jorge.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lordy Lordy Jenny is Forty!

I can hardly believe my sister turned 40 today! 40??  Whaaaaat?  I guess that is because I am not too much younger than her?!  We all got together last night and Kelli, her daughter, wrote her a "brief birthday book" about how much she loves her mother and that age isn't important.  She found some great quotes about age and included them in the letter.

"Everyone is the age of their heart."

"Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."

"You can't turn back the clock but you can wind it up again."

"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"  

My whole family (minus 2 brothers) took Jenny out to eat in Wooster to celebrate. In a small town full of chain restaurants, I was so happy to try a local place.  Melvins in the downtown area was full of character. We squeezed into a large booth, just so we wouldn't have to separate to two table (yes, we are a close knit family)
After the delicious chocolate-peanut butter cake that Barbie made from scratch, Jenny opened her "40 things" (which included a necklace and earrings I made for her) and then we went around the table to say something special about the birthday girl.  A fun thing that my friend Maureen told us about.

I went first:  I love how through the years I could call Jenny at any time, with any problem and she can always make me laugh. I can always count on her for a good laugh. (also that she keeps a toothbrush in a zip-lock bag with my name on it for when I sleep over, mostly so I won't use hers)
Neto said:  I love how Jenny always keeps eye contact when you are talking with her, you can always tell she is listening.
Mom said:  I love what a great mom [cry cry cry] Jenny is to Kelli.
Kelli said:  I am so glad my mom is my best friend, and that I can tell her anything.
Scott said:  I love how patient Jenny is -with me and with Kelli. mostly with me.
Barbie said: I love how close Jenny and Kelli are, I just hope I [cry cry cry] can have a relationship that close with my kids.
Bill said:  I love that Jenny is a great neighbor and also a best friend.
Dad said: I am just so proud of how Jenny raised such a great daughter and also that we are friends.

(Tim, Michelle & Schhhirner, if you are reading- or anyone else who knows Jenny, please add yours in the comments section) 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Trails...

Another beautiful day in Ohio and so my parents picked another one of their favorite bike trails. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail was originally constructed in Akron Ohio in 1825. It runs 101 miles from Dover to Lake Erie in Cleveland (some construction yet to be completed){black angus cows bathing along the river}

The trail originally served as the path that mules and horses would walk to pull canal boats. We started the trail in Massillon and stopped in the small town of Canal Fulton. (the town where I went to elementary school) The still offer rides on a horse pulled canal boat during the summer. We arrived just as they were about to leave. The two Draft Horses are owned by the Heritage Society in Canal Fulton and I was glad to see how healthy and well fed they looked. (something you don't see often in Costa Rica) Ernesto has always said he wants to have a couple horses, and I am all for that. I love horses. (I told him that "I would let him" as long as I can have a dog, cat, bird, 2 chickens and a peacock- ha!) You can see the horses attached to the rope pulling the boat up the canal.
Walking through the center of town takes you about 2 minutes. It is really cute. At the center is Oser's Dairy & Deli, which has been there since 1954. My sister used to work here when she was 16 and my family used to go there all the time for a treat. The ice cream was delicious, just like I remembered.
 Every Friday over at the Inspired Room, Melissa invites her readers to share their beautiful moments throughout the week, I would say this applies!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Guacamole de Neto

{picture via Smiles are Free}

Many of you have requested Neto's guacamole receta.  I thought I might as well post it here for easy reference. I have to admit, it is the best I have ever tasted.  I have made it myself 5 million times (at least)!  The key to the this Guacamole (as to any)  is...suprise...the avacados!!

The trick is not picking them too ripe, or not ripe enough.  You should  be able to push your thumb into it just barely.  This recipe cubes the avocados (not mashed)  so you won't want them so soft that they can't be cubed. 

You will need:

4 avocados, cubed**
2 large roma tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
2 jalepenos, chopped  (adjust to desired heat)
1 small red onion, chopped
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
salt and pepper

combine in bowl and add one good squirt of lime juice. 

**slice in half, take out seed and use knife to score avocado into cubes.  scoop out with spoon. 

Serve with homemade tortilla chips (my obsession lately) 
Cut stack of corn tortillas into quarters.  lay on baking sheet.  spray chips with cooking spray and sprinkle salt.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and  cook for 12 minutes or until golden or crispy.  If you take them out to early they will be chewy=not good.

I know many of you have already had this, but if you try to make it, please let me know how it turns out. 

Baby Talk Everywhere

Everyone is pregnant! A year ago I wouldn't have thought much about this, but I am really excited for everyone and find myself thinking...hmmm? That could really be fun. I love love love surprises so I would surely NOT find out the sex ahead of time. Nine months of suspense is right up my alley! What a project to document too. I have so many good ideas for pictures/blog posts. So many exciting things to think of: What names would I choose? How would I decorate the nursery? How long would I be able to keep up CrossFit while pregnant? I really do love change. That would be about the biggest life change I could do, right? Timing is everything. [Note to self: get a job and insurance...oh! and a place to live.]

I know this is total crazy talk coming from me, but I can hardly avoid these thoughts since my Brother Bill and his wife Barbie are expecting. I have to say, I am inspired.

On Sunday, Barbie's mom threw a shower for them. Baby showers are better than 4 Christmas' put together. Oh the presents!
I finished the baby blanket I started while in Costa Rica and I think Baby Arnold is going to love it! It was the first time using a zig zag stitch, which turned out so cool yet, so un-perfect (just like aunt Cindy).Here we are at the shower from left: Barbie, Bill, Jenny, me and my mommy

Friday, June 12, 2009

Garage Sale Mania

I have been looking forward to thrifting in the US. Friday's are the best for garage sales and it just so happens that there was a whole neighborhood sale by my sisters house today. We were out the door by 830am. The early bird gets the worm.

What can you buy for $30?
I challenge you to beat this. Here is my list of scores: (all pictured above)
  1. budda bust

  2. 2 picture frames (to be painted)

  3. black rabbit fur vest ($2!!!)

  4. hand painted mirror (I forget where this style is from-I want to say Indonesia?)

  5. vintage tupperware cup w/ lid

  6. striped make up bag

  7. 4 books

  8. red plaid shirt (for Neto)

  9. blue tank top with sequins

  10. purple thread

  11. seam ripper

  12. orange visor

  13. big gold earrings (cheapy cheap, but oh so stylish)

  14. wool plaid fedora hat

  15. 2 hummingbird feeders

  16. ginger candle

  17. tie hanger (will be used for necklaces )

  18. OHIO desk clock (which will be painted)

Oh, the $30 I spent also includes my lunch at Chipotle!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An 8 year [non-celebratory] Anniversary

Haha! I love Someecards - they had plenty of other appropriate cards for anniversaries. We have decided that we will only really "celebrate" the anniversaries divisible by 5. That means Ernesto has 2 years to plan the best surprise vacation for our tenth!

It was a special day without even planning. My parents have been into biking for a while now and have sought out different bike paths in Ohio and they wanted to take us.
We did have to drive about 40 minutes to reach the path, but it was well worth it. It runs from Lisbon Ohio (the 2nd oldest town in the state) to Lithonia (I have no trivia about this town)
The weather is beautiful here now and it is very green due to all the Spring rain. The path is paved and flat, so it's an easy ride. We rode 20 miles.
The trail was mostly in the shade and surrounded by fields. I love the tractor crossing sign.
My parents wanted to take us to a cool place to eat. I was immediately impressed by the Steel Trolley Diner (140 E. Lincoln Way, Lisbon, 330-424-3663) when we pulled up.
I was even more impressed when I saw that this little diner was featured on the Food Network and won the "Best Burger in the Country Award" at the National Hamburger Festival in 2006.
Of course I had to try a burger. The All-American Red White & Blue Burger was tasty. Cooked medium rare and piled with blue cheese. De-lish!Speaking of medium rare, I can eat red meat daily and not get sick of it. Ernesto and I went to a butcher shop by my parents and bought 2 huge porterhouse steaks and some filet mignon for dinner and fired up the grill. We threw zucchini and prosciutto wrapped asparagus on the grill too. Don't be jealous.


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