Archive for November, 2012


November 30, 2012

Since we spent a week in Texas at the beginning of November and plan to return for the Christmas holiday we spent Thanksgiving in California. Luckily some of our friends were in the same scenario so we decided to have Thanksgiving dinner together, just the Rands and the Krouts!

I was in charge of preparing the cornbread stuffing and dessert. I went a little overboard and made mini pumpkin pies, molasses spice cookies and an apple pie. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you which of the three were my favorite because they were all amazing.

After dinner we watched some football and played with their cat, Aesop. The next day we were all free from work so we got together again and went wine tasting in Livermore. Compared to Napa and Sonoma, Livermore is much closer to home, the tastings are inexpensive {sometimes free} and the atmosphere is much more casual and less snobby. We haven’t lived here long enough to become wine snobs so that whole scene isn’t very appealing to us, we just like to enjoy some wine and good conversation with friends while watching the sun set over the vines.



November 29, 2012

During the first week of November Mark had a work conference back in Austin so¬† I decided to go as well and spend some time in Texas. It sure was great to be back, we’d really been missing home because we hadn’t been back for an extended stay since we made the move to California.

We spent a weekend in Rogers with my family and were reunited with our former cat, Jack. I don’t think he misses us much, he’s just a little spoiled now.

Thanks to my mom I managed to stick to my running schedule, I even got to go on a long run with her and her running buddies on Saturday morning.

There are a lot of things about Texas that I miss on a regular basis, one of them being grocery shopping at HEB. They have Texas-shaped tortilla chips…need I say more?

I also ate at Sonic, washed cars in the 85 degree weather, helped Ben paint the inside of his tiny house, made a trip to Goliad to see the grandparents and drove down Congress on my way through Austin to pick up Mark. Austin was just the same as we left it, amazing.

The second weekend we spent in Houston with Mark’s family. We watched Texas A&M beat Alabama {!!!}, had a big family dinner at Texas Roadhouse, went to the HUGE Nutcracker Market at Reliant and met up with friends. It was really hard to voluntarily get on the plane and head back to CA, Texas will always be home, no matter what :)

Halloween Fun

November 27, 2012

Halloween this year was spent with some of our new friends Andy, Kirsten, Brendan & Christine. We all gathered at the Stearns’ house for dinner together and afterwards we carved pumpkins, decorated cookies and passed out candy to the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.

Here are the jack-o-lantern creations…

…and our decorated cookies! I made the orange “pumpkin” sugar cookies and bought a couple tubes of black icing for decorating.

Another fun project that I had seen on Pinterest and wanted to try was the glow stick monster eyes. I had a handful of toilet paper tubes that I’d been saving for a few weeks and I used an Xacto knife to cut out different eye shapes. Then at our Halloween gathering we snapped some glow sticks {found in the dollar section at Target}, stuck one inside each tube and taped off the ends with blue painters tape. We put them in various places around their front yard so when kids came up to the front door it looked like there were monsters in the bushes!

Big Basin Redwoods

November 27, 2012

As a celebratory trip for my birthday last month, Mark and I went camping at Big Basin Redwoods State Park which is just north of Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay. We’d never been there before nor did we know anyone that had, we just researched state parks within a 2 hour driving radius, read reviews online, made our reservation and hoped for the best. The weather that weekend was absolutely perfect for camping; it was cool enough at night to merit sitting around a fire and warm enough during the day for hiking in shorts.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and set up our tent in a nice, secluded site surrounded by bushes and tall redwoods. There was moss growing on every stationary surface thanks to the cool shade provided by the many trees. Our site had a picnic table, fire ring and bear box for storing food {not actually for bears but rather racoons…no way was I going to camp where there are bears present}.

The forest of redwoods were absolutely incredible, some of them were over 300 feet tall and 70 feet in circumference. It’s hard to imagine something living that is so big until you are standing at the base of it, staring upward.

On Saturday we hiked a 5 mile trail through the park and we had such a great time! We packed lunch and ate on the trail, saw a waterfall, met a scary spider and only saw a handful of other people during the entire hike.

My favorite part about the trip was waking up in the morning and seeing the sun rays filtering beautifully through the trees…so breathtaking.

Catching Up

November 21, 2012

Life and time have been flying by very quickly lately; I feel as if we finally got into a routine and as a result the weeks have disappeared {is Thanksgiving seriously this week??}. I’ve neglected the blog a bit and I’ve got plenty of pictures to post and write about so I’m going to do my best to get them all posted asap.

The weather here has been exceptional over the past couple of months, I guess this is what a real fall season feels like. With highs barely reaching 70 and lows in the 40’s I find myself wanting to go for a beautiful walk around the local golf course nearly every single day.

Our turkey friends still come to visit quite often. They always seem to be traipsing around the property without a care in the world. I doubt anyone would actually consider hunting one of these big guys but sure I hope they find a good hiding spot this week when the grocery stores run out of their frozen buddies.

Every other Sunday afternoon you’ll find me on the soccer fields with my new coed team. For whatever reason all of the games are scheduled for Sunday mornings so I alternate between skipping the game and going to the earlier church service.

Playing on outdoor turf is amazing {except for the turf burn} and our fields have a beautiful view of Mount Diablo; combine those factors with the mild weather and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect day of soccer.

Mark’s sales territory recently changed with the new fiscal year plus he now has a new boss so he is staying busy with that, sometimes putting a thousand miles on his car in a week! When I have a day off during the week I still like to ride along with him to wherever he’s driving that day so we can spend a little more time together and maybe see a new part of California while we’re at it. My job is just that, a job, but the longer I’m there the more responsibility I gain and the flexibility I have has been great. As always I’m constantly searching for something new that will challenge me in a a different way; I’ve gone through my fair share of interviews but nothing has stuck yet…sometimes being patient and waiting for God’s next move is just rough.

The one HUGE thing in our lives that is better than we could have imagined is the friendship that we have found in our new friends here. We have a small group dinner/study on Wednesdays, some of us usually get together on the weekends and we see each other at church on Sundays. When we were in Austin I always felt that we were missing something {meaningful, Godly friendships} and now that we have them I see how much we were actually missing out on.

More accounts of our lives to come soon, promise :)