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Archive for Family Adventures

Sep
04

The Evans’ Take France

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

On the plane 9-1-14

September 1-3, 2014

It was a comfortable flight from LA to Paris.  Our flight was on time and nonstop.  Since we booked our tickets a year in advance, Jordan got us on an A380, a big ‘ol lumbering double-decker airplane.  Our seats on the upper deck were quiet and as comfortable as any economy seats.  I think we had a bit more room than typical economy.

As the flight began our flight attendant offered aperitifs.  Nothing like a champagne toast to kick off a trip to France!  We had hoped to sleep, but the excitement of the trip kept us awake most of the time.  Thank God for in-flight movies!

Once we landed, we discovered my suitcase had not managed to make its way onto the airplane.  The Air France folks have taken great care of me though, offering 200 euros for me to go shopping for whatever I need.  Ah, really?  Shopping in Paris for clothes?  Um, OK!  (Thankfully all my sundries and makeup were in Alyssa’s suitcase and I wore my comfy shoes on the plane!)  Update – Air France said the bag has arrived in Paris and should be delivered today, Thursday.

The first day was a bit of blur as we just tried to stay awake!

Our first bistro lunch at Cafe du Marche

Our first bistro lunch at Cafe du Marche

Eiffel Tower at night.  I just never get tired of seeing it lit up!

Eiffel Tower at night. I just never get tired of seeing it lit up!

Jet lag hasn’t been too bad but we still took it easy on the second day.  We headed out to the open air market in our neighborhood and took a little walking tour of the historic center of Paris and the left bank (Riv Gauche.)

Open air markets, c'est très magnifique!

Open air markets, c'est très magnifique!

Parisian street food, boeuf bourguignon.

Parisian street food, boeuf bourguignon.

Shakespeare & Company, relaxing at a bistro, & walking the Left Bank.

Shakespeare & Company, relaxing at a bistro, & walking the Left Bank.

Last night proved to be entertaining.  We had decided to cook dinner in the apartment (a request from Alyssa) and had picked up Romanesco and saussicons au couteau from the market only to discover we had no electricity when we arrived home.  Thankfully the electricians were already at work when we got there, but as in the way work is done here in France the, “we’ll have it back on in an hour” was not really what they meant.  About three hours later the problem had a temporary band aid and the electricity was on.

Caution!  Danger of death if touched!  (Seriously that's what the red tape says!!)

Caution! Danger of death if touched! (Seriously, that's what the red tape says!!)

Our first dinner in the apartment, sautéed Romanesco with Parmesan and pork sausages.

Our first dinner in the apartment, sautéed Romanesco with Parmesan and pork sausages.

Life is good!

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Aug
30

Packing For France

Posted by: Anna | Comments (0)

Right now I am living in a world of back packs, jumbo suit cases, and excitement!  And I love it.  For most of this final week we have been prepping like crazy.  Making sure everyone is packed and has all the stuff that we could possibly need and still meet the weight requirements.  Fun right?suitcases The thing that I enjoy most abut packing is the fun that is all around.  We usually pack last minute but for this trip we decided to get it done early.  We have most of our packing done 48 hours before leaving.  We are all ecstatic,  and so we wanted to share with you our favorite things about getting ready for a big trip.  Starting with my dad…

He said his favorite thing about getting ready is the building excitement he feels that we are about to go on a trip where he will get to share more of the world with us girls.  And showing us things he enjoys that we have not yet experienced.

My mom’s favorite thing about getting ready for travel is seeing her daughters (Alyssa and my) excitement about the upcoming adventure.

suit case 2My favorite things about getting ready for travel is seeing how much stuff I am bringing ( I am notorious for packing things I won’t use such as screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.) and noticing that my trip is not very far away.

And finally, my sister’s favorite thing about prepping for trip is not  in the days when we pack and get prepared but, in the nights when she can dream about what is to come.

We all are looking forward to the adventure that another country will bring and the joy and closeness our family will enjoy while we are together.

Keep us in your prayers.

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Aug
28

We’re Headed to France!!

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

Join us on our epic French adventure!

Eiffel_Tower_from_Champ_de_Mars_1

We’re taking off to France for the month of September.  We’ll be immersing ourselves in the culture and history of this beautiful country.  Along the way we plan on sharing our adventures and shenanigans with you!

Please keep us in your prayers!

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Oct
05

Summertime

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

What a summer it was and absolutely nothing of what I had planned!

Each year we take a camping trip to Sequoia.  Because of the record-breaking snow fall in the High Sierras our campsite was still under two feet of snow at the end of June.  So we did the complete opposite trip and drove to Phoenix, Arizona where we stayed at a resort with a water park.  We had a great time with our friends and even got to visit the house where we brought our youngest daughter home!  Memories.

My oldest daughter who has been swimming at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center for about a year now, made the competitive swim team and her practices went from three days per week to five!  I had no idea the Lord would bless me of all people with a fish.  I don’t even like to be in the water!  I’m more of a beside the water person.

My fish!

My fish!

I had the opportunity to teach a friend’s daughter cooking classes.  What was supposed to be three classes turned into three weeks of cooking classes.  I discovered I really enjoy teaching one on one and I have a lot to share with the younger generation!

Strawberry Dessert Soup - Yum!!

Strawberry Dessert Soup - Yum!!

Our dearest friends came to visit.  We had such a lovely time while they were here!  We spent most of our time just relaxing and then did a few day trips to the beach and to Santa Ynez for wine tasting.  There is just nothing like being with people who really get you!  Who have walked with you during the ups and downs, the good and bad, the lovely and ugly and yet they still love you.  I am really blessed and discovered what it means to talk about the Lord in the morning, at midday, and at night.

We've known Keith and Theresa since before any of us had kids!

We've known Keith and Theresa since before any of us had kids!

The jazz band I sing in played two “platinum” weddings which meant extra rehearsal time and planning.  These were really fun and really stressful as I seem to never get over the jitters.

My dear husband traveled A LOT back and forth to Cape Canaveral in Florida where his team is integrating the next Mars rover on a rocket.  The program will launch shortly after Thanksgiving.  It has been a difficult time on all of us but especially on hubby having to be away from the family so much.

And lastly, we’ve been back to homeschooling for six weeks now.  We actually changed curriculum which was exciting and challenging as I had to plan a lot more for our year.  In my next post I’ll share what we decided on and how we are doing.

Things I learned this summer…

Plans always need to be flexible.
There is no greater time spent then with family and friends.
There is no greater time spent then with family and friends.
There is no greater time spent then with family and friends.
There is no greater time spent then with family and friends.

My summer was definitely not what I expected, but was full of joy and God’s grace and that’s really what matters.

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Jun
15

Central Coast Lavender Farm

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (4)

While away on a “girls weekend” to Paso Robles I happened upon the Central Coast Lavender Farm.  Have you ever been somewhere that immediately strikes a chord with your heart?  Where you instantly feel at home?  Central Coast Lavender Farm is one of those places for me.  First, it’s beautiful!  Second, it smells heavenly!  Third, Lila, the owner of the farm, and her husband are so welcoming and gracious you just want to sit down and stay awhile.IMG_5811

Having heard about the farm from my good friend, I intended to go and buy organic culinary lavender.  Once I got there it was nearly impossible not to buy every product Lila had displayed, especially after I heard her story and why organic lavender is so important.  Lila in 2005 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  Unhappy with her symptoms and side effects of the medications, she turned to lavender and it’s healing properties to help her cope.  Well coping has turned to healing and meeting Lila you would never suspect she has a condition at all.

As I learned, lavender has amazing healing properties.  “… lavender is most commonly used for anxiety, depression, mental exhaustion, insomnia, scrapes and wounds, digestive problems, headaches, skin problems and women’s health problems. In addition to this, lavender can be used to treat exhaustion, heat exposure, fevers, aches and pains, over-exertion, jet lag, rashes, sprains, sunburn, sunstroke, bruises and burns. It can also be used as a disinfectant and insect repellent. Lavender is an antiseptic, natural antibiotic, sedative, detoxifier.” From The Healing Power of Lavender, Central Coast Lavender

IMG_5809I can personally attest to CCLF’s Healing Butter and Instant Relief products.  My hubby suffers from a bulging disk in his neck that gets super painful when he’s under stress.  I bought the products for him and he loves them!  He says they really help ease the pain so that he can rest at night.  I also bought one of the specialty lotions, Bella Tootsie, for myself.  Keeps my skin soft and I adore the scent of mint and lavender together!  For my girls, I bought Herbal Lavender Mint Tea… oh yeah!  …I also purchased English and French culinary lavender!

Central Coast Lavender has a great website where you can order all of the products Lila offers.  Watch for our upcoming Give Away with one of Lila’s great products!!

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Mar
18

Super Dad

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

Sometimes I just find myself extra thankful for the man I married so long ago.

The family protector.

The trip planner and weather man.

The encourager.

Fearless Dad.

IMG_0183

Selfless.

Yesterday as we were cross country skiing, the girls and their dad we’re ahead of me.  As I looked toward them I saw dad with one of the girls backpacks on.  The backpack in rainbow colors with a cupcake ID tag.  I have to admit I chuckled because not every man would be willing to wear that backpack.  But you see he did it for us.  We needed to bring water along on our adventure and of course the snack.  We both have great adventure backpacks but we had left them at home.  The only backpack available was this most colorful one in which we had brought the girls homeschool work.  As we started the day I wore the backpack, but eventually my neck really started hurting from the extra weight.  I made a passing comment about my neck hurting and the next thing I knew the backpack was transferred from my shoulders to his.

I am so thankful I am married to this wonderful man!  I am thankful the girls get to experience on a daily basis the love of their father and his protection.  I am thankful God gave me someone who is way more selfless than I am.  It makes me confess my short comings and want to be more like him and in the end be more like Jesus.

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Our final days in Big Sky concluded with another fun day of downhill skiing.  (I think I finally got my fill of skiing!)  The weather was beautiful and the kids were crazy!

Our trip home was slightly more exciting than we would have preferred as we hit a snow storm that woIMG_5741uldn’t let up.  I’m not talking flurries, I’m talking blowing side ways snow, no visibility and 3-inches of snow on the freeway!  They said it would be a nonevent with maybe 1-inch of accumulation… boy were they wrong!  At one point we sat on the freeway for an hour without moving.  This was our view….  So pretty!  But in all honesty we were thrilled to be behind this most lovely school bus as this was our brave leader, deftly leaving tracks in the building snow on the ever more treacherous freeway!

We decided to stop about 200 miles north of where we wanted to be because the snow was so bad.  (My dad, a truck driver who drove this way hundreds, of times said he’d actually not seen this much snow come through this area in all his years of driving.)  So glad it waited for us!  This is the car the next morning parked outside of the hotel where we got the last room.  Thank you Jesus!!IMG_5746

We made it home safely on Sunday afternoon to beautiful Southern California weather!  70 degrees in March, you gotta love it!

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Mar
22

Day 7 Lone Mountain Ranch

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

So I just have to mention Lone Mountain Ranch again.  After our amazing sleigh ride dinner on Tuesday wIMG_5534e headed back to LMR for a morning of cross-country skiiing.  Jordan, the girls and my mom went.  Dad, having trouble with his knees opted out of skiing but entertained himself walking around the ranch looking at the horses and just communing with all the beauty God has created.  This was our first endeavor into cross country and it will definitely not be our last!  What an incredible time we had out in the forest with snow falling.  Perfect quiet.  Peace.  It still gives me chills just thinking about it.  It’s moments like these that I feel closest to my heavenly Father.

After the morning of skiing we had worked up quite an appetite so we headed up to the LMR Lodge.  The owners of the lodge and the chef are committed to working with local farmers to bring in local produce and meat for the restaurant.  At the front of the restaurant they had a framed commitment to the community farmers around them, pledging to use locally grown and raised produce and meat.  I really appreciated the information and happily without guilt dug into, some great salads, white bean and vegetable soup and pulled pork with a blueberry chipotle barbeque sauce.  I have one word… YUM!

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Mar
18

Day 5 Sleigh Ride Dinner

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (0)

So one quick phone call later I was able to find out the prime rib dinner was from locally raised, free range (aka grass fed) Montana beef.  Yippie!  The rest of the meal consisted of sauteed mushrooms, steamed vegetables, roasted potatoes, and finished with homemade cheesecake with a blueberry sauce.  All this was prepared in a cabin in the woods south of Big Sky without any electricity on an antique iron stove recovered from the railroad.  If you’re ever in Big Sky and have the opportunity to visit Lone Mountain Ranch, you’ve just got to go!!

IMG_5515IMG_5510

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Mar
15

Days 2-5

Posted by: Kristina Evans | Comments (3)

Well we’re continuing to have an amazing time in Montana!  The skiing has been amazing and we’re all having a blast!  Our last day of travel was really easy and we were able to eat the food we had brought with us (tuna sandwiches, chips, and fruit.)  Since we’ve been in Montana I’ve had some harder choices to make, after all I’m not cooking so I’m limited to what we can get here.  I’ve honestly had to lay down my worry about analyzing every ingredient in the food I’m eating, but I have set some general rules.  I’m not eating meat that I’m not assured is grown well.  That has meant that other than a bison burger, I’ve stuck with vegetarian options and fish.  I haven’t felt like I’m depriving myself, but I’ve also not forced my family to follow exactly what I’m doing.  (My kids see bacon and they all but start drooling!)  Any sauces (aka the tomato sauce in the vegetarian lasagna and salad dressings) I just bless and pretend they don’t have high fructose corn syrup in them.  Overall I think we’re making really good choices.

Tonight is the sleigh ride dinner…  we’ll see what kind of options I have there…

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