we headed back to our favorite spot this week, pismo preserve. i grabbed my camera this time to capture all the beautiful views and greenery. we ride the discovery trail that is just over six miles. the last few times we have started with a climb to the picnic table to have lunch. then it is about 3 miles of climbing with some downhills, then the last few miles is all downhill. which as you can see from the last picture i had my first mountain bike crash. thankfully not the kids, and just me. wasn’t much of a crash just a tip on a burn and a slide down on loose gravel. i will be wearing long sleeves in the future. i handled it well, no tears just lots of deep breathing.
we are looking forward to our next adventure this weekend.

we are documenting a very special day. ivy finished her first chapter book. she has been reading out loud to me a few pages at a time she decided to follow big sister june’s footsteps and read the sophie mouse series. once she finished she read the first page of book 2, and there are many more to go.

we have had several adventures on our bikes since we got them for christmas. it has been the best investment for our family. we are getting outdoors, spending time together and exploring our local trails at a whole new level. we had a couple weeks (due to getting sick) where we were home bound. this last weekend we got out and pushed ourselves through and felt so much better afterwards. it was good to be back on the trails, sweating and feeling the sun on our faces. so far pismo beach reserve is our favorite. we headed back there this last monday then followed it with johnson ranch on tuesday. i decided to bring my camera along since johnson is a beginners trail, i think i’ll bring it back to pismo next time. the views there are amazing. the best part about biking in the winter is the green landscapes. something that doesn’t last very long in california. we are enjoying it while it last.

and just like that they are 15 and 7. i honestly don’t know where the time has gone. especially these last five years. they have just flown by.
they had a simple birthday. we made burgers and fries and watched sing 2. i made a yummy sourdough chocolate cake. we followed it with a couple days of mountain biking. it was a good couple days celebrating the birthday buddies.

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this christmas was more meaningful. the last five years (since i started working), we have had less adventures. balancing busy work schedules, i work weekends, jeff works weekdays leaves little time for fun. i recently took a new position working as a lactation consultant, and the hours are less and i work about five days a month. though the loss of hours leaves less money in the end, getting more time for adventures makes it 100% worth it. jeff had the idea of getting us all bikes, getting outdoors more, being out in nature. bikes have been hard to come by this year but thankfully santa came through and we all had a bike under the tree. the kids were so happy. less presents overall but everything we needed for the bikes and a lego set each for the girls. june also got the last two harry potter books to finish the series. jeff had to work in the afternoon so we went for a quick ride after a sourdough cinnamon roll breakfast. then the girls and i went out again once jeff left. it was the best feeling. the excitement of a new bike and the endorphins released from the ride. the rest of the day was spent on dinner prep and lounging on the couch re-watching downton abbey while the girls built legos. benny’s first year without a lego set! we finished the day with some chicken pot pies that i failed to photograph. on sunday we loaded the bikes on our new trailer hitch (thank you nana) and did a six mile ride. another fun day finished with left over pot pie. next weekend we hope to try out out our first mountain. it was a good christmas.

christmas eve was a day for baking. i made 80 sourdough gingerbread cookies! i shared them with our neighbor and my family. i prepped the sourdough cinnamon rolls for christmas morning and made two sourdough pizza crusts for dinner. it was all worth it and all delicious. every batch is different and thankfully it was the best pizza ever. we watched christmas vacation and opened up our pjs. everyone was so happy with their jammies. i made the girls’ bottoms this year. they love my pjs over the ones i have bought in the past. they are small enough where it is not too pricey for flannel. the rest of us got old navy.

i took the time this week to cut back my roses and clear out all the dead growth we had from our first frost a few weeks ago. it was well into november this year before we got it. it was an extra few weeks of beautiful blooms. now things look bare and sad. but all things need rest, so looking at this beautiful bouquet i picked on my birthday this year i am reminded of what it to come. underneath the gloomy days are the days where the sun shines and new growth blossoms. and behind the gloomy days are days filled with beauty and light.

the easiest and fastest way for us to get into the christmas spirit is to make yummy treats. last year i tried making our own version of gingerbread cookies, a version that was enjoyed by all and matched our style of eating. this egg free, refined sugar free and fermented version is quite the tasty treat. i always feel a sense of accomplishment when i am able to find a recipe and tweak it enough so juniper and i can enjoy it. then i always wonder why i don’t make them year round. because these treats have some nutritional benefits as well.
what are the benefits you may ask? well, let me share with you. blackstrap molasses is good for bone health, rich in potassium and iron, maintains cardiovascular health, prevents cancers, helps with menstrual cramps, and supports healthy skin and hair. that along with the benefits of sourdough; digestive health, provides healthy gut bacteria, and the gluten is broken down. i feel pretty good letting my kids and myself enjoy them.
i included the recipe below so i don’t forget how to make them next year.

recipe for sourdough gingerbread cookies
3/4 cup softened butter
1/2 cup sucanat (i also add a dash of maple syrup)
1 TB flax mixed with water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sourdough starter

2-2 1/4 cup flour (add until not too sticky)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp clove powder

you can add more spices to your liking

mix butter and sucanat then add remainder of wet ingredients. when wet ingredients are well mixed add the dry ingredients slowly. when dough not sticky flatten a bit on parchment and wrap up tightly. i ferment in fridge over night. bake 15-17 minutes at 325 degrees. depending on oven could be more or less.

i started this blog when she was in my tummy. it’s crazy to believe she is now 9! though there have been many months and even years that i have not posted or shared images, we have certainly enjoyed every moment spent with juniper. she is the best sister, most beautiful daughter, an amazing dancer, inspiring seamstress, and exceptional reader. hence, the first three books of harry potter were on the top her birthday list. and here i am, not even a month after her birthday, writing this post. she has completed all three of them! she is onto the fourth one and loving the magical world of harry potter.

i made her a flower crown that wasn’t the best, but she was a good sport for me and wore it anyways.


my bookclub read mexican gothic this go around. I haven’t hosted in a few years. i was a little nervous hosting such a big group at my house as the book has grown in the last few years. but it all worked out. we gathered in my little garden and had a fun and spooky time. the book wasn’t loved by most of us and we had a fun time discussing some of the more comical and non-believable parts of it. i am looking fun to the next one. the food and company always make it a good time.