A Weekend Roadtrip to Lancaster, California

This post is part of a paid partnership with Destination Lancaster. As always, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for your support!

At the end of February, I went to the LA Travel & Adventure show. It was huge and I talked to so many different destinations! When I got to Lancaster, California’s booth, I said, “Lancaster! Tell me about Lancaster!” As far as I knew, it was a city on a freeway sign. I’d never been inland that way, and I was excited to learn about what Lancaster had to offer.

LA County Air Show

As it turns out, Lockheed Martin was gearing up for the LA County Air Show in March. Both of my grandpas are pilots and so is my dad, so I have been to my fair share of air shows. This one was excellent! The announcer was engaging and the show moved really quickly and kept your attention. The wind was freezing, but thanks to the lovely VIP tent we were able to stay warm. It’s ironic because they were talking about changing the date of the air show because last year was burning hot! I would much rather have cold weather than hot though and am glad I brought my eskimo jacket. I was in awe of the talented pilots flying in those strong winds!

The Musical Road

There is a musical road in Lancaster that is so entertaining! Check out our video of it below. It was built for a Honda Civic commercial and the grooves in the road make it sound like a song is playing in your car. The kids loved it and asked every day if we could drive on it. It’s supposed to be the William Tell Overture aka the theme from Bonanza, but it’s a little off key. Still super unique and fun!

We ate dinner at Gino’s Italian Restaurant and had some of the best lasagna and spaghetti we’ve ever eaten! There was an excellent live musician and Junie was feeling the music (she was free entertainment for our whole section). It definitely has a family vibe and there were plenty of other children there. We were very pleasantly surprised by this gem tucked away in a strip mall.

The BLVD

The BLVD is a portion of downtown Lancaster where you will find restaurants, bakeries, candy shops, stores, and museums. It is paved with bricks and you will find beautiful murals peeking out around every street corner. They have a Farmers Market there on Thursday evenings.

MOAH Lancaster

I love art museums and so we made sure to stop by the MOAH Lancaster. The exhibits were lovely and unique; each one of us had a different favorite piece. I love hearing what my children think that paintings and sculptures mean. Outside of the museum was one of the beautiful murals in the cultural BLVD district.

We had a lovely getaway to Lancaster, a hidden gem of a town in the California desert. We love exploring this multi-faceted state of ours as a family and hope this inspires you to do the same!

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin

This post is not sponsored in any way! This is just me sharing something I’m passionate about with you. It does contain affiliate links, though, so if you click on any of them and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission to help keep my blogging business alive. Thank you!

If you are a friend or family member of mine, it’s highly likely that I have already talked your ear off about The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin! I’ve probably made you take her quiz too! I’m a little obsessed. Gretchen Rubin is a researcher who studies happiness and habits and creator of the Four Tendencies framework. It is absolutely fascinating to me! I love learning about why people do the things they do.

The Four Tendencies

She breaks people’s personalities into four different types:

  1. The Upholder – they always do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. They get annoyed with people that can’t keep themselves accountable and can sometimes be too rigid in their ways. They have no problem meeting inner and outer expectations.
  2. The Obliger – this is the most common tendency. Obligers can be accountable to others but not to themselves. If someone is meeting them at the gym, for instance, they will show up because of the other person’s expectation of them. If they told themselves they wanted to go to the gym on their own, they might be less likely to go.
  3. The Questioner – pretty self explanatory :) They question everything and the why behind doing things.
  4. The Rebel – “You can’t make me do it, and neither can I.” The least common tendency. Rebels do everything from a deep sense of self. They work hard, etc. because that’s the kind of person they are. They like to be bound as little as possible and wake up every morning thinking, “What do I want to do today?” When someone tells them to do something, they often want to do the exact opposite.

Take the Quiz

To see which tendency you are, take Gretchen’s quiz here.

I am a REBEL! So is my mom, dad, and sister. My brother is the lone QUESTIONER in the family. I’m married to an OBLIGER which is who us Rebels are most compatible with.

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LG Twin Wash at Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.LG TwinWash Washers and dryers laundry Family Kara in the Kitchen.com Best BuyWith LG’s TwinWash system, you have everything you could ever want!

LG TwinWash at Best Buy

The LG TwinWash system has a large front loader with a small washer in the pedestal. What a genius use of space! I love that you can wash something in the small pedestal washer at the same time as the front loader up top! These were definitely designed with active, busy families in mind. I’m not surprised that LG washers and dryers are chosen over other brands by most consumers!

We are in the stage of parenting where potty training is right around the corner for our youngest. I can’t tell you how handy the LG SideKick pedestal washer would have been during the potty training years with Ada & Lola! When those accidents happen, being able to throw the wet clothes into the wash immediately without wasting water would be a lifesaver. I also think using it for our workout clothes right after a sweaty workout would be perfect! No more sitting in the hamper (gross) until I get to them.

Electric and gas options

Our house was built in 1965 and is predominately electric. It was all the rage back the! We had a seal on the doorbell that said, “Happy families run on electricity” or something like that.

Our washer and dryer are electric and came with the house, so who knows how old they are! They’re noisy and I can’t wait for the day that we can get a new LG washer and dryer. My mom was over the other night while I was washing a small area rug and we heard all of this noise and ruckus coming from the laundry room! She asked what it was and I said, “Oh probably just my husband banging around in the garage.” Turns out my husband was outside and it was the washer rattling around with the rug in it! Like I said, I can’t wait until we can get a new LG laundry system in there! One home project at a time :)  

Check out LG’s incredible products here and remember that through April 25th you can get up to $500 off a LG laundry solution for your home!

New Year, New Me With wanu water

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearNewWater #CollectiveBiasIn 2018, I’ve made a conscious decision to take better care of myself. Namely, working out more often and eating better. I’ve lost 8-9 pounds (depending on the day) and feel so much better physically. This means I’ve been drinking much less of my beloved soda! It’s been hard to change my habits, but I’ve found that replacing soda with flavored waters helps. wanu water is WAter + NUtrients, get it? It has ZERO sugar, five naturally sweetened flavors, 10 essential nutrients, and only 10 calories per serving. wanu water has the essential nutrients B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, K, folic acid, biotin, fiber, and antioxidant vitamin E. Fiber helps you feel fuller longer which is great for your appetite. B vitamins are a natural source of energy, which I definitely need! On top of all of that goodness, wanu water is gluten free and vegan. I tried out the flavors Peach Passion, Kiwi Cucumber, and Watermelon Raspberry. I think Peach Passion is my favorite :)

As you can see, I’m finding my zen to breathe through those killer lower ab workouts! 

HIIT

As a busy mom of three, I have found that HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are my best friend. I can quickly get my heart rate up and burn lots of calories. They don’t take much equipment (if any) and I can squeeze in a sweat session anytime I have a 15 minute block of time.

HIIT Workout

Here is one of my favorite HIIT workouts, feel free to pin it, save to your phone, or print it out!

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A Family Vacation in Carmel, California

We were hosted by the Hofsas House Hotel on our wonderful trip. All opinions are 100% mine. 

We LOVE to travel as a family! We’re one of those multigenerational traveling families. We bring my mom along because she’s the best and have such a fun time! I’m always grateful for another adult to help with our three daughters. Our last vacation was a road trip up to Carmel, California, the most perfect little beach town there ever was.

Lafayette Bakery

Multi Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel CaliforniaWe have fallen in love with Lafayette Bakery, an authentic French bakery and bistro. Just look at the pictures to see why. They have every kind of French pastry or bread that you could ever want!Multi Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel CaliforniaMulti Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel CaliforniaMulti Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel California

Hofsas House Hotel

Our home base for our trip was the Hofsas House Hotel. Families, especially if you’re traveling with little ones, you have to check this hotel out! It is charming, warm, and inviting.Multi Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel CaliforniaMulti Generational Family Travel Trip to Carmel California

They have family suites with separate rooms so that baby can take a nap or kids can go to sleep earlier than the adults. Then the grown ups can do puzzles! We bought this one at Thomas Kinkade’s gallery and it was so much fun to do. Poor Ada & Lola thought it was for them! My mom and I are puzzle obsessed.

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The Greatest Showman Movie Review

Hollywood, keep the musical movies coming!

Matt and I love musicals. We adored La La Land and left the movie theater dancing and singing, playing the soundtrack the minute we got home. When we went with my mom to see The Greatest Showman the other night, we were so excited to see what the writers from La La Land came up with.

Spoilers below! Stop here if you don’t want parts of the movie revealed.

The Greatest Showman Movie Review - karainthekitchen.com

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Essential Thanksgiving Tools From OXO

This post is brought to you by OXO! I was given product to use for my Thanksgiving feast from a brand I adore. Thank you, OXO!

The past three times we have cooked a turkey, we have used Alton Brown’s recipe. It calls for brining the bird and then roasting it. Every time, we have been blown away by how juicy and delicious it is! A necessary tool for cooking a turkey to perfection is a meat thermometer. This came in handy since he-who-shall-not-be-named left our other digital thermometer outside on the barbecue pit ;) OXO’s Instant Read Thermometer provides quick and accurate temperature readings for cooked meat. The rotating and pivoting head allows you to read the temperature from any angle. A turkey should be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, so this bird was not quite ready yet.

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How to Ensure that Open Enrollment Works for You

Thank you Dignity Health for sponsoring this post. Enroll in humankindness.

If you’re anything like me, you tend to shy away from thinking about or dealing with insurance and healthcare. It can be confusing and overwhelming! As the main caretaker of my children, it is a necessity that I know what my children’s health provider options are and which plan I should be going with. Terms like open enrollment, premium, and deductible can make your head spin! With a little bit of insight, though, you can see that Open Enrollment is a great time to make your family’s quality of life better.

Over 22% of people said that they spent less than an hour on selecting their healthcare plan and providers! 65% of millennials said that they wish they would have spent more time making their selections. Don’t be in that boat – get informed and make educated decisions.

For the most part, I think that I was pretty prepared to be a mother. I’m the oldest child in my family and the oldest of all of my cousins. I have always loved babies and grew up babysitting to make extra money. I had my CPR certification, First Aid binder, crayons and activities for the kids, and treats for when they were good. I read all of the Dr. Sears and What to Expect books. In my almost 8 years of being a mother, not much has been a surprise when it comes to parenting.

The one thing I didn’t plan for? How much time would be spent at doctor’s offices! I can’t tell you new mothers how many appointments you will have throughout your pregnancy and how many babies have. They have check-ups and vaccinations every few weeks. And that’s when they’re healthy! Plan for their first illnesses, unexpected febrile seizures (so scary), and first tumbles resulting in broken bones to be on your way to the doctor’s office. We’ve been fortunate in that Lola, at 6 years old, was our first broken bone in the family. The joys of being a mother: one child getting a cast and the other throwing a tantrum on the floor! There’s another thing to look for – a doctor’s office with a clean floor :)

All of this to say, it is crucial that you choose a doctor that you love! You will be spending so much time talking with their office on the phone, waiting in the waiting room, and taking your children in for check-ups. Most Californians don’t prioritize their doctors when choosing their insurance plan. Meaning that they choose a plan, and then look for a doctor in that network. I would recommend finding a doctor that you like, and then seeing which insurance plan they work with.

For me, the best way to find a good doctor is to ask other parents who they use. During open enrollment is your time to find the insurance plan and doctors that work best for your entire family. For us personally, we like the Health Savings Plan route. We have a separate debit card that is loaded with our pre-tax dollars to use strictly for medical expenses. I pay our family’s copays at doctor appointments, prescriptions, and chiropractic adjustments with that card. It helps us keep track of medical expenses and I like having it separate from everything else.

I would ask trusted friends for recommendations if you are looking for new medical providers. Then you have a better chance of finding one you like. Sometimes people like different things, and you may end up switching after a few visits. For this reason, I like going to a practice where there are multiple doctors. That way, you can schedule your appointments with the one you get along with best. For us, trial and error has given us the experience to know that we like the Health Savings Plan for our insurance plan. Find what works for you, then make your selections during Open Enrollment to ensure a happy, healthy year for your whole family.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

This post was sponsored by S&W Beans and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.On the beautiful Central Coast of California, we have heat waves in the fall. While everyone else is celebrating Autumn with turning leaves and pumpkin spice everything, we are having beach weather! I never want to turn on my oven on these hot days, so I want to share one of my favorite salad recipes with you. This has been on our family’s dinner menu rotation for years and it never fails to please. I serve it with some bread and butter and it makes for the perfect dinner on a hot Indian Summer day!  I have two ways to make this salad easier at dinnertime. 1. Use a rotisserie chicken 2. Wash and prep all of the ingredients early in the day and pop them in the fridge. I try and get it done during June’s nap time and it makes dinnertime a breeze!  The black beans and chicken give you lots of protein and make this a very hearty, filling salad. S&W Beans have so many different varieties of beans to add to your salads! They have all organic, 50% less sodium, and chili style which have onion and spices included. I have tried buying off-brand beans and have been so disappointed by them. There’s nothing like opening up a can of beans, pouring them into the strainer to rinse, and having them fall apart under the water. It feels like such a rip off! With S&W, there is none of that business. Their beans look great AND taste great! They’ve been doing this for over 120 years, so I guess you could say that they’ve got it down to a science. Here is the recipe, below. Scroll to the bottom of the post if you’d like an S&W Beans coupon!

BBQ Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • cheddar cheese, shredded
  • tortilla chips, crushed
  • Ranch dressing
Instructions
  1. Stir cubed chicken in with the BBQ sauce until coated, set aside.
  2. Toss together the lettuce, cilantro, green onions, corn, beans, and chopped veggies.
  3. Top with chicken, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips. Drizzle ranch dressing over salad and enjoy!

Now through 12/31/2017 S&W Beans is offering $1 off 2 cans of S&W Beans. Get (and print) your coupon from the S&W Beans website here: S&W Beans Coupon

A Home of Our Own

Hello! It’s been so long since I’ve posted on the blog, and this is why! We bought our first house!!

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It was a crazy whirlwind and we are so happy to be where we are.

It all started when our landlord sent us a letter saying that he was upping our rent by $200/month. We were thinking, “Okay, this is ridiculous for a 3 bedroom house. We could be paying a mortgage on our own home instead of rent with that money!” So I messaged my buddy Pat who is a realtor and told him we were on the hunt for a home. He set up the MLS for us and I checked it like a crazy person on the daily for new listings.

We looked at a handful of houses, but nothing felt right. We looked at one house that was clean and beautiful but as we pulled up, Pat said the selling realtor just texted him saying that they had an accepted offer. On a house that had been put on the market THAT MORNING! Needless to say, the housing market was/is crazy here. While walking out of the house, Pat saw that I had bird poop on my shoulder! I totally got pooped on when I was walking into the house. I said, “Hey! It’s good luck! It means we’ll find a house!” as Matt wiped it out of my hair with a baby wipe :)

Our landlord was not sympathetic at all to our search. We were upfront with him and let him know we were looking, but he wouldn’t let us go on a month-to-month lease. Even though we’d lived there for 2 years and were great tenants. He wanted us to sign a year lease, then if we found a house, he would charge us a fee to break the lease. $$$ We went back and forth and he wouldn’t budge.

In the end, it turned out that if he had waited ONE DAY, we wouldn’t have had to pay a fee. But, we felt like we did the right thing by signing a year lease like he wanted. If we had a crystal ball, we wouldn’t have, but I believe in doing the right thing, putting good in, and getting good out of life.

It was so stressful not knowing if we’d have a place to live the next month or have to move out without an accepted offer on a house! Usually, I am the confident and calm one. This was not one of those times! I felt so frustrated by everything happening, it felt like we would never be able to buy our own house and like we’d forever be paying money to greedy landlords. Matt was so sure and just kept saying, “It’s all going to work out. I just have this feeling that we don’t have to worry and we will be okay.” It was one of those times in our marriage where I had to lean on his faith to carry me through!

My grandpa called me one morning and said that his friend down the street had put his house on the market. I got so excited and told Pat right away that we wanted to go see it! We went on the day it was listed and already 4 people had looked at it. The minute we walked in, we knew it was the one. Matt didn’t even go upstairs! He knew, and I knew. So, we put an offer in the next day.

My cousin in San Diego told me about how she wrote a letter with a picture of their family to give the sellers with their offer. It got them the house! So, I did the same. I wrote a letter talking about how I lived on this street for a year as a child and have such fond memories here, how perfect this house would be for us, and put our family picture on it. I sent it to my sister who worked her magic and worded everything perfectly.

Long story short, our offer was accepted!! There was some back and forth with termite damage, repairs, etc. but Pat was awesome and handled all of it. If you are local and in the market, he is your guy! He answered all of our questions and walked us through every part of the very new process of buying a house.

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We spent our summer scraping popcorn off ceilings, retexturing, painting, ripping up carpet, laying self-leveling cement & laminate, and having carpet installed. We are at the point where we are moved in, living day to day life, but still have boxes to unpack. And a long list of things that still need to be done on the house :) We are chipping away little by little as we can on those projects and it’s coming together beautifully! It’s a 5 bedroom which means that Matt has his own home office, and we have room to rearrange bedroom situations down the road if we want to.

We are so grateful. Grateful to be in a home that our daughters will grow up in; a home of our own. Grateful for all of the support and love given to us by family and friends. I called this summer “Nonnie Day Camp” because my girls spent so many days with my mom so that I could work on the house! We had so much help with the renovations, moving in, and getting settled. We are a 3 minute drive to the girls’ school and less than a mile from my mom’s house. We love that our girls can ride their bikes up the street to go see their great-grandparents. Such a blessing!