Wednesday, September 23, 2009

California Trip, Part Four: L.A., Calimesa and Beaumont

And finally, the last leg of our trip before trekking home again!

Carla and my little crew met Mike's parents in L.A. on Thursday. We met in West Hollywood to be exact, at the Schindler House. It was the architect's birthday, so we were able to tour it for free. Schindler, the architect, came to America to work for Frank Lloyd Wright and had an obvious affection for Japanese architecture. He actually lived in this home. Mike enjoyed soaking in the design. I especially loved that it was mainly unfurnished and open, so I didn't have to worry about the boys destroying any priceless antiques!

We found "our" street just a few blocks away from the house we toured. If only we could afford the houses on our street...

After the tour, we headed to Chinatown for a late lunch. It was fun to wander the area, but a little sad, because you could really tell that this economy has dampened the place. Many shops and restaurants were closed. It was fun to eat out, to try something new and be with family, but I'll admit, I have had better Chinese food here in Arizona.

At the end of lunch, we realized we would be in the thick of rush hour traffic if we started driving then. We had two choices. Sit in traffic for hours just to get out of the city or find somewhere else to visit in town for an hour or two until traffic lightened up a bit.

What would you choose?

Really, what choice is there? Of course we stayed and found something else to do. We headed for the hills and took a tour of the Griffith Observatory. They have a great museum inside as well as opportunity to view the skies through one of their telescopes, or you could view the skyline from the rooftop. This is a hidden gem in L.A., especially because it is FREE. Yes, you heard me, FREE!!

After a few hours at the observatory, we headed back to Calimesa/Beaumont to stay with the Kalanui's. Cousin time, here we come!

The boys loved playing with the kids. They played Nintendo Lego Star Wars, made cardboard forts in the front room, helped Renee make banana bread, and just enjoyed being together.

Mike and I had fun visiting and watching the kids play. Mike finally was able to "conquer the world" playing Risk with Kamuela and the girls. (Playing Risk is a family tradition and I don't think Mike considers it an official visit unless they've played at least once.)

Saturday afternoon, we said our thank you's and good bye's to our family and headed back to hot Arizona. It was a great trip, and again, an affirmation that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time with your family. We built memories for our children, and saw new things and strengthened our family bonds. What more could you ask for?

Now, for one last recipe, this one from my sister in law Renee.

Shoyu Chicken
3 lbs. chicken thighs (I prefer boneless, skinless, or if you really don't like dark meat, you can use breasts)
1 cup shoyu (soy sauce)

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup (or more, to your tastiness level) brown sugar

2 tsp. ground ginger, or if you have it, slice up 1-2 inches of fresh ginger root

Put all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil (it's ok to use chicken that's still frozen). Simmer until chicken flakes apart when prodded by a fork (about 45 min.). If the flavor was yummy and you just don't want to waste the rest of the marinade, pour it into a freezer ziploc bag and freeze it for use another time!
Note: I usually make this recipe by intuition and taste. While it's simmering (important - make sure it's been boiling awhile so you are not tasting raw chicken fluids) you can taste the marinade and add more of any ingredient at any time to adjust the flavor. It should taste terryaki-ish. Enjoy!

Thanks for following along on our little trip down memory lane!


  1. great to hear about your trip and what a clever way to do it. You are so creative. I can't wait to try the recipes. We love the beach in San Diego. We always stay longer then we think we will and how wonderful to have lots of family to stay with and get to visit with.

  2. Thanks for sharing your adventures. We live in California and close to all the areas you visited. My kids and I are going to IL to visit family for 3 weeks (leaving daddy behind). I grew up there and will definitely have to keep everyone updated on our adventures.