Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Whaley House

In honor of Halloween being right around the corner, Rick and I decided to do some fun activities to get us in the spirit. We had to start our evening with going to the pumpkin patch. After enjoying some cotton candy and finding the perfect pumpkin friends to take home we headed to Old Town to go to the Whaley House.

The Whaley House is a popular tourist attraction and happens to be a recognized haunted house. We paid for our tickets for our guided tour and headed in with our group. The tour itself was cool, the guides were in period clothing and told us the stories of the Whaley family and their house, they also told us about some of the sightings and experiences people have had there.

Mr. Whaley purchased the house in the late 1800's despite the fact that the property was once used as a gallows. They say that the house itself is haunted by one of the men that was hung at the gallows (Mr. Whaley was present for the hanging). The man was 6ft tall, which is very tall for back then, they didn't account for his extreme height when setting up the gallows and he suffocated for 6 minutes. They say his footsteps are heard roaming the halls upstairs. We were also told the tragic stories of some of the Whaley Family, including the death of their grandaughter who ingested an arsenic "cake" that was meant to help with the ant problem when she was 3, and the story of Violet Whaley (a daughter of the family) who commited suicide. Despite all the tragedy surrounding the family and the house, it also had a lot of other history for San Diego county as well. It held a court house, a general store, and a theater upstairs that some how managed to seat 150 people!

It was an interesting experience for sure, and was something that I was always too scared to do. The tour really wasn't all that scary, largely in part to the fact that we were in a good size group, and had tour guides. However I definitely wouldn't want to be in that place under any other circumstances.

The Parlor Room, which has the couch that Violet Whaley died on after Mr. Whaley discovered that she shot herself in the chest outside and carried her inside to that couch.

The Court Room, which is where the gallows used to be. This room was also used as a morgue. Notice the strange "lines" above the chair-- that is exactly the type of thing that they have on their display board of photos taken inside the house.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cowles Mountain

One of our favorite things to do is to spend time outside, especially going on hikes. However a lot of times Rick and I will go walking at Lake Murray. It's one of our favorite places... a nice easy walk, and there are lots of ducks there that we feed. As much as we love it though I thought it'd be good to challenge ourselves a bit and to go on some "new" hikes.

So today we decided to tackle Cowles Mountain. It is part of Mission Trails (so is lake murray), and is a very popular trail. I've heard a lot of my co-workers talk about it, and after looking it up online I decided it'd be a fun one to try. Although we left pretty early for our hike it was warm, almost bordering on hot. And while I'm not a stellar athlete by any means, I do consider myself to be in pretty decent shape. This hike was just what I was looking for. I actually found it to be challenging. The trail was nice thanks to the amount of traffic it gets. But the hike was all up hill and with the sun beating down felt a bit intense. I'm proud to say we made it all the way to the top 1,500 ft high. It was obvious that the view would have been amazing, had there not been so much haze from a nearby fire. We were able to see the immidate surrounding area well, including Lake Murray. We had a hazy view of downtown San Diego in the distance, and couldn't see much beyond that do to the smoke.

All in all it was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and we both feel like we got a nice workout. Here's hoping that I'll be sore tomorrow :)

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

I've been going through a bit of a pumpkin phase lately now that fall is here (is there such a thing as fall in San Diego though???). I LOVE pumpkin spice lattes! And I bought a bag of pumpkin spice hershey kisses too! So when I found this recipe online I had to give it a chance. I know it sounds like an interesting combination, but I didn't let that scare me away.

I made this for dinner last night, and although our weather isn't exactly "chili weather" at the moment Rick and I both enjoyed this! The pumpkin flavor was there, but it was very subtle. While we both agreed that we prefer the other chili recipe I use, this one will for sure be a keeper. We finished every last bite! Which is always a good sign :)

The changes I made to this recipe were to use pumpkin pie filling instead of pumpkin puree as I couldn't find any at the store. I also added some beans and cumin as those are pretty essential to chili. I added one can of chicken broth, which I feel is necessary. Although chili is meant to be thick and hearty it probably would have been too thick without the chicken broth.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and saute the onion, green bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and garlic until tender. Stir in the turkey, and cook until evenly brown. Drain, and mix in tomatoes and pumpkin. Season with chili powder, pepper, and salt. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Serve topped with Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Nutritional Information
Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 303

  • Total Fat: 18.1g
  • Cholesterol: 76mg
  • Sodium: 336mg
  • Total Carbs: 14.9g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.7g
  • Protein: 21.3g

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tennis anyone???

Rick and I moved into our condo this spring, and ever since he's always wanted us to take advantage of the tennis courts in our little community. I played tennis for a few months in high school for my p.e. class, but other than that I've had no experience with the game. I kept putting it off, and putting it off. We'd decide in the morning that today would be the day we'd play, but by days end I'd have an excuse.

However thanks to my handy list I was inspired to make plans with my hubby and to keep them. So once a week we'd play tennis. It'd be after a long day of work, and I gotta admit that there was a time or two that I for sure didn't feel like playing. But my list kept me motivated, and I'd suck it up and play.

I love it. Sure, I'm not that good still. Although I have improved since we first started. I actually can make contact with the ball and Rick and I can volley back and forth for a few minutes. I definitely have a long way to go, but like the saying goes "practice makes perfect". Even though this is one more task completed off of my list, I feel strongly that this will be a new hobby for Rick and me. While we may not play every week I am sure we will be getting much more use out of those tennis courts than we would have before. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

#99 Coach Sunglasses!!!!

So I've never been one who is really into labels. I usually don't treat myself to anything super crazy, usually a book or clothes from forever 21. But I thought it'd be fun to splurge a bit and get myself a nice pair of Coach sunglasses. I've NEVER spent a lot of money on sunglasses in the past. Usually just a cheap pair from the mall. The last pair of sunglasses I had my mom gave to me. I'm not sure where she got them from, but I loved them. However they broke in my backpack on our way home from our honeymoon (I guess I should count my blessings and be glad that they did not break on our trip there!).

Over the summer Rick and I went to the Coach outlet with my parents before lunch. I was just browsing and spotted a really cute pair that were just my style (they had pink rhinestones!). It was love at first sight. Unfortunately they were close to $100 and I just didn't have the money for it. It was a bit of a struggle for me. I used to just whip out a credit card like it was nothing. But since Rick and I have been together I have completely turned those old habits around. We don't use credit cards (and the balances I did have are all paid off! Woo Hoo!!!), if there is something that we want we save for it and pay for it in cash. So with a bit of a pout face I walked out of the store and said goodbye to those fabulous shades.

Fast forward to now... I've saved my "blow fund" (which is essentially our "allowance" that we get each paycheck to blow on whatever we'd like) for a whole month. As we made the trip to the outlet I couldn't help but wonder if they'd still be there. I actually started planning for what I'd spend my money on if they weren't so that I wouldn't be too disappointed. So we walk into the store, and I head directly to where the table was at. And there they were! My cute sunglasses...waiting for me... and ON SALE! I got them for a steal at $79 plus tax. They came with a nice case as well, and I'll for sure make good use of it to keep them safe. It just goes to show that there is nothing wrong with a little patience. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Spicy Orange Beef

One of my favorite things on my list is to try 15 new recipes. This won't be too hard for me, as I usually make at least one new recipe a month. I am looking to try things though that are a little bit out of the norm for day I hope to even attempt sushi!

I found a recipe at (which is the BEST place to find recipes online, in my opinion) for Spicy Orange Beef. I made this yesterday for dinner and it was actually very tasty. The only adjustments I made were to not use orange zest (it's already in the orange marmalade) and to add frozen brocolli and fresh carrots to the beef mixture. I served it over brown rice. Yum! I'd easily rate this recipe 4 out of 5.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound round steak, cut into thin strips on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup orange peel, cut into slivers
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake


  1. In a wok or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef strips 1/3 at a time. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until browned, removing the done pieces to a plate lined with paper towels.
  2. Return all the beef to the wok. Stir in orange peel, garlic, and ginger; stir-fry 1 minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, sherry, marmalade, and red pepper. Pour this mixture into the beef, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information
Spicy Orange Beef

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving

Calories: 397

  • Total Fat: 22.3g
  • Cholesterol: 73mg
  • Sodium: 1276mg
  • Total Carbs: 22.8g
  • Dietary Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 24.7g

Saturday, October 3, 2009

My first completed task...


I can not tell you how happy I am to have this done, and so soon! Since moving into our condo back in the spring I've had to suffer without an oven. The stove top has worked just fine, and for most people going without an oven probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal. While we've managed ok without it, I can't even count how many times I've wished it worked. I've missed making enchiladas and casseroles, and I have not been able to spoil my hubby with yummy baked goods.

I can't take the credit for the completion of this task at all. I was pretty much just the one to get the ball rolling with it. After talking to my parents about our oven situation I was able to arrange for my dad to come and help Rick figure out what the problem was. On my hubby's day off he and my dad spent all day trying to figure it out. Finally they figured out that a part had gone bad, and so they replaced it.

Now my days of being an ovenless bride are over! Woo Hoo!!!!