Appeltjes van Oranje

Learned something more about the oranges in our garden this week. Oranges don’t turn from green to orange is they are not exposed to temperatures below 60° F (15° C). However the fact that they are green doesn’t mean that they aren’t ripe or taste like the orange ‘oranges’. In many countries oranges, including The Netherlands, are treated with ethyleen gas to produce the orange color as many consumers think the fruit isn’t ripe. Being brought up in the Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands, we didn’t know any better either. Our oranges turned orange quite suddenly this week after our trip to Deer Valley and it turns out it had been quite cold in Orange County during the night (10° C) while we were gone.

Tomorrow morning there will be fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast…

Snow Canyon State Park

We visited Snow Canyon State Park during the last day of our winter vacation. Snow Canyon is near the town of St. George which is about half-way between Irvine and Deer Valley. The area not too far from Las Vegas and is riddled with national and state parks. Although we originally planned to visit Zion National Park, it turned out this park was a little too big to visit in one day. In the morning we also had to shop for Roos-Marijn as she only brought fancy shoes and snow boots to Deer Valley.. but nothing to hike or cross trails with. After a quick visit in the morning to the mall everybody was ready to enter the Snow Canyon park. The park is very beautiful and it has several lava fields that are not only pitch black but also very sharp and pointy to walk through. There is also a lot of red sand and very beautiful mountains with snow on them. We hiked for several hours before starting our final trip home…


Driving back from Deer Valley

Snow has really started to come down yesterday. We had already planned that we wouldn’t drive back in one trip but that we would spend the night in St. George, UT. With the snow however it wouldn’t have been possible any other way. St. George is about 500km from Deer Valley and we had snow for almost 400 km. Luckily most of it was down hill because Deer Valley is at 11,000 ft and St. George at 3,000 ft and the worst snow was therefore at the start of the trip.

Snow on the I15

We are planning to visit the Zion National Park today. The park is about 590 km2 and is known for its animal and plant diversity. There are about 300 species of bird and 85 species of mammal. What Mascha and the kids don’t like is that there are also 32 different reptile species in the park. However it is quite cold at the moment as it is winter and we probably won’t run into the reptiles.

Update 27/12: we are going to Snow Mountain Park instead…

Roos-Marijn in flight…

Yesterday Mascha and the girls went skiing. Roos-Marijn isn’t as much skiing as she is flying over the various jumps.  Dad this year skipped the fun because he is going to get a surgery on his shoulder in January and it is not a good idea to take a fall. Also mom was complaining about her knees and muscles after a day of skiing … it won’t be much longer before the parents won’t be able to keep up with the kids anymore.

Roos in flight

Santa is early this year…

Tonight Santa came to visit us again like he did last year and the year before that. Surprisingly he also brought exactly the presents that were high on the wish list of Alex and Roos. The #1 item this year on both their lists were Ugg boots. Santa also read everybody’s favorite Christmas story: “It was the night before Christmas.”

Tonight we also had a very nice dinner in a restaurant in Park City. It is called Wahso and they have the best appetizer: steamed buns with pork belly (essentially just bacon). Tomorrow there will be some skiing if everything goes as planned. At the moment it is snowing and if it stops by tomorrow morning it will be a wonderful day.

santa in the montage

Christmas in the Snow

Yesterday we drove to Deer Valley, Utah for a short Christmas vacation.  Deer Valley was tremendously fun experience in the last few years and Roos and Alex really enjoyed it here. There is a kids day program that they really loved: playing in the snow, arts&crafts and a little screen time as well. The drive over here is quite a long one: about 11 hours but it is worth it ! Below is a picture of the sunset while driving on I-15 in Utah. The trip from Irvine is about 1100 km but it is in three very distinct sections: 100km from Irvine to Highway I-15, 900km on Highway I-15, 100km from exit I-15 to the hotel.

Sunset in Utah

Housing up… ?

Arriving here in 2008, it felt that the housing market here in Southern-California has never really gone down; especially not in the area we have been living. The last couple of months the opposite is actually true and the market is going up again rather quickly. Below are some key statistics for the area we live in: almost 50% more homes sold than last year and sold at an average increased price of almost 15%.

Homes Sold Nov ’12 vs. Prev. Month vs. Prev. Year
# Homes Sold 86  +2.3%  +48.3%
Median Sold Price $880K  +1.3%  +14.5%
Median Sold $/SqFt. $480  +6.9%  +16.2%
% Sale to List 99.2%  +0.2% +1.6%

This one is still below what it sold for in December 2007: anybody tired of the Dutch winter and interested ?

Lexi’s kiicha house

This is my kiitcha house that I made at school.I got to bring it home today to show my parents what I did at school.I made it with things that come from nature.It was hard work but I made it all by my self.I got to make two fires in the kiicha  house  and I put pebbles in the kiicha house.I got to pick some berries and acorns and I got to put them in a pot that I made out of clay.The kiicha house was used from the Juaneño and Gabrielino native americans.It was really fun learning about the native americans and building their houses.I had a lot of fun.