Home Sweet Home

Happy February everyone!

It’s been a while and my little family has been busy! After what seemed like FOREVER, we sold our home and moved to a horse ranch.The whole thing was not without drama/bank shenanigans (seriously, it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong), but we finally had our moving day on the weekend of the 21st.

I’m beyond excited and can’t believe that I get to wake up there every day! In fact, my horse was out in one of the pastures for a few days, and he ran alongside my car when I left for work… it was the most surreal experience! I can’t believe this is my life now!


Now that the drama of the move is over, we’re getting settled in.


We absolutely love the home and the property! I can’t wait to make so many memories here and to spend every extra minute I can riding! The pups have a huge back yard and are loving running around and barking at the horses. Life is so dang good!


5th Anniversary “Road Trip”

Yes, I know it’s been forever. Life has been busy, and blogging has been at the bottom of the list.

Each year, in lieu of gifts for each other, Mike and I go on an adventure to celebrate our anniversary. We like the idea of having an experience together as a reminder of why we got married and why we stay married. We still kinda like each other.

This year was no different – we drove down to Springville where our good friends Chris and Kassie live. We spent the night at Kassie’s family’s ranch – a working roping ranch. It was so much fun to watch the cowboys (and girls!) practice their team roping – so different than the cow work we do! The adventure this year was to spend a few days at their cabin in the woods… like REALLY in the woods. In fact, there are three ways to get there: horseback, hiking, or helicopter. The boys chose to hike in (10 miles!) and since that long of a hike and riding are out of the question, I got to take my first ever helicopter ride with Kassie.

The chopper landed at the ranch and before I even had time to get nervous, we were in the air!img_1624


Our pilot was amazing and talked me through everything. The cool thing about helicopters is that you don’t feel a lot of the pressure that you do on planes (you know, that roller coaster feeling in your belly). Instead, it’s just kind of like floating.

About 20 minutes later, we landed at 9,000 feet at the cabin and got to work setting everything up. The boys showed up a few hours later. The cabin has running water (plumbed from a nearby stream) and a generator to provide electricity. We used the various fireplaces to keep warm. It was so much fun to literally be out in the middle of nowhere!

The first full day there we went on a hike as a group. I was a little nervous about my knee, but it held out really well. I used trekking poles and took it nice and slow. We ended up at these beautiful lakes where we hung out, ate lunch, and watched a storm roll in.




Almost every day we would do some sort of outdoors activity in the morning, come home for lunch, and nap in the afternoon. It was so relaxing!

On one of the last days there, Kassie and I decided to go stream fishing – something I’d never done! My daddy would be proud – I baited my own hook (worms), handled the fish I caught (four golden trout), and even cleaned one I couldn’t save when Kassie decided to eat it! It was so peaceful and beautiful out on the stream! We were proud of ourselves on our girls fishing trip!



This was such a wonderful trip! There was so much time to just hang out and it was amazing to be where there was no phone, no cell service, no internet!

In Memorium: Father George Thomas

Yesterday the world lost a really cool guy – Father George Thomas. He’s been a friend of the Blankenheim family for years and a regular at our family barbecues, holidays, and events. Mike and I were blessed to have him marry us back in 2011.


He was a wonderful man who gave his life to the church, serving as a priest for over 60 years. His little whistle always caught your attention. He had a great sense of humor and loved to just hang out.

Father George, you will be missed – thank you for everything! Requiem aeternam.

Merry Christmas!

We spent Christmas Eve with Mike’s side of the family. The normal tradition is Mass, followed by presents at Grandma’s, then presents at his parents. This year was a little bit different – we had some snow and a county-wide power outage, so Mass ended up being cancelled. We headed over to Grandma’s for the traditional hors d’oeuvres and presents. Here’s Grandma’s beautiful tree:

Christmas Eve 2015 (3)

And of course, some of my favorite Blankenheims:

Then we headed over to Mike’s parents house for more presents and one of my favorite traditions, wrapping paper wars. Everyone opens, balls up their wrapping paper, and then it’s all out war!

Christmas Eve 2015 (1)

Christmas morning is always fun for me… Shadow has always known what’s up and absolutely loves opening his presents. This year was no different, however, now we’ve added Brady to the mix. He’s not as enthusiastic about opening presents the way Shadow is, but he sure did love playing with his tennis balls once we helped him get them open!

We spent Christmas Day with my side of the family.

Our gift to the kids (along with Mama and Daddy) was a playhouse… the kids loved it!

Kati and Nate hosted this year and made some delicious prime rib (and even better au jus Nate!). Chloe even got to have some quality story time with Oma and Grandpa:


And, of course, no Christmas is complete without a visit with your horse. He’s already torn two holes in his blanket (which was his Christmas present), so I’d say it’s a hit.

IMG_7883 R

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Behind The Cellar Door

This past weekend Mike and I attended the Amador Vintners “Behind the Cellar Door” event. As we do every year, we rented one of those big white vans and had someone as the designated driver… they ONLY way to go in my humble opinion!

Mike & I
Mike & I at Young’s Vineyard

We ended up at nine different vineyards: Sierra Ridge, Drytown Cellars, Young’s Vineyard, Terra d’Oro, Cooper Vineyards, Karmère Vineyards, Shenandoah Vineyards, Dobra Zemlja, and Borjon. I will say that after NINE stops, I had to go home and lay down… there is only so much wine a girl can drink! It was a blast!

A Most Excellent Day

Today is my 34th birthday… I can’t believe how quickly time goes by! Wow, how old does that make me sound?!

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how important spending time with the people I love is… and that’s what my whole day was about. I spent the morning with my awesome hubby getting our old truck sold, then headed out to go riding with my niece Katie. Her birthday was a while back and we’ve been waiting for good weather to go riding (that was our gift). Today was the big day… and it was a blast!

Katie & Missy
Katie & Missy
Katie & I Riding
Katie & I Riding

Finally, I ended the night with my CERT friends… the coordinator team met up for an end of year dinner at Chevy’s. They surprised me with the whole sombrero/singing thing (honestly surprised… the waiter slapped it on my head from behind and scared the crap out of me!) and it was great to just share a meal together.

Tomorrow the festivities continue (I always seem to have more of a birthday week!) with a pizza oven extravaganza, after I ride with my sister (because it’s not a good day if I don’t get to ride!). Life is pretty darned good… here’s to enjoying every minute between now and 35!

Birds of Prey

A while back my mom and I took advantage of a Groupon to take a falconry lesson. We had a blast and for my parents’ birthday, my mom decided to take my dad. I wanted to go again, but due to our crazy busy lives, we didn’t get around to it until this weekend. 

Falconry (for those of you wondering) is hunting with a trained bird of prey. It dates way back to 2000 BC and was super popular in medieval Europe. 

We headed out to West Coast Falconry, in Marysville, bright an early. As with the first lesson we took, it was a blast. Jana and Shawna were our instructors and provide just the right mix of educational information and fun. They taught us the basics and then everyone had the opportunity to call and send the bird. 

Dad Calling Diego
Dad Calling Diego
Don Diego Alejandro Santiago Saragossa Inigo Montoya Del Gato
Don Diego Alejandro Santiago Saragossa Inigo Montoya Del Gato

After that, they taught us a little more about how you actually train a bird of prey… after all, if I took my cute little budgies outside right now, I doubt I’d ever see them again. There’s definitely a lot that goes into training, including focusing on the birds natural instinct and prey drive. The whole process really is fascinating, and at the end we got to pose with the birds:

Me & Diego
Me & Diego

If you’re at all interested in learning more about falconry or taking your family out for a fun event (the basic class is only about an hour long), I definitely recommend West Coast Falconry! 

Newport Beach Fish-a-Palooza

The past week was the annual Blankenheim Newport Vacation. We co-own a boat with my brother- and sister-in-law, and have started a tradition of spending a week or so in Newport Beach each summer (my husband and his brother went to college down there and lived on Newport Beach).

I headed into the trip with a heck of a head cold… because that’s how I roll. The very first day, the guys went out fishing, but the girls/kids stayed on shore. I did a bit of napping and then hit the beach. My niece Katie is a serious beach girl… the two of us probably spent more time in the water than we did on land! The hotel we stay at is fantastic – one of the perks is they loan you boogie boards and beach stuff, so you have tons of options. We have become expert boogie boarders… I have the sunburn to prove it!

Then main goal the boys had this trip was to catch a shark. I must say, they were (mostly) well prepared. They found the spots the sharks were at (saw them with my own eyes), they had the right bait (caught my share of mackerel), and they had the right equipment… sort of. They were definitely catching them (mostly thresher sharks, which scare the crap out of me), but ran out of the metal leaders. This is a very important thing because threshers use their gigantic tails to slap at their prey – the fishing line in this case.

On our last full day there, we got up early (well, at the same time we did every other day – 4:30am so that we could get on the water) and headed over to Catalina Island. It was a beautiful boat ride over… we saw all sorts of cool marine life – flying fish, dolphins, seals, sharks (mako sharks, we think), and mola (very cool, prehistoric looking creatures). My favorite part of the journey over was the dolphins. I am not exaggerating when I say there were probably hundreds of dolphins swimming around our boat. We found a pod that was feeding, so there was much breaching of the water. They chased our boat, played in our wake, and lead the way. It was absolutely breath-taking to see. I took pictures, but they don’t come close to capturing how amazing it was to be there.


Once we got to the island, we got serious about fishing. I caught the biggest fish I’d ever caught in my life… a roughly 15 pound yellowtail. I have not done a ton of ocean fishing, and when I have, I haven’t caught anything really big. This one was amazing… I was letting my line out when I suddenly felt the reel start to go faster. I clicked over and the pole practically bent in half. It took 5-10 minutes for me to reel it in, with Mike and Charlie coaching me/moving things around on the boat as I went. It was hilarious to watch the two of them try to buckle the pole holder on me while I kept reeling. I even baited my own hook!

My Yellowtail
My Yellowtail

Yup – I definitely outfished the boys that day. We caught a ton of calico bass (seriously, like 50+). Mike got a really nice one:

Mike & His Bass
Mike & His Bass

I’m sad to see this week’s vacation come to an end… it was so nice to spend time with my hubby and family! Tomorrow it’s back to the grind… gotta work hard to play hard! Stay tuned for posts on the rest of the week – including the Western States Horse Expo!


It’s official… I now have everything that I need to own a horse. Technically. I learned this weekend that there is so much amazing stuff out there… it could be very easy to spend TONS of money on horse gear!

This weekend I bought my very first saddle! My trainer hauled Sue down to the Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center, where a cutting show was being held. I have been riding in one of her saddles that I absolutely love, made by Roohide Saddlery. John, the owner and saddle maker spent lots of time with Sue, trying different trees (that’s the shape/form of the saddle) on him to make sure we got a good fit that allowed his gait to be free.  After sitting on what felt like a thousand different saddles (it was actually about 40) and trying a few out (who knew that’s how you picked a saddle), I finally found one I liked. I honestly could not have asked for a better saddle… it’s like he custom made it for me! I absolutely love it – the skirt and gullet have rough out leather, which is basically a roughed up version of the leather on the rest of the saddle. The edges all have barbed wire tooling – nice and manly for my Boy Named Sue! I left it overnight because John wanted to do some customizing on the stirrups (since I have seriously short legs he wanted to change up the length so that I had more holes – ie. could raise them higher if needed). I rode on it this afternoon and it was beyond comfortable!

Sue's Saddle
Sue’s Saddle

When I went back today, my parents met up with me to watch some of the cutting competition. Cutting is basically a judged version of separating or “cutting” one cow from the herd and keeping him there. It’s so interesting to see the different techniques and the level of discipline the horses have! My parents were awesome and decided to buy me the last piece of tack I needed – the headstall (when put together with reins and a bit, it becomes the bridle). Since I had my saddle there, we were able to match the leather. I absolutely love it – the tooling is arrows, which goes well with the barbed wire on my saddle!

Sue's Bridle
Sue’s Bridle

Here’s the bit I got from my trainer… I love the silver detail on it!

Sue's Bit
Sue’s Bit

Now it’s time to break it all in… tonight’s project is to sit on my sofa and bend and smush my reins… the softer and more “broken in” the leather is, the better! I am one happy, tired cowgirl!