Return to Chico

As part of our return to California, we wanted to make a day of going to Chico with the boys and show them where we met. The last time we’d been back together was when Brendon was 8months old. At that point, our dreams of moving back to Chico were squashed by the overwhelming density that had occurred in our absence. Chico was different, as were we. That was also the year we purchased the property in Cottonwood.


One of the few places you can see Santa driving a pedi-cab.

Be that as it may, there have still been hints of interest in moving to Chico since we’ve been back. Tales of a possible VA job for Vance in the future have further re-kindled the thoughts of returning. So we finally made the effort, the 1.5hr trek from Redding, to spend the day in Chico as a family of four.

We kicked off our morning with a run in Bidwell Park. Vance and I have not run there together – EVER! There was a historic bike ride we went on when first dating, which I like to tease him about, since he had a terrible bike at the time. He loves that story. The experience was beyond heartwarming. 90% of the people we passed, smiled, waved, gave us shout outs for pushing our double of boys in the misty rain. So unlike Redding, where people are so introspective and guarded that we rarely get more than a glance and have to force a hello.




Not only the run, but the park. While Winter barren, there was a magical play area for the boys, Caper Acres. They, well Brendon and then after a fit of swing furry John, had a blast as the place was deserted due to the weather. So akin to our usual, pre-retirement lifestyle, all four of us were exceedingly happy.

Then, oh dear then, we headed downtown. Chico was as busy as it ever was. Add in the Christmas holiday right around the corner and Saturday Farmer’s Market. Parking was a challenge to say the least. We took our pizza loving boys to an old haunt, in a new location: Woodstock’s. As good as we remembered it in college and possibly even better after a 6+ mile run. The boys loved it (pizza, soda machine of 1000 flavors and video games – what boy could not love this?).


walking csu

CSU Chico

Visiting the campus was a perfect end to our tour of Chico for the boys. The school was already on break and only a handful of souls were lurking about. Brendon could almost grasp the concept of mom and dad being young once. Almost. The café where we had our historic blind date looked exactly the same. Ahhhh nostalgia at its finest.


We actually met in café part to the left, but this awning had the name. The tables were still in the same spots.

We rounded out our trip with a visit to Vance’s Aunt & Uncle; longstanding residents of Chico, before heading home. The boys had a blast getting spoiled and begged us to go in the hot tub, sans suits. Next time little ones, next time…

And what trip is complete without some selfies?

chico selfie



Must make Sugar Cookies

Last minute Christmas cookie bakers unite!!!

I’ve had a slow start on my Christmas spirit this year, but it’s looking like I’m going to finish off with a bang. Well, at least some very tasty sugar cookies for Santa, despite the boys telling me chocolate chip are his favorite.

Three years and three recipes – finally found the BEST!! Sugar Cookie recipe I’ve tasted, let alone made. Super simple. I whipped these up this afternoon/evening. Not even worried about frosting them, since they taste so good plain, but you certainly could. My favorite part is how well they held their shape when baked, no puffing and overly rounded edges. Perfection in a sugar cookie, if you will.


Here’s the recipe. Not adapted in the least, courtesy of Southern Living, December 2013 (I have quite an archive of old magazines).

Sugar Cookie Cutouts

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  1. Stir together first 3 ingredients.
  2. Beat sugar and next two ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer, 2-3 minutes or until creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating just until blended.
  3. Divide dough into two portions. Flatten into disks, 1/2″ thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  4. Roll on floured surface to 1/4″ thick, cut with large cutters, place 1″ apart on parchment lined sheets. Chill 30 minutes.
  5. Bake 10 minutes in 350 degree oven. Cool on sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to rack.
  6. Glaze as desired.

Makes 45 cookies.