Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Different Kind of Christmas (Tuesday, January 5, 2016)

My sister and I had a great holiday, despite being away from our immediate family.  This year, we decided to not do the traditional sharing of gifts, and settled on purchasing one necessary gift for our home - a new washing machine!  Our old one, God bless it, didn't last long after our move across country, and started to decline in preformance ever since we plugged it in.  Well, I say that the trip across country destroyed it, but I'm not entirely sure about that.  The reviews on Sears - the place where we purchased it - aren't so good and everyone's having so many problems with it - many of the same ones that we did.  Maybe it's just a bad product.  Anyway, so we got a new washing machine!  What better way to ring in the new year with nice, clean clothes!  :)

After a lovely Christmas day of relaxation and eating the best lasagna that my sister has made, we planned out some road trips.  Why not, considering that the weather here in California is nearly nice all-year around (except for today - El Nino's here - RAIN, RAIN, RAIN).  I did may research and came up with three different places to visit in the winter.  First, we decided to head east to Joshua Tree National Park.  A place that's so unique because it grows giant Yucca trees, and because it's home to two different deserts in one - the Mojave and the Colorado Deserts.  There are also great places to go rock-climbing, if you're into that sort of thing.  In addition, there are fascinating views of the Coachella Valley and great places to just pitch a tent/picnic and hang out all night or evening.  I was very impressed.  I am looking forward to going back this summer/spring.

 At the famous Skull Rock - Joshua Tree National Park

Another place was  Death Valley National Park - I'm sure everyone's very familiar with this place.  It's the HOTTEST place on earth, and going in December, when the heat's not so torturous, is the best time to go.  It was an amazing sight.  I really enjoyed it!  Not only was the National Park an experience, but the drive there was great as well!  We got to see a lot of southern California, most of which was the Mojave Desert.  I've never seen anything like it in my life! It changed different faces  each step of the way.

 At Mesquite Sand Dunes - Death Valley National Park

I'm not really a museum type person, but I had to put down the Huntington Museum, not because of its artifacts, but because of it's lovely gardens!  There are many, many lovely botanical gardens there, all of which have their own unique style.  The Japanese Garden was nice, but I would have to say that the desert garden was my FAVORITE!  What is it with me and deserts, huh?  Hahahaha  ^^

 My favorite garden - the Desert Garden - Huntington Library Botanical Gardens

All in all, I had a great Christmas break, and being able to travel and become more acquainted with my new home state was great.  I look forward to many, many more road trips this new year!  ;)

And last but not least, my yummy Christmas spread:

For Christmas Eve: We had cheese and crackers served with my favorite cider.

Christmas meal:  Tasty lasagna, corn and a fresh salad. 

Christmas Dessert:  I made this very good New York cheesecake with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

Thanks for reading and I hope you all had a great holiday as well!


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