Sunday, July 13, 2014

Old Faithful


To our great delight, my sister and her family had planned to meet up with us at Yellowstone and were camping in the site right next to us. So our kids were thrilled to be spending some quality time with their cousins; and we had a great time visiting with our family. Old Faithful topped everyone's wish list of things to see in the park, so we decided to go see her on our first full day at Yellowstone.

Driving to Yellowstone

We left the Grand Tetons late morning, eager to arrive at Yellowstone. We knew the park was huge, and wanted to get as much time to explore it as possible. Almost as soon as we hit the road, we spotted a bison!
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scenic River Float-Grand Tetons

 
You know how you have great memories from your childhood and then when you try to re-live them they just don't measure up? Well, that's the exact opposite of what happened last weekend. Seriously, my husband has been talking about his rafting and canoe trips down the snake river for as long as I've known him. So when we had the chance to visit the Tetons, he suggested we take a rafting trip together. A white-water rafting trip is on my bucket list, but since our youngest has just turned 4; we thought a calmer trip would be safer.

Grand Teton National Park--biking

 

We've been so excited about our summer vacation this year! We've decided to drive to Yellowstone and stay for the 4th of July. As the departure date approached, we realized our kids were old enough for longer driving days now, so we could carve out a few extra days at the beginning of our trip. We decided to try to reach the Grand Tetons and stay overnight there for two nights. It's been a dream of mine to visit the Tetons ever since hearing about their beauty from my (now) husband when we first started dating.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Yellowstone: Grand Canyon of

This morning we drove to "The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone." Now, full disclosure, I was born in the Grand Canyon State (Arizona, for you non-zonies), so my expectations were not high for GCoY. I mean, after you've seen the real Grand Canyon, what could possibly compare? Uh, I was wrong. Wasn't the first time, and definitely not the last, but wow, was I wrong! It was spectacular!
 
The parking was a bit tight, but our fearless leader managed to parallel park in a safe (and fairly level) spot. It was fun to see our rv from way across the canyon. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My baby turns 4!

We celebrated little L's 4th birthday this month. I seriously can't believe my "baby" is 4 already. I remember the day he was born so vividly. I was laughing as he was born. Yes, it's true. My OB was hilarious, and my husband joked about something...and little L came into this world into a room filled with laughter. It's really appropriate, as he's been a little joker ever since. He loves to make his older sisters laugh, and can get us all roaring with laughter at his antics. As a baby he was our earliest "laugher" and has always had a great sense of humor. We just can't imagine our family without this little guy.

So, when he asked for a beach birthday party with Spider Man, Lego Ninjago, fishing, and Star Wars...I had to figure out how to make it happen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Natural Bug Sprays

I've been wanting to try these for a while, and our last very buggy trip to Yosemite pushed me to actually go for it. I used Wellness Mama's site for the recipe and just picked several essential oil combinations to try out.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Best Campfire Starters

A great and easy way to get a campfire started is by using these handy (and lightweight!) homemade fire-starters. Just keep your empty cardboard egg cartons and fill with dryer lint. I keep my empty cartons right in the laundry room, and when my lint box gets full, let the kids make the fire-starters. It's a great way to get the kids involved in trip preparation, and those little fingers do a great job too. Simply place one fire-starter under your firewood and light it up. The carton flares up and creates a good, hot heat to help light your bigger pieces of fire wood.
Happy Camping!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Taco Salad

Okay, I know many of us make taco salad. For me, it's a quick, delicious dinner that the whole family loves. I especially enjoy it during the summer when it's so hot outside. But, this time, I stumbled upon a happy accident that put a fancier twist on our taco salad. Here's the finished product-

Monday, June 2, 2014

Yosemite, to cleanse my spirit


I've been kind of in a blah mood lately. We've recently lost a friend very unexpectedly. It's been a very difficult loss, as he was an awesome person, great friend, great dad, amazing husband. And it was so unexpected. And he was so young. And we miss him. And we live far away from his family, so we don't get to see them often. And when something like this happens, you question things. And there are no good answers. And that is hard. Especially for someone who likes answers, and fixing things. So sometimes, you just need to get away and go somewhere that makes you stop thinking so much. And for us, that is going deep into nature.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Point Reyes/ Heart's Desire


Today was my first Mother's Day in our new town. For the past almost nine years (since I became a mom) I've spent the day celebrating in our old town, with dear friends and my sweet little family. For the last few years, I've been truly pampered by my amazing hubby and by kiddos who are now old enough now to help. My girls especially, absolutely love planning, decorating, and spoiling us all on special occasions. We would spend most of the day relaxing around the pool, swimming, having cannonball contests and warming up in the hot tub after a great day together.

I have also really been missing my old friends a lot lately. May is the month we'd celebrate our birthdays together (four of us have birthdays within days of each other) and I had been feeling sad about missing out on that. Anyway, when my hubby came home from work Friday and asked if I wanted to go for a drive on Saturday, I leaped at the chance to get out of the house and try to start some new traditions.

We quickly packed up a makeshift lunch and snacks and hit the road!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Women Drivers


My husband is an excellent driver. He seems to drive our Winnie effortlessly, even through winding switchback roads, sheer cliffs to one side, or through tiny streets by the beach plagued with jay-walkers, bike riders and drivers unfamiliar with the area. It's so much fun to sit in the passenger seat with my camera out the window, wind blowing through my hair spotting dolphins or great camp sites, or cute beach cottages. I have every confidence in my husband's driving, and it's fun to sit carefree and footloose in my perch in the passenger seat.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Half Moon Bay State Beach-Review

 
Campground Quick Facts
Half Moon Bay State Beach
Dump Station:Yes
Hook-ups: Some sites now have electric (check map when reserving)
Drinking/Fill Water: Yes
Beach Sites: Yes, some right on the beach, others with great views
Scenery: Gorgeous
Privacy: Not very much-typical beach camping in California
Camp Store: There was a Visitor Center but it was closed during our visit
Restrooms: Yes- flush toilets, very clean!
Showers: Yes (coin)

Reserve-ability: Very difficult to get reservations. Reserve on reserveamerica as soon as possible (6 months in advance is the earliest possible).

RV Crazy Tips: Some of the beach sites looked amazing! I would try to reserve one of those if possible. It's very foggy in the mornings, but often clears up in the afternoon. Wear layers.

El Capitan State Beach-Review


Campground Quick Facts
El Capitan State Beach- 20 miles up the 101 from Santa Barbara, CA
Dump Station: No
Hook-ups: No
Drinking/Fill Water: Yes
Beach Sites: Not on sand, but with beach views
Scenery: Gorgeous
Privacy: Not very much (except for select few)
Camp Store: Only open in the summer
Restrooms: Yes
Showers: Yes (coin)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Scallops for two

With three small kids, and no family nearby, it's not very often that my husband and I get to go out on a date. So we frequently have dates at home. This means first spending time together with our children while they eat dinner and play. We usually have wine and cheese and crackers with them while they eat. Then, after we put them to sleep (our kids all go to bed by 8 at the latest, so it's very easy) we enjoy our late dinner together.

One of our favorite treats is scallops. Here's a simple and quick recipe (that I adapted from Alton Brown's recipe) that makes a delicious (and seemingly gourmet) dinner for "date-night."

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tilden Regional Park: Road Trip!

Finally feeling settled in enough after our big family move to take a road trip and do some exploring in our new neighborhood.

Moving

Moving can be so bittersweet. Ours was a business decision, and was definitely best for our family. My husband got a great new job offer and promotion, but we had to move pretty far away from family and friends. We were excited and nervous at the same time. Our biggest concern was for our children. We have two school-aged kids, and of course, we didn't want to change their schools, or move away from their friends. But sometimes you just have to make the best decision you can; and hope for the best. It's so hard when you grow up and realized that all decisions are not black or white. Some are gray, and you just have to make the best possible choice.

So soon we were busy doing this:

Santa Rosa Plateau: In Our (old) Backyard

I haven't posted in a while due to so much happening in our lives. One of those "happenings" is our family's upcoming move. It will be a good move, but it is still hard to say goodbye to friends and family, and friends who have become like family in the 12 years we've lived in our town.

And then there is the fun of showing a house, packing a house and selling a house with three little kids and their mom attempting to still live in said house. So today, during our buyer's final walk through, I decided to take my little guy out to do something fun. 

We decided to explore a nature preserve just minutes from our house. We have lived here for 12 years, and I have never done this before! What fun we have missed out on.