Family Fun Adventure: LA Natural History Museum

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Hello there Lovely People our latest Family Fun Adventure is a special one indeed. It was a rare one-on-one occasion I got to spend with my budding scientist son, Azure. At age 6 (nearly 7, gosh I am having such fun with this age) he absolutely devours all things science! Everyday he comes home with a book from his classroom library about volcanoes, rocks, the solar system, weather and animals. These are the types of books we read for bedtime stories. When the opportunity came up during fall break, just the two of us headed off for our very own Family Fun Adventure to the LA Natural History Museum! Hang with us awhile and check out some of the fun this museum holds.

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The first area we checked out was of course the dinosaur exhibit, filled with fossils, information and friendly staff to answer our questions.

Since we have visited the LA Science Center (Awesome, FREE museum!) several times and had walked by the LA Natural History Museum, Azure has been asking to come here. I really wanted to bring Azure alone so he could enjoy looking and discovering to his hearts content instead of being hurried along by the big kids or missing a lot due to small brother not being interested. Its a next to ever treat that we both enjoyed thoroughly. The cost of admission is $12 for adults and $5 for under 13 yrs. So while $17.00 plus snacks and a long drive isn’t the cheapest of excursions, it was definitely worth it as we spent a good 5 hours exploring and  it was something he really appreciated seeing. Parking is $10 for all day as well

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Some fossils on display. Those horned dinosaur heads were amazing

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 North American animal display

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Learning about extinct and endangered animals. He was interested in touching all the computer screens to do the activity or hear the information as we went along

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Checking out a few of the live snakes and bugs in their homes

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Getting up close to some ‘wildlife’

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One thing that took me by surprise was how fast he was moving along and checking everything out. Normally he likes to look at all the pages when we read and ask questions, but he was zipping through this place pretty quick and I had to remind him to ‘check this out’ or ‘look here at this’. My guess is that there was SO much to see, it was a bit overwhelming
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The Gem exhibit

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Outside for a little snack and a stroll around the garden section. This was a big woven willow branch shelter and we found a few sticks to add to the creation

At this point he was getting a little tired of walking and asked to head over to see the Science Center building and get a treat, so we made our way back inside and ended up in the best part (tons to do)…

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This is on the bottom floor of the Natural History Museum an exhibit called the Nature Lab. Ooooo, very fun and we almost missed it!

Everything is hands on stuff to do and we ended up spending another hour in this area

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Basically, this area leads you on a nature walk of different areas of LA. Trace an animal you might see on your walk and do some bird watching

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Look at creatures through a magnifying glass or microscope  and learn about animals habitats disappearing over the years

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He found this little guy right away and said ‘Hey, that’s my name!’

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See yourself as a rattlesnake does and a view a native bird close up

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Finally did make it over to the Science Center for an 1 1/2 visiting our favorite areas

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A happy smile and a special treat ends our super day at the LA Natural History Museum. What fun we you up to this fall break?

Wanna pin any of these pictures? Head here: http://www.pinterest.com/hellokate81/jugglingfivemonkeys-blog-adventure/

Memory Keeper: This Week In September

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Hi there Lovelies!

I hope you are comfortably back in the swing of school and enjoying the summery weather. We have all been sick with weirdly timed coughs this year and are just starting to get over them now. I blame back to school! Azure got it first and spread it right along. As a result the kids have greatly missed out on the unseasonably hot weather to use for swimming. Hopefully we’ll get a few more weeks of this weather in before it cools down for the year. We have been taking it easy on the activities and have been focusing on getting everyone better, so not much to share this month in way of photos and adventures. Here are some of the few I did take.

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This little turkey has been getting consistent learning time nearly every morning due to me having to take him with me to drop off Azure, therefore he is awake, fed and ready for a bit of preschool learning first thing in the morning. And he also takes selfies :)

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Smiley here, has been doing well at his scholastics in first grade and is adjusting to his new class. He still adores his kindergarten teacher and hugs and says hi to her when leaving school. His reading has greatly improved as well over the summer. Hooray! And thank God, he LOVES books (like the rest of his big brothers) and is MAD about science! Every week he brings home science books from his classroom and the library. Yesterday he tells me, ‘Anything with the word science in it makes me happy’! Any hands on science activities or resource ideas parents, please pass them along

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Glad these two are friends…most of the time anyways

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L: Taking advantage of Daddy being away to get extra snuggles by sleeping with Mom R: Spending a lot more time with Mom since all the brothers started school

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L: First house he built all on his own R: First time he wrote his name on his own, I told him the letters though

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This guy is at such a fun age. We can do activities together, enjoy story time and he can entertain himself! That is HUGE! He also is starting to be a big brother by tidying up, reading to and playing nicely (ok, sometimes) with littlest brother

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L: Waiting to spar R: He won first place in his school tournament

Last week Cole participated in a multi school tournament and entered sparring. He didn’t end up winning a trophy, but we were proud of him for trying something new and he has more experience for next time

Alvin has taken up cross country running at school and has been training everyday with his team. Sorry, no pictures as he does this at school

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L: I adapted these lentil cookies, using half the sugar, adding a few butterscotch chips, dried fruit, coconut and nuts. These cookies are really tasty with the added protein punch coming from the lentil puree, they make a perfect addition to kids lunch boxes. Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/lentil-cookies-recipe.html

R: There was a killer deal on pears and apples this week so I made Spiced Pear Jam and Apple Peach Jam

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I’ve missed my green smoothies and whipped up this new combo of Cucumber Lettuce juice with frozen Bananas and Peaches. Delightful! Enjoy the last of summer weather everyone and Happy Fall!

 

Family Fun Adventure: Gardens of the World, Thousand Oaks, CA

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We have reasonably happy, not-so-happy and definitely NOT thrilled faces on display above and that is just what comes with trying to please everyone and getting everyone to pose! You will have a wide spectrum of attitudes. We as parents do our best and everyone takes a turn being in various states of happiness or lack there of. My post today comes from a short trip to the Gardens of the World park, located in Thousand Oaks, CA. This small garden park is a perfect tranquil place for a stroll, a good book, a picnic or some quiet reflection. Which we did none of! Ha. That is very ‘us’. Usually we don’t know what to expect on a first trip somewhere, so therefore we aren’t as prepared as we should be

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The park was modeled after the original owners favorite gardens of the world. There is an Italian, French, English, Japanese and California mission style gardens. You can easily make your way around and see everything fairly quickly, however that’s not really the point of this park. It’s all about slow, relaxing enjoyment. Again, I laugh inwardly, because we hurried from one area to the next, while trying to keep our preschooler out of the fountains.  We had to be a bit concerned about keeping the kids quiet and orderly for those trying to enjoy the peace and the lovely volunteer ladies had to tell our kids to not run…a few times. SO, not the best fit for our active family, but I had been wanting to visit this place for going on four years now!

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There are restrooms and a large area with picnic tables. The walkways are paved and a stroller is a great way to keep toddlers contained. Too bad we forgot ours

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We were told there are free concerts at the bandstand on the weekends in August. Call ahead for details

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The volunteers gave the kids food to feed the fish. Small guy there was more interested in trying to swim with the fishes! That boy will take water however he can get it

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Great place for taking lovely pictures. They ask that you check in with Guest services if you want to take pictures. However no one had a problem with me snapping a few quick shots

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The English Rose Garden

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My favorite area was the California mission garden. Olive, fig and citrus trees surrounding a beautiful Spanish  courtyard. I would definitely love to return to this garden by myself one day or with some similarly quiet grown up, until then I have these pictures to remind me of a lovely little spot in Thousand Oaks, CA.















Memory Keeper: Odds N Ends and This Week In August

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Above: This guy turned 13!

This Memory Keeper post is a bit of a round up of cute photos that Hubbs had on his phone or on our real camera that I finally got around to gathering up

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Kenyon and Cole at their 8th grade graduation! So proud of all their hard work and initiative in taking a 9th grade class for summer school. You two monkeys are AWESOME! Love, Mom (in case you happen to read this blog one day)

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And a little ice cream to celebrate Azure’s promotion from kindergarten

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L: Paintball party! R: Azure modeling a mask I made in lieu of cupcakes for his classmates

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L: Tiny boy’s 3rd birthday R: Someone fell asleep while watching stuff on his dearly beloved ipad

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Azure attending a friends roller skating birthday party. The floors were a bit too slick for this one

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And these two nutters, well, they have discovered the Selfie!

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And a few from this month

L: Azure made a ‘double bunk bed’ out of dining chairs and proceeded to read bedtime stories to his lil bro. He was ACTUALLY reading correctly and for FUN! Such happiness. R: Can’t get over how fast this boy is growing up. He can swim short distances on his own now and is always begging to ‘take off the floatie’ (life vest) And he’s back to crying in the morning to go to school with Azure and wants a ‘pack-pack’. I’m thinking that gathering up his homeschool stuff into a back pack might make him feel a bit better about being left behind

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  The yearly start of school photos

L: Three High schoolers! Where did the time go? R: Azure starts 1st grade

Happy Back-To-School All!

Family Fun Adventure: Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park

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We have visited Sequoia National Park several times in the last couple of years and love this amazing place. On this trip up north we thought we’d explore Kings Canyon National Park. And boy were we rewarded with gorgeous views, shady hikes and refreshing dips into cool mountain streams. Once again, for some reason I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that a place that gets real snowy in the mountains to be so blazin’ hot in the summer, but yeah, it was! Thank goodness there was opportunity for the kids to cool off, get clean, break up the drive and in general recover from grouchy moods that seem to settle when you are hot, bored and stuck in a van with your annoying brothers :). Just keeping it real. We definitely have those struggles too! Here are some of the pics we snapped along the way

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  There are plenty of different trails varying in difficulty. Certainly some thing for everyone of any size. We started out walking the General Grant Trail, which is wide and easy to follow (see above left picture) with the littlest turkey determined to carry the water pack the entire hike. Such a funny fellow. It barely fit on his shoulders and was almost touching the ground, but he HAD to carry it

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Check out this massive hollowed out tree trunk called the Fallen Monarch. This naturally fire burned trunk was used as a camping shelter by a couple of logging brothers by the name of Gamlin while they built themselves a cabin back in 1872! It’s still intact and doesn’t look like its decomposed at all since then. The kids are running the length of it in the above photo

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Next we hit up the Big Stump Trail and here are some photos we took along the way. The trail is again, quite easy for kids. It is a real dirt trail, not like the paved General Grant Loop. There are restrooms and water fountains at the trail head

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Some giant trees! One of the kids favorite things to pose in…a hollow trunk, we could barely pass a single one without taking a pic. Above: A stump that reminded me of a fairy castle or fortress

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Left: Azure beside a downed tree trunk, he was about 1/2 as tall as the width. Trees always make a hike more enjoyable to me. It was very hot in spite of the shade and after making it to the Shattered Giant (see below) we turned around and headed back to the van in search of a way to cool off

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Left: Hubbs and Azure in the meadow of the Mark Twain Stump Right: All 5 monkeys on a giant stump

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Hmmm, and some reason I failed to get a picture of the kids on THE BIG stump named The Mark Twain Stump…anyhow its massive! It was cut down and a cross section sent to put be on display at the Natural History Museum New York where it is still on display today. The Shattered Giant looks like the tree fell and well, shattered. The kids got to climb over it and by now were getting a bit hangry

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The little munchkin needed some carrying from Dad and biggest brother even stepped in. He took all the hair pulling in relative good spirits

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Picnic spot at Grizzly Falls. Boy, are you spoiled for choice of gorgeous views up here. It seems this is kind of a dry year (July 2014) by the looks of the falls. The parking area is super close to the waterfall. There are also picnic tables and outhouse facilities

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After lunch we were off to explore before dinner. We found out about Hume Lake. There is a big private camp at the lake and we weren’t sure if visitors were allowed on the beach itself. I didn’t think to ask…I guess I was tired at that point :) That’s the story I’m going with anyways. After parking at the day use area (there are a couple picnic tables, bbq grills and outhouses) and walking a short distance along Hume Lake Trail until we found a little clearing in the trees for the kids to take a dip

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The water was on the cold side in the evening so they only splashed for about half an hour

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Day 2 after breaking up camp, we headed to along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway for the views! Wowza

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After a few hours it was time to turn around and start heading towards Sequoia National Park and homeward. But first, time to cool off in the South Fork of the Kings River. There were plenty of families enjoying the water in various places, so we drove around a bit until we found a spot without crowds

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It was cold. But after a few numbing minutes it wasn’t too bad the kids told me. Not a chance I was getting in, so I was the picture taker

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Daddy was a dear and got a little wet to keep track of the baby monkey. The river was a bit swift in spots

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Sitting on a log at the waters edge watching the kids play made me dream of one day having a property near water. What a wonderful paradise for a kid

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At this point we started to make our way towards Sequoia National Park…only to get wet again!

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One last short splash stop at Lodge Pole Campground where they let us park for free day use (We just asked the ranger, otherwise park at the visitor center and walk a bit). There was plenty of little areas of the river to wade in, since it was SO hot, there were a lot of other people with the same idea in mind. The bigger kids went further upstream to some natural slides and a deeper pools that were quite crowded while littlest monkey stayed to throw ‘rockies’ in the water and try to catch some small fish

And this long post wraps up our latest Family Fun Adventure!

Memory Keeper: This Week In July

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Above: Celebrating America’s Birthday this year with a lovely cake covered in summer berries

Here is my Memory Keeper post for July. Let’s start off with some foodie pics.

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Left: Cole made a couple giant Chocolate Chip cookies Right: And he brought me breakfast in bed

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Left: Lime Blueberry loaf with Cream Cheese frosting Right: Homemade Hummus

 

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Left: Orange Pineapple Strawberry Nectarine Smoothie Right: Blueberry Mango Banana Kale Yogurt Smoothie

Now is the time of year to stock up on those fruit sales. Produce prices are always on the rise, but its worth it to buy a bit extra and freeze it to enjoy as smoothies in months to come

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Left: The summer fun continues in the pool Right: Splashing in plastic storage containers on the patio with big brother overseeing the fun

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Left: More train time Right: This boy is all about lego creating these days

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Left: Azure grew a couple of sunflowers from seed as a kindergarten take home project

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Left: All this summer fun is tiring me out! Right: These two little monkeys decided to take over juicing for me

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Left: A rare day out with just Azure. He requested a Subway sandwich Right: Ninja boy posing

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As a rare and treasured treat, I got to hang out with Rachel, Carolina and their friends at Rincon beach for a girlie evening of gabbing and watching the sunset. I finally got to see the dolphins swimming less than two hundred feet from shore! Such a cool experience. Thanks for the great stories and company Rachel!

And that raps up July! Is summer flying or dragging by for you?

 

Family Fun Adventure: Lake Gregory, CA

 

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Hey Everyone, here is a post from a Family Fun Adventure back in mid June to Lake Gregory, which is located about a 15 minute drive from Lake Arrowhead, CA. We booked the North Shore Campground in advance for two nights online for $22.00 a night plus an online booking fee. We didn’t stay on any special holiday weekend and there was plenty of space available. The campground was basic, the bathrooms were clean and the camp host was friendly. It was so very dusty and HOT at this time of year! Thankfully, there are trees for shade although we didn’t spend much time at the camp during the day. We did not end up doing half the hiking we had planned, as it was WAY too hot and all that prickly dried grass that gets stuck in your socks…No thanks!

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The first day we drove up and went to check out Lake Gregory to see if we’d like to come back and spend the next day there. Since it cost $6 for parking, $6 for beach entrance, $7 for the splash island times our large family…we wanted to see if it was worth the money! Thank God for this lake option, the heat was intense for us coastal dwellers. After finding parking roadside, hiking around the lake on a nice tree shaded 2.5 mile loop was very scenic and relaxing. Soon we found some porta pottys and  locals to ask directions to the beach. The trail path is nice and wide (in most parts) and well maintained. All ages can easily make it, but probably no jogging stroller unless you are willing to carry it up some steps and a few inclines. For the most part the trail is by the lake, but the places around the beach area takes you up by the road way. Not the nicest, but not too bad either. I still really enjoyed this walking path and would have loved to jog it. You pass by all these little coves and fishing spots, perfect for a private picnic

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A few silly characters hanging around

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After hiking around the lake we headed to the campground to set up for the evening and ended up with enough time to take a short hike around the campground trails. We found some whooper pine cones that were bigger than pineapples! Azure was very impressed with them and insisted on carrying a couple back to camp in spite of the thorny edges

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The next morning we headed into Lake Arrowhead village to feed the ducks. You can buy bags of duck feed for .50 cents from several stores near the waterfront. Sadly, Lake Arrowhead is a private lake, that means no swimming for visitors….so we fed the ducks and grabbed a couple extra bags to feed the ducks and fish at Lake Gregory as we noticed they had some ducks there too. Call me crazy, but feeding ducks are one of the simple happy memories in my childhood. There was always a new duck pond to visit, however where we currently live, not so much! Actually, I haven’t found one closer than an hour drive away. Bananas, I know. I made sure to cash in on the opportunity

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Then we were off to Lake Gregory. This seems to be the happening place for the town and its visitors. It certainly had a bunch of people so it didn’t feel very relaxing. But, it was a great place to cool down and keep the kids entertained. There are also a couple giant slides, all manner of water crafts for rent, fishing and a remote control boat area too

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One suggestion that I have is to first pay the entrance fee and have the kids test the water. Our kids found it quite cold in spite of the numerous others that didn’t. If your kids are more picky, which our kids REALLY aren’t, you may want to just have them wade instead. We paid the splash island fee for the 4 older ones. However, our six year old who swims very well and loves water was a bit too cold at first and then too nervous to swim all the way out to the floating inflatables. My older kids said it would be too difficult for him to pull himself up on to the play structures and that it was even tough for them. In the end our six year old played on the kiddie inflatables near shore that are FREE instead. Unless an adult is going to accompany a younger child, it might be too much for them. In the above photos you can see the yellow divider that separates the FREE kiddie floaties from the PAID splash park.

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There is only a couple FREE floaties for the littles, but our guys were happy to play on them for a few hours. The beach, well it left a lot to be desired :) Bring your own shade, chairs and blankets to sit lakeside. Otherwise, there is plenty of covered picnic tables near the entrance and they allowed picnic lunches inside the beach area. If you head past the swimming area there are a ton of huge gold/black/orange/red fish! They took a few minutes to start eating, but when they did they came right up close to shore and they loved the ducky food we brought

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 Now lets talk about money value for a minute. Paying for parking, you pretty much gotta do it with kids. Cost:$6.00 all day. Not bad in my book. Lake side entrance x 7 family members = $42.00. This didn’t make me happy, since really nice, non crowded beaches are FREE where we are from. Splash island park x 4 kids = $28.00. Not a bad price. They had plenty of restrooms and lifeguards on duty

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Towards the late afternoon the water got quite crowded and the splash island enjoyers had to take 30 minute shifts. Which wasn’t the coolest since you are paying quite a bit in all, but it worked out ok for us  since we had already been there for a couple hours in the morning before it got too crowded. This lake went from the maybe list, to being pretty much all of the list because of the weather. Of course, being in the mountains, its a summer only activity. I hope your family is making some wonderful memories this summer

 

Family Fun Adventure: Big Sur, CA

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Skipping back to May to play a little blog catch up brings you a Family Fun Adventure from Big Sur, CA! I believe this drive along Highway 1 and exploring this area should be on everyone’s bucket list and certainly so if you live in Cali. It IS just that amazingly beautiful. We barely scratched the surface of visiting here in the day and a half that we spent there and look forward to returning again soon.

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Left:  A foggy Bixby Bridge Right: A tiny happy camper

Remember when I mentioned that we had decided to do some camping this year with the kids? Well, we basically took a look at our schedule and made the call to kickstart our summer camping idea Memorial Day weekend. Hooray, we have 3 days to make a trip in, not such good news is that because of the holiday everything that can be reserved has been. We had a couple friends driving down to meet us and they were able to score a camp spot at a private campground about an hour north of the area we wanted to hike around.

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First order of business after arriving at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park which is a day use area is to A. Find a place to park (SO crowded! Probably made worst by the holiday), B. Have lunch and C. Restroom break. The parking is $10 (if I remember correctly) you can also park on the street across from the park. After accomplishing those listed items we were off on a very short walk  (about 10-15 minutes) to see McWay Falls.

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The cool McWay Falls and a lovely little cove. It was a really foggy day so we didn’t get real great pictures. You can definitely take the jogging stroller along for this walk and its a very manageable stroll for all ages. That being said you are gonna wanna hold tightly or keep the little kids within arms distance. The board walk right at the viewing area of the falls, has a wooden railing, but huge holes that curious littles can easily fall through. Especially be careful when taking pictures that there is always at least one pair of eyeballs on the kids! We had four adults and three older children keeping tabs on our one preschooler while trading off to take pictures. Geez-Oh-Petes…all I wanted to do was get a couple pictures and get away from that dangerously scary spot!

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Left: Another angle of the gorgeous cove Right: View right next door of the coastline. Like I said it was really foggy, but I’ve seen breathtaking photos of the bright blue water here

Here is a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_mcwayfalls.html

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Left: 3 big boys hiking Canyon Trail Right: For some reason Azure was smitten with a piece of bark he was pretending was a boomerang. Funny boy! He also wanted a picture in front of this burnt tree

The Canyon Trail to Canyon Falls a 60 foot waterfall is a wonderful 1/2 mile hike round trip. It took us quite a bit longer than a 1/2 mile usually does and the credit goes to McWay Creek that runs alongside the trail. My littlest LOVES to throws rocks into water and pretend he’s fishing. We spent a lot of time trying to coax him away from the waters edge. The creek is small, so it is quite safe to let your littles hang out there while the grown up have some lunch.

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This hike is like a wonderland for kids and grown ups alike. There are many fallen log bridges to keep things interesting. Its such a peaceful and shaded forested trail. It was quite crowded with many hikers all over. But it wasn’t too uncomfortable as most of the trail is a wide path. It was easy for our littles aged 3 and 6, but I don’t think its jogger stroller friendly.

Next we headed up the Ewoldsen Trail which was equally as beautiful. This trail climbed and it did have a steep drop off the side, though with all the trees and brush it didn’t feel dangerous. Our little guy was pretty tired by now and he got Hubbs to carry him, so it worked out well. We made it about 2 hours up the trail and could make out an ocean view. Again, this trail had quite a few hikers and since its a bit narrow in parts we found our big group of 7 plus 2 friends, stopping from time to time to let others pass us. Most people were pretty patient letting the kids move off the path but sometimes we felt a bit in the way. Maybe I have a complex :)

Here is more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_ewoldsen.html

Next we headed back to camp for a cookout and some campfire smores and that completed day one.

The next morning was spent breaking down the camp and packing up the gear. It was a late morning when we arrived at our hiking area so instead of carrying lunch with us we opted for getting lunch out of the way first. Today we hiked in Limekiln State Campground. There is a $10 day use fee, if I remember correctly and there are restrooms and a few picnic tables. This is a small 28 site campground, really beautiful with huge shady trees and a creek. Or yeah, there’s also the beach across the street. More on that later.

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First we took the Falls Trail which is a lovely easy walk for all ages. Their were quite a few other families with young children making this hike. It’s about 1.5 miles round trip and takes about an hour.

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There is something about water that makes a hike magical. At least it keeps things fun and the kids really enjoy it. Personally, I love the sound of the water and all the shade! I would definitely push to hike more often if I found these types of trails near home.

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Left: Little hiker Right: This guy was convinced by his big brothers that this plant was giant clovers, so he HAD to have a picture with them and tuck one behind his ear

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Here are the bottom of the Falls. It was nice that you could walk right up to the base of them and even climb up, as there were a ton of people trying to do just that and since we didn’t want to be wet for our drive home, we decided to enjoy them from the bottom. The falls are about 90 feet high and it was nice and full of water at this time of year (May 2014)

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Next we back tracked and took the other trail to the limekilns that the park gets its name from. They look like giant chimneys, not particularly interesting to the kids…but it was another great and easy hike

Here’s a link with more information: http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_limekiln.html

After completing the hike we walked across the street to the beach. Now the beach is just a small little cove, not too amazing, but what IS special about it is the stream!

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Yeah, hmmm. So I let one of my older boys take photos of the stream, but he ended up taking pictures of his brothers instead. Anyhoo, there is an awesome stream which I’m guessing is the one that runs through the campground. It is definitely a fun element you don’t normally find on the beach. It’s a nice decent size with large rocks lining the stream. Perfect for making little splash pools for the kiddies. We certainly could have spent hours letting the littles play and the beach was pretty full of families with the same idea. I imagine most of the people were campers from across the way. Sadly, we needed to head back home by this time, but the day was nice and clear so the drive was spectacular! The views of the cliffs and water is absolutely gorgeous.

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Left: Seals sunning themselves Right: A couple of seals fighting

On the way home we stopped by the elephant seal rookery near Cambria, CA. We had been here before but it was a super cold windy day in April last year. This time perfect sunny weather. There are always lots of people viewing the seals here, but there is plenty of space to walk along and get a good look. Our kids were being lazy (the older ones) and sleeping (littles) so Hubbs and I got to have a look-see on our own! We even held hands, really enjoying the couple of minutes we wandered around :) Hey, gotta’ take what you can.

Here is more information: http://www.elephantseal.org/

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And one close up to close up this post. Have a fun summer all!

 

Memory Keeper: This Week In June

 

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Happy Summer Vacation All. We are keeping busy and trying to have fun :) As you can imagine juggling 5 kids and making sure everyone gets a turn to do something they consider fun can be a challenge at times.

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Left: So far we have attended our graduating 8th graders promotion and celebrated with a ice cream treat

Right: Hubbs snapped a pic of me and the tiny turkey

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I did a mini photo shoot in about 5 minutes while running out the door on Azure’s last day of school before his promotion. He did a cute little performance with the other kindergarten classes and had a small celebration for his graduation.

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Left: This little cutie is growing up waaaaay too quickly! Sniff, I miss my baby. Right: One thing I love about the big boys having a bit more time around the house is that they will sometimes stop and build a creation for the little guys. Cole’s version of Olaf from frozen.

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Left: Azure showing off his prized pinecone while we camped near Lake Arrowhead Right: Azure was practicing the 30’s and 40’s families and Brecks surprised me by lining up some mixed up flashcards I gave him on his own. I was trying to tell him to smile by pointing to my cheek, so he thought that pointing was what I wanted him to do. hehe

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Left: Azure finally getting to the dentist Right: Me and snuggle pants enjoying an afternoon story

Small family things we have been up to so far this summer is camping and hiking for Memorial Day weekend up around the Big Sur area, camping, hiking and swimming near Lake Arrowhead and Lake Gregory, getting all the doctors, dentist, eye check ups for everyone (quite the process!) and I’ve been homeschooling Brecks (starting him with reading and pre writing) and Azure (continuing with reading practice, cursive penmanship and writing sentences to get ready for 1st grade). Cole and Kenyon decided to take advantage of summer school to get in their first 9th grade class, so they are away at the high school half the day. The kids are in the pool everyday and we will be celebrating Kenyon’s big 13th next week.

Last year when I was trying to come up with adding a few more family traditions in our celebration line up  Hubbs had the idea of a day purely to celebrated our family. He thought mid year between our two birthdays would be fun, so next month we will celebrate our first ever Family Day! I’ll let you know what we end up doing. What special traditions or activities do you celebrate or do during the year?

Family Fun Adventure: Alice Keck Park & Kids World, Santa Barbara, CA

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 Ah, here is a rare pic of mom and dad for the record book! Today’s post is on a fabulous little park in Santa Barbara, CA.

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Introducing Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens! Located at 1500 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA. This beautiful little park, think ‘garden’ was absolutely blooming with gorgeous spring colors on this visit. This is a fun little walk around if you happen to be in the area and a great place for a photo shoot. You often see wedding parties posing here.

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A cute little gazebo and there are turtles and ducks in the pond too!  Weirdly enough we haven’t found a duck pond anywhere near us, so this one an hour away (with traffic) is the closest. Hmmm, that just doesn’t seem right. Anyhoo, my six year old scientist was all about trying to feed the wildlife. Alas, we didn’t have any food along.

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A couple more pics of the flowers. Ahhh, so restful to view. And now for the icing on the cake…

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Welcome to Kids World! A huge wooden castle park right across the street. I believe the correct name is Alameda Plaza. There is plenty of shady green space for the never ending BBQ’s and get together’s people are always having in the park. We use to take our older kids here all the time when they were little. They spent many happy afternoons getting their beans out here. Now we are bringing the two youngest ones to enjoy, in my opinion is one of the top most awesome parks.

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I apologize, my pics aren’t usually the greatest. I just run around and try to snap a few with my phone while chasing my monkeys. You can tell in the final product…but it is what I can do right now and it means I can quickly and easily upload them and get them posted, so :).

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Be warned this is a very popular play ground and there is always tons of people and kiddos, so be prepared to keep tabs on yours. There is  a bit of a fence around the play area, so if your kids are about 5 or so, they should be good. Our little guy at age 3, still needed us to chase him, keep him safe from swings/falling etc. But, he had a ton of fun!

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I couldn’t take pictures of all the fun features, but let’s just say it has all the regular stuff and then some. It’s a great place to play tag and be prepared to spend a couple hours enjoying. In the pic above is a seated hang out area for parents to chat in the middle of the play structure. There are also a few picnic tables and bathrooms located close by. This play ground is located in a neighborhood, so even though its a bit crowded and its a large play space, it feels nicely and neighborhoody, neighborhoodsy? Does my made up word make sense? There are also vendors with push carts offering ice cream and giant mangoes on a stick. Hold or not, on the sweet chili powder. Imagine a great Knight and Princesses themed play party here! Hope your summer vacation is holds many memorable adventures!