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!


 

Memory Keeper: This Week In May

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Happy May and Happy Spring! I am loving all the spring flowers that are out and the weather, yes please. Oh yeah, Happy Blog Anniversary to me this month! One year of blogging completed. It’s been a fun way to keep a log of our days and adventures.  

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Left: Some hydrangeas I rescued from the clearance section of the grocery store last year. We had a week of scorching weather and some of the leaves  got real toasty, on the up side there are at least 40 blooms on the plant. Right: My Valentine gardenias are blooming too. The flowers only last a couple days on the plant, but the scent is so amazing

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Left: Azure’s photography. He keeps asking to take pictures of nature Right: Azure was impressed with this giant plant and wanted a picture in front of it

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Left: Hiking around Rocky Hook Park in Santa Barbara Right: Eating a stack of pancakes

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Left: Sparring Right: Demonstrating self defense. Cole tested for his red belt this month. He now has a red belt and a black uniform. So proud of him for sticking with it.

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Left: First time he tried breaking a board with a jump side kick…he nailed it!

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Lovely California Palm and blooming succulents on the coast

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Hope you are enjoying a lovely spring!

Left: Sprinkler jumpers Right: Mother’s Day gift & card from my kindergartener 

Family Fun Adventure: Cozy Dell Trail Ojai, CA

 

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Hey Again Lovelies, Today I’m sharing a Family Fun Adventure: Cozy Dell Trail hike in Ojai, CA. Originally we were trying to hike to Matilija Dam in Ojai. For some reason we could not find any roads or trails to this lake! If any locals know the secret to getting there, please share! Anyhoo, since we couldn’t find any way to get to the lake we came across the Cozy Dell Trail on highway 150. We hiked this on Mother’s Day, May 11th this year.

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  Left: Here is the trail sign on the left side of the road, where you park and carefully cross the highway Right: This is the sign on the trail side of the road. This trail isn’t jogger stroller friendly and there are no restrooms. We found the trail really nice and easy for the little guys (6 and 3 years) that being said, we only hiked about a mile and a half this time. The ground was dry, but it was made of clay, so after a rain there will definitely be lots of mud. The trail is lovely and half shaded on the portion we travelled, it was well maintained and easy to follow. There were tons of native wildflowers out to be enjoyed along the way. They smelled lovely too.

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Some of the characters that were along for the hike

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I’m really not sure how long this trail is, some reviews say 3-4.5 miles. We made it to the first marker (see picture below), maybe it was the only one as some people mentioned the lack of them. We saw lots of bees, lizards and two snakes. Thankfully, that was all! I read that some saw bear tracks and even a bear. Yikes! I would not think a bear would like this area, its hot and dry, not like the cooler lush forests you normally think of. Maybe I just don’t know what to look for, as I’m always nervous about large wildlife and look for tracks. Anyway, just a heads up.

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This is where we stopped to rest and turn around. There were about 7-10 cars parked at the street and we met a few hikers along the way. Not enough to feel crowded, but enough to make you feel a bit safer should you need help. In any case be sure to bring water, snacks, discuss safety with your kids and tell someone where you are going.

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We decided to do some camping this summer, since we haven’t been in probably 7 years and all the kids can hike with their own legs. We got the tents and a little stove and made our first camping trip to the Big Sur area up north. BEE-U-TI-FULL!!! Post coming soon. Get out and enjoy the great outdoors this summer ya’lls. What adventures do you have planned?

 

Memory Keeper: This Week In April 2

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It’s been awhile, sorry…life ya know. I’ll just jump right in and share a few photo highlights from the month.

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Left: Hanging at the beach Right: Visiting the LA Science Center with Auntie, Uncle and baby cousin

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Left: A tinfoil airplane displayed at Free Birds burrito place Right: Happy colors! I did a bit of sewing this month

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Left: Two little snuggly invaders Right: Chinese cookies my friend brought me from her visit to China. Look at that gorgeous green one

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Left: Finally got around to coloring the eggs :) Right: Spring picture of my handsome middle child. Even though technically I have 3 middle kids, the older boys all kind of seem the same age to me since they are quite close in age. Azure on the other hand definitely acts like a middle child, he needs extra reassurance and pushes to be heard. He’s also my most sensitive and loves to bond with visitors and friends.  I certainly felt the middle child syndrome growing up and since he also shares my sun sign, I relate quite a lot with my book loving artistic child.

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Left: Had a hankering for gourmet burgers, so we made ourselves some Right: Chocolate chip pumpkin muffins

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Here is a simple little summer drink recipe to end my post.

Berry Zinger Matte  Iced Tea

3 heaped tablespoons of loose matte

4 berry tea bags (I have also tried Red raspberry)

Juice of 2 large lemons

Honey to taste

Instructions: Boil about 4 cups of water, add all the ingredients, steep until cool. Strain and add enough water to make 2 quarts of tea. Refrigerate and enjoy! Welcome summer weather All!

Family Fun Adventure: Gaviota Wind Caves

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Hey there Lovelies, Today I’d like to share our latest family ramble in Goleta, California at the Wind Caves located in the Gaviota State Park. After seeing a few reviews on these caves I put this hike on my California Adventure pinterest page and there it sat for a few months waiting for life to slow down and allow us another opportunity to explore a great outdoor excursion.

 

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The trail starts out just above the Gaviota State Beach Campground. There is a cougar warning sign at the trail head.  Although we did not see any ‘big kitties’, afterwards I read about someone that saw many fresh adult and baby tracks! Yikes, that would have scared me out of going :) Our large noisy bunch probably scared them off. The trail starts off on a paved service road (see picture on left) and then climbs a dirt track up a hill. This hike is one of mostly climbing uphill, even though our just turned 3 year old could happily make it, we pretty much had to hold his hand the entire time! It was a bit difficult to keep Mr. Independent constrained, but it was also a safety precaution. There are some steep parts that require hand holding and some dangerous drop offs. At one point Hubbs tied his belt around the tiniest adventurer to make it less nerve racking for the parents and keep him from wandering too close to edges. As long as your little one is pretty happy to hold a hand, you might have to wait until the child gets a bit older. Our six year old was completely fine with most of the climb, only needed a tiny bit of help and he was able to keep himself well back from the edges without making us nervous. Joggers/strollers are out for this trail, but I could see some people carrying baby in a back pack if you are use to it.

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Beautiful views on this hike!

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When you climb to the top of the first hill you start clearly seeing some of the caves. There are many dotted among the hills, but only a few have trails to them. You can also see the freeway from here and many reviews disliked this about the hike, personally it did not bother me. You can also get a great view of the ocean. Turn left and keep climbing and you will come shortly to the first caves. They are very easy to find and you can tell many people have been here. Everyone has scratched their names in this one, its large and you can climb right through it. As you go higher, the caves are less marked up.

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Pretty cool looking wind caves, but honestly the views on this hike were the star attraction for me.

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Exploring a wonderland for the kids

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These beauties dot the hills and sandstone creations line the walls.

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This guy was all about drawing pictures of what he saw. And yes, everyone got very dusty.

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This cave was huge, plenty of room for all the kids. I could imagine a native tribe gathering here telling stories around the camp fire at night. It has a super slanted floor to one side, perfect for sliding down.

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Happy hikers taking a small rest at the top/end of our climb.

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Hubbs guarding a hole at the end of a very slanted, slippery slope.

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The said dangerous hole…awesome view though! This is where we turned around to head back down and have a picnic on the beach. I’m sure you could climb around much more and explore plenty more caves, but this was a good stopping place for us. All the kids had a good time and we certainly enjoyed this hike as a family. Some reviews weren’t too  happy that the hike is short, about 2 1/2 miles, but it is just the right length for us. There were a several groups of hikers and a few kids/families. It was nice to know other people were around incase of an emergency.

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Next we stopped at the van to grab our lunch and walked down the hill to the beach. There are a couple of picnic tables and bathrooms at the campground beside this old train bridge.

We found this massive dead crab! (My 14 year old’s hand for comparison) It was really windy and we were a bit tuckered out so we didn’t explore much of the beach, though there did seem to be some tide pools further up and there were a few people fishing. Hope that inspires a few of you to get out and see what adventures your neck of the woods holds. Have a blessed weekend.

Memory Keeper: This Week In March and April

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Our last Hoorah at LEGOLAND

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L: Battle of the Books that Cole participated in. R: A beautiful sunset that reminded me of the daily ones in the Philippines

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L: Homemade tandoori chicken  Recipe link: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/06/tandoori-chicken-bites/

R: Kale Apple Raisin Salad

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Loving the warm weather and celebrating with more salads and some black bean burritos

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L: Tiny boy doing addition on Starfall site R: A plateful of snack. Green beans are his new favorite munchies

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L: Brecks decided to not be scared of the toilet and is potty trained during the day! Thank goodness.

R: This guy snuck into our bed as I was getting up & he wanted me to take a picture

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L: Aunt Joan sent us a couple of her wonderful story books! We LOVE them. Azure brought them to school for National Read Across America Day at school

R: Someone was SO excited about the loose tooth, he let Dad pull it with pliers!

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L: Orange Banana Yogurt Smoothie with Chia seeds R: Banana Pear Yogurt Smoothie with Chia seeds

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L: Azure checking out the displays at the Science Fair at his school last week R: A fish Azure’s class made for the Science Fair décor

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L: Azure’s pastel art based on a Paul Klee R: Holding a lizard with a beautiful purple spotted tail at the Science Fair

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Azure’s and a couple other classes performed a darling play called “Go Fish” about friendship in spite of differences. Azure was a crab.

Sorry for the bad picture, we were SO far away. He was so cute, after every song he waved to us and wiggled his second loose tooth with his finger nearly the whole time when he wasn’t singing. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing? And then he got to choose a treat!

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L: Anyone that has littles between 2-5 yrs. should absolutely invest in a train set. We have been adding on to this one for 10 years.

R: Four snugglers on a couch in a blanket from Grammy watching a whole lot of Myth Busters this spring break.

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And this little guy has been sleeping part of the night in his own bed! Hope you all enjoyed/are enjoying a lovely spring break. Have a great week.

Recipe: Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping (Vegan)

 

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Ok People, I am seriously excited about these wonderful vegan adapted muffins. The smell and taste are amazing and the texture is perfect! Now we aren’t vegan, though when I have the opportunity to try out a new vegan recipe or I vegan adapt and it turns out really well, I’m so pleased. This recipe came about due to not having the called for ingredients on hand and since I’m not one to run out and grab grocery items all throughout the week I tried to adapt it and it was magical. Yes, I’m a little nutsy about these babies.

So without further ado…enter Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping.

Ingredients: (Makes 24 muffins, half the recipe if you want less)

2 cups fresh frozen cranberries (I stocked my freezer after the holidays and sadly I’m on my last bag)

zest of 1 orange (optional)

1 tsp. orange flavor

2 1/3 cups of orange juice (I used 7 medium oranges)

1 1/2 cup of sugar + 2 tbsp.

4 heaped tbsp. of chia seeds

1 cup oil (coconut oil would probably be amazing as well)

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4-1/3 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (could probably go with unsweetened as well)

Instructions:

1. Get a pan on the heat with your frozen berries and add the 2 tbsp. of sugar. You don’t need to add any water as juices will come out of the cooking berries. Stir every now and again. When berries pop and soften, turn off the heat and leave to cool down.

2. Juice your oranges and just get everything into a big mixing bowl. I always sift baking powder into the mix with a small hand held strainer to avoid the dreaded clumps of powder in the final product. Other than that, it’s pretty much a one bowl dump. Add the cooled berries and prepare your muffin tray or baking dish of choice. I used silicone baking cups which I sprayed with my misto can of olive oil and measured out the batter into the cups. As an after thought I sprinkled some shredded coconut on the tops, really good idea if you have it on hand as it adds a wonderful toasty crunch.

Bake in a 350 degrees oven until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are lightly browned. Turn down your oven if they look toasty but aren’t quite done. Eat immediately for the full yummy effect.