Family Fun Adventure: San Diego Zoo


*Disclaimer: I have not received any compensation for this post, all opinions are my own

Hey there! Today’s Family Fun Adventure comes from the world famous San Diego Zoo. I think most people that live in Cali know during the month October kids admission to the San Diego Zoo is free! (So is the Safari Park. See my post from 2013 on that park here:

Bring hats, sweaters, water bottles and sunscreen will save you having to fork out for the necessities at a higher price inside the park


The cost: The kids were free. We bought the least expensive tickets for us parents at $48 a person (12 yrs and older. kids 3-11 years are $38 normally) came out to $96! You can get a small discount if you are a triple A member and you may be able to find other discounts in flyers at hotels or online. Parking is free. Plus a tank of gas and about 6 hours of driving, made this adventure not too cheap, but it is certainly worth making the trip every couple years with littles. The last time we visited here Brecks (little guy pictured above) was a belly bump, so we were definitely due for another visit

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Lots of close up viewing

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We borrowed a buddy for the day, which made the trip extra special for Azure. He and his friend talked Pokemon most of the day and random animal facts. Thank goodness! Mom and Dad needed a break from hearing about each fine Pokemon detail

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One forewarning that’s probably obvious…the zoo will be extremely crowded due to the free day. It was difficult to keep tabs on littlest boy and we lost him in the crowds a couple times. The zoo is pretty large and requires a quick pace to see everything. There were quite a few people jams in choice viewing areas, but if you go with that in mind and try to stay chilled and relaxed you won’t get too bothered. Hehe…hopefully. You can also take the tram that is included in the tickets instead of marching everywhere, though for the kids (on the free days) you will need to pay extra. Since we brought a small light stroller we opted to get some exercise. The older boys (7 & 8 years) while excited troopers (not complaining once) were tired by the end of the day

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I was so impressed with this guy. Normally when we go on an adventure he just runs from place to place, barely interested. On this occasion he stopped and would search for most of the creatures, in every reptile and insect tank! This trip was very worth it from an entertainment stand point of a very active 4 1/2 year old. Of course all kids are different, so a younger child could certainly be just as interested, depending on the child


The monkeys had nice large habitats. The zoo also has a playground area for kids that was super packed out, but it was a good little break spot

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There are a bunch of these animal sculptures to pose on and the zoo is building a new Africa Rocks area opening in 2017

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Three cuties on a giant tortoise

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A little picnic lunch outside the zoo and a couple of seal wannabes

You can buy everything you could want or need for a visit to the zoo inside at the food/drinks/snack spots and souvenir shops. Since we live in Cali and often visit some of these more expensive touristy places I tend to make the visit on the cheap as much as possible while still being special and fun. For example, I made extra fancy sandwiches and bought some fun snacks/drinks and the kids only made squished pennies as souvenirs. We did grab ice cream at the grocery store on the way home and the kids were perfectly happy with that


I hope this post gives you a good idea of a place to visit if you are ever out this way. Also, check out the zoo’s website for added extras I didn’t touch on in this post, like ticket upgrades, animal encounters, summer camps, etc. It is a wonderful place and I would certainly have annual passes if we lived closer.

Happy Fall All!

Memory Keeper: This Week In September


This is how we spent out last days of summer vacay…PJ’s into the afternoon, fruit snacks and good books

Oh goodness gosh, again I’ve been such a posting slacker! I got a new phone and had to get all the set ups done…I think most of the kinks are worked out and I’m ready to do a better job of getting my photos organized. I have also been plugging away at getting all our family photos organized and published in a family photo book. That project has been on my to-do list for way too long now! One of my summer goals was to collect all our photos and catch the books up to date. Hooray, that’s done!


Our summer has been pretty chilled and low key. Other than last month’s short overnighter to the Grand Canyon and one night camping near Lake Casitas, and a couple day trips here and there, we have stuck pretty close to home. Therefore our little monkeys have done A LOT of swimming. Pretty much daily


This goofy is SO difficult to photograph with a normal face


This little handsome is getting too big! Brecks left his floaties behind this summer as he had his heart set on diving for toys and just couldn’t do it with the life jacket on. He is now a very happy swimming fish and I’m so glad he mastered this new skill this summer

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Pool party every day

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Cheering big brother Alvin on at his cross country meet…we only got footage of him running, sorry Grandparents

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L: These two got SO much time together over the summer, we were all happy when it was time for school to start R: While shopping Brecks grabbed a bag of sugar snap peas and asked to get them, which was funny cause he’s a picky eater and hadn’t really wanted to eat them before. This time he pretty much ate the entire bag singlehandedly. Yeigh, another veggie to add to the ‘likes’ list


I seem to post a picture of my sleeping babies every month :)


A kindly soul that wanted to regain control of his overgrown blackberry patch gave me 30 twigs and roots, after planting them in pots and lovingly tending them, 20 or so have grown nice green growth

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L: Juice Inspiration: Apple Kale Celery Juice with fresh Spinach and a couple frozen Bananas

R: Smoothie Inspiration: Acai Juice, frozen Peach Strawberry Banana

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L: Smoothie Inspiration: Frozen Strawberries Banana Peach with Almond milk (or yogurt)

R: Juice Inspiration: Pineapple Apple Carrot Juice with Almond milk

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L: Salad Inspiration: Romaine Lettuce with Orange slices, slivered Almonds, dried Cranberries and a Homemade Honey Balsamic Vinegar

R: Meal Inspiration: Grilled Chicken strips with Avo on a bed of lightly sautéed Asparagus

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A couple of photo’s we took at the local museum at the dedication of their new children’s garden

L: Azure inside a recreated Chumash Ap constructed by local Eagle Scout and troop

R: Azure trying his hand at pounding corn

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L: Brecks doing the corn pounding thing

R: Visiting with the desert tortoises. He was in LOVE with these guys and so excited to watch, pet and feed them. This guy desperately needs a pet

Until next time Lovelies. Hope your summer was an amazing memory

Family Fun Adventure: Santa Barbara Natural History Museum


Hey Lovelies, today’s post covers our family outing to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum in July. We have been wanting/trying to visit this local museum for a couple of years now. They have a free Sunday at the beginning of the month, except four months in the summer. Call ahead to make sure it’s free if you are interested in this option and save yourself a long drive for a picnic :) Yes, we did that…twice! Once cause it was a Sunday, but not the first Sunday of a full weekend or we had gone on the first full weekend (can’t exactly remember) but not the first Sunday of the month and the next time it was September (or May?) and that was considered ‘summer’ and therefore not included in the free day. Point of long story? Call ahead!

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Our son Azure visited this museum on a field trip in 1st grade with his class and the museum gave each child a free family pass to be used within a certain amount of time. Scientist that he is, he made sure we went again. I found this small museum to be really well put together with a surprising amount of exhibits to see

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We brought the whole gang for this outing and we thought spending about 1 1/2 hours would be our max, it was closer to 2 1/2-3 hours. Daddy took Azure and 2 of the more interested older boys to see a 30 minute space show (it was $4.00 a person, since we didn’t pay for admission we were happy to pay for this)

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I thought this museum was perfect for elementary school aged kids and 2-3 hours a good amount of time to wander and discover. Littlest brother at 4 years, just wanted to run around and visit the stream they have as part of an exhibit outside. The only room inside the museum he actually liked was an interactive hands on room and mostly he was interested in building blocks in the play area. Easy to please. Older boys (high school) were fine to wander, but weren’t really interested in anything


Build a Tepee and try not to whack any brothers with a giant pole


This hand pump was an awesome feature that kept our little one very happy

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There is a nice shady Backyard area to walk/run around in, which we enjoyed

Here is the regular pricing: Under 2: Free, 2-7: $7, 8-17 and seniors: $8, Adults 18+: $12 So not the cheapest outing for a large family. I think its certainly worth it if you only brought the ages/kids that would really enjoy it. If were paying full price, we probably would have taken Azure with a parent or made it a special occasion (like a birthday outing) and gone with the parents and 2 littles. If we lived closer an annual membership would be a nice thing to do as well. I certainly would suggest this place to other families and its definitely worth a visit too. I’ll sign off with these gorgeous photos Hubbs snapped in the Gem exhibit



Family Fun Adventure: Casitas Water Adventure (Lake Casitas, CA)


Our Family Fun Adventure today comes from Casitas Water Adventure located inside the Lake Casitas Recreation Area and Park. I apologize in advance for the lack of photos in this post, I went solo with some of the kids to the water park and Brecks smashed up his finger pretty bad while camping earlier that morning, so he needed constant attention and calming


I had planned on a two night camping trip, but when we arrived on a Thursday night, there was only one night available. I made the mistake of not making a reservation, I thought for sure there would be space as its a huge campground. The ranger said we could try asking after check in time to see if there was cancellations or pitch our tent in a giant overflow field for $40. We paid $25 for a basic (no electric or water hook ups) tent site for one night. There are several little playgrounds around the campground and our tent site area (area C) had two flush toilets (no showers, though maybe there are some in other parts?) One bathroom was out of order, there were two porter potties available and there was always a line to use the facilities. All the campsites in this area were nice and shaded by large trees. You can fish and boat on the lake (no swimming though) and we have come to watch the meteor showers and star glaze a few times. Anyhoo, after the littlest monkey somehow smashed his finger while playing with rocks in the dried riverbed by our site, I didn’t feel like staying another night. After packing up in the morning we headed over to the water park. It’s only open during the summer, so check their website before going

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Entrance fee to this park is $12 per person, so not the cheapest thing to do with a big family. I have wanted to bring the little boys here for a few years now and I’m glad I waited until this year. More on that in a minute. One big brother came along  to hang with Azure, which turned out to be super helpful, as Brecks needed my full attention. Parking is $10, or you can park outside the campground and walk in. Though it may be difficult to find parking outside on a busy day. If you stayed at the campground you don’t have to pay for the day use fee. No food or drinks inside the water park but they will stamp your hand so you can go out to use the picnic tables or buy food at the snack booth (expensive though). There are showers/changing rooms, bathrooms, life jackets, some shade, lounge chairs, lockers and water fountains available. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and water shoes if you have them. The pavement is scorching hot and get there early to get a good spot in the shade. There are basically three areas in this small, but fun park; The Lazy River (with tubes available, though you will have to wait quite some time to snag one if its real crowded), a Kiddie Slide/Fountain area and a tiny Kiddie Spray area

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Taking a little rest in the shade

We visited in July and the park was really full, though the crowds thinned a bit an hour before closing. Azure (age 7, loves water) could have gone non-stop the whole day. Cole (age 14, doesn’t like swimming much) was happy for about 3 1/2 hours watching his brother. And Brecks (age 4, loves water) lasted about 3 hours, but I imagine if we hadn’t camped (he woke up extra early) or had another adult to take a turn with him, would have lasted longer. I had to persuade him to take a nap and then Cole sat with him while I took Azure back out


Azure is 7 and swims very well was able to team up with Cole (14 years) and go off on their own. There are tons of life guards to keep everyone in line and safe. Since Brecks doesn’t swim well enough without a floaty and is too small to climb into and hold on to a tube on his own I had to help hold him up. There were a couple other moms with two littles trying to grab tubes, whilst holding small kiddos and trying to get the kids in them. In my opinion, you need one adult/or older kid per little guy. The water is moving current, you have to help a little guy quite a bit. I would have been really stressed if Azure didn’t swim like a fish

Next Brecks wanted to go to the Slides/Fountain area. It’s real fun for kiddies, freezing water for me :( Brecks is 4 and isn’t great at following directions yet. He didn’t understand to wait until the lifeguard said he could go (he saw no one on the slide, cause they were waiting for the ok, and just thought he could go down), to clear the bottom of the slide immediately, don’t try to climb back up, don’t walk in front of the slides. Good and bad thing is the lifeguards are hyper paying attention and ready to give the kids instruction. Great for slightly older kids that need a reminder, not so good for little guys that don’t really understand/remember too well. Basically, I had to go to the top and wait with him until it was his turn, then race down the stairs (no adults allowed on the slides) against all the up coming kid traffic to get to him at the bottom. Fast as I was trying to go, the lifeguards were already admonishing him before I could reach him. That part was really stressful, as I didn’t want to be a pain in the behind to the lifeguards. I think in another year he will be fine and it will be much funner for me to stand around just keeping an eye out from the bottom. There are also lots of older/fast moving kids all over, so if your kids are too small it can be a bit scary and you’ll just have to go everywhere with them. I guess with two parents it might be done easier.

In closing I will say that I will definitely bring the little kids again and this park is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are staying at the campground also.

What fun activities did you discover this summer?

Memory Keeper: This Week In August


First day of Second Grade!

This is my 100th post guys. It’s exciting to know I’ve stuck with it this long.

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L: Pizza Party. These two topped the pizzas for dinner R: Sleeping children are the best!

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 A new backpack and a couple of goofs at the doctor getting ready for back to school. Its funny how I start out summer with all these great ideas of fun things to do and we barely get to a quarter of the list :) Huff puff, not gonna lie summer wore me out! Trying to entertain the kids in the house is becoming increasingly difficult. Praying for a new house with outdoor run around space.  The big boys took some extra summer classes, read a ton of fiction and did A LOT of sleeping in and playing of computer games! The littles had play dates, simple school and reading practice, watched too many movies and went swimming nearly everyday. I’m ready for school to start

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L: Azure asked for waffles. So homemade waffles and peach jam for dinner it is R: Coconut Chocolate Cherry Muffins greeted the kids when they got home from first day of school

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L: Selfie king in our house R: He does other things too, like bring his mama breakfast and coffee in bed.  Thoughtful boy


We had a short, but very special visit with this tiny boy…Canadian cousin Hudson! aka Mr. Bacon


Cousins posing. There are those goofs again

Memory Keeper: This Week In July


All BOYS trip with Dad and Uncle to the Grand Canyon

Boy, I sure have a lot to catch up on in the Memory Keeper posts! I’ve been increasingly using the Hubbs phone for pictures and then I have to wait to upload them when he’s home and I remember…so yeah, its a slower process. Anyhoo… here are some of our family photos from July



Since I didn’t go on this trip, I won’t have any Family Fun Adventure comments to make. A fast moving preschooler + dangerous heights and cliffs = a huge ball of stress for mom, so we kept each other company at home. I will just be sharing a few pictures from the trip



A morning hike



Azure has talked about wanting to visit the Grand Canyon off and on before. However when told about this trip, he wasn’t too interested. After packing his own bag he got excited and had a great time



A rare picture of all the kids. The big boys don’t like being photographed (which is the reason for my overwhelming photos of the littles most of the time) and of course it’s impossible to have everyone making a normal face! Can you tell who are the goofy ones?

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We took a day trip to the Oceano Sand Dunes in Pismo Beach, which are miles of sand dunes by the ocean. It was a sunny windy day and the dunes are made up of gorgeous fine sand. All the climbing and jumping made for some hungry thirsty peeps.  If you are ever in the area, have lunch at the Rock & Roll Diner which is in a couple of converted train cars. How fun is that! They have a huge menu, including great burgers, which is what the kids had

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A couple of summer snuggles

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L: A bowlful of watermelon to start Sunday off right R: I started brewing kombucha again, I place it in a tapped jar after its made so the kids can easily serve themselves. Oddly enough, picky eater Brecks is the biggest fan of the stuff

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L: I add some frozen berries to mine and let it sit for a day to infuse in the kombucha. Perfect summery drink R: Dinner Idea: Homemade Lamb and Vegetable Curry over a bed of Basmati rice


And lastly a really rare one of me and the Hubbs. Hope you had an awesome summer All!

Family Fun Adventure: Living Desert Zoo (Palm Desert, CA)


Here are some pictures from our Family Fun Adventure at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA last month.

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We visited in June so it was hot, hot, HOT! Really hot! The zoo opens first thing at 8 am to take advantage of the cooler time of day and closes by 1:30


I have been planning a visit to this zoo since Azure’s birthday in February (they give kids free admission for their birthdays you just sign up for it) we finally made it down there and took advantage of the free Bank of American Museum days. See here: We paid about $20.00 for the two little kids and parking was free. Feeding the giraffes was certainly an interesting thing to do. They didn’t seem terribly interested in the tiny handful of cut carrots we paid $5 to feed them, but Azure enjoyed trying

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Model railway scene that Daddy and Brecklin enjoyed

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Viewing the animals. Unfortunately, they don’t offer camel rides in the summer…I guess we’ll have to come back again

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There is a small animal petting area of the usual barnyard friends. Fun for kiddies

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Check out a giant grain storage pot and pretend you are a baby bird

This zoo felt very natural, kinda wilderness-like. I felt like we were hiking along some desert path. Thankfully there are a couple spots to cool down in the Discovery Center and the Wildlife Hospital were two of the places we made it to. We arrived at about 10 am and did not make around to see everything before we got too hot. We enjoyed what we did see and with the free Bank of America Museum days it made a nice activity on day two of our trip down south.  It was pretty perfect for the kids, remember to take cool off breaks, bring lots of water (of course they do sell bottled water too) hats and sunscreen!

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After the zoo we headed out for lunch at a fabulous Mexican restaurant called Las Casuelas Nuevas after it was recommended to us from a cashier at the local Target. Seriously good food here people

Next we met up with friends to cool off at the pool…that was definitely needed after all the heat! It kept the kids in happy spirits then we drove home after they were all tuckered out and the evening cooled off.

I hope you guys are making this a memorable summer with lots of family fun

Family Fun Adventure: Birch Aquarium at Scripps (La Jolla, CA)


Our Family Fun Adventure today is coming to you from La Jolla, CA at Birch Aquarium at Scripps. We have been planning to visit this aquarium for some time and finally fit in a trip down south to see it

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This is a very small aquarium and I would only plan on a couple hours here. We took advantage of Free Museums Bank of America days on this trip. There is free admission for BOA cardholders on the first weekend or first certain weekend days of the month. See their website here for a museum near you: and call ahead to the attraction to find out exactly which day is going to be free. I had to call a couple times over a few days to actually get to talk to a live person…but its definitely worth it knowing in advance, especially if you are planning a trip from afar

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The Aquarium has the usual tanks of fish and sharks and some interactive areas for the kiddies. Lifesaver!

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The outdoor interactive area was awesome fun for our 4 year old and he spent the majority of the time playing at the dam building boat water table. He got soaked (maybe bring a change of clothes) and was weeping when we had to leave. There are also some people powered things to try, like a bicycle fountain and a arm pull wave machine

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Even though there isn’t suppose to be any food inside I did see some folks enjoying snacks in this area. There are covered tables, a cool breeze and gorgeous ocean views

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They had some of the fanciest seahorses I had ever seen!

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The tide pool area was another hit for the little guy. It wasn’t touching the little creatures, rather the simulated wave he called ‘the woosh’ that he was in love with. Since we didn’t have time to apply for cards for our littles we ended up paying about $25.00 for two kids under 13 and since we were only there for 3 hours parking was free. Overall I thought it was a fun small place to visit and taking advantage of the free BOA day made it a worthwhile visit. I was glad we combined this visit with a trip the next day to the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert, CA as it would not have filled the day/trip on its own. If you are in the area passing through and need a educational stop for the kiddies, its a fun way to burn a couple hours. Age wise I think 3 or 4 years- to maybe 10-11 years would be the target audience for this place. It was very clean and well maintained and I definitely think its worth a couple of hours exploring

Family Fun Adventure: Hungry Gulch Hike (Lake Isabella, CA)


Hey Lovelies, today’s Family Fun Adventure comes to you from the Kern River area near Lake Isabella, CA. We had the pleasure of joining friends for an over night camping trip by the river We enjoying delicious fresh caught trout and the kids had fun getting wet and really grubby!

On pack up morning our family headed down the road for coffee and had hopes of finding a short kid-friendly trail nearby. Luckily we ran into a helpful ranger that pointed us just down the road to the Hungry Gulch Campground and informed us of a couple short trails within the park

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The campground was closed for the season, so we parked in the large dirt area outside the gate by the sign and walked in. We started up the Coso Mine Loop Trail which continues up as the Isabella Peak Trail. As you can see from the sign it was only a mile and a half and was perfect for littles that haven’t hiked in awhile

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Some parts of the trail we were unsure of the correct path, looking out for the marker signs helped keep us on track

I’m glad we hiked early enough in the day to keep from roasting in the sun. I did not notice if the restrooms or drinking water at the campground were open at the time however the parks website said there are flush toilets, drinking water and a playground

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Almost immediately we had views of the lake across the freeway and the trail was very easy for everyone. No climbing necessary. Interestingly a sign stated that the trail was maintained by the local middle school. What a great idea!

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After quickly reaching the really non exciting mine that’s walled and fenced up we continued higher up the hill on the Isabella Peak Trail

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We were rewarded with a beautiful view and cool breezes


A couple peak top photos later we were ready to head back down for lunch


We crossed the street to picnic by the lake and the little kids cooled off in the water. What are you doing to stay cool this summer?

Memory Keeper: This Week In May And June


I’ve been a slacker in the photo department lately, so here is a mash up from May and June


Hanging out at the Kern River with friends in May

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L: Cole caught a trout C: Ready for wadding A: Another brave soul ventures in


Helping Daddy set up the tent

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Welcome Summer! These two are enjoying park trips and rollerblading in the house at 9 pm

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Getting too big too fast. Stay small tiny turkey!

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Azure asked me to make him this wolf mask to go with his report for show & tell at school

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One very happy beach bum and a rare shot of handsome oldest brother

Hope ya’ll are enjoying a lovely summer break!