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!


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



DIY Tutorial: Framed Pet Silhouette on Fabric



Welcome back for a super simple DIY Tutorial today: Framed Pet Silhouette on Fabric. BEWARE: This project is SO easy, ANYONE can do it and its a perfect Christmas gift for a special pet lover. Let’s start.

Items Needed/Cost of Project:

Frame (any size): FREE (I already had this lying around my house)

White Gloss Spray Paint: FREE (Again, I had this leftover from other projects) Though I recently bought one from Michaels, it was 40% off sale and I searched there website and snagged a 25% off total bill coupon. So I paid just under $4. You could also leave the frame as is, if it goes with your look

Fabric: FREE (Yup, I had this on hand) You only need a small piece of fabric, depending on your frame size and could probably buy it for less than .50 cents or you could go with a pretty piece of scrapbook paper instead

Black Paint: FREE (Had it) I used a .50 cent bottle of black acrylic paint from Walmart or a craft store (don’t forget to use a coupon if shopping a craft store)

Pen and small Paint Brush: FREE (Already had)

Printer: Black and White ink is fine for this project

Side profile Photo of your subject. You can use other animals, people or favorite objects as well

Total Cost of Project: FREE or about $5+ if you needed to buy everything

Aside from paint drying time, this project literally takes less than ten minutes (if you aren’t painting your frame) Awesome, right?


Step 1: Print out a picture of your subject. Make sure its a good fit for your frame. Resize larger or smaller as necessary. For mine I used a picture of doggie niece Jax, this gift will be for her parents this Christmas

Step 2: Spray paint your frame, if you decide to do this step


Step 3: Wrap a piece of cardboard with your fabric or paper, pull tight and tape down. I used the cardboard that came in the back of the frame and some thick masking tape. Iron fabric before taping if necessary


Step 4: Check to make sure the fabric is tight and you have no wrinkles, adjust if necessary


Step 5: Do a quick mock up and decide final placement of photo. Originally, I was thinking I’d go with putting the photo way down in the lower right corner, but afterwards I changed my mind and centered it instead. Notice how the photo cuts off on the bottom and right side? I just faked the rest of the outline. Also the ear on top got cut off in the printing and again, I just added an extra piece of paper and faked it


Step 6: Trace your photo with a pen


Step 7: Start painting the outline and keep your paint from dripping or flicking all over by doing this step carefully. I filled the paint cap with paint and set it on the area I intended to paint, in case of drips. Paint this outline as neatly as you can, keeping the lines crisp will make the effect nicer

Step 8: Fill in the entire space you wish to paint. I did two full coats and left it to dry in between coats, and then a little spot touch ups wherever I could still see the pattern peaking through

IMG_20141205_163039Sorry, the glass was a little dirty 🙂 But, yeah here’s the finished product!

Go get creative with a piece of meaningful art for a gift this Christmas!

To Pin any pictures of this project visit my Pinterest page:

DIY Tutorial: Simple Favor Bag


Sorry Lovelies, I really haven’t had any time to craft recently. Seeing that tutorials & diy’s are my most viewed posts I wanted to put up a real simple and fairly quick project today. I will say right off this project DID take me a long time as I was making 19 for my son’s class as a valentine exchange. We have had SO much going on here at home I didn’t have time to sit with Azure and have him make a pile of cards. I was trying to give something that wasn’t a sweet treat and something that hopefully won’t be thrown away too soon and came up with these little sunglass cases that can be reused as a treasure bag later. At the bottom of the post I’ll include my inspirations for this project.

Items Needed/Cost of Project:

1.66 of a yard of natural muslin Cost: about $2.49 on sale at Joann’s (I already had this one hand, but you could certainly use scraps or make smaller bags)

Scrapes of fabric and felt Cost: Free (Already had on hand)

Regular thread & embroidery thread Cost: Free (Already had)

Ribbon or some thing to use as a drawstring Cost: Free (I used scraps of ribbon I had in my stash)

A black thin tipped permanent marker Cost: Free (I already had this, that I bought at the dollar store, though if I were to buy something I would have gotten a fabric marker so it won’t wash out)

Red fabric paint, optional Cost: Free (I already had, I think only a dollar if you were buying it. I believe I bought mine at Walmart)

Sunglasses, optional Cost: $7.00 (3/$1.00 party favors at the .99 Cents store)

Sewing machine, optional Cost: Free (Already had)

Total Cost: $9.50 or $0.40 cents for one baggie, including the glasses


Step 1: Wash and iron your fabric. Decide what size you want the baggie to be. I folded my fabric over (and saved sewing one side) and cut out 10″ x 4 1/2″ rectangle. Opened up it was 10″ x 9″.   IMG_20140212_084048

Step 2: Next I took a scrap of fabric and tested my pen and picture design.


Step 3: I traced the drawing sketch I made on the fabric and made a simple template out of paper. Then I traced it on to the fabric I was using to make the baggie. I tried to center the picture as much as possible, taking into consideration only one side of the bag would have a seam (therefore needed a little extra fabric allowance) and the top where I would be using to make the drawstring seam. I chose to use fabric scraps to make a hat and felt to make a heart patch and a skull and ‘crossbones’ since the little guy looked at bit more like a farmer than a pirate. For the girls, I made a tied bandana looking hat instead (See pics below) using the same template steps.

Step 4: I used embroidery thread to hand stitch the eye patch on and regular thread to hand stitch the hat on. You can use whatever thread you like and can use your sewing machine to complete this step.


Step 5: I free handed the eye, nose, mouth and added a couple of lines for hair that went up to the hat and personalized each baggie with ‘You’re a grrreat friend ________ (the child’s name added)! I made all the boys look the same. When I went to make the girls, I noticed that the girls had more noticeably different hair and chose to personalize their hair a little with a few different styles and types. You could totally save yourself time and keep them all the same, especially if you don’t feel confident to free hand it.


Step 6: Using the sewing machine (or hand sewing) sew the bottom and the one side seam closed. Since the other side is folded over you don’t need to sew that side.

Step 7: Sew the drawstring seam just like you would for a pair of pants. Here’s a link: with detailed instructions. Simply put, make a tiny fold to hide the raw seam and then a larger one that will fit the string, sew down. Leave a small gap to string the string through.


Step 8:
Since these bags were doubling for valentine cards, we made a heart print using the fabric paint and a thumb. I placed a piece of folded newspaper inside the bag to avoid the paint soaking through while we were printing. It did leave a little newspaper stuck to the inside 😦 I couldn’t find any heavy cardstock which I have tried before with good results. When the paint was dry, I added arms, legs and a face with the same marker I used for the front. This particular one did not soak through the fabric, but I would definitely test yours on a scrap first. Lastly, Azure signed his name.

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Here are a few samples of the baggies I made. See I was trying to go fancy with the hair styles 🙂

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These are what the boys bags looked like and the sunglasses I added inside the bags once they were complete.

And here are the inspiration links: and

Have fun adapting your own favor bags!

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