Family Fun Adventure: Bryce Canyon National Park


Ahhh, Bryce Canyon! TOO beautiful to describe and the photos don’t do it justice. Mostly, I run around trailing kids and reach for the camera for a quick shot, barely looking through the view finder ūüôā

Continuing where my last post left off, the next day brings us to Bryce Canyon National Park. Warning: Lots of pictures ahead, not too many tips though due to the weather

Day #3: We booked two nights in the town of Panguitch, Utah and again, woke up early Saturday for breakfast that was included in the room prices. We headed out at around 7 and made it into the park on a very cold and snowy day. All the hiking trails were closed due to the weather, but the viewpoints were being cleared for the day


We started out parking near Sunrise Point and walked the snowy Rim Trail to Sunset and on to Inspiration Points. The day started nice and sunny. Because of the weather we couldn’t make any trips into the canyons, which I can imagine would be quite incredible. The part of the trail between Sunrise and Sunset Points are a pretty easy walk and the kids had so much fun with the snow




Cole (age 14) following the trail beside the steep drop offs


Daddy keeping the tiniest turkey back from the edge. See that pebbly ridge? Yup, a snow covered slope down from there!

 Not gonna Lie, the trail was scary with little kids. The trail itself was mostly wide, but the steep drop offs coupled with the slippery conditions as well as overly excited children, made for nervous parents. We each stuck close to and mostly held the younger kids hands. Of course, being mom, I constantly reminded the older kids to be extra careful. They were sliding, running, throwing snowballs, and I just wanted them to be safe


 The contrasting colors were vibrant and unbelievably stunning





Winter wonderland definitely added a extra fun element




At the first lookout the kids are relatively happy and wow, they are smiling!


They couldn’t stop themselves the entire time from making snow ‘Angels’


My older boys are very uncooperative for taking pictures most of the time, so they are pretty rare shots



I must say I love hiking in the woods and by rivers. It’s so relaxing to be out in this type of nature. Normally, we hike the dry chaparral of California in the roasting heat, so this is a welcomed change






Proof that there were parents along for the trip. Well a parent and an Eskimo ūüôā


After about 3 pm the kids were cold and tired. We headed back to the hotel for a some vacation snacking, T.V. watching and just chilling


After they warmed up and dried off the little boys, Alvin and Daddy made a snowman behind the hotel

Day #4: Woke up early and loaded the van for making our way home today. For some reason (maybe a religious thing as it was Sunday) even though the hotel  (Days Inn booked on priceline) advertised breakfast at 6:30, as we enjoyed the previous day, they did not have anything out on Sunday. In fact no one was in the lobby and it was all locked up, I tried calling the front desk, waiting etc. Finally, we just had to leave our keys in the rooms and go. That was kind of a bummer as I was counting on that being a big meal to keep the kids happy at the start of a long drive. Thank goodness for back up snacks and a couple hours later we arrived in Vegas in time for another buffet lunch to make up for it. So all was not lost. I will say that room service was very kind the day before in helping us charge our dead battery to get us on our way and the breakfast was one of the nicest we have had at simple lodgings

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One final pic of enjoying the view. I can’t wait to visit again and hike down into the canyon trails.

What are your top favorite National Parks?


Family Fun Adventure: Muck Fest Mud Run


Hello Lovelies, I thought I’d do a little write up on this fun outing we took part of the family to this year….Muck Fest 2015. It was held in Prado Regional Park in San Bernardino County. If you are participating in the run you don’t need to pay for the park’s¬†day use fee. For the last couple years the company Hubbs works for sponsors any employees that want to enter the run and they can then sign up friends and family for about $65 dollars per person, depending on when you sign up. If you sign up closer to the date of the race, the price goes up. A free T-shirt, bag check, a drink and snack is included in the ticket price. This year Hubbs took biggest boy to run with him. But, he didn’t take his phone for pictures, so I’ll add some that we took last year when I went with him

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Some of the obstacles

We love that this run is benefiting charity via the MS Foundation and we are delighted to support it while having fun


The run took place during the month of October which is really the perfect weather to be running this in. It’s quite hot out and the mud/water feels nice and cooling

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There is a small free mucky area for kiddies. A little slide, a tunnel and a inflated pool with a water bucket that dumps on their heads. Simple, but SO fun and my little guys happily played there the entire time Dad and big brother were running. It’s good thinking to bring bathing suits, towels and dry clothes

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It took them a few minutes to not be shocked by being/getting dirty, then they were all in. There are T-shirts for sale and a couple of food trucks or you can bring a picnic to enjoy in the huge park. After cleaning up at the shower truck we headed over to the nice large playground for lunch and play time before heading home


Yeigh, we made it! Lots of fun. What fun runs have you tried?

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 (Canada): Fort Langley National Historic Site


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Super excited to bring you this Family Fun Adventure from…Canada! Yes, folks we had the blessing of making our way up north to enjoy the holidays with our Canadian family, and it was LOVELY! Today’s post comes to you from Historic Fort Langley in British Columbia

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We did the touristy thing and went with the Grandparents and Auntie Yvette (not pictured here, she took the better picture so I used hers! Thanks Yvette. Start writing for my blog pretty please) to the Fort one rainy day. Here is the pricing: Adults: $8.oo Youth: $4.00 Family: $20.oo (not sure how large a family counts) My sister had some passes since she worked for Parks Canada, which took care of the kids and 2 adults. We ended up paying 3 adult tickets for about $25. If you had to pay for everyone it could get a bit pricey for a large group, but it is definitely great value. This site is nicely paved so strollers aren’t a problem. It also has the¬†added bonus¬†of being fenced, er, walled in so the kiddies are contained. We had our stroller, but our almost 4 year old preferred to run around

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Inside view of the palisades

See the shed like roof off of the wall? There is a window in the wall that they used for trade with the Native people

“Fort Langley is the exact location where, a century and a half ago, a huge fur trade organization called the Hudson’s Bay Company established a small post to trade with the First Nations of the West Coast. The enterprise grew, evolved, and influenced history, leading to the creation of the colony of British Columbia” (taken from Parks Canada website. See link at the bottom of this post)

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L: Under the wall walk R: Stairs leading to the wall walk

This place is perfect for kids in the 5-12ish age range. There’s quite a few things for hands on fun, like a children’s museum in that you can wander around and touch most everything for the younger ones and slightly older ones will be able to enjoy the historical value. My older boys (13 and 15) weren’t all that interested in the history, but they were fine with wandering around. My 1st grader was TOO excited and couldn’t stop running all over looking for everything on the map and interactive booklet that was handed out to the kids. I had a hard time slowing him down to point out different interesting things. He was the same way at the LA Natural History Museum ( too overwhelmed to focus¬†on details, which is funny cause he’ll listen to me read plenty of detailed science books. As an adult, I loved the place! It was a wonderful educational peek into life in the 1800’s and the birth place of British Columbia

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Here’s a picture from up on the wall walk at the top of the log walls surrounding the Fort where soldiers could patrol on look out

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L: Grandparents talking to the cooper making barrels for shipping salted salmon, cranberries and other goods

R: Mom and Azure in the store house in front of pelts that would have made up the fur trade that this area was known for. An attendant informed me that bear fur was commonly used as the outer wrapping for a pile of furs as it was the least expensive pelt

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L: Pretend to be a blacksmith for a few minutes R: Big boys testing out the bellows at the smithy

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L: Boat used for trade R: Try your hand at panning for gold at certain times of year

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Some kitchen areas in the houses. Interestingly, two or more families shared these homes. Each family area consisted of one large room with kitchen and sleeping areas just like in the Little House on the Prairie books. Some thing that struck me was how dark these houses must have been. There was some electric lighting disguised as candles or lanterns, even still, in the cloudy weather that is Vancouver for the most part, inside was really dark

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They really try to make the areas lived in. Beds with blankets, knitting basket out, food on the table. Everything is very tidy which it probably really was, since people didn’t have too much stuff back then ūüôā The grounds are, I imagine a lot neater than it was in real life. More park like and less like a muddy farm

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In the fall there are farm animals, a vegetable garden and mini orchard on site. Nothing to see when we visited late December. There also weren’t any crowds to deal with. Awesome! We pretty much had the run of the place

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A view of the Big House

“British Columbia was proclaimed a colony at a ceremony in the Big House on November 19, 1858. The present building was reconstructed for the centennial of this event. The original building served as the fort’s office and residence of the chief trader, the clerk, and their families” (taken from Parks Canada website) I learned that the Fort was built twice after being destroyed by fire and the only original building from the second build on site is the Storehouse. I didn’t think to ask the attendants what happened to the other buildings¬†(its killing me now!) and I can’t seem to find anything online (let me know if anyone knows the answer) it seems like there was¬†too much¬†competition¬†in trade and¬†that led to the Fort ceasing to be a company post in 1886

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The kids enjoying some of the items they could touch and dress up with

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I was very impressed that the vintage clothing, dolls, china etc. could be handled. Very cool in my book!

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L: Old fashioned sink. A pitcher and wash bowl R: Furnace

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Some items in the stores that traders and gold miners would need

¬†I wished I would have read up about the site’s history before the visit. My overall impression of this place was…its an awesome educational gem! We had a great time and I thought the value was pretty decent. Some reviews I read suggested some visitors weren’t happy with crowds, lack of shows, activities and attendants to speak with. Although there weren’t any shows or special activities at the time of our visit (late December) there also were virtually no crowds, we still had a memorable and interesting visit. We spoke with a couple friendly attendants dressed in period clothing and they¬†were able to answer¬†our questions and tell¬†us¬†¬†interesting details of life and trade products of the Fort. I would certainly recommend this place for visitors to the area and would also consider an annual pass to bring the younger kids

Hope you enjoyed this post of our visit to Historic Fort Langley in British Columbia

Here’s the link to the Parks Website:

To Pin any of these pictures, see my Pinterest page:

Memory Keeper: This Week in October


Sorry my Memory Keeper posts are few and far between…but in order to maintain the ‘fun factor’ in posting to the blog I don’t stress or get too down on myself when I get behind…and so here we have some pictures of our family happenings for the month of October

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So this happened! We had the awesome experience of doing our first mud run at the end of October at the MuckFest, a 5K fundraiser for MS

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It was such fun and we got to team up and run with a bunch of Hubbs work colleagues. His company sponsored the employees¬†and then friends and family signed up to run with them. I’m so glad they choose a charity fundraiser¬†event and we had the best time doing this together. It was so weird to not have the kids with¬†us and we¬†kept commenting to each other ‘The kids would love this’ or ‘Azure could totally walk/jog this course (slowly, and walk around the difficult obstacles)’ ¬†Definitely want to sign the kids up for something like this next year

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And Hubbs got to go overnight fishing with some buddies

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He got to enjoy a little time away from home and we got to taste the catch. Delicious rock fish!

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L: Azure got to participle in his own fun run school fundraiser too. They switched it up this year, instead of just running, they had different exercise activities that the kids rotated through. Some of the fun was: relay races, zumba dancing, tae kwan do, hula loops, etc.R: And a picture of the funnies Daddy took while I was away in Florida

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This guy continuing to love drawing and making pictures for friends

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L: This little monkey starting his K5 school books in the mornings R: These sillys enjoying free kids Jamba Juices on Halloween

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful and blessing filled Fall!

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


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


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!


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


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


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


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


The English Rose Garden



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.

Family Fun Adventure: Big Sur, CA


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.


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.


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.


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!


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:

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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 ūüôā

Here is more information:

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.


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)


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:

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.


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 ūüôā Hey, gotta’ take what you can.

Here is more information:



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


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


¬†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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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 :).


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!


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 January 2

Memory Keeper: This Week In January 2

This week I toured a high school that we hope our middle schoolers will attend in the fall. While I was very impressed and excited about the possibility of this new school, it has¬†also hit home that my time with … Continue reading

Memory Keeper: December Round Up

Memory Keeper: December Round Up

Wishing Everyone a wonderful holiday season. We have been battling seasonal sickness and other health issues galore this month, hoping you are faring much better. We have been reminded to keep in our prayers loved ones and folks we have … Continue reading