Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Journal Entry #6 - Pirate's Park

This little park was on my summer list - I needed to go to a couple thrift stores in the area and thought this would be a great little middle stopping point for the little ones (bryson was gone that week at his grandparent's house). I was recently having a conversation with another LB mama lamenting the fact that we have been to every park in LB like a hundred gazillion times and my boys are over a lot of them. She told me that Lakewood and Bellflower have some pretty awesome parks that her kids never tire I made it a point to look some up in that area since errands bring me to those areas once in a while.

This park was so funny. It is back behind storefronts off of Bellflower Blvd. It was pretty small, but lots of stuff to climb. I got there and my initial reaction was "oh this will last all of 15 minutes" because it just was a lot smaller than I imagined...but i was wrong - i couldn't get them to leave after an hour! and bodie talked about this park to everyone that would listen. When a lot of bigger kids invaded the park...i made my boys leave despite protestations because it wasn't going to end well. But if you find yourself in the area...and find yourself with a half hour or so to kill...and your kiddos like climbing...check it out!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Summer Journal Entry #5 - T.M.A.F.I.

at the campsite
After a day on Lake Sabrina - everyone caught = everyone smiles
Bryson's winning trout - 1.25 Lb
Bodie and Declan looking for fish
I let bodie reel in my first catch...a truly selfless mama act (if you know me, you would be impressed by this)
all day long

 We had our annual T.M.A.F.I. fishing tournament this last weekend. We haven't brought the kids in 4 years. We totally remembered why after this weekend...just kidding! it was so nice to just have the bigger boys (Bobby's grandpa drove all the way down from San Jose just to watch him - sweetest Grandpa!). There is a creek that runs through the site and Bobby would be a constant source of anxiety...because I can't go to the arboretum without him falling in the lake or creek...i always bring 2 changes of clothes for Bobby - he loves falling in this way we still got to enjoy time with (most of) our boys and relax (a little).

Actually what was so amazing is that Bryson got so annoyed at having to wait for one of us to tie his lines, he taught himself. I showed him once and he was good for pretty much the rest of the trip. He got tangled a few times, but man- born fisherman! He caught 2 fish all by himself all week - once in the creek and the one that won the tournament at Lake Sabrina. I am pretty proud of him - it took us a few years to learn how to fish the lakes..and little bugger gets it his first go.

The boys did great - i was worried the boat was going to be too much for them and they really didnt complain about it. Bodie hardly fished and was fine to sit and watch. At one point he told us that something is making his line shake...he started reeling in and he had a fish! we couldnt believe it! he ended up catching 2 that day. We had a lot of kids this year too, so it was fun for them to have constant playmates. And the is so much better out there...up there...its the altitude as much as the environment i think. We had the most amazing desserts (campfire cones, smores, cinnamon rolls cooked in orange peels) i ate more desserts on this trip than i have in a few months together...worth it!

I truly had one of the best times this last weekend. I am so thrilled to start creating these memories for my boys - to share this place that is so special to me with them...and hoping they love it and much and as deep hearted as I do.

(Some past TMAFI posts here and here and here)

See Bryson's Summer Journal Entry on TMAFI here

P.S. - I can't do all the same summer journal entries as Bryson since half of the time his dad will be taking him out. In case you were wondering.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer Journal - Entry #4 - Blackberry Picking

We went here about the same time last year. (Here is last year's post) I had wanted to go earlier, but it didn't work out with our schedule. I also didn't plan ahead too well and couldn't get anyone to go last minute, so it was just our little clan this year, but it turned out to be such a nice day! Bryson was super into it. He picked so many and went on a picking rampage - i loved it! Bodie was getting over it. I made them all wear pants since the blackberry bushes are so prickly and it was rather hot out, so I tried to find blackberry bushes in the shade and he just lost all focus. Surprisingly Bobby was actually focused. He collected more dirt and rocks and needles and things than blackberries...and the blackberries he did pick were all pink...but still - a focused on a task Bobby is a happy Bobby!

I brought a blanket and a picnic lunch and we had the nicest little lunch - the four of us. We talked about the different birds we saw, why some trees have thorns, what we should make with our blackberries. It was nice - it is days like this that make me so thankful I am able to be with my children most of the week. (disclaimer: I don't always have that attitude) 

Bryson agreed to let me have his blackberries if I shared some jam with him - Deal! I made freezer blackberry jam using this recipe and it came out pretty runny. It is still super yummy - not really complaining, but next time i should use less juice! maybe more pectin? dunno...future self - please research before next jam session. 

Side Note: I should add that we were on the backside of the Marsh - accessible by Michelson Ave - (the street you park on is Rimparion)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Journal - Entry #3 - Redondo Beach Seaside Lagoon

We headed to the Redondo Beach Seaside Lagoon with dear friends on a weekday...we got there around 10:30 and it was a good time to go since it was not too crowded. By the time we left (around 2:30) there was definitely a crowd. My friend Becky had told me about this place and part of what she was told was that this lagoon was built as a way to cool the pipes from a nearby factory and part of the by-product of that was the water was heated...but that didn't seem the case - the water was pretty cold! That did not stop our kids one bit though! 

There are several water fountains in the lagoon and water slides for the bigger kids. There are picnic tables with shade, a small playground and BBQ pits. I think it would be a great place for a birthday party! I think the kiddos all enjoyed it and for me it was nice since it was fairly easy to keep an eye on them all. I struggle taking the boys anywhere there is a crowd because all three love to dart off in opposite directions and it just stresses me out. We went home and all three boys passed out in the car on the ride home - sign of good day! that rarely ever happens anymore!

Side Note: Adults are $6 and Children 2-17 are $5 / $4.50 flat rate for parking (check site for hours)

(Click here to see Bryson's post on the Lagoon)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Summer Journal - Entry #2 - LACMA

I haven't taken the boys to LACMA since Bodie was a baby. I went here with some girlfriends a few months back and saw the Metropolis exhibit and knew I had to show the boys. It was soooo worth it - mind blowing! They watched it for 20 minutes. The longest they have ever looked at art. It was neat - it opened up all kinds of discussions about what art is. This was definitely the hit of the day - Bobby told everyone "the cars go weally fast!" Bryson learned about installations and kinetic sculptures and how to talk about art. 

On the way to the museum I was prepping the boys (especially Bobby and Bodie) about touching. Bodie touches EVERYTHING. when we are at the grocery store...i swear he has to touch every single item on the is extremely frustrating. so i knew he would struggle at the museum. I made Bobby go in the stroller most of the time and I made Bryson and Bodie each hold one of the stroller handles while walking in the museum. It still didn't stop Bodie from touching the BIG billiard ball exhibit and getting scolded from the scary museum lady. 

We also made sure to see Levitated Mass - this was not so much a hit...they couldn't understand why a big rock was art. I tried to explain it in kid terms, then just reverted to - look isn't it so cool to be UNDER a HUGE rock? When can you ever do that? that did it...they lit up and tried to jump up to reach it. then they ran not so much a hit, but I love this because I remember the fan fare around it and it came through Long Beach and I got to see it and I think its pretty neat to have something of nature of this size in the middle of LA.

We attempted the family tour - by the way...if you also are inclined to do this - I think it is best for school age children...not so much for 4 year and 2 year old boys who would rather run under a large boulder 100 times than sit and talk about color. Just sayin.

Oh...I forgot the best part! Usually admission is $15, but if you bring your kids and sign them up for a (free) membership- they can bring an adult with them for free! so I was able to get in for free and the boys got those cool orange membership passes - win win! 

Side Note: Metropolis is only running on the weekends, during the week its just a large non-kinetic sculpture. Also parking is $10

(To see Bryson's journal entry on the museum click here)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summer Journal - Entry #1 - The Penninsula

Last Day of School with Classmates Kyle and Declan

Beach Day

I am having Bryson do a summer journal to keep up with his writing and typing throughout the summer. I told him at the end of the summer we can print it out and he will have this cool keepsake of the summer. He is loving the idea (so far) and I thought I would join along since it will give a little more insight into our adventures (he is only asked to do 5 sentences minimum). 

So...last day of First Grade. Just as the school year started they passed through Mrs. Shack's "Magic Door" and became Second Graders! So exciting...but Bryson was a bit sad. He loves Mrs. Shack dearly. I can tell this because on the back of their spelling tests they are asked to write a sentence - whatever they want - and bryson always writes something like "Mrs. Shack is byootiful" very sweet. She was a great teacher for him and he improved in so many ways. We will certainly miss her. 

About a year ago Bryan and I started meal planning and it made such a positive impact on our daily routine (not to mention budget) so I decided I needed to apply the same concept with our days. Due to our home business (a seasonal business that is super busy in the summer plus 2 people who work in our home office at a time) we need to have our days planned so as not to interrupt the office. 

I am not a planner - so this is a challenge for me, but so far it is working! Our first day after school went out we went to the Peninsula - our happy place. Easy for me - street side (free) parking, not a long way to tote all our stuff- no waves and a long embankment make it not a worry, plus if you get there early you get the beach to yourself! This day they played pretty well together. Bryson tied Bodie's board to his and toted him around for a half an hour. Bobby played by himself in the sand happily for almost an hour. It is always amazing to me how they play so much better when things are simplified. 

We will see this beach many more times this Summer - and we feel super blessed to live up the street from here!

(To see Bryson's post about the beach click here)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Event/Activity List for Families in Southern California

Is anyone else in a tailspin about summer? I am kinda freaking out that I will have all the kids and the added pressure of getting them out of the house all day (we run a business in our house). Hence this blog post. This is totally a selfish list- it is my personal family list of stuff we want to do this summer, but thought I would share it with others because that is the kinda person i am...also i can access it anywhere this way and did i mention it was mainly selfish? I will be adding to the list as more stuff comes up, but wanted a place where I can find the info. (please comment if there is anything I should add!)

1. Adventure Playground - Ages 5-12 / $3 per child - Huntington Beach
2. Pick Your Own Fruit! Morrell Nut and Berry Farm - Solvang (2 1/2 hours from LB) or Brian Ranch U-Pick Orchard - Llano (1 hr 45 min from LB) / Tanaka Farms - Irvine (30 min from LB)
4. Take the Train to the San Juan Capistrano Mission (and visit the petting zoo!)
5. Calico Ghost Town - Calico
6. Sawdust Festival - Laguna Beach (through August) - Children's events and art booths - see website for details
7. Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum - Topanga, CA (I have seen a play here before and the venue is GORGEOUS!) Family Fundays are on Sunday throughout the Summer
8. OC Fair -Costa Mesa -  July 12-Aug 11
9. Soak City - Buena Park
10. Orange County Great Park - Ride the balloon! (closed mon-wed / adults $10 children above 6 $5)
11. Bower's Museum - 2002 Main St. Santa Ana / closed mondays /
weekday adults $13 children (under 12) Free / Target Free First Sundays
12. Children's Museum at La Habra  - 301 South Euclid St 90631 / closed mondays / Adults and children $8 (under 2 are free) - First Sunday of the month (starting 7/7/13) is free
13. Angel Stadium Tours - Adults $7, Children 3 and Up $5
14. Aqualink - Fare $5
15. Crystal Cove - Laguna Beach
16. LACMA - Metropolis Exhibit on Weekends only
17. Indoor Bouncing Places - for THOSE days
18. The Movies- $1 Tuesday matinees at Mainplace in Santa Ana!!
19. Edible Adventure - OC Food Trucks
20. Redondo Beach Seaside Lagoon - Adults $6 / Children 2-17 $5

1. Movies on the Beach! - Long Beach
2. Downtown Skate Zone - Anaheim
3. Tide Pools - San Pedro, CA
4. Our favorite beach spot - Penninsula, Long Beach
5. Riding Bikes at the Bowl - Yorba Linda
6. Volcom Skate Park - 970 Arlington Dr, Costa Mesa
7. Gum Grove Park - Seal Beach
8. El Dorado Nature Walk (does cost $ to park)
9. Japanese Garden at CSULB
10. Laguna Hills Community Center and Sports Complex (Skate Park!) - 25555 Alicia Parkway, Laguna
11. Blackberry Picking - Newport - Early - Mid June
12. Huntington Beach Bike Trail
13. Laguna Koi Ponds - 20452 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna
14. Prehistoric Pets - 18822 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley (It's a pet store, and sooo much more!)
15. Swimming! (We are lucky to have access to friend and family pools but if you aren't so lucky - here is a link to a free one week pass to the YMCA in Long Beach - they have an awesome pool!)
16. The Getty (Admission is free, but parking is $15)
17. Pirate Park - 16559 Bellflower Blvd, Bellflower
18. Rock Climbing - Vasquez Rocks - 10700 W Escondido Cnyn Rd, Agua Dulce
19. Fullerton Arboretum (free but donation is asked)
20. Checking out the Surf at The Wedge - Huntington Beach
21. Farmer's Market - They are Everywhere, but our favorite is at Marine Vista Park Wed 3:30-7:30 - Long Beach
22. Santiago Creek Wildlife Reserve - Archery Range, 2 big metal slides that go down a hill (hours of fun) and a bike path - we could spend the whole day here!

OC Events - Just Spotted

Citrus Classic Balloon Festival - July 26-28
Insect Festival - Encinitas - July 13-14
Old Miner Days - Big Bear - July weekends
Youth Outdoor Safari Day - Corona -  July 20

Monday, June 10, 2013

Amazing Natural Shaving Scrub

Via Military Fit Bombshell

It is fun to have teenage nieces...they teach you all kinds of interesting things, like "shipping" and everything you want to know (and maybe not) about One Direction, and how to do a Sock Bun...but this last thing one of my nieces taught me was this sugar scrub. I did this a couple days ago and it is AMAZING you guys! I was making everyone feel my legs, because they were soooo smooth.

I usually get bumps (especially on my upper thigh) after I shave, which are ingrown hairs, and after doing this - not a bump! plus the olive oil really helps seal in the moisture - the next day i was at the pool and the water was beading off of me for a good 2 hours!

Please click on link for original post - but she recommends soaking your legs for 5 minutes, shaving, applying the scrub by massaging it in for a good long time, then shaving again, then apply again and rinse off.

I made a batch and keep it in a tupperware bowl in my bathroom - one batch is probably good for a good 5 shaves or so! Have fun!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Father's Day Gift Guide

My man has a lot of interests...the one on the top of the list is I usually default and get him a gift certificate to a golf shop, which he is more than fine with....but I always feel like its such a cop out gift. Coming up to Father's Day, I know he has a birthday around the corner and our anniversary, so I am always stumped for gift ideas...I thought I would be a little more pro-active and create a gift list and share it with you - maybe it gets your brain going too?

1. Camping Coffee Maker
2. Funky Shorts
3. Chambray Shirt
4. Grill Basket
5. Smashball - kind of an inside joke, but also a favorite beach activity!
6. Camping hammock for 2! (okay maybe this is more for me since I am the lazy one!)
7. Scooter - He keeps telling me I need to get one of these (for therapy on my broken ankle) which leads me to believe he really wants one for himself
8. Travis Matthews is always a winner

Awesome Filliping Veggie Grill Basket 
His favorite balls