Goodbye To Summer 2016

As we say goodbye to summer 2016 it makes me kind of sad that it went by so quickly.  Even though I complained about wanting summer to be over in my post about “the kids going back to school“…it still seems like just yesterday we were packing up for our fist glamping trip of the summer.

We made lots of memories and have probably lived in our camper more this summer than we have been home.  To say purchasing the new camper was a great idea would be an understatement.

Our last trip of the summer was spent in the beautiful south shore of Lake Tahoe (California side).  We spent 4 glorious nights there, but have decided that NEVER again will we venture there on a weekend.  NO. NO. JUST NO.

Emerald Bay Lake Tahoe
Emerald Bay ~ If I had a boat…this is where I would be ALL. THE. TIME.
Luckily we got there on a Wednesday so we got to enjoy a few days before the enormous group of weekenders showed up.  On Friday we spent the day at a beautiful beach called Camp Richardson.  The water was shallow enough that the kids could walk way out and it was only up to their waists.  There were kayaks, paddle boats, paddle boards and boats to rent.  The sand was soft and the hubby and I managed to land a great spot in the natural shade of the trees while still being able to keep an eye on the kids in the water.

lake tahoe camp richardson
Our breathtaking view for the day
We attempted to return to this same place on Saturday with no prevail.  The parking was full by noon and so were every other swimming beach areas for the next 20 miles up the lake.  Therefore, Saturday we spent most of the day driving along the lake at about 5 miles an hour due to traffic only to turn around and come back to the camper.  Luckily,where we stayed had a pool so the kids could burn off some of their energy while mommy and daddy enjoyed the refreshing liquid inside our Solo cups.

We got in some miniature golfing while we were there.  It’s been a long time since I had played miniature golf or even golf in general.  I used to go golfing at least once a week.  My 5 and 6 year old were really getting into it.  But my poor 4 year old just could not get the hang of how to hold the putter no matter how many 1,000 times daddy and I showed her.  We finally just gave up and let her do it her own way…making sure everyone was clear of getting their teeth knocked out from the swinging club.

miniature golf lake tahoe vacation

This same day we ate at a place called My Thai Cuisine.  Needless to say we were very disappointed.  We both had the Pad Thai lunch special.  The server asked us how spicy we wanted it based on 1 being the least and 5 being the most.  We both went for a 4 as my husband and I like spicy.  Sadly it was not only not spicy but pretty much tasteless.  So if you’re ever in the area I don’t recommend that place.

Another disappointing place we ate was called The Cantina Bar & Grill.  From the moment we walked in the door the service was mediocre.  We asked for patio seating and even though there was clearly plenty of places to seat us, the guy sat us inside at a table for 4 when there were 5 of us and then just stuck a chair at the end of the table.  The food was anything but authentic (as they claim) and the margaritas … I’m not too sure even had tequila in them.  Nothing like paying $8 for a margarita that didn’t even come in a margarita glass but a small beer glass instead.  I mean seriously one would expect that by ordering a margarita at a Mexican restaurant that it should come in a margarita glass???

The best places we ate were The Stateline Brewery which was in the heart of downtown by the Gondola, and I highly recommend ordering the artichoke dip on the appetizer menu.  It’s a meal in itself!  It’s served baked inside of an entire loaf of bread.  And rather than ordering the kids 3 orders of an $8 box of Kraft Mac ‘N’ Cheese we got them a 10 inch pizza to share for $14, and they still had some left over.  The atmosphere and service were great and afterwards, if you’re up for it, there’s a Cold Stone Ice Cream right in the same area.

I also highly recommend The Naked Fish sushi restaurant.  We went there on our last night, which was a Saturday, after attempting to go to a BBQ place we had been eyeing but upon arriving, we were informed it would be over an hour wait.  So after driving around we found the sushi place and were very pleased that it only took about 10 minutes to seat us and their rolls were delicious.  The special of the night was called “The Sea Monster” and it was plentiful and packed with flavor.  We ordered about 6 rolls total and between the hubby, myself, and the littles….there wasn’t a single piece left.

Now that I think of it I should have taken photos of the yumminess but I was too busy stuffing my face.


It’s been a great summer, packed full of memories.  And now in just 11 sleeps I will officially be sending off a junior in high school, a 1st grader, a kindergartener, and a preschooler and I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around that.

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Mid-Summer Update

I can’t believe that we are already nearing the end of July.  It seems like just yesterday I was patiently waiting for the kids to get out of school and now I am anxiously patiently waiting for them to go back.  Here’s a little mid-summer update of what’s been going on.

We started off our summer with a two week vacation to northern California which you can read about here.

No sooner than we got back from there and it was off to southern Nevada to pick up our oldest son, monster B, who is now officially an adult (1 down…4 to go), to come visit before he ships off to boot camp next month.  It was a quick there and back trip, spending most of the time in the car.  But did get to spend some quality time at grandpa’s.

It was just a little hot there…

This video ^ still makes me laugh every time I watch it.  With a little help from Snapchat and my silly voice it came out quite comical.

summer grandpas house swim spa

This is a picture of all the kids in the swim spa which is like a small swimming pool.  Grandpa also has fun things like chickens, an orchard with a pond, and a game room equipped with an old school arcade game that had Pac-Man on it which kept mommy entertained for hours.  It’s also fully stocked with booze that we adults happily helped ourselves to.  I am quite certain the shenanigans lasted until the wee hours of the morning.

I had some fun times with my 16-year-old thinking that my jalapeños from the garden weren’t hot.  His older brother and I dared him to eat a whole one.  So of course he did it.  Because he pretty much does anything he’s dared to do.

Afterwards he was caught guzzling a half-gallon of milk and shoving a half a loaf of bread in his mouth.  He still claims “it wasn’t hot”.

We then headed off for our second family vacation to Idaho.  We visited a place called Brownlee Reservoir which to me looked more like a lake it was so huge.  We were off the grid for 5 whole days.  No internet and no cell service.  At first it was a little weird but then I actually liked the fact that everyone was either fishing, boating, riding their bikes, or playing board games.

This was our view for 5 days

Our friends, who have a boat, invited us.  My 6 and 4-year-old loved being pulled on the tube behind the boat.  The 5-year-old not so much.  Which amazes me as she loves speed.

The above video is her riding her bike down a hill, at the campground, as fast as she could go.  She did this at least a dozen times while we were there but unfortunately biffed it once while trying to race her brother.  Luckily she landed in the grassy part and not the pavement and managed to walk away with only a small scrape to the knee.  Mommy on the other hand almost suffered a small heart attack.

My 16 year old’s girlfriend flew off the raft and lost the entire top bracket of her braces.  And even the hubs and I got in on the action.  Needless to say it’s just as fun as when I was younger, only it’s now, days later, and I am still feeling the effects of holding on for dear life and hitting the water hard enough to obtain quite a few bruises on my legs.

We also took a drive across the dam to a place called Hell’s Canyon.  We took the scenic byway which ran along side the Snake River onto the Oregon side, and it’s literally one road in, turn around and come back.  But absolutely breathtaking scenery.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway Oregon

Everyone did some fishing but the only ones who caught anything were the teenagers.

fishing brownlee reservoir idaho
Oldest son monster B holding some catch of the day.

Of course that’s pretty easy to do when you don’t have 3 little kid’s poles to keep having to attend to.  Seems like every time I looked, my husband was fixing a pole.  He did get to do some fishing the last night we were there but without any luck.

We stayed at a campground called Woodhead Park Campground which if you are ever in the area I highly recommend.  The bathrooms and showers were the cleanest campground facilities I have ever experienced.

Our friends stayed on the B side but we ventured up to the C side where we found the perfect shaded spot overlooking the reservoir.  Supposedly the camp host on the C side isn’t very nice but we never heard a word out of him.  And the 8 of us could be pretty loud…one night well after 1am.

It was a long ride home yesterday and I was happy to get here and shower in my own shower and sleep in my own bed.

Now just a few days and my best friend will be visiting for a whole week!!!  We will be attending a baseball game in Reno while she’s here and I am sure plenty of other shenanigans to blog all about.

The busy summer isn’t ending anytime soon.  But is quickly flying by.

Chow For Now,

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Our First Summer Vacation

I am here to say that we all survived our first summer vacation.   *Glamping away in our brand new camper that slept all 6 of us comfortably but by the end of 2 weeks I did realize how much I appreciate the square footage of my house when placed in a tiny space with all of us.

*glamping. n. 1. a form of camping in which participants enjoy physical comforts associated with more luxurious types of holiday

We went to the northern coast of California again this year and stayed in a little bayside town called Trinidad. Trinidad California I believe the population to be around 600 people…Wikipedia has it listed under 400 back in 2014.  If you include the population of freeloaders it’s probably a lot more.

We had one who climbed over the fence from the freeway, made her way through thick brush, and stopped to ask my husband for a cigarette.  She had been collecting butts of cigarettes, smoked by other people, all morning, apparently.  *shrivels at the thought*  She was sneaking in to use the shower facilities although it looked as though she hadn’t showered or brushed her teeth for quite some time.

She was about 20 something and I am guessing a heroine addict.

The campground we took over occupied for the majority of our trip was called The Emerald Forest.  I will be writing a review about the place in the near future.

The best part about staying there were the people who we camped with at the beginning of our stay.  They were from Redding, CA and were vacationing for the Father’s Day weekend.  They had kids who were our kids ages and taught 2 of my 3 littles to ride bikes without training wheels in literally a day.  Not to mention by the time nightfall rolled around all I had to do was put the 3 littles in their beds and they were out within minutes.

Campfire, cocktail, and shenanigan time!!!

Shenanigans included:

  • Pouring water in chairs without each other knowing
  • Poking each other with hot sticks
  • Roasting each other with witty comments
  • Karate chopping sticks
  • Laughing hysterically
  • Staying up way too late and probably disturbing other campers by breaking the quiet after 10pm rule

The following is a video of my teenage monster M after I had poured water in his seat and he sat in it…he pouted and went to bed.

The best part about the northwest coast of the US is that you can hike in the forest in the mornings and lay on the beach in the afternoons.  The average temperature during our stay was around 65*F.  The ocean water was super cold but the kids didn’t seem to mind as they still went in it.  As for me and the hubby, we just enjoyed watching them from the shore.

Below was the cove that we spent the majority of our beach time in…

Trinidad California Northwest Coast Ocean ForestTrinidad2Trinidad3Trinidad4

The first days hike was an easy one.  Trail was good and it was a little over 3 miles round trip.  But the next day was a lot rougher terrain and about 7 miles round trip.  I don’t care what my husband wants to argue about that.  My fitbit said so…

FitBit hiking steps miles tracking

When we started I was at around 1,000 steps and just under a mile logged.  The scenery was breathtaking though.  Or maybe that was just me out of breath and realizing that I need to get myself back to the gym.  On the other hand, my 4, 5 , and 6 year old were champs!  No strollers or carrying packs needed.

I will be posting more about our fabulous vacation so make sure you stay tuned!

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~Favorite Quote #17~

Favorite quote #quotes #inspiration beach summer vacation memories

This picture is of my daughter on one of our vacations…you can see more of my work here.

Favorite Quote Farewell Summer #memories #beach #sand

It’s hard to believe that the summer is gone

But in our hearts the memories will always live on

As we shuffle about and get ready for fall

And the next chapters of our lives become loved and enthralled

There’s only one thing that this mommy shall wish

That this summer of memories will forever be cherished

                              ~Trista Souza

I really can’t believe how quickly this summer has flown by.  We made some great memories this summer and now embarks a new chapter in all of our lives.  I have always been a summer girl but always look forward to the holidays and all the magic in the air that they bring.

Love,

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~Trees Of Mystery Adventure~

trees mystery vacation California redwoods adventure family

This place is AMAZING!  It’s inexpensive(around $50 for the 6 of us), beautiful, and a great little hike for all members of the family.  My 3 year old did it with no problem.   It’s nestled in the Redwoods National Forest in California about 10 miles south of Crescent City.  The name is Trees Of Mystery and you can click the link to get more information about the place.

When you pull into the parking lot the first thing you see is the huge Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox.

trees mystery California Northern Coast Redwoods Paul Bunyon  trees mystery blue ox babe redwoods adventure California coast

Paul Bunyan speaks to you and makes jokes.  We never did locate where the person was watching from…they are very good at hiding it.  The kids of course thought it was really this large statue talking to them and got a total kick out of it.

Once inside it’s a trail just full of redwoods and the beauty of nature.  They have little signs with descriptions of certain trees and even a sky tram that takes you above the trees and up to the top of a wonderful lookout.

Here is a picture of 2 of the 4 kids on the boot of Paul Bunyan and my husband trying to get up there with no success.

trees mystery redwoods California coast adventuretrees mystery California Coast Adventure Redwoods

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast family vacation

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast family vacation

trees mystery adventure redwoods California coast vacation family

Some people have chosen this wonderful place to “tie the knot”

trees mystery adventure California redwoods forest family vacation weddings

trees mystery California family vacation redwoods

There is a section with all these little wooden plaques listing all the couples who have given their life away gotten married here.  Love this idea!

trees mystery weddings redwood forest adventure vacation California

This is the “Brotherhood Tree” If you click the link it shows a video on how they measured the tree.  It’s huge!  And I love what the sign represents.

trees mystery adventure family vacation California redwood forest

trees mystery redwoods forest California adventure family vacation

Once you have come to this part of the trail you have the option to ride the sky tram.  Of course everyone wanted to do this.  Except for a gentleman who said he didn’t trust anything that didn’t have screws to connect it to the cable.  My kids didn’t skip a beat and were all thrilled to get in the little cable car.

trees mystery sky tram adventures California family vacation redwoods forest

trees mystery adventure California family vacation humor sky tram redwoods forest

trees mystery sky tram adventure redwoods forest family vacation

trees mystery adventure California redwoods forest family vacation sky tram

We went around 10am and it wasn’t busy at all.  But as we were leaving it was starting to get pretty packed.  Therefore, I am glad we went earlier.  It was a beautiful, almost cool morning so it made for good exercise.  The picture of the view above really doesn’t give it justice.  The whole Redwood Forest is just breath taking!

Below are a couple of facts.  These signs are all throughout the hike and it’s very interesting to learn more about the redwood forest and it’s history.

trees mystery California facts redwoods forest family vacation adventure

trees mystery adventure facts redwoods forest California vacation family

If you are ever visiting the Northern California coast, I highly recommend stopping in and having a hike through this place.  We plan to return again someday.

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~For The Love Of The Beach~

love beach ocean sand water

Who doesn’t love the beach?  It’s all about the sand in your ass crack between your toes.  The sun on your face.  And the people who shouldn’t have left the house in that watching.  Personally I have always loved the beach which is ironic because I have lived more then half my life in the desert.  Maybe because I couldn’t afford to live at the beach…who wants to work when you live by the beach?  I would be calling in sick all the time.  Which as a stay at home mom would probably be frowned upon.

We are actually planning our family trip to northern California this summer.  A fabulous 9 nights only a mile from the beach.  We will be staying in our home on wheels camper all snug like sardines.  I am sure we will smell like sardines by the time the trip is over.  My husband has been rambling on about it for the past 3 months.  I of course just started getting excited about it over the past few days.  That was after the stress of having to pack a camper for the 6 of us settled in my head.  Luckily there are no diapers to have to pack this year.  I don’t know how we ever survived on vacations when we had 3 in diapers and 2 on bottles.  Bins, bins, and more glorious pain in the ass bins!

We have been to the beach many times as a family and I am quite certain that the mini van, we just traded in, still had bits of sand deep within the carpet and cracks of the seats amongst all the other bodily fluids memoirs of all our trips.

The following are some of my photographed memoirs (all by me) from one said trip.

beach love sand ocean vacationbeach ocean love sand vacation

beach vacation sand love oceanbeach vacation love sand oceanbeach vacation love sand ocean

Sun-Kissed,

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Favorite Quote #4

Favorite Quote #4

I felt this was the perfect quote to sum up my weekend full of family and fun!  I am proud to say that there weren’t any tv’s or tablets present.  We planted trees, and did yard work.  We had a fire in the fire pit and roasted smores and lots of marshmallows, and visited with friends.  The kids had a camp out on the trampoline with lots of blankets and pillows.  We discovered a beautiful place called “Water Canyon” which is literally 10 minutes from our house.

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We bought a slip and slide and it will probably be the best $30 we spend this summer because the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

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And I finally got our garden planted with the help of my 5 year old who has informed me he wants to be a gardner.   It was a great weekend to say the least and I am so happy to have spent such quality time with my family and friends!  And officially Summer has begun.

Enjoy!

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