Little Explorer / The Color of Fall

11/21/2014 — 22 Comments

Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall Little Explorer / Colors of Fall

Some of the best adventures are the ones close to home. For this installment of Little Explorer, Søren and I took a walk around the neighborhood collecting different color leaves. As soon as we stepped outside it started to rain. He’s quite chatty lately, “Mama this a orange leaf!”. “Look mama, this one pretty”. He uses the word mama like punctuation and I don’t mind. I melt every time he says it. His voice is so tiny and soft. We talked about the colors of each leaf before it went into his basket. We counted. We walked. He chatters about everything with such a sense of excitement and wonder. Everything is new to him, so I stay quiet and let his mind explore.

Did you collect leaves in the Fall as a kid? What did you do with them?

Half Moon Bay, San Francisco / Devil’s Slide to Baker Beach

11/20/2014 — 14 Comments

Half Moon Bay California Highway 1 Abandoned Silo Highway 1 Abandoned Silo Highway 1 Abandoned Silo Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Highway 1 Abandoned Silo Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Highway 1 Abandoned Silo Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Devils Slide Highway 1 Northern California Red Tailed Hawk Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California Velella Velella Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco California Sunset over Highway 280 Bay Area California Sunset over Highway 280 Bay Area California

The longest stop we made during our drive up Highway 1 from Santa Cruz to San Francisco was at the hanging bunker and Devil’s Slide Trail. I think that area is my favorite part of the California coastline. It’s hard to say because I love so many parts of the coast for different reasons. We didn’t hike all of Devil’s Slide trail, just enough to get a good feel for it. I’d love to go back and do the whole trail some time. In San Francisco we stopped at Baker Beach where I got to hold a super cool Velella Velella. They are a very distant relative to the jellyfish and have been washing up on the shores in huge groups. Afterwards we ate a quick dinner and headed home to see our little ones.

52 Weeks, Celebrate / Week 46, Happy Birthday Aiden

11/19/2014 — 32 Comments

Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo Science Birthday Party #PartyToGo

I’m not sure how it happened, but Aiden turned 11 last weekend. Eleven. It sounds like such a big number to me right now. Every year I feel like his birthday sneaks up on me, as if he should just stay young forever. Alas, he is not. We had his party this year on his actual birth date, something we’ve never done before. I also kept the food simple, and thanks to Walmart Grocery (new home delivery service), I was able to have everything I needed food wise delivered ahead of time so I could focus on all of the more detailed stuff I wanted to do for the party.

We went with a science theme because Aiden has always been into anything related to science, inventions, and robots. I feel like he’s getting a little older and entering that awkward tween phase so I wanted to make sure it was cool enough for kids his age. We served sandwiches, chips, dip, and veggies for lunch, then had some delicious mini cupcakes for dessert. Through Walmart Grocery I was able to order most of my favorite organic food without the hassle of visiting a grocery store with Søren. I’ve never used a grocery service before and am not a huge fan of Walmart to begin with so I was a little hesitant when I agreed to try out the service. I was quite honestly surprised at how easy the online ordering tool was, and the very prompt delivery on my delivery date (they arrived at the start of a 4 hour window). There were a couple of items not in stock, which I wish I had known before placing my order, but they do offer the option of allowing substitutions which is nice.

The party took awhile to get going as traffic can be hit or miss on a weekend, but I think that everyone had a great time with lunch, watching the 3d printer, and enjoying each other’s company. I tried to keep it low key and relaxed. Aiden spent most of the time playing with his friends, and Søren was attempting to steal the show. Don’t worry Søren, the next birthday party will be yours!

If you want to know more about the service, check out www.delivery.walmart.com and enter your zip code to see if it’s available in your area yet. They have generously offered $10 off your first order (Use code TMWIKING, $30 minimum, expires 12/15/2014). I think outside of party planning I’d be happy to use their service again provided they expand on their organic selection, and perhaps add some more local selection.

Walmart Grocery provided me with food and other items via a giftcard to try out their delivery service and share my honest review.

Free / Printable Outfit Planner

11/18/2014 — 17 Comments

Free Printable Outfit Planner

Do you remember when I shared this printable travel checklist? It’s nice to have if you know what clothes you are already packing, but what if you don’t? Today I’m sharing a printable outfit planner you can use to plan outfits for a trip, or week by week in your normal wardrobe. Click here, or on the image below to download the PDF version. If you are having trouble, selecting “Save Link As” might be a better option. For best results, the PDF should be printed at A5 size.

Free Printable Packing List Do you plan your travel outfits out ahead of time, or while you’re packing? I always lay mine out on my bed according to the days we will be on the go and find it helps me streamline my packing.

 

Reviews, Santa Cruz / Dream Inn Hotel Review

11/17/2014 — 17 Comments

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review For our little getaway to Santa Cruz, we stayed at the Dream Inn. It’s situated on West Cliff Drive, directly on the sand. It’s also conveniently located next to the Beach Boardwalk and Wharf. For years as a little girl my family would visit the beach and I’d dream of being able to stay close to it for longer than a day.

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review

Room
We stayed in an Ocean View Executive King Room. It wasn’t exactly budget friendly, but was well worth the dough. The decor was very retro-chic and the floorplan was spacious (though sadly, it did not have the sweet surfboard decor like on their website). It was spotless. The room had plenty of extras like real coffee cups, magazines, a wardrobe, toiletries, and luxurious robes. I wore one down to the hot tub instead of my own because it was thicker and kept me warm for the walk down.

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review

Amenities
Ocean views, beach access, pool, hot tub, and a great restaurant; what more could you ask for? Well into the evening of our stay I had some trouble using one of the wine openers and to make a long story short, room service had to come to our room a few times to help get the bottle open. It took a lot of effort on their part and they were always happy to help. Since I knew we were checking out in the morning I left our breakfast order on the doorknob and it arrived perfect and on time the next morning.

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review

Overall I’d rate this hotel a 10/10. The only thing I didn’t like was that due to the location and proximity to the ocean, valet parked cars are actually parked across the street. My car was safe while we were there, and everything else, from the room, to service, and food was all perfect.

Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review Santa Cruz Dream Inn Hotel Review For more information about the Dream Inn, please visit their website.