Mom Springs

Facebook has been reminding me of all the cool memories such as vacations I’ve taken in the past around this time. May, June and July are definietly the high traveling months for all of us, but as the boys get older, having their own activity schedules, it’s getting harder and harder to plan out a long vacation.

Earlier this week, I stumbled upon a Facebook memory of a trip to Palm Springs which I did with my older cousin. We called it “Mom Springs,” as it was a treat for the two of us moms, the weekend before Mother’s Day to relax and celebrate being moms, without our partners and children. It was a weekend trip to Palm Springs checking out two different hotels. One night at the beautiful luxury hotel of the Riviera Palm Springs, and then the rest of the weekend at Ace Hotel And Spring Club.

During our Mom Springs, we ate out, relaxed by the pool, and just enjoyed peace without being interrupted. Once place that I loved was FARM.

Farm is located right along South Palm Canyon hidden, in a quiet, charming, rustic, beautiful corner. It’s honestly, the best place for brunch.  If the weather is nice, you can sit outside under one of their many red umbrellas or smack in the middle where there’s a wooden covered area. If it’s raining, inside is just as quaint and adorable so you won’t lose either way.

6 Plz Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262
With housemade jams, local produce, and really really good French press coffee, their omelettes, salads, and a few over-the-top French toast dishes, are to die for!!! There’s also a long list of crepes ranging from nutella and banana to ham and gruyere.  There’s also a brunchy cocktail menu with concoctions like a bacon-garnished Bloody Mary (Yum!) and a gin-basil cocktail.

If ever you’re planning a trip to Palm Springs, I’d definietly check out FARM. And as for my experiences with the two hotels……Stay tuned for my follow up blog post! Juicy, eye candy pics, that will make you want to book for your next trip to Palm Springs right now!!

Midwest Visit

Exactly two summer’s ago, the family and I have a paid trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. Why Ohio? Well, the hubby at the time worked for a wonderful startup company called Ahalogy. The company offers a performance content marking solution for enterprise. They help marketers (such as bloggers like myself) connect with consumers via meaningful, data-driven content. The visit to Cincy, was originally a business trip, for the hubby, but turned into a welcoming family vacation, as at the time we were considering moving to the mid-west. Which, coming from the West coast, leaving the Bay breeze, beaches, mountain ranges, and hot-pot of cultural diversity was a huge toss up. BUT once you break it down to the cost of living…And seeing the remarkable culture and housing provided in Cincy, it’s a very hard decision to make.

Anywho! Back to my trip intro…Ahalogy was kind enough to cover our traveling expenses, and hospitality. They offered their company apartment to our family, located in the heart of the Oakley neighborhood. The neighborhood is filled with young professionals, and situated close to neighboring areas for young families to take short walks to city favorite book stores, boutique shops, brunch spots, weekly farmers markets, and many many different coffee shops within each block.

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Here were the boys at the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport, waiting for our flight back to San Francisco.

Is it me? Or do you enjoy the “On This Day” feature on Facebook, where you see past memories and posts you’ve made? I honestly love it!!! Here’s an Instagram shot of the boys. It was my first time traveling with the boys, alone!!! No help from daddy, no help by my parent. It was awesome. 5 hours with a 3 & 6 year old boy was quite easy. I give it up to the parents who fly with young ones. I guess I was lucky.

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Airport ready with these boys.

#CamerinoBoys #JetSetters#ParentingSolo #ParentFlyers

#Cincinnati #OH #CVG #Ohio✈️💺🎒🎫

 

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Upon our arrival to Cincy after taking a red eye from San Francisco, our first stop wast taking a walk through the Theodore M Berry International Friendship Park. Located in downtown Cincy, its a very narrow green space named for Cincinnati’s first African-American mayor, with long walking & bike trails. Coming from a city in the Bay Area that is nestled between the Silicon Valley, culture and scenic, and major public areas are uncommon. So after our walk around International Friendship Park, we were basically shocked, and in love with Cincinnati already.

Cincinnati has a wide area and selection of riverfront parks to hang out at. One popular playground my boys liked was located in Sawyer Point, directly beneath the “Big Mac” bridge.  The playground is a huge wonderland for children of all ages to explore.  The playground is enormous, with a wide variety of activities for adventure!!  There are musical instruments, a climbing wall, a truck to drive, slides galore, swings, ramps, steps, ladders, passageways, nooks, crannies, tunnels and so much more!

Playground Parent PLUS: It’s located under the bridge, it stays pretty shady at the playground, which is nice in the summer July heat!

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The boys walking through Saywer Point’s playground.

Saywer Point Park

Sawyer Point Park & Yeatman’s Cove are a pair of side-by-side parks on the riverfront of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The two linear parks stretch one mile along the north shore of the Ohio River.

705 E Pete Rose Way,

Cincinnati, OH 45202

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One of a kind crossing….

 Out of the nine bridges crossing the Ohio River, this is the only one that is purple.
The Newport Southbank Bridge, popularly known as the Purple People Bridge. It stretches over the Ohio River, connecting Newport, Kentucky to downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Wikipedia
Read more here: Purple People Bridge
Now, coming from a city where bridges are commonly used only for automobiles, and never for pedestrians it was hard for me to believe there was such a bridge just for people. Yes, I know, it makes me seem like I live in bubble.
BUT FUN FACT: when we visited Cincinnati, we were considering to buy real estate there! We saw about 4-5 homes that week we visited.

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Here’s the boys at age 3 & 6 at the time (July 2014) at what we thought was Devou Park in Kentucky. Our GPS accidentally took us to the property of the Children’s Home (Of Northern Kentucky) which we had thought was the park. This grassy green area in Kentucky overlooks to Cincinnati.

Devou Park

Address: Covington, KY 41011

Devou park is a massive park with an amphitheater, golf course, lake & museum, plus sports fields & trails.

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Have you ever been to the Midwest? Especially Cincinnati, Ohio? If so comment below! Everything from the people, culture, homes, communities, coffee shops are oh so what amazing! After our visit, I was obsessing about traveling to other cool small/town cities with hip low key culture….

Check out more posts on my Family Adventures page!! I’ll be posting a part 2 to our Cincy trip on Family to-dos, and our favorite spots!

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What’s HOT |Off The Grid: Sacramento

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In addition to my previous post of ‘Slaying Summer‘ and doing cheap affordable things during summer vacations are food truck meet ups. In the Bay Area, Off The Grid was a very popular weekly public lunch and dinner event within your local community. With free entry, music, community, and family fun, Off the grid serves too all. Just show up, and select from a wide range of food venders available! All ages and taste buds welcome!! If you’ve been following the Family Adventures portion of my blog, the last place my family and I traveled to was the Pacific North West. While visiting Portland, we were huge fans of the food pods! Food pods & taco trucks are my favorite kinds of “eating out medium!”

You can check out my PDX Food experience HERE.

Soak up the sunlight this summer, and travel to your nearest food truck spot! Off The Grid, currently cater’s to California, but I’m sure there are tons of food truck mania meet-ups. During the summer, you really do have more hours in a day. So make some good use of those extra rays! As my family and I are current new residents to the Sacramento area, we are searching on what’s good in town. A fabulous summer vacation isn’t the only option to do between June-August. Tap into a real sense of r&r, and use this simple and easy idea of checking out food trucks! Choose what flavors suits you, and make the most of the kick-back season!

#GetAwayWithoutGoingAway

When I found out that Off The Grid was coming to Sacramento, I nearly screamed! So many great experiences I had at many different locations in the Bay of food and company were rushed to my brain. Having something oh so familiar, to my new city is really exciting. A bit of familiarity, into a new area for my family to discover. Not only that, the location Off The Grid: Sac had chosen was the popular River Walk in West Sacramento! Only 10 minutes away from home, and just about at 25min (mile) bike ride!!

Sac

With about 20 vendors, bars, cabanas (which you can reserve for a whopping $75), and music all along the river, from 11am-4pm, that could easily be you simple Summer Sunday, with not that much effort!! BUT of course, if you like being a little summer ready, and no so hot & bothered by the nasty heat you can always be prepared with some summer essentials….like THIS.

OffTheGrid

Here’s the thing about Off the Grid Sacramento, there’s nothing more relaxing than hanging out with friends and family on a Sunday afternoon as the sun shines, and the kids are running around the open grass field, or cruising down the pavement with their skateboards and razor scooters. We often get hung up on the formalities of throwing a party, or meeting at a nice sit-down place. Let that all go, and just declare a local taco truck meet up. Invite co-workers, neighbors, and start you own “First Sunday” tradition!! Email & text everyone a reminder that you’ll be meeting at the local food trucks for a stop-by- and hang-out every first Sunday.

#MakeSummerMemories

Be sure to follow Off The Sac (@offthegridsac) on Instagram!

River Walk Park

 

Hope your summer is easy and relaxed just as mine. What are your favorite summer traditions that don’t cost money?! Is it fabulously frugal such as meet ups at the park? Evening walks? Comment below! And happy summer!!

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Stay Cool For The Summer

Being a June baby, summer is my jam. If it’s one particular season during the year, that I am the most relaxed, and capitalize my time, and really know how to enjoy life its summer. Good vibes and tan lines are basically are you need, This summer, the family and I have a pretty relaxed summer. We opted out of two weddings!! Yes two weddings!! We decided not to attend. It’s not that we dislike the bride and groom, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with saying no.

From a rough summer last year, of having the hubby go though an achilles injury (from basketball), and not able to go out as a family all summer, that was extremely difficult for me. Family time is always needed. So last year, I focused my time and energy on self-help, health and happiness. I trained with a trainer, and trained all summer for runs (5Ks, 10Ks, and ended the year with 2 half marathons.) You can check out more of my health journey HERE.

This summer, the hubby is healthy and at a wonderful state of mind of becoming stronger more than ever. We’re in a new city, a new home, and explore every single day what’s around us. Financially, we’re ok. The move 2 hours up, from the Bay Area to Sacramento, took a huge bite into the bank account, but it was worth it. Vacations this summer may/ or may not happen, but we’ll see what we can do. But honestly, living in a new city….It’s been feeling like we’ve been on vacation since we’ve moved!!!!

Here’s some helpful tips on making summer great without packing your bags and buying a plane ticket to paradise. I promise you, summer isn’t all about the sand, and tropical climates!

Check out my OUTDOOR list for a free budget friendly summer!!!!
(Bay Area & Sacramento Favorites!)

  1. Hike
    Derrick and I love to hike. Especially with out 9 year old son Jaeden. Living in Sacramento, we’re closer to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite!! We’re also very close to Aburn, which has fantastic parks and recreation! When we visit family back home in the Bay Area, we always make sure to make a morning hike at Mission Peak! That hike definitely works you.Visit a local bookstore or bike store for trail maps, or check out Trails.com for hiking trails near you.
  2. Evening Stroll
    The hubby works from home, and can usually get caught up with a lot of work on his plate. It’s important to get outside and get some fresh air! Usually after dinner, the family will take a nice evening stroll around the neighborhood. It’s the perfect time and weather for it too, as the sun sets, and temperature is cooler.
  3.  Bike
    Biking is our new family favorite. Now, that both our children can ride on their own without training wheels we can enjoy bike rides all over town! Sacramento is actually the bike friendly city! Paved trails are everywhere, and take you anywhere in Sacramento to Davis to Folsom! Make a day out of it with packed lunches, lots and lots of water! If your city hosts food truck meet-ups or evening concerts at the park, biking would be a great option for travel!! (You don’t have to worry about parking!)

  4. Visit a National Park
    Save the date!!! August 25th!! Is the National Park Service’s birthday!!! They’re celebrating by giving everyone a FREE pass!!! Click HERE to find a park near you!If you’re in California this includes:
    Cabrillo National Monument
    Death Valley National Park
    Joshua Tree National Park
    Lassen Volcanic National Park
    Lava Beds National Monument
    Muir Woods National Monument
    Pinnacles National Park
    San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
    Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
    Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
    Yosemite National Park
  5. Hit The Beach (or the river!)
    Obviously, depending where you live you can visit your near by beach! Now living in the central valley, I’m a lot closer to the rivers. I actually live right across the Sacramento River! Chill out, grab your favorite book, sand toys for the kids, and floaties!!!
  6. Fruit Picking!
    I grew up spending summers cherry picking!! Although, the locals in my community have suggested apple picking at Apple Hills farms a little up North Sac. I personally have not done it yet, but do plan to visit during the Fall!!
  7. Plan a Picnic
    Sandwiches, salad wraps, hot dogs & hamburgers..Have a family picnic at a local park!
  8. Fly a Kite
    Head to an open field and have fun! My kids love kite flying!!
  9. Play in a Creek/River
    In the Bay Area, there was a park called The Frog Park (Rockridge/North Oakland). I’d usually take the kids there for the awesome play structure and sand box. But they had an incredible creek/pond like water area for the kids! Now, we’re closer to a river, so walking down the road takes us to nice little beach were the kids can splash and play in the sand.
  10. Check out Farmers Market
    Back in Fremont, we lived walking distance to the Irvington Farmers Market. It was definitely our family go to every Sunday, especially after an early morning hike. Here in Sac, in the melting pot of agriculture, Farmers Markets, are as popular as Starbucks drive thru’s!!!! Check out Sacramento’s Farmer’s Market’s HERE.

 

Well, that’s what I have for now. Stay tuned for more summer to do’s and activities! I’ll be sharing a lot more all summer long!

Also be sure to check out more activities I’ve done previous summer’s on my DIY >> Kids Crafts!!

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Pinecone Pineapple Craft

Garland

Watermelon Paper Craft

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Summer Routine

Summer has struck me real hard, and it’s been about 2 weeks into my kids summer vacation. I believe I’ve been doing a pretty good job keeping the kids away from the screen, and integrating a few activities, afternoon movies, and family board games. But there are stretches of free time.

With a sufficient amount of resources out there on the internet to keep kids busy (God bless Pinterest), let’s be honest… There is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks, that I can keep my two boys busy with back to back activities with creative crafts and outdoor water play. To be quite honest, my summer started off with sleeping in, cooking a semi-breakfast, then running errands with my kids for about 3-4 hours.

Am I just being too hard on myself?? During our summer days I’ll squeeze in a casual park visit after our errands. But, lately, mother nature has been blessing us extra hard here in Sacramento with some extra heat. After a few searches on Pinterest, I was inspired with a structured day by day weeks summer schedule. After creating this summer schedule, it’s definitely anchored my days adding a metal bolt to my day.

Check out my summer fun schedule! Hopefully this can help you out if you’ve been struck hard with summer open time.

Summer Schedule

You can download Our Summer Schedule HERE.

Thank goodness to a structured scheduled summer!! I’ve now structured my summer to a systematic day to day event routine, my children and I could follow together.

Happy Summer!

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Water Park Playdate Essentials

WaterPark

Having the kids home all during the summer, means the trunk of my car is always equipped with summer play essentials. After running errands, having the kids tag along, as a parent I do feel obligated to treat them with a trip to the park after an afternoon of grocery runs and other household/personal errands. With that said, here is my summer essential list of items that have been living in my trunk ready to go at any given/spontaneous trip to the water park.

Summer Park Essentials:

– Extra Clothes

(Extra outfit: T-Shirts/Shorts/Underwear/Socks)

– Trunks/Bathing Suits

– Flip Flops

– Beach Towels (1 Per Child)

-Beach Blanket

– Sand Toys

-Balls/Frisbees

– Stroller

– Sunblock

My Holy Grail Items:

– Collapsable Wagon (Costco/Sams Club/Dick’s Sporting Goods)

– Beach Blanket

– Cooler (CapriSuns/Fruit/Small Water Bottles)

– Camping Chair (For mommy)

– Fedora/Sunhat

– Sunglasses

– Camera

– iHome/BlueTooth Speaker

– External Charger + Phone Charger

Many of the above items are now a staple to what I typically keep in my car. There have been so many instances when my boys wanted to visit the park, and I left the bin filled with sand toys and other park toys in the garage. (Bad mom award) Don’t you hate when that happens?

Lunch

Here’s a recent photo of my last visit to our local water park.

This park visit I packed Zuppa Toscana into a heat tumbler, and packed a bowl to enjoy some homemade soup at the park, just as if I was at home!

Lounge

If you’d like to learn the receipt of my zuppa toscana comment below!!

Happy summer everyone!

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Pinecone Pineapple

Here’s a great summer project that will take your kids outside on a hunt, then spend the a crafternoon making fun pinecone pineapples!! I mean, who doesn’t like pineapples? It’s an easy craft they can do this summer! Put on your suntan lotion, grab your sunglasses  and head to your local park or walk around neighborhood, having your kids collect pinecones!

Pineapple

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

– Pinecones

(If you don’t have any pinecones in your area, they sell pinecones at craft stores. Some, holiday scented in cinnamon.)

– Yellow Acrylic Paint

– Paint Brush/Sponge

– Green Construction Paper

– Scissors

– Small straw/ or any tool that will help you curl up the construction paper.

– Tape

Steps:

1.) Once you’ve collected the pinecones, I’d suggest cleaning them. If you’re like me and hate little creepy crawler bugs, take your pine cones and toss it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15minutes. Wait to cool down.

If you don’t really care for some dirt, feel free to skip step 1.

2.) Get your yellow paint and paint brush and coat the pinecone. Don’t feel like you have to coat the inside of the pinecone. All you need to do is just paint the outside tips of the pinecone.

This step can be done with any child as old as 1. Have your children get messy while painting!!

3.) Set aside the painted pinecones to dry.

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4.) With the green construction paper, cut out grass like strips. I eye-balled my cuts, but feel free to draw it out first, if you like the guide.

This step can be dome with any older children who have good hand and eye coordination.

5.) Using a small straw or tiny cylinder like pen, (I used a CapriSun straw), start curling in the tips of the leaves.

Make sure you add different heights to each leaf!!

 

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6.) Curl in the leaves. Roll it outward, so that your curls are facing outward other than facing each other.

7.) Grab a piece of scotch tape and secure the bottom of the green construction paper.

8.) Insert the green paper to the top of the dried pinecone.

You may need to play around with it, and really stick in the green rolled up leaf, since every pinecone is shapped differently at the top.

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And there you go! Perfect pinecone pineapples for to enjoy on a summer crafter-noon!

Want to see more fruit themed summer crafts? Submit a comment and let me know!