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Family Travel: Vancouver Canada

We love our weekend getaways. We live for them. If someone could please sponsor our lives so we could travel the world forever that would be grrrreeeat. Thanks.

We went to Vancouver a couple of weekends ago and I wish we could have stayed longer! We only went for 2 days and both those days were sunny. SUNNY! It was a miracle because the weather there is similar to Seattle and all we’ve had is rain. I am so over you, Seattle. Anyway, on our drive up was short (about 3 hours) but we managed to watch 2 movies and the husband and I managed to get into a heated discussion. Awesome. And then the hotel we were staying in Vancouver (part of our timeshare program) called to tell us we wouldn’t all fit in the room we booked. Usually the rooms we’ve booked are a 1 bedroom but it has a living area and kitchen and a pull out sofa so we can all fit. However this one really was just a one bedroom with a single bed so there was no way we could stay there. We managed to snag a room in the US at the last minute but we’d have to cross to and from Canada. It wasn’t too bad but just took away time from our adventures!

Just as a warning, this is going to be a picture filled post. My kids are just too cute to not photograph. And I may as well tell you what we did there sooo here goes:

We asked Facebook friends what their favorite things to do in Vancouver, Canada so we broke it into 2 days.

Day 1:

Stanley Park: When we got there we went straight there. It is a huge park. Take a look at a map before you go so you know where you want to stop because it is one big loop and if you miss your stop you’ll have to go all the way around again. We were starving so we headed to the restaurant and of course it was closed. So we walked around the trails and saw the beautiful view at Prospect Point which overlooks Lions Gate Bridge, North Shore Mountains and Burrard Inlet. We also saw what we thought was the Hollow Tree on our walk which was pretty cool and a little spooky for the kids- only because they were afraid to go inside. Except it wasn’t the true one, just one that looked just like it but smaller. The Totem Poles were really cool and our oldest son was in awe because they had just learned about them in school. He began to tell us his own versions of the stories the totem poles represented. Kids and their imaginations! 

A-Maze-Ing Laughter Statues: These are a bunch of giant statue people laughing with silly poses that are right by the bay. The kids loved running around and through them. We ate a late lunch while we walked around the bay and looked at the statues.

We finished the day at a nearby playground- Madeleine loved the swings while the kids loved the playground and kicking the soccer and football around. Then we got to our timeshare apartment, swam in the pool and had dinner. We stayed in a 2 bedroom place. The older kids slept in one bedroom, we put Madeleine in a pack n play in our bathroom and we took the other room.

Where to eat:

For food we went outside of Stanley Park and found this yummy Greek/Persian place, Mediterranean Grill, and a hotdog stand right by the Laughing Statues for my picky eaters. I know, hot dogs right? The food was really delicious. I got the Chicken Shawarma pita, Lorin got the Lamb pita and Ashton got the Chicken Souvlaki. The Pistachio Baklava was quite tasty.

Then on our way home, we just stopped by a Whole Foods type store and I picked up some fruit and milk for breakfast the next day. We had packed Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese that the kids gladly ate with some grapes and popcorn. Simple. And very little effort on my part. I don’t want to cook when I am on vacation, am I right?!

I will post about Day 2 soon! While we could have used an extra day to do the one thing my husband wanted to do (Grouse Mountain) we saw what we wanted to there in 2. Granted us driving into Canada did take some time that could have been used to sight see some more but we couldn’t really help that. I won’t say no to another trip to Vancouver! Ohhh also, it is freakin’ cold. The sun may be out but it is cold. We went in February (winter) and puffy coats, hats and gloves are a must. My kids obviously don’t think it is as cold as I think it is but we carried them around and they always ended up asking for their coats and hats.

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The Big Game “Find It” Printable Football Edition

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGoldfish  #CollectiveBias

Fun Big Game football printable activity for kids with Goldfish CrackersWho’s ready for the Big Game?? In all honesty, I am not super into football but I love hanging out with family and friends so it is just another reason to have a gathering, right?

We watched a college football game the other night and while my oldest son and husband were completely enthralled in the football game, my younger kids were over it. “Mooooom! This is so boring!” is just one of the phrases we heard during the game. They just wanted to do something else. This was supposed to be a family activity and if we all were in separate rooms doing completely different things it would kind of defeat the point of “family time.” I wondered if this would repeat itself during the Big Game. I didn’t want the kids to be bored, but I still wanted us to be together as a family.  I know it is cheesy but my husband and his dad and brothers would watch football all the time. It is one of his favorite memories. While I don’t particularly love football I just like doing stuff with the family. So I thought I’d use some Goldfish® crackers and my love for drawing together to make something entertaining for my kids. Continue reading The Big Game “Find It” Printable Football Edition

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Recipe: Kid Friendly Pizzas+ Adding More Counter Space in the Kitchen

kid friendly pizzas We moved several months ago into a smaller house- not by choice. In my old house I had this magnificent counter in the kitchen. It was glorious. In this new place my counter space was about an 18″ slab between the sink and stove. I was going a little haywire and felt like I couldn’t cook anything! I needed extra counter space if I was going to be able to accomplish anything in this kitchen.

I scoured on Craigslist, on our our Buy Nothing Facebook group, and other yard sale type groups hoping to find something in our price range. You already spend so much money on a move it was hard to fork out some more money. My husband suggested we use this cabinet type thing the owners left in the garage. At first I said no because it looked too scary. Really I was afraid a gazillion spiders would climb out and haunt my house. But because I realllly didn’t want to spend more money I told him I would fix it up if he cleaned it out. He hates fixing stuff so he thought it was a great deal. Continue reading Recipe: Kid Friendly Pizzas+ Adding More Counter Space in the Kitchen

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Family Travel: What to Pack for Disney World

“Google, what should I bring to Disney World?” I scoured the internet soaking up everything about Disney World…and Disney cruises- but I’ll post about our cruise later. You don’t want to forget anything and risk a soured trip- especially when you have kids in tow. I wanted to be super ultra prepared because not only would we have just our little family, but my parents and siblings and their families as well. I will admit that Disney World was on the back burner as I was more concerned with getting acquainted with the happenings on the Disney Cruise.

What to Pack for DisneyworldThis post was sponsored by Disney but all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this blog.

I may have annoyed my husband with the stuff we “had” to bring but after 10 years of marriage, I don’t care. 97% of the time we end up using everything. And then our trips are much more pleasant because I am not running around like a mad woman looking for stuff to tame the wild children. Continue reading Family Travel: What to Pack for Disney World

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Seattle Fun: Christmas Time at Pacific Place

Christmas in Seatte- Pacific Place fun It’s Christmas time in the city! We are going on our 3rd year here in Seattle but this is the first time we will be here for Christmas. The past couple of years we have had so much fun getting to know our city and have these favorite Christmas traditions but this year we will have more time to enjoy them.

This post was sponsored by Pacific Place but all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this little blog.

I hurried the kids out the door, letters to Santa in hand, and shuttled them into the car. I was a little nervous we’d miss the Snow Show at Pacific Place. We took a wrong turn that set us back several minutes causing us to miss the 6 pm show but I am so happy that they also have one at 7 all days, except Sunday. The kids did not believe Santa was really here in the mall, which is hilarious to me because I grew up always seeing Santa at the mall. But then they saw him and were so excited and a little nervous to give him their wishlist. Continue reading Seattle Fun: Christmas Time at Pacific Place

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Holiday Gift Guide: Favorite Family Games

I received complimentary products from Identity Games to facilitate my post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my little family.

Holiday Gift Guide of fun family games.Last year my husband’s family all gathered out to New Jersey to celebrate Christmas together. That year we decided to do an adult Polyanna gift exchange but the gifts had to be family games. Usually buying for adults can be tricky but this one was so fun. We ended up buying a game that had the highest reviews on Amazon. It was fun and funny but incredibly inappropriate….yikes. While we were in the middle of the game my mother in law came to see why we were laughing and asked to play. Ahhh- we couldn’t do that to her! We told her it was for the best if she didn’t play. So so embarrassing.

Holiday Gift Guide of fun family games.So to save you from a mishap like mine (although we did end up keeping the game and throwing out the bad cards) I have compiled a list of fun family games for the holiday get togethers. In college we used to get to together with family and friends on the weekends and just play games. Yeah….we weren’t super into the party scene. These games are sure to steer you clear of any political drama…..no one wants that. Continue reading Holiday Gift Guide: Favorite Family Games

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How to Keep Your Kids Outside

I received complimentary products from Springfree Trampoline to facilitate my post. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my little family.

Ways to keep your kids outside. Great for when they are on breaks and you need a little break yourself! (ad) @springfreetrampoline #springfreetrampoline @tgomatimeThanksgiving break is here. It has only been one day but boy, it’s been quite a day! I mean, it isn’t like I haven’t entertained all 4 kids at home before but there is something about being on vacation that brings a whole other side to the kids. Perhaps it is knowing that they have time to do everything so they want to do everything but don’t even know where to start! The thing is, I have gotten used to my routine with them in school. I have time to clean, work and run errands. It’s only been a few months of flying mostly solo but doing those things have become habit. Ways to keep your kids outside. Great for when they are on breaks and you need a little break yourself! (ad) @springfreetrampoline #springfreetrampoline @tgomatimeSo what do you do when you have to entertain all your kids at home? Going out is the obvious answer but I have a napping baby and also had a sick child. Going out wasn’t an option. Staying home was the difficult to accept answer but it really wasn’t too bad- just long. And of course when they are home they want to play on the ipad or watch a movie. I’m ok with those but I really want to use them sparingly and when I really need it- like when I have to shower! Haha! Mom life, right? Continue reading How to Keep Your Kids Outside

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Seattle Fun: Holiday Party at Springfree

This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my little family.

Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree TrampolineThere aren’t many businesses that often host free parties for kids and families to enjoy. Springfree does. I love that. They held a Halloween party, will be hosting a Gingerbread House Decorating party and just held a Frozen Movie Night with the Ice Queen herself. The little princesses filled up the space fairly quickly and it was a packed house! Thank you guys all so much for coming and supporting a great business in our area. You should check back often with them for their future events.

Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline

We arrived promptly at the start and there were already many princesses there with their families. Coloring and personalizing crowns and face painting were popular choices. Many of the boys got to be reindeer and the little girls opted for a tiara on their forehead. Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree TrampolineThe real magic started when the Ice Queen entered the room. Sheepish glances, excited whispers and parents’ hearts swelling over the happiness their children were feeling were felt as the Ice Queen smiled at the children. She didn’t just pose for pictures, she had such wonderful conversations with them. They enthusiastically shared what they did that day or asked her about her fairytale friends. Shhh… don’t tell Adelle, but a princess from Pixie Dust Princess Parties may be making an appearance. Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree TrampolineAdelle is pretty stoic when it comes to her emotions but I could tell she couldn’t believe she just met the Ice Queen. She bit her fingers as she nervously approached her favorite princess. She looked at me with that incredulous smile after her meeting was over. Yes, baby girl, it was really her! Meeting Elsa at Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree TrampolineMy boys kept asking if that really was her and of course I said YES. Their eyes got wide and they smiled. They had so much fun eating snacks, watching the movie and most of all, jumping on the trampolines outside.

Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree Trampoline Seattle Holiday Party at Springfree TrampolineNot only does Springfree host fun events like this, but they also let you test jump the trampolines during store hours. The tgoma is so fun to try out and play games on the trampoline. My kids love ours and I don’t know what I would do without it…especially with the weather getting colder. I like to do the exercise one but I can only do like 5 minutes before I am exhausted! When is the last time you’ve jumped on the trampoline?

 

 

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10+ Rainy Day Activities + Free Shadow Puppet Printables

rainy day activities with plushrugsphotos by christina judd

We spend most of our time in the living room and the playroom. I think we all prefer the living room because we crave that natural light. Having wood floor throughout the main floor can make it seem a little cold and not so cozy. Seeing as we spend lots of time here we needed to add cozy which means we needed a rug. Most of you know my kids are allergic to dust mites and other allergens so we have to be super careful with rugs. I could only get synthetic rugs due to the fact that they do not retain allergens like wool does. I searched on and partnered with PlushRugs.com.I found that I could search materials and could select the specific material I wanted. Having eliminated a huge load of rugs, this narrowed my search significantly and less overwhelming. We found the perfect black and cream plaid nylon rug (courtesy of PlushRugs) from Safavieh that cleans pretty well and has resisted the normal wear and tear of a household of 6. It added that coziness and warmth that we needed in the living room as well as the padding needed when we stay indoors away from another day of rain.nylon rug. best for allergies

We lived in the desert for 8 years- hardly any rain. And then we moved to the rainiest city where sunny days in the fall and winter are scarce yearned for. Our first summer here we stayed indoors for a couple of days before we got cabin fever. This cannot be my life! Then I soon learned that life goes on here- rain or no rain. We even play and cheer on soccer games in the rain. It is what it is. But day after day of rain can get a little depressing so once in a while we will stay in and have lots of fun indoors. Staying indoors doesn’t have to be confining.

  1. Exercise. Have your kids tried kids yoga? My kids love it. LOVE it. We do it at lease once a week and not just on rainy days. It is great for everyone. We love Cosmic Kids Yoga because she tells a story while they do coordinating poses. The kids are very eager to find out what happens next!
  2. Look at photo albums. We always joke that our kids are vain because they love looking at themselves on the phone and in our photos. I have been pretty terrible about making scrapbooks for my kids but a couple of years ago we started using Chatbooks. They print all of our instagram pictures into an album. It’s perfect because it’s a subscription- one less thing I have to keep track of. I get one automatically after every 60 pictures posted. If you haven’t tried them you can use this Chatbooks promo code: 4T2YPUYK for your first book free: The kids love seeing themselves as babies and love hearing stories about themselves even more!
  3. Play games: Some games can be complicated for little kids. We like tic tac toe. It’s simple. And my kids don’t even care if they lose- they just like putting the pieces down. I have a DIY of our last tic tac toe board– I got a new one because our old one is out of commission. It was loved a little too much. Once it is fixed (I know, I’m a procrastinator) we will have two and kids won’t fight so much over taking turns. This one I got at Ballard Consignment. It’s virtually unbreakable and the pieces aren’t that small for baby to choke on. wood coffee table educational puzzle Rainy day activities with kids
  4. Puzzle time! We did lots of puzzles a couple of years ago but they always took up the whole floor and it started to bug me so we cooled off on the puzzles. Then I saw this wood coffee table puzzle. This & That Etc. was kind enough to send this to us to play with. It is compact, a beautiful design and educational. My 4 year old can put it together. Granted she can’t read the states names but she knows where they all belong! My 5 year old and 8 year old put this together at least once a day. Proud mama moment.  Rainy day activities with kids
  5. Build a fort. My kids love building forts and castles. We used to build them out of blankets and books and pillows. They’d fall apart and the kids wrath was heard loud and clear. We got this fort building kit (two actually) for the kids last Christmas and it has been very well received. It’s pretty sturdy and holds blankets without it slipping off.
  6. Get crafty. You know me. I like anything crafty. And thankfully my kids also love creating. One of our favorite things to do is to create artwork inspired by famous artists. The more abstract the better- kids don’t have inhibitions so they create from their heart.
  7. Play and learn with play-doh. I have a love-hate with this. The meshing of the colors gives my OCD heart a mild heart attack while my creative side says “just go with it and see what happens!” Taking a little bit of control of the activity can save the headache like printing out letters and having them make a copy with play-doh. Dried beans also work well with tracing letters. Can get messy but it’s ok for the sake of education, right?
  8. Build masterpieces. My son is super into building with the mega bloks. We have a couple of sets so he can build pretty complex edifices and I love his attention to detail and his creative uses of ordinary items to add on to the building blocks. Castles, forts, super hero homes, silly forests, etc. are no strangers to the playroom floor. Our new favorite toy are the magnet building and constructing sets given to us by GeoSmart. These magnetic shapes are perfect for creative imaginations. My son likes to build what he sees on the cover of the game but then also likes to experiment with the strength of the magnets to see how high they can go. Being able to build sideways and almost defy gravity is what keeps him interested. We have the Lunar Rover which has 30 pieces including 2 sets of wheels. I’d recommend buying a larger set like this one so you can create larger things as well as let brother or sister play.  rainy day activities like playing with magnetic construction sets by geosmart
  9. Bake or cook yummy treats. Entertain the kids while making something delicious. Win win in my book. We love making pizzas and chocolate chip cookies. Those are pretty simple and not super messy with kids. Plus I think they appreciate the hard work put into that single cookie!
  10. Have a puppet show. Don’t you just love the crazy and incoherent stories kids come up with? They are so funny. Give them a few key objects and they come up with quality material. Just go with it I say. Let their creativity roll. If you want to have your own  show I’ve included these Free Christmas puppet printables. All you have to do is print, cut and tape on a Popsicle stick. Fun doesn’t have to be complicated.Rainy day activities with kids + free printable puppets pillow + textile design by brenda bird gallery wall
  11. Go outside anyway. Put on some rain pants, coats and boots and explore. Jump in puddles. Get a little muddy. And then come back home for some hot chocolate. A little rain never hurt anyone. 

wood map puzzle. awesome educational gift for kidsecclectic living room with fun gallery wall, plaid nylon rug, eames chair, modern feminine pillowsTell me one thing you like to do on rainy days!

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Seattle Fun: Frozen Movie Night at Springfree Trampoline

This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my little family.

Springfree Holiday Party Family Fun Event in Seattle

My little girl is obsessed with Elsa. I know, what 2-5 year old girl isn’t? My husband thinks that Disney found a scientific way to get in the minds of these little girls to make them crazy for Frozen and the characters in it. While I want to say I am sick of the Frozen frenzy, I have to admit I love the story- a love story but not with the usual characters. It is about family and love and how that that is the most important thing that can cure all.

I would love for my local Seattle friends to join me, in partnership with Springfree Trampoline in Issaquah, to a special event on November 12th from 4-6. Dress up as your favorite princess or in your jammies, watch Frozen (woohoo!), get your face painted, pose with the Ice Princess herself, make a snowflake art project, eat some light snacks and jump to your heart’s content on the world’s first smart trampoline for a fun interactive experience!

Springfree Trampoline- trampoline for kids

I know what you are thinking, Do I really want to watch Frozen for the millionth time? The answer is YES. Because not only do you get to watch Frozen, you get to do all sorts of fun activities! The last event held there was so fun- my kids jumped the entire time and came home so exhausted that bedtime wasn’t a battle. Here’s a little glimpse of that day:

If you plan on joining us RSVP here so I can look out for you and say hello. Spread the word- this is the perfect event to come to as it will most likely be raining…it is Seattle. And it is a FREE family activity!