Archive | FAMILY TRAVEL

FAMILY TRAVEL: CORVALLIS, OR

I have a few back to school posts I’ve been working on this week, but first wanted to be sure and catch up on sharing summer adventures. Aside from a couple videos we’re still editing, I think our trip to Corvallis, OR for a baseball tournament last month and home to Oregon State University — and was very similar to WSU in Pullman, WA where Johan and I met so naturally we were smitten! Guessing we’ll forever be suckers for small college towns.

The majority of our time was spent at baseball games, but we also found a few local gems… more details below!

In a packing tips post awhile back I suggested packing accessories for the kids (like hats, purses, handkerchiefs, etc.) and you’ll see why in the pictures below… Sometimes they make the best toys or activity starters!

Thankful for a couple DM’s from Instagram friends who suggested we visit tried and true coffee. Such a yummy spot! And that bottom pic is my favorite.

The pizza place we tried (which wasn’t suggested), however was not a win. I rarely share when I have something bad to say about a particular brand or place, but I can’t help myself with this one. American Dream Pizza had everything going for it. The design, cute name, atmosphere… and roof top seating, yes please! But the pizza was bad. Like frozen pizza would have been better. And it’s not like it was a busy night and we were served an overcooked or undercooked pizza – that wasn’t the problem. It was just not very good. The kids didn’t even enjoy it… and they don’t have much of a standard when it comes to pizza pie.

That being said, it was fairly busy and most people eating seemed like locals maybe we are just super picky? Or maybe my expectations have changed since college. The group of girls at the table next to us, celebrating a 21 run didn’t seem to mind :)

I was sold on this place when I saw the picnic tables and read “pizza” on the sign, but then we couldn’t resist eating on the rooftop so moved up there. Wish the pizza was as good as the view!

Johan in his element just taking it all in. Espen being silly.

Can you spot Oz in the bottom two pics? He’s such a man child! It’s impossible for me to watch him play on a big field without thinking about his t-ball and little league days. Sacred stuff mamas! I know it’s a lot to haul kids and their gear and all the siblings around to sporting events or other activities but you will remember all the best parts about it. Trust me.

Finding the farmer’s market and walking trail was a happy surprise!

The only other place we were told to go was Benny’s Donuts which we failed at, lol, but inspired us to DIY the experience at home, HERE!

Stay tuned for BTS goodies next week!

XO, Rae

PS – are we Instagram friends yet?

PPS – shared a bubble recipe video and the secret ingredient is glycerine… who knew?!

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HOW TO LIKE CAMPING, FROM A NON-CAMPER

Did you notice the “LIKE” in the title of this post? “LOVE” would for sure be too strong of a word. Also noted in the title, I’m not a camper. However my family loves it and if I am anything to our family, it’s a team player. Every summer I get a chance to prove it when we get packed up to  go camping on our friend’s amazing beach property on Whidbey Island (don’t you feel sorry for me, LOL?) along with 6 other families. It’s the highlight of the  summer and something the kids look forward to all year long. So many memories are made, good food gets eaten and fun is had during our stay.

Problem is, packing up 7 people for 2 or 3 nights along with tents, coolers, kitchen tools, sleeping mats, sleeping bags, pillows, camp chairs, blankets, food, drinks, flashlights, recreational activities, lifejackets, toiletries, towels, layers of clothing, etc. without overpacking (because it all has to fit somewhere), is sooooo stressful. Then there’s the setting up camp and figuring out where to put all the things you brought. Followed by hangout time which is amazing until it’s time for bed which is my least favorite because we’re out of our normal routine, trying to get everyone to go to sleep while laying under a layer of nylon and then my anxiety kicks in because we’re all spread out (in different tents) and you can’t lock a tent to keep everyone safe and I’m thinking about trees falling (among other things) and whether or not everyone is warm enough (also among other things) so I don’t get much sleep. After that, things are pretty wonderful (aside from the non-sleeping part… and bugs. Ha!). Until it’s time to pack up and pile all the tired, dirty and stinky people into the car :) And don’t get me started on the unpacking process… I’m still trying to catch up on all the laundry. So yeah, the work to fun ration (imo) is about 5 to 1.

But all the in-between time, play time and quality time are sooooo worth it. These are the days and they are so fleeting and camping is a great way to spend time with your babes making memories that are different than staying at a hotel or rental home somewhere. Which is why I wanted to write this post! So if you feel the same as me about camping here are a few things I’ve learned over the years.

5 WAYS TO TO MAKE CAMPING MORE ENJOYABLE:

  1. GET INSPIRED BY OTHERS — Talk to friends that camp often, look up blog posts, watch movies, hop on pinterest, ask the kids what they’re excited for, etc. And maybe even plan a camp trip with friends which also lightens the load… When we camp with our group, we plan and share meals for breakfast and dinner which makes it easier to feed the fam, but it’s also fun seeing and tasting what everyone brings!
  2. GEAR MATTERS — Just like skiing, gear matters. Especially when it comes to a tent, sleeping bags and mats/cushion/air mattress imo. Whatever you can do to make it easier to sleep well at night, the more you’ll enjoy the days. Since we’re not really a camping family we’ve always just gotten by with random hand me downs and a good tent or two. This year we rented a small teardrop trailer through rvshare.com. Having a comfy bed and fan was life changing — at least for Griffin, Poppy and me, LOL. Poor Johan spent most of the nights in a tent with the older kids. Next time I think we’ll for sure spring for a bigger trailer or camper!
  3. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION — it’s fun/nice/convenient to be close enough to a town and grocery store for a little ice cream outing or to replace the toothbrushes you forgot to pack. Oh, and a laundry mat might come in handy too. Comes in handy if it rains which we were lucky enough to not experience this trip but that’s not always the case!
  4. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING YOURSELF INTO — Because there will be sand and dirt and bugs and missed naps and early mornings and _________(fill-in-the-blank)… so know what to expect and just be okay with it.
  5. KNOW YOUR WHY — It’s a lot of work and I will never be cool about bugs in my tent but I can for sure enjoy it for a few nights because I know WHY we’re doing it! The time with our family and friends, and all the adventuring is priceless.

I know I’m being a little dramatic about what I don’t like about camping, and if you haven’t already assumed it, I’m not the most outdoorsy person in the world (HA!), but I did grow up hiking, fishing and staying at our family cabin. Always thought I would be cool with camping but turns out I’m a little on the high maintenance side (gimme all the cabins and trailers!)…. Sorry hun.

What about you? Did you grow up camping? Do you enjoy it now?

XO, Rae

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FAMILY TRAVEL: BEACH GETAWAY TO SEABROOK, WA

Oh, my life is busssssy right now, but I’m hoping it’s just the crazy before the summer-calm. Aside from the kids activities, I’ve been occupied with design projects (a couple I can’t wait to share!). Just wrapped up the major stuff, so am hoping to get caught up and spend more time and fun content with you here next week, YAY! Today however, I wanted to share about our trip to Seabrook, WA. It’s become our go-to beach getaway — we’ve been 5 times (past visits here, and here) and have loved every minute. There is so much to do, the convenience is unbeatable and the houses are all so homey and easy to relax in.  I must have gotten 20 DM’s while we were there last week asking for trip details so I’ll be sure to share my best info and tips below in case you have questions too. Because I don’t want to forget what my favorite people in the world had fun doing the most together, I also wanted to share everyone’s best parts of our visit this time…

JOHAN | had the most fun sleeping in, walking to get coffee and sitting on the balcony that was attached to our room… a feature that is now on his future home wish list, lol.

ME | I loved, loved, loved our beach time this trip and also walking everywhere. It’s always my favorite part of our stay. No buckling carseats, arguing over who sits where or fighting

ESPEN + TILLY | unanimously decided shuffleboard was their favorite. I’ll talk more about it below, but there are a ton of community areas and free equipment rentals at the bike shop in town.

GRIFFIN | give him all the s’mores and hot tub time (there’s several community fire pits and a community pool and hot tub, but this time we had a hot tub and fire pit at our house too!)

POPPY | had the best time flying her kite on the beach.

OZZIE | missed out on another family trip because of school and sports (crying emoji x3) but I’m guessing his favorite part of us being gone was the peace + quiet.

*You guys, don’t ever let your kids grow up! It’s the worst. But also pretty amazing to watch and cheer them on. But also, also, the worst, lol.

We checked into our house (The Blue Lantern Cottage) and immediately made ourselves at home and got familiar with our location and proximity to all the most important things – like the pool, coffee shop, fire pits, etc. While we unpacked and made dinner, the kids checked out their bunk room and the garage which was full of toys and a ping pong table. Then we headed to the pool just to make sure they would be tired and worn-out and happy to crawl into beds and fall asleep.

I no longer hope, expect or plan on the kids being so tired that they’ll sleep in while on vacay (even after a late night and long swim) which makes it easier to enjoy any early risers. This particular morning we got these two early birds out of the house so they didn’t wake the rest (my friend Stacy and her boys were vacay-ing with us too!) and walked a couple blocks to grab coffee and sticky-buns to share.

This to me is heaven on earth! Rolling out of bed and walking anywhere, is my favorite way to start the day. Especially when coffee and warm pastries are involved and everyone is still snuggly and in their jammies. Bonus that the coffee and treats at Red Velvet Bakery are so yummy.

There’s nothing like a little beach time to make you appreciate life and God’s goodness. Not a lot of swimming happening here (maybe later in the summer), but plenty of sand to run and play in. And we obviously like hugging while on the beach, LOL.

Also, that top pic of Tilly mid-kite-flying might be a new favorite of mine.

The 3rd floor of the house we stayed in was a bunk room complete with a bathroom, organized toys, books and puzzles and 8 beds to sleep in. Makes me want to turn our attic into a playroom slash crash pad for sleepovers and get togethers!

Signs of a vacay done right… swimmers drying on a clawfoot tub and a spontaneous nap taken on a beach ball while wearing a crown.

A few tips if you are planning a trip to Seabrook!

  • Eating + shopping: Check the store/shop/restaurant hours when you first get there and plan accordingly as they change depending on the season and day of the week.
  • Picking a house: With younger kids, we prefer staying on the town side (instead of ocean side). You sacrifice a bit of the view but the kids have more freedom to roam and walking to get coffee, swim, etc. is easier.
  • Recreation: Stop by the bike shop to checkout recreational equipment for free during your stay. Also, the pool has life jackets but we usually pack ours from home for Poppy and Griffin.
  • Family + friends: it’s a great place to go with friends… also a good way to make it more affordable.  (here’s a few other tips on the subject)
  • Deciding what to do: get familiar with the map and either walk or drive around the town so you have a good idea of where things are and don’t end up missing out on something your family would love!

I already want to go back!!!

Let me know if I missed anything or you have questions.

See you back here on Monday!!!

XO, Rae

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