Archive | LITTLE TOURIST GUIDE

WE’RE COMIN’ FOR YA, NY!

(i heart ny)

Eeek! In about a month, Espen, Tilly, + I will be packing our bags and hopping on a flight to New York to visit my brother, sister (in-law), and nephew! We’ll have 3 full days to adventure and play around the city and since you guys always have the best ideas I thought I’d ask if you have any must do, eat, or see suggestions for us…?

So far Espen wants to go swimming and Tilly wants to see the emoji movie while we’re there (“Are there movie theaters in NY?” she asked. Ha!). These kids are in for the surprise of their lives and I can’t wait to see it all through their eyes!

Johan and I have been chatting about taking the whole fam bam to NY ever since our visit several years ago (you can see the post here!) for my Birthday, yet have had a hard time figure out logistics (i.e. affording the trip without blowing college funds, etc., etc.). Booking a trip for just the three of us seemed like the next best thing even though I hate to leave the rest of the kids and Johan behind — we’ll miss them soooooo much! — but, I’m glad we didn’t wait any longer to make it happen.

Are there any trips you’ve been dreaming of taking!?

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know if you have any NY food or activity suggestions for us! We’ll be staying in Brooklyn.

xo, Rae

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HAPPY FAMILY TRAVEL: A SEAESTA IN SEABROOK

We’re back from our long weekend away with our friends Ryan and Emily and their 4 kids, in Seabrook Washington where we played and ate our way through a self-declared long weekend. Considering Spring (aka sunshine!) hasn’t arrived to the PNW yet, a little break from normal life was just what we needed to recharge. I shared bits and pieces of our getaway on Instagram through posts and stories, but thought I would share some little love notes highlighting my favorite parts of our getaway.

Dear Seabrook, you were the perfect spring sea-esta, complete with a slow pace, storybook town, the cutest cottage to call home for a few days, miles of beach, kite flying winds, community pool, lots to do within walking distance, and the yummiest cinnamon rolls and pizza. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long before we’re back!

Dear bubble bath beards, you never, ever, get old. Especially when you are made in the pretties tub, in the prettiest powder room.

Dear friends, time with you sharing meals, playing games, and talking about life was oh so good for our souls. We miss you already. Can we make this a yearly thing?

Dear mamas of babies and toddlers, it’s hard to compete with those newborn cuddles and slobbery toddler kisses, but life with kids just get’s better and better. As they grow, so do their brains and wittiness, and creativity, and heart and friendships and it’s all just so much fun to be around.

Dear cheap kite from Fred Meyer, you were worth all 800 pennies.

Dear Pacific Northwest beach, I’m more of a swimsuit wearing, warm water beach enthusiast, but you are perfect for my kids who love to run, explore, dig and get dirty. For providing the space and tiring them out, I am beyond grateful.

Dear FaceTime, thank you for making leaving behind our 16 year old behind (for baseball games), just a bit more tolerable for this mama’s heart. I have a feeling this is just the beginning of our love affair.

So many highs over the 4 days… It was hard to leave. If you are in the area, I highly recommend visiting Seabrook. We’ve been a couple other times (read about one of the trips here) and still can’t wait to go back!

My stylish and home dec savvy friend Emily shared a few more pics and details of the pretty town and house we stayed in on her blog and instagram and you should defiantly go check it out!

xo, Rae

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HAPPY TRAVELS: PACKING TIPS FOR WEEKEND TRIPS WITH THE FAMILY

The way I see it, traveling with kids is fun and adventurous, but also unpredictable, stressful and the opposite of zen. One of the things I know fo-sho helps with the latter half of that statement is packing well. While I might not be an expert and don’t have all the answers, I do have packing our family up for a trip down to a science and feel like a well packed bag helps balance out the chaos just a little!

Here’s what and how we pack for a typical 3 or 4 day getaway.

PACKING THE KIDS

The Suitcase | Depending on where we’re going and how we’re getting to our destination, I either pack the 4 younger kids into a giant suitcase or 2 separate laundry buckets (Target carries a kind that bends, comes in different colors and has handles that I love but couldn’t find online). After they’ve taken an outfit, jammies, and a few items, such as toiletries and blankies, out of each basket, I combine their stuff and use the empty one for dirty clothes.

Clothes | I pack the 4 younger kids 1 outfit per day, including underwear, socks, and layers, plus 1 or 2 extra outfits depending on our destination and how long we’re staying. Then I throw in pajamas (1 set for every 2 nights), an extra pair of athletic shorts or joggers for the kids to lounge in, and a pair of shoes and either sandals or boots. Best case scenario they put a pair on before climbing in the car too. I’m always amazed at a child’s ability to lose, burry, destroy or forget footwear so packing 3 pairs usually means they will each have 2 wearable pairs for the trip (hahaha!). Oh, and if we’re headed somewhere with a pool then I pack a couple swimsuits for each kid too!

Next addition to their suitcase is accessories which might seem like overpacking but I’ve found that they often double as toys. Little purses (like these!) work great for scavenger hunts and finding treasures, hats are fun to catch things in, scarves make good blindfolds, and sunglasses are just handy to have and look really cute in pictures!

Our oldest, Ozzie (16) packs himself, but often has me participate in the process as he’s laying things out and putting together outfits. Raising mostly self-sufficient kids that still want your input is like the best of both worlds. I love it!

Toiletries | Toothbrushes, tooth paste, travel shampoo/body-wash, bandaids and ointment, children’s ibuprofen, and melatonin all get thrown into a toiletry pouch. I love these carryalls from Ban.do (only $10 for set of 2). The smaller size is perfect for hairbands and clips on trips I remember. Otherwise we’re stuck with whatever hair accessory is floating at the bottom of my purse which surprisingly usually works out just fine :)

Carry On | Each of the kids brings a small backpack with a few items to keep them busy during the ride or after we arrive. You’ll usually find some combination of tech devices, 1 or 2 books, small toys (like hex bugs or shopkins), coloring supplies, small travel games (land of nod has fun ones!) and a stuffed friend. Espen and Tilly are really good at packing up by themselves while Griffin and Poppy need a little more help. On our way out the door  I’ll hand them a snack pack to add to their bags and depending on how long until our next potty break, water bottles too.

PACKING ME :)

The Suitcase | Most 3 or 4 day getaways, I pack my clothes and shoes in a weekend sized duffle bag like this one. If there is a wedding (i.e. fancy shoes and dress) involved or we’re flying I pack in a hanging bag or small roller suitcase.

Clothes | I typically do one of two things when packing clothes for myself 1. pack a mini capsule wardrobe with items that are in the same color palette that mix and match really well or 2. pack the last three or four outfits I’ve worn that I feel cute in. Either way I usually make sure to pack one outfit per day with layers plus one alternate outfit. Then I almost always throw in an extra casual dress (unless it’s freezing out), one or two outfits to lounge/workout in, a swimsuit (if needed) and pajamas. Shoes are the hardest item to narrow down for me and take up the most room. I’m usually wearing sneakers on travel day and then bring whatever else I know will get worn depending on our destination and planned activities.

Toiletries | I throw all my makeup, travel sized lotion, shampoo, etc. and hair products into one of those small lululemon manifesto tote bags that they send when you order on line. It’s probably not practical or efficient but it works and is easy to rummage through and unpack. Actually, I should just splurge on another set of catchall pouches from ban.do for myself!

Carry On | My carry on consists of charging cords, my laptop and card reader, the big camera, my Bible, planner, and a book that rarely get’s read on the car ride or trip, LOL. I also try to remember to include a treat of some kind for when we are in need of a reward, distraction, or something bribe worthy.

Packing for Activities | A few days before our trip I’ll set a basket or tote out downstairs and start filling it with relevant items such as sunscreen, bug spray, towels, a favorite board game, etc.  Johan is really good at gathering and adding recreational equipment such as tennis rackets, kites, etc. too!

I like to think I’ve found my happy place somewhere between minimalist packing and over packing :) Regardless, it takes a lot to keep everyone dressed, playing and comfortable while we’re away but it’s so worth the hassle!

Now if I can just figure out a less daunting and more fun way to unpack, ha! If that is even a thing? No but really, please share any tips or tricks you have for packing or unpacking as we have a few weekend getaways coming up and mom-hacks are always helpful!

xo, Rae

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LITTLE CITY GUIDE: ALKI BEACH, SEATTLE

Guess what? It’s still the weekend!

Weekends that are still going strong on a Monday? Count me in please! Can we make this a thing? Ha! I mean, there are all those national donut, puppy, pizza, etc. days now… don’t they deserve a day of observance? Totally kidding, but I could get used to Tuesday being the new Monday.

There is only one thing I like more than having Mondays off… starting the weekend a day early, which is exactly what we got to do this past week. My babes had Friday off of school and even better, Johan had the day off from fighting fires too. Since the sun was shining we headed to the one place I think we’ve all been craving since the end of fall… the beach. Here’s a few pics from our morning.

Like most little sibs, Griffin is always trying to keep up with the big kids. Mostly Espen and Tilly. At home he’s treated more like a third wheel than a play buddy, but when we are out and about it seems to level the playing field a little more. Makes my heart so happy to watch.

Caught shooting an Instagram story. Something I am so very inconsistent with but thoroughly enjoy. Almost too much :)

It might sound kinda cliche, but I love watching them explore and take in their surroundings. Even when we are so close to home.

You can’t end a cold outing at the beach where almost everyone wound up with wet feet (just can’t resist running and jumping in those waves!) without something warm to sip on. We initially saw the Starbucks but then noticed a Top Pot next-door so decided to warm up with donuts too :)

Hope you are able to soak up some extra family time this weekend!!!

XO, Rae

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MOM HACKS: EATING OUT WITH KIDS

My kids are loud and messy and opinionated and I can’t take them anywhere without something ridiculous happening but they are also so fun and silly and taking them out and about is one of my favorite things to do! When our older kids were little though there was one exception. Eating out. It was takeout and drive-thrus for us thank you very much. Since those days I’ve changed my thinking and approach and it’s made eating in restaurants way more enjoyable — not to be confused with easy — without having to pack up a bag of activities.

Granted my kids and their age gaps are likely different than your’s, but hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful or encouraging anyways!

  1. EXPECT KIDS TO ACT THEIR AGE: I used to have this weird expectation that my kids could pull it together for an hour or so while we ate in public. Turns out there’s only one thing I should expect from them… to be themselves and act their age. So now, during any given eating out experience I expect there to be a spill or two, that someone will decide to take off their shoes, while another thinks its fun to climb under the table and everyone is bound to be starving and act like they’re near death. The good news is that it’s rare for all of these things to happen at one sitting so I usually walk away feeling like they did awesome, ha!
  2. KEEP MY GOAL(s) IN MIND: My hope is that my kids will do their best to be a good guest and considerate of others and especially their server. All of which are learned behaviors and one of the reasons I want to take them out. I also really just enjoy sitting for most of a meal and then not having to clean up afterwards! Usually makes the moments of chaos totally worth it.
  3. DECIDE ON A DINNER WORKFLOW: Having an idea of what and when we’re ordering (are we letting kids get sodas, ordering a basket of fries or other app first, etc.), and how you want to occupy the kids while they wait, before walking in the restaurant is a big help. Something that has worked for us when we have all of the kids is to order drinks, the kid’s meals, side salads for the grownups, and usually a basket of fries or hummus plate right away. While we wait for the food we chat with the kids – go through our highs and lows from the day, etc. Once their food arrives Johan and I order. We continue chatting and micromanaging until the kids are finished and then we let them share tech (usually our phones) while we eat and attempt a conversation. It’s not perfect or peaceful but it works :)
  4. HAPPY HOURS ARE MY BEST FRIEND: kind of a given but going before or after the breakfast, lunch or dinner rush makes a huge difference!
  5. STAY POSITIVE: and if needed switch things up a bit. Taking a kid or two for a bathroom break or to the car to grab something or telling a funny joke (the spoon on the nose trip works every time!) or anything that distracts them from annoying their sibling or throwing a fit is worth a try!

(Received lots of questions about my sweater so shared outfit details with links at the bottom of the post :)

A few pics from our lunch date with Griffin + Poppy yesterday.

There were surprisingly no spills and I don’t think any complaints about being starving to death. Griffin however, did accidentally mistake his thumb as part of his cheese and let out a very loud yelp followed by major tears and Poppy spent a good chunk of time dropping things under the table so she could climb down and pick them up.

But in the end they earned ice cream.

Not really but it seemed like the perfect way to end our outing!

It’s my favorite when Johan can join us for an afternoon adventure in the middle of the week. One of the perks of being married to a firefighter. Lucky kids. Lucky me.

Happy, happy weekend you guys!

Oh, and loved reading all of the comments on my dining room post… thanks for playing along!

XO, Rae

ME | pink + orange stripe sweater, jeans

GRIFFIN | blue gray thermal (for the babes), red coat, shoes

POPPY | sweatshirt (+ for big girls), boots

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