Taking the Roads Less Traveled in Northern Norway

Prior to taking our Scandinavian vacation, I knew that I wanted to spend some time really getting to know the culture of the places. Of course all the major cities have lots to offer, but escaping into the less traveled areas is a for sure way to get one-on-one and experience a real dose of what the customs and people are really like in a country. On top of that, one of the major things on my list of things that I wanted to do in Scandinavia was go see the Northern Lights. I have seen it once before in Alaska, but I wanted to show my husband, Peabe, and my daughter, Evie, how amazing it looked in person. I once read an article about how climate change may effect the lights and wanted to be sure that they also had that experience in their lifetime. Lastly, I love getting […]

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Making Family Traditions at a Colorful and Dry Yosemite

Ever since living here in California, I had only visited Yosemite in the springtime.  There’s something so fresh and clean about springtime there, with the falls gushing with water, crisp cold air, and sometimes a bit of snow on the ground.  We usually book a yurt with Yosemite Lakes Campground, just outside the park, so we’ve been a little spoiled by heated structures to relax in white we are there.  Going in the off-season also offers us a pretty open park, away from crowds and traffic, where we can really feel like we’ve escaped. This year, the campground was pretty booked and had availability in October.  With all the other things we had planned this month, it was a little inconvenient, but we booked it anyway and had hoped we could make it work.  The group of friends we go with changes slightly most years, and this time was no […]

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Running Oakland’s Pride 5K When You Aren’t Ready To Run

A couple months ago, I was convinced by my friend, Jessie, that we would start running together again and run another 5K together.  We had run together before, almost every day at one point, as she helped me to train for my first 5K over four years ago.  We decided to do it again, set ourselves a goal, and work towards it.  I even convinced a third friend, Kirk Ann, to run with us. Back when we ran regularly, I was feeling pretty unhealthy and wanting to make some changes with my life.  I ate better, took up running, signed up for the San Francisco Marathon 5K race, and even raised a couple thousand dollars for the American Institute for Cancer Research in honor of some very important relatives that I had lost.  That first race was pretty tough as well as rewarding for me.  Shortly after running it, I […]

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Backpack Camping in Point Reyes National Seashore

Last year I had told myself on my birthday that I was going to do the California “Lost Coast” Trail as a birthday challenge for myself.  My birthday was in October, and I am not that far from the next birthday now.  Life gets busy, I can start to loose a little focus,  and sometimes those goals get a little further during the course that time. The Lost Coast Trail is actually where the people in charge of building California’s famous Highway 1 actually decided not to build.  Where the Highway known for its beautiful cliffside and coastlines, decided… “meh… this area looks a little too rough for roads”.  Where you actually have to shuttle a couple hours, or have two cars so that you can get from the start and the end of the trail.  It’s a couple days long and can take you on some challenging terrain… and […]

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Hiking and Hot Springs in Olympic National Park

Now looking back to blog about it, it seems like we were out in Washington for waaaay longer than we actually were.  From family time at my cousin’s wedding to camping in the beautiful Mount Rainier National Park, maybe I was a little too much from the kids to do a couple more days with me in Olympic National Park. I mean, I really wanted to take advantage of being out there with so many beautiful parks, but I could already tell it was starting to wear on the kids.  (Which in turn, starts wearing down all the adults too, so I guess the joke is on me). From Mount Rainier, we packed back into the car and drove about 4 hours to another gorgeous park in Washington.  Olympic is actually pretty special when it comes to the National Parks as it has a very diverse ecology.  From coastline to […]

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Disconnecting the Kiddos and Getting Back to Nature

After a whirlwind couple days of lots of family time for my cousin Sheena’s wedding, we were so excited to disconnect for a bit and enjoy some of National Parks in this beautiful state.  Washington has about 15 National Parks to enjoy; from biodiverse parks to Native American significance, to even a historic atom bomb park. TIP! For those who have so many options available to them, I would highly recommend purchasing a National Parks Annual Pass.  The pass itself costs $80, and this gives you unlimited park access (which some parks can charge up to $30 for this), one car entering (this can be anything up to $20 per vehicle), covers 4 people (for those parks that charge per person), and can even discount camping costs at some parks. Some parks are free, so I would consider where you are and where you plan to go before purchasing.  We […]

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Celebrating a Rad Dad out in Central California

To celebrate Father’s Day this year, we decided to once again celebrate it out in nature on a camping getaway.  Mother’s Day was pretty amazing and I think my husband, Peabe, was feeling like we could do something similar for his holiday. We spent 2 nights out in Santa Margarita Lake, an area that we had never camped at previously but are somewhat familiar with the area.  His last birthday we took a train out to the central area of California to do some exploring in San Luis Obispo, and he loved it.  We’ve also been around Paso Robles a couple times from everything from RV-ing to wine tasting. A couple friends joined us to really make the whole experience fun and we all had a great time camping, hiking, swimming, beer tasting, and eating through the weekend.  I was also lucky enough to have my brother join us for […]

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Brothers, Motorcycles, and Some of our Fave Day Trips in Cali

I was lucky to have a surprise visit from my brother last month.  He was really just in town last February for Evie’s birthday and I kinda gave him crap for not staying.  He basically came to town only for the party and left soon after, so it was barely enough time to catch up with him at all. My brother, Josh (whom I call by his middle name, Bernie), is owner of a couple motorcycles back in Illinois and wanted to go ride somewhere new.  He was lucky enough to have a couple days free from work and decided to see if he could arrange that time to ride around California for a bit.  To be honest, I am a little jealous of that carefree life, so I got really excited when he told me his plans. Whether he wanted me to or not, I totally crashed the beginning […]

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Hiking around Pinnacles National Park

In making through to all of the 50 states in my life at least once, I was always a fan of spending some time in some of the Nation’s prettiest National Parks.  I knew that I wanted to take Evie to visit a lot of them also, and have made that one of my goals. Luckily, she received a US National Parks pass from my family this year for her birthday and we hope to make the most of it.  To those interested, it’s $80 for the year.  Pinnacles had a $15 entrance fee, but larger parks like Yosemite charge more.  A pass covers entrance and standard amenity fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). You can purchase one here. Pinnacles is about 2 hours south of us and is one […]

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Spending Mother’s Day Weekend on a Private Olive Farm

It is now my fourth year as a mother.  My little girl is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to me but doesn’t go without keeping me on my toes and stressed out on a regular basis.  How can something so joyous be so frightening at the same time?  Mothers have a hard job, and four years in I can see that the “easy” years have probably passed.  With Evie getting more inquisitive and starting to understand so much in life, it’s obvious that my job is getting harder and totally molding a little mind… that’s super crazy in itself.  Add to it the daily slave labor of packing lunches, chauffering to school, changing her for ballet class, and planning activities to keep her entertained.  Then, out of the blue, she looks at me and tells me she loves me, and it’s all worth it. Some mothers take the day […]

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