10 Reasons Why Halloween at Copenhagen’s Tivoli was a Great Decision

As we are in full swing of celebrating winter holidays, my mind is still with fall holidays. Who doesn’t love Halloween?  You can get all dressed up and get candy or go out to a party, then spend the next day nursing a hangover with some free chocolate.  I was always a fan of dressing up in homemade costumes when I was younger, that I think I’m reliving that excitement a bit with my daughter, Evie.  I get really excited about costuming, and she gets really excited about candy… although, she doesn’t really eat a lot of it (still has candy from last year), but Peabe and I get into her stash every now and then when  we need something sweet. This year, as we were going to be in Scandinavia, I was worried about how she would take the news of not dressing up, trick or treating, or 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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Celebrating 5 Years of Camping on Angel Island

It was 5 years ago, when Evie was only 7 months old, that we took her on her first camping trip.  We went to an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, called Angel Island.  Of course I was worried.  I didn’t know if she would cry all night or be fussy on hike to the campsite.  I called the State Park ranger on duty to confirm emergency procedures if something should end up happening while we were there.  I hadn’t even been to the island prior to the trip so I had no idea if they had boats docked overnight or even signal to reach anyone. She slept in the Bjorn carrier as we climbed Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island.  We apparently took the hardest trail to the campsite, with baby and backpacks of camping supplies, and my husband and I were exhausted by […]

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The Importance of Cooking with Kids

Last week, I had the pleasure of baking some Filipino bread rolls, called Pandesal, with Evie’s transitional kindergarten class.  The whole experience is so important for my family and I not only to share some of our culture with her school, but also to aid in her development. I have this memory of being in the second grade and bringing a Filipino steamed pork bun to school that I tell people often.  Kid’s can be mean when they don’t understand, and I was ridiculed for bringing such a thing to lunch.  Once home, I asked my mom to pack me peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because I was so mortified to bring more Filipino food. Years later, my daughter is in school and I am making her lunches.  I am pleased to say her school encourages having various fare, encouraging families to share their culture to give students a sense […]

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5 Reasons to Celebrate the National Park Centennial

Can you believe that the National Parks turned 100 this year?  How crazy amazing that we even have these places of such unspoiled America to enjoy?  So, I know what you are thinking… “oh boy, Jamie, another post about National Parks?”  My answer is YES!  Since it is officially National Parks Week in America, I need to share some major things about the parks that you may or may not know. Balancing at Yosemite National Park at 3 years old. Celebrate the National Park’s Birthday with FREE ENTRANCE! Evie’s hike to the waterfalls at Olympic National Park. August 25th-28th is actually FREE for anyone who wants to go.  There’s actually a couple of free days for the NPS throughout the year but this weekend is special for the 2016 Centennial.  The fee waiver includes entrance fees, commercial tour fees, and transportation entrance fees. Other fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession […]

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Dogs Need Love Too: Toaster Time

With all the summertime adventuring, I wanted to also give a special day for Evie’s older sibling, Toaster.   He’s our “special” child who sometimes doesn’t get the spotlight so every now and then we try to plan some time just for him. I’ve always been a dog person, partially because I am so allergic to cats, but also because they are such loyal and lovable pets.  My first childhood dog was kept in a cage in the basement and played with us outside in the yard, but was never allowed to freely roam the house or be completely integrated into our lives.  Super sad, I know.  I knew when we adopted him that we wanted to try to take Toaster with us everywhere, but sometimes he’s not allowed or it becomes a cost issue. Traveling with a dog has become easier with airlines, but some of them do not […]

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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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Who Doesn’t Love a Good Family Out-of-State Wedding?

What’s not to love about out-of-state family weddings.  Especially if you have a large family as I do.  Of course, I miss them and I jump at most opportunities to see all of them, but weddings are on a different level for us. My family on my dad’s side has pretty large clusters of relatives all over.  Chicago, Toronto, and southern California are some of the larger clans and I have early memories of traveling to these cities for different weddings throughout my life. My cousin, Sheena (on my dad’s side), moved to Seattle a couple years ago and I was so excited because it just happens to be where my mom’s family lives, and she doesn’t have much family stateside.  Evie’s first time to this beautiful city was when she was about 2.5  years old, and she was excited to go back. It seems like forever since I’ve had some quality […]

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5 Things Kids Learn with Tea Parties

Evie’s godmother wanted to take us out to have afternoon tea on a warm Sunday afternoon, and I think I was actually more excited than her.  Of course I would have jumped at the opportunity just thinking about it  and remembering playing tea party as a child. As a 4-year old, Evie has her own tea set and does play tea parties as well.  Her tea set is actually a mismatched set of ultra frilly or super unique cups and saucers that I had collected through garage sales and second hand stores.  I have been collecting this antique set for her since she was born, knowing that one day I would be able to play tea party with her. She sets up her stuffed animals and plays tea party, completely making up the dialog between the friends and answering herself.  (Something she has gotten pretty good at as an only child.) […]

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