Monday, November 28, 2011

Explore: The Olympic Peninsula!

I'm constantly amazed by all of the beauty that surrounds us in Seattle!  Just a couple hours' drive away is the Olympic Peninsula, and WOW is it incredible!  I already posted about our wild encounter with the animals at the Olympic Game Farm, so now it's time to post about the rest of our one-night Olympic Peninsula getaway with the family...

A few years ago we went to the Hoh Rainforest, First Beach, Cape Flattery, and Ruby Beach, so for this trip we decided to focus on the places we hadn't been to before.  There's just SO much to explore on the Peninsula!  We picked a beautiful August weekend for our trip, and hopped on the ferry.  The kids were nuts about the ferry ride, and we headed to our first stop... Hurricane Ridge in the middle of the Olympic Mountains!
There were such stunning views at the Hurricane Ridge visitor's center!  I felt like singing "The hills are alive...!" 
{There's Kirsten, saying, "I don't like the sun!  It's too bright!"  Can't you tell she's from Seattle?}

There were even some beautiful deer!  And just a little bit of snow!
Since this was a pretty quick trip and we only stayed there for one night, we kept just to the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula.  We spent an idylic afternoon at Lake Crescent, and the kids got to go swimming there!  It was a truly gorgeous, peaceful lake and I didn't want to leave!

We ate a picnic lunch there, and the whole afternoon was beautiful.
*Added to my Bucket List: Stay someday at the Lake Crescent Lodge, or the Lake Quinalt Lodge further south!

After we left the lake, we broke out the baby backpack and did a really short little hike to see Madison Falls.  This was really more of a walk than a hike since it was easily accessed from a short, paved road not far at all from the parking lot.  I would have loved to see Marymere Falls or Sol Duc Falls, but those were longer hikes and would have been tough for our 4 year-old and 2 year-old.  Madison Falls was small, but it was cute and very easy to get to, and our kids were amazed by it.  So I'd call it the perfect waterfall to go see with young kids.

Our last stop was Port Townsend, a pretty adorable little naval town, for dinner before taking the ferry back home.  There wasn't a whole lot in the town for kids to do (mostly antique shops, book shops, etc.) but we stumbled upon the perfect family-friendly place for dinner... Pizza Factory!  Everything was really affordable, and they had a huge, casual space with a play kitchen and some other things for the kids to play with while we waited for the food.  They even gave the kids balloons, and the pizza was yummy!  I highly recommend!
 *Memorable kid moment came during dinner at Pizza Factory.  Kirsten (age 4) came back to the table, upset because a boy had taken over what she was "baking" in the play kitchen. 
Me: "Oh no, what should we do?"
Kirsten: (said calmly) "We could kill him."
Stephen: "How would we do that?"
Kirsten: "With a knife."
Where do kids learn this stuff???
All in all, we had a great time on our mini-vacation to the Olympic Peninsula!  I love living so close to such a gorgeous place!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fun Finds... Lexi's Unique Boutique!

If you've got little girls {and we all know I've got lots of those at my house!}, you will LOVE Lexi's Unique Boutique!  She's got a whole ton of stylish and beautiful hair accessories for babies and little girls!  

How CUTE is this candy corn bow?  My very favorite Halloween bow I've ever seen!

My friend Jeanna makes each of her bows and hair accessories by hand, inspired by her own baby girl, Lexi.  Her shop is brand new and she's offering all kinds of specials and deals to new fans and followers!  Her prices are amazing!

She is always adding new styles to her shop, and she loves to create custom orders as well!  If you see a bow you like and want specific colors to go with photos or costumes, just let her know and she will custom-make them for you!  I can't believe she started making her bows so recently... they are completely beautiful and the quality is very professional!

I love anything red and white... so I was a sucker for this sweet Strawberry bow!

Natalie LOVES kitties, and she asks to wear her Hello Kitty bow all the time.  And really it's adorable with SO many outfits too!

*DEAL ALERT: You'll be entered in a drawing to win a FREE bow of your choice if you "Like" her Facebook page and leave a comment on her wall telling her Ashley or Veater Family Adventures sent you.  And that's all you have to do!*

She recently added flowers and headbands to her shop.  Gorgeous!

In addition to the FREE bow you can win by commenting on her Facebook wall, Lexi's Unique Boutique is also offering $10 of boutique credit good towards anything in her shop as a giveaway to my readers!  Enter below using my super-easy, handy dandy Rafflecopter widget!!!

Explore... Vancouver Weekend Getaway!

Around the middle of October, I got exactly what I'd been needing... a weekend away with a girlfriend in Vancouver, BC!  It was LONG overdue, and a whole lot of fun was had!  If you live in Seattle, Vancouver is the perfect place for a weekend or overnight getaway with your husband or friends.  It feels like you're far away (it IS a whole different country, after all!) but it's a short and easy drive and really not far from home at all!

I had been to Vancouver once before and really didn't know a good place to stay, and this time I definitely found it... The Burrard!  This vintage, eclectic hotel was recently renovated and given a whole new facelift.  Even though it's smack in the middle of all the downtown action, it offers all kinds of amenities that you wouldn't expect for the great price.  Things like:
*Free wireless internet access
*Free phone calls to anywhere in Canada or the US (nice!  Avoid those cell phone roaming charges!)
*Complimentary purified bottled water
*Flat screen HDTV's with premium movie channels
*Free passes to the Steve Nash Fitness Centre (I didn't use this, but probably should have!)
*Free Electra Cruiser bike rentals (it was too cold to use these, but I saw them and they are awesome!  Next time I want to go in the summer and ride them all around town!)
*In-room safe
*Really nice bedding!  (This was one of my favorite features!  We each had our own double bed, and they were COMFY!)
*Free parking

The courtyard in the middle was pretty awesome-looking, with some sweet lounge chairs and tons of tropical plants.  It made me wish it wasn't winter.  But it definitely DOES need a hot tub!  Do people actually lounge when there's not a pool or hot tub around?  I don't know...

All the amenities and the great prices are enough of a draw to get me to stay there next time, and on top of that is the awesome location!  The Burrard is an easy, short walk to tons of great shopping, movie theaters, restaurants, and dance clubs!  It's so close to everything!  A couple of times we took a taxi because we weren't sure how far away things were and then ended up walking back afterwards because it was so close!

The Burrard is offering a 10% off each room night code to all of my readers, good anytime!  Just book through this link, or use the promo code PRS through their website!

If you're driving from Seattle to Vancouver and staying for a night or two, here are a couple of my DON'T MISS IT recommendations:

*The perfect stop for lunch along the way...
The Calico Cupboard Cafe & Bakery in Mount Vernon, WA
Oooh, just writing about this place is making my mouth water!  They have the most delicious sandwiches and baked goods at this little restaurant!  They are open every day for breakfast and lunch but they close at 4, so hopefully you'll be driving past there when they're open.  It's right off the freeway, a quick and easy stop, and trust me when I say you'll be wanting to go back!

*The perfect night for any 80's music fan...
If you're there on a Saturday night, you HAVE to go to the weekly The Affair Saturdays: 80's Dance Party at the Library Square Public House.  I had no idea how much fun I would have here!  It was such a blast!  Before 10 pm it's a restaurant and there is no cover charge, so we got there around 8 for dinner.  Their food was really good, and then at 10 the tables went away, the disco lights turned on, and the DJ cranked out the greatest music!  There was a really fun crowd there with all different ages, and oh my gosh, I literally danced till I dropped!  I can't wait to go again!
(The Library Square Public House also has a 90's dance party every Friday night.  I'd love to try that one out sometime too!)  

I now fully understand why Canadians love their city of Vancouver.  :)

Fun Finds... Entertainment, Family-Style!

Our family got to do a whole lot of FUN stuff for free this past week!  Sometimes the perks of being a blogger are GREAT!  And now I can recommend some awesome family entertainment for this upcoming week... If you've got some days off work and a little extra time for relaxing with your family, take the kids to go see one of these:

*Happy Feet 2!
Super cute movie, just like the first one.  The baby penguins are too adorable for words.  The plot line was unpredictable and the music was great!  My absolute favorite was their version of "Under Pressure" towards the end.  I'll be downloading it!  I took my 4 year-old and a couple of friends with me to see it, and all of us enjoyed it!  I'd say it's worth the few extra dollars to see it in 3D too.  :) 

*The Muppets!
I'm smiling right now just thinking about it.  The whole movie is just bright, happy, colorful, and a whole lot of fun.  This one really does appeal to ALL ages.  I think I'll be downloading some of the songs from this one too!

And... Yo Gabba Gabba Live on the stage!
 Okay, I don't know if this one will be playing live in your area soon, but if it does and your kids love the show, you will ALL enjoy this!  Our entire family went, and the older two kids (4 and 2) are still talking about it.  In fact, Natalie who is 2 and a half asks for "Yo-Dab-Dabba again" almost every day, and we have to explain to her they're not on the stage today.  Even Brooke, who just turned 1, was absolutely mesmerized.  This is a baby who never will sit on anyone's lap for more than 2 minutes, but she sat on my lap for almost the entire show staring at the lights and the characters.  I was amazed!

Our whole family at Yo Gabba Gabba Live!  And yes... my husband even enjoyed himself!

I hope you all enjoy this Thanksgiving week with your families and friends!

Adorable Etsy Shop Alert... Bossy's Feltworks Review & Giveaway!

I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving!  In less than a week we will be getting our Christmas tree and decorating for Christmas!  Where did November go?  I still have my Halloween decorations up!  (Embarrasing, but true!)  Yikes...
So here's my first holiday-themed giveaway of the year, to get us all in the Christmas spirit!  Check out my newest obsession... these absolutely gorgeous felted Christmas ornaments from BossysFeltworks!  I want this Santa sooooo bad!

Everything from BossysFeltworks is handmade in Orcas Island, Washington (right in my neck of the woods!)  The attention to detail and the quality of these little ornaments is amazing!  There's also some holiday decor in addition to ornaments.  And all of them beautiful!  This is seriously the cutest Nativity I have ever seen!  BossysFeltworks collaborated with Alkelda Dolls to create this beautiful set.

I received such an adorable little Circus Lamb Ornament to hang on my tree.  Can't wait to put it up later this week!  It's whimsical and unique, unlike anything else I already have.  And my young children will be able to hang it, since it's soft and unbreakable!

BossysFeltworks is offering up a duo of Circus Lamb Felted Ornaments to one of my blog readers!  Use my handy Rafflecopter widget below to quickly and easily enter this giveaway!  This adorableness could be hanging on your tree this year!
Enter here!!!


There's going to be a lot of disappointed people, since I have the winner of the area rug from Mohawk home... and here is the winner:

  • Name: Teresa Young
  • Option: Tweet About the Giveaway
  • Extra Info:!/tmy56/status/126021656115281920
Congratulations to Teresa!  And sorry to the rest of you... Rafflecopter picked the winner, not me!  ;)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Explore: Remlinger Farms!

Ever since we moved here, I have been wanting to go check out Remlinger Farms.  And WOW, I'm glad we finally did!  It's pretty much a paradise for kids!  We picked a nice fall day in September, and went there armed with our half-off tickets from one of the daily deal sites (made it $6 each!  Seriously!  For an entire day of fun and unlimited rides!  A steal!!!)
Whoever had the idea to turn this huge farm into a little kids' amusement park is a genius!  It pretty much has everything you could want for a fun family day with young children... a bunch of cute rides, a real steam train, pony rides, animals to pet, fun photo opps, a puppet/music show, and a kid-friendly restaurant and bakery!    

They had the place decked out in full harvest theme, with scarecrows everywhere that the kids thought were the greatest!

{Be aware that if your child is over 1, you'll have to pay for them.  Luckily Brooke hadn't turned 1 yet!}

First stop... had to be the pony rides, of course!

Then on to the old-fashioned steam train!  This was such a fun, relaxing ride, and even Brooke was able to enjoy it!

Our friends met up with us there, and ALL the kids (ranging in age from 11 months to 8 years old) had a total ball!

They have a really awesome hay maze and then just a big covered area filled with hay that the kids can jump and play in as much as they want!

And rides, rides, rides galore!  All of them were appropriate for all ages, so even our 2 year-old could ride everything!  After going to Evergreen Fair a month before and paying a small fortune just for enough ride tickets to pay for four rides, it was NICE to have all the rides included in the admission price here.  If your kids love rides as much as mine too, this is the place for them!

The hanging carousel ride was a big hit with my girls!

Natalie got a huge kick out of feeding the goat!

And we had to hit up the pony rides one last time before we left!

Remlinger Farms is SUCH a fun and adorable place, and I'd love to bring my kids back here every single year!  I wondered if it wouldn't live up to the hype, but it absolutely did!  Take your kids and GO!!!  :)