We love hiking with our little ones and one of the best parts of San Francisco is its easy access to beautiful hikes. Hiking post-kids is not quite the same as hiking pre-kids, but still can be a lot of fun. Here are my top tips for hiking with kids:
It’s summer and the cooking is fantastic. Farmer’s markets are overflowing with delicious looking produce and some of my favorite fruits and vegetables…tomatoes, corn, peaches, yum! Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that I have been cooking at our house.
Grilled Shishito Peppers
For super easy entertaining, we love to start the evening off with grilled shishito peppers. They are really easy to cook, kind of fun to eat and don’t fill you up before the main meal.
Recently Mr. H and I were talking about family traditions. He was talking to a colleague who mentioned that he was going on his annual SCUBA diving trip to Catalina Island with his kids; they went every year. We were talking about what were our traditions? Sure we have small traditions and rituals that we do throughout the year, but in terms of an annual family trip somewhere the only one we have is Martha’s Vineyard.
Here is a run down of the top beaches on Martha’s Vineyard, take your pick, they are all amazing. Edgartown and Oak Bluffs have the most accessible public beaches, if you are planning your vacay and want to be near the beach, plan to stay in one of these two towns.
The best all around beach on Martha’s Vineyard is South Beach, 3 miles outside of Edgartown. South beach is accessible by both bus and bike route. It is a beautiful white sand beach with moderate waves. Classic New England and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. There is a one mile stretch of the beach (along Atlantic Drive), that has lifeguards and facilities (port-a-potties). You can access additional (less crowded) parts of the beach, if you buy an oversand permit for your SUV. The waves and currents can be strong at south beach, so this is not always the best beach for young kids. We usually bring a big shovel and dig a mini kiddie pool up from the shore break to give our toddlers a place to play in the water. For bigger kids, bring the boogie boards, the waves are awesome. There are no places to buy food/beverages near the beach, so stock up on picnic supplies at the Katama General Storeon your way out, or visit the Right Fork Diner for lunch and watch the old planes take off and land (about 1 mile away on Herring Creek Road).
Singapore has so many different activities to offer, it is hard to decide what you want to do. We love getting outdoors (regardless of the Singapore heat), so spent our week there, in May, partaking in all the great outdoor opportunities that existed. A couple of tips before you decide exactly where you are going and what you want to do:
The Gardens by the Bay were the highlight of our trip to Singapore. There is such a variety of activities in the gardens, that we visited every day of our five day trip, and still felt like there was more to do. The Gardens were finished in 2012. As part of the Singapore government’s desire to turn Singapore into a “City in a Garden”, they held a competition to create a design for the Gardens by the Bay space. The results is a stunning 250 acre park that is largely free to the public and full of fantastical sights (Cloud Forest, Flower Dome, and Supertree walkway require tickets).
I am not one to brag about my recipes. I enjoy cooking and cook a lot, but there are not a lot of things I make that are my “signature best”, except for my chocolate chip cookies. (Trust me, and if you don’t trust me, ask any of my friends, family members, or co-workers.) Chocolate Chip Cookies are probably my biggest weakness. Nothing beats a great chocolate chip cookie. Whether it is homemade or from a bakery, I am not too picky, I love them all. Here is my (now not-so-secret) recipe for the BEST home made chocolate chip cookies you will ever make, adapted from the Quaker Oats recipe, with a few key modifications.
A few years ago, I discovered “minimalism”. Not that I became a minimalist, but I started to learn more about minimalism and embrace it in small ways. Maybe it was a reaction to having kids and all the “stuff” that comes with them, or maybe it was just defining something that already resonated with my core beliefs. Either way, I find it really inspirational. Minimalism at its core is about decluttering your life of the unimportant things/activities so you can focus on what is important and lead a more intentional life.
We were lucky enough to be able to go to Bhutan in 2008. With the recent royals visit to the country, I was reminded of what a great trip it was and wanted to share some of my favorite pics from our Hope Pre-Kids trip there. Bhutan is one of the 25 least touristed countries in the world. The Bhutanese government purposely limits the number of tourists by requiring you have a guide and imposing a daily fee of $250 per tourist to cover accommodations, food, and services. The goal of this is fewer “higher value” tourists and less impact on local culture and environment. On the personal level, it feels very “untouristy” and authentically Bhutanese; I hope they are able to keep this feeling forever. Bhutan is known for its adventure trekking (not us), hiking, unique culture, and festivals.
Singapore has not always been on my wanderlust wish list. I didn’t know much about it, but I also hadn’t had a lot of friends or family members who had visited and raved about it. We decided to go to Singapore because Mr. H had a conference there (this tends to dictate a lot of our travel destinations) and the kids and I had never been. I figured why not?
Once we decided that we were going as a family, I started asking around to get friends and family member’s ideas of what to do in Singapore. What were the must see sights? What experiences had people had that they loved? I was disappointed to hear that it was primarily shopping and eating. “The Singapore malls are AMAZING!” “There is great dining.” “Shopping and eating are a national sport in Singapore.”