It is so easy to get comfortable, to do the same thing. As a busy family there is a ton of value in routine and ritual, but there is also so much reward when you break out and try something different. One of the best parts of starting a blog has been that it has inspired our family to try new things, to not rely on “what we have always done”. We do this in small ways like going on an after-dinner sunset walk in a new place or eating new foods, and most recently in bigger ways by visiting Lassen National Park.
I love to read self help books and in particular for the last couple of years I have been reading a ton of parenting books. It started when Tater Tot arrived, which coincided with Big D turning 3 years old and some serious “asserting his independence” behavior. I continue to read the occasional book as a new title catches my eye or just as a refresh on my parenting skills arsenal. What have I learned from all these books?
Summer is almost over, but there is still time left to squeeze in a weekend camping before the weather turns. Camping with small kids can be a daunting idea, but can also be amazing. Kids LOVE the novelty of camping, it is a fun weekend together as a family, and totally worth all the effort, and yes, there will be some effort put in. Here are are my tips for taking small kids camping, surviving, and actually having fun:
When you are traveling, you tend to meet fellow travelers, hear about their stories, sometimes our kids play together (sometimes not). A couple years ago, Big D and I were up early (the time change always gets us) and playing on the beach in Maui and met a lovely woman, whose husband was also in Maui for work. We got to talking; she was from Seattle and I asked her what she did. She set told me she was a stay-at-home mom who quit her job when she had kids. I asked her how she had made that decision and what her two kids, now grown up, thought about it? She told me she hoped that her boys recognized that she had sacrificed her career to spend more time with them.
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).