[Travel Oregon] Christmas In The Garden at Oregon Garden Resort

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We recently had the opportunity to stay at the Oregon Garden Resort and to visit their Christmas In The Garden. We had attended the Christmas In The Garden last year but we didn’t get to really visit the garden or the resort so we we were thrilled to have the opportunity to do both. Luckily this year besides being a bit chilly we lucked out and had no rain.

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Now Christmas In The Garden is a yearly event that happens at the Oregon Gardens. It features a traditional German Christmas Market and has a beautiful display of lights through the forest. This year they even had an ice skating rink that we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit but it looked really fun. 2015_11_29_OregonGarden-26

We arrived in the afternoon, checked into our room and had a snack before heading down to Christmas in The Garden. It was so nice to be able to just head straight from our room and walk over through the garden. Such a beautiful spot and I imagine even more beautiful in the Spring when everything is in bloom.
2015_11_29_OregonGarden-21These guys got right into the spirit and jumped into the sleigh to pretend they were off on a ride through the snow.

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Throughout the forest there are these little spots to stop and sit by the fire. Its so pretty and such a nice spot to warm up unless you have little ones who find the fire amazing and want to try and touch it. Maybe another year we will be able to enjoy these fun little spots.

2015_11_29_OregonGarden-3For my fellow Elf lovers you’ll love this light display as well. One of my favorite scenes in the movie.

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We were visiting on a Sunday so things seemed a little bit quite. I remember that last year their was live music and the garden was bustling and there were also a few more children’s activities such as face painting which we were sadly informed doesn’t happen on Sundays. Anyways we walked around checking out all the light displays, stopped for some chocolate, popcorn and a beer before taking our two exhausted little ones back to our room where we turned on the fire place, enjoyed some snacks and watched a Christmas movie.

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Overall we had a nice visit to the Oregon Garden Resort and Christmas in The Garden. The kids loved all the lights and walking through the forest at night. The accommodations at the resort were very nice and I loved that we had a little balcony off the back of our room that over looked the garden. We didn’t get to take advantage of the hot tub or the spa but I’m sure they are nice. The only thing I would suggest if you do plan to visit the resort is that you look at the suggestions for places to eat in the area or take advantage of the mini-fridge and microwave in your room. 2015_11_29_oregongarden-bed

We want to thank the Oregon Garden Resort for allowing us to stay with them and to visit the Christmas in The Garden this year. We look forward to visiting again in the Spring to see all of the beautiful greenery and flowers in bloom.

 

Christmas in the Garden will take place through Jan. 3 (excluding Dec. 24 and Dec. 25). Event hours and activities vary by date; for a complete breakdown, visit www.oregongarden.org/events/christmas-in-the-garden.

The Oregon Garden Resort is also hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31 with live music in its Fireside Lounge. If you’re interested they have a family package includes admission to the outdoor ice-skating rink and Christmas in The Garden, a s’mores kits to enjoy by fire pits, a bottle of sparkling cider and party favors.

Spontaneous Seattle Trip + OXOTot

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Hello from Seattle friends! Alder, Edith and I took a spontaneous trip up to Seattle to stay with our friends from Germany who are here housesitting. It is the first trip I have taken by myself with the kids but luckily Neil took the bus up on Friday after work so we could see a bit of Seattle together and so I would have a driving partner.

Luckily OXO Tot sent us a few goodies that have made our road trip a bit easier.

First up is this travel potty. I know you’re thinking wow Edith is finally out of diapers! Nope she is still all about the diapers and we don’t push it (that’s for another post) but she does have an interest to go on the potty sometimes especially since her friends do/are starting to. That being said she will randomly request to use the potty so it has been a lifesaver to have this super easy travel potty. Plus it folds up and can be used as a seat cover if she wants to use the “big potty” somewhere.OXOTot

Next up is this OXOtot On-The-Go Wipes dispenser. Seriously it makes carrying wipes so much easier and they don’t get all dried out. We just keep ours in our car diaper station and it’s been perfect.

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Oh and I can’t forget the to go cup with cover. Edith and Alder love their snacks so of course we have to pack like a million of them for road trips and this container makes it easy to keep their snacks available but also not have a huge mess in their carseats.

We actually came up to Seattle to help a friend out so we haven’t been doing many Seattle things. We have been cooking, walking the dog, a bit of cleaning, and playing. Today is our last day and with Neil finally here we might try and get in a few fun Seattle things (TBD). What are your travel essentials? What are your favorite Seattle things to do?

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*Disclaimer: While OXO Tot was kind enough to send us these items we did not receive any additional compensation for writing this post. If you have been following us for awhile you know we are huge OXO Tot fans.

[Travel] Vintage Trailers at The Sou’Wester | Washington Coast

sou'wester signI’ve always wanted a place that we consider “ours”. A place you visit year after year and as soon as you arrive you think “this is my happy place” – for us that has become The Sou’Wester
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Neil was actually the first to visit The Sou’Wester a few years ago for a work retreat. He stayed in the main lodge and he had such a great time he couldn’t wait to return and to have a stay in one of the vintage trailers. So as soon as he arrived home we made reservations to return for Labor Day weekend 2013 as a family. Three summers later and we have made The Sou’Wester a yearly tradition; if we could we would live here if we could.
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This visit we stayed in the Imperial Spartan Mansion one of the family sized mansions. This trailer has a kitchen, bathroom, full living room, a bedroom with a full-sized bed and a bunk with two single beds. I wasn’t sure how this style was going to work for us because while Edith sleeps in her own bed at home it is still in our [family] bedroom. The bunks are actually in the hall that leads to the bathroom and bedroom. To our surprise things worked out fine and Edith slept soundly and comfortably on the bottom bunk while Alder, Neil and I slept in the bed. 
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While we spent a good amount of time cooking, reading and relaxing in our trailer you could also find us swinging in the hammock, picking up snacks at the main lodge shop, taking a peek into the Thrifty (onsite thrift trailer) or wandering around the property. Neil also took advantage of the complimentary bikes.  sou'wester lodge 4

Sou'wester hammock Sou'wester thrifty trailer

New since our last visit is the Garden Spa & Sauna. Unfortunately neither of us were able to take advantage of the dry Finnish Sauna but I’m planning to make sure we do next visit. sou'wester garden spa

To see what’s behind the door check out the photos here of this beautiful spa & sauna area. 
sou'wester garden spa skincareI did however buy a few spa products including the sea salt scrub and balancing spray. I have yet to try the scrub but I use the spray multiple times per day. 
sou'wester seaviewOne of the things we love about The Sou’Wester is the proximity to the beach. Just head down the road about a block and you will find yourself at the Pacific Ocean and you’ll also find access to Discovery Trail – a perfect spot for a bike ride. seaview beach edith seaview beach alder

It was as bit of dreary time during our visit so we kept to playing in the sand not the water but when the sunshine is shining it’s a beautiful spot to splash and play in the water. We also love to head down to the beach in the evenings to watch the sunset.
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The Sou’Wester is a special place. A place filled with history, creativity and a place where memories are made. A place we will return to year after year or basically as often as we are able to. We hope you are able to visit The Sou’Wester one day as well and create your own memories. Side note while we love to stay in the Vintage Trailers you can also bring your own RV or tent or you can stay in one of the vintage cabins, the glamping tent or a main lodge room.

Until next time…..which is November because we couldn’t let an entire year pass-by before returning for another stay. So stay tuned for our next stay! You can read about previous years here –> 2013, 2014 and A Day In the Life – 2015.

Disclaimer: The Sou’Wester provided us with a complementary stay. We we received no other compensation. This visit (June 2015) has been our only complementary stay – we have paid for all other stays and will pay for all future stays. We simply love this place and are thrilled to share it with you. 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Schools out, suns is shining and the days are longer it must be Summer! For me Summer has always been about trying to get in as many outdoor activities as possible before the snow or rain, since we live in the Pacific Northwest now, comes and we are stuck inside. My family and I are packing our weeks with fun activities and making the most of the beautiful weather.  We have already had fun doing a number of these activities from camping to swimming and of course making s’mores.

Below is a list of 25 ways to have fun this summer and some might even call it a summer bucket list.

Visit a new park or playground. Summers are about trying new things so explore your town/city or a neighboring one to find the best park/playground around.

Go Swimming! Whether it’s the ocean, a lake, a pond, or a pool go take a cooling dip!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go camping! This is the perfect way to relax, unplug and enjoy some quality family time while getting back to nature.

Attend an outdoor music event. Most cities/towns host various music events at parks throughout the summer; this is a perfect event for families with children of all ages.

Have a picnic. What’s more fun then taking a meal outdoors? You can venture to a new park, find a spot near a lake or venture as far as your front yard.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go Berry Picking. BERRIES! One of the best parts of summer is the fresh fruit.  Kids of all ages love to pick their own berries. The trick is to see how many berries actually end up in your bucket to take home.

Enjoy a big bowl or cone of ice cream. Summer is a time for sweet cold treats. Head to your favorite ice cream shop and get a nice big bowl (or if you prefer cone) of ice cream to share (or not).

Attend an outdoor movie. There aren’t many times during the year that you can sit outside and enjoy a movie.  Check out if your town/city hosts any movies in the park or maybe you still live in an area that has as drive-in.  If neither of those options work why not set up a little outdoor “movie theater” in your backyard complete with pillows, blankets and your favorite movie treats.

Make popsicles and enjoy them outside. Get the kids in the kitchen and whip up a batch of popsicles. Once they are frozen head outside to enjoy them in the warm sunshine.

Hula Hoop. Yes give it a try! 

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Visit a museum. Explore a new museum or one you don’t frequent often.

Have a lemonade stand. Some people, myself included, would say that this is an essential part of summer and childhood. Make up a pitcher or two of lemonade, set up a little table out front of your home and start selling! 

Head to the library and join a summer reading program. Summer reading programs are a great way to keep kids reading.  Most programs are for birth through teens so mamas and papas with little ones can still participate. We just completed our first month of summer reading with Edith (2 years) and after 30 days of reading to her for 20+ minutes per day she was able to pick out a new book.  We are now onto doing a second 30-days!

Go for a bike ride. Grab the kids and get out for a bike ride. If your kids aren’t biking solo yet you can always go with a bike trailer or other seat. If investing in a bike trailer isn’t in your budget find a spot that does rentals! 

Attend or host a BBQ. Get together with friends and enjoy one of the perks of summer a big ol’BBQ!

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go down the biggest slide at the park. I’m talking to you too parents!

Blow bubbles. Make your own bubbles or pick up a bottle of your favorite brand and spend the afternoon blowing, chasing and popping bubbles; easily hours of fun.

Create side walk art with chalk. Decorate your driveway or sidewalk with sidewalk chalk art.  This is fun for kids little and big (and adults too).

Stay up late and lay under the stars. Toss out the bedtime (for one night), grab some pillows and blankets and set up camp outside the stars. Take a look at the stars and the moon and try and find the big dipper.

25 Ways To Have Fun This Summer | #summerbucketlist

Go hiking. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the great outdoors. Find a hike that fits your skill level or maybe a nature walk is more your speed. Either way grab the kids and get outside!

Go for a train ride. Find a nearby train and take a ride.

Visit a Farmers Market. Take your little (or big) ones to a local farmers market. Explore the various fruits, veggies and other local goods.  Take a new fruit or vegetable home to try!

Make s’mores. One of the best parts of summer! Make them over the campfire or the grill at home.

Feed the ducks/geese at the pond. One of our favorite summer activities! Grab a few slices of bread and head to the duck pond to feed the ducks.

Kick a soccer ball around. Or maybe head out to a ballgame!

How many can you already cross off already? Which ones are on your list to to do this Summer?

Weekend at the Coast | Out & About in JJ Cole Style

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Happy Be-lated Mother’s Day! We spent our Mother’s Day Weekend at the coast playing in the sun, sand and surf.

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We lucked out and the weather at the coast was just perfect. We rented a house in Arch Cape which is about half way between Manzanita and Cannon Beach. We actually spent Mother’s Day Weekend at Cannon Beach last year as well; I guess we are starting a new tradition. This year however we ventured a bit further south to Manzanita Beach after hearing so many recommendations from co-workers and friends. I have to say it lived up to the hype and the beach was beautiful. We didn’t spend much time in town but there seemed to be a good number of restaurants, cafes and little shops.

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We may have forgot to put Edith in more water appropriate clothes and a change of clothes. Oh well she had a blast but requested a warm cup of “coffee” (steamed non-dairy milk) post wading.

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After our morning visit to Manzanita Beach we headed back to the beach house for lunch and an attempted nap. Since napping just wasn’t going to happen we packed the kids up and headed into the downtown of Cannon Beach in search of chocolate and a spot to lay out and relax on our new JJ Cole® All-Purpose Outdoor Blanket.

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While we searched for chocolate Neil tried out the JJ Cole Agility Carrier.

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Once we finally got our hands on a box of chocolates we headed to the park across the street and unpacked our blanket to sit on. We shared our box of chocolates, read a few books, played a game of tag and then it was time to pack up. We walked around town a bit before finally heading back to the beach house for dinner.

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We ended our evening with a sunset visit to the beach. We seriously rented the best place that was just one block from the access to a super quiet beach. Our first night we went down to the beach as well and it was super windy so Alder hid in the carrier but the second night he was all about digging into the sand.

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For more photos check out my post on RWT and on our Instagram.

*Disclaimer: We were provided product for this review. As always all opinions are our own.

JJ Cole items featured in our post:

JJ Cole Heather Caprice

Heather Caprice (find it at Babies R Us): This has become our primary diaper bag because we just love the style, the color and the size. I knew we would love it because if you remember a few years back we had a JJ Cole bag that we used until we wore it out. This bag has two huge insulated pockets on the side, a great zippered pocket on the front where I store my keys, phone and mom things. On the other side there is an outside pocket that holds the changing pad. In the center is a big zippered section that has four pockets inside perfect for holding diapers, books, changes of clothes and snacks. The only pockets I don’t get are the two mini ones on the front; what are they for? I guess I could store lipgloss in them but not much else. P.S. If you want to see an updated ‘What’s In My Diaper Bag’ post let me know in the comments below.

JJ Cole Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket

Prairie Blossom Outdoor Blanket (find it at buybuyBABY): This blanket is my new favorite thing. The blanket is 100% Polyester with PVC Coating which means you don’t have to worry about a damp ground or even better taking the beach home with you. When we left the beach we just shook it off, folded it up and off we went. That’s another thing I love, how easy it is to fold up and carry. The cool thing is that it actually has a stiff square that you use as as guide when folding which allows you to get the blanket back into the same shape as when you took it out of the package. Now if only I could find tents and sleeping bags that do the same thing – tell me I’m not the only one that can’t see to get my tent back into the bag without a huge struggle.

JJ Cole Agility Carrier

Agility Carrier (find it at Babies R Us, buybuyBABY, Target, Amazon): I had no idea until recently that JJ Cole even had a babycarrier so I was excited to try it when the opportunity came along. So what did I think? Well I wanted to like the carrier but honestly it just didn’t work well for us. First I think that while the carrier can hold up to 35 pounds in my opinion as a certified babywearing educator I really think that for both the wearer and the positioning of the baby 15-20 or so pounds is the ideal max weight. I also had trouble with the fit of the carrier because it is sized and actually it fit Neil just a bit better than it fit me. I wonder if I went up a size (I tried a large) if it would work but I think that it might have been just a bit too big in an extra large. The thing I would say with this carrier is that it’s better for younger babies and it is something that you want to try on first for size before buying. That all being said it was well made, the fabric was soft, it was easy to put on because basically it was like putting on a shirt and the back panel is a nice feature that adds a bit more support.