Remember when I shared about The Wild Kratts Live coming to Portland this September? Well a 2nd show has been added by popular demand! The Wild Kratts Live! 2.0 Activate Creature Power is coming to the Keller Auditorium for TWO shows! Saturday, September 29th at 1:00pm AND 4:30pm. Get your tickets today –> Wild Kratts Live PDX.
We recently took our first camping trip of the season to L.L. Stub Stewart State Park and our first camping trip as a family of five. After a year off from camping and regular nature exploring it feels so good to be back at it again. With it being early May we decided to snatch up the one cabin that we could find instead of tenting which just seemed a bit intimidating to do with three kids for our first trip of the year.
The cabins at L.L. Stub are all situated together up on top of the mountain which you can see from cabins 9-13. We booked our cabin too late so we ended up over in number 7 which had no view and honestly was one of my least favorite cabins for location, privacy and set up (the picnic table is across the path from the cabin). Basically the mountain view cabins are ideal but if you want a bit more privacy cabin 8 is off in the corner and has a ton of privacy as well as cabin 15. That being said if you don’t mind a lack of privacy and want to have a bedroom and living room set up cabins 4-6 offer you two rooms.
Cabins aside there is a ton of camping including full hook-up sites, walk-in tent sites and primitive camp sites.
In addition to great spots for camping L.L. Stubb offers a variety of activities including hiking paths, mountain biking paths, a disc golf course and a welcome center where you can find items that you may have forgotten like water bottles and helmets, maps and much more.
We arrived late to camp and were only able to get a cabin for one night so we didn’t get to enjoy the amenities to the full extent but we did get out for a short hike. I will say this although this was our second visit to L.L. Stub as a family and third for Neil and the bigger kids we that we knew what to expect but hiking these days is totally different than two years ago. Neil and I both had expected hiking to be a breeze with all three kids but as soon as we started to hit some steeper hills Alder just wasn’t having it and wanted to head back to camp.
So note to all you parents out there hiking with two kids in carriers two years ago is not the same as hiking with two kids not in carriers and a baby. If you have small children you may want to seek out alternative hiking opportunities in the area because the trails near the cabins are fairly steep. That being said there is a great path over to the day use area that leads you to some nice open spots perfect for running, playing and tossing a frisbee.
While things didn’t go seamlessly on this first trip it was still a fun trip and we have learned so much about ourselves and ways that we can better prepare for our next trip.
Where are your favorite places to camp? What are you camping tips?
We have our first family adventure of the season in the books! After a year off from big nature adventures (or really adventures at all), it feels so good to get back at it. While I think everyone is excited for the adventures….the driving however not so much. Edith asked no less than four times if we were there yet/how long is it going to take to get to our final destination. She also went on to talk about how we never drive this far and do lots of long driving and my initial response was to say ‘what are you talking about we have done tons of long drives like these’ until I remembered that I spent the whole of 2017 either pregnant or recovering from childbirth. Time is a funny thing. It feels like all our crazy adventures from 2016 were so recent but then you have your five-year-old remind you how long ago that was – at least for them.
Our first adventure took us to Rowena Plateau, a spot we had stopped at briefly on a drive through three years earlier but hadn’t actually explored. Our plan was to do the short hike and see all the wildflowers and the view. While we did get to enjoy the wildflowers and the view our hike was cut short by the overgrowth of poison oak and the threat of rattle snakes which I swear I heard two of them rustling near the path. Either way when the path turned into one skinny, rocky, poison oak infested lane we turned back and decided to head to Hood River for lunch before adventuring on to another location.
I’m happy to report that none of us ended up with poison oak even though I was certain that one of us would. I had terrible flashbacks to playing in the woods next to my elementary school when I was in third grade and ending up with a face full of itchy blisters due to a run in with poison oak; a moment I hope that my family and I can avoid. Also I am now researching rattle snakes in Oregon and what to do if we were to run into one – taking an tips or suggestions for resources.
We found our way to Hood River and decided to try to a new to us spot for lunch – Farm Stand In The Gorge. This little market was filled with everything that you could need as well as a wonderful cafe serving up breakfast and lunch. The menu consisted of wraps, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and a lengthy list of kombucha on tap. Neil and I both ended up ordering the vegan reuben which was delicious, Edith ordered a make your own sandwich complete with vegan mayo, marinated tempeh and a ton of fresh veggies and Alder and Ingrid went the a la carte route and had a few items we picked up from the market. We are definitely planning to return on our next trip and I’m ordering the kale salad because not only was it massive but it looked incredible.
No family nature outing is complete without a stop for a treat so we made our way to Gorge Ice Cream for some delicious non-dairy ice cream (they also have dairy options for those wondering). Edith and I went with the lavender honey, Alder with chocolate and Neil with coffee which he said tasted just like a latte. I went with a dish but stole a bite of Neil’s cone and instantly regretted not getting a cone for myself because it was probably even better than the ice cream.
With our bellies filled to the brim we decided to go one one last nature adventure before heading home. I searched on OregonHikers.com for something family friendly in the Columbia Gorge that was 2 miles or less and little elevation gain and had a number of hikes pop-up. However, due to the damage caused by last summers wildfires a number of the paths were still closed so we ended up deciding on the Fort Cascades Historical Site hike which brought us across the Bridge of The Gods over to Washington.
Having little clue as to what this hike was just that it checked all the boxes of what were looking for we were honestly a little skeptical. When we arrived at the trail head we were pleasantly surprised to find an interpretive map that would lead us on a historical self-guided tour of the old Cascades Township. Neil, Edith and I were totally geeking out and couldn’t wait to get to each post to read more about this historical spot. Alder however was more interested in climbing boulders and the set of train wheels and tracks that we found on the path. Ingrid, well, she just wanted to nurse and not be in the carrier.
Overall we were pleasantly surprised with this hike and would highly recommend it to anyone who is a historical nerd like we are and/or people with young families looking for a lush green, family friendly path to explore. It’s also the perfect spot for viewing the Bonneville Dam.
- Edith getting to use her first aid kit from her adventure pack (don’t worry just a minor knee scuff).
- Ingrid enjoying her first chocolate ice cream.
- Alder asking if every plant we saw was poison after finding out about poison oak.
- Finding a new lush green, family friendly path filled with so much history.
- If heading to Rowena Plateau come prepared with long pants and socks to protect again poison oak and make sure you are familiar with how to manage an encounter with a rattlesnake. Also there are no restrooms to take a pee break before you head up to check out the beautiful views.
- Stop into Farm Stand In The Gorge for lunch and order the kale salad.
- Take a visit to the Fort Cascade Historical Site, grab a map and enjoy the 1.5 mile loop. psst make sure you have $2 to cross the bridge if you are coming from Oregon.
Places Mentioned In this Post:
Wild Kratts is a fairly new obsession for my kids but since they started watching the Kratt Brothers on a regular basis they have been a wealth of information when it comes to all things animals. They spend their days pretending to be Christ and Martin Kratt (or Zoobomafoo – a throw back to the early days with the Kratt Brothers) and they go on adventures right in our own home. They have been Thompson gazelles on an African savanna, Lemurs in Madagascar, and currently Alder’s favorite the Siberian Tiger.
We will be riding in the car or walking down the street and between Edith and Alder I will have a full lesson on the red kangaroo and how the boys are red and the girls are grey. I learn more from these kids and what they learn on Wild Kratts it’s just amazing to me. We then head to our local library and stock up on books about all the different creatures from Wild Kratts to read during our tea time.
So as Wild Kratts slowly takes over our home and playtime it only seemed natural to make plans to see The Wild Kratts LIVE this September here in Portland. Also Tickets Are On Sale Now! The Wild Kratts LIVE will be at Keller Auditorium with an all new show on Saturday, September 29th! Get Your Tickets here today!
So tell me – are your little ones also loving Wild Kratts? Who is planning to see The Wild Kratts LIVE whether here in Portland or in your city?
Road trips are a great way to get out and see the world. There is so much to see and experience within driving distance of your own house but road trips can also have a few negative side effects (a few we are way to familiar with). So how can you prepare for these little hiccups without totally ruining your trip?
Well, when it comes to kids and road trip traveling there are two things that I can think of that could go totally wrong.
- Car sickness. This is one we have experienced far too many times.
- First off if you know your child has a sensitive stomach make sure that they eat at least 45 minutes before you head out on the road. This give them enough time to digest their food and hopefully reduces the risk of you all seeing it again.
- Second, avoid snacks if possible. I know with small children this isn’t always possible especially when your road trip is multiple hours so if a snack is a necessity then plan it into your trip and stop at a park, nature area or rest stop so you can enjoy a snack, move your body and hopefully again prevent any stomach upset. Also stick to foods that are light and easy to digest such as bananas, apples and crackers.
- Third, prepare the carseat with a piddle pad just incase sickness can’t be prevented. This will help in the cleaning process later (psst best to have a back up just in case).
- Fourth, TOWELS! Yes, make sure you have towels and a trash bag to do a quick clean up.
- Fifth (and totally optional), have essential oils such as lavender, digestive blend, or ginger on hand. These are incredibly helpful in reducing feelings of nausea. You can breath in from the bottle, apply to the bottoms of your feet (I recommend diluting with fractionated coconut oil) or pick up a car diffuser.
- Potty Break or Baby Blowouts.
- Bring a portable potty. This is great for when your little ones need to use the bathroom but there just isn’t anywhere to stop. You can pullover put in one of the potty bags, they can do their thing and you are back on the road without any accidents.
- Blowouts and babies seem to just go together so have a little station prepared so when a blow out occurs you are prepared. Make sure you have diapers, wipes, an extra outfit (or two), and little trash bags to make the process super smooth. I am thinking that we might need one of these caddy‘s for our upcoming summer travel – if you have tired it let me know in the comments below.
What are your prepare for the worst travel tips?
Have you ever had an ‘oh no’, ‘ugh, gross’ or ‘why me?’ travel situation? How did you deal?
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The sun comes out and suddenly Portland just bursts to life and the list of things to do seems to be never ending. We are already making our Spring, Summer and even Fall bucket lists and I’m not sure how we are going to fit everything in! There are a few noteworthy events coming up that I thought I would share.
The first of which is Wild Kratts Live! I can’t even fully express how excited I am to take my two oldest to to see Chris and Martin live and in person at Keller Auditorium. Currently if my kids aren’t watching Wild Kratts they are pretending to be Chris or Martin or Zoboo (from the Kratts late 90’s/00’s show zoboomafoo); it is Wild Kratts all day every day around here. The show isn’t until September 29, 2018 but tickets go on sale Friday, April 27, 2018 at 10am. I can’t wait to get our tickets and to surprise Edith and Alder!
Another event that I might be more exited about than my kids is A Year With Frog and Toad at the Oregon Children’s Theatre. I spent much of my childhood reading about Frog and Toad and so they hold a very dear spot in my heart and memories. I am thankful that Edith and Alder are both finding their love for Frog and Toad as well. we just purchased our tickets and can’t wait to see it!
This one I am excited to share but so sad that we won’t be able to attend [insert crying face]. Red Yarn has come out with another incredible album and will be having a big release party/performance at the Aladdin Theater this Saturday, April 28, 2018. We are wishing Andy, Ms. Jesse and The Critters all the best and can’t wait to see the album preformed live. If you can’t wait to see the songs preform you don’t have to check out Red Yarn’s newest music video Barn Dance from his newest album Old Barn.
What events are coming up that are on your bucket list?
Camassia Natural Area is a favorite spot of our families. It is a short 1 mile loop that is filled with such a diverse landscape from the tiny wetland to the meadow to the rocky plateau. It is the perfect loop for exploring with little (and big) ones.
Depending on the time of year you visit you will see all sorts of vegetation. In the Spring the meadow blooms with purple, pink and white flowers. In Summer it’s bright and green. The Fall provides a variety of colors with the changing leaves. While the Winter is grey it is spotted with bits of green from the evergreen trees and lichen covered trees.
- Stay on the path! There is a well marked wood chip path as well as boardwalks in some areas for you to walk on so not to disturb the natural area and also to avoid exposure to poison oak.
- Grab a map. There is a map at the start of the trail with 10 stopping points so you can learn a bit more about the area.
- Bring binoculars. Trust me this is a must! There is a big osprey nest and lots of birds flying for your viewing pleasure.
- Visit seasonally. This area has so much to share each season and is so worth the visit.
- Go to the bathroom before starting your hike. I say this as a mama of littles because there are no facilities at this site. If you do need restrooms there is a Market of Choice and Starbucks not far down the road that you can stop at.
- Leave your pets at home. This is a pet free zone so please leave your furry friends at home.
Curious to see it in summer? Check out this post.
The first time we stumbled upon Olympia, WA was after a last minute trip to Seattle to visit dears friends who were visiting from Germany. We were making our way back home when we decided that we all needed a break from being in the car as well as some dinner before we finished our trip home. We were clueless as to where to go so we headed to the downtown area and found a beautiful park on the water to play at for a bit. We then made our way to a mediocre restaurant that caters to children so of course Edith asks to go there often. After this stop our interest was sparked and we knew we would have to return again. Since this trip back in 2015 we have been back a handful of times including two weekend visits, our most recent this past February.
Olympia is two hours (including a potty break) north of Portland and it is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway. I know for most Portlanders a weekend away is usually west to coast, east to the gorge or we completely pass over Olympia and head straight to Seattle but Olympia is filled with so many gems from an amazing children’s museum, great places to eat, nature to explore and one of the best toy stores in the PNW.
On our latest trip we stayed at the Hotel RL which is set up on the hill overlooking Capitol Lake. It has generous sized rooms with microwaves and a mini fridge which are essentials when traveling as a family. In the summer there is access to the outdoor pool.
On the agenda for our getaway was coffee, nature, and the toy shop.
We headed to Olympia on Friday afternoon once Neil was finished up working. We arrived fairly late in the evening so after checking into our hotel and getting some wiggles out we headed to dinner. We ended up eating dinner at a local brewery that was just meh.
First priority after a hotel sleep with three kids was coffee from Olympia Coffee Roasters aka the best coffee in town. They also make a really great kids hot chocolate and have some tasty looking baked goods. We opted for breakfast at Hart’s Mesa a little breakfast/brunch spot that has a great menu including a vegan specific menu. We ordered the taco special, the vegan benedict and the kids shared the vegan french toast with fruit and a side of toast.
Once our bellies were full we headed to Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library and Research Center only to find that it was closed due to electrical issues. We ended up walking the property for a bit before heading to Tumwater Falls Park where we watched the rushing water of the falls and then walked the 0.6 mile loop making a number of stops along the way to check out waterfalls, plants, and the original power plant location. While the loop was short it took us over an hour to do with all the stops to explore and play. We were all surprised just how much we enjoyed this little nature excursion and we almost passed on it to return to Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Area (another great spot).
After our morning out we headed back to the hotel to relax for a bit and instead of eating out we snack on our stash of food at the hotel [editor: is this correct? i couldn’t recall going out to eat]. Once we had a bit of down time we decided to head a bit further north to Tacoma to get in a car nap for the littlest two and for all of us to get in bit more outdoor play and dinner in Tacoma. More on this in a future post.
The main thing on the agenda for the day was our promise to the kids that we would go to the toy shop. Since it was a Sunday and the toyshop still had a few hours before it would open we first headed to Zoe Juice Bar for a green juice and acai bowls. We then fueled up at Olympia Coffee Roasters before finally heading to what I consider one of the best toy shops in the PNW – Captain Little.
What makes it the best? It’s one of those toy shops that is just beautifully curated and filled with beautiful books, toys and gifts. It’s a spot where I could send grandma to pick out a gift and I would be happy with most anything there. I find myself flitting around the shop picking up toys and such, making note of things that would be good for gifts. The kids however beeline straight to the train table and the vintage robot that you can take a seat in.
After our morning out we had hoped to go to lunch at Little General Food Shop but they were having a special brunch so we picked up the very last tempeh sandwich from the cooler and then headed over to Olympia Co-op to pickup some additional provisions to eat at the hotel before starting our drive back to Portland.
Below you can find links to all the places mentioned in this post. Also stay tuned for additional guides to Olympia, WA.
Guide To Olympia
- Hotel RL, Olympia, WA
Food & Drink:
- Olympia Coffee Roasters, Olympia, WA
- Little General Food Shop, Olympia, WA
- Zoe Juice Bar, Olympia, WA
- Harts Mesa, Olympia, WA
Usually, when we think of a beach vacation there’s lots of sun and maybe a cold beverage that comes with a little umbrella. That is all wonderful but what happens when your beach day turns from fun in the sun to dreary and filled with rain? You know those little ones who were promised a beach day are going to be heartbroken if you don’t go. So, rather than scrap the beach all together here are 5 things that will help you make the most of a rainy day at the beach.
Rain Suits and Boots. Unless it’s one of those warm summer rain showers you will likely be forgoing the swimsuits for something a bit warmer. Start with an outfit that’s appropriate for the season and then top it with a rain suit, slip on some boots and thank me later. This will help to keep your kids dryer, warmer and it will prevent all that wet sand from sticking to every crevice of their body. Psst, don’t forget to you set yourself up with a rain suit/jacket of your own.
Sand toys, buckets and magnifying glasses. Swimming is likely out of the question so the next best thing is building, digging and exploring the beach. Buckets can be used to build sandcastles or to collect shells and other beach finds. Magnifying glasses will help you and your little one to get a closer look at their beach finds, tide pools or simply to get a closer look at the sand. Also a kite is always a great addition to a windy, overcast beach day.
Extra Clothes and diapers/underwear. I know that this sounds obvious but I don’t know how many times we have gotten down to the beach and forgotten to bring extra clothes. While those rain suits are helpful your kids may find themselves in their rain suits “swimming” in a pool of water they found on the beach and require a change of clothes.
Bottles of water for hands and toes. This doesn’t have to be any special water but straight from the tap. Collect some water before heading out and have it on hand to wash away sandy fingers and toes.
Oversized Beach Towels. Even without going into the water everyone is bound to get a little wet so towels are a must (and something I seem to always forget). Also you just might end up with a little one who isn’t so keen on playing on a windy and/or rainy beach day and a big towel is the perfect place to hide.
What are you rainy/overcast beach day essentials?
Before kids, Neil and I spent most of our free time traveling. We visited spots from Toronto to Halifax, from Maine to Florida and took ourselves on a tropical cruise. When we decided to have kids wanted to make travel a priority for our family. Whether it’s traveling abroad or a trip an hour away we want to explore the world with our kids. While traveling with kids can be a bit challenging, frustrating at times and far from relaxing it is pretty special.
We recently traveled to the Washington Coast for Neil’s birthday and it got me thinking about what pearls of wisdom I could share with other parents looking to travel more with their childrene We’ve decided to start a new series: Ingalweathers Do Travel. The series will feature our travels near and far and tips and tricks for traveling with young kids. We aren’t experts and are constantly learning so we hope you’ll share your tips and stories in the comments below.
Our first trip of 2018 was our annual night away to celebrate Neil’s birthday. To celebrate, we decided to travel to what has become one of our favorite getaway spots, Astoria and the Long Beach Peninsula. We took our first trip to the area in March 2013, shortly after moving to Portland. It’s continued to be one we’ve taken two to three times a year. We have the ocean, great restaurants, family-friendly activities and a great little port city to wander around.
For our night away we stayed at the Adrift Hotel on the Long Beach Peninsula. This hotel is just steps from the ocean with access to a great beach (be aware that the beach is open to vehicles during the off-season). At the beach, you can get access the Discovery Trail, 8 miles of bike path that runs along the beach from Cape Disappointment to the Lewis and Clark Carved tree in long beach. It’s a great spot to borrow one of the Adrift’s bikes or bring your own (especially if you have little ones) and spend the afternoon riding the trail.
That Adrift is a fun spot for the whole family as well. Besides the beach, families will love the suite and bunk rooms, game area (our kids had a blast playing foosball and pingpong), family friendly restaurant and a stock of family friendly games and movies for you to bring back to your room. It was also stocked with the best snacks and drinks I have ever found at a hotel. They had a wide selection of local spa products, snacks, beer and wine from places like Fort George and Buoy beer in Astoria. After picking up some snacks, the kids picked out Candyland for our evening entertainment back in the room.
Of course being winter in Oregon, our trip was filled with rain but we didn’t let that didn’t get us down. We skipped playtime at the beach, promising that we would stop at another beach before we headed home. So we avoided the rain and the wind and opted for breakfast at the hotel. After our bellies were filled we packed up and headed to Astoria for the day. We got a break from the rain so we quickly stopped at Street 14 to pick up coffees and our favorite pumpkin bites and headed up the steep Astoria hills to the Astoria Column.
This wasn’t our first visit to the column, but I think it was the first time Edith really remembered it. Ingrid had fallen asleep so I used that as an excuse to skip the trek up the winding staircase to the top of the column, staying in the car at the bottom and watch Edith’s little wooden airplane fly down (insider tip: head to the gift shop and pick up a little airplane to fly off the top. Your kids will love it!).
After our trip to the column we headed back down the steep hill and made our way to our favorite Astoria restaurant, Buoy Brewing. Our first trip was as a family of three the first week they opened and it has only gotten better and better over the years. This is also a spot that our kids will request going to at least once per month because in the floor of the restaurant, which is located on the wharf, there is a big glass window where a sea lion (or 2) can be found resting. Am I lame to say that my favorite thing to eat at Buoy is the salad? I am going to anyways because their vinaigrette and salad is just so good (the veggie burger comes in a close second).
After our trip to Buoy the rain started up again as we started to head toward home. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BEACH? Well Neil and I decided to give the kids an option – we could stop at the merry-go-round in Seaside or we could stop for a quick, wet and windy beach stop. To our surprise (and luck) they chose the merry-go-round and to their luck the gentleman running the merry-go-round gave them an extra ride.
While the big kids rode the merry-go-round we sat in the car and found new fascinating treasures.With that we finished our quick night away and headed back to Portland with a quick stop of birthday pizza and ice cream.
Hotel stay c/o Adrift Hotel+Spa
Guide to Astoria & Long Beach
- Adrift Hotel, Long Beach, WA
- SouWester – Vintage Trailers, Long Beach, WA
- Hampton Inn & Suites, Astoria, OR
Food & Drink:
- [pickled fish], Long Beach, WA
- Buoy Brewing, Astoria, OR
- Fort George Brewing, Astoria, OR
- Blue Scorcher, Astoria, OR
- Street 14, Astoria, OR
- Ledbetter Point State Park, Ocean Park, WA
- Cape Disappointment State Park, Ilwaco, WA
- Fort Columbia Historical State Park, Chinook, WA
- Discovery Trail, Long Beach Peninsula
- Astoria Trolley, Astoria, OR
- Columbia River Maritime Museum, Astoria, OR
- Astoria Column, Astoria, OR