Saturday, December 16, 2017

6 Awesome San Francisco Area Campgrounds for Camping Families

Famed for its bustling tech scene and unique architecture (think: the Golden Gate Bridge), the city of San Francisco is an absolute marvel for first-time visitors.
That said, it’s also an amazing place to go camping. Between California’s coastal climate and the stunning sights of the great outdoors, there’s perhaps no better way to see the city and its surrounding areas than by roughing it.

Whether you’re pitching a tent or searching for RV rentals in the San Francisco area, there are tons of campgrounds that tick the boxes of a family friendly outdoor adventure. We’ve broken down six that are perfect for just about any family and deserve your attention if you’re passing through for a camping trip.

Kirby Cove
Beach camping? Check.

Spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge? Check.

That ever-so-cool California weather? Check.

Kirby Cove represents the premiere place for tent campers in San Francisco. With downtown nearby, this campground is the best of both worlds for those who want to see the Bay Area up close while also get away from it all. Just bear in mind that reservations for this site do fill up fast and campers are expected to provide their own water to drink, wash and so on.

Steep Ravine
When you think about California, “cabins” probably aren’t the first image that pops into your head. Even so, Steep Ravine promotes traditional camping and the rustic cabin experience that’ll take you quite a few decades back. The cliff side views are truly a wonder to behold for beach campers, with each campsite affording privacy to those who want a more tranquil outdoor experience.

Redwood Regional Park
The Golden State is synonymous with gorgeous Redwood forests, and Redwood Regional Park does not disappoint in that department. Boasting well over 40 miles of trails, this place is a playground for adventure enthusiasts. Hiking? Horseback riding? Look no further than here for those who can’t get enough of the great outdoors.

Rob Hill
A popular getaway for locals, this urban-style site is a great place for first-time campers or those new to the concept of roughing it. Located in spitting distance of Baker Beach and with each campsite equipped with a fire pit, this Rob Hill provides campers the quintessential California experience.

Bicentennial Campground
What this campground lacks in size it makes up in personality. For those looking for an intimate camping experience, Bicentennial is a cozy campground with plenty of photo-ops and hiking trails to keep campers exploring for hours on end. From getting up close to local deer to spotting the occasional bobcat, this is also a spot for wildlife lovers to check out.

Mount Diablo State Park
Don’t let the name scare you: Mount Diablo provides up some stunning views that the state and is regarded as one of the best places to stargaze in the Bay Area. Whether it’s standing at 2,900 feet above sea level at the park’s Juniper Campground or checking out telescopes at the site’s observation deck, you have to see Mount Diablo to believe it.

If you want to see San Francisco in all of its glory, don’t neglect what the incredible local campgrounds have to offer. Keep these six sites in mind whether you’re planning a California adventure or are just passing through - you won’t be disappointed!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Free Santa Claus at Bass Pro Shops and Uncle Buck's Grill: Favorite Traditions

Welcome to my online scrapbook, also known as a blog. Lately I don't have the time or money or energy to scrapbook like I used to do so I rely more than ever on my blog to hold memories. Each post is like a mini-scrapbook, and at the same time I hope it's something that can show other people cool places to go and things to do and see with their kids or without them :-)

I'm writing this one in 2017 about 2016, as we are gearing up to hit Bass Pro Shops again, only we live a lot further away from it. It's still worth the drive, though. Trust me; this is a great experience. When I thought that maybe we couldn't go this year because we are a little busy and house-poor, it made me depressed and so I HAD TO figure out a way to go again this year. We only went on a Plaza carriage ride ONCE, and there are some other traditions we can't do every year, but this is one that has to stick. The matriarch insists.

At the entrance to the palatial Bass Pro Shops. Everything is bigger here.

This is the photo I insist on. And it's FREE.

Craft stations and toy stations!

The pro shot

Here's the big deal: we always seem to be able to grab the Hemingway room at Uncle Buck's Grill after we do the Christmas festivities. It's a private back room where we can be loud and crazy, and it's thick with pictures of Ernest and there's also a super cool huge fish tank in there. And we usually get alligator as an appetizer. This year I have to set down the rule that we have to choose a menu item priced at $10 or below, which is very easy. Everyone can get a burger and fries and be nice and full. Oh, and we can get a couple of free kid meals since we will see Santa and they give out coupons. One year I took the kids alone and the server gave me FIVE free kid meals! Usually we only get two free, which is still generous.

I mean, check out this Christmas wonderland! It's easy to become jaded during the holidays when you are a parent trying to make it special for everyone around you. It gets exhausting. A trip to Bass Pro is like a shot of Christmas Caffeine.

We love to shop around here as well, taking pictures of the kids with their Christmas ideas :-)

British Soccer Camp Review #ChallengerSports

Back here I posted about British Soccer Camps and how I was going to enroll Sam in one over the summer. Well, summer has obviously come and gone and, YES, he went to the camp! Here are photos and my review :-)

Sam practicing moving the ball with his feet.

Sam after his first day: hot and tired and happy to have been learning about soccer!
My set-up for the second day. The first day I hung out in the van. This day I set up a blanket and a chair and listened to an audiobook while I watched my kidlet learn soccer. He's in red.

They learned a lot of different soccer skills this week: controlling the ball with their feet, kicking in a specific direction, teamwork, dribbling, and more.

Sam with Coach Camille, wearing his swim trunks

I think a week is a fantastic amount of time for this camp. It was weird weather for end of June. The first day was almost cold and I stayed in the van and watched him play. Then we got rained out one day. Another day was blistering hot. We had to skip one day, then he made the final day, and his dad got to come see him play since it was a Friday. So he made three out of the five days of camp and had a great time.

Also, he loved the ball and shirt he got, as well as the certificate on the last day.

This camp is a great way for your kid to learn some soccer skills in just a couple of hours a day during the summer.

Watch Ya Mouth Throwdown Edition Game Review: Awesome Christmas Gift

Back here I introduced you to a product I was going to receive to review. When it arrived, Eva and Sam dug in and started playing and had a blast! They immediately put the mouthpieces in that hold their mouths open and drew cards and tried to say certain words and figure out what the other was saying. It was pretty hilarious to listen to and watch.

Not every card you draw will involve something to put in your mouth (straw, blower, plastic thing that holds your mouth open and makes your words funky). You might draw a Quarter Battle card and put a straw in your mouth ... then you have to use the straw to push a quarter off a table and see who can do it first. There are many different cards you can choose to Act a Fool!, be a Ghost Writer, have a Cracker Throwdown, Follow the Directions!, Knock It Off!, Bottom's Up!, be an Art Director and more!

The goodies that come with the game

Two sizes of mouthpieces that make your speech funky: adult and kid

Quick Start Guide
It's a super varied game that will keep everyone having fun for a long time! I'm going to pull out this game for all our our holiday gatherings coming up and all through the year as well!

Here is a 15% off coupon code as well (15WYM) and the link to buy!

Come back and let me know how much fun you had and leave me a comment!

Design Your New Bedroom To Improve Your Quality Of Sleep

Most of us know that we should be getting more sleep. But it’s really important that the sleep you get is good quality sleep. Sleep comes in cycles. Each stage or step through that cycle is essential to good health. If you suffer interruptions to your sleep, chances are you’re missing one or more stages of that sleep cycle. And if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t have the opportunity to achieve enough complete sleep cycles. Aim for about seven to eight hours to get the full rest you need.

The bedroom plays an enormous part in sleeping. This is the room where we need to feel relaxed and secure the whole night. There are several ways you can enhance the quality of sleep you get. Redesigning your bedroom might be one of the best. Here are some of the ways you can get more out of your sleeping space:

The Bed
You might be tempted to start your bedroom renovation with a new, healthier choice of bed. It is actually the mattress that is the most important part of sleeping. No matter your shape, size and weight, there is a perfect mattress for you. Consider your preferred sleeping position. You might lay on your front, one of your sides or your back. Your body should be supported where you are most comfortable.

There are several types of mattress to choose from, each with their own benefits. Sprung mattresses with coils are still available for the homeowner on a budget. You can still enjoy that bouncy with other types of sprung mattress. Memory foam is the most popular aid for sleep, though. It supports your body, discouraging you from moving around too much as you sleep.

The design of the bed is important as well. The bed frame is a big part of your bedroom decor and style. Pick one that suits the room, or design the rest of the room to complement the bed. It is the biggest piece of furniture in there, after all. You can find furniture deals that will help you package up all your bedroom furniture and accessories requirements online. This might save you time and help you to budget more carefully.

The Window Dressing
Windows are essential for good sleep. Firstly, they allow you to bring plenty of fresh air into the room every night. Stale air does us no good. Secondly, the light they permit into the room is important for telling our bodies when to wake. Natural daylight triggers hormone changes that energize the brain and alert us to the new day. Equally, a lack of natural daylight will alter the hormone balance to prepare the mind and body for sleep. Did you know that poor sleep can lead to weight gain? Your hormones might have a lot to do with it.

It’s a good idea to install blackout blinds and curtains if you have to work shifts. This stops light getting in that might disturb your sleep. Of course, you might miss your morning cues if you get up in the morning though! The window dressings you choose are the perfect way to inject bold colors into your bedroom.

Many of us shy away from bold colors on the wall. It’s true that busy patterns might be distracting and do little to relax you. But a splash of bold color makes good stylistic and design sense. If you use that color behind your bed, you won’t see it from your bed so that it won’t affect you much. The other colors in the room might be related to that shade but in lighter tones. If you have a cold room, choose warmer tones, and vice versa.

Try to avoid mirrors and pictures in your eyeline as you lay in bed. They can be distracting when you’re trying to fall asleep. However, correctly placed, they can make a bedroom appear more spacious and homely.

Some people love wooden floors in the bedroom. Others would never shy away from carpeting. The choice is yours, and either is fine. However, it’s worth considering your heat source and the temperature you want to maintain throughout the year. If you live in hot climates, a hard floor might be best. If you live in cold areas, then a carpet might be essential to your heating plan. The bedroom should always be a degree or two cooler than the other rooms. This helps you to stay comfortable as you sleep. Our bodies tend to heat up during the sleep cycle.

Keep your bedroom quiet and distraction-free for good quality sleep. Add a high-quality pillow to support your neck, and your bed is ready for you. Sleep well.
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