Snail Mail Love for Little Ones Part 1

Having to deal with Covid-19 in the beginning was really rough. We have a daughter who was in pre-school and a son in high school. They both had a hard time adjusting to doing online classes and not being able to see their friends. It was the rainy part of the year for Washington so we weren’t able to do a lot of outdoor playing in the beginning. We had to find activities to do indoors.

One of the activities we were able to do with our daughter to keep her occupied was sending out mail to our friends and family. She was also able to send a few out to her classmates since they couldn’t see each other in person and she was also able to send a few to some residents of the assistant living home where my mother-in-law resides.

We made different types of cards and letters to send out. It also allowed her practice writing her name and basic greeting words. This is such a great activity to do together. We still do this during the summer months but on a smaller scale because we get to spend more time outdoors now. I hope this is an activity that will inspire her to continue writing mail as she’s growing up.

She loves walking to the mailbox to place her cards in and put the flag up. She also absolutely loves going to mailbox to find mail addressed to her.

Here are a few of the mail we worked on. She’s quite the artist and loves crafting so this was right up her alley.

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She painted coloring pages and addressed them and signed them. When folded up in to quarters it fits nicely into a 4 3/8″ x 5 3/4″ envelope. The coloring books in the ad below are our favorite for painting with watercolors because the pages are really thick. The pictures are very simple and big which makes it much easier for little ones to paint.

          

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My college aged son and his girlfriend also drew some pictures for our daughter to paint. They used thick watercolor paper and a black sharpie to draw the pictures. The papers were cut with a trimmer to 4″ x 5 1/4″. We later glued the painted pictures to colored cardstock that were cut to 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ and folded in half. We love using the watercolor papers below because of it’s thickness.

We later used the supplies and the same process to make other greeting cards. We made some for Easter, a few simple “Hi!” and “Hello!” ones, and we also let our daughter use her creative side to create drawings and paintings of her own. The cards were well received and she got a great response from family and friends.

What are some of the indoor activities you did to help keep yourself or your children busy during the beginning of lock down?

A Visit to Lynch Creek Dahlia Farm – FOTD

I’ve always dreamed of having a flower farm. We’re about 20 years past when we should’ve started one. It would’ve been crazy to start a farm with my husband’s past work schedule and little ones in tow. So the dream never came to fruition. We are very fortunate to have farms that we can visit in the area. We can just enjoy what our local farms produce and the little flowers I grow in our garden.

We absolutely enjoyed our visit to Lynch Creek Dahlia Farm. It’s a cute 3 acre farm full of color. There were so many varieties of Dahlia to choose from. You can pick your own flowers or you can purchase already-made bouquets. It was so fun to pick our own flowers. It was really hard to stop picking and clipping. I loved it! We shared what we brought home with our neighbors.

Here are some photos of the lovely Dahlias growing at the farm.

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Lynch Creek Dahlia Farm

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Mr. Bumble Bee Visits Our Garden – FOTD Lemon Sedum

Our daughter loves seeing bees, butterflies and birds flying around our garden. She insists on calling each bumble bee that she sees Mr. Bumble Bee. I was happy to catch this shot of Mr. Bumble Bee on a Lemon Sedum Flower.

How Doth the Little Busy Bee

Poet: Isaac Watts

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

Cee’s FOTD Photo Challenge

A Quick Visit to Lake Cushman

Our attempt to visit the famous hiking trail “Staircase Loop”, located along Lake Cushman in Hoodsport, WA, was thwarted by a Park Ranger and his truck with blinking lights. The trail head area was congested with too many other hikers. We were a little bummed but understood and knew that we were taking a chance of even getting to the trail on a Saturday. Note to self for next visit: Go early!

Instead we parked and walked across a bridge at the headwaters of the lake that allows residents to get to their homes on the other side of the lake. It was a pretty chilly day but there were so many visitors. Some were lounging next the water and others braved it and jumped in. It was great to just people watch. It was almost like things were somewhat normal.

It is such a beautiful lake. Everything is lush, green and and serene. The private campground that we’ve stayed at before is closed for the season, due to Covid-19. Hopefully things will be back to normal by next Summer so we can enjoy a stay. Skokomish Park

Here are just a few pictures on the lake. Not the best pictures because I’m still figuring out using the manual setting on my camera for distance and moving pictures.

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Some white flower weeds found alongside the lake.

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Madrona Tree

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Skokomish Park

Lovely Lavender

We were able to enjoy the lavender fields at Graymarsh Farm. You cut your own bunch but we opted to purchase already cut bunches that they had available. They smell terrific!

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Graymarsh Farm

Berry Picking

We love berry picking! We haven’t been to Graymarsh Farm in years and it was a wonderful outing to do with our kids. The strawberries were mostly spent but the raspberries are just coming in beautifully!

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If you look closely, there are some spider legs peeking around the left side of the strawberry.7-3-2020 Graymarsh Artsy IMG_0748
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The deer are freely roaming around the farm.

Our Visit to the Tulip Festival – FOTD

Yay! We finally made it to the Tulip Festival for the first time. We have lived here in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State) for over 20 years and I can finally check the “Visit Tulip Festival” box on my bucket list.

It was the usual rainy day for Washington and most of the tulips were still not in bloom in Skagit County but the flowers that were in bloom, including daffodils, were amazing to see. We were very happy to make it over despite the chilly weather. Here are some of the pictures I was able to capture during our visit to Roozengaard in Mount Vernon, WA.

Our daughter wanted jumped from one flower to the next, not really taking in the different varieties of tulips that were available for our eyes. She just loved the colors of all the “pretty flowers”.

Our son on the other hand is much older and took his time to observe the different flowers. He was even able to capture some of his own photos with his phone. At times he seemed really interested but for most teenage boys looking at flowers are not at the top of their “Spring Break” check-list. *wink*

What a beautiful sight. I can only imagine what it looks like when the rest of the tulips are in bloom. We decided we’d love to go back again. Hopefully next year… and the next… and the next.

Tips for our next visit…

  1.  Watch the weather closely.
  2.  Remember to bring rain boots. Our daughter had fun in the puddles.
  3.  Plan for mid-April visit.
  4.  Stay a little longer to check out other attractions nearby, including the Outlet Mall. *wink*

Note: This would make a wonderful sisters, mother & daughter, or girlfriends trip!

Roozengaarde

Tulip Festival

FOTD

Visit to the Kitsap Live Steamers

We live in such a wonderful community with so many great family friendly and budget friendly things to do. One of the activities that we are fortunate to have is the mini train rides from the Kitsap Live Steamers. Our mother in-law has been asking us for years to take her to check it out and this weekend was the perfect weekend to do it. She loved it so much they let her ride twice in a row. It was definitely an activity enjoyed by all!

The Kitsap Live Steamers is a non-profit organization and provides mini train rides for donations. The mini trains are located right in the South Kitsap Regional Park (Port Orchard, WA.) It is a beautiful park with walking trails, a large grassy field, a picnic shelter and a huge playground for young children to play on.

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https://kls.clubexpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/kitsaplivesteamers.org

 

Train Ride Trip to Portland Part 3

Our second day in Portland was quite rainy but full. We began with a complementary breakfast in the dining hall of our hotel (Embassy Suites Downtown Portland.) It was very convenient with a good selection of food. This is perfect for families with picky eaters.

We chose to try out the light rail (Trimet) to Washington Park for a visit to the Oregon Zoo. We only had to walk a few blocks to get to the nearest station but it was easy to purchase our tickets and hop on. It was a very short wait to get on light rail for the 15 minute ride to Washington Park. It was so nice not having pack everyone into a car to drive over. Plus it was neat being able to show our teenager another form of transportation.

Trimet

When you exit the light rail at the zoo you are several hundred feet underground.  There is an example on the tunnel wall showing how deep you are with an arrow of where that falls on a cross-section of a core sample performed at the site.  A timeline describes how the area (Washington Park) was formed over millions of years as a result of sedimentary buildup as well as very early volcanic flows.  We had walked on around the corner to the elevator only to realize that my geeky husband was still transfixed on the wall’s data, slowly making his way through the years.

Up on the surface we were back in the present, and the elements.  Since it was pouring rain we opted to start indoors with the World Forestry Center. It was neat for our kids to see how important it is to replenish our forests and keep them alive and healthy. The kids seemed to really enjoyed seeing and visiting the hands-on exhibits.  Our toddler’s favorite part of the visit was pretending drive the all terrain vehicle. She was generous enough to take turns with her big brother – after gentle prompting.

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After a nice visit at the center we headed over to the Oregon Zoo just down the road. Most of the exhibits as are central to the light rail and a central parking lot, which makes it very convenient. The city really did a great job when they planned out Washington Park as there is much to see and so much to do.

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The Zoo was a hit! The kids were absolute troopers and while the rain kept coming down we didn’t let it stop us from seeing all the sweet, and not so sweet, animals.

Train Ride Trip to Portland with Kids Part 2

Yea! We made it to Portland!

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It was a smooth ride so far. Portland’s Union Station was a little different from Seattle’s station. A little dark and gloomy but getting our baggage was at least quick and easy.

We decided to forgo getting a taxi and walked 12-15 minutes to our hotel. It wasn’t too far of a walk but just like any big city, Portland has a few sketchy spots around the transportation centers. So we walked as quick as we could with our overstuffed backpacks.

By the time we reached our hotel we were ready for a nap. My husband made a point and said if we took a nap we probably wouldn’t leave the room to go out again. So off we went in search of the hotel’s dining hall for their complimentary drinks and snacks.

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We were also able to have a beer and cider on the train.

My husband had a beer and I had a wine. Snacks consisted of veggies and dip, tortilla chips and all the fixings. The dining hall was loud. We headed out to find more food with a little quieter atmosphere. The bellhop at the door of our hotel suggested Huber’s Cafe.

Huber’s was a cute little restaurant contained within an “old Portland” bar dating to the 1890’s. It had what we needed and the staff was friendly and attentive. Their apple/blackberry cobbler was yummy! Part of the “loud” from the dining hall seemingly followed us to Huber’s as in the bachelor party or class reunion was seated next to us … again.

After we ate we finally headed back to the hotel room. Our son was happy he was able to go swimming in the pool. A hotel with a pool and hot tub was my husband’s request. He wanted a place to relax at the end of the day. There were two hot tubs here. He was happy.  It worked out great!

It was a wonderful end to an adventurous day.

Note: We were so busy looking around and carrying our bags that we didn’t get any pictures when we arrived in Portland. I just included some of the train pictures that my husband took with his phone.

~Deb

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