Train Ride Trip to Portland with Kids Part 1

Planning to take a trip on a train with kids? We have discovered that it is completely doable.

Taking a train ride was one of the items on my bucket list. This Spring Break we were able to take a train ride from Seattle to Portland. It was most certainly an adventure for my husband, myself and our 2 younger children.

The ride was about 3.5 hrs each way. It was an experimental trip to see how things would work without driving. On our last trip to Portland our daughter was then 2 years old.  She cried for a while on our way back home. It was quite stressful and quite dangerous trying to get in and out of traffic to take care of our very uncomfortable toddler. On this present trip we really wanted to see if it could have much more relaxing vacation.

We started our trip from Bremerton via the ferry to Seattle. It was a free trip to Seattle. We had sandwiches and snacks that we had prepared in the morning. It was a quick and relaxed hour ride.

Once in Seattle, we walked about 10 minutes to Tat’s Deli, a cheesesteak place that my East Coast husband has been wanting to try. We were already quite full but my son and I agreed to share a sandwich and some fries. The food was great and well worth stuffing ourselves! Our almost 3 year old daughter happily had a lot of ketchup with few yummy fries. Apparently, her favorite vegetable is ketchup.

With our over-filled bellies we headed to the train station. It was about a 6 minute walk but it took us a little longer to get situated because we also took a booster seat in case we needed it for a taxi or Uber in Seattle or Portland. (Note: We ended up not using it.)

The King Street Station in Seattle is BEAUTIFUL! It is very well maintained with an amazing vaulted ceiling to gaze at while you wait to board your train. There were lots of designs in the marble tiled floor and my wily husband had the two year old walking the outlines hoping to use up some of her energy.  We purchased our tickets online at Amtrak.com. The check in process was simple and the check in area was well defined with signs, roped off areas for the line, and a counter.

In Seattle they boarded passengers with children, or in groups of four, first.  We were able to grab a table with four facing seats on the train and it was best thing we could have asked for. It allowed us to spread out our refreshments, our activities and most importantly it allowed us to talk to each other.

Before the train rolled on, our children and I each had a dose of Dramamine, just as a preventative measure. I get motion sickness very easy so this is a great tip for those who have issues with motion sickness. Thankfully, we had no problem. We all even got a short nap on the train ride.

We took with us a small bag full of activities for our toddler. The most popular of the activities was coloring with the twistable crayons. It was new to her. We also took along stickers, a sticker book, lacing cards, and some of her favorite snacks. Our teenage son was responsible for packing up his own activities and snacks.  He was fairly occupied with his new-ish iPhone 5.  Amtrak has decent WiFi onboard for internet access and social media, but not enough for streaming media.

We had movies and TV shows downloaded on our mobile devices as a great back-up activity for all of us. We were able to plug our chargers right into the two convenient outlets under our table.

Overall, the ride to Portland was comfortable and pleasant experience. The scenery on the way was spectacular. Our teenager was happy and our toddler did great.

~Deb

Textures – Toddler Activity Project Fail

I often browse through Pinterest looking for various activities to keep our toddler occupied throughout the day. As I find ideas, I think to myself, “I can do this. I can go to the dollar store and find items to come up with a project of my own.”

A short visit to the Dollar Tree near us and low and behold, I found two great items to create a quiet project to keep our toddler occupied… or so I thought.

A small storage container with compartments and a bag of colorful pom poms = color sorting activity. I hot glued a piece of pom pom to the bottom of each compartment and added a few more pom poms of the matching color to each. I thought it would be a success.

This sorting activity has been our nemesis the past few days. The wonderful itty bitty pieces of colorful fuzz seemed to multiply and explode onto our carpet each day.  They have become awesome pretend food.  We finally gave up trying to teach our toddler and decided to just join in the fun and pretend to eat the little colorful pieces of pretend pie, tea, cake or whatever our daughter cooks up.

I hope maybe someone can at least use this as an idea for a project of their own. I do have to admit, the pom poms have been a great, quiet tool and quite a hit at keeping my daughter occupied for long periods of time. I think the textures and the colors are what appeal to her. Perhaps someday she’ll want to actually sort them or maybe I’ll find another learning project to create with these fun, mini, fuzzy spheres. In the meantime, we’ll just enjoy the happiness they bring to our little girl.

Beautiful Little Park

Today my son and I went to the closest city park and hid our painted rocks for others to find. My son, of course, couldn’t help but check out the playground.  I found it odd that there were no other children there. It is a Saturday and it was just after lunch. He had the playground all to himself for about 15 minutes.

7-22-2017 Park IMG_6394 Artsy

The heat may have been a bit unbearable for some but not for my child. My crazy son had on a pair of jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. He claimed he was fine. What is it with kids using shorts in the cold winter and long-sleeved shirts in the heat of summer?

We also took a little walk to the community garden portion of the park. I love being able to see all of the fruits, vegetables, and flowers popping up everywhere. Here are a few of the photos from today.

Do you have any beautiful flower or garden pictures you’d like to share with everyone? Please feel free to share your pictures in the comments below.

Painting Time

One of the things on our Family Summer Check-List was to paint a canvas and paint a few rocks to hide in our local parks. My son and I were finally able to sit down and get some painting done. He’s still working on his canvas but here is my final product.

7-20-2017 Canvas Painting IMG_6376 Artsy

I followed the step-by-step instructions from the following Youtube.com video. Great tutorial! I didn’t have have the same paints and tools but I used what I had. I’m quite happy with how it turned out considering.

Our community has a rock painting group. Lots of great artists (professional and amateur) participate. Painted rocks can be hidden in various parks for others to find. The lucky persons can either keep the rocks for their own garden or re-hide them for others to find. This is such a fun thing to do with kids. Tomorrow we will be hiding the following rocks that my son and I have painted at a nearby city park.

7-20-2017 Painted Rocks IMG_6379 Artsy7-20-2017 Painted Rocks IMG_6384 Artsy7-20-2017 Painted Rocks IMG_6386 Artsy7-20-2017 Painted Rocks IMG_6387 Artsy

Does your community have any fun art things that you and your family can participate in?

A Visit to the Beach

7-20-2017 Ilahee IMG_6346 Artsy

The summer has been great for us and it was a beautiful day for a visit with friends at the beach. It’s always nice to get the kids together. Our daughter enjoyed being doted on by our friends’ daughter and my son was excited to be with friends his age. I, of course, was super happy to be able to talk with other adult moms. We sometimes forget how important it is to nurture friendships at our adult ages too.

My goal is to start planning ahead for activities during Fall and Winter before our beautiful summer goes away. Nurturing friendships old and new. What are some of your favorite activities?

Here’s my daughter enjoying the wonderful breeze, ocean and sand.

Hillside Collage of Roses

Weekly Photo Challenge: Collage7-2-2017 Rose Garden Artsy IMG_5896

Here are a few photos from our recent trip to the International Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. The roses were spectacular!!! Even our little one enjoyed taking the time to smell a few roses here and there7-2-2017 Rose Garden Artsy IMG_5932

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Visit to Bloedel Reserve

A lovely quiet spot on Bainbridge Island, WA that we have come to love is the Bloedel Reserve. It is a serene and tranquil property that is perfect for a stress-relieving stroll, a place to gather your thoughts or time and place to simply admire nature’s beauty.

Our two year old loves trekking along with us on the trails. At yesterday’s visit we were blessed to see ducks in the pond, geese on the lawn, a deer and her doe in the forest and a little squirrel scurrying across one of the trails. Our daughter enjoys the beautiful flowers and never fails to try and skirt away to the water’s edge. So we always have to keep her close. I just hope she never tires of being around nature’s wonders.

Visit Bloedel Reserve. http://bloedelreserve.org/

Flowers and Strawberries Kind of Party

No matter how hard I try to plan and prepare for a party earlier in the year, I still manage to wait till the last minute to complete a project for a party. The problem for me is that there are way too many great party ideas on Pinterest. Ending up with just a few ideas for a party never seems to happen.

I often tend to overthink things and go overboard but I just love decorating for parties. One of my biggest flaws is that I get so into decorating that I often forget the time. Therefore, I’m always running late. Then I forget to take pictures of the decorations before the party begins.

Here are just a few pictures of our daughter’s birthday party from a few months ago. The paper flowers for the backdrop were so fun to make. I watched many Youtube.com videos and saved so many pins on Pinterest on how to make them. Be prepared to have lots of hot glue sticks on hand if you plan to make the flowers.

The party theme was Flowers and Strawberries. The cake table backdrop turned out a lot shorter than I wanted it to be but it went over fairly well. We used our room divider to display it. The material I used was thin, cotton broadcloth from Joann Fabric. It was on sale for $1.99 a yard and I only used about 2 yards.

The strawberry eggs were filled with candy for a garden hunt for the little ones. I found the idea via Pinterest which lead me to the following link. There are so many cute strawberry party ideas. http://siayla.blogspot.ca/2013/10/aaylas-strawberry-shortcake-birthday.html

We absolutely love having pictures taken of the guests at our parties. We created a photo booth with a pink floral background that I purchased from Amazon.com and completed the booth with handmade berry signs and cute but cheesy photo props. We were so happy to get some great shots of the party guests for our daughter’s memory books.

Here is the Youtube.com video from http://ashandcrafts.com/ that I used for one of the flowers on my daughter’s birthday party backdrop.

 

Here’s the link to the instructions to the Dahlia flowers on the backdrop.

https://houseofcoleman.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/welcoming-spring-with-a-dahlia-tutorial/

Can’t wait to plan my daughter’s next birthday. Pinterest… here I come!

 

 

 

Hello Again

It has almost been a year since I last posted on my blog. Our Artsy Fartsy Family had a truly busy year. I had my tonsils removed in October of last year and since then it has been crazy ride filled with holidays, birthdays, high school and middle school band events, and a high school graduation.

Along with the Fall season and holidays, I was hit hard with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I was raised in Hawaii and having lived in the NW for almost 20 years you’d think I would have adjusted by now. Apparently living in the NW was hard on others we know this past year. Normal daily life was much more difficult than it should have been and for myself, a lot of it was due to feeling fatigue.

Looking back now, much of it could have been avoided had I prepared myself with exercise, Vitamin D, play dates for my little one, date nights for myself and my husband, coffee dates for myself and friends, and lots of activities. My goal this Fall and Winter is to be prepared to fend off and deal with SAD. Do you have issues with SAD? If so, what are things you do to fend off SAD?

 

 

Fun Baby Picture

Couldn’t help but capture and share this fun picture of our daughter. Quite Artsy “Fartsy.

Weekly Photo Challenge:Fun!

Who Farted marked