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?

Happy Wednesday! FOTD – August 5

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Cee’s FOTD Photo Challenge

Feel free to copy and share photo.

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Happy Monday! Critter Pictures at Potlatch State Park in Washington

Camping finds.

Little crab with an “X” on it’s back hiding among the rocks.

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Banded Alder Borer Beetle. Odd to see him hanging with the sea life.

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Looks like this dried up clam missed going into someone’s cooking pot.

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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.

Date Night Cheers – Movie, Shenanigans and Ashley’s Pub

Having date nights with a toddler at home is for the most part very limited.  My husband Jay and I both try our best to schedule a dinner and movie when we can.  Luckily we have older children at home that can help babysit so that we can have mommy and daddy time.

Our choice of movie for the night was A Quiet Place.  I’m not a huge fan of horror films but I know my husband likes them.  I’m more of a cheesy, Hallmark movie kind of gal but figured it was time I put my big girl panties on.  Plus I saw that the movie had great reviews and it was only an hour and a half long.  Figured I’d be safe since the torture would only be short lived.  Haha.

It was actually an awesome movie.  Our opinion was that it was like the movie Signs, starring Mel Gibson, but on a whole other level.  It was well directed and the actors did a great job making it believable.  It was a quick and to the point kind of movie that didn’t drag on.

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After the movie we decided to check out Shenanigans.  It’s an new Irish Pub and Grill in downtown Bremerton that just opened this month.  It was very busy and it seemed like everyone we knew, and their neighbors, decided to try it too.

The owners did a great job renovating and decorating the inside to reflect the Irish theme.  It was very cozy with a great atmosphere and it seemed like the waitresses and bartenders were always moving and taking care of their customers.

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They had a pretty extensive menu including lots of Irish dishes and more. For drinks we opted for one of our favorite beers, Irish Death, and for food, their Irish Nachos and beet salad. The Nachos was thin sliced wedged fries slathered with melted gouda cheese and topped off with bacon and shredded corned beef. The cheese had just the right heat and the corned beef was very tasty. Great dish all around.

The beet salad was good too. My only request would be to have less beans, 2 more slices of beets and a hint more dressing. The other toppings were just perfect.

We left a little too early to enjoy the live music they had schedule for the evening but Shenanigans will definitely be on our list for a revisit. Can’t wait to go back to try more of their dishes and enjoy some entertainment.

On our way back to our car we stopped in to visit another new establishment in downtown Bremerton called Ashley’s Pub, Boardom’s End. We got to meet the owner Ashley and she was sweet enough to chat with us for a few minutes and even take a quick photo with me for our blog.

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Ashley opened her pub so that like-minded individuals and groups can have a comfortable and safe place to go to have drinks and enjoy having a space to play games. They have a wide range of choices, with bookcases full of books, classic and popular board games, and lots of RPGs (Role Playing Games.)  She said she realized that some people wanted to play the adventure board games that they had always heard about but didn’t know how or didn’t have enough friends or players to fill out all the roles.  If they don’t have enough friends to play some board games they can make them here and also learn how to play.  She has different nights set aside for both established players and new players.

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If board games aren’t your thing she also has a several console games and pinball machines in the purposely-darkened back corner.  For warmer days, she also has a corn hole set, and guests can enjoy their snacks and drinks with their 16 on tap beer and cider selections out on the open courtyard.  Outside food is welcome.  She is open every day of the week except for Wednesday.  She has an event calendar posted above the bar that includes monthly book clubs for sci-fi and graphic novels, and weekly game nights and pinball tournaments.  It is best to check her website for updates.

http://www.ashleys.pub/

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Ashley’s Pub is wonderful, bright and tastefully decorated. The murals on the walls were painted by her boyfriend. Very reminiscent of the “tagged” paintings we used to see growing up. Her Lego beer tap handles are so fitting and the cute little details everywhere made us want to stay a little longer to just explore. We’re definitely adding Ashley’s Pub to our future date night and friends get together list.

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~ Deb and Jay

 

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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Smile – It’s a Giraffe!

While on our trip to Oregon we visited the Oregon Zoo. It was a rainy day but our children were troopers. One of our favorite animal to see was the giraffe. There were two of them and they were the cutest. Big smiles all around.

Smile

A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home.

~Author Unknown

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