29 May 2009

Photo Friday #11

The climbing wall at the New Children's Museum.

For other travel pics, check out my favourite family travel site Delicious Baby. Or go there to share your travel photos on Fridays too.

San Diego Indoor / Outdoor Day
San Diego Zoo Day

25 May 2009

5 Disneyland Highlights

Overall, with 2 five-year-olds, a two-year-old, and 4 adults, we had three days of magic; there were loads of highlights frankly. But here are just 5 notables:

1. Pirate Lair on Tom Sawyer's Island
TIP: Hit the dollar store before you leave home and smuggle some treasure of your own onto the island ... quietly ... for the wee ones to find.

First the river raft ride to the island ...

Hiding from the pirate ship ...

Hunting for treasure exploring caves, crossing crazy bridges, running trails and climbing into tree houses ...

... and finding it ...

... but it always getting away ...

So, we didn't think to bring treasure with us. But we somehow managed to talk our little booty-hunters into leaving the island so that we could, in a cloak-and-dagger kind of way, get to the nearby gift shop across from the Indiana Jones ride, to buy some polished rocks and jewels. Each adult quietly lined their own pockets and also found a way to sneak some into the children's pockets without them noticing! Not easy. But with great reward.

Watching their little jaws drop upon discovering that somehow treasure found its way into all our pockets was a definite highlight of our trip. Um ... maybe even my life!

Spud announced, "Now I know what the pirate meant when he said 'go get your own treasure'. He meant it was in our own pockets! But Mama, how did the treasure get in our pockets?"
"I don't know. Maybe it was magic?"
"But there is no such thing as magic. I know, maybe the pirate ghosts snuck it into our pockets when we weren't looking."
So darn cute.

2. Indiana Jones Adventure may be just too exciting for the wee ones. In our case, the kids were either too short or too nervous to do this ride but we didn't want that to stop the adult fun.

TIP: Get the Switching off Pass; the whole family waits in line, asks for a switch off pass from the first ride attendant, half the adults take the ride while the other half wait with the kids then, the first half come back to watch the kids while the second half go on the ride. All without waiting in line again!

3. Bengal Barbecue, across from the Indian Jones ride, serves good quality meat and veggie skewers which are reasonably priced.

TIP: Nearby seating was at a premium and shade an impossibility. We walked around the corner and asked a staff member if we could sit on the upper patio of a different restaurant. He assured us it was fine and we found a perfect table in the shade and away from the crowds.

4. With our Magic Morning pass [allowed to enter the park an hour before the general public] we took full advantage of line-less popular rides like Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. So much fun! In fact we rode it 2 times in a row without waiting. It was a great way to kick off our 3 days.

TIP: consider picking up your passes the day before you plan on redeeming your Magic Morning so you don't have to waste any time picking them up once the park is open for business.

5. The after dark Remember ... Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular was such a hit with our wee ones that they each announced "I'm going to remember this for the rest of my life".

TIP: an afternoon nap back at the hotel and a packed picnic dinner for the park meant we all had the time and energy to stay up late for the spectacular event.

Tinker Bell's appearance was icing on the cake.

Ever think that maybe Disneyland has lost its shine for you? This is a good article to read: Magic of Disneyland Endures

And a must read for many more tips: The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Bob Sehlinger.

San Diego Indoor / Outdoor Day
San Diego Zoo Day
San Diego Zoo Planning
One more sleep to California

22 May 2009

San Diego Indoor / Outdoor Day


1. Breakfast
2. The New Children's Museum
3. The Pier and Boardwalk
4. Dinner


1. Kono's Cafe
704 Garnet Avenue (between Mission Blvd and Ocean Blvd)
San Diego, CA 92109
t 858 483 1669

First, a giant breakfast at Kono's that will last us until dinner time [we packed leftovers for midday snacks]. Don't let the long line ups fool you. This fast-paced-great-value-breakfast-all-day joint is a must do if you are in the area. There are two decks in the back with great views and people watching opportunities.

2. The New Children's Museum
200 West Island Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
t 619 233 8792

"Think Play Create" in this bright building with airy, open spaces and exhibits that run inside and outside of the building seamlessly.

Highlights for Spud included a very cool climbing wall

A room lined in mattresses and filled with tire shaped pillows

Bubble making

And painting a VW Bug

Coming in the first part of the day means you can plan your visit around the many interesting scheduled workshops here and there.

3. We decided to take public transit to the museum which took an hour each way and added quite a bit to our day's adventure with bus loops and tram transfers. It was perfect to spend the rest of our day people watching while strolling along Chrystal Pier and the boardwalk.

4. Gringos Cantina
We ended our day with some great California-Mexican take out that we enjoyed on our terrace in our room.

Another successful day in San Diego.

San Diego Zoo Day
San Diego Zoo Planning
One more sleep to California

19 May 2009

San Diego Zoo Day


1. Breakfast
2. Zoo
3. Lunch
4. Pool
5. Dinner on the Boardwalk


1. We had breaky in our room, fruit and yogurt that we picked up the day before. This saved us time and money which helped us get an early start. The animals get pretty lazy at the middle of the day so we tried to arrive pretty early to see at least some of them a bit active.

Our room, is in Pacific Terrace which is a great find. It's very comfortable, right on the boardwalk, full of families, and has exceptional service. We found a screaming good deal online and then upgraded to a family suite upon arrival.

2. The Zoo opens at 9 and we arrived, on public transit, at 9:30. The entrance was mobbed with loads of school buses. To avoid the crowds, we hopped on the Skyfari to get to the polar bears on the other end of the park. But not before Spud's reason for coming here in the first place ... the Reptile House, where we saw a giant albino anaconda, loads of pythons, and a komodo dragon.

3. After the baby gorilla! we stopped at one of the many shaded picnic spots and laid out the spread we prepared in the morning. This saved loads of money, as food is pretty pricey here for what you get, and we also were able to avoid line ups.

Then we trundled down the hill some more. We stuck to our previous mapped out plan unless something on the way really caught someone's eye.

So in the end we were in the gift shop by 2:30 [5 hours] and it's a good thing because our little guy was pretty tired. "I'm done with this!" he declared after about 4 hours.

4. The perfect remedy for this, turned out to be some time in our hotel pool. After some races and other water play shenanigans, we showered and dressed and headed out on the boardwalk.

5. Six blocks of walking and we ended up on the patio of the family-friendly Green Flash, eating seafood and watching the sun go down. Spud declared that he had the best day ever, wanted to move to San Diego, live at the Green Flash, eating cheese burgers everyday. A successful day then.

Oh, and Hubs and I tried an oyster shooter each! Yum.

San Diego Zoo Planning
One more sleep to California
San Diego Indoor / Outdoor Day

18 May 2009

San Diego Zoo Planning


We printed out this map to work out our game plan for tomorrow. I'd like Spud to get a little excited about seeing the zoo and he really loves maps. We also plan on only spending a half day there, so as to not tucker out the boy too much, so each of us chose our favourite 3 animals for us to map out.

Me: "Which animals do you want to see?"
Spud: "My favourite animals are snakes and wormies! So I want to see them".

So first stop is the reptile house. Well, I'm glad we're flying all the way to California to see what we could probably find in Grandma's yard.

Tips for taking in the zoo that we'll find useful here and here.

16 May 2009

One More Sleep to California

Today is a day of planning and packing for our one week adventure. Spud has already sorted out the money from his piggy. I counted it. He agreed to put 5% of it in his charity fund that he can give at holiday time [he's already decided he wants to give toys to kids in Africa]. And soon we are going to the bank to change his cash to American dollars.

He has his eye on this snake stuffy from the San Diego Zoo shop. We've been scoping out the online catalogue. It's 9 feet long. Yoikes.

12 May 2009

Lynn Valley Canyon

First, take a brave little stroll across the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge [the free, little sister of the Capilano Suspension Bridge.]

... taking in a little view from 20 stories high ...

Next, an easy 20-minute hike [depending on how energetic your wee ones are] through the rainforest, passing by the Twin Falls. [There are many trails to choose from with various lengths and difficulties]

After a little beverage break at the cafe, we like to explore the Ecology Centre's [by donation] dioramas and various educational and interactive activities.

We look forward to getting in one of the kid-specific programs this summer too.

06 May 2009

Robot Fabric Tests Arrived!

And I couldn't be more smitten. The quality of the Spoonflower swatches of my robot fabric exceeded my expectations. I am surprised at how fine the lines can get [shown here the white outline is .5 pt].

And the colours worked out as I hoped [using a the Spoonflower palette downloaded from their site].

Not only do I love the product but I love the service too. The shipping took no time at all, cost 1 buck, and they even took the time to hand write a little note.

So now it's time to buy some metres! And I'm officially hooked to fabric design and can't wait to play with some more ideas.

UPDATE: now available at Spoonflower.

Robot Fabric Designs
Our Little Guy is 5!
Shiny Collage Robots