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How “Sleeping in” Until 5:30 Costs us $300 a Month

How “Sleeping in” Until 5:30 Costs us $300 a Month

I really love the idea of small changes over time adding up to huge improvements later on in life. When we first started our journey towards better financial health way back during the 2008 financial crisis we made many small changes that reduced our spending, raised […]

Walla Walla for a Kid Friendly Wine Weekend

Walla Walla for a Kid Friendly Wine Weekend

Last April we took a road trip to Walla Walla, Washington for a kid-friendly attempt at doing a bit of Wine Weekend. We have been saying for many years that we would love to go to Walla Walla to pick up wine and this year […]

Our Not-So-Frugal San Francisco Trip February 2019

Our Not-So-Frugal San Francisco Trip February 2019

Mr. Oscoey and I have always loved San Francisco. We went there once many years ago by ourselves for a whirlwind 18 hour trip and had always wanted to go back but never found the time or money. Last fall (while I was laid off mind you) we heard about a screaming deal on plane tickets out of the newly opening Paine Field in our area. Our little kids had never been on a plane before and we figured that leaving from a smaller, much less crowded airport would be a good introduction and test of air travel. Our kids get overwhelmed in crowds and with all of the new experiences they would have with flying we thought taking off from a small airport with less people would help them get used to the idea. Unfortunately the government shut down at the beginning of 2019 and some of the airport permits did not go through in time so we ended up flying in and out of the much busier Sea-Tac and it ended up working out. Our kids were very excited and even though security lines were so long we almost missed our outbound flight, there were no dreaded airport meltdowns and our first plane rides were a success!

 

Sea Lions on the Pier.

We stay fairly close to the waterfront and were able to walk to a lot of destinations. Since we were close to everything the hotel was a little bit pricey but we continued our tradition of finding a place to stay with a kitchen and after stopping at Trader Joe’s we had some pretty inexpensive meals ready to go. Our kids get up at 5:00 in the morning and not many places are open at that time so we bought some milk and cereal for them to eat before we left in the morning. We also bought snacks and some bacon and spent about $30 total for 6 days worth of breakfast and snacks.

 

Bay Bridge San Francisco

The plane ride and following shuttle went smoothly but I was pretty disappointed that the kids were not more interested in watching the plane take off. They were too busy watching Octonauts…which I am grateful kept them busy during the flight. The first place we stopped was the Ferry Building where we ate the most delicious gluten-free pastries ever and walked around seeing the sites. We walked out onto a pier and got a beautiful view of the Bay Bridge. The kids were very excited and walking around got most of their wiggles out. One of the ways we saved money was by buying a Citi-Pass. With that we got into the California Academy of Science, bus/cable-car rides, a cruise of the San Francisco bay, into the Aquarium of the Bay, and into the Exploratorium. Our son is three and he was free at most of those places so we only needed three Citi-Passes for all four of us and it ended up being a good deal.

 

Aquarium Fish
Aquarium at the California Academy of Science

The second day we spent most of our time at the California Academy of Science. We loved the aquarium on the lower floor. It was so big we had to stop mid-way for lunch! Our kids love fish and the way the aquarium was organized it was easy for even my three year old to understand that they came from different places around the globe. We learned a lot about our oceans on this trip for sure!

 

Amazon Rainforest Exhibit

My absolute favorite area was the underwater Amazon Rainforest area. You can’t tell from this picture but these fish are seriously 8 feet long and it was amazing to watch them swim around overhead. I had no idea that freshwater fish could get that big!

 

Rainforest Exhibit

Part of the gigantic Rainforest Exhibit was a sphere similar to the Amazon Spheres we visited last fall only with way more plants and animals. It was much cooler and we got to see so many things with great displays that taught my kids about how coffee grows, where in the canopy different animals live and how we can protect the rainforests for the future. I am a plant person so I loved looking at the plants and got some ideas for how to lay out a garden.

 

The roof of the California Academy of Sciences.

We spent most of the day and explored a large chunk of the California Academy of Sciences, including the amazing roof but we still did not see the whole thing. We definitely want to go back next time we are in San Francisco!

 

Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island

Our second full day we took a boat tour of the bay. This was something that was out of my comfort zone and honestly if we hadn’t bought the Citi-Pass we never would have gone on it. I get really seasick and boats are something I usually avoid but the water ended up being pretty calm and besides being a little bit cold we ended up having a great time. Our kids loved looking out at everything and seeing where we had been from the water. We went under the Golden Gate bridge and it was eye opening to see how big it actually is up close. We also went past Alcatraz and got some great views.

 

Aquarium of the Bay

After the boat tour we went to Aquarium of the Bay which was right next door to the boat dock. Although it is a little bit small (you can do it in about an hour) it was jam packed with fun and we ended up going through the entire Aquarium twice because we loved it so much. Our favorite part was these two long tunnels that went under different types of fish. The coolest one was the shark tank! You can see sharks up close and they are swimming all around you which the kids loved. They also had a great area where you could feed rays and our daughter got to feed one which was super cool. We would definitely go back here next time we are in San Francisco!

 

Ghirardelli
Ghirardelli Square

We made a stop in the evening at Ghirardelli for some ice cream. The kids loved it! They got to eat sugary treats and we picked up some chocolate as gifts. There were shops to explore and most importantly a fountain to jump around.

 

Exploratorium

Our last full day we had coffee with a friend, went to the Exploratorium and rode the cable car. The Exploratorium is basically a gigantic warehouse with tons of science experiments. It was a lot to take in and we let the kids wander and look at what they were interested in. There was no way we would be able to do the entire thing in one day. It seemed to be geared towards a little bit older children. Our 5yo had a great time but there was a ton of reading to do to be able to do the experiments and although our 3yo had a great time I think he would have gotten more out of it if he had been a couple years older. Our favorite part was the outside exhibits where the kids could run around. The inside was pretty crowded and echoey which my kids had a hard time with. There also wasn’t a lot of room to run around since it was packed with experiments. We would definitely go back but probably not until the kids are older. ‘

That evening we rode the cable car and it was fun but we were super tired from a long week and we ended up cutting it short and heading back to the hotel to sleep. We packed a lot into our trip and even though we took naps every day we were pretty exhausted by the end of our trip.

Golden Gate Bridge
A view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the beach.

Our last day we had some time in the morning so we went to the beach and hung out for a while before driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. Our kids are early risers so we were able to get there early enough that we had the beach to ourselves.  We walked around, looked at the bridge from another angle and then drove over and looked at the city from across the bay. It was a nice way to end our trip reflecting on where we had been and what we had seen.

Hanging out on the beach.

 

We had a great time in San Francisco and I am really glad we decided to rip the bandaid of air travel off with our kids. We are excited for more plane rides in the future and we are already talking about going back to San Francisco possibly next year. It is definitely one of our favorite places to go!

 

I don’t have any affiliations with the places listed below but here are links if you are curious:

 

San Francisco Citi-Pass

California Academy of Science

Aquarium of the Bay

Exploratorium

 

A Declaration of More Family Travel

A Declaration of More Family Travel

Travelling has always been something that we have wanted to do as a family but we have never actually done much of. Before we had the youngest we took 2-4 small trips a year spread between Oregon, the Washington Coast and Vancouver, BC for a […]

Garden Update 06.08.19

Garden Update 06.08.19

It has been a while since I have done a gardening update so I though I would take a few pictures and talk a little bit about them. Our family has been super busy with travel, kids, work and the frequent birthday parties that happen […]

A not so Brief Hiatus…Part 2

A not so Brief Hiatus…Part 2

A few months back I wrote my first post after going back to work (A not so Brief Hiatus) about the gap in blogging while I went back to work. I didn’t blog for eight months last time which was almost the entire length of my employment until I was laid off in October. Although this time around the break from blogging was shorter at seven months the long break did feel very long. I have had so many ideas floating around in my head about blogging that I wish I had really had the time to write everything out but the reality is that my week is packed and the weekends aren’t any better.

 

One of our many day trips out in nature.

We have made a huge effort this year to go out and do things. I have always wanted to travel more and this year instead of always talking about traveling I decided we were just going to go ahead and do it. It has been a huge success! We have so far gone to San Francisco, Eastern Washington, checked out the cherry blossoms at the University of Washington and headed up north to the tulip fields. We have two family trips scheduled for June, a yet to be determined beach vacation penciled in this summer, a something else over Labor Day weekend and we are trying to figure out what to do towards the end of the year. Our family has had an awesome time and our kids love getting out of the house and exploring new areas. We are definitely going to try to hike a bit more this year now that our youngest is three and can keep up for almost a mile before getting tired so any family friendly hikes you know of in the PNW I would love to hear them!

 

Golden Gate Bridge on our San Francisco trip.

 

Cherry blossoms at University of Washington.

 

Rock paintings along the Columbia River.

I started back up at work right before Christmas and I absolutely love my new job. It is at a much larger company with room to grow. My schedule is flexible enough and most importantly of all it is pretty low stress. My biggest complaint is my commute but we are torn about moving closer into the big city with the market starting to be unstable so for now it will continue to be a huge chunk of my day. I am now driving a hybrid car and even though I drive 2-3 hours (yes it really is that bad) each weekday getting to and from work and picking up kids after school I am only filling up my gas tank once a month or so at $40 a tank which is so low I don’t ever worry any more about how much we are spending on gas every month.

 

I plan on blogging more now that our schedule has smoothed out a bit but in the meantime follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! Here are some of Oscoey’s most popular posts:

 

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

 

Dried Banana Chips

 

How we Avoid Birthday Present Overgiftingitus

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

The Importance of Walking in the Wood With Kids

Since being laid off I have been trying to spend time with family and friends. My Dad is nearing retirement and has some free time as well so I have been trying to get the kids out to see him on the family property out […]

Fun Times with Mr. Oscoey

Fun Times with Mr. Oscoey

Mr. Oscoey and I took some time a little bit ago to spend some time together since I have so much more free time now that I have been laid off. We had a great time exploring the Amazon Spheres, Pike Place Market and just […]

Fall 2018 Gardening Update

Fall 2018 Gardening Update

It has been a while since I have posted a gardening update so I thought I would post some pictures I took when I toured the garden recently. My latest gardening post was February 2018 State of the Garden so it has been quite a while since I have posted!  As can be expected the garden is in fall mode and many of our plants are losing leaves and others are dying back for the winter. We had a recent bout of wet weather so while I was touring the garden with my son I was pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of mushrooms along our paths. I have no idea what kind they are and my son and I just looked at them (teaching the little one woods skills early) but I was surprised at how many there were, especially since last year we only had a few.

 

mushrooms
Mushrooms at the top of our side yard path.

We found a large number of these brown mushrooms along our side yard path and going down the hill. I am pretty sure they sprung up from the mulch we spread last spring which is actually pretty cool if you think about it. We are (ahem)  sort of almost done spreading our mulch from the trees we cut down quite some time ago. This fact was not lost on our neighbor who happened to be outside at the same time good naturedly commenting on our lack of finishing the project. I am really tired of tracking in large amounts of dirt and debris which has covered our driveway from the mulch pile but we honestly had no time whatsoever to work on it while both of us were working full time. One of my goals before Thanksgiving is to have this completely taken care of but I also have to do the fall pruning and remove a few large bushes in order for that to happen so I may not get to it until the week of Thanksgiving.

 

brown mushrooms
A close up of some of the brown mushrooms.

It was neat to see the brown mushrooms in varying states of flower. Some of them had just come up and others were on their way out. My son and I spent quite a bit of time looking them over and talking about them. I should probably buy a mycology book so that we can look up the names of them. The kids would love to learn more about the plants we have.

 

gardening
Messy side yard!

I thought I would post an embarrassing picture of my side yard. This area of the yard was pretty much ignored this year, including watering so it needs a ton of work. That is actually a picture of the path that we walk through to get to the back yard. It was not quite completely closed but we did get a little bit wet walking through it. I am torn between cleaning it up and completely turning this area to grass. We have hummingbirds that live in our neighbor’s tree that feast of my flowers in this area nearly year-round so I am super hesitant to pull everything out but the bushes are too big for the space so I may take a few out and move the others over to make room for a fence.

 

Mushrooms
More mushrooms under the deck.

We found some more mushrooms under our deck. They were not so cute looking and pretty slimy but they must be tasty because the squirrels have been eating them left and right. My son and I however worked on looking without touching. I don’t know what kind of mushrooms they are and I want our kids to have a healthy fear of eating wild mushrooms since we have so many out in our woods. We have a strict eat mushrooms only from the store policy in our house!

 

Burning Bush
Smoke Bush.

I believe this is a “Smoke Bush” in our backyard. It was so beautiful this year I had to take a picture of it. We inherited this bush and every other year it looked mostly dead and out of place but this year the colors came through and it is gorgeous!

 

woods
Woods out back.

I took a view from below (as we call it) of the woods in the ravine behind our house. As you can see we have a huge English Ivy problem out behind our house. We have been girdling the trees regularly but some of the trees are too far out where the slope is very steep and we are not able to. The tree on the right is slated to be removed at some point since the Ivy goes up into the lower branches and it makes it unsafe.

 

Stinky Bob
Stinky Bob covering our path.

 

Stinky Bob is a weed we have all over our yard. It is a native species so I let it grow in the back but every spring it takes over most of our available space near the front of our yard. This is the path down to the ravine from behind our house and it is completely covered. Last spring this area was fir needle covered soil.

 

Branch Down!

 

We had our first branch down last week and although it scared me, the branch was not really that big in comparison to others we have had down. Luckily this branch missed the deck railing for it’s initial descent and only rested on it after it fell. This particular branch happened to fall when I had the slider open on a sightly windy day to air out the house. I am so glad nobody was standing there when it fell because it came down really fast and we had been outside on the upper deck a few minutes prior. Most of the large branches that fall end up where this one did because they are from the three trees that are right next to the deck. We are having those removed for safety at some point but my lay off has put all projects on hold for a little bit. I am hoping to take out the trees sometime in the spring.

 

That’s it for our Fall Gardening Update! I have some projects going on in the front yard mostly concerning mulch application and trimming our bushes but even though I have more free time I am still too busy to regularly get out in the garden on nice days.

 

How is your garden going this fall?

 

The Dreaded Lay-off…

The Dreaded Lay-off…

A little bit ago I was laid off from the job I started last spring. It was very sudden and shocking to me but the job was not going that great and if I had not had the most dreadfully awful week I probably would […]


All Time Favorites

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

Uber Frugal Month Challenge Week 1

A few weeks ago I found the Uber Frugal Month Challenge over at the Frugalwoods and I was immediately hooked. What a great way to start out 2018! I signed my husband and I up and we have spent the last week reading through the daily […]

Hilarious Japanese Toilet Candy

Hilarious Japanese Toilet Candy

Have you seen these cool candy toys made in Japan? They have all kids of fun food items to make!   This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend […]

Easy Dairy-Free Grandma’s Fruit Salad

Easy Dairy-Free Grandma’s Fruit Salad

My grandma made fruit salad for us growing up and it was always my favorite because she put a few marshmallows in there.  My mom was always trying to eat healthy so marshmallows were a rare treat in our house.  I made this yummy salad […]