Remember the days when our DIY Halloween costumes consisted of something super cheap from the thrift store and we just said we were random characters from a 70’s tv show? Now as a parent, things are a bit different. There is so much pressure to figure out what costume everyone is going to wear.
When Big Nugget was a baby, I wasn’t into Halloween, much less making a DIY Halloween costume. It was just too much effort for an hour (or less). Now that the kids are older, it feels way more festive. There is the costume day at dance class, Halloween party at preschool and then the actual holiday itself so I’m totally into it. It’s one of those holiday’s that I have such fond memories of as a kid, I want that same warm fuzzy feeling for my girls.
Last year Big Nugget wanted to be a pine cone for Halloween. And ya know what, we made that happen and she was the CUTEST pine cone you have ever seen. See a full tutorial on how I pulled it together rather easily here.
What was so wonderful about the pine cone idea was that it was just so unique and organic. So now the pressure is on and we are on the hunt for this year’s great Halloween idea. I am struggling to remake that magic and of course, took to Pinterest to hopefully inspire something in us. No luck yet but we had a great time pulling together this list of unique DIY Halloween costumes.
We are still narrowing down our list of ideas for this year and Big Nugget is wanting to incorporate her Little in some way. This should be interesting. Maybe I need to pull together a unique DIY Halloween costumes list, pairs edition next. In the meantime, check out these amazingly creative and unique DIY Halloween costumes.
We had an opportunity to go downtown San Diego to Balboa Park and visit the Natural History Museum. They invited us down to check out The Backyard, a brand new space specifically designed for kids up to 5 years old. Perfect for my Nuggets.
Last year, I took the girls down to The Nat to see the special dinosaur exhibit they had. Big Nugget has always loved dinosaurs. We didn’t get much time in the rest of the museum that visit because Little Nugget was only a couple months old and had an EPIC meltdown at the end of the dinosaur exhibit…so we made a quick exit.
The Backyard @ The Nat
This time we had all day to explore and to say the girls loved The Backyard is an understatement. It’s not a huge room, it’s the perfect size and I was blown away by the attention to detail.
The play space is surrounded by a mural of San Diego with all the things that make our city so special, complete with sound effects and some critters that are beyond lifelike.
There are spaces for each age group to really enjoy, even for the little little’s. The cushy mats in the shoe free zone are perfect for crawlers or even smaller.
There are plenty of toys to spark the kid’s imaginations, building blocks and books. Big Nugget loved the light table that had various films and blocks that you could change with the light.
The Nat does everything with incredible attention to detail. Inside The Backyard, even the siding treatment on the walls was hand painted. As with any good kid space, the parents weren’t forgotten. The bench seating gives the adults a place to relax, if their kids will let them. There are even wipes and a phone charging station.
Check out our video from the day, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel too!!
There is plenty to see at The Nat outside of The Backyard, if you can get your kids to leave. I was a bit concerned that it wouldn’t be kid friendly for my preschooler and toddler but I was pleasantly surprised. Even my little one (who is 18 months old) wanted out of the stroller to get a closer look at the displays.
We loved taking the girls to The Henry Ford Museum on our last Michigan trip (and they LOVE watching the video of it over and over again). I think the measure of a good museum experience is how you feel when you leave. This time, Big Nugget declared at lunch after we left The Nat that she wants to be a dinosaur scientist and can’t wait to go back.
It’s easy for us to get into a routine on our annual summer visit back to Michigan. We do the same things we always do and rarely break out of those routines. I think it’s part of visiting where you grew up. I have certain places that I want to visit (ok, well, mainly eat at), family I want to see and we hit up some old favorites (like Frankenmuth). Thanks to the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau, who gifted us some tickets, this time around we added somewhere different – The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
I think if you grew up in Michigan, you’ve spent at least one field trip at The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. It’s probably been 30 years since I’ve gone though. Being in Dearborn, wasn’t one of those places that we hit up on our trips back to the mitten. That all changed this time around.
We started the day outside at Greenfield Village before it got too hot for the kids. Greenfield Village is over 80 acres and has 7 different historic districts. You can explore working farms, Edison’s workshop, the Wright Brother’s home or ride on a 100 year old carousel.
There is so much to see and do that we could have spent a couple days here. Employees and volunteers are all dressed in period costumes and are SO full of great information about the time period and exhibits. It wasn’t uncommon to see people cruising by on turn of the century bicycles or taking a spin in a Model T.
Our favorite was hopping on the steam train and taking a trip around the park. Take peak at our very first Youtube video with more pictures and fun from Greenfield Village. Subscribe to our channel while you are there!
Henry Ford Museum
When you hear “Henry Ford Museum”, you’re going to assume that it’s all about cars but there is so much more to it that that. Yes, there an impressive collection of amazing cars on display, and not all Fords. You can see a handful of presidential limos and some race cars. Vintage cars and even trains. But it was their curated collections that really stood out.
The American Democracy and Civil Rights exhibit brought up a lot of questions from Big Nugget. She got to see first hand the work that went in to building and maintaining our democracy. She had so many insightful questions about women gaining the right to vote and our struggle for civil rights. I love how smart she is and what a big heart she has for people – all of our talk about diversity has paid off.
Personally, my favorite was The World of Charles and Ray Eames. The Eames Chair is world famous but The Henry Ford Museum does a fantastic job at bringing you inside of their design process, their mentality and creative process. From the Henry Ford Museum website: This exhibit provides a comprehensive timeline of postwar modernism through the lens of two of its most talented practitioners. Surround yourself with the tirelessly curious thinking that shaped the movement, and learn what’s possible when you break free from creative boundaries.
If you are planning a visit to Detroit, add The Henry Ford Museum to your list of must see places in Michigan. I can’t wait to go back and see more of this wonderful facility.
This Amazon Prime Day post was UPDATED on 6/27/2019 with all of this year’s Prime Day sneak peeks and deals!
Amazon Prime Day is nearly here. In year’s past, I’ve gotten some really good deals on stuff. Ya gotta put your time in and be on top of things but lucky for my bank account, we’ll be on vacation. So there won’t be an all-day online deal stalking session.
Have no fear…Amazon is offering some Prime Day previews and I’ve pulled together as much from the sneak preview as I can. There are deals to be had ahead of July 15 & 16th my friends!
Some of my favorite beach must have’s and DIY projects were sourced from Amazon. I also keep a wish list of items that I might need to buy in the future.
This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you!
Amazon Prime Day Details
First things first, in order to take advantage of all the great Amazon Prime Day deals, you have to be a member of Amazon Prime. They are offering a 30 day free trial so you can take advantage now! Cancel if you want…but you won’t want to. Prime membership pays for itself easily, at least for me…or any parent. Don’t want to do the free trail? Find a friend or family member who is already a Prime member and ask them to add you to their account. This is what my sister and I do – just be sure to have a good shopping cart management strategy.
Once you’re in, take advantage of the countdown to deals. Amazon Echo is currently $100 off.
I’m a huge fan of audio books and Audible is currently doing a FREE 30-day free trial and you get two audio books and two Amazon Originals.
My favorite Amazon Prime Day category? Shop specials from small businesses and start ups. I am LOVING this Drippy Ceramic Vase and it’s 20% off.
Other Favorite Products On Sale
There are going to be a ton of new product launches on Prime Day. You can get a sneak peak here. Some of my favorites:
Do you bullet journal or have a budding artist in your family? These markers are a great gift idea!
We love the Graco car seat we have and this one is a 3-1!
We are headed on our annual trip to Michigan in a few weeks and I’m starting to panic about traveling with kids. We are very active around San Diego – we go to the zoo and safari park quite a bit. So I know they are laid back and like adventures but 4am wake up calls and 5 hours flights? Not so much.
I’m not worried about Big Nugget, she’s easy. It’s the little one that I’m worried about. We’re in the stage where she completely understands everything that we are saying to her but she doesn’t have the words to communicate back yet. And oh Lord is she headstrong and loud.
This post contains some affiliate links – meaning if you click through the links and buy anything, the retailer will pay me a small commission at no additional cost to you! I never link to anything that I haven’t actually used.
So far, I’ve hit up the dollar section at Target and got some little activities and sticker books. My plan is to wrap those in gift paper so that at least buys a little time even if they are completely uninterested in the “gift”. I also found this activity kit in the clearance section at Target. Between all of these tips, those activities, our iPad and in-flight entertainment, I’m convinced we will all survive.
Traveling With Kids Round Up
Traveling with kids, either on a plane or in a car, can be a nightmare. Here are the top tips, hacks, activities, packing lists and everything you need to survive getting to the places you want to explore.
Loads of great ideas and activities here – the Post It Notes tip is brilliant.
We’ve been members of the San Diego Zoo since Big Nugget was a baby. While the main zoo in Balboa Park is well, amazing, you can read our how to here, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is our favorite. Here is my insider’s guide to maximizing your day at the Safari Park.
New Safari Park Exhibit
The new Walkabout Australia Exhibit at the Safari Park is a must see. Even if you’ve been to the Safari Park before, it’s worth the trip. The kangaroo and wallaby trail brings you as close as you can get to the animals. It’s also a great example of what the San Diego Zoo does so wonderfully on a grander scale, educating it’s visitors on the importance of conservation and our impact on a global scale.
Our Route and Secret Stops
My biggest advice, get here early. That’s my biggest advice for any amusement park really. Better parking and the crowds are way smaller. When we get to the Safari Park, we go straight to the tigers. Then we trek back to the gorilla’s and end up spending a lot of time hanging out watching them. They are pretty active in the mornings and so entertaining. After we are done there, we cross back through the park and go to the elephants, loop through to Kilima Point (lots of giraffes and rhinos). Then it’s on to the lions, ride the free tram if there is time, finish the Africa Trail and take the elevator up. Cruise through the Nairobi Village, brush the goats and see the baby animals in the nursery.
What I love most about the Safari Park is the amount of shaded playgrounds. They are spread out around the park so you can easily pull off and let the kids out of the stroller to burn some energy. There are also a couple splash pads. They are a great way to beat the summer heat but be prepared to either avoid them or have a change of clothes.
The Safari Park is also great for nursing moms. One of my first solo outings as a mom of two was there. There are ample benches and private spots you can stop and nurse. Some of my favorites are at Kilima Point overlooking the open range, the hidden playground near on the Tiger Trail and the tables on the Samburu Terrace. There is a great playground there, a restroom and an incredible view.
Safari Park Experiences
There are so many ways to make the Safari Park different each time you go. I will alternate our fun activity each time we go depending on what the kids feel like. Most of the time, we ride the carousel a handful of times.
Other times we get Big Nugget’s face painted, feed the lorikeets or ride the balloon. There are also seasonal exhibitions too, like the Butterfly Jungle. I’m really looking forward to when our girls are old enough to do one of the safari excursions or even spend the night there. Yes, you can actually sleep there in safari tents. So fun.
Food options at the Safari Park vary and you can always bring your own snacks and lunch, which we do often. Our favorites are the gluten free chicken tenders and the pizza. We’re not even gluten free but they are so good and come with a side of fruit. The kids meals are wonderful and come in great souvenir reusable bags. Plus there are various local craft beers on tap at most of the restaurants. Some days, ya just need a beer with your lunch to get ya through the rest of the day. No judgement from me.
We are proud to be Curator Club members and have been for years. All of the things that the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park stand for and teach are important lessons I want to instill in my girls. Looking through all the pictures for this post, I’m watching my girls grow up there. It’s no wonder that when you ask Big Nugget what she wants to be when she grows up, she has always said “a zookeeper for rhinos and elephants”.