I hope everyone had a good long weekend! We are all still at home here as I am still on my FMLA and my husband has gone back to work, but he is still working from home full time. I've been trying to do projects around the house to keep myself busy. I'm trying to still be slow and careful and not exercise too much since I haven't hit six weeks since my C-section yet. It is hard to just be at home all the time. The struggle of COVID was compounded by the heat of the valley, and has now been compounded by a grieving family. We just really needed a nice day that would be a change of pace for us.
So Saturday morning my husband suggested we take a day trip somewhere cooler. Even though Phoenix is called "The Valley of the Sun," there are plenty of much cooler places in Arizona to go to. So we loaded up in the car and drove up north to go to Bearizona!
We hit a lot of heavy traffic (long holiday weekend means everyone wants to get out of the heat). When we finally got up to Bearizona however, we had a lot of fun!
"What is Bearizona?" You ask? Well, it is a wildlife preserve in Williams, Arizona where you can see a lot of great wildlife.
There are two parts to the park. First is the driving section. You stay in your car and drive through the preserve. You can see deer, mountain goats, sheep, wolves, burros, bison, and of course, bears. You can drive through that section of the preserve as many times as you'd like. We went through twice. The animals can get very close to your car! It's pretty cool to see them all. When you drive through the sections with the bears and wolves you have to keep your windows rolled up and the car locked.
Here is a fun video of some bison crossing the road ahead of us. We all patiently waited for them to move along to the other side.
There is also a part of the preserve where you can walk around and see more animals. We saw porcupine, beavers, baby grizzly bears, foxes, cute little otters, and big beautiful jaguars (and a lot more!) Normally they also have a few cool shows for you to enjoy, but the shows are nixed right now because of COVID. Even without the shows Bearizona was a neat place to enjoy. It got us out of the house, and it was fun to see our daughter so excited by all the different animals. It made my husband's bear jokes almost "bearable" (you see what I did there?)
We like to go on a lot of fun trips in this family. If you go to our travel category you can see other posts we've done on places we've gone either for longer trips, or just short, fun day trips.
What trips have you taken with your family? What do you like to do when you just have a day to get out of your house for a bit? What is your most favorite trip you've ever taken?
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. But, all opinions expressed are my own.
No one reminded me that yesterday was Sister's Day! I found out late in the evening! It was one of my sister's wedding anniversary. So, in honor of those two things, I thought I would re-post this popular account of our sister's retreat last year. I've been hoping that we could do another on this year, but with the pandemic going on, I don't know if it will happen. As I reviewed this post, it makes me hope it happens even more!
I have 4 wonderful sisters. I love them all dearly and one thing I have wanted to do for a long time is go a sister's get-away with them. Unfortunately, one of our sisters passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. Since that time we have all felt a longing to hang onto each other a little more tightly. So, when my sister Carol's children gave her a get-away trip with her sisters for her birthday, it was the perfect way to get us started at taking time to be with each other! THANKS CAROL'S KIDS!
The plans for this trip all came about very quickly, so it required some quick planning and organizing on all our parts to make it happen. Our youngest sister wasn't able to make it happen this time and we really missed having her on the trip with us. But, the three of us that did go had so much fun that we have promised her that we will plan another trip a little farther in advance so that she can make arrangements in time.
Our trip was to a coastal town in California called Cayucos. Our hotel was right on the beach! It was amazing! Since I live in Arizona, that meant a plane flight for me. Here is how I made it happen as inexpensively as possible:
The Plane Flight:
We stayed at the Shoreline Inn in Cayucos. The sliding back door of our room opened up to this gorgeous view of the ocean. When they say shoreline, they mean it! We were right on the beach and it was wonderful!
The first day that we were there, the weather was beautiful and we saw a large pod of dolphins! The water was like glass, with only tiny, near to the shore waves and it was easy to see the dolphins jumping and swimming and enjoying themselves. It was amazing! Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, so you will just have to trust me that it was a fantastic sight!
While we were there, we drove to neighboring areas of Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Cambria. The views were beautiful and we ate some wonderful seafood at various restaurants. I was in heaven, eating salmon and shrimp!
As you can see in the picture above, on our 3rd day, the fog came in and the waves started getting higher, too. I found quite a few shells that were in perfect condition and this funny little picture in the sand, naturally formed by seaweed.
My sisters and I had a great time staying up late laughing, crying and talking. It was a wonderful trip and I highly recommend to everyone that you take some time to spend with your sisters, or daughters or close friends. It was a great way to relax, recharge and reconnect. I can hardly wait to do it again!
Speaking of sisters, last year my sister gave us each this necklace to celebrate our sisterhood! You can order similar ones at this website.
To read more about gifts that give twice, go to this post.
This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated for purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. All views expressed are my own. Thank you for your support!
When you have 22 people together on a trip to Disneyland, it isn't very feasible to buy everyone all of the fun and delicious looking treats that they will see and want in the park! So, Maddy and I planned in advance how we could make the food part of the trip less expensive, keeping in the Disney theme, fun and delicious all at the same time. Here is what we did:
Besides making all of those treats, we also found fruit snacks with Frozen and Toy Story themes, Yogurt Shakes with a Star Wars theme and Disney themed breakfast cereals for day 2. The kids ended up drinking the Yogurt Shakes at the house before leaving. Snacks without a Disney theme included Handi-Snack Bread Sticks with cheese and Fig Bars from Costco. There were plenty of snacks for everyone! We even had some left over for the ride home and it cost so much less that the price of purchasing them in the park! I was able to freeze or refrigerate everything to keep them fresh until the trip. Each day we set out the snacks for that day and everyone packed up what they needed for the day.
So, if you are planning a big trip, plan ahead! It was really a lot of fun to see what I could come up with and it was so great to see how happy the kids were to see all of those great snacks! Have you made some DIY Disney snacks that you can share with us? We'd love to hear about them.
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking them, we will be compensated, but there is no additional cost to you. All opinions expressed are our own. Thank you for your support.
In just a few days, our family will be celebrating our first annual Glen & Helen Reynolds Family Reunion. This first reunion of our family that begins with my husband and I and includes our children and grandchildren will hopefully be the start of a bi-annual event that will keep our family ties strong as our family grows and spreads out. Since Madalynn is the one who got this event to be in the works over 2 years ago, it is, of course, happening at Disneyland. You will be hearing all about it and how we planned it and made it happen soon. But, I wanted to kick start the event by talking about food.
I'm sure you know that going to a Disney Park is not an inexpensive event. Food will be a major part of the cost. But, you need to eat and you need energy to do all of that walking around the Park. So, it is a really good idea to plan ahead. It is especially a good idea to plan ahead when you have many children to feed. Since I have 10 going on 11 grandchildren, I decided to do some research into the most economical ways to eat in Disneyland.
Bring Things Into the Park:
The folks at Disney are very nice about allowing food to be brought into the park. You can bring in a small ice chest of about 24 inches and your own water. They also have places to fill your water or you can get complimentary cups of water at the restaurants. Water flavoring packs are wonderful to add some variety to your water. Also, we are bringing in snacks for everyone that are Disney themed so that when the kids want the pricey snack that they see in the park, we will have a nice replacement for them. But, that will be the topic of an upcoming post.
Alicia and her family are able to go to Disneyland fairly often and she has told me that they try to bring one meal into the park with them and then eat one meal in the park. She has taken in homemade Lunchables or Burritos. One idea I've had is to take in my Yeti, filled with soup. The Yeti keeps things nice and hot all day. Since we are going in February, warm soup might really hit the spot. Sandwiches would be easy to pack as well. Strollers really come in handy for carrying your ice chest and other supplies. Whatever you bring, you are sure to save a bunch of money.
What to Purchase In the Park:
I feel like if you are staying anywhere besides a Disney Resort Hotel, it isn't very convenient and is time consuming to leave the park to eat and then to come back in. Besides, there are some fun themed restaurants with good food to eat that adds to the whole Disney experience. So, eating at least one meal in the park is worth a small splurge. But, I understand that budgets may be really tight. I've been there! So, I went through all of the menus of the places to eat in Disneyland, (you can do that on the app, but I've done it for you) and used some of my personal experience to make you a printable list of the best ideas for eating on a strict budget! I am going to post the list here, but also add a pdf for you to print it if you want it handy for reference in Disneyland. Sometimes there are places where splitting a meal is a great thing to do and there are some other tips, so watch for those!
Have You Heard? These are the Best and Most Economical Places to Eat in Disneyland!
Within Disneyland Park:
Within California Adventure:
My printable file is a lot cuter than that version, so click the button to get it!
I hope these dining ideas help you stay on your budget! Spoiler-We made the Mickey Mouse Waffles for our first morning in our Vrbo house! If you are in a hotel, eat there! Save those inexpensive Disney breakfast sandwiches for an early lunch as I suggested in the list!
Okay! There will be a lot more Disney to come soon! Talk to you then!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!