Thursday, June 27, 2013

The "Love Note Bandit"

Heart made with a squirt gun
Recently, I have been receiving these notes - little "I love You" notes. I am calling my youngest the "Love Note Bandit".
By the car in the Garage with chalk
Love Note on My To Do List
Love Note to Nonna - I wonder did she find all of them?
I wasn't the only one to receive these little notes. I think everyone could use a "Love Note Bandit" in their life.  So go spread the LOVE!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Geotour Stops - Dash, Saltwater, and St Edwards State Parks

It is always so surprising for me to see State Parks in really urban areas.  All of them we visited on Sunday were in those kinds of areas. We started our adventure in Tacoma and really took the scenic industrial urban route.  We working on finding all the Washington Centennial Geocaches - "100 caches in 100 parks to celebrate 100 years."". 

Our first stop was Dash Point State Park.  This took us on a little trail to this humongous tree trunk.  Wow, I can only imagine how large this tree was.

Saltwater State Park was our next stop. Our search was in the large parking lot.  It appeared to have easy access to the beach. It was raining pretty steady here so we grabbed the cache and ran so to speak.

Both Dash and Saltwater Park were ranked as one of the worst State Park in a Seattle Times Reader poll.  They said these parks were too close to civilization and trashy. Dash park was pretty busy when we visited and seemed quite clean.  I will say that the camping was quite a hike to the beach. Saltwater was virtually empty when we visited probably due to the fact it was quite rainy.

Lastly we visited Saint Edward State Park.  This place is really unique. It once was a Catholic Seminary. The cache took us on one of the many trails in the area. 

There is also a really cool playground here which the boys really enjoyed playing on.

I think this says quite a lot as my boys are older. This park was rated by a Seattle Times poll on Washington State Parks as one of the Best State Parks for Kids

We have found 17 out of 104 geocaches in the Washington State Park Centennial Geotour.

Monday, June 24, 2013

GeoTour Stops 13 and 14-- Kopachuck and Penrose Point

The alternate title could be "Geocaching so easy we took a 92 year old along" or conversely "Geocaching so HARD we had to take a 92 year old with us to find it". 
Kopachuck State Park
Cody, Charlie, Pappy
Cody is holding our State Park Passport
Saturday found us once again on the hunt for more Washington State Park Centennial Geocaches - " "100 caches in 100 parks to celebrate 100 years."".  We ventured over to Kopachuck State Park. Pappy was riding shotgun.  We all made it to the cache even though Pappy had to do a little off roading with his walker. 
Pappy Off Roading
Something about how we should trick out his walker with all terrain tires.  The path was a little like a cow trail according to Pappy. We ran into some other geocachers out caching as well. We didn't make it down to the water here.  The park was quite busy here on a sunny Saturday.
Penrose Point
Next we visited Penrose Point.  The trail was a little more than Pappy wanted to tackle so Heather and him hung out by the water.  The point was quite busy.  The tide was out and their was a lot of people out and about.  Pappy and Heather saw 2 bald eagles.  They have a nest nearby.
Tacoma Narrows
After all our adventures, we headed to Pappy's favorite clam chowder place, Steamers. Steamers has a great view of the Tacoma Narrows bridge. It is also near Titlow Park which appeared to have a rather busy and awesome splash park.

Booking It 2013 - June

I am linking up with Life as Mom Booking it 2013. Check out what everyone is reading.

I read  A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson.  I actually read it in one day.  It has an intriguing story that kept me reading.  Subjects such as homosexuality and adultery are touched on in this book so if that makes you uncomfortable this book is not for you.

I also read two fiction books about son's accused of murder with completely different endings.

Defending Jacob by William Landay.  This book is getting a lot of buzz. This book is about the son of the assistant district attorney who is being tried for murder.  The book explores whether there is a genetic gene that links one for violence.  Also how far a parent will go to protect their child.  I really disliked the mother in this book to be honest. There was a couple parts in the book that I was yelling at her.  A part of me just wanted to shake her. It was an interesting read.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult. In this book a boy with aspergers is accused of murdering his social skills tutor.  I love how each character gets to tell the story.  I don't always agree with all the generalizations about aspergers but in general a lot is spot on - black and white thinking and ruling following.  It made me realize how much my neural typical son has to give up and the line I have to walk between accommodating my other son without unintentionally punishing my other son. It also brought up how crazy all this accommodating looks to the outside world. On top of that, it brought up how selfish and self centered aspergers can be.  I hadn't really ever seen that way. I don't think it is selfish but it is definitely self centered. That is heavy stuff. It was an excellent read.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Whttling down the Summer Bucket List

Yesterday we did some whittling.  My child actually asked me if I was only doing this for the photographic opportunity. LOL  It was a rainy day and we needed to do something. It wasn't on the summer bucket list but it should of been.

The Giant Man Child had won two pocket knives so I decided why not give the children knives to whittle. IT was surprising how all the safety stuff from Girl Scouts came back to me almost instantly when my littlest picked up a knife. The younger of the two took right to it.  The 14 year old thought I had lost my mind.
I see a lot of whittling in our future summer plans.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Celebrating the End!!!!

Today is Charlie's last day of 4th grade.  The end of the school year has finally arrived.  Can't believe I will have a 5th grader next year.  Good thing I am a young Mom in my mind.  LOL

Project Life Tuesday- weeks 23 and 24

I got caught up on my project life.  I had fallen a little behind. We have started on our Summer Bucket List by participating in the Washington State Parks Centennial GeoTour (geocaching) All my layouts have lots of pictures of the state parks we visited.  Last week was my older son's last day of school.  I love that tye dye is the school colors. The week before they made tye dye shirts at school. There are a few stories I would like to come back and add but this is the general gist of the week.

Does anyone ever go back and insert more stories/pictures?  My husband was looking through this and said why didn't include such and such.  So I am thinking about going back and adding 5x 7 insert with the story and picture.

Week 23
Week 24

Project Life: Cobalt Edition
Today Rocks Digital Stamp - Ali Edwards

I am linking up with The Mom Creative Project Life Tuesday.

Monday, June 17, 2013

GeoTour stops 9,10, 11, & 12 - Father's Day Whirlwind Caching Trip

This GeoTour celebrates the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks with 100 new geocaches in 100 parks across the state. Learn more and get a GeoTour passport and list of caches at GeoTours Washington State Parks. There are commemorative geocoin prizes for those submitting a passport showing they found 50 or 100 GeoTour caches.

We just can't leave well enough alone. The Giant Man Child wanted to geocache for Father's Day.  He is a little obsessed.  So we ended up visiting 4 more state parks. We were minus one man from the wrecking crew as he was all parked out. We started our day at Rockport State Park.  Wow, this is an amazing old growth forest.  This is currently a day use park. There were lots of trails and huge trees.  We ended up on going on a little hike.
Giant Man Child studying the tree rings
Next up was Rasar State Park.  This is along the river.  We were almost eaten alive by mosquitoes here.  The cache was very unique.  I think we lost a pint of blood to the darn mosquitoes however. This park also had a nice playground.
Cache Retrieval at Rasar Park
We had to drive by Deception Pass/Rosario Beach on Saturday because we ran out of time. We figured our dogs had their legs crossed.  We made it here on Sunday. 
Kevin and Charlie at Deception Pass Rosario Beach

This was voted one of the Best State Parks by the readers of the Seattle Times. The views are incredible.
Incredible Views

We visited back in 2007. 
Blast from the pass photo Rosario Beach 2007 - Me, Cody, and Charlie
The cache was very unique here as well.

Lastly, we visited Bay View State Park.  This cache didn't exactly take us to the scenic part of the park. Lets just say it was Honeypot related which I appreciated. It was really a unique cache however.  There were plenty of muggles ignorant of our quest as we removed the cache just a few feet from them.  I took no pictures here. 

***I am reminded as we visit all these different state parks how diverse our state of Washington is geographically. I am also reminded why we should protect these places. The budget cuts have really shrunk our state park budget. It is a shame that we don't invest more into these parks. These places are true treasures.

We officially have 12 stamps in our Washington Centennial GeoTour Passport.  I don't think that is too shabby.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

GeoTour - 4 Park Saturday

This GeoTour celebrates the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks with 100 new geocaches in 100 parks across the state. Learn more and get a GeoTour passport and list of caches at GeoTours Washington State Parks. There are commemorative geocoin prizes for those submitting a passport showing they found 50 or 100 GeoTour caches.
We went on a epic adventure today to 4 state parks. 

Stop 1 of the Day: We started at South Whidbey State Park. This was about 2 hours from our house.  We started at our farthest point. We got a little turned around and ended up walking to the beach instead of the cache.  The steps to the beach were killer. 

We also saw 2 deer out on our walk.

I am wondering if I am on the geocaching exercise program.  We eventually ended up on all things the Hobbit trail.  Wish I had gotten a pic of the trail sign.  We found the cache at long last.
Smile for Nonna - We found the cache at long last
Stop 2 of the Day: Fort Casey was our next stop.  This is one park I want to come back and explore more extensively.  They were flying kites here.  Fort Casey has the gun battery.

According to my kids, we didn't spend enough time climbing on everything here.  Fort Casey also has admiralty lighthouse. 

The cache took us away from these to locations to a little known section of the park.  It was really interesting. We will be back.

Stop 3 of the Day: Fort Ebey just up the road from Fort Casey.  We took another hike.  One of the view points was especially lovely.  We even ran into another cacher we know who was out getting Centennial Caches as well. 

Stop 4 of the Day: Joseph Whidbey was our last stop of the day.  I am glad we had the GPS as this park doesn't have much signage until you reach it. Just before we saw this eagle.

This is the kind of beach I really like.  There was tons of driftwood.  It was relatively flat for walking. There were several driftwood structures. This is the biggest one I have ever seen.

This is another beach that would be great to bring a picnic to.

Our grand total of Centennial Caches is 8!  It is hard to believe that someone has already found 50 of these caches.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Other People's Gardens and Coops

I can't resist checking out other people's garden's.  Mrs Epi got me into her neighbor's garden who is a master garden. .  He has a huge garden.  He is also growing food for the food bank as well. He has borrowed an additional 1 acre lot to raise more vegetables. I love these raised beds with the PVC water system and set up for covering.
What is really neat is this giant bed that is outlined in strawberry plants.  There is also some bean tepees as well and tomatoes in the picture.

I also couldn't resist taking pictures of Mrs Epi's chicken coop that her hubby made from a shipping container and a door from the Re-Store. Silly me forgot to take pictures of her chickens.
front with lockable door

side with nesting boxes access

re-used door for coop access

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Experimental Cooking - Rhubarb Quick Bread

Monster Rhubarb
It has been a while since I have done a experimental cooking post. My Rhubarb is huge so I thought I should branch out and make something other than a strawberry rhubarb crumble.  So I did some browsing in pinterest and other various searches and came up with a recipe for Rhubarb Quick Bread.  The Rhubarb is almost like pineapple in this.  This bread is really moist and addictive.
Rhubarb Quick Bread

Monday, June 10, 2013

Washington State Park GeoTour : Stop #4 Larrabee State Park

This GeoTour celebrates the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks with 100 new geocaches in 100 parks across the state. Learn more and get a GeoTour passport and list of caches at GeoTours Washington State Parks. There are commemorative geocoin prizes for those submitting a passport showing they found 50 or 100 GeoTour caches.
In case you didn't know Larrabee State Park is the oldest Washington State Park.  You can experience both Mountains and Sea at this location.  We actually visited a part of the park that we had never experience.  We drove Cleator Road. 
The boys found this rock interesting so we had a photo op
Our views were pretty good even though we started out pretty cloudy.  There are plenty of caches to find before hitting the top to find Larrabee's Centennial Cache.  The centennial cache happened to be our 800th find.
Group Picture
The views from Cleator Road were awesome.  It was a little hazy out but wow you can see for a ways.
View From The Top
We ended our adventure with a Geocaching Event and Celebration of Washington Parks Centennial.

Here are the other parks we have visited so far
Cama Beach/Camano Island
Peace Arch Park
Birch Bay

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Washington State Parks GeoTour - #3 Camano Island & Cama Beach

We are doing the Washington State Park Centennial GeoTour Challenge as part of our summer bucket list.
This GeoTour celebrates the 100th anniversary of Washington State Parks with 100 new geocaches in 100 parks across the state. Learn more and get a GeoTour passport and list of caches at GeoTours Washington State Parks. There are commemorative geocoin prizes for those submitting a passport showing they found 50 or 100 GeoTour caches.
This Saturday we attended a GeoTour event at Camano Island State Park which is basically right next to Cama Beach State Park.  I had visited Cama Beach with the Adventure Van Crew but it was a great place to revisit.  From their website: Cama Beach State Park is on the southwest shore of Camano Island facing Saratoga Passage. Cama Beach offers visitors a chance to step back in time to a 1930s-era Puget Sound fishing resort complete with waterfront cedar cabins and bungalows.
kids messing around at Cama Beach Visitor Center
I still think it would be really fun to rent one of the cabins at Cama Beach.  That is my kind of camping.  However, I really like the beach exploring at Camano Island State Park a little better. It is a rocky beach with tons of driftwood. From the parks website: Camano Island State Park is a 173-acre camping park with 6,700 feet of rocky shoreline and beach. The park provides sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and offers opportunities for shellfish harvesting.
Camano Island State Park
The Centennial Cache is basically on a trail between Cama and Camano Parks.  We found it with a bunch of other cachers.

Cama Beach Post with Adventure Van Crew. The Adventure Van Crew definitely needs to revisit.

Our GeoTour so far
Birch Bay State Park
Peace Arch