Thursday, October 10, 2013

End of Summer

A couple of the kids had dentist appointments right before school started, so we did some of our favorite San Luis Obispo activities while we were down there. It was pretty sweet because the dentist office happened to be having their free back-to-school ice cream social in the parking lot that day. We each got a HUGE bowl of Hawaiian ice, and it was delicious! Three of the kids spilled theirs (they were extremely top-heavy), but they kindly gave them more. Next we headed over to Barnes & Noble for their free summer reading program books and then on to bubble gum alley.

 I made sure I had gum on hand for the occasion.

Then we drove down to Avila Valley Barn and hopped onto a hay ride. It wasn't crowded at all, since it was too early for pumpkins.

 It took us to the apple orchard to pick delicious gala apples. My favorite!

 They were reasonably priced, so I let them get a bunch. We go through a lot of apples around here!

Of course we walked around the gift shop and bought an olallieberry crisp. It's one of Dave's favorite desserts in the world. We always buy one for him, since we feel bad he can't be there having fun with us.

I usually buy them some kind of small treat while we're there - candy crystal, piece of caramel, etc. But what they really want is roasted corn on the cob. I never buy it because they're $2.50 each. I gave in this time (we got a few to share), and it was delicious. Healthier, too.

They had a little topping bar with spray butter and lots of different flavorings. Now whenever we have corn on the cob, the boys dress theirs up with spices.

I love this picture! They have funky chickens wandering all around, and one actually let Spencer pick it up. Afterwards we stopped by Dave's office. They had a ton of leftover Chinese food from a drug rep lunch, so we took that home for dinner. Perfect!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Elfin Forest

We went on a few little day trips towards the end of the summer. We spent our mornings doing chores and deciding where to go. Then Spencer looked up geocaches in the area while we packed picnic lunches and lots of water. We enjoyed listening to books on C.D. while driving there and back. We did the Elfin Forest hike the week before school started. According to Facebook, a lot of schools around the country started that day; it felt like we were playing hooky. I loved having such a long summer.

We've done this hike several times. It's very short, but it has lots of great views of the bird estuary next to Morro Bay. I especially love all the egrets. There are tons of benches everywhere, and we stopped here to eat our lunch.

There were three geocaches along the hike, but we couldn't find any of them. That was frustrating. I don't know why they make them so difficult to find. This one was even surrounded by poison oak.
 We had fun anyway. Once again, we found some crazy trees to climb.

They played a game of seeing how many different trees they could climb without touching the ground.  

These are pigmy oak trees. They're 200 years old, which seems funny because they're so tiny. Off to the right of this picture is where Dave has taken the boys rock climbing.
We stopped at the Morro Bay museum on the way home for a potty break. I think Spencer bought shark teeth at the gift shop. We would have stayed longer, but Chloe was pulling everything off the shelves. There were some grumpy women there giving us the evil eye, so I figured it was time to go.

Sometimes it just helps to get everyone out of the house and go somewhere cooler. Hikes are always a good choice because they're free and they're good exercise.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The beach

After we got back from the Olive Festival and Dave got home from his meeting, we decided to go to the beach. We probably went to the beach more this summer than ever before. We just love it there so much, and everyone is at a good age for beachy self-entertainment.  This time we took our badminton set, which was fun.

Brennan is finally big enough to wear our smallest wetsuit, and he spent almost all of his time in the water.
 He especially liked snorkeling!

Since we left a little later in the day, we decided to cook dinner there.

We have discovered pork tips from Costco. They are cheap, tasty, and super tender. We also grilled zucchini.

 After dinner we roasted marshmallows.
And made s'mores.  We like to use Nutella because it's already melty. Yum!

Why yes, we do have rather goofy kids. I blame their father. He reminds me that the mother has the greatest influence on children. 

One thing I love about eating dinner at the beach is that we don't have to rush home and make dinner when we're all totally exhausted.

It was such a gorgeous day, and it just got nicer the longer we were there. We enjoyed watching the sunset, finding shells, and making sand balls.

 See - they're all working together to make...

 A sand ball snowman, of course!
 I already posted beach pictures of Chloe on her 18 month update, but here are a couple more.
When they first set up the badminton net, it was too windy. But after dinner the wind totally died down, and they were able to play.

Dave's so happy he has all those fun boys to play games with. I'd rather take pictures of them playing.

Another fun Levi pose!
They found lots of shells in this little pool of water next to the ocean.
We love searching for shells. It never gets old.

We stayed until dark, and the park ranger had to kick us out. Actually, we were already leaving.

I'll close with this sweet picture of Chloe. Wow, what a great summer day!