Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Victoria, British ColumbiaWe had the best week up in Victoria, British Columbia! We started early with an 8 am flight out of LAX to Seattle, then a quick less than 30 minute flight to the Victoria airport. Dave’s dad had a work conference and his parents were kind enough to invite us to tag along on the trip. The last trip with just out family and his parents was our epic South America trip to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (before we had kids). This was my first time in Canada, and the kids as well (also their first time out of the country although it didn’t feel very foreign ;)

We stayed at the Fairmount Empress Hotel which is absolutely gorgeous! The gardens were absolutely gorgeous and July was the perfect time to visit. We had great weather, in the 60s with a nice breeze since we were right on the harbor.

Victoria British Columbia Fairmount Empress Hotel

Victoria British Columbia Fairmount Empress Hotel
Victoria British Columbia Fairmount Empress Hotel Victoria British Columbia Fairmount Empress Hotel

Victoria British Columbia Fairmount Empress Hotel

Here are some highlights from our trip:

Butchart Gardens: Victoria is known as the ‘Garden City’ and these gardens were incredible to say the least! The 55 acre land is a former limestone quarry that the Butcharts converted into a series of extremely well manicured gardens, including a Japanese, Rose, and Mediterranean Garden. It also has a few fountains, a carousel, a fireworks stage, a tea room, restaurant and a gelato shop. Its one of those places you could stay all day.

Butchart Gardens Victoria British Columbia family travel

Victoria Food Walking Tour: the tour started at the Victoria Public Market and then the local guide took us to a few locations nearby. We tried amazing bread from a French bakery, macarons, ice cream, pierogis, meatballs and chocolate. Dave’s mom planned most of the itinerary and this was a really fun way to try local spots and all the food was delicious.

Parliament: the parliament building which was just a block from the Empress hotel gives tours and also has a restaurant on the ground floor. I honestly didn’t know much about Canada and it was interesting to hear more about their government.

British Columbia Victoria Parliament British Columbia Victoria Parliament British Columbia Victoria Parliament

Beacon Hill Park: 200 acres of an awesome, free, public park. The land was set aside by a former governor who didn’t want any for-profit activities on the park. It’s beautiful with walking trails, lakes, peacocks, mini golf, a small splash pad shaped like a watering can and a goat petting zoo! There were 42 goats when we went including about a dozen babies.

Beacon Hill Park Victoria British Columbia free public park kids Beacon Hill Park Victoria British Columbia free public park kids Beacon Hill Park Victoria British Columbia free public park kids Beacon Hill Park Victoria British Columbia free public park kids

Carriage tour: we liked learning from the guide more about the history of Victoria and seeing Beacon Hill Park, the coast and the historic part of the city.

Victoria British Columbia

China Town walking tour: it was interesting hearing about the history of China Town and seeing the alleys that were created that are now filled with little shops and restaurants.

Victoria British Columbia Chinatown

Royal BC Museum: we saw the Mysteries of Egypt at the IMAX then checked out some of the exhibits: Egypt and the mummies, sea life and a giant woolly mammoth.

We were impressed with Victoria as a city. It was not only very beautiful but it was clean, lots of good places to eat, pastries, ice cream shops, unique bookstores, polite people, and we loved the flower baskets that they hang from all the city lampposts. Even though we were only there for a short time as tourists and it was summer, it was such a nice city we could picture ourselves living in – that’s one of my favorite parts about traveling, seeing where other people grew up, live, work and play. It’s my dream to see literally every country in the world. I think each place and city has something unique and beautiful to offer the world.

Victoria British Columbia Victoria British Columbia

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How to Teach Your Children the Importance of Home Safety

A simple but important article I found that I wanted to share:

There are a lot of confusing and stressful parts of being a parent. The older they get, the more things you have to worry about. When they’re babies, all you have to worry about is making sure they are fed and their bums are clean. As they grow, that’s when things start to get confusing. There are all sorts of necessary things that they’ll need to learn, and unfortunately, you’re the one that will have to be teaching them.

What is home safety?

Home safety and security is a very broad topic, but it’s also a very important topic. A lot of parents don’t know when the best time to teach their children is. The answer is, now. It’s never too early to try and explaining how to be safe at home and why you want to be cautious. Home safety covers everything from stranger danger, picking up your belongings so no one gets hurt, as well as things like turning off the faucet after you’re done washing your hands.

What is age appropriate to teach my toddlers and young children?

You know your child, and what they’re capable of understanding, better than anyone else. As a general rule, though, the following list is a great starting point when trying to educate your young children on home safety and how important it is.

  • How to pick up their toys, and where to store them, so no one is in danger of tripping over them and getting hurt.
  • Learning how to lock deadbolt locks.
  • How to secure/put away their bikes and other outdoor toys.
  • Knowing to only answer the phone and door if you are present.
  • Why they need to leave knives, scissors, and other kitchen utensils alone and never use them without permission.
  • The quickest way to get out of the house in an emergency.
  • Not to run when the floor is wet.

Every event in your young child’s life is a learning experience. Your child will respond best to repetition. Take your time, and answer all of the questions that your child has to the best of your ability. It isn’t enough to simply tell them “don’t play with knives”, you’ll need to explain what could happen if they were playing with knives. This is true in all situations; your child needs to know why they can’t do a dangerous activity. Doing drills, such as fire drills, is a great idea to familiarize your child with the procedures you’re teaching them.

What to teach your older children?

As your child gets older, there will be even more opportunities to teach them about optimal home safety. Home safety for a teenager is less about making sure they don’t run with knives, and more about making sure they are aware of their social surroundings and more aware of how things work.

  • How to arm and disarm the home security system.
  • Knowing how to turn off the water main and the main power to the house.
  • Not to take leftover prescription medication for an ailment/sickness that the medication isn’t prescribed for. Learn more about drug safety with kids here.
  • What things are appropriate to post about on social media sites.

You want to avoid being a micromanaging parent, obviously, so make sure that you give your child a little bit of room to learn from their mistakes, but prepare them the best that you can to deal with their mistakes when they do happen. Because they will happen. Mistakes always happen, and when you give your children the necessary tools to deal with these mistakes before a mistake even happens, they will be better prepared to deal with the repercussions and will understand the cause and effect that led up to their now uncomfortable situation.

One of the most important things to emphasize on when it comes to teaching your children the importance of home safety, is to be honest with them! If they don’t know why they are supposed to do something, it doesn’t hold a lot of importance to them.

Twins

Tessa is at a really fun and funny age right now. She’s always making us laugh and always let us know what she’s thinking, aka she’s kind of the little boss around our house 😉 People always say we look a like so when I got this crushed velvet dress we decided to match for a Sunday.  I love the age she’s at now and the last FOUR years have flown by way too fast, I know that sounds cliche but I  wish she could stay little forever. I love having her around the home being my little shadow.

velvet party dress

velvet party dress

velvet party dress velvet party dress Women’s velvet party dress from ToSave, an e-commerce site. I also had my eye on some of their other random products like baskets (for the never ending flow of toys), a bike phone bag and a camera bag (for my hobbies I don’t do enough of;)

Patience, persistence and perspiration

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”

(Napolean Hill)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote, especially starting off a new year. 2017 was a pretty great year for our family. We felt settled in a good routine with Brent’s school stuff, sports, church, work, etc. We had a lot of fun here locally in LA area (lots beach, baseball, new restaurants, Disneyland, etc) and road-tripped a few times up to Vegas and Utah. 2017 was also the first year I’ve been completely healthy since Tessa was born! That pregnancy was particularly hard and it’s been nice to finally see progress and the ability to regain muscle. Since her birth, I’ve had numerous injuries – hamstring, achilles, knee, back – and persistence has been key for me. During the weeks I wasn’t able to fully exercise, I was still at the gym rehabbing, stretching and strengthening and it’s finally starting to have good results. I’m not nearly where I’d like to be but I’m happy with the journey so far. Last year I also started playing soccer again with two different teams (a women’s team and a coed team) which is my main motivation for working out. I wouldn’t consider myself a natural at anything. I was never a natural soccer player or had any particular talent at the piano. These are two things I worked at all growing up and continue to practice and love today. (Thanks, Mom, for forcing me to practice the piano all those years!)

Looking forward, I am grateful to be done with 2017 as all years come with the positive and some negatives. I’m counting down the days to a week long trip to England next month and to enjoying more days at home with the kids. It’s bittersweet that they have to grow up. I know the days are numbered when I’ll have so much time with them, to watch them discover things for the first time and just to genuinely enjoy their company.

Loving where you live

11 moves in 11 years of marriage. Now that Brent has started school we hope to stay here for a long time. We’ve loved getting to move around and see all parts of the country. One of the best parts of moving so much is being able to be a tourist in your own city, we’ve always been really excited to check out the best views, attractions, hidden gems and food in all the cities we’ve lived in. There really has been amazing things about each place we’ve called ‘home’ even if only for a short while – from the historical sites in DC, the BBQ in TX, the canyons in UT and the castles in Scotland. I feel like we feel settled here in Chino Hills and one of my favorite things about this suburban gem is all the parks and hiking trails. While we haven’t taken advantage of the hiking trails and state park (that supposedly have redwoods!) that are just minutes from us, we have because of the kids checked out a ton of parks. Chino Hills has a lot of open space preserved which is one of the most beautiful things about it. We are close to LA but far enough away to feel definitely suburban. One of my favorite places to walk around with the kids is the Chino Wetlands. It’s actually near a prison and an industrial area but inside the park is very peaceful!

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands park  chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

Fall y’all

Growing up in Southern CA, I never was really aware of seasons until obviously moving to Utah for school. Since then, we’ve lived in cold climates, snow, extreme cold and extreme hot. I enjoy fall when the temperatures drop a little, the breeze picks up and evenings are so cool and pleasant. My favorite falls were when we lived in Virginia and the trees and changing colors were unreal! Today was the first day in LA area that it felt a little like fall, and only in the morning. This weekend brings another heat wave, ha, ha!

CA fall  fall outfit Tobi fall outfit Tobi sunrise necklace

fall outfit Tobi

CA fall

CA fallCA fall pumpkin patch

We’re looking forward to the fun things that fall brings besides maybe a small drop in temperature – dressing the kids up for Halloween and the upcoming holidays. This is the first time in our 11 years of marriage that we’ve lived in CA and it’ll be so nice not to have to travel far or in poor weather to be with family!

Wearing: grey cardigan / sun necklace / black top / birkenstocks / denim / Dr. Scholls leopard flats / lularoe leggings / thank you to Tobi for partnering on this post and for having affordable clothes that fit my style 🙂

German Pancakes with crispy edges recipe

This past weekend was General Conference and we enjoyed one of our favorite breakfasts – German Pancakes! We make them for special occasion breakfasts like Christmas and General Conference. It’s one of my favorite traditions because we all love them and they’re very easy to make! The recipe we use came from Dave’s family and we’ve tweaked it to have the edges crispy which I love.

The recipe (below) is very easy to make and doesn’t require much time to bake. My toppings of choice are either fruit or powdered sugar and Dave and the kids like syrup or fruit.german pancakes recipe

GERMAN PANCAKES RECIPE crispy edges

Trying a triathlon

This past weekend, Dave and I did our first sprint triathlon! Before the kids were born, we used to love riding our bikes together, running and exercising together. While we didn’t really get to train together (to be honest, neither of us trained very well in general ha, ha!) it was so fun to be able to do the race together! Dave was nice enough to stay with me the whole time and it was just refreshing to be outside together, enjoying the sunrise and peace.

The race was a reverse triathlon – run (5K), bike (12 miles), swim (150 yards) – in Apple Valley which is a small town a little over an hour north of Chino Hills. The course was everything we could’ve hope for – very flat and the swim was in a pool (as opposed to an ocean or lake which I wouldn’t have liked) and was very warm and clean. The race was through Apple Valley city and was very well organized.

The weather was perfect that morning and my parents were kind enough to come up Friday night and spend the night here to watch the kids during the race and take Brent to his t-ball game. Both Dave and I liked the reverse tri with the swim at the end, we would definitely do this race again!

 apple valley reverse sprint triathlon

apple valley reverse sprint triathlon apple valley reverse sprint triathlonapple valley reverse sprint triathlon

Summer highlights

This summer went by way too fast! We kicked off the summer with a road trip to Ansley’s baptism in Idaho with a few days in Salt Lake on our way up. We had an awesome staycation in Newport, an anniversary weekend in Seattle and then another road trip to Provo, Utah for Jake’s wedding! We saw the 7 Magic Mountains again, checked out the improved BYU bookstore, looked for Pokemon around campus, had Bam Bams BBQ with the LeSueurs and the Nashes who also happened to be visiting Utah, found some great babysitters for the wedding festivites – which included Bruges waffles, one of my favorite places in Utah!

The kids also took tennis and swim lessons the last half of summer at their future high school (when Tessa was finally potty trained, ha, ha!!!) They are continuing to improve with their swimming and being comfortable in the water. I think they liked tennis?? Maybe a little too early to tell if they’ll play when they’re older but we’ll probably do more lessons next summer!

Take them out to the ballgame

Brent and Tessa have gone to many sporting events…mostly in the womb however since their bedtime is at 8, ha, ha! Tessa’s sleep schedule changed over the summer (no more naps) and we’ve been able to take them more places like the Nationals at Dodgers game a few weeks ago. I loved going to Padres’ games with my family when I was younger and since we’ve been married we’ve gone to 20 of the 30 MLB ballparks together. This game the kids were more interested in the hot dogs and catching Pokemon but maybe one day hopefully they’ll develop a similar love of baseball!

nationals at dodgers game

nationals at dodgers game

nationals at dodgers game

 nationals at dodgers game

Put a curly W in the books!