Top 5 things to plan for the holidays!

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  1. WHO- Find out who is coming this year and if anyone has food allergies!
  2. WHAT- Assign dishes so everyone’s included.
  3. WHERE- Who’s hosting this year’s holiday gala?
  4. WHEN- Respect the Host and/or Hostess by having a set time of arrival.
  5. WHY- Make some fun plans to create a memorable party. See more on Pinterest!
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Happy Halloween or Harvest or whatever people call it these days!

No matter what you call it, society has fully embraced this candy gorging, scary costume parading, staying out late and being a trickster holiday. It can be a ton a fun and a parent’s nightmare all at the same time! But no matter what age you or your kids are there are ways to celebrate safely and enjoy every minute of this crazy day!

Halloween for the little ones’-

With the younger generations it’s a great day for some crafts! There are countless ideas on Pinterest and google or if your in a hurry you can swing by almost any dollar store or craft store and pick up some easy craft kits. Also check for events happening in your community. Churches are a great place to let your little ones run off their sugar high because they focus on the harvest theme which is so much more fun at this young age. If you choose to take your little one’s out trick or treating, make sure to read my Top 5 List for a successfully fun time!

Halloween for kids and teens-

This day is a golden opportunity to teach your child the right and wrong in trickster land. That’s what it’s all about right? Trick-or-treating is what it’s all about at this age. So teach them how to play good humored tricks that are fun and not destructive. And remember that not all kids have this kind of parenting so power in numbers, and having a solid plan are the most important tips for keeping your kiddo’s safe!

Check out these fun tricks on Parents.com!

Halloween for adults-

If you’re attending a Halloween party this year, remember to keep in mind the fact that just because you can go wild in disguise doesn’t mean you should! Don’t be the drunk with the smeared makeup and the annoying cackle.img_2850

Tips to keep your dignity and your productive November 1st-

  1. Drink at least 90 ounces of water, like 3 big water bottles!
  2. Eat a big dinner no matter what!
  3. Always have a water back (glass of water after a drink)
  4. Have a ride home!

 

Here’s to wishing everyone a very fun and spooky Halloween night!

 

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Top 5 ways to Trick-or-Treating success with young kids!

  1. Have a plan so you know you can fit in all the fun!
  2. Eat a good dinner! Even if your going out at 3pm, have a big dinner to keep those tummies from growling. (Need a fun dinner idea???)
  3. Pack a travel bag with water and wet wipes!
  4. Let your kids lead the way… it’s their night!
  5. Get home early so you can go through your child’s treasure trove of candy! #1 because it’s fun to dump it out in the middle of the living room floor and #2 to make sure it’s all safe 😉

 

Orcas Island

Stepping onto Orcas Island is like stepping back in time. To a place where folks smile and wave at each other, where water meets sand and the sound rushes through you while the cool sea breeze swipes your worries away. With a fabulous ferry ride behind you, your now ready to wined through beautiful country farms and magical hillsides of pottery, or cozy up in a seaside hotel with a fabulous meal.

Anacortes to Orcas Ferry Schedule!

The possibilities are endless on Orcas! You can have a rugged outdoorsy vacation or enjoy the life of luxury all within a 30 minute drive! You’re on Island Time now!

 

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When looking for an outdoors adventure, head to one of the best parts of Orcas Island, Moran State Park. You can spend an entire week here and still be in awe of this natural wonder. Hiking through old growth Cedar forests with moss hanging from every tree and little streams making paths through the forest floor on your way to numerous gorgeous waterfalls is just the beginning. All of the hiking trails are very well maintained and they open up to mountain biking in the fall and winter too! After a good hike or if your the sort that would rather kick back and relax with a good book and a fishing pole you wont be disappointed because Orcas has 5 freshwater lakes that are stocked with trout and bass and have easily accessible boat rentals or public fishing docks. Once you’ve taken in the beauty from below the canopy, rise above on Mt. Constitution where you can soak up views of all the San Juan Islands and neighboring Vancouver BC as well.

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Check out more facts on Moran State Park!

– Kayak rentals

-Bike rentals

Rosario Resort is closely connected with Moran State park and equally as interesting! You must explore this resort for yourself when visiting Orcas and trust me, you wont be disappointed! The beautifully landscaped gardens sweep you through the incredible property that’s nestled in East Sound’s Cascade Bay. They have 2 beautiful outdoor pools,  tennis courts, and a prized mansion museum and hotel. There’s also a wonderful music hall where they have weekend performances.

Also nestled on this side of the island is the cute little town of East Sound. Here you can find amazing restaurants, a booming farmer’s market, quaint seaside galleries and plenty of ice cream, coffee, and knick-knack shops. They have a great Grocery Store as well called the Island Market, and on a side note… the employees there had the best customer service of any grocery store I’ve ever shopped at! It’s sad to say, but that is a real treat these days!

With Orcas being the largest of the San Juan Islands it’s easy to spend a week or more exploring not only east sound but the west side of the island as well! There is a fabulous pizza parlor “Island Pie” at Deer Harbor marina that can’t be beat. And after dinner you can take a relaxing sunset stroll on the docks or a nice walk around the little beach.

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Sunset on C dock at Deer Harbor Marina

Make sure to check out West Beach Resort! This is my #1 recommendation for an amazing place to stay! They have everything you need for an all inclusive experience with beautiful seaside cabins and tent sites, boat rentals, restaurant you name it. It’s a classy casual environment where everyone is having a great time for a reasonable price.

Not to far from West Beach Resort is Orcas Island Pottery… a magical place where nature meets the kiln and art is born! Literally, you drive up a lush, fern and cedar tree covered hillside into a tiny neighborhood of bohemian style homes that make up an incredible shopping experience. You wander through trellised vines and tall ornamental grasses into a garden of beautiful flora and fauna, an architectural marvel of a treehouse, and multiple buildings displaying pottery from many different talented artists in the community. It’s a piece of Orcas Island that you have to experience yourself to truly understand this gentle, peaceful island.

Orcas is a place that is best described by it’s wildlife. Everywhere you turn you see a doe and her fawn feeding on the grass or rabbits nibbling off the blackberry bushes. Nothing is fearful here! The wildlife and sea life are plentiful and nature rules on these remote Islands because the people who call them home take great pride in keeping it that way. So thank you and hopefully you all have the chance to experience Orcas Island!

*Visit Orcas Island*

 

Cycling through awesomeness!

Bicycling is one of my family’s most enjoyable past times! It’s something we can all do together that’s a healthy, challenging, and fun activity. We frequent skate parks, neighborhood streets and mountain terrain all year long. But we came to a large snag during our last big life change (moving onto a sailboat). Our bikes are really big and take up a ton of room on the deck when we’re underway. We tried to store them inside the cabin, and that was no easy feet! It worked but it was all we could do keep ourselves out of the way of a swinging handlebar or protect our beautiful wood finishes from the jagged pedals.img_2395

 

So we decided that we would have to figure out a way to have our preferred means of travel fit our way of life! Where there’s a will, there’s a way! My husband, being the research guru he is had done some reading on this idea of a folding bike that packs away to about 1/3 the size of a normal bike. It sounded good but would it work? So we headed to Skagit Cycle in Burlington, WA for some more advice. 

Now understand that when you live on a boat you acquire a certain smell that some would call musty… It’s a boat smell! And our only vehicle is more of a storage unit then a means of decent transportation. So we show up all smelly in an ugly old van that our son had just thrown a huge fit in because of being tired from the early ferry ride and Alec, the store manager was super friendly! He was immediately making jokes and lightening the mood by just being helpful and truthfully answering all our questions. He showed us different styles and sizes, and took extra time to teach us all the tricks on assembling and disassembling these crazy folding contraptions. Most importantly he listened and must have spent at least an hour with me, my husband and my crazy but sweet little 6 year old boy who is like a wild animal in a feeding frenzy anytime he steps into a bike shop. He never got into that pushy salesman mode to either get us to buy or leave. So right off the bat, we were made to really feel comfortable taking our time and making the right choice on a bike that was…

#1. Going to cost a lot!

#2. Going to be my main mode of transportation!

#3. Going to be the last bike I buy for a long time!

So I choose a newer model, the Dahon Briza D8 that isn’t quite as dorky as the folding bikes I’ve seen in the past. And my husband bought the Dahon IOS D9 which was not in the store yet so Alec special ordered it at no extra charge and because we live on the islands, he was even willing to work out a special deal where they would meet us at the ferry terminal to pick it up if needed. They really went so above and beyond the normal level of customer service you receive at a little family owned bike shop.

*Check out the Briza!

*Check out the IOS!

To top off the experience, they gave us a very fair offer on the bikes we were trading in. And the following day we came back with a bike rack that we had no further need of, so he willingly took that in on trade and hooked me up with a new Giro helmet and front hanging bag that clips into my bike.

Needless to say, we would recommend this shop to anyone and everyone in need of anything bicycle related, or if your just looking for a business that treats people kindly and doesn’t judge a book by it’s cover. They are honest, fun and passionate about the sport. Visit Skagit Cycle in Burlington, Anacortes, or Oak Harbor! We have been to the Anacortes and the Burlington stores and they both rock!!! We’ll be back for sure!

Thank You Skagit Cycle!

Skagit Cycle

 

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Now there’s plenty of room in the boat for our bikes!

Top 5 things to do while waiting…

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Top 5 things to do while you’re waiting…

  1. Close your eyes and listen! It’s amazing what you can hear and imagine when you focus.
  2. Plan your next hour. Then you’ll be extra organized and make up for the lost time.
  3. Find the rhythm! Tap your toe to any beat you hear and let your mind wander in song. If you’re extra inclined, you can add some thigh slappin’!
  4. Excercise you brain. Even twiddling your thumbs without touching them is a good brain teaser!
  5. Try to say the alphabet backwards! Good luck!

Living on island time

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Everyone’s heard of the phrase “Island Time” which stands for “nobody cares what time it is”. And it stands true that islands have a certain feel to them, where time really does stand still and your worries seem to melt away with the waves on the sand. While living on Orcas Island we have experienced this and so much more!

There really are no clocks on the island! Ha! Well I’m sure there are some but we are yet to find one, minus the ferry terminal which is the main artery of the San Juan Islands. No matter what the nautical clock on the wall says there are always ferries shipping people of every decent and economic class through these timeless waters.

The islands are a melting pot where people are less concerned about social status and just looking to enjoy themselves.

Everyone should spend some time on an island! Living on Orcas is like stepping back to the good old days where there’s a little family farm with fresh fruits, veggies, eggs, and a variety of other goodies around every corner. Which is always a great reminder for us to eat healthy foods that are locally sourced. Everyone waves and smiles at each other when driving and walking around the shops. People even hitchhike! There’s a true sense of community in these small island towns, neighbors helping neighbors and it’s refreshing!

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Summer in the San Juans is a boaters’ paradise! Beautiful harbors of crystal blue water teaming with marine life just begging for an anchor. There’s also amazing food, drink, and of course nature. Mother nature is one of the most influential forces on the island. When she is shining her sunny smile on us, all is well and the party is swingin’. The sun tanned bodies sharing drinks and stories on the docks are a permanent staple here in the summertime and everyone’s going on a sail or hike and invites you to join. But when her seasons change the island is not far behind.

The month of October has brought a whole new feeling to the island. One of urgency and dedication to tradition that’s handed down from generations long ago. It’s harvest time like you would expect in central or Eastern Washington, and everyone is preparing for the winter storms. It’s a way of life that cannot be ignored.

The best part of this demanding time is that everyone is so thankful to be working here and living this dream.

That’s what I’m really discovering here. That this “Island Time” feeling has nothing to do with time… and everything to do with a well-rounded healthy lifestyle. Learning that there’s no reason to stress over time is invaluable, and I have some tips straight from the island for ya!

  1. Find your happy place –

When you wake up in the morning are you excited to go outside and see what awaits you??? If not then you’re in the wrong place! Some people love the hustle bustle of the city, and others love the solitude of the country. I like both so I live on a boat where I can visit all of them!

     2. Be Proud –

I know it’s hard in the world we live in today to be comfortable in our own skin, when we are constantly being reminded of how we need to alter ourselves to be skinnier or more beautiful with the latest greatest style. But you were made the way you are for a reason! If we all embrace our freckles, crooked noses, splotchy skin, and under eye circles then we embrace the past that got us to this future. Every mark on us tells a story, one of our heritage and adventures. Let your story shine.

    3. Prioritize –

Be literal and everything else will fall into play. Our basic needs are water and food so start there. You have to fuel your body and mind before you can nourish anything else. Take time while you eat to self reflect and check in. Then you can start to prioritize. We all have to pay the bills so work is a high priority, which brings up the question… what is all of this hard-earned money for? If you’re paying for things that aren’t a real priority for sustaining your life; food, shelter, clothing, then is it really a priority? If you prioritize, then you focus on what’s really important in life to you and the other stuff has a way of falling off.

     4. Don’t let anything ruin your day –

We all have those days when nothing seems to go right, but when your on an island the waters remind you that the tides change often and there’s always a calm after the storm. So when bad things do happen, put yourself on your island and look for the calm after the storm because even if it’s not quite visible yet, you can see the change coming with the tide.

I hope that you use some of these tactics for embracing an “Island Time” lifestyle. Stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease so be kind to yourself and unwind a little, just like on the islands!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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