sand-dune

Sand dune action

The other week, on a drive down to Disneyland California with a friend, we stopped off on the Pacific coast for some sand dune action. The children went up to the top with no hesitation, before pelting it down in a storm of sand! Fantastic fun.

Heading up the sand dune

I would have joined them, but I was limping on a dodgy ankle and didn’t want to do any further damage. Our friend took this snap of hubbie and I with two of our three daughters, which I kind of like – so thought I’d throw it in for the memory box!

Hugs on the sand dune

Whilst hubbie ran up the sand dune, with our daughters, I caught the action as they bowled down towards me…!

This was their view from the top, looking down!

Looking down from the top of the sand dune!

Meanwhile, circling on the air currents above us, huge pelicans looked upon our antics.

Pelicans

A great pit stop on our road trip to Disneyland with our Kiwi friend Frances.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Moments of happiness with friends from NZ on Santa Barbara’s Waterfront

It’s been a lovely week shared with friends. We returned from Disneyland on Tuesday evening and have been enjoying a quieter time back at the house in Santa Barbara. The children have been playing in the pool a lot and we’ve had a couple of trips out and about, including a gorgeous little boat trip in the marina on the very cute ‘Lil’ Toot’; one of many lovely attractions on the waterfront.

Lil Toot, Santa Barbara

It’s so great to have our New Zealand neighbours here with us. In the above photograph I am sat next to my Miss 3, then my lovely neighbour and her son, Master 6, and then my daughter, Miss 7. Master 6 has an older sister, Miss 10 (same age as our eldest), and unfortunately we couldn’t persuade the older girls out of the house for our little waterfront excursion (but it was the day after Disneyland – so they were a little jaded!). They had a great time having the house and pool to themselves, whilst we enjoyed the company of the younger children.

The sand-dunes were, as always, a great attraction for the young ones. They adored running up them and jumping down, trying to take off in the air as they flew down the sand. The man of the house watched over the play and added to the thrills, whilst my friend and I watched on.

sanddunes by the marina

After our play in the dunes we headed to Stearns Wharf and the lovely Ty Warner Sea Center there.

Ty Warner Center

 

It’s a great little place of learning. There were some children demonstrating how to extract goo from kelp and there were lots of questions and gasps of amazement at how the seaweed extract is used in toothpaste and ice-cream.

Upstairs in the centre is a lovely jelly-fish exhibit and opportunities for children to make their own puppet shows, or just enjoy a quiet read.

Ty Warner Center

 

The visit to the pier was made complete with ice-creams, a few squashed penny souvenirs and a rather freaky, larger than life onion ring – that the man of the house wished could be the ‘One Ring to Rule Them All’… as in his three daughters behaving themselves 😉

One rather large onion ring

 

 

 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Weekending It! All action!

Having the man of the house home at the weekend gives us family time to get out and really explore this place – and we certainly had an action packed weekend of it!

The man of the house

Whilst the rest of us were barely awake he headed off for an early morning paddle board, returning back mid-morning for a quick appointment with a lady from a tutoring business, as we’re organising tutors for our older girls in some key subjects, to compliment their ‘natural learning’.

Then we all headed out for a family time of biking along the beautiful Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara, to the marina area for lunch.

We found a great cafe called, ‘Endless Summer’, right next to the Maritime Museum. It was the most relaxed, family lunch we’ve enjoyed in a while. A perfect setting, beautiful scenery and a fantastic, affordable, children’s menu (win, win!).

View over marina from Endless Summer Cafe

After lunch, and cycling back towards the central town of Santa Barbara, we enjoyed a little browse in the ‘Funk Zone’, where we found a gorgeous antique shop, jam packed, from floor to ceiling, with treasures, as well as a cute little surf museum.

Funk Zone Santa Barbara

After a busy morning, we went home for an afternoon rest before visiting friends in the evening.

Sunday was another action packed day.

We decided to head south to Santa Monica Pier and the fairground there.

Santa Monica Pier

We all had a fabulous time, with lots of rides to keep our youngest child amused, as well as the older ones.

Fun at the Fair

 

Santa Monica Pier

Just as we were heading back to the car, for drive home to Santa Barbara, we saw a man with two snakes! Our Miss 10 would so love a pet snake, but our rental agreement wouldn’t allow it – not to mention we wouldn’t be able to take a snake back to New Zealand with us! It was a dream come true for her to hold the snakes. She did so well holding the weight of two rather large snakes – combined weight of 60 pounds!

Miss 10 and 2 snakes!

On the drive back, as the sun began to sink low in the sky over the Pacific Ocean, we stopped at a huge sand dune, over looking a beautiful bay.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean

Of course sand and children are always a fun mix – especially when sand is banked up very high for climbing up and running (or rolling) down.

Sand dune fun California

Next time we pass we’ll have to make sure we have a boogie board in the back, or a piece of cardboard… it reminded me of an adventure Dan and I enjoyed on Fraser Island years ago – boogie boarding down a dune into a lake!

Sand dune fun

We got home just after sunset and whilst unpacking the car (looked more like we’d been away for a week!), the man of the house got in the pool with the children. Just when I thought we were done for the day, and steering towards bedtime, a Suzy Cato DVD inspired an experiment with purple cabbage on the different between acid and alkaline (fact sheet, thanks to Suzy, here). Being in a natural learning way, we embraced the moment and did a science experiment before bedtime (as you do!).

We all finally got to sleep – close to 11pm!