The Finches

Charlotte and Ella: Two moms who met on the Internet and love design, simplicity, and sustainability.

 

 

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Entries in Family Adventures (8)

Saturday
Feb222014

Geocaching With Kids | San Diego Family Activities

 

 

I have always know what geocaching was, but never gave it much thought.  Then, I kept seeing pictures in my facebook newsfeed of an amazing family we know geocaching all over...well, the world. It looked fun, it looked kinda easy as far as not needing anything special goes and we figured there was no harm in trying! 

So, now we are hooked.

Wes especially.

A few friends have asked what Geocaching is, and I thought it would be easiest to explain it here!

So, Geocaching uses GPS coordinates to direct you towards, what amounts to, a treasure chest (a cache) that someone else has hidden for you to find.  Cache (the treasure box) sizes can be big, or small.  Easy to find or insanely hard to find. People get crafty, and sneaky and...it is awesome. Sometimes the cache has little prizes in it.  Other times the unit is so small, as pictured above there is just a log big enough to sign. 

What do you need to get started Geocaching? Nothing that you don't already (most likely) have.  You will need....

 

  • A (free) account on www.geocaching.com so you can figure out where you want to go
  • Something that can track your GPS coordinates with, like a smartphone or a handheld GPS navigator - On Gray's phone (android) we have downloaded (for $10.00) the geocaching app that gives you access to all of the cache coordinates and you can search for sites using the purchased app.  On my phone (iphone) we have the free geocaching app that shows you the cache sites that are closest to you, ONLY.   
  • A pen
  • A small trinket or two to place in the cache so your child (or you) can take a piece of swag IF there is any and the cache is big enough. 

 

How we roll...

 

  1. We decide to go geocaching
  2. Scope out the area we want to go geocaching in, either on our app, or on the computer.
  3. Then, we think about swag (treasure), and hunt down something in our house to make or bring. 
  4. Next up, we grab some water, a pen, our swag and our cell phone
  5. We head out the door (because with two kids, it is just as simple as walking out the door, right?)
  6. We pull the location up on our phone and follow the guide to get to where we are going! Wes likes to pick up trash while we make our way to the coordinate site. He thinks he is a trash truck....we just go with it. 
     
  7. When you get to the GPS location, you start your hunt.  It can be made of anything and hidden anywhere.  Geocaching.com will tell you how big the unit is so you can be a little prepared, and also know that if you are wanting your preschooler to take the lead with finding the cache, you most likely don't want to choose a micro cache. 
     
  8. When (if) you find the cache, sign your name on the log, check out the swag, and add something. Wes got a sweet ninja the other day - this was one of the bigger cache containers we have found.  The smallest being a mini altoid box. 
  9. The general rule of swag is that IF you take something, then you need to leave an item of equal or greater value. Gray has been making some fun wooden figures to leave as our calling card.  

It has been quite a bit of fun for us as adults, and it has been a wonderful conversation starter as far as tracking goes with Wes.  In the near future I am hoping to get a trackable geocaching item so we can leave it as swag, and then, since it is a trackable item, you can log on and see where it is traveling to around the city/state/country/world/universe (there is a cache on the International Space Station). 

 

 

Thursday
Aug232012

Gearing Up | Camping With A Toddler

Hey there! 

The Beasts battery died in his camera, and we are really lazy have yet to buy new ones, so I figured that I would write a little post about our upcoming adventure.  

Check out what Charlotte and her family are up to while they do their shake down cruise

In a few days we are leaving for an epic week of camping.  Every year we head up to Sequoia National Forest over the labor day weekend, however, this year, Charlotte and her family have made our trip a bit more exciting and have invited us out to Two Harbors Catalina to camp for several days, then, we when we return Catalina, we will hop off the boat, head to our car and drive directly up to meet my Dad in the Sequoias.


As adults, Gray and I are excited. As a toddler who knows what a boat is, the beast can't wait for our "boat trip" and "camping". Dude loves camping. He loves camping so much that he has been crying daily because he thinks every time we hop in the car, we are going on the "boat trip".......which means we have been doing a lot of ordering online (Thanks Amazon Prime!) instead of buying in person

We do a lot of camping as a family, but all of our camping gear up to this point has been a hodge podge of thrown together stuff in some shoddy Tupperware contain. So, since we will be carrying all of our gear on to the Catalina Express, and none of our bags can be bigger than 36" and we will have to wrangle a toddler who is excited about the boat. I didn't want to deal with 6 bags, loose ends and chaos. We also needed to streamline our gear because we will have to leave some of it in the car is an organized way. 

So what changes have we made to our gear?

Rio Grande Backpack (45L) from Army Surpluss World

Our first change was how we carried stuff. We snagged a duffle bag and backpack from an Army Surplus store. I know our backpack is not actual surplus, just designed to mimic it, but the price was right, the zippers are sturdy and so is the stitching. Works for us. It isn't beautiful, but it gets the job done. 


Top Load Canvas Duffle Bag (21" x 36") from Amazon

We also snagged a duffle bag for items like sleeping bags, pillows and clothes. I am really excited about the bags because this also means storing of camping items will be easier, and less spread out. Making our camping trips more pleasant. 

Backpacking Pinnacle Dualist by GSI

This is quite possibly what I am most excited about. Our cooking items for camping have taken up so much space. An old pan, some huge plastic plates, random cups. However, no more! Not for us. This nesting mess kit includes a 1.8L pot, a lid that can act as a strainer, a bag that acts as a sink, two cups, two insulated bowls and two spoons. Perfect for our family of three (we picked up an extra spork for The Beast). This is exciting. Be excited. I am excited. 

Everything else we picked up was pretty mundane, reusable dish cloths from the 99 cent store instead of paper towels, Freeze Dried Fruits and Vegetables Sample Pack so we can avoid dealing with a cooler on the island and some canteens. 

We are set!

My next task that I need to tackle before Saturday, activates for the the car ride to the Catalina Island Express, and from the ferry terminal to Sequoia National Forest.

Bring it on! 

Sunday
Apr152012

Street Taco Sunday | Summer Time

How is it that the weekends where we don't have to be anywhere, or do anything are some of the best weekends?  Today Gray, The Beast and I had zero responsibilities and we rocked it pretty hard. I made some things I had been wanting to try, Gray got to brew and Wes got to spend the day outside. 

We hunted for bugs, planted some flowers to attract the birds to our new bird feeder, and I dip dyed play silk for The Beast. 

We made a pom pom garland (and talked about colors), covered the cat in felt (and talked about colors - urple!) and jumped on the bed. 

Gray and The Beast brewed beer together (Don't worry, we are only sort of ruining his life) 

And, the best part of the day?  

Street taco Sunday is now back on the menu! I love, love, love our warm weather family tradition and can't wait to start sharing the meal with friends and family! Anyone want in? I promise we won't let The Beast use his hands. 

That was our Sunday, how was yours?

Thursday
Mar082012

WeeRide Toddler Bike Seat | Family Adventures

Gray and I have been looking into bike seats for The Beast for the past several months. It was a long process just because we do ride around town and wanted to take a look at all of our options - and there are a lot of them. Front vs. back mounted, seat vs. Bike trailer, ibert vs. WeeRide, Kangaroo Seat vs. yepp, the possibilities go on and on. 


In the end we decided on a front mount seat. Relatively new to America but for us there were a lot of features that we liked. Mostly, we liked that we had our sneaky toddler right where we could see him. Meaning we* didn't have to keep turning our heads to check on him and his shenanigans. We can keep our eyes on what is in front of us.  We also liked, that if something were to happen, like a fall, he is in arms reach for us to protect.  



So, our choices boiled down to the iBert, Yepp, and the WeeRide Kangaroo Child Bike Seat.  We ended up going with the WeeRide Kangaroo Seat because of how it mounted (not on the stem of the bike). The WeeRide is center mounted, meaning it is mounted on the bar that connects the handle bars to the seat area. Additionally, the WeeRide has a nice high weight limit of 40 lbs, with several adjustable points for your growing kiddo. The adjustable part was a big deal for us as well, as our concern with the iBert was that the stationary legs would be limiting for a growing human.  


Prior to buying it we were worried about how Gray and The Beast would fit together on the bike and Gray's legs being squished. As you can see, it isn't an issue for my 5'11", spider-legged husband. He does ride a bit differently with his knees turned out just a little bit more, but nothing that is uncomfortable for him or too different from when he rides solo. Oh, and speaking of ridding solo, when it comes to taking the seat off, it takes about 23.7 seconds.  The mounting bar will alway stay in place, but the seat itself is very easy to take off for when he rides alone. 

So, that is that! We rode for a little over an hour and a half today and had a blast!  The Beast kept signing "more" and saying "go go go go go!!!!!" when we had to stop for a light. Which to me says there will be many more adventures in our future. We don't have a single bad thing to say about the seat yet except it isn't as modern looking as the Yepp Mini Bicycle Child Seat or the iBert Safe-T-Seat Front Child Seat but we are totally fine with that because of how stable the seat feels on the bike. 

A little bit more about our gear if you are curious:

  • I ended up buying Gray a new bike, nothing fancy - it was just $300 (with no sales tax and free shipping- thanks Amazon!) It is a Diamondback 2012 Sorrento Mountain Bike (Satin Black)
  • The Beast has a Bell Toddler Sprout Bike Helmet, he is 19 months, but has a small head. We never could have gotten one online though as it is really important to try it on before buying and size them out. Come to think of it, Gray and I also have Bell helmets - they really work for us. 

* We = Gray. I am not comfortable enough on a bike to ride with The Beast. Gray is a pro, so Wes will always ride with Gray. 

Thursday
Jan052012

Hail Mary | New Years Eve With A baby


So, over the past week or so, I think I have come to the conclusion that New Year's Eve, may quite possibly be my new favorite holiday. My 20 something (and single - Hey, hey ladies!!) brother-in-law might have been bored to tears, but I had an amazing time, and since I am the one writing this blog entry, that is all that matters. 

I was determined to have a fun family night at home instead of sitting around being bored unable to watch the ball drop (we got rid of cable long ago). So, to start the afternoon off right, Wes and I made the garland pictured above.  I did the cutting and sewing, Wes did the gluing, and glittering the hell out of those stars - and anything within a 20 mile radius. (Whoever invented glitter was an asshat, an amazing, amazing asshat. Pardon my language, but I can't help but think the creator of glitter giggled as they thought of what they had just invented. They had to have known it would be too awesome for any mortal to resist, but awful enough for people to curse it on a daily basis). 

Then, we made more decorations. I use the term 'we' loosely because Wes sucks at sewing, and Gray and his brother were outside brewing beer.

We all made our own individual pizzas (and to answer your questions, yes, a toddler making pizza naked is totally acceptable in our household, and again, yes, Wes did make a mushroom, pineapple, tomato, pepperoni pizza.)

A fort, with scary monster included, were up next:

We finished the night off with a night cap of sparkling cider that we drank out of champagne glasses and lots of balloons. 

It was awesome. 

Then the kid went to bed, we watched a movie, and drank champagne out of non-plastic champagne glasses while we rang in the new year.