Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lots of fish, carousels and lousy photos...

That's mostly what I saw/did in California. Not a lot of pics to be shared this time, as most of my photos were incredibly blurry. I blame the shakiness on jet lag. Yeah. That's it. Jet lag.


We flew into San Francisco and explored the town for a few days before driving down the coast to Carmel by the Sea, where my brother was getting married. SF is a great town, with an astonishing number of carousels. But it's DAMN cold there. Seriously, Iceland was warmer.

The first day we arrived, we checked into the hotel and wandered down to Pier 39. Holy cheezball tourist trap. But still, lots of fun.

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The Aquarium of the Bay was our first stop, and it was SO much fun to go through the tunnels and gape at the sharks swimming over our heads.

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As you can see, the kids enjoyed themselves too. Perhaps in different ways...but there were still many giggles. After that, we wandered up and down the pier, watched the sea lion sunning themselves (stinky!),

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ate our way through the wharf, watched a pirate magic show, and the kids had their first ride on a carousel. After that, we crashed at the hotel. We were staying on Fisherman's Wharf, and the view was stunning.

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Though, just looking at Alcatraz gave me the willies, day or night.

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There's some seriously bad vibes coming out of that place.

The next day we visited Golden Gate Park, and the California Academy of Sciences.

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I think that this was my favourite of the aquarium/museums that we visited. It was AMAZING. Highly recommend it if you're in SF, above all other options.

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Honestly, we could have stayed there all day and night.

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Here are some of the denizens of the Academy:

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and after we left the Academy, guess what we found? An awesome playground, complete with carousel.

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Next post, the Exploratorium and *that* bridge.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


That's what it felt like, the brief two week period between trips last month. During that time, we threw Mr. Munchkin an awesome birthday party at the Halifax Citadel. The fella in charge of the party dressed all the boys up in kilts, handed them wooden muskets and marched them around the parade grounds. AND encouraged them to swarm random tourists wandering through the park. Best part was that the tourists either giggled, roared back enthusiastically at the boys or took pictures of them.


I mean, really...isn't it every boy's dream to be encouraged to run rampage through a fort with cannons? We were lucky enough to be at the fort during Canada's Parks Day, so there was the added bonus of an artillery display. Lots and lots of cannons going off at all times. And men in kilts.


While the birthday was pretty simple to put together, I couldn't help myself and needed to craft a little something...just to take the edge off.


There were two toddler girls at the party - Doodle and Miss E. And they needed loot bags too, right? Since I knew that Alison would be the kind of gal to appreciate something handmade, I whipped up these two crayon/notepad pouches for the wee girls. Made from scraps from the linen napkins, they came together rather quickly. I've since absconded with the one that held Miss E's stuff. It's the perfect size for a catch-all in my purse. She hasn't noticed yet. Shhhhh.

The other crafting that I did during the sweet sweet downtime was to make something for the flight to California. I don't know about you, but I'm willing to do anything it takes to amuse two kids on a cross-continent spare my sanity and that of my fellow travellers. From this cute tutorial, I made Miss E a travelling dollhouse.

I think that my seam allowances were off, but otherwise...this was a very gratifying crafty experience. If I were to make another one, I think that I'd use less obnoxious hair elastics for the fasteners. But otherwise, GREAT tutorial.


Lots of applique (yes, I know the thread on the door is loose - these pics were taken AFTER the trip, so the house has gone through a lot of lovin' already...)


She loved it. And I loved the peace and quiet on the plane. I even got some knitting done! Miracles of miracles. Next up, California!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Knights! Who sometimes say Ni.

Which is to say that most of our time in Germany was spent with my in-laws, packing, sorting and pitching stuff out the door of Mr. Ninja's childhood home. But, there was one day...

We went to a medieval faire! In a castle! In Germany!!!


Ok, now that I've got that out of my system, here are some pics.

We drove to the medieval market with friends of ours who are really into the whole scene - they have costumes, a tent, etc. Since we were only driving up for the day, they didn't bother with most of that, but they did go in costume, which was awesome. Especially considering the heat which was hovering somewhere around 36 degrees Celsius, not including humidity.

The market was held in a castle ruin somewhere in the Pfalz (the name of the town escapes me).

The booths all lined the path, and there were the most amazing food, trinkets, and weapon/armor vendors.

We saw trees


small duels

large duels

and encampments.

The last encampment even had a working trebuchet that they were using to fling water balloons at a bunch of giggling kids.

As fun as the market was, the best part of the day (for me!) was still to come. We accompanied our friends to a BBQ at their friend's home - an old farm. And when I say old, I think that it dated back to something like 1627.

But guess what they were raising on the farm?

ALPACAS! Who were getting sheared. What a perfect day, eh?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It just doesn't stop, does it...

Sorry about the delay in the Iceland travelogue, but I was away last week in California. I tell you, the jet lag is messing me up something fierce. I hope to wake up sometime before noon before the month is over. Anyway...on our last day in Iceland, we packed up and sadly left the cottage. Headed to Keflavik and the world famous Blue Lagoon. But on the way, we saw a turn off, and spontaneously decided to investigate.

We were rewarded with a lava tube to explore!

It had collapsed at one end, so it wasn't really viable to explore. But it was very fun to clamber around on the rocks.

After this, we drove a little further west and checked into our hotel, which was right next to the Blue Lagoon.

The buildings with the red roofs are the hotel complex and you can see the geothermal heating plant that is the source of the Blue Lagoon's heat just behind the hotel. Btw, I highly recommend the Northern Light Inn - it's a great place, family-run operation, and the food is super nummy.

Needless to say, we spent the rest of the day in the Blue Lagoon. In all honestly, I wasn't overly impressed with the place. After seeing the fantastic swimming pools in the rest of Iceland, the BL struck me as a real tourist trap. Additionally, the fact that NO ONE (especially the beer swilling pack of Russian men who hogged the entire counter at the swim-up bar) ever got out of the lagoon to go to the bathroom...was seriously icky. And you know that there aren't any chemicals in the ewwwwww.

The next day, we flew to Germany. But we'll definitely be going back to Iceland someday!