Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Camping in Julian - William Heise County Park

     When I first started this blog, I envisioned many more travel posts than I have written.  I love traveling, seeing new places, meeting people, usually speaking Spanish, eating yummy food and relaxing on warm beaches with cold beers.  And I know there are lots more amazing travel adventures in my future, but for the last two years, and maybe the next few, our travels are keeping us closer to home.  We have still been exploring new places and eating good food.  There has been some speaking of Spanish, but less than in the past.  And less drinking of cold beers too.

     Most of the traveling in these last few years has been camping.  I love camping, like, love, love!  I have been camping with my family my whole life and it is something Kyle and I have been doing together pretty much since we started dating.  We may live in the city, but I am an open spaces, trees, ponds, fresh air, flowers, beaches, streams, sitting on rocks or in the dirt, easy hiking kind of girl.  I do not need to backpack to the top of the highest mountain (done it, contemplated trying to get med-evac'ed - true story!)  But I do need to get out of the city, shut off my phone, play with the people I love, and breathe.

    In the 4 1/2 years we have lived in San Diego we have camped in a few different spots.  Laguna Mountain a few times, and most recently when Annie was only 4 months old.

    Near Idyllwild with friends the first summer we lived here.  How did I not take any pictures here?

     Palomar mountain twice, once when there was ice on the ground and we had the campsite to ourselves.  Once when it was hot and crowded and 6 month old Annie cried the whole night.  Sorry again, campground neighbors.

    Near San Gorgonio with friends when we first told them all I was pregnant.

    In the snow in Mammoth on Memorial Day.  I kept whispering to Kyle - "we can pack up and go home anytime, just so you know".  But that hike, in the snow, to the gorgeous frozen pond, Buddy's last hike and maybe happiest day of his life, made it so worth the cold.

    Outside of Bishop and outside of Yosemite on our way to Lake Tahoe.

    And most recently, this past weekend to a campsite just outside of Julian.  For those who don't live near here, Julian is a tiny mountain town known for its apple pie.  They have at least 4 pie shops in the 3 blocks of town and sell apple pie all year round.  You can buy a whole pie, or just get a warm slice with ice cream, cinnamon ice cream.  How awesome a town is this?  And all this time living here, only 1 hour away, and we had never been.  And then a few weeks ago, right after we sold our warm and easy to set up, but tiny 3 person backpacking tent and bought a huge 6 person tent, and have been wishing and planning and talking pretty much all the time about camping, I read a blog post.  Shocking! Ha! I read too many of those every day!  But this post was different.  It was about camping.  Family camping.  Family camping with pets!  And it talked about this beautiful campground, pet friendly, family friendly, full of hiking trails, only one hour from San Diego… and right outside of Julian!  Perfect! Read her (much more concise) post here!

William Heise County Park - Go there!

    It was hot and dry, but come on, it is mid July in San Diego, two years in to a pretty serious drought, we knew what we were getting in to.  The campsites were big, ours (site 91) had shade at all times of day, and no close neighbors.  It wasn't a huge hike to the bathrooms, but no one was walking through or past our site to get there.  There was a water spigot two sites down.  The dogs had lots of space to explore.  We were right across from the trailhead.   And one of my favorite parts - our whole loop was tent only, no RVs! Amazing! And the entire campsite was no generators.  Double amazing!  There was also a playground by the campground entrance.  But in case you are someone who is delirious from pie and ice cream like we were when arriving and don't notice how far it is from the entrance to your site, it is far!  We decided to take a quick walk down before going on a hike, and let me just say, after walking back up that enormous hill, we did not go on a hike!

 So here it is in a more logical sequence, our quick weekend in Julian!

Pie, ice cream and a fruitless attempt to buy Annie a sun hat in town.  Someone forgot to pack hers.

Playing at the campsite.

Exploring the trails.

She speaks for the trees!
And the trees want you to know she is a little sad after Lacey
helped her hit her head on the pavement.  

Recovering from all that hard hiking!

Discovering gorp and M&Ms.  Don't worry, I have bleach.

Obsessively playing in the car.

Dinner.  We love cooking good food while camping.  It is one of our favorite activities.  This trip dinner was mac and cheese, and chicken, mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper and onion skewers.  I cut, marinaded (olive oil, soy sauce, peanut sauce, sriracha) and skewered everything at home, threw them in a foil covered pan, and threw that in the cooler.  Okay, okay, carefully placed so it wouldn't spill.  We wanted delicious, and something we could feel pretty confident that Annie would actually eat, but not too time consuming or tricky.  This was the first camping with Annie in about a year, and we weren't exactly sure how it was going to go.

Her first ever s'mores.  She did not like the sticky fingers.  Poor, poor mama had to clean them off for her.  Its never too early to get the head lamps ready.

Rinse all the yucky goodness out of your mouth!

Milk, snuggles, songs and bedtime.  All went well until about 1:30am when she woke up and realized we were all in the tent together.  This was obviously worthy of some celebration.  A long ergo walk, another cup of milk, a pretty serious sleeper hold and several rounds of Baby Beluga finally got her back to sleep about 2 hours later.  Not the best, not the worst.

Amazing morning expedition outfit.

Breakfast.  Again, we really get behind cooking and eating while camping (like we don't the rest of the time, ha!)  Breakfast burritos are a favorite.  If you have lots of people, are staying several days, are somewhere cold or just feel like making a fire in the morning, we learned a great breakfast burrito trick from our friends Mo and Gabe on our first Southern California camping trip.  Make a fire, make a bowl out of tinfoil, fill with raw, beaten eggs, cheese and all your other yummy burrito fillings, fold up that foil tight, and throw it in the fire!  Every once in a while peak inside.  As soon as the eggs are done, open it up, plop it in a tortilla and you are done.  It was not cold, and we did not feel like making a fire, so camping stove it was.  Eggs, bacon, avo and tortillas that may have been heated up in a little of the leftover bacon grease.  mmmmmm.

Monumental voyage to the playground.

More gorp, selfies, pregnancy announcement family photo session and packing up.

Annie gets to nap in the car.  Mom and Dad are tired, but happy, all afternoon.  And we just kept pretending we were still camping.  Hot dogs for lunch (and a beer for Dad.)  More gorp, and lots of playing in the car in the backyard.

We wish we had had more patience/ done some better planning and been able to get a spot for two nights.  We probably would have made it on an actual hike.  The beginning of the trail and the views from it were gorgeous.  I totally recommend this campsite for any San Diego friends wanting a quick get away.  You will have to let us know how the hiking trails are!

Did we miss any great camping spots in Southern California?  What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Something New

     These last few weeks I have been sewing, sewing, sewing!  Fulfilling a bib wholesale order for Sprouts in Whitefish, MT, and building up my inventory for a sale at Mosaic Yoga (an event and a place that are owed their own blog post, coming soon, I hope!)  The local stores are holding so much of my inventory, which is normally fantastic, much better they have my bibs and onesies out for display daily, for customers to see, than to have them sitting in a bag, in a cupboard in my dining room.  But when it comes time for a craft fair, I need to fill that booth up!  So that means sewing bibs and bibs and bibs.  Embroidering as many onesies as I can.  And for this sale I was really trying to sew as many baby and toddler clothes as I could.  I have been loving playing with, tweaking and perfecting my clothing patterns.  I love what I came up with in the end and was super proud to hang them on my antique windows in my market display.  But my friends, my new clothes are also a post for another day.  A post for when I have had time to have a decent photo shoot so I can show you the clothes they way they deserve to look.  I love these clothes and I have been reading this incredible ebook, Style That Kid by Alida Makes (not an affiliate link, I just love it and think you should buy it!) and just can not bring myself to post pictures of my clothes now without using all I am learning about how to show them off!

    So all this talk of posts for another day, what on Earth can this be about?

My ring sling!  Your what?  I know that's what some of you are thinking.  Well, let me show you!

    This is a ring sling! A super easy and low tech baby carrier! All you need is a long piece of fabric ( something sturdier than quilting cotton, though) and some strong rings.  It works for brand new, snuggly, floppy newborns, and big, strong, independent but sometimes in the mood for snuggles, toddlers, and everything in between.  I have been wanting one for months.  There was even a slightly frustrating and stress inducing attempt to buy one made from a Girasol wrap from another mom, with three failed attempts at meeting up, two of which involved a crying Annie and one of which involved being lost in North County with a dead cell phone.  I am so glad that none of those attempts worked out, because I am so in love with this one that I made!  And bonus! It was so easy and cheap!

    The fabric I used is called Cambaya.  It is woven in Mexico and is what traditional rebozos (baby wraps) are made out of; the fabric is literally made to carry babies!  There are many patterns and colors, all bright and beautiful.  And the best part?  I bought this at the Spring Valley Swap Meet.  10 minutes from my house, a little adventure and some exercise on a gorgeous saturday morning, found Annie a beautiful embroidered dress and a bubble gun, and this fabric for only $2.00 per yard!  Swap meet, guys, amazing!


    Fabric found and baby carrier grade rings purchased, all that was left was to find out how to safely make this happen!  Anyone who wants to make their own (and if you have a sewing machine, you can make one, it is seriously that easy) check out this page!  She makes and sells fantastic and totally trustworthy ring slings, but also has pages and pages of information on how to make your own, from what kind and how much fabric you will need, why strong rings are important, to the most important of all, tutorials on how to make your own, including video tutorials for different shoulder styles.  The slings she makes use a copyrighted style known as an Eesti shoulder, two small pleats on the sides and gathered in the middle, and she even shows you how to do it.  

    So only 45 minutes after searching the google, I got to do this!

And 5 minutes later when Annie woke up, I got to do this!

    So thank you to the sewing friend on Facebook who posted about Cambaya at the swap meet.  Thank you to all the babywearing mamas who led to my coveting ring slings.  And a huge thank you to Jan from Sleeping Baby Productions for sharing your knowledge, skills and style for free online.  It is incredibly kind of you to do so.  And thank you Annie for still wanting to cuddle with your mama (while brushing your teeth) and for looking so cute all wrapped up in this fabric!

I love quick projects and the instant gratification rush I get when they are done and I love actually sewing something for myself!  This was the perfect post craft sale project for yesterday's nap!  And now she is awake again, time to go convince her to do more snuggling!