Thankful for the relaxing times

What a lovely Thanksgiving break we had with a day out with friends in Oakland for a beautiful vegetarian feast of Quorn and all the trimmings with a yummy salad and vegan mango cheesecake I made for dessert. The cat stood in the pumpkin pie our friends made and they had mini pecan pies as well – we were well and truly stuffed by the time we left their house that evening.

The break began on Wednesday which made a total of 5 days of just chilling! I had to complete a paper for University on the Humanist perspective on behaviour in the classroom – whew! So that took up a lot of my time as I was exhausted from work. The bonus of Wednesday was that I chatted to our architect in Melbourne and viewed concepts of our house for the future – I was thrilled to see how beautiful it will be! Patience and we will get there, one step at a time…

Anyway back to relaxing! We booked a campsite from Friday through to Sunday for our time away at Samuel Taylor State Park. We arrived late on Friday with just enough light to find our little tent spot and heat up out leftover dinner of the Thanksgiving feast, so that was super easy. It did not take long to get into relaxing mode and realise this is it under the trees for a couple of days. The campsite was perfect for entertaining, and our friends were on the site right next door to us. The bonus was that the bathrooms were a quick walk down the hill, I would definitely book that site again in the future!

Saturday came, and we wondered what to do – the vote was to do something low key and relaxing. So we opted for a trip to the beach for the day. Our beach of choice was Limantour beach just a short drive away from Point Reyes Station. We had been to Point Reyes before, and we really loved our adventure there, but that was about 8 years ago when Missy was a baby, now look at her in the water enjoying the freezing cold Pacific Ocean. I wanted to feel the ocean on my toes, but I did not last long as it was ice cold! The waves were beautiful to see, and the kids enjoyed getting their pants all wet and playing hide and seek in the spiky grass.

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We packed up a picnic lunch of egg mayo sandwiches for me with some fruit and beers for the gang, and we just enjoyed listening to the sound of the waves and reading our books. Currently, I am reading Pie by Sarah Weeks, as my daughter recommended I read it! I have been really enjoying kids Graphic Novels and Young Adult books when I have the opportunity to read.

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My friend was reading this book called The Seed Collectors now if you look at the text of that book above I would say that is my family written in the book. When I looked at the family tree at the back of the book, my name would be Bryony in their family. This was really strange to see most of my family written about in a book, I will have to read it one day! Apparently, the kids have those names in the book as the names of the people in the family are named after trees and plants.

A highlight of the beach day out was seeing this guy with his rescue horses and riding them along the beach. One of the horses was just wandering around without a rope looking wild and beautiful! We patted the horses and chatted to the rider, and he said both of his horses were rescue horses. He told us briefly of the stories of the horse he was riding was super skinny when she was rescued. The red stallion was a rescue too, and he mentioned a tragic story about the horse’s parents (I would rather not hear if it is a sad story about animals). He gave me hope and faith in humanity that he rescues these amazing creatures and lets them run free to greet people with their incredible presence and energy.

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Here we are ready to leave the beach, it was such a relaxing day that we did not want to go but all good things come to an end, and we slept so well that night. The next morning we woke up to hear rain on the tent and feel a puddle forming beneath the tarp! We hightailed it out of there.

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The gang getting ready to leave the beach – boo hoo!

 

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Monkeys in a gingko tree
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Kids entertainment at the amphitheatre

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So Sunday morning we woke up to rain and plenty of it, so we packed up our gear and put all the wet stuff in the car and off we drove to the closest coffee shop before we headed home! It was such a beautiful time under the redwoods, and Samuel Taylor State Park is a super special park with hikes and beaches close by.

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Driving home on the I-280 seeing The Dish speaking to the Aliens

 

 

A piece a Week – Thanksgiving Camping at Little Basin State Park

Finally a week to relax and chill out – I mean literally! It was a two day week of school which was just lovely and the hubby and I got to go and see The Hunger Games – Mockingjay part 2 which I loved! As it the trilogy was my favorite read over the summer. With the kids out from school from Wednesday it was time to just catch up on stuff and get ready for our visit to our friends place in Oakland for Thanksgiving. I made yummy key lime pies for dessert and we had a veggie feast of Quorn and amazing sides including a sweet potato mash bake with candied pecans – yum! 
After our feast we had the leftovers ready for our weekend getaway of camping at Little Basin State Park – I booked the cabins in summer when we visited over June this year when it was nice and warm and I thought from our thanksgiving weekend at Napa last year with the rain it would be full of banana slugs. Unfortunately, this year we were like frozen popsicles due to super cold temperatures – the cabins are heated but with a heater that sits atop the ceiling it is quite inefficient!! As it turns out you can talk to the front office about getting a space heater for your cabin as they know! 
On our arrival the kids found the naturalist from the WOLF (Web of Life Field) School and we went searching for newts, slugs and fish in the creek – there was nothing to be found, the creek was dry and the weather was super cold! Not even a banana slug in sight, though we did find a lot of cool looking fungi. 
The kids with Sunshine the Naturalist from the WOLF school
The dark of night arrived just after 5pm and the weather was super cold by then and we had to get that extra layer of warmth on – meaning put on the thermals and add that extra knitted layer of cashmere plus another wool layer to keep the cold out. The fire was amazing but as soon as we hit the cabin it was a night of chills even in our sleeping bag and underneath a blanket – oh that space heater would have been amazing!!
Kids enjoying the fire at night after their one pot mac and cheese straight out of the Annie’s box

The next day after thawing out by the fire and having a very long breakfast and sleep in due to the super cold morning. Everyone stayed tucked away in our sleeping bags until one of the boys started a fire for breakfast. It was so icy cold and after breakfast we were ready for a short hike through the forest to get the blood flowing and some exercise.

From little trees big trees grow!

Playing with the equipment before the hike

Little berries on moss found on the hike

The morning we were leaving the overnight low was around -1 degrees C (30F) and the kids had found some frost on the ground which was so beautiful and very difficult to capture with a camera.

Their first discovery of frost on the weeds

A frosty stick 

Frosty stars in the grass

A frosty clover

Heading back for my breakfast of eggs in holes hot off a iron skillet on the fire I found some beautiful redwoods and acorns on the way back to the cabin. I always appreciate the view of the sunshine beaming through a grove of redwood trees.

Beautiful sunshine keep me warm!

An acorn family

Our cabin number 9 was a perfect hideaway

Thanks to some neighbors leaving on the Saturday who donated us some big logs of wood for our fire we were warm as toast for Saturday evening and Sunday morning it was pancakes on the grill by request of the kids.

Pancakes on the iron skillets – perfect!

Close up of the warmth of the fire, just toasty

Finally it was time to check out of camping and boy we were ready to head on home to our cozy houses and have a shower!

The gang outside our cabin ready to head on home!!