Holiday Packing in the Fall

It’s hard to believe that November is here!  The balmy weather has quickly turned to rain, puddles and cooler temperatures.   I still haven’t bought a blanket scarf, but I have been wearing my booties and last year’s plaid scarf.

Just a peak of plaid.
Just a peak of plaid.

We are fortunate to be taking a trip to Maui next week.  It was booked about 6 months ago when there was a seat sale on our favourite airline, so we decided to take advantage.  We have a couple sets of friends who will also be there, so it will make for a fun family time.

But while I am looking forward to our trip, I still have to pack.

If you have read this blog over the past couple years, you will know that I don’t like packing.  I can pack for the kids with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back.  But when it comes to my own clothes, I tend to freeze and get overwhelmed.  With time, I would say it is getting better and for beach holidays, you really don’t need to pack a lot.  Do you?

When in doubt, head to Pinterest.  Here’s what I have found to make my own packing experience easier:

packing tips spring break
This list looks like it would be easy to follow.
packing tips family beach vacation
The visuals in this picture look simple and would be easy to pack.
beach packing
I like this grouping with all the options for what you pack.
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Lastly, this grouping looks so simple that you could probably pack the day before you leave!

Wish me luck over the next few days as I bring out the suitcases and start to pack. I’ll post my struggles and success and show you which packing tips I used.  If you have any tips for warm warm holiday packing, please let me know!

linking up with: Fashion Should Be FunJaymie AshcraftJo-Lynne Shane

Essentials every vacation property needs

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Do you have a vacation home?  Do you rent it out?  Or maybe you like to have your holiday in a rented cabin or cottage.  We used to own a vacation cottage on a nearby island and since selling it, we frequently rent a cottage/cabin/townhouse when we travel.  Although hotels are great for the pool, room service and air conditioning, the space that you usually get with a cabin usually can’t be beat!

From our experience renting out our own place and from staying at someone else’s, we found some key areas that should always be well taken care of.

Great bathroom towels – it may be cost efficient to take your old towels to the cottage but not everyone wants to exfoliate when they towel off.  Winners, Homesense, and Ikea all have a great selection of towels at reasonable prices.

Soft sheets – the same thing I said for towels goes for sheets.  Rough and tough sheets don’t make for sweet dreams.

Beds – please don’t put the old futon from the basement and the crappy mattress that has been around since you can’t remember when into your cottage or cabin.  Guests will continue to come back if they have had a great sleep and lumpy squeaky mattresses are not what dreams are made of.

Curtains – think about which direction your windows face.  If a bedroom faces the East, then consider putting blinds and curtains in this room so that the rising sun doesn’t wake up your guests at 5am.

Toiletries – just like a hotel, it is nice if there are little bottles of shampoo and soap for your guests to use.  Consider a bowl in the bathroom filled with samples or just large sized shampoo and liquid soap in the shower.  Sometimes, it is the little things that guests will remember.

Coffee/Tea – for coffee drinkers, like my husband and I, we appreciate a good coffee machine and some coffee/sugar/cream in case we don’t have time to pick up supplies before we arrive.  It doesn’t have to be the best or a big supply, but a starter pack is always a good idea.

Fans and Flashlights/Nightlight – these are not must haves, but they sure are nice to have.  The cabin we just stayed in could have used a fan in the bedroom to cool it down as it was the hottest room in the place.  A flashlight/nightlight is always helpful to find your way around in the night should you need a quick trip to the bathroom or to help the kids.

First Aid – a small basket with bandaids, wraps, tweezers and polysporin is so helpful as many families don’t travel with first aid supplies.

Clear instructions and helpful notes – let your guests know the rules of your cottage and/or the complex where they will be staying.  Do they need to clean before leaving?  Where is the electrical panel?  Where does the garbage and recycling go?  Dog friendly?   The more info, the better the experience for both them and you.

Cleaning – if you would like your guests to clean, then please make it easy for them to do so.  Easy to find brooms, cloths and a vacuum will help them to clean any spills and messes and leave the property in good condition.

Tourist info – we love when owners leave maps and brochures of the area suggesting things to do.  If there are some hiking trails, a great park or a restaurant they must eat at, let your guests know – they will appreciate it.

I watched  Sarah’s rental cottage recently and was amazed by the location and how she transformed the outdated property. Your cottage should be a reflection of you and your family, so just make it a place that you like to visit and where guests would like to stay.

Whether you are an cottage owner or renter  this summer, I hope this list helps you have a great holiday experience.   Let me know in the comments if there are any things that make your stay in a vacation property  even better.

linking up with: Curly Crafty MomDesign Dining and DiapersThe Jenny Evolution

Oregon Getaway

Recently I spent a few days at one of my favorite places, Cannon Beach, Oregon. It was mid-winter break for my kids and they were spending a few days in sunny AZ with their dad so Future Hub and I decided to hit the road and relax. This is one of my favorite views ever. Haystack Rock, the subject of postcards, coffee table books, art shows and tourist photo collections.

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We stayed at the SurfSand Resort, a beachfront place that accepts dogs. The Needy Yellow Lab loves this place. She’s mesmerized by the ocean and will run herself into the ground (sand) chasing balls and sticks for hours.

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This time, we had a small glitch in the form of a steady stream of water pouring out of first the smoke detector and then the fire sprinkler. A quick call to the front desk and we were moved. Bet they are still drying out the bed in the first room. That was a lot of water.

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The rain fell off and on but mostly on for three days but we headed outside the moment it let up. Sometimes we were lucky to get back before it started again and sometimes not.

We spent hours watching the first two seasons of Breaking Bad. How was I so late to that party?! That show is insanely good. Can’t wait until the kids are in bed tonight so I can keep watching!

So, while many of my friends posted and tweeted from Hawaii, Costa Rica, California, Arizona and numerous ports of call in sunny locales, I came back with barely a sunny pic but a very relaxed state of mind.

What I Saw

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This week’s Monday Listicles from Stasha at the good life is about impractical things. Given the opportunity, I could probably go on and on about a lot of impractical things.

But having just come home from holidays from a week at the lake, I saw some pretty impractical things.  Such as:

  1.  High heels at the pool.  As mentioned in previous posts, this is a family resort at a lake in Central Washington.  It is not Vegas.
  2. Glitter and sequins on your pool cover up.  See point #1.  Unless you are a child, leave the sequins to the pool in Vegas.
  3. Driving to the store across from your hotel.  Yes, it is hot, but not that hot!  Driving across the street to Safeway is just bad.  Walk!
  4. Sitting in the hot tub when it’s over 80 degrees outside.  Year after year I have wondered why people do this.  I have yet to get the courage up to ask them.  Makes no sense to me.
  5. Kids in the hot tub by themselves. See point #4 and the fact that kids should be supervised around water!  Hello Parents – where are you?!
  6. Mismatched bathing suits.  This is a fashion trend I just don’t understand. Maybe it doesn’t fit this category exactly, but it annoys me.  Orange floral tops paired with a black striped bottom and other weird combinations.   Don’t they sell matching pieces for a reason ?
  7. Wearing puffy vests in the summer.  Yes, we had a morning with some rain, but it  was still very warm out. I don’t understand why these 2 dudes were wearing puffy vests.
  8. My husband’s work computer.  Between the pool, beach, golf and lounging, did he seriously think he was going to have time to do work?
  9. Our family of 4 trying to sleep comfortably in a very very small hotel room. At night we had a king bed, pullout sofa and air mattress on the floor.  It was an obstacle course every night and none of us slept well for 7 of the 8 nights we were there.   I’ll discuss my kids’ sleeping habits in another post, but needless to say, we need more space!
  10. Lastly,  going to Starbucks every day for coffee. We have a pretty good coffee maker at home and I have become somewhat reliant on my morning latte to start the day.  The coffee in the hotel room doesn’t always work out for us. I actually considered bringing my coffee maker with us, but thought it was impractical 🙂

Packing 102

I am about to leave to join my family at our annual lakeside getaway. A classic over packer, I always justify by saying I like to have options and I hate carrying a bag on the plane so since I’m going to check a bag, why not go with the big one?

This would be even easier to justify since it’s a road trip and I figure if it fits in the car it’s fair game. However, this trip I’ve gone with the small bag and just really stuffed it full.

I’m bringing:

– 2 pairs of shorts

– 2 skirts

– 2 dresses (one can also be a coverup)

– 4 tank tops

– one pair sandals

– 2 flip flops

– workout gear including tennis shoes (that’s runners to you Canadians…read my post on this a wayyyy back)

So far I’m not packing regular tshirts because I hate all the ones I have and really should have purchased a cute one I saw at Athleta the other day but didn’t. Damn it.

My daughters now pack for themselves. One throws whatever she can grab in her bag and doesn’t care if it matches so long as there is room for her stuffed animals and books. The other has carefully planned six complete outfits and has had them laid out for a week. Clearly neither of them does the laundry.

Oh well, we’re off and no matter what I’m wearing…or have forgotten to pack…this is possibly my favorite week of the year!

Packing 101

So, we are off to our lakeside resort and the annual dilemma of what to pack is again upon me. From previous posts, you may have guessed that I don’t like to pack for trips. I always feel like I am forgetting something, not packing the right clothes or packing too little or too much.

But this time is going to be different! Why you ask? Well, I’ve been pinning enough Pinterest pins on how to pack and now I am going to put it to the test.

Before you pack, you need details on where you are going. Here are our deets:

– This is our 6th trip in as many years to the lake.
– We will be gone for 9 nights and that includes travel time.
– The weather at the lake is in the low 30s (which is high 80s for our American followers).
– It is a fairly casual vibe at the hotel and the small town where it is.

Based on this info, here is what I am packing:

3 tank tops
3 tshirts
2 pair of shorts
1 skirt
2 dresses
3 pair flip flops

All fairly coordinating with mostly neutral bottoms and a little splash of colour with my tops.

This list obviously doesn’t include bathing suits or work out clothes. It also doesn’t include the capris and tee I will wear for traveling.

I am really hopeful that I am turning a corner on this packing stress. Wish me luck as I go with the “less is more” strategy. 😎

I wonder how much my sister is packing?!?

Long Weekend Musings

We are very lucky to live fairly close to Whistler and usually go there every summer.

Having just returned home from our weekend away in Whistler, I thought I would share a few of my pre-trip thoughts:

  1. I hate packing to go away (mainly for me, I find it easy to pack for the kids and dog).
  2. I like being somewhere else, but I don’t always enjoy the journey to get there (will save this topic for another post, but I try too hard to pack right, leave on time, etc..).
  3. I hate forgetting things (anything).

But while I am away, I have much better thoughts:

  1. Why worry about what to pack in Whistler, because it is pretty casual and anything goes. Seriously anything goes.  I saw high heels at the top of the mountain.  I didn’t need to stress, because I brought the right clothes.
  2. For a short car trip to Whistler, it doesn’t matter what time we leave. It really doesn’t matter.
  3. It is ok to forget things, because there is a store for pretty much everything you need right in the Village, or fairly close by.  This applies to toothbrushes, hoodies, bathing suits, hats, sunglasses, books, etc.

All that aside, going away is usually a great time and there are so many fun things to do in Whistler.  It is hard to squeeze everything into a weekend, so here are a few of our family favourite activities:

  1. Going biking – so many trails, so little time.  The trails are for everyone, even our newest little cyclist.
  2. Going to the lake – pick one; Alta Lake, Alpha Lake, Lost Lake – all are just a few minutes away.  We usually bring a butterfly net to catch tadpoles and little fish.  The kids can spend hours doing this!
  3. Wandering the village to see what is going on. This weekend was filled with Canada Day celebrations.
  4. Hit the hotel or condo pool.  Even in the winter, the outdoor pools are heated!
  5. Our newest adventure was a ride to the top of the mountain for lunch and then taking the Peak 2 Peak gondola to Blackcomb. Amazing views from what felt like the top of the world.

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This weekend away was a great start to our summer.   I am already hoping we will go again next month, and I already know what to pack 🙂

Never say never…

I just agreed to go camping.

No, I am not a princess. I am also not a camping neophyte.  I grew up in British Columbia and I grew up camping.  Real camping.  From an early age.  At the lake and in the woods and yes, there were probably bears.

I did a small amount of camping partying in my 20s in Penticton, BC at the lake.  Basically, we slept in a tent, ate in restaurants and hit the clubs.  Does that count ?

In my early 30s, I think I camped twice.  Both times were fun, but it just wasn’t fun enough to keep me interested.

But now, I have kids.  Kids who think it would be fun to sleep in a tent.   And I have agreed to camp at some point this summer. My husband is keen.  So keen in fact, that he just went to the garage to check out our camping box. I am surprised he even remembered we had a camping box as details are just not his thing.

I don’t like bears, so I have agreed to camp where there won’t be any.  I know bears are a part of life here in Southwestern BC.  I also know they don’t really bother people.  We go to Whistler and stay in a hotel every summer and I am always on the look out for bears.  I know they are there.  Watching us from the trees as we cycle the amazing bike paths.

That said, I just don’t want to camp with them right now.  I don’t want to worry about putting the garbage, food scraps, coolers, etc in the car every night.

So for now, I have agreed to camp on the Gulf Islands.  The Gulf Islands are beautiful!  I think it will be fun.  I really do!

Like Father, Like Daughter

I learned a few things this past weekend:

1. Bend, OR is beautiful and I might like to live there one day.

2. With a little tweaking I might be able to play nine holes one day without completely embarrassing myself and holding up everyone playing behind me.

3. It’s not a myth, I am actually scared of snakes. Especially when one crosses the path on which I am hiking.

4. The fly fishing gene may actually run in my family. After watching our dad follow his passion for fishing for as long as I can remember, I actually caught five on my own (well, with the assistance of a guide – I couldn’t unhook those poor little fishes!).

5. I now understand something our dad has said for years: “A bad day on the river beats a good day at work.”

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