Monterey Trip: Day 4 (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)

Recap | Coffee | Day 0 (Packing) | Day 1 (Gilroy Gardens and Dennis the Menace Park) | Day 2 (MY Museum and Aquarium) | Day 3 (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Breakfast and Check Out of Hotel
We ate a quick breakfast (lots of fruit of course!!), headed back up to our room (making sure to watch one more show), packed up the rest of our stuff (so tempted to do a load of laundry the night before), and checked out (bye bye!). We will definitely be back here again one day.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
So so so thankful that we found a good parking spot, although we had to get change to put in the meter. Before hitting up the beach, the girls and I had to change (it was still pretty chilly in Monterey so we were wearing layers). By the way, there is an awesome bowling alley at the corner if you need to do that. :p

We didn’t really make the most of the Boardwalk, since it was already getting hot out and the girls wanted to play in the sand. Thank you so much to my friend GY who let us borrow sand toys!! I took the girls out to the water, and of course, they had opposite reactions. Once the first wave rolled in, Melody loved it and Emily ran in the other direction. Melody kept going back to the water over and over again. Emily decided to just hang at the “little water” area or play in the sand.

You see the similar pink and white stripe shirts that the girls were wearing? We saw about 5-6 others who were also wearing something almost the same. There were probably more that we didn’t see. Must be a popular shirt to wear to the beach. :p Oh, and we also got Dippin’ Dots.

Cafe Brasil
Lunch came before we knew it! We packed up our stuff, and headed to Cafe Brasil and McDonald’s for takeout. It had been a long morning, and being out in the sun made everyone cranky, so we ate on the car ride home. Read Norm’s review of CAFE BRASIL.

Home Sweet Home
Once we got home, the girls got cleaned up, and headed to bed for a nice long nap. I, of course, went to unpack and put everything away. 🙂

The End. 🙂 Thanks for coming along for the ride. Some of you might already know (so shhhh!), but for everyone else, any guesses on where we are going for our next trip?

Click on the link to view Day 4 album LAST DAY
(For captions, you have to click on individual photos. Sorry, confusing.)
Click on photo below to see picasaweb album, click on slideshow.

Head over to Alicia’s Homemaking to see more Try New Adventures Thursday!

Monterey Trip: Day 3 (Monterey Bay Aquarium)

Recap | Coffee | Day 0 (Packing) | Day 1 (Gilroy Gardens and Dennis the Menace Park) | Day 2 (MY Museum and Aquarium)

Breakfast (Room Service by Norm)
I can’t quite remember now but I think we got a late start in our morning. So instead of rushing to get ready for breakfast, Norm went downstairs to get our food for us. Thanks!

Monterey Bay Aquarium – Penguins
It wasn’t time for the penguin feeding yet, so we decided to look around the Splash Zone. We lost each other so Norm was with Emily and I was with Melody. This worked out better because we weren’t having to wait for one of the kiddos to finish up while the other is already taking off. We ended up seated at opposite sides of the penguins area once the show started. After the crowded faded away (probably to get good seats for another feeding), Norm brought Melody to me.

We went to see the jellyfish exhibit after the penguin feeding because it was way crowded for the Open Sea feeding. There are soooo many different types of jellyfish, it’s insane. Check out the albums at the end of the post to see some of them.

After that, we went outside for some fresh air and take a look at the bay. The girls didn’t want to go back inside because they wanted to watch the kayakers. We knew hunger crankiness would kick in soon, so we decided to head back to the hotel instead of watching the otter feeding.

Red House Cafe (Takeout)
Norm and I saw the penguin feeding when we came in 2006, so he skipped out early to go pick up lunch for us. We would for sure run into the lunch crowd at the rate we were going, so this worked out for us. Read Norm’s review of RED HOUSE CAFE.

Monterey Bay Aquarium – Seahorses and Jellies
After the girls’ naptime, we went back to the aquarium. Norm went to check out The Jellies Experience since he missed that, while we went slowly through the The Secret Lives of Seahorses. I seriously did not know there were so many different kinds of seahorses too. Fascinating. We finished our time at the aquarium with the Rocky Shore exhibit and Sandy Shore & Aviary. There were a lot of touch pools where the kids can actually touch sea stars and bat rays.

So that was our time at the aquarium. We loved it there. All the workers are super friendly and ready to help you out or tell you about the animals at the aquarium.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
After we left the aquarium, we walked over to Cannery Row. The wait for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. was a bit long, but we walked to the different shops to pass the time. There is one in SF too, so for locals who want to try it, you can! Super friendly workers there too. Read Norm’s review of BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP CO.

And that’s the end of Day 3.

Click on the links to view Day 3 albums BEFORE NAP | AFTER NAP
(For captions, you have to click on individual photos. Sorry, confusing.)
Click on photos below to see picasaweb album, click on slideshow.

Monterey Trip: Day 2 (MY Museum and Aquarium)

Recap | Coffee | Day 0 (Packing) | Day 1 (Gilroy Gardens and Dennis the Menace Park)

Day 2 started out with breakfast at our hotel. We loaded up on lots of egg and fruit goodness. Embassy Suites Seaside has complimentary cooked-to-order breakfast and nightly Manager’s Reception. Yum!

MY Museum

It was a rainy morning as we headed to MY Museum (Monterey County Youth Museum). This was $7/person (over 2 years old). The “museum” is separated into 8 different exhibits. MY Day at the Beach is targeted toward under 3 with lots of soft cushiony areas. MY Go-Fore Golf has golf balls to doing a little putting and also a golf cart. You can “pick” veggies and sit in a tractor at MY Healthy Farm. MY ImagiTree was the girls’ favorite!! It was like we paid $28 for them to climb a ladder over and over and over again. At least they did go to all the exhibits. Some kids really did just hang out at the tree the whole time. At MY Hospital there was a life-size Operation game for the kids to perform “surgery”. There was also an ambulance. MY Theater was fun for dressing up and getting up on the stage. MY Creation Station was always busy. There was a whole wall of materials kids can choose from to create anything they wanted. This reminded me a lot of MOCHA. MY Town Hall has a construction site where you can build with big blocks, and a marketplace.

First Awakenings
This restaurant was recommended by many friends. It was also recommended to many other people since it was pretty much packed any other time we passed by. It is in the American Tin Cannery on Cannery Row. You can read Norm’s review of it HERE. We did have leftovers, so thank goodness we had a fridge and microwave in our suite! 🙂

Monterey Bay Aquarium
After the girls napped, we headed to Monterey Bay Aquarium for a (very) short while. It was actually nice to get there before closing since there weren’t too many people, and we were able to get an “overview” of the place and see exactly where we wanted to go the next day. Melody and Emily really liked the kelp forest. We saved a little bit of money here because we got two 2-day tickets with our hotel package, and we were able to use guest passes from a family friend, otherwise they would cost $115+tax.

Trader Joe’s
We had leftovers from lunch at First Awakenings, so we decided to go to Trader Joe’s to pick up a little something and head back to our hotel for dinner. The girls didn’t mind one bit since it meant that they could watch a little more TV at the hotel. 🙂 They enjoyed PBS Kids and the Disney Channel quite a bit during our trip.

Click on the links to view Day 2 albums BEFORE NAP | AFTER NAP 🙂
(For captions, you have to click on individual photos. Sorry, confusing.)
Click on photos below to see picasaweb album, click on slideshow.

Monterey Trip: Day 1 (Gilroy Gardens and Dennis the Menace Park)

Recap | Coffee | Day 0 (Packing)

Gilroy Gardens

This was surprisingly our very first time at Gilroy Gardens. We’ve been to the outlets before, but never to Gilroy Gardens (or the garlic festival). This was actually for a field trip with our homeschool group for Natural Sciences Day. So the park was closed to the public. There were 6 groups. We were in Group #4. It looked like each group had about 100 kids? The kids were able to go to 6 stations.

1. Different Types of Rocks (we missed this) – experimentation station – sort and compare various types of rocks and record their observations
2. Trees with Funny Shapes – investigative station, learn the difference between natural trees and trees shaped by man (topiary), use investigation skills to search for the shapes
3. Find the Food You Eat – investigative station, learn that many foods we eat grow
in tropical and sub tropical environments, search for living examples of the food they eat in a working, tropical greenhouse
4. Who Looks Like Who? – presentational station, learn about characteristics of native California birds and animals and which characteristics are inherited or environmental
5. Worms Eat Our Garbage – presentational station, learn about composting, why it is good for our environment and that many resources can be conserved
6. Plant Labeling – interactive station, learn the parts of a plant by actively identifying from live examples (circus tree was cool, lady leading the presentation was not, she was really rude to the kids :/ )

After the stations, we ate lunch together, which was hot dog, spaghetti, fruit and water. It was a deal for $40 for all 4 of us (includes lunch) even though it wasn’t unlimited rides all day. It is $120 for a single day admission. Finally, we went on the rides. There are over 20 rides in the park but only 9 were opened to us for the Natural Sciences Day, which was fine because we were tired. :p We met up with our friends and went on the Balloon Flight. This is probably the “fastest” ride that the girls have been on. Next Melody got to “drive” a car on South County Backroads. And we hopped onto the last train of the day for the Redwood Railroad.

On the Road

We headed back on the road to Monterey. The girls were tired but were excited about the rest of the day. The last time we were here was when I was 5 months pregnant with Melody. We stayed at a B&B. This time we stayed at….

Embassy Suites

Embassy Suites is actually in Seaside, but is more bang for your buck, especially since they have breakfast in the morning, and no bed bugs. 🙂 We were on the very top floor – the 12th floor! Melody and Emily were super excited to take the glass elevator up and down every time! We got settled in.

Yes! A nap! This is why we can’t go to Disneyland yet. It wouldn’t be worth our money to not be there the whole day…and it’d be nice if they can carry their own stuff. 😉

Dennis the Menace Park
Once the girls woke up, we headed to Dennis the Menace Park. You only think it’s “just” a park, but it’s so much more!

We didn’t stay too long because it was FREEZING!!

Crystal Fish
We ate at Crystal Fish Sushi because the wait was a little shorter than the other place we planned to go to.

Click on the links to view Day 1 albums BEFORE NAP | AFTER NAP 🙂
Click on photos below for slideshow if you are signed into any gmail account…I think.

Monterey Trip: Day 0 (Packing)


Last time around, I may have gone a little crazy with the printable packing lists, etc. This time, I may have gone in the other direction. o_o We for sure brought more than we needed, but better safe than sorry. I’ll be sure to be more prepared next time without being too prepared.

Click on photo below for Monterey Trip: Day 0 (Packing) Slideshow. (Not too many since like I said, I didn’t go crazy with packing this time.)

P.S. Vodpod appears to not be working anymore, so I can’t figure out the best way to embed our slideshow onto the posts. The above will have to do for now. Sorry. :/

Monterey Trip: Coffee

Before we begin all the Monterey trip recaps (yeah, I think I’ve said this already….), I’ll have to talk about coffee again. :p Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for The Genesis Code DVD. It would be a great tool for churches or small groups in opening up discussions on faith and science.

Remember my coffee experience when we took our first mini-road trip to Sacramento last year? Yeah, soooo, I was a wee bit excited about having a coffeemaker again…well, for 4 days anyway. 🙂 I don’t necessarily drink coffee for any effects that it may have on me, which is usually none, but just for the flavor. So even if it’s decaf, I’m good to enjoy a little treat. I really do like my tea better.

Again, here are my 4 P’s of coffee making.

1. Pour water into the maker…to the line.
2. Put the “coffee pod” in its allocated slot.
3. Place your mug underneath the spout.
4. Push the “on” button.

This particular coffeemaker even had a pictorial instructions for me. 🙂

And you can also do this after the 4 Ps.

How do you like your coffee?

– Joyce