31 Days in SF Bay: South Bay

This is Day 11 of our 31 Days in SF Bay series. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

sfbaybannerSince we’re limited to 31 days for this series, we can’t possibly cover all the different cities in the San Francisco Bay Area, so we will end each area with a list of things from other places we have visited. We are sharing some points of interest in Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale…

Gilroy Gardens, Gilroy

We went to Gilroy Gardens for a field trip with our homeschool group. It was one of those educational days so the whole place was closed to the public. I would highly recommend attending one of these days if you can. There was lots of learning that took place, and we also got to go on the rides, for a lower price than you would normally pay. Not all the rides are open on these days, but I think it is still worth it, esp if you have kids who need to nap anyway. We also made it a mini-vacation with detours in Monterey and Santa Cruz afterwards. You can see more photos HERE.

Los Altos United Methodist Church, Los Altos
Yes, I know, another proof pic. Sorry, I’m too lazy to get the original loaded on here. :p This is from our wedding as well. It was a nice long aisle as you can tell. Our favorite part that we actually didn’t really get to enjoy too much that day was the glass doors on the side which brought in a lot of light, and there was lovely landscaping on the grounds as well.

I will probably add photos later, but here are some restaurants that we enjoy in the South Bay. We have written reviews of some of these restaurants, so they are linked up.

  • Joy Luck Palace Cantonese Cuisine, Cupertino Village Shopping Center
  • Wolfe Cafe, Cupertino Village Shopping Center
  • In-N-Out, Mountain View
  • In-N-Out, Gilroy

Other places to visit… (I will link photos and such later on. Come back to visit!)

  • Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View
  • Laser Quest, Mountain View
  • Golfland, Sunnyvale
  • California’s Great America, Santa Clara
  • Mercado Center (Micro Center, Jamba Juice, World Wrapps), Santa Clara
  • Gilroy Premium Outlets, Gilroy

This is part of our 31 Days in SF Bay series.

31 Days in SF Bay: Castro Valley (East Bay)

This is Day 2 of our 31 Days in SF Bay series. To read all the posts in order, start with this post, then visit the Landing Page to see the outline for the whole series.

sfbaybannerWe are starting our series off with some places to visit in our hometown of Castro Valley. We are an unincorporated area, but there is a lot of history and fun traditions here.


The first time I came here was in high school with friends. The girls went for the first time earlier in the summer. I can’t believe we didn’t take them sooner since it is a few minutes from our house! Here is our post on Golfland (with photos captioned by Emily). Melody also recently attended a birthday party here. You can see more photos HERE and HERE.

Castro Valley Farmers’ Market

CV Farmers’ Market isn’t the biggest around these parts, but since it is only a 10-minute walk from our house, we do go there from time to time when it is open from May to October. The girls enjoy the music there, and it’s interesting when the honey people bring the honeybees. You can see more photos from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Rowell Rodeo Ranch Parade

In May, there is the Rowell Rodeo Ranch Parade. It is always fun to watch the different floats and groups that come by. The girls’ favorite every single year are the horses and dancers. You can see more photos HERE.

Castro Valley Fall Festival

In September, there is the Castro Valley Fall Festival. It is one of the two times in the year that we indulge in fair food. There is always great music and demonstrations going on. You can read our posts about the festival in 2010 and 2011. You can see more photos from 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Castro Valley Bowl

I think my sister got a coupon for free bowling, so she took the girls bowling. I hadn’t been back to this bowling alley since college days. It was pretty early on a Saturday morning, so we had the whole place to ourselves, until a birthday party started, and then we got some fun music playing and lights shining. You can see more photos HERE.

Lake Chabot Regional Park

So, in the 5 years that we have lived in Castro Valley, we have not taken the girls to Lake Chabot. This is crazy because it is not far from us, and I used to go here every single week for our water project for chemistry class in high school. Yes, rain or shine, we would walk the mile to our site to test the water, etc., and then walk back. We went paddleboating. It was a workout, but also super fun. It is a great place to walk, bike, hike, or camp too. You can see more photos HERE.

Castro Valley Park & Community Center

We are always on the hunt for fun playgrounds to play at. Castro Valley Community Center is great. There are, however, always a ton of people here. There are 4 play areas, softball field, plenty of areas for birthday parties, and a water play area. The kids seem to enjoy the gated area with a structure, swings, and sand for little ones. I wish the restrooms were closer to the playground, but at least it is available. You can see more photos from 2010 –  21, 23; 2011 – weeks 4, 14, 15, 29, 46, 49; 2012 – weeks 24, 40; and 2013.

Greenridge Park

Greenridge is where we go with our MOPS group for playdates. We pretty much take over the whole park, especially during Popsicles at the Park. It is somewhat of a hidden jewel as playgrounds go. You have drive up, up, and up the hill to get there. There is a fabulous view of the Bay from this park. This is not the best if you little ones who like to run off as there are sides where they can tumble down. I haven’t been to the other parts, but I think there is a basketball court and a field. You can see some photos from 2011 and 2013.

Castro Valley Library

We LOVE LOVE LOVE our library!! There are so many great things that go on at the CV library. The children’s area is great, and there are lots of computers to use. There are storytimes, Lego club, and lots of fun workshops. There are also wonderful programs like tutoring and training for teenagers and adults. We also love the Friends of the Library, where you can get new-ish books at a low price. And there is also a cafe. You can see photos from the library pocket park, cafe, we always run into friends HERE, gardening workshop, Sulphur Creek and HERE, random photos HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE, the bridge, summer reading program HERE and HERE, theme showcase in the lobby HERE and HERE, GRAND OPENING of the library HERE, music classes,
The girls each got their own library card on their 4th birthday: Melody and Emily.

Moore’s Pumpkin Patch

Although, we don’t actually ever purchase pumpkins from the pumpkin patch, this is a tradition that we love. The girls’ most favorite part of Moore’s? The Super Slide!! They are nervous about going down every year, but after it’s done, they are thrilled! My suggestion is to go earlier in the season so that you will get pumpkins in your photos. :p And go on a weekday so that you will not end up with lots of other families in your photos. :p You can read the blog posts from 2009 and 2010. You can see more photos from 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. We can’t wait to go again this year!

I will probably add photos later, but here are some restaurants that we enjoy in Castro Valley. We have written reviews of some of these restaurants, so they are linked up.

  • Knudsen’s Ice Creamery
  • Koyomi Japanese Cuisine
  • Aroma Cuisine of India
  • Genghix Asian Fusion – Super yummy! I can’t believe we haven’t written a review for this place yet. Chinese food and Japanese food for the win!
  • Quickly – If you want to hang out with the teenagers after school. :p
  • Top Thai
  • Tofu House
  • Silver Spoon Chinese Gourmet – I think there is karaoke or music night on Thursdays. Good service, good food.
  • Jenny’s Cafe – We went here as a last resort in salvaging our St. Patrick’s Day meal, because you know, we’re almost Irish.
  • Swiss Delices – The girls went here for a friend’s birthday celebration. There is a cool kids’ area with books and some toys and I think a chalkboard.
  • Rigatoni’s
  • Big Apple Bagels – If you want to hang out with the teenagers during lunch break. :p
  • Starbucks – You know all about this place already.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill – A few blocks from us, but we don’t frequent it that often. But, if you look inside at any time, there are always lots of patrons. I think my brother goes here quite a bit. 😉
  • Doug’s Place – The only true breakfast joint here in Castro Valley.
  • Los Molcajetes – Right by our church. We did a to-go order. I think next time we will try eating in and see if we have better luck.
  • Loard’s Ice Cream – We came here for an almost quadruple date with friends. Fun place to hang if you are out late for dessert.
  • Papa Murphy’s
  • Cafe Rumi – Yum! Good food and good service.
  • Luccas Italian Delicatessen – Typical deli sandwiches
  • Hong Kong BBQ Restaurant – Good but pricey, but only because I am used to SF Chinese food prices.
  • Dampa Filipino Food – We had it awhile ago, so I can’t really remember, I know it was good.
  • Norman’s Grill – We went there for Norm’s birthday. It was okay.
  • Full Belly Chinese Cuisine – Also pricey for Chinese food prices, but yummy.
  • Togo’s, Subway, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Shari’s, Carrows – all typical of chain restaurants

Other places to visit… (I will link photos and such later on. Come back to visit!)

  • Aran Art Studio – We came here as part of the bachelorette celebration for my sister. Not as bright and “happy” as Color Me Mine, but same concept.
  • Trader Joe’s – We love TJ’s!! Our church owns the building that it is in, so we go here after church for a quick lunch, and to buy groceries.
  • Eden Medical Center – Not a typical “places to visit” item, but we love the new facilities! We took a tour of the new building before it was opened to the public, and it is super nice. Even the cafeteria has fancy food, and there is a nice outdoors area to enjoy a meal if you happen to be there. We did have to make use of the ER, and they were accommodating. They changed the channel to a kid’s cartoon.
  • Adobe Park – You can see a few photos HERE.

This is part of our 31 Days in SF Bay series.


Photos captioned by Emily

Note from Emily’s mom: Norm had gotten a Groupon deal for Golfland awhile back and it was expiring soon. The week we decided to go (and the few weeks before it), I was not feeling that great. We also miscalculated the time for dinner, so I skipped out on the girls’ first time mini-golfing. But they had a ton of fun as Norm’s brother and sis-in-law went with them. I think it was only $20, and they got to all golf, plus 60 tokens for the arcade, which they didn’t even finish using.

That’s from waiting in line to get into Golfland.

That’s me and Jeh-Jeh (Chinese for older sister). We are waiting in line for our turn.

That’s Jeh-Jeh. She’s swinging the club.

That’s Uncle Bakkie (nickname for Norm’s brother) teaching me how to do it.

That’s Jeh-Jeh and Uncle Bakkie.

That’s me hitting the ball into the hole.

Jeh-Jeh wanted to do it again.

Auntie Bonnie was hitting the ball too.

Jeh-Jeh and her golf ball.

That’s me and my jacket because it was sprinkling. Just a little rain.

Jeh-Jeh was taking a picture again.

Jeh-Jeh taking a picture again.

We are sitting with the house.

Jeh-Jeh’s swinging the club, I think.

We are playing air hockey.

I was playing air hockey again.

Jeh-Jeh was still playing air hockey.

Then, we were playing skee ball.

I was watching and Jeh-Jeh was playing.

We got a lot of tickets.

That’s putting the money in.

That’s how many tickets we had.

Daddy took a picture of us with our stuff prize.