It’s hard for outsiders to believe that “The OC” is actually filled with amazing hiking trails.
And we trekked the Family Friendly Holy Jim Falls this summer.
You should too!
Get to the trail early, before it gets too hot.
It is quite a drive to the trailhead. It’s a rough road and you have to go slow! But it’s completly doable with little children. Mine are 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old!
We brought a camel back filled with water and a few snacks. It wasn’t easy so you won’t want to scrimp in the food area!
On the way up you should stop often in the shade for quick rests and water. We stopped about three quarters from the top for a snack and we should have stopped to eat sooner… and we should have brought more snacks.
The scenery on the hike is fantastic! You won’t feel like you are in Orange County.
Doesn’t being in nature just make you crave more time in nature?
Doesn’t it make you want to buy poperty and just live off the land?
Oh, that last one is just me?
We let the kids explore quite a bit off the trail. As much as I wanted to power through the hike and get a workout, I wanted more for them to love this adventure. And they did!
There are 4 trail stops on the way and we all had fun learning about the actual man, Jim, the trail is named after. He kept bees in the canyon and I think I want to too!
Of course, when you take a hike and it gets tough… remember the way back is always easier! I’m so glad we pushed though to the “falls,” because now we can say, we’ve done it!
I know you want to see a picture of the actual falls. But how could I ruin the surprise? You need to discover this with your family on your own.
Spoiler Alert: The “Falls” are just a trickle in the summer. Try to go after the next good rain in So Cal (hahahahahaha).
Things you should know if you go:
~Even though my boys wore flip-flops (I mean, we are in the OC), you really should wear tennis shoes.
~From the main road (Live Oak Canyon Rd) you’ll turn onto a dirt road next to Trabuco Creek, then you’ll take the dirt/gravel road about 4.5 miles to the trailhead. Keep an eye on your mileage, because about two miles in there is a rest stop type area with a porta potty and since you are going so darn slow you might think you are at the trailhead already!
~Bring more than one snack! We should have done a whole lunch. It would also be fun to bring a short book to read at picnic rock or the falls. What a special memory for the kiddos… reading in the forest!
~Water. Lots if it’s hot.
~The way back is much easier than the way up! This is a great time to encourage your kids during a challenging situation. Pushing toward a goal.
When I wake up to a Winder Farms delivery, it’s like getting a little note that says,
Why don’t you stay in your Pajamas today!
I was challenged to make an amazing burger with my most recent delivery.
And I did!
For the burger you’ll need: 1 pound ground turkey (not pictured above because raw meat is gross), bread crumbs from one GF bun (explained below), juice from 1/2 a lemon, 1 bell pepper, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 3 slices of provolone cheese, gluten free buns,
All the fixins’: lettuce, tomato, and condiments. But you might omit all the ketchup and mayo when you taste the amazing carrot coleslaw I share with you too!
For the carrot coleslaw you’ll need: 1 teaspoon of oregano, 2 teaspoons of honey, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, one carrot shredded.
1. Pop one of the gluten free buns into the broiler. Try not to burn it…I always do. Always. But if you do happen to burn it, just scrap off the black and no one will notice. In a blender grind up the bun into crumbs, then set aside.
2. Finely chop the bell pepper.
3. Combine the turkey, bread crumbs, lemon juice, chopped bell pepper, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper into a bowl and mix. I use my hands and smash the heck out of it!
4. Use a 1/4 measuring cup and form lump into a ball. Make as many little balls as you can. I usually get 10 quarter cups from one pound of meat. Winder Farms ground turkey comes in 1.25 pounds and I got 12 quarter cups.
5. Flatten out each ball into a thin patty. Break the provolone cheese into little pieces and put on half the patties. Place the other “non-cheesed” patty on top of a cheese one and meld the sides together. (In the picture below the top patty has already been melded to the bottom.
6. Admire your work, ignore the dishes and head on out to the grill. Grill until cooked through.
While the patties are grilling, we’ll make the carrot coleslaw!
Wisk together the oregano, honey, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then add the shredded carrot.
Look at the grill lines on that piece of meat! It’s OK if some of the cheese leaks out a bit.
Now we build the perfect gluten free burger!
Veggies go on the bottom (if you don’t know why, then just ask me… it’s kinda a secret) of your gluten free bun. Then add your amazing patty and top off with the carrot coleslaw. You won’t need to add anything else!
We love Summer Camps but there is one thing I hate.
I’ve thought about casually mentioning it to camp directors. But I don’t want to seem like a complainer.
”What is she talking about?”
Well, I’m talking about foam stickers!
I hate those things. All the foam things.
I get it though – They are pre-cut, cute, and make it so easy to make non-train wreck craft with kids.
But do you actually keep any foam crafts?
Maybe… reluctantly… only if your kid’s picture is on it.
But every single craft for the last camp we did, went into the trash.
Ultimately the money went into a landfill.
That’s what breaks my heart.
All those non recyclable foam sticker toxins are going to seep into our water system and our great grandkids will have tails.
How about creating an experiences the kids will remember forever?
Games, scavenger hunts, prayer time…
I get crafts are important. They reinforce what kids are learning and give them creative outlets to express… well, anything! I mean really, you know I love crafts!!
But knowing, all the crafts will end up in the trash… is it worth it? Think of that money that could go to real causes, money that could have made a big impact. Or money that can go to an experience like a tide pool guy or something.
If a camp has 500 kids and they only spend $1 on each craft each day, you’re looking at $2,500.
$2,500 of trash!!!!!!
So I’m sure you are wondering, “What in the world can we do instead of crafts?
Glad you asked!
Here’s some ideas:
A piece of blank white paper and a drawing prompt. Some of my favorite pictures are random ones my kids have made from their own imagination. Cost 1 cent each.
Make cards for the troops… or the local retirement community… or fire station… or whatever. Use construction paper or bulk cards. Cost range $.01-.50 each.
How about sending everyone home with a family project. Make your own lemonade. Print out a lemonade recipe and send it home in a bag with 5 lemons. Every congregation has at least 4 people who have a lemon tree and can’t use all those suckers. Paper bag, donated lemons (maybe you’ll have to buy them in bulk), and 1/4 slip of paper for the recipe. Cost $.10-1.00 each.
Face paining. Hire a teen for free. Supplies and man power. $20-$300 for the day.
The group picture… You have to do one of those! Just have the picture printed then add a magnet to the back. $.50 each.
I just planned your next camp! A whole week of “crafts” that won’t end up in the trash.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “But we have to keep these kids busy for 3 hours!?!?!?!!
Water balloons. Capture the flag. Candy.
This Small change would make a BIG impact on the amount of waste we produce and the money could be used to positively impact people’s lives forever. Clean water wells. Smoke free stoves. Kids aging out of foster care. Buy livestock for a village.
The list can go on forever.
Talk you your camp about changing your perspective on crafts.
And for sweet baby Jesus’ sake, don’t ever use those foam stickers again.
Small Things can change the world.
Do you have special one-on-one time with your kids? I’m not just talking about play time. But a special activity reserved for one child. Something you intentionally don’t do with your other children.I’ve started doing this with my kids and it means more to them than I could ever understand!
First you have to choose an activity! Something that isn’t annoying (for me) or difficult to do often. I decided to start Thursday Spa day with one of my middle children (because don’t you think those middle children get the short end of the stick!?!?).
I started looking into skincare items, but I didn’t feel comfortable putting all those chemicals onto her sweet perfect skin! I found bambuearth… all organic… phthalate free, paraben free, sulfate free, preservative free, no synthetic fragrances, no synthetic dyes, sustainable palm oil, never tested on animals… AND made right here in Orange County!!
(bambuearth is having a kickstarter campaign right now for a storefront in Orange County! Consider donating some $$$… even $5 would be rad!)
Cora Jane says the Brown Sugar scrub smells like cookies.
I think the Petitgrain Cream is the best lotion I have ever used. A little goes a long way.
Cora Jane agrees.
I have easily been able to keep up this time with Cora Jane (I mean, sugar scubs are delightful) and the way she looks forward to our spa day is crazy.
It doesn’t take much, friends. Our bambuearth spa day takes us 15-20 minutes, once a week and you would think I took her to Disneyland. Small Things are Big Things for your family.
A year ago the focus of my life changed.
My mom died unexpectedly.
She fell off a curb and broke her femur and her body never bounced back. She spent 2 months in a coma before she left this home for another.
The things I miss most are all small things.
How she filled my Christmas stocking with my favorite tea and glue sticks. How she wanted to hear about my day.
My whole world view changed. My focus is encouraging moms about the small things they do in their lives.
Small Things are powerful.
Small Things make a difference.
Small Things change the world.
Join me as this OC Family Mom Ambassador blog switches gears from crafts to impactful activities for the whole family!
Well, Craft Attitude’s Printable Jewelry Film is one of the great new products I discovered. You can use basic craft supplies (aka a glue stick) with the film and make some pretty neat AND custom items.
So, I totally know you want a package of some of the Jewelry Attitude’s Printable Jewelry Film. How about if I send you one?!!? Enter to win in the box below and one lucky reader will win a package of 8 sheets for endless possibilities.
T minus 4 days till Christmas! Eeeeek. Some of us a fully prepared for the festivities and some of us (ahem) are going to pull a few all nighters. Here are some fun activities you still have time to get together.
People think making custom gear for your children’s toys has to be difficult. It doesn’t! AND you kiddos will love to get their creative juices flowing with a little parent/kid craft time. A perfect example is a saddle I made for my daughter’s Pony Royal toy. Over the summer I was introduced to Pony Royale by my friends Jaime and Kyla. My daughter enjoyed them so much, I contacted the lovely folks at Pony Royale to see if we could have a pony party. They said yes!
The 12 princess ponies, are loaded with all sorts of changeable glitzy flare – crown, saddle and bustle thing.
Today we made a Christmas saddle using sparkle felt, lace, Christmas ribbon and rhinestones. No sewing involved – just scissors and my trusty hot glue gun!
It’s easy to make accessories for ANY toy:
Keep things really simple and make a blanket for you child’s favorite toy with a cut piece of fleece or felt. Felt and fleece are great because they doesn’t fray.
Take it up a notch and hot glue two rectangles of felt/fleece together on 3 sides, stuff and hot glue closed for a pillow.
Dresses, skirts, pants and tees can all be made by tracing a rough pattern around the toy, and hot gluing together. The best part, is toys don’t complain if something is too tight!
The most important part is your little will love spending time with you making something special for their favorite toy.
But if you win you have to have me over for homemade bread and a cup of joe!
Kara-Noel has been “crafting” since she could hold a glue gun! When she isn’t hanging with her Hubby, chasing down her four kiddos (1-6 years old!) or napping you’ll find her blogging at Eli’s Lids The Blogor working on her business Every Moment Clothing!