Friday, 21 November 2014

The Little Ice Rink Giveaway

Can you believe that the holiday season is almost upon us?

December will be here in just over a week. That means I'm going to have to get cracking on this year's advent calendar. I'm a big fan of giving experiences as gifts and our advent calendar is no different. Rather that filling the calendar with chocolates or candies I like to fill it with vouchers for fun activities for the kids: writing letters to Santa, visiting the Giant Gingerbread house, baking Christmas cookies, making Christmas crafts, decorating the Christmas tree...

My all time favorite activity that appears every year in our advent calendar is ice skating at an outdoor rink. Having spent most of my life in Australia I'm used to hot, Summery Christmases with ice skating only possible indoors. I absolutely love that Christmas falls in Winter here. Even though we don't have white Christmases here in the Bay Area, there's just something magical about Christmas in Winter. Being able to take part in wintry Christmas activities like ice skating outdoors makes it feel even more magical.


This year we'll be visiting The Little Ice Rink at Alameda's South Shore Center for our outdoor ice skating. I can't wait to take the girls and they're pretty excited about it too. My favorite thing about skating at The Little Ice Rink is "Bobby" the Seal skating aide (you can see it pictured below). Ava took ice skating lessons for a year and a half so she's a pro on the ice, but Lola has only skated a few times and is not so confident. Usually when we go ice skating I spend half my time hunched over holding Lola's hands. With "Bobby" Lola will be able to skate around on her own with confidence - or take a rest and be pushed around! How cool is that? 


Excited about visiting The Little Ice Rink too? Well, you're in luck as I'm giving away a double pass for an ice skating session at The Little Ice Rink. The prize includes tickets for two (adult value), skate rental and "Bobby" the Seal rental.

To enter the giveaway please follow the prompts below. The giveaway ends 12am, November 28th 2015. The winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Little Ice Rink is open now through January 19th 2015 at South Shore Center, Alameda. For session times and pricing please visit http://thelittleicerink.com.


Good luck!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Golden Gate Bridge Walk

Having visitors from home is a great excuse to get out and explore San Francisco. So when our friends Kylie, Joel and Sebastian visited recently we knew we had to do something we hadn't done in a long time: walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.



The Golden Gate Bridge is one of those landmark structures that amazes me every time I see it no matter how often that is (I can see it from our apartment). Every time it pops into view it's a reminder of what a fantastic part of the world we live in. It's magical in much the same way that the Eiffel Tower appearing from behind a building feels magical when you visit Paris. Or the Empire State Building in New York. Or the Harbour Bridge in Sydney (five years of seeing that one almost every day and I was still in awe!).



While we've driven across the Golden Gate Bridge many times, this was only the second time we've walked across it. The first time was a very cold, windy and grey December day back when we first arrived from Australia. We made the mistake of getting off the bus on the San Francisco side and walking towards the Marin Headlands. While the view was lovely, it wasn't the view we really wanted to see - that being the city. When we arrived at the other side we found ourselves a little stranded. We couldn't find the bus stop to head back and Ava was terrified of stepping foot on the bridge again. Eventually a very nice tour bus driver offered to take us back across free of charge. We made sure to give him a nice fat tip!

This time around we knew to catch the bus across the bridge and get off on the Marin side. What we did not know, however, was that we needed to swipe our Clipper cards out when we got off the bus (it's not usually required) and we were all charged the full price for the bus that continues all the way to Santa Rosa! Oops. I guess we learned something new for the next time we cross the bridge!

After spending a little time at the lookout we made our way across the mighty span. We were lucky to have absolutely perfect weather. Sunny without being too sunny, a slight breeze to keep us cool, and a bright blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. Perfect.

Here's a look at our walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Prepare for a lot of "International Orange"!





 



 





This time around Ava was not scared of being on the bridge. Last time she was quite freaked out by the cars zooming past so close. The cold, windy weather didn't do much to put her at ease either. She was a little nervous in the lead up to the walk this time but once we started she realised it wasn't so scary after all. In the end both Ava and Lola really enjoyed walking across the bridge and taking in all of the views. Mathilde slept in her wrap for most of the walk. Lazy baby!



 



I love having such a monumental landmark in such close proximity to where we live. We'll have to make sure it's not another three years before we talk a walk across it again!  

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Santa Rosa Peanuts Sculptures

Recently we visited Santa Rosa, the Sonoma Valley city that was once home to Charles M. Schulz, creator of the beloved Peanuts comics.

In honor of Santa Rosa's most famous resident sculptures of Peanuts characters have been erected around town. There are two permanent bronze sculptures while the rest are movable and can be found dotted around the city. 



Ava and Lola are quite fond of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and their pals so we set out to find as many of the sculptures as possible. We were there quite late in the day (after our visit to Petaluma Pumpkin Patch) and the sun was starting to set so we didn't manage to find all of the sculptures but we did find quite a few.














  


The movable sculptures remind me a little of the heart sculptures dotted around San Francisco. If you've been reading Little Hiccups for a while you'll know that Ava and Lola love tracking down the heart sculptures in San Francisco. You can see some of them here and here. You'll also know that I've been promising to share more of the hearts with you for such a long time. I'll get to it, I promise!

Santa Rosa is also home to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Snoopy's Home Ice skating rink. We've been planning on visiting both but haven't made it there yet. We hope to take the girls very soon. We'll make sure to track down more of the Peanuts sculptures on our next visit too. It appears there are lots more of them. Check out this Pinterest page I found! So many

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Pumpkin Fun

Time for another Halloween catch up...

After our visit to Petaluma Pumpkin Patch we had lots of fun work ahead of us with our pumpkins. We carved jack-o'lanterns, roasted pumpkin seeds and made Mathilde and Sebastian pose inside of carved out pumpkins!

It was a beautiful day here so we spent the afternoon up on our roof carving pumpkins until the sun set. Here's a look at our pumpkin fun...







 







Nature was a total show off while we were carving our pumpkins and treated us to a spectacular sunset over the Bay and San Francisco.



In the evening we lit up our jack-o'lanterns with fake tea light candles. Ava and Lola decided to join in too! Don't they make scary jack-o'lanterns?!




The following day we had our cheesy but oh so cute "Baby in a Pumpkin" photo shoot. Mathilde and Sebastian were so adorable sitting in their carved out pumpkins. We had planned to carve out leg holes as well but they fit so perfectly without them that we decided not to. Plus it was more work!




There was only so long that Mathilde would take sitting in a pumpkin before she had to show off her standing skills. Of course, the pumpkin was holding her up but she seemed pretty proud of herself. Good thing I coordinated her diaper with the pumpkin!



Oh, and those large pumpkins? Perfect size to fit on my head!