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Lifetime Memories Made At Thousand Trails This Summer

Lifetime Memories Made At Thousand Trails This Summer

We went camping at Thousand Trails in Santa Barbara this month.  It was our first time there and we weren’t sure what to bring.  I checked the website to learn more about the location and the amenities offered.  What I didn’t expect is how amazing it was.  Everything was clean, well taken care of and topnotch.  All of the staff was sincerely nice and helpful.  We had a blast and will definitely be going back.  It is deep in Santa Barbara so we packed for the beach when we should have packed more for hot weather.  We also brought too much food (never a bad problem).  We stayed in a cabin (WOW, but more about that later) but there are lots of other options.

So, first thing you’ll need to do is pick a Thousand Trails location.  You can pick based on location, travel time, amenities, etc.  I liked Rancho Oso because it was fairly close (1 1/2 hours away) and had horseback riding.  I also like that it was in the middle of the mountains.  We were away from freeways, traffic and other city life yet had others on site and a general store in case we needed anything.

Some Details About Our Cabin

The cabins come in a few sizes.  All have kitchens, bathrooms, tv with cable and are fully furnished.Rancho oso cabins

Our cabin had a loft upstairs with two twin beds (kids slept here).

From the loft looking down was the living room (and porch at the top of the photos).  The kitchen table sits four chairs and the couch has a hide-a-bed. The bedroom had a queen bed, closet with dresser drawers, end table and tv.  It wasn’t huge but was big enough to have everything fit in it comfortably. The kitchen was fully stocked with pots, pans, dishes, seasoning, etc and the bathroom had linens and soap.   The kitchen even had a knife block, dish soap, dish rags, a sponge to do the dishes, etc. View from patio looking back.  Loft upstairs.  Entertainment center and tv on right.  Kitchen and than bathroom and bedroom. there is a pantry and full-size refrigerator too.

Lots of shade!  I love how the trees are fully grown and are all over the place.  Even on a hot day there is a nice breeze too.

So Many Ways To Get Exercise and Explore

There is a lot for families to do outdoors.  Here is horse shoes, tennis courts and pickleball courts. Plenty of things for kids too. Playground fun to tire kids out and make friends.  There is also Golden Horseshoe Hunts, Scavenger Hunts, family movie nights, card games, wagon rides and more. Miniature golf greens. Putters and balls can be checked out for usage.  Basketball hoops on the right.  There is also two pools and a jacuzzi. We wandered around and explored the campgrounds.  It was a great way to meet other people and get in a nice walk.
If you have an RV you can bring it and hook it up.  There are also options to leave the RV at Thousand Trails and come back to camp without having to drag the RV home and back again.

A Place To Ditch The Kids

We found the Adult Lounge too.  A nice building for some adult-time without kids.  Everyone must be 18-years-old, or older to hang out here.  It has a living room with couches, tv, a fireplace and exercise equipment, a billiards room, a room with puzzles and board games and wifi!  Yes, I said wifi.  The rest of the campgrounds don’t have wifi, so if you want your kids to unplug and jump in a pool or ride a horse, just don’t tell them the password.  The mountains surrounding the camp are so big that regular internet is spotty.  The Adult Lodge has wine tasting on Saturdays for those over 21 too.

More Outside On The Site

For those staying long-term or in tents there are a few buildings with restrooms, soda machines and washing machine and dryers to use. Our cabin was two story and had a picnic table for outdoor dining.  It also had a barbecue on the patio.


Camping, RV-ing, Glamping, Cabins And More.  Stay in so many ways and yet have a store, pool, playground, etc.

Forget something like sunscreen or charcoal or want a candy bar?  The Country Store has it all.  The Stone Lodge is where kids can go to check out sports equipment, play ping-pong and families can purchase meals and dine in the mesh hall or outdoors. There is a large amount of horses at Rancho Oso too.  Some are for families to rent for riding (they have little kid rides or hour long rides for older kids and adults).  Campers can bring their horses here to be able to ride while on vacation.  Some people board their horses here too. We got to see some cowboys teach kids about riding rodeo cows (they used young calves and a stuffed animal rider).  The kids and adults were entertained and educated by this. Some alternative options for lodging.  I seriously want to come back and stay in every single one!

First there is the corrals.  These are like cabins but smaller.  Not sure but I think they are empty inside. Than you have the option of covered wagons.  These are so cool!  There is steps to get inside and I also saw one with a wheelchair ramp. Finally, you can sleep in a teepee.  They have beds inside too!  The teepees and wagons are in a large circle with picnic tables and barbecues on the side of each one.

I love how gorgeous it is at Rancho Oso.  The grounds are in excellent condition with no trash, debris or anything else on the ground.  The view is spectacular in every direction.  No wonder why this is a popular vacation spot!  The kids even said they wanted to stay for ever.

Rancho Oso in Santa BarbaraWe also saw other livestock wandering around.  Chickens and turkeys were hanging out near the horse corrals and there are goats and a large amount of cattle. There were a few different species of butterflies and some ground squirrels. Shady path to the Adult Lounge and Member Services (you can go in there and talk to Martin to learn more about becoming a member at Thousand Trails and all the benefits and perks that comes with it. Martin Turner or 855-572-6246.  You can contact him to save money on a 1-year or 4-year membership and learn more about getting 2 free weeks a year!  Members can visit other Thousand Trails locations too. Random selfie enjoying the grounds.rancho oso selfie The Stone Lodge has a history of its own and is a unique building to explore.  On the right is the recreation room, middle is the mess hall and left is a room for teens to play ping-pong or hang out.  There is also arts and crafts for younger kids and to the left of the stone lodge is a church with services on Sunday. Inside is roomy with couches and where food is served.  There is a row of picnic tables inside and outside for dining.   I like that I could buy breakfast, lunch or dinner Friday-Sunday.  We had dinner one night (just to try it and hang out with other families.  Plus I suck at cooking tri-tip).  My son and I had the tri-tip and my daughter had the vegetarian lasagna.  There was also a huge salad, corn, beans and garlic bread.  For younger kids there was also a choice of chicken nuggets.  The meals vary depending on the day but you can get a menu selection while you are staying there.Other fun family activities are the ice cream social.  We got to choose from three flavors and add nuts, whip cream and cherries. Lots to shop for inside the Country Store.  Groceries, gifts, ice cream and more.
Got the kids to smile in front of a giant cactus. Some bees pollinating the cactus flowers.The chapel is a general domination service held every Sunday at 10am. 


Horses & Hikes

Kids and adults can take a 1-hour trail ride around the outer trails, through the streams and exploring with a guide.  Riders must wear helmets and be under 200 lbs.
The horses were the kids’ favorite part.  I didn’t ride but did get to pet the horses.  They are very mild-mannered and are great for new or experienced riders.
Guests of Thousand Trials can get a Walk The Trails Mileage Log and keep track of miles walked while on hikes.  They can turn in the cards at any Thousand Trails location for prizes.  We explored a few trails including one to the Rancho Oso Waterfall, to a stream (the one they rode the horses on) and there is even a swimming hole (we didn’t find it).
It was hot outside but the trails were nicely shaded for most of the hike.  We passed a few people hiking but I liked how quiet it was and how we could hear all the birds and nearby animals running around in the bushes.Throwing a rock in the stream to see how deep it is.  It was too deep for us to cross on foot (didn’t want our shoes wet).  I was surprised how much water there was in June.Picture on the way to Chumana Lake to go fishing.  Just goes to show there are a lot of residence in the area outside of Rancho Oso but they are somewhere further back in the hills and trees.
Sign leaving… We will definitely be back.  This was a wonderful place to make lasting summer memories with my kids.  I love that every since person we came across (employees and other families) was delightful and friendly.  I can’t wait to visit again.

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Baseball Wreath DIY Coach Gift

Baseball Wreath DIY Coach Gift


This was a fun project I did with a few other team moms for my daughter’s coach as a thank you gift for coaching all season.  The supplies were super cheap and this is a gift that will be a keepsake.  All the kids signed it after it was made, making it personal.
First, get about 11 baseballs.  Dirty and used are fine.  That adds to the look.

Next drill a hole in each one.  My dad helped with that part.


IMGP3690 Thread them through a metal coat hanger.  We used a white one so that it blended in better.IMGP3691 Twist the coat hanger at the top so that it closes the hanger, making a loop.  Make sure it is tight so it does not untwist.IMGP3692We put the team name and year at the very bottom one. ‘Redsocks 2014’ and some tole, ribbon and mini-wooden baseballs that the top.
IMGP3694 These covered the loop of the coathanger.  On the other side it is now a hook so this can be hung on a wall or doorknob.IMGP3695

Mini baseballs available on Amazon.  The tole and ribbon were bought at a local craft store.Next we had all the kids sign the balls.  Try to have them sign so that their names are facing up so that they can all be read once the wreath us hung up.


Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

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Back To School In Style: Start Shopping Now

Back To School In Style: Start Shopping Now

I know I’m insane.  Summer JUST started, right?  There will be plenty of back-to-school sales but if you find things online or in stores that your kids will love than shop now, while there is plenty in stock!  Plus items like lunch bags and backpacks can be used all year long.  Camping, day camps, field trips, road trips, sleepovers, etc.  If I see something at a good price I’m not going to wait three months to buy it.  No one should.  Check out these ideas for BTS available now.


Insulated lunch bags in all sorts of cool designs by Wildkin.  I like the large velcro flap and how wide the bottom of the bag is.  Great for teens to fit a whole lunch and snacks inside.

Sydney Paige offers a 2-for-one.  Not only are you buying a backpack from them with lots of pockets plus a place for id, padded for a small laptop or tablet and a hook inside for keys… but for each backpack you purchase Sydney Paige will donate one to a child in need.   Organic Slammers by Go Gourmet.  These are great for kids of all ages to throw in a lunch bag or eat on the way to school.  I love how the lids can screw back on, keeping the pouches from leaking.  They have no artificial colors or flavors, no refined sugar and have ingredients like bananas, applies, blueberries, strawberries, cherries and more.  These are not a drinkable yogurt.  They are a pureed superfood snack.

Get younger kids started on sight words, reading comprehension, telling time and more with Hot Dots Jr.  Fun touch pen with Ollie- the talking Owl Pen.  Great for ages 5-6 as a K-1st grade educational toy.   Ollie will tell kids if they answered correct or not and give words of encouragement.

Back To School Shopping For Parents

The Drive To Learn: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us About Raising Students Who Excel. By Cornelius N. Grove.  This is a great book for parents that want to push their kids to learn.  Learn how other cultures educate differently.

Where Will I Live?  By Rosemary McCarney.  A great book about refugees from all areas of the world and what the changes mean to them.  Very light reading without a lot of details.  Good for younger ages to understand acceptance and learn about refugees.  Lots of amazing photos too.

Notebook Doodles Go Girl! By Jess Volinski.  This is actually a doodlebook for girls but I think it’d be great to tear out page and put one a day in a child’s lunch bag or backpack. Inspirational pages to color for all ages.

Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

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24 Insanely Delicious Instant Pot Recipes

24 Insanely Delicious Instant Pot Recipes


instant pot recipes


Instant Pots are the latest kitchen crazy.  They make getting food to the table fast and easy.  Especially for parents with busy schedules or kids in sports.  You can prepare ahead and set your Instant Pot and come home to a delicious meal ready to serve. Some are new to me.  I never knew I could make meatloaf or a cake in the Instant Pot!  Check out this awesome list of 24 recipes.  Print your favorites to save for busy days.

  1. Moo Goo Gai Pan (Gluten-Free Pressure Cooker).
  2. Barbecue Pulled Pork (Must Have Mom).
  3. Sloppy Joe’s (I Don’t Have Time For That).
  4. Corned Beef Cabbage (Savory Tooth).
  5. Pot Roast (Pressure Cook Recipes).
  6. Mashed Potatoes (Confessions of a Cooking Diva).
  7. Pork Chops (Craft Create Cook).
  8. Chili With Canned Beans (Mashed Up Mom).
  9. Artichoke & Dip (Savory Tooth).
  10. Honey Sesame Chicken (Thrifty Jinxy).
  11. Italian Wedding Soup (Gluten-Free Pressure Cooker).
  12. Lemon & Garlic Chicken (Must Have Mom).
  13. Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps (Glue Sticks & Gumdrops).
  14. Sweet Potatoes (Craft Create Cook).
  15. Meatloaf (Awe Filled Homemaker).
  16. Ham & Potato Soup (Mashed Up Mom).
  17. Salsa Chicken Tacos (Aileen Cooks).
  18. Sausage Cacciatore (This Worthy Life).

    Plus Some Desserts

  19. Banana Bread (This Mama Loves).
  20. Cheesecake (This Mama Loves).
  21. Elderberry Gummies (Awe Filled Homemaker).
  22. Yogurt (Pressure Cook Recipes).
  23. Blueberry Jam (The Frugal Navy Wife).
  24. Flourless Orange Chocolate Cake (I Don’t Have Time For That).

Disclosure: I received one or more products for review purposes only. Despite the free item, my opinions remain 100% Honest and my own.This post may contain affiliate links, if clicked I may receive compensation. If a giveaway is being held: No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

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