Shortly in San Diego 

I had always wanted to take a vacation to San Diego, but had only driven through several times never staying to enjoy the area. Last Spring, my family and I drove to the coast. When we entered San Diego, as soon as we rolled down our windows, the moisture and fragrance overtook our senses. The fresh air was wonderful. After living in Arizona for over a year, we missed the smells of flowers, trees, and the ocean.

A couple places we visited were Sea World and Coronado Beach.

Pictures of Sea World below:

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I found an awesome deal for a hotel room overlooking the boats and water:

The weather looked more similar to the Pacific coast of Washington state than California; however, Coronado Beach stayed warm even though it was a bit windy.Hotel del Coronado. They made the best smoothie I had ever had.

My five year anniversary at the time so I made a heart in the sparkling gold sand.My silly girl:

Camping at the local KOA. A great place for families to set their kids loose. They have a jumping pillow, pool, playground, a train on the weekends that drive around the grounds, activities, and more.img_3586

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Reflections of Cottage Lake Park

Reflections of Cottage Lake

My husband and I randomly happened upon this stunning park while taking a drive around Woodinville, Washington. Nice houses set up camp on the shorelines, a dock allows for aIMG_0068B boat launch and fishing, and the evergreens encircle the water.

Picnic tables and a playground allow for family outings, and personally, I enjoyed the location for a short photo shoot.

If you’d like to venture to the park, it is located about 12 miles north of Bellevue via the I-405. Close enough to the city, but still far enough to maintain it’s small town charm.

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Buckley, Washington

If you want a taste of the country in Autumn, Buckley Washington is the perfect place to go.

The view of Mount Rainier, as it sits as the background from a classic countryside scene, will make you want to give up the rat race for good.Countryside Mountain View

Within Buckley, Maris Farms puts on their annual Halloween attractions; they are my IMG_4367-001favorite farm to go to within 60 miles of Seattle. Maris puts on the traditional hay rides, corn maze, and farm animal viewing. However, the non-conventional events include: monster truck rides, giant slide, zip lining, and a house of corn for the kids to play in. Some other fun kid activities consist of IMG_4420-001pony and camel rides, bounce pillow, and a fishing area. This place really goes all out for the Halloween season.

When the night falls, events are geared for crowds 13 and above. The haunted woods places scary monsters, zombies, and clowns throughout their corn maze to frighten you. The path throughout the experience has been well thought out and takes over an hour to complete. If you live south of Seattle, you need to visit this attraction, it is a must!

After finishing the haunted woods, they offer a paintball safari to shoot zombies from a moving vehicle. On the way out, grab one of their famous turkey legs and corn on a stick. Don’t forget to enjoy the non-polluted clear view of the sky on the evening drive home.

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Top Ten Reasons I Want to Move to Europe

Lately, I have been greatly missing Europe; it has already been seven years since I visited. Especially since I now have a child I want the best for, I would really love to make the move to Europe. So here’s my top ten reasons I would want to move across the Atlantic:

 

10. Fluoride is not allowed in the drinking water. 

Europeans have a history of knowing what fluoride really does and wants nothing to do with it.

I have to say, the best water I’ve had came from the taps of Switzerland.

9. Enjoyment of Life

Sure the cities tend to more high-speed than the country side, but the people bring a realization of what’s important in life to wherever they go. I feel like most people don’t have as much of the same stresses over there because they take life at a different speed: life should be enjoyed, not rushed. Although, some countries are more so than others; not all European countries are equal. The United States needs to take some pointers from our neighbors.

8. The Architecture and History.

No matter what country in Europe you visit, you will find yourself walking through history. The buildings are ornate in designs and hold hundreds of years of memories within them. Vatican CeilingThe first time I walked through London in the evening, I felt as if I were strolling through a fairy tale land. And as I took step after step down the road to the Coliseum in Rome, I could feel the spirits of history running down the same path I was taking. No where in the the United States holds such a long rich past and brilliant constructions.

7. Healthcare.

The healthcare system takes care of their citizens, and the maternity leave puts the United States to shame.

6. The People.

Everywhere you go, people are unbelievably nice and super helpful. In the U.S., people tend to keep to themselves; Europeans tend to be more outgoing. Also, with each country you visit, the immersion of each of their accents is intoxicating.

5. The Quality of Food.

Oh… my… gosh…, I love the food in Europe!German Dessert

From the pastry shops, the meats and cheeses, to the fresh fruit, chocolates, and gelato; all the food is done and tastes much better over seas. I feel that you can actually taste the care that was put into each thing you consume. You really can’t debate me on this unless you’ve dabbled in the European delights.

4. GMOs are Highly Regulated.

In a lot of Europe, food products need to be labeled if they contain Genetically Modified Organisms. “France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Greece are among the countries that have either total or partial bans on GMOs. And in Italy, 16 of the country’s 20 regions have declared themselves to be GMO-free when it comes to agriculture” http://www.alternet.org/world/10-things-europe-does-way-better-america.

3. The Educational System.

Here in the US, education is not about learning anymore; it’s about training children to do well at taking tests. As well as becoming a massive business for corporate test makers, as seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6lyURyVz7k.

Teachers in the U.S. aren’t allowed the room to be creative in the classroom, instead, the educational system hands teachers a strict curriculum that they should not get “side-tracked” by. Teachers are no longer initiators of learning and critical thought, but drones to create a generation of robot test takers. Which sucks any interest or passion of learning from a child; as a result, the United States is now very low on academic standing in the world.

I’m not saying that Europe has the best educational system, but compared with the U.S., who comes in at #28 worldwide, many European countries are way ahead http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32608772.

Also, as a side note, as I backpacked across Europe and have known people from all over the world, I have to say I feel like a “stupid American” for only knowing English. Most people all over the world know at least two languages. Thank you U.S. educational system.

2. The Trains!

Europe has a massive amount of rails to ride. Each morning you can wake up and just Train Along European Countrysidehead to an easily accessible station and go to a different country on a whim. They have high speed trains, which go up to 252 mph. You don’t have to deal with traffic or even need a hotel room for the night because you can save money and spend the night in your train car.

1. Location, Location, Location!

What other continent do you have the ability to easily the spend the day in at least three countries? Each country borders numerous others and allows you to spend each weekend in a different culture. Europe is a travel addicted person’s paradise!