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Road Trip + Beach Travel Tips

newport beach vacation
The reality of spring break being over has set in with the craziness of mornings and my dang to-do list staring at me! Oh, but it was a wonderful week! Seriously, one of the best. Which is funny because we did nothing flashy or extravagant. We didn’t even go to Disneyland. (gasp!) I know, I know I was sad about that too but I just wanted to pull up to our place for the week and not have to leave it until it was time to say goodbye. And that’s what we did.
Our days filled with beach, bike rides, eating, exploring along the pier, playing in the sand, gathering shells, more bike rides and more eating. I’d never stayed at a beach house steps from the sand before and it was perfect for the ages of my kids. Because we would go back and forth all day.
Our family needed this. Life was flying by and we needed this time to connect. You definitely don’t have to go to the beach to accomplish that, though it didn’t hurt. I think it’s hard when I work from home because I constantly have that pull to work on something. I felt more detached from stuff I needed to do and could focus on them.
I did have some down time when Myles was napping or the kids were getting ready for bike rides that I could use my art journal. It worked out great! Going to finish parts of it and share this week.

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

Summer is coming up and I wanted to share some tips. I could go on and on but here’s some things that stood out in my mind that hopefully will help some of you. Please leave a comment with any of your tips!

roadtrip

  • Bring your bikes. Renting bikes at the beach is $8 an hour per bike and up to $35 a day that adds up like crazy. We only brought three and had to rent one for Collin when we all rode together. It actually wasn’t that much added work to bring them for the money that we saved. And we rode our bikes everyday we were there. I also love my WeeRide bike seat for Myles. I woke up cruised along the beach before bike rental places were even open so I am glad we brought ours.  Bike racks for a hitch are anywhere from 100-150 depending on how nice and how many bikes you have. There are also bike rack options for car trunks. (PS If you make a stop at a hotel bring your bikes into the hotel room. Better safe than sorry. Plus, you can ride them through the casino like me did. ; ) We also brought a bike lock and brought our bikes into the beach house every night.)
  • Start A Tradition. Ours is to get Hippo Cookies on Balboa Island at Dad’s Original Frozen Banana. We ride the ferry across the island in our car (You can get out and sit on the ferry too.) Then we drive to Dad’s and buy these colorful sprinkled hippo cookies. I am sure you’ve heard me talk about them before. We went our last night we were there and the girls reminded me of it everyday until we finally went there. Vacations are about memories and traditions stand out in children’s minds.
  • Research online for activities before you go. That way you have options ready, addresses, costs and information so you don’t waste time doing that while you are on vacation. It might not be needed but it’s nice to have ready if there’s bad weather, kids are tired or sunburned or you feel like exploring.
  • Pack lunches and snacks. Since we stayed at a beach house we made one trip to the grocery store upon arrival and bought enough for breakfast, lunch and snacks for the week. As well as a couple dinner ideas too. This helps with younger kids because they have the food they like and my kids are active running around the beach so they got hungry lots. Most hotels have small refrigerators too so you can at least have options for sandwiches, milk for breakfast and fruit etc. Even Disneyland let’s you bring in food. Which is great if you have picky eaters and people who get irritable when hungry, like me. ; )
    We walked to dinner a couple nights. Our favorite was ordering take out and delivery the other nights to eat on the beach during the sunset. That was a lot more fun than a restaurant with small kids anyway.
  •  Organize clothes into outfits before you go. This saves you the headache from digging around the luggage. Even just wrap each outfit with a rubber band.
  • Road Trip bags for each. Each kid had a small backpack at their feet in the car with coloring book, crayons and snacks. (Not drinks unless you want to stop every 30 mins.) Since we have DVDs that helps them to stay seated and happy for long hours but they even get tired of that. They loved coloring, reading and having a small prize in their bag.
  • Road Trip prizes: Have a prize ready for small kids to open while they are driving to keep them happy. This works awesome for toddlers. One trip I had a small present for them to open every hour or if they were getting fussy.
  • Offer fruit first instead of drinks. When one of my kids needed to go potty literally 5 minutes after we left our house I knew this would be a long trip…Instead of handing over a water bottle I gave them an apple slice or an orange. I still gave them drinks but just not every single time they said they were thirsty.
  • Plan on incidentals in your budget. Don’t be a Debbie Downer and expect the worst but there usually are a few things that get lost, stolen or forgotten. We lost one flipflop, one scooter, sand toys and forgot one pillow.
  • Don’t put all your pictures on one memory card. Bring two memory cards. After one of our vacations a DSLR card said that the files were corrupted. It was only a few pictures so it wasn’t tragic but if you plan on taking lots of digital picture maybe switch out your card mid-trip and put it somewhere safe so you don’t lose all your images if happens to go wrong.
  • Day Bag: If you have to make a one night stop somewhere along your journey pack one bag with everyone’s change of clothes in it. We stay in Vegas on the way there and I always pack the kids pjs and change of clothes for the morning so I can just grab that one bag and keep it simple.
  • Here are some fun places to visit in New Port Beach we found out before we arrived:
    Crystal Cove State Park
     is a great place to explore tide pools and they even have cottages you can stay in. It’s a nice beach to spend a day at.
    NewPort Dunes is a fun RV Resort. We were thinking of bringing our camper there sometime because there’s lots to do. In the summer months anyone can go there and watch a movie on the beach.
    Balboa Island Fun Zone Boat Tours: We took a sunset boat trip Friday night. It was fun! The tour starts on the Newport Harbor where we saw newborn sea lions resting on rocks, celebrity homes like Shirley Temple & then we traveled out to the ocean. There we saw more sea lions and dolphins. The sunset was beautiful and it was a great evening activity. They’ve done this tour since 1948. It was about $34 for our whole family to go. Online you can use the code FRIDAY for 10/off adult tickets on Friday Night. They also have other fun cruises available. While you are at the Fun Zone on Balboa Island there is a ferris wheel and other activities.

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

newport beach vacation

These Days

dear lizzy instagram

dear lizzy instagramdear lizzy instagram

Lately I’ve been so engrossed with quotes seen on Instagram and Pinterest… “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Dang it Abe Lincoln… you magnificent, wise wizard…! He’s so right. But sometimes I just want to sulk in my own self-pity and blame it on something else. That’s when I look around and list the tiny moments these days that save my life. For instance, try having a bad attitude while wearing a super hero cape and racing on a scooter down the hill with the warm spring sun fighting to reach our faces. It’s impossible. Sometimes I act like a stuffy, old person… and I hate it. It’s way more fun to be hysterically dorky.
I’m trying to remember that there is nothing more refreshing and freeing than looking at life amid the chaos and imperfections and thinking– Wow, I love today.

dear lizzy instagram

Overlays from Paislee Press//Actions Totally Rad//Iphone5 photos

 

 

To-Do List Avoider & Winners


image via: Ikea

GIVEAWAY WINNERS: THE VINTAGE PEARL $50 GIFT CARDS
Love, Carrie
Emily Coe

DEAR LIZZY TOTE AND GOODIES
Meg Barker 

JO TOTE CAMERA BAG
Eri
EMAIL ME if you won or are interested in sponsoring Dear Lizzy: elizabeth.kartchner@gmail.com


There is so much to do this time of year. I feel like my list of to-dos just keeps getting longer. But here I was yesterday morning, laying with my babe. Trapped. And I could care less about the stuff I need to do. How do you say no to cuddling with this doll?


We had a blast at Zuzu’s North Pole Adventure that raised money for the United Angels Foundation to help special needs children in need of help with bills, dental work etc. I was so proud of my sister I started crying and then we were both balling. It’s been quite a growing year for her and her family and for Zuzu surviving and thriving after two open heart surgeries.
At the event I looked over and saw my sis across this room full of elves who donated their time, Santa, Mrs Claus and ALL these people who came even though their was a horrible snow storm outside… I could not hold back the tears. Thank you to everyone who came and supported this wonderful cause.


This photo of Myles and me is one of my favorites. My mom was here for Thanksgiving and once I was holding him and she asked him, “Where’s your momma?” He would do this! Rest his face with a smile on my chest. She asked over and over and he’d do the same thing. It’s my favorite thing. #heartmelted


Avery finished reading two of her first chapter books from the Junie B Jones series. My mom saved them for her and brought them over last year. I am determined to raise a bunch of nerds. They are the best! I also hope she likes unicorns and wears roller skates far too long than she should.


Christmas shopping!

Also, Christmas parties! This one was a Vegas themed party for Collin’s work. Don’t ask. haha! Okay, I’ll explain. Collin became, Sergai, and talked in a Russian accent even before we got to the party to get in character as a gambling, Russian arms dealer… apparently I was Natalia his girlfriend. Yes, people dress up for not just Halloween. He got a $100 gift card so that’s cool. ha! It was a blast!
After that night I decided I need to dance more in my life. When most everyone left and the DJ started I kicked off my glitter heels and made of fool of myself dancing. I even lost my voice. Baby Jesus would’ve been proud.

Counting down to Christmas! xo, Lizzy

 

Bouquet of Sharpened Pencils

Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms. tom hanks You’ve Got Mail

Something about this dark, crisp autumn day with yellow leaves filling up the view out my window that makes want to curl up under a blanket and watch You’ve Got Mail. Or any  other Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan film for that matter. What ever happened to Meg Ryan…? Even French Kiss is still such a cute flick. Anyway, today I am making chocolate cookies, cleaning up my desk I’ve been avoiding at all costs and other activities that scream it’s fall people.
And now pics to prove to my kids the fun we’ve had… Including taking our camper out to the mountains on its first adventure. Bike rides on a warm day and Myles + leaves. Doesn’t fall look good on him with this sweater, button down shirt and jeans. All he needs is a cup of apple cider and knitted scarf.



 

 

Love You More

As I am typing this our camper is getting the finishing touches on a fresh coat of paint. I can not wait to see it all shiny and new. Collin worked on the flooring and the upholstery is all done in a flashy turquoise… Just in time for winter! haha But we should still have some nice weeekends before hibernation. I collected some things to put inside and will share some pics of our process when we get it back home. Collin even came up with a “name” for it. It made me tear up because it has to do with my dad and so many of my memories of him were camping… but I’ll save all that for another day.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite-only a sense of existence.”
And a date to Target with my little guy!

Also, one day I thought I want to play the ukulele… and the first song I want to learn is Edelweiss. How random are both of those thoughts?! Not that random if you know me. For one, Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorite movies. And second, I have always-always wanted to learn to play the guitar. So I bought a mini one.
It’s actually easier than I thought. I am not good at all, by any means. But I can play sounds that sound like the song it should be. ahaha
Do you play the yook? any tips or favorite tutorials on youtube?

Getting Halloween costumes together and enjoying this wonderful fall weather! xo, Lizzy

 

Wouldn’t change a thing

Actually that blog title is a complete lie. Because there are things I would change. Like how I am so tired right now. How sometimes my kids listen to me and most of the times they don’t. How I found myself singing, “Doc McStuffins… Doc Mcstuffins… the doc is in” to myself while driving. How I bit Collin’s head off the other day for seriously no good reason-except I’d used up all of my patience. How a shower is a rare gift from heaven. But I wouldn’t change the fact that I have these crazy cats. Seriously, by the end of the day we are exhausted because we filled our day with an abundance of laughs, dress-up, dishes, donuts, endless cuddles, endless laundry… and the occasional bar fight followed by the overly-dramatic Oscar-worthy tears & apologies.
Some recent Instagrams of our everyday.
Which reminds me, were chatting on Insta the other day because of a recent study that stated: Mothers of three children stress more than moms of one or two, while mothers of four or more children actually report lower stress levels, according to an exclusive TODAYMoms.com survey of more than 7,000 U.S. mothers. 

This was interesting because, for me, four kids far exceeds my stress when there were three. I think it might be the age of my kids. A two and a half year old and a newborn can be tricky. What about you?
How have you found the transition from 1 to 2, or 2 to 3 kids?

Playing dress-up is serious business!

Collin whisks the kids away so I can work.

Lola’s breakfast bouncer.

Drool bomb.

Date night with my two boyfriends. xoxoxo, Lizzy

 

1:22 pm

Literally took days to see the top of my desk because it was completely covered in mess. Good thing scrapbooking stuff is a such a pretty mess.
I have been gathering inspiration for the next Dear Lizzy line and I am so excited about new ideas and product ideas.

One of my favorite booksShe…
Inspirational…

My babe is pretty stinking cute! He is rolling around like crazy too. Which is surprising since I never put him down because the girls swarm and it’s an attack of kisses! Sweestest baby!! muah muah!

Our date night detour… Such a purdy summer night! Happy Monday!

summer a d v e n t u r e s

Thank you for your prayers and support for my neice, Zuzu! She is in her surgery right now and we got word that it is going good. Thank you so much!

School starting is always bittersweet. Early mornings, driving and not seeing Avery all day makes my stomach hurt. But having a few hours with only two sprouts sounds really nice about now too! Might even have a dance party all by myself that morning. Lola will probably join me, that girl can shake it! But then that will make me miss them…!
Bandaids and bike rides and soccer games and sunday walks are still all the rave.

Yesterday Lola took a horrible spill at Daddy’s baseball game. Her forehead looks like she got in a fight with the pitcher of the opposing team. :( Seriously I would love my girls to have an ounce of fear. But she has always wanted to be like her big sisters. That’s why I didn’t even have to potty train her… she just did it herself. And she is also THE most cheerful little girl… if you know Lola then you know she’s so happy. She says thank you and please for everything! Even when I am doing the mom things I’m supposed to do like hand her breakfast. I was putting her clothes in her drawer and she came running… “Thank you momma!!!” I took my time and put each shirt in the drawer so she’d give me a hug for each one. : )

 

Soccer practice cheering on the girls. They are lucky I am there to show them how to slide tackle!


Celebrated 11 years at the Sundance Summer Theatre with mah boys!

 

If you are interested I have some Signature Series magazines available to purchase. I can even personalize them if you would like. They are $23.00 and that covers shipping, handling, paypal fee and the book. (US only please. Unless you want to pay extra email me elizabeth.kartchner@gmail.com. I have the worst luck with Canadian shipping for some reason.) Click the Buy Now below

 

Signature series seen above and some of my new Dear Lizzy products… I love my glitter heart toothpicks as bookmarks. Also the wood veneer pieces, glitter clothespins, and papers!

Dog Pile

Last night it was a dog pile on mom while feeding baby Myles–Avery on one arm, Quincey under the other and Lola laying on my lap. I literally felt complete exhaustion and purest bliss at the same time. The thing is, a majority my tiredness probably came from Collin buying a box of Otter Pops. I think I gave him the stink eye at the grocery store but they remained in the cart. Basically I spent the entire day on Otter Pop patrol. Never thought I’d see that day.
Making them eat it outside but they keep sneaking them, sticky floor, sticky scissors. It was awesome. I force fed myself the rest until my tongue was a rainbow so they were really gone since “this is the last one” means nothing to my kids. The next night, a cute sitter came over because I love a good mommy-break and Collin had a meeting in Park City. Myles and I jumped in the car and walked around Target, of course. We sang Pink at the top of our lungs in the car on the way there. …” we’re not broken just bent and we can learn to love again!!!” By the end of our trip I had stuffed my face with popcorn and was pushing a cart full of stuff I didn’t really need (that dang dollar spot gets me every time). Basically the perfect brainless break.

Everytime Myles wears this hat Collin teases us and instinctively starts singing Jason Mraz. “Open up your eyes and see like me… I’m yoooouurrrs…”
It’s actually the worlds tiniest fedora and yet is still a little too big.
He was definitely puttin out the vibe. Ladiesssss…

Right after this pic Lola put her hands behind her head just like her sister. Which is exactly them.
Avery, wanting to do everything right and trying to figure out this world. Lola, looking to her for the way…

Bathing suit and bonnett… yes! From the cutest little shop… c/o Cozy Sailor

Favorite Photo Editing Apps: Part 02

Hey there! Just wanted to pop in and share some of my most recent, favorite photo editing apps you can use on your smart phones, ipads etc. I use them specifically for photos I post to Instagram. Since that’s my social media drug of choice. And, yes, I am addicted.
I shared Part 1 of my fave photo editing tips last summer and thought I would add some to the mix.

AFTERGLOW: (.99) Afterglow has some awesome filters and is super easy to use. But I mainly downloaded it for the shaped frames. There are a bunch to choose from including the above heart, circle, triangle, and geometric shapes. Super fun and much easier then opening up something in photoshop to get the same effect. You can also adjust the size of the frame and have a bit of space to move the photo around inside.

PIC TAP GO: (.99) Pic Tap Go is an app from the masterminds behind Totally Rad Actions that I have been using for… ever. They recently developed a photo editing system in app form which made me think… why didn’t they do this sooner?! But it’s here and that’s all that matters for a photo junkie like myself.

PHOSTER: ($1.99) This is a recent one I found and I love it. The name of the app is Phoster (poster + photo) where they have some cool, modern templates for making your own photos into posters. There are square and portrait options and you change the text in all the posters to customize it to say what you want. Can we also just say how cute my Myles is here!!! sigh…

 

I mentioned this app last time: PICFX ($1.99) but they have some new, interesting lens flares and light leaks so I thought I’d share.

OTHER FAVORITES:

FOR VIDEO: 8mm is such a rad video app with cool filters that make it look like you’re using an old school 8mm camera.
Rhonna Designs: My spunky friend and amazing designer has some gorgeous and inspiring quotes and phrases. Also, all sorts of overlays and graphics to jazz up your photos! Plus, she’s the best!
Square Ready: Is a great little free app for when you want to share for of the photo then a square and still have a white background or you can change the background to any color.
Bokehful: Another app to add some lens flares and bokeh effects to your pics.
Bubbleframe: A whimsical app where your photo looks like it’s a scrapbook page in a few seconds. Just cute circle frames and chevron and other patterned backgrounds.

View the FAVE PHOTO APPS VOLUME 1 HERE 

Connect on Instagram @DearLizzy
xo, Lizzy