Friday, June 17, 2011

Solvang & Camping

Today is my birthday! After much discussion on what where to go and what to do, plans changed and we ended up planning something else up until the very last minute. I am not one for last minute planning; but it came together and we had a great time.

Two days before my day, we decided to go to Solvang for the day. The evening before, about 9:00pm, I realized that we would be driving on windy roads in the dark. To avoid that issue; I started looking for a cheap place to stay for the night. Everywhere was well over $100/night. I needed to find something much cheaper. Then came my bright idea. I said, Lets go camping! Hubby was was not too thrilled about the idea of going camping and looking in the garage for camping gear (just a tent and 2 sleeping bags) at the very last minute. He didn't complain too much because I think he was too tired to waste the energy and because it's what I wanted to do for my birthday. The girls have been wanting to go "real" camping somewhere besides our backyard. We didn't tell them we were going cuz I wasn't even sure they had space available.

It seemed impossible to get going in the morning. Hubby did realize the night before we needed stakes for the tent. We headed out to buy them when I asked, You packed sleeping bags, right? He gave me that look of, I forgot. At that moment, we turned around to get them. All he had to remember was a tent and sleeping bags and he forgets half of the items!

We finally get on the road to Solvang! We stopped Sunny Fields playground to eat a picnic lunch. After lunch the girls played on this awesome castle looking playground.

From there we rented a surrey from Wheel Fun for $25 and rode it around Solvang's danish village. The guy gave it to us for a little longer than the hr. rental time; but it only took us about 20 min. to ride around the village. So, we spent the rest of the 40 min. going around and around the designated streets.

We then got the girls some ice cream at $3 each for a kids scoop, emphasizing to be careful the scoop doesn't drop. Of course, 3 min. later my oldest drops her ice cream on the dirty ground. Since, I paid $3 for a barely eaten ice cream, I quickly picked it up and put it in a bowl for her to continue eating. I'm sure the 30 sec. rule doesn't apply to ice cream. I just told her to not eat the bottom that landed on the ground. That became impossible when the ice cream started melting. That's the last time they get a cone!
Solvang is famous for their danishes and cookies; so hubby and I had to get one. We didn't get the famous butter cookies. Instead we both got an apple filled danish cookie with almonds at $1.75 each. It was tasty! We stopped for photo opts of the girls in the wooded red shoe and at a windmill.

After walking through the village, we went to Classic Organic Farm where you can pick your own berries. My youngest loves strawberries and was so excited to be able to pick them herself. The oldest doesn't like strawberries; but they did have raspberries for her to pick. Everyone was happily picking berries. The owners are too busy working in the fields to take money from customers; so they implemented an honor system of what you take and drop your money in the barrel. We picked a pint of strawberries for $2 and got half a pint of raspberries for $2.50.

After berry picking, we went to Ostrichland! Ostrichland is a bunch of ostrich and emu wandering around a fenced in field waiting for you to feed them. So, for $12 the 4 of us got to enter Ostrichland. Hubby and I fed them rabbit food from a bowl which sits on a dustpan. You hold on to the dustpan handle with 2 hands, and the ostrich peck away. They were entertaining to watch for about 10 min. It was a fun experience to at least try once.

Since the famous Split Pea Andersen's soup was right down the street; we had to pay a visit. I'm not a huge fan of pea soup; but I do like it especially when it's in a bread bowl with all the fixin's added such as diced ham, croutons, cheese, chives, and bacon which was $9.50. The girls got their picture in the HAP-PEA and PEA-WEE cutout and we headed for the lake.

We got to the Cachuma lake around 8:45. Luckily they had quite a few spaces ($25/night) available. We drove around the dark trying to find campsite numbers. We picked a space somewhat close to bathrooms, a playground and showers. Hubby used the the car's headlights as he put together the tent. He got it up in about 5-10 min and I threw the sleeping bags and blankets inside. The girls were so excited to find out they were going "real" camping! We played a game of UNO and had somewhat of an uncomfortable sleep on the hard ground.

The next morning, the girls woke up before 7:00; super early for me, to use the restroom. Early bird hubby took them. He went back to sleep when the girls were hungry. I was still too tired to get up and had the oldest go to the car right next to the tent to get her berries to eat and some dry cereal.
Hubby went to the general store to look for firewood so we could make Smore's. We can't do
camping without a fire and Smores! But $10 for firewood and lighter fluid was too much. The girls wanted to collect twigs and put them in the pit. We started to light them; but needed fluid. As hubby was leaving for the store again; our camping neighbors had noticed our struggle of trying to make Smores and were very nice to give us a couple logs with some fluid. We had our fire and our Smores. Camping complete! After our Smore breakfast, I took the girls to the playground while hubby packed the car. We then stopped at their nature center before we left for home.

It wasn't necessarily a frugal birthday; but it was a fun birthday!


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  2. orchid food from vanilla orchids is actually food for humans.More specifically,it is the second most expensive spice used in cooking. Vanilla is extracted from vanilla beans.These are the vegetables left behind when a vanilla orchid finishes blooming.

    ostrich farm