A Mini-Adventure in San Francisco

A Note from Joyce: It wasn’t until a few years ago after our trip to Seattle when we decided we should have the girls explore our original hometown of San Francisco (where there is ALWAYS something new to discover!). We have done two almost-all-day trips with visiting relatives and we have also been on a few shorter mini-adventures. (You can find a few posts on our old blog.) For this mini-adventure, we decided to drive a few minutes out from Chinatown to see a site made even more popular (again?) by the Fuller House series.

We recently went to San Fransisco. It was a special occasion, of course, because we don’t go as frequently as we could. It’s funny because we live 25 miles away from San Fransisco. So to get to San Fransisco, you have to pass through the tolls. There are always a lot of people going through there, which makes me wonder if there is traffic, but every time there isn’t much as I thought there would be (at the time we go).

This is us on the Bay Bridge. They knocked the old one down on the other side. There’s the new Salesforce Tower!

This is the Financial District, which is where my dad works. The buildings are super tall. I wonder what happens when there’s an earthquake.

The reason we were there was because we had a family member’s anniversary celebration, so we went to our old church in Chinatown. Before that Emily and I went to Sunday School, where we did a Bible study. We definitely met a lot of people who knew us from when we were little. This is the prayer before the anniversary lunch at the church.

They gave a lot of speeches and there was even singing!

This is a mural which, evidently, used to be new and vibrant-colored way back when. (When my parents were little, probably.)

This is us in front of the church. The church is 4 stories tall. We used to go there before we moved, which is when I was 1. That was 9 years ago. But once every year we go back and visit. I have to admit, I do remember some people!

The church is near the border of Chinatown and Nob Hill(?), so afterwards we went into Chinatown more. This is what you think of when you think of Chinatown. We went and got some bread. There was a lot of people there, so we just got jostled around. The buns were really good. Compliments to the baker!

If you live in San Fransisco, another thing you have to endure is…the hills. We had to walk UP 4 entire blocks of hills back to our car.

We always find something touristy and fun to do when we are in San Francisco! This time, we visited the Painted Ladies. These colorful Victorian-era houses were certainly vibrant. My favorite house was the lilac-colored one, which you can’t see in the photos because it was farther down.

There were a lot of houses – blocks and blocks of them! People just publicly sat and took selfies. I couldn’t believe they did that because people actually lived in those houses!

That’s me standing in front of all of the houses. I wonder if they’ll ever fall apart. Aren’t they old?

Here’s all of us as a family on the hill across the street from the Painted Ladies. I think one of them, in the background, was getting redone.

Selfie time! We took a lot of selfies. I guess we are one of those people. But I did see someone with a selfie stick…

That’s Emily jumping. She likes to do that, and dance. I don’t do that, so when they asked me if I wanted to do that, I said no.

The pastel colors are pretty!

Such detailed designs!

And one more random church we saw on our way back home.

Epilogue: Not included in the photos…which is the rest of the day…we went to my grandparent’s house (dad’s side) which is also in San Francisco while my dad went to Costco. After that, we went to my other grandparent’s house (mom’s side), which isn’t in San Francisco, for dinner. It was a busy day, for sure, but one to remember. I had a good time.

If you want to know a few facts about the Painted Ladies, read more at UpOutSF.

Books for Young Readers

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Zondervan

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Here’s a look at some new resources from Zondervan this month for your family:

*The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran

This book is about grandparents. My favorite part is the pictures of Noah with his family in their big family tree. I like spending time with my grandparents and hugging them.  I recommend this to everybody. – Emily (age 8)

This book is a story of Grandparents Day and the bear cubs share their favorite things to do with Gramps and Gran. On the inside of the back cover, there are some ideas on how to celebrate the day. – Mom Joyce

Get your own copy *HERE.

 

*NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible, Hardcover, Full Color Interior: Explore the Story of the Bible 

When I saw this Bible and opened it, I was excited. This Bible really takes you back to when the Bible was written. I like the pictures and the references to where the verses are in the Bible. Another thing that I like about the Bible is that it has pictures of the things to help you visualize it. Let’s say, for instance, ornaments – you will see a bunch of gold necklaces. I thought it was really cool to explore the Bible in this way, to peek into Jesus’ world, and to dive in to discover what life really was back when Jesus and his followers were alive. – Melody (age 10)

Get your own copy *HERE.

*Run with Me: The Story of a U.S. Olympic Champion

We love a good Olympic story and this is a great one! One of our favorites to watch during the Olympics is Track and Field so we were excited for a chance to read Run with Me. Now, if you have been around awhile you know I am not a runner. It’s not one of those things where I shouldn’t say that because everyone can be a runner and such. I mean, I have bad knees and I’d much rather have my legs when I’m old than call myself a runner. So, therefore, I walk…we walk…we walk around the neighborhood, we walk around the town, we walk down at the marina, we walk at the park, we walk at the mall, we can walk for days, but running, not so much…BUT I love a good track story because everyone I know runs..they run on the treadmill, they run a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, run for fun, run for charity, run through colors, run through bubbles, run through mud, all kinds of running stuff. And I cheer them on.  Anyhow, none of that has to do with the book, except that we really enjoyed watching Sanya run in the Olympics. It is so incredible what the human body can do. I love the stories that Sanya shares in the book. They are very detailed and helps me connect more to her story and life in Jamaica. She tells about the lessons she has learned from her coaches, parents, sister, and God. – Mom Joyce

Get your own copy *HERE.

OTHER REVIEWS

The Berenstain Bears Bless Our Gramps and Gran  – (coming soon) Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook | goodreads | BookLook Bloggers
– NIV Kids’ Visual Study Bible – Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook | goodreads
 | BookLook Bloggers
Run with Me: The Story of a U.S. Olympic ChampionAmazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook | goodreads | BookLook Bloggers

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. We received one or more items for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

San Leandro Public Library [Library Tour]

The next stop on our Library Tour Summer Series is the San Leandro Public Library. (This post is by Melody with italicized comments from Mom.)

I’ve had a lot of great memories at this library. When I was little, even though my parents worked a lot, my mom rarely missed bringing the four of us kiddos to the library on Saturdays to check out our books before going grocery shopping.

When you enter the library, there’s a sign that says, “Public Library” and a gift shop/cafe (aka Bookmark Cafe) on the right side. (Shown above. It’s the little area sticking out behind the bike racks.) On the left corner, there is a Friends of the Library bookstore. On the left side, there is a hallway that leads to a theater and some meeting rooms(?). On the left near the entrance, there is a police department office.

One of our favorite things at this library is the chair with the mom and her two kids. The mom is reading a book. I wonder what book it is? (I’m not sure the stories behind these statues, but we see them at all the libraries, and hopefully, I can do some “then and now” photos of the girls with them through the years.)

There are tables at the library as well as chairs. It’s a great place to study!

We saw this electronic sign flashing different events.

After we saw the sign, we walked up to the second floor.

At the library is a map of San Leandro. One time we saw one of Castro Valley and we tried to see where we lived.

These are some clocks showing the time in all different parts of the world.

I’m not sure if I ever saw this part before because we don’t usually go to the second floor, but there’s a lot of chairs and tables. Perfect for reading! Or studying!

Here is another view from the second floor.

We saw another sculpture that we hadn’t seen before, which is a girl reading to a boy.

Another view from the second floor of the library.

One of the library’s rooms is the History Room.

Be sure to follow these rules if you’re there! I think they’re good rules for a library.

San Leandro Marina Park [Parks + Playgrounds]

Next in our Parks + Playgrounds Summer Series is San Leandro Marina Park.

This is not a complete recap of our time at the San Leandro Marina Park. We were meeting friends at the playground after we took our walk around the loop/Faro Point, but I miscommunicated our exact location since there are two playground areas. And then, since I handed Melody the phone to message our friends while I was driving across to the other playground, she left the phone in the car, so I only had photos from our walk.

One-Mile Loop / Faro Point

One of our favorite parts of this park is this loop that stretches out into the Bay. It is a one-mile loop with stations for your workout, like jumping jacks, sit-up bench thingie (not the technical term), balance beam, jump-over bars (also not the technical term), pull-up rings, and more! Here we are at the starting line. I feel like they need to add some encouraging words on the ground where they mark every quarter-mile. It is always pretty breezy so hold on to your hats and wear layers!!! There have been many morning walks here where my face would be feeling the heat, but that Bay breeze starts you off with a chill.

On this particular day, there were a bunch of seagulls. I have never seen this many in this area before. We had to dodge a few of them. Yikes!

Emily likes to scooter so there were times when she just went on ahead.

Seeing all the planes fly in to land at OAK is another favorite thing about SL Marina!

Here we are coming to the final stretch of the one-mile loop!

….but then we continue on because we are following a walking program on my health phone app and was trying to walk 1.45 miles. After you walk past the 1.0-mile marker, you can keep walking forward and to your right, there is another path. I mostly see bicyclists go in this direction, but there is also a nice size dog park. I’m not familiar with dog parks but it looks like there is a plenty of space to run around.

Play Areas + Picnic Areas

So besides Faro Point, you also have the actual park areas. The play area closest to the loop is for older kiddos. Between the two area is PLENTY of grassy areas for picnicking and running. There is also a volleyball area with sand. The last time I looked, there was a net, but I can’t remember if it is always there.

At the other end (where you most likely will drive in from), there is a playground structure for younger kiddos. There is a path that goes around the play area for any kiddos who want to scooter or bike around. There are two small water-spraying statues that kiddos can/will climb when the water is or is not spraying. There are restrooms close by but they are not the best, but I’m never about any public restroom anyway. :/ FYI: The toilet paper is the super duper thin kind where you can only really pull out one “square” at a time or just go really slowly, and there is only a hand-dryer blower thing. Bring your own tissues and/or toilet paper if you think you may need some for your kiddos.

You can reserve the picnic areas and they have really nice new-ish grills available. There is not much shade where the play areas are strangely and unfortunately, but there are LOTS of big trees across the border of the grassy field as well as some of the picnic areas.

We’ll most likely be back, so maybe more photos will be added!! 🙂

Website | Yelp 1 | Yelp 2 | TripAdvisor | Great Kids Park

We have seen some amazing parks and playgrounds and would like to visit them all, but since we don’t really have time to do that, please share your pics with us! And we’ll be updating with pics from our mini-adventures!

What are your family’s favorite activities at the park or playground? Swings, carousel, rock wall, train ride, tube slide, bridge?

The Three Bears [Afternoon Art]

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears is the story for the third art project for the Afternoon of Art Summer Series . (This post is by Emily.)

An Afternoon of Art

We were excited about our third art project from Home Art Studio (2nd Grade) because it had many parts – drawing, cutting, painting, and gluing.

Supplies + Materials

These are the things you need for the project.

Things you specifically need

What We Did

We started drawing.

Design Time! Bowls…

…and spoons!

Sharpie Trace!

This is me sharpening the design.

And CUT!

My sis cutting out her spoons and bowls.

Next, we paint!

And done!

One lesson that I learned is to use a lot of water and a little paint.

Note from Mom: With the watercolor, a little goes a long way. Not much was needed for painting the bowls. Just use a teeny, tiny, little “drop” of paint. You can see in the pic that we used Lakeshore glue. That is all we have, but we highly recommend Elmer’s glue instead.

Here are the materials we used:

*Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a tiny percentage if you make a purchase through my link at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure policy here.

Pleasanton Public Library [Library Tour]

Pleasanton Public Library was the second library in our Library Tour Summer Series.

The front of the library had statues. The first one we thought was cool – a girl reading.

The second statue/s we saw was of a girl reading, too. I’m assuming it’s her brother she’s reading to. That reminds me of me reading to my little sister.

The last statue was kind of abstract – books stacked on top of each other.

This is the front of the Pleasanton Public Library. If you go there, please keep in mind: it’s not part of the Alameda County Library branches, so if you have a library card for those, you can’t check out anything from this one. (Or return, either!)

They’re planning to redo the entire downtown area which is where the library is. We saw some murals there just like in the Hayward downtown. Oh, and in the future downtown, there’s going to be a meadow! I’m excited!

Model of the future downtown – community center, City Hall, etc.

One of my favorite things about this library was that it had a whole entire wall dedicated to your finding a book! Located in the children’s section, the brochures are sure to keep you reading. (I took 2 home!)

There was a mural in the library. I love how it says “Track 9 3/4!”

There are baskets if you don’t have a library bag or forgot to bring yours!

On our way out we saw a seating area. I thought this was perfect for sitting to eat your lunch.

Hayward Mural Program

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!

Captions by: Melody (10)
Introduction by: Melody
Photos by: Mom Joyce

More info here –> hayward-ca.gov/residents/arts-leisure/mural-program

I’ve always known that Hayward has murals. Actually, the only one I think of is the one at the theater. You probably drive past them too. But do you ever wonder, do these murals have a history? For Memorial Day this year, my family and I got a chance to get an inside glance at some of Hayward’s murals.

#2 :: Hayward Historical Society Mural by Artist Josh Powell

This was supposed to be the 2nd mural on the self-guided tour, but we saw it first because we parked our car in a parking lot nearby. This mural shows how cars changed Hayward and started an era of rapid growth in Hayward’s history.

Downtown Utility Box (diagonal from the City Gateway Mural)

There are lots of utility boxes that are decorated, just like this one, with the trees on it. You just have to look.

#1 :: City Gateway Mural by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

This one was my favorite that we saw. I liked how the artist captured the light and made so many details. It almost feels realistic!

City Gateway Mural welcomes you to Downtown Hayward, where all of the murals are located.

#3 :: Russel City Mural by Artist Josh Powell

Russel City Mural reminds people of a long-lost erof music and community.

“The city may be gone, but the memories live on.” The city of Hayward still stands strong.

Downtown Utility Box (near Russel City Mural – Artist Jean Bidwell??)

Here’s another utility box that we admired. Since it has the Grand Ole Opry on it, all of the people on the utility boxes are country singers.

#4 :: El Taquito Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

The El Taquito Mural was outside of a restaurant, so that’s why we were in a parking lot. I like the graceful curves in this mural. If I were to paint a mural (I never will!) I would have no idea where to paint these tiles so they lined up correctly.

#6 :: Italian-Themed Mural by Artist Linda Longinotti

As an Italian themed mural, you’d expect it to have some kind of Italian etched into it, right? Well, it does. A staircase with roses beneath it, Italian-style houses…the beauty brings you straight to Italy.

#8 :: Avalon Jewelers Streetscape Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

The first thing I thought when I saw this mural was, “Why is there a huge soda can being dumped on this mural?” and “Why does this mural show unusual things?”

As it turns out, life isn’t always happy. There is chaos and there are unusual things, like the pet frog. But I like how this mural tells the truth: One big happy family with all of our differences. (Like the pet frog, which Emily luckily spotted first.)
       

#9 :: Cinema Place Parking Structure Murals by Artist Andrew Kong Knight

All of the Cinema murals are theater-themed. I liked the one below because the artist used blending. I’m an artist myself so I know how hard it is to blend. How did he make the spotlights?

#7 :: Downtown Hayward Mural by Artist Suzanne Gayle

Everybody was in awe and amazed by this one. It’s not every day that you get an inside look (with a magnifying glass) at what Hayward is made up of. Take a look and see if you can spot anything familiar!

When we spotted this door, we were excited because it showed where all of the utility boxes were, and everything! Side note: Where can you spot Cal State East Bay?

   

Downtown Utility Box (near Downtown Hayward Mural)

Our last photo on the list was this utility box. My favorite color is purple, so I took a picture in front of it with my sister.

We went to the car after that and drove home. It was about a 2-mile walk, not including the ones that we missed (below) so you can probably take your kids if they don’t mind walking. It was cold that day, so that’s why I have my hood up. We did the self-guided tour, but you can always reserve the guided one, too!

We only made it to 9 of the 12 murals this day. The murals we missed are #10 Hayward Main Library Book Drop Boxes, #11 Grand Terrace Sund Wall Mural, and #12 Jackson Street Southern Retaining Wall Mural. There are also dozens of utility boxes, more murals around the city on walls and under freeways, as well as murals at (almost all) the schools in Hayward.

Have you been on a local mini-adventure lately? Where did you go?

Note: Check out other activities in our Summer Series!