Monday, November 9, 2009


It is a busy season, with the holidays coming and going at lightning speed. Finding peaceful quiet family time is harder these days with SO many appointments and hectic schedules, shopping, flu shots, parent teacher meetings, over time the daily grind can slowly wear down the family time cushion that keeps us happy and sane. So we need to make sure to keep our lives balanced and make our families the most important part of the equation. Obviously just staying home is the cheapest option, and yes making time to just be at home with the family is a beautiful thing too, I mean I am a huge fan of a good weekend in, with some movies, Monopoly, or some arts and crafts time like making hand made picture frames, thank you cards for the people you have been meaning to thank, etc...( let's face it, who doesnt LOVE home:)
Another fun option is a nice weekend Stay-cation- a fun more affordable way to enjoy some fun family time without going
too far or spending too much. If you need to find some good local chill spots check out these sites,I have listed some family friendly stay cations for Seattle, and San Francisco, below.

Seattle stay-cation ideas:
If you are willing to make the two hour drive going to Mt. Rainier, there is a gem of a place perfect for a romantic get away or family escape from the city. Deep Forest Cabins, quiet lovely and well kept cabins among a serene setting, you will never know you have neighbors, unless you stay in the barn owl which is closer to the street but is lovely and romantic all the same. Janet and Pat (the owners) are lovely, very helpful people, happy to share their knowledge of the area, and will make your stay as pleasant as they can. They take such good care of these cabins. I have stayed in two of them, and both times I was in complete aww of the up keep, tiny thoughtful details and the unbelievable landscape. They aren't very expensive, and you can make day trip up to paradise point or take a small hike to the glacier. We love the night hike, and there are many deer all over that wander the area. There is nothing like sipping on some champagne in the hot tub while it is snowing. Awww relaxation. If you need a weekend escape take off after work on Friday and stay until Sunday, Ashford is a cute little town with friendly locals too.

Cedar Grove Cabin

The cozy barn owl cottage.

There are many secluded romantic cabins in Ashford, if you want to check out other options, try JASMERS
They have plenty of cabins and some of them are creek side with an indoor jacuzzi, perfect for a romantic getaway.
If you want to bring the whole family, or a big group of friends, try Westwood Chalet, it fits up to 12 people I believe. I haven't stayed there but I have walked passed it, as it resides on the path to the Nisqually river. It's a nice sized cabin and has a big jacuzzi in the back.

If you just need a night away with your sweetie, or a fun day shopping and you want to rest your feet in a pretty place with a delicious dinner and breakfast, check out

Gardens Retreat.

Their rooms are clean and comfy especially after a day of Christmas shopping Bellevue and Lincoln Center. It isn't far from the downtown area and is easy to find.

They offer a dinner with wine, for a small additional charge, and the breakfast is actually quite good. For only (95.00 110.00/for two people) a night it was quite a steal!

San Francisco Bay Area


We often stay at the Embassy Suites about ten minutes away from Cannery Row, it is affordable and close to everything, and you can't beat that huge breakfast buffet they serve every morning. The beds are comfy and there are usually discount packages, like one nights hotel stay and discounted aquarium tickets. When we want to save some mula, a nice day trip is perfect.

The drive is well worth it, even if you just want to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the best aquarium I have ever been to. It holds the largest jelly fish population and AWESOME sea horse exhibit and has a GIANT Outer Bay window where you can sit and enjoy the best view of the Bay marine life.

The restaurants on Cannery Row are yummy especially our favorite, the Fish Hopper.

There is also a great kayak rental spot(click here for info), but be ready to push through the kelp forest for the first 100 feet. Once you pass the kelp, you will be amazed by all the sea lions, nearby dolphins, and jelly fish you will see. It's breathtaking out there. I say one hour isn't enough, rent for two. The kayaks are two seaters so you little one can navigate and point out the sea critters while you paddle.

It is 2 hours away from the city, and the drive up 280 isn't half bad, traffic is okay and the 2 hour drive goes by quickly. I would just avoid 101 if at all possible.
That's if you actually want to leave the city.. If you want to stay in the city, there are lots of fun options too, waaay to many to list but something my family recently did might be fun. A "pretend to be a tourist" type of weekend in downtown SF. It's fun to re-explore your city outside of during the day to day hustle and bustle.

Where to stay: there are a number of affordable hotels that are quite reasonable, if you want to dip in a hot tub, try the Palace Hotel on Market, they have an indoor pool and hot tub, and are very conveniently located close to everything. Movies, art museum, Yerba Buena, Union Square. It's super fun to go to Union Square for some Holiday Ice Skating, and hot chocolate, followed by dinner at the top of Macy's, on the heated out door deck of the Cheesecake Factory. The next day, you could hop on the F to the Fisherman's Wharf, and check out the waterfront shops, and the hundreds of Sea Lions lounging in the back of Pier 39.

if you prefer a more home-like feel, try Airbnb at there are several lovely studios and apartments in the nob hill and downtown SF area for under 125.00. Here are some photos of some lovely spots on airbnb:

Good luck finding the perfect stay-cation for your family:) Have fun and enjoy some down time during the hectic Holiday season:) It's about family, friends, faith and fun so try not to stress about the shopping, presents,dinner parties and finances this Holiday Season.