Family Travel Diary: Haifa Israel

My husband’s family is from a village in Northern Israel close to the city of Haifa.  We have been spending our time here for the last week celebrating the holidays Yom Kippur and Sukkot.  Along with visiting friends and family we have travelled around a bit.  We went hiking in a nature preserve, walked the beach boardwalk with iced coffees in hand, and went to the local zoo.  Here are some of our photos below.  

En Afek Nature Preserve


En Afek Nature Preserve was a short, easy trek in one of Israel’s protected preserves.  The boys loved climbing the stairs inside of a building that dated back to 1100 AD and later housed the British Army during their occupation.  There were lily ponds, catfish, and a winding, long boardwalk.  The boardwalk was sturdy but didn’t have rails so the boys had to be extra careful. Adam went on his Aba’s shoulders and Ben held my hands.  

Zoo in Qiryat Motzkin


The zoo in Qiryat Motzkin houses elephants, gorillas, and giraffes.  There’s also a playground and a carnival ride area-however that area was closed during our visit.  It’s a small zoo compared to the big, American zoos-it can be completed in an afternoon.  However, there is a nice variety of animals.  

Beach Boardwalk

Israel has a long coastline filled with beaches and Israelis know how to have an incredible beach experience.  We stopped at a beach in the Qiryat for a walk on the boardwalk , people watching, and iced coffees.  The Mediterranean Sea was full of quiet waves.  We watched kite surfers and sail boats.  It was a great start to the day!  

Have you been to Israel with small children?  Where did you go?  What did you do?  Type your recommendations in the comments below.  

Next week we’ll be in Tel Aviv and possibly a quick stop in Jerusalem, then we fly home to Las Vegas-where are thoughts have been through this difficult time.

Legoland Fun in San Diego

If you follow My Petite Picassos on Instagram you’ll know that we recently went to Legoland, California. We had an amazing vacation and the boys had so much fun!

Compared to other theme parks in SoCal Legoland is really affordable!  We were able to go for $123.99 all together!  We had a Bogo coupon for buy one adult hopper ticket get another one free. Hopper tickets allow you to go in between Legoland and either the aquarium or the splash park. We chose the splash park, however we were only at Legoland one day and we didn’t end up going there.  Kids under three years old are free at Legoland so the boys got in with for free. This was a lot cheaper than last year when I paid $300 a day for myself and my husband at Disneyland. Legoland is not as magical as Disneyland nor as large, but it definitely is a great theme park!

We went on a Saturday in July and while it was crowded it was not overcrowded. We downloaded the Legoland app to find out which rides had the shortest wait time. We only waited a long time for a boat ride. Even though my boys are young toddlers they were able to enjoy a variety of rides and activities. They had several boat rides and cruises through at the same park that the boys could go on, a carousel, a train ride, and little car rides. A lot of the boat rides and such are going past full Lego exhibits such as the Lego towns/monuments or fairytale stories.  I loved seeing Las Vegas made out of Legos, so much detail-they even had a pool party at one of the hotels!

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It was more challenging to find things for Adam to do than Ben. Ben even got to ride some rides by himself! A lot of rides are appropriate for ages three and up however they do have a whole Duplo Town for little guys . Duplo Town is where we rode the train and there was a large playground.  When my husband to take Ben on rides I would walk around with Adam and take him to the area where you can build with large Legos or go in search of characters. One of the favorite places in the theme park for the boys was the area where they could build Lego cars and race them!

Th hands on activities kept the boys busy for at least 45 minutes to an hour and we found ourselves prying them away to check out rides or get something to eat.

Packing Tips from my Instagram Feed

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About a week ago we went on an 8 day family vacation in Sedona, Arizona.  Our Jeep was packed!  We have a shelf for our trailer hitch that we bungeed our suitcases and Ben’s sleeping bag on.  The dogs were in the trunk with the double stroller folded flat.  We had a cooler, diapers, and snacks for the trip.

I made three short videos describing how I packed for the trip and entertained my two toddlers.  Check them out and check out my Tips for Packing for Kids on Vacation.
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​If your not following us on Instagram, please check out our feed as I update it almost daily with tips and fun kids art ideas! I also have a Twitter account that I update daily with great art and parenting tips.  If you have any awesome traveling with kids advice to share, please do so in the comments below.

How I Hike with Two Littles

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How I Hike with Two LittlesEnter a caption

Upon my quitting my job as a full time as a full time art educator and staying home I searched for local Facebook mommy groups that had similar interests to me.  I stumbled upon a baby wearing hiking group and joined.  I was concerned that I couldn’t hike with both my boys-Ben had just turned 2 and Adam 6 months, but I have hiked a lot with them and here are my tips for success.

 

1. Either get a durable baby carrier or take paved/packed gravel trails. You do not want to take a wrap carrier on a hike!  I have an Ergo 360 which works great and a Beco Butterfly I use on my back when Ben needs a boost (I tandem carry if need be).  A lot of moms in the group have a Tula-and Tula makes a great toddler carrier!

2.  Take water for everyone.  I am nursing so water isn’t super necessary for Adam-but I still bring an extra water bottle for him. Camelback does make a toddler water bottle pack and if you’re hiking with a baby in front, you could have your Camelback on your back and be hands free!

3. If you’re taking a little who you expect to walk do a hike with little to no incline and consider the safety of the area.  You want to be careful about run ins with wildlife, falling on branches that can poke a little guy, and weather can play a role in safety too.  Out here we have to wear and take sunscreen, hats, glasses, and tons of water with the dry desert heat.  Wind, humidity, rain, and snow are all tough for a little on a long walk.  Also, keep in mind your little walker may get tired so bring a carrier in case.  Ben is two and a half and can do about a mile before getting tired.

4.  Do not go hiking with a little in an area that is s remote you won’t see other hikers, stay on well known trails that are also well maintained.

5.  Second hour of a long stroller ride and your kiddo is getting bored?  Snacks, water, and songs will help a lot.

6.  Take a small first aid kit with you.  Ben fell once on a trail and I was able to treat the cut and finish the hike with no worries.

7.  Hike with a friend or two who can help with your littles if you have multiples.  I’ve had friends carry Ben down Mt. Charleston when he got tired and I really appreciated it.

8.  Be sure to talk with your kids about the natural elements they are witnessing such as big mountains, blue sky, green grass, etc.  Use the hike as a chance to build vocabulary by describing the scenery.

9.  Take photos.  I love the photos of my boys exploring and being free in the wilderness.  These are some of my favorite memories of my time as a stay at home mom.

10.  Snacks that travel well: crackers, sandwiches, granola bars that don’t have chocolate, fruit, nuts, and dried fruit.  Bring a lot of snacks.  The kids will want them and it’s important if you’re nursing to stay hydrated and nourished too!

Have fun, be safe, and create great family memories!

Family Trip to Israel Pt.1

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Prior to starting my blog this month my family spent a month travelling in Israel.  My husband was born there near Haifa and it was my fourth trip, but my first with two littles in tow.  I didn’t think it was going to be so incredible, as I’ve traveled extensively there already.  It was incredible.  Meeting my nieces and nephews for the first time, seeing my children play with their cousins, visiting old friends, and making new memories.  This was truly the trip of a lifetime, and I will be sharing it with you in two posts.  The first will be an overview of our travels and the second a foodie focused post.  So stay tuned!

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We spent a good amount of time in the north near Haifa.  We visited the gorgeous Mt. Carmel and saw Mosh Ben Ari, the Israeli musician play.  We returned to Akko, this was my third trip there, but as I was with my husband/tour guide I knew this experience would be special.  We walked around the souk, purchasing small items like off brand Crocs for my son and handmade instruments.  Afterwards, my husband took us to eat to hummus at the famous Hummus Said.  It came to us warm, served with vegetables, freshly baked pita, and pickles.  Adam loved the pickles, people were in disbelief that my baby liked them-but he devoured them!

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We did a side trip to Jerusalem.  When you go to Israel, you have to visit Jerusalem.  We met up with an old friend who was able to get us into the tunnels underneath the Western Wall.  I found out as we walked through the remnants of the ancient temple that he and my husband had prayed for hours at the spot considered to be closest to the Holy of Holies three years ago while I was in the midst of my IVF.  What a special moment to stand there, in that same spot with Ben and Adam and know how much their father had prayed for their existence.  Even now, writing this I get teary eyed, until I remember how Ben ran through those tunnels  like he owned them!

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We put our notes and prayers in that spot this time and went out to the Western Wall to finish our prayers.

We continued on our Jerusalem journey to Maheneh Yehuda Market.  It’s A huge market in Jerusalem that remind me of pikes place in Seattle. What stood out to me the most was the artisanal halva, the honey donuts for the New Year, and the enormous variety of nuts and olives.  The market was packed as it was the day before the Sabbath. All of the cafés inside were full and busy. We even found an American brewery and tasted some crafted beers!


For a week we rented and apartment off Airbnb in Tel Aviv. We were 10 steps away from Banana Beach. During the day we would lounge on the beach and at night we would take long walks around the city, eating falafel and shawarma sandwiches.


I’ll be sharing my next part of our trip in a few days. I hope that this story tells you a little bit more about who I am and about my family. My goal is to connect with you to share with you my passions and my family is my biggest passion!