Beijing November 2008
Golden Princess Cruise Ship Saturday, August 25 2007 – Saturday, September 1 2007
Arizona- Grand Canyon March 2009
Florida – Disneyworld December 2007
Beverly Beach August 2008
Cannon Beach September 23 2007
Crater Lake July 3-4 2009
Farmer’s Market August 2007
Hellsgate Canyon (Jetboat ride) July 5 2008
Horsetail Falls April 13 2008
Japanese Garden September 21 2007
John Day National Monument May 24, 25, 26 2008
Lavender Farm July 7 2007
Lost Lake July 7 2007
OMSI March 23 2008
Pittock Mansion March 25 2008
Rose Garden February 2008
Seaside September 23 2007
Sternwheeler Gorge May 2010
Tillamook September 30 2007
Uwajimaya August 2007
Weekend Trip (IKEA, Bingen Speed Rock, Catherine Creek, Dalles Dam) July 28 2007
Wahclella Falls May 3 2008
Wildlife Safari July 4, 2008
Weasku Inn July 4, 2008
Grand Mound Great Wolf Lodge January 1 2010
Yellowstone National Park Aug 8-17 2008
Family photo taken at Bridgewater Restaurant Astoria (lunch on our way to our destination)
Ratatouile with polenta, beef sandwich with fries, soup and salad, kids fish and chips, dessert trio at $12.50.
Free delicious gourmet coffee with fresh half and half or whole milk, cucumber infused / strawberry and mint infused water, hot organic tea bags in the lobby. Complimentary adult bikes and helmet for rent (on first come first serve basis) at the lobby. Our room had a separate room with bunk bed that can sleep three person.
We brought our own kiddie bike and helmet so our little chicken could bike as well.
Painted Lady Lavender Farm. The tour was free. The lady owner gave the girls some fresh quail eggs. From their gift shop, I bought a $15 bar of lavender soap and $5 small packet of sea salt and lavender rub for meat.
Biking and driving on Long Beach. If you lower your tire pressure, you can drive on the sandy beach. Little Chicken and Little Dragon had a great time taking turns biking on the sand.
Family Portrait taken at Marble Canyon near Banff
Banff Gondola Collage
More Banff Gondola Collage There were many squirrels and they kept begging the visitors for food but we were told not to give them any. We took a photo of one such squirrel (upper top right corner).
There was a small house at the top of the mountain. You could take a peek inside and see what was inside (bottom left corner).
family portrait at Lake Louise
family portrait at Mirror Lake
photo taken on the hike to the teahouse
Hurray! We made it to the teahouse! Can you detect pretend smiles on all the girls? Yes, we were exhausted. But, who knew? After we had our tea, we hiked some more to little beehive and then back to where we started at the beginning of the day.
I think the background is little beehive. It is simply amazing that we did so much hiking in one day!
Our final destination of the day was Chateau Lake Louise
We enjoyed eating the sandwiches we bought from Safeway in Banff the day before. We sat at one of the many benches in the courtyard of this Chateau overlooking Lake Louise. It was a perfect ending to our day.
Perhaps this was one of our more adventurous trip ever! We climbed, crawled, slide in narrow spooky canyons where we saw a dead white mouse and a piece of snake skin. We hiked across deserty unmarked trails with periodic manmade cairns in temperature well above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We walked with stick on top of slippery stones in cold canyon water in Zion Narrows. My husband had such a good time, he is already planning for our next adventure in Utah next year. Fun aside, I really believe that it is God’s grace that we are kept safe in all of the activities that we were on. Thanks Fran for praying for us.
Below is a collage of photos taken at the Peekaboo Canyon.
Here’s a collage of photos taken at Spooky Canyon. The top left photo is the dry river bed that we walked in order to get to that Canyon. It was extremely hot outside the canyon in late June.
Finding Peekaboo and Spooky Canyon is a little tough. click here for a PDF file on how we got to the difficult to find slot canyon.
Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
Crater Lake is located in Southern Oregon on the crest of the Cascade Mountain range, 100 miles (160 km) east of the Pacific Ocean. It lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot (3,660 meter) high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.
Generous amounts of winter snow, averaging 533 inches (1,354 cm) per year, supply the lake with water. There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet (592 meters) deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. Evaporation and seepage prevent the lake from becoming any deeper.
We stayed at the Crater Lake lodge for two nights which my husband booked a year before our arrival date. Although the bathroom had a nice bathtub, it did not have a shower, nor a hand held shower head at the bathtub. Our room was unique because it had two floors. The lower floor was the bathroom and one bedroom and the upper floor was the other bedroom. The view from the upper floor bedroom was good. The children loved the stairs but it was a little inconvenient climbing up and down the stairs during the night to go to the bathroom.
Food at the lodge restaurant was a little pricey but it was consistently good, elsewhere were not so good.
The following is a collage of some of the photos that we took there. The center photo is a group photo of us with my sister and her family. We had to endure mosquito bites to take that photo. Poor baby had a couple of stings on his smooth head. Speaking of mosquitoes, it is imperative that you go prepared with mosquito repellent in July. These mosquitoes can sting through clothings!
One of the highlights of our trip was taking a boat from the dock. The hike down to the dock and up from the dock was strenuous, with at least one hour each way. Unless you are a serious hiker, you may not want to do the optional 3 hour stopover at the Wizard Island.
Great Wall at Mu Tian Yu
Tian An Men
Temple of Heaven
Gong Wang Fu
Have you ever seen life buffalo on the streets? We had a couple of opportunities to see that during our recent trip to Yellowstone National Park.
Here’s a closeup view of the bison (buffalo).
We also saw more bisons during the day. The green pasture in the photo is Hayden Valley and it is where most wildlife roam.
Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces is a glimpse of what Heaven will look like. I persuaded my husband to bring me there yet another time before we leave the park because the sight was unbelievable. The following photo was taken right before sunset.
During the day, the white limestones on the terraces were too bright for my camera. So, I wasn’t able to capture all the amazing terraces. Fortunately, the following photo turned out OK.
The following photo was taken under the shade of some trees during the day.
Old Faithful Inn is a must see in Yellowstone. Surrounding this historical Inn are some of the world’s unique geysers and natural colored hot pools.
Another highlight of our trip in Yellowstone was soaking in an area where “Boiling River”, super hot water from geysers in the Mammoth Hot Springs meet the cold water in Gardiner River.
10 years ago, we stopped over this city on our way to Hong Kong. It was during the winter months and it rained the whole four days that we were there. Butchard Garden was a disappointment as well as there were not much flowers at that time.
Five years ago, we met a couple who were great travelers. They showed us how to enjoy Vancouver. Although we haven’t been back to Butchard Garden, we have often visited Richmond Vancouver and our car is always packed with delicious Asian snacks and bakeries.
We usually stay in the Radisson Hotel. This hotel is within walking distance to Yaohan, T&T supermarket and the Aberdeen Mall. It is only a short drive to some of the best Chinese food.
Here are the places that we must stop by on our trip:
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC, Canada
(SW Corner of Hazelbridge Way & Cambie Rd.)
St. Germain Bakery
Unit 1428 (in Aberdeen Mall)
604 276 8378
This is dessert paradise!
Mei Jan Hong (in Aberdeen Mall)
604 273 6889
Although a little pricey, it is highly addictive and makes great gifts.
Shanghai Wind Chinese Kitchen
6610 No.3 Road, Richmond, B.C. V6Y 2C2
604 276 1780
(closed on Tuesday)
Their Xiao Long Pao is always juicy and fresh. I was mesmerized by the chef who was making them.
8700 McKim Way
Richmond, BC , V6X4A5
604 207 1678
This shop has one of the best Taiwanese bakeries. Their buns stay soft even days after.
In addition to the usual restaurants that we normally visit, we also tried a restaurant recommended by ChowTimes in our recent trip. We enjoyed the food and service there.
Except Tigers who were kept in cages, Giraffes, Lions, Moose, Monkeys, Turkeys, Camels, Zebras, etc. were allowed to roam freely around the park while we drive our car by. The petting farm is free but the drive through park is $15 /adult and $5 /children.
More wild animals
Elephant ride ($10 per person)
We stayed at one of their cabins. The cabin we stayed was luxurious, and private. It had a king/queen size bed with a sofa bed. The bathroom was big because it was a handicap access cabin. Our cabin had a balcony with two chairs to enjoy a small stream (a short walk would take us to a beautiful river) , matchsticks to light citronella (insect repellent), luxurious bathroom amenities which include oatmeal soap to his and hers bathrobes, refrigerator, fireplace, built-in separate heater in the bathroom, high ceilings with log beams, well coordinated accessories, and luxurious bedding to match the cabin theme.
Wine and cheese at 4:30pm; cookies and milk at 7:30 served complimentary at the main lodge. All day long, there’s complimentary coffee, tea and fruits.
The complimentary breakfast was superb. I was a little sad to leave We-ask-u Inn.
We had to check out of our 5 star cabin in Weasku Inn early that morning to catch a jetboat ride to Hellsgate Canyon. It was just a short drive from where we stayed to the boat launching area.
It was my first time in a jetboat and I had a great time. On our ride, we saw Bald Eagles, expensive homes along the river Rogue and of course the highlight was the canyon itself.
The following was written at the foot of the “Cathedral of Trees”, where a few weddings had taken place:
This is their temple, vaulted high
And here we pause with reverent eye
With silent tongue and awe struck seal
For here we sense life’s proper goal
To be like these straight true and fine
To make our world like theirs a shrine
Sink down Oh traveler on your knees
God stands before you in these trees
The Tour Thru Tree was interesting because the tree that we drove thru was still a living tree!
We stopped by to see a couple of emus and the beach before we retired to our room in the Lighthouse Inn.
Is the following bird the same bird that we saw at the Trees of Mystery? Ironically, I had a cup of blueberries in my hand when this bird came by and sat on our car’s side mirror.
One of the highlights of our road trip was when we drove through nature! The dirt road was narrow which made the driving challenging but what an experience it was to be driving in the middle of these tall and stout trees. These trees, some at the age of 2000 years, had survived forest hottest fires.
John Day is about 5 hours drive from Portland. On this road trip, I used an IKEA tray for the girls to hold:
1) crayons and coloring book.
2) snacks and drinks.
I am glad to finally put this tray to good use as it was sitting in the laundry room collecting dust. This tray is that is foldable, easy to clean and lightweight. Most of all, the girls enjoyed using it.
John Day National Monument has three unit (Clarno, Sheep Rock, Painted Hills). We took a day visiting each unit.
Clarno unit has a trail that allow observation of embedded plant remains. Little Tiger is pointing to a leaf fossil in the following photo collage.
Blue Basin of the Sheep Rock unit is probably one of my favorite trails. Blue-green canyons with opaque turquoise streams is extraordinary.
Painted Hills Up Close And Personal
Other highlights of our John Day road trip was Kam Wah Chung & Co and Hotel Condon.
Hotel Condon, built in 1920 but was completely restored. Click here for their official website.
We ate dinner at their lounge.
Pittock Mansion [March 25 2008]
OMSI [March 23 2008]
We watched Grand Canyon show in the OMNIMAX theatre this afternoon. The girls also visited the dinosaurs exhibit at OMSI.
Rose Garden [February 23 2008]
The two older girls went skiing with Daddy on this beautiful Saturday. It was just me and Little Chicken. Since she had a beautiful princess outfit on, and the weather was good, I brought her to Rose Garden. To my amazement, she posed for me on cue. Simply adorable. Although it was not the blooming season yet, she was the rose in that garden.
Octopus Tree, Lighthouse, Cape Meares and Tillamook Cheese Factory
Mom hula danced!
IKEA has a complimentary supervised playroom for kids and parents can leave their kids there while they shop. Since it was grand opening weekend, the playroom was full. My husband babysat while I shop. As you can see, Little Dragon loved the kids’ swivel canopy chair displayed at the kids’ showroom. I bought two inexpensive clip-on lamps ($19) to go on top of our metal canopy bed.
Bingen Speed Rock
A resident living close by this park recommended us to come back to this park in the months of March, April or May because wild flowers bloom during that time. Although there were no wild flowers, it was still a nice walk around this park. It is stroller friendly as well. There were donated benches all around the park. One bench, in particular, was donated in memory of a person’s whose last name was Kitchen. There were Acorn trees, Pear trees, blackberry bushes, and some other fruit trees that I do not recognize.
The Dalles Dam
On our way to the Dalles Dam, we passed by some Basalt Rocks. I was told that they were formed by lava from Mt.St.Helen’s volcanic eruption.
Oregon Lost Lake (Saturday July 7, 2007)
This is a must see if you live in Portland. It is about 1 1/2 hour from Portland, half hour drive from the Hood River. The view of Mt. Hood from this Lake is breathtaking. There are picnic tables with clear view of the mountain, trees and lake.
We walked on one of their hiking trails and it wasn’t too difficult. On our hike, we saw a tree trunk with holes made perhaps by Woodpeckers (see bottom right photo)?
My husband rented a row boat for $12 an hour and the kids had a great time rowing the boat.
Oregon’s Lavender Farm (Saturday July 7, 2007)
We stopped by a Lavender Farm on our way back from the Lost Lake. Lavender Valley is a family operated farm. Click here for their schedule and events. The little boy in the photo is the owner’s 5 year old son, Jon.
Little Dragon and Little Chicken had tons of fun running around the Lavender Farm. I had a good time shopping in their gift shop. I bought a pack of Lavender Tea bags and Lavender Honey.
Did you know? Lavender
- is in the family of Mint.
- is used in the treatment for skin burns.
- is used as an aid to sleep and relaxation.
- was used in hospitals during WWI to disinfect floors, etc. because it has antiseptic properties.
We ate dinner at one of the Char Burger Restaurant in Oregon. I was busy shopping at their gift shop that food was halved consumed before I had a chance to snap some photos. The Texas BBQ Beef Burger came with Fries and Onion Rings. The onion rings were one of the best that I have had in a long time. It was crispy and not too oily with juicy sweet Onions on the inside.
Click here for other link to Lost Lake and Lavender Farm.
fruit and ice carvings
Handmade jewelry and accessories (scarfs and purses)
Flowers, Fruits and Vegetables
I used the following links for tips to plan our trip:
- Guide to Walt Disney World
- Kingdom Magic Blog
- Top Ten Places To Eat at Walt Disney World by Epinions
We left for the airport around 3:30pm. We were assigned first class seatings at check-in. A very pleasant surprise. Our plane landed in Los Angeles and proceed on to Florida after a couple of hours. Since I was too excited to sleep on the plane, I watched two movies. At around 6am, we arrived in Florida. As our bags were automatically transported to our hotel rooms, we did not have to go to the baggage claim area.
We took the magical express bus to our hotel at the Yacht Club Resort. Thank God we were able to check in early and get our theme park tickets (which was our hotel key card. Each person in our hotel room had one, except for Little Chicken, as she is under 3 years of age). After a quick shower, we headed to the theme park.
Since our dinner reservation was at MGM, we decided to spend the day at that theme park. We watched the show, Beauty and the Beast. We stood in line for the Indiana Jones stunt show and the backlot tour. We also watched the Muppet 3 D show.
Little Dragon and Little Tiger went to Rockin Roller Coaster and Hollywood Tower of Terror ride while I watched Little Chicken.
We ate at Hollywood Brown Derby. Photos are posted here, in “Places to Eat”. After dinner, we watched the Fantasmic show and Osborne lights. There were two more shows we wanted to see, Ariel and Lights, Motor and Stunt show, so we came back again to this theme park on another day.
On day 2, we decided to visit Epcot since we have a dinner reservation at Princess Storybook Dining there. Our hotel, Yacht Club has boat transportation that will take us to Epcot. The top two photos below shows our boat transportation.
I had planned to eat breakfast at a French bakery in Epcot. However, the World Showcase portion of the Epcot does not open until 11am. Hence, we ate at a food court in the Future World of Epcot. We walked from one end of the park to the other on an empty stomach, not a good idea. In future, instead of hunting a place for breakfast, we will simply eat at our hotel. The bottom right photo was taken near World Showcase. There is a rope enclosing the area from public access.
Since we started our day bright and early, we got the opportunity to enjoy the Living with the Land ride twice. It is a boat ride about technological enhancements in agriculture. We visited greenhouses that used hydrophonics to grow food. There were cocoa, coffee beans, vanilla beans, coconut, papaya, rice, banana, squash, pumpkin, pummelo, strawberry, pineapple, watermelon and even dragonfruit plant. Some fruits and vegetables looked so beautiful and perfect that they seemed unreal! We also get to see how they shape the pumpkin into the shape of a mickey mouse.
They are also experimenting with directly spraying nutrients onto the roots of plants, for example, cherry tomato, as seen in the last photo.
Since Little Chicken is too small to go on roller coasters, we split into two groups. Little Chicken and I continue our walk in the world showcase. Along the way, we saw street shows. The left photo below shows her imitating the lady performer, isn’t that adorable? The right photo below shows the lady performer holding up a wooden box with 25 days before Christmas. She said in her country (somewhere in Europe), people put different chocolate pieces into the cubby holes of the box.
Next, we saw children lining up for characters autograph signing. The line wasn’t too long and it was under the shade, so Little Chicken and I stood in line for Goofy, Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse’s signature. The bottom right photo was taken in the America Hall. The man in the photo was one of the person who sang Christmas Carols there.
Before our dinner at Princess Storybook Dining in Norway of Epcot, we took a few night photos.
On our third day, we started our adventure by taking a bus to Magic Kingdom theme park. It was extremely crowded there. After a long wait, Little Dragon and I were able to enjoy a short ride on Aladdin’s magic carpet.
Since we started our day early, we were able to board the jungle boat cruise with not much wait.
Our next ride was Pirates of the Caribbean. We had to wait a long time to see Jack Sparrow and his adventures. Standing in line, I had the opportunity to snap a few beautiful smiling faces of Little Dragon and Little Tiger. Ironically, half way through our boat ride, there was a mechanical problem and our boat was temporarily stopped. Although the boat couldn’t move, the music was still playing in the background, the tune Yo Ho Ho, … is still ringing in my ear!
In the afternoon, we boarded a raft to Tom Sawyer’s Island. Little Chicken and I went there first while Little Dragon and Little Tiger went on the Big Thunder Railroad ride. Little Chicken and I walked around the island and watched the parade.
That night, since our dinner reservation was in France, Epcot, we took a monorail to Epcot theme park. We ate at Le Chefs de France. Our dinner photos are posted here.
On day 4, we changed our original plan of going to the Magic Kingdom theme park and went to the Animal Kingdom theme park instead. We thought we could ride the Kilimanjaro Safari and the Everest in the morning, we could meet up with Little Dragon’s classmate in Magic Kingdom for parade in the afternoon. Unfortunately, that did not work out because we had too much to accomplish in this theme park. In fact, there was so much to see and do, we would spend part of the next two days in this park. We liked this park more than the other theme parks because there were live exotic animals, good quick service Barbeque ribs and exciting show like the Lion King.
It is said that there are things in life that you have to be there to experience its wonders and the bird show in Animal Kingdom theme park is one of them. Photographs cannot do justice to the experience that we felt when we were watching the show. Toucans, parrots, bald eagle, owl, doves and other kinds of birds that participated in this bird show awed us with their antics.
I am not a big fan of thrilling rides. However, there are times when the girls wanted me to go with them. I went on two kinds of dinosour rides with them. The first dinosaur ride was outdoor. This is similar to the Aladdin carpet ride in Magic Kingdom theme park. I have fear of heights and this ride was no fun for me, although classified as a kiddie ride. The next dinosaur ride, I went with just Little Tiger and Little Dragon. It was an indoor dinosaur ride. It was dark, loud and bumpy. I screamed too much, the girls said.
On day 5, with only two more day left, we were eager to see and do as much as possible. We spent the whole day at Magic Kingdom. Unlike the earlier days, we did not waste any time standing in line for breakfast. We went to Mickey’s Toon Town, Tea Cup, Carousel and watched the show in front of the castle.
Some of the other rides that we also did but not shown in the photos are “It’s a Small World”, Winnie the Pooh, Buzz Light Year, and the Snow White Ride.
Day 6, we had missed the stunt show in MGM Studios and since this is a must see, we went back to MGM Studios. After that, we went to Animal Kingdom and spent the rest of the day there. We ended our day at the Hoop De Doo dinner and show at the Fort Wilderness Resort.
Day 7: We spent our last day at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom again. We started our day in Animal Kingdom. Take a look at the photo on the last row (third photo from the left) of this photo grid. There is a lady in that photo, can you see her? She is dressed in tree-like materials.
We ended our day at the Magic Kingdom. The girls went through the carousel, teacups and snow white again.
Watching the fireworks on the bridge between Tomorrowland and the Cinderella Castle was an awesome. To start the fireworks show, life Tinkerbell would slide from the castle over our heads and for a brief moment, we could feel the magic. This 9pm fireworks is a must see at Magic Kingdom. We took many many photographs, unfortunately, very few turn out well enough to post here.
Day 8: Our last day in Orlando Florida. The following photo was taken at the Orlando International Airport. Little Dragon try to be funny by drinking from Little Chicken’s bottle!