Want to have an amazing family getaway? Head to a dude ranch, yeehaw! This summer we were lucky enough to have had a long weekend spent with family at the Rankin Ranch located in the heart of the Tehachapi Mountains in central California. The 13,000 acre working cattle ranch has several rustic guest suites where you can relax when you are not riding the trails, fishing, swimming, playing games, learning to square dance, playing horseshoes or eating. I think you get the idea, there is a lot to do or nothing at all. It is old-time family fun and we loved every minute of it. The ranch sits in such a lovely setting it is easy to ponder about leaving the big city and permanently relocating.
There is nothing that I like more than connecting with my family especially with how busy our lives are, this is not always easy. That is why a trip out to a ranch with no phones, no tv, nothing but ourselves and the beautiful land is a perfect family getaway
Since moving to Malibu, CA this summer, we ended up at the beach more often than usual. Who could blame us, there are some of the most beautiful beaches in the world here. It was a nice way to get to know our new hometown. Not knowing many people, we needed to have a project (since play dates were lacking) so we decided to perfect the art of sand castle building. I say this sarcastically, of course, since ours really were never going to win any contests but that did not bother us. We just had fun and that really is all that matters.
Here are a few tips for any sand castle novices:
1. Bring a very big shovel
2. Grab whatever buckets you have, smaller shovels plus kitchen tools like spatulas, melon ballers, plastic knives and skewers.
3. Draw out an area in the sand where you will build your foundation. Make it close enough to the water where you can use wet sand but be careful not to get too close…
4. Start piling up sand in the area you want the castle. Form it into a volcano shape with a crater on top. Have the kids take turns standing in the crater as you fill it with water and the kids can stomp it down, forming a strong base. Pack in the sides by gently hitting the sides with the shovel. Continue this until you get the base to the desired size.
5. Flatten out the top and use this as a starting point for placing different molds with your buckets. Start carving at the top and work your way down. Use the spatulas to carve out levels and smooth sides. Use melon baller and skewers to add details such as windows and doors.
6. And away you go. Get creative by adding shells, seaweed, moats and bridges to your creation. And voila!
All the years that I have been going to the beach I never truly knew the basics for sand castle building. It makes for a very fun day at the beach! So sad summer is on its way out. Time to look into how to build a decent snowman next…