California Dreaming

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San Francisco: With a thriving city like this you can view the amazing arts scene, world class food, a culturally diverse population, and countless tourist destinations, including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio, and numerous museums. The average cost of a mortgage is $3,500 (this being for a low end style home.) The cost of living here is 26% higher than the rest of the US, which is why so many people commute to work in the city. A beautiful vacation destination though if your into beautiful beaches, aquariums, and art.


Los Angeles: This city is fast paced and makes you feel alive! LA is all about the glitz and glam with beautiful destinations and kid friendly activities such as Universal Studios, Pirate Dinners, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Wax Museum and so much more. The average cost of a mortgage in the LA area is actually less than you would think ranging from $2000-$3000. Moving here though expect a lot of time in your car, as traffic is a challenge to go anywhere!  


Fresno: A hidden little gem with a ton of charm. Fresno has amazing underground gardens, the Chaffee Zoo, Museums, Art Galleries, Wineries, and amusement parks. Very kid friendly with beautiful trails and outdoor activities to explore. The average cost of living is between $1200-$3000 with a central location, family friendly environment and a ton to explore. Create your fresh start.

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Santa Barbara: Southern California Beauty with Northern California Reality People. The snootiness is just not in the city! Everyone seems very down to earth and friendly. Santa Barbara has beautiful beaches, is a college town, and has attractions such as the Stearns Wharf, State Street, and a ton of Eco Out door activities. The average cost of mortgage is $254,000.

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Napa: Beautiful rolling hills of Wine Country. Amazing culture, fun shopping experiences, wineries on every block with charm and quaintness of a small town feel. The average mortgage is between $2500-$3000 in the city but the outskirts you can find as low as $2000. This city is quiet and peaceful with a relaxing spa like atmosphere.

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Lake Tahoe: If your athletic or adventurous, there is no place in the world like Tahoe. From parasailing, beautiful beaches, mountain activities, snow boarding, skiing, sledding, fun restaurants, and any water activity you can think of this is your spot. Some of the most beautiful trails in the world with Cool Summers and Snowy Winters. Great vacation spot! The average cabin cost is between $2500 – $5000.

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San Diego: Surfing the beautiful oceans, sunshine nearly every day,  Pacific Beach, San Diego Zoo, Whale Watching, Surf Lessons, SeaWorld and a hot downtown night life makes this a desirable vacation spot or living spot for the energized! Cost of living averages $2000.


Anaheim: Hello, Goodbye!!! My favorite vacation spot and also known as the Happiest Place on Earth. This is the home of Disney Land and California Adventure! Amazing Spot to Spend 3-5 days and escape reality to become a kid again. Mortgage here is surprisingly low but get ready for tourist everywhere all the time…Average Mortgage is between $1200- $2000.

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The Sierras: Relaxing and Peaceful. Very quiet area for the most part and covers several “small mountain cities” Amazing trails and out door activities, close rivers and lakes, rafting, snow boarding, and skiing are all regular activities. The average cost of mortgage is $1800-$3000.


Santa Cruz: comparable to “Jersey Shore” with a beautiful boardwalk, totally kid friendly, very laid back city, surfing, beaches, warm but not too hot. Red wood forest steam train adventures, Sailing and Amusement park and game atmosphere down at the board walk. You can also escape to the cute little town for beach restaurants and sand between your toes. Average cost of living is between $2000-$4000.

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Monterey: Gorgeous Bay off of the ocean where you can go down to the beach and find starfish, amazing shells, hear the giant waves crash in. Kayaking in the bay is a favorite of mine, seals and otters come up all around you while out on the ocean. Monterey also offers some of the best clam chowder, and of course the famous aquarium. Average cost of living in this quaint beach town is from $3500-$5000.

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Palm Springs: Palm Springs pretty much has it all. Vegas with out the casinos everywhere. Botanical Gardens, Cactus to clouds trail, Museums and Art, Tram Way, Joshua Nation Park, hot air balloon rides! Absolutely gorgeous city to soak in some rays. Average Mortgage is between $2000-$3500.

Now let’s get adventuring. Remember life is about taking chances, enjoying experiences, and taking in the little moments. 


When I became a work at home mama, I had this image of everything happy and peaceful. The thought never arose of becoming a victim of everything needing to be perfect in my home, the ocd ness of clean floors, laundry done, dishes put away…AT ALL TIMES. I had become so materialistic. If only I had this head-board, this tile, this picture frame….It kind of made me become a little sick to my stomach. I am not this person. In 2018 I wanted experience, memories, life to have a spark of excitement again with my family. These are the things that matter not the materialistic things of life. I started a jar….(yes going back to piggy bank style) of savings for nothing other than adventure, vacations, and memories.

Knowing I am not the only mama that may struggle with this I wanted to create a list of free or in expensive adventures to do with your family in the area (and some adventures you can create any where!)


  1. Take a hike….Literally. We live in one of the most beautiful places in the country (in my opinion.) Nature is our backyard. Many people are not blessed with this opportunity. An app I recently learned about is AllTrails. This app tells you trails around you, directions, and has over 50,000 trails to explore.
  2. Gaze at the stars…In majority of the cities in our country you truly can not see the stars. Right here in Cool we have a camp ground you can set up your tent for free and star gaze with your littles.
  3. Rockin Jump and REI…. For active little ones (such as mine) sometimes you need a good old fashion energy burner. Rockin jump has trampolines, rock walls, stunt areas, and dodge ball for $15. REI runs activities every weekend such as rock climbing, bike riding, etc for free or next to it. Just hop on their website and view upcoming events that are kid friendly.
  4. California State Railroad Museum… Amazing experience for littles. Three stories of history and exciting education. Best to go on a week day though when you have the place to yourself!
  5. Coloma Gold Panning – $10 per kid and you get to Gold Pan for an hour, the littles get to have a vile with their pyrite and gold they take home. (This is one of our family favorites) we also get to parooze this quaint little town after the event which is about a mile walk of history including live blacksmith action, etc.
  6. Sacramento Zoo – Fairy Tale Town – Folsom Zoo… All are so exciting for kids! Folsom zoo is small but nice because they are never overwhelmingly crowded and have the cutest train ride which the littles really get a kick out of. The Sacramento Zoo has a nice park you can picnic at after the Zoo Experience and feed the ducks! Fairy tale land is fun for 3 and under!
  7. Aquarium of the bay – Super amazing experience. The underwater tunnel is pretty amazing and they have several stories to adventure up of different themes along the way! We were shocked that all 4 of us were able to go for under $50.IMG_2519
  8. Lay in a hammock and get lost in a good book. There is something special about a good old fashion story….Remember sometimes a staycation is the best vacation. Get creative.
  9. Folsom Lake is a great and safe swimming area to go on a hot summer days with the littles. Thow a frisbee, toss a football, have some snacks. Spend the day getting sand in your toes.
  10. PowerHouse Science Center…My son is OBSESSED with anything science so this is on our go to list! Its $60 for a membership of 2 adults and 3 children. They do hands on science projects, experiments, robot races! (Basically the ultimate science kids dream.)
  11. McKinley Park is loaded with gorgeous rose gardens for miles. This is also located in walking distance of the Capitol and a fun little history walk for free with the kids in a blocked off area!
  12. Sacramento children’s Museum… 2701 Prospect Dr. Rancho Cordova…. This is another science exploration one! They currently offer science Sundays, Sound Explorers, and library days for the toddlers!
  13. Greenwood Splash Pad Park… Our family loves this little gem during summer! They have a splash pad, park, and adorable creek and tunnel for kiddos to adventure in during the heat! IMG_3397
  14. Lake Tahoe Parasailing… This is one of my best memories thus far! So fun and beautiful! This cost $100 and we were out on Tahoe Parasailing for well over an hour! A little more expensive but worth the experience for sure! IMG_3712
  15. Make a scavenger hunt…IN YOUR BACK YARD. Get creative… give your child a compass and map and lead them to bugs, fake gold, fun letters, special key notes, you get the point! We did this last year and the boys were entertained for hours trying to achieve the treasure!
  16. Make some slime!!!! It’s the rage!!!! This is a solid two hours of free entertainment with a little investment in Elmers glue… (Helpful tip) DONT BUY IN STORES! They have jacked up the prices so high on glue with the slime rage! Go on Amazon and you can get a gallon for $10.IMG_4417
  17. Lake Lahontan…Locals call this the “mud hole” as the water is well…a little less than clear. BEST MEMORIES EVER! This is a camping site you can go and truly escape reality for a few days.
  18. Sequoia National Park..The trees are to die for and truly magical. This is open year round with nature walks, in park lodging and amazing views.
  19. Winchester Mystery House… Groupon currently offers a discount for $30 per ticket of this eccentric mansion which is also “haunted” yet kid friendly adventure.
  20. Berry Haven…My littles absolutely LOVE THIS. We go on a berry picking adventure for organic fruits and veggies that the kids get a solid labor of love experience. IMG_5073Adventure and experience life. Make memories and remember to ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS because as corny as it sounds….they really are the BIG THINGS.