Saxis Souvenirs 2017

For the first couple of years that our beach house has been in the family, everyone got homemade t-shirts (first with a sailboat silhouette and then with a blue crab). So as not to overstuff our shirt drawers, we’ve steered away from t-shirts more recently. Last year the souvenirs were canvas bags and water bottles (with clams!).  This year we went with pint glasses for the adults and t-shirts for the kids!

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When thinking about what to put on the souvenirs, Sarah happened to mention that the dragonfly populations were out of control this year. That’s actually a good thing, because the dragonflies love to snack on mosquitos! To add some interest, I played with words and wrote “Where dragons fly.”

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Simple & Personalized Souvenirs

We love a good vacation souvenir like the next guy. T-shirts are a favorite in our family, but that can quickly get out of control. There are so few other things that we want to buy in the shops (except books – more on that in another post!), so we’ve started to get creative with making our own souvenirs. This year we used Cafe Press to make canvas bags and drink bottles for everyone!
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We’ve used the site many times to make personalized gifts in the past, and with a little bit of practice, their design tools are relatively easy to use. For these items I wrote out the text and then used a single black and white clam clipart image for the graphics. I just added the clam to the design in different sizes and turned it to different degrees. Since most clams look alike in real life, it didn’t look that odd to use a single clam image this way.

If you’re looking to do a similar project, I have to say that I love the quality of the cafe press canvas bags – both in terms of bag durability and in print quality. I made a few of these a couple of years ago that still get daily use and they have held up really well. When it comes to drink bottles, I’ve tried the plastic “bike” bottles from Cafe Press and did not like the quality. The design was printed onto a plastic label that was then stuck onto the bottle, but the ink started to rub off of the label after a few uses (I think it doesn’t help that the bottles were being squeezed when used). These metal bottles, on the other hand, seem to be great quality. The design is printed directly on the bottle, and while they aren’t a name brand bottle, I noticed that the Klean Kanteen lids fit these bottles. So I already ordered some sport caps to make it easier for the boys to drink from these.

The other reason we particularly love making souvenirs for our beach trips is because Saxis doesn’t have many commercial businesses, other than the island museum goods, there’s nothing else that says “Saxis” on it, so it’s fun for us to be able to make something to share our Saxis pride.

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Postcards from the Eastern Shore

For the past few summers, the boys and I have spent a big chunk of August, crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, jumping waves at Assateague Island National Seashore, and visiting with our east coast family. If you’re interested, here are photos from our 2014 (one & two) and 2015 trips.

It’s so amazing and special to me to be able to share the beaches that I grew up going to with Alex and Luc. I love expanding their horizons and teaching them about the sea, marsh, and island life that’s so different from the mountains of Colorado. And, most importantly, I’m so happy that we’re able to give my family such a long stretch of time to visit with the boys. We like to stay until we’ve worn out our welcome and Baba’s ready for us to “get the heck out of here”. But don’t worry, while we may have worn out our welcome this year, we’ll be back next summer to do it all over again!

Today I wanted to share a few photos from our trip so that you can get a feel for the area. I’m hoping to follow up this post with a more detailed list of places to visit and things to do in the area.

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Seasoned View: Vol. 18

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

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Happy Monday! Hopefully you had a nice labor day weekend. Kate spent her holiday at the beach with the family doing all kinds of summer stuff.  I spent it alone in Nepal and while there were no grills and swimming pools, I still managed to have a nice time 🙂  Enjoy this September’s Seasoned View.  You can download any or all of these images to use as  backgrounds and screensavers for your computer, phone or tablet.  Simply click on the link below each photo then right click on the photo and save it to your device.

_DSC5292Click for Pokhara.

_DSC4180Click for floating flowers.

_DSC4526 Click for prayer flags.

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liveseasoned_beachview3Click for web.

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If you’re off of work today, enjoy it! If not, we hear ya 😉

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Summer on Saxis Island, Virginia

In the past we’ve highlighted Saxis Island through photo stories about the watermen and our bike ride to the beach.  Yesterday we introduced you to our favorite spider and last week we mentioned a few of our favorite outdoor shower products.

We already love Saxis for so many reasons, but like most things in life, when you experience them again through a child’s eye you appreciate them that much more.  We wanted to highlight some of the shenanigans going on in and around Saxis this summer with a few photos. Hopefully you also have a favorite summer stomping ground where you can act like a kid again.  If not, let these photos be inspiration to get out there, mess around, and maybe find a spot that you’ll return to each summer.

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Playing in the surf never gets old.  If you have little ones like Alex, we recommend having one adult for every child because you never know when they might sprint right into the waves (Katie here : with these crazy boys I’m starting to think that we need two adults for every kid!).  Alex is one brave boy.  He’s constantly shocking us with the challenges he takes on like diving head first into holes in the sand. Yep, he treats sand dunes and big holes like a slide at the playground and going feet first would be too safe and tame for that tyke.  If you’re the cautious type or you just need a break, you could seek out the nearest bay to play in.  Chances are the water is calm and shallow and you may even find some bayside critters swimming in the water.

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Of course, it’s not all about the kids. Our family has always enjoyed a good game, often it’s a card or board game at night, but we’re also a big fan of lawn/beach games. This year our mom discovered Kubb, and our pop made a set for the beach. Everyone in our group had a great time playing, and recommend this for anyone who loves horseshoes, corn hole, or any similar toss game.

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While we love a good beach day, we also love our water toys.  Each year it seems our family is adding something to the fleet.  This year we acquired two stand up paddle boards.  Stand Up Paddle boards are a fantastic way to hop right onto the water without much set up and hassle.  SUPs can be carried by one person where as kayaks are much easier to transport with two people. SUPs are also a nice way to give young kids a little taste of the bay without taking them too far out in case they’re a bit apprehensive about water.


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As much as we love SUPs, kayaks and classic boogie boards, nothing beats a motorboat. We keep it pretty simple in our family with a small fishing boat, but it feels luxurious to us since we grew up paddling a canoe.  A motorboat allows you the freedom to bring along all the fishing and crabbing you could want and don’t you dare forget that cooler full of drinks!

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While we’re running down docks, pulling up crabs and diving into sand holes, we’re learning about the world around us.  Every moment is a chance to see and experience something new on the island.  We get equally excited about feeding horseshoe crabs at the Assateague Visitors Center as we do about looking at dead dragonflies through a bug magnifying box.  Last year Alex’s first word was “burd”, which he said while watching the seagulls fly by the house. This year we started to teach him the names of different birds as we saw them, from egrets in the trees to osprey watching over their nests. We’re hoping these summers on Saxis instill the same love and appreciation for nature in little Alex and Luc that we have now as adults.

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Welcome August!

On the first Wednesday of each month we like to pause and take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.

Just like last August, we’re fighting the melancholy feeling we get knowing that summer is more than half over. Although, we’ve planned accordingly this year and are ending summer with a bang. Sarah’s getting ready for a photo exhibit, followed immediately by the annual Schufest that she and our other siblings put on at the farm in PA. All of that comes after she flies out to Colorado for a quick visit and to help me wrangle these two boys on our trip east where we’ll spend a month at the beach (hoping to avoid Mary Lee!). It’s going to be a fun month!

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In anticipation of our beach trip, this post is filled with photos from past visits. If these photos having you craving more, you can check out the posts from last summer. There are some photos from life on the island. Many of the men on the island work in the seafood industry, either hauling in oysters or hatching softshell crabs. The island itself is surrounded by miles (and miles!) of tidal saltwater marsh, we love it so much that we put together a little profile of our favorite ecosystem. This year we’re so excited to see the island, the beaches, and the water through the eyes of two-year-old Alex!

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The Scene on Saxis : Watermen

This is our second photo essay from Saxis. The first time I showed you the view as little A and I bike to the beach. Today we’re sharing photos from the hardworking side of the island : the watermen that are working at all hours of the day to harvest oysters and blue crabs that are delivered to markets up and down the east coast.

Unloading Oysters

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Sorting Softshell Crabs

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The Scene on Saxis

As our final farewell to the east coast, little A and I are spending June at our family’s house in Saxis, VA. Today we’re skipping our regularly scheduled In Season post and sharing some photos from the island (more on that next week).

Saxis is 350 years old. It’s a small community full of history, and we are so happy for the chance to spend some quality time here. There is one main street that winds through the town, and all of the smaller lanes are often just someone’s driveway! The main street used to be lined with businesses, but now there are just a few ~ a museum and ice cream stand are among them, but no grocer!. This is a place where everyone knows everyone (and their business), but being the new kids in town, we get a tickle out of hearing bits and pieces of the gossip and meeting the cast of characters. Every day Alex and I head out for morning and evening bike rides. We easily ride from one end of town to the other, stopping along “glass beach” to look for treasures and to cool off in the water before checking in with the osprey nest. Today’s photos are snapshots of what we see on those rides.

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We hope you have a great weekend! Any fun plans? We’re waiting for the rest of the family to join us in the sun and sand.

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