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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What we packed for snacks, meals and drinks for our day-trip to Poulsbo

This was the view from the bench we chose, for our al fresco breakfast.
Nice, huh?

So, as I mentioned last Friday, my two daughters and I had an adventure day. We went to a small town, across the Puget Sound, called Poulsbo. Poulsbo is Norwegian in origin. It's fun, touristy, filled with all kinds of shops, galleries, restaurants, an aquarium, waterfront park often with free entertainment, nature walks on a boardwalk around Liberty Bay and some historical sights. It was a jam-packed day, and it really did feel like a vacation.

Purchased food on these trips can add up quickly, so we planned ahead and packed a cooler with snacks, beverages and lunch.

We have several individual-size thermoses. I filled mine with coffee from home, and my two daughters's thermoses with milk. These were our beverages with our breakfast. We bought pastries at the Norwegian bakery on Front Street, for our breakfast. No sense in buying coffee and milk, when I could bring some from home, and the thermoses kept everything appropriately hot or cold.

There are several nice benches that overlook the marina, at the waterfront park. We chose one in the sun, to warm us up in the chill of the early morning. This was our view from our waterfront dining location.

We left the cooler in the trunk of the car, parked in the free parking lot at the north end of town. At lunch, we went back up to the car (a short walk -- this IS a small town), and filled a daypack with the lunch items. We brought egg salad sandwiches, the second half of a can of Lay's Stax potato chips, some apple wedges, and a 1/2 gallon container of chilled water. The egg salad, I prepared the night before, but didn't make into sandwiches until the morning that we left, so the bread would not get soggy. I added watercress and lettuce from the garden to those sandwiches. The apple wedges were drizzled in a bit of lemon juice. It really doesn't take much lemon juice at all, to prevent browning on the cut apples. The potato chips were purchased earlier in the week, at Dollar Tree, for our picnic lunch at the park on Tuesday. We ate half the can then, and saved the other half for our day trip to Poulsbo. And the container of water was chilled overnight in the fridge, then packed in the cooler with ice packs in the morning. The water was perfectly chilled at lunchtime. We used a bit of the water to rinse out our thermoses from breakfast, into the bushes in the parking lot. Then each filled our thermoses with water for drinking at lunch and beyond.

Also for lunch, we purchased a large salad, to split between the 3 of us, for a fresh treat with our lunch.

A nice "spread" for our picnic lunch in the shade of the gazebo,
but still overlooking the water.

There's a large gazebo in the waterfront park, with a couple of picnic tables, well-sheltered from the heat of the sun. By 1 PM, it was toasty in the sun, so we found a table close to the water, but still in the shade.

While eating lunch, there was live entertainment at one end of the park. The SeaFair pirates were making a port o' call for the weekend and regaled the tourists at the park with their pirate songs.

I packed paper plates, plastic cutlery and napkins from home. I also packed plastic cups for the water, but we found it simpler to just fill our thermoses with water, and skip the cups.

We also had homemade gingerbread cookies with us, for snack time.

We had planned on dining out for dinner, but we were all still full by late afternoon. So we hit up an ice cream shop for cones for each of us, just after 6.

We spent an entire day in Poulsbo, only purchasing food items that we felt would enhance our experience -- the breakfast pastries, the salad at lunch, and the ice cream cones in the early evening. There are public drinking fountains, which we used to fill our thermoses. We took advantage of the free chilled water offered at the ice cream shop, when we got our cones. None of us really felt we missed out on anything by not buying beverages or full meals.

When members of our family take these little excursions, we find that the fun is really in the togetherness (and sometimes silliness -- see daughter in above photo), and not in eating meals in restaurants. The new-to-us atmosphere is often all we need for ambience. And who could ever argue with waterfront dining on a beautiful summer day?! Throw in a few singing pirates, and what's not to love?


  1. Sounds like a perfect day trip with the right amount of purchased food to give the meals an extra boost for the occasion. You've done such a good job planning the trip costwise down to every detail like drinks and cutlery. Little wonder that your daughters look very happy, secure and relaxed, and with a good head start in the art of.joyful frugal living for their own lindividual lives in the future, as you've often said no one's lacking...

    When my son and OIL visit the Pacific Northwest, I'll be sure to mention this little tourist town. They love the outdoors and this place sounds like a perfect getaway from the city.


    1. Hi YHF,
      It was such a fun-filled day.
      In case you didn't notice -- I am a planner! I think it all through, as part of the fun of the trip. You should see my lists for when we'e away for a week at a time!!!

      Poulsbo is a very fun, unique, touristy town. Your son and DIL would probably enjoy it. As they love the outdoors, the rain forest would also be a good suggestion. We've stayed on Lake Quinault before, and really enjoyed that. We took a boat out one day (rental), went on several good hikes, and just enjoyed the out of doors.

    2. Thanks for the suggestion. Sounds very lush and adventurous...after their first trip to Bellingham, they love the outdoors in PNW. Never heard of Lake Quinault before, so thank you!!


    3. YHF, my son just got back from a week in Bellingham. He rented a small cottage on VRBO. He was able to do day trips into BC on a couple of days, to see Vancouver. Once a summer, my son takes one week to explore one of the quieter spots in our area. He rents through VRBO, saving money over a hotel room, is able to cook his own meals in the cottage, and has the extra quiet on top of that.

    4. VRBO? Sorry not very familiar with the area. I know they visited Vancouver as well. I imagine there are lots of interesting spots to visit even for a PNW native like your son. Great for him that he follows his yearnings as a young adult.

    5. VRBO is Vacation Rentals By Owner. My son rents cottages, complete with kitchen, for less than what he'd pay for a hotel. I believe VRBO has listings worldwide. I sometimes browse their listings, just to dream about a vacation someplace.

  2. What a great day. I am happy just spending time with my sons (no daughters). They are great company. Spending it touring an small town or conservation area is even better. No busting the budget...perfect.

    1. Hi Deb,
      It sounds like you and your sons have a good time together. And you're right, there are so many fun places to visit that don't require a second mortgage on the house to enjoy yourself!

  3. What a great day. I am happy just spending time with my sons (no daughters). They are great company. Spending it touring an small town or conservation area is even better. No busting the budget...perfect.

  4. Hi Lili,
    Wow that sounds like a perfect day! I'm sure your family really appreciates all you do to make times like that so special & all you do all the time.
    We are going away for a week in about a month. We like you take along as much as we can as far as groceries go. We get an ocean front condo after school starts so the rates are very reasonable, we will have the car packed very full with all the things we take along. We do eat dinners out but always eat breakfast & lunches in. Makes for a affordable week away & without the crowds too. Thank You for all you share, many times I have learned new things from you!

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      Wow! That sounds like a fabulous vacation you have planned for next month!. I hope you have a really wonderful time. It should be relaxing and peaceful.

  5. Glad you had a fun day exploring the town with your daughters. Time together is a precious commodity and much more valuable than actual purchases.

    1. Hi Anne,
      I think that's it -- the time together is what was valuable, not where we went or what we did, just spending the whole day together.

  6. Were they The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (a little VeggieTales humor here ...)? Love the duck lip picture--it looks like a wonderful spot for lunch.

    I find the same thing to be true about eating out on fun days--packing a lunch and then later purchasing and eating ice cream is often more satisfying and it tends to fit into our schedule better. I love eating out, but the restaurant experience can eat up your valuable time. (no pun intended).

    In answer to your question from a previous post--school doesn't start for my kids till the day after Labor Day, and they prefer I not bring up the topic of school yet as it makes them feel like summer is gone. :)

    1. Hi Kris,
      Ha Ha! We've watched that video many times!

      I enjoy eating in a restaurant, too. But I found it's just not as enjoyable with younger kids. It got better as they grew up. I always had the feeling that I was "managing" them, when we would try to eat out, and that took the fun out of restaurant dining for me. And now, we've found that especially for lunches, picnics are very relaxing. We're planning an evening picnic at the beach, soon, for the whole family.

      For some reason I thought your area of the US started school in August. Public schools around here begin before Labor Day this year. Your kids are lucky! Back to school stuff has been in the stores since just after 4th of July. Sad for kids, as it feels like summer is being rushed right out of here.

  7. Oh wow, that sounds like a fun day, especially the pirate songs! The waterfront dining view is beautiful. Looks like the weather was beautiful too. Frugal Queen writes about not needing to spend money to have fun, but just being together with her husband is what she enjoys the most. Sounds just like you and your family. Your meal planning was definitely a money saver. Now I am wanting some egg salad. lol

    1. Hi Belinda,
      when we first sat down in the park, we could see all these large sailboats with "pirate" flags and were wondering what in the world was going on that weekend! One boat had a cannon and would fire from time to time, with an echo across the bay, following.

      I had been following Frugal Queen's trip to Brittany with her husband. Their vacation sounded ideal and relaxing. It's inspiring to read about other folk's vacations that are reasonably affordable.

  8. Hi, Lili--

    I'm late to the conversation, but wanted to add my congratulations on what sounded like a great outing. Love the photos, especially of your lovely daughters. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    Since we travel a lot with a cooler (even a trip to buy groceries is usually far enough to merit bringing along snacks, especially with my low blood sugar), I just wanted to mention that, if you don't have lemon for your cut apples, you can just dust them with cinnamon (if no one objects to the flavor.)

    Keeps them looking nice, and the cinnamon combined with the fiber in a fresh apple helps you digest the sugars slowly and productively. We do this all the time, and even use the cinnamoned apple slices like crackers with cheese sometimes. :)

    Enjoy the rest of the summer! Sara


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