Thursday, September 26, 2013

Last day at the Zoo

We have lived pretty much in walking distance of our local zoo almost the entire time we have lived here. And we have been very lucky that my Dad has bought us the family zoo membership for the kid's birthday present nearly every year. We opted to not get the membership this year. The kids are getting bigger, and I think are becoming slightly bored with our zoo due to the fact that we used to go almost daily when they were little.  And now with both kids in school, we just don't go as often, even over summer vacation. So a few of our friends got together for one last hurrah of the zoo before our membership expired. On this trip I let them do things that I normally would say no to.

Want to pet the goats? Sure, go right ahead!

Want to see the butterfly exhibit? Of course we can!

Want to get on the turtle one last time? Yes, please do!

Exploring a new city

I have lived in this current city now for 61/2 years, and we see commercials for little shops in a nearby town. I have always wanted to head there, but it just seemed like so far away, 20 min (insert eye roll here).  So this year on our summer bucket list, I added explore a new city with this one in mind. We brought along my mom for the fun, a picnic lunch, and a list of places we wanted to try to see.  With the help of little Indiana, I found a few places I would not have known about.

Our first stop was to Grandma's Pantry. This was such a neat place! An Amish run shop that sells bulk of pretty much any food stuffs you can think of for a good price. I plan on heading back down before the holiday baking season to stock up. They also have amazing bakery items that them make there. I highly recommend a stop there.

Next up was a stop at the Wakarusa Dime Store, home of the Jumbo Jelly Bean! They had tons of fun things to see here. From vintage candies, novelties, jelly beans of all sizes, and every salt water taffy flavor you can imagine! The staff was super friendly, understanding (think 2 hyped up kids), and generous with the samples. Luckily we have a store up here now as well, but there is just a certain fun atmosphere at the original store!
To cap off our visit, we discovered a cute little park around the corner from the downtown area. We got out our picnic lunch and then let the kids run off that sugar high!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Blueberries 2013

We love blueberries and blueberry picking! In fact, we go every year and have for many years already! There is a farm locally that does many varieties of organic blueberries. This year, we went the day after we got home from our epic vacation!

I didn't tell the kids where we were going, and had them get dressed. The best part is that they both dressed in blueberry colors!!! We picked only about 10 pounds this year, but after making blueberry muffins, coffee cakes, and ice cream, we have plenty left in the freezer for the rest of the year!

Summer Reading Fun

We were very active in our local library's summer reading program this summer. In fact, the way our library system is set up, we have 2 different libraries with 2 different programs. So we did both!! We really do love our libraries and are so thankful that they have such amazing free events!

We got to see a magic show put on by Ronald McDonald!

He said he loved having another ginger around! Funny enough over Labor day we went to a parade, and it was the same guy in the parade. He saw D, his face lit up in recognition, and blew her a kiss.

Dino day!! 

The end of the summer reading program for one library allowed the kids to put on forest friendly costumes and sign the log book!

Kid's Garden Club:Learn about compost!

Epic Vacation Part 3

We were able to spend a whole week at the ocean, and we joined by a large portion of Adam's side of the family. We tried to take turns cooking dinner, and everyone was sort of on their own for breakfast and lunch. It worked really well! We also put up a small tent on the beach for shade. L took to the water like a fish, by the end of the week he was diving through waves, boogie boarding, and swimming. D preferred to stay more on the sand, play with her little cousins, and only go into the water up to her thigh. The waves were crazy huge most of the week due to the occasional storm passing by. Both kids had fun trying to catch little crustaceans called sand fleas by the locals. They would hunt for them and keep them in buckets as pets. They also collected tons of shells that we brought home and keep in a vase on a shelf in the living room. The kids worked together to catch a fish with their hands as well!

The family was together over the 4th of July, which also just happens to be my mother-in-law's birthday as well. We celebrated with a special dinner, cake and ice cream, fireworks on the beach, and the kids all played with glow sticks.

After a wonderful week on the beach, it was time to pack back up and head for home. We again took 2 days to drive back, staying in the same hotel in fact. While on the way back home, another friend from my internet group said that we were passing right by her city, and wondered if we could make a quick stop to see her. So I was able to meet another friend that I never had met in real life, but had been internet friends for almost 8 years.

We made it all the way home with no problems either. Although we did not run into any road construction or road kill until we got back home to Indiana. All four of us had a blast, and we can't wait to go on another road trip!!!

Epic Vacation Part 2

On our second day of travel, we headed from Knoxille to Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Another smooth day of travel, and everyone was very excited to see the mountains! I think Adam was rubber necking more than the kids were. I had been posting out whereabouts on a private group of friends, we all had kids born in June 2006, and it just so happens that one of them said them were close by Knoxville. Well I said it was a shame that we didn't have time to visit. So we kept on our merry way. We got to the first rest stop in North Carolina, which is also a visitor center. Adam, doing a typical dad thing, had us stop so he could get a state map. On our way back to the car, I hear someone call my name. It turns out this friend had stopped at the same rest stop, and parked next to us. We have never met in real life, but recognized each other right away! We made sure we got a group photo with all the kids, it was so much fun!

After driving through a bad thunderstorm around Durham, we made it to the shore! Just a couple of our group was there already, so we made our way to the water. We hadn't eaten dinner yet, so we told the kids that we weren't going to get in the water tonight, but would first thing in the morning. We headed out to take a look, and L just ran straight into the water! He couldn't help it, he was so excited and after being stuck in a car for 2 days straight, we couldn't fault him. He swallowed so much water that night, it scared me. In the end he was fine, but nothing like a little fright to start the vacation. D ran into the water up to her knees, and just squeeled! She then collected things she found on shore and created a self portrait. 

Epic Vacation!

We took our first major family vacation this summer and it turned out to be a giant road trip! Adam's brother and wife live in North Carolina and rented 2 beach houses on Emerald Isle for the entire family to come out. Nearly everyone on that side of the family made it! We had bought a new to us, reliable car back in March, so we thought it would be the perfect thing for a road trip. Adam and I have not shied away from trips like this before, in fact we drove from Indiana to San Fran on our honeymoon! We broke the trip out into 2 days, the first day we drove from Indiana to Knoxville Tennessee and then the second day we drove from Knoxville all the way to the coast off of North Carolina.

The kids were very excited about going on a long car trip. We had talked about it for months before we left and I stocked up on fun stuff for them to do over the previous months. The kids had books, coloring and activity books, craft supplies, maps, movies and small toys. They each had their own snack bag as well filled with mostly healthy snacks and a few sweets like Pez as well.

We saw some amazing sights, and were able to check off 4 states that first day off of our list (a short detour into Ohio).  We made it to our hotel for the first night with minimal hassle, which was a relief. (I got lost for a bit in the hills of Kentucky, just a little scary, and the GPS didn't like where we were) We walked over to Cracker Barrel for dinner, the kids have never eaten there, and they are hooked now. L and Adam had a nice time playing checkers on the porch after we ate, and D found a toy to buy with her own money. After dinner we got to swim in a warm indoor pool at our hotel. The kids absolutely loved the whole day!

"Wait, who is Dolly?"

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