Michigan Vacation and the Summer Checklist

We recently took a trip to the Harbor Country area of Michigan. It was a great trip and we were able to get a couple big things checked off of the summer list.

We had a beach day. And a couple beach nights in which we went back down to the beach to check out the sunset. (If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen these. Click here to follow me on Instagram.)

We also had a morning of blueberry picking. It was a lot of fun and the girls picked (and ate) a lot of blueberries. When we got home, we made muffins after big girl helped me to sort out all that we had picked.

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So many blueberries!

I used a new recipe that you can find here. Not gonna lie, they are really good and when they are baking they smell amazing (!!!!!!!!).

(After making the muffins, we sorted out two sandwich baggies full of blueberries to eat right away and a gallon sized freezer bag full in the freezer to use throughout the coming months.)

The list thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.
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Swimming in the River – Summer Checklist Update #8

Our final day of our camping adventure, the girls were able to go swimming in the Meramec River. Now, I won’t count this afternoon adventure as “going to the beach” because the beach is basically gone. I have memories of hanging out at the riverside beach for a whole day but the Meramec River and the surrounding area had some immense flooding in the spring. The beach is gone!

But, the girls were able to swim around and wade into the river (which is now much more shallow in the parts that we were at.)

The checklist thus far:

  • Make lemonade.
  • Eat at Big Bowl.
  • Go to Millennium Park.
  • Go to Adler Planetarium.
  • Get space ice cream.
  • Go to zoo.
  • Go to Shedd Aquarium.
  • Go bowling.
  • Make banana pudding.
  • Go to the splash pads downtown.
  • Play at Maggie Daley playground.
  • Go to Field Museum.
  • Go to Art Institute and do a JourneyMaker tour.
  • Go swimming.
  • Go to the Children’s Museum.
  • Play at playground.
  • Have a pajama day (with daddy.)
  • See a movie at the movie theater.
  • See a movie outside.
  • Go to the library.
  • Go to the Family Festival downtown Chicago.
  • Make cookies.
  • Read books at home.
  • Ride the train at the mall.
  • Go to the beach.
  • Have a picnic.
  • Go to American Girl Place.
  • Draw pictures and cut them out.
  • Play with legos.
  • Make muffins.
  • Make pasta salad.
  • Play with toys.
  • Go to a festival.
  • Try to go to a water park.
  • Go to the Disney store downtown Chicago.
  • Eat at Rainforest Cafe.
  • Eat at Labriola Cafe.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Play games on the iPad.
  • Play Mario game with daddy.
  • Go to the Morton Arboretum.
  • Go to Mimi and Pa’s house.
  • Go to Granny and Pa’s house.
  • Go on a hike.
  • Go to the Museum of Science and Industry.

 

Joys of Taking a Break

This year, more than many other years, I have really really really needed this Christmas break. But, now, I actually have time to do some reading….some non-grad school reading. I can sit down and look at recipes (although I haven’t really tried out any yet). I am going to make an effort to take better care of myself in 2017 so that I can be better for everyone else who need me. In the meantime, Amy Poehler and a toasty fire in the fireplace are helping greatly.

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Vacation Preparation – So Many Movies

Our guest room (also known as the grandparent’s room since that’s where they sleep when they stay over), has become the prep room for our upcoming Disney trip. There are suitcases stacked up, piles of clothes waiting to be packed, and toiletries in various piles. But, we’ve been prepping for this trip for the majority of the summer. We watch a lot of Disney films in our house but a lot of times we end of watching and rewatching and rewatching and rewatching the same ones over and over again (Frozen….Tangled….anything with Tinker Bell in it.) One of our Disney prepping activites has been to watch as many movies as we can.

So far…..

  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  • Brave
  • Brother Bear
  • Brother Bear 2
  • A Bug’s Life
  • Cars Toons: Mater’s Tall Tales
  • Chicken Little
  • The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Fantasia
  • Fantasia 2000
  • Finding Dory
  • Finding Nemo
  • The Fox and the Hound 2
  • Frozen
  • Hercules
  • The Incredibles
  • Inside Out
  • Lady and the Tramp
  • Legend of the Neverbeast
  • Lero & Stitch
  • Lilo & Stitch
  • Lilo & Stitch II: Stitch Has a Glitch
  • The Lion King
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Kronk’s New Groove
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie-The-Pooh
  • Mary Poppins
  • Mickey and the Beanstalk
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers
  • Mickey’s House of Villains
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Mulan
  • Mulan II
  • Muppet Movie
  • Piglet’s Big Movie
  • Pooh’s Heffalump Movie
  • Robin Hood
  • Secret of the Wings
  • Short Films Collection
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • Stitch! The Movie
  • Tangled
  • Tarzan
  • Tarzan & Jane
  • Tarzan 2
  • Tinker Bell
  • Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
  • Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
  • Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy
  • Toy Story
  • Toy Story 2
  • Toy Story 3
  • Up
  • Wall-E
  • Winnie-The-Pooh

And…..countless episodes of Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Little Einsteins, Octonauts, Sofia the First.

A lot of these are ones that we own, some we watched on Disney Channel and some were on Netflix. (Also, I love Netflix!!!)

I think we’re ready………Now to just get the actual packing finished…..

A Staycation Vacation Downtown

With the economy being the way that it is, staying close to home on vacations has become more and more popular.¬† The new term “staycation” means staying at home on vacations or taking day trips.¬† Ryan and I were very lucky this past weekend as our wedding anniversary coincided with some great deals on hotels downtown for Memorial Day weekend.¬† One of those deals was at the Swissotel.¬† Normally, rooms in this fancy downtown Chicago hotel can start at $229 and can go up to $399.¬† Needless to say, this is not a hotel that we would normally stay at as it would be way out of our budget.¬† I come from a family that swears by Holiday Inn Express.¬† The Swissotel is a huge leap from Holiday Inn Express.

We booked two nights at the Swissotel.  We made reservations for our anniversary dinner at the Publican. We had a great last minute dinner at The Purple Pig.  We saw a movie and we took advantage of our membership at the Art Institute (that I purchased using Groupon last year) to see the Matisse exhibit.  We came back to the hotel just on time to see the Saturday night fireworks at Navy Pier from our hotel room.  It was a very nice weekend.  But, even though it was a lovely weekend, I was a bit surprised when I woke up this morning and felt that sadness that I normally feel when a week long vacation in a different city/state/country ends.

Ryan and I didn’t travel very far for our vacation.¬† We just went downtown in our own city.¬† However, we made it a special weekend by staying in a hotel that we would not normally stay in.¬† We were able to pretend to be tourists in our own city and were able to see this area of town with new eyes.

The economy isn’t going to turn around very quickly.¬† More and more families will choose to stay in their own town for a vacation.¬† But, if you think of it as a true vacation and not as your only choice due to the economy or other needs, a staycation can be just as fun, relaxing, educational, busy, or whatever you want your vacation to be.

A Perfect Weekend