Monthly Archives: August 2013


Summer Fun List: Road Trip!

Tom has a business trip in Arkansas next week so the whole family is going along! We’re making it a road trip and exploring some fun Southern cities.

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We will be visiting:

  • Pigeon Forge, TN
  • Little Rock, AR
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Tuscaloosa, AL
  • Chattanooga, TN
Some of these places are places we’ve been before and others are brand new. 
I hope the kids will enjoy it.

Summer Fun List: Ride the Carousel

When I discovered that there was a Carousel on the National Mall, I knew we had to ride it. Even though it costs $3.50 per person, it still seemed worth it. Scarlett LOVES carousels (or “carouselfs” as she calls them) and was absolutely giddy when we told her we were going to ride one.

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It’s a pretty cool location, with the Washington Monument on oneside and the Capitol Building on the other.

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The carousel has old-fashioned charm. Tom took the kids to ride while I took pictures.

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And it was super fun for a 3 and 4 year old. They waved every time they passed me.

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Scarlett wanted to go again as soon as the ride ended, but we told her we would take her to the carousel at Clemyjontri Park, which is half the price. I’ll ride that one with them! She agreed and said a loving goodbye to her white horse that she named “Pink-Blue.”

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It makes a nice summer memory.


Summer Fun List: Hidden Oaks Nature Center

One of the activities on our Summer Fun List was visiting a nature center.


We picked Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale, Virginia because of the “Nature Playce” where the kids could play in sandboxes and “dig for dinosaurs.”


There were lots of dinosaurs provided!


There was dinosaur facts as well.



They dug for a while, then Luke wanted to explore.


There are different levels of wilderness inside the Nature Playce. 

Luke stuck to “Fledgling” – “Outdoorsman” was a bit too wild.


The bugs started to come out, so we called it a day. We will be back, though, especially in the fall when the colors are beautiful. It’s a really interesting place to play.


Disney Movie Night Menu: Planes

Since we saw Planes early, we didn’t get to have our movie night dinner until afterwards. That was helpful, though, since it gave me more of an idea of what to serve.

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Our Menu:
Chicken Wings
Dusty’s Crops (Veggies)
Chug’s Corn Muffins
El Chupacabra’s Churros
Dotty’s Jet Fuel (Iced Tea)

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I made the churros myself using this recipe from The Food Network. I was not sure if this was a good idea since I’ve never even eaten a churro, nevermind cooked one. But they actually came out pretty good! Tasted yummy and everything. The kids liked them and then liked dipping their carrots in the chocolate sauce. That’s one way to get them to eat their vegetables!


Disney Movie Night: Planes

We were supposed to go to the park Thursday night, but it was supposed to rain. We decided not to chance getting caught in a thunderstorm and I’m glad we did. It turns out our local theaters were having Thursday night showings of Planes!


I was excited we didn’t have to wait until Friday, and armed with 2 free tickets (one from Toys R Us and one from Disney Movie Rewards) and a coupon for $3 off popcorn (from Regal Cinema texts), it was a bargain.

We got there early, but it wasn’t all that crowded. We waited in the hall until we could go into the theater.


Luckily, we had that popcorn.

Scarlett wore her tutu over her clothes…

Once inside we watched a LOT of coming attractions, while the kids kept asking “Is this Planes?”


When the movie started, they were pretty into it for a while. I wish we hadn’t been quite so early because it was about half way through that Scarlett started kicking chairs and standing up. I ended up taking her to walk around, and then watched the last part of the movie sitting in the hall that lead to the doorway while Scarlett played on my phone and danced (good thing she wore that tutu!).


I did like the parts I saw. People laughed, and the visuals were pretty great. The plot was really close to Cars, and pretty predictable, but that was expected – it was originally meant to go straight to video. I’m glad it came to the big screen because the animation was made for that. Looking forward to the DVD release, though, so I can see the parts I missed!

Luke liked it, and since he’s pretty much the demographic, I’m glad for that. Plus, other than the time he shouted out “What happened?!” when the screen went white, he acted appropriately for a movie theater. He is learning! And Scarlett will get there, too – hopefully in time for Frozen!


Disney Planes Activity: Watching Planes Land

One of our favorite places to go for a picnic is Gravelly Point Park. Located right next to Reagan National Airport, it’s a grassy area on the river where planes fly right overhead as they take off or land in Washington DC.

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We went just before dusk and spread out a blanket. The kids played in the grass while we waited to see the airplanes.

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It was a busy night at the airport!  We saw lots of planes.

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They were loud! We took turns covering the kids’ ears.

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It’s a unique experience, with a great view! Highly recommended.


Disney Planes Activity: Air & Space Museum

One of the great things about living right outside of Washington D.C. is the access to so many wonderful museums. One is the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, which fit perfectly without our Disney Planes week.

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They have everything from military aircraft to passenger jets to the early planes built by the Wright Brothers.

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They also have interactive areas where you can learn while you play.

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The kids liked the airplane repair area the best. Tools and gears are fun!

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Suprisingly, we found a good amount of Disney sprinkled throughout the museum!

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Disney World is easily accessible by air – here’s some luggage with souvenirs!

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Mickey Mouse cartoon

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Of course, Planes in the gift shop!

Luke and Scarlett loved this museum. Scarlett has asked to go again every day since we left! It’s a great place to visit in the D.C. area.


Summer Fun List: Ice Cream Truck

When we put “Ice Cream Truck” on our Summer Fun List, I was thinking of one of the trucks that drives around the neighborhood on warm evenings, or maybe the one that shows up at the playground with cool treats on a hot afternoon. But when we happened on a line of snack trucks just outside the Smithsonian Museums in D.C., we decided there wasn’t a better time for some ice cream.
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With about a hundred options, both kids chose vanilla cones. A summer classic!

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The kids were delighted, and we enjoyed our treats sitting in the grass, listening to the tinkling music from the trucks. A delicious day!


Disney Movie of the Week: Planes

I know I mention this all the time, but our family LOVES Cars.

Luke, Sally and Me at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

So we are SUPER excited for Planes – I feel like we have been waiting for years for it to come out!

Luke at Age 2 watching a plane

Luke, as a typical four-year-old boy, also loves airplanes.

There are several airplane-related things to do around here, so it should be a fun week.


Summer Fun List: Friendship Firehouse Festival

One of our favorite annual activities is the Friendship Firehouse Festival in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

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Founded in 1774, the Friendship Firehouse houses antique firefighting equipment in what is now a museum. The festival brings lots of emergency vehicles for children to explore to Old Town Alexandria, as well as vendors, snacks and fun plastic firefighter hats for the kids!

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Luke and Scarlett “drove” a firetruck.

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They got to see some real equipment too.

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They also got to play in a Red Cross Disaster Relief truck.

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They got to pretend to serve food out of the back.

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It was truck heaven for all the little kids in attendance. Luke loved it, even though he made this face.

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We also got some Naked Juice samples and fire safety coloring books. Fun Times. I’m sure we will be back next year.

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