Reunion Road Trip – Part deux

We truly enjoyed our time at the Family Reunion…

And after our fantastic time in Charlotte, we got on the road and headed home!  It felt faster, although wasn’t really that different in terms of time, we just stopped for a shorter overnight.

There were two highlights for me 1) getting to see my friend and her family on our overnight stop (boy do I wish we had more time) and 2) the Pecan Nut bar we got during a special stop when my husband passed Horne’s Restaurant — a one of a kind store from his childhood road trips — passing through Port Royal, Virginia.

We continued our affinity for Dollar Tree and Chick Fil-A.  I think Dollar Tree is the worlds best kept road trip secret.  You have the chance to stop, go to the bathroom (usually its a reasonable one), and purchase snacks or water very reasonably.  It’s also a very good distraction – next time we road trip I will add it to our scavenger hunt!

I do have to say that the activity I enjoyed the most was our Rest Stop Scavenger Hunt.  Each time we stopped (and that is at least once per five hours – of a 30 hour trip) we had to find something on the scavenger hunt.  It took us the entire trip to and from the Reunion, but we finally crossed off the very last item… the Road Atlas.  For anyone born before the iPhone, you know what I mean.  Those born “post iPhone” haven’t had to read, much less navigate by the Atlas.  It was quite disappointing when I asked at WaWa if they had an Atlas and the answer was, “what is that?”

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The last leg is always the most difficult as evidenced by my face and my Little Mama’s as we brought it home…



It’s a Family Reunion Road Trip

I have to preface this post with the fact that I do not like road trips!  And when you add two energetic 5.5 year olds to the mix the idea of a road trip strikes fear in my fearless Mommie heart.  So when we decided to drive to my husband’s family reunion in Charlotte, NC, I was determined not to let my worst fears come true.  For perspective, my Little Miss can get to the point of pained boredom on 45 min ride – I did not relish the thought of of 9.5 hours of “this is boring” from the backseat!

Mommie mind and Pinterest kicked into high gear, resulting in 2 bags, 2 bins and several different activities designed to keep even little miss occupied.  Did I mention I was trying to avoid 20 hours of screen time?

Here is our adventure-

Left NJ and within the first hour three of the activities were played!

In PA, we ended up with backseat highway bingo and a stop at the Dollar Store for the bathroom and some water (really a break for Mommie and Daddy).  Chick-fil-A and singing songs followed.

In VA, we went to the amazing Luray Caverns. We were very late arriving but managed to catch a lovely (but late) tour with Tabitha – our very knowledgable tour guide.  Quite wondrous to see the Caverns and hear the history.  We were there 168 years – 2 days from the discovery date!!


We found a very nice hotel, The Mimslyn Inn – and had our own cottage for the night.  The kids enjoyed the pull out love seat and gas fireplace and I loved that we had a real refrigerator with a freezer for our ice packs.

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My little Mstr was a little disappointed that we didn’t stay in the hotel proper (his first reaction was that it was fancy), but allowed that the cottage was nice and he wanted to stay longer.

In the morning, we woke up, had breakfast from the cooler (I knew that yogurt and granola would come in handy) and we got on the road.  Fortunately, we decided to drive a bit of the Skyline Drive- a beautiful route through the Shenandoah Valley.

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We even saw a baby black bear and we were all thrilled!

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That kept the kids occupied for the first couple hours.  Then we had craft time!! I took a leap on faith and had construction paper, markers, crayons, scissors and glue in the project bags!  The kids spent some time making crafts to give to Grandma and Granddaddy for their walls.

While they aren’t old enough to stay occupied reading books for hours, when craft time was over I discovered  that they do love the story telling channel on Spotify!

We finally arrived around 7p in Charlotte and the family reunion festivities began!

Thanks to the Universe for traveling mercies on the first two legs of our trip.

Up next- the return trip home!!


Summertime Memories

The Summer of 2016 has absolutely flown by!! I can’t believe it’s already the last day of July and with a busy August planned, September will be here soon.  I truly believe that time goes faster the older you get and with kids, it’s like living at the speed of light.  But I can say for sure I am learning and growing and loving watching my little Miss and Mstr. experience the world!  A few Summer memories – I hope you enjoy…

A whirlwind tour!  I had the pleasure of making the story for this beautiful young woman and her family as she prepared for Senior Prom…

Our first 5K race… the kids did an amazing job!

The kids had many adventures with family and friends…

Father Day Memories…

Travels for me from Brazil to Singapore and back to the Northeast!

Always a wonderful time with the Cancelmo’s!  Swimming for the kids plus food, drink and relaxation for the parents!



Arizona Trippin’

We spent our Spring Break in Arizona.   For me, it was a chance to enjoy a lovely place and to relive memories of home.  Although I grew up in Minnesota, my family spent the better part of 20 years in Phoenix and Sedona and I enjoyed  sharing experiences old and new with my little ones in the Valley of the Sun.

If you have time in Phoenix, our family would highly recommend:

  • The Children’s Museum of Phoenix!  It’s an amazing experiential museum for children with the most lovely people who play all day for a living.  From the guy who helped little mama build a castle out of huge soft blocks to the women in the art studio they were amazing.   The kids ran, climbed jumped and read their way through.
  • The Musical Instrument Museum! <full stop>!  The history of music contained in one building with a nod to current artists too (Maroon 5 and Taylor Swift have exhibits).  The halls are organized by culture and then country and they have the neatest self guided headphone tours that the kids followed along!
  • The Phoenix Art Museum. Lovely mix of historic and modern art.  We lucked up and found it on Wednesday afternoon (only donation for admission) and not too crowded.  It was great because they had a scavenger hunt for kids and that kept our little ones attention for almost 3 hours!

We also enjoyed:

  • Butterfly Wonderland — although little mama was disappointed that a butterfly didn’t land on her.  (I think it’s because it was too hard for the butterflies to catch her.)
  • The Rainforest Cafe– although kitschy–was a great way to use up some time and have dinner before our late night flight – consider my kids mind blown at the lightning and the moving animals!
  • Lots of time at the pool – making friends with business and leisure travelers  (whether they wanted to or not) and the hotel staff. My kids were making play dates to meet their friends at the pool (not one less than 45 yrs old).

And the last bit… we had some wonderful meals in Scottsdale and they were all super kid friendly:

  • The Breakfast Club for Brunch
  • The Mission for Lunch
  • The Sugar Bowl for Ice Cream
  • Soul Cafe (with a large selection of gluten free items too).

Easter Memories

It’s hard to believe Easter was almost a week ago!  We truly had a special time this year…

We started with a low stress ride to Maryland and then spent Saturday and Sunday with family and friends!  Then on Monday, we braved the White House and Capitol Hill lock down and went to the White House Easter Egg Roll with 35k of our closest friends!  Amazingly, we know several other families that were there, but didn’t see them during our time slot.  The kids hung in there and we enjoyed ourselves! We even managed to get dinner and drive home to get a decent night of sleep!