Think Local

Think Local

Today I’m departing from our summer trip re-cap (I’ll pick back up with Wisconsin Dells next week) to give you all a little challenge.  I need it too – so I’ll be joining right in! Without any current trips planned, I need to find a way to still enjoy a “vacation” lifestyle.  Living near a decent sized city (Indianapolis) there are many things to do, but I tend to ignore what’s in my own backyard – the small suburb town I live in.  Don’t we all?  Even those of us who live in a vacation destination often take it for granted. So this week, I challenge you to take a day, afternoon or even an evening to do something locally.  Pick something that you’ve always said you need to check out, or a new restaurant to try, or a tourist attraction that you overlook since it’s always available. I spent all of 15 minutes this morning researching to try to find something fun and came up with so much!  A paint your own pottery place, shopping on our downtown square, TWO new restaurants that I haven’t tried yet, floating down the river, archery and/or a ropes course at our newest park, a winery I never knew existed and the 4-H fair.  Definitely, plenty I could do.  The fair will for sure happen as both my kids exhibit lots of projects, and in fact, I’ll do a full post next week on how to enjoy your county or state fair.  Now I just need to put together a fun outing with something else I’ve found … Check back next week...
Chicago Visit – Day 2

Chicago Visit – Day 2

The second day of our Chicago trip started early for me.  Everyone was sleeping so I slipped out to the Starbucks across the street to get a little work done.  It was relaxing and fun to people watch in a different city. Once we got going, we hopped onto the Big Bus and took it over to Navy Pier.  We had just enough time to enjoy a smoothie and green juice before walking over to the Shakespeare Theater to see the opening performance of Peter Pan.  What a treat!  The theater itself is beautiful and worth a visit – there isn’t a bad seat in the house.  The show was well done and so enjoyable.  If you’d like to hear more about it – I did a separate post HERE. After the show, we walked around the Pier and enjoyed the beautiful views.  Since it was lunchtime we decided to eat right there in the Food Court.  There was definitely something for everyone, so it was quick and easy.  We also indulged in a little sample of Garrett’s Popcorn courtesy of our Big Bus Tour – yum! Since time was getting short, we called an Uber and had the driver take us to the Adler Planetarium.  If you have any interest in space (my son is currently all about astronomy), then this is a must-see.  There was a lot of information, multiple exhibits, and some fun interactive areas.  We spent quite a bit of time making a hovercraft and testing to see if it would work – I love these type of hands-on projects. Hard to believe but by...
The Only Way to See a City

The Only Way to See a City

When visiting a big city, I’m sure you’ve seen those big double-decker busses – the ones with open seating on top, right?  Well, we had our first experience with one on our recent trip to Chicago.  We rode the Big Bus and it is the ONLY way to see a city.   First of all, for kids, nothing is better than sitting up on top of a bus.  It’s just cool.  Luckily it’s also pretty cool for adults – the views can’t be beat and you can get a bunch of amazing pictures in a short period of time – perfect for amateur photographers. The tour guides we encountered were all entertaining, funny and full of interesting facts.  I love geeking out over the backstories of a city and the Big Bus tour guides delivered.  We learned a little bit of history – did you know that at the time of the Chicago Fire, the population was only about 300,000 compared to the 3,000,000 that live in Chicago now?  We also heard some fun stories about how Navy Pier came to be, the prices of some of the high rise apartments and we got a peek at the building Jennifer Hudson lives in.  And the views … In addition to being fun and educational, a tour like this is a great way to get a feel for a city before you start hoofing it on your own.  After we had done the entire route I felt like I knew where everything we wanted to do the rest of the week was located and the best way to get there. ...
No Vacation In Sight?

No Vacation In Sight?

Summer is in full swing, and many of us have exciting vacations planned.  But what if you don’t?  Or you just got back from your vacation and don’t have another one in the works?   What to do when you need that “I’m on vacation” feeling? I say fake it. Nope, you probably can’t just take off and go somewhere (if you can, I’m envious!), but you CAN change your mindset – at least for a few hours. Take a look around town (or Yelp) for a fun, local restaurant that has outdoor seating.  A water view is ideal, but at least find something with good people watching.  If you are lucky enough to score someplace with live music that’s a real bonus.  Another fun option would be a local winery or brewery that offers appetizers or charcuterie. Order yourself a fancy cocktail or glass of wine and a few appetizers – preferably something fancy.  Now, pretend you are off on an amazing vacation.  Don’t think about what you “should” be doing the rest of the night – tonight is all about vacation time and vacations don’t have to-do lists.  After dinner, stroll leisurely through a nearby town or neighborhood.  Have fun conversations about where you’d like to go, what you’d like to see in the next year. Is it a real vacation?  Not even close, but it’s amazing how a little break in the ordinary and experiencing the types of things you’d do on a vacation can help you feel a little more carefree and relaxed.   Just like a good vacation. What do you do when you don’t have...

Things I love – Weekly Breakfast Date

Have you ever started something for fun and it quickly became a long-standing tradition?  I love it when that happens! Years ago, my daughter’s birthday fell on a school day.  To make it special, I had her invite her two friends (neighbors) to breakfast before school.  I bought donuts at the grocery and we stopped at our local coffee shop for hot chocolates.  It was fun and a special way to start the day. Next birthday I had the same request. After that visit, it dawned on me that we could be having a fun breakfast before school more often.  “Coffee Shop Day” was born.  Once a week I’d wake the kids up twenty minutes earlier and tell them it was coffee shop day.  It was always a fabulous way to start the day and a terrific break in a busy week. After a few years of this, my daughter moved on to middle school and a much earlier start time.  Coffee shop day with her had to end.  My son was still in elementary so we started branching out.  Now we rotate between three different restaurants (two of them are local!) once a week before school. Early morning breakfasts have been a fun way to connect, spend quality time together and slow down even in the midst of the school year. What fun traditions have you created by accident?  I’d love to hear all about them in the comments, so please...
Adventure Everywhere

Adventure Everywhere

“We live in the middle of nowhere – there is nothing to do!” If you’ve ever uttered those words, then this post is for you.  When I was younger, that was my attitude.  However, after living in a few different states, traveling to places all over the world and then coming right back to Indiana, I no longer feel that way.  In fact, I truly believe that if you look hard enough, you will find something to do or something interesting to check out (within driving distance), no matter where you are.  Doing new things and exploring can add a lot of happiness and enjoyment to your life. I’ve made it my mission, wherever I am, to find those places.  Now I want to share them with you. Several times a month, I’ll be sharing my finds within a short drive of where I live or where I’m traveling.  I suspect some will be quirky, some might be delicious, and some might not be your cup of tea.  However, hopefully these posts will inspire you to do something new or find something fun where you live.  I’d love to hear about your adventures too.  Please share your finds and experiences in the comments or on my Facebook page. Ready to begin?  Me too! We are entering the dreaded (and well-loved) soccer and swim seasons.  My kids both participate in sports year-round, but Spring and Fall are still definitely busier.  Great for them, exciting sometimes for us, but also time-consuming.  As in, I can’t even find a night in the next month to use a FREE hotel room!  How sad...

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