Easy Everyday Adventures

Easy Everyday Adventures

Everyone knows how much I love everyday adventures, and Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy and create one of your own.  Although you could go with the standard fancy dinner out, why not try something new this year – I bet you’ll remember it much longer than just another dinner at a restaurant. Looking for ideas? I’ve got you covered: Visit a winery. Enjoy a wine tasting and then a delicious glass of wine. You might even get lucky and stumble upon some live music. It’s fun to try different varieties and share what you think of each one. This is also a great choice if you are short on time or money. It would be very doable to sneak in a tasting and conversation on a busy school night for $20 or less. Local suggestions: My two current favorite local wineries are Urban Vines and Sugar Creek Winery. Urban Vines has delicious charcuterie platters and they also serve beer, cider, and even sparkling wine, so if your partner doesn’t like wine they have alternatives. Sugar Creek Winery doesn’t carry food, but you are welcome to bring in whatever you want, so why not put together your own cheese plate and enjoy it with a glass of their delicious wine. Urban Vines, 303 E 161st Street, Westfield, IN 317-763-0678; Sugar Creek Winery, 1111 West Main Street; Carmel, IN  Check out a museum.  Although most museums might be closed in the evening, perhaps you can meet for lunch and walk through your local art museum? Or present tickets as a gift with plans to visit on the weekend. It’s fun to look...
Book Reviews

Book Reviews

It’s been a crazy, cold winter with more snow than usual, so we’ve spent more time hunkered down at home. In addition to plenty of card and board games (finally taught the kids to play euchre!), I’ve gotten in quite a bit of reading. Since it’s been a while since I did a book review post, I figured I’d share some today. Although today is a work day, with temperature’s hovering at -11 (we actually met the record for the coldest day ever in Indianapolis), I suspect I’ll be spending the evening on the couch, by the fire with a good book. In case you’d like to do the same, here are some of the best books I’ve recently read – some real winners here! Time travel, a love story AND a mother’s love, how could this book be anything but fabulous? The Dream Daughter: A Novel was beautiful. It was beautifully written, a beautiful story and a joy to read. Carly is a recent Vietnam war widow when she discovers that her unborn daughter has a heart defect that can not be cured. She is devastated until her brother-in-law shares with her a way that her daughter could possibly be saved. It will require a lot of faith for Carly to move forward, but as a soon-to-be mother, she will do anything to save her daughter. My rating 5 out of 5.   Does one bad decision make you a bad person?  How profoundly can a series of small choices change your life as well as those around you? Geo’s best friend in high school mysteriously vanishes one night....
Sugar Creek Winery

Sugar Creek Winery

From the inviting firepit to the welcoming servers, Sugar Creek Winery delivered a perfect weeknight escape. As soon as I walked up to the entrance, I knew this was going to be a lovely evening. The firepit outside (on a nice large patio) gave off enough heat that I think we could have enjoyed a glass of wine out there – which is unheard of for January in Indiana. Regardless of the temperature, it was one of many well-thought-out touches we discovered throughout the winery. Inside, the atmosphere is cozy, warm and comfortable. With a rustic, outdoorsy feel, the decor lent itself to a night of relaxation. The large wine bar was created from reclaimed wood – and how cool is it that there is a large picture above the bar of the barn the wood was sourced from.  In addition to the wine bar, there were a few comfortable round tables (better for conversation per the owner, David) as well as a separate room that can be reserved for small group events. David, the owner, shared with us a little bit about the history of the winery as well as the vineyards. His passion for both good wine and outdoor adventure (especially white water rafting) was infectious. Sugar Creek Winery has an interesting variety of both dry and sweet wines. Although David has been growing grapes in Montgomery County, Indiana since 2012, the tasting room has only been open for six months. The vineyard is 2.5 acres and grows enough grapes for about 10,ooo bottles each year. What David can’t grow in Indiana, he imports from Chile, California or wherever...
Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Experience

Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Experience

Last week I took a quick one-day trip to Chicago specifically to attend the Travel & Adventure Show. If you get my newsletter, yesterday I shared a few reasons why this is the time of the year to search out “shows” and some of my favorites – if you don’t get it, why not sign up right now so you don’t miss a thing? This was my first time attending this show and it didn’t disappoint! If you love to travel or just want ideas for new places to go, this is an event worth checking out. The Chicago show is over, but there are still a number of these events happening all over the country. If you plan on attending any shows this winter, why not make a whole day of it? That’s what we do! For this one, I arrived in the area around lunchtime, so opened my favorite travel app Yelp and looked for a place to get a bite to eat. Near the convention center were tons of chain restaurants, but I always prefer something local. ShortFuse Brewing seemed to fit the bill. Just a half mile from the convention center, this local brewery has been open for about a year and a half. With about a dozen beers on tap and a nice guest cider, it was pretty easy to find a drink I enjoyed. The menu was fantastic. It covered everything from interesting takes on typical bar appetizers and sandwiches to a wide variety of pizzas. Since it was the weekend, they also had a special brunch menu. After I had fueled up,...
Five Fun Things to do in the Winter Near Pokagon State Park

Five Fun Things to do in the Winter Near Pokagon State Park

Visiting Pokagon State Park in the winter to enjoy the tobogganing? It’s certainly a wonderful way to spend a few hours, but if you are anything like our family you’ll want to discover all the other things to do in the area! Here are five fun things to do in the winter near Pokagon State Park. Find a great local restaurant. There are a number of interesting and delicious sounding restaurants in the area, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that appeals to you. We arrived around lunchtime and decided to try out 6 Autumns. It did not disappoint. My daughter and I split the salmon meal which came with two sides (we picked the vegan squash soup and some AMAZING homemade mac & cheese), while my husband and son enjoyed the fish and chips. It came with two sides also (fries and a salad). The portions were large, we had plenty of food even with splitting meals. Their beer list was fantastic. There are about a dozen beers on tap (mostly local), and another large list of bottles and cans. Definitely something for everyone. Located right off the interstate, 6 Autumns is in a building attached to the Ramada Inn – but don’t let that scare you. We didn’t and I’m glad. Excellent choice. 6 Autumns; 3855 N State Rd. 127, Angola, IN (260) 624-3644 Visit a winery. Near the park are several lovely wineries. I could definitely see this as a great girls weekend combining shopping, hanging out at the Inn and visiting wineries. As we had our kids in tow, we decided to just visit...
An Overnight Adventure at Pokagon State Park

An Overnight Adventure at Pokagon State Park

As I mentioned last week, one of my goals for 2019 is to travel monthly – at least a weekend trip. With a two week break from school and work,  the beginning of January seemed like the perfect time to start meeting that goal! A few days after ringing in the New Year, we went on a quick overnight adventure to Pokagon State Park in Northern Indiana. Pokagon is one of seven State Parks in Indiana that has an Inn on site, and we were lucky enough to get a room for the night during a very busy week! The location of the Inn is perfect – it’s close to the toboggan run, sits on beautiful Lake James and is minutes from outlet shopping, wineries, restaurants, and downtown Angola, Indiana. We arrived at the Potawatomi Inn just after lunch and were pleasantly surprised to find our room was ready. We were thrilled to stay in one of the patio rooms with a gorgeous view of Lake James. In fact, I woke up early the next day to get some beautiful morning shots of the still water. The room was large with a small fridge and microwave oven. The beds were comfy and clean and it was the ideal lodging for our quick trip. Our room was right across the hallway from the game room which contained a variety of video games, ping pong, air hockey and a new family favorite, Boccerball. None of us had ever heard of it before but we spent quite a bit of time playing – watch the short video below and you’ll get why...
Top 10 Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2019

Top 10 Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2019

*This post may contain affiliate links, but as always, opinions are 100% my own.* Do you love to travel as much as I do? When I’m not traveling or planning a trip or searching for a local adventure, I’m either dreaming of a vacation or reading a travel blog. I get so much inspiration as well as ideas for future trips for myself and my family and it’s fun to live vicariously through someone else’s travels. If you can relate, then you need to check out the following travel bloggers – these are my picks for the top 10 to follow in the upcoming year – if you aren’t following them now, you’ll want to check them out: It’s a Lovely Life  – The Reese family has made blogging their full-time job. They travel over 150 days a year with their three kids and go on all the adventures I’d like to go on someday! I love that their trips are so family oriented. It makes them very relatable to me. The blog also showcases a lot of videos which is very fun, AND if you are at all interested in blogging yourself, check out their FREE 5-Day Start a Money Making Blog Course. The Uncorked Librarian – I find this blog (and Christine) so entertaining yet FULL of useful info. She loves drinks and food just like I do, and her adventures sound very much like the ones we used to have pre-kids. Luckily, now that our kids are older we can drag them along again! Living in Florida, she shares lots of information about places we visit often,...
2019 Travel Blogging Goals

2019 Travel Blogging Goals

Raise your hand if you love setting goals? I hate to admit that I kinda geek out about it – I’m really a pro at setting good ones too. My issues tend to be around completion. Seems like I run out of steam or time before the year ends. Through the years I’ve probably tried just about every method of goal setting – and I’ve learned plenty from all of them. I’ve discovered that I’m most successful when I don’t set too many goals and when the goals I set are very concrete. I need to know exactly what completing a goal looks like. To hold myself accountable – and give me a place to come back each month and review my progress, I thought I’d share my 2019 travel blogging goals right here on my site: Publish at least one new post every week. Wouldn’t be much of a blog without new content, right? Take at least one trip a month. A weekend trip totally counts as although I do have a lot of vacation time, it isn’t enough for a week every month! Plus school, sports, the dog, etc. Publish at least one article each month somewhere other than my blog. I really want to expand my experience and reach, so finding new outlets is important. At least one sponsored post each month. This is fairly new to me. I did a few sponsored posts in November and December of 2018 and really enjoyed the experience (and the income!). Attend a blogging and/or travel writing event. I’ve never attended an event before even though I’ve been blogging...
Cold outside? Warm up at a conservatory

Cold outside? Warm up at a conservatory

I don’t know about you, but too many dreary days in a row start to really drag me down. Since my next warm weather trip isn’t planned until March, I began searching for local outings that could tide me over. One of the first places that came up was Garfield Park Conservatory. Many cities boast a conservatory (we have several options in the Indianapolis area), and that seemed like the perfect way to forget about the cold and rain for a while. Last week my Facebook Live tip was to try something or someplace new on your lunch hour – create a quick and easy everyday adventure. If you missed it, check it out here – it’s less than a minute: On this particular lunch hour, I drove down to Garfield Park Conservatory which is located just south of downtown Indianapolis. The park is a lovely way to warm up and spend some time enjoying GREEN plants and nature even in December. As a bonus, it’s beautifully decorated for Christmas right now, so there is a fascinating train track as well as a Christmas village in the entrance. The conservatory isn’t large, but there are many interesting and unique plants packed into the area along with various waterfalls and benches perfect for enjoying the flora. I also discovered a few ponds with koi lazily swimming along. Next time I’ll be sure to bring along a book and sit on one of those benches for a relaxing lunchtime break. Most kids aren’t into gardens, but Garfield Park Conservatory has a fun Scavenger Hunt with about twenty different items to look...
My Favorite Christmas Posts

My Favorite Christmas Posts

Merry Christmas! If are reading this on the day I post it, I’m sure Christmas is on your mind as it’s Christmas Eve! So, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite holiday or holiday related posts: Gift Guides:  From the Modern Mrs. Darcy:   The Minimalist’s Guide to Stocking Stuffers  My favorite gift ideas From MomAdvice.com 9 Great Gifts for Someone Living with Chronic Pain From Jessie on a Journey 28 Unique Gifts for Backpackers and Adventurers Helping Others/ Building Relationships: Spread some holiday cheer Random Acts of Kindness Website All-Fun No-Stress Holiday Connections Inexpensive Winter Activities – Get Fit for Less From Consistently Curious – 25 Date Night Ideas in Cincinnati – plan something for the new year now, some of these ideas could be done in places other than Cincinnati   Fun Projects: How about making something fun today as a family? The Perfect Hostess Gift – Flavored Butters Make Ice Cream from Hip2Save – Homemade Peppermint Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Rolled Paper Christmas Ornaments from Positively Splendid Make your own Sugar Scrub to share with everyone you know! From Make and Takes – Watercolor Bookmarks   Any other ideas to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Want to remember these ideas? Pin for later:    ...

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