Have Fun In Your Own Backyard! Our Day in DC

Before we got slammed by Jonas, Anya and I decided to have some fun in our own backyard. It was a Saturday and I was itching to go somewhere and contemplated a road trip, but then I thought, wait we live right next to DC! Let’s go hangout and have a sort of staycation! It was inexpensive, fun and memorable. Here is a peek at a great day I had with my favorite person on earth!

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Weekend Fun in the DC Metro Area!

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It is MLK weekend! If you live in the metro DC area you can have a ton of fun with the kids this weekend! Here are some events you may want to check out! Don’t forget to look for service projects you and the kids can do this weekend in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Or just do something nice for someone :)

  • Meet the Giant Panda Cub Bei Bei at the National Zoo! You can see Bei Bei on Saturday, January 16th from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. It’s FREE!
  • Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts an Indie Arcade. On Saturday, January 16th from 1:00 PM-7:00 PM. The art museum will be transforming into a video game haven this weekend!
  • It’s the first fee free day of the year for National Parks, on Monday, January 19th which means there’s no entrance fee where they usually charge to get in. Visit Shenandoah or Great Falls, take a ride on Skyline Drive, or visit Harpers Ferry.
  • The National Gallery of Art will be playing the movie, “The Little Polar Bear,” on Saturday, 10:30 AM and Sunday & Monday, 11:30 AM and it is FREE!
  • Visit the Spark!Lab Challenge Kick Off at the American History Museum on Sunday from 10:00 AM o 4:00 PM for FREE! Your kids will meet inventors and innovators!
  • Martin Luther King Parade on  Monday, January 18, 2016, 11 a.m. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE and Milwaukee Place SE, Washington DC.
  • Friendship Skate at Cabin John in Wheaton, MD on Friday, January 15th from 4:45-6:15 PM. Celebrate National Skating Month! Skate 2-for-1 with a friend, just $7.00 for both of you (2 admissions and 2 skate rentals).

Looking For A Quick Girl’s Getaway? Try Berkeley Springs, WV

If you live in the DC metro area you are only about an hour and a half away from an inexpensive, fun girl’s trip in Berkeley Springs, WV! On the day after Christmas with both of our kids hanging out with their fathers my BFF and I decided to hop on the open road and go wild! Well, actually we didn’t really go wild… but we did have a ball visiting antique shops, eating, and getting a little spa treatment! The best thing is we didn’t spend a ton of money and it was a simple day trip that took less than 2 hours! Here is a little snapshot of our fun day in Berkeley Springs!

We arrived in the afternoon and was thrilled that we didn’t have to pay for parking on the street (thanks to the city) and there was plenty of parking to boot!

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After our ride we were a bit hungry so we settled on a quaint little restaurant named, ‘Taris,‘that was darling inside! The food was so tasty and the service was top-notch. I ordered french onion soup and a salad for $11 bucks! I was some of the best French Onion I’ve ever had and my friend had a crab soup that was to die for! You can also feast your eyes on some of the local artisans work they have displayed!

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Then we took a leisurely stroll around the town visiting antique shop and a sweet bookstore,  Berkeley Springs Books, where I purchased, “The Purpose Driven Life,”($1) and a Coltrane CD ($4). I love to browse in bookstores and this was no exception.

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One of my favorite stores is the ‘Stop and Shop,’ where the treasures you find are at an incredibly reasonable price! If I had a truck I could literally clean out the store! Just look at this lovely find! It was $119 but 20% off! Adorable right?

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A girl’s trip isn’t complete without a little pampering, so we went over to Berkeley Springs State Park where I indulged in a Roman Bath, a sauna, and a shower for $35.00 and my BFF had a 30 minute massage along with a lounge in the whirlpool for $50.00. She said he massage was incredible!! If you don’t know what a Roman Bath is it is basically, you soaking in 750 gallons of mineral water in a ceramic tile, walk-in private tub that is heated to a maximum water temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit. The Roman Bath is a tub big enough to stretch out in, to float, read, or just relax.

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After all that relaxation we were hungry! We could’ve chosen a healthy dish, but we decided to go Italian where I had a lovely trio of manicotti, spaghetti, and stuffed shells with a salad and a meat ball at Maria’s Garden and Inn. The food was good and reasonably priced plus they were super friendly!

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Berkeley Springs is a perfect getaway for a day, an overnight trip or it would be perfect for a retreat! Visit http://berkeleysprings.com/ for a complete list of lodging, shopping, eating, and events.

Kicking Off Summer in NYC!

School is out! We celebrated it by taking a spontaneous trip to New York City! It was a total surprise for Anya and her best friend. They had been asking for a sleepover on the last day at a hotel, so we thought why not NYC! We had a great time and Anya and I decided to stay an extra day, which is common if you know us. We stayed one night at the Waldorf Astoria which was incredible and then a night in Chelsea. We walked for a million blocks, met a famous artist who gave Anya a ruler, ate dinner at 10:00 at night in Little Italy (time means nothing in NY), took subways, went to Central Park Zoo, FAO Schwarz (which is closing 7/15), explored Chelsea Market, ate ice cream at Serendipity, had lunch at Alice’s Teacup, hung out in the Village, played with a dog that was $2500.00 (don’t get me started) and had a wonderful time! Here are snapshots that capture some of the fun!

Anya and her BFF walking into the Waldorf Astoria. (don't you love how they are hand in hand?)

Anya and her BFF walking into the Waldorf Astoria. (don’t you love how they are hand in hand?)

Hanging out in Central Park!

Hanging out in Central Park!

Anya in Chelsea where we saw 2 contestants from Project Runway

Anya in Chelsea where we saw 2 contestants from Project Runway

A little ballet in Little Italy

A little ballet in Little Italy

At Central Park Zoo

At Central Park Zoo

Watching the Penguins

Watching the Penguins

Serendipity is amazing even though that ice cream was $17.50

Serendipity is amazing even though that ice cream was $17.50

Holding onto her baby in the subway

Holding onto her baby in the subway

Random Acts of Kindness Idea #10

Idea #10 Is Let Someone Cut in Front of You in Line
This cost $0 and it is so simple and nice to do. Believe me someone will appreciate that you let them get in front of you. Today I was at Barnes and Nobel and a woman had gone around to the wrong entrance to pay. I was in line and cashier said, that I was in front. I told her to go ahead in front of me. She was so appreciative and thanked me twice. It is the little kind things that can have a big impact in the day of a stranger’s life. Kindness can be so hard to come by, so why not just do the small, gracious, courteous acts that speak from our hearts.
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Add A Little Spontaneity! Our Last Minute Trip to NYC!

Life is meant to be lived. It is supposed to be filled with little surprises! Sometimes we can get so caught up in the mundane routines that we forget that spontaneity is a vital to what makes life fun! One Friday night Anya and I were cuddling on the couch making plans for the weekend. After a number of ideas I thought how fun would it be to just skip town and go somewhere Anya has never been. So we booked a trip to New York! We did it really cheaply and took the bus up which was surprisingly fine and got a hotel room on West 58th. She was thrilled at the prospect of going to NYC! We had a great time and did more than I imagined we could do in a day. It reminded me of how fulfilling it is to break with routine and do something new. I want to instill in my daughter a sense of adventure and of course show her that I can be a cool mom too! She walked probably 50 blocks, took the taxi and the subway. We went to Alice’s teacup, FAO (a wonderland for kids), Greenwich Village, Lincoln Center, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, saw Radio City Hall, Central Park, Chinatown, and Soho. It was a fabulous quick trip and I remembered how much I love NY! It was also a great bonding experience with Anya and a trip we both needed.

Moms, add some spontaneity to your family’s life. Think about those things you may have done when you were bare foot and fancy free and do them with your kids! Life is about having fun and not always going by the script so get the kiddies together and do something unexpected!

On our Way to NYC with my baby and a backpack

The Hudson on West 58th Small but chic!

Inside Alice’s Teacup

Anya eating some fruit off the Streets in NYC

Entering FAO

On the infamous piano it is only 250K if you want it!

Central Park

Victorian Gardens in Central Park, yes we went there too!

Rockefeller Center

All smiles with my little Dora

Times Square insanity!

On the subway!

Chinatown

A park in Soho

Who Needs A Campground When You Have A Backyard?

This past weekend Anya and I took road trip to Pittsburgh and I brought our tent along. I thought I’d bring a little outdoor fun with us, so I brought our tent and decided to do a backyard campout. My mom looked at me as though I lost my mind a little but then decided to join in on the fun. So I pitched the tent with a little help from my dad and we started our campout! We had a cookout and brought our sleeping bags, snacks, a stack of movies and a portable DVD player into the tent and had a ton of fun. I slept like a baby, there is something delicious about being outdoors under the night sky. My mom left us at 5 am and decided to head back into her room, but Anya and I slept soundly for a few hours more.

Anya really enjoyed the tent, she even went in it throughout the day to play with her dolls and watch a movie. If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity try pitching a tent and sleeping under the stars! Make a whole evening out of it, have a cookout, roast some marshmallows, watch some  movies or tells stories and don’t forget the sleeping bags! This was an inexpensive way to have some good old fashion fun!

The Tent!

Everything I Need!

Anya and her homemade binoculars! Two empty rolls of toilet paper and a bobby pin holding them together!

Be Intentional About Summer Fun

The lazy days of summer have finally arrived! I hope you are looking forward to making memories and having some fun in the sun, I know I am. The year is going by so quickly so I can only imagine how fast the summer will pass us by and before we know it will be getting the kiddos ready for a new school year. I don’t know about you but, I want to squeeze as much fun and quality time out the summer as I can with my daughter. Since time seems to be passing rather quickly, I think it is important to be intentional about creating summer memories. Now, I’m not saying you have to plan out every second, but as a family think about some things you want to do this summer and be intentional about doing them. Think about a few of these ideas when planning your summer.

1. Place To Go- Where do you want to go? Are there relatives or friends you want to visit? Are there any attractions, such as amusement parks you want to try out? Have each person write down a few places they want to go this summer. It doesn’t have to be a week long getaway it can be a quick jaunt to a nearby city that you haven’t visited before. Maybe it is the beach, a lake, or grandma’s house, wherever it is, out it on your list.

2. Fun Free Things To Do- There are so many free activities to take advantage of during the summer. Look in your local paper or visit your city’s website and take note of the free festivals, music concerts, or activities that are taking place. Choose a couple to attend and enjoy not spending a dime!

3. Be Creative- Summer is the time to do what you can’t do during the school year, so get creative. Have a campout in the backyard. Put up a tent and sleep outside complete with a cookout and roasting marshmallows. Hold a summer theme party for friends and make it a potluck. Try new things, like ziplining, or outdoor activities that require a team effort, which is great for family bonding.

4. Preserve Memories- Be intentional about creating and preserving summer memories. Take pictures, video, and journal about the summer.

Summer is a great time for you and your family to kick back and relax. Talk to your kids about what they want to do as a family this summer. Remember, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Go berry picking, go on a hike, have an outdoor movie night, catch lightning bugs, have a picnic, eat dinner outside, go swimming, take long drives do anything that bonds you as a family. Be intentional by making a list of the things you absolutely want to do together as a family and do them! Most of all have fun and love eachother.

A Camping We Will Go…

Harpers Ferry, WV- The Camping Trip!

River Riders is where the magic began!

I needed a quick getaway after a crazy week! I wanted to be in the great outdoors so I gave my two friends 24 hour notice that we were going tubing and camping in Hapers Ferry! They were good sports and so we bought a tent, packed the car, and were on our way!

Before tubing we went to a great flea market. Do you know how much I LOVE flea markets!! If you live in the area you must go because it is cheap and fabulous!
I love this old trunk for $2.00!!!

This was $8 isn’t it adorable!!
After the flea market it was off to our adventure. We had to watch a short movie on tubing, this made some of us a bit concerned.
The Faces of Fear

 Ahhh, the lazy Shenandoah River….
A girl and her….
Friends. There were lots of laughs. A  little fear, but a lot of fun on the river!
We pitched a tent! We slept soundly under the stars.
We awoke…
The  morning  brought a new day and a smile on my face.

In the end we were..”Women Who Run With Wolves!”

Next adventure.. Ziplining!!!!
Get ready girls!!!