5 GREAT Spring Break Ideas for Families

5 GREAT Spring Break Ideas for Families

It may be cold and snowy where you are right now, but Spring Break will be here before you know it. If you haven’t started thinking about Spring Break yet, now is the time to do so – the one year I put off Spring Break planning until February was the year we ended up not going anywhere exciting – it was just too late to book what we wanted. So to help you out, here are 5 GREAT spring Break ideas for families: Go for Warm Hit the beach. After a long, bitterly cold winter, there is something extra special about a sunny beach. Living in the Midwest we tend to visit Florida beaches often. Vero Beach, Daytona Beach, Pompano and Clearwater are all favorites. If you are closer to the west coast, consider the San Diego area. Even if it’s not warm enough for the adults to play in the ocean, I bet the kids will brave the cool waters. If you head far enough south, it will definitely be perfect for being outside and swimming in a heated pool. If you do decide to plan a trip to the beach, check out this post on Beach Essentials to make sure you bring everything you need for a perfect beach vacation. Theme Parks. Walt Disney World is an all-time favorite for my family. Even if we take a beach vacation, we often tack on a few days at Disney to help break up the drive (and get our money’s worth out of those annual passes)! If Disney isn’t your thing, how about Universal Studios or Busch Gardens?...
Exploring Greenfield

Exploring Greenfield

Do you read poetry? I don’t read it often, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate good literature. My latest Explore Indiana adventure took me to the hometown of one of Indiana’s most famous poets – James Whitcomb Riley. Visiting Greenfield, IN in Hancock county definitely made me curious about this poet as I love learning while I’m exploring. He’s best known for his dialect and children’s poems. Once he began regularly selling his poems he also started traveling around the country (mainly the Midwest and East Coast) giving performances and lectures. These did quite well for him and he was able to enjoy some success during his life, unlike that of many other poets. His most famous poems include “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” Just a few miles away from Fortville (remember all those delicious restaurants located there?), Greenfield is a typical Indiana town set up as a square around a beautiful courthouse. (I’ve seen so many gorgeous courthouses as a part of this challenge that I feel like I totally need to do a post just on them!). I was pleased to discover that Greenfield’s town square is one of the more vibrant areas I’ve discovered. It always makes me happy to see local downtown’s thriving. We visited Greenfield on a crazy, blustery day. In fact, it was so bitterly cold that we couldn’t stay outside long. Our first stop (to help alleviate the cold weather) was the local coffee shop. Thanks to my daughter’s search on Yelp, we discovered The Greenfield Grind. What a perfect place to sit down with a laptop and get...
2020 Travel Blog Goals

2020 Travel Blog Goals

How can it be 2020 already? Somehow it snuck up on us, so now is the time to decide how we want the new year to look like. That means setting my 2020 travel blog goals. Last year, I created a pretty lofty list of goals and I’m happy to report I completed most of them – I’ve updated the post with my final results, so if you are curious you can check the post out here. Now that I’ve been travel blogging for about a year and a half, I have a much better feel for what’s important to me and how I’d like this blog to grow. So, although I have fewer goals this year, I think they more focused (and probably overall more work). I’ve found that sharing my goals helps me to remember them AND to follow through, so here goes: Grow my email list to 1000. I’ve not had much success in the past growing my email list, so this is a BIG stretch for me, but I feel that it’s critical to take my blog to the next level.Grow pageviews to 30K per month. Another really big stretch goal, but I’d like to apply for Mediavine and so this one is a must. Hopefully, the first two goals here will go hand in hand.Visit 24 Indiana counties. As part of my Explore Indiana project, I need to keep exploring Indiana! I don’t foresee any issues with this once the weather warms up, but judging by this year, the winter months may be tough. And that’s it! Since my goals are so big (for...
Create Your Own Donut Trail

Create Your Own Donut Trail

I’m sure you’ve heard of winery trails and brewery trails. They seem to be everywhere these days. However, recently I’ve started hearing about donut trails. Since we don’t have an official one near us, I thought it would be fun to create my own. So grab your travel mug of coffee and join me to create your own donut trail. Donut shops seem to be popping up left and right in our area. I think it’s because it’s a fun and affordable treat, and who doesn’t like a good donut, right? We have quite a few new ones nearby so if you like donuts, this would be the perfect way to spend a free day. Rebellion Doughnuts The first stop is Rebellion Doughnuts. It’s been on my radar as a place to check out since it opened less than a year ago. The restaurant is quite close to our house so it’s an ideal place to start this adventure. The interior has a funky industrial feel and in addition to fresh coffee, they have kombucha on tap. It’s perfect if you like a fizzy drink with your doughnuts. All the doughnuts are made fresh each morning and the flavors are interesting and unique. My son tried a bubble gum flavor (it really did taste like bubble gum and he loved the piece of gum to enjoy afterward) and I loved the lemon filled. Not only are the doughnuts delicious, but they are also pretty too – which is always a nice touch. I can easily see this becoming an addition to our weekly breakfast date. Jack’s Donuts Jack’s Donuts...
The BEST Table Service Resturant at Each Walt Disney World Park

The BEST Table Service Resturant at Each Walt Disney World Park

When we visit Walt Disney World, we’ve found that the best way to enjoy our time at the park is to pause in the middle of the day for a leisurely table service meal. It gives us a chance to rest and regroup. If it’s hot we can cool off, and we don’t have to worry about anyone getting hangry. We’ve tried almost every restaurant, so here are what we consider the best table service restaurant at each Walt Disney World Park. Insider Tip: Disney often offers FREE dining when you stay on-site. To be alerted of when it’s available, sign up for my Disney Fun Newsletter. Every month you’ll get notice of the BEST deals for your Disney vacation – including when FREE dining is offered. The Magic Kingdom I used to think there wasn’t anything good to eat at the Magic Kingdom, but with a bit of experimenting, I have changed my tune. It started when we took an afternoon break at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant with a fresh salad and wine. Then we discovered we could watch the parade from the patio. Magic Kingdom food started to feel quite a bit better! Last year, however, we discovered one of our favorite overall Disney restaurants and it’s IN the Magic Kingdom. The Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen. The place is a little bit hidden in Adventureland, but it’s quite near the Jungle Cruise and The Swiss Family Robinson. The decor is similar in feel to the old Adventurer’s Club (anyone remember that?), and the staff is well versed in hokey jokes and one-liners. The first time...
Foodies Flock to Fortville

Foodies Flock to Fortville

Why do foodies flock to Fortville? Fortville is a small town east of Indianapolis located in Hancock county. The population is just over 4000 and there is only one main street. However, it’s fast becoming a foodie destination for the surrounding counties. What a great place to add to my Explore Indiana adventures! With half a dozen delicious restaurants in downtown Fortville, there is a yummy meal perfect for any tastebuds. We’ve recently had the opportunity to check out three of them. Interested in Italian Food? Cortona’s Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar – Since Italian food is my daughter’s favorite, it was a no brainer for the two of us to check our Cortona’s on a recent lunch date. We arrived at an odd time (3:oo PM) for lunch, but the server warmly greeted us and seated us at a comfortable table for two. I have to admit I was a little leery of this one as the Yelp reviews weren’t as high as I normally like, but in the interest of this blog post, we went for it. Luckily, we LOVED the food. The menu was full of typical Italian dishes but with a creative twist. For example, I enjoyed the Ravioli di Simone & Beth which was butternut squash ravioli with arugula, prosciutto (on the side for me) in a Madera cream sauce. Serious yum. My daughter opted for the Spaghetti Allo Scoglio. The dish was full of fresh clams, mussels, calamari, and shrimp and sauteed in a white wine garlic sauce. It was light and flavorful. We split an order of Tiramisu for dessert. The service...
Fall 2019 Book Reviews

Fall 2019 Book Reviews

Just in time for holiday shopping, I’m sharing book reviews for my favorite books from the last few months. If you are looking for a great book for someone on your shopping list, I hope one of these will be perfect! I’ve actually read a LOT of great books since my Summer Book Review post, but here are my favorites. Non-Fiction Book Review I actually didn’t read a lot of non-fiction this month, but I did receive a free copy of Shaken Dreams from one of my blogging friends and really found it fascinating. Holly shares her journey of moving from a loving wife to a full-time caretaker for her husband. It’s an eye-opening look into what life is like for someone living with a family member with a challenging and debilitating disease. If you or someone you love is in this position, I think this would be a wonderful read – it’s always helpful to get advice and know you aren’t the only one experiencing these challenges and feelings. Fiction Book Reviews Oh my goodness. The Night Olivia Fell was disturbing but captivating. I wanted so badly for Olivia to be okay throughout the book (as did her mother), but that wasn’t to be. What does happen is an engaging reconstruction of how and why she fell. Was it an accident? Or was it a crime? Two Can Keep a Secret was another terrific page-turner. I had thoroughly enjoyed One of Us is Lying so I was quite excited to read another one Karen McManus book. Enter a small town, a years-old murder, and a missing girl and...
Help Planning Your Next Disney Vacation

Help Planning Your Next Disney Vacation

When I was a little girl, my dream job was becoming a travel agent (or librarian, but that’s another blog post …). I would research and plan vacations for my family and future me. For fun. We even went on some of them. Fast forward many years and I decided this was the year to actually fulfill that dream. Since traveling to Disney is one of my sweet spots, I decided to become a Magical Vacation Planner. It made perfect sense to start with an area I know really well and let’s face it, I was already planning trips, so why not make it official? Now I get to help other families plan their perfect Disney vacation! It is so much fun. And since we’ve been to Disney so many times I have TONS of insider tips and secrets to share. Insider Tip: I know all the best restaurants, easiest ways to get around the parks and some fun things to do aside from the typical rides. So how can I help YOU plan the perfect Disney trip? If you are thinking about Disney, head over to my Magical Vacation Planner website (click HERE) and let me know – I’ll work with you one-on-one to help you make it fantastic. There is NO additional cost to you, and you get the benefit of someone who knows Disney well. It’s a win-win for both of us! I get the fun of planning more trips and you get the benefit of having an expert make your trip planning easier and efficient. Insider Tip: Other trips I can help you with include...
My totally honest review of EveryPlate

My totally honest review of EveryPlate

Eating dinner together as a family most nights is very important to me. However, with two teens in the house (both involved in sports), a full-time job AND my blog, time is at a premium. Most weeks I do a great job of planning out meals, hitting the grocery (or using Shipt) and making a healthy, tasty dinner. Then there are the other weeks … You know, the weeks where there is something going on every night, where the weekend was so packed you couldn’t get to the grocery or even get your online order placed, even the weeks where you just don’t feel like menu planning. Those are the weeks I depend upon EveryPlate. EveryPlate isn’t the first home delivery service I’ve tried. I’ve also given Hello Fresh and Blue Plate a try, but I couldn’t stomach the prices and I found myself forgetting to cancel a week and therefore ending up with meals I didn’t really want or need. Pros of EveryPlate EveryPlate is really affordable. I have a family of four, but I use the 2-3 serving meal plan and it’s currently only $38.93 per week (including shipping). That gives me 3 meals and since my daughter doesn’t eat meat I’ve found by adding a salad, a piece of fish or veggie burger for her, or just adding extra rice or pasta to the meal we have more than enough. To be fair, none of us are big eaters, but you could certainly start with the smaller plan like we did and move up if needed. The food is delivered fresh and nicely packaged. I really...
Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Marengo Cave – Indiana’s Most Visited Natural Attraction

Visiting Marengo Cave is a perfect way to spend a cold Indiana day. Not only is it Indiana’s most visited natural attraction, but it’s also a U.S. National Natural Landmark. Located in Crawford County in Southern Indiana, it’s a bit of a drive from Indianapolis, but definitely worth the time, even just for a day. As the latest installment of my Explore Indiana project, it was a fun and unique experience! One of my favorite parts of visiting caves is that they are weather resistant. The cave stays at 52 degrees year-round. A hot summer day? Why not visit a cave? Too cold to be outside in the winter? A caving trip is a fun activity. The day I visited, it was pouring down rain. Although that did limit my photography options, it didn’t limit my fun in checking out the underground cave system. We started the day with a dash to the gift shop and to get acclimated to the location. The gift shop is extensive with plenty of options guaranteed to get your kids asking for souvenirs. There is also a small concession area next to it with tables and machines for sodas and snacks. We packed a lunch so food wasn’t an issue. After this short detour, it was on to the main event. There are two standard cave tours: Crystal Palace and the Dripstone Trail. You can do one or both. The Crystal Palace tour is about 40 minutes and the Dripstone Trail is an hour so it would be very possible to enjoy both in an afternoon. Insider Tip: The combined cave tour ticket...

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