5 Fun Things to Do in the Spring

5 Fun Things to Do in the Spring

Is the weather warming up for you? It is for me, and I am so ready to enjoy it. If you are looking for fun things to do in the spring, spring activities for kids or families, or just want to feel like you are starting the new season off right, this is the post for you. I’ve got 5 GREAT ways to kickstart spring. Get outside! This one is pretty obvious, but it’s also my favorite. After a long and dreary winter, there is nothing like warmer weather and sunshine to get me itching to be outside. If you can combine it with a little exercise, all the better. A great way to enjoy the first warm days of spring is to check out your local hiking or rails to trails paths. Since it’s not the hot, humid days of summer, hiking is enjoyable AND it’s something we can do right now. Not into hiking? How about playing some yard games? Now is the perfect time to dust off that old croquet set or play a family game of cornhole! It’s a nice change from all the board games and puzzles you might have played all winter! Get up early It’s easier to get up early in the spring and summer as the sun comes up earlier. Plus, early morning in the spring is lovely. Grab your cup of coffee and a good book or your journal and start your day off outside or at least near an open window. A new season is the perfect time to implement a new morning routine, one that will take you...
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...
Family Road Trips Tips

Family Road Trips Tips

Road trips are a constant in my life – the majority of our trips are taken in the minivan! Tanya from Traveling Tanya has some excellent tips for your next road trip with young kids. If you have a trip planned in the near future, be sure to take in her words of wisdom … For some, the thought of loading the family into the minivan for a cross country adventure sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Yet others dread the thought of a long road trip. No matter which camp you are in on this issue, an extended amount of time in the car with young children can test even the most patient person! As a mother of teenagers, I’ll admit I’m happy to be beyond the toddler stage. Although raising teenagers creates its own unique challenges! But I can still clearly recall the struggles I experienced in the car when my girls were little. I do have a few tricks up my sleeve (and in the diaper bag) that I am now happy to pass along to other moms with wee ones in tow. My best advice for traveling with young kids: Be prepared and have reasonable expectations. While every child is different and their needs may vary, here are some practical strategies to try on your next road trip with toddlers, preschoolers and beyond. Pit Stops Even though you may want to get to your final destination so your vacation can really begin, kids require frequent stops. Be prepared to stop at least every 2-3 hours. Regular potty breaks and diaper changes are a must...
Take Your Dog

Take Your Dog

In the mood to spend a day exploring but only have a few free hours?  Why? Because there is no one to let the dog out.  Ever happened to you? We love our dog, but he does cramp our style. When there have been weeks where it seems like he has been alone too much – or we just find ourselves with a full free day and want to run around without having to stop back home mid-day, we find a way to bring him along. It’s a little more work but can definitely lead to a fun and different way to spend the day. Luckily there are many places these days that allow dogs.  I’ve had good luck at local restaurants and breweries or wineries with outdoor seating, parks of course; ice cream shops, coffee shops, farmer’s markets, outdoor concerts and sometimes an outdoor tourist attraction (like a walking tour – self-guided or not). A few tips to make for an easy day: Call ahead to make sure your pup is allowed. Combine a variety of activities – some food, some walking, maybe just some hanging out Check the weather – nothing worse than a wet dog in the car! Be a good dog owner – bring along water and poop bags and pick up after your dog Ready for an example?  If you live in the Indianapolis area, here is a fun day with your dog: The day must start with coffee, right?  Luckily most coffee and bagel shops are happy to have your dog join you. Once everyone is fully charged, a little walking seemed like...
Guest Post – Island Life in Michigan

Guest Post – Island Life in Michigan

It’s been a few years since we visited Mackinac Island, but we did have a wonderful visit! My family especially loved the Fort and the carriage ride around the island. My friend Tanya from Traveling Tanya was there last year, and hearing about her trip takes me back to our day on the island and makes me want to plan another visit soon! Check our her adventures and advice:  Spring has finally arrived! I’m Traveling Tanya, and I enjoy traveling just about any time of the year. But spring is an especially fun time to get out and explore. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind getaway this spring, consider Mackinac Island. Last fall I took my family to this magical island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. While fall is a great time to visit the island, I long to return in springtime to see the flowers in bloom and watch this quaint town come back to life after a winter slumber. But for now, I’ll reminisce about our fall getaway to Mackinac Island! Preparing for Mackinac Island I’m a planner by nature, so before heading to Mackinac Island I did my research. Reading several travel brochures and googling places of interest on the island. Even if you aren’t your family’s designated “tour guide” or “travel agent” there are other fun ways to get up to speed and energized about an upcoming trip to an unfamiliar destination. A few months before our trip, I happened to see a secondhand copy of a novel about Mackinac Island.  The book included 4 short stories, all taking place on the island during different...
Road Trips: Make the Journey as Fun as the Destination

Road Trips: Make the Journey as Fun as the Destination

At least a few times a year we embark on long road trips. As neither my husband or I particularly like to drive, we had to come up with a way to make them bearable. Getting in the car and driving all night was not something we could do – the few times we tried it, we wound up exhausted the next day and essentially missed the first day of our trip. Talk about stressful! Luckily, I’ve got some ideas for road trips to make them FUN. So much so that my kids would prefer to drive than fly! How did we do it? Attitude. This is the most important part – by simply reminding ourselves that the journey can be as fun as the destination, we hit the road with the right mindset. We’ve come to look at a road trip as a chance to relax (versus work), see something new, and have some great conversations. Try new restaurants. It’s a rare trip that we don’t break out Yelp when we start to get hungry and search up local restaurants. Once everyone starts getting hungry, I open the app, switch it to map view and start searching for places twenty minutes ahead or so of our current route. We’ve discovered awesome dive bars, amazing breweries, old-school drive-ins and everything in-between. The rule is it can’t be more than ten minutes off the road we are traveling, and it can’t be a chain. Other than that, anything goes. Yes, it adds time to our trip, but we’ve created a fun memory, enjoyed much better food and had some fun...

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