Archive for Travel

Silver Dollar City

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Over Spring Break, my family took a road trip to Missouri.  We spent one beautiful, fun-filled day at Silver Dollar City.  If you have not visited Silver Dollar City before, it is a must see place to visit.  It has it all!  Rides, food, crafts, shows, and countless attractions to keep you entertained all day long.

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Upon entering the park we stopped to rent a stroller.  The attendant asked if the stroller was for the baby or my 3 year old.  I said I wish they had one for the baby, it was mostly for all of my stuff.  He said they did have a couple of infant strollers and we were lucky enough to get one.  It worked out amazing.  My 6 month old was able to nap while we walked around, and we could put some of our bags in it.

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Our first stop was at Marvel Cave.  We arrived 10 minutes before the first tour and decided to try it out.  We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  This hour long walking tour has you hiking 500 feet below the surface.  You will climb just under 600 stairs.  It is very strenuous, especially with a 6 month old baby attached to your body, but it is well worth it.  The cave is spectacular, and the guide is very knowledgeable.  We were even “lucky” enough to see some bats.  If my 63 year old mother-in-law, husband, 7 year old, 3 year old, and myself with a 6 month old can do it, so can you.  My kids talk about how neat this experience was every day.

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This is the year for Food and Crafts at Silver Dollar City.  They have over 200 new food items this year, with something for everyone.  Some of the food items are normal such as chicken tenders, peanut brittle, and pizza; while others are a little different like mason jar sundaes and pork belly fries.  They had quite a few slushy stations throughout the park, and that’s where my kids headed to.  They have food stations and restaurants throughout the entire park.  We tried cinnamon rolls from Eve & Delilah’s Bakery, and they were just mouth-watering delicious.  We packed a picnic lunch for lunch, and ate it there.  It’s really nice they allow food to be brought in.  We could not leave without trying the kettle corn, which tasted just as amazing as it smelt.

Silver Dollar City has over 40 rides and attractions.  Some of my family’s favorites were Happy Frogs, Royal Tea Party, the Steam Engine, and the Magnificent Wave Carousel.  My kids even went on their first rollercoaster.

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One of my family’s absolute favorite parts of visiting Silver Dollar City was seeing all of the real life crafters.  They watched a Blacksmith make a bottle opener right before their own eyes.  They were just in awe.  They enjoyed asking him questions and seeing how things really were made in the 1800’s.

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Silver Dollar City has some very exciting new festivals and events this year, including

FESTIVAL OF WONDER (April 6 – 30)

The all-new festival presents amazing acts of curiosity and larger-than-life performances, all billed as “A Most Amazing Entertainment Experience:”

  • NEW: The Earth Harp Collective, featuring the world’s largest playable stringed instrument, plays music on 75-foot strings stretched the length of Red Gold Heritage Hall as well as on a “drum cloud” and other unique musical instruments.
  • NEW: The Flamenco Kings, the world’s foremost flamenco dancers, are seven brothers whose stunning performances combine flamenco, tap, music, martial arts and acrobatics.
  • NEW: Balancing Wonders present gravity-defying performers in an extraordinary balancing show.
  • NEW: Speed Painter Dan Dunn takes performance art to top speed, a talent showcased on stages from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to a Super Bowl pregame show.
  • NEW: Glass “Armonica” showcases melodic sounds from one of the world’s largest instruments made of glassware.
  • NEW: Shows present Harp & Hang Drum music, and Melodies on Air with incredible wind instruments such as 4-ft. pan flutes and clay whistles.
  • New foods for the Festival of Wonder take an outrageous turn as well, including Curious Kabobs with shark or alligator on a stick, Fry Breads from Cajun Shrimp to Nutella S’mores, the World of Bacon with Bacon Cannoli and Chocolate Covered Bacon, plus new Bodacious Brownies and Blended Beverages.

We made so many memories visiting Silver Dollar City.  We will most definitely be back to visit.  It is a must see place to visit in the Midwest.

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Dixie Stampede

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My two children were on Spring Break last week and we took a little road trip out to Branson, Missouri to see the sights.  We had the absolute pleasure of attending Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner extraction.  It was quite an experience, one that will never be forgotten.

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Dixie Stampede is an unbelievable dinner show which includes horses, buffalo, dogs, and more.  It is a friendly rivalry between the North and the South with history, trick riding, special effects, and LOTS of fun!  Not to mention the full plate of food that is absolutely mouth watering delicious.

We arrived around 3:30 and picked up our tickets which we had already reserved.  This is a must see attraction that usually sells out, so I would definitely plan ahead and buy your tickets ahead of time.  We were instructed to come back no later than 4:15 for the preshow.  In the meantime we walked around the stables to see more than thirty beautiful horses.

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The kids loved reading each horse’s name, their favorite was “Star.”

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We entered at 4:15 and stood in line for a few minutes.  A professional photographer took a picture of our family, which was then imposed upon different backdrops and then we were able to purchase them.  The prices were very reasonable and the pictures were beautiful.  We then entered the Carriage Room for the Opening Act.

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We could sit either at the main level or go upstairs.  The kids of course wanted to go up.  The bar was open to purchase drinks and snacks including popcorn.  The Opening Act changes, but for us was a trio of brothers who sang amazing Bluegrass music.

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They really got the crowd involved and we truly enjoyed the 50 minute show.  The dinner bell then rang and we walked into the next room.

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My family was in awe when we entered the 35,000 square foot arena.  There was a real waterfall and pond, as well as seats all around.  I honestly don’t thing there was a bad seat in the house.  We found our assigned seats, which happened to be on the South side and were immediately asked what we would like to drink.

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All drinks and food were included in the ticket price.  Children 3 and under were free if they sat on an adult’s lap.  The show began minutes later, and we were absolutely blown away.

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Thirty-two horses came galloping out in the arena and were introduced as either being on the North or the South side.  We cheered for the South since that was where our seats were.  The show lasted over an hour.

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In the beginning they gave some history about what life was like back then with real covered wagons, buffalo, and “belles of the ball” singing.

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The second half of the show was dedicated to competition between the North and the South.  This included trick riding, pig races, dog races, lumberjack competitions, and help from the audience.  The finale was phenomenal.  It was all about being patriotic and the love for our country.  My 3 year old and 7 year old could not keep their eyes off of the show.  For me, it flew by.  It is definitely a must see show.

While the show was going on, you are served a 4-course dinner that does not include any silverware.  It begins with a delicious bowl of soup that you must drink since you have no spoon.  Then you are served a whole rotisserie chicken, hickory smoked barbecued pork loin, corn on the cob, a biscuit, and a potato.

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It was so much food I could barely finish half.  They do offer to go containers for anything you do not finish.  Dessert was an apple turnover that was to die for.  The food was absolutely delicious.

I cannot say enough great things about the Dixie Stampede.  Not only was the show jaw-dropping spectacular, but the food was incredible, and the service was great.  Both of my kids have asked every single day if we can go back to the Dixie Stampede, they had so much fun.  We will definitely go back.  It is well worth it!

https://www.dixiestampede.com/

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Kia Sorento SXL

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I am definitely a soccer mom.  I have two kids and drive a minivan, and I cannot complain.  Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to drive a SUV, though.  I had the opportunity to drive a KIA Sorento last week, and I really enjoyed it.

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The KIA Sorento offered quite a bit of room.  Both of my kids’ car seats fit in the backseat easily.  Even my mother-in-law was able to squeeze in the middle of them when we had a full load.  The Sorento felt very roomy, especially with the moon roof that opened the full length of the vehicle.  The kids really enjoyed looking up at the sky on the way to school.

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The KIA Sorento offers some really nice features including heated seats, air-conditioned seats, heated steering wheel, push button start, memory driver’s seat, and my favorite the navigation system.  It was really easy to plug in addresses and easy to follow directions.  The back-up camera makes it virtually impossible to hit anything.  Trust me, it has full camera views where you can literally see every angle of what is around you.  I miss it on my minivan now.

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The trunk space is huge.  It fit all of my grocery shopping bags easily, with room for more!  The KIA Sorento gets 22MPG on average, which is great considering how much driving around I do.  This vehicle gets up to speed unbelievably quick, thanks to its 2.0L turbo gas direct injection 4-cycle engine.  Let’s just say, this mommy mobile for the week was fast!  Overall, I was really pleased with the KIA Sorento and recommend it to families with kids, and even people without kids.  It really is a great vehicle!

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Cave in Nova Scotia – Wordless Wednesday

This is a cave in Nova Scotia. We passed it while traveling to look at a some properties about an hour or two from my mom’s house called Folly Mountain Cave. The children thought it was cool!

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Moving to Nova Scotia

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We are looking to move back to the Halifax region, but realistically could be anywhere in the center sections of the province.

Moving to Nova Scotia

For many years I dreamed of moving back to Nova Scotia, however, my husband always had a job here in Illinois and his mom and brother were here. When we moved here to the farm three years ago, I had pretty much settled into life in Illinois. Then another death in my family occurred. My husband’s second bout of unemployment in six years was encroaching upon a year and we threw the idea of moving back to Nova Scotia out there. To my surprise EVERYONE was on board…everyone but me. I was the least excited person in our family. ME!? My husband wondered why we had not thought of this back in 2013 when he lost his job and so did I. We got our passports, started researching moving back, farming, housing, etc. with the intention of visiting Nova Scotia in the fall of 2014.

When we visited Nova Scotia in November/December 2014 we checked out some farm properties and I worked on our children’s proof of Canadian Citizenship and getting other paper work started. Let’s just say it is not a simple or easy move! When I moved here to the United States, it was just little old me with a few pieces of luggage and boxes. Now we have a boat load of children AND stuff!

FFR Gould Children at the Beach in NS 2014
This beach is in the Pictou section in the map at the beginning of this post. And no, not all beaches in Nova Scotia are rocky!

We are in the process of selling our animals. It is rather bittersweet. We thought these were our “forever” animals. There is a lot of paper work and expense to transport animals across the border to Canada. We held out hope we might be able to take them with us, but finally decided it was just too much. We have a buyer for our cows, a farmer friend, thankfully. It is a relief to know they are going to a good home. We have a buyer for the 33 chickens we have left, they will be picked up soon. We have a buyer for our compact Kubota tractor. Our horse is returning to his owner, he was just with us on a free-lease (meaning we paid for nearly all his upkeep for the privilege of “owning” him). If we had of been moving within Illinois, his owner would have allowed us to keep him. He is nearly 31 years old and she couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing him again, plus a three day drive would have been rough on an older horse. Only the goats and sheep left to sell, plus a few odds and ends such as a goat milk stanchion, cow panels, t-posts (though we priced them in N.S. and are thinking we might take them with us!) and things like that.

It is a bit surreal and I do not think it has really sunk in yet. I have not even seen all there is to see in Chicago, let alone Illinois. You do not know how many “if onlys” we have been voicing! Guess we will still have lots to do when we come back for a visit.

Meanwhile we have sooooo much to do to get ready for a major move across country.

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Halifax Seaport – Wordless Wednesday

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Halifax Harbour

While we were in Nova Scotia, we visited the Halifax Seaport farmers market. We went on a Sunday and I was surprised that is was not very busy. All the boys wanted to do was look out the huge glass bay doors at the Halifax Harbour! The water was quite choppy that day. Not sure this photo does it justice. It was a cloudy, cold day so we did not walk down on the boardwalk near the water or I could have taken better photos. I took this one from inside.

FFR Halifax Harbor at Seaport Farmer's Market


Halifax Seaport Farmers Market

The Halifax Seaport farmers market is a year round indoor farmers market, which I thought was great! I would have loved to have visited every day of the week just to see how much traffic it actually generates. My sister said that when she and her husband went on a Saturday, it was packed, which led me to believe that probably is the busiest day for the market. I was too busy looking around to think to take photos INside the market.

Do you have a year round farmers market near you?

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Falls at Victoria Park Nova Scotia – Wordless Wednesday

We traveled to my native province Nova, Scotia, Canada for a month in November/December 2014. It has been nearly ten years since we have been back “home”. We had an awesome visit. It was sooo good to reconnect with my sisters and have them meet our three younger children. It was wonderful to see my family bond with my children and visa versa.

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Two of my three sisters each took us hiking. C took us to Victoria Park. Victoria Park has walking trails up a mountain, stairs to offer a more challenging hike, falls, picturesque views, a playground and pool (open only in the summer). Our older children had been there on our last visit in 2005, but our younger children had never been. This is a photo of most of the children overlooking the falls at Victoria Park Nova Scotia. Our oldest son stayed home with hubby to take care of the animals.

Nova Scotia received an inordinate amount of rain while we were home, especially my hometown. Farm fields were flooding, the rivers were high, lawns were saturated and as you can see, the falls at Victoria Park were roaring. Can you believe we were without jackets almost in the middle of December?! We have never been hiking in December, let alone hiking twice in the span of a week and a half!

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More from our trip later…

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Planning a Holiday Road Trip

With the arrival of Christmas, that means holiday travel. This post is a little late in the season, but are you planning a holiday road trip? Maybe these tips will help you as you prepare to travel with your family…

1. Make lists. Your to-do list before you leave, one for items to pack or bring, include food, clothing, toiletries and personal items, and finally, one for to-dos while on vacation – places to see, people to visit or call, etc.

Map to N.S.

2. Map out your journey. GPS and smartphones are wonderful and I love having them available to me. However, they are not always right. So pack a real life map and gather your children around to map out what roads you will take, which states you will drive through and what cities you will pass by. If you have time, plan some side trips too! If you homeschool, make it a school project for your children to learn something new about the state or city in which you will be visiting. Older children could handle doing this for each state and city you pass through.

3. Reserve your lodging ahead of time. Reserving your lodging ahead of time prevents you from the disappointment, not to mention the inconvenience of possibly not finding any a vacancies at hotels you just happen to stop at for the night. The holidays are busy so plan ahead.

4. Check the weather forecast for your destination, as well as any place in between. This will help you be prepared for winter road conditions, enable you to bring the proper attire and possibly prevent you from driving in any bad weather.

5. Share your plans with your family. This could be the family you are visiting, God forbid they leave for their own vacation, not knowing you are coming to visit! Or this could be family you are leaving behind, just so they know where you are going and how long you will be gone for, in case of emergency.

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Why We Aren’t Taking a Family Vacation #PGeveryday #Sponsored

My husband and I love to travel, so do our children. We have traveled to Texas, Canada, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Minnesota and Iowa on family vacations or weekend trips. We always have fun, make memories and of course face challenges.

Travel Map of USA
Copyright: hamik / 123RF Stock Photo. Used with permission

It has been a number of years since we took a family vacation. Probably 2009, if I remember correctly. Money has been tight, plus we have chosen to become farmers. Summer is our busiest time on the farm with our CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture), markets, egg and chicken business. That is one of the downsides to farming. One of the agreements Robert and I had when we decided to farm was that we’d still take vacations. Well…we didn’t realize how long it would take to recover from a bout of unemployment nor did we expect another season of unemployment so soon.

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Like the author of this article on P&Geveryday™ titled, Why We’re Skipping Summer Vacation, I admit it is kind of hard sometimes when we hear of others taking their family vacation. I also confess to being green with envy sometimes. But like Christie Tate and her husband, we realize this is the season of life we are in. Extended family vacations are not in the cards for us due to our commitments at home.

That does not mean we cannot take day trips to Chicago to visit museums, the zoo, Navy Pier or the Shedd Aquarium or travel other short distances. It just means it will take a bit of planning on our part to make sure everything at home is taken care of first.

P&Geveryday™ has a section on Travel Tips that will be useful to parents planning trips with children. P&Geveryday™is committed to making every day just a little easier by helping you achieve a life full of rewarding moments. Every day. The site aims to inspire, support and empower you to unlock the extraordinary potential in your everyday life. It offers a variety of topics, helpful articles for family life, delicious recipes for the 4th of July, etc. Check out their informative P&Geveryday Facebook page too.

Do you plan on taking a family vacation this summer? If so, where? If not, why not?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Sharkk Car Charger Review

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Sharkk Car Charger

 

I found a great product!!! Love it … Love it!!

 

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This is a great car charge that charges up to two USB devices in the cigarette lighter of your car. This is a great for charging any technology device. I use it to charge both my phone and my Bluetooth. I am never scurrying to find an outlet… I can just charge both from the car! The best part is that I can drive, use my devices, and charge at the same time!

 

The other great attributes are the changeable non-slip grip area of the charger. You can interchange the grip from white to black, kind of fun… but having that extra grippage while driving if needing to plug or unplug can come in handy!

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Here are the specs of the device!

  •  Charge status indicating 2 color light. Use with your own device charging cable. Good for all portable devices like cameras, cell phones, mp3 players, tablets. Input: DC 12–24 V

 

  • One Output (iPad port) : DC Max 5.0V 2100mA for iPads, Tablets and GOS

 

  • Second Output (iPhone Port) : DC Max 5.0V 500mA for Phone, MP3 players and iPods.

 

  • Dual Output: DC Max 5.0V 1600mA (iPad port), DC Max 5.0V 500mA (iPhone port)

 

  • Sophisticated circuit design with over-heated, over-current, over-charging protection

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There is also a lifetime warranty on the product!

 

Visit Amazon.com to buy now …it is really a great price 5.99… I have seen cheaper versions selling at the local drugstore for 10.00

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AIELQG0

 

Please visit sharkk.com for more information on this product and may more techie gadgets! You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter!

 

 

 

 

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