Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

The arrow and I want to wish you and yours the happiest of holidays. We've had so much fun sharing our adventures with all of you over the last six months. Perhaps you've been inspired to go on an outing with your kids. Maybe you've read a tip that helped you on a trip. Or you could just be drawn here by the arrow's big brown eyes. (I don't blame you, they get me every time.) Regardless, thanks for reading. Your comments and kind words are the reason I do this. Many of you have given us a great deal of encouragement to try new and wonderful things as a family. I'm incredibly grateful that you pay this little blog a visit from time to time.

I won't be posting next week--instead, we'll be tackling a few projects around the house and just enjoying some quality family time. But we hope you'll stick around to see what we're up to next in 2011!

Every once in a while I hand the camera over to my partner in crime. This photo was taken on our hay ride to the Christmas tree fields at Roberts Tree Farm in Seymour, Indiana, which I blogged about here last week. 

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sampling food at Traders Point Creamery

Last week, I shared a couple of pictures of Traders Point Creamery's restaurant all decked out for the holidays. And while that was beautiful and rustic, I walked away from my time there very focused on the food we ate.

Traders Point Creamery is one of the nation's only all-organic dairy farms, located on the northwest side of Indianapolis. You can practically taste their slow, gentle approach to farming. It's a really fun place to visit, tour the farm, and even explore the gorgeous farmland on some walking paths they've cleared. But be sure not to miss the food. Oh, the food!

First we sampled their yogurt. It's made in the European, drinkable style. Yum. I can't wait to bring the arrow here, he would devour this yogurt.

Then it was on to their cheese, a spreadable fromage with fresh herbs.

We wrapped up the dairy delights with a sample of chocolate milk and egg nog. Their chocolate milk is made with melted swiss chocolate. Chocolate heaven, if you ask me.

Just when I thought it was over, out comes a spread of tapas. Nearly all of what you see here was cultivated on the property. Grass-fed beef skewers, squash rounds, and homemade hummus, fresh from the garden.

In case we weren't taking their word for it, then we got to go see ol' Bessie for ourselves. If you've ever toured a more industrial dairy farm, you know those cows don't get to lay around on fresh hay with lots space to move about. After a trip we took to Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana, which mass produces dairy products on an enormous scale, it was so refreshing to see some happier cows.

You can bet this won't be the last time I belly up to the Traders Point Dairy Bar. If you're interested in sampling their yogurt, cheese or milk, much of which is available in many places around the country, you can find a list of stores carrying their products here.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Disclosure: I participated in the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau's recent Holiday Tour. A stop at Traders Point Creamery was included and my expenses were paid. I was under no obligation to write about our time there. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A tour of Notre Dame

The arrow has recently become obsessed with photo albums. He can look at pictures of himself and family members over and over again. It can get repetitive, but it's definitely more interesting than reading Elmo Minds His Manners for the 300th time.

Lately he's been looking at our 2009 photo book, which includes pictures from our trip to South Haven, Michigan. It was our first vacation as a family and we'll always remember it fondly. In order to survive our first long car ride with a baby, we planned a stop at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. Notre Dame also happens to be my husband's alma mater. It was such a treat to watch him give the arrow his first tour of campus.

Stopping in front of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

Alum or not, Notre Dame is a beautiful place to visit. (You have to find your own cute baby to hold in your pictures, though, mine is taken.) Dominique at Midwest Guest has done some great posts about her trip there, which provide fascinating information on the architecture and artwork on campus. You can check out those posts here, here and here.

I can't help but wonder what college visits we'll be taking 16 or 17 years from now. I know my husband will be hoping for a trip back to Notre Dame. I'm just glad we have many, many years until then.

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Warming up with memories from the Desert Botanical Garden

It's been so chilly here this week. Single digit temps at night, windy, lots of snow and ice. When it's safe enough to venture out, on our brief trips in and out of the car to dash into a store, the gym, wherever, the arrow yells and moans as the wind hits his face. I feel like doing the same. I know it's just our bodies getting used to the winter climate. By January, this will feel normal and we'll be getting bundled up and going for short walks. But we're just not there yet. Until then, I'm thinking of...

A desert oasis.

A funky looking cactus.

Anyplace warm.

Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden certainly fits the bill. You can read all about our visit here.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Over the river and through the woods to find our Christmas tree

Now that our little guy is beginning to understand the magic of this season, I wanted to make our Christmas tree experience something special--a trip to a mass retailer parking lot just wouldn't cut it for us this year. So this weekend we headed out into the woods to Roberts Tree Farm in Seymour, Indiana. It was an awesome spot. Uncommercialized. Friendly. Still doing business the same way they always have. I just love places like that, and it's particularly refreshing this time of year.

You know those outings that end up being just about perfect? This was one of those times. I'll let the pictures (and running commentary from the arrow) show you all the fun we had.

Mom, stop talking about how cute these Carhartt overalls are. I'm a manly man!

You mean I'm going to get to run around a snow-covered field? I can't wait!

They have a dog here too? Oh, this place is great!

I love a good chance to snuggle with dad, especially on a hay ride.

They all look good to me, Mom.

And they smell good, too.

My parents say this is the one we're taking home.
(Note from mom: When selecting a tree from a large, open field, trees look much smaller than they will in your house. This massive mound of pine is now taking up 75% of our living room.)

Cookies and a warm fire? Let's call it a day.

We ended our adventure by warming up around a real wood burning stove in a cozy little cottage while they drilled and tied up our tree. The cottage was stocked with cookies made by the owner's wife and hot chocolate and cider in crockpots. A sweet and warm ending to a perfect morning in the crisp winter weather.

This post is a part of You Capture at I Should Be Folding Laundry. This week's theme is outdoors.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Here Fishy, Fishy: Dreaming of the Florida Aquarium

We'll be heading to the Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida area in February. I've already booked our flights and our lodging, so this weekend I spent some time looking up attractions. (There's also 5 inches of snow and single digit temps outside my warm, cozy house... so thinking about a trip to Florida is a great way to pass the time!)

One attraction that has caught my eye is the Florida Aquarium. I've written about past trips to the Indianapolis Zoo and the Louisville Zoo because the arrow loves animals. This spring and summer we basically blew right by the fish tanks on those trips. He was still in a stroller most of the time, and just didn't seem to take an interest. But last month, while visiting the Interpretive Center at Falls of the Ohio State Park, he lit up when he saw the fish in the aquariums they have. (More about our morning at that great state park to come!)

Hi Fish!

Making fishy faces
If we make it to the Florida Aquarium, I especially want to spend some time in the Bays and Beaches gallery to see the 300 lb. grouper and learn more about the native fish and plant life in that particular area of Florida. I'm also excited about the Coral Reef gallery, where you can experience what a 60 foot dive is like, and to see the underwater dragons currently on exhibit. If the weather is warm enough, I'd love to finish our visit splashing around the Explore a Shore, a water park designed for younger children.

The Florida Aquarium is what I'm dreaming about on this cold, snowy Monday. Go see the other Mondays are for Dreaming posts at The Mother of All Trips.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas at Traders Point Creamery

Earlier this week, I blogged about my time at Traders Point Creamery in Zionsville, Indiana at the Indiana Insider (read that post here). It was a wonderful afternoon where time seemed to slow down a bit, which is always welcome during the frantic pace of the holidays. Traders Point is one of the nation's only all-organic dairy farms. The food we sampled was incredible... I'm sure I'll be writing more about that in the weeks to come.

But today, I wanted to share two photos to bring you some holiday cheer. Traders Point's restaurant was all decked out for Christmas, most notably this beautiful (live!) tree:

In case you forget you're at a dairy farm, these adorable cow bell ornaments:

And now I officially feel guilty that my own tree isn't up yet!

If you're in the area this weekend or next, consider attending their Christmas on the Farm event, which is geared toward kids.

Disclosure: I participated in the Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau's recent Holiday Tour. A stop at Traders Point Creamery was included and my expenses were paid. I was under no obligation to write about our time there. The opinions expressed here are my own.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Locally-made gifts for traveling with kids

You know the saying, "Be a tourist in your own hometown?" I had a chance to do just that on Saturday. The Hendricks County Convention and Visitors Bureau was kind enough to invite me on their Ho Ho Holiday Tour.  I grew up in Hendricks County (on the west side of Indianapolis), yet I had only been to one of the scheduled stops on our itinerary before this weekend. It was a fun day hanging around my old stomping grounds, particularly because I got to bring my sister, my ideal shopping partner (especially when we can leave our kids in the loving care of their dads).

I'm also making an effort to shop locally this year. It's not always possible with a toddler who doesn't tolerate popping in and out of shops for hours on end. So Saturday presented a perfect opportunity to get some gifts.

Our first stop that day was the Tri Kappa Gingerbread Christmas. It's a true craft and artisan fair. Vendors must submit their items in advance to be judged by a committee so that only the most high quality, handcrafted items are sold.  I picked up two items there that are perfect for traveling with toddlers.

A crayon bag:
This was handmade by a lovely woman. Each crayon has its own slot and the main compartment is the perfect size for a few coloring books. This will definitely be added to my must-pack list for trips. I'll even slide the arrow's beloved magna doodle inside. The woman didn't have a card, and she only sells her items at this show. But I've seen bags like this on Etsy, so I'm sure you can find something similar.

An I-Spy Bag:

My sister spotted this little bean bag. Attached to it is a list of items (like a penny, snowman and soccer ball). When you move the bag around in your hand, little trinkets show up in the clear window, which correspond with the list. (In the picture below, I'm attempting to demonstrate it for a still photo... not easy!) I think this could amuse the arrow for quite some time in the car or on a plane.

They are $10, and available from Time and Again Shop.

From the Gingerbread Christmas show, we headed to downtown Danville to explore some of the independent shops that surround their courthouse.

Luggage tag:

After spending time checking several black bags that looked very similar to our bag on our last flight (while the arrow ran wild through the baggage claim area), I promised myself I'd look for a bold luggage tag before our next trip. I found this one at The Healing Chi, a gift shop and wellness center.

Have you picked up any great travel products this year? Please share!

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Disclosure: I was a guest of the Hendricks County CVB throughout the day, but I purchased these items myself. I was under no obligation to write about the day's activities. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Schimpff's Confectionary in Jeffersonville

A few weeks ago on a gloriously sunny and warm day in November, we headed down to Jeffersonville, Indiana for a fun day trip. It's just across the Ohio River from Louisville. (I posted one of my favorite photos from our trip here already.) I'm excited to share more about that day with you in the weeks to come.

A highlight was a visit to Schimpff's Confectionary. It's one of the oldest family-run candy shops in the country, going strong since 1891. In fact, the owners still live right above the store. I can never quite grasp doing something for so long. Before I had the arrow, I had a hard time staying in one job for more than a couple of years. Something else always came along that seemed more exciting than whatever it was I was currently doing. (Maybe it's because I wasn't in the candy business!)

When we visited, they were making the most adorable, itty bitty Christmas candies in the front window of the shop. I can't imagine making something so delicate. Learning to knit will forever be my hands' only accomplishment.

Another delightful aspect of the shop is all the memorabilia they've held onto. My husband spotted this old-fashioned candy vending machine. It's hard to believe, in the age of king-sized Snickers bars, that machines used to dispense tiny peppermints or caramels.

Schimpff's is known for their red-hot candies, which they still make on antique equipment. But I've never been one to be able to walk by chocolate and pass it up. So we purchased a few of their turtle candies and were not disappointed.

Half of the building is the candy shop, soda fountain and small restaurant. The other half is a museum (pictured above), dedicated to the history of the business. Candy is made in the window fronts and on the museum side. If you visit and have older kids with longer attention spans, I highly recommend calling ahead and scheduling a tour. We got to listen to bits and pieces of a tour taking place while we were there, and the history of this place is fascinating.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday and Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Marriott's Canyon Villas in Phoenix

Back in October, we spent a few days in Phoenix, Arizona. My in-laws have a time share at the Marriott's Canyon Villas property.  If you read my trip report, you'll know that we spent a lot of our vacation just hanging around the resort. I found it to be a really family-friendly place to stay, and wanted to share a few reasons why.

View from our patio

We were just a short walk down a hall from several of the many pools. The pools were the focal point of our trip. Every pool had a few balls for kids to play with. There are also fresh towels available, and swim diapers are sold in the lobby's convience store. This is extremely helpful as it makes for a few less bulky items to pack. There was a fantastic splash/wading pool. The arrow was too scared that water would dump all over him to enjoy it, but my husband and I were mesmerized by it. I would say 95% of kids (any age) would love it.

There's also a cantina that has a nice lunch and drink menu, all served poolside. It would have been miserable to drag the arrow away from the pool just to head to a restaurant to eat lunch.  We could either eat at the cantina or fix something quickly back in our room.  Then it was back to the water!

A sunny day spent in the pool

Beyond the pools, the facility had plenty to offer families. One evening, we had a great dinner grilling out on their patio. There are several large gas grills that guests can use. It's always nice to take a break from keeping a little one happy at a restaurant while vacationing, so the fully-equipped kitchens were helpful in that regard, also. We were graciously provided with a high chair (and pack and play) to keep in our condo throughout our stay.

There's a fun playground/sand pit area for kids to play in. It was nice to have an area where the arrow could run around and stretch his legs a bit, without having to get in the car to find a park. There's also a small lizard living in an aquarium in the lobby, and the arrow enjoyed getting to watch the staff feed him one morning.

Romping around the playground

Finally, at this property you also have easy access to the neighboring JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. We had a fantastic dinner at one of their five restaurants (all of which had a kid's menu). There is an amazing pool area here too, including a lazy river. There's also a Starbucks, so it made for a fun place to wander over to each morning. (Confession: I never actually made that walk in the morning, but the arrow got pushed in his stroller there by his adoring grandparents a few times, while I got to take a long, uninterupted hot shower, followed by reading a People magazine on the patio. Ah, the joys of traveling with grandparents!)

Since returning home from our trip, and getting involved with the Passports with Purpose campaign to raise money to build a village in India (see posts here, here, and here), I'm also learning about the generosity of Marriott. Several prizes have been provided to the cause. (A full list of prizes is available here.) Please consider donating, and you too could stay at a beautiful Marriott property.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Welcome to the family

Tomorrow I'll be posting a review of the Marriott's Canyon Villas property in Phoenix, Arizona. So I've been spending some time reflecting on our trip (you can read a full report here). One of the highlights was spending some quality time with my brother-in-law and his then-girlfriend. I say "then" because she became his fiance this weekend, and we couldn't be happier about that. They live in Iowa and we don't get to see them as much as we'd like, but we're thrilled to be gaining a sister and aunt!

This Monday I'm dreaming of more adventures with the two beautiful people you see standing with us in the picture above. It's always nice to find travel companions that don't seem to mind (or at least pretend not to) when your son wakes them up at 4 a.m. demanding breakfast.

And, on a much less important note, Arrows Sent Forth has a new look!  Thanks to the design gurus at Logo Nerds (who I heard about from Jennifer at Two Kids and a Map), plus some design work that I bartered copy-editing work for with Senthil at, I feel like my little space on the web is looking a lot better. Let me know what you think! (If you're reading this post through a feed, please click over to check it out.)

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Favorite Posts of the Week

Three posts really spoke to me this week about the beauty and practicality of traveling with kids. Enjoy!

Ardnamurchan Timelapse from Love Baby Love Travel: You must watch this amazing time lapse video of Anna, her son and husband from a recent trip they took. I adore Anna's blog (I think we're kindred spirits from across the Atlantic!), and this video reminds me of many evenings spent with the two men in my life. If you're a mom, you'll probably get teary-eyed watching this. (You'll also chuckle at their efforts to keep the laptop and wine glasses away from wandering little Euan!)

A History Lesson in Santiago from WanderMom: This family is on a trip around the world, and their latest stop in Santiago allowed them to witness living history, as they viewed the capsule that was used to rescue the Chilean miners. While in Chile. How cool. I love how she wants her kids to "learn about the world from being in the world." I'm absolutely borrowing that phrase!

Visiting The Prado with Kids from Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish: A visit to The Prado was a real highlight of the three weeks I spent in Spain a few years ago. I'd love to take the arrow there some day, and this post is full of fantastic suggestions for having fun at a museum with kids (some ideas are specific to The Prado, but many are practical for any museum!)

This post is a part of Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Soaring above Natural Bridge

I was recently asked what scared me most about being a mom. There are so many ways to approach a question like that. Philosophically, spiritually, emotionally.

But my biggest should-I-really-be-doing-this-with-a-baby scaredy-cat moment? Taking my squirmy 1-year-old on a skylift high above Natural Bridge State Park in Kentucky. The only thing between him and the ground 50 feet below was our arms.

Beautiful? Yes. Frightening? Absolutely. The views? Worth it.

And the only time I let go of him? To take this picture.

See Dad's death grip?
As you can see in the arrow's eyes, though, he was a little scared too,
so he barely moved a muscle the entire 10-minute ride up.

You can read more about our trip to the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky last April here and here.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Keeping it all together.

A few weeks ago over at the Delicious Baby blog, Debbie posted 22 reasons why Ziploc bags make great travel companions. While I'm nowhere near the prolific traveler Debbie is, I put Ziplocs to good use on our recent flight to Phoenix.

I knew I wanted to pack snacks, small toys, coloring supplies, DVDs, books, and diapering/medical supplies for the flight. I also knew I only wanted to deal with one carry-on bag. I feared all these items would become a jumbled mess in my big backpack and that I would be frantically searching for a particular item while the arrow cried or whined. So I turned to the trusty Ziploc bag (the large, freezer ones) to help keep everything sorted and organized. It worked like a charm.

It was also a huge help in getting us re-organized for the trip home. As you can see in the photo above, I labeled each bag and so I knew when we had re-gathered everything we needed for the return flight, despite having spread most of the items around the hotel room during our stay.

In addition, it helped my husband (who was usually the "gopher" of whatever item we needed in-flight) to find things more easily even though he wasn't the one who packed the bag.

You can read more about my tips for flying with a toddler here.

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday at The Diaper Diaries.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel Tuesday: More Great PwP Prizes

It's Tuesday, so once again I'm profiling some great Passports with Purpose prizes. (See last week's post here, and why I support PwP here.)

There are two prizes that have really peaked my interest. I'm very new to blogging, having just started Arrows Sent Forth back in July of this year. It's been a lot of fun, but I also constantly have this feeling that I have so much to learn. There's lingo that sounds like a foreign language, technical skills I lack, and my overall naivete. I'm heading to a portion of the Blissdom Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in January to help me get a leg up, but the two prizes below sound great too.
  • A MatadorU writing course: I was a journalism major, and since leaving school most of my writing has consisted of boring press releases, grant applications or dry language for websites. While writing for a blog provides a lot of freedom, I sometimes still feel stuck in a writing rut. I think this would help me with my creativity. It also has a focus on travel, so it's right up my alley.
  • Travel Blog School: If I had to put a name to the learning opportunity I most need, I think I'd call it Travel Blog School. Alas, it already exists and one of these days, whether I win this prize or not, I'd love to attend.
So there you have it, two more fantastic prizes. If blogging/writing doesn't interest you, I promise there's something for everyone. (I mean, really, who doesn't want an iPad for Christmas?) You'll find a full list of prizes here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Tis the season

My nephew and the arrow getting ready for bed last year on Christmas Eve.
 We started decorating for the holidays this weekend and it has me thinking of all the fun outings I want to do with the arrow during the next month. I'm not sure we'll get to it all given the other fun commitments we have scheduled, but a few highlights that I'm dreaming about this Monday include:

Christmas at the Zoo: I've mentioned before that Indy has a wonderful zoo. A true highlight of the holiday season for many families around here is this event. The zoo is all decked out for the season, including thousands upon thousands of lights. Plus, the cold weather animals like the polar bear, who is usually pretty comatose when we visit in the summer, springs to life.

Monument Circle: I love the circle in the heart of downtown Indy, and it's at its finest right now. The monument itself becomes the world's largest Christmas tree. It's so fun to wander around with a cup of hot chocolate. This is actually where my husband proposed to me back in the day.

Santa Claus, Indiana: Indiana has a town called Santa Claus. How fun is that? And they take full advantage of the name this time of year. I'd love to get there arrow down there for some holiday cheer. A drive through Santa's Land of Lights, a visit to the Candy Castle, maybe even his first photo with Santa. The best part is I've never been either so it will be new to all of us.

That's what I'm dreaming of this Monday. What are your favorite holiday adventures or destinations?

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hangar 5 Restaurant in Columbus, Indiana

Any parent knows it can be challenging to dine out with kids. But I really enjoy getting out for a meal once in a while, and I want my son to grow up learning how to behave in a restaurant. So we've kept at it, and typically he does pretty well. (This has made our vacations easier, too. It's not such a shock to him to be eating out often.)

It certainly helps if we bring him places that he finds interesting. That's why I knew lunch out at Hangar 5 (here in Columbus, IN) would be a hit. The name "hangar" comes from the fact that its located right at the small terminal of our tiny airport. So you can literally watch planes land and take off while you eat, just outside the window of your comfy booth. Does anyone know a little boy who isn't interested in planes? Neither do I.

Waving bye bye to a departing plane.

The food is pretty good, too. Hangar 5 is known around town for its breakfast, which you can order anytime of day (and if you order a pancake for your kiddo, it comes in the shape of Mickey Mouse). We've been to Hangar 5 many times and the food has always been delicious. Besides their great breakfast, I love their BLTA sandwich. And my father swears their meatloaf is the best he's had.

The decor inside the restaurant is all about aviation. Model planes hang from the ceiling, and the wait staff is dressed as flight attendants and pilots. There are usually a few small private planes parked just outside the restaurant, and a fighter jet is always on display out front. Pretty cool, even if you're not an 18 month old little boy.

Getting him to hold still and look at the camera? Pretty impossible these days.
Note: Because it's just a small terminal for private planes, there's no invasive scans or pat-downs required to visit.

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Travel Tuesday: A Great PwP Prize

I mentioned in an earlier post that the prizes available in the Passports with a Purpose campaign is not why I'm donating to this cause. Buuuuuuut... they are pretty sweet, and I'd be thrilled to win one. (A complete list is available here.)  I said I'd be featuring some of these in the next few weeks. Here's one of my favorites, from one of my favorite blogs, Trekaroo.

A two-night stay at any North American Homewood Suites property

I love this prize for three reasons.

1) It's not site-specific (well, other than being limited to North America). We haven't mapped out our travel plans for 2011 yet, and so if I were to win (or if YOU were to win!), I wouldn't be committed to a specific location.

2) Homewood Suites are very family-friendly. Let's face it, it can be hard to find bedtime bliss in a traditional, one-room hotel room. At Homewood Suites, you have more room, plus a kitchen, meaning you can prepare some simple meals for your family.

3) Lodging expenses are one of the big ticket budget items when traveling. This takes care of that for a weekend away, or reduces it significantly for a longer trip.

So donate now, and enter to win this fabulous prize!  Many thanks to Homewood Suites and Trekaroo for making this fantastic prize possible. And if you don't read Trekaroo regularly, please check them out. They often feature great travel discounts and giveaways, and also offer a great link-up every Thursday called Spotlight Thursday where bloggers feature some great outings and trips.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A dream come true

Recently we brought the arrow to the Indiana Historical Society because we thought he'd think it was cool (what with the rooms all decked out in early 1900s Indiana garb that he could explore, and the fancy actors and actresses who fawned all over him). Little did I realize one of my lifelong dreams would come true.

I'm terribly un-musically inclined, although I love it. (I'm also really unathletic... I did not hit the genetic lottery, apparently. But I also love sports, so at least I haven't let these deficiencies get the best of me.) Despite being tone deaf, I've always harbored this secret wish to play the violin. When we stepped into the recreated violin shop (part of the You Are There exhibit), and they offered to let us play one, I knew it was my big moment!

And it wasn't all about me. The arrow got to fulfill one of his dreams too... driving a car. A full restored Model T? Nice ride, kid.

You can read more about our visit to the Indiana Historical Society by reading my post at the Indiana Insider. If you're looking for a fun outing with kids in downtown Indianapolis, I highly recommend you consider going to the Indiana Historical Society. The arrow was a little young (not only to appreciate what he was seeing, but also because he got a little squirmy.) If you have school-aged kids, though, this place is fantastic--fun and educational. And the building itself is right off the Canal Walk, so it makes the perfect beginning or end point to a beautiful long walk.

Disclaimer: My family was provided tickets to the You Are There exhibit. The opinions expressed in this post and at the Indiana Insider are very much my own.

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Florida bound.

Two years ago, when I was about six months pregnant with the arrow, my husband and I headed to Tampa for a pre-baby getaway. We had a great time, and have been contemplating heading back there since. We were pretty sure the arrow would love the beach. Then we gave him a little taste at Warren Dunes along Lake Michigan in September. And that sealed the deal. I've got to get this kid back to the ocean. So I'm knee-deep in trip planning as we speak. And these photos are my motivation.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I've mentioned before that I enjoy participating in I Should Be Folding Laundry's weekly photography linkup (called You Capture) because it encourages me to focus on taking some interesting photos each week. Photography is definitely an area that I want to learn more about and hopefully improve. (Sounds like a 2011 resolution in the making!)

This week's theme is "What Inspires You?" Such an intriguing question. I decided to focus on what inspires this blog.

This statue marks the exact spot along the Ohio River where Lewis met Clark and the two began their journey.

My husband. My son. Travel. Discovery. Exploration. Nature.

I took this picture on Saturday at Falls of the Ohio State Park in southern Indiana. (We spent most of our time there exploring the amazing fossil beds). We stopped to admire this statue and reflect on its historical significance. I'll be writing more about our adventures there soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Nothing beats a grilled cheese

Last week at the Indiana Insider I blogged about our stop at Fair Oaks Farms in Northern Indiana on our way up to Warren Dunes State Park back in September. Fair Oaks Farms is one of the nation's largest dairy farms, and it's located right off of I-65. You can tour the dairy barns, birthing room, milking station, etc. While a tad overpriced ($10 per person... a little steep), I think I'd still make a stop there on our next trip up north. (It's actually an ideal stopping point on the way to or from Chicago, something we hope to do this winter.) It has plenty for little ones to do to get the wiggles out on a long car trip.

Anyway, the next time we visit, it will be for one thing only. This bad boy. Yum.

And I know my husband will add ice cream to his order.

The best part? You can skip the $10 entrance fee and just head straight to the cafe to order up these treats.  Nothing like eating cheesy milky ice creamy goodness just steps away from the cows who make it possible. As the arrow would say, "Moo!"

This post is a part of Wanderfood Wednesday at Wanderlust & Lipstick.