Saturday, August 28, 2010

Favorite Posts of the Week

Last week, my favorite posts were all about fun, outdoor inspiration.  But sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate, or sometimes you just don't want to worry about bugs, sunscreen, hat, dirt, etc.  So I stumbled upon a few great articles about kid-friendly indoor activities this week that I wanted to share.

10 Tips for Museum and Travel Tours with Kids from Soultravelers 3  (Um, hello, this family is on a multi-year trip around the world... so if ever there were experts on such a topic, here they are!)

7 Ideas for Easy Indoor Fun from  (The arrow and I are already huge fans of the dance party... but I can't wait to try building a fort on the next rainy day!)

Great Waiting Games from Parenting (Perfect for travel, doctor's office visits, the BMV, grocery store checkout, etc.)

Our arrow's favorite indoor pasttime these days?  Shoes.

This post is a part of Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This. See what everyone else has stumbled upon this week.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Backyard Adventures: County Fair

We didn't make it to the Indiana State Fair this year (bummer!), but we did spend a quiet Sunday morning at the Bartholomew County Fair.  Since we're new to Columbus, it was our first trip to this county's fair.  We were not disappointed.

It was quiet that morning (the midway wasn't open, and neither were the food booths... so no elephant ears for us!)  I'm sure we'll pick a different time to go next year so that we can experience all the gluttony, sights and sounds a county fair offers, but this was actually kind of nice too.  We focused instead on spending lots of time in the animal barns and watching 4-H kids show off their horses.  Afterall, that's what a fair is all about, before we got all hung up in deep frying butter and oreos.

(While it makes for bad photographs, I love it when we can't get the arrow to look at the camera... it's usually because he's having so much fun looking at all there is to see!)

So if the bigger state fairs overwhelm you, or are too far from home, definitely put your local fair on your calendar for next summer.  It's a great outing for little kids--they can get up close and personal with the animals, and you won't be rushed by masses of people.

This post is a part of Spotlight Thursday at Trekaroo.

Monday, August 23, 2010

We've got some business to attend to in the future...

So Dad is away on a 2 1/2 week business trip to China. We've got a little more than one week of it left to go, and the arrow and I miss him quite a bit.

So today we're dreaming of travels to Shanghai, Beijing and lots of other exotic destinations. I recently read this article about families going along on business trips, and it has lit a fire under me to perhaps tag along on the next business trip. (Only if it happens to involve a fun location, of course. Otherwise, we're busy.)

This post is a part of Monday's Are For Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips. Go see what everyone else is dreaming about today.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Favorite Posts of the Week

This week, I ran across an alarming statistic.  Children today spend less time outdoors than any previous generation.  As a parent, one thing I'm becoming rather passionate about is getting our child outside as much as possible.  (It is mostly for selfish reasons... he's so much happier there, and when it is time to come back in the house, he seems so refreshed and relaxed... and for that matter, so do I!)  It is probably fairly obvious if you've read much of my blog how being outdoors tends to be the focus of most of our outings.

So this week, I wanted to share a few posts that inspire getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors with your children.

30 Day Trip Adventures in Nature from Go Explore Nature (I'm embarassed to say we've only done about 8 of these... some fantastic ideas that I can't wait to try out!)

Choosing the Right Hiking Trail for Kids from  (We love to hike with our little arrow, but choosing the right trail is KEY! When visiting a park, we always thoroughly review the map and trail descriptions to find a good fit for our family.)

The Tale of the Snail from Tripping with Kids  (This is the perfect example of the beauty of kids experiencing nature!)

This week, I'm taking the little arrow on his first boat trip.  We also have lots of swims in the pool planned, our weekly outing to the Farmer's Market, and maybe a trip to the zoo if we can squeeze it in.  How are you getting outdoors this week?

This post is a part of Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This.  See what everyone else has stumbled upon this week.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why we travel as a family

I've recently been reading some chatter about the pros and cons of traveling with kids, why/if you should do it, etc. Some of the naysayers suggest that because kids are often too young to remember the experiences, it is therefore just not worth the hassle. Leave them at home with grandma or don't travel again until they're old and grown and out of the house.

I respectfully disagree.

See that smile? We don't get that exact smile at home, playing with the same toys, looking at the same boring walls. We do get that smile when we're out and about doing interesting things. Close to home. Far from home. Doesn't matter to him. Or to us.

I know he's 15 months old. I know he won't remember this when he's 20. Or even tomorrow, for that matter. But you know what? He knows it in the moment. And he knows he's happy. And that's why we bring him along on most of our adventures.

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Have ibert. Will travel.

I'll be up front with this... I'm not really a gadget person, but I'm all over any device/contraption/gadget/robot that allows us to be more mobile with our little arrow. So this spring, while Facebook stalking (you all know you do it, too), I ran across a photo a friend posted that featured her little arrow in the strangest looking bike seat I've ever seen. And it got me thinking... bike riding? Bike riding with our little arrow? I hadn't even thought about it as an option. I confessed to stalking this friend, and she offered up that they love their bike seat and highly recommended it. It is called an iBert.

I know, I know. It looks terribly uncomfortable (for the arrow and his dad, right?) But it's not, I promise. I can especially promise now, because since hubbie's out of town on business, I've been biking all over town with my 23 lb arrow strapped to my handle bars. We move a little slower than when dad's got him on his bike, but we manage just fine.

And you know who loves it more than his parents? The arrow. You've never seen pure joy until you see our arrow on a bike ride. We can be out for over an hour, and not the slightest hint of a whine.

In the words of Dr. Seuss, oh the places we will go on our bikes!

This post is a part of Things I Love Thursday over at Diaper Diaries. You can see more things parents love by visiting.

In case you were wondering, I'm a blogger that can only dream of the day that someone might give me something because of this blog for free. So yes, I paid for the iBert myself, and no, I'm not giving one away. One can wish though, right?  However, if you are interested in purchasing an iBert for yourself, you can do so at through this link.  A small portion of the sale will come back to me and support this blog.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Favorite Posts of the Week

Here a couple of gems I ran across this week.

I ran across this contest involving best travel songs. Voting appears to be over, but if you're looking for some great road tripping songs to add to your collection, this is a great list. You can even hear little snippets of each song. My favorite travel song will always be Sweet Home Alabama. You just can't beat a song that tells you in the very first line to "turn it up." Gets me every time. Do you have a favorite road trip song? Did it make the list? Leave me a comment.

And finally, this hilarious video from the HaveBabyWillTravel site had me in stitches. It's must-see tv for any mom. My favorite part is when he decides he needs another swig off that bottle. Good man.

This post is a part of Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This. Check out what others have stumbled upon this week.

Backyard Adventure: Brown County State Park

Yesterday I gave a sneak peak into last weekend's trip to Brown County State Park. I decided there's no day like today to finish that thought. We love Brown County. Its a great spot for a family weekend away. The park itself has a great lodge, complete with brand new indoor pool/waterpark. We are already planning a few cold weather trips to the pool this fall/winter. They also have a nice campground and family cabins available for rent. If you want to stay someplace a little more spacious, there are a gazillion cabins and cottages available to rent all over the area. Hills O'Brown manages many of them.

The town (Nashville) is so quaint and fun. Cute little shops, plenty of spots to grab a treat. It gets really busy on nice weekends, and insanely busy in the fall, so be warned. It's also not very stroller-friendly, although we manage to navigate it ok with our jogging stroller. You're also only about 20 minutes to Bloomington (home of Indiana University) or our hometown, Columbus (home of world-famous architecture).

But mostly we love Brown County for the hiking.

We've done most of the trails there with our little arrow, but our favorite and most kid-friendly is the trail around Ogle Lake (Trail 7). Relatively flat compared to the other trails (which is nice when there's a 22 lber strapped to your back) and gorgeous views of the water the entire way. A little snapshot of paradise in our own backyard. If you're a horse lover, check out Trail 3, which you can pick up near the Saddle Barn and visit the beautiful horses.

Live in Indiana? We love the state parks and have invested in a yearly pass ($35 for in-state residents) and therefore we don't pay the gate fee every time we visit. It has encouraged us to visit the parks more and get good use out of our pass.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby. Go see where everyone else has been going.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Up. Up. And away.

Every night I witness just about the cutest thing you could ever imagine. 5:30 rolls around, and suddenly the garage door opens. Our little arrow hears this, and immediately begins his erratic "I'm so excited and I just can't hide it" jiggling dance. Then in walks Dad. "Bup. Bup. Bup!!!" It is our little arrow's way of asking to be tossed in the air (bup=up).

Fortunately, there's a travel version of the Bup game. We take it with us everywhere we go. Like this weekend at the Brown County State Park, one of Indiana's loveliest places (I'm sure I'll be writing something about all our fun hikes there soon.) For now, you get this sneak peak at both the Bup game and the park.

Today we're celebrating this everyday fun we have because Dad leaves us for two and a half weeks in China tomorrow. Sad for us, happy he gets to take such an amazing adventure. Besides, there will be plenty of Bups to go around when he gets back.

Today's post is a part of I Should Be Folding Laundry's You Capture "Everyday Things" photo collection. Go check it out. You won't be disappointed by the amazing photography you find. (At some point someone will stop letting me link up since my photos are cringe-worthy in comparison. But until my cover as a total amateur is blown, I'm joining in the fun.)

It's also a part of Trekaroo's Spotlight Thursday. Go check out all the other fun adventures (everyday and otherwise).

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

There's more than corn in Indiana.

I've been drooling over some of the suggestions that Real Simple has been sharing on Twitter for recipes that only call for three ingredients (if you're on Twitter, search for #3ingredients... I think it ends this week). I love to cook, but what I really love is cooking very simple food that tastes great and doesn't require trips down 14 aisles of the grocery store scouring for some obscure spice or vegetable. (All while keeping the grocery cart in constant motion and telling our little arrow that even though the sound of his squeels sound awesome bouncing off the high ceilings at the store, not all the shoppers appreciate his vocal prowess.)

Last week I made the classic caprese salad for some very happy Brits we had over for dinner. I say they were very happy because apparently tomatoes are not as plentiful across the pond as they are in Indiana in the summer. These beauties were overflows from my sister's garden. Feast your eyes on this platter of yummy Hoosier goodness.

So there it is, three ingredients. Tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil (wish I would have had fresh basil, but a few sprinkles of the dry stuff worked just fine). A pretty well known combo, for certain, but there is a reason classics become classics.

This post is part of WanderFood Wednesday at Wanderlust and Lipstick. Check it out to see what everyone is eating this week.

What are your favorite simple recipes (I won't hold you to 3 ingredients... but maybe 5 max)?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Backyard Adventures: 100 Acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

I'm not the type of parent that creates too many lofty goals for her kids. I figure I'll do my best to be a good mom, and cross my fingers my little arrow turns out ok. But one thing I do hope to do is expose him to some interesting cultural experiences. Even if he's too little to appreciate it at 15 months, at least we are getting into the habit of making it a priority. The challenge at our arrow's age is what types of activities are appropriate and fun for him (and us!)

A few weeks ago, on yet another hot and sticky Saturday morning, we had our answer: off we went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art's new 100 Acres outdoor arts park. You know you're having a good time when you forget about 90 degree temperatures and 90% humidity. If you've been looking for a way to introduce the arts to your kids in a fun, welcoming environment, put this on your to-do list.

We were greeted in the parking area by this wacky, colorful sculpture--the craziest basketball court you've ever seen. My b-ball playing husband loved it! If you have a bit of a drive to get to the IMA like we do, this is a great spot for kids to burn some energy off.

See the white dome out in the pond? A few interns have been living there all summer. Can you imagine?!

We ended our visit with a walk through this sculpture. It's meant to be contemplative area. Walk through that tunnel and up some stairs, and you enter a stark courtyard where we really did stop and reflect.

A few tips if you visit with kids:

1) Park in the area specifically designated for 100 Acres, just west of the museum on 38th Street. If you're using a stroller, this will allow you access to the park without having to navigate stairs.

2) And while I'm on the topic of strollers, bring a jogging one if you have it. Most of the paths are gravel. If you have a smaller baby, I would recommend using a sling or carrier.

3) As you walk toward the park from the parking area, look for the box with maps. The maps have really well-done descriptions of each piece of art and will give you a much better appreciation for what you're seeing.

4) There is a public restroom/rest station just past most of the sculptures. This would be a good spot to eat a quick lunch if its blazing hot when you visit. Although there is plenty of shade in the woods off the canal too.

5) If you have time, visit the museum too. It's free!

What are some ways you provide your kids with fun cultural experiences? I'd love to get some suggestions!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Favorite Posts of the Week

This little experiment of mine, Arrows Sent Forth, is just a few weeks old. I thought it might be fun to try out the blogging thing for a while, and if it was, I'd stick with it. While I'm having a blast writing, reminiscing and marveling at the adventures we've had since our little arrow arrived 15 months ago and sharing it with the world (aka my mom, who I'm certain is my only loyal reader... thanks Mom!), I think I've had even more fun learning about the mommy/travel/twitter/blog world. I'm still a total novice (so if I've done something silly, offensive, faux pas-ish, please forgive me). There are so many great, witty, funny blog writers out there who either capture my heart or make me laugh out loud (or both).

So I was thinking each week, I'd compile a few of my favorites and share it with all of you (Again, that "you" being my mom. Maybe my sister too, if she's bored. Thanks ladies.)

Drum roll please... my favorite posts for the week of 8/2/10:

Mom 101: The etiquette bitch: Righter of wrongs, defender of moms
What mom hasn't found herself in this situation? (Either the mom comforting the screaming baby, apologizing profusely; or the etiquette bitch, defending her cub). And while I'm at it, can I also make a plea to all the non-moms out there who NEVER hold the door open for me when I'm pushing a stroller???!!! I know they are non-moms because any mom who has ever left her house knows how impossible it is to enter and exit any building while pushing a stroller, and wouldn't leave a fellow mom out to dry. God Bless automatic doors.

The Stir: Why I Find Gisele Bundchen Annoying as Hell
I'm from Indianapolis. So it goes without saying that I despise the Patriots. Therefore, I was probably not going to be organizing a local chapter of the Gisele Bundchen Fan Club anytime soon. But her recent remarks about motherhood/pregnancy/breastfeeding had me raging as if I'd just seen another dirty play orchestrated by Bill Belichick. I hate when moms draw a line in the sand and cast one another into a "bad mom" category. (And can I just say that let she who steals a baby's daddy be the last to throw stones?!)

and last but certainly not least

Adventure Tykes: Who Says You Can't
We get a lot of crazy looks when we're out on hikes with our little arrow strapped in his backpack carrier. So I already feel a kinship with this mom (although their bravery blows our family out of the water...13.4 mile hikes... amazing, inspiring, and holy cow, she must be in GREAT shape!)

Did you read a great blog post this week? Please comment and share!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Babies love live music too!

Outdoor concerts in the park are one of summer's simplest pleasures--so bring your little ones along! When our little arrow was about 4 months old, he attended his first concert--one of his parents' favorite bands, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band. And as if that wasn't enough fun to pack into one outing, it was a part of the Rib America Festival held in downtown Indy each year. (Meaning we stuffed ourselves silly eating BBQ nachos and pulled pork sandwiches while we rocked... I'm drooling like a teething baby just thinking about it!) This year, it's scheduled for Labor Day weekend (Sept. 3-6), so if you're in the area, check it out.

A few pieces of advice?
1) Choose concerts that are scheduled for big, outdoor spaces. Not only will this mean you can park yourselves far enough away from the loud speakers to keep your little arrows' ear drums from busting open, but your stroller, blanket and various other pieces of baby gear won't bother anyone either.
2) I wish we would have taken along our Baby Bjorn (or baby carrier of your choice). Our little arrow wanted to sway and jam to the music just like us (and people watch), instead of staying confined to his stroller, which meant we had to hold him quite a bit.
3) Make sure to pack sunscreen, hat, etc. The shady spots usually go pretty quickly, so be prepared.

Since then, we've attended a few other live shows as a family that I'm sure I'll be posting about soon. Rock on, babies.

This post is a part of Trekaroo's Spotlight Thursdays. See what others are doing with their kids this week!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wondering what we've been up to this summer?

This pretty much sums it up. And a perfectly appropriate post for the hottest day of the year.

This photo is a part of You Capture at Go check out other great summer photos.

This photo is a part of Wordless Wednesday at Head on over to see more great photos.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The outing that started it all.

Sometimes I forget those times, now that my son is down to one nap and we seem to be constantly on the go, running errands, meeting friends, visiting family, or just plain having fun. But there was a day when I never thought I'd leave the house after giving birth. In those first couple of months, we tackled a few walks around the neighborhood, quick visits to the grandparents, and maybe even a dash to the grocery store. At around the three-month mark, I was beginning to think my life might never reach beyond my living room.

One Saturday morning my husband and I were daydreaming about Saturdays past... leisurely strolls around downtown Indy; lunch out somewhere; drinks/live music in the evenings. I don't know what got into us, but we finally decided to get brave and GET OUT. We got the little arrow all tucked into his stroller and off we went, doing what we've always done best together: exploring!

We mostly just walked, ducked in and out of a few stores, grabbed a coffee, and even ate a meal out. I was still too nervous to sit in a restaurant with him (heaven forbid he cry in public... I've since gotten over that!), but we grabbed a sandwich at a deli and ate it in a nearby park.

When we got back home a couple hours later, just in time for a feeding, my husband and I were beaming from ear to ear. We did it. Life would be fun again, we just knew it. That simple little trip out was like a breakthrough for us. It was the start of many fabulous adventures to come, kid in tow. And I honestly think that while bringing along baby changed our outings drastically, it has made them that much more fun. The sense of accomplishment you feel when you've successfully had a fun time out of the house, kid in tow? Indescribable.

So my advice to new moms? I get the whole "keep newborn away from germs" those first few weeks. But find a way to get out while still keeping your little arrow healthy. Need some ideas? I love the Rookie Moms blog (wish I had known about it in those dark, lonely days!), and they have lots of great ideas and bloggers that will inspire you with their stories. And I promise, life doesn't really return to normal, but it does return to being fun again!