Monday, August 31, 2009

Children's Artist Paper

While we were in Vermont Grace did a lot of sketching and drawing. Of course since Grace was drawing Harris was too! They did so much drawing that they used up the sketch books that were in our car travel box.

Our cabin overlooking the mountains.
by Grace

Today while I was doing some shopping at JoAnn's I came upon a line of artists paper supplies for children. I was thrilled to find a reasonably priced and quality sketchbook for each of the children.

When I got home I realized that I already have their story drawing book where the bottom third of the page is ruled for writing. I love that this line of Strathmore's products are meant for children but not gimmicky or gussied up.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vermont Vacation 2009

I'm a bit overwhelmed thinking of creating a post that will somehow convey what a great time we had in Vermont. We took 3 million pictures and managed to do an awful lot while also fitting in time to do nothing at all.

Our home away from home for the week was a guest house on the property of the Trapp Family Lodge. It was the perfect place to stay because it was equipped with a fully functional kitchen, two bedrooms and a large family room. It was more economical and a better fit for a family than staying in the Lodge!

We've decided that we love Vermont. It's beautiful, peaceful and the air just feels different. We had some very cool weather while there and it was perfect! Here are some of the views we enjoyed!

This was our view from our cabin. In the evening we would sit on the patio while the children played and have Vermont cheddar and crackers (and a local beer or two!).

The pond was very close to our cabin. The Lodge provided nets for the children to catch fish or go frog hunting. It was endlessly fascinating.

The Lodge had lovely gardens that we enjoyed exploring.

This is the chapel that Werner von Trapp built upon his return from the war. He is buried to the left of the chapel. It was a short hike from the Lodge and it was so pretty! Several Trapp family members have been married at this chapel.

One of the nicest things that happened on our trip was also the most unexpected! On our first full day, Grace and Harris met 6 other children that they immediately connected with. The children spent the rest of the week playing together outside whenever they had down time. The three families of these children have all gotten to know each other through the years as they all come to the Lodge at the same time every year. I love that!

Zachary, Brock, Paige, Sidney, Grace and Harris. (Casey and Haley are not pictured)

There is much to do in Stowe but I think we managed to fit in a lot without constantly being on the go. Here are some highlights of our adventures!

We went hiking through some beautiful woods. In a case of mistaken identity we took a trail near Mt. Mainsfield that while beautiful was really difficult. I still can't believe that the children were able to make it! At one point I told Bryce that I didn't think that Grace would be able to make it much longer but I was really only using her as an excuse. It felt like we were hiking straight up! I will never understand how Bryce was able to hike up that mountain with Harris on his shoulders!

We did eventually find the waterfall we were looking for and the children and Bryce went for a dip in the freezing cold water!

We enjoyed our tour of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory. Even more than the tour we enjoyed the ice cream.

Up on a hill behind the factory they have a graveyard of retired flavors!

On our way back from eating ice cream we stopped off to get fresh cider doughuts. We figured we were on vacation!

Apparently Gourmet magazine chose these doughnuts as one of the top four doughnuts in the country! Yum!

The Lodge has extensive biking trails and they have recently added a fun bike park. Grace had fun!

One afternoon we rode up to Stowe Mountain and had a lot of fun with the activities up on the mountain!

During the summer months they have an alpine slide. We each went with a child.

Grace's favorite thing was the bungee trampoline! She went so high!

Grace was able to do double somersaults!

Harris also went high although he was not yet ready to flip over!

Harris did not weigh enough to do the rock climbing wall at the mountain but Grace did try it. It was not her favorite thing to do. She said it was really scary at the top!

Since Harris wasn't able to climb the rock wall at the mountain he gave it a shot at the Lodge. He scrambled right up there until he paused long enough to see how high he was!

Our last evening we went for a lovely carriage ride! It was so much fun!

The Lodge has various activities going on throughout the week for children and adults alike. The children participated in a few of the activities and had fun at each one. Every Friday the Lodge hosts a campfire to roast s'mores and say goodbye.

Of course we did lots that is not included in this post. We went swimming (we went to the indoor pool- it was just not hot enough for the outdoor pool), ate a good deal, ran around singing, "The Hills are Alive", and had fires in the evenings. The children played with friends and picked berries off of the trees, went wading in the pond and we even played a little bit of tennis. It's a good thing that I have those 3 million photos because I wouldn't want to forget this great vacation!

Friday, August 28, 2009

List for next vacation

Tomorrow we leave Vermont to travel home! We have truly had a wonderful time here at the Trapp Family Lodge and look forward to the next time we visit. As I'm sitting here by the fire I've been thinking of what I would want to remember to bring next time we visit. This post is really to jog my memory the next time I'm getting ready for a vacation and I'm having a tough time figuring out what to pack or bring or do.

What to not forget on our next adventure...

1. Bring clothes that are more casual. I brought cute, summery dresses and such and have worn them...0 times! I needed more jeans and t-shirts! This is outdoorsy and flip-flops don't cut it either so...
2. Bring better hiking shoes! Thankfully, I did bring sneakers.
3. Bring a flashlight.
4. Bring a picnic blanket.
5. Bring a chefs knife and the veggie steamer. All the kitchen has are serrated knives and it's rather difficult to cut carrots! Also, a steamer would help us to not overdose on raw carrots.
6. Bring water shoes. Not crocs but real, honest to goodness water shoes. It's hard to frolic in creeks and streams with bare feet.
7. Bring more layers... for me. Somehow I managed to bring warm fleeces and jackets for the children but all I have is a white knit sweater. Also, don't bring white.
8. Bring more socks than seems reasonable. Same goes for pajamas.
9. Remember to bring the children's wellies. We did bring them and they have been worn countless times (I would just hate to forget them again).
10. Bring our bikes and don't forget the helmets.
11. Remember to have hair highlighted. Many, many pictures will be taken and it would be a shame to have 2 inch roots in each and every picture (I'm just sayin).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A few of our favorite things...

A few of our favorite things...

Family Night

We're getting back on track with regular family nights. Tonight's theme was "a few of our favorite things."

Steak and Rissotto
I asked the children what their favorite foods were and their answers were steak (Harris) and risotto (Grace). Therefore, those were on the menu for dinner.

Oreos and Ben and Jerry's Ice cream

Bryce has a serious love for oreos, and I love Ben and Jerry's ice cream*. The children and I made mint oreo ice cream out of our Ben and Jerry's recipe book. Seriously good.

We watched The Sound of Music!


We leave tomorrow for a much anticipated vacation! We are staying at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. I figure it will either be awesome or cheesy or maybe awesomely cheesy! At any rate I'll be back next week.

Whiskers on kittens...

*I can hardly wait to take the Ben and Jerry's factory tour. I'm more excited than the children.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In bloom and one doomed

Here are just a few of the flowers that have been in bloom the past few weeks in the children's garden...

A reality check...

Our butterfly bush is in very poor health. I recently read that they don't like wet feet which could explain a lot. We have had a ton of rain all summer and the ground just can't dry out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Enchanted Gardens

If everyone has their own idea of what heaven is like then this is Grace's.

Today the children and I took a daytrip to the Enchanted Gardens at Winterthur. It was a magical place! I should warn you now that approximately 2 million pictures are in this post. Please believe me when I tell you that I did try to edit the photos. It was hard. Obviously.

Every single detail was thought of in the creation of these beautiful gardens. We had it almost all to ourselves... for the 4 hours that we spent in them!

The tulip treehouse. Grace spotted fairy dust in the house.

Mother birds nest.

A fairy ring.

The children, Harris especially, were disappointed that fairy work was being done on the troll bridge. I guess the troll was on vacation!

The cottage was so beautiful! We were ready to move in!

Running around the maypole in the gathering green.

Even though it was a rather warm day we had really wonderful shade.

Frog Hollow where we even saw a frog.

Said frog.

Checking to see if they could fly. Not yet.

We ended the day with tired, but happy, children.
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