A Great Birthday Dinner At Bonefish Grill – Crescent Springs, Kentucky

Filet Mignon and Lump Crab Cake with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette

My first baby, Ivy, turned 18 last weekend! She chose to have her family birthday dinner at Bonefish Grill in Crescent Springs, Kentucky. This was our first time eating here. It was the perfect combo for our family and it was close to her Grandpa so he didn’t have to drive too far. Ivy wanted a steak and seafood. This place really delivered. There were seven of us and we called ahead for reservations. They seated us as soon as we arrived and had a highchair ready if we wanted one. We did and were very appreciative.

We Started with Awesome Appetizers

They start off with unlimited free bread with butter and olive oil on the side. We chose to do two appetizers. We wanted a seafood option and a non-seafood option. Ivy loves Calamari so we got that as our first appetizer. It was perfectly cooked and very tasty. We went with the Wagyu Beef + Ginger Potstickers as our second option. There weren’t many non-seafood options. I love Potstickers and these didn’t disappoint. There are six in an order which was perfect for us. Octavia, 2, doesn’t like beef so she skipped this.

I celebrated with a glass of Sangria!

Only Pappaw Tom and I had an alcoholic beverage. I had a fabulous sangria and he had a draft beer. Everyone else had a soft drink, iced tea, or water.

Ivy’s Birthday Dinner!

The Steak was Amazing!

Ivy went all out for her birthday! She had a Filet Mignon and Lump Crab Cake with au gratin potatoes and green beans. Also, she added on grilled shrimp. She was unhappy with the shrimp because they were overcooked. I had Filet Mignon and Crab Cake with garlic mashed potatoes and a mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigarette. Both of our steaks were cooked as ordered. Michael had the special. It was Red Snapper with au gratin potatoes and green beans. He loved his fish but wasn’t a huge fan of the au gratin potatoes. My sister, Cassie, had Blackened Baja Fish Tacos with rice and green beans on the side. My dad (AKA Pappaw Tom) had a Half-Pound Wagyu Beef Burger and fries. The two little girls ordered grilled chicken and fries off the children’s menu.

Caramel Apple Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream

We Finished with Two Mouthwatering Desserts!

Ivy ordered the Caramel Apple Lava Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. It was one of the special. Ivy said this was her favorite thing. The little girls and I had Chocolate Crème Brulee. They were both amazing.

The total for all seven of us including tip was $242. That included two alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages for everyone, two appetizers, five adult entrees including two steak dinners, two children’s meals, and two desserts. The only items we would have skipped were the grilled shrimp and au gratin potatoes.

50 Disney Songs To Add To Your Family Road Trip Playlist

We love a good road trip! Do you know what makes a road trip even better? An amazing playlist! We have a lot of Disney songs on our family road trip playlist. It’s fun for the whole family to have a sing-a-long. Does your playlist need a Disney update? We like to mix them in between other songs. Planning a trip to a Disney location and want to get in the mood? This is the list for you!

  1. How Far I’ll Go – Moana
  2. Let It Go – Frozen
  3. Hakuna Matata – The Lion King
  4. Under the Sea – The Little Mermaid
  5. Be Our Guest – Beauty & The Beast
  6. I’ve Got A Dream – Tangled
  7. Prince Ali – Aladdin
  8. On The Open Road – A Goofy Movie
  9. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – Mary Poppins
  10. The Bare Necessities – The Jungle Book
  11. You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Toy Story
  12. You’re Welcome – Moana
  13. Do You Want To Build A Snowman – Frozen
  14. I Just Can’t Wait To Be King – The Lion King
  15. Kiss The Girl – The Little Mermaid
  16. Colors Of The Wind – Pocahontas
  17. A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan
  18. Gaston – Beauty & The Beast
  19. A Whole New World – Aladdin
  20. Shiny – Moana
  21. Everybody Wants To Be A Cat – The Aristocats
  22. When Will My Life Begin – Tangled
  23. After Today – A Goofy Movie
  24. What’s This – Nightmare Before Christmas
  25. Almost There – Princess and The Frog
  26. I’ll Make A Man Out Of You – Mulan
  27. Friend Like Me – Aladdin
  28. Learn Me Right – Brave
  29. I See The Light – Tangled
  30. I-2-I (eye to eye) – A Goofy Movie
  31. Be Prepared – The Lion King
  32. I Wanna Be Like You – The Jungle Book
  33. Zero To Hero – Hercules
  34. Part Of Your World – The Little Mermaid
  35. Fixer Upper – Frozen
  36. Belle – Beauty & The Beast
  37. Once Upon A Dream – Sleeping Beauty
  38. Just Around The Riverbend – Pocahontas
  39. Oogie Boogie’s Song – Nightmare Before Christmas
  40. I am Moana – Moana
  41. When We’re Human – Princess & The Frog
  42. Nobody Else But You – A Goofy Movie
  43. For The First Time in Forever – Frozen
  44. Where You Are – Moana
  45. Dig A Little Deeper – Princess & The Frog
  46. You’ll Be In My Heart – Tarzan
  47. Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo & Stitch
  48. In Summer – Frozen
  49. Mother Knows Best – Tangled
  50. A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes – Cinderella

There are many more that we enjoy but these are the ones on our road trip playlist. Our girls enjoy songs that they can sing along with. What is your favorite Disney Song? Would you add anything to our list?

Our Very Long Check List: Preparing for Long-Term Family Travel with Three Kids

We are currently preparing for long-term family travel. We plan to begin our trip in 2020. Many people have been asking for a list of exactly what we’re working on right now. I want to say upfront that not all of these things would be necessary for every family and most of it could be done much faster. There are parts of this that we could (and very well still may) completely do on the fly. There are parts of our plan that require time to complete and that is why we are able to take our time with other things that could be done quicker. Having ample time to research and prepare has made this whole endeavor much less stressful. Now on to our checklist.

1.) Paying off Debt – We had a lot of debt when we decided that we wanted to go on this adventure. We didn’t want to have all of that debt and crazy amounts of payments hanging over us when we left. Also, we felt like saving for a trip and spending excessive amounts of money while traveling would be irresponsible knowing we had loads of debt. We made out our “Hit List” for the first debts that we would tackle. We started by paying off one credit card and loan at a time. After we paid off a few things, we made out our priority list that we are still working our way through. It was like we needed to pay off a couple of things and know we were serious before we were willing to make out that whole list. If you are interested in our priority list, you can find it here.

2.) Education – Education and homeschool research has been a huge focus for me right now. We have three daughters, all in different age groups. The main reason for our timeframe is that our oldest daughter, Ivy, will graduate from high school in 2020. Since she was in high school, we decided it was best for her to finish. She plans to take a gap year to go with us and to think about what she wants to do. If she wants to take any college classes while we are gone there are many online options.

Our middle daughter, Isabella, will be starting fifth grade when we leave. I’ve been reading everything I can about homeschooling. I looked into the laws. I’m researching curriculum, reading lists, online programs, historical places we could visit, and homeschool record keeping. There is so much available that it can be a little overwhelming. I just wanted to get a good overview so I didn’t feel completely unprepared when the time came. We are trying to decide between her staying in her school for the fourth grade or doing a year of homeschooling before we leave. Our youngest, Octavia, will be four when we leave. Our state doesn’t require children to be officially enrolled as a homeschooler until age six. We plan to begin preschool at home before we leave and continue on the road.

I have found out from my research that we are “relaxed, eclectic” homeschoolers. This seems fitting because we are pretty relaxed people. Our middle daughter is very independent and self-directed. Having the time to fully research this has been very helpful. It has given me the opportunity to think about what I want to cover and how best to cover it. I feel much more comfortable than I did when I first started looking into it.

3.) Medical/Dental We had a few things that we wanted and needed to get taken care of before we leave. Our oldest had oral surgery to have her wisdom teeth taken out. She needs to do a set of x-rays and a check-up on her back before we leave. Our middle daughter has food allergies to seafood and shellfish. She was diagnosed when she was three. She had a reaction to shrimp but the others were found on a scratch test and with blood work. We were told that most young kids grow out of their allergies. She has an appointment soon to find out if and what allergies remain. I’m very hopeful that she has outgrown it for multiple reasons. It would make traveling much easier. I’m terrified that we will be somewhere that we don’t understand the language and accidentally feed her shrimp.

We have to visit a travel clinic closer to when we leave so we can receive any needed vaccinations and medications for our trip. We have been getting anything we can from our regular doctors that our insurance will cover. I work in healthcare so there are some extra things that I have been lucky enough to have covered by employee health services. We have found a travel clinic and looked into the process. 

4.) Preparing our Kids – We are talking about traveling, reading books, and watching videos. They are working on needed skills like swimming and hiking. We have been introducing them to new foods. We know this is going to be a huge transition and we are doing everything we can to make it easier for them.

5.) Our Belongings – We have been slowly decluttering and using up our belongings. We have been narrowing down what is truly important to us. We plan to rent a small storage bin for the sentimental items and to store off-season things while traveling. We have decided to find a place near my mom so that she can check on things for us and put stuff in if we ship anything home. I will be scanning all of our photos and taking pictures of sentimental items just in case anything is ruined in the storage bin. I plan to put everything on a portable hard drive. We will store this and a small number of valuable keepsakes in a safe deposit box.

6.) Packing/What are we taking – We have been researching suitcases/backpacks, suggested packing lists, reviews for various travel gear, and looking at the weather in areas that we want to go to. We have been looking at our current favorite items to see how best to accommodate our personal styles into our travel wardrobes. We will be spending part of our trip working and slow traveling in the United States. We will have a large vehicle during that time and be taking considerably more with us. We will have kitchen stuff and clothing for multiple seasons. We have been discussing how much stuff we will need to homeschool. We will have very little with us when we are flying. We plan to take a milk crate sized box with us for homeschooling items when we are in the US. We plan to allow one small bag for toys when flying and a bigger bag or box when driving.

7.)  Blogging/Vlogging I plan to continue blogging when we leave. I hope to inspire others to live their dreams, especially families. We are considering doing Vlogs on Youtube but we’re not sure if this is for us. We are going to make a few and see how it goes. We want to at least try filming and editing before we leave to see if it’s something that we would enjoy doing.

8.) Trip Planning/Travel Research – Where are we going? We don’t know exactly but we have been researching areas and getting together our bucket-lists. We looked at the best times of year to visit, must see places, and estimated daily budgets. This is really helping us to prioritize.

9.) Work I plan to work as a travel nurse. I’m not sure if we will travel for a while before I do a travel nurse contract or if I will do a contract first to get a feel for it. I’ve been looking into different companies and talking to people who do this. My husband doesn’t know if he wants to continue with what he does now or if he’s going to try a new line of work. He has considered temporary work and online options too.

10.) Physical – We are working on being in good shape so that we don’t feel like we’re going to die when we leave. We still will not be used to walking all day, every day. I want to finish losing the weight I gained with Octavia. I am walking and hiking more with the kids so that they are better prepared for what’s coming. My husband, Michael, has a very sedentary job currently. He is working out and trying to eat better. He is considering taking a more active job again before we leave. Unfortunately, he is still smoking occasionally and really needs to quit. He has tried many times but he hasn’t had the willpower to make it stick. 

11.) Spending Time with Family and Friends We are spending as much time as possible with friends and family. Also, we are trying to help them understand why we are doing what we are doing, that we will miss them, and that we do plan to visit.

12.) Passports & Visas – We need to get all of our passports in order when we get closer to leaving. We have been looking into Visas and any rules that we need to know for visiting different countries.

13.) Banking and Credit Cards – We need to figure out which bank we want to use when we leave and which credit cards offer the best perks. We need to make sure that we are able to access our money regardless of where we are. We will likely have multiple different accounts including checking, savings, and credit cards.

14.) Insurance We will need medical, travel, and car insurance. 

15.) Cell Phone and Internet We will want/need cell phones and internet access while on the road. These will both change based on where we are and where we plan to go. 

16.) Post Office Box – We will likely set up a post office box before we leave so we know where our mail will go. I have been switching everything possible over to email.

17.) Kindle – We will need one of these for both homeschool and reading for enjoyment. Isabella (9) and I are avid readers. We both prefer paper books but we have to take weight and space into account. We have decided to purchase one Kindle to share and see if we need another later. 

18.) Laptops, Chromebook, TabletWe are trying to decide which options best fit our needs. We will be working a little online. I plan to continue with the blog. We will be homeschooling our youngest two girls. Our oldest does digital art. We will be taking our two current laptops (Ivy’s and mine) with us while we are in the United States. They are way too big to fly with so we may get a smaller laptop to take with us. Isabella has a fire tablet now that we’ll take because we already own it.

19.) Photography I am continuing to improve my photography and videography skills. I am learning how to best use my cameras and equipment. I’m figuring out which items I will take with me and picking out the best tech/camera bag options for that equipment.

20.) Money/Budget – We are trying to decide on a daily budget and an app or way to track it. I’m a total nerd and enjoy doing this kind of stuff. It can make all the difference in keeping us on the road longer and allowing us to enjoy our trip without constantly worrying about money. 

It’s quite a list! I’m very thankful that I have the time to do it all at my own pace and even more thankful that we will be able to take this trip. Do you have any suggestions about anything on this list? Did we miss anything that you think we need to consider? Please leave us a comment below.

Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island

We love Christmas lights! We go somewhere every year to see them. This year was our first time going to “Christmas Nights of Lights” at Coney Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. We went on a Saturday night. The line started just off the exit ramp and it snaked through the parking lot at Coney Island. We waited for around 45 minutes. We could see the lights in the distance which definitely helped keep the kids excited instead of annoyed.

The lights are synced to music that we found while waiting in line. This also helped the girls to wait. We really belted out some tunes. Our rendition of “Let It Go” was… well the word appalling comes to mind, but we did have a great time singing it. That’s the point right? We chatted a little and explained what Baby Shark is to my oblivious husband.

We finally made it in and it was well worth the wait! We loved it. I highly suggest visiting if you are near the Cincinnati area. Octavia (2) was so ecstatic to see all the lights, especially the snowmen. She is currently obsessed with snowmen. We all loved the arches you drive through.

The cost is only $6 per person. Children 3 and under are free. It was $24 for the five of us which was a pretty cheap Christmas outing. If the urge strikes once you get in the lot, there are port-a-potties. It was pretty cold outside and there was a bit of a line for them. Thankfully we didn’t need to use them.

The show is open every night until January 6th including holidays. They start at dusk and run until 10 pm. I have heard that the line gets longer later in the evening and as it gets closer to Christmas. It’s truly beautiful and a wonderful experience. Don’t take my word for it. Go see it yourself.

Merry Christmas & Happy Travels!

Perfect Fall Day at Farm Haven in Union, KY

Spending a day at the farm is one of those obligatory fall things that we all do every year. Farm Haven in Union, Kentucky is one of our all-time favorite farms. We have gone a few times over the last few years. When we started talking about which farm to visit this year, my kids wanted to go to Farm Haven again.

There is a little building next to the barn where you pay for your admission, buy pumpkins, snacks, and drinks. We went through the corn labyrinth first. It has a wide path that is easy to walk with little kids. There were a few holes and bumps in the ground but it wasn’t bad. There were sunflowers and other flowers around the opening. There were butterflies flying around them. There is a corn maze too. It is bumpier and harder to walk through. We chose to skip the full maze this year.

While in the corn labyrinth, Ivy found a caterpillar. The girls had fun checking it out. We also found a few spare pumpkins growing in the corn. There were cute scarecrows scattered throughout. I’m originally from Indiana and feel oddly comforted being surrounded with corn so I was a big fan of the labyrinth. Octavia seemed to really enjoy herself too. She is two. It is so fun to see the world so fresh and new through her. She was so amused by the fact that there was corn on the stalks.

Our next stop was the barn. Inside the barn, there is a play area made of straw that the kids can crawl through. Isabella and Octavia went through a couple times. There is also a petting/viewing zoo in here too. It’s not very big but it is cute. There were two full sized goats, two baby goats, two kittens, and a donkey that bites (there is a sign). The man working there got the baby goats out so the kids could pet them. They were so cute. The girls bought some food and fed the goats. Isabella thought they were hilarious. Octavia was terrified that they would bite her. She watched Isabella and I feed them instead.

We picked out corn before getting on the hayride. They take you to the back fields to feed the cows. They don’t normally feed them corn so they are very excited to see the hayrides. The cows came running. Octavia is obsessed with cows currently and squealed with delight to see them running toward us. However, she was a little afraid when she realized how big they were. She still helped me feed them.

Once the food was gone, the cows started to walk away. The hayride continues around to a side road and circles around the farmhouse. The girls loved going past the chicken coop. The hayride is one of our favorite parts of this place.

Our other favorite part was up next. They have a hay bale playground behind the barn. It has a little maze that the kids can run through. They can also climb on the hay bales and run across the top of them. Isabella loves it. A few years ago, she was really afraid to run or jump on top of them. Over the past couple of years, she has started to really enjoy it. This year she had a blast running around with the other kids.

We picked out three little pumpkins to take home and paid for them. We walked over to look at the small log cabin before leaving. The weather was really weird that day. It started off a little chilly and then got really warm. I’m glad that we dressed in layers. While we were at the cabin the rain that had been threatening to fall all day finally came. We did a little photo shoot on the porch of the log cabin while we waited for the rain to pass. It resulted in some great pictures. I’ve included my favorites below if you are interested.

Happy Travels!