Parky’s Wetland Adventure

Looking for an affordable, kid-friendly outing on a hot summer day in Cincinnati?  Consider a trip to Parky’s Wetland Adventure on the Eastside.  It’s in Woodland Mound Park which is part of the Hamilton County parks system.  It’s $3.50 each for kids ages 2-12.

Octavia’s little hat is so cute!

We have been trying to visit all the different parks around Cincinnati. There are so many of them! It may keep us busy for ages. Isabella, six years old, loved it. The place is a perfect way to run off some energy and enjoy the heat. There is also a toddler section so we may revisit this with Octavia when she is a little older. Ivy was too old to play here.  She and I had time to chat while Isabella played with kids her age. Octavia slept through most of our trip. She’s a newborn and sleeps a lot.  The view of the river from the benches at the back was amazing!

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They have a snack/drink shop and picnic tables to eat at. After Isabella was done playing in the water, we grabbed a drink and quick snack. We chose to sit at the picnic tables near the playground next door to the waterpark instead. The girls had a lot of fun playing at the playground that is built into a hill. The tables were at the top of the hill so I could watch them playing.

There is also a nature center near the waterpark area that is free and worth a visit. It was a fun place to visit for a bit. There were plants and local animals. There was a short trail right by it that we walked. We had a lot of fun. This place is definitely a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon with the kids.

STARLITE DRIVE-IN

Do you want to feel like you have stepped into a family night from the past?  You can do just that at the Starlite Drive-in!  We enjoyed an old-fashioned night out with our kids.  I was trying to find a place for a family night that the girls would enjoy but that would be a good option for a newborn.  Octavia is only a month old.

I stumbled upon this while searching options in the greater Cincinnati area. The Starlite Drive-in is located in Amelia, OH.  This is an extremely affordable option for taking a family to the movies. They do a double feature.  Prices are currently: 12 and up is $8.75 and kids 4-11 are $5.25. Three and under are free. You can buy a food permit for $5 and bring in outside food.  I stopped at the grocery earlier in the day and picked up some favorite snack food.  We brought a cooler for juice and water bottles. The entire outing cost us under $50.

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We took the minivan for this trip. We turned the backseat around and laid out blankets in the back.  The kids had a blast.  I didn’t have to worry about where to feed the baby.  Best of all we got to spend some time together snuggling and it gave us a great memory.  Your kids only stay little for a short time.  Make as many amazing memories as you can!

Tips for Packing for Kids

Packing for children can be quite tedious and leave you questioning every choice. You don’t want to be bogged down by heavy luggage but you also do not want to be stuck without a spare outfit when you need it most. The first step to deciding how many outfits your child needs is to figure out what their normal daily needs are at home. Do they get dirty a lot? Are they toilet trained? Then consider where you are going and what your activities will be. Will you be outside? Any special outings that require a nicer option? What will the weather be like? Do you need to layer to accommodate changes throughout the day?

My oldest child is 15 so her needs are similar to an adult. I tell her if there is weight/space limitations. She typically brings an outfit for each day of a short trip plus a couple extra options. She may wear jeans or shorts more than once if it’s a city or mostly indoor trip. She will bring one nicer outfit to change into before a nicer dinner or outing. She will bring an extra swimsuit and sundress. Teens are capable of packing their own bags with little to no guidance. Travel is a learning experience. Packing and planning ahead is part of that learning. Make sure to give your teen ample time. When a teen makes poor choices, fails to plan, or waits until the last-minute, you must decide if you are going to bail them out or use it as a learning experience.

Children between 5 and 12 need more guidance. They can and should help with planning and packing for their personal needs. I tell my 6-year-old where we will be going and what type of outfit that requires for each day. She lays out her choices and I check to see if they are appropriate. I pack the good choices. I explain why inappropriate choices will not work and give her a chance to try again. Set very clear limits on toys. This may include the number of items, the size/weight of the toy, if it’s an electronic toy, if it needs to be quiet, and the space within the bag that can be allocated to toys. You may need to offer guidance and supervision depending on your child’s personality, age, and level of experience with these sort of tasks.

Babies through preschool age children require more thought into what to pack. How much to take will really be child dependent. A baby with reflux or frequent diaper blowouts will take extra planning. Can extra bibs help offset some of the need? Do not forget to take this into consideration when packing for yourself. I carry an old shirt for myself in the diaper bag at all times since I had the pleasure of driving home in a sports bra after a diaper blowout in a baby carrier at a park. Assume that a toddler and preschooler will get dirty or wet if the opportunity presents itself. You can let toddlers and preschoolers help by choosing between two items or by handing you things. You can also give preschoolers the ability to pick out favorite clothing pieces to build an outfit around. The more involved they are at this age the more independently they can pack later.

We aim for a couple extra outfits per week/trip for school age children and 1-2 extra outfits per day for babies through preschoolers. There are ways to work these extra items in without feeling like you have majorly over-packed. I typically pack 1-2 extra sundresses for my girls when going someplace warm because they are lightweight options. A swimsuit top can be worn in a pinch. I pack comfortable clothing to use as pajamas that can double as regular clothing in case of emergency. This is my go to for short trips and camping. Do you need your kids to be clean for dinner but don’t want to pack a ton of extra clothing? Consider having them wear the next days clothing to dinner. This has worked for us for normal dining options many times. Casual dresses and button downs with khakis can work on a child at nicer restaurants and still be comfortably worn for sightseeing. A clean onesie is all that’s needed for a baby in warm areas and a sleeper is acceptable in cooler ones. Babies are cute no matter what they are wearing so no need to stress over the perfect outfit for everything.

Beware of buying new clothing for little kids for a trip. It’s a lot of extra pressure. They may not like the way it feels. It may get dirty or even ruined. It may get lost. Remember that this is supposed to be enjoyable. Relax your standards a little. A stained shirt is not the end of the world. Let the kids be kids. Let things go so that you can enjoy yourself.

Izzy’s in Florence, KY

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I can’t help it!  I just love a good sandwich! I also adore the pickles at Izzy’s.  They bring this bowl of free pickle goodness to your table and everything is awesome from that moment on.  We devoured our pickle appetizer while waiting on our sandwiches. Izzy’s is known for their pickles, Reubens, and potato pancakes.

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On this particular day, the hubby ordered a Reuben and I got the corn beef and Swiss.  They also make these perfect potato pancakes.  They are perfectly fried heaven.  I could easily go to Izzy’s and only eat them.  You can order them separately.  This restaurant is extremely family friendly.  They do offer kid’s meals that are similar to the adult food but the potatoes are different.  Isabella got the corn beef sandwich.  I could order a potato pancake for Isabella for lunch instead.  They are big and she loved them so much she put a pretty good dent in mine and her Dad’s.

We visited the location on Mall road in Florence, KY. The parking situation at this particular location sucks. It is in the same building as a Starbucks and shares a parking lot with a small strip-mall. If you go here at midday, you may have to circle the lot to find a parking spot.  It is worth the time spent finding parking. Very affordable at under $10 per person.

Come hungry and Enjoy!

Antique Shopping and Louisville’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crazy Daisy Antiques

We went on a day trip to Louisville, Kentucky for a girl day.  We did a little antique shopping.  We started at Tickled Pink.  It is a cute little shop.  We enjoyed browsing all the little goodies tucked into rooms and the art hanging on the wall including the staircase.  We also visited The Crazy Daisy Antique Mall.  This place was pretty big.  It has different stalls to visit.  The items were extremely varied.  The kids enjoyed seeing the old toys and baby clothing.

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Please & Thank You

We decided that we must try the chocolate chip cookies at Please & Thank You while we were in town.  We had heard so many good things about this place that I wasn’t sure it could live up to the hype but I was wrong. The place definitely has a Hipster vibe. The staff was polite. The iced Thai coffee was amazing. Our oldest daughter, Ivy, really enjoyed their specialty tea assortment. She decided on the Ruby Slipper and loved it.

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So Many Goodies!

We came for cookies but once Isabella looked in the case she decided that she had to try the Bourbon Bar. It was quite delish! Everything looked and smelled amazing. We placed our order and waited for it to be made. It was Sunday afternoon and the place was very busy. We found seats in the back near the record shop area.

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They had a small table for the little kids with crayons & a shelf of old toys.

Ivy and I sat at the end of a large picnic table that was shared by many patrons. It was comfortable and friendly. The chocolate chip cookies were gooey and perfect. I understand why they are the best in Louisville.

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Amazing!!!

We had an amazing day trip!  I’m glad we took the short drive.  It’s always nice going out with the girls for a day.  It is so relaxing being away from everything for a day.  There is so much to do in Louisville and it is such a pretty city that I know that we’ll go back.