It’s Fun to be One!

It is so hard to believe that Octavia is a year old! That year really flew by. I feel like the time goes faster with each kid or maybe it just seems to go faster as I get older. We have had some great times this year! She is a wonderful little girl. She is curious, fun, and loves to eat. Her favorite thing to play is peek-a-boo. Her favorite food is avocado.

We decided on a “1st Birthday” in pink theme. Her sisters helped me decide. It is summer so we chose to serve a grilled lunch and put blankets out so the kids could picnic in the backyard. We blew up a few pink and white beach balls for the kids to enjoy. I was lucky enough to find these at the dollar store!

She was the final piece to our family puzzle. I finally feel like my family is complete. It’s a hard feeling to explain but it’s like we are finally all here. I felt like we were missing somebody before her. I began feeling like this as soon as we got home from the hospital and it has not changed over this first year.

Parky’s Wetland Adventure

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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.

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!

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.

Crabs We Got ’em

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Crabs We Got ’em in Pensacola Beach, Florida was a fast family favorite.  It is the epitome of the kitschy seafood restaurant on the beach.  It was a must on many lists that I read while planning our trip.  The moment I looked up photos of the place I knew it was for us.  From the crab related art work and the caged birds out front to the beach playground and beach front outdoor tables, this place was made for families.

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Isabella at the playground on the beach

I normally spend some time picking accommodations and planning a couple of restaurant options.  This is especially important if we go out for seafood because one of our girls has food allergies.  With a little advance notice you can work around allergies sometimes.  I called ahead and we were able to make arrangements for her to be served macaroni and cheese before the rest of us got any food.  She then played at the on-site playground while we ate at a neighboring table that they had saved for us.  We were very impressed with the service.  They were very accommodating and our waitress was super friendly.

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Fried Crab Claws

There is something amazing about eating seafood while listening to the waves crash and staring out over the tranquility of the ocean.  The food here was amazing!  The hubby and I had a couple of crab traps (their signature drinks).  We lingered over appetizers and dinner as the sun went down.  The fried crab claws, calamari, and the tray of gulf blue crabs were our favorites.

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While I am typically very budget conscience, this place was expensive.  The food is great and the atmosphere is even better.  If you wanted to do this on a tighter budget, I would suggest the Gulf blue crab tray steamed in beer.  It was local, well priced, and big enough you could share.  You could skip the drinks.  The appetizers were so delicious I have trouble telling you to skip them.  Maybe just one appetizer.  We really love food!  Sometimes you just have to splurge on a good meal.  It’s good for the soul.

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Just a pile of crabs! YUM!

This place was an easy walk down the beach to our hotel.  We took our time walking back, enjoying the beauty of the beach at night with the crabs scurrying around.  Isabella would scream every time one went running near her.  Ivy loved them.  The girls are very different with things like that.  We passed an area that was blocked off for a sea turtle nest.  Both of the girls were excited to see that.

Have you been here?  What did you think?  Have suggestions for our next trip to Florida? Please leave them in the comments below