Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vermont Vacation

Yummy Ben and Jerry's samples!

I am so thankful that our move from Baltimore to Fayetteville was so good. We got to get mostly settled in (do you ever really finish?) And we had such a super trip to Vermont this summer.  I meant to blog about earlier while the memories are all fresh but life happens and now it's several months later. But it was still a wonderful trip. We had no problems on the 14 + hour drive. We spent the night in a hotel on the way up- partly to enjoy a wonderful Philly Cheese Steak in NJ. Yum! The drive into Vermont was beautiful- although I was really glad to have James driving especially the last bit of windy roads. We were very happy to see our nice condo- it was very big and the kids were so excited to have a room with four twin beds. We stay at Smuggler's Notch Resort- "Americas number one family resort"which was really nice. A good combo of organized events and plenty of fun you could do on your own. A little bit warmer weather would have been nice but the pools were heated and we weren't hot! 
The first night they had a welcome on the green. Music, dancing, and games. Everyone had fun! And they told about some of the events for the week. Monday morning we went on an organized nature hike which was nice. And we met a super Navy Chaplain and his family. They had 5 kids too and were great people. We saw them at several events during the week. 

They had a small farmers' market right there on the resort which was nice because it was kind of far to any stores. Also nice because they had a pirate and they had super yummy samples of maple syrup, adult drinks, and some other goodies. The kids were so super at waiting patiently while James and I sampled, they got a piece of delicious maple candy. We bought maple syrup and maple cream which is amazing! 

Amazing view from the pool walking distance from our condo. We didn't go to this pool very much because the other pools had fun slides. But this had the best view of the mountains!

We stopped several times at the apple cider factory- free samples of apple cider! Plus they had very good apples for way cheap. And samples of all kinds of goodies and yummy apple donuts. 

This delicious dinner was well worth sitting through the condo tour! Local place with great staff, good local food, and super murals on the wall- glad the only place open for lunch was this good!

The Ben and Jerry's tour was really good. I loved seeing all the old billboards and reading their history. The factory tour and movie was good. The sample at the end was probably the crowd favorite!

The pool went to the most. Besides the heated pool in this pic, there was a fun kiddie area with small lazy river, a small slide, and a big tube slide. The kids liked the cannon ball contest too!

The fun zone was definitely fun! You had to buy a smugg pass to go but it was well worth especially since we had some chilly, rainy days. The fun zone was really nice- lots of bouncies but also table golf, 

foosball, a smaller kids area, putt-putt. you really could play for a long time on all the fun things there- good family fun!

We did some hiking which we loved. this pic was on the way to one of 3 waterfalls we  saw.

How awesome is this! Loved this hike- well until we tried to avoid the steep downhill and got a little turned around. but we still had cell phone coverage and James found a safer way back for us and another couple. Beautiful!

This is the big slide. I don't have pics of the third pool that was lots of fun too. Smuggs had a cookout there. They provided grills and condiments. We pasta and brownies to share and grilled burgers for us. Lots of fun there! 

More Fun center fun!

And more!

Tons of great things from our trip that I haven't added pictures for yet. Like the two bluestar museums we went to. One was a history museum but it was really well done. Definitely learned a lot about Vermont. The other was a science museum that had an amazing amount of displays inside. The building didn't look that big but it was really well done. 

We also had more hikes around Smuggs, an amazing show from a woodpecker on a hike, four square fun, a super magic show, and lots of fun playing games. great trip! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

3 weeks left after 3 years here

It's been a good ride- but now time to go. We've learned and grown so much while we were here. here's some things we've learned:

1- an air popper is definitely the way to go for popcorn- especially if you make it every week.
2- dough enhancer really helps my bread
3- getting a half a cow was a good idea
4- some seasons you may have fewer friends locally and that's ok. it's been a season for becoming closer as a family.
5- sometimes first impressions are not the right impressions. we've found some relationships and things that we thought were great for us at first and turns out weren't and vice versa.
6- we really like homeschooling- even if some days are hard- and portfolio reviews aren't that bad- especially if you have a great umbrella group.
7- houses can be too big- especially if you have to clean it. but big houses are fun too- lots of room for friends and family.
8- it's fun to live in a big city for a while and there are lots of parks around to enjoy.
9- getting a membership to one museum a year is the way to go. We went to the aquarium and science center a lot of times each year and the membership cost about what it would have cost to go twice
10- you don't have to be great friends with the neighbors but it's good to be neighborly- it was nice to know someone would watch over our house if we were gone, we could borrow a cup of sugar (we never did but we did have a good power outage cookout. which leads me to...
11- gas stove is definitely best. we were able to cook lots of times because we had gas even with the power outage.
12- having a generator is a good idea. thankfully after the first 18 months or so here the power didn't go out as much but it sure was good to have when we used it- especially with #3 in freezer
13- Johns Hopkins medical care is good-
14- lots of emergency rooms are not bad and pediatric emergency rooms are better.
15-sometimes you just have to go ahead and publish a post even if it's not finished- since it's now July and we moved end of May :)