TRAVEL

Free Fall Family Bucket List Printables

Free Fall Family Bucket List printable

A collection of great Bucket Lists from around Pinterest. Everyone LOVES Fall and I, for one, don’t mind saying it or showing it! The weather is beautiful, the leaves are showing off, why WOULDN’T you want to get out and do some amazing things with your loved ones? Love Pumpkin Spice? Stand proud! Don’t let anyone dull your pumpkin spice love, you don’t need that negativity in your life. Ha!

If you are looking for some more Fall inspiration? How about the BEST Pumpkin Chocolate Chicago Cookie Recipe? Or a delicious Thanksgiving Mac and Cheese Recipe? Planning a wedding and looking for Fall Wedding Inspiration? Or my absolutely Favorite thing ever: Baked Apple Cider Donuts

So without further ado, here are a few for JUST the kids, a blank one to make your own, plus a few for the adults, too 😉

Free Fall Family Bucket List printableFree Fall Family Bucket List printable  Free Fall Family Bucket List printable

If you are looking for more Fall inspiration, check back soon for my upcoming posts on Crock Pot Apple Butter, How to Preserve Pumpkins, How to throw a kick ass Halloween party and Halloween Bucket List printable, too!

 

I do not own these designs, please see Pinterest link above for original posts or websites listed on images.

How to Bring Summer Fun to the Dead of Winter

This post is sponsored by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

kalahari resort pocono

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit: TripAdvisor

My toes are jammed into the bottom of two pairs of socks. My phone says it is currently 28 degrees here and feels like it’s around 10 degree.

Weather image

On days when it isn’t too bitterly cold to get the little one outside, we play in the snow, go for short walks… but most times we just dream of warm sun and water parks. If there is one thing our family (read: my husband and toddler) love it is water parks!

Kalahari Resorts  Kalahari Resorts

And in these cold winter days, we are planning a dream vacation to the new Kalahari Resort in the Poconos. They recently rolled out their Phase II, adding so many exciting new rides and adventures, I have been stalking their website wishing we would take a weekend get-a-way.

Wait, did I NOT yet mention it is an INDOOR WATER PARK? Yea, you read that right. And to sweeten the winter trip planning pot, in March 2017, Kalahari Resorts location will be home to America’s Largest Indoor Water park. With a true 220,000 square feet of attractions, new additions to the indoor water park will include:

How Awesome is this!

Eight New Slides:
o Screaming Hyena: A trap-door start that drops into a near-vertical plunge at up to 25 mph

kalahari resort poconos

Image Credit: Family Road Traveled YouTube

o Sahara Sidewinder: An indoor looping water slide that takes guests on a 250-plus-foot journey

o “The Smoke That Thunders” and Victoria Falls: Named after the natural wonder of the world located in southern Africa, it will provide unforgettable water slide experiences

o Kenya’s Korkscrew: Zig-zag slide

o Zig-Zag Zebra:Tunnel slide

o Cheetah Race Mat Slide:Challenge your friends to see who gets down the hill fastest

o Elephant’s Trunk
• Dungeons of Hout Bay Wavepool
• Lazy River Expansion
• Coral Cove Kids’ Play Area

Coral Cove Kalahari Resorts
• Additional Swim-Up Bar and the Paxton Grotto
• Cabana Island to offer guests a prime location to call home while they splash the day away

Additional Amenities to Enhance the Beyond-Expectations Guest Experience
• 520 rooms, which brings the resort total to nearly 1,000 guest rooms including two new styles exclusive to the Poconos

• Dining:
o Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar: Kalahari’s signature steak house experience featuring: premium cuts of meat, craft cocktails, family style sides and more
o Sortino’s Italian Kitchen: A new-aged, red-sauced restaurant where old-school Italian cuisine meets the modern age.
o Marrakesh Market: Grab and go convenience bazaar style shopping, unique gifts, authentic-African items and everyday needs

o 30,000-sq.-ft. extension to the family entertainment center including the new virtual reality experience, The Arena

o An additional Kalahari Fitness and Training Center

So, even though it is a trek for us right now, and we have visited the park in the Wisconsin Dells, we would love to plan a trip to this location. Being located in the Poconos, it is not but a hop skip and a jump from pretty much the entire Northern Eastern seaboard.

It improved my mood just looking at the photos of this place and my husband caught me stalking their website and immediately took out his calendar to try to find time to get there. All in all the updates to this amazing looking resort look like they are worth a weekend trip or even a longer expedition. I know our family will be trying to make it out as soon as we can.

New Years Traditions (And what the heck is Hogmanay?!)

Happy New Year!

New Year Traditions are so interesting, but none more exciting or widely celebrated than that of Hogmanay, the most wide of all New Years Traditions.

Well, we made it. Barely, but we made it through this terrible, crappy, often times insane year. Many of us have been crawling, weary and ragged towards December 31st. It is the time of year when we reflect on the year past and look forward to making positive changes in the new year. There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the year to come, more than simply making a cheesey resolution you won’t keep after a week.

But first, lets take a look at one of the coolest new years celebrations in the world: The Scottish Hogmanay.Hogmanay

Hogmanay is a very big deal in Scotland. It’s the biggest day in the festive calendar, a celebration that makes Christmas Day seem very small indeed – and it’s like nothing else on Earth. Hogmanay is what the Scots call their New Year’s Eve celebrations. The origins of the word are unclear – some say it’s a corruption of the Greek words for ‘holy month’, others that it’s of French origin – but the celebrations themselves go back centuries.

It wasn’t until relatively recently that the Scots even began celebrating Christmas (since it was banned for almost 400 years), so what we know as traditional holiday celebrations aren’t all that popular yet. So, where did it come from and why is it a big deal?

When the Vikings began to raid around the Winter Solstice, they partied afterwards, and after many years, the celebrations began to mix with the celebrations of Samhain and Yule and ultimately ended up being the celebration of Hogmanay (if you’ll allow me to condense things quite a bit for brevity).

In addition to a huge (several days long) party, there are a lot of traditions associated specifically with Hogmanay in Scotland.

They do their “Spring cleaning: “In some communities, or the ritual cleaningof the kitchen for Passover, families traditionally did a major cleanup to ready the house for the New Year. Sweeping out the fireplace was very important and there was a skill in reading the ashes, the way some people read tea leaves.” –

The two most widely known (and the ones I love most) are the First-Footing

First-footing

Of course, all over the world, people sing Robert Burns‘ version of this traditional Scottish air. How it became the New Year’s song is something of a mystery, and honestly what it replaced is one of my favorite tradition songs that I sing to my son every single night (The Parting Glass). At Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, people join hands for what is reputed to be the world’s biggest Auld Lang Syne.

You can work on actively releasing the negative parts of the part year and walking into the new year with intention and real, attainable goals. You can also help lift your spirits and sort of, ungunk your self, your home and basically your life!

A lesser known or practiced tradition but one I do much more often than just at New Years is Smuding. I like to smudge my house for the new year and if you’ve never smudged, you are missing out!

Smudging is burning herbs, most commonly Sage, to get rid of negative energy on yourself, your home or any space. Smudging can be useful when you’re feeling depressed, angry, resentful, unwell or if you have felt or are feeling a negative presence in your home or you are feeling unwanted spirits. You would normally use a smudge stick to do it, and you can make your own, or simply buy one at a new age store. Smudging is thousands of years old. it was used by Native Americans, in ancient Rome and in Greece. In ancient Egypt it was used as a way to cleanse a space from bad spirits and negative energy.

SmugdingTo Smudge: light a smudge stick and let it catch fire. Extinguih the fire and let the smoke billow from the stick. Walk around your home letting the smoke get everywhere, in every room, in cupboards and small spaces. The smoke is not dangerous and will not harm you, your pets or small children. Use a bowl to catch any ashes.

Another way to mentally prepare yourself for the new year is to get real about what happened in the last year and physically write down some goals for the new year.

Sit down and write a letter to yourself.

  • List 3 things that worked for you in 2016. Make a commitment to continue to do those things.
  • List 3 things that didn’t work for you in 2016. Make a commitment to change those things.
  • List out the best parts of the past year.
  • List out the worst/hardest part of the past year.
  • Write out your hopes for the new year.
  • Decide on and write out your focus for the new year.

But until we start having our own fire festivals in full viking regalia… Hogmanay will have our New Years beat. Either way, Happy New Year everyone!

Do you have a particular way you ring in the new year?

Thankful Thursday: 108 Years in the making

I am thankful for so many things, but today, especially I am thankful for fate. For having been born in an amazing city, to parents to are huge sports fans. For my father for instilling in me a competitive edge that carried on to this day.

I have to take this Thankful Thursday to say I am insanely thankful that I was able to not only watch the game with good friends, but to watch history being made mere blocks away from Wrigley Field. We screamed and jumped for joy. I lost my voice, decided to join my fellow Chicagoans in a sea of people in a trek to our Mecca, all while singing Go Cubs Go.

We hugged strangers, we cried. It was one of the most beautiful, meaningful moments to have been a part of. Some people might not understand the big deal, and unless you are from Chicago, it might be hard for us to explain. But all I know is when they won, my father cried and a town was rebuilt on the backs of a team from 108 years ago. If you need a little help understanding how meaningful this is to people, take a look at this video and then see how people reacted after the win:

Here is a look at Harry Caray’s grab today:

Harry Caray's grave

I am thankful that I will get to share these memories with my son and that I got to witness it with my own eyes. There have been people who died waiting to see this. There have been people who were born AND died without seeing this. It is incredible and feelings that I will never forget.

Being able to recall things like Grandpa Rossy hitting a home run in game 7 in his last at bat ever and then watching him get carried off the field by his teammates… I am literally tearing up just typing about it.

The way the city is coming together is something that is to be celebrated, too. We’ve been waiting for a long time for this. Here are a here of my favorite things on the internet to come out of the Chicago cubs World Series win so far:

Eddie Vedder Cubs Meme

In addition to being a HUGE cubs fan, I have been literally in love with Eddie Vedder since I was 10 years old and that fact that he is so intertwined with my love of the cubs makes this even more sweet for me. When I hear and saw this video, of course I cried… again. So, I’ll leave you with this and when I’ve had a little more sleep, maybe I’ll writing something a little more coherent.

This win was for my father, who as a kid would walk down to Wrigley field with his baseball bit and wait on Waveland avenue all day long for batting practice before the game in the hopes that he would go home with a souvenir. All I have left to say is, Go Cubs Go, Fly the W and This year was finally next year.

W over Chicago skyline

[source: SportsMockery]

 

Fall is my Favorite: Peepin’ the Fall Foliage in Wisconsin

Peepin’ the fall Foliage in Wisconsin. Ok, y’all. Fall is my favorite. I know it is a lot of people’s favorite. Who WOULDN’t love it!? The crisp air, the flannels and boots… hoodies! Hoodies!!! Pumpkins, the earth set ablaze in one last beautiful hurrah before going to sleep for the next few months. One last party before the winter, that’s what Fall is. It is my favorite time of year for everything. Baking, photography, writing, everything. And I was thinking about a photo shoot I have in a few weeks and I decided to take a look at some photographs I took last year for some inspiration. And of course I wanted to share them with you! Let’s take a look and ALL get excited about the change of the seasons and the turning of the wheel. They aren’t the best shots of all but they remind me of how beautiful it is about to get.

My husband and I like to go on road trips to no where so we hopped in the car one morning, strapped the little Bear into his car seat and pointed the car North. We ended up somewhere in Wisconsin and found some beautifully scenic roads, a few meadows and fields all ripe for the viewing.

Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers Events Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers Ruffled Feathers Fall Foliage Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers Fall Foliage Ruffled Feathers EventsCan’t wait to take these drives again really soon!