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Family Travel: Fun in Philadelphia… Legoland & The Franklin Institute

21 Aug

Sometimes it’s nice to get away… even if “away” is just a few hours from your own house. Jack has been begging to go back to Legoland again this year, so we decided that instead of just driving to Plymouth Meeting, PA and back in the same day, we’d spend a night in the Big City. The Big City is what Jack calls any city — Philly, Baltimore, NYC — they are all BIG to him.

This was actually our third year in a row of visiting the Legoland Discovery Center, but somehow, I’ve never blogged about it. If you have a kid obsessed with Legos, this place will blow their mind. There are a bunch of different Lego build and play zones, a full Lego recreation of Philadelphia landmarks and also a 4D cinema that shows Lego short films. Oh yeah, and the gift shop full of amazing Lego sets and a spot where you can build-your-own mini figures!

Here are some of our photos from the Legoland portion of our weekend:

When it came to choosing a hotel, I didn’t really care where we stayed as long as it was right in the middle of everything. We ended up at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown because they were priced pretty much the same as everyone else, but they had a Visit Philly Overnight hotel package that was PERFECT for us. The package included: free overnight parking, two tickets to the Franklin Institute Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes exhibit, a $25 gift card to some nearby restaurants, and some other stuff.

Considering that no other hotels nearby included parking and it costs around $50 to park overnight AND the two Franklin Institute tickets totaled at $70… it was quite the deal.

Of course, if you do end up booking that package it pays to KNOW what you should receive because I had to remind them multiple times that we didn’t have to pay for our parking and that they owed us the packet of tickets. Just saying.

Anywho. We checked in, went to dinner, slept in the next morning and checked out at 11am. The room was fine – comfortable and clean. The hotel was perfectly located, with the Reading Terminal Market right next store and a Starbucks in the lobby. My only complaint was that we had super loud neighbors who yelled, hooted and hollered until about midnight. They drove me crazy, but Jack and Travis slept through the whole thing.

Since we had parking until 4pm, we loaded up our overnight stuff in backpacks – one for each of us – and hit the road for some exploring. We walked around the Reading Terminal Market for a bit and then took an Uber to the Franklin Institute. Since we got two tickets in our packet, we just needed to buy one additional child’s ticket for $31. The tickets gave us access to Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, as well as the rest of the science museum. The Marvel exhibit featured more than 300 artifacts, including comic books, costumes and props. I thought it was super cool, but Jack enjoyed the regular science center exhibits more.

We wandered through the exhibits for hours until my stomach started rumbling… then we hit up Urban Farmers Philadelphia for lunch. The food was delicious, but I was even more impressed with the décor. The place was absolutely gorgeous and I totally wanted to grab a book and snuggle into one of their corner booths for a few hours of uninterrupted reading!

Oh, one last photo of our weekend. There was a fun “I Love Philly” thing in Love Park where people were taking turns posing for photos. Well, when it was our turn this happened…

Yup. Exactly the photo I was hoping for!

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Peach Picking Fun

14 Aug

One of the perks of living in the country is that we have a pick-your-own orchard about 20 minutes from our house. I last shared about our Fruit Picking Adventures FIVE years ago (wow, time flies… also look at that chubby little Jack!)

Here we are 5 years later and we still love the opportunity to run out to the farm for some peach picking. We went and had a fantastic diner breakfast nearby and then got to Baugher’s Orchard’s around 10:30 or so on a Sunday. They charge $2 per person to ride the wagon from the market to the peach tree area. Once you get there, they provide you with big bags that you can fill, give you a quick lesson on how to determine which fruit is ripe, and then let you roam free.

We ended up halfway filling two bags, which I think ended up being around $18 once we got back to the market to weigh it and pay. It was so many peaches that we were able to enjoy them with our lunches each day and still had enough left over to slice up with dinner for a couple nights.

Of course, once they are gone I might need to stop back by the Orchard’s Market and buy a few more!

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A Wedding Portrait (3 of 3)

3 Jul

I’ve mentioned that all three of my siblings happened to get married within a 9 month period of time. Well, the last wedding was over Memorial Day weekend, which means it was time for me to dust off my cross-stitching supplies and get to work on my third wedding portrait.

You can see the first one (for my brother’s September wedding) here. And here is my other sister’s portrait (for her December wedding).

When it came to the portrait I did for Kelsey and Chris, here is a photo of them (borrowed from my sister’s instagram page) on their wedding day that I referenced for colors:

I also took a few of my own photos the day of the event, so I could try to best copy the shape of Kelsey’s dress and little details like Chris’ tie-tack, his brown shoes and each of their eye colors. I started by sketching out my intentions:

Then I spent a bunch of hours making sure it was perfect. Once I finished, I felt like it was still missing something… their dog! My sister and her husband love Mambo like one of the family, so I decided to add her into their wedding portrait. Here’s a Mambo reference photo (also borrowed from Kelsey’s account…):

And here is the finished wedding portrait:

I love the way it turned out and it was a fun way to make something special for each of my siblings to celebrate their big days!

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The Frederick Running Festival Kid’s Fun Run

5 May

This modeling behavior thing for your kids is really working! I’ve enjoyed running lots of races over the years and Jack even joined me at the Baltimore Running Festival in 2017 to do the Kid’s Fun Run race. However, he hasn’t really had much interest since then. It doesn’t help that they discontinued the kid’s race after the one he did in 2017.

So imagine how proud I was when he started talking about wanting to do another run like mommy!

I started looking out for a kid’s run that is 1 mile or less and finally saw that the Frederick Running Festival had their own kid’s run… and the $15 fee included a kid’s Under Armour shirt AND a finishing medal!

I had to work that morning, so I went back and forth on whether I should sign up for the 5k that night. I ended up NOT doing the 5k and we just drove down to the Frederick fairgrounds so Jack could do his run.

They divided the kids into two groups: 7 and under and 8 – 12. The kids who were 7 and under were welcome to have a parent run with them, so Jack asked daddy to run along. They ran the race and I met them both at the finish line. It was only a 1/4 mile race or so, which went very, very quickly. In the future, I’m going to try and find a 1 mile race for him.

Here are some photos from Saturday:

Oh and if you notice, there is something weird going on with Jack’s front tooth. It is literally hanging on by a thread and the kid refuses to pull it out. He keeps doing this gross thing where he pushes it out with his lip in photos and it honestly makes me want to hurl. Yay parenthood!

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