Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Another Road Trip Kinda Weekend

With only a few weeks before the school year starts, I've been making a mad attempt to accomplish our Summer To Do List. The only things left to do on our list are road trips, which have been hard to schedule during our busy summer. Saturday morning I talked the hubs into making an impromptu afternoon road trip to Pella, Iowa in Marion County. The short drive from Des Moines (around 45 minutes) was well worth it.

The hubs, minis, and I checked out the square in Pella, taught a quick Dutch history lesson to the kids, talked about windmills, and hiked at Lake Red Rock. Such a fun way to spend our Saturday Family Fun Day!

Saturday morning we started our day with donuts and garage sales. Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed her chocolate donut! We went to numerous garage sales looking for Barbie items for my little Barbie lovers. I never realized how ridiculously priced Barbie things are for cheap plastic toys that I'm fairly certain will not withstand any sort of roughness that it's sure to be put through at our house. Garage sales seemed like a sure bet except we struck out at every single sale. The boys did score a practically brand new game of Hi Ho Cherry-O for only $1.
Elizabeth had a great time at the garage sales. Her top picks were a gently used snow blower for only $30 and a new rocking horse that she was a tad too big for (we did not purchase this).

Garage sales were a disappointing bust but our fave Mexican restaurant didn't disappoint one bit! Especially when we realized we were able to get all of the weekday lunch specials, including $1 margaritas!

After our morning of garage sales and lunch, we headed south to Pella. It was an easy, mellow drive with the three minis, minus the fact that we listened to the kid's Leap Frog CD over and over and over. All. Day. Long.
Our first stops were the square, the little shops surrounding the square, and the wonderful Jaarsma Bakery.

These shoes are right outside an information windmill that has tons of brochures for things to do around Pella and all of Iowa. The kids liked stopping in the information windmill because they got new coloring pages.

The boys took a moment to hug about their delicious cookies from Jaarsma Bakery. The line was long, but moved quickly. We nabbed our goodies (cookies, raisin buns, chocolate covered Dutch letters, and raspberry almond coffee cake) and enjoyed them in the car. All of the shops along the square were quite busy, despite it being nearly closing time for numerous businesses.

The raisin buns are absolutely wonderful toasted and with our raspberry preserve we got from Amana Colonies on our way back from Niabi Zoo (read more about our day trip to Niabi Zoo here: http://ashlen-kidspert.blogspot.com/2014/06/maxs-birthday-weekend.html).
We stopped at Vermeer's Windmill and Historical Museum to use their public restroom, but we wound up giving the kids a quick windmill and Dutch history lesson. We didn't tour the museum because it cost a bit more money than I cared to spend on something the kids would surely rush us through...or get us kicked out of. While we were in the gift shop, I spotted a "Happening In the Area" announcement and noticed that the nearby Lake Red Rock had a newly built playscape. So off we went to Lake Red Rock.

Once we got to Lake Red Rock, we stopped at the Visitors Center to get some more information about things to do around the Lake. Most of the maps of the Lake are poorly labeled and no one seemed to know where the playscape was. After a few "I think it's back in here...." and "take the dirt road..." only to discover two dirt roads, we managed to find it on our own. Despite not wearing the proper footwear, we hiked a bit and played on the playscape. The playscape was definitely a highlight of the day.

We had to pull the minis away from the play scape and drove to the dam. After visiting the Saylorville spillway several times this summer, the boys have been obsessed with dams and loved seeing this one. There were tons of people fishing and we found another trail we would have loved to have hiked, but it was time to head back to Des Moines.

Before we left we had to get a picture next to this sign. The hubs claims this sign described the kids and me perfectly. He also informed he it was the perfect title for his autobiography.....I like to think he's joking with that one, but I know better!
Our Family Fun Day ended with dinner at Ted's Coney Island (which Harrison called "Teddy Bear Island") with Grandma and Grandpa Sheaffer and several rounds of Hi Ho Cherry-O. So worth our $1!

Our Sunday was pretty laid back. We went to breakfast at Hy-Vee, did our grocery shopping, and got a few things done on our to do list (not to be confused with our Fun To Do List).
I totally bribe my kids with rides on this horse if they're good during our shopping trips to Hy-Vee.
I also bribe my kids with a stroll through the toy aisles if they're good at Walmart and Target. This totally works, unless I forget to mention beforehand that we're not buying toys. Then I'm in trouble, as I was on Sunday. We left with food, toiletries, Ninja Turtle figurines, and Barbie dolls.

She informed us she was "taking care of mommy's beer." I'm slightly embarrassed and slightly proud at the same time.
Max got to play around on Grandpa Sheaffer's new lawn mower while daddy fixed the van window. I'm lucky I have a handy hubby to fix things like windows that suddenly stop rolling down!
The rest of my Sunday involved pre-cooking breakfasts for the week, baking princess cupcakes for Princess Day, and laundry. Always TONS of laundry.

Only 3 more things left on our Summer To Do List! Minneapolis, Dyersville, and Maquoketa Caves State Park are just waiting for us to have some free time to visit. We had initially planned Dyersville and Maquoketa to be a weekend getaway, but our weekends fill up fast. I have a feeling that we'll be doing a couple of day trips to Northeast Iowa over the next few weeks. We have definitely had a summer of fun accomplishing our To Do List! We have no plans for next weekend, other than the hub's working, so who knows what we'll come up with for Sunday Family Fun Day!