We Moved (Pt. 4)

We are now on day 6 of our cross-country move. If you haven’t read about the earlier parts of our journey, go check them out now. Part 1 saw us leaving California. Part 2 brought us to New Mexico. We made it through most of Texas in Part 3. And now, we are headed to our new home.

Our goal for the day was to make it to New Orleans where The Husband’s older sister lives. Before heading to the highway, we had to make a stop at Shipley’s for apple fritters. We learned about Shipley’s in 2009 when we visited Houston to watch Navy play Mizzou in the Texas Bowl. We are rarely in Texas but we always try to stop for Shipley’s.

Once sugared up, we continued east along I-20 until we reached Shreveport where we hopped onto I-49 south. We got an early start and were able to make it to Alexandria, LA before we needed to stop for lunch and to do something fun.

It was stiflingly hot but the zoo looked like a fun stop for the kids. There were a few indoor areas where we could see snakes and other reptiles while remaining cool in the air conditioning.  We also rode the train and checked out their Australian Outback area.

We drove into downtown Alexandria after the zoo to grab some coffee and snacks for the kids. It happened to be the Burnt Weenie Festival the day we drove through town. Hilarious and very fun. They had a giant water slide set up in the middle of the street. There were fire hydrants spewing water. A band was playing under a pavilion set up in the street. We stopped in at Tamp and Grind which is an eclectic coffee shop in downtown. The kids enjoyed the delicious cookies (as did I) and and the coffee was great. The staff was really friendly. The barista and I learned we spent many years in the same cities. Overall, Alexandria was a great (and absurdly hot and humid) stop.

We continued on to New Orleans, arriving to The Husband’s sister’s house around dinner time. We called it a night after regaling childhood memories.

In the morning, we tried to take the ferry which is just a few blocked from my Sister-in-Law’s place but, as it was a weekend, it was running on a later schedule which we didn’t want to wait for. Instead, we hopped in the RV and drove the 10 minutes to Cafe Du Monde. After breakfast with a view and history lesson, we headed back to her house to drop her off and then set out for Pensacola.

We had a great drive until we reached Florida when it started pouring rain. We felt it was a nice “welcome home” from the state we so recently left. Before parking for the night, we stopped by the National Naval Aviation Museum. It is on base at NAS Pensacola but you don’t have to be military to enter. While The Husband was going through flight school, this was a favorite spot to take visitors. The boys loved checking out and sitting in a bunch of old planes and cockpits. They also rode in a simulator. It was a wonderful and free few hours where the boys could get out some energy while also learning about their dad’s career.

The Husband booked an awesome RV spot right on the water in Perdido Key. Since Florida was giving us a nice, wet welcome, we didn’t spend too much time outside but there was still a beautiful view out the back of the RV. When we woke up the next morning, there were clear skies as we look out over the bay.

We got another early start as this was the day. We were going to FINALLY make it to Jacksonville!!! By day 8 everyone was ready to be “home.” The drive from Pensacola to Jax is only around 5 hours without stops. You know how,when you really want to get somewhere it seems to take forever. That’s how day 8 felt. While the drive, including stops, only took about 7 hours, but it felt like 14. We were SO excited to see family.

Thankfully, the drive was uneventful and we were so happy to be with family once more. Keep following to learn about our adventures over the pas year in Jax. It’s been a fun ride!

What are your favorite spots in NOLA? What about Jax? We are always looking for fun places to visit and delicious spots to eat.

 

 

 

We Moved (Pt. 3)

Go back and check out Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 of our cross country journey, if you haven’t done so already.

Day 4 had us leaving New Mexico and headed for Texas. Leaving our AirBnB there were multiple hot air balloons flying. The pictures are of one landing as we were coming out of the neighborhood. Don’t mind the bug splatter all over the windshield. Blah!

 

 

Once on the road, there wasn’t a ton to see. We stopped at Cadillac Ranch. It was hot, dry, and dusty. If you are going, be prepared with spray paint and sun glasses. The wind was so strong it was blowing everyone’s hats off. It was a cool piece of Americana and I’m glad we stopped.

We continued ambling east along I-40 before shooting south on 287 toward Dallas. We booked a spot at Ole Towne Cotton Gin RV Park. This place was great! They had a small kids area, pool, little general store, community gathering place, and dog run. It was the perfect stop.

The next morning, we packed up and headed out for another day in Texas. Our first stop was for coffee. There are few options on 286 between Amarillo and Dallas but we were lucky to be close to a newly opened coffee and art shop, Turquoise Coffee Stop in Chillicothe. The owners built the place themselves. The mister is an artist and Jack-of-all-trades. The missus is the barista and chef. We each got our favorite coffee and a few delicious muffins. While our coffees were being prepared, the mister showed us around. His art work was all around for purchase and decoration. They were both very friendly and loved showing off their hard work. If you happen to be driving along 286 through Chillicothe, make sure to check it out. It’s worth a stop.

Once full of apple muffins and awakened by coffee, we continued on toward Dallas. We planned to stop at one of the aquariums in Dallas but while grabbing lunch a local advised us to go to Cabela’s in Fort Worth where there was a small aquarium and it was free! The boys were in heaven climbing on boats, feeding fish, and checking out the animals. tKZ0P1kuR5uouqfUCw4Mrw

The rest of the day had us driving along I-20, past Dallas and through east Texas. We stayed at a motel off the highway for the evening and ate delicious BBQ. It was nice to rest up for our final days of driving.

Have you driven across the US before? What’s your favorite part of long road trips?

We Moved! (Pt. 2)

If you didn’t catch my last post, go check it out. It is the beginning of our cross-country chronicles.

Day three was awesome! After a refreshing night sleeping in our AirBnB, we headed to breakfast at my grandparent’s home.  It is so fun watching our boys interact with their great-grandparents. They are so fortunate to have 6 living great-grandparents whom they have been able to spend time with.

From breakfast we headed into Albuquerque to visit Explora! If you find yourself in ABQ with younger kids, this is a great place to go.  The boys loved the water exhibit. We spent the majority of our time on the water patio. They also enjoyed making giant bubbles, building with giant foam blocks, creating circuits, and designing marble runs.

After the museum, we stopped for lunch at the public library downtown. They have a cute and delicious sandwich shop.

We were hoping to stop at A Park Above in Rio Rancho on the way home but we were able to find someone to pick up our Pilot and drive it from NM to FL for us! Instead of the park, we headed to meet the car transporter. Once the transfer was complete, we headed back to my grandparents house to relax a while before dinner. And when I say relax, I mean my grandpa got the boys riled up with a massive pillow fight.

After dinner and goodbyes, we headed back to Casita de Sterling for the night. Day 3 really was perfect.

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Explora Museum
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Explora Museum
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Good Morning, ABQ!

Have you every visited Albequerque or Rio Rancho? What were your favorite spots?

We Moved! (Pt. 1)

In the middle of May 2018 we got word that The Husband would be stationed back in Florida at the end of his deployment. With a bunch of family in Florida, and none in California, we decided to make the trek across the country before deployment. This meant a quick turnaround. We had to pack our entire house ourselves and to move before he left for deployment in early July.

After a good bit of research, we decided to give U-haul’s storage boxes a chance. About a month after we got orders, we packed our entire lives into 5 storage containers and started the journey across the country with two kids and a dog in a Class B RV.

Oh, that sounds so easy. It’s never that easy. We ran into one little hitch, the person we contracted to bring our other car across the country never showed up! So, on moving day, we started driving the RV and the Pilot. It’s wasn’t ideal but it worked.

Day one had us leaving Coronado, CA (goodbye good Mexican food) and heading to Gila Bend, AZ. We didn’t head out until around 2pm as The Husband had to work that morning. Have you ever driven east from San Diego. It’s filled with mountains and deserts. It was an enjoyable, beautiful, and fairly short drive. We stopped overnight at the Gila Bend KOA. We didn’t pull in until after dark and left early the next morning so I can’t say much about the place but the few people we ran into were friendly.

Day two saw us heading northeast to Rio Rancho, NM. The drive, without stopping every two hours because you have two kids, takes about 8 hours. It was a FULL day of driving. We left around 6am and arrived at my grandparents house around 8:30pm. After a short stop, we made it from their house to our AirBNB for a good nights sleep.

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View from Casita de Sterling

Part 2 is coming soon. Have you ever driving across the country? What were your favorite places to stop?

Two Days in L.A. with Kids (Part 2)

If you haven’t already read about our time at the California Science Center, click here.

Leaving the Science Center, we headed to our campsite for the night. We stayed at Anaheim RV Park. The staff was friendly and facilities very clean. I’ve never stayed at an RV park before so I have no comparison, but it was rather boring to look at. Just a giant parking lot, a few bathroom buildings, and a pool. It was too chilly to test out the pool but it looked nice! They also offer free coffee and a muffin for each person in your party in the morning. If you’re headed to Disneyland, a shuttle will pick you up from the entrance of the park. Overall, it was a nice stay.

Once settled, we made a quick dinner and called it a night. Both boys did really well. It was the first time we made it overnight in the RV!!

Wednesday morning we woke up, cleaned the RV, ate breakfast, and headed to Disney!! I love the Disney parks. February is a great time to go. The weather is generally nice and the crowds are low. We waited about 10-20 minutes for each ride, including Big Thunder Mountain. The only downside to Disney in February is that most maintenance is completed during this time. For us, Main Street was closed. You could walk along the sidewalks and go into shops, but there were no parades which my boys love. The Disney Marching Band was out frequently and all over the park which made up for the parades. The toddler loved watching them and didn’t mind the loud sounds.

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As for rides, we started with the train at the entrance. This is for two reasons: 1) both boys loves trains and 2) it gets us away from the crowds at the front of the park. We exited the train at Toon Town. My boys don’t care for that area so we skipped it but I know most toddlers and young kids love this area of the park.

We hopped onto It’s A Small World. The toddler was SO excited to be in a boat. If you have only been to Disney World, this ride is a little different. First, you start off outside. Second, except for one area, all the music is in English.

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From here, the husband took the 6 year old to the Matterhorn and I took the toddler to the Storybook ride. After Matterhorn, the boys headed to Pirates of the Caribbean and I took the toddler to the water. My husband and I switched off and I then took the 6 year old to Big Thunder Mountain. This was his favorite ride of the day. He went back later to ride it with my husband. 🙂

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While we were riding Big Thunder Mountain, the Toddler and Husband went on Winnie the Pooh and then to Tom Sawyers Island. I had never explored the island before. It was a lot of fun for all four of us. The boys loved climbing through the caves and walking along the unstable bridges. It’s also exciting for the Toddler to ride a boat back and forth across the water.

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After Tom Sawyer’s Island, we left and headed to Disney’s California Adventure. We walked straight back to A Bugs Land. This is the perfect toddler amusement park. There are a bunch of rides which both the 6 year old and the toddler enjoy. We rode Tuck and Roll’s Drive ‘Em Buggies, Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train, Francis’ Lady Bug Boogie, and Flik’s Flyers. I forgot to get any pictures of these. While we did this, the Husband rode Guardian’s of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! We both loved Tower of Terror and his opinion was that Disney should have done more to transform the ride. It is essential the same exact ride but with new decor and music.

It was after this that we decided to head home. It was a wonderful and quick vacation. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quick getaway with kids. Both boys enjoyed themselves as did the husband and I. There is so much more to do in L.A. I know we have barely scratched the surface. I’m looking forward to many more trips!!

-KB

Two Days in L.A. with Kids (Part 1)

Last month the husband and I took the kids to L.A.! It was an awesome, quick trip which we hope to do more of in the next few years (if we remain in San Diego).

We left town at nine Tuesday morning and made it to the California Science Center around 11. If you’re ever in L.A., I suggest you visit the Science Center. It was a lot of fun for all four of us (how often does that happen?!).

The 6 year old wanted to start with the ecosystem exhibit. The exhibit features multiple rooms with different ecosystems. You can learn about the plants and animals that live in each and there are interactive elements in every room. In the arctic, there is a large wall of ice. There were a bunch of hand prints from people before us holding their hands on the wall long enough to make an indent. The River Room allows kids to make rivers through sand. I think this was the 6 year old’s favorite activity. We created dams and he watched the water create a lake. There is a kelp forest, island zone, and rot room. Both boys loved the Rocky Shore area where we could watch water rise and fall and touch aquatic life.

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After the ecosystems, we checked out the Space Shuttle. We’ve seen two before and it’s never that exciting for the kids. There isn’t much to do except gawk at how this large spacecraft made it to space and read about the history of space exploration. Boring for kids and as adults with kids, we had to watch them instead of reading. hC%wNC0WRO6n0Kq+mi19BQ

From here we headed to the RV for lunch. The Husband spent an hour and a half in the RV with the toddler after lunch while the kid and I went back in to explore.

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My older son is in first grade and they were learning about sound in school. I was really excited when we walked into Creative World and they had a few exhibits on sound. I took pictures and emailed them to his teacher.

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Creative World also featured hands on exhibits pertaining to earthquakes, magnets, designing towns, building large structures, and helping the environment. Some of these exhibits were very old and seemed out of date but the 6 year old still loved this area.

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When the Toddler woke up, we went to the discovery room. This area is designed for toddlers and young children. Both boys enjoyed this room but we had to cut our time short so we could get to our parking spot for the evening.

More on where we parked and day 2 coming soon!

-KB

Instant Pot Turkey Chili

I’m not a fan of beans. Like, I hate them. Blah! It’s a texture thing. I do enjoy a good beanless chili though and the one I threw together a few days ago turned out great. Bonus – I was able to do the entire thing in the RV!

Instant Pot Turkey Chili

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder

Directions:

  1. Set the instant pot to saute. Toss in the turkey and onions. Cook until the turkey begins to brown. (You can use olive oil to brown the turkey but I forgot ours at home and it was still delicious.)
  2. Throw in the rest of the ingredients. Change the instant pot from saute to manual. Seal the lid and set for 9 minutes.
  3. When the timer dings, do a quick release. Serve over rice (or cornbread, mmmm!) and enjoy!

 

 

If you like a spicier chili, add in some red pepper. The vegetables can be changed around too. I used what I had on hand. Let me know what you think!

-KB