Tag Archives: playground

Scarecrows, Ogres, and Shaggy Dogs!

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What do all those have in common?  Why they are all fun things to view this fall at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens!  We packed a picnic and headed up there this past Sunday AM.  (Another item to add to our Fall Fun list!)  Right now, two fun events are going on, as it looks like they change seasonally.  (We checked out the Garden Lights a few years back and it did not disappoint!)

First is the Imaginary Worlds | Plants Larger Than Life.  This included:

“The sculptures – ranging up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide – include a gazing unicorn, a friendly ogre, a pair of gigantic cobras, a group of enchanting rabbits, and a couple of flighty butterflies. The largest piece, a 25-foot-tall representation of a goddess emerging from the earth, greets visitors in the Cascades Garden.”  (Description from website)

Here are some of our pictures.  The kids favorites were the Shaggy Dog and the bunnies (I think LL found 6!)

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Second was the annual Scarecrows in the Garden were various companies, organizations, and school from around Atlanta participate in constructing their own scarecrows.  These were SO fun to look at as they lined the trails throughout many parts of the garden. I just noticed a Scavenger hunt on their website – we’ll definitely have to print that one out for next year for the kids! Here are a few favorites: (the first was named BooBee for Breast Cancer Awareness – by far my favorite!)

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Another big highlight was the Children’s Garden.  A surprisingly large section of trails with a variety of activities for the little ones.  It included (but is not limited to); a treehouse, how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, digging for dinosaur bones, a sunflower splash pad (we’ll have to go back in the summer to check this out!), a little house, a little cavern, and just lots of “little” places to crawl/walk/whatever through!  Definitely need to go back and spend some more time there!  And bonus this weekend, they had little stations set up where kids got the hands painted, made a hat, and went pumpkin bowling – extra fun!

After taking in all the kids could handle (and actually joining for only a little bit more plus free tickets to bring friends!), we walked right into Piedmont Park and set up to picnic.  Did I mention how pretty the weather was?  Then we went to the playground, which I was very impressed with, and then strolled around a little.  The AIDS walk was going on, so we walked over to the main green space to observe and dance to a great band playing some of our favorite songs (Moves Like Jagger, Don’t Stop Believin’…), before calling it a day.

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Kids both fell asleep on the way home, and we came home exhausted, but refreshed from a perfect Sunday morning together and outside!  The perfect way to celebrate God’s glory and rejoice in it!

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On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5

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A Thankful Heart (and a fun morning!)

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Happy October!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  And although I am still wearing shorts, tanks, and flip-flops, for that brief period in the AM where it may not have hit 70 yet, I love nestling in my pants and maybe even a sweatshirt!  And I have to get outside.  With lots of commitments throughout the week, I have intentionally left Thursdays open to spend time with with both kids, and today my heart was extra full, that I was inspired to share.

In the mom-to-mom bible study I have been doing on Wednesdays, yesterday’s topic was 3 gifts for every mom.  It came from Linda Anderson, an experienced mom and founder of Mom-to-Mom Ministries.  They are 3 gifts/things that she claims “have made all the difference in helping me become a healthy – and joyful – mother.”

A Teachable Spirit
A Thankful Heart
An Eternal Perspective

All good things to keep in mind each and every day, hour, even minute, while parenting.  We all have our good days and bad days, but these are good things to always keep in mind.  We closed yesterday with mentioning which one we wanted to work on.  And it was unanimous, we all want a more thankful heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I am always thankful for the (abundant) blessings I have been given by God, but some days more than others.  So this week (and forever!) I am trying to make a more conscious effort to reflect on my many blessings and be thankful for them.  Not saying I still won’t have bad days, but maybe with a better spirit and attitude I can learn to work through them better.

This morning, with nothing I was committed to, the kids and I packed a picnic and headed over to Newnan to the Carl Miller Park owned and maintained by Newnan Utilities.  We have been there a few times before (check out our Summer post here to see more on the splash pad!)  But it’s really a hidden gem.  Never too busy.  Wooded walking trails, lots of swings, shade, and best part for kids – 2 playgrounds!

First stop the Kids’ Castle Playground:

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A “32,000 square foot playground features wooden climbing areas, swings, assorted bridges, tunnels, forts, playhouses, cars, boats, trucks and airplanes for kids to play in, on and around”  A little aged, but only parents would notice that.  The kids had a blast!

And if that is not enough – they have a newer playground with both a preschool and elementary section:

So we played, swung:

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Made shadow creatures – here is LL as a moose and Princess Leia (just for Daddy):

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Took a little stroll:

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Then settled in for a picnic:

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Overall a beautiful, great, fall morning.  Spent with my two favorite little people.  My heart is truly thankful and so full!

May you find moments to fill your heart and be thankful each and every day too!

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Summer Fun – Part 1

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Hope everyone’s summer is off to a great start!  We’ve been keeping busy, already went to the beach, LL had a week of Fun Days (camp), lots of outside time, pool time, visiting new babies, and play dates!  Cannot believe we are already 4 weeks in – this will be the first installment of hopefully many for the summer.  Yesterday we had an extra fun day that I wanted to share for some summer fun ideas that you may want to try too!

First we headed to Newnan Utilities’ Carl Miller Park to check out their splash pad/park.  This is a little hidden gem of a park in the middle of what feels like nowhere to me (although it’s really only 10 miles!)  At first it didn’t look like much, maybe 6 fountains coming up from the ground, but after a minute and watching all the kids run through it – it was clear it was a big hit for all!  This park also has pavilions, walking trails, and 2 large playgrounds, one more updated and another big wooden castle.

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After a great lunch at Chick-fil-A and even more playground time, it was time for naps (which went by way too fast).  So kids woke up and needed more entertainment.  I know it is only going to get hotter, so we loaded on the sunscreen and went outside for some afternoon play.  I had seen a “pin” awhile back for Sidewalk Chalk Paint, and figured today was as good as any to try it out.  Looked simple enough.  At first skeptical that it was too thin, we took it outside to try with some brushes.  Not only was it a big hit (painting on the driveway) – the colors looked great and when it quickly dried it looked just like chalk, maybe even better.  The brushes allowed for more detail too.  Kids, and Mommy too, had a blast!  And because it was outside, it was easy clean-up.  And in case you are wondering, after a big storm last night – it did wash off just fine!

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To end our day, we headed over to Line Creek Nature Area to meet up with the young adults from the New Church of Peachtree City for some fellowship time and good food.  This place is very close to us and really a great little nature area in Peachtree City.  Great trails, pretty creek, nice pond and picnic area.  Something so close, yet feels so far!  LL and LM enjoyed getting nice and dirty and looking for creatures.  The baby turtle seemed to be the highlight!  Overall a nice way to close out a fun summer day!

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Hope you are having a great summer so far too!  What are your favorite summer activities?

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Hilton Head Island Fun!

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School’s out, vacation time!  I cannot think of a better way to kick off summer than a week at the beach!  After much research (seriously for me to commit to a place is a LONG process) we decided on Hilton Head Island, SC.  I know most GA people swear by the Gulf Coast beaches.  Maybe the Atlantic isn’t as pretty as the Gulf, but let me tell you, I am sold on Hilton Head and plan on returning next year!  Thanks to Sarah (over at Small Town Love) and her hubby Ike – our fur babies were taken care of too – which is always a big plus knowing they are in good hands!

Once the location was picked, accommodations was the next challenge.  After even more research, we decided on a 2-bedroom villa in Harbour Town in the Sea Pines Plantation.  Due to a little bit of last-minute booking, this may not have been my first choice as it was a bottom floor unit with no view.  But the location was great and other than some loud upstairs neighbors and an uncooperative A/C unit, it suited our family well.  I seriously am thinking about looking for next year’s digs very soon!  Amenities of the area included a playground (which the kids loved), pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and a trolley to the beach.

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When I made our reservations, the booking agent asked if we wanted to reserve bikes.  Apparently that is the preferred method of transportation on the island.  I went ahead, still a bit skeptical, but after our first day there, that was a suggestion I am glad we took.  We rented 2 bikes, and Steven’s pulled a kiddie cart, which the kids loved!  The bike paths were very easily accessible and we took them every chance we had to meals, activities, and even just for fun/exercise.  And how did I almost forget the best part – the island is so FLAT – that even someone out-of-shape can manage a few mile bike ride without too much struggle!  It doesn’t hurt that the paths, like the streets, are all lined with big trees and Spanish moss (shaded and beautiful).IMG_3030

The island seems to boast a bunch of little “towns” or harbors, each with their own set of shops, restaurants, and activities.  As mentioned, we stayed in Harbour Town, home to the famous Harbour Town Lighthouse (which we all, even LL, walked 114 steps to the top).  While there we ate at The Crazy Crab, Harbour Town Grill, Lowcountry Produce, Guiseppi’s Pizza, and Harbour Town Bakery & Deli.  We also took an afternoon Dolphin Cruise on the Vagabond.  (Which I was SO excited there was a Living Social Deal for at the time we were there – saved us 50%!)  I also spent a nap-time or two wandering the many shops of Harbour Town and admiring the boats and view!

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Top of the Lighthouse

South Beach Marina Village is another little town.  It was a 3.7 mile bike ride down.  Home of The Salty Dog Cafe.  We went down there twice.  The first night we were there, they had a Low Country Boil, live music, face painting, and a special appearance by Jake the Salty Dog, all to celebrate his 25th birthday!   Then we went back later in the week to buy our shirts (I think I saw somewhere this was required – haha!), presents for our pups, and to eat in the actual restaurant.

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The next little “town” we visited was Shelter Cove Harbor, home to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort.  I had looked into this for lodging for a few minutes before moving along due to price (seriously like $500/night), I know LL would have loved it, as even seeing the Mickey logo brought a huge smile to her face.  Maybe someday…but this had another group of restaurants and shops and was home to the big Neptune statue.  We ate at Scott’s Fish Market, which was probably my favorite meal of the week.  It had an open-air patio on the harbor and had a guy with a guitar playing many enjoyable classics that had us all dancing and singing along!  As Steven pointed out – it was very fitting that the name was Scott’s (like my father) as the music came straight from his record collection, a nice little reminder/message to discover.

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I cannot forget to mention the beach!  We spent 4 mornings playing on the beach.  It was nice and flat and hard (perfect for riding bikes – which we’ll do next time), and had little shallow wading areas that were perfect for the kids to play in without waves.  Steven got the kite out and the kids really just had a blast digging, building, catching hermit crabs and various sea creatures (ok – maybe that one was me!), and watching for birds and dolphins.

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A few more activities to note were mini-golf.  Maybe not the best idea with a 1 & 3-year-old, as we had to throw our competitiveness out the window, but at least we tried!  The Sandbox: An Interactive Kid’s Museum, cute for the little ones with various sensory activities.  And Lawton Stables, where they had many animals to pet (goats, sheep, pigs, deer, llamas) and LL got to take a pony ride on Romeo the blue-eyed pony!

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We even made it to church on Sunday.  And I have to point out that they have a Publix there, which really makes shopping a pleasure in an unknown place as it feels like home to me!  Sounds silly, but with trying to eat breakfast and lunches in, I like to know and be comfortable with what I am buying and eating!  Speaking of eating, this week was a bit of a break from clean eating, but I am looking forward to jumping back in as I really have felt much better!

So overall – a wonderful week, now back to reality (not without posting a recap and some pictures first though!)  Next year, the dogs are coming along (or at least a few of them).  My research neglected to uncover just how dog-friendly the island is.  But we’ll check this off as a scouting trip and make next year’s even better!

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Happy Memorial Day weekend and may you have a GREAT summer filled with special memories like ours!

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