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Last month, we were still in the middle of producing Beauty and the Beast at my high school. If you’ve followed my life, you know that play production is a family affair. We were spending both Saturday and Sunday of most weekends working on the set of the show, and that’s when I didn’t have a speech tournament on Saturdays. When I saw that the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, was offering discounted tickets for area appreciation, I thought this might be the perfect way for our family to take a little break and explore a little. After a little research, I learned that our county was part of the promotion that was taking place for the month of March. Though we still had much to do, a little break was just what we needed. One Saturday, instead of heading to the school to build…

Thank you to Tenth Street Hats and Ruggable for providing samples for us to try. As always, all reviews are honest and our own. There’s something rejuvenating about taking a break from the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives and heading into the peaceful tranquility of nature. This last trip to the lake for the summer was certainly a welcome one for me. I’d just returned to the classroom a couple of weeks before, and already I felt overwhelmed. My perfectionism starts to kick in during this time every year, even though I know I’m far from the perfect teacher. Most of the time I’m just treading water trying to survive it all. See what I did there? I hope you enjoy my water reference. Click here to read more about camping and boating at Campbell Point on Table Rock Lake in Shell Knob, Missouri. We love to spend…

We’d like to thank @visitkc for sponsoring our visit to Union Station in Kansas City.  As always, all opinions are honest and our own. When visiting Kansas City with your family, be sure to put Union Station on your list for family fun.  This historic train station currently serves as the home of Science City, a children’s museum that teaches science concepts through play.  But that’s not the only reason to check out Union Station. This venue, pictured in the foreground above, also houses attractions, shops, restaurants, educational films, traveling exhibits, and model train displays.  While you’re here, you can send mail at the post office or get your taxes done.  Union Station is even an Amtrak stop!  You could easily spend hours here, so here is a list of some of our favorite things to do for families, especially during the summer. 1.  Check out the History and Architecture…

Thank you to @VisitKC for sponsoring our visit!  As always, all opinions are honest and our own. I don’t know about you, but my knowledge of World War I is a little lacking.  In school, we never seemed to have a lot of time to study this conflict.  I’m not blaming my teachers; as a high school teacher, I know how much time is limited.  Every history class I’ve had seemed to hit the highlights, but I’m not sure I understood much. I realize the history behind World War I is complicated and that a simple survey is not enough to truly understand; still, I also know that this war doesn’t have as much exposure in general as opposed to other conflicts.  You can watch far more films about World War II or the Vietnam War.  When we realized that Kansas City has a world-class museum featuring World War I, we…

A couple of years ago, a fellow English teacher and road tripper from a nearby school district posted pictures about her trip to Charleston on Facebook.  Ever since I saw the pictures of Kayla’s trip with her family, I knew I wanted to go.  One place she highlighted really caught my eye–Poe’s Tavern.  I teach an Edgar Allan Poe story, “The Masque of the Red Death,” to sophomores every year.  One year I even taught “The Cask of Amontillado” to freshman.  This may make me a nerd, but I also have an Edgar Allan Poe action figure that I take out when it’s time to do these stories.  The English teacher next door, my teacher bestie Rachael, celebrates Poe with a special day of food and films every year.  Visiting Poe’s Tavern just seemed right. Some Background Since we drive to Walt Disney World, I try to find places of…

I have always been a proponent of travel, even though my own experiences are limited to travel within the United States.  Though I haven’t been abroad, I’ve had tastes of how travel can change your perspective, and essentially, change you.  I’ve stood on the summit of Pikes Peak and on the beach at St. Augustine.  I’ve walked through Chinatown in New York City and along the Gulf Coast of Biloxi.  Experience is often a rigorous teacher.  Someday I hope to visit other countries, but until then, I’ll explore when and where I can.  I’ll also escape into compelling stories that leave me thinking after I’ve closed the book.  Amsterdam Exposed by David Wienir is one of those stories. Mr. Wienir explains in the prologue that “this is the true story of an innocent exchange student who moves to Holland hoping to write a book about the red light district and…

I’ll admit, this title may be a little misleading.  Just know this–Branson, Missouri, does Christmas in a big way.  Branson at Christmas time is a Christmas-lover’s paradise.  But if you’re not feeling it yet and you need a little Christmas, Branson will make any Grinch’s heart grow ten sizes.  Here are my favorite ways to embrace the holidays in Branson. 1. An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City If you only have time for one attraction in Branson during the Christmas season, you should choose An Old Time Christmas at Silver Dollar City.  This 1880s theme park transforms into a magical Christmas town complete with over 6.5 million Christmas lights.  Merry and bright, indeed. Silver Dollar City has so much to offer during Christmas time.  The comfort food is abundant, and you’ll have so many entertainment options that you won’t be able to see everything in one day.  Consider…

One of my favorite Walt Disney World memories is when Kristin became a princess at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  I have been asked about this experience, so I thought I would share this memory with you.  Kristin was four years old at the time, and she was a huge Frozen fan.  I asked her if she would like to look like Elsa at Disney World, and she was so excited.  For us, four years old was the perfect age to try out Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.   We like to plan a trip for every other year, and as she’s gotten older, she has been just a little less into looking like the princesses.  She was at the height of her love of Disney princesses for this trip. Planning Our Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Experience I admit that I am a planner when it comes to trips–especially Disney trips.  I don’t want to miss anything simply…

I have been a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan since I began reading her books in elementary school, and I’ve always wanted to tour her home and museum in Mansfield, Missouri.  I also loved watching the TV show as a child, even though it is pretty loosely based on the books.  As an adult, I’ve wanted to learn more about her life, so I have started taking my family to her homes across the Midwest.  We are lucky to live near to two of those homes–The Little House on the Prairie near Independence, Kansas, and Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield, Missouri. Heading to Rocky Ridge Farm I was pretty excited to bring Kristin to Laura’s homes.  She is starting to learn more about her, although currently Jack the bulldog is her favorite character, not Laura. What can I say?  The girl loves animals.  We’ve also stayed a night in De Smet,…

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