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If you’re looking for something fun to do in January in Missouri, why not take a trip to see the bald eagles in Stella, Missouri? Since we live about 40 miles away, we’ve been a few times. Pre-Covid, Stella hosted an Eagle Days event around the third weekend in January each year. I couldn’t find any information for this year, but like our visit last year, you can drive to Stella to see the eagles without the hosted event by the Chert Glades Missouri Master Naturalists, the Missouri of Department of Conservation and the City of Stella. The eagles show up whether there is a festival or not. Remembering Our Visit to Stella’s Eagle Days Veteran’s Memorial Park Again, last year they didn’t have the festival, and I haven’t seen any information for this year. Still, I hope the festival returns one day in the future. In Veteran’s Memorial Park,…

What do you think of when you think of Malibu? Hollywood stars? Expensive homes? Barbie? (Yes, I’m a child of the 80s.) I think of all of these things, so when we had a chance to make a quick stop to Malibu Beach, we took it. Malibu: The Plan or More Accurately, the Non-Plan When we planned our first trip to California in 2019, we knew we wanted to include some beach time. Kristin and I had never even been near the Pacific Ocean, so squeezing in a beach visit or two was definitely a goal. There are a lot of choices, of course, but in the end, we chose Malibu and Santa Monica Pier.  One reason we chose Santa Monica is that it’s the end of Route 66, and we live blocks away from the historic highway in Joplin, Missouri. If you want to check out more about our…

When we began planning our first trip to Disneyland and Southern California, Knott’s Berry Farm came up in our planning. I’d always wanted to go, and we didn’t know how often we’d make it to to the area since we’re from Missouri. Little did we know that we’d find our way back to California in July of 2021 and that we’d plan a Halloween trip to Disneyland for September. But at the time, you know, it seemed like we should pack as much in as we could. In fact, that’s always how we roll: if we can swing it, we’ll make it happen. So, we thought we may as well give it a go, and I’m so glad we did! It’s a charming park with some pretty high-thrill coasters. It also reminded us of the theme park near us that we call home–Silver Dollar City. If you’d like to read…

At Halloween, some families go trick-or-treating. Some have parties or scary movie marathons. This year, our family decided to do a ghost tour in a nearby city–Springfield, Missouri. And where do you go for a ghost tour in Springfield? Why, the Pythian Castle, of course! This wasn’t our family’s first ghost tour. The ghost tour at the Pythian Castle made number 7 for us. What can I say? We like our history tours with a dash of the supernatural. To read about other ghost tours we’ve taken, click the links below. Lincoln’s Ghost Walk Ghosts and Gravestones: Savanah–The Andrew Low House Ghosts and Gravestones: San Diego–The Whaley House The Crescent Hotel Gettysburg (post has a section on the Jennie Wade House) What is the Pythian Castle? A Brief History The Pythian Castle has a surprising history. In 1913, the fraternal order, The Knights of Pythias, built the castle as a…

I was not a Twilight fan. As we planned the road trip that eventually would include Olympic National Park, I didn’t know that Forks was the setting of the exceptionally successful book series and a string of movies. My oldest child read the first book several years ago, and we rented the first movie in which during the viewing, I’ll admit, I fell asleep. We continued to plan, and I realized we needed a place to stay that would be convenient to the Hoh Rainforest and Ruby Beach, two sections of Olympic National Park that were at the top of our list. Forks is a nice location for exactly that–Ruby Beach and the Hoh Rainforest are on either side of the small Washington town. It wasn’t long, however, until I realized what the town of Forks was famous for. Though I wasn’t a fan, I wanted to gather some Twilight information…

Disney Dreamin’: The Background We’d never been to a Disney park in any other season but summer.  June and July, to be exact. When you’re a teacher with a school-aged kid, it’s difficult to get away during the school year. This past summer, we planned a trip that included Yellowstone and Seattle, and, originally, the plan was to fly from Kansas City to Denver and rent a car. When reports of rental car shortages emerged, we canceled the flight and drove the entire trip from Missouri. In the end, we were glad it worked out that way; we ended up adding an extra week to the trip. But, we had a flight to reschedule or we’d lose the funds. What to do? Plan a long weekend to Disney? Yes, please! In the end, we chose Disneyland over Walt Disney World. Since we’d only have a couple of park days, a…

Ever since I learned that the historic Old Faithful Inn was a place, I knew I needed to stay there one day. My dream was realized this summer when we made our first visit to Yellowstone National Park. We also happened to stay on my birthday. How amazing is that? National park lodges sell out quickly, so we booked our two nights at Old Faithful Inn about 11 months in advance. If you’re planning a trip to the most popular parks, I certainly recommend planning your trip a year out so you won’t have to settle for anything less than what you want to do. Plus, you’ll have all year to look forward to your awesome trip! Disclaimer: One thing I should point out right now–Old Faithful Inn is NOT a luxury resort with all the bells and whistles. In fact, if you stay in the Old House like we…

One of our favorite experiences at Rocky Mountain National Park was hiking along Bear Lake. It’s a relatively easy hike; the terrain is relatively flat. And here’s a great tip–you don’t have to hike all the way around to see the beauty of the lake. We didn’t. We hiked about halfway and turned around. If you’re looking for a great hike for families in Rocky Mountain National Park, look no further. When Should You Hike Bear Lake Loop When we visited Rocky Mountain National Park, timed entry tickets were required. This is something you definitely want to check into before your trip. You may need to score that reservation before you head out, and sometimes you need to do it a few weeks or months ahead. Bu sure to check out the Rocky Mountain National Park website well in advance as you plan your trip. Most people suggest going to…

If you’ve ever watched the Food Network, you’re probably at least familiar with Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman. Actually, I admire her a lot. She started a blog in 2006 and turned it into an amazing empire–cookbooks, a cooking show, merchandise, a boutique hotel, a magazine, and the Mercantile, a store with a restaurant and bakery located in the small town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, near her husband’s ranch.  Just imagine being able to showcase your life and turn it into a lucrative career; it’s every blogger’s dream! That’s why when my family had the opportunity to stop by The Pioneer Woman Mercantile, I jumped at the chance. And it wasn’t just because I was a blogger. The food sounded amazing, and getting a chance to see the beautiful items for sale in the store was too hard to resist. So one summer afternoon, we stopped in for…

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