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Last summer as we planned a short trip to Springfield, Illinois, we decided to take Kristin to see the Gateway Arch at the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis. Kristin had never been to the top even though we often pass the Arch on our road trips to various destinations. It’s a right-of-passage for Missouri folk; Kristin was on her way. Arriving at Gateway Arch National Park It’s pretty exciting when you can see the Arch as you get closer to the park. We followed the GPS and signs to get to a parking lot nearby. I would suggest getting tickets to go up inside the Arch before you arrive; they may run out of available time slots for the time you are there. We happened to get ours online the night before. We guessed about when we would arrive. We had a pleasant stroll from the parking area…

We usually make at least one kid-free trip to the Lake of the Ozarks area each year. Since we’re fans of the Netflix show Ozark, we couldn’t resist pre-dinner drinks at a little bar along the strip down by the dam–Marty Byrde’s Bar and Grill. If you’ve seen the show, you know that Marty Byrde is the central character of the show played by Jason Bateman. How can you not check out this place? Just to be clear, we’ve never felt unsafe like the show may make you believe. You also won’t find casinos on riverboats. Sure, you need to exercise regular caution as you would anywhere, but the show is fictional. One thing I always like to do is take a drive down by Bagnell Dam to see the little strip of bars and shops, especially as the sun goes down. If you want to read more about this area,…

For Christmas this year, my husband and I decided to take a getaway together instead of buying each other gifts. We do this often, actually, and I am so grateful to be married to someone who loves trips as much as I do. Since Branson is only an hour and a half away, it often works well for a destination for us as a couple. My parents stay with the kids, and suddenly it’s just the two of us on a little road trip. This year, we stayed at a cabin at Silver Dollar City campground near Branson, Missouri. Formerly, the campground was known as The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City. I’ve always wanted to give it a try, so I thought, why not? I was sure to reserve a cabin with a fireplace. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. Luckily, that…

Silver Dollar City’s fall festival in Branson, Missouri, is one of my favorite festivals of the year.  I’ll admit it.  I was super excited when I heard about the new hours and additions to Silver Dollar City this fall. The park has long offered special crafts, food, and music during the fall days.  Now, guests can explore the park after dark while taking in glowing pumpkins and other decorations.  My family had the opportunity to check out this new event on the opening weekend of Pumpkin Nights.  Though it was still pretty warm, we’re talking upper 80s, I still found myself getting into the spirit of the season.  Read more to see what you can’t miss at Pumpkin Nights during the fall festival. Get There Early Enough to Check out the Crafts and Day Decorations in the Park We headed into the park on that first Saturday at around 5:00…

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…

Family travel is amazing, but sometimes you just need a little getaway as a couple. Since it’s only an hour and a half away, Jeff and I take a long weekend just for us to Branson every few months. It’s important to take couple time to connect, and we’re lucky to have my parents nearby to spoil Kristin for a weekend every now and then. Planning a Trip In early October, Jeff and I grabbed our calendar to see when we could squeeze in some time for us. We saw the perfect weekend in December.  I’d be finished with coaching speech for the semester, and it would before the craziness of Christmas kicked in, so we took it. As long as the all the stars aligned, including weather and health, we were taking a weekend for us. And as that weekend drew closer, we realized we were eligible to see…

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…

I’d like to thank @visitkc and Westin Kansas City Crown Center for sponsoring parts of our trip.  As always, all opinions are honest and our own. #HoWeDoKC If you’re planning a trip to Kansas City for your family, Crown Center should definitely be on your radar.  This complex is an amazing collection of attractions, shopping, restaurants, and lodging that you won’t want to miss.  You’ll also want to check out some of the worthwhile attractions nearby, so hang on tight.  I’ll explain what you need to know to have a great trip! First, I’ll give you a little background.  We planned a quick two-night trip in July, so our choices reflect our desire to explore while avoiding the summer heat.  Also, though it’s our family’s policy to “take turns” when choosing activities that may not appeal to everyone equally, we did focus on mostly family-friendly activities, although Kristin is no stranger…

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