We had a great day visiting Dinosaur National Monument in July. The huge park stretches from western Colorado to eastern Utah, but we only visited the Utah side since we really wanted to focus on the dinosaur bones and petroglyphs.
Our first stop was the Quarry Exhibit Hall, shortly after it opened for the day. It was awesome to see the exposed dinosaur bones as they were discovered in the quarry, and to even touch some of the fossilized bones! There were also some nice reconstructions of dinosaur skeletons.
The landscapes outside of the Quarry Exhibit Hall were also incredible.
The Green River flows through the park, and rafting down the river would have been a fun adventure.
After a short drive from the Quarry Exhibit Hall, we stopped to see petroglyphs and pictographs left by the Fremont people that lived in this area about a thousand years ago. We then continued driving to see more of these ancient carvings and drawings at another location farther from the Quarry Exhibit Hall, and enjoyed a picnic in a nice shady spot near a historic homesteader’s cabin.
There are two great hot springs options in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Old Town Hot Springs are easy to get to, and great for kids since the the temperatures of the various hot spring pools are regulated between 98°F and 103°F. Plus, there is a regular warm shallow pool, big water slides, and a kiddie play area.
Strawberry Park Hot Springs is a completely different hot springs experience. After a short, pretty drive from town, you will find a very natural hot springs setting. The Strawberry hot spring pools were beautiful and unique, but a little too hot for our family to truly enjoy being in them on the morning we visited (the springs naturally fluctuate slightly in temperature and these pools are not temperature-regulated).
The little one has broken a lot of crayons over the last couple of years, and I’ve been collecting the crayon fragments because I figured we could eventually do something cool with them. This melted crayon craft project was just our speed, and our funky multi-colored crayons made great gifts for the kiddo’s friends.
After peeling the paper off of the broken crayons, we put the crayon pieces in a mini muffin pan and baked them at 170°F until they were completely melted (24 minutes). Then we removed the muffin pan from the oven, and decided to quickly stir one of the new melty crayons (a mixture of purple, blue, and pink) to make a special new shade of purple. We left the other crayons alone for a marbled look. Then we put the muffin pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. Next I inverted the pan and the new crayons all came out easily.
Our special purple swirled crayon broke when it came out of the pan, so it’s possible that our stirring before freezing affected that crayon’s structural integrity, but it turned out really pretty. A few of the other crayons broke later on, but that’s not so bad because these crayons are actually easier to draw with when they are broken in half. Overall, this was a fun recycling project to do with a three-year-old!
Last year my sister gave me this idea for a cute Easter breakfast and I made it about as simple as possible. I think these bunny pancakes will be an Easter tradition for our family, since they are so easy to make.
I made banana pancakes using the recipe from my Babycakes Covers the Classics cookbook, and added a little tail made of shredded coconut. Of course, these pancakes are best served with a side of chocolate bunny. Hoppy Easter!
It’s another purple cauliflower recipe, inspired by my desire to get my purple-loving three-year-old to eat lots of veggies! Good stuff!
We visited the McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach in February. The first thing that we noticed and loved was the huge stick structures, which you can go inside.
The gardens currently have a special exhibit, Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks. These super cool Lego sculptures will be in the gardens through May 7, 2017.
Our favorite Lego sculptures are shown above. The smallest of these sculptures, the “Pileated Woodpecker,” is made of 4,424 pieces. The largest, the “Monarch Butterfly On Milkweed,” contains 60,549 pieces and has an eight-foot wingspan! These Lego sculptures were so impressive, and the beautiful gardens were the perfect setting for enjoying them.
During our Florida mini-vacation we visited the Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce. When we arrived, we appreciated the manatee artwork on a bench and on the walkway to the entrance.
Inside, there was an optional scavenger hunt for kids, to encourage them to observe the different types of fish inside the building. Our three-year-old loves this sort of challenge, and the possibility of earning a little prize. There were also a few fun crafty activities for kids, and a short movie about manatees and the observation center. The best part of visiting the observation center, of course, is the chance of seeing wild manatees in the creek behind the building. The observation center has beautiful views of the creek and Indian River Lagoon, and we were lucky enough to see three manatees relaxing in the creek!
Admission to the manatee center was only one dollar per person (!), so I highly recommend visiting if you are in the Fort Pierce area.
I’m obsessed with cauliflower nachos! Honestly, they are only a little bit like nachos, but they are SUPER yummy.
We used almond cheese and added black beans for protein, but otherwise followed the gist of the recipe linked above. And we’ve been making them with purple cauliflower because purple is our three-year-old’s favorite color, and that makes her want to eat them. They go well with salsa, guacamole, and a side of cornbread.
This fall I realized that my poor deprived child was three and a half years old and had never had a donut. This egregious oversight never would have happened if I could eat gluten (or if I could easily get gluten-free dairy-free donuts at any bakery), so we’ve started making mini donuts at home.
Our first attempt was my all-time-favorite, apple cider donuts! We used this recipe and gobbled them all up within about 24 hours.
Our next donut-making adventure was chocolate dipped plain cake donuts (kid’s choice). The festive sprinkles were also the kiddo’s choice, and she enjoyed doing all of the dipping and sprinkling.
The donuts were delightfully crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The plain cake donut recipe and the chocolate dipping sauce recipe are both in Babycakes Covers the Classics (one of my go-to cookbooks). We made a half recipe of the chocolate dipping sauce and still had a bit left over, so I made hot chocolate by mixing the sauce with hot almond milk. So much chocolatey goodness!
One last post from our December overnight trip to Boston: behold the views from the Skywalk Observatory on the 50th floor of the Prudential Center.
This was a surprisingly great place to bring a three-year-old. She loved being in a building that was “as high as an airplane,” and there was ample space for her to run laps around the perimeter of the observatory without bothering other folks (much). The personal audio tour device was an unforeseen bonus, as she loved pretending it was a phone and taking photos with it.