Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Spring Break Trip to Branson

We headed to Branson, Missouri for our Spring Break this year.  We planned to leave after school on Friday, but we had to make some adjustments due to sickness.  I feel like all of you with little ones totally understand.  We headed out on Sunday morning and came back late on Tuesday.  Kevin reserved us a fun condo.  It had a very out west vibe and was a relaxing place to hang out.  It ended up being a fun, quick trip.  None of us had ever been to Branson before so we were curious about it.

HIGH:  We did really enjoy The Boardwalk Aquarium, The Butterfly Palace and Branson Landing and the family adventure.  We ate some delicious food, too!  I'll showcase our favorite things so that if Branson is on your radar, you will have some family friendly ideas of things to do.

LOW: Overall, Branson seemed like it will be a one hit wonder for our family.  

We enjoyed our trip, but probably would not return.  It was almost a 7 hour drive from our house.  It's very mountainy/hilly and everything is very spread out around the town.  It is not a walkable city (outside of the Branson Landing area) and for our car sick kiddo it was not so fun.  There weren't many places where it was safe for Leo to just walk around.  I had hoped to find neat parks and places to play, but there weren't any close to us.  There are also lots of shows which didn't feel like a fun option for our family with young kids along with the fact that they are very expensive.

The Boardwalk Aquarium //

It's pricey, but fun.  Plan ahead a bit because you can't just buy your ticket and walk in.  You get a time to enter.  Luckily, we had a short wait, but buying tickets ahead of time would have been a good idea.  We enjoyed all the up close views of the sea creatures, the touch pools, the activities for kids inside and many of the tanks were huge so everyone from the tall adults to Leo in his stroller could see all the sea creatures swimming by us.

This giant walk through tunnel tank was so neat!  We watched sea turtles, sting rays, sharks and lots more!

The Giant Pacific Octopus was so cool to watch!!

The Butterfly Palace //

We were there right when it opened and had a really fun time interacting with butterflies.  There were tons of them and they all seemed eager to eat from the flower feeders you could hold.  We all enjoyed this!  There are reptiles to see here, too.  Everyone that worked here was really friendly.  Your admission bracelets were good for 3 days, but we all agreed that we probably wouldn't go back after seeing everything once.  I would preferred a one day pass/price option for our family.

The brochures tell guests to wear bright colors so we all did.  The butterflies seemed to like Kevin's blue shirt and hat the best.  They also loved the red stroller canopy.

These HUGE butterflies were really impressive!   

Branson Landing //

This is a really fun strip of shops, restaurants, activities and more along the river.  There are fountains that do a water show, restaurants on the water and it's really the only place we found where it was fun to just walk around.  We ate dinner at Mellow Mushroom (SO GOOD!!) and the kids played at the arcade.  It rained the evening we were there otherwise we would have stayed longer and gotten ice cream at Kilwins or stopped in one of the candy shops.  We agreed that it would be fun to stay at a hotel near this area along the river.

We LOVED our meals at Mellow Mushroom and Farmhouse Restaurant.  We'd highly recommend them both.

This picture cracks me up.  Leo wasn't the best breakfast company this day so I offered to take the kids out while Kevin paid.  Then I see him inside sipping coffee while I'm wrangling kids.  Silly Dad!  We're a good traveling team :)

I'm so glad we were able to get away and go on a fun adventure for Spring Break!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Fletcher is 6

 Happy Birthday Fletcher!

I can't believe my middle guy is 6.  These little years have flown by so fast.  

Fletcher is the sweetest, silliest guy and he'd be happy to stay home and snuggle/hang out most of the time.  He likes adventure and loves good food.  He is really sensitive and perceptive and you can count on him to know exactly how everyone is feeling.  He's more in tune to people that you would ever expect.  He picks up on the littlest things and asks good questions.  Fletcher has been through a lot - more trips to the ER than any other kid - stitches, staples, dog attack and more and he just keeps smiling.  He loves to have things to look forward to and is always chatting about fun things we can do together.  We are lucky to love him!

A picture of Fletcher's Spring Picture from school :)

6 things we LOVE about Fletcher:

1 // Penny loves Fletcher the most.  She purrs and embarrasses herself loving on him when we walks in the door from school.  She naps in his bed and nibbles on his ears while purring very loudly.  He is her very favorite person.

2 // Leo thinks Fuff is hilarious.  He asks for "Fuff" all day long and they have a lot of fun together.

3 // Olive likes to give Fletcher a hard time, but these two love playing together.  They share a room and are best buds.  She gets excited to see him at school and tells me she always gives him a big hug.  Which is more for him than her so I appreciate her knowing how to love him.

4 // Fletcher is a foodie - he plans his favorite snacks, loves to help pick out dinner and is full of compliments about my food.  "Mom, this is the best taco I have ever eaten!"  Or '"Your cookies are the best.  No wonder people want to buy them."  He also currently calls soft taco shells "taco buns" and it's my favorite.

5 // I love that Fletcher always wants to be near me and do whatever I'm doing.  He wants me to watch him play games, help me cook, sample my food, asks me to walk him into school every morning and wants me to wake him up earlier every morning so we get extra time to hang out together before school.  He's the sweetest sidekick.

6 // Kevin loves that Fletch is so social and friendly and sincere.  They also have a secret hand shake.

Happy Birthday, Fletcher!

Monday, March 28, 2022

Double Donut Party

Hey friends!!  We're back from Spring Break.  It was a great week off together.  I've got lots of fun things to share with you this week.  Let's start with: birthdays!

We decided to do a double donut party for the boys this year!  They had a blast.  Their birthdays are 8 days apart and Fletcher reminded me that they both love the same things so it worked out perfectly.  We hosted my family over.  It was our first birthday celebrations in the new house and it was fun.  It was also amazing to not have to pack up a party and drive hours to bring the party to our people.  Everyone came to us.  I was really happy for the kids to get to celebrate at home.

This picture makes me so happy - all my favorite people and all my favorite party elements.

The best party favors - edible favors!  Leo loves M&Ms and Fletcher loves gum balls.

I did a 6 and 2 fruit and veggie tray.  They turned out so cute.  We kept the dinner menu really simple - Fletcher requested pizza, bread sticks and donuts.  I added fruits, veggies and a pasta salad.

The big kids helped me with a really fun balloon garland.  They blew up all the balloons and I tied them.  Then I built the garland.  It's such a fun party statement for under $15.  It was gigantic so I did one section here and one section on the mantle.  The trickiest part about doing balloon garlands is hanging them!  I used packing tape to keep mine in place.

Donuts = easiest birthday dessert ever!

Lots of fun presents and lots of family!

Crazy cousin crew!!

We DONUT know what we would do without these two!