Thursday Thoughts #15

Thursday Thoughts

As some of you may know, we have left Ohio for California! We spent a year and a half in the Dayton area while my husband earned his Masters degree.

Here are some of our favorite {kid-friendly} things to do in SW Ohio.

Next week, I’ll share some of our favorite food destinations.

EnterTRAINmentJunction

If you have any kids who love trains, or you’re an adult who loves model trains, this attraction is a must-see. With more than 2 miles of track in a 25,000 sqft space, this display is the largest model train display in the world! And it’s impressive. The path takes you through the history of train usage beginning with pre-Civil War and going all the way to modern times. There’s even a second floor loft area displaying Coney Island and providing an overhead view of the exhibit. They have scavenger hunts set up throughout the displays, too. Supposedly 10 dinosaurs are placed amongst the scenery, but in two trips we’ve only spotted 7. There’s also a large indoor play area which makes the trip ideal when the weather is cold and rainy. Two outdoor rides that are available Memorial Day thru Labor Day which we didn’t get a chance to experience. Another attraction we didn’t explore is the A-Maze-N Funhouse geared toward older kids.

EnterTRAINment Junction is located halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati on I-675 in West Chester, OH.

National Museum of the USAF

A great, free family destination is the National Museum of the Air Force. The meuseum is located in Dayton, OH. You should note that this museum is massive and it would be near impossible to see everything. If you have a longer trip to the Dayton area I’d suggest only one or two exhibits at a time. It’s a good place to “get your steps” on a cold day, too. During the week it’s not very busy and easier to let the little ones walk around a little more freely.

Young’s Jersey Dairy

Young’s Dairy in Yellow Springs, OH is a fun place to go on beautiful days. They have seasonal activities all year round. In the Winter you can cut your own Christmas trees, there’s an annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Spring, a vintage car show in the Summer, and pumpkin picking in the Fall. We’ve only ever gone to the Dairy in the Fall. There’s a miniature golf course on the property, too! In the evenings you can watch them milking the cows, an event I regret not seeing. During the day though you can pet and feed the goats, and whatever cows are around.

The food at Young’s is good, too. The buffalo cheddar cheese curds are quite delicious and their ice cream alone is worth a trip to the dairy.

Fruit Picking

At the end of the summer, we went berry picking at the Homestead Berry Farm. Firecracker was only 25 months old at the time and he loved running down the aisles of berry bushes and picking raspberries right off the bush! He’d not tried raspberries prior to that outing, despite my trying; now,¬†they’re still one of his favorites! (Though, I don’t think anything will top blueberries.) We filled up a pint of fresh picked raspberries and one pint of fresh picked blackberries. My husband did the blackberry picking while I kept Firecracker away from those prickly bushes, he said it was fun searching for the treasure of the blackberries which grew hidden among the leaves. We also bought a jar of blackberry jam which was delicious on toast.

In the fall, my mom and I went apple picking at Monnin’s Fruit Farm. Once again, my son voluntarily took a bite of an apple that he himself plucked. It’s too bad apples didn’t have the same staying power as the raspberries did. We picked a half-bushel and split the bounty. So many apples! I used some of them in my favorite waffle recipe to date – Apple Pie Waffles.

Zoos

The zoo is always a winner with little ones and we were located right in the middle of two great options: The Cincinatti Zoo and The Columbus Zoo. Both are about an hour drive from Dayton. We explored both zoos while in the Dayton area. While our personal favorite was the Columbus Zoo, I don’t have any bad things to say regarding the Cincinatti Zoo. The Columbus Zoo has a small aquarium on premises and a water park (which we didn’t get to explore, to my husband’s disappointment). General Admission to the Cincinatti Zoo runs at $16, for the Columbus Zoo $19.99. Parking at both attractions is $10. My suggestion for any zoo trip is to go on a less than perfect weather day. Our best animal viewing occurred on a slightly cool, cloudy day with a threat of rain. When it’s not hot the animals are active and the crowds aren’t overpowering either!


The D.C. Zoo + Honey Aebleskiver

Yesterday I mentioned that over Memorial Day weekend we took a road trip to D.C. to visit Tara (of Tara’s Multicultural Table) and her family. We’ve known this wonderful family for almost 10 years! Tara’s husband went to Auburn with my husband and me. It wasn’t until we were both stationed in the FL panhandle together that we became close friends. This year will be the first 4th of July since 2010 when we won’t be together, so we had to fast forward that weekend to Memorial Weekend instead!

family photos

On Saturday we headed into the city to check out the zoo. Did you know that there are a LOT of people in D.C.?!

It was a beautiful, warm day and a lot of the animals were finding shelter away from prying eyes. The first half of the day was spent trying not to run over toes with the strollers and seeing empty habitats. But then all the frustration was forgotten when the tiger was highly active, running around his habitat and jumping in the water. We really felt sorry for him – as the only active animal at the zoo he received a lot of attention from “roaring” and yelling children. His tail was twitching and his gaze kept moving up towards the source of the noise. We were able to get some incredible pictures though and the little man woke up in time to see the tiger. I got the moment I was hoping to have watching him notice the tiger and like it! (War Eagle!)

tigerOn Sunday after a trip to the farmer’s market (documented yesterday) I got to do what I’ve missed most – cooking with a friend. I’ve been watching Evan help Tara in the kitchen via text messages and blog posts and it was so sweet to see him in action. He helped us whisk the eggs, pour the vanilla, and manned the stand mixer. All while my little man was being entertained by alphabetic fridge magnets.

cooking

During #BrunchWeek one of my fellow bloggers posted a recipe for Nutella Aebleskiver. I immediately shared the recipe with Tara because (a) she loves Nutella anything and (b) I thought she had one of those fancy aebleskiver pans. She didn’t… at the time. Within half an hour she’d ordered one, saying it’d been on her Amazon wish list for quite some time. Happy Mother’s Day to her!

aebleskiver pan

We made two different flavors, the suggested Nutella and honey. We decided that I’d photograph and blog the honey and she the Nutella. That was another fun moment for me, getting to use her photography set up! Their house doesn’t let in much light and the window that lets in the most light is upstairs. Right by the window she has a table set up and has made a few different painted boards. She has a butcher’s rack complete with different napkins, placemats, and other specialty cookware. Evan even has his own space out of the way where he can color while Tara takes her wonderful food photography. Tara has much more patience and dedication than I when it comes to photography (I just step outside, weather permitting, and snap up to 5 photos).

honey aebleskiver | sew you think you can cook

For the Aebleskiver recipe, please check out Tara’s post from yesterday.

BBQWe had such a great time going to visit Tara and her family, and getting to meet our Goddaughter, Claire! We’d been needed to get away and a road trip was just what we needed. The drive to Virginia was beautiful, lots of hills, mountains, and greenery. On the way back, in the middle-of-nowhere WV, we stopped for BBQ on the side of the road. It was so good, and it was the little man’s first BBQ – he absolutely loved it and ate about a quarter of my pulled pork.

girls and boys

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