Family outings

Strawberry picking

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on June 25th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Jen likes to take the girls strawberry picking each year. This year, it was a group effort.

Strawberry picking

Stacie and Zach were making grand plans for thier fresh strawberries, including a strawberry pie.

Parents pick too

The girls filled their buckets, then added the strawberries to Mom’s box. The picking was much slower without Dad, G’mom and Grampa this year. Thank goodness we had friends to help out.

Filling Mom's box

About 10 minutes after arriving, light rain started. Molly and Matilda found a unique way to cover up in the field.

Strawberries in the rain

Jen and the girls made a second stop at Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard. It is about 15 minutes from the strawberry field and the homemade ice cream was a perfect snack.

Snack after strawberries


Posted in Family outings on May 3rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Clemson is only a couple hours away from Charlotte, so we thought we’d add some extra fun to the trip by stopping off at Carowinds amusement park for a day on our way home. Jen and I had actually been to Carowinds once before on our honeymoon. Sadly, this was before I took pictures of everything, so I don’t have pictures of us at the park.

We left Clemson early so we could get to the park relatively close to when it opened. We were fortunate to have perfect weather for the day.


Carowinds is on the boarder between South Carolina and North Carolina, so the girls made sure to spend some time in both.

Two states

We first headed to Planet Snoopy, the area of the park aimed at smaller kids. Our first ride was Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase, a fun little roller coaster for the whole family. Sadly, the restraints block you from seeing Leah next to me.

Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase

Snoopy was everywhere in the park.


Our second ride was Snoopy’s Flying Ace Balloon Race. Jen doesn’t handle these rides well, so I hopped on with the girls.

Flying Ace Balloon Race

I volunteered to go backwards so the girls could face forwards. This turned out to be a bad decision, leaving me queasy. I guess I can’t handle these as well as I thought. Thankfully, Jen had extra Dramamine for me.

Flying backwards

The girls then rode some rides by themselves while I recovered.

Snoopy vs. Red Baron

Snoopy vs. Red Baron

Woodstock Gliders

Woodstock Gliders

At that point I was ready to try again. We rode the Woodstock Express, a fun family-friendly wooden roller coaster (I love wooden coasters). It was great.

We got lunch at Chick-fil-A. Yes, they have Chick-fil-A in the park. We were very happy with that, despite the fact that the prices were jacked up like most food service inside amusement parks.

We did Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, in which you ride in slow cars with little toy guns and shoot ghosts, racking up points. We tried to do several other rides (e.g. Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare), but they were closed.

The girls both wanted to ride the Do-Si-Do, but were both too short to ride without a parent. So, Jen and I both got to ride it. Jen looks excited here before things got really going.


I think Molly liked this ride.


Jen even put her arms up for a bit (though that didn’t last long).

Arms up

The Ricochet was a mouse coaster with four people per car - perfect for our family. And even better was that everyone was tall enough to ride it.


All of us

There were a lot of quick turns on this one.

Quick turns

Up and down

Molly and I then road the Carolina Goldrusher, a mine train coaster which was fun. Leah could have handled it as well, but was not tall enough to ride. Sadly, that was the story for much of the park. Leah was too short for many rides (requiring at least 48 inches), and Molly was too short for a lot as well (requiring at least 54 inches). The Planet Snoopy area is aimed at little kids, but I was surprised how much of the rest of the park was inaccessible to our (admittedly short) 7 and 10 year olds.

Because of that, we then headed back to Planet Snoopy to ride Snoopy's Flying Ace Aerial Chase and the Woodstock Express again. They were our favorite rides from the kids area, and we enjoyed riding them again to finish our day.

The girls always want to buy a toy when we go places, and we usually refuse. We figured getting them a memento from the trip wouldn’t be awful, so they each got a Snoopy plush on our way out.


We then headed out to get some dinner and end at our hotel for some much needed rest before driving home the next day.

Clemson road trip

Posted in Family outings, Family visits on May 2nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

My paternal grandmother, Grammy, lives in two different places. When it’s warm, she lives in Highlands, NC. We’ve visited her there a couple of times. When it’s cooler, she lives in Clemson, SC. We’ve wanted to visit her there, but it can be really hard to find a good time to make that trip when the kids aren’t on summer vacation. This year we made it happen, making the trip during the girls’ spring break.

We drove down on Saturday, leaving first thing in the morning and arriving at bed time. We woke up the next morning and went to church on Palm Sunday with Grammy and her friend Caroline. After church, we had a lovely lunch at the dining room in her community.

After lunch, we headed back to Grammy’s place, where she was ready to entertain the girls. Grammy was a first grade teacher, and was ready with crafts for the girls on our visit. She blew out 18 eggs so they could decorate them for Easter. The drawing was done on the porch.

Egg decorating

The egg dying station was in the kitchen. Grammy and Leah got it set up to dye.

Dying eggs


Molly worked hard on her BB-8 egg.


That blue looks good.

Nice color

Dying eggs

The three of them spent an hour and a half intently working on their eggs.

Drawing intently

Here are the eggs they made. Several of these have a Star Wars theme (BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO, Rey, and Kylo’s light saber), while the rest had more traditional Easter themes.

Egg results

After all the egg fun, we played some games (we brought Otrio and Telestrations with us). Then we went to Zaxby’s for dinner (we had to go to Zaxby’s while down south).

Monday morning, arts supplies came out. Grammy and the girls had lots of fun before even getting dressed.


We played some more games (we love games). We hit McAlister’s for lunch, then went to see Beauty and the Beast at the movie theater. For dinner, we headed down to College Avenue right next to Clemson’s campus to eat some delicious pasta at Brioso Fresh Pasta. We spent the night, then woke up early to head out to the next stop in our spring break adventure (more on that later).

The five of us

Thanks for having us, Grammy!

Mardi Gras in Maryland

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings on March 22nd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It was no Mardi Gras parade, but we had a nice time exploring many newly reopened shops while hunting for masks and collecting beads during Mardi Gras on Main St. the Saturday before Mardi Gras. Sadly, the promise of beignets was a bust. :( Chocolate treats had to substitute.

Mardi Gras on Main St.

You may have noticed Jen’s snazzy shirt. Jen may be a Marylander now, but she still hangs on to some of her Louisiana roots! She made a new shirt for Mardi Gras before baking four king cakes and making jambalaya.

Mardi Gras Marylander

Maple sugaring

Posted in Family outings on March 21st, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

For a fun outing, we joined Grams and headed to Brookside Nature Center for their Maple Sugaring days. They taught us about the process of making maple syrup. Here they are cooking down the sap to make syrup.

Maple sugaring

At the end of the activity, we all got pancakes with maple syrup (of course).


Maryland doesn’t create much maple syrup. While Vermont creates up to 2 million gallons a year, Maryland comes in with a total of 0 gallons. But that doesn’t stop Brookside Gardens from creating a little bit from their 5 sugar maple trees. We even got to taste a little of what they’d produced by dipping a popsicle stick in this little jar of it.

Maryland syrup

We picked up a couple of maple treats, including this cotton candy made from maple syrup.

Maple cotton candy

After the maple fun, we headed to Aunt EA and Uncle Scott’s house to hang out. Leah was happy to read Charlie a book.

Reading to Charlie

American Girl store

Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Leah, Molly on March 12th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Three days after Christmas, G’Mom and Grampa arrived to continue the fun. Jen came up with a fun activity to do when they were in town. We made the trip down to Tyson’s Corner to go to the American Girl store. The girls were quite excited. They both had a bunch of gift cards they had been saving up for some time, and it was time to spend them.

American Girl store

Here they are with a couple of their chosen items.


This place seems to inspire joy in these girls.


Here they are with bags full of fun in front of the store’s Christmas tree.

Their loot

Post-Christmas Star Wars

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on March 11th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The morning after Christmas was our first chance to try out the new BB-8 waffle maker Molly and Leah had gotten me for Christmas. They were of course delicious.

BB-8 waffles

The next day continued the Star Wars fun. With everything going on in building up to Christmas, we had not had a chance to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yet despite being big Star Wars fans. So, we resolved to see it soon thereafter. It was Molly’s first time getting to sit in the fancy reclining movie theater seats.

Rogue One

Neighborhood Santa visit

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on March 3rd, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

As happens every year, the Fire Department brought Santa’s sleigh to our neighborhood.

Neighborhood Santa visit

I believe Molly told him that for Christmas she wanted a chicken that said “pataca” (inside family joke).

Christmas wish

Here’s a wider shot of the sleigh and the front of the line waiting for their turn.

Fire department sleigh

Getting a Christmas Tree

Posted in Family outings, Leah, Molly on February 27th, 2017 by c-had – Be the first to comment

So, sorry for not posting anything for the past couple of months. But never fear, I’ve been taking pictures along the way and will now catch you up over the next few days. So, think back to December, and pretend the holiday season is just getting started.

This year, we returned to our favorite place to find and cut down a Christmas tree, Greenway Farms. Sadly, they no longer have any White Pines (our go-to tree), so we had to choose something else. We browsed around for a lot longer than the girls wanted to, checking out the Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, Blue Spruce, White Spruce, and Canaan Fir. We ultimately found a Canaan Fir we liked (as you can see here) and I cut it down.

Christmas tree seeking

Cutting down a tree is enough work to warm you up, so I ended up taking off my jacket. The girls were complaining about being cold, and each wanted to wear my discarded jacket. They found a fun solution.

Two peas in a pod


Posted in Family outings, Family visits, Molly on November 6th, 2016 by c-had – Be the first to comment

The day after Leah’s birthday, we continued celebrating with a day trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for some fun. In looking for things to do, the girls were the most excited about visiting Aimee and Daria’s Doll Outlet. The place is impressive, in the number of doll accessories offered as well as the prices when compared to those of the American Girl brand.

Doll outlet

While the downstairs of the Doll Outlet is full of doll accessories to buy, the upstairs contains a “nursery” with lots of baby dolls and other stuff. The girls got to sit in the princess chairs up there for a picture.


The girls (and their dolls) and their loot.


We then wanted to learn a bit about the Amish. The folks at the Doll outlet recommended we head to The Amish Farm and House. We did, and took the house tour, then headed out to explore the farm. We even got to take a buggy ride around the farm.

Buggy ride

They had Amish scooters that we could ride around a track.

Amish scooters

Amish scooters

G'Mom too

For dinner, we went to the Strasburg Shoppes. They have a great deli for dinner, then followed up with some delicious ice cream from the creamery there.

Strasburg Creamery

Yummy rainbow sherbet. And the waffle cones were made there fresh daily (we saw the rows of waffle makers and had to get some).


We then drove home for a late bedtime. It was a fun day and we’d love to do it again.