Peek Inside the New Diagon Alley at Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Diagon Alley

Years ago when I heard the announcement that Universal Studios Orlando would become the home of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, well, truthfully, I squealed like a kid on Christmas morning. The books and movies that had become an obsession were now becoming a real life attraction. Then our family made the long drive to Florida for a family vacation and we hadn't carved out any time to visit this new attraction. You can imagine my … [Read more...]

Weekend Things | Snow Days

11 week old lab puppy

This past weekend we got our first real snow storm. I spent most Friday doubting the snow would ever amount to anything but woke up Saturday morning to almost 7 inches of it on the ground. Tink, our lab puppy, got to experience snow for the first time and boy did she have a ball out there! While I was wandering around taking photos, I left hubby to do the shoveling. One of these years we might actual invest in a snow … [Read more...]

Family Travel | Giant City State Park Nature Trails

Giant City Trail Bluffs

About once a year we try to make it down to southern Illinois for a weekend trip in and around Giant City State Park near Carbondale, IL. It's a place we've been going with my parents since I was a little girl. While my husbands ideal vacation usually involves sand, ocean and warm breezes, I much prefer the stillness of the deep woods, a chill in the air and nothing but dirt under my feet. That's why I love Giant City State Park so much. It's … [Read more...]

Travel | Photos from The Great Forest Park Balloon Race in St. Louis

Forest Park Balloon Glow Hot Air Balloons

Whenever my husband utters the words, "let's take a trip!" ... I want to curl into a ball, in a dark closet, with a deadbolt on the door. That's how thrilled I am about taking any kind of trip that involves all three kids. It's not that I don't enjoy traveling or even my kids, it's that traveling with kids is WORK. I do all of the same at-home-mom duties except now they're all tucked into a traveling van with added chaos. By the time I get back … [Read more...]

Fun, Sun & Boating on Lake Springfield in Illinois

Jon and Cat Davis

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Discover Boating. I received collateral to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating. Renting a boat and getting out on the lake is something we've been talking about since early spring. It wasn't today that we finally got the chance to actually do it. We got a babysitter for the morning and my husband and I popped over to the Lake Springfield … [Read more...]

Grand Opening | Inside the New Penn Station East Coast Subs In Springfield IL

Penn Station East Coast Subs Springfield Illinois Location

Today was a big day for sub lovers in Springfield, Illinois. Penn Station East Coast Subs, a grilled sub joint that I first discovered while living in St. Louis, has a home on the west side of Springfield now. Located at 2983 Lindbergh Ave, just across the street from Walmart, you'll find Penn Station tucked into the corner of the strip mall. It's open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, closing at 10pm Monday through Saturday and 8pm on … [Read more...]

Strawberry Pickin’ at Jefferies Orchard

Jefferies Orchard Fresh Picked Strawberries

Going to Jefferies Orchard for the u-pick strawberries has been a May tradition for as long as I can remember. One day each year my parents would pull me out of bed with the sun rise and take me out to the orchard where we'd go row by row picking juicy strawberries. They almost always ended up being squished and sugared for strawberry shortcake. Me, well, I like to take a less traditional route. Sure, we'll still have plenty of … [Read more...]

Inside the New Five Guys Burgers & Fries in Springfield Illinois

Five Guys Burgers and Fries Springfield IL White Oaks Mall Location

Conveniently located on the west side at White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Illinois, there's a new burger joint to get your greasy fix. Today was the grand opening of Five Guys Burger & Fries and not nearly as packed as I'd thought it would be. There was a steady stream of customers but no more than a five minute wait for your food. If you didn't make it out today you can get your burger fix 7 days a week from 11am to 10pm. The only down-side, … [Read more...]