When I heard that the Columbus Museum of Art was going to have a Maurice Sendak exhibit, I knew that I wanted it to be an adventure date. We wanted to go during the week to avoid crowds, but Sundays ended up being our least busy days. So, we got free admission to the museum and only had to pay for the exhibit. This was both wonderful and also a little bit unfortunate. Wonderful to save money (you all saw my create date post, right?), but a little unfortunate that we were there on the most crowded day. Thankfully, the Wild Things Are Happening exhibit was not too crowded and we were able to enjoy that. We can always go back to see the rest of the exhibits (and I’m sure we will).
The exhibit was amazing, encompassing Sendak’s entire body of work and quite a bit about his personal process and life. Some of my favorite highlights follow, but there is so much more that I couldn’t capture or express in this blog post. I know that my favorite discovery was that Sendak would do a process he called Fantasy Sketches. He would put on a piece of classical music an draw a story before the music ended. Here are a couple of examples:
The first is a sketch based on Through the Looking Glass, and the second is called Boy in Ship and contains the very first Where the Wild Things Are sketches. We see the monster that likely became Moishe, the most famous of the Wild Things.
I also loved seeing Little Bear sketches and drawings, especially on the dramatic book cover wall paper.
I was also thrilled to learn that Sendak had designed shows for the stage – posters, sets, curtains. It was amazing (and a little bit scary in the case of the giant Goose of Cairo).
I also enjoyed seeing characters from Sendak’s life, including Really Rosie based on a neighborhood girl, Higglety Pigglety Pop! based on his dog Jennie, art he did based on his partner of 50 years, Dr. Eugene Glynn, and, of course, Mickey Mouse (they were born the same year).
Of course, the thing I enjoyed most was seeing the Where the Wild Things Are section. They had books in different languages, original artwork, movie memorabilia, an even a piece of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon’s eye. My favorite has always been the part where they swing from the trees, so I was really excited to see that. 🙂
All in all, I give this exhibit 5 stars and recommend that everyone goes to see it. At $10 per person admission, it is definitely one of the more affordable adventure dates we have had, and we learned a great deal about one of our favorite illustrators. If you have seen it, or if you end up going, be sure to leave your favorite part in the comments below.
December almost got away from us friends. We had 2 weekends of Frozen Jr. where I was co-costumer and Keith was light designer, and I honestly thought we may have to fall back on that as our create date for the month. Then I realized that we have never made a charcuterie board together, and it would be a perfect thing to make for New Year’s Eve. Boom! Month saved! We spent the first part of the day at 2 stores to make sure we had a variety of things to fill our board with. We may have gone a bit overboard, but I think there was only one thing in this picture that we didn’t use at all.
Keith started by filling the corners with cheese and berries and I made some meat flowers.
Next, we made little streams of cheese and meat to the sides. Crackers came in above and below the cheese and meat. Finally, we filled in the top and bottom with sweet stuff – cookies from friends and family and Andes mints on the bottom and chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels, thin mint chocolate covered pretzels, and cocoa peppermint almonds. Chex mix and Fritos Scoops round out the offerings nicely.
After that, we each loaded up a plate and settled in to watch football and performances for New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. It was lovely!
Don’t worry, this was just the first pass – I ate more. We hope you had a fantastic New Year and that 2023 brings you joy and peace!
What did you do for New Year’s Eve? Did you have any good food? Let me know in the comments! 🙂
A few days before Christmas, Keith and I found ourselves on our own for the evening. We decided to check out the Pandora Hike that was being hosted by Scioto Grove Metro Park. It was pretty cold, but we figured we would be moving, so as long as it wasn’t too far, we would be okay. We arrived at the nature center and were greeted by the rangers. They gave us a UV flashlight and sheet and marker to record the clues we found to spell a secret word. We set out from the nature center through some lovely scenery.
We found all 7 clues along the path near hanging lights. I was unable to get a photo, but the flashlight revealed a letter on each symbol.
In the end, it was not a super long walk, but it was fun. And we definitely solved the puzzle. I am not going to spoil it, though, in case another metro park decides to have a hike. Here is our completed clue sheet.
This would be an especially fun experience for families with young children. Older children will likely feel it is too easy, but will probably still like hiking and shining the light on the clues. I would definitely recommend it if you ever have the opportunity.
Have you done any special events at Columbus Metro Parks? Let me know which ones you love in the comments! 🙂
The last two years at Christmas, I have been aware of several friends and acquaintances touring a place called the Christmas Tree Home. After one friend in particular posted a link to a Facebook group, I joined in the hopes that we would be able to visit in the future. This year, I was alerted when they posted the sign up page, so I was able to snag us a time slot to visit. The home is only open 3 Saturdays and 3 Sundays each year, and the hours are quite limited. Probably because it is an actual house on a cul-de-sac and they are trying to be good neighbors.
When we arrived, we found a place to park and walked up to the house – as you can see, the weather cooperated to make the scene look quite wintery. The house was impressive even from the outside! The front porch reminded me of the department store window displays we used to go see when I was really young.
When we got inside, we were greeted with so. many. Christmas. trees. At last count, the owner, Barb, had 649 trees. They are all sizes and made from all materials. Barb also had a fun juke box where you could pick favorite Christmas songs to play. Oh, and also, there is a cat. My girls were very happy about that. 🙂 Here is just a small selection of her displays.
In addition, Barb offers everyone that visits a homemade cookie and what I hear is really amazing hot chocolate. You also have the opportunity to donate money to causes that help food insecure and homeless people in the Columbus area. Last I heard, they had raised over $2000, so that is fantastic.
While I don’t know that we will go every year, I do think this is worth at least one visit. It is impressive and Barb is a wonderful hostess. I definitely left with more Christmas spirit, and that’s never a bad thing.
Have you visited the Christmas Tree Home? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!
There are currently 3 locations that have Dreamscape AMC Theatres in the United States, and one of them happens to be 10 minutes from our house at Easton Town Center. So, because November was a little bit crazy in the Emigh household, we decided it would be the perfect month to try the Dreamscape experience. The website was a little hard to use to get our tickets – maybe it was getting a lot of traffic, or maybe it has some sort of internal problems, but that ended up being the most frustrating part of the experience for my husband. We bought our tickets the night before, but the people that did the experience with us bought them right before we started, so both options may work for you.
Dreamscape shows are VR experiences, so I was a little worried and took a Dramamine beforehand. When we arrived at the theatre, we had to choose our avatars and we got to enjoy the pre-show lounge which featured decorations from all of their current offerings and a digital schedule board that showed which shows were currently boarding. There was also some merch for sale if that is your jam.
The first thing we had to do was get our gear on. There were hand and foot sensors, a very heavy backpack, and VR headset. Please enjoy the blind selfie I took in gear – sorry it doesn’t show everything, but it shows the headset.
The Alien Zoo room was really cool and about 15 minutes long. We got to see lots of interesting creatures, interact with things, and “move” through the environment without having to do a lot of walking. It was really weird to look at Keith but see someone else – it was maybe the most discombobulating part of the whole thing. Two of the people with us were children, and I did have something taken from me during the experience because they saw I had it and couldn’t find their own. It really didn’t make a difference in the end, but if you are an adult that goes with kids, please be ready to help them to find the objects and buttons in the experience so that it doesn’t affect the experience for others.
Overall, we really liked the experience and will likely be back for another round in the near future. We saw that there might be a How to Train Your Dragon themed room, so if that ever heads to Columbus we will for sure want to try it. Have you ever done any VR? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 🙂
This month, our create date was something that was new for both of us. I mean, I tried quilling as a preteen, but I didn’t really have the tools, so it didn’t go super well. This time, I think we both discovered something we enjoy. We took our class at a place called Inspiring U in Westerville, Ohio. Our teacher, Lisa Wheeler, was friendly and helpful. We started by opening our kits and familiarizing ourselves with the tools.
Next it was time to make our acorns. It was pretty easy to make the coil and then use the tools to make it a mound. After that, glue holds it in place and it gets hot glued into an acorn cap. Easy peasy!
After making our super cute acorns, it was time to take on some fall leaves. We started with maple leaves because corners are easier than curves. First we put pins in to hold the paper to the shape we wanted, wove one layer of paper through, then added a second layer with glue so that it would be really sturdy. This involved removing and then replacing pins and was kind of a pain. After that, we were able to fill in our leaves with quilled shapes. This is where we found that we were running short on time. So, mine is not very creative as far as shapes, and Keith’s is more creative but has more empty space.
We both agree that we find the process meditative and relaxing, but maybe not as much when you are rushed to finish during a class. We did not end up buying one of the kits at the end because we both don’t need one more thing right now. I can definitely see us coming back to this in the future to make ornaments or gift tags. Thank you so much Inspiring U for offering such a fun class! We love how our acorns and leaves turned out and added them to our decor right away.
Have you ever tried paper quilling before? What did you make? Let us know in the comments! 🙂
I don’t think I have every shared this here before, but I strongly dislike – maybe even hate – haunted houses. I do not like people scaring me, and I really do become a ninja of sorts when I feel startled by family members. But my daughter has been involved in a haunted house fundraiser at our high school for 2 years now, so I have been a guinea pig to give them ideas for improvement. Last year it was not as bad because there were lights throughout the haunted house, but this year there were definitely parts that were very dark. Regardless, we braved it. Here is a before shot of several parents ready to take on the Haunted Sewer.
Eventually we were allowed to enter the building. It was actually pretty cool because we got to go into a basement in the school that is usually not open to the public. It is pretty creepy on its own. The kids added their own spin to it to make it even creepier, of course. This is the make-up we were met with.
I did not go through again when there was make-up and complete darkness. But I will say that I think our kids did a fantastic job. And we raised quite a bit of money for the theatre program, so we were quite pleased. I don’t think I will be going through any more haunted houses – maybe the Haunted Mansion at Disney, but that’s definitely the only exception. 😉
Have you ever been to a haunted house? Do you love them? Hate them? Let us know in the comments!
September felt really busy friends – did you feel that as well? By the time we would get to talk about a create date for the month, the option was full or canceled or our schedule changed. So, this was the month that I had no choice – the month I made Keith paint pottery with me. My wonderful husband has tried so many new things with me, but he really, really doesn’t like painting pottery. And his job is stressful right now, so that stress is bleeding over into other areas as well. I would love to say that this was a pleasant time for both of us, but that would be a lie. I did really like the people at uPaint Pottery Studio and thought they did a great job explaining things to us. I thought they were missing detail work brushes which made some of the things we wanted to do really hard. Maybe we just didn’t ask. Maybe it was because we were at literally the last table they had. Who’s to say? Regardless, we were there on a create date mission.
We each picked a pumpkin themed project and a fall leaf. Keith’s had a spooky face on one side and was a plain pumpkin on the other, so we figured we could just turn it around after Halloween and leave it up through Thanksgiving. I picked a fun pumpkin dish and decided to use the special writer paints they had to write the season/my name. Here are some before shots:
In the second photo, you can see we used quite a few sponges to “erase” mistakes. We will most likely just be displaying a plain pumpkin all fall – the jack-o-lantern face did not go as planned. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked everything up, though – it all turned out pretty well.
Could I list all the mistakes we made. Yes, yes I could. Am I really happy to add these to our fall decorations anyway? Also yes. I love that the leaves are our wedding colors – we wanted a fall wedding and used leaves as our inspiration even though our date was in August. Would I take someone else to paint pottery with me at uPaint Pottery Studio? Definitely. I loved their selection of projects and their wide array of colors to use. I love that they had special paint writers.
Have you ever painted pottery? Where did you go? What did you paint? Let us know in the comments!
This past weekend, three of us were able to get away to Hocking Hills for the day. Living only about an hour away from Hocking Hills has been so wonderful – we try to make it to the park at least a couple times each year. My favorite time to be in the woods is Fall with all the beautiful colors, followed closely by Winter when everything in white and frozen. It is still very much Summer, but we have to go when we have the time. I’m hoping for another trip this Fall, but we will have to wait and see.
We started out at Old Man’s Cave. The new Welcome Center has been standing for a few years now, but with COVID restrictions, it was never open when we were there. So, we were excited to check it out before hiking. We did not wander the whole place, but we did enjoy the upstairs space, and I am sure we will be back to check out the gift shop soon. It is a really beautiful building and I love the enormous map on the wall by the help desk.
We have been to Old Man’s Cave recently, but we’ve stuck to the upper falls area for the past several years. So, we decided the time had come to return to the lower part of the area. It was super crowded and there were so many people on the trail until it split – most people went to the actual cave part of the trail, so we decided very quickly to take the other way. We continued on down to the lower falls where it was actually not too hard to get photos without people for a change. It might be because it was a bit cooler (although still really humid), so no one was swimming under the falls. I know that I sound like an old “keep those kids off my lawn” stick in the mud, but I believe in following trail signs. If it says no wading or swimming, I stay out of the water. If it says stop, no hiking beyond this point, I stop. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun, but I also want these parks to be open to the public for everyone’s enjoyment for a long time to come.
After we had that hike under our belts, we headed to a completely new-to-us area of the park – the Rock Climbing and Rappelling Area. It is very near to Conkle’s Hollow – one of my favorite parts of the Hocking Hills Area. The area is not well marked, especially if you are coming from inside – the signs all point the other direction, so we ended up having to turn around and back track. Once we parked in the gravel lot, we did not cross the street to get to the actual Rock Climbing and Rappelling area, we instead followed the bridle trail located at the far end the parking lot. Being that it was a bridle trail, we had to constantly be watching where we stepped – the horses in Hocking Hills are apparently very well fed. Keith and Charlotte wished they had put on bug spray, but I did not have any problems. We did encounter A LOT of mud, and we had to do some creek crossings, so waterproof hiking boots are a must if you choose to do this hike. I did not take photos of the worst parts of the trail, but here are a few photos of the not so bad parts.
We followed the orange blazes and then the white blazes. Pretty soon, we saw a sign that said “No horses beyond this point.” I took that as a sign that we were supposed to take the trail up, but it turned out that it was a more difficult and roundabout way that would have led to a double waterfall if there was more water in the creeks. Keith has pretty much told me he will not hike this again (he hates mud and mess), so we will not be seeing the Twin Falls near Chapel Cave. We did eventually come to the cave, though. When we arrived there was a group of people on horseback in the cave, so we communicated with them about where we should be to make their horses feel safe. This cave is also called 21 Horse Cave because you could supposedly fit 21 horses in it, so it was kind of cool to get to see horses here.
After we explored the inside of the cave, it was time to head back. On the way back, we accidentally took a different path through one of the really, really muddy parts and Charlotte ended up stuck in pretty deep mud – not quite over her boots. I found a path around to help pull her out, and thankfully her boots stayed on her feet. She waded in the water a bit to clean off the mud, but then her socks and boots were pretty wet. So, we headed for the car as quick as we could to get her cleaned off a bit. Thankful for wet wipes and napkins and a stash of plastic bags in the back of the car! Obviously this put an end to our hiking for the day, but we were all pretty ready to go home and shower anyway.
Our reviews of this one were a little mixed. I loved the hike because it was challenging. Keith hated the mud and bugs. Charlotte loved the adventure and was happy until the wet boots at the end. I am going to give it an 8/10 just because I can see how it is not the perfect hike for everyone.
Have you ever been to Hocking Hills? What is your favorite area of the park? Have you been to Chapel Falls? Let us know in the comments! 🙂
When we decided to do the Disney trip, Keith told me he really wanted to surprise me with a fireworks dessert party on our anniversary, but he wasn’t sure he could. It turns out, I wasn’t sure we could get reservations until mid July – they did not release the seats for a long time. Perseverance pays off, however, and we were finally able to snag a table at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant for Disney Enchantment Treats and Seats Dessert Party. That is, of course, not how this story starts. This story starts with me, once again, waking up at 6:30 to get Genie + and get our first ride booked – Jungle Cruise after lunch. And also to make sure our daughter was up for school. Both pretty important goals. After we got up and around, we headed towards Magic Kingdom. Somehow there was a bus driver shift change at our resort while we were waiting – that’s right, if you are keeping track, that is 3 times. I am a little bit in awe of our luck there. This one was pretty quick, though, and they we were on our way to the Happiest Place on Earth. It makes me happy cry a little just thinking about it. 🙂
When we arrived, our plan was get breakfast and then to knock out some of the rides and attractions we skipped or that weren’t open during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. So, we headed back to Fantasyland to get cinnamon rolls at Gaston’s Tavern. It was enormous and pretty delicious. A little overwhelming, so I am glad we got one to split. We also decided that we would like a Big Thunder Mountain RR lightning lane for before lunch and we snagged Individual Lightning Lanes for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for that evening after the fireworks.
When we were finished with breakfast, we headed to one my favorite rides – It’s a Small World. I love the song – even had a Mickey watch that played it with world flags instead of numbers. I know that some people do not appreciate it as much as I do. Those people will be happy to know that the song seems to barely be in the queue or the ride anymore. I took so many photos, but I am going to leave you with the clock and two of the countries Keith and I have visited during our marriage – I don’t think there was a Canada section…
Our next stop was Mickey’s PhilharMagic. I don’t remember all of the old show – it has been about 10 years – but I love that there are newer movies represented now. Definitely a fun time. And we had to stop in the gift shop where we actually picked up 2 gifts and a photo of Mickey and Donald.
Feeling like we did everything we wanted to do in Fantasyland, we headed over to Liberty Square. On the way, we got some photos done with the castle. It was kind of crazy, while we were in line, there was a lady there with a toddler that gave the photographer her phone and then put her child down to get photos of just herself with the castle. And then said she would pay more for more photos and tried to just let one group in line go and then jump back up herself for more. I admit that I don’t know her story, but it must be very different from mine. I love the leaf magic shot that photographer did here. And yes, I know it is still summer. It was just nice to think about fall while we were sweating buckets in the 93 degree heat and humidity.
We decided the time had come to do Hall of Presidents. Partially because it was so hot and sunny outside, partially because we wanted to see the updated show. It was different that the presidents didn’t all talk with each other, but we thought the new movie part was good. And the Lincoln part was true to the origins of the attraction which was nice.
Our next stop was for something that we had never tried before – Dole Whip! I love that there are non-dairy options, and Keith enjoyed being able to mix fruit flavors with vanilla. He got the Fritz Freeze and I just got a Pineapple Dole Whip cup. So yummy and enjoyable on a hot day! After that, we headed into the Enchanted Tiki Room. I feel like I saw this attraction when I was there with my parents in elementary school, but Keith is certain he has never seen it before. So, another first. We enjoyed it, and it was the perfect length before our lightning lane at Big Thunder Mountain RR. While we were in line at Big Thunder Mountain RR, I was able to get a lightning lane for Space Mountain for after our Jungle Cruise lightning lane.
Our next stop was lunch. Our first day at Magic Kingdom together, all the way back at their 25th anniversary, we stumbled upon Liberty Tree Tavern as a place to eat. We loved the characters – especially when they used to have Meeko from Pocahontas – and the food and have been back every trip since. We were a little sad that the characters hadn’t returned, but I was able to surprise Keith with a Mickey cake for our anniversary, so that was wonderful. And they have fresh brewed unsweet tea, so that was a very welcome thing. The food was awesome, too. Nothing like Thanksgiving at Disney World. 🙂
After our lovely lunch, we headed to Adventureland to ride the Jungle Cruise. This is where Keith and I have a disagreement. I swear that we have ridden the ride together with Maddie. He swears he has never ridden it. I will definitely look through scrapbooks to discover the answer, but not quite yet. Either way, we rode it together this trip and it was just as campy as I remember. 🙂
We left Adventureland behind us to head to Space Mountain next. While in line there, we got a lightning lane for Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor right after, which was really perfect. While we waited there, I snagged a lightning lane for Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, thus completing our tour of Tomorrowland attractions for the day. We then headed back to Liberty Square for a lightning lane at Haunted Mansion to complete our pre-fireworks attractions. I’m telling you, we have been so spoiled by the Genie + system that I don’t think I will ever go back to waiting in stand-by lines all the time.
At this point, it was time to make our way to Tomorrowland Terrace for the Disney Enchantment Treats and Seats Dessert Party. We were seated in a fantastic spot right by the railing and we got some delicious wine and desserts. We were also pixie dusted by the cast members – they brought us a special plate of Happy Anniversary desserts from Mickey. In fact, two different cast members came and gave use a plate of Happy Anniversary desserts from Mickey. He must have thought we don’t like to share? Seriously, though, it was very sweet – figurative and literally. We enjoyed snacking and sipping and then the fireworks started. It was a great view and when Tinkerbell flew, she went right over our heads. Definitely a fun way to celebrate 23 years of wedded bliss. ❤
These pictures don’t do it justice – it was so beautiful and so nice to just sit and not be crowded. After the fireworks, we knew we wanted to see if they were doing lantern photos in Fantasyland by the Tangled bathrooms. We knew we had time before our individual lightning lanes at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, and we have always love the lantern photos. We ended up being line in front of another couple from the UK and really enjoyed talking to them while we waited. We had a group in front of us and we honestly weren’t sure how big it was until they got the the front and everyone in their family arrived. They ended up taking forever with individual and group shots – 18 kids and adults. I’m not going to complain, though, because I think it was totally worth the wait – I love the photos!
After the photo line, we headed straight to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. I really didn’t know much about it, but it was a super cute, pretty fun ride. I would definitely ride again. And then it was time to leave – always so sad. We got some beautiful shots of the castle as we walked out, though.
I know that we will be returning – we both had such a magical time. Here’s hoping it won’t be 10 more years.
Have you ever done a fireworks party at a Disney Park? Which one? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments. 🙂