…and now, Cork and Blarney Castle…Ireland!!

Our first stop on the cruise was in Ireland…Cork, Blarney Castle, and Kinsale…

We went to Blarney Castle…just to explore.We had heard it took many steps and was quite difficult to get to the Blarney Stone and kiss it…

Here it is!

beautiful weather


From here, we thought we were headed inside to explore the castle….but, nope..

we wound up climbing up the crumbling steps…no backing down, no other way out!!

this was the look at the top…definitely worth the climb

And since we were there…we did kiss the Blarney Stone!!!

We were hanging upside down over that little window at the very top!!!

Beautiful gardens and waterways…

On to the fishing village of Kinsale for a pub….beer and the best fish and chips ever!!!

Then we headed back to Cobh….the port where our cruise ship was waiting for us!

There's our ship!!

Lots of things to see and do so far in our adventure!!! Next stop will be Dublin!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

UpNorth #2

I had more photos….you didn’t think I’d forget about them, did you?   After days in the 90′s, these days in the 70′s are delightful….ahhh:))

UpNorth involved both sets of temps over 3 days!! Yikes! That’s why we always need to take clothing for all kinds of weather around here!!

Alden is a perfect UpNorth destination…always beautiful!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Taking Advantage of a Beautiful Day

A beautiful, warm, sunny day…middle of the week…what should I do??


I decided to head to the east side of the state (where I was born)…I went to the beach!! Lake Huron in Port Huron…right by Fort Gratiot lighthouse. I brought a book, a beach towel, and a pop…yes, I am a Michigander!!

The beach leads down to the rocky shore just the way I remember. I did not test out the water since I remember how cold it can be even in August!! But there were a few families there with little ones of 2 or 3…wading and playing in the water. They were having the best time!!

I loved seeing the lighthouse. I had 2 different 4th grade classes that went on field trips there…so interesting! The pictures show the Blue Water Bridge in the background…heading straight for Canada.

On the way home, I stopped at the Coney Island in Port Huron…a wonderful landmark for anyone who ever lived there. I took my lunch to Marysville just south of Port Huron and sat along the river enjoying the lovely day before heading back home to reality!!


Going ‘back home again’ is always a delight!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

More Beauty

Thursday was another gorgeous day in Michigan…sunny and 75 degrees…as opposed to today with cloudy and 52!!


So after looking at my beautiful backyard:

I decided to head to the east side of the state to find a park along the St. Clair River…which separates the US from Canada…have some lunch and read in the beautiful weather.

a beautiful walkway...

with Canada in the background


and sky

all of us enjoying the day :)

it's exciting watching a freighter go by!

I stayed only about 2 hours, but it was perfect!!  Being able to go during the middle of the week and the middle of the day…priceless!!

Happy Parenting!

D and C


Kids on a Road Trip…

I imagine many of you will be traveling with the ‘younguns’ over this long weekend! Are you going to make it fun or will it be all trials and tribulations??? I’m hoping for the fun:)  As long as you lower your expectations for everything except manners, I’m thinking you can make the trip a delight for all:

neatness in the car...not a requirement...

the cleanest we can hope for...occasional clean hands!

young or old...hitting the tourist traps keeps kids entertained:)

when you have a tent, visiting your buddy's popup camper is a treat...


walking in a garden...

playing at the beach

Whatever you do in the car to interact….try to make it fun, but always take the opportunity to stop along the way. It may be the memory you treasure the most from your entire vacation:)

pushing mom and baby brother...what a big guy

checking out Paul Bunyan

don't believe their faces...they had fun!

cute, huh?

naps work too!

Making the most of your time together is so important. Say yes when you can…but never if there is whining involved. Say no when it’s required….and then do not back down. Remember every moment is a teaching moment. What do you want your kids to learn??


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Horn/Gallimore family…old style:)

A few ….. with more to come… love you folks!!

Horn kids/ finkbeiner boys

S, S, and C

way to go, pregnant Krista!

hi, Julie!

awesome....Michelle and cousin Chad!

cute, huh?

brother and nephew!!

pregnant me with family...


more fishin'

so sweet...

where's that frisbee???

are we young, or what???

hangin' at the Space Center in Huntsville....

More family photos to come…finding these in the slides was so very wonderful:)

Love you, family:))


Happy Parenting!

D and C



Road Trips are Fun!

I’ll share a few photos from the old slides today…all about traveling with kids on road trips!!

before we got a big van...packed and jammed...no, he didn't ride back there :) )

a lot of camping in tents...

playing in the leaves with buddies before the campfire starts...

stopping at Zubler's for souvenirs

traveling to the West...souvenirs are still important

getting to play at a 'tourist trap'

more souvenirs...Sea World often!

Mt. Rushmore, with cool sunglasses

at tahquahmenon falls

we love traveling near the water...

at the mackinac bridge

up North with TLG ....silly clothes party...

great trip to Cape Cod

my guys, hiking in the woods

Loved road trips….of all kinds….to lots of different places. They bring so many wonderful memories…and any difficulties fade as time passes:))))

Happy Parenting!

D and C

…a few extra family vacation spots

To add to some previous posts about the fun available on family vacations…here we go:


Most of you are into summer vacation from school with  some to finish in the next 2 weeks…hurray for all of you!! Now I hope you get to travel…at least a little, to somewhere near or far, with fun adventures for your wonderful families:)


No matter where you choose to go, involve those munchkins in some of the planning and in some of the choices during the days when you are away from your home. We live in Michigan so we often traveled West…we call it Out West, whatever that might mean:)  We had all kinds of adventures while traveling:

taking a trail ride with a chuck wagon dinner at the end...kids love both:)

on top of the Royal Gorge Bridge...very tall!!!

they went tubing on a river in the West....wonder where that was??

a very interesting spot full of cowboy lore, right before we hit a rodeo!

visiting the Air Force Academy

Lake Tahoe where we enjoyed 4th of July fireworks

And in case you’d like a little something from elsewhere.. the 6 Torch Lake Kids (from our 4 families) went to the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The 3 younger ones went to Space Camp and the 3 older ones went to Space Academy. This is a program well worth saving up some money so you can send your children…after 4th-6th grades attend Camp while after 7th-9th go to the Academy…4 days and nights filled with science and rocketry:)

a great bunch of kids:)

Summertime…ah, lovely…spend some quality time enjoying something new with your lovelies:)


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Vacation Tidbits :)

You all know by now that our family included 2 boys, mom, and dad…yay for us!!  When we traveled we used our second-hand Starcraft conversion van. It was an awesome vehicle for cross country travel, well before concerns over gas mileage!! We could put our cooler inside containing juice pouches and drinks, sandwiches, and other snacks. The sandwiches for our family included peanut butter and jelly ALWAYS!! The males in the family had to have their pb and j’s. I threw in a couple of bologna or ham sandwiches also. The boys discovered after awhile that the pb sandwiches tended to get soggier than the meat sandwiches so the numbers changed!!
The seats reclined so the boys could nap in the car, and my passenger seat swiveled so I could sneak back to check on them or redirect their attention once they woke up. I suppose none of that is as safe as is required today, but it made traveling much more convenient. Now to mention the ‘unmentionables’ – bathroom issues! We were lucky that every one seemed to have quite large bladder capacities…so we didn’t have a lot of stops that didn’t include getting gas or seeing sights or picnicking(?).  BUT, we did have a pee bottle…I know, yuck!! …however, having 3 males traveling…it did help out. Just imagine who had the lovely task of taking this full bottle into the gas station restroom to empty and wash it out…that would be me!! Gross!
Our travels have given all of us such great memories. Here are a few more of our trips to the national parks:

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Mammoth Caves in Kentucky
outside Rocky Mt. National Park
Mt. Rushmore
Cape Cod National Seashore
whale watch off Cape Cod
Joshua Tree
Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan

No matter where you go on your family trips, try to relieve the stress so that you can all have fun and enjoy yourselves!!

Happy Parenting!
D and C

Vacations – Unplugged?

     We’ve talked about family vacations, road trips, and tourist traps already, so now here are some suggestions for you about how to enhance the family flavor of any vacation!!

     With these little darlin’s here, do you really need electronics sticking in your ears or fingers playing with buttons…or is all you need a camera and some fun?
    When you’re on the road try for an electronics embargo! No matter the age of the child, you need some conversation, play time, and family interaction. So let the kids know that they have a certain amount of time allowed for tech stuff…1 hour, 2 hours, hopefully not too much more than that. That includes all forms of technology: phones, music, DVDs, texts…if it involves a screen or ear buds, it’s a part of the embargo. That also includes you!!! If you are texting or scrolling you are excluding your children from interacting with you. Whether they know it or not, that is painful!! Find fun, silly ways to spend this enforced family time.   And remember, the driver gets to choose the music…that was always our rule:)  But the driver should compromise by including everyone’s wishes occasionally. Listening to each other’s music can be enlightening..sometimes even scary!! Sharing with each other can lead to appreciating each other more.

     When you have arrived at your destination, TURN OFF your stuff!! Do you really need it? Nope!! Try to believe that you’re actually allowed time away from everything and everyone! As you go out and about, leave that phone turned off and leave all other tech items in the car or room. Try to keep it off and only check it when you return to your room, or campsite, at the end of the day.
    Now’s the time to engage in all the sights with your family. Have fun!! Ask questions, give them cheap cameras of their own, let them keep a journal to take notes to help them remember what they see.  Help them collect tourist maps and brochures, stickers, magnets…whatever reminds them of this fantastic family vacation. Possibly give them $1 a day to either save or spend for some silly little toy or candy. Don’t decide to give them more if they whine or beg though…make rules up front and stick with them. It will make the trip a more enjoyable one.

     Coming up next will be ideas for visiting our National Parks! I hope you’ll come back:)

Happy Parenting!
D and C