…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

A Trip

Have you missed me?? I have been derelict in my duties – busy with birthdays and Halloween and fun, fun, fun with little one!!


Since it’s been almost 2 months since we returned from our British Isles cruise, I think it’s about time I show you a few photos from the trip. Because I took WAY too many photos I’ll just pick some from each area at a time. I hope it gets you ready to spend some time in another country….especially with forever friends, it’s amazing!


We started with 2 days in London before the cruise began:

at the Tower of London…yup, in the rain!

metal monkeys … ?….

We did hit as many pubs as possible...


right before a downpour!!

just missed being able to go into Westminster Abbey…but managed to stand in its alcove for the storm!!

We did go into Buckingham Palace also…but no photos there. The dining room all set up for dignitaries was gorgeous!!

Then it was on to the ship and our first dinner on board:

me and my buddies :)


and beautiful views from then on!!!


Happy Parenting!

D and C

Thankful Thursdays #35

What brings you joy, makes you happy, gives you peace? Here are some photos, quotes, and thoughts that make me joyful.


Joyful Thursdays #35


Here are three things that make me happy and bring me joy:


1) you can find happiness anywhere…even on the back of a truck at a stop light!

do you believe???

2) going to the Renaissance Festival with my guys and their girls…this festival is held on the weekends from the middle of August until the end of September…so much fun!! You could not have better people-watching!  Some in costume…watching magicians, puppets, jousting, log-throwing, and all of the strolling folks!

ready to go...

throwing axes!

woops...grabbed the wrong beer!

little guys get dressed up too

all ages throw tomatoes at 2 hecklers!

some elegant costumes too

the place was packed!!!

a completely worn out little one:)))

3) being able to be surprised….not scared, surprised!

a bit surprised when the plant talked to us!!!

Have a wonderful day, and find your happiness!


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

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

Beauty Found….

Have you had a chance to travel? I had traveled a lot in the United States, but never in Europe until recently! Three of the Torch Lake Group couples and I went on an eagerly awaited and planned for Mediterranean Cruise!! Holy cow!! We were so busy every day, we saw so much ancient history, we learned way too much for our poor heads to even comprehend, and the beauty was amazing!

I will share with you just a little each week since I went crazy and took 800 photos…I promise just to show you what I enjoyed most from each stop. For today, how about Venice…amazing, only boats and alleyways…loved it!


clock tower in St. Mark's Square

early in the morning, so a street is very quiet!

amazing architecture everywhere

bridges, water...all over the place!

I hope you enjoy just a taste of Venice…it was really so much fun to explore in such a different style city:)

Happy Parenting!

D and C


Road Trip, Fun Tourist Traps

a road trip to Hartwick Pines, Michigan

Last week I let you know how we traveled in the car as a family while the boys were young (Planning Family Vacations).  I mentioned giving the guys a chance to stop at some of those “amazing” stops along the roadway. If there are certain stops you know you just can’t handle, then be prepared to cover the eyes of the kids who can read the abundance of road signs that advertise them. Be ready to distract and then be firm about your “No.”  But remember that your trip is a family vacation so the kids need to have some input into what they get to see. When that happens they will be so excited to read every one of those obnoxious road signs (hurray for reading)!
Here are a few of the ones where we’ve stopped over the years!!

We had so much fun visiting different “stories”. Kids loved it!

We camped at Houghton Lake  and Higgins Lake in Michigan often. Zubler’s is an amazing touristy shop in Prudenville outside the camp area where kids can browse for hours and pick up such delightful things as tomahawks, slingshots, carved wooden anythings, moccasins, ….seriously, almost anything you can think of…so be prepared to limit spending and/or number of items allowed :)  More on allowances in the future!

The boys loved visiting the Deer Camp where they could see and feed the deer. Looks like Scott wasn’t sure about that deer licking his fingers!!

Do you have a Mystery Spot in your area? They really are fun…based on gravity and difference in perception. Chad was having fun being almost as tall as Dad!

This was a maze built in the forest…with paths formed by ropes! It was actually a little scarier than we thought it would be. Chad and Scott had to stay together and keep within our sight so that we wouldn’t freak out. Keep in mind that we were the overprotective types…and proud of it :)

While traveling in the West, we went to Four Corners…the spot where four states actually touch. The ‘spot’ is on Native American land, so you pay a fee to enter and then there are several little shops if you want to go to them also. We mostly liked the photo opportunity!

Here is Chad riding the ‘jackalope’ at Wall Drugs…you must have seen the signs for Wall Drugs if you travel anywhere in the western half of the country! It is easy to spend hours here if you do go, so plan on it. There are stores within stores, cafeterias, things for kids to sit on, lots of cool and silly things to purchase…so don’t plan on a quick visit, unless you’re ready for sad faces!

The guys of the family decided they would pan for gold! Is it a tourist trap…oh, yes! But did everyone have fun? Absolutely!

I hope this encourages you to at least think about stopping now and then just to have fun with your kids. Add a day of travel time if you need to, to make sure the stress of travel with your family can be relieved with silliness and giggles!

Happy Parenting!
D and C