Thursday, July 29, 2010

Berries and Future Garden Aspirations...

I've tried to include my little kiddos in our garden this year. Which was difficult because I wanted it to be done just right. But Sophie, my four-year-old, planted the sunflowers and made the signs for each row of beans and peas and carrots, etc. Naomi did her best not to dig up everything Sophie and I had planted...or maybe she didn't try that hard, but we made sure she had a few things to do too. :)

I'm kind of a gardening imbecile, so I checked out some books from the library--I should have just visited Rachel's house!--to help me know what plants to plant beside each other and when to plant them, etc. Unfortunately, even with the tried and true help of garden experts, I still didn't have much success this year. The radishes were munched by slugs and ants before we could get a bite; and the carrots, well, they just didn't grow at all. The beans and beets haven't determined the cause of death yet. The peas did produce some good edible snacks for us, but the best results this year have come from our lone blueberry bush. Oh, thank heaven for berries! Every year this little bush produces a little more fruit. It's perfect for a summertime snack!

I'm sure I probably need to do some kind of pruning to keep this little bush healthy, but really, all it has needed so far is watering...which most of the time I can remember to do. :)

I used to think that gardening was a one-chance thing in the spring and summer where you had just one chance to start a garden before it was too hot or too late in the season. But, thankfully, somewhere in those library books I learned that gardening is a year-round seasonal thing. So, even though most of my plants failed so far, I know I can start something new, something different, and still find success.

Do any of you garden year-round? What would you recommend for me now?

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

Mary, Mary quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With Silver bells and Cockle Shells and Pretty Maids all in a row.

I love my flower garden. We moved into our house almost a year ago and I am loving having a garden of my own. It has been really fun planting seeds and transplanting, and transplanting again all of our flowers. I also planted some sweet peas this year.

I have come to learn that you can use simple household items for a great garden. Here are some of my favorites. (Pictures to come.)

Using yarn and paint sticks you can create a tomato support.
Using yarn and a railing you can make a trellis for vine plants.
Using scrap wood or plastic totes you can create a raised planter box.

OK, I know there are more, but my brain is dead. Just look around and see what you can find. It may be something really useful to your garden.

What random things have you used in your garden?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Community my own yard!

I, along with my wallet, am a big fan of community plant exchanges. I'm already thinking of organizing one next spring. It's a good way to meet other gardeners, do some spring cleaning in the yard by dividing overgrown plants, and learn about new species of plants you may not be familiar with. Most of the perennial flowers, herbs and shrubs in my yard have come from plant exchanges around the area over the last 6 years. I love to see them (the plants AND the swaps) come back every year bigger and better than the year before. I remember where I got each item in my yard, or who gave me the starts and/or bulbs to my favorite plants.

As much as I appreciate the formality of a perfectly manicured English garden, that's not gonna happen around here. I mix my flowers in with my herbs...the lower herbs like thyme provide a ground cover and weed control for taller flowers like lilies. I planned our yard in the front so there would be something different blooming over the summer. When the spring tulips and daffodils are spent and done, the peonies come out. Then, when they're done, the bright yellow and red lilies spring up (over 6 feet tall this year!). Then, all the herbs flower and go to seed before the chill of autumn comes around.

This is one of my favorite little spots - the big floppy rhubarb leaves, next to the delicate pansies and the carpet of bright, tiny lemon thyme leaves.
I would recommend finding a local plant exchange in your area. Some gardening guilds have them in the spring and fall, but most are in the spring when most people are getting ready to plant. There are certain requirements involved, but many times, you don't even have to bring plants if you're new to gardening and you don't have anything to swap yet. If a garden guild is hosting, they are always happy to accept donations, but it isn't mandatory. Check with your local Master Gardener chapter to find out about swaps in your area and get to swapping. If you want to host one yourself, here are some "good-to-knows" to pull it off. It not only takes a village to raise a child but a garden too!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Someday My Garden Will Be Featured in Books Like These

As I worked in my garden today, and reflected on the ratio of dirt and weeds to actual plants there, I started dreaming again of the garden I always envision. I think of these days as practice, and hope that someday I'll be the sort of gardener who is blessed to make real and take care of the garden in my head. In the meantime, I love to get inspiration from others to add to my someday garden. And here are a few of my favorite places to get that inspiration!

You Grow Girl is the first gardening book by garden blogger Gayla Trail, and I LOVE it. Her ideas work in urban as well as backyard gardens, it's easy to understand and fun to flip through. Whenever I'm feeling like the laziest gardener ever, this book kicks me right back into gear with simple and do-able ideas.

Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau is the garden book that when I picked it up I said "YES, this is exactly what I want!" I will confess right now that I'm not a fan of big lawns. On a ball field, yes. In my garden, no. They're high maintenance and I don't love the way they look. I've heard the argument that it's somewhere for the kids to play, and then I've watched my own kids run around the periphery of our backyard where they can climb trees and hide behind bushes and find shady cozy spots to read. That's what I want all over my yard - garden everywhere!

Any book on companion planting is cool with me, this is just the one I happen to own. As someone who believes wholeheartedly in working with nature rather than fighting against it, I love the idea that certain plants when grown together will help each other out; fighting each others battles against pests and diseases.

It is a dream of mine to have our backyard certified as wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. Did you know you could do that? It's so cool. I love seeing birds in our trees and butterflies and hummingbirds flitting about and the hum of bees in the vegetable garden. This is a great book on how to use your landscape and your plantings to attract these helpful critters to your garden, thus making it even more beautiful.

And this, my friends, is the vegetable gardener's bible if you live in the Maritime Northwest. It pretty much tells you what you should be doing in your garden from month-to-month, including how to amend your soil and use compost, what sorts of seeds to plant and when (and which to start indoors and which to sow outdoors).

What inspires you when you're planning the garden of your dreams?
What are your favorite garden books?

A Mother is a Gardener

When we bought our house I could hardly wait for the new Spring to come so I could plant my first vegetable garden.  We have a tiny back yard with a lot of awesome shade so the small area that gets the happy sunshine was where I wanted to build our little garden.

As we built the wall and as we filled it with new soil I couldn't help but think back to my childhood when I was asked to give a talk on mother's day. Luckily my mother, being the smart lady she was, had me memorize it.  Not only did I do well that day but because it came to mind 24 years later I have drawn some parallels and have learned some valuable life lessons from it.

My mother has a garden that she waters every day.
Sometimes she picks the flowers and makes a bright bouquet.
She says the flowers remind her of things that children do—
So come into the garden, and I’ll explain to you.

She says I’m like a daisy,
a golden ray of sun,
Or like a happy marigold,
always full of fun.

Here’s a lacy lilac;
it scatters sweet perfume.
And here’s a yellow daffodil
to brighten up a room.

I’m like a carefree dandelion
growing wild and free.
And I am like a hollyhock,
as tall as I can be.

Here’s a strong snapdragon,
as big and brave as Dad.
And here’s a small, sweet violet
trying to be glad.

I’m like a quiet crocus
with promise for the spring.
I’m a purple pansy
that makes you want to sing.

If I am like a flower, then surely you must know
That mother is the gardener, for she helps me to grow!
She cultivates and nurtures and enriches patiently.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for creating her for me.

Now that our garden has grown and is ready to be gobbled up I am amazed at the simple principle this little poem has taught me. The comparison that can be made between caring for a garden and raising a child.  Planting a garden or having a baby can be tricky but is far from the hardest part.  It is the care and the constant nourishment that these things need to flourish.  Gardens and children can not be tended to only when we feel like it.  They both need our attention especially on days that are tough. When things get the hottest and when the environment goes bad we need to be there to make sure our little plants are okay.
I am new to both of these experiences so obviously mistakes are made a lot.  Luckily though, I have never forgotten to feed or water my kids like I do my tomatoes.  But I find comfort in knowing that in both plants and little spirits I get help from a very tender Heavenly Father.  When I think I have completely lost a plant I look very closely only to find a little speck of green at the root.  This means that it is wick.

There is a song from the Secret Garden Musical that I have always loved...and a few of the lines bring so much hope to a gardener who sees something begin to die or to a mother who blames herself for the lack of light in her child's eyes.

When a thing is wick, it has a life about it.
Now, maybe not a life like you and me.
But somewhere there's a single streak of green inside it.
Come, and let me show you what I mean.

When a think is wick, it has a light around it.
Maybe not a light that you can see.
But hiding down below a spark's asleep inside it,
Waiting for the right time to be seen.

You clear away the dead parts
So the tender buds can form.
Loosen up the earth and let the roots get warm.
Let the roots get warm.

So here are a few things I learned as I did the gardening thing for the first time:

Spend time doing the preparation and building a good foundation.
Plant them the way you feel is best...not the way the world see's best for you.
Don't be afaid to make it look pretty.
Drop in a flower or two to brighten things up.
Sing to the them.
Get excited about the tiniest growth.
Keep them warm.
Start from seed, even if it seems harder.
Involve others.
Keep away the weeds.
Don't get discouraged with the ones that look less then perfect.
Enjoy it's beauty.
Be proud of what you create.
Thank Heavenly Father for helping you out.

What are some of the things you think about while gardening?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

get the SUGAR out!

I've recently had a few "Ah-Hah" moments when I said to myself "She was so smart!" and "He knew it all along!" They were moments when I remembered someone or something that at the time seemed insignificant to my life, but now means so much more. The first was triggered by my father-in-law: he doesn't eat sugar. He just doesn't. The second was a simple memory of my college roommate, Megan, who minored in nutrition. I always knew she was a genius. 

These newly appreciated memories surfaced when I opened this little book that had been sitting on my shelf, waiting to be read.  What book is it, you might be asking? Get the Sugar Out, by Ann Louise Gittleman.
photo taken from

It really started with my father-in-law, bless his heart, he gave me the book and I need to thank him for it. His quest to eliminate sugar started several years ago when he was searching for the cure to the headaches he had been suffering for years. And you know what--it worked. And his example over the years has caused me to pay more attention now. There is no better time than now! This newer edition of the book has a different cover than mine, but that makes no difference--the content is life-changing. Life Changing.

It took several years of the book sitting on my shelf before I opened it and read it. I was dreading the experience; another nutrition book that would tell me I was doing things all wrong and that would tell me to make drastic changes that I couldn't maintain or enjoy.

Nope, I was wrong. Imagine that. :) And thank heavens!

Here are a few key things I am learning and why they are so important...

There are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbs, or simple sugars, are digested quickly, enter the blood stream quickly, and cause both a fast rise in blood sugar levels and an increase in insulin levels, resulting in a drastic drop in blood-sugar levels. Complex carbs, however, are digested more slowly, enter the blood stream more gradually, and do not trigger intense fluctuation in blood-sugar levels and insulin production. How does this translate into everyday food? Like this:

Processed foods, including granulated sugar, white flour, white pastas and breads, etc. equal simple sugars.

Whole wheats, grains, and natural sugars such as pure maple syrup and honey or fruit, equal complex carbohydrates and sugars.

Ann Louise Gittleman goes into more detail (but is so easy to understand) and gives an amazing explanation of the extensive health research surrounding sugar in the body--but I'm not qualified to expound on all that information. Just know that reading about it will open your eyes and inspire you to make better choices. When you're ready, read it.

So here are a few of the changes I've made

Whole grain rice instead of white rice. And wheat berries quickly available to be ground in the wheat-grinder when called for.

My cupboards have been cleaned out and are now filled with beautiful jars of nuts, seeds, whole grain pastas and seasonings. I LOVE the bulk section at the store that allows me to buy nutritious food for a much more reasonable price. When my kids want a snack, if it's not fresh fruit or carrot sticks, we have nuts--cashews, almonds and pecans--sunflower seeds and dried fruit.

These are a few of the natural sweeteners and other sugar-free things I am learning to use. Molasses, Honey, and pure maple syrup are the easiest sweeteners to use. I don't have it in this photo, but I also picked up some sugar made from evaporated sugarcane juice. A few other choices I am hoping to try soon are date sugar and brown rice syrup. You can also see Balsamic vinegar and rice vinegar in this photo because...

One key to getting rid of unnecessary and unwanted sugar is to read the labels of condiments and dressings. There are so many places where sugar is hidden in the things we eat and I did not even realize it (even in lunch meat!). Using oils and vinegars and lemon juice or other natural seasonings is just a much healthier choice.

The whole point is to eat less refined, processed, simple sugars. And when you do eat sugar, eat the kind that still has some of it's natural nutritional value--yes, sugar can have some nutritional value. Eating more whole grains, balanced with the right fats and protein is vital.

A large part of this change in how I eat and cook and think, has been motivated by my recent realization that wanting to lose weight and actually trying to lose weight are two different things. Even with regular exercise, without the right diet I was steadily putting on the pounds. Using self-control to regulate portion sizes and cravings has made a huge difference, in addition to the benefits of my new food choices. I am losing weight (almost six pounds in just two weeks) and feeling great. This is how I want to feel all the time. This is how I want my children to feel--healthy and able to run and play (and think) with all the energy of a healthy life!

I am so glad to be surrounded by people like my father-in-law and my college roommie who know about important things that I have missed before now. I am sure there are more of you geniuses around me who know a whole heck of a lot more and I'm just too distracted to notice.  How I wish I had taken at least one nutrition class in school! How I wish I had read that book sooner! But how glad I am to know what I know now! :) It's crazy how a little knowledge begs for more... I am hungry for more knowledge but I don't have a single sugar craving! Yes! :)


Sugar, and spice, and everything nice.
That is what little girls are made of.
Growing up, that poem was hanging in my room. I never really thought much of it, except how unfair it was for the boys, who where made of Snips, and snails, and puppy dog tails. How sad. But then I became a mother and hope to be more like the silly poem.

Four years ago when I found out I was going to be a mother to a little girl I was a little overwhelmed. A girl! My sisters all had boys at the time and my sister in law has one girl, who is 5 years or so older then mine. In all today my parents have 11 grandsons and 3 grand daughters. Yeah a little outnumbered. It did make it exciting that there was finally going to be another girl for them.

But really, that is not why I was scared. I was a tomboyish girl growing up. I rarely wear makeup. I rarely cut my hair, I can barely do hair anyways. I am not a very frilly girl. I am getting better though having her. She has really changed my outlook on life. It is actually really fun having a girl. It is hard at times, but my son can be hard too. She can also be pretty tomboyish too so that helps.

She totally has her sugary moments. We both enjoy eating it and baking with it together, and you are what you eat. She loves to helps and do "acts of love" for her family. She can be very sweet.

She is totally full of spice. Man she is a little spitfire. I love that about her. she keeps you on your toes and can have you rolling on the floor laughing by the things she does and say because of that spice.

She really is full of everything nice. She makes friends with everyone, she has a hard time when she gets left out because she does not want to be pushy and force herself in. She also has great manners.

I really love my little girl. I am glad I have her in my life. As women, we all have our moments, but really, we are made of sugar, and spice, and everything nice. Some of us just have a little more spice.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

200th post...and a sweet little giveaway

Aren't I lucky that it's my turn to post on our 200th?? To celebrate, I whipped up a little giveaway sweetness, inspired by my sisters, two of the sweetest, funniest, most generous people you'll ever meet. I've talked about them before, and I could go on and on, but just know if you're lucky enough to be a winner that you're getting a little piece of them too.

Don't you love these fabrics? My Georgia sister got it at Whipstitch Lounge in Atlanta, and now I have just one more reason to hop on a plane for a visit. And last Christmas my Washington sister made me some cute dish towels like these that I've just recently been able to bring myself to actually use rather than admire neatly folded up in the linen drawer.

So, to enter, just leave a comment and, since this week's theme is sugar, tell me what your favorite sweet indulgence is, just for kicks. TWO of you (since it is our TWO hundreth post, after all) will each receive one of these embellished towels and a set of heart-shaped measuring spoons, and maybe a surprise or two that I'll pick up on our road trip next week. You have until noon next Wednesday (July 28th) to enter before winners are chosen.

Good luck! Oh, by the way, my sweet indulgence is anything with lemons and/or limes like this or these, and wash it all down with this zippy concoction. I'm my father's daughter for sure!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pretty Cakes Taste Better

With birthdays in March, May and July, our family's birthday season is pretty much over for the year (at least the ones I work on - mine's next, but I'm done baking birthday cakes until spring!). This year, I went a little overboard in the cake decorating department, but I had so much fun doing it! I thought I'd share with you my favorite place for birthday - and other! - cake decorating inspiration: Family Fun. While I love cleverly designed treats, some of the ideas out there can be tricky to execute, but I've been able to make pretty much everything I've tried from Family Fun, and for me that's saying a lot!

Like this cake, which I made a version of for my son's 3rd birthday:

Photo credit: Family Fun.
Click here for recipe and how-to.

And this one for my daughter's 5th birthday (which we didn't even eat at the party because I let the kids decorate cupcakes and they had so much fun eating those that I sort-of forgot about the cute house cakes until after the party was over - note to self: don't do cake *and* cupcakes next year, pick one or the other!)

... which was inspired by this one ...

Photo credit: Family Fun.
Click here for recipe and how-to.

And I haven't done it yet, but OH! I want to make these cupcakes like nothing else! :

Photo credit: Family Fun.
Click here for recipe and how-to.

I mean, how much cuter can you make a bunch of jelly-beans and a Starburst candy?!

Happy decorating, whatever your inspiration! I'm just glad to take a break from it until next year, when I promise - REALLY this time - to keep it simple.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Things I've Learned From Sugar

This is Alice Ashton but everyone calls her Sugar.  We, along with some other amazing people just finished another successful Mountains and Strings music camp up in Idaho at the beautiful Harriman State Park.  The second week of this camp I got to room with her. I have only been away from this camp for just two days but I am missing my daily Sugar rush.  Here is what I learned watching my friend.

* Be real and true to yourself...people appreciate that.
* Learn how to sight read, you'll have more fun playing.
* Be a mother to every kid who comes into your life.
* Build a real relationship with every student you teach.

* Tough love works.
* Always have bubble gum in your pocket.
* Talk to kids in a way that will bring out their best stories.
* Smile at the ones you have to get after.
* Be silly in public.

* Become a four year old's best friend.
* Tease those you like
* Be open
* Look deeply into things that matter.
* Be a teacher outside of scheduled lesson time.
* Sit with and be friends with those that are not your age.
* Be there when it's important.
* Love your father and make sure he knows it.
* Take time to be alone.
* Pull pranks and jump out of the bushes at night.
* Let someone in.
*Joke around when things get tricky and dramatic.
* Bring out the best in those you influence.


* Let yourself become attached.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beat the Heat with a Frozen Treat

Here is another fabulous guest post from our friend Jordan...

On a hot summer day nothing is more soothing than a refreshing frozen treat. Since fresh fruit is so plentiful during the summer we make lots of smoothies which are perfect for cooling off on a hot day. If you want a creamier smoothie with a healthy kick try adding an avocado. If your kids are picky that’s ok the avocado isn’t detectable when mixed with lots of tasty fruit.

We also LOVE to eat frozen grapes. These are a quick and refreshing summer treat that are less messy than popsicles and ice cream and healthier too.

Another Frozen treat that our family enjoys are frozen Capri Suns. After these juice pouches are frozen we carefully cut a slit in the bottom and put the frozen goodness into a bowl. Then you grab a spoon and did in. Sometimes we let it thaw just a little so it becomes more of a slushy.

After you finish your yummy frozen treat you can recycle the package and make it into a pencil pouch. You can find the tutorial over at Skip to my Lou.

Photo Credit

If you own Popsicle molds summer is the perfect time to try new recipes. If you like fudgesicles try using chocolate pudding mix and milk to create your own chocolate treat. My girl’s favorite is apple juice popsicles.
Photo credit
We are still on the hunt for some good Popsicle molds, I would really love some Tupperware Ice Tups but I think they have been discontinued. If you ever run across these at a garage sale grab them they are the best! Do any of you have Popsicle molds that you love? Or a favorite Popsicle recipe that you would like to share?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Free Movies!

What a better way to beat the heat, then with a free summer movie! Regal Entertainment is having a Family Film Festival all summer long. They have a free G and PG movie every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:00. Oh and this is national. Check the schedule here and select your state. Go and enjoy some free air conditioning!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Easy Summer Do's

This is the longest I think I've ever gone between haircuts. I've not visited my stylist since November, and she may suspect I'm cheating on her with another salon. But no, my mane has just taken off while I'm trying to decide what to do with it. The difference between "Hey, I think I might actually like having long hair" and "It's bugging me! Chop it off!" is about 4 days. With the weather FINALLY warming up around here, I need to keep it off my neck if I'm going to keep my cool when the weather heats up.

We're getting ready to go on a camping vacation, so I don't really want to figure out how to work with a new hairstyle, but I want to do something cuter than just whipping it up into your every-day ponytail, so I looked around for some up-do's that are easy enough for me to do and ones I don't need a third arm or eyes in the back of my head to make it work.

Here's a tutorial for a cute low side bun. Isn't she a cute girl?? I like tutorials that show the actual person, not a professional stylist, doing the styling. I think I can pull this off since my hair is about the same length as hers.

click here for details

Here's another one from her for a messy bun that looks messy in a cute way and not messy in a, well, messy way.

Of course, your average run-of-the-mill ponytail can be spruced up with a well-chosen and well-placed accessory:

OK! I'm off to do some experimenting. I'd love any tips you have for an easy summer up-do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Chillin' With the Wildlife

I don't like to be too hot, not one little bit. I love Western Washington for our mostly middle-of-the-road weather and temperatures. But occasionally the mercury does creep up a little too high on the thermometer for me, and when it does I love nothing better than to stay up late just so that I can go outside and sit in the cool night air. It's a practice which in the last month has brought not only the familiar feeling of "ahh, this is nice" but also unexpected sightings of two of my favorite nocturnal animals: owls and bats. Owls! and Bats! in my backyard! I can't even begin to explain how giddy this makes me. One hardly ever sees either of these amazing animals, so both in the same month, right in my own suburban backyard is pretty thrilling to me.

It makes me even glad for the blazing heat which pushes me outside at summertime dusk.

It also motivates me to go ahead and build that bat house we've been talking about for the last year or so. A bat house?! you ask. Why? Well, here's why; and how, too, for that matter! Bat Conservation, International is also a good place for general information on bats and why they're great.

If you live in a place where placing an owl nesting box would be appropriate (sadly, our backyard isn't good habitat for nesting owls, I think), here and here are some places for information and plans.

And if nothing else, go on outside some evening this summer to cool off from the heat of the day - from bats to owls to endless stars on clear-sky nights, you might discover something amazing!

Beat the Heat!

Summer has finally come, here in Washington, and it is beautiful and exciting but entirely way too hot! The temperatures have been climbing up into the 90's and we are just not used to this around here! We are enjoying more walks to the park with scooters and tricycles at our house. With sunblock in good use and hair pulled back, we are finally getting that much-needed vitamin D while playing outside! However, I am doing everything I can to keep things cool inside...

My biggest cooling strategy is wind...natural and man-made, I love the wind! Most of us open the windows in the evening after the sun starts to go down to let the hot air out or the cool air in. You can use a fan both to push the hot air out of your house and to suck in the cooler fresh air. I do this both in the evening and in the early morning hours. 

However, opening all the windows may not be the best strategy. If your house sits where there is a strong breeze in any one direction, it might be better to only open the windows that will let that natural breeze go through your house. By being selective about the windows you open, you can create a natural flow of air that will cool things down faster than opening all the windows at once. 

Take a few minutes tonight to stand outside and determine the direction of airflow at your home. 
If it is going from east to west, only open the windows on those sides of your house. If it is blowing north and south, keep those windows open and shut up the windows on the east and west. Sometimes your home might not have windows on both the necessary sides. If this is the case, you can use windows or sliding glass doors on one adjacent side--just make sure the windows are only open on a total of two sides of the house. The natural flow of air can then be enhanced with one or two good fans strategically placed to push it through your rooms.

Enjoy the sunshine today, and enjoy a cool house tonight!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dining Out

This week, while our beloved Jenni is teaching violin at a music camp, we are excited to welcome our friend Jordan as a guest writer. She is a super crafty mom who lives in San Diego with her two beautiful daughters and her wonderfully talented husband. Here is what she had to share about what is for dinner...when you're on vacation! Thanks, Jordan!

What’s for dinner? This is one of my least favorite questions...unless I am on vacation. This week I happen to be on vacation in Leavenworth, WA and when it’s time for dinner, there are plenty of options. 
Our first dinner was at a charming restaurant called Pavz. There were only 6 tables in the whole place and the ambiance added to the yummy food. I had a savory crepe filled with black Forrest ham, Swiss and American cheese, crimini mushrooms, and an amazing creme sauce. The picture doesn’t do this masterpiece justice,  seriously this was the best crepe I have ever tasted and the strawberry lemonade topped it off perfectly.

The next dinner we had was at a Bavarian style pizza and hot dog place called Rudloof’s Pizza & Wunder Dogs. The pizza was good nothing amazing but we also tried the cheesy ranch bread which was quite tasty. My parents ordered the Kielbasa dogs and they were HUGE. I don’t want to know the calorie count in that meal...well any of the meals we ate actually. The paintings on the walls made this restaurant super cute and fun.

On our dinner adventures we also found the best mac n' cheese my kids have ever ordered, a yummy french dip, and a cute little bistro with an awesome name "Good Mood Food." 

Growing up our family had a rule about eating on vacation...we were not aloud to pick a restaurant that we had in our home town. I loved this rule and I still try to keep this up with my family now. It helps us discover new things and usually limits our fast food intake.
My all time favorite vacation restaurant is Bubba’s in Jackson Hole, WY they have super yummy Barbecue. So what are your favorite vacation dinners?