Places to Go - Spring Family Hikes at Potmac Overlook Park (Arlington, VA) & Riverbend Park (Great Falls, VA)

Can we all admit that it was a LONG, COLD winter? Usually in VA we'll have a few days of freezing cold, followed by a 60 or 70 degree "break" period. But not this year. This year the cold came and stayed, reminding me of Michigan winters. Luckily spring has arrived, so we've spent the past two weekends hiking as a family. Turns out my children NEEDED to run.

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1. Hike Number One - Donaldson Run Potomac Overlook Park - My kids love this hike because it involves multiple stream crossing (hence, multiple opportunities to become wet and dirty). Last week's hike was a little trickier than usual because T slid and FULLY IMMERSED himself in the stream, so we had to cobble together various scarfs and sweatshirts to keep him warm. Still, this is a favorite hike, especially in spring, where an overlook gives you full views of the Potomac (you can actually hike to the Potomac as the path merges with the Potomac Heritage Trail, but with a soaking wet child, we decided to turn around). I have no idea what the total mileage is. And this IS NOT stroller friendly.

Directions - I found this map online. We take the Brown Creeper Connector Trail down to the stream. At the bottom of the hill, the Brown Creeper connects with the Donaldson Run Trail - if you follow the trail to the right, you'll eventually hook up with the Potomac River. If you opt for the trail on your left, you'll loop back to the parking lot. We usually hike to the Potomac then turn around and follow the Donaldson Run trail through the woods and back to our car.

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2. Hike Number 2 - Riverbend Park to Great Falls, VA - This is more of a walk than a hike, as the trail stays flat and there are no stream crossings. But the views are gorgeous, especially in early spring/late winter when the trees are still bare. We even saw a swan. Plus, if you hike into Great Falls you don't have to pay admission (score!!) and my kids love climbing on all the boulders on the sides of the path.

Directions - We learned about this hike from Kidfriendly DC, click here to read her wonderful directions. The total hike is around 3.5 to 4 miles. And, while I've seen people with strollers navigate the path, it does not look like an easy thing to do (esp. through the "boulder field").


Things to Make - The Rubber Egg Experiment

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Did you know that soaking an egg in vinegar for two days causes the shell to dissolve, leaving behind a rubbery (yet still breakable) egg? My kids find this the most fascinating thing ever, even when the yolk breaks on them. For two weeks we went through egg after egg as F kept repeating this experiment.

Oh well, it is sort of fascinating, especially since you can peak in and watch the shell dissolve over time.

What about everyone else? Try any EASY science experiments lately?


1. Place egg in a bowl and cover the entire egg with clear vinegar. Cover the bowl with a plate.

2. After 24 hours, rinse the egg and replace with fresh vinegar. Cover the bowl.

3. After about 12 more hours, check your egg. Is it rubbery yet?


Things to Do - Cherish This Day, The Stories We Tell, & Random Links

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This week was full of soccer practice and homework. How was your week?

Don't forget to check out the group posts today on Cherish This Day & The Stories We Tell


* Julie Blackmon continues to amaze and amuse me.

* I really want to visit this local "secret".

* NPR's SXSW playlist.

* It's amazing how creative this guy can be with a pen cap. And a fortune cookie. And pieces of popcorn.

* This book sounds good. And I really want to see this movie.

* Have you seen these wedding photos? I now dream of visiting Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats (link via A Cup of Jo).

* This Washington Post travel article is making me dream of Rio - secluded beaches, mountain hikes = wonderfulness. And after I check out Rio, I really want to see these hanging flower garden art displays in Japan. And then I'll stop by Kansas because this roadtrip of randomness looks awesome (who doesn't love really big rocks and crazy statues)?

* I read an article describing Enchanted Forest as a coloring book for adults. I think I might buy myself a copy (serenity now). Maybe I can convince all three kids to work on it with me.


Things to Watch - Netflixing (March 2015)


The arrival of spring has caused our TV consumption to decrease somewhat, but we all fell in love with How the States Got Their Shapes. Have you seen it? The show is basically a quirky history lesson full of random facts. We all learned a ton. And laughed a lot. Even T kept asking to watching more and more episodes.

Dan also watched the original True Grit with T, who is super into old westerns lately. And a friend recommended Earth to Echo, which we plan on watching soon.


All three kids are obsessed with the movie Holes, watching it over and over. T also really likes Slugterra, which involves hundreds of animated slugs (why?). And the girls could lose whole days watching Good Luck Charlie episodes.


Dan and I are mid-way through Bloodline, which is completely and totally addictive. I CAN'T STOP WATCHING.

We also just finished The Honorable Woman - tons of intense drama involving Israel and Palestine and intrigue, plus the ending took me completely off guard. And for laughs, I can't believe nobody ever told me about Better Off Ted, a show that's all sorts of funny. Portia de Rossi is amazing as Ted's self-obsessed boss. And of course, The Adventures of Kimmy Schmidt made me laugh and laugh (have I mentioned I love her?).

What about everyone else? What are you watching lately?



Things to Do - At Home Photo Booth (Sort of)


I usually shoot all photos with natural light, but over the past few weeks I've taken Michelle Turner's EXCELLENT off camera flash class through Clickin Moms. So I decided to set up a "photo booth" in the corner (yes, I need more blank walls) so the kids could pose with their friends and I could practice working with flash.

These images make me happy. And every Wednesday needs some happiness.


Of course, once you GIF one friend, you have to GIF another . . .


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