Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paint Mine Trail - Thacher Park

Thacher Park, how do I love thee?

The list keeps growing, especially after today's adventure on the Paint Mine trail (Only a few sites past the lookout spot on the left).

This is a great hike for kids, especially those who love walking in water since the highlight of this hike is the stream. Because we haven't had much rain lately, the stream is shallow and you can easily climb up the waterfalls.

I'm not good at estimating distances, but I'd say we did anywhere between twenty paces to half a mile.  The kids were all in their element (including the baby) and that meant very little whining.  There were frogs all over the place and plenty of opportunities to splash around.

The trail has been quiet everytime I have visited during the week.  Sometime there is no one up there at all, which could freak you out while knowing that cell phone access is a little spotty up there.

Bathrooms are close...but, behind a tree is closer.

There is no charge for the trail during the week, but it is $6 on the weekends. Bring a picnic lunch, bathing suit, water shoes, and bug spray.

Also, check out these events happening this weekend.

Campfire Storytelling, Saturday, July 30th at 6:30. Registration required.

Stargazing, Saturday, July 30th at 9:00 PM.

Check out their calendar for more events.

PS.  On the way back, why not stop for lunch at Toll Gate Ice Cream?  I do declare I found the best and greasiest veggie burger in all the land.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where's Waldo?

Waldo: The Original Hipster (and I am apparently not the first to think so).
I just ordered one of these guys to help spice up our family photos.

I originally got the idea here when I found him hanging out on the roof across the street from San Francisco's MOMA.

Wahoo! I can't wait. Our vacation photos will never be the same.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Butterfly Station

"In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..."

You know the've probably got it memorized.

Take a break from just reading about caterpillars, butterflies, and their penchant for overindulging in picnic foods, and watch them come alive before you very eyes at the Farnsworth Middle School Butterfly Station in Guilderland.

It took about an hour for us to get a guided tour from an adorable elementary school student, explore the Metamorphosis room, look around the museum and gift shop (they sell butterfly themed gifts..tattoos, pens, etc.)  and do some arts and crafts. However, the pièce de résistance for the kids was the face painting, and why wouldn't it be?
It's open from 10am-1pm daily until August 12th.


If you want to make a day of it, why not head over to the Pine Bush Preserve (right down the road) afterwards and check out the Discovery Center and kid friendly hikes

Our cute little tour guide.
Coming in for a landing
Face painting!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mystery Solved

I recently discovered what the "More' part refers to in the Huck Finn's Warehouse and More tagline.

No, it does not mean 'more stuff to fill your closets with and land yourself on an episode of Hoarders', nor does it mean 'more time getting lost in a frankly pretty creepy part of Albany'. The MORE lies in the little known fact that it is the perfect place to take your kids for a unexpectedly fun outing.  Bear with me.

Here are the Top 5 Reasons you could spend the afternoon at Huck Finn's.*

1. The rides. Huck Finn's has the best penny-arcade type rides you will find this side of the Chuck E. Cheese in Latham...and they are cheap, just like when we were kids. Twently-five cents each gets you a ride on a carousel, a Yabba-Dabba-Doo car, a choo-choo, and an obscenely long ride on a Conestoga wagon. Inside they have a bucking bronco, the kind you used to see outside of supermarkets.  I'm telling you, with all of these rides it's like the poor man's Hoffman's.

Bucking Bronco, only 25 cents.

 2. The bunk beds.  I don't think you are supposed to climb on them, but if you smile real purty at the salespeople, they don't say anything.

3. The old school bus (Or old-school bus.This is one of the rare cases that it actually works both ways). One of the benefits of having your store in a warehouse is that you can fit a bus inside of it. I'm not sure why it's there, but my kids have spent at least a half an hour on it pretending that they are taking each other to school while Mommy stands idly by fiddling on her iPhone.

4. Hide and seek in the carpets. Huck Finn's has a delightful selection of carpets.  Some are in stacks and some...the really huge ones... are on racks perfect for hiding in. The first time my son 'hid' in them I was 'seeking' a little more frantically, but as long as the kids tell you that they are going to disappear, it's fun and security needs not get involved.

5. Food. There's a Subway on the premises...lunch is sorted.

The free AC this time of year is also a nice touch.

Seriously, my kids beg me to take them here. Why shoot, I reckon it's more fun than a rafting trip down the mighty Mississip. (I had to work it in somehow). 

Just remember to bring quarters.

*Disclaimer. Huck Finn's did not compensate author for writing this glowing review, but she would not say no to a new dining room set.

Like a Phoenix...

Small-bany is rising from the ashes. Rejoice, my three faithful readers! (Yes, I am including myself. I do technically read this).

I was warned that the third child would play some part in my undoing, I just didn't realize that it would take me this long to start 're-doing' again.  Don't get me wrong, it's been a joy. A year-long, sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed, Tension Tamer tea-swigging kind of joy, but there has been plenty of joy and my chubby ball of baby has made our family complete. (And when I say complete I mean it, mean it. Not like the first two times).

So, let's reaquaint ourselves, shall we?

I started this blog two years ago as a means of exploring the world through the innocent eyes of my children. In other words, I needed to find out what activities I could still enjoy with toddlers and still maintain a modicum of dignity and sense of self.

I have three kids, 6 and under (yes, kid's menus were written for people like me) a minivan with at least a quarter of a tank of gas in it at all times, and half a summer vacation looming..errr...I mean beckoning me to fill it with adventure. I prefer free and outdoorsy stuff, but am game to try anything at least once, so if you have suggestions, I'd be willing to try them out.

Why read this blog when there are probably better ways to fill your time?  Frankly, I can't answer that.

So, to quote my dad, who is infamous in our house for not being able to sit still, "Let's do something."

(and please leave comments if you are so moved...I love them!)
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