Monday, June 10, 2013

Toddler Travel Finds

I like to think of myself as a bargain shopper.  It's just a way of shopping that was embedded into my brain by my mother.  At times it's frustrating because I see something I really want and I just. can't. buy it.  That little voice in the back of my head won't let me!  Have I ever mentioned that my Mom bought my prom dress for $30 without me even being present?  It fit perfect and was gorgeous!

When it came to picking up some toys and dvd's for our cross country drive I was not going to spend much money.  Speaking of dvd's, what's with them being so expensive to begin with?  $20-50 for a single movie?  No thanks, we'll rent through red box or Vudu and be done with it.

The first place we went was Target (as if I needed a reason) and I noticed a bunch of Superman themed items in the dollar bins. 

I picked up a sticker book, pencils, a pencil case, velcro wallet, and a little notebook.  They also had these adorable pop-up books.  One is about robot cowboys and the other dinosaurs in outer space.  In other words, perfect for little boys!  I realize most of the Superman stuff is way above Landon's age of 2 but I know my kid.  He loves stickers, containers to put random things in, and he will probably play with the velcro wallet for about half a day.  At a dollar each, mission accomplished.
Next we went to Ollie's Bargain Outlet and found the following.

Word World, Bob the Builder, two Thomas the train DVD's each over an hour long and a Dinosaur Train book.  Each of these items were only $3.99!  My plan is to give Landon one or two of the new items each day on our road trip which we are expecting to be 4-5 days long (still working out the drive details.)

Neither store really had bargain items suited for Emmi, but I have a bunch of Baby Einstein DVD's I plan to use (in case of emergency) and I'll just rotate some of her smaller toys she already has.

We expect full on meltdowns from both kids probably more than once on our drive but with a few new items we can at least minimize the damage!

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Favorite Things - Fort Drum, NY

As we are packing and preparing to move back across the country to Arizona my husband and I have been talking about what we are going to miss about New York and what we are looking forward to in Arizona.  One of the great advantages of military life is having the opportunity to live in many different places with new experiences. 

Funny, less than 3 months ago I wrote this blog post about reasons I love the north country because I thought we were going to be here forever.  Now we are leaving Fort Drum in under two weeks!

Here is a list of my personal favorite things at Fort Drum.

1. New York Pizza - My poor husband is so sad about leaving behind NY Pizza.  We have rarely gotten pizza from a chain (mostly just when I had pregnancy cravings) in our 3 years here.  When family or friends come to visit, they know without question NY pizza is what will be served the night they arrive, in fact they expect it!  For our first two years here our local pizza joint didn't even deliver but that certainly never stopped us from eating it.  Once they delivered it just increased the frequency.  New York Pizza - your greasy goodness will be sadly missed.  We will shed a tear each time we order pizza from a chain restaurant.

2. North Country Red - Oh beloved North Country Red.  This is one of the most popular (and my favorite) wine from the local Thousand Islands Winery.  North Country Red got me through Chris's first deployment and helped me paint our downstairs one hour at a time after baby went to sleep each night. 

3. Snow - Now hear me out.  Yes, you have heard me complain a lot about the snow up here.  But growing up in Virginia we always had a very wet and icy snow that made roads terrible and everything a mess.  The snow up here is best described as a snow globe.  Fluffy, powdery, and just beautiful!  When the snow is falling and you are watching by a window inside your home you really feel as if you are inside a snow globe!  If you want to go snow tubing/skiing/ice skating/snow mobiling (is that a word?) you don't have to plan a weekend trip and drive to a resort.  You can simply drive 10-30 minutes to a local place and spend the day having fun!

4. Lake Ontario - From the local beaches, historic battlefield at Sackets Harbor, to Pirates Week at Alexandria Bay there is much to enjoy by the lake.  I love that during the Summer we can dine on the deck of the Boat House, enjoy the breeze, and watch the boaters or spend a day on the beach and then in the Winter months we can walk out on the frozen lake and watch the ice fisherman.

5. Farmer's Markets - The picture at the top of this blog is from one of my first trips to the Lowville Farmer's Market - peppers, sweet onion, sweet corn, tomatoes, red potatoes, apples, free range chicken, cinnamon rolls, white wine, strawberry, raspberry, & blueberry jam.  Several villages surround Fort Drum and most have their own market so there is always somewhere to find fresh local produce, meat flowers, crafts, or just about anything you can imagine.

6. Tractors, Cows, and Helicopters - I love that my little boy routinely can see and identify all of these things.  We pass huge farm tractors on the road and wave to the cows along the way.  Landon stops dead in his tracks to tell me when there's a plane or helicopter flying over us, which I never used to notice. 

7. Maple Syrup - Before living here I bought some random brand of syrup at the store.  Here I have been to several sugar shacks and seen the process of how REAL maple syrup is made and I'm pretty certain I can never go back.

If you are here or have been at Fort Drum before, what are your favorite things?  Let me know in the comments below!

In other news I've decided to join the world of twitter.  A little behind the curve, I know.  I actually created an account a while ago and never did anything with it.  I have a feeling this move will provide plenty to tweet about.  I mean, over 2,000 miles of driving with a toddler, baby, and a very big dog?  Yeah, so you should follow me.  @MaysLiz