Visit to Washington, D.C. with Kids Part 2

Day 2 in Washington, D.C. was a busy day. I'm pretty sure we walked over 8 miles (info from Fitbit!)
John had some work calls so the kids and I headed to the White House. This was Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so it was pretty quite.
Lafayette Square is on the north side of the White House and contains many beautiful statues.  It is also the place where protesters gather. There weren't many while we were there - just a few protesting war in general.

The day we visited the White House (from the outside, we didn't go in) was just a few days after the Paris bombings, and the French President was visiting, so security was high, and you couldn't get very close to the White House. If you do want to take a White House tour, you need to submit an application to tour 6 months before you plan to visit. They do background checks!
Thanks to a beautiful sunny day, picture taking was a little difficult!

From the White House we walked down to the Smithsonian. You could spend a week here! We started with the National Museum of American History. They have everything here - it's a great place to let the kids run and play. Of course, then it's hard to take pictures!
Here are some yarn work and sewing antiques I found interesting. I actually have a swift yarn winder like the one pictured above.
Cade purposely won't look at the camera if he knows you want to take his picture! The National Museum of American History has a huge display on transportation - bikes, trains, automobiles, buses, subways, ....
After John joined us for a quick lunch, we visited the National Museum of Natural History. There are animals, rocks, artifacts and more from all over the world! If you wanted to see and read every display, I think it would take you a year! We saw the highlights. The Elephant above is in the Museum's lobby - very impressive!
We finished the evening off with a delicious meal at Teaism. They have 4 locations around DC, with a seasonal menu. We had lentil soup, chicken and vegetable curries, and fancy teas. Their cookies looked delicious, but we were full!
I'm taking the holidays off from my blog, but follow me in January for Day 3 of Visiting Washington, D.C. with the kids. Day 1 of our trip can be found here.
Happy Holidays!

Simple Holiday Decorations

This time of year one can easily go over-board with the holiday decorations!
In keeping with the idea of simple, I offer a few easy holiday decoration ideas that you can make yourself.

Mason Jar Lights 

Pint Mason Jars
Elmer's Glue
Paint brush
Battery Powered Tea Lights
Shred - Clear "Easter Grass"
Decorative Ribbon
1. Lightly pain the inside of the mason jars with glue using your paintbrush. While still yet, sprinkle glitter inside jar to cover sides.
2. Let jars dry. Put a thin layer of Shred in bottom of jars. Set tea lights in Jars.
3. Tie a colorful ribbon around top of jar. Set in a place to enjoy!

Simple Holiday Decorations - mason jar lights

Simple Holiday Decorations - mason jar lights

Holiday Front Door Wreath


Grapevine Wreath
Holiday décor items
Holiday Ribbon
Florist Wire

1. Attach décor items with florist wire at desired locations around wreath.
2. Tie a bow with the ribbon leaving long tails - Use wire to attach bow to wreath, wrap tails around wreath and tuck into wreath at back to secure. 

Gingerbread House

To easily involve the children, you can purchase a premade gingerbread house kit and let them put it together. This is a fun project as well as provides a cute table centerpiece.

Christmas Cookies

They don't have to be fancy to be delicious!
We used a simple sugar cookie recipe we found on Pinterest - they were more like tea cakes - spread with an easy powdered sugar, milk, vanilla icing, and topped with Holiday sprinkles.

Another Mason Jar Lights Idea

We did one more holiday project to create Mason Jar Lights! This was the easiest and one of my favorites!
You need a mason jar, Shred, and a blinking Christmas necklace - we found one at the grocery store.
Fill the jar with the shred as you slowly insert the necklace into the jar so it doesn't lay all in one spot. Make sure to keep the on/off switch where you can reach it.

Happy Holidays!

p.s. I'll be back next week with the promised Day 2 of Washington, D.C. trip with Kids.

Visit to Washington, D.C. with Kids

Visiting Washington D C with kids
Our latest family adventure was to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. over the Thanksgiving holiday. We were there for 5 days, took hundreds of pictures, visited a multitude of places, and ate some terrific food.
 There is no way I could do a trip to Washington, D.C. justice in one blog post, so I will split it up by days. Follow along as I journal our trip. You may just decide to go there yourself someday if you haven't already!


This trip was one we've wanted to take the kids on for a long time, especially before the oldest flees the nest. But, it was planned a little suddenly when we discovered that airline tickets were fairly affordable the week of Thanksgiving.
My husband planned the how-to-get-there-where-to-stay part of this trip. He uses Google Flight to find the cheapest tickets. You can look at a calendar, different departure and arrival airports/airline, and various times of day to get the best deal.
He booked our hotel by searching on for the one that would best suit our needs. We need a room that sleeps 7, and we like to have a kitchenette to save a little money and time in the morning. He booked us at the River Inn, just a few blocks from a Metro station so we didn't have to rent a car. We were able to walk or take the subway everywhere we went. And we were close to a Whole Foods and Trader's Joe where we bought breakfast food and snacks.
Frommer's guide book to washington dc
I purchased Frommer's Easy Guide to Washington, D.C. 2016. It was a life saver! It has a specific section for ideas for families traveling with kids to D.C., places to eat and stay in each neighborhood, and all the main and not-so-well-known places to see in D.C. I love that it gives you the history in short version of each site/memorial. We took it with us everyday and referred to it often.

Day 1 

Then we hopped on the plane and went. Warning - the cheapest tickets are for the 6am flights, which means you have to get up at 3am to get everyone to the airport in time!

playarea in airport
And you don't get straight flights on cheap tickets. We flew from Nashville to Minneapolis, then to D.C. Luckily there was an awesome play area for the 2 year old at the Minneapolis airport.

book store in airport

I also saw this entrance to a bookstore we just had to visit while we were waiting for our flight.

reading and crocheting

With this being the busy time for my Little Monkey's Design Shop, I made use of my time on the airplane while little guy was entertained by Cars! (I'm reading Strong Mothers, Strong Sons by Dr. Meg Meeker.)

Once we arrived and checked into the hotel, we went sightseeing!

lincoln memorial in washington dclincoln memorial

  We walked down to the Lincoln Memorial. It is magnificent! It was built in 1912 and is the same place where Martin Luther King, Jr. later gave his famous speech.

WWII monument in washington dc

There is a walkway that connects the Lincoln Memorial with the Washington Monument and beyond. We took the southern walkway and stopped at the WWII Memorial. I think it is most beautiful at night with all the lights shining on the water fountains.

washington monument in washington dc
We continued on to the Washington Monument. It is TALL! Like over 555 feet tall, one of the world's tallest freestanding masonry works. This monument, which is a tribute to George Washington, was started in 1848 but wasn't finished until 1888 due to the Civil War and lack of funds.
We didn't go up in the monument, but you can. Tickets are free, but you must get them in advance from the National Park Reservation Service.
We circled the monument and started back towards the Lincoln Memorial on the northern walkway. Here we saw the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial. This includes the famous Wall along with the Three Servicemen Statue and the Vietnam Women's Memorial. Did you know that the National Park Service is still adding names to the Vietnam Wall as Vietnam Veterans die of injuries they received in the war? (Unfortunately it was too dark by now to take pictures, plus little guy was really wanting to go to bed ...)

GCDC restuarant in washinton dc
By this time it was dark, late, and we were hungry! The hostess at the hotel had recommended several places we should eat at that were unique to Washington, D.C. We decided on GCDC - grilled cheese sandwiches of every kind imaginable and delicious tomato soup. (We went back by it on Day 2 to take a picture - it wasn't open yet.)

girls infront of lincoln memorial in washington dc

Follow me next week as I blog about Day 2 of our trip to Washington, D.C. with our kids.