Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We entered St. Louis from Illinois, and as we drove across the bridge spanning the Mississippi, we got our first glimpse of the Gateway Arch. It was raining though, so we decided to get some lunch before heading to the arch.
The kids had been watching "Man vs Food" with their grandparents a couple of days before, and in the episode Adam headed to Crown Candy Kitchen in St. Louis, known for their delicious milkshakes. It was one of the few challenges that he has lost. Since we were heading to St. Louis, the kids wanted to check out Crown Candy, and I think it's important to let them have a say in what we do while vacationing, so we decided to hunt it down.
We located the restaurant in a little renewed neighborhood just two blocks from the highway. We arrived soon after they opened for lunch, and there was already a line to the door. By the time we left, the line was out the door and wrapping around the side of the building.
Inside, the restaurant had a sort of old-timey soda fountain vibe going, with a candy counter against one wall and a few booths for diners. While researching the restaurant the night before, I'd learned that Crown Candy Kitchen was famous for it's BLT sandwiches, so I ordered one and the kids each had grilled cheese sandwiches. The BLT was EXCELLENT. Most places are stingy with the bacon - NOT Crown Candy. That sandwich was bursting with crispy, delicious bacony goodness. Mmmmmm, yum. We ordered one 24 ounce chocolate milk shake and three glasses. I can see how the "Man vs Food" guy failed his challenge - he had to drink five of those 24 ounce shakes - one 8 ounce shake filled me up just fine. And was quite tasty.
After lunch I let the kids pick out something from the candy counter. They chose giant jawbreakers that turned colors as you licked away the layers. We also bought some pecan clusters to bring home to the non-traveling dad.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Last month the kids and I took a road trip to visit my in-laws outside Bloomington, Illinois, then on to St. Louis and finished up in Chicago. The in-laws were camping at the Kamp Komfort rv park in Carlock, Illinois- a nice little place surrounded by cornfields, with a swimming pool and a small playground.
We visited the Children's Discovery Museum in Normal, Illinois, a fun hands-on museum that had a few exhibits we'd never encountered before. There was a water play area, a medical exhibit where kids could ride an exercise bike next to a model skeleton that was also pedalling and exercise bike, and fake stores and shops where kids could role play.
Upstairs was a farming exhibit where kids could send little balls representing grain through tubes to different parts of the room. I had to drag my kids away from that exhibit. There was also a series of transparent air tubes, set up so the kids could put balls and cloth in and they would blow through and shoot out at another spot. Kids could close off certain tubes to make the cloth take a different path and come out in a different location. The kids got a kick out of that too. The boy loved this giant climbing structure that spanned two floors, made from geometric shapes and enclosed in a net. Good times at the Children's Discovery Museum!
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
A few weeks ago we visited my parents for a couple of days, and while driving around in their car my daughter noticed their travel pillow sitting in the back seat. My dad likes to use a travel neck pillow for driving out of town, because if he drives for longer than an hour his neck starts to hurt.
My daughter saw the travel pillow in the back seat, tried it out, then proceeded to carry it just about everywhere with her for the rest of the weekend. She stroked it against her cheek, saying it was nice and fuzzy and soft. She said she liked that it was shaped like a magnet. She liked that it was small and you could keep it in the car. She especially liked that it was cushy. So now she’s been begging me for one ever since, only PURPLE or PINK, not red like Grandpa’s.
The more I think about it, the more I think getting my daughter a travel pillow is a good idea. She has a tendency to fall asleep in her booster seat on car trips, even relatively short ones. Usually she leans her head up against the hard window, or sometimes it hangs forward or to the side at an awkward angle. A travel neck pillow would provide a soft spot to rest her head and give her neck some support and less strain. I might get travel pillows for both the kids.
So I’ve done a little research and found that there are different types of travel pillows available out there. Since she wants the same travel pillow her Grandpa has, we’ll probably go with the standard, U-shaped, foam pillow with a soft cover.
If I still had an infant or toddler in a car seat, I might opt for a head support travel pillow that attaches to the shoulder straps and keeps their little heads gently supported in an upright position.
An inflatable travel pillow is great for air travelers since it takes up little space in luggage once deflated, but since we’re planning to keep it in the car, I don’t think it’s the best choice for our purpose.