Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival

I don’t remember ever going to a Medieval or Renaissance Festival growing up. If I did I may have gone with school. What I do remember is that I loved that era alot. I remember in 6th grade one of my teachers having us get our parents sign a permission slip to watch First Knight. A memorable movie for sure. I have recently started watching the show Merlin and it has rekindled my love for the Medieval/Renaissance era.

One day I was looking up events on FB when I came across the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival that my twin (not really my twin but maybe) was interested in. Since our move to Alabama I have been looking for fun things to do. Driving a couple of hours or even 20 minutes is nothing for us after living in DC. Anyways, I got super excited and reminded George how much we have loved going in the past. He agreed that we should go and I started making plans.

It only made since to me that since Keri had shared the information that we should go on this adventure together. She agreed to drive down from Birmingham with her boys to meet us there. We settled on the Friday not only to beat the crowds but to take advantage of the student/teacher discount.

We met Keri and her boys plus they brought along a friend,at the gate. Keri even went as far as to photo bomb the picture I had George take of me and the kids. It was the best photo bomb in the history of photo bombing.We watched a joust, a Raptor birds demonstration, a glass vase be made and chatted with a blacksmith all before lunch. I would have to say the kewlest part of the jousting was the huge Clydesdale. They even had it to where you could ride it if you wanted to. The Raptor demonstration was really neat because the guy showed us several different birds and they flew pretty close. Two different birds flew into a tree above my head while the kids had birds fly over there heads. The glass blower had alot of very beautiful pumpkins. I was so worried on of the kids would break one. The blacksmith had Bubbles try her hand at banging on some metal.

Six flagging it? Keri-“Growing up we would get to go to Six Flags but my parents couldn’t afford for us to eat inside so that’s what we would do.Then we came up with the term.” So we Six Flagged it for lunch and sat in the shade of our big van in the parking lot. We had sandwiches, fruit, carrot sticks, and graham crackers. It was alot warmer than it had been in 5 days or so and Pooh got a little sick. Either he ate too fast or got too hot.

The other kids were done eating lunch so Pooh stayed with Dad in the Air Conditioned van while we went to check out more of the shops. The shops had all sorts of kewl stuff. The boys all got swords. Bubbles picked out a beautiful fan. Jem picked out a long pair of very obvious Oh I love Harry Potter socks. Pippi, Keri, and I all picked out bell dancer hip scarves. George picked out soap goat soup and I bought him some jam.

After our shopping we were looking for a play about Arthur but found Bagpipes instead. We sat and listened for a little while before deciding we should keep trying to find the other show. We somehow split up and had very differing experiences. I took the older four to what seemed like a haphazard display. The man talked about armor, building houses and other things. I thought the kids would get bored but I think they could have spent hours talking to the man dressed in true garb. The rest of the group watched a guy do magic tricks. The kids really seemed to have enjoyed it.

The piece ala resistance was the junior knighting ceremony. The kids went up in groups of three to be knighted by the king of the festival. This was a very cute and kewl ceremony. The girls were even able to participate. They were more excited about doing it after hearing that one of their favorite teachers from the Harry Potter series had been knighted. The girls went last and then George was ready to head home. We said goodbye to Keri, her boys, and their friend. It was a very fun and educational day.

We were able to be apart of Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festivals 1st Student Day as well as 2nd year to exist. I knew it was going to be smaller than ones we have gone to in the past but I was still just as excited. I was also very happy to find on the website on the school page a Classroom guide which includes worksheets, history, and project ideas. We did a few of the worksheets and discussed things a week before our field trip. The kids each chose a project to do for a prize. The projects are due Friday so I will be sharing the final products next week.



McWane Science Center, AL



In November I inadvertently won tickets: Congratulations to our WINSDay winner: Kim . Please email us at in the next 48 hours, so we can get you in touch with the tickets. #BFF #BFFwins2016 #WINSDay

I had won 4 tickets to the McWane Science Center before our move. The owner/publisher of the Birmingham Family and Fun magazine was very kind about me obtaining the tickets once we moved into our new house. I was very excited to have the McWane Center be my kiddos first great memory of the fun places to visit in Alabama.

Over the weekend we had a great opportunity to visit the McWane Science Center in downtown Birmingham. The kids were more than excited to go on a surprise field trip. It was kind of a reward for all the hard work and help with getting the house in order from the move. We hadn’t gotten out much since moving to Montgomery other than shopping for stuff for the house and maybe a playground here and there. I think we were all starting to get a little stir crazy especially staring at all the boxes and undecorated walls. It really was a much deserved afternoon out.

We arrived after lunch in Birmingham at the McWane Science Center. We decided to start things on the Lower Level. Within seconds the kids were running around very excited. We had found the fish, sting rays, and sharks. The boys run around looking for Nemo and Dory. Baby Kermit calls all fish Nemo so boy was he happy. Plus what kid doesn’t like touching sting rays and sharks. I love that fish bring about an automatic fascination for everyone including myself. No, I did not stick my hand in the fish water but the kids happily did. Once we had our fill of fish we headed up to the 3rd floor to explore more science there.

I think the 3rd floor quickly became the older 4 kiddos favorite floor. The whole floor is themed Art/Technology. There were many different Technology themed things to try. Duke and Baby Kermit spent alot of time building with some very unique blocks. The girls wondered around trying each thing at least twice. Pooh wasn’t as amused as the rest of them but I think he may have been suffering from overload.

Poohs favorite floor was the 2nd floor. He loved the Dino Dig. There are dinosaurs every where. All of the kids seemed very interested in learning about the Alabama dinosaurs. They listened to every little presentation and it looked as though they were studying the displays. We didn’t make it over to the Itty Bitty Magic City. There was a huge line and wait times and only the younger two would have been allowed in so we just avoided it. Pooh didn’t want to leave the dinosaurs but we had one more floor to explore.

The 1st floor was a bit more crowded as I’m guessing its the most popular. The girls took turns trying to play mindball. There were no winners. They also took turns on the bed of nails and many other really neatly put together science experiments. The boys started to get a little whiny so we decided we should head home.

We snacked on Astronaut ice cream on our drive home while chatting about our good time and listening to Rush Revere and The Presidency. This was such an amazing trip that 3 of the 8 of us took naps on the drive home. Yes, I was a napper. I take my naps when and where I can get them sometimes. I look forward to the many fun places we will have the opportunity to visit and share because of our move to Alabama. Happy Wednesday!


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Calvert Cliffs, MD

First I would like to say I am sorry for anyone who is disappointed that this is not a board game post. I have already shared the best games that we currently own. We havent been able to visit our favorite local board game shop in the past couple of months. If you have any suggestion of what game we should buy next or a game you would like to know more about please comment below or send an email to

During the summer I did alot of research about parks and places we could visit that were free or cheap. I made a short list and decided we should try to visit as many as possible. I choose Calvert Cliffs because of suggestions from friends and the thought of fossil hunting sounded fun. We have friends that live nearby so we decided we could meet up with them and enjoy the cliffs and the company of friends.
We arrived at the parking lot early enough for the kids to explore the playground. The kids climbed, crawled, jumped, swung, and ran around this really awesome playground.  There’s a car, a snake, and a kewl swing. All of the kids could have probably been happy to spend the next couple of hours just playing at the playground. I totally think it’s worth visiting again just for the playground.

The 1.8 mile hike to the cliffs started out well. The kids all tried to run too far ahead and had to be rangled but to where the adults were. The younger kids all fought over who was going to lead and again had to be rangled back. The hike seemed to last forever. Like w would never make it to the beach where the cliffs were located. The plus side to the hike was alot of quiet time in nature. There wasnt alot of noise or talking. The kids slowed down and it felt like we might never make it but then we could see the very blue sky and I knew we were close.

The beach area was very welcome. There was a box of sand toys to borrow as well as cups and water free to drink. The sand was covered in rocks, shells, fossils, and sticks or logs. We didnt walk very far down the beach as waking on shells and rocks hurt your feet and keeping an eye on 10 kiddos is easier when you keep them close by.

A park ranger was walking along the beach explaining about the how’s and whys of fossils and had a few examples of fossils so that the kids would know what they were looking for. The kids all dug and searched for as long as they could hoping they would find a fossil. Bubbles was successful as was Pippi. Pippi went to great lengths to shove as many rocks, shells, and fossils, in her pockets as she could. It was hilarious to watch her try to push just one more shell into her pocket.

We didn’t stay long as we had another 1.8 mile hike back to the parking lot and we were encroaching on lunch time. Several of my kiddos turn into bears when they dont eat meals at a regular time. I could tell they were starting to act out of sorts and George suggested we should head back towards the parking lot.  The hike back was alot harder. The kids were all tired out. George and I took turns carrying Pooh and Baby Kermit. I gave up on trying to keep the kids from getting too far ahead. I was just glad they didnt want me to carry them too.

We arrived exhausted at the parking lot. We slowly crawled into the van and drove to a local KFC for lunch. The kids had a blast eating lunch with their friends before we headed home for naps and relaxing. It turned out to be a really good and exhausting day but I am very glad we made the time to visit Calvert Cliffs.




Brookside Gardens,MD

I would have to say we found another jewel in the DC, MD, and VA area.  I sat down one day to do research on places we should visit before the colder temps. I found Brookside Gardens.  My first thoughts were that hey this place looks pretty nice and its free. I added it to our calendar in hopes that we would get to visit in the near future.

The kids saw the Brookside Gardens on the calendar and asked repeatedly if we were going. I decided to make a deal with them. If they would spend most of their Saturday cleaning the house we would go to Pizza Hut and the Brookside Gardens.A few of them were reluctant at first but I am happy to say for the most part they did a good job cleaning up.

On Sunday morning we got up as usual and cleaned up a little before heading to Pizza Hut. The older 4 each earned a free pizza coupon through Book It for reading in the month of October. The funny thing is though the kids don’t really need to be coaxed with free pizza to read. Most of the time I have to take books or bring them back to reality to do a chore. They love reading and our many trips to the library.

After lunch we headed to Brookside Gardens only a few minutes down the road. I wasn’t exactly sure what were in for but again it was free so even if it was lame that would be ok.Once we arrived at the gardens I could tell we would at least have a nice time outside. The weather was perfect. There were still some flowers in bloom and the leaves are all starting to change in normal fall fashion. There was plenty of space for the kids to run and explore. There are 4 buildings on/near the garden grounds. The first is the Visitors Center. It includes the gardens gift shop, an information desk, and restrooms. The second in the Conservatory. It includes 2 gardens, a gift shop and restrooms. Then there’s the Nature Center. It includes a children’s room, observation area and more. The fourth and last building is the Harper Homestead. The home of the Harper family, an African American family in the 1870’s. The kids had fun making their own tin art and playing old school board games.

I can’t even begin to explain how awesome this place is. This was perfect for the deal that I made with the kids. It was alot of walking and running and exploring. Just what the kids needed.  We had the best time visiting Brookside Gardens. I am hoping we can go back over the next month or so for the Garden of Lights event.

Throw Back Thursday: October 2013 

Adventure in DC : So yesterday morning our neighbors brought over some tickets to The Washington International Horse Show. After a night of crying baby, Baby Kermit, we decided to sleep a few more hours before getting up and seeing what it was all about. So get the info and we decide it’s worth a trip to downtown DC. We rush to get all the kids ready and head to BK for lunch. We quick eat our lunch and head to the Anacostia Metro station. (so in the back of my head I am thinking this is going to be near my fears of zombie clowns. I am going cry, hide my children, and never leave base again.)

There was actually a very nice man working the booth at the Metro station who offered up lots of help and a friendly smile to boot. At the platform we come across a very interesting character which the kids can’t help but talk to since he insisted on sitting near us after making the comment “oh look there’s white people.” (This is seriously the comment that was made) The train ride was alot of jerking back and forth from the constant stopping and going. We got to our stop only to find out we should have gotten off at the stop before. I am nauseous at that point and need a bathroom. As we walked along 7th street there weren’t many places that looked like they would offer a public restroom. I spotted a McDonald’s and thought we would be safe. To my surprise the door to the restroom required a token. Thankfully I found some kind ladies at a near by bar that took pity on me and poor Bubbles.

We make our way to the box office to find out we have completely missed the kids day stuff but hey why not see what this whole horse show thing is about. It’s hard to turn down something free and an opportunity to experience something new. The kids were instantly drawn in. Even the 2 boys, Duke and Pooh, enjoyed themselves. Baby Kermit was just happy to eat and been out of the stroller for a bit. Not sure how long we stayed but long enough for the kids to get their fill of Show Jumping Horses. So we headed back to the near by Metro station. And again things go pretty smoothly getting on and off of the train. The kids loved the ride and behaved the entire day. We even made it back in time for Mass and George’s KOC meeting. The kids were happy to enjoy there dinner of French toast and bacon before being sent to bed. It was a much needed day out for all of us and very enjoyable, WE CAN SURVIVE THE METRO 🙂