Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mountain Trip - Day 3

Day 3 of our mountain trip began with a gorgeous view and apple cider donuts that we had brought from the orchard the previous day.  We were up and out early again to head to Anna Ruby Falls (the biggest waterfall in Georgia) which is about an hour away from the mountain house.  We had made the hike to the waterfall on last year’s trip and we loved it so much that we wanted to do it again. 

The morning started out chilly, in the low 60’s, which were the lowest temps we had felt since April.  It was invigorating and it made for such a pleasant hike!  The hike up is probably around 30 minutes or so, and when you get to the top there are two different observation decks to view the waterfall.  The sound of the waterfall whooshing down the mountain and the sounds of the creek below made for a very peaceful morning.  We stayed at the waterfall for a little bit and once we’d had our fill, we made the hike back down to check out the gift shop before heading out. 

Anna Ruby Falls is very close in proximity to Helen, GA, so we headed straight to Helen after our hike to tour around a bit.  Helen is a very touristy city and it’s known for its Bavarian style buildings… basically it’s meant to feel like Germany.  And Germany is known for Oktoberfest so Helen always has a huge Oktoberfest celebration each year.  Since we were there in October, it was pretty busy considering it was Friday.

The first thing on the agenda was to look for souvenirs for the kiddos.  They now know when we travel that they get to pick out one special thing to bring home from the trip, and every time we go to the mountains they like to get their souvenirs in Helen because they have so many gift shops.  We stopped in several little shops and Jacob opted for a wooden toy gun that shoots rubber bands from the toy shop while Olivia opted for a red mask that we found in one of the gift shops. 

We were all starving by the time our souvenirs had been purchased, so we headed to The Heidelberg, the same German restaurant that we ate at on last year’s trip.  B and I ordered a round of beers to start and then we all enjoyed a traditional German meal.  Well, B and I did, at least.  ;o)  The kids both wanted hot dogs.  Haha.  They are about as picky as it comes with regard to food, so we knew we weren’t going to get them to eat any schnitzel.  B did enjoy his schnitzel, though, and I enjoyed my knockwurst.  Mmmm MMMM!

After our bellies were full, we toured around the city a little longer.  We walked to the cute little gazebo area all decorated for fall, and to our surprise, there was a big playground just behind it.  We had been up there before and had never noticed it before, so it was a nice little treat for the kids.  We let them play for a bit and then we headed back down the hill into the city so I could find my souvenir… a frame to add to our travel gallery wall!

For some reason, souvenir frames are extremely hard to come by in North Georgia, so I’m always struggling to find something new to add to our collection, but on this trip, we happened to find an underground market with loads of handmade items, and there were several cute choices for frames in there.  Everything was decorated to the nines for fall (my favorite!) and we had a great time browsing the shop.  We will definitely be going back there next year!

After we left the shop, the kids saw all of the people tubing down the Chattahoochee River (which runs right through Helen) and they decided they wanted to go stick their toes in the water.  It’s really shallow right through there and the day was so warm that we decided to let them take their shoes off and take a little dip.

On the way back to the car, we ducked into the cutest little ice cream shop to grab one last treat before heading to our next destination.  There were so many delicious choices that it was really, really hard to make a decision.  I finally decided on the hazelnut, B had the banana pudding (my second choice), and the kids both picked bubblegum (an easy decision for both of them because they have both been obsessed with gum for the last few months). 

Once we had finished our ice cream, we hit the road and headed to our next destination, gem grubbing.  Brian introduced the kids to this two trips ago and now they are both obsessed.  It was pretty much the only thing that Jacob talked about leading up to the trip, so he was ready! 

We bought a five-gallon bucket to share, and the kids spent the next hour soaking and sorting their rocks.  Both of them ended up with lots of good stuff, and my personal favorite was a large amethyst that Olivia found… which also happens to be her birthstone!

Everyone was pretty exhausted by the time we finished so we decided to call it a day and head back in the direction of the mountain house.  On the way there, we stopped by Zaxby’s (for the kids) and Blimpie (for B and me) to grab dinner and we took it back to the house to eat there. 

The rest of the evening was spent shooting Jacob’s rubber band gun outside, sorting rocks into the kids’ gem boxes, and watching the sun set. 

It was an absolute perfect day and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.  Well, maybe some cooler weather in the afternoon.  ;o)  But we sure do love these trips each year.  They are such a treat.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Our Weekend - The One with Rock Ranch

Happy Tuesday, y’all!  I’ve finally gotten my act together and I’m here with a weekend post today. 

We kicked off Friday with dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  After a super busy week and a never-ending battle with allergies and asthma, I was finally feeling a little better so a margarita was in order.  And cheese dip was in order for Olivia… I even caught her scooping hers up with a spoon and eating it like soup.  LOL.  #MyHero

For the first Friday evening in a while we had nothing planned so after dinner we went straight back home, snuggled up on the couch with a little treat, and had our very first viewing of Hocus Pocus as a family.  It has been one of my favorite movies since I was eleven years old so I have been waiting FOR-EH-VURRRR to share it with our babies, and we decided that this weekend was finally the weekend!  The kids LOVED it and B liked it, too… he had never seen it up until this point.  I know.  But anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that Olivia wasn’t scared during any part of it.  She’s afraid of pretty much everything so that is the reason we waited so long to see it in the first place.

Saturday, Jacob had a soccer game at noon and they ended up losing 8-5.  Womp womp.  After soccer was over, we headed home and parked it on the couch for the rest of the day to watch football.  Brian’s dad came over to watch the Georgia vs. LSU game, and sadly, we got our first loss of the season. 

The weather has finally cooled off some here, so I had a big pot of White Chicken Chili simmering on the stove all afternoon, and we all enjoyed that during the game as well.  It was nice to have something tasty and comforting since we had to watch our beloved team take a beating.  #ItWasBad

Sunday we were up before the crack of dawn to be at 8 AM mass, and then after mass we headed home to pack lunches and head out to The Rock Ranch with friends!  The Rock Ranch is a place in The Rock, GA that was started by the founder of Chick-Fil-A.  They have so much fun stuff to do there for families, and we especially love it in the fall.  We met up with three of my girlfriends and their husbands and kids and we started the day tailgating and eating lunch together in the parking lot before the ranch opened for the day at 1 PM.

We headed into the ranch promptly at one, got our wristbands, and then went to play!  The kids played on the tire swings, checked out some bones, went to the petting zoo to see the calves, donkeys, and pigs, and then we all lounged in the swings for a bit.

This year there was a new field of sunflowers and wildflowers that weren’t there last year so we snapped a few family pictures before moving on to the underground tunnel slide.  The kids loved sliding down the slide on potato sacks. 

After spending all of that time in the sun we were all ready for a little cool-down, so we headed over to the corn bin next.  I think the kids must have played in there for 30 minutes and we had to drag each and every one them out when it was time to move on.  They loved it SO MUCH.  They all had fun burying each other and burying themselves and rolling around and making snow – or corn (I guess I should call them) – angels.  Lol.  I told B we need to get a corn bin for the back yard… we’d never have to worry about the kids getting bored again!

Next up was tiny town.  There is a whole area of child-size buildings that the kids can play in… they have a church, a post office, a jail, a barn, a grocery store, a theater, and so many other themed houses.  They are all air-conditioned and have lots of fun things to do so we let the kids play there for a while to cool off. 

We headed to the bouncy house and the carousel next, and then we let the kids ride the barrel train that is painted like a cow.  Once the kids jumped off of that, we got ice cream – Dippin’ Dots for the kids and B, and Chick-Fil-A Ice Dream for me.  Mmmm…

After our bellies were full and we’d had our little rest, we headed over to let the kids ride the ponies.  After the pony rides we rode the train all around the property, let the kids bounce on the massive jumping pillow, and then play on one of the playgrounds until it was finally time to go.

We ended up leaving around 6 PM and we never even got to the corn maze, the paddle boats, the pumpkin patch, or the zip line.  If you are anywhere in Georgia, you should definitely check this place out.  It is such a blast and it makes for such a full day!

The kids were exhausted by the time we left, so we made the drive home, popped a frozen pizza in the oven while they showered, and then ate a quick dinner before sending them off to dreamyland… it didn’t take long and they were both out cold!

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I’ll be back tomorrow with another mountain trip recap!