Our Visit to Long’s Park

 

I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t be the mom who stays at home with her kids all day and sits around the house. I want to get them out, have them explore and learn new things. Most importantly I want to exhaust them! I want them so worn out that they don’t complain about going to bed at night. Wishful thinking about wanting to go to bed at night, but hey, I try!

Now, living on just about one income isn’t easy. We have bills to pay, groceries to buy, cars to fill with gas.

So, I have been researching a lot to find places that are either free or inexpensive to visit. I call it “Mommin’ on a Budget”.

Do not get me wrong, we will get our expensive amusement park days in, but that cannot happen every day of week when my son isn’t at Pre-K.

But, if you look hard enough, you’ll find some awesome places out there. Especially parks. I’m surprised with how many parks have awesome free activities for kids to do.

I came across Long’s Park on Google Maps while drinking my morning coffee. After reading the reviews, and looking at some pictures (I’m totally that mom that goes on Instagram and looks at all the tagged photos of that location just to get some insight on the place, don’t judge, it totally works), I wanted to take the kids there. It’s a huge 80-acre park with multiple activities for the kids to do… FOR FREE. We were loving it! I must mention that this park was super clean and well kept.

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So, here is what we enjoyed.

Petting Farm.

This was really neat! You walk through a large fenced in area where the animals just roam around you. No fences, no restrictions (except feeding the animals), nothing! The animals were very calm so you felt comfortable around them. There’s a variety of animals to see from roosters and chickens in their coop, to baby goats, and alpaca’s. Let’s not forget the pot belly pig that my youngest thought was the best. They have a washing station after you leave with soap, water, towels, and hand sanitizer. It’s very nicely kept. Only thing to remember is, you can’t bring strollers into the fenced in area, but we just sat ours right outside, no biggie.

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The Pond.

Such a clean, well-kept pond I must mention. They have a path you can use to walk around the entire pond which makes it super easy with a stroller. There is multiple benches (shaded and unshaded) to sit on. There’s a small bridge you can walk on that leads to a beautiful gazebo and a few picnic tables. Ducks, fish, and wildlife are all around you. One thing I honestly noticed was that there was barely any flies or gnats bothering you. Might be a coincidence, but it was nice to not have to keep swatting bugs away. There’s a beautiful rock lining around the entire pond and small pier where you can walk out on to get a beautiful view of the entire pond. My oldest really enjoyed this part. You can fish there also, so we’ll be going back to give that a go.

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The Playgrounds.

 So many playgrounds. They have tons located all over the park. The main playground is called Kids Place Playground. It is wonderful. My favorite part is that it’s completely fenced in. You need to open a large gate to get out. That put my anxiety at ease. I did not have to worry about my youngest running out or anyone coming and scooping up my kids (Yes, I think about that, and my anxiety sky rockets the first time I lose sight of my little’s). It’s also handicap accessible. I LOVED that feature. Knowing that any kid can have a blast on this playground is total brownies points with me. There’s many stations all over the playground that are learning mechanisms too. Let’s not forgot the music stations where you can play bells, hit some drums, and whistle. My youngest was all about the music.

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There are a ton of smaller playgrounds located around the park too. Just as entertaining as the big one, and a great place to get away from the crowds. A lot of shaded also, so no burning slides! I’m waiting for the day where they come out with heat resistant slides for these little ones.

Cisco’s in the Park.

A perfect little place to end your adventures or even to visit in between. They have a nice variety of small finger foods if you forget to pack lunch (we did pack, so we didn’t try the food). But, we did try the ice cream and fruit smoothies! Yum, yum, yum! It was only $3 for two big scoops of delicious Hershey’s ice cream. I ordered a fresh mango smoothie for only $5, which was worth every cent. Super delicious! We really enjoyed that. They had shaded picnic tables for you to enjoy your sweet treats, we also decided to eat our lunch there. The staff was friendly and quick. It was a clean area for being the food area in the park. Very minimal bees and flies. Our lunch and dessert was very enjoyable!

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There is also multiple sports fields and an amphitheater that hosts concerts over the weekend. From the looks of it, I think I might return to experience a live band one evening.

We really enjoyed our visit, and will return soon. If you live near the Southern PA area, I recommend this park to others, especially with little ones.

Enjoy!

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Our Visit to Oregon Ridge Nature Center

 With me being a stay at home mom of two little ones, I’ve had to learn what a ‘budget’ was. It’s now summer time and my son is only in preschool two days a week until he starts kindergarten next fall. The last thing my rambunctious kids want to do it sit around the house all day.

 So, my goal this summer is to find fun, inexpensive (or free) activities to do with them. Depending on how successful the trips go, I want to write about our adventures this summer. If you live in the Central PA or Maryland area hopefully I can give you some ideas on what you can do with your little ones this summer.

We decided to venture to Oregon Ridge Nature Center this morning. I was very impressed with what they display and for it to be completely FREE. They have exhibits varying from wildlife, history, and more! There are also multiple trails you can walk along to enjoy your own personal nature experience outside of the exhibit.

I want to share some of our favorite activities during our visit. My son was amazed the entire time and although my daughter was a little young to really learn about wildlife, she really enjoyed the scenery.

The wooden bridge outside of the nature center was beautiful. It ran over into the woods so you can start your very own nature hike. It has a great view of the scenery around. It’s a great spot to look for birds, butterflies, and other insects around. They have multiple trails mapped out that include the distance and what stations you can reach along the way, such as overlooks and gazebos.

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Although the honey bees scared my son at first, he was amazed with how many of them we’re in there making honey. I was able to explain the process with him and he learned that bees aren’t harmful, they make delicious honey that he puts on his bread in the morning! They also sell the honey, which I thought was very neat.

The Animal Architecture was my son’s favorite. You are able to push the button of certain animals or body parts and the specific bone lights up so you can learn what each bone is. He was amazed with what is under the skin of animals and how big (or small) the bones could be.

The amount of displayed wild animals, big or small, was a very eye catching and intriguing experience. From the commonly displayed animals such as bears and deer, all the way to beavers and woodchucks. They have fur displays so you can feel what the animals fur is textured like. They are placed all over the exhibit. It was very neat. I enjoyed that part myself.

There is multiple learning stations for kids, such as guessing which birds nest went to each bird, or locating different varieties of trees in the park. Along with the bone game I referenced to earlier, there is multiple other bone structures around also to learn about. They also have a butterfly display that shows you which butterflies are in the area so you can go outside and search for them.

You can’t forget the live animals! We started off at the turtles. I never knew myself how many different breeds of turtles there are. They have a wide variety of different breeds displayed and I could explain each one to my son. They have signs located by each exhibit that gives you great detail about each animal. We also made it by the snakes, fish, and birds also. A great display in my opinion.

There is an outside portion of some different bird and rabbit exhibits, along with a beautiful newly built pavilion which is a perfect place to sit and have lunch. There is also an iron furnace, a restored tenant house, and a sugar shack.

The park also has a dinner theater, a lake, and multiple playgrounds all around.

I am going to definitely keep this place in mind over the summer. My son is already talking about returning and I’m excited to walk the trails!

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June Goals

Happy June Everyone!

Summer is so close and I’m so ready. The month of May went by so quickly that I completely forgot to post my monthly goals. I guess that’s mom life, you forget a lot…

I’m hopping back on it and setting a list of goals for June. I’m hoping to have a better month and can achieve these goals. I’m almost positive that the gross weather has finally broke here in Southern PA, and we can start enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather.

Fingers crossed.

 I always think short term goals are much easier to achieve than long term goals.

I don’t know, they just seem more realistic to me.

So here we go! My list of goals. Do you have any?

Friday pool days. Perks of being a stay at home mom during the summer, pool days! All the time! While we have a couple small blow up pools at our house, my parents have a gigantic pool that the kiddos love. Since my mother is off on Friday’s and my son is only going to summer camp two days a week, Fridays will be designated pool days at Nana and Pops!

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Visit local attractions. My wonderful, hardworking husband can receive free tickets to the Zoo, Aquarium, and Science Center all in our area. Score! On the days that my son is home I want to get us out to those places and have some fun. If anyone knows me personally, I hate being home all the time. I like to get out on some adventures. Plus, it wears the kids out, so they sleep good at night. My son is also begging to visit Knoebel’s too, so that’s on the list also.

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Cardio, Cardio, Cardio. I’ve slacked hard on my cardio. With the cold weather and rainy days, I barely got out to run. I’m hoping to put more time into my cardio sessions and really sweat my butt off. My daughter enjoys being outside, so she can tag along too. She wakes up in the morning, and goes right to the side door to get outside. Luckily, she can’t reach the knob yet. Usually, she gets the better end of the stick when it comes to cardio. She naps.

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Save some extra money for vacation. In August we are going with a bunch of family to the Outer Banks and I can’t be any more excited for it. With now have two little ones coming along, I wanted to make sure to have plenty of spending money to spoil their cute little selves all week long. Plus, I want a date night with the hubby, and I’m sure that can get pricey too. Let’s not forget food and wine… lots of wine.

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Cut out processed foods. Chick-fil-A has been my go to lately. It’s all I want to eat. The craving is real. I’ve been going there at least once a week. It doesn’t help that they always send you free food in their app. As much as I want to hate eating processed food, I love it. I love it a lot. I’d eat some french fries every day if I could. But, my body is telling me to stop. So I want to go a full month with no fast food restaurants! This one is going to be tough…

Have a yard sale. My kids have so many toys that are placed all over the house. Along with clothes. I can’t even fit all their clothes into their dressers and closets. It’s insane. I’m going to spend a day and go through everything. I want to have a yard sale to get rid of some items. They are having one at my son’s preschool in a few weeks, so I think this will be an easy goal to achieve. I just need to make sure my son isn’t watching me while I get rid of some toys, because we all know how they can’t let go of anything. Ever.

With those being said…

Bring on summer, we are so ready!

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