From Preschoolers to Princesses: Atwood’s Princess in the Park

This weekend, Mila and her friends were transformed from their fabulous, preschool selves to beautiful princesses. Atwood Lake Park hosted Princess in the Park for area girls and it was a fairytale for everyone involved.

Naturally, Mila took the afternoon napping and getting ready for the event.

There were two sessions for it, but we went to the later one at 5:30. Thankfully that nap came in handy. To get her ready, she got her hair curled, put a little bit of makeup one, and was dressed in her favorite princess dress.

She was too excited to take pictures before we left, even though she made me and my parents dress up for the occasion.

It only made sense since we were going to be in the presence of a ton of princesses!

When we got there, the girls were divided into four groups: red, purple, silver, and blue (or maybe pink, we weren’t in that group). You could tell their group by the necklaces they gave them when they were registered. Mila was in the purple group, so that’s the timeline of the night I’ll be following.

There were four different princess activity stations: craft, carriage ride, story and snack time, and nail and hand painting.

The first station Mila went to was the crafting one. Here, all the princesses decorated a frame and a princess wand. Mila absolutely LOVED the wand and it turned out so cute. She held it most of the night and pretended to have magic powers too.

They had all the craft supplies ready for us. There were wooden skewers, stickers, ribbons, stars, and the frame. I think Mila tried to put everything on her wand. It turned out adorable.

It seemed like all the other princesses enjoyed their craft too!

After craft time was the carriage ride.

Cinderella brought her magical carriage with her beautiful horses for all the little princesses to ride. Of course she joined in too! They had six girls at a time join Cinderella and they took a carriage ride around the Atwood Lake Park. It took about fifteen minutes, but it probably seemed a lot quicker for the little ones.

Honestly, this part was just as magical for the parents as it was the kids. The carriage was breathtaking and I hope it made Mila feel so special. Her smile was radiating.

When the carriage ride was over, the other half of the group of kids went on and Mila’s got to meet Mrs. Ohio from 2011. Her name is Mrs. Melanie Miller and she did amazing with the little ones. Mila was so happy to meet another real life princess for the night!

She instantly wanted to give her a hug and sit and talk with her. I think Mila was a little awe-struck because she didn’t say a lot, but kept looking at Mrs. Miller and her crowns. I think she loved her sparkly dress too. They discussed how their favorite letter was “M” and how Mila should always follow her dreams. It was so adorable. Mrs. Miller also gave Mila an autographed picture that she talked about and showed us on the way home.

Mrs. Ohio, if you are reading this, thank you so much for being patient and so caring. It truly made an impact on our girls. I know Mila enjoyed meeting and talking with you.

Next it was story and snack time!

They had cupcakes there for the kids to ice and decorate. Although they didn’t have tea, they had apple juice that were perfect for princesses.

As the kids decorated their cupcakes and ate them, a man (whose name I didn’t catch) read a story to the kids. He let them name the princess and unicorn. Mila came up with the name Aveena for the princess and another girl names the unicorn Sedine. They really gave him tricky names to remember. It was pretty comical.

It was a really cute story and gave the kids time to calm down after all the carriage and Mrs. Ohio excitement.

I love watching Mila decorate her cupcake too! She gets better at it every time.

The next and last station was the nail and hand painting. Although a lot of girls sat and got theirs done, Mila had other plans. She’s not the “let’s get our nails painted” princess. Instead, she decided to play.

Since my parents went with us, she had my dad play on the playground with her. They had so much fun on the equipment and the swings.

It also was nice that she got to get really tired before we left!

I love watching her play and interact with other kids and her grandpa. I swear every time I look at her it looks like she’s grown up more. It’s one of the most bittersweet feelings that all parents (I think) feel.

After the last station, we could leave. Instead though, Mila got to meet up with her friends. They, again, went to see Mrs. Ohio and took pictures with her. It was so cute watching them listen to her and wanting to see her crowns. I swear us parents looked like the paparazzi taking a ton of pictures. It was just so exciting.

The princesses took more pictures and played for some time after too. I loved seeing them all dressed up. They’re usually beautiful, but they looked extra cute all dressed up.

I am so thankful for everyone at Atwood Lake Park and the princesses that made this happen. Mila and the rest of their kids really enjoyed themselves. I know she will be talking about this event for days, especially when we go and print pictures out!

Since we live in such a small, tight community, it’s amazing to get our kids together and interacting. It’s truly special and amazing.


If you live local, what are some events you’re looking forward to this fall? If you don’t live local, what are some fall events that you think Mila and I should do? Let me know in the comments.

Explore Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

When it comes to local exploring, Mila and I are on a mission. Our latest go to place was the Clary Gardens in Coshocton, Ohio.

Located right by Roscoe Village, the gardens are a secret escape to play and learn for all.

There are so many aspects of the gardens that I love. Since I’m a planty person, seeing the different types of plants and flowers was magical. Believe me, everywhere you look is beautiful.

I’ve actually been planning on taking Mila here for a little while. On the Clary Gardens Facebook page, I saw them advertise their Story Walk and knew we had to go.

Mila is set anytime learning and being active is involved. So, we put our go-fasters on and went on our way.

Here were our favorite parts of the trip, besides the beauty of the gardens!

The Story Walk Trail

This isn’t a secret, the Story Walk was our favorite part of our visit!

Clary Gardens, the Coshocton Public Library, and The Frontier Power Company teamed up to make this walk happened. They plan to change out the story seasonally, so that means we’ll be going back!

This season’s story was Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae. It’s an adorable book about, you guessed it, a giraffe that can’t dance.

As you walk through the trail, you get to read more pages in the book.

Mila loved this and was searching for the page stands. Throughout the walk, I asked her to recap what happened from the pages before. She did amazing and was really engaged with the Story Walk!

The walk also lets you explore the gardens more. It gives you beautiful views of the property and a little walking trail that is safe for kids. Mila’s favorite parts of the trail was walking by the pond and going into the woods.

Mila taking the route less traveled.

This book choice was perfect for us too, since Mila loves to dance. She danced right with the different animals in the book.

It was a fun adventure through the gardens and I love seeing Mila’s love for reading expand. Spoiler alert, the giraffe dances at the end and Mila did a little celebration dance with him.

Check out the video at the end of this post.

The Octopus

Along the Story Walk was this big and beautiful, wooden octopus.

The octopus is all hand carved and hanging from a tree. He slightly sways if you touch him or the wind blows hard. This freaked Mila out a little, but she warmed right up to him.

I am completely amazed by all the details in the octopus. From the tentacle suckers to the big eyes, Mila and I both had a hard time walking away.

The size and detail reminded me of the wooden giants at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Louisville. That was our last adventure before COVID. Except the giants were even bigger. It was still nice to be reminded of that memory.

When you go to Clary Gardens, definitely seek out the octopus.

Children’s Area

Since I’ve become a mom, finding a place where Mila can play is a must. Clary Gardens has a big area set aside just for this!

There’s different areas for kids to crawl through, climb on, and play. The sandbox was Mila’s favorite! Fortunately, there were buckets and shovels already provided for kids to use.

I personally appreciated the vegetable garden areas. Mila and I were looking to see if any had grown and trying to identify the leaves. Just another learning opportunity that we had to take.

The beautiful artwork at the side of the play area was so cute too.

After her time in the sandbox, Mila pointed out the colors and different things on the mural. She immediately ran up to the butterflies and pretended to be one.

This would be a perfect spot for a play date. You could picnic here (or any of the gazebos) while the kids played. The kids would have so many options to play and moms could get some shade and catch up.

Here’s a little compilation video of our visit. My favorite is Mila’s dance at the end.

The gardens offer even more too. Not only can you get married here or hold an event, it has a beautiful amphitheater too. There’s a few plays by Rogue Elephant Productions coming up in the near future that I need to go see.

If you’re local to Coshocton, plan out your visit to the Clary Gardens soon!

Have you ever been to the Clary Gardens? If not, do you have local gardens that are similar?

Support Local: Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market

On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.

Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.

Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.

Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.

It’s a perfect combination.

It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.

My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.

We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.

We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.

Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.

They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.

When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.

The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.

There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.

Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!

Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!

Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.

Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!

We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!

It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!

Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!

If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?

My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?

Explore the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It’s definitely worth the visit!

You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.

We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.

It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.

The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.

We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.

The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.

Here’s a little recap of what it says:

Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.

I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.

Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.

The whole thing runs about five minutes.

It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.

When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.

If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.

It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!

Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?

Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?

We Went Strawberry Picking. Here’s Our Experience.

Strawberries are the fruit of choice in our house. When I let Mila know she could actually go strawberry picking, we had to leave immediately.

Of course she had to dress for the occasion and picked out this fitting outfit.

Since strawberry season is coming to a close in Ohio, we had to find a place that was still doing you-picks. I ended up finding Smokey Lane Farms in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It was actually their last you-pick day!

Smokey Lane Farms was a smaller farm that had two areas to pick strawberries. It also had places for kids to play and farm animals.

When we first got there, we started picking in the first field. It was pretty sparse since it was the last day, but Mila seemed to find a lot.

I’m pretty sure she ate more than what ended up in her bucket.

Who can blame her right?

One thing I wish I would have done before we started picking was to tell her what to look for. She picked small berries, mushy berries, or any that her eyes could see.

If I could go back, I would have told her to get big, light red berries that were mushy.

Live and learn!

After we found a bunch of strawberries in the first field, we took a play break.

She went down the slides, jumped on the air trampoline, and attempted to climb the ropes. Good thing mom was there to help out a little. I think her goal right now is to solo swing across the monkey bars.

We also ended up strolling through their green houses and checking out the farm animals.

After playing with some new friends on the playground, Mila was ready to tackle the second strawberry field. Thankfully, there were bigger strawberries so I could show her what we were looking for.

Let’s just say… she ate a ton of those too.

In all, I think we were at Smokey Lane Farms for like three hours or more. We loved finding the strawberries and just being outside.

It was the perfect day to go: not too hot or cold.

One thing I’d suggest to parents is to bring water. Mila drank a lot and it was nice to have some on hand.

We obviously didn’t need any snacks!

Not only was it nice to get outside with Mila, we love exploring new places.

It’s been years since I’ve been strawberry picking and it was Mila’s first time. Maybe it can turn into a fun first of summer tradition with our family.

I love having the opportunity to start and keep these types of family outings. Mila loves exploring and I know I do too.

Maybe we’ll have to try their blueberry you-pick!

Since we have a huge bucket of strawberries, it’s time to make our strawberry recipes and enjoy them.

I think we’ll be doing strawberry chocolate chip cookies first!

Have you ever been strawberry picking? What’s your tip to finding the perfect strawberry?

Also, if you’re from Ohio, what other local adventures should we try?

5 Reasons We Love the Akron Zoo.

One great thing to do is go to the zoo. Ohio has some great ones! Our latest adventure was to the Akron Zoo.

Since the Akron Zoo is the closest to us, we seem to frequent it more. Although it’s smaller than the Cleveland and Columbus zoos we’ve been to in the last few months, it’s just as beautiful and educational.

Before you visit, here are five of the reasons why we LOVE the Akron Zoo.

The Size

Although the zoo may be smaller, it’s perfect for toddlers. There’s isn’t as many animals or as much walking as Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, but it still makes an impact.

We can walk and see all the animals in a few hours without rushing. Plus, we can play in certain areas without feeling like we need to hurry up to get through. It makes it nice for kids to actually play and explore.

The zoo is expanding though!

On May 29, 2021, they’ll be opening their Wild Asia expansion. Mila and I will be back to see. We love tigers! There were also signs about expanding Africa too!

Even though it is smaller, you’ll still be getting a workout. There’s a huge hill to walk up!

The Otter Exhibit

Any parent who goes to this zoo knows they’ll be spending a ton of time with the otters.

There’s a huge slide that goes right through the exhibit and water. Kids can see the otter swim right by them!

The slide goes surprisingly fast and it’s a big hit with the kids. Mila spent a ton of time going up the steps and sliding right down. It’s cute to see the kids make themselves stop midway so they can get a better look at the otter.

It also has two huge viewing spots to see the otter. So while parents are waiting for their kids, they can get a good view too.

The otter was adorable! This was my favorite exhibit as a kid!

The Komodo Dragon

One of mine and Mila’s favorite zoo animals is the Komodo Dragon. The exhibit at the Akron Zoo is beautiful and we can always get a close look at this guy.

We love seeing him walk and perk up. It’s not an animal you get to see everyday!

I’m pretty sure Mila think this guys either an actual dragon or a dinosaur. Honestly, I can’t say I disagree.

One of my favorite parts of the zoo is seeing animals you’d never be able to get close to in the wild. I think this is why Mila and I are both fascinated with this guy.

By the Komodo Dragon is other reptiles, amphibians, and sea creatures. Plus the Komodo Kingdom Cafe!

The Carousel

I know, I know. There’s carousels at every zoo, but it’s our favorite every time.

Mila genuinely gets so happy when she sees them. She picks out an animal in the line, then switches last minute!

This carousel has beautiful painting on all the saddles and above. It also has a variety of different sized animals you can ride, which I thought was really nice.

It’s also a great break before walking up the hill!

I think the carousel at every zoo will make our top five. It’s only $2 to ride at the Akron Zoo and if you’re a parent who has to accompany your child, you get on free. The best $2 spent!

The Greenery and Gardens

If you didn’t know, I love plants and greenery. The Akron Zoo has beautiful plants everywhere you look!

I love when zoos really step up their plant game. It makes it feel more relatable for the animals and gets you in a wild mindset.

The Zoo Gardens also gives you the opportunity to walk and really take in the flowers. Immersing yourself in nature is so healing and relaxing. Mila loves it too!

These aren’t the only things we love at the zoo, but are the ones that stuck out the most during the latest trip. We cannot wait to go back this summer to check out the new exhibit!

I love that this zoo is growing since it’s so close to us.

Here are some other pictures I have to share from our experience.

We love the Akron Zoo!

Anytime I can see Mila’s amazement by what’s around her makes me so happy. She loves the animals, the playgrounds, and the environment when we get to go.

What’s your favorite part of the zoo closest to you?

Explore the Fountain of Dogs in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

It’s no secret that Mila and I love to explore. Whether it’s in our backyard or a different country, we love adventure. So, finding a Fountain of Dogs wasn’t too out of the ordinary.

Located at South Main Plaza in Mount Vernon, Ohio, sits 18 dogs all spitting water to a golden bone.

We were in town visiting a plant store and after looking for a place to eat. It was quite eye catching to drive by this… playful fountain. I was surprised Mila didn’t see it.

After dinner, we walked around the block and her eyes got so big as she took in the fountain.

If I hadn’t had a hold of her hand to cross the road, she would’ve ran right up to it. For a little girl who LOVES animals, she was impressed.

Upon further inspection, there was a variety of different dogs. Four you could touch and the rest were in the fountain. But, they all were pining for the golden bone in the middle.

There’s also a cat, horse, and two birds that are around the fountain too. They’re not so interested in the bone.

Around the fountain are plenty of benches and it’s a clean place to just relax.

Honestly, if we lived in Mount Vernon, I could imagine eating lunch here during the summer. It’s beautiful, fun, and quite peaceful.

Although if you’re a toddler… there’s no relaxing.

Mila gave every dog or animal she could get to equal attention. She loved putting her hands in the water and trying to get me wet. We were there for about forty-five minutes and I think she ran and climbed the entire time.

When we had to leave, Mila was heartbroken. I reminded her of the plants in our car and she was happy to get them back home. Before we left, she said goodbye to every dog.

We had to get one last picture too.

It was one of the most unusual fountains I’ve ever seen, but I’m glad I got to see it with Mila.

I plan on going back to the plant place and I’m pretty sure the Fountain of Dogs will be on our list of places to stop, maybe for lunch.

If you’re ever in Ohio and love roadside attractions, the Fountain of Dogs is a cute place to go. No matter your age or if you’re a dog lover or not, it’s something to be seen!

What’s your favorite roadside attraction in your state or beyond? Maybe Mila and I will have to go visit!

5 Reasons We Love the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Ohio is full of things to do. One of our favorite places to go are the many zoos our state has to offer. This time, we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

To celebrate Jensen’s fifth birthday, I thought it’d be a fun idea to go. Mila is really into animals right now and I love seeing them as well. We found out that April is a perfect time to go, even though we had a sprinkle of rain.

This zoo is HUGE. We didn’t even get to go to two big attractions because there was so much to go through. There’s always next time though.

One tip for when you explore this zoo is to bring your walking shoes! There’s a lot of walking to get to the different attractions. When you do check out these five things we loved about the Cleveland Metroparks zoo.

The Interaction

One of the best parts of this zoo is all the interactions toddlers through adults can utilize.

The zoo key program allows visitors to receive so much information. All you have to do is purchase them and go to the front of different exhibits to find out all about the animals. Mila will love this even more when she’s older.

Her favorite interaction was the animal statues. I think she sat on every single one she could. It was a way for her to get an up close view of the actual animals she just seen. She was very observant and pointed out all of their features. Every parent was respectful of this and wiped down the statues afterwards. I really do think these interactions let Mila explore and understand more.

Hopefully by the next time we visit this zoo, all the playground and other explorative areas will be open. All of these areas are my favorite part of the zoo, but unfortunately they’re closed. The play area in the Australia section is huge and I’m sure Mila would have loved it.

There’s also opportunities to feed different animals and other interactive parts that we didn’t get to do because I thought Mila was a little too young.

The Animals

I’m unsure if it was the time of the year or the animals were just in a really good mood, but they were all out to impress.

Every attraction we went to we could see the animals. Usually in the summer they’re trying to cool off. Since it was a chilly April day, they all wanted to walk around and play. It was amazing to see some of the animals we normally don’t get to see.

Two of my favorites were the big cats and the red pandas.

There are a few different species of big cats, but I was obsessed with the tiger and snow leopard. The tiger was just walking around and kept going right in front of us. He was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that close up and moving around. The snow leopard, on the other hand, just made me laugh. He was sleepy and hanging out on a little perch just watching. I came to the conclusion that’s how I would be if I was a big cat too.

Then, the red pandas were out to play. It was like they were playing tag. It was adorable and I think we spent way too much time just watching and giggling at them. Again, this isn’t an animal we get to see often, so it was a different experience.

Mila loved the tundra exhibit, especially the wolves. She also enjoyed seeing the African animals, such as the elephants, giraffes, and the lions. They’re all animals she’s very familiar with and she was amazed that she could actually see them in person. The only animals that scared her were the kangaroos. She said they looked like big rats!

The Flamingos

No matter how much we loved all the other animals, the flamingos hold a special place in Mila’s heart. They were the last animals we saw and she asked about them the entire time.

Before we left, we stood for at least twenty minutes just watching them.

We talked about why they were pink and how their ‘knees’ are actually their ankles. She asked why they were squawking at each other too. Mostly, she kept saying she wanted to bet them and let them know they were being ‘good boys.’

Of course we didn’t let her in the enclosure, but she did get her flamingo fix in for the day!

The Carrousel

As mentioned before, there was a little rain that happened. Thankfully, we were right by the carrousel.

Mila has been on one before, but not since she’s been able to remember. While we were in line, she was determined to ride the shark, but a little boy got to it first. After much deliberation, she finally chose the donkey to ride.

She really had a blast. We were able to escape the sprinkle and enjoy a fun ride. It was also great seeing her be independent and wanting to ride by herself.

After the ride was over, she wanted to go back on again and again. It actually lasted for quite awhile which was nice! The carrousel only costed three dollars per adult, which was definitely worth the cost!

The Dippin’ Dots

I mean, this is totally self explanatory.

Believe me, I know Dippin’ Dots are available at most zoos throughout the country. Yet, they’re just extra special when you’re there.

We absolutely loved this visit to the zoo and will definitely be headed back in the near future. Next time we go, we want to make sure to visit “The Rainforest” and the primate area since we missed them this visit.

It truly was a great way to celebrate Jensen’s day!

A big thank you to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for having a great place for families to go and learn about animals we normally would never see. It’s always nice to see animals happy and well taken care of! All the zoo employees that we encountered were nice and helpful too!

Have you ever been to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo? Or where is your favorite zoo that Mila and I can visit in the future? Ohio and beyond!

Toddler Friendly Summer Bucket List – Paint Outside

Art is an experience, not an object.

-Robert Motherwell

Mila’s first painting was for Christmas. I wanted to do a craft with her, but she was too young to do something intense. So, I bought some red, green, and silver paint and a canvas and she went at it. In my perspective, it was so beautiful and festive. It made me smile and I had it hanging for way too long after Christmas. Since then, she’s done three others. They’re all different and each time she learns a new way to create.

I know I sound like I have a painting prodigy, I just love watching her create.

Yesterday felt like the perfect day to check something off of our bucket list. It wasn’t too hot like this weekend is supposed to be, but nice enough to be outside. I had picked up new summer, ‘mermaid’ paint for this project a few weeks before, so I just went with the flow.

Mila absolutely loves being outside and she’s only painted while sitting in her high chair. I was excited to see how’d she do and I was not disappointed.

For Mila, at her age, I put dots of color randomly on the canvas and gave her different sized brushes to start. She instantly went to each dot and started going. It was like she couldn’t take them not being drawn out and circled the canvas in a precise manner. Then I put different paints on her brush so she could see that’s where paint can come too. After getting rid of all that paint, she experimented with her hands… then the rest of her body. At one point I swear there was more paint on her body than the canvas. It’s a good thing we were outside. Then she figured out she could splat paint from the bottle. She shook and shook it to make an even bigger mess.

At the end, Mila created another beautiful painting and it wasn’t a huge clean up. She decided to run after the cat while I gathered everything up. When I went to take pictures of her and her artwork, she wasn’t the happiest with me. I’m guessing she was over getting her picture taken, but she has years left of me telling her to say cheese.

This has been one of my favorite bucket list items to do. We always have fun painting, but there’s just something about summertime and being outside.

I don’t know if she’ll grow up to like art or to keep doing this, so I’m making sure I keep all of these canvases. Making these memories are my favorite thing in the world. You bet that this new piece is hanging on my wall. It’s the first thing anyone who walks in my door sees. I hope one day she’ll be proud to see whatever she likes to do hung up and displayed. Hopefully she always knows how proud I am of her and how loved she is.

If you do decide to do this with your toddler, I’m just warning you, it took a while to get all the paint off. I had her play in the water and scrubbed the paint off her legs. A few hours later I found spots I missed, but we just made it apart of the fun. Don’t let the mess deter you. It’s well worth it.

And now on to the next adventure.

Toddler Friendly Summer Bucket List – Go On A Hike

This week is going to be full of crossing bucket list items off and today was no different. Although the Coshocton Three Rivers Bikeway might technically not be a hike, it is with a one year old. Good thing we had the best company in tow.

Located just outside of Roscoe Village in Coshocton, Ohio, the Three Rivers Bikeway is an easy walking, biking, and pushing a stroller path. It’s paved so it’s smooth sailing and wide enough to get around people too. Although we went on seemingly the hottest day of the year (not complaining), the water and trees provided us a nice breeze and shade. I didn’t keep a step count, but the trails around two miles long.

There were lots of benches and spots to picnic along the way. Locks that were once used for canals provide even more shade and exploration. I can definitely see lots of places to take pictures, maybe Mila and I will be back in the fall to do so.

The path circles a pretty big pond, which was beautiful. If you’re into fishing, there were spots to fish. We didn’t have our bathing suits, but the aquatics park was there. I was a little jealous of everyone swimming and even Mila was pointing to it. If you go and have extra time, I’d suggest going there or even taking a canal boat ride.

Although we just walked the pathway, it was really nice and gives kids a lot to look at. Mila was pointing to all the animals, trees and water areas. As I said, it was super hot or we would have probably explored more. One thing I wish I would have done was brought better bug spray. Mila didn’t get bit, but the mosquitoes attacked me. I’ll be itchy, but at least they didn’t get her. BUT I’d definitely recommend taking big spray and lots of water!

Afterwards, we went into Roscoe Village toneat at Warehouse Stein n Stein & Lock 27 Pub. My best friend went with us and it was his birthday too (happy birthday again to you!). If you go, definitely get the bacon and mac n cheese burger. It did not disappoint! The restaurant was kid friendly, even when Mila was grumpy and ready to leave.

We were there for a few hours, but could have easily spent all day here. I can imagine I’d be a great day trip when she’s older and can really experience all of what Roscoe Village has to offer.

I am DEFINITELY checking this off as a hike, but imagine we’ll go on more this summer. It’s another day to remember and so many memories were made.

Mila and I are both looking forward to this holiday weekend and will have another adventure to tell you about. We hope it’s a safe and fun one for you too.

If you have any other places (hikes, museums, or adventures in general) you’d think Mila and I would like, let me know in the comments!