Friday, June 15, 2012

A Tutorial That Could Save Your Relationship

I am certainly no expert. But I do know from my own personal experience- not speaking up about something under your skin could make or break your relationship. I'm talking mother/child, sibling, marriage, roommates, whatevs. 

I have been in a relationship with a non-replacer for I don't know.. 13 years now? What is a non-replacer you say? When the roll of toilet paper is done... they do not replace the roll. EVEN WHEN THERE IS A STASH IMMEDIATELY NEXT TO THE TOILET. Sorry... I just don't understand it. Do you not know how? Here...

I was able to do this... one handed while holding the camera. Sean... let's not get divorced because you are unable or unwilling to change the roll.

This video could save relationships. If it helps you or someone you know, love or hate- let me know. I will send you a bill for my Oscar-worthy dramatic performance.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Message From Conor

The kids and I are getting ready to head out for a day of Adventure- haircut redo's, Strawberry Picking, Lowe's and Sam's Club with all 3 kids... if I am not back by 5pm... call the National Guard- the children have likely staged a coo and taken over the mini-van. Conor wanted to leave you with this important service announcement before we leave.

Hope your day is amazing :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Carolinas Aviation Museum - Charlotte, NC

This past Tuesday it was raining cats and dogs. The kids and I were driving Sean to work and saw this place nearby so we checked it out!

Aircraft Outside of Carolinas Aviation Museum
The Carolinas Aviation Museum is located about 1/4 from the Charlotte Airport and literally next to the North Carolina National Guard Station. The entire museum is in an aircraft hanger which houses about 30 variations of airplanes, jets, helicopters and submarine chasers. Uh huh... submarine chasers. This place is pretty cool.

Since we rolled in promptly at 10am when they opened, we beat the bus load of vets, grandparents and aircraft enthusiasts. This place really caters to people who have a aircraft obsession or a military background- there were plenty of ooohhhs and ahhhhs from our boys.

Fighter Jet you can climb in
Pilot Conor
Pilot Bradan

The museum is currently showcasing Flight 1549 - Known as the Miracle on the Hudson. Remember in 2009 when the plane safely crashed in the Hudson River? The entire aircraft is on display including parts of the wreckage that had broken off, life rafts, life jackets- the whole ball of wax.

US Airways Flight 1549
Rear of US Airways Flight 1549
If you are wondering how they pull a full size sunken aircraft from a freezing river in January check this out. A time lapsed video of them pulling the plane. Pretty cool. If you would like a little historical recap on the events leading to and following the crash check this out. The boys were only somewhat interested- I mean this commercial airplane was competing for the attention of a 1, 5 and 7 year old- when there were military helicopters and flighter jets present. I thought it was very interesting. In June there will be a large FedEx aircraft on display that you can board and check out- sounds pretty cool.

For those with an interest in ever visiting the Carolinas Aviation Museum . Here are my tips, recommendations and reviews.

This is nice display- very small. We were in and out in about 1 hour! This is a historic display, nearly all of the aircrafts are to scale- not a lot of touching going on. However the boys were totally jazzed about sitting in the fighter jet. I feel like it was a little pricey. Luckily kids under 5 are free. There are discounted rates for military and retired military. They apparently also do birthday parties- so if your son or daughter is a plane nut, this might be the place for you.
  • Adults: $12
  • Children 6-16: $8
  • 5 and under: FREE
  • Parking: FREE 
  • Concessions: None
  • Gift Shop: A wide selection of models, toys, lego sets, tshirts, patches and lapel pins.
  • Staff: The museum is operated largely by volunteer docents. Most appeared to be retired military. All were very friendly and have an extensive knowledge about all of the planes, facts, dates, etc.
Favorite Parts:
Bradan: The $5 toy plane and dog tags he got from the gift shop
Conor: Sitting in the fighter jet
Kate: PLANES! (she just kept screaming it over and over and over)
Christie: Out of the rain and something new we had never seen before

It was a nice visit. You certainly could not make a day of it. But if you are headed near the airport it is worth stopping. If you are headed to the airport or if you are headed to the Farmers Market in Charlotte, this would be a nice addition to your day. I would give it 3.75 out of 5 stars if I had stars to give or had some type of universal rating scale. I would be willing to give it 4 stars, if the adult ticket wasn't so expensive.

There you have it.

Remember our Gnome Without a Name? Don't forget to leave your name suggestion in the comments box. I already have a favorite of the names listed... however I am totally open to more suggestions. Go for it.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Gnome Without A Name

So some of you know this guy already.

Our Nameless Gnome
For anyone who does not. He is the guardian of our vegetable garden and he needs a name!

Let's make a little contest out of it!

I am looking for name submissions for my "Name Our Gnome" contest. The person who's Gnome Name is selected will receive an amazing prize which is far more awesome than you can imagine. I mean- I think it's cool. I am not going to tell you what it is. Hints: Smaller than a bread box, lighter than a bowling ball and more awesome than the toys you get out of the quarter machines at the grocery store.

If you have already submitted your entry on my Facebook page- you're good. All of your entries are being considered.

Once a name has been selected- the winner will be contacted for your mailing address and I will post a photo of the prize here on my blog before I ship it. Come on. Play along. It will be fun.

Here are the rules. Which are few.

  • Unlimited number of submissions.
  • Keep it clean-ish.
  • Deadline for name submission will be June 21,2012 11:59pm eastern. Leave your entry in the comments section of this page.
  • Honorable mention and perhaps a 2nd prize will be awarded to the person with the coolest tall tale about where this gnome has lived his life prior to keeping our tomatoes and cucumbers safe. For example what is hobby's are, where he grew up, etc. Don't say just say Kirkland and sitting on a shelf- I know I bought the thing for $12.00 at Kirkland... just play along.
Here are the names that have already been submitted.

Tori R: Otis
Jason F: Bosephus
Lori F: Gnoah
Ryan H: Gnomeo
Jonathon H: Bruce
Jen H: Rome the Gnome
Mary H: Gweedo
CK: Dan
Scott M: Stewie
Summer G: Ferdinand
Toni B: Osgood
AJ: Penelope
Derrick S: Gnomer Simpson
Derrick S: Chuck Gnorris
Russ M: Gerome Gnome

If you like a name- comment on it's awesomeness!

There is nothing legally binding about this contest... I mean the whole thing is completely rigged. I can completely be bribed with free vacations, jewels, unicorns and other cool things just to select your entry as our Gnomes name. I mean it's something you could add to your resume and the prize is awesome... not awesome enough to get all the disclaimers out. But here is my disclaimer. This is just for fun- don't be crazy.

Be creative! Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

North Carolina Zoo - Asheboro, NC

On Sunday we visited the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC with the Wolfe Family. The trek took about 2 hours from Wesley Chapel. Luckily North Carolina offers up a scenic route just about anywhere you drive and SpongeBob babysat the kids in the backseat- pretty painless all around. When SpongeBob ended we broke out the big guns, Justin Beiber, Katy Perry and Taio Cruz. The "are we there yet" moments were minimal.

Entrance to North American Side of North Carolina Zoo
Our Family on the Entrance Bridge
The zoo is beautiful and very spread out. We were really impressed with how much space the animals had to roam and do whatever animals do. Even though things were spread out we were still able to see nearly every animal. Some of the exhibits (Bison and Elk) had stadium style standing areas so you could see as far back as the animals could roam.

All of the paths and walkways are completely covered by a canopy of trees and bamboo so we were able to stay cool and shaded from the sun.

Giraffe 1 started peeing,
Giraffe 2 leaned right in like it was a drinking fountain.
The kids loved it- gross.
Elephants - They were all copper colored from the dirt.
Nearly every exhibit had something that the kids could climb on or in. Which is good- more times than not- I am telling the kids to get down off the wall or the barrier bars or out of the tree or whatever else they aren't supposed to be climbing on. This still happened- just not as much.

Favorite parts:
Bradan: Otters
Conor: Watching the Otters Wrestle with Carrots
Kate: Flamingos or as Kate calls them Go Gos
Sean: It was so spread out- even though there were a lot of people there, it never felt crowded
Me: The shaded walkways

Bradan, Bayli and Conor climbing on the bronze Rhino
Conor and Bradan climbing the giant bee
Conor and Bradan checking out the Elephant Tracking Helicoptor
Happy Kate :)
We bought the extra passes and went to the Dinosaurs exhibit. We have seen this at the Brookfield Zoo when we lived in the suburbs of Chicago,IL. But this was actually quite a bit nicer- could have just been the weather and the cover of the trees- but it was really nice. There were several dinosaurs that spit water at you, move, roar, you could climb on some, dig for fossils and take home what you found! Kate hated this whole exhibit. She was petrified and had her face hiding in my shoulder the whole time :( Not a fan of dinosaurs yet.

Checking out T-Rex's Teeth
Riding T-Rex
Hiding in Eggs
Conor driving the Dinosaurs Jeep

My camera died before we made it to the play area- which was themed with Giant bugs, spider webs, vines and leaves. Really cute and the kids LOVED it!

They are currently building a new Kid's zone area and large Polar Bear exhibit. We'll have to check it out next time!

Big thanks to the Wolfe family, who smuggled our children in on their membership and made it possible for Sean and I to purchase discount tickets. :) Our friend Jessica visited the website before going and got some great tips on touring the park- which were totally worth it so I recommend checking it out!

Overall- victory was ours. The kids were wiped out and still smiling even after 6 hours of walking and hard play.

Kate Loved it
For those with an interest in ever visiting the North Carolina Zoo. Here are my tips, recommendations and reviews.

This is probably one of the nicest zoos we have ever been to! It was very family oriented, clean and had lots of animals on exhibit. Overall for a family of 5, even if we had to pay for the kids- seems reasonably priced if you purchase the membership and use it at least 2 times a year.
  • Adults: $12
  • Children: $8
  • Family Membership (2 Adults - 4 kids): $74 a year (this membership can be used at other partner zoos too!) 
  • Parking: FREE 
  • Concessions: Expect to be robbed blind. Pizza $4.75 a slice. Hot Dog $5. Dasani $3. They do sell whole pizza's for substantially cheaper- $20.99 (8 slices).I recommend packing fruit, snacks and water bottles. You can always refill them at the drinking fountain. You could bring juice flavor packets like Hawaiian Punch or Crystal Light. Way cheaper. 
  • Remember baby wipes, band-aids, hand sanitizer and sunblock. All of these are available at the gift shop- but you will pay out the nose.
  • Bring binoculars for the kids- even just the play ones. Get each kid a map. Limits the bickering over who has the map and them asking you every 10 seconds what is next.
Good trip- I would give it 4.5 stars if I had stars to give or had some type of universal rating scale. We'll totally go again.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy Saturday!

It's a beautiful day outside!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far!

Blooming Sunflower in our garden - Summer 2012

Here is a little something for you to shake it to. Turn it up. Dance.

Song by Kennedy, Found on

Friday, June 1, 2012

Here Come The Add Ons

Kate and I are camped out at the Dollar Store while the van is having an oil change and state emissions test at Firestone.

They just called and said "Mrs. McHaney just wanted to let you know everything looks great with your van. The only thing additional we would recommend is that you change your interior air filter. (not even coming up for air) Your air filter is very dirty and that is the air that you and your children are breathing. You want to change that don't you? It is only an additional $49.99"

The air filter probably had 3 specs of dirt... But sure change the damn filter. Here we are with the guilt again.

Ok... Maybe it was completely disgusting.

Interior Air Filter