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Archive for February, 2015

This is the time of year in Maine when we could all use a good dose of green. Thankfully, the first day of spring is just around the corner. We can’t wait to walk woodland trails, smell that welcome mix of evergreen and earth, and relish in temperatures above 40º.

In the spirit of feeling hopeful, we’re sharing pictures of one of our favorite new hiking spots—Rines Forest in Cumberland. We visited on a spring afternoon and had so much fun playing in the streams, throwing stones, and muddying our boots.

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If you read this blog, you know that Ice Castles NH is on our winter wish list of places to go. The Lincoln, New Hampshire venue, which is made up 20,000,000 pounds of ice to explore, was originally created by a Utah-based father named Brent Christensen for his children. The castles that Brent built in his backyard eventually grew to a winter venue, featuring Ice Castles locations in New Hampshire, Vermont, Utah and Minnesota. The castles themselves are something to behold during the day, but it’s at night when they really come alive with lights and music. There’s something magical about exploring caves, frozen waterfalls, caverns and tunnels in the cool evening glow.

Ice Castles is just a two-hour drive from our home in Maine, but we decided to make it a stop during a longer road trip. After visiting friends in Massachusetts, we stayed at a hotel in Tilton with a swimming pool for the kids and drove to Ice Castles at dusk. MP heard that it was best to buy tickets ahead of time to beat the lines, and she was so glad she did (visiting on a weekday didn’t hurt either). The temperature was about 20º outside, so we also made sure to bring plenty of warm layers. 

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Our view from the parking area.

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The short line for pre-paid ticket holders.

The short line for pre-paid ticket holders.

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During these long winter days, keeping our kids active and engaged can be a challenge. That’s why we were thrilled when we heard that Get Air, an indoor trampoline park for kids and adults, was opening in Portland. The park is situated inside a 25,000 square foot warehouse on industrial Riverside Street. Based on advice from friends who told us there were lines out the door on weekends, we chose to visit on a Wednesday afternoon. To save time, MP also filled out an online waiver for the family (the signed waiver is good for one year, so you only need to fill it out on the first visit).

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How did Valentine’s Day sneak up on us so fast? Our family loves to make homemade gifts and cards for friends and loved ones. Here are a few favorites:

1. A healthier version of Peppermint Patties that is so easy to make.

2. Make your own decorative stamps for cards with this simple egg carton craft.

3. A DIY Book of Love is such a sweet keepsake.

4. Kids can make their own crayons for classmates (try a heart-shaped silicon mold).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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In the past two weeks, winter has made itself known. We can’t remember a February with multiple snow days in a row! Thankfully our Maine towns keep us from going stir crazy by throwing some of the best winter festivals. This year, we are looking forward to the Maine Audubon Winter Carnival. MP’s friend and co-worker, Melissa Kim, will be celebrating her new board book, “A Snowy Owl Story,” with a reading, interactive owl display, and book signing. The book is a part of a new Islandport Press/Audubon series called “Wildlife on the Move,” which tell the true tales of wildlife in New England and the roles people play in their lives.

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