There was a Groupon recently for half off admission to The Pumpkin Ranch in Winterset. So for $9 buckaroos Todd and I got to enjoy romping around Mitt Romney's face, thanks to the presidentially-themed maze cutout. (The Obama side was just a straight line to the exit with a bunch of free stuff along the way. Hee hee just kidding.) Anyway, it is a great place to take your kids and spend a beautiful fall afternoon trekking through a corn maze, then riding a tractor-pulled wagon to a pumpkin patch to select the gourd of your dreams!
Man of my dreams holding gourd of my dreams... What more could a girl want!
There was a little playground area with swings and an inflated jumping house thing for the kids, and a little food truck with awesome pulled pork sandwiches and other delicious food items. Inside the barn where you pay there was also some yummy cider and popcorn. It was a fun day, definitely worth the money and the drive (~45 min. from West Des Moines/Waukee) So get excited for next year! Here is a link to their website.
Ok no one better raise their hands because that would be a crime. I would have to report you. :) So the wonderful Ashley Webb that was the blog boss here, before the baton was passed to me, sent me a great list of restaurants in the Des Moines area that get the stamp of approval. I have been to several of them, and I agree! If anyone has any to add leave a comment!
I give you.......the list:
Pizza: Gusto’s Pizza Red Rosa
New York Pizza Cafe
Italian: Centro Lucca- modern Italian, a fixed price every night
Tumea and Sons
French: La Mie Bakery- amazing breakfasts Django
German: Alba: East Village, Exit 8B, fun atmosphere
Thai: Cool Basil Thai Flavors
Mexican: Tasty Tacos Dos Rios
Sushi: Miayabi 9
Other: Machine Shed-especially breakfast! Biggest cinnamon rolls you have EVER seen. I mean it! Granite City Flying Mango Jethro’s- BBQ Woody’s- BBQ Donut King Americana
Alrighty, as promised here is a post! It only took me about 2 months to write one, not bad! :) Todd and I were out running errands one day and passed by the Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines and decided to stop in and walk around. It is a quiet mall, but nice and we enjoyed walking around it. There is quite a range of stores there, from Old Navy, a store to buy scrubs in every color imaginable, to this place....
The Red Rock Wildlife Education Center! We were just walking past and all of a sudden we saw live animals in there! I've heard of snakes on a plane, but snakes in a mall?? It's true my friends! So we had to investigate further. We went through a row of plastic flaps that reminded me of walking around the Stouffer's warehouse with my mom when I was little.... Anyway there were cages all around the room with different kinds of wolves, coyotes, a cougar!, and we didn't see it that day but they have a bear! It's not a huge location but it's perfect to take your wee ones there for a mini field trip to see some great animals! They have live shows every couple of hours, you can go here for more information and contact info. It's "free" to go but they suggest a $1 donation per person, so it's easy on the wallet and the money goes toward funding the center so it's for a good cause. It's great for kids, even the younger ones, to get up close and personal with some of our animal friends! It was a fun little surprise and we were glad we stumbled upon it.
Summer is a great and crazy and sad time all at once.... Great because schools are out and for some that have spouses in school remember what it's like to have a husband again! It's full of bbq's, swimming, day trips, and many other adventures. Crazy because living in the situation many of us here do, people leave for weeks at a time to visit family in other states leaving our number far and few between. And sad because since school did end another group of beloved friends graduates, spreads their wings and sails off into the next exciting phase of their lives and we are forced to say good-bye for a while. One of those that has flown the coop is one of the main brains of this blog, Ashley Webb. Ashley, those of us here mourn your leaving and you will be so missed! But we wish you the best of luck with your new adventure with your sweet family.
So Ashley has passed the baton on to me, and I will try my darndest to maintain her wit, creativity, and all-over greatness as I assume the throne of thig blog-dom. My husband and I just finished his first year here, and we are having our first baby next month, so you may get a different perspective from me not having kids and taking them out and about. But I promise to do my homework and find out from other moms what great kid-friendly activities are in the great Des Moines area.
So for today I wanted to just give a little update to let you all know the blog is alive and well, and that the show will go on! It is hard to have good friends leave and to have one chapter close, but another one opens and new friends come into our lives and just expand our circle of people we love!
The Kansas City Temple Open House is going on now until this Saturday. Mapquest claims that it's a 2hr. and 50 min. drive from West Des Moines to Kansas City, but we usually find that Mapquest is a little on the conservative side.
I know several people who have gone to this, and they all had the BEST things to say about it. It's a wonderful opportunity to show your kids the temple while they are young, since they won't get many chances like this.
You do have to make a reservation (although, I doubt they would turn you away at the doors).
-Do NOT, under any circumstances, park out of the city and take a bus in. DON'T DO IT!!
-It's fun, but don't have your hopes too high.
-Bring your camera.
-Eat at the bakery.
-The parade may be 2 hours later than it's scheduled for.
-Pack a lunch unless you like paying $8 for a sandwich.
-Do it at least once while you live in Iowa.
#2: Garage Sale
We're having a garage sale on Sat. May 5th at 8:00am at the Maple Grove Townhomes out on the street (Westown Pkwy.) If you want in, let me know.
#3: Monkey Joe's
I think everyone is aware that we have Monkey Joe's and that Monkey Joe's is awesome. You may not know, however, that Money Joe's is only $5 after 5:00 Monday thru Thursday.
Um, yes please.
#4: Family Night at the Valley West Mall
This Tuesday, the 24th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm you can enjoy inflatable rides, do a free craft, get free balloons, temporary tattoos, join the coloring contest for FREE prizes, and meet some special friends from the Blank Park Zoo at the Valley West Mall.
For best results, get there early to avoid the crowds.
#5: Spring Cleaning
If you are new to the WDM area, you will probably think this is crazy.
And you'd be right.
Every summer, they have Spring Cleaning.
It's basically a city-wide garage-sale-free-for-all. People put their
junk out on their lawns and other people (you) drive around and pick it
up (for FREE!). This sounds disturbing, but one year we got: a darling
sand box, a playset, a BBQ that we still use, a huge canvas that I redid
and is currently hanging in my bedroom, and other stuff.
It's awesome. Just trust me.
#6: Farmer's Markets
The Downton Farmer's Market starts May 5th! (Info. is here.)
The Valley Junction Farmer's Market starts May 3rd! (Info. is here.)
The West Glen Farmer's Market starts May 21st!
#7: Cinco De Mayo Festival at Valley Junction
May 5th from noon to 10pm in Valley Junction there will be Mexican food, artwork, live music, dancing, and family activities.
And that is why this blog has been neglected for 4 months.
But the good news is that I've found some fun new stuff, so here goes...
#1: The Orange Leaf
Stop what you're doing right now and go here. Now. Seriously; GO!
It is delicious times a million.
All the frozen yogurt is self-serve, so you can get as little or as MUCH as you want. And, they have tons of toppings, and they give you cool little spoons that look like miniature snow shovels. What more could you ask for? It's a teeny bit pricey (but we're med school wives - what isn't!?!).
#2: Sky Zone
Need a fun date night idea? Look no further. In February, Sky Zone is coming to Grimes.
Sky Zone looks like this:
Wall to wall to wall to wall to ceiling trampolines. Fun? I think yes.
They have a foam pit and dodgeball games and I'm already peeing my pants with excitement.
Here's what I can gather (which may be so completely incorrect, it's laughable...):
-Show up at your precinct at 7 pm. (*Yay - I just found this link. Go HERE to find out where you should go.)
-They'll say the pledge. Some people will talk.
-You'll get a piece of paper. You write down who you want to be President. (In your own handwriting - like it's 1826.)
#4: Do you like this guy?
Well, if you want to see his rugged good looks in person, you can!
He'll be in Clive tomorrow (Monday, Jan. 2nd) at Competitive Edge at 8:30pm.
(You should know that it is my goal in life to get a picture with this man and if I see you there, I will not hesitate to push you out of the way if you interfere with my plan. You've been warned.)
#5: Do you like food?
That was a trick question. If you answered "no," then you need to leave.
Well, The Machine Shed Restaurant has FREE kids cooking classes the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30-6:30.
(If you don't have a kid, I'll rent you one of mine.)
Oh, and while you're there, buy yourself a cinnamon roll. You can thank me later.
#6: Bang Bang.
This semi-new restaurant on Jordan Creek (by Wal-Mart) has intrigued me for months.
And here's the skinny:
The concept is nice - you pick your own meat, veggies, sauces, spices, extras - and they cook it right in front of you. And it was pretty good. It's $14 for an all-you-can-eat dinner.
But here's my dilemna:
If I pay $14 for dinner, I want to eat a lot. And if I eat a lot, I feel sick. And if I feel sick, I'm not happy. And if I'm not happy, I won't go back.
BUT... if I pay $14 for dinner and I don't eat a lot, then I'm bitter that I wasted money and I won't go back.
And that's my story.
Do with it what you will.
#7: Backyard Adventures
For cabin fever (which we all know WILL inevitably come very soon), you could take your kids to Backyard Adventures.
It has tons of playsets and swings and well... that's about it.
But it's fun if you're really, REALLY bored.
It's $5 per kid, and you can get all the info. here.