Tag Archives: summer

Des Moines’ wilder (G-rated) side

We’re into a pretty set routine with the little dude, but have managed to take advantage of summer sun (and missed a few naps) to take some kid-friendly mini adventures lately. Here are a few ideas for enjoying fresh air with a little family:

Splashing at Des Moines’ West Coast, AKA Raccoon River Beach. Go! 

IMG_20140708_192810My niece turned four last week, and we had a picnic dinner and played in the water at Raccoon River beach and adjacent splash pad. There’s a great playground in the park, too. Anyone else feel slightly rebellious putting your suit and going to the beach on a school work night?

Paddle boating on Gray’s Lake. Go! 

We were going to meet friends to go bowling, but then it was gorgeous, so I convinced everyone to attempt paddle boating with toddlers in our laps. Ha.


Our kid-free friends played it safe and opted for the canoe. Emily and I totally sang a favorite girl scout camp song in their honor.

Adventure Days at Blank Park Zoo. Go! 

Joe and some guys had a softball game planned, so Emmett and I met up with a few friends at the zoo. The new African exhibit is pretty cool.


It was my first time taking E (my college friends gifted us a membership for his first birthday!) and Saturday also happened to be “Adventure Days,” so there was live music and a few more activities. I fell in love with the baby camel and want to go back for a date night at Zoo Brew soon.

 Jester Park Bison Watching, Natural Playscape and Trail Ride. Go! 

Joe gifted me a sweet little trail ride for Mother’s Day and since he had plans to golf up there this weekend, Emmett and I met him after his round. The lakeside trail was washed out, but it was still nice to be out in the woods, smelling the trees and the horses.


We swung through Jester Park to check out the bison viewing area, which is adjacent to the “Natural Playscape” geared toward young kids. There’s a big sand area, and water feature and some other simple activities. The bison didn’t get too close, but it definitely felt like a break from the city!


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Filed under Iowa adventures

I feel you, Thoreau

This Thoreau quote seems perfect for this week. I’m cleaning off my memory card and came across images from Labor Day weekend at the farm.


Here’s to remembering…


P.S. My post from last year on ways to warm up in Des Moines is getting quite a few clicks these days.

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Filed under I love Des Moines

Time for friends

These past few weeks have felt ever-so-busy, with TEDxDesMoines ramping up (July 15!) and summer school for the kids I work with. (I don’t even want to think about my own classes starting again on June 27.) I’ve had lots of meetings and scheduled events, but I’ve been making an attempt to squeeze in some friend visits when the opportunities arise. Sometimes getting together seems like a hard thing to do, but this week proved that making plans doesn’t require a lot of work, or a fancy dinner out. It can be a random, casual Tuesday evening. No fuss.

Last night we had a simple after-dinner double date in the backyard with Andrea and her husband, Adam. They came over at about 8:15 and we made s’mores, drank my homebrew (Well, Andrea had an Arnold Palmer, because she’s expecting a baby boy this fall!) and caught up. Andrea’s one of those people I think about quite often, but hardly ever see. She and I did creative writing workshops together in the women’s prison a few years ago, which was one of the most meaningful volunteer experiences of my life!

Photo stolen from Andrea’s sweet blog post. I couldn’t agree more about the joy of waking up still smelling like campfire mid-week. My aunt got us this fire pit when we moved in and it’s the best — especially when combined with the sweet retractable roaster sticks Santa put in our stockings this Christmas.


This is completely unrelated, but writing about Andrea, who is a writer for Lowes Creative Ideas, it reminded me!

Arin and I went garage-saling a few weeks ago and happened upon this plant sale where they were serving the cutest lemonade and cupcakes.

Oh, Windsor Heights. You’re almost too adorable for your own good.

I am obsessed with succulents right now, so this sweet planted door was the perfect way to sucker me into purchasing some plants!

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Filed under At home