Family Time at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Family Travel, Food, Travel

Family Time at Eckert’s Farm in Belleville

I come from a small family, and we don’t get an opportunity to see one another as much as we’d like. Add to that my 21 year old son now lives in Los Angeles, it is always a joyous occasion when he comes to visit. We wanted to do something extra special to celebrate him coming home for a week and also get my grandmother out of the house and away from St. Louis for awhile. My Aunt organized a family caravan to Eckert’s Farm in Belleville, Illinois, about a forty five minute drive from the city, and we all met up there to eat lunch at their delicious family style restaurant. We also did a little shopping in their store for some fresh fruit, produce, and goodies. I’ve written about Eckert’s Farm before on TheCubicleChick.com. My daughter and I go almost every Fall on a day trip to pick pumpkins and apples and eat in the restaurant. I love having a place that is nearby where we can bond as a family and get fresh fruit and veggies to cook with, and it is an awesome place to visit around the holiday season. And as many times as me and my daughter have went to Eckert’s to spend our day, this is the first time that we have visited Eckert’s together as a family—and I have a feeling it won’t be the last. Eckert’s Farm in Belleville is comprised of a store, a restaurant, a custard shop, and also gives you the opportunity to pick your own fruit. Depending on the season, you can go out on the farm and pick your own berries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, and more. While we didn’t do any picking this go ’round, we did enjoy a great meal and raided the Eckert’s Country Store. Here’s a few photos from our visit: Inside Eckert’s Country Store Eckert’s Belleville Country Restaurant For more information on Eckert’s in Belleville, visit their website. I am so thankful for my family and I cherish these moments. They are the best! And I see more visits to Eckert’s Belleville in the future. What are your family travel plans this...

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Summer Fun: Take the Family to Magic Waters Waterpark

Posted by on Jun 30, 2015 in Family Travel

Summer Fun: Take the Family to Magic Waters Waterpark

Summer is finally in full swing, with temperatures rising why not take the family to the waterpark! One of the best things about summer is enjoying the day by the pool and one of my favorite waterparks is Magic Waters near Rockford, IL. I remember every summer as a kid begging my grandmother to take me and now that I have the boychild he begs me to take him. What I love most about Magic Waters is that there is something for everyone to do, whether you have big kids or small you won’t be disappointed. It’s truly a great way to spend the day with the family. Find your fun at Magic Waters Waterpark near Rockford, IL. Magic Waters features 10 attractions such as the Typhoon Terror, The Double Dare Drop Speed Slide or Tsunami Bay-Illinois’ largest wave pool! Experience the thrill of Splash Blaster Water Coaster Ride or just relax on the Splash Magic River! Don’t miss Tiki Island-a water paradise for kids! There’s fun for the entire family! Another thing I love about Magic Waters is how clean the park is, there is nothing worse than a unsanitary waterpark. If you are looking for a deal, take the family on Wednesday when tickets are only $12… I swear, you can’t beat that deal! So if you are in the Midwest and you are looking for something to do, I highly suggest checking out Magic...

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Explore Ocala/Marion County Florida for An Authentic Florida Family Vacation

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in Family Travel, Travel

Explore Ocala/Marion County Florida for An Authentic Florida Family Vacation

We received the following press release to share with readers: OCALA, FLORIDA (June  2015) – Summer vacations are one of the most treasured and highly anticipated times of the year. It’s a season when life-long memories are made, and for many families a summer road trip is an unforgettable and forever cherished experience. Families, couples or friends looking for an exciting and distinctive stop on their summer adventure can explore countless attractions, both on land and water, throughout Ocala/Marion County, one of Florida’s original travel destinations. See breathtaking sights including sun-drenched hiking trails through lush forests, crystal clear fresh water springs, lakes and rivers and limestone canyons. Those looking for an adventure through the woods can lace up their sneakers and hike through the Ocala National Forest. Located roughly 40 minutes from historic downtown Ocala, the national forest offers dozens of different hiking trails ranging from half-mile boardwalks to nearly 100 miles of backpacking trails for the experienced naturalist. In addition to hiking trails, there are 100 miles of designated equestrian paths and camping sites. Make sure to stick to the marked trails; this is, after all, the largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest in the world.  While in the area, you may want to look for the 45-foot Chapman Oak Tree, located just off State Road 19; it is the largest of its species in the U.S. and registered as an American Champion Tree. If making a splash is on your summer to-do list, plan to stop at Wild Waters at Silver Springs, a longtime family favorite that’s been newly renovated. This one-of-a-kind waterpark offers a cool time for the entire family, where you can relax by the wave pool or take a plunge down one of the high-speed waterslides. There are also several natural springs sprinkled throughout the Ocala National Forest, one of the most popular being Juniper Springs, located about 28 miles east of Ocala. The forest’s springs stay at 72 degrees year round, making them a fantastic spot to cool off from Florida’s summer heat. Another popular spring is The Salt Springs Recreation Area, also located in the Ocala National Forest. Its name originated from naturally occurring minerals carried to the surface from underground aquifers, providing a level of salinity not found in the other springs. The semi-tropical foliage of pines and palms at the campground is a winning combination for a summer outdoor experience, perfect for the entire family to enjoy. During the summer the Rainbow River, located in Dunnellon, is the ideal aquatic sanctuary for tubing.  A natural landmark, this family-friendly river shimmers with silver and turquoise hues and stays at a cool 72 to 74 degrees year-round, perfect to drift away for three to four hours of downstream relaxation. It is ideal for swimming, bird watching, scuba diving, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding as well.  KP Hole Park, known as ‘The Tuber Ride of Generations’ and the...

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My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip

Posted by on Mar 31, 2015 in Disney, Family Travel

My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip

Oh, why does Spring Break have to end? My daughter and I had so much fun during her Spring Break this year at Walt Disney World. This is the first time that we’ve been there during Spring, and it was also our first time staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. With so much to see and do, we weren’t able to complete everything on our Wish List, but we did attempt to and had so much fun while doing so. A trip to Walt Disney World is an experience one will always remember. Spending time with my favorite girl at one of the happiest places on earth is a gift that I don’t take for granted. Family travel is so important to me, as well as being able to make memories as a family unit while in a different place. I wanted to share with you My 5 Favorite Moments From Our Walt Disney World Spring Break Trip: Pop Century Resort in One Word: Amazing! One of the foremost Disney experts that I know (Amiyrah from 4 Hats and Frugal, who’s also a Disney Mom’s Panel member) recommended that The Chicklet and I stay at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, based on what she knew about us. And she was right on the money. Even before we were able to check in, we were in awe of all of the scenery and pop culture coolness at the resort. It’s fun and has something for every age. The resort features info, memorabilia, and other goodies from each decade starting with the 50’s going all the way to the 90’s. And the grounds are filled with fabulousness from each decade as well. We stayed in the 60’s area by the “psychedelic” pool, and there was so many “groovy” things to see. We also ventured to the 70’s area complete with an eight track cassette and a discoball. If you are looking for a Disney resort that is super fun for young and old, Pop Century Resort is it, yo! Witnessing a Marriage Proposal While trying to take a photo of The Chicklet in front of the Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse statue near Cinderella’s Castle, we unknowingly began to witness a man proposing to his girlfriend. At first, I was a little annoyed because while I was trying to take my photo, he just bumrushed us, but my anger turned to “aww” when I saw him kneel down and propose. My daughter was still wondering what was going on, so I had to clue her in in between my “say yes, girl, say yes” chants. It appears like the would-be bride was shocked and wasn’t able to give an answer right that minute. But soon the family crowded around her, and she told him yes, and I shed a few tears myself. Dinner at The Crystal Palace I was having trouble getting...

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5 Holiday Travel Tips You Must Use This Season

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 in Family Travel, Holidays, Travel

5 Holiday Travel Tips You Must Use This Season

This is the most wonderful time of the year. And one of the busiest in terms of family travel. And because of this, travelers have to take extra special care when flying, driving, or riding during the holidays. I’ve got a list of 5 Holiday Travel Tips You Must Use This Season. And believe me, they are going to come in handy: Holiday Travel Tip #5 | Ship Gifts and Items Beforehand Traveling with packages isn’t only expensive, but can be problematic, especially if your items don’t make it to your destination when you do. As a travel tip during the holidays, ship your gifts beforehand. It will save on time and money, and the likelihood that they will be there on time is increased. Services like UPS Ground are pretty reasonable, and will even pack and box up your things for you, taking out the stress of it all. Holiday Travel Tip #4 | Wear Layers When traveling during the holidays, you may experience different climates. Add to that getting through security, and it can be a hassle. Wearing layers and packing your coat can help speed up the travel process while making you comfortable. Wearing tights under jeans with a pair of boots is sensible for most fall and winter climates. Nix the coat and wear a sweater or top under a shrug or cardigan along with a scarf—all easy to remove (or keep on) while going through security. Holiday Travel Tip #3 | Pack Light Opt for clothing that can be rolled in your luggage, giving you more room to bring back items you may get while you are traveling. Body cons, tank tops, leggings, button downs, and tights can easily be rolled in suitcases, giving you maximum room. Holiday Travel Tip #2 | Keep Kids Busy There may be flight delays or lots of traffic while traveling. Make sure to bring a tablet or two for the kids and make sure it is charged before departing. Packing an extra extended battery also helps. If your tablet isn’t WIFI enabled, download movies and shows that your kid(s) enjoy before your trip so they can watch them anywhere without having a connection. Holiday Travel Tip #1 | Stay Informed Make sure that you have the app for your airline carrier installed on your device(s) to be able to keep up with flight delays and changes. You can also download traffic apps that can let you know about jams and alternate routes you can take to get to your destination. I hope you all have a great holiday travel season! You can also check out this post, Tips to Avoid Long Wait Times at the Airport for more hacks if you plan on air travel during the holidays....

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Check Out Eagle Ridge this Thanksgiving

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 in Family Travel

Check Out Eagle Ridge this Thanksgiving

Don’t want to cook? Looking for something to do this Thanksgiving Holiday? Why not spend Thanksgiving at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, IL.! My love for Eagle Ridge Resort started this past summer when the boychild and I headed to the resort to have a little family time before he headed back to school. I loved everything about the resort from our own private house to the scenery, it was probably one of the most peaceful and relaxing trips I’ve ever been on. I’ve been dying to go back since it has gotten cold so I could see what else Eagle Ridge has to offer. With the holidays now upon us, now is the perfect time for you and your family to visit Eagle Ridge Resort. Here’s a list of all the activities they have going on this Thanksgiving. There’s No Place Like Home “Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz and the 40th Anniversary of Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa this Thanksgiving! We all know, “There’s No Place Like Home,” but here at Eagle Ridge, we believe we can be your home away from home. Join us for our parade of endless culinary favorites and some that may spark new traditions.  Our home is ready, the tables are set, and the turkey is in the oven.  Be sure to reserve your spot on our parade route.” Thanksgiving Day Buffet Enjoy a delicious, plentiful Thanksgiving buffet in one of Eagle Ridge’s ballrooms that runs from 11 am – 5 pm. Savor traditional favorites like parmesan smashed potatoes with roasted garlic and clementine and salt crusted turkey breast with red eye gravy to more fanciful treats like slipper lobster with ruby grapefruit and avocado and fried bacon jam-wrapped with cotton candy. Thanksgiving Day Pilgrim Delivery Don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to leave the comfort of your rental home? No problem! Let Eagle Ridge do all of the work this year with the Thanksgiving Day Pilgrim Delivery! Just place your order ahead of time and our Eagle Ridge pilgrims will deliver your entire meal between 12 pm and 5 pm. For reservations please call (815) 776.5066 Monday through Friday or (815) 776.5050 Saturday and Sunday. Thanksgiving Week Events Friday, November 28th – Santa’s Arrival and Workshops 12 pm (noon) – 1 pm: Build A Bear* 3 pm – 6 pm: Santa arrives with his elves. Hot chocolate and sugar cookies served in the courtyard. 3 pm: Santa arrives at the Eagle Ridge Inn with Mrs. Claus and his elves 3:30 pm: Santa Reads the Night Before Christmas in the courtyard (Weather permitting, otherwise we will move inside to the Galena Lobby) 4 pm – 5 pm: Build A Bear* 4 pm: Santa walks the children to Santa’s workshop (Galena Rooms) 4 pm – 6 pm: Children’s Workshops with cookie decorating workshop*, holiday picture frame workshop*, holiday door handle decorating workshop*,...

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