I recently updated this post with a link to a comprehensive review of several meal delivery service options. Check it out!
I can’t help it: I like a deal!
I received a credit to try out two meals from Hello Fresh, and so of course I tried it.
We selected a family portion and tried Sweet & Sour Shrimp and a Penne Bake.
Pretty packaging & pictures, right? Did the meals taste as good as the pictures make them look?
The service IS nice. The box was delivered late afternoon, so I had plenty of time to get it inside and start my meal prep. All in all, there is A LOT of cardboard, frozen ice and packing inserts, so I couldn’t help but feel it would be wasteful to do this EVERY week.
Okay, so the meals – I made the shrimp dish first, per the instructions. The ingredients were very fresh. My kids insisted on snacking on the snow peas before I could cook them up! That was fine…
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Did you see this?
Seven days & seven black & white pics of my life. No people, no explanations.
I did and had fun posting pictures for seven days. Here are a few favorites:
I had to share these gorgeous pictures of China Lights, something my family has really enjoyed the past two years. Here is my post from last year (if you want more pictures)!
Similar to last year, we arrived before sunset with our tickets in hand. We managed to catch the lights display on the very last day. My first pictures are at twilight, when the sky is a lighter blue.
The displays had changed from 2016, and it was still a great variety, though the dinosaurs replacing the beautiful pagoda was a little under-whelming. This was my shote of the pagoda from last year:
One of our favorites this year was the panda scene.
We also liked walking through the tunnels of the Chinese Zodiac signs.
More beautiful lights: flowers, the regal entry gate, dragon and tunnels.
We liked these little owls too. The colors and detail are so pretty!
Though it’s difficult to choose, my favorite animal was the dragon. It’s one of the largest displays in the entire exhibit, and I love the moon in the picture.
China Lights is becoming a wonderful family tradition! We hope to enjoy more light displays together through the years. Cheers!
Hey there! My Fly on the Wall friends just posted yesterday, but I wasn’t organized to sign-up in advance to participate. After reading the group’s posts, I thought I would join in with my own post. Better late than never, right?
For more Fly on the Wall, hop on over to this writing challenge founder’s blog: Baking in a Tornado.
South Dakota Vacation
We ventured to South Dakota during summer, and had an awesome time! It was a great family destination for our 5 and 7 year old kids. Before we went, my 5 year old son asked, “Do they speak English in South Dakota?”
On our drive from Sioux Falls to Desmet, our kids decided to make a honking sound whenever they saw an animal. This continued throughout the entire week. Sigh. Fortunately, there are open fields for long stretches where you don’t see much at all, like this:
The drive up to Desmet from Sioux Falls though beautiful, went through a quite rural part of the state. The population density is quite low in much of South Dakota, so I told Daddy O., “If we ever want to live off the grid, we can move out here!”
When driving past the many farms and lush green fields, my son observed, “I bet that farmer has 5 green thumbs.”
We could almost picture what it must have been like for the first settlers in the 1800’s who arrived here. The Ingalls Visitor Center consists of the Ingalls homestead, a sod house, shanty, church, barn and one-room classroom. We even rode on a covered wagon and learned about what life was like for the Ingalls family. We were struck by the extreme quiet of the land: no sounds of planes or cars zooming by on nearby roads, simply the sounds of the wind rushing through the prairie grasses. Beautiful.
We were excited to see bison, but just saw a lot of cattle, especially on the eastern part of the state. My daughter explained, “The cows are all black, and the bison are chocolate colored.” Can you tell we like desserts?
We drove the wildlife loop road at Custer State Park, and having been in the car for at least an hour, our kids asked, “Can we watch a show (on our portable DVD player)?”
“No!” I said, “Nature is your show. Look out your window!” So many amazing views:
The Black Hills
When we arrived in Rapid City, I said, “Look, kids, the Black Hills. Aren’t they pretty?”
My son’s response, “They look gray.”
In Rapid City, we enjoyed an awesome meal and beverages at Firehouse Brewery. We sat in a covered outdoor area (fortunately) and watched a major rain and hail storm come down. The food and beer were delicious – a welcome change from the fast food we had on the trip out to Rapid City. The company was nice too with everyone getting along, and I remarked to Daddy O., “This feels like a date night, except we have our kids along.” He replied, “It’s like our marriage is one long date-night.” Awh….
Hitting the Road
I have memories of my own family vacations as a kid, and we would wake up EARLY, maybe around 5am to get a jump on a day of long driving. I have not been able to replicate this timing for my family much to my dismay.
One morning after sleeping in, my daughter said, “Waking up early for me was unsuccessful.”
This happened on most days, and I just had to go with it. Oh well…
Best for Last
I was talking about the errands I ran during the week, talking about the things I picked up at a grocery store in a quick stop.
My son chimed in and said, “Wow, Mom, you work hard.”
“Yes, dear, why yes I do! Thank you!” He got a big hug for saying that!
Hope you all are hearing sweet things like that in your home too!
Have a great day all! Thanks for stopping by.
Now check out more Fly on the Wall posts, starting with Baking in a Tornado.