Wednesday, October 07, 2015

It's a Date

With my mom here, Jeff and I had an opportunity to sneak away this afternoon for a bona fide date. We observed while we were out that, though we have been together almost every moment since we've been traveling, we have very rarely had opportunities to be alone together. And, those two things are completely different, as anyone with kids can tell you. We needed a date in the worst way and are so thankful that Nana donated her babysitting services so we could spend some quality time together. (Although, truth be told, I'm not sure who was more excited, since those who stayed at home planned and participated in quite a party in our absence!)

We spent the afternoon in the charming town of Aviemore, wandering through numerous sporting goods stores and taking in the scenery. We also enjoyed an entertaining tour and tasting at the local brewery. Eventually, we made our way to a quaint little inn for a fabulous dinner. It was such a lovely afternoon and evening!

Cairngorm Brewery

A peek into one of the fermentation tanks

Taking the scenic route through town

It was fun to see the steam engine zip by, as we walked through town.

Dinner at The Old Bridge Inn

The cheese board

The "Pina Colada" was such a fantastic dessert!

The Old Bridge Inn

Meanwhile, back at the house...

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Go, See, Do


...But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

When we decided to travel around the world, I knew I wanted the kids to keep a daily (or near-daily) journal of our adventure, because I wanted them to be able to go back at some point in the future and remember how they felt and what was special to them and how the world looked through their eyes. And, I wanted it to be their own words that greeted them on the page. My two oldest kids were quite capable of pulling this off on their own, without any assistance. I knew my third would need some guidance but would be able to write short sentences about our travels. But, I wondered what to do about my four-year-old, who was very verbal but not yet writing on his own. Necessity is always the mother of invention, so I came up with a template to help him get his own words out on paper. Someone else does the writing, but the words are all his. This has been very successful on our travels, and I had an idea that others might find a templated travel journal useful as well. So, I published it. And, now it is available to the whole world on Amazon, Amazon UK and Create Space. It has long been a dream of mine to have a published book. I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it!

And, to celebrate, I'd like to give one copy away. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me your favorite travel memory. Facebook comments won't count for this giveaway, though I will still enjoy reading them, if that's the direction you prefer to go. I will randomly select a winner on Oct. 12, which is Columbus Day and seems like a good time to celebrate adventure.

If you or someone you know travels with kids, perhaps you'd like to check it out. I believe it's perfect for kids who are verbal but not yet writing, as each prompt can be asked as a question. But, it's also great for reluctant writers and those who fear the blank page. It works well for both long and short trips, and I think it would make an excellent gift. If you win the drawing or decide to purchase a copy, and if you enjoy the journal, I would be grateful if you would leave a review to help the journal rank well in Amazon searches. You may also feel free to share this post with others you think might be interested. I look forward to reading your special travel memories and giving away a copy of my book!

Go, See, Do: A Travel Journal For Kids

The back cover looks so legit!

A sneak peek

Don't forget to leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win a copy!

Monday, October 05, 2015

A Wee Bit of Whisky

We are definitely not Scotch drinkers, but one does not visit the Scottish Highlands without taking a little trip down the Whiskey Trail. So, that's how we spent our afternoon. It was interesting to visit a couple of distilleries, but it was also a gorgeous drive. We truly had a wonderful time!

The Tormore Distillery 

Just lovely!

The Glenlivet Distillery

The visitor center at The Glenlivet

Whisky bottle art

The Glenlivet cask room

Fill your own bottle

I loved this poster in the Glenlivet distillery

The Whisky Cake was the highlight of the day for most of our group

Beautiful old warrior's cemetery we happened by

Whisky barrels are sort of the same as statues

A wee door at The Macallan Distillery

The Macallan's fall decor

The house featured on The Macallan label

Seeing the Highland Cattle was one of my goals for our visit to Scotland. Check.
(Thought of our sweet friends, the Dyers, and their small herd back in Texas)

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Inverness and Loch Ness

Because a real-time viewing of the Aggie game was our only option this week, we stayed up until 4:00 am to make it happen. It was worth it, but that is why I am barely able to type right now, so don't judge me by my typos. I need to tell you about our fun day, so I'll try to hang in there just a little longer.

So, of course, we all slept in (because 8:00 am IS sleeping in when you have little kids who are desperately hungry--and loud-- the moment they wake up) and had a very slow morning. Eventually, we were all pretty much showing signs of life and were ready to take on the world...or at least a more northern part of Scotland. It was a gorgeous day, so we headed up to Inverness, where we enjoyed a lovely picnic at Whin Park, which sits right on the Ness River. The boys scarfed down their food as quick as a wink, so they could get down to business on the awesome playground. The girls decided to take a little walk along the river and down to Inverness Castle. It was lovely!

Later, we drove a little further down the road with the hopes of catching a glimpse of Nessie, the supposed inhabitant of Loch Ness. We did not find her, but we did get to see the ruins of Urquhart Castle. And, the lake (loch) itself was spectacular to behold!

Picnic at Whin Park

A very small portion of the things this amazing park had to offer

The River Ness

Two of my favorite ladies

So much beauty!

Inverness Castle

Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness

The rest of the ruins and another view of the loch

A fantastic day with fantastic people

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Fun in Newtonmore

We had a lazy morning, and then some of us went for a nice little walk down to the lake to feed the ducks. After lunch and naps, we were introduced to a new-to-us sport called shinty. It's kind of like a violent version of field hockey. We only watched until half-time, but it was certainly interesting. Weston said he might like it even better than rugby. Then, we had more laziness, making it a great day.

Feeding the ducks

This boy was so excited to feed the ducks!

Reading with Nana

Shinty Match

Only the stick was the victim this time

The Wildcat Walk
(There are decorated wildcat statues hidden all over town.
The kids have been having fun finding them.)

Friday, October 02, 2015

Nana's Here!!!

We got up early this morning, so we could get to the airport to pick up my mom, who will be staying with us for the next three weeks. We have all been looking forward to her visit for months, so the party is in full swing. We were also changing locations and are now in a very large and wonderful house in Newtonmore, Scotland, which sits within the boundaries of the beautiful Cairngorms National Park.

Nana's here!!!

Our lovely Newtonmore home

Familiarizing ourselves with some local cuisines

So much happiness!

Nana brought special treats

Exploring Newtonmore with Nana,
while everyone else was buying groceries

Hiking around Lake Imrich

Preparing for the future of being a cowboy in
a rocketship with a bow and arrow