“And the living is easy. Fish are jumping and the cotton is high…..”
Do you know that song from Porgy and Bess? My mom used to sing it to me when I was a little girl.
I feel like I am living that song right now, except I’m not growing cotton and my Daddy’s not rich.🤣
But, oh, I am looking forward to a sweet, sweet summer at home. Only taking about 3 trips this summer, but I plan to do a couple of posts about our summer life.
So far we have been enjoying the outdoors and the beautiful weather. The kids have been playing and helping in the garden some. I have been working in the garden a lot. We built a clay oven in the back yard out of mud, sand, and straw.
We had a homeade pizza night and cooked them in the outdoor oven, saying goodbye to Sam before she headed to Missouri to work at a camp.
We also loaded up our giant van with all the neighbors we could fit and went to my friend, Judy’s homestead and watched the Blue Ghost fireflies do their dance in the dark woods. So cool.
I don’t any pictures, because, well, it’s pitch dark and you can’t take pictures. 😊 But they are amazing!
Here are a few pictures of our clay oven build and our homeade pizza baking.
We used red clay from the back yard and play sand to make the oven slab.
It was a messy job, but the kids had a blast playing in the mud.
We used clay, sand, and straw for the oven itself.
Outdoor projects are so much fun, especially when they work!
We learned that next time we will burn the wood for about two hours before cooking to get a large amount of very hot coals. We also learned the value of a little battery powered leaf blower for creating a kicked up oxygen source inside the oven! Hot flames!
Well, this was the LAST DAY of our cross country trip!
Whew! Can’t believe it’s over. But so glad to be home!
We headed to the Vegas strip. What a blessing to have found free parking at Mandalay Bay. Maybe because it was Sunday.
We got a mid morning snack. 😂
The girls don’t like opera. And it was really hard to throw this away.
The Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay is really cool! So glad we got tickets ahead of time because they were sold out by the time they opened at 10:00 am.
Some really big catfish
We walked the strip the rest of the afternoon.
Did a few history lessons based on the different themes of the casinos in the city. This one led us to ancient Egypt to discuss pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, and the Sphinx.
The New York New York with the Statue of Liberty fueled our discussion of its symbol of freedom for our walk on this block.
Had lunch in New York New York
And visited the Hershey’s shop.
Look at this Twizzlers statue of lady liberty!
Nina took a selfie with a Kiss
There is a really cool mosaic sidewalk all the The Park.
We spent a while in the Coca Cola shop.
And did a thorough tasting of all the international flavors.
The Ballagio fountain. We saw the water show driving through one day but missed it at might with the lights, timing didn’t work out all week.
Nina really likes gelato
Delighted to see Chik-fil-a thriving in downtown Los Vegas. Not sure why I was surprised by that. That opened up some interesting discussion. 😊
We spend ridiculous amounts of time in line and with personal shopping guides at some of the most expensive shops in the world. Came out with some really nice fragrance samples on a card.
The girls were limo spying all day. They like the Hummer limo the best.
We had a late night plane flight. Midnight.
Said bye bye to Vegas
Bye bye to the city lights.
Settled down for an over night flight.
Nina was out before the city lights were out of view.
Bye bye to our adventure across the west.
Home home home, back to North Carolina and our family and friends we love and have missed.
We have come to the end of our 63 day adventure. Back to the home we love. It’s been amazing. Thanks for going with us on this journey. Those that followed us every day, God bless you, and I hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as we did.
A bit of home came to us for a few days. Our friends from NC visited! It was nice spending time with them and seeing sites together neither of us had seen before.
We finally washed our car. Found an awesome car wash with power air guns.
The kids mostly played.
The girls were excited to see their friend and play in the pool a while.
And explore the desert a bit at dusk.
I love this picture of them against the sky at dusk.
And the silhouette of the mountains at night fall.
A short cruise to the strip. Lady Liberty is wearing a mask.
Not sure why a picture of all of us together didn’t make it to my phone.
But I got a few of us together at Hoover Dam.
This thing is massive.
A true engineering masterpiece.
My acrophobia was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be walking across the dam.
The girls and I said goodbye to our friends and sent our car back across the country with them. Then went to shop for bathing suits. We have officially warn out or left in a hotel all of ours on this trip.
Got some milkshakes too since it was 90 degrees.
Well, that was the excuse.
This pool has been a nice Oasis in the Nevada sun.
The girls have been dying for Ramen noodles, so we found the best.
Oh my gracious, homemade Ramen is delicious. This is our first experience with fresh! Now we are going to have to try making it at home. We watched a few videos before bed and it doesn’t look too hard!
Counting down the last two days of our trip. Talking about the things we are going to make and do when we get home. This has been such an incredible journey for us. Time enough to really enjoy as well as begin longing for home again .
This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!
Let me just give you one bit of advice, maybe two.
Plan at least one day AHEAD, before you drive up to the park like a dear in headlights thinking you’ll just drive in and drive around and see what you want to explore.
You can’t drive in.
It’s either go on a shuttle bus, private shuttle, walk, or bike.
And don’t bike. It is NOT the best park for bikers, just saying.
And if you DON’T reserve the shuttle the day before you go, you will have to get a private shuttle for $40 per person. How do I know this? Ahem.
We started at the Grotto and hiked the Emerald Pool trail for a bit longer hike with better views.
Lots of juicy prickly pear cactus the girls wanted to check out.
You get a little splashed underneath the falls, but it feels good.
Next we went to the Narrows. This was our favorite hike of the day.
People had water trecking gear on. We didn’t.
We went anyway.
The rock is so brilliant.
The sand is the color of cocoa powder.
The squirrels are very aggressive, but fluffy and cute and hard not to feed. ($100 fine)
I think maybe Becca accidentally dropped some cheese because he came right under her to have his snack.
This hike is absolutely amazing.
We only hiked a couple of bends and stopped at knee high water because the girls didn’t have appropriate shoes for the rushing water. Two of them lost one of their Croc’s and we had to catch them downstream.
We saw wild turkeys there.
We bit into the sweetest orange ever waiting for our shuttle.
We finished our day on the Watchman’s Trail for a sunset view. It was pretty steep and we were tired so we didn’t go all the way up.
I definitely want to come back here and do ALL the trails one day. It is just beautiful.
We bought the girls some new Birkenstock’s in the cute little village (they have put over 350 miles on their sandals these last 58 days.) while we waited on our table and had dinner just outside the park. A nice way to end our day.
We are kind of stuck in a Vegas sandwich this week. Hard to explain except to say; I don’t want to be here but have to because of our flight home situation. Anyway…
We are trying to find kid friendly places and make the most of it.
The resort pool is nice. There is a warm pool, a cool pool, and a freezing splash fountain.
The smoothies are a hit too.
The night time view from our room is really pretty too.
This morning we had the worlds longest breakfast experience.
It involved a “best breakfast place in Vegas” recommendation on another bloggers site, fighting the traffic on the strip, ending up valet parking at Caesars Palace for $25, dragging three kids through a smoky casino, waiting 90 minutes for a table, shopping to kill time and dodge marijuana smoke, buying too much candy, getting a bath soak demonstration, eating what was then lunch instead of breakfast, exploring the Mirage, and running two city blocks as fast as we could to meet our four hour valet parking time limit. 🥵
Brunch was good, but not sure it was worth the ordeal or expense…
The Cobb Salad and the Homeade strawberry jam were delicious.
In the Mirage we got to see some awesome creatures. Excited that having AAA got me in free! Saved $25!
Underwater dolphin viewing area.
Went for an afternoon swim
Based on the concierge recommendation for a kid friendly evening….
We went to the Fremont Ave experience.
Well, it was an experience all right.
Nothing kid friendly about it.
But we did enjoy the Container Park before hitting the wild strip.
The girls got a 15 minute magic lesson with the purchase of their kit.
And have been practicing ever since, even while waiting for our dinner table.
There were some interesting acts we watched briefly.
We waited an extraordinary amount of time for dinner. Glad the girls could practice their magic tricks.
Realized after we sat down why there was a 90 minute wait.
Every famous chef from food network was plastered on the wall after having dined there.
And their chicken was the most tender I have ever had in a Thai stir fry.
We will be back here before we leave Vegas, but we’ll make a reservation first.
Nina barely made it back before falling asleep, even after a few sips of Thai tea.