I can’t believe it’s February! Christmas is starting to feel like a distant memory and I’m already seeing Easter candy in stores, which is a little confusing since it’s not even Valentine’s Day yet. I’ve never understood the need for retailers to jump the gun on this and by gun I mean the holiday prior to whatever they are actually advertising for. The older I get, the faster time seems to go by and the more I want to slow it down, including this holiday merchandise timeline.
Sticking to a schedule with kids fulfills my need for organization and their need for structure. Since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have created what I think is a good routine that works for our home. I love to find free and/or age appropriate activities for Laney available in our area; something that gets us out of the house and is entertaining; a win-win all the way around. Aside from the normal errands for groceries and household needs, we now fill our week with trips to the library, the zoo and a local kids gym offering structured classes and open play time. I’m having the time of my life making these memories with my girls.
Last week, we attended several programs at our neighborhood branch of the library including Story Time and Young Geniuses. The library offers various Story Times for different age groups on different days and times during the week. Young Geniuses is a fun event that includes a short, themed story time and then a craft or activity in the classroom area to go along with it. I also love how our library has a great kids area where they can run around, pull out different types of puzzles, find books on their level, build blocks on a lego table and create shapes with magnatiles on a light table. We have spent many hours at the library in the last year!
Other days of the week, we attend classes at MyGym. They offer structured classes for various age groups almost every day as well as different times during the week where they open it up for drop-in playtime. The class times are convenient to work into our schedule and I love how they change up how the gym looks each week. The different obstacles and pieces of gym equipment get moved around so it never looks the same way twice. I can’t wait for Morgan to be old enough to start her own classes.
Us moms run on coffee and dry shampoo, am I right?! I love a good cup of coffee and was recently introduced to Kaminsky’s, a dessert bar located in The Vista, a hip area of downtown Columbia filled with awesome restaurants and boutiques. I love how most of the downtown businesses are housed in old warehouses that have been converted into what they are today. [Give me all the exposed brick!] Back to dessert and coffee. I’ve heard good things about it for a long time. My husband, Brad, and I recently went after attending a Homebuilding & Remodeling Show that was a total bust and wanted to do something downtown to make the trip worth it before going back home. It’s a very cozy space with a great menu. You can order a milkshake, hot tea, a steamer and coffee — all of which you can make an adult beverage, if you know what I mean — as well as other spirits. Brad had a cappuccino and I had what they call the Toasted Marshmallow. It’s Irish cream, caramel and steamed milk. You can also have them add a shot of espresso, which I did. Duh. It’s basically heaven in a cup. We also split a slice of cake. What’s unique about Kaminsky’s is that they make all of their desserts and keep them in a glass bakery case at the front of the bar. You basically window shop for what you want and then they bring a slice of whatever goodness you select to your table. The selection is large and varies each time you go. The girls and I went on a Kaminsky’s date last Thursday with Holland, my brother’s girlfriend and babysitting extraordinaire. A student at USC, we picked her up after class and off we went to fulfill my craving for another Toasted Marshmallow. Other than one person at the bar, we were the only people in there at 4:00pm on a Thursday afternoon. However, don’t expect that to be the case in the evenings or especially on the evenings. That’s when Kaminsky’s is known to have quite the wait time for a table. It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back.
Columbia is also home to an awesome zoo, Riverbanks Zoo. For the last couple of years they have offered Free Fridays for residents of Richland and Lexington counties during the months of January and February. All you have to do is show your drivers license; simple as that. Laney absolutely loves going, especially since she can see flamingos and penguins, her favorite. It makes for a fun morning outing for all of us! Unfortunately, when we were there yesterday the penguin exhibit was closed. I’m going to assume they are doing some deep cleaning for their area. Poor Laney kept saying ‘Oh no!’ and would walk quickly around the building. I could tell she was hoping that maybe they had just been moved and she’d find them in a different area. Bless her sweet little heart. Hopefully we will be able to see the penguins on our next zoo adventure!
If you read my first blog post, you’ll remember me mentioning how Brad and I crossed paths through mutual friends in college. Enter Forrest. (If you need to catch up or refer back, you can read it here: The Million Dollar Question) He is basically the reason Brad and I met and are now married and I like to take credit for the relationship with his now wife, Cassandra. She and I were teammates in college, she was a diver and I was a swimmer. The two were introduced when it was the Swimming & Diving team’s turn to sell football programs to tailgaters. Fast forward to now and we are all families of 4, with all girls. Having remained close all these years, we make time every once and awhile to get together. Of course prior to kids we saw each other a lot more and vacationed once a year together, but we still travel down to Florida or they come to South Carolina a couple of times a year. They arrived yesterday evening to visit us for the weekend. From what I can remember, I think this is the first time in last 4 years that we have been together where neither Cassandra nor I are pregnant. The jury is still out if that will be the case next time … looking at you Cassandra! 😉
We intended for our Friday night to be a slow paced evening to wind down from the week and their travel day, so we went to Blaze Pizza for dinner. This was actually our first time going to the one near where we live; we’ve been once to the one at Disney Springs in Orlando and it was so good! This time didn’t disappoint either. It’s basically like Moe’s but with pizza. As a family with young kids, being able to go out to eat with zero wait time for a table and a short wait for food (the time the pizza needs to bake) is a major win. I highly recommend it if you have one in your area.
Have a great weekend! We are headed downtown for some fun. Join me Monday morning when I share my meal plans for the week!