Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NEW Printable Panner Pages from ThePolkaDotPosie

I know it's been a looooong time coming, but our awesome Printable Planner Pages are finally available!!!! Head on over to our shop blog to read all about them :-)

Happy Planning!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

5 Reasons to Visit Holland, Michigan

Last summer, Eric and I decided that we needed to take our camper to the beach. At first we were dreaming big, thinking it might be fun to drive the camper to Florida or the east coast. And then we took a 2-hour car ride to central Illinois with two of the WORST passengers ever and we decided we needed to keep things local at first. So we started researching beach towns in Michigan and settled on Grand Haven State Park {since the camping spots are literally right on the beach}.

Did you know that the Michigan DNR starts taking camping reservations for State Parks 6 months in advance? Did you know that EVERY SINGLE SPOT fills within the first few minutes of them being open each day? Did you know that calling every morning for a month, yelling and crying on the phone to a reservation specialist and offering cash bribes will NOT get you a spot either? 

Well now you do.

Eric and I had almost written Michigan off for good until Dana suggested we go on a family vacation somewhere that has camper spaces AND cabins. That way we could all be together in one place but still get to enjoy the beach and all the town had to offer. We did a bunch of research online and ended up finding the most perfect campground in the most perfect place.

Enter Holland, Michigan.

This town and our little vacation ended up being everything we hoped it would be. A beautiful beach, a cute downtown area, lots of attractions and fun things to do with the kids and best of was affordable. I could go on and on about our trip all day and share every one of my 465 pictures. But instead, I thought I would break it down into a little list of my Top 5 Reasons to Visit Holland, Michigan.

#5 Oak Grove Campground

I laugh so hard every time I think about the morning that I left our beautiful, quaint campground and walked by the congested Holland State Park that I tried so desperately to get into. Seeing all those campers parked in tight spaces with remnants of last night's campfire parties still scattered about made me so grateful for the Oak Grove Campground and their wonderful staff. 

The grounds were all beautifully kept.

The camper lots were spacious.

And the cabins were spotless.

We spent a lot of time at the playground and the beautiful pool...

The campground had several activities that weekend like a Candy Hayrack Ride and a DJ at the pool. The kids had a blast at the hula hoop contest :-)

The campground was quiet and family friendly and we felt right at home there. We will definitely stay at Oak Grove again and we are SO HAPPY we found it :-)

#4 Downtown Holland

We were able to spend two nights in downtown Holland on our trip. The first night we ate at the New Holland Brewing Company, which was delicious and very family friendly. Get the Black & Blue won't regret it :-)

On Thursday nights, the downtown streets are closed so that you can walk around and listen to live musicians. The kids really got a kick of throwing money into their hats and guitar cases :-) 

The downtown area had lots of great restaurants, pie and ice cream shops, antiques and specialty shops. The kids really loved Tip Toes and had a ball playing in their awesome treehouse. 

And here are Dana and I just outside our favorite little find, JBandMe.

I feel like we didn't get to explore half of what the downtown area has to offer, so we definitely need to go back...maybe even for a girls trip?! Ha!

# 3 The Attractions

With only 3 days to explore Holland, we didn't get to do everything on our list, but the few places we went to were SO MUCH FUN!!! 

Our first stop was The Dutch Village.

It was such a cute little place!

We made it there just in time to catch one of the Dutch Dancing shows.

The kids had the best seat in the house, especially when the dutchman in the red shirt launched his wooden shoe 50 feet in the air. Ha!

The village also had a couple rides that were perfect for the kids ages, like the swings...

A Carousel...

 And the zip line that we couldn't drag them off of!

What we loved most about The Dutch Village was that it was good, wholesome fun for the kids. It was great only having a few rides because the kids weren't overwhelmed by all the chaos of an amusement park and we didn't waste our day standing in line. We got to go in and explore some old Dutch homes...

Pet some animals at the little farm...

Ride a sleigh :-)

Try on some wooden shoes...

 And take some fun pictures :-)

The fun we had at The Dutch Village was going to be pretty hard to beat, but if one attraction could do would be the Saugatuck Dune Rides.

My friend Linsey told me that these jeep rides were a must-do and she was SO RIGHT!! We had no idea what to expect, but the kids were excited...and so were we!

I'll tell you one thing...that jeep can HAUL!!!! I had no idea how fast we would be going and a few times I looked over at the kids to see if they were scared and they were all shouting for him to go faster!

Our guide took us all around the dunes and gave us a mini history lesson on how they formed. Then when we got to the top, he let us get out to walk around and explore. It was a beautiful, clear day so we could see straight out to Lake Michigan.

This picture is so perfect. Addie's less-than-lady-like pose, Nolan's face, Blake pouring sand all over his body...awesomeness :-)

The view of the dunes was just beautiful.

I just can't express how fun that ride was and how much the kids talked about it after it was over. Blake still asks when we can go back on the "sand ride" again. This attraction is definitely a must-see when visiting the area.

On the way back to our campground, we made one last little pit stop at Crane's Pie Pantry.

The Pie Pantry Restaurant is connected to their HUGE orchard. You can pick your own fruit and as much as we would have loved to have done that...

 There just wasn't time. So we just bought a few pints instead :-) YUMMMMM!!! The perfect treat after a little dune ride.

#2 Captain Sundae

Speaking of treats...we must have driven past Captain Sundae about 20 times before Dana and I made everyone stop to get some ice cream.

The shop is so adorable...and just what you'd expect in a beach town. The kids loved the pirate ship and the little boats that you could sit in to eat your treat.

And this, my friends, is a Captain Coconut. The reason this made #2 on the list. 

To. Die. For.

#1 The BEACH!

Holland State Park Beach is freaking awesome. Plain and simple. I'll let the pictures do all the talking for me...

We picked the most perfect day for the beach. Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and there was a light breeze coming off the lake. We could have stayed there all day just playing in the sand...

Taking naps in the shade...

Building creepy sand men...

Standing on rocks...

Jumping off rocks...

Thinking about jumping off rocks...

Watching the boats come in the channel...


And my favorite part...checking out Big Red the Lighthouse.

Our beach day was SO MUCH FUN!!! I just couldn't get over how beautiful it was. This was exactly what Eric and I were imagining when we dreamt up our beach vacation last year. I am just so, so happy that it all worked out and that we found Holland. We will definitely be back again :-)

Yay for Family Vacation 2013!!