One-Yard Wonders projects

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Days In and Having a Blast!

Vacation week is really living up to my expectations! We had an awesome weekend in Omaha, a great family reunion on Sunday, a rainy day at the farm on Monday with my Aunt Cindy and a super fun day exploring Des Moines today!

Most of my good photos are still on my camera but I have a few on my phone that I can share tonight. I'll do the Omaha Zoo and Vala's Pumpkin Farm tonight -- more to come tomorrow!

I snapped this pic at a stop light while heading to the hotel after the zoo. Violet was such a trooper! It was an awesome day to be at the zoo -- we practically had the place to ourselves!She fell asleep within five minutes of getting in the van. 

There weren't a lot of food options at the zoo in off-season so we stopped by the Aviary for a snack of popcorn, nachos and pretzels. Here you can see the peacocks and peahens (what the females are called, I learned that at the zoo) spotting Violet's popcorn. 

Are those males beautiful! He ate a piece of popcorn out of Bo's hand! Which I'm sure wasn't allowed but it didn't appear to hurt them. 

Violet's version of a snack -- popcorn dipped in nacho cheese.... 

We did the zoo on Friday, which as I mentioned, was an awesome idea because no one was there. On Saturday, on the recommendation of Mazy's teacher, we went to this AMAZING place west of Omaha called Vala's Pumpkin Patch.

Let me just say, it was unbelievable. It is the largest, craziest pumpkin farm I have ever seen, and we've seen a lot! Go look at their website above -- somewhere there is a PDF of a map and you will be shocked by how big it is. There are 20 different food stands/restaurants on site! Over 40 attractions, ranging from the corn maze and pirate maze to haunted houses, barn slides, giant slides, animatronic singing scarecrows, a storybook village with a huge castle and sleeping beauty, petting zoos, tractor rides, and my favorite, The Pie Barn! 

You should put Vala's on your 2015 fall to-do list because it is totally worth going. But you might want to go on a weekday. We got there at 10 a.m. and it was packed but that was nothing compared to the traffic arriving at 3 when we left.... We're talking acres upon acres of cars. People were walking from parking lots a half-mile away! We didn't even begin to see half of what was there. But here's a few of the attractions:

Animatronic Barnyard Animal Band with singing ears of corn and animals! Violet was a big fan of this one. 

A pink John Deere tractor parked in front of The Pie Barn. Violet also a big fan of it. 

Inside The Pie Barn, which is brand-new this fall. It's a beautiful barn building with the most amazing homemade pies and ice cream. They had really funky and awesome flavors, like salted caramel apple pie, walnut lemon, burnt brown sugar, and lots of others. 

Violet wanted the homemade vanilla ice cream. 

Katy got the homemade burnt brown sugar pie ala mode. I talked to a very friendly baker and he said it was like a creme brulee pie! 

I had never heard of lemon walnut pie so I had to try it. It was like a lemon bar with crunchy walnuts on top. I also ordered it ala mode. Besides dessert pies they also had savory pies, like chicken pot pie, chili pot pie and shepherd's pie. Isn't that awesome!

We were nowhere near The Pie Barn for lunch so we went to the Pirate's Grog and ordered hotdogs and fries for the kids, and Shawn and I split a tenderloin sandwich and fries. It was delicious. 

Shawn and Bo

Bo chowing down on his dog. 

Grandma Katy couldn't resist buying Violet a very colorful sucker... Isn't this a sweet picture?!

A little montage of Violet and the Sucker.

Singing Scarecrow Band

Just a small sampling of the crowd - by this time there were thousands and thousands of people there. It was like being at the Iowa State Fair on a very busy day... 

So our weekend in Omaha was a great success. We stayed at an awesome hotel, Residence Inn by Marriott -- it was a two-bedroom loft with two bathrooms, a full kitchen and a living room. It was perfect for our gang because there were three TVs and two separate bedrooms where Violet could go to sleep before the rest of us. I highly recommend it!

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