Spring Break: Part One

So last week was spring break for UTK.  But what do you do to celebrate Spring Break when you’re 30?  Well, you work, and if you’re lucky you are able to squeeze in a couple of days of fun.

My two nieces were also on spring break from Blount County schools, so I planned two days just for them and my 2-year old nephew.  I also made a list of everything I wanted to do around my house, but two days into spring break I tossed it out.  I don’t get to see my nieces as much as I’d like, so I added a third day to our itinerary.

Day One

Macy is nine, and she loves to bake.  She is a girl after my own heart.  I had promised her that if she made good grades on her spelling tests, we would bake her favorite cupcakes. We spent time in the kitchen mixing batter and decorating cupcakes (when it was time for clean-up, Macy magically disappeared).  We also went to Ijams and had a picnic.  I know I’ve mentioned Ijams before, but if you’ve never been you have to check it out.  There really is something for everyone there.

Day Two

Molly is five, and she loves going to the movies.  Zootopia had just come out so we decided to go see it.  Macy and Molly were seemingly mesmerized by the film and they thought it was great.  Conway was the most excited to see the movie, and he promptly fell asleep.  He didn’t even make it past the previews, and he was snoozing.  After the movie, on the ride home, he woke up and asked about going to see the movie.  I couldn’t help but feel bad for the kid.  By the way, the movie was great!

Day Three

Day three was something I was really looking forward to doing with the kids.  The Knoxville Zoo recently went through a re-branding creating a new website, logo, and overall image.  Zoo Knoxville is known as the red panda capital of the world.  The endangered species didn’t disappoint as they romped and played in their enclosure.  Of course, I was most excited about the otters, which played and swam as if they were performing for an audience.  Conway wanted to see the animals, but most of all he wanted to see the “big bad wolf”, but guess what–the kid fell asleep.  Luckily for him, he has two thoughtful big sisters who woke him up when we go to the wolves.  By the time we finally got home, the kids were really tired-but not too tired to get ice cream!

So Spring Break wasn’t a total bust for me.  I got to hang out with my favorite kiddos and we had a really great few days.  Look for my next blog post when I talk about things I did over Spring Break that didn’t involve kids!



The J is Silent

I was lucky enough to grow up in an area of south Knoxville that was really close to downtown, but just far away enough to feel removed from the city.  And I lived really close to Ijams, which is probably how I acquired my appreciation for the outdoors.  For those of you who aren’t from around here, the “j” is silent.  But what is Ijams?

Ijams is city park that promotes the preservation and conservation of nature.  What began decades ago as a few walking trails has spread out to over 300 acres of wilderness-just a few miles outside of downtown Knoxville.  Visitors can hike, paddle, climb or bike in the park. Ijams recently launched Navitat, a zipline-obstactle course which takes thrill seekers to the top of the forest.

Ijams also sponsors events such as the Big Kids Coloring Club.  Children under 12 are discouraged from attending, and adults can BYOB.  Ijams requests a five dollar donation, but they also provide snacks, pages to color and coloring supplies.  I attended this event in January and I was instantly hooked.

coloring pic 1
Coloring: not just for kids

Not only was Big Kids Coloring Club a great way to relax, it was also a great chance to catch up with friends and meet new people.  There has been a surge in adult coloring books.  Ijams recognized this trend and hopped on!

Ijams offers a quick getaway inside the city limits. It’s easy to wander the park and let your worries slip away, because the the place is just so darn beautiful.  There are trails that will take you to the river, to an endless field of sunflowers (at the right time of the year), or you can just stroll at your leisure.  If you are into history, there is a cemetery on the property overlooking Mead’s Quarry that dates back to the late 1800s.  Perhaps the best part of Ijams can’t be expressed in words, so I’ll just leave this here:

Source: http://www.outdoorknoxville.com