Amazing Desserts from Around the World, Part II

 

Next up, my new friend, Nerin and her amazing Tres Leches cake.

Sunset at the Lake Party

This past summer, we were at a lake party, and Nerin brought two cakes. I, of course, went directly for the chocolate one, but she encouraged me to try the Tres Leches cake as well. Since we were new friends and she had a very convincing Costa Rican accent, I cut a small piece of the Tres Leche cake, too. And then another. And another. And when she offered to pack some up for us to take home, I said “yes please.” And then my kids ate it before we even got in the car. I am so thankful that she is one of those amazing cooks who shares her recipes. Thank you, Nerin!

Nerin’s Tres Leche Cake

Nerin makes this cake with her sister in Costa Rica. I love the idea of baking with family, especially around the holidays. So much so that I keep trying to bake with my kids. I have to say that this cake kept their attention right up to end, which is quite an accomplishment. I think it may have had something to do with the whipped cream and sprinkles.

TRES LECHES CAKE

Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of all purpose white flour
1 tsp of baking powder
2 oz cold water
1 can condensed milk, 14 oz can
1 can evaporated milk, 12 oz can
1 heavy whip cream container, 8 oz
1 large cool whip, 16 oz container
Sprinkles

Separate the egg whites from the yolks, set the yolks aside. Sift the flour with the baking powder and set aside.

Mix at high speed the egg whites until stiff. Slowly, add 1 egg yolk at a time alternating with the sugar. Add the sifted flour and at the end, the cold water.

Place the mix in a rectangle 15″ by 10″ pyrex, previously sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake at 350F for approximately 25 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean. Once ready, pull out of the oven, cool down for 10 minutes and insert a fork on the top of the cake every 2″ apart, in order to allow the liquids to seem into the cake.

Mix the condensed milk, evaporated milk and the heavy whip cream. Pour this mix over cake while it is still warm. Place in the refrigerator until totally cold.

At the end cover with as much cool whip as wanted and decorate with sprinkles.

*The second time I made this cake, I had shopped at a small grocery that did not carry cool whip or evaporated milk. For the cool whip replacement (and the heavy whipped cream), I whipped 32 ounces of heavy whipping cream with 1/3 cup of sugar (because, hey, we all know that there needs to be some left in the bowl for the bakers). For the evaporated milk, I used 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup half ‘n half. 

**please note: this post may contain affiliate links meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. Thank you!

6 Kid-Friendly Christmas Activities in Chicago

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Every year at Christmastime, we head into Chicago for a weekend on the town. It is something that we all look forward to and is a great way to start the holiday season.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights- This year, our ETA into the city was around 5pm, so we decided to check out the lights at Lincoln Park Zoo (the sun sets super early in Chicago this time of year, and for once, I appreciated the early sunset). Admission to the zoo is free, but you may want to bring along some money for the hot chocolate stands along the way or the mulled wine you can get to-go from the cafe by the pond.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

There is also ice skating for a fee, but it may be worth it as it seems to be much more manageable with children than does skating downtown (read: no lines and a smaller rink). We all really enjoyed wandering around the zoo and taking in all of the different lights. I think our favorite display was the lights blinking along to various holiday songs.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Gemini Bistro- After about an hour, we decided to grab some dinner about 4 blocks up the street at my husband’s favorite pub, only to find it had changed ownership and was not serving food for another 45 minutes. So, we headed across the street to find something new… and LOVED it. The setting feels trendy (think marble-top bar), but there were also several tables with small children so we didn’t feel too out of place. We also found that there was a prix fixe menu (should you choose to go that way) just for people going to see the zoo lights.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

It even included cookies and a coffee to go! Such a great idea!!!

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Michigan Avenue- We drove up Michigan Avenue on our way to the hotel, and it was looking as magical as ever! The next day, we walked the Magnificent Mile with the children, stopping in several kid-friendly stores and window shopping at the others.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Really, there were so many children on Michigan Avenue that we did not feel in the way shopping there.

Maggie Daley Park We have done this in the past but didn’t make it on this trip. Maggie Daley Park has it all. My kids really enjoyed the Play Garden when we were there, but there is also a Skating Ribbon and Climbing Wall that are on my list of things to check out the next time we are there.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

West Egg Cafe- This is our favorite breakfast spot, especially when we are meeting up with friends in the city who also have children. On the past few occasions we have gone, we have received our own small room with a large round table that houses all of us, our coats, and our strollers. There is a door that is opened to the larger room, but it is nice to be somewhat isolated and not have to worry that we are disrupting someone else’s breakfast.

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

Home Alone House Again, we didn’t squeeze this one in this year, but it is always fun to drive to the North Shore to check out the Home Alone house. If you are a family that perhaps has Home Alone on “in the background” from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day, it is well worth the trip.

There are so many things to do around the holidays in Chicago that I almost feel like we should go back to fit a few more in before it is over! Next on the list are the Christkindlmarket (an open-air market derived from German and European traditions), the holiday windows at Macy’s on State Street, and breakfast at the Walnut Room. 

6 kid-friendly Chicago activities

 

Global Christmas and Holiday Traditions in 2 hours or Less

global-traditions

 

This week we headed to our local gardens to check out their annual Christmas and Holiday Traditions from Around the World exhibit. If you happen to be in the Grand Rapids area, it is well worth the trip to Fredrick Meijer Gardens. And, I’ll be honest, I had a 3-year old with me, so it took us far less that 2 hours.

Whenever I’m with my kids, I try to remember to give them a “job”; otherwise, they tend to find their own “jobs” that don’t always jive with what I had in mind. Today, the task was to find all of the displays from their 5 nationalities. All information shared comes from the information signs provided by Fredrick Meijer Gardens. There was considerably more information than I am sharing, so head on over and check it out.

Italian Nativity

Italy– The most important symbol of Christmas in Italy is the Nativity scene. A presepio is a 3-dminesional nativity scene, and Meijer garden’s presepio was created by Francesa Niccacci in the maiolica tradition.

Netherlands Tree

The Netherlands– Santa Claus is known as Sinterklass in the Netherlands. Gifts are exchanged on St. Nicholas’ Eve on December 5 while Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are reserved for church and a family meal in the evening. December 26 is called Second Christmas Day and is a holiday of relaxation.

Diwali

India– Diwali is a five-day Hindu celebration, also referred to as the Festival of Lights. Occurring between mid-Ocotber and mid-November, it includes fireworks, lights, and special worship (puja). Diwali’s true meaning is rejoicing in the inner light. It is often celebrated with rangoli; the one pictured above appears to be made of colored sand.

English Christmas Tree

England– Kissing under mistletoe is an English tradition. It is thought to date back to ancient times when the plant was a symbol of peace and indicated that enemies must maintain a truce until the next day if they met under it. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe remains an indication of friendship and goodwill. Another English tradition, began in the 1840s by Tom Smith, is opening Christmas crackers, which are cardboard tubes holding small gifts or trinkets.

Spanish Christmas Tree

Spain- In Spain, it is not Santa but the Three Wiseman who come bearing gifts. On January 5, the Eve of the Epiphany, children fill their shoes with straw, and the Three Wiseman come by, leaving gifts in the children’s shoes. Christmas is a very religious holiday and the most noticeable decoration is the Nacimiento, or Nativity scene.

What a great way to spend the morning! Looking at Holiday displays and learning about different cultural customs is quickly becoming a tradition in our family.

Amazing Desserts from Around the World

 

The Best Baklava

The holidays are such a special time. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have my friends and family so close by. So, when I was trying to narrow the list down to just 3 dessert recipes, naturally good friends who also happen to be good cooks with great stories from around the globe seemed like a great fit.

Let’s begin with my friend, Rose. We have been friends for over 6 years and used to work together. She always brought in the best food that either she and her husband made or that she picked up from delicious local bakeries for our meetings. Rose taught a class a few years ago about how to make baklava. I don’t know what my excuse was, but I missed the class. And baklava is one of my absolute favorite desserts! Rose was gracious enough to share her mother’s recipe with me.  Rose’s father immigrated to the United States from Damascus in 1938 and followed through with an arranged marriage to her mother. When Rose was 4 years old, her father passed away, leaving behind her mother and their 7 children. Rose credits her mother’s never-ending love and deep faith in holding their family together. Here is a picture of Rose’s mother with Rose’s children. Can’t you just feel her love of family in this photo? Mackinaw Road- Rose's MomRose shared that making Baklava is more of an experience and tradition for her than just baking a dessert. She and her family have made it for as long as she can remember. Every year, she and her siblings make their own baklava and share it with each other to see whose turned out the best. Rose, I’m available if you all ever need an impartial judge! Keep reading for her recipe below.

Baklava

Ingredients: 2-3 pounds phyllo dough, 2 pounds unsalted butter (rendered), 3 pounds ground walnuts, 5-6 cups of sugar, 4 cups water, 2 tsp orange flower water or to taste, 1 lemon (juiced)

Mix: walnuts with 1-2 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Add 1 tsp of the orange flower water. Set aside.

Layer: Start with 2 tablespoons of melted butter on the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Add 1 sheet of phyllo, paint with a thin layer of butter and then add another sheet of phyllo. Continue with 1-1.5 pounds of phyllo. Add the nut mixture and pat lightly but firmly in the pan. Begin the layering process again with the remaining 1-1.5 pounds of phyllo dough. Pat gently after each layer. DO NOT press hard. With a very sharp knife, cut into diamond shapes. Rows should be about 1 inch apart.

Best Baklava

Bake: @250 degrees for 2-3 hours. Lift corner piece to see if bottom is browning. If golden brown, then it is finished. You may want to turn on the broiler to crisp and lightly brown the top at the end. DO NOT take your eyes off of it. It browns quickly!

Boil: 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. Add the juice of 1 lemon and 1 tsp of orange flower water. This is the syrup.

Either pour the HOT SYRUP on COLD BAKLAVA or COLD SYRUP on HOT BAKLAVA. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IF YOU DO NOT WANT SOGGY BAKLAVA.

Next up: Nerin’s Tres Leches Cake

Day-After Recipes

 

day-after recipesThe Holiday Season is officially upon us. Lots of good food, good times, and good drinks are in our immediate future. I have already bought the ingredients for my Day-After recipes to get myself feeling healthy again. These are my top 3 contenders for the Day After I return from traveling as well. No matter how hard I try, I just almost always need the upgrade to french fries, at least one McDonald’s breakfast in the airport, and dessert, dessert, dessert.

Full disclosure… I don’t always love smoothies. However, I was forced into it after literally falling on my face last winter. That’s right. 6 weeks of soup and smoothies, so I do consider myself somewhat of an expert. And, these are so good that I still make them even though my jaw is back in working order.

Apple Pineapple Smoothie

A friend stopped by the day after my face plant with a big grocery bag from Trader Joe’s with all of the below goodness just ready to be blended.

Ingredients: apple (any sweet pink or red variety will do), 1 cup of frozen pineapple, 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup greek/Siggis yogurt, and a handful of kale/spinach. Blend. Enjoy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Pure Chocolate Peanut Butter goodness~ is there any better combination?

Ingredients: large handful of spinach, 2 TBSP of Peanut Butter, 2 TBSP of honey, 2 TBSP of cocoa, 1 1/2 cup of coconut milk. Blend. Pour over ice (or blend the ice with the other ingredients). Yum.

Robin’s Healthy Lentil Soup

I have to admit that as I read through Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine, this was not the first recipe that was on my list to try. However, feeling in need of something healthy one day, I decided to give it a shot. It seemed pretty basic- carrots, celery, lentils, etc., etc. But then you drizzle balsamic vinegar in at the eleventh hour, and it transforms into one of the most delicious soups.  I haven’t ever blended it, as the directions suggest one should, because, well, I’ll admit, I can only handle so much blending in my life. 

Here is the link to Robin’s Healthy Lentil Soup or you can also find it in Shauna’s book Bread and Wine, which I would highly recommend. 

Whether it’s the Day After a holiday party or the Day After your return from a trip (hopefully, not the Day After a broken jaw), I hope you find these recipes useful in your recovery.

** please note that affiliate links are contained in this post, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation. 

Gift Guide for the Traveler in Your Life, Part II

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

Welcome Back! Well, there is officially snow, and it is officially sticking to the ground, which signals the end to our lovely fall days but also the excitement that surrounds the holiday season. Now, where did we leave off?

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

Oh, yes, my great love of Mark and Graham. I just can’t get enough of their classy, functional, and fun travel selection. No one likes to lose their luggage and no one likes scrambling to fill out the paper tags that the airlines provide, so some durable and classic tags would be a welcome gift under the tree this year.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

Another idea for the tech-loving traveler in your life is an External Power Bank for charging smartphones and tablets. That champagne gold color seems like a stylish bonus, too.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

And, also, back to Klean Kanteen. The canteen I mentioned in the previous post works well for both coffee and ice water, but sometimes I just need to have both on hand. Therein, comes this bottle. Have I mentioned that I also really like Klean Kanteen’s customer service? One of the sports caps we owned needed to be repaired, and they readily and quickly sent a replacement.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

A packable puffer coat is another must for me. I have taken a similar coat with me on several trips, and it has treated me well. Now, I wouldn’t hike through Antarctica in it, but it does keep me quite warm. It takes up very little space in my suitcase but is also just as easy to wear/take off/manage on an airplane. Even if I was leaving on a cold and blustery February morning to go to a warm, tropical island, I would probably still wear the coat to the airport. It’s just that easy to have along for the trip. Now, if only all travel companions were that low maintenance.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

A little class. A little sass. And a whole lot of functionality. This small travel jewelry case is just the thing that has been missing from my luggage.

And that’s a wrap! (Yes, I sure did do that on purpose!)

The List

League Stripe Luggage Tag

External Power Bank

Klean Kanteen

Puffer Coat

Travel Jewelry Case

*Please note that there are affiliate links in the post, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may be compensated.

Gift Guide for the Traveler in Your Life

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

The Lake Effect snow is on it’s way, and I am finally realizing that Christmas is just over a month away. It’s time to get shopping. Fortunately, there are many, many, many gift options for the travel-lover in your life. Here are a few I already have or wouldn’t mind having show up under the tree this year.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

Mark and Graham had me at Herringbone. Classy and organized? Yes please. If you haven’t checked out Mark and Graham, it is worth a look. There are so many gifts for the traveler in your life, and quite a few for the non-traveler too.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

First of all, these bags!!! (Insert laughing, crying emoji here.) Second, instead of having minute-long conversations with your husband about who gets the dirty clothes and running shoes bag for the trip home, use these! Bonus, opening your luggage and looking at these bags would be an instant mood booster after a long day of travel. Moreover, there is also a male version, so you can each keep your own clothes in your own bags. Again, if you haven’t checked out Uncommon Goods, they too have great gifts for both the travelers and non-travelers in your life.

Mackinaw Island gift guide

I can already see myself lounging in the hotel room after a long day of wandering and exploring. How much do you love the new jogger-not-really-for-jogging trend?

Mackinaw Road Travel Guide

Let me give you a hypothetical situation. You are late for boarding your plane but probably/maybe have time for a quick stop at Starbucks. With one hand, you clutch your caramel macchiato for dear life and with the other you juggle the stroller, getting your children and all of their things out of the stroller, folding the stroller, and getting everyone to their assigned seats (you in the middle of the children, your husband across the aisle) only to find that half of your coffee is up your sleeve and the other half is dripping on your jeans. The insulated Klean Kanteen was life changing for me. I can quick transfer my coffee to this super-durable kanteen and my coffee is still hot hours later.

Mackinaw Road Gift Guide

More Mark and Graham brilliance here. A Leather Charger Roll Up~ classy, personalized, and useful. Win, win, win.

Well, this seems like a good start. If you are curious about the rest of the items in the top picture, descriptions and suggestions will be coming soon.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

The List

Herringbone Travel Wallet

Women’s Organizing Travel 4-pack

Plush Jersey Drawstring Jogger

Klean Kanteen Insulated Bottle

Charger Roll Up

 

*Please note that there are affiliated links in the post, meaning that, at no cost to you, I may be compensated.

Top 5 Delhi Attractions

 

Namaste!

Remember how I told you what great parents we were to leave our children at home while we went to NYC for the Easter weekend? Well, we were equally fab parents and also left them for the Christmas holiday to go to India.

Now, this was not just another trip for me. I asked a zillion questions of my husband, knowing this would be unlike any trip I had ever taken. I had several talks with myself. Remember how I love to wander around? Go for jogs to get my bearings in a new city? Remember how I am Type A? And an introvert? Before I even got on the plane, I had come to grips with the fact that I would likely not be wandering around, not going for jogs, not be planning our days or what we would be eating, and would be around people all the time. And I let it go… And you know what? I had the best time! It was such a great trip!!!

After spending a few days in Mumbai for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s wedding reception (More on that later! Talk about beautiful people inside-and-out and a gorgeous setting!), we (my parents-in-law, husband, sister-in-law and brother-in-law) headed to Delhi to visit my father-in-law’s family. Again, we had such a nice time! Below are the top 5 attractions I would recommend when visiting Delhi.

Dilli Haat- What a fun experience! Especially since we were with the negotiator of all negotiators. Dilli Haat is an open air market with several booths and also a food court Dilli Haatof sorts. The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation run Dilli Haat and we could purchase tickets to enter. There were about 62 stalls, which are rotated every 15 days. We purchased scarves and more scarves for ourselves and for gifts as well as several wooden toys for our children. This was a really fun experience for me since I am the worst negotiator- mostly because I dislike confrontation. Basically, if someone were to say “no, this is the cost,” I would say “okay.” So, as you can imagine, the whole experience was mind-blowing for me.

Red Fort- Enclosed in red sandstone walls, the Red Fort housed emperors and their households beginning in the mid-1600s. Upon entering, there was a Red Fort New Delhihallway of different shops. Once we emerged from the market, we were able to walk the grounds and view several different buildings. I have to admit that I was skeptical about wearing the tourist headphones at first. That said, my #1 recommendation for touring the Red Fort is to rent the headphones. I learned an incredible amount of Indian history and just really enjoyed the experience of standing in front of something so amazing and, well, receiving an on-the-spot history lesson. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Humayan’s Tomb- the tomb of the Mughal Emperor commissioned in 1569-70. Again there is a heavy use ofHumayan's Tomb red sandstone; it was designed by Mirak Mirza Ghiyas, and is significant because it was the first garden tomb on the Indian subcontinent. More than 100 Mughal family members are buried in the complex, many on the first level terrace, which is often called the “dormitory of Mughals.” The property itself contains several additional tombs and structures, and it is clear that efforts have been made to preserve and respect this area.

Rashtrapati Bhavan- Or, as I pronounce it, The President’s House, is located in New Delhi. Built from 1921-1929 and made of cream and red sandstone, it The President's House New Delhiwas designed to be home to the Viceroys of India. We were able to follow along as a tour guide led us through just a few of 300+ rooms and the beautiful Mughal gardens outside. When we went, we needed to submit our request online along with photocopies of our passports; my husband’s uncle took care of all of this for us so a big Thank You to him. We were also required to bring our actual passports on the day that we visited. Sir Edwin Lutyens was the main designer.

India Gate- A magnificent structure also in New Delhi and reminiscent of India Gatesuch architectural icons as the Arch of Constantine in Rome, Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and the Gateway of India in Mumbai. India Gate is a memorial to the 82,000 servicemen who served in the Indian Army who died in the timeframe of 1914-1921. 13,000 names are inscribed on the gate. Sir. Edwin Lutyens was again the designer.

Taj Mahal- I know, this is not in Delhi but it is a MUST to travel to Agra if you are in Delhi for any length of time. It is a long day but you will not regret the drive Taj Mahalout to this amazing ivory-white marble mausoleum. Upon parking our car, someone offered to give us a tour of the grounds. We ended up with a knowledgeable tour guide who not only was able to give us several history lessons but was able to guide us through the masses of people. The grounds are lovely and tourists are able to spread out. However, once you put on your shoe coverings you will be semi-pushed past the fake sarcophagi of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal, who are really buried on a lower level. There wasn’t a whole lot of dawdling, so get ready to move once you enter. I think my favorite part was being able to look at the grounds and closely view the spectacular materials of the building from the porch of the Taj Mahal.

You could really see all of these sites in about 3 days. We spent just under a week in Delhi, doing both touristy things and visiting with family. While you may want to add a couple more days just so you don’t feel rushed, I would break up the activities like this…

Day #1 India Gate and The President’s House

Day #2 Taj Mahal

Day #3 Red Fort and Humayan’s Tomb

Alvida!

Friday Finds (Take 1)

Welcome to the first installment of Friday Finds, aka my excuse to be Random!

It is looking like another beautiful, slightly colder, weekend in Michigan. As such, my first random recommendation is to hit up Mt. Baldhead in Saugatuck. We took our kiddos last weekend, and we all had a fantastic day. Here is the gist: you climb up many, many, many stairs to discover spectacular views of Saugatuck and the Kalamazoo River. Next, you hike down a dune which leads to Oval Beach where there is plenty of sand, walking, and a swing set; there may even have Saugatuck, Michiganbeen some giggle-infested stick fights on our trip. When you are finished at the beach, climb back up the dune, take one last look at the views, and climb back down the stairs. We ended the afternoon with some beer for us and mac ‘n cheese for the kids at Wick’s Park, one of our favorite places to eat with kids in Saugatuck.

My second random recommendation is to check out Lole in Gaslight Village in East Grand Rapids. I’m not sure why but I am always shocked when it snows in Michigan and find myself scrambling because I am unprepared. Trying to makeFriday Finds Lole this year different, I decided to check out Lole for a ski jacket. They are having a promotion for which you bring in an old jacket (men’s, women’s, or children’s) and they will give you $50 off a new coat. The old coats are listed on minitradeca and proceeds in the United States go to Ample Harvest. Check out your Lole coat choices ahead of time here. Oh, and by the way, there is even a section just for Lifestyle & Travel!!!

My third random recommendation is a restaurant. If you happen to be in Friday Finds Wheelhousedowntown Grand Rapids or are even driving through, check out Wheelhouse. Their food is delicious (we had the duck sandwich and crab cake sandwich), the setting is modern, and the waitstaff is great, too.

 

 

 

My final recommendation is to go for a hike~ yes, again! It isn’t going to be nice like this forever. Check out Calvin College’s Eco Preserve. There areEco Preserve trails as well as a center to check out seasonal displays. It is so peaceful and fairly easy to navigate.

There you have it~ pure randomness!

Hope you have a very happy weekend!!!

*Please note some links may be affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may receive some compensation.

Top 6 activities in D.C. with Small Children

img_2559

Washington D.C. is one of my favorite U.S. cities. Not only is it beautiful and historic, but it also seems completely manageable regardless of who your travel companions may be. I have visited D.C. several times throughout my lifetime~ with my family, with my husband, with the Close Up program, and this time with our children, ages 5 and 2. We brought our double jogger and are so grateful that we did because walking was our main mode of transportation during this trip. We were able to walk to most of the activities described below with the exception of the National Cathedral area. Below are the top 5 activities that I would recommend in D.C. with small children.

Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian Museums (National Mall)- I love, love, love the Smithsonians. The free admission takes all the pressure off parents and children. We were staying just a short walk away from the Smithsonians, so I could take the kids to a museum, and if we had to leave for naps or meltdowns, it was fine. We could also do quick walk throughs of the museums and then decide where to go back to spend more time or choose specific exhibits we wanted to revisit. The Air and Space Museum was the clear winner on this trip.

The National Cathedral- One of the most beautiful places in D.C., the National Cathedral took 83 years to complete and is the second largest cathedral in the United States, the 6th largest in the world. When we went, there was also a festival going on with all sorts of activities for the kids, including face painting, rides, and games. My husband and I could enjoy the beautiful architecture and our kids could enjoy transforming their faces into woodland creatures.

 

Beauvoir-  If you are up by the National Cathedral on a weekend, you should check out the National Cathedral Elementary School’s (Beauvoir) playground. It is immaculate, and there is a nice variety of activities for various age ranges.Beauvoir

Georgetown- Again, this is one for the adults and the children. My husband and I enjoyed pushing the kids in the stroller and window shopping. We finished at a kid-friendly, Mexican restaurant with friends in a nearby neighborhood. We went mid-afternoon, grabbed dinner, went to a nearby park, and were back at our hotel at a reasonable hour (we did take a taxi back). You can adjust the time you would like to spend in Georgetown depending on how much you want to explore or how long you want to shop. If you have small children with you an afternoon or even half of an afternoon would probably be enough time.

National World War II Memorial- Opened in the spring of 2004, this memorial has significance as a tribute to those who served during World War II. It is nice to visit in order to have meaningful and age-appropriate conversations with your children. Bonus: it is outside and our children had fun finding our state name engraved in one of the 56 granite pillars located around the plaza. Win, win, win.

World War II Memorial

Memorial Run- Speaking of memorials, we ran almost every morning by the monuments. While we could have spent more time (obviously) at each monument, I’m not sure our children were quite old enough to spend hours at them. Our runs seemed the most efficient and effective for our children’s ages, and there was just something so peaceful and serene about seeing the monuments before the hoards of tour groups descended on them for the day. During our run, we would stop to catch our breath, talk with the kids about the monuments, and take a picture. We were able to see the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument all within our 35-minute run. Amazing.Memorial

 While there is so much to see in D.C. and we were not able to do it all, I feel that this list has a nice balance of history and activity considering the ages of our children. I hope that other families traveling to D.C. with small children will also find this list to be helpful. 

*Please note that some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I may be compensated.