Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Family Holiday Fun, Barns, and Brew

Between Christmas and New Years, my sister and brother-in-law, Katy and Tony, visited us. We celebrated Christmas, spent a ton of time playing, visited a local brewery, and checked out Frying Pan Farm Park.

Katy and Tony hadn't seen Emily in quite some time -- and were very impressed with her ability to walk, run, and talk! After two days, I think Emily completely wore them out! 

During our time together, we opened Christmas presents. Scratch that! What I should say is that Emily opened presents. She likes to unwrap anything she can get her hands on -- even if it's not meant for her!

In particular, Emily LOVED an educational gift from Katy and Tony, consisting of a seriously ENORMOUS basket full of life-like animals made by Learning Resources. Katy compiled the incredible basket, which includes the following sets of animals:

  • Jumbo Pets, consisting of a Dog, Cat, Rabbit, Guinea Pig, Fish, and Bird;

  • Jumbo Jungle Animals, consisting of a Lion, Tiger, Gorilla, Elephant, and Giraffe; 

    • Jumbo Forest Animals, consisting of a Bear, Moose, Beaver, Owl, and Fox;

      • Jumbo Farm Animals, consisting of a Horse, Pig, Cow, Goat, Sheep, Rooster, and Goose; and
      • Jumbo Endangered Animals, consisting of a Black Rhinoceros, Giant Panda, Cheetah, Manatee, and Albatross. 
      The animals are very life-like and detail-oriented. Each animal set includes an activity guide with a few key facts about each animal; discussion starters; activity ideas; and care instructions. 

      The animals provide a great opportunity for toddlers to learn:
      • Animal Identification: Katy made a notebook to accompany the basket of animals. The notebook includes a photo of each animal. I'm using the notebook to help Emily identify the animals. I show Emily a picture of the animal, ask her to find it, and then we talk about it. 
      • Learning Animal Names and Sounds: We move and make noises like each of the animals.
      • Pretend Play. Emily has been enjoying bathing the animals in her pretend kitchen sink. She also cooks for them and feeds them. I know her real dog, Bentley, can't wait until she is old enough to walk, feed, and bathe him!

      Opening gifts and playing with family was a workout that caused us to become pretty thirsty. So, we went to Lost Rhino Brewing Company in Ashburn, Virginia, for a tour and tasting. 

      It was our first trip to Lost Rhino. While we sampled different types of beer, including delicious woodys and a new not-yet-on tap crystal-styled Hefeweizen, Emily had a small taste of the brewery's root beer. I'm sure that the root beer would be the perfect ingredient for an amazing float. We all enjoyed the delicious Chips N' Dip loaded with barbecue chicken in the large dining area. 

      Visiting with family and exploring new places and things can be so much fun! Thanks so much, Katy and Tony, for sharing your weekend with us. We wish you lived closer. 

      Have you recently had family in town? I'd love to hear about your visit! Your comments keep me motivated and, please remember, that sharing is caring!

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      1. What a wonderful fun-filled family weekend, and the places you explored sound fabulous!

      2. Happy you all were able to have a weekend together. Love the animals and animal book Emily got from Tony and Katy. What a great way to blend fun with learning.