Schooling in Pajamas

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Memories of Kansas- 2015

Here is another post about our trip to visit family during the summer of 2015. Warning: it is a bit long but I felt having this section of our trip in one spot was the best way to go. My husband’s family live in Kansas so over our 19 years of marriage and then some we have traveled to Kansas. When we went this time, I wanted to be a bit more intentional about capturing memories and having things the boys could look back on. After all, how many times can you visit a place and not see any of the sites?

Right as we got into Kansas, we ran into a large storm. This storm was producing a tornado somewhere on the path we were to travel. Luckily we did not have one on the road we were actually travelling on but we did have to pull over at a small out of the way cigarette shop and listen to the weather. Having previous lived in Tornado Ally for 10 years, we know the importance of paying attention to the weather especially the clouds. They speak volumes if you know to pay attention. We ended up waiting out some heavy rain and wind for about 30 minutes.

Every time we go to Kansas, we eat with his brothers and their families whenever possible. We drive about 30 minutes from my father-in-law’s house to Fort Scott. We love to gather at this place called Sharkey’s Pub and Grill. It has great food and of course is decorated with sharks and fishing photos.


While in Fort Scott, we made a side trip to the Fort Scott National Historic Site. We’ve driven right by it before and never knew.

Fort Scott National Historic Site lets you walk and see how a fort in the still forming plains was set up. The fort was established in 1842. It has a place in history for its part in the Bleeding Kansas conflict. I would highly recommend visiting here if you are in the area.

We also visited the National Cemetery that is located in Fort Scott. Here is the page that explains its history along with the rules and regulations to be buried there as well as adding flowers.

We also took a trip to Chanute to see more of his family and of course do the “when I was young” tour that we are always treated to.  While here we went to the Safari Museum. This was a real treat and all five of us enjoyed it immensely.  The museum curator was an extremely nice gentleman. The gift shop is not very big and we did not find anything we wanted to buy as a memento which was too bad because there were several nice things in the shop. You can take pictures with out the flash. There are some hands-on activities for the kids as well.

I took the boys to Kansas City with me one day. We made a stop at the Mine Creek Battlefield State Historic Site on our way up to the city. Unfortunately, it was closed the day we stopped by so I will be putting this on the list of things to do on our next visit out there. We managed to get some outside pictures though.

Once in Kansas City, we went to the Crown Center. There we walked around, ate at Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant, and went to Sea Life Aquarium.  The Sea Life Aquarium is attached to Lego Land with the aquarium starting to the left and Lego Land to the right. Both share a gift shop. We enjoyed seeing all the sea life and just could not pass up visiting another aquarium. They certainly do not get old for us. This is a military friendly facility and I was able to get a discount with my retired spouse i.d. which certainly made it easier money wise to visit.

This was an experience for us. You order your food through a phone that is at your table. It is cool but since the kitchen area is really loud it does makes it hard to hear the person taking your order. Then food is then brought to you via a train & tray system. The train, as seen in the photo above, runs around the top of the wall. It makes the train sound and whistles as it moves. The food comes in a box which is then pushed off onto a silver tray at your table. That is then lowered down to your table kinda like a dumbwaiter type system. We had a blast watching the trains come from the kitchen and trying to predict where they were going. The Restaurant also has model trains in windows that you can watch. Food was typical diner style food consisting of burgers, chicken, and hotdogs. Glad we went but probably would not go out of our way just to eat there again.

The boys had a lot of fun at the aquarium. The kid’s area was a treat with lots of hands-on and talking exhibits. The fun facts spread throughout was enough to keep my older ones interested.

As we drove through Kansas City, we snapped pictures of things we thought were interesting. Okay, my son took pictures while I tried not to get lost in all the construction and one way streets. Ack!! We did manage to drive by the Kansas City library parking garage which I first saw from a pin on Pinterest. The trees made getting a good picture hard but we took a few anyway.

Thanks for sticking around until the end. I look forward to exploring more of Kansas on one of our return trips.


Hot Springs, Arkansas

I’ve been absent from the blog for a couple of months so I haven’t gotten all of our summer vacation pictures blogged yet. When everyone is in school things get a bit hectic with time management. I’m on break for a couple of weeks before my classes start up again so I’ll be updating quite a bit in order to catch up.

During our summer trip we drove down to Hot Springs, Arkansas on our trip back to Georgia. I was excited to visit Hot Springs which I had been wanting to do for a long time. When we got their it had been raining off and on so we weren’t sure what we would be able to do. We made a last minute decision to spend the night since the next day was going to be decent weather wise. I am glad we did though we did not get to do all I had planned.

We stayed at the historic Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa which was a real treat. The staff was friendly, the atmosphere quiet, and the hotel itself was rich in history and charm.


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The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa is located right across from Hot Springs National Park. We walked to everything we went to while there with the exception of doing the Duck Tour. The section of Hot Springs you go to for the National Park and other attractions requires you to park at a public lot if you are not able to find other parking which charges by the hour. It is a bit of walking so bring really comfy walking shoes.

The Bath House Row houses the Park Services gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and get your National Park Passport stamped. This was a fun section to walk through. We visited a bath house set up as a museum but you can visit several that are still running spa business.  Here are two pictures from the bath house we visited. It had gorgeous mosaic windows throughout. This picture is of one on the ceiling. The next picture shows how they got the hot spring water into the bathhouse and then various rooms.

As you walk through this section you will find art galleries, shops, restaurants & cafes, and touristy activities.

We also took time to walk one of the trails that run behind Bath House Row. There are several that split off from the main trail we took. It was peaceful walking through looking at all the  nature and spotting where the springs gurgled up through the ground.

Overall, this was a great little side trip however I don’t think we would have planned a trip just for here alone. There were a few things associated with the park and the area we did not get to do.  For example we did not get to go to such as the Mountain Tower.

Check these sites out for more information.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs, Arkansas

A trivia fact just for you. Did you know Hot Springs, Arkansas is the boyhood home of former President Bill Clinton?

Memphis, Tennessee

Mid-June we took a trip to Kansas to visit my husband’s family. It takes about nineteen hours or so to get there so we make Memphis a midway stop for us. This time I was able to meet with a friend and her family to have dinner together. It was a great stop over. We got to the hotel early and got to go swimming in their indoor pool. Unfortunately the pool was not heated and we shivered the whole time we were in it but it was a refreshing break to the heat outside. We didn’t do much sight-seeing while there. I had a few shocks to places that I am used to seeing as we go through that have changed so much.

There are two things my kids always look forward to when we go through Memphis. The first one is the bridge going over the river from East Memphis to West Memphis and the second thing is the gigantic pyramid. The bridge of course is the same but not so much for the pyramid.

memphis1  Seeing the pyramid was certainly a shock. Last time we were through, the pyramid was shiny and awe inspiring. This time it was dull looking and has been turned into a Bass Pro Shops store. I was told that you can take an elevator to the top for $10 and look out from the very top. I was shocked at this change of events. This picture is a close up one from the bridge getting onto I-40 from Beale street area.

memphis2 This is the bridge on I-40 going into Memphis. We usually take the I-55 bridge and have lots of pictures going across it over the years. You can see the pyramid to left side. It just does not look shiny and worth the “ohs and ahs” of the past.

As usual, we stayed at a hotel on the West Memphis side. It was a new-ish hotel and was very nice.  The pool was nice but cold. It had a edge on the deep in that you could sit on. My oldest didn’t join us but that was okay. The four of us had a blast and I got to use my new waterproof camera for some cool shots.

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My friend took us down to Beale Street for dinner and to walk around. It is pretty awesome that area is barricaded so pedestrians can walk around and not worry about cars. That does leave the problem of parking which can be as cheap as $5 for an outside lot or $10 for parking garage.

memphis5 I had to take a picture of the Coyote Ugly Saloon. If you’ve watched that movie you’ll know why I had to do it.

We were supposed to go to Central BBQ to eat but decided to stick around Beale Street. We ended up eating at B.B. King’s Blues Club.

  Hubby had the ribs and said they were some of the best he had. The fried catfish I had were good and the pieces were huge. Everyone else had chicken strips that were a bit over cooked. The place is really dark inside and the grill up front gave off a smokey atmosphere that was hard to walk through. Friendly staff but I wouldn’t make a trip just to eat there.

We didn’t make it in time to stop by the Peabody to watch the ducks walk the red carpet but would love to do that next time we pass through the area. We also want to make time to walk the river way next time. It’s hard to believe that we have driven through this area so much but never had the time to stop and “smell the roses” as the saying goes.

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