Gravert's Apple Basket Orchard | An annual Smith family tradition in Sabula, Iowa

The first time we went to Gravert’s Apple Orchard was 4 years ago when my first born was only a year old. We’ve made it a point to go every year since then and it’s something we all really look forward to! This was the first time both of our kids were able to carry their own little baskets and have some independence picking their own apples in the orchard. Not that we didn’t hear “my legs are tired…will you carry my bucket??…will you just carry me AND my bucket??” a few times, but mostly they just had a blast and loved being outside!

We also grabbed some of their Root beer made with can sugar and Wisconsin honey (delish!) and visited with the friendly animals. It’s such a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon with the family! Not to mention…their apples make the BEST apple pie! It’s also the only time I every bake, so that may be part of why all my guys love this fun little family tradition!

If you haven’t been to Gravert’s yet, definitely check your calendar and make some plans to get there before the season ends! Visit their website for their availability, hours & directions - http://www.gravertorchard.com

A Fun Morning with Friends at Miss Effie's Country Flowers in Donahue, Iowa

When you meet new friends and they’re not from around here, you end up discovering all sorts of hidden gems right in your backyard! I never knew Miss Effie’s Country Flowers existed, and now I know it will be one of my new favorite places to go! I’m already planning on semi-annual visits and hope to do some photo shoots here. It’s only a $25 fee to use the land and would be well worth every penny!

I highly recommend checking it out if you live in the Eastern Iowa area. You fill a bucket with as many flowers as your heart desires. No flowers are off limits and they have tons to choose from! When you get home you can easily turn your bucket of flowers into multiple bouquets. They are open to the public Thursday to Sunday (hours vary by day). Visit their website http://www.misseffiesflowers.com for all of the details!

Get some friends together, make it a date with your significant other, or even take the kids on a flower-picking adventure. Our kids had a blast making bouquets, enjoying a little picnic, seeing chickens and of course petting the kitties. It’s a beautiful place; you won’t be disappointed!

It's never too early to teach your kids about their Earth

Happy Earth Day!

We started our day with an early morning walk through Clinton’s beautiful Bickelhaupt Arboretum. We are so lucky to have this little gem in our community! I know my son Bennett has been learning a lot about plants at preschool this month so it was fun to take him through there and show him the many budding flowers. He told us all about how plants grow and we looked for bees and butterflies. A lot of people are scared of bees and I want to make sure my boys know that they are not so scary. As long as we respect them and give them their space, they won’t hurt us! That’s true with most things in nature.

I was thinking of ways that I could teach my kids to help take care of our planet and compiled a short list of ideas. I’d love to know your ideas as well, please share in the comments!

  1. Turn off lights when you leave the room.

  2. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth.

  3. Take a bag on your walk so you can pick up trash along the way.

  4. Grow your own vegetables. Contact the Ericksen Center in Clinton for information on our community garden!

  5. Recycle bottles, cans and paper.