Thursday, May 29, 2014

Okay So Here's The Story

Nope I'm Not Moving...I Adore Fortville, But...

I also have a soft spot for Carmel! I grew up in Carmel. I'm a Carmel High School grad. You can find me in Carmel on the weekends from time to time. I have family and a very best friend that still live there. I love attending Our Lady of Mount Carmel on a Sunday every so often as well. There is something about coming back to a place where you have such good memories. It's like coming home to me. It makes my heart happy. And no matter where I am for some reason Carmel always seems to find me. A fun tidbit, my next door neighbor in Fortville is a Carmel grad as well. We graduated the same year! However in a class of 700+ we never knew one another. Funny we would end up right next door to one another. Love her dearly now! A good neighbor indeed.

Growing up I walked the paths of the Flowing Well Park and Cool Creek Park. I've been to many a CarmelFest. The fest is going on 22 years that makes me feel old! I've sledded down the big hill at the golf course off 116th and Gray. I used to shop at O'Malia's Grocery Store back when it wasn't owned by Marsh. So glad they kept the fireplace shop as O'Malia's. It's good when some things stay the same. Muldoon's is one of my absolute favs. I used to eat there when it was a hole in the wall pub next to the Schwinn bike shop. I now drag my husband to eat there whenever I can. Yes, I have a little bit of Carmel in me, and I wouldn't trade that part for the world. It's made me who I am today and to many that is Fortville Mama, along with my amazing friend Ashley Thomas. No fear friends, that isn't changing. I love Fortville Mama. It brings me such joy to be able to showcase such a wonderful small town and Main Street Indiana community.

However, with my equally amazing friend Beth Pack, I am launching Carmel Mama. In an effort to do the same for Carmel mamas. To share and inform about family fun in your own "backyard". To celebrate and showcase shopping local and shopping small. And to have fun with local giveaways. I hope you will support me in this new venture and maybe from time to time stop by Carmel for a little visit too. There are treasures to be found just like in Fortville. For example, Simply Sweet Shoppe! We're working on getting a blog up for Carmel Mama too. Bear with us. In the meantime, here's a photo to enjoy of me with Beth in the backyard of my brother's house in Carmel. We were having fun making s'mores. The silly girl had never let her kids make them! And for some reason I can never keep my eyes open for a picture with this chick! What the heck?! Oh and by the way, she is amazingly talented! Check out her page - Elizabeth Pack Photography!

Cheers to a new journey! Can't wait Beth Pack!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fortville Mama Wandering Wednesday - Big Splash, Little Cost

My Kids Are Fish When Its Comes to Water

They love it! From the hose and slip n' slides to splash pads and big waterparks! Say the word POOL and they are in their suits before you can blink. 

To kick-off summer, we spent some time this past Memorial Day weekend at one of our favorites The Waterpark at Carmel's Monon Community Center! So many cool elements at this waterpark that it is so worth the drive from Fortville. Plus this frugal mama loves that they have discounted admission after 4p.m. daily. You can enjoy a big waterpark experience and a little something for everyone without the big price tag. We went on a Sunday and were able to enjoy 3 hours of fun (our own mini staycation) before closing for a total cost of $16 for our family of four. That was plenty of time for our young kids to enjoy everything they wanted to try out. (If you plan on visiting more than a few times over summer, a family summer pass might be more your style.) 

The fun starts as soon as you hit the door at The Waterpark. My kiddos love that they each get a token and have to use it to go through the entry turnstile. It's the little things in life. As a mom, I love what comes next...a stop at the floatation vest area. I think it is wonderful that Carmel-Clay Parks and Recreation provide these for you! One less thing to drag around. 

Some of my other favorite things about The Waterpark is the zero-depth entry pool (love that! so helpful for little ones to be able to walk right in and enjoy), tons of interactive features to keep the kids happy and busy, lazy river, tons of lounging space, slides for the older kids and for children and adults that like a challenge, the FlowRider and AquaClimb

I have to say I was quite intrigued by one of the new features this year - private shady cabanas! They fit 6-8 people are equipped with privacy blinds, coolers, secured lockers, charging stations (for all your electronic devices) and ceiling fans! I think this would be a perfect mama day out! Relaxing! If only they came with a cabana boy to feed you chocolate dipped fruit and bring drinks with umbrellas.

Okay, I've snapped back to reality. Feel free to pack a lunch or dinner to enjoy. There are picnic areas set aside to eat together as a family. There also is a concession area offering things like nachos, hot dogs and hot pretzels. Before we headed out from our fun Sunday pool adventure, we grabbed a couple of hot dog and drinks - all for under $5. Not bad. Nothing like worn out AND hungry kids on the way home. Nobody likes that, so this is a great option if you forget to pack snacks.

We'll definitely hit The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center a few more times this summer! Especially for the after 4p.m. deal! Follow them via the Carmel-Clay Parks and Recreation FB page for info on special events. 

Or enter a fun giveaway contest below and try out The Waterpark for FREE and have your own little staycation! See below for multiple ways to enter to WIN a family pack of admission tickets to The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center! Contest runs through Saturday 5/31 at noon!

Disclaimer: Blog post includes my own unbiased review. Carmel-Clay Parks and Recreation and The Waterpark are not responsible for the content of this post. Free pack of four admission tickets provided by Carmel-Clay Parks and Recreation. 

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fortville Mama Hearts Local Fresh!

So Much Local Fresh In and Around Fortville!

My fellow Fortville Mama, Ashley, and I adore local fresh, and we are so blessed that there is so much of it in and around our town! Actually all throughout Hancock County, Indiana really! We love cooking with it, eating it, decorating/crafting with it and getting to meet the people that grow it. Our hats off to farmers! Some of the best people we know are farmers! 

Our kiddos really enjoy getting to meet our local farmers and their families, whether on their farms or at local farmer's markets. It's fun to see where things come from and how they are grown. Plus lots of farms have animals too and what's not to love there?! Throughout the summer weekly on Monday's we will be featuring specific local fresh within our county. 

Today we are starting with one of our absolute favs! The Fortville Farmer's Market! It takes place Thursdays 4-7 p.m. in the parking lot of Fortville Nazarene Church (701 S. Maple, Fortville IN 46040). Any given week there are 15-20 vendors all with great local fresh offerings! From sweets and baked breads to Indiana grown produce and fresh plants/herbs to gluten free granola, fresh brown eggs, soaps, fairy gardens, craft items and snow cones! Tons of variety!

The Fortville Market is in its second year and is even better than ever! This year there are food items to be enjoyed while you shop! Including all beef hot dogs and hamburgers, along with chips and drinks. What a great option if you are coming to the market straight from work!

The Fortville/McCordsville Area Chamber of Commerce, who sponsors the market, is also bringing some fun special events to the market this year! This coming Thursday - May 29th - is KID'S DAY! Kiddos will get to plant a tomato to take home, enjoy special prizes and $1 snow cones! Additional special events for the season will include a petting zoo, live demos and a health fair! Watch for a special coupon in atGeist magazine and Indy with Kid's Farmer's Market Guide too! It will get you a very cool reusable market bag!

Ashley and I each have our favorites at the farmers market, but I can easily say that at one point or another we have bought from very single vendor! Each has it's own specialty, so throughout the season you are bound to find different treasures as the summer progresses. Things like homemade fudge, brown eggs, vine ripe tomatoes, Indiana corn, strawberries fresh from the field, fresh herbs, raw milk cheese, honey, syrup, fairy garden items, grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, chicken, apple butter, specialty chocolates and granola! Oh and amazing BBQ sauce! If we run out, the coach man considers it an emergency!

We sure hope to see you out in Fortville Thursdays this summer, but if too far for a visit, we encourage you to get out in your own local community and find local fresh to enjoy! We think you'll find there is really nothing like it! #WeHeartLocalFresh #WeHeartFarmers

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Far Out Experience with NASA's Destination Station

Floating Jello and More!

At the end of last month the Fortville Mama kiddos and Coach Man got to experience a special preview of a new traveling exhibit at the Indiana State Musuem - NASA's Destination Station! They were in awe of all the cool interactive features of the exhibit and learned so many interesting facts about life in space!

Little Man loved learning the about day to day life for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS). He even got to meet a real life astronaut during the preview day! In his words: way cool! As budding scientist himself, he enjoyed hearing about the experiments done aboard the ISS, and how they are being used to help people on Earth. For example, experiments involving the purification of water. Baby Girl was amazed by the floating jello in the video about life in zero gravity. Plus she was extremely excited to make the Indy Star's photo recap of the opening of the new exhibit! It's the little things in life that make a 4-year-old happy.

As a homeschooling family, we loved the interactive nature of the exhibit! Tons of multimedia, both visual and audio, plus lots of hands-on activities for little ones to learn through! One of the things I love most about the Indiana State Museum as a whole is that there are so many hands-on ways to learn and experience! The exhibits take you on a journey, make learning fun and allow each visitor to connect in the manner that best speaks to them! What's a mama not to love?! 

Have your own budding astronaut or scientist? Make sure to visit NASA's Destination Station at the Indiana State Museum before June 29th! When you visit, make sure to tweet about your adventure! @FortvilleMama and @IndianaMuseum want to hear all about your favorite parts!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Fortville Mama Friday Feature - Studio 309

A Fab Art Experience Nestled in the Heart of Fortville

There are so many wonderful treasures in our quaint town of Fortville, and Studio 309 is gem that shines bright! Owner, Sheri Jones, has transformed an old Fortville two-story into a fun and oh so welcoming art studio! Around every corner are personal touches that make her studio unique and inviting. Some of my favorites are the old church bench in the foyer and the antique school house desk nestled in a corner. I also love the vibrant colors throughout, and the various art from recent studio sessions displayed in every room. Plus I'd hang out on the front porch daily if I could. It is adorable and cozy! The whole atmosphere is just inspiring and really puts you at ease from the moment you walk through the door.

About a month ago I gave a "wine and canvas" party a try with Sheri. It was a work team building event with 16 of my co-workers. Some of us painted a scene with a tree and some of us painted poppies. We had a blast! We started our evening with snacks and drinks and then settled into our spots for a session with Sheri. We laughed, painted and laughed some more. Her instruction and coaching were perfect! She gently guided us and let each of us go about it in our own way, only giving direction when needed as we progressed with our work of art. Everyone's painting was slightly different and had their own touches. I loved that! No carbon copies at all. I can't wait for my next Studio 309 event!

After our session I stayed to help clean-up, chat with Sheri and find out more about her studio and why Fortville. As a life long lover of art, especially sculpture, Sheri had always dreamed of having an art studio and when she and her husband found this location in Fortville they knew it was perfect and meant to be! Plus her husband also has a business in Fortville and they live just a town away! For them it was a very central location. It took quite a few months of hard work to transform the two-story into the quaint studio it is today. Over their months of work on the studio they got to meet quite a few local residents and neighboring businesses. Sheri commented that everyone is so friendly and that she and her family really have fallen in love with the people of the town and small town life. They 100% feel at home and are so glad they choose Fortville for the studio location.

I love that Sheri choose Fortville too! Her studio is a wonderful addition to the mix of businesses within downtown Fortville. We all could use more art in our lives. Getting your creative on is good for the soul and the mind. Studio 309 is a perfect place for a girlfriend's night out, a date night, a team building night, a birthday party or even individual instruction.

Sheri truly loves to inspire people, and it shines through in her studio and her classes! Follow her on Facebook to keep up on up-coming events. You never know when a fun date night painting class or salvaged wood art class might pop up next! Also don't forget, each Thursday she holds an open event at 10 a.m. where you can enjoy some java and a little painting for just $20. What a deal!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lemonade Day Dreams Come Full Circle

One Boy's Lemonade Day Journey

And oh what a journey it has been! I have so enjoyed watching Little Man learn and bud into this little entrepreneur that I didn't even know was there! He continues to amazes me! He is so multi-faceted. I 100% believe there are big things ahead for him as he grows up. The world is truly his. He can do anything he puts his mind to and more!

I highly recommend doing the Lemonade Day journey with your kids. We've learned, laughed and been inspired throughout the journey; and not only our little family, but others have told me how refreshing it was to see his excitement through the journey. The entrepreneurship bug really does start young, and I think it's definitely bitten Little Man!

I love how much support there was for the journey too. The interactive online workbook is amazing! He begged to get on the computer daily to do his next section! He'd often replay sections too! He loved it. Being able to get a Lemonade Day backpack with supplies at the local libraries is great too. Plus tons of pre-Lemonade Day events to enjoy as well! As a homeschooling family, we loved the whole experience! It easily fit in our lesson plan for the year. (Check out one of our early blog posts over at Indianapolis Lemonade Day.)

We are so blessed to have so much community support! Our local community embraced Little Man and his journey. The local ice cream parlor owners were his entrepreneur mentors. He had great help brainstorming a name for his stand and even help with his artwork and his stand! The Chamber made him an honorary member and did an official ribbon cutting! Many local people stopped by for his soft launch and ribbon cutting too. The local center for keeping youth creative cut him a deal on parking lot rental for a prime spot for his Saturday stand for Indianapolis Lemonade Day! I can't say enough about what great people there are in Fortville

There's still time to start your own stand for this year's Lemonade Day! It's this Saturday May 17th! Visit Indianapolis Lemonade Day website to learn more and don't miss the downtown canal turning yellow this Friday at 10:30a.m. with Mayor Ballard.

To cap off our experience, I asked Little Man a few questions today after his soft launch and ribbon cutting. Here are his candid answers.

What was the biggest thing you learned in the Lemonade Day journey? That having a business is hard work but fun too. I like having my own business.

What was your favorite part of our soft launch today? Actually selling my lemonade and getting to talk to my customers. I like it when they smiled.

What are you looking for to for Saturday's Indianapolis Lemonade Day? To getting more customers!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Simple Inexpensive Customizable Silhouettes!

Need a last minute gift idea? Or, something special for yourself or the kids room! 

This project is so simple and inexpensive you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner! We decided to craft these for Mother's Day, which can get expensive with my girls having 3 grandmas! We usually try to get the same things for all the moms but make them individualized. 

A few years ago my mother-in-law pointed out a picture in her house that was a silhouette of her when she was around two. She kept saying that it looked like my oldest around that same age. While my hair is wavy, my oldest gets her beautiful Shirley Temple ringlets from my mother-in-law. Then she said that we should have a silhouette done of her too. I kept thinking, hey, I can do that!

So this is how I did it:

Patterned Scrapbook Paper (design of your choice)
X-Acto knife

First take a picture of your subject (maybe your child or even your furry family member aka dog) have them stand in front of a window or white wall. 

My youngest had to be tricked into it while she was eating breakfast. Silly girl!

Load picture on your computer. If you have a color printer, format the picture to black and white or monochrome. (Keep it inexpensive!)

Print picture then cut it out.

Little word to the wise, when using an X-Acto knife, cut away from you! They are sharp!

Then flip your image over and trace it on the back of the scrapbook paper.

Flip over and cut off any rough edges.

As the possibilities are endless, don't be afraid to mix patterns!