Grocery Update: Week 38, 2018

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We are settling into our fall routine.  Unfortunately that means lots of split dinners.  This week, while the first full week of school, includes 5th grade math night and Back to School Night at the elementary level.  Combined with sports and a one-off event I have Friday night we will not all eat at the same time this week.  As a result you’ll see the quicker items showing up again – pizza supplies, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.  I’m trying to work in some recipes like chicken pot pie that can be eaten by two separate groups, but that’s just not always possible.

My total this week was $293.24.

On Monday I spent $49.05 at Stop & Shop.  I bought four gallons of milk that were not on sale plus everything you see below that was.  Stop & Shop is not the cheapest place to buy milk, but its close enough that if I’m there for the sale stuff it makes sense to grab a few to cover until the next time I’m at the better priced locations (BJ’s or Wegman’s).

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The milk lasted until Thursday, when I ran over to Wegman’s.  I spent $110.54.  You’ll see there are a lot of bulk items in there so some of the bigger ticket items will be spread over multiple meals.  Over the weekend we used some for hamburgers and sausages.  We’ve also had meatball subs and tacos with this shopping.

Then on Friday I spent $133.65 at BJ’s.  I don’t usually go to BJ’s twice in one month, but we discovered we were very low on charcoal and it can be hard to find in the winter.  Since I knew I’d seen the bulk packages at BJ’s I went back there to stock up.

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This was all the perishable stuff.  I know I laid out the non-perishables for a picture, but clearly I got distracted and then forgot to take a picture before putting it away!

 

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Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 5 of 5, Mount Vernon

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Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Day 2: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Day 3A: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

Day 3B: United States Botanic Garden

Day 4: Luray Caverns

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First, for those of you outside of the United States, Mount Vernon is the home of George Washington who was the first president of the United States.  It sits on a lovely hill overlooking the Potomac River just south of Washington, D.C.  George Washington also owned other properties in the area, but this was the primary house where he lived and ran his various businesses.

This was a new location for us and we weren’t sure how the kids would handle the visit.  It was not as hot as it had been earlier in the week, but it was still hot and one would be spending much of the day outside.  Rain was not in the forecast, though we ended up wet from a brief shower mid-afternoon, that did serve to cool things off a bit.

The location is reasonably easily to get to and reasonably stroller friendly.  We did have to leave the stroller outside in the main house and some of the dirt paths are rather steep, but nothing that posed significant problems.

When you arrive and buy your tickets you receive a time stamp for entry into the main house.  Everything else on the property is open and available for you to explore at your leisure.  And, there is plenty.  We were there the entire day and still didn’t get to the Distillery.

We started with the upper gardens gardens, blacksmith’s shop, and spinning house.  All the gardens are still maintained, though more sparsely than they would have been.  One question I had is what happens to the food that grows there today as they did not seem to be harvesting anything.  There is a small garden oriented gift shop near the kitchen gardens, but we didn’t go in.

We then headed to the 12-acre lawn and bowling green.  These two large grassy areas in front of the house represent the view visitors would have had when they arrived.  The picture below is taken from the Bowling Green gate which separates the two lawn areas.

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Then we took our house tour.  As I mentioned the stroller needed to be left outside.  The tour was about 45 minutes, which was within the attention span of our group.  Each room had its own guide, all of whom were very knowledgeable and friendly.  You are on your feet for the entire tour with two flights of stairs.  Keep that in mind if planning a visit.  The colors are vibrant and bright, very different from the current grays one sees in houses.  Another significant difference from today is that the kitchen is separated from the house by an outdoor walkway to keep the heat and smells at a distance.

Following the house tour we went back to the museum building you enter through to eat lunch.  They have a food court and a sit-down restaurant.  We chose the sit-down restaurant which turned out to be excellent.  It is a largely modern take on traditional foods, but is very homey and kid friendly and we didn’t feel we were paying a fortune at a tourist trap.  Highly recommend eating here for any group vs another food court stop for hamburgers and french fries.

After lunch we headed back past the lawns to the lower garden, animal pastures, stables, and orchard.  These areas were less developed than the upper garden, but still offered something to see and plaques describing what things would have been like when Washington lived.

We saw the Old Tomb where Washington was first buried.  His will stipulated a new tomb be built, which happened and his body was moved there.  We visited this tomb next.  To be honest, neither tomb really had much to see.

Near the new tomb is the Slave Memorial.  As would have been normal for a man of his wealth in that time and place, Washington had a number of slaves at Mount Vernon and his other properties.  This aspect of history is discussed well throughout the property.  George Washington, and later Martha, freed their slaves upon their deaths.  The slaves were clearly a critical part of the running of the plantation.

We continued down the hill to the dock and Pioneer Farm.  Here we ran into the one re-enactor that I would have preferred not to run in to.  The sixteen sided barn was interesting, but the woman explaining it rather trapped you inside so it was impossible to step in to see it without getting stuck for a long while.  We wanted to catch the shuttle back up the hill.  Since it only comes every thirty minutes or so it was important to keep moving.  Also, this was towards the end of the day with many small kids who just weren’t up for a long talk by this point.

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On our way out we went through the museum.  All in all it was a successful day.  I hadn’t known what to expect when we started since looking at historical stuff with kids can be hit or miss.  But, there was enough interesting things, enough movement, and not too much stuffiness as to make the day run quite smoothly.

Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 4 of 5, Luray Caverns

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Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Day 2: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Day 3A: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

Day 3B: United States Botanic Garden

Pictures today!

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On our last trip to New York state we visited Howe Caverns.  Since the boys enjoyed that experience we decided to visit Luray Caverns this trip.  We made a full day of it and took in everything to see on property.  Luray Caverns is about two hours west of Washington, D.C.  Since we were staying to the west already, a direct route would have taken us about an hour and a half.

On our way there we did the northernmost stretch of Skyline Drive.  This added about thirty minutes to the drive.  Note that there is a fee to enter so it is both a slower and more expensive way to get to Luray from the DC area.  But, the scenery on that part of the route (between Front Royal, VA and Rt 211) was spectacular – even the boys thought so.  On the way back we decided to drive it a bit more so we took the middle section from Rt 211 to Rt 33.  This was not as spectacular and probably not worth the drive.

Upon arrival at Luray Caverns we bought our tickets and then had lunch.  The line was somewhat long and tickets are not timed, so its up to you to best judge the line for entry.  That being said, it moves pretty fast regardless.  Even more than Howe Caverns, this operation seems to be a smooth running one that’s been going for generations.  That is apparent both in what you see in the caverns as well as how things are run above ground.  One example is that they take your picture with a green screen at the entrance and you have the opportunity to purchase at the end – very theme-park like.  It’s not a negative, but it is apparent that you are not seeing a truly unblemished natural treasure.

You can bring your own food to eat onsite, just not in the caverns.  There is also a basic grill near the entrance.  We later found that there is another food option across the street at the Luray Valley Museum that might have been worth exploring more had we found it earlier.  We ate at the grill.  The food was fine, but limited, basic, and pricey for what you got.

Note: A ticket to Luray Caverns includes entry to the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum, Toy Town Junction, and the Luray Valley Museum.  I’m not even sure if you could purchase ticket to those separately.  They did check our tickets at both the car and Luray Valley museums.

After lunch we went in the adjacent Toy Town Junction.  I’m glad they don’t call this a museum.  It’s more like someone’s well-organized toy collection.  Just about everything dates from 30-50 years back, with a few popular modern items and very old things added for completeness.  But, it was a fun few minutes.

After lunch we joined the line for the caverns.  It was much shorter.  We made the second group, which was maybe a 15 minute wait.  A huge advantage for us is that strollers are allowed in the caverns.  The steps are also somewhat narrow so an umbrella stroller is probably better than a big jogger.  You do have to carry them up and down the stairs and the start/finish of the tour.  And, there are some steep hills to watch out for with strollers.  But, it makes it much easier to handle the smaller children.

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The tour itself is about 45 minutes.  It was well organized; our guide was knowledgeable and kept the group together and moving the entire time.  One is very aware of the many other tour groups moving through the caverns with you, but they rarely interrupt the experience.  There are great vistas of large caverns and smaller features.  The completely still, mirror-like water was impressive.  The tour concludes with the playing of the Stalacpipe Organ.  By this point we had a hard time keeping the small ones quiet, but clearly we weren’t the only ones with that problem.  Generally, if your group is exclusively attentive adults who want to hear everything I’d recommend staying towards the front of the group.  Drop back if you have small children who might needs space or talk a lot.  If you want to take pictures, dropping back may also be a good idea.  Just, keep up with the group as the lights are on timers and you don’t want to end up in the dark.  Also, realize that in some places the path is quite narrow and you may not be able to work back to the front for a few stops.

After our tour we headed down the hill to the car museum (and bathrooms).  I must say, after the toy “museum” the car museum was impressive.  If you are at all a car enthusiast, you should visit.  They had an excellent variety of vehicles, displayed well with descriptions, and in excellent condition.  The aisles are wide and very stroller friendly.  We (adults) could have stayed much longer, but unfortunately the boys were unable to get very interested.  Many of the cars had a tie-in to the region, but not all.

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Finally, we went across the street to the Luray Valley Museum.  As folks who have visited Sturbridge Village, there really wasn’t much to this one.  It’s not that it isn’t well done, just that it isn’t very fleshed out and comes across as an afterthought.  I don’t know if they have bigger plans for this area, but compared to the rest it underwhelms.  There’s a small museum and five exhibit buildings from 18th century life that you can look in, but not actually enter.  Again, its not bad, it just feels like it could/should be developed further.

Note: If you check their website you’ll see that they advertise a maze and rope adventure park.  If I’m honest, neither looked very big or worth the price.  More importantly, they didn’t really work for the age ranges we had in our group.  But, take a look before you go especially if you are traveling with teens/tweens.  Both are right near the entrance and you may decide that they are a good option for your family.

All in all, Luray Caverns is worth the drive.  In fact, I think doing the top portion of Skyline drive on the way is worth it.  There is plenty to do and abundant free parking.  Clearly they can handle even very busy days.  Assuming you check out all they have to offer it’s a pretty full day so doing Skyline on the way there is better as it may be getting dark when it’s time to head back east.

Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 3 of 5 B, United States Botanic Garden

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Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Day 2: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Day 3A: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

This will be a short post, both because I apparently didn’t take pictures and because the Botanic Garden is a much smaller venue than the Air & Space Museum.

The Botanic Garden is a large green house just a few streets over from the Air & Space Museum towards the Capitol Building.  We were there about an hour on this trip, but two would probably do it more justice.

The main greenhouse is four (or more) stories tall and includes a full-scale jungle with palm trees.  There’s a path at ground level that is reasonably stroller friendly.  There’s also a catwalk about halfway up in the tree canopy, but you have to take the stairs.  Technically, there is an elevator, but the expectation seems to be that one takes the stairs.  The catwalk is narrow and would not be appropriate for a stroller.

Around this center greenhouse are a series of rooms representing other ecosystems including both wetter, dryer, hotter, and colder.  Finally, outside there are gardens.  There is a Children’s garden in a courtyard enclosed by the building.  It has tools for the kids to dig, water, rake, etc.  It also has a small structure.  Our kids could have spent more time here and there are plenty of benches for parents.

The other gardens are exterior to the building and open later hours than the building itself.  I have been to more extensive gardens, but these offer a nice seclusion to the hustle and bustle in this part of DC.  Even if you don’t go in the greenhouse, pop into the gardens instead of walking along the sidewalks.

Finally, it should be noted that the Botanic Gardens have the best bathrooms in this part of DC.  They are large, clean, and uncrowded.  They are all the way in the back through the greenhouse, but (like the gardens outside) worth the trouble if you find yourself in need while outside in the area.

I would not plan an entire day for the Botanic Gardens.  But, given its location between Air & Space and the Capitol Building, it is a worthy stop at this end of the National Mall.

Grocery Update: Week 37, 2018

Yes, it’s Tuesday, but I feel like the grocery posts are the ones I should be keeping up with since they just keep coming week after week!

First off today, I missed a trip to Shaw’s two weeks ago.  I didn’t get much and apparently I left the receipt in the bag because when I finally got all the boxes of oatmeal out there it was.  So, I’m adding the $32.23 in this week even though I actually went there last week – same month.

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So, back to last week.  On Monday I spent $10.53 at Stop & Shop to grab a few sale items, plus bananas.

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I made my monthly stop at BJ’s this week.  It wasn’t as big as the last one at only $170.54 and was timed largely because a big batch of coupons were expiring.

Finally, I did my main shopping on Friday at Wegman’s.  I spent $113.76.  Apparently I forgot to take pictures.  It was a protein heavy trip with pork, ground beef, chicken, and eggs.  So you won’t seethe pork butt, rolls, and potato salad for our weekend BBQ of pulled pork sandwiches.

That brought me to $327.06 which isn’t too bad given that included the BJ’s trip.

Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 3 of 5 A, Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum

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Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Day 2: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Day three was hot again so we opted for something indoors.  Because our hotel was not near downtown we again opted to drive and found there was ample parking (in unrelated buildings) behind the Air & Space Museum on the National Mall.

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We have been here before.  Some things the boys wanted to see again were the plane and cockpit you can enter as well as the walk-through of the Skylab.  See a theme?  For some reason the walk-through of the mock aircraft carrier is not as big a draw.  They also complete planes and spacecraft.  We still have a harder time convincing them to read all the smaller displays although we adults would like to.

Once again we tried to go through in an order different from what we may have done before.  We headed for the space area on the eastern end of the first floor first.  Space interests everyone in our house so it was a soft entry.

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We were going to stop into the large McDonald’s for lunch, but found it closed for renovations.  (I don’t know if it will be a McDonald’s after again or not.)  In its place they had fridge and freezer cabinets with sandwiches, salads, and microwaveable stuff.  None of it was very kid friendly so we ended up leaving for the nearby McDonald’s and returning after lunch.  Thankfully, while crowded, the nearby McDonald’s was big enough to handle the onslaught (I don’t think we were the only ones.).  It also had very clean bathrooms!

We returned to the museum after lunch to finish the eastern end of the first floor.  We continued with the western end and then headed upstairs.  The solar system rooms went quickly, but its always a challenge getting out of “How Things Fly.”  It is very popular and they do a good job keeping all of the hands on activities working.  This room is a big tricky with strollers though because of its many different levels.

The many levels is a general issue with the National Air and Space Museum as multiple exhibits have stairs and most do not have ramps at all.  We’re curious how things will look after the massive renovation that is just getting underway.  For those considering visiting over the next two years, read up on the state of the renovations before you go.  Because of the extensive nature of the renovations, at various times significant chunks of the museum will be closed.  Some of the exhibits will be temporarily relocated to the Annex also so if you want to see a specific thing you will need to do some research.

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The rooms on the west end that focus on the early years of flying were interesting for the kids because they had complete aircraft.  Same for the military rooms upstairs, although note that those are fraught with stairs.

The boys were interested to spend time in the rooms covering the Wright Brothers and the Apollo missions.  Stairs weren’t an issue here with the stroller, which was nice.  The final room we went in was “Time and Navigation.”  This is probably the least approachable for kids in its current form, though there is plenty for the adults to absorb.  We never really get to spend enough time there to read everything.

Plus we were going a bit fast at this point so we could sneak over next door before it closed.  See the post next Wednesday (yes, a special one, but it will be short) for exactly where!

 

Fall 2018 Freezer/Pantry Challenge

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So last year I did both freezer and pantry challenges and updated you throughout the year on how both were going.  Thankfully, I have many fewer items this year that need using up (although some readers will notice a few things on the list again) so I’m putting the lists together.  Also, since I have next to no proteins on the list, I’m hoping/planning to move through these things faster.

Most everything this year is in the freezer so the pantry list is really short:

  • Coconut oil: I bought this originally to make granola which I haven’t made in the last year so we’ll see where this goes.
  • Veggie straws: I have one bag left over from summer when we take these to the pool.  I opened it today to send some into school for snacks.  Only two kids eat them.  Sticking to Thursdays (which are they best day to send these as snacks so they don’t get crushed), it will take me a few weeks to finish off the bag.
  • Bag of mixed nuts:  I think I’m just going to have to open this and break out the nutcrackers come holiday season.  They have not expired.

That’s it there!

The freezer list is a little longer, though not nearly as bad as last year.  Clearly not everything in the above pictures is on the list (see my free pint of ice cream in there).  These two freezer compartments are the most loaded with listed items though.  The other two are rather neat.  So, here’s what we have:

  • Beef bones: for stock
  • Hamburger and hot dog buns – one package each: Probably going to thaw these and use them for sandwiches as BBQ season is largely over.
  • Pre-made hamburgers: We weren’t fans of these and we have about 10 lbs left from what we purchased for our big summer BBQ.  I’m going to try cooking them up and draining them (80% vs our usual 90%) to use as regular ground beef.
  • Twelve (8 + 4) egg whites: There are a couple of options here, add-ins for sous vide eggs or macaroons being the most likely.
  • Nine cubes of cilantro in chicken broth: This goes with a specific recipe which obviously I haven’t made enough of recently.
  • Eleven servings of butternut squash ravioli: Clearly I could eat these faster, but they feel more right in the fall than the summer.  I will get to them all eventually.
  • One serving of mushroom ravioli: I need to sell this to someone as its not my thing.
  • One gingerbread loaf: Clearly I need to thaw this when we have a shortage of desert options.
  • Four bagels: We’re working through these.  They’re all sliced for easy toasting.
  • Three blocks of cream cheese: I can’t think of anything to do with these besides cream cheese frosting, ie carrot cake.  My kids aren’t super interested in this though so I have to time it right.
  • Chopped walnuts, slivered almonds, and chopped pecans:  These are odds and ends that could be used up.  The walnuts and pecans I do use from time to time.  The almonds are left over from granola making so either I’m back to that or I need to come up with some baked goods to use them up.
  • Some frozen celery sticks: These should go with the beef bones, and other things, for stock.  I just need to remember that!

Grocery Update: Week 36, 2018

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This will be a short post because I only made two stops last week!

First, I spent $119.29 at Wegman’s on Friday, mostly on meat and milk.  Yes, everything else fit in one bag.  The ice cream was my free item of the month; the bread was 50% off.

I haven’t been talking too much about our menus lately as I’ve been trying just to get back on track with posts.  But, to give you an idea, we BBQed the chicken and ribs for dinner Saturday night (with two thirds of the corn from below).  Then we used some of the ground beef for chili Sunday night.  We’re back in soccer season so Monday was a split dinner with hot dogs for the younger ones and pizza for the late set (up to four now that our soccer playing twin has aged into the late practice slot).

To balance things out I spent $120.54 on produce on Sunday.

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All of this is local.  We ate the yellow corn with the BBQ.  The heirloom tomato went on the pizza.  The pepper and white corn are for chowder tonight, assuming I can make that happen.  I’ll eat the peaches for lunch over the week.   I don’t have a plan for the green beans, but the kids love them so I grab a batch every time I go in season; this is only one meal’s worth.

The plan for tonight is flank steak (under the chicken above), corn chowder, bread (pictured above), and either green beans or spinach salad depending on how things play out.

 

Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 2 of 5, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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Day 1: Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

Continuing on our DC area trip, on Day 2 we went to the National Zoo.  It was very hot (as one should expect in DC in August), but the chance of rain was lowest so we opted for this outdoor activity.  We had been here once before, but not the two-year old and we though she would really like it.

Last time we took the subway; this time we drove and parked onsite.  I didn’t find either transportation method to be particularly difficult.  If we had been staying near a METRO stop we would have taken it again, but we weren’t.

Our youngest has a thing for elephants recently so we spent a lot of time with those.

We saw just about all of the exhibits, including the pandas who were outside for the first time I’d ever seen.

A few exhibits were closed and the big cat area seemed to be sparsely populated, but neither was enough of an issue to cause concerns.

I like that this zoo is clean and less smelly than others. We also appreciated the farm area.  While we used to live near farms and therefore saw cows and chickens rather regularly.  But, that is much less common today so its nice to see those animals entering zoos along with the more standard African safari fare.

Near the parking entrance they seemed to be finishing up a brand new bathroom complex and kid’s play area.  The play area wasn’t open yet, but looked fun.

We took the full day and saw just about everything.  We missed one house, reptiles maybe?  It is hilly, but I’m not sure what they could do about that.  Some of the buildings have a very old school feel to them.  Having been to more recently built zoos, this is noticeable.  But, its over 100 years old and still very popular so there is something to that too.  The kids did notice the lack of giraffes and some other seemly “standard” zoo animals, but everyone did enjoy what there was to see.

That being said, we had a few issues.  The food was hit or miss.  They had no “basic” juice for kids, or milk.  When I ordered the bacon cheeseburger (only burger on the menu), I was told they were out of bacon.  You can bring your own food and it’s definitely worth it.  What they did haven’t wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great and it was expensive.  At least bring your own drinks.

We also had an issue with the bathroom signs.  In one case I tried to follow the signs (and asked a few staff along the way) and from almost the middle ended up all the way at the parking exit to use the bathroom.  This is a long way for a five-year old.  As it turns out I could have found one quicker to the right, but the sign pointed left.  Something in between would have been greatly appreciated.  It’s not that the bathrooms were hard to find, just that they were very far apart.

In summary:

  • plan for a full day.
  • bring your own food, or at least drinks, especially if you have a stroller to put it on.
  • follow the loop from either the parking or METRO entrance to see pretty much everything.
  • use the bathrooms when you’re near one.
  • and, be prepared for significant hills.

 

Washington, DC./Virginia 2018: 1 of 5, Smithsonian Air & Space Annex

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I let you know already that we spent in a week in the DC area in August.  Some of these places we had been to before, but enjoyed.  Others were new to us (or some of us as I had actually been to all of them years ago).  So, over the next few weeks I’ll give you an overview of each of the five places we went, in order.

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Day 1 was at Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.  We have been there twice before; it is a favorite every time.  The kids love the scale of the place – the big hangers with complete airplanes and helicopters are a wonder to behold.  It really does take a full day to take it all in, especially if you want to see one of the IMAX movies.

We decided to go here first because there was rain in the forecast (see clouds above, although it didn’t rain) and it was the shortest drive after a long travel day.  We also consciously did the loop in the museum in reverse of our usual order as folks do tend to tire towards the end.

The museum is basically “T” shaped and divided into three categories: military, space, and civilian.  There is also a restoration hanger, a control tower where you can watch planes landing at Dulles airport, simulators, and IMAX movies.  We did the civilian planes first.

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Then we looped back for lunch (McDonald’s, though they will let you bring in food).  As we passed the cockpit of the Enola Gay the boys remarked on its similarity to the Millennium Falcon.

After lunch we went up to the control tower and purchased tickets for the older ones to watch one of the IMAX movies later in the afternoon.  The wind direction was perfect because planes were coming in to land on either side of the museum’s control tower such that they were almost at eye level as they went past.  (More on this later.)

After lunch we went to the military wing.

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The older boys are finally getting old enough to understand the sides in the World Wars, the existence of the Korean and Vietnam wars, and the significance of the military in general.

I always appreciate it when they leave some airplanes in an un-restored state.  Dusted and cleaned up a bit yes, but not patched/painted/etc.

Finally, we headed to the space wing.  I finally figured out the corner to wedge into to get the entire space shuttle in one picture!

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The space wing has many more small displays and plaques to read than the other areas.  In this way it is the most like the main Air & Space museum downtown.

Finally, we sent the older ones off to their IMAX movie and I took the younger three up the observation tower again.  It was packed!  What I didn’t realize initially is that most folks up there this time were plane spotters.  This because obvious a few minutes later when an Airbus A380 came right past the window.  I was so busy showing it to the kids that I didn’t get a picture of it until it was past us landing.  But, I did get a picture of the Boeing 747 that came a few minutes later.  You can imagine the even larger plane this close!  Definitely not some thing you see often.

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Anyway, after the A380 went by almost 2/3 of the crowd headed for the elevator.  I also because aware of the number of people checking their phones to see which planes were coming next.  That’s how I knew to be more ready for the 747.  Apparently after the 747 went by there weren’t any other big planes due (at least for a while) because everyone headed for the exits.  We stayed a bit to let the crowds clear and then headed down to meet the rest of our group and end our visit.