Cedar Falls

The kids and I are in Cedar Falls visiting my parents this week. It is a regular trip for us; we try to visit once a month.

This morning we tried a new park. It’s at an elementary school in town, so the kids are a little small for it. Just don’t tell them that.

After the park the kids had filthy feet. Crocs and wood chips do not play nice together. Elliot was OK having his feet washed, but Audrey threw a HUGE fit. In the midst of her epic meltdown he was offering ways to wash her feet. He could throw her in the river. He could hose her off. She could wash her feet in the bird bath.

Well, she jumped all over the bird bath idea. Dad had to follow through.20180612_122054233778084.jpg

After the excitement this morning both kids are now sleeping soundly. I might take a nap too.

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Missing Minnie

The kids and I went to visit my parents in Cedar Falls this week. It is a trip we try to make once a month. We do it so often it doesn’t take long to get ready. While the kids are eating breakfast I pack my bag, their bag, and get Audrey’s backpack ready for her. I put in the things I know she’ll want (Giraffe, Minnie, and a blanket), then she fills it with the books and toys she will want in the car. It is a system that works well. She fills the backpack, with help from Elliot, while I put our bags in the car.

We usually drive over nap time, but we left early this week. A winter storm was expected, and I wanted to get ahead of the weather. The roads were clear for the first forty-five minutes. After that we hit snow. I stopped to get a cup of coffee and to give Audrey a chance to use the potty before we headed into an hour-long stretch bereft of public restrooms.

It was snowing pretty heavily when we got back in the car. I quickly loaded up the kids while trying not to scald them with my big cup of coffee.  I buckled them in, sent a quick text to John to let him know where we were on our drive, and headed back into the snow.

When we got to Cedar Falls the kids ran into the house to play. It wasn’t until I was getting them ready for a nap when I discovered that Minnie was missing. I searched the car. I looked all around the living room. I had my mom search the car. I had my dad search the living room. No Minnie.

I told Audrey that I couldn’t find Minnie. She was shockingly fine with it and didn’t ask about Minnie for the rest of the trip. I was more upset than her. I called the gas station we stopped at. They did not have Minnie in their lost and found. I held out hope that she would turn up before we stopped there on our trip home.

Today on our drive home we stopped at the same gas station. They still didn’t have Minnie.

That is when Audrey started to realize Minnie was gone. She screamed and cried for her Minnie for the next 45 minutes of our drive. The remaining 15 minutes of our drive were quieter, with occasional cries for Minnie. I tried to bribe her; I told her we could go get her a new Minnie tomorrow. That didn’t help much. It was a loud and sad drive.

When we got home I went in to their room to unpack. There, in the middle of the floor, was Minnie. Audrey pulled her out when filling up the backpack with toys. I spent the past 72 hours freaking out about a stuffed toy that was safe at home.

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So now I’m going to make some tea and try to forget about the incredibly loud drive home. Have a lovely evening.

5 on Friday – Downtown Cedar Falls

I travel to Cedar Falls once a month. The kids and I (and John, if it’s a weekend) visit my parents. I love catching up with them, but also enjoy it when they babysit and I get to head downtown to enjoy the town. I don’t get a lot of time alone during the day, so handing off the kids to my parents for a few hours is really wonderful.

I love checking out the different spots downtown, but there are five places I adore.

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Vintage Iron Co. has all sorts of things for when you need to buy someone a gift but you aren’t entirely sure what they would like…fancy candles…decorative items….jewelry….this place has a lot of variety. I always go and look at their greeting cards. It’s hard to find good cards, so I stock up when I find them. I bought 10 cards the last time I was in. If I have ever given you a funny card, chances are I got it here.

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Do you find yourself watching the Pioneer Woman and thinking you wish you could dress like her without looking funny? If yes, Little Prairie Girl is the store for you. They have cute, flowing tops that don’t look dumb. Their prices are reasonable. and they have a wide (XS-3X) size selection. I have purchased a few items from the store and every time I wear one of them I get complements.20170304_135658.jpg

SingleSpeed Brewing is fun to visit if I’m hanging out downtown with John. They have decent beer, a cozy space, and bike art on the walls. I loved a poster there so much I tracked down the artist to buy a copy for John for Father’s Day.20170304_135055.jpgMontage is my favorite restaurant in Cedar Falls. Their Asian slaw is delicious and I would love to have their recipe. Ditto on their spicy whipped sweet potatoes. John and I went there for dinner the last time we were in Cedar Falls. We discussed just getting one of every side and skipping the entrees, not because they aren’t good (they are delicious), but because the sides are delectable.
image-20161108_133131-COLLAGEIf you follow me on Instagram you already know of my love of Cup of Joe. It is my #1 absolutely must visit place. It opened my senior year of high school, so it has been around for a long freaking time. I studied there in college. I caught up with friends when I visited town in my 20s and 30s. Now I visit to knit by myself for an hour or two before exploring town. I love it there. If I lived in Cedar Falls I would be there every day.

There are many more wonderful spots in downtown Cedar Falls to visit. It would be a great spot for a weekend girls trip. Start your morning at Cup of Joe, shop, have beer at Single Speed, then head to dinner at Montage in your new shirt from Prairie Girl.

What are your must visit spots in Cedar Falls?