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Holland in Iowa ~ Pella Tulip Time Festival

It’s almost time for the Pella Tulip Time Festival, coming up May 2-5, 2019.  We went several years ago with our homeschool group and had such a fabulous time. The scenery is fantastic and the events are a lot fun. I’m really looking forward to going back soon! Here’s a post I wrote after our first trip and I am rerunning it to convince you that you NEED to go to Tulip Time Pella this year!

pella iowa information windwill

Who knew Holland is only 2 hours away? I have found memories of Girl Scout trips to the Netherlands I took when I was in grade school. We always drove to Holland from Germany on an enormous tour bus. Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, the Anne Frank House, canals cruises in Amsterdam, and of course a visit to an old time village with a windmill, cheese, Delft pottery, and wooden shoes – these were the activities that filled our days. I was in grade school so I haven’t experienced Netherlands as an adult, but I have a lot of great memories of trips there.

pella tulip festival

Holland in Iowa ~ Pella Tulip Time Festival

We’ve been living in Iowa for 6 years now (NINE YEARS NOW!) and I’ve heard about the Pella Tulip Festival  – but we’ve never been before. I mean, how could it compare the real, live deal? I guess I can be kind of a snot sometimes… If it’s not as good as the real thing, why go? Sometimes I’m sad that I can’t provide my own children the experiences I had when I was little. Exploring Europe as a child is something I really treasure but isn’t exactly feasible right now.

tractors at Pella Tulip Time

But when our home school group organized a trip to Tulip Time in Pella, I jumped at the chance. And this past Thursday, our whole family loaded up and made the two hour trek to Pella to see what all the hub-bub was about. I’m so glad we went! It might not have been the real deal, but it was awesome and we all had a great time.

pella tulip festival

The Vermeer Mill was built in in 2002 by Dutch craftsmen.

The Vermeer Mill is a working flour mill and it was a lot of fun talking to the millers who were as interested to hear about how I grind my flour as I was to learn how they grind theirs!

pella tulip festival

Huge Klompen

The kids had a great time trying on the Klompen – or wooden clogs. We also watched craftsmen making them ~ an amazing sight! And these pictures of my kids three years ago make me smile. I have a fourth child who needs to try on these Klompen now too!

pella tulip festival

Wyatt Earp House

We toured the Wyatt Earp house – boyhood home of none other than Wyatt Earp. And later we met “him” on the street. I had no idea he lived in Iowa and Ben was thrilled to meet him and pose for a picture.

horse drawn carriage Pella Tulip Time

Dutch Volks Parade

But my favorite part of the day was the Dutch Volks Parade. It looked like most of the “Pella-cans” donned traditional Dutch dress and came out for the parade. It was so much fun to see such a very well orchestrated parade with all ages of people dressed in traditional Dutch clothing. I loved watching the kids especially. No expense was spared for this parade, let me tell you! We loved it.

kids pushing old fashioned strollers pella tulip time

I highly recommend Pella Tulip Days. The only sad thing was the lack of tulips. Our non-existent winter coupled with a very early spring meant tulips in March instead of May {2015 tulips are blooming now, in mid April}. I would have loved to see all of the tulips. Oh well ~ it gives us an excuse to go back next year! 🙂

washing the street pella tulip time

Have you been to Pella Tulip Time? What are you waiting for?

Looking for more fun places to visit in Iowa? Here are a few places to consider:

Wild Cat Den

Figge Art Museum

I-80 Trucking Museum

American Gothic House Museum

dutch float

Printable Road Trip Games for Kids & Easy to Make Activities

The key to smooth car travel is lots of road trip games for kids. Enjoy this list of fun ways to keep your kids occupied in the car without resorting to electronics!printable road trip games for kids

Welcome! If you’re reading this post, chances are you’ve got a road trip coming up. Driving everywhere is one of the only ways we can afford to travel with six people in our family. The kids and I especially, log a lot of travel miles in my car. I know you will love the selection of road trip activities we’ve put together for you.

Enjoy the list and let me know what you liked most or would most like to see!

Printable Road Trip Games for Kids

Free Printables for Road Trip Activities

One thing I really like to do is print out a lot of fun activities for my kids and then put them on a clipboard. I make one for each kid so they don’t have to fight over one. These are my go-to websites for finding fun, printable games:

Travel Games for Kids – Moritz Fine Designs

Travel Scavenger Hunt for Tweens & Teens – Meander & Coast

Free Printables ~ Road Trips Games – The Organised Housewife

More Road Trip Travel Printables – The Mad House

DIY games and activities for road trips

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt {Printable} – Double the Batch

100 Would you rather questions for kids – The Measured Mom

The License plate Game {Geography} – Makeovers & Motherhood

If you’re a crafty mom, you might really like some of these NEXT ideas – they can help amuse your kiddos and keep the “Are we there yet questions” to a minimum!

DIY Road Trip Activities



If you’ve got a little time to prepare for your upcoming road trip, I really recommend making a few of these road trip activities. They take a little more time to prepare than simply printing out from your computer, but they are cute and educational too! Your kids will really enjoy them.

Creative activities for road trips

 Are We There Yet? – Repeat – The Via Colony

Pull Ball Magnets {aka Magnetic Pom Poms} – Mama Jenn

DIY Convenience for Road Trips

Crayon Roll Tutorial – The Pleated Poppy

Travel Memory Game – Kids Activity Blog

Road Trip Activity Bags – The Nerd’s Wife

DIY games and activities for road trips

Felt Mr/Mrs. Potate Head and Boy/Girl Dress Up Set – The Dagenais Daily

Truck Spotting – National Post

We’re heading out next week for our Spring Break in Florida! The links in this post will help us all have a pleasant 20-hour drive. What’s your best tip for surviving long road trips with your kids? 

If you liked this post on Fun Road Trip Games for kids, you will like these posts too:

Top 11 Secrets for planning a Disney Vacation on a Budget

25 Things to Keep in the Car for Ultimate Summer Fun

5 Easy Tips for a Clean Car even if your Kids are Slobs 

 

Road-trip Activities for Keeping Kids Occupied in the Car

Amazing Solstice Rituals – the Waldorf Solstice Spiral

Looking for amazing winter solstice rituals for your family or homeschool? Here’s how to host a Waldorf Solstice Spiral with your homeschool or family to celebrate the return of light.Waldorf-Winter-Solstice-Spiral-featured_

*This post is republished from 2015. We no longer homeschool, but the amazing solstice rituals like this Waldorf Solstice Sprial remain one of my favorite homeschool activities ever.

Celebrate Winter with a Waldorf Solstice Spiral

The Waldorf Solstice Spiral is an annual tradition in our homeschool. It’s a wonderful way to teach kids about the longest day of the year and it’s a fun activity everyone enjoys as we welcome the return of light back into our dreary, short winter days. Here’s how we celebrate the winter solstice Waldorf style.

I first learned about Waldorf Homeschooling activities from my good friend Melanie from Many Hands House. She used to host amazing Waldorf Homeschool Days and the Solstice Spiral was one of my favorite activities. I was excited to take over the Solstice Spiral this year and host it myself for the first time. Since we moved out of the barn and into the Passive House, we have the perfect place to host this fun annual event – the barn where we used to live.

Winter Solstice Spiral 2015 - ring in the light from SimplifyLiveLove.comHere’s how to host your own Waldorf Solstice Spiral

If you’re interested in solemn winter solstice rituals, you’ll enjoy this one. The trickiest part about it is finding a safe place to house the spiral. Lit candles are involved, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t burn the house down if you host it inside. You could host it outside, if the weather cooperates. Or, you could set it up in a garage or barn like we did, if you don’t want to bring it indoors.

Once you decide on the location, you’ll need a few supplies:

  • Pine boughs – I bought roughly 100 ft from Menards. The skinnier ones were half the price of the longer boughs so that’s what I bought. We ended up doubling them to make them look nice.
  • Yellow felt stars – one per child
  • Apples – one per child, hollowed out to hold a candle
  • Candles – one per child to put in each apple, plus a larger candle to light the apple lights from.
  • Animal figures, rocks, pine cones – to represent the animal, mineral, natural worlds placed around the spiral

How to Host the Most Amazing Solstice Rituals

Set the spiral ring up before hand. Place felt stars (one per child) along the path so children have a place to put their lit apple. Also place the figurines, rocks, and other items in the spiral. Darken the room by covering windows and turn out the lights. Explain to the children that they will light their candles and place them on a star in silence. Discuss the solstice and and the significance of starting (and ending) the spiral in darkness.

waiting in line for the solstice spiral

The room should be as dark as possible and the children line up first outside the room, littlest to biggest. The littlest children need to go first because there will be fewer lit candles for them to have to avoid.

Winter Solstice Spiral 2015 lighting a candle from SimplifyLiveLove.comThen, one by one, the children weave through the spiral with their apples and candles, light their candle, and then turn around and weave back through. At some point on their exit from the spiral, each child will find a star to place his or her candle on. Talking is not allowed, but soft music can play. Melanie always had someone playing a flute, but we did our spiral in silence.
Winter Solstice Spiral 2015 setting the lit candle down from SimplifyLiveLove.comObviously, younger children may need some help, and all children should be careful not to burn themselves. In all the years that we’ve been doing a solstice spiral, we’ve never had any issues.

Winter Solstice Spiral 2015 - silenting waiting for everyone to finish from SimplifyLiveLove.com

After each child lights his or her candle, they wait for everyone to finish. Then the children leave the room, still in silence. I’m always amazed at the reverence the children exhibit during the solstice spiral. They take it quite seriously and seem to enjoy it a lot.

The winter solstice spiral is one of my favorite homeschooling activities. I love that it represents the return of light – after the solstice the days start to get longer and the promise of spring is real. I look forward to the beauty of solemness of the winter solstice spiral all year.

If you’d like to see other Waldorf homeschooling posts, read these:

Dying play silks with kool-aid

Spring Wheat Baskets

How to host a Waldorf Solstice Spiral to Celebrate the Winter Solstice

 

Make Sure to Stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Labeled the most popular tourist attraction in Iowa by Time Magazine and TripAdvisor The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is a fun stop if you’re driving across Iowa on Interstate 80, or happen to be in the area. It’s also a free museum (donations happily accepted), so there’s no reason to skip it!

old concrete truck at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Make Sure to Stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

I was happy for the diversion earlier in the week at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott, Iowa! We drive by this place all the time and I never even knew it was there.  But it was really quite neat. Not at all what I expected, but very neat nonetheless.

Let me give you a quick tour of some of the things we enjoyed most.electric milk truck at iowa 80 trucking museumAn electric milk truck from the turn of the century – it delivered fresh milk in Chicago for many years. Why could they succeed with electric trucks in the early 1900s but we can’t figure it out today??

mail truck on skiis at the Iowa 80 trucking museumA US Mail truck on skis… 😉 I love to ski. This really cracked me up.

THE wrecker from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes! I don’t really remember the movie much, but it’s still pretty cool, eh?

Wooden peg truck wheels at the Iowa 80 Trucking MuseumPeg wheels made out of wood, anyone? Eh, no thanks…

my 3 cute kids at the Iowa 80 Trucking MuseumThree of my super cute children. I can’t resist an opportunity to show them off! I can’t believe how big they’re all getting!!

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Worth a Visit – Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

If you’d like to pop in to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, their summer hours (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) are Monday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, and Sundays noon – 5pm. In the winter, they’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, otherwise the hours are the same.

I appreciate museums like the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. My small children enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and it is free if you can’t give a donation. I’m sure everyone has times in their lives when they could use a little free entertainment. This is a fun place to go. Make sure you stop by.

Looking for more attractions in Iowa? Here are some of our favorite places to visit.

American Gothic House Center

Wild Cat Den

Buddy Holly Crash Site

Central Discount Grocery in Kalona

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum