Monday, October 14, 2013

A Day at the Cider Mill

We have had a busy weekend full of fun. We reached our weekly goal of 18-20 hours outdoors as part of our 1000 hours outside challenge. Despite getting a late start we spent 21 1/2 hours outside (not including the time the younger two spent outside for recess at school).

One of the boy's teachers had told her class that the space station was suppose to be visible just under the moon. For three nights we tried to spot it, the boys even got out their telescope; the night sky did not cooperate and we missed it. While we were out in the dark we figured we'd grab the flashlights and mark take a flashlight walk off of our bucket list. We walked about a half mile, but the boys had more fun thinking of neat flashlight poses for me to snap pictures of. We had planned to do our "bat hunt" while we were walking but there were none to be found. I think we may have to tweak our "bat hunt" for our bucket list.

We also thought we try to beat the crowds and visit a cider mill early. While there are five cider mills within a ten minute drive from our house, we switched things up this year and checked out one about an hour and a half away. The ones near our home are nice and have plenty of things to do while there, however we have visited them many, many times. We managed to get to the cider mill/ apple orchard a half hour after they opened and there weren't many people. I really like there were so many activities included in the admission. Our first stop was at the haunted house, which was suppose to be less scary during the day. The other day we were talking about how old they needed to be before I would take then through a good scary one and they were disappointed they had still had many years to wait and felt they were ready now. After going through the haunted house this weekend the younger two have decided they don't want to go to another one until they are about

The set up of the area made it easy to go from one activity to the next. The boys used hand water pumps to race rubber ducks, then tested their navigational skills walking through the labyrinth. Jordan and Joey quickly got ahead of us and easily found their way to the exit. Jacob and I had a harder time. Jacob being so trusting thought we just had to follow the posted arrows most of which lead us to dead ends. Jordan came to our rescue once we almost made it to the exit. Next to the labyrinth was the fire truck rides. Our ride took us around the pumpkin patch and we started scoping out which pumpkins we wanted. While waiting for a wheelbarrow the older two played on the inflatable bungee run and Jacob played on one of the many playgrounds. They were really fast about picking out their pumpkins (not like when we go looking for a Christmas tree). Of course they had find the largest one they could and we ended up needing two wheelbarrows to carry them. (When we got home we weighed them. They're good sized pumpkins - 19.4lbs, 24.6lbs, 29.2lbs, and 36.6lbs.)

After dropping the pumpkins off in the van and a quick juice box break we went back in and played a few holes of miniature golf before heading toward the hayride. On our way to the wagon Jordan spotted the much awaited "Corn Crib" (this is one of the main reasons we went to this mill). Although the corn pit was not as deep as we were expecting this was one of the boys favorite activities. (This would be great for kids with sensory issues.) After many attempts to pull them from the corn we headed to the hayride. The hayride took us all over the place including near the corn maze we had been looking for as well through parts of their haunted hayride (this time the little guys didn't get scared).

The corn maze was also one of our favorites. Instead of just letting you wander the maze (although you could if you wanted to) they had checkpoints to search for. The boys were very excited about which was the correct way and it was like herding kitten to try and keep us together as a group. Not far from the maze was a playground for older kids and they spent some time there while I updated everyone via Facebook on all the fun we were having. Playtime came to an end when a bee chose to sting Jacob. After treating Jacob's sting we set about picking our own apples. We only bought a 1/2 peck. There were more apples on the ground then their were on their dwarf trees. This was the first time we've picked from dwarf apple trees, the boys said they prefer the taller trees. It was nice that it was easier for everyone to reach the apples, but the boys like having to climb to get the apples.

Having done just about everything there was to do it was time to get our cider and donuts and head home. On the way towards the Country Store we bumped into "Johnny Appleseed", had another stop at the corn crib and a couple turns in the bounce house and a ride down the giant inflatable slide. Once we finally made our way to the cider and donuts there were not many open tables as it was later in the day and it had gotten busier, we had our snack picnic style. Once back at the van we realized we missed the petting farm and headed back to feed the goats. The petting farm was short lived, after about 5 minutes Jacob got stung by another bee this time just above his lip. After five and half hours and two bee stings it was time to call it a day.

I was very impressed with this mill and I believe it was worth the drive down to it. We will definitely be visited it again next year. Being a  single mom, I have to watch the cost of our outings and this one was worth it; it pretty much balanced out to about a dollar per person per activity. In the van on the way home Jacob stated he's not going back next year, because this one had bees that stung him. If they can control their bees maybe he'll come back.