Tag Archives: dinosaurs

Happy 15th Birthday, Rusty!


On Monday Rusty turned 15 and we celebrated our second birthday on this trip. The road trip began with Tyler’s birthday celebration and it is coming to a close with Rusty’s birthday.

We began our day with our family tradition of waking up the birthday kid with a cupcake and the birthday song.


Rusty had requested certain foods for his meals throughout the day. The birthday menu began before we left Branson for the four hour drive to Marceline, Missouri. He asked for bacon and an oatmeal bar for his birthday breakfast.


So we laid out all the toppings for the “create your own” oatmeal station.


Then we were on the road, headed to Marceline, Missouri, Walt Disney’s hometown, to visit the  Walt Disney Hometown Museum for Rusty’s birthday. Rusty considers Walt Disney his personal hero and has a dream of one day working for the Disney company, so it seemed wonderfully fitting to spend his special day at the home of Walt Disney.


We arrived in Marceline and easily found the Walt Disney Hometown Museum, unfortunately in all our planning we never took note that it was closed on Mondays! All was not lost. We did visit Marceline, MO but we split our visit into two parts, and had to return a few days later.


(I will share our visit to Walt’s Hometown in the next blog)

The result was an open day and no special plans for Rusty’s birthday, so we improvised…

and we headed into Kansas City.

We had already planned on dinner at the T-Rex Café in Kansas City so we drove there first for an early dinner.


Rusty had eaten at a T-Rex café on our Disney World Trip, loved it, and was looking forward to revisiting it. Ozzie and I had never been to a T-Rex Café before since the family had eaten there during the 3 day period of our Disney Trip that Ozzie and I were down with the flu,

so we were really excited to see what all the hype was about.

The T-Rex Café is themed around dinosaurs.


From the moment you step through the door you are greeted by animatronic giants that make you feel as though you have stepped into a prehistoric world.

There are different dining rooms, each themed a bit differently. There was the fern room,  the ice age room, and the sequoia room.


We found ourselves eating in the ocean area,


and dining beneath a giant octopus.


T-Rex Café is as much about the atmosphere as it is about the food,


although the food was equally delicious!


Rusty chose the “Make your own pizza” option and had a T-Rex approved pizza… topped with MEAT!

He chose to top his pizza with BBQ sauce, chicken, pepperoni, and bacon.


At the end of the meal they brought out a cupcake and sang to Rusty.

After the meal we surprised Rusty with a fun, very Rusty-esque experience. Rusty loves mind-benders, puzzles and riddles. So we found the PERFECT birthday experience for our puzzle master….The Escape Room!


These escape room experiences are popping up all of the country and are become the fun alternate entertainment to movie or bowling nights. The premise behind these rooms is to put you into an interactive scene that you have to figure your way out of in a set amount of time. These rooms require problem solving, a keen sense of observation, critical thinking skills and a whole lot of team work.

Here is a little more of an overview as taken from their website:


The best team is a group of people who can work together. Teamwork is a must when you play this game. You can come in groups of 2 and up to 16 people, depending on the room. The more players – the more chances you have to get out in time.

  • 60 MINUTES

    The team has 1 hour to escape from the room. Time is of the essence. There is a counter in every room, which shows how much time you have left to escape.


    There are a lot of puzzles hidden in every room. You and your team need to find and solve them in order to escape. These are not brain-crashing puzzles, but aren’t childish riddles either.


    You have to find codes and crack them, or use them on several combination locks, in order to open boxes, crates or doors. Codes are not in obvious places. You need to seek them.


    If you ever played room escape game on the internet, it’s the same thing but in real life, and the player inside it is YOU. Live escape is the new fun entertainment you must try!

  • FUN

    When you try one of our escape game rooms, you will get addicted. Its an absolutely joyful, fun and adrenaline raising fun activity, for a price of a movie. Come and try it, and you will come back to the other rooms.


The escape room we chose to book was:



This is a safe house of a secret agent. He was spying on a traitor who stole the agent list from his own agency. Your mission is to find out who the double agent is and turn the information over to the director before safehouse is compromised. You only have 60 minutes.

We arrived and were given the rules of the game. One of which was no photography (so you don’t spoil it for the next guests) and no using smart phones to help solve the clues.

It was a blast!

We were locked in the room and began scouring the shelves for clues. The set up was incredibly creative. We had to take apart a camera to find a clue within, use found combinations to unlock a safe hidden behind a painting, and observe to spy’s obvious love of photography (by the many cameras around the apartment) to figure our that we needed to look up the word “photography” in the encyclopedia that sat on the shelf to find a photo that led to our next clue.

We had to use a black light to find codes painted on the wall, use a mirror to reflect a laser beam to a spot on the wall, and unscramble letters to come up with the rouge spy’s name.

It was a thrilling, fast paced, adrenaline filled experience.

Just when we would think we were opening the door with the right code, another hidden door (behind a painting or mirror) would open, leading us into another room with more clues.

If we got stuck the puzzle master (an employee who is watching you in the room via hidden cameras) would type additional clues or hints onto the TV screen in the corner.

We did escape…with four minutes to spare!

And the first thing Tyler said as we ran out of the room:

“Can we do it again?!”

Everyone LOVED it!

What a fun family adventure!

Land of the Lost


One of my very favorite autumn traditions is wandering through a corn maze.

 I love the “Alice in Wonderland” feel of shrinking beneath the tops of the leaves and wandering through the maze of tall stalks. It is a delightful sensation to wander and explore, never knowing what is around the next turn.

Never has the “next turn” held more unknown excitement than in this year’s corn maze at Cool Springs Corn Maze!

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“Look, it’s a dinosaur!”

Each year the Cool Spring farm chooses a new theme for its corn maze. They use that theme as the template for the design the cut into the corn field, as well as the décor used around the farm.

This year the theme was dinosaurs,

but not just any dinosaurs…

The theme this year was “Land of the Lost.”

Who remembers this childhood TV show?


“The Marshalls – widowed ranger father Rick, and his two children Will and Holly – are on an outdoor expedition like they have many times before. While rafting on this trip, an earthquake opens up a chasm resulting in them tumbling across some raging rapids and over an unknown waterfall. They end up alive but in a world unfamiliar to them, a world they will ultimately coin the Land of the Lost. It is inhabited by creatures some they have never seen or heard of, and some which no longer exist in the world they knew back home, creatures such as dinosaurs. They will find that some of these creatures are friendly, and some of them which they need to stay away from for their lives. As they eke out a life in this strange land, they try to understand what got them here so that they can make their way back home, that process which is fraught with its own dangers based on the unknowns of what is on the path to home.”  -IMDb

It was a Saturday morning favorite of mine when I was a kid!!

We couldn’t wait to check it out.

We arrived Friday morning at 10:00 am, after picking up Lana’s family in our van and caravanning with Nicole’s family there. At Cool Springs we met up with two other co-op families. Before we began enjoying all the fun that Cool Springs has to offer we took advantage of some photo ops.

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The co-op crew

Miss Molly is finally coming our of her shell!

Miss Molly is finally coming out of her shell!

Warning, kids!

Warning, kids!

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…and let’s keep it that way!

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Let the adventure begin!

Our day at Cool Spring Maze began with the corn maze.

Here is the aerial view of this year’s corn maze:

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Before entering the maze everyone is given a map to help guide them through the maze.

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The stars on the map mark the locations of the stations you need to find, stop at, and answer questions about dinosaurs at

 to fill in the crossword puzzle on the back of the map.

Molly at one of the stations.

Molly at one of the stations.

Each of my kids approach a corn maze differently. Some follow the map, determined to find every station, be the first to find all the answers, and be the first out of the maze. Others focus on the journey, caring less about the destination, and simply enjoy the experience of wandering through the corn. Then there is Tyler who could care less about the stations or the map and just loves running as fast as he can through the twists and turns of the maze.

I find that how they navigate the maze is a pretty accurate reflection on how they navigate life. I have some kids that are leaders, some that are content to follow, some that are prone to wandering, and those who stay on task. I have some children that meander through their day and those that always choose to run rather than walk. Some of my kids that have been blessed with the gift of enjoying the journey and living in the present, and some that have been blessed with the gift of determination and focus and are always planning three moves ahead. It is funny to see how their personality traits shine forth in the midst of a corn maze.

Rusty trying to sell Tyler on the benefits of following his map. :)

Rusty trying to sell Tyler on the benefits of following a map. 🙂

As we moved through the corn maze the kids all split up to wander the maze with their friends. Rusty joined Lucas and Alton and headed in one direction:

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Tyler joined the big girls’ team:


The moms, Ozzie, Saga, and Joanna were a team, with Tauni, our fearless leader, guiding us along. 🙂

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When we exited the corn maze we found ourselves standing next to a life-size board game. Much like the game  “Candyland,” the players spin individual game spinners that guide them through the game board via colored squares. The kids had a lot of fun being the game pieces:

Miss Saga

Miss Saga

Ozzie liked the tractor.

Ozzie liked the tractor.

After the corn maze and the outdoor board game we headed over to the gem mining. The cost to do the gem mining was an extra $3.00 above the cost of admission, so I told the kids that if they wanted to do the gem mining they would have to use their own money. Grace, Molly, Rusty and Tyler chose to participate and walked away with all sorts of pretty treasures…

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The rest of the day was spent eating the lunches we brought and enjoying all the other fun, free activities offered at the farm:

The crew

The crew

Fun with the pedal carts...

Fun with the pedal carts…

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The tube slides...

The tube slides…

Fun on the hay!

Fun on the hay!

One of the biggest hits of the day was the newly added bouncy pad.


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This giant trampoline became the final hangout of the day as the kids bounced to the music being played by a live DJ. They loved that they could request their favorite songs to bounce/dance to. It was all fun and games until Tyler and Joram collided mouth to scalp. Joram got a lump to the  head and Tyler walked away with a broken lower front tooth.

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That quickly brought and end to the fun. 😦

Everyone collected their complimentary pumpkins and said their good-byes..

Luckily, due to my past experience of having Ozzie’s broken teeth rebonded multiple times, I wasn’t too panicked.

I have their dentist on speed dial!

Unfortunately he had already left for the weekend so we will be having Tyler’s tooth fixed later this week.

But, all in all, the injury was minor compared to what could have been,

after all, we were in the

Land of the Lost!