52 Brand New for 2017

For the past few years I've been trying to keep track of all the new things the boys and I do.  New experiences always lead to new learning opportunities.  Most years I feel like we don't do anything new but when I sit down to go through the photos of the year I typically have to pick and choose which ones to use!

We're always trying out new art projects, new science experiments, and new restaurants.  We got on family vacations, field trips to new places, and we have lots of fun finding new things in nature to observe too.

You can read about our new experiences in 2013 here,  2015 here, & 2016 here.

Now onto this year's "new" things!

1.  Visiting the Ice Castles-- We took a day trip to see the ice castles and it was amazing! We got to slide down an ice slide, see some cool sculptures, and walk through all sorts of tunnels and mazes.

2. Painting with the use of a lift!-- We repainted our great room this past year; it's a huge project we had put off because of our super high ceilings but my husband brought home a lift and the boys were so excited to help! 

3.  Checking out an escape room-- the boys got a gift card to an escape room for Christmas and we had so much fun exploring the room and piecing together the clues.

4.  Ian learned to weld and spent lots of time learning how to forge steel in our new forge.

5.  The younger boys made their first woodworking projects; Alec made a little mouse themed cat dish and Evan is still working on a Lego shelf for his room.

6.  Alec started making cupcakes from scratch-- and trying out every flavor variety he could think of! He even experimented with making filled cupcakes like these Dirt Cake ones with gummy worms and everything.

7.  We took a paint your own pottery class.  One rainy day the boys and I went to a local potter place and picked out a piece to paint.  They fired them for us and we picked them up a week or so later.  It was a lot of fun and potter paints are quite different from traditional paints!

8.  We went to Jordan's Furniture store and checked out their It ropes and zip lining course.

9. Playing capture the flag for the first time ever.

10.  Touring The Marble House (a Newport Mansion)-- It might have been a cloudy and rainy day but we had a wonderful time touring The Marble House and learning about what life was like for the families who used these summer "cottages."

11. Visiting the botanical gardens at Roger Williams Park-- We had never been to the botanical gardens and decided it would be perfect to visit during their fairy village displays.  We had the best time with our friends checking out all the little houses and unusual plants.

12.  Playing Laser Tag.  A new laser tag center opened up near us and the kids have gone to a few laser tag parties this year.   

13.  Splatter painting using paint filled balloons- This was one of the boys favorite art projects of  the year!  We filled some balloons with paint and they threw darts or nails at the balloons to pop them making for a really messy and fun art project.

14.  Going to Water Wizz-- we had never heard of this fun water park but once there my older son and I realized it's the same water park that they used for the movie Grown Ups! 

15. Picking peaches (though I could have sworn they have been peach picking before not one of them remembers ever going).

16. Steam train and riverboat ride-- We had the best weather for our steam train and riverboat ride and we learned so much about the history of the train, the local towns, and the river we rode on.

17.  Hiking to the tri- state marker

18.  Checking out the lighthouse museum and aquarium at Beavertail State park-- The last time we went to Beavertail State park the museum and aquarium were closed so we just HAD to stop in and explore both when we saw that they were opened!

19.  Finding a chrysalis and watching a monarch butterfly hatch-  we've raised butterflies before and have watched painted lady butterflies hatch but we were still so excited when we found a monarch butterfly cocoon on one of our deck chairs.  We kept a real close eye on it and even got to see the butterfly hatch!

20.  Fishing in Tampa Bay-- Ian caught a small shark!

21.  Checking out Busch Gardens, trying out new rides, and getting up close to many animals.

22.  Visiting the Lowery Park Zoo and seeing so many new animals that we had never seen before!

23.  Seeing the Chihuly glass collection- I was determined to get to see this glass collection and both Alec and I agreed it was spectacular!  We even watched a short video on how they create these amazing glass sculptures.

24.  Visiting the Dali Museum-- Alec and I were not huge fans of his work but we all agreed that his optical illusion paintings were amazing.

25.  Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico!

26. Touring The Breakers (a Newport Mansion)-- We spent a great day in Newport with my husband and mother in law and decided to tour The Breakers; our second Newport mansion tour of the year.  It was amazing and we learned so much about the Vanderbilt family.

27.  Walking the cliff walk in Newport.  I have always wanted to do this and the day we toured The Breakers the weather was just perfect!

28.  Feeding Kangaroos!  We got to feed kangaroos at Busch Gardens.  We could pet them too and they were so soft.

29.  Watching dolphins frolicking in the wild.  We saw so many dolphins of the side of our boat on our pirate ship cruise and off the back balcony of the house we rented for our vacation.  Each time we were in awe.

30.  Riding on a Pirate Ship- The boys enjoyed the day pretending to be pirates and chasing one another around the ship with water guns!

31.  Touring the Florida Aquarium-- We had a great time seeing all the fish, birds, and lemurs at the aquarium.

32.  Seeing a manatee in the wild at Weeki Wachee Springs-- We try each trip to Florida to check out a natural springs and this year we heard that we might be able to see manatees!  We could not pass that up and were thrilled when we did see one in the wild.

33.  Exploring Salem, Massachusetts- We studied the Salem witch trials this year and the boys and I took a trip to visit stopping to see the witch museum and the witch dungeon.

34. Alec learned to drive the excavator!  We had to fix our patio and beach and my husband offered to teach Alec to run the excavator.  He had fun learning a new skill (and don't worry my husband is literally standing just outside the picture frame shouting out instructions).

35.  Evan learned to drive the tractor (without the mower on).  He was finally heave enough and had legs long enough to give it a try and while he was a bit nervous he did a great job.

36.  We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp-- While a new restaurant wouldn't normally earn a space on this list this was a much talked about highlight on our trip to Florida that I just had to include!  My oldest son would list Forest Gump as one of his favorite movies and all the boys know quite a few movie quotes so this was a huge hit with them and the food was fantastic!

37.  We started attending a homeschool co-op once a week!  I always swore we'd never join a co- op but all of our closest homeschooling friends banned together to form a co- op and we had a lot of fun meeting up each week for crafts, games, and socialization.

38.  Alec went to see Mulan (the live stage show production)-- this is one of the first real stage shows we've taken him to and we were thrilled to see that there was an orchestra pit under the stage.  The costumes were wonderful and we enjoyed the show a lot.

39.  We met a children's author!  Our co- op had an author come and talk to us about the process of writing and collaborating with an illustrator.  We learned about where she got her ideas from and how she became published.

40.  We found a salamander in our yard.  We've seen a few salamanders around before but never this species!

41.  We visited Yankee Candle Village-- So much more than just a store, my boys and I had a great time exploring the village, learning how beeswax candles are made, and checking out all the Christmas trees and Christmas villages on display.

42.  Ian made his first mini model using a metal model kit.  He bought a kit on vacation and painstakingly took a flat sheet of punched metal and turned it into the 3-D model shown on the label.

43.  We went on a field trip to Biomes Marine Biology Center-- we had a great time on our field trip learning all about marine animals and exploring this new center.

44.  We went to a Butterfly Conservatory-- We saw an amazing array of plants, butterflies, and animals at the butterfly conservatory!

45. We tried our hand at Straw Weaving! I wanted to introduce the boys to a few fabric and yarn crafts and thought this would be a perfect and easy introduction.  In just one afternoon they made their own bookmarks.

46.  We saw muskrats on our lake for the first time EVER!

47. Alec made fun Christmas cookies with me one afternoon.  We dipped Oreo cookies to make reindeer and Santas and some Nutter Butter bars to make cookie penguins.

48.  Evan made some rubber stamped and glitter ornaments; experimenting with different shades of glitter.  He had watched me make a few ornaments for an ornament exchange I was taking part of when he asked if he could try it too. Always one to experiment he asked what would happen if we used multiple shades of glitter and multiple stamped images.  His ornaments turned out great!

49. We tried making ice dyed t-shirts-- We've made tied dyed t-shirts before but we just had to try dying shirts using ice and dye packets.  It was so much fun and so easy too!

50. We built robotic arms and robotic geckos-- the boys had gotten some science kits for Christmas and spent a lot of painstaking hours putting them together.

51. We tried soap carving-- looking for a fun new craft, we decided to try carving soap and while we had a few fails it was a lot of fun.

52. We got a pet turtle!

Linking Up With:
by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsjbrldhcx.jpg


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  1. What wonderful new experiences. OK! I am keeping track this year. I love this idea.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you! It's a really fun way to catalog the year.

  2. What fun learning experiences for the boys! Those ice castles would be so neat to visit. Have a Happy New Year!

    1. They were really neat. We were fortunate to pick a day that wasn't super cold to visit either.

  3. 52 experiences! That's great. Great job!

  4. So many wonderful things to do and experience :) Looks like you had so much fun in 2017. Thanks for linking up to The Wednesday Blog Hop. Hope you can join me tomorrow :)

    1. As long as we have power I'll be there! We did have a really fun year and I'm already starting to brainstorm a list of "new" things to try this year.

  5. So many lovely adventures, experiments and experiences, your children are having such a board and wonderful schooling. I bet 2018 will be every bit as exciting with your leading the direction. #FabFridayPost

    1. Thank you! I sure hope so.. we're trying to plan a few new experiences to try.

  6. Oh Wow! You have done so much! I'm amazed! I'd love to go and see Mulan too. Never seen that before. Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

  7. I am the same way, especially last year. I felt like we hadn't done nearly as many new things as I had wanted because I was sick most of the summer. (morning sickness) Then I get to looking at our pictures and it's like, "Holy cow! We did a lot of fun things this year!"

    1. Yeah, thank goodness for pictures to jog our memories.

  8. Amazing job! What a wonderful amount of exciting experiences! I may want to sign up! #FabFridayPost xoxo

    1. Thanks! It is a fun way to approach the new year; thinking of new experiences we want to cover.

  9. Wow! Wonderful job! I would say the same thing about not doing much, but you are right, when you sit down and really look back, you can see all that you have given them in the way of experiences! This looks like a great year!! :)

    Thanks for linking up with us @ Live Life Well!



    1. Thanks! I find it's such a fun way to approach life too. It's really pushed us all out of our comfort zone at one time or another.

  10. Wow you have really had a fabulous year. The ice sculptures look amazing. I loved the Monarch butterfly photographs, what a treat. I had to do a double take of the tiger photograph! Thanks for sharing and linking up with us. #FabFridayPost

    1. It was a fabulous year! We could not believe it when we found that butterfly on our deck. It was so fun to watch.

  11. I'm sure this took you a long time to put together, but it is a fabulous keepsake. Such a great way to celebrate your memories instead of leaving them on the computure.

    1. It did take me the full year; I've learned from the previous years that this kind of post is best worked on monthly so I added a bit here and there throughout the year though I always need to go back through ALL the photos to find all 52. It is such a fun way to look back at our year and capture those moments in one spot.


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