Love where you live.

I refill my coffee cup this morning and peel off the sixteen Dora stickers Lainey has stuck to the arm of my sweatshirt as I watch my jammied girls roll around on carpet desperately in need of vacuuming. The last of the company has left, the happy whirlwind has ended. George took my mom to the airport and, for the first time, I wasn’t sad when she left. Because she is happy, and I didn’t have to watch from my car as she turned to wave goodbye, pulling her carry-on behind her.

All is good.

We spent the entire day yesterday ambling along the two-and-a-half mile boardwalk that encircles Cypress trees, Slash Pines and a hidden world of gators, panthers and southern birds at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.




I felt calm and present, converted into a greater admirer of nature, moved by the curiosity of my girls, inspired by the reverence of my mom and her new love who scoped the landscape with his binoculars and knew all the names of the birds like the Pileated Woodpecker and Red-shouldered Hawk.



I may not know the names of the birds or quite capture them like my father-in-law, but I did my best.





Moving on.

The great thing about entertaining out-of-town company is that I rediscover the beauty of our sunny place and fall a little more in love, every time, with the elements that make up our latitude when I’m showing it to someone else. The thick humidity, the lush ferns, the tall bare trunks of our pines and the great many palms that accessorize our sun-kissed town.




And it makes me wish I would have spent a little more time when I lived in Michigan venturing out to see its best more–the dunes, the light houses, the quaint fishing towns hugging the Great Lakes. Because there are hidden best spots in every state, and the challenge lies in finding them. (We get it, right? Bloom where you’re freaking planted. I’ll stop beating a dead horse). And I’m again thankful that last year I was able to discover a little more about our great America, from the quiet mountains of Montana to the grand snowy splendor of Utah.

Still happy to be right where we are at this moment though.





See that one red leaf? That one little speck of red leaf? I imagine he was thinking “what am I going to do with my one wild and precious life?” and he decided he was going to dare to be different. He declared his redness against that mess of plain ‘ol green because he’s a badass. Look at him rocking out his fabulousness. You go, little red leaf.



We spotted a smattering of birds, one large lazy alligator sunning his scales on a lake island, a few turtles, and one shy squirrel sprawled out against a pine branch. But mostly, we just enjoyed each others’ company amid the warmth and highly-oxygenated latitude of 26.3909143. I looked it up.



Lainey’s shirt, a gift from Dig.

Lainey’s newest is to grab my camera and say “Jump, Mom.”

High on plant life, we finally left the swamp in exchange for a rousing game of driveway ping-pong where we cheered Brett and George as they dived and contorted and impressively conducted a steady accompaniment of Ping. Ping. Ping.





And now we recompose the emotion of our home, straightening the happy messes that arose from complacency and shifting back into our routine. Ebb and Flow, Baby.

We spent the morning lost in books.


And I’m thrilled to profess my love for one of my favorite children’s literature distributors, Usborne Books, and have their Independent Consultant Amanda Collins onboard as a new sponsor.

As a former elementary school teacher, I was quite familiar with Usborne’s quality, interest level and way of presenting information to kids in engaging bite-sized pieces. By far, Lainey’s most favorite book in the world is There’s a Mouse About the House, an interactive funny story that allows kids to hide the sneaky mouse in hidden flaps and slots throughout the book.



Definitely a must-have for every child’s library. Check out the amazing range of age-levels, interests and hobbies available from Amanda’s site. Order before March 15th and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $100 gift card.


A random commenter will be winning a $50 gift certificate to her store, too!

To keep it interesting, tell me your favorite magical place to visit near your home. Where’s your Corkscrew Swamp, your Isle of Capri, your latitude that reminds you to be happy in your place? Spill it.

And winner of the Bambaroos Gift Certificate from the last post is Commenter #47, Aja: Major congrats on the fundraiser!!! And how sweet are your mom and George??? I love it!

Aja, please send your contact info to Thanks!

Love where you live, and Happy Monday!




Leave a Comment
  1. Hello from 40.82°N

    It’s COLD and getting colder- we’ve been instructed to stay inside. I’m excited to find our own sanctuary in our living room :) That will be perfect for today.

    I love love love the picture of Nella in the trees. What a doll. :)

  2. Man I wish I could love where I live right now but it is -32 out and my house has been cracking and groaning under the cold keeping me up all night. Mama is tired.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. My nieces love the mouse book! Such fun!

  5. Love the bird shots!! They gave me a laugh!! We have a small swampish kind of area call the Sifton Bog. It has a little boardwalk that is great for a little nature hike. I love to go out there and see if we can catch a glimpse of wildlife. I can’t wait to head out there this spring.

  6. I love getting books for my daughter = that mouse book looks really good – i’ll have to invest in it! I also have lots of those Usborne Books that you have posted in a pic as well!

  7. I live in Pennsylvania. There are so many beautiful places to hike around here, picturesque farms, horses, Amish communities just a few minutes from bustling, artsy cities. I love it here.

  8. Right now my favorite place during the winter is tucked in a corner of the library with my little girl reading Curious George books til we are overflowing with laughter…but her giggles make any place my favorite!

  9. Driveway ping pong, how fun. Nexttime you have a big group over, you should try round the world ping pong. Sooo fun!!! Here in TX, we have the botanical gardens. A wonderful place surrounded with a variety of flowers and trees. It holds such beauty.

  10. I love where I live, I just don’t necessarily love the temperature all the time.

    My favourite magical place is our family cottage. Oceanside…warmest water north of the Carolinas…the stars and the sunsets and the grass between my toes…heaven.

  11. Enchanted Rock/Fredericksburg in the Tx hill country. If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a day or two.

  12. I feel like you always know just when to write a post to me…even when you’re not. I’m having “OMG I live in lower Alabama and it’s not Hawaii” freak outs a lot lately. July will be 3 years and I’m still not settled.

    I love your girls. I remember when my baby girl (who will be SIX on Wednesday) was smaller and how everything was special and new. Now she has a 16 year old’s attitude.

    Nella looks SO old. Like she turned 1 and decided to just go and grow up.

    I love Usborne books! I went to a home party and ordered a princess book and a box of recipe cards for kids. Super fun!

  13. Thank you for sharing this beautiful family day! Seeing the beautiful warmth of your hometown and your girls…took me away from the Winter blues for awhile :)

  14. I love our backyard. We have a huge back yard and deck that always has something to do. Our daughter loves to laugh and smile and we always have fun together!

  15. I love the picture of you jumping. She’s turning into a great photographer!

  16. Great post! You’re state is gorgeous. I think loving where you live is important. Even if you don’t grow up there..learning to love it, to find beauty in everything about amazing!

    I did a post on loving where I live a month or 2 back.

    Love my state..but also when I visit other states, I see what I would love if I lived there

    beautiful girls! glad your mom is happy :)

    xoxox enjoy

  17. I live in Michigan!
    I live in a quaint fishing town!
    And I read your blog and wish and hope and pray that I could someday live where it’s warm all year long! Where the sun shines more!
    But today? Today I will go to lake Michigan and stand on the lake (since it’s frozen) and LOVE WHERE I LIVE!!

  18. We live in Japan & right now, I am not loving the weather. Yesterday we got snow flurries. They lasted long enough for the kids to get excited!

    I do love the culture here & the amazing things we get to see! I just wish the weather would make up its mind already!

  19. This is a great post. You reminded me of how pretty a place we live. I’m in Florida as well & forget the beauty here. My place would be the beach. I live a mile away from it, but hardly go. I need to make more time to enjoy it. Thanks for the wonderful reminder :)

  20. What? Being within the first 20 to comment is a real accomplishment for me! My favorite place to visit…..a place that always makes me swell with pride for my home state (and city) is Churchill Downs. The crowds, the smells, the call to post, the thundering of horse hooves, the mud flying, the cheering, and if you’re lucky, a big stack of money at the ticket window! And if it happens to be the first Saturday in May, well…then it’s all even better!
    You are right….showing your place to someone new helps you recognize the beauty that you sometimes take for granted. We sure enjoyed visiting Naples….it is gorgeous.


  22. I love that last picture!! :)

    Favorite magical place near us: Botanical Gardens in Austin!!

  23. I miss my Utah mountain home so much…but have found a love for the crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan! It stunning on a warm spring day, can’t wait for that day as we are currently experiencing “snowmageddon”.

  24. Just what I needed! A new post to read on my lunch break on the first day of a ridiculously busy second semester.
    My favorite place? Hmm…I’m in Michigan so I have tons. This place is great all year round. Our family escape place is the Red Cedar River behind Wells Hall on MSU’s campus. My husband and I used to feed the ducks there when we were in college and now we take our little boy there when we need a quick getaway.

  25. love the pics..i live in ny on long island… love to visit sagamore hill in oyster bay

  26. As always, your pictures are amazing!

  27. the merry-go-round in Salem, Oregon LOVE IT

    Happy Birthday to baby!

  28. That question is easy….The Ranch!!! My friend Rebecca has a sweet ranch that is soo peaceful and quiet. You are literally in the middle of nowhere and it is lovely! Crossing my fingers to be picked!!! Thanks
    kelwood9 at gmail dot com

  29. we just had a 2 day break from the 20s-40s weather & took our son to the park those two days! it was so great to just get out & let him walk wherever he wanted to go & just explore! and he finally slid down the slide by himself because he’s a “big boy” now. it was so much fun seeing him be more independent! and now that the weather is cooling back down, we will spend time snuggling on the couch in the living room. 😉

  30. My favorite place is the terribly woodsy, overgrown backyard of my parents house. We live in the suburbs of DC but take a few steps into the woods in back of their house and all of a sudden you can forget that you’re anywhere near a city.

    Love the picture of Nella grinning her little heart out!!! So amazing that your mom found George . . . I tear up when I think of it!

  31. I love where I live in beautiful New Mexico!! I’d have to say that my favorite place is in Santa Fe, up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in late September. The thousands of Aspen trees are changing color and the reds, oranges, and yellows make the mountain look like its on fire. I love hiking that time of year, great picture spot too!!

  32. Center Hill Lake. We live about an hour and have a pontoon there but haven’t enjoyed it since having three small kiddos. Really missing the serenity of it and hoping one day to enjoy it again. Another favorite is Radnor Lake, Nashville, TN. Beautiful nugget in the middle of town.

    Random ?…the crocheted diaper cover that Nella wore when she was younger. Did your mom make it? If so, does she have a pattern. I have a few baby gifts to make and would love to make a few but can’t find a pattern that I like.

    Congrats on the fundraiser! Amazing. I’m hoping you get connected with Best Buddies Florida. We are supporters of BBTN and just completed a fundraiser for them raising $12000 from family and friends. We like the relationship focus of BB.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

  33. Kelle, you truly are an inspiration to everyone. I follow your blog. I have been for some time now, and I have to admit, you are the only one who keeps me strong for my second-born, who as of recently, has been diagnosed with hearing loss. I love your little family. I love your stories. You are very blessed in every way. I hope you’re enjoying your nice weather! It’s freezing here in Indiana! It looks like you guys had a wonderful time!! Great photos!


  34. I love how you said you can visit a place so many times, then fall in love again… that happened yesterday as we packed up our 2 kids and drove up the canyon, past the thick Utah inversion, to see some sunlight, blue sky, and tons of snow sparkling in that sunshine that I’ve missed so much. Loved it!

  35. I love that Nella looks like she is reading. My niece does that too, I remember a couple of months ago (she was about 13 months) and she turned the page and gasped like the ending was so shocking to her. It’s so funny! Love books…and babies

  36. My favorite place is Twin bridges–a place my grandparents took me to from the time I could toddle and that reminds me of the joy of just being.

  37. You live in such a pretty area. We are totally snow covered right now and it is gorgeous. We like to get away to the Jersey Shore, but not the one you see on TV. I live so much farther south and we go to Stone Harbor. Love it there.

  38. I live in Traverse City, MI, where summer cannot be beat. My favorite spots are West Bay, North Bar (our version of the Isle of Capri), and Old Mission Peninsula! I love where I live…just not when it’s currently 6 degrees:)

  39. It is cold here today and a storm coming our way. (Ohio) I love the change of seasons.
    My favortie place to explore is Dawes Arboreum.
    All kinds of trees….nature walks, bord observatory and hands on activities for kids inside the welocome center.
    I love Usborne books.

  40. Should you ever come here to visit Colorado, I’d have to take you to my favorite spot in the city of Fort Collins. The city gets its water from a reseviour about 5 minutes up and into the “mountains” (more like foothills), but you can’t see the lake from the city so you’d only know its there if you’ve been there. You drive up to the top and have a beautiful view of the entire city on one side (for about 30 miles or so), and the beautiful lake and mountain ruggedness on the other side. One side urban. One side natural. Both halves of me are at peace there.

  41. Haha, love the your bird shots. :)

    My favorite place around these parts is Zilker Park. Sure we have a park down the street, but Zilker has The Zilker Zephyr and the Swimming Hole and the FREE Summer Children’s Theater and…and…well it just has everything.

  42. My winter barren view could use a little bit of your sunny humidity…ok, a LOT of it. Here in Minneapolis winter is 8 months long and I still bemoan that fact. When am I gonna just throw up my hands and say, “OK, I am blooming and jack frost can ‘t do nothing ’bout it!” I love our local flower store…a cafe in the middle of all these huge plants, ponds filled with koi, big animals made out of ivy and delicious smelling candles. Never fails to lift the spirits. Your mom and George look SO happy…it must be so refreshing to be in the midst of new love. There is nothing like it in the world.

  43. I love the water conservation garden near our house.

  44. My 2 year old LOVES books!! I believe we have a few Usborne books in our library as well! She loves them!! I have a 7 year old daughter too who loves to read too!! Your girls are SO cute! (I just started following your blog and I have to say, it’s wonderful!)

  45. My favorite place is sitting on an old, porch swing overlooking the waterfront park in Southport NC. Thanks for another great blog post! I wonder how it was that you came to live in Florida and how you met Brett? Seems like a great place to raise your girls! It was an unusual 68 degrees here in NC yesterday, and today is back in the 30’s! It was nice, I can’t wait for spring now!

  46. Sometimes when I need to get away from school, I drive over to the lake nearby. I go to school in the Finger Lakes region, and I think we all take our beautiful surroundings for granted. I park at the beach and just chill out for awhile, taking in the lake views and the sunshine.

  47. I live in UK but im from Poland :) I enjoy England but nothing better as my hometown in Poland.
    I love your place without snow and all rainy days like here. Would love to see USA one day!
    btw photos are great, best one for me – conversation between girls on the bridge

  48. We have a couple of places that we love to visit, hang out & picnic when it is just a bit warmer. Right now, our favorite place is the bath tub. Funny, I know, but our two babies just love the water.

  49. what cute lil’ birds you guys have out there in FL 😉 books are the bomb…i read library books to my lil’ niece every night to put her to sleep…she’s becoming quite the bookworm.

  50. I love Usborne books. Right now the favorite in my house is “That’s not my dinosaur”. My favorite spot close to home has to be my cottage, just 40 minutes from my place in the city a calm and a sense of relaxation comes over me when I turn down the lane and feel the gravel road under the tires of my car.

  51. I’m jealous of the Florida sun!

  52. Your mom is beautiful just like you! And gosh, your girls are gorgeous! And I love children’s books…having been an elementary teacher bf i became a mom, my collection is big but I can never skip the children’s section at barnes and noble..haha… :)
    Love your blog, found it via Libby’s a few weeks ago and stayed up til 3am reading…love it!

  53. My favorite spot is the park down the street from us… son has loved going there since he was little! Although it’s covered in snow, it’s fun to think it will be thawed out (hopefully) soon!

  54. I grew up on a lake nearby. When I was a child we would gather in the boat with a days worth of supplies and head to the opposite end of the lake. Hidden in the back of a cove was an old rusty tain trussle. Very small. Our small john boat was just small enough to squeeze under it. Once we were through we entered a magical world. I called it Utopia. It was a tiny cove with over grown braches dipping down to the water. The water was still and the sounds of nature were everywhere. We’d unpack our picnic and spend the day in that secret place. Someone hung a rope to swing over the lake and our days were filled with giggles. At the end of the day we’d frantically pack up our fun and memories and race back home in an attempt to beat the sun home as it set in front of us. I have since taken my children there on many occasions. A hidden treasure.

  55. We love going for walks, throwing disc golf disc’s, kicking the ball in the fields at the park by our house. It backs right up to the house so we can walk right through our little woods and get there and since there are so many fields your almost always by yourself.

  56. We live right on the lake and our favorite place is out on it in our boat~ can’t wait for warmer weather and lots of adventures!!! LOVE all your photos of the adventure you had!!!
    Blessings and Joy!

  57. We are reading an Usbourne book now :)

  58. We live in Canada. There is a lush field of green grass across the street. We spent many days walking our boys through it in their stroller last year as they were newborns. I’m looking forward to having picnics with them there this coming spring:)

  59. It’s funny how we sometimes overlook the beauty in our own backyards. One of our favourite places to visit nearby is Point Pelee National park. It is the southern most tip of Canada. Filled with wildlife and wonderful trails to walk. It is beautiful! We spend lazy afternoons on the beaches in the summer and bundle up and hike in the winter.

  60. Just wanted to say thanks for the festive music always playing on your blog. I’m sitting here drinking my tea with my 4-mo-old little gal on my lap and she keeps smiling at the music :)

  61. Couldn’t agree more on the Usborne books -they are great! My favorite Colorado place..oh, there are so many. But I would say the Dillon Amphitheatre during summer. Outdoor concerts in the summer against a beautiful backdrop of the lake and mountains. Where you see generations of people dancing, loving life. To me, that is home and what makes summer. Already a tradition in our family.

  62. Your tree photos are beautiful!
    My favorite spot these days is in my daughter’s walk-in-closet-turned playroom. We sit on her princess couch under hung glittery rainbow cloth and walls decorated with her preschool art and we sing, we read, and we make shadow puppets with flashlights. Pure bliss.

  63. i grew up in florida– she still holds such a piece of my heart. there is magic down in those wetlands. the frigid snow greeted me this morning but i can still close my eyes and taste winter in florida.. and remember the days when 55 felt cold. :)thanks for the gift of a picture of my memory. :)

  64. Hey – there is nothing wrong with reminding us to grow where we are planted. Sometimes, gentle reminders are just what we need. Still working on growing here in my new Utah environment.

  65. grew up in michigan (b’ham), lived in boston for almost 10 years, moved back to michigan two years ago (holly) and missed “up north”, like the keyhole bar in mackinac city (the BEST spare ribs in the entire world!) while i was gone. but now miss martha’s vineyard and vermont…trying to find new favorite spots up by where we are and so far, clarkston is getting our vote but we stumbled upon a “new” lake orion yesterday – MUCH more there now than in the 90’s when i lived in oxford and there was nothing there!!!! sagebrush cantina by far the best :-)

  66. As an Army wife, I’ve made it my goal to always love where I live. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. Right now I am finding the beauty and loving Ft. Bliss {El Paso} Texas.

  67. Those trees are just gorgeous! I definitely wouldn’t mind a few more books in my life, either!

  68. Ohhh can I have 2??
    The closest would have to be our Town square…pefect for people watching like we did this Saturday from the Starbucks window.

    The far one would have to be Lake Geneva, WI…. just a 20 minute drive from us… but we walk the beach and act like tourists!

  69. My happy place is my parent’s farm, 2 hours away. I live near a beautiful lake, but there is just something special at being at grandma & papa’s farm.

  70. Our favorite place is walking down Main Street in Old Town St. Charles. We just love the cobble stone and old buildings. I wish we were closer to water (other than the Mississippi & Missouri River)We really feel at peace with those beautiful crashing waves and sand between our toes.

  71. I love the little red leaf rocking out it’s awesomeness amoungst the green! The swamp looks like an amazing place to be!

  72. My favorite get away is the hidden heaven of Lamoille Canyon. It is an oasis in the midst of the desert. With a peak of 11,000 feet, it is an amazing treasure, full of creeks, hiking trails, lakes, and wildlife.

  73. We’ve got a little 3 mile trail near our house beside a river that is home to many bald eagles. There’s a bit too much snow on the ground now, but I can’t wait to take my little girl there again for walks. Last time we went we saw 15 eagles in an hour walk!

  74. White Horse Beach, in Plymouth MA… That’s my version of Isle of Capri. And no trip there is complete without my Margarita Machine. H-e-a-v-e-n. :-)

  75. Beautiful photos, I love your new sponsor!

  76. As you’re reminiscing Nella’s birthday celebration…we’re starting our birthday celebration this week for my strong, happy, healthy former 1 pound 12 ounce baby! Two beautiful years on Thursday. Two blessed years in which not one day has passed without an overwhelming gratefulness for the miracle of my family of four.

    Since our latitude of 35.11N is still very new to us, every outing is an adventure. Our magical place is literally in our own backyard. We stomp in the shallow bed of a creek that runs through, picnic on the banks, climb trees, catch creepy, crawly things, play on the sandy shores (as I imagine warm, ocean breezes)… I never considered myself a ‘homebody’ but I think the shoe is beginning to fit!

    Happy recouping to you and your sweet family!

  77. We’ve also been instructed to stay inside these next few days and we are supposed to be preparing for the largest snow storm in who knows when. Wish I there!

    Might I add the the first picture of your mother and Nella, Nella’s smile is fantastic!

  78. We’ve also been instructed to stay inside these next few days and we are supposed to be preparing for the largest snow storm in who knows when. Wish I there!

    Might I add the the first picture of your mother and Nella, Nella’s smile is fantastic!

  79. My favorite magical place in Indianapolis is probably not very exciting to most people. It’s on a route I liked to run when I was in college on the southside. There is a road leading into a cemetery, and if you look to your left right before you turn in you’ll see sheep. A small little farm with live sheep right there in the middle of the city. The cemetery, as bizarre as it might seem, is also part of what I love about that run because it’s so peaceful and quiet. The streets are kind of ugly and noisy right there by the university but when you get to the cemetery across from the small farm with sheep, it feels like escaping into a different world.

  80. In the summer…it is a lake. Any lake. We have tons of them within 1 hr so any body of water with sand. In the winter, our basement or gymnastics! Its too cold here to be taking a 1.5 yr old out and about in the elements:)

  81. Thanks for reminding me to love where I live. As my friends and family get hit with yet another snow storm on the east coast, we enjoy and stop to appreciate a beautiful sunset in southern Switzerland. Life is good.

  82. We live in a large city whose best kept secret is an urban waterfall. You could be twenty feet from it and still not see it, so it is truly a gem only for those who know exactly where to go. We love to take a picnic dinner and sit on our favorite concrete block so that we are surrounded by water on three sides. It’s magic.

  83. it was good to read your words this morning and to be reminded of what chesapeake, va has to offer when i so often wish i lived closer to family and friends. but we got the ocean baby!!! beach houses in the outer banks. with the best outlet shopping ever. and lots of places to eat right on the water. a family favorite.

  84. The most magical place that I like to visit is my parents’ “farm”. It’s a quaint 30 acres with a renovated farm house and small pond and a small garden, but not really a farm because it lacks the animals and acres of crops that define a farm. It’s a great escape – you can hear crickets chirping, birds singing, and at night you can actually see constellations. It will get better and better each year as my little ones grow up and creates memories there.

  85. I recently moved to a little historic town in New Jersey. Our post office, volunteer fire dept. neighborhood diner, antique shop, funeral parlour, white steepled church, little red school house, ice cream parlour & local pizza place line our Main Street. It’s a place where all of the local vendors dress up for Halloween & hand out candy & apple cider to the kids & steaming coffee & sugared donuts to the adults. My very favourite place, though, has to be our local lake. We have been gathering there every 4th of July, where we sit for hours waiting for the fireworks show to begin. We bring our chairs, our iced coffees, fruit, cameras & we talk, laugh & people watch until the sky explodes with colour. I can’t believe that I now live two minutes from there. With all the snow we’ve been having lately, I am counting the seconds until springtime.

  86. ,,,greetings from 39.0838889/-77.1530556,,,with another winter snow storm on it’s way (love winter and snow) my “magical place” may be my lil abode where it’s cozy inside,,,love the 1st photo of nella and your mama,,,nella’s smile oh so sweet,,,

  87. Nella was so smiley! Love that little face and I love all of Lainey’s cute little outfits!

    Our little spot is on the greenway about 3 minutes from our house. It makes me feel peaceful and healthy. It’s our spring/summer/fall escape. I dislike the winter when it’s too cold to go out there!

  88. we love to go to oak openings nature preserve. it’s a local state park here in ohio. it’s a special place to us, because aaron and i got married there. we love taking our daughter and having get-togethers with friends there.

  89. Wonderful post.

    I live in a house that was built in the late 1700’s, in a neighborhood called Olde Towne in Portsmouth, VA. It is such a magical place to me and while I love to visit other places…there is simply…

    No place like home.

  90. Living in Souther California, I feel like I’m home anywhere near the ocean. Although one of the most beautiful spots in the state is the Central Coast…. stuck right between the ocean and wine country. Yes, please.

  91. ha ha ha, the first three bird photos made me laugh out loud! That giant blue bird is amazing. Thanks for the book recommendation, I am going to have to get that!

  92. Although I envy your Florida temperatures, I have to say that our VA Blue Ridge Mountains can’t be beat! What a wonderful place we have to go hiking, camping, enjoy the view or just take a lazy, Tuesday drive on the Blue Ridge parkway. No matter how many times we go up there, in never fails to take my breath away!

  93. *waves from Latitude: 39.096015 — Longitude: -84.857783 here In Lawrenceburg, Indiana

    One of my favorite little magical place in this Little river town are on the banks of the Might O-HI-O Rivers.

  94. We live in a small town in MN, about 60 miles east of Fargo, ND. We’ve lived here about 7 years and we moved from Southern California. We HAVE bloomed where we planted ourselves and it’s been wonderful!
    One of my most favorite places in the Central Lakes Bike Trail. We spend a lot of our summer on the bike trail, we even had our family pictures taken on it b/c it is so much of our lives.
    I am proud of you for making where you live work! And I love to see your mom and George so happy :)

  95. My new favorite is the view from the cottage we just moved into (upstate NY)…we’re elevated so our view of the mountains and woods is spectacular, especially as the sun goes down and the light line moves up the mountains. Can’t wait til spring so we can run around out there!

  96. We have a creekside nature trail in our neighborhood, and we love to explore and look for animal tracks in the sand. Our temps were in the 60s yesterday, and it felt like Spring when we headed out to the trail.

  97. I LOVE where I live. Ironically, I saw a video posted on Facebook today about why people in Minneapolis, Minnesota LOVE where they live! I happen to live in the Twin Cities and I truly LOVE where I live. Watch to see why Minneapolis and Minnesota are so GREAT!

    Much love from MN.


  98. Samantha also loves the Usborne books. :-)

    I love the photos of Nella and your mother! That child’s smile could melt polar ice caps.

    Loving where you live is so important – your environment is what you make of it, and what you teach your children surrounds you. We love the changable nature of the Mid-Atlantic weather and wouldn’t have it any other way.

  99. I live in West Tennessee and one of my favorite places to visit here is Reelfoot Lake. This Lake was greated by an earthquake. It caused the Mississippi River to run backwards and when it returned to normal flow left this big lake. There is amazing wildlife and it reminds me of the pics you took. It is also home to laods of Bald Eagles. My favorite time to visit is when they are nesting and the little babies are hatching. Amazing that God created such beauty!

    I am loving your blog!!!!

  100. Our fav place to visit is Playa Linda out at the Canaveral National Seashore. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of us getting out there as often as I want. You can see the launch pad from the beaches that are nearly deserted every day and see the Manateees by taking a short drive.

  101. My magical place is Isle of the Palms, SC. On weekends, I spend hours upon hours there, just watching my baby girl dig in the sand and let the salt water tickle her toes. It’s the greatest.

  102. Baby it’s Cold Outside!! Snow in UTAH today and tomorrow. Happy Monday! Happy Week! Enjoy!!!

  103. It’s so cold and snowy here – sometimes it’s hard to love NY in the winter!

    One of our favorite spots here in burbs is a little place called Muscoot Farms. A Farmers Market, live stock, pumpkin picking, hayrides – it has it all! We’ve brought our 2 year old there numerous times and can’t wait to bring our new arrival there in the spring!

  104. My most favorite place to take my daughter whose almost 2 1/2 is our “secret” path behind our neighborhood that leads you to a tiny little wooden bridge that weebles and wobbles each time you take a step. We climb down to the little creeks edge and have picnics and throw pebbles in the water. She/we get more fun out of that than anything else, we have made some pretty amazing memories down there!
    I love your blog so much Kelley, you always inspire me with your words and beautiful photographs! Happy Happy Monday to you too!

  105. It’s pretty chilly out right now, so my babies and I stay inside and snuggle with fire, books, and hot cocoa. :) Can’t wait for Spring to be here…

  106. I am about to move with my husband and three children 9 hours away from my home in Alabama to Myrtle Beach,SC. While I am super excited, I am now noticing all the little things about our small, unknown town that will be missed. Breaks my heart, but I can’t wait to discover little things to love about our new home. Awesome post!

  107. Oh my stars at the smile on Nella’s face in the pic. where your mom is holding her. Love it. And my Isle of Capri takes the shape of a little beach, of sorts, on our local lake. Love, love, love it and all it represents to us.

  108. I love Usborne books too! As a former kindergarten teacher and now homeschoolers, we love books and could definitely put that gift certificate to good use! :)

    One of my favorite local spots is a state park just about 10 miles from us…great creeks to play in, camping spots, a lake to hike to, which we did yesterday. :) Lots of beautiful trails for walking and hiking!!

  109. The changing of the seasons is my favorite, here in Nebraska. Even though winters can seem long, we do have fabulous seasons. Would definately love to experience a winter in a warmer climate though. I bet it’s fun to be swimming outside in January.

  110. St. George Island. It is located in the panhandle of Florida. The island is comprised of beautiful, powder white sand, the gorgeous blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a few businesses and homes. Not only does the lull of the sea itself bring much peace to me as the gentle waves dance over my feet, but it is a place where at least once a year six sisters come together for our own “net” time. We catch up, cry, laugh, eat, share, love, support, advise and enjoy every single, God given moment.

  111. LOVE LOVE LOVE Usborne books!!! I can’t get enough of them and have been wanting to order more!!
    Our magical place…probably the park near our house. It over looks the river and has storybook sidewalks and what I like to think are European-like lamp posts. As much as I appreciate the snow (really for only about a month out of the season) I’m dying for it to be spring so we can get out and enjoy the parks.

  112. My “Isle of Capri” is a lovely park we call “The Iron Gates”. My boys and I hike there as often as we can!

  113. That magical place for me is nearly anywhere in the mountains here. I didn’t grow up here (CO) as my husband did, so despite the fact that it is beautiful it took a little while for the state to grow on me. But, honeymooning in the mountains with a sprinkle of stars and crisp fall air? Yep, that did it.

  114. I’m hopelessly in love this cute park in downtown St. Paul. Shhhh, it’s a secret, but…I don’t even know that name of it. The park is right on the Mississippi river and the other side is flanked by the hum of downtown. It is always decked out in Christmas lights and my husband proposed there almost two years ago. I can feel the magic every time I drive by!

  115. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your blog every day when I sign on.

  116. That processing on the last photo is delicious!!

    I’m outside Portland, OR and my favorite place around here is the Columbia River Gorge, rich with waterfalls & incredible color everywhere you look.

  117. i love this post! i am a california girl through and through, and when i had to relocate to utah with my husband, i thought i would die. but 4 years later and im absolutely in love. and we agree, every state has amazing places, you just have to find them and learn how to love them. i just wish i hadnt missed out on all the fun utah has to offer when i first moved here. making the most of it now though!

  118. Love the Ping Pong game! Especially outside. You never see that.
    Love Lainey’s shirt! Really cute. The one with the monster, or creature, holding the balloon.
    Also love your ‘Jump’ photo!

  119. My place would be breathing in the Pacific Ocean air from a beach in Santa Cruz.

    Sigh. I love your photography. I need to practice more. Every time I come to your site I tell myself the same thing!

    Thanks for the book idea. I live in France with a French husband and our daughter. I worry about her English being up to par, so reading is a must for us! I have a whole big list of books to get on my next trip to the US. :)

  120. Our magical place is Cypress Point Park. We love bringing our 11+ year old dogs there and letting them act like the puppies they think they are. Chasing each other in the ocean wake, weaving in and out of the mangrove channels. It’s simple, but it’s magical.

  121. I’m lucky enough to live in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, a whole magical city. My favorite place is the Seawall- it stretches all the way around the downtown peninsula where the city meets the Pacific Ocean. I winds past parks and neighborhoods I usually don’t visit, along sandy beaches and around Stanley Park (our 1,000-acre urban park).

  122. Your blog keeps making me feel very good inside, so that is my magical place on the web!

    IRL this is my magical place, and my entire family’s magical place since we said the last farewell to both my grandparents here:

    It’s five minutes from our home and you would love it and it ought to be on that bucket list 😉
    Love, Anna

  123. I wish your mom and George the best! Its always great to see mom’s happy and in love.

    I’m just outside Chicago bracing for a winter storm. I say bring it on!

  124. We have Wintergreen Gorge. A huge creek in a gorge with waterfalls and rocks to climb on and trails to hike. Oh, and I got engaged there :-)

  125. Okay, this is cheesy and probably doesn’t count – but our favorite magical place near us is truly the most Magical Place on Earth – Disneyland!! We have season passes and go constantly. Grant (our one with DS) absolutely loves Mickey Mouse and has passed that love onto his younger brother!

    Of all the things I will miss about Southern California when we move this summer (to Wrigt Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio), the one that makes me the most sad is Disneyland. We are a Disneyland loving family right here.

  126. I didn’t do it once – not ONCE last summer and it has me bummin’. But in Chicago, we have beautiful Millenium Park, and they have free concerts on Monday nights. You can pack up your kids, your picnic basket, and sit on the lawn while the babies dance – drinking wine with the city lights of Chicago for a backdrop. Lovely I tell you. And that’s officially what I will be thinking of as we prepare for what Al Roker says could be one of Chicago’s top ten worst blizzards. Ever. Man, that’s a lot of pressure.

    And Usborn’s “That’s not my bear” ? Loves it.

  127. Hello from Italy!!
    (I adored your story of the little red leaf!!!)
    My own sanctuary is the little river around our little town here in the covered of snow.I really like my little town in the Alps mountains but I would really enjoy your war weather right we are freezing in winter!! :-)

  128. My favorite place in the world? It would have to be my Grand Dad’s farm. He’s been gone for 5 years now, but everytime I go back I smell the dirt and the oil and feel like he is standing next to me!

  129. I wish I had more places like that, but it gets hard in MN winters! We do love to go to the park in the summer and the Children’s Museum in the winter. Excited for summer to explore more places around here! Oh, and I love Usborne books!

  130. Just bought that same shirt from Dig for my daughter. So cute!!

  131. On cold or rainy days, our favorite spot is a nature center about 10 minutes from us. It’s quiet, it’s free, it’s perfect. Thanks for being an inspiration to a mama who longs for “home”, but is trying to make the best of right now. :)

  132. We’ve been going to Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island for years and years. It doesn’t matter what kind of weather, we love it any way we can get it! We’ve picnicked in the car, hiked in the rain, explored the rocky beach and basked in the soft sunlight. When my husband was deployed, he drew a stick figure family walking on a beach and sent it home to the kids with the promise “This is us at Ebey’s Landing when I get home”…..It was one of the first things we did after he got back. Eight years later that drawing is still on display on the fridge.

  133. your first pic is awesome! i wanna take pics like you when i grow up! :)

  134. Love starting my Monday with you Kelle. Usbourne books are the best too!

  135. My absolute favorite place here in Seattle is Discovery park! Lots of trails, a bluff overlooking the water, and our glorious lighthouse!

    Thanks for the book recommendation! I’m always looking for new books to read with my girls :)

  136. I went to visit my parents this past week…and my favorite place now is a family friend’s farm where I brought my boys and cousin sledding for the first time, my 3 year old got to operate a back-hoe, and we were able to see llamas, chickens and goats.

  137. love walking down to Lake Michigan, to this cozy little spot that many people have yet to find.

  138. I’ll give you a two-fer. I’m replanted in Delaware, but from PA. My magical spot back home? The roof of the living room addition at my parents old house. I had the attic bedroom and would sneak out to that roof many a nights, looking at the stars and feeling like I was living in a universe all my own.

    My magical spot in Delaware? We, luckily, are still in the exploratroy phase. But there’s a Children’s Museum up the road that has the magical ability to not only exercise the minds and imaginations of my one and three year olds, but turns all adults into really big kids as well. Dig it.

  139. I love your pictures in this post! My magical place…probably when I was a child it was my grandmother’s basement (where her kitchen was) – it smelled of her wonderful cooking/baking all the time. She has since passed and a new family is living in her home, but it is permanently in my memories.


  140. Kelle, your mother is gorgeous! I now know where you get your beauty from… And George is oh so handsome and they make a beautiful couple…..
    We love Usborne books too! It is funny to see some of the same ones we use.
    Oh, my favorite place close to me here in Wyoming is Devils Tower, we are 45 minutes away and it is lovely and a landmark of the West.
    Blessings this week Kelle!

  141. A place I call home, but is kind of far from my current home, is Shell, Ecuador. It is a little town in the Amazon jungle. I gave birth to my first baby in this beautiful place. It was here that I found myself. That I embraced myself. That I finally felt comfortable loving myself. It was here that we became a family. That we grew. That we learned to love so much deeper. A little bit of my soul will always be deep in the jungle of Ecuador.

  142. You always come up with the most interesting topics! You can make some of the most simple things fantastic! I wish I had that quality! I live in IL and sooo wish that I had an Isle of Capri, but nothing even close! We do have a beautifully scenic place tho. It’s called Starved Rock. It’s a state park and really is beautiful. Look it up online, it has a neat story! Oh, and I’m gonna buy some of those books soon!

  143. I live in south-central PA. I love that we are within driving distance of so many interesting places (DC, Baltimore, NYC, Philadelphia, the beach, etc.), we have great schools, an awesome 30 mile bike/walking trail that runs right behind my house, and a neat small-town feel.:)
    Your girls are so, so beautiful!

  144. Oh where do I start… I started my own blog! Never thought I would, but we have been going through a little struggle, and I find it to be a bit helpful. :) I am going to aim to be POSITIVE. YOU have inspired me to focus on this, Kelle. Even through what we may perceive as some “tough sh#T” we can stay up beat and muddle through and come out a bit tattered but yes, OK! Was that a run on?
    Okay, I digress… My favorite spot… We are in Batavia Il, the riverwalk hear is gorgeous, we even have a bear cage you can picnic in. My 3 kiddos LOVE it.

  145. I love living in the Seattle area- my favorite spots include many of the beaches, hiking trails, and a place in Everett called Jetty Island that has free boat rides in the summer to a kid-friendly man-made island.

  146. On cold winter days – the local golf course to sled ride down the hills! On warm days our local park to walk, swing and soak in the sun!

  147. Camp Long – a park on our little island west of Seattle. A wonderful little break from the ‘burbs…winding trails, tall trees, moss-ridden bridges…the one place where if we go early enough I let the dog off-leash and let her “herd” us here and there – as her genetics beg her to do!

  148. Our Magical Place is simply the zoo. Here is Southeast GA, Northern FL we have a wonderful zoo in Jacksonville that we love to shared with everyone. I have been going there since I was a toddler and I love experiencing it through my sons eyes!

  149. Our magical place in Iowa (that my boys were just talking about this morning) is down a nature trail a few miles from our house. There is a marshy area that the kids love to go to and watch the frogs jump and throw sticks in the water. Can’t wait til it’s warm enough to go back there!

  150. Our favorite place in our hometown is a wonderful park called Sawyer Point. It’s a downtown park, not quite as large as Central Park in NYC but with the same feel. We love to pack a picnic lunch, take some kites and spend the afternoon playing and loving along the Ohio River. I can’t wait for spring so we can start spending lazy days there again!

  151. My 13 month old loves, loves ,loves books!!!

  152. I am finally moving out of hot Phoenix and back to my home state, CA. I cannot WAIT to discover fun new places to visit and to re-visit old ones. It will be so much easier to bloom there!

  153. I just recently moved to our beautiful Nation’s capital and have fallen in love with the city. My weekly visit is just below the Washington Monument. It is impossible not be reminded of our freedom, blessings, and patriotism. I feel inspired and determined to make a difference.
    Quite different from the beaches of Florida and the farms of Kentucky that I am used but it brings me to a place of calmness and simplicity just the same.

  154. Petoskey!
    That’s my jewel of Michigan. Winding down to it thru The Tunnel of Tree’s, soaking up all the charm and swank of the area. It’s a special place for us, and my wonderful Hubby chose that spot to ask me to be his Bride. It’s our get-A-way, our time-doesn’t-matter,our sure-I’ll-have-another-ice cream cone! :)

  155. Wish I could post a photo here to show you my favorite place. I realize that the most beautfull places are close to home. We never go abroad for our vacations anymore, but try to explore our own contry and its treasures. And I tell you, Norway is full of them. Thank you for the inspiration I get from your photos and your beautifull girls. I’m about to buy a new camera, to capture my three kids in action. Looking forward to your next post. :-)

  156. Oh my magical place is the hiking mountain about 20 driving minutes from our house. So beautiful with a lake on top of it. Pure heaven!

  157. Seaside, FL is the place that I love to go to with my family. It’s such a perfect place; it reminds me of what it must’ve been like in a different time. It helps that the temperatures here rarely drop below 60 in the winter.

  158. This is one of my favorite posts more recently. I really laughed out loud when I saw the bird stickers.

    Our favorite place to go is a park about five minutes away. It has a couple of large ponds and lots of scenic trails. It also has an amazing playground. We’ve found out recently just how fun a playground can be in the winter. You don’t just slide…. you fly!

  159. Wish I could say I love where I live right now!! My best friend and her husband just got back from Hawaii… yeah! We have managed to pull out of single digits temperatures here, and now we are getting inches of snow! Thank you for the beautiful pictures to warm me! Love the picture of you, your mom and Nella!

  160. Easy to say when you live in a place that isn’t -35 degrees. But thanks for the uplift.

  161. my family just (sadly) moved to las vegas from san diego, CA. I am still looking for a place like that… but there is a park called Sunset that keeps my mind off of missing home. It has a little lake with geese, ducks and turtles, a huge playground for my little, and a beautiful walkway that winds around the lake, swings, and through the big beautiful pine trees.

    PS. can I just say that it is not fair that you are still skinny after two children!!! ahh!

  162. I used to hate FL and in some ways I still do. But I’m learning to love it and appreciate it more. Escpecially when I hear people up north with temps below 0.

    One place that holds dear to me is the St. Pete Pier. There is something about that place that is so magical to me. It holds a lot of special memories for me. Times with my grandparents who are now passed, my sister, my husband before he was my husband, and with my 2 boys. Yeah, that’s my Isle of Capri.

  163. I appreciate this message because we recently moved from California to Austin, and I miss the ocean so much. My favorite thing about here is the cold winters!

  164. Right now is not my favorite time to live in Ann Arbor, I admit. We’re expecting a blizzard tomorrow, and a foot of snow. There’s a good chance I’ll be snowed into my house with three little girls under 4 years old, and daddy will spend the night nearer work to avoid a dangerous commute. I’m stocking up today on library books, milk, apples, and ingredients for homemade scones.
    All that being said, we have lots of places we love right around us. One of our favorites when the weather is nice is the Diag, on campus at the University of Michigan. My husband and I met as students, had some great years at school here. Now we take our girls to Diag to run around in the grass, step on the M, soak up the fun student energy. We especially love it in the spring, it’s so alive on the first warm days when everyone is thrilled to get back outside. Soon. Soon. Soon..

  165. My kids love books and unfortunately I have never tried Usborne books. Our favorite place to go is a little place called Wheeler Farm. The kids love all the animals there and it is always so pretty!

  166. We moved to Georgia 2 years ago – and discovered Amicalola Falls. Truly awe inspiring! I’m also looking forward to discovering St. Simons Island on vacation in June. Can’t wait!

  167. Our getaway is my family’s cabin at Lake Kachess, about an hour from home. It’s the perfect weekend destination, just on the other side of the mountains and usually out of the rain that plagues the Seattle area. Unfortunately, it’s buried in snow this time of year…we’re anxiously awaiting May when we can get back up there again.

  168. We moved to Georgia 2 years ago – and discovered Amicalola Falls. Truly awe inspiring! I’m also looking forward to discovering St. Simons Island on vacation in June. Can’t wait!

  169. Love the mouse book! We’re obsessed with books around here. Like you, I’ve really been appreciating the area I live in lately as well (N Cali)

  170. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I’m soo excited to win! I can’t wait to pick out some adorable little headbands for my baby girl!

    Loving the “jump” picture Lainey took of you!! You guys will have a whole collection of jump pictures soon!


  171. My ‘Isle of Capri’ is most def. Grand Marais, MN. Or any part of MN would be it. The fresh air, the scenery, the people, the small shops and the festivals! Oh my! Worlds different than here at home in Dallas, TX. Unfortunately I only get to experience ‘second place heaven’ once a year!

  172. My favorite magical place to visit near my home is called the “mommy beach.” It’s a little beach on the inlet, just big enough for young kids to make sand castles. It seems like we have our own little private beach and the waves wash our worries away!


  173. My favorite book when I was growing up and discovered the joy of reading was THE BOXCAR CHILDREN. Looking back, I cannot fathom why the story of children whose parents had either died or disappeared, leaving them to live on their own in an abandoned boxcar would be a delightful fantasy–but it was. Books are cheap trips to wonderland! I love seeing them in your girls’ hands!
    One of my favorite places to find solace and feel connected with the universe here in Michigan is a piney woods up north–like Hartwick Pines near Grayling, or any pine forest where the trees were once planted in perfect rows and appear like columns building a sanctuary, holding up a frescoed ceiling of green needles. Yes, that would be it. We are bracing for, what our weathermen hope to be, the big storm of the season. Children are praying for a snow day and adults for a day where we are unable to come to work–but working in a hospital, we shall make every effort! Enjoy where you are…every one!

    (and no one smiles more with your mother’s happiness than your dad!)


  174. What a magical place, such amazing pictures as always! :)

  175. So happy your mom has found happiness! Our special place is Carolina Beach! We love the beach and will be moving to FL this summer!

  176. So happy your mom has found happiness! Our special place is Carolina Beach! We love the beach and will be moving to FL this summer!

  177. I can’t pick one favourite place near “home” because my home is a big, white ship that sails into a different West African port every year. Two of the best secret spots? The rooftop restaurant at the Bamboo Bar, downtown Monrovia in Liberia. I fell in love with my husband there, dancing to Bob Marley covers sung by an old man named Danny. And Robertsport, a tiny fishing village on the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone where the stars come right down onto the beach and I knew I’d marry him.

  178. I love this post. I think we all need to embrace the beauty of where we live! I am moving to UTAH soon, and your post reminded me that it is beautiful too! and I LOVE love MOntana. Your family is so adorable.


  179. i just love the “bloom where you are planted” quote. i am a missplaced Philadelphia native now living in the great plains of oklahoma (my husband’s miltary career moved us here of course!) and there are days when i really miss home. i begin to loathe the tall grasses and intense heat that have replaced my beautiful pine trees and winter snow . thank you for the reminder to find the great things about where you are. life is too short to sulk! you are amazing kellie. thank you! :0)

    – jen
    jehling2 at gmail(dot)com

  180. I LOVE children’s books! I need to sit down and just make one because I have had so many people tell me that I should.

    We love to visit the dog park by our house, it’s on a lake and it’s so fun to watch our dog run all over. I can’t wait to take my baby girl there this spring!

  181. It is very cold here today -27..Just staying in the house. There is going to be a lot of cuddling today around here! LOVE the books by the way!

  182. Love Usborne! My girl’s favorite is the ballerina book with the CD. I get a million recitals!

  183. OMGosh! Priest’s Wife commented: “the merry-go-round on Salem, OR”! This is where I live and it is our favorite place to go too! My daughter gets so much joy and excitement from this simple, inexpensive little treat! We talk about the names of the horses in the car on the way there, and pick which one we want. It is so cute! However, we have only lived here since the end of summer, and are still searching and exploring the many great things in the area!

  184. we just moved here, so I’m still searching for a sanctuary outside of our home…. but for now, our bathtub is a great sanctuary! rubber duckies and bubbles overflowin’!

    I grew up in FL, and never found the beauty that you do. Thank you for opening my eyes to it!

  185. I love the Usborne books too….I love to teach with them and to give them as gifts!
    My favourite place lies along the same Great Lakes that you mentioned. Long Point juts into Lake Erie. My daughter and I love to camp there among its dunes. We listen to its lapping waves as we read and relax in our tent :)

  186. Thanks for the fun. We are enjoying some warmer weather in south Texas and thankful for no snow. Although just one snow day would be fun.

    New books would be fun, too! Those look great!

  187. About 2 hours from our house is Petit Jean State Park. On their most popular trail, you end up in a canyon in a mountain with the most beautiful waterfall pouring in from above. I could live in that very spot!

  188. I live in Central Kentucky. Whenever I need a pick-me-up I can always drive a scenic route. There’s just something about driving through the rolling hills, passing pastures of green grass speckled with horses and elaborate barns, and the white fences that will transport me to a better mood.

  189. Brown County, Indiana is gorgeous in the fall!

  190. I so needed to be reminded to “Bloom where I’m planted” today. Thank you!

    Our favorite place to visit near our home is Coronado Island. The place where my husband asked me to be his forever while the sun set and we watched fireworks explode over us. We’ve spent many lazy days walking the beach and making plans to save up for a room at the Hotel Del Coronado on the anniversary of the day he proposed. It’s our Isle of Capri.

  191. My favorite place is my parents’ backyard. It just seems miles away from civilization and I love watching the dogs frolic and chase each other!

  192. I live in downtown Toronto and every week I go to Cherry Beach, which is on Lake Ontario. It’s about a 10-minute drive. I love watching the changing seasons there and this year made a calendar of them all (I got really cool icicle photos). If you look in one direction, you see the Toronto skyline. If you look in the other, you have the water and the islands. I like taking pictures of trees, bark, ice formations (got a really cool one of ice on a stone shaped just like a heart).

    Kelle — I think you would enjoy this blog:

    My son also loved There’s a Mouse about the House! Just don’t lose the mouse!

  193. Frick Park in Pittsburgh. I love how easy it is to completely forget that you’re in the city when you’re surrounded by trees and grass and trails. One of my favorite places to lose myself for a few hours.

  194. Up here in Northern California, we’ve got the beach on one side and the mountains on the other. I’m not sure I could choose one single spot 😉

  195. My magical spot is on the top of a high rock outcropping that overlooks our entire valley.

    I just found out today that we are pregnant after trying for more than three years. I would LOVE those books! And to be honest, today’s magical spot is the bathroom counter where my positive test rests…

  196. We live in the city and my parents live about 15 miles west in the country so i would say that is our favorite place to escape and spend the day.

  197. Utah girl here that LOVES books. My son just can’t get enough of all the books in this house.

    Went snowshoeing this weekend and enjoyed the fresh air, the birds, and the sun. Very different from your weekend in Florida, but glorious all the same.

  198. I love my own backyard. Its woodsy and I sit in my hammock chair and dream.

  199. My magical place has actually been on the backseat of my husband’s motorcycle while cruising on a winding road a few miles out of town where there is hardly any traffic. We can enjoy the wide open space of Kansas.

    I would love these books. We are expecting our first, a son, in May. :)

  200. Love that last picture a lot!

    It is sometimes hard for me to love where I live just because to me it’s boring but, I think my favorite place is not really a place but when the weather is nice (which for Oregon is not very much) I like to go driving up in the hills and just look at the beautiful scenery.

  201. We have the mouse book! My son is 8 and he still loves to read it. My favorite place at home is the Heard Museum, it has paths through wet-lands that remind me of the place you were at. It’s so peaceful, it makes my soul happy.

  202. The best place near midland is Ft. Davis. The mountians have everything. It’s our getaway place now.

  203. Oh my goodness! Usbourne is also our favorite! Noisy Zoo is currently the favorite for my 11 month old. And my favorite magical place would have to be our local dam. So quaint and serene :-)

  204. I’m a little ashamed to say this, but my magical place is the mall. I can be having a bad day and as soon as I step inside, I instantly feel better.

  205. I live 30 miles north of Seattle, Washington and I seem to stumble on new, magical places all the time. I just found a tiny little arboretum tucked into a Little League baseball park. It’s winding paths are filled with carefully labeled native plants and there are very random sculptures stuck in still more random places. Love it!

  206. Loved this post! As a former educator myself, I am a HUGE fan of the Usborne books. Thanks for reminding me of them, now I’m a Mama on a mission to get some for my son!

  207. Our magical place is the soccer field right behind our house. It is never in use but kept-up so our kids love to run and play on the flat ground with freshly mowed grass. We even have a special path behind our house to cut through to get there! Of course, it is covered in several feet of snow at the moment but we look forward to returning this spring!

  208. Seeing Lainey and Nella interacting is just precious!!! You a lucky woman. your kids are STUNNING!

    I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil… and I love a park named “Horto” it’s huge. there are animals and monkeys living freely in that natural space in the middle of a concrete jungle. Too bad I don’t go there often, should do something about that.

  209. It is currently snowing in my neck of the woods, but in the summer I love to go up to the top of the hill at the back of our 5 acres and look down on the little valley that our house is nestled in. Summer in Wisconsin is divine!

  210. We love to slip away to Big Bear…it’s about an hour and 1/2 from us…we like to go on a weekday and go to a little park that is overlooking the lake. It’s kinda hidden…so I don’t think people really even know it’s there! We pack a picnic and watch the kids play. We live in the CA desert and there are truly so many beautiful places here and within a short distance! We love to go down to the Shields Date Farm in Indio and get a Date Shake…that’s another fun Sunday afternoon drive we will do. Of course my boys love our backyard the BEST…they love digging and playing in their tree house and just being at home. I love the sounds of them playing and being outdoors.
    Hugs to you!

  211. Here in Michigan there are so many places I love to explore. I enjoy the small lakes near Ann Arbor.

  212. Love Lake Michigan and all that goes with it. The dunes, the shelf ice in the winter, the way the weather can change in an instant, everything. Think I could get into the ocean too!

  213. Books are SO important for children!

    Magical Place….. Innis Gardens very near my home. Can’t wait for Spring so we can take the baby there for walks!

  214. Ok Kel! Your mama and her man are too cute!
    I LOVE walking around any part of Seattle because it is SO green and mossy! But my son and I LOVE to visit Lake Wilderness which is just a stones throw from our home.
    Check it out!

  215. Your mom is stunning… thank you for sharing her happiness with us! Also, your Dad’s response about his happy feelings about your Mom’s newfound love brought tears to my eyes. You rock, Poppa!

    May I add that we are all happy and excited for her – and for lucky George!

    Hope you have a lovely week of R & R!

    I live in the mountains of Utah – new, powdery snow this morning – and rich, hot coffee with your blog – Life is good!

  216. Books, books, books! My 6 month old loves to be read to and I love your picture of Lainey reading to Nella. Or maybe she is helping her identify birds in that one. Cute t-shirt on Lainey too. I sure do love where I live, which is Maryland!

  217. It’s only -27 today where i live, i love the 45 minute drive to be in the mountains… beautiful Rocky Mountains, gets the visitors every.single.time.

    ITA about the Usborne books, they ROCK!

  218. My magical place- Presque Isle. It is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie and has walking paths, nature trails and beaches. Right now- it is a great place to see huge ice dunes!

    I love your posts about books. I love instilling a love of reading in my girls!

  219. George seems darling. I like him. :)

  220. we love the ballfield – memories are made there for this baseball family

  221. I don’t have time to read all of your post cause I’m at work….but I love the pics…just love them. What a precious family.

  222. I don’t have time to read all of your post cause I’m at work….but I love the pics…just love them. What a precious family.

  223. My favorite places near where I live:
    – Canoeing down the St.Croix river – watching planes take off and land near Fort Snelling
    – rollerblading or biking on any of the wonderful trails in the twin cities area like the Gateway trail (…officially called the Gateway Segment of the Willard Munger Trail – had to look the official name up :p )

    Your Father-in-law’s pictures are gorgeous! Your sticker birds might rival – haha.
    Love the picture of Nella’s sweet smile in the picture of your mom & Nella after the bold red leaf picture. And the one of Nella with the trees in the sky – wow! And on the boardwalk with Lainey smiling/talking to sweet.
    Peaceful thoughts come to me while reading this post.
    Happy week!

  224. thanks for the attitude adjustment. gotta say i haven’t been loving where i live lately. i hate winter and it’s awful how it seeps into my attitude and makes me waste several months out of the year.

    that walk was just beautiful…those trees oh my goodness girl, just gorgeous. and that bad-ass red leaf was put there just for me. i want to be that red leaf…crazy and wild and free:) thanks girlie.

  225. I fell in love with the Denver Art Museum before I even lived here. To me, it’s magical.

  226. Loving your blog and your theme of “bloom where you’re planted.” Don’t worry, it’s not redundant, keep it coming!

  227. Hi Kelle, I discovered your blog from Libby Ryder’s blog. I have really enjoyed reading your story….your daughters are beautiful. Reading your posts have truly made me appreciate my family and friends just a little bit more. I also love that you are from MI!! I am too…from the UP…and I too live in a sunny place…Phx, AZ. I miss MI but am hoping to someday be able to take my kids there for their summers. Anyway, I look forward to more of your posts…and pics!

  228. Would love to add some of these books to our library. So fun! My favorite place near us to visit is Flagstaff, AZ. We’re in the desert so driving to Flagstaff is magical with all of the trees and hills.

  229. My Isle of Capri is a gorgeous park near my house with weeping willows dipping their branches into silver ponds. Thanks for the blog Kelle. Love it!

  230. I LOVED “There’s a Mouse in the House” when I was younger!

  231. I love the Walkway over the Hudson State Park near me. It’s so amazing to be suspended over the Hudson River and be able to look around and see the valley and the mountains.

    And of course, I didn’t go until my in-laws visited from out of town!

  232. I love your inspiration. I want to equally love where I live like you do. Right now, there’s a blizzard watch and we’re looking at 10 inches of snow. :) But, boy, if your posts just don’t warm the heart, nothing will. Love.

  233. I love Usborne books! One of my daughters favorite books is an Usborne book.
    One place I love to go is Carkeek park north of Seattle – has a great park for the kids to play at but not to far you walk across this bridge then down a long stair case and your are at a beach – it is amazing. I went their with my the pre-school I worked for and the kids loved it. You can play in the sand and water or on the play structure and the huge salmon slide or you can even hike on some trails . It is beautiful.
    It is true that their is so much beauty and wonderful places for us to discover all around us -if we just take the time.
    Oh my daughter usually sits with me when I read your blog and everytime she says I need to say Happy Birthday to Nella! Then she says Happy Birthday Nella. She get a big smile looking at all the pictures especially the ones of Lainey and Nella.
    Happy Monday!

  234. I love your blog. I live in Vancouver, WA. My favorite place is the Washougal River. It is about 30 minutes from my home, and I love to go swim there. A day there is like your Capri.

  235. Jack Block Park. It’s almost a secret little place, if you don’t know where to look for it, you won’t see it. It’s on the water, with a big dock to watch the seals play, and so big that the kids can run around.

  236. We are a military family and love to find the hidden treasures every place we live. Our favorite spot currently is a hidden away park with everything I need to entertain my five children…a playground in the shade with baby swings, a shallow creek filled with big rocks to make canals with, open fields to run around in, a small forest to explore, picnic tables to lunch on, and of utmost importance, restrooms.

  237. yay, I’m finally commenting! I have been only wanting to for a YEAR!
    I love rediscovering my home turf with my 5 month old girl. While I eagerly await tromping around in the nearby forests, I think my favorite thus far has been meeting up at local parks with new and old mommy-friends. I cannot wait to put my little one on a swing and see her face light up! We have been blessed with some awesome weather here in CA, hard to believe there are blizzards raging elsewhere!
    Love your pictures, words and how you make the ordinary extraordinary!

  238. i love this post as i feel like i have lived + loved everywhere!! Growing up in Bonita Springs, I’m very familiar with the magic of Corkscrew Swamp… in college, it was The Swamp every Saturday for Gameday being a Gator Girl! … after graduation, I moved to LA + found lots of magic in the hollywood hills.. my favorite hike being thru runyon canyon… From LA to the tundra of Canada, my magical place was cozied up next to my Grams’ wood stove playing scrabble… and in my current location: Knoxville TN… it’s the simplicity in southern comfort (sweet tea in mason jars, “Howdy”s from strangers at the gas station, + the “yes sir” “yes maams”) that constantly reminds me to be happy in my {current} place! =)

  239. I love reading your blog! Your photos are always amazing!

    My magical place is the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. I live in CT and visit the garden a few times each year. I could get lost in the beauty of this place!

  240. I’m kind of in love with your Mom and George:)

    My favorite spot is a park/hiking trail near our house. We haven’t been there recently because of the cold and I just decided this weekend that we need to bundle up in snow gear and head over soon to investigate it under a blanket of snow! Some of our favorite spot here, here and here.

  241. YES!!! Finally a giveaway that my little boys would LOVE!

    We live in Iowa City, Home to the Hawkeyes. Our ultimate favorite place rain, shine, night, day, snow (blizzards at times)would be Kinnick Stadium. We are die hard football fans and every Saturday you will see us there rooting on our team. Even the little guy (gotta start ’em early).

  242. Thanks for the reminder, amidst a treacherous winter here in Philadelphia.

    Let me try my hand at embracing this place.


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  244. Oh simple pleasure after a hectic morning, sigh, thank you Kelle! My magical place would have to be the Macintire District in my beautiful Salem, MA. Homes in every color, built as far back as the 1600’s, with little wooden signs on them like, “Roberts House. Mason. 1711.” My imagination flies into overdrive, imagining who this “Roberts” was, what made him decide to be a mason, and how he lived on these same beautiful cobbled streets where I walk today. Magic, swamp, capri, whatever you call it. It’s a special place :)

  245. Where’s my special spot? Greenlake. It’s a man made lake and while it is a lot of people’s special spot, it’s ours because it’s where my African husband, then special date, spent late December walking around and telling me he’s cold but taking the time to get to know me. It’s where we rode our bikes when we broke free from our apartment and kiddos to our realized freedom before our car could do that. It’s where we run away to on sunny opportunities to play catch or prove kicking a ball. It’s where we watch the moon set on the water late at night–it’s where we push our running abilities.

    While we love where we live–we long for sun, we live in Seattle. :)

  246. I really love the picture of Nella with your Mom, where she’s got the smug little grin on her face… cheeky girl, she is!

    Oh and I also love your pictures of the birds. You should take up bird photography (okay I know there’s probably a more special name for it besides bird photography but gimme a break here).

    My special place is any of the waterfalls in our area. I’m lucky to live in the waterfall capital of the world; Hamilton, Ontario. We have over 120 of them! 😀

  247. We recently moved back ‘home’ to San Diego after 4 1/2 years in AZ. So my favorite magical spot is, of course, the beach. I love to take the kids and just walk along the wet sand looking for shells, rocks, and the occasional sand dollar. It’s so peaceful and just…fun. We all love to go there.

  248. do-over.

    three things.

    one. i live in Tucson, Arizona. while the recent news about my little village has been sad, it has also highlighted how wonderfully connected my community is. i am hugged by mountains, soothed by the Sonoran skies, and embraced by a body of souls who inspire me daily.

    two. love that you looked up your latitude. always a teacher, always inspiring.

    and three. your writing…it’s onomatopoetic, mama. i hear the ping-ping of not only a Sunday afternoon driveway game, but also of the beats of the little hearts, the sound of Derby slapping on a shower door, the baby doll bawl-out, Lainey whispering hiding directions to the little mouse. it’s in stereo. all of it. you thread words and phrases together, weaving a stethoscope to your world, picking up the sounds and textures of your amazing latitude.

    your universe is in THX, mama. and we all have our dials set to eleven.

    big love from latitude 32.257775.

  249. We live in SW Minnesota, out in the country. It is great to escape and explore around the house, and each season brings different views!

  250. I am completely in LOVE with the picture of Nella and your mom. So sweet.
    My sanctuary near home is Starved Rock State Park. Wonderful hiking trails and the site where my hubby and i tied the knot. Also one of our first dates was there. :) It is a bit of heaven.

  251. First of all, let me say that I got so entranced in your first picture of the trees that I started to lose my stomach…I literally had a vertigo moment! Great Picture!

    I think my favorite place is all of the walking trails around our house during the Spring and Fall…magical for sure!

  252. I love my little suburban sliver of North Carolina. We’ve had a cold year so far in 2011 (well, cold for us–I spent 3 years in Chicago so I know it isn’t really cold) and then just out of nowhere this weekend we had a 65 degree day. You know the kind that pulls you out of the house and to the park and the next thing you know, you and your best friend and your dog have been walking for almost two hours and that coffee you bought at the start of your walk isn’t anywhere near warm anymore. I love how where I live lets me do this in January. Walk my dog and let him stop and sniff at everything and tie my sweatshirt around my waist because it turns out I didn’t need it.

  253. Beautiful. Nice to know there is still greenry and warmth underneath the swamp that is January.

  254. Since we’re buried in snow, it’s hard to think of an outdoor sanctuary. Right now it’s definitely cuddled on our sectional or in our bed with the kiddos!

  255. I’m still searching for that special place… we’ve been in this country for 2.5 years and I’m still struggling to find the beauty in it. There’s hints of it here and there… but looking past the trash and bombed out buildings has been difficult for me.

    On another note… would love to win some books for my little girl!! :)

  256. My magical place is Torrey Pines State Park. It is on a prime piece of property, right on the ocean, and is fully of trails and cool little spots. I love, love, love it.

  257. Our spot…Seagrove Park in Del Mar, Ca…A little slice of heaven!! It’s our go-to when family and friends are visiting, perfect for a picnic and barefoot cartwheels in the green expanse overlooking the seemingly never-ending ocean..It was where I needed to be when my grandpa passed last October and it has since kept a special place in my heart…Our little girl Addie Renee loves to run around the grassy sloped perch and we imagine our second babe (arriving in April) will love it just the same!!

  258. Love those books! We’re trying to build our collection of children’s books for the babies we will (hopefully) have starting next year!

    It’s a little far to go every weekend, but my family has a tiny house in Southern Utah that we love. It’s red rock country, bare and windy, but beautiful. It’s one of those spaces that lets you breathe. And at night, there are more stars than you can imagine. It’s our retreat from everything that is complicated.

  259. I look forward to coming to check out what you have to say every day. I just happened upon your blog about 3 weeks and go and it often leaves me in tears (good tears). It reminds me how important it is to “enjoy the small things” and to go make the most of my time with my 4 year old daughter. Thank you!

  260. My sacred place is near my home, overlooking the small island, where you can hide on the slope of the river and have sun baths. Or during the winter time, to just pass it by and dream about sun bathing on one beautiful day.. :)

  261. My favorite place closest to home is the cute little college town of Claremont.. quaint shops, murals on the walls, just a great place to go and walk. And less than a mile away from our house!

    And since I live in California, there’s no shortage of wonderful places here. I love that both the beaches and the mountains are close enough for a quick day trip, depending on which one I’m in the mood for!

  262. I would have to say the lake by us when we can go out on the boat and just relax all day!!

  263. I love going to the school near my house with my dogs. It is enough of a get away to forget the daily stresses, even if it is just for 20 minutes while they run around.

  264. We have a lake really close to our house. In the summer it’s hot and full of green, in the fall it’s chill with a conrucopia of color, and in the winter it’s still and frozen.

  265. Here’s to hoping that Michigan gets the 12 inches of snow it was promised! And I love the books what a cute idea!

  266. We can drive to the beach, the mountains and the desert and we at times do all three (not all in one day though!). Love them all.

  267. I have not ventured far from my hometown, but I have found I dont have to to find “our place”. 4th Street all lit up at night, bridges over the ohio river where you can see the city lights dancing and turning the river neon colors, the rolling farmlands in Oldham County, and the sweet small-town suburbs where our favorite park resides. Our home…

    And when we do happen to venture away from home once in a blue moon, the places we go are also etched into the “our places” section of the memory. It may sound cheesy, but as long as my family is with me, EVERY place is our place.

  268. I look forward to seeing what you have to say each and every day. I stumbled upon your blog about three weeks ago and have to say that it often brings me to tears (good, happy, and so lucky to be alive tears). It truly reminds me to “enjoy the small things,” to go truly enjoy my own 4 year old, and to just be! You ROCK!!

  269. I live in Orange County, CA which is the last place you’d expect to see beautiful, inspiring nature. Luckily though, there’s a hidden canyon right behind my house filled with mountains and valleys and winding roads. When my boyfriend and I first got together we would drive through the canyons over and over again just talking. Now we do it with our sweet baby boy in the backseat.

  270. Oh your Mom looks so happy. Nice! Love the driveway ping pong. And that picture of Lainey reading to Nella is so, so sweet.
    I live in RI…and every season brings a new favorite sanctuary. Right now it’s in my living room by the fire place with cocoa in my hand and my baby boy on my lap. 😉 Spring I can be found digging deep in the dirt in my garden. Bliss! Summer…the sandy, salty New England beaches. Duh. And Fall brings us to a favorite spot high on a hill, with a lake and picnic tables, where you can see great big trees with magical colors for miles. I absolutely love where I live. :)

  271. I just moved to Southern Utah and there are red rock mountains one minute from my house. They are so incredibly beautiful. I love driving past them, running along side of them and taking pictures in front of them.

    We really love books at our house. Last night my 1 1/2 year old asked to sleep with a book in her crib. When she woke up this morning she picked up where she left off and kept reading it. It was so cute and mini-adult-ish!

  272. Our favorite magical place is Arrington Vineyards right outside Nashville,TN. Our favorite place that we’ve ever traveled was Tuscany right before our little girl was conceived. Now we can go to our own little Tuscany right here at home. We had a much needed 60 degree day here yesterday and guess where we went?

  273. mine is white’s ferry. an old ferry that crosses the potomac river from the maryland side to the virginia side. one of my hubby and i’s first dates was to grab some “house of kabob” to go and have a picnic there. we were eaten alive by chiggers as we sat in a patch of grass with wild flowers all around us – we of course didn’t have a blanket since it was on a whim. it was absolutely perfect. go there often. you can walk the C&O canal there.

    these places are good. kids are good. hubbys are good. life is such a blessing.

  274. We love Usborne books at our house! They’re the best!

  275. Our favourite special place – Banff National Park, which is a mere one hour’s drive away…and a visit to Barrier Lake, where my husband proposed to me. Our little guy has only been there twice – but we plan on visiting often when he is older!
    LOVE the birdie pics! :)

  276. Your blog continues to inspire me every day. I live in Portland, Or with my exceptional son who will be one in March. Forest Park is an amazing and favorite hiking spot. I can’t wait to take him canoeing on Smith and Bybee lakes and Sauvie Island with the canoe that hasn’t gotten much use in the past few years.

  277. My sanctuary/ home away from home/ haven aka heaven would be Fish Lake, Utah. It’s truly what I imagine heaven is like. If you ever come back to Utah, go there in the Fall– AMAZING!

  278. Oh my. To choose! Maryland is rich in little hidden areas and geocaching has brought us to so many. Maryland has mountains, big cities, big lakes, skiing, beaches, and rich in history too! For now, I’ll pick St. Clement’sIsland:

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  280. My favourite magical place near our house is the Bald Eagle Preserve about 20 minutes down the road. On any given day you can enjoy viewing at least 5-10 eagles just chillin out in their natural habitat. Truly a sight to behold.

  281. I am missing my home terribly…8 months away in the UK and all I can do is think about all of the wonderful places in TN and in the USA.

    Besides my house and backyard, I would have to say Neyland Stadium. Yes, I am a TN football freak.


  282. I adore the picture of Nella with your momma. Nella’s smile is sooo precious in that photo!

    My favorite escape here in Las Vegas is NOT the strip. lol! I really enjoy getting out to Hoover Dam or Red Rock Canyon. Both top my list for Vegas fun! :-)

  283. ugh, honestly the place i like to visit best is our back yard, we have a pond and ducks and sometimes a heron. my daughter loves to dig for worms and bugs and we have vegetable garden box’s right on the pond’s edge.
    but besides that i found a new place late last summer, a county park beach on this amazing lake just 5 minutes drive away. they have this water play station on the beach for kids to play with, and park “right there” next to the beach. it’s clean and beautiful. wish i’d found it earlier before the snow flew this year. but summer’s around the corner!

  284. umm hello beautiful corkscrew….we went this time last year and it was the best weather! love how happy you are for your mommy and that picture of her holding nella is so precious!
    my favorite nearby place to visit is sanibel island…just an hour away but i feel far away on a special vacation when im there. weve packed up for just the day and spent long afternoons on the quiet beaches or we’ve been for a weekend getaway and rode bikes and eat seafood outside. love the feeling of being there and all the memories of each visit.
    good reminder to enjoy where we live kel. xoxo

  285. Love the post, love the pictures! That first pic reminds me of National Geographic’s picture of the day a few days ago. Looking at the sky through the trees is a beautiful thing!

  286. I love the “Bloom where you’re planted”. I think Mary engelbrait has that on some of her cards, etc.. Oh, your mom sure does look happy – he looks like a great guy. My santuary – i love the beach nearby and really, the best place is just home with hubby and when i am with my immediate little family~ Those books look great! So many giveaways, love them. Your Blog mama

  287. I’m in the suburbs of Chicago and we have a spot we absolutely love. It’s an extremely large forest preserve on the edge of Chicago and follows the canal. There are beautiful woods and lakes. We also escape away to the Kankakee river in the summer on our boat. I can’t wait to take my 10 month old son out on the boat this summer, last year he was too little. Neither are the Isle of Capri, but it will do!

  288. Our favorite place is West Beach up here in Massachusetts. Rain, shine or snow. It’s where we go. :)

  289. My favorite place is Sundance here in BEAUTIFUL UTAH! After it snows it is the PERFECT place to take pictures. It is also BEAUTIFUL in the summer. There are lots of hikes to take on a hot sunny day!

  290. I’m cracking up at your bird stickers. Thanks for the laugh. I’m also loving the red leaf. Shine little leaf, shine.

    My favorite place is the road leading in and out of my small city. There’s two ways to go in and out of where I live if the rail road signals are working properly. If not, there’s one way. When you drive down the road though, you can see probably 50 miles away. It’s vast, rather treeless, slightly hilly, and breathtaking when the sun is setting. I am a mountain girl, so taking in this sight took a while for me to adjust to, but I can bloom in it now.

  291. Awesome post as usual. love them. Usborne books are the best. My son is almost 18 and we still have them :) My favorite place is Palm Island – love love love that place. I too am thankful that the weather is 70 and beautiful out today – no snow here in beautiful Florida – and did I mention I have my flip flops on :)

  292. When I moved to upstate NY from Denver, I never thought I would find a place as magical as the mountains of Colorado. Lo and behold, I stumbled on this place… is a fabulous place to take the little guy in the Spring and watch the world around us come out hibernation and wake up.

  293. I’m from Michigan. I love the UP. It’s so, so beautiful. I went to college at Michigan Tech. I loved it up there, but boy do they get a lot of snow. I prefer going up in the summer, but it’s gorgeous year ’round.

  294. We love books over here! Books are everywhere in our house.

    My magical place is in our family room, camped out on the floor in a pile of blankets and pillows, in front of the fire on a very wet and rainy day. For it to be truly magical, all nine of my children plus my husband have to be present. And we all cuddle for warmth, listening to the rain, there’s a bit of squabbling for territory…and then finally…silence…as the little ones fall asleep. We all sleep there until the morning, either me or my husband waking a couple times during the night to keep the fire going. But that, to me, is magical… where I feel as if everything is completely and 100% right in my world. My magic place.

  295. My favorite magical place at present is the Elvehjem Park, adjacent to Elvehjem School and their magnificent “No Boundaries” playground. The first of its kind in the state of Wisconsin. Kids in wheelchairs can zoom about right alongside walkers and runners at recess; priceless! Also good when you have a new walker and they can void navigating steps.

    Elvehjem, that’s right. A most unfortunate spelling for a name pronounced simply “LVM”. We live across the street so I can pack up at a moment’s notice and with little to no gear be surrounded by either tall trees and singing birds or bright and happy playground equipment. Moving here 6 months ago was the best move ever!

  296. *AVOID navigating steps!!

  297. Southern VA born & raised I love the lakes we had near by. I would go sailing with my Mom & Dad growing up it was amazing.

    My husband and I have just moved recently to Central VA (about and 1.5hrs from our hometown) and now we need to find a magical spot to share with our sweet baby boy :)

  298. Your Mom looks so content & happy. Glad you had an awesome birthday celebration for your girl.

  299. I wish we had as many cool places around where I live like you do! For me it’s my parents backyard on a summer night eating vegetables from their garden and grilling steaks while watching my daughter run up their hill and roll down it. Thank you for sharing your photos! I love them!

  300. I can totally relate to what you said about spending more time enjoying the beauty of Michigan. I’m from Michigan also and now that I live in Arizona I miss it…The snow falling in winter,the excitement of spring, days on the lake in the summer, and especially my favorite brisk walks in the crunchy leaves of fall…
    I have a love/hate relationship with where I live now but I want to enjoy it as best as I can. We love to spend time in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, especially in summer when it is about 20 degrees cooler! I don’t think we will live here forever and I have a feeling that I’ll miss it when we’re gone.

    I love Usbourne books! I would love to buy some new books for our homeschool library!

    Thank You!

  301. My favorite place (when it is 26 degrees outside) is watching my 4 & 2 yr old play on our back deck — in the snow. That little space is just enough for them to have so much fun and I can watch from the kitchen window without having to go with! HAA Cuz.. baby it’s cold outside! Love the pic of you, Mama and Nella.. ADORABLE!

  302. We live in Michigan. My Husbands’ Family has 80 acres that backs up to a Private Lake. It is only 10 mins away to paradise. It has a warm beach and beautiful trees. We have a high dive and a raft. I love that my children get to play there at least 3 times a week in the Summer like my Husband did when he was little. Many memories have been made on Little Pine Island.

    Ps you look super Hot in your jumping picture:)

  303. Those books look fantastic. We spend our spring, summers, and fall holed up at a campground in Southwest MT that few know about (or, maybe they know, but simply choose to go elsewhere); we’d probably spend winters there if the road was passable.

  304. Hello from HUngary!!!
    I love your blog, and my 14months old baby would love the books.. :)

  305. I live in Michigan. The lakes, dunes, small towns are what I love so much about this state!

  306. We love going to Big Bear, CA, it’s close enough to drive and see some snow as my little ones love it. But since we live in Southern, CA we have the beach, unfortunately I burn easily so we don’t do many beach trips, although I love it so we tend to go closer to sunset.

  307. Our favorite place to go is the butterfly park. Not its actually name but it’s shaped like a butterfly and you often spot butterflies there. It also has these bronze statues of little kids doing various things and my girls are convinced they are their friends and talk to them everytime we go.

  308. Memories of Florida came flooding back as I read your post. Nine great years spent there. Cincinnati has its own special places. I love to go down to the Ohio River and walk across the pedestrian bridge between Ohio and Kentucky. Walking over the Ohio River is amazing. susan

  309. Our magical place is The Mount, you can walk around it, or up it if you please, you can laze on the beach beside it or grab a coffee from the cafes underneath! We love our magical place!

  310. I think I need to head down to Florida for a little sight-seeing fun. It just looks so pretty down there.

    I’ve lived in pa for 19 years and I can only really think of one not-so-secret secret place to go. It’s called The Knob and you climb up a small path, up over huge rocks, to find yourself way high up over trees with a great view of a sea of green. It’s scary and thrilling and I always have to watch my step because I’m positive I’m gonna fall. When spring turns to summer I might just have to head up there again because you’re making me jealous!

    Nella’s face is so expressive. She always have a emotion clearly written on her face, mostly I see her happiness; her smile, her shining eyes. But I see her determination and fascination as well and it’s purely adorable. Lainey grabbing your camera and making you jump is so so cute! It’s funny to see that picture of you and how low the view is from. Little lainey is gonna be a picture takin babe in no time!

    Sometimes it’s hard to bloom where you are planted and I use to dislike where I live but…PA has been kind to me. It has given me different season to experience, it has given me my own home to grow in, and where I live…it can be pretty beautiful in it’s own way too. (:

  311. my sanctuary is any beach anywhere.
    : )
    the last picture of today’s post is breathtakingly gorgeous!

  312. The fairy books! My daughter would die to have those@@

    My magical spot is truly my house. It’s where my babies are and nothing makes me happier than being right with them.

  313. I love that your mom has a boyfriend. We have been trying to get my mom on eHarmony too for YEARS. I don’t get it … homegirl needs a MAN!!

    So random, but I find myself reading through your posts and going, “Me too!” So bizarre and almost scary.

    We lived in Michigan too for a few years and we were just talking about going back and taking the kids to Mackinac Island …

  314. I love your take on the red leaf.

  315. so hard to pick just one favorite. but right now, as it’s below freezing outside, i’ll say that my fave place is out on the chesapeak bay on our old hooptie boat. ahhh, can’t wait…

  316. Kelle-
    I am a recent reader of your blog.
    I look forward to each post, and check often to see if there is one waiting to be read.
    Your blog is truly inspiring.
    Reading your heartfelt and honest words makes me a better mom, wife, friend and person. I’m noticing more details in my life, loving the moment (instead of focusing on the future), and “enjoying all the small things” that life with my newly minted one year old provides. Thank you. Thank you for being a writer that is a joy to read. Thank you for being a wonderful example of a mom that truly loves each moment. And thank you for sharing your photos, and “pushing me” into the photography class that I have always wanted to take. Thank you for the impact you are unknowingly having on my life.

  317. I have to admit that I have not loved living here (back in Seattle) after 11 years in New York City where everyday walks were always an adventure. But…the mountains and greenery in Seattle will make any heart beat a little faster, we espeically like going to Snoqualmie falls all together.

    We love Usbourne books, have you seen the “Thats not my” (That’s not my robot, etc.) series, we have a ton of those and even though my kids are 7 and 3 we still love them!

  318. My other favorite place to go is right here…tiptoeing through the comments that make my heart happy to be beating! Yes, it is my lush garden in winter, my shady spot in summer–my place to stay when the world seems cold and cruel. Yes, I like it here.


  319. I’m from Michigan too (mitten love!) and, even though I currently reside in Ohio, I still consider MI to be my home (…so this might not be the best example of blooming where I’m planted). My mom used to take my brother and I to the Cranbrook Gardens many times every spring and summer. There’s a really neat little ampitheatre-style stage tucked away from the trails where my little brother and I would spend hours playing pretend and acting out silly plays for my mom and anybody who would listen. Every chance I get when I’m in MI, I visit that special place. It makes me feel rooted.

  320. I live in Middle Tennessee. I’m originally from Florida. Born right near you in Fort Myers. There are so many beautiful places around where I live. We have several state parks centered around waterfalls. I’ve only been to a handful in the time I’ve lived here, but they all hold a special charm.

    I love the final picture in today’s blog. Photography is a hobby of mine, and I’d like to turn it into a job eventually. I’m always looking for new techniques to create beautiful and sometimes unusual effects in my pictures. May I ask what settings you used with that picture and what (if any) edits you did on it afterwards?

    I just started reading your blog a few weeks ago. A friend shared your enty about Nella’s Oneder fund on Facebook. I love your blog. It’s one of the first things I check when I get online.


  321. Love the photo of the girls sitting on the bridge and looking at each other! They just totally understand one another!!!

  322. love that your Mom & George look like they’ve been together for years! Love the pictures Lainey took of you jumping… too cute

    We love books!! Count me in

  323. My *almost* ten month old loves books! Our favorite special place –Heceta Head Oregon. The cormorants, the sea lions, the lighthouse–it’s a little paradise an hour west of us. I’ve fond memories of climbing the light house stairs while thirthy weeks pregnant, and again with my little love snug in the Moby wrap when he was just five weeks old. We can’t wait to go again when the weather turns.

  324. So very jealous of your beautiful FL weather! I’m still managing to find my own favorite places in the snowy Northeast in our new town. There is this unreal local park with “ruins” from an old iron ore factory. Super cool for shots in any season.

  325. When you said to tell you our favorite magical place to visit…. I realized that I don’t yet have one. It shocked me. I love to be outdoors and when I was a kid, I had a favorite place to sneak away to. It was in our backyard, and while we only owned less than 7 acres in the Arizona desert, I found a place that was all my own and it was magical. The only other magical place I have right now is at home, with my husband and daughter. My favorite place to be is wrapped up in my husband’s arms.

  326. You gotta love Nella and her “happy hands” haha! Your mother is stunning. She has such a softness about her.Pure beauty.

    My Magical place? It would have to be the Bruce pit.As a child it was a place where we would play barbies and GI Joe’s,catch catfish and watch beavers build there dam and turtles floating under a bridge waiting for pieces of bread to munch on. Today,it is still land untouched and a place to bring my own littles. A place to run in the summer or sit and read a book with a picnic basket and a place to snowshoe or cross country ski in the winter. Heaven on earth:) My isle of Capri:)

    xo Chantelle

  327. There are two magical places near where I live. One is my homewotwn Grand Rapids, Ohio. It is a old historic town that sits on the banks of the Maumee river. The walking trail, the smells of the shops, and the old fashioned ice cream make this place “home.” The second place is actually in Michigan. My family and I always go up to a lake called Wamplers Lake and this place is HEAVEN to me. We visit St. Joseph’s shire, go through Hidden Lake Gardens, and then swim the day away in the lake. It’s not summer without a visit there.

  328. My magical place is my Daddy’s farm. It’s 200 acres of pure bliss for me. The smells, the sounds, the dirt, the grass…..oh how I long to live on it one day…you can see a picture of my favorite road with this link, kind of a small picture b/c I was just starting to blog and didn’t know about photobucket :)

  329. My fav place is my backyard. I havent ventured out to much. Yet I too am from Michigan and miss the dunes, Wishing I took my children there before we moved. Where are you from up there?

  330. dear Live/Living/Alive,

    My bit of ‘loving where I live’ is
    simply driving down our country (mostly gravel) roads all around me. Yesterday I saw it all again just 10 miles south. The beautiful rolling prairie. I always picture those early pioneers coming over the piece of Oregon trail that winds through this area. A wonderful peaceful feeling settles over me. The kind that reminds me how lucky I am to live here.

    In the Middle of the Nebraska

    On your post today, my favorite things I spotted in the photos: Lainey’s RED shoes, Nella’s sweet bonnet, and your moms gorgeous hair. Oh, and that red leaf is awesome, good reminder to look for those!

  331. My favorite place to be is at our summer lake camping site! It’s been a family tradition for 30+ years! The memories I have a child are endless and I love making the same memories with my own children too!

  332. One of my favorite places in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” is the lovely lakeside garden where my husband and I got married five years ago. It reminds me of why I like living in Minnesota. Can’t wait to take my son there for the first time this Spring!

  333. We live in SC and love to escape to the beach whenever we can!

  334. Your mom is beautiful!! and looks so happy! I’m jealous of your warm weather & running around without a jacket on!! I love where I live & I especially love that we live near my family, but the cold/snow/ice is getting old…….
    happy monday to you too!!

  335. My Happy Place…….Assateague Island National Seashore baby! Seriously if we could pitch a tent there permantely the 8 of us would move there! But being 20 mins away IS the next best thing!!

  336. Love Usborne books. So good.
    There are not many escapes in this area especially in the Winter… so for now I would say my perfect escape is up in my studio surrounded by crafting loveliness.

  337. I live on Long Island, NY and our favorite area is “Avalon Nature Preserve”…there is a huge pond with beautiful birds and behind the pond are miles and miles of trails through the woods with all little secret beautiful spots that my kiddies LOVE exploring! Cant wait until it warms up and we can enjoy it again!

  338. Our secret little getaway is a town just outside of the Mojave Desert (where we live…stationed here with the Army) called Norco. It is a horse town, think John Wayne. The horses replace cars and the drive thru window is higher as is the cross walk buttons. I love that children are riding horses and living in this time warp with LA just over the next pass…were headed there this weekend!

  339. 2 miles past our main highway and behind the Costco is Lynx Lake. A beautiful little spot with pine trees, paddle boats and eagles. Beautiful!

  340. My favorite place is Woods Canyon Lake. It is a sanctuary for me. While in Minnesots during college I spotted it in an Arizona Highways magazine and was stoked. My roommates thought I was crazy as I excitedly scanned the article for confirmation.

    Love the photo of Nella holding the leaf and the tree tops!

  341. There is a little place right in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, Wi. It is nothing but beautiful woods fun little play grounds tucked away in hidden cover and beautiful wooden and stone bridges that sound cool when little feet go running over them. I esp love this place in the fall. I think it is so cool because you would never guess that out side of these fairy tail woods lies a bustling city. P.S I want that last photo to hang in my living room, it is just beautiful. :)

  342. I love visiting Sedona…less than 2 hour’s drive from Phoenix, but a different world of red rocks and cloudy skys that drop sudden rain showers every summer afternoon. Plus, it’s usually at least 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix!

  343. Our magical spot is a park that is about a mile and half from our house. Close enough to walk, far enough away to feel like an aventure. I love chasing my little daughter around every time like it’s the first.

    I love the picture of Nella with the leaf. Thank you for sharing.

  344. Oh goodness, there are so many. I love my parents’ lake place. Duluth is a blast and has so many cool things to do and see. Any of those little towns north of there are cool too. We love to take a little time on the weekends to explore new places in our state. In fact, we’ve made it a goal to camp in every MN state park in our lifetime. :)

  345. We love, love, love main street in our town of Jenks, OK. Antique stores, coffee shops, and holiday music warm the street!

  346. Love the pictures of the trees and of your Mom with Nella….perfect! My favorite place right now in WI is cuddled up on the couch with my 2 year old and 6 month old…nothing is better! When we can venture outside, I love walk the trails with my family.

  347. Not necessarily related to the post, but I must say I LOVE your playlist…am always finding new artists while reading your beautiful blog!

  348. I just love the photo editing of that last picture. During these crisp wintery months we are enjoying the backyard escape of bonfires and roasting marshmallows under the stars.

  349. Beautiful photos as always! I’m a new reader but am becoming fast addicted to your photos, energy and blog!
    (oh and the happy music that my 1 yr old son loves to dance to as I nurse him while browsing)

    Lovely =)

  350. Our happy place is our backyard. Boring right? After living in a home with brown dead grass we finally have a home with lush grass for little toes to explore and a real, honest to goodness tree swing. Loving it.

  351. My magical place is our new house in the burbs! After living in NYC for 18 years, we packed up with our 2 young boys for our next adventure. I love watching the kids explore the house and find their own way to make fun and memories! I love our new home!

  352. Oh, I looooooooove where I live. Rich in culture, rich in traditions, rich in family life. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a treasure and it runs in my blood. A family favorite is the Plaza downtown. Come visit sometime. Love your blog, it wakes me up.

  353. Oh, I looooooooove where I live. Rich in culture, rich in traditions, rich in family life. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a treasure and it runs in my blood. A family favorite is the Plaza downtown. Come visit sometime. Love your blog, it wakes me up.

  354. for me, it is the local arboretum. endless walking trails to hike and explore. splashes of glorious color and texture everywhere. keeps the littles busy and HAPPY. a little slice of heaven.

  355. The Park by our house . . . it’s small and not fancy at all. When we go, we are often the only people there, so we can just sit back and play and pretend like it’s all ours!

    Happy Monday!

  356. I live in Virginia Beach, VA and my magical place is on the beach but in the higher numbers far away from all of the tourists and junk shops. It’s quiet and peaceful and I love to go out there in the evening when no one is around and it’s a little chilly!

  357. Shhhh…our secret place…Taylor’s Falls where river and trees meets a small quaint town with an old cool bridge and ice cream parlor, 6 inches of snow today still falling and although I am counting down the days to our trip to Hawaii, our 4 year old said it best…”we live in a snow globe mommy!” Yes we do!!!!

  358. I haven’t lived in Iowa long enough to know where the really good spots are, but in the winter the bald eagles appear. They sit in treetops along the river that runs through town. I love watching them coast over the water, seeing a dozen “baldies” sitting in trees. I instantly relax when I see them. The worst traffic jam is nothing with them in view.
    And books, my kiddo loves books. She needs yet another bookcase to hold all of her collection.

  359. Another Michigan girl here. My place has to be the State park that is 5 min from my house – we go there to mountain bike, swim at the beach, hike in the woods, or just sit and watch the sun set over the trees :-)

  360. In CA, it was the beach… but now in the chilly DC suburbs, we visited Alexandria this weekend and it was pretty awesome.

  361. real time LOL at the bird stickers. awesome job. my favorite place in california…hmmm…tahoe is obviously beautiful, but something about palm desert gets me everytime. the nostalgia of easters’ spent there as a family, and the dreamy desert air at night, it is magical. a “when i have babies one day” place to go, no doubt.

  362. While I’m currently living in the stinky, cold and gray college town of UMD, my home is a place called Davidsonville. There is a magnificent field. The kind of field that no matter what season, its colors tug at you. The tugging brings up those childhood memories of playing outside and anxiously awaiting the next season. It’s the perfect place to sit and think, it is good. The sky never fails either.

  363. Loving Michigan right now as we await a foot of snow tomorrow!

    Thanks for doing a book giveaway- very exciting!

  364. I live in Florida, too (near Orlando), and your post reminded me that our “cold” mornings aren’t cold but invigorating. Our rain isn’t wet, but refreshing.

    And nothing beats the warmth of the Florida sun on your back when you’re walking with your precious little one who points and shouts “Kack! Kack!” at the ducks that live in your neighborhood.

  365. I would love someday to visit your little isle of Capri – but for now I love my own back yard…we’ve turned it into our own little bit of paradise…the perfect place to have a party or just sit by the fire pit with the kids (they are all grown now) when they are here for a visit or just relaxin’ with the hubs enjoying a glass of wine…or in the heat of summer watching the hummingbirds flutter about…or in the early days of spring sprucing up the gardens or when we are lucky enough to have a really great snow, building snow people or sledding down the deck steps…I love,love,love my own backyard!

  366. ah. beautiful. doing my best to bloom in this wintry mix.

  367. I’m from Michigan and I’m doing an internship at the Detroit Zoo and it is so pretty in the morning when nobody is there. First thing in the morning the zoo is so peaceful and all of the animals are awake and active, you’ll have to check it out when you come home next!

  368. 3rd picture from the top, the tree emerging into the reflection…beautiful! And of course your smiling girls are always a favorite shot! Loving the life we’re living in sunny Sonoma County…surrounded by rivers, vineyards, mountains, dirt roads and state parks. Anadel State Park has been our “Corkscrew Swamp” of late..enjoying the hiking trails with our girl, Kylie (Age 2). The mossy trails, horseback riders, deer and other wildlife. Nature at its best! I couldn’t love it more, especially knowing that our girl loves it so! Keep loving where you live Kelle!

  369. Fav place…in the wild sanctuary near our home…looking for eagles & birds & enjoying the sun. Now, though, today it’s a blizzard outside…listening to the neighbor’s shovel scrape her walk, enjoying the hum of my furnace bringing me warmth!! Enjoying that I am INSIDE!!

  370. You got me thinking about my favorite spot and it made me smile. Thanks for that!

    There’s a little hiking trail named the Connewago (sounds Colonial, right?) right outside of Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Alongside it runs a babbling brook and smack dab in the middle of the water there are these gigantic boulders.

    They kinda look funny and out of place, but they’re great for having a picnic on top of. Sometimes I like to sit there and think about the changes they’ve seen. It’s a good place to go and clear your head. Your girls would love them.

  371. by far our go to place is the lake! get on our “super freak” cause that;s the name of the boat..and watch the wind jiggle everyone’s chubby cheeks and floppy ears!! summer can’t get here fast enough…in winter when the water is too cold…we hit our very own game room upstairs…where we have dance central, super mario bros, or rock band! that’s where it all goes down!! Love those books and love that look on lainey’s face of her and nella on the bridge!! too cute!

  372. Living in Calgary Canada, far away from all my family in the states sometimes it is hard to find the good, especially when it is -22, what????? But you have never experienced Calgary until you think you are in the middle of downtown and then you jump on the running trails and you feel like you are in the forest or the mountains, how can it be so beautiful and refreshing yet you are 2 steps away from a bustling metropolis, so cool!!!!
    I have learned over the past two years that Calgary is amazing despite the cold, embrace it and grab a toque (aka beanie)!!!


  373. Beautiful post…I love the ebb and flow of life :-)

  374. Love you”r blogg.

  375. My husband, baby girl, and I moved back to Michigan almost a year ago after living in South Carolina for almost four years. As cold as I am and as much as I’m missing the balmy southern weather, I know our spot is back in “the mitten” with our families just close enough to babysit when we need them!

  376. Honestly, our front porch. We have the privilege of living on the Okanagan Lake – people come from all around the world to vacation here and pay millions to own a little slice of our view. It’s spectacular. When I’m not sitting on the front porch ogling the shimmering lake water lapping against the majestic mountains, I like to grab a drink from a local bakery and take a stroll right down by the water. It’s magical.

  377. First of all, I just want to say that your daughter is an amazing photographer! I love the composition of the shot of you jumping!

    Anyways, we live in Saskatchewan in a little town called Caronport. It’s pretty bare around here. Our first summer was spent in our back yard. I had someone build a little fence to keep my, wild, free-spirited and far ranging if left to herself, daughter within the realm of my energy ability! I was pregnant with my second baby and I just didn’t have the will power to keep chasing my daughter away from the road and all the places she wanted to explore. Even though I’ll have a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old this summer, I’m excited about getting out to see what we’ve really got here! We’re also going camping in BC for our first time as a family! I’m excited about this summer, but I’m content to sit in my warm house and look out across the BEAUTIFUL field behind our home. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  378. Wow! Great pictures! Your children are just precious! :o)

  379. My favourite place is Prince Edward County (here in Ontario). My sister-in-law and I are already planning our adventures for the summer – kayaking on the Bay, looking for Grey herons, taste trailing (wine and food), and walks in the fields. Never a dull moment when at the cottage, with family, in the most beautiful area around.

  380. I love where I live and have lived. After living in the mountains of Western NC and then moving here I have found the wonder of everything there is about Naples. I do miss the mountains.

    My family and I were visiting Corkscrew yesterday and I am sure that we said Hi to each other in the entrance. I am Aunt Dot’s neighbor, Shannon. I just have to say how much I love your blog. I was

  381. It’s cold here where I am at but we share blue skies! Love this series of photos very much! Nella looks so Big Girl now! ♥

  382. Cove Beach is our spot ~ a short drive from our home. Of course, we won’t be there until the snow storms stop coming, but sitting in our living room with the snow falling is just as magical too! I love Lainey’s hair clip!

  383. Our Isle of Capri is the big park up the way. It has just the right amount of shade in the swealtering August heat of Texas and just the right amount of sunlight on the cool days in Janauary. The grass is always itching to be covered with a picnic blanket and we love spending time outside with our friends.

  384. My little gem is Veronica’s Cafe that overlooks the Cook Inlet and the Mt. Redoubt volcano here in Kenai, Alaska. From Veronica’s you can gaze out at the ocean, admire the historical Russian Orthodox church and chapel, watch moose ambling by and eagles soaring overhead, all while eating the best clam chowder you’ve ever had, or sharing a banana nut muffin with a thirteen month old Bun-Bun girl. Loved this post, Kelle! I totally agree! Bloom where you’re planted! Even if that’s not where you originally were planted, you know?

  385. I loved exploring as a child, the hidden caverns beneith giant trees or the secret pond with the super cold stream. I need to try and enjoy it more as adult, we just don’t take the time as our busy lives whisk us away. Love your blog. Love Usborne books, we’re expecting our first in April and need to beef up the colletion!

  386. My magical spot is the soft brown chair in my baby boy’s room, right next to the crib, where the sweetest little boy sleeps peacefully, wrapped up in his blue blanket. Heaven!

  387. I forgot to say our magical place is Barefoot Beach. I do love this beach.

  388. My little hideaway when it’s warm outside is a beautiful botanical gardens very close to my little house. My daughter and I will be enjoying picnics and stroller walks through the beautiful flowers soon! :)

  389. my place is a spot where 5 generations now have dipped their toes in the gulf, dug sand out their cracks and crevasses, and enjoy one another company on long summer days. indian shores has and always will be in my heart, and now i relish in sharing this special place with my little people.

  390. our little favorite spot is after the daddy gets home from work on a nice summer day, we pack the 3 little people up and take them to the other side of our 5 acres, go across the gravel road, and there’s a little river where we go fishing there. we stay up past bed time, and 3 and 6 year old boy faces light up when they feel a fish nibbling at the end of their line, and my baby girl is excited to feel the sun kissing her bare legs and chubby hands and sweet face.
    that right there is magic. and it’s in our very own backyard. (okay, almost in our very own backyard.)
    love usborne books- my boys favorite book of all time is a set of encyclopedias he got from usborne a few years back- still a fave! :)

  391. There is a downtown area near us with a river walk and a beautiful park that I love to take my boys to. We walk (run) along the river walk, feed the ducks, and drop sticks & leaves over the bridge to watch them float away. Just thinking about it makes me long for spring! Maybe this year my Wesley will get more into it too!

    Those books look amazing!

  392. Oh, those books look wonderful!
    I have a few magical places, but the one that really tickles me is the apple orchard. There’s something about Michigan’s crisp, fall air, crunching on apples while walking between the apple trees, and tasting every season wrapped up into that one bite!

  393. It’s so crazy to look at your pictures and see people in short sleeves and no jackets! We’re bracing for another snow storm. Fun fun fun!

    I just moved to Maryland in October, so I have yet to really discover much here – lots of exploring will be happening when the thermostat rises above 30. Where I used to live, outside of Philadelphia in the suburbs of New Jersey, there was this little alcove within a lake. You could only get ther via boat, but oh, it was magical. There was the faintest bit of shoreline so you could dock the boat and wade in the water. It was clear, clear to the floor, with fishies. You could hear your heart beating in there, if you quieted your mind enough.

  394. north avenue beach during the summer – chicago, il. the warm sand, ice cold lake water, city skyline behind you…it’s awesome.

  395. I love this post, I love the books you posted, I will check them out!

  396. I love the little red leaf side-story – made me smile. :) Our special place is where we spent most of the summer and fall – our back yard – our tiny fenced in patch of the greenest grass ever. The first place my little guy’s toes felt soft grass underneath them and the place he’d love to crawl around in all day. I cant wait for spring when the grass wakes up so we can go back out there!

  397. My “Isle of Capri” in Michigan is Houghton Lake. My family has had a cottage there since before my time. As a child I remember peering through the googly eyes of my frog raft at the minnows in the water. As a teen, I anchored a raft out a ways from shore so that I could sunbathe and dream of my crushes. Now as a parent, I watch my little guys fall in love with being there in the summer – the breeze, the 4th of July celebrations, grilling, swimming and in the future: boating and building a fire. I love it and I wish Michigan had summer year-round!

  398. Our family’s favourite place to be is County Cavan, Ireland, to our beautiful log cabin. It takes us 2hrs to get there and we go there every 6 weeks but a calmness overcomes ALL of us including the teenagers!!

  399. My son calls it “our mountain”! he loves it so much if he sees something out the window of the car that resembles our moutain he yells with joy and fullness “look, its our mountain!”..
    Its a few blocks from our house, a big green hill with a few trees and mostly a strong presence as our grounding place, where we walk as a family.

  400. My son calls it “our mountain”! he loves it so much if he sees something out the window of the car that resembles our moutain he yells with joy and fullness “look, its our mountain!”..
    Its a few blocks from our house, a big green hill with a few trees and mostly a strong presence as our grounding place, where we walk as a family.

  401. I am taking my kids to my magical place in May. I. AM. SO. EXCITED! Growing up in England’s North West, we would visit my Nan and Grandad’s carovan in a hidden valley in North Wales. So quiet and peaceful with a little vstream running through it my sister and I would spend endless hours fishing for Sticklebacks (1 inch fish) with mini nets and wadding around in our wellies. I adore that place.

  402. When I saw the photo of you jumping I was instantly jealous of how awesome you look after two babies….

  403. our favorite place is going for family bike rides on the prairie path near our house. it’s such a serene place to quickly get away from the hustle and bustle of our life.

  404. Love Usborne books. I got my neice the animal activity cards and she loves them! There’s a mountain top with a nice view of the sunrise that I’ve always enjoyed.

  405. i so need that pirate book for my boys–they are obsessed! i love usborne books. and i am always so in love with all your pictures!

  406. Wow, gorgeous photos as always!!

    My little magical place….Meramec Spring Park in middle Missouri. Love going there on a hot day b/c you can really feel how cold the spring is!

  407. Love where you live! great advice:)

  408. I would love to be outside in the sun right now! I’m glad you had a fabulous time with your mom… she looks happy :)

  409. I live in Beautiful British Columbia, and my happy place is a little treasure called Harrison Hot Springs. When I was a little girl my family would celebrate my birthday with me there each year, and as I have gotten older I have claimed it as my own. The love of my life and I gather there to mend fights, to laugh and walk and run and play, and especially to fly kites. It may even be the location of my magical winter wedding later this year.

  410. I love to drive from our suburbs out to the nearby “country” area … where there are farms and open spaces. We go to a lake and splash and relax.

    I really enjoyed the picture of Nella held up high with the tall trees.

  411. My favorite place is in the country, the lush green rolling fields where you can’t see a building even though you can see for miles. When you take a deep breath it feels like your first true breath in forever. Oh and the sounds! This time of year it sounds so very quiet and hushed and in summer it is so full bird calls, crickets and bees, not to mention the wonderful night noises. I wish I could fully explain the beauty of it all!

    Okay now I’m getting homesick.

  412. I’ll show you my magic place. “Sugar house Hill”- the hill at the top of my land (er…my family’s land!) in Vermont with an abandoned old crumbling sugar shack:

    I thought I recognized Oscar, Nici’s little valentine monster! Awesome.

    Also, your nature photography is sweet. I want more!

    Finally, could you please write a post entitled, “jump, momma!” I’d love to see where you take that!


  413. I bet you’d make a kill blogging for your beloved Naples City. Just from your photos, I can’t wait to visit someday.

    The canyon park in awesome Utah County is my Isle. Mountains surrounding us every which way, while pushing my babies in the swings and floating lil’ notes down the river to each other. Perf.

    Love, Bree

  414. Books, I love books. Its a good thing that I don’t have unlimited space because I would use it to store books.
    My magical place is in my husbands arms. It is really, really cold here and I love to curl up in his arms late at night after all the kids have gone to bed. It’s my place of comfort and where I find good conversation with my best friend :)

  415. I have to say that I am a little bit in love with the fact that you are jumping barefoot :)

    I haven’t found my magical place yet…though I am sure there are many. Recently moved here about a year ago and I have been just about bedridden for about 6 months…so I am taking the small things as magical…like being able to bake my kids some cookies when they come home from school…watching the dogs watch the world from the big livingroom window….

    its the small things I tell ya…

    Thank you for doing what you do…

  416. I live in the mountains of North Carolina and one of the area’s gems is the Mount Jefferson State Park. It’s a small, mountainous park, that offers a few hiking trails, and a few old picnic tables where lazy afternoon July picnis are a family favorite.

    So happy for your Mom and George! She just glows!

    Leisa Powell

  417. sad. why did you change the blog format so it can’t be read in reader?! please change it back…i hate having to click over. please!!!

  418. my favorite place in KY is Salatos at the KY fish and wildlife center. It has all sorts of animals for the kids to see and it is free and my children LOVE IT.

  419. dude- your mom is gorgeous. just sayin’.

  420. We love where we live and where we live we have the largest urban park in the nation at 24,247 acres, covering some 37 square miles, all within the city limits of El Paso. LOVE the Franklin Mountains State Park!

  421. I live in Spokane, WA and I love to travel 20 mins north to Greenbluff. A collection of farms that all year round offer something different. Of course fall is my favorite for pumpkins but they have apples and all sorts of produce:)
    Love how you all look so much alike…your mom, you, and your girls. So adorable!

  422. I love your blog! And my current favorite place is sitting in my living room with my hands on my belly – feeling our first little one move around! We cannot wait to meet this baby!

  423. We love books! We’ve been reading to our little guy since thd day he was born! Our newest addition is due in July and we hope to continue the tradition.

    Our special place is the Towpath. . .we bike, walk and jog, all while enjoying nature and an occasional train. Oh–and just about always an ice cream treat afterwards :)

  424. The lighthouse on Lake Erie. Where else can you sit with friends watching the sumset over the water on one side adn the stars coming out on the other?

  425. Right smack dab in the middle of Houston, TX is a park. Its a mammoth park but thats wonderful because within that mammoth park in the middle of the very busy city are multilple, yes multiple, perfect places to enjoy a day. First of all surrounding the park is every musuem you could possibly want, the zoo (happy happy place) and the medical center. There is a little choo choo train that goes all around and through the park. Its a definite favorite. There is a huge playground area with playthings for the itty bittys and the bigger itty bittys. There is a big pond with paddle boats and ducks galore. And there is the biggest hill that my itty bitty has ever seen. She runs wild on it, up and down, up and down. It is the perfect place to have a picnic lunch. I haven’t even began to touch on all the neat little niches in the park! In a city where everything is hustle and bustle it is truly a little day vacation spot. go Hermann Park!

  426. Aptos Beach, about 45 minutes away from my town. Pretty blessed living in CA; good weather, lots of parks. museums and the beach is close by.

  427. I always love your pictures. You capture such wonderful moments. I love in Washington Seattle area. We are so lucky and have every type of place to go, mountains, ocean, farm land, lakes, rivers, etc. One of my faves is being by the water anywhere here.

  428. It’s hard to love this place right now since it’s so cold, but soon we’ll have spring and be back to enjoying the parks and time down by the river.

  429. Gorgeous photos, as always!

    Love the red leaf! I went on a trip to Melbourne, Australia, from little old New Zealand in January, and one of my online friends made me a gorgeous present using your favourite ‘one wild and precious life’ quote – she was inspired by your blog – how cool is that?

    My special place around here is a small beach that we used to walk to when we were kids. So many special memories there! Now it’s just a 5 minute drive and I try to go once a week – whether it be to let the kids have a fun around, or whether I’ve got a takeaway coffee and a book. It’s a plain, tidal, shelly beach – not particularly spectacular, but it feels like home to me.
    (Plus it has a cute name – French Bay).

  430. Those pics of the sanctuary are beautiful and those books look like so much fun!
    My favorite magical place is called The Stow House in Goleta, CA. It’s an ancient mansion (turned museum) that sits on Lake Los Carneros and when my sister and I were little, we used to go wander around the property and the lake with my Nana and Pappaw and feed the ducks stale bread pieces.
    Such special times :)

  431. love it :-) My “Isle of Capris” is actually a small manmade lake we go to called Lake Sherwood, Missouri. It is 45 mins from our house (st. louis) and a small little lake – nothing great – but it is a great retreat for a one day trip – and it is a place my kids will grow up looking forward to visits there – a place they can think of as “theirs”

  432. My magic place is Sucia Island in the San Juans. It’s amazing and best visited during the work week when it’s quiet and uninhabited.

  433. My 14 month old would love those books. My happy place is the neighborhood part swinging my baby (when the weather is nice)

  434. I love hanging out by the fire in our house and here in carthage we don’t quite have an Isle, but a little place called Wildcat park is a favorite.:)

  435. I love love love the picture of your mother and Nella. That smile is so cute and quirky.

    My favorite place around home is Ohiopyle in Western Pa. I love going there in the summer with friends and exploring the natural waterfalls and taking picture of everyone walking down the stream and venturing into the unknown.

    Have a great week!

    Melissa :)

  436. Love where you live. What a great post. I love the cornfields out my backdoor. The rolling hills not far away. And the sandy dunes which are in a few hours drive.

    MI is one of my favorite places to be too.
    IL holds my heart. I ama country girl.

  437. Several places come to mind:
    1-Driving 71/75 north bound through the cut in the hill–you round the turn and viola–the Cincinnati Skyline–it is simply breathtaking. It makes my heart swell with pride knowing where I live.
    2-Mitchell’s Park. It’s my son’s favorite park, but also where my husband and I said “I love you” for the first time and also is the place where he proposed…it’s a magical place where my little family can picnic and run wild through the jungle gym!
    3-Devou Park Bandshell. In the winter it looks like an old, unused odd-looking structure. When the snow falls it turns into a place where THOUSANDS of families go sled riding and in the summer it hosts concerts and family movie nights–it’s perfection!

  438. My favorite magical place to visit near my house? Definitely my granny’s farm, home of many happy childhood memories. And if you ever want to come check out Oklahoma, let me know!

    Oh, and your mom looks so happy. Too incredibly sweet!

  439. It’s really hard to choose because where we live in NOrthern Michigan there are probably at least ten favorite spots for me… I can narrow it down to somewhere along the sleeping bear dunes, but from there it gets really hard. Pyramid point with its glorious view and the treat of a cool wind after your climb? Little Fishtown, where the best sandwhiches ever are made down on the little canal? Good Harbor Bay where the sand stretches for miles and miles? Otter creek? Eeek… can’t pick just one. :) I also can’t wait for summer!

  440. My happy place is with my husband and baby girl! I especially love my grandpa’s orchards. I grew up in apple and cherry orchards and this book worm would love to read to her baby girl under her favorite tree. I think a picnic is in order this summer!

  441. I love Ft. Clinch in Fernandina Beach, Florida. We took our little one there yesterday and she loved it!!

  442. Love finding little hidden treasures. We’re in Ohio, but I still long for moving to FL.

  443. Our Isle of Capri sits parked in our driveway! We love our “weekends” – Sunday afternoon through Tuesday Mornings. Since we both work on Sundays, that’s our time to go away with our motorhome. We love to go to parks not far from home, but far enough away that we can’t be found. We bar-b-que, drink wine and just be with the sounds of nature and each other. And of course, campfires and roasted mashmallows.

  444. Don’t know why I am still surprised with the depth and beauty of EVERY single post. Day after day. But I read each new one, thinking ‘oh this is probably just a quick post since she just posted that amazing random post the day before,’ And as always I’m left smiling, laughing and loving. You rock! My favorite place in Utah? It’s not right next door but I love me some Lake Powell!!! I’m taking you there next time you visit (even if it is 4 hours away! :).

    P.S. Your mom is beautiful and I can totally see your beautiful face in your momma’s face.

  445. Out by the near by lake. Yum… it is delicious to be by the water.

    I adore your pictures, writing, girls, YOU, and your passion for life.

  446. I’m from Chicago so our favorite get away spot is Lake Geneva. It’s touristy but in a great kinda way. Old mansions with hidden paths and lots of charm. It feels good, ya know, walking around the town forgetting how to get back to where you started.

  447. from one teacher to another…usborne ROCKS! minnesota doesn’t lend itself well to being outdoors with little ones this time of year, but when it’s nicer out we love to go wander around the 85 miles of bike trails in our city. it’s amazing what you can discover right in your own backyard!

  448. Any Cotton field :)

  449. I’m a firm believer in bloom where planted and made it mt motto while living far away from Tx for 12 years. Now that we are back here we are seaching it all out to find our new favorites here, I love this place but I am having to relearn its best spots!

  450. I adore your blog! Your girls are adorable and I have enjoyed watching them grow.
    If I had to choose a “Happy Place” It would be Bidwell park in Chico California. It is about two hours south of us and it is a beautiful park with lots of trails for walking, it has a awesome natural swim hole and an awesome play area for the kiddos! We love Chico!

  451. One of my go-to spots is down the street from our house. We’re fortunate to live in the Lakes Region of NH, and my city has three different lakes. Pretty rockin’. Anyway, if we walk two blocks or so down the street, we arrive at a dead-end-slash-boat-launch-slash-crappy-beach. Crappy only in the sense that it isn’t technically a beach, but we swim there a lot because, once you go in a few feet, the bottom is wonderfully sandy and the water deepens gradually. We love to go down there and just look around – the season-changing shades of the water, the hills across the way, and during this time of the year, snowmobile tracks and little bobhouses scattered about. It’s beautiful and magical and life-giving.
    And? Love the smiling Nella with your mom. Super cute!

  452. My fav place is the Dog Park; I love to see my 2 dogs run free and play with the other dogs.
    PS-I work at a public library & the Usborne books we have are very popular, I would use the GC to buy more for our collection.

  453. We just moved (to a place many people consider unloveable) and I’m determined to love where I live. I’m still on a hunt for our happy place but in the meantime I must say that playing at the park is my happy place during the week when my kids are all at home, it’s the place in the world where all is right with them, I’ve abandoned laundry/dishes/computer/work/friends/worries/food to spend time with them and it is just magic for us. My 4,2 and 1 year old are putty in my hand when I stoop down and play house or pirates or make believe with them (because Pirates and House are NOT make believe… :)). Happy times, these.

  454. We just moved (to a place many people consider unloveable) and I’m determined to love where I live. I’m still on a hunt for our happy place but in the meantime I must say that playing at the park is my happy place during the week when my kids are all at home, it’s the place in the world where all is right with them, I’ve abandoned laundry/dishes/computer/work/friends/worries/food to spend time with them and it is just magic for us. My 4,2 and 1 year old are putty in my hand when I stoop down and play house or pirates or make believe with them (because Pirates and House are NOT make believe… :)). Happy times, these.

  455. Here in the ‘burbs of VA Beach/Chesapeake our favorite escape is the sunny sands and cool waves of our beach! Our family also loves the Norfolk zoo…small and insignificant compared to some, but hey it’s not everyone who can drive 20 minutes and see lions and monkeys and tortoises and giraffes, right?!

  456. The photo of Nella grinning her grandma’s arms kills me. What a smile on that girl!

  457. I just wanted to say how much I adore your happiness over your mother’s new love. After 18 years of being divorced and single, my mother too found a new love. It makes me so very happy to see her in a with a wonderful man, who adores her!

    Congrats to your mother!!

  458. Could live in a Usborne library with my kids. We love going to Oakglen, Ca. 20 minutes away and we have pumpkin, apple, and raspberry picking. We also love the nature walks and picnics we have there. And at least once or twice a season: SNOW!

  459. I feel like I have too many magical places to name, but my very favorite would be the tiny town that my Grandpa lives in, that my Mom grew up in, and I spent most childhood vacations.
    It’s about 5 hours up north from Toronto (where I live) and the drive up in itself is spectacular. All hills and lakes and forrests and cliffs… untouched land in Canada’s greenbelt going on as far as you can see. Winter, Summer, Spring, Fall it’s a totally different scene and always equally beautiful.

  460. My magical place is the redwood forests in Santa Cruz County. Particularly in Ben Lomond. It’s very quiet and takes you away from city life.

  461. I moved to Boise two years ago to be near five grandchildren(and their parents!) – and I am in love with the Boise river greenbelt that runs for at least 28 miles from one side of my new town to the other! I can access it across the street and follow in on foot or on bike, and I get to see everything between Lucky Peak reservoir to Eagle State Park. I can park a billion places along the way and take off, enjoying the river scenery, wild life, and lots of parks, museums, and the zoo. It always makes me happy, happier than I already am being in sunny Boise with five wonderful grandchildren!

  462. Your Mum & George….a gorgeous story, a gorgeous couple :)

    About 6 minutes drive from our house is a quiet little fishing village. It seems to random…we live in a modern, standard suburbia town, but 1 minute down the road & you’re driving through luscious cane fields, and you then pop out at this sleepy little bayside town! There’s not much there…but we love to go there for evening beach strolls & fish n chips! It’s our little slice of adventure…just minutes from home :) I blogged about it here once:
    Have a good week Kelle!

  463. Where I live, we’re supposed to get 10-20 inches of snow within the next two days. Trying to love that.

    A magical place for us is at the lake (Lake Michigan), but in Chicago, just known as “the lake” haha. Better yet, though it’s been a few years since I’ve done it, is sailing ON Lake Michigan on our friend’s sailboat…at night…looking at the Chicago skyline at night from the lake, nothing like it!

  464. Like you, I am a Michigander. I love any beach along Lake Michigan. Silver Lake, Grand Have, Traverse City, Holland, Mackinaw….Putting my babies toes in Lake Michigan last summer, for the first time, was my Heaven on Earth!

  465. I love your blog…I love your kids…I love that your Mom found love! I live along Lake Michigan and feel connected to you as a Mom and a Michigander. Keep on keepin’ on Kelle. You are an inspiration. XO

  466. Howdy from SUNNY (yessiree bob, it is, indeed!) Seattle :) Love that picture of Nella and your Mom. What a grin that little imp has! :)

    Magic place…just about anywhere on a ferry around Puget Sound. I love the smells, the anticipation, the chop of the sea, the sealife you might chance upon, and the beauty of seeing your home from the water…ahhhh…nothing like it!

    Thanks for always providing a warm place to land for your readers! Have a great day :)

  467. 14 years here and I still haven’t quite bonded with the place. But I am loving the quaint little Shop-Around-The-Corner-esque bookshop a few miles from home. Storytime on the floor with a craft afterwards is just good stuff.

    And of course, there’s always home. A word my 20 month old just picked up. It warms my heart to know that he knows and loves his home.

    (Loved the little surprise of the Shins, too. One of my all time favorite songs from a band I was introduced to by Bono. Remind me to tell you the story sometime. 😉 )

  468. I love Nella’s little grin in the pic of her and your mom. She’s just too precious. I try to love where I live, but I’m so ready to move on! The 100+ degree weather in the summer is just too much for me. The fact that we have hardly had any days this winter below 70 drive me nuts too.

  469. Favorite place in my magical town? The city dock. We live in Annapolis MD “America’s Sailing Capital”… need I say more?! 😉

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  471. We have a park about a block from our house, with a cute white gingerbread gazebo and a playground where my daughter and I spent an inordinate amount of time this spring, summer, and fall. Our park is covered in snow right now, and as we were driving past it this morning I was realizing how much I missed those park outings with my little girl. I can’t wait for spring!

  472. We live in North Dakota and one of the greatest places is where we take our kiddos sledding…so fun!

  473. I love that my 2-yr-old will sit in his room alone and read books already. Love all the nature pics today!

  474. It’s hard to pick a favorite…but hiking around the Buffalo River Valley in North Arkansas is pretty high up there!

  475. My magical place? My little hometown! 37.67 N You would love it! A place where people wave for no reason, where the best places to eat are the local yocal fast food joints that desperately need to be remodeled, and where I introduced my husband to the “real outdoors”. I think you need to visit sometime!

  476. I grew up in FL, was college educated in MI and now reside in western NC. I love each state’s history and finding beauty spots! My place right now is definitely anywhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway….Craggy Gardens, Grandfather Mountain….

    And Usborne books? Love them! My 3 year old and I were just cuddling in the bed with First Thousand Words. I need to enlarge our library!

  477. It’s nice to see the pics of your mom and her love. My mother died just over five years ago and I think all the time how nice it would be for my dad to have someone to share his life with….and not always be living in the shadow of my mother’s death. I’m glad your mom is happy.


  478. oh… now i want to live in Florida. it’s so cold & rainy & slushy & gray right now here in St. Louis! but we have major hidden beauty, as well… among our favorites (me & my daughters) is the Missouri Botanical Garden- oldest public garden west of the Mississippi river!

  479. !!!! Thank-you for that timely reminder. It is -28 celsius here (about -18 F) with LOTS of snow. I have been whining about it a lot and you are so right…I need to bloom where I’m planted. Or in my case, shovel where I’m snowed in 😉

    Your girls are so adorable, I love the picture of Nella with your mom, her smile is great! And the last picture of the trees is gorgeous, it would be lovely as artwork framed on the wall.

  480. I am from ny…came here to SoCal at 17.

    There is a little stretch of beach here called Crystal Cove…it’s a beauty…with tide pools and sand and at the far end of the beach a rickety old beach house….you’ll never guess what beach house it is….the one from the movie “beaches”….I now have a photo of that beach house across from my bed..get to look at it every day….and dream

  481. We have an overlook on a hill that looks out over the Missouri river and into Kansas and showcases some of the most GORGEOUS sunsets. That’s where my husband and I like to go.

  482. Oh, and my magical place? I love taking the drive to Waterton Lakes National Park and admiring God’s beautiful creation. Mountains, lakes, wildlife, trees, fresh air…ahhhh. Peace.

  483. Our little “piece of heaven” is just outside our house where we can sit by the sandbox and play in our tree house. I love coming in and dumping sand out of shoes and diapers !!!And drawing chalk all day on the driveway including chalking notes to daddy in front of his police car telling him to be safe.

    So happy for your mom and George , love always finds its way.

    love and blessings
    the doughtys

  484. My happy place is on our brick patio, under the pergola, while my girls are cooking in their plastic outdoor kitchen or in the sand box and watching golfers put around and enjoy their day!
    PS- I’m from the MS coast and my favorite place their is the barrier islands…Horn is the best of all!

  485. Kelle,

    I needed this post today, so thank you for sharing the exact wavelength that I’m on at the moment. Currently residing in Charleston, SC and absolutely love it, but need a new job and this is a stagnant, tourist market…so coming to grips with realizing a move is imminent is difficult. But I’m confident to re-bloom where I’m re-planted, given the blessing of an opportunity arrives. Thank you for always making my day.


  486. Nella’s smile is getting so big!

    I love Lake Michigan in Chicago. Even though I miss my hometown on the ocean, the water provides a quiet retreat–and seems much more happy and welcoming sometimes than the wild ocean.

  487. Blue Ridge Parkway,especially Pisgah Mountain area! Any time of the year evenin the snow.

  488. Love where you live! I love sitting in my living room watching my two kids play together and dream of what they’ll be when they grow up. As far as a real place, I love being on top of Grand Targhee resort, looking down at the beautiful Teton Valley and finding my home (where I grew up)and thinking about how small it is. I need something like that in Boise, but at least it is only a 5 hour drive away.

  489. Love the park across the street from our house. bright colors and lots of things to do.

  490. I see where you get your good looks…your mom is gorgeous too! Looks like a fabulous time with family!

  491. We live in Chicago, so winters can be tough – our current winter favorite place is the Garfield Park Conservatory (or, as my 3 year old simply calls it “The Flowers”), we love to walk around and take in the warm environment and new blooms, especially during the cold winter.

    Today’s pictures are making me look forward to Spring/Summer out this way and again being able to run around with the littles outside. Just the thought will have to do for now as we hunker down for a possible blizzard – eek!

  492. My favorite magical place is where my husband and I went for our first date. Although it is just a putt putt golf course with a beautiful lake and enormous trees that line the lake, it is absolutely beautiful, not only for the landscape but also for the feelings it evokes in me.

  493. That tree photo is so gorgeous that I think I’d rather win a copy of it than the giveaway prize.

    Just sayin.

  494. I just started following your Blog
    Truley Beautiful!

  495. Kelle- your mom looks so HAPPY…she has that glow :)! What a treasure she has found :)

    Beautiful post as always.

    What I love about where I live (Sacramento area) is the proximity to so much that California has to offer. 45 minutes north and we’ve got Lake Tahoe. 60 minutes west and we have San Francisco. 45 minutes north west and we have Napa Valley. So….depending on our mood we can have such a variety of experiences and culture and nature with just a very short car drive! LOVE it!

  496. I’m from Ontario, and in the summer I love to drive through the country, past all the Old Order Mennonite farms with their whitewashed farmhouses, sturdy barns, ruler-straight lines of gardens, and handmade quilts hanging on the clothesline. These people live a life of simplicity and hard work, where family and community come first, and it always reminds me to be thankful for the simple joys of my own life :)

  497. Oh, a favorite of ours is Frederick Meijer Gardens, which reminds me a lot of the place you spoke about! There’s a children’s garden, a huge water area, a big tree house for the kids to play in, and a winding boardwalk that’s always sure to have something to spot out on it. It’s beautiful, there’s so much to do, and you can be as involved or alone as you want to be!!

  498. My home away from home is The Beach Club at Pebble Beach. My absolute fav!

  499. We live near a low-key beach in Santa Monica. I love that we can throw everybody in the car, spend 10 minutes in the car, and then kick back while the kids play.

  500. ARGHHH! I have to have that 1001 pirate things to spot. I do love where I live, I just need to remind myself when the rain feels like it will never stop, but when the sun comes out, the green is the most magnificent green in the world!

  501. I definitely agree that you should bloom where you are planted! I was born and raised here in North Carolina and absolutely LOVE where I am! Our secret place is Latta Equestrian Center… We love to take our little one there and let her fawn over the ponies and let her take a ride or twenty! We are HUGE book lovers, so I’ll definitely be checking out your friends site!

  502. Our close to home spot is Duke Gardens, but in two hours time we could be on the beach if we go east or the mountains if we go west. I love it here and I am sad we will be relocating soon but I guess I can bloom there too.

  503. My secret place not far from home is a place called Pewit’s Nest. It is small canyon located in the Bluffs we live in. I have lived here all of my life and just in the last 5 yrs. had finally visited this hidden treasure! Breathtaking! And thanks for your breathtaking photos! You can TOTALLY see happiness in your mom’s eyes! Awesome! My daughter has her Golden Birthday tomorrow, Feb. 1st! It’s been fun watching your Nella grow with my daughter! Happy Week to you, Kelle!

  504. I live in Salt Lake City and right now I am not so big on being outdoors, because it is COLD!

    However, during the spring, summer, and fall, if I can escape to the mountains and camp, things don’t get much better. My favorite place in the summer is Bear Lake. I love it and it is the closest thing we have that feels like a beach!

  505. We just moved this summer from MN to IA, and we’ve searched but not yet found a favorite spot. Just a few days ago though it was like spring here and we went on a fabulous stroll. The sun was bright and the snow was melting little streams that rushed under ice against the curb. We found a few milkweed pods and blew them into the breeze like little paratroopers..ahh it was a little bit of magic (Especially since it’s snowing again)!

  506. I love the little bird stickers. They were adorable. When it’s warm, the family loves to go to the Nolin River and canoe. It’s not quite home, but it is family.

  507. Favorite place….the Pacific Ocean which is only minutes away. Right next to Marina so you can see the boats coming and going. We ALWAYS see dolphins and collect sand crabs.


  508. Hagan road, a little country road just a few miles from our home. It is a typical country road with a few farms, houses and lots of trees. However at the top of a hill is a gate and behind that gate is magic. It is just a walking path but for us our dog can be free and our 2 little ones can explore. It’s wonderful!

  509. you inspire me to be better…… a better photographer, a better person, and most of all a better mother.

  510. I hope I have a girl next (we have 4 boys) because I want to dress her in tights like you dress Nella in. So cute!

  511. Sounds silly – but it’s my backyard. Love that its big enough to run and explore; practice archery, and bbq.

  512. Mmm….across the bay at the pier and downtown Fairhope!! I am an aspiring teacher so this would be fabulous!!

  513. can i just say that your girls grow more beautiful everyday!? i would be one proud mama if i were you :) my sanctuary is a place about an hour and a half’s drive from my home, a natural waterfall and rockpool. bliss.

  514. I am in love with this rose garden that sits near the middle of my city. There are tons of roses and other flowers, and now they are building an atrium, too. I can’t wait for it to be finished. It’s my favorite place to walk and run around with my little man.

  515. One of my favorite outside spots here on Long Island is Cupsogue Beach. Perfect sand and waves. However, we are in the depths of frigid weather so currently my favorite spot is in front of the fireplace with a good book.

  516. We live in beautiful NW Arkansas, where every season is an adventure and a new experience to live in. Our favorite spot is called Pebble Beach, where only the people that live around it know about. It is wonderful to go there in the evening to see faces of people you know or recognize…and to know that this unpopular spot is never busy because you all share a secret. A place where bonfires, fishing, swimming and cozy nights are spent.

  517. Thinking about your comment on enjoying Michigan, which I did when I lived there. Now it’s time for another trip as I continue to introduce my husband and kids to the joys of living on the Great Lakes. Thanks for the reminder!

  518. My favorite local place is not very nature-y but it is wonderful just the same. Downtown Chicago: Millenium Park, the museums, Michigan Ave. I live in the suburbs and the 30 minute drive to the city is like a mini vacation every time!

  519. The trees are just beautiful :0) And I’m excited to learn about a new kids book company – they look amazing!

  520. Always amazed & inspired. My magical place is in little Mount Dora…a mini lighthouse and boardwalk where we take in nature & escape… :)

  521. My magical spot is the Fort Worth Stockyards. Every time I think I want to move away, I spend some time in the Stockyards to remind myself why I love Fort Worth so much. I love the history and culture that you can find there.

  522. I’ve lived in Michigan my whole life and I definitely take this state for granted. I live near a large park, multiple lakes and we get four beautiful seasons. I always think about moving away, but I think there is so much I would miss. If only we had a little more sunshine I would be all set! But honestly I like escaping to “up north” (which in reality is only the middle of the state!) where it’s ok to just sit around and do nothing…just enjoy life without the TV and the internet and enjoy family and friends. A place where we can “enjoy the small things”. :o)

  523. I’ve been avidly reading your blog for a year now. I have two boys, both a year older than your girls, and a 9 year old daughter. I work outside the home but in September reduced my work load to 32 hours to have one more day at home, partly inspired by your wonderful stories and photos to enjoy my life NOW.

    We have a biiiig backyard, with a playground, a trampoline, a big dog, some chickens and guinea (wow I just had to look up how to spell that!) hens, and a big field with a small garden, and woods and a creek. And we’re out there every day with over 40 degree temps – either with me or daddy or grandma, without fail.

    And yes, it’s magical.

  524. My spot? I’ve mentioned it before, it’s a park nestled in the center of my city. with trails and big huge fields where I lay with my daughters and play with the clouds. My second place, a park down the street from where my husband and I grew up (we’ve been best friends since we were 4) the place used to be a ore/iron factory in the 1800’s and it is full of ruins (well maintained) and slag heaps to climb. Bike trails and a “bluebell field” in the spring. It is also full of ghosts of my husband and I when we were little, seriously I can almost see us riding our bikes and laying in the grass, climbing the trees. It will always be a special place to us and we take our family there often.

  525. My favorite place is on our friend’s farm – where we are surrounded by great friends and always a laid back – good time!

  526. How beautiful is it where you live?! Makes me long for our yearly vacation to Florida that much more!! Thanks for the tip on the Usborne book, There’s a Mouse about the House. I am going to order it for my tenacious 3 yr old! BTW, your mom and George-PERFECT :)

  527. Thank you for reminding me to love where I live! I’ve honestly been complaining out our cold gloomy weather a lot lately and threatening to move to FL or CA…sorry…VA is COLD! But that feeling goes away come April when things really start warming up in Richmond. My special spot is Maymont Park. I <3 that place. Wrote a blog featuring it earlier in 2010
    It really is an enchanted place here in RVA-you’d never know its in the middle of the busy city-with its lush green grass, gorgeous landscaping, mansion tours, petting zoo, museum, waterfalls, several different gardens…and its FREE! I can’t wait till it gets warmer to go again. Ahhhh missing it now….

    Jen from 37° 39′ 56″ N / 77° 30′ 24″ W

    PS your blog inspires me to be a better blogger :)

  528. It looks like you had a wonderful family visit!
    I live in upstate NY and I am SO jealous of your warm weather. When the weather is nicer, I love to spend time at Lake George. Oh how I long for nice weather with boating and hiking and swimming.

  529. Love all the beautiful nature pics kelle!! Your mama and george are too cute!
    My favourite magical place?? The Beach. We have this little tiny beach where we live that has the best tree covered path. I would never swim in that water but the stone path with big old trees and park benches are amazing. Whether I’m happy or sad, it’s the place I go to refuel.

  530. Just for a second there I was mega impressed you know the latitude you stay at! LOL! Love the pics of the nature scenes.

  531. I love to go down near the beach. Even when its cold and snowy, and look out on the ocean. Walk the trails and boardwalk. To just be still and breathe in the salty air. I also have a nook in my backyard that I could put a blanket down on a summer day and lay and just smile. I’m commenting because I work at the preschool in my high school and this gift card would get us some amazing books considering we have a very small budget!

  532. Love the pictures looking up at the trees against the sky.
    My favourite place near home is Mt Wellington only 20 mins from the centre of Hobart. On a good day you can see all around the south-east of Tasmania. There are lots of walking tracks, our favourite goes past Sphinx rock and the Octopus tree and cute little rock cabins. It winds amongst the big eucalypts, ferns and beech trees. Beautiful, plenty of scope for photos and the dogs love to pretend to be timber wolves.

  533. I LIVE for the parks in our area. In the summertime me and my boys literally go to a different park every day. I LOVE it. They LOVE it.

  534. Books. How awesome. We can’t get enough of them and the library is a one-hour round trip.

    Our Place: we live here BECAUSE we love it. Which makes it hard sometimes…giving up proximity to family and old friends for proximity to the land we love. These days: cross country skiing, sledding, watching chickadees at the feeder and a herd of 200 elk just beyond the cottonwoods. LOVE it.

  535. I live in Central Florida. My favorite place is Ft. Wilderness Campground at Disney. We hardly ever camp there. We go to enjoy the outdoors…rent a pontoon boat, visit the petting zoo, roast a marshmellow with Chip and Dale and have a picnic.

  536. Our magical place is a drive up ‘The Canyon’ where you can see beauty of the Hills and Trees and then you can stop at Roughlock Falls…a favorite of ours with beauty and places to picnic and hike!

  537. Our magical place is a drive up ‘The Canyon’ where you can see beauty of the Hills and Trees and then you can stop at Roughlock Falls…a favorite of ours with beauty and places to picnic and hike!

  538. Our magical place is a drive up ‘The Canyon’ where you can see beauty of the Hills and Trees and then you can stop at Roughlock Falls…a favorite of ours with beauty and places to picnic and hike!

  539. Neither my husband or I are from St Louis originally but we’ve carved out our little place at the local wineries out here. Just go outside the city limits and it’s BEAUTIFUL!

  540. I was just looking for a book for my daughter’s 3rd birthday. Thanks!

  541. Love the pictures! How fun! It is a blizzard here…makes me wish I lived in a warmer place!
    P.S. I would love the $50 certificate…so would my preschoolers! We LOVE books!

  542. I live on a small island on Nova Scotia’s southern shore…my magical place is a beach on the northeastern tip that we call Grammie Penney’s beach. My great-grandparents owned the land and they tell me stories of Grandmother getting so hot cooking in the kitchen all day, she would say “Thats it” walk out the door and dive right in, dry off, dust the gray sand off, and continue her chores.
    I take my kids there now, as I grew up swimming there…the water is icy cold, but once you go numb you are golden. :)

  543. My magical place is on the beach in Lincoln City, Oregon. Most wonderful place in the world.

  544. Garden of The Gods…southern Illinois. A little slice of heaven.

    Oh, before I forget…in a few pics of your Mom I thought “Wow…Kelle looks so much like her Mom!”…

  545. ARIZONA IS MY HOME….and my favorite spot is a dusty desert trail riding high above it in the Rhino, lets you 4X4 safely!!!
    nothing –and I mean nothing compares to our desert sunsets!!!I have seen some great ones, in Key West, in Panama City beach, Hawaii, Caribbean –oh those are magnificent too, do not get me wrong, but this desert SW is MY SUnset place!!!
    Love it and love to read too!!To my littles!!!

  546. Ok- a few things…
    First-LOVE Nella’s smiling little face in the picture of her and your mom. Darling!!

    Second-I’m a student teacher and Usborne books are so amazing! I love using the textured story books with Eli (one of the sweetest little three year olds, also blessed with that extra little chromosome like sweet Nella). Usborne books are so engaging!! Love them.

    Third- My magical place is “the bottoms.” A little sandy beach right outside of my college town in Wisconsin. Waiting for all of this snow to melt and warmer weather to arrive! Some of my favorite memories is a cooler full of beer, laying out in the sand, etc. with a group of my college girlfriends. :o)

    Love your blog Kelle!!

  547. Every morning on my way to work I pass over the James River (Richmond,VA).. I love when I have time to venture down to a place called Pony Pastures.. It is peaceful and beautiful and perfect when I am looking for a quiet place.

  548. we live in golden valley … which is like this little just outside the bigcity oasis of minneapolis. and just down the street and tumbled down a hill and across an itty stream is the “valley” … filled with fox and tons of deer and wildlife galore. our entire family loves walks in the valley.

  549. Landa Park. We go often to feed the ducks, look at the trees and just relax. Off in the corner is this amazing little Gazebo that I love.

  550. We live in Vancouver and our favourite thing is to walk along our beach close to the City. It’s not swimmable this time of year but still very pretty with the snowy mountains and the skyline in the background.

    Our magical place? That would definitely Long Beach National Park near Tofino – it’s a ferry ride plus a 2 hour drive away but, man, it’s just magic there with the huge thundering waves rolling in day and night and the misty, moss-laden shorepine forests. We all relax there like nowhere else.

    Love where you live, baby, but sometimes you’ve got to get away to re-appreciate where you live – or show it to visitors so you see it through their eyes.



  551. Our Magic Place is the downtown area of our little town, called Suwanee Town Center. We paint pottery at Peace, Love, and Pottery, eat pizza at Mellow Mushroom, order Italian Icees at Rita’s, and then spread a big blanket out on the grassy field to play ball and jump in the fountain all afternoon. During the summer, bands play in the amphitheater at one end of Town Center. I love the small town feel even though we live in a major suburb of Atlanta!

  552. I think you are so brave to take a walk on that boardwalk! It looks beautiful… but I have a fear of gators and would be looking over my shoulder every second to see if one was waddling behind me! hahaha! But- what can I say, I’m from Idaho and gators are quite foreign to me! :)

    My magical place really is the little community that I live it. We are only about 10 minutes away from town, but when I am home, I feel so much farther away than that. Our little neighborhood is quaint and friendly and surrounded by mountains. We have a little library here and school and preschool and parks and a snow shack in the summer time. And my favorite is the old barn that has been here forever that is just a perfect location for taking pictures… surrounded by gorgeous trees! I love where I live and never want to leave!!! You’d love it too!!! :)

  553. My happy place is my parents house. Sitting on the dock just soaking in nature.

  554. Okay I’m super excited about a gift card to a book store so I have to comment :-)

    The magical place by my house is the Belle Isle Conservatory (have you ever been, being that you are a michigan gal?)

    It’s where I got engaged, and where we have gotten numerous beautiful pictures after my son was born :)

  555. My favorite local place to visit is… the campus of my alma mater- Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. It’s gorgeous and FILLED with memories of some of the best days of my life yet. I don’t get there too often so it’s such a special time for me.

  556. Love the adorable picture of Nella and your Mom….her smile is precious! Our favorite little place is the pond by my parent’s house. I grew up feeding the ducks there and now take my boys back to do the same.

  557. I’m a NJ transplant…and let me tell you…it has not been easy finding the beauty here. But after 10 years apart from our families, we have found it here. In the living rooms and kitchen tables of our friends, who have become our “new” family.

    And once again, I love you. (in a non-stalkerish way)

  558. My favorite place in our little town is the Mississippi and Missouri Confluence. It is so much easier to just show you than tell you about it. There really just are no words for it’s simple beauty.

  559. Kelle,

    Hello from 32°08’N – translated that would be Tucson, AZ to be exact. I have been reading your blog for a little over a year now and this is the first time I have posted. Not sure why today of all days – I have been moved, inspired and brought to tears so many times by you and your beautiful family – but today I don’t know I’m stepping out of my box – doing something different – identifying myself on the other side of the country. I don’t know that I have an Isle of Capri in AZ – but my goal this year is to find it with my littles and my man. We are economically crunched and as such why not explore the area closest to us – Arizona is full of wonder – we just have to find it : ) Anyway – random commenter or not – thanks for inspiring us all to make the most of each day and love a little deeper : ) Much love, Leslie

  560. Oregon is full of hidden surprises! If you want to find some serious magic, visit the Oregon Coast before you die. There’s hidden gems around every corner! Visualizing all my spots is how I got through my latest labor. :-)

  561. I really like these books of yours – in fact, I’m going to be visiting that website soon. My little one is almost 10 months old and is just starting to really show interested in books! Of course, he eats most of them, but still.

    As for my sanctuary, I have two. My local one is my house – I know it’s corny. But I love my house. It’s not the biggest, definitely not the cleanest, but it’s our home. It’s comfortable and well-worn. Kinda like your favorite pair of jeans or t-shirt. My second sanctuary is our summer getaway, Hilton Head Island. We go every summer to visit my in-laws, relax and soak up sun! (We’re in Kansas so the sun likes to hide from us Nov -Feb.) It’s the perfect “second home.” Comfortable and full of family!

    Hope you’re enjoying your week – I’m jealous of your sun and warmth. We’re expecting blizzard conditions tomorrow. Ugh…

  562. I love D’arboone Lake, the large body of water that sprawls out in every direction in Union Parish, a parish seated in north central Louisiana, a parish small in population and large in square feet. The lake can be seen by a short walk down the road from my house. I have to drive across it every time I leave town. The best time to cross it is at sunset. Sunsets in Farmerville, Louisiana are magical. I love to fish the lake, go for a boat ride, or just look at it and the life it invites in while eating at the little diner that sits over the water. The park northwest of town is always a little breezy because of the lake, which is important here because we have humidity, too. I love its vastness and its beauty, and it makes living here all the better.

  563. I live in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. And it IS wild. And it IS wonderful!

  564. I have been reading your blog and love that you posted about books again. I remember your post about loving children’s books and saw myself in that post as I am also an elementary educator! My favorite place is by the lakes in Minneapolis MN. I would love to live nearer so that I could walk around them every day during the spring/summer/fall!

  565. dude, that last picture is haunting! I thought the pictures were done and then saw that…wow!
    53.585*North is where life took us this year. My boyfriend is finishing up med school and we left our province’s capital for a town of 8000 this year. Up at 53.585, unlike the locals, we made it our mission to find cool places to venture on weekends.
    Found a great little log hut with an old pot belly wood burning stove to warm up in after taking to the trails on cross country skis. It is like a little piece of heaven all tucked away in the woods. It’s funny how many places you can bloom isnt it? I never thought I could call any other place home and I now know that I really can bloom wherever I am planted baby!
    Love how happy your mama looks btw!

  566. I’m a new reader of your blog and I’m hooked! I’m expecting in August and chose not to have an amniocentesis test to avoid having any preconcepted notions of how my baby will be. I applaud you in your amazing journey. Nella & Lainey are both perfect. God bless you.

  567. There’s a big old tree stump smack dab in the middle of the treeline that separates the field adjacent to our yard from the pines and tamaracks that surround our house. If you sit on that stump, you have the view of a good half of our 12 acres of rolling fields and woodsy brush. And if you come at just the right time, you can watch as the sun sets the world on fire. At that moment, the stump is magic. Perfect for ‘preciating your lil’ part of the universe. 😉

    Got a bunch of the touch-and-feel Usborne books. Little fingers just adore them!

  568. your mother and george are just plain adorable.
    our sanctuary is our home. spent the entire weekend nestled in front of the fire with a sick baby under my wing and not once did we get cabin fever.

  569. your mother and george are just plain adorable.
    our sanctuary is our home. spent the entire weekend nestled in front of the fire with a sick baby under my wing and not once did we get cabin fever.

  570. I live in a harbour town. Although i don’t have a water view, my daily walk with my one year old takes me right along the mouth of the harbour. Half way through the walk there is a bench we stop at everytime. It’s got a great view of the ocean, and all the houses are behind you, so it’s a great place to find peace and dreams in a busy town!

  571. LOVEEE your tree picures! and goodness that Nella is too darn adorable! as is lainey :)

    my fave place near my home…wrigely field! :)

  572. It’s my dream to make our teeny tiny back yard my sanctuary, but until it is, my favorite places are within walking distance….

    * Our college campus…my boys learned to ride their bikes there and first used their library cards in the college library :)

    * Our levy…a five mile loop along the river.

    * Our neighborhood (parts of it, anyway!)…old houses…LOVE nostalgic ANYTHING!

    Blessings to you and to returning to a “normal” pace!

  573. Enjoying your blog as always… :)

    We live in a Baltimore suburb, and our favorite place to escape is out to the mountains of Western Maryland- Deep Creek Lake. So serene, and many state parks in the area, including Swallows Falls- the tallest waterfall in Maryland. Love the hiking trails there.

    The littlest one who sports the designer genes in our family (15 months) is a huge fan of Usborne books 😉 his favorite being “That’s not my monster!” Love their touchy-feely books! We will have to find the mouse book for future reading pleasure. :)

  574. Love the picture of the two girls looking at one another. My favorite little spot in Cincinnati is down by the river watching boats go by.

  575. I would love to know what Lainey is saying to Nella in that bridge shot of the 2 of them!

    Beautiful picture of your Mother with you and Nella.

    Oh, and the little red leaf….excellent eye to catch and appreciate that little dude just being!


  576. My favourite place is at our cottage on the Bruce Peninsula. In the winter it’s serene and beautiful, with the sun bouncing off the snow. In the summer is a sea of friends and family visiting, swimming, fishing and boating….exactly what a cottage should be!

  577. our favorite spot is the pond at the end of our road! It’s a private pond, and the owner has a bunch of domestic ducks who now call that pond home. The owner has been kind enough to allowe my family to visit on a reguler vist and feed the ducks…and we are such frequent visitors that they know come swimming as fast as they can we they see us and will eat right out of her hands! and then follow us back to the edge of the property line when we leave…ahhh its my fav place to take the kids!

  578. Such a great reminder- to love where you live. I am currently living in PA, but CA is my home. I will always be a California girl, but Pennsylvania is really a beautiful place.

  579. oh yeah – a visually amazing place in St Louis is the Gateway Arch. I would love to see you photograph it.

  580. These entry is awesome! I love exploring other people’s homes through their entries and photos. I’m doing the same thing tomorrow! Discovering something new about my home city (after the quake that devastated it last september) and can’t wait to post pictures.

    I really want to print out the last photo and put it on the wall of my nook when I get the photo wall (inspired by you!!) up hopefully over the next few weeks!

  581. I live just outside of Vancouver Bc and there are just to many beautiful places to list! You should come visit!

  582. My favorite place to explore and love where I am, is right here in my own backyard. My family has a farm that’s several hundred acres. I don’t have to venture off of the farm, for there is so much to nature right here at home. <3

  583. Love Usbourne books, they are fab!!!

  584. I am pregnant and on bed rest, desperate to entertain my one-year-old. I will be ordering books. As lame as bed rest has been, our cozy white sheets and my little snuggle man offer the best place in all of sunny Orlando!

  585. I really like where I live because I have my husband, my daughter and my son with me (they are my little family). We came from far away for a better life. I never thought I would move from my hometown … buy I did. And I am happy here! Of course I miss all the rest of my family… (dad, mom, brother, sister, friends…) but WE MAKE OUR PLACE A BETTER PLACE TO BE. It depends on us! I love life because I have my loves with me. And they make me so happy!! :)

    Thank you for you post!! Love all your pictures and the most , I love your family!! :)

  586. We are awaiting a much anticipated HUGE snow storm here in MI. What I would give to be in sunny Florida right now…12-15 inches by Wed. Bleh.

    love the post. love the photo. breathtaking as usual!

  587. My favourite place to visit near my home is taking a nice long walk down our Saskatchewan River – a gorgeous place day or night!
    Debbie K.

  588. Your FIL’s phptgraphy blows my mind. And I really like the covered bridges in Vermont. True New England

  589. I love the special group of people who live where I live that I am blessed to call my friends. :)

    The spring in Illinois is gorgeous and I am so looking forward to it!

  590. I am a Pre-K teacher in a little town in Pennsylvania and I really think you should write a Childrens book. I loved your little comment under the picture of the red leaf it was great haha except i’m not sure I could say “badass” in my classroom! although it fits it perfectly, hee hee! P.S..walking into the woods behind my house and just listening to all the sounds and all the different scents, from fresh plowed farm fields or the water trickling in the little stream makes me feel at home :)

  591. Kelle, I can only hope that one day I can have your amazing attitude. Some days it seems as far off as the moon, others (like today) it seems more reachable. Trying my best to bloom where I am planted – although said bloom looks nothing like I (or anyone else)expected it to. Thanks for the constant inspiration.

  592. I LOVE LOVE LOVE USBORNE books!! just had a party last week actually:) but is there ever a such thing as too many books???

  593. Beautiful pictures as usual. So wonderful that you recognize the beauty in where you live and are helping your kids to see that beauty too. My favorite local spot is the park. We have this one park that has tunnels and ducks and turtles to feed and my kids LOVE IT there. Lots of good hiding spots…etc.

  594. Having trouble finding my favorite spot around where I live since right now, in the dead of my freezing Canadian winter, I pretty much wish I lived somewhere else :p Somewhere warm 😛 But, in the summer, I guess I love to visit an artificial island in Montreal (my hometown) where, in the middle of an F1 racing course, there’s a lake and beach. It’s beautiful, refreshing in the summer, and the location is so special.
    Loving your pictures once again!!!

  595. One of our favorite places…Jocko Falls:

    Magical mountain waterfalls hidden in the trees just a few miles from home.

  596. My favorite magical place is at the end of our street, which is also the tip of the peninsula where we live. My husband and I have walked down our street (more times than I can count), through the woods, across the field, past an old Civil War magazine, and to the mystical place where two waterways converge – Bull Run meets the Occoquan River. It is here that we can see bald eagles nesting, and blue herons (one such heron attached) and white egrets daintily walking along the water’s edge. Over the past 3 years, we have walked at all hours of the day from the morning with the soft pastel colors of the sunrise to the evening with the deer feeding in the lush grasses at sunset. It is magical because no matter what has happened that day or what might be coming up on the calendar, my husband and I always leave the end of the peninsula with a renewed sense of peace. Due to my husband’s shift schedule as a career firefighter, we savor every minute of the precious time we do have at home together. We walked down our street as newly weds, when I was pregnant, and now we stroll with our baby girl of 4 months.

  597. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, and they are beautiful. The Parkway is a short drive from our home, and all I have to do it roll down the windows and cruise along (stopping frequently to hike or just look around) and breathe the air – nothing like it.

  598. I love reading all the posts from people in the deep cold winter…I’m in Melbourne and we are sweltering through another 39oC day, the fourth in a row! At 5.30am it was already 30oC, crazy but I love it. Sunshine and blue skies, bbqs and frappuccinos, paddling in the warm sea and sheltering in the aircon!

  599. fun!

    I see you switched your reader feed so now we have to visit your actual blog :) I was thinking about doing that with mine…hmm…

    my magic place is an island called Anna Maria…it is nowhere near me though so I don’t get to go often enough. I can’t wait to take my son there someday…

  600. We live in the Maritimes of Nova Scotia Canada. Our favorite place is walking the beaches of the cold Atlantic. The air is crisp and the waves are huge and angry. I love walking there with my little love, my little 2010 baby!

  601. Indian Springs Park in Wentzville, MO (St. Louis). It’s an all natural park…and my kids LOVE it.

  602. I’m so in love with everything you post, you and your family make me smile so big every time I see pictures. Being born in FL and living here for the past 25 years has made me immune to the things that others find gorgeous about the state. I’m glad you are able to still find tranquility and beauty in this swampland of a state! I would basically kill for a gift card for the Usborne book company. As a future teacher of ESE children (graduating from UCF in MAY, AHHH!!!!) I’m attempting to build a luxurious library for my future classroom, which is pretty costly for a student who can’t work because of a full time unpaid internship:(

  603. we just moved to Canada recently.. and i’m in awe of this whole other world that exists across the street on the frozen lake as people set up their little ice huts to fish, and snowmobiles buzz around, and kids pull sleds behind them loaded down with their hockey gear!

    i love that the people here don’t sit around waiting for “a warmer day…” they just get out and live their lives and enJOY!

    so happy for your mom and George~ such a cool story. i have friends that met on eharmony and just had their first baby! :)

  604. My favorite place to visit near home is the 250 acre farm 5 min down the street that belongs to a family friend. Streams, woods, mountain views, and the occasional cow. It’s heavenly.

  605. I love your pictures! A sanctuary near me that I love to go to is a beautiful park that is in my town. It has a brook and lots of hiking trails and is a great vast piece of calm and serenity in Los Angeles.

  606. Love our backyard…where we can just be! Kids frolicking, adults talking or playing, great bbqs, bare-foot running, etc. Also, a nice place to visit nearby is our San Antonio Riverwalk…love taking a stroll there!

  607. I live in the beautiful Northwestern region of the Southwestern state of New Mexico. The scenery takes some beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder appreciating…many shades of brown and, well, dirt. However, the sky is bluer than anywhere I have been, and the sunsets are a slice of spectacular everyday. My favorite spot is called Pyramid Rock. It’s a hike up exactly that, a rock shaped like a pyramid. The views from the top are 360 degrees of panoramic stunning vistas. I really enjoy your blog. Such raw, positive energy. Thank you for sharing.

  608. My favourite magical place is a lighthouse in St. Martins, NB Canada. It sits waaay up on a huge cliff with the Bay of Fundy below it, with waves crashing and boats floating.
    It’s a place that makes you feel so free, small but big in this world, all at the same time.
    My fiance proposed to me at this spot 6 months ago. It means the world!

  609. I love all your gorgeous FL photos. It makes me miss home and I realize just how little I enjoyed it while I was living there. Thankfully, we are always finding adventures in our new northern home in chilly WA.

  610. I too live in FL and my favorite place is Clearwater Beach – its like the best of both worlds – the gorgeous ocean and powder fine sand that nature gave you mixed with funky tunes, brightly lit shops and a boardwalk with creative vendors. City and nature combined at its finest!

  611. Fun, fun, fun — the sock pictures are my favorite.

  612. Usborne books are amazing! I’ve purchased one special farm story to teach my daughter about farms-like my grandpa’s! It was my sanctuary as a child. Gramps would push me in the feedcart, help me find baby kitties, and take me on hayrides with fresh lemonade packed from grandma. Now we are city-folk and our sanctuary is the public library two blocks down and the swing in the hidden park amongst the marsh two blocks the other way down our street!

    Love Nella’s dimple in her beautiful smile with her grandma!

  613. Your mother Kelle is STUNNING! I am so happy for those who find love. It looks like everyone had a blast.

    I would totally rock my 1 year olds world with those books – she is absolutely in LOVE with books :)

  614. I love the picture of Nella in the trees! Just way too cool.

    Your mom has awesome genes and is just a beautiful woman! She takes great care of herself. George accompanies her beautifully!

    I love Usborne! Bought from them many times for my daughter.

    Gosh, in Texas there are so many places. The hill country is by far my most favorite. It has beautiful rivers that are from massive springs, they are crystal clear and just enchanting! Close to home on the gulf coast, opposite of you, it is yucky murky water. Can’t be too happy about that! LOL I am not a fan of humidity and been here most of my life, so it is all I have really ever known. I am ready to move to a new latitude!


  615. I am here in Naples with you-have been for almost 30 years! I love it all, but I really love the beach house my bestie rents a couple of times a year on Ft. Myers Beach. If I ever won the lottery, I would have the owner name his price so I could have it forever!
    PS. Your father -in-law is AMAZING! (so are you btw :)

  616. Living in WA state, we have a number of places. One of our favorites is Neah Bay. It is up past the Olympic National Forrest past a little town called Forks (famous for some of their undead residents). We go camping there and go out in our boat where we can have the grey whales 10 yards from our bow! And look off and see Mama and baby whales, blowing and flapping. Its a piece of heaven.

  617. Usborne books are the best! We definitely need some new ones around here…

    I’m missing FL these days. We’re spending our first winter in Northern VA after three on the Gulf Coast. Brrrr…

  618. I’m from CT. I love Quarry Hill in Haddam Neck, that only the locals know about. It is the best place ever to see a sunset (and great exploring, too). Also, Rocky Neck State Park. My husband and I got married there. There are so many other places, too.

  619. I live in IL just south of Chicago. In the summer we go into the city with visitors for music fests, food fests, or just soak in the bigness of the Chi. In the winter we eat deep dish pizza. 😀 I love the idea of loving where you live bc there is good in every location if you look hard enough to find it.

  620. We love the Usborne books around here- especially the “That’s Not My…” books.

    I love the picture of your girls sitting on the walkway, with Lainey holding the book. So cute they are!!!

  621. Oh Kelle,
    I keep telling my husband we need to move someplace warm…you are pulling me in! I think Madigan would benefit from the warm sun kissing her back…

    Would love an opportunity to win some books…

    Dance baby Dance

  622. We love books around here!

    Our favorite little spot is called Occoquan, VA…a little old town with charm and sweetness. My hubby proposed there 8 years ago to me and we now take our kids there and walk around the town enjoying life.

  623. Our perfect spots are the beaches, when it’s warm. There is nothing more magical then watching my daughter play in (read: eat) the sand and dance through the icy waves.

    Right now we’re dreaming of the sandcastles are sand that’s just a little too hot.

    We have a blizzard on Wednesday. That’s New England.

  624. I live in wooster, ohio. That is the town beside where i grew up… Just a half hour away from all the places that i called “home” in my younger years. What do i love most about being here? It means that i am only a half hour away from my parents and in-laws, and i LOVE it. I used to live seven hours away, near d.c. And i hated the distance. So the best part of being where i am? Yep… It’s family. LOVE my family.

  625. Oh my goodness, it’s soo hard to love where I live. not necessarily the state of nj, but the city i live in…ick. But I’ll try Kelle, I’ll try. ;0)

    Although, you can’t really beat Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and Stewart’s down the good ‘ol Jersey Shore.

  626. We recently moved from Denver, CO to Opelika, AL and then up to Woodstock, GA…since we’ve moved I’ve been doing my best to soak up everything the new towns have to offer! I wish we’d been better about it in Denver, but starting now with my two littles in tow is an adventure all on it’s own!
    Thanks for reminding me we need to find a new venture for the month of Feb.

  627. That last pic of the trees … amazing! Love seeing more pics of mom and George, too. Just think that is so amazing.

  628. and you should sell the picture of the trees from an upward view on Etsy. i’m in love with it!

  629. Being outside is the only thing that can make our entire family happy at the same time! Our majic spot? Otsego Lake, in Gaylord, MI. My family has had a cabin there for over 60 years and all of my best memories are from that place. Love it. Every time.

  630. Our magical place isn’t near our current home, but it’s where our hearts are… the small town my husband grew up in, where we spent two glorious years in a tiny parsonage, has a “crik” (as he calls it) about ten minutes away, close enough for an ice-pack-less picnic basket and shady enough to skip the sunburns. We lounged on the blanket and swatted the lazy flies and the children romped in their crik…

    *sigh*. And we found our happy.

    Thanks for enabling the memories. :) Your picture memories on this post made me smile so big- your mama is beautiful!

  631. With the cold winter here in Indiana we have found a happy place outside the comfort of our home…The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. So much to do and so much fun to be had. If your ever in this neck of the woods you guys should check it out. Seriously.

  632. My magical place: there is a park a few small cities over. In this park is a big empty hill that no one really notices because it is kind of ugly. This hill has an amazing hiking trail (no little ones please, its pretty rough) that takes you after about a 30 minute hike to the most AMAZING view of the Pacific. AMAZING!

  633. My magical place is a little pond right down the street from my house. I love to walk with my girls on the bike path down by the pond and watch the ducks and swans paddle by. It’s true bliss.
    And by the way, I LOVE George! He looks like such a sweetheart.

  634. I love Brookgreen Gardens, near my hometown. Towering oak trees, white herons, marble statues, it’s awesome. I love those books, too!

  635. I love Usbourne books! My favorite Utah getaway is a little cabin development east of Heber called Timberlakes. The aspens are gorgeous!

  636. We are in Wisconsin and just moved here about 2.5 years ago. Honestly, I haven’t found *that* spot near here yet, though Door County was pretty cool on our one brief outing there, and I really, really love our backyard. We’re gonna check out the Dells this summer.

  637. Lets see in your shots there I see wax mrytle, saw palmetto, sable palm, some sort of loblolly, pond pine and cypress, red maple and a little blue heron. Yay for having a biology degree I never used from a Florida school. Can’t recognize a quarter of the trees in Colorado where I live now :>

    Favorite place here is probably Estes Park. I love the giant bugling elks and mountain views that make your feet tingle in fear when you look down. I do miss my mysterious florida swamps though. Tonight we are all bundled in with -19 degree temperatures!

  638. So true…beauty can be found wherever you are! I’d love to win $50 of free books for my kindergarten classroom! :)

  639. No need to send the books our way! I too am a consultant…but awesome work Amanda!

    However, we live near the Delaware Water Gap..also a Michigander who is uprooted and learning to live life here…I love the trees, the mountains and the hills…and I love exploring them with my kiddos :)

  640. My son adores books, I’m glad your girls do too. I love the photographs you took at the Swamp!

  641. I love the picture of Nella and your mom. I see the little girl in her and not so much the baby.

    I think our favorite spot here in Ottawa is the pool we go to in the summer. Our true love is home in Alaska though where the summer days are long and warm and the ski slopes are perfect in the winter.

    Do you ever have the meta data for your pictures? There are some I would love to see the lens you use and settings. Have a great week!

  642. My Isle of Capri in Arizona is Jerome. It’s a town located on the top of Cleopatra Hill at 5,200 ft. It’s population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s but now it’s an artist community with population of 450. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon playing in the park or looking around the town discovering new mysteries.

  643. We are newbies to Louisiana, but my fave place is the deserted Gulf Coast.
    Love Usborne books too!

  644. Love this post! You always have the girls dressed so cute!

    My favorite place to go (when it’s warm, I live in Southern Illinois) is out walking around “Rend Lake” which is near my home, and if you would’ve asked me when I was a child I would’ve swore it was an ocean!

    That was before I had actually seen the ocean haha, and while at times I wish I lived near the ocean, I also realize not a lot of people have such a beautiful lake with bike trails all around it, so I should be happy with what I’ve got!

    My son LOVES books, he is 14 months and books are his favorite “toys” so we would love the gift certificate!

    Heather @

  645. I would looove to win this gift certificate! We’re homeschoolers and it would be just perfect for a mid year pick me up! My favorite place to visit near my home is the zoo. But, only in the winter in the snow. Everything is quiet, everything is still, and there isn’t another person to be seen. There’s something really amazing about having the entire place to yourself.

  646. Here in Michigan (~waving~) our favorite place in the State is Presque Isle in Marquette….such a neat place! (Beautiful to hike in all seasons!)

  647. Oohh…we love Usborne books! 1001 Pirate Things to Spot is one of our car trip favorites!
    My sanctuary is Sullivan’s Island, SC. It’s about 20 minutes from where I live, but I love to go out there early Saturday mornings and just listen to the ocean and play with my girl. Now my boy can join in too!

  648. Hmmm my magical place?? You mean besides sitting in my kids room at 2am, rocking a baby in the dark?? Probably the shady bench at the park!

  649. My hometown is Carlsbad, New Mexico where the mountains, plains and desert all meet. Most people think Carlsbad is a podunk kind of a place. But if they’d only look closer they’d see all the small unforgetable oases hidden among the yucca and rock of the desert. We have several small rivers complete with swimming holes that only the locals know about. There is one in particular that is a deep, clear, brillantly blue hole in the middle of no where. It is a great swimming hole and then there is Sitting Bull Falls. Wow, a true oasis. You’ll just have to come visit us to see for yourself all the treasures the desert holds! :)

  650. As St. Louis prepares for 10-15 inches of snow, I would love to be hiking the trails of a park near my home, on the Mississippi River. The trail is straight down, and there are ropes tied to the trees to help you up, and down the trail. At the bottom is rail road tracks and then the river. My son loves that hike.

  651. Growing up in a little West Virginia town at 38.94°N, in the absolute HEART of the Appalachian Mountains really makes you appreciate EVERYTHING nature has to offer. 45 minutes from some of the states greatest nature locations, it was like my backyard. Lush deciduous forests in the mid elevation zones, red spruce at the higher elevations. OH the smell of red spruce in the summertime. High atop Spruce Knob (the highest point in the state) nestled deep within the forest hiking among those trees. NOTHING is better. NOTHING is more calming. I wish I could send the scent to better describe it. This earthy, spruce scent coupled with the subtle scents of rich soil, it just brings all worries to a close and relaxation to a peak.

  652. Grow roots, sprout wings…I love that quote from Lisa Leonard. It’s perfect really…we have been growing our roots for quite awhile here. And our favorite place is under our oak tree in our backyard where we picnic, read books, look up at the sky, and open birthday presents!

  653. We have some great farms that we visit but our favorite is in Bluemont Va. Often times we are the first ones out there which I love. Watching my kids dig in the dirt and chase chickens makes me smile.

  654. Lake Martin here in Alabama is a beautiful place for a break from it all!

    We love Usborne books in this house…we have The Mouse About the House as well…just got it for Christmas and my kids really enjoy it too!

  655. I stumbled on your blog just a while ago, and I’m so enjoying it. My baby turns one TOMORROW! So I’m loving all your enjoyment of your little ones. It helps me recenter and keep my focus on the important things.

    I rarely post on blogs, but I’m unstalking today to say that I LOVE where I live. There are probably 10 waterfalls withing 30 minutes of my house. But the BEST is that the Tallulah Gorge is literally in my backyard… breathtaking beauty only a 5 minute walk away.

  656. My favorite place is our very own backyard. It’s big, we have just over an acre of land. It’s a great place for the kids to run and play (when it’s not covered in snow)and a nice place for us all to relax on summer evenings.

    I like your pictures of the birds..made me laugh!

  657. the teal blue waters in Glen Arbor, Michigan

  658. My magical place near my home would be a wildlife sanctuary where we got married a couple of years ago. I cannot wait to take the little one in my belly to visit!

  659. We have a gorgeous little hiking/park area called Raven Run–doesn’t that sound mysterious? Short hiking trails no longer than 5 miles or so–nice hills with beautiful bluegrass views! You’re right; EVERY state has some “places you must see”. Gorgeous photos!

  660. Our favorite place around home is our backyard – which opens up on to a school ground/park. We have 3 play structures to choose from, a super duper large (5 feet tall) hill to slide down in the winter, trees to shelter us from sun and cold, and a magical/spooky/secret forest which changes with our moods. We have a million other places we like to go, but we end up in the back yard the most often.

  661. I live in Missouri-close to Illinois and I love to drive down the Great River Road along the Mississippi River,especially in the fall when the leaves are changing. And of course while on the river road we make a stop in the quaint town of Grafton to eat fried fish while sitting on a balcony overlooking the river.

    Your girls are darling and Nella is getting soo big!

  662. I’m so jealous that you get to go outside and enjoy nature! It’s been about 0 and colder with the wind here in Michigan lately! I am looking forward to spring nature walks! And I must say, I love your book day! One of our favorite things to do!

  663. My secret sanctuary is on a winding desert trail in Moab, Utah. Towering red rock walls on either side of the narrow stream and the red sand Jeep trail. And when mood hits – drinks, lounge chairs, music and little ones as we soak in the heat of the sun and soak in the memories.

  664. Trees & books & hats, oh my! So much pretty in one post. Delicious.

  665. My favorite place to get lost in is a state park about 2 miles away from my home (in Michigan!). Lots of trails and little adventures!

  666. I love my town… Old Town Scottsdale, the Sugar Bowl, Cosanti… I love when people come to visit and I get to rediscover everything all over again!

  667. Wow sounds like you had a wonderful day. Thats how I feel when I am roaming around the Bosuqe looking at all the amazing wildlife and what God created.

  668. We are lucky enough to live close to the Big Horn Mountains – heaven on earth.

  669. Our favorite spot is the park by our house…you have to walk through the woods and a wooden bridge with a creek to get there. :-)

  670. I love this post and the little paper birds were so cute. Our dreamy place is the swim area at lake samish. WE always pack a picnic and take our time swimming building castles and grazing over the picnic basket. Its fabulous I love that place!

  671. My magical place right now is anywhere in our house with my little boy! I can’t get enough of his preciousness! I would love to win some Usborne books for my little boy…he will be one in April!

  672. Holy crap! Nella totally looks like a toddler all of a sudden–when did that happen?!

    My magic place? The beach. It will always, always be the beach, no matter where we live. Doesn’t matter which beach–I have my favorite haunts, but as long as there’s sand to roll around in and eager water lapping up the shore to chase my kids’ toes, I’m a happy girl. :)

  673. We visit “Secret Beach” – a nearby bay beach that is down a set of wooden steps and a jump off the last! We love to see the kids run and wonder, discovering the wonders of the sea~

  674. “You go little red leaf”- I love it!
    I love odd little screwball plants. That’s why my go to best place is next door walking around my Dad 1 acre pond. It’s full of quirky little animals and plants.

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  676. Our new magical place is the farm my aunt and uncle just bought. Endless acres for my daughter to run around and a lake to fish in!

  677. I needed this reminder today…thanks a bunch! My favorite, magical place is my bed. It’s warm, cushy and it’s where I retreat to when I’m in need of some down-time, time to knit, tickle my baby, or read to the older kids.

  678. I also love living here in SW Florida, and I agree, you get to truly experience it when out of towners visit!

  679. love all the pics–you are such a great mommy! my place is lake delavan, wisconsin with the whole fam!!!

  680. I’m a new reader to your blog and I find myself loving it even more with every single post! You and your girls are a wonderful inspiration. My magical place near my home? Van Saun Park in Paramus, NJ. It is a wooded area, complete with all kinds of trees, rocks and dirt, pony rides, a carousel, play grounds for all ages, fields for dogs to run in, paths for biking, table and benches for parties, and a small zoo. I’m sure there’s more to discover and are anxious for summer to break this chilly record weather!

  681. You know… quite honestly. I don’t know where my favorite place close to home is. I really need to get out and explore. I think I’ll add that to my list for 2011. Hudson, Hadleigh and mama will get out and explore Oklahoma. Hee hee. :)

  682. Our favorite places in TX: Texas Hall of Fame Dance Hall (or really, any dance hall in TX), Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve, Enchanted Rock and Lost Maples.

  683. Hard to love where I live right now as we are buried in record snow with 2 ft more on the way, but thank you for the reminder to love it anyway. I am trying… And shoveling. ;0)

  684. Well we just moved to NY so I would say that our magical place is spending the day in NYC. I love taking my two girls in on the train for a day of fun in the city!

  685. Our favorite place here in Columbus, IN has to be Zaharako’s. It’s a 1900 style ice cream parlor. It’s amazing and we go there when the budget allows. Also, Brown County is a wonderful place to visit!

    My 15 month old is starting to fall more in love with her books, even if she won’t sit through a whole one.

  686. thanks for the reminder. i’ve been grumpy about where i live, but need to embrace the positive. really, i miss the “who” of where i don’t live more than anything. enjoy your quiet house!

  687. So from one MI girl to another your pictures are making me so excited to come to Florida…if I can get out after our snowstorm. I may run into you on the streets. Thanks for all the smiles.

  688. Happy for your mom! Yet another beautiful post. Thank you! :)

  689. Your pictures are absolutely stunning. That last one took my breath away.

    And hooray for cute childrens books! I’d love to read those to my sweet little nephews.

    <3 to you and yours

  690. Yes! Love where you Live! Been working on that! I love in the FROZEN tundra and there are times where my kids and I dont leave the house for 7 days straight! Its hard-we LOVE to play outside but….the snow is pretty and January at our house is the Month of Forts!