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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Loft Mountain Campground, Shenandoah National Park, VA

Loft mountain was a great introduction to camping for our 5 and 2 yo. It's car camping, so your packed up car is steps away, and 30 seconds more walking brings you to potable water and fully functioning bathrooms. A campstore stocked with any supplies you may have forgot, firewood and even great local beer is a 30 second drive from your campsite.  There are even showers, if it gets to that point!

Our campsite had a path connecting to the Appalachian trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine - it's interesting to see backpackers passing on the trail and the kids learned to ask "how long have you been out". Some since March! This cool memorial day week-end was the perfect time to go, with no bugs and just slighlty cold nights that made sleeping in a little more inviting. We shared our site with another family and split meal prep which worked out great. The kids brought scooters to push around the paved loop road. With a 2 year old, some vigilance was necessary for the loop road as well as a few spots with cliffs when on the Appalachian Trail - but overall the site is really kid-friendly. The activites ranged from hiking to waterfalls, sunset watching, stopping for ice cream at the campstore, ranger talks about birds and wildlife in the park and generally hanging around the campfire.  The drive from Takoma Park was just under 3 hours.  We got their on a Thursday of the Memorial Day weekend and obtained a great site without reservations.  Otherwise, we noticed a long line of cars unable to get it due to full capacity - so a reservation would be wise:

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We stopped for lunch on the way there at the renowned red-truck bakery, rated one of the 50 best in the country! Order your sandwiches a day ahead as they are so busy they may run out!

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Our Library, Circa 2012

Libraries have been an amazing resource and source of inspiration since their inception. However, I have only recently become aware of the amazing online resources available for kids.

The tumblepad books on the Takoma Park library site are a major upgrade from traditional TV as they narrate animated versions of e-books at a pace much better for language development. Recent research shows fast paced shows such as Spongebob Squarepants reduce reading scores.

The library also has bilingual tumblebooks in Spanish, French and Chinese. The Little Pim online software features very basic language videos in about 10 languages that our girl loves. The many tumblebooks also feature accompanying games that complement well after reading that same book. There are even iPad tailored games to increase the interactiveness.

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