Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine


My previous stint as a book blogger kind of ruined me for reviewing books online but every now and again we come across some kids' books so good that I can't help but share. The latest is Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine, a rhyming picture book based on a real invention that allowed Britain's monarch to go bathing in the sea and still maintain some of her royal privacy.

The drawings are adorable and give a sweet look at how life was different back in the Victorian era (corsets! nightcaps!) as well as a look at the family life of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and their many, many children (trying to spot all of the kids on each page is kind of an historic Where's Waldo).

It must be admitted that I liked this book maybe a little more than Anouk (who is still more interested in Princesses than Queens) but it's still destined to be a favorite (we got it out of the library and have already renewed it three times).

What are you and your kids reading lately?

P.S.: Check out Fun and Free Hampton Roads for trick-or-treating around town!

Yorktown Beach


Remember how I said I wanted to check out one of the river beaches this summer? Well, I'm only a few months late. The weekend before last, we met up with friends for our (semi)regular brunch date at the Riverwalk in Yorktown, and after our meal, ran down to the eensy-weensy beach to look around.

It was COLD and windy, but the water was still warm enough to wade and Anouk and her little girlfriends had a great time poking around on the sand and watching the tall ships cruising by (note to self: next year's resolution is to go on one of those).

I think I even have decided this visit that as far as upper Peninsula destinations go, I like Yorktown even more than Williamsburg. Both places are beautiful and CW definitely has a lot to do, but I appreciate Yorktown's proximity to the water and the more laid-back vibe and look forward to spending more time there. For those of you who already do -- what's your favorite thing to do/see in Ytown?

Wildflower Garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden


A few weeks ago, Anne and I visited Norfolk Botanical Garden with some friends and stumbled across this gorgeous wildflower meadow. It's on the way to the Butterfly House, which is one of our favorites, so we must have passed it a million times but never in full bloom. What a surprise! We immediately stopped and explored -- the little gazebo and fountain bubbling away in a corner, the handmade homes for native bees tucked here and there, and thousands of gorgeous orange and purple flowers in between. We've already tested it, it's the perfect place for a picnic, and just to soak up some beauty before the cold weather comes and turns everything gray and brown.

Have a great weekend! And if you're looking for something to do, stop by the base for the Norfolk Fleet Fest tomorrow! There will be ship tours and live entertainment and best of all, it's free! More details at Fun and Free Hampton Roads.

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