With the end of summer rapidly approaching we have been trying to cram in a few last minute trips.  I’ve seen a lot of kids sporting mohawks and I guess that is a sign of me being out of touch.  Why?!

I can be cool too!

I can be cool too!

Yesterday we drove up to Rockford to visit with Frugal Boy’s Great Aunt.  Since it was a longer drive, we tried out a new thing and checked out an audio book, War Horse, from our library.  Listening to Joey’s adventures in France helped the miles pass by quickly.  Upon arriving at our destination we decided that the best (cleanest) place to change Frugal Boy’s diaper was in the backseat of the car.

It's a little cramped in here!

It’s a little cramped in here!

We walked around for a little bit while we waited for Auntie to arrive.  It didn’t take long before we had to retreat back to the car to fetch the first aid kit.  Shae had stepped on a broken beer bottle and had to patch up her foot.  Yay, litter!

Nothing a bandaid can't fix (as she hobbles on)

Nothing a bandaid can’t fix (as she hobbles on)

For lunch we went to a Vietnamese hole in the wall restaurant.


When eating at an ethnic restaurant, I always pay attention to the other customers.  If the majority of the other diners are of the same ethnicity as the restaurant, then it is probably a good spot.  In this case, the food was great!


While we were eating and talking I couldn’t help but notice the torrential downpour occurring outside.  The short trip from the restaurant to the gardens proved to be an adventure as the car splashed through huge puddles.  At one intersection, a car’s exhaust pipe was underwater, I’m not sure if they got out or not.


Soaking wet, we resumed our day at Nicholas Conservatory and Gardens.  While the gardens and greenhouse were no match for Garfield Park a couple of hours away, they still boast to be the third largest in the state.  Before even entering the greenhouse area, visitors are treated to a view of the immense mechanical systems required to keep the temperature and humidity at proper levels for growing tropical plants in northern Illinois.


The conservatory has an abundance of Koi ponds and for a certain six month old, that was pretty fascinating.


There are also many waterfalls.




This kaleidoscope bowl was pretty neat.  You look through the eyepiece and then spin the planter bowl.


Benches are tucked away and provided ample opportunities to slow down, chat, and enjoy the surroundings.



This plant would appeal to many little girls egos out there.

Queen Emma's Lily

Queen Emma’s Lily

Leaving the greenhouse we ran into the first little princess (with 7 escorts).

IMG_4241A Quinceañera is a traditional rite of passage from girl to womanhood for many Latin American cultures.  In case your spanish isn’t too good, it is celebrated on a girl’s 15 birthday.

We left Princess Peach behind and strolled through the rose gardens.




Working our way back we stopped to take a picture of the pond and greenhouse.  You know it is someone’s special day when they don’t bother to stop to stay out of your pictures.




It was starting to feel very Jets vs Sharks when we ran into the second princess.


This one had a photographer and a videographer.

It was a good thing that we went early in the afternoon.  By the time we returned to the conservatory it had been closed for a special event.

I wouldn't make a very good spy

I wouldn’t make a very good spy

Here was the third princess’ gang of lackeys.


They were notably older and not male.  Princess Peach and the rest of the jets had finished their pictures and were crowding into a stretch limo.


The groom and groomsmen piled out of a stretch pick up truck.  Why in the world would you ever need a stretch pickup truck?!

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Shae had grabbed a brochure, and the price to rent out the conservatory for an event was $3200.  That did not include catering.

All in all, it was a very fun day.  The people watching was extraordinary and we didn’t have to move much because the sights came to us.


The ride back was uneventful besides the fact that Joey got tetanus and was almost put down.  Then he was almost sold to the evil French butcher.  Mmmm, now I’m hungry for some horse meat.  Can you tell I’m not a horse person and would rather feed starving human refuges.

Frugal Boy got to try out a brand new toy.

Village of the Damned anyone?

Village of the Damned anyone?

One of the reasons why we live frugally and try to cut costs in our lives is so that we can travel more and take Frugal Boy with us.  Being frugal isn’t the same as being miserly!