• Hammocks Beach State Park, North Carolina

    Bear Island is located off the coast of North Carolina and is part of Hammocks Beach State Park.  It is a small, secluded island that is only accessible by boat.  Our family recently visited for a day trip and we all absolutely loved it! We started our day in the visitor’s center where we bought our ferry tickets and then explored the kids’ area.  All the kids loved the high powered microscope and Alex loved the shark information. You can get to the island on your own personal boat, kayak, or canoe.  The state park also offers a passenger ferry for access to the island from April-October each year.  There…

  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, NC

    One of my life goals is to visit every state park in North Carolina. Our beautiful state has 42 state parks stretching from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Outer Banks.  I’ve visited several parks in the coastal plains region where we live but still have so many more to go! My favorite thing about visiting state parks is that it is free!  That’s huge when you’re a family of seven.  I also love that there are park rangers available to help or to answer questions and there are always activities and events going on.   I recently took my kids to a local state park that we had not visited…

  • lake lure

    Lake Lure, NC Weekend Visit

    Our family loves to visit Lake Lure.  Aaron and I often say that if we ever had to move and could choose anywhere to live that Lake Lure would be on our short list.  It’s such a beautiful, quaint little town. We happen to have some really good friends who live there so getting to visit them is just the icing on the cake! We hadn’t been to the area in several years–in fact, our friends had not even met our boys yet–so we were all excited about visiting the last weekend of April.  Sometimes I forget just how much longer road trips can be when you have kids.  We stopped…

  • Museum of Life and Science: Durham, NC

    Our family absolutely loves the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC!  I wish we lived a little bit closer so we could go more often but at around two hours it’s still close enough for a day trip. The museum covers 84 acres of land and you can easily spend all day there and still not see everything! There is a two-story interactive science center, an absolutely amazing butterfly house, and over 60 species of animals!  There is a wolf enclosure, black bears, lemurs, insects, snakes, and more!  (The kids loved watching feeding time in the snake exhibit.) You can go on a train ride, climb on a…

  • Welcome to Big Family Adventures!

    Welcome to Big Family Adventures!  If you’re still following me from my earlier blogging days at Simply Healthy Mama then THANK YOU for sticking around.  If you’re completely new here then WELCOME!  Let me introduce myself. My name is Laura and I live with my family in North Carolina.  My hubby and I have five kids–three joined our family the old fashioned way and two became a part of our family through adoption.  These kids make our lives so loud and busy and crazy but we can’t imagine it any other way.   Our family loves to spend time outside.  Well, most of our family.  Some of us (ahem, Aaron…

  • My I’m-Almost-40-Years-Old Bucket List

    Almost 40.  Almost. That’s incredible.  I’m not sure how time flew by so quickly because it seems like it was just yesterday that I was playing in the sandbox with my brother and now I’m mere weeks shy of 40 years old. I decided to write a bucket list to celebrate starting the next decade of my life.  (Well, actually, I started this list several years ago but never posted it–and I’ve since completed some of the items on it!) Obviously these aren’t things I’m going to complete in the next six weeks but they’re things I’ll work on over the next couple of years. My First 40 Years I’ve done…

  • 10 Road Trip Ideas for Kids

    It’s summertime which means…ROAD TRIPS!  I love road trips.  My hubby can’t always take time off work to go on our adventures with us but I never shy away from jumping in the van with just the girls and hitting the road.  We’ve taken trips to amusement parks, water parks, zoos, and museums in our home state of North Carolina, in Virginia, and in South Carolina. My kids are great to travel with and these tips and tricks help keep them occupied (and cut down on the complaining) on our long trips. 1.  Race car on the roof Several years ago I happened upon this awesome idea for tracking your…

  • DIY All-Natural Outdoor Spray

    It’s almost summertime!  For our family that means S’mores by the fire pit, walks to the park, eating outside on the back porch, and catching fireflies until the sun goes down.  My youngest daughter and I used to avoid being outside this time of year because of certain annoyances that made us itchy and miserable.  I hated using commercial outdoor sprays because they were loaded with toxins so instead, we just avoided going outside. And then I discovered the power of essential oils!  This outdoor spray allows us to actually enjoy being outside with the rest of the family. It’s safe, non-toxic, and it works! DIY Outdoor Spray Ingredients: 4…

  • Hiking With Kids: 10 Tips for Staying Safe and Sane

    I love hiking and I am trying to share that love with my kids as much as possible.  Having kids along definitely adds a new level of difficulty to hiking but it is doable and even enjoyable. Here are few tips on hiking with your kids.  Please remember that I am no expert.  Always be smart and be cautious, obey the rules of the trail, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return, and hike at your own risk. 1.  Choose an easy trail for your first hike (and/or for kids under 8). The goal is to have fun and if you choose a difficult or long…

  • Tips for Your Visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg

    Our family absolutely loves Busch Gardens Williamsburg! We started going regularly when we moved back to North Carolina and one of my favorite summers was when we splurged on annual passes.  We went multiple times that year and learned that place like the backs of our hands!  This year we caught a great deal online and I was able to get Layla a free preschooler’s season pass and the rest of the family got season passes to both Busch Gardens and Water Country USA for $79 each. We’ll get our money’s worth if we only go to each place one time this year (although we will likely be going much more…

  • Running Your First Race: A How-To Guide

    So you’ve been walking/jogging/running for awhile and you’re ready to take the next step: a race! Don’t be scared. Races are fun (and addictive) and are a great motivator to keep on training. I’m no expert–just a former fat(ter) and sedentary girl who has ran a lot of 5Ks and two half marathons (and counting). Here is a how-to guide on running your first race. 1.  What are some typical race distances? A 5K is a pretty standard and common race distance and it is 3.1 miles.  A 10K is 6.2 miles.  A half marathon is 13.1 miles and a full mary is 26.2 miles.  Then there are those crazy…

  • Five Tips for New Runners

    I’ve been running for several years now but I remember those days of being a running newbie. I didn’t know the lingo, it felt uncomfortable and I just knew I looked ridiculous. I learned a lot and have some advice to share! Here are five new runner tips.   I started running in Spring 2011.  It started innocently enough.  I had been going to the gym and walking on the treadmill and one day I figured I’d speed up a little bit and see how it felt.  The first time I ran I could only run at 4.5 mph for about a minute. I felt like I was going to die. I felt…

  • DIY: How to Make a Race Bib and Medal Display

    This post contains affiliate links which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase from one of the provided links.  I’m so excited to share this DIY Race Bib and Medal Display that I made to keep up with racing souvenirs.  Never in a million years did I think I would run a 5K much less multiple 5Ks and two half marathon!  I love my display and I’m hoping to continue to add to it each year!   Every race I complete has special memories and I find that I can’t just toss away these souvenirs.  Each one is a step in my journey.  I’ve been pinning…