March 19, 2020

Spring To-Do List

Although this is definitely not how I thought we would be spending the beginning of spring, we can actually knock a lot of these items off of our list while we are social distancing!

And, in looking back at winter, it's fun to see all of the adventures we went on without worry, which seems so foreign to us all now.  So, as winter is winding down and a new bucket list is about to drop let's check in our previous one.

So, how'd we do?

2 New Hikes:

We explored new hikes at Kings Mountain Gateway Trail and Chimney Rock State Park.

The Gateway Trail was (mostly) flat and paved.  It was a great tail that was more of a greenway than a mountainous hike.  Although on top of "Cardio Hill" there was a pretty view of Kings and Crowders Mountains.

Chimney Rock State Park had adventure everywhere we turned.  We only made it to a few of the many hikes inside the park and will definitely be back to explore more.

We hiked the Four Seasons Trail to get up to the base of Chimney Rock, as well as the Hickory Nut Gorge trail to see Hickory Nut Falls and of course all 500+ stairs to Chimney Rock.  The legs were a bit sore the week after this expedition!

Collect Icicles:

Winter Craft - Borax Snowflakes:

I don't have any pictures of this one because we are actually doing it today!  Here is the link to the "recipe" we will be following.

Try a new brewery -  We tried a bunch!  Three of them were in Charlotte and we bar hopped to all of them in one night.  It was a blast and they were all awesome.

Sugar Creek Brewery - 215 Southside Dr, Charlotte

Brewers at 4001 Yancy - 4001-A, Yancey Rd, Charlotte

Wooden Robot - 1440 S Tryon St #110, Charlotte

We tried the Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery in Chimney Rock after hiking all day and it was glorious!  The setting is beautiful and we loved the tri-level decks.  Very cute place.

Skiing -  We went skiing a total of 4 times this winter.  Three times in North Carolina and once in Wisconsin.

Beech Mountain Resort - Beech Mountain, NC

Cascade Mountain - Portage, WI

Appalachian Ski Mountain - Blowing Rock, NC

Sugar Mountain Ski Resort  - Sugar Mountain, NC
Click here to read what we thought about each (NC) experience!

No-Snow Tubing -  We actually went no-snow tubing AND snow tubing this winter.  Both were a blast!

I didn't know what to expect when it came to "no snow" tubing, but it was so fun!  This is a fundraiser put on locally near Crowders Mountain at a camp called Crowders Ridge.  The kids had a blast and the location was so nice!

No Snow Tubing - Crowders Ridge - Gastonia, NC


We weren't planning on snow tubing this winter (we have done it multiple times in Wisconsin), but when we went on a quick mountain getaway in Blowing Rock and we found out our friends were doing it, we couldn't miss out!

We tubed at Hawksnest Snow Tubing Park in Seven Devils, NC and had so much fun. My advice?   Reserve early (weeks in advance) and opt for the first time slot of the day!

Campfire Dinner

With daylight savings and spring temps slowing creeping in we couldn't resist dinner by the fire!  We roasted and toasted "pizza bread" as an appetizer and then all enjoyed a bowl of chili by the fire, ending with s'mores of course.  

Try a New Workout Class

I'm going to count this as a yes.  Let me explain.  Ever since moving over the summer and joining our YMCA I have been doing cycling classes each week.  I am a 5:30 in the morning girl on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the Les Mills Sprint HIIT class.  I also like the RPM (Raw Power in Motion) cycling class when I can fit it in, usually later in the day or weekends.  

*Disclaimer - I think one of the reasons I love these classes is the instructors...I was super green when it came to workout classes and the two instructors that I love took the time to make me feel welcome and comfortable.  That is half the battle! 

So, for my "new class" it was still cycling, but a free style version that was very different from the Les Mills classes I take regularly.  It wasn't bad...just different.  It was definitely not as choreographed, but I absolutely worked up a sweat!

I also did another Body Combat class (I had only done one previously) so I consider that to be very new to me.  The first one I tried was with a very popular instructor after work on a weekday and was pretty crowded.  Not really knowing what I was doing the first time was a little discouraging, but after going again to a smaller class on a Saturday morning, it was a lot better.  I think I will definitely work this class into my weekly rotation - my muscles were sore for 2 days after!

Mike and I have also tried going to Body Pump together here and there.  It's an hour long weightlifting/group barbell class set to music that will leave you sore as well!

Explore Charlotte

We ventured out to a Charlotte Hornets game at the Spectrum Center for Everett's birthday and ate at JJ's Red Hots beforehand.  It was a great night filled with yummy food and a gorgeous skyline!

JJ's  has been featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!

I also made it to Dandelion Market for my friend's birthday brunch.  It was so quaint and cute and delicious!

Find a new mural and take a picture -

We found a few!  

This first  mural was near the Spectrum Center in uptown at the Residence Inn.  We, more like I, love stumbling upon murals wherever we are.  They are so fun and I am always on the lookout for new ones.

Swirl by Artist Jonay di Ragno - Uptown Charlotte - Residence Inn

The second mural we found was in downtown Kings Mountain when we were trying out one of our new hikes.  It was by far the largest mural we have ever seen - it was massive!

Mural on the side of the Cherokee Grill Restaurant - Kings Mountain, NC

The next two were found on our quick get away to Blowing Rock and Boone.  Anytime we are headed to a big city or a new town in general I will always just google "Murals in _______" and see what comes up.  That's how I found out about these two!

Downtown Blowing Rock, NC

Downtown Boone, NC

Everett/Hilty -

Both kiddos finished their chapter books and loved them!  Mike read Posy the Puppy to Hilty and I read The One and Only Ivan to Everett.

I can say that The One and Only Ivan, a Newberry Award winning book written by Katherine Applegate, was spectacular.  

We laughed, I cried (a couple of times), but it was and amazing story.  It is based on a true story of a silverback gorilla named Ivan who lived in solitary captivity for 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Washington.  His story sparked much outrage and took over the headlines until he was moved to Zoo Atlanta in October 1994.

The characters in the book (most of them fiction) were so heartwarming and although sad and heart wrenching at times, left us smiling ear to ear at the end.  

*****5 stars from the Alexander fam! *****

Author Katherine Applegate also has a children's version of Ivan's story entitled Ivan, the Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla.

Learn more about the real Ivan below, it's remarkable!

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