Book Giveaway!

So remember last week when I told you guys about my friend  Julie’s new book? Well, we are giving away a copy! The book is called Raising an Original and I love Julie’s insights into parenting all of her unique kids and I’m sure you will too!  If you want to enter to win, just type “original” in the comments and a winner will be chosen at random on Monday. Good Luck!   (this giveaway is now closed)

Second Saturdays

This past Saturday we felt the first hint of fall weather and it was so amazing! We had to get outside and take it in so a few of us headed over to Philbrook to wander the gardens and enjoy Second Saturday.  Every second Saturday of the month, the museum offers free admission and special activities such as art projects and scavenger hunts for children. Also, kids can sign up for their My Museum program and get cute little carrying cases with cards inside that have information on different pieces in the museum!

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The next Second Saturday takes place October 8th!







A Summer Road Trip

I was so happy a few weeks ago when it worked out for us to hit the road and do some exploring as a family. All was quiet in Tulsa after little Lucille was born and it seemed the perfect chance to slip away for a few days. Luckily, we were all able to give her a quick squeeze before we left. She is so dreamy!  We really didn’t start out with specific plans on this trip, besides the fact that we started out in the eastern direction, but as we drove down the road talking about our country’s current events and listening to David McCullough audiobooks, we started thinking about how cool it would be to dig into the early history of the US of A, so we just kept driving east!

Our visit to Jamestown was way more inspirational than I expected. I expected just sort of a landmarker, and there ya go, Jamestown. Well, turns out Jamestown is a part of the National Park Service so they have ranger guided tours of the site. Our ranger guide was so awesome! I think all of us shed a tear at some point listening to him speak about the hardships faced by the colonists and the way they persevered and prospered.  Just so America, ya know?

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When I was seven I attended an event to launch the new American Girl doll, Felicity, in Colonial Williamsburg. Pleasant Rowland, who founded American Girl, spoke at the event and hearing her love of history and storytelling and of teaching young girls made such an impression on me. That trip with my mother is one of my most magical childhood memories and I have always wanted to go back with my own children, so this felt a little bit like a dream come true. We’ve been so close to visiting when we’ve been in the D.C. area but there are always so many friends to see and things to do that we’ve never made it happen. So this trip we did!  It was fun to tour the Governor’s Palace and run though the maze and eat in a tavern and all of that, but what I was really surprised by with Colonial Williamsburg was just how pretty it is! The trees and animals and gardens were all pretty dreamy and we enjoyed just walking through all of that more than anything.







We also made an after hours stop at Monticello. It was too late to go in, (which was weird because we felt like we knew TJ and the place well thanks again to David McCullough)  but it worked out fine because there are actually several museum areas, a movie on Jefferson and a shop down at the entrance area to Monticello.

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We also made some SUPER fun stops in Tennessee.  We rafted down a river and made a long overdue trip to Dollywood. Big time fans here.



Inspirational quotes abound at Dollywood!

This whole little trip was just so special to me. My big kids are getting, well, big.  Everyone has more going on which is wonderful and I love seeing them blossom, but when Taylor looked over at me and asked why I was smiling so big, I said “because all my people are locked up in this loud crazy van and it makes me feel so peaceful.”  … Or maybe I was just still high from smelling baby Lucille!! Happy back to school you guys!



Children’s Discovery Garden

We spent Sunday at the Children’s Discovery Garden at Tulsa Botanic Gardens. The garden is just a few minutes north of downtown and is an exciting new addition to the city.  It was honestly too hot to see the entire garden, but the children’s garden turned out to be plenty of fun for a Sunday afternoon. When we arrived at the front desk, the kids picked up maps to the children’s garden that listed a few fun things to look for as they walked through the area. I like the “scavenger hunt” idea most when it is simple and doesn’t take away from the feeling of being present when you are visiting somewhere. This one was really fun and my list oriented child made sure he found everything!

viggo garden map

I was lucky to have a couple extra photographers on hand to capture our day.

penny photo pond

willa photo

scene botanic garden

big boys garden

viggo sensory garden

 The Sensory Walk highlights ways to use all five senses in the garden.

head garden

Spring Giant!


Inside Spring Giant. Contemplating sticking their heads under the water, I think.


The art wall where you can use the water to paint.

band garden

Playing the instruments behind Spring Giant, and I think Willa is the majorette.

willa tree fort bridge

Inside the magical tree fort. This was our favorite part!

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River and Viggo on the awesome “Oak Thrones”. I’m not sure if climbing on them is against the rules.. if so, sorry!  (Hanson kids are part monkey!)

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Penny and I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful art around the tree branch.

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The buddies. climbing on things again 😉

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Dressing up in the tree fort. It really was dreamy there!

viggo cray costumes

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Spinning the dragonflies on the Meadow.

will ribbon garden


Food on the Move

The kids and I had so much fun last weekend getting to help out at Food on the Move. Food On The Move was started to address food deserts in our community. If you aren’t familiar with the term “food desert”, it is a place where there is no access to fresh, nutritious food within a close distance. It seems crazy to think this problem exists in our city with so many grocery stores in certain areas, but it does. Food on the Move brings together local farmers with the food truck community to offer free lunch and produce to anyone who comes out. The kids and I were there to jump rope, hula-hoop, and just kick a ball around with the children at the event. The weather was amazing and we had a blast serving in our little way along with the rest of the great Food on the Move team!



National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum

A few weeks ago I loaded up the crew and drove over to OKC to learn a little more about the legend of the wild west no kid can resist, the cowboy!  At The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum there are exhibits that focus on the real history of cowboys and their role in shaping the west, but there is also plenty here devoted to the legend of the cowboy played out in the old movies we all love. Both are fascinating elements of American history and we enjoyed it all.


In addition to the permanent exhibits, there were a few temporary ones we had fun with like Riding The Whirlwind: Weather In The West. They have several hands on displays explaining the elements of weather and the favorite was the makeshift television studio green screen they could jump in front of and appear of the screen. It was hard to get them to move past this one! There was also a unique exhibit focused solely on the history and styles of bolo-ties! Does anyone know where I can get a cute one around here?



We then exited the main building and went inside the Children’s Cowboy Corral. There everyone played for a long time pretending to be cooking up the pot of chili for the cowboys. Are you familiar with Shelley Duvall’s Tall Tales and Legends Pecos Bill? It’s one of our all-time favorites and they were acting out most of the movie!




 The Rodeo Exhibit


working on their weather exhibit handout


cute girls cheezin’


We spent a cool spring day at Woolaroc last week and I just love that place! Actually, this crazy awesome door at the entrance of the museum was my inspiration for the artwork here on the blog. It’s my colors!

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We talk a lot about his brother Waite here in Tulsa, but I have to say I think I’m partial to Frank’s style. While he logged plenty of city hours in his busy life running Phillips Petroleum, it was in the peaceful and rugged land of Bartlesville where Frank reconnected with himself. He turned Woolaroc into his own western wonderland.

woolaroc teepee

woolarvoc fountain

He liked to bring people into his world where they could experience the west he imagined. That romanticized west is what you see curated in the museum portion of the grounds. There are works by Remington and Moran, as well as more modern artists such as Wilson Hurley .There is also one of the largest collections of Colt Firearms and my boys were mesmerized.

colt guns

viggo gun

There is plenty of room to stretch your legs around the museum, and the little playground they have which is made to look like a mini wild west town is so cute!

willa playground

Frank Phillips built his own reality at Woolaroc and it is great to be able to be a part of it!

woolaroc buffalo

Sam Noble Museum of Natural History

My husband has been singing the praises of the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History for some time, and this past week I found out why. The museum is incredible and I’m so excited to tell you all about it! The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History is located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, and is home to the university’s natural history collection and its ongoing research in the field. It took us about two hours to get to there from Tulsa, and when we walked in and took in the scale of the museum, I realized that this place was certainly worth a whole day trip. The museum has over 50,000 square feet of exhibits to explore, all filled with beautiful displays and more hands-on information for children than I think I have ever seen!

The first exhibit we visited was the Orientation Gallery which is filled with interactive displays that  introduce the visitor to what the museum is about and tells about some of the exciting work that goes on in the research field.

Penny Orientation


Next we took in the Hall of Natural Wonders exhibit which had the most amazing dioramas depicting the biodiversity of Oklahoma. The scenes are really immersive and give the feeling of walking though the actual habitats.

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pen riv bison


In the Hall of Ancient Life you weave through the story of prehistoric Oklahoma and come face to face with some giant dinosaurs including the “official state fossil”, the Saurophaganax!

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state dino

Everyone loved the Discovery Room where things get even more hands-on! Children can dig for bones, play and draw in this area. The museum hosts special activities here throughout the day such as crafts, stories and a chance to feed the reptiles that live there.





The wonderful staff at the museum were kind enough to give the children a little “backstage tour” of the archives and research at the museum, and let me tell you, it’s the real deal! To hear the paleontologists who are actually currently excavating dinosaurs from right here in Oklahoma discuss their findings was mind blowing. You guys, Jurassic Park has nothing on Sam Noble!






In addition to all the great things we saw on our visit, the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History also offers great educational opportunities such as the amazing Explorology which gives young scientist a chance to work in the field.

GIVEAWAY! – now closed

       To enter to win free admission for two to the museum, just type “Saurophaganax” in the comment section below and two winners will be chosen at random. Good Luck!

Starting the year off Wright

My sweet people surprised me for my birthday with a day trip to Bartlesville to visit the Price Tower. Taylor and I are both Frank Lloyd Wright fans so they knew this was the perfect birthday treat.

Kids at entry Price Tower It took us around an hour to get there from Tulsa, and as soon as you could see the Bartlesville skyline it was easy to spot the Price Tower. The building stands as “a tree that escaped the forest“ just as Wright intended. The Price Tower is the only skyscraper Wright designed to be brought to fruition. Having visited other famous Wright sites around the country, it was interesting to see the way Wright executed his signature style in this type of structure.

Close Price Tower Shot

When we arrived for our two o’clock tour, we were told it was full. Oh no! (The lesson here kids is always call ahead!) However the staff was so gracious and brought in another docent for us and let us enjoy drinks in their restaurant, The Copper Restaurant and Bar while we waited.

Viggo Copper Window


Willa Tay Kiss Price Tower

Our tour started in the entryway of the building where in place of the mural that Mr. Price had requested, Mr. Wright offered the “generous” compromise of a painted quote by Walt Whitman.  Then it was on the tiny elevator and up to the conference room and apartment used by the Price family. There were no photos allowed on the tour so I tried to snap a few each time we stepped outside.

Price elevator

Inside the little elevator

Tay Will Overlook FLW

Goff Building View

A view of the Bartlesville Community Center across the street

The last stop of the tour was Mr. Price’s office on the 19th floor and this was my favorite part. Even though the square footage of the space isn’t much, the natural light is amazing and you can only imagine Mr. Price feeling on top of the world running his business from such an inspired and modern place.

Price Tower tall shot

We had such a fun day and I loved hearing the children recognize some of the Wright design principles that are used in our own house, what they liked and didn’t like about them, and how it all made them feel. Their discussion reminded me of why I am a Frank Lloyd Wright fan. What he lacked in practicality, he made up for in uncompromising vision, and that is art and it awakens the mind to new possibilities.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tours of Tulsa

Since I started writing this blog, several people have suggested we give Tours of Tulsa a try. We finally got a chance to do just that and I’m excited to share our tour with you!

We met our guide at the corner of 5th and Boston and got right to it. We were outside the Philcade Building and so we started with an explanation of the architecture and sentimental touches Waite Phillips used on his buildings. We also discussed some of the highlights of the skyline while we stood there, such as how the cupola at the top of the 320 Boston used to be lit according to the weather, and there is talk of bringing it back.  It’s also worth mentioning that there are some super cute shops in the first floor of the Philcade Building so go check them out!

Tour start shops


Inside the buildings the kids loved hearing the stories of the businesses that were originally located in the building. Penny and I both enjoyed hearing about the men ordering their wives dresses from the original Miss Jackson’s located inside the Philtower.


In the tunnel

In the tunnel underground connecting the Philcade and Philtower.

We also visited the vault located underground in the Mid-Century Modern Building, the Atlas Life Building,  and the Mid-Continent Building. All were full of great Tulsa stories which were shared with us in such a fun way by Tours of Tulsa.

When we left Viggo said, ” Mom, that was our best tour EVER!” So, there you have it!

Penny walking

Before I wrap it up,  a big shout out to the guy pictured below for joining us on the tour and making it possible for me to actually appear in some shots!

Matthew Penny