Washington D.C: Day 3

Hi everybody! I’m here with our Day 3 (our final post) about our recent trip to Washington D.C. Enjoy! 🙂


We woke up late this morning because our room had been left off of the morning wake up call list, but we didn’t complain even though we got down to breakfast a little late. We had about a 30-minute drive to Mount Vernon in Virginia to finish eating.

Mount Vernon is situated along the Potomac River and it’s very scenic, especially from George Washington’s backyard.

We were even lucky enough to see a 15-minute old lamb at one of the barns.

I’m not sure if you’d consider it lucky but we were able to see George Washington’s teeth as well! They weren’t in the best of shape.

After we finished up at Mount Vernon we drove back to Washington D.C to visit the Jefferson Memorial which looks out over the Tidal Basin. Almost directly across the way from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.

We also made it to the FDR Memorial and it was cool to walk through all of his terms in office (divided up into 4 sections.) Our final stop of the day was to the Newseum which will, unfortunately, be closing toward the end of this year, so get there while you can. You will not regret your visit!

We were able to see interesting artefacts from famous past FBI cases like the Unabomber and also were able to see the antenna from one of the World Trade Centers after the 9/11 attacks.

We had an amazing trip to Washington D.C and if your either from the United States or from another country it’s an amazing place to visit (especially in springtime) and all will find something to enjoy there!

~ Mara


Washington D.C: Day 2

Hi everyone! I’m back with Day 2 in Washington D.C! Hope you enjoy!


Our first stop of the day was to Arlington Cemetery, just outside of Washington D.C

We went to go watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Our school also got to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We saw the grave of Audie Murphy who was a highly decorated soldier in World War II who got the medal of honour, as well as three purple hearts, two silver star medals, and many more. He asked for his grave to be the same as all the other soldiers.

Before making our way in Washington D.C we stopped at the Iwo Jima Memorial, which is in the middle of a roundabout. It’s bigger in real life than you would’ve thought from the postcard pictures.

We headed to the National Mall and went to one of the newest Smithsonian museums called the African American Museum. They had such a wide variety of exhibits there from arts to sports, from history to activism. I’d definitely recommend going. We had lunch at L’Enfant Plaza where a lot of us got Panda Express and a drink from Starbucks.

Our next stop was to the United States Capitol for our class group photo. It was pretty windy so I’m not sure how well the picture actually ended up.

Then we had a tour inside of the U.S Capitol. My favourite thing to see was the amazing paintings on the top of the rotunda as well all the stonework around it.

We then headed over across the street to the Library of Congress which houses every copyrighted book in the world!

We walked a little ways from the Library of Congress to go take pictures in front of the White House, which was a very neat experience.

Before it got dark we managed to squeeze in one last memorial down at the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Lot’s of MLK’s quotes and written around the memorial in stone which I thought was a clever idea.

That night we went on a dinner cruise up and down the Potomac River. It was nice up on top deck because it was so warm out.

I hoped you enjoyed the pictures and writing from this post. A final D.C post will be coming your way soon! 🙂


~ Mara


Washington D.C: Day 1

Hi, everyone! I’m back with a new post on Day 1 in Washington D.C. Our grade recently visited D.C for a class trip. Enjoy!


We took a Southwest flight to D.C and we arrived there at 9:45 PM EST at DCA Airport. One of our favourite things was flying into the airport along the Potomac River. It was very pretty and we got great views of the Capitol Wheel (a Ferris wheel in Oxon Hill, Maryland along the Potomac.) The picture below is a little blurry but you can see the outline of the Ferris wheel.

We arrived at around 11:00 at our hotel in Springfield, Virginia. We stayed at a casual Courtyard Marriot. One thing we liked while staying at the Courtyard was the nice baristas at the Starbucks in the lobby. We didn’t do anything that night since it was pretty late and we had a busy day ahead of us.

The next morning we had breakfast in the lobby and then headed out. We were on our way to D.C at 8:00. We passed through Arlington and crossed Francis Scott Key Bridge into Georgetown. One of the first famous things we saw was Georgetown Cupcakes. Famous for their  TV show DC Cupcakes and their delicious cupcakes!

Our first stop in D.C was to the National Cathedral. The architecture of the cathedral reminded me a lot of architecture of cathedrals over in England. The inside was so big and the stained glass on the walls was beautiful. Parts of the cathedral are still in renovation from the earthquake in 2011.

One of our favourite stops was in the Bishops Garden. A great place for photo opts and also a nice place to just sit and relax.

From the cathedral and gardens, we drove down Embassy Row and enjoyed seeing all the different, cultural architecture buildings. Our next stop was at the Air Force Memorial which has beautiful views of the D.C skyline from atop a hill.

After spending a good amount of time at both the Air Force Memorial and the National Cathedral it was already time for lunch! We decided to head back over into Virginia and have lunch at Pentagon City Mall. I got a drink from Starbucks and a turkey sub from Subway. One of my friends and I shared vanilla Thai rolled ice cream and a bubble waffle. It was soo good!

From Pentagon City Mall we walked over to the Pentagon for a tour we had scheduled. Unfortunately, we were late for the tour and had to leave. We walked over to the 9/11 Memorial which was just outside. This was definitely my favourite place that we visited on the trip. It was so peaceful there and seeing all the symbolism throughout the 184 benches (representing the 184 victims) was really cool. My friends and I threw coins into the ponds (under every bench) that didn’t have any coins or flowers by them.

From the 9/11 memorial, we took our bus over to Abe’s Cafe and Gift Shop, which was right across from Ford’s Theater (where Abraham Lincoln was shot) and next to the House Where Lincoln Died. We browsed for a while and some people got drinks to go.

We drove from the gift shop down to the National Mall. We went to the American History Museum which was fun. We saw the original United States flag, the original Swedish Chef from the Muppets, the Batmobile, Dorothy’s ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, and all of the first ladies dresses from Abigail Adams to present. Unfortunately, they had taken the original Kermit off display.

We walked from the American History Museum across the National Mall to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We got identification cards when we entered, identifying us as a person who either survived or died in the Holocaust. It was a very sad place to visit but we learned a lot while there and it was important to learn about.

After leaving the Holocaust Museum we went to the World War II Memorial. We found our state in the semi-circle of stones each with a state or U.S territory on them.

Before we headed to dinner we walked around Constitution Gardens Lake and across the road to the Albert Einstein Memorial where we took a big class photo. From the statue, we got on our bus and drove to Union Station where we had dinner at Uno’s Pizzeria.

Union Station


Our day wasn’t over yet after dinner though. We still had many more memorials to visit. Our first group of memorials by nightlight to visit was the Vietnam Wall and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial. One of my friends and I broke off from the group and went to look for all the symbols our tour guide had told us about that were on the wall. A diamond means that they have been officially declared dead, a cross means they are still missing in action, a diamond over a cross means they were missing in action and then were declared dead after the wall was built, and it has yet to happen but if somebody missing in action returns alive their cross will have a circle around it.

Three Serviceman Statue

Our next memorial was the Lincoln which wasn’t far away.

We liked seeing the “I Have a Dream” plaque on the stairs.

The plaque was wet so the picture didn’t turn out great

One of my friends and I once again broke off from the rest of the group taking pictures to go find some ‘easter eggs’ in the Lincoln Monument. We found all 3 that were described. On the back of Lincoln’s head from one of the columns, you can see the outline of another face which some say is the face of Robert E. Lee who was Lincoln’s enemy looking out to what was once his plantation (now Arlington Cemetery.) Robert E. Lee was the Confederate commander in the Civil War. The Union soldiers gained revenge on him by burying their own on his land and it is now known as Arlington Cemetery.


Another ‘easter egg’ was that when they were inscribing some of Lincoln’s famous speeches on the monument they accidentally wrote ‘Euture’ rather than ‘Future.’ You can see this below the word ‘encouraging.’

A final ‘easter egg’ was that two states weren’t included with the rest surrounding the top of the memorial. That’s Hawaii and Alaska. They are included in a plaque near the bottom of the memorial instead.

If you look closely toward the bottom you can see the words ‘Alaska and Hawaii.’

Before we headed back to the memorial we walked through the Korean War Memorial. Wherever you stood in the memorial there was always one of the soldiers looking at you which I thought was neat.

This was only our first full day of three days in D.C. Stay tuned for more posts coming soon! 🙂

~ Mara

Naperville, Illinois: Days 3 and 4

Hi everyone! I’m back to my posts about our recent trip to Naperville, Illinois. Look under our Travel page for Days 1 and 2 in Naperville. Enjoy!


The morning of Day 3 (March 9th) we headed to the crowded Starbucks Reserve Bar again for breakfast. I got the delicious gruyere and bacon egg bites again and we got our drinks as well. We then headed to some of the downtown stores such as Ulta and Athleta. From there we headed back to the room and then down to Sierra Trading Post and Whole Foods at Wheaton Town Square. Not far from Naperville.

We had lunch at PDQ (People Dedicated to Quality) which specializes in this delicious fried chicken. If your ever by one, it’s an absolute must stop. And it’s quick! You order at the counter and it’s ready in 2-5 minutes. From PDQ we headed down to Aurora, Illinois. Aurora is known for it’s big Hollywood Casino located on an island in the middle of a river connecting the two sides of the city.

We were in Aurora for my parent’s favourite Irish Band (The Whiskey Brothers) that were at a St. Patrick’s day festival at one of the local pubs called Ballydoyle. It was lot’s of fun and they sang and played their instruments very well.


We had done a lot of sitting that day so we decided to go walk around Fox Valley Mall, which is on the outskirts of Aurora. It’s one of my personal favourite malls not only does it have a carousel but it has this purebred puppy shop where you can see a bunch of puppies. There sooo cute.

That night we went downstairs to Midici Pizza which serves Neapolitan pizza. We always enjoy a convenient meal there. The next morning was our last day in Naperville. We headed to Starbucks Reserve for a couple of drinks before we left and went back to Molly’s Cupcakes to pick up some cupcakes to take back home. We walked the riverwalk for our first and last time on this vacation. Usually, we walk the riverwalk 2 – 4 times a day when we are in Naperville but this trip we only got to it once because of the cold weather.

We checked out of our room and for our last hoorah we went to Rotary Sushi bar in Aurora. One of our all-time favourite sushi places for sure!

We really enjoyed our trip to Naperville and I was destined for another trip only a day after we left. Look for more posts about it soon! Thanks for reading!

~ Mara

History for Kids: Washington D.C

Hi everyone! Yesterday (March 15th) was my 6th blogiversary. Who knew that 6 years ago (2013) I’d still be blogging today. That’s crazy! My first ever post was March 16th, 2013, so today 6 years ago! Here’s a link to my first ever post: History for Kids; James Madison’s Birthday. For my first year or so of blogging I mainly focused on History for Kids posts and after a while they kind of trailed off. Now I’ve mainly been focusing on my travels so I decided to do a History for Kids post today that combines my new love of travel. I just spent this whole last week in Washington D.C, so I’ll be taking you to some of the most historic sites in this old yet modern city.

Washington National Cathedral

Even though this landmark is definitely not one of the older ones in the city, the amount of historical events that have taken place here is unbelievable. The first stone was placed in 1907 with President Teddy Roosevelt watching and the last part was placed in 1990 with President George H.W Bush watching. It took 83 years to finish but once you step inside you’ll see it’s definitely worth it. Four presidents funerals have been held at the cathedral as well as many presidents and their wives memorial services. Not long ago in 2011, parts of the cathedral broke off in an earthquake (uncommon for the area) and parts of it are still being redone.

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery is located just outside of Washington D.C. It was originally a man named Robert Lee’s (a Southern civil war general) plantation and then Northern civil war generals began to start burying their people on the lands there. Now it is a place for important people to be buried and people who served in wars. One interesting part of the cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Since World War I, one soldier whose identity is unknown is buried there. The tomb is guarded by soldiers 24/7.


The Capitol is one of the most important buildings in our whole country. At the capitol, all our laws and rules are made and then sent to the president to be approved or vetoed. The capitol was finished in 1811, only to be partially burned in the War of 1812 by British soldiers. It was reconstructed and continues to be the place where many important decisions are made.

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress houses every single copyrighted book ever. It moved from both of the early United States capitols of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and New York City to Washington D.C in 1800 and has been there ever since.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon was home to our first president George Washington and his wife Martha Washington. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and to this day you can take tours around the house. Mount Vernon is only a small part of George Washington’s original 500 acres of land.

Thanks for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed! 🙂

~ Mara

Naperville, Illinois: Days 1 and 2

Hi, everybody. Sorry for the recent lack of posts. I have many more travel adventures coming up soon though so your sure to start seeing more. We recently went back to Naperville. For my family and I, Naperville is less of a travel destination, like London or Paris, and more of a real vacation. Where you can just lay back and relax and not having anything you need to see or anything you need to check off on your to-do list. And that’s exactly what we did.

On our way down to Naperville, we had lunch in Schaumburg, Illinois home to Woodfield Mall, and is the 12th largest mall in the United States and the largest in Illinois and the 2nd biggest in the Midwest (after Mall of America.) We ate at Roti, which is a modern Mediterranean restaurant a couple of blocks from Woodfield. We’ve been to the Roti in Washington D.C before but never to any in Illinois. We all enjoyed our meals. My parents got rice bowls with added vegetables and proteins (falafel, chicken, steak, etc.) I got hummus, pita bread, and falafel. My favourite thing was the falafel, it was sooo good.

After Roti, we had to make a stop at Woodfield Mall. We went to a cool shop that originated in Japan called Uniqlo. Their clothes were really cool and we all got a couple of new outfits there.

After Schaumburg, we continued the rest of the way down to Naperville where we checked in at the Hotel Indigo. After setting up our room (it had a terrace and everything) we headed down to Starbucks Reserve Bar. Our home away from home. It’s so big. It’s like quadruple the size of a normal Starbucks and they have special types of coffee. If you ever get to one (Seattle, Milano, Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, etc.) I highly recommend visiting. I had an iced caramel cloud macchiato.

That night we went to the Patio, which is our ‘first day in Naperville dinner’ tradition. I also get a hot dog and fries. Simple but delicious. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the meal. 😦


The next day we woke up and headed to Starbucks Reserve for breakfast where we all got the bacon and gruyere sous vide egg bites. They are so amazing! There are two other kinds of egg bites but I have yet to try them. I can never seem to try anything else when the bacon and gruyere are out. After breakfast, we went shopping downtown. I got a new jacket from Eddie Bauer and we went to Anderson’s Books and Toys.

That afternoon we had lunch at Burrito Parilla Mexicana where we got a whole vat of guacamole. That’s one of our favourite things about Burrito Parilla. Well, that and their horchata machine. After lunch there we headed to Designer Shoe Warehouse in Bolingbrook, where I got new Nikes.

That afternoon we stopped at the Red Arrow Tap Room where they have all sorts of beers in serve-yourself machines around the room. It’s like a frozen yoghurt shop for adults. My dad tried 1 or 2 and we headed off to Molly’s Cupcakes. A new cupcake shop right in the heart of downtown Naperville that won the TV Show Cupcake Wars. Their cupcakes are so amazing. Their speciality is ‘centre-filled’ cupcakes. The shop has a schoolhouse theme and has a sprinkle bar as well as swings you can sit on while you eat your cupcake. My mom got the peanut butter with a Nutella centre (top centre), my dad got the Ron Bennington which is chocolate with a peanut butter centre (bottom left), and I got the chocolate decadence with a chocolate mousse centre (bottom right.)



We stopped at more shops downtown including Chicos, Soft Surroundings, Paper Source, and Williams Sonoma. That night we had dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill where I got a delicious loaded baked potato. The restaurant is owned by philanthropist Ted Turner.

A buffalo at Ted’s Montana

We did get some decaf drinks from Starbucks Reserve and headed back to the room for the night.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ll be back with more soon! 🙂


Iron for Vegetarians

There are over 10 million people in the United States alone who are iron deficient. That means that they don’t eat enough iron per day. When you think of iron you think of animal products; turkey, chicken, beef, etc. Of course to all my fellow vegetarians and vegans eating enough iron can be a problem, since in truth a lot of iron does come from other animals. Below are some vegetarian iron options. Eating these plant-based options don’t supply you with as much iron as chicken would, per say, but it’s been proven that if you do eat one of these options along with a food high in vitamin C, it can improve absorption of the iron.

  • Tofu. The ‘vegetarian chicken’ does contain iron. One idea is having it in a stir fry. Some vitamin C foods you could place along with the tofu in the stir fry include kale, broccoli, and green peppers.
  • Beans/chickpeas/lentils. All three of these contain a good amount of iron in them. I personally like placing these into soups. Some ideas include lentil soup or a minestrone soup with black or kidney beans. Yum!
  • Sesame/poppy seed/everything bagels. You wouldn’t normally think of seeded bagels as being high in iron but they are. They contain 30% of the daily recommended amount of iron in a normal size. So consider stopping by your local Brugger’s, at some point.
  • Dark chocolate. Definitely my favourite on this list. One ounce of dark chocolate (one square of chocolate) has 20% of your daily iron! The dark chocolate should be over 70% cacao.
  • Breakfast cereal. One cup of the right breakfast cereal can get you the recommend daily intake of iron in one meal. Some brands this works for include Total Whole Grain (3/4 of a cup), Raisin Bran, and Mini-Wheats.

I hope this list helps you come up with some ideas for your next meal/snack. Thanks for reading! Have a fantastic week! 🙂

~ Mara