Our transportation throughout the trip had been really good, up until now. We sat in our seats in the prop plane in the middle of Bristol Airport with no air conditioning. It was 90 degrees in the cabin. It was hot! The plane had decided not to work today, so we had to get off the plane and go back into the airport to wait for it to be fixed. If they couldn’t fix it we would have to wait 5 hours for the next plane to Dublin.

After awhile they called our flight back. The plane was “supposedly” working. 30 minutes we took off, and we flew the hour long flight to Dublin.

We arrived without any more plane issues and we took a taxi to our 3 story townhouse we had rented. It was 9:00 PM by the time we got to dinner. We went to Paulie’s Pizza, I got a Margherita Pizza once again.

The next morning, I was in bed on my phone. Everyone in the house was still sleeping since it was only 6:30. Then a face appeared in the window. It was one of the cats!

There were 6 (I counted) cats that lived around our house. I named them; Dingle (the one that appeared in the window), Larry, Shamrock, Gael, Guinness, and Limerick.

We had breakfast then we headed off. We went to Starbucks, and they had some different things than they did here in the U.S. There were all sorts of different Frappuccinos.

There were all sorts of cool donuts in some of the windows we passed.

We had lunch at the famous Temple Bar, where we all got different types of sandwiches. I got an egg salad sandwich.


Then we went stopped at another bar (to get the Temple Bar neighborhood feel.) My mom and I just got diet cokes.

Our next stop was at the Ha’Penny Bridge.

From there we walked around on the other side of the bridge for awhile. We saw some cool statues along the way.

After that we crossed back over to the south side of Dublin and went back to our house. For dinner we got take out pizza from a local restaurant, we also got salads. I only had a piece of the pizza since I didn’t like how there was so much cheese on it (I’m more of a sauce person.) My dad agreed (he’s a sauce person, too.)

Look who came by at dinner…

That night Larry (his real name is Ginger) came to the downstairs window and tried to get inside for awhile.

The next morning we took the train to Howth which is a fishing village north of Dublin.

We saw a bunch of sea lions in the Irish Sea, which was really neat.

After watching the sea lions for a bit we went to Insomnia Coffee. I decided to embrace the moment and I had a very sugary snack (Candyfloss Hot Cocoa and a Marshmallow Cake.) It was really good.

We saw the Olympic House in Howth which was really neat.

For lunch we went to the Abbey Tavern, I had a salad and my grandma and dad had the salmon.

After lunch we went back to Howth Harbour and walked on top of the break wall for a bit. There were some awesome views from the wall.

A sign in the harbour

On our way back to Dublin we stopped at the Bubble Waffle Factory. Bubble Waffle Cones are like ice cream cones but the cones are made of waffles. My grandma and I tried them. I mostly just ate the top of the waffle cone since it was gigantic!

We stopped at Trinity College before going back to the house. We didn’t see the Book of Kells but we went to the Trinity Gift Shop and got some neat shirts.

That night for dinner my mom, dad, and I walked to a store called Donnybrook Fair where we got some things like potato salad and Caesar salad for dinner. On the way to Donnybrook, we saw Meghan, Harry, and the Prime Minster of Ireland drive past us since they had just gotten to Dublin that night.

Our final day in Dublin we went to explore more of the city. We went to the Famine Memorial that morning, which was really interesting.

We also got to go on the famous ship that brought immigrants from Dublin to places like Quebec and New York City. It was called the Jeanie Johnston.

On our way to lunch we saw Harry and Meghan again, and this time we got a wave from them. For lunch, we stopped at another restaurant in the Temple Bar neighborhood and I had a baked potato with scallion sour cream. Yum!

After that we went on a Viking Tour of Dublin. We went on land and in the water. It was really neat!

For dinner we stopped at a salad restaurant called Chopped. The salads were really good.

I forgot to take salad pictures so this is just a filler..


That night we watched the World Cup semi-finals, unfortunately England didn’t make it into the finals. Unfortunately, the next day was our last day of our 15 day trip in England and Ireland.

We drove to the Dublin Airport, and said our goodbyes as our flight took off.


While we were above Newfoundland in Canada we could see icebergs from 36,000 feet in the air!

Soon, we arrived back in the States. We had an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to go to Europe soon!


The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales

The Yorkshire Dales… definitely not as well known as the North York Moors, but just as beautiful (maybe even more.)

We took off through the Dales on a tour at around 9:00 in the morning on the 4th of July (back in the States.)

We saw tons of little picturesque villages, as we made our way to our first stop.


We arrived at Castle Bolton at around 10:30. It was an overcast day, perfect for a majestic picture or two.

There were many sheep living in the pastures around the castle. They were adorable.

Our second stop of the morning was Aysgarth Falls where filming of movies like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves took place.

On our way to lunch we went through the village of Askrigg where the TV Show All Creatures Great and Small with James Herriot, was filmed.



We had lunch in the town of Hawes, where the Wensleydale Cheese Creamery is. We had the chance to taste 30+ types of Wensleydale Cheese for free.

Wensleydale Mac N’ Cheese

We ate at the Wensleydale Cafe for lunch, which had stunning views of the hills in the distance.

Views from the cafe

After we left Hawes we went right into the heart of the Dales. It was beautiful!

More sheep!

We pasted through Dales towns such as Buckden.

We then arrived at the Falcon Inn and Pub in the picturesque town of Arncliffe.

Looking Out from the Falcon Inn



The Old Arncliffe Schoolhouse

Arncliffe only has a population of around 70, but a long history. It had documents in the church dating from the 16th century.

Arncliffe Cemetery

After leaving Arncliffe we went past Kilsney Crag where there are annual rock climbing competitions and through more tiny Dales towns like Grassington and Appletreewick.



We saw lots of sheep!

Before we arrived back in York, we stopped in the town of Pateley Bridge which hosts England’s Oldest Sweet Shoppe.

There were some cow traffic jams along the way.

Pateley Bridge


Visiting the Dales was a great way to spend the 4th of July, if we weren’t actually in the States. It was my favorite part of our U.K trip, and if your a foreign traveler or just an English holidaymaker, I definitely recommend taking a drive through the Dales.

Of course the Dales wasn’t the end of the trip. Stay tuned for our next city!

The Secret

The story begins 36 years ago…


Byron Priess was an American writer who specialized in fantasy novels. 3 years after he published the kid’s book Dragonworld, he published a book called The Secret that contained 12 different verses and 12 fantasy paintings. One of the paintings would pair with one of the verses, together they would provide a set of clues that led to one plexiglass box that would incase a ceramic box in a park in North America. Inside the ceramic box was a key that you would send to Byron Priess. In return, he would send a gemstone worth $1,000.

Only two of the boxes have ever been found. One was found in 1983 in Chicago and one in 2004 in Cleveland. Byron Priess, unfortunately, passed away in 2005 in a car accident. Yet people continue to search to this day.

All of the 12 boxes though are related to a place of immigration. Byron Priess’s father immigrated to the U.S, which was a big inspiration for him. For example, the Cleveland box was found in the Greek Cultural Garden since many Greek people immigrated to the Cleveland area. Same with Chicago since a lot of Irish and Scottish people immigrated there.

People believe that the 10 remaining boxes are likely located in the following cities. I also included country of immigrants that went to that city;

Image 1- San Francisco, California – Chinese Immigrants

Image 2 – Charleston, South Carolina – African Immigrants

Image 3 – Roanoke Island, Virginia – English Immigrants

Image 4 – Cleveland, Ohio – Greek Immigrants – Found

Image 5 – Chicago, Illinois – Irish/Scottish Immigrants – Found

Image 6 – St. Augustine, Florida – Spanish Immigrants

Image 7 – New Orleans, Louisiana – French Immigrants

Image 8 – Houston, Texas – Persian Immigrants

Image 9 – Montreal, Canada – Netherlands Immigrants

Image 10 – Milwaukee, Wisconsin – German Immigrants

Image 11 – Boston, Massachusetts – Italian Immigrants

Image 12 – New York City, New York – Russian Immigrants


If you are interested in hunting for one of the treasures I recommend checking out this link because it includes many of people’s theories about each of the images. I recommend getting the book (it’s on Amazon) because it includes all the images and verses, as well as some interesting stories about the treasure.  I hope you get involved in the hunt for the remaining 10 boxes!




An Interesting Adventure… Part 2

Hi everybody! It’s Mara here, and I’m enjoying my last 2 days of summer break before going back on the 5th. Hooray! (False enthusiasm.) As promised I’m writing the next part of my adventure in the Apostle Islands. Here is the link to part one. Enjoy!

Once the adventure on the river had finished up we drove for 2 more hours to a little church in the middle of nowhere where we would be staying that night. Once we arrived at the church everyone went to play outside. My friend Hadley and I went to go play Frisbee in the baseball field. Soon, it started down pouring but very few of us cared. We all just carried on like it was nothing. After awhile, Hadley and I went inside soaked. We changed into our PJ’s and set up our sleeping bags in the sanctuary which is where the girls were staying. Emery the bookworm of the group set up her sleepover next to the bookshelf, which I thought was kind of funny. I set mine up next to my friend Lauren. Soon enough, it was time for dinner. The dinner that night (pasta bar) was the best meal we would have the whole trip.

After dinner, we played Jewel Heist. They turned off all the lights in the church and we started to play. The game was pretty intense. Running up stairs in the dark with a whole group of kids is pretty scary. One kid fell down the stairs and got trampled; they were okay though. Then one of the 8th graders locked a whole bunch of kids in a room. The pastor wasn’t happy about that. One of the cops was following me so I ducked under a table and ran into another kid. I screamed and gave away the hiding spot.

That night, I fell asleep pretty quickly because I was exhausted after the river adventure. For breakfast we had pancakes which was awesome! They were pretty good for being made in a church kitchen. After breakfast, we packed everything up in the trailers for the long drive to lunch. Tuesday was probably one of the worst days at camp. We had driven for 3+ hours in a hot van. There was nothing to look at except endless lakes and forests which gets really boring after a few miles. We finally made it to a little town for lunch. A bunch of people went to Arby’s but Emery, Gretchen, Tess, and I went to the Subway.. across the highway.

We had to do a lot of sprinting but we made it across to the smallest Subway you’ve ever seen. After a quick-lunch, Emery and I went back across the highway to a McDonald’s so Emery could get a sundae. Soon it was time to load back up into the vans for our drive to Bayfield where we would ferry across to Madeline Island. This 2 hour drive to Bayfield was also extremely boring as well. Once we arrived in Bayfield we were all anxious to get out onto the ferry deck. It was a very windy day but that didn’t stop any of us. It was only 3 miles across Lake Superior but the ferry took a long time. Soon we arrived at the Madeline Island Dock and we drove off to our campsite in the Big Bay State Park.

Once we arrived we starting unpacking and building our tent. I shared a tent with Gretchen, Lauren, and Emery. Ellie, Hadley, Tess, Liana, and Skylar set up their tent next to us. Emery called herself the “camping expert” and set up our tent in no time. We moved in  and soon our tent was filled with a bunch of Vera Bradley Bags, ukuleles, and cards from Seaworld.

After the tents were all set up we had tacos for dinner by the campfire. After dinner, we all played volleyball and went down to the beach. We finished the night off with s’mores and then retreated to our tents for a night out in the forest.

I will write more about the rest of the trip soon! I hope you have enjoyed the posts so far.

~ Mara


An Interesting Adventure…. Part 1

Hi everyone! Sorry, I haven’t been posting more lately. Today, I have a personal narrative I wrote about an interesting event that happened to me this summer. There are more parts to the story, so you keep your eyes peeled for more. Enjoy!

The River

A Personal Narrative

 “It’ll be fine Tess, look at the river it’s so calm and the current isn’t very strong” I told my friend pointing down toward the river from atop a cliff. “I don’t know, they said there was a waterfall on the course we were taking. “A waterfall!” responded Tess.

“They said a mini waterfall, that means like 8 feet or something.”

“8 feet?!”

“That’s not that big, for a waterfall.”

“That’s almost two me’s!”

“Everyone over here” called our rafting guide.

I was going whitewater rafting with my church group. I suppose they were taking us rafting, so the 5 hour road trip ahead of us would become the least bit tolerable. We were headed up north for a confirmation retreat.

All 32 of us kids split up into groups of 8. I was with my friends Hadley, Emery, Sydney, Tess, Gretchen, Lauren, and Ellie. Our rafting guides name was Austin, he was a marine in the army just like all the rafting guides.

Once we were all in our rafts, each of our rafting guides instructed us on basic safety rules. Emery, Lauren, and I volunteered to be the people who showed how to pull someone out of the rapids. Emery and I jumped into the currently calm water. Lauren showed everyone how to pull us out. I didn’t really like the method that the rafting guides used which was to grab our life vests and then to grab us and throw us into the boat, but I assumed it was the safest way. It hurt when you landed in the boat, enough to tear my earring out of my right ear, when Lauren threw me into the boat.

After we were done with the safety instruction we all started out on the Level 2 rapids, only about 3 – 5 feet waves.  I personally loved it, the thrill of flying up and down and being thrown from side to side on the waves. That was enough to make Tess nervous though.I could only imagine how she would handle Level 5 rapids…

As we approached the Level 5 rapids we left one of our rafting boats at the sandbar closest to the rapids. This was so that we could run the rapids twice. Tess was definitely not happy about that.

Soon, we were all ready to go. Austin was shouting encouraging words from the rear of the boat. Sydney and I were sitting in the front of the boat. The front of the boat was the most dangerous probably, because you didn’t have anywhere to put your feet, except the crevices in the side of the boat. All the other rows had a seat in front of them to stick their feet under so you wouldn’t fall out of the boat.

We started paddling toward the waterfall, which was the first part of the Level 5 rapids. We saw the boat in front of us disappear completely after it went over the waterfall. Soon it was our turn to be swept away by the current. We plummeted over the waterfall. We all screamed, some of us with excitement, others with terror. We were barely paddling, anymore. The waves swept us up and down. It was like a roller coaster on water. I had never been whitewater rafting, but I had always wanted to do it. This was better than I expected! Before, I knew it the rapids were done. Luckily, we got to do it again!

We all jumped out of the raft when we landed it at another sandbar. Even Tess had enjoyed it! We all ran up a hill to head back to the sandbar. On the way, my friends Hadley and Emery were begging Sydney and I for our spots at the front of the boat. Sydney happily gave up her spot to Hadley (who claimed it first), but I was not going to give up my front row seat of adventure … to anyone.

On the way back to the sandbar, we stopped at a cliff where we saw one of the other groups doing the Level 5 Rapids. Two kids fell out of the boat. They were pulled back into the boat right away. “It would be kind of fun if we fell out of the boat..” I said. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy… which I was. I couldn’t help but think that it would be kind of fun to fall out in the almost unrunnable rapids. “Don’t jinx it” Gretchen said to me.

When we got back to the sandbar we saw the 8th grade boys go over the waterfall for their second time. We went right after them. It was like the first time. Thrilling! Exciting! We all saw a big wave ahead of us, Austin yelled at us at the top of his lungs  “PADDLE!” Of course, nobody paddled for the wave dragged us to high in the air for us to touch the water, even if we could have touched the water with our paddles I don’t think we would have. Suddenly, we jolted forward. It sent me flipping over the front of the boat. From what I heard Emery fell off the back as well as a parent volunteer. Ellie, Gretchen, Lauren, Hadley, Tess, and Sydney fell off the sides of the boat. Only Austin remained on the boat.

As soon as I hit the water, I felt something or someone pull me deeper into the water. Probably, someone who fell on top of me. My Life Preserver thankfully dragged me up for air. I saw Lauren getting thrown into the boat by Austin, Gretchen followed, then Sydney, and so on. The 8th grade boys in front of us were laughing, of course. The rest of the kids up on the cliff were screaming. They were the only ones who noticed me getting dragged away from the boat. The yelled to me “DO SOMETHING.” What could I do? The river was in complete control. I saw Emery who was heading toward the raft to get picked up, doing all the things we were supposed to do, in case something like this happened  The position where you put your feet out in front of you, using your arms to paddle, etc. I looked at myself… I was doing nothing we were supposed to do. Ever wave that went near me sent me flying up into the air. I have to admit it was kind of fun. Though it wasn’t fun, when I hit a insanely shallow part of the river, and I got cut by a bunch of rocks.

Everyone was in the raft by now. All except me of course. My friends were yelling something at me, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. In that moment everything was so confusing! What was happening? My head began to spin. I saw the boat with the 8th Grade Boat drifting toward me. The threw into the boat…. very painful. Of course, my boat didn’t see that I was in the raft so they were worried.

On the new boat, I didn’t have to paddle. Which was okay with me because I was exhausted. Of course, then the boys wanted to swim back to shore… so I had to go back with them. When we got to shore I noticed that one of my water shoes (that we were forced to wear) was gone. I found out later that Lauren had lost hers too! I looked at the bottom of my foot where I found two puncture marks in my foot, which are to this day still healing. I survived the adventure, which is what was important. I still wonder if there was a part of me and my sometimes too adventurous spirit that let me get dragged away from that raft….

~ Mara

The First Day of Summer: June 9th, 2017

Hi! It’s Mara here, and today I have a post about what I did on my first day of summer. Enjoy!

I woke up at about 7:30 and went over to my best friend’s house for breakfast. She lives behind me, and we have a gate connecting our two houses. We watched our favorite TV Show When Calls the Heart and drank frozen chocolate (basically like chocolate milk with ice chunks in it) in two goblets. We also ate a whole box of doughnut holes from our local grocery store.

After that, we went kayaking at a big lake called Veterans Lake. It was a lot of fun and we decided to kayak behind two geese (we called them Gertrude and Gandalf) that were floating across the lake. I also ended up kayaking right through a willow tree, it hurt but it was fun.

For lunch, we went back to my best friend’s house and we put together a double hammock that she got. We ate lunch (grilled cheese and clementines) on the hammock. It was really fun until we accidentally flipped the hammock over.

Next, we walked a block to our community’s outdoor pool, which opened today. We were really excited until we saw some of our enemies from school (3 extremely annoying boys.) We ignored them and went over to hang out in the 12ft well with two of our other friends from school. I taught them how to do front flips, back flips, handstands, front walkovers, and back walkovers underwater. Then I tried to persuade them to go diving of the diving board with me but they wouldn’t and said they would just watch me. We all had a lot of fun at the pool, but most of us got sunburned in the end. We might have forgotten to put sunscreen on…

We went back to my best friend’s house and binge watched 3 episodes of When Calls the Heart while eating dinner (pizza.) Then we went to the park across the street to play soccer with one of her dogs. Then we went back to her house and went to DQ. She got a dilly bar and I got a blizzard.

It was a really fun 1st day of summer! I hope you enjoyed the post, keep your eyes peeled for more to come.

~ Mara

My Favorite All – Time Books

Hello everyone! It’s Mara here with a post on all of my favorite books. Each book is linked to it’s GoodReads summary. Also, these are in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

I defiantly recommend all of these books to mostly girl middle grade readers! Next I put the books into order of my favorites (this was extremely hard to do.)

  1. Maybe A Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee
  2. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  3. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
  4. The World From Up Here by Cecilia Galante
  5. The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  6. Hour of the Bees by Lindsey Eager
  7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall by Barry Denenberg
  8. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  9. Heaven Looks A Lot Like A Mall by Wendy Mass
  10. Taking Flight by Michaela DePrince
  11. Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret
  12. Saving Sky by Diane Stanley

I hope you enjoyed this post!