Best Gift Ever

This post by Jennifer Flaten

For my Mother’s Day gift we took a road trip to the Anderson Japanese Gardens. My kids love taking road trips, mostly because of the snacks. We always get snacks from the gas station to start our trip. It doesn’t matter if we leave at 8a or 10a, we always start our trip with a snack.

When the kids were smaller our road trips we’d play CDs. We would all sing along to great tunes like My Horse Sent Me an Email, from Brent Holmes Horse Tunes CD (in fact, we have all the Brent Holmes CDs Bear Tunes, Cow Tunes & Moose Tunes).

Now that the kids are older they are listening to music or a audio book, so it is a bit quieter on our road trips, which is both good and bad.

At the gardens we enjoyed the beautiful grounds.







It is an amazing place, with a lush plants, quiet spots and a  Japanese style guest house and  tea house, but I bet if you ask my kids what they remember most the answer would be the fish ponds.

The grounds have several small ponds filled with Koi that you can feed.






The minute you toss a food pellet in fish appear as if by magic. Soon one fish turns into 10 fish and even a goose or two. The fish were so friendly you could reach in an touch them…which I did much to the delight of the kids.

We also saw frogs and tried to find the elusive turtles purported to be in the ponds.

To quote my daughter “I thought it would be OK, but after seeing the flowers and the FISH…it was AMAZING”.






As a parent that is what you want to hear, that your kids kept an open mind, tried something and ended up loving it. All the memories we made are the best gift EVER.

We ended our visit with a trip to the gift shop, naturally. Where  we bought an assortment of snacks for the ride home.

Browse my jewelry on Etsy or visit my website Dragon and Butterfly Design





11 thoughts on “Best Gift Ever

  1. That sounds like a beautiful place! I love a quiet contemplative place like that. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!


  2. Your post reminded me of childhood road trips, especially the ones from Southern California to Ohio. Memories that pop into my head — driving through the California Mohave Desert near Barstow at night and seeing a shooting star, drinking a grape drink purchased from a gas station vending machine, seeing the St. Louis Arch halfway finished.


  3. An open mind is one of the greatest techniques you can encourage in your kids, Jennifer! Appreciation can be of many things. 🙂


  4. Glad you had a delightful and beautiful Mother’s Day! I “road-tripped” with my parents (and to my parents’!) Mother’s Day weekend, too, and you are so right: the memories are the best gift! Thanks for sharing yours with us!


  5. Loved the post Jennifer. The gardens look lovely and I’ll bet you all enjoyed the trip. When we were kids and traveling our biggest thing was stopping for gas. Dad would always come back to the car with a candy bar and soda for each of us. It was a big deal because we hardly ever got soda!


  6. For my husband’s birthday we try to give him a day trip somewhere with us. We’ve done many things that would not be first my daughter’s or my list of fun things to do but part of the gift is doing what he wants to do with a joyful heart. We’ve had many great experiences and we treasure those memories. Happy Mother’s Day to you.


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