Sunday, July 31, 2016

Miss Vera and Kolachi

Miss Vera came over to visit today.  She is not in the least bit nervous around our big old Kolachi-dog.  They got along famously-- V kept trying to share toys with the pup.  Kolachi knew very well that those were NOT dog toys, and she should not accept them, even though she dearly wanted to!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Summertime Hike

We headed out to Carpenter Nature Center today to enjoy a summertime hike.  We brought along our neighborhood friend to explore with us--
 The kids were feeling strong and adventurous, so we tackled a new trail that lead down along the St. Croix River.  It was gorgeous, and we discovered many hidden treasures along the way.

 It WAS a bit longer than any of us anticipated, but I had some amazing troopers, and they just kept hiking until we finally, finally reached the end of the loop.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

County Fair Prep- Painting Day!

It's our favorite time of year again (prep for the county fair!), and today was our big painting day.

When we were taking a break, we headed outside to survey the damage from the storm.  Our backyard is still flooded from all the rain and the kids had a blast sailing their boats.

Justin has also been hard at work in his 'workshop', sawing, hammering and gluing-- he's been working on a very special invention.  Hopefully I get to know what it is soon!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Weirdos without power

So-- we spent a day and a half with no power after a heavy summer storm.  Luckily, we only waited one evening before firing up our generator, and we didn't lose anything from the freezer or fridge!  We were also able to gerry-rig up some lines to the neighboring houses and keep their freezers going as well!  Dave set up a cell charging station in our backyard, and took the password off the wifi temporarily so that the neighbors could use it as well.  I was able to enjoy a cup of coffee and keep working on my current Beloved Buddy quilt at the kitchen table.  Yay power!  It feels good to be prepared!
While our kids weren't as 'bored' as most kids without power, I see that they found a way to entertain themselves using my digital camera.  Enjoy:

Sunday, July 24, 2016


We packed up the car and headed out the door at 8:30am to go on an Adventure Day.  The kids found out that we were going visit Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin as we pulled out of the driveway.  (I have really vivid memories of wandering amongst the brightly colored wagons as a child during an off-season visit, and wanted to visit during the on-season, when there is an actual Big Top show!)  It is about a three hour drive (plus bathroom and lunch stops) from our house, so this was a commitment.

About an hour into the trip, we had our first excitement-- Justin's second loose tooth fell out!  Having learned from our last experience, I carefully wrapped the tooth in a napkin and placed it in the ZIPPERED pouch of my wallet.  Safe!

We arrived at Circus World Museum around 1pm.  I was hoping that the recent heat wave (real feel temps in the 100-116) was over, but it was still really humid and hot out.  Luckily there is a large portion of the museum that is air conditioned.  We strategically attacked the grounds, ducking back in to the a/c whenever we got too warm.  Frog Toggs chilly Danas for the win (if you don't know what these magical bandanas are, you need to take a look!).

We caught the tail end of a calliope/chime musical show that was really cool (and they played a bunch of Disney songs since this is the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland and Walt invited a circus to be at the park on opening day).

I have a very love/hate relationship with circuses (and zoos) due to animal welfare issues.  I do have to complement Circus World Museum on the health and seeming contentment of the animals on the grounds.  It was an extemely hot day, and they made sure to let people know that they had a VERY limited time to see the animals, as they would NOT be out on display for extended periods of time.  The elephants only were out for a half hour before and after the Big Top show.  The tigers trained/performed only a 20 minute show twice a day.  We obviously weren't allowed to see the behind-the-scenes set ups for the animals, but the impression was that they were well cared for.

With the assurance that the circus animals were being well cared for, I was able to focus my attention on caring for MY troupe.  We kept the frog toggs on the kids and made sure they were treated to LOTS of cold water and some cool treats as well.

The Big Top show was really neat-- although basically like sitting in a sauna for thirty minutes!  We just kept pumping the kids full of water and they were enjoying the show, so we monitored for signs of heat exhaustion.

All our work paid off!  Both kids enjoyed the day and learning about the history of the circus (especially the Ringling Brothers who began in Baraboo and used these grounds and buildings as winter grounds).  We visited the circus wagon museum (easily my favorite part of the visit) and marveled at the gorgeous carvings and vibrantly restored colors.  It was overwhelming to imagine what it must have been like to see these spectacles roll into your town.  How exciting!

We also got a very quick lesson on stereotypes!  The "Wonders of Asia" wagon had a bunch of carvings of the peoples of Asia-- we talked about why Americans in the 1900's would have been fascinated by the idea of other cultures, and how cultural differences were sensationalized for marketing purposes.  VERY interesting to see how the representative of (obviously "British") India was portrayed!

We finished the afternoon with a quick tightrope/balance practice at the neat playground and decided to drive through the main commercial section of the Dells to show the kids what that whole side of the vacation destination is about.  They are really excited to plan a (maybe fall?) trip to go and do all the touristy 'stuff'.

Trip Advisor recommended a Mac n-Cheese restaurant that we stopped at.  While it was definitely good, I wouldn't rate it as the 'best'.  My buffalo chicken dish was basically noodles topped with buffalo chicken.  Dave had a jalapeno popper mac-n-cheese that was the same basic principle.  Good, but not worth a specific trip.

After lunch we hit a quick candy shop to grab a couple sticks of candy for the three hour ride home.  We rolled in to the driveway about 8:30pm to make a complete Adventure Day day trip of 12 hours!  Whew-----  amazing, but exhausting!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Adventure Day with Auntie Rorie!

A few years ago, one of my Mama friends told me about a really nice little deer park in Wisconsin.  I've been meaning to get there with the kids, but the timing never worked out.  Today Auntie Rorie agreed to join us on our Adventure Day, and we had a blast!  Fawn Doe Rosa is right by Taylors Falls, WI, and because it was supposed to be ridiculously HOT this day, we got up really early and headed out to beat the heat.  The deer park didn't open until 10am, so we got to spend a little bit of time at Franconia Sculpture Park, which is always a hit with the kids.

Funny story-- as we headed towards Fawn Doe Rosa, Rorie discovered that she knew this location well-- when Rorie and Chris lived in the middle of nowhere WI, the Wal-mart they would drive an HOUR to get to was right next to the deer park!  We had to talk her through some PTSD moments as we approached the park, but it was all worth it.

The deer park was really fun.  Alex was amazed that the deer would come right up to you and you could pet them.  She is definitely NOT a princess, but she said she felt like she could be one when the animals surrounded her!

Justin was fascinated by Luna, the four month old wolf pup.  The park also has a large assortment of other farm animals (to pet) and native wildlife (lynx, bobcat, mountain lion, river otter, etc) to see (not pet).  It was getting pretty warm, so we didn't stay as long as we maybe could have.  It would be a lovely afternoon in the spring or fall!
Justin was convinced that this guy would have followed him right into the minivan.  I'm pretty sure he was correct.  

We hit our favorite Drive Inn grill on the way out of town and enjoyed yummy food in the comfort of our own minivan air conditioning.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Baseball Camp

Since we homeschool, we take full advantage of the community education parks and rec programming in the summer to explore all kinds of fun new sports.  Like baseball!  Justin was adamant that he play this summer, and after this week-long camp, he is hooked!  We even signed him up for a 'little league' preview camp later in August.

Justin and Coach Bobby

warming up

the last day of class, Auntie Rorie came to watch.  Justin took some time to explain the rules of baseball to her... :-)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Crazy Cat Lady home....

Because the puppy (ahem...three year old) is SO over-enthusiastic with the greeting of kittens, Dave agreed that we needed to do something about it.  My solution was to build a cat-walk.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said 'no'.  The next day he acquiesced and we tackled our newest 'home improvement' project.  Lol!  I love it, and so do our three feline family members--
bringing supplies home--

Starting shelf installation-

 What you can't see from these photos is that there is now a hole in the wall (approximately where Percy is in the picture above) that leads to an access point in the main stairwell.  The kitties can come and go as they please without setting a paw on the floor......
 The kittens enjoy their new vantage and napping points on top of the entertainment center!