Sunday, August 31 0 comments

Oak Creek Lions Fest

Cotton Candy covered tongues!
Yesterday we took our granddaughters to the Oak Creek Lions Fest which is a carnival that has been held over the Labor Day weekend since I was a kid (probably even longer) over at the local legion post. During the 4-day event, Saturday between 11 am and 3:30 was designated for children's events so it was a perfect time to take them to their first carnival. When I checked the weather report, there was 0% precipitation between 11 am and 1 pm but after that the chance of rain went up to 75%. So we were going to get there at 11 and hope for the best.

As we headed to the car, it started rain hard. So while it poured, we debated whether we were going to grab some umbrellas or scrap the whole idea of going.  By the time we grabbed the umbrellas the rain stopped.  It was a short but hard rain that left very large puddles on the road.  Since the children's events were being held in a large dance hall, we weren't terribly worried about the weather, however, the girls' chances of going on the carnival rides were pretty slim.

The ride to the legion post is about 5 minutes. It's about 4 miles away. When we got there, we pulled right up into one of the available disabled parking spaces. We were a little surprised that there weren't many people there but we decided they must have stayed away because of the rain.  We ordered some beverages and the server told us it never rained! So the rides are going and no one will get wet. Yay!

The first thing we saw were horses.  There were two and the girls were tickled to go and pet them. That is until they saw all the trailers selling popcorn and cotton candy and games with all the stuffed animals to win.  It was toddler eye candy. We gently guided them into the dance hall where all the activities were going on.  Chloe instantly wanted to get a balloon animal made for her.  As we waited in line, I also took a number for her to get her face painted.  Avery is too little to care about these things so her mother took her over to a 'fish pond' (a kiddie pool full of water) that had about 50 little rubber ducks floating in it.  Each one had a prize value on it and each kid could pull some out of the water for a prize.

Avery had fun with this while she waited for her sister.  The balloon wielding clown was making Chloe a Twilight Sparkle balloon animal fashioned after her favorite My Little Pony character.  It took him a very long time.  After making the purple pony, he added pink wings and a dark purple mane to complete the look. It was impressive. He even took a photo of it for his portfolio.

After that was completed Chloe headed over to the 'fish pond' by her sister. There she proceeded to win her choice of not one, but two of the top prizes available.  She took home a giant stuffed Care Bear and a stuffed Husky dog and a blow-up sword and some other little trinkets. It was the mother lode!

Chloe's number was called and we went over to the face painting table and when she sat down, all of a sudden she changed her mind.  That was surprising because she loves having her face painted.  The artist-clown doing the face painting talked her into a arm tattoo with the characters from Frozen. She was thrilled by the time it was done.

We ordered the girls some chicken tenders and french fries so they could eat before we headed outside to the rides.  They ate while attending a puppet show. The puppet show had a penguin character so Avery chose a penguin  for her balloon animal. So the very talented clown made here a penguin balloon animal that was incredible.

By then it was 1 pm and surprisingly, it wasn't raining. It looked absolutely sunny so our risk was paying off, no rain! We took the girls on the merry-go-round first. They loved it. So we took them on the little cars next, they were faster than the merry-go-round and they still loved it.  So we headed to the little roller coaster shaped like an alligator. Chloe was so excited, she couldn't wait.  I don't think Avery knew what she was getting into, she was just happy to follow her sister. So off they went, Chloe was grinning ear to ear, Avery didn't look so excited. I don't think it helped that Avery was getting tired.  Once the ride was over, Avery was done with them, she didn't want to go on any more. Chloe didn't care. She was going again without her sister, she liked it that much.

After that, I took Chloe on the ferris wheel. I figured it was something I could do without injuring myself and Chloe would get the thrill of being way up high.  When we got to the top I put my arms up in the air and yelled 'weeeee'! Chloe asked me to hang on to her, she was a little nervous.  After the first time around she relaxed and said I could let go of her. She commented on how pretty the view was. Of course she was repeating what I had said on our last time around. By the fourth time around Chloe was holding up her arms yelling 'weeeee'!  That's my girl!

Chloe just loved the rides and I was glad for that. It was her first time and it was wonderful.  After the rides we sat and listened to a band called SuperFly.  Jeff's co-worker, Carlos is in the band and Carlos was thrilled to see him.  We stayed until the girls fell asleep then we left.  By then it was after 5. Here we thought we would be at the carnival for just an hour or two and get out before the rain came. Some of the best days are the ones that surprise you.
Saturday, August 23 0 comments

Taste of Egypt

There's a beautiful church two blocks from our house and when we drive by it my granddaughter, Chloe calls it the big green castle. Yes, it has a green roof and it is large enough for a child to think that it really is a castle.  We would always correct her and tell her no, it's a church. But she continued to call it a castle.  Sometimes she would say "Let's go there." And we would again tell her, no, it's not a castle, it's a church.  In fact it is called St, Mary & St, Antonious Coptic Orthodox Church.

Taste of EgyptWith the church's celebration, the Taste of Egypt coming up we decided it was the perfect opportunity to get a tour of the beautiful building and show Chloe that it really wasn't a castle, just a church.  Little did we know how much we would learn. According to the scripture, the only country Jesus traveled to was Egypt. The journey was chronicled in books and the Egyptians celebrate Jesus' time in country throughout their church. It is a beautiful account of history.

St Mary & St Antonious Coptic Orthodox ChurchAfter our tour of the building, we experienced the food. Jeff had something called schwarma which had lamb and beef with a relish-like condiment on it that he said was so delicious. He wants to come back tomorrow for more! It is that good. The people running the event were so very friendly and inviting that it wouldn't surprise me if he did come back tomorrow.

Of course the girls saw the tents full of the children's activities and Chloe instantly wanted her face painted.  So we did that right away. They had a bouncy house set up and the girls spent the afternoon jumping while we watched.

St Mary & St Antonious Coptic Orthodox ChurchIt was a beautiful day to sit and relax and meet new people.


Friday, August 15 0 comments

Milwaukee Irish Fest

Milwaukee Irish Fest
We volunteer at Irish Fest every year. Over the years we have come to know that some things are constants.  The people here drink lots of beer. The people here are very friendly and they are still friendly even when you run out of beer. And I've never met an unhappy Irishman. Unless you run out of beer for more than 15 minutes.

We work at the Miller bar, usually bar number 4 or 5. We get to drink beer while we serve beer. It's the best volunteer job ever.

Another constant is that we will run into Bob Donovan sometime during our 4 hour shift.  We see him every year and he is a very nice man.  He is one of those politicians who likes to shake up the system.  I don't always follow the news and what he is up to but I do know that he is an alderman who is loved by his constituents. So I always thank him for his service to the community when he comes to our bar.  This year is a little different for him because he is running for mayor. So I couldn't wait to get a photo with him...he might be more famous some day than he already is.
Saturday, August 2 0 comments

Madison Farmers' Market

We took Chloe to the Dane County Farmers' Market in Madison today.  It was a gorgeous day and we thought we would head out early to beat the rush.  That didn't work very well, we got there later than expected and it was so crowded that it was making Chloe crabby. She was in a stroller and couldn't see anything because of all the people.  We rushed through the market when we came across a magic show on State Street.  So we got her some chocolate milk and sat on the curb to watch the magic show. Chloe saw some kids with balloon animals and she wanted one. Luckily, the balloon animals were being made right next to the magic show... there would be no need to wind our way back through the crowd.  She asked for a pink giraffe and the street artist made it just as she wanted. Her crabbiness lifted and she was back to her happy self.  Even though we were only gone for about 4 hours, it felt like a long and eventful day. Now we know that this farmers' market is probably not the best place for her.
Friday, August 1 0 comments

Jelly Belly Factory Tour

My granddaughter, Chloe loves to spend time with me. I am thrilled that she does.  I kept her overnight last night and in the morning I googled things to do with kids and came up with a website that had photos of about 10 things to do that small children like.  I showed here the photo and asked her if she would like to do any of those things in the pictures. She immediately pointed to the Jelly Belly train and said "I want to ride that train." OK, then we will go!

The Jelly Belly factory is in Kenosha which is about 25 minutes away.  We had some breakfast, got dressed and we were ready to go. The only problem was that the factory opens at 9 and it was before 8. It's hard to explain that to a 4-year old. So I distracted her by getting her to help me clean out my car before we left.  She was into it so the distraction worked. We got to the factory 5 minutes before it opened.  There were already two families ahead of us. That made me feel less silly about showing up for jelly beans at 9 am.

The tour was a simple ride on a cute little train that made stops along the outer walls of the factory warehouse where they played videos of the jelly bean making operation and told stories of the history of the jelly beans. We were not going to see any actual making of the jelly beans here, just towering shelves loaded with boxes of jelly beans. Chloe didn't care. She is too young to pay that close attention and she was getting a train ride. That was all that mattered.

After the tour, we were escorted through the jelly belly candy store. It was a child's heaven. The displays were beautiful and bright and Chloe didn't know where to start.  She picked out a lunch box, a stuffed jelly belly character, a bag of Disney Princess sparkling jelly beans, some orange slices, and a bag of jelly beans for her sister.  She also got a jelly belly paper hat and a sample bag of jelly beans just for taking the tour. It was a fun day for a four-year old.
Thursday, July 10 0 comments

Garden Harvest

First garden kaleYesterday Bailee picked our first red cherry tomato from the garden. It never occurred to me to look for tomatoes that are ready, it seems a bit early for that.  When she picked it she mentioned that there were many more that were close to red and almost ready.
I thought I should pay a bit more attention to my garden! I checked all the plants and discovered that there were two peppers that were so large on a single plant that the weight of the peppers was pulling the plant over.  So I picked the larger one, leaving the other one to grow some more.

I also picked some kale and dill that was ready for harvest.  I washed the kale off, making it look a little limp in the photo but I'm sure it will perk back up when it's dry.

I am so excited to start picking vegetables!

 
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