Friday, July 29, 2011

Vacation 2011 Part 2

Todd and I planned a few little trips around Iowa for part of our vacation.  The weather just did not cooperate for us to go to Dyersville and see The Field of Dreams.  We will have to do this another time, maybe during the fall when it is not as hot nor as wet.  We wanted to go to the Amana Colonies.  I suggested that we take Kera and Taj.  Kera has hardly done anything since she has had Taj and I thought since she could not make it to Chicago it would be nice to take her.  Todd loved the idea and so did Kera.  We originally planned on leaving in the morning but as life is, things got into the way and we did not leave until noon.  We spent the afternoon there but did not see nearly all the shops in one colony.

The Amana Colonies are seven colonies, Amana, East Amana, West Amana, South Amana, High Amana, Middle Amana, and Homestead.  It is a National Historic Landmark and one of America's longest-lived communal society.  The group of people came from Germany to America in 1714 due to religion.  A group settled here in Iowa in 1855.  Amana came from the Song of Solomon 4:8 meaning to "remain true".  This community works hard and are known for the wood working, farming, and communal life style.  Do not confuse them with Amish people who settled around the same time here in Iowa.  The people in the Amana Colonies live a contemporary lifestyle.  They do not use the horse drawn buggies.  They do however live a communal life like one another and both groups come from Germany.  They also dress somewhat like one another.

Todd and I plan to go back in a couple of months and see more, who knows maybe see parts of the other six colonies as well.  Today we tasted several different wines and ended up purchasing some.  Todd tasted several different cheeses.  I found some great ideas for Christmas gifts for some of the kids.  I also found some great ideas for crafts. I love the old architecture and the feel of being back in time. 

One of my favorite shops we visited today.
I love the look of the store as well.

I love windmills.  Windmills and Lighthouses are one of my passions.  This is one of the original buildings  The Windmill house was established in 1880.  The original use of this building is unknown.

An idea I have for Kera.  She fell in love with this wine glass.  I am going to attempt to paint a set for her birthday.
I fell in love with this stain glass.  I am in hopes when we go back that Todd will get it for me for Christmas or a birthday gift. 
I loved the spinning wheel in this shop.
I picked up some fudge for the boys.  Okay for Todd, Kera, and myself as well.
 I had read a blog about someone buying this huge metal chicken for $200 dollars to make her husband mad.  I was laughing so hard that Todd wanted to know what I was reading, so I shared the blog with him.  We laughed today when we saw this in the yard.
I loved this antique toy store.  The tricycle on the fence post was simply beautiful.
Two of the bottle of wines we purchased.  Rhubarb Wine and Red Raspberry Wine.
This is one of the two boxes of fudge I purchased.  Four were peanut butter chocolate, One Chocolate Mint, One Raspberry Chocolate, and one Sugar Free Chocolate.

It was a nice afternoon.  I enjoyed the Amana Colony and time with Kera and Taj.  Taj was such a good baby and I think Kera loved hearing people say how cute and tiny he was.  Every where we went they asked how old he was.  I can not believe he is nearly 8 weeks but to many he looks like a newborn.  He is now 8 pounds, close to a regular newborns birth weight.  He has doubled his weight since birth.
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Friday Confessional


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It's that time of week for Friday Confessional. Please join Mamarazzi  for confession!

I confess...

I can not wait for our garden to be complete. I am hoping we have a successful garden this year and very bountiful.

I confess...

Last year's sucked big time.  We already know the corn is going to suck again.  We planted it late and it became too hot.  The growth has been stunted like last year, however last year was because of too much rain.  Our zucchini's are not working because of the squash bore again.

I confess...

I am hoping we will have a good crop of cucumbers although we found many horrible cucumber beetles.  They have killed our entire plants the last two years.  I need to seriously find something to get rid of them that we don't have to spray on the plants.

I confess...

The Farmer's Market makes me anxious for our crops as well as the fear of pest ruining them.  The tomatoes so far look great.

I confess...

I am also anxious to freeze and can our veggies.  I can not wait to see how much food we get.  Last year we ended up with nothing to freeze or can.  It was a very disappointing Summer for our garden.

I confess...

I am also anxious for the growing season to be done because I want to get back to painting the inside of our house.  I have so many ideas floating in my head and I can not wait for them to come to live in my real world.

I know...this maybe a boring confession for some but typically I love Summer...this time, I'm anxious for the gardening to end.  Shhh... just do not let my husband know this.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacation 2011 Part 1

Todd and I typically take two weeks off for Summer Vacation, the last week in July and the first part of August.  This year we did not plan a huge vacation but chose to have a few little ones.  The first four days I was sick.  What a way to start vacation, however I was not going to let this ruin our trip to Chicago.  Everyone was able to come but Kera and Taj.  Taj was too little to be outdoors for two days.

The first day we planned to take a pirate cruise on Lake Michigan at the Navy Pier.
Photo from 2011 SVU Annual Conference blog for Chicago

I was so excited for this.  I thought the boys would love this.  I know I loved going on a cruise on Lake Michigan but I thought the pirate theme would interest them as well as Todd and I.  I think even Emily would have enjoyed it.  They were going to tell us about real pirates on Lake Michigan back in the day.  After our cruise we were going to take the kids through out Navy Pier.  They have never been there before.  Both Todd and I love the pier.  I found a cool museum that was free of charge where we can go in and see several stain glass windows.  I love anything dealing with art.  Matthew took a class in high school making stain glass and Ethan will be taking it this Fall.  I thought they would enjoy it as well.
 BUT
It rained the entire way to Chicago.  There was an awesome lightening show.  No way was any ship going to sail in a storm like this.  We drove around maybe 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do.  I can not believe we had no back up plans in case of rain.  I did not think of anything maybe because day one was what I really wanted to do.  Who knows if our next family vacation I will have all four boys with us.  This is the first one that Matthew went with us since 2007 when we went to Chicago then.  We came up with a couple of ideas and let the kids chose.  It was going to be either the Chicago's Natural History Museum or Shedd Aquarium.  The aquarium won unanimous.  Now we had plans for day one.  The feature was Jelly Fish.  They had several types on display.  We saw everything they aquarium had to offer including two shows.









Ethan in a child's penguin costume
 Todd pretending he is deep sea diving with dolphins







We ended up being there nearly five hours.  Then off to our hotel for the night.

Day 2 ~ The Great America Six Flags.  Plans were to let the kids pair off and do what they wanted while Todd and I relaxed in the water park.  Ten days prior to vacation, Joshua thought it would be cool to get a tattoo so he could not do anything in the water park.  Matthew and Noah hung out mostly together and joined us once in awhile, especially towards the end of the day at the water park side.  Ethan hung out with Matthew and Noah for the water rides and then Joshua and Emily for the amusement park rides.  I thought that I would take pictures after the water park closed.  I wanted to get some pictures of the kids on the rides as well as the night show they have...parade of lights.  We rented a locker for the day on the water side and the water park closes at 7 pm so we thought that we would go get our belongings around 6 pm to avoid the rush of people.

It was during this time, our enjoyment ended.  When Todd went to the locker his wallet was missing.  His entire wallet.  No driver's license, no credit card, no debit card, everything he had in his wallet missing.  Unfortunately he had a large amount of cash in it as well.  It literally made me sick.  Thankfully I had just received my new debit card the day prior to us leaving or I am not sure how we would have made it home.  We definitely needed gas to get home.  Todd filled out all the necessary paper work and then we met up with the three in the amusement park and left for home.  No parade of lights again this time.  I have been to this park three times now and have missed it every time.  No pictures at all for day 2 in the Chicago area.  We arrived home about 1 am.

Thus the end of week one of our vacation.
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Frozen Drink Pouch Review

We wanted to try something new for a summer drink.
When we are on vacation we like to have a summer alcohol drink.
Typically it is Mud Slider or Pin`a Colada.
My favorite is Todd's recipe for Pin`a Colada.
I will have to share it some time.
In the store they have these packets of Margarita or Daiquiri Mix.
We thought why not.
I also thought that I would do a little review of them as well.
Todd chose the Daily's Pomegranate Margarita.
I had the Cordina's Strawberry Daiquiri
You have to freeze them for up to 8 hours.
We stuck both containers in the freezer for nearly 20 hours.
The mix was too frozen to drink, so we had to sit them out for 30 minutes to thaw.
(But that was our fault because it was in our deep freezer not the refrigerator freezer. 
It was nearly frozen solid.  Again, our fault.)

Daily's Pomegranate Margarita was easy to pour out of the pouch.
Simply just open and squeeze the mix out into your glass.
The color was beautiful and not watered down looking.
The taste was outstanding!
Sweet yet not too sweet.
I would definitely recommend this to others to drink.
Simple too, just freeze and then pour into your glass.
All the alcohol was added in the pouch.
Very simple.

Cordina's Strawberry Daiquiri although it had an easy open top
the drink mix would not pour out of the pouch.
I had to cut the top off just to get the drink out.
The color was a barely a light pink color.  
This is not the color I remember Strawberry Daiquiri
when you order with a bartender making it.
This drink reminded me more of a frozen wine then a daiquiri.
Although the drink was good, 
If one was looking for a daiquiri one would be disappointed with this drink,
For a frozen daiquiri drink, I would not recommend this one.

This review was done without any company asking, 
and I am not being paid for the remarks.
All opinions stated within are of my own.
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Summer Time Drink

I have two new teas this Summer. 
Here is one of them.
Raspberry Tea

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Farmer's Market Find

Farmer's Market
I love the Farmer's Market
The fresh vegetables and fruit.
I have a horrible feeling any zucchini we have this year 
will be from the Farmer's Market.  
Our two beautiful plants have not produced anything yet.
The base of the plants are showing symptoms
of a squash bore has made home.
This will kill the plants.

The Farmer's Market has delicious foods.  
We have several Mennonites and Amish people that come to our Farmer's Market.
Amish bread.  Amish baked pies.  
The Farmer's Market also has wonderful crafts.
Once in awhile I will be inspired by the crafts.
Others I have fallen in love with some but never bought anything.
I plan to paint some light fixture plates and outlet plates
...idea from the Farmer's Market.
I fell in love with a humming bird feeder.
I think I can make it. 
I have to look at it again.
I also fell in love with this bird feeder.
It is made of recycled things.
Old dishes.
Old bowls.
Mason Jars.
and a tin feeder.
I thought...hmmm I can make this!  
Simple Epoxy glue the old bowls to one another.
Then I looked again.  
I do not have a drill that will cut glass.
They have a screw holding them in place as well as the glue.
Again... I rarely spend money on things that I want.
But this past Saturday I spent it.
There was no way I was going to be able to make it.
Don't you just love it?
Simple but BEAUTIFUL!!
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My Gift

I have always wanted a curio cabinet.  
I have been watching Craig's List now for 3 years.
I typically do not spend money on myself.
Well just necessities.
I rarely purchase something because it is something I have been wanting.
This is why it took me nearly 3 years to find one.
I did not want to spend too much money on it.
I found this little beauty about 2 weeks ago.
I showed it to my husband.
We called and it was still there.  
So we went down and picked it up.
I can not tell you how surprised I was when Todd ended up paying for it.
It is my anniversary gift.
I love the detailing. 


Now all I have to do is go and pick up a new wallet for him.
I know how lame, I get a wonderful gift.
All he tells me that he wants is a new wallet since his was stolen the day before our anniversary.
I think I definitely got the better end of the deal this year.  
Last year he did...a new hammock. 
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Wordless Wednesday










Jelly Fish at the Shedd Aquarium ~ Chicago, IL

This has been linked to 5 Minutes for Mom and Marni's Organized Mess

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