Going with the flow

This week marksFamily the annual family weekend. In the past we’ve gone to Lanesboro, Red Wing (twice actually), Lanesboro, LaCrosse and last year we stayed at my sister’s place so we could do a dry run of camping with the nephew. This year we were all set to revisit Lanesboro until tragedy struck. Or, to be more specific, lightning. The place we were suppose to stay was struck earlier this week and will be without power this weekend. So, as we do, we’re improvising and just rolling with the punches. Instead My sister’s family will come down here and we’ll do more of a ‘stay-cation’ with a day spent in Des Moines. All that matters is that the 7 of us will be together. As an added bonus I don’t have to board Watson so he gets to stay with the family for the weekend, win-win. I’ll tell you all about the visit next week.

Until next time
~ Q

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Week Eight of Summer

CampingLast weekend ended up being quite the weekend! My family and I went to my sister’s place in Minnesota for a camping weekend. We haven’t been camping in a couple of years because the last time we went was an unmitigated disaster. Well, in some respects it was, in others it was quite fun. Part of the reason it was so terrible was that it randomly rained. However, the rain was nice enough to only rain at night. My sister and brother-in-law might disagree though. Their air mattress turned traitor in the middle of the night and deflated. The tent joined the party and leaked so that caused the two of them to wake up in water the next day. So that was a whole thing.Then we were up on the bluffs playing a board game when it rained bugs. You might think that’s hyperbole. Let me be clear. It’s not. We were under a tree and out of no where these little black gross bugs started falling. I still don’t really understand what the deal with that was, but once we heard it was suppose to rain during the second night as well we bumped up our departure from 10 am the next morning to 8 pm that evening. We were all happier for that choice.

FireworksNow you know some of the baggage we all had going into this weekend. This weekend we decided to test the waters of camping by just sleeping in tents in my sister’s back yard. It was the first time sleeping in a tent (and outside I believe) for my nephew (who is three). I am pleased to announce that from that stand point (and many others) it was a resounding success! Little squirt loves camping and all that comes with it. We slept in sleeping bags and tents. Had a fire, roasted marshmallows for smores. (He helped me and when we lit some on fire that no one would eat, he sided with me statingFire that he liked burnt marshmallows. He then proceeded, like I did, to eat the burnt ‘mallow sans smore. Best. Ally. Ever.) My sister also surprised us by having a fireworks pack at her house. I forget it’s legal to have them in Minnesota. They let me light most of them, but honestly that was to add to the show. Shenanigans all around, but I didn’t burn myself, anyone else, or the tent. Although that last one was a concern at first.

PicnicThe next day we lazed about before packing up chips and drinks and heading to a deli. After securing sandwiches we went to a park along one of Minnesota’s many lakes for a picnic. It was a delightful afternoon. After our picnic we took a quick trolly ride. Although it only lasted a few minutes we learned a lot about the history of the trolly system in the cities. Quite fun. After that we went to a play structure and while nephew climbed to his heart’s content my sister’s and I played speed dominoes. (Dominoes is a thing in my family, however I had never played with sixes and less. With that set-up the game flies.) After that we decided to rent a paddle-boat and go out on the lake. LakeI remember doing paddle-boats at summer camp and I don’t remember it being quite so difficult. Maybe it was because we were a man down. We rented a four-person boat and manned it with myself, my two sisters and my nephew. He couldn’t quite reach the pedals yet, so he got to ride completely. It might have gone better if I was more effective. I was laughing so hard it made peddling difficult. My bad.

Week 8That, in a nutshell, was my weekend. Lots of laughing, family bonding, and games. Then we got back and my mother and I attached the basement with avengence. My parents are headed out west in a couple weeks, and I challenged her (and myself) to get all the little tweaks done before she left. We had some random patching that we needed to get done before I could finish up muddying, spackling and priming. So while my parents go out west for a wedding I’ll stay home and hopefully get the walls all done. Pipe dream perhaps, but I’ll keep dreaming it. It just might work out.

Until next time
~Q

Summer Series: Intro | Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four | Week Five | Week Six | Week Seven

Daily Writings: July 15 | July 16 | July 17 | July 18 (Posted July 21) | July 19 (Posted July 22) | July 20 (Posted July 23) | July 21

Summer 2014

  1. Nap in a Hammock
  2. Have a Bonfire
  3. Play Sand Volleyball
  4. Visit an Iowa Winery
  5. Go to the Zoo
  6. Eat Sushi
  7. Go Stargazing
  8. Christmas in June
  9. Rainy Day Picnic
  10. Make a Summer Soundtrack
  11. Visit a Bed & Breakfast
  12. Ride a Carousel
  13. Go Camping
  14. Watch a Baseball Game
  15. Harry Potter Non-Stop Movie Marathon
  16. Radio Silence (no music, tv, computer or phone for 24 hours)
  17. Watch a Movie Outside
  18. Go Roller Blading
  19. Go to a Concert
  20. Go Wading
  21. Go Bowling
  22. Make Caramel Apples
  23. Meal Over a Fire
  24. Launch a Firecracker
  25. Urban Exploration
  26. Have a BBQ
  27. Make a Quilt (started)
  28. Blow Bubbles on the Porch
  29. Play Bocce Ball
  30. Go People Watching
  31. Fill the Tank & Drive
  32. Make Wind Chimes
  33. Draw a Landscape
  34. Go Berry Picking
  35. Take a Weekend Trip Alone
  36. Paint a Canvas
  37. Do Yoga
  38. Make a Meal using only Farmer’s Market Food
  39. Spend the Afternoon on a Riverbank (spent it on the lake)
  40. Watch a Sunrise
  41. Attend a Street Market
  42. Listen to Rock Music from a different country
  43. Picnic in the Park
  44. Start a Wish Tree
  45. See a Drive-In Movie
  46. Make Sangria
  47. Go for a Hike
  48. Go to a Fair
  49. Make a Banana Split
  50. Sketch Everyday
  51. Give to Others (donate old clothes to charity)

Corn mazes-a Midwest Tradition and a Sisterly Excursion

I promised this summary a few posts back and am finally getting around to it. Despite being a Heart of Iowa girl my entire life I have never been to a corn maze. Oh wait, I lie. Apparently when I type a definitive statement is the time my subconscious decides to kick out a memory. I’ve been to one before, in high school, and that time I did actually go through the maze, at night to boot. I love the idea of a corn maze and would like to go through one during the day, or at least sometime where they weren’t wanting to close so they were hurrying us through. – there was a corn maze at the wedding I was in, back in August, but it had down poured that morning and decided that would be a poor life choice.

I can say, however, that I’ve never been to a corn maze like Sever’s Corn Maze in Shakopee, Minnesota. (As a complete side note I think they are missing a HUGE opportunity with not just calling them Maizes. It sounds like the word of what it is and translates to the word that is the material. Why don’t people consult with me? Obviously I’m a genius.) We didn’t even make it to the maze itself, we got too caught up in the other attractions. What attractions? You may well ask. They had more than I’ll probably remember to write about, so I’ll stick to the ones we participated in. There was a corn pit. You heard me. Corn pit. There was this giant tent set up with hay bales lining the edges. In the middle were giant stacks of corn kernels. Something we learned there, I’d die in quick sand. The theories behind moving in corn may or may not be similar to sand but I’m certain that if I couldn’t quite grasp corn I don’t want to try the sand. My older sister Bailey, however, took to it like a fish to water. She was able to slither herself up to the top of pile while I sunk when it was only up to my knees. I know, you’re jealous.

Next up, pumpkin launches! They had 2 old launchers of some kind, that when stuffed with mini pumpkins, could hit trucks and targets. It fed some primal nature to see stuff explode, namely the tiny pumpkins. Also, it was super satisfying see them shatter against the truck. Not so much for Bailey, she asked if I could/would hit anything besides the truck. Then we headed over to the petting zoo where I neglected to read the signs and almost reached out and got my hand bit off. Luckily my sisters were looking out for me. They yelled at me before anything bad could happen and only my pride was hurt. Okay, who am I kidding, my pride has been ‘hurt’ so much it has an impenetrable layer of scar tissue to protect it. That tent was pretty fun and I even got to pet a camel and a deer, so win.

Finally, and the highlight for us, was the parakeet tent. A tent full with hundreds of birds! They had little sticks with seed on them that if you held them out the birds would go to so you could hold and pet the birds! My nephew LOVED this place. We spent the most time there and he really only hit one bird. After being reminded to be gentle he was able to pet the birds without scaring them off. I think my sisters and I reacted more violently to them coming and going then he did. He thought it was down right hilarious that the birds scared us with their swarming. I think at one point we each had an average of five birds in our hands. Insanity. Would I do it again, oh yeah.  Then before leaving we snagged a gi-normous bag of kettle corn and this sweet pic. People seem to find it hilarious that my nephew is driving, but lets be honest, it’s the easiest spot to put a twenty month old. And it’s fun having the sisters as pumpkins (or why argue over who the driver is). Okay it is funny. The rest of the weekend was quite enjoyable, complete with viewings of Bringing Up Baby, Abbot & Costello meet Frankenstein and Clue. We had more than enough popcorn for the movies. A very successful sister’s weekend.

Book Review: The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life

So I finally got to reading my advanced reader copy of The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando. I received it some time in May but my stubbornness trying to get through my summer reading list has postponed it a bit. Currently my schedule and more so 1984 have me a bit behind. Not sure what it is about that book but I have yet to get gripped by the story yet. Not the case with The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life. It was an easy and entertaining read. Perfect for a rainy day or a car ride. I didn’t have the former (far from it, it was nearly 100 today, if not actually that hot) but I did have a car ride home from my sister’s place.

Anyway (Tread carefully, Spoilers ahead) the book takes place all in one day, the weekend of senior week. Four friends are out to prove themselves against the jocks (and other social groups as well). The story it told from Mary’s point of view-and she is the one that eggs the others on to join the unofficial annual scavenger hunt. She is joined by two guy friends (Patrick and Dex) and one gal pal (Winter). They all have their battles to face, and some come to light throughout the day. Winter has to deal with feelings she has with a guy Mary has been crushing on for years. Especially when said guy actually breaks things off with his girlfriend mid-hunt and switches teams. Dez, whom all the friends know to be gay, has to deal with the bullying that the jocks constantly give him. (The king of the bullies has also gotten in to Georgetown ‘over’ Mary – or at least that’s how she sees it. The principal only gave one recommendation to the college and gave it to the bully and couldn’t pick Mary out of a line-up). Patrick comes clean about his feelings for Mary after something arose during prom the previous week. This gives Mary more than enough to consume her mind all while trying to juggle point totals and items they are suppose to be finding. Adding in her drunken little sister and a missing family heirloom you have the perfect recipe for multiple meltdowns. End spoiler section.

I hate to use mindless, but this book was an easy read – which is an underrated necessity to life. Sometimes you don’t want to read the heavy hitters (hence I’m still only like 7 chapters in to 1984 for instance). I did enjoy this book, and now that it’s on my shelf can see myself reading it again. It comes right in time though because mid-July a high school buddy and I plan to go on a random road trip (one thing to check off the bucket list!). We were thinking of all the little quirky things we could do while on this road trip and a scavenger hunt came up. I might just siphon off some of the suggestions (like a cardboard Witch Halloween decoration – the car needs a mascot). Overall an easy enjoyable entertaining (easy and entertaining are the buzz words people) read about 4 high school students who are facing saying good bye at the end of their senior year. Until next time~Q