Rib Mountain State Park

Okay before I start telling you about this awesome park, I first want to brag that I planned exactly the right amount of food for dinner last night. We finished off every single bit, no wasted food, no “not quite enough to save.” Now, I think towards the end the boys were having a who can eat more noodles contest…… But, still it was perfect.

So, if you’re ever in the Wasau, WI area this is a great park for climbing and exploring. Here’s their website: Rib Mountain State Park

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There’s an observation tower that I forced the boys to climb up. They appear to of inherited my fear of edges, and the whole way up is quite wide open and I kept having horrid imaginings of someone slipping and falling right through the railing. Princess was lucky enough to ride up on Daddy’s shoulders, and she thought that was the cat’s meow.

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We had so much fun climbing on rocks and all over. Sadly there really isn’t anything like this near us in Texas, or at least nothing I’d be willing to go to in 100+ degree weather right now.

So if you’re ever in the area make a point to go. Now technically it’s not a mountain, but to a 4 year old it sure is.

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Sigh, I do love big forests. That would probably be one of the few things to tempt me out of Texas.

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See the caterpillar, really it won’t hurt you.

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The only one brave enough to have the caterpillar climb on her.

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Superman spent the last half of the hike with Daddy carrying him. Princess of course spent most of the hike being carried, the privelege of being 2.

Wisconsin Cheese Factory

While I’m trying to post our outings on our trip more or less in order I figured I’d go ahead and post this one, because the other two I need to have better light and actually have a computer I feel comfortable (that means a screen larger than a postcard) being able to move between windows. I should be sleeping, but I’m not let’s face it I’m an insomniac.

Okay, we all love cheese. That is probably a big understatement, but hey I”m allowed one or two of those. So one of our planned stops in Wisconsin was the Cheese Factory in Rudolph, sadly I can’t find the website.

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If you go there head up the stairs and look down and watch as they make the cheese.

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First it goes into the big vats on the side. After it has cultured into curds and whey it is poured into these big trays.

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There it is stirred and the whey is slowly drained out. I tried to get a close-up of the stirring, but it came out all blurry.

Then it is poured into wooden boxes where the curds will be kept as it changes into cheese (I admit I do not know exactly how this is done, to some extent it seems to be just smashing it down). Sadly no picture of this because it was too far away for you to actually know what they’re doing.

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After buying insanely large amount of cheese go and eat large amounts of really good ice cream. Notice Batman feeding Superman (how do I know who’s who when they’re dressed the same? Superman has the bandaids from a bad fall) ice cream, that’s because Princess decided she’d had enough ice cream. It was too messy. HOw can you have enough ice cream?

Now the really cool part of all of this is you can get curds to try. They taste like cheese but are little blobs and as you eat them it squeaks. It’s a real interesting experience. They have pretty much every type of cheese you could ever imagine (cheese with bacon? cheese with salami…… tomato basil cheese). And about a million different types of cheddar.

Picnic Talk: Entertainment on the Go

We are currently traveling cross country, so this really is a rather appropriate question for me. Here’s what we’re doing to keep them entertained from Wisconsin to Texas:

1. I won 2 Tag readers and the collection of most of their books. The really cool part is one is a school tag reader and it can hold all the books we own! This has been the most helpful thing for us because they can do it on their own, I just have to switch the books around. We’re keeping them in a diaper box right next to my seat.
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obviously this is the wrong picture, this is a great reason not to try and do memes while traveling. I got it all wrong.

2. I got a whole slew of sticker books, stickers and other such stuff from Target and other such places over the last several months. Superman in particular loves to color and has filled up several of the books. We also learned not to let them have markers in the car. I thought they’d outgrown that particular problem, but apparently not. So, that leads to the next one.

3. Color Wonder books and markers. They are wonderful because they only color on the special paper. The downside is most of the cooler books only come as parts of sets and so you’re constantly getting more markers. I wish I could just buy the coloring books. Yes, I know you can buy pads of blank paper, but Superman wants to color pictures not draw.

4. Small toys. We got several small toys that fit in their little backpacks that work wonders for keeping them entertained. It’s also fairly amusing to us to listen to the elaborate plots they come up with.

Okay now to general waiting in line:

1. Find your ________ We play the touch game. It starts like this “Touch your nose, touch your chin. That’s the way the touch game begins.” NOw if you follow the script you go through all sorts of fun things, ending with “Touch youy elbow where it bends, and that’s the way the touch game ends.”

2. Sing the alphabet song and I will sign the letters, they’re kind of starting to do it as well.

3. Head and Shoulders, Knees, and Toes- always popular and fun to watch them try and keep up

4. Truthfully, I also just have them practice sitting still. They need lots of practice at it, and I also have them put their hands on their heads because otherwise they put their hands on their brother or sister and that starts a whole new round of problems.

Also, in general anytime we know we’re going to be going somewhere they will have to be a while I have them pack their backpacks with toys and books so we have something for them to do. THen I will pack my purse with an extra toy or two and some snacks. That and I’ve discovered an Iphone can have all sorts of fabulously wonderful things to entertain your kids. We entertained Superman for 3 hours in the ER with it, I love You Tube. YOu can find lots of old Sesame Street and other things on it.

Well, that’s my rambling list of ideas, if you want more go here. Meh, Mr. Linky is closed, so I’ll just post this for normal. But, keeping the link because that gives me a chance to find other cool ideas.

God’s Provision in the midst of a tornado

We stopped at the Welcome Center for Iowa and had a very friendly and helpful worker there warn us we were driving into a tornado storm and to listen to the radio to know what was going on. We did, and as we drove saw the sky darken to black at 2:30 in the afternoon. Soon we were driving in 50 mile winds and watching the rain fly across the road in sheets.

Each underpass we drove through had both sides of it choked up with people on both sides preparing for the coming tornado. Finally we decided to find a restaurant or somewhere we could stop for an hour or so. We did a quick search on our phones and found a place we could stop 16 miles away.

We drove slowly averaging maybe 30 miles an hour and after a long time we ran quickly into a pizza parlor. And in the 10 seconds we were outside got soaked.

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Princess and Batman crawling into their “cave”

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Superman running across the room.

Normally we don’t let them run around at restaurants, but this was a special exception, and they had lots of fun eating pizza and running around.

Once we started driving again we truly saw God’s provision. As we drove along we saw three semis overturned on the side of the road. We passed a power line that had come down. There were several emergency vehicles that were out there helping other cars. God provided a safe place for us to stay and warm up. We got a good meal and the children felt safe.

Yes Mom, we are safe and I thought you might like more details than I posted on facebook.

Union Station, Saint Louis, Missouri

One way we’re avoiding buying too many random souveniers by getting postcards. THe boys found ones of Union Station in St. Louis and so we decided to make our stop for lunch that day there.
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This is my rendition of hte postcard they found. We had a fabulous lunch eating crackers and sausage. It had been a bit of a miserable morning with Superman throwing up all morning. He was feeling better and ate like crazy of course this is after he threw up all over the car and after he threw up all over Jeff.

They had lots of fun splashing in the fountain.
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Batman and Princess splashing. It was amazing how they found the one puddle next to the fountain and splashed like crazy.
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Union Station has been transformed into a very cool mall and museum. The great thing is it’s free! We had a blast looking at the model trains.
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(Doesn’t that photo look cool?)

Then we went by the coin rides and had fun pretending to drive helicopters and such stuff.
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I’m gonna try to post a quick reply to the Summer Picnic Question next. I’m so glad to have my laptop back and access to the internet.

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

I got tagged over at Orange Juice for this, and was having fun thinking of the different 10 things I could put in. I’m going to delay post this to come out while we’re out of town, that way it doesn’t look like I’ve completely forgotten about my blog.

1. I’m left-handed and during middle school I went through a phase where I wanted to know everything about being lefthanded. Interestingly enough none of my kids seem to be left handed

2. I hate being called mama. My kids don’t call me that, the only people who do are random waiters and stuff and my Mom in front of my kids. It drives me NUTS! (this is a not so subtle hint Mom, STOP!)

3. I tend to think everyone can do what I do. So, when I run into someone who sews but can’t freehand a pattern to put a cat applique on I’m confused. I also tend to think everyone knows what I do, this can lead to confusing conversations sometimes.

4. I’m a huge Star Trek fan. Once upon a time I knew the names of all the original series episodes, and the first 5 seasons of Next Gen. For some reason I never really learned the names of the last 2 seasons or Deep Space 9 episodes, even though DS9 is my favorite series.

5. I drink water and Dr. Pepper like a fish. My husband thinks I’m 99% liquid.

6. My thumbs are double jointed

7. When I’m pregnant about the only thing I can keep down for the first trimester is salsa and chips. There’s a good chance my kids are like 70% salsa and chips, the other remaining percentage is probably breakfast shakes.

8. I don’t like Diego. The songs get stuck in my head with little provocation, and nobody randomly throws spanish words into their conversation like that. HOwever 2 if of my kids absolutely love Diego and would watch it all the time if they could.

9. I love to eat cookie dough. When we go to Papa Murphy’s I’ll get a big tub of their cookie dough and spend the next week eating it. Not a single cookie will be made.

10. I’m a weird combination of procrastinator and get things done. If I’m not doing something I”m a little antsy and distracting people. Oh, and I’m probably ADD or ADHD to some extent. Or that’s what several people have told me.

Not, who to tag…….

1. Mama Jenn
2. Cheerios Underfoot
3. Snail’s Trail

And we’re off

Like that amazingly fast herd of cats that we are. We’ve almost to Wisconsin, but here’s some pictures from our tip up.

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Everyone loaded up and playing with their TAGs.

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Supplies for the day. Each day I add a new coloring book and sheet of stickers, I also change around the books they have to read for the day. We also broke down and bought a DVD player for the car and they get to watch about an hour or two of movie. Yesterday they watched some old “Wonderful World of Disney” episodes about big cats. Those were very popular with my animal crazy kids. I love being able to check out movies from the library. The adults listened to Agatha Christie novels.

Okay, better go eat before we hit the road. I’ll try and post about the cool spot we found in Saint Louis because of a postcard the boys got.