Monday, January 27, 2014

East Troy Electric Railroad

aDSC_5131We’d been wanting to ride the East Troy Electric Railroad for a couple years. At Christmastime you can ride it with Santa and it sounded like such a fun and festive activity to do with the kids. So we went. It was absolutely freezing that day. I don’t even remember the temp, but it had to be near zero or below. Tickets are sold on a first-come first-served basis so we got there early to make sure we got some. We waited in the “heated” train station, although if the inside of your station windows look like this, I’m not sure “heated” is the right terminology. aDSC_5147

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So after waiting 15 minutes or so and being sufficiently numb, we finally boarded the train .

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The train rides from the East Troy station to The Elegant Farmer, and on the way we were in one car with a man who led us in singing some Christmas carols. He was friendly and made corny jokes we had a good time singing and checking out the landscape. At The Elegant Farmer we switched cars, which process made us stand outside in the freezing cold for 5 minutes while the other car moved to the front car. We finally board the back train car which held Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Nobody was really sure what we were supposed to do, some were sitting, some were going up to see Santa, so we decided to go up and see him too. I’m lucky I got this picture of him smiling, because it was about the only time he did.    aDSC_5159 I’ve never met a more abrupt, crotchedy Santa than this guy. Didn’t engage with the kids or really talk to them at all. They sat on his lap, he dumped them off, and Mrs. Claus threw some cheap plastic toys that never made it into the house. After all the kids had seen him, he proceeded to stand in the middle of the car and read a couple Christmas books. You couldn’t hear him and he was the worst narrator. Whey they didn’t have the kids sit in front of him while he read is beyond me. And then we were back at the station and that was it.

It was still a fun family Christmas outing, but I need to find a better Polar Express experience. One of those things where you’re glad you did it, but you won’t do it again. aIMG_2518 Freezing on the train. Still.aIMG_2522

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thanksgiving!

For Thanksgiving we headed to Minnesota to stay with Daneise and her family. Derrick’s mom, sister and brother-in-law, and brother were also able to make it out so we had ourselves a mini reunion! It was a blast. We had great food, played lots of games, watched lots of movies, and just had a great time. One night, after my kids were in bed, the adults played a game of hide and seek. It was hilarious and so much fun. If you haven’t played hide and seek as an adult lately, I highly recommend it. Totally fun.

Making Oreo place settings.aDSC_4933 aDSC_4939 aDSC_4943 Is this not the most beautiful bird??aDSC_4950 aDSC_4955 aDSC_4960 aDSC_4963 aDSC_4969 ADSC_4972

Of course Grandma brought her props for a little Thanksgiving program for the littles.

aDSC_4979  aDSC_4985 aDSC_4997 aDSC_5003 Daniel was washing dishes, so naturally I had to document this extremely rare occurrence.

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The girls helping Grandma make roll ups for breakfast one morning.

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It was a great time, and I’m so glad we only live 4 hours away! We are going to love having family so close!

Monday, November 11, 2013

BYU comes to Wisco!

It feels like forever ago that it was announced that BYU was playing the University of Wisconsin. It was a no-brainer that we would go. Flight itineraries started trickling in and before I knew it I had 5 dudes staying at our house! Ryan, David, Casey, Scott, and Joe all made the trek to see the cougars take on the badgers. (I apologize in advance for the picture quality…all taken on my phone.)

We started out trying the new Sprecher restaurant, which was pretty good. Is there anything better for a man than eating good food with your buddies while drinking the best root beer ever and comparing twitter feeds? I don’t think so.

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Dinner was Sobelman’s, which never, ever fails to deliver. Amazing burgers. Amazing.  aIMG_1950

I convinced everyone we needed to go to Leon’s for custard. Nobody complained.

Game Day! We had a full vanload of 8, me being the only girl. (We decided to leave the kids home. And I’m glad we did…it was freezing, we did a ton of walking, and it would have been miserable with them.) We headed to Madison and parked near the Capitol and the farmer’s market. We devoured two loaves of Stella’s spicy cheese bread then chased it down with some fudge from Kilwin’s. We walked down State St. to campus and some grabbed a bite to eat at the Terrace. Then we made our way to the stadium.

aIMG_1959The thing I love about going to BYU games is you always seem to run into people from all over. This trip was no different, and we saw Skyler! 

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I spotted Bucky, who I have been trying to bag FOREVER, and ran up to get a picture, only to be DENIED!!! Pretty much just shoved me off!! Rude!! You can see my hands behind him. I was devastated. Truly.  aIMG_1964 Not that I don’t see her at least weekly, but a picture with the lovely Jessica. aIMG_1966

We had seats with Derrick’s sister, Daneise, and her family. It was fun to sit by her and chat and still more awesome to know that we have family close enough to meet in Madison!!! So fun.  aIMG_1967 aIMG_1968aphotoThe typical “full-figured” Wisconsin native—taking up two seats. aIMG_1974 aIMG_1986 aIMG_1987We were starving after the game so after much deliberation about where to eat, where people missed eating the most, what was new, etc, we somehow settled on hibachi. Random. But delicious and fun!aIMG_1999I was so sad when everyone had to leave. It was such a fun weekend, and I’m so glad we have such awesome and easy-going friends that get along with everyone, since we were kind of a mixed bag of friends. It’s just a testament to them and how fun and friendly they are. And like it was discussed this past weekend, sports, especially BYU, can unite just about anyone! And even though we lost, it was a fabulous weekend.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Festive and fun fall frolicking

When we got back to Wisconsin the leaves were already past peak colors and it was chilly and I feel like we totally missed the arrival of fall. But we didn’t waste any time making the most of what is left of it!

I thought I’d throw a small Halloween party for the kids. Little did I know the day I held it all the kids had the day off school. So we had 25 kids! But it was great, and although it was chaos, it was mostly organized chaos. My favorite part was the donut on a string game. Hilarious. We also played a game and Laura did an adorable Frankenstein paper plate craft. It was a fun day. aDSC_4637 aDSC_4656 aDSC_4661 We had to hit up a pumpkin patch, of course, so we went to Jim’s Pumpkin Patch up in Germantown, super close and cheap and cute. We took a hay ride out to the patch and the girls chose their pumpkins. We had a great time…always so fun to make those traditional memories, although the only thing I standing out in my memory was how windy it was and how frozen my fingers were even though I was wearing gloves. aDSC_4678aDSC_4690 aDSC_4696 aDSC_4700 aDSC_4708 aDSC_4723 aDSC_4724 aDSC_4727 aDSC_4754

The girls had a great time carving pumpkins and pulling out the pumpkin brains. The looked forward to lighting them every night.  IMG_1676

I’m a room parent for Summer’s class and was in charge of helping with the class pumpkin party. Can’t call it a Halloween party, because not everyone celebrates Halloween. However, you could wear costumes to school that day, and everyone in her class did. LAME. All our activities and crafts had to be pumpkin based. LAME LAME LAME. But it was fun and the kids had a great time and I had fun meeting all of the kids I hear about from Summer. They are cute kids. And Summer ran to me and gave me a huge hug when she saw me, which I loved. I know those kinds of greetings won’t last forever!IMG_1791

And what may possibly be the last family costume for us, I present to you S’MORES! You can’t really tell what Tessa is, but she’s the fire, and I loved her little onesie I made out of felt. Too bad you can’t see it better. I made Summer’s costume out of a brown pillowcase, downloaded a Hershey’s font and cut out a stencil on my Cricut, then used my overhead projector that I scored at Goodwill for $10 last month to project it onto the pillowcase which I taped to the wall then painted it with acrylic paint. Got that? Then I just hot glued some silver fabric to the top and bottom.  Hannah’s is just two dec pillow inserts pinned together. Watching her walk around just made me laugh. I thought it turned out really cute. I’ve gotten so many comments about how clever and creative I am, and while I’d like to accept those compliments, I really can’t. I’m an excellent copier, that’s it. I found the idea online and just replicated it. Just like practically ever other “idea” I’ve ever had… aaDSC_4877

…like this one! The costumes I made for Derrick’s work Halloween party. We are Google Maps! Again, saw it online and copied it. I really, really, really wish I could come up with amazing ideas on my own.  Every once in awhile I do. But I can’t even think of one right now so that just shows you how often I DON’T.IMG_1643I love Halloween! I love seeing kids in cute costumes and adults in clever and funny ones. I love that it’s the kick off for the rest of the holiday season. It’s just a great time of year. And a great time to swipe all the Reese’s from my kids’ candy buckets. :)