Tuesday, July 17, 2018

First Weekend In July


The weekends I love best are the weekends we are out and about enjoying our wonderful city and surrounding communities. This was one of those weekends (as are most of our weekends in summertime). Naturally, we went to a couple of our favorite places, while I tried one new local establishment. I love supporting local businesses. I love it even more when I can give an excellent review of them. We didn't have much time to rest, as we chose to spend our weekend with family (and it was so worth it!).

Saturday morning the oldest mini had a play date and Hubs had to work. This left plenty of time for the two youngest minis and myself to have a coffee date at Caribou before heading to the Des Moines Children's Museum to volunteer for a few hours. 

They insist on taking their shoes off at the Museum when it isn't crowded. 

We met Hubs for a late lunch after picking up the oldest mini from his friend's house. We had a much needed drink and our favorite go-to Mexican food.

I had just enough time to rest before going out for the night. I was minding my own business on the couch when Hubs plopped down next to me. This prompted Elizabeth to come over and check out "a white string in dad's beard." Spoiler: not a white string or a cat hair (as was guessed by the middle mini Harrison), but a white hair. She still kept trying to pull it out.

Winterset Cidery has been on my 'must try list' since it opened last season. I was never sure if it was family friendly, so I was waiting for a free night to go. My sister and I had a sister night and indulged in all of the ciders, food truck goodies, and music that featured fireworks at the end. We had a great night! 

There was nothing that I didn't like about this place: the ciders were great (sweet, but all natural, as no extra sugars are added), the food hit the spot, there was plenty of sitting area and room to move around, free popcorn, AND it was completely family friendly. If you ever have a Saturday night free, head to Music at the Cidery. If it's nice outdoors, the music will be outdoors, so be sure to pack a blanket and/or lawn chairs and yard games for the kids to keep them busy. I noticed a few people even packed a mini-cooler for their kids to have snacks and their own drinks all evening. I love the country, family friendly feel of this place.

Up In Smoke food truck was at the Cidery for the first couple of hours. Being a BBQ food truck, there wasn't much available as far as vegetarian food was concerned. However, I happily ate fries and cheesy potatoes and even tried a few bites of the pulled pork nachos (I mostly ate the beans with my bites). I can recommend all of it. So yummy!

My sister and I opted to do flights of ciders so we could try them all.

While it wasn't a late night, those flights of cider got to me. We woke up early for a family fun day with cousins and aunts at Adventureland. I chugged coconut water and a Coke to help with my head and stomach. After eating a hamburger for the first time in over a year, I felt much better (until the next day when it hit my vegetarian stomach hard) and was ready to go for our long day at The Land (a nickname my 10 year old gave Adventureland).

One of my nephews has quite a few food allergies (as does my oldest). I was thrilled to see this shop, but even more thrilled as to how fabulous the grille was in Adventure Bay. We had a question about the bread they used on their sandwiches and the employees pulled out an allergy information sheet. When we couldn't find what we needed on that, they brought out the box that had all of the nutritional and ingredient info on it. They happily let my sister in law read it and decide if it was safe for my nephew. Not only was my nephew able to eat the bread (that was just a big bonus honestly), but I was so impressed with their service and knowledge of food allergies. The employees went above what was expected of them for sure.

You know what not's great? Jumping on a ride with your kids when you're hungover. Just saying so none of my mommy friends have to go through it too.

So we never make it past the Dole Whip in Adventure Bay. For the first time ever we made it to the Mainstreet Creamery for ice cream. 

Any time your weekend can end with a note that says: "I love my mom so muth" (yes, that's muth, not much) I highly recommend it. It's quite possibly the best way to end a weekend that left me tired and sunburned. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Summer Week 6

Week #6 was a short week due to Independence Day, plus I took the day after off to recover. Not only was it a short week, it was a slow week too. Many families were away on vacation, so daycare was quite the laid back place. We still did our usual reading time, writing and drawing, and 50 States theme, but mostly it was all free play happening all week long:

Basketball, Barbies, and dolls in the driveway. Thanks to very heavy rains the previous weekend, it was imperative that the backyard dry out. I hate for the kids to miss having easy access to the outdoors, so we opened up the front yard and driveway for playing. The kids seemed to have fun doing some activities that we don't usually do in the backyard (but they were really happy when I opened up the backyard again for playing!).

The kids had a dance/sing off for the better part of a day.

New Mexico brought us a word find, the kids asking "how do you say _____?"  A LOT, and learning to say "hello" in several Native American languages (and no, I can't remember a single one off the top of my head). New York brought us apples for snack. Yummy!

Fort building. This is how it started, but the kids kept trying to make their fort bigger and better.

Our 4th of July was AWESOME! Read about our awesomeness here.

Volleyball and badminton in the backyard. The ground was still so soft from all of the rains that it barely held the net up! But we managed AND the ball only went over the fence once.

Friends are for helping when you can't move the table yourself!

I love how much love the kids have for one another. One kid spilled the crayons and started cleaning them up (without being asked, I might add) and the other kid put her toy down, walked up, and helped with the cleaning (also without being asked). I think it's just the sweetest thing. I've also learned not to react too much when something like this happens or they'll instantly stop being so sweet! I do, however, praise the kids when a scenario like this happens because they were being a good friend and cleaned up after themselves. I'm so very proud in these little moments.

Did you know North Dakota has more sunflowers growing than any other state? Well we do now and now we're growing our own! The kids wished we could grow more than ND so we "can beat them!" but I assured them that cannot happen.

The kids had so much with their dance off that they did it off and on throughout the week. I discovered this while cleaning out art supplies. Apparently it's how they decide how the groups have to dance. I never witnessed anyone dancing the tango but I sure wish it had happened!

I had Lego's filling my living room for two weeks. They built an entire Lego town! This was the start of it. Oh, and it all connected. Lego's can keep the kids busy for hours. As nice as that is, I'm happy to have my living room (which is supposed to be a kid-free room) back. The bigs use the living room for "little Lego building" so I don't have to worry about the littles messing (aka-swallowing) with them.

I had a tummy ache after this breakfast. Krispy Kreme was founded in North Carolina, so it seemed like a solid choice for breakfast.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

The 4th of July Slide

Most kids can only think fireworks when talking about the 4th of July. My kids on the other hand can only talk about doing "the greatest slip n' slide ever" every 4th. This year, we got fireworks out of the way a couple of days before the 4th when we went to Yankee Doodle Pops at the Iowa State Capitol, which only left my three fully focused on doing the "epic slide." Since I knew we'd be up late multiple nights in a row, I took the day after the 4th off to have a restful day (that we all needed).

All of our 4th fun started on July 2:

We parked downtown and walked by the river to see the flooding. Then we found ourselves at Zombie Burger for apps and milkshakes.

It was a gorgeous night for the patio!

We found our spot on Capitol grounds and spread out our blankets. The next hour and a half we were treated to the symphony, Simon Estates baritone voice, and the cannons shooting. Then we got to see the fireworks. Having never been to Yankee Doodle Pops previously, I mistakenly thought they shot off fireworks from behind the Capitol building. They actually shoot them off of the Grand Ave. bridge in downtown. Great view from the Capitol, but not exactly our spot, so we stood in the middle of the street to see them clearly. 

We've already stated when we go next year, we'll either sit along the river in downtown to have a perfect view or get to the Capitol grounds early to claim a spot.

So, earlier in the day, Miss E had a flip out moment and bit her shirt because it wouldn't go on properly. She managed to rip her gums in that whole ordeal and caused her to have her first loose tooth. A tissue sticking out of her mouth helped for some reason.

We were right by the potties. It didn't smell the best.

Waiting for fireworks can be tough. My minis brought workbooks to keep them busy (their own idea, not mine).

Cartwheels and handstands

Thankfully July 3rd was an incredibly relaxing day at daycare because we were beat from Yankee Doodle Pops. The kids played volleyball and badminton on and off throughout the day.

Elizabeth requested to "make somethin' in the kitchen." Um, okay? I pulled out baking soda, water, and lemonade. She concocted Lemonade "Snow" for the kids to play with outside. Sensory activities are such an easy way to keep the kids entertained.

We didn't have anywhere to be until early afternoon on the 4th, which meant we got to sleep in and have a relaxing morning. It also means we got to start our day with these Star Kiss pops from DQ. I hadn't had one of these since I was a kid!

The Des Moines Children's Museum partnered with the Windsor Heights Parade to do the Kids' and Pet portion of the parade. It was a HOT day so there wasn't a big turn out, but the job was easy enough that the minis stuck around to watch the parade. Thankfully, there was plenty of water and popsicles handed out that, despite being hot, they were happy.

It wouldn't be a family outing without at least one sibling squabble.

After the parade we cooled off at home before stopping for last minute necessities at Walmart. It was going to be a quick trip in and out, but the minis discovered LOTS of sales. One being these "amazing" mask heads (pictured below). Those were not purchased, but we left with new beach towels, drink bottles, and a few other things we didn't know we needed.

Then it was time for what the minis had been waiting for: the giant slip n' slide at my aunt and uncle's house! Most kids are excited about fireworks on the 4th. Mine eagerly anticipate the giant slide every year!

Dish soap, bug spray, and beers. Pretty good description of the night.

After dinner, the minis got to do sparklers and fireworks in the backyard. Most were roman candles, but the minis had picked out a few other specialties that included one that screamed when it was lit. That one was not my favorite.

An accidental selfie. I was trying to get a picture of Elizabeth cheering on the chair for more fireworks. I wished all of my accidental selfies looked this decent!

I was smart enough to take July 5th off this year, since I knew everyone would be beat after another late night out of the house. We had a very low key day at home that involved naps, McDonald's delivery, and opening night of Ant-Man and The Wasp. That's right, OPENING NIGHT. I haven't made it to an opening of a movie in over ten years! This was a big night for me.

When I rolled out of bed an hour after the minis had been awake, I discovered they had opened all of our new goodies from Walmart and were playing with them (including these hot dog baskets and corn on the cob holders). This is what I get for sleeping in.

This was a great Independence Day! The minis got their slide, I got some relaxation, and memories were made.