Impromptu Nature Walk

When you get thrown gorgeous weather in September, you take advantage of it, so even though we were going to spend last Saturday cleaning and organizing, I talked everyone into going on some walks at a nearby Reserve!  It was one of my best ideas and despite some bug bites, I think everyone had a really good time.

We went to the nature center first to check in and get an idea of what was in the area, which led us to their outdoor play area.  We told the kids they could play for a while, but then we’d have lunch and do some exploring!

We were even joined by a little slug at one point!  It was fun just watching him creep along and then Enzo gave him some of his apple.

Have I mentioned that the day was beautiful?  Because the weather was amazing!  It was so nice to just leisurely stroll and see what kinds of fun things we could spot.  Enzo even saw a fish pop up to eat a bug when we stopped at one of the lake docks!

With so many different potential trails to go on, we chose one that had a boardwalk through a wetland area.  Considering we forgot bug spray, it probably wasn’t our greatest decision, but thankfully the mosquitoes haven’t been as bad this year as they usually are. We survived to tell the tale!

I was the one lagging behind for most of the day.  I am at my happiest in the woods, though, and I was soaking it in.  Plus, there were a lot of things to see!  Spider webs stretching across the trail over our heads, fungi and so many pretty flowers.

Now, this flower I thought for sure was a fungi, but it turns out it isn’t!  It seems to be most commonly known as Ghost Plant or Indian Pipe and is part of the blueberry family!  It looks so white because it has no chlorophyll and is a non-photosynthetic plant. Because it doesn’t photosynthesize, it’s basically a parasite that lives off of other plants like trees.  Anyway, it was the first time I had ever seen them and they really are kind of eerie growing in the darker shaded parts of wooded areas.

Just as we were headed on our way back to the nature center, we (or rather Josh) spotted a fantastic prairie area that we naturally just had to go explore. There was a breeze, and better yet, no mosquitoes, but it was nice to just see the prairie grasses wave in the wind and watch bees flit from blossom to blossom.

I’m pretty sure we’ll back.

Renaissance Festival Time… Again!

I know, wasn’t I just at the renaissance festival? Yes, it’s true, but this time I dragged Josh and the kids along wit me, and honestly? I could go again. There’s so much to see and with each weekend being a different theme there is always something new to see.  We all got dressed up and had a fairly decent time, all things considered.  The kids getting older, is such a huge plus and makes outings so much easier.  I think we may have to ditch the wagon next year, however, because they are outgrowing it and there were too many “She’s touching me” outbursts for my liking.  Truly, though, the kids had a magical time and I love seeing how kind everyone is to the kids.  Phoebe was so excited about seeing mermaids and Enzo, while not quite as enthusiastic about such ventures still managed to enjoy himself quite a lot.

We go to Fairy Forest every time. The kids rushed past the fairies this time… mostly because Phoebe really just wanted to wait in the very long line to see the mermaids. Haha!

We didn’t see any unicorns, but Phoebe found a unicorn horn that she just had to have.  I indulged because… hello? Unicorn horn?

We ran into so many nice people.  I think all of us had our photos taken by random people at least once, if not more for the kids. I love the overall atmosphere of the festival because everyone is generally just there to have a good time and indulge in some imaginative fun.  One girl (who didn’t work there) was dressed as Ariel from the Little Mermaid and she could not have been sweeter to Phoebe who recognized her and asked to say hello.  She gave her a big hug and it was so sweet!

You can see how excited Phoebe was to finally see the mermaids and more importantly, ask them their names.

Someone gave us the great idea of having Josh wait in line for the mermaids while I took the kids next door to play dress up… which they didn’t care about.  Tough customers, these ones.

The kids were intrigued, but a little nervous around the dragon. Enzo opted to stand back with Josh while I held Phoebe’s hand.

Josh and Enzo went on a swing ride – the one thing Enzo requested to do as we were walking around.

I tried to take photos with Phoebe while we waited for them, but she decided to be pouty. Ha!

The kids were getting tired, so we took Phoebe over to the elephants and Enzo and I tried to get a glimpse of the joust, but alas, there were too many people ahead of us and we couldn’t get a good spot to squeeze in as we were dragging the wagon with us.

All in all, a very good day.  We got in the car, drove to get ice cream and collapsed when we get home.

Don’t you love how both the boys have similar expressions, whereas Phoebe and I could have kept going?  So weird that Phoebe is so much like me and Enzo is so much like Josh.  Phoebe and I love our excursions and could generally be out of the house all day on a weekend, but the boys get tired and would rather play video games at home. Not this time, boys!

The Zoo! Again!

I know what you’re thinking… the zoo again?  Well, that’s what happens when you have a membership.  You tend to go a lot.  Plus, I really wanted to see the new baby tiger, and the kangaroos will be going away soon, so it just seemed like the right time to go back. Also, I kind of insisted on it since everyone was cranky and I will not be trifled with!

Besides… isn’t she adorable?  I should have brought my better camera, but didn’t, so I guess I’ll just have to go back soon. Granted, it’s also hard to shoot through glass that is smeared and has a ton of glare.  Serious cute aggression happened, though.

It was overcast and we seemed to have arrived during nap time for most of the animals… again. Haha!

These kangaroos were not about to get up and I found it amusing that there were just a bunch of kangaroos lounging on a hill that usually has bison hanging out on it…

Sometimes it’s really just best not to ask what they’re doing.

Also… note to self that it’s time to invest in better anti-aging creams… Seriously??

Excitement, however!!  I have NEVER seen the beaver out when we’ve been to the zoo and there he/she was!

And then more animals slept…

We did get to see the Lynx stalk a bird, which was fun.  It was so cute when it’s butt and little tail started to do the whole wiggle.

They had to climb and fight over every single one of these damn statues throughout the zoo.  WHY???

Cuddle party, Lemur style!

The bats will never cease being cool.

Another guy we often don’t see up close… both of them actually. They don’t move and they always look fake.

A bigger version of Bowser. Ha!

And a flamboyance of Flamingos.  They are such a strange, but glorious bird.

And that is all I’ve got for this slightly overcast Wednesday.  We have Enzo’s Kindergarten open house this afternoon and then plans to go the gym, so we’ll see how that goes. We’re going to drop the kids off in gym childcare and see how the evening progresses!

Week In Review – The It’s Hot Outside So Let’s Stay Inside Edition

Happy Monday!

Linking up with Meghan from Clean Eats, Fast Feets for another Week in Review!

It was one of those weeks… nothing super exciting going on, and yet it seemed exhausting as well.  Phoebe has been having some rougher bedtimes as we attempt to get her to stay in her own room.  I was okay when she would wander into our room after we had all gone to sleep, but that time got earlier and earlier until some nights she’d go to sleep between 7:30-8:00 only to wake up at 9:00 or so and want to sleep in my bed.  We are trying to break that habit and it’s not easy.  I set up a cot in our room so if she does have trouble sleeping she can come sleep on that, but the novelty wore off and she doesn’t want to sleep on the cot anymore.  SIGH.

On Tuesday I got a hair trim, and while I wasn’t sure about the short bangs at first… I grew to like them.  Har har har.

On Thursday, Enzo randomly threw up at day care several times, so I went to pick him up early.  He recovered quickly and was perfectly fine, but still had to stay home with Josh on Friday. At least the cats were happy?

On Saturday a friend of Josh’s drove out (he was picking up an arcade game that Josh had found for him) and spent the night.  Enzo didn’t want to leave the house, but Phoebe was antsy, so we had a little Girl’s Day complete with annoying puppet shows that she insisted we watch and lots of sleepy critters at a very hot day at the zoo.

The best part was getting a glimpse of the new Mountain Lion cub, though!!!! He/She was passed out and part of me wondered how hard it would be to break into the enclosure and steal the little guy away.  I’m not crazy.

Can’t forget hanging out with my favorite lizard. 😉

On Sunday we started putting together Bowser’s new enclosure (still waiting on the new light strip) and then it was swim class time!  Afterwards we played in the pool with the kids and then let them play in the play area before heading out to dinner because I had zero desire to cook.

Phoebe ended up falling asleep in our bed while we were watching The Great British Baking Show.  Even though it completely negates what we’ve been trying to train her to do, we left her in there.  It’s a new week, right?  I’m sure tonight will go swimmingly with zero issues!

Happy Monday everyone!

Walnut Grove 40th Pageant

So, for our anniversary, Josh decided to surprise me with a random nerdy outing. Unfortunately for him, I talked him into giving me a hint and I accidentally figured out what the surprise was. Whoops! Due to my bookwormish tendencies since I was a child, we were heading to Walnut Grove, MN to see the annual pageant that is performed in honor of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It’s a bit of a drive, and made for a late night as it is performed outside and doesn’t start until 9pm, but it ended up being a really fun day since we both appreciate a bit of cheese, but also history, and we of course both took plenty of pictures to share with everyone.

So, the first place on our list was at someone’s house. It was quiet and we weren’t sure if parking there would lead to us being tied up and hidden in a barn or an actual sod house. Turns out they actually have recreated sod houses (very few if any original sod houses remain).

It was extremely hot out, but we made the most of it.  It was actually not that hot inside the sod houses, and the main one was surprisingly nice.  Apparently at one point the owners actually let people sleep overnight as a fun B&B.

Lap of luxury.

 

Cozy, but not awful… it stays nicely cool in the summer and I imagine it warms up well in the winter months much as I imagined when reading the books.  Granted, we got a more realistic look at what most sod houses started out as with dirt floors and without plastered walls.

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