Friday, July 31, 2009


Can you guess what Colter's favorite part of making cookies is?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ha Ha Tonka

Not this ha ha Tonka....But this one! It's Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton, Missouri.

On the four hour trip to John's parent's house, we pass by a sign that points to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Even though the sign always catches my attention, and I've been passing by it routinely for over seven years now, I had never found out exactly what was at Ha Ha Tonka. John had told me that there were some castle ruins, but I didn't really get what he meant. I thought there were some rock piles or something. When we randomly decided to check it out recently, I didn't expect to find this....A castle! Missouri has its own, real-life, medieval castle! Okay, not really. Some rich guy had it built in the early 1900s, but it's still a really cool castle! It's quite huge. The cute two-year-old in the big window should give you some idea how large the castle is. The castle is on a 250 foot high bluff overlooking Lake of the Ozarks. If one looks down the bluff (and I mean wayyy down) he/she can see Ha Ha Tonka spring (Ha Ha Tonka means laughing waters). It's an awesome place to have a castle; when I build my castle, I think I'll choose a similar site. :) Unfortunately, the rich man who had the castle built died in one of the state's first automobile accidents and didn't get to enjoy his finished castle. The castle did not last long after it was built either, for it burned in the 1940s leaving the rock walls that visitors to Ha Ha Tonka State Park now explore.*

As it was fairly late in the evening when we visited, we didn't have time to traverse much of the park before dark. We will definitely stop again to check out the several trails and natural wonders, which include some caves and a natural bridge. Hopefully, we can go back when it cools down this fall because the park looks like a fun place to do some Missouri hiking!

*Source: A sign in the park. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009


Yep, my husband paints his toenails.Or rather, he paints his toenails when our nieces come to visit. Actually, our niece, Katie, sweet-talked him into letting her give him a pedicure. He's a very cooperative uncle. It was nice of him, but there's something about hairy man-toes that is just wrong! After John's toes were painted, we tried to trick him by giving him a bottle of nail polish remover that was actually filled with colored water. Fun times! Katie, Natalie, and Nicole came and spent two nights with us, and Colter had a blast with his cousins! We did all kinds of fun things. We baked cookies, played games, watched movies, had a pedicure party, had a tea party, shopped, stuck plastic forks all over another relative's yard (I'm an excellent example), played Barbies, etc. etc. etc. It was a busy few days!

Yay for cousins!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dinosaur Food A.K.A. No Bake Cookies

Are all little boys paleontology experts? During my five-year-old nephew, Tristan's, visit for a sleepover, I was amazed at the dinosaur facts swimming around in that kid's head. He shared all kinds of interesting prehistoric tidbits, so many that I pulled out my trusty dinosaur encyclopedia (yes, I really have one of those) to check his facts. The child is a dinosaur prodigy! He can't even read yet, but he knows all about creatures I've never heard of like maiasauras and borogovias (those are dinosaurs by the way).At one point, while Colter and Tristan were playing blocks, Tristan started working on a detailed structure using Colter's big cardboard brick blocks. He kept saying it was a papasaurus. I thought he meant he was making a daddy dinosaur, a papa-saurus, and he would make a mama-saurus as well. Soon, it was obvious that the block sculpture was one of those squatty armored dinosaurs that look like grumpy, spiky turtles with a flail for a tail. Sure enough, on page 150 of Dinosaurs A to Z: The Ultimate Dinosaur Encyclopedia, I found an entry for the PAWPAWSAURUS with a picture that looked amazingly like Tristan's creation. My nephew is a genius! Unfortunately, Colter knocked down the poor dino before I could take a picture, but it was quite impressive.

Since Tristan loves dinosaurs so much, I decided we should make some dinosaur food!


2 cups crushed bones (sugar)

1/2 cup dirt (cocoa)

4 tablespoons of brontosaurus blubber (butter)

1/2 cup swamp water (milk)

1/2 cup squashed bugs (peanut butter)

1 teaspoon oil (vanilla)

3 cups of dried dinosaur grass (oatmeal)

Place the crushed bones, dirt, blubber, and swamp water in a saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring mixture continuously. Add rest of ingredients. Stir well and remove from heat. Drop by teaspoonful onto wax paper. Let cool and harden.

Tristan and Colter had a ball making the food, but my picky nephew (who asked me to leave the room while I was eating a salad because he could smell the tomatoes) turned up his nose when it came time to eat them. Apparently, he doesn't like dried grass with his squashed bugs. The rest of us enjoyed them though!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wanted: Big Boat Song

Anyone know any songs about a big boat? My silly son keeps requesting a song about a big boat during his lengthy bedtime ritual, and I have no clue what he is talking about. He assures me it's not "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."

Each night after the teeth brushing battle is over, I read Colter a few books, let him turn out the light with his foot (no idea how that started), sing him a few songs while we snuggle in the chair, pray, hug and kiss my sweetie, and put him in his crib. The songs always used to be normal lullabies like "Hush Little Baby" or "You Are My Sunshine" but awhile back, somehow, "On Top of Spaghetti" became the nightly song. I don't know how that happened, but every night, our boy wanted the meatball song. I have to insert Colter's name anywhere "I" is used in the song, or I have to start over. If John put Colter to bed, I would have to come in and sing the meatball song before Colter would lie down. My son isn't particular or anything.

Recently, the meatball song has been replaced by "American Pie" by Don McLean. Really. A little over a week ago, Colter had a night when he didn't want to stay in his crib (probably because he slept with his mommy for a week and a half while we were on vacation!), so I rocked him and sang for a half hour or so. Apparently one of the songs I sang was "American Pie" which is funny because I don't even know all the words. I know the "Bye bye Miss American Pie" part pretty good, but I know I mix up the verses and have to go "da da dum de da" in several spots. I figured out soon though, that Colter likes that song! The next evening when I was rocking and singing to him, every time I'd start a song, he'd say "no," and I'd have to try again until I sang the right song. Finally, after who knows how many songs, I hit the winner with "American Pie." I just went with it, but had no idea why he picked that one, until last night. He asked for the "truck" song. "Truck song?" I thought. Hmm..... OH!!!!! There's a "pink carnation and a pick-up truck" mentioned and he "drove my Chevy to the levy" (although I doubt Colter knows what a Chevy is, but he knows what drove means). That's why I have to sing "American Pie!" It's the truck song! I also am required to sing the train song, "I've Been Working On the Railroad." Can you tell that lately Colter has become obsessed with modes of transportation?

So, I know what Colter means when he asked for the "twain" song and the truck song, but he keeps asking for a big boat song. What boat song could I possible have sung my son? I can't even think of any boat songs, but he has asked for "big boat" four or five nights in a row. What is he talking about? I may have to write one...

Wordless Wednesday--Oops.

Go here to see more of Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meese Park

I learned something new about Colorado this summer. In the north central part of Colorado, they have moose! I knew there were a few moose here and there, but in the State Forest State Park, there is actually a healthy moose population. Real moose--not just stuffed moose like this one...According to a handy dandy brochure we picked up about the park, there are approximately 600 moose in the 71,000 acre park. That doesn't seem like a lot, but the park is really an excellent place to view moose (WHY is the plural of goose, geese, but the plural of moose is just moose? Why not meese? I can't tell you how many students have asked me that question). Being that it seemed to be constantly raining at State Forest State Park while we were there, and we were camped in an isolated campground with no water hydrant and icky pit toilets, we didn't plan on staying there for long, so I didn't really think we would see any moose. I thought the following picture would be my only proof that there are actually moose in Colorado.
But then I was able to photograph this little moose in the visitor's center. Isn't my boy a cute moose? He got to try on moose ears, feel moose fur, see moose tracks, and learn lots of things about the wildlife in the forest.Then a giant moose walked right up to the visitor's center.

Colter gave him some kisses and discovered that the moose was an impostor. It was made of wire. Neat!
Later that day though, we saw three real moose! We had seen sign that said to watch out for moose at night, so at dusk we drove around looking for moose. We had actually given up and were headed to my mom's camp for smores when we saw one. Then, on the way to our campground which was about 5 miles away from mom's, we saw two more moose! I wasn't able to get a very good picture from a moving car in the dark of a moving moose, but look closely! It's there! :)

Meese are so cool! I mean moose. :)

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Few Camping Pictures

While we were in Colorado, we slept here....and this was the view at our first campsite. We did a little hiking....and a LOT of rock throwing!Colter liked the BIG splashes best. We also enjoyed some campfire time. Fun!

I'm ready to go back now. I'd better go pack. ;)

Go forth and RAFT.

Do you have a list of things to do before you die? If you do, put white water rafting on it. Unless of course, you have already been white water rafting, because if you have, more than likely your list already says “go white water rafting every chance I get” like mine does.

As is apparent, I LOVED my rafting experience along the Arkansas River in Colorado. My family and I had SO much fun! Except for the 15 minutes or so during the speech about all the possible ways one could die while rafting and reading the disclaimer that had two pages of super fine print about all the possible ways one could die or be injured while rafting (including poisonous reptiles---in a cold mountain river? Huh?), I had a blast! I’ve wanted to go rafting for years, and was excited before we even got started (although I must admit the guide’s pre-rafting speech did make me a little apprehensive and encouraged me to wear a helmet). My excitement was not for naught :). After my mom, brother, sister, aunt, two cousins, niece, the guide, and I lugged our raft (which was heavier than one would think a raft filled with air would be) down a narrow path to the river where we were ridiculously close to a steep fall into the river, we all jumped in, and the fun started right away. I thought we would cast off in a calm place to practice the commands the guide had briefly instructed us on, but we were in some mild rapids immediately, so any fear was quickly washed away by 42 degree water. Yes. 42 DEGREES. Cold. So cold. But it was so worth it! There were only a few minutes where I thought hypothermia was setting in, but we stopped for lunch around then and I got to bask in the sun for awhile. It only took a half hour for the shivering to stop. Hee hee.

I can’t describe how fun going down the rapids was, and we were only on class three (of six) rapids (pushing four in a few spots). Class three rapids are “difficult, large, irregular waves up to four feet, numerous rapids” according to this site. I guess the closest thing would be to think about the excitement from an amusement park rafting ride and imagine having that feeling for around 5 hours! It was awesome. We got to take in the beautiful canyon scenery while going down the river as well. That just added to the experience.

It was pretty much a perfect day (even though one of the rapids was called The Seven Steps of DOOM—no doom—only fun) except for my two favorite boys weren’t there! Colter is, of course, too young to go rafting, and John who isn’t in love with water activities didn’t mind staying at camp with him. Even though my hubby doesn’t like the water, I think he would have loved rafting anyway. I am going to convince him to try it someday.

There were some rapids that were crazier than this, but I guess this was the best picture spot. :)
So wet! So fun! GO RAFTING!