Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Missouri Travels Part II-Meramec Caverns

When we decided to tour Meramec Caverns, the largest commercial cave in Missouri, I was a little concerned about how Colter would do. I wondered if he would be uneasy about the dark, the bats, or some other mysterious cave creature. Not too worry. Our little boy sometimes sneaks into bed with us in the wee morning hours saying he's scared of his "sunshine" a.k.a. his window, but he will journey into dark holes in the ground without hesitation. Windows are much more frightening than caves after all.

We all loved going through Meramec Caverns. We saw some amazing cave formations and enjoyed hearing historical details about the cave including legends that Jesse James supposedly had a hide-out there. I think Jesse James had a hide-out in every cave in Missouri though, so who knows how much truth there is to those stories. I've been in a few caves throughout the state (Fantastic Caverns, The Mark Twain Cave, Marvel Cave, etc.) and liked this one the best of the ones I've seen.

Colter carried his Handy Manny Flicker flashlight through the cave and lit the way for us. He was enthralled with exploring the cave and wants to check out some more! Maybe he'll be a future spelunker.

Summer 2010 Missouri Travels Part I-Maramec Spring Park

This summer, instead of taking a long camping trip, we plan on taking a series of smaller trips around Missouri. We thought about taking a longer trip to see the redwood trees in California with my family, but came to our senses and concluded that traveling by car with a three-year-old a distance that would take three whole days was an INSANE idea and decided to keep it local this summer. Plus, we’re probably saving millions of dollars on gasoline. Well, maybe not millions but it has to be close. I can’t even imagine how many times we’d have to fill up the tank to travel to California. :)

Our first destination was Meramec Caverns near Stanton, MO to camp for a few days. On the way there, we stopped at Maramec Spring Park near St. James, MO. I had no idea something so stunning existed only a few hours away from my home. The park is one of four trout parks in Missouri and has beautiful trout-filled pools fed by Maramec Spring. The pristine waters are such a pretty blue very unlike most Missouri streams and rivers. We stopped by the park to picnic and play at a great playground and were glad we did. Some day we’ll have to plan a camping trip there so we can enjoy exploring the park more.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's Trouble Times Three!

One goofy kid to chase around isn't enough, so we had Colter's cousins come over for a sleepover! These crazy boys had tons of fun playing at the park, playing in the sprinkler, baking cookies, playing camping, etc. They're busy boys, that's for sure.

I think the boys decided that the best part of the sleepover was camping out in the living room in Colter's new tent. Colter asked for a play tent for his birthday, and I told my mom what he wanted. I was thinking a small pup tent, but no, she got him a two man tent that takes up his entire room! I'm seeing lots of pretend camping trips in our future. The boys had a ball sleeping (and not sleeping) in the super-fun tent.

Rub-a-dub-dub-three-men-in-a-tub! It may be time to consider purchasing a larger pool.
Colter wouldn't ever want his cousins to go home! They're best buds. :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Birthday!

My boy is three. THREE. The past three years have flown by and have been filled with much joy. Happy birthday sweet son of mine! God blessed our lives more than we could ever imagine when He gave us you.
Our boy is all grown up and designing his own birthday cakes. This is what Colter decided his birthday cake should look like.
This is what he came up with! A delicious ice cream cake decorated mostly by a three-year-old. Yummy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

River Rats

Crawdads and crayfish and mudbugs, oh my! Yay for playing in the river!
Confession: I grew up in the country and spent a lot of time playing in creeks, but I have never touched a crawdad. Never ever! Really! Their claws are too scary, and I'm too much of a chicken. I remember my friends grabbing crawdads by the middle and holding them triumphantly up in the air while the crawdad's pinchers desperately tried to snap a finger in two, but I never could bring myself to grab one. Today I decided it was time to conquer my fears. I'm a big girl, right? After all, I'm a thirty-year-old woman. I'm totally capable of facing off with an icky little mudbug and winning. Whatever! Woman vs. Crawdad=Crawdad Victorious! With Colter and friends looking on, I squealed like a little girl when I tried to catch crayfish while playing in the river today. I am not cut out to be a brave crawdad catcher. I'm too wimpy! We used nets and pails instead and caught several crawdads today, I think. It's highly possible we were catching the same one over and over. Whatever the case, it was fun! Playing in a river is a great way to spend a hot, almost-summer day.
Our Victim
Have you ever noticed that if there is a rock or fallen log anywhere in the area, little boys must climb it? It's inevitable.
Crawdaddy-catching fascinated these boys. They were almost as thrilled as their mommies.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Barn Owl Owlets

A brood of owlets have made themselves at home in my grandparents' machine shed. The owlets are some of the weirdest babies I have ever seen! When my family and I walked into the shed to view the nest, the building was filled with an eerie hissing noise. I actually thought my brother was using some machinery or something, but the echoing hisses were the owlets! To see the birds, we had to climb up a combine and peak into a washtub perched on the rafters (weird place for a washtub) where the mama owl took up residence. As the strange little demon faces peered back at us, the owlets swayed back and forth in some sort of hypnotic dance as they hissed. It was so weird! I'm going to try and get it on video before they leave the nest. Owlets are so cool! Freaky--but cool. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mosquitoes. Ick. Ouch. Grr.

Ahh…June--the perfect month for taking long, evening walks and enjoying the extra daylight. The foliage is lush and green, flowers are in bloom, it’s not too ridiculously hot yet, and wildlife is running all over the place. I love it. Only one little thing can take a fantastic June evening and make it a frantic run for cover---THOSE FREAKIN’ MOSQUITOES.

Really, God? Did you have really have to invent those whining, vampireish pests? Yes, yes, I realize birds, frogs, lizards, and other animals eat mosquitoes and without the most annoying insect on the planet, the food chain would be ruined, but why not create some other important food chain link for the birds to eat? A little fly that lives off dust, perhaps? Then we wouldn’t have to worry about getting malaria, West Nile virus, or yellow fever PLUS, we wouldn’t have to dust anymore because the dustquitoes would eat it all for us. I think that’s a great plan. What do you think, Lord? Lord?

OH, I suppose everything has a purpose, so mosquitoes must be important. God knows what he’s doing after all, even if I, a lowly human don’t understand why things like mosquitoes and spandex must plague the Earth. I do know; however, that it’s probably all Adam and Eve’s fault because everything that just sucks (literally, in the case of the mosquito) pretty much is their fault. Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world though one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned,” so basically because Adam and Eve were the first sinners and like all of us, couldn’t always resist Satan’s manipulations, things like death and mosquitoes entered the world. This article says that, “In the beginning, the Lord did not intend for any of us who have been made in his image to be hurt by his animal creatures, but this is the price we pay for not following the Creator’s instructions. Every mosquito bite ought to be a reminder to obey God.” Sigh. At least some good could come of an itchy, annoying mosquito bite. I wonder what mosquitoes were like before Eve ate the forbidden fruit? Did they whisper classical music instead of buzz annoyingly in man’s ears? Did they share butterfly-type-kisses instead of disease? Hmm… I wonder…

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Country Bob's give-away!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Boy Discovers Milk Bubbles

Whispering----Don't forget to enter my Country Bob's giveaway!
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Country Bob's Recipe and Give-Away!

Almost two years ago, I won a Country Bob's cookbook on this lady's website, and since then, I've come to the conclusion that I could drink Country's Bob's All Purpose Sauce by the bottle. Well, probably not by the bottle, but it's really delicious. It's my favorite steak sauce probably because it's sweeter than most; I love to dip fries in it, and it's yummy in so many recipes. Several weeks ago, someone from Country Bob's asked me to write a post about their sauce in exchange for a couple of bottles, and I agreed because I honestly love this stuff.

Country Bob's has been around since the eighties, but if you haven't ever tried it, follow this link, and sign up for a coupon for a free bottle. It's definitely worth trying! Also, there are a lot of great recipes on their site to try. Here's an easy summertime grilling recipe that I like.

Country Bob's Grilled Chicken-in-a-Pocket (serves 4)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce
4 large mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced

Put each chicken breast on a 12x12 square of foil. Top each chicken breast with 1/4 of the other ingredients. Fold the edges of the foil together and seal into a packet. Grill for 20-30 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are cooked through, turned the packets occasionally.

If you, like me, already love this sauce, or if you would like to try it, the people from Country Bob's have generously offered to send two of my readers two bottles of Country Bob's! Leave a comment with contact info. by Friday, June 11, to enter!

ALSO, I discovered a ton of recipes here, for a blog carnival called "Tasty Tuesday." Go and check it out! At this site, there are a lot more give-aways!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer, Summer, Summer Time

Don't let this somewhat hesitant demeanor fool you. The boy is a fish-wanna-be.

My big, gonna-be-three-in-nine-days, boy has almost no fear of the water. He runs full-speed into water up to his neck, totally oblivious of that fact that he can't swim. On this particular beach trip, our first trip of the summer, I didn't plan on swimming because I thought the lake would be too cold. I had no idea that my son was Mr. Fearless Fish Man, and that I would have to be in the water with him to keep him from trying to swim across the lake. I ended up in the water up to my waist, fully clothed, but thankfully, the water was warm.

We had signed Colter up for swimming lessons this summer before we knew how comfortable he would be in the water this year. I was kind of concerned that I would end up with a panicked boy clinging to my neck when we venture into the city pool for the first lesson next week, but I don't think I have anything to worry about.

After swimming and a beach picnic, we went to the local marina with some friends for some cheap entertainment--fish feeding! As I was grabbing some stuff out of the car, Colter walked with his friend, Riley. When I looked ahead, this is what I saw--Colter with an older woman. I wonder who made the first move?

These carp were practically jumping up on the docks to get our fifty cent bag of fish food. I considered reaching down to grab one, but I was too chicken.
We love SUMMER!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Seventeen Uses for a Sarong

Sarong - a loose garment made of a long strip of cloth wrapped around the body that is worn by men and women chiefly of the Malay Archipelago and the Pacific islands (Thank you Webster)

Last Saturday, my friend Gina and I purged our unwanted items and had a yard sale.  We had episodes of craziness when professional yard salers were throwing our junk and offers at us left and right, intentionally trying to fluster us so they could walk away with some steals to probably resell in their flea markets, but we also had times with no customers.  Yard sale customers seem to come in flocks, and when it was just Gina and me, our entertainment was a pink sarong Gina bought on her honeymoon in Cancan that has been unused for seven years.  I guess after seven years, honeymoon souvenirs lose their sentiment.

I never realized what a versatile article of clothing a sarong is, but in the moments of garage sale goofiness that kept us from passing out from boredom while waiting for somebody to come buy all our stuff, Gina and I came up with a lot of different uses for sarongs.  When we were customerless, we came up with some sort of purpose for the sarong, I would model it and attempt to take my own picture or have Gina take it, and then quickly sit down as if I were a completely normal person and not an insane, sleep deprived, sarong model whenever a new customer showed up.  I'm sure my neighbors were amused. 

Here's some of what we came up with.
A sarong can be a skirt, a blanket, a hijab, a headband, a halter dress, a ponytail holder, or a sleeveless dress.

OR a bra, the hunk of material that flies in the wind when models pose as demonstrated by model Gina, a scarf, a shawl, a turban, a beauty pageant sash, a mini-skirt, chaps, and an ankle bracelet.  The naked boy running through the yard has nothing to do with a sarong.  I just needed a picture for that spot, and he could have used a sarong to wear since he evidently has no clothes.  No clue who he is by the way.  I certainly wouldn't let my son run around in the yard without his clothing. 

Now, instead of trying to sell your souvenir sarong at a yard sale, you can use my ideas to actually use it!  Gina must not have been impressed with them though because when nobody bought her sarong, she gave it to me.  YES!  Now I can sell all my other clothes because my new pink sarong can serve as ANY article of clothing!

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Simple Gift Idea for Mr. Practical

My dad, Mr. Practical, is hard to buy for. He always acts like presents are a waste of money, and he seems to appreciate useful gifts more than frivolous ones, so as a going away present/early Father's Day gift, Colter and I personalized what my mom said he needed, a new water jug, and made it more fun! Dad works out in the hot sun all summer, so he goes through a lot of water each day. To ensure that no goofy hired hand (a.k.a. my cousin, Brennan) steals my daddy's water, we used some acrylic paint and sealer to decorate a new Colman water jug with polka dots and Colter's hand prints. The other side of the jug says, "Poppy's H2O", and I had all my siblings sign the bottom. Hopefully, Dad won't be too embarrassed to actually drink out of it.

I think this is a cute Father's Day gift idea! All you need is a new water jug, paint, some spray sealer so the paint hopefully doesn't wash off, Sharpies, and some cute kid hands.