31 August 2012

Last Day of Summer Vacation


Besides the upcoming weekend and Labor Day holiday, today was the last official day of summer vacation. Three months off is a very long time. We've had so much fun -- and I most certainly will miss being able to do what we want when we want. But I think we are all ready for a bit of structure. It's time for them to go back. As a last hurrah, my mom picked the boys, Storm and I up this morning and we went out to their house. We dropped Storm off, then went over to the club. As a treat, the kids each got a tennis lesson. The afternoon was spent at our favorite place to spend a summer day -- the lake. Brian even met up with us in the afternoon for lunch and beach time. Mostly, we were the only people there ... and it was heavenly. After a little time at my parent's home, we went back to the club for a fish fry with my mom, and dad, sister and her family. It was a perfect last day of summer vacation.

30 August 2012

C's Birthday :: The Party



We had a great day celebrating C's birthday. Since school hasn't started yet, he decided he wanted to have a party with family (and a piñata, of course). He likes simple at-home parties best. It's what he picks every year. It was a challenge figuring out a weekend to have it, so we decided to celebrate on his actual birthday. It worked out perfect. My sister and her family were supposed to see Duran Duran at Ravina, but Nick Rhodes was sick so they had to cancel the concert last minute. C was thrilled to have them there. My parents came too, as well as my cousin and his family. They just got back from an RV trip as well, so it was fun to compare stories. The party theme was "dogs." C's absolutely obsessed with bulldogs and he really wanted a bulldog party. But it ended up being a generic dog party (he had a dog party a couple years ago too). We had dog-shaped suckers, dog noses, and hot dogs for dinner -- Chicago-style or chili. We also ate fruit kebabs, funfetti cake dip, and corn salad. And the cake? A salted-caramel icebox cake -- his favorite flavor. Needless to say, I think he had a great day.

29 August 2012

Happy 8th Birthday C!


Seriously -- how can this be happening? Today C turns 8, and that's just plain crazy. One of my friends who's son plays soccer with H describes him as a little elf with magical powers. And you know what? He does kind of seem like that. There's just something about him that is ... magical. Don't get me wrong, he can still be tough. His favorite past-time is wrestling. He wrestles his brother. He wrestles his dog. He wrestles his friends. Plus, he's completely stubborn. I sure hope it pays off when he's older. But he's always smiling and laughing, and has a really great sense of humor. Man oh man, do we think he's awesome. He loves playing soccer. It's his life and he has no fear. He loves school too, but definitely more for the social life than the classwork.

As I've done in past years, here are some of C's favorites:

Favorite color: gold
Favorite food: corn chowder soup
Favorite drink: apple juice ("I didn't even get wild last time I had it.")
Favorite toy: iPod
Favorite TV show: Ninjago
Favorite subject in school: math
Favorite animal: bulldog
Favorite sport: "You know..." (it's soccer)
Favorite day of the week: Wednesday (because it's the day his birthday is on this year)

(Here's what he said when he was 7 and 6)

We are having some family over to celebrate tonight, and are just looking forward to a really fun day. Happy 8th birthday C.

25 August 2012



Today was pretty much a perfect day. It started with Tae Kwon Do which felt absolutely great. The last time we were there is when Brian and received our new belts -- he and the boys are high purple, and I'm green belt. This was over a month ago. We had ridden our bikes there, and went over to the farmer's market on our way home. I got my kitchen knives sharpened by The Sharp Brothers. We picked up some corn chowder from Wisconsin Soup Company that we enjoyed for lunch. And just had salted caramel ice cream from Purple Door for dessert. Yum! It's not an enormous farmer's market, but there really is some great stuff. After lunch, we loaded up the car and drove 30 minutes to Harrington Beach State Park. Brian has really had the bug to go camping ever since we got back from our trip. And with soccer starting, this could be the last weekend we have free. Alas, when he looked a few days ago, everything was booked! But we thought it would still be fun to spend the afternoon swimming and fishing at one of the places we looked at ... and we were right. We brought Storm with us, which turned out to be awesome since there was even a dog area on the beach! Storm hasn't spent much time in the water. In fact, the last time he went swimming was four years ago when we were up north. But he walked right into the lake and had an absolute blast. We were so proud. Before we left, the boys even tried their luck at fishing in one of the smaller lakes in the park. Again, we are amazed that a spot like this exists so close to our house. It's amazing. And hopefully one of these days, we'll get to even get to camp there overnight.

24 August 2012

Doctor's Park


It seems as summer comes to an end, you tend to simply forget the simple things you liked to do at the beginning of summer. It's been weeks since we've been to the beach at Doctor's Park. But the boys were bouncing off the walls, and I had to find something to do. Since it's really very warm out again -- and those days may be numbered -- I suggested the beach. H was all about it ... C not so much. But once we got there, it was a completely different story. We spent a few hours just jumping around in the waves.

22 August 2012

Olive Oils & Vinegars


While in Jackson Hole, we came upon a really great store that has olive oils, vinegars and liquors called Vom Fass, which translates into "from the cask." We were initially drawn in because of the liquors (surprise, surprise), but soon discovered the olive oils (we picked up a Red Pepper & Basil) and the most amazing vinegar called Calamansi Walburg Balsam. I cannot get enough of it and have added it in pretty much every salad I've made since we got home. It goes really well with the Basil Olive Oil. Fortunately, one of the seven Vom Fass US locations happens to be in Madison, Wisconsin. In fact, it's where many of the liquors are produced. You better believe we'll be visiting it.

(Not sure this is even necessary, but ... I purchased these items on my own, and was not compensated for my review. I just really like Calamansi Walburg Balsam Vinegar.)

21 August 2012

Black Eye


This black eye right here completely summarizes how our last week has been. My kids will not, can not, refuse to ... leave each other alone. And it's making us all crazy. This particular black eye is the result of H tickling C in the car, who then pushed his head right into a seat belt. Aren't they so sweet? Only two more weeks until school starts. Thank goodness. Speaking of school, C found out today who his teacher was, and is happy that his best friend will be in his class again. His "bro" as he calls him. And H, who is heading to middle school this year, found out his schedule, where is locker is, the combination (we worked on opening it for awhile) and who his advisor teacher is. Good stuff. I kind of can't wait.

19 August 2012

Cereal Milk Ice Cream


One of the first years that Brian I were together, my parents bought him an ice cream maker for Christmas. For awhile, we used it all the time, but for some reason we just haven't been lately. I decided to whip it out a couple days ago, and made some cereal milk ice-cream. The recipe was inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar. Delicious. (recipe via A Beautiful Mess).

Tournament Day Two


We were back in Fond du Lac for two more soccer games today. The team unfortunately lost the first one 2-3, but they won the second in another shut out. Probably not the most productive tournament, but at least they got some practice playing together, and we had a great time exploring the area. I'm not sure I've really ever been to Fond du Lac before, and it's really very nice. We had a couple hours to kill in between games. I had packed up lunches, so we had a picnic at a park on Lake Winnebago -- the largest lake entirely within the state. After lunch, we decide to drive up the lakefront a bit, and came upon The Little Farmer. The boys had caramel apples, and Brian and I enjoyed some ice cream from Kelley Country Creamery.  Great little pit stop. A super fun (and exhausting) weekend.

Anniversary Dinner


August 18th would have been Brian's parents 50th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, my mother-in-law took the family out for dinner. And yes, C even wore his fancy shirt and tie. We went to Café Centraal. All of our meals were great, and it was just really nice getting to spend some time together -- especially since it's just a couple more weeks until the chaos of school begins.

18 August 2012


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We had five hours to kill in between soccer game, and when one of the parents suggested going to the EAA in Oshkosh, we thought that sounded like a great idea. H had been on a field trip there, but it was the first time for the rest of us. Um, wow. It was really pretty amazing. The museum itself was absolutely fantastic. But to top it off, the boys got take part in the Young Fliers program, and rode in a  little two-person aircraft ... for free! What a great experience, and how much fun is that?

And So It Begins


The day was spent in Fond du Lac for the FC Green Bay Soccer Tournament. C's season doesn't start until next week, but H's team was practicing the week after we left for vacation and this weekend they have their first tournament. He's got a really great team. The kids are nice, and he played with many of them last year. Plus, he's really excited about his coach (so are we). I have a feeling it's going to be a great year for him. Unfortunately, the games today weren't even close, with Blue absolutely smashing the other teams. Frankly, I'd rather see them lose and have closer games. But they were looking really strong out there, and considering this was their first time playing together (and at U11 with offsides being implemented), it was pretty exciting. Two more games tomorrow!

15 August 2012

RV Adventure :: Days 13 & 14

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Day 13 {North Platte, NE to Oxford, IA :: 511 Miles}
Day 14 {Oxford, IA to Milwaukee, WI :: 277 Miles}

We are home! Safe and sound. The rest of our vacation was spent driving and driving. And stopping at a couple universities along the way. My nephew is about to be a junior, so since we were driving through, we figured why not. We stopped by Drake University and University of Iowa. It's a start, and both are not bad.

As we were driving to Douglas, WY a couple days ago, we came across an old school bus at a rest stop with three dudes that we determined were in a band. They left before us, but we easily caught up to them -- my dad was stuck behind them for awhile, and we nicknamed the bus the Patchouli Express. A couple days later in the middle of Nebraska, what did we stumble upon, but the same exact bus. (This time they had their hazards on -- I hope they make it home). Anyhow, just googled it, and it turns out we were following The Busdriver Tour! Totally wish we would have known they were playing Douglas the day we were there. Then today as we were driving in Iowa, we saw a man who looked like he was doing some long distance riding, and he had his dog running next to him. Again, after a quick search, it turns out it's David Miller and his dog Max, riding all 50 states in 50 weeks. The people you come across during a road trip. So fun.

I'd been looking forward to this trip in a really long time. We really haven't travelled this much this year, and this particular road trip is something I've wanted to do for awhile. I know most of our crew was ready to come home, but honestly, two weeks flew by. Being in two motorhomes, with 10 people could have the potential of being a bit much. There were a couple moments of tension, but for the most part, we really got along great, and had just an incredible time. We saw so much, and are very lucky to have gotten to experience this.

13 August 2012

RV Adventure :: Day 12

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{Douglas, WY to North Platte, NE :: 352 Miles}

Since the 100th Annual Wyoming State Fair was happening just up the street, we decided to stop by for a bit. We saw rabbits, horses, cows, sheep and pigs. Even got to pet some alpacas. So glad we got to visit it. And then we just drove, and drove, and drove. Not seeing much and ending up in Nebraska. Expecting tomorrow to be mostly the same, as we now make our way back home.