July 31, 2008

Pro Putt Family Fun

We have a place here in Bloomington called Pro Putt Family Fun Center. Adam got a free ticket from the library's summer reading program. AND...on Wednesdays, they have a special that adults get in free with a paid child admission. Oh, did I mention that 3 & under are free?? So, let's see. We took Grandma, Grandpa, Me, Adam, Amelia, Adelaide, Allison, cousin Ryan & cousin griffin, and we paid $15. Yup...15 bucks for 6 kids & 3 adults. Who could beat that for an afternoon packed full of fun?

It's a very fun place to play. There's a big Playplace thing (like @ McDonald's) for the kids to climb in & explore. There is an arcade with a ton of games set to "free play". And of course, there is mini-golf (it is "Pro Putt" after all). They also have a room with "Cosmic Golf" (glow-in-the-dark).

It's great, because (for the most part) the kids all go & do what they want. This left time for Grandma to kick Grandpa's butt at a game of golf. Allison kept trying to steal the ball. Here's Adelaide throwing balls at me. Griffin really liked jumping on the trampoline.Adelaide had a blast on it too. Can't you tell by the smile on her face?Even Allison got a turn on the trampoline.Grandpa agreed to play a game of pool with Griffin. He was thrilled to pieces for the opportunity.Look at the concentration....
Later, Adam played a game with Griffin. He always wants to try my video-pool. I think he realizes that real pool is a little harder than it looks.Ryan really liked playing this Trophy Hunter game. I think he was getting pretty good at it. He took a break for a while & played a round of "Cosmic Golf" with Amelia. She wasn't real sure how to golf, but Ryan was very patient & had fun with her.Adelaide even got into playing a few games. She really doesn't have the skills, but she was tickled to death to be ALLOWED to play games just like the "big kids".I think Adam tried almost every game in the place. He liked this old Simpson's game well.Adam also played Trophy Hunter for a while.Allison was very independent. She climbed in the playplace just like the others. She got into the ball pit just like the others.But, she DID discover that she didn't want to be IN the balls. Poor baby.Everybody had a great time. But, I'm running out of ideas to entertain people. Oh well. Today, we went to the pool again. I guess that's always a good idea.

Caramel Popcorn

Popcorn + Paper bag + Microwave = Mmmmm...

The other night, I made some caramel popcorn. I got the recipe when one of my friends did an enrichment mini-class on "gifts that taste good". You know...We ALL need more ideas than just a plate of cookies. It's a great recipe & pretty easy too. You end up with kind of a "Cracker Jacks" type of popcorn (not usually as dark though). Here's the recipe. Try it!

Microwave Caramel Popcorn
You need about 16 C popped popcorn. I used 2 bags of microwave popcorn - which is a little less I think. Put the popped popcorn into a paper grocery bag. Place 1/2 C butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 C brown sugar & 1/4 C light corn syrup into a microwave-safe bowl. Cook on high 1-2 minutes until caramel mixture bubbles. Stir, then cook 3 minutes more - stirring after each minute. Add 1/2 tsp baking soda & 1 tsp vanilla and stir. Pour mixture all over popcorn in paper bag. Fold the bag down several times (so it fits back in microwave) & cook on high 1 minute. Shake the bag. Cook 1 minute more, then shake. Cook 30 seconds, then shake and 30 seconds more & shake again. Then pour out on the counter to cool (on foil or waxed paper).

This stuff is SO good. I didn't think to take a picture until it was almost gone. Like I said, I used 2 bags of Microwave popcorn, so that should give you an idea of the batch size. I don't think I would recommend doubling the batch, because you want to be able to shake it to coat everything evenly. BEWARE - The bag gets hot! I usually hold the top where it is folded & use a potholder to pinch the bottom of the bag.

Pick up a few bags at the grocery store, you won't be able to reuse them after this.

Sunday in Springfield

On Sunday, we took a little day-trip with my in-laws who are visiting from AZ. We went to see the Abraham Lincoln Home, the Train Depot and Lincoln's Tomb. It was interesting, but hard to entertain little ones who don't know/care who Abraham Lincoln was.Here's the Lincoln home. One of Lincoln's sons (?) sold it to the Government for $1, with the condition that they could never charge an admission & it should be staged as if it was the year that Lincoln left Springfield to campaign for the presidency.Here's a pic of Bry's mom. The railing on the stairs was apparently "original". Ooooo...I touched the same rail as Abe Lincoln. Cool. We went by the Presidential Library, but decided that there really wasn't anything for kids & we didn't have anything in mind to research.

Here's my nephew, Ryan.
I thought this was the funniest sign. I know the context is railroad cars, but I still thought it was funny.We also went to Lincoln's Tomb, but I didn't get any pics. Bry forgot to take the camera with him while I stayed in the car with 3 sleeping beauties. I think they all had a pretty good time.

July 29, 2008

Fun Video Clips

I know... Both of these clips are of Allison. But, she is just SO entertaining sometimes.

What do you do in the car on a road trip? Apparently, this is what goes on in the carseat that I don't usually get to see from the front seat.

Allison LOVES her Baby. In fact, she sleeps with this doll every night. She thought it was great fun to put her Baby in the drawer of the hotel nightstand & slam it shut. No fingers were injured or pinched in the process.

I know I MAY be biased, but I have the cutest kids. As much as they drive me crazy sometimes, I love them all very much.

St. Louis Trip - July 18th & 19th

Last weekend, we dropped our friend off at the airport in St.Louis. I got to ride in the backseat with the kids. Isn't she a cutie?
After we left the airport, we had lunch and went to the Magic House Children's Museum. Here are some pics.

Adam tried to enclose himself in a bubble. - I think we need more soap.Amelia & Adelaide were excited to paint some pictures...with actual paint!Adam tried to see how fast he could do a wheelchair. I think it was a little harder than he expected.Amelia HAD to try too. I love this pic...She always seems to have her tongue out when she's concentrating.Adelaide & Amelia went shopping at the "Market"."Cheese!"There was a little baby area for Allison to play. She found this tiny little "ball-pit". She quickly lost interest after falling in head-first. She was stuck! Too funny!The girls really liked this big vinyl (?) slide. They climbed up & slid down over & over.Adam really liked playing in the water. He was blocking the water & then removing the dam to release the surge of water. Fun, fun.After playing inside, we explored the "beach" outside. The girls enjoyed digging in the sand for a few minutes before we left to find our hotel.The kids ALL looked forward to swimming at the hotel. It was a very small pool & nothing special. But, they loved it.
Allison & Mommy
Mia holding onto daddyAdam finally learned how to float in swim lessons, and he really likes it. I love this pic.After swimming, I went on a "food run". We ate our dinner in our room, and Bry & the kids went back down to swim some more, leaving Allison & I to relax in the room. Allison was so silly. She ran around the room & played. She thought it was the funniest thing to put her Baby into the drawer of the nightstand.

Allison was very upset that she had to go to bed. I tried to make things as comfortable as possible. I made sure to bring her Baby & her blanket.
On Saturday, we got up & had breakfast, then went to the St. Louis Zoo. I know I already went on a rant about the zoo admission prices, so I will spare you another. It was nice that this zoo was free. I was tempted to purchase the Safari Pass which included all the "extras" that had separate charges...the train, children's zoo, sea lion show, etc. Bryan convinced me to wait & I'm glad he did, because we didn't even miss doing those "extras" with all the other exhibits.

There was a zoo worker in the reptile house with this iguana. I really didn't think the girls would go near it, even though it was a puppet.
Doesn't he look thrilled? He really DID have a good time.These 2 are so photogenic (and HUGE camera hogs). They're pretty cute though.We did eat lunch inside the zoo. I thought it was hysterical to watch my petite, little Allison devour a whole corn dog. No Problem...The penguins were in a very cool exhibit. (no pun intended) We had to wait in line to get inside the building. Once we got into the building, the kids cried & complained about being cold. What do I expect?I thought this was the funniest shot. It almost looks like they are watching each other.I let Allison out of the stroller inside the monkey house. She actually (surprisingly) noticed some of the monkeys & watched them. "Little Mommy" Mia made sure to keep her close.He's there.The other exhibit that I really, really liked was the butterfly garden. It was enclosed like an aviary, so you could walk through it. Adelaide & I stumbled upon it, and walked through while we were waiting for the others. There were so many varieties & they were floating around everywhere. It was very cool.

Again, I end with a cute little kiss goodnight from my baby.

July 28, 2008

"Is this the Purple Monkey way???"

An update on the status of the Purple Monkey... He has been flat & laying on the ground for (at least) the past 3 days that the kids have noticed.

Because my in-laws are visiting, whenever we go somewhere, we take 2 cars. Amelia & Adam have been taking turns riding with Grandma. When we got home, one of these evenings, Amelia made a point of telling Adelaide that the Purple Monkey was flat & did she see him laying on the ground etc. I have NO idea how or why my kids have become SO fixated on this thing. I only blog it, because I think it is so funny & cute. My 12 year old nephew questioned why the girls liked the Purple Monkey so much. It's really an unexplainable phenomenon.

We were driving in Springfield, IL yesterday. Adelaide asked if we were going home. I told her we were. Then she asked, "Is this the Purple Monkey way?"

July 27, 2008

A Day at the Pool

For those who don't know, my in-laws & 2 nephews have been visiting us this week. This is one reason I haven't had a chance to blog. Yesterday was a good day. Grandma took all the grandkids (minus Allison) to see Space Chimps. They LOVED it. This is a regular ritual for grandma, and Adam has really missed it. Later, we went to State Farm Pool to swim. Now, you have to understand that we went to the pool on Thursday & FROZE! It was a nice day (maybe 75 degrees) and a little breezy. The water was warm, but you were freezing when you got out. Yesterday, it was great. We swam for a while, then ate dinner. Then, the kids swam some more. The boys all psyched themselves up to going off the diving board & trying the big, red slide. Well, they LOVED it! I sat watching them for 45 minutes or so. They just slid then went right up to do it again. Adam jumped off the diving board & then got out and back to jump again. Crazy.
This is a little video clip of the boys and the big slide they loved so much. "We love you mom."
This is Griffin talking excitedly to his big brother, Ryan. Isn't he cute?
Here comes Ryan!

Griffin is Crazy! Adam would yell all the way down - You could totally hear him coming!

Cannonball! You go Ryan!

Griffin is ready...

Cool cousins...Ryan, Adam & Griffin.

Just a few diving board shots...

...Griffin & Ryan
These are my in-laws... Pat & Dave. This is a pretty good pic, isn't it Katy?I know he'll probably kill me, but I really like this photo of Bry. He's my sweetheart. I love you dear.
What better pic to end with, than this sweetie? Allison loves to be in the water.