Saturday, June 30, 2012

Brewers game

I have only been to one baseball game in my life...that's if you don't count a few 4H games I went to in 6th grade.  I was the statistician in grade school for the ball teams.  I have no natural talent when it comes to sports.  So when I made my list of things to do, I thought I should add a ball game since my kids and so many other people who live here are always going to the games, talking about the games, partying with the fans, etc.

We were so close to the action
Last night my husband got us invited to see the Brewers lose to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a comfy box seat sponsored by M&I bank.  That's right.  The bank that just fired all its Wisconsin employees when it was bought out by a Canadian bank.  Funny how things work out in the business world.

There were no hotdogs in the box, but look at this Burger!!!



In the kid zone, you could "be the ball"


Food was nonstop!  chips, pretzels, candy, pizza, burgers, cheese sticks!


The only other game I had ever seen was at the old stadium where I sat on the bleachers in uncomfortable heat and had beer spilled on me.  This was definitely an upgrade!  I can't believe how high tech baseball has become.  I know the players make millions of dollars and the stadium was over the top expensive with its very cool roof that opens to allow weather, star light, and sunshine to show through.  But I was unprepared for all the Las Vegas glitz in scoreboards, ads, and sideshow entertainment inside the stadium.  It was all very fun!  Even if the game wasn't interesting, there was plenty of entertainment and people watching.
Omar the chic magnet flirting with the dancers
91 mph!  what a pitch!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kayaking with my boys in Door County

I spent the last couple of days in Door County at Peninsula State Park- a mecca for the outdoorsman. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/peninsula/

I haven't been tent camping in a very long time, but because I enjoyed it as a kid, I thought my kids should have the same advantage.  I think I'm becoming more prone to enjoying hotels or cabins now.  I love tent camping...except for the mosquitoes, ticks, poison ivy, sunburn, critters that keep you awake and inclement weather.  And now that I've camped with Omar, add dirt everywhere and sleepless nights.
We hadn't even unloaded the car before Omar was covered head to toe in dirt
Bonfires are the best!

Our little home away from home.  Just don't go into the woods because it's loaded with poison ivy!
Eagle Tower- we climbed this for a better view of the park

See the goats on the roof?
Since we were in Door County, I wanted the boys to experience Al Johnson's, a Swedish restaurant with goats on the roof.  Omar loves pancakes and making them over the bonfire didn't appeal to me, so we drove up there for breakfast.  http://www.aljohnsons.com/  If you go to their website, you can even check out the goatcam!

We also took a short detour to Ellison Bluff county park where you can get a good view of the limestone ledge.
Door county is know for this type of rocky ledges

We did manage to have an adventure from my List of 50 while there.  We rented ocean kayaks and started to paddle around the shore to see the bluff with Eagle tower (where Omar and I had climbed that morning).  That was easy enough so Jake thought we should head out to Horseshoe island and back.  Seemed a good target so we set off.  Great fun!  And then the wind picked up and we were rowing sideways.  And then Jake, who was the chosen one to be riding with Omar on the double kayak, called out that Omar was overboard!  Somehow, singlehandedly, he managed to get him back on board without losing a paddle.  Whew the wind was strong and the waves were bigger.  We seemed to be going nowhere.  And this is where I reminded Jake that my Buddhist monk acquaintance says 'being in the moment is good for you".  I have to say that when you're paddling for your life, you are LIVING IN THE MOMENT!!!  Another 25 minutes of vigorous rowing and we were back to the put-in site and I was still dry... until I fell backwards getting out of the boat!  It was more humiliating than anything else.



Ready for action in smooth water and the island behind us is the destination
Overall it was a good trip.  We cut it short because bad weather was on the way and none of us really wanted to be in a tent for one more night if it was going to storm.  I loved the kayaking and look forward to trying it again, although I'm really sore today.  It must be good exercise!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reclaiming Our Heritage Event- Veterans Reenactment

Reenactment site
I had intended to visit the Veteran's home here in Milwaukee and bring cupcakes, only to learn there really isn't one.  They do have a hospital, but you aren't allowed to bring food (too many have diabetes and other problems).  What they suggested was attending an event on the grounds where you can meet up with loads of veterans and talk to them, which is what they really need.

This event is called Reclaiming Our Heritage.  https://forohmilwaukee.org/  and it was held a couple weeks ago.  They have reenactments and veterans come from all over the US to participate.  We were there bright and early on a Saturday morning and met so many wonderful people.  Omar enjoyed the parade and seeing all the military vehicles.  They were giving out flowers to veterans....and donuts.  Ha!  Guess there aren't food restrictions for all us vets who attend!

Loved how even the dogs get involved!
The hardest part of visiting at any veteran facility is seeing so many young people missing limbs.  You know their stories involve horrific memories in faraway places, and they will never be 'normal' again.  Some want to talk about their experiences as part of the healing process, but many shut out those painful thoughts.  We saw veterans from every war represented.  The older fellows cried when recalling friends lost.  They could see the equipment they used and I'm sure it conjured up old memories.  Here are a few photos from the fun day we had there.  Enjoy!

Omar and Abdul waiting for the parade to start.  Omar dressed in his civil war uniform we got at Gettysburg.






There were active duty soldiers on hand with trucks and equipment that kids could see up close

I learned that many of the buildings are being restored.  The original site began after the civil war to house civil war veterans.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Garden party

Today the weather was sunny and bright as 10 neighbors gathered in my next door neighbor's front yard and we had a lovely garden party.  We have to use her yard because there is no room in mine, unless you use the driveway and that seems tacky, so we often share her yard and we get sandwiched between her lovely flowerbeds and mine.  You can see the roses in full bloom now.  It's a gorgeous day for enjoying the garden.  

I made Prince William's wedding cake (groom's cake) something I had been wanting to do since I saw it when he got married.  Of course, mine is a down sized version and very tasty!  This is for you if you LOVE chocolate!  http://www.theroyalchef.com/2011/04/the-royal-wedding-cake-recipe/

I chose to use strawberries on top because they are in season and who doesn't love chocolate strawberries?


We do have lunch with the neighbors a few times a year.  It's a great opportunity to catch up with news.  Even though we often wave to each other, you don't seem to share family events or really chat unless you sit down over food.  I love that we have this small group of women who live so close to me and can share in my birthday!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Move Grass Grow Food

Last night we had a salad with the greens I've been growing on my porch.  I had grown herbs and tomatoes in pots and a few tucked in here and there in the yard, but this is the first year the emphasis has been to grow our own salad ingredients.  My yard is very tiny by most people's standards.  We live in a suburb of Milwaukee where you can really hear the neighbors sneeze if your windows are open.  When we had a full lawn, it took less than 10 minutes to mow it all.

my front yard- we used to have grass but it's all flowers and herbs now
Finding space to grow veggies was a challenge.  I got something in junk mail about some growboxes www.agardenpatch.com that sounded enticing, so I bought 6 of those, but they don't come cheap.  I paid $225 and I still had to put in potting mix and seeds.  The initial investment is high, but you can use the same dirt for many years if you buy new fertilizer pads to lay on the top.  They GUARANTEE results or you can get your money back.  I planted in them 2 weeks ago and I can say it's the fastest I have ever had a garden in a small space.  They are nestled under the eaves on the driveway- kind of a dead spot anyway and because they are self watering, it's no problem that there is no rainfall there.
herbs and salads in pots, then a growbox with melons



Well, that seemed a good start, but there was still much more I wanted to plant, so I looked on line and was lucky to find the victory garden initiative in Milwaukee.  www.victorygardeninitiative.org
They were discounting their raised beds by 50% if you would join a blitz that was happening during Memorial Day week.  I had to find a spot in my yard that had 6 hours of sunshine and was 8x4 feet.  The cost was $150 which included them building it and a yard of organic dirt.  That was a bit challenging as we only had one particular spot that would work.  Guess this is the limit for what we'll garden.  I am still wondering how the seeds will grow as there are a number of rabbits and squirrels who have been by to investigate.  This is a work in progress, so we'll face the challenges as they come.

 I still have some plants tucked away in the front yard.  There's some thyme growing along the walkway and herbs among the flowers.  This year I planted spinach with the geraniums, thinking that the spinach would be done before the geraniums needed all that space and so far it's working out well. It just goes to show you that if you really want to grow veggies, you don't need a lot of space and it can be fun too!


spinach growing along with geraniums

chives, parsley, and oregano