I love our neighborhood. We’re within the city of Des Moines, but it often feels like we’re in a small town. I get that feeling the most often during our fall festival. The neighborhood comes together to celebrate all things Beaverdale. We spent a lot of time enjoying it this weekend.
Last night we walked downtown to get some food and let the kids pick a ride. Audrey had never been on a ride and was incredibly excited to experience it (after all, Pig from If You Give a Pig a Party goes on carnival rides with her friends, so it must be amazing). Elliot got so far as to go up onto the platform and then screamed until John handed him back to me.
After the ride we let the kids try cotton candy. It was a HUGE hit.
They enjoyed the cotton candy on the walk home and we enjoyed the quietest walk we have had in quite some time.
This morning we were up bright and early. We loaded up the stroller and headed off to enjoy the morning. Our first stop was my dear friend Laura’s house for brunch. It was great to catch up with her and spend some time with her family.After brunch the whole house headed a few houses down to watch the Beaverdale Fall Festival Parade. I planned ahead this year and brought bubbles to keep the kids entertained until the parade started. I also brought a mimosa with me, which really makes parades more enjoyable. A little champagne makes firetrucks, horses, dancers, and members of Congress just a tad more enjoyable.
We had planned on heading back to the fall festival this afternoon, but it is so hot here we are staying put. Taking toddlers going through a post-parade candy detox out to a crowded street in 90 degree heat sounded like a recipe for disaster.
Greetings from the end of a wonderful day. The weather was perfect today, and we made the most of it.
We started our day at Center Grove Orchard, about 40 minutes from our house. Calling it an orchard doesn’t do this place justice. It’s full of entertaining options for little kids. We got season passes this year, so we will be there often.
We visited last year, but the kids were a little too young. This year Audrey is loving every part of the orchard. The jumping pillows were a hit with her.She even braved the huge slide – all by herself!
We took a hayride to the train. Elliot was terrified of both rides. He has no issue with the train at the zoo, but this one was too much for him. Audrey liked it. She got to blow the whistle at the end, which she thought was very cool.
After the ride out with a terrified Elliot, I decided we would take the trail back to the farm-yard. It had a couple of hills that were steep for little legs, but it was worth it because we saw a turtle on our walk. After our walk we headed home for lunch and naps. We will be back again soon – we didn’t even play in the corn pit or feed the goats or ride the pedal tractors or visit the three little pigs houses. I think we’re really going to enjoy having season passes.
This afternoon we headed to our neighborhood farmers market for the last market of the season. I really wish the market would go later in the year, it’s still nice in September, and there is still plenty of produce to harvest. I picked up a tote bag (I have a tote bag addiction – they work so well as project bags) from the neighborhood association. I love being able to get a new tote bag and justify its purchase because I’m helping the neighborhood association.We had a picnic feast of all sorts of foods – a falafel wrap, a bean and cheese papusa, egg rolls and pad thai. We brought baklava home for John. The pad thai was awful, Elliot ate the eggs out and we threw the rest away.
I love it when we are able to spend most of the day outside. Warm, sunny weather and fresh air are good for my soul. So is not having to cook dinner. I hope your Tuesday was as joyful as mine.
Now that I’ve finished the Study Hall Shawl I’m back to working on my caramel sweater. It’s amazing how much progress you can make when you only have one project on the needles.
I hope to be on the sleeves by next week. I’m done with the green stripe and have about 25 rows to go until I bind off. I’m going to have a lot of ends to sew in. I know I could carry the yarn between stripes, but I think this will be a floppy front cardigan and it would really bother me to see the carried yarn. So I will just deal with ends.
After days in the 90s we are down to the 70s. It feels wonderful. The kids and I spent as much time outside as we could today. We walked with friends to a park and stopped for lunch on a patio on our way home. It is perfect out. I hope this weather sticks around.
Last weekend, over bland oatmeal at the hotel breakfast, Kathleen and I were waxing poetic about instant oatmeal packets. Sure, they are gluey and loaded with sugar, but in my memory they are amazing.
I wanted to make something that recreated that flavor, but with less sugar and more real food. So this morning I made easy peaches and cream oatmeal.
1 c water
1/2 c rolled oats
1/2 c frozen peach slices
1/4 t cinnamon
2 t brown sugar
1 T half and half or milk or milk substitute
Put water, oats, frozen peaches, and cinnamon in a pan and bring to a simmer. Once the peaches have softened a bit use kitchen shears to cut them into smaller pieces. I suppose you could take them out and do that with a knife, but I found it easier to cut them up in the pot as they simmered away. When the oatmeal is done (I think it is supposed to be 3 minutes, but I usually cook them until the eggs are done or the table is set and it turns out fine), stir in sugar and half and half.
These are as good as the oatmeal that I remember, and they contain a full serving of fruit. The sugar can be adjusted based on your mood or the sweetness of the fruit you are using. I like that I always have these ingredients on hand, so I can whip it up whenever the mood strikes. I’ll be making it again soon, as Audrey is suddenly a big fan of oatmeal.
We’ve been spending a lot of time in our backyard pool this week. We added a water slide, and now we play outside for hours. Today Elliot added a lawnmower so he could do some yard work in the pool.
Before we went out this afternoon Audrey insisted on wearing a swim diaper as a swim hat. She was so proud of herself for discovering a new hat. She only looks serious because I made her stop playing so I could get a picture of her fancy hat.
Elliot has been stealing Audrey’s giraffe floaty and loving summer. It is hard to take a picture of him where he isn’t smiling or laughing. People are thinking about going back to school and summer ending. We are pretending fall isn’t heading our way. We have at least a month of swimming in our yard ahead of us. We intend to soak up every minute.
Audrey and I went camping last weekend. It was the kind of camping I prefer – the kind in a camper with beds and a flush toilet and air conditioning.
We camp with our friends at their camper in North East Missouri. It is a four-hour drive according to google. According to a certain 3-year-old it takes 5 and a half hours. We stopped four times on the way down. But sometimes you need to stop and take a hike through a butterfly garden or play at a park. Hike is probably not the right word, as it is more of a flutter. Audrey is very interested in fluttering like a butterfly, so she runs around flapping her arms, saying “flutter, flutter, flutter.”
When we got to the camper we unpacked our stuff and headed out to do our traditional first night of camping dinner: pizza.
On Saturday it was a little chilly for July. It was too cold for the water park or the beach, so we explored playgrounds. We visited 3 before nap time. It is the first time I can remember Audrey falling right to sleep in the camper.
For dinner we decided to head to the Hootenanny – a restaurant that specializes in pie. I had a wrap for dinner that was delicious, but the pie was what stood out. I went with a slice of butterfinger pie.
After dinner we headed to another park. We then headed back to the camper, totally exhausted.
Our drive home was faster than our drive down to Missouri. By that point Audrey had figured out that she wasn’t going to get a bag of M&Ms every time we stopped. We had been on the road for about three hours when we got to Oskaloosa. When we are on a road trip and it is clear that the kids need to get out and play I just drive around a small town off the highway until we find a park. They are usually easy to find. In Oskaloosa I found the best road trip park we have ever found. It was huge! There was a new playground, and old wooden playground, and an old playground with a rocket slide. It was so big I might be heading there next year for a special picnic day.
This week we are staying in Des Moines, which I’m looking forward to. I love to travel, but four nights out-of-town last week wore me out.