Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Summer Fun: Outdoor Projects

Between camping, biking, kayaking, the state parks, both extended families we found time to complete outdoor and indoor projects at home. 

With help from my mom at Easter, Christine added flower gardens to the south side of the house and around the propane tank.  The existing flower bed on the north side of the house received extra plants as well.  It has been a learning experience with our own flowers. I just recently pulled weeds that turned out to be FLOWERS. During the summer heatwave the best looking plant was velvet leaf WEED!  Luckily an informed uncle identified the plant and we pulled it.  Michaela modeled its heights below before it quickly wilted.

After a couple months of flower beds, we edged them bricks found at a garage sale and ones left behind by the previous owners.


We finished the edges off with needed bricks from Menards, and happily only had to redo one edge. Michaela and Danielle are frequent visitors to Menards and prefer the outdoor garden area.

We added pavers to the east side of the garage to provide a somewhat level area to park the pop-up trailer and laid matching pavers as a small patio. The small patio replaced hard dirt that sparsely grew any grass. The other pavers replaced grass that had died when we parked the pop-up in the same location last year. Sod from the local farm has filled in the edges around the pop-up trailer parking spot nicely after a month of watering.

With a bit of sweat a few new tools we finished these projects. A new butterfly flower garden around the electric boxes remains for this fall on the to-do list.

Summer Fun: Indoor Projects

We've been busy camping, biking, kayaking, visiting state parks, spending time with both extended families, and completing outdoor projects this summer....but have also spent time relaxing indoors. 

Christine's been ambitious, painting the entire inside of the house.  This summer she mudded and painted the garage drywall and came up with the $1 canvas idea below.  Her creativity is totally awesome!

Christine helped the girls with craft projects and schooling, where I feel more comfortable with step-by-step instructions.  Below are Origami projects from a couple of days as well as the puzzles the graced the folding table this summer.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Whitewater State Park Educational Programs

Whitewater State Park also has an amazing program this year and is offering classes everyday the whole summer on educational topics and we have went to quite a few of them this summer already.  Everyone of us (even the girls) have had a blast at all of them...well I didn't particularly enjoy one of them (only one guess as to which one!) but otherwise it has been an awesome program for us and we totally appreciate having such and active and public friendly state park only 20 minutes away.

So far we have went to the bird banding clinic last year, I think we did a blog of that if you care to see pictures and then this year we also went to an owl program.  This was done at 8pm so it was a late night and unfortunately we didn't take any pictures as it was at night.  I later regreted that we did not take the camera as it was one of the most beautiful nights I have ever seen.  The low-lying river valley was thick with fog and lightning bugs as we walked and called to the owls. It was such a memorable experience for me.

A couple weeks ago we went camping and got to attend two programs, one on rocks where the girls got to paint and bring home their very own pet rocks.  The other one was on water monsters and the girls got to take nets and try to catch things in the swimming area.  We caught a lot of things, including a gigantic crawdad that all the kids in the program enjoyed looking at.

Just this last week we also got to go to a program on snakes and it was very informative, I even caught Michaela repeating back some of the things that she heard during the program.  Though they did happen to say that particular snakes are partial to a couple of the areas in the park that we frequent and I was less than happy to hear about it....ignorance is bliss, people!  At the end of the program both girls got to hold a fox snake around their necks and the girls did awesome!  They were totally brave and I thought I should also be commended on being a foot away from the snake and taking pictures of the girls...ugh! :)

Summer Fun: Kayaking

As most of you know, Winona has a great program that teams up with Wenonah Canoes and offers free kayaking, canoeing all summer for anyone who comes to the Lake Lodge Rec Center in town. It has limited hours but is offered every day so we have had a lot of fun taking the girls out on the lake. We also try to take anyone who is visiting us for a ride as well as it seems that everyone enjoys going and it is nice as everyone can participate no matter how many people are in town. Anyhow, thought I would just do a quick blog and post a few of the pics of us enjoying the boats.

Michaela has recently taken to kayaking all by herself. At first, I was quite nervous but she does awesome and makes it all the way to the opposite shore and back to the lodge all by herself! Danielle has tried it as well, but I believe lacks the strength as well as determination to paddle for any real length of time :)

Grandma Cindy and Grandpa Mike joined us for some fun a couple weeks ago and the girls had fun showing off their paddling skills for them.