Thursday, August 25, 2016

Iowa State Fair '16: Midway Edition

The next time we went to the fair Charlotte got to use her "ride anything you want as many times as you want" wristband. Last year she bonded with a another girl on the first ride, and they were "two hour friends". Like a gambler who hits a jackpot on the first spin, Charlotte is doomed to believe this will happen every time she gets on an amusement ride.

She thought she had a shot with this guy.

But it wasn't to be.

We consoled ourselves with some food on a stick. Guess which stick is mine and which one is Char's.

A cool drink also helped her mood.

Let's try again.

Time to celebrate and cool off with some ice cream nachos.

Expression exercises!

"Look happy."

"Look sad."

"Look mad."

"Look hungry."

"Look even hungrier."

"Look scared."

"More scared!"

Then I said, "Actually, I think it's time to go home now."

Real emotion?

Nah. Kids are born actors, and we went home anyway.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2nd First Day

Today is Charlotte's first day to be a first grader! We went to open house last night to check out her new digs. A desk of your own is quite an upgrade from the kindergarten tables of last year.

Her cubbyhole is bigger this year, too.

I took pictures at home.

It's also the first day of school for Daphne and I, so neither of us could be at Karen Acres when Charlotte went in. Kim, our daycare provider (and more), took pictures for us. Thanks!

Only 2,159 days to go...

(As a footnote, today is my 43rd time to go back to school.)

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I can do a pretty good job of making Charlotte a simple breakfast to eat before we leave the house, but I can never remember to make a sandwich for myself for lunch.

Last school year I made quite a few trips to McDonald's for lunch, and  after awhile I noticed that although I enjoyed eating the hamburgers, I didn't feel very good later. I didn't get sick, but I just felt not well.

I made a promise to myself to not eat at the golden arches for the entire summer, and I accomplished my goal... except for when we were in Canada. I almost drove the rental car off the road when I spotted this sign.

A McLOBSTER? Oh man, I just had to try that! It was time to turn around and break a promise. Char was also excited because this Micky D's had a big Play Place. Daphne walked in a few steps behind us, and she shared none of our excitement. 

I ate my sandwich while Charlotte climbed up and slid down a tower of plastic and rope. She later told Grandma Maureen that her favorite thing about her trip up north was, "Playing at McDonald's!" That made Daphne cringe. 

Here's the McLOBSTER ($8.99 in Canadian dollars).  Does it say "Gout" at the top of the container?

I was a bit disappointed with the amount of fillings. There's a lot open space in there. But the meat looked like a real lobster claw, and it kinda tasted like a real lobster claw. I'm no expert on sea food, so I'm just glad I took the time to try it. These won't be selling in Iowa any time soon.

When we left, Daphne was finally glad, too.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Adel Sweet Corn Festival '16: What a Great Afternoon

We went to the Iowa State Fair on opening day, and we plan on going next Tuesday and maybe next Sunday, too. That doesn't mean we were sitting at home twiddling our fingers waiting for the calendar to flip its pages to enjoy great food, entertainment, and Iowa hospitality.

We visited the Adel Sweet Corn Festival on Saturday.

Adel's festival is held near and around its town square. Neither Inwood or Rock Valley had a town square, and I'm jealous of Adel's small town majesty.

We arrived at the festival a bit after noon, and it was about 70 degrees in the shade according to a local tree meteorologist.

Our first stop was to check out the food trucks. We shared a pulled pork sandwich that was great, but I was too hungry to pull out our camera. Daphne had a Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich that did make a photo shoot appearance. Sorry if partially eaten food grosses you out.

Nice job, Curbin Cuisine!

I checked out the car show.

After that we grabbed some free sweet corn. You just need to snag a paper plate and get in line. Once you get to the sweet corn stand you simply tell them how many ears of corn you want.

Then grab some milk crates and dig in.

Up next was the promised bag of cotton candy. Char gets this about once a year, and we always pay for it later. The sugar rush makes her whole body shake.

She gets a little out of control...

Luckily, she could burn off some energy on the inflatables.

We also caught a free performance from 80's metal cover band Abby Normal.


"Sweet Child O' Mine," indeed.

That's totally cheesy, I know, but parenting has made me such a sap.

On the way home we stopped by Petsmart to get some dog food, and I spotted these three kittens sleeping in an adoption cage. This post has already become sappy, so why not show you sleeping kittens?

Then, for a change of tone, I'm going to switch from cute cats to dirty dogs.

We also stopped by HyVee to get some grilling supplies, and I spotted the worst looking hot dog I have ever seen for sale:

HyVee, have a little more pride in what you sell. Even gas stations would throw a burnt brick like this away.


Friday, August 12, 2016

Iowa State Fair '16: Still Sticking Our Heads in Stuff Edition

Char won't ever ride the bus to school because she is open enrolled. So, any bus ride gets her pretty excited. It starts our day at the fair on a high note.

The Thursday morning sky was gray, and you can see the puddles lurking  behind my first corn dog of the year.

We hung out in the Varied Industries Building to keep dry. We went upstairs to see the quilt that Daphne's sister created. This year Phaedra is keeping the quilting family tradition alive.

The quilting room was fine, but our hunger took us to the Turkey Federation's stand. Daphne wanted to try their "Not Your Mama's Taco." Surprisingly good, if I was blindfolded I would have had no idea I was eating turkey.

Not surprising, Char wanted nothing to do with the taco, but she was all over a Fair Square.

The clouds were making an exit at this point, so we headed over to "Little Hands on the Farm" before it got too hot and the lines got too long. 

To quote the Iowa State Fair website, "Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way... Children obtain a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn and dairy barn...  they get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm Farmers’ Market for a Little Hands dollar to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream sandwich."

Char bought a drink with her Little Hands dollar.

Obligatory pork chop on a stick picture:

Char enjoyed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick while we were waiting for a the free Vocal Trash show to start. 

The cold, rainy morning had twisted into a sweltering afternoon. The heat index was 106, and the ice sculpture giraffe was melting as fast as the artist could carve it.

The highlight of the day was back in the Varied Industries Building. That's where Char got to meet the hosts of IPTV Clubhouse, Dan Wardell and Abby Brown. Charlotte really likes their new tv show, and she could answer every question Abby asked her. Both Dan and Abby were very personable, and the typically shy Charlotte wants to go back to meet them again.

The heat had zapped my appetite, but we grabbed an egg on a stick on our way home.

Oops, I almost forgot those things we stick our heads into.