Monday, May 31, 2010

First swim of the year

All weekend the kids begged to go the beach.  It defies common sense to go swimming yet, the ice has barely been off the lake, or so it seems.  But they keep on asking and so last night Dad said to take them in and they can see it is still too cold.  We pull into the beach parking lot and it was full of people with no common sense. 

Spark ran down to the water and jumped right in.  Dancer was a little more hesitant but she too submerged.  She only swam for about half an hour, all the while telling us how cold it was on the bottom.  Spark was in there for over a hour and sure didn't look cold.  Perhaps he is part polar bear.  We should go in and take the temp of the water and see just how cold it was.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How does your garden grow?

We spent a good portion of the day working on the gardens.  It still isn't all done but we got more planted.  Some things, like beans, we plant all the way through the middle of July so we have enough for farmers' markets.  Others like the squash and melons need to get in asap.

In the garden by the house, the one that is mostly for us not markets, we put in some more peppers.  They were sitting by the garage just begging to get in the ground so we put them in this garden just to get them in.  The garden is also full of row after row of radishes that just are not growing in our odd spring weather.  I thought that most of them would be out by now but they still will need a few more weeks.  Because they are still there I am not able to plant somethings as soon as I would have liked to.   I am sure everything will catch up once we have some warm nights. 

He did go back and fill the spots were the previously planted veggies didn't germinate as well as they could have.  The peas had a few bare spots as did the Black Seeded Simpson lettuce.  The spinach is tiny but already blooming so I may just dig it up and replant.  Dancer put a small of spinach at an end of a row that had a little more room in it.  It was a different kind of spinach so maybe it will do better.  We also put in some Asian beans that grow to a yard long, those sounded kinda fun.  We also got a melon and squash put in down by the radishes.  By the time the radishes come out the melon and squash can start taking over that room.  I put them in where the sunflowers were because a rabbit got in and ate all but about five of the sunflowers.  A short row of wax beans made it in the dirt.  It was a little 10 cent packet so it didn't go far but we will get a few.

Of course, there was plenty of weeding to do.  They are growing like, well weeds.  We will weed one day and the next a new crop has popped up over night.

In the market garden there are six long rows of snap peas that are starting to come up.  Five long row of lettuce are almost ready to be picked.  We have 37 tomato plants that are well established despite the lack of rain we have  had.  We have done some watering.  We don't over do it with watering because we have to run the pump which makes the electric bill pop right up to levels that make me uncomfortable to write the check out when I know it was for water.  The bill and, this hasn't happened to us here, but we don't want the well to go dry when it gets droughtish.  The kids put in 27 hills of cucumbers.  They hope that they will be their big money maker this summer.  Those they will advertise in the paper or perhaps on Craig's List besides taking them to the market.  We got another rhubarb plant this spring so now we have seven.  It will takes a few years for them to really start producing but they have a good start. 

Dad got two more of the gardens tilled.  I know he put green beans in one, not sure what he has planned for the other one.

Since the kids get all their spending money from the farmers' markets they have really been pitching in and helping.  If they don't work, they don't get paid.  Spark other years has seen Dancer get paid and he hasn't because he refused to help.  This year he has some items he wants to buy and so he has stepped his game up.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

These will work

We were blessed with the most gorgeous weather tonight so we had a spur of the moment bonfire.  Bonfire always make us think we need to eat so the kids were going to roast some marshmallows.  Problem was we only had mini marshmallows.  Didn't stop them, they stuck them on the roasting sticks and teeny tiny roasted marshmallows.  Looking at them now we could have used chocolate chips and mini crackers to make s'mores.  I don't have any little crackers on hand though. 

Spark roasting a few over the fire.  He usually ends up with a marshmallow torch because they start on fire.  He doesn't mind, he says they have sweet meltyness then. 

We also did a few hot dogs.  By 10:00 we were back in the house because the mosquitoes were so bad.  That and Dad said he saw a couple bats fly over the clothes line.  I was a  bit freaked out by that and he tells me we always have bats in the back yard.  To make me feel better he says if you look across the road at dusk there are way more over there compared to our yard.  How could I not know this?  Now I wish I didn't, I have a huge bat phobia.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A man

Spark puts a Nintendo One Up mushroom t-shirt on tonight for bed.  I told him that when he got that shirt it came down to his knees and now it is the length of a t-shirt.  "That's because I am growing into a man!" he proudly announces.  He may find that exciting but I still want him a boy for a few more years.

21st Anniversay

At 6:30 p.m. tonight we reached the milestone of 21 years of marriage.  That just sounds old.  To celebrate we got a Common Purple Lilac to put in our front yard.  We buy them every now and then on special occasions.  Our goal is to get a line of them in the front of the yard by the road to act as a privacy fence.  Here we are in front of our new little lilac.  It looked so big in the pot and so small in the ground.

It has been a couple years since we had gotten a new one.  We thought the old ones were still tiny but in comparison the old one are huge.   They are all spreading out nicely too. 

To further celebrate our anniversary we went to Old Chicago for dinner and then to Sears to buy a new clothes washer.  That is about as exciting of celebrating we do around here.  

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Zoo farm field trip

Our homeschool group went to this zoo/farm place that is way out in the middle of nowhere.  It was just suppose to be our homeschool group but there was first grade class there at the same time although not in the same tour as us.  They were late because someone let the air out of all the school bus tires during the night and school in their town started two hours late. 

The place started 35 years ago with a just a duck pond in the back of their house.  Over the years they have just kept adding animals and now they have this little hands-on zoo.  The dad died a few years back but the wife and kids have kept it going.  They keep it very nice and well kept.  

Just our family had visited there about six years ago and liked it a lot, so when someone mentioned they would like to go I volunteered to set up a field trip.  We had a good attendance, about 40 people, which I thought was good right before a long weekend.   

Here are the highlights of the animals we like the best.

This is a little monkey.  The kids could roll cheerios down this pvc pipe and he would put his hand up to catch them as soon as he heard someone touch the pipe.  Pretty funny little guy.  He also did swinging tricks in between like if he did something cute they may send in more Cheerios.

This wasn't part of the zoo but it had made it's nest in one of their landscape areas.  It is a killdeer with four eggs under her.  She was not happy that we walked by but the area was right by the driveway in a heavy vehicle and walking area. 

This is Sally the Camel.  Her favorite food, Cheetos.  She was super friendly and enjoyed the kids feeding her grass.  Most of the animals here were very tame and you could tell they must treat them like pets.  We were able to touch or pet anything that didn't bite fingers.

The ostriches were pretty funny.  The tour lady said they have brain the size of a pea and smarts the same size.  They put their food bucket way up high on the fence in the corner and if they don't put it in exactly the same spot every day they can't figure out where it is.

This is Oscar the ram.  We took his picture because he reminded us of our goats.  He uses these big horns to push his fence out and eat the grass on the other side of the fence.   Our goats have a huge corral but they strain their necks to eat the grass on the outside of the fence.  We don't get it but it must make sense to them.  Oscar liked fingers.

This is a Trumpeter swan.  We took his picture because he was just crazy that we would be by his house.  He was the only one in is pen, which was huge he had his own very large pond, because he doesn't get along with anyone else.  They said that when wild ducks land in his pond that he runs them out.  As we were walking by him he walked along with us hissing and nipping to the end to make sure that we left.

Dancer touching the tortoise.  They have two big ones of these and they just roam around the yard with just a few big rock to keep them where they should be.  They were enjoying cabbage and watermelon. 

When we came back this little guy ran to the front of the cage again looking to see if anyone was going to give him some more cheerios.

Spark petting a penguin.  The kids got to pet one and then we saw them feeding them.  They were very curious about us.  I am not sure if we were on display for them or if they were on display for us.  Our tour guide was one of the daughers of the owners so she was very knowledgeable about their animals and had lots of good information to share.

The penguin from the front.  He had the softest feathers, for some reason I always thought they would have hard feathers for flying through the water.  This little guy was very tame and seemed to enjoy all the petting and oohh and aahhs that he got.

This is Spark with two of his good friends.  I took the picture because I thought it was sweet the three of them were hugging, they usually hug each other good bye.  Oh no, Spark tells me, we were fighting.  The girl in the photo has a lot of older siblings, many of them boys, so she is match for anyone.  I have seen her in action and wouldn't want to take her on!  I only had one older brother.

Dancer with an ostrich egg.  It was blown out and hollow and it was still heavy.  It also had a hard ceramic like shell.  Spark and Dad are looking at a huge porcupine quill.

After the tour, which took about two hours, we met at a park for some lunch and playing.  Fun day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

And they are off!!!!!

This morning

This afternoon

She wore her braces 758 days, not that she was counting or anything.  Actually she never complained once about wearing them or the rubber bands.  Before braces her teeth we so uncomfortable that she was just so grateful to have the opportunity to have them straightened out.  She had some top teeth behind bottom teeth, one was even in the middle of the roof of her mouth, the front ones stuck out in front of everything, she had two of some teeth because the adult teeth came in but the baby teeth hadn't fallen out, and everything was just not where it it should have been.  Several of her baby teeth never did fall out and she had to have them pulled and then it took forever for some of those adult teeth to come in.  With the braces they were able to make big spaces in her mouth for the teeth to at least come in where they were suppose to.  I remember we went in for what we thought was our first consultation, she was only in fifth grade, and they said, "yeah, we will get them on next month."  

That is all behind her now, all her teeth are in and they are all in the right spots going the right way!  Friday we go back for the top retainer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The big question

Dad worked last night and so he was sleeping all day.  On days when he sleeps he gets up and always asks, "What happened exciting here today?"  Normally, nothing exciting happens exciting.  Today however we had two things to report.

The first was that some vermin ate all but one and half of our sunflowers.  Spark and I planted those sunflowers in April.  It took forever for them to come up, so long in fact that I thought they weren't.  Finally a few popped their heads out of the ground when we were expecting snow and frost.  So that they wouldn't freeze, I went out there and put flower pots over the tops of them.  They did survive the frost.  A couple weeks ago, which would be about six weeks after we planted them, more of them started to sprout and we had a pretty good crop going.  I have been diligent about weeding and watering them so they were doing really, really well.  But last night while we were sleeping, I don't know if it was while we were sleeping but it does sound more dramatic, something slinked into the garden and ate them right off at ground level.   Perhaps I will put the live trap out there and see if I can find out what ate them.  Sunflower seeds might be the right bait to catch whatever it was.

Secondly, the clothes washer broke.  For the last few years it hasn't filled by itself.  I have to fill it with a hose and then when it is ready to rinse we have to listen for the cycle and run down and put water in it.  Today, on only my third load, there is a lot more down there to be done, it quit spinning.  I had to dig all the dripping clothes out, put some of them in the bin and haul them outside to hang up.  They were so  heavy it took three trips to get them all out.  I wrung them out as best I could before hanging them on the line and with the low humidity and wind of today they dried amazingly fast.   When I told Dad he says, "Is the washer broke?"  Not finding that humorous, I was a little snippy when I said, "Well, if you call filling it with wash water with a hose and just having it drain out, then filling it with the hose with rinse water, swishing the clothes around with my arms in the water up to my elbows, having it drain out again  and wringing each any every piece out before hanging them up not broke, then no it's fine."   And what did he say?  He laughed!  It reminded me little of when I was little and I would watch my mom wash clothes with the wringer washer.  Actually, today I wished I had that wringer part.  I don't know if we will get a new one or just go to the laundry mat.  It might be just as easy to go in, fill all the washers at once and get it done in the time it takes for one load.  Our town has a laundry mat so I wouldn't have to drive too far.  The only time it would be really inconvenient is when someone says they need something clean by tomorrow and I wouldn't have anyway to get it done.  The winter wouldn't be too fun either.  Hmmm, maybe we should just get a new one.

Tomorrow we have something really exiting to post but I will wait until then to talk about it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shopping with Dancer

Dancer and I went to work at the food shelf today, as we do every fourth Monday of the month.  On the way home we stopped at Kohl's to do a little shopping for her since it was just the two of us.  It is very hard to shop when Spark is with, he is very patient and well behaved, but girl clothes shopping isn't anything I expect him to have a very long attention span at.  In fact, that he goes so willingly when he has to is amazing to me. 

Dancer wants to have long shorts that come to her knees.  We have had trouble finding any this spring but have kept looking because if she wants to be that modest I certainly don't want to persuade her otherwise.  We found that Kohl's has racks and racks of long shorts so it was easy to find a couple pair.

Next was on to bra shopping.  She always wears sports bras but they were insanely priced there so we looked at regular bras.  Not having a clue as to what size she would wear in a regular bra I asked a woman wearing a name badge around her neck if they had a tape measure.  Well, she says, they don't have a tape measure in the department but she keeps on in her bag at all times.  Here the woman wasn't a Kohl's employee but a salesperson from a bra company.  She measured Dancer, helped her pick out tons of things to try on and kept checking on her in the dressing room until she had a couple that fit her perfectly.  I wholeheartedly thanked the woman when we were done and told Dancer how lucky she was that we had her to help us.  People pay for professional bra fittings and customer service like that.  It was like having a personal shopper.  Dancer, of course, felt so grown up having this woman dote on her.  She has been saying all night how glad she was that we asked for that tape measure.   I thank God when good things, and people, like this fall into our laps even when we are doing something as mundane as shopping!

By the way, since the woman was so helpful, I will put a little plug in for their company, she worked for Warner's.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bouquet of flowers

Every few months Dad brings us flowers on his way home from work, he is so thoughtful that way.  This the a beautiful bouquet he brought this week.  It is so lovely to have them on the table.  This morning every single bloom was open.

A close up of one of the flowers.  They are all as spectacular as this one is.  The details and colors in the pedals just amaze me. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mustang Rally

There was Mustang Rally in the state today and it came right by our house.  We stood out on the lawn and waved as they went by.  Lots of the drivers waved or honked their horns.  Spark was so excited that he thinks we should run right out and buy one now.  There must have been Mustangs from almost every year.  Spark went right inside to look it up and found the sight that said that there were 75 in the rally.  They must have gotten separated by traffic lights because a long line of them would come up over the hill and drive by our house and then a couple minutes later another long line and so on.  This picture isn't one that came by our house.  We figured by the time we ran in to get the camera they would  be all gone plus then we would miss seeing them.

It was odd that we even saw them go by our house, if they had been five minutes sooner or later we would have missed them.  Dad and Spark went into town this morning to the hardware store and on the way home saw a sign that said Mustang Rally and pointed to turn on the road that goes by our house.  Dad didn't give it any more thought.  This afternoon we were out behind the barn working in the garden and had just sat down for a break.  We each had a can of soda and as we were getting up I told Dad to come and look at the garden up behind the house to see how good it was doing despite the lack of peas and beans that have come up.  As we were up there Mustang after Mustang drove by.  We yelled for the kids, Spark was behind the barn and Dancer was mowing lawn, to come and see.  It was truly a delightful, unexpected surprise in our day! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Farmers' Market

Farmers' market season is upon us.  The one we sell at is Wednesdays from 3 to 6:30.  The weather was nice in April but May was cold.  Most of what we planted sat in the ground idle for three weeks so we didn't have much to bring.  We manage to get together some rhubarb, herbs, iris roots and our old fashioned goat milk soap.  The day was perfect, not too hot with a slight breeze, but it didn't bring out  many shoppers.  We did okay for the amount of product we brought, the kids both made a few dollars so they were happy.  Next week we should have radishes and the lettuce is looking promising.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Two field trips, two picnics, one day

Our first field trip was a printing company where they print newspapers.  We a  newspapers every week that has just ads in it.  It is where you can find hay and other farm equipment, lawn mowers, trucks, or just about anything else you would ever want to buy listed.  We advertise our goats for sale in it.  Dad, along with every rural man within a 100 miles, loves this paper and waits with anticipation every week for it to be delivered in our box.  This paper is printed here so Dad was pretty excited to see the birth place of his beloved Peach.  This picture shows how they put the inserts into papers. 

This is the paper on the printing press.  I had to hold myself back from yelling "STOP THE PRESSES!!!"  I always thought that would be such a cool thing to do.

Dad was holding the camera, would randomly take pictures of Dancer without looking through the view finder.  She was not amused. 

Between the printing tour and the next tour everyone went to a park for lunch.  By the time we got to the picnic Dancer had accepted that Dad, who sometimes acts like my third child, was just annoying and she would start smiling when he came around with the camera.  This huge tree was at the park where we were picnicking.  It was so huge it took four adults to reach around it.  Dad is posing next to it's splendor, which was over 20 feet around.

Next we were off to see a Viking Runestone.  There is a museum in Alexandria that has one and also a lot of artifacts of the town such as things from the old doctors and dentist office, buggys, telephone office, homes, general store, black smith.  There was large display of Indian beaded work and a taxidermy display of animals native to Minnesota.

 Our little Swedes right there in the Viking camp.

This is the Kensington Runestone that was found near Alexandria by a farmer preparing his field for planting.  It is called a runestone because the Viking letters are called runes.  Each rune is made with straight lines and sharp angles.  The runes were made this way becuase it made it easier to carve them in a stone than curved letters would have been.  When it was found there was some speculation of it's authenticity.  One family member left, never to return to the area, and another commited suicide because the debate and how the family was treated after it's discovery.  Since then, through scientific research,  it has been decided that it is indeed a true Viking runestone.

The Vikings would put these hooks in large rocks to anchor their ships to the shore.  Spark thought he would be lucky if he were the one who could pull it out.  Didn't happen for him but he tried!

Spark heading into Fort Alexandria on the back of a wagon.  Our car isn't working so well, maybe we should get ourselves one of these.

Our Vikings



Dancer is standing in front of a Viking ship that is 3/4 the size of an actual Viking ship.  There is no way I would have ever gotten into one of these and headed across the ocean.  I wonder how many Viking are on the bottom of the sea.

Our second picnic of the day was the year end graduation homeschool picnic.  Our homeschool group had 16 graduates this year and there were about 150 people at the picnic.  Always fun to see people we didn't see during the year and catch up.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beginnings of:

The place in the race where everyone can still win.

Homemade goodness

The big picture

Refeshing wetness


A garden

Sweet aroma to fill the yard

A hint of their beauty

The next generation

A boy's imagination


A drawing

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Island On Bird Street

I don't usually mention books on here because we seem to burn through them like logs in a fireplace, but this book/movie was good enough to get a little blurb on our blog.

A couple of  summers ago, Dancer was reading everything she could find about the Jews during World War II.  While doing a library search on the topic we happened upon this book, "The Island on Bird Street."  It is one of those books that your read, roll the plot and characters around in your mind for a while and then the story sticks with you.  It is based on a true story which, I think, makes it all that more...I want to say interesting but that isn't really the exact word I am looking for, but if you have read a true story like this you know what I am trying to convey.

A quick over view of the book is a boy Alex, his father and his uncle are three of the last people who were taken from the ghetto to concentration camps.  As they are getting on trucks, his uncle tells him to run while he makes a ruckus so the boy can get away.  The father told him before this that no matter what he would return for him so he should wait for him.  The story is about how Alex, and his gerbil Snow, live in the rubble and ruined houses on Bird Street and hide from the Nazi soldiers while he is waiting for his father.

Last week, Dancer was looking through the library web page and saw that there was a movie made about the book.  She requested it to our library branch and we picked it up yesterday.  While we don't remember the exact details of the book to compare it to the movie, the movie was very good.  A couple of times one of us would say "I don't remember that" or "that was different" but the story was still good.  Having watched it after reading the book, I can see parts where it is a bit fragmented but still the story hangs together in the movie.  The contrast in the movie between his life and the life he can see on the other side of the wall from his air vent is much more poignant in the movie that it was for me in the book. 

Both the book and movie would be good as a stand alone or excellent if you are studying this time period in history and want to add a little "living history."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Lamb chop recipe

Dad often checks the manager's specials at the grocery store on his way home in the morning.  The other day he found lamb chops that had been $14.00 marked down to $2.00.  He grabbed two packs and brought them home to try.  We have never had lamb before but for that price we were going to!  Here is how he made them and they were oh so good.  I can see why they are normally so high priced, we thought they were better than steak.

Lamb Chops

1 tbsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 lamb chops

In food processor combine rosemary, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt.  Pulse processor until well combined.  Add olive oil and pulse again.  Rub mixture on chops and let sit while you go out and milk and do chores, or if you don't have goats, 45 minutes will do.  Broil on high in oven on second to top rack.  For medium rare, broil 4 minutes, flip chops over and 3 minutes on second side.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mall of America field trip

One of the wonderful moms in our homeschool group organized a field trip to the Mall of America Underwater Adventures. We had never been before because to just go there not in a group would be over well $100 for our family to see the aquarium and the behind the scenes area. With the group it was $30 so we really couldn't not go for that price. We didn't need to be there until 11:00 so we didn't need to leave too early, it only takes us a couple of hours to get there. We left earlier than we needed to, which turned out to be a good thing, because most of the driving was in this weather which made it slow going. There was also construction which made part of the trip very slow going. Dad took this picture of the power lines. They remind me of something out of a science fiction movie from the 70's, big robots marching over the hills through civilization.

The aquarium part of the tour was self led which was good for us, we always seem to need more time than everyone else to look at everything. All other families were done and we were still plugging along looking everything over.

These Koi know the hand that feeds them. They lay lurking in the water and when they saw people coming they would start flipping around like this. Not wanting to disappoint them, we bought a handful of food.

The kids throwing food pellets into the koi. Dancer though this part was really cool.

This handsome turtle was in a display with scads of other turtles. All together they were strikingly beautiful swimming and diving. This guy must have been taking a break, he was up front greeting people as they came in. He would turn his head back and forth and flex his legs around like he was posing for the camera. This was his best side.

This shark is the mascot for Underwater Adventures. Dressed perfectly for our climate, ear muffs and a scarf.

We walked through tunnels for part of the tour. It was like being in the tanks with the fish. I loved how this picture of Spark turned out where he was reflected on the side of the tunnel. A complete fluke, it was a surprise when we got home and downloaded the pictures. I couldn't have planned a picture like that.
Mr. Ray swam over the top of Dad. It almost seemed like they were putting on a show the way they swam back and forth.

Seahorses give the impression that they live a very serene life, at least in this tank where they have no predators or under currents to deal with.

There was a whole room with nothing but jelly fish in tanks and tall cylinders. The room was all dark except for the jellyfish.

There was this really hypnotic underwater sounding music that made you feel like you should dance and pulse with the jellyfish. "When you move like the jellyfish, rhythm don't mean nothing, you go with the flow, you don't stop"

The lights under the tanks kept changing colors which gave them different color hues. Then when we took pictures they would light up like this one. It reminded me of a space ship.

There were touching tanks. Dancer is touching a star fish, which we thought would be soft but they are actually rock hard. Spark thought this one looked like it is hanging out resting it's arm on the rock waiting to talk.

Pucker up!
There was a beautiful gem in the treasure chest! We took it home with us.

Spark in the shark diving cage. It was very sturdy but I think I would stay out of the water if Jaws was swimming around. No need to temp him.

We also got to go behind the scenes and see the kitchen where the food is all made (they serve retail quality fish to the animals), the lab where the water is tested, the holding tanks for sick animals, babies and ones going to other aquariums and the top of the aquarium. One cool thing on the top of the aquarium was a place for the turtle. They have their own little world up there that isn't visible from the bottom view part. They have logs to sit on, a shelf where they have heat lamps to bask in the heat and a fan that blows little waves over the top of the water that they seemed to enjoy swimming into.

Our wrist band from the aquarium was good for a free taco from Chipolte. Love their food but there always seems to be a communication barrier between us ordering and what we actually get. We were happy to just be eating, it was way past lunch time and we were hungry. Must be why they are smiling so big.
Next stop was Lego Land. We took picture of just a couple of the many displays they have made entirely out of Legos.

This is kind of hard to see but it is a life size Bionical. Of course, this is Woody. I love that movie. Both the kids made and bought three Lego people. There were all different pieces and they could put together a head, hat or hair, body, legs and an accessory like a sword, shovel, goblet etc. Spark really loves those little people and Dancer wanted some girl ones. Spark also got a container of pieces. There were containers and however many pieces you could fix in there you could buy for one price. The sales people there were really good about giving hints on how to get more pieces to fix in the container. The said, "use your math skills." He got a nice variety of wheels, axles, eyes, torches, treasure chests, and other odds and ends pieces.

Last year Dancer won wrist bands for Nickelodeon Universe and we had not used them yet so they used them today since we were right there. Nickelodeon Universe is in the middle of the Mall of America, pretty cool, a whole amusement park inside. It wasn't very busy so the kids didn't have to wait in any lines.
First thing they went on was bumper cars. Spark came out with a bloody mouth. Not sure what happened as we didn't see anything. He had hit his tooth before and knocked it so I was afraid that was going to be it but it wasn't as far as we could tell. I really didn't want to be jiggling his teeth in case it would make it loose if it wasn't. He thought maybe it was his lip but they both looked fine too.
Dancer went on this ride alone because Spark doesn't like heights. It pulled you up four stories and dropped you down to the bottom like you were free falling over and over and over. This is her before the ride started, after she looked green like her coat and was even crying. It wasn't what she expected and she was so upset her legs were shaking. The was the end of most of the rides for her, she did go on a couple mellow ones after that. I told her not to feel bad, the merry go round makes me feel woozy.

Spark rode this roller coaster that went all around the park about five times. He is the one in the square. He said that the American Girl store's sign ruined his picture but that was the only place that was low enough were you could see the faces of the riders.

Still not able to go on the rides, Dancer sat with me and held down the benches when they were available. She was looking forward to the rides all week but decided she just couldn't stomach most of them. Next time.

The very last thing was Spark going on the Log Chute. This log car winds around on a little river with scenes of lumber jacks and Paul Bunyan with Babe his blue ox. The ride ends by the log plunging down a ramp and splashing into the water. This was the last thing because after riding it you are wet. He was still damp when we got home.