Thursday, June 1, 2017

ABC of Summer Fun

Got this idea from the June 2005 issue of Mpls.St. Paul magazine. The intent was to help parents find "kid-friendly activities that mix recreation and education." Some of the ideas are theirs (if they aren't time-sensitive) and others are mine.

Please note: This is more of a "working document" with reference notes and information for me than it is finished post.


A - Art - Caponi Art Park in Eagan. (DONE on Sunday, June 18th.)

Sophia and Olivia at Caponi Art Park.

B - Bridges - take one last drive on the historic Stillwater Lift Bridge before it closes and then drive on the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge linking Minnesota to Wisconsin. (DONE: August 1st and 7th.)

We drove on the Stillwater Lift Bridge
for the last time on August 1st.

We drove on the new St. Croix Crossing Bridge 
on August 7th.

C - County Fair - go to the Chisago County Fair and Washington County Fair. (DONE: the girls entered 4-H projects in the Chisago County Fair and we worked in the malt booth for a couple of hours from July 19th-23rd; and we all entered projects in the Washington County Fair in August.)

Olivia with one of her projects that she did for
4-H's Global Connections project.
She focused doing a DNA test to determine her ancestry; and
then researched the different countries where her ancestors lived. 

Sophia made this quilt for her quilting project. 
The colors match her bedroom and
it will a quilt for her bed.
There was a 4-H style show and part of it featured some of the quilts.
They invited Sophia up to talk about her quilt.

No one was at this booth at the Washington County Fair,
but there was a game. 
So, the girls played the game and
awarded themselves prizes.

D - Dog Hiking - Find a place that we haven't been to before and take the dogs hiking.

E - Explore something at a nature center - Learned about cave formations and the Kartchner Caverns in Arizona. (DONE: July 3rd.)

There are formations called "soda straws" that were in the caves.

Olivia is looking at the map of the caves.
We went into two parts of it that
have been made accessible to the public.
There's one more section that is closed seasonally
because bats nest there each year.

F - Feed the Butterflies at the Minnesota State Fair. (DONE - September 1st.)  The girls wanted to go to the Butterfly House again this year to feed the butterflies. They had several land on them or they picked them up and put them on their clothes so they could feed them.

Sophia with a butterfly on her arm.

We found out that these type of butterflies spend 16 weeks of their lives as caterpillars and then live only a few days as butterflies.

Olivia feeing the butterfly.

There was an area where the butterflies could feed on their own. One of the staff said it was a combination of fresh fruit and Gatorade that attracted the butterflies. 

G - Geology - Grand Canyon. (DONE - went with Olivia on July 5th-6th while Sophia was at the Take Action Camp in Tucson, Arizona.) We also went on a cave tour and did some cave exploration on our own in Arizona on July 3rd and July 5th.

Olivia at the Grand Canyon.

Olivia and I explored the Lava River Tube cave in northern Arizona.
The ground was a lot rockier than we expected.

We also visited Kartchner Caverns State Park; and
toured two of the caves there. We'd like to go back and
see the third one at some point.

H - House tour - tour Frank Lloyd Wright's home and studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. (DONE - July 7th.)

Olivia sitting in the "origami chair" in the living room at Taliesin West.

This was like a little cabaret lounge at Taliesin West.
The red is Frank Lloyd Wright's signature color.

I - Ice Cream - go out for an ice cream treat. (DONE: Went to Dairy Queen on Thursday, August 10th following a 4-H orientation about competing at the State Fair. Also had treats after the girls competed at the State Fair on August 31st.)

Enjoying an ice cream treat in the hotel room after competing at the Minnesota State Fair.
Sophia won a purple ribbon (grand champion) for her website  for her harp CD and
Olivia won a blue ribbon for the video she created.

Olivia with her ice cream treat.

J - Judging at the Minnesota State Fair. (DONE - Personal projects judged on August 31st, and club project judged on September 2nd.)

Olivia competed at the Minnesota State Fair with her 4-H project in Video/Filmmaking. She created a video called "A Better World for Animals." She received a blue ribbon which she was happy with since it was her first year in the project.

Sophia received a purple ribbon (grand champion) for her 4-H project in Computers. She designed a website to promote and sell her harp CD as well as list her upcoming performances, show photos from past performances and volunteering with playing her harp.

On Saturday, September 1st, the girls competed together as they presented the club's project, One Stop Donation Drop.

They won a blue ribbon in this category as well.

They were both very happy with how they did this year at the state level. It was a nice reward for their hard work during the past year.

K - Kittens and Cats - Volunteer at the humane society with the kittens and cats. (DONE: Volunteered on August 14th to spend time with two cats. Also saw lots of kittens waiting to be adopted.)

Bruce watching a toy intently.

Sophia petting Lilliana.

L - Lutz Backyard Railroad Garden. Waterfall, Petrified Rocky Mountains and summit-topping tram, miniature village, tiny plants and shrubs, and G-scale model train. 2960 Eagan Avenue in Eagan. Open only once a month. June 18th or August 20th would work best. (DONE: Went to the railroad garden on June 18th.)

Looking at one of many different scenes of the outdoor railroad.

 M - Minnesota Twins - see the Twins play at the outdoor stadium in downtown Minneapolis. (DONE: Went to a game on August 17th.)

My sister gave us free tickets to a special area at the stadium. We had great seats and no one sat in front of us.

We could see the game well and felt safe from any fly balls.

Indoors, we went to a restaurant to get delicious wood-fired pizza and we checked out the displays with Twins memorabilia.

It was a fun afternoon and quite a treat for us to be able to see the game in such a nice area.

N - Nursing Home - help with the 100th birthday of a resident on July 28th and the pizza party on August 22nd. (DONE: Helped at both the July 28th and August 22nd activities.)

A full dining room to celebrate Nina's 100th birthday.

There were several types of pizza plus
a dessert pizza for the residents. 

O - Osceola Rhubarb Days - There are activities on both June 2nd and 3rd. (DONE: Went to an outdoor picnic, Farmers Market, and to Mr. Deals on June 2nd.)

The girls at the outdoor picnic at Osceola Rhubarb Days.

P - Prayer Beads at White Bear Center for the Arts. (DONE: Did this on June 8th.)

Sophia making a prayer bracelet.

Q - Quiet Day at the library - taking a class and checking out books. We checked out books and movies; and then went to a presentation by RAD Zoo about reptiles and amphibians. (DONE: Did this on August 12th.)

Olivia and Sophia touching and looking at a boa constrictor.

R - Removal of a bunion - Sophia had surgery on her left foot to remove a bunion and will have a second surgery after Labor Day to remove the one on her right foot. The surgery and healing process altered some of the original places that I anticipated we would go. However, her health is much more important, and the activities that we were going to do will be there next year.

She is documenting the experience - pre-op, surgery, and healing - for a 4-H health project for next year. (DONE: July 25th.)

Sophia after surgery with Dr. Clair who operated on her foot.

S - State Fair Parade - attended the State Fair parade in its entirety. (DONE: September 1st.) Sophia, Olivia, and I have never seen the entire parade before.

Fairchild the Gopher - the State Fair's mascot.

There were large cow statues...four different ones, in fact, that were part of the parade.

We saw people walking on stilts.

There were several high school bands which we always enjoy.

I was surprised to see the high school where I went to school in the parade. Their outfits have changed quite a bit from when I went to school. The marching band had to wear heavy, wool costumes and hats in parades. Now, the youth wear shorts and t-shirts. Much more appropriate clothing to prevent overheating on hot days.

T - Tea Party at Panola Valley Gardens - attend a tea party on a Sunday in August. (DONE: Did this on August 13th.)

Olivia and Sophia at Panola Valley Gardens for an afternoon tea.

U - United Noodles - shop for Asian food that the girls have enjoyed eating and purchase fruit for Sophia's 4-H project. (DONE: Did this on August 17th.)

We enjoyed visiting the store and seeing familiar food we've tried in the past as well as new food we wanted to try.

Sophia chose several types of fruit that none of us have tried before. She had some recipes she found that she wanted to try that used fruit that we can't find in our local stores. We had to come to United Noodles to find it.

There's one type of fruit that is frozen because within a couple of days of it being out it has a rather putrid smell.

Supposedly it is delicious...despite the smell. It is banned in public areas - including subways - in some Asian countries because the smell of the unopened fruit is so bad. This will be an interesting experience.

V - Vegetables - Go to a couple of farmers markets and find some new vegetables to try. (DONE: August 19th.)

We went to the Minneapolis Farmers Market in August to buy vegetables in bulk. We got a bushel of cucumbers to make pickles and two boxes to make stewed tomatoes for use in chili and goulash.

We also got some pretty flowers.

The girls wanted to try a medley of little potatoes. When we got home, Sophia drizzled them with olive oil; and sprinkled on Kosher salt and rosemary from our garden.

The girls have been going regularly to the local farmers market on Wednesdays. Sometimes they buy things to try at home. On August 30th, they bought bread that had been baked in a wood-fired oven. I made an olive oil-balsamic vinegar with fresh herbs to use as a dipping sauce. Everyone enjoyed this special treat.

W - Wood burning - Take a class at the Wyoming Center for the Arts. (DONE - Did this on June 15th.)

Sophia working on her woodburning project.

Olivia working on her woodburning project.

X - X marks the spot. Do a treasure hunt on the last day of Summer/first day of homeschooling.

Y - Yogurt Making - use the yogurt maker and see if we can make yogurt that tastes good. Add freshly-picked berries that we pick this summer. (DONE - Did this on June 8th.)

Homemade yogurt ready to eat.

Z - Minnesota Zoo - Visit the Kangaroo Crossing and other areas of the Zoo that we didn't see in March. (DONE: August 21st.)

We saw some moderately-sized kangaroos at the Zoo which was fun.

It reminded me of traveling to Australia back in the 1990s.

The girls enjoyed seeing the kangaroos. However, we were hoping they would have been more interested in interacting with people like the ones in Australia.

We went to Russia's Grizzly Coast and saw some animals there. 

The sea otter was washing its armpit. It kept swimming right by the window where we were standing. It came by to show us a shell and food it found a bit after this bathing session.

When we were outside of the Russia's Grizzly Coast, we were surprised to see the fountain on. Every time we are at the zoo, I take a photo of the girls by the bear statues. We never realized there was a water component to it.

We went to the butterfly garden and saw beautiful butterflies.

We stood outside and watched the Japanese snow monkeys. They were playing a lot in the trees, swimming in the pond, and running around.

A highlight for us was seeing the solar eclipse.

We got to watch the monkeys as the eclipse was happening.

We all took photos to remember this special day. The next solar eclipse isn't happening until 2024 in the United States.

It was interesting to see how the sky darkened.

The temperature cooled slightly and it felt like dusk which was exciting. I'm so happy that we were able to see the eclipse (albeit a partial one) and have a memorable place where we saw it.

1 comment:

Rita said...

Wow! What a list! Looks like fun ahead. :)