Monday, September 22, 2014

4th Birthday Milestones

Being as nostalgic as I am, I looked back at everyone's 4th birthday photos. Ryan just celebrated his last week, but the girls' pictures seem like just last year. 

Alydia, 2008

Heidi 2011

Ryno 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Favorite Indiana Campground
Site Reviews

I've been keeping notes of my favorite campsites at the Indiana State Park campgrounds that we visit. Here are my recommendations...

Once you prepare for the rugged trails, you can appreciate the beauty of Clifty Falls. My favorite trail was #2 which takes you straight up the creek. The campground was smaller than I expected, but had good, level sites. They did not have a camp store, just firewood sales at entrance. The best site is #24 backing up to woods and having a large side lot. However, I noticed they created a new site, #23, which would also be good if they allow reservations. #40 is my second choice, followed by #9 and #11. If you go with a group, I recommend 55 & 56, 69 & 70.

Spring Mill was my favorite Indiana State Park campground so far. The campground & park are spacious and allow for lots of running, walking and bike riding. In addition, we were able to enjoy a hayride around the campground! The outside lots of the VIP area (116-122 ), the grassy areas of (67, 68, 70 & 71) are great camping sites, as well as #83 (my favorite!), 81, 49, 55, 165, 167 &187. If going with a group, I recommend 90 & 100 or 111, 133, 129 & 128. Seems like you can't go wrong at Spring Mill!

Turkey Run is my second favorite campground, thus far. My favorite sites were #7, 156, 157, 81, 38, and 65. If you are looking for more wooded, check out 175, 183 or 223 & 224 (together with a group). 268 and 269 offered some grass and space, but may have road noise from the adjacent highway. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tie Dye Sunday

We spent the day tie dying shirts at grandma & grandpa's house. Grandpa came up with this fun idea and stocked up with supplies at Hobby Lobby. I think maybe I had more fun than the kids! We started with tees for everyone...

Trying a swirl pattern

After all shirts were dyed, we had enough dye remaining to do socks!

After waiting hours, rinsing and washing each shirt separately (thanks to grandma!), the finished projects are ready!

Swirl pattern completed!
Bullseye pattern

Dot pattern

Scrunch pattern
Our exchange student was also excited to make her own shirt. I was unaware that tie dye shirts are an American thing, but she said she has never seen them or seen anyone wear them before in Holland. Who knew??

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Triathlon Saturday

Yesterday Jeff & I competed in our 4th triathlon. This specific race was special because it was the first "multi-sport" event I started with last year. The organizers are on top of their game, super organized and put on the best events. I also appreciate the variety of events that we could choose from. Last year I competed in the aquathon which was 400m swim/5k run. This year, I chose to try aquabike (400m swim/19k bike) while Jeff competed in the sprint triathlon (400m run/19k bike/5k run).

Setting up transition area and pre-race fueling
Lining up at the swim start....
no one can look cool in a swim cap!
400 meter swim has started!
Everyone is paced 5 seconds apart and we "snake" up and down the lanes.

Race photographers captured Jeff on his race portion.
Go Jeff!
Relieved to reach the finish!
Surprised by a 1st place finish in women's aquabike!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sturgeon Moon 5k

Jeff and I signed up for the Sturgeon Moon 5K in Cicero. It was a twilight run planned around the full moon. We expected an average run, but both surprised ourselves with our results! I ran my personal best mile time in a 5k. Jeff was at heels the entire race too. Jeff was excited to place 1st in men's under 40 division. Congrats to him!

Friday, August 8, 2014

First Week in America

In the last week, we've learned a lot about the difference between the American & Dutch culture. We've also had some great laughs! Here are some interesting things we'e learned from our exchange student...

1. There are lots of jokes about Germans, which keeps us laughing. For example, Dutch never wear bicycle helmets. Germans are required by law to wear them. So on an evening bike ride we pulled out the helmets and she joked that we looked like Germans. Ha!

2.  They ride bikes to school.  Britt rides 15k (9 miles) every day to school, and then back, even in winter. Riding the school bus is a new experience for her. She also wondered how much it cost. Free! :)

3. If she says we have a big garden, it means big yard.

4. Foods that see has never eaten, but is learning about -
Corn on the cob is a new experience for her and quite odd if you think about it. Other new foods are potato flakes in box, peanut butter & jelly sandwich, pancakes (theirs are very thin like crepes, so our fluffy pancakes are different....and a hit!) and the list is growing.

5. Although she also lives on a lake back home, she never goes fishing. But when she has seen fish in her lake, they are small and different. Imagine her surprise when we pulled this giant catfish up!

Who wants to go swimming in the lake now?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Treats from Holland

Our exchange student arrived last week with treats in hand. She's been so sweet and these gifts are just extra icing on the cake :)

Stroopwafels are delicious little cookie type treats
with caramel pressed inside.
All of us loved them!
My absolute favorite Dutch food so far. They are like chocolate sprinkles called hagelslag that you sprinkle on top of buttered bread. They come in pure chocolate, milk chocolate and a variety of other flavors. They are a magic ingredient that makes plain buttered bread taste like cake and frosting. No joke. It's amazing.

Some fresh cheese and a cheese slicer from her homeland.

Thanks Britt!