Monday, July 28, 2014

Pollinator Party: a celebration of bees

Last Thursday we went to the Pollinator Party put on by the U of M, just east of the rose garden at Lake Harriet. It was such a fun event! There was honey sunflower ice cream, beehive demos, games, crafts and activities for kids. Here are some pictures from the event: 

We made this tissue flower at the Art Institute booth. 
Coloring with human bees.

We are in the belly of the beast. this moving polar bear was in the art car parade a couple days later, but goes to different events throughout the summer. 

It moves by people pedaling together. You can pull different levers to move the mouth, the head and the tail.

Our beekeeper in an enclosed booth doing a bee demo as Harriet asked lots questions.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Midsummer garden

Last Thursday we were on our neighborhood's garden tour. The garden is in its prime right now and everything looks so lush from all the rain we have had up until now. I love this time of year. No filter on the coneflower above, so brightly colored!

The veggies have taken off!  Everything is doing great for the most part, except Steve's pepper plants are looking a little tough since it has been so wet and the temps have been unseasonably low. 

 Honey bee at the borage plant. There are tons of bees on this plant all throughout the day.

We have had some bug issues this year, particularly on our brussel sprouts and kale.  

This is a cabbage looper (highlighted in red). Chris the beekeeper showed me what their eggs look like (a tiny white grain on sand on the underside of the leaf) and I have made it a daily ritual to go out smash their eggs. It is a neverending task, but kind of fun. One benefit to the holes in the leaves is that it stresses out the plant and makes the plant more nutrient dense.

These milkweed beetles have been destroying the plant's leaves.

 Same with these little beetles.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Party time

Last Saturday we hosted two parties for Harriet's birthday. One for her buddies and one for my parents and our family friends. It was quite a day of excitement. In the morning 9 friends were invited for crafts, a bounce house and cake. Our next door neighbors own a bounce house and it fit perfectly in our backyard, not much room to spare! I wish I had taken more pictures, but these things get kind of crazy. I regret not having a picture of all the kids who came over.

All the kids made these turtles with rocks I found in the Wisconsin Dells.
Cake time! I made her a cake decorated with a rainbow on it at her request. Of course I forgot to take a picture of it though.
Family pic for posterity.
Party #2 at night and rainbow cake #2. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Twig house

There is a new twig house in town and it's at the Tiny Diner is Powderhorn. Pretty awesome.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014


The night I got back from the Dells happened to be the last night that my former host 'mum' was in town before going back to Scotland. I was exhausted and tired of sitting from the drive back, but I knew I needed to make the effort and drive to Inver Grove Heights, where she was staying, to visit her. I knew that a night visiting with her would be much more memorable than the extra hours of sleep I would have gotten! She was so thrilled to see me that it made it all worth it! She is an incredible woman who gives so much of herself to others and even on a very limited income goes on voyages with supplies to Belarus for orphans and helps the kids.

In Scotland I would go over to her house on the Sundays and hang out with her and sometimes her grandkids and have dinner. She has been hosting kids from the WI in Scotland program for around 20 years and has an incredible memory for each and every kids she has hosted. She comes to MN and WI every 4 years or so and stays with tons of them over a 6 week stay. A couple of visits ago she stayed with me at my dad's house. This time around she brought her 14 year old grandson (who was just 3 months old when I was in Scotland). He had a wonderful first trip to the states.

14 years ago.

WI dells weekend

The last weekend in June my close friends and I went to the Wisconsin Dells for a weekend away. We met there because our friend Emily lives in Chicago so it was kind of a halfway point. The other four of us carpooled from Minneapolis. We stayed at the Wilderness, which is a water park resort basically for families, but it wasn't as bad as it sounds! We even enjoyed the lazy river on Saturday afternoon which was some great people watching and then hit the outlet malls.

Its been a long time since I have really been to the Dells, like maybe 5th grade. It has changed a lot, it felt a lot like Las Vegas or something. 

A sunset walk next to Lake Delton.

(me, Erin, Emily, Kristen, Ginny) 

We packed the weekend full of activities. We went for a hike in Mirror Lake State Park. It was pretty, but you could almost always hear the sounds of vehicles from I-94, which wasn't exactly peaceful.

Random cement tepee in the park.

I found this when I got home. It was from when my girl scout troop went to the Dells maybe the summer after 3rd grade. Emily is the only one from this trip that was also with me the other weekend, she's on the far left and I'm in the back.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Lake Harriet happenings

There is a little elf at Lake Harriet and Harriet left a note for him and he wrote back. The elf has been writing notes for 20 years. There was recently a Star Tribune article about him. Here is his note:

dear harriet, age four (who has written me twice)

how nice of you to write. sorry i missed you. and for pete's sake i am so sorry i didn't get your other letter. it has been so rainy that a lot of them get ruined.

i hope your summer is going well. i hear the president is coming to lake harriet . I've been busy cleaning up our cabin in case he comes a knocking. there are twelve levels in our cabin. well, thirteen if you count the patio out on the limb. each one is decorated in a slightly different style. now if he does show up, do i have to do anything special? if he were the elf leader i would have to give him blue ice cream. 

my name is thom and live with my wife, martha, a great elf and our daughter alta lucia, age 20, who is visiting from elf college, she is a princess elf. enjoy the summer, i believe in you. -mr. little guy (june 25, 2014)

Every Sunday night in late June and all of July we go to the Pops concert at the lake. They have a kiddie march during the middle and choose a different drummer each week. Harriet got to be the drummer and lead the march to kick off the 65th season of the Pops Orchestra. Despite the glum face in this picture, she was thrilled!

Friday, July 04, 2014

July 4th

This July 4th I continued, what has become, our annual tradition of going to the Edina parade. The kids loved it. It really is a fun parade with a lot of variety. This guy, the Godinator, was my favorite.

This year the parade was particularly long since it is a midterm election year.

We run into Dr. Seuss man outside of Hello Pizza where we were going for lunch. The guy is 95 and was biking back home. Quite spry!

We had a BBQ with three friends during the day and then went downtown to our friend Allison's office at the 5th Street towers. It was fun to see fireworks and be up so high, but they were rather pathetic, lastly only 14 minutes long.

10 months