30 August 2009

State Fair: Day 4

Family at the Fair!

What's this, another family day at the Fair? But OF COURSE! Because Brent really does love me. And also, honestly, it was a day MADE FOR FAIR. Gor-Geous. I pity the fools not at the Fair today.

Emily Bea was pretty excited that I found the State Fair onesie for her to wear.


I took that picture of her while she was dancing to YMCA. Oh! and you can't see it in there, but she got a tooth on Saturday! FAIR TOOTH!

Today Bella was all about the rides. So first thing, we got some beers and trundled up to the Kidway. (parenting tip: if you each hold a handle of the double-stroller in one hand, you can push while holding beer!) She picked the cars (beep beep!) and the Zoo Train. And later we did the Space Tower (I got stung by a bee waiting in line, can you believe it, but I shrugged it off since I was high on Fair). And then, thrill of thrills, Bella and Brent rode the very exciting Sky Glider!

Sky Glider Ride

They rode that towards the end of the day and the light was all glow-y and sunset-y and the pictures turned out so neat. I sat under the chairs waiting for them to come by, and Emily woke up and was just entranced by everyone floating by overhead. Best baby mobile at the Fair! When they got off, Bella told me she had seen Uncle Dave! And shouted to him! And he shouted back! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

Uncle Dave was busy workin' it at Li'l Farm Hands. When we went through, we were excited to see where he would be. Tractor shed? Nope! Chicken Coop? Nope! We found him handing out gloves, shovels, and seeds in the garden. And he was working with a delightful co-worker of his who had been to see the (apparently FAMOUS) bunting! Wow! (Hi Melissa!)

Farmer Dave

(What a ham.)

And how about this ham:


And with the real ham. This picture just melts my heart.

Sisters at the Fair

We also did the Lego Adventure, which was exciting since it involved getting stickers on a badge around your neck--but note to Lego: a brochure of your products is not a "prize" at the end! DORKS! Give us a brick!!

We did the official corn dog versus pronto pup comparison, which we haven't done in many years. It was hardly necessary, of course the corn dog won. Although the pronto pup would be good in a pinch. Not bad at all. We also got some nitro ice-cream to eat next to the Fairchild topiary (whose awesomeness leaves me speechless, by the way) and Brent had a Jaunita's Fajita Carnita, which I had warned him had high exploding potential, but he masterfully ate it without spilling a drop. "I eat a lot of Chipotle," he said by way of explanation.

I am going easy on the Fair food this year, with my crazy insides and all that, but am enjoying packing picnics each day, and then finding beautiful picnic spots on the amazingly lush Fairgrounds. I am so thankful to be well to go to the Fair that I'm not even missing the food one little bit. It's not about the food. It's about the Fair. And I'm so glad I'm there!

29 August 2009

State Fair: Day 3

Today was just Bella and me.

State Fair 2009

I think we both had a magical time.

Time for a Waffle

We kicked off the day with an early lunch waffle at Blue Moon. Because what else would you want at the Fair for lunch but a BELGIAN WAFFLE? I wasn't going to argue--I aim to please at the Fair. And it's just what I would have picked anyway.

We then noticed the DNR fire tower. Hey, we've never climbed that! LET'S GO! We glance at the posted warnings while waiting in line. Afraid of heights? CHECK. Fall down a lot? CHECK. Often carried when climbing eight flights of stairs? CHECK. Hum. Well, it's too late now, we're already invested in the line. No place to go but up. Here she is at the top.

Top of the Fire Tower

And guess what you can see from the top? The Spin-A-Paint booth!


She worked very hard on her painting. The guy said only a few drops is enough. And she was very obedient, only doing a few drops of each color. Each color about 10 times.


She liked pushing the spin button, after she figured out what the hell was going on.


Nice job Bella! That's a keeper.

We ran into some Stitch'n'Bitchers at the Farmers Union. We got a good laugh out of Andrew, who had apparently spent some time looking for my bunting in the baking section of the Creative Activities building. I guess it is a BUNting. Teehee. Lucky he has Rebecca to set him straight.

Andrew and Rebecca

Beanie and Brian. They look like that because they're newlyweds.

Beanie and Brian

I had read in the paper about the 12 different flavors of popsicles in the bazaar. So adios guys, off we go! Bella picked strawberry and I got coconut. Then we switched! Many times! Then we called daddy to see what flavor he would have gotten. He said to bring one home for him. Oh poor silly daddy.

Strawberry Popsicle

Time for the parade! Ohmygoodness, it's an Uncle Dave sighting! How lucky is that?

Uncle Dave

Bella was beyond delighted to get to watch the parade with her cousins.
Claire was so sweet, she had to hug daddy for the clowns, the mascots, and the dancing can of Spam. Because it's scary to be two.

After that we thoroughly toured the Hort building, ending with a big head bonk (as many things do with Bella) in the Buzz Booth.

I made it all better with M&Ms and a Sky Ride.

Giant Slide from the Sky Ride

And then it was time to go, since it was getting late and we were starting to miss Brent and Emily. A quick bump into Alison and Jed and we were headed out. We decided to get handstamps just for fun (and because you NEVER KNOW) and the handstamper girl accidentally put the corndog stamp right on top of Bella's cow tattoo.


Now there's one you'll only hear at the Fair.

28 August 2009

State Fair: Day 2

Do you think she liked the Fair?


When I uploaded this picture to flickr, I complained to Brent, "Why can't I FAVORITE my own picture?!" Because she is that cute.

It was a stormy morning but turned out to be a beautiful, beautiful day.

Bella was as enthused about the Scavenger Hunt as I had hoped! Even more so, I think. Definitely a highlight and a new tradition. She clutched it and her crayon for hours.

Bella starts her Scavenger Hunt

Here we all are with our pig ears. Except Brent, who was taking the picture. And who, come to think of it, I've never seen in pig ears. Huh.

We Visited the Oink Booth

We stopped by the bunny judging and saw this tower of bunnies.

Bunny Tower

And I'm not even being ironic when I say I would pay for this poster.


We enjoyed crepes for lunch. Bunjour, indeed! Brent had a Top Chef moment when he invented the "All-in-One" crepe, which would somehow entail BOTH strawberries and whipcream AND potatoes and cheddar. Don't love it until you try it...?

Have you seen the beer on a stick yet? Well how cute is that idea?! We kept the stick so we could recreate the magic at home. It's State Fair beer flights for happy hour from now on at our house.

Beer on a Stick, from Summit

Bella is a perfect age to be a Little Farmhand. So helpful! So proud! So confused by many of the chores! It was a-freakin'-dorable.

Little Farmhand

Little Farmhand

Afterward, we were lucky enough to catch FFA Storytime before crashburnsleep.

Except for Emily. She was just getting warmed up.

Happy First-Time Fairgoer!


When Bella woke up, we went for a Sky Ride--a first for her! This video just captures her so well. So sweet. So talkative. So excited to be at the Fair.

On our way out, we happened by this wedding.

Fair Wedding

So how great would that be?

Almost as great as first ever four-person family day was for us. So Great.

27 August 2009

State Fair: Day 1

Here I am, opening morning, much too deliriously excited and wearing a pronto pup hat.

Opening Morning

I wandered around while enjoying Moonbeam's State Fair Blend coffee (only $1!) and a new French Meadows churro. Mmmmm. You know what would really be good with that churro? Moonbeam's Peruvian sipping cocoa. Oh. YEAH. I'm going to remember that.

New French Meadows...
New French Meadow Bakery

As soon as I realized the buildings had opened, I zipped over to Creative Activities to see the knits. Wheresthebunting wheresthebunting wheresthebunting, it was so exciting! I finally found it (it is by the scrapbooks) and was BUSTING to see a pink ribbon on it! Fourth Premium! That's like $2 and bragging rights FOR LIFE. Sweet!

My Ribbon!

(Then I had to go to work. Boo!)

Double Ferris Wheel

But I was back in the evening, for a hot night of Thrifty Thursday action.

The first thing I run into is a girl carrying a cow stomach. How much do I love the Fair right now? Here is our conversation:

Me, at top volume: "OHMYGOSH WHAT IS THAT!?"
Girl with cow stomach: "It's a cow stomach. It's for a presentation I'm doing."
Me: "OHMYGOSH!" (because really, what else can you say)
Her, noticing my iPod in my ears but not realizing it is off: "IT IS A COW STOMACH! FROM A COW!"

A Cow Stomach

Alison and Jed and I had a great time shopping in the Bazaar, going through the barns and horticulture building, and agonizing over what food we (Jed) should get next so that we could each have a bite.

Sheep in Hoodies

We discovered that Jed is, among other talents, a sheep whisperer. For me, they were all "MAAAAAAAA! Intruder alert!"

And then I had to be defibrillatored after dying of cute overdose.

A Bunny Washes

Amusing Photo

They are looking at a picture of a bunny trying to clean Alison's lens. Tee hee.

Honey Bears in Formation

The ranks of honeybears always make me think of soldiers. If I were setting them up, they would be sitting at little tables and sleeping in little beds and wearing little scarves.

And look at the proud little pumpkins. Makes me want to go lay under a Halloween quilt. Lucky I just happen to have one.

Proud Vegetables

I stayed for the fireworks and then bid my good-byes. I was still high on FAIR so I stopped at Walgreen's on the way home to buy snacks and supplies for tomorrow. When we will have our first four-person family day at the Fair. I have been waiting my whole life for this moment!

26 August 2009

A Scavenger Hunt

For the little ones (my favorite fairgoers), a scavenger hunt for you to print and bring to the Minnesota State Fair.

No reading is required! I recommend using heavy paper and flipping it over when you print so you have it double-sided. Bring a crayon or something for them to mark off what they find and be sure to plan a treat when they finish! Maybe a chocolate marshmallow on a stick from the Grandstand? mmmmmm.

A State Fair Carol

The Fair is definitely the most wonderful time of the year, for me. It seems appropriate to have some seasonal music for it.

A State Fairol

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
With the kids
happy yelling,
And everyone telling you,
"Let’s meet up here,"
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

There'll be fun rides for riding,
Giant slides for sliding and
Marching bands out on the go.
There'll be food just for trying
products for buying
Because that's the fun part you know.

It's the most wonderful time of the year!
There'll be much barn a-going,
And hearts will be glowing,
When loved ones are near.
It's the most wonderful time of the year.

20 August 2009

So big!

Little Emily Bea. Where does the time go?
Remember this? Is that Emily or a tadpole?

Bella bounces

And look at her now--sitting up! (And looking a little Rodney Dangerfield? Is that just me?)

Emily Bea in a Bumbo

And eating cereal!

First Cereal!

Which, like her sister, she has decided is unfit to eat.

On Sunday, Brent shouted, "Look, she is licking the bottom of the bowl!" And I come running in, thinking she has finished the bowl of cereal and is smacking her lips for more. But no, she has flipped the bowl upside down and is face down on it, slurping away. She looks up at us. "What? Not right?"

Oh Emmers you are so cute. I just want to love you and hold you, and I absolutely, positively cannot wait to take you to the FAIR. Your first Fair. In this house, it is bigger than Christmas.

In fact, Bella and I are working on a Fair carol (a Fairol, if you will). We don't have a lot of words yet but it is to the tune of "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" It's gonna be great. We are also working on a Fair scavenger hunt that we can do together. I'll post that here when we have it all put together, in case any of you with kids to take to the State Fair are interested!

19 August 2009

Camping Weekend

A knitter's camping weekend! How great of an idea was this? GREAT! We all brought our families/significant others, and rented out the huge group site at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. The Baker van got lost on the way down there, but it turned out to be such a beautiful lost that I would do it that way again. Green, hazy fields and farmhouses in groves of oaks with cows grazing across the gravel road--GORGEOUS. If I would have been thinking, we should have pulled over and taken some pictures. But instead I was all, "WhatthehellwhereisHwy242whatdid thatsignsayIamsoturnedaroundandIjustwanttogocampingmoanmoanmoan."

Bella and Ava

This was our third (and final, if you don't count the camper cabins later this fall) camping trip of the year and I have it pretty well down with food, activities, packing, etc. Oh, except that I forgot to pack dinner for Friday night. Whoopsies. Well that's what the pack of hot dogs is for, right?

Little Snoozer

We had the best time with the kids playing hide-the-rock (which I painted to look like a bluebird). Hey old people are right, kids don't really need toys!

A Hike

And taking a nice hike to a waterfall, where we ate my free Larabars from the General Mills conference. Yeah. Those are gross. Thanks anyway, General Mills!

On a hike

It rained like crazy on Saturday night, but we stayed pretty warm and dry. Luckily, it didn't start until 9 pm and was a totally respectable reason to run into the tent and snuggle into bed.

Beanie, Emily, and Ava

Next year the only change I would make is to bring along some dye pots. We could whip out some hand-dyed yarn pretty quick with all those helping hands and no need to worry about being neat and tidy. Plus, look! We brought an art teacher.

Katri (photo by Ava)

What do you think, Ava? Ready for some yarn? Of course you are.

Hi Ava!

Look how giant Bella looks compared to little Ava.


We headed back early Sunday to be sure to catch the Vadnais Days Parade and Booya. We watched the parade on our street and then wagoned over to the Booya, the whole way debating whether to hoard $24 (Brent) or $30 (me) worth in the crockpot (Booya is soup, although saying that is like saying gold is an element). When Brent returned from the Booya pavilion, he had $40 worth. OH YEAH! It was a sloshy ride home but well worth it. I packed it away in the freezer and you will know you are treasured friends if the Booya comes out while you are here. Oh who are we kidding, you won't get any.

A jampacked summer of a weekend, that's for sure.