Adventure: a good try

Whenever we hear even the slightest murmur of something cool within driving distance, we put it on our bucket list to head to on an open and pretty day!

I can’t remember who told us about this, but it’s a waterfall/reservoir in Alma (just about 20 min from here). But that’s all we knew. We were in a little antique store asking about it and finally found it down a small dirt road!

Except it hadn’t rained in a while…so it was dry.


This would be super cool…with water coming down!


We still had a great time hiking around it, but there’s nothing to report…


Halloween: take one

Manhattan loves Halloween! There are about 5 different public events that you can show up in costume and fit right in.

Homecoming Parade is the first!

The businesses in Aggieville all hand out candy, so you come early and trick or treat at the stores, then camp out for the K-State Homecoming Parade!

Becks dressed as Link from the video game Zelda this year. He and Brian made the sword and shield this summer (not for a costume, just cause. Nerds.) and I found this great hoodie! Costume hoodies are my favorite!! Functional AND fun! Look at me being so fun!!

I guess Link had somewhere to be…


So since Becks was Link, I was Zelda, and Brian was Navi (the little fairy who follows Link around saying “Hey! LISTEN!”) Brian had multiple people stop him to ask to take a picture with him! Nailed it!


Sadie Piper went as a cat!


She did her own face paint! Super cute!!

KSU homecoming parade 2017

And Berkley as, shocking: a penguin!


The floats at this parade and the best! That’s Annie waving in the cutest picture ever!!    KSU homecoming parade 2017

Here’s what happens when you take two pictures. Berkley does really well…

But then she does a face fast change…

 KSU homecoming parade 2017

This guy dressed as Macho Man! He stayed in character the WHOLE time!! KSU homecoming parade 2017

Girls: “Dad, we ALWAYS take this picture!!” Brian: “SAY CHEESE!!!!”

KSU homecoming parade 2017

Varsity’s “candy” was basically fresh funnel cake bits. We didn’t get a picture cause we wolfed them down! Berkley wanted every last grain of sugar. Literally.

KSU homecoming parade 2017

KSU homecoming parade 2017


Riding to school:

Ramming heads:

Spy lasers:

We are going to the track to run and play soccer. But you wouldn’t know that from looking at Berkley:


Beware of the kids:


Book worm at a soccer game:


DIY glasses:

Astros Playoffs!

Here’s the deal: the Astros don’t make it to the playoffs often. That’s a crazy understatement, but hang with me! So when they do, it’s a BIG deal.

We kept up the stadium food, with chicken in a waffle cone with mashed potatoes. It’s a real thing at Minute Maid Park!

And had nasty nachos again. On “stadium plates.” With a tomato, cause I’m only SO fun…(they like to eat them like apples instead of cut up. It’s weird.)

The Astros introduced these crazy uniforms in 1975, which is “arguably, the most radical uniform redesign in major league history.”

They came to be known as “tequila sunrise” after the famous cocktail:

So when we make anything Astros, it’s tequila sunrise, aka, just mix red, yellow and orange together and Brian’s thrilled!

(Which has me wondering why we don’t make these?? Hmm. It’s on my to do list as of just now!)

These were cake batter truffles.

Brian decided to make Astros bread. (No, he doesn’t cook. Or bake. Well, he makes what the kids say is the BEST EVER mac and cheese. From the blue box…)

I had to fight to not take over and micromanage. Apparently I’m a control freak.

He did it!!

He was VERY proud! It turned out great!


He then spent the next 30 minutes telling me how hard it was to make things homemade! 🙂

Now we are reading The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe…

Their creativity never stops amazing us! They dressed the part for the battle at the end of the book:

Berkley came out riding Sadie Piper as her horse, but it kept getting better!

Narnia and Harry Potter

The saddle:

Narnia and Harry Potter

And “working” reins:

Narnia and Harry Potter

The chainmail on her armor (but the sleeves were my favorite part!!):

Narnia and Harry Potter

And tab in the back so she can take off her armor:

Narnia and Harry Potter

And shin guards!

Narnia and Harry Potter

Beckham was the engineer in all this, and he was excited to try it on

Narnia and Harry Potter

Until he got stuck in it. Forever.

Narnia and Harry Potter


Astros in the Playoffs!!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!

We bleed orange around here, so while the Astros are in the Playoffs, it becomes a holiday!

We did stadium food on days they played in the first round. But of course, food at the stadium costs money. Insert Brian’s job: make money!!

Astros money

Everything we sold always cost $100, but isn’t that about right for stadium prices? 🙂 Just teaching the kids real world lessons!

I made pretzel hot dog buns. They were delish, but I hate when I do that to myself cause now I set the bar too high…on stinking HOT DOG night, aka “Mom’s not cooking night!” Ugh!

We also did nachos…with JUST those round chips and that gross non-cheese that everyone in my house loves. Ew. They thought it was the greatest ever.

And orange popcorn in Astros cup hats:

They didn’t love it. Said it was too sugary. WHAT???

And then tequila sunrise cookies (instead of the annual candy corn ones these are supposed to be!)

‘Stros are moving on, so it’s back to the drawing board for more Astros ideas!

Best “no” we’ve ever said…

We aren’t anti-video games. (Case in point: Brian has owned literally every device Nintendo has ever made. Every. Single. One.) But we try to reserve them for winter. You know, when it’s too stinking cold to do anything but be on the couch with a blanket.

More background: we just finished reading the first Harry Potter aloud as a family.

But the kids still ask if they can play video games, and we still tell them “no” on pretty days. Last week was an especially pretty weekend. So, 20 minutes after we said no, they came out and started “suiting up.”

Narnia and Harry Potter

They went and found Brian’s oldest looking baseball hat, for the “sorting hat” of course, and got into houses.

Then they came outside for…

Quidditch Tryouts!

Narnia and Harry Potter

Beckham was using this card to run try outs! 🙂

Harry Potter

First was hitting a bludger!

Narnia and Harry Potter

Narnia and Harry Potter

But you also had a shot at becoming a Chaser!   Narnia and Harry Potter

And of course, they had to try to get the Snitch (a very small bouncy ball!) to try out for Seeker!

Harry PotterHarry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Harry Potter

They they disappeared inside for a while. But that was just to find out what positions they got (I found out later!).

And then back out for the real game!

Harry Potter

The BEST part was the noises they were all making. You know, broomstick flying noises!!

Harry Potter   Harry Potter  Harry Potter

Then Brian goes and finds himself a broom…

Harry Potter

It was not lost on me that my entire family is the front yard. On broomsticks….Harry Potter

Also, why do I have so many brooms??

   Harry Potter

Brian caught the snitch…in his mouth. You know, like Harry did? (If you haven’t read the books, stop now and do it!)

Harry Potter

There were also classes inside the house. I didn’t see them all, but “Potions” was in our room:

Harry potter

I’m glad God gave us these three!

Miss America!

Miss America

First: No, Miss America is NOT Miss USA, aka Trump’s pageant. Just getting that out of the way! 🙂

Second: Yes, I did have to google that cause I know NOTHING about the pageant world.

…correction, I KNEW nothing…until now!!

How I get to have a friend like Carolyn, I don’t know. But she was selected to be a preliminary judge for Miss America this year. That means she spends all week in Atlantic City judging. Then the celebrities come in on Sat night and do the judging for the show. But after having seen how this works, the prelim judges really do all the work and the celebrities get all the glory! Story of life!

Carolyn asked me to be her “plus one”…and I looked at Brian, who obviously knew this meant he would be on his own for a few days wrangling kids, but even then still said, “You have to!” So while he was working hard doing his normal job, plus getting 3 kids around to soccer practices, sometimes overlapping practices at different fields, and the likes, I was flying to Atlantic City, FIRST CLASS!

I told Brian I’m never flying coach again. Leg room for days, free drinks (I ordered a vodka soda cause everyone else was…yes, I’m a follower) and not just peanuts, mixed roasted nuts!

Miss America

But that’s not even it! Lunch! All on real plates and silverware!

Miss America

And cookies afterwards. It really was all it’s hyped to be.

I detoured through Baltimore to see my college roommate Missy! She’s one of my favorite people in this world, and 24 hours with her was good for my soul. But obviously not for my camera cause we didn’t take ONE picture. Boo. 🙁

A little Miss American info for you: There are 3 evenings of Preliminary Competition. These are also held in Boardwalk Hall (where Sunday night’s competition is held). Each night, 1/3 of the girls do talent, 1/3 question and 1/3 bathing suit and evening gown. The prelim judges are giving them ratings and narrowing it down to 14. Along the way, girls are winning scholarships. They are ultimately competing for $50,000 in scholarships if they win. We were so impressed with the girls. They are between 17 and 24 and I was no where as put together and articulate at that age.

Here’s the judges seating.

Miss America

Miss America

We met Miss Teen America Thursday night. She was a doll!

Miss America

This dress was so Elsa!

Miss America

Miss America

Carolyn’s college friend Lindsay came in to join us! I have heard about her for 15 years, so meeting her was well over due! She’s adorable and fun and I love her!

Lindsay and I are twinkies! This was up on the stage after the prelims on Friday.

Miss America

Saturday, the prelims were done, and there’s a “Shoe Parade”- the girls all make a pair of elaborate shoes representing their state and ride in cars with their legs up showing off these shoes.

Here’s Miss America 2017 starting off the parade. Her name is Savy! How cute this that?

Miss America

Here she is again. So about 2 seconds before the camera takes the picture, it hit both Lindsay and I that we are taking a picture with MISS AMERICA. So you feel awkward cause you know this maybe wasn’t the best idea cause you are gonna look dowdy no matter what! 🙂

Miss America

We watched the parade from that balcony. Yes, like royalty. Yes, it was awesome!

Miss America

So, Miss Baltimore had cherry blossoms…

Miss Illinois went with Cubs…

Miss Texas. Well, she didn’t win any points from me, so it’s a good thing the prelims were over. And also I had zero say, so there’s that too! 🙂

We called ourselves Carolyn’s “entourage”

Miss America

This is up on our royalty balcony. It was like a party up there while we watched a parade, so definitely one of my favorite parts!

Miss America

We explored Atlantic City just a little. It has a great beach!

Miss America

And the best statue idea ever!!

Miss America

Our meals were crazy yummy! And I’m not just saying that cause I didn’t make them!

Miss America

We also had room service all week (which prior to this I had only done once before when Carolyn sent it to us in Chicago so the kids could experience it! Yes, she is the best all around!). We all missed room service the most when we got home!

My guilty pleasure is The Bachelor. (I haven’t watched in a while, but let’s just say if you want to talk Bachelor, I can hold my own!) And I LOVE Chris Harrison. He makes me laugh and he’s so good on his feet. My one goal in life (aka, on this trip) was to get a picture with him. I missed my first chance cause Lindsay and I had left back stage decided to go watch the press conference from the press seats! Ugh! (yes, he did make a comment about his seat being right in front of the roses!)

Miss America

 But we caught him back stage after his red carpet on Sunday!!

Miss America

Miss America

So yes, Sunday! We got our hair and makeup done and hit the cocktail pre-party. Also we “borrowed” the crown in the centerpiece…

Miss America

Red carpet lighting is amazing!

  Miss America  Miss America         Miss America

The Sunday show was fascinating cause it was live. I’ve only been to live football games 🙂 so experiencing this was really amazing. The detail and logistics that go into planning and executing was overwhelming. The camera man would film, then he would bust it over to the shadows for 15 seconds so he was out of the next shot, then run again back to a  spot to film again. Watching all that behind the scenes was my favorite!

Then I got to come home to this:

    Miss America

And I couldn’t resist drawing this on the kids napkins on Tuesday! 🙂

Miss America


Just some random-ness!

This was THE BEST!

July 2017

Kids made masks at Beach Art Museum craft class. Beckham was a gargoyle!

July 2017

All I wanted was a cute picture of her in her cute helmet…

July 2017

We’ve implemented “House Elves”…everyone has 2 nights a week that they are my dinner helper. And there’s a uniform (yep, real pillowcase!)!

 House elf

Kids notes from Brian’s sermon on Mary and Martha


July 2017

Sadie Piper’s:

July 2017


July 2017

Went to the grocery store this summer, but Berkley was  clearly low in her love tank (aka “touch”) and hung on me the whole time

July 2017

Berkley made me a penguin bookmark! It’s my fav!

  July 2017

This just made us laugh!

Aug 2017

Snack time in the cemetery!

Aug 2017

Taught kids how to play “Kick the Can”…and then schooled them!

Aug 2017

Girls made trophies out of paper. We won best parents!

Aug 2017

Found a fun playground in a small town!

Don’t even remember taking this, but there are so few of just the two of us!

On Post MPC lunch at the Curry's

$1.50 scoop days at Baskin Robbins makes not having Blue Bell just a little easier!

Aug 2017

Katy Trail 2017

This is year, who knows, 10o maybe, of this annual trip with Tony and Shari!

My fav pic

This year we went 3 for 4 in flat tires. Also the first ones for both Shari and me both. We have great husbands who know how to change them, so while we wait we take cute pics of them.

Turns out my tire had some cool goo in it that it didn’t need to be changed, just added air. But we realized that too late. “S0meone” was mocking Brian…”Someone” rhymes with Bony! 🙂

I’m pretty sure Tony was changing a flat tire and Shari and Brian are playing wiffle ball (with a stick as a bat) and I’m taking pics. Sorry Tony!

Yep, that was it.

Shari and I’s cute bridge pic:

Brian’s less cute bridge pic:

Our bed and breakfast

The bed and breakfast Shari and I wanted to stay at!

We just go for the pics of us jumping. We’ve gotten pretty good…meaning we take 5 pics every time instead of 30 to get a good one!


Here’s us discussing the shot. And how I wanted to be on the ground and not way up on these stairs.


I sucked it up, but it wasn’t my best shot! (I hate heights!)

We found this incredible “Boat Henge” that makes no sense but is crazy cool anyways.

Brian is always so patient and helpful in taking our jumping pictures, so I feel bad throwing him under the bus and posting these…but not bad enough not to! 🙂
(Love you Brian Bian)

“OK Brian, jump like you are flying out of the boat”

“Yeah, you are gonna have to get a little higher than that”

“Yes, it IS harder than it looks”


“Nope, more height. Put your heart into it.”

And then we got it…but it was blurry! Sorry babe!

And we DID it! It was storming the whole last day, but we limped to the finish line!

And then we went shopping at the Gap Outlets on the way home. The second reason Shari and I go…