Ali & I took the kids up to Bay Beach (not really a "beach") on Saturday and I learned that not only is there one overflow parking lot, there are TWO... it was SO BUSY! Perhaps it was because Bay Beach was recently ranked the 17th best amusement park in all of America by TripAdvisor! That is no small feat for such a tiny little park.
We started the day with beignets for breakfast! Ann & Brian spent a few days in NOLA while Mack & Addie were at YMCA camp, and brought us a box of Beignet Mix from Café Du Monde. Obviously, they met with approval!
After beignets, we had a change of clothes and a quick little photo shoot with the kids.
I still need to process the photos I took from this session -- the kids were cooperative and adorable -- but here's a screen shot that I nabbed from Kate's IG. That's me on the left, Ann on the right, and obviously Kate training a third lens on the situation. We'd been trying to do this since Ann arrived last month with those adorable coordinating outfits for Junah, Ginny, and Malina! (I still need to get the Mickey Mouse trio on "film," too!)
The running commentary on almost every photo that I posted of the kids during this visit was about Mack & Malina... was he ever gonna let her go?? My heart wants to burst every time I think of it... how sweet he is with her, and how they all get along so wonderfully.
At the park:
The train is always #1! This is actually a "new," second train -- a bit smaller in scale and on the north end of the park. It goes right under the Zippin' Pippin! Before we left the park, Mack & Addie took a ride on that rollercoaster -- after a bit of a delay when someone's seat belt was unbuckled as the ride began.
Junah and I took a ride on the carousel, and he was thrilled to get the red chicken! He's pretty fascinated by the mechanics of things -- looking up at the gears on the carousel, and very intrigued by the wheels & track beneath the Tilt-A-Whirl (above).
We had pizza for lunch and ice cream treats for dessert... nicely sharing an extra malt cup that I bought by accident.
In addition to the ticketed rides, there is a nice playground/picnic/pavilion area, as well, and there were a ton of people there for reunions, company functions, or just hangin' for the day.
We had a nice belated birthday celebration for Addie's 11th when we got home.
And they took off for Madison on Sunday morning... to Chicago on Tuesday and finally back to Valencia on Wednesday! It's about four months until Christmas, when we'll see them all again!
Thanks for sharing in our adventures!! Here's a little Eye Candy Friday bonus if you've reached this far:
The plan was to go to the swimming pool (for the first time all season!) on Friday night. We were a little bummed when it started to rain in the afternoon just as we finished wrapping up all the tie-dyed items for curing.
Well, okay, not everyone was bummed! Addie & Junah had a blast in the rain!!
"A raindrop got in my eye!"
It was a couple of hours before we intended to go, so we just hoped that it would blow over by then.
In the meantime, MACRAMÉ got underway!!
The boys didn't make a ton of progress in this endeavour -- distractions!!!
But I'll hold onto it all and maybe we can continue at Christmas time. Kate joined us for that activity and finished a plant hanger... and since then she's finished another, and another, and is currently dreaming up all sorts of ideas for future projects (not limited to plant hangers)!
Lo & behold, the rain did blow over and we met Ali & the girls down at the pool (while Ann & Brian made supper)!
Mack & Addie went down the big slide a few times, and convinced Junah to try it, too! It's the first year that he can do it alone. He said that it made his tummy feel funny, so once was enough!
We took an opportunity to wrangle the kids together at the side of the pool and I handed Ali my camera for some of my favorite photos of the weekend!
This is the first year in four that we didn't break out the indigo but don't worry, there was plenty of dye sloshing around!
The first step was to set up the garage. Thank goodness the weather improved a bit with slightly cooler temperatures and a lot less humidity. I cut open some large trash bags, taped them to the work surfaces, and made sure we had plenty of paper towels!
Next, we had to prep all the items that we wanted to die. We used rubber bands, string, marbles, and even a bamboo tiki torch to wrap a shirt around (because I couldn't find anything else pipe-like in a pinch) to twist, fold, and bunch up the fabric as desired/hoped.
Junah joined us this year...
When I put aprons on the boys, one of them remarked that they looked like doctors. When I gloved them up, Addie said, "Yeah, we're doctors of art!"
Jün wasn't really all that into the process, but he was more than content to be hanging around... riding his bike, and coming in to check on Mack & Addie from time to time. I rather left the big boys to their own devices because a) they've done this before, b) we dyed a lot more than last year, and c) I was mostly busy just wrapping things up to cure!
There were six adult shirts, seven for Gin/Jun, three onesies in a couple of sizes, and six for Mack & Addie!
Once wrapped, it was all left to cure for approx. 24 hours.
It's a blast to unwrap everything. I hosed off as much excess dye as I could, first just as it's unwrapped and then when unbound... and, man, there is a LOT of excess dye! Then everything is tossed into the washer...
...I ran four cycles in hot water and with Color Catchers (lots and lots of color catchers... thankfully, Kate was running errands and brought more)! I laid it all out on my bed yesterday morning so the boys could paw through and admire their work.
Here are a couple of faves (I think I did these):
A onesie, a swirl shirt Gin/Jün size, front & back of another Gin/Jün size. It's almost impossible to keep track of who did what...
Then we had some modeling and photos yesterday morning before Ann & family headed to Madison for the boys' Nana's 96th birthday party!
They're packing up and getting things done today, heading to Chicago on Tuesday to board their flight to Spain, where they'll arrive on Wednesday! We won't see them state-side again until Christmas... and I miss them already. It was a fun visit!
Ali came over later with the kiddos and they modeled, too!
Maybe you can see Ginny where already made her own mark on the one she's wearing... after finding a spray bottle of bleach/water that I had under the sink! (Uh-oh, Grandma's obviously slacking in the childproof department.)
We did a lot more than this at Auntie Camp... another post or two or three is in the works!
3rd Annual Auntie Camp commenced early Wednesday morning when Mack & Addie arrived at my back door!
It was a dreary and rainy start, so we decided to go to a movie -- something that was on our unofficial List of Possibilities, anyway. I don't think I've ever been to a 10:30 a.m. showing before!
We saw Despicable Me 3, and I didn't even fall asleep (as I am wont to do; close, but no Zs).
Later, after lunch and some errands, we tried our hand dyeing some silk scarves using The 5-Minute Silk Scarf method from Dharma Trading Co. I'd run across this tutorial when I was shopping for tie-dye supplies, and already had everything needed for the project except the silk scarves, so added a few to my order.
It was so easy, and really fun. Because we were using dry/powdered acid dye for this project, we needed to wear face masks -- so it felt a little science-y, too! The boys LOVED how their projects turned out.
Jun & Gin came over for a while! Jun was wearing one of the old boys' old Brasil soccer shirts, and Gin sported my first attempt at a romper from a t-shirt! I made that two years ago (OMG, wee Jun!), using a shirt with Addie's art (still one of my favorites)!
On Thursday, we got together with Ali & the kids and headed up to Bay Beach Amusement Park -- the best little park around!
The first thing on the list was a train ride! Junah was in HEAVEN... and didn't want to get off when it was over. Poor guy. He loves trains so much!!
While the little kids played on the playground, Mack & Addie & I took a ride on "Elvis' favorite" rollercoaster, the Zippin Pippin!
It's been quite a while since I rode a rollercoaster. Yikes! It sure is a nice view from up there, though. We also went on the Scrambler, one of my favorites from childhood (along with the Tilt-a-Whirl and Spider/Octopus). Mack & Ali & Junah went down the Giant Slide, and everyone but me took a ride on the Merry-Go-Round.
There were burgers & cheese fries, slushies & ice cream... everything you could want from a visit to an amusement park!!
On Friday, Maddy took the boys to Stevens Point for some kayaking.
I ran a few errands while they were gone, including delivery of the Mini-Me Hat & Beard and a stop at my LYS, Iris Fine Yarns, to get yarn for a new project. I also did a few things around the house, such as replacing the toilet seat!
We went to the opening of Settling the Ghost, an art exhibition curated by Kate (Young Space) at Standard Projects. There was great attendance, and I think the boys enjoyed it... though their favorite "exhibit" was on the snack table!
Rounding off a pretty busy day, Maddy built a fire when we got home, and we made s'mores!
Saturday was Tie-Dye Day! We'd been prepping shirts here & there over the previous couple of days, so we were ready to DO IT!
I guess I didn't take any photos of the process.
They tried swirls and sunbursts, and it was all about the application of the color. I'd purchased a Tie-Dye Kit from Dharma, along with a couple of extra colors and some of their ready-to-dye shirts (and a couple of onesies), plus some other shirts (both white & colors) that I had.
After applying the dye, the shirts were wrapped in plastic wrap to sit/set.
They'd held a few projects back to dye with indigo -- because it just isn't Auntie Camp unless someone turns blue! Haha. I was a bit more stern about that this time, though, because their big brother is getting married on Saturday. The dye comes off of skin fairly easily, but takes quite a bit longer if fingernails are involved.
The "magic" of indigo is more immediate than the tie-dye, and so fun!
I made the t-shirt for Junah, Mack dyed the tank for me. I love it, and wore it yesterday! There are more photos on Instagram.
Ali picked us up and we went to the pool to cool off. We ordered pizza for supper, and then Maddy walked with the boys to get some ice cream.
On Sunday morning, we were excited about the big reveal of the tie-dye projects!
There's a whole lotta water involved in that process. Wow. I unwrapped, rinsed with the hose on the driveway; the boys removed rubber bands, I rinsed with the hose again; rinsed again with warm water in the kitchen; did a rinse & spin cycle in the washer; hot/cold wash in the washer; and again. I put color catchers in with all of the machine cycles... and they caught a lot of color!
From left to right: Swirl shirt for Junah (I don't remember who applied the color); Addy's orange shirt with a shibori technique (kind of a dud); Mack's pleated shirt; Addy's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his mom; Mack's swirl shirt for his dad; and Addy's tri-section shirt for his dad. The color in Mack's pleated shirt is a lot less vibrant and I finally figured out that we'd forgotten to soak it in the soda ash solution prior to dyeing!
The only major things left on our List of Possibilities was making bookmarks (collage/lamination) and knitting, and the boys chose knitting!
The boys are very different in their styles/technique -- learning/doing -- and Addie needs lots of breaks (bathroom, snack, drink, fiddling -- that gadget he has isn't even charged). And we moved a bit, from the pergola to the porch and, eventually, to the couch.
Ann & Brian were originally due on Sunday afternoon, but were delayed by weather so the boys stayed overnight on Sunday, too. They both worked on their knitting for a while before we turned on a movie (Sky High -- kinda cute), and it was so fun listening to them talk about how knitting is "magical" and "calming." Mack's talking about making a blanket, and Brian said that Mack made sure he had his knitting when they left my house yesterday -- he forgot his hat & sunglasses, but he had his knitting!!
That's a wrap for Auntie Camp v.3! Already gathering ideas for v.4. ;)
I am feeling much better, thank you! I was told yesterday that I sounded like Stevie Nicks... "sing something!" Haha. A bit less so today, and far less sniffly, too.
My sister leaves for Spain a week from tomorrow, and the boys a few days later. "Crazy" doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on: cleaning out, donating, selling, storing, deciding. Does it get packed? Does it stay? Does it go?
Add in the simultaneous family farewells and at least one trip to the consulate in Chicago! Cray-cray!
Meanwhile, Addy had a birthday last Monday! He was worried that it would be forgotten. No flippin' way! They happened to be on their way home from Madison that day, so we made plans for dinner. I set up a taco bar, which the kids loved. And baked a cake. Addy requested chocolate, so chocolate it was... one of the chocolate-iest cakes I've ever made. Seriously, the frosting looked like tar! It was so awesome. (Hershey's Special Dark cocoa is the secret ingredient -- recipe on the container. I used a 9x13 pan and baked it about :10 longer than specified. It was perfect.)
This is 9 years + 1 hour. I'm not sure what the broom was about... something to do with Jün, though, I'm sure.
We'd had another Aunty Camp scheduled for later in August, and the boys were both very concerned that it wouldn't happen at all. I was able to arrange my schedule a little bit, though, so they stayed overnight on Monday and we had "camp" on Tuesday morning!
We did "tie-dye" with Sharpie markers & rubbing alcohol.
From the top: Mack's, Addy's, and a onesie that I made for Gin.
I wasn't intending for indigo dyeing to be part of this camp session, but the boys really wanted to do it. I had just enough time to mix up a quick 5-gallon vat while the t-shirts spun around in a hot dryer to set the ink.
And then threw them into the washer on "quick cycle." They are wet, above, and the color a bit intense because of it.
In a perfect world, I'd have let that ink set a bit longer -- or maybe set it with an iron -- because it did fade some in the washer. It's still pretty cool, though! And the boys were so happy.
Detail of Addy's marker designs. He wasn't happy with how his name was working with the marker, but it turned out to be a wonderful element of the design!!
They also tie-dyed a shirt for Jün!
I had previously done an experimental project on my own to get a feel for the Sharpie thing... and it turned out pretty hideous!
Thankfully, indigo to the rescue!!
There's already been some discussion about the next Aunty Camp! Who knows, maybe it'll be in Valencia! Based on discussion, it appears that indigo is an integral part of Aunty Camp, so I reassured the boys that we could do that anywhere! And they also request the return of knitting. LOVE!
These were among the photos I posted on Wednesday morning when the boys and I made it out to the garage to start dipping our tied and bound garments into the indigo vat.
About an hour later, their big brother Sam posted a comment that included a link to a Guide to Child Labor Laws in Wisconsin! Haha.
I don't know why I chose those photos... that last one cracks me up even more after Sam's comment! In truth, they did do most of the "work," but only because they wanted to... and that allowed me to take photos!
The reality was more like this:
(Yes, they did wear pristine, white aprons...)
Boy, did we have fun!
It was our first-ever "Aunt Camp," and they want to come back... and stay longer! And my sister messaged me last night to say that they can't stop talking about it.
That makes me so happy. More to come... we were busy!!