Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Where did summer go?

And just like that we are into September...back to school...cooler weather...FOOTBALL!!!

Ok, I am not a football fanatic, but I enjoy watching a game once in a while if I get the chance.

Let's see, as always...playing catch up on events!

In July Hope was in the play Music Man Jr.  She had several smaller roles throughout the play!





I have no clue when or who took this photo...but I just love it!


We drove down to visit Hope's birth family...and to meet her newest baby sister Britney.  Below is Hope holding Britney and sister Hannah hanging out too.  They might all look a little alike don't you think???  :)


Of course the solar eclipse, but it was pretty cloudy here in Iowa so we didn't really get to see it except through the clouds once in a while.


But we got a beautiful double rainbow at the end of the day!



The above picture does not do it justice as to how brilliant the cools were of the main rainbow.


Then we have a 7th grader starting school...


My garden really did great this summer with a lot of yummy veggies and fruits for us and some to share too.


The best tip I found for growing cucumbers was to companion plant them with sunflowers.  The sunflowers were to take the bitterness from the cucumbers.  Those were the best cucumbers I have ever eaten...so sweet.


On a last minute invite...we joint this group to do the Big Yellow Bicycle.  Yep, you guessed it, it is a big bike that seats over 16 riders and you all pedal together to make the bike move.  We pedaled around downtown for the 2.5 hour tour traveling to several local breweries and bars.  It was a great time!


We all shared a "das boot" at Hessen House, which is a German bar.


Well, I guess that is the long and short of what has been going on...of fun things!

Hope did try out for the swim team at the YMCA.  I am so proud of her for putting it all out there.  Unfortunately, they have limited space on the team and she did not make it this year.  It was amazing to see her have such passion for something and actually work hard towards her goals.

Things at school are going good so far this year too.  She is in Algebra, which she will earn 2 credits toward HS graduation.  As we were eating supper tonight we checked her grades and she got an A- on her quiz she took today.  This is a significant improvement to last year.  I think it was a struggle last year because it was the first year she actually had to put some effort into things instead of just being able to do the bare minimum.  Anyway...all of that just to say how proud I am of everything she had done this late summer/early fall so far!

Of course, I have been busy still making cards and scrapbook layouts...so just sharing a few here:















Well, until next time...whenever that will be...

Darla



Sunday, July 23, 2017

For the LOVE of Harry Potter

Well, as usual, it has been QUITE some time since I posted.  Many reasons, but will just back up to all I need to share (over a few different posts).

I FINALLY got to go to Universal Studios in Florida to visit the Harry Potter parks/ride/exhibits there.  And all I can say is....IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!!!

It was every thing that I had hoped that it would be.  I really felt like I was at Hogwarts/Diagon Ally, etc.

Here are some highlights, in no particular order...

This was the brick opening that Hagrid opens up for Harry to enter Diagon Ally in the first movie.  It was so cool.

This was the view as you walked through the brick opening of Diagon Ally.

Hope got an interactive wand that you could cast spells in specified locations throughout the two parks.  This one made it rain (over the umbrella).

The second time we came back to cast the spell, Hope actually caught an innocent bystander in the middle of the raining umbrella (the lady in the blue shirt).  She just stood there until it stopped raining.  LOL!

One of my favorite characters is Luna Lovegood.  This was one of my favorite (obscure) signs to see in the park.

This was one of the medallions at each of the interactive wand locations.  It showed the instructions of the spell that was to be cast at each window.

Walking through Hogsmeade up to the Hogwarts castle was AMAZING!!!  It was so cool!



And Weasley's Wizard Weezes store was everything you would expect it to be. 


One of the first Harry Potter sites we saw was the Night Bus.  I had my picture taken with Stan Shunpike.  :)  And you can see 12 Grunwold place in the background, which was a signifiant location in book 5.


Of course, one of my favorite movie trilogy was Back to the Future.  While they no longer have a ride associated with the movie, they still have the car and I ran into Doc Brown while walking around.


Of course, one of my other favorite parts of the park was the Hogwarts Express train.  The train itself was cool and everything about Kings Cross station, 9 3/4 platform, etc.



And of course...MY favorite photo...Hope and I going through 9 3/4 platform.
The feeling you were actually in Hogsmeade/Hogwarts/London, was just spot ON!

And this was Hope and I in the entry way of the "Escape from Gringotts" ride.  This was our favorite ride and we rode it several times.

So if you have a Harry Potter fan, I totally recommend going to Universal Studios in Florida.  

We were actually pretty lucky the crowds were down, but the unfortunate part was that we did have to deal with rain periodically.  During one of those heavy downpours, we left the park and went to the Chocolate Emporium.
The food and desserts were fabulous!!!


We considered the rain a blessing because we did not have the typical crowds and lines to deal with that you normally would in June.

 Another favorite was the new Jimmy Fallow ride.

And any Harry Potter fan HAS to try the butter beer.  It was so yummy!!!


Obviously, we have been busy doing other summer fun as well, but this was our BIG event since I last posted.  So, here are a few things to share (craft related) just because...











So until next time...whenever that will be.  LOL!

Darla