July 20, 2018 – Bookworm Gardens

Owen and Cam love Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, WI and so do I.  Unfortunately, I  forgot my camera so Jennifer provided the photos for the trip.

Each small garden has a theme based on a children’s book.  Each has some sort of structure in addition to the plants and there are waterproof books to read. Here, Owen is reading a book (Harry the Dirty Dog) about a dog whose owners did not recognize as their own until they gave him a bath.

This is the only exhibit I noticed that did not have a book.  It is Whistling Straits, a PGA golf course nearby, which is owned by Kohler.  They are a sponsor of the admission-free gardens.

Just for fun, I found a picture of the actual clubhouse on the internet.

We had a lot of fun re-enacting the Three Pigs.  Cam got the house a straw, I wriggled in and out of the house of sticks, and Owen was quite comfortable in his house of bricks.

Andy played the part of the Big Bad Wolf

Apparently, the funniest part to Jennifer was me getting in and out of my house with an extremely narrow door. The boys got a big kick out of it too.

I had the most fun at this cock-eyed house.  I have no idea what book it represents.

The boys had a wild time inside, especially after I started playing the part of Baba Yaga, the Russian witch who eats small children.

They closed the door and the peep-hole, and the window.  I knocked and they opened the door.  Screaming followed and they slammed the door.  I knocked again:  “Pizza Delivery!”.  Ha, they opened the door again and I attempted to catch one.  But, they screamed and slammed the door again.  My best attempt:  knock, knock. “Amazon delivery”.  The opened the door again but I still did not catch a tasty boy to eat. I had to try to catch one through the peep-hole window.

Jennifer caught part of the live action.

Here are the boys at The Little House in the Big Woods, the first of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series I loved so much as a child.

Bookworm Gardens is one of the cutest and most child-friendly gardens I have ever seen.  Do some Google images to see much more of it.





July 15, 2018 – Harrington Beach State Park

For those of us who haven’t done this in many years, here is the modern way to cut children’s hair.  Jennifer set her phone (or maybe it was a tablet) on the bathroom sink and stood Cam on a stool. Owen stood on the toilet so he could watch too. Cam was so entranced with whatever they were watching that he barely moved a hair (haha) while Jennifer buzzed away his golden locks.

It was time to do something fun and we decided to go to the beach. The boys played Pokemon on the way.  Cam used Jennifer’s phone.

Owen used my phone.  It took me most of the way to the beach to download the app and get registered and set up so he didn’t get in much play before Jennifer and I confiscated our phones.  There was no cell signal at the beach.

There were plenty of people on the beach since it was a weekend.  We got a nice shady spot.  Actually, it was too shady with a cool breeze blowing off Lake Michigan.  We periodically walked into the sun to warm up.

The lake was a bit foggy so we could not see the horizon.

There are several other beaches near enough to Jennifer’s house, but the one in Harrington Beach State Park does not require a walk down a bluff.

This is the walkway between the parking lot and the beach.

There were some lovely flowers along the path.

Tiger Lilies

Owen and Cam spent the whole time building sand castles. Well, first Cam built a sand wall from the beach blanket to the water.

Then they spent the rest of the time building sand castles at the water’s edge.


Jennifer sat on the blanket.

They were busy boys.

We did not take any beach toys with us so their construction method was to dig handfuls of sand from the water and dribble it onto a pile.  Inspired by Gaudi, I suppose.

They were so close to the water’s edge that boat wakes damaged their castles. They ended up building three.

It was my job to run a bath for the boys when we got home.  I think they were waiting to make sure the water was not too hot before they got in.

July 14, 2018 – That’s a Real Limousine!

Son-in-Love George went to China to visit some suppliers and check on progress for a job they are doing for Milwaukee Tools.  I think the non-stop flight was leaving from Chicago, about two hours away. George was waiting for an airport limo to pick him up and we were all surprised when this one backed into the driveway.

After George’s bags were loaded and he got in the back seat, he lowered the window to wave goodbye to Cam. Cam announced, “That’s a real limo!” And George was off to China.

Later in the day, the boys were using the stair railing as a jungle gym.

July 13, 2018 – Treasure Hunt!

Jennifer and the boys had made a list of summer activities.  Owen was keen on a treasure hunt so Jennifer went online (the mother’s resource) and found some ready-made clues.  All she had to do was write the clues on file cards and hide the treasure.

The boys were beside themselves with excitement when Jennifer announced the treasure hunt.  She had invited Max to come over and join in and told the boys to get dressed in some adventure clothes while waiting for Agnes and Max to arrive. Listening to them decide what to wear for a treasure hunt was entertaining.  Four-year-old Cam asked Mama, “Do I need to take my binoculars?”.  She thought they would be unnecessary in this case. Max arrived in his adventure clothes too.

Andy tried to get in on the excitement and exclaimed, “I’m going to find that treasure!”  Cam looked at him in shock and dismay.  “You would ruin our treasure hunt?” Stunned and broken-hearted, Andy dropped out of the treasure hunt then and there.

Jennifer gave Owen the first clue.

I am a friend to parents who like things neat.  They really like it when you WIPE YOUR FEET.”

Owen found the next clue under the front door mat.  After that, I lost track of the order and my pictures hardly give me a clue what they are looking for so I’ll just fake it from here on out.

Another clue said,

Some people think I’m nasty and yuck.  But without me for your trash, you’d be out of luck!

They found another clue at the garbage can by the driveway.

Max spotted a clue!

This clue,

I make music for you when you’re out in the yard.  I make the most music when the wind blows hard.

led them to the wind chime Jennifer had made with an old coffee pot and spoons. Not well seen behind the bird feeder.

The clue,

I make lots of smoke when I get hot. I make yummy food that you like a lot.  When it’s chilly outside, I can’t be beat.  Light me up to make a toasty treat!

She had drawn a small picture of a fire at the bottom of the clue.  The boys went tearing off to the fire pit at the edge of the woods. Baba Yaga was having a tough time keeping up.

The next clue was on a chair near the fire pit.

Everyone loves me! I’m pretty and smell sweet.  Look down to find me.  I’m near your feet.

They were stumped.  They stood by the fire ring looking down at their feet.  Then they looked around a bit before looking at their feet again.  Jennifer offered a suggestion: “What smells good that grows close to the ground?”  Then, ” Where are some flowers?”  That was enough.  They took off for the front walk which is lined with flowers in pots.  The next clue was tucked under the edge of a pot.

I sit very still when I don’t have a rider. Sit down and learn why I’m called a glider.

Owen was stumped and I got one of my favorite pictures. We enjoyed Owen’s puzzled hand-on-chin expression and then Jennifer gave him another hint. We realized that he did not know the word “glider”.

They found the next clue on the glider on the back deck.

Owen was the leader as he is the only one who could read the clues.

I’m a comfy spot without a doubt.  Though it can be tricky to get in and out.

No problem with that clue.

I’m sort of like sneakers, but for a car. I help it run really fast and far.

They figured out that they should go to the driveway

Jennifer and Agnes were standing in the yard chatting and watching the boys zip around, with me straggling after trying to capture it all.

When I caught up to the boys, they had searched around all the vehicles but had not found the clue.  I suggested that they look again.  They found it resting atop a tire.

I did not know where the clues were and thought this one was too hard.

Climbing me can be quite a lark.  I’m not a dog, but I do have a bark.

Yes, it’s a tree, but they must have a hundred trees on this property. How are they going to find the right one?  No problem; it is their favorite tree that I did not know about.  Not far into the woods is a large fallen tree on top of another fallen tree.  I learned that it is the boys’ favorite place to play in the woods.  When I caught up to them, Cam and Max were working their way up the trunk. Owen was nowhere in sight. He is in this picture.  I can see his hat and a leg just to the right of the skinny tree to the left in the foreground.

I zoomed in to get a picture of him with the treasure. That is the top of Jennifer’s hat, lower right.  She took the treasure bags so Owen could climb back down.

Meanwhile, Cam and Max were stuck and wailing for help.  I lifted Max down and then Cam. (But not before I took this picture of him.)

They dug into their treasure bags on the back deck.  I was thrilled with the bubble-wands, but the boys were much more interested in the candies.

Max’s chipmunk cheeks were stuffed with chocolate-covered coconut almonds.

It was a great treasure hunt.  Owen told his Mama, “It was just the right amount of hard”.

July 10, 2018 – A Ride in Eleanor

Son-in-Love George decided this was the day for Andy and I to ride in Eleanor.  We had seen her in the garage when we were here for Christmas but did not get a ride then.

Here she is, a 1930 Ford Model A, pulled out of the garage. We were excited.

The engine.

I’m not sure what this is on the running board.  I’m thinking a boot scraper to keep the mud out.

Andy is trying to be cool.

George fussed over her a bit before we took off.

I climbed into the back seat with Owen.  This gave me a chance to photograph the dash and steering wheel.

The two men in the front gives you some scale.

We drove through some beautiful Wisconsin countryside, now more “suburban”  houses than dairy farms. Then, of course, we had to stop at Out n Out for some custard. This photo is a bit bizarre, but I wanted you to see the back end too.

Lastly, here is a profile.

Yes, George is a motorcycle guy.  He said that he always wanted an old car and, now that he has a family, Eleanor the Model A is something the whole family can ride together.

July 9, 2018 – Walk Along Milwaukee River and Ninja Monkey Owen

We have taken a few walks around Firemen’s Park in Thiensville.  Here are a few shots.

I love this horizontal tree.

This small beach is just below the Thiensville Dam, which was built for a mill that is no longer there.

There are several dead trees in the river and hung up on the dam.

I noticed that one of them has sprouted a new tree.

There are so many daylilies here.  Most yards have a patch or two of them and they are growing all along the roadsides.  There are several patches in the woods around Jennifer’s house.

I have begun to call him Ninja Monkey Owen.

The Treehouse

George has been making fairly good progress on the tree house.  He got a bit behind his schedule when Jennifer drove by a McDonald’s that was being demolished. She made a U-turn and asked if she could buy the green spiral sliding board.  She and George had to dismantle it and haul it home in four (or more) trips with the pickup and a trailer. Getting it reassembled was another major project. The treehouse is twelve feet off the ground.

Technically, I suppose, it is not a tree house, but a stump house.

A ship’s ladder up another “stump” leads to a bridge.

It looks pretty high from the bottom.  When done, it will have a ship’s ladder railing, meaning short. It is at a good angle and easy to climb.

Then you come to the bridge.  George has not yet built access to the slide, which was not in his  original plans.  I think he is going to make a short platform with its own support posts out to the top of the slide.

The railing has wire cables to help prevent children from falling off.

There are windows all around the treehouse.  George has put screens in them. The narrow deck goes all the way around the house.

There is also a skylight for looking at the stars at night.

Here is a look from top to bottom.  The center post will be removed when the roof is finished.

George has fitted the skylight with pieces of plexiglass.

The treehouse is not too far from the big house, just at the edge of the woods.