Friday, August 31, 2012

Best and Worst

Tom's worst - Hurricane Isaac may be dumping all over the tailgate tomorrow
Mike's worst - when leaving to go to work today, people were trying to get him to go to breakfast but he was responsible and went to work instead AND had to stay late at work on a Friday
Bobbie's worst - really excited about volunteering for a program but has to do a lot to actually make it through the process
Seeger's worst - no more Roblox in computer lab at Boys and Girls Club
Natalie's worst - too much work this week
Nick's worst - Seeger waking up at 5am, before him
Tom's best - done with radiation! And he's in Bloomington at IU with the family for the first football game
Mike's best - dad is done with radiation
Bobbie's best - Tom is finished with radiation
Seeger's best - egg drop soup and fried rice with chicken AND eggs
Natalie's best - a great start to a celebratory weekend
Nick's best - shrimp and football game tomorrow with Nikesh and Noah

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Origins of Our Name

Here is an excerpt from Nick's first project at school. It's typed word for word, grammatical error by grammatical error. It also has a few factual errors but it's enjoyable nonetheless:

Ok, the name might not be the best but it’s ok right? Is better than Steve or Billy. Though, not as good as maybe Brian or something like that but if you know the backstory then sure, you would appreciate it way more.

Let’s start at the end with my last name. Kubat. My great grandpa and grandma emigrated here together from Poland. They brought both their families here to. And soon had my grandfather. After that my Dad than me. So I’m only one eighth Polish, but hats more than any other country. So that’s how my last name came to be. Kubat.

Now my middle name, well my mom is a mix of many different countries. Her Mom was part of the North family before becoming a Gallagoly, my grandpa’s last name, so in honor of them my mom had my middle name be north.

Finally there’s my First name. My dad has a history of all the boys on his side being HUGE sports fans I do follow in his path (my brother hasn’t really, however.) so my mom said when my dad and her brainstorming names, they got to the girls name real quickly, Lilly. Then they moved on to the boy’s name. They tried bunch like Henry or Gordon or Greg and finally decided on Fred. Fred! Fred! No please not Fred.

Weekend Recap

With our second weekend in a row (gasp) at home, we wanted to fill it in with lots of activities. (I seriously don't remembe the last time we spent two weekends a row at home. Over summer break, our only weekend home was on June 23.) My mom was visiting for the weekend so on Saturday, we dropped off the boys at TKD and headed to the Farmer's Market. Knowing we likely wouldn't be back in time to pick them up, they went in to class with $10 and strict instructions to walk to Jiffy Treet for a snack when class was over. I was a little nervous about giving them such independence but knowing I could communicate with Nicklas by phone and that the walk didn't include crossing any busy streets, I figured it would be a good test for them. They passed with flying colors and I found them like this:

I went to the Market with $20 and came away with all of this:
The box of peaches were originally full but half were removed prior to taking the photo. What were they used for? They were used for #25 on the list of 50 before 50 - learn how to can something. My mom decided peach jam would be a great project for the weekend. I learned how to boil and ice each peach so they're easiest to peel.

 And I mashed them up.

Then we stirred in the ingrediants - lemon juice, lots of sugar and the pectin.

And voila, in the end, I had 6+ jars of peach jam.

Unfortunately they didn't set well so I don't think I used the correct amount of pectin. I'll have to try again sometime.

After the peach jam adventure, I dropped the boys off at the skating rink so they could hang out with their friends. This was another test - I was really nervous about leaving them there and not staying - but they did great.

I did make it back in time to do the Cha Cha Slide with everyone toward the end of the skating session.

Later that evening, we took my mom out to dinner for her birthday. I've been wanting to take the family to the Scenic View restaurant which overlooks Lake Monroe. It was the perfect choice since my mom is a lake girl at heart. We sat outside on a beautiful evening and enjoyed some wonderful food. 
 You can barely see the Lake behand my mom's shoulder.
I didn't get any photos on Sunday but we spent the day with our friends, Dave and Susan. They initially planned to make the trip to Bloomington so that Dave could help the Polack finish putting up our backetball hoop. We met for lunch at Macri's. Then Mom took Nicklas home (and headed back to Fort Wayne) while Seeger was at a birthday party and the adults went wine tasting. We hit up Butler and the new Chateau Thomas tasting room on the square. While at Chateau Thomas, I learned about the hotel suites they built on the second floor. I'm always looking for hotel rooms for our VIPS who visit to campus so we took a tour of the amazing space. One of the suites over looks downtown and they're both beautiful!
I'll end this post with one last photo. I've been wanting to try paw paws since I learned about them during a Boomington Parks and Rec sponsored hike at Leonard Springs Nature Park. I'm convinced we have paw paw in our woods but haven't found any fruit. Luckily, I came across a vendor at the Farmer's Market who had one pint to sell. They are all spotted and ugly looking and I don't know if they'll be any good but I bought the last pint because I HAD to have them. They're almost ripe so I'll be biting in to one this week.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Best and Worst

Nick's worst - it was raining all day
Natalie's worst - overslept this morning
Mike's worst - despite very productive weekend, still feels like there's a lot to do
Seeger's worst - not sure about pieces of the chicken he's eating and he's worried about Nick's herbst.
Nick's best - new basketball hoop
Natalie's best - good, yummy dinner and getting quilt tonight
Mike's best - quiet evening at home
Seeger's best - having a club at school with code words and maybe a secret language

Friday, August 24, 2012

Meet Me by Seeger

Some of my favorites:
Something I've Accomplished - Writing in cursive
Something I'm Proud Of - Being friends
Favorite Place Away From Home - The bahamas
Special Talent - being funny
Favorite Sport - Olimpics
Favorite Food - Chinise Rice
Favorite Movie - Advengers

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dinner Time

Best and Worst

Natalie's worst - so super tired today
Nick's worst - miscommunication on school pick up
Mike's worst - suckered in to covering a colleagues fifth period class
Seeger's worst - alarm went off while sleeping
Natalie's best - yummy low sodium family dinner
Seeger's best - surprise homework of getting to write for 20 minutes
Mike's best - family dinner and finally getting back in to a routine again
Nick's best - first meeting of K-Kid's Club

Friday, August 17, 2012

First Days

Monday was the first day of the school year for all the Kubatski boys. The Polack was the first to leave. I wasn't even awake yet. It was a teacher work day for him.

Nicklas got himself up and showered and he promptly sat on the couch for an hour of ESPN. I try to make the boys a nice breakfast for their first day of school; Nicklas chose bacon and eggs. Once breakfast was finished, we headed outside to wait for the bus.

Nicklas was excited because his mean bus driver retired last year.

He was disappointed to see her still driving when she picked him up. She actually waved at me so I figure that's a good start to the year. After Nicklas departed, I headed in to the house to read the newspaper and get myself ready for the day. I was feeling pretty good about myself until I got in to the house and Freddy uncharacteristically avoided me. I quickly realized he had somehow knocked off the pan of bacon from the counter top and eaten all but the two pieces that managed to stay on the counter. I was NOT happy.

I usually have about 40 minutes between Nicklas getting on the bus and having to wake up Seeger. He's such a heavy sleeper but luckily he was excited to wake up for his first day of school. For breakfast, he chose bacon and waffles. (Luckily I had the two pieces of bacon left.) I forgot to take a photo of Seeger at home but I remembered when I walked him to his classroom. (He doesn't ride the bus like Nicklas.) Here he is waiting to go in to meet his teacher.

His teacher let him pick out his desk. He was excited to sit next to his friend Jacob. He was also excited that his best friend, Roberto, is in his class again.

The next day was the Polack's first day with his students. Since nearly every parent posted photo's of their kids' first day, we decided he should have a first day photo too.

And I would normally say, Poor Freddy - home all alone during the days again. Except that his belly was full of bacon so I don't feel too sorry for him.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Best and Worst

Seeger's worst - that Dodie found out about the light up shoes
Nick's worst - freaking about the dog being missing
Mike's worst - forgot to take lunch to work
Natalie's worst - dealing with stupid CVS Pharmacy
Seeger's best - doing three laps around the fitness trail
Nick's best - school is finally back in session
Mike's best - two sit down family dinners in a row
Natalie's best - new intern started today

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nicklas at Camp Tecumseh

Last week, it was Nick's turn to spend the week at Camp Tecumseh. Here he is on check-in day. He was rolling his eyes at me because I asked for a photo.

He was in the Ottawa cabin again this year. He was pretty surprised to be in the same cabin.

It's next to the Creative Arts Center.

The camp folks took this photo of Nicklas and the Polack moving in to his cabin.

The last two years, Nicklas has gone to camp during the week where the theme was Country Ho-Down. Being as sports obsessed as he is, he asked if he could go during Sports Week this year. As camp week approached, he was bummed to realize that Sports Week was during the Olympics. I think he would have rather gone to Country Ho-Down instead of missing the Olympics but luckily, Camp T was on board with an Olympics theme. Here's a photo of everyone heading to the opening campfire.

It rained Monday morning so chapel was held indoors. (Nicklas is in the middle of the photo, with the blue shirt.)

 His cabin, heading to the swimming pool.

Time for an afternoon activity. A typical camper day begins with breakfast, chapel, three clinics in the morning, lunch, quiet time, and afternoon activities with the cabin and then dinner, I think.

Nicklas playing his favorite game ever, GaGa.

Looks like he got out...

One of his clinics this year was flag football. It was the first time he chose that clinic and he LOVED the counselor who was in charge of it. His second clinic was basketball.

He also participated in water polo. (Upper left hand of photo.) He loves water polo.

Here are a few photos of the closing campfire that I wanted to include. It seems like such a special ceremony and I'm sure if I was privileged enough to see it, it would bring chills.

During the ceremony, the 15-year-olds "graduate" and become torch bearers. It's their last year as a camper. Nicklas says all the girls cry and cry and bawl their eyes out. I'm sure he'll get a bit choked up when it's his turn.

Week 8 Ottawa!

The Polack and I were on our anniversary trip so we weren't able to pick up Nicklas from camp. But we did receive this photo from Mimi on Saturday.

Nicklas is already talking about next year's camp. And one of his friends from Lafayette wants to go with him. It would be great for Nicklas to have a friend attend with him so I hope it works out!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Milwaukee Weekend

This year's anniversary trip was spent in Milwaukee. It was my turn to plan and I've been thinking Milwaukee for a few years. Brewery tours and good food were my primary reason and I wasn't disappointed.

We arrived Friday evening (our drive through Chicago was horrible. I HATE driving through Chicago) and checked in to our hotel. We already had dinner but we stopped at the Branded Steer for a kick-off drink. The bartender was nice enough to give us some extra mixed drinks that she made.

After drinks we headed to the Potawatomi Bingo and Casino. We love to gamble and our anniversary trips usually feature at least one visit to a casino.

I had scheduled a boat and brew tour for Saturday. We were told to meet at Molly Cool's so we arrived early to check out the place that's right along the Milwaukee River. It was a bit humid but not nearly as bad as what we've been experiencing in Bloomington. The restaurant offers some beautiful views of the city.

We had lunch and hung out until it was time for the tour to begin. We received our schedule and cups.

We were the red team. The tour company had three tours going on that day so other groups were arriving and departing at each location. I was amazed by the number of people in each boat. It's a popular tour. Here we are on the boat, after our beer tasting at Molly Cool's.

The second stop was the Milwaukee Ale House - our favorite of the three stops.

I had the Sheeps Head (not to be confused with the Sheeps Ead).

I was also very amused by the restroom lady with no head.
A photo of our tour guide...

It was pretty hot inside the Ale House (but let's face it - I'm ALWAYS hot these days) and I was bummed that I didn't have a hair tie. Luckily, the Polack was smart enough to use the paper wrapper that goes around silverware bundles in restaurants.

While there, we picked up a root beer for the Polack's friend, Normie. Norm collects root beer bottles and he's from Milwaukee but he'd never had this root beer.

Here we are, waiting to be picked up by the boat.

And the orange boat caught up to us.

There were lots of restaurants and condos along the river.

Our group was very chatty.

Our third stop was Rock Bottom Brewery. We were a little bummed because Rock Bottom is a chain brwery - but we still had fun.

When we got inside, we went downstairs, under the restaurant, to the party room. Here's a view to the outside. Rock Bottom's patio is built over the river.

The Polack and I decided to play pool, something we haven't done in a long time.

I was solids and I did pretty well.

They also had a large Jenga game that everyone took turns playing.

After our boat and brew tour, we made another stop to the casino, had dinner, and stopped by the Big Mouth Frog for drinks. I had to take a photo of Mr. Deer to send to my friend Christy. Once when we were in college, we drove from Indiana to Minnesota with a stop at Osh Gosh to visit her friend. We didn't know it at the time, but we were driving through Wisconsin on the opening day of hunting season. So driving down the road, there were deer carcasses strapped to the top of every other car and it freaked us out.

On Sunday, I had booked the Brady Street Food Tour with Milwaukee Food Tours. Brady Street is a popular Italian/Polish neighborhood. We began our tour outside Zaffiro's Pizza.

We met up with our guide, Maria, and six others. Zaffiro's pizza was great - thin crust and cooked all the way through. Our next stop was Cempazuchi's where we had an excellent beef taco on a corn tortilla. Other diner's there had some yummy looking margarita's that I wish we would have ordered.

As we walked along Brady Street, Maria talked about the history of the neighborhood, intertwined with stories of the local merchants. Maria is Italian and appreciates Sciortino's Bakery. We each had an awesome cannoli (and some of us may have had two!)

Our next stop was the Italian grocery, Glorioso's. We walked around inside, had some awesome samples while squeezing through the aisles filled with shoppers, and then we met outside for some snacks.

We made our way through the neighborhood, leaving Brady Street and walking along the Milwaukee River. Our next stop was Brocach, an Irish Pub with THE BEST shepard's pie I've ever had.

After Brocach, we began our trek up Pulaski Street. This is where we learned about the Polish immigrants in Milwaukee and a bit about their lives in the early days of the city.

Our final stop was a stop at Milwaukee's most famous bar, Wolski's. We each had a beer and enjoyed the locals. The Polack was in heaven and decided we must close Wolski's so we could get one of their famed stickers.

Along the tour, Maria pointed out several Polish Flats. These are houses that were owned by Polish families. When the family needed more room (or wanted to add on to their houses) they raised their home and built a floor below. Usually this created a two family home that allowed them to bring their family over from Poland or rent out the top half to those working in the nearby canneries.

Here's the group shot of our group. We had a WONDERFUL afternoon and I hope that someday I can do some of the other Milwaukee Food Tours - especially the Pizza Bus or Churches and Chocolate Tour.

After our tour, we drove though the Marquette campus. I was disappointed - its fairly ordinary - but we were excited to check out the Al McGuire Center.

After our quick campus tour, we went back to the casino and then we were off to dinner. Because we didn't get any Polish food on our tour, Maria recommended Polonez in St. Francis. When we walked in, we were greeted by the owner in her thick Polish accent. The Polack said that some of the white haired customers reminded him of his family members

The food was DELICIOUS. I can't believe how good it was. I ordered the Polish Plate which is basically a sampler that included two different kinds of pieorgies, a potato cake, kielbasa, sauerkraut, and golabki (stuffed cabbage). It was all so good. I even ate the sauerkraut which I don't usually like. My favorite was the golabki which I've had before and it's always been so-so. But at Polonez, it was fantastic. I wish I had the recipe!

The Polack was happy to try some Polish beer.

After dinner, we went back to the casino (yes, it was our fourth visit there) and then we decided to go back to Brady Street for dessert. We stopped at Mimma's, a restaurant Maria pointed out to us. It's a bit more upscale Italian place and Mimma was there to great us. Mimma came to Milwaukee from Sicily when she was 16. Here's a photo of Mimma from the menu (my apologies for it being sideways.) We talked with Mimma for a bit and got to meet her dog Peepo (who apparently hangs out often at the restaurant). Mimma told us about her bout with lung cancer and then her heart attack two weeks ago. Luckily she seems to be doing better and she hopes to visit Sicily soon. She hasn't been back in eight years. She also showed us an invention by her nephew (who lives in Sicily). He invited a candle holder that collects wax from birthday candles and is movable so that the wax doesn't get on the cake.

After dessert we headed back to Wolski's.
The next day was checkout and the drive home. Before the Illinois border, we stopped in Kenosha (I love saying Kenosha) to get some cheese curds for the boys.

Then it was time to pick up the boys in Lafayette and head home to Bloomington. We stopped at the Anson El Rodeo on the way home because they had outdoor seating and we had Freddy. The boys loved sitting outside though Seeger had to borrow my sunglasses for a bit.

Our family dinner was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend. In thirteen years of anniversary celebrations, we've been to Chicago, Phoenix, Louisville, Detroit, Las Vegas, Cleveland, Washington DC, St. Louis (and some other places) but I think Milwaukee was one of our favorites. Next time we visit, we'll do another Milwaukee Food Tour, we'll stop at the Lake Front Brewery (which we didn't get to visit because their tour times conflicted with our other activities), and we'll definitely eat at Polonez.