Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cuyuna Brewing Company


It's been a long time since I have posted on here. And doesn't mean I'm not traveling​, quite the contrary. We are still doing a fair amount of traveling plus exploring our local areas or wherever our life adventures bring us two. It's that I haven't been blogging very much this year. I do blogging for fun and don't get paid to do it so it often and take a back seat when life happens.
Anyways, this past weekend we found ourselves at Cuyuna Brewing Company. It is a new brewery in Crosby, MN. There is 2nd new brewery that we have to check out as well. Crosby is turning in to quite the destination for trail bike rides and Adventure biking as well as fishing, kayaking, and breweries.

My husband tried a flight of the 4 beers 🍺 currently available (there is a 5th they didn't have right then). He said they were good and really enjoyed the lager, but the alcohol content on that one (7%, usually 3-4%) snuck up on him. I had an Italian soda and played a board game with the kids.

The only food for sale there are bags of gourmet pretzels, but they have menus so you can order food from nearby restaurants that are quite close.

They have tables made of these spools, I had never seen one quite that large before. They also had fun coasters that doubled as new faces. Those were fun to play with. We are usually with our kids when we venture out, so it was nice that there was stuff for them to keep busy with.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Day 2 (of 6) of the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna, MN

We just got home from the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna Minnesota. We spend 5 hours there today and are possibly going back this evening as a family.

I grew up going to our County Fair every year as part of 4-H but coming to this one here in Owatonna Minnesota is quite a change. The sphere is huge and the only larger Fair in Minnesota is the Minnesota State Fair.

The fair started yesterday and will go through Sunday so you have plenty of time to go check it out. Today we took my son and his friend and my daughter. After years of going to this fear I have a good idea of where the Cheap Eats are at this fair. I look for those boots and food carts every year to see if the price is the same or went up.

Here are some of the things we buy every year : $1 snow cones, $1 Dole Whip cones, $2 cotton candy on a stick ( no coupons for that this year like they have done in the past 😞), $2.50 corn dogs, $3 mini donuts ( it used to be $2 but then they try to up the price every year  and end up going back to $2 so we'll see what happens this year), $1 popcorn, $1 lollipops, and don't forget you can go to the information booth and get the coupons that appear in both newspapers. Those usually help bring the cost down or get you a free beverage with an entree.

There are tons of free things to do as well. There are 5 different stages with entertainment other than the grandstand the stage entertainment is free. It is always free to go look in all of the animal barns as well as the baby animal barn and the exotic animals zoo there.

You are too late to get the wristband that is good for the entire length of the fair for rides but if you go to their website you can learn about the days that have wristband deals. I bought my kids season passes to Valley Fair and we went there yesterday and we'll go again this weekend in lieu of going on Midway rides.

There is fun and free interactive things the kids can do at the fair as well. Every day at 1:30 there is a lumberjack camp and the kids get a free t-shirt for participating and get to try out log rolling and sawing logs. My kids look forward to this every year and we made sure to do it on the first day so they could get their wristbands and not have to wait to get signed in on other days. Today was the first day they offered this and there wasn't a ton of kids so they got to try log rolling a lot.

The other display that they can be interactive with his inside the art Exhibit building where the Owatonna Arts Center has a table set out for them to color. Outside that building is the national Taekwondo Institute where kids can and try out breaking boards and punching and cooking the dummy. There is also a ton of opportunities to see animals being shown by kids. Today we watched cattle being shown because one of my daughters friends was doing that. We also watch the Owatonna cheer program which featured three of my daughters friends.

We didn't have a chance to watch the pig races but we will get to that before the week is over. We also hope to watch the magic show and the human Cannonball. Both of those things are free as well as the pig races.

Also we like to go check out the tractors that are on display as well as two or some of the buildings in the village of yesteryear which offers free tours during the fair. There is also an auto museum and a fear Museum which are free to to her as well while you are there. There is also a group called enticing entertainment which appears to do some kind of fire juggling of some sort, we have not seen that yet so that might be something we try to check out as well.

So that is the lowdown on the Cheap Eats and the free entertainment and activities at the fair. You still have plenty of time to go check it out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

USS Blueback at OMSI, Portland, OR

This is a panoramic view the Tom McCall Waterfront, a couple of bridges in Portland and the USS Blueback submarine and the Willamette River in Portland Oregon.
It is under $7 a person to tour the submarine on an hour-long tour. I am not sure but you probably also have to pay the admission cost or have a museum pass get in as well. We used our science museum pass which gives us entry to a pretty huge network of science museums.
I have to admit I thought it was kind of stinky from the residual diesel smell. I can't imagine living on there and having a diesel smell that was 50 times stronger than that. Those men must not have been able to smell after a few days. The tour guide said they often didn't shower because they were putting dirty clothes back on anyways so it didn't matter. Lack of smell was probably a good thing in that case.

Before you go on the tour you have to go through a space that is the same size and shape as these doorways to make sure that you can go through the submarine.
I can't imagine what it would be like to be on an actual submarine in the water and not be able to see anything outside and completely relying on sonar. The store really made me appreciate the people who had Chosen and continue to choose to spend time on submarines.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Noah's Ark


I had not been back to Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells since I was an early team. I knew it was something I wanted to do with my kids but I needed to wait until my son was taller than the magical height of 48 inches. At 48 inches he can go on everything at Noah's Ark. 48 inches seems to be a magical height for most things as he can also go on the majority of the rides at Valleyfair now as well. Luckily he is almost 50 inches so there is no question that he is over 48.

This was also a good location to be able to meet other family add so they could spend time with their cousins as well as do one of those memory making trips.

Our cabin we rented included going to Noah's Ark as part of our fee. We went all day on Saturday and then Sunday for a few hours.

I didn't bring in my phone or a camera because I just wanted to be in the moment and spend time on the rides and not worry about taking pictures or making sure everything stayed dry or didn't get stolen. So all I have are pictures from the outside of them and what it looks like.

For the most part they loved it and went on most every ride & slide they could. Going 2 days was really a good idea because we couldn't possibly do everything in one day unless we wanted to stay even longer which would have meant really grumpy kids. As it was we had grumpy kids towards the end because they were just getting hot and tired and had been in the Sun for quite a long time.

We were there with my middle sister who goes every year so they are a bit seasoned at knowing where to go at what time. Each day we picked our most desired ryde that has long lines to go on first. That worked out well and we got on almost everything at the park. I even went on the ride called point of no return which was pretty exhilarating. I wasn't quite brave enough to go on the Scorpion but my brother-in-law did. I am thinking next year I will just have to do it. Yes there will be a next year. The kids loved it and it was a nice way to spend time as a family and with extended family all while having fun in water.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Shut Up and Eat in Portland, Oregon


We are actually on vacation right now in Oregon. But I was looking at some blog stuff and noticed that I had a huge spike in hits yesterday. I know I have typically posted on this blog on Wednesday but had not since I did have the capability to really share it very much but obviously there are people still coming even if I don't share it across my social media sites.

Anyways, our first stop when we arrived in Portland was for lunch at this place called Shut Up and Eat. The sandwich and fries are really as good as they look comma perhaps even better. I did order a bloody mary because I really do like Bloody Mary's but I wasn't all that impressed with this one. Maybe I should have had an Italian soda there instead. The sandwiches there tend to be Italian in nature and tasted awesome.

I had put my husband in charge of finding a place to eat lunch when we first arrived there. Since he is in Portland often for work he has eaten at a variety of places but typically he is without a vehicle so he is usually within walking distance or have something delivered to him.


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cedar Lodge and Settlement - Wisconsin Dells


This is the outside of Cedar Lodge and Settlement cabin number 29. Obviously, this is that night. All of the cabins have these lights on them which look pretty neat. Cabin number 28 and 29 are both two bedroom with a loft cabin. Each of the bedrooms has a queen bed and the Loft has two queen beds, plus a sleeper sofa in the living room.

I think what I liked most about the place was its location along the river. The kids could go and play on their place at or dig in the sand beach and we could sit there and enjoy the calmness there after having spent the day in downtown Dells or at Noah's Ark or another water park. This is a picture of the fire pit. They do provide wood and paper and matches to start it. We brought along our own marshmallow sticks and s'mores supplies but they did sell s'mores kits in the office.
My kids and their cousin are young enough to still enjoy a place that so this was an asset to us to have this available for them too get rid of some energy. There were other kids staying in the hotel part that they played with at the place that as well.
Here I am set up at a chair enjoying the coffee my husband picked up for me looking at the river and the Bluffs. You do see some army ducks tours go by and people floating down the river on tubes or in kayaks. Right next door is a place that rents fishing boats, tube, and kayaks. It is quite a lazy river so it will not be and exciting tube time but a relaxing one instead.

The cabin rental did include passes to go to both Noah's Ark and the water parks at Chula Vista Resort for our entire State. We did go to Chula Vista to the indoor waterpark the first night then we went to Noah's Ark the next two days. The inclusion of these wristbands help offset the cost of the cabin which was quite a bit. The cabin next door at the other place seemed to be cheaper but did not include the passes. Had this not been a waterpark intended trip I may have looked at the place next door instead which we may do in the future. It also included passes to go to the Big Cat Rescue but that look to be almost a half-hour away in the opposite direction of where we were going to be heading when we go home.

The place also did have a pool but we never got a chance to use it because we were busy doing other things. We thoroughly enjoyed having the use of a full kitchen and 2 bathrooms. We stayed there with my sister and her family so there were two families in the cabin.

One thing I didn't care for was that we were required to remove our own trash. It's not a big deal but when you pay $400 a night, you expect them to remove the trash. I also found it to be quite Dusty on the lights and light fixtures and underneath the beds. If the kids weren't playing hide-and-seek and came out covered in dust bunnies we probably would not have noticed but I expect it to not have so much dust.

Overall though, it was a nice place to stay and the inclusion of passes was awesome. They only required a two-night stay which is why we chose this place where as a lot of other places in the Dells require a three-night stay in the summer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chula Vista Indoor Watermark - Wisconsin Dells

There are a variety of places in the Dells that advertise FREE passes to the Chula Vista watermarks (indoor and outdoor) with your stay. The place we stayed (Cedar Lodge and Settlement - will post about later) was one of those places. With Wisconsin Dells being the waterpark capital of the world it is crucial that hotels, motels, and campgrounds have a water park or offer passes  to one in order to entice customers. We drove by quite a few places that had free Chula Vista passes listed on their Marquis. I knew in advance that we were getting the free passes here from the place we were staying at we decided to stay at a different place other than one of the big water park resorts because we were planning to go to Noah's Ark for the water park.

Having access to an indoor water park was nice. We went to the Chula Vista Indoor Waterpark for 3 hours the evenings we checked in. Anyone traveling with kids should know the magic height is 48 inches and  they can go on everything.

Like most big water parks they have the customary huge bucket that fills and dumps on everyone playing in the climbing area with smaller slides. There is also a roller coaster slide and a couple of body slide a couple of tube slides and a couple of Matt slides as well. There is a hot tub indoors, a basketball playing area comma a smaller kids Splash area, and a lazy river.

Like a lot of lazy Rivers it really is not so lazy. They allow kids to be in it without tubes and they are pretty much running through the Lazy River the entire time. One of my favorite rides there was one that is like a toilet bowl where you circle around until you get flushed down a hole. I thought the roller coaster water slide was quite jerky and was not as fun to go on as some of the body slides and mat slides. I did not think the lifeguards here we were very attentive. They seem to let a lot of stuff go except for in the hot tub I noticed they would make sure anyone under the age of 12 wasn't in there unless they had an adult with them.

It was nice to have an indoor option 4 something to do when it was getting cooler. They do have other outdoor pool and water park areas at this hotel but we did not go to them.