Well, I have made a commitment to post more often so here I go.
Nathan and I have been trying to fill our summer days with all the adventures we can get. One of the greatest things about Peoria is all the stuff going on during the summer. There are festivals and concerts and food and sports and beautiful weather, all for our enjoyment. Last week, we went to the Irish Festival called Erin Feis (click here and here to see the PJ Star info on the event). There were Irish bands on several stages. Beer and corned beef and cabbage (of course). Nathan got a potato perogi and a corned beef, cabbage and potato sandwich (Yum!). Since we didn't know much about the event, we didn't know when the best stuff was happening, so we missed some of the coolest stuff like the Irish dancers, Highland games, bag pipe performances and whiskey tasting. Bummer, but at least we know how cool it is for next year!!
Well this next story has nothing to do with a festival, but it's still pretty exciting to me... I have two new grocery stores that I love! Hy-Vee and Fresh Market. Fresh Market is like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, awesome and so convenient! Hy-Vee is more of a regular grocery store, but it's really neat and organized, has a nice big health food section, AND has a food court! It's pretty much the bomb. Also, when I pulled up to Hy-Vee the other day, the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile was parked in front. The best thing ever!!!
Nathan and I like to take pictures of ourselves with attractions like the Eiffel Tower or Arc de Triomphe, where we are giants attacking the attraction in the background. Nathan was at work, but I thought it would be fun to go across the street and take a picture of myself eating the Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile. Yes, I was standing on the street corner with my mouth open snapping pictures. Yes, people were driving by staring at me.
It took me several tries, but I finally got this one:
This made my day...
This weekend has been particularly exciting. On Friday we got our long awaited COUCH!!! We are so excited to finally have a couch in our living room. It took so long for delivery that we both sort of forgot what it looked like. So it was a double surprise! But.... this also meant that I finally said good-bye to our recliner. This may not seem like much, but it was my dad's recliner and a very fond memory from my childhood. I used to sit on his lap and watch old musicals with him. I almost changed my mind about having them haul the recliner away, but it was older than I am and it was time for it to go. I sat in it for a little while, got a little choked up, and then realized how old and gross the chair was... if I had a child would I even let him/her sit in this chair? No. Out with the old and in with the new I guess!
Now we have a new couch, and of course, Nathan couldn't wait to put his feet up and enjoy our new "sitting area":
On Saturday, we had the birthday part of a friend's baby (1 year old), but the day was just too beautiful to leave it at that! We decided to go to a local museum and see "The Art of Brick" which was an art installation all made of Legos. Awesome. We were also pleasantly surprised to find that the museum had a few interactive elements, which Nathan and I love. Here is more info on the artist and his work, http://www.brickartist.com/gallery.html, and a few pics of the exhibits we saw:
There was even an area where you could build your own stuff with Legos... Nathan built a robot friend.
Next we drove out to Manito (about an hour away), and went to the Manito Popcorn Festival. Sounds delicious right?! Strangely, it had nothing to do with popcorn. They just decided to call it a popcorn festival a long time ago and stuck with it, while not really introducing any sort of popcorn theme. Oh well.
Regardless, Manito is a lovely little town, and the Popcorn Festival was really fun. Like a much smaller version of the San Diego County fair, with concessions and live music and craft booths. Really cute. Funny story: We went into a gas station to use the restroom and right when we walked in a lady turned around, looked right at us and said, "What are people from California doing in Manito?" I stopped in my tracks. How did she know we were from California? Was it that obvious? Then Nathan said "Hey!" and introduced me. Turns out it was one of his coworkers. I thought she was psychic. Or that the whole town was already talking about the weirdos from California who were looking for popcorn.
Two extra fun things about Manito: 1) "Walking Tacos" and 2) Creative garden decor. What is a "Walking Taco" you ask? Well, you take a snack bag of Fritos. Put lettuce, tomato, cheese, taco meat, and any desired condiments inside. Eat with spoon while walking!
Creative garden decor. When you aren't going for the cute, garden gnome thing as much as the scare-away-unwanted-wild-animals-and-visitors thing, go to Manito and purchase a ceramic life-sized growling bear. (I think this will be showing up on some California Christmas lists this year. Just a hunch.)
Today was the kicker. We went to Kewanee's Hog Days with our friends Doug and Candace.
Hog Days is AWESOME! Totally, pig themed. The town of Kewanee is really cute, too. Some really adorable Victorian homes, and everyone seems to be super excited to be in the Hog Capital of the World. There were Hog Days flags in front of homes and pig pictures in windows. It was great. They had a giant grill that apparently serves over 32,000 pork burgers and pork chop sandwiches during the several Hog Days. They had a crafts and flea market area with all sorts of interesting things for sale. I squealed when I came across a Monkees record for $1, but it had writing across Peter Tork's forehead. Bummer.
They also had carnival rides and games and food (funnel cakes, elephant ears, etc.). The best game was a giant roulette wheel. You put down your bet on a number just like in regular roulette, but you aren't guessing where a ball will stop when they spin the wheel. No, they spin a giant wheel and release a rat in the middle, and whichever number he runs to wins. Awesome.
And of course, we couldn't leave without having a famous pork burger. Delicious.
We've really been having a lot of fun, and there are more adventures to come, especially when I start my job on Tuesday! Here are some more pictures of our adventures: