After leaving Cincinnati, we traveled to Evansville and were greeted by Cara and Jacob and Kipp. Cody was working at the middle school's VB game/concession stand so we stopped by to visit with him. Has he grown! Incredible! It was such a great week. We did so many fun things, including talking and crafting and baking and FHE/talent showing, going to the gym, and then the Fall Festival.
We immediately met Phineas, the family dog. He's a Golden Doodle...and the black has to have been the black one. But he is a great dog. Big, and you often forget he's just a pup....not a year old yet. But when he plays, you know immediately that he's just a puppy. Naturally, Robert had to tease the dog and dance with him. What a super dog....made it easier to not miss Niko so much.
Ella and I did a craft...making a luminary for Halloween. Ella does such good work as a crafter but she's also enjoying cooking/baking.
Right before we left on Friday, she and I worked to make cinnamon rolls. The dough was done before we left and I tried to give her and Cara the final instructions for forming the rolls.
Sadly, Cara was called away and Ella had to struggle on her own but the rolls all burnt and by the time Cara got home, altho the house smelled wonderful, Ella had already thrown all the rolls into the garbage. I am hoping she will continue to bake. It just goes that way sometimes. You just have to keep plugging away at it. And there's nothing more wonderful than a house that smells of great bread or rolls. As I type this, I am baking something for a shower I am giving tomorrow...the smell of burning caught my attention and the Taffy Apple Pizza base that was baking has overflown the stone and is burning on the bottom of the oven. See Ella...it happens all the time. Hopefully the stone will keep enough of the cookie base so I can use it...but tonight the oven will have to be cleaned.
Jacob and Robert went to Bob's Gym to work out and then Kipp joined Jacob for a swim. Sadly we hadn't thought to bring swim trunks for Robert. But we watched Kipp show off his great swimming skills.
Years ago, when Cody was really young, we took a picture of Cody trying to push his dad into a pool. So on this day, we attempted to recreate the scene with Kipp and his dad. The problem with this is that Kipp is older than Cody was and also stronger. I had several shots of Jacob actually going into the water. Finally we got one as close as possible to the original one.
It was a really fun hour. Restful for me.
Perhaps that is the point of this trip...be with family but away from all the normal stresses we have here in Lorain.
Jacob asked Robert's help in getting all their bikes in working order. For years Robert was quite the biker and knew much about repairing bikes...as he often did on his own bikes. Here's Sam...sweetest smile ever:
And now here's Peter, happy to have a ride:
After all bikes were ready for the road, everyone but me took to the bikes. I am not safe on solid ground, why would I be safe on a bike? But I do take good pictures.
On Thursday was MY BIG DAY. In Evansville, IN., on the first full week of October, there's this amazing city event. It's put on by the West Side Nut Club which I learned is run by very citizen/service minded men.....This was the 89th year for the festival. It draws about 150,000 people each year. The main street, which is really an official boulevard with a lovely center area where chairs and picnic tables can be found, is shut down to traffic. Both sides for 4 city blocks are lined with kiosks and booths, all selling all sorts of food...by churches, groups, etc. Corn dogs and ethnic foods. But also there were brain sandwiches, alligator stew, and chocolate covered grasshoppers. Also carnival rides.
Sam and Peter took a spin on this and actually survived:
Somewhere in this very picture, they are clinging for life.
I was worried. These are not stationary rides. These are the rides that get put up and taken down at the festival end. Reminds me of our Community Days.
Our kids rode the rides during Community Days but usually they were the kiddie rides. When they got old enough to ride the scary ones, I preferred not knowing.
But tender-hearted Ella did not want her brothers on this ride...she was sure they weren't going to live. I wondered if she knew something we didn't. And she wasn't going to get on this ride. She clung to her mom, with tears of love for her brothers and fear hanging onto her cheeks. Cara just held held her tight and we hoped for the best and the boys got off just so happy with themselves.
Are you wondering what MY BIG DAY was? The BSA troop of Evansville Ward (and 2 other wards) runs a Monster Ear booth and it nets 3 wards the budget for years' worth of activities. I'd like to say each ward after working hard, and having fun, make a HUGE amount of money. I won't say how much cuz I'm sure I don't have it right. But it's a bundle.
There's Cara, Robert, and Kipp looking in at us in the booth on Thursday.
Now these Monster Ears are NOT elephant ears. These are better...made better by the secret recipe sauce that the ears are schlopped in before being wrapped and handed over. I loved eating these things 2 Octobers ago and had planned on going down last year but you know how I was sleeping in the kitchen last year. Didn't go. But was determined to go this year. I asked Jacob to sign me up for a shift cuz it all looked like so much fun. And fun it was.
I worked with Jacob, Thursday from 9am to 1pm. Best 4 hours ever! Here's Jacob with the friend who made all the dough for the shift. See the huge 'kitchenaid' like floor machine between them? That's what made the dough.
This poor man's back was about ready to break by the time he was through. The dough was made in batches, and then stored in these huge plastic buckets with lids. The first one was put outside to allow the heat of the sun to help the dough to rise. I think there were about 8 buckets filled with dough when 1pm arrived. Jacob was the money man, the one who took the orders, wrapped up the ears and passed them through the window.
Here's the workers from the other side of this little booth. The first woman on the right weighed out the dough, 6 oz ball. I'm next...I got to take each ball and put it through a machine that resembled a pasta maker, til the dough was flattened and smooth. When 6 were formed thus, the man there would put the dough into the fryer. After about 2 minutes, he took out the fried ears and the woman on the left did the schlopping. This man used to live in Evansville and returns every year from Nauvoo, IL, to work all day, every day frying up the ears. Now that's dedication and tradition. And this year I got to be a part of it. I loved it. I think these pictures came from one of the iPhones but the other iPhone had me covered in flour. I was tired and happy and very flour-y. But I loved it.
How many ears did I eat this week? Well, I'm guessing 4. I had to share some and as you all know I am not a good share-er. So I'd go back for more. I could gorge myself on these things. Wish I could make these at home...then I'd be bigger than the booth and they wouldn't be able to get me into the booth to work. These are similar to the scones we have made forever but so different. And the secret is that sauce. Years ago our BSA troop sold elephant ears at the Duck Tape Festival in Avon but they BOUGHT Rhodes dough! Were they nuts? I kept trying to tell them they were losing their profit, and volunteered to make the dough for them. They preferred the Rhodes...foolish scout leaders!
But that was a grand adventure for sure.
Then the night before we left, Jacob decided me gift me with an early Christmas present. I tried so hard to say no. I think I even did say it. But man, temptation! Persuasive Jacob! The Lure! It was too much. So thanks to Jacob I know have an iPhone. It is so WAY COOL! He is so kind. I am thrilled.
Then that night we had the talent show. The kids played instruments or told jokes. It was crazy. I have some short videos but I think it might take too long to upload...but I will work on it. But here's a few pictures.
Robert dancing with Phineas...or teasing him...not sure which. You can see how tall Phineas is!
Sam is very good at balancing these plastic pumpkins on his head:
And then Cody gave it a try:
So that was our trip to Evansville. It was lovely. We came home Friday, straight up to Cleveland's Playhouse Square for the showing of the first offering of this season's Broadway Series....Blue Man Group. We were tired but so very happy.
It's great having grown children who welcome us....It's always hard to leave them and I often wish I had been selfish and demanded the kids grow up and return here to live. It would have been nice to have had the life my mom had with my kids. But for now, we will enjoy what we get.