Sunday, August 11, 2013

Corny Business - and a VERY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

It was another great day around the Gatchel's.  This morning we headed to Birmingham (where we'd never been before, only about 20 minutes away) to check out their Farmer's Market and a special Corn Festival they were having.

First of all, I think Grant and I both kind of fell in love with Birmingham.  The houses are enormous!  And not one looks exactly like another.  From some very old fashioned castle looking ones with actual turrets to boxy, sleek and modern there was plenty to see as we headed toward the market.  The town itself (which we explored a little after we checked out the festival) is really cute too, full of all kinds of specialty shops, cafes and things to see.  And we found what might be the coolest park ever.  But I'll get back to that.

The Farmer's Market was cool.  We saw some animals at the petting zoo, Noah and Kayla got to use some old machinery to grind corn off of dried out cobs as well as ride on a tractor, we all sampled some roasted corn that had been pulled from the field just this morning and there was a Kid's Zone where my twosome got to make their own snack mix.  There were plenty of different things to see (probably about 75 different vendors at least) and try.

Then, as I said, we headed toward the downtown area to do some exploring on foot.  We all agreed that our favorite sight was a candy store that had a chair that was made out of different kinds of candy. It was probably a good thing that store wasn't open for business yet ;)  On our way back, we passed a park we had driven by earlier and decided to let the kids explore for a little bit.  Booth Park is kind of amazing.  Not only is there a TON of equipment but they have a "turf hill" which is exactly what it sounds like.  Think small sledding hill covered in that turf playground material.  Perfect for taking a piece of cardboard and 'sledding' down which is exactly what Noah and Kayla did.  I think they would have stayed and done it all day if we'd have let them.  They both begged to come back again soon and I'm thinking that can be arranged...

This afternoon we accomplished some outdoor yard work, had some dinner and then decided to go on a family bike ride.  Noah is doing awesome!  We took him out of the neighborhood on some sidewalks tonight for the first time and also through the back end of the neighborhood that has a lot more curves and hills.  We were gone for almost 40 minutes and he rode the whole time!  In fact, he'd have kept going if we'd have let him.  So proud of my kiddo.

And of course, we celebrated :)  Today is National Raspberry Tart Day and I made some simple little tarts for dessert tonight.

Speaking of celebrating, I'm taking tonight's post to make a big announcement:

I've decided on next year's 'project'!  The Gatchel's are going to tour the 50 states!

Each week next year will be devoted to learning about one of the 50 states that make up our wonderful country.  Both kiddos (Noah especially) have shown an interest in learning about where we live, maps, landmarks, etc and I think this'll be a lot of fun for them.  I'm going to start to get organized now by contacting each state's tourism department to start to gather information.  My hope is to have a giant map on the wall in front room that we fill in as we go.  I've got some other ideas I'm working on and will be sharing and looking for thoughts and advice as I go.

And also some help.  Which is where you, my faithful readers, all come in.

Every week, if possible, I'd like for my twosome to receive at least one piece of mail from the specific state we are talking about.  It can be as simple as a postcard with a picture of the state, a landmark, or something specific to that state on it or something more elaborate if you so choose.  Then as we go I'm going to create a scrapbook with these items so at the end we'll have a way to remember our year.

So...  Who wants to help?  Or do you know someone from another state that might be able to help?I'm willing to reimburse for items, postage, etc.  I want to try to get people lined up now so I know which states I'm going to need to fill in.  My thought at this point is that we will 'celebrate' the states in alphabetical order and we're going to have a week for Washington DC as well.  If you want to help, you can leave me a message here or email me at  Tell your friends, get involved, it's for a good cause, I promise :)

In the meantime, back to our regularly scheduled program and celebrations here.  Juliene Fries tomorrow!  Until then...


Mikayla trying her hand at the old fashioned corn grinder

 Noah too

 How now black and white cow?

 Riding a tractor

 Some very fresh roasted corn

 Booth Park in Birmingham

 Turf Hill (that's Noah riding down)


 Happy National Raspberry Tart Day


  1. We call Maryland!

    We could also line up DC, SC, PA, and NY, if you'd like. And if you'd really like, I can pass this along to some friends here (because much like FL, it seems that no one is actually from here) and get a few more states covered for you!

    1. You are wonderful, my friend! I've got you down for all of them and the ones we talked about last night.

  2. We have people in NH, PA, D.C., LA, OH, VA, TN, VT, MA... and that's just off the top of my head! Let me know! We would LOVE to help!

    1. Julie that's awesome! I'm penciling you in on all of these :)

  3. Aunt Sarah calls Kentucky and Indiana (and Tennessee if needed)!!!!!

    1. I was hoping you'd say Kentucky, Aunt Sarah :) You've got 'em!

  4. Replies
    1. That I do! You're in, chicky! Thanks :)