Archive for July, 2015

  • Chapter 120- Barthel Fruit Farm: Strawberry and Pea Picking


    Let me just start by saying of course this post, like most, could be better timed.  If things were different in my life and blogging were actually my job, I’d have posted this right before strawberry and pea picking, rather than after.  Then I’d give you a list of farms around Milwaukee, complete with some sort of family-friendly rating system.


    But…I’m not that organized.  So here’s my recap of an amazing day a few weeks ago!  I met my friend Margo and her three boys at Barthel’s, which is in Mequon.  I’d never been strawberry picking before, because I imagined it being a total fail of a day.  I had no idea how I’d possibly wrangle four young kids and keep them safe and engaged.


    But for some reason, it worked out perfectly.  It was a fairly cool and overcast day, so we didn’t have to contend with complaints about heat.  We were assigned a row of strawberries, took a few flats, and got to picking (eating).


    There were lots of other families there, some with younger or more kids than I have!!  Ok, nobody with more than four kids, but I did see a woman who had what looked like almost 2 year old twins.  And I admired her.  She was very calmly watching over her only partially happy kids, while carrying on a semi coherent conversation with her friend.

    barthels1 barthels3 barthels5 barthels7 barthels10

    After we finished our row of strawberries, we headed over to the peas to start picking.  And man, those peas were delicious!

    barthels9 barthels15 barthels11 barthels13 barthels12

    After we had our fill of peas and berries, we packed up to head out.  I think I paid like $8 for the big bag of peas and few pounds of strawberries.  Woot!   barthels16 barthels19

    I had plans to make freezer jam with all the leftover berries we’d inevitably have, but within 24 hours, ALL the berries and peas were gone.  Amazing snacks!!

    Even though strawberry picking season is over, apple season is right around the corner.  Hope you’re having a great second half of your summer, all!

    A. Storm


  • Chapter 119- Tosa Tonight at Hart Park


    I’d like to dedicate this post to the big blanket I carry in my trunk, thanks to my Grandpa Cy!.  Because a few weeks ago, I did NOT feel like making dinner (which is pretty much every night this summer) and decided to take the kids to Gilles to get burgers to take to a park.  And on the way to Gilles, I drove past Hart Park and read the sign that said “Music Tonight“.   And since I had a blanket in my trunk for such spontaneous picnics, we got our burgers and custard and brought them back to the park.


    We dined on some fine hamburgers and grilled cheese sandwiches, got more custard on our clothes than in our mouths, and it was perfect.  Things were just getting set up (the first performer started at 6pm) so we had some time to play with some bug finger puppets that the folks of Firefly Real Estate gave us, then headed to the playground.

    hart5 hart4

    And I’m usually really good at keeping track of my four kids on a playground, but when 50 other kids are on it for a special occasion, it’s MUCH harder.


    My youngest wandered off in the crowd at one point and it was the first time I’ve been a little nervous about not finding a kid.  Usually, I know generally where they are, and I find them 5 seconds later.  I’m constantly doing a headcount (so if you see me out someday, and wonder why I’m distracted, it’s because I’m counting to four).  But the little miss took off while I was talking to the big kids, and I had no idea where she went.  Luckily, some nice older folks behind me gave me clear directions as to where she went, and I found her wandering among blankets and families not far from me.  Whew!


    Immediately after deciding she didn’t need to stay near us in a crowd of people, she climbed up this ladder all by herself.  Then continued to climb it for like 20 minutes straight.  Let me remind you here that she’s a year and a half.  Someone guessed her age this past weekend, and thought she was THREE.  Nope.  Just tall and independent.


    And then Macyn Taylor took the stage.  And we danced.  Macyn is an incredible musician, and I loved her slide guitar and folk music and heart felt lyrics.  The kids liked it too!


    And now I’ll tell the rest of the story in photos.

    hart8 hart9 hart10 hart11 hart12

    We weren’t able to stay for the main act, but it was such a fun and spontaneous evening.  Hope you’re taking advantage of all the free music around the city this summer.  Here’s a link to Milwaukee County Parks’ schedule, as a place to start.

    Happy summer, all!

    A. Storm