All posts in Art/Craft

  • Chapter 148- Milwaukee Music

    Need one more reason to love this city?  Look no farther than the music scene!  I’ve found a ton of opportunities to take my kids to see some live and GOOD music here in town, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

    Let me first say why I think music is important to kids and families.  We have a vibrant scene here in Milwaukee, and by taking your kids to attend events/listen to their neighbors making music, you’re supporting your community.  And making it stronger.  The other reason I value music so much is because like all art, it’s a form of self expression.  We all (kids included!) have emotions and ideas inside, and music is just one way to get those feelings out.  When your kids see adults, teenagers, and even kids performing, it can be an encouraging way to tell your kids “Hey you’re important!” and that by expressing yourself you might even help other people get their feelings out.

    We spend quite a few nights over the summer at our amazing Milwaukee County Parks for Concerts in the Parks.  Almost every day of the week, you can find some free and family-friendly music around town.  Most parks are busy with families and picnic dinners, kids running around, dancing, and adults sharing a drink.  Check out MKE County Parks’ website for schedules (though I’m sure next summer’s lineups aren’t out quite yet).

    88Nine Radio Milwaukee is constantly offering ways to see music, with kids and without.  This summer they held a block party to celebrate their 10 year anniversary, and we were able to attend this fun free event!  My kids had been hearing the band Reyna on the radio, so I did some Instagram stalking to introduce myself.  After we saw this sister duo perform, we then got to say hi in person and snag a photo!

    88Nine also offers 414 Music Live, one of my favorite perks of the radio station.  At these sessions, you can watch musicians perform and chat with radio hosts.  We’ve been lucky enough to see and meet Sonny Knight & The Lakers, Siren, Lex Allen, WebsterX, Grace Weber, Kaleo, The Bahamas, Sister Strings and Jack Garrett.  Most of those performers are local…what a great way to support your community!  Check their schedule here.

    I don’t have any photos, but check out Free Space at the Jazz Gallery in Riverwest, and DJ Bizzon’s Scratch Sessions.  Free Space is a community event held the third Wednesday of every month, and opens up its doors to youth who want to explore music.  The Scratch Sessions offer free lessons on turntables for youth ages 12-19.

    Anodyne Coffee Roasters has some interesting and free and family-friendly events as well!  Last year I took the kids to see a jazz bass player and it was a really new and unique experience for them.  They were a little out of their element, looking around with wide eyes as if to ask “is this music, Mom?”  But I feel very strongly that exposure to new and different things creates appreciation for the arts.  As much as I hated being dragged to classical music performances as a kid, I’m so happy to have that as a foundation in my life.  Thanks Mom!

     

    Colectivo hosts Gospel Sundays, MSO Mondays and more chances to see some great music.  Check out the schedules and get yourself to one of the events, if just to say you tried it once.

    And then there’s the Festival city Symphony’s Pajama Jamborees.  If your kids can hang a little later in the evening, get them in their pjs and head to see some lovely music.  It’s a free event held a few times a year, and the concerts typically surround a theme like holidays or classic stories.

    Fox and Branch know how to bring down the house.   They’re a local duo who play bluegrass when they’re not entertaining kids.  Check out their schedule for chances to see them (like at Anodyne Coffee and this event at the Washington Park Library).

    I commend the Milwaukee Public Library for offering such a fun and out-of-the-ordinary event…Library Out Loud Days!  It’s a fun way to explore our libraries, by being loud.  They’ve hosted shows (we saw New Age Narcissism this past summer, where adults got to drink a beer while kids danced and played and explored), and this month they have what looks like a really fun event.  Haunted Central will be alive with “haunted-themed” events and activities for two days this weekend.  Check it out!

    The Milwaukee Art Museum has free days (first Thursday of every month) and great weekend events, many of which offer music.  Kids under age 12 are always free at the museum, so if you get a chance to attend one of the special events, please take advantage of it!

    And my last tip for introducing your kids to music is to have some instruments lying around your house.  Ours are all second hand from rummage sales, and the microphone we have doesn’t even work.  But kids get curious and want to explore things hands-on, so when they have the chance to pick/pluck/strike/sing, I say let them.  I’ve also enjoyed seeing my kids be able to play some music, whether on our Fisher Price cassette player from the 80’s, or putting on their favorite album on the record player.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading!  If you have suggestions for other ways to get your family involved in live and or local music, please drop a line!

  • Chapter 143- Gibraltar Rock / Merrimac Ferry / Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron

    I believe that fieldtrips are very important to a kids’ education.  And while our school is really amazing, they aren’t able to take my children on ALL the kinds of fieldtrips they need.  Those kind would be hikes in the woods.

    So when a friend I met on Instagram (weird, I know.  I feel conflicted about social media and virtual friendships, but I’ve made quite a few real friends through the internet so I can’t say it’s all bad) said she was hiking Gibraltar Rock on a Friday, I knew this was a fieldtrip worth missing school for!

    Leading up to the trip, I talked with my kids about the Ice Age Trail.  We learned that it follows the border of the last continental glacier in Wisconsin.  The giant sheets of ice pushed boulders and land into new formations 12,000 years ago, and now we get to see coulees, drumlins, bogs, kettles and moraines.  The Ice Age Trail Alliance has a great website with lots of information about the trail and ways that YOU can volunteer!  We’ll be hiking lots of different sections of the trail this summer, too.

    We met Kelly in the parking lot near Lodi, and put our boots and hats on for good measure.  The kids took turns carrying the backpack full of their water, and we decided that we’ll be asking for four of these when birthdays roll around next.

    The trail was easy to maneuver, and nobody got lost in their dashes ahead of me and Kelly.  There was a lot of yelling in excitement and finding sticks and using pine needles as brooms and whining that we were going either too fast or too slow.  You know, the usual.

    Kelly knows a lot more about plants/flowers/trees than I, so she educated us on jack-in-the-pulpits, trilliums and skunk cabbage.  Stay away from the latter.

    The hike from the parking lot to the top was less than a mile which was nice.  It definitely gets a little unnerving for mothers of four near the top, so if you go make sure your kids understand the necessity to stay on the trail.  It is a very long way down.  And we of course want to be safe and not add to erosion, but also keep the plants and flowers from getting trampled.

    Once we got to the lookout, we had snacks of apples and cookies and the kids did their best to give me a heart attack.  We grilled Kelly about her life because it was the first time we’d hung out, so thanks Kelly for fielding our million questions.  And for sharing about your hiking history!

    We saw quite a few large birds flying overhead, and read a bit about red-tailed hawks and other birds of prey who fly the thermals created by the tall cliffs (JSOnline has a good article about the hike).  I can’t say for certain what we saw, but I’m pretty sure J’s guess of Peregrin Falcons was a bit off.  Good guess, though!

    After our butts were sufficiently cold from sitting on chilly rocks, we decided to head back down.  Kelly grabbed this next pic of us right before we found the brightest bug ever!

    This little spider was about the size of a pinhead, and was a vibrant red from head to toe.  Half of my kids were scared and the other half wanted to take it home.

    On the way back down, Kelly got a good dose of whining that “this view is terrible!” and “I can’t walk any farther” and “I want to go home”.   I’m getting pretty good at just ignoring the ridiculousness of such statements and getting them excited about the next big thing.

    Which was finishing the hike and heading to the Merrimac Ferry!  After we said our thank yous and goodbyes to Kelly, and promising to do it again sometime soon, I took her directions to just keep heading north on 113 and find the ferry which carries cars across the Wisconsin River.  It’s free and runs around the clock from April to November.

    We were first in line and had to wait only about 3 minutes for the ferry to return from the other side.  When the gate opened, I drove on and put my car in park, hoping that’s all I needed to do.  At first there was some hesitation with getting out of the car.  For a 5 year old, it was a little unnerving to be floating across water where he thought sharks were just waiting to eat us alive.  After going over saltwater vs. freshwater, we all exited the car and took in the sights.

    And by the time we got outside, it was time to hustle back into the car.  It took about 5 minutes to cross the river, and when we arrived at the other side, we just turned around and got back in line to go back.

    Once back, I decided to try and find Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron.  I’ve been meaning to take the kids for a while, and since we were in no hurry to get anywhere, I headed southeast.  I didn’t have a map in the car, and wasn’t getting any reception on my phone to look at GPS, so I tapped into my innate navigational skills and hoped for the best.

    We ended up finding hwy 12 and that’s when I found service, so we knew to head north.  I’m pretty sure there used to be giant metal sculptures on the side of the highway to mark the spot, but I didn’t see them this time.  It took a tiny bit of backtracking, but we eventually found the entrance, just south of  Delaney’s Surplus.

    And when we got there, any trace of whining and complaining ended.  All four of my kids were entranced by the enormous machines and creations.  They all split up and walked around in amazement, imagining what the sculptures could do if they were functioning.

    There are very few pieces that you can actually sit/stand on, so if you go remember a few things:

    • This is about art, so be respectful of the work and take time to imagine what it might take to build and create these pieces.
    • There are no bathrooms here, but there is a gas station just north of the park.
    • Hours are posted online, and there is a box for donations.  There’s no entrance fee, so be generous with your dollars.
    • This fascinating place is run by the family of Dr. Evermor.  If you get the chance to speak with Lady Eleanor, whose office is in the park, please do so.   Her husband is Dr. Evermor and she’s knowledgable about the entire park and process.

    Speaking of Lady Eleanor, here she is.  She was kind enough to let me take her photo after we talked for a while about the history and future of the park.  She shared with me Dr. Evermor’s inspiration, a bit about her family, and the timeframe in which pieces were constructed.

    Near the end of our visit, my dude J took me on a tour of all of the bird-looking creatures.  I wish you all could have seen it.  Though it was starting to sprinkle, he pointed to almost every single creature and had names like “three-headed chicken lizard” and “electric cat king” and “fire-breathing trooper”.   He was in his element!

    When the rain turned into a drizzle, we packed up and headed to Madison.  Our friends hosted us for an overnight stay (which was the best, I love you Kady!) and then we hurried back to Milwaukee for a Saturday morning soccer game.

    It was a pretty epic trip in all.  We learned a lot about geological history in Wisconsin, we met a new friend, went on our first car ferry, filled our imaginations with art, and saw some old friends.  When we got home, I had grand plans to have the kids write/draw about the Ice Age Trail and present it to their teachers.  However, that didn’t pan out so my kids just ended up talking about all the adventures they had, throwing out terms like “glacier” and “driftless”.  Good enough!

    Hope this week is treating you well, all.  Be on the lookout for some pieces I’ll be contributing to Metroparent Magazine in the next few months, and I hope to see you adventuring soon!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 141- Discovery World

     

    On a sunny Saturday morning in February, the kids and I headed to Discovery World to check out one of their weekend events, Love Your Great Lakes.  It was a day filled with projects, games and learning opportunities led by local organizations and non-profits.

    We first took a stroll through the promenade, where we chatted with volunteers and staff who care about the Great Lakes.  We saw the Mequon Nature Preserve, River Revitalization Foundation, and even James Steeno with his local artwork.  When I was Outreach Specialist at REI back in the day, I got to work with many of these non-profits and learned all about some serious conservation and community efforts.  I was really happy to see their involvement at the event!

    All of the kids touched turtles and asked questions about salamanders, and Little A even got to hold a snake!  MPM and MAM also had stations set up for families to create and learn.  It was lovely to see all these museums coming together in the name of community and water preservation!

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    Our first stop in the museum was the Kohl’s Design It! Lab.  I’d never been before, because it seemed complicated or like it was geared towards older kids.  Now, there’s no real reason I thought that other than the fact that we typically head to museums during the week, when hours are more limited.  But let me tell you….I WAS WRONG.

    We were greeted by friendly staff who sat us down at a table, gave us menus, and asked which projects we’d like to try.  We ended up on planetary headbands and cardboard helmets.

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    Look at my 3 year old jumping right in!  We traced templates on foam paper, and decorated it with lots of fun embellishments.  I manned the hot glue gun, but besides that they were all pretty self-sufficient.

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    This lab space really is incredible.  Discovery World has so many different classes and workshops, and even makes a concerted effort to reuse materials.  Check out that wall on the right…there are 5 gallon buckets mounted on a wall, filled with materials for kids to use for projects.  So awesome.

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    As my people finished up, they headed to the Kids Corner, a space with building blocks, markers, crayons, and kid-sized furniture.  A great space for open play.

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    After the Design It! Lab, we went to see the Challenger ship, and walk around while trying not to run.  Exploring that and the water exhibit next door is always a highlight of our time at Discovery World.  And on this day, we spent over THREE HOURS at the museum and didn’t even see all of the exhibits.  Another reason that asking for memberships to local museums takes precedent over toys in our house.

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    Afterwards, we hit up the Sportsology special exhibit, where we threw, jumped, cycled and tested our physical capabilities.  J spent most of the time at the pitching station, while Little T worked on her pull ups for quite a while.  It was a really good hands-on experience for my brood!

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    On the way out, we stopped by the photo op in the promenade, and tried out our best silly faces.

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    Special thanks to Discovery World for hosting us…there were SO many things for my young kids to do and explore, and there wasn’t a dull moment from the time we stepped in to the time we stepped out.  We’re also very excited for the efforts to have new experiences every week, so there’s no chance we’ll get bored 🙂

    We’ll be back!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 139- Urban Ecology Center and Bayview Printing Co.

     

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    Back in January, on a cold but not snowy day, we went to the Urban Ecology Center’s Winterfest.  It was held at the Washington Park branch, and was great free community event.

    Outside, families were roasting s’mores and the Door County Sled Dogs were hanging out just waiting to be pet.  The volunteers were happy to answer the million questions my kids had about the dogs, and were really happy to have the kids getting a hands-on experience with the dogs.  We learned about their daily schedules, workloads, needs, AND weekly dog sled rides at Whitnall park.  Next winter (if we have enough snow!), my family will be the first in line on a Sunday morning to experience a ride.

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    When our toes and fingers started to get tingly, we headed inside for face-painting.  Volunteers were kind and very patient in the decision-making process for a few of my kids (thank you).  They also informed us that there was music and free lunch in the next room, so we checked it out.

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    We ate chili and pie and watched some awesome interpretive/flash mob style dance where old and young folks alike were channeling some cross-country skiing.  It was amazing.  Inspiring, actually.  Because….

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    …then of course my kids got on stage, which prompted a group of other kids to get up and take over.

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    Afterwards, we met up with some friends who were dropping off paper at Bayview Printing Company.  Lucas, like owner Ashley, is a wonderful addition to the BVP experience.  He was kind enough to give us a live demonstration of printing postcards at the shop.  He even let us get involved!

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    And as a bonus, we later got to see those postcards in action at Friday Night Action, a gathering of folks who needed some way to channel their political dissent.

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    The day was cold and busy, but it was the perfect way to get out and connect with our communities.  The Urban Ecology Center has so many free events, amazing classes/camps/programs, and is genuinely making a difference in the lives of their participants.

    Thanks to Bayview Printing Co. for having us, too!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 134- Cloud 9 Workshop: Feeling Crafty Night

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    On Thursday, I finally attended on of Cloud 9’s Feeling Crafty nights!  And it was so fun!  Kelcey Kalumbula is the creator and owner of this incredible organization, and she offers a wide variety of classes and workshops for kids and adults.  My friend Margo and I had been wanting to attend a Feeling Crafty night for quite some time, and I’m so glad it finally happened.

    We arrived at the well-organized, comforting, and adorable space in the front of Bloom Creative Ground, and Kelcey quickly welcomed us to the class.  She gave us an overview of the three craft stations (at one table we made earrings from recycled materials, at another we made cards, and the most popular project of the night was making eco-sandwich wraps) and we quickly got to work.

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    I haven’t sewn in a long time, which worked out just fine because Kelcey was available the entire class for additional instruction.  We used sturdy machines which made it easy, and the project itself wasn’t too complicated.  Well, I made a few mistakes as did most of the class, but that’s really all part of the experienc.  But this night has inspired me to finally take my brand new sewing machine out of its box and get back to sewing!  Which is funny, because after I told Kelcey that, she noted how at least one person per class says the same.

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    While we were waiting for sewing machines to be available, we kept busy chatting with other participants, sipping our wine/margaritas, and dabbling in jewelry and card making.  It was really nice to meet some new people and relax in such a creative setting!

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    We had such beautiful fabric to choose from, and I was drawn to the patterns and colors that Kelcey brought back with her from a trip to Congo.  My sandwich wraps are the two on the left, and Margo’s are on the right.

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    What a great night, honestly.  I wish I’d done more during the school year, but Feeling Crafty nights will start up again in the fall.  In the mean time, Cloud 9 offers Summer Eco Art Camp, private events, After School Art Club and more!  Please check out the website for more information.

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    We’ve already gotten great use out of our sandwich wraps both in school lunches and on our picnic today.  They are machine washable, and my kids love them.  Now I just need to make more!

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    Thanks to Cloud 9 Workshop for a great night, and for some very useful take away projects!  I’ll definitely be back for more, and I’m hoping to get my kids involved as well.

    Hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful weather in Milwaukee!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 131- Cranky Al’s with new friends!

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    Last month, I met up with a few friend and ate sweets, drank coffee, watched our kids take over the place, and had some really good conversation.  Ellia, of GreenBeanBaby, and I met at Elm Grove Art a few months ago, and have been meaning to meet up over donuts since.  We finally made it happen at Cranky Al’s!

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    Ellia’s kids are so wonderful, and they entertained my kids for the entire time we were there (almost 3 hours!  You know the conversation’s good if you sit down for breakfast at 8:30am and realize it’s practically lunch time when you leave).

    Little A and Ellia’s daughter, Isabella, were queens of dance that morning.  I’m very certain the gentlemen sitting next to their impromptu dance floor loved the sounds of Little A’s cowgirl boots stomping.

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    I’ll point out here that every photo after the one above (and the 237 on my camera) was taken either by Isabella, Little A, or Diego.  So the remainder of the post will be from their perspective!  Ellia and I stayed in the same spot, more or less, talking about motherhood, Milwaukee, challenges, art, and you know…life.

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    This one is hilarious and she’s going to hate me in like 10 years if any of her friends find this gem.

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    And somehow, the kids changed the settings to black and white and snapped this pic of Ellia.  They’re so smart, I’ve never taken a B&W photo on my camera!

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    While we were there, Ellia gave me such a thoughtful gift!  Did I mention that she’s a cut paper freelance illustrator who makes amazing things like the ornament above (complete with yellow glasses!), and also does infographics?  She brought us a bottle of sequins and a stack of beautiful paper, too.

    And when we got home, we broke out our new art supplies and went right to making masterpieces.  Thank you Ellia!

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    Here’s to more adventures with Ellia and crew, and to sweets galore.

    Thanks for your patience in my slow-down of posting, everyone.  This is the first winter where I really feel like we’ve been hibernating!  Hopefully we can get out of our house and explore more than we’ve done the past few months!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 130- A Month in Review

    I haven’t posted in such a long time, for a few reasons.  The first is that we haven’t gotten out much.  The second is that I’m too overwhelmed to go through and individually post the adventures we DID take.  The third is that sometimes you just need a break.

    So because I have a slew of photos waiting to be posted, and that slew is causing me some anxiety, I’m just going to throw it all in this one glorious “recap” post and start fresh afterwards.

    Please be warned there are a million photos of my kids doing art projects in their pajamas.  Here’s the past month in photos:

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    Oil pastel lessons from Grandpa.

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    Fine-tuning her craft of making “loopty loops”.

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    A “big dog bone”.  My kids have each been planning their big dog bone for months.  Maybe even a year for Little T.  My husband and I have been baffled at what this whole thing means, because nobody’s ever done anything except collect pieces of paper and recyclables.  But one day, after collecting a million scraps of paper, Little A declared that “today’s the day for my big dog bone!”.  She mapped it out and then created her masterpiece.  I’ll let you know when the others are having their dog bone.  It might even be a party.

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    Took pretend naps on the kitchen floor while I was trying to make dinner.  Very helpful.

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    Made it to the Tosa Tree Lighting ceremony.  It was crowded and fun and hectic and we were glad to do it.  And glad to leave.

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    Went to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  Like 10 times.

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    We dragged each other across the floor with blankets.

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    Drank lots of hot chocolate.

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    Got dressed up in Halloween costumes to help Uncle Wow with a shoot for his film.

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    We drew more loopty loops.

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    And drew aliens, robots, and super heroes.

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    And decorated cookies.  I thoroughly enjoyed saying “screw it”, and letting them just get at it.  I didn’t supervise one bit.  I put all the decorations out, walked away, and only came back for this photo.  They made a huge mess and had a blast.

    IMG_0783 IMG_0787 Little A, Little T and I went to The Nutcracker with my mother-in-law for the third year in a row.  It was amazing, as always!

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    Cranky Al’s saw our faces quite a few times.

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    We went back to the art museum.

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    And made these AWESOME accordion books filled with slides of famous artwork!  The kids art studio was open EVERY DAY of winter break.  That place is the best.

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    We had another impromptu cookie-decorating session, this time with TEN kids.  Most were under age 6.

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    Sat on boxes eating treats.

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    Played with glow-in-the-dark Hot Wheels tracks.  And got numerous “movies” put on by Little T and her new planetarium projector.

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    Took my dad to the hospital on Christmas Day.  He’s ok, back home now and recovering well after a 6 day stay for an inner ear issue.  Merry Christmas!

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    Played outside in the snow.

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    Took a family photo.

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    Went back to the art museum.

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    Made crowns and took photos.

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    Attempted that ever-elusive 6 person selfie.

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    We said goodbye to the world’s best dog, Bagheera.  He gave us 14 beautiful years of love and wisdom.  I’m still grieving something big and heavy.

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    My beautiful sister and her hubby drove up from Colorado to hang out with our crazy crew.  They even took us out to lunch at Pho 124, which is really great by the way.  And my kids discovered bubble tea!  There’s no going back.

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    We went to Gospel Brunch at Collectivo, only to discover that it was cancelled (or the calendar was just incorrect online).  However, we drank more hot chocolate and smoothie, and ran into an Instagram friend.  So not a total bust.

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    We did more art projects at home.  In pajamas of course.

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    And we got bunk beds, which gave opportunity to some super dangerous but really fun mattress-jumping.

    A big shout out to the Milwaukee Art Museum for being so totally rad and giving us endless opportunities to create and absorb art so frequently.  To cookies and hot chocolate and donuts for pumping my kids full of sugar.  To Froedtert hospital for taking care of my dad.  To the Milwaukee Ballet for another year of tradition.  And to the good people who I call friends and family.

    And here’s to the year ahead.  May it be filled with more places to explore, friends to share experiences with, love to be radiated, and peace to be found.

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 129- Drink & Ink at Bay View Printing

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    Another Drink & Ink?  Why yes, yes indeed.

    I don’t know how I forgot to post this, but a few months ago, I attended a Drink & Ink at Bay View Printing Co.  I rounded up a group of bad ass women, and we headed to Bay View with our drinks and snacks.

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    Since I’ve posted about this amazing outing before, I’ll be brief with words.  The gist is that the amazing Ashley (owner of BVP) gave us an overview of how to use the printing press, where to find the type, and how to assemble our design.  We then went to work crafting our posters (mostly various quotes), chatting, drinking, and snacking.  A pretty ideal combination, as it turns out.

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    Because I had zero plans for the poster, I made this.  A bunch of letters with “STORM” hidden in it.

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    My friend Sarah made this…

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    …Shannon made this…

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    …and this ghost picture has Margo and Kayte’s posters.  Ha!

    Now for the good stuff: Bay View Printing is offering memberships!  A one time fee gets you access to a bunch of awesome stuff, and you can go to open studio sessions.  AWESOME!  Please check out Bay View Printing Co.  Ashley is pretty much the best, and it’s exciting to see the business being opened up to artists and makers in the community.

    Peace!

    A. Storm

  • Chapter 128- Milwaukee Art Museum

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    So the twins turned 4 this past week, and instead of having a party or something else that would take up energy and not be that enjoyable for me, we let J & Little A choose a special date.  And my heart swelled when Little A said she wanted to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum with JUST MAMA.

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    This morning, we got dressed up (because she requested “Mama, will you make your hair fancy and wear a dress?”) and hit the road to the museum.  Our membership lapsed back in April, and I didn’t renew because the museum was under construction.  But now construction is finished and YES WE’RE BACK!!!

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    It’s so beautiful.  We saw like 15% of the collection, and it was incredible.  I think there are something like 1,000 new pieces, and they’re big and colorful and thought-provoking and refreshing.  We took a few pictures of our favorites.

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    And after taking a pit stop to look at Lake Michigan, we headed to the Open Studio to create some magic.  We saw our friend Shannon, who has seen my kids create and make huge messes for the past few years, and she walked us through the different materials and techniques of the day.

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    Little A is an artist at heart, and went right to it, using stencils, watercolors, oil pastels and more.  When I asked her how she felt while painting, she replied “proud!”.

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    Afterwards, we checked out the new Haitian exhibit and then made our way back down to the main hallways.

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    And to our surprise, we got to see live music!  Painted Caves were playing some super calming and interesting music, and we sat in the front row to get the best view.

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    Little A was deep in musical meditation, and didn’t want to leave.  It was also past lunch time and she was basically melting into my lap.  I suggested we go get noodle soup (pho), which she loves, but she couldn’t bare to leave the museum and we ended up in the cafe downstairs.

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    A kind and funny and silly woman offered to take our picture.  Little A joked with her and smiled and asked why she was so silly (I highly-regarded trait in our house).  After our dishes were cleared, we found that our new photographer/silly friend had paid for our lunch as a happy birthday present.  That’s never happened to me before, and wow…that was just about the kindest thing I could imagine.  She saw the special one-on-one time we were having, and made it even more so.

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    Next, Little A asked for ice cream.  I asked if she preferred frozen yogurt with toppings, or some delicious and SUPER YUMMY ice cream from Purple Door.  Luckily, she took my bait and we ended up at the latter.  She had chocolate and I had salted caramel.

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    We spotted a nice wall across the street, which had rich brown colored leaves and interesting vines, and decided to take a few pictures there.  When we got close, we even saw small blue berries on the vines…such fun color-hunting with this one.

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    It was just as special for me as it was for her, I’m sure.  I rarely get to spend one-on-one time with my kids, so it’s a real treat to devote my full attention to them.  And as a bonus, we got to do all the stuff I really like doing.  Making art, taking in beautiful works of art by all kinds of artists, listening to live music, and eating good food.

    So in the name of Thanksgiving, I’m really grateful for this day!  I’ll leave you with my favorite shots of the day.

    A. Storm

     

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    (Yes she carried around a notepad all day, taking “notes”.  When I asked her what her notes meant, she said “they’re all about my day, of course!”)

  • Chapter 124- Elm Grove Art

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    My friend Keila (of Mommy In Milwaukee) and I attended a Momma’s Night Out at Elm Grove Art last weekend, and I have to tell you that it was so fun!  I was a little nervous about leading the discussion about motherhood (Keila and I were hosting the night, as Mom Bloggers).  I don’t actually feel like a “Mom Blogger” because this is such a hobby for me, and also because in no way am I qualified to give anyone advice.

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    BUT…when we arrived, we were welcomed by two of the most genuine, funny, and kind ladies I’ve met.  Katy Oberst and Danielle Heckenkamp are co-owners, who have created a super fun and casual space for people to socialize and make some art.  We were greeted with beautiful flowers that Danielle arranged, as well as some delicious chocolate.  Oh, and they serve wine and beer.  So um, yeah.  Can’t really go wrong.

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    We sat down with nine other moms in the party room, gathered around a table, and shared stories about motherhood and what we’ve learned.  It was such a nice opportunity to hear from some other women who are interested in helping create a community of support, who give themselves a break, and who try and move through this role in life with grace.

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    Then, we grabbed some complimentary candy and headed to the easels.  Miss Katy led us through making a painting of a cherry blossom tree, which included some jokes, some instructions, some questions, and lots of laughs.  It was perfect for people with lots of experience in art, as well as folks who’d never painted before.

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    Katy and Danielle have only been open for about four months, and already have so many different ways to make art.  They host birthday parties, rent out the space, have holiday celebrations and more.  They are going to add in a “craft” night as an option.  Have you ever seen a DIY project on Pinterest, but not wanted to gather all the materials and clean up the mess?  Well, keep an eye out for those!  Also, join in at the next Momma’s Night Out!  You can come and hang out, socialize, and make something amazing to bring home.

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    And here’s the pretty kick ass bunch of ladies (minus Danielle and Katy) that I got to hang out with.  It was so great to meet everyone, and I hope we can meet up again!

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    When my kids saw the painting I made, they were ASTOUNDED that I could do such a thing and asked to have it up in their room.  Win!

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    And as an additional bonus, we are still enjoying the beautiful flowers from Danielle!

    For the record, this is NOT what my dining room table looks like normally.  Currently there are about 50 pieces of paper, 100 colored pencils, some books and pieces of broken toys taking up most of the tabletop.

    Check out Elm Grove Art’s website for a calendar of events, and I’ll hopefully see you November 21st at the next Momma’s Night Out!

    A. Storm