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Tag: socializing (page 2 of 6)

kickin’ it at the inhome conference 2012

Last weekend, we made the trek again out to beautiful St. Charles, IL to take in the 2012 inHome Conference. As usual, it did not disappoint. We arrived early Thursday afternoon to register and get ready for all the conference had to offer–and I mean ALL it had to offer. Aidan refused to miss a single session, show, workshop, exhibitor booth, or social event. We did it all (and it was exhausting).

We arrived early enough to meet up with a few folks and hang by the pool (the outdoor pool, that is, in March). Unseasonably warm as it was, I’m not sure how the kids all braved the pool. Heck, it wasn’t that warm.

Later in the evening, the conference kicked off. As usual, things got a great start with the Thursday night Meet-and-Greet. Karen Ritter and family, hosts and MCs of this event, really know how to get kids and adults alike engaged in the fun. We played laugh-out-loud cooperative games, got reacquainted with old friends and broke the ice with new ones, went on scavenger hunts, and tried our luck at the raffle.

Friday was our first full day of sessions (and it was full). To start the day, we enjoyed the musical sensation known as AC Rock (an A Capella Rock-n-Roll group; I know, right.) They were cool. Aidan loved it. Of course, we had to hit their exhibit table to pick up one of their CDs.

A bit later in the day, we built Rube Goldberg machines at a session sponsored by The Chicago Tinkering School. Basically, they provided a bunch of “stuff” of all kinds–salvaged from all sorts of places–and the kids (and adults) worked together to make a complex, chain reaction machine to accomplish a simple task. Aidan absolutely loved this experience. He worked with his friends Claire and Kali, and together, they pulled it off–after a couple “gleeful calamities,” that is, but that’s where all the fun (and learning) is.

That same day, Aidan joined up with his fellow Earth Scouts to sell homemade doggie treats at the craft fair and “flea market” to raise money for the ASPCA to help fight puppy mills. (This was an activist mission the kids took on recently.) Tired yet? (I was.)

Still to come on Friday, we had the annual talent show, where Aidan tried his hand at standup comedy. I think he did just fine, and people laughed, but he was not satisfied with his performance. Throughout the rest of the conference, people came up to him and said, “Hey, you’re the ‘Moose-inator’,” which was his stage name for the show. Everyone was really supportive, but Aidan, as usual, is his own worst critic. (Still, I know he had fun.)

Ok, right about now, I was ready to pass out, but we still had the family dance ahead of us. Exhausted as we were, this really was a highlight. We danced our butts off. We all had so much fun gyrating uncontrollably off-the-beat. Very fun, indeed. Finally, the sweet call of sleep lured us back to our rooms and we crashed.

Saturday, we were up bright and early and hit it again. We learned about cryogenics with Mr. Freeze from Fermi National Laboratory. Aidan knitted without needles and made paper beads. He showed off his woodworking at the Imaginarium fair, tried his hand at felting, and took in another talent show (to support his friends). We went to dinner at our favorite local Thai restaurant and hung out afterward with friends at the arcade and ate some ice cream. Good good (but oh so busy) fun.

In the midst of all this excitement, I took in a small handful of adult sessions and really enjoyed meeting Nancy Sathre-Vogel (of familyonbikes.org). She and her family recently completed a 17,300 mile, 3 year bike journey from Alaska to Argentina. She’s got some inspirational and amazing stories to tell. It was really cool to hear them, just as it was cool (and did I say exhausting?) to enjoy another inHome Conference. See you next year.

october roundup

October has been a crazy fun month–so busy in fact, I’ve had no time to write. So, to keep the blog alive, I threw together a quick montage of snapshots in the video below. We’ve been hiking, going to fall fests and carnivals, visiting nearby cities, hosting parties, pumpkin hunting, and trick-or-treating to name a few things. Check out the sideshow, and keep an eye out for another post one of these days once things slow down a bit. Happy autumn.

stone soup, homemade bread, and apple cider

We spent yesterday afternoon sitting around a backyard campfire with a group of friends from Aidan’s Junior Great Books club. They had been reading folktales and recently read the classic folktale “Stone Soup.” You know the one–about the pilgrim who comes to town and tells the hungry town folk that he can make soup-enough-for-all from a [singlepic=639,300,300]stone. He begins by boiling a single stone in water, and as the people ask him if it’s ready he says, “Not quite yet. It would be a bit better if we had some salt…” And so it goes, the town folks one-by-one contribute the very little each of them has to the stone soup–one person celery, another carrots, yet another sage, then lentils, potatoes, garlic, and so on. A true lesson in the power of cooperation and coming together as a community. So we thought it would be cool to reenact the story in the beautiful fall weather over a warm fire–each child contributing one ingredient they prepared and brought with them.

As the soup cooked, the children moved inside to kneed some dough prepared by Dawn, the host of our get-together, and shape it into delicious loaves of their own creation. There’s nothing like fresh baked bread hot from the oven with homemade apple butter oozing over the crust to accompany delicious soup. Add to that hot apple cider and it just doesn’t get much better.

We danced, made painted leaf crafts, played, ate good food, and talked. Easy-peasy good times.

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