Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Spam Museum

Since Steve's been home working on class work and looking for jobs, we've enjoyed the extra family time together. We've been able to take several day trips exploring southeastern Minnesota. Several weeks ago, we decided to visit the Spam Museum in Austin. Neither Steve or I had been there, so we weren't sure what to expect considering it was free admission.

Once we walked in, we were immediately directed to take note of the "Wall of Spam" with nearly 3,000 cans of Spam. It was rather impressive.

Here is a picture of the Spam diner with computers to do searches of available products. We tasted a sample of garlic Spam and black pepper Spam that I guess are only available in certain areas of the world - Australia being one of them.

We watched a short movie clip in the theatre describing the early beginnings of Spam and surprisingly it kept Amaya's attention.

After the movie, we began the official tour of the different types of meat products that Hormel made. I'm not so sure I would have enjoyed a dinner consisting of OX JOINTS!

Spam was one of the main staples for those fighting for our country. There was a nice display set up honoring all our veterans.

Who knew that even Favre liked Spam?

I was plesantly surprised that there were a few interactive exhibits set up for kids. Here Amaya is trying on a hat and lab coat.

Then Amaya had an opportunity to make her own Spam! Here she's putting the meat into the metal container.

Time to cook! Here's your interesting fun fact for the day: Did you know that Spam is cooked INSIDE the metal container?!? Who knew?

Time to label the container and Voila!

Another wall of the different varieties of Spam...

Overall, we were very impressed with the musuem (considering it was free). They had a nice gift shop as well, where we got suckered into buying a couple of cans of Spam and a stuffed animal pig for Amaya (that she lost the next day!) It had been awhile since I had Spam - probably not since I was a kid and we went camping as a family and had it in macaroni and cheese. Anyway, we thought it was incredibly salty and probably won't be purchasing another can of Spam in a very long time. But, it was worth the adventure and the memories!

Then, we drove a few blocks to visit the Hormel Historic Home.

It was absolutely beautiful!

I won't bore you with all of the details since the pictures are pretty self-explanatory. It only took about 20 minutes to walk through the entire house, but it was still fun to look at the old furniture and awesome architecture.

Family Room


Another bedroom with a fireplace

"A room just for me!" - Amaya


There was a small garden just off the front of the house with a beautiful fountain.

We probably wouldn't go back for another visit anytime soon, but we're glad that we had the experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rides at the Fair

We always look forward to my sister and her family visiting for the week, although somehow the week seems to go by way to fast! Our week was packed with a lot of activities - rides at the fair, visiting Oxbow Park, swimming at Soldier's Field and at the Stewartville pool, going to garage sales, feeding the geese, paddleboating, and biking around Silver Lake, and having a barbeque. It was an awesome week and I only wish the Springer's could have been here longer because we miss them so much!

Our last night at the fair was needless to say, a little rushed and chaotic. It was HOT - HOT -HOT and we heard a rumor that rides may be closing around 6pm because of the heat index. Since we hadn't gotten to the fair until aroudn 4:30pm, we rushed to eat dinner so that we'd have a chance to go on a few rides. Amaya and I had pizza from Godfather's and Steve ate a cheeseburger on a doughnut instead of a bun and he said it was awesome!

Since Steve and Arwen don't particularly care for the wild and crazy rides, they offered to take Miles and Amaya on the little kiddie rides.

Best friends goofing around.

While the little ones were on rides, the older kids took Mike, Carol, and myself on all those wild and crazy rides. And anyone who knows me, knows that the wilder and crazier the ride, the better! We were racing around trying to get on as many as we could before they closed the rides! Fortunately, we didn't have to wait at all to get on rides. The rumor turned out to be just that... they were only taking armbands until 6pm, but you could still purchase tickets. There was one ride that just about nearly did me in. Whether it was a combination of the round and round or the upside down or the heat or not having enough time between each ride to "recover," I was literally sick. Not the throw up kinda sick, but the "I have a massive headache and I just want to lay down" kinda sick. Maybe I'm too old for these types of rides....

Anyway, after we had enough of the rides, a few of the kids wanted to "Walk on the Water" in a large bubble. It looked like a lot of fun!


and Lydia

We also cooled down with a few of our favorite treats at the fair:

A huge shaved ice for Steve

and Amaya and I shared a strawberry smoothie! Delish!

And one last picture of the three little ones... Miles, Amaya, and Hope. Think we tired them out?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Olmsted County Fair

Earlier this month, we spent a couple of evenings at the fair. One evening to check out the animals and another evening spending with my all of my family - all 17 of us to go on the rides. These pictures are from our evening with the animals.

We were very impressed with the petting zoo because they had so many different types of animals. Typically, you expect to see the cows, horses, pigs, and sheep... but Zebra?

A camel

Amaya feeding the goats.

Amaya was pretty excited when she saw the ponies.

She was so excited, she gathered up the courage to ride one too!

New this year was "The Miracle of Birth Center." Several animals were born just that morning. This cow was only a few days old.

Amaya got a chance to pretend to milk a cow.

The cow's name was Milkshake.

Cute little sheep....

My favorite animals were the pigs.

Amaya got a little lesson on how the pigs are fed.

Tomorrow, I hope to get the chance to blog about our adventures on the rides with all the kiddos!