Laurasjoquist's Blog

arts, crafts, photography, and joy

photos of a day in chicago

Jack and I took the train into Chicago for the day.  We brought our copy of Lonely Planet Chicago.  Our goal was to see some new stuff.    Some new FREE stuff that is.

The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.  It’s free, plus you get a bag of shredded money to take home.

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Harold Washington Public Library Winter Garden and Children’s Library.  A free place to relax, with free WiFi.

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Buckingham Fountain.  The free lakefront parks in Chicago are amazing!  Although I did end up spending $10 for two ice cream cones.  Not so free, but wow, delicious.

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Lake Michigan lake shore walk.  Muscle power is the only thing you need to pay for a walk along the lake.  We took a couple breaks in the shade to bird, people and boat watch.

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Chicago River Walk.  Walking along the river looking at the buildings and bridges may be my most favorite free thing to do in Chicago.

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photos of a day at the beach

We have a family tendency to go North.  I guess that even after 10 years as Illinoisans, we still feel more comfortable in Wisconsin.  Last weekend, another hot one, we made a conscious effort to visit a park in our “new” home state.  Well, actually, it’s Jack’s only home state.  We packed up the car with beach stuff, and went to Illinois State Beach on Lake Michigan.  And it was a wonderful day.

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Sorry John, going to have to keep it all on today.

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Taking a walk on The Dunes path.

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Tropical Lake Michigan.

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Building a sand castle empire

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For John, awww…

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Working on a hole.

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Good-bye Illinois State Beach.  We’ll be back soon.

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Photos in a canoe, Rock Cut State Park, Illinois

At the beginning of every summer vacation, Jack and I make a list of things we’d like to do over the summer.  It usually includes a couple baseball games, hikes and trips to Chicago and Minnesota.  This year Jack included a wish to canoe.  Actually paddle, and not just sit in the middle of the canoe watching his mom and dad paddle.  When the weather finally cooled down to a frigid 94 degrees, we rented a canoe from Paddle and Trail at Rock Cut and hit the water for an hour of pleasant paddling and some up close bird watching.  We were only able to add one new bird to the list-the Belted Kingfisher, but we also got really close to a Green Heron and saw some Turkey Vultures resting in a tree on the shore.  Rock Cut, always cool.

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A quick walk before we go canoeing.

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Extreme spider close-up.

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Out on the water and looking good.

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Green Heron

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Jack’s photo of a water lily.

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‘Lots of algae in the lake this year.

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Jack posing by the green heron.

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tuesdays with dorie: a tragic story of semolina bread

I realized today that it was Tuesday.  And that the Semolina Bread recipe for Tuesdays with Dorie was due.  I had bought the semolina flour to make the bread last week, but somehow spent the weekend canning hot peppers instead of baking bread.  So I got up bright and early and started the dough.  Working with “the sponge” was an interesting step I had never done with bread before.  I went to pay for my class at the college, since their computer system was overloaded with people like me paying on the last day, and let the sponge rise.  I added the rest of the ingredients and let it rise while I put together the new day bed for the office/guestroom that arrived in the mail today.  I shaped the loaf and let it rise again as I ran the child over for his dental appointment.  Everything was going perfectly, this could have been my bread opus.  And then I turned on the oven.  And.  It.  Never.  Got.  Hot.

We haven’t been using the oven, due to the oven like temperatures outside our door.  And, apparently, it’s broken.  Igniter, flamey lighty thingy went bad.  So I grilled the bread instead.

Say what?

I said I grilled the bread instead.  I scrapped it off the baking stone, wrapped it in aluminum foil, put it on the top rack of our gas grill, and it kind of, sort of, worked, maybe a little bit.  I’m not sure that it turned out like it was suppose to, but it wasn’t that bad. Except for the really hard bottom, that was pretty bad.   I served it with everything else I made on the grill-corn on the cob, red peppers and Amy Lu’s Tequila Lime Chicken sausage.  Amy Lu makes a mean chicken sausage.

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photos of our last day in canada

After a week of hiking, we were all hiked out.  We spent our last day in Banff playing with rocks on the beach at lake Minnewanka, taking a walking tour of the abandoned coal mining town of Lower Bankhead, and testing our bouldering skills at the Banff Center climbing gym.    

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Celebrating our victory over Ha Ling (in the background).

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Always time to throw a few rocks.

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A boy and his rock pile.

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I like rocks as much as, if not more, than moss.

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Give me a beach full of rocks and you’ll get a tower like this one.

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Some Canadian flags flying above Lake Minnewanka.

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I didn’t build these rock towers.  I was just taking random photos while John napped and Jack built his rock empire.

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These kids were funny, so I took their picture too.

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On a beach full of rocks, I will also build a rock spiral.

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Or two.  Or more.

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Lake Minnewanka, John thought that was a funny name.

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Going to see Lower Bankhead.  It was a mining town for 17 years in the early 1900’s.

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The Lantern house.  Most of the buildings were dismantled and some were moved when the mine closed.

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I think this was the Generator building.

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This interesting wall did not have a sign.

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They made briquettes in this building once upon a time.

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Attempting to traverse our way all the way around the room.  

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Jack gets hooked on climbing.

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The accidental fall that killed us both…

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Photos of johnston canyon, castle mountain lookout, and moraine lake banff, canada

The rain continued on through Tuesday, so we took the day off from hiking to explore the town of Banff and Banff Upper Hot  Springs.

The boys spent their fourth day hiking without me.  I chose to stay in bed after a bought of puking brought on by bad strawberries or Canadian water or something.  I was back on the trail with them the next day though for an easy walk up through Johnston Canyon, a  harder hike up to Castle Mountain Lookout, and a stroll to the top of the rock pile at Moraine Lake.

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Jack taking in the waters

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The misty view from the hot springsImage

Banff Upper Hot Springs

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Starting out early at Johnston Canyon to beat the crowds.

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In my opinion, the cutest kid ever.

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More moss.

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Lots of rain means big, fast water.

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Kids like holes in rocks, even when it’s cold and wet.

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And more moss.

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Taking a hot chocolate break.

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View of Bow Valley from Castle Mountain Lookout

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And moss again

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Heading back down castle mountain

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Jack sporting a real stove pipe hat from an abandoned cabin on the trail

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Excited about visiting Moraine Lake

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Also excited about going to the top of the rockpile.

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$20 Canadian view.  It used to be on the back of the bill.

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Jack’s new favorite bird Clark’s Nutcracker

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They were friendly birds and funny.

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photos of a hike to the top of ha ling peak canmore, canada

Our second morning in the Canadian Rockies was sunny and we set off for Ha Ling peak, one of the hikes recommended to us by the couple from Calgary.  I wish I had their email address so that we could send them a big thank you!  While this seemed to be a local’s daily dog walking path, it was a challenge for Jack and me.  We almost turned back, but pressed on and were rewarded with an amazing view from the summit.

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Starting the hike, it’s all up from here.

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View from the saddle between Ha Ling and Miner’s peaks.

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Geared up against the coming rain and ready to make the summit.

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Looking casual on his way up, or maybe his hands are cold

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View back to Miner’s Peak and some others peaks I don’t know the name for.

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Looking over the top of peak.

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A view of Canmore

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Guys taking a break at the top.

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More mountains without names.

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Starting our descent.

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Going down was scarier than coming up.  Things that start falling don’t seem to stop here.

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photos of a hike at Lake O’hara , yoho national park, canada

Despite all of my careful planning, I was unable to prevent Spring from lingering in the Canadian Rockies, and so our Lake O’hara hike, while still spectacular, was probably a little less so than it could have been.
The only way to get to Lake O’hara is by way of shuttle bus, which meant we were locked in to reservations on a rather rainy day.  The lake flooded the path for part of the way and it rained off and on, causing wet feet for most of the hike (despite what I previously thought were waterproof shoes).  Avalanches had closed both ledges loop routes back.   Still, the word I would use for hiking up above the lake in the snow and rain would be exhilarating.  Times two.

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Waiting for the shuttle.

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Ready to kick some alpine hiking butt.

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Lake O’hara

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One last look before we get really wet.

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Still happy and dry

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Crossing a little bit of left over avalanche

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Seven Veils Falls

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I like moss.

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Starting to get higher above Lake O’hara

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Rest break above the lake.

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Still warm.

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Rock pile with steps courtesy of Lawrence Grassi, we also picnicked at his lake later in the week.

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More snow, still warm and happy.

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Lake Yukness.  We saw a Grebe here.

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Below Victoria Falls and the snow is getting deeper.

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Lake Victoria is still mostly frozen on top.

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The guys, still smiling.

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Here we took a wrong turn and hit a lot of snow that got waist deep and there wasn’t a lot of smiling anymore.

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Aww, cold and sad face…

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that was soon fixed by a little hot chocolate at the Le Relais day use shelter.  We met a nice couple from Calgary here, who told us about some other good trails near where we were staying in Canmore, and entertained us with stories and conversation until the shuttle bus came to take us back to the car.

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canada road trip part two: montana

We decided to skip a second night at Theodore Roosevelt and crossed over into Montana instead.  We had a late lunch with a view of…

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the Fort Peck Dam and then…

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engaged in the first of many rock throwing sessions, before finding…

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a campsite for the night at the Downstream Recreation Area.  The next morning we took a stroll around the park to do a little birding and check out the dam and then we set out again across…

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the Fort Peck Dam and onto another…

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dam lake recreation area, where we scored the best free…

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campsite ever and spent the rest of the day…

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playing with rocks and…

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burning drift wood and…

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watching the sun set over Lake Elwell.  The next day we crossed the boarder and arrived in…

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Alberta, Canada.

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Canada road trip photos part one: Minneapolis and North Dakota.

The plan was to meet the husband at the airport in Calgary on the 23rd.  Until then the open road was all ours.  The first stop was Minneapolis to drop off the dog at mom’s house and…Image

practice a little gorilla yoga in the rain with…

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the amazing Musiches, then it was off to…

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Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden for some bird and…

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chipmunk watching.

Then we left Minneapolis bright and early for our next stop at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota where we hiked in the…

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Badlands and…

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camped by a river and…

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climbed on twisty trees.

We set out the next day for a hike to see the petrified forest in the park.  Along the way we stopped to…

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do a little badland disco and…

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walk on the top of the world, where we also paused a moment to…

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smell the prickly pear cactus and…Image

watch the rain coming to get us.

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