Monthly Archives: April 2014

A Day Spent at Chanticleer Gardens

Chanticleer blog header

Five years ago when we were visiting relatives in Philadelphia, we visited Chanticleer Gardens, which are about 30 minutes outside the city (www.chanticleergarden.org).  The gardens were originally the Rosengarten estate, which was built 100 years ago, and were turned into public gardens 20 years ago.

To say that Chanticleer Gardens are stunning is an understatement.  We went in the spring, and though it was an overcast day, everything was bursting with color and spring vigor.  The trees, flowers, and plants were all pulsing with life.  The gardens are also sprinkled with sculpture and other whimsical art, which made exploring them with three kids terrifically fun.  So let’s head in, but first, meet our cast.

Sam, Emma, and Max

Sam, Emma, and Max.

And now, off we go…

Flowering trees.

Flowering trees.

Purple flowers

Grape Hyacinth.  What an amazing color.

The big head with a little girl.

The big head with a little girl.

Running down the green carpet.

Running down the green carpet.

Let's explore the fountain!

Let’s explore the fountain!

Exploring the fountain

Yellow trillum

Yellow trillum

Fun around the stream.

Fun around the stream.

Emma in the ferns.

Emma in the ferns.

Finding treasure.

Finding treasure.

Low red tulip (I think!).

Low red tulip (I think!).

On the couch with Dad.  There's even a stone remote!

On the couch with Dad. There’s even a stone remote!

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom.  A little more comfy.

Relaxing on wooden chairs with Mom. A little more comfy.

That was our day in Chanticleer gardens.  If you are in Philly and have some time, they are well worth a visit.

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Filed under Family, Gardens/Plants/Nature, Travel

The Babysitter’s Party – A Star Wars Action Figure Play

 

Title picture

My daughter Emma has created “Action Figure Plays” for years.  She uses dolls, Lego mini figures, or her Star War action figures to create plays that are based on movies, books, comic books, TV shows, and her own ideas.  She purees them all in the blender of her mind into a magnificent mash up.  Below is one of her favorite plays, ‘The Babysitter’s Party.”  She uses Star Wars characters to act out a drama that has elements from Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Calvin and Hobbes.  Even though you would think otherwise, Obi Wan Kenobi is not a very responsible babysitter for young Luke and Leia…

(Double click on the images to get a better look, there are lots of fun details)

Annakin and Padme have hired Obi Wan Kenobi to babysit while they go out for the night.

Obi Wan Kenobi comes over to babysit Luke and Leia while their parents go out for a date night.

Padme and Annikin head off to dinner, secure in the knowledge that their good friend Obi Wan will take good care of the kids.

Padme and Anakin head off to dinner, secure in the knowledge that their good friend Obi Wan will watch over the kids.

Instead of taking care of Luke and Leia, he calls all of his friends to come over for a party.

Obi Wan has plans for this evening, and they don’t include hanging out with a couple of kids.  He sets up a table full of party food and drinks and gets out the radio.  Then he calls all of his friends on his giant green phone to come over for a party.

He puts Luke and Leia to bed at 6:00 to get them out of the way.  NO FAIR!

He puts Luke and Leia to bed at 6:00 to get them out of the way. NO FAIR!

He calls all his Jedi friends of course.

He calls all his Jedi friends of course.  General Grievous gives them a ride over in his lemon yellow Playmobil sedan.  Ashoka looks a little squished!

Grandma Shmee and Tim the Sandperson are also invited.

Grandma Shmi and Tim the Sandperson are also invited.

Mace Windu is giving Jango Fett a ride, which is kind of ironic since Jango hates Mace and wants to kill him.

Mace Windu is giving Jango Fett a ride, which is kind of ironic since in the movies Mace beheaded Jango.  But Mace has one rockin’ purple Polly Pocket convertible.  Maybe he will let Jango drive it on the way home?!?

While we are the subject of awkward pairings, what about these two?  Are they going to make small talk, or sit in silence?  These two teams just don't like each other...

While we are the subject of awkward pairings, what about Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul sharing a ride? Are they going to make small talk, or sit in silence? These two teams just don’t like each other…

Finally, here come the bad guys, complete with flowers for the host.

Finally, here come the bad guys, complete with flowers for the host.  The emperor has a purple zebra stripped car…who would have thought?

They form a convoy, heading to Annakin and Padme's house for a PARTY!

They form a convoy, heading to Annakin and Padme’s house for a PARTY!

What a crowd!  When they get there they have to line up to get in the door.

What a crowd! When they get there they have to line up outside to wait their turn to get in the door.

Here they all are, hanging out at the party.  Boy, I hope Obi Wan doesn't get caught...

Finally everyone arrives and gets inside.  But they are all just sitting around, and Obi Wan is getting nervous that his party won’t be AWESOME.  What to do?

Meanwhile, Padme and Annakin are having a lovely dinner in the courtyard of their favorite fancy restaurant.

Meanwhile, Padme and Anakin are having a lovely dinner in the courtyard of their favorite fancy restaurant.

And Luke and Leia sneak out of their room and head down to the basement playroom.  They call up Han and he comes over for a night of binging on TV watching and sugar eating.  They let all of their pets out of their cages for good measure.

And Luke and Leia have snuck out of their bedroom and gone down to the basement playroom. They call up Han and he comes over for a night of TV watching and sugar eating. They let all of their pets out of their cages for good measure.

Obi Wan figures out the best way to break the ice is a game of Twister. It certainly gets the crowd going! This is shaping up to be an EPIC evening...

Obi Wan figures out the best way to break the ice is a game of Twister. It certainly gets the crowd going! This is shaping up to be an EPIC evening…

After Twister they all head out into the yard to TP the tree.

After Twister they all head out into the yard to TP the tree.

Next they head down the street to paint graffiti.

Next they paint graffiti on the side of the house.

Next they see how many people they can fit in General Grievous' car.  Don't scratch the paint!

Then they see how many people they can fit in General Grievous’ car. Don’t scratch the paint!

What a relaxing and special evening.  But after dessert the parents decide to call Obi Wan to let him know they will be home in a half an hour or so.

What a relaxing and special evening. After dessert they call Obi Wan to let him know they will be home in a half an hour or so.

Oh #$%^&**&@!!!

Oh #$%^&**&@!!!

Everybody, CLEAN UP!  Count Dooku, get that ice cream tub off of your head.  Stop spoon fighting Qui gon!  They're coming back!!!

Everybody, CLEAN UP! NOOWWWWW!!! Count Dooku, get that ice cream tub off of your head. Stop spoon fighting Kit! They’re coming back!!!  We have to get this place cleaned up and you all have to go home.

The force must have been with them, because by the time Annikin and Padme arrive Obi Wan is sitting quietly in the living room, reading a magazine.

The force must have been with them, because by the time Anakin and Padme arrive Obi Wan is sitting quietly in the living room, reading a magazine.

They check on Luke and Leia, and they are tucked in bed, fast asleep.

They check on Luke and Leia, and they are tucked in bed, fast asleep.

The only one not safely home yet is Han Solo.  He got trampled by everyone as they rushed from the house, trying to get away before the parents got home.  Hopefully he wakes up soon and gets home to bed.  It was a WILD night!

The only one not safely home yet is Han Solo. He got trampled by everyone as they rushed from the house, trying to get away before the parents got home. Hopefully he wakes up soon and makes his way home.  What a WILD night!

Postscript

Emma at Legoland with giant Darth made out of legos.  And she is holding two of her current favorite books, which create silly scenarios with Darth and Luke and Leia as they grow up.  They reminded me so much of the type of things Emma has done for years with her action figures I had to buy them for her.

Emma at Legoland with a giant Darth Vader made out of legos.  She is holding two of her current favorite books, that create silly scenarios with Darth and his kids Luke and Leia as they grow up. They reminded me so much of the type of things Emma has done for years with her action figures I had to buy them for her.  Adult or kid, if you are a Star Wars fan these books are a giggle fest.

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Filed under Family, Humor

Burning Rubber … And a Few Hot Dogs

1.Race Legal header

One of the fundraisers my son’s Boy Scout troop participates in is running a concession stand at Race Legal events in San Diego.  Race Legal is a safe alternative to street racing that is held a couple times a month in the parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium.  The program was developed in 1998, in response to a high number of deaths and injuries from illegal street racing.  As recently as 2002 San Diego recorded 16 deaths and 31 serious injuries as a direct result of illegal street racing; as of 201o, there were 0 deaths and 4 injuries.  Law enforcement uses these drag racing events as an alternative outlet for illegal racing, which saves the lives of both racers and bystanders.  Check out their website for more info (http://racelegal.com/).

The troop is using the money the boys earn to help pay for summer camp (they are off to Camp Chawanakee in the Sierra’s), so Sam and I headed to Qualcomm at 5:30 on a Friday night to do our part.  We met up with other scouts and their parents, ready to serve up hot dogs and burgers to the hungry racing masses.

2.The gang B4

It is quite an operation getting the stand set up.  It was all hauled in by Mr Ship in the Code 4 trailer and his big red pickup.  Our Grillmaster, Mr. Steaktz, brought in the food.  We had to set up a big grill to cook on, tables and coolers for the stand, and tables and chairs for our guests.  Here is Mr. Ship getting the hot water set up, as the flags fly overhead.

3.2.Flags

After a good 45 minutes we were ready.  The grill was going, the drinks were in the coolers, the front table was replete with condiments, chips and candy, and the crockpot full of nacho cheese was burbling!

5.The gang.during

While we were busy at the stand, the racing started.  Cars, trucks and motorcycles faced off against each other on the straight track.  They waited for the green light and then hit the gas.  Their speed was tracked, as well as their wins and losses.  As day turned to night the crowds increased, as did the atmospheric impact of the smoke from the burning tire rubber.

6.2.Day 2 Night

Some panoramic shots of the race course, spectators, and our concession stand.

7.Panoramas.race.legal

The Grillmaster in action.  Many dogs and burgers would pass over the big grill’s red hot surface before the night was finished.

8.Grillmaster

I was the nacho lady for the evening.  We ran out of nacho chips while we still had half a pot of melted cheesy goodness in our crockpot.  We came up the great idea of using Doritos Nacho Chips and Doritos Cool Ranch Chips as the chip substrate for our nachos, thus inventing…Nachos Nachos.  I will have to do a web search, but I’m pretty sure this culinary creation is illegal in a couple of states.  New York for sure.

9.Nacho.nachos

The San Diego police department has a couple of cars that they bring to race.  They also use them for community outreach.  The cars have small screens and game controllers in the back seat and trunk for kids to play games on, blue underglow lights, and fuzzy dice, of course.  Mr. Ship took Sam and I over to get our picture in one of the cars.  Notice we are NOT in the back seat.  If there was a merit badge for photo bombing, Chris just earned it.

11.Mo+Sam.cop car

More photos of the blinged out cop cars.  Can you still call it “Pimp my ride” if it’s a police car?

10.Cop car

On the left, one of the racers taking a break.  The racers have to wear helmets, and each car is inspected before racing to make sure it is good to go.  On the right, the boys are working the stand.

12.Night racing

I tried to get some photos of the racers with my little camera.  The bottom two are using the “Fireworks” setting.  On the lower left are the police cars, the lower right two motorcycles.  At the end of the post are some videos of races also, that will give you a better feeling for what they were like.

13.Racing montage

As there can never be enough pictures of cute puppies on the internet, I chased this little guy’s owner down to snap his pic.

14.Cute puppy

At about 10:30 we broke down the concession stand.  The races were still going.  After it was all packed up, Sam was shown how to lock up the Race Legal trailer by a police office and a financial officer.  He and the trailer were in good hands.

15.Locking up

On our way out we stopped to check out the trophies.  We had to leave before they were handed out unfortunately, as it was nearly 11:00 and they were STILL racing.  Nice hardware!  Check out the Race Legal website to see the winners from our night (http://racelegal.com/recent-winners/).

16.The Bling

That was it for our night of racing and entrepreneurship.  Time to head home and put our feet up!

17.See you

Check out these videos I took at Race Legal.

2 Police Cars Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/H2BtbBxjil4

2 Cars Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/aB7XeF29sZI

3 Pickups Drag Racing:  http://youtu.be/bSrO16oyFOA

 

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Filed under Boy Scout Troop 985 Adventures, Family