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Archive for June 2017

Symphony in the Flint Hills 2017

Posted on June 30, 2017 by under Events, Things to Do.    

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Here are a few pictures from our fun volunteer day at Symphony in the Flint Hills…

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Krystee and Faith talking to Ben, THE Green Team guy…

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This is Ben.

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Krystee, Faith, and I were super excited to help.

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We went on Wednesday and not all of the tents were up yet.

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Faith and I played with taking some panoramic photos while we waited for Ben to return with gloves.

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Retiree Bill Heins had the master plan gave us our instructions.

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Bill Heins.

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Some of the volunteers worked on the hay bales.

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The rest of us worked on the tables. Over 200 of them.

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We worked hard but took some breaks also.

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This is my friend Mo.

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There were volunteers from various areas of the company.

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People from Wichita and Topeka came together to help.

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I carpooled with Krystee and Faith.

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Shane, also from Wichita, drove up separately with his daughter Claire.

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We took advantage of breaks from working to take some fun photos.

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Here’s Krystee, Faith, and Teresa with the official company gator.

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It’s pretty fancy. 😉

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Faith and Teresa taking a break…

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We finished setting up the main tent just in time for lunch.

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Lunch was provided by the Tasty Traveler, a food truck from Manhattan (Kansas, not New York). It was pretty tasty.

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I had the Philly cheesesteak and cheesy hashpuppies.

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I also ordered a thing of brownie bites to share.

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The brownie bites were just okay. The Philly cheesesteak sandwich was just okay, too. The highlight of the meal was definitely the cheesy hashpuppies. They were delicious! I could eat those all day long!

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Ben gave us a little briefing while we enjoyed our break and lunch.

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Of course, break time means selfie time.

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I took a couple of me and Shane, and me and Shane and Claire.

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We worked a couple more hours after lunch before calling it a day.

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We walked from the parking area to the work site that morning but in the afternoon Ben was nice enough to give us a ride back to Faith’s truck in the gator.

While the Green Team’s portion of the work was finished, I wasn’t quite done because I volunteered to help at the ticket gate on the day of the event. Brian and I went back on Saturday and worked for another six hours. We arrived at the Symphony in the Flint Hills site at 12:30 PM, well ahead of our 1:00 PM shift.

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Of course, since Ben is a rock star, he was already there when we got there.

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Brian and I got the opportunity to work with this lovely young lady from Council Grove. Kara happens to know my friend/coworker Amy who moved from Valley Center to Council Grove not too long ago. What a small world, right?

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My job wasn’t too hard. We were at the regular ticket gate so I just had to take general admission tickets and, if I came across any guests with patron tickets, send any patrons to the patron gate so they can get all of the special treatment and services that they are entitled to as patrons.

It wasn’t a tough job but, man, we were busy!

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Brian’s main job was to install the official Symphony in the Flint Hills gray wristbands. Yes, I said install. I said it all day long. People got a kick out of it because it sounded like I was installing software or something. Wristbands are kind of flimsy. I suppose it works. LOL.

Anyway, our gate stayed open after they closed down the other ticket gates so then we really got flooded. And then one of the guys carding people and installing yellow alcohol wristbands left because his shift was over. So then Brian ended up having to do that part and I ended up having to both take tickets and wristband people. I was really slow at installing the wristbands at first but I got pretty efficient toward the end. I was cranking them out like a pro after a while. It just takes practice.

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Our shift officially ended at 7:00 PM but, by the time our gate was closed and we grabbed our stuff, it was fifteen after and the concert had already been going a half an hour. There was no point going back to the car to get our lawn chairs.

The walk from the parking are to the concert site is the shortest that it’s ever been but it’s still quite a ways away. There was no point sitting with the crowd anyway because by then the lawn chairs were parked all the way back to the food tent. We just ended up hanging out at the food tent instead. We weren’t getting that much closer with chairs.

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I’m not sure what the final attendance numbers were but there were a lot of people this year. I even recognized a few people who came through our ticket gate.

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Here’s a panoramic photo to give you a better idea.

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Brian and I were both grateful for the volunteer opportunity and were glad that we could help but we’re thinking next year we are just going to attend the event and not work that day. I really would have liked to have been able to watch the concert from beginning to end and get a good spot.

We also couldn’t bring a picnic dinner because we had to work for six hours so we ended up spending $40 on dinner that wasn’t that satisfying. It supported a great cause so we didn’t mind chipping in but for the same amount of money we could have packed a really nice picnic!

Working at the ticket gate was a great experience, though. We got to see some Symphony in the Flint Hills pros with their wagons loaded with stuff. We have a really good idea of what to bring and not to bring and how to bring it so that walking from the parking lot to the concert site isn’t a big ordeal. We will be ready for next year. That’s for sure.

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Heartspring Recognition Breakfast

Posted on June 29, 2017 by under Community, Events.    

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I attended the inaugural Heartspring Recognition Breakfast a few weeks ago and look who I ran into! What a happy coincidence!

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That’s not even the best part. The best part is that Jarrica and I were wearing the exact same Lularoe dress (the Amelia, which is my favorite LLR dress style) just in different prints. Oh, and her friend between us was wearing a Lularoe dress too. She’s wearing the Julia style.

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Another nice surprise was seeing Jenn Canare, a girl that my sister went to school with, receive several awards. I thought that was pretty neat.

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I had no idea that she’s a huge supporter of Heartspring.

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Brian was by himself at the office that week so he couldn’t attend. Since he couldn’t go, I recruited my coworker/friend Faith to be my plus-one. However, something came up and she couldn’t go either. She felt bad for bailing on me but I told her not to worry. I was sure that I’d run into some familiar faces.

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Besides running into Jarrica, I actually ran into another coworker who was seated at the same table as me. This is my coworker/friend Kristen. She recently joined the Heartspring board of directors and was a late addition to the event. As luck would have it, there was an empty seat at our table and we got to sit together. That worked out nicely. I didn’t have to be alone after all.

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The event was very nice. Heartspring President & CEO David Stupay provided an update about the organization and then they gave out several awards (a bunch of them to Jenn Canare and her team – LOL).

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At the end of the event, all of the guests got to take home coffee that was specially blended for Heartspring. That was a really nice touch. I took Faith’s back to the office for her at Kristen’s suggestion. The coffee smelled delicious but I ended up giving mine away. I don’t really drink coffee and Brian is allergic to blueberries.

which reminds me. I should ask Matt, my coworker that I gave my bag of coffee to, and Faith how the coffee was!

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Bowling and Escapology at the Alley

Posted on June 28, 2017 by under Things to Do.    

Have you checked out the newest attraction at the Alley yet? It’s pretty amazing.

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Brian and I decided to check it out after bowling one night.

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The cool thing is that you can enter from the arcade or through the private entrance outside the bowling alley.

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Either way, you can’t miss the massive lounge which is the perfect waiting area for large groups. They had nice, dark furnishings, consistent with the escape room theme. Brian and I thought the only thing missing was a server to serve drinks while you waited for your room escape adventure to begin.

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You can’t start until you sign an electronic waiver on one of these tablets. I liked that they had three stations which speeds things up a bit specially if you have a large group with you.

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At the time we went, they had six escape rooms — four unique ones and they had two of their most popular escape room. I thought this was a great idea should you want to have a little friendly competition going.

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Our options were Antidote (the most popular room, which they have two of), Cuban Crisis, the Code, Budapest Express, and Under Pressure.

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Brian and I chose Antidote because, besides being the most popular, it was also the least challenging. I really didn’t want to go full-out on Brian’s first escape room experience. I mean, what if we don’t get out? Brian would hate it and he’d never want to do it again.

As it turns out, even though we make great partners in life, we suck at solving puzzles as a team. The good news is we both still had a great time and Brian didn’t hate it. He’s actually open to doing it again.

Most people would consider not getting out of the room a failure but I consider our experience a success. Yes, we sucked, but at least we didn’t fight or, worse yet, end up killing each other. I was really worried that not getting out meant arguing and fighting and getting divorced. LOL.

So if you’re a couple with marital issues but aren’t quite ready for counseling yet, maybe locking yourself in a room with your partner is the answer. I’m joking!

It was really fun, though. I highly recommend it for couples and small groups. They max out at 6 players per room. Although, I have to say, it was very challenging to complete all those puzzles with only two people.

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Saturdate with Grandma – Zoo Edition

Posted on June 27, 2017 by under Family, Food and Drink.    

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Brian and I took grandma out for an early birthday treat a couple of weeks ago. We went on a zoo date but, before that, we stopped for lunch at Aero Plains Brewing where we knew that LumpiaPalooza would be.

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Here’s a picture of Brian chatting with the owner, Cynthia Wilson. She is a relative of Matt, who was our server at 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage.

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We couldn’t decide what to get so we ordered the “Make Me One With Everything” – TWICE! This package consists of five savory lumpia flavors (original with spicy sweet and sour sauce, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, Caribbean veggie with mango salsa, mac and cheese and bacon with BBQ sauce, and mozzarella stick with marinara sauce) and three dessert lumpias (lemon blueberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, and Nutella banana).

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Here’s the full menu.

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Areo Plains is Brian’s favorite brewery in town so he took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a glass while we waited for our food.

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I also took a picture of Brian and grandma while we were waiting.

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And, an obligatory group selfie.

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Here are some pictures of our amazing lumpias.

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This was grandma’s very first food truck experience so, of course, we had to take a picture with the owner before we left.

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Then it was off to the zoo for the rest of grandma’s pre-birthday treat.

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Here are some of my favorite pics from our zoo trip that day.

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We were going to go on the boat ride but they shut it down early because of the weather. It was rainy the day. It had been raining lightly on and off but then it started to really pour. We didn’t get our boat ride but we got to see a lot of stuff and it was a fun day overall.

Brian and I had a great time and hope that grandma did as well.

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49th State Brewing Company

Posted on June 25, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

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No trip anywhere is complete without visiting a local brewery.

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This one has a neat restaurant with lots of good food choices.

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Grownups only on this dining excursion, for obvious reasons.

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The flights were a good deal. They offered several options that you could mix and match or even completely create your own.

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I really wanted a set of these cute little pilsners. Alas, they weren’t for sale.

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We weren’t that hungry so we just ordered a bunch of appetizers to share.

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The chips were just okay. Nothing to write home about.

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This was the crab dip, which I enjoyed, even though I think it was fake crab.

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These bacon bites were my favorite out of everything we tried.

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And, of course, we had to try their chicharrones, which were just okay too. We still like the ones they serve at The Hill the best.

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Here’s a pic of Brian trying one of the bacon bites.

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It was cloudy and cold the entire time we were in Anchorage but imagine this view had Mother Nature decided to cooperate.

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This is the view from 49th State Brewing Company’s deck.

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I imagine this would be a neat place to hangout in throughout the summer.

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Here’s a panoramic so you get the full effect.

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And a group photo of us out on the deck.

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After taking a short break for photos on the deck, it was time for dessert. This is the tiramisu that Clayton and Sheryll picked out.

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This is a slice of chocolate pie, which was Brian’s pick.

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I got creme brûlée.

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All four of us shared the appetizers and desserts though, so everyone got to try a little bit of everything. It was a great experience over all with good food, good drinks, and good friends.

Our server Matt was super friendly and, because it’s a small world, we found out that he has family in Wichita. He’s actually loosely related to Cynthia, the owner of Lumpiapalooza and Parsnipity Cafe.

The only thing I would have changed about the entire experience, had I had the foresight to plan the activity, would have been to schedule a brewery tour. I think that would have been really cool. Perhaps we will do so on our next visit because I doubt this will be our last trip to Alaska.

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