Category Archives: Uncategorized

Sofia M Sachs Butterfly House, Chesterfield, Missouri

If you like Butterflies, this is the place for you. ‘Nuff said. 

No, actually, there is much more to be said about this butterfly sanctuary.  The whole museum can be visited in about and hour. It‘s a nice little side trip, to any day’s adventure, in the St Louis area.  The museum is located in Chesterfield, Missouri inside of Faust Park.

We found out, the hard way, (via Google) that the St. Louis Area has two Butterfly Houses. One in the Zoo (which we did not want to visit this trip), and the one in Chesterfield. So, as a word of caution, if you want to visit the one we saw in Chesterfield, you will need to include Chesterfield in your search parameters.  Unless, like us, you want to take the long scenic route, on the highway, first to the Zoo, before seeing the butterflies in Chesterfield!

Inside of the Butterfly House is a Conservatory.  To me, (much to my dismay) the Conservatory did not appear to be climate controlled. It was beautiful, but hot!  …like Sauna Hot!  The day we visited Chesterfield, it was 98 degrees outside. It felt much hotter inside of the Conservatory!  When we visited once before in the spring of the year, the temperature was nice inside of the Conservatory.  None the less, even though it was really hot, the Conservatory was beautiful. Here are some photos of our adventure.

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370 Lakeside, St Peters, Missouri

Traveling to St Louis, can provide a wonderful family vacation experience. But, if you are RV enthusiast, like us, finding an RV Park, located in a safe area of the city or suburbs, might present an interesting problem.  We searched for weeks before our anticipated trip trying to locate a good place to stay. Safety was our first concern and the ability to navigate tight city streets with a 37 foot pull behind (that our son-in-law would be pulling) was our second concern. So, we didn’t want to stay in downtown St Louis, nor did we want to park our very vulnerable rig, in a high crime district.  Finally, after scouring the Internet, we found 370 Lakeside Park in St Peters, Missouri.

When I called, luckily, they had two spots available. The cost is reasonable. We paid 37 dollars a night for full hookups.  The cost for a premium site, meaning one next to the lake is 42 dollars. Believe me when I tell you, paying 5 more dollars a night to be closer to the lake is not worth it! A premium spot is not a private lakeside access point. 

The park is clean and well maintained. We would stay here again.

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Sometimes the Best Things Aren’t Planned

Sometimes…the best things in life aren’t planned.

After a long week on the beach, we decided to break up the long drive home by stopping mid-way.  Driving nine to twelve hours in a vehicle is exhausting. So, the midway point, at six o’clock in the evening, was Meridian, Ms. We parked at an underused State Park named Clarkco. We secured two side-by-side camping spots, located right on the lake. The evening there was nice.  We sat in the RV doing nothing more than listening to thunder, as rain pelted the outside of our rig. And, when the rain let up, we sat outside under the awning listening to a free concert, featuring bullfrogs singing from the lake.

DSC_0629Our night was relaxing. But the morning, was awesome. My daughter said it was like camping in a Bob Ross painting. Bright sunshine filtered through the lush green landscape. The lake was calm and serene and all was peaceful.

The weather was perfect; The bugs were few; And, the smell of bacon, cooked on an outdoor grill, penetrated the air.  It was great, we practically had the whole campground to ourselves. Because we were so secluded, we let our Labradoodle, Lucy, off leash for some much needed exercise. She met a new friend, a wire haired terrier mix named Sadie, who lived a few campers away. They chased each other in circles, round and round the campsite, while the people talked and socialized.

After a relaxed picnic brunch, we were ready for the last leg of our journey home.

 

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Pensacola Beach-July 16th

Today we have some reprieve from the heat. The wind is blowing fiercely and the sky looks like the the possibility of incoming rain.

img_2616Earlier today we treated Lucy to dog sitter and we enjoyed lunch at McGuire ‘s Irish Pub. Yum!

We are now at the beach and the sunscreen ritual has begun. Every inch, of our bodies, is covered in 70 plus sunscreen, and for extra measure we applied Sea Safe, Anti-Jellyfish, sunscreen as well!img_2618

I will never complain about heat again. Did I mention that the wind is fierce? And cold! We are literally being sandblasted.

They are only flying one flag on the beach today. Green- Which means no dangerous marine life and calm seas. Ha! The sea is anything but calm! (They did however eventually change it to a yellow flag)

Lots of waves– for almost teenagers, equals a whole lotta fun! Body boards up!! One, two, three, go!

Here are some pictures. It turned out to be a very nice day!

 

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Last Day at the Beach

Well, today we did not actually make it to the beach. Everyone, slept later than they normally do. I, begrudgingly, got up at 8:15.  I was, and am so tired. I think I can speak for our whole tribe or most of them… We play hard, and then, we putter out. Tomorrow, we say goodbye to the beach. It’s been a great vacation and it has been an interesting vacation.

This year we tried something a little different. Three separate domiciles. Our daughters each had their own space in the KOA at Milton. We brought our motorhome. Our eldest and her family brought their travel trailer. Our youngest rented a cabin. So, here is a tip. If you rent a cabin a the KOA Milton, don’t mention a dog. Especially if the dog belongs to another member of your family. (The dog mostly belongs to my husband and me.) Because… people with dogs do not get nice cabins at this KOA! There cabin has lovingly begun to be known as “The Ghetto Box”. It sleeps six (kind of)! The loft has two mattress on the floor. The living room/kitchenette furniture consist of an old lumpy futon, table and four bar stools. There is a refrigerator, microwave, and an electric cooktop with unlevel burners. In the bedroom there is a double bed, nightstand, tiny shower, toilet and sink. The whole place smells musty wet.img_2762img_2758

However, the campsites are nice enough.

 

Mostly we have gathered as a family in the travel trailer. At thirty seven foot, with two sides, it is ample big enough for twelve people to congregate. Tonight, we will have a campfire and we will roast some mellows.

Tomorrow, we will take one last little trip to the beach, before heading home.

Vacation Day Four-A Lazy Kind of Day

There comes a time in every vacation when you start to forget even what day it is. For us, we are almost there. I begrudgingly got out of bed at 7:30 and that was only because the img_2550dog needed to go out for a walk. We texted some of our other family members an hour later and the kids (who are normally up by 6:30) were still sleeping .

Today is Sunday. We are suppose to be in Church and we were planning on going to church….only….we couldn’t muster the energy to get there. I hope God understands.

Instead, we had a relaxed pancake brunch and played around camp.

Later, we are going to have dinner on the beach and go ghost crab hunting! Such fun!

We arrive at the beach around 5:30. As we were arriving droves and droves of cars were leaving. I guess 5:30 in the evening is not a popular time to visit the beach. (which was great for us) We had no problem finding a picnic spot. After dinner it was still early enough that the kids were able to enjoy the water.

it was awesome watching the sunset!

And playing in the sand!

Everything we did was a lot of fun. But, we probably had the most fun chasing the little ghost crabs.

 

 

Does She Cry?

statue of libertyI wonder if the Statue of Liberty ever cries? Her motto is “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

I think we have forgotten how we became a nation in the first place. In the beginning (unless you were born a Native American) we were all immigrants.

The last two hundred years, as a country, we have not really been faithful to the words at the bottom of our statue. In 1916 there was a bill before congress requiring immigrants to be able to pass a literacy test. Thankfully, the bill never passed. It went through Congress twice and was vetoed by two different Presidents. I read a commentary from a newspaper article, dated 1916, which argued that a Bill preventing illiterates from entering the country would not accomplish it’s purpose. You see, many thought the poor, illiterate people would bring more crime into the country.

From 1840 to 1930, 900,000 French speaking Quebec natives immigrated to New England. It was a time in Quebec history where Timber Barons ruled the land, farming produced low yields, and the general population lived in poverty. Some came to America hoping to return home with enough money to buy land. Others came to stay.

A246E68F-5120-48FD-A852-9DBF0022746FSome of my ancestors hopped the boarder continuously. They couldn’t decide which nationality they wanted to be. I think they lived where they could find work. My great-grandfather entered the United States for the final time in 1923. But, he had lived here before from 1895 to 1908. My older Great Aunts and Uncles were born in the United States. My Grandmother, who was one of the younger children, was born in Quebec. She came to America in October of 1923, at the age of 14, accompanied by only her five younger siblings. The whole family did not cross the boarder together. They wanted to make sure they were welcome and could find work before settling in the whole family. I don’t believe they were required to have formal paperwork to work in America. They just came. They lived in a little town in New Hampshire. They worked factory jobs, that nobody else wanted, in textile mill, and they lived in a little ethnic conclave. They were bullied…called names like frogs, pea-soupers and Canucks. Or, worse dumb-canucks! They were told they needed to speak white! They worked for lower wages than their English speaking counter-parts and were often used as strike breakers. You see, people did not like them because they refused, or were slow to assimilate.

0A40D30E-483B-494A-9E55-56245D656D76One newspaper article from 1923, during the era of prohibition, said that “Quebec was a wet province and that extra immigration officials had been called to the boarder to take care of the endless procession of Canadians lured to the United States.” I wonder if my great-grandparents were amongst the endless procession of Canadians mentioned in the article? I wonder if they were ever accused of being boot-ledgers? I wonder if my Great grandparents ever became US citizens? I think my grandmother eventually did. I wonder if our country ever thought about just packing them up and sending them back to Quebec?

71894EBE-6099-4609-A43D-3490396407BFMy great-grandmother never learned English and my grandmother did not speak English until she was 16. Her english was very accented and her spelling was atrocious. My great-grandma never assimilated. My grandma was only partially assimilated. She was proud of her French-Canadian heritage. My mom was born here and really embraced American culture. I never really thought about my mom being French or Canadian at all. Her daddy was an English speaking loyalist, born in the USA, with strong Quebecan roots. Me? I’m 100% American. Culturally, I’m a mixture of all who have settled this country before me. I love tacos, spaghetti, pizza and roast beef. I’m Yankee and Hillbilly, all mixed together. I speak Southern with a Mid-west twang. Total Heinz 57.

Because of our French brethren and others, we can have a little tête-à-tête. We might have it on the patio while grilling Bratwurst and enjoying our little dash hound puppies. Because of the influence of other countries, we are not brought down or destroyed. Yes we are changed. We are enriched.

Our country has not suffered because a century ago, 900,000 French speaking people crossed the boarder to immigrate. French has not become our national language. My French-Canadian ancestry has not caused me to be a criminal or ever engage in criminal activity. Nor my mom, my grandmother, or my great-grandmother. My family was just a poor family coming to America to try and forge a better life for themselves…just like our Mexican brothers and sisters.

It is awful how illegal immigrants are being treated now. When will we stop this and come up with a better way? When will we say enough is enough and truly allow our differences to become our strength. When will we realize that our great diversity all melted together is who we really are and why do we frown so much at those who choose to remain different?

When we learn from our past?