Firefighter Combat Race

April 30, 2012

A few weeks ago (because I”m slow at updating the blog and finding the time to write!), Big Monkey was working and the kids and I were looking for some things to do. We ended up making that Saturday and VERY busy day. The kids did their race, we picked blueberries and then we went to the Firefighter Combat Challenge.

The Firefighter Combat Challenge is a traveling competition for firefighters. While wearing all their gear and an air pack, they must complete a series of challenges. The goal is to do them all correctly and in the shortest time. We watched a little bit of the competition and then saw they also had a kids challenge area. Little kids could try out the challenge for themselves on a smaller scale. Little Monkey was old enough to try it but Little Monkette wasn’t. She was a bit sad about it but got over it and cheered her brother on.

Little Monkey got suited up with a jacket and helmet and we checked out the Bahia fire truck while waiting his turn for the challenge.

Ready to Respond!

We watched a few other kids do the challenge and talked about each step he’d have to complete. Little Monkey and another kid lined up, ready to try it out and listened to the directions intently.

Finding out what to do.

The first part was to pick one of the two hoses and carry it to the other end of the row and drop it by the ladder.

Running with the hose!

After dropping the hose, Little Monkey climbed a ladder, and then slid down the slide.

Sliding down!

Once he got to the ground, he ran over to the kid sized Keiser Force Machine. It simulates a forcible entry chopping. Using the mallet, Little Monkey hit the beam until it got all the way to the other end. This took him a bit of time but he kept at it.

Testing out his chopping skills for forcible entry!

The next step of the challenge was to run and grab the fire hose, carry it down to the marker, aim and shoot the water to knock down a target. Little Monkey said this was his favorite part of the challenge!

Shoot the target!

The last part of the challenge was to drag a dummy kid to safety. Little Monkey had a hard time getting a good grasp on the kid but once her figured it out he got the dummy to safety.

Dragging the kid to the safety zone!

After he was done, Little Monkey said he was tired and it was a lot of work. It wasn’t too much work though, because he ended up doing it twice! He thought it was a lot of fun but at the end of the day decided he still wanted to become a policeman when he grows up.

After doing the combat challenge, we also went into the Safety House where they taught the kids about smoke alarms and what to do if you hear one. Then the kids go into another part of the converted trailer where they fill the room with non toxic smoke. The smoke alarm goes off and they have to get on their hands and knees and try to get out. (There is a firefighter with them showing them what to do.) They feel the door to see if they can go out of it but it is hot, so they climb out the window and down a ladder. Little Monkey liked that and thought it was a cool thing.

They also had a room filled activites the kids could do, coloring, build a fire truck (paper folding), watch a video, etc. The event was lots of fun and helped wear the kids out even more from our busy day. Even better, the entire event was FREE!

Check out the Firefighter Combat Challenge webpage to see if they are coming to a town near you!

First Blueberry Picking of 2012

April 19, 2012

Little Monkette and Little Monkey hard at work looking for dark blueberries.

We tried out a new blueberry patch this past weekend with Mimi. Our ‘regular’ patch hasn’t opened up yet but the one by Mimi’s house was ready for picking! After doing the Kids’ Run, we headed over to the patch to get some blueberries.

Little Monkette took a little bit of teaching because she tried to just pick any berry she saw. Once we got her to look for the dark berries, she did great. Little Monkey did well too. We ended up filling a bucket with blueberries. It was almost 6lbs of berries! Even better, it was $15 for all 6lbs! That is quite a deal if you compare it to the grocery store. We will be getting more blueberries…once all of these are eaten.

Little Monkey showing off most of our blueberries!

Chicken Roll Ups

April 15, 2012

The other night I was trying to decide what to make for dinner…so I checked my Food board on Pinterest. Not helpful at all. It has 27 pins on it and all but four were dessert! Thankfully I have another collaboration Pinterest board that three other friends also add recipe ideas to. I checked out that board and found this easy recipe for Chicken Roll Ups. The best part was that we had almost all the ingredients already (and I probably could have made it without the item we were missing and been fine). It took me almost an hour to make (including the 30 minute baking time) but you can make the filling ahead of time and just keep it in the fridge. I had to cook the chicken and make the filling before putting it in the oven.

My version of Chicken Roll Ups with green beans.

Basically it is chicken with cheese and spices wrapped up inside a crescent roll and baked with a sauce on top. It was voted a winner in our house, so we’ll likely make it again. The only note I would give the recipe would be that it might need more than 30 minutes to bake in the oven. Some of our crescent rolls were not fully cooked.

For the recipe, please check out this blog post over at Plain Chicken.

Windermere Kids Run

April 14, 2012

The City of Windermere held its 11th Annual 5k Run Among the Lakes this morning. They also had three different lengths for kids races. Little Monkey has been begging to do another run, so when I found this one a few weeks ago, I signed the kids up.

This morning we headed out to the race and arrived just after the 5k had started. We parked and checked in at town hall to get the kids race bibs and shirts. Unfortunately, many other kids had already checked in (most who hadn’t registered ahead of time like we did) and they were out of kids shirts. The staff was nice and helpful and did get us one shirt, though it was a ladies medium. Looks like I have a new running shirt, or I can do a little sewing to it and make it fit Little Monkey. We waited around for the 5k to finish and checked out some of the vendors. Before the kids race ever started we ended up with two bags filled with free stuff! We got frisbees, flat water bottles, bam bam sticks, lollipops, Chick-fil-a cows and a coupon, popcorn and I’m sure I’m leaving something out! Mimi arrived (after getting stuck in race runner/walker traffic!) and we waited for the kids races to start.

Little Monkey and Little Monkette before the race!

The kids lined up for the first race (and the shortest). Mimi went with Little Monkette to help her along and then Little Monkey decided he wanted to run the short race too. They both did a good job and Little Monkey was right near the front of the group with the bigger kids. The next race was about 1/4-1/2 of a mile long. Little Monkey said he didn’t want to do it but then changed his mind after they already started. Mimi convinced him to do the longest kids run, just about 3/4 of a mile. She offered to run it with him.

Mimi and Little Monkey starting off for the long run!

Little Monkette wasn’t too excited to sit and watch for them to come back around but she did alright once some kids started coming to the finish line. When she saw Mimi and Little Monkey, she got very excited!

Little Monkey leading Mimi to the finish line!

Little Monkey did a great job running the 3/4 of a mile race. Mimi said they stopped two times for a short walk and then kept running. Little Monkey was very excited about it and is already looking forward to finding another race to run.

Little Monkette and Little Monkey showing off their medals!

The kids had a lot of fun and did a great job in their race. It was a great start to what turned out to be quite a busy but very fun Saturday!

Florida Special

April 11, 2012

The State of Florida or a Grilled Chicken Nugget from Chick-fil-a?

Little Monkette and I found the above gem in our lunch today. I immediately thought it looked like the state of Florida. I took the picture on my phone and then Little Monkette proceeded to pick up the nugget and try to shoot it like a gun. Pow, Pow!

I like to think that Chick-fil-a just really likes Florida, just like we do! :)

Resurrection Garden

April 7, 2012

Our Resurrection Garden

When Big Monkey was growing up, they had a Resurrection Garden for Easter. I had not heard of a Resurrection Garden until recently seeing them pop up on Pinterest.

GrandMom came to stay with the littles the other weekend and they planted a Resurrection Garden. Last night we had a lesson about it, added the crosses, put Jesus in the tomb and rolled the stone in front of the tomb. We asked the kids a few questions and I was impressed with what Little Monkette knew. Big Monkey asked if they knew what Jesus did on the cross. Little Monkette popped right up with, “died!” :) We talked more about what Jesus did for us and why it was important. Then we let them know that on Sunday they could roll the stone away and Jesus shouldn’t be in the tomb anymore because that is when he was raised from the dead. Tomorrow, we will find Jesus is gone and talk again about the real meaning of Easter.


Ready to Meet Little Brother!

April 5, 2012

When a friend of mine found out that she was having a little boy this time around, she called me and asked if I could make new shirts for the girls. You may recall this set of onesies I made for her girls before baby girl two came along. Of course I accepted and we talked about what she wanted. We found the blue shirts at Wal-mart and then she picked out the fabric to go with it.

Little boy tried to come early on her and she posted on her Facebook page about being in the hospital with contractions. I told him that he wasn’t allowed to come yet because I hadn’t finished the shirts yet and I was out of town!! Lucky for me, he listened! It was probably a good thing too because he was going to be a bit early. When I got back home, I got to work on the shirts for his big sisters and the onesie for him.

Big Sister Shirts and Little Brother Onesie

They all turned out great and their momma loves them. So now baby boy can feel free to show up anytime. And by now I’m sure his mom would be thrilled! Can’t wait to meet the new little addition and see everybody in their matching shirts!


Warrior Dash Weekend

April 3, 2012

This past weekend we went camping…and ran the Warrior Dash! First we got to camp a day before the race and explored a little bit.

Hanging out with Big Monkey along the Suwannee River.

We found the river and the one geocache in the park. There are lots of trails and we were a bit sad that there was only one cache to find. (If we lived closer, we’d add some more caches to the park.)

Saturday morning we got up and moving to head over to the race. We were in the second wave (10:30) but wanted to get there early enough to get checked in and get our stuff back to the car. On our drive down it was POURING rain. We got to check in and it started to clear up, but we were already soaked.

Our 'Before' shot...not actually dirty yet, but soaking wet from the downpour!

We had a little bit of time to just hang out, use the porta potty farm and get ready for the fun. It had stopped raining until just before our wave was going to start and then the clouds opened up again and POURED. The clock counted down and the flames went off and our group started moving towards the starting line. I wasn’t too concerned with the rain…it just seemed like another obstacle. The only problem with the pouring rain was that it just kept making my glasses hard to see out of! We went through a trail in the trees and it was quite tight getting everybody through so we were just crawling along for parts of it. The pouring rain and the loud thunder and bright lightning was an interesting additional mix to the course. People were hollering and running faster because of the lightning. I told the people around me that God was just taking a picture of the event. :) I think that’s what I was trying to convince myself so I wouldn’t be concerned with being a forest with all that lightning going on!

Once we got through the trail part of the run, things spread out a bit more and we made our way to the obstacles. I had been concerned mostly with the obstacles over the run but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. When I was about halfway through the race, I missed a section of the run because I was following everyone in front of me…who also missed it. We saw a big arrow and headed the way it said, then we noticed people were joining us and we could see obstacles we hadn’t done. By the time we figured out we had completely missed something it was too far to try and get back to it. Plus we were being told that the obstacles had been closed because a girl broke her ankle going down the fireman pole. (This turned out to be half true. A girl did break her ankle, but they didn’t close the obstacles completely.) I am sad I missed some of the obstacles but hopefully we’ll do the race again sometime and I’ll be sure to get to everything.

When I came down the a-frame cargo net, I noticed my friends D, M and N going up it. Then I really knew I missed a lot…because for me to catch up to them was impossible in the real world. We all finished up by jumping over the fire and going into the mud pit. It was a LOT of fun and I would do it again.

The 'After' Shot! Muddy and wet but happy!

When we finished the race, we grabbed some water and granola and watched for the other people in our group to finish too. Once everybody was done, we got in line to take our picture with the cool set up Warrior Dash had provided for a great photo op.

Almost everyone in our group. D got cut out of my picture....sorry D!

Part of our group decided to stick around for the party for a bit while the others hung out for a little while before heading back to camp to clean up. Every one (of age) gets a free beer for turning in their timing chip (Great idea to get their timing chips back!) so we turned in our chips for some beer. In addition to our free beer, we all got a medal for finishing, a t-shirt and a fuzzy warrior helmet! We went to the car to put on dry, cleaner clothing and got our chairs so we could hang out and enjoy the event. It was crazy! People watching at its finest level…I cannot even begin to explain it! Big Monkey and I shared a big turkey leg for lunch. The waves were getting close to being done and the awards ceremony and costume and beard contests were going to be starting in a little while when the skies opened up again. We decided that was enough for us and we packed it up and headed back to camp. I wish we had tracked the distance from the car to the event and back. We made that walk at least three times and it was quite a walk!

Once we got back to camp, we got cleaned up and just hung out, enjoying everyone’s company. It was nice that Big Monkey and I didn’t have to worry about dogs or kids like we normally do (Thanks GrandMom for watching all of them!). We just relaxed and had a great time.

Here’s the short of the Warrior Dash Experience-

  • The folks who put the event on-Red Frog Events-know what they are doing. I was impressed with how well everything went.
  • The only suggestion I have would be to make the waves every 15 minutes with half as many people. That might help with the bottleneck in the trail section and the time spent waiting for the people in front of you to do an obstacle. (I don’t know that my idea would solve those problems though.)
  • We had a great time and would do the race again. Even with the rain and lightning!

If you are interested in knowing more about Warrior Dash, check them out here! There are no more Florida races this year but plenty of races in other states and even other countries! (Oh and they don’t know I’m writing this…I’m just letting you know about our experience!)


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