Architects of Air = Architects of Awesome

“Architects of Air build ‘luminaria’ – monumental inflatable structures designed to generate a sense of wonder at the beauty of light and colour.”

The Architects of Air exhibit is one of the coolest things I have ever been too.  It was like walking in one of those swirly screen savers that were oh so popular in the early 2000’s.  I think Edith was having flashbacks of the womb in there. They ask you to spend only 20 minutes in there but I think you could easily spend hours in there just relaxing and taking it all in.  They have made over 500 exhibits that have  been in 37 countries. If it comes to your area you must go!

*Brent if you are reading this, I need a better camera….how can you resist this face?

Advertisements

Platte River State Park

It’s official, we bought a Nebraska State Park annual pass for $25.  Now we can go to any state park this year! We really need to go to at least 4 more to make this worth our money but I think we can do that. Platte River State Park is right outside of Omaha in Louisville. It should only take about 25 minutes to get there from Omaha if you look at directions before you go instead of driving around in a big circle for another 20 minutes or so (oops).  It really is a nice park.  I feel like Mahoney State Park gets all the glory around here because of the water park but Platte River is nice too.  For instance, you can camp in a teepee at Platte River for $20 a night!  They also have cabins, but no tent or RV camping is allowed.

We were only there for a couple of hours but you could easily spend the day or a couple there.  There are trails, falls (small but still falls), horseback riding, an observation tower, swimming pool, paddle boats, the river, an archery and pellet gun range, and ice cream! We wanted to swim but it was pretty cloudy and the water was way too cold.  The staff was nice enough to give us our $8 back since we were only in there for about 5 minutes. We also forgot to bring Edith’s swim suit….here she is in just her swim diaper looking like a little boy.

We decided paddle boating would be a good alternative to swimming. Although we were concerned that they wouldn’t let Edith on the boat (her legs are too short to reach the paddles)…luckily they let us anyways.  It was a nice day for paddle boating, it wasn’t too hot and the clouds kept the sun out of our eyes. I enjoyed seeing Edith in her giant life vest. I was also glad to see all the cattails growing because I remember as a kid my dad would bring them home to me and I would then immediately destroy them.

After all of our hard work paddle boating, we had some ice cream. It was really sweet and tasted a bit like a campfire for some reason.  Being the wonderful parents that we are, we let Edith have her first ice cream at 9 months.  Oh well! No one is perfect.  She liked it but kept trying to grab it.  It was a mess!

I look forward to returning to Platte River State Park maybe to camp (in a cabin, I don’t think I’m up for the teepee challenge). Next time we will definitely bring our walking shoes, and Edith’s swim suit!

Supper

It’s supper time! If you are a real Nebraskan you probably call your evening meal “supper” (or at least called it that growing up).  I want to introduce you to one of my favorite Nebraska suppers.

When I met my friend Amy, who grew up on a farm in Nebraska, she made me Reuben Meatballs. I feel like these epitomize Nebraska suppers.  For one, the Reuben was created in Nebraska (Omaha to be specific).  Secondly, this dish combines beef, sauerkraut, cream of mushroom soup, Swiss cheese, caraway seeds, and miracle whip. I don’t think you can get much more Nebraskan than that….considering our strong German and Czech backgrounds. I don’t care for meatballs, and I am not the biggest fan of the Reuben (unless it’s made with a meat other than Corned Beef) but these “balls” are delicious.

I generally stray a bit from this recipe because I never have a 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef…I usually just have 1 pound and then still add  the same amounts of the rest of the recipe. Oh well, they turn out fine.  I think it’s also a good idea to make sure you are using ground beef from your local farmer so you know there isn’t any pink goo in it.

Official Recipe with notes from Amy:

1 c. cooked rice
1 1/2lbs. hamburger
1 egg, beaten
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1 sm. onion, minced
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/3 c. crushed cornflakes
salt and pepper
2 c. sauerkraut, drained (I recommend more if you dig the kraut)
Caraway seed
1 can mushroom soup
1 c. miracle whip
1/4 lb swiss cheese, grated (I recommend closer to 8-10 oz.)

Combine first 8 ingredients, shape into balls. Cover each meatball with kraut. Place in greased baking dish. Sprinkle caraway seeds on top (definately optional–not recommended if you aren’t from German heritage). Top with the mushroom soup and miracle whip mixture (a.k.a white-trash casserole staple), spreading to cover the top of the balls. Sprinkle with swiss cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

NOTE: It looks disgusting, doesn’t smell better (if you are kraut shy), however, it is superb, especially if you are eating it the next day when the flavors have really blended. Served best with a microbrew and a toast to my mom.

If you are feeling weird about eating so much meat and cream, serve the balls with some sauteed kale and beet greens and wash it down with a local beer  (I went with Lucky Bucket Lager).