Yellowstone County Museum Coolest Free Museum in Area

Most free museums feel like junk stores without price tags, but this place, as small and four miles away from where you probably want to be, wasnt just worth the trip, it was straight up awesome. Not only did we find a bunch of great cowboy stuff to buy our brother for his upcoming birthday at fine prices, but we also saw neat stuff, had great fun, and all on free admission.

story351Yes, we’re all very impressed that your Frogasuarus Rex made it through mud, sea, sand, and stretches of highway to get here. I’m sure both you and your amphibious friend are plenty tired after your 3-day Arcata to Ferndale pilgrimage. And I know you think that entitles you to all kinds of legal exemptions, but no matter all that, you still have to obey the law.

no-frog-tallHey, if I was allowed to drive I’d want a car like that. It’s attractive without a doubt. The appeal is clear, it’s a frog after all, I got it. Now, let’s pause to look at your legality. There’s no blinkers, no seatbelts, and despite four attractive articulate limbs, there’s no bumper in sight.

So in case I haven’t been clear: You can’t park your frog here! You’re goofing up traffic, no-frog2you’re distracting passers by and, with all this uncommon attention, your frog is creating a nuisance. Frankly, I think you’re going to run me down if I stand here explaining myself much longer.

iIf you disagree with me, take it up with your local lawmakers, but in the meantime you need to take your bloated pseudo-Kermit and hop it on off the city street. Even though it’s me talking, it’s really the dull roar of your own commonsense welling up within you.

Now move it, Buster, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. Okay, maybe not bigger but the sticks are surely tastier.

Problem Found, Ya Got No Motor

Okay this is wierd. I’m no mechanic or anything but when I heard that this Subaru couldn’t do more than about 10 mph I had to have a look under the hood. What I found was alarming, the darn thing had only bicycle pedals chained into the tranny and no motor.

Alright, lemme have a peek-see figure out what`s going on here.
Alright, lemme have a peek-see figure out what`s going on here.

I should point out that we’re not in my shop since as a non-mechanic I lack any shop to speak of. Likewise, though, we weren’t in their garage either and they had to get it here on it’s own steam. Did I already mention it doesn’t have a motor and that it’s a Subaru?

These guys really need someone to look over their car. I’m told they drove three days over highway, sand dunes, mud, and even across the bay to come here. Seems like a lot of pedaling to me but what do I know — Wait, did they say “across the bay”? Weirder still!

I’ll leave it to the real mechanics at this point. I doubt they’ll need my help, I mean, any mechanic should be able to ascertain from even the most cursory glance that this thing is running (or failing to run perhaps) on no cylinders. I don’t know where they bought this or who’s been working on it lately but I sure hope they got a warranty on it. I’d hate to have to be the one to break the bad news to them if they have to cover the costs out-of-pocket, seems likely it’s a pretty major sort of repair to me.

All this funny business in here and yet nary a motor in site. It doesn't look good I'm afraid, not good at all.
All this funny business in here and yet nary a motor in site. It doesn’t look good I’m afraid, not good at all.

 

Navy’s Trojan Horse Program Cancelled

As I’ve come to understand it the US Navy has been working for the past year in total secrecy to develop an aquatic trojan horse program to infiltrate foreign coasts with the greatest of sneakiness. Now, due to unforeseeable drawbacks and cutbacks it has sadly been abandoned.

Thar she blows on parade.
Thar she blows on parade.

It made perfect sense on paper. It’s man powered so it’s quiet and doesn’t emit any Electro-magnetic signals. Humans hide inside it and it looks like a perfect kinetic sculpture of a real live horse, horsy or see-horse if you will. (Not a seahorse, that’s something different, though maybe they should work on one of those instead.) It sounded too good to be true and, once in the water the paper it looked so good on got soggy and all that research and development went out the window.

trojan-horse2Though water-faring it would seem as though for high sea-faring it would be quite deadly. Further it can only hold two solitary soldiers, both of whom would be pretty tuckered out upon arrival. Worse still is that they’re in plain sight all throughout their journey. I know, total bummer, huh?

The upside to it all is that the Navy is the loser to the tune of at least a couple billion but the winners are the spectators here who got to watch it lazily paddle by. Even an errant seal could tell something was special about it as he popped out of the water momentarily to bark at it. That’s not a photoshopped deal there people, it really happened and it was really wierd.

Don’t besmirch your government for failing to make new weapons. They have to try something new and us peace-mongers can pray nothing less than failure. I’d rather be the guy shaking and shrugging than the guy pedaling, wouldn’t you?

Above a non-Navy seal can be seen barking orders at the kayakin' shepherd in charge of wranglin' the horse.
Above a non-Navy seal can be seen barking orders at the kayakin’ shepherd in charge of wranglin’ the horse.

Family Pancake House Review… Delicious

Most free museums feel like junk stores without price tags, but this place, as small and four miles away from where you probably want to be, wasnt just worth the trip, it was straight up awesome. Not only did we find a bunch of great cowboy stuff to buy our brother for his upcoming birthday at fine prices, but we also saw neat stuff, had great fun, and all on free admission.

(This article dictated by elementary school age and younger children.)

family-pancake-house-edmonds1

What we ordered

We had a couple of pancake faces, which are teddy bear looking pancakes with whipped cream, pineapple and strawberries and chocolate eyeballs. These were so delicious and ridiculously affordable at only $3.15.

Max liked banana pancakes and chocolate chip pancake. He also looooved the butter, could eat that stuff all day. Also liked the chocolate on the ice cream at the end. He picked up the cherries and put them under the ice cream and he couldn’t try the circle strawberries (cherries.)*

Dominic had bacon & eggs with hash browns and toast for $4.59, a tasty good deal. It was a big meal for a little price.

How nice the people are

The service was very nice and kind. Lori gave us everything we needed and she was always there when we wanted something. The food came out plenty quick like ay-yay-yay. When you say you want your eggs scrambled, they will do it.

The restaurant was nice and clean and shiny.

Location

We went to the Family Pancake House in Edmonds, but there are a handful of locations throughout the Pacific Northwest. For hours, directions and sample menus, check them out online at FamilyPancakeHouse.com.

* This paragraph was dictated by a 2 year old.

family-pancake-house-edmonds2

 

Fantasti-Ford Takes (Dry) Lickin’ Keeps Purrin’ Like a Lion

Last week we had a serious emergency in our automotive lives, and we didn’t want to alarm anybody, but our age-old, time tested, tried and true Ford van died on us. It’s tragic, I know. We couldn’t go to school and we had a hard time getting our groceries, but it was all dad’s fault, he didn’t keep the oil and maintenance up to speed… but the old girl has life in her yet.

Bundled as we are, this is me and Patrick standing firm before our unbeatable wagon de la transport.
Bundled as we are, this is me and Patrick standing firm before our unbeatable wagon de la transport.

It was sad, really. Daddy-O bought her over a year ago and hasn’t been too kind to her. He’s made her drive us to the Washington coast, up to Canada, and every-which-where in betwixt, but he’s never so much as given her a doggy treat. Sure, he’s fed her antifreeze and gasoline (two things you should never do to a dog) but his schedule for oil changes has been anything but diligent. When the old girl lay down and died on us last week, we weren’t exactly surprised.

No matter how good our old Ford was to us, Daddy-O took her for granted and neglected her. When she refused to crank, he knew it was the end of the line.

We had her dragged out to a shop* where our suspicions were confirmed. The radiator was bone dry and the engine well was just as bad. It took four quarts of oil just to get a reading on the rusty dipstick. I don’t know from motors, but everything I do know tells me that’s a bad owner who is due his come-downance… but it turns out it wasn’t so.

So the motor is dry as the desert in each of the most critical areas, so surely she’s a goner, right? Nope, this Detroit forged son of a cannon wasn’t dead by a mile. Turns out it was just the starter that went bad.

So in these days of Honda and Toyota trying to sell you on bulletproof reliability, I ask you to consider what it will mean when your engine runs dry. Will it spell the end of your motor to the tune of many thousands of dollars? Will it mean it’s time to crush that tin can and recycle it like just so much scrap metal? Or will it be time for you to be American, buy American and put an ounce of faith in the odd ton of American steel that could have been your ride.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the imports. Heck, in today’s global market you just never know where your car is conceived, designed or built. What I am saying is that our old girl was forged in the heart of America’s heartland, and when we needed her most she came through for us with a level of dependability no manufacturer would ever admit to, not even the engineers who built her.

And if you think it’s okay that America’s car manufacturers are facing a downhill slide just because healthcare costs in America are escalating out of control, I ask you to think about how much it will cost you to replace a headlight on your fancy-pants Hyundai when a pebble jumps up and takes it to town. Sure, it’s cheap when you buy it, but the money has to come from somewhere you know.

Oh, and if you’re wondering if our wheels were greased to write this article, no they weren’t. Our wheels weren’t greased, and neither were our bearings, ball joints, CV axii, nor lifters or crank cases. Like the headline said, we’re pretty dry around here.

* J&M Automotive. They ain’t pretty, but they’ve been honest enough to turn our business away when we didn’t really need them, so they have to be pretty good.

Above - Here you can see the severe body damage (from before we ever bought it, thank you very much) and the garbage in the window, but this girl is as near to bulletproof as you might hope to find... not that she's been shot, but still.
Above – Here you can see the severe body damage (from before we ever bought it, thank you very much) and the garbage in the window, but this girl is as near to bulletproof as you might hope to find… not that she’s been shot, but still.

Boys Had Laughs at Aladdin Puppet Show

On Saturday we went to a puppet show. The show was called Aladdin and it was put on by Carter Family Puppets.

The show is too good, they have a genie in it. Two genies I mean. There was one genie of the magic ring and the other genie of the magic teapot. I mean lamp.

Aladdin and the princess dance together. They dance like a puppet dances.

The show was entertaining and funny too. The show is good for kids and grownups if they like funny, kid stuff.

And it’s easy to get free street parking there. And there’s a big, fun playground for kids when you bring them. You can play on it before the show or after.

Full info and ticket sales online at NWPuppet.org.

The show is fun and it plays through March 17th.

Note: Article written by the boys.

ABOVE: After the show the performers come out to introduce the little stars of the show.
ABOVE: After the show the performers come out to introduce the little stars of the show.
ABOVE: An actual during the show picture from where we were sitting. Please remember never to use flash.
ABOVE: An actual during the show picture from where we were sitting. Please remember never to use flash.
ABOVE: Aladdin and the Genie appear after the show for a meet and greet.
ABOVE: Aladdin and the Genie appear after the show for a meet and greet.

 

The Day We Missed Pancake Day

We have a tradition of attending IHOP’s annual Pancake Day celebration, where we dine on fluffy goodness and donate to one of our favorite charities; Children’s Miracle Network.

Due to a perfect storm of miscommunication, we missed it this year. But that’s okay because they still have pancakes for sale every day of the year, and Children’s Miracle Network still needs your help.

So in place of hyping pancake day, let me urge you to take just a ihop-pancake-day-max-funny-facemoment of your time and go to the CMNWI.org “Donate” page and give something, even if it’s only a few dollars.

And because it wouldn’t be that time of year without some entertainment, below is the review of the restaurant conducted by the kids. The oldest didn’t participate, so this is what a review looks like when written by kids ages two through ten.

And much like the house rules, these are dictated, but not read.

The Restaurant

How the restaurant is is super bright and nice looking. We’ve been there before and it was nice all year long. The parking is really easy so don’t worry about parking.

Our favorite one is located at 20402 International Blvd, SeaTac, WA 98198. Their phone number is (206) 592-5928. They’re open Mon-Fri from midnight to midnight, and weekends 6:00am to 6:00am plus midnight to midnight to midnight. Basically they don’t close. I guess I should have just said that instead.

The People that work there

The people that work there taste like hot dogs. No they don’t. The waiters were so nice to give us balloons. They were like, “sure”.

There’s this manager named Jerry that is like a friend to us. He always says hi to his guests that enter the place.

Our waitress was a real joy. Like literally, her name was Joy, but she was also a treat, but her name isn’t treat.

The Food

My funny face pancake taste funny because it has eyeballs on it. I mean it looked funny. (Contribution from Max, who is only 2.)

The funny face pancake is better than ice cream. It was like ice cream because it tastes like something that comes from home. Like ice cream it has chocolate, whipped cream and cherries. The food tastes like happiness. (Contribution from Dominic, who is 8.)

The pancake was delicious with the chocolate chips on top of the whip cream. It looked so delicious and it looked like a man. It is super delicious so it would be a good choice for other kids. (Brendan’s contribution, he’s 10.)

We normally go for pancake day but we missed it. You don’t miss it too. It comes once a year (so here it is on Google.)

On Pancake Day we get free pancakes and you also get to buy paper balloons to give money to Children’s Miracle Network to save kids’ lives. (That’s an oversimplification, but the money goes to local Children’s Hospitals.)

We like IHOP.

These children like this place because there's a lot of pancakes involved and so will you.
These children like this place because there’s a lot of pancakes involved and so will you.
Does it look forced? Maybe because it is. Parents almost never appear in our stories, and never like this. It was a special request by the junior editors. Kids gotta cuddle, grown ups do too.
Does it look forced? Maybe because it is. Parents almost never appear in our stories, and never like this. It was a special request by the junior editors. Kids gotta cuddle, grown ups do too.

 

Receding Gums Pointedly Ouchy

Back in the blissful ignorance of my fading youth I lived free of care and free of pain. I was constantly confused, though it seemed normal at the time. I didn’t worry about everyday trivialities like receding hair and receding gums.

Check this, more teeth.
Check this, more teeth.

Now of course it’s safe to say that I’m smarter than I have ever been before. I understand all sorts of shapes, colors, sounds and movement, and to top it all off, my gums hurt worse than new taxes.

I was so excited after I got my original two teeth in because I was just sure I was done. Now, due to no lack of dental hygiene on my part, my gums are receding with an awful kind of fury.

When they talk about receding gums on the hypno-box, (which I’ve since learned is called a television) they’re only talking about a couple extra millimeters. My case? No such luck. My gummy Appalachians are erupting all volcano-like, exposing sharp chunks of bony matter. Great for masticating not so good for meditating. It’s kind of hard to ignore the volcanic nature of it all and get into my Zen zone.

teeth2I’ve been told that what I’m experiencing is not too different from getting wisdom teeth, (which no one speaks too highly of) except instead of four chompers over three to five years imagine 28 in under 18 months. Do you understand my grief? Can you share in my concern?

I’m not trying to suggest I’ll get two teeth a month for life or anything. I’m not a shark, you know. Yes, I hope and believe this agony is temporary, but let’s not argue away my discomfort here, okay? This is pretty traumatic stuff here.

Since sharing my feelings isn’t helping to alleviate them, I’m going to ask you to be patient with me. This isn’t my idea of fun and if it makes me testy, I’m sorry. If my grouchitude puts you out of sorts, just try to remember how uncomfortable I am and that I really don’t understand why I’m in so much pain.

 

Billings Visitor Center Great People in Great Town

A town so far east we barely made it out there on our first trip is Billings. Once you’re there, you’re half way from the Pacific Ocean to Minneapolis, and with our schedule getting busier and busier with each passing day, we weren’t even sure if we’d make it out there, but boy are we glad that we did.

Super cool statues are as easy to find as relevant area information.
Super cool statues are as easy to find as relevant area information.

Billings has so many great attractions, but more than that, it has really great people too, and there’s no better place to kick off the Billings leg of your tour than at the newly constructed Billings Visitor Center.

Not only do they have a statue out front so great that it gets two full pictures in this article, but once inside you’ll find more than just the regular run-down of touristy brochures for your taking.

The people there were really great to us, and they don’t mind drawing you out locations on the city map to show you all the different things in town that are of specific interest to you. I mean it, these people will literally listen to what you tell them you like, and then they’ll tell you what all they have in the area to fit your particular desires.

It’s like show and tell, except what they have is much cooler than anything I’m allowed to bring to school.

And I know that all visitor centers are supposed to operate in the same way, and many do, but there are two things that really set Billings apart. The first is that there’s a surprising amount to do in Billings, especially when you consider what a relatively small city Billings is. The second is that the people there don’t just have to tell you what’s in the area, they really want to. They’re proud of their city and its many splendors.

Our only regret was that there were still a handful of things leftover we didn’t manage the time to get to, though if we ever make it back that far east, we’ll surely try that much harder, because the locals never steered us wrong, and everything else they told us to check out was totally worth it.

Check them out online at www.billingscvb.visitmt.com, or stop by in person at 815 27th St. in Billings.

ABOVE: Even though brochures and air conditioning await inside, there's no way I'm going to miss this statue, and my boss would be wise to catch it too.
ABOVE: Even though brochures and air conditioning await inside, there’s no way I’m going to miss this statue, and my boss would be wise to catch it too.

 

Brendan Wins Spare Tire Award

The parents and I never thought it would happen, but this little Brendan that could, finally did. Little old me isn’t so little anymore and it’s official.
story465

You see this spare tire right here? It’s symbolic. It’s huge alright, much bigger than mine, but symbolic nonetheless yet nonethemore. It symbolizes my big accomplishment that you’ll have to read another paragraph to discover.

Welcome to “another paragraph.” So we went to the doctor for my routine lube, oil and filter job. Kind of a check up sort of thing but without those stupid needles. She measured my head, height and weight and for the first time in my life, I hit the 50th percentile.

I was born or the lower side, not unhealthy but clearly towards the runty end of the scale. Mama’s petite and Daddy-O’s always been kind of “travel-sized.” The deck was stacked against me but my will to devour has finally overcome.

The weird thing is that I don’t feel average. Nothing in my being holds me back, my only limitation is not myself but determined by parental permission. I’m fearless, empowered and bigger than I’ve ever been. My weight may be average but as a package I still know I’m super-average.

All I had to do was eat, which is something I love to do anyhow. The only watching “what I eat” I do is out of the corner of my eye as I gobble it all gone.

If you aspire to gain weight, don’t give up on your dreams. If I can earn a spare tire, you can do it too, and that’s a promise you can take to your piggy bank, piggy.

 

News from a unique perspective… about three feet…