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Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Made the Hays Daily News

We made the Hays Daily News!  If you read this past Friday's paper (01/28/2011) we were in it as "WaKeeney family hitting the road to 150 places."  You can check out the online article at .

This weekend's journeys will be posted later.  We made it up to 19 items/things so about those later, and don't forget to tell others about us.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Where are we going next?

Where are we going next?   We are planning (hoping)  to visit the following areas:  Norton, Oberlin, Phillipsburg, Logan, Ness City, Dodge City, Goodland, Mt. Sunflower, St. Francis, Salina, Wamego, Kansas City, Bonner Springs, Topeka, Leavenworth, Wichita, Hutchinson, Greensburg, Lindborg, Yoder {Angel called this Volant...a town similar in Pennsylvania :-) }, Dexter, Independance, Ellsworth, Hays, Ellis, Russell Springs, Cedar Bluff, Augusta, Nicodemus, Abilene, Victoria...and possibly others, not necessarily in that order either.

These are our wish list places right now depending on numerous things (illness, price of gas, weather, price of gas, schedule, price of gas, finances, price of gas, etc).  We hope to get to as much of Kansas as we possibly can. So, if you have any ideas of things we should not miss and coupons or discounts (Eric says...OR GAS CARDS) for our upcoming trips, let us know.  We love hearing from all of you and partnering with you along the way. 

Can't wait to hear from you.

15. Exploring Colby

Our final adventure of the day was exploring Colby.  We began by visiting the ColbyVisitor Center which is a very unique visitor center in the shape of a grain bin.  We also saw "Spirit of the Prairie" in front of the courthouse and wooden nativity scene set up in Fike Park.  It reminded us of the one Eric made for our house.
Spirit of the Prairie

Thomas County Courthouse




14c. Prairie Museum--Outside Buildings

Cooper Barn--Largest Barn in Kansas

The Prairie Museum of Art and History also includes several out buildings to explore.  This was the kids favorite part of the museum.  I think it was because they could run around outside and be loud and it was OK.  Too much being quiet looking at museum exhibits can drive anyone crazy. 

Hay Loft

The barn was moved in one piece from its
original location.  That would have been a sight to see

Ringing the Bell in the Lone Star Church

Sod house.  Angel decided she could live here...alone...
and with running water, a bathroom, and washer/dryer

One Room Nichol School


Inside 1930s Farmhouse
I wonder if they had need to put this sign on the toilet.

14b. Prairie Museum--Anne Frank Exhibit

©AFS/AFF, Amsterdam/Basel

The Prairie Museum of Art and History had a travelling exhibit about the life of Anne Frank.  I (Angel) have to admit writing this blog was a bit difficult to start because I want to be sure to give it the importance and dignity it deserves.  World War II, Nazi Germany, and Anne Frank's life are not subjects to be taken lightly.

If you have not recently read A Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, I highly recommend you do so in conjunction with your visit to this exhibit.  I read it to prepare myself to visit this exhibit and I was glad I did.  Reading the book gave me a sense of connection with Anne.  I remember thinking, as I was reading, that she dealt with many of the "normal" thoughts and feelings of an early adolescent girl while living a completely "unnatural" existence.  I remember being completely impressed with her writing style and ability to express her feelings and draw the reader into the story.  Perhaps what is most amazing about all this is she wrote only for herself and did not expect others to view her journal.  If you are looking for a book that details the history of WWII, this is not the book for you.  If, however, you are interested in the feelings and experiences of one adolescent girl in hiding, definitely read this book.  I am not a history buff, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  It does give a bit of the history of WWII in the afterward.  Part 1 discusses general history, but after that it gives specific history about the history of Anne Frank after their discovery. 

The exhibit was able to fill in holes of Anne Frank's life that the journal did not.  The journal was written when Anne was 13-15 years old.  The exhibit told her whole life story from birth-death, with some WWII history thrown in.  It was able to fill in the first 12 years of Anne's life and answer any questions about what happened to her after their discovery.  It answered the question I had about how they (The Gestapo) did not notice that  a bound journal might be important.  Anne had rewritten her journal on loose leaves of paper and that was what was in her father's briefcase that was scattered all over the ground.  One of their "helpers" later picked them up and stored them in her desk.  Finding out details of the end of Anne's life was sobering.  It breaks my heart to learn she died a matter of months before the liberation of her concentration camp.  What a sobering and monumental exhibit.  I would encourage everyone to visit.

Anne Frank had a dream that she would someday become a famous writer and journalist.  I am sure she never could have envisioned the impact her words would have on the world.  It just goes to show you that we never really know how our dreams will be realized.

I did pick up the book, Tales from the Secret Annex by Anne Frank. According to the back of the book it is a compilation of her "short stories, fables, personal reminiscences, and unfinished novel."  In her diary, it had mentioned stories she had written, but I assumed they were lost forever.  Imagine my excitement to find them all contained in another book.  I can't wait to get it read.

Anne Frank: A History for Today was developed by the Anne Frank House and is sponsored in North America by the Anne Frank Center USA.
©AFS/AFF, Amsterdam/Basel

Sunday, January 23, 2011

14a. Prairie Museum of Art and History

Our journey in Colby began with a picnic lunch with a friend of Angel's and her boys.  Then we all went to the Prairie Museum of Art and History together.   The kids played in the Kansas Kid's Corner while the grown ups viewed the travelling Anne Frank exhibit (blog to follow).  There were all kinds of great dress up clothes, so you could pretend to be Indians, prairie settlers, etc.  There was a teepee, plastic snakes. coloring pages, toy food, and other toys. 
The collections in the rest of the museum are a bit overwhelming.  There is so much stuff to see and only about 15% of the museum's collections are on display.  Not only are there displays behind glass throughout the museum, there are also several drawers to pull out to view jewelry, small collectables, coins, etc.  If I (Angel) lived in the Colby area I would visit the museum frequently and only explore a small section at a time so I could really appreciate the details of the collection and not get overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it all.  I also left with the feeling that if you have nice, collectible items at home, get them out and use them.  Use nice dishes and linens.  Display everything beautiful that you currently own.  Don't store anything hidden away in a drawer or closet.  Have it all out for use by yourself, friends, and family.

The part that the kids enjoyed in the exhibit part of the museum, were the toy collections.  They loved the mechanical horse they could ride by pushing the button on the wall.  The train was set up to move with the push of a button, but it was out of order.  It was funny to them (and us) that some of the "antique" toys on display were the ones their parents played with as kids.

Looking at Barbies we enjoyed as girls


One of our favorite exhibits in the museum was Alphabet Soup: The Amazing ABC's of Collecting.  There was a display for each letter of the alphabet filled with items that start with that letter.  There was also a scavanger hunt game that could be played looking for items in each display case.  We took pictures of each one, but we will spare you all the pics and only include the first and last.  :)

13. Exploring Oakley

After our time at the Museum, we travelled around Oakley to see what we could find.  Perhaps the most famous attraction in Oakley is the sculpture of "Buffalo Bill" Cody and the Buffalo.  The cabin which houses the information center and gift shop was closed.  We also explored the Memorial Garden (honoring service men and women), Survivor of the Plains sculpture, and Dough Boy Statue.

Survivor of the Plains

Dough Boy Statue


Memorial Gardens


We discovered a fun park in Oakley,  Annie Oakley park.  It not only has playground equipment, it also has gazebos, walking trails, and a swimming pool.  It may be January, but it was still warm enough for the kids to enjoy the playground.  They got to go down the slides, ride the merry-go-round, run some of their energy off, and climb all over everything.  Their favorite part was the fake fossil in the playground under the fake rock wall.  Happy hunting.

12. Fick Fossil and History Museum

We intended to start our journey on January 22 in Colby at the Prairie Museum of Art and History.  However, we got there to discover it did not open until afternoon on Saturday, so we started our adventure in Oakley instead.  Angel learned a very valuable lesson about calling ahead and confirming hours before starting our journey.
We began our day at the Fick Fossil and History Museum in Oakley.  It is housed in the same building with the library.  The museum is to the left and the library to the right with very accessible restrooms in the middle.  The fossil museum was free (donations accepted) so it was a very nice surprise to get quite a bit of information from the woman working at the museum.  Without her input, we never would have known that Mrs. Fick created the art on the walls with shells, shark teeth, bit of fossilized animals, etc.    Angel says she is not creative enough to think about using those items to create flower petals, trees, animal, flags, the Kansas seal, etc.  There are fossils at the Fick Museum that were discovered by George Stenberg (The Sternberg Museum in Hays in named after him.  We will be visiting it later this year.) 

Besides the fossils, the museum also contains articles from Kansas history and animal mounted heads and a full-mounted buffalo.  There were also "picture" opportunity cut outs of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley that the kids had tons of fun playing in.  We were suprised to learn that Oakley is not named after Annie Oakley, but the founder's mother.  It's amazing the misconceptions you grow up with and what you can learn if you only take the time.
Bicycle Rack at Fick Fossil and History Museum


11. Exploring Quinter

Our family explored Quinter January 21.  We started with Westwind Wood Specialties and got to tour where Eric works.  I (Eric) thought it was kind of neat showing Angel and the kids where I work.  We were given permission to take a quick tour, so I showed the family around the plant.  The kids thought it was cool but they were not impressed with the safety glasses we had to wear.  Westwind Wood Specialties is a custom cabinet manufacturer, as you can tell by our truck we offer "Handmade Craftsmanship with CNC Precision."  In addition to cabinet doors, we also make drawer boxes, moulding, wainscoting, etc.  You may log onto the company site at for more detailed information.

We then toured downtown Quinter and found quite a treasure (Eric knew it was there.)  There is an amazing old-time soda fountain at Ray's Pharmacy.  It was so much fun to get to try different combinations of drinks--Strawberry Sprite, Lime Sprite, a Green River, and Banana Dr. Pepper.  The Banana Dr. Pepper was better than I (Angel) would have expected.  It was fun to get to be inventive--they have quite a list of options.  It was even more fun to get to watch them being made.  It's nice to have a place that uses syrups and then adds carbonation.  It just makes you feel like you really get something special. 

We were all shocked by the history of the fountain.  It started in New York (possibly the late 1800's/early 1900's), made it to California and it's most recent purchase, which led to its move to Quinter, was on ebay.  It just goes to show that you CAN by anything on ebay.  :)

We tried to eat supper at Pizza Station, but it was not open, even though it said it should be.  So, we read through the Kansas Guidebook for Explorers about the "Collyer Cafe" which was supposed to be housed in the old convent in Collyer and decided to head over there for supper.   However, there is no longer a Collyer Cafe--the convent is now a bed and breakfast.  Just goes to show you that sometimes exploring can lead to hungry tummies...but we did eat dinner back in WaKeeney.