The Magical Forest Wonderland

I would like to share a little beauty from my corner of the world with everyone that I experienced this weekend. My family and I went to our local Botanical Gardens. This name does not do it justice. It is indeed botanical and a garden but if I was given the honor of naming it, I would have called it The Magical Forest Wonderland or something equally as fascinating as it really is!

This was the perfect place for kids. They could run, explore and not have to worry about breaking anything. The only minor incident that occurred was when our 5 year old Bency stepped into the koi pond. I told him he could stand on the edge and look in and apparently he heard, “step into the pond and become one with the koi.” He was slightly disturbed with his wet socks and shoes and a bit flabbergasted that I didn’t have an extra set on me but he soon got over it and began running and playing in all the beautiful glory!

The kids were disappointed to leave on Saturday so with Sunday being Grandparent’s Day I invited my Mom who has never been there to join us in one more day of nature’s beautiful splendor all encapsulated in one wonderful place!

Enjoy and have a wonderful and beautiful week!

Iris, Bency and Cesar excited to start their adventure!

Having fun running around


morning dew on the ground cover





The kids climbing a huge hill

The kids getting water from the rain barrels to water the animal topiaries

Bency water the bunny topiary

The dragonfly bridge

Cesar and Dad

Bency disgruntled with his wet shoes and socks after going into the pond

Iris on butterfly bench

The kids love the stars on the walking path

Beautiful garden art everywhere

Mr. McGregor’s garden from The Tales of Peter Rabbit

A huge maze for the kids!

a beautiful view from the tower in the children’s garden

The rainbow garden


Iris posing in the stone structure


The kids crossing a stream

The kids having so much fun running around

This is the bathroom!


another beautiful view from a different tower

The roof of one of the towers

The fairy garden

The kids waiting for the fairies to move

Nature’s artwork

Grandma spending the day with me and the kids

A door knocker on the English cottage











She Saw the Ghost of the Virgin Mary

This past Saturday we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help. With my mother-in-law in town for a visit this has become our new tradition when she is here.

Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help

It is a Catholic chapel set in the middle of cornfields in the heart of rural Wisconsin in a town named Champion. In 2010, it became recognized as the first Marian apparition sighting in the United States.

Outside the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help…notice the cornfields in back

The apparition sightings actually occurred in 1859 by a 28 year Belgium immigrant woman named Adele Brise. On her third sighting of Mary, Adele actually heard her talking to her saying,” I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same.” Adele Brise was also given a mission to “gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.”

Adele’s father built a chapel over the sight of where the apparition appeared and Adele dedicated the rest of her life to teaching children by building a school on the same grounds.

On October 8, 1871 the worst recorded fire in history occurred. ..The Peshtigo Fire. This fire threatened the chapel but Adele Brise refused to leave and instead begged the Virgin Mary for her protection. This fire ended up destroying 1,200,000 acres of land and caused the death of nearly 2,500 people but the chapel and the people in it were unharmed. It did reach the Chapel grounds but only singed the fence that surrounded it.

People have been traveling to this chapel and its surrounding grounds for over 100 years in the form of pilgrimages and in search of miracles. Many people have claimed to be cured here… leaving crutches, hearing aids and years of blindness behind.

I do not know if these things occurred. I was not there when these things happened.

I was there on Saturday. It was a beautiful day with stillness in the air and warm sunshine. My kids enjoyed seeing the water lilies and frogs resting on the lily pads in the pond. My kids went in the chapel and prayed with their Grandma. Iris, my 7 year old, asked God to make her brave. Bency, my 5 year old asked God for a new race track. We went to the apparition sight and Grandma lit a candle. We walked around the gorgeous grounds out back filled with statues and other artifacts. Iris thought the eyes blinked on one of the statues of Mary. I think it was her imagination. To my knowledge no “miracles” occurred this day. It was just a peaceful day full of serenity, joy and my kids learning about God from their Grandma and us all enjoying the day as a family.

Frog and Lily Pad in the pond

Grandma at the apparition sight

Adele Brise’s grave site

The statue of Mary that Iris thought blinked!

Our littlest one, Cesar, enjoying all the open area to run!