Lots of interesting things were invented in our home state of Nebraska. Yes, we’re the creators of vise grip locking pliers, frozen TV dinners, collapsable voting booths, and center pivot irrigation. Perhaps our biggest claim to fame, however, is the fruit-flavored, powdered soft drink that known around the world as Kool-Aid.

Our daughter, Meghan, took her turn at the Kool-Aid stand photo booth at the Hastings Museum.

Our daughter, Meghan, took her turn at the Kool-Aid stand photo booth at the Hastings Museum.

That’s right. Kool-Aid was invented by Edwin Perkins in Hastings, Nebraska. Perkins had initially created a fruit-flavored drink called Fruit Smack. But in 1927, in an effort to reduce shipping costs, he discovered a way to remove the liquid, leaving only a powder.

These Kool-Aid man costumes were are display at the Hastings Museum.

These Kool-Aid man costumes were are display at the Hastings Museum.

He named the new powder Kool-Aid and moved production to Chicago in 1931. Eventually, the brand was sold to General Foods and is now owned by Kraft. However, Hastings still celebrates Perkins and this childhood favorite with an annual summer festival called Kool-Aid Days on the second weekend in August. They also help commemorate Perkins’ achievements with an exhibit in the Hastings Museum, which we visited this summer.

It was our very first trip to the museum and we found it a delightful way to spend an hour or two on a hot summer day in Nebraska.

According to the museum’s website, the Hastings Museum was founded in 1927 and is the largest municipal museum between Chicago and Denver. The museum features a theater with a 65-foot

It was interesting to animal species in their natural habitats.

It was interesting to animal species in their natural habitats at the museum.

wide screen and large domed Planetarium. It houses taxidermy displays dozens of animal species set in their natural habitats, allowing you to get an up close look at many amazing creatures!

The museum also chronicles the history of the early inhabitants of the Nebraska plains, from paleo-Indians to euro-Americans, while providing a look back at the creatures that used to roam this area and swim in Cretaceous Sea.

Our favorite part of the museum, though, was the nod to Kool-Aid. It was fun to walk through the exhibit and read all about the history of Perkins’ invention and look back at all of the advertising and marketing campaigns that were so prominent in our childhoods. We learned that the original six Kool-Aid flavors were Cherry, Grape, Lemon-Lime, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry — my favorite is Cherry and as I recall, it produced the best Kool-Aid mustache/smile.

Kool-Aid marketing was everywhere when I was a kid. Lunch boxes, Barbie dolls, sno-cone machines. etc.

Kool-Aid marketing was everywhere when I was a kid. Lunch boxes, Barbie dolls, sno-cone machines. etc.

I remembered the Kool-Aid lunchbox and round pitchers that everyone used to have. We were also reminded of the make-shift Kool-Aid stands we had as kids and enjoyed watching all of the old Kool-Aid commercials that feature a large, anthropomorphic pitcher filled with Kool-Aid randomly busting through fences and walls of children’s homes to make a batch of Kool-Aid.

Here’s a little trip down memory lane in case you can’t remember who awkward those commercials really were.

Maybe it’s just me, but some of these seem a little creepy to me now. But back in the day, there was nothing quite like seeing that giant pitcher of Kool-Aid burst through the wall at the most unsuspecting moment with that shout of, “Oh, yeah.” These commercials took me back.

Today, you can buy Kool-Aid as a powder, jammer, burst, or liquid. A simple search on Pinterest will give you dozens of ideas on other ways to use Kool-Aid, including everything from dying t-shirts and and making scented play-doh, to using it as a watercolor paint or a dishwasher cleaner. I even found a recipe for Kool-Aid slime!

Found this recipe for Kool-Aid slime at www.growingajeweledrose.com

Found this recipe for Kool-Aid slime at www.growingajeweledrose.com

What unique uses have you found for Kool-Aid? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

  • Perched high on a hill in Tuscany is the medieval village of Montepulciano. In the center of town is the piazza grande paved with bricks laid in a herringbone pattern in the 14th century. ⁣
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Standing in the piazza, looking at the bricks, we were filled with a sense of awe at the history these bricks have seen. They've been there for 700 years so have seen times of war and peace, celebration and sorrow. Generation after generation of townsfolk were born, lived and died, and all have walked on these bricks. ⁣
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This is one of the things we love most about traveling. It gives us an authentic feel for history, one we wouldn't have if we just stayed at home.
  • We were so tickled when @thechefandthedish reached out and asked us if we'd like to take a complimentary cooking class with them. They offer private cooking classes with chefs from all over the world that you can take right in your own kitchen. ⁣
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For this class, we Skyped with chef Paola who taught us to make strawberry risotto, traditional bruschetta, and a delicious poached pear dessert that blew our minds. ⁣
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Risotto always seemed like a difficult dish to make, but Chef Paola explained it so well that it wound up being pretty easy. We spent a great afternoon with friends, learned something new, and enjoyed a great meal after. A class with The Chef & The Dish is a great gift idea, as well. Follow the link in our bio, and you can read more about our class on our blog.
  • The world is a big place, and there's so much to discover. Go places, and see things. It doesn't matter if you don't have a detailed itinerary, either. Sometimes, it's more about the journey and what you see and experience along the way, than it is about the destination.
  • During our trip in Tuscany with @italyunfiltered, we stopped at a small family winery. After learning about the organic methods they use to produce high quality Chianti Clasico wines, we had a tasting. ⁣
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Wine tastings in Italy are nothing like those in the US. They are glorious affairs complete with delicious foods paired with the incredible wines. This particular winery brought us samples of homemade, organic jams made from fruits grown in the family's garden. We dabbed these on locally produced pecorino cheese. Yum!⁣
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We're so glad that we had a local driver and guide. Stopping here was a highlight of our Italian adventure, and we never would have found it on our own.
  • The village of Marsaxlokk, Malta, is famous for these brightly painted fishing boats. The design is rather ancient, possibly dating back to Phoenician times, though it's still used today because it is very strong and holds up well in rough weather. One feature of each boat's decorations, are eyes painted on the bow of the boat. These eyes are said to protect the people fishing while they are at sea.
  • The blue cobblestones of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, are actually part of a recycling project which started 500 years ago. Iron foundries in Spain produced huge piles of waste, called slag. Rather than throw these piles away, the slag was made into blocks which was placed into ships as ballast. The ballast was offloaded in Puerto Rico when they loaded products bound for Spain. The blocks were then used to pave the streets. ⁣
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Pretty good idea, and 500 years later, they are holding up well!
  • The Overseas Highway connects Key West and the Florida Keys to the mainland U.S. While the entire road is a marvel of engineering, the centerpiece is the Seven Mile Bridge, which runs over water for, well, seven miles.⁣
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The next time you're driving, reset your trip odometer and wait until it gets to seven miles. You'll see that's a pretty long distance. And then think about the fact that people built a bridge over water with no land to support them for that distance. Pretty incredible-especially since the first one was built in 1912.
  • We'd never heard of cannonball rocks before we drove past them at North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and asked each other, "did you see that?" We'd never seen anything quite like these natural "concretions" created when water leaked into pockets of minerals in the ground. Now, as a hill erodes, these formations are exposed.⁣
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Seeing these rocks was such a cool experience because it reminded us of why we travel. We never know when we'll find something new, something that we never knew existed. We got along fine not knowing about cannonball rocks, yet now that we've seen them, our lives are a little richer. ⁣
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The world is a pretty cool place. Check it out.⁣
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@ndlegendary

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