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Fold one today!
Fold one today!

Nothing's cuter than a paper hat

Like all parents, I have moments with my kids that I want to freeze forever. It’s interesting, because, for me, they rarely occur during the milestone moments.

Maybe that's because when my sons graduated from preschool or passed their swimming test, I had my camera with me, but the moments that are the most real to me -- the epitome of witnessing a kid being a kid -- are completely random.

Plus, I’m usually not quick enough to document them, other than mentally. Consequently, I have stacks of mental photo albums that are even less organized than the thousands of digital photos waiting patiently on my external hard drive for  my attention.

I had one of these "epitome of a kid being a kid" moments last week. And I was driving, hence taking a photo wasn't an option. So, here I am, fumbling to preserve it through words.

I picked up my sons from school, loaded them into the back seat of the car and started driving toward the grocery store. I heard my younger son unzip his backpack, but didn’t think much of it. About a block later, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed he was wearing a large, paper "The Cat In The Hat" hat that he made at school.

He was looking out the car window, contently, just rocking his slightly crumpled school-made hat. He had made the decision to retrieve it from his backpack and wear it during this car ride. The thought process touched me the most, but the visual of him came in a close second.

I remembered his paper hats from the past: the pirate hat, the newspaper-folded hat, the police hat. He wore them all with pride and, on some level, believed he was truly a pirate or a policeman while wearing it.

Paper is enough to fuel his imagination. How do I photograph that? I want to capture this; I want it to stay.

"That’s a cool ‘Cat’ hat," I finally said.

"Guess what?" he said. "I made it!"

Touring Sprecher Brewery is thirsty work.
Touring Sprecher Brewery is thirsty work.

Rapid review: Sprecher Brewery Tour

March Madness is here, and the basketball action heats up in Milwaukee this week as the Bradley Center hosts the Midwest and West regional rounds of the "big dance." With fans flocking from near and far, the editorial staff at thought we'd help greet our new visitors with a week's worth of features and guides to everything that makes our city a great place to visit. It's "Welcome to Milwaukee Week" at!

The Sprecher Brewery tour is a must-do for all Milwaukeeans, their guests and visitors. It’s low-key, educational and fun, and, best of all, ends with samples in a Bavarian beer garden. Slice of perfection, you say? Indeed.

The tour begins in the Sprecher memorabilia-filled gift shop, followed by a tour through the brew house, the cellar adorned with Bavarian murals, the bottling room and last but not least, the beer garden.

The beer garden features oompah music and a variety of beer and soda samples on tap.

When to go: Sprecher generally offers tours throughout the year on Fridays at 4 p.m., Saturdays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. and Sundays at 12, 1 and 2 p.m. Call for exact times as they may change slightly from week to week.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Sprecher offer tours on weekdays -- contingent upon production and special event scheduling -- at 4 p.m. Call ahead.

Why should I go? Brewing beer is an integral part of Milwaukee's history and a way to really get a feel for the local culture. Plus, learning and sipping suds during the same outing is fun!

Cost: Adults are $4. Anyone with a military ID gets in for $3. People under 21 are $2 and, of course, allowed to only drink Sprecher soda.

How many beers do you get? Adults get four samples of beer, chosen from 10 different beers on tap. Adults and kids can sample as many sodas as they want.