Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Children's Museum

What do you do with a group of small children on a rainy day? Go to the Children's Museum. We choose to go to the Children's museum in Acton, Mass despite it being an hour a way. There is also one in Boston, but then we would have needed to worry about traffic or a parking spot. The museum is composed of two buildings one really geared for little children and one more scientific and geared for older children. We went to both and the children had fun playing and doing experiments. It was a perfect solution to our problem. I even had fun. On our way home, we stopped at a fun farmers market called Idlewyld with yummy gourmet food. My cousin Jane treated us to a yummy dinner of muscles and baked haddock with a crab stuffing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Canopie Lake Park

When I found out that we would be going to visit Massachusetts this summer, the first thing came to my mind was that I wanted to take my children to Canopie Lake in New Hampshire. I had gone to Canopie Lake as a child and then as a teenager. I had always had a blast going. I wanted the boys to share that memory with me. It is no Disney, but then you also don't have the ticket price of Disney nor as long of a wait for the rides. The weather forecast for the week did not look good and at one point we almost cancelled because of the rain. We threw on our raincoats and prayed for the best. I was sure they were going to shut down on us, but nope I guess when you live in the Northeast you just adapt to the weather. The rain actually worked in our favor because most of the rides we could just walk onto. Before we left, we had to have cotton candy and elephant ears. Yummy!

cinnamon sugar and powder sugar
elephant ears are very tasty
cotton candy

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cooking with Winston-Fruit Roll Ups

Super Healthy
Winston here! I had so much fun making these fruit roll ups and they taste better then store bought. The recipe is super easy. My mom took a combination of a couple of recipes and made her own because she wanted less sugar.
2 pounds of fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 splash of orange juice
What you need is a blender, a cooking pot, parchment paper, and two cookie sheet.
First wash strawberries. Cut off tops and cut in half. Place 1/2 strawberries and sugar and juice in blender. Puree. Then add the rest of the berries. Pour mixture into a cooking pot and bring to a boil. Stir often. The reduce hear to low and simmer for 10 minutes until mixture thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Cool for a few minutes and pour on to a parchment lined cookie sheets. With realistically make 1 1/2 cookie sheets. Cook in oven at 175 degrees for 6-7 hours. It took us up to 7 hours because of the humidity. Fruit should not be sticky and slightly dry. Cut into strips and roll up. Storage I placed in a zip lock bag then in a Tupperware type container since it is summer here and it is humid. I think you could store for up to a week, but I don't think it will last you that long since they are so delish!
Thanks to blogs Been Lost Once and My Kugelhopf for the idea.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kimball Farms and the Beach

After leaving the breakfast brunch, we headed north to Massachusetts to visit with the rest of our family on my granfathers side of the family. Even though it should have only take us 7 hours from Maryland we ended up taking more like 12 hours. First the directions we got from our web search were not correct, then we spent two hours stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the George Washington Bridge. We thought it would be smooth sailing from there, but then there was construction on one of the highways we needed to take in Massachusetts. We made it to my cousin Jane's house at 12:30am. The next morning we got up bright and early to have breakfast with my cousin Mary at Shaw's. I love Shaw's french toast. Something I don't make that often at home. My poor Aunt Peg has been in a nursing home for the last 2 years, so we went over to visit with her. She loved seeing the baby. Later in the day we headed to Kimball Farms in Littleton for ice cream with some of my other cousins: Jane, Susan, Maddie, and Andrew. I had never been to Kimball Farms. It is a really fun place to take the kids. They have mini golf, a few barn animals, bumper boats and you can even eat dinner or lunch there because they serve your typical New England fried clams, corn, or fish and chips. My mouth was drooling a little.

Go Winston!
Tuesday, we just hung around the house before visiting with my cousin Warren; however, on Wednesday it turned out to be a nice day, so we drove up the coast to New Hampshire and we we went to Rye beach for lunch. If ever beautiful homes were to be found, they are in Rye beach. We ate at Ray's which was given great reviews by friends, but my steamers were a little pricey for New England prices and were to mushy. My dad enjoyed his fried clams. The clam chowder is to die for, and I have never been a fan of clam chowder. As a tradition, we had to have onion rings because that is what we eat when we are at the beach.

It was just a little too cold to go in the water

team work

Do you Remember a Time?

There are times in our lives that always seem to be a mark in time when we can say do you remember what you were doing when......... blank happened. For example, I can remember exactly what I was doing when I heard the trade center had been hit by a plane or when the space shuttle the Challenger blew up. I remember the day I met my husband, the day I had had my first child then second and then third. Pop culture also has a way of marking time. It changes us whether we like it or not. It also changes what we wear. It even bridges the generations. The year was 1976, I was living with my mother in California and though I was only five I remember Charlies Angels. I didn't get to watch the show that often because it was on past my bedtime. I even had the dolls. We played Charlies Angels on the playground. Farrah Fawcett was beautiful! She had a million dollar smile and married the million dollar man which I was very jealous of until I fell in love with Shawn Cassidity. Every little girl wanted to have a haircut just like her. Tube socks were all the rage worn with shorts. Fast forward a few years, dancing in the living room of my friend Gia we listened to Michael Jackson's song Thriller. We were just at the age when we were not little girls anymore playing with our Barbies, but not quite teenagers yet. The age of the roller rinks and after school dances. The boys traded their jeans in for parachute pants. One fashion I am glad that did not last. A couple years later in choir we learned to sing the song We are the World. Thanks for the memories Michael and Farrah!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One more time

As if the past two days were not enough celebrating, we gathered for one more time for a breakfast brunch at the home and farm belonging to good friends of the bride. You can never have too much family though; especially, when everyone has come from so far away. On top of that the bride will be deployed following the honeymoon in Haiti. The breakfast brunch was simple but delicious. We enjoyed plates of bacon, egg casserole, croissants and jam, fruit salad, smoked salmon with cream cream cheese and bagels, pans of homemade cinnamon rolls, and coffee cake. No wonder I feel like I have been on a cruise and have the pounds on the scale to prove it. You will find me in the gym the next couple of weeks as I try to shed the pounds. The morning seemed like a fairy tale, as good company was shared and children played on the Eastern shores of Maryland while others chased butterflies in the gardens. I wonder who will be next to marry?

Just Simply Yummy!
Roman playing with his cousin Pricilla

Congratulations Tim and Clara !!!!

The afternoon was warm the clouds were threatening to rain. I had to keep wiping my camera lens because it was so humid that it kept fogging up. At the edge of the property a tiny pond hid behind the weeping willows, magnolias, and oak trees. The carpet was a lush soft grass that feels wonderful under your toes and the garden was smothered in beautiful flowers of sage, tea roses, daisies, tiger lilies, and hydrengas. You could tell it was well loved. A simple arch covered with magnolias stood in front of rows of white chairs waiting for their audience to be seated. Classical music filled the air as the quest waited in anticipation and then it was time to be seated. A wedding was going to take place. A wedding between two special people who serve our country in the army. Their deployments were ordered and scheduled to take place. The bride and groom would be sent to two different places. The groomsmen took their places after escorting the mother of the groom and the mother of the bride. Then followed the bridesmaids dressed in simple but elegant black dresses carrying bouquets of garden flowers tied with brown raffia. Our breathes were taken away when the bride walked out on the arm of her father in her beautiful cream colored backless dress. Her blond hair was half up and half down and flowed down her back. She really was stunning. The ceremony was short a sweet and ended with an Indian prayer and an Irish prayer. The swords were drawn, but before the bride and groom could pass they had to kiss. While the wedding party took photos, the guest ate appetizers of coconut shrimp, fried won tons, brushetta, strawberries, crackers with brie and salmon, and phyllo cups filled with a creamy cheese dolloped with jam. If that was not enough to fill a person a 5 course meal followed of: avocado and cucumber soup with a dollop of chives and sour cream, a mixed green salad with goat cheese, pecans, and raspberry vinegrette, crab cakes with a corn and black bean salsa, pork loin stuffed with black cherries and peaches accompanied by summer rice and asparagus with blue cheese dressing. The bride had two cakes. The first was white buttercream frosting on the outside with layers chocolate cake on the inside with a raspberry filling served with a lemon mousse. It was delicious! The second was made of marzipan cookies drizzeled with chocolate that looked like the leaning tower of pisa. I think this is a danish custom. Glasses clinked the bride and groom kissed often. The groom bathed his bride in eyes of happiness and love. Speaches were given and songs were song by the Danish guest. As the sun began to set fireflies blessed us with a dance. Then the DJ broke out the dance music. The dance floor erupted into dance with arms up in the air doing the YMCA and people sliding left and right to the Electric Slide. It was a wonderful day!

The setting

The bridal party

My family

cousins-our grandmothers were sisters

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update Harris in Germany

Harris is settling in really well in Germany. He is doing really well in school. While he has the speaking German down going to school over there really helps him to learn how to write it. He has about three weeks of school left before summer vacation starts. He has made some new friends Nicolai, Hendrik, and Eric. They go to the skateboard park, play crochet in Oma's and Opa's garden, and go to the local indoor swim pool. Unfortunately, it has been too cold to go to the outside swimming pool, but I am sure warmer temperatures are around the corner. July and August are always the best months in Germany. Last weekend, Harris went with his Oma and Opa to Hessentag which was held in the city of Lagenselbold located on the river Kinzig just 10km east of Hanau. Every year the location changes. Two years ago, Hessentag was located in my husbands home town of Butzbach. Hessentag is kind of like our equivalent of a state fair. Germany is divided into 16 states. The largest state being Bayern. My husband comes from the state of Hessen. Over a million people attend the celebration that last a week long. You will find food booths, parades, plays for adults and children, carnival like rides, competitions for clubs like soccer or other sports, and concerts. The concerts are mostly German rock bands, but sometimes they draw some pretty large name rock bands from the United States. Then comes the fireworks.

photos taken at Hessentag
new friends

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Waterman's Crab House

The boys
Jumbo lump crab cakes
There is no place on earth that
makes the best crab cakes

The marina

I haven't always been a fan of crab cakes or crab for the most part, but I have always adored lobster. My opinion though on crab cakes has changed after eating at Waterman's Crab House. The food was beyond delicious. I had a crab cake because it just seemed a sin not to try them when Maryland is famous for it's crab cakes. I was not disappointed My dad had the ribs which just about fell off the bone and boys were they tender. My mouth is watering just thinking of them. They were smoked then based with a sweet tangy BBQ sauce that is just about the closest thing to heaven. Winston had the shrimp basket and Roman a very large hot dog. The day was gorgeous and the setting beautiful. It was fun watching couples or groups pull up to the restaurant in their boats. Afterwards, walk around the town of Rock Hall it was established in 1707.
Waterman's Crab House
21055 Sharp Street
Rock Hall, MD 21661

Monday, June 22, 2009

Part 1 Rehearsal Dinner

My only relationship to Maryland has been that every time we go to Washington D.C. we stay in a hotel located in College Heights. If you are familiar with Maryland then you know College Heights is not a great location to stay in, but it is close to D.C. and the hotel there are cheaper. Then there are all the times we have driven through Baltimore as we headed north. Eastern Maryland is beautiful! The combination of farmlands covered in corn and the many waterways is just breathtaking. The first day of our trip to the wedding was spent in the car. We drove as far as Richmond. The next morning we headed to Chestertown, Maryland which is on the Eastern Banks. The town is small and quaint. I was amazed at how many deer I saw and the eagles flying in the air. The rehearsal dinner was held at Waterman's Restaurant located in Rock Hall. The food is fabulous! The funny part was that we had eaten lunch there earlier in the day before we new the location of the rehearsal dinner. That is another post though. We danced, we talked, and we ate. Boy was it humid though! Thank goodness for the evening breeze and the sun began to set. It was fun seeing all my cousins again. I hadn't seen the groom since we were little.

Mo and Freddie, Priscilla,
Roman, Shannon and my dad
Shannon and I, Peggy Anne and Bob,
Clara and Danielle, Ellen and Amanda
The soon to be bride and groom
The yummy spread and fabulous location
all you could eat crack crabs, ribs, corn,
salads, and coconut cake for dessert

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

These babies are mine

These babies are all mine! I can't help but brag because I am so giddy that they made it here in time for me to wear at my cousins wedding this weekend-which by the way is in Maryland. I haven't seen him since I was a little girl. I can't wait! That means I hit the road again tomorrow. Hopefully, we will survive the 12 hour drive there. Then after the wedding we are going even farther up to Boston to visit with relatives.

Garden Party

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a Garden Party in one of the prettiest gardens in Atlanta. Unfortunately, by the time I stopped talking to everyone it had gotten too dark, and so I wasn't able to get many photos. That is how much fun I had!!!! Beside Irises, the garden was carpeted with pink tea roses, orange tiger lilies, and fragrant gardenias that were almost intoxicating. The food was equally delicious! A variety of sandwiches, I had the chicken blt and my mom had the ham and cheddar. A basket of homemade cookies,fruit kabobs, and lemonade made up the menu.

Cooking with Winston

Just because one has boys does not mean that they cannot learn how to cook. My boys always want to help me in the kitchen; especially, when a beater is involved. My hopes are that someday they will be able to cook a yummy meals for their wife, and if anything else be able to keep themselves alive through their missions.
Granola Bars
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/2 cup of nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
1 tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 300 degrees, then line a 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper in two sheets so that you can use the overlap to pull out of pan when cooled. In a large bowl combine oats, raisins, nuts, cinnamon, and salt. In a saucepan combine the pb, oil, sugar, and water cook on low heat until sugar is dissolved let cool and whisk in egg white then combine with dry ingredients. Place in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes until top is firm. You might be tempted to take out earlier but then they will not be dry enough to cut. Let fully cool and then cut with serrated knife. Recipe was adapted from a 2004 MS Everyday Food.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

My life in Ruins

My Life is not in Ruins, but never the less, this is a good movie! I give it a B+, so if you are itching to go to the movies then this is a good choice. I would not say it was a life changing movie. The only real reason to see this movie on the big screen as opposed to waiting for it to come on DVD is for the back drop of Greece. The setting is just beautiful and breath taking. I have been to Greece 2 times and I love it. The people are friendly and helpful and the food is wonderful. I can't wait to go back. The movie is funny though and a little cheesy, so you might want to go with your girl friends because it is such a chick flick. The funniest thing was listening to a group of single women sitting three rows behind us talking afterwards saying, "I guess we need to look past the hair and the flannel shirt." It was all I could do not to laugh.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Slay a Dragon

Slay a Dragon this summer by reading the Dragon Slayers Academy. These book are great for reading ages 6-8. They are great books for little boys. My boys love this book series. Each book brings a new adventure for Wiglaf and his friends at the DSA. They are fun books to read filled with humor.

Save your money

Last week while we were in Galveston when Roman was taking a nap and Papa was cleaning out his in box, Winston and I went to see the movie Up. The good part of this story is that going to the movies in Texas is cheaper than here in Georgia. This was not a favorite of mine and would recommend seeing it on DVD or next summer when it comes to the free summer movies. The first 15 minutes or so there is very little dialogue, but a montage of scenes depicting the main characters life; and while his relationship with the young boy may be endearing I thought this movie to be a little morose. His wife dies and they want to put him in the old folks home while the city all around him changes. Then he realizes that he never went anywhere and so now it is time to do his bucket list. I fell asleep at the end, so I can't even tell you how it ends. ??? How was this movie a movie for children.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Harris in Germany

Harris is having a great time visiting his Oma and going to school for the summer in Germany. School in Germany doesn't get out until the middle of July. He is attending the same elementary school that his papa attended. He is having a blast! The first weekend he was there he played with his cousin Marc. This will make his second summer staying in Germany. I will pick him up at the end of July. He has made some new friends this time and has had a few play dates.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Good bye Galveston

Did you Know? Galveston is the home or at least migration spot of over 200 species of birds. Roman really loves the birds. They don't think he is so great, but he had fun chasing them on the beach. It was fun watching the sandpipers scurry at lightning speed across the sand. The pelicans are amazing to watch too as they dive into the ocean for fish. It is like watching a fighter jet take a nose dive. My only suggestion is that if you want to see the birds the saying holds true that the early bird catches the bird. You will see more birds in the early morning which can prove to be difficult with small children. Also, don't forget to wear mosquito spray because the mosquito's in Galveston this time of year are really bad. Like being thrown in a tank of piranhas. So you don't think I am some great photographer, the image of the Brown Pelican and the Rosetta Spoonbill I found on the web. After several attempts on my own I just couldn't get a great image of these beautiful birds. I have come to the conclusion that I need a better camera.

Brown Pelican
Rosette Spoonbill
The night before we left we ate at Queen's BBQ. It's Texas BBQ at it's best!
The place was decorated in cowboy hats, lassos,old newspapers, wagon wheel chandeliers, Texas stars, old wooden antique tables, cattle skulls, and old barn wood. I ate the biggest baked potato you have ever seen stuffed with chipped BBQ beef topped with a tangy sweet BBQ sauce, scallions, cheese, and sour cream. Frank had the pork ribs with baked beans and coleslaw, Winston had a BBQ beef on a whole wheat bun, Roman had a little from all of our plates, and we all had the peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Queen's BBQ
3428 Avenue South
Galveston, Texas 77550
The USS Stewart
Sea Wolf Island
Galveston, Texas

Good Bye Galveston!