Some of Our Eats – Niagara Falls and Toronto, Ontario – Part 2

Here are the pics from our eats from our Spring Break trip to Canada.  All these pictures are taken on my DSLR camera.

I’ve posted some links to various restaurants and descriptions of the various foods.  Those are in red.

Continue reading “Some of Our Eats – Niagara Falls and Toronto, Ontario – Part 2”

Some of Our Eats – Niagara Falls and Toronto, Ontario

My family and I recently went on a road trip to Niagara Falls and Toronto during our Spring Break.  We tried new foods while there.  I tried to take pictures of some of the foods so I could share it with my readers.

Continue reading “Some of Our Eats – Niagara Falls and Toronto, Ontario”

Cooking Inspirations – Grandma Part 1

As I said yesterday, Grandma would have turned 88 if she was still alive.  I lived with her from the age of 10 until I moved out when I was 21.  That is except for the four months I was in Walt Disney World at the age of 20. Continue reading “Cooking Inspirations – Grandma Part 1”

My Aunt Janet’s Pecan cookies – Christmas Making and Baking

This blog post was originally posted in 2013.  I did not have any pictures of the actual cookie so I’ve added a picture of the cookie.

Sunday was All Saints’ Sunday.  I got nostalgic so I decided to make these cookies.  I didn’t realize when I made the cookie that it made a BIG batch.  I made at least 6 dozen cookies.  

So I decided to take some of the cookies to school to share with my co-workers.  They thought they were delicious.

My Aunt Janet's Pecan CookiesHere is the original post:
The other night, the Wee One handed me a box and asked me what was in it. As I looked through it, I found blank cards and recipe cards. The treasure was two recipe cards written by my grandma. She died Christmas Eve of ’08 so it was nice to see her handwriting one more time.

My aunt Janet was actually my grandpa’s sister so technically she was my great aunt. I still called her aunt without the great. We spent a lot of time with her. She and my Uncle Mitch had a farm that had willow trees and a pond. I remember going up to the farm for family gatherings and walking around the pond.

She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004 and within less than a week had passed away. My whole family misses her.

Pecan Cookies

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 C. shortening, margarine, or butter
  • 2 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/2 C. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 C. pecans

Steps:

  1. Cream shortening, margarine, or butter with the sugar.
  2. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. Add flour, salt, and soda. Mix well.
  4. Fold in nuts.
  5. Drop from spoon onto greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Cool for about 1 minute and then remove to wire racks to completely cool.
  8. Enjoy!

Store in an airtight container.

Christmas Making and Baking

Happy Eating,

Traci

Coconut Cream Homemade Lara Bars

The medicine I was given yesterday really has helped me feel better.  Plus the 11 hours of sleep I got last night has really helped me.  I’m still not at 100% but I’m at least at 70%.  Much better than I was feeling 3 days ago.

My father-in-law had diabetes and blood pressure issues.  For a few years at Christmas time, I would buy him treats he could enjoy.  These treats contained low sugar and low sodium.  He also couldn’t swallow almonds all that well and I would buy him lots of almonds.  He kindly told me not to any more.  Plus he hated coconut.  So what did I get him?   I would go to Trader’s Joe and get him various nuts but not almonds with no salt, pumpkin butter, and Larabars.

I thought Larabars looked interesting but did not try them for the longest time because I didn’t know what the dates would taste like.  I know, I know I’m such a chicken.  Then when I did I was hooked.  They are so good.

This Christmas I had planned to make him some homemade ones.  In fact, I bought the dates the Friday before his death.  It took a month or so after his death to make the homemade ones for myself.  I ended up making coconut cream ones which I know he would have hated.

Let me tell you, they are delicious!!!!!  I would take one of those and a cheese stick and would be set for breakfast.  Yummo!

(Sorry I don’t have a picture of one.  I forgot to take one but will post one as soon as I make another batch.)

coconut cream homemade lara bars

Click on the recipe so you can print it.

My Whole Food Life

Pork and Sauerkraut (A Slow Cooker Recipe)

It’s a family tradition to have pork and sauerkraut for our New Year’s dinner.  My father-in-law would make a big pot of it and family members would eat the sauerkraut so that they would have good luck for the new year.  Since he died two weeks ago, I offered to make it this year.

I made some changes to how it was cooked.  First of all I made it in my slow cooker instead of in a big stock pot.  I also roasted potatoes instead of cooking the potatoes in the slow cooker with the meat and sauerkraut.  Hubby loved it and was impressed because it didn’t have the bitter/sour taste you usually associate with sauerkraut.  He even took some to work with him to share with his co-workers.

The boys did taste the sauerkraut so they would have good luck but being kids didn’t really like it.  At least they tried it which is better than on New Year’s Eve.  I made fish for supper.  The fish was cooked with olive oil and a seasoning mix from one of my Foodie Pen Pals.  Hubby loved it but the boys wanted to give me excuses on why they could not eat it.  They still had to eat it but it was interesting on what excuses they came up with.  The best one is their brain was going to explode since I told them fish is brain food.

Now onto the recipe:

Pork and Sauerkraut in the Slow Cooker

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 -2 lbs. pork roast
  • 16 – 32 oz. of sauerkraut (depending on how much pork you have)
  • 1 big carrot or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 apple, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Drain and rinse the sauerkraut several times to remove the brine.
  2. Place the pork roast in the bottom of the slow cooker.  (Mine is 5 qt.)  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the pork roast.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the rinsed sauerkraut, apple pieces, carrot pieces, and brown sugar.
  4. Place the sauerkraut mixture on the pork roast.
  5. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  6. Shred the pork and combine with the sauerkraut.
  7. Enjoy with boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, or roasted potatoes (just serving suggestions)!

Printable Recipe

This Weather

Many states in the United States are currently deal with the Polar Vortex.  From my understanding, it is always around but this is this first time in 20 years that it’s gone so south and then stalled.  We are experiencing record lows that have not been felt in 20 years which was my first year in college.  I am surprised I don’t remember that because I went to a community college and would ride public transportation to and from school.  I would have to walk several blocks to catch the bus home even though I could ride a bus down there but I decided to be healthy most of the time by walking.  I don’t remember it getting that cold or I just forgot.

However I do remember when I came home from Walt Disney World in January of 1996.  I had been down there for the College Program.

Disclaimer:  Cell phones and the Internet were not as readily available as they are now.  In fact, I did not use the Internet until the summer of 1997 and did not own my first cell phone until my first year of teaching (2000-2001 school year).   Even then I rarely carried it around.

This day reminds me of the day I came home from my Disney internship 18 years ago. (We are having record-breaking cold weather. The forecast had been 8 to 12 inches of snow and we only got 1.5 inches of snow.)

I had talked to my mom before leaving for the airport. She told me that it was cold and snowy. It was 80 degrees in Lake Buena Vista, Florida and I was wearing shorts during that phone call.

Later on that morning, I got onto the plane (no longer in shorts) and never heard about the connecting flight from Atlanta to Dayton. Another person who had done the internship and I had taken the same flight home. We took times calling our family in the Dayton area. (Had to use the pay phone) The other person waited in line to find out information about our delay. We knew more from our family than we did from the Atlanta airport.

Almost 11 hours after we were suppose to take off, we finally did take off. (11ish at night). When we landed in Ohio, we were greeted with 8 inches of snow on the ground (looked it up today). I put on layers because I had no winter coat with me. We then hunkered down in the baggage claim area which was freezing because of the exterior flaps. One of the baggage claim carousals had some diet Pepsi and peanuts come through so that was our middle of the night snack. I had no pillow but did have a big Pumbaa stuffed animal. That ended up being my pillow. (It was about 2 am at this point.)

Between 6 and 7 am, we found one cab driver willing to drive me home. Even though the other young man lived really close to the airport, he rode with me to assure I got home safely.

I could not find the spare key outside the house and everyone was asleep. Luckily my grandma woke up to go to the bathroom. She heard me outside and let me in. (No cell phone because cell phones were nothing like we have today.) Even though they wanted to celebrate Christmas since I was in Disney on Christmas Day, I told them I was ready to sleep.

When I got up, we had to go to Wal-Mart because I had left all of my personal hygiene goodies in my apartment in Lake Buena Vista and my glasses had broken right before I had left.

Oh this was a Sunday into Monday ordeal . . . And we were only supposed to get 2-3 inches of snow that Sunday.  (The dates were January 7 into the 8th).

 

Four years later, I traveled down there with Hubby.  It was our honeymoon a year after we had married.  On the way home, we got stuck in Newark, New Jersey.  They had a plane for us but then all of a sudden there was no plane.  We ended up spending the night in the Newark, New Jersey airport.  The next 2 times we traveled to Walt Disney World were by car and when we go in March, we are once again driving.

The Importance of taking pictures

Today’s challenge for Elf 4 Health is to share our expertise.  I wracked my brain and could not come up with anything.  I mean I take pictures but I’m not an expert.  I know about aperture and shutter speed.  I’ve manually set the camera but am not an expert.

I teach all day long but you could call me a Jack of all trades but a master of none.  There is nothing that I teach that stands out  that I could say I’m an expert at.  I write Individualized Education Plans and some of them have been great but I don’t think anyone would want to read about IEP’s and how to write them.  Plus the laws constantly change so what I teach you today could be different tomorrow.

Then yesterday my family’s world changed when we lost my father-in-law.  He was a great guy who played Santa every year.  He will always be Santa in my heart.  As family sat around last night, I gave my mother-in-law and sister-in-law their presents which were photo books from our big vacation in July/August.  Their were pictures of the whole family together in a happier time.  Memories were shared.

It was decided that my expertise is taking lots of pictures.  It drives people nuts but in times like these those pictures are a good remembrance of the person.

So why should you take pictures?

1.  It documents important events in your lives.

Last Christmas, Hubby started making plans for the whole family to go down to Charleston, SC for a family vacation.  We knew that my father-in-law’s health was not the best so we wanted these memories of everyone at the beach for one last time.  I probably took around 4,000 pictures at the different places we visited.  Some of the pictures are scenery and sunrises/sunsets but others are pictures of family members.  One of my favorite pictures is my father-in-law sitting on the balcony of the condo.  He looks like Wilson from Home Improvement with the bars of the railing covering his face and you can only see his hat.  Another picture I took was on our last night of the trip.  It is a picture of my mother-in-law and him kissing.  The second picture is my mother-in-law looking at me while he’s still looking at her wanting another kiss.  That picture shows me what true love is.

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2.  You never know what is going to happen in life.  

It’s great to have pictures of people who have impacted your life.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

3.  To document your family history.  

I love looking at pictures of family members who lived before I was born.  The boys get to see their great grandparents who lived and died before they were born.  They get to hear stories about their great grandfather who flew in a bomber during World War II.  We have pictures of him wearing his bomber jacket 50 years after he last flew.  The boys know about him and what kind of person he was.

4.  For moments like these

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Those special moments that happen once in a life time.  My father-in-law played Santa for 40 plus years.  He was at our local mall for many years and now played Santa for parties.  My father-in-law seemed to be rough at the edges but once he put his Santa suit on, he was truly Santa.  It was magical.  This picture was taken at our town’s lighting of the tree last year.  My father-in-law did not know the boys were standing there.  Even though it looks staged, this picture was totally candid and is one of my favorite pictures of them with Santa.

My words of advice though are:

1.  Don’t worry about capturing everything that you miss out on experiencing life.

2.  Don’t take the pictures and never look at them again.

3.  Sometimes the best pictures are not the staged picture where everyone says cheese.  The best pictures are the candid ones.  Our wall is covered with those candid shots that turned out the best.  They looked staged but were not.  I just captured the picture at that right moment.

4.  Share the memories with those you love and care about.

When I made the memory book, I left out writing any captions except for on one page.  I did that so people could share the memories and our family history.

Ten Lessons from Grandpa

Today would have been my grandpa’s 89th birthday.  It has hit me really hard this year because on December 6, it will be 10 years since his death.  Here are some lessons I learned from him:

1. Sometimes you need to drive off the beaten path. He would drive through the neighborhoods instead of the main streets. I drive that way too. I know so many different ways to get to work that I could confuse someone.

2. Sometimes it’s better to listen then talk. I knew I was in real trouble when my grandpa started lecturing me about my behavior. When he spoke, you listened because whatever he was going to say was important.

3. Chocolate and sweets make the world go round. He loved pumpkin pie (Imaginative One’s favorite) and chocolate. They would sit next to his recliner on his end table.  Okay not the pumpkin pie but the chocolate did.  Don’t ask me how I know.

4. Nature is beautiful. He and grandma would sit and watch the hummingbirds outside their family room.

5. Family is important. When my mom, sister, and I moved in with him and grandma, he was ready to retire. He continued working for about 7 years so he could support us. He made the bunk bed my sister and I shared for 2 years.

6. Keep your gas tank half full especially in winter. You don’t want the gas to freeze.

7. The importance of vocabulary. He would read Reader’s Digest and have me look at the Word Power with him. I still read the Reader’s Digest and look at the Word Power. Those word power puzzles stump me at times.

8.  Coffee is yummy!  I didn’t start drinking coffee until after he was gone.  Now I love it.  Now I wish I could sit down with him and drink a cup of coffee with him.

9. Education is important.  He wanted me to graduate from college.  I was the first one in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree.

10.  Trust in God!  He was a tail gunner during World War II and saw unimaginable destruction.  His faith needed to be there in order to survive.

Thank you Grandpa for teaching all these lessons!

Our Super Trip ~ Day #9

Day 8

We planned to leave early on Saturday morning so we could get to the Georgia Aquarium at a decent time.  It usually closed at 9 pm but on this particular Saturday, it was closing at 6 pm.  :(

Before we left, the boys and I walked out to the beach.  The Wee One was crying because he did not want to leave the ocean.  The Imaginative One was looking for sea life while we were down there.

Finally we got on the road and traveled to Georgia.  At one of the rest stops, I got a drink out of the vending machine but didn’t have enough on me to get the boys anything.  (It was in the car.)  A gentleman approached me with 2 dollars for the boys.  The Wee One used his dollar to get what he had his eye on.  The Imaginative One kept his money.

When we were almost to our destination, we got into a traffic jam.  There had been an accident.  Luckily we only to travel on I-75 for about a mile so we got out of it pretty quickly.  We’ve driven through Atlanta on the highway but never on the surface streets so it was neat to see a different side of Atlanta.

Once we got the hotel, we checked in and then walked through Centennial / Olympic Park to get to the Aquarium.  The line to get into the Aquarium was long even though we already had tickets.  Once we got to the front of the line, we realized it was because we needed to go through the metal detectors.

We loved the Aquarium!  Our favorite exhibits were the 3D show, the whale sharks, the beluga whale, the frog exhibit, and the dolphin show.

When we were done with the Aquarium, we once again walked through Centennial / Olympic Park but took extra time to enjoy our surroundings.  The funniest thing was seeing a man walking 6 dogs.  All 7 of them were wearing sunglasses.

Then we went to Waffle House for dinner.  We loved the service there.  Tracy (our server) made sure it was okay when the Wee One ordered a certain drink.  I thought that was great.

Afterwards we went back to the hotel for a little while.  We were going to ride the Ferris wheel that was across the way from our hotel.  However, we would have to wait for almost an hour and then pay $50.  That was not going to work with the boys.  They decided to go swimming but the water was too cold.  So we went to bed.  The boys had a pull out to sleep on.  The trouble was it was a single so the Wee One slept curled up at the top while the Imaginative One slept curled up on the bottom.

Click on the photograph of the dogs with sunglasses to see more pictures.

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Our Super Trip – Day #8

Day 7

Friday was our last day at the beach.  I once again got up and was out the door by 6:30 am.  This time I went to the pier to watch the sunset.  Boy was I glad I did because it was gorgeous.

Afterwards I went to the hotel next to our condo complex because they had a Starbucks.  I was hoping to use my coupon and Wifi.  The coffee shop served Starbucks but was not an actual Starbucks so they couldn’t accept my coupon.  :(  I ordered a tall latte and ended up with a venti instead.  I didn’t complain.

After stopping at the coffee shop, I walked around Folly Beach and took pictures.  Before heading back to the condo, I stopped at the Lost Dog Cafe.  The breakfast burrito I got was so good!  I also got a caramel latte with peanut butter whipped cream.  Yum!

Once I was back in the condo and everyone was up for the day, we spent the rest of the morning at the beach.

After we returned to the condo and had lunch, the Imaginative One and I walked over to Sugartime to get him some ice cream.  Then we went to pier.  He enjoyed watching on of the fishermen pulling up their catch.

Then it was back to the beach for the afternoon.  Once I got down there, the kids decided they did not want to play in the ocean so i took them to the pool instead.  I got in the pool with them for a little while.

We left the pool area when the four (niece, nephew, Imaginative One, and Wee One) of them decided to play some sort of weird congo dance game.

My in-laws’ bathroom had a whirlpool in it.  The kids decided they wanted to use it so one at a time they got into the whirlpool.  Even though it was dinner time, the Imaginative One was laying in there while reading a book about space.  We let him sit there for a while longer so we did not have to hear him complain about the dinner.  (He did just that because he didn’t want the chicken.)

After dinner, we all went out to the beach and took the family pictures.  (I will post the pics of our family and my mother-in-law and father-in-law but not my sister-in-law’s family.)

Once the pictures were taken, it was back to the condo to pack up because the next morning we were going to leave for Atlanta.

Click on the frog to see more pictures of Day 8.

 

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Our Super Trip – Day #7

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When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

Since it was lightening when I woke up, I did not go for a walk on the beach.  I stayed on the balcony and watched the waves come in.  No sunrise pictures were taken on day 7 because there was no beautiful sunrise😦.  I do have a picture or two of the clouds though.

After everyone got up for the day, we headed to do some geocaching,  If you don’t know what it is, Google it.  While we were at the first park, I got to take pictures of the Bridge and watched a family crabbing.  That was cool!

After we left that park, we headed to another park to get a geocache.  I stayed in the car because there wasn’t any cool scenery for me to take a picture of.  By that time, we were tired of the bugs eating us.  So we headed to Piggly Wiggly and got some bug spray.

Hubby and I both wanted to eat at the ‘Wich Doctor for lunch but it was not open until noon so we headed out to the beach that overlooks Morris Island Lighthouse before hitting up that local joint.  Once we got to the beach, we found my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and nephew there.  They had been fishing out there all morning.  My nephew caught his first ocean fish!  We got to see dolphins swimming out in the water while we were at the beach.  That was cool seeing their fins while swimming.

We took our usual pictures with the Morris Island Lighthouse as the backdrop.  The Imaginative One and Wee One were not so cooperative when I was trying to get their picture taken together.  Argh!

Once we left the beach and got to the car, I discovered my foot had red ants on it.  The Imaginative One with all his random knowledge told me not to put water on my foot because it would make them attack more.  I was able to brush them off and immediately put the topical Benadryl on my toes that were bitten.

We did end up going to the ‘Wich Doctor for lunch.  Hubby tried their pizza and I got a Greek tuna salad sandwich with olives and capers and pickled green bananas, carrots and daikon.  A local told us how it is favorite local restaurant.  :)  The food was delicious.

While we were waiting for our food to be cooked, the boys and I went to get them shaved ice.  They were promised the shaved ice the night before but because of the rain, we could not get it.

The rest of the day was spent being out on the beach.  I once again cooked supper for the whole family.  This time I made sloppy joes.  The hamburger was still not fully defrosted even though it had been in the fridge for almost 24 hours.  I was able to work around it this time though.

After dinner, the Wee One and I went for a walk on the pier.  We watched a young adult throw peanuts into the air and the sea gulls catching it.  They even gave the Wee One a peanut so he could feed the sea gulls.

After our walk on the pier, we went to Sugartime and got some treats and ice cream.  It was nice to spend quality time with the Wee One.

After we got back from our walk, we sang “Happy Birthday” to my father-in-law and sister-in-law.  Then we enjoyed the brownies that were baked to celebrate their birthdays.

More adventures later . . .

Click on the photograph of the Wee One and I to see more pictures of our day.1-318

Our Super Trip – Day #6

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When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

I could not get my rear out of bed on Wednesday.  I guess the walk with my mother-in-law the night before really tired my body.   I did get up in time to get pictures of the sunrise from our balcony instead of from the beach.  That was fine because I have a telescopic lens so I used that to get closer ups of the sunrise.

After everyone was up for the day, my nephew, Hubby, and the Imaginative One went for a bike ride.  The Wee One and I went back to Black Magic   I got myself a Shark Attack smoothie that was out of this world good.  We then went onto the beach but only stayed on the beach  for a little while because the Wee One didn’t like the fact that none of the other kids were out there with him.

After Hubby, my nephew, and the Imaginative One were back from their bike ride, we left to go to the Angel Oak.  It’s a tradition to visit the tree and get pictures.  I brought my tripod and set it up where I thought it should have been.  However, I was wrong by a few feet. By the time they told me, I was getting ready to take it down anyway.  People laughed with me as I ran across the canopy to get into place.  We got some great pictures though.

The plan had been to eat our picnic lunch at the Angel Oak but the mosquitoes were biting us.  We ended up having to hit a Piggly Wiggly for some topical Benadryl and Starbucks.  Their espresso machine was not working so I got a coupon for a free drink.  Which reminds me that I haven’t used it yet.

We ended up going to St. Johns’ Island’s park.  To get here, we had to drive on Bozo Lane and then Dunmovin Drive.  (I have a picture of the street signs at the intersection.)  Afterwards we ate our picnic lunch and listened to thunder in the background.

Once we hit the Bridge, it was really starting to storm in Mt. Pleasant.  We still went to the park and played under the bridge in the play area.  The boys were apprehensive at first because of the rain but discovered it was fun to play under a bridge during a rainstorm.  Even Hubby even played a little bit.

Once we were finished at the park, it had stopped raining so we headed to downtown Charleston.  We wanted to go to a couple of the historical churches and just walk around.  As we were walking around I went to Bakehouse again.  The cashier remembered me from a couple nights before so that was cool.

We went to the Provost Dungeon first but decided not to go on the tour because the Imaginative One was tired of museums.  We then walked down Broad Street and noticed there was a bunch of people on the one side of the road and people talking about a miniseries for CBS being filmed across from the church we were heading to.  One of the leading actors was Cam Gigandet from the first Twilight movie.  We watched for a few minutes but then went into St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.  George Washington worshiped there on May 8, 1791 and Robert E. Lee also worshiped there.  In the graveyard, John Rutledge, first governor of South Carolina, is buried there.

Afterwards we watched some more of the filming and then walked around looking for the Circular Church.  Once we got there, the Imaginative One was not happy to be in another graveyard.  Oh, well!  We made him walk through it.

Then it was onto St. Philips Episcopal Church.  It is famous for ghost stories and a cannon being stuck in the steeple.  Charles Pickney, signer of the Constitution, and Edward Rutledge, signer of the Declaration of Independence, are buried in its graveyard.

As we headed back to the car, we walked down Philadelphia Alley aka Dueler’s Alley.  It was a hidden out of the way alley that is full of history and ghost stories.

Once we got the car, we headed back to the condo.  I was scheduled to cook dinner that night.  I cooked tacos.  We ran into a problem though, the meat was frozen solid.  I put it in cold water and then slowly took off the defrosted meat.  We never got it completely defrosted.  The next day the half we put in the fridge was still frozen.  Crazy!

My niece spent the night with one of our relatives so it was only boys around.  They had fun playing in the condo because we could not go out to the beach because it was raining.

More adventures tomorrow. . .

Click on the photograph of the Angel Oak to see more photographs of the day.

Angel Oak

Our Super Trip – Day #5

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When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

I got early on Tuesday and took a walk.  The sunrise was absolutely gorgeous!  So totally worth getting up early to see it.

We had decided to go as a family to see the Battery and take our traditional pictures on the cannon.  I almost missed it though all because of having to go to the bathroom.  I knew I shouldn’t have drunk the second cup of coffee but it was so good,  There is no where on the Battery to go to the bathroom.  Let me repeat there is no public restrooms.  Argh!  A lady and her husband heard my plight and decided help me find a bathroom.  She and I walked over to an inn and she asked them for some southern hospitality.  Fortunately the lady did allow me to use their bathroom.

I missed all the kids by themselves on the cannon but got pictures of all 4 grandkids with the grandparents.  (Out of respect to my sister and brother-in-law I’m not going to post those pics.)  I also used my tripod to get pictures of the whole family and I.  The problem I had was I couldn’t get onto the cannon without crawling onto it.  (I was wearing a dress.)  After picture taking was done, everyone went their separate ways.  We walked a little down Rainbow Row and then ended up in the Edmonston-Alston house.  Hubby and I enjoyed that.  The Wee One did not enjoy it as much.

We then went to my favorite restaurant in Charleston – Hominy Grill.  The boys were not so thrilled with the food.  I’ll take that back, they liked the French fries but not the mac and cheese because it had pepper on it and the applesauce because it was lumpy.  Hubby and I ate until we were stuffed.  I had a Dirty Biscuit which was a southern style biscuit, a fried chicken breast, and sausage gravy.  I had it with okra and tomatoes and marinated cucumbers and onions.  For dessert, I had a slice of peach upside down cake.

After we got back to the condo, we laid down for a while and took a satisfied belly nap.  Everyone else in the house was gone so it was quiet.

After everyone came back, it was back to the beach for the children.  They had fun jumping around in the waves.

Hubby, my father-in-law, my niece and nephew, and the boys went to a minor league baseball game – Riverdogs – that evening and my sister and brother-in-law went out.  So it was only my mother-in-law and I went to Cory’s Grilled Cheese for dinner.  I had a Cory’s Famous which was cinnamon raisin bread, provolone cheese, bacon, and honey mustard.  So delicious!  I also had their summer slaw which was an Asian slaw with ramen noodles.

After we got back to the condo, my mother-in-law and I went for a walk along the beach.  It was nice to talk with her.  She is such a giving person.  Soon after we got back to the condo, the kids, Hubby, and my father-in-law came back from the game.  Some how the Imaginative One got a foul ball and then gave it to the Wee One.  Hubby is still unsure how it totally happened because all the Imaginative One was suppose to do was get some water.

Then it was off to bed.  More adventures later.

Click on the mason jar pic for more pictures of the day.

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Our Super Trip – Day #4

Day #1

Day #2

Day #3

When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

Monday started with a walk on the beach with Hubby.  I looked like a tacky tourist as the Wee One would say.  I had on my bathing suit, a cover up, a thin fabric cardigan, my photography backpack, and was carrying around my lens cap insulated coffee cup.  We walked up and down the beach enjoying the sunrise.

After our walk, we came in and ate breakfast as other people were waking up.  Eating on the balcony while watching the ocean waves come in and out and listening to the waves crashing against the beach was a real treat.  Paradise.

My nephew and the Imaginative One ended up getting up and wanting to take a walk so I ended up taking them out for a little while.  The Imaginative One kept wanting to see sea life so he looked around in the tide pools.  He didn’t find anything too exciting them.

Once we got back upstairs, almost everyone was stirring so they got ready to go out to the beach.  I hung around the condo for a little while since I had already been on the beach twice that morning.  I did end up going down and staying down there for almost an hour.  During that time, the Imaginative One wanted to take another walk so we walked past the pier and saw sea gulls and terns attacking a bag of chips.  We found out the chips were not even opened when they started eating on them.

My mother-in-law’s cousin and her grandson came out to visit us on the beach.  N. is the same age as my niece and the Imaginative One but got along great with my nephew.  It was great seeing my mother-in-law’s cousin – she is a true southern, accent and all.

We were told about this great little hole in the wall grilled cheese restaurant, Cory’s Grilled Cheese, that was located near the Piggly Wiggly.  We needed a few more things so it was a good excuse to leave the beach for an hour or so.  We could not find that restaurant what’s so ever.  The restaurant was not located near the Folly Beach Piggly Wiggly.  It was located near the James Island Piggly Wiggly, a good 7 mile difference.  We ended up at Jack’s Cosmic Dogs.  Oh, my goodness.  The food was out of this world good.  I had a Galactic Dog which had chili, slaw, and cheese on it and drank Tang with it.  Yum!  Hubby got a grilled brat with fries that were covered with bacon and cheese and spicy ranch to dip the fries in.  The boys and I devoured a whole basket of plain fries.  They were that good.

It was back to the condo for a while.  We visited with my mother-in-law’s cousin for a little while longer and then played on the beach/in the ocean for a little while.

I had a second cooking class that evening so Hubby drove me to that.  This time I was actually going to be cooking.  We were going to be making cheese straws with carmalized onion dip, pork wraps, baby bok choy and shitake mushroom stir fry, potato salad, and pecan crumble over vanilla ice cream.  Yum!  Since we got to downtown a half an hour before the class, I asked him to drop me off so I could take pictures as I walking to the class.  That was fun.

I stopped in a local café, bakery, and coffeehouse (Bakehouse) for a cup of Joe before the class.  While waiting for my cinnamon roll latte (which was the bomb), I spoke to the cashier.  It seems that a lot of Ohioans came down to Charleston because whenever she spoke to a tourist, the majority of them are from Ohio.  LOL!

As I walking, it was lightening and thundering in the distance so that was cool to watch.  I did not take any pics because it is extremely hard to take pics of lightening without a tripod and there were buildings in the way.

The cooking class was fun and relaxed.  We all had different stations so I helped make the potato salad.  After we all cooked, we sat down and enjoyed the fruits of our labor.  The lady who sat next to me was a social worker for the D.C. school district so it was interesting to talk shop with her.

Hubby picked me up and took me back to the condo.  By that time, it was bed time.  More on our adventures later.

Click on my picture to see pictures from our Super Trip Day 4.

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Our Super Trip – Day #3

Day #1.

Day #2

When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

Just so you know, we stayed at the beach with my in-laws (mother, father, sister, and brother) and my niece and nephew.

On Sunday, I was the first person up so I could see the sunrise.  It was not as spectacular as it ended up being by the end of the week.  After the kids got up (niece, nephew, the Wee One, and the Imaginative One), the Imaginative One and I went for a walk on the beach.  While we were walking, I talked to a local who was out taking pictures.  He even took my picture.  Then the Imaginative One and I ended up getting rained because of a pop up rainstorm.

I then got ready for church but ended up not going because of a mix up in times.  One place said church started at 9:00 am and the other said it started at 11:15.  I realized the mix up some time after 10.  I decided to walk down to the church anyway just in case.  Since I missed the church service, I continued walking and ended up at Black Magic and ordered a chocolate croissant.  It was delicious but on the day we left, they gave Hubby a moldy cheese Danish so I don’t recommend this place for pastries.

Since we had some time, we took the boys to the Piggly Wiggly to buy groceries.  Hubby was having fun trying to find local goodies to eat.  Every time I turned around, he was putting new items into our I had a list in mind and deviated a little from the list.

We got back to the condo and quickly ate lunch because Hubby and I had a date.  We were going to go to a cooking demo at Charleston Cooks.  We didn’t know what they were going to make so when I saw shrimp and grits and chocolate pecan pie my heart skipped a beat.  Now Hubby was not so happy because he loves grits but is not so keen on shrimp.  He tried the shrimp and actually loved it!  (My mother and father – in – law had the boys.)

After the cooking demo, we walked around the market.  We knew if we did that with the Wee One, he would beg us for everything and anything.

Then it was back to the condo.  As the rest of the family were making dinner, we noticed there was something on the beach because a huge crowd gathered around it.  Since we couldn’t see what it was, I ran/walked fast down to the beach with the four kids to be nosy.  I’m glad we were nosy because it ended up being a live horseshoe crab.  The Imaginative One really loved seeing it.

We were going to have dinner but since I was still mostly full from the cooking demo, I ate a yogurt parfait with the family since we were all sitting down for dinner as a family.

After dinner, the boys went down to the beach with the aunt and uncle while Hubby, my mother-in-law, and I walked on the pier.  We got to see the sunset which was absolutely beautiful.  It was a perfect end to a great day.

Click on the picture of the pier to see pictures of the third day of our Super Trip.

Under the pier

 

Our Super Trip – Day #2

Day #1

When Foodie Pen Pals Meet

On Saturday morning, we got up early and went down for breakfast.  We ended up being early which made our two sleepy children not happy about that.  Luckily there was a lobby with couches so they laid down until breakfast was ready.  Before we left Charlottesville, we stopped at Bodo’s Bagels.  It was jam packed so that a sign of a great place to get breakfast.  We got bagels and honey pecan cream cheese.  The Imaginative One loved the plain bagels so much he had two of them on the ride down to Folly Beach.

Stop #2 was Appomattox Courthouse.  The location of Lee’s surrender to Grant at the end of the Civil War.  This significant even in our history occurred days before Lincoln was killed.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I saw the reconstructed McLean house where the peace document was signed.

Before we got there, we had to drive through the back country of Virginia.  At one point, we even were in the geographical center of Virginia.  Some of the roads reminded me of Oz with the cornfields on either side of the road.  We stopped for gas at this little country gas station.  It was called Duck Corner and every time someone opened the door, it would quack.  The boys loved this.  I had to apologize to the clerk because of them wanting to hear the quacking.

Oh and the Imaginative One complained about his stomach hurting while we were driving down those roads.  Luckily I had packed peppermints so I told him to suck on that.  There was no car sickness that day.  Mommy saved the day.

We only spent an hour at the Courthouse.  I could have spent a lot longer but we were on a tight schedule.  Our favorite things were the living history people.  It was interesting to talk to Corporal Robert Fields from Pennsylvania.  He kept in his character the whole time we talked to him.

We also met Jeff Toalson who has taken letters written during the Civil War and put them in order and in a book.  I got the book called Send Me a Pair of Old Boots & Kiss My Little Girls.  These are letters between husband and wife Richard and Mary Watkins.  I’ve read about a fourth of the book but had to put it down because it was hard to keep putting it down and then picking it up.  When I have time to dedicate to reading it, I will read it.  It’s that good.

After we were finished with Appomattox Courthouse, we traveled to Folly Beach.  When we were outside of Raleigh (Lynnwood), we stopped for lunch and  a little playtime.  Soon afterwards we were back on the road.  When we were at the South Carolina border, it started to pour.  It was so bad that we could barely see in front of us.  We stopped at the welcome center and the boys and I didn’t get out because of the puddles and how fast the rain was falling.  Hubby needed to check on his bike rack so he got out and ended up being soaked.  The rain stopped as quickly as it started.

The boys were restless at that point.  They so wanted to be at the beach but we still had a few hours to go.  At one point, Hubby and I decided to rock out to Pink and put on a performance to Get the Party started.  I even had motions and dancing in my seat to the song.

Finally I saw the Bridge and knew we were in Charleston.  Only 20 minutes were remaining until we were at the beach.  Those 20 minutes took forever especially with the boys being loud in the backseat.  But we made it at about 7:45 pm that evening.  After we got there, the boys got to walk in the sand and dip their feet in the ocean.  They were so happy to be there.  No one went to bed until 11ish that evening.

Click on the picture of the McLean House to go to other pictures of the day.

The McLean House
The McLean House

 

Our Super Trip – Day #1

We just got back from a super trip because it lasted for 11 days – 6 of which were at the beach.  On the other 5 days, we visited places and traveled from one place to another.  We listened to the boys say “I’m bored!” or “What state are we in?” or “Ohio.  Indiana. Missouri” or “I want to go back to the beach!!!!!!”  The third statement was in reference to the license plate game.  The Wee One loves that game!  :)  We also listened to books on tape such as Drizzle, Encyclopedia  Brown, and the Henry Winkler Hank Zipper series.  Most of all we made memories we will cherish.

Day 1 was the travel day to Charlottesville, VA (Check out my post about why we chose that city).  We wanted to leave by 6 am in order to be able to do a tour of Monticello.  The official start time was 6:05 so that was a good start to the trip.  When we hit the south eastern Ohio to West Virginia, we hit fog.  In fact, the Imaginative One said the bridge that separated Ohio from West Virginia was like a tunnel not a bridge.

We made excellent time during that leg of the trip.  We got to Monticello (our first stop) by 2 pm.  The Imaginative One loved Monticello.  His favorite parts were where they kept the ice, Jefferson’s reading apparatus that held up to 5 books, the dumbwaiter, and the polygraph machine.  Hubby and I were impressed with Jefferson’s bed in the wall and the closet at the end of the bed and the closet above the bed that had air holes so there was ventilation.  We were also impressed with his front parlor where he greeted guests.  The clock was amazing and the maps were interesting.  The Wee One took away from the whole experience that Jefferson liked to read.

After we left Monticello, we went and checked into the hotel.  Hubby needed a nap and the boys were very loud and squirrely so I took them swimming while their dad took a nap.  Once we were done swimming, we got ready and went down to the University of Virginia rotunda to do a virtual cache (geo caching – Google it).

While at the rotunda, we got a hold of my sister so she could take a picture of us at the virtual cache.  The boys thought it would be funny to stick their behinds out at the camera.  I don’t know if she captured that or not.

After taking pictures at the University of Virginia rotunda, we went to the Pedestrian Mall and met up with Jo.  We were late because of Hubby geo caching and because we got turned around at one point.  We found the Hawaii license plates in the parking lot where we parked.  To read about our adventures at the Pedestrian Mall, visit this blog entry.

Click on the Thomas Jefferson Statue to see pictures from our first day on the Super Trip.

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Jefferson statue – The Imaginative One is pretending to look through the telescope.