Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Trip, Part IV--The Monuments

After Arlington the sun came out and we hopped onto a Tour Mobile to see some DC monuments.  We were all so thankful there would be no more walking for awhile. 

The kids were MORE than done at this point.  It was HOT HOT HOT.  The Tour took us around to see 21 different monuments so we thought this would be a great way to at least get to see everything in one easy step.  Before the trip we tried to explain to the kids where we were going.  They know about President Obama and they learned about him in school so we told them we were going to where Obama lives.  The next day Bubby was very upset that we didn't get to see Obama or his house.  I think he thought we were going to drive up to a ranch style house and knock on the door and have a BBQ or something. 

Unfortunately we didn't get all that close to any one monument.  We could have got off at any time but with the kids it was just too much. During the tour bus ride we sat in the very first seat at the front of the bus right in front of our tour guide.  I couldn't separate the kids cause they couldn't sit next to an open window.  At one point they are hot, tired and fighting and the tour guide is talking about the Capital and without missing a beat he says, "Did you just hit your brother?!?!"  Everyone started laughing.  It was a pretty funny moment. 

It was crazy to see all these famous places right beside the road!  For some reason in my mind I pictured each one of these beautiful monuments set off by itself.  I know this is a city but for some reason I didn't think things would be so close together.  I've been living in a cornfield too long!

We would be walking down the street and you look up and there is a huge monument right there by the street. 

We sat on The Mall and ate lunch.  Right between the capital building and the Washington Monument my family ate lunch!  It was a surreal moment for me. 

I have to keep in mind the DC area was in a drought while we were there but I thought things would be more lush looking.  I though the grassy areas would be nicer.  But I guess when you have 1000's of people walking on them daily they can't be pristine looking.  We are obviously NOT from the city so we thought it was so strange to see so many people out jogging or working out with all the tourists just milling around them.  They didn't seem to notice us at all. 

This guy had finished his jog and was doing his leg exercises on The Mall with hundreds of people walking right beside him.  But I guess my strength training class does the same thing.  We run the steps of the courthouse in the middle of town.  Thank God our instructor doesn't have a Washington Monument!!  We'd be running up all 898 steps!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Trip, Part III--Arlington National Cemetery

One of the places I HAD to visit while in the Washington, DC area was Arlington National Cemetery.  We have a family friend buried there and none of the family has traveled to see his grave.  It's always weighed on my mind that I have not been there yet. 

Arlington is such a sobering place....which I guess it should be.... being a cemetery and all.  You can't begin to explain just how many graves are there and that EVERY SINGLE grave represents someone who gave up their life for our country.  It really is amazing! 

Rain was called for everyday so we decided to visit Arlington first just in case it rained the rest of the week.  It was a really overcast day but oh so humid!  Like walking in soup.  The tour mobile would take you around the cemetery but we of course needed to go off the beaten path to visit Jim. 

Jim served in WWII in the Pacific as a young man.  I wish now I had asked him more about his experiences,  but I was young and that's the way it is I guess.  You don't realized you have questions until it's too late. 

We tried to explain the reason for the visit to the kids but they really didn't get it...which is to be expected.  I don't think I want them to get IT at this time to be honest.  They collected feathers and played in the rocks beneath Jim's grave.  I think he would have liked that. 

We walked in such heavy humidity for hours to visit each of the graves we wanted to pay our respects to.  John F. Kennedy's grave was of course on the other side of the cemetery from Jim's.  The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers was up hill both ways from President Kennedy's grave. 

By the time we got to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider the children was more than done.  Everyone had sweated through their clothes and were hungry.  Bubby was very interested in the soldier gun and why he was carrying it and if he was going to use it.  I sat and watched this young soldier march back in forth in front of the Tomb.  I watched the sweat run down his face and he never batted an eye. 

I thought if he can do this I can do just a tenth of what he is doing.  So, we stood and watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and were humbled. 

We saw very old graves that, to be honest, were just stones in the ground and then we saw VERY new graves.  New graves of VERY young men and women.  One grave had a framed letter from a dad.  The dad was writing a letter to his dead son.  It was heartbreaking.  I almost took a picture of it but it seemed disrespectful somehow. 

On a lighter note there were some Amish men at the cemetery.  I thought this was interesting.  I also thought it was interesting that one was talking on his cell phone about dinner plans. 

You just never know the sites you will see in the big city.  :) 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today this was pulling into my drive.

One year ago today we moved to the farmhouse in the country. One year ago today I had 9 guys at my beck and call.  They did whatever I wanted for 3 solid days.  It was GREAT!  I miss those guys.....sigh.....  I highly recommend having a moving company with 9 guys pack, move, haul, and unpack all your belongings.  I also highly recommend having your company pay for it. 

A year ago to the week I was putting up corn just like I am now.  Even with all the moving guy's help the house was total wreck!  Stuff was just shoved up against the walls and sitting around while I tried to figure out what to do with it all.  While all this is going on a wonderful neighbor offered us corn.  Couldn't turn down FREE sweetcorn...even if I couldn't find all my canning pots.  So, while I'm unpacking I decide to put up corn. 

History has repeated itself again this year.  I got the urge this week to move my living room.  I have the luxury in this old farmhouse of 3 rooms that could be my living room.  I've decided to move the living room and create a library/music room.  i.e. I moved all the bookcases into one room and my parents are giving us a piano so I need to make room for that.  Not buying any new pieces just trying to work with what I have here. 

So, while the house is torn apart, I am given more corn and the tomatoes are starting to go crazy.  I made some peach/tomato salsa last night and put up 4 dozen ears of corn. 

See this little brush.  I bought it cause it promised it would be take the silks right out of the corn!  It would work like magic!  Yeah....well I knew it wouldn't work when I bought it but I hoped.  I wished.  It didn't work.  Such a waste.  There is no simple way to get the silks out of corn. 

Today the house is back together.  The kitchen is back together.  The laundry's all washed and put away.  Ok....I'm feeling better than I was last night. 

It's been a great year here.  It's very quiet and slow paced.  I've met some really great friends.  I've joined a great gym and that order.  It's all good.  I could use a Target though.  I'm just saying...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear Mother Nature

(I didn't take this photo....found photo on Google...please don't sue me.) 

Dear Mother Nature,

I'm so tired!!  We have a major thunderstorm EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT!  My poor baby boy comes crying down the stairs every night cause he is scared to death of the thunder.  Thunder which sits on top of our house for HOURS every night and rumbles.  He gets into bed with us and sleeps with his hands over his ears.  It's so pitiful. 

THEY say we are in a drought but I really don't know how.  I bet we've had 5 inches of rain just this week alone and it's only Wednesday.  I've had enough!  A little rain is fine just stop with the crazy thunder and lightening.  Stop with the wind that hits the side of the house like a mac truck.  Just one night of uninterrupted sleep would be so wonderful!

Thank you,

One tired Mother

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family Vacation, Part 2--Gettysburg

On our way East we decided to make a detour to see the Civil War battlefield Gettysburg.  (My friend Rachel calls it the war of Northern Aggression....but what does she know???)

It was a very pretty area but so dry.  That part of the country is in a drought so when we would look out over the fields it looked like everything needed a little Photo shopping.  All my photos look like they need the color adjusted.   

Basically, the Gettysburg battlefield is make up of fields and a town.  There is no stadium where the fight took place.  The Ranger told us that some have actually asked, "Where are the battle lines?  Why don't the monuments have bullet holes in them?  The Civil War...yeah I think I've heard of that.  (speaking to the Ranger)  Where you there?"  Says something for our education system, huh?

The kids enjoyed running around in the fields but as far as understanding what really went on there they didn't really get it.  That's ok.  It was hard even for me to grasp the thought of these peaceful fields full of thousands and thousands of fighting and dieing men.   

I would love to go back someday and hike or ride my bike around the area.  It was an amazing experience. 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Family Vacation, Part 1

We have been gone 8 days on a trip to the east coast.  Thanks to auto-blogger you didn't even know I was gone did you?  I did that on purpose so you wouldn't be tempted to come and steal my chickens...I know how you people think.  You want chicken poop on your front porch too don't you??  It's all the rage I've heard. 

Our first stop on the trip was to visit my cousin and 'Cheshur'.  The kids were SO excited at the thought of getting to sleep with Chester. 

My cousin, Jennifer, lives in the coolest old neighborhood!  After a wonderful supper downtown we took the dog (shhhh!  don't tell Chester he's ONLY a dog) and the kids for a walk.  We walked through the beautiful old neighborhood filled with turn of the century fountains....

and lots of beautiful statues. 

Every block there were large stone statues of ladies, dogs, lions and earns of flowers.  Amazing neighborhood!

The neighborhood is VERY exclusive....just look at that razor wire.  Just kidding!

After a great walk where the kids were bickering and the mosquito's were biting we came home so Bubby could like some sparklers off the deck....

and Sis could have a pedicure. 

Jennifer....thanks for welcoming us into your little Ikea paradise!!  We had a great time and I hope Chester has recovered.  (After about 4 hours of us he looked at Jennifer as if to say, "Ok...are they going home anytime soon??)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Evening Time

Corn as far as you can see.  The old saying is "Head high by the fourth of July" but this year it was above and beyond that.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mr. Turtle

Meet Mr. Turtle.  We don't know if it's a boy or a girl...but the names still the same....Mr. Turtle.  

The kids LOVE Mr. Turtle.  He's had a bath twice...not sure if a turtle needs a bath but ours is VERY clean now.  They change his bedding...hourly.  They change his water....hourly.
Mr. Turtle is VERY loved.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 4th and Friends

I sent this card to my friend Suzanne this week thanking her for a Fabulous Fourth of July Weekend.  To be honest I made this card a long time ago at a workshop but have never used it.  I don't usually go around sending out July 4th cards so I needed a reason of some kind. 

The card also has a lot of embelishments on it....the extra stars, the ribbon and at the top there are red, white & blue beads that move around 'inside' the I wanted to make sure it was sent to someone who would appreciate it and maybe take it apart and use it again.  (boy that was a long sentance!)  I think Suzanne is just that person.

I think extra embellishments are PERFECT for Suzanne.  My very first memory of her is when I was in college and she was working down the hall from where I worked....16 years is that possible!?!  She was showing pics of her home all decorated for Christmas.  It looked like a magazine!  Every tiny detail had been thought of.  Every square inch of the home was covered in Christmas decor.  It was beautiful.  Like I am known to do I stuck my foot in my mouth and asked, "You can't possibly live there!  You have to live in the trailer out back!   That home is just a showplace."  She looked at me, smiled, and said, "That is my trailer and yes we do LIVE there."  They had been living in a TINY little trailer for years saving money for their dream home. 

From that day on every time I'm living in a new house (and there have been a lot of them in the last 16 years) and something isn't just right I think of Suzanne.  Every time I'm cooking something big and I run out of counter room (cause I only have 6 foot of counters and 3 of that is the stove!) I think of Suzanne.  I keep telling myself the house doesn't's what's going on inside that matters.  She JUST sent me an email yesterday about this very subject.  "Home. Doesn't matter what the shell is . . . it's what's you make of it . . . you work with what you have."    And if you know Suzanne you better listen to what she says!  You don't want to make her mad. 
Steve & Suzanne after 25 years FINALLY cooking in her dream kitchen.  :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Escape & Triumph on July 4th

The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own. 

I have read some REALLY good books this past month.  First, for book club, was Uncle Tom's Cabin. I never thought I would like it but I would have to say it was really good.  Some parts were, yes, hard to read but a really good read. 

Then there was The I've mentioned before a wonderful book.  In the last week I've pretty much devoured two book by Carolyn Jessop.  I couldn't put them down!!  The first was Triumph and the second Escape (I read them out of order). 

I find it very ironic I read both of these books over the July 4th weekend.  While laying around the pool celebrating my countries freedom I was reading about a woman who had NO freedom.  Like everyone else I've heard of the Polygamous groups out west.  I watched on TV a couple of years ago while they took over 400 children away from their parents at the Yearning For Zion Ranch.  At the time I can remember thinking how horrible for these women!  They have lived some dominated lives and now we are taking their poor children away too.  I have always thought if these people want to live like that who am I to judge.  The man wants 10 wives and the wives all put up with it then whatever.  Boy did Carolyn Jessop open my eyes!! 

The child abuse at the hands of EVERYONE, men and woman, out there is unspeakable!  The lives these people lead in the name of God when they have NEVER read the Bible is just ridiculous!  I had always thought they lived simply and off the land.  I did not realize how many businesses the FLDS have their hands in.  They own a number of motels, gas stations, and construction businesses, to name a few, across the west.  They are worth millions and yet they starve their children 'to teach them a lesson'.  I can't even begin to tell you some of the hardships this woman has gone through in her short life.  Just take my word for it and go get this book.  Another hard book to read but oh so worth it!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Zucchini Lasagna

I have so many zucchini right now I just don't know what to do with it all.  In years past I froze a bunch but I've found it doesn't really freeze well.  I've made a bunch of bread and cakes and put them in the freezer for the future but I thought there HAS to be something else I can do with zucchini beside cover it in butter and  sugar and bake it or cover it in cornmeal and fry it. 

A lady at the gym mentioned Zucchini Lasagna but she didn't really have a recipe.  I figured I could wing it (don't I always?)  but I decided to go online and I found a recipe from a lady who was actually from Sicily.  She's from Sicily and it's Lasagna...that's a good combination I think! 

It may not look like much in the picture but this is the BEST Lasagna!!  My zucchini sliced a little thick.  I think next time I'll work on just making large thin squares instead of trying to slice down the whole zucchini.  (We were gone all weekend and our zucchini were the size of small children).   The Hunter and I LOVED it...Bubby wanted to like it but since his sister was turning her nose up at it he had a hard time.  I think Sis really liked it too but she didn't want to let on she liked a vegetable (the horror!!). 

For the recipe check out The Italian Dish

A Fabulous Fourth

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck

Happy 4th of July Weekend! 

We had a really fun weekend with family and friends.  Friday and Saturday we spent the holiday with my friend Meagan and her family.  As if her parent's home didn't feel like a resort before they now have a fabulous pool and deck! 

(Look how clean that porch is!) ;) 
This is my friend Suzanne's porch NOT mine. 

My hubby arrived just in time to work on the deck


Don't was all finished just in time for the party!

Thank God Martha Stewart arrived in time to make these cupcakes. 

We feasted on a Cajun shrimp boil.  It was super yummy this year.  Steve got the recipe just right this year!

Hope your weekend was just as festive.