Thursday, August 13, 2009

Family trip to Washington DC

What a whirlwind tour! We set out on our adventure on Wednesday Aug 5th. We stopped outside Cleveland to visit my sister for the night. I was happy with the initial leg of the trip. I do not think my husband and I heard from our children. They were totally content with their games and toys. With such success the first day, we were unsure how the next 6 hrs would go. Thursday we were on the road by 8:30. We stopped 2 times during the trip. Another successful day! We were very proud of our kids. Utilizing our GPS we were able to arrive in Alexandria at 2:30. Being in the city for country dwellers is quite a shock to the system. Our hotel had a view of the metro station, which my son was completely enamored with. I think he would have been content to ride all day long.

We spent Friday afternoon visiting Arlington. What a truly amazing sight! This venture brought a whole new meaning to my earlier "Hero" post. Reading some of the grave stones and seeing how much all of these men and women accomplished and sacraficed. The young people in their 20's, never experiencing life to its fullest. I was astounded at the number of people in the cemetary who seemed to have a complete lack of respect or reguard.

On Saturday we set out for the monuments and the Smithsonian Natural History and Space musuem. The temperature was about 95. We loaded up on water and hit the metro. Our first stop was the musuem. Everything was so crowded. We did a quick walk through both musuems. We walked to the monuments from the museums. That was a bit of a hike. The nice part about walking was we were able to see a lot of sights along the way. Seeing the monuments was a great experience for our family. The unfortunate disrespect was also apparent at the monuments and memorials. There were people soaking there feet in the World War II memorial. Crazy enough there were people doing this right next to the sign stating "Please respect the Memorial Keep out of Pool area".

What a long day! We were sure to be settled in early for our venture home on Sunday. We got our rest and were on the road by about 10:00. I failed to mention that my wonderful husband does all of the driving. We made our 2 stops during the 10 hour tour. The kids were great again. I sat in the back seat with them for awhile and they entertained themseves the rest of the time. We arrived home at 8:00, happy to see our home and chickens. The next morning I was thrilled to look out the window and see a chipmunk and not a street full of people.

We have decided next time we go back we will go during a less busy time of year. May be September?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Building the flock

On Easter my husband and I gave in and bought 6 chicks.  I am very glad that we did.  I think I enjoy them as much as my kids.  We have 2 rhode islands, 2 barred rocks and 2 araucanas.  We look forward to egg time, which we hope will begin at the end of summer.   We have bets on which chick will produce the most.  Bets are on our rhode island named Easter. She never leaves the food trough.  She has been found sleeping on the trough.  They have also enjoyed a good game of chase the cricket.  Crickets and meal worms are suppose to be good for them. We have to start plans for a coop.  There are many opportunists around here.  For that reason we have decided against free ranging.  This is all new territory.  Thankfully they have proven to be pretty easy so far.  We would welcome any advise!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wish List

With tough economic times this is the perfect opportunity to teach our children some valuable life lessons. We all know how hard it is to sway our begging children. By always caving we send a message that instant gratification is a reasonable life expectation. With my daughter I started the "wish list". She then began to understand that great things are worth the wait. I was able to gauge how badly she wanted the toy. When she would stop mentioning the toy I would know that it must not have been as urgent. When buying things I try to get things that I know will get a lot of mileage. The number of toys that collect dust is astounding. I try to encourage Grandparents to find non toy items for gifts. My dad has bought DVDs in the past and my mom has bought art supplies and magazine subscriptions. I have recently talked with my husband and friends about their thoughts concerning these issues. I posed the question, what do you remember most about your childhood... your experiences or materials? Most often the answer is the experiences.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Knock out the Winter Duldrums

Looking for a perfect way to lift the "spirits"? What better way than to have a Caribbean inspired evening. My favorite recipe is from food network. The recipe is by Emeril and is derived from the Bob Marley restaurant in Universal Studios. The meal is jerk marinated chicken breast skewers chargrilled and served with creamy cucumber dipping sauce and yucca fries. The recipe page highlights a 5 star review. We have made it several times and also give it a 5 star. Before making it do not forget to soak your skewers in water for a few hours. We have not tried to make the marinade. I have always bought the already prepared variety. I recommend two wonderful cocktails to top off the evening. My favorite is pussers jamaican me crazy and my husbands favorite is pussers painkiller. To fully set the tone I would suggest "Bob Marley Legend" which you can purchase at amazon Enjoy the warm up!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


A man or woman willing to selflessly sacrifice their entire being for the greater good. Have you recently taken the time to thank a man or woman serving our country? Over the years it seems that some people have lost sight of what these men and women do and have done for our country. While growing up I had no ties to military. I was one of those people that had no grasp on how or why we are able to enjoy such freedom. Marrying my husband opened my eyes to what I had been missing all of those years. Everyone in his family serves or has served. My husband was in the army in the late 80s, his oldest brother is retiring this year, his next brother still flies refueling jets and his youngest brother works with a bomb sniffing dog in the Coast Guard. In 2006 his 57 year old mother joined the army. She works as a scrub nurse and will be going to Iraq in March. She is a true inspiration. I am proud to be surrounded by such an amazing family. A great way to show your support for these fine men and women is to look into

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Save money, stay in shape and get outdoors

What better way to enjoy winter months than getting outdoors with your family to cut firewood. Our family has bundled up many times over the past couple of months to gather wood. It is a group effort. My husband runs the chainsaw, I haul the wood with a sled and split it and my husband and kids help to stack the finished product in the garage. Most of my friends think I am crazy. I can not tell you how fulfilling the whole process can be. I have a nice axe that is relatively light. For difficult logs I use a maul and wedge. I split the logs atop a wide flat log. I spent this morning researching different aspects of buying wood, species of trees and their efficiency, and cutting. The sites that I visited were , and
On the Michigan site I found that the state offers permits through the Forest, Mineral and Fire management division. The permits cost $20 and are issued from April 1 - December 31. Those issued permits may cut appropriate wood on designated state land. Five cords is the designated amount of wood allowed to be removed. A cord of wood measures 4 ft H x 4ft W x 8ft L. The DNR also offers a lot of information regarding the emerald ash borer. Most of the trees we have cut to burn this year have been dead ash trees.
I found the wood heat site to be very informative. They covered all of the pros to burning wood. They also provided a list of trees and burning effiiciency. I hope my husband is in the mood to run the saw tonight! This post has given me the fever!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Great Recipe Ideas

I recently reached a point where I felt as though I were stuck in a perpetual "cooking rut". Wanting to put a different spin on the menu I spent an afternoon reacquainting with some of my favorite resources. I have a freezer full of beef and lamb. I first searched food network to find some ideas. I really like their kid friendly recipe portion. They gave me the idea to try tacozagna and yogurt with granola and berries. Tacozagna could be made with many different approaches. My daughter has enjoyed the yogurt and granola for breakfast and lunch. Next I needed to find something extraordinary to do with lamb shanks. The recipe that caught my attention was "North African- Influenced Lamb Shanks with Couscous", made by Emeril. I always like his recipes because they are doable. The recipe was well worth all the time and effort. All of the flavors united were amazing. Last I searched for pasta meals. Pasta seems to rock everyones world. Always great to make extra to send to work and school for lunch the next day. I found recipes to make homemade ravioli. I liked food networks ideas. Being unsure about making my own pasta I decided to check into my favorite cook book, "How to Cook Everything." Looking into my book gave me some ideas. My daughter does not like cheese, so instead of binding the beef and pork with cheese I used bread crumbs. The substitution worked well. We used a manual pasta machie to flatten the dough. The book gave tips on how to do it manually, with a pasta machine and with the aid of a food processor. The meal was a crowd pleaser. I was thrilled my first run with making the ravioli was a success. To top it off making the pasta from scratch was a fun activity with the family. Happy cooking!