Thursday, September 30, 2010

All Aboard!

We visited the Museum of Transportation yesterday with some friends.  It was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast walking through the cars and looking in them.  Ringing the bell on the train seemed to be a challenge that alluded us but I think the kids managed to forget about it after a while anyway.  Who doesn't love a good choo choo train?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Simple Pleasures

Sometimes I forget just how young Ava really is and how much she has yet to experience.  It's always the little things that she gets the biggest kick out of and I love watching her experience these things.  

Yesterday I made tomato soup and grilled cheese for the 2 of us for lunch.  It's not something that I make very often but the chill in the air makes me turn to soup a lot more often now.  I set it down in front of her and she immediately starts eating the soup and tells me she likes it.  This was her first time eating tomato soup which I had forgotten.  She then takes a few bites of her grilled cheese.  In the mean time, I had dipped my grilled cheese in my soup and taken a bite.  She looks at me and exclaims, "Mommy, what ARE you doing?"  I explained to her that it tasted good to dip my sandwich in the soup.  That was  it and she was off to becoming a dipping pro.  She giggled and giggled and giggled all through lunch as she dipped and ate her soup and grilled cheese.  It was like I had shared this grown up secret with her that she thought was so cool.  It's one of God's great blessings that I get to experience all these little firsts with her, even if it is just dipping a sandwich in soup.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Recipe: Blueberry Crumb Bars

I definitely had a case of the Mondays yesterday.  I'm coming down off a nasty sore throat but I still sound like a very sick frog.  I've also hit that point during pregnancy where my normal clothes don't fit.  As much as I love to shop, I don't enjoy buying maternity clothes that I will only wear for a few months.  I'm going to have to suck it up and go shopping soon.  Unfortunately, I'm not pregnant during the same time of year that I was with Ava so that means I have to buy some new clothes.  

Anywho, I made this dessert for my MIL's birthday celebration 2 weeks ago and it was a huge hit.  I served it warm with vanilla ice cream and it was more like a cobbler but then I had another piece (shhh! don't tell :o) the next morning cold with a cup of hot tea and that was very yummy too.  Go print out the recipe from Annie's Eats.  She also has variations using peaches and raspberries, too.  All of them sound very yummy.  Happy baking!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Gaining 20 lbs.

So when we headed to Georgia I was expecting nothing but good old southern cooking.  Well, that is one aspect of Savannah that I had entirely wrong.  Savannah is a college town, home to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).  The town is full of unique and amazing little places to grab a bite to eat.  I never expected to find French, South African, BBQ and ice cream that were all out of this world.  

 Zunzi's was a little hole in the wall that only did take out.  Steve and I ate there twice throughout the week and the other couple with us ate there 3 times.  Let's just say it was yummy.  The sandwiches were so original.  Steve had a salmon sandwich while Ava and I went for the chicken pictured above.  Ah.May.Zing.

Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House was the traditional southern food I had been thinking of.  We waited for almost an hour to eat at a table full of people we didn't know but we had a great time.  There was fried chicken, meat loaf, pulled pork and every kind of side you could possibly want.  It was served family style on the table and they just kept the food coming.  We needed to be rolled out of that place we all ate so much!

Wiley's Championship BBQ definitely delivered as well.  I had a brisket sandwich that didn't even need sauce which I think is a sign of great BBQ.  Steve had one of their specials that day which was a smoked corned beef Reuben.  Since we got home he's been trying to figure out how to recreate that sandwich.  Ava had a little pulled pork slider that she porked down too :o)

River Street Sweets and Leopold's Ice Cream was our go to for something sweet.  River Street Sweets had pralines and caramels and brittles and anything else sweet you could possibly want.  Leopold's was an old fashioned ice cream parlor that had the creamiest ice cream I've had in a long time.

If you ever make it to the Savannah area I would recommend any and all of these great food spots.  

Next week will be back to normal as far as posts go.  I have a few recipes of my own to share as well.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.  We're hanging out with friends and family and playing our own Minute to Win It game.  Should be fun or very very entertaining at the least!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hilton Head

We spent 2 sunny filled days on the beaches of Hilton Head and it was a perfect break from the walking of Savannah.  We have never been to Atlantic beaches only the Gulf so I was anxious to see the difference.  

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice and compact the sand was which made it super easy to walk on.  Ava loved sitting on the edge of the water and building drippy castles.  She sat for hours playing and building things in the sand.  Steve and I took turns playing with her in the sun and then relaxing under the shade of the umbrella.  There were plenty of things to discover and one day her friend Carter was there to play with her as well.  

We can't get enough of the beach.  Love. It.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunny Savannah

We traveled to Savannah for a week with our friends and their little one.  Savannah's a place I've wanted to visit for a while now and I somehow convinced the rest of the crew to come along too.  Steve kept asking me the weeks leading up to the trip, "So why are we going there anyway?"  I tried explaining that it's a city with a lot of history and it's really pretty but that didn't sound like a reason for us to drive 14 hours to get there in his mind.  He was game though and for that I was very appreciative.  I still don't think he knew what to expect until we got there.  

We stayed in a nice little apartment in the historic district which was right in the heart of everything.  We did lots of walking (in 90+ degree weather), had a great tour by Savannah Dan whose wearing the stylish suit and hat above, ate a ton of great food which will have it's own post later and relaxed.  Some of the highlights of Savannah were visiting the creepy yet beautiful Bonaventure Cemetery, touring the Owens-Thomas House, walking the riverfront, strolling the many streets and squares of this beautiful city and visiting Old Fort Jackson.  There were fountains for the kiddos to run through and lots of friendly people sitting out enjoying all that Savannah has to offer.  If you've ever thought of visiting, I can say that you definitely should.  Beautiful, southern city with lots of personality.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Home Again and Tech Problems

We were in Savannah all last week and I have tons to share.  However when I let our darling furball Simon out of his cage yesterday, he promptly went to my computer and bit through the keyboard wire in one quick chomp.  I think that was his way of saying don't leave me that long again.  Since then I can not get a single keyboard to work and therefore my computer will not start up at all.  I'm working on it and hope to be back tomorrow with lots of pictures from beautiful Georgia.  

The picture above is Ava helping me pack before we left.  I told her she needed to play by herself for a while so I could pack.  I put the suitcase on the couch walked into the bedroom only to hear, "Mommy, I packing too!"  This was her version of packing.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Bliss

My high school German teacher introduced me to Nutella.  It's not something I buy very often but boy when I do I ask myself why I don't buy it more often.  It's a delicious chocolate hazelnut spread that is so yummy on toast.  I decided to let Ava try it and it was a good decision for me to strip her down.  There was Nutella EVERYWHERE!  We're talking in the hair, ears, all over the tummy and arms.  It really was everywhere.  She loved it though and had a great time eating it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The weather is getting chilly and the leaves are starting to loose their green.  Fall is almost here.  Yippeeee!!  

I came across this store on Etsy and fell in love with her work.  Pinch Me Boutique is making some ghoulishly great gourds just in time for Halloween and fall.  I am particularly fond of the Nightmare Before Christmas style gourds.  I just love this time of year!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lastest Addiction

Recently the 3 closest malls to my house have put in a new store, Charming Charlie.  I am completely and utterly addicted.  It's mainly an accessories store with amazing earrings, bracelets, necklaces, purses, shoes, etc. that are all reasonably priced.  They have some clothes but I'm more interested in all the things that sparkle.  I think what I am really drawn to about the store is the way it is organized.  Everything is grouped by color.  I went in this last time looking for something bluey green and something red.  I headed for those sections and magically I found some great stuff. Ava loves the stores too because they play their music kind of loud and it's all upbeat dance music.  She's jammin' though the store as I look through all the pretties.  In my mind it's the perfect mother daughter experience.  She loves trying on and modeling all the goodies once we get home too.  My darling husband should be a little worried...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Crafty Goodness

How great are these kits?  I love the soft warm colors of the mum kit.  This is a store that I can get lost in for hours.  It's probably a good thing that the closest one is 3 hours away in Kansas City :o)  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recipe: Garlic Ranch Turkey Burgers

Here's an easy recipe to whip up that adds a little twist to the regular old burger.  Our family loves this recipe because it's quick, easy to make and full of flavor. Even Ava eats these without the bun.

Makes 4 quarter pound patties
1 pound ground turkey
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 egg
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
6-8 shakes of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together and shape into 4 patties.  I make these the morning I want to cook them because the mixture is loose.  Letting them chill in the refrigerator for a few hours seems to firm them up.  Cook in a nonstick skillet or a grill pan 4-5 minutes each side. 

On a side note, I don't think this recipe would work well on the grill because the burgers might fall apart.

I'd love to hear if you make this or any other recipes on the site.  I'm always looking to tweak recipes.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Book Club: Catch Up

So while I was gone book club trucked on and we read some really good books.

    The Help was a really good unexpected read for me.  I didn't know how I would feel about reading a book with some dialect in it.  To be honest, I read some reviews prior to starting it and that was one of the complaints.  I learned not to let reviews jade me.  The entire book club really liked this book.  While it is a work of fiction about women in Jackson, Mississippi during the 60's there was some history intertwined throughout the story and you grow to love the 3 women in the story.  It's a story about racism and unexpected friendships.  Several of our group commented how we thought about these women when not reading the book and we wondered what happened to them after the story was over.  That to me is a sign of a good book.  

Being an animal lover, I knew this was going to be a book I loved.  This is told in a series of flashbacks.  Jacob is an old man who is living in a nursing home. A circus sets up outside the nursing home and he starts recalling his days of working as the vet for a struggling circus during the depression.  He travels with the circus on train from city to city tending to the animals the best he can.  Some weeks the food is low, some weeks there is no pay but it's a job for him.  He meets and falls in love with Marlena the equestrian star who is married already.  Rosie the elephant is a stubborn girl who grows to love Jacob and Marlena.  Great characters and a great story.  I thought it was an easy read too.

The book club is reading this one now but I actually read it back in April when I went on a trip.  This was another one that drew me in with it's great characters.  This book is different in that it is written in a series of letters from character to character.  At first it was little difficult to follow but once you got a handle on all the characters it was fun.  It also is a good one to read if you only have short periods of time because the letters are short and it's easy to find a spot to stop.  Coming out of WWII, Juliet is trying to come up with a topic for her next book.  A man she has never met ends up writing her a letter and they hit it off.  She is drawn into his group of friends who live on the island of Guernsey.  She learns of their lives during the war and trying to deal with the Germans who occupied their island during that time.  I was expecting this book to be serious but was pleasantly surprised by how light and easy this was to read.  Good quick read for the end of summer.