National History Day

This has been a great week thus far, though it has held it’s fair share of difficulty. We have chosen to look above and beyond that, and to enjoy our time together cramped into this on-the-small-side hotel suite…. and our adventures in College Park and the nation’s capitol.

Today was certainly full. We began with a ride into Washington D.C. via the Metro (no, I didn’t know you couldn’t take your Starbuck’s with you … but I would have if I’d had enough time to consider it). We arrived early to our destination at Capitol South and went to our local congressional representative’s office. One of Mick Mulvaney’s summer interns, Katherine Hunter from Clemson, gave us a guided tour of the Capitol Building. We followed that with lunch at a local mexican restaurant amongst all the political “movers and shakers”. We then hopped back onto the train and got off in Woodley Park to visit the Smithsonian National Zoo. A few hours walking the hills in the zoo, and we were toasted …. despite the pleasant temperatures today. Back onto the train, and back out to College Park and Laurel Maryland.

#4 is passed out now and the rest are soon to follow. Tomorrow promises to be interesting. We’ll wrap it up with a private evening reception at the National Museum of American History as a precursor to Thursday’s Awards Ceremony.

Pictures soon to be forthcoming. =)

Local Organic Dining

Saturday night we were invited to a dear friend’s 40th birthday party. (Happy Birthday, Robin!) Her husband planned an evening at a local restaurant that is only open Monday-Saturday evenings, and serves the meals with a european family style approach.

I highly recommend Erin’s if you are looking for a unique dining experience, and still want to be able to have a conversation. The menu is generally predetermined, but everything we tried was delicious. Amazingly enough, I actually ate “greens” … because they were still green, and not the gray pile of non-descript goo that has previously been offered me under the heading “greens”.

Early in the season 2010

The ingredients for her dishes are selected from local growers, and the menus prepared based on what is available and in season.  Having maintained my own organic garden last spring and summer, I enjoyed experiementing with some recipes myself.  It was fun to see what Erin’s approach was with her dishes.  We will be going back.  :-)

The T-Day Menu

Today’s Menu

Oven Roasted Apple Stuffed Turkey

Cream-Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Sweet Potato Apple Casserole

Glazed Green Beans

Crustless Spinach Pie

Petite Green Peas

Gluten-Free Cranberry Sage Stuffing

Apple Cranberry Bake (GF)

Orange Jello – Kid Friendly

Cousin Requested “Kraft” Mac and Cheese

Flourless Chocolate Cake ‘a la Nichole

Chloe’s Southern Pecan Pie

Chocolate Chunk Cookies (GF & G)

Pictures to follow when they come out of the ovens … Planning ahead proved fruitful this year. No last minute rush!!

Favorite lines from Toy Story films …..

The new movie was a great family film and we all enjoyed it. The best part was when Claire turned to me and said, “Go help Woody, Mommy.” If only I could …. This is a hard one for mothers of older boys to watch (tears, tears, and more tears). And it your son is already in that 16 – 20 year old age bracket, take a box of tissues. You will laugh as much, or more, than you’ll cry… but you will need the tissues.

Some of my favorite quotes …

Toy Story Buzz to Woody “You are a sad and strange little man, and you have my pity. Farewell.”

Toy Story 2 Jessie “Sweet Mother of Abraham Lincoln.”

Toy Story 3 Mr. Potato Head “You would not believe what I have been through … tonight.”

Sam’s favorite line from Toy Story 3 (Buzz …upon reawakening from “Demo” mode) ….

“(sniff, sniff, sniff …. That wasn’t me was it?”

Claire reading to Buzz and Woody back in January

Claire reading to Buzz and Woody back in January

The bin of Toy Story Happiness

The bin of Toy Story Happiness

Before …

This is the garden before the 80 degree weather and all the loving attention from Wilson and me.

Before the dirt arrived.

Before the dirt arrived.

This is the garden in process….

Moving the dirt into the garden.

Moving the dirt into the garden.

The kids worked very hard with me to move the “composted topsoil” from the pile in the driveway into the garden.  Due to the low powerlines, the dump truck was only to get within about 8 feet of the garden.

Sam waits for another delivery of dirt.

Sam waits for another delivery of dirt.

Everyone worked really hard to get the garden in early this year.  This pictures were taken on Saturday morning, the first day of Spring Break.  The kids were actually anxious to get out of bed and start working. That never happens!!

As soon as I can get back out with the camera… I’ll post some after pictures.  Good News… after the birds ate the first round of bean and pea seeds we planted in egg cartons a few weeks ago, the second round … hidden in a box by the hose … has sprouted.  :-)

A Toy’s Story

We just realized that this toy, Woody, will be turning 10 in a couple weeks. We hadn’t seen Woody, or Buzz for that matter, in quite a while. Like all toys, they somehow were forgotten amongst the iPods, Wii’s and other new toys.

At Christmas though, these toys were rescued from oblivion by Claire and her cousin, Piper. And since their return to the playroom, even Sam, Sophie and Wilson have enjoyed their presence. They did acheive a new level of playroom status this week. Woody and Buzz were invited to “Library Time” with Claire. She set up her spot and proceeded to “read” The Nutcracker to them.

The biggest laugh this week though came when Claire came out and told me “somebody’s poisoned the water hole.”

He has a sense of humor.

WILSON: “You know, McKenna said she went to Hawaii for vacation.”

MOM: “That’s a long way for a five year old to go for vacation. That was a real treat.”

WILSON: “So, how far is it to Hawaii anyway.”

MOM: “Gosh, it’s a least a day and a half by air from here. First you have to fly to Los Angeles in California; then you have to fly half way across the Pacific Ocean to a small group of islands… and hope the pilot doesn’t miss (sploosh).

MARK: (Muttered from the other room quietly…”Way to go … scare him to death.”)

WILSON: “That would not be good.” (pauses… gives a thoughtful look, followed by a sly grin) “Get out your snorkeling gear.” (insert evil chuckle here) “ha ha ha …”