Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bubblecake & runny nuts

Every time we drive south to visit Audrey & Josh, we go by this military exhibit. You can see tanks, helicopters, and battlements from the interstate as you drive by. This trip, we decided to stop in Carlisle, PA and discover what exactly we were seeing.  It turns out  it is the Army Heritage Education Center and a completely free museum.  They do accept donations through plastic boxes placed throughout the exhibit. 

There were several school and 4-H groups visiting so many of the exhibits had soldiers present explaining the history, weapons, conditions, etc.  It was probably one of the most interesting military museums I've been to, and covered wars from the Civil War to Vietnam.  They are developing an exhibit to provide information about more recent conflicts as well. The pictures I've included are from the encampment replica from Vietnam and a German pillbox tunnel from WWI. The American trenches were wood and dirt and quite a contrast from the very finished & enclosed German site. The picture of the two of us is from the Civil War exhibit.  After our tour, we continued our drive south.

The best part about Virginia (besides spending time with Audrey & Josh), is going to Bubblecake.  We had heard rumors that Viva la Cupcake was better, so this time we tried BOTH. Yeah, my waistline is thanking me.  But the verdict is that Bubblecake takes the frosting, literally.  Then Audrey told me about a visit to a local ice cream shop where she discovered "runny nuts" (or "wet nuts").  For us northern girls, this seemed odd, but we're never ones to back away from trying something new. So we topped our ice cream one evening with these syrup covered nuts. Amazing.  Today when I went grocery shopping at home, I searched the stores for them without any luck. :( Guess it really is a southern treat. Did I mention we also visited Josh's parents and had a fabulous dinner of grilled chicken, corn on the cob, potatoes, pasta salad, and of course, S'mores? Yes, food is a big part of visiting. Audrey made us homemade blueberry pancakes two mornings, and we had chicken enchiladas one night that were utterly delectable. 

Besides all the eating and visiting, we spent a day at the town pool, the Frog Pond, which looks nothing like our local town pools. This is Belle sliding down the frog slide.  It has several different swim areas, but we spent most of the time in the circular pool surrounding the island.

We also went to Virginia Tech to see Rumpelstiltskin. 

When we returned from all the visiting, my laptop had arrived as well as Rob's passport. Woohoo! The Tylers' are ready to go to Abu Dhabi! And we are looking forward to introducing Audrey, Josh & ourselves to some of the food we'll discover when we get there.  I miss them already (Audrey & Josh - not the food).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What's cooking?

Since moving into our "summer home", we have struggled to have normal meals. I don't think the move is entirely to blame, softball and swim lessons certainly didn't help with maintaining a normal schedule. But now that I am out of school, OMG - I think it is time to set a regular meal schedule & time. We need to make it through the groceries I've brought, and eat real food again - not the fish sticks, pizza, chicken nuggets and mac & cheese  (sounds like an 8 year old has been planning our menu) that have comprised the majority of our evening dishes. Sadly, we have had a lot of these foods in recent weeks and I'm beginning to feel like a wretched parent (although I have added in pork chops, chicken breasts, and other healthy dishes).  Wow, see the need to justify the diet? Belle & I went shopping at Big Poppa's tonight and bought a bunch of fruits and vegetables, and tomorrow, I will cook something healthy and delicious for my darling family.

Earlier this week I made some yummy pasta salad, but I struggled with cutting up all the vegetables. Turns out the reason my wrist didn't feel better is I have a radial fracture.... Yep, I now have a beautifully hot splint to stabilize my wrist until it heals (which I hope is quickly) - and with summer temps arriving it is the perfect time to have non-breathing plastic on my arm.

We are up to FOUR suitcases for the family - which means two more are needed, and of course, our carry on bags. I am so excited because I ordered my own laptop - my first one that is mine, all mine.  I feel a bit like Gollum and can picture myself crouching in a corner with it calling out "my precious".

Oh, and Belle decided to get a major haircut this week.... Isn't she adorable?  It was such a nice experience to comb her hair this morning without the normal drama that accompanies it, plus it should be cooler for our new climate.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Firsts & Lasts

I can count down the days remaining at WHS on one hand - which is good, because right now I've only got one good hand. Tomorrow, I'll find out the verdict on why it is still aching, sore, and hurting a week after my klutzy manuever to sit and lecture about behavior at the same time.

My last group of NH seniors have graduated and we're planning our last trip to Virginia before the big move.  At the same time we are also planning Belle's first week-long sleep away Girl Scout camping trip, and I'm freaking a little because it is one more week without my little girl. I think that will be the hardest part about leaving first - leaving her behind. We've never been separated for that long before.

I received my university accreditation letter, so I am mailing out the last step to my authentication tomorrow and a student has indicated that she might adopt S'mores, who is currently cuddling with Rob as he watches the Bruins game.

Belle is officially 8 now, complete with her first American Girl doll, and a serenade by the serving staff at Applebee's.  We even had a family photo to commemorate the event. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Eight weeks to go....

It is hard to believe, but in about 8 weeks, I will be arriving in the UAE.  I can't wait!  Rob has applied for his passport and we've gotten our documentation back from the US Department of State. I am still waiting on the accreditation letter from Plymouth State - but I put in a personal request this time to a former mentor/adviser, so I hope that will do the trick. Then the documents can be sent off to the UAE Embassy (for $30 each) in their final authentication step.

Only 8 days left of school for the year. 

Tomorrow we are celebrating Belle's birthday (a bit early since next weekend is full of graduation events)...