Thursday, November 24, 2011

Food and Stuff...

 Remember the unsuccessful attempt to make peanut butter chicken for my Little Men? Well, success at last!

Not bad for only the second try. This one was marinated for quite awhile before flouring and frying. It was sooooooo crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Yum! It's unanimous, we have a winner! Now when Jordan is craving Peanut Butter Chicken, no problem!

 Speaking of Jordan, he's very happy with his new grater. All my boys enjoy being in the kitchen and I love having them with me.

Pork Steak is a very easy dinner. The guys love how tender the pork tastes. S&P and flour it before browning. Add onions, thyme, broth and simmer it covered.... seriously, that's it. Here's a secret, I'm not a meat person unless it's extremely tender and this is!

John and Joseph have moved around their furniture and it's very spacey. The boys, and Lily, spend a lot of time here. *Sigh* It's so nice and clean. :)

I saved dessert for last. Cream Cheese Tarts.
This is one of my favorite recipes from my mom. I ended up making them two weeks in a row. They were for John's last soccer game. I made them the first week and then the game was rained out! We just shared with our neighbors, had some ourselves, and made them again. These tarts are so easy and yummy.

November 6th...18 years

 Our day arrived. Eighteen amazing years and we're still going strong! (Kids will do that to ya, lol!)

 Tim likes to start the day with a message of love created out of Hershey Kisses. This year a few Butterfinger Bells were thrown in... yum! (I'm not into the kisses...) Tim and I picked out together our anniversary gift this year.... no more dish soap/soap containers on our kitchen counter! Yay!

After church we went to Brigs for brunch. The hour plus wait was worth the amazing meal we had... eggs benedict, pancakes, hash, bacon, and more. Delicious! We would definitely go again!

We chilled for most of the day and then went to Johnny Carino's for dinner. When Valerie helped us to move down, we had dined here then. I don't think I would tire of it. Everyone had a good meal and a yummy tiramisu for dessert.

I was ready to have stuffed mushrooms only to discover they were out! All Carino's had left was one mushroom. Why not try? I asked if they could just make one stuffed mushroom... and they did! Probably my favorite one yet! It was huge, beautifully plated, and scrumptious!

Walking Around After the Museum...

The old State Capitol building is behind the science & history museum. It was a lovely evening for a walk. It's located in Union Square and served as the Capitol of North Carolina from 1833-1840. The building is Greek Revival architecture and the granite was excavated locally.... The monument in front of the Capitol is the NC Veteran's Monument honoring WWI, WWII, and Korean War. Lady Liberty is at the top of the granite tower holding a palm frond to represent peace and victory.

Henry Lawson Wyatt was the first Confederate (Private) soldier to die in battle during the Civil War. June 10, 1861 during the Battle of Big Bethel (Virginia), he was killed.....   

The guys were eager to read the captions and imitate the monuments. I loved the excitement in their voices at people they were familiar with. It's amazing watching these sponges grow. My Little Men definitely have their Dad's love for history!
This is the Confederate Monument honoring North Carolina's Confederate dead. There is a third statue on the monument. The statues symbolize artillery, cavalry, and infantry soldiers.....                                                             Below are the guys having more fun....
 The day turned out to be much warmer than at the soccer game. It was perfect to be out and about, soaking in the sites and fresh air.

Worth Bagley was born right here in Raleigh in 1874. During the Spanish-American War, he was the first American naval officer killed on May 11, 1898 at Cardenas Bay, Cuba. Aboard the U.S.S. Winslow (torpedo ship), Bagley was the executive officer. He was killed by a shell from Spanish shore batteries.

Of course, what boy isn't drawn to cannons?

Zebulon Baird Vance (born in NC) was a popular political figure for North Carolina during the Civil War. He organized state troops for the Confederacy. Vance was promoted to full colonel, served as governor, and was a United States senator. He died in 1894. On the right is Charles Duncan McIver. He was a remarkable promoter of education and is remembered as the founder (and first president) of what is now The University of NC at Greensboro. (State Normal & Industrial School for Women)

 George Washington ~ the first statue, constructed by Antonio Canova, was destroyed in 1831 when the first State House (built 1792-1796) burned. This current, bronze statue (by Hubbard of VA) was the first statue placed at Union Square on July 4, 1857.
This Vietnam Veteran's Memorial bears the title, "After the Firefight." It honors the North Carolinian men and women (more than 206,000) who served in Vietnam. This monument is the first to be sculpted by a woman, and to show an African American. Two soldiers are waiting medical help for a wounded third.
Three Presidents came from North Carolina!!! James Polk (1845-1849) "HE ENLARGED OUR NATIONAL BOUNDARIES", Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) "HE REVITALIZED AMERICAN DEMOCRACY", and Andrew Johnson (1865-1869) "HE DEFENDED THE CONSTITUTION"


Magnolia trees are one of my favorite. On trips to Florida, I couldn't wait to see if Granny's was in bloom. I think of her whenever I see a magnolia. Anything special about the lamppost? Nope. I just like it. :)
Left to right ~ Christ Episcopal Church (1854), early English style of Gothic architecture; First Baptist Church (1859), variant of the Gothic Revival style; First Presbyterian Church (1900), Romanesque Revival style.

I just thought this view of the Wachovia bank from the Capitol was pretty....  Hmmm... a lot of history, but I hope y'all enjoyed it, we sure did... and now I'm off to bed!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Museum of History

After lunch, our gang headed over to the Museum of History for a special day celebrating North Carolina's history. Fantastic! Our family had recently enjoyed a PBS special on North Carolina history and to experience it up close and personal was fun and meaningful for my Little Men.

Outside, was a sculptor of Thomas Day, "a free African American in Caswell County who created fashionable furniture and architectural elements before the Civil War." Also a Sauratown Woman, "lived along the Dan River in present-day Stokes County. The adorned deerskin dress and hood suggest a high status in the tribe." The music and dances were exciting. What a wonderful opportunity for us all!

Jordan made me a cardinal. He is thrilled to have it as his state bird. The guys went on a scavenger hunt to answer different questions about North Carolina's history. One question, about burning out trunks, led them to the canoe where they decided it should be their new bed. I think it would get old real quick!

We caught two shows, the first was about North Carolina's history. The actors cleverly fit much information in a comical play. Fun. Next was Blackbeard. Joseph was thrilled to hear stories of Mr. Teach! He's ready to go in search of treasure.

All of us loved the museum. It was such a pleasant day. The boys were excited by so many exhibits (including the Wright Brothers... Johnny wants to be a pilot now!), being able to 'touch' some of them and to pose as soldiers. There is much more to see than shown here. We haven't seen the museum in it's entirety yet.... some day.

 Once outside, the guys were enamored with an old police car. I found myself drawn to the wagon being pulled by the miniature horse.


Anniversary Weekend

 Our first Anniversary in North Carolina was a beautiful time. Saturday morning we found ourselves, you guessed it, at a soccer game. The last one of the year. What a cold morning! The wind was vicious and chilled right to the bone.

That didn't stop the guys from having a great time. John's coach had them rotating every 4-5 minutes to keep the guys from cramping up. What a great idea! Now? Basketball in the winter before spring soccer. :)

We tried a new restaurant to us... Johnny had been wanting to try it for awhile; we pass it on the way to soccer. Yum! I had a delicious pork sandwich. It's no Roger's, but a good place to stop. :)                          ~Jenny~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flora and Beachin' It?

We're fortunate enough to be surrounded by pretty flora and skies, although in a city. The picture doesn't do the sky's majestic splender justice. It was absolutely amazing the colors and how the clouds stood out against the backdrop.

 I'm glad our hibiscus plant made the trip down here. My fear is the winter
will be too hard on it. I do miss our sunroom. What a blessing that room was! On a cold, chilly day Joseph and Jordan made our bed a beach, shells included!
                                                         ~ Jenny ~

October Desserts

From the Cook's Country magazine, I tried out the Slice-and-Bake Cookies. Pictured on top are the Orange-Poppyseed Cookies and below, Walnut-Brown Sugar Cookies. I'm still not sure on the verdict. They were shortbread like, but thinner, and not Granny's. Hmmm... our company liked them and they did disappear. I think I'll just keep the very best recipes.

Warning, just by looking at the next pictures, you will gain oodles of pounds. Fudge. There is nothing like Mom's fudge! Even one piece is extremely rich.

Another amazing dessert,... Granny's Chocolate Mousse. This mousse is so incredibly rich, light, and decadent.

And Halloween I made Apple-Cider Doughnuts and Mama Bits (as the boys named them) for my guys. The name comes from the doughnut holes at a Canadian chain, Tim Horton's. There they called them Tim Bits.

                                                                      ~ Jenny ~

Catchin' up... Halloween Time!

Getting close to the end of October... For Halloween this year Jordan wanted a stealth Ninja costume, John wanted to be a Bird, and Joseph visualized his 'Mystery Kid' costume.

Jordan, already in red, looked like a cardinal (his fav. bird at the moment) in John's costume. We stretched Halloween over two weekends. Our apartment had a gathering the weekend before. The guys had fun making candied apples and a trial run of their costumes. Our upstairs friend, Desmond, joined us.

 Halloween weekend was rough. Jordan had been sick with allergies and tummy stuff. Providence had a Fall Festival event on Saturday for which John volunteered. He loved helping the kids 'bowl'. John thought it was cool to see our apartment manager's family and our upstairs family, too. It sounds like an amazing event, lazer tag and other fun activities for the older kids.

Sunday after church we trekked over to the Museum of Natural Science meeting up with Jim, Sevy, and Desmond. They were having a special 'spooky' event with spiders and snakes... boy heaven! It all started with Mystery Kid becoming a green spider. :)

Many areas had 'creatures' for the kids to pet, lucky them! Parents were glad there was hand sanitizer at each table after touching snakes, crocodiles, hissing cockroaches and more. Jordan was in his element! He loved carrying on conversations with many of the volunteers.

 There were other 'creatures' the guys didn't touch. I will confirm that the snake was real. After the first pic, (and I didn't use flash as not to disturb this reptile that could burst through the thick, double paned, bullet-proof glass at anytime,) he fiercely swung his head around as if ready to attack. I quickly moved on with no desire to entertain his thoughts anymore...   Aren't poison dart frogs cute?

We marvelled at 'preserved' exhibits. I just love the cluster of Monarch Butterflies. This fall we saw several small clusters around the apartments. One of my favorite shells to collect as a child was the cat's eye. I have a hard time finding them now. Joseph was probably daydreaming of fishing with his Papa here, while John is thinking of becoming a famed guitarist.

The museum also had crafts, games, food, and several exhibits we didn't have time to see. It was definitely a fun way to see the museum, especially for the guys

I love this pic of John on the way out. He looks like a bird in flight. Displayed is a replica of the Liberty Bell, crack and all. The tree on the top right was a reflection in our back window... pretty cool! John and Desmond continued their fun scooping up leaves and throwing them on each other. I don't think we ever had a Halloween without coats before. It was a beautiful day!
The museum is on the right and is expanding as I type. On the left is the Museum of History which we visited last weekend and we'll visit both again!
Halloween morning our Little Men found these little ghosts on the counter. Whole Foods carries Lake Champlain chocolates!!! On our annual trips to Vermont, we would visit the Lake Champlain chocolate store... yummy!!!

We spent the rest of the day watching movies, playing games, and making apple cider doughnuts at the boys' request.
~ Jenny ~

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catchin' up... Providence

I do believe Providence is our church now.

Jordan, and the other Sunday School students first through fifth grade, had the opportunity to sing a song for all three services. The children's Pastor, Blake Hickman, is in red vest introducing the children and song. In the bottom left, some of the children are gathered together practicing... sing clear and joyfully!
Jordan can be found above and to the left singing his heart out. Tim and I were fortunate enough to help out with this event. Yep! You see Tim on the right. We have taken on the role as assistant teachers/helpers in Jordan's Sunday School class. We really enjoy working alongside Dave and Jenn and all the kids.

I just had to include one more pic of Jordan.  ♥
~ Jenny ~