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15 November 2012

More chaperoning fun

This week I had the opportunity to chaperone yet another 8th grade trip. I've chaperoned this one before (way back in 2010), so the Jamestown/Yorktown/Mount Vernon/Monticello sites are familiar to me. But it's still fun to hang out with the kids and see really cool historic places. Thankfully the weather was fantastic (with the exception of a four hour stretch of torrential rain driving up 95) - sunny and blue skies but chilly.

As always, I took my camera and snapped a ton of photographs. Well, more accurately, only about 250 photos. But, given I haven't done much photography in the past few months, 250 is a TON.

The park benches at Jamestown.

I always love the ships at Jamestown. The masts make great photography subjects.

A really cool flag shot.

Ready? Aim. Fire! The musket demonstration at Jamestown. 

Soldiers' spoons at Yorktown.

This is totally going into my laundry room someday. 

The dyer exhibit at Yorktown.

Sheep!! At Mount Vernon.

And cows, too! Or, more accurately, bulls.
These boys totally wandered over and posed for me. 

Best cow picture. Ever.
Kiki, you should paint this. 

Part of the slave burial ground memorial at Mount Vernon.
I love this. 

The stables. 

Overlooking the Potomac.
George Washington planted that tree. 

The lower garden at Mount Vernon.

Mulberry Lane at Monticello.

Winter gourds.

Thomas Jefferson used to sit here and think.
I could totally do that. 

Terracotta pots keeping plants warm. 

A good place to sit and think. 

Beautiful vistas at Monticello.
I love this trip. I enjoy seeing where our nation's fathers lived and worked. Mount Vernon's simplicity is charming, but I love the gadgety and techy feel of Monticello. While Washington was by far a better more genuine man, Jefferson's ingenuity amazes me.

Next stop? NY for Thanksgiving! My first Thanksgiving at home in 7 years!

04 November 2012

Pancake Muffins

I saw some pancake muffins on Pinterest and, of course, forgot to pin it. But I figured it wouldn't be too hard to put together, so I attempted it this morning. My trial-and-error attempt worked out okay, but I'll definitely make some changes next time. 

I made my typical pancake mix and placed cupcake liners into  a muffin tin. I filled the bottom of each liner with mix and arranged various tasties on the thin layer of mix: sliced strawberries, bananas, and bananas with a dollop of peanut butter. I wanted to make a few with sausage and bacon, but I figured I'd give it a try first and then see what happened. I then poured more mix on top of the fillings until the mix was about 1/2" below the liner top. I popped them in the oven at 350 for about 14 minutes and then they were done.  They looked super tasty!

Before ...
On my plate. 

Here are my problems with this attempt ...

First - Next time, I won't use liners. I'll simply grease the muffin pans. While the liners made clean up easy, they DID NOT like to come off the pancake muffins clean. When I peeled the liners off, they made the pancake muffins a little ugly. And I like  my food to be pretty. :)

Second - I want to use a thicker pancake mix in the future. This mix was a little too runny, and I think a thicker mix would yield better results (visually, of course!). 

Third - My strawberries were a little sour. I was tempted to add a touch of honey to those muffins, but didn't. On retrospect, I think that might be really tasty. Or even brown sugar. 

All in all, they were pretty tasty. Especially when I added some of my NYS maple syrup on top. I think these would be great for a brunch or a breakfast gathering ... if I can get the liner-muffin pan thing figured out. 

Playing dress up

For the first time in more than 10 years, I dressed up for Halloween this year. I was convinced to do it by JD and Sheila, but, I will admit, I had a good time. We dressed up and went out on Glenwood to enjoy some good food, good music, and good drinks. I was a flapper, and JD was mountain man. Sheila was Pocahontas. The best thing about my costume is that I own pretty much everything for it and only had to buy a plastic cigarette holder, sequins, and feathers (for my headband). JD had to buy some (hideous) plaid as well as assemble an ax for his costume. 

JD working hard on his ax. 

JD and I in costume, showing off our accessories.
Pocahontas turned pirate halfway through the night. 
Me and my boo. 
It was actually a lot of fun despite my hatred of the holiday. We'll see if we do it again next year.

03 November 2012

A Sunny visit

Today JD and I drove up to see our pup in boarding school. She's been there for over a month, and we haven't seen her since we dropped her off! While the house is quieter without her, I miss her like crazy sometimes. Her goofy 9-month-old behavior, at times exhausting, is adorable. And I miss her unconditional love and affection. The other two kids at home are a little more fickle. Sunny? She just wants love in whatever way you are willing to give it. Of course, if you choose to give it with food, she loves it even more. 

The first month of training is focused on obedience with some hunt training mixed in. When we dropped her off, she couldn't sit. Not wouldn't sit. But couldn't sit. No matter what we did at home, she absolutely refused to ever let her bum touch the floor. I was convinced that there was something wrong with her legs that prevented her from doing so. But she's just strong willed. VERY strong willed.

When we got to her "school," she showed us how she could sit, stay, heel, and retrieve. It was amazing! The next month will be focused on some more intensive hunt training, but I'm totally impressed with what I saw. 

Isn't she pretty?

I was really worried that she would forget me. It's been a month and we hadn't seen her at all. But, as soon as she saw us, it was clear she remembered us. Her little tail was wagging so hard that she couldn't sit still. Of course, when I pulled out the treats, she almost turned herself inside out!

She's so excited
One of the best parts of the visit was the box o' puppies that was there. Two weeks ago, one of the hunting dogs that the trainer owns had 12 (twelve!!!) puppies. And now they are all in a box o' puppies. They were soooooo adorable. Almost made me want to get one. Almost. But not quite. 


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