Monday, September 30, 2013

In the Creek!

Way back when we bought the "creek house," we placed bets on who would fall into the creek first, Julia or Evelyn?  I'm surprised it took this long for someone to fall in...but I won the bet!  Evelyn fell off the bridge while reaching for something in the water and lost her balance.  The water is only about two feet deep, but that was deep enough to get her completely soaked (poor girl!).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Julia's Freedom Trail Pictures

Here are the pictures Julia took while walking along the Freedom Trail.  After I uploaded them onto the computer, I really enjoyed looking at today's trip from her perspective.

Freedom Trail

Today we headed into Boston to walk the Freedom Trail.  Our T stop was close to the State House, where we saw the site of the Boston Massacre.
 Next stop was Faneuil Hall, where the girls picked up their Junior Ranger booklets.  We should have gotten these at the State House because there were activities to do there...but we'll just have to complete them another day/trip.
 The girls loved the golden grasshopper on top of the Faneuil Hall dome.
 Julia was a tourist in every sense of the word.  She toted around the little camera and took some really good pictures.  It's always fun when photographers take pictures of each other - and Julia thought it was the funniest thing!  (I'll put Julia's pictures in a separate post.)
 We walked through Paul Revere's house and saw, up close, one of the bells he made.  Also in this picture of the girls, you can see the red brick trail, which is the Freedom Trail path we followed through the streets of Boston.

 We paused between Paul Revere's house and the Old North Church so the girls could complete a Junior Ranger activity.

 Here's the girls inside the Old North Church.  The pew boxes were like nothing they had ever seen before.
 As we started walking away from the church, I snapped one more picture.  We're looking forward to coming back to Boston so the girls can finish exploring the Freedom Trail and complete their Junior Ranger books.

Friday, September 27, 2013

38th Birthday!

Can you guess what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday this year?  Yup, a rainbow cake!  I baked the cake this morning while the girls were at school, and Julia helped me frost the cake when she got home.
We were trying to trick Troy, telling him that there was just a boring, white cake under the white frosting.  But he didn't believe us - he knew there were ultra-bright colors hiding in there.

Whose Bed?

Look whose bed Rosie chose this morning for her nap?  Julia's.  Those two have really been getting along lately...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bird Update

A couple of weeks ago, Evelyn and I spotted this bird in our front yard.  Clearly it's a juvenile something, but we're not sure what kind of bird it is.  Our guess is a northern flicker - it looks like it will have a black necklace on its neck like the adults do.  Plus, it's in an area of the yard where we commonly see adult flickers eating bugs.
This next little guy, a brown creeper, is tough to photograph.  They are shy birds, so if a human is around, they won't be.  Lucky for us, we have one of its favorite trees less than six feet from our back window...and if we sit still, the brown creeper will stick around.  Creepers are always on the move, scooting up tree trunks to find bugs to eat, which is what makes it tricky to capture it with a camera.  We've seen creepers a couple of times, but this is the first (mostly) unblurry picture I got.
 The last time we saw hummingbirds was September 4th.  I think it's safe to say they have headed south for the winter.  So we girls did a little switch-a-roo with the feeders this morning.  We took down the nectar feeder and put up the suet feeder.  We didn't have any suet out this summer because grackles would attack it, and my suet cake would be gone in a matter of hours.  Hopefully the grackles have also gone elsewhere so we can have more cute birds, like this downy woodpecker, eating from the suet feeder.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Baking

Remember the Molina (vanilla extract) I got a little while ago?  Yesterday we girls cracked it open to make sugar cookies!
 We made over six dozen little apples, pumpkins and leaves, each with their own unique sprinkles decoration.
 And if a monster batch of sugar cookies weren't enough, we girls make apple cake this afternoon.  Julia helped me chop apples, and Evelyn mixed all of the dry ingredients together - that includes reading the recipe and doing all of the measuring on her own.
 Then the girls were ready to combine everything together to complete the cake's batter.  Even though I don't have a picture of the finished cake, I can tell you it was delicious!
Apple Cake

1 3/4 cups coarsely-chopped, peeled apples
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

Combine prepared apples and sugar in large mixing bowl; let stand 10 minutes.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice; set aside.  Blend oil and egg into apple/sugar mixture.  Add dry ingredients, stirring just until blended.  Spread evenly in a greased 8-inch square pan.  Bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mmmm...Hot Chai...

Starbucks are few and far between in the Boston area.  The most convenient one for me is the one we drive by on Tuesday afternoons on the way to Julia's Little Gym class (about 20 minutes away).  Now that it's fall, I've gone back to my favorite hot drink - a grande skim chai latte.  With today's brisk Fall weather, I knew where we were stopping before Julia's gymnastics...

Cuddle Bugs

Rosie didn't mind getting love and hugs from Julia this afternoon...

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Lotta Molina!

Look what came in the mail today!  A whole liter of Molina - the best vanilla extract ever!  A HUGE thanks to Kat, in Texas, for sending this to me.  I've already got it's maiden baking voyage planned...stay tuned to see what we girls whipped up...

Rosie's Idea

Julia and I had finished eating lunch.  The dishes were put away, the table was cleaned.  Julia looked around, trying to figure out what to play with.  Rosie clearly had an idea - she had sat down at the doll table, looking imploringly at Julia.  Julia happily obliged by scooting right up to the table and began to play.
Julia served snacks to Pepper (the gray and white dog), Rosie and Rebecca (Julia's doll in the wheelchair) for about 10 minutes.  And who initiated this impromptu dinner party?  That would be our cute little furball, Rosie.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Our New Favorite Ice Cream Joint

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon, and Julia had just finished playing a good soccer game.  What better treat than ice cream?

We've driven by Spruce Pond Creamery a couple of times, but hadn't stopped there...until today.  We were pleasantly surprised to find the menu was very similar to our favorite Maryland dairy (Broom's Bloom in Bel Air).  There were a TON of homemade ice cream choices.  Today's picks were...Troy got strawberry, I got Max's Mudd Pie, Evelyn got peanut butter brownie and Julia got regular chocolate.

We will definitely return to this creamery - and we can't wait to see what will be on the menu!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

MLS Game

As part of her soccer league - the Norfolk Lions Youth Soccer - we were able to get discounted tickets to tonight's Major League Soccer game at Gillette Stadium.  We were also invited to join the pregame tailgating party, where Julia found some yummy hot dogs to eat.
 We found our seats right before the game started.  Julia didn't know who to cheer for - her former town, Washington DC, was playing her current town, Boston.  True to Julia, she changed her alliance all throughout the game.
 The girls wanted a snack, and they got a messy treat:  cotton candy.
 I didn't realized this until Julia said something, but this is the first time she's eaten cotton candy.  Her first bite made her giggle because it "just disappeared" on her tongue.
New England Revolution won tonight's game against DC United 2-1.  Both girls had fun and hope that we'll come back to see another MLS soccer game.  I'm sure we will - Gillette Stadium is only a ten minute drive from our house!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rosie's Lunch-Time Routine

For Rosie's 4th birthday (in June), we got a new toy:  Cat's Meow.  It's a battery-operated gizmo that has a plastic stick which goes around in a circle underneath a yellow cloth.  It took a little while, but after a few weeks, Rosie began to "ask" us to turn it on for her.

Fast-forward to September.  When Julia and I are eating lunch, usually around 1:00, Rosie starts getting wild and frisky.  If I turn on the Cat's Meow, she goes nuts, chasing after that little stick.  I'd say we have an unusual cat because she actually plays with a toy intended for cats!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday Night Dinner

As I mentioned before, we have an hour between the girls' ballet classes to grab a bite to eat.  One of the healthiest fast food options for us is Subway, which is where we dined tonight.  We girls shared a foot-long sub, along with a bag of chips and a lemonade.  All for the low, low price of $7.50.  Not too shabby!


Here's a shot of today's post-gym refreshment, chillin' on the deck...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Intuitive Kitty

Just about every afternoon, a little before 12:40, Rosie hops up into the front window.  Why?  Because Julia's Kindergarten bus is about to drive down the street.  Today I got a picture of Rosie, sitting in her watch-spot.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sleeping Julia...Then and Now

I know I've done a post like this before, but I just had to write about this again (and show pictures).  Here's Julia's favorite sleeping position when she was a baby...
...and here's how Julia was sleeping tonight.  I find it funny that she still prefers to sleep in the same position, even as a five-year-old.

Soccer Time!

It's week two of the Fall soccer season, which means game number two for Julia.  Who's ready to play?
 Julia and her coach (aka me...) are!
 Clearly Julia thought something was funny during our warm-up.  Or she's just trying to be silly and show off for the rest of her team, which consists of seven boys.
 Today was a tough game because the other team kept scoring against us.  That meant Julia's team got to kick the ball into play quite a bit.  It also meant I put more offensive players at midfield than you probably should...  Anyway - here's Julia, putting the ball back into play.
 I'm doing the coaching thing here, trying to rally the blue team to keep playing hard.
 Besides playing goalie, one of Julia's favorite things about playing games is eating orange slices.  Who can blame her?