Friday, June 28, 2013

Greek Fest

I remember Maggie Hogan saying once that learning geography is so much more than maps.  You need to learn about a country's culture.  And that is truly learning geography.  Well, we had a chance to learn about Greek Culture this spring when we visited the Greek Fest at a local Greek Orthodox Church.

There was delicious food.  We tried just about everything and brought home some baklava.  There was entertainment.  We watched the children's troop in traditional garb do several dances.

We toured the church and it was really lovely.  There were crafts displays in the rooms downstairs.  But the sanctuary is really lovely.  All in all it was a great way to learn a bit more about Greek culture and religion.  Maggie Hogan was right!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Knit Out.

Not to be confused with the Knit In we do in August, or World Wide Knitting in Public Day which also happens in June, my BFF and I participated in a Knit Out at a store in Southern PA called The Knitting Cottage.  This was a wonderful day!

It was really warm for early June so we were a little worried about knitting outside in the heat, but there were a few awnings put up under a cluster of trees.  All day there was a lovely breeze.  I didn't get hot at all.

But it was really the people who made this day special.  Of course any day with the girl who's known me longer than any friend on the planet is a good day.  But the group of knitters that spend time at the Knitting Cottage are such a friendly group.  We have knit at different stores over the last few years, but this group was special.  They treated us like they had known us forever.  They even invited us to knit with them on Saturdays.  One of the girls said, "Sometimes we go out to lunch after a morning knitting!"  It was like we were locals.  I felt completely at home at The Knitting Cottage.  I just wish it wasn't over an hour and a half away from home.

When we arrived under the tents they handed us one of those "Hi My Name Is" stickers.  Some people hate them, but I don't.  It's a way for people to get to know you.  And the ladies all took the time to learn our names as they spoke to us.

While there I cast on a new pattern.  A few friends and I are working on "Racing Raindrops" from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. This is the first time I have knit with beads and I love it!  It's a simple procedure to add the beads as you go instead of pre-stringing them.  I can't wait to be able to wear this baktus-type scarf in the near future.  It's a very easy pattern but a great way to begin with beads.

I bought some lime-green DK-weight cotton to make this hat.  I'll blog about that in a couple days, I think.  I also got a frixion pen.  Have you found those yet?  They're great erasable pens.

It was a terrific day.  A week later we celebrated WWKIP at another of our favorite stores in the opposite direction.  I'll tell you about that another time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

No bake cheesecake

Here's a glimpse of tonight's dessert. It's No Cook Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake from Everyday Food!  

Are you doing any special weekend cooking?

Friday, June 21, 2013

Survival Day

On Friday, May 31, 2013 several mom's hosted a five-hour event that was custom made for our boys!  They spent the day teaching basic survival skills in a round-robin fashion to a group of nearly 50 children.

The event was held at a state park near our home.  The boys moved between five stations during the course of the day.  There was a one-hour break for lunch.  The kids had time to play on the playground or participate in water-tag during the lunch hour.  Our five stations were:
  • Making a fire and building a shelter.
  • Navigating with a compass.
  • Finding potable water.
  • Edible plants.
  • Trapping small animals.
Each station was almost an hour long and very hands-on.  This was an event tailor-made for our boys.  They have always loved the outdoors and being adventurers.  When they were little they watched Davey Crockett and listened to Sugar Creek Gang audios to learn about being an outdoorsman.  One of their favorite books is The Handybook for Boys.  They also loved the Dangerous Book for Boys.  At various times we've had shelters, fires, and traps in our yard.

We didn't actually trap any animals, but all the children had the opportunity to build a few examples of traps. They built a fire as a group and started a shelter before running out of time.  The water station was mostly examples, but the kids did have an opportunity to tramp around in the creek.  For the navigation course, the instructor set a course and the kids used their compasses to navigate it.  And the edible plants was a walk on a trail with the instructor pointing out lots of examples of edibles.  

This is something a group of families could put together for their children with relative ease.  All you need is a big enough space for all the kids to move and a plan.  It was a great introduction into survival skills.  You could learn what to teach from one of the books I mentioned above or even just doing a little research on line.  It would be a great course to teach to all children over the summer months.  Give it a try!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The National Aquarium

I recently posted that we whisked the boys away to Baltimore's Inner Harbor recently for an overnight getaway.  For me, the highlight of our getaway was spending a few hours in the National Aquarium.  Because it was the Saturday before Memorial Day, it was crowded, but we did get to see everything and didn't have to fight the crowds too much.  I had to laugh as all the adults were crowded around one tropical fish tank saying, "Where's Dorie?  Where's Nemo?"  Yes, it was the adults calling for the Disney characters. Another highlight of the tanks at the beginning of the tour were three little girls who couldn't have been more than five-years-old.  They would move to a talk and squeal and scream with delight.  It was so much fun to just listen to them.

The shark tank ran several floors high.  You started at the top and worked your way down a spiral ramp viewing the sharks as they swam past large windows.  I was watching the sharks travel but I couldn't get up close to any of the windows because of the people.  In one corner there was an open window with no one standing in front of it.  There were also no sharks travelling in front of the window.  I knew that if I waited, my patience would pay off.  So I stood patiently for just a minute or two, and, BOY, was my patience rewarded.  A shark swam past the window, did a u-turn and brought his face right up to the window!  It took my breath away.  The pictures below are from the walls around the shark tank.  There were silhouettes of sharks illuminated from behind.  They were really striking.


After the sharks we went to the dolphin tank.  It was so much fun to watch them jumping out of the water just for fun.  We were able to go below the pool and watch them swimming under the water.  There were a couple families there while we were watching the dolphins.  T-Bone and I were sitting on a carpet-covered bench just watching the dolphins swim past our eyes when I felt a little person snuggling up to me.  It has been 11 years since I've had a little person that small so I knew it wasn't one of my boys.  I looked down to see a little girl in a purple sparkly t-shirt and tutu hugging me.  She looked up and whispered "I'm Cassie."  I whispered, "Hi Cassie."  Then she stayed there touching my necklace and hugging me.  After 30 seconds or so she walked over to T-Bone and hugged him and said, "I'm Cassie."  It was a precious moment in time.  It was one of those times that I can treasure every time I think about it.  Her mom said something like "She's not shy."  Or "She's so outgoing."  I just smiled and said, "She's fine."

And then we went to the jelly fish exhibit.  It.  Was.  Amazing.  I took a video at every display and could have spent an hour in the little room with all the jellies.  They were so soothing to watch and super-beautiful! I put a picture of jellies as my wallpaper on my iPhone because I loved them so much.!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Sneaking Away to Baltimore!

A few weeks ago we took the boys to Baltimore.  We only stayed for one night, but we made the most of that time!

 We had A-MAZ-ING weather and a beautiful room right on the harbor.  After checking into the room we crossed the street for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.  We had never eaten at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant before that day.  All four of us are fans of the TV show Big Bang Theory, where one of the characters, Penny, is a waitress at Cheesecake Factory.  So we were excited to eat there.  Well, our waitress was named Bernadette!  Bernadette is also a character who waitresses at Cheesecake Factory in the TV show.  So we were over the moon about that little coincidence.  We had an amazing lunch and topped it off with, you betcha, cheesecake!
After lunch we bought tickets to tour the submarine and the sailing ship that are harbored full-time at Inner Harbor.  I wasn't sure if Big Mac was going to be able to tour the submarine.  He gets uncomfortable in enclosed spaces.  But he managed just fine!  I thought this compass near the center of the sub was beautiful.
  We had 3 PM tickets to the National Aquarium and a little time to kill so we went to the large Barnes & Noble bookstore near the aquarium.  We all found books that we just couldn't live without!

And then it was Aquarium time.  We close to three hours seeing everything at the aquarium and I took a LOT of pictures.  As a matter of fact, I think I'll do a separate post about the aquarium.  I have some great stories to tell.  But for now, I think this is one of my favorite pics.  Is this guy a cutey or what?
By evening, we were getting pretty tired.  We got up really early so that we could have a full day on the harbor and we were feeling it.  We grabbed a bite at Hard Rock Cafe.  The food was "eh" but now we can say we've eaten at a Hard Rock.  Then headed to our room for some relaxation.

The next morning we had brunch at the hotel and headed across the street to tour the beautiful sailing ship.  I may have to create a separate entry for that too...again, I took a lot of pictures.  Then we hit a couple shops before heading home.  It was all over too soon.  We have all been longing to go back ever since we had a brief taste of Inner Harbor.  Who knows?  Maybe a day-trip is in order sometime soon!  I'll leave you with a picture of my three favorite men on the deck of the U.S.S. Constellation.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Movies at The Elks

Members of our family have gone to The Elks Theater in Middletown, PA for years.  But recently this 102 year old theater has had it's life threatened.  There is a campaign now to save the Elks Theater.  They are selling memberships where you get special movie perks.  They are featuring older movies being shown once again on the big screen.  A few weeks ago we saw Back to the Future in 35mm.  It was nostalgic and wonderful.

This weekend they are showing Indiana Jones on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  We are planning on taking in that movie.  It is part of their Spielberg month.  You can see classic Spielberg movies all month. 

The price for tickets to the movies are still less than anywhere else and your ticket helps to save a piece of Central PA history.  If you're in the area, check out The Elks.  If you are not in the area, find a vintage theater in your neck of the woods that you can support!