Today, we were excited to become members of the Museum of Science! We went down to the museum early in the morning and signed up for a membership. We took advantage of our first day as members to see geckos, tamarin monkeys, bonsai trees, nanotechnology exhibits, and more. The girls even took part in a Harvard University research study.
Esme rocks out on the balcony. Longfellow Bridge in the background.
View more photos from the Museum of Science.
Another great thing about today was the awesome turkey taco dinner I made tonight. We did it make-your-own-taco style, with separate bowls of seasoned ground turkey, black beans, brown rice, sour cream, shredded jack cheese, salsa, soft and hard taco shells, and a heaping pile of Xochitl chips. The girls loved making their own custom tacos, and ate plenty of them!
More turkey taco photos.
Finally, I experimented today by taking all of the photos for our visit to the MoS on my iPhone! Usually on this type of trip, I would bring my digital SLR, a few lenses, and some other supplies. This time it was just me, Rebecca and the girls, and my iPhone. I think the photos turned out pretty well. What do you think?
There were signs that maybe this evening’s picnic at Dane Street Beach wasn’t meant to happen. It could have been when we arrived at the beach and were greeted with a chilly breeze. Maybe it was when Esme flung an entire shovelful of sand onto our picnic blanket while we were eating our egg salad sandwiches, coating Rebecca’s with sand. But if those signs weren’t enough, we knew the picnic was doomed when “Rambo,” someone’s unleashed Boston Terrier, ran all over our picnic while we were still trying to eat the remains of our meal, kicking sand into everything, ate a bite of my sandwich, stole one of the girls’ sand shovels, ran across our blanket two or three more times, all while his owners did little or nothing to rein him in. At this point we just had to laugh about our misfortune, and agreed that it was time to pack it in. To add insult to injury, as we were packing up, one of the dog’s owners started smoking and blew a cloud of second-hand smoke towards us from upwind. Here’s to knowing when enough is enough!
Of course, despite our misfortune, I managed to get some photos of the outing, showing that in the midst of the ‘fail,’ there was still some ‘win’ to be had.
Lynch Park, Independence Park, Dane Street Beach, it doesn't matter... great view of the Salem Power Plant from all!
See the rest o’ the photos in our gallery.
It’s getting closer to Christmas, and that means more parties! This weekend we trekked to two!
First was the Lowes’ traditional Christmas brunch in Townsend, MA on Saturday. Rebecca’s parents put this event on every year, and it’s one of my favorites. 🙂 Dianne cooks a ton of delicious food, and their house is filled with many friends from Townsend. One of my favorites from this year was the pineapple souffle. Mmmmmhmmm.
It’s also good to catch up with the folks in Townsend, and this year there were three new babies on the scene.
More photos from the brunch here.
Today our friends Zach and Andrea had a Christmas party at their home in Quincy, and we headed down for that as well. We ran into some of the same folks from the Lowes’ party, including the same babies. 🙂 Catherine and Esme enjoyed joining the other kids in the limelight and got plenty of attention from their Uncle Corey.
Corey and his Nieces
More photos from Zach and Andrea’s party here.
Now we just have a few weeks left before Christmas and all of the get-togethers surrounding it. Nothing planned for next weekend – yet!
It is raining. It’s been raining for the better part of two weeks. But it didn’t rain on Wednesday, so we rushed to take advantage of the sun. And what better activity on a sunny day in June than strawberry picking!
Connors Farm in Danvers was close, not to pricey and turned out to be chock full of plump, juicy strawberries. We arrived, took a quick tour of the farm stand and collected our cardboard flat. Catherine did a good job picking. She mostly stuck to choosing the nice red berries and didn’t wander off too many times. Her main concern is that we didn’t fill all six containers. When she got bored of picking she grabbed the camera and took a few pictures. We had a nice trip to the farm!
We ate our fill of strawberries, but still had plenty left over as we watched the rain on Thursday morning. A quick search led me to this recipe for Strawberry Jam. As we had all the ingredients on hand we set forth making jam.
The method was easy, hampered only by my lack of proper canning supplies. Catherine helped with the mashing and the stirring…and the tasting! The taste is perfect- sweet, but not exceedingly so (we cut the sugar in half, for health and our love of tartness). Last night I thought the consistency was too runny, more like a sauce, but after a night in the fridge it seems to have solidified into a more jam-like substance. I’m looking forward to trying the recipe again.
You can find photos of strawberry picking on Wednesday and jam making on Thursday by clicking here!
With the green leaves of Spring upon us and the warm air of Summer sneaking in, Catherine and I have replaced our ‘oatmeal for every breakfast’ routine for something a bit cooler- Smoothies.
Or “Sweeties”” as Catherine has been calling them. They’re thick, fruity, sweet and they fill our tummies up for days full of adventure. In the world of natural and healthy eating they’re known as Green Smoothies. We whip up a batch every morning- mine is gone quickly, while Catherine savors hers in between reading her Richard Scary books and ‘Dressing the Bear that Josie Gave me’; two favorite morning activities.
Here’s our recipe if you’re interested (amounts are approximate and vary based on what I have on hand)
In blender, combine:
1/2 cup frozen Blueberries
1/2 cup frozen Strawberries
2/3 of one Banana *note- I cut bananas into thirds and freeze ahead of time
1 large handful Spinach leaves, chopped well
1 cup (or more) Plain, No-fat yogurt
Splash of Orange Juice (optional and yummy)
Blend until smooth. A word from Catherine- “The blender is not scary. It is just loud. But not too loud.”
The yogurt we have been using the past couple weeks is a batch that we made ourselves. We put our crock pot to work and followed the instructions found on the blog Nourishing Days. It came out a bit runny for normal yogurt eating, but is perfect for smoothies!
The fruit combo above is easy for us and we like it, but feel free to try other combinations. We should mix it up sometimes as well… Any good suggestions?
For a variety of reasons, I had a craving for Thai food tonight, so I took the family out for dinner at Siam Delight. I had my usual Country Fried Rice (not an especially unique Thai dish, I know) and Beef Soup, and Rebecca had Mee Pad See Yue. Catherine nibbled at some rice and peas, but mostly kept us busy chasing her around the restaurant. 🙂 Here’s Rebecca enjoying her meal:
More pictures from Siam Delight.
Later this evening, Rebecca and I huddled out in the cold to watch the lunar eclipse. I did my best to get some photos, but due to a combination of the cold and trying to use some unfamiliar settings on my camera, none of them came out particularly well. You can see the few decent photos from the eclipse.
Part of our commitment to living more conscious lives involves being more local consumers. Buying locally grown and produced foods from local vendors is good for both the environment and the local economy. We have already changed our eating out habits in order to patronize local establishments (Acapulcos, Pizza Bella Mia, Daily Harvest Cafe) and we’re working on filling our pantry with locally produced staples.
When it comes to groceries we’ve always shopped at Market Basket. They’re a locally owned franchise of grocery stores that don’t waste time and money on advertising, websites, or stock presentation. They just have low prices and a wide selection of groceries. They’re based out of Tewksbury, Ma, so I already feel better knowing that we aren’t supporting a multinational company like Stop and Shop.
In the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a few positive changes at my local Market Basket. First, they got on board with the larger chains and started selling their own, branded, reusable shopping bags. Yay! I haven’t bought any, though, because I already have enough bags. They have also upgraded their checkout computer systems. My receipt is now printed on both sides and I can now sign the digital tablet when I pay with my credit card- both of which save paper on every transaction! And slowly but surely I am training the baggers to fill up my cloth bags and forgo the plastic. I’d like to think that eventually they’ll use so little plastic that they’ll stop offering it all together!
I usually stick to my list while shopping and buy the least expensive/best value of the selection that I can find. Take peanut butter for instance. Normally I buy the Market Basket brand at $1.50 a jar. This week I noticed that the same size jar of Teddie all natural peanut butter was 2/$4. I decided to pay the extra 50 cents to check it out. As it turns out, Teddie is a local, family owned company, based right here in Everett, Ma. And as an extra bonus the peanut butter comes in a wide mouth glass jar that will be perfect for fridge storage once we’ve licked it clean of pb!
The last month or so we’ve also been drinking local milk. Those of you on the North Shore will certainly know Richardson‘s for their ice cream but they also sell their own milk. I don’t drink milk, but Peter claims that it tastes quite good and milky. I like the fact that Richardson’s raises their own cows and feeds them corn and grain that they grow themselves here in Massachusetts. We do have to drive a little further to get it, but I think it is a good trade off.
We’ll continue to seek out opportunities to buy local food. When the weather warms up I’m sure we’ll have a ball at the farmer’s markets that are in our area! How do you support your local farmers and economy?
Peter, Catherine and I had the opportunity to check out a new local restaurant last week. The Daily Harvest Cafe recently opened on High Street in Danvers and we were eager to give it a try.
We were all very pleased with what we found there. Catherine loved the wagon full of kids toys and was disappointed to see that the kid sized table was already occupied. Peter and I were intrigued by the variety of the menu offerings. Peter had the “Chloe” (a turkey and muenster sandwich with a cranberry orange mayo) and I had the Thai Chicken Wrap. Both were delicious! It was difficult to choose from all the sandwiches, salads and burgers on the menu. They also had a huge selection of natural juices and bottled soda as well as a soda fountain serving Real City Soda.
I particularly like that if you ‘eat in’ your sandwich comes on a real plate and you get a real glass for your fountain soda! It is great that they are doing their part to reduce waste. Overall, it is a comfortable, earth/health conscious, locally owned establishment. We will definitely be going back.
Thanks to Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox, on October 30 we scored three free tacos at Taco Bell!
There was quite a lineup at the North Shore Mall’s Taco Bell location. See our Gallery for more photos!
I recently mixed up a tasty little summer salad…and, as it turns out, Catherine LOVES it!
Click the photo for more cute shots!
Here’s the recipe:
1 can of Black Beans, rinsed and drained
1 can of Sweet Corn, rinsed and drained
1/2 jar of Salsa
Mix all ingredients and refrigerate a while- until it gets cold and the flavors have a chance to mix together.