Thursday, September 23, 2010

Honey Crisps

My dear friend Shannon invited us to go pick apples with her the other week. We gathered up most of our kids and headed to the orchard. The kids were happy, the apples were huge and juicy sweet and the cider doughnuts were delicious. Thank you Monsons!

Kentucky Vacation

I had an extra airline ticket to use and Jim's parents came into town for about two weeks. This all added up to the perfect set up for a long weekend vacation for Jim and I.
We decided to head to Kentucky since that was a state that neither of us have been to. Our first stop, and one I didn't get pictures of, was to the Louisville Slugger museum. Jim got to swing Mickey Mantel's personal bat and we saw how baseball bats were made. It was a really fun tour. Our next stop was to Churchill Downs. It was a huge, palace like place. It was very beautiful.
In the midst of our little travels, I did get to try Derby Pie. It has chocolate and nuts in it, kind of like a pecan pie.
We were able to visit the Louisville Temple. It was beautiful, but what I liked best was how friendly everyone inside was. We were chatted up at every opportunity.
We couldn't have missed Mammoth Cave. We descended 280 stairs through narrow and twisting rocks. It was a little intimidating at first, but it was beautiful.
I was environmentally friendly and had my shoes scrubbed so I wouldn't transfer bat diseases. This was a precaution they take because I wore these shoes in Jewel Cave a few months before. It was neat to see the differences of the two caves.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was the Lexington Food tour we took. I know Jim had his doubts, but he ended up loving it just as much as I did. We went to 7 different local restaurants and were taught a little history as we toured around.
Our fist stop was to Alfalfa's. We had fresh buckwheat blueberry pancakes topped with a homemade blackberry syrup. Wow, soooooo good. If we had stayed here one more day I would have gone back for a full breakfast.
At our second stop we were given a taste of a favorite local soda. It is called Ale 8 1 (a late one). It is kind of gingery, but pretty good. The locals said it is all the rage at the little country church parties.
I forgot the name of this restaurant, but it was very fancy and the chef passed around his cook book. We had fried green tomatoes - which Jim ate and enjoyed, Black Eyed Peas made into croutons, and the most delicious deviled eggs we have ever had.
At this local hang out we had black bean and ham soup, which you could spice up with some lime tequila if you wanted. We stuck to the sour cream and onion add-ons.
The soup came with fried corn sticks and jalapeno butter.......mmmm so warm and delicious.
Here we had bread pudding infused with Bourbon. We weren't too sure how potent the Bourbon was, so we at a few bites to taste it, but didn't eat it all........just in case. :)
These guys are part Italian and part Spanish and decided to get together and make Pasta. They supply local restaurants, work with Chef's to make signature pasta flavors and sell their product at an open air market.
We had their red pepper pasta with a cheese sauce and chicken bites. This was Jim's favorite meal. It was really good. I loved the different flavor and the freshness of the pasta.
Our last stop was another fine dinning restaurant. We had a red pepper and lobster polenta, with a crispy outside topped with a small prawn and sweet Bourbon sauce. It was soooo fun to try something I would never order. And it was very, very good. I didn't have a favorite, I just enjoyed being able to try so many different foods.
We had a great time in Kentucky, it was a beautiful state. And in the end, though we loved our vacation, we were excited to get back too........
our turkeys at home.
Thanks Mom and Pops Atkinson for watching our kids!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Summer Break

As I sat down to post my weekend pictures, I noticed the last posting date for this blog. Apparently I took summer break literally. I stopped doing all my regular life and went into vacation mode.
We had a great summer. We drove west and saw beautiful farm land, tried Wisconsin cheese, put pennies on the railroad tracks to get flattened and actually entered North Dakota.
We met up with Jim's parents and brother Joe and family in the Mount Rushmore area. We saw beautiful mountains, fascinating caves, fed the wild donkeys,
and dug for mammoth bones.
We then headed west again and ended up in Oregon at Honeymon park with our Lathen relatives. There we played on the sand dunes, explored tide pools, rode inner tubes behind the boat, and ate delicious clam chowder.

Our next stop took us east again to the Atkinson camping reunion.
There we cooled off in the creek, enjoyed mountain walks,
played lots of card games and missed having Jim there.
After a time in Idaho we stayed the night in Provo with Amberly and picked up Marybeth to begin the long drive home. Marybeth then joined us for a beautiful day playing on the New Jersey beach before she had to head back home.

To finish off the year a few of us went to camp (scouts, young women, basketball), we all (except Jim) slept in a lot of days, took a weekend trip (Jim included) to Maryland to visit friends and the temple and went shopping to be ready for the school year. Now summer is over and we just had our labor day camping trip. School has begun and kids after school activities begin next week. Valerie is doing piano and volleyball, Nic football, volleyball and organ lessons, Kiley violin, girl scouts and field hockey, Arielle piano gymnastics and girl scouts and Bella girl scouts and gymnastics. Lilly and I go to the gym and hang out and take naps together. Jim goes to work and is busy some days, and not so other days. So now that life is back to a schedule, maybe I'll get back to this more regularly, just like my sister told me to.

Here's to the Tippits

For the second time in a row, we were able to spend Labor Day camping with some great friends. This year our dear friends the Tippits got us all in gear to make reservations and save our spots. At the last minute Todd got a new job and the family left us for the great state of Washington. We thought of them much this weekend as we enjoyed ourselves with cool air, good food, lovely nature and great company.