Sunday, September 20, 2009

Carnival Pride

We are taking a cruise in March to celebrate the Millers' 10 year wedding anniversary. We did a ton of research to narrow down all the options and find THE cruise for us! We decided on the Carnival Pride, which sails out of Baltimore and stops in Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas!

This morning, on the way home from Lancaster, we happened to be driving through Baltimore around 10am, which is when the boat docks every Sunday. What luck! As we drove through the harbor we got a glimpse of it, and after we came out of a tunnel, it was right in front of us!

The boat is huge! And now that I see it, I am so scared to have a balcony room, even though that's what we decided to do. I watch too much Nancy Grace. I can see Nate and getting into a brother/sister fight and both going over the edge into the ocean! So, Nate - NO FIGHTING ON THIS TRIP! I am also concerned about the ratio of life boats to windows/rooms/people. We'll see. Dave and the Millers might have to deal with some of my phobias on the trip. Lucky for them.

Here is the picture Dave snapped as we were driving through:

And now, the darker side of the B&B

Pictures only. No descriptions so as not to incriminate myself. Enjoy:

Lancaster, PA

Dave and I just got back from a long weekend in Lancaster county, PA. We wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of society for a couple of days - and it didn't take long to de-stress once we arrived there!

Thursday, we took our time getting up there because we knew most of the places would be closed by 5, and we'd just have a nice, relaxing night at the Maple Lane B&B. Until we realized there were only 5 TV channels to choose from, and 3 were unable to get a signal. For those of you who know how much TV we watch, you know how devastating this was! :)

Before we settled in for the night, we had dinner at Hershey Farm Restaurant, where they had on display the world record holding Whoopie pie - this is a Pennsylvania Amish treat - and this thing was huge! It was there because they held the annual Whoopie pie festival this weekend.

World Record Whoopie

Dave posing with the Amish statue at Hershey Farm

Friday, we had breakfast with Ed and Marian at the B&B and got an early start to the day. We visited some Amish shops on the local farms, and picked up an awesome birdhouse!

We had lunch on an Amish farm, next to the workers who were building Adirondack chairs - couldn't get in their heads because they were speaking PA Dutch - and then drove around exploring. Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse was my favorite visit that day! They had the most beautiful selection of mums!

We went back to the B&B briefly to take a break, and then went back out to dinner at the Family Cupboard. Once our bellies were full, we went to the Living Waters Theater to see Abraham and Sarah: A Journey of Love. It was an awesome show about the perseverance of the couple on their path to parenthood. Sarah wanted nothing more than to be a mother, and her and Abraham's patience and faith paid off.

Saturday, after having breakfast with our Canadian B&B housemates, Doug and Jane, we drove to Leola for the annual produce auction. Since the Amish marry cousins, 9 in 21 of their children are born with genetic/inherited disorders, and Dr. Holmes Morton's clinic treats these children at no cost. I have never seen so man Amish and Mennonite people in one place, but it was great to see the whole community come together for such a special cause. Local fire departments were serving food, with all proceeds being donated to the clinic, and several local businesses and artisans donated merchandise to be auctioned to help as well.

Saturday afternoon after lunch we went back to the B&B for a nap, and then Dave went out to take some pictures. Here are some of his best shots:

Strasburg Railroad

Buggies clopping by the B&B

Pumpkin cart at a roadside stand

Saturday night was a lazy one. 2 short days in Amish country wore us out! A lot of walking, and long days exhausted us so we went to bed early, and got up early today to come home. Back to reality - homework, work work, and life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tonight's treat...Butternut squash muffins!

When Bonnie and I left the zoo the other day, we stopped by Chesterfield Berry Farm. I picked up an eggplant and a butternut squash.

After searching high and low for a recipe that didn't have 3 cups of sugar - that is a lot of sugar!!!!! - I decided to make these muffins. They're cooling now...hope they are tasty!

Also, Dave taught me how to take closeup pictures that are actually in focus, instead of just one part being in focus. Yay for that!

This was the batch that used up all my flour in the active container.

When I opened my backup container later to make a second batch - still have 2 cups of squash - I found flour bugs!! EW!!! I knew I shouldn't have bought so much flour at one time! GROSS - I hope no one ever has to see that sight! Blech.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Metro Richmond Zoo

For day 2 of our vacation, we went to the Metro Richmond Zoo. Who needs to go all the way to DC?

This zoo is great because it's small enough that you don't feel you have to rush to see everything, and there is rarely a crowd there. We were a little scared when we saw 4 school buses in the parking lot, but the group left right after we got there. Crisis averted!

I saw what I thought was an amazing thing while we were at the orangutan exhibit. A plastic water bottle was laying in the grass - I assume someone threw it over there? The orangutan picked it up, dipped it in the mote that surrounds the exhibit, and drank the water he collected. Maybe this is normal behavior, but I thought it was the most awesome thing! Him smart.

Tomorrow is a yard sale and a game night - the fun never stops! Well, until Sunday, when it is homework time!

National Aquarium

Bonnie and I had planned to be off all this week to do some road trips and go to the beach, but things didn't turn out that way for me! So we stuck to 2 road trips - the first was to Baltimore. (That's Balmer for us Virginians)

We picked up Bonnie's aunt, Karen, on the way up and hung out all day on the harbor. First stop was the National Aquarium. We walked around the aquarium first - saw some fish, frogs, birds, and stingrays. I made friends with a guide, who I'll call Pearl, and I'm pretty sure she told me a dolphin was the same as a Beluga whale. Really? I don't think so. Pearl needs to go back to school.

Then we headed over to the new building (new to us, anyways) to watch their dolphin show. I wish the show was less about the environment and more about the dolphins (hence the name), but I understand we're sending a message to the kiddies about conservation.

This is the only picture that was decent - those dolphins move fast!

Ok, this one's good too:

After the dolphin show, we walked around Harborplace and had Johnny Rockets for lunch - mmmm, tuna melt with pepperjack cheese! We visited the Coach store, and didn't buy anything! The sales girl said Coach is lowering prices to respond to consumers' needs, but of course the bag I picked up was one whose price has not been adjusted. Such is life - but isn't it pretty?

We were pretty spent after all that, so we headed home - day 2 is coming soon!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wild Ginger

We have a new favorite restaurant - Wild Ginger

My VP recommended it since he lives near this new shopping center, and we finally tried it out tonight. The cuisine is Pan-Asian and it was fantastic!

We left feeling just full enough without that "Blech, I ate way too much" feeling - if you live here or just come for a visit, you should check it out.

Also, it's not a chain! Definitely a plus - a lot of the sushi entrees even had local names...

We started off with Peppercorn Calamari with a gyoza sauce, which was like soy sauce on crack! Then we tried the Bogey's Roll - many places call it a Philadelphia roll - salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber, with shrimp and avocado on top. We finished with the Flaming Avocado - salmon, tuna, and avocado mixed together and broiled in the avocado shell, with blue cheese mayo on top - heavenly!

I can't rave enough about this place - you MUST visit! :)

PS - Bonnie, I can hear you gagging from here! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Lazy Saturday

Dave is playing paintball, the Millers are on their way to Ohio, homework can wait, so I decided to get in the kitchen and make something sweet today:

Friday, September 4, 2009


Ok, so I didn't grow these myself, but aren't they pretty in the little planter?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Best friends...

I’ve always been the type of person who has a few very close friends, instead of a ton of friends I barely know and only see once in a while. I’ve been thinking about old friends and new the past couple of days and have been reminiscing about the reasons why certain people stick out in my mind.

These are my friends from high school…we had things in common, but we weren’t clones of each other. We each had our own style, strengths and weaknesses in school, and taste in boys - except we all liked Jamie Newton. He was HOT.

Carrie was the crazy one. She once spontaneously faked an orgasm, a la “When Harry Met Sally,” in the bathroom at Varina High School during a band competition. I was MORTIFIED! So was the lady who came in to see what the raucous was about. She wore overalls and tank tops, showed up to school 10 minutes late with wet hair every day, and snuck out of her house when she was grounded…out the window, old school style. Was “Major League” really worth it, Carrie? :)

Cynthia was more conservative. We knew she’d graduate at the top of her class, go to a prestigious college, and be successful, but she always made time for us. I rarely saw her stressed out, even though her multiple AP classes were undoubtedly overwhelming. She had unpredictable crushes on varying types of boys in school. Her dad was a lawyer, her sister went to Duke, and she had some high expectations to live up to. And she was really funny, but didn’t let most people see that side of her. She and I were the shy ones in the group. Always found in jeans, destination t-shirt, and Keds. Always.

Then there’s Maureen. Where do I start? We bonded in middle school because we didn't really fit in. We were both a little awkward, but liked to make fun of the same people in 8th grade Algebra. That was fun - I'll never forget the way Ben draws a 9. Who knew years later he'd be one of our best friends? Anyways...back to Maureen. She was a bit of a free spirit. She dressed how she liked, paired unconventional things together and made it work. She still does and she is FAB. She embraced her curly hair and neither of us cared that no one else in our class spent their weekend watching movies instead of at parties. "Stand by Me" will always have a place on my top ten list.

The four of us were together most of the time, and there was no jealousy if Cynthia and I decided to go out alone, or if Maureen and Carrie went out, or if Maureen and I had a sleepover like old least none that I knew about. Sure we fought about stupid things, like the NERVE Maureen had getting a boyfriend! UGH...but we all know how that turned out - Congrats Mo and Phil on 9 years of marriage! :) Remember that 9 page letter I wrote to you and made Carrie and Cynthia sign - it was a letter of grievances? I can be such a bitch!

Other friends came and went, boys were hot and not, but the four of us were solid.

Love you girls and I wish we saw each other more often!

Have you ever seen anything so lovely?

At the risk of sounding pretentious and materialistic, I am so excited about my most recent purchase.

I heart these shoes. And I saved $59.30 from the original price!