Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Today we had our medieval feast to wrap up our unit on the Medieval and Renaissance time periods. At each dinner for the time periods, we set out work that the kids have done. With this unit, the kids had lap books of rocks and minerals and the solar system. They put together a book of the middle ages and Raeley wrote a report of Joan of Arc. Raeley had a sample of her calligraphy work, the kids learned how to crochet, and the boys whittled a boat and a cross out of soap. They also put together a castle, which served as our center piece. While I was putting the finishing touches on dinner, they played an astronomy game the kids made. After dinner, the Jonathan and Uncle Sonny (Bob) played chess.
Our opening prayer:
A Grace for Children
What God gives, and what we take,
'Tis a gift for Christ His sake:
Be the meal of beans and peas,
God be thanked for those, and these:
Have we flesh, or have we fish,
All are fragments from His dish.
He His Church save, and the King,
And our peace here, like a spring,
Make it ever flourishing.
The kids sang Be Thou My Vision as we covered several hymns in the unit. Molly, a friend of mine (Ally's mom, Cameron's best friend) taught the kids how to sing, as they have had no voice training on singing to sheet music. They sang a capella and did a great job!
They also played a little game on saying the books of the bible. Cameron did great, hanging with the big kids!
Pictured below - Ryc Lombard with Dragees (molded rice ring with ginger candies), Cherry Pottage (like applesauce only made with cherries), Farsure (pork and currant stuffing), Spinnage Tart (Spinach Pie), Eyroun(eggs) in Lentyn (almond paste in egg shells)
Lombard Soup (venison soup)
I had intended to, but just forgot, to have Gregorian chant music in the background, and have lots of candles burning. We did remember to dress the part!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Cameron ran all by herself! She did great! Raeley ran in with Cameron.
The Gumtree Festival was May 9th. The town puts on a festival with great artists, kid's activities, a stage for local groups to perform, and musicians. There is also a 10k and a 2k. The boys and Cameron ran in the 2k, and Raeley helped the kids in wheelchairs that were pushed by runners who ran in the 10k. Mark and I say year after year that we are going to run and we haven't yet, but the boys really want to run in the 10k next year, so we are going to train together. At the festival we bought some really cool yard art. Remember when we went to the Jerry Brown art festival in Hamilton, AL? We ordered a creamer and sugar bowl from an artist from Blue Mountain when we went to the Jerry Brown Festival. He has come up with some great new pottery that he had on display at the Gumtree. Our pottery has muscadine leaves on it, so we will get it whenever the leaves come into season. By the way, our yard art IS cool, nothing made out of wood. I'll show you when we have it displayed!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Jennifer from All Sufficient Grace - about Mother's Day:
This one has been a hard one for some reason. I guess my life has changed in the last year drastically and I guess that is just a part of life, it is always changing. But, today as I went to see my mom's grave I was thinking of some of the things she taught me.
1. Never tell your dad to "Shut up"
2. Always go to weddings
3. Always go to funerals
4. Don't talk about someone with someone other than your mother.
5. There are people that will be nice/nasties.
6. Watch out for said people.
7. Always do your best
8. Keep your house clean. ( still trying to do that all of the time)
9. Laugh often
10. Serve others
11. Stand by your man
12. Never talk about your husband to your children...just your sister.
13. I will not know what tired is until I have kids.
14. Set the table correctly
15. Sing with your mouth open
16. Be your kids biggest Cheerleader
17. Leave work at work.
18. Be a woman of excellence and elegance
19. Be nice to your sister. She is all you have.
20. Take a shower daily.
21. Family is important
22. Hate the sin, not the sinner
23. Save money
24. Pay your bills
25. Buy nice things (on sale)
There are so many comments that I could leave beside each one because there IS a story there. But, that is between she and I. I love my mom so much and miss her like crazy. If you still have your mom...do NOT complain about her. If you don't...I know kinda how you feel. This is my dad 1st Mother's day with out his Mom and this is some of my friends 1st Mother's day as a mom. Life is funny and "Sucky" all at the same time. Good and Bad. Mom, Your legacy Lives on Forever!!! Thanks.
Monday, May 11, 2009
(not pictured: Auggie, Robert, and Andrew)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
We finally made it to a restaurant for breakfast that many different people had recommended to us. It was called the Boonfly, and as cute as the name sounds, it was! We spent way too long trying to decide what to order (and talking to well wishers calling me on my birthday), but we started off with homemade donuts and a cuppa joe. Best decision! We split a breakfast pizza that was very good. I still wonder what a few other dishes tasted like, and although we didn't make it there for another sit down breakfast, we did grab a few more donuts on our way to the airport the next morning.
We decided to drive up the other stretch of road that runs through Napa Valley after breakfast. It was a very pretty drive flanked by rows of grapvines. With fewer wineries off of the path and since it didn't directly run through the little towns like the other main road, it was more of a country drive. Our first stop was Stag's Leap. We didn't call ahead for a tour, but we heard the tour of the old barn was great. The wine was a little higher priced, and although it started out as a family winery, it is currently under a commercial label, I believe bought out by a french winery. We took a few bottles of white wine because although it is higher priced, you can definitely taste the higher quality.
After Stags Leap, we went to an organic winery, Honig. They use dogs to sniff out caterpillars and birds to keep insects off the grapes. We enjoyed their wine also, and got our most expensive purchase, a bottle of dessert wine, sauvignon blanc. It is not pure wine, so it should last indefinitely. I don't understand how that works, but I look forward to making a dessert with some of it added to homemade whipped cream.
Lunch was at Greystone. Again, Mark and I split a main course, and we got a bowl of soup that was different and very good. I wish I could remember what it was! Our main course was excellent, and had a great presentation.
Since it was tax day, even though it was my birthday, we ended up having to run around some that afternoon and find a place to receive faxes and then stick our tax payments in the mail. Ouch. Glad we were in wine country to relax our nerves after that news! I walked around the small town of St. Helena and got some coffee at a coffee shop(Blue Mountain freshly ground - the coffee from Jamaica - perfect!). Then we hit our final four wineries to end our Napa tour. Franciscan, Napa Cellars, Folie A Deux, and Consentino. All I can say is that I could have skipped Napa Cellars and Folie A Deux. Lower priced wines, which we went to some of the most expensive wineries on our tour today, so that kinda ruined it right there, but it was also after the Franciscan, and I fell in love with two of the wines at the Franciscan. They were $80 and $100, but they were outstanding. I understood the term "chewy red" a little after the wine tasting at the castle, but I understood it oh-so-much-more-clearly after this reserve wine tasting. The good news is Franciscan is sold at restaurants and in stores. As a matter of fact, I saw a bottle at a restaurant last week! I don't think I'll be buying one of those bottles anytime soon, though.
After we toured the wineries, we went back to the hotel, soaked in the hot tub for a while, then went into Napa for dinner. We ate at an Italian Restaurant that night, and Mark thought it was the best Italian food he'd ever had! After all the wineries and the bottle of wine we ordered at dinner, I don't remember the meal much. They did bring me out a cupcake with a candle, but we were soooo full after our meal, we each took a sample bite.
That pretty much wraps up our trip. It was lots of fun and I really liked San Francisco! Mark's favorite was Muir Woods. The Napa Valley was a great experience as well.
Monday, May 4, 2009
We ate breakfast in the room (bread and fruit from the farmer's market in San Francisco)because we had to be at a meeting that morning to get some info on the resort. In exchange, we got a package for either two for one tastings or free tastings at various wineries. Fortunately for us, they overbooked the presentation, so we got the package of free wine tastings and got to leave early! We started south again, going to Madonna Estates, one of the oldest wineries in the area, family run, and organic. We picked up quite a few bottles from there, and really enjoyed the reserve wine tasting. They had a piniot grigio variety, not a very abundant grape for the area, but one of my mom's favorites, so we got a bottle for her.
We went back to V. Sattui Winery and ate lunch outside. A few years ago, Rachel Ray featured this place on her show. There was a cute Hollywood actress and her spiffed up boyfriend there grabbing a bite to eat also. We split a sandwich and a few different salads and did another wine tasting. Their wine is a little more reasonably priced than other places we have been. Leaving there, we went to their sister winery, owned by the same man, which was a castle.
We toured the castle and enjoyed it more than I thought we would. The wine tasting there was very, very good. Mark got the reserve wine tasting, and sampled some very, very expensive wine. They even broke out some chocolates (one kind had sea salt in it- wow!) for us to see how chocolate and wine are pared and change the flavor of the wine. I was very impressed with this tasting. The setting was great! We spent quite a while there, and picked out a case to have shipped to us.
We also stopped by Peju winery which had some great sculptures on the grounds. The wine there was very good and a little pricier, but I really liked their cabernet sauvignon. We slipped in to St. Supery for a quick tasting and walked away with two whites - very fresh and not too sweet. After a full day of wine tasting, we headed out of Napa Valley to Sonoma to meet some college friends for dinner. What a treat! We went to college with Keoke (although we knew him as George. He was one of our Campus Crusade buddies) and he went on staff with Crusade after college. He has recently gone back to college as his life is taking a different path, and it was great to catch up and discuss our life's journeys after all these years. We had met his wife Chris several years back and it was great to get to know her a little better. She is as cool as I remember, and great to hang out with. They wanted us to try a restaurant called The Girl and The Fig. It was a very good restaurant, very California-ish. The food was delish! A memorable night, as it is always hearwarming to be in the presence of old friends.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Our massage experience - we went straight to the spa at the resort where we were staying to spend some time in the whirlpool and steam room before our couple's massage. The spa itself is a cave with vineyards above it. The whirlpool in the ladies area was beautiful and soothing, with a stone wall that had water running down over it. The steam room was very pretty as well. After meeting Mark in the common area, another beautiful room, we went on to our couple's massage. There were chocolates and champagne by the whirlpool tub, which had lots of places for the bubbles to come out rather than a few strong jets. The bottom of the jacuzzi had different color lights that would shine through the water and the bubbles, very cool! We had a while to spend together before our couple's massage would start. What a great way to relax before our massage! Then our hour massage. It's funny how each place I have been to does things a little different, adding their own touch. The way they massaged my hands was different, and something that I liked was the way they wrapped the towel around my head when I was laying on my back. It kept my hair out of my face and felt snug. They took the towel and the bottom edge that ran under my neck was wrapped across the side of my head, over my ears and forehead. At the end of the massage, they twisted/pulled my hair in the towel which felt really good. It is similar to when you wrap your hair in a towel after your shower, only different. The lady who gave me my massage was very, very good. What a great way to start off this part of our vacation!
Then we went to Oakville Grocery for a quick, late lunch on our way to Robert Mondavi. We grabbed a coffee there, too! We ate on picnic tables on the grounds and shared a table with a couple from Mexico City. They had just arrived in Napa also. We told them about the tour at Mondavi, and to our surprise, they ended up going there also! The Mondavi tour was better than I thought, even with all the great reviews! I learned so much, the tour guide was funny, and the wine tasting included a bite of lamb burger. Lamb and wine, I didn't ever think about how well they compliment each other. After we left Mondavi, we went to V. Sattui. It was good, and we bought a dessert wine there. It had very pretty grounds as well. On to St. Supery and bought a red and a white there. My favorite white up until that point was at St. Supery. I'm not a big white drinker, but the buttery undertones at the end of the sip are very noticeable in Napa wines. Most of their wines were a little higher in price, but I really liked many of the wines I tasted there. Peju is next door, so we stopped in there also. They had some great art, a huge stained glass scene from a church, and cool sculptures on the grounds, too. It is a private, smaller winery, and a bit more pricey, but had very hearty reds.
We walked around Calistoga, a quaint little town in northern part of Napa. There were cute boutiques and a bookstore that had a nice selection of books you aren't used to seeing often. We were searching for just the right restaurant to match our relaxed mood. We left Calistoga and headed south, planning on stopping by a few restaurants our concierge had recommended. The first one we came to was 25 Brixs. We decided that was the one. The decor was very cool, modern, but rustic and cozy. Our table had a couch on one side,very comfortable. The windows had beautiful views. Our cute waiter was friendly and helpful on picking not only the right entree, but of course the wine to go with it. He also recommended some wineries he thought we would enjoy. The food was unbelievable! They paid close attention to quality and many of the items were organic. We started off with olive flatbread baked in the pizza oven - and made with very fresh olives. We split a beef dish that was awesome, and ended with an apple crisp dessert. There was plenty of food, and we lingered over the meal, so it was quite late when we left. The food was truly outstanding! Five Stars!