Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge - Hello April!

I'm joining Joyce again this week for a little Wednesday Hodgepodge. She gives the questions, we give the answers! Be sure to visit her at From This Side of the Pond.

1. April rolls in at the end of this week and in celebration of that infamous date (April 1st) answer this question-What is something foolish you've done?

Three words: Spanish Bay Getaway. (Only my family knows for sure.)

2. With April comes Easter and that classic edible treat known as tell me...what's your favorite way to fix/eat chicken? That wasn't what you were expecting, was it? I 'fooled' you. teehee.

My family's favorite chicken dish is one my mom makes, so I'll call it "Nana's Homemade Chicken Nuggets." It's really very easy, and everyone loves them. Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into nugget sized pieces. Mix equal parts bread crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Dip chicken in melted margarine, then into crumb mixture to coat. Place in baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until done, about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your nuggets. Enjoy!

3. What's the best museum you've ever visited? Or your favorite? Or the one you'd most like to visit?

Our family has always loved museums. Of course, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is quite well known, and is always a good choice for field trips for grade school children. Since we live close enough, our children visited many times, and I endured enjoyed quite a few bus rides there to chaperone their class trips.

One of the favorite museums we visited was the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. The kids loved the interactive exhibits. They could watch and re-watch all the Derby races, sit on a life size horse in a replica starting gate, weigh themselves like a jockey does before a race, stand in the "winner's circle", and much more. In fact, when we were there, guides were giving track tours every half hour from the museum. Our kids probably passed on the first three opportunities to see the track because they were having so much fun in the museum that they didn't want to leave. Vintage photo circa 1995.

Then of course, there's the granddaddy of all museums, the Smithsonian. We spent several days in Washington D.C. in the spring of 1997, and visited just a few of the 19 museums. Our favorites were probably the Air and Space Museum, and the American History Museum. In fact, on our last day there, we decided to spend the morning at the American History Museum for one more visit before heading to Gettysburg on our way home.

To make a long story short, the 5 children and I headed to the gift shop, leaving Jim to finish his look at a coin exhibit. He had instructions to meet us in the gift shop. We waited. And waited. Seems he allegedly went to the "other" gift shop, didn't see us, and went back to the hotel. After a couple hours searching, alerting security, searching some more, we headed back to the hotel where we finally found him. I was um, a little tiny bit hysterical, distraught, irritated, upset.

It does make for a good story now, and someday one of the kids may write a short story entitled "Lost Dad in the Smithsonian." And we missed Gettysburg.

4. You know what they say about April showers...what's your preference-a shower or a bath?

Definitely shower. I'm not really fully awake and ready for the day without my shower in the morning.

5. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder"...fact or fiction? Why?

I think it's fact. I think that longing to see someone you love, the anticipation of that moment, and the power of  imagination makes the feelings grow stronger.

6. What's your favorite product made/grown in your home state/province?

My home state of Indiana has several great "home grown" products worth mentioning. Besides Stewart Seeds, of course. :)

Bar Keeper's Friend is made in Indianapolis, and is great on the rust stains we get here in the country. I recently discovered the liquid cleanser, and I'm sure it will work as well as the original. Makes everything shiny and new looking.

Red Gold Tomato Company has several locations here in Indiana. Red Gold Ketchup is the best! This silo, painted to look like a Red Gold Tomato can, is located off I-65 in southern Indiana.

Rde Gold Silo

Finally, Vera Bradley Company is located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Everyone loves their colorful bags and purses. They now even have beach towels, stationery, sunglasses, and many other products with that signature Vera look. One of these years, I'm going to get up to Fort Wayne for the big outlet sale. I've heard it's crazy! Thousands of women and discounted purses. Need I say more?

7. What is going on in the world today that affects you the most?

This is a hard one for me. Of course, I am moved by the tragedy in Japan and the plight of my friends in Haiti, and I am concerned about the Middle East, gas prices, and the economy. I pray for each of these very real issues. And... to lighten things up a bit... I'm hoping for an NFL season next year. You see, money and greed aside, our family likes football. It is something we enjoy together. So maybe let's everyone, players, owners, politicians, co-workers, neighbors, friends, family members, just try to get along. Ok?

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Liz, at Hoosier Homemade, posted these adorable March Madness cupcakes. I wish my team was still in the fight, but it's great that Butler is representing the state of Indiana well for the second year in a row. Wow! It's always fun to follow the stories of the teams, their coaches, and the players to see who will earn that "One Shining Moment." I think these cupcakes would be perfect for the party!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snorkel, Sunset, Punch... and President?

I thought I should wrap up our great week in Grand Cayman. We did a little reading, a little relaxing, a little basketball watching, more relaxing, a little walking, and a lot more relaxing. It's a tough job, I know.

Matthew did learn to snorkel, and took to it like, well, like a fish to water. He and his dad headed down to the Governor's Reef to see if they could find some fish.

They weren't gone too long, and came back with tales of millions of fish. Someone must have been feeding them. In fact, Matthew felt one bite his toe!

I think he'll be ready for Stingray City next trip.

Then it was time for another sand sculpture.

This time, it was a cruise ship, complete with smoke stacks and pools on the top deck.

Time for the sunset, and a sweet family picture.

My dad (Boomie) with his world famous rum punch. He also became famous in the neighborhood for his spiked hair. It is really a visor, but drew lots of attention from folks trying to figure out if it was real. Added some fun to their breakfasts at Eats Cafe and evenings on the beach.

We were blessed with a perfect sunset on Saturday night.

Matthew tried to push the sun into the water.

On Sunday, there was a little commotion outside, and it turns out that President Bill Clinton was taking a walk on the beach. When he came back our way, Andrew and the kids (along with several others) headed down by the water to say hello.

Sure enough, President Clinton himself was enjoying a stroll on beautiful Seven Mile Beach, and visiting with folks along the way.

He waved at Darci,

while Matthew watched.

He shook hands with Andrew,

and commented on the beautiful baby. But of course. (Yes, I know he's a politician, but I must agree with his opinion of my granddaughter.)

I was also able to shake his hand, and thank him for his work in Haiti. He stopped, and told me it was one of the hardest things he has ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. Pretty cool.

He headed back to the Ritz next door, where he was speaking on Monday night at a dinner reported to be $1500 a ticket.

His presence probably explained this boat, which had been cruising the shoreline earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, in the parking lot, this guy was sunning himself on top of the bushes.

And his big brother - or maybe his grandpa - was doing likewise under the tree.

King Tut, the original Villas iguana, is no longer living. We weren't sure what this one's name was, but Matthew thought it should be Tyler. We'll go with that.

For our last night on the island, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at Calypso Grill. It was reported that President Clinton ate dinner there also. We must have just missed him.

Everything was good, but I am particularly fond of their Sticky Toffee Pudding. Ahh STP, you had me from hello. One of my all time favorite desserts. Of course, I rarely meet a dessert I don't like.

And with our dinner, we had a little visitor jump from Andrew's lap to Jim's napkin.

According to ancient Caymanian legend, a frog in your napkin means you will return to this place again and again. That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


The beach fun continues...

Here is Haleigh asking her mommy to please take her in the water.

Then she asked her daddy to please toss her in the air.

Now this makes Granny (me) and Nana (my mom), a little nervous, but Haleigh laughs and squeals in delight.

More, Daddy, more!

Meanwhile, Matthew was building a T-rex skeleton using sand molds I purchased at Fat Brain Toys.

Haleigh is good at waving to friends on the beach. Glad they're finished with the high flying act!

Matthew, of course, wants to do some more rock skipping.

Later, Matthew and Andrew do a little sand farming. They built bins and plowed fields with nice straight rows.

We gathered for another sunset. Lots of clouds for this one, to finish up a slightly cloudy day.

The sun sets over the Cayman sand farm.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Skip to the Blue

Matthew and my dad (Boomie), had fun skipping coral rocks into the ocean. Matthew would find the rocks, and Boomie would skip them.

Boomie is telling Matthew that his skipping skills might be a little rusty, but at one time, he was a professional rock skipper.

Found another good one!

Ready to launch one. How many skips will it go?

Plenty of rocks to skip.

You're good at this, Boomie!

He's still got it.

Here's a good one, Boomie.

I'll keep finding them, and you keep skipping them.