Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monkey Trunks in Chocorua, NH

We took a family trip to New Hampshire for the Columbus Day Weekend, leaving Friday morning and returning Monday morning.  We stayed with college friends who we hadn't seen in seven years.  Rob and "Drewski" (Andrew) are the kind of friends that can pick up right where they have left off from, years previously, in this case.  They met the first day of freshman year and are so alike it's actually uncanny.  I guess I just assume that my dear husband is unique until he's around his buddy and then I'm reminded that they're two peas in a pod.  Andrew and his lovely wife, Kara, along with their kids, Abagael and Micah, hosted us in their home.  They are the consummate hosts, thinking of every last detail.  It was so much fun!

Rob and Andrew

Andrew, Kara, Abagael and Micah

us :)

Lake Chocorua - usually Mt. Washington is visible on clear days

the kids loved taking a boat ride on Lake Winnipesaukee on Sunday

I had researched some fun things we could do with our kids and we'd thought about kayaking or hiking, but then I found a ropes course/ziplining tour.  Can I just tell you this may be the coolest thing we've ever done as a family?  It was so much fun!  It was called Monkey Trunks (click link to see their website). 

There were actually three courses, with a zipline in between (to travel between the courses).  We were given helmets and harnesses and we were clipped in at all times.  It was $40 per person, which I think was a steal.  We easily spent three hours there and it was just perfect.  It was challenging without being out of reach for our abilities.  The last course was a consecutive one, meaning that you had to complete one challenge in able to get to the other (and most importantly, to the end and your car)!

We didn't take our big camera, but I kept my phone in my pocket - I apologize for the quality of the pictures, but hopefully the smiles will make up for it!

Rob on the "spider web" - the last challenge

Kate - see how she's clipped in?

Rob - in between challenges

big smiles!

and another one!

Emma - landing after ziplining in

Rob and Kate - ziplining in

this was the middle course - with about 40 optional challenges

Josh - taking a rest (he'd been diagnosed with mono that morning) :(


Mono doesn't keep him down!

even the 8-hr drive was beautiful

We were sad to leave after just a weekend in New Hampshire, but after witnessing this sunrise over Lake Winnipesaukee, we'll be back!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Family Calendar

For the past few years, I've made calendars to give to our families for Christmas.  We take so many pictures throughout the year and it's nice to be able to use them in a calendar format.  It is extremely time consuming.  For this years' project, I think I'm about eight hours in (maybe just an hour left, hopefully).

I searched for about 45 minutes for one picture of my uncle.  My sister-in-law deleted her facebook and I had to resort to using a picture of her husband singing, her baby sleeping, and a picture of her that's three years old.  The only picture I could find of my brother-in-law is one where his face is partially obscured by a vase of flowers.  I found a hilarious picture of my Aunt Connie wearing a cowboy hat and holding a fake gun. 

The lasting impression, though, after slugging through this all day is that we are blessed.  Beyond anything I ever imagined for our family.  Our children are healthy.  We have families that love and pray for us. We have a house to call our own.  We get to do some really cool things with our kids - traveling to Florida (twice), New Hampshire, and our cabin.  We travel by ourselves - this year to Arizona and California.  We have the ability to be active - to kayak, to hike, to ride atv's, to play sports.  We've eaten some really great food.  We've visited state parks, toured strawberry farms, picked citrus, and taken a ziplining tour. 

When I commiserate on how much Rob works, I need to remind myself of the special things we get to do as a family.  Here are some of the many pictures I was able to include on the re-cap of 2013.  Hope you enjoy.

We are blessed and thankful to God, from who all blessings flow. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Fresh Thyme and bacon omelette, with chevre

the perfect omelette

I am forever in search of a breakfast that will satisfy me until lunch. So far, the only successes have been full-fat yogurt with fruit and granola or an omelette.

I had made crustless mini quiche with bacon, thyme, and chevre a few years ago, and for some reason had the inspiration to make a single serving today.

I do not have the answer to perfect, fluffy, creations when it comes to producing an attractive omelette, if you do - please share!  It looks like scrambled eggs, but tastes like heaven.

single-serving omelette with fresh thyme, bacon, and chevre (I think this was originally a parade magazine recipe)

2 eggs
2 tsp water
3 pieces of bacon
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1 tsp dijon
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, removed from stem (I have some outside!)
salt, pepper
crumbled chevre (amount to your liking, I used a nice handful)

1.  In the microwave, place slices of bacon on a plate, sprinkle onions overtop.  Cover with a paper towel and cook to your liking - I like crispy! Allow to cool, then crumble bacon and set bacon and onions aside, discarding the grease.
2.  In a small cup, whisk eggs, water, thyme leaves, salt, and pepper.
3.  Cook egg mixture in a small saute pan, using your choice of: oil, non-stick spray, or butter.
4.  Sprinkle bacon/onion mixture overtop.  Sprinkle chevre overtop.
5.  Once firm, fold omelette over itself, allow to finish cooking, then serve. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Homemade Eggnog

just a sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg

It's about this time of year that I begin craving eggnog.  I'm not a big fan of milk or ice cream, but I do like cream in my coffee.  A few years ago I discovered that egg nog makes the perfect creamer for the winter months.  I find that a splash adds just the perfect combination of creamy, spicy, barely-sweet flavor to my very dark morning brew.

I have yet to find a commercial variety that does not list high-fructose corn syrup as one of the first ingredients.  Even our beloved local dairy contains hfcs.  I tried the Bolthouse Farms "healthy" egg nog.  To say it tastes healthy is being generous.

I found this recipe for eggnog and thought I'd give it a try.  I started with a half batch.  I also discovered about halfway through that the recipe called for cream.  I just added the equivalent of whole milk in with
the second step (slowly heating the milk).  I also omitted the whipped egg whites and liquor - basically because I was making coffee creamer. 

I can barely wait to have my coffee tomorrow. 

Eggnog Recipe - courtesy of Simply Recipes

  • Yield: Makes 1 quart. Serves 4-6.
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 whole cloves
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp each of bourbon and rum or brandy, or to taste (can omit for kid-friendly eggnog)
  • *4 egg whites (optional)


1 In a large bowl, use a whisk or an electric mixer to beat egg yolks until they become somewhat lighter in color. Slowly add the sugar, beating after each addition, whisking until fluffy.
2 Combine the milk, cloves, and cinnamon in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Slowly heat on medium heat until the milk mixture is steamy hot, but not boiling.
3 Temper the eggs by slowly adding half of the hot milk mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly while you add the hot mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.
4 Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture begins to thicken slightly, and coats the back of the spoon. It helps to have a candy thermometer, but not necessary; if you have one, cook until the mixture reaches 160°F. Do not allow the mixture to boil, or it will curdle. (If the mixture does curdle you may be able to save it by running it through a blender.) Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove the cloves. Let cool for one hour.
5 Mix in vanilla extract, nutmeg, and bourbon/rum and brandy (feel free to omit for kid-friendly eggnog). Chill.
*Optional: Beat egg whites until they reach soft peaks. Add a teaspoon of sugar and continue to beat until they reach stiff peaks. Gently fold into eggnog. Note, because of the salmonella risk from raw eggs, it is recommended that children, elderly, and people with compromised immune systems refrain from eating raw eggs such as the optional whipped egg whites in this recipe, unless you use pasteurized eggs.