the rest of nyc

So we pretty much left off after the longest day ever. We totally slept in the next day and then headed off to battery park to see the statue of liberty. We couldn't really find anything for breakfast (maybe because it was almost lunch time???) We walked around trying to figure out how to get on the ferry for awhile and then we saw it: the line. The end was not in sight. We started following it in a zig zag all around the park and still no end. I did however find some roasted nuts to give us some stamina while we searched for the end of the line. We made an executive decision that if we waited in that line we would be wasting away most of the day so we got some hotdogs and decided to try again tomorrow, much earlier in the morning.

From there we decided to head to the Museum of Jewish Heritage since it was nearby. What an interesting place! There are 3 floors: the first floor is before the Holocaust, the second is during, and the third is after. What a heartwrenching experience. I have been interested in this time period and am so glad that we ended up going.

Then we headed to Chelsea Market (what a cool place!) walked around, did some shopping in the fun stores and finally decided on a snack at The Cleaver Co. We enjoyed a cheese/bread/fruit platter. Oh, yum! The figs were my favorite. Or maybe the cheese and honey. Wait, it was the sourdough bread. Ok, it was all delish.

Since once again we were navigating the city so well, we decided to just take a cab to Purl SoHo, a yarn and fabric shop. I got a few goodies and by then it was almost time for our dinner at The Ninja. We had been looking forward to eating at this place for months. We began our venture over there by getting ourselves kicked out of a cab. But, we finally made it. And it was totally worth the trek.

It all started with me screaming twice before we even got to our table. Did I mention that I'm not so good at the whole people jumping out and scaring me thing? You are in this dark dungeon of a place and there are ninjas everywhere just waiting to scare the bejeebies out of you. They jump out with flames, swords, knives, you know normal things for a dinner out.
Let's just say it was a blast. And the food was amazing. The whole experience was fun.
We spent the majority of our meal looking over our shoulders though. The ninjas were seeming to enjoy our screams and nervous laughter because they didn't really leave us alone.

We ordered dessert because we just weren't ready to leave yet. That was great too. Then we headed off for some shopping and more walking around the city. I'm pretty sure my feet were burning by this point. so.much.walking.

As promised, we got up early the next day and headed back to battery park. It was such a new experience for us to actually know where we were going since we had been there the day before. And after being herded through security we ended up on the first ferry. It was amazing to see the statue up close and personal. I loved going through the museum on ellis island. I kept wishing I knew more about my family and when they came here. Had some of them passed though? The photographs and stories were inspiring.
Next stop: Strand Book Store. I don't think I've seen so many books in one place. I'm not gonna lie, we just plopped down in one of the aisles and started browsing. Hey, our feet hurt! This place had 4 levels I think of books on every topic. We both found a couple that we couldn't pass up (um....yeah I haven't read one of them yet...guess I better get started since summer is winding down:). Then on to a place I was very excited about:

We took the subway uptown in hopes of a frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity. What a cute place! It was such a mixture of colors and textures and just fun. The frozen hot chocolates were awesome. They tasted exactly like they sound: hot chocolate in frozed form. Yum! We stayed awhile and just enjoyed sitting down:) Plus, those drinks were huge!

We did a little more shopping and then got the wild idea that we wanted to see another broadway show: The Lion King. This time we weren't dressed up, we had a million shopping bags with us, and we hadn't eat dinner, but we went to the ticket booth to see if there were any tickets left. We were actually able to get some and they were really good seats front and center. I don't know what I was expecting, but when they started singing 'circle of life' and a huge elephant appeared next to Hillary my heart may have skipped a few beats. The show was amazing. The costumes were ingenious. Lots of laughs and plain good entertainment.

After that we were hungry (again!) and set off to find dinner and check out the NBC Studio store again. But, the store was closed and so was every restaurant we could find. We ended up some place that looked promising for late nights (hillary, do you remember the name?) for drinks and appitizers. Hey, it's what sounded good: quesadillas and fried macaroni. The only problem was that our waiter disappeared on us. I think his shift ended and he just forgot about us. We finally flagged down someone, paid our bill, and began to hunt for our hotel with yet another confused taxi driver.

Sunday: time to head to our friends' Anita and Zach just across the connecticut border. We packed up our stuff and headed to grand central to take the train. We had plenty of laughs at the lady at the ticked window. Her eyes were barely open as she glanced our way and said "brreewwster?" in slow motion. Don't worry, we did not keep replaying that one over and over. We found our gate and had more pizza since we had a little wait.

The train was full of excitement as we were pretty sure we were going the wrong way the whole time. Once again, we had no clue and all the places we were stopping were not on our list of stops on the way to brewster. But, in fact we did make it but not before we lugged all our suitcases two cars up (our car didn't exit at brewster we were informed by the ticked punch guy who totally reminded me of the guy from polar express!) and I tore my pants!! Not even kidding. They got caught on the arm of the chair and ripped about a foot down from my back pocket. Cool.

While we waited for Anita and Zach it decided to downpour. We huddled in a doorway (nothing was open) with our suitcases and when they did arrive, Zach escorted us to the car with an umbrella.
Staying at their house was the perfect end to our trip. It was neat to see what the country was like just an hour away from the city. They took us to the winery where Anita works, the McLaughlin Vineyards, for a wine tasting and a walk around the grounds. It was beautiful (and tasty!)

Then we headed back to their house for chicken bar-b-que (which actually has nothing to do with BBQ sauce, which hillary and I couldn't quite figure out!) and strawberry shortcake. This was totally different from the city...relaxing, only a little walking, and good times with friends. One more night and we found ourselves at the airport ready to head home.


wordless wednesday

more about nyc coming soon:)


camping + chopping wood

So we haven't been home much this week. We've been camping on the property that ryan's parents have. It also happens to be where we cut our firewood. We are cutting in the area where hopefully a road and cabin will materialize in the future. We have all our wood ready to go, but some friends ordered 10 cords so we've been busy cutting and hauling and stacking.

We have a pretty good system worked out too. You see, we invite family members to go camping with us. We promise them food, sun, camping, and all the time with mason they could ever want! This frees ryan and I up to work on the wood. First we hit up the cousins and we spent the first part of the week camping with them. Don't worry we found plenty to do besides work on cutting firewood the whole time:

Like eating dinner and watching marylin keep java under control:)Like tickling mason and listening to his bursts of giggles.

And of course, hula hooping!

Mason was getting in on the hooping too.The girls got more than the bargained for when we had a surprise visit from a bear one morning. Java tipped us off to his presence. The girls were a huge help and made the work so much more fun just by being there.

Then we took a day off and headed to the big city and spent the day shopping for our new bathroom, working on a trailer, and I got to have a birthday lunch with my best friend minnz. We were able to pick up lighting for the bathroom, our vanity, counter, sink, toilet, and some other odds and ends. And of course we had to hit up the grocery store for some more hotdogs and s'more fixings.

We spent the second half of the week camping with my mom. Mason had a blast with nana and ryan and I worked our tails off cutting wood.

Mason loved shaking the aspen trees, playing with his new ball, and exploring the forest!

He also got to go for a spin in the wheelbarrow.We probably have about 4 cords ready to go. We decided to call it good for this week and we enjoyed a picnic by the creek before heading home. I love my family so much and am thankful that we live close enough to spend so much time together.


coconut shrimp

I love love love coconut shrimp. It's my favorite thing to get at Red Lobster. It's a little spicy. A little sweet. And full of shrimp goodness. When I came across a healthier recipe in Cooking Light I couldn't wait to give it a try. I've made it a couple times. In fact, I find myself stocking up on apricot preserves just so I can make this. It comes in handy considering the nearest Red Lobster is over an hour away. Here's the recipe:

Coconut Shrimp with Apricot Dipping Sauce
Cooking Light 2008

1 can light coconut milk, divided
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1/4 c. fresh cilantro
1 1/4 pounds uncooked medium shrimp
3/4 c. flour
4 egg whites
3/4 c. panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
3/4 c. flaked coconut, lightly toasted
1/3 c. reduced-sugar apricot preserves
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard

Place 2 Tbsp. coconut milk in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. In a large resealable bag, combine the jalapeno, cilantro, and remaining coconut milk. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on. Add to bag; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Place flour in a shallow bowl. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. In a third bowl (ready to do some dishes??) combine the bread crumbs and coconut. Drain and discard marinade. Dip shrimp in flour and egg whites, then roll in crumb mixture.
Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400 for 7-9 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, for dipping sauce, add preserves and mustard to the reserved coconut milk. Serve with shrimp.


new hat

Mason got a new hat for his birthday made by his aunt caroline. It is super cute and Mason is finally keeping it on his head for longer than two seconds.

Along with his new hat, we got him some new shoes because he's finally taking steps on his own. I'm sure he'll be cruising around in no time. I knew it was coming because he kept popping up in the middle of the room without holding on to anything. It's been so fun to watch him toddle around and figure out this whole walking thing.


camping 101

Mason's first camping trip. We headed out to cottonwood lake with some friends for the weekend. We had a great time. We learned a couple things too:

  • if there is someone who is camping with you who is almost 30 years old and has never had a s'more, make him one immediately. With cinnamon graham crackers.
  • it's not a good idea to switch places while in a canoe in the middle of the lake. While Megan and I totally pulled it off, we got reprimanded by the guys on the shore. I think they were mostly just jealous that they couldn't have pulled such a stunt.
  • if left to himself, Mason would probably explore every square inch of the forest.

  • Fred can make some mean green chili. And awesome breakfasts. I think I'll bring him camping everytime I go, just so he can cook.
  • the "toys" in the forest are much cooler than the ones mom brought from home.

  • the back of the 4-runner works great as a playpen.

  • apparently when fishing, the foot of space between all our stuff and the water is fair game for other fisherman. Some old strange dude walked down right.in.front.of.us and started fishing and smoking. If I can reach out and touch you, you're too close. Seriously, it's not cool.
  • the bloodhound is worthless at scaring off said old strange dude. She was too busy soaking up the sun.
  • learn how to actually load bb's into the bb gun before shooting. leanne: can you guys tell if I'm even hitting the target? I shoot off about 20 more while they watch. leanne: I think I am! tim: I don't think any bb's are coming out.
  • it will rain, it always does!
  • the bath water may change to various shades of brown after coming home and rinsing off the kiddo.

Did I mention that I love summer?



If you're looking for a new look for your house I have a few suggestions. Just follow these simple steps and your house will look so different you might not even recognize it.

Step 1: Sand as much drywall as you can find. Don't stop until the drywall dust has covered every square inch of your house. Then sand a little more just to be sure. You can hang up some plastic to try and keep the dust confined, but it probably won't work. That dust can go just about anywhere.

You can attempt to mop up the drywall dust at this point, but let's be honest, you're really just moving it around. It's best to just let it be.

Step 2: Paint. You should probably spray the paint because it puts a fine mist of paint particles into the air. This is layer two. These paint particles will rest on just about any and every surface showing in your home.

You could try to wipe this up, but really I think it's my favorite layer. It sort of sticks to everything. A little more permanent than the drywall dust.

Step 3: Find some exposed concrete inside your house. I'm sure you all have some. Then grind away at it. This will send sparks, bits of concrete, and another layer of concrete dust into the interior of your house. Don't stop until you smell something burning and the floor is level.

You could try having one person grind and one person holding a shop vac near where all the dust is spewing, but that will only decrease the mess by a little. It might make you feel a little better though.

You know you've got it when you plop down on your couch to rest and a puff of white dust clouds your vision.