Friday, May 10, 2013


We recently took a trip to our nation's capital (that's Washington D.C. folks).  It was our first real, out of state, multi-night vacation since Keane has been born.  Sure, we have visited family and been gone over night a few times, but this was a real vacation, and it was awesome.

Andrew's mom, VaLynn, had been visiting us in Columbus and since she flew standby with a Buddy Pass, we decided she should drive with us out to D.C. for a day and fly home from there, so that's what she did!

People told us when we moved to Columbus that traveling across the country with a newborn was "crazy".  Actually, it went just fine.  He slept the entire way!  I counter that traveling anywhere further than an hour away with a 10+ month old is "crazy".  A trip that should have taken between 6 and 7 hours took over 9 hours.  We stopped at LEAST 4 times, possibly 5, I can't remember.  It was its own kind of fun, however.

 Not the Washington Monument you are used to seeing?  All that scaffolding takes away from the grandeur of the building, but it is nonetheless beautiful.

 The boys just outside of the Lincoln Memorial.  It's so serene inside the memorial, one of our favorites.

 We stopped by and said hello to Mr. and Mrs. Obama, and Keane was our navigator.  As you can see, he is very handy with a map.  Ok, but F'reals, the next day we were coming out of the Holocaust Museum and all the sudden crazy sirens are going off, about 10 black Denalis come screeching down the road and pull into some secret entrance to the Department of Agriculture building.  Turns out, dun dun dun, it was The First Lady herself, she had a meeting there.  So there you have it, we are famous.

  As many of you know, Washington D.C. has a series of Smithsonian Museums which are free to the public. That's good because I like free things!  Many of you also know that I struggle to enjoy culturally uplifting things, of which include museums.  Luckily for me, Keane was getting pretty fussy by mid afternoon on day one, so while Andrew and VaLynn went into the Museum of Natural History, Keane and I found a spot on the grass in the sun to sit and play.
The next day after VaLynn caught her plane back to Utah, we took the metro back to The National Mall.  We went to the Holocaust Museum (after which we personally met The First Lady as previously mentioned...), and then picnicked outside of the Jefferson Memorial.

 Keane is very good at sharing, especially if it is something he has already put in his mouth, chewed up, spit onto the ground and then picked up again.  He also enjoys pushing his own stroller, and making screeching monkey noises as loud as he can right in front of the sign that says "Quiet--Respect Please", interrupting the almost sacred reverence at the memorials.
      Later that afternoon we went to Arlington National Cemetery, one of my favorite places.  We lazily walked up the paths admiring the men and women who have served our country and given their lives to do so when we heard the chime of the clock signalling that it was 5 O'Clock p.m.  Part of the reason I wanted to go there was to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.  We started sprinting up the hill and made it, breathless, panting and sweaty, just as the guard on duty announced for everyone to be quiet for the ceremony.

Day 3, our last full day in the city, we went first up north to Silver Spring, MD, where the Mormon temple is.  We spent the late morning lounging on the grass, enjoying the beautiful weather, and feeling the special peace that is at the temple.  We went to the visitor's center, had snacks on the lawn and just enjoyed the time we had.

Sunday morning we got up and headed out.  We wanted to stop at Gettysburg on our way back to Columbus (Which is about an hour and a half north of D.C.)  We went and we were glad we did.  Although we didn't get to see everything, we got to see the soldier's Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln gave the famous Gettysburg Address.

We also went to the High Water Mark battleground which was sombering.

We had a marvelous trip.  We were glad to get home and sleep in our own beds, Keane especially, but since we are out here we hope to take advantage of all the cool things we are relatively close to!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some of my favorite things..

I love ice cream.  It is an obsession that I do not deny.  Andrew regularly comments are the amount of ice cream I eat in a single sitting.

I have decided in the past month or so to really cultivate this obsession by starting to make my own ice cream.  I have found some fantastic recipes, and not so fantastic recipes, and now I have created my own custard base so that I can make any flavor I want!  BRILLIANT!

I do, however, want to share some of these recipes with you because they are worth trying, easy to make, and they result in compliments from others!

**First I looked up recipes and found one for avocado ice cream.  I know, it sounds strange, but it is actually very good!  This recipe on the TLC website is a good one.  I added coconut milk to the milk at the beginning, makes it awesome!

**The ice cream, though delicious when fresh out of the ice cream maker, freezes so solid it is hard to scoop out the next day.  After some research on ho to make ice cream that doesn't freeze as hard as a rock I found this recipe for Salted Caramel ice cream.  Absolutely amazing.  I have made this three times now (once with the pralines and twice without) and each time the comment "best ice cream I've ever had" has been spoken.

**Then I wanted to make a classic chocolate ice cream.  The recipe I found is from Food Network, an Alton Brown recipe.  Very delicious, remains soft and creamy.

**The next week we had a large carton of strawberries that was starting to go bad.  Cha-Ching!  Strawberry Ice Cream.  The best recipe I found was using a strawberry puree instead of larger strawberry chunks, I love it!

Through all of this I have learned a few things about ice cream making.  David Lebovitz's website discusses ways to keep ice cream soft, so that it won't freeze solid.  The key is to have ingredients that don't freeze hard such as sugar, alcohol, fat, gelatin and/or stabilizers.

I hope you take the time to try some of these recipes.  The Salted Butter Caramel recipe is truly worth it!