Monday, 30 June 2008

Lucy's Top 5 Washington moments

1. Riding the carousel on the Mall outside the Smithsonian Castle (twice)

2. Drinking babyccinos at Ebenezers cafe (across the road from our accommodation)

3. Seeing the Washington Monument and telling everyone each time

4. Visiting the National Zoo and seeing an elephant have a bath

5. Sending a postcard to grandma from the National Postal museum and driving the purple(!) delivery truck

Thursday, 19 June 2008


We're off on another summer adventure, this time to Washington DC. It should be a 6 hour drive which is about the same time it took to the Outer Banks. However this trip we are driving on interstate roads at 70mph so it is further away. To stop, revive, survive we are stopping at a few civil war battlesites along the way. We're looking forward to seeing the White House, eating Ethiopian food and visiting the National Herb Garden for some tips.

We applied for some behind the scenes tours through our Senator's office and yesterday we received an email response - we were 'denied' a White House tour (ie they were full) but were 'accepted' for a Capitol tour. We meet at Senator Dole's office and head off from there (though I'm sure she won't be the one giving the tour).

See you in July!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The things mums do!

When we go out to eat Lucy is usually provided crayons and a colouring-in sheet by the restaurant. I keep some of these crayons in my handbag for those times when I want to wait for my meal in peace. My handbag was starting to feel unusally heavy so I cleaned it out only to discover to my horror that there were 29 crayons in my bag! These have been culled significantly. Can you see the triangular 'crayangles'? These are awesome as they don't roll off the table onto the floor.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Product of the week: Elmo cupcakes

I couldn't resist putting this photo up. We visited Apple Annie's bakehouse as we were at a shop nearby and a few people had recommended the bakehouse to us. It is a bakery specialising in cakes and bad-for-you treats. Lucy saw this Elmo cupcake and had to have it! Immediately! (But she had to wait to get home for a taste) She knows Elmo from a couple of books we have not from watching Sesame Street so she had no idea who the blue cupcake next to Elmo was (cookie monster). The head was mostly icing and thankfully Lucy had a few bites and then gave up.

Monday, 16 June 2008

Weekend quarantine

Lucy was out of sorts on Friday so she was shipped off to the doctor. 2 and a half hours later she was diagnosed with sand gnat bites and sent home. That afternoon green goo started oozing from her eye. After another 2 hours at the doctor on Saturday morning, with a belly full of Cracker Barrel blueberry pancakes, she was diagnosed with an ear infection and conjunctivitis (hence the quarantine). It is the same ear from the other week so she is on stronger antibiotics than before and has to have eye drops three times a day. It is not fun putting 2 drops in each eye of a 2 year old! Thankfully Lucy has not shown signs of the predicted diarrhea and vomiting but her eye is looking good now.

So we missed gymnastics and strawberry/blueberry/blackberry picking. But we had fun at home and did lots of gardening (ie weeding and mulching) so the main bed out the front is looking ALOT better. We still don't have enough mulch though. We used 11 bags and covered half the bed. We are thinking of getting a truck to deliver a ton to make it more economical to do the rest of the beds.

We also celebrated Fathers Day on Sunday! Andrew got a cup of tea in bed and after a little reluctance from Lucy he was given some presents (various salts including Peruvian pink, a salt mouse to serve the salt and an All Clad saucepan). Andrew and Lucy played in the sandpit together and then cooked lemon ricotta fritters with lemon curd dipping sauce. They were awesome! They are kind of like mini round doughnuts with a lemon zing to them. Lucy had fun sifting the flour and eating the lemon curd.

Now Andrew is in Boston again. It's another crazy week and then we head off on holidays on Friday.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Gardening with a twist

One of our favourite garden nurseries is Pender Pines located about half an hour north of Wilmington. It has a fantastic range of plants including bottlebrushes. But what makes this nursery really great is that it also has a lovely garden walk, a duck pond (with food to feed them) and believe it or not, 2 emus. Admittedly emu is pronounced 'e-moo' over here but they are genuine emus nicknamed Rhett and Scarlett. Lucy loves feeding the ducks but she especially loves seeing the emus when we visit here. Although she constantly denies that she is Australian there must still be some Aussie in there somewhere!

Thursday, 12 June 2008

America's Test Kitchen

I like to cook. So when we moved here I sought out good food and new recipes. Although I constantly lament the poor food choices available I am happy to say that I have found a good source of American recipes at Cooks Illustrated. They test different food brands and products (much like Choice magazine in Australia) but best of all they support the idea that cooking from scratch is preferable to cooking from a packet (and it usually doesn't take much longer). They have a tv show called America's Test Kitchen which demonstrate some of their recipes. Although they do sometimes cook with corn syrup I have found that on the whole their recipes to be very good (ie lemon layer cake from Andrew's birthday) Generally the process they take is that they determine what they want to cook and then they use different ingredients and cooking techniques until they determine the best way to produce that particular item, often trialling the different recipe variations 100 times. It does mean that the recipes always work unlike some recipes from famous international chef that don't always turn out the way you expect. In any case if you have some free internet browsing time check out their database of free recipes. [Bear in mind though that Australian butter performs differently to American butter due to a different fat content but that is a story for another day]

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

I like purple!

Lucy's favourite colour is purple. Purple clothes, purple food and purple toys. Anything purple is claimed as 'my purple'. When Andrew was in Boston he bought her a few little presents: a purple handbag, a purple cap, a purple book and purple socks. In the same week I bought her some purple crocs. Now that she is moving into a regular bed I have ordered some purple sheets and a purple blanket. Should I be feeding this obsession???

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Product of the week: F150

According to Wikipedia the F-Series is a series of full size pickup trucks (utes) from Ford sold for over 5 decades. The most popular variant of the F-Series is the F-150. It has been the best selling vehicle in the US for 23 years and the best-selling truck for 31 years. Analysts estimate that the F-Series alone makes up half of the Ford Motor Company's profits in recent years.

These cars are HUGE! It seems that Southerners like their cars big, red and with a confederate flag on the front number plate. With gas prices rising to $4 per gallon (roughly $1 per litre) everyone here is complaining. I usually tell them they have it good given that Oz prices are, I believe, $1.60 per litre but they don't want to listen. And they don't want to give up their gas guzzling cars. The F150 is the most common car in Wilmington and given some of the narrow streets around here it is scary driving next to one. I'm surprised I don't see dozens of side mirror casualties strewn about the place.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Weekend water fun

To say it is hot is an understatement. Every day over the past week has hit 100F degrees. In fact today it was too hot to go outside and it is only dropping to around 27C degrees over night. The humidity is high. To put this heat in context our grass is scorched from the sun!

With all of this in mind the past few days have seen us doing lots of water related activities. Our neighbours hosted an end of school party which encompassed a very large water slide and a cookout. Lucy went down the slide with Andrew many times and then ate 4 hot dogs. 4 regular sized hot dogs! I was most surprised that she didn't wake up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache! She was very disappointed that the slide had to be returned the next day and has kept asking for 'pool party'. On Saturday we headed over to the beach to enjoy the cool waves and last week we enjoyed a work pool party by the sea (Lucy swam for an hour).

We have a 'frog' pool set up in the yard for Lucy and we are thinking about buying a big blow-up pool for the adults to sit in too. If the heat continues like this (and it only gets worse in July and August) we will definitely be heading in that direction. Or else sitting inside in the air-conditioning!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Home grown produce

We reaped our first crop of basil on the weekend and immediately made pasta with pesto. The pesto came out bright green and it tasted amazing! Whilst pesto doesn't always look the most appetising, especially to toddlers, Lucy didn't even blink when it was served to her and just chowed in. Drop round sometime for a jar of the green stuff!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Product of the week: Weber

Andrew finally got his birthday present, a new Weber grill (bbq). He was very excited to try it out and had some lamb chops cooking within an hour of receiving it. We did a lot of research into grills and it seems that to get anything that won't rust within one season you need to spend some dollars. We heard lots of good things about Webers so we bought this one from Lowes and had them put it together for us. Lucy decorated it with lots of happy birthday crepe paper. For the past 4 weeks she has not stopped saying 'happy birthday' often breaking out in song to wish 'dear lucy' a happy birthday. I'm lucky if she only says it 25 times a day. She obviously enjoyed her birthday VERY MUCH! In any case, the birthday for Andrew lives on as he enjoys his new toy, the first component of the 'outdoor grilling area with a woodfired pizza oven'

Monday, 2 June 2008

After 1,114 kilometres...

we're back in Wilmington and have been treated with 99.0F degree heat (37C) and a tremendous thunderstorm. Memorial Day marks the start of summer and we may be in for a hot season ahead. We had a fabulous time away, eating far too many desserts but we're tanned and relaxed. (Well one of us is tanned and two are still white)

After only 2 days of being back we are already very busy with Andrew heading up to Boston for a day and 2 nights. Wednesday is the peak of busyness with: Jenny's birthday [thus a pavlova is required!], Lucy's gymnastics class, Andrew arriving home from Boston, GE function, and a bible study BBQ at our place. Check back later in the week for the full rundown on our week in the Outer Banks.