Sunday, February 10, 2019

"The Essex" 3

We've really enjoyed a short winter get-away the last three years.  We found the Essex Culinary Resort in Essex, VT, and we like it so much we've gone back each of the past three years.

This year we started our adventure with brunch at the Red Arrow Diner in Londonderry, NH.  Last year we went up on a Saturday, and the wait to eat at the diner was way too long.  This year, we went up on Thursday and got right in.  They very astutely have a spot in the lobby where you can take a "selfie" ............be sure to post it!


Tag loved the coffee mug full of grits, so I bought one for him to take home.  (just the mug....not the grits!)


The first night we were there, we had our cooking class.  This year it was "Cooking with Vermont Beer".   Our instructor taught us how to make soup, chicken, mashed potatoes and parsnips.  I'd never had parsnips before...they were delicious!


We joined two other couples....everyone had a good time and enjoyed the company and the food.



 We all took turns and had a chance to participate in the cooking.



Of course, the meal had to be "presented".


One of the things we love most about this Inn is the pool and hot tub. Indoor heated pool and outdoor hot tub........we enjoyed both on each night.  Nothing like a relaxing soak in the hot tub to turn your muscles to mush and help you sleep!

On Friday, we went into Burlington.  While searching for a "Vintage" store, we came upon a park on the shore of Lake Champlain.   A bit too chilly to swim outside!



We did find the Vintage store after a few wrong turns.   Tag found some records (of course!) and I got some vintage earrings and few bowls.

One of the things I love about Vermont is their universal acceptance of everyone.....this was one of my favorite signs.   


We found the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory and went in for the free tour.   You could see the workers creating Easter Bunnies through a glass window that looked out over the factory floor. One of the employees gave a talk and slide show about the origins of chocolate.   The best part, of course, was the free samples!


Another record store!!  More records!!!



We stopped in at Church Street.  It's an area in the downtown blocked in parts to traffic with all little shops.  It was absolutely freezing out, so we stopped in a bakery and got a muffin and some hot drinks.


Back to the Essex, where we had $100 as part of our package to spend on dinner in the "Junction", a fine dining restaurant.


I never noticed before but they had table settings glued to the ceiling!  Our waiter said they'd been there for at least four years!



The Junction has an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs work.


Both mornings we also got breakfast....so the weekend was pretty much an eating fest!  And the food is outstanding!   We are contemplating going back in the summer, when they'll have a huge vegetable garden, flower gardens, walking trails, bicycles to borrow, goats, chickens and an outdoor pool.

Not much snow, even up there, but frozen "waterfalls" on the granite rocks.  


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Recycled Percussion 2018



I had the great good fortune of bringing some "newbies" to the latest Recycled Percussion show.   We went to the Palace Theater in Manchester and got our usual seats in the right-hand balcony.  We were practically on top of the stage!

I gave tickets to my niece Laura, my granddaughter Emily, my daughter Jamie and her boyfriend Sean  It was so much fun to see their reactions to seeing the show for the first time.  Jamie has Justin's daughter Bo in her preschool class, and Bo and her sister Blake were there, at stage left, throughout the show.  We could see them from where we were sitting and laughed as they sang and danced all afternoon to their Daddy's band!

Justin, Ryan and Matt performing with incredible precision on the buckets and barrels "we got at Lowe's"


At times, Justin's hands were moving so fast they were blurs!


They have a wonderful, unique way of finding music in everyday things.  Here they are playing blenders!  Again, the amount of practice must be incredible to have perfectly synchronized sounds come out of a bunch of blenders!


A little hydraulics and they are tipped over so everyone can see the tops of their drums while they play.




They also found music in classic toys....romper stompers, rubber balls, Operation game, xylophone, etc.   


And their most memorable trick....play on ladders as they climb up and down and then jump from the top to the floor while playing on the way down!


My family knows how much I love the band...not just for their showmanship but for their humanitarianism.   So Jamie got me a Recycled Percussion and Chaos and Kindness sweatshirt in pink......and my husband got me the same sweatshirt in black!


Way over on the left are the four signatures from the band.  We got to quickly meet them after the show, as they greet all their fans after every show.


After the show we all went out to a pizza place called 900 Degrees.  It was wonderful to spend time with some of my very favorite people!  Thanks for a wonderful night of great fun!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Elise's 3rd Birthday Adventure!


Our Birthday Adventure for Elise this year was a visit to Build-A-Bear!  She invited along her sister Audrey for some extra fun.  Although, I did have to laugh......while in the car on the way, I asked what animal they were going to choose. 

  Audrey piped right up with, "I'm getting a cat.....are you getting a cat, Elise?  I think you should choose a cat."    

And Elise's answer was.  "I'm going to choose for Audrey not to pick my animal for me!"   Quite the outspoken 3 year old!

Our helper at Build-a- Bear, Carter, asked if we had a special occasion, and when we said it was Elise's third birthday, he brought out the crown, a sticker, and a cardboard birthday cake prop so we could snap a photo.


It took a little deciding, but Audrey picked a cat (as predicted) and Elise chose a sparkly purple bear.



Time to go over and fill the bears up with stuffing.   Elise (AND Pepere) found the machine very fascinating.



Carter held the bear while Elise stepped on the pedal to make the machine work.


Carter checked with Elise to make sure the bear had the right "stuffiness".


Audrey's turn to squeeze her cat and make sure it's just right.


Let's not forget to put the heart in.  Each girl chose 3 hearts.....(just because they had three different designs!)  Carter instructed them on rubbing the heart to make it warm, patting the heart to make it beat, touching it to their head to give it wisdom.......etc!


Now it was time to shop for outfits!


And don't forget the shoes!


After the bears were properly dressed, we were able to make "birth certificates" for them.   Audrey's cat was named "Kit" and Elise's bear was named "Anna".

There was a small playground inside the mall....so the girls played for 20 minutes while Memere and Pepere sat on the "grandparents' bench" and rested!



Finally, a visit to Friendly's, where Elise literally ate JUST the cheese off her cheeseburger before eating up all her ice cream dessert!




An orange tongue made out of an M&M is pretty funny!


We were happy to bring home two tired little girls......and go home for naps ourselves!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Apple Picking with Audrey and Elise


It was our joy to take our grand daughters out for a day of apple picking.  Audrey and Elise live in Nashua, so we decided to try out "Parlee Farms" which is only 10 minutes from the house.

They had all kinds of great activities and food.  


There were a few barnyard animals....chickens, goats and sheep.  Elise turned and posed for me when she saw me with the camera.  



They weren't that interested in the farm animals, but they loved the hay bale maze!  The bales were just high enough that we couldn't see them without following along behind them. Of course, they got to an exit and passed right by it so they could continue through the maze!





I finally had to encourage them to move on to the next activity.   We tried out the miniature tractors......Audrey didn't want to try it but Elise did. Unfortunately she was too little to keep her foot on the gas pedal and had no idea how to steer!!   Good thing it's a few years until she's ready to drive for real!

Next up was the hay wagon ride.  A tractor pulling three cartfuls of people brought us into the apple fields close to where there was some good picking.



Audrey taught us all how to turn the apple round and round to take it off the tree.  This time she got a few extra leaves along with it!




This looks likea good one!


And one for each of them to munch on while we rode the wagon back.




We were happy for the wagon ride back with our heavy bag of apples.




Time for pumpkin picking!  There were plenty of pumpkins to choose from.   Audrey and Elise each picked a small one, and two medium size ones for Memere's front porch.


Then my favorite part of the trip!   Apple Cider Donuts!  I have to say this was the only disappointment with this apple farm.  Their Apple Cider Donuts were the size of donut holes!   So the 6 donuts for $3.50 was pretty expensive. And they were pre-bagged so they weren't hot.  But they were tasty!


Fingers sticky with sugar and licking it off the lips.





Time to come home and make the apple pie!

Audrey rolls out the pie crust


Elise takes a turn.


And what to do while the pie is baking? Well, if you're at Pepere's house, you play music!
Elise plays the "little guitar".


While Audrey does her best Jerry Lee Lewis!



Elise playing the "big guitar" on her lap.


While Audrey strums on the "little Guitar"



Elise absolutely insisted she wanted to play the cello....so Pepere gave her a lesson.  I love her face when she realizes she is actually making a sound!


And Elise breaks into a dance while Audrey accompanies Pepere with two egg shakers and the jingle bells.


Another wonderful fun-filled day with two very special little girls.  We loved everything from their silly nonsense songs to their joi-de-vivre throughout the entire day!