Sunday, August 30, 2009

~Celebrating 11 Years~

Yesterday Mike and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. I wanted to have a special day together so decided I would plan something frugal which was important. I had the greatest plans and as they unraveled I thought I would scream, though it all turned out in the end.

I have been wanting to check out Old Sturbridge Village for awhile, yet it is expensive and the children are a bit young to appreciate it. This is where the idea for our date stemmed from. I reserved passes to Historic Deerfield from our local library so we could visit for free, see museums, period houses set up authentically for the time etc,.. It is not quite like Sturbridge, but sounded like a great way for us adults to spend the day. There is nothing like local history, especially when you live in Massachusetts!!! Interestingly, as much as I love history, it was the most loathed subject for me in school next to math. Textbooks, memorization cramming, and regurgitating onto test papers 17 years aside, I love it now!

Next, I planned a romantic picnic, packed in my granny's 60 year old picnic hamper. I chose wine, cheese, ciabatta bread, California rolls with wusabi, chicken salad with grapes and walnuts packed in a charming mason jar, petit fours and some orange chocolate. In the basket lain my china plates, silverware, wine glasses, knife and cutting board along with the food items. The California rolls, cheese and jar of lemonade were packed into another small cooler with ice.

Friday after 4pm I was able to pick up the passes at the library for our Sat afternoon date. Because the evening got away from us, I decided to pick the pass up Sat first thing in the morning, since the website said they opened at 9am. I get there bright and early Sat morning, and they are CLOSED!! I see to the right of the door where the summer schedule declares the library closed Sat and Sun. I had no idea, and no hint of this existed on the website. Now we have to pay the $24 admission for the two of us to have our date.

My mom came over shortly thereafter bearing a card and gift. Thankfully, we now had the money to enjoy our date as planned. My mom volunteered to babysit also, until 1pm when the babysitter Mike secured was due to come over. The village is open from 9:30-4:30 and since our babysitter wasn't to come until 1pm our date would have been ruined yet for another reason. Thanks mom!

Out we headed, basket nestled in the middle seat of our van, and away we drove. The remnant of hurricane Danny turned tropical storm, made it to our area Friday evening, so we walk through the village for the period house tours in the rain. I am thankful to report that it was a light easy rain at least.

We saw a self-guided house, an hourly tour house as well as the old schoolhouse when we arrived. The school house was just picture perfect!! It reminded me of the Little House stories I love to read. The teacher's desk though, was quite tall. It was evident to me that the teacher stood for her hours at school. There were lovely old books on the desk including The Ox Cart Man, an old spelling book, a poem or two, a journal or perhaps it was poetry copied into a book, and other fun items. Also, two bells adorned the back of the desktop, and I had the pleasure of ringing one. It sounded lovely, such a nice ring! Not at all cheap sounding like most bells today that you find and try.

After the school house, it was already 2-ish and we were quite hungry. There were sweet picnic tables located right outside of the school house, yet it was soaked and a light rain persisted. I had the idea to open up our van, lay the middle seat down flat, and laid out our spread over our Makeshift "table". It was great, romantic, quiet and secluded, just a great lunch date in general. It's amazing what you can accomplish with a van and no children to occupy it. See our "inside" picnic below:

Next we saw the Indian memorial House museum which was one of our favorites, very hands on. We were allowed to touch, smell, try and play with lots of itmes from here such as a child's wooden toy called Jacob's ladder, we could carry water bucket with a yoke, smell a jar of rosewater that may have been used for cakes, handle horn spoons, wooden utensils as well. The hearth cooking and oven baking was explained to us, as well as many types of lighting. We got to touch furs, too. The lady of this house was very sweet and even took a photo of Mike and I playing a game, Morice, that would have been played in this period. Incidentally, Mike came home and made one of his own. =) It's a cross between tic tac toe and chess. We had fun! This lady had patience, and believe me I wanted to touch, try and know about everything! It was a fun and freeing experience, especially as we couldn't touch anything at all in the other houses.

We reluctantly left the museum to head off to it's "better half" yet I would suggest the better half was the former. We had 3 floors to run through in half hour's time. It was kind of pointless, yet we can say we saw the famous Indian door, the door with the hole in it from a native's hatchet going through it during the 1704 raid.

We were able to mosey around the store which was open half hour later than the other buildings. It was such a nice, relaxing time to just be the two of us again. I am refreshed, full of joy and wondering how it is that God could be so good to me!

Friday, August 14, 2009

~Taco Salad~

Our newest favorite salad this summer is Taco Salad. Try this recipe here that I first tried at our Junior High Mission trip in July of this year.


* 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
* can of black olives, sliced
* 1/2 pound shredded cheddar
* 1 large onion, diced
* 1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
* 1 pound lean ground beef, browned, crumbled and drained
* 1 cup Catalina salad dressing
* tortilla chips
* 1 cup salsa

Combine the tomatoes, cheese, sliced olives, onion, lettuce, and ground beef in a large bowl. Add the salad dressing and mix well. Just before serving, add the crushed up tortilla chips, tossing to combine with other ingredients. Add salsa to each serving if desired.