We love Mt. Vernon!
We love Mt. Vernon!
Today while Butterfly was in school, we took the boys to see Clara Barton’s house and Rock Creek Park.
The Clara Barton house was closed for asbestos removal.
But we sat on her porch and listened to the ranger talk about her life. She was a fascinating lady! She was at several of the battles in the civil war. She started a school. She worked for the US government in a time where women working was very uncommon. She started the Red Cross in America. She lived till she was in her late 80s and ran the Red Cross from her house. That house next to Glen Echo Park.
They did let us in for a quick peek at house and made us wish we could go in farther. This is the second time we’ve tried to go to this house with my parents and it just has never worked out. 3rd times a charm, right?
After the house, we walked over to Glen Echo Park. That used to be a resort area for people from the city. They had their own train from DC that would run every day. They had an enormous lake named The Crystal Pool with a sandy beach area. There was room for about 3000 swimmers. It was once a midway, with rides as well.
Now they have the carousel still going (only on Saturdays and Sundays now that school is in session, seen above) and they’ve turned it into a nature center. They do a lot of classes like pottery, photography, art, nature, etc. They no longer have The Crystal Pool but have a nice play ground instead. They also have a big picnic area, a ball room, and a puppet theater.
I miss Butterfly on these days because we always have so much fun. I think she’s enjoying school though.
Her first back to school night was tonight. It was a lot of fun! She marched us all around the school. We saw her art room (after asking directions), the music room, the gym, the cafeteria, her class room, her teacher, her cubby, and her drawing. She made a monster book to show us but didn’t finish it in class. So she sat right down in the chair and finished it herself.
Her teacher said that she is very particular. She would be after having Juice as a father. This makes her very detail oriented. Her teacher was also surprised to hear that she did not go to pre-school since she knows a lot of things that the other kids don’t yet. Of course, there are things she doesn’t know that everyone else knows. I think that’s pretty normal. Her teacher also mentioned that she has a lot of good ideas for the class to help things go smoothly. Mrs. Madeline considers Butterfly a leader in the class.
Way to go little girl! She is rocking in school.
PS- Please please please don’t forget to vote for my picture! Thanks a million!
On Friday, Juice took the day off of work to spend the day with one of his best friend’s from high school. Grant came into town to see Glenn Beck and his rally on the Mall downtown. He spent Thursday night with us, and we met up with his sister, my friend from middle school, in Gettysburg to see the sights!
The boys (Juice and Grant) took care of the kids which freed me and Ann to talk. And talk. It was fun. Turns out Ann is living in the DC area too and we’re going to hang out more. She is a 1st grade teacher. We caught up with our families and then started in on all the other stuff that old friends talk about.
In between all the talking, we saw some sights!
Of course, we weren’t able to see much, since we had to hurry back home for Butterfly’s open house. But we did see a few things. This was Pirate and Professor’s first trip to Gettysburg!
Juice is such a fun dad. He got the kids to sit all on their own cannons and showed them how to stick their hands in the front and pretend to load them. Then he would yell, “FIRE!” and they would all make firing noises. Then they would run around, load the cannons again, and Juice would yell “FIRE!” What a fun guy.
We loved having Grant with us and hopefully he’ll come again soon!
Today Flower and I looked at our list and really decided what we are going to for the rest of the time she is with us. The weeks fly by fast in the summer and in 3 short weeks she will be leaving us! Sad!
Flower picked 6 things to do in the next 3 weeks. I’m excited for the things she picked! After we picked out 6 (actually 7, but we added the last thing since it was a tradition) things to do in the area, we decided to pack up and go do one of them. Right now.
So we threw together a lunch, threw the kids in the car, and drove off to this place:
Great Falls National Park, MD.
It’s so beautiful there! AND! They are doing construction big time there so they are not charging admission while they are doing construction. So locals, Great Falls in Maryland is FREE right now. Go. It’s beautiful.
We also saw a lot of wildlife there. Lots of birds, lots of fish, lots of frogs. The frogs were ADORABLE and tiny. Oh! And a lizard! Sadly, Soot our dog, chased that lizard away and no pictures of that one. The kids had a love/hate relationship with those frogs. They hopped. But they wanted to hold them. And they hopped.
Professor ended up yelling at me as we were leaving the park because “Wanna hold dagon! Wanna hold DAgon!” When he doesn’t get his way, he just yells what he wants louder. This little tantrum came because he wanted to hold a dragon fly and those things are hard to catch!
We all came home tired and filthy and hungry. What another fun day with Flower!
The first time I gave these smoothies to my kids, Butterfly said, “Oh wow! Chocolate!” Sadly, there is no chocolate in this drink, but the kids just guzzle it down. It’s oh so healthy and super easy to make.
First, you start with some yogurt. I use the yogurt I make in my crock pot using whole milk and this recipe. Totally works.
Next, add some honey. I honestly eyeball the honey in my smoothie. I’m guessing it’s about a 1/4 of a cup that I add. I add the honey because frankly, that yogurt I make is not sweetened and is pretty strong! I’m sure you can use less honey if you want or omit it completely if you’re using sweetened yogurt. I just choose not to.
Then toss in some fruit. I’ve got small bags of 8-10 strawberries frozen in my freezer that work out perfectly. I also really like bananas, frozen kiwi (just skin the kiwi and pop them in individual bags in the freezer), frozen blueberries, etc. You can use any fruit you’d like. We just happen to love strawberries and blueberries here so that’s what we use the most. You can use fresh fruit if you’d like. I like using the frozen stuff because it makes the smoothie cold and have a good smoothie texture.
Now this is the secret ingredient. Spinach. You read it right, a whole huge handful of spinach. I buy it in big bunches from the Asian market here. Wash it, and break any stems off and put it into the blender. You don’t have to dry it because the extra water helps it blend together.
Next, drop in a few ice cubes. If you can.
This last step is important. Add a splash of juice. You can use any kind of juice, but I like the nectars that are a little more thick. I also LOVE to put carrot juice in here. Right now I happen to have guava nectar.
Now blend! If you find that the spinach isn’t blending down, stop the blender and push it down. You can also add another splash or 2 of juice or even milk to get things moving.
1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 cup honey (or less)
8-10 strawberries, frozen or fresh
any other fruit you want- bananas, blueberries, kiwi (which is excellent frozen), pineapple, pears, berries, peaches
one BIG handful of fresh spinach, stems broken off and washed
one handful of ice, or 6-8 ice cubes
a splash of juice- 100% carrot preferably
Blend it up and enjoy! Makes enough for 3 full tall sippy cups of it as well as a 16 oz glass for me.
Yes, it’s brown when it’s blended. Yes, Butterfly thinks there is chocolate in it and I haven’t told her there isn’t. Yes, it’s GOOD. This is what Butterfly requested on the morning of her birthday for breakfast. I don’t have an after picture for you (I think I was tired that morning) but it’s really great. I feel good that the kids are getting their veggies in, and also their fruits and yogurt!
Today’s giveaway is a big one. First, look at this cute picture of me and my boys.
Aren’t we adorable. We were hiking with Lolli and her family in Harper’s Ferry that day. I had one of Lolli’s wraps on the front and a Ergo carrier on the back. It was my very first use of it and it was amazing. Boy do I love this carrier. It’s easy to put on. It’s easy to put the kid in. And it’s so very comfortable! I like that I can carry both boys around and still have my hands free with this set up.
Now, after having it for over 2 months, the boys scream “RIDE!!” whenever they see it. I either leave it in the car tucked under the seat (and out of sight) or I’m constantly getting it shoved in my face with little boys who want to ride in it. Juice has even carried Butterfly around in it, in all her 60 lbs of limbs. And really, the carrier can withstand up to 90 lbs so she’s perfectly safe. She even said it was really comfortable.
Do you want one? I have one to give away. It looks just like the one I’m carrying Pirate with on my back in the picture.
To enter, you must do 2 things. First, leave a comment. I love comments. Next, you have to join my blog via my cool new thing: Google Friend Connect. If you were a previous follower of my blog before, you get an extra entry! And for one more extra entry, you can tweet about it, including @safirecat so I can keep track of them.
As always, this giveaway will end a week from today.
Happy Commenting and let me know how you like that smoothie!
This week for our little home preschool was Z week. And what better way to celebrate Zs than to go to the Zoo! This is one of the places in DC that is a must see. And it’s FREE. How cool does that get?!
So Lolli and I, and the 4 kids, ride the train to the zoo (AJ kept saying, “Is this the Zoo Train?” and I kept thinking of the Disney Zoo Train Song.) and hike the half mile or so to the Zoo Entrance. Lolli and I had researched our trip a little today and printed off Zoo Bingo and an Animal Worksheet to help the kids keep on task. Really, didn’t need to but it was fun. They got stickers at the end from the Zoo’s information desk.
AJ really wanted to see the alligators so we went into the reptile house this time. We never go into the reptile house because there’s always a huge line. But this time we walked right in. Boy it was hot in there! The kids were enchanted with all the snakes and alligators and lizards. I caught this awesome shot for Juice. This is his favorite color, after all!
Butterfly wanted to see the spider monkeys. I knew the Monkeys were not in the Great Ape house so I thought we’d try the Small Mammal House. In there we saw a ton of animals. The kids were entranced by the Golden Tamarins, and I have to say they are some of my favorite animals. Too fast for my distracted picture taking though.
Once we got out of there, we figured it was time to leave. There was an altercation involving some cotton candy and popcorn, but it was resolved fairly quickly. (Butterfly didn’t want to share, I made her, the end.) The ride home on the Metro was quiet, due to the Zzzzs the kids were catching for their own use.
What a fun day!
Today’s adventure took us to the “airplane park.” It’s official name is Gravelly Point and it’s right next to Regan National Airport. It used to be an old land fill before they made it into a pretty fun open grassy area. It’s tradition to come to this park (for my church) every spring break. I haven’t been since Butterfly was the boys’ age.
So we packed a lunch, found all the summer hats and the sun screen, and off we went! Lala and Vinny came along too which was so much fun. We really enjoyed being with them and having an enormous grassy area to run around in.
The first thing that Butterfly and Vinny did when they got to the park was take off their shoes and socks. Then the boys wanted their shoes and socks off. Okay. They spent the day running in the grass barefooted and having a great time.
The boys were pretty scared of the planes at first. I mean, this park is right next to the run way and the planes get pretty close.
Pretty soon Professor lost his fear of the planes and waved to every one as they went pass. Pirate, till the very end, dove for my lap every time. He had to have his hat on (to protect him?) and once the planes were gone, he’d take it off. So funny! Pretty soon he was leaving the hat on all the time which was much better. Putting that hat on ever 4-8 minutes was obnoxious.
We went down to the waterfront and threw mulch into the river. I took a picture of the cherry blossoms. Looks like that’s as close as I’m going to get this year. Sad.
The kids came home tired and dirty and very happy. I came home tired, dirty, and with a bright red nose. Guess who forgot to put sunscreen on the tip of her nose? Now I look like Rudolf with a burn over one eyebrow. (Missed that spot too. Oops.) The kids just have that healthy sun-kissed glow and Professor’s hair has shined back up to new penny status.
What a fun day at the airplane park!
We’ve been busy busy busy here running from place to place. It’s spring break in our school system and we’ve been enjoying having all of our friends around to do fun things with. Joining Lolli this week with a few good pictures of what we’ve been doing!
A fun day in Harper’s Ferry…complete with several disasters, several saves, and several rules broken!
We spent today at the National Aquarium (a bigger post coming) and I am totally foot sore. A day pushing the kids around in Harper’s Ferry, WV, a day at the aquarium, and tomorrow we’re going to another park.
Did I mention how much I’m enjoying getting out with friends? LOVE IT.
Playing along with my good friend Lolli over at Better in Bulk. Go check out her pictures because she’s got some really cute ones of Butterfly and AJ (her boy) at the resource center.
Mine comes from last weekend at the zoo and Tai Shan’s farewell party. Beyond seeing the panda for the last time and writing him a good bye note, they had a show that they put on. There were drums, dancing, singing, etc. The final act were 2 Chinese dragons that went out into the crowd and danced to the drums. They scared Butterfly so bad but I thought they were beautiful.
What have you been taking pictures of lately?
PS- Snow started around 11am this morning. The boys and I went for a walk and then Butterfly and I played on the playground for awhile. Everyone is taking an awesome nap and I had my morning out.
Today it snowed. A lot. Well, for Maryland. 9 inches and counting. I think that God knew that I needed a pick me up. So we got some really pretty snow. All sparkly and soft and white. Sugar snow I like to call it.
And what goes better with snow?
Isn’t he adorable!? If you like something bigger, how about one of these?
Juice and I were talking about what to do today and he asked if there was something I wanted to do to help me feel better. I don’t know what came over me but all I wanted to do was go to Tai Shan’s farewell party at the Smithsonian Zoo. Tai Shan is the big guy you see above. Where is he going? He was born at our zoo the same year Butterfly was born. He’s been the crown prince of the area since then.
So where is he going then? Well, the king and queen are on loan to us from China. And the little prince’s (not so little at 170 lbs!) loan from China is up. Now that he’s 4, he’s ready to enter the dating scene. The dating scene is a little sparse here in the States so off to China he goes.
They had a big party with a bunch of experts out talking to people. We got to write a good bye card that will go on the plane with Tai Shan. We got a picture of him, some panda snacks (which we each had 3 of, they were good!) and we ALMOST got a free stuffed panda. They were giving out them to the first 50 kids and we were #58. Sad. Instead we bought plastic animals on sticks at the gift shop.
We got really lucky and were able to see Tai Shan out in the snow. Plus the red pandas (the above picture) were out and I’ve never seen them before! They were really cute!
By now, the kids were cold. They were crying. They were covered in snow. Butterfly didn’t want to wear her boots so her feet were wet. I honestly didn’t think this outing through enough. We spent some time in the panda house to warm up and decided to go see the monkeys. Pirate is big into monkeys lately and it’s one of 3 words he says regularly.
We had a great time sliding down the hill to the ape house. We saw a lot of the apes playing in their habitats. Pirate actually cried when we left and not because he was cold. That kid sure does love monkeys.
We then got word that the zoo was closing early because of the snow and we hiked it back to the metro station. (With some hot chocolate to warm us up!)
What a fun day! Just what I needed. Snow, one of the best stuff + animals, another favorite of mine = one awesome day. Thanks Juice for indulging me.