Sunday, June 27, 2010

We don't do this often, Thank goodness!

The kids were taken on a rare outing. Yesterday their Dad took the three oldest kids to a movie. This is not something we do very often. It is so expensive to go to movies. For the price they paid for their 4 tickets we could have paid for our Netflix for 3 months. Usually we just wait until a movie comes out on DVD. But I thought they should go see this one. They did more than just watch the movie they went to see it in 3D.  I stayed home with a sad, sick, cranky baby.

When they got home they told me all about it. They actually didn't like the 3D aspect of the film. The glasses were uncomfortable. My husband said he could tell the movie was shot with the 3D in mind so I am glad they saw it that way.

As for the story.... my kids said there were scary parts. But they have always thought Zurg in Toy Story 2 was scary too. I guess there is a scene with the toys almost being burned in a fire and my kids didn't handle that too well. They also said there was a bad monkey that clapped his hands and made the other kids do things. But overall they liked the movie. My husband said he still likes Toy Story 2 better but it was a good ending to the story. If of course it is indeed the end. I guess the toys now have a new home so who knows if there will be another sequel.  I guess as long as families keep taking their kids to the movies and buying the toys they will keep making the movies.

So I guess the movie is good. They are still talking about it a day later. Everyone that I know who has seen it has loved it.  I will wait to see it on DVD. It won't be 3D but I am sure it will still be fun. I am told the animation is amazing!

I don't know if we will be doing another movie anytime soon. Maybe just the 1$ Summer morning movies and that is it. The price of tickets to see a movie is outrageous. Or maybe I am just cheep.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Buckwheat cakes

I have started experimenting with different grains. I have been using a lot of oatmeal and wheat in my baking but have starting baking using rice and even bean flours too. One I have wanted to try for awhile is buckwheat. We have been listening to a lot of old traveling west music and in the song O'Susanna it says that she has a buckwheat cake in mouth. So I know they have been using buckwheat for a long time, especially for pancakes.

I found some buckwheat groats at the Whole Foods Market and decided to give them a try. I ground them up in my grinder to make a nice flour and found a recipe online.

This is the one I followed.

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes

3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup milk (I used clabbered milk, 1 3/4 cups of milk with 2 T lemon juice in it and let is sit for a bit, instead of the buttermilk and milk.)
1 T Honey
2 large eggs
2 T canola oil

You can add a cup of blueberries if you like or just put them on top which is what we did instead of syrup. We have also started using Blue Agave sweetner instead of always using expensive real Maple syrup on our pancakes.

I really enjoyed these pancakes and have made them a few more times since I ground up enough of the buckwheat flour. They have a different texture and a sort of nutty flavor.

I made my regular old Oatmeal pancakes for breakfast today and I have to admit they tasted a little bland to me after having buckwheat pancakes the last few weeks. They have a little more flavor so you don't have to have as much syrup or topings.

I am going to keep experimenting with recipes because I have seen some that use rice flour instead of the wheat. Not that I have anything against wheat and we aren't on a gluten free diet. I just want to add a little more variety to what grains we are eating.

Visiting Ronald Reagan

As we headed back up to Northern California from our cruise in the South we decided to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We had never taken the time to visit before and since this a famous "Californian" I figured it would count as a school field trip also.
Do you notice Molly holding Reagan's hand in this picture. She held on really tight and I had to pry her fingers off eventually. We walked by this statue again later and she reached out for the hand again. There must be something about Ronald Reagan she likes.

The grounds were beautiful. They had a lovely rose garden which was supposed to mimic the rose garden of the White House. And when we came across the piece of the Berlin Wall we had to explain what it was and why it would here on Reagan's Library grounds.

We took a tour which took us through a room made to look exactly like the Oval Office did in Reagan's day complete with the photographs he kept on the back table.

We also got to walk through the Jet that was used as Airforce 1 during Reagan's presidency. I guess the new Airforce 1 that they use now is about 3x bigger.

Here is one of the limos that Reagan would have drove around in. The 1980's don't seem that long ago but these cars sure do look dated.

Here are all the cousins posing in front of Marine 1, which is the helicopter that was used by Presidents in the past.

One of the most interesting exhibits at the library was a miniature White House.

It was all done so you could see right into the different rooms on the back side. And they are all decorated just like you would find them in the real White House.

They also included the west and east wings of the White House. For some reason none of us realized the Oval office is actually in the west wing and not in the House itself.

Can you see the round dome in the picture above. That is the oval office in the west wing.

There were also several rooms with other memorabilia from Reagan's years in the white house. Before we left for our trip I had checked out a biography of Ronald Reagan to read to the kids. Knowing we were planning to come to this library I wanted to prepare them for our visit.  Since we haven't studied this time period yet in our history studies they didn't understand all the Cold War stuff but they did remember that Reagan was shot while president. They had the suit he was wearing when he was shot there and the kids remembered that part of his history.

Here is the final resting place of Ronald Reagan. I guess he picked this spot for his burial because he especially enjoyed the view.

It certainly was spectacular to look out over Simi Valley.

The weather that day was perfect and we enjoyed the visit with this famous Californian.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cruise Ship - Swimming

On top of all the other things we did on the boat. We also did quite a bit of swimming. The weather was a bit cold so the big pool was a little too chilly for most of us. The hot tubs were crowded as a result.

The ship had a nice water slide that some of the kids were willing to try. My kids were hesitant about it so just watched their cousins go down over and over again.

Ian did get into the big pool and swim around a little while. He didn't like that it was filled with salt water so quickly returned to the hot tubs.

Not much else to say. The pictures show the kids having a great time. The parents mostly just hung out and made sure they didn't slip or get too rowdy and start splashing the other people in the tub.

It was just an opportunity for all of us to sit and enjoy the sun.

Cruise Ship - Entertainment

I know... more pictures of the cruise.... I am posting these for my family to enjoy, so bare with me.

This time the topic is Entertainment. On a cruise ship there is always stuff going on.

This ship was designed with a Mini golf course on the upper deck. We came up here at least once a day to play a round.
Molly was thrilled to be allowed to crawl around. There isn't a whole lot of open space on the cruise ship for crawlers.

This is the big show room. We attended a few shows but I have to say we walked out of a number of them because they claimed to be family entertainment but evidently they weren't talking about our family. We are more selective with our viewing than most people I guess.

They also held a few Trivia contests here. Just about every trivia contest was won by some member of our family.  I believe my husband won one on 70's music and ? . He was also really close to winning the one on Motown music as well. My brother-in-law won the pictionary one. And my Sister-in-law won the contest of riddles.  The prize was a plastic cruise ship trophy. Not that exciting but trying and winning a contest is always fun.

There were a number of singers performing throughout the ship.  This man played Beatles tunes. He took requests and was pretty good.

My family sat at the bar with their glasses of water and listened.

So what about all the kids? What did they have on board the ship for them to do.

Carnival Kids Camp.

We would drop the kids off at Kids camp and they did all sorts of crafts and activities.
Each day they came home with their faces painted and party hats of some kind.

Here is Henry and his cousin painted to look like Fun Ship Freddy.

We picked them up once and they were all dressed up like pirates.

Henry looks pretty good with a goatee.
The kids put on a talent show one afternoon and the whole family got to do some dancing.

There were a lot of kids on the boat. I was surprised. Of course we added 12 children to that number so we may have added a lot to their workload.

A lot of our time was spent just sitting around doing nothing. We would find an empty lounge and just hang out together.

These two little babies kept us busy too.
They look about the same age. Molly is about 3 1/2 months older. They are going to be "best cousins" as my kids say.

My sister was smart and brought along an umbrella stroller. For some reason I didn't. Our car was already full of luggage so I guess I left that item off the list. I ended up doing a lot of walking on board the boat and had to carry Molly around everywhere. By the end of the week my back and shoulders ached. Just for future travels with a baby. BRING a STROLLER!