Saturday, April 23, 2011

Spring Break

This Spring Break we decided that we'd go to Cape Cod. And I have to say we picked the three best weather days of the whole week. We went Wednesday-Friday, April 20-22. We left Glenville at 9:30 AM - had a short detour to the Donut Dip in Springfield, Ma and arrived in Falmouth at about 2:00 PM. We stayed in Falmouth at the Inn On The Square. It was a beautiful old inn. We had to wait until 3:00 PM to check-in, so we ate our lunch on a little patio there and then went and walked around the town. It is a quaint little village with a village green and many cute shops on Main street. We went to the Visitor's Center and they suggested going to Spohr Gardens. They have thousands of daffodils throughout the garden that were blooming or just ready to bloom.

After the gardens we went to the Nobska lighthouse.

As you can see from the picture it was a foggy day. We got to see the lighthouse, and because it was foggy at the time the fog horn was going. How cliché! That night we went out to eat, and guess what we got? Sea food! Glen and I shared a lobster roll and shrimp and scallops. It was yummy. Lauren got cheese ravioli - she's not a sea food person. Then it was swimming in the hotel pool, and cable TV in the room.

Thursday we rode our bikes to the bus stop that took us to the ferry. The bus had a bike rack on the front for our bikes. We caught the 9:30 AM ferry to Martha's Vineyard. We were the last to load because they put our bikes on after all the other vehicles were loaded. It took about 45 minutes to get there. It was a beautiful day so we spent most of the time outside on the deck of the ferry.

I was amazed to watch them load semi-trucks, UPS trucks, and all kinds of vehicles onto the ferry. It took many more vehicles that I would ever have imagined. You can imagine our surprise when the first people we spotted as we came into the passenger area of the ferry were two Mormon missionaries. They serve on Martha's Vineyard. They said there is a branch with about 20 people there. It was fun to chat with them. They were from Mexico and Portugal.

The ferry docks in Vineyard Haven. From there we set out to bike the 2.5 miles to the East Chop lighthouse. From there we biked about 2 miles to Oak Bluffs. It is a beautiful old town with cool houses around a big green. In the town we went to a carousel called the Flying Horses. It is the oldest operating platform carousel in the United States.

We all went on it. It was the first time I've been on a carousel where you actually got to grab for the brass ring. Every time you went around there was a machine that dispensed a ring. There was only one brass ring - the person who got that got to ride again for free.

There was a dowel on the horses head where you could stack all the rings you got. Then when the ride stopped you threw all of your rings into the collection bin. It was amusing.

We then rode another 6+ miles to Edgartown. Along the way we stopped and went to the beach because it was really close to the road. Notice that we're all in long pants and jackets. While it was sunny it wasn't warm. When we got to Edgartown it was time for lunch and we found a cute little restaurant called Among the Flowers. Glen and I split a yellow tailed flounder sandwich. We also had the best clam chowder ever. Lauren still wouldn't have sea food, so she got a fantastic fruit crepé. How do I know it was fantastic - because both Glen and I had bites. After riding to the Edgartown lighthouse and around the town for awhile we caught the bus back to Vineyard Haven. It was so nice because by that time both Lauren and I were a little saddle sore. The bus had a bike rack on the front that you could put three bikes in. Fortunately there were only the three of us, so it worked beautifully.

Back in Vineyard Haven we decided to ride to the West Chop lighthouse. It was about another 4 mile ride, so we figure we probably rode at least 15 miles in all that day.

And then it was time to go back to Falmouth. It was a little colder on the way back, so we spent most of our time inside the ferry.

On Friday we drove up the cape to Provincetown. Along the way we stopped at the Cape Cod National Sea Shore Salt Pond Visitor's Center. We had a nice ride out to Coast Guard Beach. Then we continued up toward the outer cape. We went to Race Point Beach at the very tip of the cape. We could see the Race Point lighthouse from the beach. We spent a half-hour or more watching all the whales just off the shore. We had binoculars and a spotting scope so we could see them really well. It was awesome to see so many whales in one place.

The we continued into Proviencetown. This picture is of the Pilgrim Monument. In 1620, the Pilgrims spent five weeks exploring Cape Cod before they sailed to Plymouth, MA. It actually has gargoyle rain spouts on it. We thought that was kind of funny.

When we got there we were ready for lunch. When we were trying to find parking we saw a bunch of people lined up at the Red Shack getting food so we decided we'd go there. Glen and I got amazing lobster rolls, and once again Lauren didn't eat sea food. She had a huge chicken parm sandwich. We also had some fantastic onion rings. Yummy!

We walked out to the end of the pier. In the summer I'm sure it's filled with people selling things. But since it is still off-season, there weren't many little shops open yet. But in the town pretty much everything was open. After walking around town for a while we got ice cream at Lewis Brothers homemade ice cream. It was yummy! Then it was time to head home - a six+ hour car ride. But it was sooooo worth it!

We decided that we left plenty of things undone in Cape Cod so we'll just have to go back another time. Oh darn!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jared Receives His Mission Call

Michelle got a call from Jared about 2:00 pm EDT saying that his mission call had come in the mail. We decided that 6:00 pm EDT would be a good time for us to all "get together" so he could open his call. Glen picked up Helen after work and brought her to our house for dinner and so she could be there when he opened his call. Below is the only picture we took, so it is the one that gets posted.

Jared had a lot of friends from the dorm there when he opened his call along with good friends Scott Maughan and Rebecca Field. Jared's Aunt Tammy Jimenez and her kids Matt, Gabby, and Hannah were also there along with Jared's grandparents, John and Jean Worthen. We were glad that Jared had some family there with him, since none of his immediate family were there.

This is a picture of Jared calling Brett and Erin on a 3-way call so they could at least hear where he got called to. We were in NY on Skype with Jared.

And the exciting news is that Jared is going to the Honolulu, Hawaii mission, English speaking. He enters the Provo MTC on June 8th. We are all so excited for him! Congratulations Jared!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Science Research Program

Lauren got accepted into the Science Research Program at her high school. She had to apply for the program by writing an essay saying why she wanted to be in the program and what her project might be. She also had to be interviewed by the head of the Science Research Program. She is one of 8 others in the Freshman class who got into the program. It is a three year program where they work with a mentor on a project that is related to science. She was very happy to have gotten in.

April Fool's Day Dinner

For the last few years I've tried to make surprising April Fool's Day dinners. This year was no exception. Because it was April Fool's we started with "dessert" first.

This is our "ice cream with caramel sauce" which was really mashed potatoes with pork gravy.

Glen returned from England today and brought back a Ribena Blackcurrant drink, so we're each having a little of it. Lauren didn't like it - but it's Brett's favorite.

Our "donut" is meatloaf cut to look like a donut with "pink frosting" made of mashed potatoes colored pink.

It was crazy trying to get everything on the table when both Lauren and Glen were around. Usually I have everything ready and on the table when Glen gets home from work. But because he had been out of town I'd gone to pick him up. So I have to do things when I got back home.

We also had "chicken nuggets" that were pieces of zucchini coated in bread crumbs and fried. I put them in a cute nugget holder.

And for our main course we had "spaghetti with meatballs, sauce, and Parmesan cheese". The "spaghetti" was really vanilla ice cream piped onto a plate using a frosting bag and tip. The "meatball"s were made from chocolate cake that you crumbled and then added frosting that had been microwaved so it was runny. You mixed it all together and then rolled it into balls, that you then covered with chocolate. The "sauce" is strawberry jam. And the "Parmesan cheese" is really grated white chocolate.

It was all yummy and fun! Happy April Fool's Day!

Glen in England

Glen went to England on business the end of March. He was there last year at the same time. But last year our son Brett was still there on his mission. Brett was very jealous that Glen was returning to the area that he loves, and wanted Glen to bring him home all kinds of British treats. Unfortunately Glen carried on his luggage and didn't have much spare room to bring much home. But he did bring home some candy bars and a drink that Brett really likes.

While he was there he was able to visit the Gadfield Elm Chapel (above) which is the oldest Mormon chapel in the world. It belonged to the United Brethren, the membership of which joined the Church en-masse. They then gave the chapel to the LDS church in 1840, which was before the first church building was built in the U.S.

Glen stayed in Cheltenham while he was there. Above is the Cheltenham College, which is a day and boarding school for youth 13-18 years old. He said it was really beautiful.

This is the Cheltenham LDS Chapel. It was open so Glen was able to go in and look around. He couldn't find anyone to really talk to - he decided they were all probably in a Stake Presidency meeting, or something like that.

On his way back to Birmingham Glen was able to stop at the Tewkesbury Abbey. He found it interesting because he had just finished reading a book about England in the 1300s, and there were people in the abbey who were buried in the 1300s.

Isn't the inside beautiful? Glen said they had a mirror on the floor in one part so that you could look down into it and see the ceiling reflected in the mirror without having to crane your neck to look up. He got there just as they were finishing a worship service. Had he arrived 10 minutes later it would have been locked up and he wouldn't have gotten to see it.

After visiting the Tewkesbury Abbey Glen had dinner at The Bell in Tewkesbury. He said it was a quaint little inn, and that they had wonderful food. Then he headed back to Birmingham where he was flying out of.

Lauren's Music In Our Schools Band Concert

As second chair flute in the Symphonic Band Lauren had three flute solos in one of her band pieces. She played them really well. You can see her standing next to the first chair flute player who only played the piccolo in that particular song. Lauren is really loving playing the flute. On April 2nd she scored a 99/100 on her NYSSMA flute solo. She was thrilled!

Cupcake Competition

On Saint Patrick's Day the Relief Society had a Visiting Teaching Conference. They picked the 17th of March because that is the day the Relief Society was organized. As part of our conference we had a cupcake competition. We were judged on taste and presentation. I made a Candied Hazelnut Cupcake with a Nutella ganache center and dark chocolate frosting. I thought they were yummy, but then I really like hazelnuts and Nutella. There were probably over 30 entries in the competition so it was fun to taste small bites of difference cupcakes and judge all of them for presentation.