Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Roundup

I know, I haven't blogged much food lately, but as we are on holiday, we're not really eating the way we would at home (and I'm not cooking - at least, not more than occasionally). At the moment, we're doing a lot of eating lunch stuff at dinner (and lunch too, quite often). But it's not very exciting to blog!

  • 31st: picnic lunch at pool, with snacking - no proper dinner
  • 30th: picnic type food for dinner
  • 29th: Lunch out again - no proper dinner
  • 28th: Lunch (and ice cream) out - no proper dinner
  • 27th: Ham, Corn on the Cob, German Potato Salad
  • 26th: Odd assortment of Airline Food, Sandwiches and snacking
  • 25th: Courgette and Mushroom Tart
  • 24th: Prawn and Courgette Curry
  • 23rd: Sausages, Peas, Oven Chips
  • 22nd: Squashed Tomato Pasta with rocket
  • 21st: Tacos
  • 20th: Huge picnic on Black Cap
  • 19th: Morrocan Chicken with lemon and basil couscous
  • 18th: leftovers, fend for yourself
  • 17th: Thai Red Pork Curry with hearts of palm
  • 16th: Spanakopita
  • 15th: Leftovers
  • 14th: Risotto with bacon & mushrooms
  • 13th: Thai Beef Salad, Noodle Salads
  • 12th: Salmon Tikka
  • 11th: Chargrilled Pepper Chicken with Lemon Aoili and chips (Sarah)
  • 10th: Pasta with pancetta, chili and lemon
  • 9th: Leftover chili (from freezer)
  • 8th: Pork and Peanut Noodles
  • 7th: Crunchy chicken salad, bread & cheese, cucumbers
  • 6th: 4th of July Style BBQ
  • 5th: Herb & Veg Frittata
  • 4th: Eggs & potatoes (Sarah)
  • 3rd: Edamame soup with feta croutons, crusty bread
  • 2nd: Pasta with cream cheese & tapenade
  • 1st: Leftover chicken, potatoes, etc

A day at the pool

It was a little overcast today, and not hot, but still a good day for spending time at the pool - this is the neighbourhood pool of a friend who lives near my mother's house. We took coolers with picnic lunch and spent the day in the water (kids) or lounging (grownups), eating, chatting, generally hanging out. It was lovely!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Olivia preparing to toast the largest marshmallow in the known universe...

Olivia and her friend Katy toasting marshmallows on the back deck at Katy's house.  

Some friends who live right down the road from my mother's house invited us around after dinner for S'mores (and conversation, a bit of being jumped on by excited dogs and a beer or two).  They have a really lovely large back deck with a screened in section in the middle, which is perfect for hanging out in the evening, especially in this run of decent weather we are having.  We had a lovely time eating far too many s'mores and gabbing...

Laurel Riverfront Park

As we've spent most of today in the house (we are going out to some friends after dinner, though) I took Alex and Olivia out for a walk along the riverfront in Laurel (the Patuxent River) to get rid of some excess energy. It's not a long walk, but it was nice- not too hot and it meant that Alex especially had something to do.

This is part of an old dam, from back in the days when there was lots of industry along the river here (mills).

Here's the dam wall from below - I do love old stone walls and other constructions.

Lots of good trees and plants to see - we liked this vine especially. 

And this very big old tree. 

There was also a small playground, so the kids had a little time playing on it. 

This was by someone's house on the path back up to the road. Sweet!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Wildlife walk

This morning, it was again, very nice to start with, getting a bit hotter later in the day (though not too humid, all day, which was lovely). We started with a trip to the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge, to have a walk through the woods and around the lake. We didn't see a lot of birds, but we did spot this fella, fishing for a morning snack. 

There were a fair few water lilies in bloom, though not by any means all of them. 

It's a very scenic place to walk, and lots of it is in the woods, so it's shaded. There's also a large visitors' centre, so the kids spent a while exploring there after we had our walk. 

Not a huge number of flowers, but a few wildflowers

and a few examples of the other local wildlife...

As much as I love my kids, I think this guy might win the prize for cutest wildlife...  We saw several chipmunks, but this one was the only one which held still long enough to be photographed. He was quite brazen.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A day downtown...

Supposedly, it was going to rain for a lot of the day today (as it happened, it didn't), so we planned something which could be indoors if necessary - a trip to downtown DC.  We drove in, as it's a lot cheaper than taking the Metro (which, unlike the London Underground, doesn't have a child fare, so it's really expensive to use as a family) and parked in one of the garages near the Mall - ended up only paying $11 for a day's parking, which is a big savings on the $40 or so it would have cost to take Metro. 

We decided to go to the American history museum, as it's been redone in the past few years and we only saw a little of it last time we were here. Rain plan would have been to then go to the Natural History Museum, but as it wasn't raining, 

we walked over to the old Post Office Pavilion, had some lunch, and went up the tower - quite a good view from there, as it happens, and it was free to go up. 

This is the Old Post Office building - kind of cool. 

Right across the street from a bar/pub/restaurant called Elephant & Castle, which made us all laugh.

Then we walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to a somewhat familiar address...

and walked back across the Mall towards the tidal basin and 

the Jefferson Memorial.  We considered going on the boats, but it was actually quite hot and you can only put four people in a boat and there were five of us, so we didn't. We did, however, walk around to the Jefferson Memorial - a nice breeze across the tidal basin helped - 

and then back to the carpark (or rather, Alex, Olivia and I did, while Sarah and Grandma waited in the shade - it was pretty hot in the sun by this point, though by DC summer standards, not too bad).

Olivia and I tried to do one of those photos where it looks like you are holding or crushing a landmark in the distance, but it was so sunny I had a hard time seeing my viewscreen so it didn't quite work. Cute photo anyway, though, I thought!  Tomorrow's activities will be smaller and closer to home, I think - we are all quite tired today (the plus side of that being I might manage not to wake up at 4am tomorrow!). 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dinner, 27/7/13: Corn on the Cob, Ham, German Potato Salad

And I didn't even have to cook it!  As good as my mother's German potato salad is, the best part by far is the fresh sweetcorn. Yum.


My mother's house gets a lot of interesting birds, but it's quite hard to catch them holding still long enough to take a photo. This morning, we had lots of finches, both house and gold

and also bluejays, cardinals, sparrows, something black which I couldn't really see properly, and some mourning doves - and I only watched them for about 15 minutes!

As it was cool this morning and we were all up early due to body clocks not being used to US time yet, we had an early morning walk around Lake Elkhorn in Columbia.   We saw some turtles, though not many (it wasn't sunny yet, though, perhaps they'd be out en masse later on one of the logs, sunning themselves...

Here's a view across Lake Elkhorn.

And here we are on the path along the Lake. 

At one point, we noticed martins flying in and out of one of the shelters along the lake, and looking up, spotted the reason why - right in the apex of the shelter. I don't think they were pleased when I stopped to take photos...

Saw this interesting bug - not sure what it was. 

Another lake view. 

Alex had a go at some of the exercise equipment. 

And on the way home, after stopping at Michael's, the library and the Harris Teeter (grocery shop) we hit the farm stand for sweetcorn, peaches and some yummy cherry tomatoes...

We spent the rest of the day lazing around the house - but we'd done a full day's work by about 12 noon!  Guess that's what you get for being up early...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dinner, 25/7/13: Courgette and Mushroom Tart

(and for the kids - courgette and no mushrooms tart). 

I've made this several times before and we all like it a lot. This time I had a package of chopped chorizo in the fridge, so I cooked that a bit first and threw it on as well. Very nice!


Here's Olivia's attempt at doing a converse sneaker on her nails - when it's something really complicated, she often only does one nail on each hand and just makes the others match in colour... You can imagine she had a difficult time choosing which nail varnishes to take to the US with her!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It's a girl!

Not the royal baby, but rather, my new niece. Isn't she lovely? And yes, she does share a birthday with the future King of England...