Posts Tagged ‘vacation’
Who knew that it’s been over a month since the last post? No one but my family and a few close friends read this blog anyway… so, it’s okay, right? No, no. I know friends out there are reading. I’m sorry I’ve been away. I always seem to let too much time pass between posts in the summer months. With the kids and husband home, every day is an adventure – except when outside feels like a sauna and we hunker down in our basement and play video games and ping pong. (Not very into the pool scene. I don’t buy pool passes. No chance to break even.)
Since I last posted…
What would you say if your friends called and said, “Hey! We bought a bed and breakfast! Who wants to come for a working weekend to help us get ready?”
We said, “Of course!” We had never been to a bed and breakfast before, but mostly because of accessibility issues. Luckily, there was a ramped entrance and we had a ground floor room. Perfect.
So two weekends ago, we packed up our bags, brought an air mattress, blankets and headed two hours out of Chicago to their bed and breakfast in Michigan. A possible snow advisory didn’t stop us either.
Doors and walls in the innkeepers home needed painting, furniture had to be moved, kitchen cabinets and appliances were waiting to be cleaned… and there were over ten adults (along with at least fifteen children – I lost count) willing and able to do jobs. Talk about a great greeting – having friends come out to your car with big hugs.
I stayed in the B&B where all the kids were. (Couldn’t leave them to their own devices.) Spent most of my time in the B&B kitchen catching up with other friends who had come to help. Oh, and I contributed – scrubbing out cabinets, finding miscellaneous kitchen gadgets and glassware left behind by the previous owners. Not your typical weekend activity but I loved it. The evening ended with wine, guitar playing, kids in the basement complete with pillow fights, and prepping for the next morning’s breakfast… awesome.
What a truly exciting adventure ahead – so proud of our friends, Julie and Eric.
We’re back from a week in hot, humid, beautiful Orlando, Florida. Yes, we took a family trip to Walt Disney World. I’ve missed writing this summer (so hard with the family schedules), but I’m looking forward to sharing crafts and recipes again… especially some dishes inspired from Disney’s Dessert cookbook. I totally had to pick this up while we were there.
Just glad we’re home, even though it’s just as hot, if not hotter than Florida – and just as humid. Our plants didn’t die while we were gone *whew*, and our basement didn’t flood with the epic storm that happened while we were away. So, so thankful. How’s everyone been lately?
We’re back home and ready for school and work again…
There’s so much I could do IN my house… so much I’d like to do OUT of my house. How do you choose?! Fortunately, some of these “things-to-do” are in town for a while.
Tonight, have fun with make-and-takes at Chicago Craft Social.
I SO want to see Jim Henson’s Fantastic World at the Museum of Science and Industry! I don’t mind admitting I’m a big Muppets fan, and love the Jim Henson empire. I remember when he passed away, and feeling like a part of my childhood went too. The exhibit runs from Sept. 24 (today!) through January 23, 2011.
If you’re around Millenium Park, this gastronomic event might be something to check out. Chicago Gourmet runs Sept. 25-26. Food. Wine. Tastings. Celebrity chef demos. Wheee!!! It would certainly be delicious and fun for me, and what I’d give to meet Rick Bayless. Don’t know what I’d say to him, but I’d love a chance.
We made a new friend at Tacoma’s farmer’s market, Valhalla Coffee. This is Sam trying to educate us on the finer points of the Valhalla blends. He did his job, because we really wanted to visit this independent roaster.
It would seem the thing to do… to drink coffee, at a coffee house, in or around Seattle. How pedestrian. But not really, it’s Tacoma’s only independent roaster who roasts five days out of the week on location at 6th and Proctor. You walk into coffee saturated air, it’s intoxicating. Store decor is minimal, but you only need somewhere to sit to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee. And, their prices are comparable to the big corporate store that started it all. When we were there in the mid-afternoon, the store was peaceful with a few customers checking up on their e-mail and reading the paper.
Store owner, AJ, was on hand that day to chat and brew some Valkyrie Blend: Ethiopian, Sumatra and French Roast. The French press was perfect and piping hot.
We asked AJ for some coffee to bring home… and he blended it right there on the spot. Could it get any fresher than that? There’s no pre-packaging, no pre-blending, no foolin’ around here. This guy runs a top-notch coffee spot that, well, serves a great cup o’ joe without all the merchandise distractions.
Bringing Coffee Home
If you’re into coffee, a 1/2 pound of Valkyrie Blend instead of a lavender sachet in your suitcase does wonders. My suitcase (and clothes in it) smelled so good when I opened it… *reminiscing and inhaling deeply now*. Somehow, I think that this novelty has probably worn off for baristas and employees at Starbucks. Speaking of Starbucks, when we got home, I said to my husband, we need to have Coffee Friend over for a tasting. I’ve known Coffee Friend for 25 years, and certainly he’s one of my best friends since before high school. He has a great palate and a knack for verbalizing it, and he works for the big corporate coffee shop. We don’t hold that against him. As for the unimaginative moniker, he’s okay with it. I asked.
The last time we had a coffee tasting with Coffee Friend, we had some really bad jitters and my husband, oy, he felt all buzzy-headed for a few hours. We took precautions this time: only one brew, not three. We opened the bag of Valhalla Valkyrie to smell the sweet, dark roasted beans, and got the French Press out. Personally, I loved the symphony of fruity and spicy flavors.
From my notes, here’s what Coffee Friend had to say: The Ethiopian component was delicate, but hard to taste with the dark, strong flavor of the Espresso French Roast. At the first sip, when it’s piping hot, you can taste the fruit. It also has a bright floral acidity. Then comes the earthiness and spice from the Sumatra. As it cools down, you get the maltiness. Overall, the blend has very nice layers of flavor.
Here’s what my husband said: “I just know I like it.”
Thanks, AJ and Valhalla Coffee crew! My brother-in-law got us some more of your awesome roasts! Can’t wait to brew a cup!