Sunday, March 31, 2013

Washington DC Trip - Day 1/2

Good morning and Happy Easter from the I travel from Philadelphia to Gettysburg. I am one of  6 chaperones who have traveled from California to the East Coast with forty 8th graders from my younger son's middle school for the annual Washington DC trip.  I did this with my older son 3 years ago and was very excited to do it again. it goes the official blog of the trip.

Day 1 - Good Friday, March 29, 2013
At 7:30pm we ascend on Fallon Middle school with suitcase and backpacks with snacks in hand to board the bus that will take us to SFO for our 11:10pm "red eye" out to Philadelphia. All 40 kids say "good-bye" to their parents as the flash bulbs flash with last minute pictures.

Excited kids enter the bus as they are ready for their 6 day journey - a trip back in time...a trip filled with history...time with make memories that will last a life time.

We arrived at the airport and experienced awesome service from VirginAmerica Airlines - checking bags went smoothly!

Once the bags are checked in and the groups makes it through security without any problems, there is adequate time to check out the airport food opportunities before we depart. It also provides everyone with great opportunity to charge all those electronics before boarding.
Last minute to charge all those electronics before boarding the 5 hour "red eye"...although shouldn't they think about sleep?????
 I can't say that everyone...or anyone really got much sleep on the flight. The seats were just not comfortable and many weren't very comfortable leaning their heads on their neighbor's shoulders, but I know that there were some who did get a little zzzzzz's before we landed in Philadelphia at 7:25am on Saturday morning.

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - Philadelphia
We landed a little early at the Philadelphia airport and everyone received their luggage! Yahoo!
Our tour guide, Jeff, introducing himself to the group and laying down the guidelines and rules of the  week.
Once everyone had their suitcases, we met up with out tour guide who would be with us for our week long journey into history. Jeff introduced himself to us all and then let us know the guidelines/rules for the week ahead. After which, he lead us to the bus and introduced us to our bus driver Joe. And then we set off....Running....

First stop: Breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe. The restaurant opened their doors just to our group and served a decent breakfast buffet. All tired kids filled their fuel tanks with eggs, french toast sticks, bacon, mixed fruit, and mini muffins. Now energized, let the touring begin!

Off to Independence Hall we went! Independence Hall was the first capital of the New World, it later moved to Washington DC. Many important historical things happend here: (1) we debated whether or not to go to war (Revolutionary War), (2) Writing of the Constitution...just to name a few

Liberty Hall

The group in front of Liberty Hall (sorry about the finger in the left hand corner)

Listening to our tour guide Jeff, about all the buildings that make up the square near Liberty
Philosophical Hall, which is the oldest club for educated/smart people (National Philosophical Society) like Einstein, Nobel Prize winners. Founded by Ben Franklin. Holdes many famous papers written by Franklin and Lewis.
Congress Hall - 1st Continental Congress; Pennsylvania State House; Building all original. 
 Inside Independence Hall we toured 3 different rooms:
Court Room
The Court Room - the picture of the coat of arms is original to this room. Other items in this room are period pieces.

The Assembly Room - here is where the Declaration of Independence was debated. Did you know that the  Declaration was not signed on July 4, was actually signed on August 2, 1776! There were a couple of items in the room that were original to the the chair in the back which George Washington actually sat in. How cool is that?
Other rooms and sights around Liberty Hall...

On the table in this room is a surveying tool called a Transit - this was the actual one that was used to survey the Mason-Dixon Line

After the tour of Liberty Hall, we joined hundreds in line to see the Liberty Bell...
The "front" of the Liberty Bell...the side with the crack. Unfortunately, due to the direction of the sunlight it was hard to get a photo of.
The "back" of the Liberty Bell...the side that didn't crack.
After a quick lunch at the Bourse Building, which consisted of the kids receiving a $10 voucher for the food court, we headed off on a little walking tour of the city. We learned a lot about Ben Franklin, saw where his house once stood and building where his printing press business once was. Inside the printing press building, we got an education about how a printing press works.
We even went to the church and grave site where Mr. Franklin was buried...and got to honor him by throwing a penny on his grave.

 The walking tour also took us to the oldest neighborhood in Philly - Elfreth's Alley. A long, narrow cobble stone street with rows of "row" houses.

From Elfreth's Alley, we stopped by Betsy Ross' House...

After the walking tour, we went to the National Constitution Center and learned all about how our Constitution developed and debated throughout the history of time. It is an amazing museum!
Matthew hanging out with several of the Constitutional signers
And what is a trip to Philadelphia without the run up the "Rocky Balboa" steps? The steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The group of "Rockys" that made up of the stairs by running!
The view of the city from atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art 

The Rocky stature on the grounds of the Art Museum (those people in the photo...they are not part of our group).
Late in the evening, with all of us tired and feet aching, we decided best to finish the tour by bus. Here we drive by the building with the William Penn stature on top.
After our driving tour was over, it was time for a very delicious dinner at Positano Coast. All the kids enjoyed a warm french bread, a caesar salad and a choice of cheese tortellini or Chicken Parm....and chocolate mousse  for dessert. YUM!

The day isn't over yet...before our final destination of the night (the hotel) we stopped for a Comedy Show called: History...Done Funny. It was hilarious, to say the least (it was "pee in your pants" kind of funny). All the history that we learned about this day - the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, Ben Franklin, etc was told with a humorous twist and got many of our kids involved! What a wonderful way to review the day!

After the show, it was time to check into the hotel and go to bed. Boy, that bed never felt so good and the phrase "Lights Out" never sounded better!

Well that is the end of our first day on tour. Hope you enjoyed reading about it.

Until next time, remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Good Morning

There is just something about the mornings - being able to get outside - being able to go for a nice jog/walk - enjoying the fresh air - listing to the chattering of the birds or the chirping of the flock of turkeys on the hills - witnessing the opening of the California Poppies as they greet the sunshine...
This is MY time of the day.

And then I come the "to do" lists and the tasks. Oh, well, that is why I cannot take my mornings for granted :)

This morning, after MY time...I got the Mac-n-Cheese made for my older son's track teams pasta feed. This is a tradition with his high school track team, to sit down together the night before a meet and enjoy a pasta meal together. Typically the "potluck" list includes pasta w/white sauce, pasta w/red sauce without meat, pasta w/red sauce with meat, bread, salad and water. Well, last week I decided to participate and make Mac-n-Cheese. It sounded like it was a tremendous hit - this week I decided to make the same thing; although instead of macaroni noodles I chose the shell ones to jazz it up a bit :)

Six boxes should feed at least 15 boys...

Until next time...take care and remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Morning Blues

Where did the weekend go? Does anyone know? It certainly went by in a minute it was Friday and we were grilling burgers and pork chops and then the next minute I was up making school lunches for my boys. Ugh!

Well, the weekend wasn't all that bad. I did work in our store much of the weekend, giving my DH some well deserved time off from being "on call" as we put it. We have a couple new employees who we have started training to close the store. One is still very new at all the closing procedures as well as too new to be dealing with all the afternoon things on her own (i.e. answering the phones, taking new orders, producing arrangements, dipping fruit, helping to coordinate the delivery routes and working the delivery drivers, etc). So I felt it was wise of me to stay at the store until between 3-4pm on Saturday. That is about the time that we stop taking same day delivery orders and begin cleaning up. It was pretty busy for a Saturday, starting off with a very large Grand Confetti Cupcake - Party Size:
There was definitely a lot of fruit in this arrangement, including the cupcake pineapple shapes dipped in chocolate with sprinkles. The customer ordered it for an 8:30am pickup.

I did get in some stitching over the weekend. Between watching some of the March Madness games (due to having KU - Kansas University Jayhawk - blood in me) and The Bible series on the History Channel. Here is the status of the Owl Heart #2:
It is coming a long. I just need to finish filling it in with the lighter lavender (DMC #211) and then fill in the Owl's eyes (DMC #white). Once done, this heart will be complete and then I can move onto heart #3. I am going to make one for my mother and my 2 sisters. However, I need to get this one complete so that I can get my stitching stuff ready to travel. On Friday night, I leave with my youngest, Matthew, on the 8th grade trip to Washington DC...but more about that later in the week.

This weekend I had a difficult time getting in some exercise...I unfortunately was a little under the weather, as well as working in the store. The allergy symptoms that my DH had might have actually been a cold as I was hit was a nasty sore throat and seem to lack some energy to do any real exercise. However, I did take a nice walk with our dog while my older son was getting in his 4 miles as required by his track coach. The path Bruno (the dog) and I took was lined with a lot of the crab apple trees still in bloom. I definitely love this time of the year...
With so many of these blooming trees around, the wind storm we had on Friday afternoon/early evening made many of the white petals fall to the ground...thus there was this feeling like we were having a snow flurry...minus the cold and the dampness. Do you see the white petals all over the ground in the photo below?

Well, that is all I have for you today. Off I go, getting ready to get in my Monday run/walk before the real day begins. Although, I have already fed the boys, made their breakfast, made my bed, folded all the laundry from this weekend and make my grocery list. 

Until next time...take care and remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


It seems that with all the flowering trees - the white crabapple blossoms, the pink cherry tree blossoms - and every other plant that disperses some sort of pollen in the air, the allergy season is already in full bloom (sorry for the little pun). Both of my sons and my DH seem to be under the weather will all sorts of sniffles, sneezes and coughs. Well, hope with some allergy meds they will be feeling a little relief soon!

Anyway, last night I started on owl heart #2...
This one will consist of more purples with a few bright highlighting colors - like a lime green and probably a hot pink. This sister love purples and lavender, so I think that she will like the colors I have chosen for her owl heart. I hope to finish this one up before the end of the week so that I can start #3.

Do you all receive the magazine - Cross-Stitch & Needlework? Well I have been a subscriber for several years. There is a series of really neat looking patterns which started in the March 2013 edition and have continued in the May 2013, which I just received yesterday in my mailbox. It is called Delightful Fruits.

The first 2 patterns in the March 2013 Cross-Stitch & Needlework Magazine
The second 2 patterns in the May 2013 Cross-Stitch & Needlework Magazine
I love these!!! And I would love to stitch these! I am a big fruit-aholic...and with fruit being a HUGE part of our business...and with my kitchen decor of grapes and other fruits...these would be wonderful for my kitchen. The only hesitation, well maybe there is a couple hesitation. Not only do I have A LOT of projects in my TO-DO Stitching bag (I am sure we all do), but I have never really stitched on black or any dark fabric. I do have some in my stash, which I have pondered different projects to stitch on...but every time I look at the dark fabric, with my threaded needle in my hand, I seem to have a hard time. Anyone out there have any suggestions for stitching on dark fabric?

Well, I seem to be putting check marks on my personal-life to do list. Recently we have been in search of some dental insurance, as our dentist we have been going to since we moved to California 10 years ago left and opened his own practice. Since we haven't been satisfied with the customer service at the old dental office, we are planning to go back to our "favorite" dentist..which meant updating our dental insurance so we can switch. That project took a little time, but I think that I got that figured out and we all will be able to get our teeth cleaned in April...Yahoo!

I can also check off my list of to-dos finding a tutor for my older son who is getting ready to take the SATs in May. We have been talking about finding a SAT prep course or tutor for him, in order to "force" him to really prepare for this college test. Last night we met with the owner of a tutoring company who has people who specialize in SAT fact, it is our new neighbor who has this business. So we will get Robert (older son) started this Saturday.

Taxes...well those are still on the to do list, kind of. My DH really takes care of this and it is at our accountant, so they should be done very soon.

Well...that is about all here. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

To me, every hour of the day and night
is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
Walt Whitman

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring

Well thank you all for your welcoming back comments. I have truly missed you all and feel blessed that you haven't deserted me :) It is fun going through everyone's blogs as I catch up to your lives and your stitching projects. You all are just as busy as I am. How do we all do it? Have you ever stopped and asked yourself that question?

Anyway, as promised here is what I have been stitching the last few weeks as my stitching mojo has kicked it (and I have found more time in the evenings since we are sans hockey). I have started a little project that I have found in this book...
While waiting for my older son, Robert, to finish his track practice I wondered around the nearest JoAnn Fabrics and found this X-Stitching book. Normally I try not to purchase such books as I have enough stash...but, I just couldn't help myself. I guess I should have given up stash for lent or something. Anyway, as I paged through the book I found the neatest patterns that had owls.

Why Owls you might ask...well, the coming of April signifies the one year of my grandmother's passing. This year without having my grandmother to call weekly has been difficult - many times since last April I find myself with a funny story, a life situation, a need for grandma-ly advice...and she hasn't been there. Or at least not on the other end of the phone. I do find myself thinking about her and talking to her in my mind...and my heart. Anyway, I know that it has also been difficult for my sisters and my mother. Well...the owls...

So in this book are several patterns that have owls that I thought I would stitch. Here is one that I just finished last night:
The colors are definitely bright, cheery and spring-like, don't you think? I thought I would try to stitch a few of these and finish them as little pillows or ornaments and send them to my sisters and mother. Cross your fingers, in hope that I can get them done before mid-April :)

Well, until next time...take care and remember -
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving;
make every day a holiday and celebrate just living!
Amanda Bradley