Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Laura's 6th Birthday

Late last month Laura turned 6 years old!

As with most children, she was absolutely excited about her birthday.

She requested blueberry pancakes for breakfast. She's always loved blueberries.

She's also extremely fond of emoji's and had been wanting one of these pillows for a long time!

I found her this antique desk at an auction I went to and she loves it! It sits next to Michael's desk and she has it all filled with her little pens and papers and things. So cute!

Laura wanted to go out to lunch for her birthday so she and I went to Cracker Barrel together.

Two little friends came for some cake and tea in the afternoon. My rule is big parties are only for certain special birthdays (5, 10, 13, 16 years). Somehow birthdays still turn into multiple day events even with that limitation.

The very happy birthday girl.

On Friday another friend was here to play and Grandma came to take Laura to spend the night at her house! Laura was very excited about having her own overnight!

She and Grandma went to see a movie together.

And then they ate dinner at Grandma's house.

And picked some flowers in the garden:

On Sunday cousin John got to come for another birthday celebration (along with half the boys from church, well, it seemed that way.....):

The two cousins had a lot of fun together!!!

John had carefully made a lovely card and was helping Laura to read it.

Then there were presents to open including this lovely dress made by Auntie C!

And then came a very fun present -- pompom makers!

Everyone got in on the action!!!!

And they all got in on the cake action too!

Laura has continued to enjoy the pompom maker very much!

And now birthday time is over and it is on to being 6!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

New York City #4

My final day in New York City dawned bright but blustery! I took the subway down to Chelsea Market where I planned to meet my cousin, Anna, for lunch!

There was just enough time for a quick browse around Anthropology!

Then Anna arrived and we headed into the bowels of the Market!

Fortunately, since Anna works nearby, she is familiar with the delicious things we needed to try during our visit! Right away we stopped at Li-Lac Chocolates.

We decided the perfect way to begin was to try a dark chocolate covered cherry cordial. Mmmmmm.... yum! It just needed a drop of almond flavoring to make it even better!

Then Anna pulled me back around the corner to taste Seed + Mill cakes made from tahini! What??!! I'd never heard of such a thing. Best of all, most of them were gluten free and dairy free! Wow.

Check out these cakes! They were amazing too! I wanted to buy a whole selection. And, if we had already eaten lunch I would surely have bought their goat milk ice-cream which was A-MA-ZING! (Guess what?! You can order their cakes online!)

 We wove around more stalls and then there was a spice shop with piles of enticing colors and flavors just reaching out with their tentacles saying "buy me and make your food more delicious"! I resisted.

But, we lost our resistance in the Italian Food Market.

We ditched the "crepes for lunch" plan and started loading our arms with goodies.

Hey! there is fresh mozzarella, just like in the novel I took to New York to read!!!! (see below)

And just look at all those meats! It turned out the ones in this case were all spicy so we had to go find the non-spicy section.

 Once we had sausage, goat cheese, a fig and almond loaf, and the every-necessary olives, Anna suggested we go find some fruit to round out our lunch. Across the hall was the produce market. If only you could comprehend the size of those white asparagus! And look, they're selling ramps -- we always read about them in magazines this time of year.

They even have baby pineapples!!!

We each settled on the kind of pear we preferred and then found table space to set out our spread, laughing because our lunch looked exactly like what we grew up loving to eat!

Oh the olives were so good we nearly ate them all! And that goat cheese -- melt in your mouth deliciousness! It was a little hard to get that sausage sliced with a plastic knife but we didn't let that stop us! The pears were perfect and the fig/almond loaf -- wow, I should have brought five of those home with me!

Here we are together celebrating the fact that in the past 13 months we'd seen each other FOUR times!!!

We couldn't visit all day as Anna needed to get to work. I hopped on the subway and then crossed Central Park via bus to meet up with Christy and Nathan!

One of the inconvenient things about New York is that most of the big museums are closed on Monday! Christy is good at sleuthing, and she found out that we could visit the Neue Gallerie which is open on Mondays (and they would allow her to bring Nathan! -- not all museums will).

Right now the Neue Gallery has an exhibit of art by the expressionist artist Edvard Munch. Never heard of him? 

 Every used the screaming emoji face? Well, that is based on Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream. Oh yes, my teenagers thought it was the coolest thing that I got to see the real painting (this is just a copy in the museum basement because you can't photograph the original).

I think this visit helped me to realize that there is no substitute for seeing the real piece of art in person -- the copies can't mimic the texture of the paper and the way the pastel dust hovers over the background. Yes, I admit this is not my favorite genre of art, but it's good to be able to appreciate many forms of art and to make the most of every opportunity to learn! And, since it is connected to my everyday life (in the form of the emoji which my kids use frequently) I felt very glad to have seen this.

There was another reason we went to the Neue Gallery -- we wanted to visit the Cafe Sabarsky -- modeled after a Viennese cafe! The choice seemed perfect for us! 

We stood in line for a LONG time to get seats but it was worth it! I loved the interior and I thought about my grandmother the whole time! She instilled in us a love for Austria via the Sound of Music and her favorite song Edelweiss. She would have enjoyed having coffee and cake here!

We had our little traveling companion to keep us entertained! Incidentally, this child was born to be a NYC traveling companion! He was so good for us!

 We had a window seat with a banquette!

Here are all the beautiful sweet choices:

I forgot a close up of the sausages we tried -- they were delicious. But of course the main attraction was the cake and coffee. Chocolate Hazelnut cake for me and a Chocolate Rum cake for Christy.  Of course we felt like we were in Europe. An imagination is the best traveling tool of all!

After coffee we went back up to the apartment and I said goodbye to Nathan and gathered my things and then headed out the door to catch the subway and bus to the airport.

Because waiting for me on the other end of my flight were all my little munchkins who needed their mommy back again!

Before I close the final chapter of this New York City trip I must mention the wonderful novel I read on my trip:

Delicious!: A Novel  by Ruth Reichl is set in New York City in the food scene! It tells the story of a young foodie who comes to New York to work for the magazine Delicious!, discovers a secret correspondence of James Beard's, and must rush to solve the mystery before the sudden closing of Delicious! is final. I loved it! It was the perfect foodie/NYC reading.

  My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl is the non-fiction book that, in my opinion, goes with the novel Delicious! In this book Ruth documents the sudden closing of the real magazine Gourmet (of which she was editor) and the depression and soul-searching that sent her into and how she survived the year after and began writing a novel (Delicious!).

That's all for now! Have a wonderful weekend!

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