Monday, May 31, 2010

Arlington, VA

I seem to be on a travel binge at work lately. I had a conference in Arlington, VA. I took the metro and then figured out it was a 14 block walk to the hotel. However, since it was a nice day and I didn't have anywhere I needed to be quickly, I decided to walk since I always pack light. The walk was beautiful and although I got distracted by all the cool shops, I was able to resist buying anything.
The hotel I stayed in was really funky and quaint. Definitely a boutique hotel. This is a photo I took of the lobby where they served wine every evening during happy hour.

This is my hotel room. Although there was no closet, they put in a nice armoire to use instead.

The bathroom........I had a handicap accessible room so I think the bathroom was larger than normal.
During lunch on the first day of the conference, I took a walk down to the Potomac and enjoyed the lovely weather and scenery.

In the evening, I was fortunate enough to get together for dinner with my old boss, Chris, from Fargo.

After the conference, I rented a car to get on the road EARLY (or at least before the traffic to really ugly!) to visit my brother. It is always a beautiful drive with much greenery along the road.

The traffic wasn't too bad and I made it to Matthew & Mindy's place before it got dark.

Even the Jack the cat was waiting in my bed to greet me when I tried to get in and move him out of the way!
What a warm welcome!

Visiting My Brother

At the end of my trip to DC, I was able to visit my brother and his family. They were all a bit under the weather so not too many photos. However, my nephew, Benjamin, had a birthday party at the roller rink. Matthew & Emily.
This is how my nephew spent a good amount of time at the rink.

Emily gave it a good go at trying to skate.

Here is Matthew taking a spin around the rink.

Benjamin finally took a bit of a better round with the birthday boy's Mom, Julie.

He even took a try by himself before the skates came off for good.

If I am truthful, this was the favorite part for both kids....the bounce house!

Benjamin after getting his face painted by his Mom.

Unfortunately, my visit was short and I was off to the airport early the next morning. As always, the drive from DC is always gorgeous!

Non-Yeast Cinnamon Rolls

A few weekends ago I made cinnamon rolls for Hannah. She loves cinnamon rolls and I had a recipe that said the rolls would be baked and ready to eat within 1 hour start to finish.
The dough......
Rolled out and ready for cinnamon sugar......
Just prior to rolling them up....
Just before they went into the oven.

Right out of the oven.....
Frosted and ready to send over to the neighbors.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Trip to Lee Lee's Market

A few weeks ago, I learned how to make Vietnamese Spring Rolls. In order to buy the supplies, I took a trip to Lee Lee's Market. It is always an experience. They have all kinds of stuff you just don't see in regular markets like Jack Fruit. If you read my blog, you will know one of my favorite meals is green papaya salad and spring rolls. You can't get green papaya just anywhere but always at Lee Lee's.

We also saw live crayfish.....

Live blue crabs.....

I bought all the makings for spring rolls & green papaya salad including rice noodles, green beans,

and shredded green papaya. Yes, I was being lazy!

daikon radish and carrot salad. I bought this ready made. I LOVE it.
Here are all the parts for the spring roll. Cilantro, mint, shrimp, rice noodles, pork and lettuce.

You only have to wet the rice paper a little bit. Then add all the components.

In the end, you get some amazing spring rolls and a great green papaya salad. I could live on this meal!

Happy cooking every day!

Hannah's Spring Band Concert

We just finished the end of the school year. Hannah had her spring band concert.
The kids have really improved since their fall concert.
Our little family photo.

Random Update

A few weeks ago, right around Mother's Day, I got these pretty tulips. I bought it for the flowers but really also liked the container it is in for later use.
Hannah ran for Student Council President. She did a great job making all of her posters 90% on her own.
I am still cleaning up glitter from the poster extravaganza.

This is the photo she used on her poster. All fancied up with her Van's cap. Unfortunately, Hannah didn't win but I am so proud of her for making her posters, practicing her speech and campaigning with all of student friends.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Business trip to Chicago

I had a tiring business trip to Chicago this past week. Since it was a conference and not one of my normal solo junkets, there was fun to be had with colleagues. One of the annual events is the "Pope" dinner at Bucca de Beppo.
Photos from the room.....
Lots & lots of Pope's!

Due to my inability to sleep well on business trips in hotel rooms, no matter what time zone I am in, I saw a beautiful sunrise every day from my 33rd floor corner room. It was very calming to watch the sun come up over Lake Michigan.

Although it seemed like I was chained to the hotel, I did sneak out one afternoon for an hour to walk around and get some fresh air. The flowers were really pretty.
I did get to walk to the open water of Lake Michigan by getting up near dawn and walking down to the riverfront walk.
Saw the water taxi's....
My walking partner and colleague, David, took a photo of me near Trump Towers and the pretty flowers.
I left my camera at the hotel for the final event since I didn't want to carry a handbag and my pockets were full. However, the final event was held at the Museum of Science & Industry and it was held around the U-505 exhibit. It was really cool and SO BIG! We got to go inside the submarine and enjoy the exhibit. If you get to Chicago, I would definitely recommend this as a place to visit.