215/365 - Perfect Friday

The last day of July - a perfect summer day - not too hot, not humid at all. Those cotton ball clouds are back. And it's Friday!

I let the kids stay home today - they slept in, played games and did the list of chores I assigned them. Nothing too strenuous - just vacuuming, laundry and dishes. Brian learned, however, that procrastination isn't the best policy - he was invited to go to the pool, but he hadn't finished his chores. We were a little late to the pool, but he finished the vacuuming.

A capture from the pool:
By the pool

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214/365 - Some Exercise - Kickball and An Evening Walk

Brian and George are at it again - hanging out, playing kickball.
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Since we got back, George and Brian play in the afternoon, then they retreat downstairs to the basement and play Super Mario Galaxy on the Wii. Scott moved the Wii to the basement the night I hosted our Book Club meeting a couple weeks ago and it has remained there [although Brian wants it back upstairs].

Later on, I went on a walk with Jill and Amy. Yes, I brought my camera along, because you never know when a great photo op will present itself.

The corn I run by in the mornings, lit up by the setting sun:
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A lone duck in the pond:
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213 / 365 - The Corn and Blue Sky

I must have missed our flat prairie, because I seem to be obsessed with it and the corn. The corn - wow, is it ever tall - I run along a cornfield and before we left for vacation, I don't think it was too tall. Now the stalks tower over me. Now, granted, that's not too hard, as I am fairly short, but still - the corn grew two feet in the last week. The ears of corn and top tassels have emerged.

Tall corn

Blue skies

Taken outside the Stables, with my iPhone. I love how I can email the photos directly to flickr!

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212/365 - Gifts from Faraway Lands

We've settled back into our daily routine of work, day camp, TaeKwonDo, tween angst and settling cat fights (sounds like fun, doesn't it?). I finally made it to the grocery store yesterday because eating take out pizza gets a little old after two days. (But we have PLENTY of it in case we need a back up meal). I bought some peaches and bananas to put into our pretty new bowl, a present from my Mom and Dad, a souvenir from their trip to Africa.

[yes, that's where they have been for the last month - hanging out with the lions, elephants and baboons]

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The rains came again today, but no complaints - we haven't had to water the lawn all summer long - quite a feat here.

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211/365 - More Prairie

A cookie cutter day from yesterday, I love the cotton ball clouds in the sky. We're all still relaxed from vacation and the weather just encourages our good mood.

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Best Shot Monday - Quincy Market

Taken last week while visiting Boston - Uncle Ray and Cousin Matty enjoying themselves in front of Quincy Market. And I know it could be better if I brightened up Matty's face a bit, but I haven't had time to even consider post processing last week's photos, so this is what you get:

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Have a great Monday!

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POTD - Tile Mosaic [local art]

Various tile mosaics can be found above the water fountains between the rest rooms in the new Indianapolis airport. Hey, I'm all for accessible art, and the mosaics are very pretty.

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210/365 - On Our Way Back Home

A pretty un-eventful travel day home, just the way we like it. Looks like another rainy day in New England, but back in the Mid West, the sun is shining and the corn is high.

I took this picture on the drive home from the airport - with my iPhone. Just seeing what kind of image I could get with it - not too bad, don't you think?
No place like home

Yeah, vacation is great, but it is good to be home

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209/365 - Spending Time In Sandwich

No, not another post on food! We spent the day in Sandwich, MA, a town on the edge of Cape Cod and thank goodness we didn't choose a town further down on the Cape, because the traffic was terrible.

We ate lunch along the Cape Cod Canal, enjoying the warm breeze and the yummy lobster, clams and fish from the Seafood Shanty in Bourne. I managed to take a group picture of the kids with the Sagamore Bridge (packed with southbound traffic) in the background.

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We endured the traffic over the Sagamore bridge into Sandwich to visit the Sandwich Heritage Museum and Gardens. The three main exhibit buildings house antique cars, art collections and a working carousel. These separate buildings are joined by beautiful gardens and woodland paths. The kids probably enjoyed the antique car collection the most. Brian declared his favorite was the vintage Corvette. [What is it about boys that can sense the fastest vehicle in the lot?]

The very kind museum worker took our entire group's picture on the antique climb-all-over me car:
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I'm a sucker for unique hood ornaments:
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Auntie T's family along the lake:
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It was a perfect last day of vacation.

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POTD - Souvenirs [local art]

Lined up in the window of a souvenir shop in Plymouth Harbor, I liked the rows of these sea faring fellows. These seemed fairly unique, as I didn't see them in every shop along the strip.

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208/365 - Yet another Rainy Day - So More Food Pictures

We had planned to drive into Sandwich, perhaps bike the Cape Cod Canal, but ended up going to the movies (Harry Potter - Teresa and her family hadn't seen it yet and we didn't mind seeing it again). Then we cooked the rest of the afternoon - making dumplings and green onion pies.

I've taken plenty of pictures of our dumpling making activities, so today I focused on the green onion pies. We don't always make these savory, flaky flatbreads (because we are always focused on the dumplings), but they are delicious.

Again, the recipe may be found in PeiMei's Volume I Cookbook. [OK, as a side note, I just looked at that link to amazon for the cookbook - wow, $100+ for a used cookbook - maybe I should try to sell mine. Wait - not a chance!].

Basically, you make a simple dough of flour, boiled water and cold water, knead and let it rest. Divide the batch into 6 equal parts and roll out into a thin circle. Brush the circle with cooking oil, sprinkle salt and chopped green onion on top. Then roll up into a tube, as demonstrated here by Auntie Teresa:
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Roll the tube into a circle, like a jelly roll:
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Then roll this out to 1/4" thick:
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Heat about 1T. of oil in a skillet and fry / cook the dough, flipping over once or twice. My mother did all of the cooking.
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Cool a little bit, cut into wedges and enjoy!
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The process of rolling and forming the pies is very kid-friendly. Erica and Brian both made their own pie, while Zach and Matty helped each other with one pie. The reward - they got to eat the pie they made. These are great snacks / appetizers and helped sustain Teresa and me while we progressed with the dumpling process. No pictures of the dumplings, but if you search for dumplings in the blog, several posts with pictures will pop up.

Happy eating!

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POTD - Boston's Greenway [local art]

These cool sculptures caught my eye as we walked along the Boston Greenway. I later learned that the art includes a fog feature (probably uses dry ice). The next time I go to Boston, I need to walk the Greenway at night.

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207/365 - Boston Sightseeing

Even though we visit Massachusetts frequently, the kids haven't spent much time in Boston. So we rode the Commuter Rail into South Station today to take in some of the sights of my favorite city.

We started at the Prudential Center where we signed up to take a Duck Tour of the city, including the Muddy Charles River.
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But first we had a very Boston-like lunch - pizza you can't get in Illinois and some great Clam "Chowda"
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Waiting to get on our DUCK:
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After the Duck tour, we met back up with Zach, Matty, Ray and Teresa at Faneuil Hall, perhaps the most touristy place in Boston, but heck, we've been doing the touristy thing all day long. We watched the street performers, bought some Boston souvenirs and made the kids pose for some pictures:
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Uncle Ray and Matty:
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We walked back to South Station along the new Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, starting along the Wharf, traversing the Wharf District and Dewey Square District Parks. Some of the sculpture along the Greenway is interesting.
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Light rain and mist kept us cool, and we just avoided the steady rain that started once we entered South Station for our return trip out of the city.

Scott and I decided the next time we visit, we'll go back into Boston and walk the Freedom Trail (but without the kids - they would just be bored!)

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POTD - Asian Dust Collectors [local art]

These struck me as quintessential Asian knick knacks you find in tourist shops in Chinatown. But we're not in Chinatown, we're in the Kam Man Market in Quincy, MA. Because of this, I am dubbing this as [local art].

We've entered another country

Taken with my iPhone, because I thought the store owner might freak if I took out the big SLR.

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206/365 - Transported out of the Country?

It certainly felt like we left the country and were transported back to China - we drove to Quincy to enjoy Dim Sum at the China Pearl. This restaurant is little sister to its [Boston] Chinatown's counterpart. The Boston China Pearl has been a fixture since I was in college, always busy and crowded, always loud, but always delicious and authentic.

The Quincy restaurant was no different, although probably less crowded because we chose to come out on Wednesday instead of the weekend.

The servers walk around with carts of dishes - you choose what you want:
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It didn't take very long for our empty table to become spotted with our favorite dishes:
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I don't remember the last time I had chow fun noodles filled with shrimp - maybe back in 2005? It's been a long time!
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Then desert - a black bean donut - freshly fried and just so yummy.
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After our feast, we walked down to the end of the strip mall into the alternate universe that is the Kam Man Marketplace - it was the biggest Asian market I have ever seen (outside of China, of course). Rows and rows of foodstuffs I remember from my childhood (and some from my adulthood).

Beef jerky - Brian picked out a pack and consumed it on the way home - I had a piece and it was really good - much better than the Jack Link's leather sold at the Wal-Mart.
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Then the kids' favorite - Pocky - lots of it.
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Some cake I found to be humorous - is this what the husbands buy their wives to get out of the doghouse?
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If you ever want to experience China without the long, expensive flight, just head over to the President Plaza in Quincy, MA.

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205/365 - Rainy Day

Even so, the rain didn't dampen our vacation - we still relaxed in a [somewhat] slower fashion.

My day started with a nice trail run around the grounds - through the forested trails, with the mist and drizzle keeping me cool. Afterward, I picked ripe blueberries off the bushes down the road - a lovely post-run snack.

We took the kids to the local fitness club and we all frolicked in the pool, steam room and sauna as the rain continued to pour down.

Finally, I helped my parents make spring rolls:
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Tonight, Auntie T and Uncle R arrive, with cousins Zach and Matty. Tomorrow, the sun will shine. But for today, we enjoy the calmness of the rain.

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204/365 - Meeting Old/New Friends

Today, I had the immense pleasure of meeting fellow blogger-photographer-scrapbooker-friend, Lee, and her family. I have come to know Lee over the past year through her blogs. We both happen to be vacationing in MA this week and arranged to meet up at Lee's beautiful home on the Cape.

I'll admit it is a bit surreal at first, meeting "people you met over the Internet". They are like Old friends, yet have that "Newness" about them. But with Lee and her brood, it was like getting together with old friends [at least it was for me - maybe not as much for the rest of my family - oh, except for Brian who makes friends with everyone so easily].

So we spent the day hanging out at the beautiful beach, playing in the water, looking for hermit crabs, snails and other sea life. Lee and I took lots of pictures. We talked a lot. The kids were silly with each other. Nothing could be better.

Brian and Chloe:
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All the kids:
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Shirley and Lee:
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Thanks for being such gracious hosts, Lee and Louis! Hope to get back with your family again in the future!

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POTD - Low Tide [local art]

Art so perfect because it was created by Mother Nature.

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Taken in East Dennis, Cape Cod.

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POTD - Water Garden

Some pictures of my parent's water garden:
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203/365 - A Bit of Hide and Seek

Always a perennial favorite when we visit LaoLao and LaoYeh - a game of Hide and Seek. You would think the kids would outgrow this, but they always want to play as soon as we arrive. I figure the day is coming when they won't want to play, so we'll enjoy it as long as it lasts.

During this "round" Scott was the seeker and Erica and I both hid in the same room. Scott found me almost immediately, but did not notice Erica hidden under the blankets:
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She had to give out "hints" by making noises, since Scott was having a hard time finding her. When she was revealed, we all had a good laugh, especially Erica.
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POTD - Summer Flowers [by the water]

Flowers abound at my parent's place in Plymouth. A couple of my favorites from today, all SOOC since I don't have access to any photo editing software:

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Oh, the flowers were by the pool - So that means I meet the weekly theme of [water], right?

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