Family Vacation Fun

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We just got back from a week long vacation to Washington, D.C. Usually we visit family for our summer vacation, but this summer we decided to take our first nuclear family vacation. We have done weekend trips as the three of us, but never a full-on road trip and sightseeing trip.

It was a wonderful week and we hit most of the sights in our nation’s capital, along with a good portion of the eastern U.S. And I mean a lot of it. A road trip really drives home the size of our great country. It took us a little over fourteen hours over two days to get to Washington, via Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia. On the way home we drove for another fourteen hours through Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. Beautiful country, but it started to pall just a bit after delays for construction, rain and about the twelfth hour on the road. I think we’ll fly if we go again.

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The trip was a first for all of us. Not sure how Rich and I missed out on visiting the capital until now, but it was a great adventure to discover it all with Calvin. We feel like we did it all – or at least a good portion of it. And we did most of it on our own feet – our biggest day, according to the pedometer on Rich’s phone, clocked in at ten miles of walking. Count them, ten. We felt it just a bit, at the end of that day. And by a bit, I mean a lot. It was hard to walk without limping or groaning. In our defense, the ten-mile day followed two seven-plus mile days. Foot rubs and a little lie down were in order that evening. And we all slept really well.

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We worked our way through the Smithsonian museums, hitting American History, Natural History, Air and Space and Native American. We saw the Capitol, the White House, the Library of Congress and the National Archives. We walked the length of the National Mall, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, stopping at the Washington Monument in the middle. And it is a long, long way from one end of the mall to the other, especially when it is hot and sunny. We also hit the not-to-be-missed Spy Museum and Newseum while we were at it.

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It is hard to pick out the highlights after seeing so many cool things. Tops on my list are seeing the actual Star Spangled Banner, Julia Child’s kitchen, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. And the Spy Museum was a great combination of camp and intrigue mixed with a dash of real history.

I can’t forget the food. I polled a few foodie friends and former and current D.C. residents for restaurant recommendations before we went. We hit a few of those, and found a few gems of our own. We managed to find stellar cupcakes, wood oven fired pizza and calzones, burgers and shakes, house-made pop tarts along with a few salads to offset all the goodies. With all of our walking we didn’t feel too overindulged, but it was good to get back to home cooking. Somehow, most of our meals since we got back have featured vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

It was nice to have a break from cooking and baking, but by the end of the week I started to get the urge to bake something. Of course, with our vacation treats still a recent memory, I am more in the mood for fruit than cookies. But I think a few more days of healthy eating will have me in the kitchen again, flinging flour and creaming butter and sugar with abandon.

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Staycation Week

 

I have been neglecting the blog this week. My brother and sister-in-law are visiting and we have been busy catching up and playing tourists in our own town. So far we have visited the St. Louis History Museum, Penzey’s Spices, Vom Fass olive oil, vinegar and specialty liqueur store, Kakao Chocolate and Schlafly Bottleworks for lunch. We still have the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour, a concert in the park at the World Bird Sanctuary, a movie and another restaurant visit or two before they leave for home.

Never fear, we are still getting in plenty of home cooking too. One night we had dinner here – cheese stuffed shells, a wonderful salad (that I had no hand in, but thoroughly enjoyed) and garlic bread (alas, not homemade – no time to bake this week), with homemade chocolate ice cream for dessert. I love that I can make ice cream with only five minutes of mixing and half an hour of churning while I do something else, like play a cutthroat game of cards with those nearest and dearest to me.

It has been a great visit so far, as always. Sightseeing is one thing, but the opportunity to spend time together really is what it’s all about. On that note, I should get off the computer and get ready for another round of games, or just sitting around, talking about nothing much. Here’s to fun, family and getting the best of my brother in at least one game this visit.