This weekend we went Snow Tubing at Woodbury Ski Area for a purely fun adventure.
The night before, we camped at one of our local Boy Scout camps. Some of us camped inside the cabin (with heat, running water, electricity, etc). This is the closest cabin to our home (only 30 minutes away) - but it's a training cabin, not a bunk house - so we sleep on the floor.
I'm not sure why my campout selfie is upside down, but oh well!
I debuted my newest socks - but forgot to take a picture before lights out, so they're slightly blurred.
They kept my tootsies warm.
Some of our more intrepid Scouts are working on their year-round-camper patch and they braved the temperatures. It got down to 5 degrees. Great job guys!
After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, bacon, orange juice, egg fritatta and a surprise of some Dunkin Donuts munchkins, we headed out to the slopes.
Here are some pictures and videos from the Woodbury Ski Area website. The boys planned this campout as something new. They had a good time. Some of the boys had a fabulous time and would have stayed there until they shut down for the night. I always like that whole-hearted enthusiasm.
The best part of the campout for me is always watching the boys learn and grow. I had one boy successfully complete his Scoutmaster Conference for his First Class Rank. I helped another Scout work on finishing accomplishments for Tenderfoot. I also loved watching one of our eager young Scouts learn how to make the perfect bacon. One of the adults in our Troop is a trained chef. It's so much better when he passes along his words of wisdom cooking. The boys learn from the best and are thrilled with their knowledge.
No more burnt bacon for this young man. Now he knows the secret to perfect bacon!
And I was quite pleased because that same Dad/chef gave me kudos for my family pancake griddle. I don't know where my parents got it originally, because it was already old and well-loved well-seasoned when I was a child. I inherited it as a young adult and have used it nearly every single day since I've had children. Secundogeniture has eaten homemade chocolate chip pancakes nearly every morning for breakfast for as long as I can remember. This griddle gets a lot of TLC.
OK - so by now you're wondering why all my pictures are of food. I hear you. Woodbury Commons is great - but there isn't really a great spot to get a picture if you're not actually out on the slopes yourself. That's why I had to use their pictures for action shots. For lunch we had sandwich fixings (cold cuts, cheeses, chips, salsa, PB&J, apples and homemade chocolate chip cookies courtesy of my Eagle Scout Primogeniture!) This young man sure enjoys some jelly.
It was a fun day. The younger boys enjoyed it the most of all. The older boys - who already enjoy skiing and snowboarding thought it was OK. They had fun, too. The adults, were more risk adverse. We all envisioned broken bones and more. So we stayed in the lodge. Aren't we smart that way? I brought some knitting, but it was the kind that requires paying a lot of attention, so I only knit one row.
What did you do this weekend?
Ellen and her kiddos came out to Connecticut for an awards dinner where I was being honored. I happened to notice that the dinner was scheduled for the night before the annual Boy Scout Mount Snow Ski weekend. So months ago, we planned a big surprise for her kids - a trip to Aunt Jennifer's with an extended trip to Vermont to ski and snowboard. Unfortunately, earlier this month, the organizers canceled this trip abruptly - after my sister had booked her trip. Now we were scrambling to come up with an affordable alternative. In the end, we chose Mt. Snow and spent the extra money on the hotel and food. We got some dear friends to join us.
We found a marvelous place to stay less than a quarter mile off the mountain - Big Bears Lodge - which was delightful and had a homemade delicious breakfast. It might be our new go-to-place.
Mt. Snow was wonderfully cold - but the kiddos had a blast. My sister was such a good sport and rented skis and equipment to join in the fun. I stayed in the lodge with my good friend Joyce knitting while our group spent the day skiing.
Primogeniture and his friends spent the day snowboarding on the North Face. Primogeniture's goal was to see how fast he could go down the mountain.
There are some things a mother should probably never know. Now I'll worry.
The boys earned the Snow Sports merit badge for Snowboarding and Skiing, respectively. If you look closely, you can just make out that C is wearing his Wonderful Wallaby under his snow pants.
My sister wore her handknit socks on the slopes.
Joyce and I spent the day knitting squares for a *purple* charity blanket we're making together. It's the "Teach Joyce to Knit" blanket. We started it last year at this same trip.
On the way home, we stopped for an early supper at The Kringle Candle and The Farm Table restaurant. There was knitting everywhere we looked this weekend - if we just opened our eyes.
We had so much fun, we're already planning for our return trip in 2015.
I took my sister and her three children skiing in Vermont this past weekend. My sister visited two new states along the way: Vermont and New Hampshire. You see, we've had a contest since we were teenagers (OK - technically, since I was 17 and she was 21) to see who could visit all 50 states first. I've been sitting with just four states left to visit for the past five or six years.
visited 46 states (92%)
Create your own visited map of The United States
I had plans for Hawaii a few years ago when a friend was planning on a destination wedding - but that changed when they moved the destination from Hawaii to New York. I've been trying to get the entire Pacific Northwest - but when I got Washington and Oregon (on a few separate trips) - the weather was not conducive (e.g. safe) to drive from Portland or Seattle to Idaho and Montana. Drat! I guess that I will visit Idaho and Montana next, followed by Hawaii and save Alaska for last.
I have personally taken my sister with me on a few trips to help her get new states and countries, too. What was I thinking???
This weekend was our District Boy Scout Klondike. Even though there was no snow, we still had a lot of fun.
My favorite station was the balancing act. The Scouts had to balance their klondike sled and all the Scouts on a platform teeter totter. They did a great job of teamwork and problem solving on this one.
Secundogeniture and his friend arrived with our new and improved sled - outfitted with wheels for the lack of snow!
Instead of snow we had slight intermittent rain showers. It wasn't enough to put a damper on things. In fact, it gave us the opportunity to show our teamwork skills. Two boys lit the fire in the firebuilding competition (with only one match!) while the rest of the boys held the tarp overhead. Great teamwork guys!
Of course, no campout would be complete without a selfie. I wore my Fish - Dead or Alive Hat (always a crowd pleaser). I also wore a second beanie underneath for added warmth. I discoverd that this fish hat is actually a perfect camping hat as it can be pulled way down over my head to ensure it doesn't slip off in the night and leave me with a cold head.
I hope you had a big adventure this weekend, too
My friends came for the weekend with their twin boys who are nearly five years old. We went to the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium which is always a treat. We had a nice time exploring the aquarium.
The jellyfish room is my favorite. It's a circular room with a bench around the circumference of the room with a large cylindrical aquarium in the center. Quite honestly, if I win the lottery, this might be the one "crazy room" I would create. I'd have some jazz or classical music piped in - and create this peaceful haven. The movement of these jelly fish is really calming and peaceful. It's just what the doctor ordered after a very stressful week.
My knitting group started an annual knitting dinner tradition a few years ago. Last night was our 3rd annual dinner. We decided to add a theme to the dinner - and given my proclivity for Old Sturbridge Village ("OSV") this past year, we chose an OSV dinner theme. I even bought the cookbook - Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook (recipes from around 1830) and a companion The First American Cookbook (a facscimile of American Cookery of 1796).
Most of the receipts [sic] have a hearth method and modern method for cooking. Nothing is too complicated or has too many ingredients. But we improvised a little, especially when there were no modern methods offered.
Here's a picture of the roast chicken on a string, but I was pretty certain BF would veto any cooking that involved lighting a fire in the fireplace and cooking inside it. I might reserve this method for a future campout.
I roasted two whole chickens (for the first time ever, I might add) using Martha Stewart's Easy Roasted Chicken recipe. One I followed the recipe verbatim. The other I added sprigs of rosemary and thyme. I highly recommend this recipe - it was so easy! And it was roasted in my oven - not my fireplace, so everyone was happy.
I set the table for 13 and decorated with some tin smith star garlands I found on sale after Christmas.
I made a centerpiece out of fresh fruit. I removed the center of the pineapple leaves - just enough to place a candle - and created a centerpiece. I got the idea from Country Living.
I continued the tin smith star theme to each individual place setting.
Our dinner menu included many things - but we used the following recipes from the OSV cookbook as a starting point
It was a wonderful evening to celebrate another great year of friendship, fiber, fun and family.
It's a snow day in Connecticut due to the big blizzard that moved through our area last night. We live within a mile of the Long Island Sound, so we don't usually get as much snow as inland. In fact, on the news, our weather forecast always refers to snowfall amounts on the coastline and inland - or in our particular case "North of the Merritt" which means north of route 15 - the Merritt Parkway.
Looks like we only got about 4-5 inches of light fluffy snow. North of the Merritt - it seems my fellow nutmeggers got from 4.5 to 9 inches.
Massachussets really got hit hard. Weather.com reports from 14-24 inches across the state:
These are great - but let's see what my friend Mary Schwalm reported for North Andover, Massachussets.
Yup - that's the way to measure snow. Action Hero and a Fashion Doll are far more interesting than my BBQ grill.
Hey Mary - I think Barbie, er, I mean Fashion Doll, needs a sweater and hat for the next blizzard! I might know someone who could make that happen.
While the Scouts were paying attention to the instructors and flying planes, I was busy finishing a sock.
And since the temperatures dipped to 40 degrees at night, I needed more knitwear to stay warm while camping in tents at night.
I wear handknit socks every night on campouts throughout the year - except summer camp. Something as simple as a clean pair of wool socks makes all the difference for a good night's sleep.
And of course, no campout would be complete without a tent selfie. Here I am wearing my Tanglewood Fibers and Lobster Pot Very Warm Hat. It is the very best hat for all the time I spend outdoors. I'm never, ever cold (at least on my head.)
Happy knitting. Happy adventures. I hope you have fun using your wool wear on your outdoor adventures.
Every few years since I've been Scoutmaster (in September 2006), our Troop has organized the Aviation Merit Badge including an orientation flight. It is the highlight of all the Scouts. One of the dads in our Troop has many connections in the aviation world and he coordinates everything. The boys are so excited and at the end of the day they earn a very fun merit badge.
We start with classroom instruction with Mr. Faile - a veteran instructor who is gifted at teaching these young men about the physics of aviation. They all listen very attently.
The Scouts review flight maps...
And other terminology before heading out to do some pre-flight inspections.
First they check out the planes inside the hangar.
All the Scouts inspect the planes in small groups of three prior to their flight.
Our pilot Danny was fabulous as he created a whole new generation of would-be pilots.
Everyone enjoyed the views out the window.
Our Senior Patrol Leader thanked our adult organizers of the day's adventure with some Trail's End Boy Scout popcorn. It was not nearly enough to thank these men for giving up their Saturday to share their passion of aviation with more than a dozen youth. The experience was priceless!