Thursday, July 31, 2014

Driving In

Just a quick post tonight as I'm busy getting us packed and organized to head out tomorrow, but plenty of pictures of today's adventures.  If you weren't able to guess, in tribute to the first Drive-In Movie Theater which opened in Camden, New Jersey, today we built our own indoor version!  Grant snagged some big boxes from work and the kids spent a good chunk of the day designing their own 'cars' to watch our double feature of "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"  (which feature's NJ's own Meryl Streep) and "Annie" which you may not know was shot mostly in New Jersey, including the epic bridge scene at the end.  Smaller boxes were even turned into vehicles for some of the stuffed animals.  I knew the kids would love doing this and its given me the chance to get a jump on the laundry, packing and endless planning/organizing that goes with going on vacation.  At this point I need a vacation from going on vacation!

For dinner tonight, I kept it super simple Campbell's Soup (tomato for Grant, chicken noodle for the kids) and Grilled Cheese.  Got a New Jersey nod in and kept it ridiculously simple - love it!  And I tried to convince everyone that I wanted to make these Jersey Shore Ice Cream Sandwiches but with superman ice cream, but both kids agreed they'd much rather have just the ice cream.  Well, it was the thought!  Everyone was happy, I'm not going to make waves!

Alright, just so everyone's on the up and up, we are heading out tomorrow and will be gone until next weekend.  I moved Georgia week so we will be 'celebrating' while we are there.  I think there's internet access at our house, but posts will probably be spotty for the next week or so.  And as much as I love Georgia, no huge blog recap.  Like Michigan, I'll be 'showing' it to the kids and all of our readers next week.  And then my slightly insane self planned New York week when we get back  So wasn't thinking ahead on that one...  Oh well, it's an adventure!  Off to more packing, so until then next time...

New Jersey Fun Fact of the Day:  North Jersey has more shopping malls in one area than anywhere else in the world. There are seven major malls located in a 25 square mile radius. (For my Bean)

Starting assembly on their vehicles

Setting up the Drive-In

The animals came, too - and yes, if you look very closely Noah's car has a 'side car' for Iron Man

Driving in!

Does it get any more classic than this?

Hmmm, forgot that I haven't gotten a picture of the Jersey wall up until now - oops!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Coolest Parents EVER! (Right?)

"You are the best Mom I ever had!  You let us do something I always dreamed of!"

Okay, so any words that I may have to offer about today's big surprise for my kiddos would pale in comparison to Mikayla's praise on the way home today.  I can't wipe the grin off my face.  What a day!  And I'm not the only one around here that should be earning super cool parent points, wait 'til I tell you about what Grant did!

But back to the beginning...

This morning while I put together the quintessential recipe from Campbell's,  Green Bean Casserole, the kids tackled this week's "We've Been There" State.  Grant and I actually have both been to The Garden State (I actually thought about going to college in Jersey City!) so it was nice to put some stickers on a state this time.  As you'll see from the pictures thought, we may have to rethink the map thing...  Oh, I also put together tonight's dessert - Oreo Fluff!  This is something pretty much of my own creation (honestly, I don't think I can claim credit for it, seems like a 'duh' kind of thing to me in a lot of ways, hehe)  Nabisco (who owns Oreo) is was founded in and headquartered in East Hanover, so I wanted to get at least one recipe in this week tied to there.  My family begs for this and honestly, it's just Cool Whip mixed together with a bunch of pulverized oreos.  I'm a huge fan on using the mint oreos.  It's best if it chills for awhile and you have some bigger cookie chunks in it.  It's the little things some days...

Then it was off on our adventures.  First stop was Busch's to track down an ingredient for tonight's dinner a Pork Roll Sandwich.  This is a straight up Jersey specialty apparently, including the actual type of 'pork roll' that should be used a Taylor Pork Roll.  The past few days I have looked EVERYWHERE.  I have talked to lots of meat counters, trooped in and out of stores to no avail.  And my research shows that an authentic Jersey pork roll is very specific.  I tried!  We did our best.  I had researched last night for an 'acceptable' substitute and settled on Canadian Bacon when all was said and done.  So while tonight's dinner wasn't authentic Jersey, it was the thought (and lots of effort) that counts.  Right?

So after no luck we headed off to the library so they could pick their free book from the book fair for finishing their summer reading.  Then to continue to cash in on the freebies we stopped by the bakery to get their free cookie or cupcake.  We tried one more grocery store (struck out again) then it was off to...

Meet a Tiger!

We headed up to ABC Warehouse and actually got to meet Tigers Catcher Brian Holaday!  There were hot dogs, pizza, Paws (the Tigers mascot) and an autograph session.  He was so nice to both kiddos (Mikayla even diligently spelled her name for him) and they were over the moon.  But that's not all...

We met another Tiger!

We raced across town to Miejer where utility player and all around super nice guy Don Kelly was signing autographs for the first 200 people there.  We made it!  And he, again, was SO nice to the kids - asking them if they liked being brother and sister, how old they were, telling them about his kids.  Have I mentioned that I can't stop grinning?  Hours later and all of us are still over the moon.  Hence the comment I opened with :)

This afternoon, in a tribute to Campbell's, the kiddos colored the iconic tomato soup can a la Andy Warhol.  They actually got into this much more than I expected (a 40 minute coloring project is a rare event around here) and I love what they came up with - especially Noah!

After dinner it was time for Grant to shine as 'super parent' :)  As I've mentioned the past couple of days, one of the most noteworthy claims to fame for New Jersey is playing host to "The Wizard of Menlo Park", Thomas Edison, when he created many of his most famous inventions, including the light bulb that we played with yesterday (wasn't that fun??) and what Grant set out to recreate tonight (using this as a starting place), the phonograph!  The kids and I actually went and found a record the other day in anticipation of this and last night Grant gave it a test run.  He put on quite the show tonight and amazed both of the kiddos as you'll see below.  Super Dad!

I've been looking forward to tomorrow all week as I've got something super fun planned (as if today wasn't quite enough) and if you go back to Monday's blog, you may be able to narrow it down based on what we haven't highlighted yet. (and no, we're not going to be making our own pharmaceuticals)  I know the kids will be excited.  And I plan on spending the day tackling the laundry and getting packing since we leave on Friday morning (I hope)  So until then...

New Jersey Fun Fact of the Day:  New Jersey is completely surrounded by water except for about 40 miles along the NY border.

Working on the "We've Been There" state

Grant and I have been!

May not have been the best planning on my part considering where the state falls on the wall


Book choices at the Book Fair

Treat break

Hot Dogs while waiting in line

It's Paws!

Gordon, Nolan and Morgan met us at both signings - all the kids were such troopers!

Meeting Paws (with Noah's mini version on him)

Ready to meet Mr. Holladay

Talking and signing

Mikayla spelling her name for him

Think he was excited?

We met a Tiger!

Grabbed pizza on our way out and we were off to see Don Kelly!

We got our wristbands

Meijer was giving away snacks, too.

Meeting ANOTHER Tiger!

Don Kelly was SO nice to them

2 Tigers, 2 locations, 2 VERY happy kiddos

They even got some fun stuff from both radio stations sponsoring the events

Totally did it!

Working on the Campbell's soup cans

They had a visual just in case

Noah's finished can

The Bean was still working

Adore her

Green Bean Casserole

Not a Pork Roll at all, but it was in its honor tonight :-p

Oreo Fluff!

A explanation as to how a phonograph works

Making their cones

Putting on the needle

Trying it out

Each of the kids got to try it out with their own cone, too