Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Yarn Along

It's been a couple of weeks since I've participated in Yarn Along, mostly due to our road trip. I did take my knitting along on the trip, but for the first half of the trip, knitting was very difficult due to (what I assume was) a pinched nerve in my neck. I visited a chiropractor the day we left on our trip, but it still took a few days for the issue to work itself out, lots of fun on a road trip! Anyway, my Vent d'est vent d'oust cowl is almost complete, only about 20 rows left.  I love the texture that the pattern lends, and the soft alpaca yarn makes this piece quite soft and lovely.

Over our trip, I started reading The Enchanted Wood to the kids.  They love it almost as much as the sequel, The Magic Faraway Tree, which I read first. This version (hardcover, 1993) is more fun to read than our version of The Magic Faraway Tree, as each page has a large vintage picture that makes the story come alive even more.

And I had to include a close-up of the cowl just so you could see the scrumptious texture that the pattern lends. I can't wait to make this cowl part of my staple wardrobe this fall!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Road Trip 2013: Gettysburg

The final stop on our Road Trip 2013 was Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. Our hotel was right in the middle of the town square and afforded us easy access to the downtown restaurants and shops.

First thing, the morning after we arrived, we found our way to the Gettysburg Battlefield for some sightseeing and exploration.

We met up with some friends from not-to-distant Annapolis, and immediately enlisted all of the children in the army. Before their formal army training, we managed to squeeze in the museum film and cyclorama tour. The cyclorama painting of Picket's Charge was amazing, especially when lit with battle fire.

Once we had the children safely delivered to boot camp, we could safely watch from a distance their military training and action.

They even found themselves in the middle of a battle charge, which they fortunately all survived.

Finn, of course, made friends with a re-enactor, and even managed to swipe his hat and pistol.

The trek out to the battlefield monuments was long and hot but made more interesting by the living history we encountered along the way.

I think the thing that impressed me the most by the walk through the battlefield and monuments was just how beautiful this area is, rolling hills and lush farmland. It really is a gorgeous area despite its sad history.

I think the highlight of the afternoon may have come when the kids realized they could climb to the top of the Pennsylvania State Memorial on Cemetery Ridge.

We had a great visit to Gettysburg, and every stop along our road trip, actually. We got to see family and friends and some beautiful parts of our country (as well as our neighboring country). Our own beds and familiar kitchen will sure be a welcome sight though. :)

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Road Trip 2013: Centre Island, Toronto

Our second day in Toronto we largely spent at the islands off the coast of Toronto. Situated just off-shore of downtown, the Toronto Islands are the largest car-free urban community in North America. We hopped on board the ferry just after lunch and road the 10-minute trip across the harbour.

The sights from the back of the ferry rivaled the view from the CN Tower!

Once we arrived on Centre Island, the largest, most tourist-friendly island in the chain, we headed straight down the main path through the center of the island.

What a welcome oasis in the midst of a large city to be able to come to this green space.

Of course, the kids had a great time, but they weren't as interested in the gardens, play grounds, or greenery as they were getting to the beach!

We didn't take full suits to the beach so we wouldn't have to lug towels and extra clothes all through downtown, but they each wore trunks and played in the edges of Lake Ontario.

After the kids had their fill of sand and water, we walked out the dock nearby to take in the view.

Niagara Falls is tantalizingly close, as the bird flies.

We took the scenic route to the other end of the island to catch a different ferry on the way back to downtown.

The kids kept stopping to play with the "snow" that was falling from the sky.  Actually it was the fluffy seed pods from one of the plants on the island, but I don't know what kind of plant it was.

After dinner that evening, it was time to say goodbye to my brother and his family. They will be staying one more day in Toronto while we move on to the final destination on our road trip. The cousins had trouble parting, of course. Thankfully we'll see them again in just a few months.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Road Trip 2013: Toronto

Upon our departure from Niagara Falls, we ventured toward Toronto.  Our first stop: Kensington Market, which had a very East Village vibe. (Kids are really funny on excursions like this. "But what are we going to DO here?" "Just what we're doing...walking, looking, maybe buying a thing or two.")

I did find one amazing shop that I could have spent hours and hours in: good egg. Weck Jars, some of my favorite books on canning and fermentation, vintage children's books! It was a feast for the eyes for as long as I could browse, which is never long enough when children are in tow.

After leaving Kensington Market and checking into our hotel, we found our way down Toronto's equivalent of Times Square.

On our way down to the CN Tower, we found this cute little market-style restaurant that had really great fresh food.

The CN Tower was amazing, although I'm not sure it's worth the crazy-expensive price to ride to the top.

(Paul kept photo-bombing my shots so he gets to be on my blog!)

The kids really had a great time at the CN Tower.  Besides the astounding views, and their excitement over being in the tower mentioned in the Barenaked Ladies I Don't Like song, they also enjoyed a short 3-D movie about flight and a simulated ride.

The views really were amazing.  I had no idea that Toronto spread so far nor that Toronto had so much green space.

The views across Lake Ontario were pretty incredible as well. I kept trying to figure out where the Niagara Falls were, but couldn't quite find them out there in that sea of blue.