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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 6/5/11 - 6/12/11

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

School's Out -- Let the Travel Begin!

In the shade of our garage, we were able to load the car in relative comfort...OUT of the 90+ degrees  at 9am!
Not only is our summer full of travel, but we couldn't even wait for school to end before taking our first trip!  Since we're taking the SUV up to PA/WV/VT next week, we're going to use the Prius to drive down for a couple days at Walt Disney World.  We took the boys out of school a half-day early.

But to easily fit two kids, two adults and our stuff into our Prius, we loaded up our roof-top carrier.  We usually only need to use this when we're moving from one house to another, but to save us some mileage, we thought we'd use the car.

Better do it now while the weeds kids fit easily in the backseat...

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Florida Discoveries #14: Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

This past weekend was the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival at Fort Walton Beach Landing...about 20 miles east of where we live.  Dave suggested we hang out at the festival on Friday night, so after the boys got off the school bus, we went to the base to pick up Dave and headed eastward.

The boys put on their favorite (read: their only fitting) pirate t-shirts and brought their toy swords.
At 5pm on a Friday, the parking was surprisingly easy -- we parked only a block or so from the festival.  Timmy wanted his face painted right away, after that we had some dinner and enjoyed the evening out.

Go ahead, say it..."What is that thing on Timmy's forehead????"

Jacob was good with his eye patch and hat.  The hat is actually from Colonial Williamsburg, when he was 5 years old.

Most of the boats on the water had pirate flags flying on them!

Part of bringing 3 pirates with me to the festival: lots of mayhem!  We got those popper things that you throw onto the ground. My kids were annoying everyone....

Dave was no exception!

We had about 15-20 minutes of thunderstorm right when Billy Bowleg's ship was supposed to come into Fort Walton Landing.  This giant mast thing blew down near us.  Our family hunkered down in one of the vendor's tents and were fine.

Right after the weather cleared up, the Krewe of Bowlegs pulled up and all their crazy pirates disembarked.

Yeah -- part of me wonders if this is just an excuse to celebrate Mardi Gras in June...

They perform this every year -- Billy Bowlegs (right) comes ashore and attempts to make a deal with the Mayor of Fort Walton Beach (walking on the left).

The ladies throw out beads to the spectators.  Those are my three boys' hands all asking for beads!

Ask and you shall receive....

Who else noticed that Timmy's makeup is now gone?  After all, we got a real bandana for him :-)

My boys enjoyed the ladies who were handing out the beads....I wonder if the young lady on the left is Miss Billy Bowlegs or something like that....

Jacob's dessert -- a New Orleans Sno-Ball with a do-it-yourself syrup tap.  Really!

Dave was having the BEST time!

A band called "The Bilge Pumps" performed sea chanties and pirate songs.  They were a lot of fun.  Download their songs on iTunes.

We waited for the fireworks, but there were a couple of problems with the launch control system and then there was a disabled boat too close to the fireworks barge and the show ended up canceled.

Jacob got really really sick of waiting...


Black Swallowtail Butterflies!

On May 30th I saw a black swallowtail butterfly flitting around my herb garden.  A familiar sight, we'd seen many of them when we lived on the east coast of Florida, North Carolina, Nebraska and now again we're greeted.

I knew what she was doing -- laying eggs!  The next day I scoured the herbs for evidence of eggs, but I couldn't find any.  Apparently I wasn't looking hard enough.

Today, 7 days later, my dill and parsley are covered in the telltale bird-poop-looking caterpillars!  I counted at least 8 of them out there chowing down.  I don't think they'll last very long...I saw some caterpillars a few weeks ago and I'm guessing bluebirds got to them.  While they start out looking like bird poop to deceive predators, but at a certain point they molt out of the poop-skin and end up with more bold stripes.  This is usually when a bird or larger bug will swoop down and get them.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

A Blast from the Past: Smarties!

A small British grocery store opened up right up the street, called The British Pedlar.  The ladies who are running the store are very kind and they have just about everything that I remember from my childhood, when my mom would frequent the British grocery store in Virginia Beach OR she'd bring things back from our trips to Hong Kong when I was a kid.

The store has everything I remember except one thing: Bovril!  Click that link to read more about Bovil not being available in the U.S.  The ladies said it's just too complicated and the FDA is really slow-rolling the customs approval process even for the non-beef version.

On my last couple of visits to the store, I'd pick up some treats for the family: locally-made banger sausages (Mom, we'll hit the store and I'll get you some while you're visiting next month, they have THREE brands to choose from!), McVitie's Digestives, Cadbury's Dairy Milk bars and Smarties candies.  I'm accustomed to the Smarties being sold in small cylindrical containers like this:

Ha ha!  Fooled many of you, didn't I?  Perhaps the introduction about British food tipped you off...but I'm sure many of you were still thinking about "American" Smarties:

For the unfamiliar, Nestle's Smarties are very similar to American M&Ms.  Chocolate drops covered in a hard candy shell.  But there's a...well...fruitiness to the Nestle Smarties that I've always enjoyed.

Anyway, on my most recent visit this week, the store was out of the smaller packages of Smarties, so I picked up a bigger box.  I'd never seen the bigger box in detail, so I was intrigued by the picture on the back.

Love the "colours"!

Spirulina?  Really???

I knew there was a fruity flavor (flavour?) to the Smarties but I never realized I was tasting the all-natural coloring to the candy shells!  The kids got a kick out of the picture and the information, then got a bit squirmy about eating any more of the green ones, ha ha!

Eating Nestle's Smarties brings back so many memories, and I enjoy sharing these things with the boys.

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