Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visit to the Statehouse

Hello All!  The boys have been on vacation this week from school and have had a busy week.  Last weekend we went to the New England Aquarium to show them some of the wonders of ocean.  They particularly enjoyed the sharks and sea turtles.  My fav was the seahorses and penguins.  I'll do another post on that as soon as I can figure out where the cable is to download the pictures off the other camera.  Yesterday, I took the boys to the New Hampshire state capital of Concord.  We had been notified that they had artwork that was chosen to hang in an exhibit at the department of education.  So, I wanted them to have a chance to see it hanging there, so we made the trip up.  Searched the building high and low to not be able to find their work.  After inquiring to some folks, we learned it was taken down the day before.  It was supposed to be up until the 25th, so I was bummed, as were the boys.  Kinda of a long way to go for nothing, so...

Since we were already there, I decided to take them to the state capital to see the gold dome building as they have always called it passing by on the highway.  I figured it might be a good idea for them to see just what takes place in there.  We walked about outside and saw the copy of the Liberty Bell out front.  Maestro liked the painted "crack" on the front.

We also enjoyed the big statues, this is one of Daniel Webster that is in the front of the building.
The building is quite large and very beautifully made.  There is a lot of architectural detail that you won't find in new buildings made now.  The craftsmanship is outstanding.  And the copious use of granite (our state stone for you reading from away) was beautiful.  This is the boys standing at the top of the steps ready to go into the doors for the first time.  You can get a sense of how solid the pillars are next to them.
 When you enter the building, there are flags all along the entry walls.  Most of them are civil war flags from battles by regiments from NH.  They are amazing to see.  Little Red said he didn't like to see the flags all torn up because it scared him.  I agree with him wholeheartedly, it scares me too.  We walked around the lobby area where there are also oil portraits of the governors that came before, so stoic and dark.  We saw a portrait of the third day battle at Gettysburg and it led to a discussion about how brothers fought against brothers in that war.  I explained it to them that if they were older one of them might have believed one way, and the other differently and then they would end up fighting in the war against each other.  They were silent for a minute and Maestro said, "Mommy, that would be really sad".  Again, I agree with him wholeheartedly.  War is a topic I struggle with, being a pacifist.  But this it the history of our country and how it became what it is and certainly, they should learn that.  It does not mean I condone or agree with any of it, it just is what it is.

We were also lucky to have one of the Senators stop and talk to the boys for a minute.  That was nice, he made the boys feel very welcome and asked them some questions. I was thankful to him for taking time from his busy schedule to meet us and say hello.  He had just gotten out of a session of the Senate voting and was on his way to a meeting.  Since the Senate room was empty, we took the chance to go into the gallery to see it.  The boys were very impressed.  The murals were beautiful, the chandeliers were amazingly crafted, and the setting for the Senators was impressive. 
This is one of the beautiful chandeliers, so lovely. It's hard to see the details, but the globes for the lightbulbs were flowers, hand crafted, just amazing.

We also sat in the gallery of the House of Representatives and listened to them debate the merits of a was about cable access, so not earth shattering stuff, but it was neat to see the process in action.

We went into the visitor center and saw this beautiful portrait of the Old Man of the Mountains.  He is/was our state mascot so to speak that fell from the sheer cliffs he had been perched on, a glacial formation.  Though he still adorns the state license plate and many other things in our state, the falling of the face was a sad day for many of us that had driven through the notch and always looked up to see him.
There were also some awesome dioramas that had been made.  They depicted different battles in the area during the revolutionary and civil wars.  This one is Ft William & Mary, which was changed after the revolutionary war to Fort Constitution and also houses the Portsmouth Light House,all run by the Coast Guard now.

This is the battle of Bunker Hill

This was a battle in Bennington, VT during the revolutionary war.
We slowly made out way back into the sunny and chilly day.  Walking along the path, I saw the telltale white slip on my windshield. You guessed it, a parking ticket for being 8 minutes over the meter.  Yeah, that's a friendly greeting and really encourages me to want to come back....sigh.  But the boys had a great time in at the Statehouse and it was a good learning experience for all of us.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Break

I was in dire need of some winter sweetness...more snow in the forecast, we scraped ice off the driveway for 4 hours on Sunday, just ready for a break. So, I made my all time favorite scratch made cookies....oatmeal raisin.  These actually turned out to have some variation to them that made them even more delicious.  I used Bob's Red Mill 5 Grain cereal instead of oatmeal.  And I added dried cranberries, half & half with the raisins.  They are chewy in the middle, crunchy on the edges, and just the right amount of sweetness.  So yummy.  There's really no need to buy the slice and bake dough, which is full of chemicals and foreign ingredients when these are so easy, delicious and have so many ingredients that are healthy for you.  Okay, there is a bit of sugar in there, but otherwise, pretty good for you.  Cookies never last long in this house, but I managed to have a few of these for myself :^)...Enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 c flour (I use white whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c unsalted butter (or if using salted, omit above sea salt), softened
1/2 c sugar
1/2 honey (or you can use 1 cup total sugar if you don't want to use honey)
1 c brown sugar
2 large eggs (preferably fresh from the farm!)
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups oats (not instant, or give Bob's 5 Grain Cereal a try, it makes lovely texture and flavor)
1 1/2 c raisins (or 3/4 c raisins, 3/4 c dried cranberries)
1/2 c pecans or walnuts (optional)

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Whisk dry ingredients, set aside.
3. Combine wet ingredients with mixer on low
4.  To cream, increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and lighter in color
5.  Stir flour mixture into the creamed mixture until no flour is visible (do not over mix, cookies will be tough)
6.  Add oats and raisins and/or cranberries, stir to combine
7.  Using large tablespoon (like a soup spoon, not measuring spoon) drop dough by tablespoonfuls (using about 2 tablespoons of dough) onto a greased or non stick cookie sheet about 2 inches apart, they will spread a little
10.  Bake for 11-13 minutes depending on the size of your cookie and individual oven until golden but still moist beneath cracks on top.

Makes about 36-40 cookies

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I'm really ready to cry uncle with this winter!  Between pneumonia for Little Red and I, bronchitis and sinus infection for Music Man, VERTICAL driveway which needs to be bare pavement to go anywhere, plow guys backing out on us (though we finally have one that seems to be sticking for now), so much shoveling and no where to put the snow...SNOW...SNOW!!!!  and it's currently freezing rain on top of the 12" we got just before it...I've had enough.  Spring, so ready for spring now.

Though we did take a few moments to catch some beautiful evening light on Sunday to get in a snow shoe with Music Man, Little Red and I...couldn't pry Maestro off the couch and the hockey game to join us.

Little Red is very adventurous. He loves to be out and on a trail.  No fear and thoroughly enjoys the fun aspects of it.  I love this kid, he's just a little man after my own heart.

We had a fun time bombing around our property, tracking the deer that came to visit our apple tree and the mice from all over heading to the bird feeder.  The snow is getting very deep now, so the deer are having a challenging time finding food.  Can you spot the tell tale pointy toes?
The light was incredible, as was the sky...

I thought the setting sun was really pretty on the snow in the field.

And some trees are beginning to bud.  The other thing I have noticed lately is an abundance of robins.  Why is that? Though some stick around all winter here, we have the spring quantities arriving already.

It was  fun snowshoe.  I keep telling myself that without snow, it would not be possible.  But, spring sounds fabulous to me right now as long as it doesn't flood our basement again!

Wishing you the peace of an evening snowshoe with your loved ones, ~Peacemom