Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

We had a very blessed Easter weekend.  Papaw and Gramma came for a long visit.  The Knight and the kids attended the Annual Egg Party at Nana and Pappy's house while my parents and I went to lunch and went shopping for a few things to work on a few house projects.
We ended the weekend over a scrumptious Easter meal before Papaw and Gramma headed back home.  We had a wonderful day at church.  We are so blessed.

Bud took this picture of us!

We did Resurrection eggs this week.

Waiting for Papaw & Gramma to arrive and enjoying the warm"er" weather.

Sparkle gave tractor rides at the Annual Egg Party at Nana & Pappy's house.

Time to dye eggs!

Sparkle made origami bunnies for our Easter dinner table.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carnegie Science Center

A couple weeks ago, we went with some friends to the Carnegie Science Center for a field trip.  I love having the membership. (So glad we bought it in Ohio too.  It was WAY cheaper there!)  We can go whenever we want, and the only cost is $3.00 for parking!
We decided to start in the Sports Works building because we notoriously run out of time to do everything we want to over there.
We have our admissions bands.  Ready, Set . . . have fun! Oh, yes . . . and learn!

Bud can't wait to get inside!
 The kids taking turn on the You-Yo (the human yo-yo).

All the kids started out adventurous on the rock climing wall . . .

Sparkle made it about 16 feet.
Butterfly made it about 17 feet and panicked.  The helper had to assiste her down.  Tried cropping this photo three times, but it won't save.  The "boy" in the red is a dummy.  Children aren't randomly allow to climb just anywhere!
This is about as far as Bud made it, but he had fun just climbing that far.

This kept them occupied for a long time!

Everyone took a turn on the Bounce exhibit, but they weren't as in to it this year.  Don't think anyone attempted a flip this time.

We played a little table hockey.

Our friends' won a voucher to the science center and shared some of their winnings so we could watch the IMAX film, To the Actic.  We all really enjoyed it!

Bud had a few minutes with the remote control vacuum cleaner.

We love the miniature railroad exhibit.  They've serviced it and updated it since we were there in the fall.

Group photo
Love the Pittsburgh backdrop!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Quick Visit

I've very thankful that my sister and her family only live two hours away in Ohio.  We usually manage to see each other every couple months. 
My brother-in-law is taking a contract job for a couple months in Washington state, and they have decided that my sister and my niece will be going along with him.  I'm glad they'll be together during this time rather than miles and miles apart, but I'm going to miss them. 
We had the opportunity to sneak in a quick visit last week before they leave for Washington.  Here are a few of the pictures from the visit.
Bella and I had a great time in church nursery together.  What a beautiful child!
Not sure who is entertaining who at breakfast here.
The kids all wanted to spend some time with Isabella before she left . . .

These two are so cute together.  She always touches his face when he comes close to her and talks to her.  I think they might be good buddies!

I made sure I spent some time with Isabella too!
We didn't get any pictures of Aunt Mel and Uncle Josh, but we enjoyed the time we had with them as well.  Always wish we had more time, but thankful we were able to see them before they go out of town.  Can't believe Isabella will almost be a year by the time they return!  We'll definitely need to learn how to Skype soon!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cheese Factory Tour

Our homeschool group went on a field trip this week to a local cheese factory.
(Sparkle is on the left)
We learned that making cheese is a STINKY business.  Butterfly is in the foreground.  Bud is in the background.  The boy not holding his nose is the son of the man we knew that got us the tour there.  I think he had been there before.

Ready to start the tour . . .

Seperating the whey and filling the bins . . .

Bud and his friend, Levi

Swiss cheese
Each bin weighs about 200 pounds.  Every pallet has 7 bins, and they are stacked 2 pallets high to age.

This room has over a million pounds of cheese.

The tour is almost over and still holding our noses.

Butterfly finally was able to not hold her nose! (center of photo)
Bud is peeking into the box.

We thought it was strange that there were 100s of worms in the parking lot.  We were dodging them on the way back to the van.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Crazy Weather

Yesterday, it was deceitfully sunny and just about reached 40 degrees in northwest Pennsylvania.  All day (up until the 11:00 pm news), the weathermen forecasted rain and snow coming our way -- 1 to 2 inches across the area.  They must have thought it was April 1st instead of the beginning of March.  We woke up to about 4-5" of heavy, wet snow.  My inlaws about 15 miles from here have 9", and it's still snowing! Some areas received even more and schools were delayed and closed.
March 5 vs March 6

The view from our bedroom window

The view from the front door

The front of our house

The back deck
It's picturesque all right, but I'm glad it's going to be in the low 50s on Sunday!  We're ready for SPRING!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weekend(s) Away

The Knight and I usually try to get away in the spring.  Because he just started a new job and was without a job for a while, we weren't quite sure we would be able to make our annual pilgrimage to Amish Country in Ohio.
We didn't quite make it to Ohio, but the Lord blessed and we were able to get away -- a couple times.  Two weekends in a row, in fact.  The Knight's new employer has a company party in February instead of during the busy holiday season.  We knew we'd get an evening out and a nice, catered dinner at a Pittsburgh hotel.  Just a few days before the party, the Knight was told that one of the rooms the hotel had compensated the company wasn't going to be used, and that we could have it!

Beautiful gardens, waterfalls and fish in the hotel interior
 We didn't know until we checked in that we would also receive two tickets for the breakfast buffet.  There was a great selection of food -- beautiful fruit, the best french toast we've ever eaten and omlets made to order.  The line was too long though, and we had slept in.  I didn't want to chance not getting anything else to eat, so I opted for made-to-order scrambled eggs.  Those were some serious room darkening drapes in that room -- pitch black when we finally woke up at 8:50 am!

Since the night was free, I splurged on getting my hair done and found my whole outfit at the thrift store for $10 -- including shoes! Our picture before the company party. . .
A local church hosts a couple's retreat every year.  We attended a few years back when they stayed in Pittsburgh.  A friend of mine who attend another local church was going to attend this year and invited us to join her and her husband.  This year's location . . . Nemacolin Woodland Resort.  Um, it's like a 5 Diamond Award kind of place.  And the cost to us . . . $150!  These rooms go for $400/night and up!  We didn't think we'd ever have another opportunity to stay at this place (a place we had looked into before) AND a favorite chapel speaker of ours from college, Jeff Redlin, was going to be the guest speaker!  The Knight had worked a side job not to long ago and it was just enough to cover the cost and have a little bit for food costs.
We pulled up to the Chateau and were greeted as they opened the car door for me.
The view from our room (towards the front door)

Our room

Refreshments area and bathroom -- Yes, that is a stool to get into the jacuzzi tub/shower.

We had been warned about the $12 cashews and $9 gummy bears!
We laughed at how we must have looked carrying our bag of snacks into this luxury hotel, but we couldn't afford to buy snacks from our room.  Last time we went on the retreat, we were given snacks by the host church.  We didn't want to count on them being there since we were going to stay far from civilization.  The church went above and beyond this time by adding a $25 gift card to Darden restaurants in our goody bag.  That paid for our dinner Friday night, and I was even able to have Tiramisu for dessert!

After the Friday morning session, we headed on the long trek to the other end of the resort towards The Tavern restaurant we had researched as one of the more affordable places to eat at the resort.

Along the way there were many seating areas . . . some had historic information and photos.  One of the Knight's favorites was a check from June 1959 for $24,000 written out to the founder of Nemacolin Woodland Resort.  There was also a check from the Wright Brothers for $2.47.  Cheapskates! HA!

That's a real wood burning fireplace!

These were all live plants.

This is PJs -- a fun little restaurant in the kids' area of the resort.

There was a kids' spa, play area (playground for little kids, air hockey, etc for the big kids), pool and probably more.  The pictures didn't turn out well, but there was kid-sized chairs in the salon for getting your hair and nails done.
There were also many framed photos of celebrities that had visited Nemacolin -- everyone from Victor Borge to Troy Polamalu to music stars.

The 8,500 gallon fish tank near The Tavern restaurant.
Notice the ladder in the above picture's background? Ya, that area including The Tavern was under renovations.  Apparently, they are going restaurant by restaurant renovating during the winter months.  So we trekked back up to Autumn -- a fine dining restaurant.  It was about $12 for a sandwich, but oh my, was the food good!  Being the hamburger connoisseur that I am (Ha!), I had to get the burger.  Wow, was it tasty!  My side dish was fresh fruit and it was cubed up almost perfectly and was just the right amount of ripe for my liking.  The Knight got the Triple Decker Club with fries and he let me take a bite or two.  It was top-notch as well.  I'm glad we ate at one of their restaurants just to say we experienced it.  Thanks to the gift card in our bag and a gift card from my secret sister, two of our meals were pretty much free!  I had to add there was a Starbucks inside the resort.  I was kinda bummed that they wouldn't take my gift card, but whatever limited them to not taking the gift card enabled them to still serve Pumpkin Spice Lattes even after the fall season!  Unfortunately, I didn't see the poster in the window until after I bought a Chai Tea Latte the first day.
This is Lautrec. You might need to take out a loan to eat here.  Sunday brunch is $49/per person. Their dinner is a preset menu at One-Hundred-Ten Per Person (as written on their menu).
We're so thankful to have been able to get away for a couple days of refreshing.  The sessions were very encouraging -- something I really needed.  It was nice to be waited on by such great staff and be treated like a queen by my wonderful husband.
And we couldn't have done it without the help of Nanny & Pappy!  Thanks so much!