Monday, June 30, 2014

San Francisco- Fisherman's Wharf and Cablecar Tour

Tom did a great job organizing our day at San Francisco, so I thought I'd commemorate his planning expertise with a blog post. Email me if you're looking for someone to plan our trip through San Francisco.

Fishermans Wharf & Sea Lions

The first thing I would recommend you do (whether you arrive by cruise ship or other means) would be to walk over to Pier 39 and visit the sea lions. We went at 8am, before the crowds arrived. We spent a bit of time barking back at the sea lions and planning the rest of our day.

According to
The sea lions camped out in PIER 39′s West Marina have been endearingly coined The PIER’s “Sea Lebrities.” The boisterous pinnipeds started arriving in droves in January 1990, shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At first they numbered from 10-50, but due to a plentiful herring supply, available dock space and the marina’s protected environment, the population grew to more than 300 within a few months.
Each winter, the population can increase up to 900 sea lions, most of which are male. During the summer months, the sea lions migrate south to the Channel Islands for breeding season, but in recent years a small group stays year-round at PIER 39′s K-Dock.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to Make Homemade Bread

This is the story about how I fulfilled my greatest goal.

When I was little, I loved laying in my 'fort' under the dining room table. I would sit there, in the sun and smell the bread that was rising on top of the table. Now as an adult, I would occasionally get those fond memories of baked bread, especially whenever walking past the bread factory in our neighborhood. Jump forward to just this last November, when I called my mother to tell her my grand plans for baking my own bread from scratch. You know, just like she used to do.

She then burst my happy bubble right there, and told me it was actually store-bought freezer bread she just threw in a pan to bake. Turns out, that heavenly smell that I remember was because they were put on the table to cool after having been baked.

Of course, being the girl who has finally mastered the recipe for Ice Cubes, I was discouraged. If my mother who made everything from scratch never bothered with baking her own bread, how could I even try? I tried to forget about baking bread, but this last week I got restless and thought 'I can do this'. And I did it. This may be my greatest achievement to date.

1 packet of Active Dry Yeast (I used Fleischmann's Yeast)
3 cups white flour, additional as needed
1/4 cup Milk
5 tsp. Sugar
5 tsp. Butter
1 tsp Salt
Cooking Spray for loaf pan

Monday, June 23, 2014

Visiting the Redwoods at Muir Woods, California

When booking our cruise in January, we already knew we'd be doing our own thing and not purchasing any of the ship excursions. In general, cruise ship excursion prices are double what you could get if you did the research on your own. Plus, besides driving, attempting to get the best deal or haggling is a big plus for Tom. But when we booked in January, and clicked over to the excursion page (to steal some ideas for us to book on our own), and we saw Muir Woods.

YES! A resounding yes (yes, yes, yes) it was worth it.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Five: Five Inspiring Bloggers

Good Morning!

Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite bloggers for those who are looking for some new reads. I know I regularly update my RSS feeds, so here's a list of some bloggers who I've found to be inspiring lately.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Before and After the Selfie

It was on a trip to Boston my senior year of college, before the so-called selfie had been instituted. The freedom trail, sunsets and waterfronts were all gorgeous. The quirks of the city were documented and the food wasn't. No photos of my hamburger were posted to Instagram.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Oh Canada! Bicycling in Vancouver

When I was around 10, I decided to bike down the dirt hill behind our farm. I ran onto a gravel patch, freaked out, flew over the handlebars and ended up face-first on the gravel before stopping.

Friday, June 13, 2014

High-Five for Friday

It's been a long week. Sick, migraines and what seems to be general desire to feel better. But here's my 5 things on Friday worthy of mentioning.

1. My sister-in-law turns 21 today!

And, of course that requires some sort of celebration. One that doesn't involve any alcohol, so how else would you celebrate? Dorney Park of course. A literal slap-in-the-face to reaching adulthood.

2. My garden grows!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Not my Will, But Yours

So often I choose my will. God knows that I spend much of my time planning what should happen in my life- what will happen tomorrow and what will happen in 5, even 20 years. Life never goes according to plan, and when it strays from my course I often get upset. Something I really need to work on. 

But God says to us that we are to rely on him, and him alone. Why then do I sink so much time and energy into planning a life that is not my own? I profess that I would follow him wherever led, and then go back to planning where I will take myself. And, if we did solely rely on ourselves to propel us through this life, we would burn out so quick. What then? Would we then cry out, asking God to get us through? I know I would, so this really drives it home to me that I need to rely on him in all things. 

I think that planning and being the ultimate decider of our lives has been glorified in recent years.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Seattle & Seattle CityPass Review… Was It Worth It?

The Seattle CityPass basically saved our last few days of our vacation. All flights into NYC/Boston were cancelled for two days, due to high winds (we were told?) and having a wide assortment of places to tour kept us amused and gave us something good to focus on (you know, besides rescheduling flights, explaining what happened to our bosses and trying to stretch our budget further that we really wanted to).

Included in the Seattle CityPass:
-Two visits to the Space Needle
-Pacific Science Center (we went here) or The Museum of Flight
-Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
-Woodland Park Zoo (we went here) or EMP Museum
-Seattle Aquarium

On Friday we arrived in Seattle from Vancouver via Amtrak. We checked into our hotel and immediately went to the Space needle. Of course, being as we try to take all the available public transportation possible, we were thrilled with the 2 minute ride on the monorail. I accidentally 'interviewed' the driver, who was from Queens! Seems everywhere you go, you find a New Yorker.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Cultivating Hospitality in Myself

I was never the one to invite people over, or be the hostess. Never the outgoing type or the leader. And that’s fine as long as you have someone who does these things (keeps you connected) but I’m not that lucky.

So, there comes a point where you realize you haven’t seen your friends in a few months (or a in some cases an entire year) that you make the commitment to change that. And since all our childhood or college friendships were developed at a bar or houseparty, we’re really having trouble organizing events that don’t revolve around alcohol. The invites have slowed, but that’s because the events they tend to go to are all at bars, and we’ve opted out enough times to get the point across.

So we’ve started throwing dinner parties, game nights, paintball getaways or inviting others to go do things like visit a museum or park. This summer Tom and I plan on going camping, or at least make it back to Pennsylvania and have a mini-roadtrip with anyone who's interested. And some of our friends are into those things (or understand that there is a value to keeping up with each other) and come along as often as possible. But they tend to be same ones who come time and again. Others are a bit pickier about coming along, or can’t imagine events like camping without it having a focus on drinking. It can be a hard line to draw in the sand, but luckily we’re seeing them say yes more and more. Which is great, because while they are all mostly single and living the high life, they also know that won’t last forever and when It’s time to slow down we’ll be there waiting for them.

And, when the rest of our friends mention heading to a bar after our dinner party or the museum (it almost always happens) we can then say our goodbyes.

Anyone out there have this problem or situation?
Anyone trying to cultivate friendships with the friends still in the party atmosphere, sans alcohol?
Any tips?

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