Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Next Step for This Nomadic Family

Good Morning Luvs,

So, our time here in Pennsylvania is coming to an end. We take off to finish a few things in North Carolina tomorrow. We have enjoyed our time here, however it has been eye opening. Experiencing an area that is pro-Trump reminds us that there are fundamental values that many still hold on to. Not a place I would live, but the kids enjoyed swimming and the excursions we were able to take.
Just me...and my shadow....


Our next step is grabbing our van and thinning out items once again. The Hubster found out that we can get a temporary plate for the van for $10. That will take the worry away about driving the van to our next destination. This has been the one area that we keep going around and around about. We are still holding on to some things that both the Hubster and I would like to let go of. Having our items in one suitcase each and books/stuffed animals, business items, and other possessions in the van leaves us with another task.

I cannot tell you just how liberating it feels to know that we will be able to follow nicer weather, experience first hand how locals live in different areas in the U.S./Canada, and still ensure that our children receive the education that addresses their needs and potential growth. For our future adventures I think I will start periscoping (@katsmeoww11), so if you want to see what I am up to in real time that will be your best bet. If not, then subscribe to the blog follow me on twitter, instagram, and/or friend me on facebook. All you have to do is click the icon(s) to the right.

I will still keep sharing content regularly here. I have created a slideshow of our time in Pennsylvania. ENJOY!

Slideshow- https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B56MAMcz57roWmdNTjl0SXdRenc/view?usp=drivesdk

Til next time,

Kat


Monday, August 29, 2016

Visiting D.C. like a Tourist!

Mama put her foot in this! Double the eggs
and potatoes as the last one. Check it out!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TghgVNOG5gs
Hello Luvs,

Hope your weekend went well. Heat was the main theme for the weekend...regretfully! Still, we decided to take advantage of our last weekend at our Airbnb. It is in such a wonderful location with a few cities in close proximity (within 90 minutes). We wanted to make sure that Washington D.C. was an excursion we took before heading to North Carolina to finalize everything. Such an exciting time in our lives, and we are taking in everything that we can just in case we decide not to come back next year.

Arrival in D.C.
Even shadows cannot dim his
impact! The Frederick Douglass!!!

So, I mentioned heat...! My oh my was it hot yesterday. Even with my parasol, fan, and a cool drink I was melting like sap on the side of a tree. Sloooowwlly moving toward the ground...! We braved it because we parked a bit away from the monument, garden, and museum we wanted to go visit. If you happen to be staying at a place around 15 minutes or so from the National Mall I suggest renting bicycle(s)...great way to take in the city without the hassle of finding parking. Making our way in a circular path and searching out shade along the way helped a bit. You could tell by the look on the faces of passersby that they were uncomfortable too. Many had nothing shading them, wore jackets, and scarves around around their necks. On top of that....RUNNERS were all around us. I am sure they know their own bodies...but it had to be some kind of 21st century torture.
This is when my fan came
in handy!
Melting here people!

We have visited Washington D.C. on one other occasion, so the kids knew kind of what they wanted to do. Since I am working it into their homeschooling writing and composition schedule this week it was important that they visited something they are excited about. There are limitless options because most offer free admittance. Because of this we ended up doing more of a tourist thing. Our first visit was the White House. The access on our previous visit was quite different. You could go up to the black rod iron fence and turn around to take a picture. This time we found shorter black barriers which did not allow you to get within about 10 feet. There were at least 20 security people on bikes, foot, and/or in cars. I have a feeling that it had a lot to do with the people who were able to scale the fence with one actually making it into the building. As it turns out....President Obama has received more death threats than any other President. Why do I think this is happening? Some of it has to do with the political climate and the fact that suicide bombers now encompass women and children. The rest is in my opinion simply because of his racial make up.
Reprieve from the heat!
Just before I came across
an amazing plant-
outside the Smithsonion
Welcome Center.

When discussing the changes (that we saw around all the government building we came across) that were made it gave a deep sense of uneasiness. The set ups looked frightfully similar to something resembling a fascist state or the after effect of an attempted overthrow of the government. I recalled a conversation that I had with someone several years ago. We were discussing the fact that suspected terrorists were being found and captured and the fact that (at the time) it was predominately, it not all, men. During this discussion the other person said that women should and/or would not part of any investigations. He thought no, and I thought yes. Arguing that when we do not have our eyes completely open is when they will use the least suspected. In fact that has been the case recently with a child bomber taking lives. Please DO NOT get me wrong. I am not someone who thinks that all Muslims are terrorists and that what they wear should put them in the perview of authorities. 
Gorgeous chenille plant...!
The original Smithsonian Museum
completed in 1855. Stunning!!!!

For so long skin color has been a deciding factor in hate and suspension. The last thing I would do is pass those same prejudiced values onto another segment of  OUR society. However, that does not stop the people who say that anyone whose view does not align with theirs are infidels and worthy of death, and that they would be awarded in the afterlife. Does that sound familiar? Maybe not the same language is used nowadays (instead heathens, predators, hooligans, or any other name in which they chose to label young black men) is different than when the base/foundation for United States was being formed. Native Americans (Indigenous People) and slaves brought over from Africa against their will were labeled and seen as such (and many more despicable names)....now it has been shifted to be aimed toward the people who are NOT part of the fringe element that would do us harm.

Admiration of shadows...do YOU
see the face? If not, then what?

What do you think? I would love it if you commented and shared not only with me, but with anyone who would like to be part of the discussion.
This is the artist whose work was
completed by hand...

I digressed....I went deep there for a moment. I just wanted to show how visiting somewhere can spark a discussion. Maybe a way to lead us to a place of communication and openness instead to pretending that nothing is wrong. Just because someone you know was not killed does not mean that it is in anyway unimportant, no longer worthy of immediate and thoughtful discussion, or inclusion versus exclusion of people who are judged without knowing their true heart.
The time it must have taken
Linn Meyers...whew!

In regard to where we fluttered! First up was the Lincoln Memorial. We found so many people had clustered together in the monuments shadow to obtain a reprieve from the heat. The visitors were diverse and ranged in age. It was nice to see. While going around the city we also observed many tours in progress. This is the difference when coming on a weekday (versus weekend) that is not a holiday. The amount of people can be overwhelming. This was especially true even with most being indoors in air conditioning.
Da plane.....

Next we went to a small garden. I snapped a picture of the chenille plant. The color was amazing! Especially when you include the sky behind. The architecture to and from was breathtaking. I even snapped a shot of the original Smithsonian Museum of the National Mall. Being able to step inside from time to time helped us recharge and not stick to the ground.
Installation the entrance of the
Air & Space Museum

Of course the Air & Space Museum made the list. Baby Boy's eyes lit up! He was unsure where to start this time. As I wrote earlier, we have been there before, but sometimes with age, the curiosity is reignited. We touched a peace of rock from the moon, learned more about Elizabeth 'Bessie' Coleman, along with the Tuskegee Airmen. This section (he liked the most) was the exhibit section with Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh in addition to those I just listed. I got a kick out of seeing the fashion of Miss Coleman, Charles' wife Anne, and the designs done by Earhart.
Closer view...

The Hubster wanted to run by the Hirshhorn Museum. The exhibit (Robert Erwin) that is due to come down this week did not really speak to us. The pretenious nature of the people looking at the pieces kind of threw us off. Especially the discussion of his pin holes in his large square piece. It might speak to others, but it was lost on our family. There was another artist whose pieces were made up of lines painted straight onto the wall that happened to strike me. There is a picture of her work within the blog, Baby Boy admired the shadows created by wall and light placement.
From light there's shadow...

Last but not least, we visited Chinatown. The Chinatown in D.C. is on the small scale and can be passed by in a wink. However, it is where I bought my light blue parasol (which unfortunately is no longer :-(...), and this time I picked up a larger fan (both pictured below).
One of the buildings
I thought has architecture
that stands out.
                                                        The only disappointment was our food stop. Since I rarely cook red meat at home we decided on burgers. The visit was to Shake Shack. It was pretty busy, but they have two lines along with a sign which directed you to hop in the shorter line. After speaking with the cashier regarding Baby Boy's burger and what to place on it....it still was wrong. Because it was so busy I did not check it (will NOT do that again) before heading out of town. The employees were friendly but it did take quite a while to receive our food. At fast food places the system should allow for a wait time of between 5-10 minutes (versus the 20 we waited) Our burgers were kids sized. The fries and Baby Girl's chocolate shake were delish. Not sure if with everything it was worth almost the almost $54.00 we paid for a family of four. Unless I receive a coupon or giftcard I don't think that we will be going back. Remember, my goal is to find places that are budget friendly. This was not. If you have visited and have around the same sized family how would I rate the price? Below are my thoughts.
Here is the head on view
of one of the lights...
Amazing...right!?!

Scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the tops!)

Convenience- 2 (being in the city parking was extremely difficult so the Hubster dropped us off...)

Menu options- 3.5 (they were out of some things and when ordering it was super comlicated..esp. if you wanted something left off and it still was not correct)

Cleanliness- 4 (not bad considering how busy they were)

Cost- 3 (we feel that what you got is overpriced for what it is)

The one thing that kept our attention during the wait time was a tree across the street. There were birds landing in it at around 100 at a time. The fact that at least seven groups flew in it made me continually gasp because of the coolness of seeing them all. A few people looked out the window to see what the fuss was all about, but no one else seemed as thrilled as we were.
Pieces I picked up in
Chinatown.

Before blog completion a pool
visit was on the agenda.

Got home around 10 p.m. after stopping at Wegman's in Germantown. That review will happen another tim, along with just how our beer and wine purchases were....SO COMPLICATED! Enjoy the pictures throughout the blog!

Again, thanks for reading! To make sure you never miss a blog remember to subscribe and follow me on twitter, instagram, periscope, and friend me on facebook.  Just click the matching button to the right!

Til next time,

Kat

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In the Face of Nothing...

Hello Luvs,

A thought came to mind while getting ready to practice Janis. Starting off with the stance....the title begins....we'll see where I end up!

In the face of Nothing...

In the face of nothing
I raise my hands
Today is a day to heed the words of those who came before US....!
Then pound my fists 
Til there's nothing left
In the face of fear
I grit my teeth
Furrow my brow
And lift my head
Toward the one-way road 
Of obstacles I face
Never knowing the fate
Of the mess they made
Is it just a scrape
I will explain away
A approach unseen
Make believe of memory
So, in the face of something
I know awaits me
With a smile and a wink
Bow my knee
To those before me
Who stood up....in the face of nothing
They fought back 
And told the naysayers,
"I have always been something
Worthy of a life to live
Not just with sacrifice I give
So future generations
Have access to everything!"

Til next time,

Kat


Race Relations Front and Center.....

Hello Luvs,

During our travels I am bound to have some positive and negative experiences in regard to race relations. The political climate in the United States is going through an 'in your face' (many say it has always been this way and has NEVER changed!) reality check because of a bigotry fueled animal to rearing it's evil head. Not only the way in which Trump is being embraced AND exalted, but in how the true and honest feelings that lay deep in people's hearts can now be openly expressed.
Something we all know but is still worthy of repeating
over and over!


We are staying in an Airbnb that is close to West Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. It is a gorgeous place to be (with mountains, ponds,wildlife,and air conditioning...YAY!), however we have noticed that the confederate flag and Trump signs are the prevailing sentiment. It is not as if we have them right next door. Or maybe, just maybe, I am wrong and we do. We have noticed that when we travel outside of our location we come across them in abundance. Both of these symbols of bigotry are on cars, trucks, yards, windows, and greet you when entering certain stores. Do I give my business to the latter? Of course not....but do others out of convenience (or because it does not affect them for whatever reason)...my feeling is a resounding yes! Our Prius have a Bernie 2016, Canada, and Trudeau stickers on the back and I could tell that a confederate plated jeep behind us was not happy about it. He followed the butt of the car for what seemed like forever then turned. There is SO MUCH to be said about how nervous I was! With the kiddos in the car I was concerned. Just writing this worries me. If he decided to do harm to my family because I am a African-American (Black...whatever) Woman driving a car that represents something in their mind that they have no respect for, and they feel that these stickers represent what is wrong about this country. I guess it more than worries me...it scares me.

Being a bi-racial family allows us to see the worst of humanity along with those who are not holding onto bigotry in their heart. As I say this I find myself contradicting the very essence of Trump supporters. Many wore a veil (some did not..white power and klan people) of tolerance in regard to how the feel in their heart. The hate this man spews allows them to take it off and express themselves freely. 
Brilliant in so many
ways! Courtesy of
pin my Heather Martin.

To write about my experience thus far in Pennsylvania is probably only half the story. I have met (while shopping and visiting museums/parks) people who have given a smile, offered to take our families picture, and had full on conversations with me that have been kind and on occasion funny. I hope that how these people feel and interact is genuine. However, there has been even more of a shift in the expression of bigotry yet there still remain some filters people use. I say that in many ways it is better to know where someone stands. We no longer have those who feel a deep hatred in their heart and wear their veil in public. I am sure that there are many who still keep it fastened tightly....but a large number have taken it off and shredded it to bits.

Mentioning Airbnbs...I had someone refuse to book with me because of my picture. How do I know that? Well, the Hubster and I were looking to book a place in North Carolina during last year's school year. I reached out to the host and she very nicely declined, and said that it was booked. Without knowing I had done so already the Hubster reached out (within an hour AFTER my email request) with the same request and she not only said it was available to book, but she offered to work with him. This is/was the way for a closeted bigot to show her true colors. Not sure why she felt that way given the fact that she is herself a minority.  Some of the worst cases of bigotry (day to day in their true hearts) have come from one minority aimed toward another minority. I have seen it in family (unfortunately the only option is to separate from them), friends (who are no longer my friend), and co-workers in the past (she had the nerve to out in a communication "You know how they are!"). They can tout in public that they have Black friends but would never have them to dinner, date someone in the family, or share anything else which shows their true underlying sentiment.
Is this the true answer? Can we still love someone
who perpetuates hate in the heart of others?

Given these experiences, why am I surprised by the state of race relations (where people are gunned down, detained, and in many ways hurt beyond repair and families decimated) today. Was I trying to convince myself that how things really are are different from reality? I have friends (and family) that represent the best of Humanity. I have been lucky in this way. My naive heart has been battered many times by the reality of how much others can be single-minded. I cannot count the times when others were taken by surprise by my outlook and what/how I choose to live my life. As is I am some type of anomaly.

So many questions and doubts come to mind. When trying to figure just out how these troubled minds come to a stance that others are not worthy of consideration, empathy, and kindness I am left at a loss. Many are not given the benefit of the doubt just because of the color of their skin.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear your feelings about this. Have you had experiences that were solely based on your race? Or do you sometimes feel as if you might jump to a conclusion just because of another's race? Honest and frank discussions are needed. Let's have one!

Til next time,

Kat

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Quick and Easy Chicken Stir fry.....!

Hello Luvs,


The goodness waiting for you!
I thought I would share my recipe for a stir fry that takes under 30 minutes to prepare. This dish makes use of any meat, veggies, and rice (cooked or uncooked) that you have in your fridge and pantry. Today I used a few simple ingredients that were left over from a meal earlier in the week. It not only stretches your budget, but you have a dish that's pretty healthy and the family will love.

Tools:

large frying pan or wok
medium saucepan with lid
cutting board 
kitchen knife 
paper towel (if adding mushrooms)

Ingredients I used:

1 cup of rice
2 cups water
1 1/2 large chicken breasts (or two medium). I used the 1 1/2 I set aside while making enchiladas two days ago....you could use beef or go strictly vegetarian!
halves of 2 bell peppers (red and yellow...or any others you have)
3 large mushrooms
garlic
pepper
ginger
tiny pinch of salt
vegetable oil
-peas, green beans, broccoli, edamame, and carrots are some of the others you could easily add!


Before adding cooked rice.
Trust me....this dish will surprise you with just how simple yet delicious it is. To be walked through it's preparation simply click the link below.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B56MAMcz57robTFTaFAyN0piSFk/view?usp=drivesdk

Remember, to make sure that you don't miss a food, travel, poetry blog follow me at the social sites below.

Instagram/twitter/periscope: @katsmeoww11
Facebook: www.facebook.com/katsmeoww11

*Let me know who yours turns out!*

Til next time,

Kat

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Trip to Hagerstown....!

Hello Luvs,


Mama's Got a Brand New Hat!
Wow...today flew by. It was not as though there was a lot to do, but when the day flows at can be magical and calming. Today the kiddos and I covered Science, Spelling, Reading, Geography, and Art. Learning about the specific area we are in really fine tunes what we cover. Hopefully on Monday we will be visiting an alpaca farm. I will be sure to let you know how it went and what we would rate the excursion.

One thing we loved was that the Hubster worked half the day. Being the man he is the first thing done was looking for something close to where we were planning to have the oil changed for our car. Since today is a field trip day it made sense to go out together.
All that jazz....!

If you haven't read it before in one of my blogs I should mention again that while we home/roadschool the kiddos making sure they receive art enrichment along with a good amount of exercise daily is important. Today's trip fit the bill.


Such a pretty entrance....
We traveled into Maryland (we are VERY close to the border). The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown was our first stop. From the very beginning we could tell that the building was special. With the taglines...See It/Hear It/Feel It! we knew we were in the right place. Also, the fact that it is only about thirty minutes from the airbnb and free to the public is awesome. In the slideshow below you can see me posing next to a rather large bust of George Washington. We crossed the parking lot and walked into quite the museum.


Looks like someone got
ahold of my parasol!
The Hubster read on trip advisor that the Museum is a hidden gem. I could not agree more. At the entrance there is a bench with lions at the foot. The date 1930 was on the pillar behind it. That year was when the museum was first built. The nice gentleman at the security desk explained that it is non-profit (we noticed some sponsor plaques throughout) and has always been that way. The atrium area that you face when entering used to be the main entrance. You can also see it in the slideshow with me at the doorway. Looking at it made me wonder about those who used it back then. Wow!

Each room/collection was curated at a level that made me instantly react. Each exhibit kept my focus in a way that I had yet to experience. After speaking about it with the family I can tell you that this museum is one of the best (if not the best) one we have been to in our travels. There is something about the size, flow, art installations/exhibits, and balanced light exposure which makes the areas both welcoming and peaceful. There's a room where an original Norman Rockwell hangs along with a case explaining how it came to be there. Reading it inspired in me a respect for the gentleman he was. 

After the museum we fluttered through a garden to the Hagerstown City Park. The museum is a separate entity and they have no affiliation. Even so, they make perfect sense next to each other. This park happened to be a place that had more ducks, geese, swans, mallards, and catfish (at least that is what we think they were) that I have ever seen in one place. They would move aside when they saw you coming, fly into the water, or keep to the various oases that were located within the path that surrounded the water. Because of this there was a considerable amount of different shades of fowl droppings. Something I know that they have their hands full with. Even with that...the weeping willows, roses, and water areas we enjoyed ourselves. Of course Baby Boy had to do some climbing...in his new bucket hat!

For more pictures of the day...just click the link below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B56MAMcz57rockEzOHM2WEdCc2M/view?usp=drivesdk

So how would I rate the two places? Well, keep reading and I'll tell ya...

Rated 1-5 with 5 being highest possible.

Museum:

Convenience- 4.8
Cost- 5 ($0)
Family friendly- 5
Art available for viewing- 5 (Dali, Tiffany, Rockwell...just to name a few)

Park:

Convenience- 4.5
Family friendly- 4 (4.5 if there wasn't so many droppings)
Activities for children- 4.5 (park for younger children located down pathway on the side closest to the museum-with a play structure installed earlier this year)

Overall my opinion is that it is worth the trip if you are ever in the area. They even have a picnic area if you are visiting when the sun is melting ya! If you would like to learn more about the museum and park (upcoming events or how to support them) click the links below.

Arts Museum: http://wcmfa.org/
City Park: http://www.hagerstownmd.org/index.aspx?NID=308

Til next time,

Kat

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Last night's dinner? Enchilada Casserole!

Hello Luvs,


One word.....YUMMY!
Last night I made my green enchilada casserole which is always a hit with the whole family. My younger sister showed me this optional way of doing enchiladas which no longer involves rolling the tortillas with very warm sauce (OUCH!). It immediately worked better for me because I have a tendency to burn myself (no matter how many precautions I take!). 

As far as sauces, I have tried both red and green enchilada sauce. The green happens to be the flavor the family likes more. One thing you should check out on the label is whether it's hot/spicy or mild (both red or green can vary). Sometimes the heat can be significant just because the pepper used was hotter (picked earlier-green). We learned to ask the server (when we lived in New Mexico) which was hotter that day before ordering. Oh, and you could even do half red and half green (christmas) which is another way of ordering when eating out or making it at home. 

I'm sharing with you both the recipe and how it is made. This dish is super easy to make, and I will walk you step by step through the process. It can easily provide dinner and lunch the next day for a family of four. Keeping an eye on budget makes this dish a no-brainer! Below are the items needed including tools.

Let's have some fun with food!

Tools:

large skillet
sauce pan
tongs
2 stirring spoons
cutting board
13 x 9 baking pan
kitchen knife
3 small serving bowls
spatula

Ingredients:

1 1/2 large chicken breasts (or 3 medium sized)
vegetable oil (approx. 1/4 cup)
salt
pepper
garlic powder (optional)
1 large can of green (or red) enchilada sauce or 2 smaller cans of each
2 large avocados
2 slices of lime (or 1 large)
1 can of refried beans and/or 1 can black beans
1 diced red tomato
1/2 cup chopped up iceberg lettuce
sour cream
hot sauce

Now that you know what you need to make this dish all that is left to do is set aside an hour to prepare and bake the casserole and prepare sides. Here is the link to the video that walks you through everything. One thing I did not mention in the video is that you should let the casserole sit for five minutes before you serve.

https://goo.gl/photos/CDacwr9DJC8JdHcd9- Just click the link and play button on the top right.

**Excuse the bathing suits....the thirty minutes of baking time allowed me to make the guacamole then shower.

As always I would love any comments you have, and find out how it worked for you. To make sure that you never miss a travel/food/poetry blog follow me on the social media sites listed below.

twitter/instagram/periscope: @katsmeoww11
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Til next time,

Kat




Screen shot of the final set up
before we attacked it!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Taking in What Baltimore Has to Offer....!

Timeless architecture at its best!







Someone you recognize?










Hello Luvs,

Hope your weekend was restful and joyous. Mine flew by like lightning. Trying to really focus on where I want to go with this blog and performance of my music dictates that I tackle something everyday. Trying to stay in the moment as much as possible (which can be challenging) helps to slow down a life that can quickly pass you by.
Never get enough of this....
This awaited us when we got
out of our car.

Many of my friends and family live where temperatures are extreme and dangerous. Getting out to do activities in open spaces can be hazardous. The hours between 10-2 are like a ghost town here at the pool (which is how it should be!). Sunscreen doesn't always do the trick. So, many either stay in or take part in activities that are at a location in which they'll have to pay. That is if they are lucky enough to have something fairly close.

Being in Pennsylvania we have seen almost 90 degree weather with a fair amount of rain. Because of this our priority yesterday was to try to find something that would be indoors and within a ninety minute drive. We decided on Baltimore, Maryland. Something educational was preferred. The Hubster checked out the site for the Walters Art Museum. Turns out that it is free! They are open from 10-5 on Sunday, so it gave us plenty of time to sleep in, have breakfast, and make the drive without having to worry about the museum closing. I threw together egg and cheese biscuits and we were on our way.

This lovely knocker was at the
entry to the stairs shown below.
If only I had one of these!
One thing we've found is that the traffic has not been too crazy. Maybe it is because we choose off days to do our activities. If you are a person who does not thrive in crowds it might suit you better also. We found free parking just down the street from the side entrance. I had a chance to see the main entrance while checking my umbrella in. They have self-check which I always like. It was good that I brought my umbrella because it rained cats, dogs, squirrels, and possums. Luckily we were inside the museum at the time, and it slowed up just enough for us to get to the car without being drenched.

These busts are renditions of
William and Henry Walters.
The stairs were smooth
along with the art
positioned at the top/
Now about the museum....! About two thirds of the art pieces housed inside the museum were bequeathed by Henry Walters upon his death. He stipulated that he wanted it to be 'enjoyed by the public'. Both Henry and his father William were art collectors, and what they amassed is impressive. There was so much to take in that the blog would be two full pages if I went into a detailed description of it all. However, I can tell you that the love of collecting was sparked in William while he was in Europe during the American Civil War. It ranges from Tiffany jewelry pieces to armor to statues/busts. To learn more about this amazing family (including William's daughter Jennie with wife Ellen) please click the links below.

William Thompson Walters: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thompson_Walters

HenryWalters: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thompson_Walters

Lalique beauty...
Thinking about visiting the museum click here to learn more: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Thompson_Walters

There were two exhibits that I loved beyond words. The first was the very the armor room I mentioned above. There are impressive displays of full armor for both an adult and child/small adult(?), a mace, two-handed long swords, French fighting swords, crossbows, flintlocks, and more...! The second was a room that had jewelry made by Tiffany and RenĂ© Jules Lalique. I have included a few pictures of my favorites. All of them are substantial in size and equally breathtaking. 
Another Lalique masterpiece!

Could you imagine
wearing this eye catcher!?!?
Doing your homework before arriving at your destination (or at least your first day at the location you are visiting) allows you to live more like a local. We tend to lean toward free activities and/or performances. Local publications usually list special events (free or low cost) that the typical tourist would not come across. Another resource is reddit. The Hubster reaches out and asks for family and special occasion happenings near where we're going. If you do not reddit then Indy publications are your best bet. There is a section toward the back usually.
African Venus...STUNNING!
Wise words...right?  

Now...you know that we would not go to a city and not try out a recommended eatery. We chose Burger Bros. It had a $$ dollar sign, and has many positive reviews. The restaurant was fairly busy even at 3:00. We decided on a cheeseburger, two bacon cheeseburgers, ten wings with traditional sauce, and a large order of french fries to share between us. Baby Girl also got a mint shake, Baby Boy a bottled soda while the Hubster and I shared a small refillable fountain soda. So how did it stack up? Well, we had a bit of sticker shock. The bill came up to $48.25 (after tax). We usually try to keep our bill down to about $40 for a family of four. It was our splurge meal of the week, but it felt a little overpriced. The mint shake was green but tasted of vanilla with coloring added and called mint. The burgers were tasty and the wings had the perfect amount of kick (signaled by their orangish-red hue). However, the Hubster had one that tasted questionable. I should add that the fries were also delicious (very similar to Five Guys), however there was not quite enough to feed the four of us (we asked the counter person if it would when we ordered). We normally do not share a soda, and Baby Boy would usually get a shake also. It would have been another $10 if we did that! As for our ratings (1-10) for a place that is not full service would be 6.5 for taste/5.0 for value.
Located at the
main entrance

What do you think? Does that price seem reasonable? If you live in the Towson (where Olympic Champion Michael Phelps is from) area is this the typical price? As we venture through other areas during our road schooling I will be sharing places that are really budget conscious and leave you feeling good about the experience, or at the very least in your comfort zone. When they are not I will let you know that also. Of course everyone has their perspective and ideas regarding value. My opinion is usually based on feeding four on a single income.

Vanilla shake...green in color.
As the evening winded down we were treated with an unbelievably beautiful sky full of clouds. There were pink, grey, black, and blinding white ones that all seemed as if they were forward would with a lovely blue backdrop. I was snapping pictures like a crazy lady! Might have startled the family a few times!!!
You could tell by the color
that they would have kick!

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Baby Girl's cheeseburger....!

Til next time,

Kat
Dreams of cotton candy and neapolitan ice cream.....