Summer Fun and Good Eats (and Drinks!)
Jul. 17, 2013 9:38 am
Updated: Jul. 25, 2013 12:52 pm
In just a little over a week we head to the mountains of the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We go every year - for camping, hiking, and winery-hopping. Last year Kristal drove down mid-way through our stay to join us in our fun. She had been
there before and even though her hubby could not make it, she wanted to come. It was a blast, so this year she is coming back again. This time bringing her little cocker spaniel, Maggie; who our Suzy just loves.
She wasn't really sure Maggie could endure the hiking in the mountains. So.... with our smartphones loaded with the app "AllTrails" and our daypacks loaded with water and bug spray we set out to find some trails near us that would be similar to the trails
in Virginia. Lucky for us we live near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Virginia Kendall Park. We found trails that could easily pass for a trail we will encounter in Virginia; complete with waterfalls! Best of all, Maggie has no problem hiking these
trails with her little short legs!
Since we were not only getting Maggie in condition for the trip, but ourselves also, we had to plan our hikes so they would be nearby a winery. I mean, after all.... if we're going to see how well Maggie can handle this trip - we have to see how well she
can handle all aspects of the trip! After each hike we would eat our picnic lunch we brought along. So far, so good... Maggie can handle not only a hike but a picnic, too.
After that, we head to a winery for some sampling and a nice glass (or two) out on their patio with the dogs in tow. Maggie has passed the test! She loves to lay down in the grass and rest from the hike while the humans enjoy the wine. In Virginia we have
yet to come across a winery that won't allow dogs on their patios or outdoor seating areas. We even found one that would have allowed Suzy inside the winery! Here in Ohio we found one that prohibited dogs; inside or out.
Sunday we finally got around to celebrating Yahir's 8th birthday; which was in June. He had requested a cake with "blue bread" and cotton candy flavored. Yahir plays soccer so I decided to make a soccer ball cake for him. I discovered our library loans out
cake pans! Now that I know that, I'll be making many more "shaped" cakes! I made a white cake that I dyed blue with food coloring - OK - I got the "blue bread" covered. Cotton candy flavoring??? Lucky for us we are friends with the owner of the ice cream
shop that shares space with our restaurant! He let me have some of his cotton candy flavoring he uses for ice cream. I added it to the icing. However, I was somewhat disappointed that it really did not taste like cotton candy. Yahir is a good sport, though,
he assured me it had a "little bit of taste" to it. Dinner for this birthday party was grilled hot dogs, watermelon, pineapple & cantaloupe, macaroni salad and chips; the perfect "kid" food.
Last Friday we showed Federico the photos of some of our hikes that included the waterfalls and he wanted us to take him and his family there to see it. Monday morning we loaded the car with kids, dogs, and adults and headed to the waterfall hike. It was a
hot day, but that didn't stop anyone from having fun! This hike is really a short walk, so we took them over to the "rocky" hike. That trail is almost two miles long and is full of cool rock formations, caves, and plenty of crevices to explore. Everyone had
a blast! The ride home was pretty quiet - the dogs and kids fell asleep! Whenever I can wear out a kid or two I feel the activity was a success.
The past week has not only been spent having fun with Kristi and our friends, but Jon and I found a new restaurant we like. I recently bought a few Groupons, and one was set to expire soon. We planned a weeknight "date night" and went to the Chowder House
for dinner. A very unique, place. Cash or check only, no credit cards, and no liquor sales. We could have brought our own, but they charge $10 to open it for you and allow consumption. The fresh-brewed ice tea was good enough for me! We both had lobster bisque
to start and I had a delicious grilled salmon plate while Jon had a shrimp & scallop pasta meal. Both were fabulous and I was glad I had bought that Groupon! On our way home we stopped at a huge cruise-in car show to check out the cars and walk some of our
Alas - the past few weeks have seen to it that I have not spent much time in my kitchen. Other than baking Yahir's cake and a batch of cupcakes with strawberry icing for today's visit with my friend, I have not spent much time in my kitchen at all. I'm hoping
to get back in there soon! But not if it means giving up all the fun I've been having this summer...
A hike to next county over
The kids loved their hike!