June 10, 2008

All Aboard!!

We recently took a little weekend trip to WV to ride a historic steam engine and spend a few nights in a caboose!  The train departed from the town of Cass and took about 2 hours to get to the top of Bald Knob, the 3rd highest peak in WV (but at only 4,700 feet) where our little red caboose was waiting.  The caboose is set in this big beautiful meadow next to a scenic overlook.  It was equipped with a little gas refrigerator, a real coal burning stove (which we didnt get to use because it didnt get even close to cold), 3 nicely padded beds, and a nice sitting/dining area.  There is also a bathroom facility on the other side of the meadow. We rode up the mountain on the train along with about 100 other people, at the top we got out with all our stuff and the rest of the people left to finish out their scenic trip.  Once the train left it was so quite! I cant remember the last time I experienced that kind of silence.  Living in the middle of a big city in a big apartment building next to a fire station, we seem to get used to background noise so this was a fun change.  (Click the first line for a link to the official website)
Avery and our weekend home 

Getting the hang of these things, he wanted to spy on the cows on the farms below
The steam engine and a view of the train cars we rode up in
The scenic overlook where we spent alot of time hanging out
We did alot of sitting, napping, blowing bubbles, throwing rocks etc.
The beautiful view around sunrise from the overlook

The discovery of Cheetos and how many can he fit in his mouth, I think he is taking lessons from the squirrels 
Our wildlife friend, she was not afraid to come close. I on the other hand got pretty nervous.

June 02, 2008

Wet Paint

Oil on Canvas 12x14
by Me!

I dont have a title for this one yet, but the subject is Saguaro cactus flowers. I love the dramatic contrast between dark and light.  And I love how soft and big the flowers look for a spiky desert plant.  I included a detail picture to show how the highlights form the petals, I had a hard time figuring out how to get the look I wanted. I am happy with it!  Any ideas on a title???

June 01, 2008

First Frog Eye of the Season

Although I kind of hate the name, I LOVE Frog Eye Salad!!! I think of it as a summer dish and so a Memorial Day weekend bbq was the perfect time for the first batch of the year.  The hostess is partial to maraschino cherries so I added a few on top.  I dont usually because the color bleeds out but they tasted really good.  Frog eye salad seems to similar to "the cane" (some of you know what Im talking about), either you love it or you hate it.  I think you know where I stand. Thanks to Aunt Cheri for introducing me!  For those of you who love it, or just want to try it, or want to make it and bring me some, here is the recipe... (this is my version of the recipe)  

1 1/3 C Acini de Pepe pasta uncooked
22 oz mandarin oranges, drained
20 oz pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained but reserve ¼ C juice
1 ¼ milk
1 tub cool whip
¼ C sugar
1 package vanilla instant pudding, I use fat free sugar free
8 oz crushed pineapple
3 C mini marshmallows
½ C coconut
Maraschino cherries to garnish if desired

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well. Drain juice from pineapple chunks, reserving 1/4 cup.
In large bowl, add reserved juice, milk, sugar and pudding mix; beat with whisk or electric mixer until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add pasta to pudding mixture; stir gently. Let stand 10 minutes. Add crushed pineapple and chunks, oranges, 2 cups whipped topping, marshmallows and coconut; mix gently and thoroughly. Cover; refrigerate until cold. Top with remaining whipping topping. Garnish with cherries.