Going Bananas!

BananasI’m not sure why, but eating bananas always makes me feel like a kid. Just catching a whiff of them brings a smile to my face. They’re portable for a quick, healthy snack on the go; that’s why we always have them in our home. They’re delicious in smoothies, too.

Because we eat so many bananas, it’s easy to take them for granted or even get a little bored eating them the same ol’ ways. Recently, I turned to Pinterest in search of some innovative and fun ways to spice up my love affair with the banana. I found two recipes to share with you: Strawberry Banana Creams and Crispy Rice Peanut Butter Banana “Sushi.”

Do you have any favorite banana recipes to share? Post a comment – I’d love to give them a try!

Source: fitsugar.com via Kelly on Pinterest

 

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Will Ye Go, Lassie?

BagpiperI’m Scottish, and when Mike Myers created his Saturday Night Live character long ago who declared, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!” I nodded my head in agreement.  Each May, the Scottish Festival season begins and one of my favorite events takes place just north of Baltimore in Fair Hills, Maryland. This year, The Fair Hill Scottish Games takes place on Saturday, May 18. There will be over 500 performers and competitors in addition to vendors selling all kinds of delicious treats like bridies, meat pies, and Scottish shortbread. Of course, there will be haggis. Someone once said that all Scottish food sounds like something you’d eat only on a dare. To these folks, I say: What about gelfelte fish? Or scrapple? How about octopus? Head cheese. Many foods which fall into the “on a dare” category. Plus, haggis is pretty tasty. With scotch.

But I digress.

Even if you’re not Scottish, consider taking a drive to enjoy the day. Here’s what you’ll you can expect to do: Watch feats of strength when burly Scotsmen toss the caber. See border collies herd sheep, following only a series of whistles. Listen to the rousing tunes of bagpipes and witness the marching with military precision by the various pipe bands. There will be troubadours singing ballads, dancers kicking and swinging, and a sense of merriment that dates back to Medieval times.

I like connecting to my family’s old world heritage and allowing my kids to do the same. There’s something inherently visceral about doing so. Plus I’m already salivating over those meat pies!

How about you and your family? What links to your heritage are important to you? Have you adopted others from someone else’s heritage?

If you’re a fan of Mike Myers, here’s the full version of the Saturday Night Live skit:

If It’s Not Scottish, It’s Crap!!! by shundriad

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Around the World, In Your Own Backyard

Stacks of SuitecasesI’ve always loved to travel and dreamed of seeing the world. While my passport has a few stamps, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get to visit all the exotic destinations I long to see. Fortunately, there’s an annual event in Washington, D.C. which will allow me to travel around the globe virtually — and it begins May 4 and runs the following three successive Saturdays. My family and I get to eat, drink, and dance — enjoying all the aspects of various cultures at the different embassies — and there’s no jet lag! No entertaining your kids in long security lines at the airport, either.

While not required, a souvenir passport can be purchased for five dollars and each embassy you visit will provide a stamp proving your travel to its location. You can purchase the passport online or at the DuPont Circle information booth, in front of the Colonial Parking Lot.

Here’s how you and your family can participate:

Saturday, May 4, 2013 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) The Around the World Embassy Tour will showcase embassies from Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and the Americas. Look for artists and artisans, performers and others offering a range of educational and cultural programming designed for visitors of all ages.

This year is the celebration of the International Year of Quinoa. A tour honoring the origins of the grain is offered by the Embassies of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. If you haven’t discovered this delicious grain, look for some easy gluten-free recipes I’ll be posting soon.

shutterstock_111203636Saturday, May 11, 2013 (10 a.m.- 4 p.m.) Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House. The Embassies of the European Union will open their doors to the public, offering a rare look at the diverse EU cultures. The event kicks off Europe Month.

May 18, 2013 (10 a.m.-7 p.m.) Asian Heritage Festival. This festival offers a variety of activities including musical performances, a multicultural marketplace and art exhibits.

Getting to the embassies is easy as they are located in the NW quadrant of Washington, DC, and most are along three major corridors – Massachusetts Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, and 16th Street. See a map of the embassies. Parking is limited in most of the areas. A free shuttle transportation will be available for open houses. See a guide to all of the embassies in Washington, DC.

Will we see you there?

 

 

 

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Imagination on the Edge

Lorraine BonzeletweeAdventure welcomes guest blogger Lorraine Bonzelet.

A mystical forest reigns on the edge of western Maryland where a child’s imagination is invited to run wild amidst the ancient trees, massive boulders and waterfalls.  Children will walk on the land where Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs had camped in the 1900’s.   The children ramble about how the waterfall got the name, Swallow Falls, confidently declaring past adventures that must have gone horribly wrong.  (The name Swallow Falls honored the cliff swallows that nested next to the falls – but don’t tell the kids, for their stories provide more intrigue and terror.)

Swallow Falls waterfall

Photo credit: Lorraine Bonzelet

Swallow Falls State Park has a one-and-a-quarter mile hiking trail that winds along the Youghiohany River.  Giant boulders are in abundance underfoot and along the side of the trail.  The oldest trees in the state of Maryland, 300 year old majestic virgin hemlock and white pines, overshadow everything.  Tree roots dominate the boulders creating camera worthy artistic patterns.The hiking trail leads to four waterfalls.  Tolliver, Swallow, Lower and Muddy Creek which is Maryland’s highest free-falling waterfall and houses rocks estimated over 300 million years old.

Before heading to the trail, pack a camera, lunch, and a few kids.  On your journey, encourage the kids to climb the boulders, in and out of crevices, and weave through the trees.  Take time to relax on a boulder by the waterfall or under the canopy of towering hemlocks and entice the children in conversation.  Let them conjure up crazy adventures that may have occurred in this mystical forest in the hundreds or millions of years past.

Enjoy your time on the edge; the edge of Maryland and the edge of imaginations gone wild.

For more information:

Swallow Falls State Park is located in Garrett County near Oakland, MD.  The park has camping and RV sites or one can choose the luxury of lodging at Deep Creek Lake, a scenic drive from the falls.

 

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When life hands you freezing rain, hit the museums!

Last week my kids had a day off of school and we decided to take advantage of the mid-week specials to take them skiing. That is until we checked the weather report the morning before our trip. Freezing rain combined with ear infections, no thanks. So we called an audible, canceled our ski reservations and booked a hotel in downtown Washington, D.C. With just a few hours on google and some recommendations from friends on facebook, we had more things to do that we had time for. With crowds small on a cold winter weekday, we saw more than I thought we would, but not as much as we could of. Kudos to Washington, D.C. for leaving us wanting more time and planning another visit again soon!

International Spy Museum

Inspired by a previous weeAdventure blog post, we couldn’t wait to visit the museum. Knowing that we would be hitting up some free museums next, I wanted my kids to start fresh with the one we would pay admission for. My husband ended up being the biggest fan of the museum. Normally not a voracious reader, the kids and I kept having to pull him along through the museum. We all learned a great deal about the Cold War Era and the kids now see ‘suspicious activity’ wherever they go. I recommend this museum for adults and children who are good readers.

The National Mall

We spent the afternoon walking along the National Mall stopping in different buildings as the mood s

The National Gallery of Art

The National Gallery of Art

truck us. We enjoyed some soft pretzels from a street vendor while wandering through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. I longingly admired the Ice Skating Rink and added it to my mental list of activities for when my youngest gets a little older. We stopped by the Museum of Natural History. My son remembered this museum from a previous trip and immediately dragged us to the insect section. Without the pressure of having to ‘get our money’s worth’, we let the kids set the pace and wander where they wanted. And with only an hour until closing we took a self-guided speed tour through the National Gallery of Art. In one of our best souvenir purchases yet, we bought the kids each a sketch book and a pack of colored pencils at the Museum store. (They colored almost the entire trip back from D.C. and have continued to be artists since.)

 

National Building Museum

National Building Museum

 

 

The National Building Museum

My husband had read good things about this museum online and wanted to go, but I was not convinced it should make the cut for our mini-vacation itinerary. However, when we arrived I was immediately drawn to an exhibit of photography and noticed that we were practically had the place to ourselves. We purchased tickets which provided the kids access to the well designed Building Zone and the Play Work Build areas. My husband and I took turns watching the kids and touring the exhibits geared toward adults. I can’t rave enough about the “Detroit Is No Dry Bones” and “Detroit Disassembled” photography exhibits. Then we purchased a construction kits that included several activities for us to do as a family. My daughter’s favorite was building string art while my son loved the scavenger hunt that took us up all four flights of the building. And yes, I did admit to my husband that he was right (just this one time).

 

 

The Metro

OK, so the Metro might not be a big deal for most people. But living in a semi-rural area, neither of my kids could remember riding on one before. They were fascinated by the tickets and turnstiles, the trains that ran underground and the giant escalators that brought you back up to the street. We took the Metro out to Dupont Circle for dinner then dessert. For a few country kids, it was quite a big adventure!

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