Mom and Gary's Gourmet Asparagus...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gary seasoning the asparagus

After seasoning the asparagus, you add the shaved Parmesan-Reggiano Cheese

On our way to take cousin Audrey home, a wild turkey crossed the road...

I told Chloe and Audrey to call to it like we were a, he starts fluffing up that back end...

Now it's show time...these photos are seconds apart...

Chloe and Audrey, one year apart...they pick up where they leave off...I love that!

Grandad ordered new baby chicks to add to our four laying ladies...

These are exotic chicks but are to lay regular size, brown eggs.  Chloe's been selling eggs for $1 a dozen now for nearly two years....
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Birdeye's World Cycle to Work Day, May 20, 2011
My mom is cleaning out a bunch of stuff so my mother-in-law, Jeanie and I loaded up Chloe, the big cow trailer and headed to Oklahoma City then, Jeanie was off to Blackwell to see Great Grandmother Wilma.  We headed to Oklahoma after we all took part in World Cycle to Work Day.  It was a great experience and Kara and I hope to make it an anuual trip.  We had one close call, Martin getting run over by a minivan backing out of its driveway, but overall it was a good experience.  I learned that I've been riding in the wrong gear now for more than 2 years...yes, I'm a loser!

Now to the fabulous dinner.  Mother marinates fresh asparagus in a ziplock bag with olive oil and Mrs. Dash for about 10 minutes.  Then it's grilled and tossed with shaved Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and salt and pepper.  Lemme just say, it was delish!  I loved it, it wasn't over seasoned and the cheese added a special kick to it.  Mom served it with fresh grilled salmon, a salad with feta and bacon and fresh baked bread, delish from her kitchen in Edmond.  It was wonderful and great flavors.  Mom's always been a fabulous cook, I wish I could cook like her.

I had to add photos of a wild turkey in Edmond, apparently he lives in their neighborhood.  Chloe and Audrey were cooing to him like a chicken and he started fluffing and gobbling, just cracking us up.  She was thrilled to get home to her 6 new baby chicks.  Aren't they cute? 

Chloe's watching Spirit, stallion of the cimmaron tonight (thank God we still watch these cartoons) and eating popcorn with chopsticks, cracks me up!

I should wrap up our vacation blog soon!
Oh dear...popcorn and!

The Heritage Hotel, Brugge, Belgium

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We rented bikes and rode up to Damme for lunch, this was the view on the way, beautiful!

Just down from the Heritage Hotel

We ate at a cafe not far from our hotel when these two walked
on by, it looks like they're both fighting over something....
there were many dogs in Amsterdam and in Brugge

On our bike ride from Brugge to Damme, we took lots of
photos of the streets, this was near downtown Damme


Historic windmill near Damme, Belgium
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ahh...the Heritage Hotel in Brugge.  We were pleasantly welcomed to the hotel by its owner and manager Isabelle Creytens.  Isabelle offered us a map of Brugge's sites and parts of the city we should see, and spoke English that was really nice.  Kara mentioned of course, that it was my birthday and her anniversary, so after we had checked in, I had a note on our bed with a coupon for a glass of wine and later Kara found a bottle of champagne in her room, how sweet.  Isabelle also helped me one morning to the breakfast buffet when I arrived 15 minutes before they were ready to have guests, how thoughtful.  The rooms were clean and equipped with a mini bar, large closet, extra blankets and pillows and a piece of dark chocolate on the pillow every evening, what a nice touch.  Kara and I asked Isabelle if the restaurant we picked was ok, and she said, "Rockfort, what a great place!"  We loved that she was excited about our choice of restaurants in the historic city that was founded in 1128...that's not a type-o, 1128 is correct.  You can read more about the wonderful city via wikpedia:

The Heritage Hotel, Brugge, Belgium, must be on your list when visiting Belgium.  It is a wonderful, friendly hotel, and the breakfast every morning was superb.  I'd expect you'll be wonderfully surprised during your stay as well.  Just tell Isabelle that me and Rick Steves' sent you there, you won't be disappointed!

The Heritage Hotel, N. Desparsstraat 11, 8000 Brugge, Belgium, tel 050-44 444-444,

Tulip Festival, Keukenhof

We rode by multiple fields of tulips...beautiful!

Look at all those flowers...

At the Tulip Festival, Keukenhof, Holland

Another field along the way....

Jackie and me

Cyclists we saw in Haarlem...look at all that stuff on their bikes...
Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On day two of the trip, Jackie had planned to rent bikes in Amsterdam and cycle up to the Keukenhof Tulip Festival.  The festival is open from March 20 to May 20 every year.  It is 8,000 acres of tulips and other flowers. from it's website:
Spring at its most beautiful
Nature awakens; slowly, first of all, with winter snowdrops, but then with ever increasing speed. The buds on the trees turn green. Branches sprout, sometimes intertwined with one another. What still felt cold a week ago is now tending towards being on the cool side. In the mornings, the frost makes way for mist. The sun rises higher and higher in the sky. A downpour seems out of place and storms in March almost unheard of. And then, all at once, the first common grape hyacinths appear. By the afternoon, there are already five, and the following day, the first sea of blue bulbs appeared. Your heart skips a beat, and now you know for definite: spring is here! And where better to experience the spring than at Keukenhof? See spring in all its splendour for two whole months.
What do you think of Keukenhof?Your opinion matters. Tell us what you think of Keukenhof and you may win a fantastic package of Keukenhof bulbs. 

Martin, our mapman, took us from Amsterdam to Haarlem on the way to the festival for lunch. Kara picked out a fabulous restaurant called Grand Cafe Doria on the square in Haarlem.  It was a beautiful place to dine outdoors on the cobblestone square.  I had a delicious gnocchi with spinach, Jackie ordered up a pizza and of course, we had some red wine.  We had such a delightful waitress, Sabrina, who did a great job of speaking English with us.

We cycled about 30 miles to the tulip festival from Amsterdam.  We enjoyed riding back to find the train near Haarlem so we could cut our time off a little because it was getting dark.  Kara and I did good and didn't freak too much when we kept backtracking and going down paths that were for pedestrians only.   haha!  We made it and the weather was wonderful.

The Toren, Amsterdam

The Toren, Amsterdam

When we arrived in Amsterdam, this is what it looked like at the train station...

The Anne Frank Museum was very, very moving.

Martin and Kara's anniversary dinner, at Restaurant de Luwte
Monday, April 25, 2011

Jackie picked this wonderful hotel just a few blocks from the train station in Amsterdam.  The Toren's own slogan is "Designed to Charm" and it does.  Our queen room boasted a marble bathroom, mini bar, desk and large drawers.  It also was the only hotel we stayed at on the trip that had an in-room coffee maker.  I made the best espresso every morning in Amsterdam.  This was my first experience in a foreign hotel and I noticed a white rack in the bathroom that heated up at night.  I finally figured out that it must be a drying rack.  Jackie planned our entire trip with the help of Rick Steves' books and they were right on.  The Amsterdam and Belgium version not only recommended the Toren but also how to travel and what to expect in Holland.  It also gave advice on when to get your euros, how to act on trains, etc.  I have to say that those guide books are a must for anyone traveling overseas.  Kara and I noticed many Americans toting their own Rick Steves' books around in every country.

Once we checked into the Toren, we had museum tickets for the Anne Frank Museum and the beauty of having your tickets in hand, we didn't have to wait in the huge line.  We toured the beautiful and moving museum.  I recommend everyone to see this museum and get your tickets online prior to going.

For dinner we walked to Restaurant de Luwte for Martin and Kara's 13th anniversary dinner just a few blocks away.  It was an excellent choice!  We all enjoyed the pre-fix menu and delicious wine.

The Toren and Restaurant de Luwte are musts next time your travel plans take you to Amsterdam.

The Toren, Keizersgracht 164, 1015 CZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands, +31- (0) 20 622 63 52, and
Restaurant de Luwte, Leliegracht 26-28, 020/625-8548

Holland, Belgium & France

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Haarlem, on our way from Amsterdam to the Tulip Festival in Keukenhof

This was one of thousands of fields filled with tulips on our way to Keukenhof

Tulip Festival, Keukenhof (we rode 40 miles roundtrip from Amsterdam)

We arrived in Bruges, Belgium by train

Martin was our "mapman" who traced our trip to the cemetery and to Caen,
blog of which will come out in a few!

I'll have to have an entire blog post about all the dogs and cats in all
the countries.  This was on the street in Bruges, Belgium

We rode bikes from Bayeux, France to the American Cemetery at
Omaha Beach, about 50 miles roundtrip
Saturday, May 7, 2011

Holy cow...the flooding in Memphis is overwhelming!  We got home late last night from our first trip ever out of the country to celebrate my giant 40th birthday and Martin and Kara's 13th anniversary.  I was so wound up from the trip, a long 10 hour flight from Paris to Atlanta then a short ride to Memphis, I didn't sleep a wink and woke up at the crack of dawn (5:30) this morning.  I wanted to share with ya'll a few pictures from the 11 day trip.  Jackie had the trip planned out to a "t" and I think I'll share it country by country over the next few weeks.  We got tons of nice information from lots of people like Anne Levesque Dalton, Chuck and Lisa Blanton and Wendy and Kara also chimed in on a few subjects.  It was amazing, we all kept it together for most of the trip, no major problems except pink eye, traveler's diarrhea, a sprained ankle and some home sickness.  I'm proud to say too that we didn't lose a credit card, passport or my insulin.  Here are some pictures...
On our way to Damme, Belgium (beautiful!)

In Bayeux, France, renting our bikes for the 2 day, 90 mile journey
(Ya'll know I don't like to brag but my black outfit was totally water repellent, another shout out to Gearhead, Kara got drenched the second day.....)

Our last night in Paris, we walked to the Eiffel Tower then down to the
street near our was filled with locals and lots of canines...beautiful sunset..more to come (if I can get some rest, dang it)