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Showing posts from May, 2011

I Wanna Go Hiking

Our first day in Vermont, we were still recovering from travels, so we took it easy. After breakfast at the Farmer's Diner, we visited a local strip mall selling various items. 

First up was the Cabot Cheese Shop. They make some seriously good cheese. There was an entire table devoted to cheese samples. Daniel says that this is a called a loss leader – meaning the free goods are sacrificed in hopes that you make a purchase. The cheese was delicious, but I wasn't compelled to buy. Daniel however, after eating several spicy kinds of cheese {including jalapeno and chipotle} found himself buying a bottle of apple juice, so I guess it worked on him.

Next up was an antique shop – lots of lots of little booths with old stuff for sale. While wandering the aisles I overheard a kid impatiently say,"I want to get out of here. I want to go hiking already!" I feel the same way kid...

After leaving the antique store {not really our thing} we made a pit stop at our house where we res…

Food From Here

Our first dining experience in Quechee was at the Farmer's Diner. Their mission is to increase the economic vitality of local agrarian communities. Set in a dining car of a train, it is a quaint little place. 

We went for breakfast and Daniel immediately decided on the Chocolate Chip Pancakes while I stuck with my benchmark of eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and whole wheat toast.

The plate of pancakes was ginormous. They were almost like eating cake for breakfast. The only negative was they brought Daniel about 2 tablespoons of syrup in a little metal container. When he asked for more {after using what he had}, the waitress informed him that it would cost an additional $2 for the extra maple syrup. According to the waitress, "Organics are up." We are all for supporting local farms, but there is no way that 2 tbsp of syrup was near enough for three rather large chocolate chip pancakes!

My meal was scrumptious. We would definitely recommend this diner – just beware that if …


When I get tired, I get silly. I lose all ability to think or act rationally. Sometimes this leads to uncontrollable giggling. As we drove our final leg into Quechee, Vermont, I was doing the driving and I came across a sign that said "scarified."
I asked Daniel if the sign we had just passed really said "scare-i-fied." In my mind there was no way that that was a real word. It totally sounded made up. In my silliness, I started using the word in sentences, mostly I think I just annoyed Daniel. He proceeded to tell me it was a real word and that it meant to break up, loosen, or roughen the surface of a road. The road we drove over after the sign was one of the bumpiest sections of road I have ever driven and it definitely had me "scare-i-fied."
Scarified seems like the type of word you wold come across when playing Balderdash.

Technology Fail

On day #2 of driving, we found ourselves headed to NYC. Why do we always end up driving through NYC on holiday weekends??? This meant an extra several hours stuck in traffic. Plus it was smoggy and we couldn't even appreciate seeing the buildings from a distance.
As we continued our long drive north we decided that a vacation would not be complete without a stop at REI. We really needed a good camera case for our Canon Rebel and some USGS topo maps of the White and Green Mountains {some people collect pottery or stamps, we collect outdoor gear and maps of national forests}. With a little research, we found an REI in Connecticut that was on the way. When I punched the address into our {several-year-old} Garmin GPS I had to laugh. 

The route it wanted us to take was 3,176 miles long and projected to take us 54 hours and 23 minutes {it should have been about 235 miles with a projected traveling time of 4.5 hours}.

It wanted us to go in a counter-clockwise direction from Maryland... ou…

And We're Driving

En route north, we made a quick detour to Richmond, VA to have dinner with college friends, Julie and Luke, and to meet their newest addition: Halle. Halle is a tiny little bundle of sweetness who placidly let us hold her and road comfortably in her stroller when we walked to eat dinner at a Carytown Burger and Fries – Daniel and I split onion rings and a California Burger, which were excellent. Halle slept through the entire meal. It was so great to see old friends. Sadly I didn't take any pics :(

Since we had already driven 10 hours, we contemplated the merits of pushing on through Washington DC. The pros were that we wouldn't have to fight with traffic the next morning. The cons were we had already been on the go for more than 14 hours. We agreed to push on.
What we hadn't expected was road construction that would reduce driving lanes down to one single lane (multiple times). At one point, we were pretty much stopped and Daniel was getting tired so he convinced me to part…


Up until about 15 weeks I didn't really feel pregnant. For me this has been a challenge because I don't want to slow down {especially when it comes to exercise} and my OB is of the opinion "if you feel good, do it." I have really had to rely on my yoga and kickboxing instructors to encourage me to modify my exercises because my brain hasn't accepted that things are different {at this point, most of my modifications have to do with abdominal work}.
Around 15 weeks it dawned on me that I suddenly had a little baby bump. My weight gain is almost zero, so it came as a bit of a surprise. My pants all fit the same so it was weird to realize that laying on my stomach is no longer comfortable. It kind of scares me because this bump is little and I can't imagine the uncomfortableness that is to come.
Along with the little bump came a weekend of pure exhaustion – maybe that was my body's way of adapting to the change in my expanding mid section. Thankfully over the l…

The Great North Woods

Daniel and I have been discussing taking a trip for a while, our babymoon I guess. I really wanted to travel internationally, but Daniel would prefer to stay closer to home. His idea of a vacation would be to stay at home and work {play} in the garage. But he married me and my idea of vacation is to go far, far away to somewhere I have never been before.
So after much research, we decided to stay in the US and drive to our destination. We started with a long list of options, mostly in Colorado {we wanted to be near mountains}, but we also considered New England {both areas of the country are around 1,300 miles from where we live}. Other considerations were that we wanted to take Sophie with us. 
Commence research central. We looked into the possibility of using some of Daniel's family's Disney Vacation points. Disney is very family friendly but not dog friendly AT ALL. They have reciprocity with resorts throughout the US but none in Colorado allowed dogs and only a couple of res…

52 Books: Book 26

I am at the halfway mark with Choosing to SEEby Mary Beth Chapman. Several years ago when tragedy hit the Chapman family it was heartbreaking to hear of what they were enduring. Sadly their youngest daughter was killed when one of their sons accidentally ran over her. They are still putting the pieces back together and slowly moving on, one step at a time. As part of her recovery, Mary Beth Chapman chose to write this memoir.
The story itself is incredibly tragic and sad. You can't help but cry as you read through the account of what happened. Unfortunately the writing is not great. There was a missing element of rawness that you would expect from someone baring their soul. My heart goes out to the Chapman family. I am so sad for their loss and the burdens that their entire family will carry for the rest of their lives.
Excerpts from the book: In the midst of such heartbreak, do I really believe that all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according t…

Menu Recap

Last week's meals were as follows: It would seem that I'm really falling down on my cooking this week...

Monday Dinner:Leftover Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

Tuesday Dinner: Barbacoa Burrito using leftover Pork from last week's Burrito Bowls. Daniel gave it 4.82/5 stars.

Wednesday Dinner: Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Portabella Mushrooms and a side salad. Daniel said the pasta was a bit bland for my cooking and gave it 4.47/5 stars.
Thursday Dinner: I have no idea what we ate. I guess I will blame that on being pregnant???
Friday Dinner: We ate at On The Border in Atlanta {thanks to our fiasco with Craigslist}. We loaded up on chips and salsa {our fave} and split the Monterey Jack Fajitas.
Saturday Dinner: Again, I have NO IDEA what we ate!!!
Sunday Lunch: We split a BBQ Hickory Burger at Red Robin in Huntsville.

SundayDinner: We went to see Pirates of the Carribean and then picked up a beef and cheese pizza from Papa John's on the way home.

52 Books: Book 25

Another young literature book this week: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor won the Newbery Medal in 1977. It is the story of a family that struggles to maintain their integrity, pride, and independence in the face of racism and social injustice in rural Mississippi during the Great Depression.
The main character, Cassie, is a young girl who is slowly being exposed to the brutality of the world around her. Throughout the book she tries to come to grips with the lack of equality and the way that she and her family and friends are treated because of the color of their skin.
I read this book in middle school and it was definitely worth revisiting. Excerpts from the book: "...look out there, Cassie girl. All that {land} belongs to you. You ain't never had to live on nobody's place but your own and long as I live and the family survives, you'll never have to. That's important. You may not understand that now, but one day you will." – Papa
"You know …

Craigslist: The Good, The Bad, and The Makes Me Want to Curse

Back in this post about driving 8-hours round-trip to buy a mower, I suggested that we keep our drive-time for Craigslist purchases to under two hours each way. After today I think we should heed that advice...
In general, Craigslist has been very good to us. We have managed to get some smoking deals {thanks to Daniel's patience and ongoing research} and we have also been able to sell a lot of stuff we don't need anymore {it sure beats having a garage sale}.
But this week our good luck ran out. It started on Wednesday when Daniel contacted someone in Birmingham about something he was interested in and said that we could be in B'ham by 6PM. The guy said, "sounds good" or something to that effect and we made plans to head south. Late in the day, the guy emailed Daniel to say he had already sold the item. This is just bad Craigslist etiquette, but I guess no one informed the guy. Thankfully we hadn't left town yet...
Scenario #2: For some time we have been consideri…

Man's Best Friend

Last night was my first bout with insomnia. I hope this isn't a prelude of what is to come. Over the last couple of weeks I have been plagued with bizarre nightmares but I would rather have nightmares than a night of tossing and turning.
During my state of awakening, I kept coming back to the same thoughts. I was thinking about Sophie and how much she means to us. In recent months several of our friends have lost their four-legged companions to old age and it makes me sad to think that Sophie won't be with us forever.
We weren't expecting to get her and when we did get her, we were less than prepared. The first few days we even doubted our decision, but soon she had won our hearts. She keeps us company when we are lonely, amuses us with her playfulness and is always excited when we come home. 
One of my favorite quirks of hers is when we go hiking. We let her roam off leash {she generally stays on the trail} and she will run ahead of us. Once she is out of sight of us, she w…

Greeting Cards: Rainy Days

*This is the fifth in my series of twelve "I Love You More" cards 
that I have designed and will be posting throughout the year.

© Cheree Moore

52 Books: Book 24

I have been on a Young Literature kick over the last few weeks. This is mostly because my local library has limited reading options so I have been working my way through books in my personal library – ones I haven't read in almost two decades.
Last week I wrapped up Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. This is the story of a group of German soldiers that are sent to prison in rural Arkansas during WWII. After their arrival in Arkansas, the soldiers have a chance encounter with a Jewish family when they are permitted to make a trip to a local store. 
As the story progresses, the store-owner's daughter becomes complicit in aiding one of the Germans when he escapes. Interestingly enough, she is Jewish. She is a young teenager who doesn't really comprehend what is happening to other Jews throughout the world. All she knows is rural Arkansas and a father who beats her. Aiding the German soldier is an act of friendship with a man who shows her kindness in return. 
You will …

Meal Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:
Mexican food, burgers and pizza seemed to be the theme... I will have to do a little better with my meal planning this week!

Monday Dinner: I received my first 5/5 stars from Daniel for this Barbacoa Burrito Bowl meal. It was amazing and reminded us of Chipotle Mexican Grill. {Recipes from Gina's Skinny Recipes}. If you like Chipotle, I definitely recommend checking out these recipes for Barbacoa Pork, Lime Cilantro Rice and Cuban Style Black Beans. Just add your favorite toppings – you could also wrap it all up in a tortilla shell for a Burrito instead of a Bowl.

Tuesday Dinner: I whipped up Bacon Cheese Turkey Burgers with a side of chips – homemade fries would have been nice but sometimes I get lazy. Daniel gave it 4.8/5 stars.

Wednesday Dinner: Crispy Shrimp Tacos turned out to be a bit of an involved process, but the end results were worth it. I wish I had made a salad or something to go on the side. I rarely make fried food, but it was gooo…

Biking in Hollywood

Today we took advantage of the cooler weather to take our first road biking trip since moving to Alabama. We had been a little weary about riding on country roads {people around here tend to drive pretty fast} but finally decided that the roads close to our house should be safe since most of them are "no outlet" and go down to the lake. This meant some back tracking but also offered some great views.

At 1.75 miles we passed a field of cows. They must not see many road bikers because they all seemed to get spooked as we went by.
At 5.5 miles, we had to turn around due to angry country dogs that were roaming loose... we didn't want to take a chance on being bitten by a mean looking, one-eyed dog. We saw plenty of other dogs that seemed friendly. In these parts everyone lets their dogs roam free {we are guilty of this}.
Bellefonte cooling towers in the background {where Daniel works} 
Toward the end of our ride we ended up over by Bellefonte. The whole area is very pretty – alt…

5/5 Stars for Barbacoa Burrito Bowl

Barbacoa Burrito Bowl, sans toppings
If you are Facebook friends with me, you have probably noticed my ongoing photo album of meals that I have made this year. After each meal, I ask Daniel to rate my cooking on a scale of 1-5. I don't think he has ever given me a score below a 4 {he's a smart husband}.
Since starting this scoring process I have had a lot of comments asking how Daniel rates the food. To be honest, I think he just tells me whatever number pops into his head that expresses how he feels about the food he is eating at that particular moment in time. It is a fun little game and I have enjoyed sharing the scores on FB and hearing feedback from friends.
On Monday I made us Barbacoa Burrito Bowls {ala Chipotle Mexican Grill style}. I found the recipes over at Gina's Skinny Taste and I was thrilled to get to bring a taste of Chipotle into our home {we have missed it terribly since moving away from Charlotte, NC}.
When we sat down to eat this meal, Daniel took two bites…

Foot Pain

When training for my first half marathon I never had any lasting pain. Prior to race day, my longest run was 10 miles and while it was uncomfortable at times, I found that I could get a good night's sleep and feel normal the next day.
Well the half marathon was 1.5 weeks ago and I am still feeling residual pain in my left foot. I expected to need to take a break after the race, but by the following Tuesday I was feeling fine and I went back to Kickboxing. Then last Wednesday I started back with Yoga and had no difficulty. I think that Yoga and Kickboxing use different muscles and parts of my foot than running because I have not experienced problems in either class.
Today I decided it was time to start running again. It kind of scares me that I will fall off the band wagon and lose my ability to run higher mileage. Don't get me wrong, I am not dieing to run 10+ miles but I would like to be able to comfortably run 3-6. 
Since it is hot and humid I opted for an indoor run on the tre…


I went into this whole "having a baby thing" pretty blind. For me, that was probably a good thing. My sister has told me some stuff over the years {she knows a lot from being a labor and delivery nurse and also from having a baby of her own}, but for the most part she and other friends of mine have kept their experiences about having babies to themselves. I think they didn't want to scare me off.

Anyway, as I stated before I have had a pretty easy pregnancy so far. However I was not at all prepared for the fatigue that hit me a couple weeks in. It was weird that I could run 10 miles on a training run for the half marathon but then later that same day, climbing the stairs or loading the washing machine would leave me winded. It was very bizarre.
I questioned my doctor about this and she told me that it was normal and that I could keep running as long as I felt fine {I have never become winded while running}.
Over the last few months it has been a chore to get much of anythin…

52 Books: Book 23

Last week I wrapped up Queen's Ransomby Fiona Buckley. It is the third in a series of novels that follow lady in waiting Ursula Blanchard as she solves various mysteries. There are more books in the series, but this concludes the three books that my dad lent me and I think I am content to stop here. If you are look for some light reading and are interested in a series of books about mysteries in a Queen's court, I would recommend this series.

Meal Recap

Last week's meals were as follows:

I was all about keeping things simple, healthy and delicious...
Monday Dinner: Due to the crazy storms last week, we packed up and headed to stay with family until power was restored. We found on on Monday morning that we finally had power at our house so we left Nashville and headed home. I attempted to go grocery shopping and learned that the Walmart in Scottsboro was still being partially powered by generators and there were basically no perishable items in the store. This meant no milk, no meat, no cheese. The produce was also significantly limited. When leaving Walmart I called Daniel to let him know the situation and we decided to try to grab a pizza from Papa John's. Unfortunately most of Scottsboro must have had the same idea. We scrapped the pizza idea and I grabbed dinner to go from Zaxby's.

Tuesday Dinner: I finally managed to find perishable items at the local Piggly Wiggly so I was able to make Philly Cheesesteak sandwiches with…

Little River Canyon

This morning Daniel and I agreed that today would be a good day to take a hike. I did a bit of research and found that there were some good trails just outside of Fort Payne, AL in the Little River Canyon and at Desoto State Park. We decided to head to the Little River Falls first and then decide from there what we wanted to do.

The Little River Falls are a 45-foot fall with a pretty good flow over the top. Luckily it was a little overcast and there were not many people there. In the summer I am sure this is a busy place because at the bottom of the falls there is a decent swimming hole.

Daniel and Sophie enjoyed roaming around the top of the falls.

Afterward we decided to drive the scenic route in the canyon instead of hiking. The main reason we didn't end up doing a real hike was because the arch of my left foot has been bothering me since the half marathon last week.

The canyon was really pretty – we would definitely come back here in the fall to see the leaves change. 
On the way …

Baby "M" 13 Week Check Up

Today I am 13 weeks pregnant and had my third OB appointment. The ultrasound tech was out but our doctor gave us a peek. Baby is healthy. Heart rate was about 170. 

I don't always feel pregnant because I haven't had many symptoms. We saw the little blip of the heartbeat at 9 weeks, but our OB couldn't figure out how to properly work the new ultrasound machine. This time around she seemed to know the machine better and was able to zoom in and show us the heartbeat, head and spine. Seeing the actually shape of a child makes it all more real... it was amazing how much the baby moved in the short time we took a peek.

So far, I have had no morning sickness, lots of heart burn and plenty of fatigue. I have not gained any weight and continue to basically feel good {besides my daily shots}.