Friday, 29 May 2015

Cocktail Friday - Florida Sunshine

I really have been tequila heavy this month!  Apologies.  I shall purchase a new liquor shortly!  

So this is a Florida Sunshine.  Given it is June next week, this is apt.  We are off to Florida in July, maybe we take the ingredients for this.....

Ingredients for 2 

4 oz tequila
1oz grenadine
4 parts orange juice
4 parts pineapple juice

Put the juices and the tequila into a shaker.  Shake.  Pour over ice into glasses.  Slowly add the grenadine.

My, oh my.  Deliciousness......  

Enjoy the sunshine!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

General catch up, Oliver is 9

Ok, so this is going to be more of a photo drop than anything else.  It's been a while.....

Here are 3 monkeys looking lovely in their 80 cent hats.  Yes, 80 cents.  Thats about 50 pence in English terms.  They are Angry Bird Star Wars baseball caps, and brand spanking new.  Thanks K-Mart!

The fair came to Heritage Park in Simpsonville. It was there for like 10 days.  Of course, the boys wanted to go.  They had special offers running pretty much every day, but we didn't really take any notice of them.  We chose to go one saturday morning, just as it opened.  We were fortunate, all the rides were FREE for the first hour. Couldn't have done that any better.... What could have been exceedingly expensive ended up being really good value.  Typically Isaac wanted to feed the butterflies, and that cost money ($4 for him and me), but he loved it.

The pool opened a couple of weekends ago, hurrah!!!!  We have already had Isaac swimming without his armbands.  Think he surprised himself as to how well he did.  Sebastian also wanted to try.  He sank a lot, but we gave him an A* for his efforts.  He has been having swimming lessons 2 times a week, which he loves.  Not sure his teacher does though..... We have not been given a form for re enrollment.  Wonder if it has got something to do with him wanting to jump in consistently.....

Look at my adorable boys.  Their school has been clearing out all their bookstore clothing, so I managed to pick these t-shirts up for $5 each.  So lovely.  Ignore the fact thats this posing session turned into a fight 20 seconds later....

Oliver has been in a school play! Isaac got to see it in the day, and I went a long in the evening.  He had to audition and everything.  He ended up being chosen to play a Furman football (Thats a college American Football team, for those in Europe) fan, and had lines too!  He did very well.  The play was entitled 'A Salute to South Caroliona' and was very informative to an outsider like me, I would highly recommend it!

It was Oliver's birthday on saturday just gone.  Can't believe he is 9..... So scary, and so big.  We were initially going to throw him a party, but his ENT doc said no to bouncing, so that idea went out of the window.  But we wanted to do something.  Last year we went to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  He wanted to do that again, but we said no.  There is a local NASCAR race on at Charlotte over his birthday weekend, but it was the Coca-Cola 600, a 4 hour evening race. The younger 2 just wouldn't have had the stamina.  Instead, we decided to go to the NASCAR Xfinity series race.  This is the second tier of the NASCAR sport, and has many up and coming drivers, plus a few of the pros take part too.  It was in the afternoon, and was called the Hisense 300. It was even on the day of his birthday, and half the distance of the full race.  

Because it was a full racing weekend at Charlotte, NASCAR had set up camp.  The fan zone out the front was tremendous, and because it was the Xfinity race, the crowds were less, and there was a more laid back environment.  The seats cost us less also, and were pretty good, on the start finish straight.

Because I am the best mum ever, I emailed Charlotte Motor Speedway and informed them it was my sons birthday.  During the race they text me to ask where we were sitting.  They managed to get the people behind us on the big screen.  They then asked who his favorite driver was.  Unfortunately he picked a Sprint driver, not an Xfinity driver!!! Not to worry though, as they came and presented him with an American Football.  So awesome!!!

We all really enjoyed the day.  The seats started in the sun, then went into the shade which helped a lot.  Charlotte is an awesome speedway.

We travelled home, and enjoyed some cake.  The rest of Memorial Day weekend was spent relaxing.  We are fortunate to have our kids birthdays fall over American holidays.  Isaacs is the day before Thanksgiving this year, and Seb's fell on Martin Luthur King Day!

Now the fun begins..... I wanted to get this done now, as Oliver and Isaac have a half day tomorrow, and then they are done for the summer.  Yes that's right, for the SUMMER.....

Luckily we are going away this weekend, and again in July, and hopefully in August.  They have 3 weeks of camp each too, though those are half days and 1 week of full days.  They are in for lots of fun with all the school work and chores I have planned.  I am going to let them get as bored as possible, so they relish the thought of going back to school next year....Their orientation for 1st and 4th grade respectively is 21st August. 

Only 86 days to go.......

Friday, 22 May 2015

Cocktail Friday - Sneaky Tequila

A small problem I have with doing cocktail friday is inspiration.  I love Pinterest, but often seem overwhelmed with the ideas, and the perfectness of some of the posts I come across.  I sincerely hope that you can see the frailties in my blog, the imperfect pictures, the mad ramblings......

Anyway, I found this little beauty here on Pinterest.  I adapted it slightly as I dint have any orange liquor (next on my list) so used banana instead.

Ingredients for 2

4oz tequila
4oz coconut rum
1 oz banana liquor
splash of pineapple juice
splash of cranberry juice

Add all ingredients to shaker.  Shake well. Serve over ice

To say that this is potent is an understatement.  It was really strong.  I ended up half filling our glasses, then adding more pineapple and cranberry juice to the shaker, mixing it all together, then topping up our glasses!!!!  That made it better, and we got one and a half cocktails each for out trouble!  The measurements need to be worked a little on this, but it was very tasty! 

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Mothers Day at Table Rock State Park

I got a lie in on Mothers Day, wooohoooo!!!!! Admittedly, Paul does give me lie ins often.  Oliver had made his card the night before, and Isaac had his made before Paul was even up.  He did all his own spelling and everything......

I had already decided what I wanted to do, so we headed up about an hour north of Greenville to Table Rock State Park.

The views were beautiful.  The rocks face you can see in the picture above is part of the Appalachians.  We had packed a picnic lunch, so headed to one of the picnic areas.  We were not the only ones who thought this was a good way to spend Mothers Day.  There was only one table free, and the family sitting on the table next to it were Paul's colleague from work.  Great minds think alike!!!

After lunch, we headed over to the nature centre, and began a trail.  We chose to do the Carrick Creek Nature Trail, as it was the shortest! Pretty much all the trails start from the nature centre, following the same route to begin, past a couple of small waterfalls, and pools that kids can splash in (see here for a map of the trails)

It was a warm day, and there were many hikers and people out and about.  We didn't realize it at the time, but the trail we chose was 2 miles long.  We were fortunate that we passed by many streams, as this helped keep the temperature down.

The water was so lovely and clear, that regularly the kids would stop and splash their faces to help them keep cool.  They all did really well.  Seb had to take a couple of rides on Paul's shoulders, but the other 2 did good, and didn't moan too much either! it was so lovely and peaceful.  We even saw 2 snakes while on the trail!

After navigating the 2 miles, we returned to the pools by the nature center.  We had promised the boys they could go for a splash, so off they went.

There was a bit of a commotion in the corner of the pool, typically the boys had to investigate.  There is a small snake by the end of the stick in the photo below.  Not sure what type, but when we asked the ladies in the Nature Centre, and described it, they said it was a fake water moccasin.

Anywhoo, as with most of nature, you leave it alone, it won't bother you.  So the boys got back to cooling off in the pool. All of them made their way under the waterfall, guided expertly by Oliver.  Paul had to go in to keep hold of Seb, otherwise that boy would have been swimming.

They all had a great time!  Splashing in the pools really made the hike worthwhile for the boys, and I got what I wanted for Mothers Day.  A win-win all round.

Table Rock State Park is open year round.  For more information, visit the website here

Friday, 15 May 2015

Cocktail Friday - Tequila Sunrise

Ahh, probably one of the most classic Tequila based cocktails.

The Tequila Sunrise.

Ingredients for 2

4oz Tequila
8oz orange juice
1 1/2 oz grenadine

Pour tequila and orange juice into glass over ice.  Add grenadine slowly, allow to settle before drinking.  Stir to complete your sunrise

Yum, yum and yum.  Simple, yet tasty 

Happy Friday! 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Cocktail Friday - TVR

I finally bought a new spirit/liquor.  Tequila, it makes you happy?

I had lots of interesting, vomit inducing experiences on tequila when i was younger.  To the point I often avoid it.  But this was at Costco, and hey, it was cheap!

If you spent the best part of your young alcohol drinking years growing up in the UK, you will probably have heard of this cocktail.  It was served in many bar, pubs, clubs etc when i was a young-un.  And it wasn't cheap......

The TVR, tequila, vodka and red bull. 


I pretty much just wrote them above....
equal parts tequila and vodka.
1 can of red bull between 2 drinks

Put liquor over ice into glasses.  Add red bull.  Ta-da

Refreshing, yet potent, if you want an early night, this is not for you.  Simple, almost makes me want another.....

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Weekends recently

A brief update on how we have spent the last couple of weekends.  

We went to Musgrove Mill a couple of weekends ago. After a wet Saturday, the Sunday was lovely.  They had a living history weekend on with reenactments and demonstrations.  We got there in time to see the end of the musket firing (cue boys with hands over ears).  There was also people dressed up in period dress.  The man running the tea station was very pleasant, and we all tried hibiscus tea (yummy) and pine needle tea.  Yes, pine needle tea....

A revolutionary battle was fought here in the August of 1780, where the outnumbered patriot militia outlasted the loyalist (source).  We chose to walk the British Camp trail, where there were information boards along the route.

The route took us along the banks of the Enoree River, and there is a waterfall nearby, but we chose not to go there.

The kids enjoyed it, but Oliver moaned the whole way round. Something about nearly 9 year olds.... When they get their heads set on something (Kindle time) its all they can think off.  Because of the event going on, we had to pay to get into Musgrove Mill Historic State site, but it was only $6 for all of us.  Usually it is free.  Worth a day trip if you are in the area. 

Last Friday I went on a girls night.  We went to the Blind Horse Saloon in Greenville.  This is a local country music club / line dancing place.  We got there for 8.15, and were the second group in.  Note to self: get there later in the future.  None of us had been out for ages, so it was nice to get out.  The drinks were cheap, the music was country.  

Liz enjoying the cheap beverages

Once it got later, there was a great atmosphere.  A few of us tried out hand (or feet!) at the dancing.  It was good, but tricky.  They open on a wednesday night, and give lessons to those who would like them.  Think we are already planning a wednesday night trip soon....

The next day we headed to Marietta, about 15 miles north of Greenville.  I had heard through Facebook of a local strawberry festival.  We found it fairly easily.  It was pretty well organized, with tickets needed to purchase food / strawberries.

Both Isaac an Seb had a go on the bouncy castle.  Oliver is still not allowed to jump because of his ear, and he was very understanding about this.

We had a good American lunch of hotdogs, nachos and potato chips, followed by ice cream and funnel cake.  It was out first funnel cake, and man, it was GOOD......  We purchased some strawberries while the boys were entertained by the magician.  The festival was very well run, and definitely something I would recommend.

That evening was our first BBQ of the season.  Paul gave it a good clean, and the grilling was off.  We had purchased some ground bison at Costco a few weeks ago, and used this to make out own burgers.  They were  beyond yummy.  The boys had their typical fries and burger buns, but everyone enjoyed it.  I look forward to many more. 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Cocktail Friday - Bay Breeze

Do you have it?

That Friday feeling????

I am not sure if i do, but hopefully this cocktail will help!

This is a Bay Breeze, a vodka based cocktail.  Paul bought this particular Smirnoff at the duty free in Heathrow on his way back from England.  Its nearly gone (opps)

Ingredients (for 2)

3 oz vodka
4 oz cranberry juice
4 oz pineapple juice 

Add ice to cocktail shaker, add all ingredients. Give it a good shake.  Put more ice in to glasses (I like my cocktails cold!), pour over drinks

This was another fountain of deliciousness.  Something about pineapple juice makes me think of holidays.  Must make sure we always have some, so I can escape any time!