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June 19, 2013

sideways lemon dispenser

the miracle of the lemons. 

humming bird space ship house

I had to duck into the local craft/art supply store, #2 son wanted to go in with me.  I was getting some news print folders so the kids could practice their Mandarin. 

As soon as we entered, #2 son said, "remember, last time we were here, you said we could get a bird house?".  I had said we could get a bird feeder "maybe some other time".  the news print folios were 2 for 1, and I DID have a 50% off coupon in my pocket.... he selected a space ship themed bird house ($5 after coupon).

we got home and I asked him to paint it, "no, I want YOU to paint it".  he went on to explain "I want the whole part of it to look like SKY!".  so I painted it blue.  "NOW, you need to paint clouds on it!".  so I painted clouds.  "OK, GOOD!  but you need to paint a hummingbird, on the front!".  I painted a bird...  I found some orange paint for the thruster on the bottom, that was my own idea.

space ship shaped bird house

the young designer was pleased that I was able to realize his concept.  at least i didn't waste an art degree on it. 

Traveling in the color.

Kat travels for work a few times each year.  She returned home and dropped this one, "I think we all need new luggage.  The new luggage has FOUR wheels, ours only has TWO".  That, is how it started.

We each selected colors, except for me.  I had to ask the daughter's permission if I could use the same color as hers as the luggage only came in four colors (there are five of us).  I applied reflective stripes to mine so that they were not identical.  THEN, #2 son wanted stripes on his, and then I had to stripe Kat's luggage.  #1 son applied a sticker to his... 

Then I suggested that we each have a set of clothes that match our luggage, to wear on travel days.  Portraits seemed like a logical next step.  Maybe, this has all gone too far. 

delsey luggage yellow

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delsey colors yellow

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delsey yellow luggage black stripes

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delsey luggage green

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delsey luggage green

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delsey luggage boy

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delsey luggage green boy

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delsey blue model girl luggage

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delsey blue luggage

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delsey blue luggage girl

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delsey black luggage

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delsey black hard side luggage

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delsey luggage black model

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delsey luggage dork blue

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delsey penguin shirt blue

June 17, 2013

a little Pe'che' before some She & Him

Peche' craft cocktails

Pe'che' has been hot on the austin craft cocktail scene for a while.  we finally got a chance to try their Sunday Happy Hour (all day on sunday, open at 5 PM).

Cocktails are hand mixed and shaken using house made ingredients; bitters, grenadine, ginger beer, etc.

peche fired oysters and roasted beet salad happy hour

select cocktails are $5 each and a few menu items are half price for HH, it's a really good deal.  the fried oysters ($6 HH price) and roasted beet salad ($4.5 for HH) were both delicious.

pe'che' peche austin craft cocktail happy hour

pe'che' austin octopus

kat really enjoyed the octopus and shishito peppers.

she & him acl live moody theater austin

then we walked down to see She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward)

Snake Farm, it's a reptile

snake farm new braunfels

#2 son made it clear, he did NOT want to go to the snake farm (as seen on Dirty Jobs).  I took him anyhow.  he was relieved.  he thought a snake farm would be like a cattle farm, with the snakes in outdoor pens with "wood tops".

goat feed at the snake farm

#1 son bought a bag of feed for the petting area.  soon as he walked in, a big goat grabbed onto one side of his bag.  He knew enough to not jerk back, but then another goat grabbed the other side of the bag and pulled.  the entire contents spilled out on the ground.  damn goats.  we had to laugh as he was left holding the bag.

petting zoo new braunfels snake farm

snake farm new braunfels t-shirt

for somebody that did NOT want to go to the Snake Farm, he sure did enjoy it.  notice that he has switched shirts from earlier. 

East Side King at Hole in the Wall

what was once only on the east side, can now be found in west campus, on the drag.

East Side King Hole in the Wall Paul Qui

East Side King is a side project by Paul Qui that started as a food trailer, on the east side.  Paul is now a famous celebrity chef; executive chef at Uchiko, Top Chef season 9 winner, James Beard award for best chef.... and we now have an ESK that is convenient to us west side people in a real brick and mortar location, inside a bar. 

Hole in the Wall is a bar with great draft beer selection and live music, and now they have ESK and foosball too.

bar at hole in the wall drag ut austin esk 

the boys got some quarters to dump into the foosball machine while we waited for our food. 

foosball at hole in the wall east side king austin paul qui

hole in the wall austin kids

#2 son learned to watch out for those rods that don't have handles, they might jump out and poke you in the chest.

east side kings ramen hole in the wall austin paul qui

food was really good!

ramen domo esk hole in the wall austin

 

scharfe maxx and his alpine friends.

scardello apline style cheese challerhocker scharfe maxx 365

L'Etivaz

Nidelchas

Challerhocker

Scharfe Maxx

Scharfe Maxx 365

alpine style cheese tasting throwdown 2013

the daughter set us up with cheese A through E, a true blind tasting. 

last time we did this contest,  challerhocker was the winner.  we have been unable to purchase that cheese here in austin.  that sort of added to its legendary status for #1 son, always wanting more challerhocker and unable to attain it.  we did find scharfe maxx locally, at spec's.  but then spec's ran dry. 

I'd read about scharfe maxx 365; scharfe maxx with a higher moisture content and aged for a full year (regular SM is aged 6 months).  I'd been unable to find any.  last week I bought the very last wedge at Scardello's (Dallas).  I didn't even taste the Scharfe Maxx 365 at the store.  my first sample was done blind, along with these other apline cheeses. 

artisan swiss cheese buffet

we let the kids taste first, and it was like a feeding frenzy.  elbows were flying and hunks of cheese were vanishing....  I had to run them off so we could get back to serious tasting, note making and finally, a vote.  we did not share opinions while we tasted.  comments like "OH, I really like this one" or "I think this one is now my favorite", were discouraged. 

votes were tallied and there was a clear winner! 

#1 Scharfe Maxx 365

#2 Scharfe Maxx (regular)

#3 L'Etivaz (this cheese has a very distinct bluberry bouquet)

#4 Challerhocker

#5 Nidelchas (by unanimous decision, this cheese came in last on every score card)

the low score by nidechlas prompted much discussion.  it was as if the tasters felt sorry for the cheese and needed to qualify their low ranking with comments like "it's a great cheese on its own", or "if it were being judged against another set of cheeses, it might be my favorite" 

 

June 13, 2013

Searsucker Austin grand opening party

We were fortunate enough to receive an invitation to the grand opening party for Searsucker.

cocktails at searsucker austin

this is the third Searsucker location by "celebrity chef Brian Malarkey".

charcuterie and cheese buffet searsucker austin party

besides the craft cocktails and small bites passed via tray, they had an open bar with wine, and two buffet tables for cheese and charcuterie.

searsucker austin honey badger

kat is enjoying a Honey Badger cocktail

searsucker austin grand opening party

the event had everything we could have hoped for.  the service was friendly and efficient, the drinks were hand mixed and flowed like a river of magic juice off that bar counter.  the food was all delicious and came out of the kitchen fast enough that we didn't have to compete with other guests. 

chef brian malarkey searsucker austin carb free crab cake

my favorite food item was the CARB FREE CRAB CAKE, with Tabasco Caviar

Peter Rabbit cocktail searsucker austin

the Peter Rabbit was our favorite.  It's made with Pimm's #1.

searsucker austin grand opening party pimm's cocktail

if one was good, two should be better. 

searsucker grand opening party austin

I normally skip the sweets, but I do have a weak spot for chocolate and pretty girls.  they were good, as should be expected.  everything was perfect. 

We really enjoyed Searsucker and hope they do well in Austin. 

June 12, 2013

Dallas, our favorite pit-stop

the kids and I can do a 9 hour drive without much hassle.  then, we look forward to our break in Dallas.  kat drives up from austin for the reunion.  we stayed at aloft, by W hotels.  the kids LOVED it.

dallas aloft w hotel

it has that modern W hotel style, but the beds are not as comfy and there is no restaurant.

dallas aloft pool w

aloft hotel w pool dallas

NOVA dallas

we enjoyed dinner at NOVA, a gastropub in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas.  the kids found some balloons that were left by a 40th (over the hill) party. 

nova smoked buffalo fried caprese

food was good, craft cocktails were hit and miss.  fried smoked buffalo mozzarella caprese above, ham and local peach pizza below. 

ham and peach pizza

downtown dallas cattle sculpture municipal park

longhorn rider downtown dallas

newland hotel dallas

I used to live in this building on the south end of downtown.  sort of an industrial artists loft.  the upstairs was a flop house frequented by hobos and alcoholics, skid row type of place.  I forgot to lock my front door once, a drunk hobo walked right in and stood in my living room.  I started yelling for him to get out, he just stood there, dazed and confused.  I started to push him back as I yelled "OUT! OUT"  his heels caught the door sill and he fell backards onto the sidewalk, he still had that confused look on his face as he lay there on his back. 

I recall another fine evening when my GF decided my midcentury modern dining set should be put out (for good reason, I'm sure).  a local hobo quickly claimed one end while I grabbed onto the other.  we tugged and i did more yelling and he pulled a knife out and some of my friends came out and the hobo ran off.  I took my table (and myself) away from dallas and the newland hotel.  I was bohemian back then.  I have kids now and don't have to try so hard to keep life interesting.  now I fight with the kids over the laundry and I admit I have an unfair advantage, with all the experience I have from hobo-wino conflicts at the Newland Hotel.

 

harvesting the water of the ancestors

tothill cemetery

we paid our respects to the ancestral burial grounds while in nebraska.

 

cemetery song and dance

#1 son picked out an area as his final resting spot and did a song and dance. 

"it's not depressing, because I'm, gonna die with a smile on my face".  watch out ancestors!  there's an entertainer in the mix!

song and dance in the graveyard

cemetery well water harvesting

tothill cemetery well water

conversation I overheard while at the family cemetery:

#1 son: were any of our ancestors involved in the civil war?

my mom: none of us had arrived here at that time.

#1 son: what about the first or second world war? 

my mom: I guess you could say they were involved in the second world war.

#1 son: in what way?

my mom: they were in the concentration camps

we spent our final Nebraska day at the farm of my aunt and uncle.  they were celebrating their 40th anniversary. 

I even drank a Busch Lite. I had to explain that Austin is not near Moore OK and we did not suffer any tornado damage.  I also came to realize that the term "stay home dad" is something foreign up that way.  it inspired the notion that I home schooled.  our whole family life and configuration seemed to be confusing for the nebraska relatives.    

June 11, 2013

Morrill (elephant) hall, Henry Doorly ZOO (omaha) and the Nebraska capitol

#1 son is into dinosaurs.  we returned to the Morril Hall to see the bones.  He was in a sour mood last year, this was his second chance to get something from Morrill Hall. 

archie the largest mammoth in america

Archie is the largest mounted mammoth in America.  He was excavated from Lincoln county Nebraska.

hands on dinosaur bones nebraska

he got some hands on experience.

stegosaurus nebraska

I even packed his favorite dinosaur shirt for the trip, the stegosaurus. 

allosaurus nebraska

BIG allosaurus bone.

HENRY DOORLY ZOO in Omaha

the Zoo in Omaha is often noted as one the largest and best in the world.  I hadn't been since I was a child myself.  We all enjoyed it.

henry doorly zoo omaha

world's largest rainforest exhibit and indoor desert etc. etc. 

fruit bat henry doorly zoo

many of the animals roam free among the large exhibits.  many bats can be found just hanging around.

desert dome nebraska omaha henry doorly zoo

inside the desert dome omaha zoo henry doorly

polar bear omaha henry doorly zoo

koi pond and bridge at the henry doorly zoo omaha nebraska

henry doorly nebraska shark exhibit

henry doorly shark aquarium omaha nebraska

jellyfish nebraska zoo omaha

henry doorly zoo aquarium shark omaha nebraska

skyfari henry doorly zoo omaha nebraska

henry doorly zoo skyfari selfie

no trip would be complete without a stop at the state capitol building.

nebraska state capitol building

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nebraska capitol building lincoln

nebraska capitol building interior mosaics

nebraska capitol interior dome

 

June 10, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

we stopped at my Dad's house on the way up to Nebraska.

we gave my dad a rhubarb recipe book last year.  he tried out some of the recipes.  the strawberry rhubarb pie with almond paste topping was delicious.  best pie I ever ate!

strawberry rhubarb pie with almond crust

grilled jalapeno peppers with cheese and bacon

he grilled these jalapeno peppers that were stuffed with cheese and bacon.  I ate five. 

Nebraska 2013, farms and barns

beaver crossing nebraska farm 2013

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beaver crossing nebraska old barn farm 2013

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nebraska corn crop 2013

the corn is still small this year, too much rain.  #1 son was disappointed he didn't get to eat fresh corn on the cob.

old nebraska barn interior

visited one of the other family farms.

old stone cream house nebraska

my mom used to operate the cream/milk separator in this small stone building when she was a little girl. 

children of the corn 2013 nebraska

nebraska children of the corn beaver crossing 2013

nebraska gravel road 2013

June 03, 2013

level up! school is out and the kids advance to the next level.

kathleen sullivan hcms graduation

the daughter received her papers from middle school.  next stop, Westlake. 

hill country middle school eanes isd austin

8th grade graduation hill country middle school

she was overwhelmed with emotion (sarcasm).  I drove her to school the very last time, asked her if she was sad.  she thought a minute, looked back at me and said "not really".  she is not prone to emotional outbursts.  but, I understand she does write some powerful poetry.... according to her AP teacher and classmates. 

we have an end of school party each year.  we included a sack race this year.  had kids ranging from 5-13 years of age participating. 

eanes sack race

west lake hills sack race

end of school sack race westlake

end of school sack race austin modhouse

patriotic minecraft sack race tx

there was an awards ceremony for the winners from the sack race.

viking hat award ceremony

First, second and third each received a viking hat.

sack race award ceremony westlake

we had prizes for everybody.

arrow through the head minecraftian

neon hats, arrow through the head and "80's style sunglasses".  (I remember the 80's... partly, but I'm pretty sure we did not have these louvered glasses....  but the kids liked them)

minecraftian with a hat 

 

ps3 singstar party

and we had the usual group effort on singstar (karaoke).  this group loves Eye of the Tiger by Survivor.

we got up the next morning and kicked off our summer with a trip to schlitterbahn

lazy river schlitterbahn new braunfels