Washington DC, Gettysburg, and Points In-between
August 16, 2016
My family enjoys a “Kodak Moment” at the Gettysburg Visitor Center.
I am fourth from the left.
Location, Location, Location
My four children (+ a very special friend, who is like a “brother to the others”) are spread throughout the country. Residing in Minnesota, Florida, Maryland, and South Carolina. It occurred to me a couple of years ago, that if I wanted to see all of my offspring, at the same time, we would have to begin planning annual summer reunions. :o)
My kiddies are all grown up!
Two years ago, July 2014, saw us enjoying magical Walt Disney World in Florida
for our first reunion.
Last year, we all met up in beautiful Hilton Head, South Carolina.
With the addition of triplet babies in May to one of my Maryland sons and his wife,
it seemed logical that all meet at our house for this year’s reunion week,
enabling everyone to meet their three new nieces.
Walt Disney World was the site of our 2014 family reunion.
See that trip here.
Last year’s family get-together was in Hilton Head.
Read about that here.
Getting Ready for the Troops, or True Confessions
Dale and I lived overseas for two and a half years (May 2013-June 2015). During that time, we would fly home every two-three months for a couple of weeks. We would check on our college-age son, our house, and regroup. Our routine was to riffle through the mail, dump the excess in our office, close the door, and hastily leave again for the airport, barely recovered from the jet lag from our flight home two weeks before.
I am laden with luggage at a German train station.
As you can imagine, two and a half years later, that room’s condition was disheveled and disheveled. Upon returning from home, I just could not face the mess. I cringe as I share a photo of the rooms sad state below. :o(
Our office after 2.5 years of being a dumping ground.
Hey, don’t judge me! :o)
In the excitement and anticipation of all of my children coming back home for a week,
it occurred to me one day, that we did not have enough beds! This was the impetus for converting our “junk room”/office into another guest room. Thus began a lot of organizing and decluttering, painting, and the purchase of a nice sofa bed. Happily
we no longer hang our heads in shame when entering this room. The once eyesore of a room is now clean and guest-worthy.
I bought and framed this fun sign, having it personalized with our information on it, for my guest rooms.
I purchased this from PureAndSimplyMe via Etsy here.
Highlights and Photos from the Week
It was a fun week that went by too quickly. Arriving at various times during the week, each family planned our activities for one day, including deciding on and preparing dinner. Here are a few photos from our special week.
Smithsonian, Museum of Natural History
Visiting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC was our first day trip.
We all enjoyed seeing the skeletons of the dinosaurs on display.
The Tyrannosaurus was impressive, even the display of the T-rex’s
While looking at these giant fossils, I can not help but think of the 1938 film
Bringing up Baby, where Cary Grant puts together a dinosaur skeleton.
The Rotunda Elephant is a popular photo op for museum visitors at the Smithsonian.
My favorite at this museum is always the glittering gem exhibit.
The Hope Diamond ( Above at top, although the deep blue color did not come through. Click here for a clearer photo.) is always the star among jewels from Marie Antoinette, to Napoleon, and Angelina Jolie (above at bottom).
Ajaye, with his mom, happily displays his Smithsonian souvenirs when exiting the museum.
Headed down the DC street to lunch at Plan B Burger Bar.
Plan B Burger Bar was delicious food with a cute restaurant environment.
After reading this write-up here ,while doing blog research, I will definitely order the flourless Hostess-like cupcake filled with white chocolate mousse next time for dessert!
We enjoyed viewing the outside of The FBI Building, Washington Memorial,
National Archives, and The White House before heading back home.
The Visitors Center
Meeting Abe Lincoln at the Gettysburg Visitors Center.
Brandy (Top row and third from the right) is an ancestor of our 16th president!
Longstreet Tower allows panoramic views of the beautiful Gettysburg countryside,
or so I am told. Only the braver members of our party made their way to the top. :o)
Little Round Top
A view from inside “the castle” at Little Round Top.
The scenery around Gettysburg is breathtaking.
It is sobering to think that war once touched this area.
The Dobbin House Tavern
Dale and I love Gettysburg’s historic Dobbin House Springhouse Tavern!
Built in 1776 atop a natural spring
(See the photo to the left of the Springhouse Tavern menu above.),
we were eager to share its rustic charm and wonderful dishes with our family.
The Tavern is famous for their delicious onion soup.
Marty Mummert Studios
I have been a big fan of Marty Mummert’s metal sign art for a long time, and own several of them. A true artist, Marty hand designs all of his signs. You can read more about them here.
Top photo: A visit to Marty’s East Berlin, PA shop in May 2010.
Bottom photo: Our most recent visit to Marty’s Gettysburg shop in August 2016.
Do I spy a photo bomb? :o)
Marty Mummert’s DONUTS sign currently hangs in my kitchen. I love it!
(See the photo below, near the recipe, to see it on my wall.)
You can also get a closer look at this sign here.
Marty’s bench design welcomes us to the shop.
Marty kindly allowed our family to visit his shop, and showed us around.
It was so much fun seeing all of his creations! I love the Color TV light/sign!
Some in our group wanted a good cup of coffee.
Marty directed us to Eighty-Two Cafe, where there were some very happy customers.
Marty designed their awesome sign, above.
Thank you Marty Mummert for the nice visit!
Eating crabs is a tradition in Maryland. Saturday was our day to continue that tradition.
Other Activities During the Week…
There was blackberry picking at Larryland Farm . Yum!
Visiting our local Snowball Stand is always a hit!
There were outdoor games.
There were indoor games.
Plus,there was a whole lot of good eating, family time, and making special memories.:o)
It was tough saying good-bye to everyone, but as Ajaye found out,
there are always more adventures ahead.
Upon arriving home, the pilot invited Ajaye to visit the cockpit as Ajaye and his family departed the plane. Thank you Southwest Airlines! :o)
Cooking for a Crowd
As mentioned above, each family planned the group’s activites for one reunion day, and prepared the evening meal. We had a great time and ate well!
Our Buffalo Wing Team of Eric and Brandy prepare dinner for the crew one night.
(Notice Marty Mummert’s DONUT sign in the background.)
Check out Brandy’s Instagram about food bee_eats_charleston.
Back in the day, our household was bustling with activity,
consisting of seven hungry family members (Three were athletic teen-age boys!).
I appreciated recipes that made a lot.
This Enchilada Casserole recipe falls into that category.
Easy to prepare in advance, it served us well during reunion week.
I have had this recipe for many years. The original (above) was given to my mom by a colleague at work, who had lived in New Mexico,
where chiles and frijoles (pinto beans) are the state vegetables.
I “tamed” the chile part down of this recipe for my family. My recipe is below.
Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product. I will include one soon.
1.5-2 pounds of lean ground beef
1-2 medium onion, chopped
2 large (28 oz.) cans of peeled and diced tomatoes, Undrained
1 small can (4.5 oz.) of chopped green chili peppers (NOT Jalpenos)
1-4 fresh garlic buds, pressed (Optional, I do not use any.)
Approxomately 16 flour tortillas, regular size
2 pounds, or a bit more, of grated cheddar cheese
4 cans of El Paso Mexi Beans, or Bush Mexican-style chili beans, or Bush Chili Beans,
or whatever chili bean is available with a pinto bean base.
Light Sour Cream
Guacamole (Recipe below)
Brown together ground beef and onion. Drain off excess grease.
Add Tomatoes, chili peppers, optional garlic, salt (Optional), and cracked pepper.
Simmer 20 minutes-one hour.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
Spray two 9 x 13 pans with PAM cooking spray.
One layer of tortillas on the bottom of each pan.
(I often tear tortillas to fit the bottom completely.)
Add layer of cheese to each, using half of cheese.
Use one half of meat mixture for next layer.
Another layer of tortillas.
Add remainder of meat mixture.
Layer 2 cans of beans onto each pan, for a total of four cans.
Cover the top with the remainder cheese.
Spray foil with PAM. (This prevents the cheese from sticking.)
and seal the pans, with the PAM side down, tightly with foil, attempting to avoid touching
the foil to the top of the casserole.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbly hot.
Make Guacamole while casserole is in the oven.
Serve on plates over a layer of Fritos.
Allow guests to garnish with more Fritos, sour cream, olives, and Guacamole.
1-2 tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
¼-3/4 onions, chopped
½ lemon’s juice
Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning to taste
3-5 ripe avocados
Tortilla chips, if desired
Combine cut up tomato, chopped onion, and lemon juice.
Add Cavender’s to taste.
Marinate for 10-20 minutes.
In the meantime, cut open avocados, remove seeds, and take off peel.
Combine marinade to avocados.
Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.
If waiting to serve, place plastic wrap directly on top of Guacamole and place in fridge.
Ellicott City, Maryland
Of a more serious nature, on Saturday, July 31, the first day of our family get together, the rains came to us in major amounts. Fortunately, except for a little rain seeping in through windows and door openings, we stayed high and dry. Sadly, our beloved and historical Ellicott City Main Street was not so fortunate, finding itself at the mercy of a horrendous flash flood.
A big thank you to my family members for their generous contribution of photos for this blog, and for their extreme tolerance of my incessant photo-taking throughout the reunion week.
I would love to hear about how your family plans get togethers! Please, let me hear from you in the comments section.
Thanks for reading!
Note-Due to a technical error (more accurately, mine), many of the photos from past blog posts were accidently deleted several months ago. I have been slowly working to replace them, and most are now back in place. If you wish to view my past blogs and photos, click here, or go to imannette.net .
I attempt to post my blog once-twice per month. My next post will be around September 6.
As always, thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
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Kali says that she had a fun week, too, with all of the extra love and attention. :o)