Ireland

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Two years ago, I promised my mom I would take her to Ireland for her 65th birthday. She wanted to wait until she retired so getting the time off to take the trip wouldn’t be a problem.

Fast forward a couple of years – and now after tons of planning and lots of excitement, she arrived to New Jersey yesterday and we leave for Dublin tonight. I opted to do a guided tour much like the one Cathy and I did for our visit to Peru last year (still need to post about that!). I thought it would be good to have other people on the tour with us to talk to. Plus it’s nice to get up and have the day planned for us already.

We’ll start in Dublin and then make our way through the countryside visiting Killarney, Galway, and Waterford. I am excited to see the cliffs and castles on our itinerary.

Here are a few pictures of my stop in Dublin a couple of years ago. I only had about 24 hours in the city since I was on a layover. This trip will be much more relaxed!

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If you’d like to follow our adventures, you can find photos of our trip on Instagram.

Flashback Friday: Bisbee, AZ

I had always heard good things about Bisbee. People who had visited said it looked like a town that time forgot. That’s no joke. The main street has a line of classic cars parked in front of vintage gas pumps. An original Greyhound bus sign swings in the warm breeze. The colors are amazing and I loved walking down the deserted street checking out all the old-timey “stuff.”

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Overlook of the town of Bisbeestoryboard012
This creepy scene was set up in a vacant lot. I hope it was just leftover from a fashion photoshoot and not something more weird.

Flashback Friday: Roadtrip to Mexico

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Before I left Phoenix for the East Coast, I made a list of all the West Coast adventures I wanted to take. High on my list was a trip to Puerto Penasco (aka Rocky Point), Mexico. Just a quick 4-hour drive from the Phoenix area, I somehow convinced one of my co-workers and fellow adventurer that this would be a great way to spend a long weekend.

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We headed down on a Friday afternoon, stopping midway at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the giant dinosaur sculptures for a leg stretch.

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The scenery on the drive down was gorgeous. We were practically the only ones on the road and it was cacti as far as the eye could see.

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We made it to the border without incident and promptly stopped at a package store to pick up very reasonably priced bottles of tequila for our weekend.

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After realizing our planned accommodations were not suitable for a weekend stay (long story that includes scorpions), we promptly packed up and found a resort with plenty of vacancy for us for the weekend. We ended up in a 1-bedroom condo with a full kitchen, living room, and balcony. Here’s our view of the pools from the balcony:

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We ventured into “town” to have dinner and see some of the sites, but because it was off-season, many of the shops and restaurants were closed. We did manage to find an oceanfront restaurant with beautiful views of the sunset.

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The next day, we spent some time enjoying the sun, and made it to the pool just in time for happy hour.

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On our way home we found a cute coffee shop to fuel us for the drive ahead and stopped at the Super Mercado to buy Mexican vanilla, cinnamon, and other fun food items.

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All in all, it was a (thankfully) uneventful weekend and to be honest, we probably would have enjoyed a 4-hour drive in a different direction, perhaps San Diego instead. #liveandlearn

Celery & Wild Rice Soup

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Over the weekend I ran a fever and spent the day in bed trying to stay warm. It was a huge bummer because the spring weather has finally arrived and Sunday was set to be the better of the two weekend days – I had plans! Things to do! But I was sidelined.

I wanted soup for dinner and was craving one of my favorites – celery wild rice soup. It’s a variation of the chunky celery soup that Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks makes. The celery makes it light and fresh but the rice makes it hearty and filling. Plus it’s so easy to make, especially if you have leftover wild rice. I didn’t, but it’s easy enough to cook while your veggies are sauteing and simmering.

I highly recommend making a pesto from the celery leaves and drizzling it atop your bowl of soup with it. It is magical!

1 large onion
1 large russet potato or 3 small yukon gold or red potatoes
3 carrots
8 – 10 stalks of celery
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
5 cups of broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 cups cooked wild rice (or any other rice you like)

Garnish:
Celery leaf pesto (In a blender or food processor, whiz up 1 cup of celery leaves, 2 cloves garlic, a pinch of salt, and about 3T olive oil)
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Chop the onion, potato, carrots, and celery into bite-sized chunks.

In a soup pot over medium high heat combine the olive oil, onion, potato, carrots, celery and a generous pinch of salt. Saute until the onions and celery soften Stir in the garlic and add the stock. Bring to a simmer and let cook for another 10 minutes or until the veggies are just cooked through – they should still hold their shape and not be overcooked.

Stir in the rice. Remove the soup from the heat and ladle into soup bowls. Top each with a generous drizzle of the celery leaf pesto and some Parmesan cheese.

 

 

March Finishes

February was filled with starts which meant that March was set up for tons of finishes… and finish I did!

Mar finishes

Top row: Baby quilt for a coworker, Floating Hearts quilt, charity baby quilt top made before the NJMQG March Madness event

Bottom Row: Wisteria Lane quilt for my sister, quilt I finished for Sooz, and I started and finished the book Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I also finished three other baby quilt tops at March Madness, but didn’t get pictures of them – hopefully at the April meeting, I can grab a quick snap before they are finished and donated.

 

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