Thursday, February 27, 2014

Family Fun Time at the Bar

One of the things I had a hard time coming to terms with when we first moved to Kansas was the fact that anyone, any age could go to the town bar. What?? Why would I want to take my kids to a bar???

Growing up in Indiana, our town's bar had a seedy reputation. And there was never any bar in Indiana you could get into (legally) under the age of 21. So the idea of kids in the town bar was totally foreign to me. I just couldn't imagine a bar as an environment good for kids.

But over the last few years we've come to frequent the bar more often. I don't even think of it as a bar really. Yeah, they serve alcohol but so does Applebee's and there are plenty of kids in that restaurant. The Main Street Bar (pictured here) is more like a small town restaurant or cafe than a bar. They serve great food (except calf fries....sorry Mel but nothing can make those taste good!) The kids love their smiley fries and as you can see they really enjoy learning to play pool!

DR and the boys started going to the bar on Friday nights after practice for double cheeseburgers and more pool. Every Christmas we go to see Santa at the town Legion and then go next door to the bar to get something to eat...often served by Santa though the kids don't realize it.

The night I took pics of the kids playing pool we were at the bar for a Super Bowl Party. We did leave at halftime though, I couldn't bear too much more than that of the game. We all go to the bar and we see farmers, teachers, truck drivers, friends...all the same people that my kids see out and about in the community.

"Going to the bar" in Kansas is so much different than in Indiana. A Kansas bar is much less about drinking and partying than it is a place in the community, in the great expanse of the high desert/prairie, where people can gather. Sure I wouldn't want to take my kids out to the bar at 10:00 at night or anything but going to the bar for dinner once a month or so is a little treat for us all. So if you come out to Kansas to visit me I'll take you, and your kids, to the bar. Just don't blame me if you don't like the calf fries...I warned you!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Foody Friday - Indoor "Super Easy S'mores"

We finally received a good bit of snow this week!! I wouldn't call it anything serious, only a few inches, nothing like what my family in Indiana is dealing with....8 inches and counting!! But for SW Kansas a few inches and some wind was enough to cancel school for two days. It was too cold and windy to play outside...we tried! By day number two I was already worried that the boys were getting bored...EEEEK!!! Time to shake things up a bit.
On Pinterest I found a photo of Cast Iron S'mores but without instructions.
Time for a bit of experimenting.
Luckily I live two blocks from a grocery store! After a quick Arctic hike I had all my ingredients; s'mores stuff and butter.
First I preheated my oven to 300 degrees. You could probably go to 350 but my oven runs on the hot side. I greased my cast iron skillet, bottom and sides, really well with butter.
Pour in a package of chocolate chips.

Spread marshmallows evenly over the top. Then place in the heated oven. Watch carefully until marshmallows and chocolate are melted. It only took about 8 minutes in my oven. Then I put the skillet under a low broiler for 3 minutes to turn the marshmallows nice and golden.

The boys used the graham crackers to dip all that wonderful gooey goodness straight from the pan.

Yip was in 7th Heaven eating this, so much in fact he made himself sick by eating so much! Indoor s'mores...a quick little treat to break up the cabin fever!

Monday, February 3, 2014

I am such an ART NERD!

Just to give you a little insight on just how much of an art nerd I truly am.....

The film The Monuments Men comes out in theatres on February 7th (Only 5 DAYS!!!!)

I was watching the trailer the other day....take a couple minutes and watch it (George Clooney and Matt Damon!! Eye candy to boot!!)

So this is how nerdy I am....I started crying, yes real tears, at the scene of the empty art museum and the burning of paintings (burning a RAPHAEL!!! FYI: No one knows for sure if that one was actually burned but it hasn't been seen since the war. Some experts expect it to resurface in another generation or two. I sure hope I'm around for that). I can barely stand the thought. To think of so many masterpieces, a visual legacy of time and culture, burned!!! Gone forever!! (tears are forming as I type!)
I always knew Hitler stole artworks during WWII but I didn't realize to what extent and magnitude his plans were until I watched the 2 hour documentary The Rape of Europa. Hitler was "collecting" the great masterpieces of Europe (and burned or sold at a pittance the ones he found distasteful, such as Picasso and Matisse) to fill his own Fuhrer Art Museum he planned after the war. It's a great thing to watch for any of you history, art and/or culture lovers. My favorite tidbit is how masons were brought in to surround Michelangelo's masterpieces (David and the Slaves) with in a brick honeycomb to protect them from German bombs. AMAZING!! Oh!! And the part about moving the Nike of Samothroce down the steps at the Louvre in Paris!! I was on pins and needles (even though I know it survived). Don't even get me started on the bit about the Ghent Alterpiece!!!!
I also just happened to start reading The Madonnas of Leningrad that touches on the evacuation of The Hermitage Art Museum in Leningrad (that had a larger collection than the Louvre!!!) and how museum employees packed and shipped away art work and then lived in the basement for the duration of the 900 day siege roasting potatoes in linseed oil. Imagine the dedication to art and history and culture to go out of your way to protect artistic masterpieces.
So this little mystery of history is my current past time and I'm really looking forward to seeing The Monuments Men. Matt Damon is in it and if he chose to film this one then I know it's good. He's such an advocate for education, he's probably the one actor that I'd really like to meet someday.
One problem....the LEGO movie, which my boys have been DYING to see for a year, comes out on the same day. Ditch my kids for my own movie? See two movies in one day? Get a babysitter? I'm not sure how this will work yet but I WILL see this film soon! If any of you see it before me let me know what you thought!
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