Thursday, September 29, 2011

Menu for the week - update.

Just wanted to touch base and let you know the week has gone very smoothly.  I love knowing what is for dinner when I wake up in the morning.  I also adore knowing the ingredients for that meal are already in the house.  My wonderful man is enjoying leftovers for lunch.

We have only had to make one substitution- Monday night's meal had to be switched with grilled cheese sandwiches because I did not get to the store early enough for the chicken/broccoli casserole.  The turkey on Tuesday was delicious.  I even ended up making biscuits and gravy to go with it.

The homemade sloppy joes were fantastic!  I made enough to freeze some for a future meal.

I am looking forward to the Chicken-fried Steak tomorrow night.  If my mom has her way she would be here to help with that meal (both the prep and the eating of it).

I will be taking a cookbook to karate tonight to start planning next week's menu.  I hope this trend continues!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Menu for the week.

Each Sunday evening I have good intentions of planning my menu for the week.  Most weeks this doesn't get finished.  I get to Monday or Tuesday then I get distracted by bedtime routine for the boys and plans for the next day.

Last night I was successful!  I planned out my evening meals for the entire week and even made a store list!

Monday:  Chicken Broccoli Casserole- This is a recipe I haven't made in a long time.  It's always good to revisit old favs.  This wonderful dish is from a recipe my mother-in-law gave to me before we were married.  It was a copy of a recipe book she had used for years.  She had gone through and highlighted some of my soon to be husband's favorite recipes and made notes in the margin.  It was a great gift!  I started off our marriage with info to cook food my husband knew and loved.  I plan on doing the same thing for my future daughter-in-laws.

Tuesday: Turkey Breast (in the crock pot)  This is going to be a busy day.  I have my mom's group in the  morning, followed by school.  School will slip into the afternoon and may even run into karate in the late afternoon.  So I will turn to my faithful friend, my slow cooker. This will allow us to eat when we have moment to spare and we can even all enjoy our food while it is warm and not reheated seventeen thousand times.

Wednesday: Nan's Sloppy Joes - This is another crockpot recipe.  Wednesdays are chock full of school, piano lessons, more school, and Awana.  This, like Tuesday's recipe, is from a cook book called, Fix it & Forget it.  It is full of slowcooker recipes for every meal, beverages, dips and more.  It is a great go to book for busy nights.

Thursday:  Homemade pizza.  This is family night.  We will make our own personal pizzas with the toppings we want.  My boys have even made pizzas without cheese and without sauce.  Then while we eat we will watch a movie or play a board or card game.  Sometimes we do both.

Friday:  Chicken-Fried Steak - A year or so ago, I asked my Wonderful Honey to help me plan some meals.  I handed him a cookbook and asked him to find recipes he would like me to try for dinner.  The next night he handed me a list of recipes complete with titles and page numbers.  This is one of them.  I knew I would get around to it eventually.

Saturday: The boys will be eating corn dogs. My Wonderful Man and I are going out! Dinner and a movie.  I strongly recommend the movie Courageous.  It is by the same group that made the movie Fireproof.  It is only in theaters for Friday and Saturday.  Please go see this moving and important film!

Sunday:  Leftovers!  This is what my mom refers to as CORN- Clean Out Refrigerator Night.  I allow all of my men to stand at the open fridge door and take dibs on the food they want to eat.  By the end of the evening, the fridge should be ready for next week's store run of supplies for my menu for next week.

One week of meal planning in a row.  Let's hope the pattern continues!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mini-Golf Course Ratings (Last Vacation Post)

May Day Golf
4.5 golf balls

Nice course and wonderful back story.  A plane (on-site) has crashed in the jungle.  A Coast Guard helicopter (also on site) has come in to rescue them.  You are playing golf in this jungle.  The plants give privacy and authenticity to the jungle theme.  The music is fun and just the right volume.  The course has lots of twists and turns, hills and valleys, but no obstacles to maneuver under, around or through.

At the end of your round, when you check in your clubs and balls, the wonderful staff will ask if you had any hole-in-ones.  If you answer yes, they will ask if it occurred on a certain hole.  If your hole-in –one matches the lucky hole of the day, you win a free round of golf, good even if your return visit is the next year!

Prof. Hacker’s Dinosaur Adventure
3.5 Golf Balls

This course was very challenging, almost too challenging.  Interesting dinosaur facts were posted along the way.  There were some rocks for obstacles, but little variety from hole to hole.  There was no music playing and no chance at the end for winning a free game.

There are lots of bumps and dips on this course.  Watch your swing, one of our golfers had to go to the parking lot to fetch one of his errant shots.
With so many mini golf courses available, this is not high on the “do over” list.

Treasure Island Golf
4.0 Golf Balls

Very nice, well kept up course.  The theme for the course is based on the book Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Quotes from the book are posted among the holes to describe how the hole ties in to the story.  This was a fun course.  Challenging, but not so impossible that the boys couldn’t get a hole in one.  Matter of fact, everyone got at least one hole in one on this course.  Very fun, lots of variety, and if you have read the book, a little educational.  A definite “do over”.

Spy Glass
5.0 Golf Balls

A sister course to Treasure Island, this course is also very well maintained.  Captain Long John Silver has ransacked and now protecting this “island”.  As you play amongst the lush bushes and rocky terrain, cannons are fired, whistle over head, and land in the lagoon as pirates attack and defend. 

This fun course leads you through caves, across boats, up and down hills.  This was the second mini golf course we played that day and it was well worth the trip!

Molten Mountain (Pele’s Revenge – Outside Course)
5.0 Golf Balls

This Hawaiian theme course is mini golf with a twist! This fantastically fun course has great music and challenging holes, but also every few holes has a spinner next to the tee-off area.  It is your choice to spin or not, but this crew highly recommends, urges, strongly suggests (get my point?) that you do spin and follow the instructions the arrow points too.  You will find yourself being an obstacle on the course, using your club upside-down, trading ball positions and even scores with other players. 

If you decide to use the spinners (please do!) it is not always the best golfer who comes out ahead, but everyone will have a great time playing and laughing from start to finish!

Molten Mountain  (Lava Louie’s Challenge – Inside Course)
4.0 Golf Balls

This course educates you on the terminology of volcanoes, since it is set “inside” one.  This course is a little dark and the atmosphere is a little frightening for the young golfers.  It is fun and the holes are different and challenging.  The music is fun but only plays on the first level of this two level course.  Upstairs is a little eerie. Without the music, you can hear the rattling of the air conditioning.

We would play this course again, after the outside course.  Inside does not have the fun spinners that add so much to the game.

Capt. Hook
4.0 Golf Balls

This course is based on the book Peter Pan by James Matthew Barrie.  Quotes from the book are posted every hole or so.  Statues of the characters are present among the well kept holes.  Even Tinkerbell makes an appearance trapped in a small glass lantern as a hologram.  The Tick-tock Croc is still after Capt. Hook while Tiger Lily sits in her boat waiting to be rescued.

The holes are tricky, but fun.  We enjoyed them all with the exceptions of 16 and 17.  Both of these holes have what we call the “anthill” effect- the hole being at the top of a small hill with little space at the top where your ball can rest.  The best score any of us got on these holes was the course max of six. 

We placed this course high on the “do over” list for the next time we visit Myrtle Beach.

That folks is our vacation in a (large, I know) nutshell.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dining at the beach

While on vacation last week, we visited a few all you can eat seafood buffets.  We knew we had visited some in the past that were delicious and some that were fun and some that were just plain bad.  We have been to Myrtle Beach several times and all the restaurants got mixed up in our memories.  So this year we decided to rate them, put it in writing so we would remember for the next trip.

All family members participated.

Crabby Mike’s
4.5 Crab claws

Variety on the buffet was very nice.  Crab legs cooked wonderfully, the meat came out in one beautiful piece.  Hushpuppies were delicious in the never empty basket.  Service was top notch. The atmosphere was fun.  The decorations made you feel as if you were below the surface of a bustling harbor. 
The only reason Crabby Mike’s lacked that last half star – ice milk.  Instead of ice cream on the dessert bar, they had chocolate and vanilla ice milk with only a small handful of toppings. 

I would go back again. And probably will next year.

Capt. Bennett’s
2.5 Crab claws

Disappointing.  Small buffet, not the expected variety. Service was a little slow. Watery crab legs, not juicey, watery. Delicious hushpuppies were on the bar, so you could refill at will.  Hand-dipped ice cream on the dessert bar, but only four flavors and no toppings.  Four flavors would be good if there were toppings to accompany them. 

Won’t add this one to the “Do-over” List.

Sticky Fingers
4.5 Ribs

After consulting our family restaurant critic, we decided to take a break from seafood and visit a wings and ribs place.  The staff was very friendly and helpful.  The food was good.  The boys had a kids’ meals consisting of huge wings, seasoned fries for one  and mac and cheese for the other, and animal crackers.  They were out of milk that the guys ordered, but replaced it quickly (after a brief consult with Mom) with tasty lemonade.

Mike and I had the sampler platter for two.  We got four half-slabs of four different flavored ribs – dry rub, Tennessee whiskey sauce, jalapeno sauce (not too hot) and their signature sweet sauce; and four sides – green beans, fries, (for me); baked potato and fried corn on the cob (for him).   The food was delicious. 

One of the boys’ favorite parts of the meal – our napkins were actually green terry cloth dish towels!  The reason for the lacking half-star: we needed a container for bones and other scraps.  This restaurant is on the list to visit again.

Capt. Benjamin’s Seafood Calabash
4.0 Crab claws

Huge buffet – As our hostess led us to our table we were given a tour guide- monologue about the location of the restrooms, the placement of the buffet tables, the model ships that decorated the restaurant (made in the lower level of the restaurant by one gentleman with a wonderful eye for detail), and the section our table was in.

Our server, Beth, did an excellent job making sure we had everything we needed and helping us figure out which parts of the whole crab we were supposed to eat and which parts we weren’t.

The food was good but not excitingly delicious.  Most of the food, even the fruits and vegetables, had sauces or spices on it.  I would have liked to have had more plain veggies or meats without the sauces.  Even the imitation crab meat was discolored with spices and the broccoli was over salted.

There was a large variety of foods and even a pasta station where you could mix your own seafood pasta variations which the chefs would heat for you on the spot.  The boys were overjoyed with the large dessert selection and had to be cut off after their third selection.

While Capt. Benjamin’s was good, I would go back to Crabby Mike’s before returning here.

Tomorrow: our ratings of mini-golf courses!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our home away from Home

Our week here at the beach has consisted of waking, eating breakfast and dressing in our water clothes.

Then we head down to spend some time in the sand,

followed by a dip in the pool or a ride down the slides,

then when everyone is so hungry they could eat their own flip flops, we head up to the room for lunch.

After lunch we return to the pool/water slides/hot tubs for another couple of hours.  When we again find our so ravenous we could eat someone else's flip flops, we head up to the room once again to shower and dress in "land clothes", choose a restaurant (usually an all you can eat seafood extravaganza), find the matching coupon, and head out.

After gorging ourselves silly on crab legs, hushpuppies, and other delights, we load back into the car for a round (or two) of mini golf.

 Wagers are made before the first hole and the trash talking begins.  When the round is over we climb back into our transport one final time for the day and head back to our hotel to fall into bed and sleep until we get to do it all again the next beautiful day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Water and Fun, Day 1

After purchasing some boogie boards, we hit the waves.
It didn't take long for the boys to figure out how they worked. Now they are trying to figure out how to hang ten (just kidding!).

It wasn't long before they made a surfing buddy.

Then it was inside for lunch and then the water slides and pools.  It wasn't long before they made a friend inside too! Mikey and his new friend found a giant chess set inside and began a game.

Pawns were swapped and moves were thought out.
The game ended in a stalemate.

After dinner, we headed out for our first of many rounds of mini-golf this week.

For those of you not familiar with mini-golf, if they have to point out the best path for the ball,
It's probably not the best path for the ball.  I chose the "short cut" and ended up three feet further from the hole than everyone else (who did not take the short cut).

On one hole, you couldn't actually see the hole because it was obscured by overhanging plants.  After the four of us had teed off, we walked the five yards or so to the "green".  Mikey's green ball was against the rail.  Mike's red ball was about a foot from the hole.  My purple ball was a foot and a half beyond the hole.  Matt's orange ball was no where to be seen.  Now this happens occasionally when the young putter forgets his own strength, but this time we found it, not out of bounds (in the weeds or in the parking lot, which has happened), but...

In the HOLE!!!

This is Matt's favorite course so far this week.

More from the beach tomorrow.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Beach (arrival)

After two days in the car.
 Watching movies


And other activities,
We made it!

We unloaded our stuff...

Changed our clothes for swimming attire,

Ate a quick snack, and hit the water!

More waterlogged pictures tomorrow!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


At Last! We're packed! 
We're headed to the shore!
Turn off the lights 
and shut the door!

More from the beach...