September 2018

We only went to Bible study today, and then came home to finish the cake. Ted was feeling pretty jetlaggy, so he napped. The boys ate their sandwiches outside while I whipped the frosting and frosted the cake.

We got to Jason and Micah’s house just a bit before 2pm and the cake was great! I’d slammed on the brakes once so the cake ran into the bowl that was covering it; it didn’t look the best but it tasted just like we hoped. We had such a fun visit! I’m so thankful Ted got some time with them! Jason showed Ted around Boston like Micah had shown the boys and me. They’re awesome friends! I wish we’d had more time together when we were all in AR. During our visit Jason talked about how people here use profanity at Bible study and think nothing of it! Heh. Micah says they keep the little kids upstairs during that time. People from the same country can be so different; not like I didn’t know that, but this difference really cracks me up! And they said that the neighbors around here yell all the time. They first thought that it was always angry yelling, but apparently that’s just their way. They’d hear parents yelling at their kids that it was time to eat or something, and the kids yelling back about what they’re doing right then. They have whole yelling conversations. We got to hear some of this firsthand. We had an awesome visit, and then it was time to head for home.

We had burgers for supper again. Wegmans rules!! I sure hope we can find some meat as good as this when we settle down!

Ted worked on our finances when he woke up early this morning, and we had apple cider doughnuts again for breakfast.

We left at 10 to go tour 3 of Ted’s houses he rented with his friends on Cape Cod. We stopped for gas along the way, and then saw where Ted lived long before I met him. It was cool to see that part of his life, and hear some of those old stories. While we looked for places to eat and waited to get hungry we drove to Plymouth Rock.

When we were done there we went to Kkaties for lunch. This is where Ted took the boys for lunch when I was sick a couple of weeks ago. I had a fried chicken sandwich that was massive, Ted had the blue cheese burger, and the boys split the bacon cheeseburger. We walked back to our truck through a pretty park,

and then drove to the National Monument to the Forefathers. It’s the world’s largest solid granite monument!

While we were there I saw a woman with an AR shirt on. I called Woo Pig Sooee in a low voice and she turned around. Ha! We chatted for a bit, and then headed to the truck. When we were almost there the woman and her husband called out to us and we chatted a bit longer. The world is a small place!

We went grocery shopping on the way home and got Jack some longer pants. and both boys halloween costumes. The campground is having trick-or-treat tonight and Ted wants to participate. Jack was cute as a burglar, and Max was the grim reaper. His costume was pretty cool with glowing eyes…too bad I didn’t even get a photo!

When we got back both Ted and I made the carrot cake for tomorrow, and then I glazed it and put it in the fridge unfrosted.

I woke up at 4:30ish, Ted had been up for a bit; we stayed up and talked until it was time to get up.

We ate apple cider doughnuts for breakfast: she gave us 24!! I checked the receipt and we only paid for 12; what a nice lady!

We had a nice, normal day. We did school, I did laundry. It rained all day. We stopped by the office to pay for our extended stay, and then went to the Post Office for our NAS fan; I asked Ted to go inside, he said the guy inside was nice. Heh.

For lunch I made burgers; I guess I made them thicker than usual, and pulled them right off the fire at 125 because they were super rare! Oops!

And we had this to drink:

Ted and I took a nap. Then the boys went to the playground while we changed out the front toilet. Then we both tore the bus apart a bit looking for the loop for Ted to replace in the shower. The loop that holds the shower hose broke a week or so ago, and it’s convenient to lower the shower head for Jack. Tomorrow we’ll look outside more thoroughly.

We were still pretty full from lunch so I had insalada caprese for supper, and the boys had that plus sandwiches. We played Phase 10 and then went to bed.

The boys and I got ready for breakfast, but when we got there we were told that breakfast was just for the conference goers! Heh. We picked up their breakfast bags (paper bags of apple, granola bar, room temp oj, andes mints and a blueberry muffin), and I got Jack a yogurt too. The boys ate and then we got ready to go, and then I realized that I should have made us leave 10 minutes before because the Lake Champlain chocolate factory tours started on the hour. Doh! We got over there as soon as we could and were 1 minute late. I apologized and asked if we could join the tour anyway and they said it was no biggie and of course.

This tour was a fun video and a guy talking us through how chocolate is made. Cocoa pods grow on the sides of the trunk or limbs; they grow to the size of a football, and need a machete to harvest. Bobba is the white and sweet part inside the cocoa pod. It’s fermented 2-6 days and turns from a seed to a bean (I didn’t know that was possible, but that’s what the guy said). During that time it turns from white and sweet to brown and bitter. It’s funny to me that we take cocoa beans, change them to the opposite of what we want, and then sweeten them. We got to taste 3 kinds of chocolate, and then the guy went over all the machines on the factory floor and what they did. After the tour they had nibs for us to taste, and then half a truffle for each of us. We shopped a bit and I bought some dark chocolate orange rinds, some seconds, and then some fancy hot chocolate.

Our tasting chocolates:

That circus tent, the McCracken’s sign and the juggler and stand were all made of chocolate! The jars were the props that got passed around for us to smell/look at about the chocolate process.

You can see the 2nd lady from the left pouring chocolate into a mold on a rumble table. The whole table shakes all the time to ensure the chocolate flows to fill all the spaces.

The tumbler is that arch of brown ‘cans’ behind the middle person. It’s constantly moving and magnetic, and they stick chocolate in molds (like those in the picture above, all leaning against each other on the metal cart at the bottom middle of the photo) that have magnetic bottoms. Those molds will stay on the tumbler for half an hour to make sure the chocolate coats the molds and the inside stays hollow.

In the photo below you can see tempering tanks that hold 2,000 lbs of chocolate each!

Then it was a 1:10 minute drive to Cabot. We stopped right away at a thrift store in an old church and I bought both boys light jackets and a Star Wars book Max found for Jack. Isn’t this sky right outside the thrift store beautiful?!

Another cool sight we saw right away was this big stack of firewood with windows in it! I guess when you burn this much wood over the winter you want it to look good stacked in front of your house!

The drive was beautiful! The trees are turning, and the colorful mountains against the beautiful blue sky with white clouds was amazing. We passed by the capital and I was bummed I couldn’t take a picture. There was a beautiful brick building with trim, and the capitol was a gold topped dome. We think VT is a bunch of small towns because even Montpelier didn’t look like a big city. We finally made it to Cabot, and it’s really small! I’d texted Ted to call me, but then never sent the text! Boo! He called anyway about 5 minutes before we got to the factory; it was so good to talk to him!

The video tour of Cabot was pretty good, but they said something I forgot to ask about, “Curds plus dressing equals cottage cheese.” I guess I’ll need to google to figure that one out. After the video we ate cheese!!! Max tasted every single kind, but I only tasted the ones I really thought I’d like…there were so many and I didn’t have a drink so the tastes started running together after a bit.

It would’ve definitely been more fun if Ted had been here, but we had a good time. I bought $50 worth of cheese! And then remembered that there was birch beer, so I turned around and bought 3 of those. We took a couple of pictures, and then went down the road to take a picture of the Cabot sign for our friends.

Here are some more photos of the beauty we saw on our drive:

And a funny sign you’d never see down south!

When we headed to the Boston airport to pick up Ted I saw that we were an hour early, so I scouted out some thrift stores. We stopped at the first one but I didn’t find anything I had to have. Ted called us not long after and said we should go straight to the airport. We had been going 70mph, and then all of a sudden the road narrowed to 1 lane and the limit went down to 45, and then we saw a ski lift! I had Max take pictures, but it was hard to do at 45 mph.

We got to the airport about 15 minutes early, so it’s a good thing we didn’t go to any more thrift stores! Ted’s pretty jetlagged, so it’s a good thing we didn’t try to go to Micah’s tonight! We stopped by Wegmans on the way home. I thought that I’d get home and make burgers for us, but with the typical Boston traffic we were going to get home later than was reasonable. We ate supper at McDonald’s and then went home and right to bed. On the way to McD’s two guys screamed past us, one on the shoulder and the other in the left lane…Ted thinks they must’ve been doing at least 100mph. They were road raging; I’m glad they went past us and left us alone! I’m ready to get away from this traffic! This is the worst place we’ve driven in: worse than Philly, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Antonio and even New York!

We got up at 8:30, finished packing and left for Vermont!! I can’t believe we live this life! I’m so thankful we can travel and even get a hotel whenever we want. God has blessed us so much. I stopped by the office on the way out to renew our stay and was told that we’d have to move sites if we wanted to stay. The girl apologized profusely for us not being able to stay in our site, but it was no big deal. I’d rather stay than move, but the other people got there first, so it’s not like there was an issue. She said the site was listed for a 34′ camper, but that I should check it out because we might fit with no problem; otherwise we’d be staying out in the big rigs lot with no shade and much farther away from the playground. I was ready to head out to VT, but this had to be taken care of.

The new site is double wide, so that threw me off a bit. I paced out the length and then paced our bus…I don’t want to mess this up! I think we’ll be able to fit, but I drove back to the office and talked to the girl to make sure I’d gotten it straight. She said let’s drive out there an look. Heh. So I drove her out and she said yes, it really is double wide, so if you have any trouble fitting in straight you should be just fine backing in at an angle. That made me feel better…I do think we shouldn’t have any trouble. I dropped her back at the office and we finally headed to VT!!!

It was a 4 hour drive so we called Mom and Gmom and talked to them along the way. We arrived at Ben and Jerry’s Factory around 2:45. There was a playground on the walk from the parking lot to the factory so I sent the boys there to work out some kinks from the drive. I walked through the flavor graveyard. Heh.

We bought tickets for the factory tour and there was a 40 minute wait for our tour time, so we had some ice cream. I had the 7-layer coconut bar or something flavor and it was awesome! The boys played on the playground again while I waited in line for the ice cream, and that’s when we realized that Max had left his phone at home! Ugh!

The tour was pretty good; it started with a little video intro to the company, then we got to look out over the factory floor while the process was explained, and then we got a big sample of ‘milk and cookies’ ice cream. There were a few ice creams leftover so the boys got 2 samples each! I was amazed at the 5,500 gallon tanks with ice cream base in the tank room…that’s a lot of ice cream!! We looked all over the gift store, and then headed out to our next stop.

Cold Hollow Cider Mill had a video of the cider making process. I was really surprised to learn the difference between apple cider and apple juice. From their website: “Apple cider is 100% pure juice squeezed from the apple. There is nothing added and nothing taken away. It is a perishable product that needs to be refrigerated all the time, and has a shelf life of about 6 weeks. Apple juice, on the other hand, may have started its life as apple cider but along the way they filtered out all the pectin and fiber, then added water, artificial flavor, artificial coloring, sugar, and a bunch of preservatives. They then pasteurize it at a very high temperature to make it shelf stable, then put it in a glass jar. And another thing, if you look at the label, you will see that most apple juice in this country is made from concentrate that comes from overseas.”

We drank apple cider while watching the video and then shopped and shopped. I bought a wooden cheese tray, a dozen apple cider doughnuts, cinnamon pear jam, smoked onion mustard and cider jelly. I tried to find a restaurant before we left, but the wifi wasn’t so hot there, so we headed to the hotel. It was so rainy on the drive over that it was hard to see and I had to go pretty slowly at times. The hotel was under renovation so it was tricky to find the entry, but I made it. We checked in and I seriously considered room service, but finally decided to go with a FTF recommendation for fish and chips. We went to Union Jack’s for supper where Jack and I got some authentic British fish and chips, and Max had a BLT. I got a birch beer (which is what pushed the decision from room service to this restaurant), but since there weren’t refills of that the boys got root beer.

I got gas on the way back to the hotel. Max took a forever-long shower, Jack took a short-ish playing bath and I planned tomorrow a little bit and blogged our order of events. We slept so well!