Tag Archives: summertime

“I’d Pick You”

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One of my favorite summer traditions is our annual excursion to Catalpa’s Farm for strawberry picking.

It is a tradition we have enjoyed for almost a decade!

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Soon after moving to the area, friends from church invited us to go strawberry picking with them at Catalpa’s. We had a blast filling our baskets with strawberries warmed by the sun, and reaping the rewards of our efforts for the remainder of the year, as we indulged in homemade strawberry jam and strawberry smoothies.

Since that first visit, we try to make this an annual event, loading up on strawberries for the year ahead.

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This annual excursion usually occurs the weekend of Father’s Day, which allows us to enjoy all sorts of strawberry treats for Toby’s trifecta of holidays that occur the third week of June. This year Father’s Day fell on our anniversary (June 21st), and Toby’s birthday is the 23rd. Thanks to our trip to the strawberry fields we were able to celebrate his special days with strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake and homemade strawberry ice cream…Yum!

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On Saturday morning we gathered our quart baskets for a morning of strawberry picking.

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Our large picking crew was reduced to just the four of us that were left at home…

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But Grace ended up joining us for the morning (since Zach had to work), increasing our numbers to 5 1/2!

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We arrived and were directed to our row of strawberry plants where we promptly got to work picking and eating…

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One for the basket…one for me…Yum!

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There is nothing better than eating ripe strawberries warmed by the sun…

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Tastes like summer!

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We worked for an hour, filling 29 quart baskets and eating another quart or two as we worked.

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While we were there, we ran into those very friends from church that first introduced us to Catalpa’s. Picking strawberries a few rows away were the Biernessers. After a quick “hello” we got back to work, filling our remaining baskets before the heat of the sun drove us out the fields.

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As is tradition, we ended our picking party with fresh strawberry slushies from the farmer’s market out front. They were delicious…a perfect reward for our efforts in the field.

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At home we turned our baskets of berries into pints of strawberry jam and strawberry syrup so that we will be able to enjoy the taste of summer all year long!

Let’s Go to the Movies!

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Last weekend we ventured out for the time since March for an excursion other than a supply run or essential business. Our local drive-in movie theater received permission from Harrisburg to re-open. While movie theaters are considered high risk environments, drive-in movie theaters have been deemed safe.

Offering all the best of the movie theater experience with minimal risks, and we jumped at the chance to get out of the house and watch a movie on the big screen.

Dependable Drive-in has created a new set of policies to keep guests safe… guidelines that were handed to each guests at the entrance.

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These guidelines included an unoccupied space between each car as they opened at 1/2 capacity, mandatory masks if guests left their parking spot, the addition of touchless soap dispensers, sinks, and paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms, with a limit of two guests in the bathrooms at a time.

They were also allowing guests to bring in their own food for those hesitant to take advantage of online ordering at the concession stand.

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On opening night Dependable Drive-in was offering two movies. It was a test run for the drive-in, so rather than offering double features at their four screens, they offered a single movie at two of their screens. The choices were Trolls: World Tour or The Vast of Night (An Amazon original movie). We opted for the latter.

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Suspecting that opening night might be busy, and since they were only admitting half the capacity, we arrived at the drive-in 90 minutes before the movie began. We weren’t the only ones being proactive. As we turned off the highway exit we were greeted with a line of brake lights, as cars waited to enter the drive-in.

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When it was our turn to enter we paid the special “opening weekend” price of .50/person. For a whopping $3.00 we enjoyed a night at the movies!

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As we waited for the movie to begin, we played card games, safely tucked away in our parking spot.

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As the opening strains of the Star Spangled banner began to play, signaling the start of the movie, treats were passed out and we settled back to enjoy the show.

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A review of The Vast of Night as taken by a reader on IMDb:

“The Vast of Night is a classic tale that stays true to what makes the subgenre so appealing, while innovating and delivering fresh and interesting tactics to keep your eyes glued to the screen.

From the moment the film introduces us to one of our protagonists, we are greeted to an amazing long-take tracking shot that would make Iñárritu (ala Birdman) jealous. These beautiful tracking shots persist throughout the film, including one where we are quickly transported through the quiet small town setting seamlessly into the busy action of the high-school basketball game. These shots are also complimented by long takes that have almost no obvious movement at all, save for maybe a methodical zoom towards the character as they deliver a captivating monologue. In fact, there are moments where there are no visuals at all but simply a black screen allowing us to focus entirely on what is being told.

Dialogue and performances are also a highlight. The slick and smooth conversation starts immediately as we are introduced to our characters, helping transport us easily into the 1950s. This is assisted by the spectacular performances that never let up. Whether it be a tense monologue, fast-paced banter, or fervent arguing, every emotion feels real.

As for screenplay, the film plays out in real-time which let’s us hang on every lasting feeling of mystery and suspense. The Vast of Night masterfully balances both hiding and teasing us with aspects of a reveal that do enough to terrify and excite, leading up to a simply beautiful payoff that feels as rewarding as it is earned.”

Some enjoyed it more than others. It definitely had a more creative and artistic filming style that lent to a Alfred Hitchcock or Twilight Zone vibe. The suspense was built through interesting camera angles and movie soundtrack. I loved it and found the movie charming and engaging, but some of my kids found it lacking in special effects and action scenes. Regardless of the mixed reviews, we all enjoyed a night out of the house after months in lockdown!

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Munch Food Park

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The wedding was PERFECT!

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(More on that in a future post)

The little boys all held up beautifully, but by the time we gathered to send off the newlyweds they were ready to shed their button down shirts and head back to the hotel.

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Grace, Molly and Lydia stayed to help the parents of the bride and groom pack up all the decorations from the reception and load up the wedding gifts, while we took the little boys back to the motel.

After some quiet time in our hotel rooms, we let the boys put on swim suits and burn off the energy that they worked so hard to contain during the ceremony.

Mimi and Pop Pop then took the granddaughters out for a date when they were done cleaning up after the wedding. They went out to dinner together and went shopping in downtown Fredericksburg. The girls each had spending money from Mimi and Pop Pop to spend at Dooley’s 5 &10, a charming old fashioned variety store that has been part of downtown Fredericksburg forever. Krista shared that when she was young her grandmother would also give her spending money for Dooley’s as a treat.

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Downtown Fredericksburg is charming. Lined with a variety of stores, everything from apparel to toys, from décor to cowboy gear, the girls had a ball shopping without brothers to slow them down.

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While shopping, they ran into Aunt Kathryn and Uncle Richard and enjoyed walking around with them, peeking into all the cute shops. Kathryn and Richard even surprised Grace by purchasing for her a homemade wind chime she fell in love with, for a graduation gift. What a special gift and precious souvenir of her time in Texas.

While the girls were enjoying a special dinner in downtown with Mimi and Pop Pop, Kelly and I were looking for a dinner option for our boys. While looking online I stumbled across an unusual dinner option.

The name of the establishment was “Munch Food Park” and it was comprised of a variety of food trucks.

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The website boasted of shaded outdoor seating, live music, restrooms, a playground for the kids and a variety of food trucks for all tastes.

It sounded perfect…good food AND an experience. My favorite type of dining.

We arrived and found the place fairly empty. With a central bar located in the middle of the food trucks and beautiful outdoor lighting, I would guess that  this place really comes to life later in the evening. When we arrived there were just a few small families.

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It was charming. Such a fun set up!

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When we arrived only three of the food trucks were open, but it worked out perfectly for our needs. The little boys all got hot dogs while Rusty and the adults enjoyed some delicious BBQ.

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Rusty and Kelly ordered the pulled pork sandwich. Tom, Toby and I each ordered the ribs with a side of baked potato salad.

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It was so yummy. I have fallen in love with Texas BBQ.

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While we ate there was live music to enjoy.

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And when the kids were done eating there was a play area for them to enjoy while the adults sat and visited uninterrupted.

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If we were Fredericksburg residents I think we would frequent Munch Food Park quite often.

It had such a fun, summertime atmosphere…

and AWESOME food!

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