We All Scream for Ice Cream

The only present Kyle wanted for our wedding was an ice cream maker. And what has evolved from this desire has made me beyond happy. It's grown into a hobby for him and I'm not one to complain when every Sunday, I'm favored with a new ice cream flavor. Masterpieces range from a good old fashioned chocolate to a more daring lemon ginger. I think my favorites to date have been a lemon blueberry and sea salt caramel swirled in chocolate. About two months ago I found a professional ice cream cooking class with Hill's Kitchen, located up on Capitol Hill (catch the name pun?). I signed us up and it was SO hard to keep it a secret from Kyle! I somehow managed and we had just the best time with Marta Mirecki, a professional chef who taught us simple and egg-based ice cream bases, sorbets as tips on substituting sweeteners and creating our own flavors. 

One thing I love about Capitol Hill is that all of the businesses fit into these late 19th century press brick row houses.

With his manual laid out and ready to take notes.

Learning the correct way to 'temper' eggs for the base. 

She had made some ice cream beforehand so we could sample what she had demonstrated without waiting for it to chill. The winners at the top, going clockwise, are French Style Chocolate, Coconut, Lemon Sorbet, Philadelphia Style Vanilla, and Philadelphia Style Fresh Strawberry. 

The verdict was happiness. 

Hill's Kitchen had quite a bit of (overpriced) gadgets and we only wished you could get one free ice cream scoop with your purchase of the class. That didn't stop us from buying a high tech one anyways...for memories sake and to perfect our individual ice cream scoops. 

I'm excited to see Kyle continue to come up with fun, unique flavors and perfect his hobby. I can't wait for the day where we have these little pint containers full of his homemade ice cream.

Zinga Is Our Happy Place

Whether it's date night, a quick study break for Kyle or we just downright have the craving, we hit up Arlington's Favorite Yogurt Place, Zinga! (Well, it's our favorite yogurt place at least) Kyle and I have probably tried most major yogurt chains throughout the area and this one wins for us and I think it includes a number of factors: 1. You get to try your OWN samples without a worker grabbing them for you...this gives us plenty opportunity to make sure we get the flavors we want. 2. Flavors! Zinga always has AT LEAST 12 different flavors that they rotate regularly. Aaaaaand, it's not always frozen yogurt. They rotate through custards and Italian Ice in case you are looking for a different type of texture. 3. Toppings. Oh the toppings. All your basic candy bar shavings and fruit plus whipped cream, gummy bears and gummy worms and hot fudge (my personal favorite). 4. Dividers - I can’t believe I am really talking about this but this is crucial. Zinga has these little plastic dividers that you can use to divide your cup in half, one half and two fourths of fourths. This allows for different flavors and toppings without having to get them mixed together the longer they sit. Optimum Tasting Variety. 5. Zinga's Loyalty Program - Once you spend $40, you get a free 10 ounce. Even though that may not seem much, we go so often, I know eventually it will pay it's way off. And it's always fun to hear them say, "Do you want to use your free 10 ounce?" YES! 6. Customer service - maybe we really are in our happy place when we go there but everyone who works there is so happy. It's owned by a family in our stake and I think all the employees are young men and women from their ward...and it's fun to see the occasional BYU attire since there are a lot of LDS goers. 7. Its only 5 minutes away from our house making it far too easy to drive over. I'm sure there are far more reasons why we love Zinga (wall color, suggested mix-ins like Smore (chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers)) but for now, we love our trips to Zinga. 

Love Kyle for putting up with me and all the photos I take. 

Totes The Best Hun Cal Fro Yo.

Zinga lets you draw pictures and put them up on the wall. Here's mine (I wasn't given the artistic abilities that everyone else in my family has).

And now it's on their wall. 

Oh Zinga. Thanks so much for existing. 

City on a Hill Part 3

Our final day in Boston was bitter sweet because I wanted to stay a bit longer and wasn’t looking forward to the 8 hour drive ahead of us. We got out early regardless and went to visit Fenway Park, also known as the Green Monster, home of the Boston Red Sox. It cost $17 a piece just to walk inside so we opted out of that, but it was still fun to see the stadium. 

There she is. 

Flags lining the years the Red Sox won the World Series. 

Kyle's awesome beard continues to grow and I'm on my tippy toes. Cool.

I snatched myself a Boston t-shirt at the gift shop and we headed back into the city to finish up the rest of the Freedom Trail. We started out at Bunker Hill, where the British forces came forward against the American colonists and where the famous line “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” was shouted. We parked right by the hill and walked all the way up to the monument where they told us we needed to walk back DOWN the hill and across the street to grab tickets to walk back UP the hill to go inside the Obelisk. We laughed at how they had set this all up, walked down to grab tickets and once we climbed the 294 steps to the top wondered why we ever thought about going up in the first place. 294 steps in a circular motion is a hard thing to do… after the leg burn and gasping, we were happy and relieved for a break and pretty view at the top.

Some neat guy who did something neat and wore cool colonial clothes while doing it.

294 steps in all it's glory. (The sun was finally coming out at this point which was wonderful).

Yay! We made it to the top. And I married a looker. 

The view of the Boston Haaaahbaaaa.

Next, we went down to see the U.S.S. Constitution which was really neat, it being Memorial Day and all. So neat in fact that they closed down access to the ship because they were going to have a military salute. So not so neat to us but it was still cool to the see the 1797 ship in all her glory. Her nickname ‘Old Ironsides’ was earned in 1812 when she fought another ship who said cannonballs fired at her appeared to bounce off as if made of iron…..aaaaand she’s the oldest warship afloat. I was pretty bummed about not being able to walk on the ship and protested just like Bostonians in the days of old…except no Indian apparel was worn and there was no way my bag would be flying into the harbor. We did go across the way and explored an old 1940’s war ship used during World War II. We walked all the way back to where our car was parked and drove down just in time to hear the salute. They fired some of the cannons along with guns and oh boy, was it loud.

Pretty flags flowing in the wind. 

The back side being held in tightly with this ginormous chain. I felt like she was just fighting to break free. 

"We were merry, in an undertone, at the idea of making so large a cup of tea for the fishes." Joshua Wyeth, member of the Boston Tea Party (that's what I would have been thinking too Joshua)

I am ashamed to admit it, but I made Kyle drive back to Mike’s Pastry (didn’t TECHNICALLY MAKE him...because I think he wanted some just as much as I did). We got some more treats and headed over to ‘The Barking Crab’ for lunch. It was recommended to us for the lobster rolls they serve there. As for me, I’ve never been a seafood fan (links back to a traumatic child experience on the beach). They did have a pretty good pork sandwich with sweet potato fries and I did bravely try a sliver of Kyle’s lobster. It’s all about getting past the texture and fish smell, but then I’m good. After we stuffed our bellies, it was time for the long drive back. The last bit of our trip that is a bit hysterical is that I tried to take us around all the tolls to save some money. We probably lost an hour of our time heading home by doing so and even then, somehow ended up on a toll road and had to pay. That’s one thing about the east coast that I don’t love…having to pay for tolls! We do it regardless and drive around to see really neat historical places. Thanks Kyle and good ol’ Boston for the Best Memorial weekend yet!

Don't mess lobster. Don't mess. 

City on a Hill Part 2

Our second day in Boston was wonderful. We started out eating at a highly recommended spot, the Friendly Toast. Side Note: I had been doing a ‘change’ of eating plan called Whole 30 (not calling it a diet because it really is designed to help you change the way you view food and trying to eat healthy). There is more on the website about it, but it’s basically like a Paleo Diet (only eating things our Paleo…ancestors would eat, fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, etc.) I was right in the middle of Whole30 and we decided to take this trip which meant bending the rules a little bit especially since we were going to eat at Mike’s Pasty later on. Fell in love with the Friendly Toast. Think of being transported to a 1950’s Café. When we got there, it was about a 45 min. to hour wait unless we could snag a spot at their tiny bar. We hooked our place in line and jumped at the first two spots available.  Kyle got what they refer to as “King Cakes” which is 2 pancakes with bananas and chocolate chips inside, and peanut butter in between encircled by a side of bacon (referring to Elvis as the King). I got a Hansel & Gretel Waffle (gingerbread waffle). Aaaaand…we shared a coconut hot chocolate since it was a little chilly that morning. Oh it was yummy. This was in Cambridge so afterwards we headed out to Lexington and Concord where I was able to see my history lover go a bit crazy over the beautiful historic sights we were seeing. Side note: Something I love about Kyle is his love of history and his knowledge of events that have made a difference and impact throughout time. And I love his love for people from history who have stood with honor and strength in hard trials. End side note.

We headed out to Concord first to see the Old North Bridge, which is considered to be the site of the first day of battle in the American Revolutionary War. The area was part of the Minute Man National Historic Park. I love how these American farmers without hardly any military training were so eager to fight for their soon to be independent and established country. Ralph Waldo Emerson penned that this is the place of ‘the shot heard round the world.’ If you want to know more, just ask Kyle J

Old North Bridge 

Statue in Honor of the Battle 

Beautiful landscape. 

Afterwards, we went to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where the graves of Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott (one of my favorites) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (another favorite) were buried. The little hill is known as Author’s Ridge.

People would put money or other trinkets on their graves for what seemed like good luck. We placed a couple stones there to cover our bases and to honor these great authors.

We also visited Emerson and Alcott’s homes (always costs money to go inside, but we saw the outside).

Emerson's Home.

I thought it looked just like the movie and loved the flowers growing outside.

We drove a little ways down to visit Walden pond, where Thoreau lived for two years as a way of getting away from distractions and to become enlightened…as he put it, “went in to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Love Thoreau’s writing. We went to visit a replica of his tiny cabin and I shared my apple with him. We went down to the Pond which looked more like a tourist lake amidst the pine tree forest. We enjoyed the sun that had emerged and did our best at skipping rocks (still can’t get the hang of it after all this time). 

So beautiful.

Trying to decide which rock to skip. 

Not knowing how to skip rocks. 

I gave Thoreau my apple for being so wise.

Once we had our fill of the ‘pond’ we drove out to the Lexington Battle Green where it is argued that this is the actual place where the opening shots occurred that started the American Revolutionary War. (This battle happened a few days later than the Old North Bridge battle.) Kyle and I walked around the area for a bit and saw this teenage kid dressed in 18th century attire carving something out of wood. We went up to ask him first if he worked there or just liked wearing breeches and a tricorn hat everyday….and second a little more of the history. I think I remember him clarifying a bit of our questions and as we left, we said thanks and he said, ‘No problem. This is what I do all day.’…….hmm….still debating whether he gets paid or not ha ha ha more power to ya kid on educating the tourists. 

Location of the Battle of Lexington and debated site of the "shot heard 'round the world" spreading news about the revolution. 

After we dropped by the Minute Man National Park and Kyle got his NP stamp (he is collecting as many as possible and I LOVE it) we headed back into town and visited what everyone seemed to talk about…Mikes Pastry. I hope the pictures do justice because I have never had a cannoli like that before in my life – same with Boston Crème Pie. Oh so tasty. This was my first bite of sugar for the trip as well and it went all downhill after this treat. 

Cannolis from Heaven. 

Not your average Boston Creme Pie.

Little Italy Magic.

More Little Italy magic with the cobble streets. 

We grabbed some HUGE slices of pizza in the Little Italy of Boston (by the way, this Little Italy was adorable…almost seemed like we were really there with cobbled streets every now and then and little shops and stores screaming Italy.) To end the night with a bang, we somehow found a place to park and began the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile-long path distinguished by a red line that goes through downtown Boston and takes you to 16 significant historic sites. I LOVED the Freedom Trail. Kyle came up with a great idea right up front that each of us would take turns using either our Boston travel book or phones and describe the next site and why it was important to Boston or American History. It seemed like Kyle already knew everything, but I enjoyed learning and teaching along the way.

Neat flags for Memorial Day at the start of the Freedom Trail. 

Sun shining down on that sometimes hard to follow red line (it doesn't look like it'd be hard to spot, but it would lead to one area and immediately stop, leaving us confused as to where to go next).

We made it to old schools, burying grounds, old churches and meeting houses, the Old State House, the site of the Boston Massacre Site (this one was mine to explain and it was fun double checking facts every second on why events happened to someone who has a BA in History from BYU.)

Statue memorializing Colonel Robert Shaw and the first formal unit of the US Army during the Civil War that was made up of African-American men. This is based on one of Kyle's favorite movies, Glory.

Neat state house.

Canary Burial Grounds, where victims of Boston Massacre were buried along with Peter Faneuil (market is named after) and Paul Revere. 

I liked this. This is the site of the first public (Latin) school in Boston and supposedly America, set up by Benjamin Franklin. 

The Old State House. On the top is a lion and a unicorn, the national animals of England and Scotland. 

Me and my feet while trying to accurately describe what happened at the Boston Massacre to someone who has read novels on the American Revolution.

Quincy Market had a shop with free laffy taffy

Boston skyline.

Paul Revere's house - once again, cost too much to go inside and we were in a hurry, but I like to imagine what it would have been like back in the day.

THE midnight rider (and quintessential shot of kids playing ball at the base).

We made it all the way to the Old North Church and another burying ground by the time it got late. We decided to hit up the last two spots on the next day. Overall, we walked almost 3 miles just seeing the first little stretch. 

Love old cities and buildings that have withstood the test of time. 

This is the church in the North End of Boston where the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal was sent to alert Paul Revere that the British were coming. INTENSE. We stopped by Faneuil Hall again for a late night smoothie and Japanese Teriyaki. A grand way to end our second day in the city.