Friday, June 17, 2011

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt

Blackberries were on sale for 89 cents/pkg. I almost made a cobbler, but it was pretty hot here when I made this, so frozen yogurt sounded more refreshing.

I sort of experimented with the recipe, and it turned out well. It was also really easy.

Blackberry Frozen Yogurt
(makes 1-1.5 qt)

about 1 cup blackberry puree (doesn't have to be exact)
1 32-oz. container of plain yogurt
1/2 to 1 cup sugar (to your taste)

1) Make blackberry puree: Puree washed berries (2 containers' worth) in food processor or blender. Strain seeds out with mesh strainer.
2) In medium bowl, stir yogurt and sugar together well.
3) Add blackberry puree to yogurt/sugar mixture. Stir until combined.
4) Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some Good Trombone Music

A fellow band member sent this to me, and I think it's a really good piece. Especially when they add other parts (duets, quartets, etc.). Also, check out ~6:00 in; I got to play with Jiggs when he was a guest of our jazz ensemble in college. Good to see he's still at it. Lots of big names in this video.

They also provide free sheet music to print for all parts, including brass quintets/ensembles (not just trombones), if anyone out there is interested! Makes me want to start a trombone/brass group!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chicago: Shedd Aquarium

We went to the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago on a Sunday afternoon during our visit with Alexis. We had to stand in line for over an hour; next time, we're getting city passes (we wouldn't have gotten our money's worth for this particular trip). We were pleasantly surprised at the variety of animal species. They even had some beluga whales, sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, and penguins. All but the penguins moved too fast to get any good photos.

Some highlights:

Chicago Shedd Aquarium
Found Nemo!

Chicago Shedd Aquarium

There are also aquatic shows, special exhibits (right now it's jellyfish), dive presentations, animal encounters, and a 4D experience. We didn't have time to see these and didn't want to spend the extra money, given the amount of time we had. Maybe next time we'll check them out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicago: Skydeck

Continuing with highlights from when Alexis was in town, we went into Chicago for the weekend before she left. We got lots of good photos of Chicago from the Skydeck of Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, which is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (8th tallest in the world) at 1,450 ft and 110 stories. The view extends up to 50 miles. We stood on "the Ledge", which extends 4.3 ft out from the building on the 103rd floor (1,353 ft), so we could also see directly below. There are also historical/cultural exhibits on the 103rd floor.

Willis Tower: View from the street

Views from the 103rd floor:


Long-distance view
Alexis standing on the Ledge

Ed taking a photo of the view below from the Ledge

Lego model of Willis Tower!

Pushing on Willis Tower, of course!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Anderson Japanese Gardens

One afternoon while Alexis was in town, we went to Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford. The weather was really nice and our camera battery was fully charged, so we got some good photos.

Anderson Japanese Gardens

We saw a cute little gosling. Its parents started hissing when we got close, but they were blocking the walkway, so we had to wait for them to get out of the way.

There were several koi (carp) in the ponds. We fed them, and the ducks saw what was going on and came over. It turned into a feeding frenzy!


Ed saw a chipmunk and we managed to corner it to get a picture:

There were several waterfalls and lots of flowers were in bloom:

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Anderson Japanese Gardens

Ed took all of the photos. He has some talent with our point-and-shoot camera! It was a nice way to spend an afternoon. We definitely plan to go again some time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Midway Village Museum

Alexis (Jennifer's best friend since high school) came to visit about a month ago. The next few posts will be about some of the places we went while she was in town. First is Midway Village in Rockford. We went on the first day that it was open for the season. It was a little chilly outside, so we were inside various buildings most of the time (we didn't take many photos, because the camera battery was low).

We started in the museum center, where several exhibits include photos and artifacts about the culture and history of Rockford and northern Illinois.

Part of the sock monkey exhibit; Rockford is "Home of the Sock Monkey"
Just outside of the museum center, before entering the historical village, is a small museum of doll houses created by a Rockford woman who was inspired by her world travels. There are several doll houses with different themes (like 1950s, Victorian, Japanese, Scandinavian, etc.). It was actually pretty fun to see the level of detail and materials used to make them.

The Old Dolls' House Museum
Our tour guide (who was dressed in period garb) took us into nine of the historical buildings (several are reproductions) in the village area: the bank, the schoolhouse, the church, the general store, the hardware store, the blacksmith shop, the hospital, the police station, and the Ralston house.

It was pretty fun. We hope to see more of the village buildings next time we go.