A Midsummer Night’s Tasting

I don’t blog about much these days, but Hurd Orchards deserves a post.  Especially because they fed me dinner the other night, and that dinner consisted of 22 courses.  Yes, I said 22.  It was insane.  Insanely good.

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Mr. Bunches and I can take absolutely ZERO credit for discovering this place.  All the credit goes to our good friends B&A; they first introduced us to Hurd Orchards last November when we attended our first farm tasting meal.  That meal was titled “Abundance” and let’s just say that it was an appropriate name.  This summer’s tasting was titled “Delightful Surprises” and it also didn’t disappoint.

So here’s the deal: Hurd Orchards is a family-run fruit farm, and the Hurds have been hosting these bi-annual tasting dinners since 1985.  And they are amazing!  You can get more details here.  Basically, you make reservations in advance, bring your own wine and an empty stomach, and then you get to taste 20+ courses of farm fresh delicacies, all while soaking in the ambience of a centuries-old barn.  It’s basically magical.

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Armed with a tin plate, you make your way to each station, which contains a full mini meal (from appetizer to entree to dessert).  Some are inside, some are outside.

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You dine in a beautiful old barn, with live music to help you savor each bite (this meal included the most amazing harpist).

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In addition to growing many different varieties of fruit, Hurd Orchards also has 20+ acres of flowers, so the arrangements on each of the tables were just breathtaking.

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At the end of the meal, the owners (a mother and daughter) come around with a recipe book for everything we tasted that night.  My three favorite items of the night were the soups: 1) South American Coconut, Corn and Summer Squash Soup; 2) Cold Cucumber Soup; and 3) Peach and Raspberry Gazpacho.  They were so divine; my mouth is watering now just thinking about them.

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Needless to say, Hurd Orchards’ Tasting meals have officially become a tradition of ours, and we can’t wait to visit the farm again this fall for the Thanksgiving tasting.  Yum.  Thanks again to B&A for introducing us to this place!

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Boo!

Halloween in January?  Yes please.

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Timely post?  Er, not so much.  Sorry.  But let’s do a quick recap: this year for Halloween we traveled to Florida.  We spent a week in the sunshine state–half of the time visiting Mini B’s Beachy BFF and half of the time visiting Mr. Squishy.  And one day of overlap at the happiest place on earth.  Which day?  Halloween of course!  We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge (which probably deserves its own post since it was pretty outstanding, well, except for the “test” of the fire alarm during one of Mini B’s only naps . . . grr).  But since it’s taken me 3 months to get this post done, let’s be realistic–there will be no Wilderness Lodge post. 

Back to the matter at hand: Halloween.  And since it was Halloween, we put Mini B and Mr. Squishy in their matching costumes (hand-made by my aunt–thank you Auntie J!).

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Are they not the most scrumptious little pumpkins you’ve ever seen?  Holy cuteness.  After doing a little modeling stint in their costumes, it was time to head to the park.  Staying at the Wilderness Lodge meant we just had to hop on a boat to get to the Magic Kingdom.  Mini B’s first boat ride?  Check.

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Then it was time for a fun-filled day at the Magic Kingdom.  You know the one–the place where dreams come true.  Which in our case must mean that we dream of our little girl taking the poop to end all poops and having it leak all down her leg and up her back while waiting in a line three-deep for the ONLY changing table on Main Street USA (really Walt?  ONE changing table?  Really?!).  But it wasn’t only a poop-filled day because that would be sad.  So so sad. 

We did a lot of fun stuff too . . . although before we got to that we had to take the requisite posed pics in front of the castle:

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It was a super sunny day, so much of our time was spent in Operation Keep Those Babies Covered!

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The most magical part of the day came when we got a sneak peak to the new Fantasyland (they were doing a dress rehearsal for cast members only):

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Fantasyland is the Magic Kingdom’s new land–it includes the castles for each of Disney’s Princesses.  Basically if you’re a 6-year-old girl, it’s the best place in the entire world.

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It also includes some new rides, including one based on the Little Mermaid.  We decided to take Mini B and her BFF on the adventure, but Mr. Squishy sat this one out (he is a little man after all).

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Not sure this was Mini B’s favorite part of the day.

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She was not the biggest fan of Ursula . . .

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And was pretty relieved when the magic ended.

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One of the most incredible parts of the new Fantasyland was Belle’s ballroom.  I didn’t get any pictures since the lighting was not so great, but it was spot-on to the movie.  Here’s just one of the creatures guarding it.

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Unfortunately there was still some construction around the park, so it wasn’t always the best view.  But the bambinos didn’t seem to mind.

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And luckily they still had turkey legs.  Phew.

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Yuck.  Mini B preferred her thumb.

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And her BFF just had no idea what to think.

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Mr. B was so proud to show Mini B around his old stomping grounds.  So sweet.

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Unfortunately this was during Mini B’s ‘I-only-like-my-parents-phase-and-everyone-else-makes-me-cry-so-don’t-even-try-and-hold-me-aunts-and-uncles.’

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She can be kind of a drama queen sometimes.

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Basically, though, we totally killed it.  3 babies.  1 Magic Kingdom.  Infinite Memories.

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It was a loooooong day.  And someone was a little tuckered.

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Of course, she did end up rallying later that night for trick-or-treating at the Wilderness Lodge.  Her first candy loot!

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Ahhh.  Halloween post finally done.  Only 3 months late.  But still so cute.

Camels, Donuts, and Pumpkins . . . Oh My!

Happy Halloween Everyone!  We’ll share details on how we’re spending today later on, but first we thought we’d share our first family tradition with y’all: The Great Pumpkin Farm Festival!  If you’ll remember, Mr. B and I discovered it last year (more on that here) . . .

And this year we decided to officially make it an annual tradition and bring Mini Bunches . . .

And since this year we did the trip a few weeks before Halloween, there was a lot more to see, but let’s let the pictures do the talking, shall we?

In less than two hours she was completely wiped and passed out on Dad’s shoulder.  Somehow I think next year’s trip will go much differently.  Oh, and next year we might have to go home with a dozen of those donuts; they were NO JOKE the best donuts I’ve ever had.  Period.

Wedding Crasher

I’m not sure how it happened, but Mini B has officially become a wedding crasher.  Her dad is so proud.  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves–how about we start at the beginning?  First up–Mini B’s first plane ride.  Gone are the days of us traveling light, huh?

She was great in the airport . . .

But that slumber didn’t last long–she was wide awake by the time we boarded our flight to Philly . . .

And even though we were prepared for disaster (I had steeled myself to be those parents with the screaming baby who receive one of two looks from the other passengers: 1) the look of total sympathy; or 2) the look of death), she actually did wonderfully.  She was wide awake the whole time, but overall pretty content.  Mr. Bunches and I breathed a collective sigh of relief for that one.

Once we got to Philly, we were starving.  And what do you eat in Philly?!  Why, cheese steaks of course!  So off to Geno’s we headed . . .

Now, I had a Philly cheese steak once back in high school on a rowing trip to Philly, but for the life of me I can’t remember where it was from.  But I have a vivid memory of it being surprisingly good.  And Mr. Bunches assured me that this one was the BEST (the best, Jerry, the best).

And let’s face it–I was famished.  So I polished off an entire cheese steak in less than 2 minutes.  Ugh–I’m cringing right now at the memory of it all.

Good thing Mini B was sound asleep and therefore got to miss the carnage.  Was it the best cheese steak ever?  No.  Hardly.  But it was food.  And I was hungry.  Therefore, mission accomplished.  Once our bellies were filled with grease and “steak” (I mean, let’s be honest–that’s no Grade A beef or anything), we headed off to introduce Mini B to the “Loop,” aka Mr. Bunches’ college buddies . . .

Of course, she didn’t really seem to take that much interest in the conversation . . .

Ahh well.  After that it was time to take Mini B to her first hotel.  The Hilton Garden Inn.  Now, we had asked for a crib in the room, but we already knew we weren’t going to use it.  Nope, not for our high-maintenance Mini B.  No sirree.  We had to instead bring her “Pink Palace” from home for her to sleep in . . .

And there she is in all her glory.

See, in preparation for this trip I had attempted to wean her off the Pink Palace (which is actually the Nap Nanny), but it didn’t work (and I suffered 30 sleepless hours for my failed attempt).  So the Pink Palace came with us–stuffed in a suitcase.  But it was basically a lifesaver, so it was worth it.

Why was it a lifesaver?  Well, let’s just put it this way–Mini B gave us her longest sleep ever on our trip.  8 uninterrupted hours of pure bliss.  We seriously contemplated moving into that Hilton Garden Inn for good . . . isn’t it amazing how important sleep becomes when you have a kid?  But anyways, back to the long, drawn out story of our trip (C’mon–you’re loving the play-by-play, right?).

On Saturday we decided to hit up Mr. B’s alma mater: Villanova.

She was loving being shown around by her proud papa . . .

Of course, being the idiots we are, we thought that school hadn’t started yet since there weren’t any students around.  But then we saw a few students and they informed us that it was just too early for people to be up, but school had in fact started the previous week.  It was 11:30 AM on Saturday.  Apparently that’s “too early” for people to be awake . . . oh, to be in college again.  Sigh.

We wanted to get Mini B a little souvenir of her trip, so we headed to the bookstore.

But it was CLOSED.  Seriously?!  Closed for the entire Labor Day weekend–whoever heard of such a thing?  So maybe next time Mini B . . .

After our excursion, it was time to get ready for the main event: the WEDDING!  Mini B took a power nap (3 hours–basically her best nap EVER.  Again, we were seriously considering moving into that Hilton) and then put on her party dress and headed out.

Of course, she ended up waiting until we got there to give us a little surprise . . . no worries, though, that just meant a quick diaper change in the car.  We’re actually getting pretty good at that maneuver.

Once she was all cleaned up, we passed her off to our babysitter (thanks Auntie Kar-Kar!) and we headed to the ceremony.  It was really beautiful–held at the Stone Barn in Kennett Square, PA, the ceremony was just perfect.  I’ll let the pictures do the talking . . .

See what I mean?  Sigh.  Thank you, thank you Leah & Derek for inviting us to be a part of your day!

Well, after the serious stuff was taken care of, it was time to get our party on, and that’s when it became official: Mini B crashed the wedding!

She just had to get in there and see what all the fuss was about.  Plus, they had bacon-wrapped scallops.  And if there’s one thing Mini B loves–it’s bacon-wrapped scallops ;).

Seriously, though, she had a great time meeting some of the guests, being reacquainted with the “Loop” and also giving her congratulations to Leah & Derek.  There also may have been a few celebrities in attendance that may or may not have been slightly enamored with our little peanut . . . but we’ve got to keep those details on the DL.  Sorry! :)

Unfortunately Mini B was not the best dressed in attendance . . .

Sorry Ian–I just had to do it.  It was THAT good.

It was a great time, and once Mini B made her rounds, it was back to Auntie Kar-Kar so that the Mr. and I could enjoy our night out along with everyone else.

There was a fair amount of hoopla, including Derek’s initiation into the Loop . . .

Which basically was the start of things going a bit downhill (this last one is from the after party) . . .

Oh, and just because I thought they were great, here are a couple shots of their wedding cakes (yes–they had three!) . . .

After all the hoopla, we spent a quiet night back at the Hilton Garden Inn (aka our favorite place ever since it somehow put that magic spell on Mini B and got her to sleep extra long) and awoke only slightly hung over . . .

But no worries–we rallied.

Mini B even did a little more hanging out with her new friends . . .

But then it was time to say goodbye and head back to the airport to go home.  She did AMAZING on the flight home–slept the entire way!

It was a great trip, but she was happy to be back home . . .

And while we had some trepidation about leaving behind that glorious, glorious Hilton Garden Inn, it all worked out in the end.  On our first night home she slept 9.5 hours straight!  It was a Labor Day MIRACLE!  Of course, it didn’t last–the next night we were back to sleeping in 4 hour chunks.  So who knows–maybe we will be moving into that Hilton Garden Inn after all . . .

Where in the World is Mini Bunches?

That’s right–our Mini Bunches has officially become a world traveler.  Her first stop?  CANADA!

Armed with her birth certificate, our passports, and our season passes to Marineland, we crossed the border and introduced Mini B to her first taste of international travel.  And yes–she loved it.

She loved the whales . . .

And especially the Killer Whale–she even taught him how to jump over her (it’s pretty amazing how talented she is, right?  I mean, and this was all at only 9 weeks old AND with her eyes closed) . . .

Not too shabby, eh?

Well, Mr. Bunches was a little upset that she couldn’t even bother to open her eyes when it came to feeding time, but maybe that’s just as well.  Just look at those jaws!

Either way, she was a real trooper for her first-ever trip to the True North.  And she did manage to open her eyes to say hello to some of the other Marineland creatures . . .

So I’m not exactly sure what deer, elk, and buffalo have to do with Marineland, but I’m just going with it.  Seeing as how this is one of Mr. B’s favorite places ever, I’ll give them a pass . . . 

And look–Mini B wasn’t the only baby hanging around . . .

Once we’d said hello to all the animals, it was time for a treat and a visit to my favorite area of all–the black bear enclosure!  We didn’t feed them this time, but we definitely will in the future.  They are HYSTERICAL (granted, not in this picture they aren’t, but just take our word for it).

Well, after a long afternoon at the park, it was time to go home.  Just one quick pit stop at the castle (yep–just another random piece of this theme park.  I swear–I don’t really get it).  

And then we headed out, which of course meant we had to walk by the gift shop (those Marineland folks are no dummies) . . . Mini B couldn’t take her eyes off of those blow-up toys!

And she of course has Dad wrapped around her little finger, so he wanted to get her one, but I put my foot down.  I mean–c’mon!  She’s nine weeks old for crying out loud.  There will be plenty more trips to Marineland in her future and I’m sure she’ll end up with multiples of these guys . . .

But it was hard to say no . . . just look at that face!

All in all, it was a good trip.  So much better than playing in our own little marineland . . .

Oh, and ever since that trip, Mini B’s new favorite song is the Canadian anthem.  It calms her down almost immediately whenever we sing it . . . how random is that?!

Babymoon, Canada-Style

Yes, so I get that this post isn’t exactly timely in lieu of the fact that our Mini Bunches arrived a few weeks early (more on her here); but, better late than never has become my new motto (and for those of you who have sent baby gifts, please understand that the motto applies to thank you notes as well–they’re coming, I promise!).

So here’s just a quick post about our last major outing before Mini Bunches arrived . . . where to?  Toronto!  Yep, we didn’t want to travel too far from home given my ginormous state  (I was 33 weeks pregnant at the time) . . .

So we just drove a couple hours north to the bumping metropolis that is Toronto.  But, of course, what trip to Canada would be complete without a little trip down memory lane for Mr. Bunches?  First stop: Port Credit, Ontario.

Mr. Bunches played hockey here as a kid and had very fond memories of the place.  And I can see why–it was freaking adorable!!  We just might have to move there, especially because directly across from the hockey arena was a rowing boathouse–I mean, could it be more perfect for the two of us?  Oh, and there was also a super rad playground that I’m sure Mini Bunches will just love some day . . .

Yeah, we were those people.

It was really neat seeing the rink where Mr. B used to play (and seeing him get all giddy about it to boot) . . .

We’ll definitely have to take Mini B there some day . . . and who knows–maybe she’ll be a hockey player like her daddy?

After our little detour, we took another brief one in St. Catharine’s and then another one in Burlington, Ontario.  We didn’t snap any pictures, but both were fantastic towns that I’m sure we’ll visit again.  We’ll be sure to take pictures when we go next time with Mini B.  But now, on to Toronto and our little adventure there . . .

First up: FOOD.  What else, right?  I mean, I was 33 weeks pregnant people!  And what better place to find food than the St. Lawrence Market . . .

Kangaroo meat anyone?

It was hard to decide what to eat with all those options, but we finally decided on some seafood at Buster’s Sea Cove (it didn’t hurt that the line for this place was about 50+ people long):

Yay salmon sandwich!

After we finished up at the market, we decided to just wander around the city and see what we could discover.  And what did we find?  Why, more food of course . . .

Yep, we discovered Marche, an amazing food market with basically everything you could ever want to eat . . .

And then look at what we stumbled upon across from Marche: a hockey store!  Oh happy day for Mr. Bunches!

Of course, unbeknownst to us, the store was actually the gift shop for the Hockey Hall of Fame.  What a happy accident, right?

We got to see a lot of cool hockey stuff, like an homage to Wayne Gretzky, aka Mr. Bunches’ hero:

A mock-up of a pro locker room (I forget which team it was):

Some interactive shooting games for Mr. Bunches to relive his glory days . . .

And there’s the team with a special place in Mr. B’s heart . . .

Some championship trophy blow-ups . . .

And a little trophy that some of you may have heard of . . .

Yep–the Stanley Cup!  Turns out it only spends about 30 days a year at the Hockey Hall of Fame, but our timing was just right–lucky us, eh?

Not too bad, eh?  We were pretty jazzed.  Anyways, to wrap this up, Mr. Bunches took me to a fantastic Mother’s Day Brunch at One Restaurant.  I wish we had taken pictures, but we were a bit too hungry (again, 33 weeks pregnant folks).

So there you have it: our last big adventure before the greatest adventure yet . . .

C’mon–you know I had to throw in at least one picture of our Mini B!

Hey Mickey!

Hey Mickey, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind.  Hey Mickey!  . . . Hey Mickey!


Is it in your head now?  Nice.  Goal accomplished.  Okay, but on to a quick post that is somewhat of a little tribute to one Bachelor-in-Residence whom you may remember from here, here, and here.  (Wow, it’s amazing how much Mr. B and I see this kid, eh?) 

Well, MO has been promising me a Virginia t-shirt for approximately a year (but who’s counting, right?)–see, he works for some t-shirt people.  That’s all I’m gonna’ say.  So as it turns out, he’s hanging with Mr. B in Vegas at the moment, and look what he got me:

YAY!!  I’m so excited!!  And it even looks big enough to fit me and my growing bump . . . double score.

Oh, and it looks like MO not only came through for me, but also for all of Idiot Nation with the Syracuse “Comin’ in HOT!” t-shirts.  And just in case all of Vegas wasn’t clear on who this motley crew was, well, MO helped out with that too . . .

Job well done, MO.  Job.  Well.  Done.

And yes, Mr. B is currently in Vegas clearly working hard with the other members of Idiot Nation . . .

Um yeah–rough life for these kids, eh?

Okay, so there’s my shout-out thank you to MO for my t-shirt (I can’t wait for Mr. B to bring it home) and my little shout-out to Idiot Nation.  Have fun boys!!

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