Saturday, July 18, 2009

Visit from Ohio family!

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This week we were absolutely thrilled to have family come visit for few days! My father-in-law, Dave (Grandpa Becker as Caroline calls him, or PaPa to Sophie!) and my brother-in-law Dave, came down from Ohio for a 4 day visit ... flying down on Dave's Skylane 4 seat plane that is! Wednesday I traveled down by truck with the girls and that afternoon they picked Scott up at the Gwinnett County Airport, which is pretty close to our home. Then the girls and I picked them up at the Baldwin County Airport down here on Lake Sinclair!

Our time here was for the most part typical for that at the lake. A whole lot of sun, boating, skiing, BBQ'ing and just sitting back enjoying the views. But this time Scott was able to get a good amount of water skiing and air chair time in! We do not risk water sports when we are alone here with the girls, so having family/friends is great - especially when they know how to drive a boat :D The relaxing moments sitting back listening to the guys share stories was equally enjoyed! Living 8-9 hrs away, we just don't have many opportunities for simple times like we shared this week!

Here is a slide show of some of the fun boating moments..

One incredible adventure and opportunity we had was getting a plan ride with Caroline above Lake Sinclair and Oconee! Caroline was so calm, I was half expecting her to freak out a little bit on the take off and landing, but she did perfectly. Well as perfect as I did, haha! Scott sat in the front with Dave and that left the back seat for Caroline and I. We were only up for about 20-25 minutes, but that was just enough time for the tailwind to make Caroline and I slightly queasy! All in all though we enjoyed it tremendously! I got some excellent video & pictures. All the photos I took are over Sinclair - I wish I wouldve taken some over Oconee, as it is like a different world up there! Lake Oconee is just north of us and is connected to Sinclair by the Wallace Dam (which is in the photo slideshow). The difference is that Oconee is #1 only an hour commute from Atlanta, whereas we are 2hrs .. and additionally it is much larger. So the homes, hotels, golf courses, etc are plentiful and very nice - to say the least. You can clearly see the $$ by looking at all the roof tops and swimming pools! We flew about 600 feet above ground, so we experienced some great views.

Here are some highlights - see the slideshow further down for more photos. In the near future I will try to upload some video too!

Dave's Skylane plane @ the Baldwin County Airport
The pilot .. Dave!

This is an aerial photo of... our boat & dock anyhoo! Our cottage is hiding under all those trees!
Shot of Caroline & I up in the sky!
Its a bird...?

A plane!  Dave & Dave homeward bound! 7/18

Nope .. its a plane! Dave and Dave Ohio bound after 4 days of sun and fun in Georgia! I think they are a bit wore out from all the fresh air and sun :) We sure did appreciate and enjoy the visit - hopefully next time Lisa (Scott's sister who is married to Dave) will be adventurous enough to fly down here with him! Lisa... it's all good, unless you are in the back seat! hehe

A bird ??

And a short slide show of the sightings we had on our time in the air...

To all our family and friends... our door is always open!
The lake is most fun when we get to share it with loved ones!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The 4th of July...little known history

Our 4th of July will once again be enjoyed at the lake with good friends, food and fireworks! We have actually been here all week soaking up the sun in pure sunshine and 95 degree weather every day! It has been a very relaxing week - a great deal of swimming with the girls! Much of my time has been consumed reading (1st book in probably 8+ years) "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by John Berendt. I have 50 pages to go - and cannot wait to finish! Me.. reading a WHOLE book in less than a week! I give the credit to this author.. what an amazing writer. The book is about Savannah..

Anyhooooo.... sorry I got off track there! So what is 4th of July anyway? Besides all of us enjoying family, friends and fireworks, lets not forget what the true celebration is. Here is a neat summary of the history of our Independence and who got us here! Enjoy.. be safe.. and celebrate in style!

Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men
who signed the Declaration of Independence?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors,
and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army;
another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or
hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes,
and their sacred honor.
What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.
Eleven were merchants,
nine were farmers and large plantation owners;
men of means, well educated,
but they signed the Declaration of Independence
knowing full well that the penalty would be death if
they were captured.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and
trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the
British Navy. He sold his home and properties to
pay his debts, and died in rags.
Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British
that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.
He served in the Congress without pay, and his family
was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him,
and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer,
Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.
At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that
the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson
home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General
George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed,
and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed.
The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying.
Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill
were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests
and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his
children vanished.

It's time we get the word out that patriotism is NOT a sin. Enjoy your friends, family, food, fun and fireworks ... but also take time to remember what this day means to America. Take a moment and silently thank the patriots of our past time.
Remember: freedom is never free!

RECIPE: Strawberry Cheese Tarts

July 4th is a day of BBQ, but how about a sweet treat? Flag fruit pastries and the like are common. I found a recipe a few years back that has become a tradition that we look forward to every year! What better way to put to use that homemade strawberry jam that I just made back in June but in a July 4th treat! This morning I just finished up a delectable batch of STRAWBERRY CHEESE TARTS to share with friends that are arriving today to celebrate this historic day.

First there is a bit of history behind this particular tart! I did not follow the recipe exactly, rather I used a tart cutter my father gave me the last time I was home for a visit. My mom use to do a lot of baking and prune tarts around Christmas time were a staple in our home. It wasn't until I was an adult that I actually grew to enjoy those prunes! So when I came across this recipe my eyes got wide and I was excited to give it a try with mom's old tart cutter! The bonus was the treats look like stars!!

I have never seen a cutter like this in the stores, so I wonder what everyone else thinks of when they hear the word "tart". For me .. its fond memories of baking with my mom. She no longer is able to bake like the good ole days, but she taught her knack in the kitchen on to me, and for that I will be forever grateful. Additionally, I have already begun to pass along the same traditions .. teaching and enjoying the joys of baking with my girls.

So on to the recipe! These are YuMMiLiCOUS!

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 pint strawberry jam
1 beaten egg

Mix all ingredients on low speed until blended. Chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Kneed portions of dough on lightly floured surface then roll out to 1/8" thickness.
If you do not have any sort of a tart cutter, you can cut circles with a cookie cutter or water glass. Spoon a teaspoon of strawberry jam in center. Brush edges with beaten egg. Put another circle on top and press edges all around together with a fork. Brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake until edges are golden brown, 10-12 mins. Can serve warm. Keep in air tight container. ENJOY!