Thursday, June 25, 2015

BFF Time

I was so thankful to get to spend time with my two BFFs over our NC trip. (Last year's reunion!) We've been close for over 25 years, and we love now that our kids love hanging out with each other so much, too!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tweetsie 2015

Our annual Tweetsie Railroad pilgrimage last Thursday along with my mom, my brother, and his son:

This is how we merrily go round... (Too bad brother/sister synchronized carouseling isn't an Olympic sport...)

Crusin' cousins!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Vietnam Experience

JB & Hershel surprised us by showing up after our island excursion in Charleston, making our family experience complete! It was an honor to tour the Vietnam Experience Exhibit at Patriots Point with Hershel and hear his personal war stories from his time in Vietnam as a paratrooper with the 101st in 1967-68:

After the interactive walk-through Vietnam Experience Exhibit, we climbed aboard the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, as well:

Historical sites are my favorite travel experiences!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Morris Island

Y'all *know* we have to make a quick trip to Charleston each time we come to the Carolinas, and we have pretty much perfected maximizing a day trip experience! We always find some new adventures - this last Sunday: Morris Island via Adventure Harbor Tours...after grabbing a few doughnuts (peach cobbler!!!) for breakfast from Glazed:

Howard with Adventure Harbor Tours gave us a FANTASTIC boat trip out to pristine Morris Island to find sharks teeth, starfish, sand dollars, & gorgeous nature!

Hermit crab:


All the sharks teeth we found!

Pristine beach:


On the trip back, we talked more about Fort Sumter history and then stopped for about 15 minutes in the harbor to watch a number of dolphins all around us! Annelise was enchanted...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Barbeque + Red Slaw Recipe

We left the Kings Mountain National Military Park hungry and hopped over to *THE* top-rated barbeque spot in the country: Red Bridges

Don't believe me? Click for proof!

Annelise digging in:

Smokehouses out back:

I'm NOT snobby about 'cue: Carolina chopped pork is my fave, but I still love Texas brisket, ribs, vinegar-based sauce, mustard-based sauce, AL white sauce, & even thick sweet ketchup-based sauce. (I looove bbq sauces!!! :-)) The #1 NC BBQ element, though, that I absolutely adore is red slaw!!! *NOTHING* is better than red slaw mixed with pulled pork. Try it! I'm not lying: make a pork roast in your crockpot, shred with a fork, & serve with red slaw. Don't know how to get red slaw? It's your lucky day: I have a treasured recipe to share! (Concord folks, it's from The Red Pig!)

Red Slaw
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 medium heads of cabbage

Mix and pour over shredded (& finely chopped) cabbage. Will keep in the refrigerator for 1 year! (It's like pickles. :-P)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Revolutionary War Family Hero

This spring on TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" (a genealogy show I love) they traced actor Bill Paxton's ancestry back to a Revolutionary solider who fought at the battle of Kings Mountain. Paxton & the TV crew traveled to the actual site for a portion of the show; Annelise was watching with me, so I paused the DVR and said, "You know, your great great great great grandfather was a patriot hero in this battle! Right there, at that exact place." Her jaw hit the floor!!! You never know if children are going to care or understand the magnitude of certain points of history, but she jumped on this! "ARE YOU SERIOUS?!" I told her everything I knew about our Captain Archibald McCurdy & that we could actually go there when we went to NC this June... And we did!

We went to the Kings Mountain National Military Park, and the kids completed this awesome booklet there to become official National Park Junior Rangers! Their swearing in:

Playing colonial games:
(Bless her heart, it took Annelise *72* tries to get the ball in the cup!!! I was shocked that it only took me ~15!!! :-P)

The small museum they have there at the info center is fantastic! We were actually impressed. The park entrance, museum, movie, & Jr Ranger program are all FREE - I highly recommend spending a couple hours here, if you're ever passing by on I-85 around the NC/SC border!

When we got back to my parents' house that evening, we pulled out the antique trunk from my Grandmommy that holds so many family artifacts - mostly letters, papers, newspaper clippings, & photos...but also Capt. Archibald's ACTUAL leather saddlebags from the Revolutionary War!!!!! We also found his commission as a Captain, dated May 25th, 1782:

An article about him & our family from a newspaper in 1930:

A magazine history (easier to click & read) from 1976, including a cool story about his 1st wife, Maggie (we're descendants of his 2nd marriage when he was already 75!!! that's how I can be only 3 greats back) as a spy during the Revolution:

A few days after our excursion, we took the kids over to Capt. Archibald's gravesite:
& cabin site, where the barn still stands. It's all still in our family. I remember playing as a child in the historic cabin - which was the oldest structure (214 yrs) in our home county, until it burned in an accident in 1987. :'( At least the barn is still there, and the kids could see Capt. Archibald's actual cut marks in the wood.

I love history, and family connections make it even more real!