Monday, August 21, 2017

Checking Out the Sights in Jamestown, Rhode Island

Our family went to Jamestown, Rhode Island yesterday.  The weather was beautiful and we checked out a couple of the state parks.

Our first stop was Fort Wetherill.  The boys and their dad toured the fort while I took pictures of it from the outside.   

We had lunch at the park and went to check out one of the beaches for a quick dip in the water.  Ian tried catching crabs, fish and small sea creatures too.

Once we had enough of fort Wetherill we went up to Beavertail Lighthouse.  I took the boys to Beavertail last year but the lighthouse museum and the aquarium had been closed during that visit so this visit we just focused on those two.  (If you'd like to see photos of the lighthouse itself and the surrounding area you can check out this post). 

Inside the museum we learned all about the history of Beavertail lighthouse as well as all the other lighthouses in Rhode Island.

We learned about the lights, the lighthouse keepers, and even all the shipwrecks around the area!!

My husband worked on this lighthouse (in fact he built the 3 level work platform they mention) 

We had a museum docent who stopped and talked to us about some of the shipwrecks off the Rhode Island coast.  We learned about the Gaspee; Rhode Island's own version of the Boston Tea Party!  It was such an interesting story (you can read more about the actual events here).

We then went to check out the aquarium.  They had a touch tank, tanks with puffer fish, crabs, lobsters, crayfish, robin fish, horseshoe crabs, turtles and star fish.  

We had so much fun.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mocha Chocolate Trifle Cake

My mother in law was celebrating her birthday earlier this month and Alec really wanted to make her a cake.  He knew that she loves coffee and wanted to make a cake that had a subtle coffee flavor.

He's also been wanting to try and make a trifle cake so we decided to combine the two ideas into one.  We came up with this mocha chocolate trifle cake and it was a HUGE hit at the party!

Rather than make the cake and pudding from scratch (which he absolutely was thinking about doing) we decided to make it a bit easier on ourselves this time and use the boxed mixes.


Chocolate cake mix
Melted butter (in place of the oil listed on the box mix)
Eggs(1 more egg than the box mix calls for)
4 cups of Milk plus enough to replace the water listed on the box mix
4 packets Folgers instant coffee singles
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 package instant chocolate pudding
1 8 oz. container Cool Whip
Coffee Syrup
4 Skor or Heat Bars


1.  In stand mixer combine cake mix, melted butter, eggs and enough milk to replace the water called for on the box.  Once mixed add in packets of Folgers coffee.  Divide into greased and floured cake pans and bake according to package directions.

2.  In a large bowl combine vanilla and chocolate pudding mixes with 4 cups of cold milk.  Follow package directions for making pudding.   Break up candy bars into small pieces.

3. Once cake is cooled begin layering.  Cover the bottom of the trifle dish with cake and pour a shot glass sized serving of chocolate syrup over the cake.  This makes the cake nice and moist and gives it more coffee flavor.  I did not measure this amount; squirting the cake with syrup right out of the bottle.

4.  Top the cake with half the pudding mixture.

5.  Top the pudding with half the Cool Whip and half of the candy bar crumbles.

6.  Repeat layers one more time.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Exploring the Shore During Low Tide

We spent Wednesday at the beach.  It was hot and sunny and while the beach was quite crowded it was the perfect day!

No one got sunburned or hurt, we saw tons of sea creatures, and we really enjoyed walking out in the water all day long.

The tide was out most of the time and we could walk our pretty far while still being able to see our feet and everything under the water.

Looking for shells and crabs

This pile of seaweed was filled with snails 

A baby crab!  

We found so many fascinating shells; just about all of which had hermit crabs inside 

Here's a crab peeking out

A completely intact shell; Evan kept speculating about what lived inside 

Starting a hole 

Help makes it go faster 

Enjoying some frozen treats at the beach

I loved the lighting and reflection off these small pools 

A shell covered in smaller shells 

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Weekly Wrap- Up: The Week of All the Firsts

We had a great week of firsts.  We went on our first steam train/ riverboat ride.  We went to the beach for the first time this summer.  We saw so many new sea creatures.  We found a new place to hike; we went to check out the tri- state marker.   It was wonderful!

Friday we took a trip to the other end of the state and went on a train and riverboat ride.  It was such a fun day and we learned a lot about the history of the area.  Alec spent the entire time in the car reading his Wolves of Beyond book and even had me stop on the library on the way home to pick up the third book in the series.  He's been coloring up a storm with his color by numbers book and spent some time in the morning building Charazard with his mini Lego type set.

Saturday Alec spent most of the morning reading his wolves book while Evan watched old Pokemon cartoons and Ian hung out in his room.  As soon as we received a call from my husband we packed up and headed to his grandparents' house.  We spent a long day cleaning out and moving furniture and boxes.  There wasn't a whole lot for the boys to do and while they helped out here and there when they could they mostly spent time playing outside or, in Alec's case, reading a book.  He brought The Loser's Club with him and read the entire book!

Sunday morning found us right back at it; cleaning house and sorting through a lifetime of belongings.  The boys had packed more things to do and snacks to keep them occupied but we didn't end up staying very long.  At some point more help becomes... well.. not so helpful!  It's tough when there are so many family members with all different opinions trying to help out, clear out, and clean out and we thought it might be most helpful if we were out of the way.  The boys played around the house and ended their day with a swim in the lake and a tube ride.  Evan headed out for a sleepover and we took the older two boys out for ice cream.

With Evan not home on Monday morning, I let the boys have a day off from school and Ian began watching The Cars That Made America.  Once Evan arrived home we went to the store and tried to find him a comfy chair for his room.  We didn't find anything and once we were back home the boys all played outside for a bit.  Alec came in to work in his color by number and the next thing I knew all three boys were cleaning a room in the house! Evan worked on cleaning the garage, Alec cleaned my dining room and Ian cleaned the hallway and the foyer.  All three boys wanted extra time to play video games and watch TV and I was happy to grant them that!

It was raining Tuesday morning so we settled in for another day at home.  The boys all worked on a bit of schoolwork.  I went grocery shopping and they carried all the groceries in.  They cleaned a room each so they could play some video games. We went to the library in the afternoon and I was so surprised when Alec managed to read two of the three books I picked up for him by dinner!

We had the best time at the beach on Wednesday!  The sun was shining and since it was like low tide all day we were able to explore the shore looking for all sorts of wonderful sea creatures.  (More pictures will be shared tomorrow!).

Thursday the boys and I went hiking to the tri state marker after having worked on a bit of schoolwork in the morning.  After hiking we stopped at the library and then the boys went to play outside.  Alec tried reading his book in a few different places while Evan went swimming.  Ian played in the sand and the two older boys went on jet ski rides too.  We were thrilled when we discovered a monarch butterfly chrysalis hanging on our patio chair and we can not wait to see how changes over the next week.

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