Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's like going on a treasure hunt...

Nicole:  So a little over a year ago I found this really cool hobby that I wanted to try out.  It is basically like going on a treasure hunt.  How could you not love that?!  You get a set of clues that may be specific or very vague, go out and follow them, and (hopefully) find your prize!  This hobby is called letterboxing.
So when I first told Justin about it I was very very excited and couldn't wait to get started.  Well, it turns out you need a few things to start - most notably a stamp, ink pad, and log book.

After we finally got these items I printed out a few clues from the various letterboxing websites for boxes near where we live.  Now I didn't know much about boxing at all so I didnt know that some boxes may have disappeared or been ruined or anything like that and there is a way to see when they were last found.  So as we set out looking for multiple boxes that day and didnt find a single thing, we were very disappointed.  Luckily though, I have researched it more and have learned quite a few useful tips and we have found quite a few letterboxes this past year!

We don't have time to go letterboxing a lot, so when we have an opportunity, we usually take it.  We have tried quite a few times to attend various events that have occurred throughout the year, but something always comes up and we are unable to go.  So our new goal is to try to attend at least one event!    Also, with the several trips that we are taking this year, we are trying to work a little letterboxing into the schedule so that we can find new boxes in different parts of the US.
Justin:  I must admit when I first heard about letterboxing from Nicole.  I was like cool but was like eh because I'm not really an outdoorsy person.  I don't like the heat and me standing around dripping in sweat looking for a camouflaged box didn't sound all that appealing.

But I wanted Nicole to have a hobby other then just tagging along with me to conventions.  I wanted her to find something she was passionate about too and this certainly sparked her curiosity.  I gave it a shot and the first day we went, we spent three hours in the woods and found jack squat.  I was definitely done.  I gave up too quickly but I checked my attitude and gave it another try because I could tell she really wanted to get into this and I know how much of an out doors person she is, especially during the summer.  I also realized it's good to get out in the heat and work/hike/walk off some poundage instead of staying in a nice AC'd room stuffing my face with ice cream and watching reruns of Jersey Shore.
So on the second try I actually found the first letterbox!  I was really excited and all that work with our bodies and our minds (to figure out the clues) really pays off when you find that letterbox hidden in a bush, buried in a tree, or covered by some rocks.  It's the satisfaction that you get can when you place your mark and say that you've been here that is the most rewarding.  Also it creates a way to work together.  It builds communication, team work, trust, and a sense of accomplishment when you find the box.  All key ingredients to a healthy and happy relationship.  Don't ya think?

We recently went to Louisville, KY for the Derby Comic Con and we planned a mini vacation around that.  Part of the vacation included some letterboxing at Cave Hill Cemetery in which we hit 5 for 5 boxes in one afternoon.  Quite an accomplishment for some amateur letterboxers.  Woot!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You scream, I scream, Ice cream!

Nicole:  I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday!  I had a few days off work, which was amazing, but I still managed to keep myself busy as usual.  Lots of bbq's, fun and hanging with friends and family.
So as you may know I have a deep deep love for ice cream, I could eat it all day every day.  I've had homemade ice cream on my birthday numerous times and even planned a day to go to special ice cream shops.  My birthday dream is to participate in an ice cream challenge at Lindy's and Gerties of Bridgeview. And Win!
Well, last year my sister got me the ice cream maker attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.  Correction:  She got me a picture of the ice cream attachment for my kitchenaid mixer.  After harassing her for almost a year, she finally ordered it and it arrived this past week!  Just in time for July, which is Ice Cream Month.
Since we had the 4th of July weekend coming up I decided to give it a go and try it out.  Now, I knew that I had to let the bowl freeze for about 18 hours, but I wasn't prepared for how long it would actually take to make ice cream.  The book says it would only need to churn for 20 minutes and then would be ready to eat!  I picked out my recipe, hurriedly made my grocery list, and headed to the store.  I came back all excited to make some great vanilla ice cream and have it all ready to eat in the next hour.  I get all my ingredients set out and start reading the recipe I picked out. Wait....I have to let the batter cool for 8 hours!?! Uhhhh. Yikes.  So I decided to go the eggless route and that cut the time down immensely.  I whipped it all up, let it get really cold for about an hour and then finally I could let it churn!  20 minutes later - ice cream!
Since it is National Ice Cream Month, my goal is to try to make at least one new flavor of ice cream each week.  I know, that's a lot of ice cream.  Looks like I may need to have an ice cream party!