Thursday, April 11, 2013

A's post of Philadelphia

Today Miss"A" is writing instead of my mother.  Fyi, I will call my mother Mama and my father Papa.


I am writing about our trip to Philadelphia last summer.  After visiting Hershey's Chocolate Park, we arrived in Philadelphia, PA.  The first place we explored was Reading Terminal Market. 
Reading Terminal Market is almost like an old-fashioned mall. It is located at 12th and Arch Street. 
The market has a food court,a bookstore,a candle shop,a bakery and a coffee shop.


There was also a shop called Amy's Place in the market where Mama bought a USA shaped cookie cutter for her friend, a nose pencil sharpener for me, a puzzle eraser for my friend and a cute owl timer.

A few hours after that,we wound up in Elfreth's Alley,in the rain.  The houses are of all colors. My favorite is one with a bright red door.This photo is of one with a pale blue door.

Elfreth's Alley

A little information of Elfreth's Alley,
Elfreth's Alley is a street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which is referred to as "Our nation's oldest residential street," dating to 1702. As of 2012, there are 32 houses on the street, which were built between 1728 and 1836. Source : Wikipedia

I saw a colonially dressed woman giving a tour. There was a little museum at the alley and I went there with Mama.  Across the street was Betsy Ross' house. Unluckily,by then, it was closed.

The next day, we visited the house-museum of Betsy Ross. I made fake turkey pot pie. Papa enjoyed Betsy Ross' herb garden. My family enjoyed Elfreth's Alley but not this little dog...

Elfreth's Alley

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Old City, Chocolatier,Mt.Royal of Montreal, Canada

Guess what? I found more pictures of our Montreal  trip. The first picture is the photo of Old City better known as Old Montreal and it is also a church called Notre-Dame Basilica.

Old Montreal or Vieux-Montréal in French is the oldest area in the city of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. According to Wikipedia, Most of Old Montreal was declared a historic district in 1964 by the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec. Old Montreal is a major tourist attraction with some of its buildings dating to the 17th century.  It is one of the oldest urban areas in North America.

Old City

Next is the statue of Paul de Chomedey, which dates back to 1895.
It is known as the Monument Maisonneuve. The monument was created in 1895 by the prominent artist Louis-Philippe Hebert. It honors Chomedey's defense of the young settlement of Montreal against the Iroquois Indians, who were battling the Hurons. Source : Go There Guide

Horse carriage is pretty common in tourist places and Old Montreal is one of them.
Cafe in Montreal
Cafe! We visited Marius and Fanny's Chocolatier. The minute I stepped in the cafe, I was awed by the bakery that was on display. To know more please visit Marius Fanny's.
Marius et Fanny Pâtisserie
Provençale 4439,
Rue Saint-Denis Montréal,
QC H2J 2L2 (514) 844-0841

For your information,
a chocolatier is someone who makes confectionery from chocolate. Chocolatiers are distinct from chocolate makers, who create chocolate from cacao beans and other ingredients. Source : Wikipedia

A must place to visit is Mount Royal. Since A was sick, we did not explore Mt. Royal too much. Mount Royal is also a place for jogging, running, hiking or just leisure walking. We decided to go to Mt. Royal on Saturday as I heard there were many activities at Mt. Royal on that day. We were lucky enough to be able enjoy the beautiful violin and cello music played by two girls but we missed the drum circle performance called Tam Tams Montreal.
Mount Royal
Finally, I am done and this is a wrap up of the post on Montreal's trip... I hope you enjoy it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lontong Sayur aka vegetable stew with rice cakes.

Lontong sayur is a vegetables stew in coconut milk and eaten with rice cakes.

Lontong is a rice cake. Lontong is traditionally made by boiling the rice until it is partially cooked and packing it tightly into a rolled-up banana leaves. Source : Wikipedia

Back in my country, we usually eat rice cakes with many kind of dishes; chicken/beef satay, Indonesian vegetables salad and stew chicken in coconut milk. I do not know the origin of Lontong sayur but I first tasted it in Jakarta while staying with my grandmother's sister and her husband. Since then, I was hooked to this dish.

So when I saw the below video in YouTube, I know I have to try making Lontong Sayur in my own kitchen,


I found the recipe to make this Lontong Sayur on the internet. There are many different kinds of recipe for this dish which you can try.
I recommend this particular recipe from my friend, Pepy Nasution. You can substitute the ingredients that you do not have on hand or can not find in where you live.
For myself, I did not use tempe, petai and shrimps. Instead, I used eggs and tofu which I cooked in sweet soy sauce.

Here is the recipe for Stew Eggs and Tofu in Sweet Soy Sauce,

4 large eggs boiled, peeled
4 pieces of fried tofu half-baked or you can have more than 4
5-6 tbsp sweet soy sauce enough water to cover the eggs and tofu

Grind :
2 pcs of shallots
2 cloves of garlic
5 pcs of candlenuts/cashew nut
salt and pepper

Fry the cube tofu in a bit of oil until slightly brown. Set aside.
Prepare a frying pan and saute the spices until they are fragrant then add water.
Next add in cooked tofu, eggs and sweet soy sauce and stir.
Cook until there is not a lot of water left.

Lontong sayur can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In Jakarta, I usually had this for breakfast but here in the USA, I eat it for lunch.



Last summer, we were in a French-speaking city in North America. Where were we? Montreal, Canada. I wanted to go to Montreal Canada after reading a post by one of my favorite blogger, Nadia. She is originally from Montreal but now she is living in Vermont. My initial plan was to go after my husband has finished his summer course. But we ended up travelling earlier because my husband had to go there for a seminar. I was thrilled. So after I finished A’s homeschooling class at our homeschool group, we packed up and started a long drive to Montreal, Canada.

I was excited about this trip mainly because I heard that Montreal is very beautiful.
Many websites I browsed, pictured the photos of houses and restaurants in Montreal that I only knew existed in some European countries.

In the city we plan to use the subway entirely. But we ended up walking more than a mile after the subway was closed due to bomb threat. We thought about taking a bus but dropped the idea after we saw the line of people waiting for the buses. For this trip, we prepared by researching places to visit on the Internet. My plan was to visit the Old Montreal, eat local food, explore Montreal’s Chinatown, enjoy the view of Mount Royal and most importantly, tour the city.

However, my husband and I had to change our plan because A got sick. A started to feel sick when we visited the BioDome.

Luckily, we managed to explore the BioDome and learned about different kinds of ecosystem.

One place that was not in my plan and we visited was Jean-Talon Market.I was impressed with this market as it was very clean and there were different kinds of ethnic food vendors. Jean-Talon Market is like any other farmer markets in North of America. The only difference is all the signs are in French and everybody speaks mostly French. I usually started with a polite “parlez-vous anglais”. Most of the time, the answer was “a little bit” but when I started to communicate in English with them, I realized their English was better than mine.

We did enjoy our time in Montreal. It was brief and it was even shorter after A got sick. We like the city despite the fact that a lot of people were smoking everywhere.
And sorry for the lack of pictures. I lost many of my Montreal pictures and left only with some photos of the Old Montreal.


Saturday, February 02, 2013

Chocolate Park

Chocolate, most people love it, others do not care for it and some do not like it at all.  My husband for example, does not care for chocolate but my daughter loves chocolate.  And me,...I can live without it. Why do I talk about chocolate?  Well, last summer, we went to the famous chocolate park in the US, Hershey's Park.

Chocolate World
Actually we did not plan to visit this place.  Our destination was about 2 hours away from Hershey's and since we heard lots of exciting news about it, we adjusted our route and stopped over for a few hours.

Hershey's open 9 am to 10 pm
We got there around noon and it was hot.  I remembered I have to adjust my ISO to 100 as the sun was very bright that day.  Since it was summer holiday, the parking lots were packed with people from all over the US.
We decided to visit  just one place, the Hershey's Chocolate World.  The admission is free for this section of the Hershey's park.   The first thing we did was to go on the ride in Hershey's factory tour. The ride reminded me of the one I took in Disney World.  Through the rides, we got to see how the chocolate was made in the factory.  The process started from cocoa beans to chocolate bars.  Of course, the factory was not real, however it was an educational ride for A and a relaxing ride for me and my husband.  At the end of the ride, everybody helped themselves to samples of chocolates.

And since, we were in the Chocolate World, I thought we should get some lunch and chocolate.
Well, my husband ordered a cup of chocolate drink and was very disappointed as it was too sweet.  His thought, since this place was a chocolate world, they would have varieties of chocolate drink but nope, they only have one kind, milk chocolate.  A had a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone.

Hershey's Park offered many other activities for kids which we did not go.  Your kids can create their own chocolate bars, taste different kinds of chocolate, work in a packaging factory or just watch a 3D show.  If you come in the summer, you can also enjoy the theme park and ride on the singing trolley to tour the Hershey town for 60 minutes.

And before you go home, you can buy some cakes and cupcakes in the bake's shoppe.

We only stayed for 2 hours in Hershey's park and after that, we were off to Philadelphia.

For more information, please click Chocolate world.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cleveland Botanical Garden

I have been to Cleveland, Ohio, so many times. This city has a lot to offer; a small Chinatown, an Italian town with a good bakery, a famous farmers market, museums, some famous universities and of course, shopping malls. Whenever I need Indonesia groceries or just want to visit a good Singaporean restaurant, I will go to Cleveland. So when recently, I visited their botanical garden, I knew I will not be disappointed.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden, located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States, was founded in 1930 as the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland. Source : Wikipedia

 We began our exploration from the glass house. This glass house sheltered a tropical forest with lots of beautiful butterflies, exotic birds and other tropical animals. One thing that amazed my daughter and I was a cabinet fulled with puppa of butterflies. We were able to see how the butterfly emerged from the puppa and stayed still for couple of hours to pump their body water before trying to test their wings. It was an amazing experience as we hardly saw it in nature. Unfortunately, most of the pictures of the puppas I took was blurry so I decided not to display.

The minute, we stepped in the glass house, we saw a boy holding a butterfly. Apparently, if you touch a butterfly legs with your finger gently, it will climb up on your finger and stay for a while.

There are many kinds of butterflies that I have never seen before. I love seeing the vivid colors on their wings,they are so vibrant.

We also noticed many different types of tropical trees. Here is one, I did not know the name of this plant though.

Most of the flowers I saw were Orchids. I think the flowers in the four-seasons countries are more beautiful than the tropical.

We also explore the gardens. Since it is winter, we did not see any flowers or plants in the gardens. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our walk that day and luckily, the weather was in our favor. It was 50 F that day.
There are 11 gardens in this botanical garden and we managed to visit some of them. My daughter, A, had a great time walking through the steps and the waterfall.


I love the stone stairs that we had to walk on to go to the Japanese garden.


We stayed right until the botanical garden was about to close and reluctantly went out. This place is not only enjoyable for children but also for adults. I hope to visit the garden again in the Spring time.


For more info, please visit CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Late Autumn posting


Late posting....Autumn was in the past however I hope, it is not too late to show off some of the Autumn's photos that I took.


We went to Pennstate Behrend to enjoy the beautiful view of Autumn. This college is one of my favorite place to take landscape pictures. Behrend College is also an arboretum which hosted 175 species of trees.


Another place that we visited was Wintergreen Gorge. This gorge was a canyon located next to the college in Harborcreek Township in Erie county, PA.
The above canyon's pictures was taken after one mile hiking through the trees. The entrance to this path is not very clear. If you want to visit the canyon and are in Behrend college, you may want to ask for the parking permit from the school's police station. Park your car behind the last building in the campus,then try to find the way to the trail. Another way which is used by many people is to park your car at Cooper road near to Shannon road and find a stream and follow the path that goes upstream.


I love to walk among the tress. Many times, our walk is a quiet one but once in a while, we can see a jogger past by.  My daughter, A loves to collect the leaves. She is especially excited when we asked her to collect some colorful leaves to be sent to Singapore for my husband's friend. She also suggested that we send some Autumn leaves to one of A's cousin in Indonesia. The leaves varies in colors from red to yellow.  I love the deep color leaves such as red, purple and brown.
The brilliance of colors you see every fall is directly related to weather conditions. The brightest colors are seen when late summer is dry, and autumn has bright sunny days and cool evenings. A good supply of rainfall also keeps the leaves on trees longer and helps to enhance the color. (Source : A guide to Fall Colors)
Which color do you like?


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Chautauqua Institution

This summer has been a busy summer for my family and me. We have been travelling to many places. One of the places that we visited was Chautauqua Institution in NY. Chautauqua institution is about 40 miles (64 km) from my house. It was located by the Chautauqua lake in upstate NY. This was not my frist trip, I was there in 2002. This time, I was there with my daughter, A and some of my close friends.
A little bit information about Chautauqua Institution,

  Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 170,000 visitors will stay at Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages—all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. Source : Chautauqua Institution

Chautauqua Institution

In the summer, Chautauqua Institute is always busy as there will be many classes open to public.


Fortunately, we went there before the classes were opened thus we could enjoy the view without the crowd. One thing that I remembered from my 2002's trip was the houses. The houses in this institution are colorful and very pretty. I love seeing different kinds of style of the houses. Some of them can be rented and others are actually lodging places.

Chautauqua Institution's hotel
Chautauqua Instituation

One of the places that I like to visit when I am travel is an antique store and guess what? I found one in this place.


so off, we went in the store...check out the door of this store. Cute!

Antique Door

Unfortunately, most of the beautiful China and ornaments were too expensive to buy but it did not deter me from snapping some pictures of the store. Don't you love to have some of those colorful glasses?

Antique Store

We walked a lot that day and in the end, we found the beach.


I adore these boats, they are very photogenic..:)


A enjoyed the trip and so did I...


For more information, please click Chautauqua Institution