Ok...so here are just 4 examples from last weekend in Mackinaw, but it goes to show that there has to be at least a thousand ways to enjoy ice cream. Throw in gelato from Florence, and there are millions!
Along with chocolate syrup and strawberry topping, Bear added some very yummy Froot Loops!
Ice Cream Sunday in a cup for Danielle!
You will never see Taylor eat any flavor other than plain chocolate. And if it isn't in a cone, she will only eat it out of a cup.
This one may just top them all, with the possible exception of the Froot Loops! Walker arranged his ice cream on a platter and enjoyed a swirl of chocolate and some sprinkles!
For my birthday, Kevin took me to my favorite Mackinaw store, MacKenzies, and let me pick out a ring. The one that called my name was this band of flowers (perfect for a May birthday). It is a Pandora ring (I didn't even know they made rings!), and has moonstone, crystal, and blue topaz flower centers. Thanks Kevin!
These plants think it's time to go outside! Somewhere in here are Taylor's 6th Generation Green Beans. She planted a seed at school in 2nd grade and we transplanted it into a pot on our deck. Each year, near the end of the season, we let a few of the beans get large and we save them, dry them out, and store the seeds over winter. Then the next spring, we plant the babies from the mother plant. Every one of the 20+ bean plants can be traced back to Taylor's 2nd grade seed/plant. In another area of the green house, Kevin has some "pole" beans growing. These came from seeds that he put in the freezer in 1999. This year he got them out and had me plant some for kicks to see if they would grow. Almost every one sprouted! There are also more tomatoes that you can count, chamomille, cilantro, lettuce, swiss chard, upteen different kinds of peppers, lemon balm, green onions, chervil, giant pumpkins, zucchini, and more!
We toured an authentic Balsemic Vinegar factory, which is really a house since vinegar has to age in the attic and feel the extreme heat and cold of the climate throughout the year. I learned that true balsemic vinegar can only come from the Reggio Emilia/Modena area of Italy. It is quite a process of aging that takes years (i can't remember if the minimum is 9 or 12 years). Each year they move the vinegar to a new and smaller barrel made of a different wood so that each wood gives a piece to the flavor. There was a tasting, which I didn't think I would enjoy, but the older the vinegar is, the sweeter it is. The oldest vinegar, which was at least 25 years old was super sweet and is used for dessert and ice cream! It also costs about $160 for a small bottle. It all tasted darn amazing! (I bought a younger bottle that only cost about $35)!
Last year, we were only able to see the countryside of Italy through train windows. This time, we signed up for a tour of castle ruins and a vinegar factory. It was great to get outside of town and see the countryside and distant mountains. Notice the small goat in the background in the photo of me. That goat stood there the whole time we walked through the ruins!