Friday, October 03, 2014

Getting Back Out There

W, J, and I went back to the American Museum of Natural History last week.  We haven't been there in a couple of years so I decided it would be a good idea to see it again.  My sister and my 3-year-old niece came, too.  It was my niece's first time riding the subway.  Before we went in, we had a nice lunch at Shake Shack on Columbus Avenue.  J always eats at Shake Shack, but it was the first time for the rest of us.  I'll admit, it was a damn good burger.

At the museum, we more or less just zipped through a bit of the first floor and most of the 4th floor (dinosaurs) before spending most of the time in the Discovery Center.  I remember how much my kids loved it when they were little.  I'm happy to say that my niece loved it just as much.  She put on goggles and dug for bones, was fascinated with little clear blocks of various insects, built a totem pole, saw the live Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and really loved the nesting Matryoshka dolls. 

The W 77th Street side

My beautiful niece

 Today we went with the homeschool group to the Vanderbilt Museum and Planetarium in Centerport, Long Island.  We'd gone here years ago with J - W was to little to have paid any attention.  It was such a beautiful day out today for it.  We walked around the grounds and saw the Vanderbilt collection of safari animals, bugs, butterflies, sea creatures, and trophies. Our tour guide was a very knowledgeable and funny guy.  He made everything a lot more interesting.  I don't remember having a tour last time.  The planetarium had a wonderful show on the life cycle of stars.  It's a new building - just put up 2 years ago in place of the old one they'd used for 30 years.  We all enjoyed it very much. W hung with his friends.  It was nice to see these awesome homeschooled teens pay attention and have genuine interest in the exhibits.  It's great that there are so many new homeschooling teens this year, too.

The Long Island Sound is in the background

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Great Restaurant Adventure #3: Australia


W and I went to an Australian restaurant in Astoria, Queens yesterday called, The Thirsty Koala.  Our host and waiter seemed very Australian - accent and all - but who knows, lol.  W was all set to have a kangaroo burger - No, really, an actual hamburger made from kangaroo meat - but we both settled on the Ginger Beer battered Mahi & Chips.  I'm not a fish fan, but this was really really good.  They serve it with 3 sauce cups:  one was a Thai basil yogurt, one is a sweet chili sauce, and one is ketchup.   W said these were the best "chips" he'd ever had.  I loved all of it.  We each got an additional side with this, too.  I got the roasted fennel and beets and W got the mashed kumara (sweet potato).  The portion sizes are huge, which was great because we had a nice amount to bring home to B.

They serve handcrafted, organic sodas that are great.  The ginger brew is a bit on the spicy, throat-burning side.  It has little pieces of ginger in it.  The lemon-lime was really good.  The table comes with a carafe of water as well. 

                                              Didgeridoos and boomerangs are part of the decor

 I love their description, made me want to eat there more often:
The Thirsty Koala uses local, natural and organic fruits, vegetables, breads, pastry, eggs and dairy products. Our meats are free range, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free. Our small goods are chemical free from local artisans who cure and smoke their meats naturally. We make our own goat cheese and farmers cheeses using organic milk. By using local producers and artisans and following best practices, we are working to minimize our carbon footprint. 
So thank you for eating with us and supporting our mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.


Austrian cuisine is next...