Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bootleggers, Gangsters and Pirates! - An ISM American Spirits Exhibit Follow-Up

 Bootleggers, Gangsters and Pirates! 

After my preview post on the the newest exhibit at the Indiana State Museum, I had a very enlightening conversation with my oldest sister. I had sent her my post to read and was telling her how excited I was to explore the exhibit, especially everything flappers. Oh how I love flappers

She proceeded to tell me we had bootleggers in our family. Our Dad's side (our German ancestors) of course was exactly how she said it. LOL. As if to say our sweet tender-hearted mother could have never been related to bootleggers! Then she added a pirate too, but he was from our Mother's side! Intriguing indeed. I was like a little kid sitting on the storytime carpet, eyes wide, awaiting more of the story! But I digress. We'll save the pirate stories for another day.

In so many ways, a visit to the Indiana State Museum is just like a wonderful vivid storytime adventure. I felt so lucky to get a guided tour of American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition from one of the curators, Katherine Gould, on opening day September 20th. Her insights into the background on the exhibit and American history during the time period were so helpful!

That's like 4 shots a day for every American!
The Fortville Mama kiddos had the time of their life! They loved the characters in period dress, all the hands-on interactive exhibit features and learning about Indiana during the temperance and prohibition days.

Some of our favorite features were:

Little Man wanted to head right over to Crown Hill and find Dillinger's grave.

Little Man helping Daddy figure out if he would have been a "Wet" or "Dry".
Exploring A Speakeasy. Kiddos loved the secret door you had to knock on!

Enjoying a little atmosphere in the Speakeasy.
Getting his jig on with a little Charleston.
Hanging with the Gangster crew and getting to take our own mugshots!
Love all the facts throughout the entire exhibit!
Let's hope there is an upcoming pirate exhibit on the horizon, so I can dive into that family story too! You'll love it. It's a doozy! In the meantime, make sure to visit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition at the Indiana State Museum now through Feb 15th. Discover if you would have been a "wet" or "dry", deliver your own temperance speech, learn different versions of The Charleston and get booked next to Al Capone. Make sure to tweet me at @FortvilleMama and tag @IndianaMuseum and let us know all about your visit.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fortville Mama - Top Ten Fall Favorites

The Joys of Autumn in Indy

Such a brief season, but my absolute favorite! I love everything about it – sweaters, chili, stews, caramel apples, apple cider, bonfires, crunch of leaves underfoot, pumpkins, s’mores, hayrides, crisp mornings, mums and yes coach man…even football.

One of my favorite children’s books starts like this: Pumpkins round, cover the ground, vines twirl, children whirl, cool breeze blows the leaves, happy shouts are all about, time to pick a pumpkin out. Love that book. It captures my exact feelings on fall; no matter it’s from Curious George’s perspective! He’s an insightful little monkey.

Somehow I've done a great job of transferring my love of fall to the kids as well. They adore it as much as I do. That definitely makes my heart happy, because it means we can enjoy all the wonderful activities autumn has to offer as a family.

And Hancock County and surrounding does not disappoint on the wonderful family friendly fall activities!

Here are a few of my favs:
  • A cozy cup of Toffee Coffee Crunch from Java Junction on Main Street to kick off a Saturday morning.
  • Decorating the porch with mums from Brawners, pumpkins from Piney Acres Farm and Clyde our trusty scarecrow on a stick from Walmart.
  • An afternoon at Tuttle Orchards in McCordsville, snipping u-pick sunflowers, picking apples with a red wagon in tow, enjoying the kid’s zone and sweet treats like caramel apples and pumpkin donuts.
  • Visiting the Zenors out at Piney Acres Farm for our pumpkins, a hayride, a visit with the barnyard animals and trying out their newest feature Breakfast on the Farm!
  • Romping through the fallen leaves in picturesque MemorialPark. Maybe snapping a family photo or two among the reds, oranges and golden yellows. 
  • Enjoying an evening under the Friday night lights at MV highschool and cheering for the home team.
  • Having some of our friends over for a bonfire, chili with fixings and s’mores for dessert.
  • Watching ND football with coach man snuggled on the couch with a pumpkin candle burning and a bowl of homemade potato soup with cheese and bacon on top.
  • Enjoying family picnics and hikes at Fort HarrisonState Park.
  • Making visits to Conner Scarie and ZooBoo as well.

There is so much to get out and do in around our town each autumn! What are your favorites?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mama Tip Tuesday! Biscuits and Gravy Casserole

Antelope Dreams and Breakfast Casserole

Last week I was dreaming all night about biscuits and gravy... oh the things pregnant ladies dream about! You see, it's not entirely my midnight hunger and pregnant hormones that started it all. It was Piney Acres Farm. The night before I had read one of their posts on Facebook

While I won't be antelope hunting any time soon. I did need my energy for running after a 2 and 4 year old while 8 months pregnant. With my midwife reminding me all the time that I need to eat at least two eggs a day I know by now I have to stay creative and change it up on how I get those lovely eggs in daily!

While Saturdays are Piney Acres Farm breakfast days through fall, I had to think of something for the rest of the week to tide me over. Sometimes ya just have to work with what you have, so I came up with this delish dish on the fly!

Mama's Breakfast Casserole
1 16oz package frozen Potatoes O'Brian  (potatoes with onions and peppers)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese
8 stripes of bacon chopped
1 container crescent rolls
1 package gravy mix

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 9x13 glass pan. Pour in potatoes. Scramble eggs and milk, then pour over potatoes.  Cover with cheese and chopped/crumbled bacon. Then break crescent rolls into 1 inch pieces and layer on top. Follow gravy instructions then pour gravy on top. Bake for 50 minutes. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mama Tip Tuesday! Bisquick Pumpkin Choc Chip Waffles

Fall = Pumpkin Everything!

Really can there ever be enough pumpkin goodies around?

This past Sunday was a magical day. The cool crisp fall air came through my bedroom window as I snuggled up in my warm bed. The kids slept in, then came into my bed to snuggle and snoozed some more. I lay there not wanting to get up, but also knowing I had to eventually get up and make breakfast for everyone.

I stumbled sleepy into the kitchen not knowing what to make. Feeling a little nauseous too being in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. I needed something fast and easy. So I found the Bisquick thinking hey that's easy. Then I remembered I had about half a can of pumpkin puree in the fridge from making cookies the night before. Eureka! A perfect morning for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles! Breakfast was ready in a flash. Perfection.

Bisquick Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles
2 cups Bisquick or baking mix
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup of mini Choc chips
Preheat and grease waffle iron
Mix all ingredients until most lumps are gone. 
Then pour in the center of the iron.
Cook about 5 minutes or to crispy perfection.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Cheers to American Spirits at ISM - Opening September 20th

I So Could Have Been A Flapper

I'm fascinated by history, whether Indiana, American or World. I love to dive in and understand how people before me lived and what was important to them in their daily lives. What influenced their decisions? What did they value? How did they dress? Where did they live and work? What made them the person they were? What legacy did they leave? I know...so many questions. Can't help it. I'm inquisitive, and I adore the art of storytelling!

And storytelling is something that the Indiana State Museum does oh so very well. I could get lost within its walls for days taking in all the treasures and stories. Their newest exhibit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition opens September 20th and runs until February 15th, and I can't wait!

I've always been intrigued by flappers, gangsters and bootleggers. Oh what an interesting time 1920-1933 was in America and even our dear Indiana! A gangster or two passed through our very state from time to time. My quaint Fortville has a Bed and Breakfast that is rumored to have housed a prohibition-era gambling operation often visited by the legendary Al Capone! Many Hoosier's stories are weaved throughout that time frame. Billy Sunday, May Wright Sewall and Grace Julian Clarke to name a few. 

Come to think of it, I believe there has been a Halloween or two in my past where I've gone as a flapper! Yes my love affair with the flapper has been going on for years. You have to admit their outfits are just cool and the pictures you see always ooze confident American woman! They were their own woman and didn't let society define who they were to be in their daily lives. I love it! I so could have been a flapper!

To think the prohibition struggles so long ago have played a very key role in shaping the world's attitude towards alcohol today. What if alcohol was still illegal? What kind of world would it be if there were no craft brews, no small wineries, no beautiful aged bourbons? The Super Bowl commercials would definitely be different. No magnificent Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales gracing our screens. One of my favorites! I wouldn't be able to go down the street to Scarlet Lane Brewing Company with my growler and get a sampling of their newest artisan brew. No fall visits to Oliver's Winery to enjoy the scenery and a glass of wine with friends. Oh how the world would be different.

I love that the Indiana State Museum is bringing this slice of American history to us in an interactive new 5000 square foot exhibit, complete with multimedia experiences, temperance speeches, a re-creation of a speakeasy and over 100 rare artifacts from the time period. It will be as if you are right there in the middle of all the action! Who would you have been back then? A dry? A wet? A bootlegger? 

I would have been the girl in the middle to the left. Yep her!

For more info on planning your visit and ticket prices, visit the museum website. Tickets are now on sale for an after hours special Indiana Spirits event October 3rd. Special event visitors will be able to celebrate the new exhibit with a VIP Speakeasy featuring a bourbon bar and gorgeous canal terrace city views. Additionally prohibition-era themed cocktails, a vintage photo booth and live music. It's a perfect excuse for a date night out and a fun way to enjoy the Indiana State Museum after hours all dressed up!

I want to hear all about your experience when you go visit! Make sure to hashtag #ISMSpirits and follow the Indiana State Museum on FB and Twitter to keep up with all the cool and exciting exhibits!

Wandering Wednesday - Whimsy on Binford's North End

Gift Closets - What a Nifty Idea

The idea of having a gift closet never occurred to me until I met Indy's most Twisted Sisters! And what a fabulous idea it is! A place to stockpile gifts perfect for any occasion or even a stockpile for holidays. It allows you to browse anytime during the year and find perfect items and have them tucked away and handy for when the time arises that you need a gift for an event, birthday, shower or holidays. You can look with certain people in mind or for "generic" give-ables all year long. Just think by doing this you are also able to take advantage of sales, instead of waiting until the last minute to find a gift and most times spending more than you'd really have preferred.

Eureka! We all have those friends who always give the most perfect gifts, even on short notice. My wonderful sister-in-law, Rhonda, is just like that. She always has the best simple thoughtful gifts. Even themed gifts. I always wonder how she does it too. I bet money she has a gift closet now I know such a thing exists! Okay, Rhonda, give it up...you have a gift closet, don't you?

I called her. She does. She laughed at my questioning. She's had one for years. It's in her walk-in closet tucked in a corner. Here's some of her current gift closet loot.

If only I had been given this idea back on December 26th, I'd have my own gift closet well stocked by now. Instead it's September and I'm already stressing over the upcoming birthdays AND holidays and getting organized to get it all done within budget. I guess it's never too late to start! And it doesn't even have to be a whole closet, maybe start with a drawer, single shelf or an empty cedar chest just begging for something fun inside. 

So what kind of items are perfect for a gift closet:
  • Cards, wrapping paper, bags, tissue paper and bows of course
  • Simple selection of age-appropriate gifts for last minute children's birthday party invites.
    • Target Clearance - It's a gem mine for a gift closet! 
    • Board Games! Who doesn't love a board game?!
    • Books - I could get lost in Barnes & Noble any day. Every kid needs, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You.
  • Baby shower items. 
    • Shopping all year long will let you pick up cute items on clearance and save.
  • Bridal shower items.
    • Bed, Bath & Beyond Clearance
    • Kitchen gadgets
    • Wine
  • Graduation gifts.
    • You could even keep a jar in the closet with a little cash tucked away for this gifts. We all know grads prefer cash over wrapped pretties.
  • Teacher gifts.
  • Holiday gifts. 
    • Giving Tree at Church
    • Stocking stuffers too.
  • Themed gift items perfect for gift baskets such as a relaxing spa, beach or movie themed one.
I feel inspired! I'm taking the gift closet challenge! Are ya with me? My first stop is Twisted Sisters on Binford's North End. The Sisters were the ones that gave me the idea and I think it only fitting my first gift closet item be something from their unique gift shop! Shop Small Peeps! It does a world of good.

About Twisted Sisters (A Featured FortvilleMama Sponsor):
Twisted Sisters on Binford’s North End is your go-to gift shop featuring whimsical handpicked specialty gift and d├ęcor items, personally selected by two of the most hilariously twisted sisters to ever grace the Indy area, Teresa and Linda, and their equally witty business partner, Judy.  The three pride themselves on sourcing local and domestically crafted artisan merchandise. Featured items include handcrafted jewelry, soaps, handbags, fused glass works, recycled content items and food items, such as heavenly organic specialty peanut butter produced right here in Indiana.