Author Archives: Nichole S.

Cape Ann Brewing Co. is Bringing on the Cans

Jeremy Goldberg, owner of Cape Ann Brewing Co. and his incredible crew have just opened their new canning facility on Whittemore Street in Gloucester…and it is gorgeous.  I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything so shiny and clean!  I don’t claim to know much about the process of brewing beer, but I can say that their new facility and equipment are incredibly impressive.

On Friday evening they welcomed their “Mug Club” members to tour their new digs and I was happy to tag along.  To use their own words, “Fisherman’s beer — whose bold flavor and character reflect the spirit and courage of the sailors of the North Atlantic fishing fleet — is a tribute to hard work and a salute to friendships that endure.”  Well, it is clear that is true, when in the presence of this group of friends/co-coworkers.  They were excited, enthusiastic, and, as they should be, very proud of what they are accomplishing.

Check out their website for more information

Be on the lookout for the news cans…each design proudly showcasing the Fishermen’s Memorial Statue…and don’t forget to stop by the Pub at Cape Ann Brewing for some great eats, entertainment, and a seat on Gloucester’s Harbor before the nice weather is behind us!

Awesome things happening locally!  Great work, Cape Ann Brewing Co.!

 

Lunch Box 101…because some of you have asked.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I LOVE my job teaching, but I’d be a straight up liar if I didn’t admit that I don’t love summer vacation a bit more.  It isn’t that I need a break from the work or from my amazing students….it is that I love the weeks of freedom to play, sleep, take long day trips, or do nothing at all with my boys.  Late mornings, late nights, sand, salt, water….  How can you not love that?

That having been said, typically, after 9 weeks off, I am ready to go back to work.  I miss my students, I miss the consistency of our schedule, I miss chatting with so many amazing coworkers/friends, and I miss using untouched summer regions of my brain.

One of the best parts about back-to-school is back-to-school shopping!  I don’t go crazy over new clothes…and even if I did, my boys would most likely refuse to wear them.    I get giddy about a couple of things though… new sneakers, new fall yucky weather playground (and fall family farm tour) boots, a few new super thin long and short sleeved shirts for layering, and then the gear!

I’ve also written before about how much I loathe packing lunches….however, being a bit obsessive compulsive, it has become kind of a sport for me.  See  here.

To pack “trash-free”, easy, and fun lunches for the boys….the right gear is essential.  So, on that note, yesterday was lunch gear shopping day!  Exciting, I know!  Actually, that’s kind of a lie, because I did most of it online the other night and they had a big bag ready and waiting for us when we got to the Container Store.  But, once there, we finished up shopping and I let the boys have some input in what else they wanted.

While I realize it is not fascinating business, believe it or not, I’ve been asked by several people what type of “stuff” I buy for lunch boxes.  Many people have also mentioned that packing trash-free lunches sounds difficult, but actually, I find it much easier…and, more importantly, cheaper!  One important factor to mention though is that my boys have access to a microwave to heat up left-overs for lunch…so that may make my lunches different from the norm.

So, without further adieu….this is what we bought this year.  (A good tip is to bring your lunch box with you to make sure things will fit inside before you get them home).  Oh my goodness, I sound crazy, don’t I?

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1.  Pottery Barn lunch box.  Has held up extremely well, super easy to hand wash….and going into its 2nd school year.  They always have sales and aren’t really much more expensive if you get them at the right time.  I’m a big off-season shopper!

2.  Land’s End water bottle.  Not only does it fit perfectly, hold the perfect amount of water, and encourage the boys to drink more water….with several ice cubes, it also helps keep the lunches cold until lunch time.  But…obviously…you can fill it with milk or juice too,  depending on what you and your child prefer.

3.  Skinny ice packs…I put one of the bottom each morning to help keep lunches cold and safe.  I heard a report last year (somewhere) that someone had gone in and tested kids lunch boxes to see if their food was staying at the right temperature during the day (hence staying safe to be edible) and they discovered that about 90% weren’t.  For whatever that is worth.  I don’t usually get hung up on things like that…but, come on, warm yogurt is also just gross!

4.  Awesome Frego glass and silicone containers for microwaving leftovers.  Glass is safer, right?  The silicone makes them easy to pull out of the microwave….and comes in fun colors to appeal to the kids.  It also cushions them incase they get dropped.  Pasta, quesadillas, mini hamburgers, “breakfast for lunch” like scrambled eggs or waffles, cheese steak, soup, fish, grilled cheese, popcorn shrimp or chicken…..  Whatever.

5.  A sandwich container for the days that I haven’t packed left overs or a “heat up” as the boys call it.  Great for more than sandwiches. My boys ask for things like sushi and ham or turkey roll-ups a lot.

6.  The little red “Cool It” pack on the left is for little snacks and dips.  Mostly veggies and salad dressing.  The second photo shows it better.  Not an every day thing, but fun to pack once in a while.

7.  A little 3 pack of small snack holders for things like pretzels, gold fish, cut up fruit, yogurt covered raisins, pepperoni and cheese, olives, apple sauce, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.  Pretty much, you name it, it can go in there.  These are mostly for Thatcher, my older son, because he needs several snacks throughout the day.  I actually pack him a smaller “snack time” bag and then a larger actual lunch box.  His class has a mid-morning snack and an afternoon snack.  In Finn’s class a different parent is responsible for sending in a healthy and yummy snack for the whole class to enjoy once each month.  So, Finn doesn’t need me to pack extra snacks each day. 

8.  However, even more riveting, is that Finn typically needs some extra fuel so that little “Cereal on the Go” container is for him.  My boys eat breakfast really early and get to school at 7:45 so I can get to my classroom on time.  Finn will have some cereal with milk around 8:30.  I put that little container in his classroom fridge so he can help himself when he gets hungry.  Per his teacher’s request…not because I’m super high maintenance.  :)  Which you most likely won’t believe after reading this post….assuming anyone is still reading.

9.  The clear two-sectioned container usually gets fruit on one side and something else on the other.  Again, pretty much anything goes, and I use that container every day.

10.  And then, there’s the Spork….which is actually a spoon, fork, and fairly dull knife all is one.

If you haven’t fallen asleep yet, congratulations on getting to the end.  All kidding aside, buying larger containers of things like yogurt, apple sauce, and cottage cheese and then filling these small containers each day eliminates A LOT of trash.  Eliminating things like individual cheese sticks, juice boxes, bags of chips, etc. and reusing these small containers instead goes a long way if you consider how many lunches get packed each year.

OK….I’ll hop off my soapbox.  I’m not preaching….just wanted to get more information to those who have asked….and for anyone else who may be interested. Again, our school encourages this, but I also find that I save a lot of money and feel pretty good packing things this way.

Lunch Supplies at the Container Store

House Hunting

A little known secret about me is that I am full blown obsessed with the shows House Hunters and House Hunters International on HGTV.  And then there’s Island Hunters!  Did you know there are actually people out there shopping for islands?!

I’ve been watching them both for years and they never get old…

I LOVE living here…that comes as no surprise…but, I’d be lying if I didn’t find myself watching episodes of couples picking up everything and moving to some beachfront location on some tropical island paradise.  I live vicariously through them for 30 or 60 minutes whenever possible.  Dork, I know.

So, yesterday, upon finding a vulnerable little hermit crab at Cape Hedge Beach who was “between houses,” my boys suggested we conduct our own beachfront version of House Hunters.  We found several shell options for the squishy little guy, placed him and them under a clump of seaweed as much protected from hungry seagulls and bigger crabs as possible, and let him do his thing.

We watched him for a bit, but he was shy so we left him alone to take a look around his potential new residences.  We weren’t sure what he was looking for…striped, solid, beach chic, room to grow, open floor plan, comfy cozy, etc.

When we went back later to check, he was gone.  The boys were thrilled….even though there was no commission to be gained.

House Hunters

House Hunters International

Island Hunters

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Now That’s A Carousel

I am absolutely in love with this carousel!  Boston’s Rose F. Kennedy Greenway is unbelievable in so many ways and the carousel is the cherry on top!  The 14 different critters…all hailing from the fine state of Massachusetts…are whimsical yet gorgeous all at once.  It is a true piece of art!  How wonderful would it be to have a carousel of this caliber here in Gloucester?

The boys and I took the train into the city yesterday and spent 6.5 hours exploring, laughing, and learning between North Station and Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park.  We walked through the Haymarket Farmer’s Market, past the North End, and along the docks of the Boston Harbor Marina to check out some of the crazy “mega yachts”.  We saw the seals at the New England Aquarium, got some lemon slush, and rode the newish “thrill ride”, CODZILLA (and got wet). The boys played in the splash pad on the Greenway, rode the carousel, and fed the pigeons.  We took a horse-drawn carriage ride through the financial district, had a nice outdoor dinner at Ned Divine’s, and then ice cream at The Berry Twist in Faneuil Hall.

My vision for our day in the city involved going at least as far as The Public Gardens, the Frog Pond, and the Swan Boats….but somehow, in the blink of an eye, it was time to catch the 7:40 train outbound to home.  A true testament to the wonder of the Greenway and surrounding areas is that we were able to spend an entire day there and still wish that we had more time.  Next time.

Read more about the Greenway Carousel here

Read more about the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway here

 

A Wealth of Resources for Sure!

For the last few summers I have come out of summer retirement to run a two-week summer session at the Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School.  The camp is focused on both Marine Science and Maritime History and the goal is to get the kids out on the water/waterfront as much as possible.  I am fortunate that my boys have that opportunity often and that they are naturally drawn to the ocean and all it has to offer.  That having been said, I know that isn’t true for all children who are growing up in this area.  Most importantly, I wanted to help educate these children on the history of the fishing industry and how important the ocean is to the community’s livelihood and to the creatures that call it home!

This year’s camp was a large success thanks to many local businesses.  I’m happy to be able to fire off a quick post to thank some of those places/individuals.

While one day took us into Boston to explore the New England Aquarium and watch a Journey to the South Pacific IMAX movie, all other days were spent outside experiencing the waterfront hands-on.

Our students spent a couple of days aboard the Sea Station vessel, Endeavour, in Salem Harbor.  This unreal floating classroom afforded us the opportunity to haul lobster traps, observe ocean life in its giant glass holding tank, sink the underwater camera to observe the ocean floor and eel grass beds + observe our discoveries on the giant flatscreen TV, and preform beach landings on Misery Island to go hiking, swimming, and tidal pooling. If you haven’t explored Misery Island, you’re missing out!

Sea Station

We had a fantastic day at the Nahant Marine Science Center where the children were given the opportunity to become scientists while recording their tide pool findings and the properties of the water in small groups.  They also had a wonderful tour of the facilities and the gorgeous property that the science center calls home. The Northeastern graduates/students that took care of our group were fabulous!

Nahant Marine Science Center

One day was spent onboard Cape Ann Whale Watch’s vessel, the Hurricane.  We saw several humpback whales and enjoyed a fantastic trip.  The naturalists, as always, added a wonderful educational component with small group lessons throughout the trip in addition to the narration while observing the whales.

Cape Ann Whale Watch

We greatly enjoyed a morning at Maritime Gloucester and were incredibly pleased with the workshops that Mary Kay had planned for our students…who ranged in age from 1st grade to 8th!  Maritime Gloucester was, as always, a must-do on our excursion list!

Maritime Gloucester

We enjoyed a visit from a wonderful artist named Kathy Abbott, who helped the children learn about caring for our beaches, waterfronts, and oceans while adding the element of art.  Learning about the Angry Ocean Project inspired many of our students to go home and create masterpieces of their own with debris the discovered on local beaches.

Angry Ocean Project

We headed North to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH where we did a self-guided tour of the exhibits, participated in a 60 minute Whale presentation (the highlight of which was definitely seeing the entire skeleton system of the Fin Whale that washed ashore on Cape Hedge Beach several years ago) and then explored the rocky shore of Ordione State Park with a naturalist who helped the children learn about all of the amazing things they found in the tide pools.  Stunning scenery!

Seacoast Science Center

Captain Steve Douglas, from Cape Ann Harbor Tours, agreed to a custom designed trip on his King Eider.  I really wanted the students to see the waterfront from the water.  I asked Steve to point out the many different types of vessels that call Gloucester Harbor home and to explain the different type of fishing gear that we saw along the way.  I wanted the children to get a feel for the history and the diversity of the fleet.  They also learned about the Cut Bridge and Annisquam River, Cape Pond Ice, the schooners, the state fish pier, the auction house, Capt. Joe and Sons (of course), Ten Pound Island, and so, so much more.

Cape Ann Harbor Tours

And a day that exceeded all expectations was the day that we visited the NOAA offices up at Blackburn Circle.  I was floored with the presentation and hands-on activities that had been prepared for our visit and the number of staff that was able to make themselves available to work with our students.  With several different learning stations, knowledgable staff, a large inflatable whale, an amazing interactive game that helped the children learn about sustainability, and much more, hey truly went above and beyond to help educate our students.  Their efforts were a perfect match for what I was hoping to achieve throughout the summer session.  I can’t thank them enough!

NOAA Gloucester

This summer session served as yet another reminder of the wealth of resources that we have in our area.  How lucky we are to be able to take advantage of such a wide array of fun and educational resources.  I am well aware, that a longer camp session could have visited so many other amazing destinations and that the places I have included are certainly not the only amazing choices that we have.  There’s always next year :)

 

City Mouse, Country Mouse

Other than four years of college in Virginia, I’ve lived on Cape Ann for my entire life….however, I’m also fairly well-traveled.  I’ve traveled in Africa, I’ve been to Central America, I’ve been all over Mexico, to the Caribbean, the West Indies, and throughout the United States and into Canada.  And, for what it’s worth, I’m pretty city savvy.  I spent a lot of time playing in the city in my teens, 20s, and 30s….and photographed inside Fenway Park for several years in a row…heading in and out of Boston each night during home stands. 

So, while I call this post “City Mouse, Country Mouse”…I’m not necessarily either.  However, I sure as all hell played the role of Country Mouse the other night in Boston…and I am NOT happy about it.

I am truly, truly an idiot. 

This is how it went down.

I was meeting a friend in the city…just outside of Faneuil Hall.  I know the area well, but was heading to a particular parking garage that I had never been to.  I took a left onto Broad Street and saw the 75 State Street Garage in the Financial District ahead…a bit ahead, on my right.  The traffic was total clusterf___.  Horns were honking.  Almost in front of the entrance to the lot, a white taxi was stopped, coming from the opposite direction, blocking a good part of my lane so that I couldn’t go forward.  A nice man, on a cell phone, with a pile of money in his hand, appeared in front of my car and helped me navigate my kind of large SUV around the taxi and towards the garage entrance.  He asked if I was parking, asked how long, and asked me for $10.  As I didn’t have a ten….I handed him a $20…with a smile.  He flipped through his pile of cash….as if looking for change….and then said, “just pull on down there (pointing to the garage) for a second and I’ll catch you.”   “No problem,” I said.

I’m not sure why I wasn’t on my A Game during that exact moment in time….but, it only took about 6 seconds for me to realize that effer was off with my $$$ and that I’d clearly not be seeing him or my “change” anytime soon.  I literally sat on the entrance ramp to the garage for probably a minute contemplating how I could have been such an idiot.  Large parking lots never ask for money outside upon arrival. I know that. Everyone knows that. I also replayed my short conversation with the “kind and helpful” gentleman….and couldn’t help but think what a tremendous actor he was.  While I was mad as all heck….I also couldn’t help but give him kudos for standing right there…in the middle of a super crowded busy city street…stealing money in broad daylight.  And doing so with such manners and such a calm demeanor.

Shame on him….shame on me.

You may be happy to know that dinner at Strega in the North End was excellent, drinks at the Sail Loft were just like old times,  and the company of an amazing friend more than made up for the $20 that I was scammed.  My ego, however, is still bruised.

Consider yourselves warned my friends.

Live Blogging: Rockport Harbor

45 minutes until the FIREWORKS!

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1,744

One thousand…seven hundred..forty four.

That is how many days it has been since I have enjoyed a dry toilet seat in my home.

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One thousand…seven hundred…forty four.

That is how many days ago Thatcher ditched the diaper….and how many days have gone by since I have had to either wipe the toilet seat…or suffer the consequences.

802 days into it, the little guy followed suit and the battle was officially lost.

Two young boys + hubby 7,491

vs.   Mom’s Ass 0

No contest. Game Over.

Yup.   Don’t hate the players…just hate the game. :)

Stevie Corbett Proving That His Product The Chum Cutter Is Tournament Tested! -A Fish Rodeo

This is how you do it! Congratulations again,Stevie Corbett and the crew of the Osprey!

You see that smile?  that’s the smile of a guy that knows he created a brilliant piece of equipment that helped catch him a nice bluefin.

Tournament tested, The CHUM CUTTER!!!!

Here’s Steves brilliant Chum Cutting device-

Our buddy Stevie Corbett designed something so simple, so efficient so time saving for ANYONE that does ANY amount of fishing.  Unless of course you’d rather spend your time chopping up bait for hours instead of getting your lines in the water.

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Can’t catch fish when your  lines are dry.

Check it out at http://chumcutter.com/

Filmed at Beacon Marine-

   Just $169.00   * 100% FREE SHIPPING *  for a limited time

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  • Cuts a 5 gallon bucket of bait in 3 minutes
  • Comes with 10″ Dexter Serrated Knife
  • Made out of Marine Grade Starboard Plastic
  • Stainless Steel Fasteners
  • Portable, fits on any size boat
  • Made to last for years
  • US./EU.patent pend.

Nichole Schrafft Photos-

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2014 Bluefin Blowout Day Two

In similar fashion to the tournament’s opening day, Day #2 of this year’s Bluefin Blowout also ended with two large Bluefin Tuna being landed.  The Osprey and the Tonno (Italian for tuna) both brought fish to the dock.

This year’s event was fantastic and it is safe to say, with such enthusiasm from organizers, participants, vendors, and spectators, it is only going to get better. I’m already looking forward to next year.  This tournament provides a new take on the already rich summer schedule that Cape Ann offers and I hope it continues for years to come!

In all, 53 boats were entered and four scored some pretty phenomenal bluefin tuna!

The Miss Fern’s fish weighed in at 805 pounds

Tuna.com tipped the charts with a 913 pounder

The Osprey’s fish showed 497 on the scale

and a 588 pound fish was brought in by The Tonno

 

Check out the event’s website for updated information.

Bluefin Blowout

Next fish in For Weigh in?

The Tonno with a 588 pound Bluefin on Day #2 of the Bluefin Blowout here at Cape Ann Marina!

Live Blogging 2014 Bluefin Blowout

Also a good place to be if you’re shopping for a new vehicle…and have some money to burn. Lyon-Waugh Auto Group doesn’t kid around. Some nice, nice rides.

Live Blogging 2014 Bluefin Blowout

Also a great place to be if you happen to be thirsty!

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