Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pears Twice

Kind of knew what we'd have for Sunday morning breakfast, as I dozed off last night. Just couldn't wait to make those sweet and savory pears again, as per a recent dinner. This time, I added cinnamon to the honey, balsamic vinegar and butter and made the poaching sauce thicker. Meanwhile…

Batter was goin' into the boat-style waffle maker. Greek yogurt, coconut oil, an egg and cinnamon were added to the mix and then brought to the proper consistency with water. Yum.
No syrup necessary. Just pile on the fruit and serve with a side of cream.
Buon Appetito.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

On and Off the Needles - Bitchy Bernat Boa

Pardon my French, but sometimes a girl just has to say what she really feels! It goes like this:
My tendency to overbuy yarn afforded me with more Bernat Boa than anyone should try to deal with. It's a bitch to work with, all fine and eye-lashy. First up was a scarf specifically for my cousin, Evelyn. She has pretty gray hair and the Lion Homespun in that shade and combined with Boa worked up perfectly for her. Extremely down in the dumps, with her daughter waging a fierce battle against ovarian cancer, I know she'll love a little "Santa's Warmth" coming her way. Please say a prayer for Gina. What next with this fussy yarn?
To the rescue, Lion Homespun in yet another shade is looking good and again making it tolerable to work with. This shall be a different style and longer.

I know, I know - a more "challenging" pattern was supposed to be up next. Thing is, this yarn is providing me with more problems than I need, right now… but the results are really pretty and mega, mega-soft. Try it, you'll love it. NOT!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Packages Delayed?

'Tis the season, right?? Well, how's this for service:

The yarn was ordered on Wednesday from an eBay vendor in Turkey. It arrived at three p.m. this Friday afternoon… two days. Charge? $7.99 shipping on a FANTASTICALLY priced 8 skeins of GORGEOUS yarn. Thanks, (link) Zu, for trying out ICE and sharing!! And more thanks for my early Christmas gift of magazines!!

So, why are Christmas deliveries within the States such an issue?
Go figure...

Thursday, December 18, 2014


And feeding the finches, too, when the titmouse shares!
EXCELLENT book, gifted by Christian and Dawn. Fantastically well written. I'm savoring and enjoying… recommended.

Winter Chicken 'n' Pear Salad for Two

Pictured - One Delicious Serving
We have delicious Bosc pears, all ripened and juicy. Chef's choice was a hot 'n' cold savory salad for tonight's dinner. Early in the day, I washed and set a first layer in two bowls:

Baby Spinach

No first-choice goat cheese in the house, so with the immersion blender I prepared:

Low-fat Cottage Cheese and a Roasted Red Pepper from the freezer - thawed, of course

I layered that onto sides of spinach and garnished one side with:

Hard-boiled Egg and Cucumber Pinwheels

The above was refrigerated. Meanwhile, I poached:

Two peeled and sliced Pears in a mixture of Honey, Butter and Balsamic vinegar (about 2 tablespoons of each), setting them aside to reach room temp... saved  poaching liquid

When dinnertime arrived, I very gently poached:

Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast in pear liquid with a little added butter and a sprinkling of paprika - further sliced on the bias into small pieces and

Topped the middle of salad with warm chicken, placing pears on other cheesy side… dressed chicken with remaining liquid and a sprinkling of crushed almonds

It worked! Something different from my cucina, served with a steamy mug of tomato soup. Add or subtract to make it yours. Buon Appetito!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Just moments ago, it was announced in Albany that Sullivan County shall see a mega casino and resort rise on the old Concord property, with a Monticello address. Something we once resisted is now what we consider our only hope for salvation, in terms of reclaiming values on real estate, etc. Hopefully, our gorgeous part of New York and once-thriving resort community will see the light by 2019. Yay for us! We are so excited.
2:15 p.m. Real Time

Soft 'n' Sizzlin' Off The Needles

Fun to make… pick-up work during TV time... directions in my head… for a tiny someone special. Next up is looking to be a challenge. We'll see just how ready I am!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Big Baby's Birthday!

We just love Mambo… cannot believe he's eight years old, today. Seems like just yesterday that we brought this dream puppy home. His one and only desire in life is to be next to us. Always well behaved. Listens to gentle commands - no need to shout them a gazillion times. Loves lovin'. If there's such a thing as perfection in the animal kingdom, he'd be it.
The problem is, he's an old giant, now, and occasionally, he let's us know when he's not up for jumping in the car or climbing steps. It can be upsetting, but we understand and don't push him. Instead, we do the best we can for him. For example, today I made him peanut butter and glucosamine birthday trifles. Fancy schmancy. He loves 'em and the glucosamine helps his mobility, for sure. Maybe the protein-rich peanut butter does, too… but that's the "candy" for him! 

Happy Birthday, Sweet Pooch. You enhance our lives beyond words.

Wintry Expressions

It was nice to pass a spirited neighbor's house on the way to see Aubs in concert, last night. She's opposed to photos, these days… well, except for selfies, that is. Endless selfies. I digress. She set the mood for me and NIK with her first expression, upon taking the stage.
Lucky for us that a candid opportunity arose. In addition to chorus, she played a mean violin with the orchestra. Unfortunately we could not see her at all… Murphy's Law, when it comes to seating in the high school auditorium.
Meanwhile, Hunter was performing with his band (trumpet) and chorus. Sure do wish we could be in two places at one time.

'Tis the season. Express yourself!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

I'm Believin' That...

…Christmas cards are becoming a thing of the past. Would you agree? Thing is, the first one used to come right after Thanksgiving. It was from Dawn's mother, may she rest in peace. Then, the onslaught would continue, often till a few days after the holiday. Now? It's a whole different ballgame.

Here is is December 11th and we've not seen one. Several friends have begun a new tradition of New Year greetings. That works. But most have quit the habit. Can you blame them? It was always the tradition I found to be a chore… especially when we sent scores of wishes to customers I didn't even know. I was the buyer, writer, sealer, stamper, sorter. Ugh. So, what keeps me going? It's the…

MD Anderson Children's Art Project. Last year, I did something different and then felt disloyal. This year? I'm back to believin' in those amazing kids who are fighting the battles of their lives and still exuding cheer.

This post is for my Michelle. I can feel her sitting on my shoulder and telling me, "Okay, enough horsing around. You've had your latte; now, get busy!"

Phases 3 'n' 4 and a Recipe For A Snowy Morning

We're experiencing one looooong nor'easter, that's for sure. First, we had rain and ice. Today, it's wind and snow. What a mess. So, for extra cheer, I decided on a homemade latte for my ritualistic first cuppa. Giving thanks for being able to enjoy this morning treat, once again...

With this 18-dollar gizmo, a mere 10-calories-worth-of original Almond Breeze turns into a jarful of froth. Hmmm. I got a little carried away, as you'll see by the overflow when I added the deliciousness to my java. Next time, I'll add cinnamon and vanilla.

Try it - you'll love it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Icy Nor'easter

We had some terrible issues with deadly ice delivered by the latest storm. There was a pile-up on our local Route 17 that was fatal for one driver and sent three others to the hospital. Humongous tractor-trailers were involved in crushing cars. Brian responded at 3:00 a.m. and didn't get here till noon. The highway was closed for many hours. Such a sad start to the day. Our prayers go out to families involved.

For us, thankfully, the storm delivered the kids and we spent a peaceful afternoon. Honestly, days like this remind me why I like to decorate early. Every day enjoying the twinkling lights of a Christmas tree is so meaningful. Something to savor. And then there are the outside trees… crystalline and pretty to look at from the toasty indoors. The birds were busy, once again.
We made Waldorf stars for the window; the kids were happy to take a few home. Aubs did her nails. Time flies. Wasn't it just yesterday that she needed me for that? Gav-The-Budder-Master curled up and played Minecraft for a while, as we all watched some Disney. There was food. :-)

Before he left, Gav asked me if I still hurt. How sweet. He was relieved to know that I'm much better. What more can a girl ask for?

Giving thanks for the safety of my family and ever-prayerful for it to continue.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Feeding Frenzy

Just glance at a bird feeder to know what the forecast is. Another gloomy day with a nor'easter on its way, here in Monti. Titmice, goldfinches, chickadees and a mess of other varieties are fighting for space. What better entertainment when the thermometer reads a chilly 19 degrees?

Sunday, December 7, 2014


Last Friday, we took a ride to Jeff to run an errand. The ever-intriguing Stone Arch Bridge in nearby Kenoza Lake is always photo worthy, especially on dreary days… after all, this bridge does have an exceptionally (link) dark history and is said to be haunted.

When we returned through Monti, it was just dusk and not perfect for showing off holiday lights. Still, the street lamps looked appealing in their attire of little lights.

Bringin' Home The Gold

Gavin let us know immediately, when he learned the date of his first-ever official competition in Tae Kwon Do. It was worth the long, rainy trip to watch him focus and compete like the champion that he is. He had to spar multiple rounds, including one with Caleb, his best friend since babyhood.
Gav and Caleb 
Nice thing is, no child went home without a medal. There is so much to be learned from this sport. We loved watching all the kids handle their little traumas with great aplomb, even after wiping away the occasional tear. As for Gav

 Imagine a second place Silver in forms and a first place Gold in sparring. SO FUN to watch. And those hugs we got… they were indescribably delicious

Friday, December 5, 2014

"A" For Effort… But Not Pan-Worthy

Just following up, here. We watched Allison Williams play Peter Pan. She was okay… really… but she never reached the magical star quality of Mary Martin or Sandy Duncan. Her singing was acceptable, but her otherwise monotone delivery was rather dull. She looked cute as a boy, but lacked the personality associated to Peter. Sorry, Allison. On the other hand…

We liked Christopher Walken. He hammed it up as Captain Hook, providing some very funny moments. His dance routines were a good addition to the character's weirdness.

A few problems, though, were insurmountable:

1. Who airs a Disney fable on a school night (Thursday) between the hours of 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.? Joe and I could barely stay awake. 

2. Those hours - count them! Three hours… unnecessary. Two hours on cable-rather-than-network TV would have sufficed. And speaking of network TV…

3. I could have cleaned the Old Homestead from top to bottom during the excessive, extensive commercials. Most of all, though...

4. There's no competing with past Peters. They rule.

All said and done, kudos go to NBC for the work that went into this mega performance. We clapped for Tink.

Last Night's LakeScape Sky

Thursday, December 4, 2014

iPhone Camera Success

Nothing can replace NIK, in my world. But there occasions when just my phone is handy for an unexpected capture. This is a great link that includes many tips for using an iPhone camera. Here is an excerpt that came as news to me:
Great trick, but a necessary step to make it work (for me) with iPhone. Set timer to 3 or 10 seconds. Press button, as if taking picture. THEN frame your shot, hold steady and wait for "snap" and result. Success and clarity! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We've Grown By One!

Welcoming Baby Chloe. She arrived this afternoon, weighing in at 6 pounds 5 ounces… a teeny bundle of beauty, eyes opened and ready for her very first Kodak moment. 

Congratulations and Much Love to her, Keith, Jess and Kim. 

And yes, our Chloe has to share her pretty name!

Eric Garner

There is something painfully and tragically wrong with this picture. I am reminded of an old friend who once confided in me that she feared for her Black sons each and every time they left the house. That conversation happened about twenty-five years ago. Nothing has changed.

Perhaps there are cases that require brutality - this was clearly not one of them. No indictment, even with clear images in real time? What now?

Rest in Peace, Eric Garner.

"I Won't Grow Up…"

For Tigger, a good friend of CMI's, it's Pooh all the way. But for this chick, the mention of Peter, Wendy, Captain Hook, The Lost Boys or Tink puts a humongous smile on my face, as my eyes go all misty with happy memories. And so, you're on notice, Friends! 

Tomorrow night, they'll be a live - yes, LIVE - presentation, starring many and including Christopher Walken as Hook. Chloe tells me that he looks scary in the ads, but "….not that scary, G'ma, because of his silly mustache." Ah, the mouths of babes, in more ways than one…

 For a nostalgic read, won't you please visit my 2009 post on this, a favorite topic. Therein lies Aubrey's sentiments, when she was not yet so danged grown up
Please join me in watching Mary Martin, the Peter of my youth and forever a child in this vid:

My excitement is palpable just Color Me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Reclaiming My Creative Mojo

The other day, Zu mentioned that she was glad to see I'd reclaimed my blogging mojo. Thanks, Zula… and moving along, it's back to some crafty endeavors. It feels so good. No words. For a while, I thought I'd never again be inspired to create something… anything… but then…

In my search to find a simple project for the kids to work on during their next sleepover, I came across (link) Waldorf Stars. How the heck did I miss out on these during my own childhood, or that of my boys, or in the twelve years I've been a g'ma?  Wonderfully easy and ever-so-elegant, their possibilities are endless. Link above to find instructions for the simplest variety. Then, Google the different styles to test your abilities. As for supplies, I've already ordered (link) kite paper, a highly recommended product for stability and ease of use. But I wanted to practice. Enter Sam's Club…

Do you buy your wrap, ribbon and tissue paper at Sam's? If not, you must start doing so. You'll never run short of supplies. Well, not till some time in August. Make it work all year! Back to Christmas. I like to wrap and use packages around the house. They make awesome decorations that need not be stored from January through November. Make 'em gorgeous and then use the same ribbon on your tree. The coordinated look is so pretty, throughout the Old Homestead.
As for the tissue, think outside of the box. It can be used for projects, such as the stars or "stained glass" art. A tad delicate to work with, it nonetheless affords beautiful end results. My first attempt at a large star turned out less than perfect, but nonetheless charming. I added it to a huge gift in the foyer display.
For time spent watching nighttime TV, I cranked up the old needles and started a blanket. We'll see. I'm kind of creating as I go and have a recipient in mind, if it turns out to my satisfaction.
Giving Thanks for restored inspiration. Gran always boosted my self-esteem with her words, "Honey, you have hands of gold." I'd never want to disappoint her by being idle for too long. Thanks, Gran. This post is for you, spoken with my eternal love.

Reflecting - Everything's A Trade-off

Ah, yes… December 2nd… 'twas to be my date with a surgeon for a follow-up procedure. Turns out it was postponed. Would have liked to put it behind me for the holidays. But, c'est la vie. The trade-off…

Our new cucina is being installed at the LakeHouse. Today. At long last.

I'll take it.  

'Tis The Season - Gran's Bowl

We're bloomin' red! Yep, Joe hit the motherlode of poinsettias at Home Depot on none other than Black Friday. No, no, we've not taken to B-F shopping. It's just that our microwave died and we needed to warm up the milk for our coffee. And while he was there, he couldn't resist a reduced snowblower for the LakeHouse. WhewIt's a good thing the Christmas flowers only cost a dollar per plant. After a quick phone call to moi, he found himself choosing ten of the finest offerings. Four filled Gran's bowl… it's a huge bowl. As for the rest? Well, suffice it to say that we're lovin' our indoor garden.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December 1st… But First...

Backtracking a bit, as promised

Thanksgiving has a way of bringing a deep joy to the soul. There is just nothing like the tradition of the day and all its trimmings. We had a great one, for which I continue to give… well, you know… thanks.

Gorgeous, artistic Chloe met us at the door with a project she'd been working on all morning. It reduced this sentimental Granny to happy tears. Yes, the gifts of thought and time are so very noteworthy and she made our day.

There were no prize-worthy photos to be had, 'cause the kids were just too wild with glee. Friends joined us and we were introduced to Jessiah, recently adopted by her forever family. Kudos to her for fitting right in with all the commotion and our louder-than-loud family (adults included)! And, there were cupcakes. See for yourselves. 

Thanks, Christian and Dawn… you hosted a perfect day. 
Okay, now Christmas carols are acceptable. It was tough to find a station on Turkey Day that wasn't already into Joy To The World. It seems that the push for Santa gets earlier and earlier, each year. But December 1st seems so right to think ahead; and thus, we spent our long holiday weekend transitioning. We'll twinkle and glow tonight to mark the date.