Saturday, November 30, 2013

So, Do You Like?

Ah, the universal language. Just gotta luv it. And where the heck has this guy been? Why didn't I hear about him till today, when I found word of him on none other than a Neil Diamond board. See what happens, Neil, when you don't tour? Fickle fans. I digress…

Back to Johnny Reid. He's categorized as a (Scottish) Canadian country singer. I'm callin' his genre "crossover". I like. If he decides to grace our shores, I just might be there to welcome him to the good ole US of A.

Friday, November 29, 2013


So, it's Black Friday. But the merchants couldn't wait and BF began on TT, Thanksgiving Thursday. What an awful thought. The ruination of such a beautiful time of family, friends, peace and the giving of thanks. But can we blame retailers? The stores were mobbed.
I simply cannot imagine. 

Having said that, here I am pursuing a few necessary list items… online, of course. Only once in my lifetime did I shop in brick-and-mortar stores on BF. Once. It never happened again. I can summon up the feeling of claustrophobia as Macy's Cellar consumers crowded and pushed me. Here within the confines of my beautiful cucina, though, I am safe and mob protected. I digress.

My favorite go-to pan is looking a tad scratched. Number 1 bit the dust a few years ago. Number 2 still has some life in it; but I'm not taking any chances of being caught short. Look what I found. Be assured, these are the same model, C1210P 10" crêpe pan. Makes one think twice before ever clicking that enter key, eh? Here ya go:

Quite surprised to find this one on Amazon, one of my favorite bargain spots:
At Calphalon's very own online site, though, look at the "Exclusive" that awaited my click-click:

A Quiche Tip

It seems that I goofed with my pie dough and didn't bring it high enough, before blind baking. Soooo, all of the custard prepared didn't quite make the cut. I prefer a deeper quiche. But that's not what really needs to be shared, here. This healthy version of a tried and true, anything-goes favorite was made with light coconut milk, rather than fat and calorie-saturated cream or half 'n' half. Try it, next time! YUM 

Thursday, November 28, 2013


ThanksGiving is such a special holiday. Reason to pause from daily life as it zips by at warp speed. Reason to remember significant Thursdays of years gone by. Reason to offer gratitude for life's blessings, especially precious family members and friends, whether still with us or residing in our hearts. Reason to look forward to another year of reasons to say, "Thank you," to each other and to a higher being of personal belief. 
Counting my blessings and thanking BKAG for sharing part of the day with us. And thanks to Aubs for capturing Mambo-In-The-Middle. 
Happy ThanksGiving

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mouths of Babes ♡ Chloe

As part of our weekly phone ritual, Chloe and I discuss the previous week's artwork. She has a fabulous teacher, this year - Miss Stephie. One Sunday's perfectly clear description of what they'd done in class led me to an Internet search and quick discovery that it is called "resist art". 

We further discussed what supplies were needed in order to…
 "… show you how to do it, G'ma."

So, on Christening Weekend, Aubs and I learned to draw with oil pastels and crayons, after which we painted with watercolors. Therein lies the resistance, as the wax and oil repel paint to show pretty designs. Honestly, at six years old, her teaching capabilities are astounding. 

Chloe had other projects that she'd saved for me, as well. Upon handing me the "sunflower" with her photo, she said…

"G'ma, this is so you don't forget me."

Be still my heart.

Let It Snow 'n' Hot Off The Needles

The anticipated Nor'easter has begun with a snowfall of about three inches. Pretty. And just in time for a warm 'n' fuzzy project just off the needles. It looks cute on my Dad's bear, brought to the kids many moons ago. Agreed? 

Something old. Something new. Fresh view.

Lil Miss Lyla's Day ♡

She knew! Yes, she did! Lyla was totally aware that the party was in her honor. Her christening. What a beautiful day for a beautiful babe. 
GrandLovin' was in the house, that's for sure. The kids had a blast, as they always do on such occasions. The highlight for Aubs, Hunter, Gavin and Chloe might have been when it began to snow. Such elation

The only low point of the day was knowing that Joe and I would not see Todd, Yvonne and Baby Grace for a long time, since they are moving south. With that said, however, we are so happy for their excitement and for the new home awaiting their arrival.
Good Luck to a special family.

NIK had a bit of a breakdown. Turns out that it was a faulty SD card - thankfully nothing major, but my camera was retired for the day. With Dawn to the rescue, we have some lovely mementoes, above. The sketchier ones below were taken with my iPhone
Giving thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Day Walter Cronkite Cried

I liked today a lot more a few moments ago, before recalling the date. Fifty years. Who can believe? 

That day's events are embedded in my memory, just as they are for countless others. The questions still remain. "How?" "Why?"

Most distressing is the return of heart-wrenching feelings and overwhelming emotions that seem never to fade.

JFK. Mourning the loss. Remembering the life. Forever back to the sea.

“I really don't know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came” JFK

Thursday, November 21, 2013

GavArt '13 - Robot

How amazing is Gavin's incredible attention to detail?! He couldn't wait to show me what he'd recently learned in art class - step by step, line by line and quickly committed to memory. I'm in awe.

"Do you see the pattern, G'ma?"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remember Me?

What better recipe for success on a nasty day? Yep, it's that time of year again. Tried and true favorites of many varieties pervade our psyche. How can we forget, when we've tasted the delicious bread and experienced this very Garden concert, circa '05 (below)?
To Note:
I switched up the bread recipe yet again, subbing in white whole wheat flour for ⅓ of the amount called for. Very nice result and nearly the color of warm sand… yet another favorite. But as for Mr. Diamond and summer sand, I wouldn't change a thing
"Warm Baby, warm Baby, warm… say, do you remember me?"

Baking bread. Missing Neil. Wanting sandy shores.

FYI - My Online Affair

To others, "O" might mean Oprah. But here at the Old Homestead, it symbolizes Overstock. I've been a fan for a very long time. As a matter of fact, ever since their site had exactly one page - that's right - one page of listings. A very early purchase was a 3-piece, tall, heavy wrought iron designer screen with 6 flowerpots. I used it on the corner of our patio for many years and Bri/Kell's wedding photographer found it (all done up with Impatiens flowers) intriguing for some great captures. It cost 50 bucks and weighed a ton. Well, not exactly a ton, but I need to impress that shipping has always been free or a total of $2.95, for Go figure. This fact has made me a shipping cheapskate all over the internet. No joke. So, this all brings me to my bargain-of-the-week from the site that now has countless pages of items ranging from soup to nuts… or not exactly. But don't be fooled by "For The Home". I've found some pretty awesome sarongs 'n' such there, too. Is it almost summertime? I digress... FYI:

I've been Christmas shopping online for several weeks, now. One thing I've noticed is that even virtual inventories are not massive, these days. Shopping early guarantees success, especially for brand names. And besides, the price war has been going on forever. But this week, the best result of my wheeling and dealing came with a little purchase from the Big O. In search of a specific-but-relatively-inexpensive item for one of the GrandLoves, I found it on sale at O, reduced to a mere $15.99 from $24.99. I logged into the site through eBates, guaranteeing me an instantaneous 2.5% cash-back reward. When I went to check out, I found over $11.00 in Overstock money in my account - this from my 5% O reward on my last purchase. Shipping was free. Ahem. Just do the math! There's nothing like a nearly free stocking stuffer.

Have a good one. I'm off for some cyber retail therapy.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Picture This

We've not yet started to feed winter birds. Therefore, there are no decals on our huge picture windows in the living room. Still, you'd think avians would be smart enough to avoid them. Not so. It seems when they see their reflections in sparkling glass, inward flight occurs. They attempt hook-ups with imaginary pals of like feathers. You know -  Birds of a feather flock together. I digress…

While Great White Hunter was in the drenched swamp, yesterday, I was cozy on the couch, alternately sipping coffee, playing WORDS, reading a book, catching up with TV series and knitting a neck warmer. I multitask. However, the pitter-patter of the rain was soothing, and in spite of the caffeine, it seems I dosed off. Till...

A loud crash awakened me. The front window. Right past the dense holly tree. Look hard. There's a gray imprint left as proof. Can you see?
Thing is, there was no evidence of species lying on the ground. This Big Bird was resilient. Strong. Apparently, he flew away, leaving me wide-eyed and imagining the consequences had he come through the glass.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Protector

"Who goes there?"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

A glimpse of our chilly morning
It's a cold and blustery day, perfect for baking-to-freeze, in anticipation of the holidays. This one shall be for Thanksgiving brunch. It comes from ClosetCooking online, though I did change the sour cream that was called for to vanilla yogurt.
Ah, the divine aromas in my cucina!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
The batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ cup butter, room temp.
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar; lightly beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients.

The pumpkin:
3 cups pumpkin purée
1 egg
¼ cup granulated sugar
cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg to taste

Lightly beat together.

The streusel topping:
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
½ - ¾ cup brown sugar
2 tsps. cinnamon
⅓ cup melted butter
1 cup chopped nuts

Mix it well, using fingers to squish together, if necessary.

Assembling the cake:
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with PAM. Spread half the batter into it. Add half the streusel mix and then a layer of all the pumpkin. Spread with rest of batter. Top with remaining streusel. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Here's what it looks like, sliced:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

♥Birthday Girl♥

Her shirt says it all…
Our Sugar is all about L♡VE!
Happy 11th Birthday to our Aubs - our first-of-five GrandLove -  growing up way too fast!
We love you with all of our hearts…

And speaking of "firsts", Mother Nature has her very own version as your gift, this morning.
She knows you're ready to ski. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

What Do We Know?

"What do we know about people who have access to our children?"
Childcare Givers
Sunday School Teachers
Camp Counselors
School Aides
(brought into the home by single parents)
The list goes on and on...

Saluting All Vets, Past and Present...

… for all they've done and continue to do in protecting our freedoms.
It's true - freedom is not free. We are in their debt on a daily basis.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Real Time - Fire In The Sky

This morning, Old Sol managed to battle a heavy cloud cover, affording us a brief, albeit brilliant, show.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bananas - Sleep On This

Please be sure to search 'em right here on CMI for lots of recipes -
but eat 'em like this at bedtime.
Readily available, delicious at varying stages of ripeness from pale greenish-yellow to bright yellow, still usable for baking and shaking when dark and overripe, heart healthy with potassium and cheap, to boot. But did you know they're referred to as "a pill in a peel", as mentioned in today's Yahoo article regarding sleep-helpful snacks:

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sidetracked in Gardiner

A funny thing happened on the way to New Paltz…

There are days when you just have to get out of Monti. Yesterday qualified. We hopped into the Hyundai and headed out for a favorite drive. We were thrilled to find lots of foliage remaining on trees, just minutes from our doorstep. Ah, the yellows were spectacular.

Incredible aromas grabbed us during a photo stop at the crowded parking lot of the Mountain Brauhaus restaurant. Long story short, we pulled in and out and in again…
Can't say how many times we've passed this place with absolutely no desire stop, decades after our first experience there. Neither of us can remember what went wrong. But we're here to nullify negativity and say, "Give it a go!"  The place was packed, as were the Gunks in general. Each and every Minnewaska parking lot was full. Access lots for climbing were overflowing. I digress.

 The lunch/dinner-served-all-day menu is an endless stream of variety, with a chef who creates real specials that don't include leftovers. Lots of ethnic spaetzle and schnitzel, as well as American and vegan fare. Did I not recently mention Spaetzle Primavera??!! And beer. And more beer, seemingly served in vats! How do people do that?? 

Lots of local ingredients. Lots of happy people, toasting and eating and toasting some more. Lots of doggie bags leaving the building. We never did make it to New Paltz.
Mambo says,
"Save the Ridge. We love the Gunks!
Now, where's that doggie bag?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beauty 'n' The Sugar-Fired Beast

So, October went out like a lion and a new month is entering like the great-grandfather of all beasts. Stormy weather. But nothing short of last year's super event could keep Beauty 'n' The Beast from appearing at our doorstep, last night. Hallowe'en. The kids just love that candy stash.

Meanwhile, further upstate, rumor has it that three little bats were floating around a cul-de-sac, in all their adorable glory.

Gotta love 'em.