Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The List

Lyla and I enjoyed a Color-Us-Inspired Moment!
Dawn apprised me of the ways of Montessori, as they apply to Lyla at 21 months, when we visited on Sunday. Intrigued, I decided to research further. Lo and behold, look at what I discovered
The List:
Be assured, my Mom could have written the above. And Ronnie and I were supposed to adhere. Thing is, we had Gran and Dad to cover for us, when we felt like goofing off. Cleaning the living room was more often than not "playing fort" for the two of us. Those big couch cushions were amazing for building within carpeted moats. It was fun! One time, we made the mistake of opening a soda can on a fort chair. It sprayed all over the ceiling and down the chair leg. In fear of medieval punishment, we cleaned carefully - or so we thought. When the chair was later moved, stains from the dripping leg were all over the rug. We feigned innocence, our halos glowing…
ah, sibling memories are made of this. I digress…

My older GrandLoves are brilliant and talented, for sure. But I doubt that any one of them would ace Marie Montessori's idea of what they should be doing to help 'round the house. They all seem to think a pick-up crew is following them around… but…

Lyla is saved for a few more months. As you'll note, charted chores don't begin till the age of two.
Crayola Fun still tops her version of The List.

Aubs In Concert

In spite of economically challenging times, Monti has managed to receive support of administrators and community members alike, to keep our music programs intact. The rewards are countless. The kids are thriving - and learning. It would be tragic to lose something as important as this, as have many districts.
A highlight of the night was when the band instructor played back a recording of the Fall concert. It was incredible to hear the extent of improvement, when the kids then played the same song for us. A fabulous case in point and reason to believe for any doubters.

Thanks, Aubs! We are so proud for you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Worth The Trip From Anywhere!

Our upstate GrandLoves had an amazing show prepared for us, yesterday! Hunter's room resembles a music studio and it's where they practice. He and Chloe each performed solos, before they performed a fabulous duet from "Frozen". Even Lyla got in on the act, with a dance move or two. Fantabulous all around!
Precious LovesPrecious Time Spent

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Sun

Here's wishing you some!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Reclaiming The Lake House

In a nutshell, we're not cut out to be landlords. One, two, three strikes - out! A little inside humor, here.  We're too trusting.
But lesson learned, though we don't plan on exercising it. Utilize your right to inspect, occasionally,
thus avoiding end-of-lease aggravation. Enough said.
Welcome Back, Lake House and Gorgeous View… Serenity Now
To be continued...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Keith's Tree Service

It's raining sawdust, today. Why? Link to Keith Bergamo. He and his crew are doing some serious tree removal and trimming work,
here at the Old Homestead. If you find yourself in need of these services, we highly recommend him…
a meticulous, diligent, very hard worker who charges fairly.
It's gonna be sunnier in our yard, this season!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Following Up!!

Thanks to Kell for the super vid of Gavin trading his white belt for yellow, (link) earned last Friday night.

Real Time - Old Sol Battles Clouds

Monday, April 21, 2014


What's with bananas, these days? We buy them green, then we blink and they're heading to a sickeningly sweet, overripe stage. Two banana breads a year cut it for us, so what to do? Catch them at their peak, cut and freeze. Remember, it's Smoothie Season.
Oh, you're not into smoothies? Well how 'bout some (link) bananas 'n' blues?


We began with grandiose plans for Easter by suggesting brunch for the whole gang. It didn't work for CDHCL, so BKAG were to join us here before heading to Kelly's parents for dinner. Well, that didn't happen either, with no thanks to Bri's very serious back issue. He's a mess. Very upsetting. What to do? Pack up bear-y presents and the meal and go to their home. Thanks, Kell, for your flexibility.
Little did we know that in a role reversal of sorts, Aubs and Gav had a super-duper surprise in store for us. They'd planned a scavenger hunt, with fantastic clues hidden in Easter eggs all around the living room. WHAT FUN!! They were positively adorable in guiding us towards the prize in the very last egg. In addition, they'd worked hard on a beautiful card, filled with terrific artwork and loving messages, placed in a gorgeous tulip plant. And they shared their rabbit stash, 'cause G'ma craved jelly beans.
All this was beyond appreciated… they are precious.
Be still, my heart… giving thanks.
Please keep Bri in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Congratulations to our Yellow Belt!

Gavin tested well, last night, earning a yellow belt in Tae Kwon Do. I need a little practice capturing those mighty, board-breaking kicks, but y'all get the gist! It's incredible to watch the kids stay focused, in spite of parents and grands watching. Now, it's on to green…

Friday, April 18, 2014

"The Lorax"

Gav chose this movie, the other day. Adorable. Can't wait to paint Lorax trees with my little loves.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


"Just in the last couple of days, notices were sent to Jews in one city indicating that they have to identify themselves as Jews," he said. "In the year 2014, after all of the miles traveled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable -- it's grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable."  
Secretary of State John Kerry

"Game Of Thrones" - Are You Jealous?

Sure, Joe and I are probably the last ones to hop onto the Thrones bandwagon. But admit it!
We're lucky to double up episodes at our leisure, till we catch up to y'all.

Old Man Winter decided to swing through the hood, once again, putting frost on the Easter eggs. Sounds awful, right? But there it was - opportunity to zip through Season One and begin Number Two. I could live nicely without the blood and gore; my eyes are often diverted. But it's truly a character-driven story and my favorite is Tyrion Lannister, impeccably played by Peter Dinklage.
He seemingly rises from a 4'5" stature to immeasurable heights, demonstrating the powers of intelligence and humor. The show is currently airing its fourth season and I'm happy to have read that Mr. Dinklage is signed through a sixth.

Recommended. That is, if you're a holdout, too.

Not-So-Idle IDOL Chatter

See for yourself, as Jena wins the night.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

All Things "Frozen"

Ah, yes, Spring is the catalyst that transports us to the lazy, crazy days of Summer.
Warm days that tease us - reminders of what's to come. First days to dig in dirt. 

Yesterday, we found bulbs sprouting everywhere. 
We discovered a big old croaker, not quite ready to get a move on. He'd buried himself for the long, cold winter and emerged lethargic and confused. We apologized, leaving him to recover under warm sun-rays. Later on when I mentioned this to Gav, he educated me as to what species it must have been, scientific name and all.

We thought to take the kids out for Chinese soup 'n' ribs 'n' such, pre sleepover. They were amused by the noisy family who owns the restaurant. When we heard, "The girl with the ponytail - your dinner is ready," Aubrey knew she was the only one there who fit the description. Her reaction was somewhere between amused and bemused… had to laugh.

A stop at J's for ice cream proved ultra sweet. My stomach would rebel for a month, were I to eat those concoctions. But they set us up to return to the Old Homestead for "Frozen", the movie.

Aubs had seen it six times and knew lyrics and dialogue by heart. Gav warmed up by recording his pretty version of "Let It Go" on Loopy.  I have an amazing video of Hunter's performance of the same song. He and Chloe long ago declared the movie their all-time favorite.

It's clearly one of the best ever from Disney. The soundtrack is gorgeous, the message touching. What a fantastic film for children to embrace! It's not just for kids, but if you can find one or two to watch with, I guarantee a beautiful experience.

So from thawing earth to frozen confections to a warming-but-chilly movie, we join Olaf in dreaming of summer days. Or is that daze? 
It's nice to have a couple rug-rats in the house. They are getting older and busier, with each passing day. We need to flash-freeze these special moments in time, forever preserving them amongst our warm, sunny memories.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Sunrise

Gorgeous, gorgeous sunrise, this morning, as the promised warm air meets our still-chilly ground. Fog will devour the snow remaining in little piles, where road and plow met. But in the long run, Old Sol shall claim the day.

No Two Alike - Sunrise

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lovin' Billy!

Wow, I'm enjoying this nearly week-long musical interlude. Next up? How 'bout inviting Billy Joel to your elementary school's concert and having him show up. Now THAT is a River Of Dreams worth sailing upon! Need more? Check out the Newsday article.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Trust Me - Take Five with Thanks to Tigger

Slightly altered, but possibly the definitive version of what is probably my all-time favorite song from the brilliant Leonard Cohen.
You need this musical interlude. Trust me, as together we imagine the potential for filling any house of worship.

Smoothie Season

There is no shame in using frozen fruits for a smoothie. They often have the best nutritional value, having been packaged at peak ripeness. Also, they are always available.  We have a long wait till summer fruits grace our farmers market. Sam's has great varieties for fabulous prices. 

For a blender-made drink that is truly smooth, avoid sinewy fruits. 

Today's was made with frozen peaches, mangoes and strawberries, a banana, yogurt and bottled water. Anything goes.


Harry Connick, Jr., Must Be Reading My Blog….

Last week in my Idle IDOL Chatter entry, I compared Sam to Ricky Nelson.
Last night I nearly fell off the couch, when Harry did the same and then told Sam to search Ricky Nelson on YouTube, to see for himself. Ouch! So far in the distant past that Sam wouldn't know?? I digress. Harry meant well.

 Just remember, you read it here first!! The ultimate compliment...
As for last night's show, we thought it not quite up to par. The judges are driving the kids crazy, with their conflicting advice:
"Make it your own."
"You were too far from the original version."

Caleb won the night, we think, with his rendition of Journey's "Faithfully". Well done, though Steve Perry's voice and version is forever embedded in my brain...

Now, please excuse me. I'm needing some Ricky Nelson, guaranteed to summon up some great youthful memories.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Hot-Mess Quiche - A Recipe To Revise

The info-mercial about bacon basket-makers caught my interest, though they are not something I'd want cluttering my cabinets. I haven't eaten bacon in about thirty years. It wasn't a staple when the boys were growing  up, either, thanks to the salt, nitrates and nitrites. They did, however, con Mom/Nan into making it for them quite often. Shhhh - I wasn't supposed to knowNow, the entire family enjoys turkey bacon. So, I do cook it. Still don't eat it, though. But I'm open to new ideas...

With the above in mind and combined with the fact that I'm always looking for G-F recipes for Dawn, I was inspired to make the kitschy quiche pictured. It took a pound of bacon. What a mess… don't bother… instead of this…
Lay bacon out on a cookie sheet and bake till one side is nice and brown. Sop up any fat you can with paper towels and arrange, browned side down, into quiche pan. Pop back into the oven to brown what will be the inside "crust". 
Other means to this...
Not worth the mess!

Fill, season and bake for about an hour at 325 degrees, depending upon how full your quiche is. Amazingly, just the edges of the bacon brown too much. If there's a next time, I'll work on that.

Lookin' and smellin' good, but not for me. Judgment to come.

Buon Appetito.

One Blog Leads to Another and Another...

Photo Credit: Alisa Burke
So glad Auntie Peaches first provided the link to Alisa's amazing canvas storage bags. Aubs has been bugging me to let her try spray painting. This project lends itself well to the same. As soon as Momma Nature cooperates with warm, windless weather, we shall move our beings outdoors to accommodate her wishes. I've ordered rolls of canvas and have boatloads of paint on hand, the result of last summer's many makeovers.

You must browse around Alisa's site, once there. This, my Friends, is one talented girl. I've found a home away from home!

Monday, April 7, 2014

On Being A Rebel

Rebels rising in opposition to the status quo… a fine concept for the untethered. But in my not-so-humble opinion, parenthood might just require the postponement of a death wish or two. Consider the California parents who decided to take their infant daughter and her sister out to sea for a little jaunt 'round the world on their vessel, appropriately named "Rebel Heart".

I can't imagine. Period.

Kudos to the Coast Guard rescue team. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hot Off The Hook - Two-Movie Low Basket

So, you envisioned us munching away on bon-bons while watching Oscar-worthy flicks, did ya? Well, y'all can lose that notion!
Here's the latest creation from this Happy Hooker. No, not THAT kind. You know.
It's a large 'n' low basket made of leftover yarn. This one sports a washable liner. 
Hope you like my two-movie effort.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

"The Book Thief" - The Movie

As long as Old Man Winter insists on returning with fierce winds and chilling temps, we'll take advantage of downtime by tuning into On Demand, to catch up with the past year's incredible films. A double-feature of atrocities was a tad hard on the psyche, considering yesterday's "12 Years…" and "The Book Thief", today. Another great film, highly recommended...

Words are at its core. Liesel, the film's protagonist, learns to read, chronicle and treasure them. Next, she soulfully crafts them, creating imagery that is nearly tangible. The holocaust is forever present. Death is the narrator. Geoffrey Rush gives yet another great performance, as does the entire cast. And throughout, I was reminded of other master word-crafters…

We have choices. We cannot allow certain history to repeat itself. How could it have happened, in the first place?

Friday, April 4, 2014

"12 Years A Slave" - The Movie

Knowing we'd eventually watch the movie, I avoided spoilers. So, call me naive in my surprise that the true story of Solomon Northrup began not far from here in our beloved Upstate New York, where Mr. Northrup was born a free African American in July of 1807. That's all I'll reference about the must-see movie, so as not to spoil it for Friends of CMI, except to say that…

Some of the feelings I experienced while visiting Brookgreen Gardens were right on target. As beautiful as moss-laden oaks appear in sunlight, they harbor dark, harsh ugliness. Said I:

"At one time, there were four plantations on these grounds. It's freaky to stand where slaves once lived brutally difficult lives. It is such a dark part of our history; I shudder. But on the other hand, it's necessary to remember, so that we never return to those shameful roots…"

Hard to watch. Hard to listen. Nonetheless, highly recommended. Joe and I give it a solid Ten

Double Standards

Hillary makes the point well. She'd make a great candidate, in my opinion. But she has to watch that hairstyle!
See for yourself:

And The Seasons, They Go 'Round and 'Round and 'Round...

Jeesh, we've rolled 'round to Gran's birthday again. Springtime. Easter and Passover, in sync on the horizon.
Rebirth. Daffodils poking through remaining snow. Colored eggs.

Here's to all the fond memories that keep one alive, long past physical demise.
Celebrating Gran, ever present in my basket of life.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Idle IDOL Chatter

I'll bet you thought we abandoned IDOL. Right? Well, "almost" doesn't count. Seemingly out of nowhere, a bunch of talented kids have gotten our attention. Right in our very own living room. And then there's Harry. I'd some misconception about him, till he coached on IDOL a few years ago. Loved him as a coach. Love him more as a judge. Hmmm. Need to find some of his music for my devices. 
It's gonna be a tough elimination, tonight. But the tour should be fabulous.
The judges used their one save and allowed Sam, top row/second from left, to stay. I'm thrilled that the young, shy Ricky Nelson look-alike shall continue to compete. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Land Of The Lost

York Lake, NY
'Twas gorgeous, yesterday, so I switched up Shotgun Day and rode off in a different direction with Joe. Just past Barryville, we found the very remote York Lake. Not realizing there were three entrances to this gated community, we were lost for about an hour before ultimately landing at the new construction.
Ahem. Taking Care Of Business??
Very interesting. With a five-acre minimum on land purchases, privacy is guaranteed. We learned that development came to a standstill, during this dramatic recession. Most summer residents had purchased land and built mini-mansions at the height of the economy. One such house has a pro tennis court, full basketball court and badminton court in its backyard, which is actually roadside when by the water.
I can only imagine what the lakeside front yard looks like! Sadly, many homes are in foreclosure, with values a fraction of original expenditures. But if you're looking for solitude, go no further.
Crossing The Delaware
Funny thing is, as we pulled out of the development, we were flagged down by two women. They, too, found themselves confused in their destination search. The driver dubbed the area "…beautiful, but like the land of the lost." Hilarious. Really. It is like the land of the lost!! Just check out the barrenness, as we crossed the Delaware to check out Shohola, PA, where we once dined at a fabulous French restaurant. Vinton's. Gourmet. Now, you can count buildings that remain, but only because they've yet to crumble from neglect. So sad.
Hawk's Nest
Back across the bridge and into our home state, we hit the ever-intriguing Hawk's Nest road that twists and turns around the river.
It seems as though all paths lead to Port, where we stopped for a late lunch and visited our favorite florist. Gary's springtime pansies and gorgeous Goldens greeted us. My portico ferns are ready and waiting… another month, maybe?
Gary's Gorgeous Goldens
On the way home and in keeping with the theme of the day, we found the location for an anticipated new resort development in neighboring Forestburgh. Could it be more appropriately named, for this post? Thing is, we traveled down newly cut muddy roads but never did find the water. Right in our backyard, so to speak, and yet amazingly isolated. Who's gonna live on Lost?
Land Of The Lost