Category Archives: family

Weekend celebration!

This weekend marked my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Saturday was the actual day and there was a brunch cruise planned for Sunday, but Mom wanted to get together for champagne with the family on the day of. My sister and I decided to make it a little more special.  We cooked appetizers and finger foods as a dinner. There were 10 people, which was the most ever hosted at our house. I can see why people would have parties catered for more than that.


We had meatballs, cheese pinwheels, jalepeno poppers, spinach and feta puffs, crudite tray (it has to be a fance name because there was endive on the tray), fruit, John’s crack nuts and mini calzones.  It was good to get together.

My folks – and my dad making a very rare appearance on the blog:


We also wanted to suprise them with a special cake. Colleen and I looked at pictures and contacted Cakes by Alissa and had her work her magic.


The bottom layer was chocolate espresso cake with raspberry filling and the top layer was coconut cake with vanilla cream filling. All frosted with almond buttercream.  After an adventure of getting the top tier off, they cut the cake:


It was delicious! I should have taken a picture of the pieces. There was a *lot* of buttercream on this. Pretty much the perfect ratio of frosting to cake for me 😀

They were very suprised with the gathering, so that was fun.

On Sunday,  the 10 of us did the brunch cruise at Lake George:


There was a hot bar, fruit bar, omelet station and champagne at the start of the cruise, with option to make a mimosa:


I didn’t eat too much since I ate quite a bit on Saturday.


Plus I had them scramble me some eggs at the omelet station 😀  There was live music and John and I actually cut a rug:


We also dusted off our ballroom dancing moves from our wedding and did a swing dance. That was fun. We need to go dancing more.

John and my momma:


That’s my sister in the background. We were the paparazzi!

It was a really windy day, but it was not really windy on the upper deck.


The flag was blowing, but we didn’t feel it. Maybe it was blocked by the exhaust pipes?


My <3

“The name is Bond, James Bond”

You can see why Lake George is the Queen of American lakes:


A fun weekend and I imagine we all will sleep well tonight. Happy 50th to my parents!

Spa Day!

Spa Day!  John was out of town this weekend, so it was girl time 😀  My sister had given both my mother and I gift certificates to the Crystal Spa for Christmas.  She does this with the ulterior motive that we will invite her along when we go.  Of course, since we decided this weekend and her birthday is this week – my mother and I gifted Colleen with spa services.  See what Colleen did there?


The spa is in Saratoga. Long-time readers may remember us going here before.  Saratoga has a long history of mineral baths and was the place to go for ‘health rejuvenation’ in the mid 1800s to early 1900s. 

This is the waiting area.


I am a sucker for stained glass, too.



My mother had a reflexology treatment and Colleen and I had a sauna and then a mineral bath.  The attendant first takes you to your private bath area before the sauna. 


I had to look up Orenda and thanks to Miriam-Webster, I found out it means: ” extraordinary invisible power believed by the Iroquois Indians to pervade in varying degrees all animate and inanimate natural objects as a transmissible spiritual energy capable of being exerted according to the will of its possessor.”  Fascinating!

Here is my room (no water in the tub yet). 



Our attendant was MaryAnn. It’s nice to be pampered!

Then to the dry sauna.  Boy was it hot in there!


My sister and I had this room all to ourselves with a pitcher of ice water.  I started sweating immediately.  I haven’t sweated so much without exercising in forever LOL!  Then it was off to soak in a hot mineral bath.


The water is this color because of the dissolved minerals in it. Like my unremoved polish?  I was experimenting with a holiday design before Christmas on my big toe and never took the polish off. 😳

It was so nice to lay there in the warmth and let a lot of tension and stress just float away.  Our attendant was very nice and she gave us extra time in the sauna and bath. Not sure why, but it was nice.

We were provided with cucumber slices for the face, which felt cool and refreshing.


I haven’t felt that warm and comfortable in months.  I think that spa visit erased at least a couple of months of bone chill.  I was totally relaxed after that.  And sleepy!

After the spa, we headed out for coffee and some chatting. 


Yay Spot Coffee!  Now if the one in Glens Falls would ever open up, we would be all set.

We need to do this more often 😀

Making Merry!

We had a wonderful Christmasy couple of days! Christmas Eve and Christmas are real family days and we get together both days. John and I hosted the Christmas Eve dinner, which is tradition anymore it seems. Even though I worked most of the day on the eve, preparing dinner went really easily, which was both luck and choosing easy to prepare dishes. Turns out everything needed to be at the same temperature in the oven – how is that for lucky?



Great grandma’s dishes, like every year.


Here is a gorgeous centerpiece made by a friend of my sister and BIL.  They live closer to us, so dropped off the centerpiece here and we could enjoy it for our dinner and then my sister and her family would have it after that.


Family arriving!





Food on the side table for serving.  It just makes it so much easier to do it this way.




After dinner was present opening by the fire.  :mrgreen:


New house will have a real fireplace!


We played games after dinner, as per usual.


Much laughter ensued. Then it was dessert and cake time.


The Cake (aka Grampa’s cake).


Love this cake so much!



Christmas morning was nice and quiet.  John and I didn’t exchange too many gifts because we are moving next month and figured that would be less to move 😀

John did put some nail polish in my stocking. I can’t believe he bought nail polish LOL!


I had to try it out Christmas morning.

Then there were more games and music at my sister’s house.  They have a new Clumber Spaniel puppy – named Gryphon (aka Griffie).


He’s cute, but quite energetic. Very hard to get him to hold still for a picture.

More games!


And some music making:


Another fun family gathering this year!  The new table survived as well. Inaugurated with crumbs and spills, but it came out unscathed!

Christmas in the Country

Saturday was girl’s day out!!!

One of my favorite winter events is Christmas in the Country.  It is an open house tour where various rural artisans open up their houses to sell their wares.  It comes with a map that is so not to scale that it is laughable.

The houses are all decorated for Christmas and inviting.  We had a dusting of snow overnight, so it felt super Christmasy.

I have house envy of this place.  Here is a view outside from the living room.  All of these items in the photo were for sale, too.

There are all kinds of artists on the tour and farms.  Anything from country primitive items, tole painting, pottery (yay!!) , wine and cheese, baked goods, jewelry, iron sculptures, furniture, herbs and jams, knitted items and such.  It’s pretty neat.  I got some good Christmas shopping done, too.  Plus they serve refreshments!

There are 15 houses on the tour, but it is hard to make it to all 15 in one day.  I think we did about half.

I loved this farmhouse living room.  They were selling kitted items, food items, wooden bowls and cutting boards (which you can see in the chair), plus Petie the Elf dolls.

Shelley – you would have loved the hand spun wool yarn from this guy!

He was itching his back on this hay chute – so cute 😀

We stopped by a farm that made all their own cheeses.  Here was one of the babies that was very interested in my sister’s hand.

I got some herbed feta at this place that I can’t wait to try in an omelet!!

A festive feeling day.

I can’t show everything I got because some people who are being gifted might be reading, but here were a couple things.

Pottery ramekin for snacking!

I love putting my snacks in a ramekin so that I don’t eat out of a bag or box.

I also couldn’t resist getting a present for Pixie at Northeast Corner Herbs (love this place).  They grow premium catnip there and Pixie goes berserk for it (Billy is rather ‘meh’ about the catnip).  She actually smelled the bag when I walking in the house and was meowing and going crazy.  I got her a kitty toy that is stuffed with the nip.

Pixie doesn’t have front claws, but she does have the back ones still.  She is kicking the dickens out of the toy here. I wonder how long this toy will last…

What a nice day to spend with the family, too.

This is the first post for the month of December, so here is one of my tree ornaments:

Joe to the World, indeed!  This ornament is so me  :mrgreen:

Tomorrow I will do my December goal post since I wrapped up last month.  Gotta get a good eating plan going.  Are you in the holiday spirit yet?

Flooring and family

It was a busy one,  but a rainy one.  We were hoping to get in a bike ride, but no such luck.  The weather channel on Saturday said early morning showers and then it would clear up.  So, we spent Saturday morning working on the floors and waiting for the rain to stop.

We are in room 2 now, which is the room with the piano.  We wanted to move it as little as possible because it’s heavy for one, and there is always the fear of messing up the legs (even though it has wheels, they are tiny)  and have the piano crash over.  To help, John disassembled some of the piano by removing the lid and the action (the keyboard).

That helped, but still pretty heavy, especially with my wonky shoulder.  We slid it over and then worked on that part of the floor.

After we got half the room done, we slid the piano back  to the flooring to do the other part. Nothing like working piecemeal on the floor, but you do what you can.

Still raining, so we went out for lunch.  John wanted to go back to the Village Bakery for his football meal.

The happy winner…  (I still love him, though).

Again, this place just does not disappoint!  I had a cheese omelet – breakfast all day!!

Fresh baked wheat toast.  So good!

It rained off an on all day, so no biking.  I was bummed.  We got a lot of floor done, though.  With Pixie’s help.

She loves checking out everything we are doing.

I am loving the floors.  Loving them!  It is so funny that when looking at the dining room, it is almost like the floors have always been there and there never was a rug.  Of course, we still need to put the baseboards back up, but that will wait until the whole floor is done and any shifting takes place.

Sunday was family day.  It was my mother’s birthday and my niece had her birthday on Friday, so we had a dinner.  A turkey dinner, in fact!

The big bird – I think this is a 36 pound bird (raised by my brother-in-law).

We are all getting into the guitar now.  One of my nieces and my sister are now getting lessons.  My sister is learning a 12-string.

We are going to play stuff together at Christmas, although they are learning a different playing style than I play.

I was going to review my September goals today, but I think I save that for tomorrow.  It’s been a busy and tiring weekend!

I did win the football picks this week –

Mohawk Towpath ride and new biking partner!

John is off visiting his family in Colorado this week, so I had to round up another biking partner for the weekend!  My sister and I do things together, usually at her suggestion, which has included things like the Becoming and Outdoors Woman, Camp N Pack – in freezing weather, ice fishing in gale force winds, etc.  Now it was my turn. A month or so ago, I asked my sister if she would be interested in doing a ride that was a casual 36 mile ride.  I wanted to give her time to work on the bike as she isn’t a biker.  She agreed and we decided to do the Bike the Byway, which was an organized ride that went along the Mohawk river with stops at historic sites of the Mohawk and Hudson rivers and the Erie Canal.

It really was a casual ride.  There were about 16 people on the ride.  We chose this for its casual pace seeing as it was Colleen’s first really long bike ride in a few years.  We had a lot of stops.  9 in all.  I will try not to put in too many pictures!

If you follow the canal, you could go to either place.  This used to be a railway stop as well.  We were about 6 miles into the ride here.

We were tooling along about about a 12 mph pace, which was really perfect.  There weren’t too many hills for the first part.  Of course, then I blew a front tire around mile 15 or so.  It had to happen, right?  It exploded, too, and scared people LOL!  I just pulled over and changed the tire.  Good thing I have experience with that….   Colleen said we should have taken a picture, but really, who wants to remember that?  I have plenty of flat tire pictures I could insert here  😀

Anyway, the rest of the group headed on while I changed the tire.  Then we caught up to them at the next stop, where there were refreshments waiting for us!

Cookies!  Plus lemonade and water.  We had stopped at one of the locks of the canal here.


At each stop, we learned about the history of the towpath and the Erie canal and how it shaped the towns in the area.  Pretty cool stuff!

We then went a bit further for a rest stop at a local orchard store.  The ride organizer had called ahead to see if we could use their facilities, which they agreed to.

This was the cutest place!

It was like a country store inside, too.  They served some type of food, but I am not sure what it was.  Definitely need to come back to this next time we are in this area!

The next stop was the Vischer Ferry Power Plant.  Lots of hydro along the Mohawk.


My sister works for the DEC and part of her job is making sure the hydro plants don’t hurt the fishies.  We were joking that she could have charged time for work stopping at all the hydro plants 😀

Next stop?

I love Vischer Ferry.  I would love to live here.  It’s a Greek Revival style town that was built on waterway traffic.  It’s so beautiful.

It was really starting to get hot and humid.  You can see how loose my helmet strap was getting. When it gets really wet from sweat, it starts to slip the buckle.  We had our protein bars here for some fuel.  It sure felt good to get back on the bikes and make some breeze to cool off.

We got back on the bike path for a bit and ended up at this little parking area.    This was around mile 28. Note the really dark sky in the background. Foreshadowing…

We had more cookies and drinks here.  Two really nice women had baked up treats for us and brought them to 3 of our stops along the ride.  How nice is that?  They packed up their car and moved the stuff around.  Me and my sis!  She was doing pretty well on the ride and she wasn’t hating me. She’s much taller than I am, too.

Shortly after we left this stop, we could hear thunder and then it started pouring!

It only lasted about 10 minutes, though.  Then it stopped and we hit the next point of interest.

How cool is that?  Of course, it came about because of the waterway.

Then we biked to where the Mohawk and Hudson rivers diverge.


They have a really nice promenade here.


It seems like more of our stops were all squished together at the end.  This ride actually took a long time because we stopped so much.

Our next stop was the Cohoes Falls.  Even though the water level was low, still very beautiful!

We were up above it all.  (more hydro plants)

Then we got back on the bike path and headed back to the starting point.  It was basically one large circle all around.  I know Colleen was pretty tired by that point, but she made it!


I am so proud of her for doing all 36 miles!  I hope I can get her to do more biking with us and didn’t scare her away 😀


TJ’s Road Trip!

Saturday was supposed to the the road trip to Trader Joe’s, but snow came and we decided to postpone until Sunday.  Good decision because Sunday was nice and sunny, even it if was cold.

Also, upon request, here is a shot of me with my glasses.  I actually like how I look with my glasses, I just don’t like wearing them because I don’t see peripherally as well with them on, plus the whole exercising thing.  I can’t just leave them off because I don’t see well enough without them.

My eyes are mostly white again. Just a touch red in the corner of the left eye still, but that was the worst part anyway. Yay!  Plus I am liking the new hair cut.  Quite easy to style.  I only use my fingers when drying and no brush at all!

Enough of that, though.  It was road trip time!  TJs is about 2.5 hours away.  We are slated for one to open in Albany this spring, so that is only an hour away, but we wanted to have some fun and take a trip.

Me and sis:

We did lots of singing to this:

My niece ignored our singing and read her book:

I am so, so happy she is a reader!  Especially with the work I am doing as a literacy volunteer.  I told Logan it was such a great thing that she loved reading.

Crossing state lines for a pitstop:

Then we got to TJs.  They don’t allow pictures in the store, silly peeps.  The one  thing I like about Trader Joe’s is the price on things.  Particularly for chocolates, nut butters,  and frozen foods. I’ll get to the loot later.

After shopping, we were hungry for lunch.  We did shop hungry, oops!  We went across the street to the mall and went to Brio;

It looked really swanky inside, but the prices were very reasonable.


I ate off the brunch menu with crepes stuffed with ricotta and fresh fruit sprinkled with granola.  This had a bit of shredded basil in it, which was a really interesting flavor with the fruit.

Delicious!!  I love crepes.  I would definitely come here again… if it wasn’t 2.5 hours away!

Mother and daughter:

We poked around the mall a bit, more in Rainforest Cafe so Logan could look at all the stuff there, including the big aquarium.

Rainforest Cafe is just too much for me, though. Have any of you eaten there? It’s pretty gimmicky.

We headed on out after that.  More singing and, of course, a coffee stop!

That was good fuel to get home by!  I did miss the whole early football game, which sounded like a good game.  How I wish the Ravens had won!  Stupid Patriots…

Anyway, this is my haul:

1.5 pounds of blueberries for $6.  Yay!  I’ll be eating those all week before vacation. I had brought along a cooler for some frozen stuff.  I got a couple Indian entrees:

Miscellaneous snack things:

Sesame honey cashews are the bomb!!  I picked up a bag for my mom and one for us!  Lots of dark chocolate things for John.

Coffee beans, granola, almond butter (great price!), red curry sauce, green chiles.

Lots of good stuff.  Had to stock up!  It was definitely a fun day 😀

Off to the Races!

Well, the long ride was a bit of a bust this weekend. The plan was to bike down to the Saratoga Race Track, but the forecast was for showers in the afternoon.  So, we went out for a quick 16 mile ride and went to the track via car, meeting up with mom, sis, and one of the nieces.

The track is only open for part of the summer, but it is a huge draw for the area.  It is the oldest organized sporting event in the US.  I didn’t know that!

The neat thing about the track is that you can get up close and personal with the horses (sort of).

The paddock area can be walked around and you often see the horses being led around from the stables, like this:

The grounds have a very old fashioned feel to them:

There were tons of people on Saturday.  It was  big televised race day, which we didn’t know.  The Whitney race was run that night.  The track grounds open at 7:30, but the first post time isn’t until 1.  People come with coolers and EZ-Up tents and make a day of it.

The track itself:

There are different courses.  The very inside ones are turf and the outside ones are dirt.  Here are some horses just warming up before loading in the gate.

I don’t know much about betting and such and really don’t follow horse racing at all except for the run for the Triple Crown, like most people.

I still don’t get the betting, but I did bet on 1 race today.  My bookie:

I didn’t care so much for the odds – I picked one because I like the name: Sabercat. :mrgreen:  Note the big spender that I am.

Go #7!

Races go by so fast (video)! I claimed a spot right by the far rail to get an unobstructed view.  You have to save a spot early for each post or you can’t see (if you are a shortie).

I think Sabercat came in last…

We then had some lunch.  A fair amount of choices to eat at the track, but I had my eye on a lobster roll!

This was really good and had quite a bit more lobster than I was expecting for track food, but then again, it was a $10 sandwich.  The only thing missing was that the bun be toasted.

I also had some dates with peanut butter that we packed along, and my mom brought some peanut butter M&Ms.

(this was not all I ate of these…)

My sister and I did goofy faces for the camera.  Laughed when we saw we both made the same face!

As I was taking this pic, some guy went by and said “Beautiful”, which made us all laugh. :mrgreen:  My hair was pinned back by this time because I had horrible humidity frizz.

Lots of entertainment at the track, too.  This group was kind of zydeco-ish.

You don’t even have to actually go see the race outside if you don’t want.  There are places to sit and watch the races inside.

Or even in the picnic area on these pole TVs.  The funny thing is that there is a ton of milling around and talking except from the 60 seconds or so every half hour when a race happens, then everyone stops whatever they are doing and pays attention.

One more race video. This was the far inside turf.

It’s pretty quiet and then the crowd gets really loud as the horses come by.  It’s hard not to get swept up in all the excitement.  The most exciting races are the ones on the far rail which is right by where I stand in these videos. The horses thunder by and you can feel it in your bones.

After we had our fill of losing watching the races, we headed downtown because I had a Groupon!


I tried a lavender cupcake.

It’s purple!

It was good.  The lavender flavor was very subtle.  The nice thing?  It started raining while we were there, which justified us not biking down there :mrgreen:

Happy time!

A very good day indeed!

Question:  Have you ever been to a horse track?

Holiday weekend

We are enjoying a nice weekend around here!

Saturday the family got together for a picnic at Moreau State Park.  We got there early because the park fills up fast!  John and I biked.  We stopped to pick up something on the way:

Have munchkins, will travel!  They actually traveled quite well. It was a 12+ mile ride to the park.  Best part? Bikers get in free!

Moreau State Park is really beautiful.

We got there (or my sister’s family did) early enough to snag a BBQ grill!

My brother-in-law slicing up marinated venison spiedies.  These are a regional dish, basically kabobs and always served with italian bread. The venison was courtesy of my sister and BIL’s haul from the last deer season.

John and I tried our hand at canoeing!

Safety first!

John’s PFD was camo, which struck me as really funny for some reason.  It’s so not John.  I was in the back steering and made John do the paddling.  :mrgreen:

After we got back, the the nieces were swimming and we got to cooking!

Spiedies on the grill.  Yummers!  We had lots of good food.  Plenty of fruit and chips.

Food tastes better outside, don’t you think?

After lunch, we went back out in the canoe.  This time with my sister to see if 3 adults could get in the canoe!  I was queen for a day and rode in the middle and didn’t have to paddle (I am sitting on my flotation device – kind of the opposite of in an airplane :D).

We found a beaver dam:

And some lily pads with flowers on them.

We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day.

Upon return, it was time for dessert!  I have had more s’mores this year than I have in the past 5!

I had 2 s’mores and then just ate toasted marshmallows.  That is my favorite part anyway 😀

John and I then biked home another 12+ miles.  It felt really good.  Funny how it seems like nothing to bike that distance any more.  Can’t run 2 miles, but biking 12?  No problemo!

The plan was for a long ride on Sunday, but we woke up to this:

and decided to putter around the house and save the long ride for Monday.

We ended up having my folks over for dinner and I made homemade pizza with some fresh basil from my seedlings which finally got big:

One pizza was BBQ chicken:

The other was pizza sauce, fresh basil, mozzarella and feta, and I forgot to take a picture of it!  It was good, though.

Hope you all all enjoying the weekend so far, and those with an extra day off on Monday, too!

Stay tuned for long ride Monday – we are going to shoot for 80 miles.  Will we make it?

Of Markets and Anniversaries

The weather was fairly well a flop this weekend, but we had a good time regardless.  The only clear time was Saturday morning, so John and I snuck out on the bikes to hit the farmer’s market.

The market is small, but actually bigger than it was.  I don’t know why they don’t let in more vendors because there is a waiting list.

John bought some apples and maple syrup.

I bought some jam for my  mom and some rhubarb!

We then went over to the library.

I found my 28-day shapeover book (one of the monthly goals).

We were hungry at this point and decided to have a lunch close to home in case it started raining.  We decided on Cafe on the Park.

This came under new ownership in January and I am not sure the food is quite as good as it was.  I got my usual omelet, but the toast we really anemic.  Have you ever seen toast that small?

The omelet was good, though, and you can’t beat the price.

Then it was just rainy for the rest of the day.

The rain continued into Sunday, which was picnic day at my parent’s house.  It was a combo anniversary/birthday picnic.  My parents celebrated their 45th anniversary on Saturday and my father’s birthday is on Wednesday.

I tried my hand at writing on the cake:

Not too bad.

Note – I did not do the balloons.

I am jealous of my parents’ backyard:

However, with the rain, the food table was set up inside:

Burgers, hot dogs, my  mother’s famous german potato salad.


I managed to do a complete face plant into the trail mix of mixed nuts, M&Ms and craisins.  I got too full with all of that.

We played some cards:

and made my dad sit through singing.

Note the pained smile 😈

I was full, but I somehow managed to eat some cake *and* more trail mix.  I think it is the M&Ms.  They have some kind of power.

We have a week of rain on tap.  A week!  That means I dragged this inside tonight:

I have a Futurama cued up to watch after this post.  I don’t think I could peddle enough miles to burn off half of the M&Ms I ate. 😳

Question:  Do you like M&Ms?