Holiday festivities

Is anyone else messed up about what day it is? I keep forgetting LOL.  It’s nice having Christmas on a Monday.  This is one of the first Christmases in a few years that I didn’t have a job where I needed to at least check in if not being scheduled to work.  Yay!

John and I hosted the Christmas Eve dinner as we have for probably the last 8+ years? It’s been quite a while.

It was my turn to make The Cake this year, too.

Kind of looks like Jabba the Hut. The frosting is molten hot when it goes on the cake and you have to keep scooping back onto the cake. Wait too long and it will crystallize solid before it gets spread on. The frosting has to be done in 2 layers because of that. It’s worth it, though!

We did ham with cheese souffle and Hasselback potatoes:

The ham was done an hour early and the souffle wasn’t done in time for dinner. Not our most successful meal, but still good 😀

There was entertainment afterwards with John playing:

I even made the piano festive this year!  I brought my guitar down, although I didn’t play any holiday tunes.

I can’t believe I have to wear glasses to see my fingers. My eyes are getting old! I’m very serious here, too.

We didn’t end up playing any games this year. Time snuck away with music and opening presents.  We did have time for dessert.

My family way overdoes it sometimes…

John and I brought cookies over to our neighbor later that night since there was a platoon of them.

Normally we go down to my sister’s house on Christmas Day for games (and more cookies), but we woke up to this on Christmas:

We got at least another 6 inches on top of what we already had. Then the wind really picked up later, so it wasn’t conducive for travelling or even wanting to be outside. I don’t think we will see the ground again until spring, especially with the cold temps arriving.

Hope you all had a good holiday, however it was spent!

White Christmas

Things have finally come under control around here! Yay!  I was up to my eyeballs filling little jars the last week:

I ended up doing 250 of these little jars. This was for 2 wholesale orders, which came in within a day of each other. Wholesale orders are not too common in late December, but these were both subscription boxes.  Those are definitely a game changer as far as wholesale goes. I’ve done 4 of them now.  They are nice as far as the size of orders, but unlike a regular store order that is a selection, the boxes are one single item. I did a box that ordered 175 bars of a single soap scent.

 

We are getting a big snowstorm today. We already had snow on the ground, but this sure does guarantee a white Christmas:

Not sure how much we will get when all is said and done, but I think we are at least up to 6 inches so far and still snowing.  It sure looks pretty!

I am actually taking an extra day off next week and keeping the businesses closed on 12/26. I need to take a break and get things in some semblance of order around here. 😀

John and I are hosting the family dinner on Christmas Eve again as per tradition. Nobody is going anywhere today with the weather, so it’s time to cookie bake!  We are pretty ready for the holiday. Gifts are all wrapped and we have shopped for the dinner food.

Time to enjoy the tree, along with Ms. Pixie:

That’s her new favorite spot. Now that the radiators are on for winter, the tree gives her a hiding spot and warmth. Kitty heaven!

Have a safe holiday everyone!

Snowflake Bentley

This weekend was the Christmas open house at the Chapman Museum where I do my volunteer work.  Each year there is a different theme for the holidays. This year was featuring Snowflake Bentley, who was the first person to photograph snowflakes through a microscope. It seems appropriate for this post considering all the snow falling across the US.

Bentley lived in Vermont, actually with his mother for his entire life.  He would go outside with a black tray to catch snowflakes. Then he took them to his microscope station in an outbuilding (no heat, obviously) where he would photograph them through the microscope.

This was from a Popular Mechanics Magazine in 1922.  He photographed over 2000 snowflakes and did lectures about them and the technique for photographing through a microscope, as well as publishing a book. Every snowflake has six points and over the years, Bentley never found two alike.

Anyway, here are a few more pictures of the deLong house (part of the museum).  This is the parlor:

Do you see the difference between the two chairs? The one on the right with arms is a man’s chair and the one without arms is for a woman. The reason being a woman needed room for her skirts.

And the couch that I covet there (although I would like a different fabric on it)

The library:

We had a couple of snowflake making sessions to get ready for the season:

These were used in various places, the majority on the tree:

There was live music:

Refreshments that look like snowflakes:

These were found at Aldi’s, by the way. They are really tasty. I need to go find them LOL.

Quite a few people came through, which was great. It was free to attend and view the museum. There were more people than I’ve ever seen in the year that I’ve been there.  It’s good to be a tourist in your own city sometimes.

Here are a couple more photos of snowflakes:

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These are the actual photos taken through the microscope. He never copyrighted any of his photos, so they are all public domain. It really is amazing the difference in all the flakes. Something that you never really think about when it is coming down and accumulating. We are going to get our own share of snow on Tuesday and it sounds like it might be a decent snowfall. Not sure I will be photographing each flake, though!

Enter December and our new Instant Pot

I thought I would pop in and show my face again LOL.  This is about how I feel right now:

 

I just finished the last of my shows for the season. Now it’s just online orders to fill for the next couple of weeks. Business has been really busy and I kept thinking it would slow down, but even today it was quite busy. Not that busy is a bad thing, but the above meme about sums it up 😀

Biking season is pretty much done. I did bundle up for a few rides:

I still have not brought the bike inside yet. Maybe I can squeak in a bit more riding in December. It’s possible, right?

We put up our tree Thanksgiving weekend.

I love this tree so much. It’s very real looking.

I did succumb to a Black Friday deal:


That’s my Amazon link (full disclosure). I won a $50 gift certificate to Amazon, plus I had a promotional credit in my account. I ended up not paying much out of my pocket for the Instant Pot. Yippee!

We are hoping to replace the rice cooker, slow cooker and pressure cooker and save some space. First try was steel cut oats:

They came out yummy. I think it took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish, most of which was just the cook, so I didn’t have to do anything but have coffee while it cooked.

I really like my pressure cooker, but I haven’t used it much recently and working a pressure cooker on an electric stove is a real PITA.  The IP made it very easy.

We also tried doing a pot-in-pot recipe cooking the main and side at the same time. We did a chickpea curry with rice.  The sauce had to be thickened a little after cooking, but other than that, the rice turned out perfect!

John wants to make baked beans or (and) a cheesecake. I downloaded a couple free recipe books for the Instant Pot. Something like 700 recipes all together. That’s waaaay too many LOL.  It will be nice to incorporate this machine into cooking Christmas Eve dinner this year.

That’s life in a nutshell right now. Hope people are still reading!

Taking a short break

Just a quick check in. I’m going on a little blog hiatus just because I’ve gotten so busy that I don’t have much to post about that isn’t business involved just now, which you probably don’t want to read about LOL. This will last a few days to a week or so.  Just letting you know I’m fine and all that, so no worries.   😀

Happy Halloween!

One more day until candy corn is 50% off – woo hoo!!!  Then it will be gone for another year.

Saturday we did our annual pumpkin carving. This was after our hike and standing for a few hours in the evening probably didn’t do my legs any favors as they were pretty sore come Sunday.

I think we need a bigger table or smaller pumpkins. Maybe both LOL!

I decided to go with I guess a steampunk skull?

We had 3 painters and 4 carvers this year.

And of course, a gathering is not complete without the food!

Finger foods because it was just easier.

My sister made those pumpkin pocket pies (ham and cheese – with some plain cheese for John).

Finished pumpkins:

My youngest niece is super talented at drawing. She hand painted her pumpkin with no pattern:

She’s very into anime.

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Glitter is evil. It’s days later and it’s still everywhere LOL!

I put some glitter on the stem of my pumpkin, which came out fun!

 

Happy and safe Halloween!

Prospect Mountain Hike

Time for another Adirondack hike! Saturday was a good day for hiking, not so great for biking because it was pretty windy.  We chose the Prospect Mountain hike, which is one of the most popular trails. It starts pretty much in the village of Lake George, so easy to get to. 

It starts with a staircase to the bridge that crosses the Northway. Lots of steps!

Then the bridge over the highway:

I must admit here that my heart was pumping faster crossing this than going up all those steps. You can see right through the bottom!

On the other side, the trail started going up right away. It was pretty rocky, too.

The trail isn’t too long. It is an out and back route. The length of the hike as the crow flies is 3 miles, but it ended up about 5 miles. You never quite go straight up, but because of the rocks you go back and forth, which adds a lot of steps.  The elevation rise is around 1500 feet, which is a lot of climbing.

The trail crosses one more road, which was a nice resting spot.

Thumbs up – going well so far!  After crossing this road, then we hit the really steep part.

See John looking up to where we will be climbing? LOL.  It was challenging.  There were a fair number of people on the hike in the morning as well. It was in the upper 40s, which was kind of nice considering how hot and sweaty we were getting while climbing. I can’t imagine doing this on a hot and humid day.

There was leapfrogging of people because of the stopping and resting during the climb.  People coming down would say “You’re almost there”. I’m thinking their idea of almost there was not my idea of almost there.

Finally we made it and the views were worth it!

We started down there at the water level. Now that was a hike! The interesting thing is that you can actually drive to the summit here, which is why it is a popular destination. There used to be a cable tram that would bring people up to the hotel that once stood here. This is the last remnant of the tram line:

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There is a really nice picnic area with tables and outdoor grills. I would love to come back and picnic here.

More views:

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After a rest and snack, it was time to head down. It was almost as hard coming down. The flat rocks with pine needles were actually a little slippery. Good thing it wasn’t wet!

We passed some kind of memorial. Not sure what it is for as there was no signage.

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Rocky from top to bottom!

Then back across that scary bridge. Wave to the nice people!

Seriously – that bridge was really scary to me.

When I checked my health app after we were done, it said we climbed 99 flights! That’s a lot of stairs 😀  Our legs are feeling pretty sore today after all that climbing. It was definitely a challenging hike.

What’s Blooming!

Winding down, winding down. It’s just about November and it will be time to retire my Friday posts.  The garden actually still looks pretty decent.

My mums with the darker one finally matching the pink one:

I love this color combination. The orange foliage is from the balloon flowers. Those are pretty sensitive to cold. They come up very late in the spring and we have had a couple really cold nights, which nipped the foliage. Looks cool, though.

Marigolds with some new blooms:

There is also new growth on my butterfly bush. See all the bluish gray leaves versus darker green ones in this picture?

The bluish color is all new growth, which is pretty unusual on this plant in late October.  It even has a bloom!

I’m still waiting on the flowering tobacco:

I really don’t know why they just stayed like this. I will be digging up at least one of them this weekend to bring inside.

More zinnias:

All the new zinnia blooms are closer to the ground or very short, which is interesting.

That’s it for the garden this week. I do have to share this photo I took last night. It had rained all day and then the sun almost was coming through the clouds at sunset and it made the sky into a flame:

Isn’t that crazy? I took this picture through a window at a restaurant, which is why there are those reflections in it. FYI.

With the end of What’s Blooming, how about a flashback to a pink spring for today’s pink picture!

Don’t forget to click!

Have a great weekend!

Lower carb day

It’s getting to be the season of eating coming up, although truthfully I’ve already started with the candy corn! 😀

Lisa posted the other day about eating low carb and how it was a little difficult for her. I commented about trying to do low carb for a few days a week rather than every day and got me thinking that I should start doing that now with the eating season and all.  So, here is example of Monday’s lower carb day.

Now – keep in mind that it’s lower carb, not really low carb. I don’t do well with really low carbs (that’s just me) and I’m not interested in giving up my fruit. I also don’t subtract fiber from my carb count like a real low carb person. Basically my lower carb is just eating less grain items.

Anyhoo – on to the eats. Breakfast was a 1-minute muffin done in a waffle iron topped with blueberries:

Coffee with heavy cream, which is pretty rich. This breakfast was pretty filling.

Lunch time was a quick 2 egg + egg white cheese omelet:

I love omelets – love them! I eat them several times a week.

I got little hungry later and this would be a time where I would grab a bit of cereal as a snack to tide me over. Instead, I had a spoonful of this stuff:

It’s solid at this time of year, so it was just a chunk of it. I forgot how much I like this. Yum!  I could easily go overboard eating it, so I have to be careful as it is high calorie.

Latte snack later. This is where more of my carbs come in with the milk.

Dinner was a classic for me. Chicken with pan sauteed broccoli:

This looks small, but it was 6-7 ounces of chicken (with Frank’s Red Hot on it).

Evening snack with football:

I ended the day with about 75 grams of carbs, mostly from fruit and dairy. I think if I subtracted the fiber from my day it was around 50? Again, I don’t do it that way.

It’s a good way to switch things up and knowing I’m only doing a few days a week of it makes it easy to stick to because I know the next day I can have, say, a bagel if I want 😀

Today’s pink picture is Ms. Pixie’s harness and leash:

She loves her harness and she will go over to the door and put her front feet up on the door patiently waiting so I can buckle the harness on her. She is pretty smart when it comes to that. Not so smart with other things, but I still love her 😀

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Votes for Women

This weather is crazy here! We’ve been in the 70s for the last few days and it doesn’t look to change. Saturday morning we did go out when it was colder just because we needed to ride early. We went up to the lake:

It was really perfect riding weather. No breeze and no people!  It’s definitely a muted fall here.

Riding with my favorite partner:

I have to tell you – I do not know how John goes without sunglasses. He never squints. Me? I go out on a cloudy day without sunglasses and I’m all “My eyes!!!”

I think I’ve mentioned this is the past, but this year marks the 100th anniversary that women were granted the right to vote in NY. All year there have been activities and such going on. On Saturday, there was a reenactment of the statewide suffrage convention that was held in our town in 1900.

It was a reenactment of the opening day with actors reading the actual speeches given that day.

Musical interludes:

Even the refreshments were all recreated from the suffrage cookbook.

Those cookies were really good, too.

It was interesting that at points during the speeches, the audience actually broke out in spontaneous applause because so much of it really still resonates today.  Here are some of the advertisements that were in circulation at the time:

Not everyone was a suffrage supporter:

Men and women were against it.

I like this one:

It says, “And you think you can keep women silent politically? It can’t be did!”

We’ve come a long way, but there is still a long way to go in our country for equality all around.

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Today’s pink picture is a silicone lined soap mold. I was evaluating different molds to add to our line and this one came with a hot pink liner!

Don’t forget to click!