Friday, December 12, 2008

lucky food

This was AMAZING!!! the lemon bundt cake from Magnolia. I am lucky that I had the opportunity to have some of this. Tyra brought it to the barn for our lunch. It was the BEST, hands-down, lemon cake I have ever had.

Monday, December 01, 2008

great pie

While the dinner in the restaurant at my parents new place was surprisingly good, the desserts were horrid. They seemed like they came from a huge industrial box, which I am sure they did. The menu at the restaurant was inspired, and it was a disappointing finish to have bad dessert. Bummer.

So I needed to make one of my thanksgiving standards that weekend.
Sour Cream Apple Pie with a Cider Cinnamon Crust. So damned good, and worth making! This pie is a little different, and everyone seems to love it!

Sour Cream Apple Pie with a Cider Cinnamon Crust
from The Silver Palate. I’ve changed it a little bit, but not much. It is really good! The crust is really tasty and really easy if you mix it in the food processor.
Crust: 2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
8 Tbsp cold butter, cut into pieces
4 Tbsp shortening
4-6 Tbsp. apple cider (or apple juice)
Filling: 2/3 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbsp flour
5-7 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
Topping: 3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1.Mix together dry ingredients for crust in food processor. Add butter and shortening. Pulse until it resembles fine oatmeal. Add cider 1 Tbsp at a time with machine running, just until it all holds together. Then take it out and chill it in the fridge in a baggie for at least 2 hours.
2. Mix together the first 5 ingedients for the filling. Add the apples and toss well.
3. Using about 2/3 of the dough, roll it out and put it into a pie plate. Fill with the apple filling. Mix topping together and sprinkle evenly over apples.
4. Roll out the rest of the dough and cut small decorative shapes (leaves, apples, whatever) and place on top of pie. (There will probably still be extra.)
5. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


This is Michelle riding a fabulous horse last week. We had a metronome going to help her keep the pace. This horse moves beautifully and Michelle rides her so well! The arena is a fabulous 200' x 90' area, with shredded rubber in the footing. oh, it is heated too. (spoiled!)

It is Trish's voice you can hear working with her to get this horse moving so nicely. I had my lesson and am sooo lucky to have Trish be my trainer and to get to ride horses like this! Makes me really happy.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

herding sheep

I had the opportunity to go watch some sheep herding the other day. I jumped at it! I had never been, and thought it sounded fun. Trish has an Australian Sheep Dog that is about 2 years old. The breeder lives nearby and has a beautiful (and huge) farm with many sheep, fabulous horses, etc. So, the other day after my riding lesson, Trish and I went to the farm, and I watched her practice with her dog to herd the sheep.....

By the time we left, the sun was going down and the sky was glowing behind the trees. It was wonderful fiery fall colors, that the camera did not even come close to doing justice.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

moving on

My parents are moving to a retirement community. What a huge project. I have gone down several times to help them, which I know they need and appreciate. It is tiring for me, so I know it is exhausting for them!

They live an hour away, and are moving to a place that is another 1/2 hour from them. It is alot of moving, which is the least of the undertaking. They have so much stuff, that it is an overwhelming task. They need to part with soooo many things, which is very hard for them. My mom wants to find loving homes for each and every item, which on one hand I understand, but on the other, just be done. I have had to take on alot of it, as, of the four siblings, it is me that the task is falling on mostly for several reasons.

That said, it is inspiring me to rethink my house, and 'things' and life. Yes, I am going through that mid-life thing anyway, but this has made me open my eyes even more. I need change on many levels. I need income on a larger level for so many reasons. I need horses to stay back in my life. I need to do a better job at not keeping 'things'. I need to be more free of all of the clutter of my life. Need a catharsis. ( the tag sale I had today helped alot with that!)

I don't want to end up with my possessions possessing me. I went down to their house last Saturday morning, expecting to be a few hours. Mom wanted me to look at silver, silverware, and linens. I ended up not leaving until the following evening... so much to do!

I loved sleeping on the big old velvet couch... and decided that I really DO want to have that after all as a result of sleeping on it! There is very little that I want to keep from their 'things'. Apparently now the big velvet couch is one of them. And I have no idea how I will get it into my house!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Heavenly riding lately

I have LOVED riding again! I knew I missed riding, but hadn't really realized just how much, until I started doing it again. I am really rusty, but it is slowly coming back. I have been lucky enough to be able to ride again with Trish Helmer. I rode with her at Meredith Manor 20-ish years ago.
The barn she works out of now is about an hour and 20 minutes away from me in Pawling, NY. We are working on getting her website up and going. It is and will be great in a month or so!!

Even the drive is beautiful, especially this time of year!

The farm/barn is beautiful to say the least. I am lucky to go to such a facility! I have so much fun there that I usually ride from about 10:30-11:30, and then hang out for hours afterwards. I sit with Trish in the arena, and listen to/watch her teach... and chat with the other women who ride there (who do the same as me). It is hard to leave.

The farm is beautiful and so nice to be a small part of. I arrive and my horse is tacked and ready for me! :)
I ride in a wonderful arena that is huge (the hunter/jumper arena is down the hill), has shredded rubber in the footing to make it nice and cushy, and has garage doors all along the side wall (on the left in the photo) as the windows. very cool.
After I ride, I cool my horse down, and then when I bring him out of the arena, a groom takes him from me, and I can go and enjoy the company of my barn friends! Heaven!!!!

If only I could afford to go more often...... ;)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Halloween costume

Emmett got invited to a halloween party early, which means he needs a costume ready way before the actual date. We don't buy costumes. We make them and get creative. I allow them each to have $10 to get anything necessary for them.
Emmett is Anakin Skywalker this year. The one from the episode where it is just before he becomes Darth Vader.

After we made it and he was dressed for the party, I found a costume like it online for $60. go me!!!
He has on... my brown sweater over his black shirt, and black long underwear. Funky leatherette fabric ($8) that I cut up the front and hot glued back into place (about 5 minutes worth of work). On his belt are silver spray-painted wine bottle corks and a camera case... hot-glued into place. A pair of Adam's black socks, and a fingerless ragg wool glove. I used face paint for his scar.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I just can't even imagine.
I just went to the CNN website and looked at the polling map of who is ahead in which states.... as of last week.... scary as anything!

McCain looks like he has alot of states. I can't imagine what this country will be if he is the president. I can't imagine this country and what the implications will be for that. And what it will be for women if Sarah Palin is in even the slightest bit of control. yuck.
I will want to move to a new country.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Emmett's party

All he has wanted is laser tag. He has been planning this birthday party for... oh, about 10 months.... he has held steadfast for laser tag ever since he went with a friend to play it.

So, we sucked it up and bought into it for him. I must say, it was a fabulously fun party!! The kids got to play three rounds. The grown-ups went in and were on a team for each round. the moms all were on a team together for round 2. We had sooo much fun!
the kids all had a blast, and we walked away trying to figure out if we should be opening a laser tag place near us, since there isn't one nearby! I am thinking we don't although I am also hoping that someone else does!

Monday, July 28, 2008

the dock...

the cove was great for a few days. We had a feast of lobsters the first night. There 16 people, including 7 kids. we had a dozen lobsters that we got for $60!!! yum!!! I was just starting to feel like wI could settle in to being there on the third day, when we had to leave. too short this year. will have to make up for it next year! :)

you can see the boathouse in the distance across the cove to the right. Was so nice to have stayed there last year.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Best blueberry pie

Luz Zulema, my little niece, decided she was going to be my helper to make a killer yummy blueberry pie for dessert. She became my constant sidekick from then on, and was so cute! She chose the pattern we cut for the top of the pie.

It's the best damn blueberry pie.... not too sweet... just right, and fabulous with fresh whipped cream.

Blueberry Pie
From the Wilson Farm Cookbook. The absolute best blueberry pie recipe!

1 qt. blueberries, (4-5 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1 pie crust- for top and bottom

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Mix berries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
3. Spoon into bottom pie crust and dot with butter. Cover with top crust and seal carefully. Cut vents.
4. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until top is brown and juice starts to bubble through vents. Serve warm.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

mom to boys

why is it they can't just smile for a photo? they seem to need to be gross too. I had to take about 15 photos to get one of them smiling!

Glad I am a "boy mom" though... not sure if I'd be as good a "girl mom". I can handle all of their 'boy-ness' and things they do better than I think I would deal with girls being catty, and also glad our house isn't overrun with dolls and stuff. Doesn't really matter though. I am a mom to two boys. It is what it is, and I like it... most of the time. :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

great back

Did this cool tree for a girl the other day. Beautiful on her. I thought it came out great and it was fun to do something so different. She loved it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

before and after

I am amazed, impressed, and happy. To look now at the before photo of my feet and what they were for so long, it is strange, and gross! I am so happy that I had the bunion surgery. I am 6 weeks from the first surgery, and three weeks from the second. My first foot is doing great, and the second one is getting there- still tender and not really flexing, but slowly but surely it is coming along.
I am looking forward to wearing some nice shoes, without having to compensate for ugly bunions- nice sandals, and more. I will be getting my ski boots tweaked alot to fix them for the new shape of my foot. Skiing should be alot less painful next winter. Yeah!!
I am certainly happy that I didn't get swayed by all of the horror stories of bunion surgeries! Great surgeons exist, and my physical therapist is really wonderful too. How nice to have a good base to stand on.

Friday, May 09, 2008

best friends

I am sad that Emmett will not be going back to his school next year. His best friend of the last three years will be sad too, but he doesn't know yet. His mom doesn't want to tell him yet, as she knows he will be devastated. They have been best friends for the last three years, and in their short lives, that is half of their time here, and most of their memories.

Emmett knows he will be going to the public school nearby, but I don't think it has occurred to him the impact that it will have of being away from his hard and fast bonds he has. He is also not happy about the prospect of having homework next year. I agree. First grade should not have homework. He needs time to be a child. He will get home at 4pm, and he heads up to start his bedtime routine (stories, etc) by about 6:30. That is not much time to play and just be a kid.

I have enough issues with the amount of homework that is given to his brother in 5th grade. I certainly have issues with homework in 1st grade! I think the whole schooling system in this country is not focused well, and there is far too much teaching to the testing. I don't really have any alternative where we live, so it is off to public school for my kids. I often hear people say, "oh, you have such good schools in your town"... I always respond with "what does 'good schools 'mean?... the test scores are good?" so what. Does that really mean that we have fully educated our kids? It doesn't mean the kids are well rounded or confident or able to express themselves on different levels. it just means that they have had certain things drilled into their heads, and can spit it back.
I also have issues with the fact that our school district teaches the "everyday math" program, which has been shown to be detrimental in the long run, as the kids don't really learn the breakdown of how and why they are doing things. And the other thing I have an issue with is that they have to learn cursive. To me this is archaic. As my older one said... "why do we need to learn a different font?" hmmm... doesn't that just sum it up a bit? More on that some other time.
In the meantime, I am glad that both of my boys got the good base in their early years. I am sad that it will no longer be part of their day. Things will change now on many levels.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

little cozy ones

they like to all sleep together in a lump. Eli found them like this inside his comforter the other night when he was ready for bed. They really have been such good pets for the boys. So glad we didn't get hamsters!

These little ferrets have been more than entertaining for almost 2 years now. It is so good for kids to have a pet (or a few). I grew up with such a menagerie- cats, kittens galore, a dog, pet mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, and even my horse (although that isn't really a pet, but she was right out the door). There was always a plethora of four legged things at our house. I like having the boys learn to be kind and care for something that can't care for itself.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Four days post- op, this foot looks better than the other one did at the same time. Notice the left foot, which is now 3 1/2 weeks out, is looking pretty damn good! My physical therapist is encouraging, and says my left foot is making good progress. I have no pain in it, and can walk pretty well, with a slip on sneaker. My right foot however, is still quite multi-colored, and is painful. If I don't stay off of it, I need to take more pain killers, and it feels like there is alot of pressure in it, and it throbs... painfully. I have most of the sensation back in the first foot, but have not got much in the right toe at all.
overall, I am happy with the whole thing, but now going stir crazy with not being able to drive. I bagged using the crutches 2 yesterday. was just 'done'. I am still wearing the surgical shoe though. and still tired alot.
can't wait to have the second one feeling as good as the first one now does!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

henna party

I did a fun party and hennaed about a dozen women. They chose really diverse patterns, and it was fun to be there for 3 1/2 hours.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

3 weeks out

Looking pretty good after 3 weeks. These photos are just before leaving to go get the right foot done. I'm feeling really good about walking on the left one now, and have some great mule sneakers that I have been wearing for 3 days now! Yeah!!! but then will be out of commission for a few days again.
Hoping the progress for the second foot is equally as speedy as the first. My Physical Therapist says I am making really good progress and that the swelling has gone down a bunch since last week even.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I was asked to join another henna artist at an event in a few weeks. I checked out her gallery and loved her work! I am inspired to practice some of the designs she has done. I also love that she photographs her work so well, and that I need to work on this aspect. She has beautiful backgrounds to set off her work. I would love to indulge in more silks and things to use as backdrops for photographing my work.

Friday, April 11, 2008

bunion surgery progress!!

okay, I am a week out from surgery, and must say... totally impressed! the swelling is almost gone, my foot is still a little discolored and bruised in a few places, but overall fine. I can hobble along pretty well no crutches, and can put weight on most of my foot- not on the bunion site though. I haven't needed pain meds for several days now, except for once 2 nights ago, and just a mild one. I am wearing a surgical "shoe" which is a black velcro-ed on shoe. It is shaped underneath to make me stand on my heel. I also have a little white pad that velcros around my foot to protect it. I will post a photo of that next time too.

here are the photos of my foot.

from day 5:

and now, day 7:

So glad I didn't pay attention to all of the horror stories I read on the internet, or to all of the people I asked and had heard about. I do think I may have had a different experience due to going to a foot surgeon, versus a podiatrist. The podiatrist I had gone to previously told me 4 years ago that I would be laid up for 6 weeks for each foot. ugh. happy I didn't have him do the surgery!

Monday, April 07, 2008

one down, one to go...

this was what they looked like on Friday morning.....and this on Monday afternoon.....

I had one bunion done. I had a chevron bunionectomy. So far, so good! Totally happy with and impressed with my doctor. The time was right. I have known for years that I will need to do this surgery. I found this doctor a few years ago, and he was highly recommended. Now I found out that he is retiring from surgery in 2 months. yikes! so I just needed to go do it. He says I will be in running shoes in 2 weeks, and then I will be doing the other foot in 2 weeks from now so I will finally have decent feet! yeah!
Partly I am posting this on here, since I had such a hard time when I hunted for things on the internet about bunion surgeries, and people's experiences with them. But mostly I found the bad stories. So hopefully here will be a good one, which is what I am feeling. :)
I went in on Friday and had the surgery, and yes, took lots of pain meds over the weekend. But I woke up this morning with it feeling much better. I had taken it really easy for three days, and had been really good keeping it elevated. It paid off. Today was great.

emmett with me at the post-op visit this morning....

Monday, March 31, 2008

Dad turns 85!!

we went out to lunch with him....

me, Dave, Dad, Sue, Sandy

Dave, Sue, me, Sandy

(ugh! not wearing that sweater again! I look 20 pounds heavier!)

this is all of us from 2 summers ago... (Adam wasn't there)

back: Sue and John, Eli, Mom and Dad, Sandy, Kate, Robby, Dave
front: Emmett, me, Charlie, Grace, Janey, Vicki, Jack

Friday, March 28, 2008

A reuben to remember....

I started thinking about a reuben about a week ago. Then, I started obsessing about having one. Having a really good one is just worth the time and effort to find all of the right ingredients. You need to have just the right... everything.. to make it really memorable. I don't eat them very often, but when I do, I want it to be a kick butt sandwich. Grilled just right, on good rye, with good homemade Thousand Island dressing, and tasty ingredients.

So, I set about it yesterday, and I must say, it hit the spot. At the deli, I got good corned beef, and some great tasting swiss cheese. I like it on well-made seedless rye with just enough sauerkraut.

I like to put swiss on both sides of the bread, spread one side with some dressing, then layer a few slices of corned beef, the sauerkraut and then another slice of swiss. Put the sandwich in a cast iron frying pan, and slowly cook it until the bread is just toasted, the cheese is melted and the meat is warm. Serve it with some extra dressing to dip, and yum! It is best with some warm potato salad. I didn't have the time to do that yesterday, so I guess I will be having another in a few days.

Reuben Sandwich

2 slices rye bread (I use seedless)
swiss cheese (sliced)
corned beef (sliced)
sauerkraut (drained)
Thousand Island dressing (see recipe below)

1. Lightly butter the bread.
2. Place the swiss cheese on one slice of bread. Spread some dressing on it, then lay some slices of corned beef on top of that. Follow this with some sauerkraut, another slice of swiss cheese, and the second slice of bread.
3. Grill the sandwich in a pan until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted.
4. Serve with additional dressing on the side.

Thousand Island dressing:
2 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon horseradish
1 tsp relish
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Friday, March 21, 2008

Swiss Easter Cake

in a shop window

at the Schweizerhof Hotel cafe in Lucerne

my easter cake

I want to make this fabulous easter cake again. I made it a few years ago when I got back from visiting friends in Switzerland. These 'cakes' (more like tarts) were ubiquitous and only available at Easter. I indulged in them several times in the week that I was there. Always a good experience. I made sure to get the recipe from my friend there.

Here is the recipe from her mom with measures in both metric and US

Swiss Easter Cake
Elsbeth's recipe book identifies the following under the title:
"Osterkuchen"-"Gâteau de Pâques"

SWEET DOUGH (like for fruit pies):
250 gr flour
100-150gr butter
to be blended by hand until smooth

60 gr sugar
1 egg
1 pinch of salt
1-2 spoons of water
to be stored at cool temperature and rolled out to line the cake tin (mold)

60 gr semolina or 100 gr rice (1/4 c. semolina or 1/2 c. rice)
0.6 liters of milk ( 2 1/3 cups)
1 pinch of salt
to be cooked over low heat until soft, then to let cool down

prepare seperately:
50-80 gr butter (5 Tbsp)
70 gr sugar (1/3 cup)
1/2 peel of lemon
3 egg-yolks
to be beaten to become light and foamy, and then mixed with the cold semolina- or rice-mush

add to this mixture:
50 gr sultana(golden) raisins (1/3 cup)
50 gr minced or sliced almonds (1/3 cup)

add and mix-in:
3 egg-whites beaten until stiff

bake with good lower heat (325-ish) about 30 minutes to become golden-yellow.
After it has cooled, use powder-sugar to cover the top.
(and try powdering it with a cutout of a bunny on it, as is the custom!)

PS: 1 gr (gram) is equivalent to .035 ounces/ 1 liter is 1.057 quarts