Thursday, July 31, 2014

Friday Favorites!

It's finally Friday!  Hooray!   Hope you all like what I've got up on the blog today. And if you do, don't be afraid to leave a comment or follow me!  Have a great weekend everyone!

Number 1:  Favorite hotel/lodge/resort -- The Whiteface Lodge - Lake Placid, NY





The hubs and I have been making this our annual anniversary spot.   This place is AMAZING.  No exaggeration.  The pictures don’t even do it justice.  I could spend the entire day just laying around in the room, basking in the ambience!    It’s beautiful, it’s relaxing, and there is also a ton of stuff to do on the property (bowling alley, ice cream shop, movie theatre, pool, nightly smores, day spa).  The cheapest rooms typically start at$350-$400, but we’ve been able to find online deals for $170!   It’s a true mountain paradise. 

Number 2:  Favorite Girls day out  --  New York City!

We saw Chicago on our last girls day out

It’s a 2 hour and 20 minute train ride for me into the city.  There’s nothing I love more than getting some girls together and heading down for some shopping, theatre, and good food (and yes, some NY style cheesecake too!).

Number 3:  Favorite City to visit -- Montreal
Notre Dame Basilica

Montreal was a quick 1 hour trip from where I went to college.  I loved going up for concerts, hockey games, baseball games (anybody remember the Montreal Expos??), shopping and french food of course!  It's a beautiful city, especially Old Montreal (who doesn't love cobblestone streets!).  My husband and I try to make it up there at least once a year; sometimes for the Montreal Jazz Fest or sometimes just to relax.  I am looking forward to taking the boys there soon to see the Biodome and the Botanical Gardens.

Number 4:  Favorite Girls Night Out (Restaurant) -- The Melting Pot

Um, dipping things in cheese and chocolate with your best girlfriends??  Where can you go wrong?!?!?

Number 5:  Favorite Girls Night Out (Activity) --Art on Tap

Or Paint N Sip, Paint on Tap or any of the other countless name variations out there!
I suck at art.  Like really suck.  But somehow, I made a picture that looked half way decent at Art on Tap.  In case you aren't familiar with this concept, you basically hang 0ut with some fun people, paint a picture (following the direction of the teacher), and sip some cocktails!  It's a lot of fun, even if you don't enjoy art!  I promise!! 
This was my class in the pic below.  Can you find me?  :)

Happy to be linking up again with Andrea at Momfessionals, Erika at A little bit of everything and Meagan at All the joys


All The Joys Friday Favorites

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grab some coffee or tea and chat with me!

Can we talk?  There's a few things I'd like to get off my chest.

1. My 4 year old demands that I wipe him after he poops.  "Mom, I've gotta poop.  And when I'm done, wipe my butt."  I hear this once a day, every day.  Does this happen to anyone else or just me?  When will this end?   Will I have to hire a butt wiper to go with him to Kindergarten next year?!

2. My husband gets home with the kids at least 30 minutes before I do every afternoon.  Yet without fail, as I am walking through the door, my 4 year old runs into the kitchen and says, "Mom, can I have a snack?"   Is daddy incapable of handing out the snacks?   What's going on here??

3. I just can't get into The Real Housewives or the Bachelor.  I would much rather watch North Woods Law or Alaska State Troopers.  My girlfriends think I'm nuts.  Do you?

4.  I really dislike pork chops.

5.  It makes me really mad when someone swoops in from the side street and cuts in front of me in the Dunkin Donuts drivethru.   RUDE!  On the flip side, I love when someone pays it forward and I get a free coffee!

What would you like to talk about??

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our weekend at Blue Mountain Lake and the near death of my Samsung Galaxy S4

This weekend my husband and I went on a little adventure to Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondacks.  We handed off the kids to their grandparents, dropped the dog at the pet lodge and were on our way!

Blue Mountain Lake, NY

Blue Mountain Lake is in the central Adirondack mountains and pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  For real.  Other than the lake, there is the Adirondack Museum, a couple churches, some sporting goods type stores (canoes/kayaks/camping supplies) and a gas station which also serves as a deli and pizza parlor. We thought we would find a cute little place to stop for lunch, but there was not a single restaurant in sight!  So we decided to check out the Adirondack Museum, in part because we knew they had a little cafe there!

The Adirondack Museum was pretty interesting.  I won't bore you with the details, but if you're interested in early mountain/remote living, this is a fun place to visit.


Cool fire tower

After our museum visit and a quick lunch, we headed to Hemlock Hall where we would be spending the night.  This place is rustic.  Very rustic.  There are no TVs, no radios, and they don't take credit cards (cash or checks only).  When you arrive, you fill out a little paper card to check in. 

Hemlock Hall- side view of the main lodge.  They also have several cabins that are very close to the lake.

We were led to our room in the Main Lodge called "The Master Suite."  It consisted of the main room, a very small bathroom, and a screened in porch which was definitely the highlight of the room.

Screened porch
View from our porch of Blue Mountain Lake 

We sat on the porch for a while, enjoying the breeze and the view.  Then we decided we would head down to the beach and take out one of the boats (included in the price of your stay is the use of their boats... kayaks, canoes, rowboats, sunfish).  The beach was so lovely, we sat around for a while just relaxing.  Then we walked over to the fishing dock which had some nice Adirondack chairs looking out into the lake.  About 5 minutes after we sat down, I saw this:
This was literally the largest spider I have ever seen!  This thing was about the size of my hand.  I'm not kidding.  There was no way I was sitting next to that spider any longer, so we decided it was time to take one of the boats out on the lake.  My husband thought we should take one of the canoes.
Long story short, we flipped the canoe before we even left the dock!  We were both soaked!!  We headed back to the room to change and that's when I realized my phone had been in my pocket!  It seemed fine at first, but then the screen started wiggling and flashing, and then went off completely.  I was not a happy camper.  But on to other things...

Hemlock Hall Dining room- you sit family style and mingle with the other guests

Hemlock Hall makes a delicious dinner and breakfast which are included in your price.  It's some real home cooked food!  Saturday dinner was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas and homemade bread.  Dessert was chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.   It was SO GOOD.  After dinner we were stuffed and just relaxed on the beach, then up on our porch.  And I head a loon!!  I was sooo hoping to hear a loon!  I love them and I love the sound they make. 
Despite our flip into the lake, we decided Sunday morning we would get up early and take the ROWBOAT (much more stable) out and row around the little islands on the lake.  Well, Sunday morning we woke up to a tremendous thunderstorm.  We had all the windows in the room open as well as the door to the screened porch and it was literally like we were right in the middle of the storm.  I loved it!!!  I love thunderstorms but this was the first time I actually felt like I was IN the thunderstorm!  Nature is amazing!

After an amazing home cooked breakfast, we packed up to head home.  On the way out, they handed us a large loaf of homemade bread!  How nice is that!?

We had a lovely weekend, although I don't think we would go back unless it was with a large group of people.  Unless you are really outdoorsy, more than one night would get boring for a couple (in my opinion), especially if you are addicted to TV and internet like my husband and I are!!  But I think it would be tons of fun with a large group of friends or family. 

Oh, and guess what... my super amazing, technically skilled husband fixed my phone!  Hooray!  And thanks to him, I get to share this post and pictures with you :)

Happy Monday!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday favorites

Happy Friday!  I'm so excited to be linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals and Erika at A Little Bit of Everything for a second week!  I'm also excited to be linking up with Meagan over at All the Joys for the very first time!


Number 1:  These outdoor dinner party decorating ideas!

I saw something on the 4th of July that I just can't get out of my head.  As we drove the country roads to my friend's camp, out of nowhere appeared a beautiful farmhouse.  And on the lawn of that farmhouse, under a huge old maple tree, was a beautiful table with probably 30 people sitting at it.  They were smiling, talking, eating.  There was a red and white checkered tablecloth and white lanterns.  I imagined tall glasses of lemonade,  corn on the cob and fried chicken.  It was something straight out of a magazine (the word "Americana" comes to mind).  The image tugged at my heart and I had the strangest feeling of dejavu.   A faint memory entered my mind of me as a little girl surrounded by my family on a similar summer day.  A day many years ago when my grandparents, great grandmother and my great uncle were still alive. It made my heart sad and happy at the same time.  Oh how I wanted to be at that table!   But I figured this nice group of family and friends would probably frown upon some stranger and her husband and 2 kids crashing their party!

Like I said, I can't get the image out of my head.  I searched the internet high and low to see if I could find something close to what I saw.  But of course I ccouldn't.   The best I could do was compile these 3 pictures which each had something that reminded me of what I had seen.

And now that I've looked at allll these images, I so want to have an outdoor dinner party! There are so many amazing decorating ideas!

Number 2:  This succulent DIY

I found this at
I don't have much experience with succulents, but I'd like to get some!  And isn't this an adorable little dinner party favor, or thank you gift, hostess gift, teacher gift, etc?!

Number 3:  These Lego inspired bedroom ideas

My Nick loooves him some Legos! When we move Alec to a toddler bed, I am going to redecorate both boys' rooms.  Nick has requested  Lego/Lego Star Wars room.  I really like this Lego room and maybe I could incorporate some things from the Lego star warms room.
Another idea is this Lego bathroom which would be much easier and cheaper!

Number 5:  Family walks/bike rides
It has been so hot and humid here the past couple of weeks, we really haven't gotten much outside time.  But Thursday night the weather was beautiful and we finally got out as a family and took a walk/ride around the neighborhood.  I don't want to wish summer away, but I can't wait for the cooler fall weather so we can be outside comfortably and enjoy all the beautiful fall color!

Slightly unhappy because his back tire was flat...thank goodness for the training wheels!

So there you have it- my favorites this week.  I hope you had fun stopping by, and if you like what you see, I hope you'll follow me on Bloglovin!  The hubs and I have a fun weekend planned and I can't wait to post about it on Monday!  Stayed tuned and have a great weekend!

All The Joys Friday Favorites


Monday, July 21, 2014

A visit to the North Country and one delicious burger!

How did we get to Monday again?  The weekend went too fast, as usual.  A quick update of ours...

Saturday we went to the "North Country" of NY to visit the in-laws for the day.  The kids had fun playing with some new toys that Grandma got them, eating ice pops, and running through the house like wild animals!
We had a nice lunch, visited for a few hours, then headed home.
Trying on some new sunglasses at Papa and Grandma's house.  Wish this picture wasn't so blurry!

Unfortunately we don't get up North as much as we'd like.  It's really a beautiful area....right on Lake Champlain with the Adirondack Mountains right down the road.  I went to college there and lived there for a few years after I graduated.  The hubs is a local and most of his family still lives there, and we still have many good friends there too.  If you ever head up to the North Country, there are 2 things you must try:

1.  A Michigan from Clare and Carl's.  Yes, this place looks a little sketchy, but I promise you, they  make one delicious Michigan!!!!
Clare & Carl's has quite literally become part of the landscape over the several decades it has been a Michigan destination in New York's north country.

And what's a Michigan you ask??  It's basically the North Country's version of a hot dog with meat sauce, topped with onions and mustard.  NO- it's not a chili dog!!!  Don't ever call it a chili dog!  The North Country folks will get real mad at you!

The hot dog itself is buried beneath sauce and onions. Also not visible: mustard.

2.  Cider donuts from Rulf's Orchards.  They serve them warm.... oh they are so good!  They also have pick your own apples and strawberries.
 by Rulfs Orchard

Besides Lake Champlain (and friends and family), these are the two things I miss most about the North Country!

The majority of Sunday was spent cleaning and cooking.  We did take a little field trip later in the afternoon to watch the boats come through the locks (the Erie Canal runs through our town).  Nick loves watching the boats and it gave us something fun to do close to home.

OK, now onto my 2nd recipe of the week!!  I love me a good burger, especially a summertime burger hot off the grill.  A friend from work shared this recipe with me and I fell in love.  It's just a little spicy, a little cheesy, and a lot guacamole!

Jalapeno Guacamole Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground beef (or ground chicken)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion (make sure these really are finely chopped or your burgers might fall apart on the griill)
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro (fresh)
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 cup shredded cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Oh, and don't forget your hamburger buns (I used onion rolls)

Leaf Lettuce
Red Onion

Sour cream

In a large bowl, mix all the above together with your ground beef or chicken.  Really get your hands in there and mix it all up!  Make sure everything is evenly distributed.
Have your significant other form the mixture into patties (or do it yourself.)  I was told by my husband that there is a "special way" to use the burger press so I should let him do it.  Whatever...

Pop your burgers on the grill and cook to your desired "doneness."

OK, now here is the really fun part.  TOPPING your burger.  I topped mine with a couple slices of red onion, leaf lettuce, lots of guacamole and just a little salsa.  It was kinda like a delicious taco in a bun.  The hubs gave it a thumbs up and suggested we add it to the rotation.

I promise you, it tastes better than it looks in this picture!  I'm still working on my food photos!!

My friend used ground chicken and loved the outcome just as much.  She also added sour cream on top and said it gave it a nice "little something extra."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The best banana chocolate chip muffin you will ever eat.

This week is all about recipes!  And I've got a couple good ones for you!
I'm starting you off with my Banana Chocolate Chip muffins.  I love me a good muffin, and I think this is one of the best muffins I have ever had.  No joke.  It is by no means healthy, other than the fact that it has bananas in it.  You can "health it up" if you want though.  I'll note the substitutions below.  Also, I'm new at photographing food, so please bear with me!  :)


3 over ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sat
1 3/4 cup flour (Healthier: whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup melted butter (Healthier: substitute with unsweetened applesauce)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (or however much you like!)

--Start by mashing your bananas up with a fork in a large bowl.
--Add in the 3/4 cup sugar and egg- mix well.

--Stir in the melted butter.
--Slowly add in your 1 3/4  cup flour, baking soda and baking powder.
--Stir in your chocolate chips!

--Pour into your muffin pan.  I have a great scoop from Pampered Chef that works perfectly.

--Consider throwing some sprinkles on top of a few to entice your children to eat them!  They also add a nice little CRUNCH.

--Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.  
--Filling the muffins cups almost to the top (as pictured above) will get you 12 nice sized muffins.


I like making these on Sunday and then freezing them in individual bags (or sometimes 2 to a bag) so they taste fresh all week.  I just grab one and throw it in my purse for breakfast at work, or throw it in the kids' lunchboxes for their school breakfast/snack. 


Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!  Hope you all are enjoying your day and reading some good blog posts!  :)
This week I am super excited to be linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for my very first Friday link up!

**My Friday Favorites**

Number 1:  Fridays!!  Friday is my work from home day.  I looove working from home!  It's the one day I have the house to myself.  It's peaceful, it's quiet, and I can work in my pajamas!  I can hit the grocery store on my lunch or take a nice long walk with George.  I can make endless cups of coffee.  I can work from the couch on my laptop or out on my deck.  I think Friday is my favorite day of the week now!  

Number 2:  This picture of my poor Georgie dog.  Poor Georgie got sprayed by a skunk Tuesday night.
This photo was taken about 12:10am while we were furiously trying to de-skunk him.  In the rain.  In our driveway.  At midnight.  That was not the best night.  We did get the stink out of him though!!  

Number 3:  This view.  Unfortunately, it's only visible from our house in the winter when all the leaves are off the trees.  In the summer, we love to walk down and watch the boats, jet skiers, and geese enjoying the river.  Georgie has been known to jump in for a swim too!

Number 4:  This face.  This picture was after a  30 minute stand off in which he refused to eat his dinner. Daddy told him he would be sitting at the table until bedtime unless he ate it.  And guess what?  Five minutes later he ate it!  

And this face.  This kid cracks me up!  And how about his choice of outfit?!  He insisted on putting on those spiderman boots with his Lego batman PJ's.

Number 5:  The Slip N Slide.  Oh the joy of the Slip N Slide!  Thankfully this was only a $10 Target purchase because this thing was a piece of junk!  But the boys had fun the one and only day it has been set up in our yard.