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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Word of the year

Every January first I pick a word of the year that represents my goals for the coming year instead of doing New Year’s resolutions. Some of the words in the past have been....


2011-ecalirassez (French for lighten up or simplify)







This year my word is intention.  

Definition of intention

1a determination to act in a certain way resolve
3a what one intends to do or bring about
I think that word sums up how I want to live 2018.  Getting things done requires planning or intention. 
Before you try to plan your long-term goals, narrow down your intentions, first. As business blog Inc. points out, there's a distinct difference between goals and intentionsGoals are something you hope to achieve, but may fall short of. Intentionsare something you plan to do, regardless of the outcome.
I intend to make exercising a part of my week. Walking or going to the gym is not impossible for me but takes discipline or intention. It doesn’t have to be a big deal I just need to do it without all those excuses I use.  

Eating better is another thing that I need to do with intention. I need to get back to putting more thought into my meals and planning nutritious dinners. 
I have made good strides with my art in the past year with my art class. Unfortunately my art teacher is moving in it of the state but encouraged me to continue painting. I have the intention of painting at least once a week. 

I also have the intention of improving my photography..a thing I love to do. I plan on using the new Photoshop program that my son gave me for Christmas.   
You are familiar with the saying..the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But for me intention means putting thought and planning into a goal. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Our final day

It is our final day in Tennessee. We are having a quiet morning. Ryan is in the kitchen cooking his famous fried potato and onions with scrambled eggs while we watch Hallmark movies. 

Last night we had dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. It is a fun place to eat where they provided these humorous bibs. 

Dan and Gretchen stopped by on their way back from Florida to pick us their dog.  Chris had been keeping her since thanksgiving while Dan had to work in Hawaii. Gretchen went with him and posted some interesting pictures. If you are interested she has a blog on my sidebar called Gretchen runs. 

I just noticed that when I took these pictures everyone was on their phone. It was just for a few moments.  They really didn’t stay on the phone long. I think phones should be banned at the dinner table..how about you?  

Napkins were in the form of a roll of brown paper towels set in a galvanized bucket sunk into the table. The silverware was piled in another bucket on the table. 

After dinner a man came around and made the most intricate balloon sculptures. The kids were amazed. 

In the afternoon chris, Jenny and the kids went to a climbing gym and jumped on trampolines. Don and I went to an antique co op and out to lunch.  Dan and Gretchen went into Knoxville to a brewery. We all met up later for dinner. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Wihat a wonderful Christmas. Last night I went with Chris to his evening church service which was lovely. This morning after sleeping in a bit we opened presents. Scott loved his new Kurig and wireless  microphone.  

Chri's gift of a DVD of .stranger Things was packaged to look like a. CR tape because the series was set in the eighties. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The cookie queen

I really didn’t mean to make so many cookies...but you know how it is.  It isn’t my fault...the recipe just makes too many.  And I have to make the favorites.  I know we are all watching our weight but it’s holiday time. Next year I won’t make them I promise. 

But this afternoon I had to make Buckeyes with my grandson. It’s my son's request. Now I’m done. 

My son has the most beautiful tree this year.  He had to go into work on Christmas Eve. An invention he made for his company is being tested and he had to check on it. And Scott had to work too. We are enjoying a quiet afternoon.  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

On Christmas Day

On Christmas Day at half past three,
brew yourself a cup of tea.
I’ll think of you
You think of me
While sitting round the Christmas tree. 

As Christmas approaches I may be absent from the blog from time to time as I enjoy my family and this holiday season. The cookies are baked and the presents wrapped so now is the time to relax and savor the season.    I wish you a very happy holiday.  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Party with the coffee girls

Christmas is all about friends and today I had a luncheon for my very besties…my coffee group that I have met for tea at nine every morning for the last fifteen years. I had so much fun I forgot to take pictures..sorry. Here is the menu:

pink fruit salad

ham and chess roll ups with dijon sauce

cheddar and potato soup

vanilla frozen yogurt with warm salted caramel sauce and pecans

It was a lovely time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Giggle, giggle

Last night I had a little party for my giggle girl friends. IMG_3738
The table was set and the house all ready. I made an appetizer from a recipe I saw on Facebook. It didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted but it still looked like a Christmas tree and tasted really good. It had spinach dip and cheddar cheese in a pizza dough crust. I also made sausage wellington. We had a great time and giggled as usual. What fun!



It’s the little things


A few little touches make Christmas decorating fun. I’ve begun a love affair with sheep. It started when I passed a herd of sheep in a pasture by my son’s house. It was a bucolic scene and I stopped to take a picture. Eventually I used that picture to paint in my art class. Then I found a little sheep and stood him by the painting. Ever since then I have been on the lookout for sheep to add to my collection of one. On my recent trip to Virginia I found this little darling.
I set him in the kitchen..isn’t he darling?
Another late addition to the Christmas scene is this banner from the Hot spot at Target. If you are not familiar it’s right at the doors of the store and has all kinds of items for $!, $3, or $5. They have the cutest things and i thought this banner was adorable.
Here’s a little sparkle on the baker’s rack and shiny silver in the sunroom.

Tonight I’m entertaining my giggle Girl’s group with a party. The napkins and plates are Michele from Tuesday Morning.
And of course, the tree.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Our town...winter

The last few days we have had a lot of snow. We had our driveway plowed three times this week.  And last week we had bad roads and cold temperatures. This is rather typical for Bradford.  But it is warming up to the forties on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I must admit that the snow is beautiful and puts me in the holiday spirit. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas in the kitchen

In the spirit of “keeping it simple” I only put out a few decorations in the kitchen. On the shelf a partridge sits ina pear tree while simple letters spelling joy are underneath. 

Above the sink is a simple pine garland and two sparkling pears were added to the little glass terrariums. You can also see my little plaid lunchbox. 

Here is a small display on the round table using flowers and candle that I already had and adding a sleigh with ornaments. I really enjoyed decorating this year. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas memories

Christmas memories are the best. Here is a repeat post from 2007 

1. I remember exactly when I learned there was no Santa Claus. I was 12 and I had suspected for a few years and listened to the talk at school that the jolly old elf was just fictitious. When I confronted my mother she admitted to me that it was true. So I sat on the bottom stair and watched as my mother and dad put out the presents for my sleeping sisters. I still remember the disappointment I felt that my childhood illusion had been vanquished. 

2. The first year that Don and I celebrated Christmas in our own house he decided to go and cut a tree for us. He brought back a long needled spruce and set it in the stand. This was not your typical Christmas tree. ..not the perfect conical shape that you see today. This tree had long spaces of trunk between the branches. I loved it! The ornaments that hung were clearly visible and the tinsel wrapped itself around the tree in long strands. 

3. I still cherish the tin ornament and the crayoned ornament that my sons made for me. Each Christmas I put these two things out as part of my memories. Chris made the colored ornament once in art class in junior high. Ryan made the tin ornament with its punched out letters...BEST MOM. 

4. Only my loving husband would climb up on the roof with an oar to make the tracings of Santa's sleigh in the snow and tap out reindeer footprints..

5. One Christmas eve it started snowing and never stopped until the next day. We awoke to knee deep snow that covered the roads, the sidewalks, and all the hills. Don had a plow on his jeep and spent the entire Christmas day going around to all his friends and family and plowing them out.

6. Don doesn't have a lot from his childhood. There are two toys that we put out every Christmas that belonged to him...an old leather football and a wooden flat car with wheels. 

7. Don always tells the story of how he peeked at a present...it was a bb gun. When Christmas morning came he felt so guilty and had to pretend to be surprised. To this day he wouldn't look for a present even if it was out in plain sight.

8. My father and my husband had a special holiday gift tradition. They were both coin collectors and there was a special buffalo nickle that they gave back and forth to each other every Christmas. It was always a trick to see who could disguise the nickle so that the other didn't suspect. Once dad suspended it in a shirt box by attaching it in the middle of the box by strings. Once he put it in a long telescoping box. 

9. We once made a Mission Impossible game for Ryan to find his present that year. He had clues and went all over the house reading the clues and chasing down the next clue. finally he was led outside and had to climb a tree to get down his present...a climbing rope for rappelling.

10. When Chris was young I took him to the local elementary school for a Christmas program. Joking with him on the way back I said, "Look I think I see Santa and his sleigh in the sky," to which he replied, " and I see Rudolph in the front!. 

11. Ryan and Chris have always had a tradition of opening the presents from each other on Christmas eve.

12. Nothing is better than to have family around at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


When I was eighteen I was introduced to alcohol…legally. Since our town is five minutes away from the New York state line and their drinking age at the time was eighteen many of our teenagers spent a lot of time in Limestone. There were a few bars there but the favorite by far was Casey’s. What made this bar so special was the piano guy…Phil English. It was a party every Saturday night when my now husband and I would sit at a table and sing and sing along with the tunes Phil was playing. It was such a happy time. The bar became famous and the picture below was in Life magazine. It even drew people from Buffalo to come down and have a great evening. Like most good things the bar finally closed but my good memories live on. Image may contain: 9 people, text

PHIL "FINGERS" ENGLISH, who was hugely popular & somewhat of a legend ranging from Kinzua(which was Phil's hometown) to Bradford & up to Salamanca. But it was at Casey's Limestone Hotel, located in Limestone, NY, that was considered Phil's second home, as he was the feature entertainer here. He was widely known for getting a party started & making it last till the end of the night. One of the things that made Mr. English so immensely popular, was the fact that he could play ANY SONG upon request, no matter what the song was. If he was not familiar with it, he would ask the person to hum a few bars of it, then he would take it from there. He was a man that never had any type of formal piano lessons.

"CASEY'S LIMESTONE HOTEL" was located on Route 219 in Limestone, NY, and across the road from the old Limestone Entrance into Allegany State Park. It says that they have been open since 1865/1866, there slogan sounds like one from the 1800's, that says, "PURVEYING SPIRITUOUS LIQUORS".
It was built in 1865 and is one of the oldest buildings in Cattaraugus County. Casey's once hosted President Woodrow Wilson. Casey's was known for it's big top quality steaks and also for the liquor bottles that rattled on the bar, as well as the windows shaking, when trains rumbled past, on the very nearby railroad tracks. Another popular draw at Casey's, was that it had a piano bar to entertain the bar crowd & the dining patrons. This piano bar was extremely popular, mainly because of a smaller, thin man named Phil English, who hailed from the former community of Kinzua, Pa. Mr. English, who had a background in music and the theater, but no formal piano lessons, had a knack for pulling patrons into the fun and songs. Phil English, was, well you could say that he was ahead of his time for back in those days, because he was not shy about saying that he was “openly gay,” also kept the parties and drinks flowing every night. Mr. English’s evening performances, were so well-loved that word spread to local media, who included Bill and Mildred Miller, hosts of the popular “Meet the Millers” cooking show on TV, in Buffalo. Through the Millers, who were regular customers at Casey's, and other media sources, word of the popular piano player at a rural steak house, spread to Life Magazine. The Life Magazine staff, complete with several large trucks and flood lights for the famous photographer Yale Joel, arrived in the summer of 1959 for the photo shoot. This famous photograph, looks much like a Norman Rockwell painting, as it captured a lively piano bar scene with pianist Phil English, leading a fun-filled sing-along of spirited patrons. After the photo(seen at the top) was published in Life Magazine's December 29, 1959 issue,"the little restaurant near the railroad tracks" skyrocketed in fame. Reservations were booked weeks in advance, and lines of people were part of the landscape. After this once immensely popular restaurant closed down, it became an antique shop, called "Discovery Antique Store" for a while. This famous old local landmark, is still standing, but sitting abandoned, the word is that it is going to be torn down, because it has become an eye sore and a problem because of asbestos. I received some of this information from an Olean Times Herald newspaper article

funniest 12 Days ever

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Staunton Virginia


One of my very favorite things to do is go on a house tour. This past weekend my sisters and I met in Staunton Virginia for an evening home tour. There were six homes all in the same general neighborhood. Although the houses were small they were interesting as we viewed the personal lives of the owners. One lady who had served in the military oversees had objects from the east that she cherished and when remodeling discovered an old circular cooking fireplace in her home. Some homes made the best of the small spaces by combining rooms and updating kitchens. As you can see from the pictures Virginia had snow over the weekend which added to the ambiance. 

We were dressed warmly and drove around since the houses were on a hillside. Afterwards we went to the Mill Street Grill for dinner. 

We had a wonderful time at dinner laughing and joking with the waiter. We thought the trio of rolls served in a metal crock was a great beginning to the meal. It was served with black cherry butter. 

We all had the prime rib sandwich and declared it the best one we ever ate. Diane splurged with a brandy bread pudding and our waiter brought complementary peppermint ice cream dishes to the table after dinner. 

We went back to the motel room and had a ball reading letters that Diane had saved from long, one ago. We laughed so long and so hard we were sure that someone would be knocking on the door to tell us we were disturbing the guests. 

One thing we always enjoy about being out of town is the food. This is my lunch from the Pampered Pallett...squash soup, turkey Rachael, and fruit. 

And this is my dinner from Bravo...fontina stuffed chicken wrapped in prosciutto with spinach, butternut squash and gnocchi. Absolutely delicious. 

This cute little Jack Russell statue was in one of the windows in a favorite shopping spot. Yes, we did get in a little shopping too on our trip. It was so much fun to be with my sisters.