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Welcome

Welcome to Voglerville! This site evolves daily and I will try to post journal/blog entries whenever something noteworthy happens or enters my head. Feel free to leave comments and ask questions if the mood strikes.  You can even suggest a trip to Voglerville to friends and family (heck, you can even tell strangers if you are so inclined) if you think they'd enjoy a trip to this little piece of the web I call home.

 

 


Latest news

This week...

This week has been busy.
This week has been frustrating.
This week has been fulfilling.
This week introduced me to Red Jacket Farms Spiced apple cider.
This week I had a meltdown.
This week I recovered.
This week I went and watched my cousin play in his Special Olympics Softball game -- and it was amazing!
This week I said yes to a trip to NYC in December -- and my aunt is coming too -- oh NYC, you have no idea what you're in for!
This week I realized how far I've come...in just about every area of my life.
This week I saw myself valued as a professional.
This week several people thanked me, and meant it.
This week I felt like I wasn't in it (everything) alone.
This week I made cake balls...two kinds.
This week I got back to Zumba and close to frequent workouts.
This week I realized that even though my schedule at school is crazy, I like the variety.
This week I felt helpful.

This week was...good.

Here's to more good weeks!  I hope you have one as well!

Where has the time gone?

I knew it had been awhile since my last post, but 14 days?! I can't believe how time flies once the new school year begins.  My schedule-free days of summer are long gone and now my week days are being governed by bells.  Bells begin my day and end it. They signal the beginning of a class and it's conclusion just 43 minutes later.  I forget how much I dislike these bells until they become a part of it when September makes its yearly return.  I'm very fortunate this school year.  I have a busy schedule that doesn't give me time to feel anything but motivated AND I have GREAT classes...even my juniors who -- because it's first period and 8 a.m. -- play along with me and are great sports when all they really want to do is go back home and curl up in bed for more sleep.  This year has all the makings of one of my best in the classroom.  For that, I am incredibly grateful.  There's very little better than a fun and fulfilling year in the classroom if you're a teacher.  But...

I can't believe we're almost through September already!  I feel like I'm sprinting through my days and not taking the time to really savor my time.  That's the one thing about summer for me...I actively pursue that savoring it mentality.  I need to find a way to make that happen during my other 10 months of the year.  Otherwise, I miss everything.

So...when I post next time, I hope you find me feeling more balanced, less rushed, and more able to savor the wonderful experiences I'm having daily!

Saying Goodbye to Summer

It is with mixed feelings that I begin to make my annual transition from summer to fall.  Although autumn is my favorite season and I (without fail) look forward to the cooler weather, apples and apple cider, warm and cozy comfort food, sweaters, being able to run outside without sweating before I even begin, and the inevitable start of a new school year, all of these things mean that the summer season and all of my days sans schedule and pressing demands are coming to an end.  I really love my summers.  But...I really do love fall.  I love the anticipation of a new school year.  I love knowing that within a few short weeks, the upstate/western NY landscape will be absolutely gorgeous and full of warm fall colors.  Most of all, I love spending time during the week -- with my hubby -- planning where we'll go on the weekend to pick up our next batch of apples and cider. 

This has been a summer full of lessons, realizations, and joy.  I will take these things with me as I move forward into this most beautiful of seasons.  I will focus on savoring my every day -- even if those days are now to be filled with lots of work and classrooms full of sometimes eager students.  I'm excited for fall's arrival, but I will think of summer fondly and often.  I learned how to relax, enjoy, and savor my time.  I need to remember how to do each of these even when the craziness of another school year tries its hardest to get the best of me!

Where Did The Week Go?

In the spirit of keeping up with my site posts, I knew I needed to do a post tonight.  The reality, however, is that because this week has been so crazy busy, I haven't had much time to relax and reflect and come up with anything monumental to write for the few of you who are reading this on a semi-regular basis.  I think that the single most important thing I did for myself this week was that I gave myself over -- fully and completely-- to every experience I found myself having.  It is, I think, why this week seems to have slipped away from me so quickly.  I didn't spend my time dwelling on clocks and calendars.  I didn't spend time worrying about whether or not I was having too much fun or taking too much time to complete a task. 

I did some really great things this week -- attended a conference that gave me some great ideas as I embark on a new school year, stayed in a hotel room by myself for the first time ever (What can I say? I'm a group traveler.), celebrated our 3rd anniversary,  met the student teacher with whom I'll be working for the first seven weeks of school, worked on course syllabi and lessons for the first days and weeks of school, made and canned salsa with tomatoes from my father-in-law's garden, made homemade bleu cheese dressing for the first time (and will never buy it in a jar again!), used my smoker to smoke chicken wings (AMAZING) for tonight's dinner, and managed to fight the urge to avoid my workouts. 

I'm very thankful for weeks like this.  So much of my time is spent being governed by bells in a school.  Any time I can completely disregard such time markers, I do.  I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same.  Give yourself over -- fully and completely -- to just one thing this week.  Savor it and truly allow yourself to enjoy the moment!

Savoring My Last Days of Summer

As many of you know, I am a teacher.  Yes, that means that I get two glorious summer months each year off.  I LOVE this time of year and really try to make summer true "down" time.  It's the time I reserve to do all the the things -- more involved cooking, major organizing and cleaning jobs, voracious reading, maintaining a disciplined workout schedule...the list could go on forever -- that I don't have enough time to do during the school year.  Every year, July seems to move relatively slowly, but as soon as August hits it seems like time goes into sprint mode.  That has certainly been the case this August.  Now I'm sitting here realizing that my days of summer are about to end.  I have truly loved this year's summer days.  I can't think of a summer in recent (or distant) memory that I enjoyed as much as I've enjoyed each and every day of this summer -- even the ones that required me to get up early and work for my husband. 

I will be sad to see summer end.  I will miss my active days and my lazy days.  I will miss being able to set my own schedule and arbitrarily decide whether the day will be one spent biking along the Erie Canal or if it will be a day I spend sitting in the yard with my dogs and a great book.  I will miss not having to drive unless it's absolutely necessary.  I will miss being able to sleep in until 10 a.m. on a Wednesday if I want to....

But, the reality of all of this is that the end of summer brings fall.  Fall brings the beginning of a new school year, crisp autumn days, leaves that change color, apples and apple pie, and sweater weather.  I'm a girl who loves some sweater weather!  As sad as I am that summer is coming to a rapid close, I really am excited for the fall days that will soon be upon us.  So...I'll be spending the last  days of my summer vacation enjoying each and every minute and completing the necessary mental battery recharge that every teacher works hard for.  I will be ready to tackle a new school year and the challenges and fun of the new students who will walk through my classroom door.  But...there will be a small part of me who will be looking forward to summer....

Relax and Reflect

Wow!  This was, by far, my busiest week of the summer.  Between working a couple of days on the golf course and doing all of the prep work for my friend Kim's rehearsal dinner, the week flew.  It was both exhausting and exhilarating.  I love being busy doing things I'm passionate about.  Cooking (as many of you well know) is one of those things.  I was able to prepare a meal that was a bit out of my comfort zone (technique wise -- smoking turkey and pork) and use seasonal ingredients to create a meal that was enjoyed and complimented by all.  Sometimes I forget how good...strike that...how GREAT genuine compliments feel.  I know that my food was good, but hearing it from others and seeing the joy on their faces as they had a wonderful meal made all of the exhausting work leading up to that night 100% worth it and confirmed my sense of pride at being able to put together a meal of this size and variety.  (I will talk specifics of the meal in my In The Kitchen section.)  I do need to send a HUGE thank you to my youngest sister, Darcy, for all of her help with the final prep for the dinner.  I could not have done it without her help!  It made the day run smoothly and was a lot of fun to share the kitchen space (and work load) with her! 

Each time I tackle a new cooking technique or challenge, the picture of where I'd like to see it all go becomes more and more clear.  I truly don't know if a full-time career in food is where it will lead, but it feels like new challenges and fun decisions are on the horizon. 

On another note, before this week I'd been on a 3 week workout frenzy (and a 33 week span of consistent workouts).  In 21 days I'd done 18 workouts -- that's right -- I'd only allowed myself one rest day each of those weeks.  I knew this week would throw a wrench in all of that, but I had no idea how much or how little I'd be able to do this week.  Then I realized that although all this crazy working out is making a huge impact, the workouts (and the schedule) CANNOT dominate my life.  I need to listen to my body and truly decide if my body needs a break.  Today, my body needed a break.  I knew that was the case when 2:30 p.m. rolled around and I realized that my Zumba class would just be ending.  Exercise takes on many forms and it can't become something you do simply because it is on the schedule.  It needs to be one part of what we do to improve the quality of our lives.  It can be as simple as a morning or evening walk, a nice run or jog, a bike ride, yoga, weight training, or my beloved Zumba.  The form doesn't so much matter.  The reason(s) we do it are what are meaningful.  When those reasons are superficial or negative, the exercise isn't meaningful and probably won't achieve our desired results.  Consistent exercise is just as important as recovery as well.  This week has taught me a great deal about the importance of rest/recovery time.  I am so glad that I didn't listen to that negative voice today that was screaming at me and telling me that my whole workout schedule had been thrown out the window this week and I was obligated to go to my exercise class.  Had I gone, it would have been a "going through the motions" type of labored experience that may have derailed my ability to get back on track for the upcoming week.  What's the point?  LISTEN to your body.  Rest if you need to rest.  We need to value relaxation at least as much as we value activity.  Savor the rare moments of relaxation that you get.  They make all the activity worth it!

To end, use today to listen to your body.  If you need to rest and relax, please do so.  If you need to be active, do that.  Just take the time to truly ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing.  I'm learning that the more positive my reasons for doing anything, the more positive the outcome!

I'll be spending the rest of the day with my husband, our dogs, and a good book.  I suspect a delicious dinner is also on the horizon!  Relax, reflect, and be well!



I'm Really Back...For Real This Time!

Wouldn't you know that when I get motivated and ready to get back into the world of my website, technology decides to play a mean trick on me.  I went from having a laptop at the ready (two actually) to having none at all to use.  I have definitely learned my lesson about opening emails and attachments from senders I don't recognize.  I won't be doing that again!

I would like, ideally, to post to my front page once each week.  I'll use this space to give updates on what I've been up to, what I'm planning, or reactions to anything that seems particularly important at the moment.  I will also be posting new recipes and techniques in my kitchen section, posting info about books I read and love in that section, and posting new pictures now that I've started carrying my camera with me again!  I'd also like to add a fitness section as I've become something of a junkie this summer.  I'm having a lot of fun trying new workouts and finding new ways to be active in activities I've loved for most of my life.

All in all, I really want this site to be a place where my friends (both those I'm already in contact with and maybe some new ones) and I can connect and share.

I hope everyone is doing well and please check back often for updates and new information.  One last note...if you know someone else who would be interested in the content of my site, let them know about it!  The more the merrier!

Trying Again....

Wow!  I can't believe how easy it is to get behind when it comes to maintaining a website.  When I posted in April, I was 100% ready to jump back in and get to work on the site and on really defining what I want this place to be.  Between finishing the school year, squeezing in workouts, spending time with friends and family, and making sure that my time is balanced so that I don't end up running ragged, I got behind with the site...again.  I'm currently formulating a plan of attack and hope to be posting regularly again starting this week.  Stay tuned and I hope all is well with my 1.5 readers out there!!! 

Returning To My Roots

This site is where my adventures in blogging started and this space is where my heart truly is.  I think, like many of us, I allowed myself to be pulled in too many directions.  This made this particular site incredibly disjointed and horribly hard to manage.  I've had a great deal of time to think about what my goals are and what I want my website to be.  I want it to be a place of reflection, sharing, and inspiration.  I want this place to be one I come to often and one I share with friends and family -- and maybe even some friends I haven't yet encountered.  To make a long story short, Voglerville is where I started and Voglerville is where I want to be.  I hope to make this a positive, creative, and hopeful place.  Any contributions from those of you who follow the site are greatly appreciated! 

 

One more note, in the next days and weeks, I'll be updating photos!  Stay tuned!

A New Endeavor

Because I'll be spending a good deal of my summer studying and practicing to become a Personal Chef, I wanted to begin a blog that was primarily focused on food and cooking.  My new blog can be found at www.randomactsofindulgence.blogspot.com.  I'll still be posting here from time to time -- mostly to update what the hubby, dogs, and I are up to on a day to day basis, but I want to use my new blog for my new challenge.  My goal is to post to each site once a week, and after awhile I'll see how I feel about maintaining two pages and make a decision from there.  Because writing is so important to me, I feel like keeping up with both will give me more options than just maintaining a single site might.  We'll see how it goes!  I hope to see all of you on my other blog as well!  Leave comments if you feel inclined!!!!:-)

Changes Ahead

I think I'm in the process of graduating to a new website/blog.  I'm really looking to get into a format that allows me to focus on food and the (fingers crossed) personal chef line of work that I'd like to get into.  I think starting fresh with a new blog might be one step in the right direction.  I think I'll still keep Voglerville going as a "family" site that I use to post photos of trips, dogs, etc. and I'll probably still use this site to  review the books I've read.  So much is up in the air right now, but I promise to keep everyone posted.  Plus, I won't be starting a new site until I come up with an amazingly fabulous name for it.  That and I have to make the decision between wordpress and blogger.  So much research ahead of me!

Meet Isabella

The new pics are of our new boxer baby Isabella.  We're calling her Izzy, and she is awesome.  She's a handful for Carter and Lucy (our Boston Terriers) and they're not sure what to make of her yet.  She has definitely reminded us of what we loved so much about having a boxer in the house.  Having Izzy is definitely bittersweet.  She reminds us so much of our girl Mac, but her fearlessness and unconditional love make it much more sweet than bitter.  I'm sure I'll have lots to add about her, so stay tuned!  And...if you're in the area, stop in for a visit!  She loves meeting new people!

Note to Self...Need New Pics

So my home page pics do not match the new winter motif.  I'll get on that as soon as my camera makes its way back  from Las Vegas.  Why is my camera in Las Vegas?  you might ask...oh yeah, because my husband went there and left me here to deal with the cold.  He gets a vacation and I get to drive to and from work in the dark, cook meals for one (can't even remember the last time I had to do that), talk to two Boston Terriers who are still looking for their big sister Mac, and have to give myself daily peptalks to go to a job that I am enjoying less and less each day.  The upside of this time????  It has allowed me to relax, enjoy several tasty cups of tea and some great quiet reading time, and all of the undivided food network watching a girl could want!  I am very happy that Adam will be home tomorrow night though...I'm sick of talking to dogs who look at me like I'm nuts when I try to carry on a conversation with them. 

 

Time to read more and enjoy a spot of tea...I'll get on the photo updates soon!  I hope everyone is staying warm!

Sorry for the Absence

My posts have been infrequent lately.  Things here have been rough.  Our boxer, Mac, was having what we (and our vet) believed to be a particularly difficult heat cyle.  She ended up collapsing on Wednesday and being rushed to the emergency vet clinic where we found out that she had a very rare and almost always fatal heart disease that had caused a blood clot to form in one of her hind legs.  She was in excruciating pain with no real hope of recovery.  Adam and I had to make the horribly gut wrenching decision to put her down.  We are truly devastated.  Mac was such an important part of our lives and she was the first dog either of us had ever had to care for on our own.  As a couple without children, our dogs fill that spot.  Needless to say, there is an enourmous hole in both our home and our hearts and we are grieving the loss of our girl.  We're very thankful for the time we had with her, the presence of our other two dogs, Carter and Lucy, and the kind words and thoughts that others have shared with us already.  I'm working hard to get back on track, but it really does feel like the loss of a family member.  I know that grieving is a process, so we're allowing for that and will surely reemerge stronger, happy to have loved and spent great times with Mac, and ready to face the world again.

Attention Readers and Book Lovers

If you live in the Rochester area, I have a night of fun for you (well, a dorky night of fun, but still...)!  October 24-26 marks the return of the glorious Friends of Pittsford Library Book Sale.  This is a book lover's paradise.  They sell every kind of book you can imagine and they are cheap!  No more than 10.00 for current bestsellers.  Most books are 1.00 or less.  The books are in excellent condition.  They've been donated by a community of readers who buys books, reads them once, and drops them off at the library.  We already have a group going on the 24th, if anyone else would like to join the pack, let me know!  If you'd like to go, and want directions, or other information, drop me a line!  One last note, the money raised from these sales helps the library continue to offer the amazing free programs they put on throughout the year. 

New Changes

If you're looking for the comments section that was originally on this page, it has moved!  I didn't think it was getting enough space and it was starting to be too much on the front page.  You can now find the comments section if you click on More and then click on Guestbook.  I look forward to seeing what everyone has to say!  I encourage everyone to drop a line, say hello, and give some feedback!  I'd love to hear from all who stop by!

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

Hi all.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm participating in an ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, October 5th.  I know I'll see some of you to hit you up for a donation, but for those of you who I won't, I'd love and appreciate it if you could spare a few dollars and donate online.  If you'd like to know how to donate online, just drop me an e-mail and I'll give you the directions. 

New E-mail Address

For those of you who I don't speak to on a daily basis, I just wanted to give you my new e-mail address.  It's erinvogler@gmail.com.  I'm going to use this new address for personal e-mail from now on.  This new address is already linked to my Blackberry, so I'm ready to go and will be checking it as frequently as I did the other address.  Due to some situations that came up this summer over our school's e-mail system and its use (for the record...not because of me!:-P), it's important for me to have this alternate address to use rather than using the school's account for anything other than school business.

 

Thanks!

Busy Week

I know some of you have gotten in the habit of checking the site daily or almost daily, so if you've noticed a lack of activity this week it's because my life has been taken hostage by a golf tournament.  The Xerox Classic (part of the Nationwide Tour) is happening right outside my window.  Because of that, I have camper city set up in my driveway and front yard, a snow fence keeping nosy spectators away from my veggies, and dogs who are angry that so many people are walking past our windows and not coming to visit them.  On the up side, one of our friends (Thom) will be caddying this week in the tournament, so we'll get to travel the course and harass him as he's carrying someone's bag...I don't really understand the draw of caddying, but there has to be something to it!  I'll be busy hanging out with the crowd, reading when I get a chance, cooking when I need a distraction, and escaping the craziness with other diversions that I'm sure will keep me occupied so I don't scream and lose it over the fact that I have a camper in my front yard and that my life has been hijacked by a golf tournament!  I guess it really all is a matter of how you look at things...I guess it's a good thing that the sunglasses I bought this summer really do have rose colored lenses...I think I'll choose the seeing the world through those this week and enjoying the ride!

New and Improved

Ok, so as I mess around with everything I can do on this site, I'm loving it.  I think I'm still going to keep this latest news section on the front page and use it for just that.  Telling what's  new, what to check out (on the site) and what I've been up to.  I'll keep the entries in this section that are already here, but anything else pertaining to reading or ranting or raving will be in their respective sections.  Anything having to do with my kitchen play time will go in the forum on the In The Kitchen page.  We'll see how it all works out and changes will be made when necessary!  Also, if you're not a member of the site and want to be, just drop me an e-mail.  If you have a friend you'd like me to invite, just give me the e-mail address and I'll do it!  And as always, this site will only be fun if you comment too! 

Blogs On The Move

While messing around with my page today, I figured out that clicking on "create a new page" did not, in fact, mean scrap everything you have.  It means, create a new page to add to your already fabulous (and getting very packed) front page.  Which really just means, more web space for me to mess around with that will help me continue my goal of total web domination.  Ok, so I have no desire to dominate the web, but I do want to create a site that is both nice eye candy (as far as websites about cooking, eating, reading, and being random can be) and easy to navigate.  So, here's to all that and whatever else comes out of this venture.

 

Oh yeah, and while being "manish" last night, I stayed up to watch the Red Sox dominate the Yankees AND flip back and forth to the finale of The Next Food Network Star.  Thank goodness for picture in picture -- it's incredibly useful in such situations.  I was very happy to see Aaron McCargo win!  Something about the other two drove me crazy.  And even though I'm happy that Aaron won, I wondered...when will I be the next food network star?  But even more intriguing to me is this question:  would I really want to be?  Hmmmm.... 

I love Italy

Wow, Erin...that's cool...you might be thinking.  But wait, you all know that I have NEVER been there. And I don't have any plans to go either. So how the heck do I love this place I've never been to???  The answer...people like Frances Mayes and Marlena De Blasi.  People who have lived there and written about it.  I'm not talking about ladies and gentlemen (although I haven't read any books about Italy by men yet) who spend time living in the cities and walking out their door to the most fabulous restaurants.  I'm talking about the brave souls who choose to live in the hill towns in the Tuscan country side...rustic living and cooking (of course) at its finest.  These writers make me feel like I've been there a million times and they make me want to keep going back.  On the plus side, travel is free. On the minus side, I'm starting to get strange looks from my husband and I think that if I keep reading books about this place and ignore all others, this obsession might get a bit out of control!  The question to roll around in our heads is, how bad can it be?  At least I'm not obsessed with creating perfect dinner parties or feng shui.  Nothing that really extends beyond the scope of my own little world.  I guess for now, I'll continue my trips to the Tuscan hill towns, but I'll avoid telling people that this summer I travelled through Tuscany...that explanation would surely bring some strange looks and eye rolls my way.

For the Record...

I just want to update my Wii fit activity.  This is an amazing invention.  Using a combination of Wii fit and my elliptical, I got in 5 lengthy workouts last week and after my customary two days of rest, I was ready to jump back into it last night.  This game/device offers a great deal of variety and it allows me to be competitive, even if it's with myself.  This is the facet of exercise and athletic activity that I've been missing since my college basketball days.  It's something I could use every day and never do the same workout twice.  Plus, the more I do, the more cool exercises and activities I earn.  I'm hoping Nintendo continues to put out games that are compatible with the Wii Fit balance board, because I'm hooked!  Plus...I'm down 2.2 pounds in just under a week.  How cool is that?!  If you have a friend who has it, try it out...I think this might be one of those things that gets adults and children alike off the couch and into a more healthy lifestyle.  It also makes yoga more user friendly than a traditional class.  You can try each pose that's on the menu the number of times YOU choose.  It allows you to work up to more stability, balance and confidence!  Nintendo and Wii Fit...I heart you!

Rude to a new degree

Ok, so maybe I'm being ridiculous, but last night I had the WORST dining experience ever.  Adam and I decided to head to Jay's Diner for breakfast (at dinnertime...yummy!).  We were enjoying our delicious food, some good conversation, and the hustle and bustle of the diner when in walks a girl toting a guitar and her freakshow father.  What goes down next?  Oh yeah, in a virtually empty diner the host sat this circus act next to us.  Now, you might be thinking, 'what's so wrong with a guitar toting girl and her freakshow father?"  Normally, not a thing.  So where did it go bad?  She started playing the guitar and singing and it was BEYOND BAD!!!!!  It sounded like an animal dying and that may be a generous assessment of the situation.  I mean, come on!  How rude is this?  It was loud enough to the point that it put a stop to the good conversation and even started to make the food less enjoyable.  This made me want to scream and rip this girl's hair out!  In what dimension is this type of behavior acceptable?  And listen, I have no problem with live music, in fact I LOVE live music.  This, however, was not music.  This was punishment.  If we really want to punish criminals, we should put them in a cell with this hippie wannabe and make them sit there until their eardrums bleed.  Believe me, it wouldn't take long and if we publicized it enough, I think we'd see a dramatic decrease in crime rates.  Something to ponder...

Quite Possibly The Perfect Day

It all started early -- 5:30 a.m.  I was full of anticipation needed my people (namely my parents and my step-mother's parents) to get here QUICKLY!  We were heading to my version of Mecca -- the Rochester Public Market -- for a morning of shopping or crisp fruits and veggies and enjoying the atmosphere.  This trip did not disappoint!  We filled my (old lady) market cart and even had time to sit outside one of the small coffee houses and enjoy a nice breeze and conversation while having a divine session of people watching.  THIS is what a Saturday morning should be!  We even had time to visit the European Cheese Shop at the market, quite possibly one of the happiest places on earth.  They have cheese all cut and ready for my happy sampling little mouth!  I don't know if words can really adequately show how much I loved this day, but man did it give me a great opportunity to collect some incredible ingredients so I can really do some fun cooking this week!  To top it all off, my dad got the pesky side burner on my new grill to light and now I can do all of my cooking outside on the grill and avoid the tiny pathetic apartment sized stove that sits sadly in my kitchen.  Oh someday, dear friends, I will have the kitchen I dream of.  For now, it's me, my ingredients, and my trusty Char-Broil grill.  Good times!

 

*Oh yeah, I even had time for a nap!!!  Does it get any better?

Mama Mia

Today I took myself on a movie date and saw Mama Mia...I won't spend a ton of time talking about how great it is...just go see it, people!  It was a great movie and a fun way to beat the heat on a very hot and humid summer day.  How can you not love Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing ABBA songs...come on!

Adventures in Erinland

Yesterday was a busy one.  I set out to relax and read the book that I've been clinging to for a good week and a half now.  I can't put it down when I'm reading, but I don't want it to end so I make myself stop.  Plus, I'm really having trouble with that whole sitting still thing.  I just want to be going, going, going!  So, how did I handle it?  Well...with one of the HUGE and gorgeous from my father-in-law's garden, I made mini loaves of zucchini bread and one batch of mini chocolate chip zucchini muffins.  I even did it the old fashioned way and didn't just throw the ingredients into Mavis and let her do the work.  She had a long day making cherry jam earlier in the week and she deserved a break.  To top off zucchini fest, I made zucchini fritters as a side for dinner -- they are awesome!  In addition to that, I did get some reading done, and I also spent some time on the Wii Fit.  Not just some time, actually, try one whole hour.  It has been years since I've enjoyed a physical activity enough to spend a whole hour doing it.  Quite honestly, if they don't somehow showcase the Wii Fit on the next season of the Biggest Loser, I may have to boycott.  This invention is BRILLIANT!  All in all, a pretty good day.  Nothing crazy or extravagant, just a simple day at home doing a few fun and simple things.  Every day should be so grand!

Chipping Away at the To Do List

It's true...yesterday I knocked one of the items off the list posted in the lower right hand corner.  I spent about 9 hours making cherry jam.  Before you feel any sort of pity or angst, understand that my hand in producing said jam really only included picking 9 1/2 pounds of cherries, pitting them (using the pitter purchased at the mecca of grocery shopping -- Wegmans), chopping them, and then adding them to the mixer bowl in my bread machine (aka Mavis).  From there, Mavis did all the work.  Bread machines with jam cycles are sent straight from heaven.  They're idiot proof AND they allow you to make great jam with fresh fruits and control the ingredients.  No preservatives, no other weird ingredients that you can't pronounce.  What could be better?  Cherry jam was actually my second foray into the world of using Mavis to make jam.  I've also made strawberry jam.  Both, I have to say, are WAY better than anything I could buy in a store.  Although the process was tedious, it was worth it.  I don't think I'll ever go back to buying jams and jellies from the store....I've now been spoiled by the powers of Mavis.  Thank you, Mavis...I can now cross making cherry jam off the list!!!!
Attachments:
The beginning
If you like cherries, get this gadget!
The finshed product
My attempt at a close up

I'm addicted to Wii Fit

Ok, so saying I'm addicted may be both irresponsible and melodramatic, it may very well be the truth.  Wii Fit and the Wii console are brilliant.  I'm even a person who doesn't hate exercise and working out with the Wii makes it even more fun.  This might be indicative of a minor mental glitch within me, but this is absolutely fun!  I'll try to track my progress with the Wii and keep all of you posted about whether or not I continue to love it!  For now...the Wii is for me! (Yes, I rhymed it and NO I'm not ashamed!!)

I'm in love with a thermometer...

I know, it sounds strange, but if you check out the attached photo, you'll see the thermometer that is the new object of my affection.  This is the Wireless Talking BBQ Thermometer from Oregon Scientific.  This thing is amazing!  It has a wireless handheld device that you can use to keep tabs on the temperature of the meat you're cooking on the grill.  No more need to walk back and forth to the grill 5000 times while cooking!  You can be in your kitchen working on the rest of the meal and it will tell you when your dinner is almost done and then done!  How crazy cool is that?!  It did take me a few minutes to get it going -- once the batteries were in I had to reset both the handheld device and the sensor, but once I figured that out (thanks to an amazon.com review of the product), I was up, running and applauding this new find!  It really might be one of the coolest gadgets I've ever found!  Plus, you can use it in the oven too!!!!  Does it get any better?

 

Tonight we used it to cook a whole chicken on the grill using one of those upright can roaster contraptions.  Many friends have been praising this cooking technique for years, and I never tried it until tonight.  I used indirect heat, seasoned up my bird, set the can of cooking liquid in the roaster and sat my bird on top and 50 minutes later I had the most succulent, delicious and aromatic roast chicken I've ever cooked!  Great night on the grill...I'll definitely be playing with both of these gadgets much more!!!!

Attachments:
Talking Wireless Thermometer
The Cooked Bird....YUMMY!

Just a tasty tidbit

I doubt I'm the inventor of the snack I'm about to unveil to the world, but it's something worth sharing.  Check your cupboards...if you don't have cinnamon graham crackers, Nutella (Chocolate Hazlenut Spread -- by the peanut butter in the store), and Marshmallow Fluff, you need to rush to the store immediately!  To prepare, split one cracker (or two) spread Nutella on one side, fluff on the other, sanwich the sides and enjoy.  It is probably my new favorite thing!  It's crunchy, it's sweet and it's a flavor sensation that I've never found in any other dessert.  So good...so simple.  It's worth it to try!
Attachments:
The Ingredients
The Finished Product -- Smores without the messiness!

A Walk Along The Canal

One of my favorite places to walk in Pittsford is along the Erie Canal.  Sure...it has been built up quite extensively and is pretty "touristy",  but there's still something quiet, comforting, and sometimes breathtaking about this place.  I try to get down there and walk more than once a week and I'm never disappointed by how I feel when I'm done -- whether it's a 10 minute walk or one that allows me a seemingly unlimited amount of time.  I need to remember to take my camera with me more often.  Today's pictures don't do this area justice, but I know that the more I walk, the more I'll remember to take my camera with me.  I really am lucky to live where I do and have beautiful terrain to explore whenever the mood strikes!
Attachments:
DSC02813.JPG

New ways to keep myself occupied

As always happens in the summer, I find myself thinking I'm bored by about the second full week of my time off. The beginning of this week was rough, but now I'm working on some things to keep myself busy.  I've gotten my camera back out and today I took pictures of my flower beds and gardens so I'll know what it should look like when I think I want to add things next year.  I've also been working on making my first attempt at a veggie garden a successful one.  So far, so good, I think.  I'll continue these things and keep finding other fun activities to keep myself going!  It's time to settle into summer before it's gone!  Stay tuned for more fun pics and entries.  This site is an experiment in documenting what I do and where I go...we'll see where the journey takes me!

Favorite links

Stacey Ballis -- An author I love
The Pioneer Woman -- Ree Drummond
Hurd Orchards
Susie's Blog -- Susie in the City
Jennsylvania by Jen Lancaster
Carol's Site
Camp Colombo -- The Place to Go!!
Annie's Site!
The Book Page
The Muse Is In -- Creative Inspiration

Words Of Wisdom

Live your life in full color.

--SARK

 

We all make choices about what's important to us.  I choose good friends, great food, and seeing the beauty and grace in the world around me.

 


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4/24/2014 1:26:16 AM