Monday, January 31, 2011

The Big Apple


The costumes! The music! The choreography! The staging and the lighting all came together in one place - The Minskoff Theatre on Broadway - to form a magnificent display of human creativity like nothing I have ever seen!!!  I won't even attempt to describe my first ever Broadway show experience because no matter how long & hard I search, I could not possibly find just the right words to do it justice. I will say tho' that I'm determined to make sure that my girls see it too - hopefully Spokes will want to join us as well - because knowing now what I was missing up until then, I somehow feel as if their lives won't ever be complete if they never get to see it for themselves! 




 Street Performers

are among the 


My husband & I had a grand time. 
Alone. Together.  
In the reeaalllly BIG city
amidst a sea of




But I was grateful to be able to leave once we had enough of too much :)

With that said, I'd be remiss 
if I neglected to mention 
one last "best thing" 
about our Big Apple adventure.
That being
  the bus ride to & from the city ...
simply because we weren't driving! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Life is composed of moments

A teacher at Strike's school passed away yesterday. Strike was so very sad as evidenced by the river of tears that ran down her cheeks as we talked about it after school - and off and on throughout the remainder of the day.  She's so tender & I love that about her but it breaks my heart when I can't fix her broken heart. She remembers specific moments when he was kind to her so I encouraged her to remember his kindness & how much it meant to her -  & to "pay it forward" in similar ways in honor of him/his memory.  

This video is a timely reminder worth stopping "moment"arily to view.

..What if we really figured it out - that gratitude for the seemingly small and insignificant - that is the seed that plants the giant miracle in the midst of it all...

How do we stop believing that life is an emergency.... How do we start believing that life can be carried only in the hands of the unhurried
...a bubble to be held in awe.


He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


If I'm to have hope of pulling off something special for my loved ones on Valentines Day, I need to plan ahead - sooo - I popped on over to Martha Stewart's place and found oodles of inspiration.  Here are a few personal favorites:

A poem unfolds as it's opened. Not sure which 
I'd find to be more challenging tho'  - writing a poem or 
following the directions to fold it up properly! 
The directions on Martha Stewart's site are confusing - but I found a 
helpful instruction video here.

 Or for something so simple

 how about  

They're the perfect little something to tuck inside
those pretty doily envelopes above. 

I better get busy. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

cause & pause for celebration


was my husband's/my dearest friend's (they are one & the same) birthday.

I celebrate this day 

because it/he gives me reason to celebrate


Happy Birthday, Honey! 

Friday, January 21, 2011

A light at the end of the tunnel

We've had three storms in just over a week. The snow heaped on each side of the driveway is piled about as high as we are tall! But - there was a difference when I shoveled today. This time I saw a bright light at the end of the tunnel! ... that being warm sun shining on white sand & reflecting off bright blue 80 degree water!  Must've had something to do with the fact that just before bundling up & heading out, I booked a trip to the Virgin Islands (St. John & St. Thomas)  for my husband & I in March! ... likely to be the highlight of our year-long/monthly 25th Anniversary celebration.  Flights are booked & I submitted a reservation request to this eco-resort  on Maho Bay, St. John (still researching places to stay on St. Thomas)  where guests basically "camp" in elevated eco friendly tent cottages that I gather are constructed almost entirely of recycled materials, powered by the sun and wind, and built with site-sensitive techniques that preserve and protect the fragile eco-system of the US Virgin Islands  My husband & I are not the five star resort/cruise type. "Adventurous" & "active" accurately describe us. We like to explore - so this place should be a great fit  ...  a bit remote/off the tourist beaten path, snorkeling right from the private beach. Hiking. Sailing. Swimming. Kayaking...

As I write this, I gather a fourth snowstorm is brewing - supposed to hit after the bitter cold temps we're plummeting into this weekend. I have a feeling I'll be revisiting this post frequently between now & March - if only to lay my eyes on the first pic & take a brief "imagination vacation" every now & then(!) - as, even now, just trying to imagine what it will be like where we're going has been a wonderful reprieve from the cold reality of winter in New England. 

For anyone interested -  I cut/pasted/highlighted interesting/intriguing info from the website - as this place is not "typical" by any measure.

Although Maho Bay Camps is probably the most highly praised ecotourism destination in the world, we had modest beginnings. In 1976, we built 18 tent-cottages on 16 foot square platforms in the Virgin Islands National Park using hand construction methods which left the natural environment virtually undisturbed. The platforms were connected by elevated walkways to avoid soil erosion which endangers the beach and fragile coral. This sensitive land use stimulated an explosion of favorable press which has encouraged our growth to 114 units, connected by an extensive network of stairs and boardwalks.

Now we are celebrating over 33 years of an improved local environment as a result of this sensitive and sustainable development. We are encouraged by our growing popularity in a culture which is becoming more aware of the importance of preserving nature's precious gifts.

The roomy tent-cottages are nearly hidden by lush foliage providing privacy. Translucent frabric on wood frames, screened windows and open air terraces take advantage of the cooling island tradewinds.  Linens, blankes, towels, cooking and eating utensils are all provided, includng propane stove and ice cooler. Every tent-cottage has its own private deck, electric outlets, lights and fans. Barbeque areas and fresh water are available along the walkways. 

Our secluded white sand beach and year-round tropical climate offer a variety of popular water sports ... including kayaking, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling and scuba diving. 

Glassblowing demonstrations are a popular activity with mesmerized guests watching beautiful glasswork being made from crushed bottles in ourTrash to Treasure Art Center.

...we also offer an array of classes ...that include a number of craft areas such as fabric batik, ceramics, glass blowing, watercolor painting, and paper making — and each class demonstrates an aspect of creating art out of recycled materials.
The immediate area around Maho Bay Camps has beautiful hiking trails. ..including walks to historic plantation ruins.

Conveniently located bathhouses are equipped with modern, low-flush toilets and pull-chain showers connected to a recycling system which irrigates the surrounding vegetation.

Yet another snowday

Today was the third snowstorm/snow day in a little over a week!  There was a silver lining on those storm clouds tho'.... Daddy stayed home from work & the storm cleared out early enough for us to head out to a slippery slope...


Here comes trouble! 

Ready! Set! GO!!


That's me! :) ... Couldn't let them have all the fun.

Look out belooooow!

Somebody stop me! 

She's goin' down! 

We had a great time.  - Now we're bracing for the coldest temps we've seen in a long time & the weatherman is keepin' an eye on what looks to be yet another storm forming that may hit next week.   

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Had a mixed group of kids & adults over the other night for Bunko (some spell it Bunco).  It had been long time since we had played. It's a mindless game. Requires no strategy whatsoever & there's nothing at all that one can do to improve their chances of winning. It can be as upscale  - or as kid friendly as a hostess wants to make it. Very players switch partners for every round - continuously throughout game.  The most challenging aspect is trying to get a group of 12  or 16  (or some exact multiple of 4) people (we had 13 so my husband & I took turns playing). Ya gotta have a bell at the head table (Table 1) & score sheets, pencils & three dice at every table.  Ya gotta have food -  conveniently located for players to graze on as they're movin' uptown or downtown - or stayin' put - depending if their team won or lost the current round. We ordered a giant sub & guests brought sides & snacks.  Ya gotta have tables for four - enough for the number of players you have. Ya gotta have prizes too.  They can be expensive - or very inexpensive.  Themed - or not.  --- something small at each table for the first bunko (three of whatever number your rolling for at any given time) at that table (we had packs of gum).  A traveller prize - in our case the traveller was the most expensive prize, that being a nerf football)  - but most prizes were about $1 each (candy) we did it on the cheap.  Every time someone gets a bunko the traveller is tossed to them & whoever gets the last bunko of the night wins it.  In the end prizes are awarded for most bunkos , least bunkos, most wins...& anything else you can think of to award prizes for....most consecutive wins... biggest loser, etc.

I first learned about Bunko from my friend over at GlassMelts. She had been in a group that met regularly (monthly - I think) for years & I subbed in now & then.  Later - when we lived on the West Coast - I was involved for awhile in a group that met regularly. Players took turns hosting Bunko at their homes. When we moved to New England people looked at me like I had two heads when I mentioned Bunko - but we've done our part to introduce it here & it's catching on.
In short, Bunko is SO-o easy to play. Not so easy to explain (Tho' I found a pretty good summary here - but we don't use the fuzzy die...we toss/pass the traveller prize itself) - and it's always good for lots of laughter ...  it filled our home with it the other night. Loved that.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The secret ingredient in the best cake ever

Spokes came home this weekend & we celebrated his 23rd birthday. Baking his cake - a recipe with 17 different ingredients ranging from coffee to cocoa & from butter to buttermilk  - was a fun family affair that produced a new & fantabulous family favorite! I've never baked a cake that tasted SO good!  I have a feeling this page in my new cookbook will be revisited time & time again in years to come.  I imagine my kids making it for our grandchildren in due time. I hope it will become a family tradition to make it (& birthday cakes in general) together - as I can't help but wonder if that's the secret ingredient that made this one the best ever.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snapshots of our snow day

Snow Dog!

Walkin' in a winter wonderland ....

My attention was caught by a snowflake on my coat-sleeve. It was one of those perfect little pine trees in shape, arranged around a central spangle. This little object, which, with many of its fellows, rested unmelting on my coat, so perfect and beautiful, reminded me that Nature had not lost her pristine vigor, and why should man lose heart? 

Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Snow Day!

This early morning the ground is covered with a white blanket - probably about a foot thick -  and made entirely out of ... snowflakes!

Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty,
 .... Every crystal was a masterpiece of design,  and no one design was ever repeated. 

Wilson (aka"Snowflake") Bentley (1865 - 1931)

Today is the first official snow day (No school!) of this winter.  Always a special occasion around here.  I'm not sure who looks forward to snow days more - me or the girls :)  They're so quiet. So peaceful. SO special that we celebrate them! Tho' not in ways that one would typically celebrate a special occasion. We celebrate snow days by sleeping as late as we want (tho' I like to get up early bc they seem to last longer that way) & stayin' in our PJs til whenever - and using the time they're so full of to do most anything we don't normally have time to do --  to entertain ourselves rather than to be entertained  -- and to use technology less (preferably no TV) and our imaginations more. They're ideal for cuddling under a blanket with a good book, lingering over a hot cuppa, lighting a candle, writing a handwritten letter,  sitting by the fire - and for being creative - for making just about anything - music, crafts, food. Toward that end, and assuming the conditions are right, snowdays are often the perfect time to make a friend of this nature...

This guy was a jolly happy soul! Made on a snow day way back in 2007.  Perhaps he'll come back again someday ;)

My husband's company even canceled work today - thereby making this the perfect storm as far as I'm concerned -  & making this particular snow day extra special, as I don't believe he has ever, in all the years we've lived here, enjoyed a snow day at home with us.

Soon we'll make what basically boils down to dessert for breakfast! --  a giant upside down apple pancake thats preparation is begun on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet then placed in the oven (skillet and all) to bake. Once it's done, all that's left to do then is to flip it out onto a platter, slice and serve warm - topped w/ vanilla ice cream and sprinkled w/ cinnamon. 

In hopes of reinforcing the "warm & cozy" generated by breakfast, and in an attempt to encourage it to linger as long as possible, a pot of beef stew will simmer for hours and I'll be baking a loaf of homemade bread. It's been much too long since I've done that. 

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, here's hoping that you also are able to find a reason and make time to celebrate today. 

Simple pleasures are the last healthy refuge in a complex world.

Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)