Tuesday, October 18, 2011

queens county farm and butterflies...

a friend of ours mentioned this historical farm about 30 minutes away from the city.  we checked it out a few weekends ago and found some farm animals, pony rides, old tractors, and pumpkins. these pumpkins weren't exactly the best-in-show like the perfectly round bright orange ones you'd find in the hudson valley or something but they made the perfect little seats.

and, on our way home, i spotted a monarch butterfly weaving in and out of traffic on the bruckner boulevard.  perhaps following us home from the farm to brooklyn.  
apparently, their migration to central Mexico takes them through our lovely city!  

Sunday, October 2, 2011

gourmet, october 2007...

i don't keep all cooking magazines.  there are far too many and just not enough space.  ho-hum.  i try hard to keep it down to these three red magazine holders that i bought awhile back.  the other night i was looking for some new apple recipes and came upon an issue of  Gourmet, October 2007.  Score.  With the weekend, came the cooler weather and some time in the kitchen where I've decided that I am at my happiest (with jackson standing on his chair right beside me...can't get any better, i tell you). 

last night, i made bratwurst with creamy apple compote with two pippin apples that i took from our loot.  easy, quick and really good.  tonight, we made the steak "diane".  both recipes are in the october 2007 gourmet issue but can be found here and here.  the sweet treat was an apple cake with maple syrup cream-cheese frosting.  also made with pippins that may or may not have been a little bruised from a toss or two. 

we spent the chilly fall day at the queen's county farm museum (i'll post some pics tomorrow) and ended the day filled to the brim with delicious meals that have me dreaming of next weekend.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

apples, part II

the same place.  the same delicious meal afterwards (posted here).  

time has marched on as it always does and, unlike last year, my little man is zipping down hills, helping daddy reach way up high to pick the perfect ones, digging them out of the pickers, and launching the apples into the air at great speeds.  we ended the day with a horse-y ride.  

we have officially kicked off the fall with our favorite of fall traditions.  now, if fall would just come and stay awhile...we are anxiously waiting...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

the last weekend of summer

i remember when labor day weekend was a really big deal.  it was the last weekend of summer to party and soak up the sun.  we would sit in traffic for hours to get to the beach, listening to loud music.  these types of vacations are long gone.  traffic is not my friend and you can just ask my husband how i feel about loud music;);)

this last labor day weekend, we were lucky to have three days in a row together as a family.  for jeff, days off can sometimes be hard to come by.  we took advantage of not having any plans and decided last minute to take jackson to the bronx zoo for the first time.  my favorite part was watching jackson chase the peacocks (there were a lot of them).  he was amazed by the fish and watched them swim around, saying "ooo!  mommy, daddy...pish!!".  we also caught up with the giraffes which always look so graceful and regal to me.  a zoo trip just isn't complete without giraffes.  not sure why that is.
the chill is coming tomorrow.  i hear that it will likely stay around through the weekend.  it may be time to say, sadly, "so long, sweet summer.  you were awesome.  thanks for the memories."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


friends, we made it out safe and sound from the outerbanks.  you can see some beautiful pictures of our trip here!  once i get back into the groove of things, i'll also post some pics from our recent trip to the bronx zoo this past labor day weekend. 
but first, all week wnyc has been airing interviews of family members who lost loved ones during 9/11.  today i listened to  this young girl tell us about her father who suffered injuries but luckily made it out alive.  he fell into depression shortly after the attacks.  she now refers to him as "new dad".  the one that doesn't pay much attention to her anymore, doesn't laugh, or joke like he did before 9/11.  so while everyone expects her to think of her dad as a "hero", she feels differently, like he has changed in many ways.  it was so heart-felt i nearly cried while driving on the FDR.

i am unsure if wnyc does this every year but i imagine these interviews and stories are due to the tenth anniversary this coming sunday.    most anniversaries, come and go.  (i am one of the lucky ones who is able to say that, i know.)  this year feels a little different than the others though.  perhaps it's because they killed Osama, and the focus is more on remembering the lives affected rather than focusing news and memorials on our enemies.  i'm not sure. but this coming sunday, i will among those remembering and praying that those families heal what is broken and empty inside them.  

below is an animated clip from StoryCorps.  they are aiming to record at least one interview for each life lost during 9/11. 
they have other clips that are really sweet.  here is just one.  see them here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

from throw-down to slow-down

with all this talk of debt crises, downgrades, the fed's ominous "announcement", and even weirder straw polls, everything and everywhere seems to be in hyperactivity mode, right?  and, it feels the same here at home...just without all of that silly political drama.  work has been busy for both jeff and me (jeff is actually working right now while i write this post; i, on the other hand, should be working but just can't bring myself to do so...instead i am making jackson a big pot of swiss chard and lentil soup for the week while watching, what else?  msnbc. )  we are feeling, well...spent.

 the last couple of work weeks had us running around like madmen. so we used our weekends to escape the daily grind and get out of the city for some quiet.  this is what we've been up to.  we even had a short but sweet visit from grandma thrown in.

but, friends, come friday we are headed for a real honest-to-goodness slow-down.  we head to the beach and that lovely southern comfort.  i want to wrap myself around in it for the whole week. we plan on doing the following:

*not putting on shoes with closed-toes
*not looking at a computer screen of any sort
*wearing only bathing suits until we can stand it no more
*getting up each morning to the sound of a bustling kitchen
*getting sand everything
*eating and enjoying delicious home cooked meals and having long talks around the kitchen table
*waking to the sound of waves and smelling the saltwater by 7am
*laughing with family
*forgetting about EVERYTHING besides all of the above

i cannot wait. 

{the first set of photos was taken on our weekend trip to belmar, nj....the second set was taken in cold spring, ny...}

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

coming home

back in high school, i remember wanting to grow up quickly.  leave my hometown and discover the world. get lost in different cities and learn my way around and all of that.  the last thing i wanted to do was be at home with my parents. jeff and i do still dream of moving abroad someday, and maybe, we will do just that. but right now, with a family of my own, my feet stay planted and "home" takes on a whole new meaning. maybe this comes with age. maybe it's because i now understand how hard my parents worked to built what we all know as "home".

the smell of home-cooked meals from every corner of the house; walks around the neighborhood on a beautiful summer evening with my parents while jackson runs around my old high school baseball field; the deer, crickets, and fireflies; the chatter and noise from the kitchen (along with karaoke, sad to say...:)) as family members gather together on a lazy Sunday afternoon to celebrate my little sister's birthday. all of this warms my heart.

and, years from now, jackson will come to tell me that he is moving away...you know, just because...probably without a job, probably without his family (similar to what i did a long time ago).  i will most likely think to myself (similar to what my mom thought i'm sure)...'why would you want leave us?  this is your home.'

i can only hope that i will have built that same sense of family and comfort for jackson that my parents built for me and my sisters.  so that when that day comes for him to explore his world without me, i will remember that he will eventually come back home...just like we all do.