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Five on Friday {Another Year Older}

Happy Friday!   This was a great week.  My birthday was Wednesday. As I’ve gotten older, I’m really not into making a big deal about the day.  Especially, when it falls on a Wednesday during a pandemic! But for the first time ever I took the day off of work!  Work has still been crazy busy and I just didn’t want to have to a stressful day!  Here are five from this week:

1. Apple Picking – It’s a little early in the season, but last weekend we went apple picking at Soons Orchards, a new-to-us orchard in New Hampton, NY (Orange County). This was a no frills experience, but the apples are delicious and we had a great time!

2. Shopping – On the way home from apple picking we stopped at Woodbury Common Outlet Center to do some back-to-school shopping. There were some pretty good sales and the kids got some stuff for school. We have another shopping trip planned this weekend.

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3. Watching – This week I watched the documentary Social Dilemma. It was very eye-opening on how damaging social media is. It’s kind of crazy how these social media companies manipulate us users.

4. Eating – One of our favorite dinners that I cooked this week was this Banh Mi Pizza.

This Burrata Salad that I had as an appetizer at Farmers and Chefs for my birthday lunch was delicious!

Apples, apples apples! We have sooo many apples from apple picking. I am going to have to cook/bake with them.

You can’t go apple picking and not get cider donuts. Unfortunately, these weren’t hot and fresh. But we did get some powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar and plain ones for our annual cider donut fix.

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5.Reading – This week I started reading An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena. This is one of the few books by the author that I haven’t read yet, so wanted to give it a try.

6. Birthday – I started my day off getting a haircut. Then my husband and I stopped at Half Time in Poughkeepsie and we stocked up on craft ciders (for me) and beer (for him). We enjoyed lunch at a new-to-us restaurant, Farmers and Chefs that has been on my want to try list. My husband took my son to his Boy Scout meeting and had to stay for a mandatory parent meeting. So we had a late dinner of Chinese takeout when they got home, with strawberry shortcake for dessert. I am very hopeful that this next year will be a great one!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I posted about Clover Brooke Farm Llama Alpaca Hike.

Thursday I wrote about apple picking at Soons Orchards.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Or more like Seven!}

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Happy Friday!  It’s been a busy week around here and I have more than five things to share this week! Tuesday, the kids started their first day of school! They are doing a hybrid model and will do remote, virtual learning three days and go into school two days. This week, they did a smaller transition, so they each only went in one day. It’s been a little difficult for them to get up so early. But overall, so far, so good! This weekend we are hopefully going apple picking and then I’m taking my daughter to do some back-to-school clothes shopping. I will need ALL the patience for this trip! Here are five from this week:

1.Hike – I started the long weekend with a solo hike at Pelton Pond.  This was an easy, peaceful 1.5 mile hike with beautiful views.  It was just what I needed before having to run around and do errands.  

2. Alpacas – Sunday I took my daughter on an Alpaca/Llama hike.  This was a summer bucket list item and it was so much fun!  I’ll be sharing a post next week all about it!

3. Sunflowers – After our alpaca hike we stopped at a nearby sunflower field.  Of course my daughter wanted to take pictures and we also cut our own sunflowers.  

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4. Reading – I finished On the Come Up this week. This was a great YA book about a teen trying to make it as a rapper. I didn’t love it as much as the author’s other book, The Hate U Give, but it was still a good read. I have just started reading 28 Summers.  Although school has started, summer has not officially ended, so I’m sneaking this one in.  Plus, I’ve heard such good things about it!

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5. Watching – I haven’t watched a movie in awhile, but this weekend we watched Jojo Rabbit.  This is a WWII comedy-drama about a Hitler youth whose mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. We enjoyed this one. For such a horrific time period in history, the movie actually had some laugh out loud moments.

6. Eating –  This weekend we tried a new-to-us ice cream place, Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn. This lavender honey and peach strawberry pie ice cream were so good!

The night of their first day back-to-school we ordered takeout from Izla.  The kids both agreed on this place when they were asked where they wanted to get food from.  My son, the only meat eater in the family, enjoyed pernil while the rest of us enjoyed ALL the sides (tostones, yuca fries, rice and gandules, sweet plantains and mixed veggies)!

One of our favorite meals that we made this week were the Summer Grain Bowls from Eats Well With Others.  They were super easy to make and can be easily adapted when corn isn’t in season.  

7. Back-to-School Pic – It’s tradition to take an annual first and last day of school picture. So, even though the kids had a remote, virtual first day, I made them get up and take a picture before I had to go to work!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I posted about our visit to Villa Roma Resort in the Catskills.

Tuesday I shared my August 2020 Reads

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Hello September}

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Happy Friday and hello September! This is it – the last unofficial weekend of summer.  With Labor Day on Monday, we have a long weekend before the kids start school Tuesday.  I am hoping they have a good and SAFE year despite all the changes. I am so ready for fall and can’t wait for the cooler weather! I’m also happy my blog is up and running again. Last Friday, some of you may have discovered that my blog had a database error issue and you couldn’t access the blog. After some help from Bluehost, I was able to get it up and running again. Here are five from this week:

1. Villa Roma – Last week we spent two days at Villa Roma Resort in the Catskills. It was so nice to get away for a couple of days and we had such a good time.

The kids and I tried driving Go Karts for the first time (which you can see on my Instagram). A full post/review will be up next week.

2. Reading – I am finishing up The One by John Marrs. This is a good sci-fi/suspense read where a DNA test matches you with your “perfect partner.” Unfortunately, getting matched has its consequences. I recently discovered that it’s being made into a 10-episode Netflix show.

3. Cooking – This week one of our favorite meals were these Summer Risotto Stuffed Peppers from How Sweet Eats. They weren’t difficult, just time consuming. It took about an hour start to finish.

4. RiverWalk – Sunday the weather was beautiful. I walked part of the RiverWalk in Peekskill and spent some time reading by the Hudson River. It was quiet and peaceful and just what I needed.

5. Eating – We enjoyed this plate of Italian pastries at our dinner at Villa Roma.

I found chocolate waffle cones at my local Shoprite, which I of course had to buy. I filled it with Turkey Hill Trio’politan Mint Cookie. I’m not going to lie. Work has been crazy busy and I earned this ice cream cone!

ICYMI this week:

Wednesday I posted about Chigo Chinese Restaurant.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Ready for the Weekend}

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week!  We spent a lovely weekend in Rhode Island visiting my parents and helping them celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  The kids start school in a little over a week and a half.  With the hybrid model and the students split up by last name, my daughter is very upset that she won’t be with her besties.  So this week, both kids have been all about hanging out with their friends and getting in some last social time before school starts.  We are currently at Villa Roma Resort in the Catskills, enjoying some end of summer fun. Here are five from this week:

1.Beach Time – We are so fortunate my parents live so close to the beach. This view never gets old.

2. Reading – I am finishing up Always the Last to Know by Kristan Higgins.  It’s a contemporary fiction book that I’m finding is an okay read.  I haven’t had much reading time this week but hope to finish it this weekend.

3. Cooking- This week we haven’t cooked much, but we did enjoy these Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas from Two Peas and Their Pod. Since my son and I have transitioned from vegan to vegetarian (me) and meat eating (him), I have been finding recipes that I can adapt to please us all. This one was easy to do with leaving cheese out and on top of half of the enchiladas.

4. Playing – Over the weekend we introduced the kids to Liverpool Rummy. I grew up playing this card game with my grandparents and it was fun to start the tradition with my kids playing with their grandparents.

5. Eating – While visiting my parents, they picked the restaurant and made the reservations, but we treated them to dinner for their anniversary.  We had a delicious dinner at the Chapel Grille in Cranston, Rhode Island. I enjoyed this Eggplant Napoleon alla norma

We also ordered takeout from a new Chinese restaurant, Chigo in Hawthorne.  I have a blog post coming next week, but these were some tasty vegetable dumplings!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I wrote about Madam Brett Park.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Celebrating A 50th Wedding Anniversary}

Happy Friday! We are currently in Rhode Island for a long weekend to help my parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.  They were first supposed to have a huge party, which then got downgraded to a smaller backyard gathering.  But with all the state restrictions still in place, they ultimately had to cancel the party.  My brother and sister couldn’t come up and fortunately, RI recently came off the 14 day quarantine list for NY state, so we could come and celebrate with them! This, along with my brother-in-law’s wedding get added to the list of events that were canceled thanks to COVID.  While we are her, I’m looking to enjoy some relaxing beach time and maybe a hike. Here are five from this week:

1.Waterfalls – I love waterfalls. Saturday we drove to Madam Brett Park where we got to enjoy seeing this beauty!  I had no idea this was even in Beacon until I did a search for hikes and  parks in the city.  

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2. Reading – I just finished Pretty Things by Janelle Brown.  It was a pretty mystery thriller. I’ve brought a bunch of books with me to Rhode Island, since a long car ride and the beach = lots of reading time!

3. Cooking-  This week we made “scallops” with King Oyster mushrooms.  I made one of my first Instagram reels showing the process.  They had such a similar texture to scallops, but not the taste.  

4. Watching – I have just finished watching I’m Sorry on Netflix, although the sitcom airs on truTV (which we do not have). This is a funny show – but do NOT watch with kids in the room! 

5. Eating – When we were in Beacon we stopped at Glazed Over donuts and I got my favorite s’mores donut.  

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I posted our Westchester County Outdoor Mini Golf Guide.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Mid-August}

Happy Friday. I have never looked more forward to the weekends than these past couple of weeks. Working in the HR department of a school district getting ready for back-to-school during this time has been crazy! Last week Hurricane Isaias hit New York. We fortunately didn’t lose power, but we did lose our cable and internet. My 12 and 14 year-old would tell you this was as bad as not having electricity since they couldn’t use any of their electronics. While I couldn’t get last Friday’s post up, I enjoyed the electronic break. I ended up reading three books in three days! Here are five from this week:

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1.Reading – I am currently reading Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. This is a historical family saga that takes place in Korea and Japan throughout the 20th century.

2. Eating – Friday my parents were in town so they came over for dinner and brought pizza.

We tried the Vegan Espresso Chip Ice Cream sandwich from The Blue Pig in Croton on Hudson.

Sunday we ordered takeout from Asian restaurant Fatt Root. One of our faves was this Tofu Broccoli Satay Bowl.

3. Mini-Golf – The past couple of weekends we have been visiting the different outdoor mini golf courses throughout Westchester County. I’ll be reviewing them in an upcoming post, but it’s been a fun family activity.

4. Cooking – One of this week’s favorite meals was Vegan Udon Noodle Cabbage Stir Fry from The Savory Vegan. My daughter cooked, so that made it even better, since I didn’t have to!

5. Boy Scout Court of Honor – This week my son’s Boy Scout troop held their Court of Honor at the local park and my son was the Master of Ceremony (MC) for the event.

ICYMI this week on the blog I shared my July Reads.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Goodbye July}

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Happy Friday! It’s crazy that today is the last day of July. Even amidst a pandemic, the month seems to have flown by.  Before we know it, we will be getting ready for back to school…..whatever that may look like. New York schools had to submit their reopening plans to the Governor today and we will find out next week whether he approves them.  I really feel like my kids need to be in school, at least for a couple of days, mostly for the socialization. However, there are so many challenges.  And with the recent upticks in numbers throughout the country, I am keeping my fingers crossed that New York remains at our current, stabilized numbers. I guess we will find out next week and can then start finalizing what we want to do. As for weekend plans…..nothing is definite as of last night, when I’m typing this. But Sunday they are calling for possible thunderstorms, so we have to find something to do outside on Saturday. Here are five from this week:

1. NYBG –  Last week the New York Botanical Gardens finally reopened for members (and this week to the public).  Saturday we braved the heat and took a drive down to the Bronx for a visit.  I loved looking at all the flowers and plants.  But it was HOT!  And they aren’t running the tram, so there was a lot of walking as well.  We discovered the tropical courtyard, which along with the rose garden were my faves.  It wasn’t a super long visit due to the heat, but an enjoyable one.

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2. Reading – I just finished The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell.  This was my first Jewell book that I thought was just okay.  I just started Good Girls Lie by J.T. Ellison, which is another suspense/mystery book.  I’m a little nervous that I’m getting tired of this genre, which used to be a fave. 

3. Making – My son wanted to make some popsicles.  So, I dug out our popsicle holders and this week we made Orange Mango Coconut popsicles.  They are vegan and were very refreshing. We are looking forward to trying different flavor combinations.

And Cooking: Our favorite dinner this week was a Caramelized Corn and Tomato Tarte Tatin from Half Baked Harvest. The corn at the grocery store wasn’t looking so great so I used some zucchini instead. I served it with an arugula, tomato, avocado salad for a delicious, light, summer meal.

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Courtesy of Netflix

4. Watching – What haven’t I been watching?!! Work has been crazy busy with school reopening stuff and I come home exhausted! At night I just want to sit on the couch. My evenings have been spent watching Indian Matchmaking. My daughter and I have started season 1 of America’s Next Top Model and Dana and I have been watching Alone. Reality binge watching at its finest! LOL!

5. Skateboarding – Back in June my daughter got a long board.  Then we got my son a skateboard for his birthday in July.  The kids have been going out skateboarding almost every day.  It’s fun seeing how much they’ve improved over the course of a couple of weeks.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Cheers to the weekend!}

Happy Friday! I hope everyone had a great week. I am loving my summer Fridays because this was another crazy work week. It’s going to be another hot weekend but hopefully the weather will be bearable enough for us to spend a little time outside. Here are five from this week:

1.Magazzino Italian Art – Saturday we visited Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring. I have a whole post write up, linked below. It was a great way to spend a hot afternoon. While we don’t like to be in indoor places, we felt 100% safe with all of the safety precautions that they have implemented.

2. Ice Cream – Did you know that last Sunday was National Ice Cream Day?! Yeah, neither did I until I saw all the posts on Instagram. We ended up getting ice cream Saturday at Moo Moo’s Creamery in Cold Spring. I had heard lots of good things about this place, so we finally went and tried it. The cookie dough was super creamy but a little light on the cookie dough chunks. It’s located right next to the river, so we got to enjoy beautiful views of the Hudson River while we ate.

3. Drinking – I’m not a big drinker. However, when I do drink, I usually prefer a hard cider. Ace Pineapple Cider is so good! I love a sweet cider and this one is perfect!

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4. Watching/Listening – I’ve been on a David Chang kick this past week. I have been watching Season 2 of Ugly Delicious on Netflix, which is a short season with only 4 episodes. I’m already halfway through so will have it finished over the weekend. I’ve also been listening to his podcast The Dave Chang Show. I’ve never eaten at any of his restaurants but I’d like to!

5. Reading – I finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett this week. It was a really good read about a set of light colored African American twins. One of the twins lives with her African American daughter in her childhood home. The other twin passes for white and lives a life hiding this secret. It follows the twins and their daughters over several decades. The book is going to be turned into an HBO limited series.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I wrote about Magazzino Italian Art.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {It’s going to be hot!}

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Hello Friday! I love me some half-day summer work days! It is going to be a HOT weekend….allegedly temps may reach 96 degrees on Sunday. I see a weekend spent inside trying to stay cool! Here are five from this week:

1. Family birthday party – Saturday we had a small family gathering to celebrate my son’s birthday. We had not seen my brother-in-law and his fiancee since before Thanksgiving, so it was really nice to get to see them. Since we are vegan/vegetarian, and the rest of our family is not, we ordered Italian food from a local restaurant. Then we had cookie cake and ice cream cake for dessert. It was nice to not have to cook!

2. Turning 12 – Tuesday, my son turned 12! We celebrated with sushi (for him) and Chinese takeout, at his request. He asked for flan for dessert, so I tried my hand at making flan for the first time. It doesn’t look great, but it tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself! We then had a zoom with my family. He didn’t want a birthday parade with friends and we weren’t quite ready to do a friend party. So, it was a small but celebratory day. And as you can see from the birthday treat pics, I didn’t realize that we didn’t have a “2” candle. Oh well!

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3. Reading – This week I finished A Good Neighborhood by Therese Ann Fowler. It was a really great, five-star read for me. I am currently reading A Court of Thorns and Roses. This is a YA fantasy book that has been on my to read list for awhile. My daughter read it and said it was really good so I’m finally giving it a go. So far, it’s an okay read.

4. Drive-In Movie – Wednesday night we went to our first drive-in movie! This has been a bucket list item for awhile. Amazon Studios and Michael B. Jordan have created “A Night at the Drive-In.” Select drive-in theatres throughout the country are showing free double feature movies that celebrate, “diverse voices in cinemas.” We saw Black Panther at the Overlook Drive-in in Poughkeepsie. We originally saw this movie in the theater when it first came out and it was just as enjoyable as we remembered. Since the movie didn’t end until after 11:15 PM, there was no way we were staying for the second movie, Creed! Although we do want to see this movie too!

5. Butterfly Bush – Somehow, the small, orange butterfly bush that I bought a couple of years ago has really grown. I was able to get a picture of this Monarch on it the other day.

ICMYI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared “A Night at the Drive-In.”

Tuesday I shared my June 2020 Reads.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {The Kids Come Back}

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Happy Friday!  As is our annual tradition, we spent a couple of days in Rhode Island with my parents for the 4th of July.  Usually, there’s a crowd that includes my sister and her family and sometimes my brother and brother-in-law.  This year, it was just the four of us and my parents.  It was a much smaller and quieter gathering.  But it was so nice to get away for a couple of days. Dana and I headed home Sunday because…..work. But the kids spent the rest of the week with my parents.  They come home tonight because tomorrow we are having a small family gathering to celebrate my son’s birthday (which is Tuesday).  This week I also officially headed back into the office.  We are on a staggered schedule and only go in twice a week for the month of July.  The other days I still work from home.  They have implemented lots of safety measures and it’s a very small, partial return to normal. Here are five from this week:

1. Beach time -While we were up in Rhode Island we only got to the beach twice.  Once at night to catch the sunset and the other during the day.  The water was freezing! But sitting on the beach reading is one of my favorite things to do!

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2. Reading – Speaking of reading, I finished so many books over the past week.  With car rides and lots of relaxing time I was able to read Necessary Lies, In Five Years, The Lager Queen of Minnesota and almost all of The Bright Side of Going Dark!  I’m currently reading Fix Her Up, a contemporary romance that is an okay read so far.

3. S’mores – Is it summer without s’mores?! We didn’t have a fire but we were able to make them in the oven.  Such a tasty treat!

4. Sparklers – it’s legal in Rhode Island to sell fireworks.  While we were at the local Walmart I picked up some sparklers to light with the kids.  Can you believe my husband and kids had never held a sparkler before?! 

5. Family Time – Over the four days spent together in Rhode Island, we enjoyed some quality family time. This included playing croquet in the backyard.

We introduced my parents to Telestrations.  This fun game is a cross between telephone and Pictionary.

My kids have gotten into skateboarding and we spent some time watching and helping them practice.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!