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Five on Friday {It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!}

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Hello December and hello holiday season! It really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! I took last Friday off from posting and relaxed over the four day Thanksgiving weekend. I hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving. This year, instead of celebrating in Maryland at my sister’s house (or like last year on a cruise ship!), we celebrated with just the four of us.  It was a quiet but delicious day. Here are eight (added extra for missing a week!) from the past two weeks: (follow me on Instagram to see more of what we are up to!)

1. Thanksgiving – Our small Thanksgiving dinner included a Tofurkey, homemade cornbread, vegan green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and a roasted delicata squash salad. This was our first time having a Tofurkey. It wasn’t actually bad. However, I love all the sides so much more!

2. Christmas Card – We ordered our cards from Snapfish and have them stuffed and labeled.  I hope to have them mailed out this weekend!

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Photo Credit: Warner Bros./Photofest

2. Watching – This week I started watching Dawson’s Creek on Netflix.  I watched this show in college, where even then I thought they had an overly sophisticated vocabulary for “teens.” It brings back memories of college, where I was when the show first debuted. I also started watching a couple episodes of “The Pack” on Amazon.  This reminds me of the Amazing Race with dogs.

3. Braces Off – After two years, my daughter got her braces off last week!  She was so excited, as this is a huge event in a teenager’s life! ……..and then in about six months, my son gets to get his braces put on.

4. Eating – Macarons from Amanda’s Macaron Shoppe in Arlington.

Pho from Saigon Pho in Poughkeepsie.

The Portobello Burger from Shake Shack.

Jalapeño cheddar bagels from JV Hot Bagel.

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5.Reading –  I am currently reading two books. You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson is a YA book that I borrowed from the library for my daughter but decided to read.  I also just started reading an ARC of The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth.  I’ve enjoyed all of her books and am excited for this one.

6. Westchester’s  Winter Wonderland – last Saturday we had a hosted visit to Westchester’s Winter Wonderland.  This year due to COVID it was a drive-thru experience.  It was so colorful, festive and fun.

7. Hiking – Last Friday we went hiking at Black Creek Preserve in Esopus.  There is this cool suspension bridge at the very beginning of the hike and then beautiful Hudson River views at the end.

8. Cooking – these Butternut Squash Tacos with Crispy Brussels Sprouts was one of our favorite dinners this week.  Unfortunately, tacos don’t photograph well. But these were so tasty!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared our Hudson Valley Holiday Gift Guide.

Wednesday I shared my Westchester Weekly post.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

You may also enjoy:

Hudson Valley Holiday Events Guide

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Five on Friday {Quarantine is over!}

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Happy Friday! Today my husband and son are finally out of quarantine! Yesterday was Dana’s birthday, which was also his last day of quarantine.  I took the day off from work today and we are going out for a belated birthday lunch date to celebrate.  Field Hockey season ended earlier this week, so no more early Saturday morning practices for my daughter (and us). This weekend I’m hoping to get our Christmas card picture taken.   Here are five from this week:

1. Author in the family – I received a special package in the mail Wednesday: a copy of the book that my dad wrote!  We have a published author in the family!  It’s an historical biography that he’s been researching and writing for years. It’s amazing to see it finally in print!

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Photo Credit: Phil Bray/Netflix

2. Watching – This week I watched the entire season of The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix. It’s based on a book by Walter Tevis. I don’t play chess but really enjoyed the show!

3. Baking – This week I made pumpkin bloodies. I’m not over pumpkin quite yet! I also made this no-knead bread. The bread is made in a Dutch Oven and was really easy. Hot, freshly made bread is delicious!

4. Eating – This week we ordered a Grandma Pie from Stella’s.  

Dana made Carrot Dogs.  They surprisingly tasted like hot dogs!

And we loved these African Curry Quinoa Puffs from Aldi’s. They were so flavorful!

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5.Reading –  I am finishing up Anxious People by Frederick Backman.  It’s not my favorite book of his, (Beartown is definitely my fave!) but it’s enjoyable enough.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I shared our Hudson Valley Holiday Events Guide.

Wednesday I shared my Westchester Weekly post.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Quarantine Edition}

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Happy Friday! This week has been a bit crazy and stressful for us. One of my son’s friends tested positive for COVID earlier in the week. Both my husband and son were in close contact with him and need to quarantine for two weeks. The friend, fortunately, has mild symptoms and is doing well. However, I didn’t realize how difficult quaranting could be! My husband has been relegated to the sofa to sleep. We moved my daughter’s stuff out of the kids’ bathroom and she is sharing my bathroom. When we are in the same space in the house as each other, we wear masks. COVID cases are increasing as seen in ALL the schools in our area. Sadly, with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up and cooler weather where people have to be indoors, the cases are likely going to increase. Please stay safe everyone! With my husband and son still quaranting this weekend, I’m not sure what our plans are. The weather is getting cooler and it looks like it’s going to rain all day Sunday. So, we likely will not be outside very much. Here are five from this past week:

1.Day Date – Last weekend the weather was beautiful. My husband and I tried a new-to-us Filipino restaurant, Karederya in Nyack. We ordered takeout and then went to a local park and enjoyed a picnic with this amazing view.

This was our first time trying Filipino food, but it won’t be our last. Everything, including this Pancit Bihon with mushrooms and crispy tofu was delicious!

2. Aldi’s – Do you have an Aldi’s near you? Our nearest Aldi’s is about a half hour drive, but we love shopping there. I hear they have several Advent calendars including a cheese one, a wine one, a beer one and even a coffee one! Last weekend when we stopped in, I didn’t see any of them (FYI – sadly ,NY Aldi’s stores don’t sell alcohol). But I did buy myself this chocolate Advent calendar that I’m excited about! #itsthelittlethings

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3. Reading – I am almost finished reading The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult. She is one of my favorite authors and I usually love everything I read by her. So far though, I’m not loving this one. It’s very well written though, as she always does a ton of research for her books.

Midori Francis as Lily and Austin Abrams as Dash in the Netflix show "Dash & Lily."
Photo Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/Netflix

4. Watching – Wednesday, I had off for Veteran’s Day. It was cold and rainy so I did something I rarely do. I binge watched the entire season of Dash & Lily on Netflix! The series is only eight episodes. It’s based on the YA book Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan Rachel Cohn. It was a fun, cute holiday series!

5. Eating – Star Fruit. It looks cool and tastes a little tart and a little sweet.

Our favorite dinner of the week was Pinch of Yum’s Creamy Red Pepper Pasta with Blistered Tomatoes.

Bonus: Tuesday I shared my October reads. One of the books that I read and reviewed was Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I’m not sure how she found my post, but she commented on it! It was a great book and now I want to read all her other books!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my October 2020 Reads.

Wednesday I posted the newest edition of Westchester Weekly.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {All the leaves are brown….}

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Happy Friday! Since we turned the clocks back last weekend and it gets dark at 5 PM, I’m all about getting into my PJs when I come home from work! It’s all about the cozy for me. Sadly, all the leaves are falling off the trees and the ones that are left are turning brown…..winter is coming! However, we are currently experiencing 68 degree temps, that are continuing into the weekend, so I am NOT complaining! This has been a very stressful week with the election. I don’t like talking politics on social media and my blog. However, the anxiety has been high this week! Here are five from this week:

1.Halloween – Halloween was almost non-existent for us this year. My 12 and 14-year old are getting too old for trick-or-treating. My son didn’t even want a costume this year! He went to his friend’s house and hung out for the evening. My daughter, barely got dressed up as a bunny and went to a friend’s get-together. There were no trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood. So, while waiting to do child pick-up duty, Dana and I ate homemade pizza and watched the Great British Baking Show!

2. Spirit Week – Last week was spirit week at work. From wearing pink for breast cancer month, to crazy sock day and Halloween costumes, each day was something different. It was a lot of much needed fun in the office. I didn’t even take a picture of me in my “deer” headband costume! Some of us brought candy for our colleagues to “trick-or-treat” around the office. However, one of my colleagues was handing out these tea and biscotti treats. I thought it was such a unique and fun adult treat, instead of candy.

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3. Watching – This weekend I watched Holidate on Netflix. It was a cute, mindless movie. I also finally finished season 1 of Emily in Paris. Dana and I visited Paris years ago, pre-kids, in February. It was pretty cold. Watching Emily in Paris has made me want to go back in the spring or summer!

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4. Reading – I am finishing up reading Followers by Megan Angelo. It’s about the future of social media with a sci-fi angle. I’m not loving it and think I should have stopped reading it awhile ago. However, I’m too invested now, so I’ll hopefully finish it this week. Up next I have Jodi Picoult’s new book, The Book of Two Ways, which I’m excited to read.

5. Eating – We tried a new-to-us Ethiopian restaurant, Lalibela over the weekend. We enjoyed an avocado salad arepas, a cheese empanada and this vegeterian/vegan sampler platter. You eat with your hands using the injera (flatbread) to scoop up the different dishes. It was sooo good!

I made one of our go-to dinners again this week, Sheet pan Cauliflower Fajitas.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I shared this week’s Westchester Weekly.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {What a Weekend!}

Happy Friday! With Halloween, a full moon, a blue moon and “falling back,” this will be one doozy of a weekend! It’s actually a pretty low-key weekend for us though. My daughter has a field hockey game Saturday morning. Then later in the evening she will be going to a friend’s Halloween party. My son is hanging out at home and will help give out candy to trick-or-treaters. I bought some Halloween candy, but we normally don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters. So with COVID, I’m not sure we’ll be getting any kids! Here are five from this week:

1. Field Hockey– Saturday my daughter had her first home field game.  It was fun getting to watch her play, since we aren’t allowed to go to away games.  Since half of the team is made up of juniors who were under a mandatory quarantine, the freshman girls have actually been playing these past couple of games. While they haven’t won any games, they’ve been able to get a lot more playing time than they normally would.

2. Voting – Early voting in New York state started last Saturday and Dana and I waited in line for 2 hours to vote. Luckily, I knew there would be a wait and brought a book! Please make sure you get out and vote this election!  Every vote counts!

3. Hiking –  We went for a hike over the weekend to Teatown Lake Reservation.  The fall foliage has peaked, but there were still some beautiful views.  We did a nice and easy 1.5 mile, family-friendly walk around the lake.

4. Eating – This week we visited GoGreek in Pelham.  I enjoyed the veggie falafel pita.  They put fries in their gyros, as is traditionally done in Greece. 

One of our favorite dinners this week was this Crispy Roasted Tofu and Broccoli with Sesame-Peanut Pesto.

We also tried Vegan Sesame Chicken from Taste of China in Tarrytown after our hike. This is the only Chinese restaurant in the area that I know of that has vegan “meat” dishes.

5. BOOed – We got booed by our neighbor this week! If you’re not familiar with “BOOing,” someone leaves some treats outside your door with a note. It’s supposed to be anonymous…..but we know who Booed us. You are then supposed to continue the process by Booing someone else. We Booed another neighbor, who I don’t think knows that it was us.

6. Raking – I love fall foliage, but I don’t love the leaves so much when they’ve fallen off the trees in my yard. We spent a couple of hours last weekend raking and filling leaf bags for organic pick up. This was our second time raking and sadly we will need to do it at least one more time.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Wednesday I shared my Westchester Weekly post.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend and a Happy Halloween!

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Five On Friday {All the Fall Feels}

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Hello Friday! I’m so ready for the weekend (although I feel like I write this every Friday, it’s always true!). The fall foliage is hitting its peak around here and it is so pretty! I’ve been lighting my pumpkin scented candle at night while I read before bed. I’m all about the fall feels, while this perfect weather lasts! I know winter will be here soon enough……and I am NOT a fan! This weekend is busy with a field hockey game for my daughter and a Boy Scout event for my son. We also have a pages long house to-do list that we’d like to make a dent in! Here are five from this week:

1. Family Hike – Last Saturday we went on a family hike to Blue Mountain Reservation. This has been a favorite local park and we have taken two Christmas card pictures here! This visit we took a new trail and came upon this lake which we had never seen before. It was such a beautiful day and the fall foliage was in full effect!

2. Reading – I am finishing up One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London. This has been such a fun read. It’s a behind the scenes look on a Bachelor/Bachelorette type show, with a plus-sized girl as the “Main Squeeze.”

3. Baking – Sunday I was all about baking and made Appledoodle cookies AND Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins! The muffins weren’t very pumpkiny but the cookies are so good!

4. Eating – My husband made Scallion Pancakes for the first time for us.

I picked up this sandwich from the deli for lunch earlier in the week. It’s fried eggplant, fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, pesto and olive oil.

And this Mediterranean Braised Chickpea Rice Bowl was one of our favorite dinners this week.

5. Halloween (?!) – I have no idea if there will be Halloween this year. However, it is only a week away now and neither of my kids have finalized a costume! While I’m not sure they will be trick-or-treating, they both plan on hanging out with friends. I know my son will be able to wear his costume to school the Friday before. The planner in me is freaking out a little bit. Not stressful at all!

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Monday I posted A Weekend in Saugerties.

Wednesday I shared another edition of Westchester Weekly.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Mid-October}

Happy Friday and happy weekend! It’s hard to believe that we are halfway through October! The weather looked okay last Sunday, so we headed up to Saugerties for the one night. This was our first time visiting the Hudson Valley town and we had fun exploring and eating over the two days. More details and pics are below. The kids are halfway through their first quarter of school which seems crazy! My son is going on a Boy Scout camping trip this weekend, so as of now we don’t have any big plans. I think I want to do some fall baking, which I have done none of yet! Here are five from this week:

1. Kayaking – We started our day up in Saugerties going kayaking. This was an activity that my son had wanted to do over the summer. It was very last minute and I literally booked the kayaks Friday night. But, I’m so glad that I did. We all had such a good time out on the water. Plus, we got a good arm workout in and were able to see some beautiful views.

2. Hiking – Up in Saugerties we did a very easy hike at Falling Waters Preserve.

There were two very small waterfalls but it was a very scenic hike with beautiful views of the Hudson River.

3. Eating – We did a lot of eating up in Saugerties! I was happy to finally try Alleyway Ice Cream after following them on Instagram for so long! They were out of Thai Tea Cookies and Cream, which I really wanted. But this Honeycomb Chocolate Swirl and Ube Heath Bar were both really good!

I had this Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella Grandma-style slice from Slices of Saugerties on Saturday. It was so good, that we went back on Sunday for another slice!

These Sweet Chili Cauliflower Wings from Love Bites Cafe were delicious!

And this sticky tofu from the Diamond Mills Tavern were another favorite.

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4. Reading – Yesterday I finally finished Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Taila Hibbert. This was a fun chick lit/romance read, where the couple was so awkwardly cute. I’m finishing up Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel (my physical book) and have started You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks (my kindle book).

5. Field Hockey – My daughter’s varsity field hockey team had their first game last Saturday morning. It was an away game and visitors were not allowed. The other team had a production company come and videotape the game, which they aired on YouTube. Although my daughter didn’t get any play time this game it was still fun to be able to watch the game. Unfortunately, they ended up losing 0-3.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I shared my September Reads.

Wednesday I shared the first edition of Westchester Weekly.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Columbus Day Weekend}

Happy Friday! This week felt like it dragged on and I’m so happy for a three day weekend! Saturday is busy with my daughter having her first field hockey game of the season. My son is going to his friend’s birthday party. Then we are supposed to be going away Sunday for a quick one night getaway to Saugerties. However, the weather isn’t looking so great for Sunday and Monday, so it’s still up in the air as to whether we are going away or not. Here are five from this week:

1. Hike – Saturday Dana and I hiked Mount Beacon in Beacon, NY.  This was a 2 mile round trip hike and the views at the top were beautiful.

2. – Dinner with my parents – Sunday my parents were back in New York for the night. So, they brought Chinese food over for dinner. It was so good to see them and catch up since it had been over a month and a half since we last saw them.

Lily Collins as Emily in an episode "Emily in Paris."
Photo Credit: Stephanie Branchu/Netflix

3. Watching –  The Vice Presidential Debate, which was much better than the first Presidential Debate. I also watched the first episode of Emily in Paris on Netflix. The scenes of Paris are beautiful! While the show seems “young” it is rated MA.

4. Eating – This week I had a vegan coffee and chocolate donuts ice cream cone.

These Vegan Greek Tofu and Fry Wraps were one of our favorite dinners this week.

I made Kimchi Pancakes for the first time. It was so easy and they were so good that I’ll be making these again soon.

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5.Reading –  I’ve started reading Feels Like Falling by Kristy Woodson Harvey. I’m only about a quarter of the way in but I’m really enjoying it.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I posted shared a post about the West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring.

Sharing with Friday Favorites!  Have a great weekend!

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Five on Friday {Hello October!}

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Happy Friday and hello October! It was so nice to have a three day weekend and shortened work week. Schedules are getting busy again with Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. My daughter is on the Varsity field hockey team and has practices every afternoon and Saturday mornings! This week we also had her high school virtual back-to-school night. Here are five from this week:

1. Outdoor Art – Last weekend we visited Tilly Foster Farm to see the Collaborative Concepts outdoor art exhibit.

Then of course we had to stop and visit with the animals!

Sarah Paulson as Mildred Ratched in Netflix's new series 'Ratched'
Photo credit: Netflix

2. Watching – Dana and I have been watching Ratched. Ryan Murphy of American Horror Story and Glee fame, has created this new show for Netflix. It’s a little weird and a bit gruesome. We are only a couple of episodes in, but hooked. The new season of the Great British Baking show also arrived on Netflix so we’ve been watching that as well.

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We had family move night this week and watched Enola Holmes on Netflix. We all enjoyed it and it was nice to see Millie Bobby Brown in such a different role from Eleven in Stranger Things.

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3. Reading – I am reading two books. Whisper Network by Chandler Baker is my physical book. I’m not loving it but don’t dislike it enough to give up on it. I also started Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert on my kindle. It’s easier for me to bring my kindle to work, when I sometimes get a chance to read during lunch.

4. Hiking – I’m not sure that I’d call our visit to the West Point Foundry on Sunday a hike. It was more of a walk in the woods. Regardless, it was a new-to-us location and offered beautiful scenic views. I want to go back a little later in the season when the fall foliage is at its peak, since I’m sure it will be even more picturesque.

5. Eating – This past weekend we visited the Moon Light Cafe in Brewster. This restaurant has a lot of vegan food options. But the highlight was this vegan soft serve ice cream. I got the vanilla and acai guava orange twist. It was sooo good!

We also visited Vera’s Garden Center and Marketplace in Cold Spring to try their cider donuts. They are voted one of the top 5 in the Hudson Valley and now we know why. These were some delicious donuts!

And I tried the 1911 Cider Donut Hard Cider. It’s a sweet cider with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon. While I didn’t love it, it’s a tasty enough seasonal cider.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

Tuesday I posted about Kelder’s Farm.

Wednesday I posted about Collaborative Concepts at Tilly Foster Farm.

Thursday I posted Halloween Fun in the Hudson Valley.

Sharing with Friday Favorites. Have a great weekend!

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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!