Friday, February 20, 2015


Okay, okay Winter, you win.  We will be patient while you finish your visit here.  8 more days until the last day of February and the first day of March.  3 weeks 6 days until Spring.  But Winter is here now and we have to accept it.  Although the sun was bright and the sky blue and clear; it was cold here today.  But, like every other Winter in the past this one will end too and a beautiful, fresh Spring will come.  Plus the snow does have benefits, ground insulation to protect plant life, and when it melts it give us much needed water to prevent drought.  So again, we promise to be patient and gracious while Winter finishes her job here.

But, to get a little break from the Winter cold, we headed to The NYS Museum at The Empire State Plaza in Albany for the 24th annual New York in Bloom

This wonderful annual event supports the museums after school programs.
This is the beautiful NYS Museum (since it was a little TOO cold to be outside this is a stock photo.)
Luckily The Empire State Plaza has underground parking and an underground concourse, that connects The State Capital to the museum and to all the other buildings in the plaza; so we could stay out of the Winter weather.
There are 117 floral exhibitors, and here are my favorites.
This is one of my favorites, notice the guitar and cello holding flowers.  This exhibit is next to an area set aside for live music performances throughout the event.
Can you find the little squirrel tuck into this arrangement?
Another favorite.  And, yes we do have earthquakes in New York.  We have felt some pretty impressive ones over the years.  I don't know if you can see the little dust pan and broom?  Remember you can click on the pictures to make them larger.
Each floral exhibit is customized to the museum exhibit it accompanies.  This floral exhibit is in the Native Peoples' Hall, check out the veggies.  And there is a pelt and feathers.
I really love this one, it is a whale's tail fin sticking out of the ocean.
Another very unique arrangement, flowers in the horn on top of a silk scarf with a musical theme print.
This very impressive arrangement features a baseball made of flowers and the vase filled with real baseballs.
Live flowers here of course but see the flowers made from news papers.
And at the Sesame Street exhibit, flowers in giant blocks.
Aside from the exhibits, there is entertainment, lectures, demonstrations and classes.  The exhibitors range from business to civic groups to individuals.  It really is a wonderful event and a bargain for just a $5.00 donation.  And there is even a flower market in the museum lobby.
If that doesn't give you either a does of Spring Fever and at lease an antidote for your SAD symptons, I don't know what will.
And since it is Friday and just to cold to be out, we grabbed a nice hot pizza and headed for home.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government.

Happy birthday President George Washington, February 22.

Although the weather outside was frightful, we did escape any accumulating snow; but it was terribly cold.  So a cozy Valentine's Day at home.  Here is a look at our Valentine's Day loot.
In our home, holiday gifts are always more personal than pricey.  Once the basket wrap was removed the fun filled contents were exposed.
I don't wear colored polish on my hands (they are always to busy to maintain polish,) but my toes never go bare.  My spa has not had my two favorite colors, so why not have my own.  OPI-Red My Fortune Cookie and I'm Not Really a Waitress.  I think I love the names more than the colors!
This is my favorite gift of the day; it is from A Likely Story and you can order directly from her site or on her Etsy page.  Can you think of a more perfect gift for a mystery lover than a "whodunit?" charm bracelet?
Okay, the panther is pink after all and pink is a Valentine's Day color.  I already had the (almost) complete Pink Panther collection.  It was missing this movie, the collection was released by MGM but Universal still owns the rights to this movie.
Valentine's Day would not be with out a little "bling."
The little hearts above were only $1.00 and the pretty boxed earrings (and the boxes are even in my favorite color) were 3 for $5.00 from BigLots, can you stand it?

Here is what they looked like in the boxes.
And believe it or not they are really good quality for the very inexpensive price.
Only a little candy, I am not big on candy, this will go a long way.  But look at the giant candy dots!  And a box with a kitty and Snoopy!
And Snoopy in a mug.  Another plush Snoopy for the collection.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day and have a wonderful Presidents' Day.






Friday, February 13, 2015


On this Valentine's Day Eve, it's cold and windy and I have no desire to go out or do anything.  Although I do prefer to spend all holidays safely at home; this nasty weather zaps all my enthusiasm.  We will be missing the brunt of this next big storm, but we will still get a couple of inches.  But it is the cold that is scary.  But again, it is almost over and it looks to be moderating by this time next week.
One positive thing, Valentine's Day is Friday, so that means celebrating all weekend.  My preference is for easy, casual, comfy foods and a casual celebration.  Here are some of my choices.

I love pizza, yes I admit it, but who doesn't.  It really is the most perfect food.  Although we do have one local pizzeria that makes the greatest heart shaped pizzas anytime of the year; making one of your own is very simple.  We all know what a heart shape looks like, so this dough was free hand shaped into a heart and then add the usual topping and bake.  Parmesan dusted bread sticks are just from a refrigerated dough twisted, baked and sprinkled with cheese.

Another one of my favorite foods is grilled cheese and tomato soup.  And with this cold Winter weather there is nothing more comforting.
When I make my heart shaped grilled cheese, I assemble it and grill it with the traditional shape and then use a cookie cutter to shape it.  It is much easier to grill it uncut than it is cut into heart shape.
I think heart shaped pancakes are many peoples go-to Valentine's Day breakfast treat. With pancakes, again, I cut the heart shape after they are grilled. 
I found a package of heart shaped cookie cutters at The Christmas Tree Shops.
And, since I don't drink any alcoholic beverages, "mocktails" are my choice.  One I love in the Summer, but I think it is perfect for Valentine's Day, Shirley Temple.
Simply, ginger ale, Grenadian, and ice.  Or you can choose a Roy Roger, another one of my favorites, substitute cola for the ginger ale.
And no Valentine's Day would be complete with out a little gift.  For Valentine's Day, like other holidays, I love gift baskets filled with small personal or unique items.  Of course they should be dressed festively for the day.
One activity I try to incorporate in all holiday celebrations is popping party crackers.  They are not easy to find for all holidays, but I found this set around Christmas time and thought they would work great for Valentine's Day.  They are in simple red polka dots and red and white stripes.
I hope every one stays safe and warm and has a wonderful holiday weekend.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


Two days until St. Valentine's Day and again a long, cold, snowy February; so since it is sunny and mild today (around 32 degrees) time to get out for a little lunch and tea with friends.  We have several nice little tea shops in The Capital Region.  We chose to visit Short and Stout Tea Company in Guilderland. 

This comfy and casual tea shop is more of a tea shop than cafe, but they have an eclectic selection of sweet and savory treats.  They have a large retail space and they offer tastings, classes and talks.
And compared with Tailored Tea in Latham it is a bit more modern, casual.  But it offers a variety of seating options and it was nice to settle into a comfy chair, sip tea and chat with friends.
They offer teas, both hot and iced, by cup or by 2 or 4 cup pots.
Since St. Valentine's Day is on the way why not a little holiday treat.
Fun Valentine's Day mugs (we are meeting at a tea shop after all) Hello Kitty zipper pal (we are all cat lovers) and fun party favors; mini self inflating balloons from The Dollar Tree and cookies.  The balloons are so cute, just smack them and they inflate.
After a lovely afternoon, time to head home (again) before the night time chill sets in.  It will be a cold week end, but again only 5 weeks until spring, two weeks until March 1 and Valentine's Day is the half way point for the month of February.  Hopefully the weather changes soon and we will see some signs of the coming Spring.  But, like every season, this one will come to and end and there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Well, suddenly it is Winter here.  We had a very mild December; January didn't start out too bad; and along comes February.  Although we are almost halfway through the month and Spring is 5 weeks away; the two snow storms we had ( exactly one week apart) dropped 12 inches of snow each time.  Now it is cold!  And before I turn into a Hermit Crab for the rest of the season, it is time to venture out.  At The Empire State Plaza (in Albany) today was the weekly indoor Farmer's Market and Cupid's Concourse--Valentine's Day Northeast Arts & Crafts Show.

So off we go.  It has actually been pretty mild here the last few days.  Today it is very sunny and around 30 degrees (which is around normal.)  But, looking at that snow is miserable.  But, compared to our neighbors in Eastern New England 24 inches is nothing.  But boy does it look cold on The Plaza.
So underground we go for a little shopping.
And the fruits of our labor.
A Whoopie Pie from the Amish vendors.  They are at The Plaza all year and always have the greatest baked good.  A large sugar cookie dressed for the day (from Kingston, NY) and a Toll House Cookie Tart from The Local Flavor Cafe in Watervliet (a couple of exits up I787.)  And a bag of chocolate covered peanuts, because "why not?" "right?"
Before heading home, a quick stop for lunch.  But home early to beat the night time chill.  But, not dark until 5:51 p.m. today, WOOHOO!  The days get longer and longer.