food

Balloons over Letchworth!

Sunday was a rather remarkable day. I had discovered that hot air balloons would be launching at Letchworth Park over a period of a few days during the Memorial Day weekend. I love hot air balloons and I especially like photographing them!

I spoke to Carly on Saturday and asked if she and her family would like to go, too. They did! Since the balloons were launching at 6:30 pm, and Carly wasn’t available to go until afternoon, we made plans for an impromptu picnic.  We had grilled chicken breasts, a broccoli salad, and a lemon meringue pie.

pie

That doesn’t sound like a lot of food, but I think we all were full at the end of our picnic!  Oh, we also did something different….we ate at one of those stone tables!  It reminded me of something from the Flintstones!  It was wonderful, though, as we had a scenic view of the gorge.

After our picnic, we headed off for the balloon launch. It was fascinating. The ad  said there were thirty balloonists invited and although I didn’t count, I know there were lots of balloons there.  It was amazing as it seemed like the field would never contain many of these aircrafts! The public was allowed to sit and watch very close to the actual balloons.  This made it even more fascinating. I never realized they used a generator and fans to begin the process of filling the balloons.

As the first balloons began being filled, there were some breezes that would move them about!  I left everyone and went a bit closer to the first batch.  I met a young lady there with her boyfriend who sometimes rode in the chase vehicle for one of the pilots.  She told me all kinds of information.  She said the pilot has to get permission to land….I had never even thought about that before. She said that some people absolutely refuse to allow a balloon to land on their property, so the pilot must lift up again and go on until they can obtain permission from another property owner.

This was such an exciting adventure!

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We actually saw some of the baskets (with people inside!) tumble to one side as the wind blew and caused the balloon to sway!  People from the balloon crew quickly hopped to the rescue and held the basket upright! Some looked as though it took a great deal of effort!

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This was so awesome! The balloons just seemed to hang in the air over the gorge!  It was so beautiful. I am so glad we were able to do this!  I plan on making this an annual event!!!

Resurrection Sunday!

We hadn’t been back to visit my parents and Randy in such a long time!  With such a cold winter, we hadn’t gone out much at all.  When we saw that the weather was going to be warm and sunny yesterday, we made plans to visit!

The morning started out a bit chilly, but we saw the temperature outside climbing as we drove along.  I had picked up some pretty yellow Tulips for Mom and Dad and couldn’t help snapping a photo of them against the blue sky as we drove along! Of course, they looked beautiful once Mom placed them on a table in the house!

We went out to eat at the rod and gun club and as usual, the meals were out of this world!  When Mark, the kids, and I discovered prime rib was on the menu, we all ordered that.  Afterwards, we went over to the house. Mark, the kids, and Randy went to a park where they fiddled around flying remote-control helicopters and Michelle walked Murphy. Michelle told a funny story later….seems a foreign woman at the park saw Murphy and thought he was a goat! Poor Murphy….

At dinnertime, we were still pretty full from our large lunch, but Mom had a beautiful veggie tray. Since the sun was shining and it was such a beautiful day, we ate our veggies (along with carrot cake for dessert) outside at the picnic table! We laughed later, knowing full well if we had planned anything like this, it probably would have rained.  Or snowed! We also knew if we told anyone we ate outside on April 20th, they most likely would not believe us!

So….a picture tells all!

We had a great time visiting and as always, it was hard saying good-byes. All in all, it was a beautiful day, well spent!

A Busy Weekend!

It was a busy weekend with much to do, but actually, it was a busy week!

I mentioned previously that we attended a Passover Seder on Tuesday evening.  We also attended another one on Saturday evening.  Our friends, Bill and Carolyn had decided to have two Seders instead of one because they wanted to have music and there isn’t quite enough space to have tables set up and also music equipment. Carolyn is part of the music group, along with Sue and Mark. Bill does all of the food….the man is an amazing chef!

I forgot my camera on Tuesday, but I did grab the camera bag on Saturday!  There was a lovely group of people in attendance.

Our host and hostess, Bill and Carolyn as Carolyn lights the candles.

There were four young adults who just added so much to the event.  They were awesome!

The purpose of the Passover Seder is to remember how God delivered and saved His Chosen People (Israel) from bondage when they were in Egypt.  This is a retelling of the Book of Exodus, relating the hardening of Pharoah’s heart and how God used plagues to finally get Pharoah to release the Israelites.  The final plague was when God instructed the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and paint the sides and top of their doorposts in the blood of the lamb so he would pass over their homes as He passed through and killed the firstborn of the Egyptians.

One fact that I forgot to mention is that Bill was diagnosed with pneumonia in his right lung on Monday morning.  The Seders were important to him, so he carried on with his preparations….and both Seders, even though he was not up to snuff!

The Passover story takes awhile to recount, and as it is told, participants eat various “elements” such as bitter herbs (parsley dipped in salt water),  hard boiled egg, horseradish, lettuce, and *delicious* Charoset (which is apples diced into pieces, with walnuts, raisins, spices, and honey mixed in).  After the story was told, Bill served up a most wonderful meal beginning with his homemade matzah ball soup, followed by roast turkey, mashed potatoes, his homemade matzah (unleavened bread), stir-fried vegetables, and Kugel.  Believe me, no one goes home feeling hungry after this feast!

We had such a delightful evening, and after folks left, the young adults and the music group hung out and played and sang music for quite awhile.  It was a memorable night and one filled with good fun and fellowship! We really appreciate all the work Bill and Carolyn put into these Seders, and also the effort put into Tuesday nights as well when they host a dinner and music practice!

Evidence….

that is coming.

Forget the fact that it was 12 degrees this morning when I got up at 5:30. I grudgingly trudged to the garage and gathered kindling and wood to make a fire in the woodstove.  Yes, for the past two or three days, this wasn’t necessary and I had already resigned myself to the fact that I might no longer need to build and maintain fires in the stove.  Ah well…

We do know that warmer days are coming no matter what the thermometer says today!

I am a sucker for flowers. I love having flowers in the house. They are cheerful and add so much color!  I couldn’t resist this Spring Cactus as I was walking through Walmart last Thursday.

We have had some temperatures that were so warm, I actually grumbled a bit because I got overheated doing my work around the house! We had the windows open and one night, we ran the whole house fan the entire night to cool the house! With all this warm weather, the tiny Crocus plants I had uncovered from a deep bed of leaves practically flowered overnight!

I always had problems in the past….it seems the bulbs I planted for some spring flowers would disappear!  This year, however, it seems as though the crop of springtime harbingers has multiplied immensely! I have so many pretty Crocuses in purple, white, and stripes! As I photographed some on Sunday, I noticed another sign of spring in the form of a Bumblebee working away to gather pollen!

I did save the best for last, though.  As I was working in the bedroom, a Goldfinch caught my eye. I could see that the vibrant yellow coloration was returning to a little male sitting on a branch outside the window.  I walked over and grabbed a camera, but when I returned, the little bird had flown off.  Disappointed, I was about to walk away from the window when something else caught  my attention……

Yes, this beautiful little male Eastern Bluebird sat and posed so nicely for just a few seconds! What a treat!

Today, the temperature is to remain only in the 30’s, but then it is supposed to warm up into the 50’s the rest of the week!

Last night, we attended a Passover Seder at the home of our friends, Bill and Carolyn.  Mark has been practicing with Carolyn, Sue, and another Carolyn for music for not only last night’s Seder, but another one on Saturday night.  Bill is such a tough guy….on Sunday night, he got the chills, then became a bit “out of it”. After reducing a fever, he went to the doctor on Monday morning. The doctor ordered an x-ray and found Bill had the beginnings of pneumonia in his right lung.  When he told me on Monday when I spoke to him, I asked if he would still be able to have the Seders!  He replied that of course he would! He had already done lots of his preparations on Sunday.

The Seder last night was wonderful.  Bill made a fantastic meal to follow the reading of the Haggadah.  Please pray for Bill. Although he is a tough guy, even tough guys need some rest!  The music was awesome as well.  The only downside to the night was that it was bitter cold and the roads were slippery! Thankfully, our trip home was non eventful.

Although it is chilly outside today, the sun is shining and we are cozy and warm inside!

Gingerbread house!

Oh my goodness! I wanted to post this before, but had some difficulty. I’m not sure if it was WordPress or something on our end, but I just could not get photos to upload.

A week before Christmas Eve, we were invited to our friends, Sue and Ed’s house. I knew it was going to be very pretty, as Sue told us she loves decorating for Christmas. She decorated well before Christmas, too, as her daughters used her home as the setting for a photo shoot.  So….be prepared to fall in love, particularly if you like log homes decorated like gingerbread houses!

Ah yes, the heart(h) of the home! A pellet stove keeps this cozy house all warm and snug!

The pretty reds, greens, and golds of Christmas decor look so pretty against the logs.  Isn’t this pretty?

This is a shot looking into the kitchen and dining area. It is so pretty!!! And I love the loft above. I have long dreamed of having a loft…no particular reason, other than I think they are always so cozy!

Sue and Ed built this house with the help of an Amish crew of men. Ed loves woodworking, so he did the interior finishing. Sue came up with this idea to place a ladder horizontally and cover it in wire for a shelf for pots and pans above an island in the kitchen. It works so well!  And, as you can see, Sue even decorated the shelf!

As we sat around the table, gabbing and overeating Sue’s delicious lasagna,  Paco, the little dog, perched on a blanket atop an ottoman and listened to our ramblings….

Look at the stairway to the loft! Everything seemed to be decorated!

We had such a lovely time visiting! This house is located between Bath and Hammondsport andEd and Sue told quite the story about the house!  One night, Ed opened the back door to let the dogs out and was greeted by a bear! It had wandered onto their back porch and was standing just outside the door! Yikes!

As we left, I told Sue if I ever decide to run away from home, I *know* where I am going!  It was so hard to leave this sweet little house. It really did remind me so much of those pretty little gingerbread houses!

 

Two birthdays down…

Oh yes, November is the “big” birthday month for us!  Michelle, Mark, Carly, and my mom all have November birthdays! Thankfully, Michelle and Mark’s big days are at the beginning of the month, while Carly and Mom’s are at the end, giving a bit of a break in between!

Mark had two friends come over on Saturday to play music.  He met a fabulous jazz guitarist/pianist through his drummer friend, Jim.  So Jim and Bob came down for a visit and they played for quite awhile.  The music was surprisingly amazing….it sounded as though they had played together for a long time!  I wasn’t sure how long the guys would be here, so I made a meal ahead of time but I will share that in another post.  We ate an early dinner and Jim had brought Mark a dark chocolate birthday cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream frosting.  How did I not get photos of this day?

Yesterday was Sunday and since we had not “properly” celebrated Michelle or Mark’s birthdays, we decided to head on out to Geneva for Chinese buffet.  As always, the food was tasty and I think we all overate.  Afterwards, we went to BJ’s to pick up a few essentials. I forgot to mention the wind. Yes. The wind. The wind blew so hard yesterday, all day! It was blowing so hard, it felt like my hair was going to blow off my head…

The weather conditions made for some interesting skies!  I love seeing powerful clouds in the sky and there was no lack yesterday!!

 

After Mark and I came out of BJ’s, the kids said they wanted to go over to WalMart for a few minutes. As Mark crossed the road to go there, I nearly jumped out of my seat as I spotted this in front of us!

What an awesome sight this was!  It wasn’t raining where we were, but it must have been off in the distance!  With so many clouds surrounding us, we couldn’t follow either rainbow to see the rest, but I was just so pleased to see this!  By the way, all these photos were taken with the cell phone.  I did absolutely no editing….the colors were really that intense.  A rare treat, indeed!

And What a Fun, Fantastic, and Amazing Day!

Yes, can you believe it?

After my post about yesterday, I just *had* to post about our most fun adventure on Saturday!  I had meant to post this first, but got ahead of myself!!! (yeah, I know…called “disorganization”!!!)

If you read my blog, you will see that my main commenter is Jeanne.  Jeanne and her husband live not so very far away from the Bristolwood, but they also have a wonderful cottage retreat on Lake Ontario! Jeanne has spent many a summer there and after our little visit there, I can certainly understand why she would ever be reluctant to return home.  It is a whole ‘nother world….

Jeanne and Ben invited us to come on up last Saturday. We got up and did some chores and were on our way. As we left here, it was chilly and damp and wet.  The skies were (greatly) overcast with nary a streak of blue in sight. As we drove along, I couldn’t help but wonder if we had made a mistake!  However….the forecast called for clouds in the morning, then becoming partly sunny.  The journey was a three hour jaunt, but we were so excited.

We drove along a rather well-traveled road that was only a short distance from the lake and as we progressed (this was the last 45 minutes or so of the trip there) the sun came out, puffy, fluffy, non-threatening clouds greeted us and accompanied us right up to the cottage. (Which was found seamlessly…thank you so much Google maps and GPS!)  The trip was so pretty and when I saw the cottage vista, I could not believe my eyes!!

Jeanne and Ben greeted us and then we went inside, as the air was still pretty chilly.  Later on, Jeanne took my on a little scenic tour. Oops…I am getting ahead of myself once again.  Out the picture window that overlooks the lake, one can get a view of an island!  From the view there, it looks like there is nothing there, but….

Jeanne and I went for a little ride in her car and I was surprised!

There is a bridge (all manmade) that leads to the island.

And once we were on the island, there was an amazing KOA Campground!  Wow!!! Can you imagine camping right along the shore of Lake Ontario….on an ISLAND? The campground is a gated community!  In order to enter, Jeanne went inside the office (where there is also a store) and had to give pertinent information “for insurance purposes”!

The campground is rather large and believe it or not, one can not only camp there, but they also have a marina!

Hmmm…..not too many boats in those slips! But, we were there after Memorial Day when many people traditionally put away all the summer pleasures and begin looking forward to the fall and winter months.

There were many campers there. The lady at the desk told Jeanne there was an event going on so it was busy.  There were campers of every shape and size.  The best sites were located on the lake.  I guess one can choose from sites with a glorious sunrise or glorious sunset.

I think it would be tough to decide between a sunrise or sunset!

We headed back off the island, but I took a shot at the harbor where Jeanne and Ben’s cottage is located. Look how beautiful everything looks!

Jeanne also took me for a ride around the area where she often drives her scooter.  As I said before, it is a whole different world and culture.  It was such a beautiful day and I really enjoyed the mini tour!  As we drove, we spotted a big bird sitting in a marshy area.  I took a photo of the bird, but I am not sure what its identity is.  It had a large bill, though.

We went back to the cottage and Mark and Ben were still talking at the table where we had left them.  Ben fired up the grill and made delicious sausages and chicken breasts for everyone.  He had also made a fabulous Mexican type dish with beans and corn that was so tasty along with potato salad.  Everything was so good!

After eating, Ben showed Mark some of his guitar equipment and Mark sent me to the car where he had tucked away his traveler guitar and amp, hoping the two of them might play. And play they did while Jeanne and I visited.

We talked on and on until Mark and I looked at the clock!  It was getting late and we had that three hour drive ahead of us! We had also taken Murphy along with us and he spent the day snoozing in the car! I would check on him from time to time, but he is pretty content just knowing we are nearby.  It was nice and cool and we left the windows down most of the day, so it was like being outside for the wee Scot!

I realize now that I never took a photo of our generous host and hostess!  I am so bad at taking people pictures!  But, I did get photos of their sweet little “babies”. They are Bichons and they are so adorable with their fluffy little poofy heads!

This is LadyBug.

And this is Chloe, sleeping away in her little stroller!

Thank you, Jeanne and Ben!  We had such a wonderful time visiting!  As we left, Ben advised us of the route he follows to go back home.  It was so cool as we passed nearby Adams, where we go snowmobiling in the winter!  Awesome. Awesome day. Awesome friends. Awesome visit!

I must add….I was about to publish this, when I thought I would comment further.  Mark is a trooper about driving and he seems to never tire!  When he felt like he was weary, he pulled over at one of the rest areas.  I had fallen sound asleep previously and didn’t even notice the stop!  When I awakened, I asked Mark where we were and we were only a short distance from home. mark pulled away and off we went once again.  As we traveled close to Canandaigua, we saw lights flashing ahead.  Two volunteer firemen were diverting traffic along another road.  When we drove down the road, I realized we were close to where Ben and Jeanne live!  One fireman had told us there had been a terrible accident ahead and thus the diversion.

We learned the following day a young man had gone through a stop sign on a small side road.  Another young man ran into his car, spinning it on the main road, where it was hit by yet another car. The young man who ran the stop sign was killed in the accident.  These things happen so sporadically…..one just never knows….

Back to Blogville

I have taken some time off from blogging.  One reason is the loss of a friend I met online and also because we have been so busy and I found myself quite stressed.

I thought to atone for my absence, I would give you a delicious and very easy recipe. That’s a pretty good deal, isn’t it? The recipe is for Chocolate Carrot Cake.

 

1 package Devil’s Food Cake mix

1 package chocolate pudding

4 oz. Cream cheese

1 cup milk

3 eggs

1 tsp. Cinnamon

3 cups grated carrot

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. (F) Place walnuts on small cookie sheet and bake in oven for 5 minutes. Remove to cool. ! Meanwhile, place  cake mix, pudding,  cream cheese, milk, eggs, and cinnamon in large mixing bowl. Mix on low speed until blended, then turn to high speed for 2 minutes. Add carrot and mix until well-blended. Divide batter into two well-greased cake pans and bake about 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pans for 20 minutes, then remove.

For icing, the recipe calls for:

12 oz. Cream cheese

3/4 cup  butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 cups powdered sugar

*NOTE: I made the icing as given and it was  far too much. If you cut the recipe in half, it would probably be enough.

After placing cake on plate, spread some frosting on, then place the chopped walnuts on the frosting. Place the other layer on top and frost cake. Refrigerate until served.

This recipe is so easy because of the cake mix and pudding. The carrots add texture and moisture that is unbeatable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plans for today changed this afternoon.  We had several tasks to accomplish, so we decided to go ahead and do them, so off we went to Rochester. After finishing up, we went to visit our friends at their house.  We had a really great time. The sky was blue, the wind was blowing like crazy, and the temperature was much more comfortable than the past couple of days.

Our friends ordered a pizza and wings for dinner. I could not believe my eyes when their daughter, Sarah, and Michelle returned with the pizza box….

That pizza box filled the entire width of the picnic table!  They had told us the pizza is twenty-seven inches across, but it is hard to imagine until one actually sees it! Half of the pizza had Italian sausage on it, and the other half was “veggie”.  It had peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, and broccoli.

So, it is still hard to imagine just how BIG this pizza is, so I will give you a better photo.  This was Michelle and Sarah serving up pieces. I think this photo will definitely give an accurate depiction.

I have seen sheet pizzas, but they are rectangular. This is such a huge round pizza!  And was it tasty? Oh my goodness, YES! What a treat!