What to muse about today?

November 2, 2016 ~ Shoulder?

Nature Trail

Nature Trail

Today I was back on Sleeping Giant, this time on the Nature Trail, a self-guided walk, or rather, hike.  They had booklets at the main parking lot, so I grabbed one, checked my clue list for the letterboxes I was hunting for, and set out.

It was a fun trail, not too long – with super-fun trail blazes – an evergreen tree!  The hike starts off pretty level, and is easy going.  Eventually, it gets steeper and steeper.  Which was kinda fun today, it was mid-60’s!  November and 60’s!  And super sunny.  Just a lovely day for a walk.

The first box in the series was a bit tricky.  I got caught up with one of the former numbered trees instead of walking a bit further to the current number tree.

It was too warm for ice cream!

Ice cream melted in today’s heat!

But no matter, I eventually figured it out, and found one of the BEST letterbox containers I’ve seen so far.  A Talenti pot!  I may suggest using one of the few we have at home for Teagan to plant her letterbox in.  (She needs to plant make one to earn her Brownie Badge.  She knows the general area where she wants to plant it too).

Anyway, the Nature Trail was pretty fun.  The guide book was informative, pointing out interesting things along the way.  Several different types of trees, rocks, geographic and environmental features.



Trap Rock

Trap Rock

The stamps in the series were beautifully carved, and were coordinated to the locations on the trail where they were hidden.  One of the more lovely stamp series I’ve found so far.

It was a lovely day.


October 14, 2016 ~ Like a Fairy Forest


Green and Orange and Gold

Just about three weeks ago, Teagan and I went on a Girl Scout Letterboxing Adventure.  I’d always enjoyed hiking, walking through a forest, being outside.  As long as it’s not too hot.  Then it’s not fun at all, and I’d rather be by a pool.  But it was a lovely day, and combined with the treasure hunting aspect of letterboxing, we all had a fun time.


I’m not quite sure why it’s as fun as it is.  You go hiking with some clues and try to follow them to find a plastic box hidden under leaves and rocks.  The boxes are often dirty and there are spiders and bugs and stuff.  But it is like a treasure hunt.  Inside each box is a stamp, usually hand carved.  Often, the stamps are fun, sometimes they are beautiful. That’s probably why Teagan liked it, she had permission to get herself dirty and dig around for “treasure.”  I liked being outside and enjoyed the challenge of solving the clue enough that I didn’t mind too much.

For whatever reason she liked it, and I had enough fun to humor her when she asked to go again.   So I told her we would see what we could do, and looked at the websites listed on the simple logbook they gave us on our adventure. And I found letterboxes around us.  And more letterboxes around us. And it was more fun finding boxes “in the wild” instead of planted for a bunch of girl scouts to work on a badge for the day.

We all went letterbox hunting.  Even Stu tagged along, though I think he’s indifferent about it.


Ashin’s Log Book After Our Mystic Hunt

As Teagan, and I, both enjoyed it so much, I looked around for books for us to use as log books instead of pieces of paper. And once Ashlin expressed how much she enjoyed it, and how excited she was to make her own stamp, I ordered a book for her too.  She was very, very happy to get it and put her first stamp in it.

We’ve gone out almost once a weekend since then.  Sometimes even after school if the boxes are close by and the clues seem straightforward enough.

I’ve even gone out myself a few times.  I admit it.  I love hiking this time of year.  It’s just the right temperature – not too hot, not too cold – and the forests are almost magical.  Like today.  I went to a park not too far away – Alice Newton Street Memorial Park – and walked almost two miles looking for letterboxes.  I didn’t notice that I walked through lunch.  The park was so beautiful.  It felt cared for.  Not necessarily cleaned or maintained, but that it was groomed and encouraged to grow.  Almost magical.


Magical Forest

I have a few more boxes in my log book than Teagan, and of course Ashlin.  Some of the trails aren’t quite suited for a five year old, though don’t tell her that.  Some of the trails, like yesterday, although pretty, I wouldn’t want Teagan on either.


But trails like today, I would go on again, and again, and again.  Even though I have already found all the boxes that forest contains.





Panorama from the top of a cliff – Yesterday


Super tall cliff – Yesterday


December 5, 2014 ~ Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Today, I finally used one of the more awesome Christmas presents I’ve ever received and made cheese. Yes, cheese.  Fresh Mozzarella, even!  I’m not sure why I hadn’t tried before.  Maybe it was because I had one or both girls whenever I was mostly awake, or the fact that the package came with rubber gloves.  I don’t really know.  And I’m kicking myself about it.

The cheese was fantastic.

Small curd

And not very difficult to do, maybe an hour for the first batch.  And yes, I said first batch, because, oh yes, there will be more.  I’m sure that when I make the Mozzarella again it will only take about half the time. I will need to get a better thermometer – a digital one, that goes below 100°F.

It seemed crazy to start with one full gallon of milk, but that was the recipe. After adding in the citric acid and heating it up, small curds formed. Once the rennet and calcium chloride were added it changed pretty quickly to much larger curds with clear whey.

Curds and Whey

Straining the whey and getting the curds quickly into a separate bowl was a bit tricky, but eventually I got them all separated. I was amazed at how little cheese curd there was.  Almost all the volume of the gallon was whey.

A quick run through the microwave and it was ready to mix and form into balls.

Warm mozzarella. Omnomnom

I tried some when it was still warm and gooey.  Oh.  It was lovely. Yum.  I haven’t had mozzarella like that before.  Stu also got to try some still warm and thought it was very good.


I decided to make just three balls from the batch, I didn’t have much time before needing to go get Ashlin.  They got nice and shiny as they cooled and I dropped them into the brine just before I left.

Ashlin didn’t believe me when I told her I made cheese while she was in school.  I let her try some after it was brined and she approved.  She may have been impressed I actually made cheese.  (It’s not marshmallow fluff or cookies!  LOL!)  She was sad she didn’t get to help though.  I told her that she could help next batch.

Balls brining

We may be making home-made pizza tomorrow.

I have two thirds of it in the fridge, in brine, and the last third is wrapped in plastic in the freezer.  It may not last the weekend.


PS.  The cheese making kit came from Standing Stone Farms, and their recipe is similar to this one.


2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Look!  It’s that time of year again.  One that has also reminded me that I haven’t posted here since just before Thanksgiving.  Oops.  Sorry about that.  I’ll do some catch up posts to show finished products, maybe share some stories from our outings and holidays.  But in the meantime, I hope you all had good holidays too!

PS.  I wonder why the wordpress monkeys didn’t share the pictures with their excerpt.  Seeing that the post I made about Teagan starting her potty training was one of my most popular made me a bit misty although also a bit curious as to why…



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September 7, 2013 ~ Depeche Mode


Welcome to my world

I got to see Depeche Mode on Friday night.  And it was awesome.

Back before the tickets went on sale, my sister talked Stu and I into going, meeting up with her for the show. We had planned to have my folks watch the girls while we took a train in for the show.  Stu woke up Friday morning with the tail end of a migraine.  Gah!  Although he was better by the time we needed to go, he still had some remnants, including a sensitivity to light and sounds that forced him to stay home.  I was torn. I didn’t want to go without him, we were so looking forward to the show, leaving the kids with my folks, enjoying the evening out.  I also didn’t want to miss out on a band I’ve loved for just about as long as they’ve been together. It was also an expensive concert.

The draw was too strong, and I ended up going.  Alone on the train, until Grand Central when I met up with my sister and a friend of hers who at the last minute was able to buy Stu’s ticket from us, so at least we didn’t loose out on the money.

They opened with “Welcome to My World” and “Angel” from their new album.  Not bad songs, though I do prefer their music prior to Exciter, though the next two have some great songs.

Next was “Walking in my Shoes,” “Precious,” “Black Celebration,” and “Policy of Truth.”  Fantastic!  Amazing. Dave Gahan was prancing over the stage.  Full of flamboyant energy.  I was getting flashbacks to Freddie Mercury all through the concert.  Two newer, strong-beating songs, then a change of pace for “The Child Inside” and an acoustic version of “But Not Tonight.”  So surprising to have them include that in the show, one of my favorites, even in the original version.  But the way Martin Gore sang it, with no backing electronics, was haunting.

They followed with “Heaven” and “Soothe My Soul,” “A Pain That I’m Used To,” and then played another song from Black Celebration,  “A Question of Time.”  Lovely.  Next up were some Violator songs, “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus.”  My phone was dying and full, so I only have a snippet of “Silence,” but thankfully have more of “Question of Time” and almost all of “Personal Jesus,” which they started at a stutteringly slow pace, teasing the audience, before picking up the pace and belting it out.

They ended there, but came out for an encore, which included “Home,” “Halo,” and my all time favorite “Just Can’t Get Enough.”  I used that song as my ring tone for years.  My video of that is a bit bouncy, it’s hard to tape while you’re jumping up and down!  The entire arena was singing and dancing along.

Yes, that is my sister dah dah dah dah dah dah’ing along in the beginning.

The last two songs were a new one (“I Feel You”) and an old one (“Never Let Me Down”).  I’m so glad they mixed in the old with the new.  I wish our seats were a bit closer, but they weren’t bad, just right of center stage, no one in front of us.

An amazing show.

No, wait.  It sucked.  Big time.  We’ll just have to go see them again, to be sure they really are that bad.  ;)


August 29, 2013 ~ Diesel

I got up to 51.9 before hitting traffic after the bridge. Ended up at 48.7 for the whole trip. Sweet! #hypermileing

Sort of sick

Last week I had to go to the Jersey office.  No big deal, except I had a stupid early meeting.  So, up and out before the sun and the girls – and Stu – woke up.  Have to beat the traffic. That in itself is a big rough.  I had two travel mugs of strong coffee with me, though they hardly took the bleariness from my eyes.

Anyway, I made it through the meetings and presentations we were there for, and headed home mid-afternoon.  I wanted to beat rush hour and make it in time to pick up the girls.  I really wasn’t looking forward to not seeing them at all.  As I drove up 9W, following a truck who was keeping close to the 45 MPH speed limit, I noticed that my miles per gallon were in the high 40’s, 47 or so.


never have seen the mileage be that high.  Driving to work I can usually get 38 mpg, home is a bit higher at 42-44 mpg.  Longer road trips, with mostly highway driving, I’ll get 44-46, but usually drive a bit aggressively so the mileage usually hovers around 44 mpg.

But as I was getting on the Tappan Zee the mpg was around 48.  Yes!  I hit the Merritt around 49, then saw 50…  51.4…  up up.  I ended up getting to about 52.2 mpg before I hit traffic, and then slowly dropped, dropped dropped to end the trip somewhere around 43 mpg for the whole ride home.

And I was in time for the girls.  Sweet!

Yesterday, I had to be in Jersey again.  I was hoping to be able to beat that yesterday and either get high 40’s or even 50 mpg on the way down or home.  The trip in I got mid-40’s, so not too bad.  Maybe because I was focusing on it and trying to beat that mark in the sand.  The ride home was horrible.  I did get to 47ish mpg as I hit the Tap, but the traffic on the Merritt conspired to make the ride last over three hours, instead of the just-shy-of-two it should be.  I think I was able to eek 41 mpg even with averaging 30 mph for the entire drive.

One way or another, I love my car.  Interesting that diesel’s are becoming more and more popular.

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August 14, 2013 ~ The Bridge Goes Up!

Massive Yarn Bomb

This is totally amazing and oh, so cool.  I kinda wish I lived out there, so I could have helped too, or at least drive over and see!

Kudos to all that organized and participated in this incredible yarn bomb!

The Bridge Goes Up!.


March 1, 2013

Whaaa?Driving to day care yesterday, the girls each had a stress-ball shaped like a fish.  Stu asked Ashlin not to eat the fish.  Teagan chimed in “you have to cook it first.  And when you  cook it,  it becomes fish sticks.”  Fish becomes fish sticks like magic!  She then followed up “when you cook a chicken it becomes chicken noodle soup.”  Stu replied, “oh, I didn’t know that.”   Teagan immediately jumped in with “SO!!! If you want fish soup, you cook a fish with a chicken.”


She’s the new Julia Child!


January 12, 2013 (Really!)

I’ve just been nominated for The Very Inspiring Blogger award by Oh Sew Tempting!  So nice that she thinks I’m inspiring :)

Very Inspiring Blog Award

Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Add The Very Inspiring Blogger Award to your post.
3. Share 7 things about yourself.
4. Pass the award on to 10 nominees.
5. Include this set of rules.
6. Inform your nominees by posting a comment on their blog.

So, here we go!  Avis, thank you so much.  With all your crafty skill, that you find me inspiring, leaves me at a loss.  Thank you!

Seven things about myself?  Hum…  let’s see.

  1. I lied to my kids about when Three Kings day was.  We told them it was today :o
  2. I was in a jumpy castle and went down a giant slide today!  So.  Much.  Fun!
  3. I really love watching Glee, Walking Dead, American Horror Story and Once Upon A Time.
  4. I may be a bit too excited for the new Star Trek movie and the second Hobbit movie.
  5. I can’t wait to watch Brave with my daughter.
  6. I have too much yarn in the house…  and bought more today!
  7. I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read, blogs or books

My one problem is that I don’t get to read too many blogs.  There are a few that I subscribe to, that I don’t want to miss an entry for.  But not 10.  A few of the ones I do read are big, multi-contributor blogs, ones that probably don’t “need” to be nominated for an award.  Anyway, here they are:

Chicken Nuggets and  Elmo (she has a second blog – Clean. Green. Eat. Repeat)

This Mumma’s Life (she also has a second blog – This Mumma’s Style)


Mrs. Odie

And now, to Russian join some yarn to continue on my afghan :)



June 12, 2012

Lord of the Rings minifig poster (Photo credit: marvelousRoland)

Lord of the Rings Lego

OMG!  Why is Teagan too young to play with these?????


I wonder if I could get some now and hide them away until she’s old enough?  Or interested in more than just “her stories” by Disney?

The sets look fantastic.  Gollum (with his fish!) is too cool, the Uruk-hai are mean looking, and the Dark Riders are pretty scary.  And, ugh, you can get a Shelob set.

And they have a cave troll!

Great! They have a Cave Troll!