Sunday, December 28, 2008

My Cookie Tray Runneth Over ...

I am brain-dead after the holiday celebrations, so this led me to post pictures of cookies given by friends and cookies I baked because, as they say, "a picture is worth a thousand words!"

Pictured below is a family favorite. The recipe came from my mother-in-law. I always have to double the recipe because they disappear fast. :) I normally take out my cake decorating tools and outline the details of the cookie but I was a tad lazy this year, so I just spread the frosting on top and sprinkled colored sugar crystals on them. I also baked chocolate chunks and Snowball cookies.

Because we have so many cookies, I fixed a cookie tray for our Pastor today (Sunday); he said he doesn't mind a few day old cookies.... that they will be eaten nevertheless.

This tray was given by a good friend,(pastry tarts) it's filled with buko (young coconut), blueberry and walnut. Yum!

Pumpkin roll! ... given by another good friend, ummm, ummm, good, yummy! out of this world!

Yesterday my friend and I were hungry for "ensaimada" (sweet bun). Since we do not have a recipe we made our own version, like stuffing it with macapuno (sweet preserved young coconut.) Just after they were baked, we brushed the top with melted butter, sprinkled it with sugar and grated cheddar cheese. Pardon me, but I have to say, yummy again! lol
Now, I have to work hard to get back to my old figure, not that I had any to begin with by the way. :)

Hope your 2008 is great, and my home is wishing you all the best in 2009! Have a safe and healthy New Year my friends!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New York, here we come!

Last weekend, a couple of my friends and I took a well-deserved trip to New York City, the city that never sleeps, to do a little Christmas shopping and to see the fabulous Christmas displays. Since I have friends who are excited to see pictures, I posted more of them this time than usual. Photos can be enlarged.

NY skyline from New Jersey, taken from inside our tour bus on our way home. It was overcast, that is why the picture is as clear as mud! lol

Radio City Music Hall ...

The following photos were taken at Times Square, night life.

More Times Square photos ...

If you look closely, you'll notice "Lady Liberty"; but beware, if you have a picture taken with her, it will cost you $5.00! :)

This was taken from inside Columbia Circle. Those "stars" change color from blue, orange, yellow, white and red; magnifico!

Outside view of the Saks building, isn't it gorgeous? Those "snow flakes" are attached to the building.

The famous Christmas tree at Rockeffeler Center, taken at night... a little dark. I can't get closer because there were hundreds of people trying to have pictures taken. Those tiny lights that look like floating in the sky are Christmas lights wrapped around trees.

Brooks Atkinson Theatre presents, Grease!

This last picture is me (middle) and my friends in the lobby of our hotel while waiting for our tour bus on Sunday.

Our itinerary ...
Friday night, we went to a concert, courtesy of my friend's son who lives in NYC. Thank you very much, Brad! As always, you are always so gracious. The concert was presented by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center featuring Daniel Muller-Schott, who is an outstanding cellist and Angela Hewitt, an excellent pianist, both played beautiful masterpieces of gamba sonatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. It was enjoyable and relaxing moments...I closed my eyes and let the music took me to la-la land! :)

Saturday morning was a sightseeing tour, and when the bus stopped at Chinatown we elected to get off to shop as we like. As in the previous year, we ate at our favorite Chinese restaurant! yummy! Sometime in the afternoon and because we did a lot of walking, we treated ourselves to a foot and back massage ... ahhh, heaven, it was hard to get up! lol

Saturday night, we went to see a broadway show, Grease. One of the cast members is Ace Young (as Kenickie) who became popular because he was a finalist in 2006 singing competition, "American Idol." Ashley Spencer, who played Sandy, was also a popular finalist on the talent competition series "Grease: You're the One That I Want" on TV.

Sunday, check out time!

Hope you enjoyed looking at these photos as much as I had fun taking pictures and sharing them with you.

Wishing all of you the happiest, warmest, joyous and peaceful holiday! Merry CHRISTmas my blogosphere friends! Stay safe!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gift giving ...

Most of us love holiday traditions, but when it comes to gift giving, I believe that there's plenty of room for being innovative.

When our kids were little we chose what kind of gifts to give them, and of course we always chose something educational and at the same time fun for them. They were so easy to please then; I have these memories of them waking us up early on Christmas day so we could all go downstairs and be surprised at what Santa brought them for Christmas. I will never let go of the memories of seeing their faces light up, and the sound of their screams of delight!

However, as they grew older, their taste for gifts changed; they didn't seem to enjoy our choices anymore. So I thought it's time for mom and dad to be more creative, I started asking them for a wish list. It will still be a surprise because they do not know what they are getting but at least we know that whatever they will get, it will be something that they really like and not something that will go to waste. I have to smile at how innovative their wish list was. There were stars on each item ... you could tell what they really, really wanted by the number of stars marked on each item. To this day, I still have those earlier wish lists. Pictured below are a couple, dated 2003 and 2005. My son was only 12 and 14 years old then.

Now that they are 17 and 22 years old respectively, and with the availability of online shopping, we let them pick one gift for Christmas online so that one is no longer a surprise, in addition to a wish list. It's really sad to do it this way but I guess this generation is completely different from my generation; we have to flow with the changes life brings. We really don't have to, but I hate to waste a hard earned dollars for something that they don't like or need.

Now, I am interested to know how is gift giving done in your family?

I hope, my dear friends that you are able to join together with your families and friends to celebrate the ho ho ho season! Have a MERRY, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Four Seasons

My goodness me, is it winter already? I barely had time to take my dahlias out off the ground! We normally run the lawn mower all over our yard to mulch the fallen leaves before good old winter comes, but it always sneaks up on us. We've been having snow almost everyday; luckily the roads are still a little warm so that the snow melts as soon as it touches the ground.

I thought it was interesting to get four season pictures of my front yard. It would be a nice subject to paint. What do you think of these? Personally, I think that I should take a much better pictures suitable for painting ... lol

Winter wonderland ...

Early spring and a lonesome tulip ...

Early summer ...

Summer ...

Fall; pulling up the annuals before winter comes.

Sad looking Fall. I like and enjoy the temp and the fall foliage's rainbow of colors in the fall but after that it's all ... blah?

Hmmm ... my front yard really looks so bare in the fall and winter, maybe an evergreen shrubs might help, they provide color year round and bet they will look beautiful and attractive with Christmas lights. Why didn't I think of that before!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Leftover Paradise

Last Friday, I took off early from work to go with my friend, Josie to a furniture (Gunlocke Outlet) store remnant's sale. When we got there, the store had thousands of yards of furniture fabrics and quality built furniture. I picked 7 rolls of fabric and my friend picked six. When we checked out, we thought they would measure the fabric, as that what's normally done at fabric stores. Imagine our surprise when the lady at the check out just estimated the price and said, "How does seven dollars sound to you?"
After we loaded them in the car, we were tempted to go back and get some more because they were practically just giving them away, but then we asked each other, "What will we do with them?" (if desired, pictures can be enlarged by clicking)

After I got home I decided to unroll and fold them instead. They ranged from 3 to 13 yards each roll, not bad, huh? My friend said she might make tote bags out of them and give them away for Christmas ... not a bad idea.
I don't know what to do with mine yet ... you know me, when I see a good buy, I get them anyway hoping that I might have a use for them someday.

To complete the day, before going home, Josie decided to show me how to make pan-de-sal (Philippine dinner rolls). I have to admit, she really makes a mean pan-de-sal! I did not realize that she doubled the recipe, so I ended up taking home a big bowl of dinner rolls! They tasted so good while warm. My hubby ate about half a dozen as soon as I got home!
Here's a picture of the dough being shaped ... they needed to rise before baking.

A picture of the baked dinner rolls; because it's homemade they are a little bit bigger than the regular pan de sals. It was a very productive and satisfying afternoon indeed for me and my friend, Josie!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Veterans Day

On November 11, is a Veterans Day and I would like to give my THANKS to those veterans who have given so much to our country. We are enjoying our freedom because they made it free and keep it free. If you see a person wearing a military baseball cap/hat or wearing a military shirt, chances are, they are a veteran. I'd like to encourage you to please say "Thank You" to them to show your appreciation ... it is a very small price to pay for what all of us owe them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hi-school rockers hosted Hospeace House event

The Funk Uncle band that is made up of four high school classmates, Sawyer, Will, Alex and Bryan hosted a coffee house last night to benefit a local Hospeace House. It was a blast! Their music was enjoyed by all. All proceeds that were raised during the event benefit the Hospeace House, which is a NYS certified four-bedroom home for the terminally ill.

This group, who started playing together about a year and a half ago, plays a jazzy and funky sort of music. On this video is Sawyer, who plays slap-style bass, Bryan on rhythm guitar and vocals, Will, our son and the lead guitarist and Alex, who mans the drums.

Oh, I must tell you, our son also plays soccer (goalie) and on their homecoming day a couple of weeks ago, it was a sort of tradition for the boys varsity team to cut their hair Mohawk style! However, after a week or so, he asked me to cut it off, which we prefer anyway. But before I shaved it off, I said, "Wait, I'd like to take a picture first" which he graciously obliged! :)

... and here's the video, it's a little bit longer than my previous post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ladies & gents, it's a delight to introduce to you ...

... my daughter! She was listening to a certain kind of music this afternoon. I asked, "who is singing that?" and she says, "that's me 'ma!" I am aware that whenever she's off from college she goes to visit one of her buddies, Ryan; they both love music and, from what I understand, he has a recording studio and they've been recording their music. What I didn't know (parents are always the last to know) is that they established a site and published some of their creations. :)
And so, to make a long story short, she forwarded me their site and, being the proud mama that I am, I just have to share it with all of you. lol Just click here.
The name of their site is holloway.tapes. My favorite is, Heavy Hands. They've been playing an open mic at a pub and sometimes at a coffee house. Now, I understand that they are not really as good yet and would probably benefit from voice lessons but this is a good start, don't you think?

Howooo, I am Bugs Bunny and I approve this blog! :)

These pictures were taken when Ryan and our daughter attended a wedding of a mutual friend. I guess they both got bored so they entertained themselves by making faces for the camera.
Who makes the best bugs bunny?
NO, I am Bugs Bunny and I support this blog! :)

Howdy doody, pardner!

... and here they are! the holloway.tapes duo!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back by popular demand

We received quite a few emails showing interest in a longer video of our son's Funk Uncle band. We are flattered, so below is a longer video and hope you enjoy it. The soloist is Bryan, on bass guitar is Sawyer, drummer is Alex and the lead guitarist (one wearing a backward green baseball cap) is our son, William.

Just a recap - these are 15 and 16 year old boys trying to raise funds for their next Robotics project.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

An award for all of YOU!

Penny of Lavender Hill Studio is passing this award to her readers. I picked it up to pass it on to all of you, my dear readers but I would like to make a special mention to Mari, Nona, Vicki, Jean, Connie and last but definitely not the least, Marina.
I have made so many good friends since blogging and for this Thankful Thursday that Rhondi of Rose Colored Glasses is hosting, I am very thankful for having friends like YOU!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Funk Uncle

These pictures and a video is a sample of our son's performance during Naples Grape Festival; they played on Saturday and Sunday. These boys are only 15 & 16 years old. They had an open guitar case in front of them to raise funds for their Robotics team ... it was surprising to see how generous people were. The soloist is Bryan, lead guitarist is my son, on bass guitar is Sawyer and on drum is Alex. The guy playing the conga was having a good time listening at first then decided to join them. Oh yes, the name of their band is, Funk Uncle. :)

Funk Uncle

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Naples Grape Festival

What a busy weekend! Our town is known for it's grapes and so every year we have our Naples Grape Festival This year it was held on September 27-28. This is a big fundraising for our town and helps boost our economy. To take advantage of the big crowd, our church held a bake and yard sale. Boy, my house never smelled so delicious; I baked about 6 dozen blueberry muffins and about two dozen pumpkin muffins. Other members baked dozens of banana breads, cookies, waffle cookies and brownies. If so desired, all photos can be enlarged.

Our town is quaint, quiet and charming. I took pictures of some of the buildings to give you an idea what our little town looks like. Below is the only pharmacy we have. My husband's studio is on the second floor.

Our town is into arts big time! The picture below called Artizanns houses works of various artisans. It offers original and affordable creations like pottery, wood, paintings, glass, sculptures and so much more.

Business owners still take care of their own sidewalks; below is a guy sweeping in front of his office. I conversed with him a little bit, I said, "Getting ready for tomorrow's festival?" and he answered, "yes, for a little curb appeal" lol

All over downtown, you'll see electric poles decorated like this.

This is our church bake sale display. We offered free coffee to go with our goodies.

The vendor beside our display is selling these pitchforks and spades. Aren't they creative? I bought one for my garden ... specially since he gave me a $5 discount! Notice the fire hydrant... all of our fire hydrants are painted ... you guessed it, purple! lol

Pictures of some of the entertainment. There was also live music, in fact our son's band called Funk Uncle played in front of their school, raising funds for their Robotics team where he is a member.

View of the busy street. Our festival is always very well attended, bumper to bumper traffic. About two years ago, the Food TV Network filmed our festival and it was aired on TV several times.

The festival includes juried arts and crafts displays from artisans who live around our region. There were all kinds of jewelry ... glass, sculptures, inspirationals etc.

The lady creating these delicate egg shells is just amazing. Look at the delicate designs. She said it takes her about 6 hours to complete a regular size egg. She also has a brooch made of an ostrich egg shell. I was tempted to buy one but they are too much for my budget.

These paintings are very good! He uses mixed media, clay and acrylic to make his works look dimensional.

Kettle popcorn! Hmmm ... smells so good!

And of course, there is always the World's Greatest Grape Pie contest it was the highlight of our festival. One of these days, I will attempt to enter the grape pie contest. lol
There are a lot of grape pie stands on almost every corner of our town, but my favorite is Monica's Pies. My daughter's first job was at Monica's.
And so my dear friends, you have it! Have a grape day!