Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Always Room for One More

Less than two weeks ago, our youngest daughter had her fourth baby, a little boy.

Now they are a family of six with three little men
and a darling sister.
Deciding where to set up the nursery for baby boy was a challenge. Ideally, this little guy could have roomed with one of his brothers. However, considering space and sleep patterns of the two older boys, it was decided that he would join his sister--at least until the middle son is falling asleep more easily.

Actually, it works out quite well. There is plenty of room, and by adding blue crib bumpers and mobile, the room was gender-neutralized a bit.
The most pressing quandary was where to put all the baby clothes. The walk-in closet was divided: male on one side,
female on the other.
I had forgotten how many wardrobe changes a child needs until they are two years old. The seasons change, and they outgrow sizes every three months!

Baby blankets, sheets, and sleepers replaced his sister's folded clothes.
To hold her displaced clothing, we purchased a cute antique-looking dresser from a used furniture store. Unfortunately, it was painted green. So, I spent a hot Saturday in over 100 degree weather painting it a high gloss white. While I was at it, I also repainted a bookcase and a toy box. (What a mother won't do for a daughter who was nine months pregnant. Oh, to-be-honest, what a mother won't do for any of her children at any age and in any condition.)

Looking ahead, when baby boy is old enough to protest a pink rug and Roman shade, he can join one of his brothers.
For now, the baby beds look at home together. I like the solution. After all, what would you choose: your own room or having a sibling? It's a no-brainer; I think we'd all take the forever-friend.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Hotel on Lake George

Leaving Canada's Quebec City,

we drove south about three hours to our country's northern border and proceeded on another few hours

to our second destination, the premier hotel on Lake George: The Sagamore.
This lovely historic hotel was purchased a few years back by a hotelier who invested millions in bringing it back to its former glory. Now it is one of the Opal Collection's crown jewels. No detail has been overlooked--from decor to flowers.
Easterners splurge on a get-away to this cool spot in the heat of the summer. This August it was uncommonly cool, even for the mountain lake. We dined alfresco, but under heaters and wearing sweaters.

On sunny days, there are many activities to choose from: hiking,

swimming indoors or outdoors in lovely pools, or water-skiing.
For the truly brave-at-heart, there is parasailing.

For the more sane, a cruise takes passengers to see the inlets of pristine Lake George.

We watched families play croquet on the front lawn

and golfers tee off from the manicured green beside the clubhouse.

Each of the hotel's several restaurants is superb, especially when dining with someone you love.

We saved our vacation until the end of the summer, so we could savor the anticipation. I must say, the days away in August were like a rich dessert at the end of a five-star meal.

Monday, August 18, 2014


About three hours north of the US/Canadian border is the most European city this side of the Atlantic: Ville de Quebec. Last week, my husband and I paid a three-day visit to mini-'Pair-ee".

Window boxes overflowing with blossoms

and sidewalk cafes brimming with patrons remind visitors of the city's European cousin.

It's no wonder the city is reminiscent of the old country. Sitting above the St. Lawrence River,

the Chateau Frontenac dominates the horizon.
When you drive into the hotel's courtyard, the bellmen greet you in Quebecois, the Canadian version of French.
With your valise deposited in your room, a walking tour of the hilly city reminds you of the city's European roots. Perhaps it is the tin mosaic roofs between parapet gables...
or the cobbled streets that transport visitors' minds across the Atlantic.

The Old fortified city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Doubtless the new world immigrants brought their love of flowers from the old country.

Canada's history was dominated first by French fur traders,


then by English soldiers.

The result is Canada's version of peaceful coexistence.

Maybe the French nuns taught the children to love their neighbors as themselves,

or maybe it was their Anglican counterparts who reinforced the Lord's love.

Today, conversations in Quebec City flow between French and English without rancor. However, I must hasten to add, their palates have never left Paris.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last-Minute Dinner & a Movie

I am often a last-minute-Charlie, especially when it comes to entertaining. About Thursday, I think, "Oh, I ought to have some friends over to make the weekend special." It seems most people don't wait so long to make plans, because invariably many opt to "take a rain check". This past weekend was no exception, but thankfully, some of our best friends were available to join us for dinner and a movie.

A Saturday trip to Costco was a life-saver.  As I tasted my way through the aisles, I got menu ideas and scored on a bunch of green spider chrysanthemums.

For an appetizer, I purchased some tasty crackers with a clever brand-name "Food Should Taste Good".  The nutty-a wee-bit-sweet crackers were tasty paired with garlic-flavored humus.

As the foundation of my main course, I chose some pre-rubbed St. Louis spare-ribs. Subsequently, I read on-line that folks have found the Costco pre-rubbed ribs to be too salty. Thankfully, we didn't find them that way. The men especially enjoyed them!

I added Brussel sprouts and fresh corn to the main course. My friend brought a delicious Caesar salad.

As always, the corn was the hit of the night. Lancaster has the best corn in the country, bar none! With cause, our county is dubbed "garden spot of the world". Just up the road from us, a winsome Amish family have a vegetable stand. Their fresh-picked corn is the best of the best. My husband chose several white ears and several bi-colored ears. He also shucked it for me and cut it off the cob! (BTW, Lancaster County cooks swear by the steam-for-three-minute rule. Any less cooking time, the corn isn't hot; any more, the corn is mushy.) 

 I used rolls that I had sampled at Costco. After slicing the rolls and spreading them with butter, we zapped them for less than a minute in the micro-wave. They were perfect.

The grand-finale was some yummy sorbet, also from Costco. The box of Island Way Sorbet contains twelve servings, three of coconut, pineapple, pomegranate and mango flavors.

What I love best is the presentation. You have to agree that coconut sorbet is more tasty served out of a coconut shell...

pineapple sorbet scooped into a tiny pineapple.
The same goes for pomegranate sorbet in a lemon rind...
 and mango sorbet served in the skin of an orange.

 What a simple dessert, light and tasty paired with some delectable fresh sugar cookies available at the corner Amish stand.

To top off the night, we headed to the local movie theatre and caught the spy thriller: A Most Wanted Man. The John Le Carre story is suspenseful and baffling.
This last movie starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman verified the accolades heaped on him after his untimely death. I'd recommend seeing the movie, just to enjoy his disheveled, shuffling personification of a covert German spy.
Vanity Fair photo of Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man

My only word of caution for you: If you decide to repeat my evening, don't wait until the last minute to invite your friends and get tickets. They both might be unavailable.