Friday, December 24, 2010


Nick and I actually did something for fun this past weekend.  Took a break from the holiday drudgery and took a nice ride out to Vidler's in East Aurora and actually went out to lunch.  So, who cares if all the Christmas stuff doesn't get done, it was so nice to have a nice leisurely afternoon.

But first we stopped at the Made in America store and who should be there but the big guy himself.  Pulled up in his red sleigh (also known as a pickup truck).  A couple of his reindeer were even there.

If you've never been to Vidler's, you don't know what you're missing. It's a quaint little 5 and 10 cent store located in beautiful downtown East Aurora where they sell all kinds of housewares, old fashioned toys and penny candy!

Nothing like flossing your teeth with bacon flavored dental floss!

I had a real pair of skates like these.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Second rule for making Christmas cookies ... Don't stick your head in the bowl.

Many years ago when my daughter was in kindergarten there was a school project around the holiday time that involved baking cookies and answering a few questions on a worksheet about what you learned.  One of the questions was name two rules for baking cookies.  My daughter wrote:
   1.  Wash your hands
   2.  Don't stick your head in the bowl

While cleaning a drawer in our basement, I came across this little gem.  It brought a big smile to my face.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trying out the camera

Been trying to get some cool Christmas pictures this year ... first year with the DSLR.  Here's my first effort.  I've got to get out and about and get some of Niagara Falls and downtown East Aurora.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

What is a crudite?

Look at the amazing appetizer table we had on our ethnic progressive dinner last week.  Almost too pretty to eat.  The dinner was delicious, the company was great and another one is planned for New Year's Day.

Linda's handiwork

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let the cookie baking begin ... and the best sugar cookie recipe ever!

I found this recipe for sugar cookies and made the first batch this morning.  Needless to say, another batch of dough is in the fridge for tomorrow.  These cookies were delicious and the blog I got them from has some other fabulous recipes!

Now, what other cookies should I make?  These are going to be hard to top!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Misadventures in shopping

It began innocently enough with my desire to change the light color on my Christmas tree this year.  Since my newest obsession is shades of purple, I thought I'd go with that.  I saw some purple lights at Target and plugged them in and compared them to the pink.  They definitely looked purple.  What better to go with the purple lights than some beautiful purple ribbon for a tree topper.  Made the big bows, put the purple lights on the trees and lo and behold, they didn't match at all.  Once those lights were on the tree, they looked pink and the ribbon looked terrible.

Searched high and low and found some purple LED strings at Target for $11.99 a string.  It killed me to spend that much, but I bought 4 strings and mixed them in on the tree.  They looked great.  The next day I see them in the Target ad for $9 a box.  Off I go with my receipt to get a price adjustment.  After the girl finally figured out to how adjust the price, instead of taking my $13 refund and going home, I thought what the heck ... might as well get some more lights while they are on sale.  I thought white would be nice.  So I pick myself up 4 boxes of white lights and decide to pick up something in the women's department.  Got what I wanted, hunted for my cart and get up to the line and discover all that is in the cart is the leggings I just picked out.  Back to the women's department and finally hunt down MY cart.  Get back in line (6 cashiers open out of 18!) and realize that I picked 2 different kind of white lights - 2 cool white, 2 warm white.  WTH?  Who would have thought that they would make the exact same lights in 2 different shades of white?  Screw it, I got them anyway.  I plan on telling Nick that I meant to get 2 different kinds!

I think the worst part, though, is they gave me a $5 off $50 coupon.  You know I'm going back, don't you?

Monday, November 22, 2010

An organized holiday

Every year during the hectic holiday season, I always say to myself ... "Self, next year you are going to have an organized and magical holiday season."  I clip out articles on how to have a stress free holiday.  I put notes on my Outlook calendar to remind me of things I might forget.  I say "next year I'm not going to make all these different cookies and just concentrate on a few favorites."  I have visions of sitting around the evenings before Christmas watching "Frosty" and "The Polar Express".  I think about what it will be like to drive around and look at the holiday lights, to finally see the lights in Delaware Park, to see Niagara Falls decorated for the holidays.

And every year I find myself knee deep in cooking ingredients, recipes everywhere.  Yards and yards of ribbon to change up the Christmas tree only to find that bows on Christmas trees are apparently out and no one bothered to tell me.

Here it is 3 days before Thanksgiving.  Nick is working so I'll be on my own to get everything prepared.  Pies have been ordered, food has been bought and I am still ripping out recipes from magazines for some glorious cranberry-orange relish, like as if anyone will eat that.  Why, oh why, can't I just be satisfied to slap a can of cranberry sauce in the banana boat dish reserved only for cranberry sauce and call it a day.

Yesterday I wanted to put up my little tree in the living room and spent all day looking for the box of lights and ornaments for it.  Do you think I could find them anywhere?  Nope, brought up boxes one by one filled with all kinds of decorations but the ones I was looking for.  So I thought, might as well put them up.  So, the inside of my house is pretty much decorated, but the bench we had to move from the front hall in the "Christmas tree shuffle" is still sitting in front of the door.  Oh, and I did find the ornaments and lights for my little tree - they were in a box marked material and chair cover pattern!

So, looks like once again I won't be going out on the biggest drinking night of the year (yeah, like that would happen anyway!) and I'll be home trying to get my house cleaned.

And if you happen to be coming to my house for Thanksgiving dinner, just ignore the fact that when you ring the doorbell that I will probably answer the door in my sweat suit with a dustrag thrown over my shoulder!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

My least favorite holiday tradition ...

The cleaning of the fridge in anticipation of Thanksgiving leftovers.  Seriously, what the hell was I thinking?  A container with about 3 tablespoons of leftover spaghetti sauce and enough different blocks of cheese to harden our arteries for the rest of our lives.  Not to mention the last of the apples from apple season that I really thought I was going to make something with!

But, it is all done and filled with Thanksgiving goodies.  I can hardly wait to eat leftovers on Friday while watching a 12 hour marathon of Law & Order (or some other similar show) while putting up the tree.  I swear it's going to be decorated differently this year!  Now, all I need is some good ideas.  So, here is some inspiration taken at Dave's Christmas Tree Shop this morning.  (taken with my crummy phone)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes!

Saw this recipe on and just had to try them.  Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes  I did cheat, because I just happened to get the cookie dough from the band fundraiser that very same day so I used that and I also had a can of whipped frosting which I used too.  So, basically, all I did was make the recipe for the cupcakes.  Still, they were fabulous!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What do you get your 91 year old Mother for her birthday?

She never wants anything, doesn't need anything. yells if you get her something.  But how do you not get your mother a birthday gift?  So, as keeper of the old family photos, I came upon the idea of framing a picture of her siblings and her Mother.  Sadly, there are no pictures of my Grandfather where you can actually see what he looked like, so this is the best I could do.  What do you think?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas card is done!

I am so far behind this year, think I crashed after all the reunion planning.  But, the card is finally finished and ordered.  I'm not sure if I am really crazy about it this year, but think I may have used up all my creativity for 2010!  There were way too many pictures of M&M to choose from, only a couple pictures of Nick and I, and there wasn't a single decent picture of Nick with M&M.  I always like to pick some out of the box pictures, so that's where the underwater came in.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Am I a total dork? (AKA - would you even consider this wallpaper border?)

My husband plans on finally re-doing the "rec" room in our basement.  (I know, I'm showing my age here!)  For the past 15 years it has been black on the bottom of the walls, white on the top with an animal print border going down the middle.

Well, when my darling daughter broke her ankle I noticed a beautiful color combination at the orthopedic surgeon's office.  A beautiful shade of turqoise with tan on the bottom of the walls..  So, in typical Ann fashion, I ran over to Lowe's and got myself a boatload of paint chips.  Imagine the look on my daughter's face when I pulled the whole fistful of paint chips out while she was getting her cast off and held them up against the wall there!  As I eliminatd them one by one, I decided on a beautiful shade of Valspar Paint called Turquoise Sea.  I'm still undecided on the tan.  Wasn't sure I could get Nick to jump on board until he took his father to the Neuroligist (sensing a theme here?) and saw a similar color combination and liked it.

My big question, however, is do I really want to put this wallpaper border up?  I absolutely love it and the room in the basement is just for fun.  So, I figure - what the heck? 

Is this one of the funnest things you ever saw?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vintage Hankies ... a project finally finished!

Nothing is better than shopping in Mom's attic.  I just love to go there and mooch around through all the stuff that is banished to storage never to see the light of day in her house again.  But the old adage goes, what is old is new again, and I will be glad to relieve her of some of that "junk". 

So, one of my first blog posts was a display of framed vintage hankies that I saw in a cottage at Crystal Beach.  I knew I had to duplicate them.  Well, thanks to some bargain frames from the Christmas Tree Shops, some vintage hankies from Mom's and a few from the antique store next to my hairdresser ... Voila!

Aren't they beautiful above my bed?  I starched them and got them all in the frames on Sunday and had them all laid out on my family room floor.  I cut newspaper out and taped the layout above my bed, but couldn't drag Nick away from the football games to hang them up.  But, low and behold, I came home from work yesterday and there they were in all their glory!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Can you say Toronto Bills?

WTH?  Thurman Thomas, Jim, Kelly, Andre Reed & Reuben Brown are all at the game in Toronto.  And they just showed Ralph Wilson at the game.  Think it is only a matter of time. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Buffalo ... where else would you rather be?

How's My Driving?

Don't you think this world would be a much better place if there was one of these stickers on the back of every car?  Of course, I might be afraid at how many times I get reported!  Although, think I might do worse with a How's My Parking sticker.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Guess I'm not as adaptable as I used to be.

Driving my husband's truck tonight (something I'm not used to doing), all I wanted to do was squirt the windshield while I was driving.  Well, I put my right turn signal on, flashed my high beams at someone and pressed the button to put it in towing mode!  Thought I was going to have to stop at a gas station to clean that windshield, but I finally figured it out.

Hard to believe I fix computers for a living but can't find the wipers button on the steering column. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

I was out to Will Poultry buying some chicken wings and blue cheese when it occured to me I was only around the corner from the Central Terminal.  Tonight there will be a live 6 hour special on TV from the program Ghost Hunters on the "haunted Central Terminal". 

It was a dreary day, perfect for some pictures so I took a spin over.  I was really surprised there was no one else there, although there was a police car posted on all sides which wouldn't let you go any closer.  I walked up as far as I could and got a few shots. 

Isn't it beautiful?  Think I may look into volunteering there as Buffalo makes it's first steps towards restoration.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random Acts of Cleaning

Also known as why my house never looks clean.

I start out in the living room.  Take down the globes from Mom's vintage chandelier to wash them.  To accomplish this I need to stand on a kitchen chair.  As I go to return the chair back to the kitchen I think to myself, those chairs really could use some cleaning.  So, I dig around underneath the kitchen sink for the furniture cleaner.  While doing so, I decide I have too many bags stuffed under the kitchen sink and I pull all the bags out, put a limited number back in and ditch the rest.  Use the furniture cleaner and clean the chairs.  Wow, they look so much better.

Well, back to the living room.  Clean off the table in there, dust all the picture frames, take the globes off the student lamp and take them into the kitchen and wash them.  Okay, I'm not going to get distracted again ... so back to the living room.  Really working my way around the room and realize there is a big stack of coupon sections from the last couple weeks paper.  Time to get rid of those, but first let's go through them and see if there are any coupons worth clipping.  Fifteen minutes later, I've managed to cut out $3 worth of coupons but did rid myself of the pile of papers.  The coupons will then make it to the lazy susan on the kitchen table where they will stay until they have expired ... never even making it into my purse.

Time to get the globes for the lamp, so I dry them off in the kitchen and realize my clean sink now has splatter marks and soap all over it, so after putting the globes back on the lamp I go back to the kitchen and clean the sink. 

So, I've got a clean sink, the kitchen chairs are clean and the globes are done from the living room.  When Nick comes home I'm going to have a hard time convincing him I didn't spend the day watching TV!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Fun To Stay at the YMCA ...

Can't think of a better way to start the day than turning on the car radio and hearing the sounds of the Village People.  Besides that, it is supposed to reach 70 degrees today and we are in Buffalo.  It's Octobber 27th and I haven't broken out the socks yet.  Even left the windows open at home, so I'm sure the cats have found a nice little perch in one of the open windows.

To add to the wonderfulness of the day, my brother had his last radiation treatment and my daughter gets the cast off her foot tomorrow morning.  Sure hope it has healed properly as someone is not too fond of using her crutches.  What were they thinking when they gave her a walking cast?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Another awesome pumpkin

My daughter and her friend carved pumpkins.  Here's the one she came home with.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It began innocently enough ...

While perusing my favorite message board I stumbled on a post titled "What should I bring to a potluck?"  While scanning the replies I came across a recipe for pumpkin bars.  What the heck, I have some canned pumpkin.  Why not try them?

So, I gathered up all my ingredients and had to dig a little deeper than I thought for a couple of them.  The next thing I know, the entire contents of my lazy susan cupboard are spread out on the floor and kitchen table.  That is when I realized, I'm a spice whore.  WTH?  3 containers of garlic powder (2 of them open).  Not to be outdone were the containers of black pepper, anything containing garlic, all their Italian seasoning cousins and not to let the baking supplies feel left out ... 3 containers of cinnamon, 3 packages of expired yeast  and enough sprinkles to decorate my Christmas cookies until I die. 

So, I weeded through all the duplicates and expired stuff and think I filled up half a kitchen trash can.    I really hope those pumpkin bars were worth it!

I love Halloween!

And I have passed that love on to my daughter.  Although I have tired of the pumpkin carving over the years, fortunately she has picked up where we have left off.  Here's this year's effort. (so far)

I'm sure there will be many more, but won't let her carve any more till it gets closer to Halloween.  So, we will probably be off to get some more pumpkins this afternnoon and hopefully get some foliage pictures while there is still foliage left.  I have really been slacking this year.  Although I did manage to get these cool shots last night while Nick was outside grilling.  Isn't that sky gorgeous?  And the rainbow was just the icing on the cake!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is there any job more boring?

Than folding laundry.  This job has to be tops on my least favorite job list.  (although emptying the dishwasher is a close second!)  Heck, I'll even leave some of the clothes in the dryer to take a ride with the next load just so I don't have to fold them.  But chances are, some of them are mateless socks anyway which just end up in a basket in the laundry room forever until one day in a purging frenzy the whole lot of them just gets tossed in the garbage.  Where do the mates of those socks go anyway?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I am the Queen of unfinished projects

When I go into our spare bedroom, they mock me as I try to find something.  That half finished wine cork wreath, vintage handkerchiefs waiting to be framed, stacks of material and scrapbook paper.

Why do I do it?  Why can't I be likeNick and finish one project before moving on to the next one?  I like to think that's how creative people are.

Here's why ... Is there anything more inspiring than rows of cotton material waiting to be made into a quilt or new curtains for our bedroom?  Thought about that one as I was laying in bed this morning trying to ignore the cat who was pawing at me to get up.

Or a pattern waiting to be made into a Halloween Costume?  (Or in my case, a disco dress - think next High School reunion! - what the hell, I'm planning it.)

So, I decided to do something.  Got out the starch and the vintage hankies and ironed and starched and ironed and starched some more, and this is the best I could do.  No wonder the woman in Crystal Beach had someone frame them for her.  Oh well, they'll look cute hanging over our bed.  Still have 4 more to go!  Aren't the ones with the purple in them beautiful?  Finally bought something at Miss Josie's Antiques after longingly looking through their windows every time I get my hair cut.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Another week flew by.  M&M got a lecture at the orthopedic surgeon about using her crutches.  Fortunately, the x-ray showed the fracture in her fibula healing properly.  Think the whole cast thing is more of an inconvenience for me than anyone.  The arguing about using crutches, the driving back and forth to school and the trips downtown to the orthopedic surgeon.  Plus the uncontrollable urge to say I told you so for joining the gymnastics team.

Birthday lunch at the office today for Dave and one of the freeloaders reached into the pizza box one too many times.  This time I slammed the box top on his hand and told him perhaps the people who paid for the lunch might like a chance to eat first.  Perhaps even the birthday boy.  If this doesn't work, I swear the ex-law brownies are coming out!

Took Monday off since there is no school and I feel like the world's worst mother making my poor kid stay home alone whenever there is a school holiday.  Might be a good opportunity to make some cut-out cookies after we have o-d-ed on apple muffins, apple crisp and apple bread.  Why, oh why, did I have to buy that half a bushel of apples?

Hoping we may get out this weekend to get some foliage pictures.  Don't want to venture out near the stadium on Sunday, although doubt there will be that much traffic as it is the first time in 4 years that a home game has not sold out.

Off to the cottage tomorrow morning to get the last of the patio furniture put away for the winter and the grass cut one last time.   And then MORE hockey tomorrow night.  I game down, 81 to go.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What a great block party!

It was the worst weather we had in 4 years and the best turnout!  At least 5 new families with some great food additions.  Barbecued wings from our new neighbor across the street that would put LaNova's wings to shame.  We need to invite Leon to some more neighborhood events.  All in all, it was great food and great friends.

The fire company brought a truck and the kids scrambled up onto it.  Kim had a bike decorating contest for all the little ones and there was a contest where the kids tried to wrap each other in toilet paper. 

The evening ended with a fire in the driveway and lots of leftover food to eat while watching the Bills get their asses kicked the next day.