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Category Archives: Fall

Hello Again Olean

     It seems more and more that grandparents play essential roles in the lives of their grandchildren. Kids need the stability, calmness and a place to escape from the pressures of the busyness of this world. Even in the 1960’s and 1970’s when our family would drive to Olean to visit my mother’s parents there was a special box of paper dolls and farm animals neatly stored for me to play with. They were kept there for me to play with at their house only. I was forbidden to take them home. Crazy how much in turn I valued them.

I remember my grandpa telling me that the Jolly Green Giant lived in the Enchanted Mountains of Olean and I still remember with such sweetness eating dinner at 3pm at carefully prepared table with delicious homemade food mostly from their victory garden.


  It has been too long since I have visited Olean to pay respect and pray for them. I went back last week and made a little movie about it.

  You should visit Olean, see the squirrels, be inspired by the beauty of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and eat at the Union Tea Cafe. You’ll enjoy it.

  All so lovely. Keep looking up.



When Pumpkin Meets Banana


Beware. Pinterest is especially tempting and captivating with fall decor and recipes. Riveting. One monster snack, caramel apple pops, and pumpkin recipe at a time.


Caroline’s close friend Sara came over to help make a batch.

     While, most of us are copying ideas, I have a daughter who has invented a pumpkin meets banana chocolate chip bread. Yeah Caroline!! No copy cat for her. Ok, a mix is involved. But she devised a Pinterest worthy bread that will knock your socks off. And the dear readers to poodlewalker get the first dibs. Like all good inventions, it kind of happened by accident. Caroline was looking for a pumpkin bread mix but only found a banana bread mix. She added a can of organic pumpkin and added chocolate chips with cinnamon and nutmeg. Whoa, is it good.



Here’s the recipe.

1.   15 oz box of Trader Joe’s Banana Bread Mix

2.    1/4 cup vegetable oil

3.    2 eggs

4.    3/4 Cup Water

5.   1 Can Organic Pumpkin from Trader Joe’s

6.   Eyeballed amount of fall spices (About two Teaspoons Cinnamon and 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg)

7.   1/2 Bag or Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips


Essentially, you mix everything in a bowl and then put it in a lightly greased pan, and it sure makes for a real easy clean up! Now, you’ll need to cook it for a little longer than the box calls for, because of the extra, dare I say…moisture, in the bread mixture. Time in the oven depends on the size of the container, so we usually stick with the tooth pick technique! Excellent in a muffin container, a mini bread pan, or as an entire loaf. This fall treat goes well with Apple Cider, Coffee, Milk, and most definitely hot chocolate.


Who would have thought, banana and pumpkin. The end of one season and the beginning of another. Maybe the lesson we can learn is one so simple, most overlook it. That two unlikely things can complement one another and make a pair no one thought of. It goes without saying that we can translate this lesson into life. Maybe it is at work, when someone brings a new idea to the table, accept that idea and build on it to make a combination no one has thought of. Maybe it is an old shirt you found in your closet and want to try out with a new skirt, try it, it expresses your personality. And maybe it is a new friend, one who is different than others, not in your typical social group. As we can learn from the case of pumpkin and banana, that doesn’t mean that a great friendship cannot be formed. Because in the end, human connection, appreciation, and love is all anyone strives for, and it sure tastes good.


Little Things Mean A Lot

Let the streak continue. He is on week 4 of making a batch of chili to pass out to busy family members.

Let the streak continue. He is on week 4 of making a batch of chili to pass out to busy family members.

You may remember how Evan likes to make his own peanut butter. That’s not it.  A few weeks back, Evan decided to make chili for Sunday night gatherings. He chops and dices and opens cans and gets it all simmering in the crock pots and then races off to mass. He gets 3 crock pots going! Quite frankly, he is starting to make me feel like a slug. But, I’ll make it. I’ll give him credit.  He makes a triple batch with a mixture of ground round, ground turkey, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, celery, bell peppers, some spices and a little corn starch, honey and sugar. I was a little shocked too about the corn starch, honey and sugar. He claims just a tad to thicken and to take away the acid. Who cares? Little things matter. It warms us up on the inside and he gives out an extra batch for the next day. It’s not spicy. It’s not fancy. It’s not vegan. It’s not white bean and chicken. It’s not going to entered into a chili cook off. Please no. It’s delicious. But it’s not gonna be featured in Gourmet Magazine. It’s a act of love and one that we cherish. Keep it up Evan. Keep it up! We got December, January, February, March……Stay tuned.



One year anniversary for Evan Jr. who works diligently  to gain clients.

First annual appreciation night for Evan Jr. who works diligently to gain clients.

Thanksgiving baskets wrapped in a cloth tablecloth.

Thanksgiving baskets wrapped in a cloth tablecloth.

This basket includes a prayer.

This basket includes a prayer.

Aww Thanksgiving. The gratitude that fills your heart. I hope that this will not be a mushy post; but I may not be able to help it. This week, we watched our son entertain his first clients. Watching him work so industriously and try so hard filled us with pride. At work , I was stunned by the generosity of co-workers. The baskets that were delivered today were unique and brimming with joy. They all included turkeys, vegetables, pies, cranberry sauce, dressing, rolls and gravy. But some baskets were topped with pans to cook your turkeys, some with fresh flowers, some with prayers, others with turkey salt and pepper shakers and others wrapped with table clothes. Fifty seven baskets were collected each assembled with love and creativity. It was a huge emotional life to witness the giving spirit. We are not alone. We are each others brothers and sisters. Watching the volunteers take each basket to deliver to a family in need displayed the human spirit at it’s best. Thank you to you Lord for the gift of life, for having another Thanksgiving to share with my mom and dad. You know, every year just gets a little more sweeter. Amen.




Sweet November. Day Light Savings makes waking up a little easier.

Good Morning! It’s the start of daylight savings and it’s time to take advantage of the morning light. There is nothing more satisfying in the morning then a walk with my husband and our dogs. Of course I asked him what was the best part of the morning was and he said ” kissing the dogs and the automatic timer on the coffee pot.” But, to see the sunrise, to see our dogs run off leash with no one around, to take in the beauty and promise of each new day, to have a loyal partner in life is an immeasurable pleasure. Have you been waking up a little earlier thinking–wow, I didn’t need an alarm clock? It’s nature telling you to take advantage of the morning light. I know I am at a position in my life where the kids are older, that I have a built in walking partner who walks ten paces in front of me, and dogs that virtually do back flips when we say the word “park”. But even if you are not in the position to leave the house you can always show your family your love by your actions. If you wake up a little earlier, a little housework goes a long way. If I were a contestant on the “Family Feud” and was asked “the top 5 answers to the question; name the best things in life that are free” I would say – being alive, finding true compatibility with your spouse, the ability to walk and breathe, and the beauty of nature. An early morning walk is blessing for the whole day. Cheers.

The promise of a new day.

The promise of a new day.



Sold Out!

M&M's Pumpkin SpiceFor a special treat this year, the Mars company teamed up with Target to be the only retailer of seasonal M&M’s in pumpkin spice. It’s hard to be exact in retail but the Mar’s company certainly did not expect these tasty pumpkin spice candies to sell out like they did. They are on to something. Sold Out at all Target stores near and far. From Massachusetts to Virginia. I checked the Target web site and it said that they are available at the North Buffalo Target store on Delaware Avenue. False information dear readers. They have been out for over 2 weeks. (update your web). Now they do have (and it’s not a Target exclusive) the M&M’s in candy corn white chocolate. But, I say why bother? Who likes white chocolate? That’s blood curdling! Now, it’s hard to keep track of all the flavors of M&M’s. It all started with plain and then peanut. But now we can choose peanut butter, pretzel, raspberry, dark chocolate, dark chocolate peanut, coconut and almond. Let’s not forget personalized M&M’s, seasonal colored M&M’s and sweet and salty snack mix. From the looks of it, pumpkin spice may be the next to permanently join the rotation in the Fall months. What is it about pumpkin spice that has America going insane over?  I’ll tell you right now. We love a little flavor to enliven the senses for a limited time. So pass the pumpkin latte, with the pumpkin spice jello, pumpkin spice marshmallows, pumpkin spice pringles, pumpkin spice bagel with pumpkin spice cream cheese. Oh just pass the pumpkin pie. Ahhhhhhh! It’s getting scary out there!