Category Archives: Travel

what i’ve been doing instead of blogging


Hello, friends! It’s been a while. Did you miss me? 😉 Sometimes it’s nice to take a little bit of a break from the online world and with just a few exceptions (checking e-mail and the occasional post on Facebook), that’s what I did this last week. Instead of finding myself glued to the computer, here’s what I’ve been up to:


1. I spent nearly 24 hours in a car (total) with three kids and a husband, driving through torrential downpours on the way home, realizing that Virginia is one boring state to drive through (speaking only of the highways), and learning that the kids handle long car rides better than I do. I also learned that Raleigh is a cute little city! I think I expected it to be bigger, but it was pretty easy to get around (which was very nice).

2. I saw some cool dinosaur bones and great exhibits at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and laughed hysterically at the “Terror of the South” banner on the the Acrocanthosaurus exhibit. I want a t-shirt that says “Terror of the South” (or maybe a pint-sized one for Lulu!)

3. I went swimming. A lot. And got sunburned. A lot. (My pale Polish skin is just not meant for that kind of exposure.)

4. I got up close and personal with some butterflies.

5. And some adorable little lizards.

6. I ate more than my fair share of Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and enjoyed every single bite.

7. I showed my kids how ridiculously uncoordinated I am at the Marbles Kids Museum.

8. I learned how to make eggplant parm that is so good that even I devoured it. My brother-in-law’s girlfriend (who is very Italian) gave me all her secrets!

9. I ate ice cream every single night.

10. I spent a lot of down time relaxing with my husband, kids, and other family members.

Visiting my brother-in-law in N. Carolina was such a fun time! We got home late last night and I feel totally refreshed and ready to take on the world. (Well, maybe after I get a little more sleep.) I’ll have a few more posts on some of the highlights of our trip, but those will have to wait a day or two.  After a “no rules” kind of vacation, I find myself craving routine, so I need to get back into the swing of things. But it sure was nice to get away.

honey, i’m home!

niagara falls, ontario

Did you miss me? LOL… I’m sure you didn’t even realize I was gone! We were in Canada for a few days while the boys are on spring break. After Albany ComicCon on Sunday (post about that forthcoming), we continued north to Niagara Falls. The boys had no idea and didn’t even guess that something was up until we were around Rochester! It was great. Well, maybe driving through blizzard conditions in Buffalo wasn’t so great, but otherwise we had a fabulous time.

This is the second time D. & I have been up there. The first time we went alone for Valentine’s Day when I was pregnant with Noah. Interestingly enough, the weather wasn’t too different! It was gray and windy and cold, and it even snowed a bit, and yes, the river was still frozen but I didn’t mind at all. It is just so beautiful and majestic. I don’t think there is a bad time to visit! I thought I’d share some photos with you.

This was the view from our hotel the first night. Every night, starting at 9 p.m., they light the falls up and it is really neat. The boys didn’t want to go to sleep; they kept getting out of bed to check what color the water was.
niagara falls, ontario

Maid of the Mist was not running because the river was still frozen (I was a little bummed about that — hopefully someday I’ll get to go!), so we went “Behind the Falls” instead. They said that these portals were still frozen solid until just days before we got there. The wind was insane!

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

After spending the morning by the falls, we headed up to the Clifton Hill area to have some fun. With our hotel package came a free game of mini golf at Dave & Busters, as well as $20 worth of games, so the boys had a blast playing. We had lunch at Boston Pizza and as you can see in the photo, it was snowing pretty hard! We also went on the Sky Wheel, which is easily the biggest ferris wheel I’ve ever been on. It was pricey, but the views were stunning and we all really enjoyed it.

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

niagara falls, ontario

It’s also nice to have a child old enough to trust with my camera (provided he wears the strap around his neck). This means that I actually get a picture of me and the hubs!

niagara falls, ontario

For us, it’s an easy trip and the drive isn’t too long (about 6 hours). I’m already looking forward to going back in a few years.

looks like a vacation-less summer

And honestly, that’s OK with me. August is winding down, and since my brother-in-law got a new job, we won’t be going to NC this summer. Of course, he said we’re welcome to go down to his place, but I feel weird going without him, you know? When he was looking for a job, we wondered if he’d expand the search from NY/NJ down to North Carolina and were trying to find out what the health plans are down there. I know that Blue Advantage is one of them. In the end it didn’t matter because he was finally hired by a company in the city. I’m sure he was quite relieved! So maybe we’ll be able to go down at some point next year. Something to look forward to 🙂


After hearing my parents and my brother talk about Iggy’s down in Narragansett, RI, I finally got to experience it for myself this week! Oh boy, do they hook you up with some good eats. Good think I’m not concerned about my weight at the moment or xyphedrine side effects — no, no diet pills here. Especially not when you’re heading down to the ocean for some deep-fried deliciousness! My brother likes to get the Iggy Burger, a special with fried onions and peppers. I decided to get fish and chips, since that’s something I don’t have very often. Look at the size! This was quite the lunch:

iggy's narragansett

My dad got clam strips, which were amazing:

iggy's narragansett

You can see a little bit of the clam chowder he ordered, but I didn’t take a picture of the clam cakes. The chowder was to die for. Laura could not get enough of it. The clam cakes were really good too, but they were more like fritters — doughy and soft. I imagined they’d be more like a crab cake and that was not the case.

We got there shortly after they opened. Our order was 21. Shortly after we dived into our lunch, they were already calling for order 46! Yes, this place is hopping, and apparently the line often stretches down the street. I’d love to go back, but definitely during the off-season, or first thing when they open again. The food was really yummy, but I’m not sure I’d wait in a long line for it, LOL!

Carolina on My Mind

Our trip to Raleigh last week was such fun! My brother-in-law and his girlfriend J. recently bought a home down there and we drove down so that Drew could help him set some things up. J.’s parents will use it as a winter home and other family members can enjoy it as well.

I’d been to Florida (Miami and Orlando) and Washington, D.C. (for a tradeshow) before, as well as Baltimore (also for a tradeshow), but I can’t say that I ever really got a feel for the south, so I was looking forward to this trip. I was not, however, looking forward to the extremely long drive down there. I can take three hours in a car, max, so this was a real challenge for me. But I managed 😉 We saw plenty of broken down cars, and plenty of RVs, including one that seemed like it was having some major issues. I wonder if there are special trucks for rv towing? There has to be, I guess.

Although we didn’t do too much exploring this time, I did get to finally go to a Chick-Fil-A. I’ve heard about this fast-food restaurant from bloggers living in the south and the midwest. I have to say… it was really good! The chicken sandwich was so much better than McDonald’s or Burger King, and the peach shake I had was so yummy. I also liked that the toys in the kids’ meals were actually activity books — not something associated with a movie or TV show. That was refreshing.

We spent time swimming, hanging out at the playground, and visiting with a family friend who lives in the same housing development. And what’s a vacation without a trip to urgent care? Jake was roughousing with our friend’s son and he got headbutted in the eybrow. Boys will be boys, right? Luckily, it didn’t require stitches, just some superglue. He made out with late-night McD’s and a set of three new Bakugan toys, so he felt better really fast.

We also had breakfast at the State Farmer’s Market. Drew was in biscuit and molasses heaven! My omelet was really good, too. The omelet itself was cooked paper-thin so I really got to enjoy the filling. Next time I’ll remember the stroller when we go so that we can check out the booths. I had no idea how huge it would be.

All in all the trip was quite fun. Everyone down there is so nice. It was a bit like culture-shock for me, LOL! Looking forward to going back down later this year 🙂

Back Home!

It’s always difficult to get back into the swing of things after a great vacation, isn’t it? We had so much fun at Woodloch (as usual!). This time we really packed it all in: Family Olympics, lots of snow tubing (including a couple contests), seeing several shows (including one in which I was picked to stand on a guy who laid down on a bed of nails!), doing lots of kids’ crafts and playing lots of games, and just generally having a lot of fun. Today I need to catch up on laundry. At least the grocery shopping is out of the way. I dragged myself to the store shortly after we got home yesterday afternoon. So I’ll just leave you with some photos from our trip to the Poconos. Happy Saturday!

daddy, jake & noah doing crafts

drew & noah snowtubing

jake & noah

after the snowtube contest

our team for the family olympics

noah & jake with spongebob

saying "goodbye" to woodloch

West Point

west point

Last winter my parents got a new snowblower and graciously gave us their old one, which is much more powerful than the one we had and much better suited for our driveway. As a way to thank them, we had arranged to take them on an overnight to the Thayer Hotel and to visit the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. It might seem like a strange place to visit, but Drew and I had gone before (nearly two years ago), and it really is a great place to go. It’s absolutely beautiful, and as you can imagine it has a rich history as well. And my dad was in the Army in the early 70s (he was drafted), so he was really looking forward to going.

My parents got here early on Sunday morning and we put their luggage in our car and left soon after Drew’s mom and aunt arrived (they stayed over and watched the boys). We headed to the Thayer for their amazing brunch. We sat out on the terrace overlooking the Hudson River and enjoyed the beautiful weather while eating way too much 😉 After that we drove over to the Woodbury Common outlets and walked around a bit before going back to the hotel for dinner. The next morning we took a one-hour tour of West Point, which was very interesting. If you have the chance, I would say go for it because you learn a lot of really interesting facts about the school and former cadets. I think my parents really enjoyed themselves — they deserved some time off!

Lake George!

OK, we’re just going to have to do this without photos because I have not had time to sift through the 200+ images I have. Sorry! At any rate, our short trip to Lake George was great! This time we decided to stay someplace other than the family-run motel we’ve stayed at the past four years. We stayed at a great Comfort Suites hotel (there are no Laughlin Hotels out this way). The hotel is just a year old and was totally worth the extra little bit of money. There was a great continental breakfast each morning that had warm foods in addition to the expected cereals, yogurt, muffins, etc. There was a really nice indoor pool that the boys enjoyed, and a very nice playset for the kids as well. The rooms were clean and comfortable enough. I rarely sleep well in hotels because the beds are often quite soft, which I don’t really like.

This year we took the boys to Magic Forest. They had SO much fun! We were there from about 9:30-3:30 and the boys probably would have stayed longer! I guess some of it is a bit dated, but everything was in good condition and well-maintained. We saw the diving horse show which was… interesting. I can honestly say that the horse did indeed jump of its own accord. There was no risky business that either Drew or I could discern. But still it was a little… odd, I guess.

That night we ate at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery which was *awesome*! I had a blue cheese burger and it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Drew and I each got a sampler and tried six of their microbrews. We brought home two growlers — one of their seasonal beer (California Steam) and one of their Snow Trout Stout which was soooo delicious. In fact, we’re thinking of going back up for a day closer to Septemeber and just doing these two things again. It’s only a two hour drive, so it’s totally do-able.

We also took a boat ride around the lake on the Minne-ha-ha, which was a lot of fun. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for quite some time but obviously you don’t want to be chasing little ones around on a boat. Finally my guys are of the ages where you can do this kind of stuff. The cruise was relaxing (we went on the first one at 10 AM – I’d recommend that one because it wasn’t too crowded) and it was interesting learning more about Lake George’s history, as well as seeing some absolutely gorgeous homes!

It was just a quick trip, but sometimes short getaways are enough. Still, it was hard to get back into the swing of things when we got back. Oh, vacation… if only it didn’t have to end!

CSA Distribution #7

CSA Share - Week 7

An absolutely gorgeous share this week from Sisters Hill Farm! The colors just scream out “Summer!” don’t they? Of course this week’s share also includes my nemesis: beets. I really want to find a way to enjoy them because they are soooo good for you. I have a recipe from Great Food Fast for a carrot-beet slaw. I think I might try that. The kohlrabi slaw was amazing! Drew thought it was okay, but I thought it was delicious. I still have last week’s kohlrabi so I will be using that for some slaw again. This whole being sick thing has really messed with my cooking. I’ve been doing a bit here and there, but nothing that ambitious. At any rate, here is a rundown of our distribution:

1 head of cabbage
1 head of escarole
2 heads of lettuce
2 small zucchini
1 large bunch of scallions
1 bunch of carrots
1 bunch of beets
20 flower stems (not pictured)

I’m so thankful that Farmer Dave agreed to let us switch our pickup dates next week! We pick up on Tuesday evenings, but next week we’re going to be in Lake George on Tuesday, so I asked if we could pick up on Saturday and he was happy to help out. I am not one to go around switching things like that, and I would have totally understood if they couldn’t do it. So yes, we’ll be having a short vacation in Lake George again this year. Several months ago we thought we might drive up to Quebec this summer but with gas around $4.25 a gallon, it is cost-prohibitive to say the least! So we’ll just stick close to home as usual and that’s cool. This year we are hoping to do one of the steamboat cruises around the lake. I think the boys will enjoy that! Perhaps someday we’ll go someplace different (maybe check out some Hilton Head rentals or something), but this summer, the old LG will be great!

Pass the Poutine

So last Saturday we finally got passports for the boys. We don’t have anything planned, but there was a local “passport event” and since both parents need to be present for a minor’s passport, it worked out well for us and we decided to just get them and not worry about it for a while. So, since we’ll have them in six weeks or so, we’re contemplating going up to Quebec this summer. Maybe. Lord knows how much gas will cost at that point, and it might not be feasible, but we’re throwing the idea around. I’ve never been to Quebec, and Drew hasn’t been in years (that’s where his grandmother was from). If we do go, I will need to look around for some extra luggage because when we went on vacation in February I discovered that what we have is not enough for the four of us. I’m not sure I’m up for the drive, but… I’ll keep my eye on the prize, as they say. And that prize, of course, would be a big old bowl of poutine, made the correct way!