head start

As part of my community nutrition rotation this semester, I had to teach a class to three-year-olds at a Head Start program in Buffalo. Another student and I decided on a ‘build a healthy salad’ theme. So, last night, I prepped plates with green crepe paper for lettuce:


The kids were going to color different fruits and veggies and then glue then to their ‘salads.’ We set each table with supplies:



The class went really well! The kids enjoyed coloring and especially the gluing. I was surprised at how little they could verbalize about salads (or anything, really), but they’re also shy and still adjusting to going to school. All in all–success!

school lunch

I’m between community rotations this afternoon (Head Start was this morning and a church-run after-school program is later), so I decided to spend the break at school getting things done.

I’ve already picked up supplies for the bulletin board I have to decorate, hit the gym and showered and am now sitting down to a little lunch before more school work.


Half a peach on cottage cheese, one Wasa cracker, tuna mixed with avocado, sweet/hot pickles and Dijon on a salad with apple, spinach and red pepper. Washing it down with seltzer!

a list (finally)

Thought you’d never hear from me again, didn’t you?

(I was beginning to think that myself!)

Well, I’m back, and hopefully with a little more regularity.  My last post was August 7, and that’s just shameful.  (Especially since the title is ‘drink last night.’  THAT’S WHAT’S BEEN ON MY HOME PAGE FOR MORE THAN A MONTH?!?!  Fantastic.)

Since then, I’ve started back to school, and I’ve learned that SOMETHING has to drop off my plate when it gets busy around here, and it always seems to be the blog.  And vacuuming.  The hair is out of control, people.

In an effort to jumpstart this thing, here’s a quick list:

1. School started at the end of August and this is week 4.  WEEK FOUR!  Where is September going??  Where did August go?  WHERE DID MY SUMMER GO???  Seriously–fastest one yet.  I blame the internship.

2.  The big project this summer was our garage floor.  Andrew did one of those cool epoxy ones with the flecks sprinkled all over.  It’s awesome.  It was a TON of work–mostly on his part.  Not quite sure it was necessary, but man, does it look sweet.  Pictures coming soon.

3.  Speaking of pictures.  Another reason my blogging is so belated is due to the dreaded ‘space upgrade.’ I hem and haw each time I use up my space and have to buy more…  Sure, I could delete a bunch of photos from years ago, but, on the one hand the thought of that makes me SO SAD, and the time it would take to sort through them is not worth saving $20.

4.  I put our electric blanket on the bed last night.  It’s the middle of September.  How is this possible??

5.  I’m going to Trader Joe’s with a friend tonight.  SO UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED.

6.  I’m loving my school schedule this semester.  All 8 a.m. classes, but I go immediately to the gym after and workout, shower and eat lunch in the car on the way home.  The efficiency of it all makes me so happy.  One day I stay longer on campus, and two days a week I’m in rotations off-campus.  Right now I’m at various places in the community (a.k.a. Buffalo) such as Head Start, WIC and after-school programs.  Next month I’ll be back in the hospitals all day.

7.  I have LOTS of draft posts, just sitting in the queue.  Projects, a summer visitor and FOOD. Stay tuned.

8.  Pray for me, people.  I can probably count the number of nights I’ve gotten MORE than 6 hours of sleep so far this year on one hand.  Seriously.  I really struggle with sleep and I NEED TO GET MORE.  Not a lot more–just another hour or so.  I got a whopping 3 last night.  Between the animals waking/keeping me up, afternoon caffeine intake, the to-do list and stress, my sleep pattern is all messed up.

9.  I got invited to join the swim team up at school after someone saw me doing laps the other day.  Talk about an ego boost!  I still got it :)

10.  My new favorite thing is the sweet potato.  I love them baked with cinnamon, topped with almond butter or mixed with cottage cheese and avocado.  I throw them in smoothies and salads.  I pretty much have a half each day.  Give it a try!

Happy Monday–it’s good to be back!

new dress!

Andrew never ceases to amaze me :)

When he goes out of town for work, I always ask him to bring me back a present of some sort, ether it’s a souvenir or some sort or maybe just a treat he picked up.  For example, when he flew through Chicago last time, he brought back a giant bag of fresh kettle corn from the airport.  YUM.

Anyway, his last trip was to Boston, but he was unable to find my size in some items he liked at the airport before his flight back.  He’d found a neat hoodie from some Boston-based store there, but no mediums.  Drat.

So, he came home with this:



A winner, for sure!

There is, however, a story behind this dress.

About a month ago, we were at the mall and popped into Anthropologie for some coasters (random, I know), and I saw this dress.  I was mesmerized.  Despite its’ almost-$200 price tag, I tried it on anyway.  I thought it looked great.  I felt like a million bucks.  However, Andrew thought it looked too big (it was a medium), and we put it back on the hanger.

Fast forward a month to Andrew’s return from Boston.  We’re sitting on the porch and he hands me a box.  It’s the dress, in a size SMALL, and I sneaked a peek at the price tag–ON SALE.  (Thank goodness.)  It fit like a glove and I wore it that night (or maybe it was the next time) on our dinner date to Rick’s.

I told him he was lucky to have a back-up plan–the mall is on the way back from the Buffalo airport–since his Boston present feel through.  He insists that’s not how it happened, but, whatever. I’m right.  And I got a beautiful dress that makes me think of how wonderful my husband is every time I look at it in my closet.

Not really. But we did do something equally irresponsible and out of character.

We went out.  To Buffalo. On Allen Street.  After 9 p.m.  On Wednesday.  And for MUSIC, of all things.

Long story short: our neighbors–Buffalo hipsters turned Southtowns homeowners (and parents!)–were in a band (well, HE was in the band, she wasn’t) that happened to be having a ‘reunion’ show at a bar downtown.  I saw it on Facebook and felt strangely compelled to go.  No idea why.

The stars aligned–Andrew got caught up late at work, couldn’t start on the garage, we finished dinner in time–and off we went to Nietzsche’s on Allen Street.  Let’s just say we weren’t in Kansas anymore. (It’s not like we’ve never been to Allen Street, but it’s no Canalside, either.)

IMG_8100.JPGOur adventure began as we drove through the west side of Buffalo and I heard Andrew hit the door lock.  He’s so melodramatic like that.  Within a few blocks we were at our destination, and I had to surrender the car to Andrew to parallel park.  It’s not a strength of mine.

Nietzsche’s is just what you’d expect looking at it from the outside–dark, run-down, plastered with band stickers and posters with peeling wallpaper and exposed pipes.  Everyone inside was either hipster, hippie or covered in tattoos; Andrew and I stuck out like sore thumbs.

As usual, the show was running behind schedule, so we watched much of Handsome Jack’s bit while sipping our beer.  Apparently they are one of our neighbor’s–Tommy–favorite local bands and just got a record deal.  This means nothing to me, but it sounds nice.  I commented to Andrew that I thought they sounded like Lynyrd Skynyrd without the ‘country twang.’  I was pleased when Tommy said he agreed.

IMG_8096.JPGAs another band was setting up for their show, Andrew decided a piece of pizza sounded good, so we took a walk down Allen and found ‘Crust,’ a local place with slices available at 10:30 on a Wednesday night.  Gotta be in a city.

IMG_8099.JPGFinally, we headed back to the bar in time to see Tommy and his band, The Found, setting up for their set.  I remember seeing ‘I <3 The Found’ bumper stickers on our neighbors cars; I had no idea it was his actual band.  It turns out he sings and plays bass.  Who knew we had a rockstar next door?!  Check him out–he’s in the white shirt and cropped pants.



IMG_8104.JPGThey gathered the largest crowd and we had fun sitting and listening…until about midnight when we were more than exhausted.  (I’ve been going to bed before 11 these past couple weeks, and I definitely felt it last night.  And this morning.)

Speaking of the morning…  How long has it been since you had the remnants of a bar stamp on your hand the next day??


Two weekends ago, Mrs. Nye and I attended a cooking class in Wyoming County (a.k.a. the sticks) fairgrounds, in a house built in, like, 1806.  You see where I’m going with this.  It was primitive.

The Eli Griffith House, located in Pike, N.Y., was the first in the area to have a ‘beehive’ oven.  The small brick oven, located just above and to the right of actual hearth, had a domed top and allowed breads and other items to be ‘baked’ inside.  There are accounts of people (women, I’m sure) walking upwards of SEVEN MILES to use this oven.  Good gracious, I’m thankful for mine right about now.

Mrs. Nye grew up in Wyoming County, attending the fair, and years ago even attended this class herself.  When she found out about this year’s event, she asked me if I’d like to come along.  The purpose of the class, held just a couple weeks before their county fair, is to train and recruit volunteers to do the cooking demonstrations–in period dress–during the fair.


There were a dozen of us cramped in a tiny kitchen in front of a fire.  Multiple fires.  The first weekend of August.  I don’t know how they did it back then, without just dying of heat stroke.  And it wasn’t even one of our hottest days.

The event ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Upon arriving, we were given a bit of a welcome and intro and then the fires were lit.  (A couple of us wondered why said fires weren’t ALREADY GOING upon our arrival, since it would take THREE HOURS for them to get the beehive oven warm enough, but who’s counting??)

The first things that were prepped were the ‘chicken on a string,’ (a.k.a. a poor man’s rotisserie) and the chicken noodle soup, cooked in a kettle over the fire.


Homemade noodles were even prepared:


Also, three different kinds of breads were made, two with yeast and one without.  They needed to rise before being baked in the beehive oven.

Once all the dishes were prepped and/or cooking, we even churned fresh butter! (This was pretty exciting.  I KNEW you could church butter, but I’d never actually seen it done.)

First, you use the churn for maybe 20-30 minutes, depending on how vigorously one churns…


Then, you pour off the liquid (buttermilk) and what remains is the butter.



However, you have to ‘wash’ the butter to rid it of additional buttermilk.  You do this by pouring a little water into the bowl of butter and using a scraper-type tool to work the butter until the water is no longer white.


Our finished product:


Around this time, we loaded our risen dough into the oven.  Many of the loaves were placed on large cabbage leaves, both to protect them from the ashy floor of the oven and to help contain moisture.  The oven is closed using a wooden door and maintains about a 300-degree temperature.


Miraculously, everything seemed to be done at about the same time.

First, the soup:



Then, the ‘bubble and squeak:’


Toward the end of the cooking process, we mixed up batter for corn fritters (more corn than pancake), and cooked them over a griddle near the fire:


Lastly, the beehive oven was emptied, the bread all browned and crusty!

The Sally Lunn (sweet yeast bread baked in a cast-iron Bundt pan):


Multiple loaves of wheat and herb breads:


And that blueberry pie (perhaps the best I’ve ever had–except anything Mrs. Nye makes!):










Andrew and I went looking for another diner this past weekend while we were out renting a tool for the current house project: one of those nifty epoxy garage floors.  Our go-to breakfast spot, Charlie’s, is just fine, but we were feeling something else.  Something new.  Something different.  Something that would have (hopefully!) less of a wait at 10:30 on a Sunday morning.

We were going to be in West Seneca to get the tool, and a quick Yelp search yielded Christie’s, located in the Southgate Plaza.


We showed up and were seated right away.  It’s not only a breakfast place, but it definitely has that kind of feel.  We loved it right away.  The food was cheap and the service was excellent.


I went with the ‘1×1,’ which is one pancake, one slice bacon, one sausage link and one egg.  Andrew went with the ‘2×2.’


I also added an order of their ‘the works’ home fries, just to keep it interesting.  A steaming plate of fried potatoes topped with peppers, onions, cheese and gravy!


The verdict:  We loved this place!  While I didn’t think the food was as good as Charlie’s (what can I say, I’m loyal), we loved the atmosphere and we’d definitely go back.  Because it’s larger, (and within minutes from Carolyn and Ben’s new place) I can see this being a better breakfast option for the family than Charlie’s here in East Aurora.  On more than one occasion we’ve had to resort to Plan B rather than face a 45-minute wait there.  Next time, I’ll skip the pancakes in favor of their french toast or their oatmeal!




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