Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 1 - We're Underway

We were getting the shuttle from the hotel to the port. The process was that at 9:00 AM you could start signing up for the shuttle. At 10:00 AM the shuttle would start taking people to the port. Once you signed up, you were supposed to check out. We didn't sign up until 9:30 and we were pretty low on the list. The lobby was full of people and bags so we decided to just stay in our room. We stayed there till after 10:00 and then went downstairs too because our room was pretty hot, Actually, last night was the first time I didn't sleep with socks and my fleece on top of PJs. The heat wasn't on but neither was the air. We spent a few hours waiting for the shuttle and played gin rummy.
Around 2:00 we went to the port and by then it had been raining for quite a while. The van driver told us that the cruiseport was having trouble with their computers and had to manually check everyone in, Because of this, there were long lines and they weren't letting any of the vans unload their passengers. We were happy to have been playing cards rather than sitting in the van, When we got there, we unloaded our bags to be checked and proceeded to check-in. There was a long line ending out in the rain where people were standing with umbrellas. As we were walking toward that line we saw that there was another line that was completely protected from the rain and that's where we stood. We were in line for at least a half hour, it snaked around 6 times before getting to the security check-in similar to the airport but we didn't have to take our shoes off. I forgot I was wearing a bracelet and it set off the alarm.

Then we had to stand in another line forever to check-in and get our Sea Pass. Once done with all that we finally got on the ship. We went to our room, bags weren't there yet so we went out to explore and find something to eat. We went to the snack area but there was a long line for that and we didn't want to stand in line anymore and since we were on the early seating for dinner we figured we could last another 1 1/2 hours.
We got ourselves familiar with where everything was and saw that it was the same layout as our last cruise.

We're underway, 4:45 PM

We went to dinner at the restaurant and were at a table for 6. One couple from Pennsylvania and the other from Maryland. We found out that if we order the wine package they would store our open wine for us which made me really happy because I don't want to drink a full bottle of wine at dinner anymore. We bought the Platinum package which was the middle package and included a better selection than the one below it but wasn't that much more expensive. We got 7 bottles which we thought would be good for 12 days.
For dinner we both got the healthy choice selection. Spinach salad to start and sea bass with vegetables. We did manage to finish the whole bottle of wine but Larry drank way more than me :) For dessert I got the lo cal chocolate choice and Larry got a Blueberry Peach Cobbler with vanilla ice cream. His was definitely better but mine was less fattening. After dinner we went to the liquor tasting and bought two bottles of a coffee and cream liquer that was delicious. When we first got there, no one was pouring so we poured our own and filled up those little cups to the top, twice. Later when we went back and someone else was pouring we got less than 1/4 of a cup. I'm glad we got there when we did and I'm also glad I didn't have a fattening dessert.
We wandered around and even danced for one song. When we went to our room we unpacked and Larry passed out while watching TV.

Boarding Day

Had breakfast at 6:30 and have been sitting in the breakfast area since 9:30 playing cards and waiting for our turn on the shuttle. Larry just checked and we're on the next one.

One hour later and now we're in line to get into the terminal. Some earlier computer problem caused a backup.

It's 2:35 and we've been scanned. Now we're in another long snaking line to check in.

We were in our cabin before 3:45 and loved the space compared to our last cruise and the outside cabin.

- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This didn't make the Oscars

On the Way - 9:45 AM

Just said goodbye to our trash and the snow. Only left 45 minutes later than planned.

At least after an overnight snowfall that brought out the plows, the sun came out and we started out with blue skies.

It's 2:25 and we're almost at Harrisburg. Only 90 miles left to Baltimore. It's 55 degrees out and no sign of snow!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Day To Go

We leave for Baltimore tomorrow and spend the night at the Sleep Inn. The next day we take the shuttle to the cruise ship for 12 days of relaxation. This isn't supposed to be the rainy season in the Caribbean but according to the weather forecast it looks like it. I'm posting what the extended forecast is here so that I can compare it to what we actually experience.

This is the weather for Baltimore on the day we arrive and when we leave.

And this is for as far out as I could go for the ports.  For March 3 I couldn't find Labadee or Cap Haitian so I picked 2 locations.

The first one, 83℉ is Porta Plata, DR, 154 miles to the East and the second is Port-au-Prince which is the same distance South.  It will be interesting to see what the weather turns out to be.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Audrey's Fudgeful Peanut Butter Bars

Previously known as Mary Jane's Fudgeful Peanut Butter Bars until I had them at Audrey's and now she gets the credit.

Mix by hand:
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 stick melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup peanut butter
Mix with mixer
Spread 2/3 of mixture into a lightly buttered 13x9 pan

Melt togeter:
6 oz Chocolate Chips
1 can Eagle condensed milk
2 Tbls butter
Pour over base
Crumble remainding cake mixture over top

Bake 350 for about 30 minutes
Cool and cut into bars

To Die For !!

Two Days to Go

Of course we're having snow and probably will through when we have to leave.  Hopefully today will be the worst and it will be easy driving on Sunday.  Looking at the weather, there's going to be chance of snow through Harrisburg, PA on Sunday.

I played bridge last night and came in a winner by losing.  It was probably my worst score ever.  Zero the 1st round, 110 the 2nd and zero the 3rd.  Have to go to work today, stop at the post office, help Betsy install her printer and maybe get together some other items to take.  Dinner tonight at Penfield and tomorrow night we'll just eat whatever we have left in the refrigerator. 

This is our ship.  Hope we get to see some blue skies. 

This was what our weather looked like this morning.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Size

Since I always forget the name of this app I thought I'd put it here.  It's a free app that shows the size of folders and files in whatever folders you specifiy.  The free will only go up to 20GB but then you can just look at individual folders.  My hard drive on my laptop is only 79 GB so I'm always running out of space.

If you want have a need and your hard drive is large, you might want to pay the $12.99 for the full version.

Here is where you can get it:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Curried Squash & Chicken Soup

This looks easy enough to make while we are on vacation as long as I can find the coconut milk and red curry paste.  Otherwise may have to wait until we're back home.

Source: © EatingWell Magazine
Active Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes            2 servings, 1 3/4 cups each

Red Thai curry paste adds heat and depth of flavor to this simple soup. If you like, omit the chicken and spinach to make an even simpler first-course soup.

1 10-ounce package frozen pureed winter squash
1/2 cup lite coconut milk (see Tips for Two)
1/2 cup water
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 6-ounce bag baby spinach
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2-1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste (see Note)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Tips for Two: Coconut milk Storage: Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months. Uses: Drizzle on sliced fresh fruit; use as some of the liquid for cooking rice Ingredient Note: Red curry paste is a blend of chile peppers, garlic, lemongrass and galanga (a root with a flavor similar to ginger). Look for it in jars or cans in the Asian section of the supermarket or specialty stores.
Heat squash, coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash defrosts, about 10 minutes. Add chicken, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in spinach, lime juice, sugar, curry paste to taste and salt and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
Recipe reprinted by permission of © EatingWell Magazine. All rights reserved.
Nutrition Information 2 servings, 1 3/4 cups each - Facts Per Serving:
Calories:274     Fat. Total: 7g   Carbohydrates, Total 22g
Cholesterol: 63mg  Sodium: 453mg  Protein:  28g  

Fiber:6g   % Cal. from Fat: 23%  Fat, Saturated: 4g

Five days to go

We leave in 5 days so I really need to pack. I have mostly everything out and ready to go, I just hate to see how much I may not be able to fit into my bag. Oh well, I can always just take another one, after all, we're driving. But then, you do have to drag them with you on the line until you check in.
This is a map of our destinations followed by the day by day itinerary.

And this is what the layout of out room is supposed to be.
OK - enough procrastinating, time to put things in the suitcase before it's time for me to go to work again.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Countdown begins - Six Days to Go

I made Kasha's Chicken Chile Recipe ( today but I used leftover roasted pork loin instead of chicken.
This is after adding the final ingredients, pork, corn and beans.

Here it is all mixed in.  Besides using pork instead of chicken I also added a can of Rotel tomatoes and chiles in place of the green chilies since I had them in the closet.  Gave it a little more spice.

We leave for our cruise on Sunday and I'm really getting excited about it.  I'm almost packed, or at least have laid out all my clothes that I want to take and am eliminating some.  This is the last meal I'm going to cook so Larry has something to eat tonight and tomorrow when I have to work.  One night before we go we'll go to Penfield and another night to Applebees so we can use the coupon from Delta Sonic that Larry got from Laura that she forgot to pay me for.  Laura, you don't need to pay me, I just want to see if you really read my blog.  If you do, mention that you read this. :)

My piano lesson was cancelled this morning because Fred has a cold.  This was the one time I thought I was going to be halfway decent too.  I took Larry to drop his car off at Hoselton at 9:00 for an oil change and check over before we travel.  I'll take him back before I meet Betty for a late lunch at 3:30 at Limburgers before I go to work.

Swan Lake Video

This is truly amazing. It hurt my hamstrings just watching.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

As Time Goes By

I'm trying to do everything because we're leaving in less than two weeks for about 6 weeks.  First a cruise and then off to Florida.  I talked to Laura last night who is at Disney World with Greta and the boys and John and Ann for a couple of days and then back to Dad and Ann's till Saturday.
She asked me what I did and I rattled off a bunch of stuff and thought, WOW, that was a lot and then I realized I forgot something else that I did during the day.  No wonder I feel like I'm so busy and don't have time to do anything.  These are the things I did:
Worked at WW in Irondequoit at 8:15 and then stopped at Accutax to deliver a message from Nadine to Len.  He wasn't there but I got to visit with Judy and left the info with her.  I haven't seen Judy in probably 5 years so it was nice to catch up for a few minutes.
From there I went home and continued working on our taxes so they can get submitted before we leave.  At noon it was time to go to Yoga.  What a workout!  If I had to do that one on my own from a DVD I would have quit after 10 minutes.  It was great and this was the item I forgot to tell Laura.
Back home and back to the taxes.  I couldn't find my statements from M&N for my IRA from January - October when they switched to a new reporting company. 
In one of my bursts of neatness and getting rid of unnecessary papers, I think I overcleaned.  I searched all over and finally just called up and they were able to email me the summary document where I was able to get all the information I needed.  And then it was time to go to work at WW in Penfield. 
After work, with a banana waiting for me in the car, and a couple of sample snacks, the NEW Cinnamon Crumb Bar and also NEW Dijon Pretzels I stopped at Starbucks for a coffee to complete my dinner which I ate at Katie's basketball game where I met Larry.

After we got home, at 9:45,  I called Laura at 9:57 right before my 10:00 PM deadline according to her message and then it was back to taxes.  Did get them finished.  I wanted to watch Harry's Law but we were having problems with all our On Demand channels so I just kept on working.  Larry called Time Warner and they set up an appointment for someone to come out today.  I didn't think it could be a problem with our set/(s) but the rep did.  I tried it again this morning and it worked fine (just like I knew it would).

Book Inscriptions

I use Blurb to create books and on Facebook I saw a post about the Book Inscription Project
I immediately thought of the Barry Manilow book Laura had given to me and scanned it in and sent it off on January 28th. I was just on Facebook this morning and saw some other interesting project posted by Blurb about desks and it reminded me of the book inscription project so I went to see if mine was there. So far not, so I thought why not post it here, that way at least I'll always have the memory and it will become timeless in cyberspace.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strawberry Poppy Seed Tart

I saw this recipe on GMA this morning and thought it would be perfect for company dessert tomorrow night. However, after reading the recipe it looked like more calories and work than Sandra Lee made it look so maybe I'll just save it for some other time when there will be more than 6 people for dinner so we won't have all the leftovers.  Or a perfect dessert to bring somewhere because it looked so pretty.

Strawberry Poppy Seed Tart

Something Sweet for Valentine's Day

From the Kitchen of Sandra Lee
Servings: 6
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 30-60 min

No Valentine's Day celebration would be complete without
something sweet. Try this delicious strawberry tart.


1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup poppy seed cake and pastry filling, Solo®
1/2 cup tub-style cream cheese, softened, Philadelphia®
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, McCormick®
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon water
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed, Pepperidge Farm®
Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine strawberries and poppy seed filling.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium
speed until fluffy. Add whipping cream and beat until soft peaks
form. Beat in granulated sugar and vanilla. Refrigerate until
ready to use.

Stir together egg and water; set aside. Unroll puff pastry sheet
onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll each
side of the pastry sheet 1/4 inch longer than original. Using a
sharp knife, cut a 3/4-inch-wide strip from each side of the
pastry dough. Using a pastry brush, brush egg mixture around
edges of dough rectangle. To make a raised edge for tart, place
each dough strip on top of the side it was cut from and trim off
excess dough. Using a fork, prick bottom of the tart dough. Brush
egg mixture over top edge. Bake in preheated oven in glassware
pan for 20 to 25 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ginger root

Laura asked me how to cut the ginger for the Asian soup. I found this website all about ginger and then I decided to try a few of the techniques.

A vegetable peeler worked great for peeling the ginger and then making strips.

This slicer worked the best for grating the ginger and then I rolled it in plastic wrap.

After it was all rolled up I put it in a labelled plastic bag. When I want to use some, I can just cut or break it off.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Salty Chihuahua

Salty Chihuahu
Red grapefruit juice and Cointreau combine for a margarita-style drink. As the name implies, a dash of salt is put in the cocktail or on the rim. Make the juice mixture up to one day ahead, and chill.

Yield:  12 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

8 cups fresh red grapefruit juice (about 12 grapefruits)
1 1/2 cups silver tequila
3/4 cup Cointreau (orange-flavored liqueur)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Ice cubes
Lime slices (optional)

1. Combine juice, tequila, and liqueur; stir well. Coat rim of each of 12 glasses with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Fill each glass with ice; pour 1 cup juice mixture into each glass. Garnish each glass with a lime slice, if desired.

CALORIES 187 ; FAT 0.2g (sat 0.0g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.1g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 15mg; CARBOHYDRATE 20g; SODIUM 242mg; PROTEIN 0.8g; FIBER 0.0g; IRON 0.3mg

I got this recipe from Patti, who made these for Super Bowl and she got it from:
Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2010

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

We went to Patti's for her annual Super Bowl party.  It was Larry and the girls and lots of good food.  Patti made Chili Cornbread Casserole and Salty Chihuahuas.

This was my favorite Super Bowl Commercial.

Piano Lessons


Last summer I gave Myles my keyboard because he wanted to learn to play piano and I just had it sitting under the bed for the last four years. Before that it sat on a table for at least another 5 years.  I always said that when I retired I wanted to take piano lessons. I've always wanted to take piano lessons since I was a little girl. My mother said she wasn't going to invest in a piano because I would lose interest so she got me a guitar instead. I bought a piano in the 1970s and Laura and Greta took lessons. In the 80s I took lessons for awhile but then I went to graduate school and they were on hold for the next 28 years. In January I started piano again with Fred Costello who was my instructor 28 years ago. I'm even using a lot of the same music from back then and I'm relearning all my chords. So now I have the opportunity to use the piano I have (which hasn't been tuned in years and years) but I am so bad, I don't like to practice when Larry can hear me so I bought another keyboard.   I can use headphones and no one has to hear besides me. I told him he can hear when I can finally play something that sounds OK. It may be quite a while. 

Myles said my keyboard is like the one in Monsters & Aliens.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lentil Soup - Alton Brown's Recipe

This is Alton Brown's recipe that uses Grains of Paradise.

A substitute for Grains of Paradise is a mixture of Black Pepper, Cardamom & Ginger but can't find proportions anywhere so I'll just wing it.

Recipe for Alton Brown's Lentil Soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise


  1. Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. 
  2. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. 
  3. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine.
  4. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. 
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. 
  6. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. 
  7. Serve immediately.

Groupon Shopping

I love Groupon, but they do make it easy to buy things you wouldn't necessarily get.  But in some cases that is good.  The restaurants are especially good because it is an incentive to go out and try new places.
I went out today to use my Groupon for Craft Company No. 6 a unique store of many handmade items.  It expires tomorrow so didn't want to let it go to waste.  I got some cute wire picture holders, my favorite twisted candles and some salsa.

From there I went to Bisque & Brush to pick up the pieces I finally did go and paint.  I made 2 ice cream bowls in the black and white check pattern to match the other pieces in the kitchen.  One I sponged on the inside to match the countertop and the other I left white.  I went one Thursday before bridge and that was about all the time I had.  Since this was my store at one time, I was very disappointed to see the lack of stock and the poor condition of the brushes.  I should have brought my own brushes so I could have had a nice blunt edge.