Birthday Outing 2016

This year my birthday happened to fall on a Saturday. So to celebrate Luke,  his parents, and I took a very long day trip.


We picked up the ornaments made earlier in the week from the glass studio in Corning. For more on this see:

Then we headed to Watkins Glen State Park to hike the George Trail.


Being a very warm Saturday, the trail was crowded but as always worth it. We have had a very dry summer so far, and light winter, so the falls were not as full as normal, but still it is a beautiful place.



After our morning hike we drove up to Ithaca to the farmer’s market for a late lunch. Diana was happy to find more than 6 stalls selling organic produce and was surprised to find a pre-made completely organic lunch of samosas and salad. For more on the Farmer’s Market see:


We picked up a few groceries, then roamed to see what options were available for lunch. At the table was a variety of food from a Sri Lankan curry to Momos all with local organic strawberries for dessert. We went back through one last time after lunch to pick up some goodies. Diana and John picked up some local maple syrup, cheese, and wine.


With full stomaches we got back in the car and headed to Cornell university. There we stopped at the botanical gardens welcome center and explored the gardens. After a nice walk through the rohdi’s and sitting in the shade we decided we were ready for dessert. We climbed up the hill from the garden parking lot and over to Cornell’s dairy bar. We discovered all of this on our camping trip in Ithaca a few years ago for more on this see:


The ice cream was just as good as ever, creamy, and just enough flavor and sugar. After enjoying our afternoon treat, we got back in the car and drove the Corning Plantations Arboretum drive passing ponds, orchards, and the student farm. Taking a break to look out over the plantations, we decided to take a short walk to a suspension bridge over looking some of the falls on campus. When we did we discovered even in the low water many people were out swimming in the heat.


Getting back in the car we headed down to greenstar a local natural and organic food store to get Diana dinner and a few groceries for their trip ahead. We then went to get Chinese food for the rest of us to go.


With our to-go meals in hand we drove to Buttermilk falls on the outskirts of town. We found a picnic bench to sit and enjoy our dinner at while watching the falls. With how dry the year has been there was little to  water flowing over the rock but it was still a pleasant view. For more on buttermilk falls see:

A long last outing of our touring behind us, we drove back toward home. It was great day and I was happy to be able to spend it with family.

Corning Glass Museum 2016

On Thursday after getting work done and resting, we were ready for a full day of fun.

We took the parents down to our old stopping ground: Corning. We showed them where we used to live then pulled into the Corning Glass Museum parking lot.


Over the past four years we have taken all of our family who has visited us to the museum. We have found there is something for everyone to enjoy. After getting our tickets we watched the live glass blowing demonstration in the Hot Glass studio.


We then had open time to take the parents through some of the exhibits. We started in the modern glass studio then moved on to the history of glass. Well, we only got about a third of the way through the history of glass before it was lunch time.


We found a nice shaded picnic bench outside and Luke and John went across the street to get us a large lunch. Our favorite BBQ place is not in Rochester, it’s in Corning. I am telling you the place to go for BBQ is Slammin’ Jamming Bar B Q . The meat is moist and well seasoned and their BBQ sauce is tangy, smokey and spicy. Since we left Corning their hole-in-the wall has become well established, and now they also have a restaurant downtown!


After a finger licking lunch we headed into the make your own glass studio. Here John and Diana had tickets to make their own ornaments, another tradition we have done with all family members who have visited. We advised them to choose bright colors that would show up on the tree, and they did. They both had a great time.


We then headed back to the museum to finish the history of glass. Since Luke and I have seen this exhibit several times, we instead enjoyed their rotating exhibit. This season they had glass work done by Blaschka family of sea life and creatures, a collection mostly form Cornell. The work was amazing, it looked like plastic, or fabric, but was all glass. This glass work was done as a means to study sea-creatures that normally when taken out of the water would disintegrate and die quickly. It was like being in a still life aquarium.


Last on our tour was the new wing of the museum: the modern exhibit (2000 and forward). This wing is new to Luke and I. Flooded with light, it highlights very modern and large scale glass pieces most of which have a social statement attached to them.


To round out our day at the museum we went to another hot glass show, in one of the new larger studios attached to the modern exhibit wing. In this show they made a vase but included a sea life theme in honor of the Blaschka exhibit and their work.


It was a full day, but well worth the trip, as always.

2013 in review

I know we are a little more than a week into the new year but it has taken me a full week to get back into the normal routine of things (I can’t be the only one who’s in the post-holiday struggle for normality). As I look back on almost a full year with this blog I thought I’d review some of the highlighting events of 2013.

So here is a review of 2013 blog style:

January: survived our first NY winter:  A Lesson in Independence and explored our local museum’s winter events: 2300 degrees

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February: Started a new Valentines tradition: Valentine’s Pie: a New Tradition, and explored what it means to be newly married :Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage Myth busting: Round 2

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March: Celebrate Luke’s birthday with brewery tours/tastings in Rochester: A Chemistry lesson for a birthday present, Shared about my allergy to barley: Why I am barley free: Part One, and celebrated Easter: Hot Cross Buns and Berry Salad

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April: Celebrated 6 months of marriage: Wow it’s been 6 months!, shared details about our wedding:The Dress and  learning how to look for a job: Patience: giving myself time

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May: Traveled to the West Coast for an Oregon vacation and my brother’s college graduation: Vacation Highlights Part 1: Family TimeVacation Highlights Part 2: Date Days

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June: Went Kayaking in Rochester: Kayaking and BBQ, bottled our first homemade barley-free beer:  Bottling our first homemade brew and celebrated my birthday in Ithaca: An Ithaca birthday Adventure

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July: Explored local festivals: Two festivals and Korean BBQ, Fixed up the front porch: Home Improvement: The Front Porch Project, and traveled to Washington to be apart of pre-wedding events for my brother’s wedding : Pre-wedding Jitters

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August:  Particpated in my soon-to-be sister-in-law’s bridal shower: Stina’s bridal shower and other wedding events, attended two local foodie festivals in NY: Smoke on the WaterTaste of Ellicotville, and hiked a local landmark: Walkins Glen State Park= Gorge-ous

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September: Looked back on my brother’s wedding: The Wedding, and shared more about my job-search: A New Year: Teacher without a classroom

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October: Picked pumpkins and attended an Apple Festival: Picking Perfect Pumpkins;  Apple Fest,  shared about my allergy to tree-nuts:Why I am tree-nut free Part one,  and celebrated a year of marriage with a trip to Niagara Falls :Niagara Falls anniversary Part One

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November: Kept busy with non-blogging activities and shared about them in: busy: and update


December: Started two new holiday traditions: Post-Parade Cookies and Cocoa and Christmas Concert TSO. Attended our local holiday festival: Sparkle and shared our Christmas with my parents: A Very Corning Christmas present and A handmade and heirloom Christmas


That is one very full blogging year! And that is only a small portion of the blog-post in this past year and doesn’t include any of my recipes. So what can you look forward to reading about this next year? You’ll find out soon enough.

A Very Corning Christmas Present

My parents came into town on the 19th and after hours of catching up, eating dinner, and sharing a few early gift surprises Luke and I gave them their Christmas card. The card explained their Christmas Present: a trip to the Corning Glass Museum and chance to make one of their own Christmas ornaments at the Glass Studio (for more on this see Sparkle). After looking at the weather we decided to go on Saturday while it was rainy and cold.

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We started by walking through the lowest level; the museum store looking at Christmas ornaments  on sale and other artistic glassware items. Then we went up the escalator, got our tickets for the museum and ornament experience then toured the second level taking in the modern art exhibits.


Next we circled up to the main historical glass exhibit. My father enjoyed the glass making examples and collections from history starting with Egyptian perfume bottles, to Venetian glass, all the way up to modern windows and lighting. Here also he enjoyed learning about  how Corning became a center for glass production and about the glass processes at the time.


My parents especially enjoyed seeing the arts and crafts movement stain glass pieces of Frank Loyd Wright and Greene and Greene.


After this, we toured the demonstration level of the museum. My mom enjoyed watching a glass maker create a bright orange glass pitcher in the Hot Glass demonstration room. We then toured other demonstrations learning about how glass for car windshield are made, and how fiber optic glass works to carry information and light.


Then it was time for the main event: we took my parents over to The Studio to make their own glass ornament. Once there my parents jointly decided on a spiral design and tear drop shape combining lime green and cobalt blue colors.


My dad was beyond excited to make the ornament. While watching all of the kids make their snowmen and ornaments  it was obvious my kid-at-heart father was fascinated by the process as he impatiently waited for his turn. When it was his turn my dad was throughly involved in the process, enjoying every minute as the glass ornament was blow, shaped, and then taken to the oven to cool.

The finished product

Afterward we took my parents to Slammin’ Jammin’  BBQ for a late lunch/early dinner ( see racefever and local bbq) then decided to take a stroll showing my parents downtown Market St. We stopped in  some of the glassworks boutiques and several antique shops  then enjoyed a cup of rich hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows from Poppleton Bakery and Cafe .



It was a great Corning Christmas activity day and I’m glad I had the chance to share it with my parents.

How about you? You get a chance to share a local holiday outings with your family?