wine glass sand sculpture

Wine for a State Fair Experience

Labor Day weekend has come and gone and with it, the end of another iconic pastime in Central New York, the Great New York State Fair. We skipped it last year due to a busy schedule and lack of funds (it can be pricey to visit the fair with three kids!) so this year, the kids insisted we make the trip across Onondaga Lake. While we only spent about five hours there, the kids made memories that will last a lifetime.

Henna Tattoos

One of those memories belongs to our daughter, Maria, who had her heart set on a henna tattoo. Two years ago, she saw the booth and we told her we would head back to get one and then couldn’t find it again! So, she was determined to do it this time. We spotted the booth relatively early in our visit and stepped inside.

The artist has dozens of pre-created designs to choose from, including those ranging from intricate to extremely intricate! You can choose where to place it; Maria wanted one on her hand. She chose a simple design and sat down to wait as the artist finished up the client before her who was allowing the artist to “freestyle” on her arm. What an amazing thing to watch!

She allowed me to film Maria’s henna tattoo, offering to go a bit slower so we could capture it better. Keep that in mind as you watch. She actually went slower! Usually she whips these up much more quickly. Amazing.

Maria has carefully protected this work of art, hoping it will last until the first day of school in a few more days.

Wine Slushies

A second memorable fair activity belongs to my husband and me – wine slashes. We enjoy these masterpieces and can’t wait to try all the flavors. This year, we opted for Montezuma Winery’s concoctions, which were a lot less sweet and still excellent. I preferred the one made with the Diamond white grape, although the twist with the Fat Frog Red wine was also delicious.


There are many more fair traditions that I remember from my childhood but as I grow older, they fade into new memories made with my family. The kids can’t leave the fairgrounds without seeing all the animals, eating yummy treats and riding a few rides. They also enjoy the games although this year, we skipped those. The end of the fair means the end of summer vacation. While we’re looking forward to new routines, we’re going to miss the laid-back summer fun. Wine slushies are a nice way to celebrate the transition between seasons and a wonderful treat on a hot summer fair day.

Back to School Transitions

It’s the second week of September and the transition from late summer to early fall is setting in. We’re all back to school – me teaching two classes, my husband in a full-time graduate program, the girls back to first and fifth grades and Christopher in daycare for the first time. Last week was a bit crazy with the addition of my continuing car problems and our window replacement activity. As I sit down to grade, it’s Sunday night and some of the craziness has subsided.

Fucillo Kia of Clay finally decided it was best to offer me a replacement vehicle. So after three and a half weeks of not having my car, I drove home Friday evening in a new 2016 Kia Sorento, but black this time instead of black cherry. Still, though, beggars can’t be choosers and I’d trade anything to not have the continuing hassle of an electrical/sensor issue. Hopefully, I’ve seen the last of car problems for a while.

The windows are all installed but Comfort Windows has to come back to finish the exterior work. After three days, they left it unfinished and we’re hopeful Monday is the day. Meantime, we spent the weekend measuring the new windows and purchasing and mostly installing blinds. Replacing a houseful of windows is pricey when you consider all the new window coverings that go with the whole project! It is nice to be at the tail-end of it all.

So, when life hands you lemons (challenges), what is the best wine with which to settle down on a Sunday evening? When life is nuts, I prefer an age-old standby favorite. I don’t want any surprises with my wine! So we poured glasses of Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red. Lucas is the oldest winery on Cayuga Lake, founded in the mid-1970s. This red is pretty sweet but it’s yummy and simple and easy drinking. And right about now, simple is about all I want! Have a great week everyone!


Sour Grapes (or Lemons)

I haven’t posted since early last week because I’ve been a tiny bit stressed out. In addition to school starting again (for me, not the kids yet!), I’ve been dealing with a new car issue. It’s the worst. I purchased a 2016 Kia Sorento¬†from Fucillo Kia of Clay in May and Aug. 15 it started going completely haywire. The dashboard warning lights were flickering oddly as if there was a short in the electrical system and the turn signals wouldn’t work, etc. I took video with my phone and brought it in. Fast forward to today… the dealership still does not know what’s wrong with it and they’ve called in an expert technician from Kia to travel here to look at and hopefully fix the car.

It’s stressful to be without your car even with a loaner. I now have a small Optima to drive and with the three kids, that’s a challenge! The whole reason I bought a new car was to have more space for the kids. Now, I can’t even enjoy it and somehow, even if they do repair it, I feel like it will never be the same. The irony is several years ago a similar situation happened with a Saturn Vue. That time it was a brand new car! It took months before they finally figured out how to fix it and it was a major issue. I never really loved that car either. So cars and me are not a good combo for some reason. I’m probably the only person on the planet who dreads getting a new car.

So, you might be thinking, what kind of wine goes with car trouble? Well, on Sunday¬†we tried a red blend from Three Brothers Winery called Jazz Infusion. I received a bottle from my brother and sister-in-law for my birthday and thought I’d crack that open. It was a perfect compliment to the beef stew I made in the crock pot that day and an easy drinking wine that almost made me forget the car stuff. Almost.

First Day of First Grade

ImageThe last 24 hours have been about waiting. Me waiting for my kids to return from their dad’s after 10 long days…Maria waiting for the night to be over and the first day of school to begin… and both of us waiting for the bus. It was Maria’s first time on the school bus even though she’s in first grade. Last year, we drove her to before school care at her Catholic school so she didn’t take the bus. She always wanted to ride the bus with the other kids and now is her chance. The poor kid was seriously up all night and couldn’t sleep. It was like Christmas, or the first day of school, or the first bus ride — a big day for an almost six-year-old girl, and her mother.

A Time to Start Anew

Several months ago I rediscovered yoga. Although I am not flexible at all, despite my small frame, and it’s challenging to do the poses, yoga makes me feel invincible. In fact, I feel 10 times taller when I am done with a session. I usually do 20 to 30 minutes at a time and I choose the de-stress variety. I’ve found that if I stick with it two to three times a week, I truly feel a difference in my stress level. Unfortunately due to tons of craziness during the summer, I’ve moved away from yoga. Fortunately I now have a chance to move back.

Back to school, to me, is a time to start anew, much like the new year. It’s a chance to start a new schedule, recommit to an old activity and just recharge. To that end, I will recommit to my yoga practice. To supplement that, I plan to eat smaller meals throughout the day to keep my energy high for the busy days ahead.

I feel energized just thinking about it!

P.S. If you would like to try yoga yourself, check out to find a yoga studio near you, offering free classes in September and October.