post it notes that say reset, realign, restart

Wine for Mid-Year Reset

It’s approximately six months into the year and while we are inundated with talk of New Year’s Resolutions around the first of the year, one rarely hears about the six-month checkpoint! As I reset myself for the second half of 2019, I want to share with you some of the reasons why I love the “second New Year.”

  1. Summertime and the livin’ is easy. It’s far easier to get back into a routine when some of the busyness of life is out of the way. For example, I no longer need to make school lunches for my three kids so I can spend more time on my own lunch and snacks, allowing me to reset my meal planning and nutrition plan and refocus on my health goals.
  2. Summertime = wider access to healthy foods. Between farmers’ markets and our own gardens, plus most of our country in its prime growing season, we can access a whole lot more healthy foods than other times of the year. What’s more, the grills are out again, allowing us to cook up all that high quality protein. Our herbs are growing strong, too, adding that much more flavor and nutrition to our food.
  3. Gym time uniform changes. Now that it’s hot outside, we wear less, which allows us to see the fruits of our hard labor in the gym. And, I don’t know about you, but I work harder when I see my reflection and can actually look at my muscles I’ve built!
  4. It’s daylight longer. This means our days are inherently longer. For me, it allows me to read more, which is accomplishing my goal of reading the Bible cover to cover, as well as my total books read goal for 2019. Plus, I have more time to work on my cross stitch projects.
  5. Work is a slower pace, at least for me, since the students and faculty are gone. This means, I can catch up and be more productive but it also means bringing less work home. This frees my evenings and weekends up to work on my goal of becoming a certified personal trainer.

So, how am I doing on my goals? Here’s a quick progress check:

  1. Become a certified personal trainer. I’m working on this one; my exam is July 30!
  2. Finish Jon’s Christmas stocking. Still chugging away. I have plenty of time but thought I would be done by now. Refocusing my energy on this one.
  3. Read 30 books. I’ve read 23, 24 if you count my personal training textbook. So, I’ll definitely reach this goal!
  4. Read the Bible. Read through 12 books so far through a Lenten Bible Study at my parish. Honing in on the rest of it with a guided journal aid to help me along the way.
  5. Post 24 blog posts. I’ve published 16 so I’m ahead of goal on this one.
  6. De-stress with a bath and/or massage twice a month. Not doing so great. Maybe did this two months out of the six so far. Have to do better!
  7. Gain five pounds. I reached 101 pounds last week, blasting past my 100-pound goal. Boom!

I highly encourage you to take a few minutes, sit on your sunny deck with a nice glass of wine and review your own personal goals. See how far you’ve come since setting your New Year’s Resolution and reset yourself for the back half of the year. I would choose an almost icy cold white or rose for this activity, mostly because it’s my jam in the summer months. Chablis or a light pinot noir rose would be gorgeous for sipping, dreaming and goal-setting. Cheers!

frederick, maryland

Wine for a Bed and Breakfast

During this year’s family vacation, my husband and I were able to sneak away for an overnight without the kids. We chose to head to Frederick, Maryland, a location chosen for its proximity to the Maryland and Virginia wine trails. As we hadn’t been there before and we knew we wanted a quiet, relaxing place to stay, I searched for bed and breakfasts and stumbled upon Hollerstown Hill Bed and Breakfast. The reviews were wonderful and it looked like a nice place to stay. The room I booked had its own private balcony porch and everything.

We arrived a bit earlier than our check-in time but learned that the owners were actually on their own summer vacation, ironically in Delaware, where our home base was, too. So, we waited about an hour until the hostess arrived to unlock the door. Turned out we were the only guests for the night, which was a nice surprise. In fact, we had the whole giant Victorian to ourselves that night, though we didn’t realize that until the next morning.

Frederick, Maryland

Prior to checking in, we started to explore Frederick a bit, enjoying a delicious lunch at Hooch and Banter, as well as hitting some neat shops, including an olive oil emporium, unique toy and book shops and a few other small town businesses. We noticed several restaurants and decided it was a foodie’s paradise, really. One of our stops was a small wine store, Viniferous Wines, where we asked the owner for a recommendation for a red wine in the $20 to $30 dollar range. He recommended an Australian Merlot, which we had never tried. In fact, the only Merlot from Australia that I had had prior to this one was Yellow Tail! It didn’t disappoint.

We opened it after dinner that evening and enjoyed it while we played pool and chess in the game room of the bed and breakfast. The wine was a unique flavor, light but full bodied in a way. I really wish I had documented the name of that one, but we were having too much fun to be recording our wine! That chess board was super cool because it was a Civil War one, where one of us was North and one of us was South.

There also was a 60-disc CD changer in the pool room, so we decided to see what kind of music was inside. After going through about 10 to 15 Christmas CDs, we found some classical, followed by some Sarah McLachlan. It was an eclectic mix and we found ourselves wondering about the back story behind all the holiday music!

Our stay was wonderful. Very quiet, clean and unique collections of items on display throughout the large Victorian. Although we were unable to meet the owners in person, we enjoyed our hostess who was chatty and fun. Our breakfast was served promptly and it was the perfect fare in preparation for our day. While, thunderstorms prevented us from being able to use our private porch, we could see why our room was the most popular room in the b and b. Located on the back of the home, it was quiet and private. If we ever return to Frederick, we will definitely look this place up once more. Highly recommend it!

maria, lucia and christopher in the swimming pool

Wine for Hot Summer Days

It’s been a hot last few days in Central New York, much hotter than we are used to. The thermometer rarely goes above 90 during a normal summer but so far, we’ve hit and/or surpassed it a few times and it’s only July 3! Typically when it’s this hot, I avoid drinking too much alcohol due to dehydration and just because it makes me feel like garbage when it’s so hot. But, this past weekend, I had some fun loading up the coolers for a graduation party to celebrate my husband’s graduate degree.

The first stop was Harbor View Wines and Liquors where I purchased a case of 12 bottles at a 20 percent discount. I chose wines from all over the world, including Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Argentina and Italy. In addition, my picks included a couple from the Finger Lakes Region of New York State, as well as Washington and California. I tried to vary the types of wines, choosing six reds and six whites, as well as different grapes. I figured it would be fun to have a hodgepodge available to guests or for us after the party ends!

I did the same thing with the beer selection. I chose a Mexican sampler, Saranac Summer Series, Blue Moon, Labatt Blue Light and some White Claw sparklers. Of course, there was plenty of water and sparkling water for guests, too. The most popular beers were the Mexican ones, followed closely by Saranac and Labatt Blue Light. We had one Saranac left and a few Blue Moons. As for wine? I enjoyed Goose Watch Vineyard’s Diamond white, which is made with the Diamond white grape, one of the originals grown in Upstate New York.

I think it’s fun to try a whole bunch of different types of wines and beers. There are so many in this world and I probably will never try them all. That’s why, when I have an opportunity to purchase a lot, I take it; your guests will have their choice and you’ll hopefully have something for everyone’s taste.

Summer Wine Choices

Overall in the summer, I enjoy white and rose wine over a red, simply because they are more refreshing to me. I typically have them at a slightly cooler temperature than I would a red so that may be one reason why. I don’t like an overly sweet wine. You’ll see me drinking a Sauvignon Blanc or a Cayuga White. Riesling is a popular choice, as well, especially with company, and White Merlot is a great standby, particularly with barbecue. Below are some of the ones I chose for our outdoor party.

Diamond
Goose Watch Winery
Finger Lakes, New York

Riesling
Clean Slate
Mosel, Germany

Sauvignon Blanc
The Crossings
New Zealand

White Merlot
Beringer
Napa Valley, California

Chardonnay
Bread and Butter Wines
California

I’ll add to this list, as I try more delicious summer wines. Please share your favorites below!

 

maria, lucia and christopher smiling and eating ice cream

Wine for “Almost” Spring/Summer

I’m on a roll now! The weather turned gorgeous this week. I’m feeling a bit more like myself. In this post, a short one for #WineWednesday, I wanted to share my top 5 spring/summer wine choices. Cheers!

  1. Sauvignon Blanc – I enjoy those from New Zealand, although I have enjoyed a few from other regions, as well.
  2. Chablis – I seldom write about this one because it’s rare that I find a good bottle but when I do, wow! I forget how much I love it. My favorite pairing for Chablis is sushi.
  3. White merlot – This one is often overlooked but very enjoyable particularly if you have guests who are not used to drinking wine. It’s essentially a blush, which has wider appeal.
  4. Riesling – Of all the whites, this one is my favorite. I love the German Rieslings and those inspired by that region, particularly the Mosel/Saar River area. Try Hermann J. Weimer from the Finger Lakes region in New York state..
  5. Red blend – Red blends tend to be easy-drinking and often fruit forward, making them ideal for nights by the campfire. You can find inexpensive ones at most local liquor stores, including Lucas Vineyards Tugboat Red and Red Truck wine. Any red blend will do!
  6. BONUS: Champagne/Prosecco – Who doesn’t love a good bottle of bubbly? It makes any ordinary day/evening a real treat!

What are some of your favorite summer wines? Comment below! I love new ideas!

A Day in the Life – Summer Edition

Many times I speak casually with people who are in awe that I am able to juggle a full-time job, daily workout and family. I read countless articles about how women can “have it all” or “fit it all in” and wonder why so many find it challenging to even have time to workout. At times in my life, I, too, have had difficulty fitting in a workout but it’s always been due to a new baby! That is probably the one wild card that throws everything off-balance. But, I always return to a state of equilibrium as the babies grow. Today, I have a 3-year-old, 7-year-old and 10-year-old so things are getting easier in terms of finding time for me.

Nonetheless, I thought I’d take a stab at taking you through my typical day so you can see how I fit things in. Now, one caveat is that it’s now summer. That means work is slower, I’m not teaching my two classes and the kids are not in school. The fall edition of this schedule looks quite different! But, we’ll return to that in a few months!

5:05 a.m.                     Alarm

5:15 a.m.                     Leave for gym with pre-workout shake

5:30 a.m.                     Workout – drink BCAAs during workout

6:30 to 6:45 a.m.        Leave gym with protein shake

6:45 to 7 a.m.             Arrive home for shower

7 to 7:15 a.m.             Leave for work

7:30 a.m.                     Arrive at work

9:30 a.m.                     Grab breakfast at Starbucks

12 p.m.                        Lunch

2:30 p.m.                     Afternoon snack

4:30 p.m.                     Leave work

4:45 p.m.                     Arrive home and prepare dinner while cleaning up, etc.

5:30 p.m.                     Dinner

6 p.m.
Prepare lunch and snacks for next day, add powders to shaker
bottles, lay out gym and work clothes for next day

6:30 p.m.                     Bathe Christopher

6:45 p.m.                     Hang out with Christopher and Lucia

7:15 p.m.                     Read to Christopher and get him into bed

7:45 p.m.                     Read to Lucia and get her into bed

8:15 p.m.
Head to the couch with my cross-stitching, book, phone and wine.
This is also my time with Maria. I also fill out my workout/food log
and review the next day’s workout.

9:45 p.m.                      Maria goes to bed.

10 to 10:30 p.m.
Hang out with my husband (lots of times I fall asleep WAY before
now, though. 5:05 a.m. comes early!)

So, there you have it! My full day. I do most of the house cleaning on weekends. My husband also pitches in and we’re neat people so we pick up after ourselves daily. He also handles the majority of the laundry but I help fold in the evenings and we both keep it going all weekend.

In the fall, there are also more evening activities, I make lunches and prep the kids’ school things and I have to squeeze in grading for my two classes. Plus, I get home from work later, as well. My husband is back in school, as well. In the summer, we only have swimming lessons on Wednesday evenings so it’s not too bad. My husband takes care of piano lessons on Monday afternoons. He also takes care of getting the kids to their daytime summer activities.

Christopher is continuing to attend daycare most days. Maria will head to the Geek Squad Academy two-day workshop later this week. Both girls start summer camp July 10. So, we’re staying as busy as possible this summer!

As you can see, “wine time” is only about an hour or two at the very end of my day. It’s when I wind down and enjoy a glass or two with my husband. Wine for evening time, the end of a busy day. Cheers!

 

#WineWednesday: Last Day of Summer…Looking to Fall

It’s #WineWednesday again and the last official day of summer. In the Central New York area, we’ve had a spectacular summer with hot, sunny weather. Even today, there is not a cloud in the blue sky and temperatures are soaring to 82. It’s hard to believe it’s the last day of summer but tomorrow, fall begins. Fall brings cooler weather, shorter days and pumpkin spice everything. It’s also time to adjust your wine drinking habits.

In summer, it’s much more enjoyable to drink crisp, cold whites or yummy rose wines and while fall may not require the refreshment that summer does, your taste buds may be craving something a bit bolder, warmer and cozier. Enter the big reds.

Now, I enjoy a good red any time of the year but nothing beats it on a cool, crisp night with a giant bowl of pasta. If you’re not a big red person, ease into it slowly with a lighter red, such as a Pinot Noir from Sonoma County or a Cote du Rhone from France. Both are a bit lighter but still tend to carry a bit of fruitiness that is enjoyable with fall recipes and weather.

And, for the first time you dish up a hearty chili (because you know that’s coming!), I suggest a Zinfandel to balance the fullness and spice.

The best way to find a wine that uses certain grapes is to ask your local wine merchant for recommendations. Be sure to have a budget in mind, as well. The more suggestions you can give, the better. I typically walk in with a budget, a region and a grape and let my merchant be my guide. Happy drinking!

Grapeless Wines

This afternoon we took our annual journey to Behlings Apple Orchard to pick apples. It’s a fall tradition only this year, it was about 82 degrees and sunny! This year’s apple crop wasn’t as good as previous years, probably because of the lack of rain in Central New York this past summer. Still, we managed to fill a couple of bags with Macintosh apples with which to eat, bake and make applesauce.

Our trip would not have been complete without a quick wine tasting. Behlings has wines from Ashley Lynn Winery on hand to try and buy. Most of the wines are not made with grapes but rather with other types of fruit that grow well in this region. We tried Elderberry Mist and Pomegranate Passion, a pomegranate/apple wine, and bought a bottle of each.

It made me wonder about the origin of fruit wine – wine made with fruits other than grapes, that is. According to Lisa Shea’s Wine Intro blog, fruit wines have been around for centuries. In the Far East, they used plums, for example.

For me, fruit wines are a bit too sweet, particularly those made with raspberries and strawberries and the like. The ones we chose were not as sweet but still tasted better made into wine slushies at home, which we enjoyed as a pre-dinner beverage.

In these waning days of summer, the fruity goodness of a wine slushie is a nice way to enjoy the gorgeous weather just one more time!

 

 

Summer’s Here

Another Memorial Day has come and gone. It’s the unofficial start of summer even though school’s not out until later in June. This summer, my six-year-old (going on seven) is not going to daycare. Instead, she’ll spend some time at home with her step-dad, doing things around the house. She’ll help with the garden and do some activities and maybe even attend a few funerals when he goes to sing at them. In between, she’ll go to Beaver Lake day camp with her old friend, Ava, and I’ll be taking some time off to do some day trips and things with both girls. 

I am also excited about another venture for her – summer reading. I’ve read about the “summer slide” where kids forget what they’ve learned in school. Well, hopefully not this summer. Our goal is to read the entire Junie B Jones series cover to cover. If we succeed, my six-year-old gets a Kindle Fire of her very own! How’s that for a prize? We’ll see how well it accomplishes the goal.

Happy summer and happy reading!

Where Has the Summer Gone?

I know we all say this every year…where has the summer gone? This year, I truly felt the speed at which time moves. Between setting a wedding date, moving (finally!), and work, things have been crazy! Besides the tell-tale sound of summer’s end – the locusts in the trees – I really noticed the end of summer approaching as I looked at the calendar and realized there are only three more weekends left. This weekend, we’re hosting a housewarming party/birthday bash at our house, complete with a bounce house for the kids. Next week, we take the kids camping in Lake Placid and I prepare for my two courses at Syracuse University, which start Aug. 27. Next weekend, it’s my birthday (and my mom’s) plus the Newhouse Faculty Clambake. My daughter starts first grade Sept. 4! Where has the time gone? Hoping we can all enjoy the time we have left.