Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Inspired Ideas

I just found this great e-zine, Amy Powers' Inspired Ideas - Christmas Issue. Have you heard about it already? Some of the things here were a little too "country" for my tastes, but I can't help but share a few of my favorite ideas with you.

Theses little felt houses are darling! I might try to make them, along with the felt ornaments on page 46.

I believe my mother has a hidden set of vintage glass ornaments very similar to these. Thinking they need to become mine.

I love silhouettes and cameos. This idea would be adorable framed, perhaps above the kids' cribs?

The sample trees remind me of a cute sweater Edie wore all the time last winter. It had a little hood with a pompom, and made her look like an elf.

Really liking this felt play mat idea. Hopefully I can cram one into my holiday sewing. Edie and Eric love cars and trains right now.

Head on over to Amy's blog to check the rest of the e-zine out for yourself! (Sorry for the blurry pictures!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Chunky Cream Sweater

Now, I don't really consider myself a clothes horse, but when I see something I like, I have to have it. Like this lovely sweater on the equally lovely Anne Hathaway. That's so me. Thankfully, I only really need to dress up when I have client meetings, so my daily uniform consists of dark denim, tall brown riding boots, and sweaters. Bonus - I have the same hair as Ms. Hathaway's in this photo, though I usually wear it straight. My problem is that with chunky sweaters like this, my "top-heaviness," shall we say, makes me look big all over. Not so flattering; however, I think I would forgo that detail in order to experience the coziness I know a sweater like this could bring. It screams snowflakes and fireside cups of cocoa, doesn't it?

If anyone knows of a place I could a similar sweater, please let me know! I think scouring Goodwill might prove fruitful as well (perhaps with a little doctoring on my trusty Janome). Thanks in advance.

Also, anyone see (or planning to see) Love and Other Drugs? I'm on the fence. I adore both Anne and Jake, but this movie seems a little predictable, no?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Silly Goose Farm Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! Are you all turkeyed-out yet? I certainly am, but I still think I might be able to pack away a little turkey soup, turkey pot pie, and turkey a la king, if necessary. We had a very lovely day here at Silly Goose Farm, and I thought I'd share a few snippets with you.

I try to wake up around 5:30a every morning, just because I like the quiet and peace that this part of the day allows me. And nowadays, it's still rather dark outside at that point. Lucky for me, I was treated to the most spectacular sunrise Thanksgiving morning, something I am most grateful for.

I love the contrast of the black trees against the orange and purple sky.

My parents, grandmother (GG), and the family dog (Baron) made the two-hour trek East to the farm, and we were so happy they did. It was great to have my little family together, even if for a small window of time.

Miss Edith enjoying her food... or at least playing with it. 

My mother and GG - see that lovely milk glass compote dish? This lovely gal gave it to me.

My father and GG

Edie caught mid-smile, or mid-"crazy face," can't tell which

Our menu was simple - just the basics. Let me start off my saying that letting my father watch Food Network is almost never a great idea. He gets a little ambitious (that is to say, he thinks my mother or I should make some ready-for-TV meal, and is very pointed in what he wants). We love him very much anyway. I think as long as I keep him fed, he turns up useful in other ways (fixing stuff, mainly). Anyway... back to the menu. We enjoyed a lovely turkey and roasted chestnut sausage dressing, as prepped by my mother per Dad's request, roasted Blue Hubbard squash, made by GG, gravy (also made my GG, also found via Food Network - it must run in the family), mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls (mom's recipe), cranberry bread, some wicked good wine, and pie. Lots of pie.

Pumpkin Pie (I burnt the crust a little, whoops!)

Chocolate Cream (Mom made this - just as Dad likes it)

Apple Pie

Another shot of the apple pie.

All the apples for the pies came right here from our little orchard. I think that's very cool, and I'm very proud of that. One of these little beauties wasn't consumed, and made it's way to a friend, which I heard he enjoyed with a glass (or two) of McCarthy's Whiskey. My kind of man. Typically, I enjoy mine with a lovely steaming cup of french press coffee and a slice of cheddar cheese, but whiskey sounds wonderful. I think the cheese thing is a Pennsylvania Dutch/Central New York/Finger Lakes tradition, which is where I grew up. No one in the Albany area seems to have heard of this.

I kept the decor pretty simple (plans were sort of last-minute, so I just made due with what was around). Some flowers in a pressed-glass vase and pumkins and gourds from the garden seemed to do the trick.

We had to burn off all the holiday calories somehow. This was Edie's preferred method.

All in all, it was a great day. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, as well! Looking forward to sharing some holiday-inspired ideas, gift guides, and one special little girl's second birthday with you all soon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce - undoubtedly my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I remember being younger and hating cranberry sauce, but as I've matured, I've discovered a true love for it. As you're prepping for tomorrow's big meal, take a little time to try the "Official Silly Goose Farm" cranberry sauce recipe.

Cranberry Sauce
Makes Approx. 1 Pint/2 Cups

1 bag cranberries
1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice (1-2 oranges, depending on "juiciness")
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Strong dash of ground cloves
Strong dash of cardamom powder

1. Wash cranberries and remove any leaves or stems. Place in a large pot.

2. Add remaining ingredients to pot. Cook over medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, or until the cranberries have popped and softened, and the sauce has become thick and ruby-red. Serve warm or chilled.


Yes, Virginia, it really is that easy. I tend to quadruple the recipe and make a couple of large batches each year. I process it (ie: can it) to have at the ready. It's great served along pork chops, added to rice pilaf for a little kick, or mixed with mayonnaise for turkey sandwiches.

Even if the rest of your Thanksgiving is from a box, try making this simple, quick, from-scratch recipe to dress up your holiday feast. Everyone will be impressed with your efforts! Have a wonderful Turkey Day, my friends!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Help! I Can't Decide

Hi Friends. I need your help desperately! Typically, I'm an exceptional decision-maker, except when it comes to something very personal - like clothing or what to have for dinner. I can never choose.

A while back, one of my favorite bloggers (Melisa aka The Lil Bee) was offering a give away to APART, an unbelievably stunning fashion line with a piece to suit any taste or style. Wouldn't you know it, I was selected to pick a piece for myself and become an APART style ambassador (uh, yes please!). But now, of course, I can't decide which I like best. Too many great pieces! So, I've narrowed it down to three. Please, please, I'm begging you... help me choose!

Item Number One: Garney Knit Coat

Little City 2

I think this coat would be perfect for a pale-skinned, dark haired girl like me. I could see myself wearing it for client meetings or for cold-weather weekend errands. What do you think?

Item Number Two: Capelet Cardigan

Little City 9

I love this piece and could see it being used so many ways: Movie dates with Dave, lunches with the girls, beer at Mahars with my boys (even as a quick cover-up for those 6am swims). I think it would look equally nice either with my hair down and with its natural curls, or slicked back in a ponytail.

Item Number Three: The Roadster - Limited Edition

Little City 6

What more can I say about this jacket than "Whoa." This jacket is seriously cool. In fact, I'm not sure I'm cool enough to pull it off, but I certainly could try! It's a classic shape that I know I could use year after year. I think I'd pair it with my brown leather riding boots or maybe some cute little lace-up oxfords.

I'm so stuck! Can't I just take all three (I know, I'm a greedy girl! I can't help it). I would love some input, and maybe also ideas for how to wear these pieces? Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Just leave your thoughts in the comments section and I'll check back shortly! (also, thank you wonderful people at APART, you've made me so happy already!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weekend Listening

Disney Pixar Greatest

Happy weekend everybody! I'm currently holed-up in a hotel room in Rochester, NY for a conference for one of my clients, and watching Jeff Bridges on Larry King Live. It hasn't been too bad, but I would certainly rather be cozied up at Silly Goose Farm and snuggling up my kids. And I miss them. While getting a good night's sleep is welcomed, I really miss those little buggers. Nothing a little music can't fix...

Especially if that music is from some of their favorite movies! I love a good Pixar movie, and I especially like the soundtracks. I so vividly remember going with my mom to see the first Toy Story when it came out (I was 9) and marveling at how cool the animation was. It is such a neat memory, and this music makes it even more vivid. I hope my kids will hear this music and think of the movies they love. How nice, then, that the lovely folks at Pixar compiled some of the most memorable songs into one album. Voila: Disney Pixar Greatest Hits. The best thing about it is that the entire album is family friendly, but still something mom and pop can get behind. Besides, who doesn't love a little Randy Newman every now and again?

So, what are you up to this weekend? If you live in the Northeast, I hope you are staying dry (this rainy Nor'Easter has been hitting us hard, eh? At least it's not snow... yet). I'd love to hear your plans!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Caramel Apples

Yum. Caramel apples. Who can say no? (No, really, have you ever said no to one?) It's also a great way to use up those last few apples from the orchard. Here's the recipe.


8 large apples
8 craft sticks or chop sticks *
2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. dark corn syrup
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. kosher salt

1. Be sure apples are clean and free of any wax coating. Grease a baking sheet or line with a sil-pat. Push stick securely into the apple from the stem side. Set aside.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the mixture reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Allow it to cool slightly.

3. Dip the apples one at at time into the caramel, rotating to coat 3/4 of the way up the sides. Lift the apple straight up from the caramel, letting the excess drip into the pot. Place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples. If caramel gets too stiff, place back on stove and stir to re-warm.

4. Allow to set, at least 10 minutes. The apples can be made and stored in the refrigerator a few days in advance.

*I use twigs and small branches because they are free, sturdy and prettier to look at :-)


I wrap and hand-out the caramel apples in the same manner as the popcorn balls. I didn't make any candied apples this year, just based on time restrictions. So, you'll have to come back next year if you want the recipe!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Popcorn Balls

Sorry it's taken me so long to get this posting up. An annoying headcold and general lack of motivation have prevented me from getting any real, productive work done. Plus, I think I get a little too riled-up about elections, and it makes me a tuckered-out girl.

Every Halloween, I make popcorn balls. Gooey, puffy, sweet little bundles of goodness. The first time I ever made them (by myself, at least. I had made them with my mom in the past), I had an awesome recipe that used molasses. It was amazing. Of course, now I can't find it, so I've been using this one instead. It a decent replacement and will do the trick, at least until I find my original recipe again.


Popcorn Balls

2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. water
1/2 c. light corn syrup
1 tsp. white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 quarts popped popcorn (NOT microwaved)

1. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, syrup, vinegar and salt. Cook over high heat until mixture reaches 255 degrees (hard-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Stir in vanilla.

2. Pour over popcorn, tossing gently to cool. Grease hands with butter or shortening. Quickly press coated popcorn into 3-inch ball (be sure not to pack too tight - you want to be able to bite into it!). Cool completely on greased cookie sheet.


I know it's rare to actually get these nowadays when trick-or-treating. We usually get a dozen or so kids to the farm each year, and we are lucky to live in a community where we know everyone pretty well. I feel comfortable handing them out, and would feel just as comfortable if my kids received onel. I always make extras for kids to take home to their older siblings and parents, as well.

I wrap the popcorn balls in plastic wrap, then in some fun Halloween fabric, tied with ribbon. I also add a little Silly Goose Farm tag to each popcorn ball, just so you know where it came from.

This year, Edie figured out this whole popcorn ball thing. Dave and I were relaxing in the living room last week, and all the sudden Edie came stomping in, sat down in the middle of the floor, and started noshing on a popcorn ball. The little thief broke into the pantry, unwrapped it, and left the evidence all over the kitchen floor. She thinks she's so clever.

Stay tuned for some another fun Halloween recipe (although I know you're all Halloween'ed out by now).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Good morning friends. Do you smell that? No, it's not just crisp fall air, it's the aroma of patriotism (corny, I know)! In all seriousness, today is one of the most important days of the year if you are an American, and I encourage you all to get out there and vote!!

Regardless of what you stand for and who you support, you must vote today. Make your voice heard! Not to vote, in my opinion, is the highest act of treason. Many men and women fought and died to protect your rights as a citizen, and now it's your turn to thank them by exercising those rights. Some people say that not voting is making a statement about their views. You know what it states? That you're an idiot and have no place to complain. Don't see anyone on the ballot you approve of? Write someone in.

Here in my district of Upstate New York, I'll be voting for both a State Assemblyperson and Senator, both US Senators, a Congressperson, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Governor. Most local newspapers provide a "voters' guide" to help you navigate the issues and learn what each candidate stands for. Take a quick look if you aren't sure who's running for office in your area. If you don't know where to vote, find your nearest polling place here. And be sure to wear your "I Voted!" stickers proudly! You deserve it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy (Belated) Halloween!

Happy (belated) Halloween every one! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays... you get to dress up, you don't have to buy anyone a present, you don't have to begrudgingly spent time with your family (unless you like your family, that's cool!) and you get candy! I had planned to get this posting out yesterday right after our Halloween was over, but with kids, you know how it goes.

Most of the day was spent finishing Halloween costumes for the kids. Edith was a scarecrow, and Eric was a pumpkin. I just threw Edie's outfit together (I made her top and make straw feet for her shoes). She was kind of looking more like an Indian or something, so I cut out some crows and glued them to her front). I used a pattern from Simplicity for Eric's costume. He stayed pretty warm and cozy in it!

Dave and Edie carved the Jack-o-Lantern together. Edie ate a raw pumpkin seed. If she suddenly becomes very round, I'll know it germinated.

Dave stayed home to hand out goodies to our visitors, while I drove the kids into town to Trick-or-Treat with Edie's best bud Nathan (and his momma and daddy).

In true Upstate New York fashion, as soon as we started walking through the neighborhood, it started to snow. I'm glad I bundled up those kids nice and tight! The firehouse welcomed families in for coffee, hot cocoa, and donuts, but best of all, to warm up!

We headed back to Silly Goose Farm, and stopped in to our neighbor, Mrs. Duffy's (aka Lorraine) house. Her house looks like a magazine, and she even let the kids take a baby pumpkin home with them. I was hoping I would get home and all the goodies would be gone, but we didn't get a single Trick-or-Treater! So, now I have batches of homemade Halloween classics here, hoping I can pawn them off on my clients in meetings with them this week. Also, I will be preparing for an out-of-town conference over the weekend and into next week, so I thought I'd share my recipes for these treats. You'll have to stay-tuned to see what's in store (Oooooo... more Halloween suspense!).

I hope you all had a great holiday! Tell me, what did you dress as, and what is your favorite Halloween treat? I'd love to know!