Monday, December 28, 2015

New York, New York! (Trip #2!)

 I had wanted to visit New York City for several years, would you believe that I was just there last month for our second trip?!! It's incredible to see a dream come true.

This was an even sweeter trip than last year. On my first trip in October 2014, my husband took me to NYC for our 25th anniversary. But this time, we brought along our 18 year old daughter for a special high school graduation trip.

We arrived on a Monday afternoon and checked into our hotel. We stayed at The Belvedere in Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square. We would recommend that hotel if ever you are looking for a place to stay. It was clean, which if you know me at all, is HIGH on my list! The location was great, too, as it was within walking distance of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall.

Our first afternoon, we walked to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree (yippee!!), walked on to Grand Central Station to eat at Shake Shack, and then did a little more sightseeing on into the night.

The next few days we squeezed in as much sightseeing as we could. On Tuesday night, we had tickets to Aladdin. It's such a great show and our daughter loved it as much as we did.

Another magical performance!
Aladdin at New Amsterdam Theater, NYC

 Afterwards, it was raining and we walked to a place we found on the internet called Capezzi's. It was located in Hell's Kitchen and was the cutest little place. The pizza was fresh and so delicious. We pretty much inhaled it.

9th Avenue, NYC

Ah, that fresh basil!

Our daughter was so excited to see Central Park. When we arrived there, I suggested walking into The Plaza Hotel first.  I really wanted to see the inside. I kind of wondered if the doorman would just look at us and tell us that we couldn't go in. But I had nothing to worry about. It was a beautiful place. We walked around the lobby and headed downstairs where there are bakeries and shops. As we were leaving, I noticed they were serving a formal tea to a family at their table. I would love to do that next time, but we decided to go on across the street to Central Park.

I had wondered if we had arrived too late in the season to see any fall colors (this was early November), but the park was beautiful with orange and yellow leaves everywhere.

The Plaza Hotel is the white building in the front

The Plaza Hotel

Wollman Rink Central Park

Dave and our daughter on the right at Bethesda Fountain, Central Park
Dave laughed when he saw this photo. He said he looks so dramatic, but  was just pointing out The Boathouse to Caitlin.

A very sweet lady at our church had slipped me a $50 bill before we left and had told me to spend it on something special in New York.  When I saw the horse drawn carriage rides through Central Park, I knew that was where the $50 should go:) 

I couldn't find my photo, so had to substitute this one I found online.

My husband and daughter in Central Park.

After spending a few hours in Central Park, we walked across the street to the upper West side to a few movie locations we had found on our previous visit. You know, you really can find just about anything on the internet. My daughter and I love the movie, You've Got Mail, so we had a map of locations with us. My husband and I had walked to a few of them on our last trip (he is a great husband because he could really care less about seeing those places), but this time we walked on even further until we found the location from the last scene of the movie. I know, some of you are probably wondering why we would even do this, but my daughter and I had so much fun seeing all the locations. I just can't explain it. If you've ever loved a movie, then you might know what I mean.

Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail

We found it! This is the same spot from the movie in the photo above. 
91st Street Garden at Riverside Park

We went to Cafe Lalo on West 83rd as well as Zabars on Broadway, which were two other movie locations.

My daughter also had heard of a bakery that she hoped we could visit. We found it on our walk back. The cookies were huge and so good!
image courtesy of

Levain Bakery West 74th Street. This was the very long line waiting to buy their cookies.

(We also visited Magnolia Bakery for their banana pudding and Milk Bar on Columbus Avenue on our trip.) 

On Thursday, we took a taxi to Serendipity for their frozen hot chocolate. It was as wonderful as it looks!

Serendipity East 6oth Street, NYC

We walked all over that beautiful city, took buses a few times, taxis a few times, and Uber rides a few times. We found the people to be very friendly. But it also helps that my husband can become best friends with people in five minutes. The Uber drivers and my husband would talk and talk. They would end up telling him their life stories while my daughter and I would just look at each other and smile. He is just like that.

Little Italy

Chelsea Market

A blogging friend recommended this restaurant to us on West 51st Street

We happened upon this photo shoot near the Flat Iron Building.

The Empire State Building in the clouds
On our last day, Friday, my husband and daughter went to the top of the Empire State Building while I stayed safe on the ground at Macys. I shopped for some Christmas ornaments and found these two.

We ended our trip on Friday with our first visit to Radio City Music Hall. We had tickets to the very first Christmas show of the season. Our flight also left Friday night, but we had time to take in one more show. It was a special experience for all of us. If I lived there, I would go to that show every year. It was really everything you would hope a New York show to be.

The Rockettes!

Then it was time to pick up our suitcases and take our last Uber trip to the airport. You guessed it. The driver and my husband never ran out of things to talk about. 

We made it home around midnight. My daughter says that it seems like it was a dream. It's still hard to believe that we went! We would get up every morning and hit it hard. We never got back until it was dark outside. Even after being there Monday through Friday, there are still things we didn't get to see! I saw the Statue of Liberty from a distance, but next time I want to actually go out and see her up close and visit Ellis Island.

I'm so thankful that we were able to take our daughter. I hope to go back again someday. If  I were rich, I would take all eight of us. I would love for all my kids to see it. This is when it can work against you to have a large family. ha!

I loved New York City. I'm so thankful that I've been able to go. It was as wonderful and magical as I remembered it to be!

Washington Square, NYC

Goodbye, New York...until next time!

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

#Thanksgiving Ideas

 I'm in a celebratory mood as tomorrow is November 1st! I love this time of year and all the happiness it brings. The leaves have turned and are now fluttering to the ground. The air is a little more brisk in the mornings. My mums are still alive and hanging on for another few days before a freeze surely comes. This is a time of cozy evenings and planning for the holidays.

Pottery Barn Kids always has a beautiful display set up in their stores. I had an email to save 25% off an order recently and so ordered these plates for the kids' table.

$6.50 each @ Pottery Barn Kid

I loved this banner, too.

Pottery Barn Kids

Their Thanksgiving kids' table gives me a lot of inspiration.

Do you like to dress your little ones in something special for Thanksgiving? I always did, too.


Wouldn't you love to walk down this sidewalk? (Pinterest)

If you are looking for a side dish for this year's meal, this was a big hit at our house last year. It is Ina Garten's Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta. My daughter, Caitlin, prepared it. It was delicious!

Her recipe is as follows:

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half through the core
4 ounces pancetta, 1/4-inch-diced
1/4 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon syrupy balsamic vinegar
Watch how to make this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan, including some of the loose leaves, which get crispy when they're roasted. Add the pancetta, olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, toss with your hands, and spread out in a single layer. Roast the Brussels sprouts for 20 to 30 minutes, until they're tender and nicely browned and the pancetta is cooked. Toss once during roasting. Remove from the oven, drizzle immediately with the balsamic vinegar, and toss again. Taste for seasonings, and serve hot.

2012, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

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Happy November to each one of you! May you have the most blessed holiday season this year.

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Miss Grace Filled Life: Pottery Barn Knock Off - The Mayflower

Miss Grace Filled Life: Pottery Barn Knock Off - The Mayflower: Last year, I was admiring this Thanksgiving item at Pottery Barn Kids. But it had a big price tag. If I remember correctly, it was about $50...

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: Who's Coming to Dinner?

Good September afternoon to you!

I finished up our home schooling day and began reading a few of my favorite blogs. A couple of them were doing a Show and Tell Tuesday link up and today's topic was, "Who's Coming to Dinner?" If you could choose 5 people to come and be your dinner guest, who would they be? I had to give this a little thought, but here are my 5:)

1.  Kate Middleton

courtesy Pinterest

I think she is beautiful, of course, but every time I see her on the news, or she comes to mind, I pray for her, her husband, and her two little ones.

2.  Martha Stewart and/or  Oprah Winfrey

Photos courtesy Pinterest

I owe a lot to Martha. Years ago, I used to watch her decorate tables for different holidays and it was like water to a parched soul. To see someone create beauty, with so much thought and detail, really left an imprint on me. My favorite episodes from her old show, though, were the episodes where she and her mom would cook together. I think I would just want to sit with her and talk about her mom and her childhood memories.

A lot of people had Oprah on their list and I can see why. You could bring up any subject with her from cooking to her favorite book, and she would be delightful to talk with. When I think of Oprah, I always have the same thought. I think she is very open to a discussion about Jesus and who He is.

3.  Tom Cruise or Jimmy Fallon

Photos courtesy Pinterest

I know, that is funny isn't it? But I just love Tom. I would totally love to have him as a dinner guest. I wonder if he likes pot roast?

Jimmy Fallon makes me laugh and he doesn't have a mean spirit. He seems genuinely sweet.

4. Steve Martin

photo courtesy Pinterest

I have a deep affection for Steve Martin. Father of the Bride 1 and 2 are two of my favorite movies. I've watched them a couple of times a year for years! He seems like he would be so easy to talk to.

5. Tom Hanks

photo courtesy Pinterest

I hope he would be as nice in person as he seems to be onscreen. I think he would be, don't you? Who wouldn't want to sit next to Tom Hanks at dinner? I would ask him why he and Meg Ryan haven't made a movie together in years. That is just a shame!

6. One more...Dev Patel. 

photo courtesy Pinterest

He is the same age as my oldest son, but his movie, Slumdog Millionaire, affected me in the deepest part of my heart. God truly spoke to me during that movie and it is something I will never forget. Of course, he probably wouldn't get all that...he would probably be thinking, "Lady, it was just a movie!" as he was looking for a quick exit,  but I would love to have him to my house as a guest anyway:)

A few more that came to mind were Walt Disney (his life story fascinates me), the director M. Night Shyamalan (mostly for my sons who love to talk filmmaking), Jimmy Stewart, Marilyn Monroe (my heart always goes out to her. Did anyone ever tell her that she was valuable to God?),  Julie Andrews, Margaret Mitchell or Harper Lee (both authors), and George W. and Laura Bush.

Also, I thought of Corrie Ten Boom and David Wilkerson. I loved their life stories so much. I've read and reread their books many times.

What about you? Are any of these names on your list? It's fun to dream!

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