Our Buffalo summer top 5 list

Now that we’re officially into summer, and with this being our first summer in Buffalo, we put together our Buffalo summer top 5 list: (in no particular order)

1. Eat local: berry picking & shop the farmer’s market

Brandon and I have been picking berries for years — blueberries and raspberries are our favorites, since the picking is easy (no bending required) — and Western NY has a ton of u-pick farms. Last summer we picked raspberries, apples, and pumpkins and we went strawberry-picking a few weeks ago — perfect for a 3 foot tall individual… far less bending…

Strawberry picking at Greg's U-Pick Farm in Clarence NY

Berry picking is in Michael’s blood!

Strawberry picking at Greg's U-Pick Farm in Clarence NY

Yum! Strawberries!

Strawberry picking at Greg's U-Pick

Michael loved strawberry picking

We’ve also been loving all of the farmer’s markets in WNY and have made a point to buy whatever fruits and veggies (that we’re not picking) at the local farmer’s markets. We’re having fun and really enjoying the food!

2. Patio happy hours 

Winter in Buffalo wasn’t as bad as we expected (knock on wood!) but now that summer is here — there wasn’t a spring, it was skipped this year — we’re ready to enjoy the heat and humidity that is summer in Buffalo. We’re looking forward to tackling this (year old) list of patio happy hours this summer. Sun + drink & food specials + kid in school = an excellent time.

3. Camping 

We’re already making progress on this item with our recent camping trip at Letchworth Park. It’s been 10+ years since I camped and was Michael’s first time. All-in-all, we enjoyed it. It was ~10 degrees colder than we expected at night, so we have a better idea of what to pack for next time. Also, friendly skunks and raccoons aren’t cool.

Letchworth State Park 2018

Father’s Day camping trip to Letchworth State Park

We’re looking forward to checking out: Four-Mile Creek State Park, the Adirondacks (maybe Cranberry Lake with Michael’s BFF?!), around the Finger Lakes (maybe some glamping through The Quiet Place?) and any other parks you recommend in the comments below.

4. Pool time 

We moved to Buffalo and discovered the splash park with only a week left of summer. Michael loved it and was so excited for his first visit on the 4th of July. The hours are a little wonky and really cut into nap time, but we’ll get there as often as we can!

Clearfield Pool

Michael’s new happy place

5. Play tourist

Buffalo was ranked one of the 52 places to visit this year by the New York Times. While my job allows me to drive around and explore a lot, it’s not quite the same without my boys. So, I’ve been keeping track of places I want to show to them. Here are of a few of the places I’ve already found and some that I’m eager to explore:

What am I missing? Fill me in, Buffalo. We’re still new here and know we have a ton left to do!

Advertisements

National Doughnut Day {2018}

This week we’ll celebrate National Doughnut Day on Friday, June 1.

It seems like there is a new National ____ Day every day, but this is a holiday we can really get behind as doughnuts are some of our favorite foods.

In Seattle, we had our favorite shops and doughnuts: Top Pot (maple old-fashioned, apple fritter) and Daily Dozen Doughnuts (assorted dozen or a dozen sprinkled).

We love Daily Dozen Doughnuts so much they made an appearance in our wedding photos! {Photo by Mike Fiechtner Photography}

We were sad to leave them, but pleased to find that Buffalo is a doughnut city too! Buffalo also fancies itself an expert in wings (duh), pizza (the greasier, the better), and ice cream (it’s so good! That’s for another post!), among others.

We’ve sampled most of the doughnut-eries in Buffalo and Donut Kraze is hands-down our favorite shop. Brandon doesn’t have a favorite doughnut yet and always tries the classic or seasonal favorites. Michael always gets the white cake doughnut with frosting and sprinkles. I opt for the blueberry old-fashioned (it’s like eating just the crispy parts of a blueberry muffin) and a bagel egg sandwich that I share with Michael.

Weekend breakfast goals.

Michael and his favorite breakfast

As you get ready to celebrate National Doughnut Day the best way you know how, let me offer some ideas and recipes I found on the internet that are sure to be your new favorites:

Travel the Ohio Donut Trail with us? We’re legitimately looking into a trip…

S’more doughnuts

Triple dipped chocolate peanut butter doughnuts: Two of Brandon’s favorite flavors!

Catnip doughnut with pink frosting: I met the owner of this Etsy shop at Craft Camp last year and fell in love with her catnip toys, especially this doughnut!

If you still haven’t had your fill of doughnuts yet, keep reading some of my favorite doughnut posts:

{2017/2018} Fall TV updates: What I’m still watching and going to miss

Every September I write about my hopes and dreams for the upcoming fall TV season. Read last year’s post here.

And then around this time every year, as the shows are wrapping up for the season, I take some time to reflect on what I thought of the shows, and how I feel about their fate to return for next season. Read last year’s RIP fall TV post here.

What am I watching now? As I write this, I’m catching up on For the People. I’ve also been engrossed in Riverdale, Westworld, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Some of my favorites that left or likely will be leaving after this season: 

  • Vice Principals
    • It was only meant to be two seasons and got weird here and there, but I still miss it.
  • Scandal
    • It was time. I was surprisingly unfilled by the finale.
  • Designated Survivor
    • I figured it was nearing the end when they killed off Alex last season, but I still enjoy it!
  • Great News
    • I was fond of this show but never made it a priority. I guess I wasn’t the only one.
  • Quantico
    • I’m catching up on the current season and it’s weird. It’s time.
  • Timeless
    • This show is cute! I hope it stays on!!
  • Shades of Blue
    • I watched the first season sort of. No loss here.

And those who newbies that couldn’t make it work:

  • The Crossing
    • We’re catching up on this show and it’s good, but I’m definitely not hooked.
  • Law & Order: True Crime
    • The Mendez Brothers series was interesting. I’d like to see more stories.
  • 9JKL
    • This show was sort of cute, but ridiculous. It was time.
  • Alex, Inc.
    • I intended to watch this show but then didn’t. I guess I wasn’t the only one!
  • For the People
    • It is good but it does seem like it’s missing the mark. Maybe they’ll come back and turn it around?
  • Ghosted
    • Such potential. Such a disappointment.
  • Life Sentence
    • I thought the show was cute, and I’ll miss it. Lucy Hale’s duck lips though? Not right.
  • The Mayor
    • I gave up on this show less than one episode in. It was bad.

So, what’s on-tap for the summer TV viewing?

  • Nashville returns June 7
  • The Bold Type returns June 12
  • Young & Hungry returns June 20
  • Take Two premieres June 21
  • Westworld wraps up June 24
  • Making It premieres July 31 (I’ll still watch, even though I’m not on it. Jerks.)
  • Ballers returns August 12

Above renewal assumptions informed by Zimbio.

Tell me what else I should be watching!

Mother’s day “flowers” {last-minute gift idea}

Still looking for the perfect gift or card for your Mom this Mother’s day? Look no further!

Presenting a special bouquet of flowers:

Mother's day bouquet of hand print flowers

My Mother’s day bouquet

These are really easy to make:

  1. Squirt out your paint – we used Michael’s Crayola washable tempera paints
  2. Take subject’s hand
  3. Paint subject’s hand. Work quickly depending on age and patience level of subject.
  4. Press subject’s hand onto paper.
  5. Let dry.
  6. Add some foliage (stems and leaves) and cut out or back with additional paper.

And if you’re a visual learner:

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Prep your materials.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Painting your subject.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Stamp, stamp, stamp.

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

Hand prints: complete!

Handprint flowers | Mother's Day

And then when the hand prints turn into painting…

Happy Mother’s day!

Buffalo Botanical Gardens

As we continue to adjust to the city of never-ending winter, I mean, Buffalo, we went on a mission to find spring a few weeks ago.

We didn’t have to go far, just 30 minutes south from our house, to find the Buffalo Botanical Gardens.

Buffalo Botanical Gardens

We found spring!

Stopping to smell the flowers

Cheese!

Warmth and pretty, pretty flowers!

Family photo!

To be fair, this post was drafted last weekend during our freezing rain bout, which was then followed by our first 70 degree day in exactly six months, and there is snow in the forecast tomorrow!

I’ve been told that it has snowed plenty of times in May here, so I’m not putting away my snow clothes quite yet, but I thoroughly enjoyed this week’s dose of vitamin D!

 

 

 

 

 

Our current Instant Pot favorites {April 2018}

Even though we hauled our Instant Pot across the country with us on our big drive last summer, it took me a little bit of time to warm up to it.

While it’s nice to be able to saute, slow cook, pressure cook, etc in one dish, the time needed to get up to pressure (15+ minutes) is annoying and makes weeknight IP’ing (as the cool kids are saying) more difficult.

Nonetheless, I’ve persevered and have been actually enjoying our Instant Pot lately and found a few recipes I’d like to share here (and keep on record for quick reference):

Urvashi Pitre’s Instant Pot Butter Chicken from the New Yorker

We pair ours with naan, jasmine rice, and roasted cauliflower with slivered almonds and raisins.

Delicious, delicious IP butter chicken

Instant Pot Salisbury Steak With Mushroom Gravy by Live Simply

We nestle these Salisbury steaks in a bed of creamy, garlic mashed potatoes with a veggie on the side.

It’s not that photogenic of a dish and I always devour it right away, so no photos. Please use your imagination.

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli by Savory Tooth

Michael has a soy sensitivity, so when we can avoid it, we do. Thankfully, coconut aminos exist and are delicious as a soy sauce substitute in this recipe. We sub them 1:1 and the sauce tastes so much like “normal” sauce!

IP Broccoli beef

I electronically hoard other Instant Pot tips, tricks, and recipes on Pinterest too. Check them out. And please share some of your IP favorites for me to try out!

And the Oscar goes to… YOU for hosting a party!

Tonight is the big night! We normally have a party in honor of the Academy Awards, but this year is different. The east coast time zone combined with a 2 year old with an early-ish bedtime has really done a number on our party hosting. (I’m looking at you too, Super Bowl!)

If I WERE hosting a party though, I would print out this ballot, these bingo cards, and create a menu that looks something like this…

Our Oscar party spread, circa 2017

View our other annual Oscar party recaps here. {2015} {2014}

And a bonus photo of Michael from the 2016 show. What a round little cutie!

Michael getting the statues ready for our 2017 party