Author Archives: Nichole S.

Live trick-or-treating at Fenway Park

Trick or treat? Yet to be decided. Good times!

What a Loss…What a Legacy

I had the pleasure and the honor of meeting and photographing Mayor Menino on several occasions. What a tremendous man, what a great influence on the city of Boston and beyond, and what a sad loss.

Nothing Says “Fall in New England” like…

Want to get back at your children for whatever they’ve done wrong or failed to do when asked so far this season?  A little Doughnut Revenge is fun for all.

Nothing says, “Fall in New England” like being slapped in the face by a sugary doughnut.

 

Helpful or Hells No? Dining out Debate.

I’ve been thinking about this for years…as it is something that I’m conscious of and pretty particular about each and every time we go out to eat….especially with the kids.  So, here’s the question…  Do you clean up the table to help out your waiter or waitress or do you leave it as is?  Or does it depend on the degree of the mess?

I’m a big fan of doing what I can to make order of the mess.  I am admittedly more than a bit obsessive compulsive, so it is probably 60% because I feel like I honestly should and 40% because I can’t bear to not do it.

I’m a big fan of wiping down the table, stacking plates, placing silverware neatly on one dish….and even scraping leftover food onto one dish so that the wait staff doesn’t have to scrape each individual plate.  I’ve been told that I go too far on more than one occasion.

I should also add that with a very brief exception (one summer vacation), I’ve never worked in a restaurant so it isn’t out of any kind of kinship…I think of it rather as common courtesy.

On that note, when the boys were smaller…and hence messier, I was known to pick up the debris that lay like shrapnel all over the floor after the breakfast battle of pancakes and scrambled eggs.  How could I not?  But I can still hear my friend’s voice saying, “Could you please stop doing that?” as I was under a high chair picking up scraps of rejected food.

So, by the end of a fantastic evening at the Studio the other night our table was covered with no fewer than 25 dishes.  With three adults and four children..with pretty refined palates…we managed to knock down one salad, one bowl of chowder, one pizza, one fish and chips, one order of edamame, one order of chicken dumplings, six platters of sushi (don’t forget the 4 little bowls of soy sauce), four desserts (might I add those were a lovely surprise, on the house, delivered by the manager especially for the kids), tons of silverware, and a bunch of glasses.

Even with well-behaved kids who are old enough to not make any extra or over-the-top kinds of messes, the table was an absolute disaster.  I could never, in a million years, have felt ok about simply sitting there as things were cleaned up around me.  I made a meek attempt to stack, straighten, consolidate, and wipe….while simultaneously being told nicely to leave it alone by our waiter.  It is worth mentioning that the same waiter and a co-worker of his shooed me away repeatedly as I tried to help clean up the chocolate milk that Finn had spilled on the floor.  OK….I realize I just said that the kids are old enough to not make any extra or over-the-top messes….but, that was a total accident and it was a really big glass compared to his little hands!  Bygones.  In case the picture isn’t painted well enough….allow me to make it clearer….that is a FANTASTIC staff over there at the Studio.  But, I digress.

What’s your Modus Operandi when it comes to post dining dish etiquette?  I’d really like to know.  Anyone in the restaurant business care to chime in also?

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Friday Night Wine Down!

I’ve been meaning to write a post about this awesome place for months now, but just haven’t gotten it done.  So, without further delay…  you need to check out Mill River Winery in Rowley.

I’ve been twice and truly can’t get back there fast enough.

While their event calendar is pretty full with tastings, tours, vineyard walks, and much more, it is the “Friday Night Wine Downs” that I find the most tremendous.

The first time I went, there was some pretty awesome music thanks to Michael Maloney.  Totally check him out as he was really fantastic and has done some cool things since I heard him play that evening!  In addition to the music, the wine is without a doubt spectacular and the food that they offered up was truly delicious.

Another event that I’ve been dying to hit is their “Crush and Brew Trail“.  It’ll take you from the Mill River Winery to the Riverwalk Brewing Company to the Newburyport Brewing Company, and finally onto Jewell Towne Vineyards.  I mean, come on!

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Studio and My Friend Pumpkin

Unbelievable dinner!! The Studio has never failed to get an A+ in the Schrafft’s book! And, yes, that is ALL ours on the sushi bar! My friend, Pumpkin, didn’t disappoint either. Tammy and Ben made our night even better!

Torn Between Two Lovers

Choices…choices.

Dear Grapefruit Beer,

I truly love you and think that honestly I always will…but, it’s late fall and it may be time to let you go.  I’ve had other loves in my lifetime, but none as serious as you.  There was Boone’s Farm in college (for reals), Rolling Rock shortly there after, and then of course, the years spent with Corona…both here on our soil and in other countries.

It is no reflection on you…it just may be time to shake things up a little bit. While my love for pumpkin will never replace my love for you, tart grapefruit, I am feeling the need for a change in my life…and it just may be you that needs to go.

I’m going to spend some time with my new friend, Pumpkin, this weekend and see how it feels.  If it feels right, you and I may simply need to take a break (think Ross and Rachel).  Don’t be surprised though, when spring is in the air, if I come running back to you.  I have a feeling that is exactly what will happen….and of course, I hope that you will be happy to have me back.  In the meantime, I dedicate this song to you.

Love always,

Your Good Friend.

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The Not-So-Great Pumpkin Caper

So, this is how we roll in my house.  It may have started when my husband and I were first dating and he instituted the “you pack it, you carry it” rule.  We’d take off for week-long vacations and he would chuck a couple of bathing suits, a tooth brush, a few t-shirts, and a pair of shorts into a carry-on while running out the door on the way to the airport…and I’d pack a large suitcase, a couple of carry-ons, and a camera.  He’d then breeze through the airport while I tugged and lugged.  He’s not completely barbaric.  Eventually he’d help lug and tug….but, certainly not without an “I told you so” and a dissertation on proper packing. By Day #6 of each vacation I would usually have to confess that I hadn’t worn at least 3/4 of what I had packed.

But, I digress.

Pumpkins.   Because I’m the meanest mother in the world, the Pumpkin Diaries went down like this….“Sure boys, you can pick out pumpkins, but you are responsible for carrying them all the way home.”

I’m not completely barbaric. That mandate was in response to the fact that I was already carrying a bag stuffed with 2 water bottles, 2 sweatshirts, a 1/2 eaten carmel apple, a tray of brownies they had won while playing a game downtown, a camera, 2 baseball hats that they simply could not wear, 2 pair of sunglasses that “weren’t the right ones”, and much, much (much) more.  I also told them that we would be getting pumpkins from a farm later.  But…they are fans of instant gratification and had to have pumpkins right then and there.

So, knowing full well that I rarely back down, the boys proceeded to pick out their pumpkins…hence sealing their fate.

Let the games begin.  You can only imagine the eye rolling that took place while I photographed the odyssey home.

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Note to Self: Never Leave Home Without My Camera

I really need to take a lesson from my fellow contributors and never leave home without my camera.  I’m fairly certain, however, that Murphy’s Law dictates that I will only encounter four deer grazing in a field if I am completely unprepared.

So, that having been said, I apologize for the photo quality, but 4 deer in a field in Rockport is a pretty cool grab even if the photo isn’t the best.

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Trick or Treat at Fenway Park!

Well, it ain’t no Rolling Rally Parade, but I’ll take it.

On exactly October 30th, 2004 and October 30th, 2007 I was inside Fenway Park boarding a Duck Boat with the Red Sox ownership to ride in the Rolling Rally World Series Parades. Two of my craziest days ever.

So, while that  won’t be happening this October 30th….at least something fun will be!

The Red Sox have been finding more and more ways to keep Fenway Park fan friendly and to open its gates in lots of new and exciting ways.  Picnics in the Park, chances to run the bases, Frozen Fenway, ice skating open to the public, the Monster Sled sledding course, concerts…and much, much more!

This year they are also hosting Trick or Treating on the warming track and a viewing of Ghost Busters on the big screen.  All for free!  While you don’t have to buy tickets….you do need to reserve them.

To Read More Click Here

Claim Your Free Tickets Here

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Rockport’s Harvest Festival

One of my favorite days in Rockport is coming up this Saturday!  Lots of great music, food, vendors, artisans, and a Seafood Throw Down….plus, adding a beer truck doesn’t hurt either.  T-Wharf will be the place to be from 10-6!  I hope to see you there!

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Read More about Harvest Fest here!

Schedule of Events…check this out for sure!

Einstein.

Every once in a while you’ll hear me say how smart my boys are….and then, one of them will say something like, “Well, obviously that goat is a boy.”

And my bubble is burst.

And…to make matters worse, I’m pretty sure the goat to the far right was teasing him…and the goat in the middle was snickering.

“Did you hear what that kid said?  He thinks Gertrude over here is a boy.”

“LOL”

So much for the Topsfield Fair being a learning experience.

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For the Love of all Things Sandy!

No one loves the beach more than me, but after watching this grotesque monster work its way across the beach, it is going to be a long time before I sit my butt down on that same wet sand again.

Blech!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I am by no means a wuss….but, I find this little sucker nauseating.  Over reaction, you say? Maybe to you.  But, I think not.  I’ve helped saw the heads off of bluefin tuna without batting an eye, but this slimy, invasive little creatures has the ability to slither places it simply doesn’t belong and it is simply more than I can handle.

I’ll be shopping for next summer’s super high beach chair…ummm…now.

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Last Night’s Taste of Cape Ann

As host to the fantastic Taste of Cape Ann, the Cruiseport Gloucester was the place to be last night!

We went….and we tasted.

What a tremendous collection of Cape Ann’s finest purveyors, establishments, and eateries serving up some delicious food, decadent treats, and a choice selection of beverages…all in the name of a fantastic cause.  Can you say, “Win, Win”?  Many excellent raffle items also helped to raise more money and give other local businesses the opportunity to get involved in this tremendous event.

All ticket sales will go towards supporting Cape Ann YMCA Teen Service Trips to New Orleans, Navajo Nation, and Nicaragua.  I’m not sure I can think of a better learning opportunity for our community’s youth than providing them the chance to help communities that are in dire need.  It is worth mentioning that I couldn’t have been more impressed by the students that were in attendance to represent the YMCA last night.  They were enthusiastic, incredibly helpful, and wonderfully polite.  Several times throughout the evening I was asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?” and they were right there to remove plates from tables, tidy the function space, and offer friendly smiles.  Great job, kids!  Way to represent!

Links to articles about their service missions can be found here:
http://www.northshoreymca.org/blog/may-2013/ymca-teens-travel-to-new-orleans-for-annual-servic/

http://www.northshoreymca.org/blog/march-2013/y-teens-first-international-service-trip-to-nicara/

For information on Teen Programming at the Cape Ann YMCA contact Rick Doucette at doucetter@northshoreymca.org or 978-283-0470

Summer is Over, But the Studio is Still Open!

I was a huge fan of late afternoons on the deck of the Studio this summer.  If you ask me, there was nothing better than sitting outside with some friends, having a yummy cocktail, eating sushi, and taking in the beautiful view of Rocky Neck.  Especially if you weren’t in a rush.

Summer is behind us, but when given a 3 hour window to go play this past weekend, we readily headed straight towards the Studio anyway.

The fall menu is out and we ordered some obscene chili and cheese fries, chicken dumplings, and….of course…sushi.  The Kiss the Fish and Red Dragon rolls to be exact.  Pair those with a pumpkin beer with a cinnamon sugar rim and I’m a goner.

True that the deck is gorgeous, but I’m equally as happy hunkering down at the inside bar.  The high ceiling, massive paned window, and wood finishings are totally cozy and comfortable.

They won’t be open much longer, towards the end of November is what I’ve heard rumored, so check out the fall menu soon.  And….maybe give me a call first ;)

The Studio

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Thanks for the Learning Op, Dave Moore!

If you listened to the most recent podcast or read Marty Luster’s post entitled, “Thank You, Dave” then you already know that we were all so happy to receive some postcards, maps, and currency from one of the most faithful and kind FOBs we have…Dave Moore!

Sunday’s Podcast

Marty’s “Thank You, Dave!”

After other contributors took their share of Dave’s gifts, I was lucky enough to secure the rest to bring to my students.  On Monday morning I shared the items with my class.  We admired the gorgeous postcards and were struck by their beauty, we learned a bit about the Won and its worth in comparison to our American dollars, and we studied the tourism maps to learn more about daily life in South Korea.  Dave’s gifts gave me the opportunity to share some maps of Asia with the class, to discuss time zones, and to, of course, revisit how to write “Thank You” notes.

David’s gifts are now on the shelf in our large geography area and many students have sat independently and looked through the cards…several had fun sorting them by natural landscapes, architecture, food, etc.  They have also tried to recreate the scenes found on the Won.

My students were incredibly grateful that someone so far away would think to share items with them and are making the most of the learning opportunity.

Some of you have asked to see some of the postcards so I took the liberty of photographing several….along with some of Dave’s other gifts and the classroom materials that we are now using along with them.

One act of kindness can go a long way.  So, that having been said, Thank You again to Dave and Kim Moore!

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