Fall bucket list {2018}

I feel like I just wrote our summer bucket list post (which we did really well on!), but here we are: another season in the blink of an eye. Before we know it it’ll be winter! (I actually kind of liked our first Buffalo winter… call me crazy!)

Pre-snow, here’s what we’d like to do with our fall:

Actually decorate for fall.

I picked up some very large mums and the main components to make a friendly scarecrow for our front porch. The Jack ‘O Lantern lights and spiders Michael made last year are already up on the mantle and over the weekend Michael also did his annual wood painting. Last year it was leaves. This year, a pumpkin. (Available at Target.)

Painting pumpkins!

Painting pumpkins!

Go apple picking and make all of the apple things.

We celebrated the first day of fall a couple of weeks ago by apple picking! (Post forthcoming.) We we’ve already been eating all of the apple things. Mark this one accomplished!

Apple picking at Sanger Farms

Apple picking at Sanger Farms

Visit a pumpkin patch — and pick some late-season raspberries!

We had a lot of fun last year and looked forward to doing it again this year. We had an out of town visitor last weekend, so we hit up Greg’s U-Pick and picked three pints of raspberries. They were delicious!! We’re scheduled to go pumpkin patch’ing this weekend!

Late-season raspberry picking!

Go leaf-peeping

Last year we peeped leaves in Ellicottville. This year? I’m thinking Canada and taking a leisurely trip to and from Toronto! Chestnut Ridge Park is also supposed to be pretty pretty this time of year. Maybe head back to Knox State Farm? These mid-October photos are some of my favorites!

Stop the presses: We found a FALL FOLIAGE TRAIN TOUR! We’re so doing this. Yes.

Last year…

Impromptu fall photo shoot in 2017

Fall foliage at Knox Farm {circa 2017}

Halloween dinner party and trick-or-treating

We’re having friends over for Halloween trick or treating and I want to plan and execute a really fun, festive, easy dinner. Tell me what you might be dining on this Halloween, so I can borrow your ideas! Thank you in advance.

Happy fall, y’all!

2018/2019 Fall TV is here!

I’m a little behind in my highly-anticipated annual post on fall television. Please accept my apologies, friends. And for those shows that have already debuted? That’s what OnDemand is for.

What am I watching now? As I write this, I’m watching the series finale of Shooter (USA). Ballers (HBO), The Purge (a new one from USA), and Barry (Showtime) have also been in rotation. It seems like every year I’m less and less excited about the new shows. This year is no different. Maybe you know something I don’t? Tell me what I should be watching and help get me jazzed!

What will I be watching? Welcome back to my returning favorites:

  • The Deuce, HBO (Sept. 9, 8 p.m.)
  • Bull, CBS (Sept. 24, 10 p.m.)  
  • The Goldbergs, ABC (Sept. 26, 8 p.m.)
  • Modern Family, ABC (Sept. 26, 9 p.m.)
  • The Good Place, NBC (Sept. 27, 8 p.m.)
  • Law & Order: SVU, NBC (Sept. 27, 9 p.m.)
  • How to Get Away With Murder, ABC (Sept. 27, 10 p.m.)
  • The Simpsons, FOX (Sept. 30, 8 p.m.)
  • Superstore, NBC (Oct. 4, 8 p.m.)
  • Riverdale, The CW (Oct. 10, 8 p.m.)
  • House of Cards, Netflix (Nov. 2)

Two of my favorites will be returning mid-season:

  • Good Girls, NBC
  • Jane the Virgin, The CW 

And now for the new shows I’ll be adding to the DVR and following until I decide I hate them:

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Amazon (Aug. 31)

Author Tom Clancy introduced the character of Jack Ryan in a series of books before Ryan headed to the big screen in several films. Now the former U.S. Marine is featured in an episodic series for the first time, with John Krasinski portraying Ryan in this Amazon original thriller that centers on Ryan as an up-and-coming CIA analyst. He is thrust into a dangerous field assignment for the first time and uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication. That launches him into the middle of a dangerous gambit with a new breed of terrorism that threatens destruction on a global scale.

Kidding, Showtime (Sept. 9, 10 p.m.)

Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, is an icon of children’s television, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America’s impressionable young minds; when his family begins to implode, Jeff finds that no fairy tale, fable or puppet can guide him through the crisis.

The Good Cop, Netflix (Sept. 21)

The Good Cop is an upcoming American television drama created by Andy Breckman based on the Israeli show of the same name created by Erez and Tomer Aviram and produced by Yoav Gross. It will consist of ten episodes, and will be released on Netflix.

New Amsterdam, NBC (Sept. 25, 10 p.m.)

Dr. Max Goodwin is brilliant, charming — and the new medical director at America’s oldest public hospital. While he’s set on tearing down the bureaucracy to provide exceptional care, the doctors and staff are not so sure. They’ve heard this before, and no one else has delivered on those promises. Not taking no for an answer, Max disrupts the status quo and proves he will stop at nothing to breathe new life into this understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated hospital — the only one in the world capable of treating Ebola patients, prisoners from Rikers Island and the president of the United States all under one roof — and return it to the glory that put it on the map. Inspired by Bellevue in New York City.

Single Parents, ABC (Sept. 26, 9:30 p.m.)

This ensemble comedy follows some single parents as they lean on each other to help raise their 7-year-old kids and maintain some kind of personal lives outside of parenthood. When the parents in the group meet Will, a 30-something guy who’s been so focused on raising his daughter that he’s lost sight of who he is as a man, they see just how far down the rabbit hole of PTA, parenting and princesses he has gone. The friends decide to band together to get him out in the dating world and make him realize that being a great parent doesn’t mean sacrificing everything about his own identity.

A Million Little Things, ABC (Sept. 26, 10 p.m.)

It has been said that friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things. That is certainly true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing that can save them from themselves. 

I Feel Bad, NBC (Oct. 4, 9:30 p.m.)

Emet is the perfect mom, boss, wife, friend and daughter. OK, she’s not perfect. In fact, she’s just figuring it out like the rest of us. Sure, she feels bad when she has a sexy dream about someone other than her husband, David, or when she pretends not to know her kids, Lily and Louie, when they misbehave in public, or when she uses her staff to help solve personal problems. But nobody can have it all without making a few mistakes — and Emet’s realizing that as long as she doesn’t become her mother, it’s all going to work out pretty great.

Camping, HBO (Oct. 14, 10 p.m.)

An obsessively organized and aggressively controlling woman gathers together her meek sister, her holier-than-thou ex-best friend, and a free-spirited tagalong for a back-to-nature camping trip to celebrate her husband’s 44th birthday.

The Rookie, ABC (Oct. 16, 10 p.m.)

Starting over isn’t easy, especially for small-town guy John Nolan, who, after a life-altering incident, is pursuing his dream of becoming an LAPD officer. As the force’s oldest rookie, he’s met with skepticism from some higher-ups who see him as just a walking midlife crisis. If he can’t keep up with the young cops and the criminals, he’ll be risking lives — including his own — but if he can use his life experience, determination and sense of humor to give him an edge, he may just become successful in this new chapter of his life.

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Netflix (Oct. 26)

As her 16th birthday nears, Sabrina must choose between the witch world of her family and the human world of her friends; based on the “Archie” comic. (Think Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Riverdale!)

Grand Hotel, ABC (mid-season, likely 2019)

Eva Longoria executive produces this bold, provocative drama set at the last family-owned hotel in multicultural Miami Beach. Charismatic Santiago Mendoza owns the hotel, while his glamorous second wife, Gigi, and their adult children enjoy the spoils of success.The hotel’s loyal staff round out a contemporary, fresh take on an upstairs/downstairs story. Wealthy and beautiful guests bask in luxury, but scandals, escalating debt and explosive secrets hide beneath the picture-perfect exterior. The show is based on the Spanish series.

The Gilded Age, NBC (mid-season, likely 2019)

When the population of the US doubled at the end of the 19th century, transforming America, disparities between rich and poor sparked passionate debate. Food, coal, steel and oil made fortunes for some, but seldom for the workers on the front lines of industry.

Abby’s, NBC (mid-season, likely 2019)

The oddball cast of characters that hang out at Abby’s believe everyone needs a bar to call home. Theirs just happens to be an unlicensed watering hole in Abby’s backyard, where the drinks are cheap and the laughs abound. But what really makes this place so special is Abby. She’s a tough cookie with no time for nonsense. She doesn’t allow cellphones, earning a seat at the bar takes time, and losing a challenge means drinking a limey, sugary, non-beer cocktail — and her regulars wouldn’t have it any other way.

Set those DVRs and tell me what I should be watching to help get me jazzed for the new shows!

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!

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!