Saturday, December 4, 2010

Breathe Deeply, Cut a Christmas Tree!

The Christmas tree has been an established symbol of the holiday season for many years.  Dating back to 1842 in fact, when the custom was first introduced in Williamsburg, Virginia by Charles Minnegerode.  This holiday custom engages not only our senses of light, touch and smell, but also our sense of family, spirit and deeply rooted tradition.

It is estimated that each year, over 35 million Americans bring a real tree into their homes for the holiday season.  A pretty impressive number, if you ask me!  Our family is part of this statistic, but we like to take it a step further.  Our cherished, day-long adventure includes choosing and cutting down the tree as a family.  

After a large breakfast followed by a trip to the attic to retrieve the totes of holiday decorations, the entire family heads to Maple Lane Farms for our annual tree cutting.   Located on over 120 aces in Preston, Connecticut, the ride is well worth the wait!  Upon arrival, we enjoy some yummy hot cider & cookies, grab a saw and head into the 35+ acres of cut your own Christmas trees! 

It is a marvel to watch our children frolic through the seemingly endless rows of trees.  They run with excitement, showing off their finds, always in search of the "perfect" tree.  I love the magical, ah-ha moment when we all agree on "the one". It is at this point that pictures are taken, (of course), and the tree is cut by my husband and oldest children.  We all yell T-I-M-B-E-R as it falls and become almost giddy with excitement as it falls to the ground.  Then more pictures! 

I really like that Maple Lane Farm employees come to us in the field, mark the base of the tree and take it back to the stand for shaking and baling.  This service allows us to take our time walking back to enjoy the moments of the holiday season that we will always remember. 

I wish you these moments and hope that you find yourselves frolicking at Maple Lane Farms!
Heather  :)

If you go: 

Maple Lane Farms, 57 N.W. Corner Road, Preston, Connecticut 06365
24/7 Information Line: 860.887.8855

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dinner For Save The River - Save The Hills

As a Waterford resident living on the Niantic River, I am deeply invested in the health and beauty of my surroundings.  The natural wonders pristinely positioned outside our windows provide endless pleasure throughout the year.  Aside from its beauty, the river is our favorite family playground for most of the year!

This is why I am so excited about and interested in Save The River - Save The Hills.  This local nonprofit environmental organization is dedicated to preserving the health of the Niantic River Estuary, its Watershed and the natural beauty of the Oswegatchie Hills.  They provide water quality testing and pumpout programs as well as endless environmental education.  In addition to protecting the environment from pollution and over-development, they have also created community focused events such as Niantic River Day and the ever popular Kayak Regatta.

As most grassroots non-profit organizations, they seek active members and host fundraisers to reach their goals.  Fortunately for us, the Save The River -Save The Hills Wine, Cheese, Song & Pasta Dinner is coming up just in time for the holidays.  Please come out and support this wonderful group next Thursday, December 9th from 6pm-9pm at Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant in East Lyme. 

Enjoy a delicious meal, tasty treats, a live band, silent auction, door prizes, some holiday shopping and more!  Be among the first to celebrate the introduction of the STR-STH new keepsake book about the Niantic River and the Oswegatchie Hills; Past, Present & Future! 

Hope to see you there!
Heather  :)

If you go: Save The River - Save The Hills
Wine, Cheese, Song & Pasta Dinner at
Flanders Fish Market and Restaurant
22 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme, CT 06357
Thursday, December 9, 2010 6:00pm-9:00pm
SaveTheRiver-SaveTheHills or Contact Eileen at 439-1687

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Buy Local this Saturday and EVERYDAY!

Small businesses play such a vital role in the economic health of their communities.  More so than the average person would think.  These innovators have taken an idea and invested their time and money locally.  Did you know that for every $100 spent at a local small business, $68 returns to that community?  

I love the idea of Small Business Saturday to get people thinking about spending time and money at locally owned establishments during this holiday season.  Saturday, November 27th, please shop locally.  Some great holiday gift ideas are right down the street!  Join the movement and spread the word.

The 3/50 Project  also does a great job of spreading the "Buy Local" concept.  They want you to think of three businesses you'd hate to see disappear, then pop in and say hello.  Pick 3. Spend 50. Save your local economy.  Pretty simple concept and very effective! 

Beyond this Saturday, think about simple changes in your buying habits that will make a difference everyday.  You can make a large impact on your local community by grabbing your morning donut/coffee at the local bake shop or by enjoying your lunch at the local grille.  Buy your child's bike at the local bicycle shop and your next pair of shoes at the local clothing boutique.  Pick up the next birthday gift at a local gift boutique...I'll bet they will even wrap it for you!

The next time you head into a big box store, look at your list and think of where you can make those purchases at a locally owned establishment.  Some are brick and mortar locations and others are found online.  Get to know who is out there and remember that great things come in small boxes.  The vitality of your community depends on it!

Heather  :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Holiday Festival of Trees & Music - Music with Purpose

Picture the Lyme Art Association as the setting for a 14-day holiday season opener.  An exhibit of locally designed trees, fabulous music and special holiday vignettes inside and out.  If that sounds like a pleasing scene, it is only the beginning of the story. 

The magic of the season kicks off in a big way thanks to Bring Our Music Back, and Kitchings Productions.
The Holiday Festival of Trees & Music takes place from Sunday, November 21st
through Saturday, December 4th.  A dazzling display of 25 corporate sponsored, themed trees, designed and decorated by area designers and events beyond your wildest holiday dreams will be in full swing!  Not to mention, a Winter Wonderland Holiday Boutique and special events including Breakfast & Pictures with Santa, Holidays 'Round the World, Cookie Decorating and special holiday vignettes inside and out the Art Association.  Live music will be featured by community youth groups and various local artists throughout the 14-day event!

Let's not forget that the proceeds from The Festival of Trees and Music will benefit Youth in Music initiatives supporting musical artistic development of youth, programs and services within our shoreline community and New London County.  This is truly MUSIC WITH PURPOSE.

Please visit Holiday Festival of Trees & Music for the complete schedule of events and most importantly,
PASS IT ON AND SUPPORT THE EVENTS!!  Remember that it is also a Toys for Tots Official Drop Site... bring a wrapped toy marked by age and gender for the Toys for Tots Trees!
Heather  :)
If You Go:
The Lyme Art Association, 90 Lyme Street, Old Lyme
Tickets: $8 Adults $5 Children ages 6-12
             Age 5 and under are FREE
             Groups and field trips welcomed !
Advance Tickets.... please call (860) 434-1882

Friday, November 12, 2010

Local Pigskin Action ~ Ivy League In Our Backyard

Yale Bowl - New Haven, CT
Having three young, active boys in our home comes with a certain expectation of some great sporting events.  Lots of them.  Lucky for us, our good friend Melissa is on top of things and came through today with a great, low-cost, LOCAL idea.

Turns out, we can get the type of communal excitement brought on by a rivalry dating back to 1873, right here in Connecticut.  That's right; I'm talking about some local Ivy League pigskin.  For a low cost, the entire family can head to New Haven's Yale Bowl on Saturday, November 13th.  Starting at noon, our family will take our place among the 60,000+ other spectators as the Yale Bulldogs take on the Princeton Tigers.

This game is guaranteed to be a crowd pleasing match-up!  Thanks Melissa!
Heather  :)
General Admission Adult/Senior  $8/$5
General Admission 12-Under  FREE!
(Please consult the Yale Bowl website for exact directions and up-to-date pricing)

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Generally speaking, I do not partake in breakfast festivities at home.  I know, I know, it is the most important meal of the day, but my taste buds are not ready for food or beverages until at least 10am.  So, most every morning, I am forced to eat my most important meal on the go.  Because I am a busy Mom & Entrepreneur, it must be fast & fabulous! 

That is why I'm so excited about the list of the 10 Most Fabulous Breakfast Joints in Mystic Country.  There are so many great little restaurants in SECT.   It must have been tough choosing the top 10, but big time fun during the "taste test" phase. 

Now, I have my own personal favorites which depend on my co-pilot status for any particular day.  Typically, if  I'm feeling nostalgic and need the comfort of my roots, I head to Ashlawn Farms in Lyme, CT.  The coffee is roasted right on the premises and it is fresh and fabulous.  There is a classic hominess to Ashlawn Farms that just hits the spot every time.

If I am in a rush and just need a quick bite on the fly, I head to Flander's Donut & Bake Shop.  The bagels are made fresh daily and they are out of this world delicious.  Taste one and you will never go to the grocer for bagels again.  If any of the kids are co-piloting for the morning, they can grab a tasty home-made donut or pastry.  They call me "queen bee" every time I go there...can't beat that greeting.  Gina saved me once at their drive thru window - long, funny story. 

If my hubby has a few minutes between clients to meet me for a quick breakfast, we will usually head to When Pigs Fly in Waterford for my avocado omelet fix or to The Shack in East Lyme for pancakes. 
This is also where I take the kids when we are running late for school.  Each child has a favorite and there is something yummy on the menu to please all four of them.  Love the motto at The Shack....Life is Short.  Eat Pie.  Can't go wrong with that mantra.
We are usually pressed for time so these wonderful restaurants are fabulous, locally-owned destinations for  a quick and delicious breakfast fix on the go.  Check out the list and try each one - you won't be disappointed.
Heather  :)