Using Booze To Make Holidays Even Brighter

This little drink can really make roasting chestnuts on an open fire or going over the river and through the woods a lot less painful.  It is a juice and vodka drink that we call a Pomatini.  It is made with fresh squeezed pomegranate, grapefruit and lime juices.  We made the drink on Thanksgiving morning and actually sat our Pomatini filled decorative pitchers outside so that the drink could cool down before serving.  During our appetizers before the big Thanksgiving meal, we poured, shaked and drank Pomatinis.  Wow, it sure worked to make good food taste even better.  We decided to make these drinks because pomegranates seemed so Thanksgiving-like.  If you think of it, you could really justify this drink for any holiday or occasion–the reddish color fits in well with Christmas festivities or the juice make-up is perfect for a July 4th party.  So the next time you have a get together, consider the Pomatini!

Ingredients for the Pomatini (fills half of a large decorative pitcher):

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed pomegranate juice
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup

Directions:

Combine pomegranate juice, vodka, grapefruit juice, lime juice and simple syrup and then pour into decorative pitchers.  Continue recipe, making it in the proportions provided, until all of your pitchers are filled.

Add ice to chill into the pitcher or pour drink into a shaker filled with ice.  Strain drink into a chilled martini glass.

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Directions:

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat.  Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Let cool.

So why not use our Pomatini to help reduce your stress level during your next holiday get together or party?  Be warned, if you drink more than a couple of these Pomatinis make sure you use a designated driver when you go outside to drive your sleigh around.  What great cocktail recipes do you make during the holidays?  

An Unexpected Thing Of Beauty During A Battle

This is a story of finding something of beauty when you least expect it.  The last couple of months have been extremely busy and stressful here at Acorns On Glen.  So busy, that we’ve not had much time to post here on the blog.  Between work, the Thanksgiving holiday and my father’s ongoing battle with cancer, there has been little down time here on Glen Road.

First off, I am the head of a large group of Accountants.  I’m sure you have heard the term “year-end” muttered a time or two at the places where you work.  Well, that is the time where the rubber definitely hits the road in the accounting world.  To successfully complete year-end requires a lot of organization and some extra time spent in the office.  There is nothing worse than taking an expense in 2012 that could have been taken in 2011 because you weren’t prepared.

Then the holidays pop up.  This year we thought we were being smart and had our favorite restaurant cook most of the food for the 17 guests that were showing up on Thanksgiving day.  We would only make a few side dishes that were family traditions.  Although we saved a lot of time in the kitchen with the food, we still worked the better part of two days cooking the family favorites, setting the table and making sure that the house was neat and tidy.

Lastly, we have spent a lot of time as a family in a new round with my father’s ongoing battle with prostate cancer.  My father had his prostate removed several years ago and, unfortunately, the surgeons were unable to remove all of the cancer cells.  After seeing his PSA levels continue to increase even without a prostate, we have had him come to us for over five years and seek medical care at Sloane Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.  While it is common for men to have a small level of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) in their blood stream, the higher a man’s PSA level, the more likely it is that cancer is present.  Unfortunately, my father’s PSA level has become very high and he has formed a small tumor on his skull that has required radiation.  So far, we have all successfully juggled the doctors’ appointments and radiation sessions and hope to begin to see some progress against this latest flare up in the very near future.

For those of you who have or has had parents who are ill, watching them deal with their issues on a frequent basis makes you heavily reflect on your own life.  First, you feel the need to be checked for the issue that your parent is dealing with on a daily basis.  For any man, frequent PSA screening is essential–do not wait to discuss the need for you with your doctor.  Second, there is a lot of anger that you bottle up.  I constantly think about why this is happening, is there someone to blame and is my family doing enough to make this cancer disappear.  You choose to not show your anger.  It is better to bottle it up then explode and make a bad situation even worse by upsetting everyone.  Lastly, you begin to think about your own life because you realize that life doesn’t last forever.  Are you happy?  Have you made the right choices in your life?  If you could start again, would you do it the same or do it very differently?

Needless to say, all of these things that are going on have dampened the mood here at Glen Road.  You begin to think a lot about what is wrong in your life.  Then you turn a corner while driving and see something that reminds you that life can be very good to you as well.  When things are not so great in your life, remember that the bad things can quickly be out numbered by the things that are going well in your life.  This unexpected Christmas tree in a remote part of Danbury, CT made me remember that although life is not perfect right now, my family, friends and I do have a lot to be thankful for and that we have great lives even in bad times.  As for my father’s cancer, I’m thinking that this Christmas tree in the sky is God’s way of giving us proof that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

So here’s to the unexpected Christmas tree that came to us in a time where we needed to be reminded of how precious and great our lives are.  Anyone can have faith during fair weather; but the true test of faith is how we respond during stormy weather when we can’t see our hand in front of our face.  How do you keep the faith when you are experiencing hard times?

Crafting and Orange Marmalade

This is a jar of my newly labeled orange marmalade.  After making my first-ever batch of orange marmalade, I decided that the finished jars looked a little plain.  I decided that they needed labels.  For many people, making and affixing labels to their canned goods would be a simple and rather artistic chore.  Not me, because this falls in the area of crafts and I am not very good at crafts.  I have tried.

There was one year when I made a real cranberry wreath from a ‘Martha Stewart Living’ magazine article I had read.  It jumped out at me from the pages of the magazine.  I had to have this bright red beauty on my front door for the holidays.  For days, I took real cranberries, inserted toothpicks into each one and then pushed the cranberry spikes into a foam wreath form that I had bought and spray painted red.  It looked pretty, but Martha did not tell me that for those of us who lived in California at the time, that real cranberries would quickly rot in the high temperatures that Californian’s enjoy at Christmas.  Within a week, my wreath had a bad smell and the squishy and wrinkled cranberries were falling off their toothpicks onto my front porch floor.  As well, pushing sharp-edged toothpicks into hundreds of cranberries messed my fingers up for a good week or two.  It was painful every time I jammed my two sensitive fingers into my computer keyboard after being mini-stabbed by toothpicks a hundred times or so.

Then there are the times I decide to make hand-made Christmas cards to impress my friends and family (and make them green with envy).  The last time this urge hit me was when a friend of mine convinced me to buy some stamps, card stock and ink from her new ‘Stamping Up’ business.  I bought like $700 of stuff that guaranteed me beautiful hand-made gems.  My stamps were three penguins with Santa hats and scarves on and each one held a candy cane and a string of Christmas lights.  Each one was stamped in black on white card stock and special markers had been purchased to color those penguins in with various colors.  Sounds easy, right?  Not for me.  After I realized that the date to mail the cards was two days away and I was only half done with the number of cards I needed to send, there were two all-nighters needed to finish.  There is nothing worse than coloring your festive penguins at 4 AM in the morning.  This was the last time I sent cards out.  Too much work!

Being wiser with age, I found a website that produces gorgeous writing papers and envelopes called Felix Doolittle.  This company makes canning labels available in the Summer months.  Perfect for me!  Even better, they had a label with oranges on it and I had them add ‘Acorns On Glen’ across the top.  My blog’s first product although they are not for sale so probably not a product at all.  The best part of getting the labels?  I decided that it made me crafty for the first time in my life without having a breakdown or a mess on my hands.  I like this new way of crafting.  I might have to keep it up.  What things have you accomplished in the crafts department?

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Vacation Needed

This is where we might be spending our Summer vacation unless we decide on something to do as quickly as possible.  All of our friends are off to Europe, on cruises, at the shore.  Us….absolutely no plans.  While the hammock would be nice to lay in for a week, it’s not very exciting.  We need to make a plan and make it now.  What are your plans for Summer vacation this year?

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Don’t Bark Up The Wrong Tree

This is JoJo at our July 4th party.  She didn’t take a nap all day.  She just ran from guest to guest to guest.  When she went to bed at 11:30 at night, she fell to her side and didn’t wake up until 10:00 the next morning.  Partying is really hard work.  What have your pets been up to lately?

Friday Dance Party – All Time Low But Dancin’

This is another edition of Friday Dance Party on Acorns On Glen.  It’s the time where we give thanks for another week of living.  We give thanks for making it through and for being able to celebrate this fact.  How do we celebrate another week of living?  We dance.  So take a moment and be proud of the fact that you’re here and you’ve made it to another Friday.  Not only you, but your family and friends as well.  So, to that end, are you alive this Friday?  Have you given thanks for this?

Good, now let’s dance.

At our July 4th party, I used an application on my iPad for the first time called Pandora.  Basically, Pandora is a music application where you key in the name of a favorite song or artist.  The application will then play the song you requested or a song by the artist you selected and then continue to play songs that are similar to your initial request.  So if you choose Beyoncé, she starts singing and other songs that follow are similar but by artists like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey and Brittany Spears.  We changed the theme up a few times going from pop to R&B to standards from the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett.  All we needed to do to keep the great music playing was hook the iPad into a speaker and an electric source and we were set for the day.  Pandora did the rest.  We highly recommend Pandora for your iPad or iPhone.  Even better is that the application itself is FREE.  The one thing we did notice is that one song kept playing for several of the songs/artists we selected and people were actually commenting about how much they liked it.  The song was from a band called ‘All Time Low’ and is called ‘I Feel Like Dancin’.  Since that is what we like to do on the Friday Dance Party, we thought it would be perfect for today’s song.  So crank those speakers up and get to groovin’.  You’ve made it through another week and you deserve to celebrate.  Don’t sprain anything!  What cool music applications can you recommend for our iPads and iPhones?