DSC_0021One of my favorite places I visited as a child on a regular basis was Schutt’s Cider Mill in Webster, NY. I can’t remember ever not going there and I believe it’s been a family tradition since my grandmother was a child. We ate A LOT of apples growing up. After all, I grew up in Western New York where apple orchards are everywhere. And the apples are SO good! I really haven’t found any others that compare. Call me biased, but it’s true.

DSC_0009So, during our little venture to Rochester for a regatta, we managed to schedule a visit to Schutt’s and check another thing off of our Fall List. It’s hardly changed (just a little bigger than I remember) and it was wonderful. 🙂 Even Ed agreed that their homemade doughnuts were some of the best he’s had. My mouth is watering just thinking about them… We even got a chance to watch them press the apples into cider. We’d never seen that before!

Hopefully you enjoy a little visual tour of all of the goodies we saw on our visit. We didn’t manage to get any shots of the doughnuts because we inhaled them pretty quickly.

Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in the Rochester area! Happy Fall!!!

Wordless Wednesday October 6, 2010

Guess what we have lots of in the garden? Ed wanted to know what we were going to do with them…


I keep meaning to write…really…I do. I even wake up in the middle of the night with a blog half-way written in my head. And then I can’t fall back to sleep. Those who know me well may find that an amazing fact. I like sleep. A lot. But getting up and writing just doesn’t seem like the right thing to do at 3 or 4 am. I might wake Ed up. 😉

So, I have a lot of blogging to catch up on. I’ve even started a few and haven’t had a chance to finish them and make them “just right”. Does anyone else have that problem? Time just hasn’t been on my side and when it is, I have been preoccupied. I’ve been stuck in a rut. I feel like I can’t post anything until I finish those, but I also want to update on what’s going on right now. I’m been feeling a bit guilty and have decided I just need to get over it. But…I’m back. And my blogs don’t have to have photos. Crazy concept. I love to put photos in my blogs, but sometimes I just need to write. So from now on, I’m freeing myself to just write and worry about the photos later…or not at all.

We’ve been busy checking things off of our Fall List. I have stories to tell about them…and I’ll be writing about it here sooner than later. I’m back for real, I promise.

DSC_0031Yes, it’s true…the first batch of Chaser’s Racers Buddy Walk shirts are finished…whohoo! And if I do say so myself, they came out awesome!!!

If you don’t already know Laurie and her crew from checking out Welcome to the Mad House, then you probably don’t know why we are sponsoring the Chaser’s Racers Buddy Walk team. You see…Laurie has been one of my very best friends from way back in the days of third grade. A few years ago, her life changed dramatically when Chase entered the world. Anyways, he changed her life and mine too…and he’s an amazing kid. So, AlwaysHappyLife.com is sponsoring and walking in the Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte’s annual Buddy Walk this year on team Chase’s Racers. And we’re going to look gooooood! We have our awesome logo from our friends Cary & Beth Siegler at GT3 Creative who turned an adorable photo of Chase’s little foot and a rudimentary sketch from Laurie into our sweet team logo.

The best part is, even if you can’t walk with the team, you can buy a Chaser’s Racer team shirt to support the team AND we’re donating $10…yep, that’s $10 from each shirt…to the team for every shirt sold. Order your Adult or Youth shirt today and in case you feel the need to give some love to us too, we’re also making a donation to the team for every Always happy. Never satisfied.™ Classic shirt. You just can’t go wrong!

Photo used with permission ©LeShayne Maddex/Barefoot Summer Photography

How can you not want to support such a cute kid and a good cause?!? If you don’t want a shirt, you can always donate to our Chaser’s Racer’s team here. Chase and his team and fan club thank everyone for all of the support and we can’t wait to show off our team spirit at the 2010 RBC Bank Buddy Walk in Charlotte!

Yesterday evening, we hosted the Maxinkuckee Yacht Club’s Famous Chili Cheeseburger Party at the Farm. What…you haven’t been to it? How could that be? Hmm…maybe next year! You’ll just have to come to our Fall Regatta to check it out.

Since the Maxinkuckee Yacht Club (say that three times fast!) doesn’t have a brick and mortar home, members host the different events and gatherings or they are at other various locations in Culver. We’re pretty laid back, but we like our parties! There’s the Annual Fourth of July Picnic, various cocktail parties throughout the summer and our Awards Dinner. And it’s completely affordable…

I attended my first Chili Cheeseburger Party four years ago. Ed and I have now hosted two of the four that I’ve been to and I think we could be becoming a rather permanent location, which is fine with us! We’re on the schedule already for next year. 🙂 I thought I’d miss this year’s party because we were both going to be in Newport, but luckily Ed came to his senses and said I could stay home. 😉 It was a little odd hosting the party without my favorite guy (he actually did help out from afar)…but I had a lot of help from many volunteers and everything went off without a hitch.

DSC_0058So back to the party, just like the name says…we had chili (lots and lots and lots of different kinds, pot-luck style) and cheeseburgers (which MYC provides). And of course yummy desserts. The chili really hit the spot since it was a brisk early fall evening and was pretty damp all day.

And we had a bonfire. Wouldn’t be a complete party at the Farm without a bonfire.

BonfireDefinitely good times!

It’s raining…
It’s pouring…

And we’re hosting a party tonight here at the Farm…

Not just any party, but the Famous Maxinkuckee Yacht Club Chili-Cheeseburger Party.

Did I mention it’s a bit chilly here too? 60°F to be exact. Fall has arrived for sure.

Hopefully the skies decide to clear up by this evening, otherwise, we’ll be having the party in the new barn as plan B.

DSC_0004Until we know what’s up, Noisy and I will keeping warm and dry inside. Noisy’s currently doing an excellent job of holding the couch down with me and I’m sure he’ll hold his own when I motivate to do some trim painting in a little bit. Such a tough life he has!

Betcha the sailors are having fun right about now. I can’t say I’m too upset that Ed and I aren’t racing here this weekend! 😉

I can’t say that Fall is my favorite season…but it definitely has it perks. Apple cider, pretty leaves, perfect sleeping weather, pumpkins…to name a few. And although I don’t have kids, I think all of my friends with children would agree “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. In case you don’t remember…

We made a summer list and managed to cross a fair amount of things off of it. A few we’ll roll over for next summer because we didn’t have a chance to do them and some will be repeats because we really enjoyed them. So, why not have a Fall list? Since I find Fall to be a bit depressing, I’ll need some inspiration and reminders for our Always happy. Never satisfied.™ lifestyle.

1. Cider and Doughnuts: We’ll be in Rochester September 21st-29th and I cannot wait for fresh pressed apple cider. For as long as I can remember, my family has been going to Schutt’s Cider Mill in Webster, New York. They just have the best cider I have ever tasted (and it changes weekly depending on the blend) and they make homemade doughnuts there too…every day. One of those Fall memories that just always is perfect…and delicious. I can’t wait to share it with Ed this year too.

282540580_cb66289c3f_o2. Autumn Leaves: Pretty leaves…make pretty pictures. We’ll be in some great locations for Fall foliage shots. Home is of course my favorite place to start. 🙂 But we’ll be in Newport, RI again in October and Annapolis, Maryland too…along with lots of places in between.

3. Perfect Temperatures: I’m a little like Goldilocks. I like it “not too hot” and “not too cold”. Windows open at night to let in the cool night air and I sleep like a baby. Rainy early mornings are perfect for sleeping in and even though I don’t do it often…I love to do it.

4. Pumpkins: Last year we grew them. They took over the garden, Little Shop of Horrors style. Seriously. This year we grew acorn and butternut squash and they have done the same…crazy plants. I think they will be relocated to a new area next year. I found a pumpkin patch that’s not too far away and we’ll need to visit it and pick a few out. Roasted pumpkins seeds are my favorite.

281824677_a5a8f9b8d7_o5. Friends: We’ll be seeing a lot of friends this Fall in our travels. Miss them all and don’t see them often enough of course. Definitely looking forward to catching up!

6. My First Rodeo: I’ve never been and we saw a sign today that there’s one locally September 18th and 19th in Grovertown, Indiana. It’s on the calendar!

7. Iceman Commeth: We’re racing in the Iceman Mountain Bike Race on November 6th. That is less than two months away…yikes! I think I need to start training. As in…starting tomorrow…

8. Skeet Shooting & Chili: They go hand in hand around here. We host skeet shooting here at the farm with friends and family. And we eat chili (lots of different kinds) out in the barn…and drink hot chocolate. Enough said.

9. Football: I didn’t grow up watching football…and no one in my family played. I always liked Notre Dame though. But…I am really looking forward to tailgating before a Notre Dame game. According to Ed, they start days…as in at least three…before the game. I hear it’s a crime to not like football if you live where we do…

10. Sweaters & Fleeces: It’s kind of appealing in early Fall to open up my sweater drawer and have a wardrobe I haven’t worn in a few months. By November, I’ll be over it though…but the first few weeks, it’s a bit magical.

Wordless Wednesday September 8, 2010

Loving being home in Culver, Indiana for a little while!


We’re excited to have Laurie Maddex of Welcome to the Mad House guest blogging for us today on giving back which fits with our goals for Always Happy Life. Her personal blog is awesome, so make sure you check out their regular adventures as well. Hopefully we can talk her into blogging for us more in the future!!! So without further adieu…here it is:

august end 028We had quite the eye opening experience at our church yesterday; a statistic that said that 40% of the population of Uganda had no access to clean water. 40 percent. 29,000 children die from diseases linked to unsafe water every year. Wow. How is that possible, when I am here, in my home, with water, power, air conditioning and healthy kids?

And I have the audacity to complain when my kids won’t nap or when I gain 5 pounds. Reality check, right?

Oy. It really made me stop to take inventory of my life…to think about what I have and what I could give away.

So, my goal from now forward is two fold (and I invite you to join me in accomplishing it!):

1- To realize what I have and enjoy it. Everything. From the smiles on my kids faces to the smell of fresh cut grass (even though I am sweaty and covered in clippings), from the beautiful clear blue skies and perfect playtime weather to the overcast, dreary days that give my garden life.

There should be appreciation in everything. Yeah, my youngest just dumped his ENTIRE plate of syrup covered pancakes onto the clean floor…but I have a friend who lost her baby last year and would give anything to clean up his sticky mess today. Anything.

My days are filled with daycare kids and carpools and homework…and my husband comes home late from work because he is SWAMPED there…but we both have jobs. And there are many many people who wish they had too much work to do.

Everything is a blessing.

And 2- To give back. Sure our budget is tight. And we are paying off student loans, medical bills, and stupid spending on credit cards. But we have SO much. It doesn’t take that much to be able to give back somehow. It could be a small gesture (a case of water delivered to the homeless shelter whose roof caved in 2 weeks ago in Charlotte) or a big one (participating in a home makeover for 4 single moms at Jackson Park Ministries).

There are opportunities to give back everywhere, and true to the lyrics of Avenue Q, when you help others, you can’t help helping yourself. Giving feels good. It does.

So find something. Anything. Start small, call around. See who could use you. Perhaps you could give an hour of your lunch break up once a week to sit and read with a child at a struggling school. Or maybe you could serve a meal at a homeless shelter, volunteer with your local ASPCA, or provide a meal for a family going through a tough time. There are limitless possibilities- just jump right in.

Here are more places you can go for ideas on giving back:

1) What Gives 365

2) A Year of Living Charitably: A blog documenting 365 good deeds.

3) Turn on the Tap: Samaritan’s Purse answers to the need for clean water worldwide.

I’m off to enjoy more little pleasures; there are cheap popsicles to be had on the back patio and silly kids antics to appreciate!

labor day 001

Wordless Wednesday September 1, 2010.
Thanks to Ed’s Dad, Bill Furry for all of the shots this week!