Category Archives: Baby Nathaniel

Northern New Jersey: The Happy Gardener

7 bags of garden debris in 8 hours over two days. . .and I've just begun the cleanup.

This afternoon was a great time to get some more spring garden cleanup done. The sun was shining. A slight breeze was blowing. The birds were singing. All was right with my world. I spent four hours raking, pruning and “Preen”ing a few areas of my garden. I also replanted a couple of shrubs that somehow hopped out of the ground when I wasn’t looking and winter was doing its freeze/thaw cycle.

Do garden centers sell corn gluten where you live?Hey, do you use Preen? It’s a pre-emergent herbicide that prevents weed seeds from germinating. I would rather use corn gluten, which serves the same purpose and is an organic approach to boot, however, try finding corn gluten when you live about 20 minutes from New York City.

Tonight is a special night, my family of four is meeting my sister and her husband for dinner at Fernandes II, a Basque restaurant in Newark (that’s ‘New erk,’ as in Jersey, not ‘New ark’ as in Delaware). I think my niece will be there too with Baby Nathaniel. Good food! Good company! Good time!


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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Baby Nathaniel, Family, Fine Dining, garden cleanup, New Jersey

Tales of Lemoncello: One Year Later

It’s been almost a year since I shared the story about the grain alcohol that tasted like water when I opened the bottle; and for those of you who read that tale ( you know that my son Max did replace the grain alcohol with water and I did have to begin at the beginning to make my Italian girlfriend Anna’s much-coveted, much-praised lemoncello.


This year I didn’t have any problem with the Everclear grain alcohol I purchased (and promptly hid in a deep, dark, obscure spot where neither the 19- nor 16-year-old could find it. I took it out of safe keeping today and finished the brewing process. The lemon skins had marinated in grain alcohol for two weeks (more than the recipe recommends, which I think Anna told me was the bare minimum of time).

The Real Deal, not a vodka-based imitation!

Today I cooked up a simple syrup, let it cool, fished the by-now-pickled lemon skins out of the now-yellow grain alcohol, added some more grain alcohol per the recipe Anna had given me and bottled the whole mixed-up shebang together.

I’m a little sticky from the bottling process since I can never keep the funnel balanced perfectly as I pour. It’s too early in the day for me to be licking my fingers clean either. . .unless I want to go to bed really early. . .and wake up late, possibly with a dire hangover. Moderation is key in so many things, especially drinking this lemoncello!

Double the recipe and share with family and friends. You hear that Joe and Phil?

And an Early Christmas Celebration

My extended family celebrates Christmas together the Sunday before Christmas. So yesterday, as usual, we travelled to Central Jersey to my sister Cindy’s home. I look forward to the gathering of adults (my generation), teens and young adults (my kids are still teens and their cousins are in their late 20s/early 30s) and little kids (two great-nephews, babe in arms and kindergartener).

It’s always fun. Football frequently takes center stage with lots of teasing back and forth between the True Blue Giants fans and the Gang Green Jets fans. It’s lively and, well, family. My sister put out a fine spread of food from appetizers to main course, side dishes and desserts. Most of us eat too much and have to rest our eyes for a little while after we eat! It’s part of the tradition, I guess!

The newest member of our clan, Baby Nathaniel, was fascinated with the hubbub and his friendly cousins. It was wonderful to watch his eyes widen in delight, his attempts to “talk,” and his wriggling to get a better view of his world.

Welcome, Nathaniel!

Baby Nathaniel with His Mom and Great Aunt



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Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Baby Nathaniel, Christmas, Everclear Grain Alcohol, Family, Food, Football, Lemoncello, New Baby, recipes

My Great-Nephew Nathaniel

Not a Preemie Anymore

The cheeks! Look at the cheeks! I have a weakness for rounded baby cheeks!

My great-nephew Nathaniel, he who was born so many weeks earlier than expected, is thriving and growing. I had the opportunity to visit with him and my niece Moriah, his mom, this week. What a treat!

Moriah and her family live in Central New Jersey. Their apartment windows overlook a harbor, boats and a great view of the Outerbridge Crossing. It’s a sunny cheerful place and my great nephew, that tiny little preemie born waaayyy back in late August, is thriving under the care of his doting parents.

Mom and son: Perfect together

I hung out for four hours with my niece and her little guy, but it seemed like just minutes had gone by. Nate is a fun baby to watch. . .when I smiled, he smiled; when I yawned, he yawned. He’s a real mimic.

And happy. Did I mention what a happy baby he is? His eyes followed me as I crisscrossed in front of him using my funny voices and making silly faces. He followed my voice. He looked me in the eyes.

Then he fell asleep! Just like that.

Nathaniel and his soft cozy blanket.

He takes cat naps after he eats then wakes up happy and ready to greet the world and its wonders. I couldn’t resist taking photos of him. With his Mom’s permission I’m showing Nate off right here and now. Take a look!

"Who is that silly woman babbling nonsense right over my face?"

"Okay, lady. I'm smiling. I'm smiling!"

"Who's an itty bitty baby? Me? You talking about me?!"

"Mom? Let's leave the silly lady here while we take a walk. Ok?"




Filed under Adventures of a Middle Age Mom, Baby Nathaniel, New Baby, New Jersey