Thursday, October 21, 2010
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 2:34 PM
Monday, October 18, 2010
Leave it to Bob Vila to have a complete and fool-proof list drafted for maintaining and preventing damage to our largest asset - our home.
So, without further ado, here is Bob's list as posted on his site. Thanks Bob!
So, without further ado, here is Bob's list as posted on his site. Thanks Bob!
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 4:15 PM
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Halloween is right around the corner, and as exciting a time as this is - pumpkins, candy, costumes, and parties, it is also a time for us to reign in and remember some of the key safety conscious activities that keep us having fun safely. Keeping in mind that much of this goes without saying, I thought I would share the advise of Halloween-Safety.com. Interestingly, these safety tips are not intended for our children. They are intended for us "big kids."
"Adult Halloween Safety Tips," as published by www.halloween-safety.com
- If you take your kids to a sponsored event, like a safe Halloween thrown by your church or community center, make sure to keep an eye on them at all times. Even though it seems less dangerous, you are still in a strange environment full of people that you don't know. All it takes is a minute with your back turned to find your child gone.
- Cell phones are everywhere now! Everyone seems to have one, they can be so affordable. Make sure that your child has a pre-programmed cell phone with him/her if they go out on Halloween night! Make sure that all important numbers are already there and ready for use.
Below are more common sense tips that can help adults keep their kids safe.
- As bad as it sounds, this is just a fact of life now. Get on the internet and check your local state website for sex offenders. Almost every state has one, just do a search for your state sex offender site. Look up your zip code and it should have a list of registered offenders in your area that includes street addresses. Make sure that your kids stay away from these houses!
- Know the route your kids will be taking if you aren't going with them. Let them know that they are to check in with you every hour, by phone or by stopping back at home. Make sure that they know not to deviate from the planned route so that you always know where they will be.
- Trick or treating isn't what it used to be. In most cities it's not safe to let kids walk the streets by themselves. Your best bet is to make sure that an adult is going with them. If you can't take them yourself, see if another parent or two can.
- Help your young child pick out or make a costume that will be safe. Make sure that it's fire proof or treated with fire retardant. If they are wearing a mask of any kind, make sure that the eye holes are large enough for good peripheral vision.
- Know what other activities a child may be attending, such as parties, school or mall functions. If they are going to be at a friends home, get the phone number and make sure that you've met the parents.
- Make sure you set a time that your kids should be home by. Make sure they know how important it is for them to be home on time or to call immediately if something happens and they are going to be delayed.
- Kids will be kids. Explain to kids of all ages the difference between tricks and vandalism. Throwing eggs at a house may seem funny but they need to know the other side of the coin as well, that clean up and damages can ruin Halloween for everyone. If they are caught vandalizing, make them clean up the mess they've made.
- Some sick people find Halloween a great night to hurt cats. Explain to your kids that animal cruelty of any kind is not acceptable. Kids may already know this on their own but stress the point that it's not acceptable behavior. Make sure that they know that harming animals is not only morally wrong but punishable by law and will not be tolerated.
- Serve your kids a filling meal before trick or treating and they won't be as tempted to eat any candy before they bring it home for you to check. Check your local grocery store or craft store for Halloween cook books full of tasty treats on a horror theme for both kids and adults.
- Make sure that if your child is carrying a prop, such as a scythe, butcher knife or a pitchfork, that the tips are smooth and flexible enough to not cause injury if fallen on. Make sure that costumes won't get in the way when they are walking, which could cause them to trip.
- Teach your kids about not getting into strangers cars or talking to strangers, no matter what the person says to them. Explain to them as simply as you can that some adults are bad and want to hurt children, that they should never go into a house that they don't know, get into a car or go anywhere with a stranger. Also, tell them what to do should this happen, to scream as loud as they can to draw attention and to run away as fast as they can to someplace safe.
- Be sure to show your children know how to cross a street properly. They should always look both ways before crossing the street and should only cross at corners or crosswalks. Make sure that if you have more than one child, they know to take the hand of the younger child when they cross a street.
Here's wishing for a wonderfully festival (and safe!) Fall!
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 2:41 PM
Monday, October 11, 2010
Washington wines continue to achieve marked notoriety in the world of wine, and continue to surprise us with excellence. Thrilled with the products cultivated in our state, I eagerly explore the process more.
I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Judy Thoet, an Assistant Winemaker for Sagelands Vineyards. A California transplant by way of Portland, Oregon, Judy received her B.S. in Agronomy from Fresno State, an M.S. in Plant Genetics and Breeding from Oregon State, her Winemaker Certification through UC Davis, and her Sommelier Diploma through the International Sommelier’s Guild based in Toronto – this gal knows her stuff!
In chatting with Judy, and learning of her remarkable list of credentials, it is no wonder Sagelands Vineyard has done so well. They truly have an A-list team. Coined the “chick” winery in Yakima Valley, Sagelands’ predominately female staff takes great pride in their repeat accomplishments – most recently, two of their Malbecs (one for reserve, and one for mass market) received incredibly high honors from the wine world's most discerning critics.
As we spoke casually, Judy explained some of the complexities involved with the wine making process. Most interestingly, she described a great difference between the Washington and California winemaking method. Forgive me if I am off in my recollection, this is truly a scientific process! The difference you ask? Phylloxera. Phylloxera, a pest of commercial grapevines similar to aphids, feed on the roots and leaves of grapevines. As you can imagine, this little insect is the “root” of very large problems. To combat this problem, California vineyards were forced to get creative. The solution, they found, was grafting. As a result, the “classic” wines produced in California are grafted rootstock. As luck would have it, Washington soil is void of this troublesome pest. The obvious upshot being that Washington is able to cultivate truly “classic” rootstock, no grafting necessary, resulting in a pure expression of the fruit.
As she immerses herself in this years crush (her 6th), Judy seems totally delighted with what she calls her “encore” career. Despite her strong ties to California, Judy is happy to call Washington home, remarking that she could not think of a better place to live. Lucky for Sagelands and us!
This Pro's Pairing Suggestion:
Judy is totally thrilled with Sagelands Malbec – there is no better way to enjoy it, she says, then paired with a grilled fatty rib-eye steak, garnished with either cilantro or parsley.
Big thanks to Judy for participating in this first portion of “Vintage Details.”
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 2:13 PM
Friday, October 8, 2010
I am thrilled to announce an upcoming and reoccurring new addition to this humble blog: "Vintage Details." Being the avid wine enthusiast I am, I thought it only fitting to begin learning more about the wonderful wines produced right here in Washington. Over the course of the next few months, I will be gathering inside details, expanded information, and paring suggestions straight from the source - which, I will happily share with all of you!
Recently I had the wonderful pleasure of making contact with Judy Thoet, winemaker for Sagelands Winery. This extensively educated California transplant was an absolute joy to speak with.
Stay tuned for my exclusive interview with one of Washington's brightest winemakers.
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 1:35 PM
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
What an amazing city...I can't think of any better way to explain it. Simply amazing.
The culture "shock" here transcends the food, religion, and architecture. It is truly another world. Where we (The West) maintain a relatively conservative view on wealth management and expenditures, here I find the total opposite. It is truly all about the money, and how much of it one can show and spend. The display of wealth here is unlike anything I have ever seen. That being said, you may not be surprised to hear that women "parade" (for lack of a better word) about town displaying their finest jewels, handbags, etc...ALL the time. It is beyond peculiar for a Northwest gal, but fun to see all the same!
The auctions are going off extraordinarily well. As a result, we can expect to see an expansion of future auctions here as China's "appetite" for the finest things (rare wine, art, etc..) seems to be insatiable.
Today's auction features fine Chinese paintings, which will be wonderful to see.
For results on auctions over the last few days, follow this link (scroll to Hong Kong).
That's all for now!
Posted by Connie Blumenthal at 1:34 PM