Friday, June 5, 2015

Desert Rose Winery


On a beautiful spring day, my little family drove out to Hume, Virginia for a friend’s birthday party at Desert Rose Winery.

The tasting room is a beautiful log cabin with wide-plank wooden floors and bright sky lights. When we walked up to the bar, we were warmly greeted by the staff, and even the owners Bob and Linda stopped to say “Hi” to us and our son Jax. (Everyone really just wants to say hi to Jax. Haha)


Desert Rose has a mix of red, white, and rose wines in their tasting. Among our favorites were the Fiery Run Cab Franc and Ole Moo Moo (a crisp white wine named after one of the owners’ cows who lived on the property for 26 years).

Jax trying out the beautiful wooden rocking horse in the kids corner

After our tasting, we bought a few bottles and moved outside to have a picnic and share cupcakes that I made for my friend. As the birthday girl is a big horse fan, Bob brought down a few of his beautiful horses for us to see and pet. When Jax saw the first horse (a big, black Arabian), his little mouth fell open and he whispered “dog”. Haha!

Jax meets horse

There is one other thing you should know about Desert Rose Winery, and that is that it is the newest winery to join the VA Wine Trail of geocaches! You can find the new cache listing here. We hope you are able to stop by, find the new cache, and enjoy this beautiful Virginia winery.

Jax enjoying his visit to Desert Rose

Monday, February 2, 2015

Remembering Grandma Miuccio


This post has been a long time in the writing. Indeed, I have not written a post since the day that my grandma passed away, last Veteran’s Day 2014. Life always chooses the most inopportune times to throw everything at you, and because of the different life events I had going on, I decided to wait on posting anything. But now I feel ready to send a few thoughts and memories of my grandmother out into the world, so here they are...

My grandma was one of those amazing people you always feel privileged to have known or met. She lived through the depression and many wars. She raised NINE kids (that alone should get her some kind of medal!), and she loved to spend time with all of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

Grandma, my dad, and I

I am very lucky to have known my grandmother for so long. I remember all our family road trips to upstate New York to visit her and my other relatives. I remember hearing her in the kitchen making up delicious meals (she knew that the secret to a happy life is good food), and I especially remember her cheering me on in basketball, and in life in general.

After a basketball game

Just before she passed, I got to introduce Jax, my first child, to her. This experience really drove home just how much I loved, appreciated, and learned from my grandma. It was something I had always know, but what made it so impactful was that, for the first time, I saw my grandma from an adult’s eyes, and not just that of a grandchild. It felt like I was now officially a parent. It was a really proud moment for me, and as I watched grandma smile at him, I saw her legacy to us all.

Grandma and Jax

After grandma passed away, I felt a deep sorrow, but not emptiness. Grandma had filled me with years of amazing memories, stories, and laughter. So, my sadness stemmed from the fact that Jax would grow up without that. I talked a little with my mother-in-law about it, and she told me how Dan, my husband, had not known his grandparents on her side of the family. However, if you hear my husband talk about his grandparents, you would not know that this was the case. My mother-in-law told him so many stories about his grandparents that Dan remembers them as if he had seen them himself. It is a beautiful thing, and one that I plan to do with Jax as well.

One of my favorite pictures of grandma

For Grandma Miuccio’s funeral, I put together a small speech that summarized some of her wonderful qualities and how meaningful they were to me and to many others. I will end this post by sharing it with you all:

Grandma’s Crossword Puzzle

When trying to condense my feelings for my grandma into words, I kept envisioning one of her crossword puzzles. My grandmother loved crossword puzzles. You could always find books of them stashed around the corners and bathrooms of her house. So, what better way to express both who she was and what she taught me? I would like to take a few minutes and fill it out with you all.

Number 1 is six letters long and means “full of animation, energy, or courage; spirited; spunky; plucky”.
The answer is “feisty”.
Grandma was a feisty woman – she had to be to keep up with nine kids and all of us grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren. Seeing Grandma’s feistiness taught me to enjoy each moment of life and to live with spirit.

Number 2 is nine letters long and means “possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, and so forth”.
The answer is “beautiful”.
Grandma was beautiful – both inside and out. I especially remember her love for bright, colorful earrings. She taught me to have a good heart on the inside and to wear what made me feel beautiful on the outside.

Number 3 is eight letters long and means “a small ball of ground meat often mixed with bread crumbs and seasonings before cooking”.
The answer is “meatball”.
As all the grandchildren know, Grandma’s nickname was “Grandma Meatball” because she made the most delicious meatballs – as well as many other yummy foods. Grandma Meatball taught me the importance of good food and how it can bring all kinds of people together.

Number 4 is ten letters long and means “providing sympathy or encouragement”.
The answer is “supportive”.
Grandma was very supportive of those she loved. I remember her cheering me on at basketball games and always showing an interest in whatever life event I was going through. I saw her do this for many people, and it encourages me to do the same.

Number 5 is six letters long and means “feeling a warm, personal attachment or deep affection for another person”.
The answer is “loving”.
Grandma loved each and every one of us, and she encouraged others to love each other, even in times of difficulty or disagreement. She showed love in singing, in sharing moments and memories, and many other ways. Most recently, I picture her love in the way she smiled when my young son gripped her finger during his last visit with her.

Number 6 is ten letters long and means “to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods. Originality. Imagination.”
The answer is “creativity”.
Grandma was always creating. She loved to craft new trinkets and decorations. Growing up, I had a beautiful bunny that Grandma had created a lacy dress for, and as an adult, one of my favorite Christmas decorations is a snowman head that Grandma made for me. I will always attribute my love of crafts to her.


Now the crossword is complete, and at the center you will see the word “family” – this is what Grandma was and meant to each of us. Even though we have lost an important member of our family, we all carry pieces of her with us. We may feel less without her, but she has left us with more. Some of us have her eyes or her smile, and some of us have her humor or caring spirit. All of us have her love and memories that will keep her with us always.


I will love you always Grandma, and you will always be in my heart! <3

Friday, November 14, 2014

Breaking in the Tasting Room


On Veteran’s Day, Dan and I got to help our friends at Cardamon Family Vineyards break in their new tasting room! We are so excited for Chuck and Ana and very blessed to have them in our lives.

Chuck toasting the opening

Walking up to the tasting room, you will find little groups of tables and chairs where you can look out at the tree covered mountains. (or, as we were there in the evening, look up at the brilliant stars)


The new tasting room is warm and welcoming and has lots of natural beauty, which you can see in the colorful wood used in the floor, bar, and ceiling beams. Small, black metal tables and chairs are tucked into the corners of the room, and two leather love seats rest in the center of the room near a big TV that cycles through pictures of the vineyard, as well as Chuck and Ana’s travel adventures.



There were lots of delicious wines being served for the party. I had glasses of Cardamon’s Rkatz and Myshells from the whites, and I got to try Breaux’s Silk and a Spanish Crianza from the reds. Chuck had also saved Dan and I a bottle of his Cuvee Blanc as an anniversary gift. Mmm! Going with the spirit of the evening, we decided to have a glass right then and share some with the others in attendance.


Jax chilling with dad at the bar

Everyone enjoying the new tasting room!

Overall, it was a successful opening, and a very enjoyable evening. When you are out on Harper’s Ferry Road, be sure to stop at the Cardamon’s and relax in the new tasting room with some of their delicious wine. :)

All the wine was finished, but not quite all the milk. LOL