Summer Goals 2017

Disclaimer: We’re a little offbeat. If you’re new to our lives – please visit the “about” section. Things should make (a little) more sense after that, but honestly, there’s so much going on here, that it’d take a lot of time to catch you up to speed. If you have a question, please let us know!

If you’ve been here before, welcome back for our 9th summer of goals together. We always start to get the summer goal itch around the same time each year – it’s somewhere between dusting off the porch furniture and adding hot dog buns to the grocery list. Ah – what a magical time of year! We wrote our goals on the summit of beautiful Azure Mountain in the Northern Adirondacks, our 9th mountain climbed together, and the 1st for Scout, our Bernese Mountain Dog (see “Our Pets” page).

With most of our goals, we learn something new or go somewhere we’ve never been before, and if you’re reading this, there is a pretty good chance, we would like to share the experience with YOU!  So please, take a look at our list and give us a holler if there is a goal you think you would like to achieve with us:

  1. See a Moth StorySLAM
  2. Go to Food Truck Tuesday.
  3. See a movie together at the Silver Lake Drive-In.
  4. Order a menu item we can’t pronounce.
  5. Surprise 10 random people with free ice cream.
  6. Make a dutch door.
  7. Make our family tree.
  8. Learn to make homemade Italian Sausage.
  9. Climb a 9th mountain together.
  10. Complete an unaccomplished summer goal:
  1. Meet someone famous.
  2. Learn a harmonica song.
  3. Have a conversation in Polish.
  4. Walk from Canisius to Attica (worth 0.5).
  5. Bowl a combined 300.
  6. Make dinner for Earlean.
  7. Pick a Buffalo street and clean it.
  8. Pick a peach.
  9. Ride a jet ski.
  10. Dig up a bottle dump.
  11. Host a clam bake.
Summer Goal #9: Climb a 9th mountain together.

2017 in Review.

We don’t want to make any excuses, but this summer is going down as our busiest yet! Reunions, weddings, showers, graduations, and our first trip to Europe together had us loving life! Sure – maybe we didn’t get as many goals done as years past, but we definitely accomplished our mission of connecting with others to make a memorable summer. Below is a quick recap of the goals we were able to check off the list. Unaccomplished goals roll on over to next year – see you then!

After returning home from our trip to the Adirondacks, we kicked off our Buffalo summer by checking off summer goal #2: go to food truck Tuesday!  We’ve been wanting to head up to Larkinville to explore the food trucks for the last couple years, and it was well worth the trip.  We tried pierogi, chicken & waffles, poutine, pad thai, and finally a Taffy’s milkshake.  The company was just as good as the food, as we were joined by friends from Eden and Buffalo.

Summer goal #5: surprise 10 random people with free ice cream. Ice cream – the 8th world wonder. Certainly does a body good on a hot summer day. This year, we decided to treat some lucky south-towners to free ice cream at Fran-Ceil’s. At one of our favorite soft serve spots, we started with a couple cones for ourselves, then had the poor kid ring up 10 $5 giftcards – he was a good sport. We then added a note to each giftcard and drove around the southtowns until sunset dropping off the giftcards in 10 mostly random mailboxes. We did hear back from an awesome family, who received the gift card during a difficult summer. They sent us pictures of their family sharing quality time, which makes our hearts happy.

Summer goal #7: make our family tree. Being a Grimaldi and a Fronczak!, it has always been easiest to say we are Italian and Polish, but we set out on an ambitious project to trace our family back to our great-great grandparents and beyond to see what a Fronczak-Grimaldi really is. Not surprisingly, we are Italian and Polish, but we are quite a bit more too. Kelly’s blonde curls trace their way back to three Swedish ancestors, and Bob’s love of The Sound of Music is genetic, with four great-great grandparents from Austria. We are also German, English, Irish, and French Canadian, if not more going further back. The best part of achieving this goal was talking to family members about their stories, and their parents’ stories. We wrote as much down as we could, but we want to keep going, so we can learn more about how we got to be right here in this little corner of the world.

Summer goal #4: order a menu item we can’t pronounce – This goal was a leap of faith on many levels. It took us farther from home than we’ve ever been. Over the time we spent in Germany and Austria, we ordered mostly off of German menus, with certain dishes becoming more familiar as the days went on. Bob relied on anything ending in “wurst,” trying excellent bratwurst, weisswurst, knackwurst, bockwurst, and currywurst. Kelly found a familiar menu item in spiegeleier – fried eggs, making for some delicious breakfasts.

Unaccomplished summer goal #10: dig up a bottle dump – We learned about this one from our neighbor – Gene 🙂 – after noticing a large circle of broken glass in the woods behind our house. Since our house was built in 1886 when there was no garbage pickup, the family would burn or compost as much as they could. Any glass that couldn’t be reused or recycled would be taken out back to the woods and thrown into a hole dug into the ground, the “bottle dump.” We took some small shovels and tools back into the woods and started digging. We unearthed some pretty cool pieces. Our fav?  “Root Beer – The Perfect Summer Drink.”

Unaccomplished summer goal #8: pick a peach – A surprisingly tricky goal, picking a local peach had eluded us since the summer of 2014.  As it happens, prime peach season is roughly 2 weeks in late August, which is the exact time when we’ve taken our vacations over the last 4 summers.  But having good friends helped us achieve this one, as a friend of Kelly’s – Cally 🙂 – had a beautiful peach tree in North Collins.  We’ve picked a lot of fruits, but this was a first for both of us, and they were the freshest and sweetest peaches we’ve ever eaten!

Not quite done – but we are counting it – is summer goal #6: make a dutch door! This spring, we found a door in our attic, and we cut, stripped, sanded, and stained away. Currently, it is in need of some new hardware, then this beaut will be ready to swing!


Summer Goals 2016

**If you’re new here – please visit our “about” section. Things ought to make (a little) more sense after that.**

Hold up. Before we get into the new guys, we’ve got a couple stories to share. There are two summer goals that we completed in the off-season.

Unaccomplished goal #11: Go to a show at Shea’s together. In true summer goal fashion, we wrote this goal because it is something we’ve never done together. At the time, we didn’t know that the Broadway Series only runs from fall to spring. So after we learned the facts, we decided we would pick a show later in the year.  In November, Bob surprised Kelly! with tickets to Matilda, which will likely always be one of their favorite shows.

Unaccomplished goal #11: Go to a show at Shea’s together.

Unaccomplished goal #18: Re-purpose a hardwood door. This goal was started during the summer and simply took longer to complete than expected. We saved this door from a dusty Buffalo attic. It is now beautifully displayed as a headboard and fits our house perfectly.

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Unaccomplished Goal #18: Re-purpose a hardwood door.

Okay, okay – let’s get to what you came here for – the new list! We wrote this year’s list at a tiny piece of Lake Erie beach. It was a hot, hot day and there were some of those wildly talented hula-hoopers off in the distance, so things were really feeling summery. We reflected on last year’s list, which we wrote as newlyweds. Just one year later and we are a family of nine (one Bob, one Kelly!, one dog, and six chickens).

We are so excited for what this summer will bring us. As always, please let us know if you are able to help or want to join us accomplish any summer goal! The whole purpose of the project is to create memories, appreciate summer, and laugh until our sides hurt. We could never do this without family and friends! Without further ado . . . we present to you, the list!

  1. See the NPR program “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!”
  2. Ride a jet ski.
  3. Hike to the eternal flame.
  4. Go to an IKEA store.
  5. Buy cookies for every person in a restaurant.
  6. Dig up a bottle dump.
  7. Host a clam bake.
  8. Climb an eighth mountain together.
  9. Travel on the Alaskan Railroad.
  10. Complete an unaccomplished summer goal:
  1. Meet someone famous.
  2. Learn a harmonica song.
  3. Have a conversation in polish.
  4. Walk from Canisius to Attica (worth 0.5).
  5. Tea with Drs. Rosenbloom & Jones.
  6. Bowl a combined 300.
  7. Paint Papa Brinkman’s picnic table.
  8. Make dinner for Earlean.
  9. Pick a Buffalo street and clean it.
  10. Go on the Whirlpool Jetboat.
  11. Pick a peach.
  12. Make a t-shirt quilt.
  13. Hand write 8 letters to friends.
  14. Eat garbage plates.
  15. Make a brick oven pizza.
  16. Make a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” box.
Unaccomplished goal #5: Tea with Drs. Rosenbloom & Jones.
Unaccomplished goal #12: Make a t-shirt quilt.
Unaccomplished goal #16: Make a “Take a Book, Leave a Book” box.
Unaccomplished goal #7: Paint Papa Brinkman’s picnic table.

Write your letters and share your cookies.

This year, we shared a week of vacation together to go . . . nowhere. It’s been so nice visiting with people, catching up on some house projects, and just enjoying the place we call home.

On Monday, our first weekday of vacation, we decided to head to Comfort Zone Cafe, in Hamburg, NY. This sweet little shop was the perfect place to complete summer goal #5: buy cookies for every person in a restaurant. We met Zenia at the counter and explained our mission. Her excitement made us pretty darn happy. Zenia said they would make up an extra tray of baked goods and pass them out the following day with each order. Below is a picture she sent us – mmmmm, pastry hearts. 🙂

After ordering, we grabbed a couple coffees and got to work on unaccomplished goal #13: hand write 8 letters to friends. We each picked four people that we wanted to share a story with and/or give a thank you to. We’ve gotten so conditioned to texting, posting, or really any form of media that allows for an immediate response – that sitting back and thinking of what to write without that type of interaction was refreshing. We encourage everyone to write someone (pick us!) a letter! You’ll feel good about it, we promise.

Hike while you can.

We live in a pretty neat place. Travel five minutes down the road and you’re enjoying an ice cream cone and the sandy beaches of Lake Erie. Drive fifteen minutes up the road and you’re hiking in Chestnut Ridge Park. We take our dog, Scout, here often, but had yet to see the (locally) famous eternal flame. So early Wednesday morning, we set out to accomplished summer goal #3: hike to see the eternal flame.

We were the first ones in the parking lot, but bumped into a few people on the trail who came in from other sides of the park. Scout (and Kelly!) get really excited to see other dogs, so that was an added bonus. The trail was well-marked and well-traveled. We crossed over the creek several times, so proper footwear is important. The actual eternal flame was really impressive. A great spot to sit back and take in nature. 🙂

If you are interested in visiting Chestnut Ridge Park, click the map below for county park information.

Chestnut Ridge_General Map

Three goals and (barely) alive to tell the tale.

It has been a hot second since we posted, but trust us – we’ve been working hard on checking off these goals! We’ve also been working hard on just surviving . . . let’s walk through the weekend that was.

Friday morning:

“Thoughts on dinner?”

“Let’s make the brick oven pizza.”

*high fives exchanged*

Friday afternoon:

*fire has been started*

“There’s an animal in the barn knocking things over.”

“Let’s go find it.”

*Bob is bitten by stray cat*

*Health department called*

*Told we will be called back TOMORROW with instructions*

*Uncomfortably completed unaccomplished goal #15: make a brick oven pizza*

Bob made the brick oven with bricks we have collected. The fire warmed the bricks for a couple hours and then the pizza was cooked on a baking pan, which rested on the hot bricks. Cool stuff.


Needless to say, we had a few things to tend to that morning, but we eagerly hit the road to Rochester to complete unaccomplished goal #14: eat garbage plates. Despite living near Rochester, we really had no clue where to try our first garbage plate. Thank heaven for people like Carli Kotula – a person who gives great medical advice, fun conversation, and sweet baby spider plants. We met at Dogtown, on Monroe Ave, for what were some good eats. We’d like to give a shout out to the kind employee who walked us through the ordering process and took our picture. (Following dinner, we went to Mercy Ambulatory Care Center for treatment).


Up early, early to complete unaccomplished goal #10: go on the Whirlpool Jetboat, with our friends Kara and Jaime! Now – most of us WNYers have seen the falls – maybe even been on the Maid of the Mist. Those are nice – super great family fun – but they don’t touch this kind of experience.  Holy crow. Class 5 rapids here people. We got soaked head to toe. If you’re interested in booking a trip, please click here.

Take road trips together.

Lazy summer Sundays are far and few between in this house. So when we found ourselves with nothing on the “to-do” list, we knew it would be the perfect opportunity for a nice drive to Canada to complete summer goal #4: go to an IKEA store. Kelly! thinks the store itself was overwhelmingly cool, but a great source of inspiration. Bob’s favorite part was the cafeteria. Mmmmmm – meatballs. We will definitely make our way back when we hit the lottery and can redo our entire home with super modern furniture and cute cabinet knobs that we didn’t even know we needed before this trip.

We also made a pit stop on this trip to accomplish summer goal #8: climb a mountain together. Mount Nemo is a family-friendly hike . . . even a flip-flop friendly hike. We know this because Kelly! forgot appropriate foot wear and hiked the entire North Loop in flip-flops. Nevertheless, we made it to the lookout and took some time to let the beautiful day really soak in. Life is good on a mountain top.

Likely our favorite goal of the year was accomplished August 11th! We left early that Thursday morning to travel to Chicago and check summer goal #1: see the NPR program “Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me!” off the list.

First – a little history – we started listening to this program a few years ago on our local NPR station, WBFO. The news quiz had us laughing so hard each week that we’re surprised it took us this long to get our butts out there to see it!

Fast forward to this summer –  we purchased our tickets, drove the 8 hours to Chicago, ate some deep dish pizza, and headed to Chase Bank Auditorium! Waiting outside the doors, we were both ridiculously excited. Obviously about seeing our favorite program in action AND because Kelly! surprised Bob with front. row. seats. Eeeeek! So close, we could sit on the stage for these pictures. So close, we could touch Bill Kurtis . . . well, not really, but we were the closest people to him, for sure. The hilarious panelists were Adam Felber, Paula Poundstone, and Alonzo Bodden. The special guest was Katie Couric, who is hosting a new podcast. Naturally, we stayed after and got everyone’s autographs on our program. Another keepsake for the treasure box. We know this all may be be a little (maybe a lot) nerdy, but we had a really good time and we aren’t afraid to say it. In fact, we’d like to encourage everyone to give this program a listen!

Traveling on the Alaskan Railroad.

The last thing in the world we wanted to do was get off of the cruise ship when we pulled into port in Seward, Alaska. Why would you ever leave an ice cream counter that never closes, all-you-can-eat hot pretzels, and a ton of great people?

Yeah . . . we’d stay a little longer.

Well we weren’t upset for long, after only a few steps on dry land, we boarded the Alaskan Railroad for a ride up to Anchorage through some of the most beautiful country we’ve ever seen. While this is technically summer goal #9: travel the Alaskan railroad, it was secretly a life goal for Bob.


With a glass ceiling that allowed us to see mountaintop glaciers and soaring eagles almost as plentiful as seagulls back home, this could have been the most beautiful summer goal to date. Not only did we see 3 Moose, but Kelly! was the first person on the train to see a BEGULA WHALE, I repeat, a Beluga Whale, in the wild. Crazy. If any of you find yourselves between Seward and Fairbanks, we highly recommend you take this ride of a lifetime.

Summer Goal #9:  Travel on the Alaskan Railroad.