Monday, November 30, 2009

The Last of November

Perhaps before the month of November is over (I guess that would be within the next 1 1/2 hours!) I should finish posting about our return  home from our last motorcycle trip.  We covered some areas that were new to us but mainly rode the interstate up through Georgia.

Somewhere along I-75 we saw a sign for Ellis Bros. Pecans - We're Nuts.  This proved to be a great place for a break, plus I was able to stock up on fresh pecans for holiday baking.  Not to mention the sugared pecans, the chocolate pecans and the candied pecans!  Plus they had lots of delicious samples for tasting!  

We managed to time our trip just right and missed any traffic woes going through Atlanta.  We arrived at our evening stop of Cartersville, GA with plenty of time to do a little shopping at some of the cute shops "under the bridge" downtown and have a wonderful dinner at the Applachian Grill.  Unfortunately we didn't have time to investigate the Booth Western Art Museum but it looked very interesting and if we ever come through this way again, we'll have to make sure we get there. 

Loved this little shop.  It was called Meg Pie Too and they had the most interesting counter.  I didn't get a pic but it was covered with a mosiac of all kinds of broken "knick knacks", cups, and even little toys.  Very unique!

I did it!  I managed to get a quilt shop stop on this trip!  This is Lavender Lime Quilt Shop in Chattanooga, TN.  Very friendly, cute shop with lots of samples and nice displays.  They are one of the Quilt Sampler featured shops this year.   I made a couple purchases ( their own pattern book for one) before we headed on up the road to Nashville, TN. 

We didn't stay here (too expensive for just an overnight stop) but we made a tour of the Opryland Hotel before heading home.  They have some of the prettiest Christmas decorations that are best viewed at night.  I wonder if all those poinsettias last the entire season, or if they have to replace them.   The remainder of the trip was pretty uneventful.  Except for the one rough railroad track  north of Nashville that knocked D's cell phone from it's holder on the bike.  But with a quick u-turn and a jog to the middle of the road, it was rescued with only minor scratches.  We got home just in time to begin the week of preparations for Thanksgiving at our house.  It was a nice quiet weekend for the most part.  E came from the Chicago burbs and had fun with the little Peanut.  His little shirt said Thankful for Mommy, Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa but then a large piece of masking tape was added for Auntie too!   

We managed to to a little shopping.  But not on Friday!  Someone was so very good while shopping with the girls on Saturday.  He even had his first shopping cart seat ride at Dee's amongst all the Christmas crafts and decorations. 

I'm now gathering inspiration for decorating for the next holiday.  If you've got some extra - send it my way! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

So many things  to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!  

And this is  one of them.....

And a couple more.....

But I'd really be thankful for if this bird would stuff himself and climb into the oven on his own in the morning!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

A November Journey

This doesn't look much like Indiana in the middle of November does it?  We escaped the Midwest for the Gulf Coast last week.  Since the weather forecast for both areas was excellent, we rode the bike and took our time getting there.  These first three photos were shot at St. George Island State Park near Apalachicola, Florida.  The beach there is beautiful and with it being off season, it was nearly deserted. 

Except for one of the residents who came out to greet us!

Gotta love those white sand beaches! Next time, I won't wear motorcycle boots and jeans. The saddlebags will probably still be there though!

We saw this huge tree covered in Spanish Moss in the parking lot at the hotel in Crystal River. 

An early morning shot ...

and a beautiful sunset from the balcony of the best  hotel of the week!

Our hosts, cousins Mr and Mrs Mac in front of their beautiful condo near St. Petersburg. We had a great time visiting for a couple of days and enjoying their hospitality! 

This is "Captain" Mac on a cruise around the waterways and out into the Gulf on board his boat.  We were even able to spot some dolphins frolicking in the water.

Can you make out the name on his boat?  Some of you might find it quite appropriate. Sorry about the poor photo quality.  A few salt water spots on my lens, that's my excuse!
As you know, we love to eat.  And whenver we go on vacation, we like to rank our meals.  These raw oysters at P.J.'s Seafood Restaurant are at the top of D's list.  I had steamed shrimp ....yummm.  But I have proof that even I tried the oysters.

My theory is that enough zesty shrimp/seafood sauce will make just about anything better!

These scallop sliders were at the top of  my vacation food list.  On Wednesday Mr and Mrs Mac drove us down to St. Armand's Circle for some shopping and lunch at the Tommy Bahama Restaurant. The fruity tropical  adult beverage was pretty good too!

Thursday morning we were on the road again.  The condo association of their gated community doesn't allow motorcycles so we had to park the bike and trailer near the security gate.  It wasn't so bad though because it was under a spot light and under 24 hour observation by the guards.  Probably much safer than it had been at any of the hotels!  A subject of coversation of many of the residents though, I'm sure!  Thanks so much for a great visit Mr and Mrs Mac!

We had intended on stopping at Tarpon Springs on the way down to St. Pete but instead stopped on our way out of the area.  We didn't take the time to do any of the sponge cruises/tours but enjoyed a Greek lunch and browsed some of the shops and the sponge exchange.  This village is famous for the sponges that are harvested from the waters off the coast and the Greek immigrants that came here to work as divers and such in that industry.  (Can you spot the boat under all the sponges in the photo above?)


We took our time getting home too and stopped at some other interesting places.  More of that later.

Overall we covered 2012 miles, under mostly sunny skies and with absolutely not one rain drop!  But it's good to be home!


Like most of you, Thanksgiving dinner is now the top priority.   We had hopes of all the kids and grandkids being able to come but unfortunately some plans have changed.  DIL J's ninety-eight year old grandma is having some health issues so they (J, J & J) have decided to spend some time with her in Wisconsin.  We will miss them, but understand completely and hopefully we'll all be able to get together at Christmas.  In the meantime, please keep J's sweet grandma in your prayers. 

On a happy note.....!  The J's have discovered that the newest J will be a little boy!   What fun it is going to be with three little grandsons so close together!  We are thankful that they are all healthy and thriving! 

Back again soon!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cootie Bug Sighting!

It's hard to believe that I've had this little blog for over TWO years!  There have been many times when I've been tempted to abandon it and move on to something else.  But somewhere along the way I began to research other blogs and bloggers with similar interests and location to look for some inspiration.  One of the first I found was  Connie at  Cootie Bug 2 !  I've truly enjoyed following her blog and continue to be inspired by her! This past Tuesday it was my pleasure to receive a message from Connie that she would be nearby at a quilt retreat.  So with B and the Peanut in tow, I was able to meet up with  her as she and her friends were shopping at the Hollyhock Quilt Shop in Corydon.  Was a pleasure it was to  visit with her and get to meet her in person!  Such a sweet, kind lady!  I have to admit that I was slightly star struck.  Though I'm sure she would deny it, to some of us she is a quilt blog celebrity!  It was great to meet you and your friends, Connie!

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just two weeks away?  We're so excited that our whole family will be coming (kids, spouses and babies, that is) !  There will be busy days ahead.  I started today with some baking.  I understand that chocolate cravings are hitting our pregnant daughter-in-law so that was a good excuse to bake some good ole chocolate chip cookies!  Tomorrow it will be the dinner rolls.  My freezer will be filling quickly.

The cookie recipe I used is just the one on the back of the Nestle Toll House Mini Morsels but with half butter and half butter flavored Crisco.  Then I used half regular white flour and half whole wheat pastry flour.  Yummmmm.  If you haven't gotten one of these silicone baking sheets, put it on your Christmas list!  I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond with the 20% coupon that they send out every few days.  Cookie sheets are so much easier to clean and the cookies turn out great!

Today is almost over  - but a quick THANK YOU to all of our military on Veteran's Day and every day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lovin' the Road Trip

We've had a lovely weekend here in Indiana.  But many of you had the same and I hope you were able to enjoy it as much as we did.  We didn't stay home, but can you blame us!  Sure, the garage needs to cleaned out, the kitchen still has some final touches that need to be completed (pics someday I promise!) and my sewing area needs to be organized, just to name a few of the not so fun projects that we could have been working on.  No, we took the Harley and hit the road!  Our destination - Music City, U.S.A. (a.k.a. Nashville, TN)

No trip to Nashville is complete without a trip downtown on a Saturday night when all the bars are full of tourists, college students, conventioneers and brave residents enjoying the free music.  You don't even have to go inside the bars  as the music blasts out on the street and you can  just wander up and down the streets and people watch.  Which is pretty much what we did.  The caught a shuttle from the hotel so we wouldn't have to battle the traffic on the bike.  A smart move by far!

Many of the bars and shops have some of the coolest lighted signage.  Though these can't compete with what you can find on the Las Vegas strip, they give Broadway an atmosphere that is unique to Nashville. 

Soon to be famous musicians (hopefully!) take turns entertaining the crowds.  We thought this band was really good, especially the girl with the fiddle.  Most of the bars where so packed it was standing room only and I could never get a photo of the band.  But this one wasn't quite as crowded, though we still had to stand  along the back wall.  I think the reason it wasn't so crowded was that it wasn't one of the "famous" bars like  Legends or Tootsies!

A busy Saturday evening gives some folks the opportunity to show off their "ride"!  Every color imaginable, but always complete with some awesome wheels!

I love the cowboy boots! If I had thinner calves, was about 30 years younger, and had an extra $500-$900 I could seriously become a boot addict!

So we left downtown Nashville to the young and young at heart and made it back to our hotel completely sober with only tired feet to show for our adventure.  What a fun couple we are! 

On Sunday morning we headed down to the Loveless Cafe for breakfast.  Though with the hour and a half (plus) wait it was noon before we ate.  This nationally acclaimed destination is famous for their smoked meats and homemade biscuits.  Supposedly, many of the country music stars who live near this area are regular customers.  But the closest we came to a celebrity sighting was the Harley rider admiring our "rig" who we found out drives a truck for a certain popular country western star's tour. (Hint #1:  K.C., #2:  No Shoes)   The cafe is located near the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway which we would love to ride someday.  Now that we know where to begin, I'm sure we'll be back!

Makes you hungry, doesn't it?

If we keep eating out like this, there will be more of me to love!  Not to love less!  Have a yummy week!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Break Time Should Be Over By Now

There's been a short blogging break these past few days.  I doubt that too many of you all missed me, but in case you did... thank you.  It's nice to be missed:)   I really have nothing to blog about though.  Sorry.  My sewing/quilting activities are mostly top secret and we've not been on any exciting trips lately. 

These are a few of the projects I've been working on that I can share.  Two of them are WIP from last year and the other is a newer little Christmas item that has been fun to put together.  Thanksgiving is fast approaching and once that gets here you know how the Christmas holidays seem to shift into NASCAR mode and speed by before you know it!  I really need to concentrate on that Christmas list! 

Last evening my "book" club buddies came over.  Sometimes we can't really claim to be a book club, but more of a gathering of close friends. But  this month we decided to read  The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.  When we first began our little club, I was always one to finish the book.  Lately, not so much.  I'm still working on this one but I'll definitely make it through to the last page.  I tried out a new recipe on the girls.  This was Pumpkin Custard Crumble and I found it on The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Kitchen site.  It was very yummy - but I'm afraid I was too generous with the servings as it was VERY sweet/rich. 

There's a forecast of a beautiful, warm fall weekend.  We'll be taking advantage of it and getting out on the Harley.  This might be the last good weekend for a little road trip so I should  have some material for a blog post next week.  Wherever you are, I hope you are able to enjoy a nice weekend in your neck of the woods!

Oops !  I almost forgot to do a little bragging!  Emily over at The Handmade Experiment has posted some of her favorites quilts from Park City Girls Fall Quilt Festival.   Of all the 675 + quilts to look at here, it is quite an honor to have my baby quilt included in her list!  Thanks Emily!