Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Joshua

Happy Birthday Joshua Adam. Today is our grandson's 8th birthday. He has grown so quickly into a smart, young student and football fan. He loves to play flag football and is very good at it.
He is very protective of his younger sister which is a blessing to see.
Papa and I are very proud of you, Josh, and we will see you very soon. Have a great birthday and keep that beautiful smile, because you are a real charmer.

Friday, May 29, 2009

And all the crazies

Well, we are back in Ohio with daughter and family and I am reflecting on the past 10 days or so. I call it the "crazies". Whenever I go into crowds, such as airports, I am fascinated by all that goes on. How I wish I was bold enough to take pictures in airports. This trip would have produced some dandies.

There was the row of 4 wheelchairs with little old ladies in every kind of dress and hat (one had a baseball cap on with a sideways tilted brim) as they were waiting in a row to be wheeled onto the airplane. The wheelchairs had a long flag stick attached to them to make sure that everyone could see them. There they sat when the Trout says to me "the Indy 500 waiting to race." That's a crazy! And then later, as we sat in the airport, we saw an elderly couple. I nodded to the Trout to take a look to his left. There sat a man with his pant legs raised enough to see black and white horizontal striped socks that were in black rubber wedgies. He had a striped shirt and all that was missing was a hat. The Trout says, much too loudly for me, "The Cat in the Hat." Another crazy.

We few Southwest Airlines for the first time, and all the flight attendants had very funny senses of humor. One elderly lady passenger had a piece of overhead luggage that she asked the flight attendant to pull down for her. She asked for the green bag. The flight attendant said there was no green bag, only a gray one, which turned out to be the correct one. Then the flight attendant said, "now we will work on colors and numbers."

For my travel, I have a nylon tear-dropped shaped shoulder purse that holds a lot. It is in pretty bad shape this trip. I have to admit, it is butter and lobster stained from all our eating escapades. Will need a thorough laundry workout when we get home.

Thirty some years ago, I developed an aspirin allergy after the birth of our last child. Also at this time, I became very sensitive to wintergreen. It is very bothersome to me that toothpaste, gum and mints, do not come right out and put wintergreen on the labels. I have thrown out a lot of this after purchase. Wintergreen gives me a severe migraine headache. I have had to move in church because of the smell and I smelled it on the airplane for a few seconds, but it was someone passing by, not sitting near me. Such nonsense--more crazies.

The trip was great, and we would definitely go back to Manchester, Vermont, and the Bar Harbor, Maine area. Friendly folks all over and of course, the lobster and chowder and blueberry pies were great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last day in Maine

Spent the day touring. Acadia National Park is a beautiful hiking park with a gorgeous setting. We first drove up to Cadillac Mountain. Cadillac Mountain is the only mountaintop in the park accessible by car and it is also the highest peak. During much of the year, it is also the first place on US soil touched by rays of sunrise. To me, that is exciting and I can only wish to be there so early in the morning, but unfortunately, the park does not open that early. It is at 1528 feet and the highest peak on the Atlantic between Canada and Brazil.

We also stopped at Mount Desert Oceanarium and learned more about lobsters and sea creatures than I ever knew existed. These people have a wealth of knowledge that they share and there was a lot of lobster, sea urchin and sea cucumber touching going on. I would definitely recommend this place, especially good for school children to learn about sea life.

I also promised that I would take a picture of the next plate of oysters on the half shell, but, darn, we got so excited about it that I didn't think of the picture until they were gone, so, here is what is left.

Okay, now this is it! We had to have lobster one last time. This was a little longer drive to a lobster shack right on the bay. They certainly aren't fancy, but they offer the best and freshest lobsters around.

This was by far, the best lobster we have had this week. If you are keeping count, this was our third night in a row for steamed lobster. In talking to the workers there, we find out they steam in those metal boxes outside the shack with water pulled right out of the sea. This flavors the lobster giving it the perfect saltiness. We would definitely recommend Thurston's Lobster Pound south of Bar Harbor, Maine, in Tremont.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bar Harbor

We did some more clam chowder testing and blueberry pie testing on our drive to Bar Harbor (Bah Hah bah) Maine. Both were excellent. I then told the cashier that we had been judges for the Crisco Great American Pie Contest last month, so we were judging blueberry pies in Maine. You could see, she seemed nervous. Then slowly asked if we thought the pie was alright. I hated to tease her like that, but we had fun and the pie really was very good.

Walked this beautiful little town of Bar Harbor and stopped for oysters on the half shell. We were so anxious to dive into them, I forgot to take pictures. They were very good with a locally brewed beer. Next time, I hope there will be a next time, I'll get a picture.

Today is May 26, and it is the birthday of our youngest daughter, Angie. Angie, bless her heart, is a paraprofessional working with special needs children in the school district. She works very hard but has such a heart for these special kids. She has given us a son-in-law, two grandsons and she is also a stepmother to a son. She is also taking care of our special kid, the Bichon, while we are on this trip. We thank you a lot, Angie, and hope that you have a very special day today.

Surprisingly, this is the first time we have come across accents on our travels. I expected to hear something in Vermont, New Hampshire, and all of Maine, but it wasn't until we got this far north that you can hear a little something in the accent. I just love it!!

Last night we had went to dinner way south of Bar Harbor and we decided to have LOBSTAH!! No surprise there! We also had a pound of clam steamers which was very good. Just have to fill up on this delicacy because it will be a very long time until we eat this again. Unless you count tomorrow. Maybe one more time before we start heading home and then one month of only salads and veggies before we start heading west to Montana.

I promised myself that I would not tell you that we had to test another blueberry pie this evening. smile, smile, snicker. Now you know why we face a month of salads, but it is so worth it.

Memorial Day and more Maine

It's Memorial Day. I was reminded a short time ago, that during the Vietnam war, no yellow ribbons or parades or attitudes of appreciative were found. Our soldiers, seamen and airmen were not rewarded with yellow ribbons, a simple gesture but with such meaning for those who serve. Let us take time today to remember all the men and women who have served so bravely during all our wars and during our peacetime.

Yesterday morning we had a full table for breakfast in Kennebunkport at the Waldo Emerson House. Waldo, by the way, was the uncle or Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Ralph would visit in the home on occasion. It was a perfect place to sit and write and be creative. In fact, the whole coast of Maine seems to bring a creative spirit to me and I could just look towards the sea and write and dream.

We made a stop in Freeport at L.L.Bean and I am sure this boot is familiar to many. Makes the Trout look very small. Oh yes, we had to buy a small piece of luggage for some extras we have picked up along the way. Luggage was 50% off outlet prices. And, I did resist buying that quart of maple syrup in Vermont, so the luggage will not be that full!!

We are staying at Smuggler's Cove in Booth Bay, Maine. This place is very nice and has such a great view. We took a boat out into the bay yesterday to do some seal watching. We found quite a few and of course, a lighthouse or two.

And then, last night, we had to go for dinner and decided to eat LOBSTER! Two lobsters and steamed mussels. Going price yesterday on a steamed lobster was $14.95 in case anyone is interested. We have seen signs for $5.95 a pound if you want to prepare it yourself. They were very good with melted butter. We ate outside because we were a total mess by the time we were done. Not a meal for the faint of heart.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Shakers and the Mainers

Heading East again today, we stopped at a Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire. I did not know that the Shakers were a break-off group from the Quakers in England. They came to America in the 1700's lead by a woman, Ann Lee. They lived communally like monks and nuns. The men and women lived in separate parts of the house, had separate staircases and only the top female and male elder would speak. They took in orphans and were known for their loving care of children. It is easy to see why the group finally dissolved--there were no families with children to carry on. Very clever and industrious people though.

We walked into the broom shop and once again, I was facing a quote . This one came from the leader, Mother Ann Lee. I thought this was very cute. "Clean your rooms well; for good spirits will not live where there is dirt. There is no dirt in heaven." There you go girls, start cleaning!!

On to Maine and Kennebunkport. We are staying at the Waldo Emerson Inn, a bed and breakfast. It is the oldest house in town, built in 1784. We are in the 'new' section built in the early 1800's. There are 17 rooms and 8 fireplaces. It is absolutely delightful!! Our hosts told us to go to Bentley's for a good meal and treats, so we started off with New England Clam Chowder and Maine Blueberry pie. Both were top notch--delightful!!

Some time later, we found George and Barbara Bush's Maine retreat. They have a beautiful home with probably the best view in town, but certainly not the largest home. By the way, lots of big homes for sale here.

Oh yes, we heard from a good source that a large plane recognized with a name that has a number in it, has been known to pick up Bentley's blueberry pies and fly them to a ranch in Texas during the winter. Need I say more?

We finished the evening with a large lobster roll. After all, we are in Maine. On the road again tomorrow.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Water, glass and the flour mill

I dropped the Trout off early so that he could meet up with his guide for a day on the White River. This is a picture of the raft they are using today. The sun was shining beautifully and it looked like a favorable day for fishing, but I know enough not to say that too loudly. Let's hope for a good remembrance of fishing in Vermont!

My first stop was in the town of Quechee (kwee chee). Now isn't that the cutest name for a small town? The Simon Pearce glass blowing factory was at the top of the list. The glass blower was moving quickly but I was able to snap a picture of him. This stuff was beautiful. The glass was crystal clear, without bubbles and I was very impressed in more ways than one. This glass was so beautiful, it was very expensive. Did find a little something for a remembrance.

Then off to Norwich, to the King Arthur Flour Mills. There were several ovens going at once and hot scones and poppy seed bread was making an appearance for a sampling. I knew what I bought would need to fit into a suitcase, so I was careful but I did find a few wonderful gadgets I have been thinking about. I got some very small pinch bowls of silicone that I can also poach eggs in. That sounds like fun. I also got some Saf yeast which I cannot find in Florida. A couple of nice scrapers and a perfect 2 1/4 yeast teaspoon.
The classrooms were not operating until much later today and I felt that paying $50 for a class on how to make pizza was a little ridiculous, so I spent all my time browsing and figuring out what I can get into a suitcase.

I had a small lunch alone today. I have never been good at going in restaurants alone, but I found a saying on a wooden napkin holder that made the lunch time worthwhile. It was "The cure for anything is salt water--sweat, tears or the sea." Isak Dinesan

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another good and beautiful day

Last evening at dinner, we met a young man who was hiking the Appalacian trail. He needed a day or two off, so he came into town for a nice dinner. He is doing half of the trail, 1000 miles. It is a much easier task now with cell phones than in the past. Anyone want to try this nice, long walk?

Today we headed east toward Woodstock, Vermont. This is not the August, 1969, Woodstock, NY. This is a lovely town with cute shops and these beautiful homes in the saltbox style, clapboard siding, and very, very large. Some are of brick with black shutters or the white clapboard. Very pretty. And of course, another cute covered bridge. This is a privately owned one going to a farm house.

Isn't this church magnificent? This is the First Universalist Church and Society. The building is dated 1844 and it is located in Barnard, Vermont. It is so well cared for, you would never imagine it to be 165 years old.

We had a lovely dinner this evening at "The Prince and the Pauper." I had black and white sesame crusted salmon and the Trout had lobster and crab cakes. Just enough with a beautiful pate' we shared as an appetizer. This was served with pickled red onions, cornichons, grainy mustard and lingonberries. Very, very perfect.

Tomorrow is my day to go exploring after I drop the Trout off to go fly fishing with his guide. By the way, we hit it pretty good this morning at the Orvis tent sale. I know they were just waiting for us to show up.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beautiful Vermont

It was a good day. We had a nice flight from Ohio to Manchester, New Hampshire. Had a pleasant drive and stopped in Petersboro, New Hampshire, for a late lunch at Harlow's Pub. Delightful people and a local couple immediately started a conversation with us. Small towns and friendly local folk--it is a good combination. Oh the wall of the restaurant was written a quote by Roger Waters, who once was lead singer of Pink Floyd. I loved it immediately and wrote it down.

"Long you live and high you fly and smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry and all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be." Roger Waters
Staying the night just outside of Manchester, Vermont. These beautiful New England states are close together and we even dipped into New York for a few miles. The Trout spilled a cup of coffee on his pants in the airplane, and the lady running this motel immediately offered to wash and dry them and delivered them pressed to our room less than 3 hours later. It's been quite a while since I have seen such kindness. It makes likely this part of the country very easy.

Today was a busy but beautiful day. We started by finding Robert Frost's grave and his home where he sat on a hot June day and wrote "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," in 1922. His home is displayed beautifully and definitely worth a stop. The cemetery is old, graves back to the 1700's.

Stopped at a covered bridge over the Batenkill River. My first covered bridge. I grew up in Iowa near Winterset which is known for its covered bridges i.e. "Bridges of Madison County," but I have never seen one, so this was a thrill.

We also toured HIldene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln's only child who grew to adulthood. This is a beautiful museum and even has one of Abraham's 7 top hats.

The Orvis store and American Fly Fishing Museum were fun. Orvis has a tent sale tomorrow morning, so guess where we'll be when the tents open?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

German Spinach

I grew up loving spinach. It was always grown in abundance in our family garden which my mother and grandmother tended every day. The concept of not liking spinach was not acceptable in my vocabulary. My mother made the best spinach in the world--according to me and my brother.

I made my mother's recipe tonight for the grandboys at their request. My brother's son, Matthew, has gone to Antarctica for many years for his work and has cooked this spinach way down under for the Navy seals and scientists working down there.

Possibly, you will need some time to get acquainted with this recipe, as it is not typical spinach. My mother always called it Deutscher Spinat, so I am sharing a "in the pot" picture and recipe for you.


1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, packed
3 tablespoons flour
1 small finely chopped onion
1/2 to 3/4 cup beef broth

Melt in a saucepan, the butter and then add the bread crumbs and brown over low heat. Add the flour and onions and brown a little more. Add spinach that has been squeezed dry and mix together well. Add the beef broth and cook up good until it bubbles and let it steam until the spinach is thoroughly cooked. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is a typical recipe from my mother. You may improvise, but it is what it is. We have always loved this spinach and I am partial to enjoying it cold for breakfast, but that is just me. I also love to eat cold pizza for breakfast.

Games and more games

It's been fun and sports with the boys since we got here. Today we went to Sports Ohio where we played miniature golf, the boys drove race cars and did very well at the batting cages.

At home we have been playing board games like Stack and Apples to Apples. Both a lot of fun. Sure makes our retired life seem sort of dull.

And tonight we will be having a roasted chicken for dinner and the boys requested my mother's German spinach recipe. This will appear on my blog tomorrow. It is very, very good and even children love to eat this spinach.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Traveling on

We have had some good traveling and have now landed in Ohio at our daughter's home. Kippy is hanging in there, even though she was taken advantage of because of her small size. My brother has two Gordon setters which are beautiful dogs, but large compared to a Bichon.

Kippy's traveling pancake snacks, her Puperoni snacks and her glucosamine tablets were all devoured quickly upon arrival in North Carolina. I wonder why those Gordon's liked me so well. I guess because I brought unexpected treats!

So, had to make a trip to PetSmart this morning to stock up on what was no longer. Kippy is smiling again.

Our guest room at my brother's was beautiful. And this was the view out of our window onto the lake they live on. The Trout went fishing in the boat with my brother and we had a lovely, relaxing time, talking about childhood memories. I also told him about my genealogy research.

Now at daughter's house and loving those grandboys. Angie has beautiful snowball hydrangeas in her back yard. We are enjoying the upper Midwest plants and trees which we do not have in Florida. Need to catch up on reading all my favorite blogs that all of you write.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Pie Winners are Announced with Recipes

In case anyone is interested, the Crisco American Pie Contest winners have been announced and the recipes of the first place winners are available here.

We had such a good time judging the end of April, that we will probably do it again next year. PIE! That is as American as it can get.

Heading out of here

Busy day here today as we are packing up to head north and get out of the tropics and the heat, heat, heat!! Going to North Carolina to spend some time with my brother and his wife before we head to Ohio to visit daughter and family.

Love Florida, but we still have trouble adjusting to the heat in the summer. The spring rain is slow in coming, so it is also very dry. I will still say and always say that running the air conditioner in the summer in Florida is a lot more fun than running the furnace all winter long up north.

Will be in touch and will keep up reading all your blogs. Unfortunately, Kippy, the Bichon, is figuring out that she will be in for a long car ride and it is not her favorite thing. Will need to shut the bedroom doors before she crawls under the beds in hopes we forget her. And, it looks like rain is in the forecast further north, and she is deathly afraid of windshield wipers and rain on the roof. It is the child that never left home..

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

A Happy Mother's Day to all who are fortunate enough to be mothers. Becoming a mother is a gift that changes a woman's life totally. It adds a dimension that cannot be imagined. It searches deeply into your heart to find a love that you did not know existed. The love for a child or for many children is an indescribable feeling. I was given this gift the first time almost 40 years ago and again, 37 years ago.

What makes being a mother more remarkable is that I am also a grandmother and that is a whole new love that comes from my heart. To be blessed with 4 beautiful young grandchildren, individuals with unique personalities, makes that first step of becoming a mother, rewarded double-fold.

To my beautiful daughters, Happy Mother's Day and I hope someday you will also feel that double-fold reward of becoming grandmothers. God Bless You.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Love Bugs

Have you seen the love bugs? No, this isn't a small buggy-looking car. I am talking about the pesky Florida love bugs. They haven't always been here, but they are found in Florida, Georgia, parts of South Carolina and Mexico and Central America. They show themselves two times a year; during April-May and August-September.

They are usually very thick in groups and fly with no destination and end up landing on you and everything else. They can do damage to a car if the car is not waxed and the bugs are not removed quickly. They can leave a fatty, smeary mess on the windshields.

So, why are the called love bugs? Well, as you can see in this picture, they (two of them) fly around attached as they are mating. So, you are not only being hit by one bug, but two bugs. Looking forward to the end of this first season.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My unbreakable habit

I have one weakness that I have not been able to control, and I know that there are many foodies out there that would wag that finger of shame at me. It all started as a young child.

I love lamb! Lamb chops, leg of lamb, lamb kebabs, lamb burgers and just about any other way you can imagine. I always have. Mom would roast legs of lamb when we were young and I know none of my friends were eating lamb at that time. Mom was a restaurant cook and her speciality was meat; cooked, grilled, roasted, just about any way. (Oh yes, she was great with making soups also.) She was a perfectionist when it came to cooking a steak exactly as ordered. She always got it right. I guess that is why we also had lamb. She loved preparing meats. But, she also introduced me jelly. That is the only way I have ever eaten lamb. In restaurants, when it does not accompany the lamb, there is usually some sort of mint sauce, so that is enough to content me.

Our herb garden has been doing quite well, and the mint needs to be used before we leave on vacation. So this morning, I made mint jelly. Always wanted to try it and now we have plenty. Lamb chops are on the menu for this weekend, so will give this a try. I feel my larder is now full. "smile"

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

It is May 5th--Cinco de Mayo, and we celebrated simply but we had fun. Several couples got together and had a cocktail hour this evening. We had Sangria which was wonderful, with lots of fruit and shrimp cocktails and black bean salad with chips.

It was also a farewell for one snow bird couple that is heading back to Wisconsin for the summer. We vowed to do this on a regular schedule next winter because we really have a lot of fun together.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Our guest

We have a guest at our house. His name is Stanley Lambchop, or aka Flat Stanley. Somehow when the Flat Stanley series of books were written in 1964 by Jeff Brown, they passed over our home and we never met this adorable child.

Well, our grandson, Joshua, is in 2nd grade in Wisconsin, and he mailed Flat Stanley to visit us and we are to take pictures of Flat Stanley while he is in Florida, and then mail the pictures back to Joshua's classroom. Fun?

So, I have found him in a palm tree and a grapefruit tree so far. I thought about taking him to the Trout's colonoscopy today, but that just didn't seem right. So, Joshua, Flat Stanley will probably come back to see you sometime next week in the envelope you sent. Gosh, wish we could all travel by envelope now and then.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Quinoa in a salad

One blog I like to read is Katie's, Thyme for Cooking. This last week she had a salad that sounded so very good, that tonight The Trout and I put this together and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Spinach and quinoa, with yellow pepper, carrots, avocado, white cheddar and a soy balsamic vinaigrette. Instead of the stir-fry chicken she suggested, we simply grilled a steak to go with it. Very, very good.

Check out Katie's blog. She is a Midwest girl who has lived in Europe for some time, but just now settled into a new (restoring an old) home in France. Her recipe and blog can be found here. Along with this delightful meal, we had a bottle of L'Anthemtique Vacqueyras 2005 wine.

Have you lost a camera?

I read a very interesting column in our newspaper today, and I really want to share the information. It is about losing digital cameras and then finding them again. You hear the horror stories all the time, leaving a camera on a restaurant table (done that), park bench, subway, etc. Now there is no guarantee that who finds the camera would even try to return it to the rightful owner, but there is something everyone can do to help assure a reunion with your camera.

On a clean memory card, take a picture of a piece of paper so that it will be the first image on your card. On this piece of paper, write your telephone number and the word "REWARD, no questions asked." If you remove pictures from your card, always keep this photo of your phone number the number one photo. Doesn't that make sense?

If you are the unfortunate one who has lost a camera, there is a busy website where people post about found cameras. Go to .

There, I feel like I have passed on good news for the day!