This is the Nancy Merrill challenge, and this week’s theme is Halloween.
I was walking around the house with camera in hand and my great-granddaughter asked what I was looking for. I told her something that represent Halloween for us. She said we could take down all the hundreds of pumpkins and spiders and web like things, that this was the only decoration we needed. It has a cat and a pumpkin and that is enough.
Then she took it off the wall and hung it on the door for me to photograph. What can I say it is the perfect decoration.
We also went to our favorite pumpkin patch to get pumpkin and apple cider donuts, a pumpkin and some memories. Now that is pretty close to perfect.
This is the Nancy Marrill weekly chalenge for this week.
What a delightful and difficult challenge. Somehow I instantly thought of the cats as subjects for this challenge ( I have no idea why). Then I found the book I was looking for. Next step try hearding cats. Well, I got 2 out of 3 to cooperate, sort of. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did trying to have the lions behave.
On Amelia Island we found a distillery that makes a variety of alcohol, not at all like moonshine, but a small operation that has only been around for a couple of years. So on a bright sunny morning we decided to go in for a tasting. What a great way to start a day of touristy activity.
Never having been in a distillery before, I was pleasantly surprised. Marlin & Barrel make some very unique products that are not widely distributed, yet. Very much like a craft beer they use local Florida product as much as possible. Each bottle I saw had the above saying about finding your Spirit.
The grapefruit cello is made from Florida grown fruit as is the orange cello, at this time no lemon cello, but who knows. This has a wonderful mild taste and the grapefruit cello mixed with a sparkling white wine is perfectly delicious.
With various flavored vodka on shelves everywhere, this is quite interesting. First not a potato vodka but molasses flavored with smoked pepper. In a Bloody Mary this adds a certain amount of heat from the pepper. Lovely.
Other products are their rums and some souvenirs. Very much a hand operation with filling bottles and putting on labels with the batch number on the label! They have plans for more product and only a few places to purchase their product. This is not a place to miss. I consume about 4 drinks a year and I purchased what should be a 3 year supply and can’t wait to go back for more.
I have been to visit the Atlanta area a number of times, the first time about 45 years ago. When I visited then, I came with a friend and neither one of us knew anyone here so we went to typical tourist places. Dinner at a recommended restaurant and shopping downtown. Now I have family and friends living in the area which allows me to come here more often. So I have their input about unique or the current fun place to see. This was my first visit back in about a year and we had free time to explore so I set out for a new adventure.
This visit, I discovered a great new place. The is a shopping area, not a shopping mall, called Ponce City Market. It is located in a converted Sears, Roebuck building. The building originally opened in 1926 and re-opened in its new form in 2014. The day we visited it was jam-packed with people everywhere.
There are great shops and restaurants, tons of parking, a wonderful industrial vibe throughout and entertainment at various times. Throughout a nod to the original use of the building by Sears.
The general experience in this place is much like Underground Atlanta was many years ago. The day was wonderful in every aspect and I look forward to making this a regular stop on my visits here in the future. Once again a chance for good food and great shopping in a new atmosphere.
About a year ago, I started writing this blog. Today I went back and reread my first one. I am surprised that I still like and feel the same as what I wrote then. It’s like a 5-year-old child who feels that every day they are getting taller or smarter and it is visible to others. I know I have changed in many ways, can’t you all see it? HA. Other than the fact I dyed my hair (again a new color) and lost a couple of pounds, it’s not even visible to me. But I have changed.
I have accomplished a couple of bucket list items I was never sure were going to happen. Some of them were on my bucket list before I knew what a bucket list was. Thanks to that movie for making the term OK to use even with old people like me. We don’t automatically fear it or think that when an item is crossed off the list the end is near.
I hope that my writing and photographing some of my adventures will encourage some others to step out of the box. Embrace the unknown, learn new things, try different food, listen to new music and open your heart to enjoy all of those things.
I have decided to extend my time of blogging, because I am enjoying it. I will continue on this site, the name and the direction will change, but not yet.
My travel partners had a spring break, so we could take off for a few days. We wanted to take a longer trip and the winner is Hawaii. The choice was Honolulu because it was a direct flight, it has a lot to see in a small area, it has public transportation and we could fill a couple of wish/bucket list items.
The edge of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach, if this is a dream please don’t wake me up, let me just pretend.
What a great place for a photo op, or backdrop for a wedding or just inhale the fragrance of the beautiful floral canopy.
A most amazing tree with blue lights on it at night. This thing was huge!
Sun going down the first evening. This place is way more magical than I ever thought and I have been to a few tropical islands with palm trees. It is also way more expensive than I ever imagined. Would I go back, in a heartbeat, as soon as my bank account recovers from the shock. After 2 days here, I was talking about moving as I have heard many others do.
More to follow in the next few days, we did a lot in a short stay. Mahalo.
This is a weekly photo challenge.
Last summer I spent in Anchorage Alaska and had some incredible experiences. One of the wonderful things I was able to do was attend the Alaska State Fair. This is well known for it’s gigantic food. Due to the long summer days of 20 plus hours of daylight and sunshine, things grow extraordinarily large here. So I would like to share a few with you.
Due to the fact that many of the oversized vegetables are on display for about 2 weeks, they are no longer edible. So the Fair donates the food to a wild animal rescue organization and I will include that as well.
Since my heart and soul always seems to come back to quilts, I will include one as well, but please don’t eat the food theme quilt.
About once a year I make split pea soup. After the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays I can usually count on a ham bone leftover in the freezer and off we go. Today with more family around I pulled out the bones to make a pot of soup.
I think the first time I made it I followed a recipe, this was probably about 40 years ago. I was amazed the first time I tried the soup that I even liked it, since peas are one of the few vegies I don’t like. But it has been a part of my diet ever since.
I do have a couple of son-in-laws that like the soup and request it when ever possible. Todays version has onion, carrot, celery and green pepper added to the ham and split peas. I use whatever broth available and today it was vegetable and chicken that I had on hand.
It’s funny how this soup has generated much debate. Is there a difference in the flavor if you use different colored peas? I have only ever used green. Do you add lentil’s to this soup? I keep them separate and like them both. Are the vegies chunky or pureed? Most of the time I like the little pieces of carrot or celery, but occasionally I do use the immersion blender and make it smooth. Sour cream or not? I have added a dollop of sour cream in each bowl for about the last 15 years, occasionally a touch of dill as well. The variations go on and on.
I am ready now. All I want to do is eat a bowl.
Part of the reason for going to downtown Chicago now is for the temporary Christmas Market. For those who have never experienced it, it’s a little like being in Germany before Christmas.
A group of carts or caravans are located in a central or shopping location for several weeks before Christmas. Each one has different items for sale. Some have food and drinks. Other areas may have music playing from a local band. Some markets have small carnival type rides a merry-go-round or a Ferris wheel for children.
In this area people come to hear the music, to eat the food and maybe to purchase an item or two. The market in downtown Chicago is set amid the high rises in a pretty open plaza. It certainly has much of the feel of its European counterpart. Many of the venders are from Germany and many have German articles for sale.
One of the fun traditions that was used here as well as in Europe is the option of a cup. Some of the vendors offer hot as well as cold drinks and you can purchase cup along with your drink. Great for hot chocolate or mulled wine.
This has been a huge success for the city of Chicago and even on a bitter cold day people are here. For those who work nearby it is a nice change for a lunch break. Good for the German community here as well as the city.
Downtown Chicago has already become very festive, lights are up, windows are decorated and people are starting to get in the mood. Many people in the Chicago area have traditions that involve going downtown. Marshall Fields was the largest store that had windows decorated each year to tell a story. Many years the animation in the windows was truly spectacular and you rushed to go from window to window to see the story. Also in the same store the restaurant everyone went to was the Walnut Room for lunch with the children either before or after they saw Santa and to see the 3 story tall Christmas Tree.
The store has now been taken over by Macy’s, but much of the appearance of the store is the same. The tree is up and the windows are decorated and animated and it is still a destination for many families.
The animation now is not only the figures moving in the window, but the digital photos used in the displays change.
The tree still looks spectacular.
One window this year is dedicated to the World Series winning Cubs with a logo in the Ferris wheel that is turning in the window.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.