More, True Confessions of a Pinterest Artist

August 30, 2014

More, True Confessions of a Pinterest Artist


 It was a rumor floating around, while I attended the University of South Carolina, in the late seventies. Supposedly, sometime during the three semesters (1947-1948) that Jasper Johns attended the land of the Gamecock, he presented a unique piece of artwork in class one day. Bringing a live chicken into the classroom, Jasper Johns proceeded to lob off the unlucky poultry’s head, in the presence of his astonished instructor and peers, presenting this bizarre demonstration as his assigned art project.

I know, this is a photo of ducks. I did not have a photo of a terrified chicken!

 Sixty-seven years later, Jasper Johns is still creating art, albeit of a more tangible nature, and very profitably so. Probably best known for his 1954 pop art piece, Flag, and the (around)* twenty more subsequent Flag-themed paintings created in the years to follow, Mr. Johns’ net worth is currently estimated at $300 million dollars today! I am the first to admit that I do not fully comprehend why Johns’s pieces, although interesting, command such an exorbitant amount. At auction in 2010, the late Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton’s beloved Flag (1960-66), by his artist friend Jasper Johns, commanded a cool $28.6 million dollars!

Jasper Johns, in front of his masterpiece, Flag
Photo courtesy of

 To view more of Johns’s works, and read more about the artist,
click on the links below.

 From the master to the novice, I enter apprehensively into the esoteric world of abstract/pop art. Although, a novice about this art genre, I do know what I like. And that is, I like art that makes me happy. A tour throughout our home in Maryland, (I am currently living overseas), exhibits photos of our precious family, fun art prints, mixed with a smattering of colorful travel posters of places we’ve lived and visited. Also, adorning my walls, a few special pieces created by my artist friend, Jodi Perry, but up until this point, nothing of the abstract variety.

 View a few pieces from “Annette’s Art Gallery”

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 8.20.37 PM

 I fell in love with Shag’s, WDW 40th Anniversary Print, when I first spied it
at the art gallery in Epcot. It now proudly hangs over the couch in our family room, making me smile each and every time I look at it. :o)
It was this piece, which provided the impetus to changing the decor our house. For 30+ years our home had been decorated in the country style, but after acquiring this print, our entire house has been slowly transforming into, what I call, a “Pottery Barn look with a taste of mid-century”.

Our first art acquisition, Texas Blue Norther (1981), a print by talented Texas artist George Boutwell. (We lived in Texas for 16 years.)
Boutwell’s use of watercolor in this piece amazes me!
One time, while looking at this artist’s work at an art fair, our oldest, Trevor, who was about 4 years old at the time, asked Boutwell,
“How do you color so well in the lines?”
The artist’s reply, “I draw the lines!”

Several years ago, I bought this print from The Black Dog Tavern,
Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. I love going to this restaurant!

I like the art deconess (Is that even a word?) of this reproduction vintage railroad ad. This poster reminds me of a wonderful week that Dale and I spent in beautiful Banff (Canada), on a business trip, in 1996.

White Barn with Red Sculpture

 I was drawn (Yes, that is a pun!) to this print by artist Ian Tremewen,
the first time I stumbled upon it online. I eventually bought the print.
Tremewen’s artwork is all so colorful and happy.
I like the simplicity and lines of this piece!–a10497/ian-tremewen-posters.htm

A special gift from my friend and artist, Jodi Perry.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 7.59.27 AM
Journey, by Jodi Perry
I like this poster of the Iowa corn (I grew up in Iowa)
with the woman dressed in red, 
who looks like Jodi!

I LOVE my poster of Summer Daydream, by Jodi Perry!
This is a happy piece of art! Simply beautiful! :o)

 For more on this piece, and how I met Jodi, click below.

 Painting and me

 It is said that desperate times call for desperate measures. I found myself living overseas, in a rented apartment with rented furniture, complete with a couple of crushed velour couches, and bare walls. With nary a Target, Home Goods, or Pier One in the vicinity, desperation dictated. I would have to tap into my (hopefully) hidden artistic skills, if I wished to decorate my generic off-white walls. I had been pleased with the results of my first artistic attempt a few months earlier (you can read about it here-, and scoured Pinterest once again, for another source of inspiration.
I found it in this piece.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 3.18.35 PM

The Pinterest inspiration for my most recent painting.

Here is the process I went through, below, just in case you may wish to create your own piece of art.

 Painting Materials

 Paint Canvas
(I used a square 80 cm 80 cm/31.5 in x 31.5 in. that was 38 mm/1.5 in deep)

Drop cloths
(When in a pinch, I use trash bags, or shopping bags, that I have cut open.) 

Acrylic Paint
(I used two-three bottles of glossy white,
two-three bottles of aqua,
and one bottle of glossy black)


Chalk and a brush reserved to use as a “broom” for the chalk


(These are four that I used.)


How to

Place down a drop cloth.  

Give the canvas a white base coat, including the sides,
using the wide paintbrush.

I did two coats, letting it dry between each coat.

I set the canvas up on four glasses to dry.

I then painted two coats of aqua paint on the canvas front and sides,
letting it dry.
(See photos below. My drop cloths are pretty sorry, I know!



 Using chalk, I sketched out the design that I wanted.


 I painted white inside the circles that I had sketched,leaving space to paint the black outline. It took several coats of white before it covered to achieve the look that I wanted.


Once the white circles were dry, I used the chalk brush “broom”,
and “swept” away the chalk marks from the canvas.


 I then used black paint to outline the circles, making sure that the circles all touched one another.

And, using the small paintbrush, I signed my name at the bottom.
Presenting my painting, that I entitled Happy. :o)


A Pillow Talk Moment

 A funny thing happened when the apartment workmen came to assist me in hanging my new painting. (The walls here are concrete, so it takes a drill to hang anything on these walls!) After the workmen had held up the painting for my approval, then measured, marked and leveled where the painting should go; they proceeded to hang it up; upside down. It took a of couple minutes, due to the language barrier, and a couple of other tries on their behalf, before we got my painting, Happy, hung up the way it should be. The whole time, I kept thinking that this was just like in Pillow Talk (I love that movie!), and I’m Doris Day, telling the deliverymen how to correctly hang this painting!
Yep, my life is a movie!


Doris Day, as Jan Morrow, instructs deliverymen on the correct placement of a painting for Tony Randall/Jonathan Forbes’s office.
Ralph Du Casse is the artist who painted this colorful and interesting
Pillow Talk abstract.

 Pillow Talk art information and photos courtesy of The Art of Film blog.
I am a big fan of this blog, which investigates artwork in the movies.
For more information about the art in Pillow Talk, click on the link below.


Reaction to my painting, Happy (2014)

 My friend, Jodi Perry, gave me some artist painting pointers and encouragement, via email, prior to the beginning of this piece. (The first paint stroke, getting started, was the hardest part!) I sent her a photo upon completion, and Jodi was very kind in her assessment of my attempt. Thank you, Jodi!

 My husband, Dale, is sweet and encouraging in my endeavors. Upon arriving home from work and seeing my newest masterpiece, Dale said that it reminded him of
The Flintstones, his favorite cartoon! :o) I told my hubby that I was going for a more primitive look, so I would take that as a compliment! Actually, I can see Dale’s point. The circles in my painting are shaped in a similar fashion to the many boulders that show up on the cartoon, in the architecture of Bedrock, and the aqua background is the same color as Fred Flintstone’s perennial tie. Could there be some deep, unconscious, psychological meaning, pertaining to The Flintstones in my painting?! Nah.

A scene from the cartoon The Flintstones
Note the shape of the boulders in the fence, and the color of Fred’s tie.
Are these similarities to my painting just a coincidence?

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


 I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly.

I will talk to you again around September 15.

A Yabba Dabba thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

 To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

Sign up today!


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Dubai, the City of Gold: a photo tour

August 27, 2014

Dubai, the City of Gold: a photo tour

Enjoying the array of gold available for purchase at one of the many shops in Dubai’s Old Gold Souk

 Dubai is one amazing city! Skyscrapers abound, and the construction of new buildings shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. It is difficult to fathom, that just a short time ago, Dubai was more desert than buildings. It is thanks to this rapid explosion of growth, along with Dubai’s prominent position in today’s world of business, that it has gained the nickname the “City of Gold”. (Possibly a nod, also, to Dubai’s renowned Gold Souk?) It is in this land of bigger, better, taller, that Dubai currently holds over 140 Guinness Book of World Records, including everything from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to the world’s most expensive cocktail (costing $9,000) served at the beautiful Burj al Arab’s, Skyview Bar. So it should not have been a surprise, upon checking into our hotel, when we were informed that this Marriott was the tallest hotel in the world. Not knowing this beforehand, the news came as a pleasant revelation, as we arrived for my hubby’s week of business meetings. Unbeknownst to us, we were about to spend a wonderful week at this lovely hotel, filled with restaurants of gastronomic proportions, and armed with a hotel staff whose splendid customer service rivaled that of the gold standard of all customer service, Walt Disney World. When venturing out of the hotel confines, we delighted in some of the sights and sounds that this vibrant city has to offer. Please, sit back, relax, and join me, as I share with you a pictorial recap of our recent Dubai adventure. To read more in detail on Dubai, click on the blue links scattered throughout this post. – 6

The metamorphosis of Dubai’s landscape in just 23 years! Photo courtesy of The Business Insider

 dubai construction
Construction is evident from the view out the window from the JW Marriott Marquis’s top/72nd floor.
There is much construction in Dubai, and it never seems to stop, continuing 24 hours per day.
 Note the Burj al Arab, the sail shaped building next to the sea in the distance, in the very top, center, of the photo.
(You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it, to see it.)

 The Hotel


In the beautiful JW Marriott Marquis’s lobby, Dubai, a “Blessed Eid” holiday banner greeted us upon arrival.


One of the views out our hotel room window on the 42nd floor, with the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in the background

 IMG_0147Looking up at the two wings of the JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai. The complex is shaped similar to the letter “U”.
This Marriott is currently the tallest hotel in the world.

A view of our hotel, the JW Marriott from our taxi window.

The hotel is filled with wonderful restaurants, including the Italian Positano with the best lasagna that I have ever tasted, and this one, La Farine, where they make the most delectable quiches.

La Farine’s delicious Quiche of the Day-Prawn/Shrimp Quiche

While enjoying the Kitchen 6’s huge breakfast buffet, daily at the hotel, I fell in love with the tea timer that is brought to each table whenever tea is ordered. When I inquired where I could purchase a tea timer, the manager presented me with one!

A top view of my fun souvenir from the JW Marriott, Dubai.

Wiz of Oz
My new timer not only helps me make a better cup of tea, but it is reminiscent of the hourglass in The Wizard of Oz, which always makes me smile! :o)

I found a similar Perfect Tea Timer on, if you just have to have one, like I did.  :o) 

Dale and me strolling along the pool area of our hotel, with the Burj Khalifa in the background.


The Malls and the Aquarium

First things first!
Dale enjoys a “for real” American hamburger, at The Cheesecake Factory at the Dubai Mall, just after our arrival in Dubai.
(Having been overseas for a while, it was our first hamburger in some time. YUM!)

A view of the impressive waterfall inside the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall.

An Arabian gift shop, one of the many stores at the huge Dubai Mall.

The Dubai Fountain, coordinated to music, is a sight to see, especially at sunset, just outside the Dubai Mall.

The Burj Khalifa sits next to the Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain.

Many of the palm trees along the main streets in Dubai are decorated with twinkling lights.
Here, we wait for the hotel van to take us back to the hotel from the Dubai Mall, at dusk.

In front of the aquarium at the Dubai Mall, which hold the Guinness Book of World’s Record for largest piece of Plexiglas, or something like that.

While Dale attended meetings one day, I enjoyed a trip to the aquarium at the Dubai Mall.

The Aquarium tunnel was fascinating.

I just had to take this selfie with Mr. Shark!

Dale and I went to the Mall of the Emirates one evening, another of the many malls to visit in Dubai,
I found the architecture and windowed ceiling beautiful.

Watching the skiers at Ski Dubai at the Mall of the Emirates.


The Old Gold Souk

Standing at the entrance to Dubai’s Old Gold Souk.

IMG_1852Walking through the numerous gold shops that sell 18k, 22k amd 24k gold, in the Old Gold Souk.

A Kodak moment for Dale and me in the Old Gold Souk.

The backside of the Gold Souk District

Standing next to the Guinness Book of World Record’s largest gold ring, in the Old Gold Souk.
I am guessing that this ring would even be too large to fit the Sci-Fi’s 50-foot woman!

50 foot woman
Allison Hayes stars as the 50-foot woman in Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958)


A Quick Visit to the Atlantis,_The_Palm

Dale in front of the Atlantis Hotel on the hottest day that I have ever felt, with a heat index of 129 degrees!

The large water park area of the Atlantis

A photo of the imposing Atlantis, taken from the monorail as we left Palm Island.

Taking in the views of Palm Island while riding the monorail away from the Atlantis.

An aerial photo of Palm Island with the Atlantis Hotel at the top of the “tree”, on the ring around the palm tree.
Photo courtesy of

 Watch this episode of Megastructures to see the building of the manmade Palm Island.

A picturesque monorail view of Dubai


Duty Free Walnuts and Banana Bread

Look what I found at the airport shop, going back! USA walnuts!
I bought a bag. Now I can make banana bread while overseas! :o)


Alice’s Banana Bread
This recipe is courtesy of The Summit Springs Inn, Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania

 Dale and I have stayed at this charming, quiet, single-family cabin, 15 minutes from Gettysburg, a couple of times, and each time, a loaf of this moist, tasty banana bread was waiting for us upon arrival.
The proprietor, Alice, kindly gave me the recipe.

 summit spring inn gettysburg
Dale in front of The Summit Springs Inn
Blue Ridge SummitPennsylvania
May 2009


1 cup white sugar

½ cup butter, softened

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

2½ cups of flour

sifted with

1teaspoon of baking soda


1 teaspoon of baking powder


2-3 very ripe bananas, mashed

½ cup of chopped walnuts


Cream together the first three ingredients of sugar, butter and eggs, until    light and fluffy

(About two minutes)

Add alternately the flour mixture and buttermilk

(The mixture will be thick.)

Add mashed bananas and chopped walnuts

Grease two loaf pans, and divide batter evenly into pans.

Bake at 350 (325 in glass) for about 50 -60 minutes.
Test at 50 minutes (Ovens may vary)
Place toothpick into middle, making sure that it comes out clean.

Makes two loaves

This sliced banana bread is good toasted, too!



To read more about Dubai, please click on the link below to one of my earlier blogs.


Thanks for reading!  :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly.

I will talk to you again around September 10.

A Guinness Book of World’s Record-sized thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

Sign up today!

Nighttime in Dubai

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Our State Fair is a GREAT State Fair!

August 15, 2014

Our State Fair is a GREAT State Fair!

Posing at the Iowa State Fair, August 2009
Dale (my hubby) who wins the blue ribbon, Martese (our daughter), and Me (Annette)
Photo courtesy of Jodie Stokke


Our State Fair is a great State Fair,

Don’t miss it, don’t even be late.

It’s dollars to doughnuts that our State Fair,

Is the best State Fair in our state!

Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers

Click on this link to enjoy this tune:

 It always happens at this time of year, no matter where I happen to be in the world. ( I am currently overseas.) It usually begins with me absent-mindedly humming the tune Our State Fair. Then, I begin feeling a distinct tug from the general direction of the Iowa State Fair. To paraphrase an old saying, “ You can take the girl out of Iowa, but you can’t take the Iowa out of the girl.” :o)

IOWA spelled out in corncob fashion

 As summer’s end begins inching toward autumn and the start of yet another school year rapidly approaches, the Iowa State Fair celebrates all that is good about Iowa, in the way of exhibits, food, and fun. As a young child, I remember going to the fair a couple of times. One year, going with my grandparents, I fondly remember riding on the live pony ride. That reminds me of a sweet story about my grandparents that relates to the Iowa State Fair. I think that my grandparents were probably in their early 60’s at the time, and they attended the fair. My grandmother, while visiting the antiques exhibit, spotted an antique moose cup for sale. After arriving home that evening, after a full day at the fair, my Grandma Westphal mentioned to my grandpa that she had once had a moose cup, just like that one, when she was growing up. Waking up the next day, my grandfather announced that they would travel the 60+ miles again to Des Moines, to the fair, to buy that cup. Today, I am the proud owner of this unique piece of family history, a testament to a sweet gesture of love made by my grandfather towards my grandmother.

My Grandma Westphal’s beloved moose mug, purchased at the Iowa State Fair

The Exhibits

 2009 was the year that I became reacquainted with the Iowa State Fair. It had been a 33-year absence for me, having moved from Iowa in 1978. On a road trip from our home in Maryland, we were moving our daughter to Iowa to begin her college career at Iowa State University in Ames. With the fair just up the road in Des Moines, it was the perfect time for me to introduce my husband and daughter to the delights of the Iowa State Fair. To see some of the sights that we enjoyed on that day, browse through the photos below. :o)

That’s me, with the butter cow sculpture at the Iowa State Fair, 2009
A fair staple since 1911, the cow sculpture uses about 600 pounds of butter, taking 16 hours to create!
After the fair, the butter is frozen, to be reused again in the next year’s cow sculpture.
(The butter is replaced every 3-4 years.)

Martese and I check out the Iowa State Fair exhibits, 2009

Posing with a bovine buddy on a hot day at the Iowa State Fair, 2009

Martese, complete with a silly smile, meets a new friend at the Iowa State Fair, 2009
Martese would soon begin her freshman year at Iowa State, just a few days after this photo was taken. :o)

 The Midway Attractions

 As a teenager attending the Iowa State Fair, there were always a few Midway attractions that were must dos; climbing to the top of the Giant Slide and feeling the breeze play with one’s hair on the quick descent, the eerie darkness inside Ye Old Mill/Tunnel of Love boat ride, and the birds eye view, at night, of the fair from high atop the double Ferris Wheel. It was the last of these, the double Ferris Wheel, where one ride was more than enough for yours truly. It was my high school best friend, Jodie’s, idea. She assured me that I would love the views from the mammoth ride that towers above the fair. I didn’t. I must interject here that I am VERY afraid of heights. As memory serves me, I vaguely remember the beauty of the twinkling  lights of The Midway as we made our way to the extreme top of the double Ferris Wheel. Unfortunately, that beauty was overshadowed by the fact that the Ferris Wheel seats are not stationary, but sway back and forth as you climb to dizzying heights. Yikes! Just thinking about it now makes my heart race!

 Click on this fun video link that a dad, on the double Ferris Wheel at the Iowa State Fair, recorded for his kids who couldn’t be there.

View of The Iowa State Fair Midway, taken from the Grandstand, 2009

The Giant Slide at the Iowa State Fair, 2014
Photo courtesy of Brad Westphal

The Iowa State Fair Double Ferris Wheel, 2009
Photo courtesy of David Whiting, read David’s blog about his trip to the fair, by clicking below.


Anyone who has ever been to the Iowa State Fair knows that food is part of the fair experience! As a teenager, there were two items that were mandatory fair fare (Hee hee, fair fare, get it?): corndogs and made-on-the-spot fresh lemonade. These two foods will always represent the essence of Iowa State Fair food to me! In today’s Fair World, the fairgoer has an amazing variety of food from which to choose, often meaning culinary delights served on a stick. I chuckle as I read about the 69 varieties of cuisine that is served at this year’s fair, all from a stick. My friend, Barb, said while attending this year, she even enjoyed a hard- boiled egg on a stick (free in the agriculture building) and sprinkled with a taco-like spice! :o)

Martese enjoys corn on the cob, on a stick
( Not at the State Fair, but at a 4th of July celebration in Plymouth, Minnesota, 2014)
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

Iowa State Fair: Food On-a-Stick

The Iowa State Fair, 2014, offers 69 food options on-a-stick :

  1. Caprese Salad On-a-Stick
  2. Chocolate Covered Chunky Bacon Maple Nougat On-a-stick
  3. Chocolate Covered Cookies N Cream On-a-stick
  4. Funnel Cake Sticks
  5. Jumbo Toasted Marshmallow On-a-stick
  6. Mexican Grilled Corn On-the-cob
  7. Tater Dog On-a-stick
  8. Fair Square (Original, Peanut Butter and Fair-berry flavors)
  9. Bacon Wrapped Riblet 
  10. Bacon-Wrapped Smokies
  11. Cajun Chicken
  12. Cake Pops
  13. Caramel Apple
  14. Carmellows
  15. Cheese
  16. Chicken
  17. Chocolate-Covered Cheesecake
  18. Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 
  19. Chocolate-Covered Deep Fried Cheesecake
  20. Chocolate-Covered Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
  21. Chocolate-Covered Key Lime Dream Bar
  22. Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Bar
  23. Coconut Mountain 
  24. Corn on the Cob
  25. Cornbrat (bratwurst dipped in corndog batter)
  26. Corndog
  27. Cotton Candy
  28. Crazy Tater
  29. Deep Fried Brownie 
  30. Deep Fried Sweet Corn Corndog
  31. Deep-Fried Milky Way
  32. Deep-Fried Snickers
  33. Deep-Fried Twinkie
  34. Double Bacon Corn Dog
  35. Dutch Letter
  36. Fruit (with yogurt dipping sauce) 
  37. German Sausage
  38. Griddle Stick (turkey sausage wrapped in a pancake)
  39. Hard-Boiled Egg
  40. Honey
  41. Hot Bologna
  42. Hot Dog
  43. Hot Lips (breaded chicken breast smothered with hot sauce, served with blue cheese dressing)
  44. Ice Cream Wonder Bar
  45. Jalapeno Corndog
  46. Kabob Combo
  47. Lamb Sausage (brat)
  48. Monkey Tail (chocolate-covered banana)
  49. Nutty Bar
  50. Peanut Butter & Jelly
  51. Pickle
  52. Pineapple (fresh pineapple dipped in funnel cake batter and deep fried)
  53. Pork Chop
  54. Push-ups
  55. Rainbow Popsicle
  56. Rib Shack Cowboy
  57. Rock Candy
  58. Salad
  59. Sesame Chicken
  60. Shrimp Corndog
  61. Smoothie 
  62. Soft Salted Chocolate Dipped Almond Pretzel 
  63. Spicy Shrimp
  64. Teriyaki Beef
  65. Turkey Drumstick
  66. Turkey Tenderloin
  67. Twinkie Log (frozen Twinkie dipped in white chocolate and rolled in cashews) 
  68. Unicorn Lollipops
  69. Veggie Corndog

 The source for this list, as well as for much of my Iowa State Fair research for this post, is this link.
Click on it for more fair information.

UntitledCorndogs are an Iowa State Fair staple.
Photo courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, read her fun blog below – comment-3315815


One of the main attractions each year at the Iowa State Fair are the concerts, providing fairgoers with a variety of acts to choose from. As a teenager, my friends and I piled into the car to hit the fair and attend a couple of concerts over the years. We were treated to The Beach Boys in 1975 and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons in 1976. That 1975 Beach Boys concert still holds the record for the largest attendance in Iowa State Fair history at 25,400 for one show. In addition to enjoying a great day at the fair that August, and a fantastic concert that evening, I have another memory of a more chilling nature. The tickets for this concert were general admission, which basically meant that 25,000+ people were all vying for a good seat. With this in mind, my group of friends and I arrived early to stake out a spot in line, ensuring us good seats for the upcoming show. We were all feeling good about our chances of “sitting pretty”, when the concert gates were thrown open. What happened next was terrifying. My friends and I suddenly felt the force of several thousand patrons from behind us. We were being pushed and shoved, uncontrollably, toward the Grandstand. I remember a more muscular fellow trying to keep those around him from being harmed in the melee. It was pandemonium. My fellow concertgoers around me were all screaming and shouting while trying to remain upright. My little group of friends had become separated in the commotion. We were all  doing our best, just not to be trampled. My one friend, Kim, suddenly found herself being crushed, wedged at a stationary metal barrier near a turnstile.  Miraculously,  a couple of my other friends somehow managed to pull Kim free, pushing her through the turnstile to safety. To this day, I am convinced that it was only through divine intervention that we all managed to escape the crush of the masses behind us. It was a horrifying ordeal that could have easily ended in tragedy. In fact, a few years later, several concertgoers attending a general admission Who concert in Cincinnati, lost their lives in a similar situation.

On August 18, 1975, the good vibrations of the Beach Boys drew 25,400 in one show.
This attendance still holds the record for the biggest audience for one show at the Iowa State Fair.

Another fun concert,  I remember thinking at the time, how does Frankie Valli sing so high?

Ticket stub from Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, August 20, 1976
Photo courtesy of Jodie Stokke

Contemporary Christian artist, Jeremy Camp, rocking on stage at the Iowa State Fair

(Steven Curtis Chapman was also on the bill that night), August 13th, 2009


It was a VERY hot night at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand, while watching the talented Jeremy Camp in concert!
August 13, 2009
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

Enjoying a free concert by Firefall at the Iowa State Fair, August 13, 2009
Dale’s first gift to me was a record album by this group in 1977! :o)

The Iowa State Fair in the Movies

Screenshot from 2013-08-16 13_48_33
Abel Frake (Charles Winninger) grooms Blue Boy in 1945’s State Fair

 Iowa native, Phil Stong, penned the novel State Fair in 1932 about a family and their adventures at the Iowa State Fair. It wasn’t long before Hollywood took notice of the book’s popularity, adapting it into a movie by the same name, starring “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Will Rogers. Movie film crews attended the 1932 Iowa State Fair “to film background material, including the racing scenes and the midway. After the fair, they purchased three hogs, including the grand champion, Dike of Rosedale, who was cast as Blue Boy.” (Quoting

 Fun Facts for ya:

  1. On the set of State Fair, there was concern about Will Rogers’s safety, working with the “temperamental” hog, Blue Boy. Rogers was warned about the feisty animal, but Rogers’s reaction was “I’ve always been on friendly terms with hogs. Me and him’ll get along all right.” On the first day of filming with Blue Boy, Will Rogers was nowhere to be found. He was eventually located; sound asleep, in Blue Boy’s pen, with Rogers using Blue Boy’s ample side for a pillow.

    2.  Author Phil Stong was the uncle of Iowa State Fair’s fourth butter sculptor (from 1960-2005),
and the first woman to do so, Duffy Lyon.

State Fair, 1933
To watch this film, click on this link.

 In 1945, the second State Fair film was offered up to the public, this time in the form of a musical. This adaptation of the 1933 movie has music by the duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. State Fair is the only musical that the pair ever wrote directly for a film. This is my favorite of the State Fair films, filled with colorful Iowa fun and song.

Rogers and Hammerstein’s 1945 State Fair.
To watch this film, click on this link.

 Blog Art - State Fair2
I love this scene! Margy (Jeanne Crain) sings (actually dubbed by Louanne Hogan), and day dreams about
Ronald Coleman, Charles Boyer and Bing Crosby, whose voices become audible to the audience.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 7.17.11 AM
Melissa (Fay Bainter) and Margy Frake (Jeanne Crain) leave victoriously from the pickle and mincemeat competition in State Fair (1945).
For you fashionistas out there, check out Jeanne Crain’s wardrobe in this film.
(Personally, I would lose the cherries on this dress!

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 2.17.47 PM
Another of my favorite scenes from the 1945 film State Fair: the fair judges sampling the spiked mincemeat entry.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 11.17.02 AM
The spiked mincemeat scene in the 1933 version of State Fair

 If you wish to give an Iowa State Fair award-winning mincemeat recipe a try, I found this one on the Internet. If you try it, please let me know how it turns out, by leaving a comment (at the bottom of this page), or emailing me (on my ABOUT page).

 Blanche Park’s Mincemeat Pie Filling

My Grandma Beulah gave this recipe to me.
It was an Iowa State Fair prizewinner.

Recipe submitted by Mary Ajzenman.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups pork

2 cups beef

5 1/2 cups apples, cored, peeled and chopped

2 1/4 cups seedless raisins

1 1/2 whole lemons, ground fine

5 3/4 cups sugar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon vinegar

1 3/4 cups apple cider or juice, or apricot nectar

1 1/2 cups ground suet

1/2 cup sorghum

1 (16-ounce) can whole cranberry sauce

2 cups sour cherries, well drained

5 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 3/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking Directions:

  1. Salt meat a little, cook until tender, cool, mince. Do not grind. Combine
meat, apples, raisins, sugar, lemons, sorghum, suet, vinegar, and juice.
Cook until apples are done, stirring occasionally. May be done a day ahead to this point.
  2. Add cherries and cranberries, and cook until blended. Lower heat, add spices and salt. Simmer until blended.
  3. A pint is sufficient for a small pie. For making a 9-inch pie, plan on using a quart. Any not to be used within a week may be sealed in sterilized jars while hot.
  4. For a 2-crust pie or lattice top, bake in 425°F (220°C) oven for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 400°F (205°C) until done. Makes about 4 quarts.

 I found this recipe and additional State Fair trivia here; please click on the link below.

 Another remake of the movie State Fair followed in 1962. This version, however, strayed from the heart and roots of the original story, taking place at (GULP) …the Texas State Fair. Such impertinence!
An adapted State Fair Broadway stage musical premiered in 1996, once again, and rightfully so, taking place at the IOWA State Fair.

                                                         After all, our State Fair is a great State Fair!

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


 I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. I will talk to you again around September 1.
A big thank you (on a stick) to all of my blog followers!!!

 To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page. Sign up today!

An Iowa State Fair souvenir pincushion from 1938, purchased from Ebay several years ago

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Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’…

July 29, 2014

 Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’…
Yes, that’s me, Annette, in the center!
This is how Singin’ in the Rain’s, “Good Mornin” number could have looked! :o)
Photo courtesy of Trevor Hoffman

”Good Mornin’, Good Mornin’”, this perky little ditty from that great musical, Singin’ in the Rain, was frequently heard at my house, when waking up my young children in the morning. I am sure that this, partially, explains my daughter’s affinity for this movie as an adult! Great song, great movie! Join in with the movie clip below and sing along.

 I just couldn’t mention Singin’ in the Rain without including my favorite part from the movie! (I always marvel at this scene, especially since I know that Gene Kelly was sick and had a fever when filming this wonderfully iconic sequence.) Enjoy the movie clip below!

For some Singin’ in the Rain trivia, click this link.

My daughter, Martese, and I playfully recreate Singin’ in the Rain
Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World
March 2008

Epcot, Walt Disney World, May 2011
Thank you, Trevor Hoffman!

Just like Winnie the Pooh, breakfast is how we happily begin our day. While growing up in the 1960’s, my family woke up to a substantial breakfast together, prepared by my mother. Even the sitcom families that I watched on TV growing up seemed to all begin their day with a hearty breakfast together. (See a few photos of these sitcom breakfasts below, and click on the blue links to learn more.) In my own domicile, when my youngsters were at home, things were not so formal in the morning. Although, we ate most of our evening meals together as a family, due to varying morning schedules, breakfast was a much more informal affair during the week. More elaborate morning meals (usually not all THAT elaborate, though) were reserved for the weekend.

Breakfast 1950’s and1960’s Sitcom Style

 The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966)
Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) fixing breakfast for the Petrie family, including Rob (Dick Van Dyke).
“The Curious Thing About Women” from The Dick Van Dyke Show, 1962, Season 1, Episode 16

Read about how I once “met” Dick Van Dyke, by clicking the link below.

Was Laura a short order cook?! Read this breakfast dialogue
from The Dick Van Dyke Show, and decide for yourself.
“What’s in a Middle Name?”, 1962, 2, Episode 7

Rob: “Where’s Rich, shouldn’t he be eating?”

Laura: “He’s already had breakfast.”

Rob: “What’d he have?”

Laura: “Waffles and bacon.”

Rob: “Hows come he gets all those good things, and I always get scrambled eggs?”

Laura: “Well, Dear, because when I ask you what you want you for breakfast, you always say scrambled eggs.”

Rob: “Well, Honey, that’s because I’m half asleep. I’ve got scrambled eggs memorized.
Next time, you ask me and I mumble scrambled eggs, give me waffles.

Laura: Well then, how will I know when you really want scrambled eggs?

Rob: When you ask me and I mumble waffles…

Laura: I’ll make scrambled eggs.

Rob: Yeah, that’s right. And if I mumble toast and jam…well, I’ll make you a little list of mumbles.

 To view episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, click on the link below

I Love Lucy (1951-1957)

Lucy (Lucille Ball) happily experiences a role reversal, as she enjoys a breakfast prepared by her husband Ricky (Desi Arnaz).
“Job Switching” from I Love Lucy,1952, Season 2, Episode 4

To view “Job Switching”, click on the link below

 To view episodes of I Love Lucy, click on the link below

Leave It to Beaver (1957-1963)


It seems that June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsley always served an ample breakfast,
complete with perfectly coiffed hair, and in a dress and pearls.

Bewitched (1964-1972)

Good witch, Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery), was always up early to prepare a hearty breakfast for husband, Darren (Dick York and Dick Sargent), before he headed off to work at
McMann and Tate.

bewitched breakfast

I love the kitchen stove and oven unit on Bewitched !

I sometimes dream of owning a “Samantha stove” of my very own (along with her beautiful heart-shaped diamond necklace). If only a beautiful Frigidaire Flair Range would fit into my kitchen space, then I could look for one in great condition, at a decent price, minus Uncle Arthur’s (Paul Lynde) head inside, of course! Hmm…I may have to discuss this idea with my hubby! :o)


 The stylish Frigidaire Flair Range was a true product of the early 1960’s.


The Munsters (1964-1966)


Herman and Lilly Munster (Fred Gwynne and Yvonne De Carlo) enjoy their breakfast together.

Click on this link below and view this Cheerios commercial that features Herman Munster starting his day with breakfast cereal. – 1435475401725664223

It’s Dollars to Doughnuts*



In the 1960’s, Dale’s family served breakfast to the masses in Cleveland, Ohio, owning
The Donut Shop that was once located on Northfield Road/Rt. 8.

 The metal sign above, a Marty Mummert creation, hangs in my kitchen as a nod to Dale’s family’s doughnut making past. Isn’t it great? I am a mega fan of Marty Mummert’s signs!

 To read more about him, click on the link below

 To see my recipe for simple biscuit doughnuts, click here

The Bagel Bin

 You know those places in the movies where the guy walks into a restaurant and says, “Give me the usual.”? I actually have one of those places! The Bagel Bin, near my home, is a comfortable, unpretentious spot, and makes the best bagels and eggels ever! I am addicted!

2012-12-23 10.48.13
The handsome duo: My hubby and eldest, Dale and Trevor, outside of our local
Bagel Bin in Ellicott City, Maryland
December 2012

I always enjoy my usual; a delicious half of a Bagel Bin Eggel/egg sandwich and unsweetened iced tea. The kind staff always carefully wraps up the other half in foil,
for me to take home. :o)

My Bagel Bin Usual;
an 8-grain bagel (made on the premises by the friendly staff)
double toasted, egg, bacon, and cheddar cheese. YUM!


Three of Annette’s Breakfast Recipes
 I share with you three tried and true recipes, below.

 The Tale of the (Hoffman) Muffin Special

 The first recipe listed, The Muffin Special, was my invention, created out of mild desperation. Many years ago, my oldest children had decided that they preferred the sugary stuff that their friends were having for breakfast, and that were being advertised on television commercials. Sugar coated cereals and pop tarts, although tasty to the tongue, offered little in the area of nutritional sustenance. I began to ponder, just what I might create that could compete as star of my children’s morning meal. My children liked peanut butter, and they like chocolate, so…the Muffin Special was born. These simple breakfast creations are still a favorite at my house today!

 The (Hoffman) Muffin Special

Photo courtesy of Chandler Hoffman


English Muffin

Peanut Butter

Chocolate Chips


Split English muffin in half

Toast English muffin

Spread with peanut butter

Sprinkle with chocolate chips, or make a happy face with the chocolate chips. :o)

1 serving


Creating a Healthier Scrambled Egg Muffin Recipe

 This egg muffin recipe is my version of a recipe that I found in a magazine several years ago. I have replaced a few ingredients to make this healthier, without sacrificing flavor. These “muffins” are great to make ahead, and store in the refrigerator, or freezer, to warm up for breakfast in the morning. The recipe is below, and beforehand, there are a series of photos to aid in the process.

IMG_2611The Ingredients; I  try to get all of the things that I need ready, before I begin cooking.

Divide the dry ingredients evenly into greased tins and “spill over” ramekin.
Note my fancy trash bowl that I often keep on the counter while I am cooking.

IMG_2615Mixing the eggs with my hand blender, but a whisk works, too.


Carefully pour the beaten eggs into each tin and ramekin over the other ingredients.

The egg muffins just out of the oven. I use my handy dandy metal “toothpick” to test their doneness. These are delicious, and  even better served with a hearty piece of multi-grain toast!

Annette’s Scrambled Egg Muffins



PAM cooking spray (I use olive oil PAM)

9.6-ounce package of fully cooked, Jimmy Dean Sausage turkey crumbles

8-ounce package 2% milk, natural sharp grated cheddar cheese

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ heaping chopped red bell pepper

1-dozen/12 eggs




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray muffin tins, plus one ramekin/individual baking dish, with PAM. (This recipe makes just a little over 12 muffin tins worth, thus the additional ramekin.)

Evenly divide sausage among tins and ramekin.

Do the same with grated cheese, chopped onion, and chopped red bell pepper.

In large bowl beat eggs. (I use my Cuisinart whisk.)

Carefully, evenly pour eggs into each prepared tins and ramekin.

Sprinkle each tin and ramekin/individual small ceramic with salt and pepper.

Place in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife, or toothpick, is inserted near center and comes out clean. (The ramekin may take a minute little longer to bake than the tins.)

Let cool 5 minutes, and remove with small spatula.

Store completely cooled egg muffins in sealed container, or zip lock bag, in the refrigerator, or place in the freezer.

Microwave to heat up.

Makes a dozen, plus one ramekin/ individual small ceramic

Each egg muffin is 3-weight watcher points.

Coffee Cake for Tea!

This coffee cake recipe originally came from my mom. I have made a few adjustments over the years, but it remains basically the same. This coffee cake is good warm, especially with a cup of hot tea. The recipe is below, and beforehand, there are a couple of photos to guide you in the process.

Spread half the batter into a greased pan and top with half of the topping mixture, and then repeat.

IMG_2690Baked and out of the oven. Grab your cup of coffee (or tea)!


                                                                                 Sugar n’ Spice Coffee Cake
                                                                              (9- inch cake pan, preferred.)




1-cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons Cinnamon

4-5 Tablespoons melted butter


2 cups flour

¾ cups regular sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon, or less, salt

6 Tablespoons softened butter

1 egg, beaten

¾ cup milk


Chopped pecans for topping

Softened butter, or butter spread for eating
(I like Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread )


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix together Topping ingredients, adding pecans, if desired. Set aside.
  • Sift together dry ingredients for batter.
  • Cut in softened butter until resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add beaten eggs and milk, mixing lightly.
  • Spread half of batter into greased pan.
  • Sprinkle half of topping mixture over batter.
  • Put on the remainder of the batter,
  • and cover with the rest of topping mixture.
  • Bake at 375 degrees fro 35-40 minutes.
  • Serve with butter, if desired
  • Enjoy!
  • This coffee cake is better, if served warm.
  • Once cold, briefly reheat individual pieces in the microwave.

Gilding the Lilly: Chopped pecans may be added to the topping mixture.

A big shout out to my talented son, Trevor, for assisting me with some technical issues for this blog post!

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly.

I will talk to you again around August 16.

A GIANT thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

Why not sign up today?


Breakfast at the table on The Donna Reed Show (1958-1966)

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True Confessions of a Pinterest Artist

July 24, 2014

True Confessions of a Pinterest Artist

Standing next to my Dandelions painting

As a child, I imagined myself as an accomplished artist, and an acclaimed movie actress (or at the least, a local children show host who instructed youngsters on how to make simple crafts, as in the tradition of WOI-TV’s [Ames, Iowa], own Betty Lou, from The House with the Magic Window). Much of my playtime was spent creating childlike drawings and playing dress up in dramatic fashion. These two artistic childhood fantasies were in addition to the other aspirations that danced around in my young imaginative mind. Others included my being a zoo, or wild life veterinarian (think of the old TV show Daktari), an infant doctor, a schoolteacher, as well as a wife and mother.

Betty Lou McVay Varnum was the host for mid-Iowa’s children’s show
The House with the Magic Window. Running from1951-1994, this show was “America’s longest-running local children’s program”.

 To read about The House with the Magic Window, click on the links below

The ultimate animal doctor of the 1960’s, Daktari

 To read about the TV show Daktari, click the link below.

 Grandma Moses

I can proudly say that, so far, I have accomplished the latter of the three “careers” previously mentioned: schoolteacher, wife, and mother. At present though, the paintbrush artist in me primarily lies dormant. The artistic springs of creativity may still bubble to the surface in the future, however. After all, one of my favorite artists, self-taught Grandma Moses, did not even begin painting until she was 76, and she continued her artistic pursuits until she was 101! She churned out over 1500 works of art in the time, AND she had arthritis!

Grandma Moses painting one of her masterpieces

 I’d like to insert a little personal side note about Grandma Moses here. Many years ago, our family was on vacation, traveling up the East Coast, to New Hampshire and Maine. With the four kids asleep in the back, Dale at the wheel, I lazily took in Vermont’s green picturesque countryside. We passed through yet another little Vermont town when a sign jolted me to attention. It announced that The Grandma Moses Museum resided in this town! I loudly proclaimed this very recent revelation to my husband, and without uttering a single word; Dale promptly took a detour, turning the car around in the museum’s direction. (Does my husband know me, or what? :o)) What a wonderful hour, we spent, in that Bennington Museum, surrounded by colorful Grandma Moses creations!

gma moses
Grandma Moses’s The Old Checkered House, 1853

 One of the many wonderful Grandma Moses paintings at
The Bennington (Vermont) Museum

 To read about Grandmas Moses, click on the links below

 For information on the current Bennington Museum, click on the link below

 While researching for this blog, I found these two fun teaching links about Grandma Moses that I had to share, click on the links below

 The Unifying Effect of Art; My personal Experience

 It has been said, that art can serve as a medium to bring people together. That certainly was the case for Jodi and me. It began several years ago, in my quest for some new artwork for my Maryland home. While perusing wallet-friendly pieces online, I stumbled upon the image of a painting, and was immediately smitten. Hoping to glean additional information about my find, I assumed my best Nora Charles form (as in Nick and Nora Charles, private detectives, of The Thin Man movie fame), and launched into sleuthing mode.

nick and nora
Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myra Loy) with their dog, Asta

 To read more about The Thin Man, click on the links below

 Eventually tracking down the painting on a blog post, I discovered that the painting, Summer Daydream, had been featured at the 2010 Des Moines (not far from my childhood home in Ames) Art Festival, on their promotional poster. Being well over a year after the fact, the Art Fair people no longer had any for sale. They did, however, share the New Mexico artist’s email address with me. Happily, not only did I find a print of the Summer Daydream poster with that email address, but I also met one sweet lady in Jodi Perry. Starting out as (email) pen pals, so to speak, I now proudly call Jodi a friend. Among other similar interests, we both are I Love Lucy fans. :o)

I love Summer Daydream by talented artist and friend, Jodi Perry.
I am the proud owner of a signed poster of this print!

 To read the blog that eventually led me to my own copy of Summer Daydream and my sweet friend, click on the link below

 Click on the link below to read about another Summer Daydream fan

Enjoying a happy day, as I stand next to Jodi Perry at my daughter
Martese’s (and Mike) wedding
Ames, Iowa
May12, 2013

 A Pinterest Artist

I confess. Although, I would love to possess the artistic talent and know-how of my talented friend, Jodi, the only semi-artistic painting that I have EVER done has been of the tole painting variety. (A late 1980’s art form. Basically, you trace a pattern and paint it.) That is, until just recently, thanks to Pinterest. It was a case of artwork dictated by necessity. I found myself overseas, in an apartment with a whole lot of blank walls, and in an area devoid of stores, as I knew them. Not a Target in the whole country! Scouring over Pinterest photos of artwork, I began drooling over this piece (below). (Unfortuataly, I do not know the original source for this piece. If you have any information on this painting and its artist, please, let me know in the comments below.)

Picture 44

The painting that I found on Pinterest rooms

 The Annette Artist Wannabe inside me began to wonder, could I possibly recreate this piece? More Pinterest research revealed that I was not alone in that thought, when I found that a fellow blogger had done just that. Through the miracle of blogging, she explained how she had painted a piece similar to the painting in the Pinterest photo. Using her instructions as my guide, I began my adventure into the world of art. I share this process below, so that you may use it to create your own masterpiece.

 Painting Materials

 Paint Canvas

Paint Brushes


Thankfully, our local overseas bookstore/office supply had a few canvases and
art supplies for sale

I used a 30 x 48 inch artist canvas.

3 paint brushes for acrylic paint

Acrylic paint in three colors, 2 bottles each: I chose white, gray, black

 How to

 Place down a drop cloth.  (I used trash bags that I cut open.) 
Give the canvas a white base coat, including the sides, using the wide paintbrush. I did two coats, letting it dry between each coat.

I set the canvas up on glasses to dry. (See photo below)


 Using the gray paint first, with the wide paintbrush, paint over the white painted canvas, leaving a 2-inch edge.
After drying, I went back with some gray paint mixed with white and painted over the gray.
Don’t worry about being perfect. This is YOUR art creation.IMG_1751
Cut 4 flower patterns out of paper (I used paper towels because that is what I had) to use as a guide, placing them where you want them on the canvas, making sure that you have the look you desire.

IMG_0552The sizes of the dandelions I painted, in inches (length by width) are from left to right about
9 x 7, 7 x 6, 7.5 x 6, 6.5 x 6.5


With the small flat paintbrush, paint the black insides of the flowers using sort of a heart shaped form. (This part was fun! :o)) See the tape measure photo above for clarification.

Paint black stems
The stems length from left to right, in inches, are about
32.5, 25.5, 30.5, 24.5
I signed my name with the small pointed brush and black paint.

When your masterpiece is completely dry, display it proudly. :o)

 To see Pinterest, click on the link below
To follow me on Pinterest, under find friends type in Annette Raper Hoffman

 To see the blog that inspired me and gave me instructions to begin,
click on the two links below.

Remember that Art /Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder, as these two cows illustrate. (Yes, that was a pun. ILLUSTRATE, get it? :o))

 This is a page from this year’s Chick-fil-a calendar.
I love these cow calendars (and Chick-fil-a).
Happily, my children present me with a new Chick-fil-a cow calendar each Christmas. :o)

To view more cute pages from this year’s calendar, click on the link below


Two Fun Art-related Films

While writing this blog post, two fun, art-related, films came to mind. The first, How to Steal a Million, stars Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. Filmed in Paris with Hepburn drenched in Givenchy’s fashions, it is film feast for the eyes. The movie’s premise being that Hepburn’s wealthy father forges great pieces of art and sells them to the rich. All is well, until he loans a statue to a local museum and a technical examination is ordered for insurance purposes. It is all in good fun, as Hepburn and O’Toole set out to steal the forged statue from the museum before an examination can take place.

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (How to Steal a Million)_16
Peter O’Toole and Audrey Hepburn plan an art heist in How to Steal a Million (1966).

 To see a movie trailer of the movie, see movie stills, or read more about
How to Steal a Million, click on the links below. Summaries/H/How to Steal a Million.htm

The second art movie also takes place in Paris. It stars James Garner (who sadly passed away this week), Dick Van Dyke, and Elke Sommer. In a nutshell, this madcap romp has Dick Van Dyke faking his own death in order to see his, previously unappreciated, artwork come into high demand.

Elke Sommer poses for artist Dick Van Dyke in The Art of Love (1965)

 To watch a clip from the movie, or read more about The Art of Love,
click the links below.

Elke Sommer, of The Art of Love, is an artist in her own right.

 To read about and see some of Elke Sommer’s artwork, click on the link below. – _self

 If you find yourself inspired after reading this blog post, and paint a Dandelion piece of your own, please send me a photo in the comments below.

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


 I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around August 14.

A great BIG thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page. Do it today!


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Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook: from the Happiest Place in the World, Walt Disney World!

July 14, 2014

Annette’s Big Family Vacation Scrapbook:
from the
Happiest Place in the World, Walt Disney World!
June 2014

I’m (Annette) enjoying a Mickey (Mouse Ice Cream) Bar
near Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends
(Note my Disney magic wristband, a new Disney innovation making fast passes/going to the head of attraction rides even easier to use.

Called the happiest place on earth, my family of Disney enthusiasts agrees that Walt Disney World fits this description. (The definition of our family consists of my husband, myself, our four grown children and their families, plus an esteemed “honorary” family member and his wife.) In fact, most of my brood has just returned from a fun-filled week at Walt Disney World. (Our new grandbaby and parents decided to stay home this time.) Please join me, as I share with you, a few of our vacation highlights. :o)

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.21.23 AM
Our first glimpse of the iconic Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

Walt Disney World FUN

Let me begin with the obvious. Walt Disney World is fun! Encompassing four Disney theme parks, each one offers a little something for everyone from fantasy to thrills. In the interest of time and space, I will focus mostly on one particular ride, my very most favorite: The Great Movie Ride. This great ride is located in Hollywood Studios, which was at one time known as Disney-MGM Studios. Being an old movie buff (no I am NOT old, the old pertains to the movies), this ride feels as if it was made with yours truly in mind. In fact, my enthusiasm for this attraction is so intense that I dream of one day having the honor, as a temporary cast member, of hosting/narrating just one tour on this awesome ride. How fun would that be? I love this ride!

My daughter, Martese,
who did a nine month WDW internship in Hollywood Studios while attending college, and me, in front of The Great Movie Ride.

IMG_2504 - Version 3
Standing by Mouseketeer Annette Funicello’s handprints,
in the courtyard of The Great Movie Ride.
(This ride’s design is a reproduction of Hollywood’s old Grauman’s Chinese Theatre)

Movie props line the inside entrance into The Great Movie Ride.
I stand next to the dress worn by Scarlett/Vivian Leigh in the barbeque scene from
Gone with the Wind

I sit in anticipation at the beginning at my favorite WDW attraction,
The Great Movie Ride!

The Casablanca vignette, one of many movie scenes throughout
The Great Movie Ride

The figures are so lifelike that Ingrid Bergman’s grandchildren came on this ride to “see” their grandmother.

For more Great Movie Ride Trivia and information, please click on these links.

The Wizard of Oz section of The Great Movie Ride makes one feel that they are not in Kansas any more. (Insert the munchkin’s tee hees)

Indiana Jones

Having expounded upon my favorite ride, I cannot end this portion of my blog without mentioning a favorite feature of my husband’s. It is the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular, also found in Hollywood Studios. This “fun for the whole family” show is based upon the movie Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark. Adding to this attraction’s allure, is the fact that it was featured on an episode of the 1990’s family sitcom Full House. (In fact, Walt Disney World was the stomping ground for several 1990’s sitcoms. This past May, The Middle also ended up at WDW for its season’s finale.) Unfortunately, rumor has it that this explosion-filled, punch-jammed, action-packed adventure will close at the end of this year to make room for Star Wars features being added to Hollywood Studios. :o(

Enjoying the opening scene from the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular

To read about:
• the rumors surrounding the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular,
• see a clip from the Indiana Jones Full House-Season 6, Episode 24,
• see which other ‘90’s shows visited WDW,
• read more about the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular,
• or view the recent WDW episode of The Middle,
please click on the links below.

The Magical World of FOOD

Walt Disney World presents its patrons, and in particular, foodies (I, myself, am a self professed foodie.), with a variety of culinary options to please the palate. Options range from the simple, yet delightful, Mickey Bars, Pineapple Dole Whips and turkey legs, to fine dining at the hotel resorts, and the park’s finer restaurants. I took a few Disney food photos, as only a true foodie would, and share them with you below. If you wish to read more about the restaurant featured, click on the link below each photo.

Dale, Chandler, and Eric chompin’ on Mickey Bars on a hot day at Epcot.

Ravioli Gigante at Downtown Disney’s Portobello Italian Restaurant
This delicious gigantic pasta was filled with spinach and ricotta. Yum!

Trevor enjoying his German meal and beverage at Epcot’s The Biergarten
I  recommend the weiner schnitzel!


When at Disney World, a Pineapple Dole Whip is a must.
This photo was taken of Martese at WDW in 2012.

Mike and Martese loving the cream cheese filled pretzels near the America attraction in Epcot

The infamous, and oh so wonderful, Walt Disney World Turkey Leg!
Near the America attraction at Epcot

My husband, son, and I made a special trek to the Columbia Harbour House, quick service restaurant, in the Magic Kingdom, for a lobster roll. Upon arriving, we found that lobster rolls were absent from the menu. We asked an employee about them, and they made three lobster rolls for us upon request! SCORE! They were very good and the kettle chips were yummy, as well!

Eric enjoying another Mickey Bar, in Hollywood Studios, on his birthday!
(I’m not quite sure just how many Mickey Bars our group consumed during the making of this blog!)


I have two favorite restaurants in WDW, and both reside in Hollywood Studios: The Sci-Fi Café and The Brown Derby. (We did not make it to the Sci-Fi Café this time around. :o( ) The original Brown Derby, known for creating the Cobb Salad, Grapefruit Cake and, disputably, the Shirley Temple, is no longer in Hollywood. Thankfully, we can still enjoy The Brown Derby’s replica, a throwback to old Hollywood, at Walt Disney World. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I love dining here. In my imaginary world, my table is just across from Lucy Ricardo’s, a fellow patron at The Brown Derby-Hollywood in the “I Love Lucy” episode “L.A. at Last!” (My favorite “I Love Lucy” episode!)

Brown Derby Hollywood Lucy
To watch the “I Love Lucy” episode “L.A. at Last!”, please click on the link below.

To read my previous post from July 2013, Walt Disney World Really Cooks!, which includes a WDW recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo; please click on the link below.

Our group got bigger, as Brandy’s family met us at the park. :o)

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A beautifully arranged, and delicious, Cobb Salad at The Brown Derby

The recipe for The Brown Derby’s Cobb Salad
I make it often at my house.
For the recipe, click here,

A delectable slice of Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake
I have made this at home, but it is much easier to eat it here. :o)
For the recipe, click here,

I had to try this interesting combo, when at the quick service
Restaurantosaurus in the Animal Kingdom!

It is a Macaroni & Cheese Hot Dog topped with bacon bits.
It was ok, but I think that I can upgrade this at home to gourmet status by using higher quality ingredients.

Dining at the Sanaa Restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Resort
Eric and Brandy had headed back home the day before. :o(

The star of the Sanaa meal, for me, was their signature banana cheesecake with pistachio crust (center) and, of course, the sight of African animals roaming just outside the window!

Gotta have Mickey Waffles while at Walt Disney World! YUM! These were served at the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma’s breakfast buffet with tasty Jamba Juice. The baked bread pudding with praline sauce (to the right of the Mickey waffles) was delicious, too! Bacon was the perfect side.

IMG_2598Ajaye (age 5) enjoying a sweet treat from Downtown Disney

FAMILY Time at Disney

Dale and I cherish our time together with our family. Disney afforded us the opportunity; to not only enjoy each other’s company throughout the week, but to witness the marriage proposal of Trevor to Tanya! How special to be present for that wonderful moment. We also joined Eric in the celebration of his birthday that week, enjoying the day at Hollywood Studios. On our final WDW night, we all delighted in staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, something new for all of us. Sharing time together with our kiddies, and playing at Walt Disney World, equals a wonderful week!

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.24.18 AMTrevor proposes to Tanya at Portobello Restaurant in Downtown Disney on
June 22, 2014.

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Tanya says “YES!”, as Ajaye looks on.

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The happy couple plan a spring wedding. :o)
Proposal photos courtesy of Martese Ehm

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Ajaye jokingly covers his eyes as his mom and Trevor kiss in front of
Epcot’s Spaceship Earth. (My family refers to this as The Big Ball.)
Note Trevor’s “Just Engaged” and “Family Reunion” buttons, courtesy of Walt Disney World

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Our crew at Walt Disney World, 2014
I am guessing, judging from this photo, that Ajaye would rather be on a ride than posing for this photograph.  :o)

Chandler and I share a silly moment on the Magic Kingdom ride “It’s a Small World” with an equally silly Martese and Mike in the background. (Sorry for the poor quality due to low lighting.) I first encountered this ride as a six year old at the 1964 World’s Fair. (Now you can calculate my age. :o)) I still remember it!

Brandy’s brother, Brandy, and Eric are eyeglass ready for the Michael Jackson mini-feature film “Captain EO”. When Trevor was a little tyke, he was very afraid of this one!

Mike modeling Muppet wear at the
Journey Into Imagination With Figment gift shop

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Chandler speeds down the 12-story drop on Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach
Needless to say, I was only a spectator for this one!

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After a day at Blizzard Beach, Martese, Mike, Chandler, Dale, and I hit the Winter/Summerland Miniature Golf Course next door, complete with Christmas Carols playing overhead.
Most fun putt putt golf course, EVER!

Brandy and Chandler sing “Happy Birthday” to Eric at The Brown Derby.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 9.51.10 PMScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.04.40 AM
Brandy poses with her new friend, Minnie, and me with my buddy, Mickey

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Tanya and Chandler take aim at the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin®

Ajaye visits with the toy army man from Toy Story in Hollywood Studios
A big Toy Story and Buzz fan, Ajaye is all smiles standing next to the giant Buzz toy in Downtown Disney

Martese and Mike waiting for the Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular to begin

Chandler wdw
Chandler enjoying Hollywood Studios



IMG_2555Rhinos and Elephants and Giraffes, oh my!
Scenes from our Safari ride at Animal Kingdom.
(We liked it so much that we went twice in one day!)

This great ride has been rated #5 from all the African safaris that you can take worldwide. (Click on the link below to read the article.)

Being the old movie fan that I am, I always imagine myself on this Disney safari with John Wayne as my guide, like in the 1962 movie Hatari! (If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend it!)

For information on the movie Hatari!, such as, most of the stunts were done by the actors on this film, click on the link below.!

A Night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Having rented a very nice, comfortably spacious house 15 miles from Disney World for the other nights, we decided to splurge on the final night, staying somewhere new to all of us. For our final night’s lodging, we reserved (thanks to Martese’s Disney travel agent expertise) a couple of rooms at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. (Eric and Brandy’s jobs dictated that they go back home, the day before.) We opted for hotel rooms overlooking the savannah. I can not overstate the delight that we all experienced upon walking out on our balcony to watch giraffes (my favorite), zebras, warthogs, and other African wildlife grazing a mere three floors below us! It was wonderful!

Dale, checking up on the latest news, while enjoying the lobby of
The Animal Kingdom Lodge

(Note the footbridge in the background)

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Dale and I enjoy a stroll on the footbridge in The Animal Kingdom lobby
Photo courtesy of Martese Ehm

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Loving our balcony view (after a hot day at Animal Kingdom) at
The Animal Kingdom Lodge

Photo courtesy Martese Ehm

Martese, and Chandler in the next room, look over the balcony at the amazing display of African animals

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The thrilling view from our balcony
Photos courtesy of Martese Ehm

Enjoying watching the graceful giraffes

Our crew viewing the animals at ground level, just outside the Sanaa Restaurant

I just HAD to include this precious photo taken from our July 2012 trip to WDW. Eric captured this magical moment, at the Epcot aquarium, as a park scuba diver came up to greet a mesmerized Ajaye.

(Note the thickness of the glass.)
This wonderful photo taken by Eric Barnes

Thanks for reading! :o)

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around July 29.

A great BIG thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
You inspire me to continue this endeavor.
I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!

I invite you to sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email.
To receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.
Did I mention that this service is FREE?

To read my previous Disney World related post from July 2013, Walt Disney World Really Cooks!, which includes a WDW recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo; please click on the link below.

Planning a Disney Vacation?


Our Daughter, Martese Ehm, is a Magic Maker® for Off to Neverland Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for any of the Disney Destinations, and other vacation locations.
Martese’s vacation planning services are FREE!

Beautiful Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom
Photo Courtesy of Eric Barnes

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Hitting a Homerun with Fun Baseball Flicks

June 14, 2014


Hitting a Homerun with Fun Baseball Flicks

With my hubby, Dale, at a Cleveland Indians-Baltimore Orioles baseball game at Camden Yards
in Baltimore, Fall 2008

 Last weekend was a Baseball Flick Week-end. A marathon of my baseball movies of choice had been running for two days at my house. It was such fun! As an ode to summer and a nod to Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day!), I would like to enthusiastically share with you, MY baseball movie favorites. Please, read along, and you may discover a new (to you) baseball film to enjoy!

 Annette’s Top Baseball Movie Picks

 Rhubarb (1951)


Rhubarb is probably the least known of all my baseball movie picks, yet it is one of the most enjoyable. Rhubarb features a feral/stray cat who is adopted by eccentric millionaire, TJ Banner (Gene Lockhart). With Banner’s passing, the majority of his estate is willed to Rhubarb, including a professional baseball team. William Frawley, Fred of I Love Lucy fame, is the team’s manager, and look for Leonard Nemoy, Spock of Star Trek, as one of the ball players. Ray Milland stars as Rhubarb’s, often frustrated, guardian. This fun film is a “home run” from start to finish!

 To read more about Rhubarb, please click on the links below.


It Happens Every Spring (1949)


Before there was Rhubarb, Ray Milland starred in another baseball comedy, It Happens Every Spring. This time, Milland is a college professor who invents a formula, which acts as a wood repellent. Armed with his secret potion, the professor embarks on a successful second career as a major league pitcher. (The major league baseball commissioner, at the time, frowned upon this plot, due to the “cheating/formula” element, and did not sanction this film.) Paul Douglas stars as Milland’s catcher and buddy, and Jean Peters, (at one time, the millionaire Howard Hughes’s real life wife) plays Milland’s girlfriend. This film is a silly joy to watch.

 To read more about It Happens Every Spring, please click on the links below.

 Angels in the Outfield (1951)


The last in my trio of baseball black and whites is the 1951 classic, Angels in the Outfield. Paul Douglas (who also was in the film mentioned above) stars as the fictitious Guffy McGovern, the salty manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. When orphan Bridgett White (Donna Corcoran, was discovered for this film.) begins praying for the team and its manager,  a guardian angel is sent to help out. Janet Leigh stars as the sports reporter, who first breaks the story. Cameos are provided by some of the ball players of the day and Pirate’s part owner, Bing Crosby. Take note of the manner in which the manager’s swearing is unrecognizably garbled, a technique later famously used in the holiday favorite The Christmas Story. This entertaining baseball movie was remade forty-three years later with the same name. (The 1994 Disney remake is worth a look, as well.)

 To read more about Angels in the Outfield, please click on the links below.

 Rookie of the Year (1993)(PG)

I love this film! When my kids were growing up, it was a family favorite. Recently, I was overseas, and a bit homesick, and when this movie came on, all was well again. :o) Thomas Ian Nicholas’s character is so very likable, and despite the fantasy of the situation, one is easily drawn into the premise. Henry Rowengartner (Nicholas) is a twelve year old who breaks his arm, and finds that his tendons have healed a “little tight”. This abnormality enables Henry to throw over 100 miles per hour, so of course, he becomes the MBA’s youngest player ever, when signing on with the Chicago Cubs. Gary Busey stars as Henry’s mentor, and fellow Cub, Chet Steadman. John Candy adds extra comic relief as the long-suffering Cub’s announcer. Cameos of players of the 1990’s include a slender Barry Bonds.

 To read more about Rookie of the Year, please click on the link below.

 The Sandlot (1993)(PG)

Another family favorite around my house, The Sandlot rates high in baseball fun. When first viewing this movie upon its release in the theatre, I discovered that my sense of humor differs from much of the film going population. I was laughing, somewhat loudly, during one particular scene, while others in the audience were grimacing at the grossness. (Not THAT gross. I will not say more, as I do not wish to spoil the movie for your first timers.) I also love the early 1960’s vibe throughout the film. :o) Tom Guiry stars as Scott “You’re killing me” Smalls with a cast of talented youths, Karen Allen (Raiders of the Last Ark) and James Earl Jones (Voice of Darth Vader and Terence Mann in Field of Dreams) as Mr. Mertle.

 To read more about The Sandlot, please click on the links below.

 Little Big League (1994)(PG)

The third in a trio of early 1990’s baseball films, Little Big League rounds out the set. Minneapolis is the setting for this amusing baseball flick. Luke Edwards stars as Billy Heywood, grandson of the owner of the Twins. When his grandfather unexpectedly dies, Heywood becomes the eleven-year-old owner of the team. Timothy Busfield, who also starred in Field of Dreams, plays Twins player Lou Collins. Several major league players of the day make cameos, including Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr.

 To read more about Little Big League, please click on the links below.

 Field of Dreams (1989)(PG)



The final movie on my Baseball Movie Hall of Fame list holds a special place in my heart. Field of Dreams setting is an Iowa cornfield, and having grown up in Iowa, I can’t help but feel a sentimental attachment to it. I love the exchange between the movie’s characters Ray Kinsella and his father, John.

John Kinsella: “Is this heaven?”

Ray Kinsella: “It’s — it’s Iowa.”

John Kinsella: “I could have sworn it was heaven.”

This baseball fantasy makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and having visited the site of the filming, twice, makes it even more precious. What a joy it is to watch this sweet tale of baseball interwoven between various relationships, past and present, as they pertain to farmer, Kevin Costner/Ray Kinsella.

A touching favorite, it is no wonder that the 25th anniversary of this film is being celebrated this Father’s Day weekend.

Our two youngest, Chandler and Martese, explore thee cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa, site of the movie, Field of Dreams, June 2009

Is this Heaven? By Lisa Johannes

I love this print! -A souvenir from our 2009 visit to the Field of Dreams site.

To read more about Field of Dreams, please click on the links below.


Annette’s Classic TV Baseball Picks
(Leo Durocher, Los Angeles Dodger manager in the early 1960’s, made guest appearances in all three of these.)


The Munsters: Herman the Rookie:  Season 1, Episode 29 (April 8, 1965)


Funny!!! Herman Munster meets baseball! (Herman is similar to Frankenstein, only family friendly. The Munsters creators also were responsible for Leave it to Beaver.) Herman gets a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and mayhem ensues.

 To watch a clip of Herman the Rookie, please click on the link below.


Mister Ed: Leo Durocher Meets Mister Ed:  Season 4, Episode 3 (September 29, 1963)

Mr. Ed, the talking horse, visits the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Several players of the day have cameos, including Sandy Koufax and announcer Vince Scully.) Watching Mr. Ed hit the ball, run the bases, and slide into home is a hoot, and makes watching this episode well worth your time!

 For a clip of Mr. Ed sliding into home plate, please click on the link below.

 Beverly Hillbillies: The Clampetts and the Dodgers:  Season 1, Episode 29 (April 10, 1963)

While on the golf course, Jethro impresses Dodger manager Leo Durocher with his throwing arm. Silliness is the result when Jethro gets a tryout with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 To watch The Clampetts and the Dodgers episode, please click on the link below.


MLB Stars Make an Appearance on Classic Television

 The Brady Bunch: The Undergraduate, with Wes Parker (First Baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers and broadcast announcer.)  Season 1, Episode 17 (Jan 23, 1970)



The Brady Bunch: The Dropout, Don Drysdale (Pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Broadcast announcer.)  Season 2, Episode 1 (September 25, 1970)

To watch a clip of Don Drysdale in The Dropout, please click on the link below.

 Bewitched: Twitch or Treat, Willie Mays (Center fielder with the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets.)  Season 3, Episode 7 (Oct 27, 1966)


 Why not, grab yourself some peanuts and Cracker Jacks ala Take me Out to the Ball Game, and watch one of these entertaining baseball movies, right now?

For my Cracker Jack/Carmel Corn recipe, please click on the link below.

To hear Take Me Out to the Ballgame in some interesting forms, including one from the 1955 episode of I Love Lucy, please click on the link below.

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


 I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but will be on summer hiatus until July 16.


A great BIG thank you to my blog followers!!!

You inspire me to continue this endeavor. I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!

Sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email.

If you do not currently “follow” my blog, and would like to receive 
“I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon posting, please, sign up on the right-hand side of this page. Did I mention that this service is FREE?

Our youngest, Chandler, sliding into a base during a Little League game, Summer 2002


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Annette and Dale Get Married OR Someday, You’ll Look Back on This and Laugh

May 28, 2014


Annette and Dale Get Married


Someday, You’ll Look Back on This and Laugh

Me, Annette, on my wedding day, May 28, 1978
Photo Courtesy of Doug Stokke


Someday, you’ll look back on this and laugh!


Isn’t it wonderful how we have been given the innate ability to look back on those particular, not-so-perfect, circumstances of our past, and remember them later with a smile on our face and even a possible giggle? After 36 years, Dale and I can NOW look back fondly upon the first couple weeks of our marital union and see the humor in a series of not so picture perfect moments…

 A Brief Prologue

To say that it was a busy weekend is an understatement!

Saturday, May 27, 1978

Dale, my future husband, graduated from Iowa State University.

Our wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

    Sunday, May 28, 1978

Our wedding

We began our drive to Estes Park, Colorado for our 4-day honeymoon, stopping Omaha, Nebraska for our wedding night.

                     (After our honeymoon, we would be moving to South Carolina, where Dale would begin his new job,
and I would be transferring to The University of South Carolina.)

Dale, happy to have his diploma in hand, May 27, 1978


The Moments

 Seasickness Without the Sea

 I felt calm and happy about my upcoming nuptials, I really did. It was my stomach that begged to differ, reminding me that a whole lot of changes were swirling around me in a short amount of time*. Two days prior to the wedding, my internal revolt began. Like seasickness, without the sea, food I’d eaten, suddenly and violently refused to stay in place. To make matters worse, it felt that I had pulled a few stomach muscles in this involuntary purging process.

I prayed that I would just be able to stand up straight, and be relatively pain-free at my own wedding, being able to nibble a bit of my own wedding cake without negative repercussions. Waking up the morning of my wedding day, I happily found that my plea had been answered. All symptoms of the previous two days had ceased, allowing me to stand up straight in my wedding dress, walk down the aisle upright and without pain, and enjoying the sweet taste of our wedding cake afterwards.

Dale took this photo of me two days before our wedding. I was feeling rather green.

Our wedding day, May 28, 1978

Happy to be able to eat cake at our wedding, May 28, 1978

 *To read about how stress can make you ill, see the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale below

 The Tornado

It was our wedding night. We had driven the two and a half hours from Ames, Iowa to Omaha, Nebraska with the newlywed glow about us, anticipating the honeymoon suite that we had reserved for the occasion. That honeymoon suite, we soon discovered, had a beautiful view overlooking a parking lot. Undaunted, Mr. and Mrs. Hoffman headed downstairs to enjoy a peaceful, romantic, wedding evening dinner. No sooner had our dinner been set before us when the sirens began to bellow, the tornado sirens. (In the Midwest, tornados are taken very seriously. Omaha was no exception, having been the site of the deadly 1975 tornado, three years before.) We were hurriedly ushered into the bowels of the hotel food storage area. Still in my post-wedding “going away” suit, I looked around. Among our fellow tornado fleers, a youngster next to me, having just been plucked out of the pool, shivering and dripping wet, and a maid, along with a cook in chef’s attire, stood across from me in silence. This, I thought to myself, is my wedding night! I began to hash over the various scenarios that might befall us, from being hit by an F5 tornado, to having to spend the entire night in our subterranean shelter. After about 45 minutes, the all clear was given, and we were released from the hotel lair to find our, now, cold food awaiting us, but, thankfully, we were safe.

Just married, we set out on our honeymoon trip, May 28, 1978
Photo courtesy of Greg Kveton (Our best man)

 To see a clip about the 1975 tornado and hear the sirens, please click on the link below


 Wine, Lobster, and Estes Park

We arrived the next day at The Fall River Motor Inn of Estes Park, Colorado, our destination. The Fall River gently flowed just outside our idyllic little honeymoon cabin, just beyond the entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. (In 1982, a dam broke, creating a major flood that would destroy a large piece of this area, including part of Fall River Motor Inn, now known as Inn on the Fall River.)

To celebrate our new marriage, and make up for the “tornado meal” from the night before, we decided to splurge and “go out on the town” to one of the nicer restaurants in Estes Park. Dressed in our finest, we settled in at our table at the restaurant of choice, ready to enjoy our celebratory meal. Having chosen a nice glass of white wine for each of us (Normally, I am an unsweetened iced tea gal, but, hey, tonight we were celebrating!), and deciding on that night’s special, two for the price of one lobsters. (In hindsight, an odd offering for a meal in the Rocky Mountains.) We relaxed, toasting our marriage, sipping our wine in quiet conversation. Our brief respite was interrupted by the return of our server. He requested our ID’s. I was 20. Dale was 22. In 1978, the legal drinking age in Iowa was 18, but the legal drinking age in Colorado, unbeknownst to us until that moment, was 21. This meant that my 22-year-old husband could keep his wine, but I could not. In front of the entire restaurant, they took away my glass of wine. Embarrassing? YES! While still attempting to recover from the sting of my wine confiscation, our lobster dinners arrived, all four of them. Having ordered the two for one lobster special, our server mistook us for wanting two lobsters apiece!

After two disastrous meals in a row, Dale and I began to believe that there must be some sort of honeymoon restaurant “curse” upon us. It was at that point that we agreed that we would prepare the remainder of our honeymoon meals at our cute riverside cabin. It was a wise decision. I can still remember the wonderful steaks that we prepared on the grill, as delicious.

  To read about Inn on the Fall River, please click on the link below.

 To read about the Flood of 1982, due to a dam break, please click on the links below.

 The Horseback Ride

There is much to do around Estes Park. We drove, hiked, and enjoyed the scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park. We shopped in town, buying brown matching “Rocky Mountain High” sweatshirts, (having neglected to pack jackets for our trip), and enjoyed scoping out the rest of Estes Park. And… one day we decided to go horseback riding. Earlier we had discovered a place near town that was a large fenced in area, and one could ride a rent-a-horse anywhere on the hilly area. It was a beautiful sunny day and Dale and I set off to rent horses and explore the area. While riding along we met another young couple, and we stopped our horses to chat. The next thing that I knew was that my new husband was flying through air. To this day, Dale insists that he jumped off. (I think that he actually got thrown, but wanted to save face with his new bride.) Dale says that the horse that he was on, and the horse of the other guy, were kicking each other, and that he/Dale jumped off to get out of the way. Okay, right. All that I know for sure is, that one minute Dale was on a horse, and the next minute, he wasn’t. Thankfully, my new husband escaped unharmed!

Horseback Riding in Estes Park while wearing my new sweatshirt, May 1978

Dale, in his matching sweatshirt, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, May 1978

A souvenir honeymoon photo taken at an Estes Park photo shop, May 1978



 It has been 36 years since Dale and I married and embarked on that memorable honeymoon trip. So on this anniversary, #36, I thank my husband, Dale, for loving me, marrying me, and being my best friend. If by some strange turn of events, I had the chance to go back in time, I would choose you all over again.

Happy Anniversary, Dale!

Dale and Me, Easter Weekend 2014

 For Dale, click on the link below!!!!
(The rest of you are more than welcome to take a peek, too!)



Today I share with you one of my earliest and favorite recipes. The original recipe (I have made a few changes over the years.) came from The Better Homes and Garden Ground Meat Cook Book, a wedding shower gift from my Aunt Helen.

 Stuffed Peppers



3 medium green, or red peppers variety-halved

1 lb. ground beef

¼-1/3 cup chopped onion

1-2 (16 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, cut up

½ cup uncooked, long-grain white rice

½ cup water

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 cup Velveeta Cheese

Grated Parmesan cheese-optional


Slice peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard insides.

Brown meat with onion. Drain off any fat.

Add dash salt and pepper.

Stir in tomatoes, rice, ½ cup water, and Worcestershire.

Cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in cheese, and heat until melted.

Stuff peppers and place in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until very hot.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serve 4-6.


Thanks for reading!  :o)


 I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around June 14.


A great BIG thank you to my blog followers!!!

You inspire me to continue this endeavor.

I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!


Sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email.

If you do not currently “follow” my blog,

and would like to receive

“I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon posting,

please, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

Did I mention that this service is FREE?

Anniversary flowers from my hubby!  Isn’t this white rose bouquet beautiful?


Planning a Disney Vacation?


Our Daughter, Martese Ehm, is a Magic Maker® for Off to Neverland Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for any of the Disney Destinations, and other vacation locations.

Martese’s vacation planning services are FREE!


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Peanut Butter and Elvis!

May 3, 2014

Peanut Butter and Elvis!

Running into “Elvis” in Maryland, in December 2012

 Yesterday, my trusty “Facebook Trending News” tool informed me that Britain’s royal princes, William and Harry, had just toured the home of The King, Graceland in Memphis, while in town for a friend’s wedding. Although, I have no impending weddings of friends, near Memphis, Graceland is on my travel “to do” list, too! Also on that list, is the Hawaiian island of Kauai (more specifically, The Cocoa Palms hit by 1992 Hurricane Iniki and slated to reopen in 2016.) where I can set foot in the land where Elvis once walked in “Blue Hawaii” (…one of my favorite Elvis films).

To read about the royals’ Graceland visit, click on the link below.

Elvis in front of his Graceland, 1957

 For more information on Elvis’s Graceland, click on the links below.

The final/wedding scene in Elvis’s Blue Hawaii, with Joan Blackman, 1961

 To read more about “Blue Hawaii’s” Kauai, click on the links below.

 Elvis and Me
(Yes, I know, Priscilla wrote a book by this same name.)

 It seems that Elvis Presley has always been around. While in elementary school, Elvis was one of my first Hollywood crushes. In the 1970’s, while my high school peers were listening to the heavy metal hits of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, I preferred singing along to the lyrics of Elvis’s “Return to Sender” and “Little Sister” from some fifteen years earlier. And when it was announced that Elvis would be singing in my hometown of Ames, Iowa, just after my high school graduation, I happily shelled out $12 of my hard-earned baby-sitting money to attend with five friends. The highlight of that evening came when my friends and I let out a perfectly timed scream amid a brief stage silence, and Elvis looked directly at the five of us, doing his infamous swivel shudder. Bud-um. Oh, Yeah! And, when my husband’s sister and later his mother, moved to Cape Cod, there came yet another Elvis connection. The beautiful and historic church where they attend, “graces” the album cover of Elvis’s 1967, How Great Thou Art.


Petersen Schmidt 15 6

A ticket and newspaper clipping  from that historic night in 1976.
 Thanks to my good friend Jodie, for these two photos!

Elvis performs at James W. Hilton Coliseum, Ames, Iowa
On May 28, 1976, to 14,750 fans
Elvis wore his “Bicentennial Jumpsuit

Elvis on the cover of his 1967 album with a Cape Cod church in the background

 The Sandwich That Elvis Made Famous

 The fried peanut butter and banana sandwich has become synonymous with the legend that is Elvis. Just type in this delicacy on Google, and over two-dozen pages of recipes pop up on how to recreate this tasty, although not low fat, Elvis comfort sandwich. Being a cookbook lover extraordinaire, I am the proud owner of two Elvis cookbooks, both of which share the recipe for this Elvis culinary treat. After all, no Elvis cookbook worth its weight in paper would be worth anything without the inclusion of this recipe. I have included the recipe for Elvis’s Peanut butter and banana sandwich below, sort of combining the best of both cookbook recipes.

My two Elvis cookbooks: Elvis in Hollywood, by Elizabeth McKeon
(Thanks for introducing this one to me, Aunt Liz!), and Are you Hungry Tonight? ,
by Brenda Arlene Butler.

Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Elvis, eating a sandwich in “G.I. Blues”


1 ripe banana

2 slices white bread

peanut butter



Mash up peeled banana in bowl.

Toast bread lightly.

Spread peanut butter on one piece toast,

And other piece with mashed banana.

Fry sandwich in melted butter until each side is golden brown.

Drain on paper towel.

 How to Make Your Own Peanut Butter

Why would anyone make his own peanut butter, you ask? Well, when my children were young, and natural peanut butter choices were scarce, making my own natural peanut butter, sans the added sugars, was pretty much my only option. More recently, when my husband and I were overseas, natural peanut butter was non-existent, so it required that I dust off my peanut butter making skills once again. I have had several people ask me, recently, for my recipe, so here it is. It is easy to make, as long as you can find good quality cocktail peanuts and have a heavy-duty food processor.


 Homemade Natural Peanut Butter



 2-3 cans (approximately 12-14 ounces each), or bags, of cocktail peanuts

 Yep, that’s it!




Pour peanuts into food processor canister, reserving about 1/3-1/2 cup, if you want the crunchy variety.


You may wish to use earplugs, depending how noisy your food processor is.


Chop for 1-2 minutes, and stop to stir down. Your food processor will get hot, and burn out your motor, if you do not stop every minute, or two, and stir.



Process until very smooth. Usually, about 8-10 minutes.


Add last 1/3-1/2 cup peanuts, if making chunky, and process about 30 seconds- one minute, until chunks are the size that you prefer.




That’s it!  Store in the refrigerator, in covered container.

 Peanut, Peanut Butter…

 I just could not write this blog about peanut butter without including a quick mention of PBS’s Barney the Dinosaur’s rendition of the song “Peanut Butter”. A favorite with our youngest, in his toddler years, this song was often heard coming from the Barney video plugged into our home VCR. :o)

To hear Barney belting out this tune, click on the link below.


 Elvis Craft on my Crafting “To Do” List

Isn’t this cute? Over at the blog Makely School for Girls, Lindsay posted the instructions on how to make this. I am not sure where this would fit into my home décor, but when I figure it out, I am making this fun DIY. To see how to create this Elvis masterpiece, click on the two links below.

Test your Elvis movie knowledge


Elvis made 31 movies during his career. While researching this blog, I came across this fun Elvis movie quiz. Can you match each Elvis movie tag line with the movie it represents?

 Click on the link below to take the Elvis movie quiz.

Thanks for reading!  :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around June 1.


As Elvis would have said, “Thank you, thank you very much”…

 A great BIG thank you, thank you very much, to my blog followers!!!

You inspire me to continue this endeavor. I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!

Avoid the Heartbreak Hotel, and sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email, so that you do not miss the latest installment.

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Our eldest son, tapping into his inner Elvis, as his sister feigns a star-struck pose, in 2007

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Lovin’ Cap’n Crunch French Toast

April 27, 2014


Lovin’ Cap’n Crunch French Toast

Enjoying The Blue Moon Café’s Cap’n Crunch French Toast, April 9, 2014

 Good ‘ol Captain Crunch, it/he stirs up all kinds of memories to this baby boomer (…on the young side of the baby boomer scale, of course.). Premiering in 1963, I remember the commercials for this cereal, encouraging me to (have my parents) purchase this new breakfast delicacy that was “fun to munch ‘cause it keeps its crunch”.


Enjoy viewing the very first Cap’n Crunch commercial, click on the link below. – t=38

 To view a fun website about Cap’n Crunch, click on the link below.

 As the years went by and I became a college student, and took a job as a part-time grocery cashier; Cap’n Crunch took on a different significance. I began to notice that four young men (all good-looking college room mates) had the habit of shopping each Sunday evening. With the encouragement of the older married full-time cashiers (they made themselves scarce when the guys came up to the register), the foursome soon began to choose my check out line exclusively, often with a bright red box of Cap’n Crunch among the purchases in their grocery basket. (This particular purchase always made me smile.) Needless to say, as a young college co-ed, I began to look forward to seeing this fab four each Sunday evening! It was not long, before we struck up a comfortable acquaintanceship and the guys began calling me “Grocery Lady” on their weekly shopping excursions. AND to make a long story, short, a year and a half after this quartet first showed up in my shopping lane, I married one of them! Yes, Dale! :o)

Dale and me on July 4, 1977. We had been dating about one month.

 Fast Forward from the late 1970’s to April 2014. Dale and I are jubilant over the birth of our first grand child and visiting our two-day old bundle of cuteness at the hospital in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. After a fun visit with lots of baby snuggles, we ventured a couple of miles away to the nearby Fells Point area. My intention was to sample The Blue Moon Café’s Cap’n Crunch French Toast, made famous having been featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives in 2008 (Season 3, Episode 10-Comfort Food).

Holding our beautiful two-day old grand daughter at the hospital

 I have actually been preparing Cap’n Crunch French Toast for years, thanks to the recipe provided in Guy Feiri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives first cookbook (I own all three.). Being Annette, I have revised the recipe a bit, but have basically remained true to the original recipe. It was now time for me to compare my Cap’n Crunch French Toast with the original. (When I taught Parent-Child pre-school cooking classes for a county program, this French Toast recipe was one of the most popular recipes that I did.)

My Diners, Drive-ins and Dives Cookbook

 To view The Blue Moon Café on a second visit featured on Guy Fieri’s show, click the link below.

Cap’n Crunch French Toast at The Blue Moon Café. Isn’t it cute, and it was yummy!

 The “comfort food” that arrived at our table did not disappoint. It was delicious! (There is one improvement that I could suggest. That is to serve this with authentic maple syrup. Using “the good stuff” takes this yummy recipe to a whole new level. :o)) In chowing down this uniquely original dish, I am happy to say that mine is a yummy replacement, if you can’t make it to The Blue Moon Café. :o)

Captain Crunch is honored on the tabletop at The Blue Moon Café, Baltimore, Maryland

Outside The Blue Moon Café in Baltimore, Maryland, Home of the delicious Cap’n Crunch French Toast


To read more information about Cap’n Crunch, click on these links.’n_Crunch


Cap’n Crunch French Toast

Inspired by The Blue Moon Café’s recipe via “Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives”

 For a tutorial from The Blue Moon Café on how to make their classic, Click the link below.

 My recipe version for this delicious treat is below.



¾ cup skim evaporated milk

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tea. real pure vanilla extract

3 cups Cap’n Crunch cereal

8-10 slices Texas Toast (thick-sliced white bread)

Butter for cooking


Real Maple syrup (Real stuff only, as it is best)


Optional garnish-prepared whipping cream and

fresh sliced strawberries, blueberries,

and sliced bananas



Preheat, if using electric skillet,

or griddle, on medium heat.


Mix evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla, whisking until combined.


Put cereal in large Ziploc bag, and use hand, or rolling pin,

until it resembles the texture of cracker meal, or a little larger.

Transfer to a shallow dish, like a pie plate.


Dip Texas Toast into milk mixture just until soft, not soaked.

Let excess liquid drip from the bread.


Press bread into cereal crumbs to coat evenly.


Add butter to warmed skillet. Cook cereal covered Texas Toast until caramelized. Flip and cook other side of toast, about 6-8 minutes total.


Remove from heat and top with warmed, real maple syrup.

If desired, garnish with strawberries, and/ or blueberries, and/or bananas and whipping cream.





Thanks for reading!  :o)


Our Daughter, Martese Ehm, is a Magic Maker® for Off to Neverland Travel, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for any of the Disney Destinations, and other vacation locations. Martese’s vacation planning services are Free!




I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. 
I will talk to you again around May 12.

 A great BIG thank you to my blog followers!!!

You inspire me to continue this endeavor.

I truly appreciate your loyalty and encouragement!

Please, sign up to get “I’m Annette” via email.

If you do not currently “follow” my blog,

and would like to receive

“I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon posting,

please, sign up on the right-hand side of this page.

Did I mention that this service is FREE?

One last peek at our gorgeous grand daughter.  Dale and I are proud grand parents!

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