My Birthday with Disney, Part 1

April 8, 2016

My Birthday with Disney, Part 1

IMG_4490

Walt Disney presents me with my first Oscar!
I made sure that I thanked “all of the little people”.  :o)

Planning 

This trip had been a long time in the making, over ten years, to be exact.  Through the Disney Movie Rewards Member Program , my daughter and I had been religiously racking up points with each DVD movie purchase, and every purchase of Disney movie tickets. At last, we had accumulated the 15,000 points  required for the ultimate prize;
The Walt Disney Studios: Special Private Tour for 4!  Martese and I excitedly made plans for our tour. It would take place the week of my (March 2) birthday. :o)

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 5.47.05 PM.png
The coveted prize, as shown on the Disney Movie Rewards Member Program website. 

Dale and I would fly to California from Maryland, meeting Martese from Minnesota, and, Martese’s often “partner is Disney shenanigans”, Natasha from Texas. Martese and Natasha’s friendship began when they were both on the Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in 2010. Natasha joined us, thanks to the generosity of Martese’s husband, graciously giving up his spot on the tour.

Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 11.05.52 PM

Martese and Mike, in formal mouse ear attire, at their
May 2013 wedding.

Griffith Park

The four of us were up bright and early, in anticipation for that morning’s Disney Studios tour.   Allowing plenty of time for our drive (and the LA traffic) from  Anaheim, where we were staying, to the Studio area of Burbank, we had time to spare.  We explored the nearby and historic Griffith Park .

IMG_0167

Martese, Natasha, and I stand in front of the famous
Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round.
It was while sitting here, watching his young daughters, that Walt Disney first envisioned his iconic Disneyland.
You can read more about it here and here.

IMG_9923

This former park bench now resides in
The Opera House at the front of Disneyland.
Walt sat on this very bench, by the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, when the Mickey Mouse-shaped light bulb went off in his head; the beginning of Disneyland.
Disneyland is now the benchmark for all amusement parks.
(Get it? Bench, B
enchmark?  hee hee)

IMG_0062 (1)

Natasha enjoys the beauty of these pink blooming trees in Griffith Park.
After some research, I believe that they are called the Cigar Tree, also known as the Indian Bean Tree, or Catalpa.
They were fragrant, and smelled like cotton candy!

Walt Disney Studios

Meeting Lisa

IMG_4533

We were greeted at Disney Studios by our enthusiastic, and totally fun,
guide Lisa Donahey.
Not only is Lisa a Disney Guide Extraordinaire,
she is also a talented singer, (listen to Lisa’s melodious voice
 here and here)
and actress (see Lisa in a small part on one of my favorite shows, The Middle, here).

Lisa is also a googley eye enthusiast, as evidenced (I am guessing) by the
addition to the Disney Studio fire hydrant pictured below.

IMG_0067

Photos Ops

IMG_4463

IMG_4475

Our crew stops for a few photo ops on the property. :o)

Top photo- We are all smiles with the Disney 6-leg water tower behind us.

Photo just above-We all  happily pose in front of the Disney animation building.

Below- A bit in awe, we  stand around the historic Disney Studios sign.
The movie Saving Mr. Banks used the area at Walt Disney Studios, including this spot, for some of it’s filming.
  (Read more about that here , here, and here .)

IMG_4471

101 Dalmatians

IMG_0073 (1)

On the tour, Martese enjoys some illustrations/cells from her favorite movie
101 Dalmatians(above).

 101 Dalmatian figures “play” in the Disney Studio gift shop (just below).

Martese stands in front of a model for 101 Dalmatian  villainess, Cruella de Vil’s, car .
(Read more about the car, here.)

IMG_0130

IMG_0263

Exploring Disney History

IMG_4477

We enjoyed strolling the hallowed halls at Disney Studios.
Steamboat Willie (1928), Mickey’s first film, is immortalized in this floor decor.

To view Steamboat Willie, click here.

IMG_0261

At every turn, we were treated to a piece of Disney history .  Above, I stand  with (wearing) a pair of authentic Mouseketeer ears from original 1950’s The Mickey Mouse Club,
and a chimney sweep broom from 1964’s Mary Poppins.

IMG_4493

A highlight of our visit, was our visit to the Disney Archives/Library.

We got to hold a real Oscar.

IMG_0289

We saw a treasure trove of items from Disney’s past,
including these 1950’s Mouseketeer pieces.

IMG_0287

I loved seeing these “puppets” from the opening scenes in 1961’s Parent Trap,
one of my favorite Disney films.

IMG_0556

Dale enjoyed this prop, Tim, the tool man’s, tool belt from the 1990’s TV show, 
Home Improvement.

Disney Legends Plaza

This beautiful, parklike, area is a tribute to the legends of Disney.
I stand proudly (below) with my namesake, Annette Funicello’s handprints.

IMG_0127 (1)

IMG_4498

I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.
Walt Disney

IMG_0072

It had been a great day!

For more information about the Walt Disney Studios , click here.

Thanks for reading.

Annette

I attempt to post my blog once per month.
My next post will be around, May 8.

A great big thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
Your encouragement is what keeps me writing!  :o)

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette”via email,
FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or click here.

Planning a trip to a Disney Destination?

1621805_259645820870262_43649048_n
Our Daughter, Martese, 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 totally FREE!
Martese is a wealth of Disney information!!!
Click here for her website, or
here for her Facebook page

image003.jpg

A souvenir photo put together by our wonderful guide, Lisa,
from our Disney Studio tour.
The seven dwarfs look on.

Thank you, Lisa, for the great tour!

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

O-H-I-O

February 16, 2016

O-H-I-O

IMG_9531

I enjoy the hominess of “The Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor” with my friend, and former Ohio neighbor, Michelle.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Ohio holds a special place in my heart.  Ohio is where my hubby was born (Cleveland) and raised (Geauga County).   Ohio is where our two oldest children graduated from high school (Edgewood High), and also where our oldest, graduated from The Ohio State University. Ohio, Ashtabula County to be exact, is where I enjoyed living with my young family for seven years, near the shores of Lake Erie.

IMG_9692

I quickly snapped this photo as my four kiddies walked on the beach of Lake Erie                   in 2001(?).


On the Road, Again

Business trip bound, it was a pleasant six-hour drive from our home in Maryland to our hotel, The Lodge at Geneva, in Ohio. Along the way we enjoyed a short side trip, visiting with Dale’s brother and family.  Not only did we catch up on “the latest”,  but we were treated to some yummy snacks.  To see the recipe for one of those hunger-busting snacks, click here.

IMG_9524

We enjoyed a brief visit with Dale’s brother and family in Ohio.

The Lodge at Geneva

The Lodge at Geneva is a lovely place to stay. The rooms, and the dining area, affording constantly changing and scenic views of Lake Erie, along with a cozy atmosphere.

IMG_9599

IMG_9553

IMG_9633

The scenery changed, it seemed, each time that I gazed out of my window.

IMG_9546IMG_9548

IMG_9590

 

The dining room welcomes diners with a cozy fire, yummy food (One my favorite foods was the breakfast’s Pinched Red Skin Potatoes!), and expansive views of Lake Erie.
I  was fascinated by the large squirrels who frequent the property.

IMG_9725I “found” this souvenir in The Lodge of Geneva gift shop.  Made with a pretty color of Lake Erie sea glass,  in the shape of a crab (I live in Maryland, in the land of all things crab.), and locally made, I just had to get it! Right?

Friends, Family, and Food

One of the best parts of returning to NE Ohio is visiting and catching-up with friends and family. It was such a delight. Good food made it even better! :o)

IMG_3484

IMG_9532 (1)

 

Michelle and I visited and dined at The Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor .
(See the photo at the very top of this post.)
Yes, this restaurant started its life as a genuine covered bridge!
(To read more about its history, click here.)
I love The Covered Bridge’s Roast Beef Subs, smothered with provolone cheese!
(I am a big fan of their Taco Pizza, too.)
The exterior photo of the restaurant was taken in October 2014.

IMG_9533

It was fun seeing  Debbie, another neighbor from the “old hood”,
when I popped by to say “hello”.

IMG_9542

The Harbor/Bridge Street area of Ashtabula is always a treat.  Thanks to Michelle’s recommendation, we checked out Bascule Bridge Grille .  It was wonderful!
The Bascule Burger, with blue cheese, was delicious, and the luscious
Chocolate Pot De Creme, that Dale and I shared for dessert,
was just made for my needed chocolate fix! :o)

Click, here, for coupons to the street’s merchants.

IMG_9573

IMG_9576

One evening, Dale and I decided to visit an “old” favorite restaurant, Ferrante’s.
The Langostino’s Ala Manicotti was truly incredible, and a shared Chocolate Torte for dessert was wonderfully chocolate, through and through.

IMG_9558.jpg

 

Laura, Dale’s cousin, joins me in the Lodge at Geneva dining room for lunch.
We shared a delicious Pretzel Crusted Chicken sandwich and lots of fun chit-chat.
Laura shares my love of unsweetened iced tea, too!  :o)

IMG_9648.jpg

Upon arriving at The Lodge in Geneva
, Laura surprised me with this cute Valentine’s scarf.
I love it!  Here I am at home, showing it off.

IMG_9641

Time flew by quickly, and it was time to point the car back towards home.
Goodbye, for now, Ohio.

Thanks for reading!
Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. My next post will be on, or around, March 11.

Thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette”via email,
FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or click here.

DSCF2787.JPG

 

One of my favorite treats from NE Ohio is the apple cider doughnut from                        Brant’s Apple Orchard.                                                                                                                          Paired with Brant’s apple cider slushie, it’s the dynamic duo! Unfortunately,                       these little gems are only available during apple season, August-November.                                                                                                                                    This photo was taken in August 2011.
To see photos from my August 2014 trip to Ohio, click here.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 4a, Switzerland-Finally!

February 6, 2016

Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure, Switzerland: Part 4a- Finally!

IMG_1946

I am star stuck, as I “chat” with 007/James Bond,
George Lazenby, 
star of Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Piz Gloria; Schilthorn, Mürren, Switzerland
September 2014

The time has finally arrived for my final installment (well “part a” of my final installment, anyway) of the Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure series,
this one on Switzerland.  I am behind, very behind, with this, my fourth country’s installment.  My third installment having been back in June 2015! This post, and the next Switzerland post (coming to this blog soon), are of our last two Switzerland visits;
one taking place in September 2014, and the other in March 2015.

Breathtaking Switzerland in September 2014

The difference was staggering. The tans and beiges of the desert sands of
Saudi Arabia, where we were living and had left just hours before, had been replaced by the brilliant green landscape of Switzerland, below, as seen through our aircraft window.

The brilliant green landscape of Switzerland greeted us as we landed in Zurich.

My hubster, Dale, had business meetings in Zug, and I was happily tagging along. Anticipating an entire weekend ahead of us, we had made reservations in Interlaken.
With our luggage secure in our rental car, we were on our way. The Swiss scenery is always a treat for the eyes, interspursed with the occasional mountain tunnel.

Dale, navigates the Swiss roads and tunnels with ease.
Each time we now encounter a tunnel, I think of Switzerland!

IMG_1889

One of my favorite “just off the road” spots in Switzerland,  is this picturesque lake in Lungren.

 

IMG_3045

Yes, the water in Lungren really is this color!

Interlaken, at Last!

Happy to arrive at the Goldey Hotel, we were enchanted by the lovely view from our balcony. After quickly unpacking, we were off for a walk, exploring the area.

IMG_3061

The Goldey Hotel, the brick building behind me, sits on the bank of the
River Aare.

IMG_3054IMG_1899

We were delighted by the scenic view from our balcony. 

Dale and I had stopped briefly in Interlaken in 2013. We had enjoyed the breakfast buffet at The Victoria-Jungfrau’s La Terrasse, or I should say we enjoyed the bacon from the breakfast buffet. Dale and I had been more than excited, at that time in 2013,
to find American-style bacon on the beautiful buffet, and in plentiful supply.
Living in Saudi Arabia at the time, it had been months since we had tasted that
distinct bacon flavor. :o)
We  vowed that if we were lucky enough to find ourselves in the area again,
that we would explore Interlaken’s other treasures.

IMG_0398

Immensely enjoying my bacon-based buffet (This photo was taken mid-bite.)
at The Victoria-Jungfrau’s La Terrasse in Interlaken.
August 2013

To read my Switzerland post from August 2013, click here.

IMG_3060

Many of the “neat as a pin” Swiss houses, complete with flowers, reminded me of a cuckoo clock that my grandmother used have hanging on her wall.

 

IMG_3064

This street in Interlake is busting with tourists.
The stately Victoria-Jungfrau is the tall building with the spire on the left.

IMG_3068

Hang gliding seems to be a popular past time here, with the Jungfrau (the name of the mountain) in the background, and Victoria-Junfrau Hotel across the street.

IMG_3077 (1)

Dale and I enjoy dinner, with a view of the Jungfrau.  I do not remember exactly what I was eating, but I do remember that it was a delicious sandwich and had bacon in it. :o)

 

IMG_0363

A model of the Piz Gloria in a store window, gives us a glance of what we will see the
next day.

 

IMG_3087

The night time view from our room was magical.

Piz Gloria, but first, Breakfast

I love classic movies, with the James Bond films of 1960’s falling into this category.
One of the most intriguing locations for a Bond film is the Piz Gloria, featured in
Her Majesty’s Secret Service
(1969). Situated on Mount Schilthorn are the observation deck and revolving restaurant seen in the film.  Only about 10 miles from our hotel to the base of Mount Schithorn, Piz Gloria would be our destination for the day.
To read more about this Bond location, check out this Bond blog here.

IMG_3107

Starting the day with a hearty breakfast at our hotel.

 

Hazelnuts (also known as a Filbert) were always an option at our hotel breakfast buffet.
I love them!

I enjoyed the unique decorative touches in the hotel’s common areas. 

IMG_1917

In this blurry photo (sorry), I stand near a map which charts our course up the mountain to the Piz Gloria via the longest aerial cable system of the Alps.

If the cute red coat that I am wearing seems a bit small, it is because, not knowing about this trip earlier, I had not brought anything warm to wear with us to Saudi.
My friend, living in our compound, lent me this coat for our Swiss trip.
Thanks, Emma!

IMG_3116

While waiting for the cable car, we were fascinated by this huge backpack, and I asked if I could take a photo.  We later surmised that these fellows were headed up the mountain to hang glide with this mega-backpack carrying all of their glide gear.

Dale and I board the gondola, complete with the James Bond musical score piped-in from overhead.

IMG_3126IMG_1925

IMG_3129

IMG_3127IMG_3167 (1)IMG_1938

The views going up the mountain were spectacular…
and the views at the top,gorgeous.IMG_1969In my very best 007 pose, at Piz Gloria. James Bond once walked here.
In fact, part of the completion money for the revolving restaurant and the helicopter pad here came from the making of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

IMG_3137

Dale and I were overwhelmed by the beauty of Switzerland’s Alps.

IMG_3140IMG_1989IMG_1988IMG_3155

IMG_1961

You would not know it to look at me, but I am a little fearful of high places…

IMG_1976

…but I eventually got used to the heights and took in the majesty of the landscape below.

Evidence of the James Bond legacy was everywhere, from the museum exhibit here, complete with vintage movie posters, to the the 007 emblem decorating the restaurant windows,
to the Wi-fi internet code of 007.  :o)

IMG_1982

The revolving restaurant was such a treat

Mürren

Piz Gloria had lived up to its reputation as amazing! After our lunch, it was time for us to take the trip back down mountain.  Dale and I decided to explore the second stop from the top; the small village of Mürren. There are no cars allowed here, except for essential personnel, making it is a great place to walk around.

IMG_2005IMG_2006

On our way back down the mountain was this quaint little village of Mürren.

IMG_0372

I was feeling the need for outerwear that would actually fit me. I struck out at the overpriced gift shop at the Piz Gloria.   Mürren was a happy contrast, with a cute and reasonably priced shop. I  bought this warm and furry Swiss jacket.

IMG_3172

Dale and I relaxed as we sat on park benches, enjoying Mürren’s tranquil view.

IMG_3173

The tranquility did not last long.  We soon came to the uneasy realization that this “park” also served as Mürren’s heliport! We, along with others sitting and relaxing in the area, soon found ourselves overwhelmed by hurricane-like winds, thanks to this helicopter landing just feet away from us!  We all held on to our hats (literally) while clinging to our packages in utter dismay!

IMG_0365

We stop for tea, where we chatted with some fellow Americans, at one Mürren’s hotel cafes, before heading back down to the bottom.

To read another blogger’s Mürren experience, click here.

Trummelbach-Falle

A side trip on our way home, took us to Trummelbach-Falle, a maze of ten waterfalls.

IMG_0419

IMG_0378

My fear of heights reared its ugly head once again this day.

To read more about Trummelbach-Falle click here and here.

Cows

On our trip back to Interlaken, we were surprised to see colorfully decorated cows.  The cows had been part of a cow parade earlier that day. Having spent the warmer summer months in the Alps,the cows were brought down to the mountain to spend the winter months.

To read more about this tradition, click here and here.IMG_3215

IMG_3214

Bossy does not look all too happy about her new headpiece!

A fun cow fact for ya-Did you know that the some Swiss have cow washes for their cows?

See and read about cow washes here.

Our Final Look Around Interlaken

IMG_3240

This cute chef sign caught my eye.

IMG_3245

I snapped this photo of a granny on her moped, as we waited for the train to pass by.
The bicycle rider uses this time for a little snack.

IMG_2021 (1)IMG_3260IMG_3257

A few sights on our final walk around town.

 

Zug

Zug was our ultimate destination in Switzerland.  Zug is a beautiful small town on
Lake Zug. Dale had business in Zug for a few days. My friend, Lyn, who was currently living in Zug, offered to show me around Zug one day, and Lucerne the another.

photo 3

Lyn brought me to this cute restaurant with a view Lake Zug.

IMG_2029

The view was beautiful and the food delicious.

IMG_3334

This photo was taken just outside of the restaurant.

IMG_3338

The Clocktower is an iconic symbol of Zug.

IMG_3323

I stand on a cobblestone street of Zug.

To read another blogger’s perspective of Zug, click here.

 Lucerne

I adore the Swiss city of Lucerne.  Lyn kindly offered to take me the 20 miles from Zug to Lucerne for an informal rooftop lunch, and a little sightseeing.  It was a fun day.

 

IMG_3284IMG_3285

Lyn and I enjoyed the sunshine and views of Lucerne during our lunch.

IMG_3296

An interior view of the Jesuit Church.

Click here for more information on the church.

IMG_3287

A view of the Jesuit Church (left) from the Chapel Bridge.

To read more about the Chapel Bridge, click here.

IMG_3303

Lyn looks out from Chapel Bridge onto the River Reuss.

 

IMG_3308

 

Lyn showed me The Lion Monument of Lucerne before our trip back to Zug.

To read more about The Lion Monument, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. Stay tuned for part 4b of Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventures. My next post will be on, or around, February 28.

Thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette”via email,
FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or click here.

Happy Birthday, Spencer!

IMG_3211

Is that Heidi?  No, I’m Annette!  :o)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Wedding and a Whale of a Snowstorm

January 27, 2016

IMG_2058.jpg

I enjoy a calm morning stroll on the beach.
Pompano Beach, Florida
January 21, 2016

Heading to the Wedding

It would be a happy weekend!  Early Wednesday morning, we (my hubby, two sons, daughter-inlaw, and grand baby) boarded a plane in Maryland. We were off to Florida, for my first born, Trevor, and his finance’s, January 22nd wedding.

IMG_2029

I happily head to Florida for my son’s wedding. What am I laughing at?                               My sweet 22 month old grand daughter is siting on my lap, just outside of this photo. :o)

                                                                 January 20, 2016

Florida

Through the miracle of air travel, (Thank you Wilbur and Orville Wright!),we were gazing down at Pompano Beach from our hotel room in just a few hours.

IMG_9380

The ocean view from our hotel room in Pompano Beach.

IMG_9391

Our “home” for the next few days, nestled between the coconut palms.
The Residence Inn
Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach/Oceanfront

The Whale’s Rib

Clothes were quickly unpacked, as we anticipated lunch!  We met Trevor, the groom to be, at one of my favorite restaurants in this area, The Whale’s Rib, in nearby Deerfield Beach.
First introduced to me by Trevor, several years ago, this unpretentious seafood haven
serves great food at reasonable prices, and has the stamp of approval from
Diners, Drive-ins, and Dive’sGuy Fieri.

IMG_9379

The Whale’s Rib in Deerfield Beach

When planning Trevor and Tanya’s rehearsal dinner, it was here that I first inquired.  It became clear rather quickly, however, that they did not have the kind of space that was needed to accommodate our group. So, instead, we would visit here twice while in town, sharing its ambiance with some of our relatives who were in town.

IMG_9371

The Whale’s Rib is renowned for its Whale Fries served with Whale Juice,
a mayonnaise-based sauce.

We enjoyed eating at The Whale’s Rib, two times while in town. Always delicious and fun! 

Dining at The Whale’s Rib on our first day in town.
January 20, 2016

Dining at The Whale’s Rib, the day after the wedding.
Our group group grew in number from our first visit!
January 23, 2016

The Rehearsal Dinner
January 21, 2016

As parents of the groom, Dale and I had the honor of hosting the rehearsal dinner, immediately after Thursday’s wedding rehearsal.  We decided on an informal dinner at the same location as the rehearsal.The wedding would also take place here the next day, at Galuppi’s.
On a golf course, Galuppi’s setting is pictuesque.

IMG_9411

A sunset view from the Galuppi’s back patio.

The rehearsal dinner was an enjoyable time, and we even had an enthusiastic game for the bride and groom.

Trevor and Tanya play a light-hearted game of “Who Will” during the rehearsal dinner.

The Wedding
January 22, 2016

Friday greeted us with rainy skies, but that did not dampen our spirits for the impending nuptials. Although, the wedding was slated to take place on Galuppi’s outdoor patio,
an alternative location was available in the reception area, if needed.

IMG_9432

Our daughter, Martese, served as officiant for the wedding.
45 minutes prior to the wedding, we were still hopeful that the rain would subside.

IMG_2093

Tanya’s handsome son waits for the wedding to begin.

It was wedding time and the rain continued to fall.  It would be an indoor wedding.
The wedding was beautiful!

IMG_2115

IMG_9437

Trevor and Tanya say their vows.

IMG_9439

Trevor and Tanya kiss as husband and wife.
Tanya is a lovely bride.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 9.53.40 PM

Trevor and I do our Mother/Son Dance to “Singing’ in the Rain“.

IMG_9434

The pretty wedding cake was delicious.

IMG_9495

The evening was spent celebrating on the dance floor.

Homeward Bound?With the honeymoon couple on their way to Colorado on Saturday, we turned our thoughts toward heading home.  Our Baltimore son and family were to originally fly out on Saturday, but with a mega winter snowstorm in that area, on Friday they rescheduled their flights for Sunday.  My hubby, son, and I were also scheduled to fly out on Sunday.  We all got the word on Saturday that all Saturday and Sunday flights had been cancelled.  Rescheduling, we found, would not be an option until Tuesday,
or Wednesday.  With that in mind, we all decided to drive the 15+ hours home in our rental car.

IMG_9488

Newlyweds Tanya and Trevor enjoy the slopes on their honeymoon.

We pointed our car north, as our trek began at 3:30 am on Sunday morning.  Yawn.
Travel was relatively uneventful for the first several hours, with sparse traffic on
Highway 95. Baby girl was a travel champ, spending part of the travel time watching
Kid Songs on dvd. The highlight of the first part of our trip was having lunch in
North Carolina at Zaxby’s.

IMG_9469

There are no Zaxby’s in Maryland, so we were happy to find this one just off the highway in Lumberton, North Carolina.

We continued to travel north. Through the photo (below) texted by our friend, Abe, and neighbors’ Facebook photos, we anticipated the snowdrifts that awaited us, with a bit of trepidation.

IMG_9471

We were thankful to our good friend, Abe, for checking on our place,
and sending us this photo of our house on Sunday.

It became apparent about two hours south of Washington DC, that the landscape “was a changin‘”.  Large piles of snow began to envelope us from both sides of the road, and the number of snow plows began to largely outnumber the “civilian” vehicles on the road. It was eerie, as we carefully made our way on the newly, barely, somewhat, plowed highway.

 The Washington Memorial, and scaffolded National Capitol shone to our left, over an uncustomarily silent Washington DC.  It was at this time that it became sadly apparent, to some of our car’s occupants (having passed two unplowed rest areas) that the time had arrived for “resting”. As treacherous as it was to veer off the highway, it was now more treacherous not to!  As we made our way to a small unkept gas station, in a not so great part of town, a large sign made it clear that they had no public facilities.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. (Use your imagination.)  It was not long before we were more comfortably back on the road, marveling at the mountains of snow all around us as we went. It was then, after a total of 18 hours, we were finally home! Parking in our  neighbor’s shoveled driveway, we trudged through the snow and into our house, deposited in a giant snow cone machine. We said a quick prayer of thanks. We had made it home safely, after a wonderful wedding. :o)

IMG_9473

Our back deck piled with snow, upon walking into our house after 18 hours on the road.

Thanks for reading!

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. Look for my next post on, or around, February 15.

Thank you to all of my blog followers!!!
If you are not yet currently getting my blogs via email,
I’d love for you to do so!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette”via email,
FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or click here.

IMG_9490

Trevor, our oldest at around age 1.5 years, with my husband and myself in 1986.
Time flies!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Procrastination and Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2015

Procrastination and Merry Christmas!

IMG_9059

I pose for a quick photo with this handsome nutcracker at our local
Nordstrom’s Department Store.

Merry Christmas! Like you, I have a million and one things to do before this December 25th, but procrastination has set in. Apparently lacking in the discipline to complete these chores in an orderly manner, I will instead, happily chat with you for a minute. Pour yourself a cup of hot tea and relax with me for a bit.

                                            How I Spent My Day Today

Yes, I had more than enough to do today, but…
I love classic movies!  Add Christmas to a classic movie and I am filled with extreme happy holiday cheer! Today I had my chance to experience super duper EHHC (extreme happy holiday cheer)! Turner Classic Movies was offering the showing of ” Miracle on 34th Street” on the big screen! :o)

Photo Feb 08, 10 06 13

I am all smiles as I stand near the swoon-worthy Clark Gable’s
hand and foot prints, star of classic movies.
Grumman’s Chinese Theatre
February 2015
To see more of this trip, click here.

Today, the Sunday before Christmas, instead of wrapping gifts in Martha Stewart fashion, or baking goodies of unspeakable yumminess, I instead braved my local mall/theatre parking lot. (It was packed!) Entering the theatre’s body-filled lobby, I encountered loads of “Star Wars” enthusiasts.  (They were there to view the just released and newest, of the”Star Wars” films.) As I brushed past two young men dressed in full “Star Wars” costume attire, I made my way to a less hectic, Theatre # 8.

The email invitation that I received about this event.

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 11.13.04 AM
IMG_9160

IMG_9159

Interesting “Miracle on 34th Street” trivia about the stars of the film, Natalie Wood, Maureen O’Hara, and Edmund Gwenn, came across the screen before the show.  

IMG_9169.jpg

What a joy it was to sit back and relax (procrastinate a bit?), and enjoy this perennial Christmas classic.  It never disappoints. I left with a big smile on my face!

To read my past Christmas blogs click here and here.

To read about some other TCM large screen showings that I have attended, click here and here.

Time for me to get back to all of the fun preparations for this wonderful and joyous Christmas Season. Christmas is almost here.  :o)

Merry Christmas and thanks for reading!

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but my son is getting married next month :o),so … Look for my January post on, or around, January 28.

Thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!
If you are not currently getting my blogs via email,
I’d love for you to do so!

PLEASE, JOIN MY BLOG FOLLOWING for Free!!!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette”
via email, FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or this on my link, click here.

IMG_9090

My vintage styrofoam Santa wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Thanksgiving Over Already?!

November 30, 2015

Is Thanksgiving Over Already?!

IMG_8511

My son and I admire our “Thanksgiving turkey”, post-assembly.
November 2, 2015

Is it really possible that Thanksgiving is already over, and today is the final day of November?   I am hoping that your Thanksgiving weekend was  enjoyable and happy.  Mine was.:o)
(Overseas friends, not familiar with Thanksgiving, can read about this very American holiday, here.)
Please follow my Thanksgiving 2015 from preparations through the celebration, via the photo album below.

Decorating for the Big Day

IMG_8522

Turkeys and Mr. Pilgrim for Thanksgiving.
Our entryway table changes with the season.

For the free center Thanksgiving printable, click here.
For the free turkey background printable, click here.

IMG_8506Chandler, my youngest son, performs the taxing task of assembling our November front-step decor, and then relaxes with Kali afterwards.

IMG_8524

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day

IMG_9001

Watching the Thanksgiving Parade is tradition at our house on Thanksgiving morning, as dinner preparations take place.

IMG_9002

My youngest and eldest enjoy another family tradition;
beginning our Thanksgiving morning with
Monkey Bread and  Christmas Bacon and Eggs Casserole.

For the Monkey Bread and the Christmas Bacon and Eggs Casserole
recipes click here .

IMG_8997

My hubby, with help from his assistants, grilled one turkey (my personal favorite), and fried another. Both were delicious!

IMG_9007

We enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner with our three sons, daughter in-law and grand daughter.
(Our daughter was celebrating with her husband’s family in Minnesota this year.)

My Thanksgiving  Menu

A big part of Thanksgiving is the food.  Preparing the feast is a labor of love for my family.  (The clean up after that dinner, not so much.  ha)
My Thanksgiving menu remains pretty much the same each year.
In fact, it is also basically the same for our Christmas dinner, too,
except I change out the pumpkin pie for Hershey Mint Dessert.
I like to keep it informal and buffet style.

Annette’s Thanksgiving Menu

Rotisserie and Fried Turkey
(Dale’s job)

Midwestern Dressing
(I make first thing in the morning and put in crockpot on low, lined with parchment paper, and sprayed with PAM.)
(My favorite thing on the menu!)

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
( I make these both ahead and put in crockpots on low-the potatoes in a parchment lined one and sprayed with PAM, and gravy in a heated gravy boat crock.)
Still not 100% thrilled with mashed potatoes kept hot this way.)

Green Bean Casserole
(Made day before, minus the french fried onions.)

Sweet Potato Casserole
(Made day before.)

Cranberries
(Made two days before.)

Recipe for cranberries is below.

Orange Jello Salad
(Made day before.)

Chilled Black/Ripe Olives

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
Place on parchment paper and keep checking while in the oven.
The baking time is usually much less than is indicated on the package.
(Done at the last minute, but I delegate this to someone else.)

Desserts/Sweets

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream
(Hershey Mint Dessert for Christmas, instead.)

(I make the fresh pumpkin two days before, and the pie the day before.)

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
(I make one, or two, days ahead.)

Goodies
I make all, or some of these each Thanksgiving and Christmas,
including my favorite dessert item,

Dark Chocolate Peanut Clusters
(Made and frozen two days, or more, ahead.)
For the recipe for the Dark Chocolate Peanut Clusters, click here.

Thanksgiving/Christmas Trash
For the recipe for Thanksgiving Trash, click here.

Belly Buttons

Cranberry & Pistachio Snowfall Almond Bark

Louisiana Trash

Beverage

Chilled Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider

I would love for you to share with me and the other readers
(in the comment section at the bottom of this post)
about your own Thanksgiving menu.
What items are a necessary Thanksgiving must for you and your family?

Thanksgiving Weekend

IMG_9018

Taking a Friday stroll. The Maryland weather was beautiful!

IMG_9026

Watching the Ohio State-Michigan Football Game on Saturday is a Thanksgiving week-end MUST from way back,
since I began dating Dale in 1977, in fact.

Making Homemade Cranberry Sauce

IMG_8979

A couple of days before Thanksgiving, I put on a Thanksgiving DVD like this episode of The Brady Bunch: The Un-Underground Movie, and begin cooking.  I often begin with preparing the cranberries.

IMG_8974

I always begin with a bag of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries.

IMG_8976

Rinse and remove the soft ones.

IMG_8990

The cranberries just out of the oven.

The Recipe

Fresh Candied Cranberries

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe many years ago.

IMG_8991

INGREDIENTS:

Butter

12 oz. pkg. of fresh cranberries

1+3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp. of sugar

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Lightly butter a shallow casserole, preferably one with a lid.
  • Rinse cranberries, remove soft ones, and spread berries in casserole.
  • Sprinkle with sugar.
  • Let stand for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cover with lid, or aluminum foil, if you have no lid.
  • Bake berries 35-50 minutes, uncovering and stirring occasionally, until sauce is clear.
  • Remove from oven and cool.
  • Chill.
  • This will keep for one week in the refrigerator, and freezes pretty well.

Makes about 3 cups

Enjoy!

It is now onward to Christmas!
Let the watching of Christmas movies begin!
(For Christmas movie suggestions click here and here.

To read my past Thanksgiving posts that include movie recommendations, and recipes, click here and here.

Thanks so much for reading ! :o)

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but with the holidays approaching, … Look for my December post on, or around, December 18, maybe.

A giant thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!
If you are not currently getting my blogs via email, I’d love for you to do so!

PLEASE, JOIN MY BLOG FOLLOWING for Free!!!

Become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or this on my link, click here.

IMG_8320

Good Golly, this canvas, makes me smile. :o)
I purchased it in England earlier this year.
It was created by a local artisan there,
and was hanging on a restaurant wall for sale.
Buying it was the easy part,
shipping it home…

To read about that England trip, click here.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eating Around Walt Disney World: The Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival

November 18, 2015

Eating Around Walt Disney World:
The Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival

IMG_8644

Enjoying Cinderella Time at Cinderella’s Disney World Castle

 Pictured: Mike (Martese’s husband), Martese, Cinderella, Me (complete with my Cath Kidston fanny pack), and Natasha.

It was the weekend of The Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon. My daughter, Martese, and her friend Natasha, having met during their stint as Disney college interns in 2010, were participating in the November 7th race. To add to the festivities, November 6th marked Martese’s 25th birthday. I was along for the fun “ride”. :o)

IMG_8543.JPG

Natasha surprised Martese, when she arrived, with birthday decorations in her hotel room, complete with Disney Pop Century Resort‘s colorful and tasty Tye Dye Cheesecake (pictured below).IMG_8544

The Magic Kingdom

We happily skipped through our first day, enjoying the Magic Kingdom.  In-between all of the smile inducing Disney World rides and entertainment, Martese, our own personal Disney Travel Agent, had made reservations for our eating pleasure. We ate well this trip!

IMG_8602

Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious!  
Martese indulging in a Grey Stuff Cupcake at Beauty and the Beast’s pretty Be Our Guest Restaurant

IMG_8567

Martese and Mike relax on the
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.

IMG_0015

Mike sips on a cool lemonade in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.

IMG_8621

IMG_8638


In addition to having Disney royalty ( several of the Disney princesses) visit our table,  we were treated to culinary treats at
Cinderella’s Royal Table.

IMG_8578

When we entered the castle at dusk for dinner,
it looked like the above photo.
We were in awe of the magnificent lights that adorned the castle, as we exited from dinner (below photo).

IMG_0001

Epcot

By day two, my hubby, Dale, had joined us,
and we were about to embark on the Holy Grail of Disney dining,
the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival!

IMG_8664

IMG_8665.JPG

Our day began with a strawberry Pop-Tart Breakfast Sandwich
at the Pop Century Resort’s cafeteria. It was quite good!

IMG_8943
The entrance of Epcot announced that good things were in store!

IMG_8913.JPG

We arrived early in the day to begin sampling the many treats.
The lines became much longer as the day wore on.

IMG_8677

Martese and I had made our “taste lists” ahead of time,
so that we knew just what we wanted to tackle.
We would buy an item of choice and then we would all sample it.

IMG_8678

Martese’s first item was this offering from Hawaii,
Pork Sliders with Pineapple Chutney.
She loved it. I thought it was just okay.

IMG_8681

I had been longing for the always epic, Dole Whip,
and they were available at Epcot this day,
along with another treat, a cronut.
I was anxious to try this cross between a croissant and a doughnut.
It did not disappoint.
It reminded all of us of my recipe for Biscuit Doughnuts, here.

IMG_8683

Canada’s offerings were next on our list,
and were a big hit with all of us!
The Cheddar Cheese Soup and Wild Mushroom Beef Filet were two of the best offerings of the day!

IMG_8685

Dale wishes our “little girl” a Happy Birthday, as we strolled through Epcot’s World Showcase.

IMG_8688Mike sipping on a cool Frozen S’more on this hot Florida afternoon.

IMG_8690France offered Crème brûlée and Croissant aux escargots.

Both were good, but the croissants were a bit heavy on the garlic,
and I have yet to find anyone in the world who can beat the delicious creme brûlée served at our hometown restaurant, Johnny’s Bistro!

IMG_8693Natasha enjoying her Belgium Waffle with chocolate sauce and whipped cream from where else? Belgium.

IMG_8696The Lobster Rolls were done just right in the America area of Epcot.

Australia’s Shrimp on the Barbie was done to perfection.
I devoured them so quickly that I forgot to snap a photo.
 I did, however, purchase a cookbook with a photo of this epicurean treat.

As the day grew longer, so did the lines. There were a couple items on our list that we left untasted. Thanks to my trusty cookbook, I can still test them out, if the urge strikes.  Also,on Pinterest there are many of these recipes.
To follow my Disney Recipes and Food category, click here.

To read about all of 2015’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival offerings,  click here.

Birthday Dinner on The Boardwalk

After a full day at Epcot, we all looked forward to our dinner at
The Flying Fish on The Boardwalk.
This was Martese’s birthday, and we were celebrating in style.

IMG_8717We all relax by the water, as we wait for our reservation time.

IMG_0027

The Flying Fish beckons hungry diners.

IMG_8718All relaxed and enjoying our dinner.

IMG_8723.JPGWe declined dessert at The Flying Fish, so that we could partake in  scrumptious Mickey bars back at the hotel.
Happy Birthday, Martese!

Hollywood Studios

By our third day, our numbers had grown by three more!  Our eldest son, Trevor, and his family drove up from southern Florida to join us.  :o)

IMG_8727.jpgThe youngest in our group enjoys a breakfast muffin at
Starring Rolls Cafe. 

IMG_0094IMG_8741.JPGLunching at Pizza Planet.IMG_8762

I rode my favorite Walt Disney World ride, The Great Movie Ride, twice , and spotted Annette Funicello’s handprints.

IMG_0014

Dale and I “drive” a classic car to my favorite WDW restaurant,
The Sci-Fi Cafe.

IMG_8775

Are Trevor and Tanya discussing the hidden meaning
behind this Sci- fi movie clip?

IMG_8777

All ready for some Sci-Fi Cafe food and fun.

IMG_8784.JPGHollywood Studio’s amazing The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights features over 5 million Christmas lights.
This is the last year for this spectacular display.

IMG_8800Trevor poses in front of a really big Big Wheel at the Pop Century Resort.
I remember when a Big Wheel was once Trevor’s favorite mode of transportation!  :o) 

IMG_0020Chefs, Chip and Dale, pose with half-marathoners Natasha and Martese before their race.

Magic Kingdom One Last Time (for this trip)

IMG_8818We are anxious for the Pooh Character Breakfast at the Crystal Palace.

IMG_8829
The wonderful thing about Tiggers…

IMG_0055Winnie the Pooh pauses for a selfie with Mike.

IMG_8828Always delicious, Mickey waffles are the star on this brunch plate,
along with
yummy Pooh’s Puffed French Toast, bacon, potatoes, fresh fruit,
and a refreshing iced tea.

IMG_8797Signing off

Check Out Some of My Other Disney Related Blog Posts

My 2015 Girls’ Weekend at Disneyland, click here.

My 2014 Family Walt Disney World Vacation, click here.

Cooking a Vintage Italian Disney World Dish, click here.

Thanks so much for reading and have a magical day! :o)

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but with the holidays approaching, I will be on a once per month mode.  Look for my next post on, or around, December 10.

A giant thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!
If you are not currently getting my blogs via email, I’d love for you to do so!

PLEASE, JOIN MY BLOG FOLLOWING for Free!!!

Become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon my postings.
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or this on my link, click here.

Planning a Disney Vacation?

1621805_259645820870262_43649048_n

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

Contact Martese to assist in your next Disney vacation.
Website: marteseehm.offtoneverland.com, or click here.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Martese-Ehm-Off-to-Neverland/258249034343274, or click here.

IMG_8946
This Mickey cookie cutter made the trip home with me.  :o)

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Time to make some Caramel Corn!

October 28, 2015

Time to make some Caramel Corn!

Originally posted on July 31, 2013,
and also attempted to include this in the October 28, 2015 post, Dracula.

20130912-154647.jpg

2-3 qts. popped popcorn
(That is a bit less than a popper full of what my popcorn popper makes)
1 clean large brown paper bag (if you do not have one, a large heat resistant bowl will do)
Set aside.

In large glass bowl put:
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
¼ cup white corn syrup
¼ tsp. salt

Microwave these four ingredients for four minutes, or until
it comes to a boil.

Add and stir:
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla

*Pour this liquid over the popped popcorn
in large brown paper bag.

Stir and Shake.

Cook 1 and ½ minutes on high in microwave.
Remove bag from microwave and shake well.
Cook 1 minute longer.

Wait a few minutes to eat, as it is hot. Enjoy!

*Gilding the Lily-Add 12 oz. can of Redskin Spanish peanuts to popcorn, prior to pouring
liquid over.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dracula!

October 28, 2015

Dracula!

IMG_8388
With popcorn in hand, I happily anticipate the start of Dracula.

I am a fan of the Turner Classic Movie Channel. Airing uninterrupted older films, it serves up true entertainment for the classic movie fan in me. I am especially fond of the array of comedies and romantic comedies shown on their channel, and appreciate the sincere effort that this station has made toward preserving our movie heritage. Occasionally, TCM sponsors the showing of a movie gem on the big screen. This October, Turner Classic Movies presented the original 1931, Dracula, starring Bella Lugosi, by Universal Pictures.

My email “invitation” to Dracula.

Although, not my most favorite genre, this movie feature intrigued me.  I had never seen Dracula, and the opportunity to view this original on the big screen, and near Halloween, seemed too good to miss. I talked my youngest (age 21) into joining me, and we were off to the movies.

IMG_8385
It was a rainy, gloomy afternoon, the perfect setting for our film. 

IMG_8393
When we arrived, the pre-film trivia had begun…to an empty theatre.
Three other movie fans eventually arrived before movie time.

IMG_8390

My son, Chandler, enjoys some movie popcorn while reading the pre-movie Dracula trivia, up on the screen.

IMG_8391
The answer to this trivia question is A-Bela Lugosi.

IMG_8394
Dracula is introduced by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

IMG_8395
The movie credits began to roll.  Is that a Batman
logo that I see behind Dracula?!

IMG_8397.JPG
Lugosi steals the show in this true horror classic.

Fun Fact for ya-Bela Lugosi was buried in a Dracula cape.
To read more about Bela Lugosi, click here.

Dracula was entertaining, interesting, classy and scary, but a not in-your-face,
gory type of scary.
It was a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon.

To read about when I attended TCM’s big screen showing of The Wizard of Oz, click here and Christmas in Connecticut, click here.

Happy Halloween!

20130912-154647.jpg

In honor of Halloween and the movies, why not make a batch of this yummy caramel corn? It is so good that it is SCARY.  :O)
Click here, for the recipe.

Thanks so much for reading. :o)

Annette

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. Look for my next post around November 20.

A big thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!
I apologize, followers, for sending you the “Dracula” blog in progress, earlier today, the result of accidentally hitting publish, instead of save draft.

If you are not currently getting my blogs via email, I’d love for you to do so!
PLEASE, join my blog following for Free!!!
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go here.

IMG_8404
My kiddies all dressed up to trick or treat in 1995.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

Updated Minnesota Wild Rice Soup with the ingredient that I forgot the first time!

IMG_7998

Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients
1/2 cup wild rice, uncooked
32 oz. box of chicken broth, or chicken stock
2-3 chicken boullion cubes
1 whole, peeled onion
1/4-1/3 cup carrots, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced-optional
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/8 tsp. white pepper, ground, or black pepper
1 1/2 qt. skim milk
2.25 oz. almonds, slivered
1/2-1 pound ham, cooked and diced

Directions
Combine wild rice, chicken broth, bullion cubes, whole onion, diced carrots and if desired, diced celery.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until rice is tender. Melt butter. Combine flour and pepper; add to melted butter to make a roux.
Add half of the milk to the roux. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.
Add the remaining milk, and the rice/vegetable mixture to the thickened milk.
Continue cooking, stirring constantly. Add the slivered almonds and diced ham.
Continue cooking until the starch flavor is gone and flavors have blended.
Remove onion, if desired.
Enjoy!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment