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


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 (1)

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!


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


Martese and Mike relax on the
Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.


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



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.


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).


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!

Our day began with a strawberry Pop-Tart Breakfast Sandwich

at the Pop Century Resort’s cafeteria. It was quite good!

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


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

IMG_0020 2

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.

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

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.

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!


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_0162The Flying Fish beckons hungry diners.

IMG_8718All relaxed and enjoying our dinner.

IMG_8723We 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_8727The youngest in our group enjoys a breakfast muffin at
Starring Rolls Cafe. 

IMG_0176IMG_8741Lunching at Pizza Planet.


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

IMG_0014Dale and I “drive” a classic car to my favorite WDW restaurant,
The Sci-Fi Cafe.

IMG_8775Are Trevor and Tanya discussing the hidden meaning
behind this Sci- fi movie clip?

IMG_8776All ready for some Sci-Fi Cafe food and fun.

IMG_8784Hollywood 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_0006Chefs, Chip and Dale, pose with half-marathoners Natasha and Martese before their race.

Magic Kingdom One Last Time (for this trip)

IMG_8818 (1)We are anxious for the Pooh Character Breakfast at the Crystal Palace.

IMG_8829 (1)The wonderful thing about Tiggers…

IMG_0108Winnie 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)


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!


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?


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:, or click here.
Facebook:, or click here.

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





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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.


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.

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October 28, 2015


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.

IMG_8398My 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.

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

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


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

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

Dracula is introduced by TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

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

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!


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)


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.

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

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


Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

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

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.

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Minnesota Nice

Minnesota Nice

October 1, 2015


I stand beneath the massive sculpture, MOLECULE, by Mark Di Suvero,
at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Residents of Minnesota have a reputation for being nice, Minnesota Nice. Throughout a week visit with our daughter and her husband, Dale and I experienced much of the “nice” that the Minneapolis area has to offer. Not only did its residents radiate niceness, but we found plenty of “nice” things to see and do in the area, particularly eating at the array of regional restaurants. Among popular local items on Minneapolis menus are: Walleye, caught in the Minnesota lakes, Juicy Lucy Hamburgers, originating in Minneapolis, and Cheese Curds, from nearby Wisconsin.  All of these tastes of Minnesota, and more, left a “wonderful taste in our mouths”. :o)

A Few of Our Many Delicious Meals

Mike and Martese, our daughter and her husband,
eating at Big Bowl Chinese and Thai Restaurant.

IMG_7590 IMG_7594
Dale, Martese and I enjoy a beautiful evening at
McCormick’s Pub & Restaurant in cute Wayzata.
The BLT was delicious!

A stroll along Lake Minnetonka, after our McCormick’s dinner, allowed us  room for dessert, a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream cone. :o)

Good company and good food, lunching by Lake Minnetonka,
with our son-in-law’s family, at scrumptious Lord Fletcher’s .

This cute vintage display greets visitors to The General Store Cafe and Bistro.

Delicious and ginormous popovers, with honey butter,
are a General Store Cafe specialty.

 I bought this bag of Minnesota Wild Rice from the General Store,
next to the cafe,. (See the recipe that I use it in, below.)


 The Galaxy Drive-in was a fun place for a milkshake.
I even ran into Elvis there!




We paid a visit to the 5-8 Club, once a speakeasy,
and home of the original Juicy Lucy (a cheese-stuffed hamburger).
I happily devoured my burger, along with the Deep Fried Cheese Curds appetizer that we three shared.

 To read about the 5-8 Club’s history, click here.

Walking Along

With all of the yummilicious food that Dale and I ate on our Minnesota visit, some exercise was definitely required!  We chose to walk, and there were plenty of venues to do so.


Even at the age of 13, Jax still loves going on walks,
and joined us on several during our Minnesota stay.
Jax, was our family dog for over ten years.
When Dale and I left for overseas in 2013,

Jax got a new home with, then newlyweds, Martese and Mike.

Dale and I, and Jax, spotted swans and a muskrat (I think) on our walk in a pretty little park near our daughter’s home.

While taking a leisurely walk by Lake Minnetonka, we discovered the
Great Northern Depot and it’s fun Garden Wayzata Model Railroad that was operating that day!

For a glimpse of this model railroad on the move, click here.

Dale and Martese look around the historic Minnehaha Railroad Depot, nicknamed the Princess Station for its gingerbread trim.

To read more in-depth, and view some great photos, of this piece of history, click here.


We all enjoyed the beauty of Minnehaha Falls.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem,
The Song of Hiawatha,
refers to Minnehaha Falls. 

Hear a roaring and a rushing,
Hear the Falls of Minnehaha
Calling to me from a distance!

Interestingly enough,
Longfellow never actually visited the falls.
To read the complete poem, click here.

Culture, Entertainment, Family and Friends

Minneapolis is a pretty city filled with many wonderful restaurants, as mentioned above, cultural exhibits, and entertainment. We enjoyed these, plus enjoyed time spent with family and friends.


by Oldenburg and Van Bruggen, is the centerpiece of the Walker Art Center’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This smile-inducing, oversized kitchen utensil, complete with a cherry on top, has become a Minneapolis icon.
In warmer weather, the artwork also serves as a mist fountain.


Martese and I were excited to be out for an evening of dinner and the theatre. Downtown’s Smack Shack served delicious seafood meals of
Lobster Roll and Shrimp Po’ Boy.

The humble beginnings of this trendy Minneapolis hot spot began several years ago in a food truck. 

It has since evolved into this popular eatery, even gaining notoriety by being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.



A short drive from the restaurant, The Orpheum Theatre’s, bright lights proclaim the title of our show, Rogers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella.

The Orpheum Theatre was once owned by singer/song writer,
Bob Dylan, who grew up in Minnesota and attended Minneapolis’s
University of Minnesota for a time.
Dylan rescued the old theatre building from ruins, and after nine years,
he sold the theatre to the City of Minneapolis.

For an interesting article about Dylan’s tenure as owner of the Orpheum, click here.

One of my favorites as a child, was the annual showing of
Rogers and Hammerstein’s, Cinderella, staring Leslie Ann Warren.
Later, as a mother, I watched it with Martese on video tape.
I recently bought this musical on DVD.



Seeing the performance of Cinderella with Martese was extra special .

An evening of playing Settlers of Catan with “the kids”
and their fun friends.
I did not win.  :o(


A special treat, while in Minnesota, was a reunion with
my former pen pal and friend, Caralee. Through the miracle of Facebook,
we found each other a few years ago, after losing touch for many years.
We discovered that Caralee lived only a few miles from my daughter,
so, when in Minnesota this trip, we met up at a local Panera.
Although, it had been over 40 years, since we had last seen each other, it was
great to find that Carolee was still as sweet as I had remembered her! 

To read a blog post about my earlier visit to Minneapolis, please click here.


This Minnesota Wild Rice Soup recipe has been a family favorite for years. The original recipe was in an Iowa State Alumni magazine, The Iowa Stater, in May 2000, listing  several residence dining hall recipes, requested by alum. Wild rice, a key ingredient, is often difficult to locate in Maryland,  but thanks to the bag purchased at the Minnesota General Store, I was able to make this tasty soup as soon as I got back home.

Over the years, I have tweaked this recipe, to fit my family’s taste.
For the original recipe and more ISU residence dining hall favorites, click here.
Thank you to The Iowa Stater for permission to use this recipe!


Minnesota Wild Rice Soup

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

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.

Thanks so much for reading. :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly. Look for my next post around October 27.

A big 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!!!
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go here.

I couldn’t resist posing with this cardboard Chewbacca
during the Target (a Minneapolis based company)
Star Wars Force Friday Event. 

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A Brief Visit to Iowa

September 21, 2015

A Brief Visit to Iowa

In Winterset, Iowa, I stand in front of the covered bridge,
featured in the movie The Bridges of Madison County.

I grew up in Iowa, a child of the midwest. Although, my mailing address has not been in the zip code of the “tall corn state” for decades (…more on the reason for that here.), a part of me remains an Iowan at heart. (To read an earlier Iowa post, click here.)


In fact, while growing up, my four children considered my, almost involuntary, urge to utter a simple “hi” to all I encountered, a bit strange (among other things  :o)). It was not long after our daughter began her college career at Iowa State University, that she called me one day exclaiming, “I get it now! The way you act, is the way people just ARE in Iowa!”



Recently, returning and gazing upon the agrarian tapestry of a landscape, I felt an inexplicable sense of calm. I always enjoy all that my home state has to offer, and this brief visit did not disappoint.


The Visit
It would be a quick two day visit to Iowa. Dale and I headed to the center of the state
to see my mom.

IMG_7657My mom taking a well-deserved break from the day’s cooking.

Carefully planning out how our time together would be spent, first on the list was a family get-together with aunts, uncles and cousins. My mom, an excellent cook, prepared a tasty chicken recipe (the recipe is included below) and yummies.  My Aunt Liz, also an excellent cook, prepared delicious pies for the feast.(See the recipe for one of those pies below.) It was a nice evening of food and family fun.


Aunt Liz, the artist of pies!

John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Winterset
Nothing says Hollywood quite like Winterset, Iowa. Yes, that’s right, I said Winterset, Iowa!  Winterset is the birthplace of “The Duke”, John Wayne. Winterset is also the setting for the 1995 film, The Bridges of Madison County (Read more about that here), and had town locations used in scenes for the 1971 movie Cold Turkey (Read my earlier blog post about my Cold Turkey connection here, and about all of this movie’s locations here.)

Winterset, Iowa’s pretty town square

The John Wayne Birthplace Museum
I loved our visit to the John Wayne Museum!
It was a treasure trove of John Wayne’s personal items and movie memorabilia.

This impressive sculpture, donated to the museum by the Wayne family, stands outside of the John Wayne Birthplace Museum.

A museum plaque proudly proclaims the only John Wayne museum in the world. 

Museum tickets serve as our admission to John Wayne fun.

A self-guided tour at the museum began with a short film highlighting
John Wayne’s movies. Wayne made over 175 films during his
Hollywood career.

To read more on John Wayne and his career, click here and here.

I fell in love with this beautiful Andy Warhol print of John Wayne
hanging in the 

An interesting museum item was John Wayne’s customized
1972 Pontiac station wagon.
The car’s roof and the doors were manufactured a bit taller than the standard height, for 6-foot-4-inch Wayne.

To read more about the car’s addition to the museum, read here.

Dale and I stand near a “wax” John Wayne with my mom and uncle.

Amusingly, John Wayne’s address/phone book includes Ronald Reagan’s California information listed on the the same page as the
washing machine repairman. 

My Very Most Favorite John Wayne Films,
Listed in Order and Shown From My Private DVD Collection
Of the 175+* John Wayne films, I have my favorites, and then  I have my very most favorites. Seeing some of the props and costumes from these faves at the museum was great fun.
*(The exact number varies from 140-250, according to the source. Among his early films , John Wayne was a singing cowboy called Singin’ Sandy Saunders!)

The Quiet Man (1952)


McLintock! (1963)


Hatari! (1962)


Donovan’s Reef (1963)


North to Alaska (1960)


Hellfighters (1968)

IMG_8021 (1)

And let me add, although not a movie, the classic TV episode from
I Love Lucy
“Lucy and John Wayne”
Season 5, Episode 2


For a list of most John Wayne movies, and a brief synopsis, click here.

 The Quiet Man
The Quiet Man is the favoritest (my own creative word choice) of my most favorite John Wayne movies. So much so, that a couple of years ago Dale and I traveled to Ireland to see for ourselves the Ireland of director’s John Ford’s vision, as seen in The Quiet Man. (You can read about that trip’s beginnings here.) It was a treat to view a special corner of the museum dedicated to this outstanding movie.

Maureen O’Hara, John Wayne’s friend and co-star in five films, including The Quiet Man, is listed as a distinguished benefactor of the museum.
O’Hara spoke at the museum in 2013.  

A movie poster for The Quiet Man hangs high on the museum wall.

The Quiet Man statue, featuring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, at the museum has a larger “cousin” in Cong, Ireland.  Cong served as the location site for the film.

To see The Quiet Man statue in its full-size form, and read about my
Quiet Man trip to Ireland, click here.



The jacket in the center above, with the shoulder patch, was worn in the
John Wayne film Hatari!, filmed in Africa.
In addition to being a fun script, the scenery and wildlife in Hatari! make this film always enjoyable to watch.

Houston, one of the locations used in the film, Hellfighters, was my home for sixteen years, adding a special personal connection to an already entertaining film.  John Wayne’s character in this movie was based on Houston’s real-life oil well fighter, Red Adair.


One day, while living in Houston in the early 1990’s, I was in line at the grocery store.  In front of me was an elderly man, short in stature, speaking jokingly to the cashier; a real character, to be sure, with a twinkle in his eye. I thought he looked vaguely familiar. When he had left, and I took my turn with my groceries, I quietly asked the cashier about his last customer.  The cashier said that he was a frequent customer, Red Adair. Of course, I replied, as I had seen photos of him in the newspaper. I could not help chuckling to myself, thinking of the considerable height difference between Mr. Adair and John Wayne, who portrayed him in Hellfighters. :o)

This red hard hat was worn by John Wayne in the Hellfighters.



This letter was written by Lucille Ball in 1981 to celebrate the opening of John Wayne’s birthplace and early boyhood home. This house is just around the corner from the museum, and is featured below.

To watch the funny I Love Lucy-Lucy and John Wayne episode, click here.

John Wayne’s Birthplace and Early Boyhood Home

John Wayne was born in 1907, in this neat little house as
Marion Robert Morrison.
He was 13 pounds at birth, and delivered by a female doctor.


A photo of a young Marion Morrison (John Wayne) above, with his younger brother, mother, and father. A young Morrison took his nickname Duke from the name of his family’s Airedale, standing next to him in this picture.
This Morrison Family portrait was taken during their relatively short time attempting to farm in Mojave Desert in California.
Note the guns around his parent’s waists, used as protection against poisonous snakes.

The Morrison Family Kitchen

For more information about the new John Wayne Birthplace Museum, click herehere and for articles on the museum click here and here.

To view an interesting John Wayne biography, click here.

For fun John Wayne trivia, click here.

Clint Eastwood was here!
Upon finishing our enjoyable self-guided tour at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum, I asked one of the museum staff for a good place to eat in Winterset.  She recommended
The Northside Cafe, and told me to be sure to sit on the fourth stool from the front, as that is the exact spot where Clint Eastwood once sat. I was convinced!

I was excited to be in front of Winterset’s Northside Cafe


I sit on the fourth seat from the door, the exact same one that Clint Eastwood sat on in the 1995 movie The Bridges of Madison County!
Okay, so I am not a big fan of the film, but it is still fun to check out the
movie’s locations.
I also met a man sitting on the stool next to me who met his Maryland wife while he was stationed in the Army in 1973!

I enjoyed the Iowa Tenderloin at Northside Cafe!,

I take in the beauty of the Roseman Bridge with my mom and uncle.

 Roseman Bridge was the real star of the movie 
The Bridges of Madison County.

 We were happy to be able to peer inside the Roseman Bridge.
Cars are no longer permitted to drive though it.


Our Winterset visit concluded with a trip to the Montross Coffee Shop, found in back of the Montross Pharmacy.  It was a step back in time,
as I sat at the counter sipping their speciality soda, the Green River.
It had a nice lime flavor, but was a bit too sweet for me.)

Bar-BQ in Des Moines
It was our last night in Iowa, and we had barbecue on our mind, and in particular,
Smokey D’s BBQ.   It was a good choice!


Guy Fieri, of the Food Network show Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives, had visited Smokey D’s since the last time I had been here. This autographed poster of Guy is now proudly displayed in the restaurant.
Whenever visiting a new city, I google the city name and Diner’s, Drive-ins and Dives for suggestions on where to eat. 

To view the 2014 episode that features Smokey D’s BBQ , click here.


Everything was delicious at Smokey D’s!  The ribs… perfect,
the cucumber & onion slaw yummy, and the fries done just right.

To view the Smokey D BBQ menu, click here.
Beware, reading it may make you hungry!

My mom, uncle and me, after a satisfying meal at Smokey D’s BBQ. 

Clear Lake, Iowa

It had been a fun, short visit, but it was time for Dale and I to head out of Iowa.  As we pointed our car north, we looked forward to meeting my friend, Jodi, just off the highway in Clear Lake for a quick visit. We rendezvoused at The Surf Ballroom, and while there we had a look around. The Surf Ballroom, a blast from the past, is best known as the final show venue for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper/Jiles Perry “J. P.” Richardson, Jr.  Tragically, they all perished in an airplane crash in an nearby cornfield, not long after their 1959 performance.

IMG_7868IMG_7867It was a beautiful autumn day, as I stood outside The Surf Ballroom,
unlike the blizzardy night when Buddy Holly last played here.

 The Surf Ballroom houses a museum of fascinating musical artifacts,
and is free to the public, although a donation is requested.

It was great fun meeting up with my dear friend, Jodi.
Isn’t she adorable?

To read about how I first met Jodi, please click here.
To view a few of Jodi’s beautiful paintings, click here.

A local newspaper tells locals of the terrible plane crash of February 3, 1959.

A poster advertises the Winter Dance Party, featuring Buddy Holly,
Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper.

Jodi, Dale, and I found Don McClean’s, signed photo of interest.
It reads,
To The Surf-This is the temple to Buddy Holly music-
There are ghosts here.
Don McClean

McClean wrote his hit song American Pie about Buddy Holly’s untimely death (Holly was 21) with his lyrics Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie…
the night the music died.

To read the complete lyrics to McClean’s American Pie, click here.


McClean wrote, in 1994, the beginning lyrics to his popular song, American Pie, on the celebrity wall, in the dressing room next to the stage.

To read, in Don McClean’s own words, about how he came to write on
The Surf’s wall in 1994, read here

It was most likely due to McClean and his song American Pie in 1971 that interest in the long forgotten Buddy Holly was rejuvenated.
In 1978, the movie The Buddy Holly Story was released, due to this renewed interest. Gary Busey received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.

To read more about Don McClean’s American Pie, click here.

To hear the song American Pie, click here.

I stand on the same Surf Ballroom stage that Buddy Holly once played on.

Surf performers look out from the stage to see images of Buddy Holly,
Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper. 

Dale is happy to find “his band” Three Dog Night has signed (above his head) the dressing room’s celebrity wall.

IMG_7852A Brian Wilson illustration, of The Beach Boys fame, as well as his autograph, are framed in the door behind us.

IMG_7853Jodi and I pose in front of the many autographs in the Surf Ballroom celebrity dressing room.

Jodi and I giggle in front of The Surf Ballroom’s unique pineapple walls.

      IMG_7869 IMG_7871 IMG_7872
As our time spent with Jodi (and Iowa) came to an end, she treated us to lunch, including fantastic in-house made root beer, at Clear Lake’s historic
Barrel Drive-in.

Two Great Recipes from Two Great Ladies


Mom’s Italian Chicken Bake

PAM cooking spray
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup+ another 1/4 cup Italian salad dressing in bottle
1/2 package Italian Salad Dressing Mix in packet
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese-optional

Using a plastic ziplock bag, marinate chicken in dressing for 3-4 hours.
Grease with PAM  a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
Place chicken in the greased the baking dish.
Drizzle with a little dressing; sprinkle with Italian season mix.
Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes.
Uncover; sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.
Bake uncovered for about 10 minutes longer, or until chicken juices run clear and chicken is done.
4 servings.

Aunt Liz’s Cherry Chocolate Pie

Pie Crust: Pastry, Oreo, or Pecan Sandies

For Pecan Sandies Crust
1 row of of package of cookies, about 20, to make a heaping 2 cups of crumbs
2 Tbsp. sugar
3-5 Tbsp. melted butter

Crush cookies, combine with sugar and melted butter.
Press into 9 inch pie plate.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees; it will feel soft when first out of oven,
but will firm up as it cools down.
Cool crust completely before filling.

1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 tea. salt
1 can of cherry pie filling
1/2 tea almond extract

Optional Garnish:
Whipped Cream

Put the three filling ingredients in a microwave-
safe bowl.
Slowly melt.
Add cherry pie filling and almond extract.
Pour into cooled baked crust.
Chill 2-3 hours until firm.

Garnish, if desired, with whipped cream,
and cherries.

Thanks so much for reading. :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, so look for my next post around October 6

A John Wayne-sized 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!!!
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go here.


JOHN WAYNE                                                                                                                IMG_7684

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Family Fun in Hilton Head

September 2, 2015


Dale and me in front of The Salty Dog Cafe.
 Hilton Head, South Carolina
August 2015

Coordinating the schedules of 13 different people for a “family reunion” is an not easy task. Yet, last month my family happily succeeded, all converging for one week, upon a spacious rental house in Hilton Head, South Carolina. What fun it was for Dale and me to spend a relaxed week together with our grown offspring and their families.

  The Ava Gardner Museum, Smithfield, North Carolina

IMG_1642I’m all smiles outside of the Ava Gardner Museum.

I had one criteria for our nine hour road trip to South Carolina; stopping at the Ava Gardner Museum, just off Highway I-95, in Smithfield, North Carolina. Not only did the hour break help revive us, but the old movie buff in me delighted in viewing Gardner’s costumes and movie memorabilia.


Ava Gardner‘s life reads like a movie script, starting out as a small town North Carolina girl,
to rising as a star during Hollywood’s golden age of
the 1940’s and 1950’s.

My son and I attempt to identify all of the MGM stars, including Ava Gardner, in this photo taken in 1949.


I loved Gardner’s costumes from Showboat (1951) and Mogombo (1953).
I was amazed at how very tiny her waist was-18 inches!
Read more about Ava Gardner here.

Ava Gardner was married three times:
to actor Mickey Rooney (1942–1943),
to band leader Artie Shaw(1945–1946),
and most famously, to actor Frank Sinatra (1951–1957).

A dvd copy of my favorite Ava Gardner movie, One Touch of Venus,
became my museum souvenir. :o)

To read more about the Ava Gardner Museum, click here.


Our crew began arriving from Minnesota by plane, from Florida by train, and from Charleston, South Carolina and Maryland by automobile. Meeting the Minnesota contingent, we spent the first night in Savannah, Georgia.


IMG_1645IMG_7074 (1)Enjoying the sights, smells, and tastes of The Peanut Shop and Candy Kitchen on River Street.

Our daughter and her husband stand under the majestic Live Oak Trees draped in Spanish Moss.

The Olde Pink House Restaurant was a delicious spot to dine for lunch.

A trip to Savannah would not be complete without a quick stop to
The Paula Deen Retail Store.

Our daughter sits in Chippewa Square, one of Savannah’s pretty park-like squares, where a Forest Gump scene was filmed in 1994.
The actual bench where Tom Hank’s, Forest Gump, sat was a movie prop
and now resides in Savannah History Museum.
To read more about this movie location,
read here.

We left Savannah for Hilton Head in the early afternoon.
Dale made the trip back to Savannah, later that evening,
to pick up our Florida son from the train.   

Hilton Head!

Our Palmetto Dunes Digs

Our “Family Reunion” home for the week.
We found this house through here.

IMG_7143 (1)
The backyard pool was enjoyed by all.

Bridal Shower

IMG_7132 (2)


While the whole gang was together, we had an informal family bridal shower, with an Alice in Wonderland flair,
for Trevor and Tanya. They are getting married in January.


We began the morning with these “diamond ring” doughnuts. :o)
To get the free printable, go here.


IMG_7126IMG_7131IMG_7128 IMG_7130IMG_7129
Of course there were party hats, eats, games,

IMG_7134 (1)
…and a cute slide show, put together by our daughter.

The Beach






Our group took turns on various mornings,
heading to the beach to view the beautiful sunrise.








Our time at the beach was always enjoyable; morning, daytime, and evening.
Hilton Head’s beaches have compact sand, making it easy to walk on,
or even to ride a bike on.

Food and more Fun

On most nights, the individual families took turns preparing dinner.
On our day to cook (see the right-hand photo), we served breakfast instead,
with Dale’s buttermilk pancakes.
(See the recipe below.)

The family relaxing after another great meal.

Lunch at Hilton Head’s Salty Dog, and Salty Dog souvenirs, too.

Hudson’s, a Hilton Head institution, was delicious,
and my favorite restaurant of the week!
Our family of thirteen took up the whole, long table.  :o)



The iconic red and white light house is Harbour Town‘s, centerpiece. 

The penalty for losing at miniature golf?
Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf 

Yes, I found Mickey Bars on Hilton Head Island!

Martese found a few items to purchase at the
Disney Hilton Head Resort Store. :o)
(She and her hubby stayed here on their honeymoon in 2013.)
Martese can make arrangements for you to stay here,
or at any other Disney property.
For details to her free Disney travel service,
refer to the links at the bottom of this blog.


Dad’s (Dale’s) Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

3 cups buttermilk (whole-fat works best)
2 eggs. well-beaten
1 stick of real butter, melted

PAM spray, or vegetable oil

Real maple syrup


Mix together dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda.
Add buttermilk, stirring together.
Add well-beaten eggs.  Mix together well.
Add melted butter, and stir just until mixed.

Pour batter into 350-degree electric skillet that has been
sprayed with PAM. or a Tablespoon of vegetable oil.

Serve with real maple syrup.
Serves 4-6.

Thanks so much for reading. :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, so look for my next post around September 18.

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!!!
Sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go here.

Planning a Disney Vacation?

Our Daughter, Martese, is a Magic Maker® for Off to Neverland Travel,
an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for any Disney Destination.
She is extremely Disney Park knowledgeable! :o)
Martese’s vacation planning services are totally FREE!!!
Her website is here.
Her Facebook site is here.


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Istanbul in 48 Hour

June 27, 2015

 Istanbul in 48 Hours

I enjoy the rooftop view from our hotel in Istanbul.
July 2015

I have a confession to make. My house is a mess!  Two and a half years of shuttling back and forth overseas, and now recently moving back home, has taken its toll. Frankly, it has left my usually tidy abode in a state of disarray, and finds me transfixed in a sea of overwhelmedness (Yes, that IS a word. I just made it up. :o))

More on our move home, life abroad, etc. in a future post,
or as the Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch would say,
“All in good time my little pretty, all in good time.”

For now, I will crawl into the relative safety of my, somewhat organized, blogging world.  (In other words, I choose to procrastinate.), and regale you with a tale of our recent Istanbul adventure, far from the disorder that currently surrounds me.
And of course, with an iced tea in hand.  :o)


Istanbul Ataturk Airport

Istanbul, the Ataturk Airport that is, has become a familiar layover stop for Dale and myself over the past few years. I am not just sure how many times we were there, coming from overseas, or going home, every few months, but we know it well.

Dale and I, on one of our numerous overseas flights that took us
through Istanbul.
November 2013

Each time, we would peer out our plane’s window at the city’s impressive urban expanse, populated by over 14 million citizens. Each time we would insist that on one of our overseas transits, that we would actually step outside of the airport’s confines to explore the City by the Bosphorus, where part of Istanbul lies in Europe and part of it in Asia.

(Just this last month, Turkish Airlines began to offer international passengers a free service, during layover time, where quick tours of the city are provided.
Click here to read more.)

IMG_0774 (1)
Looking out of m
y airplane window at the vast city of Istanbul,
just prior to landing.
May 29, 2015

IMG_5457 (2) Enjoying a Turkish Sesame Bagel, crisp on the outside
and soft on the inside,
at the Turkish Airline Lounge in Istanbul.
May 18, 2015

This Turkish Lounge chef prepares delicious Turkish Pizza, or pita.
I believe that it is also sometimes called Lahmacun.

IMG_6473The staff kindly gave me this recipe, written in Turkish.
Here is the Google-translated result :
Vegetable Pita Recipe
2 eggplants, 2 zucchini, 1 red 1 yellow pepper them fat brown for thyme and salt mixed cooled parsley are mixed
pita dough in 1 kg flour 20 g salt 20 g yeast 20 g sugar
pita dough is kneaded with half a liter of water
after the presentations are made with basil pesto.

 Istanbul (not Constantinople)…la la la…

To be honest, except for the catchy 1953 tune Istanbul (not Constantinople)
 by The Four Lads (much before my time, of course), I knew very little about this vibrant Turkish city of Istanbul. (In 1930, Constantinople officially was renamed Istanbul, which is what this silly song is about.)
After two fun-filled days, however, I now have an appreciation for some of what beautiful Istanbul has to offer.

Dale and I enjoy the view from Topkapi Palace.

To listen to the hit Istanbul (not Constantinople), click here.

 The Hotel

Thanks to the recommendations of several friends, who had been to Istanbul before us, and a kind Turkish passenger who Dale befriended on a previous plane trip, we were well informed on lodging options and things to see here. (Thank you! You know who you are. :o)) Dale and I opted for the wonderful Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet, celebrating our return home. It was the perfect choice, and also the perfect location, within walking distance to the Istanbul sights that we looked forward to seeing.

IMG_1117I stand outside of the beautiful
Four Seasons Hotel, Istanbul at Sultanahmet.
At one time this beautiful hotel was once the Sultanahmet Prison!

Dale and I were delighted to find this view outside our hotel window;
the Hagia Sophia with protected Roman ruins in the foreground.

 The Sights

Please join me on a brief photo tour of our trip, touching upon the highlights of our Istanbul experience.

The Blue Mosque

First on our list of Istanbul sights to visit, was the Blue Mosque with its six minarets (towers). We visited this landmark twice. Visitors of all faiths are welcome to enter here, even during prayer times. All are asked to remove their shoes, and scarves are provided for women visitors. (I brought my own socks and scarf.)


The Blue Mosque, so named for the blue tiles within,
is a famous Istanbul landmark.


Built in the 1600’s, the Blue Mosque has over 200 stained glass windows,
and its interior is lined with more than 20,000 tiles.


I explore the architecture of the massive Blue Mosque,
being mindful that my hair and shoulders are covered.

Basilica Cistern

Built in the 6th century, The Basilica Cistern, once provided water for Istanbul. This underground locale was also one of several Istanbul locations in the 1963, James Bond film, From Russia with Love, starring Sean Connery.

I visit Istanbul’s Basilica Cistern, just like in a James Bond film, in July 2015.

For more Istanbul locations featured  in
To Russia with Love, check out this post

Hagia Sophia

Constructed from 532-537 (In other words, this museum is very old!) the Hagia Sophia served as a Greek Orthodox cathedral, and later a Roman Catholic cathedral.In 1453,  the Ottoman Turks overtook Constantinople  and converted the cathedral into a mosque.
In 1935, Hagia Sophia became a museum of the Republic of Turkey.

IMG_1422I stand outside of the Hagia Sophia.


The mosaics on the walls of the Hagia Sophia glitter with gold,
actually they glitter with gold leaf called tessera.  

These mosaics beautifully shimmer in the light.

Bosphorus Cruise

Dale and I enjoyed a leisurely and inexpensive hour and a half cruise on the
Bosphorus Straight.

It was a beautiful day for a cruise.

The sights were many on our relaxing trip.

Taskim Square Area

Dale and I found the Taskim Square area bustling and energetic.

IMG_6218Monument of the Republic sits in Taskim Square.

 IMG_6197 IMG_6199
This photo of Dale and me in front of Galata Tower was taken by an Iowa teenager walking by, who was visiting Istanbul with his family!
( I grew up in Iowa!)

The streets near Taskim Square were decorated for the month of Ramadan.

Hippodrome of Constantinople

Just outside of the Blue Mosque sits the Hippodrome area.
This was once Constantinople’s sporting area for events, such as horse and chariot races.


The Obelisk of Theodosius was built in the 1400’s BC. and was moved to Constantinople in the 300’s AD.  It was originally taller than it is now.


The pedestal depicts an emperor giving a laurel wreath to the winner of a game.  This base was discovered buried in dirt in the 1890’s.
It had been buried over time . 

For a good write-up about the Hippodrome, read this blog post.

Topkapi Palace

I first became aware of the Topkapi Palace and it’s “crown jewel” via the 1964 movie, Topkapi.  Although, I am not a big fan of the film, I became mesmorized by the Topkapi Dagger featured in the movie.

Visiting the Topkapi Palace allowed me to see the dagger in person, as well as the fourth largest diamond, the Spoonmaker’s Diamond.
To view these jewels in a short video, click here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-26 at 10.09.43 PM

Topkapi takes place in Istanbul.
Originally released by United Artists, it is now available on dvd, and is occasionally shown on Turner Classic Movies.
The Emerald encrusted dagger is the star of this film.


I stand at the grand entrance of the Topkapi Palace Museum,
from the 1400’s to 1856, the royal residence to the sultans.

Stepping inside, the Topkapi Palace doorway frames the Blue Mosque.



The ornate tile work was evident throughout the Sultan’s Harem section of the Topkapi Palace.

To hear a brief description of life in the harem at the palace, click here.

IMG_7026 IMG_7027

Bathed in dark light, and photography forbidden, I bought these post cards of
the famous Topkapi Dagger and the 86-carat Spoonmaker’s Diamond.

IMG_6264Overlooking the Bosphorus, the Topkapi Palace has spectacular views of Istanbul.

Istanbul Archaeological Museum

With just hours to spare before heading to the airport for home,
Dale and I took a quick run through the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum.  There are some really old things there!

Dale stands amoungst the impressive collection of artifacts that reside in the outside area of the Archaeological Museum.

The inside exhibit includes this early Roman statue of Poseidon,
from around the 1st century.  (There is actually a lower portion of this statue, but in keeping with this blog’s PG rating….:O))  

The Shopping and Dining

“Catering” to its tourist industry,  Istanbul had plenty of places to shop and dine (catering-dining, get the pun? :o))

The Grand Bazaar
In all honesty, Dale and I found this famed tourist destination less than stellar.
After a quick 20 minute look-around, we were looking for the exit.
The Grand Bazaar had the feel of a giant flee market.

IMG_1361Dale and I stroll the historic Grand Bazaar .

We found the spices and tea for sale interesting, especially the one in the lower left corner.


One, of the two, lovely wool Kilim Turkish rugs that we purchased from Herke Hali  in Istanbul.
In Istanbul, beware of “friendly” strangers who approach you!
We had a rug salesman begin following us around
and then invite us into his rug shop for tea.
We did look in his shop, but did not buy anything.

Dale and I went back to our hotel concierge and asked for a recommendation for a reputable Turkish rug dealer.  The hotel uses and highly recommends
Herke Hali.
We bought two rugs from Herke Hali for the same price that the first merchant was asking for just one rug.

I sit with two employees of Herke Hali after purchasing our rugs.



Another recommendation by our hotel concierge was for reputable pottery (some pottery is machine reproduced, yet passed off as handmade) at
Iznik Classics.

I got these fun little bowls.


Not all pottery is safe for food, so I was happy to find these.
They are even dishwasher (but not microwave) safe!


I love jewelry, and I often buy jewelry as a souvinier from where I have been.  I found this cute little jewelry shop in the Galata/Taskim Square area of Istanbul.  I bought a wonderful and unique pair of earrings there, and upon purchasing them, I found out that the owner of the shop, was also the designer and creator of my souvinier!

Petra Designs, my new favorite jewelry store in Istanbul!
The owner and designer playfully poses for a photo.


Here is just a sampling of some of the delicious food that we ate in Istanbul.

    IMG_6169 (1)
The Turkish Ice Cream, or  Dondurma, differs from American ice cream.
It is thicker and melts more slowly due to the thickening agent made from orchid root.

IMG_6213 (1)IMG_6287
Turkish Delight is plentiful in Istanbul.
My favorite flavor is orange dipped in dark chocolate.

Doner, a yummy grilled meat wrapped in flat bread.

IMG_1356 (1)
Pistachio filled pastries!

IMG_6317Turkish Tea!
Black, my favorite (shown above), and a lightly colored and lightly flavored apple, always served in a tulip-shaped glass.


To hear more about Istanbul,check out this video, Rick Steves’ Europe.

Thanks for reading! :O)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but in the interest of a cleaner domicile…. look for my next post on, or around,
August 30.

A great big thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!

If you are not already an “I’m Annette” blog follower, why not sign up today? You will receive each blog via email, upon publication for free, yes, I said FREE!
Please, sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go to

IMG_6083This beautiful flower arrangement greeted us, and bid us farewell,
 at the entrance of our Istanbul hotel.

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Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 3b, A Small Part of England

June 23, 2015

 Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 3b
A Small Part of England

I stand on Steep Hill, with the beautiful Lincoln Cathedral
towering behind me.
March 2015

England is a treat to explore. Happily tagging along on my husband’s business trips, I have been blessed to be able to visit England’s northeastern area on a few occasions. Being an avid (iPhone) photographer, I share with you a photo album highlighting my two visits to the Lincolnshire area and beyond, from this past year.

My husband, Dale, and I enjoy an evening stroll on the Cleethropes beach.
Due to the nippy June temperatures, I had to buy a stocking cap!
June 2015

St. Patrick’s Day and a Solar Eclipse
Forest Pines Hotel, Scunthorpe

I awoke March 17th and thoughtfully dressed in my sage green sweater and jeans before heading downstairs for breakfast. It was St. Patrick’s Day, after all, and as any self-respecting former elementary school teacher knows, green is the color of the day. So, imagine my surprise when I walked into the restaurant, and nary a green clad Brit could be found, nor even a shamrock decoration! After a conversation with a local on the subject, I found that St. Pat’s celebrations do happen in this part of the world, too, but mostly in the pubs. I was, however, treated that afternoon to a beautiful rainbow, befitting of the day dedicated to the “wearin’ of the green” and the legend of the leprechaun’s pot of gold.

IMG_4932I spied this St. Patrick’s Day rainbow outside my hotel window.
Maybe I should have followed it to the end, for my portion of the leprechaun’s pot of gold! :o)
March 17, 2015

 Three days later, another phenomenon appeared in the sky, a solar eclipse. This astronomical occurrence took me by surprise, and like most of my fellow breakfast diners that morning; I could only watch live Internet and TV coverage, as nature put on its display. (Viewing a solar eclipse with the naked eye can cause irreparable damage.) With almost 90% coverage of the sun, an eeriness set in. Daylight’s colors faded into sepia hues. There was an uncomfortable, attentive, mood that predominated the restaurant, as patrons began to speak in hushed tones. We waited and watched. Slowly the world, as we know it, returned to its colorful and sunny state.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 4.51.20 PM
This photo perfectly captures the unusual color that blanketed the area during the solar eclipse.

March 20, 2015

This photo was used with the kind permission of photographer,
Shradha Mishra, who took this photo in Lincoln.
Many, many thanks, Ms. Mirshra!

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 4.51.41 PMHow sweet is this eclipse illustration by English children’s book illustrator, Mark A. Chambers?

A great big thank you to Mr. Chambers for allowing me to use his illustration in this blog post!
To read more about Mark A. Chambers, click on his website here.
(Special limited edition prints of this may be made available soon on this website.)
You may also follow him on twitter at

Chips, Fries, Crisps

 When not chasing rainbows, or being mesmerized by an eclipse in March, I was often enjoying food served at the Forrest Pines. There were some delicious dishes prepared there, but one night it was just that cuisine which proved a humorous moment.

This Onion Veloute soup was one of my favorite dishes served at
Forrest Pines.
You can find the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Dale and I had just arrived at the hotel, and being travel weary, and only slightly hungry, we decided to have room service bring up a sandwich for us to share. Not wanting French fries that night, I requested that we would just like chips.

Screen Shot 2015-06-22 at 8.03.28 AM
Walkers is an English variety of crisps for sale in local stores.

 As I said, I was tired, I really did know better, but I had made a blunder when ordering. Chips to the English, would be to us (Americans) French fries. Our American (potato) chips are to the English, crisps. When our sandwich order arrived, to my dismay, we received not potato chips, but a double order of French fries, what the English call chips! (Bacon is another word with a different connotation here. English bacon is similar to our American Canadian bacon.)

IMG_4965English “chips” and a hamburger with American-style bacon at
London’s Heathrow Airport’s, London Pride by Fuller’s.
March 2015

March 2015

We were hungry. One evening, after Dale had finished work, we set off to nearby Lincoln for dinner and a bit of sight seeing. Although it was a brief trip, we enjoyed our time spent there.

IMG_0466Dominating the Lincoln landscape is the beautiful Lincoln Cathedral,
first built in 1092.
To read  about the cathedral’s history, click here.

You may recognize this cathedral from the 2006 movie, The Da Vinci Code. Read more about that here, and here.


Dale and I were on Lincoln’s Steep Hill, weighing our dinner options, when the wonderful smell of this barbeque caught our attention and drew us in!We found ourselves surrounded by American flags and delicious American cuisine at Ribs n Bibs.

Dale is all bibbed and ready to dig in to our yummy dinner.
I apologize for my blurry photo. I guess that I was more concerned about eating than about photo clarity, at the time. :o)

At the parking lot (or car park, as they are often called in the UK), I pose with the Lincoln Castle in the background. It is home to an original copy of the Magna Carta.

March 2015
 York is an historic old city with a lot of charm. I had a clear-cut agenda for my short visit there in March; shopping at Cath Kidston’s and lunch at Betty’s Café Tea Room!

I spotted this colorful print, inspired by a vintage Railway poster, in a clothing store. Unfortunately, no one could tell me where I could purchase one to take home.

Looking down the historic street of Stonegate in York.
Cath Kidston’s is located where the blue sign is, on the left hand side.

I love the British-based Cath Kidston shops, even more so during a sale! :o)

I thought that the name of this pub, The Yorkshire Terrier, was cute, sitting on Stonegate.
Note the photo bomber on the left hand side of this picture!

Many of the shop display windows in York, were filled with eye candy.

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Eating at Betty’s Café and Tea Room, when in York, is always a treat!

My friendly Betty’s server recommended her favorite dish, so I went with her recommendation.

The Haddock, Salmon and Prawn (shrimp) Gratin was delicious.

To read my past blog post about Lincoln and York, please click here.

June 2015

I bought this cute print to remind me of Cleethorpes,
a replica of a vintage rail poster.

Dale and I enjoyed our stay at the Dovedale Hotel.
The hotel’s location in Cleethorpes made it possible for me to walk
around town each day.

Our hotel room looked out onto this quaint English street.

My daily walk to town took me by the water.
This photo was taken in the morning, during low tide.

IMG_5851Cleepthorpes is situated on the mouth of the Humber, an estuary.
During low tide, the sand separates the beach from the water.

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A whimsical kite sculpture named Festival “flies” near the beach.

A sign welcomes visitors to shop on Seaview Street.
Seaview Street, as it wakes up to a new day.

Spotted this as I did my daily walk. Isn’t it cute?

I enjoyed my share of fish and chips while in Cleethorpes.
The haddock, at The Captain’s Table,
complete with mushy peas, was the best. YUM!

I left an American iced tea wake, wherever I went in Cleethorpes. I would ask the waitress for hot English Breakfast, or black tea, and a couple of glasses of ice. Although, my request produced some mystified looks, the iced tea was wonderful! 

I usually resisted dessert, while having lunch, unlike this sweet little girl.

This little donut guy sits outside a shop by the water.


Fishermen in their little huts, dot the beach.

 The evening sunsets were stunning.

A ferris wheel sits idle by the water. 


A fisherman gazes at a lone ship sailing along the horizon. 

A luminous moon shines over the water.



I have not had the opportunity to try this recipe for Onion Veloute, yet. It was delicious and was very different from the onion soups that I have eaten before. Many thanks to Forrest Pines chef for sharing this recipe!

To read my previous posts on my European adventure, click on the links below.

Thanks for reading! :O)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, due to a happily full upcoming calendar, please look for my next post around July 24.

A great big thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, receiving each blog via email, upon publication for free, yes, I said free, please sign up on the right-hand side of this page, or go to 

March 2015

I was fascinated by this light enhanced sculpture at
London’s Heathrow Airport.
To read more about it, click here.

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Anniversary in Scotland, The Director’s Cut

June 11, 2015

Anniversary in Scotland, The Director’s Cut

It was four days ago that I posted Anniversary in Scotland. At that time, I had hoped to include a brief video that my hubby took of an Edinburgh bag piper. Being a youtube newbie, I gave up.  After a little studying, however,  I am now ready to give it a try.  The quick video is included below.  For my wonderful group of email followers, I apologize for an earlier attempt that you received that had gone awry.  Here we go…….

 IMG_0797 - Version 2Dale and I enjoying the Dalhousie Castle grounds.
May 30, 2015

Wedding Anniversaries-I am of the belief that each and every wedding anniversary should be commemorated in a celebratory manner by the esteemed couple. Over the years, for Dale and myself, this date has most often meant a nice dinner out, or occasionally a romantic weekend away.

2013-05-28 10.56.55
Anniversary #35-Dale and I enjoy a rare dinner out while overseas.
May 28, 2013

Unfortunately, last year our special day was spent apart; over 6,000 miles apart! Dale was hard at work overseas. I was tending to things at home, including getting to know our precious new grand daughter, who had been born in April. :o)

Dale and I leave the church on our wedding day. May 28, 1978
To read last year’s post, “Annette and Dale Get Married, or Someday You’ll Look Back on this and Laugh”, click here.

Getting There

This year on May 28, Dale and I were together overseas, anticipating a flight out at 6 am the next day (Friday) for England (…another business trip for Dale). First though, we would enjoy the weekend celebrating our anniversary in Scotland. Embarking upon our adventure, we would land at the Manchester Airport, then rent a car, and drive the 4+ hours to Edinburgh.

The distance from Manchester to Edinburgh looked a lot closer on the map! :o)

That UK journey proved to be a beautifully enchanting canvas of varying degrees of green and dotted with fluffy white sheep, enhanced by a background of clear, brilliant blue sky interspersed with large, billowy white clouds.

I was enjoying the beautiful English countryside, and happy that Dale had that whole “driving on the other side of the road” thing under control!
May 29, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 1.09.55 PM
Fluffy white sheep were in abundance throughout the
English and Scottish countryside.

One of the many awe-inspiring scenes that we had the pleasure of witnessing on our drive from Manchester to Edinburgh.

Our Destination

Our destination in Scotland was the Dalhousie Castle. It has always been a dream of mine to stay in a castle, so my sweet hubby booked one that I had found online.
It was located in Bonnyrigg, just a few miles outside of Edinburgh.

I was extremely giddy when I got my first glimpse of the castle, from the road.
To read more about The Dalhousie Castle, click here.

As we neared the castle, we were treated to a vision of medieval architecture. Although, it was past 8:00 pm when we first arrived (as shown in this photo), the sun would not set until almost 10 pm.

Our canopy bed was both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable, too.

IMG_5562Check out the decorated inside of the “roof” of the canopy.

Every room Dalhousie Castle was beautifully decorated.

We were delighted to find the castle hosting a wedding reception in this room while we were staying here. The young men in the bridal party all wore traditional Scottish kilts.

Prior to eating in the castle’s Dungeon Restaurant, patrons are seated in this cozy library, where drinks and pre-appetizers are served and orders for dinner taken.

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Dale and I pose in the castle’s Dungeon Restaurant.
We enjoyed our anniversary dinner here after the day in Edinburgh.
May 30, 2015

A Castle in the Movies

Dalhousie Castle was built in the 13th century. It has been beautifully preserved and was an idyllic setting for our anniversary weekend, complete with delicious gourmet food and all of the modern day amenities.

The unusually delicate croissants, made on site, were my favorite breakfast item at Dalhousie Castle.

While staying at Dalhousie Castle, I was reminded of another castle, although this one was English, and part of the 1944 movie, The Canterville Ghost. (In actuality, much of the film was shot in Busch Gardens in Pasadena, California, and the rest at the MGM lot.)

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 9.38.34 AM
A glimpse of the Canterville Castle in the opening of the movie.

This film, based on a short story by Oscar Wilde (Remember this author from high school English class?), is an enjoyable bit of escapism. Charles Laughton stars as the humorously tender hearted, and cursed ghost, along with the cute Margaret O’Brien playing the ghost’s descendent, and Robert Young as a likable American serviceman during WWII.
To learn more about this movie, click here and here.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 6.18.45 PMMargaret O’Brien, Robert Young, and William Gargan sneak a peak at ghost Charles Laughton, in The Canterville Ghost.
This film is available on DVD,
and is occasionally shown on Turner Classic Movies.


Dale and I enjoyed the double decker bus ride into the city,
and even got some Edinburgh tips from friendly locals seated next to us.

The Scottish and English countrysides were painted bright yellow
with fields of blooming rapeseed.
This photo was taken on our brief bus trip into Edinburgh.

We spied Edinburgh Castle upon the hill as we rode into the city.

Imposing Edinburgh Castle was extremely busy, with an hour and a half wait just to purchase tickets to go inside. Dale and I opted instead to survey the outside of the castle, and instead headed toward town and to another famous castle. (See below the Canongate Tolbooth photo.)

Heading away from Edinburgh Castle,
the way was lined with shops and historic buildings.

Tartan-clad bagpipers play beautifully along the Edinburgh streets.


To hear  this bagpiper, click on the youtube video below.

Kilt makers could be found throughout Edinburgh’s busy streets.
I snapped this wedding kilt and lovely Scottish wedding dress in
John Morrison’s display window.

Dale, who has the name Burns in his linage, had to stop for a photo here.

Canongate Tolbooth, now a museum, was built in 1591.

I was very excited to have the opportunity to see an authentic royal castle!
Palace of Holyroodhouse,
is the official residence of Her Majesty, The Queen in Scotland.
Thanks to the audio tour, Dale and I learned that Mary, Queen of Scots
had once lived here.

The 12th century gothic ruins from Holyrood Abbey on the Castle grounds are hauntingly beautiful.

I fell in love with this gold tiger with rock crystal eyes and teeth at the
Gold Exhibit, displayed at The Queen’s Gallery of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. This piece came from India, and was made around 1785.
To read more about this gold tiger, and the rest of the collection,
click here and here.

We went from a gold tiger’s head to a real roasted hog’s head!
This was in the window of OINK, the Scottish hog roast sandwich restaurant.

As you can tell from Dale’s expression,
the OINK pulled pork sandwiches were good!

Having spotted a post card of this cute little pup in an Edinburgh gift shop,
I immediately recognized him from the Disney movie, Greyfriars Bobby, and right there and then, wanted to locate his statue! My ever-patient husband assisted me in tracking down the Edinburgh monument, erected in this
legendary canine’s honor.

The 1961 Disney movie, Greyfriars Bobby, about this famously loyal dog
is available on DVD.
To view a photo of Walt Disney with this four-footed star,
and read about other Disney films set in Scotland,
click here.

Dale and I had seen much of Edinburgh for just one day, and I was one tired Annette.
I was anxious to head back to Dalhousie Castle to relax and partake of our scheduled anniversary dinner in The Dungeon. Dale, having spent one day in this charming city, several years earlier, implored me to take in just one more sight.
It required a hike up quite an incline to Calton Hill.
I must say, the climb was worth it.

Dale stands on Calton Hill with a stunning view stretched out behind him.

Another beautiful view of the Firth of Forth (Try saying that one
10 times very quickly in a row!).
This is an estuary, or firth, of the River Forth, and flows into the North Sea.

The impressive Holyrood Castle from the perspective atop Calton Hill.

The unfinished Scottish National Monument stands tall on Calton Hill.
To read more about this monument and Calton Hill, click here.

It had been a wonderful day in Edinburgh!

The Rosslyn Chapel of The Di Vinci Code

Sunday morning came too quickly. Our anniversary weekend was rapidly coming to a close. Dale and I sadly bid the captivating Dalhousie Castle good-bye, setting out to find one final Scottish landmark before hitting the highway (or carriageway, as they say in the UK) toward England. A 15-minute drive from our temporary castle digs, led us to the stately, 15th century Rosslyn Chapel, best known for its part in the 2006 movie,
The Di Vinci Code. Steeped in legend and intrigue, some believe that the Holy Grail is buried within Rosslyn Chapel’s walls . An interesting aside; Rosslyn Chapel is privately owned by the chapel founder’s descendants. To read more about Rosslyn Chapel, click here and here, and click here for an interesting article about the chapel and the legend.

Finding our way to Rossyln Chapel proved a slight challenge,
due to it’s out of the way location, but it was well worth the effort.

Rosslyn Chapel is amazing from every angle, Holy Grail, or not.

A Celtic cross grave stone (center) is one of many in
the Rossyln Chapel Cemetery.

Collegehill House, a building just outside of the chapel,
displays a plaque in honor of the building’s original use as The Rosslyn Inn, naming some of its distinguished visitors. Click on the photo to enlarge.
A renovated Collegehill House may now be rented out
for lodging, and sleeps 6.

Thanks for reading! :O)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, please look for my next post around June 25. A huge thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!

To become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, receiving each blog via email, upon publication, please sign up on the right-hand side of this page for free, or go to

Love and special thanks, to my hubby for contributing several photos for Anniversary in Scotland, and my previous blog posts!

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