Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 3a-England, A Day in London

May 22, 2014

 Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure:
Part 3a-England, A Day in London

I enjoy the sights of London, with the famous Harrods,
the domed department store, in the background.
March 14, 2015

I apologize. I find myself a month behind in my blogging schedule, having stated in my last post of April 12,

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around April 22.

 I ran into a couple of blogging obstacles…

 An unexpected bout with strep throat,

In How to Marry a Millionaire, Betty Grable, has her temperature taken by Fred Clark, upon coming down with the measles.
Unfortunately, I did not look this elegant when battling my week of illness. 

a quickly planned, but enjoyable, long weekend trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts,

Posing on the beach with my mother-in-law (on her 90th birthday!) and son, on beautiful Cape Cod.
May 2, 2015

 and just plain lack of time and energy. :o)

The majestic Big Ben keeps time on a cold evening in London.
March 14, 2015

 A Day in London
March 14, 2015


 Dale and I had arrived at London Paddington Train Station, eager to begin the third/England leg of our European adventure. We would enjoy one day of fun in London before heading north, the next morning, for a week of work for Dale.

Please, join me in looking through my photo album from our enjoyable London day.

When in London we enjoy staying at the convenient Hilton Paddington Hotel, just steps from the Paddington Train Station and the Underground/The Tube (subway).

Paddingtonscape, by illustrator Hannah Warren, sits in the lobby of the Paddington Hilton Hotel. This statue is one of many Paddingtons, designed by celebrities, and sold, to raise money for charity.
To read more about the fundraiser, click here

The view from our hotel window overlooked Paddington Train Station.

I stand in front of the entrance of The Tube,
London’s Underground Metro System.


IMG_4820Riding on The Underground with Dale.
First stop, Harrods. 



Shopping at Harrods for my souvenir; a necklace by London designer 
Alex Monroe.


I chose Monroe’s famous bee design in silver.
love the detail on the front and back.
To see more of his designs, click here.
Photo courtesy of Alex Monroe.

Being a fan of the British designer Cath Kidston

I had to check out the goodies sold at Harrods.

After a 45-minute search of several of the seven floors of Harrods, Dale and I, finally and happily, located the cute restaurant that we had eaten at in 2013.
We now know that it is called the Galvin Demoiselle Petit Bistro.

To read more about this restaurant located on the ground floor, click here.

The Princess Diana Memorial in Harrods
To read more about Harrods and the memorial, click here.


We enjoyed a quick trip to the Victoria and Albert Museum.

I was excited to stumble upon this sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bashaw, ‘the faithful friend of man’, as I had seen it in the film
“If It’s Tuesday, It Must be Belgium”.

 Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 8.34.09 AM
The sculpture Bashaw, ‘the faithful friend of man’, as seen early in the film
If It’s Tuesday, It Must be Belgium”.
To read more about this sculpture, click here.

 Not enough hours in the day to tour it this trip,
but the Tower of London was an impressive sight.

Dale and I arrive at the Tower Bridge at sunset.
To see a live view of the bridge via webcam, click here,
scrolling down to the bottom of the page, then click on the red LIVE button.

The sweet scent of candied roasted nuts permeates the Tower Bridge.

Dale gave his hearty approval of the vendor’s culinary skills.

As the sun began to dip, I began to miss the hat that I had left behind in the hotel. A quick stop at a souvenir shop netted me a Union Jack stocking cap, complete with pompom, and a much warmer head. :o)

The Tower Bridge at dusk.

IMG_4864One of London’s newer buildings, The Shard, overlooks the Thames at sunset. 

Dale and I stumbled upon this great restaurant; Giovanni’s Italian Restaurant in Covent Garden in the theatre district.
We later found out that it is quite historic, having served guests for 60 years, with the walls covered in photos and autographs of celebrities who had eaten there before us.
To read more about it, click here.


Before heading back to the hotel, we had to take one more look at London. With the London Eye behind me, and Big Ben in front of me.

Dale and I at Big Ben, bidding goodnight to beautiful London. 

To read my previous blog post on London, please click here.

To read my past two blogs from the
Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure, click on the links below.

Thanks for reading! :O)

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, please look for my next post around June 15.

A giant 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

Dale and I stand in front of St. Pancras Railway Station, before walking into King’s Cross Station, as we prepare to leave London.
Movie fans may recognize this site from Harry Potter.
March 2015

Another Harry Potter sighting at King’s Cross Station, as we find our train to northern England.
Platform 9 3/4

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Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 2-France

April 12, 2014

 Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 2-France


Dale and I enjoy the sights on the main street of Thann,
in France.

 I have come to love the pretty village of Thann, in the Alsace region of France. I count myself fortunate to have been able to join my hubby on business trips here on several occasions. Dale’s company’s plant in Thann is home to the oldest chemical plant in Europe. In fact, proudly displayed on the plant walls is a document signed by Napoleon, approving the establishment of the plant in 1808!


Napoleon signed this document in 1808.

Thann’s web site, here, states, In 1808, Philippe-Charles Kestner from Hanover established a chemical business in Thann to answer to the needs of the textile industry. This chemical factory, which operates on the original site, is now the oldest chemical plant in Europe.

 Our time spent in Thann was enjoyable, as always.  In addition to walking around the town, taking in the local beauty, I also visited the local stores, always while making sure that I allowed for the daily mid-day closures. (Everyone, including school children, go home to eat their noon time meal.) One day, while shopping in a local dress shop, a woman began speaking happily to me in French. I replied, in English, that I was sorry, but I did not speak French. Then she stopped short and spoke to the shopkeeper. In English, the shopkeeper explained to me that the woman had mistaken me for someone else. The next day, a similar exchange happened with a man, also mistaking me for someone else. So, it must be true; maybe everyone does have a twin somewhere in the world! Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet my French “twin”. :o(


Do I have a unrelated “twin” living in Thann?
To read an article about the “twin” theory, click here

 It is at this point that I must make a confession. I have a photography crush on Thann! (Yes, it’s a real thing! I saw it on the Internet.) While there, something new always catches my eye, and the sights that I enjoyed before, change with each season and visit. Please, join me on a photo tour of my recent, March 2015, stay in this picturesque village, below.
To read my 2013 post on France, please click here.

 Our Hotel


 The front entrance to our Thann hotel.


 Staying at the Hotel du Parc is always an enjoyable experience. Some famous guest have been in residence here, including Charles de Gaulle, former prime minister of France and WWII general. 


Enjoying our hotel room view of the Rangen de Thann vineyards on the hill,
awaking from the winter slumber.

 The Sights

 The Vineyard and River 


The Rangen de Thann Vineyards, known for their fine Riesling wine


The Witch’s Eye, ruins from the 13th century Engelbourg Castle,
stands watch over the vineyards.
Read more about it here.


A village sign announces the Thur River. 


With the Vosges Mountains in the background, the Thur River flows through Thann.


 The Witch’s Tower, on the left, was built in the 1400’s as part of the old town wall, with the roof that was added in the 1600’s, overlooks the Thur River. 


 Colorful houses sit on the Thur River and near the local vineyards.


The Cathedral: St Theobald’s Church


The catherdral dominates the Thann landscape.


 The imposing gothic cathedral proudly stands on the main street of Thann.


Construction of the cathedral began in the 1300’s.


 The organ is impressive, and the high ceilings, pillars, and stain glassed windows adorn inside, as well.

To read more about St. Theobald’s click here.

 The Tastes

At times, Dale and I found ordering food a challenge in Thann. Neither Dale, nor myself, read, or speak, French. All menus being written in French, and most locals not knowing English, we became somewhat of an amusement to the local wait staffs in our attempts to order food. Fortunately, through their patience, we were usually able to decipher enough to order.

Dale and I also found dining times in France different than those when we were in Germany. While in Bacharach, it was not yet the height of the season. Many restaurants were not open, and those that were, closed at 5:30 pm. In other words, if we wanted to eat dinner, we had to eat by 5:00 pm. Fast forward to Thann, where dinner is not served before 7:00, or 7:30 pm in all of the local restaurants. Needless to say, we had to readjust our stomachs/dining clocks to a bit later. :o)

 You can read about our trip to Germany here.


A cute café on Thann’s main street serves up tasty breakfasts and lunches.


Menu easels annouce the day’s menu (in French) up and down the Main Street.


The placemats at Au Petit Rangun were fun, saying
“A Pierrier with fine bubbles!”.


This quiche at Au Petit Rangen was delicous!
Please, excuse the blurred photo.
I was just so excited to dig in! :o)
Although, French, quiche is seen less frequently in this Alsace part of the country.


Croissants at Au Petit Rangen are wonderful!


 The server at the Le Caseus Café recommended the sausage and sauerkraut plate to Dale, an Alsace dish. I enjoyed this yummy quiche.


 Dale, shown here, and I had several meals at the restaurant of Aux Sapins.


 The Alsace “pizza” Tarte flambée was yummy there.


The desserts at Aux Sapins were always a treat!

IMG_4646 Often the desserts were a work of art! 


 Dale and I always did a double-take when we saw a dog in a restaurant, a not uncommon practice in France. We were always amazed at how well behaved these four-footed patrons were!  

IMG_4777 IMG_4780

 A gentleman enjoys his coffee and newspaper while his dog rests nearby.


We did not see this cute dog until their party got up to leave.

 Thanks for reading! :O)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around April 22.
A big thank you to my faithful blog followers!!!


Please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, immediately upon posting. Sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)


I love it that Perrier is offered in cans and in vending machines throughout France!

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Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 1-Germany

March 20, 2015

Annette and Dale’s Excellent European Adventure: Part 1-Germany

Dale and I pose in front of Stahleck Castle, now used as a hostel,
in Bacharach, Germany.
To read more on Stahleck Castle, click here.

 I was overwhelmed! 
The thought of packing bags for 8 weeks was daunting enough, but packing for five different countries, and two very different climates, had thrown me into a tailspin.
My hubby’s business trip would take us to Germany, France, England, and Switzerland for stays of one week each. The final four weeks would find us back at our “home away from home”, overseas for the past 2+ years, near the desert.

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 5.42.18 PM
I, like Mickey Mouse in Moving Day, packed furiously.
To view this 1936 Disney short, click here.

It was now Sunday morning, our flight was scheduled for late that evening, and the pressure was on. I began furiously stuffing suitcases, giving little thought to any organization, or any hope of a wrinkle-free look upon arrival. Saying a prayer, and filled with terror, all of the required resources needed for our excursion were hastily stowed in the various suitcases strewn throughout my bedroom. Somehow, miraculously, all was packed in time for our departure.
Our excellent European Adventure was about to begin!

Meet our luggage for this trip (minus Dale’s work computer satchel).
This photo was taken at our hotel in France. 

 Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Thanks to the wonder of air travel, Dale and I found ourselves in Frankfurt/Germany just a mere eight hours after taking off from Washington Dulles International Airport.

Disney’s One Hundred and One Dalmatians
was one of the film options shown on our flight from
Washington DC to Frankfurt. 
I also enjoyed the offering of
How to Marry a Millionaire on the flight. :o)

To read about my recent One Hundred and One Dalmatians
trip to California, click here.  

Upon retrieving our luggage, it was time for us to navigate the first train system, of many, on this adventure. Although, at times finding the correct car and track could be confusing, we found European train travel, on the whole, quite efficient.

Dale studies the tickets as we wait for our train from Frankfurt to Dusseldorf.

A view from our train’s window provided us with glimpses of the pretty German landscape.

Arriving in Dusseldorf, and weary of lugging our bags, Dale and I next opted for a taxi, rather than another train, for the final leg of our journey to our Dusseldorf hotel.

Feeling a bit travel fatigued, walking into The Golden Tulip Hotel provided us with a bit of a surprise. The hotel lobby accorded us a view of the connected Espirit Arena, a 50,000+ stadium.

IMG_4428_2Espirit Arena, connected to our hotel in Dusseldorf.
To read more about Esprit Arena, click here.

IMG_4419_2A light rain fell, as we got our first glimpse of the famous Rhine River from our hotel room.


We had arrived at our first German destination. Traveling by plane, train and automobile/taxi, and we were a little on the tired side, but not ready to hibernate for the evening, as it was also my birthday! I had determined weeks earlier, that my birthday meal in Germany must consist of schnitzel. Armed with advice from hotel staff, and their instructions on how to navigate the city’s transit/train, we were off again. We were on a schnitzel quest; to find delectable German cuisine at a recommended restaurant called Schweinske in the old town/Altstadt area of Dusseldorf. And find it, we did!

Cold, but happy, that we found our schnitzel destination,
Schweinske’s, in Dusseldorf.
March 2, 2015

Although a bit travel weary, due to only four hours sleep
from the night before, I thoroughly enjoyed my German-style birthday with a mushroom schnitzel.
March 2, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-03-19 at 8.39.39 AM
My birthday dinner would be the first of several schnitzels that I had the happy occasion to eat, while in Germany, and they were all delicious! 

Relaxing along the Rhine, or “It’s Just Like in the Movie!”

I love old movies! On more than one occasion, a movie has dictated the destination of a side trip, or an entire vacation, that we have taken.
(Read about my The Quiet Man-inspired trip to Ireland here and here.)

1969’s, If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium, revolves around an eclectic American tour group, and their eighteen day trip from London to Rome. While this movie does not exactly rate in the blockbuster category for film, it does serve as an informal travelogue for some of Europe’s most scenic spots, with a few amusing stories thrown in.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.15.13 AM
If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium, 1969

As this film aired on Turner Classic Movies recently, it was a certain scene that caught Dale’s attention; a river cruise on Germany’s Rhine. It was this particular scene that became the impetus for the three day, vacation portion, of our German trip. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 3.54.38 PM
The inspiring Rhine River Cruise as shown in the film
If It’s Tuesday, This Must be Belgium.

To view this scene, click here, and fast forward to about 34-35 minutes into the film.

With Dale, wanting to go on a Rhine River cruise, and me wanting to visit a castle (and eat schnitzel), we turned, via the Internet, to the master of travel, Rick Steves.

It was through Steves’ suggestion, that Dale and I decided that we would spend our three free days in and around the German village of Bacharach.

Travel expert, Rick Steves was a wealth of information on the
Rhine River area.

To view Rick Steve’s 25 minute piece
Germany’s Romantic Rhine and Rothenburg click here.

After another (luggage-lugging) train trip, we made our way to the quaint German village of Bacharach. Much of this area closes up throughout the winter months, including the hotels. While researching lodging, we were pleased to find that the Hotel Kranenturm was open and accepting reservations. We requested a room with a Rhine River view. Arriving at the hotel, and after a friendly greeting from the proprietor, Suk, Dale and I were happy to see that our room not only had a water view, but a castle view, as well!

Dale photographs me,
as I look out the window (with the castle view),
from our room at the Hotel Kranenturm, Bacharach

I photograph Dale from the Rhine side window of our hotel room.
(Although, the trains/train tracks go right by the hotel, we did not find it  bothersome.)

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 8.10.53 PM

The castle view and the Rhine River view from our hotel room windows. 


Dale peers up through the staircase of the landmark Hotel Kranenturm.
To read more about the historic hotel, click here.

Dale and I learned, upon arriving, that the Hotel Kranenturm is a landmark in town, and  serves as lodging for the various Rick Steves tour groups that visit Bacharach throughout the tourist season.

IMG_4636 A Rick Steves patch is proudly displayed at the Hotel Kranenturm.

Photo Gallery
Please join me, as I share with you some images from our fun mini-vacation in Germany.

Rhine River Cruise: Castles and Scenery


IMG_4478_2 IMG_4471







Koblenz: The city where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers Merge
To read more about Koblenz, click here









Bacharach: the quintessential German town along the Rhine

















Thanks for reading!


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around March 31. A great big thank you to my faithful blog followers!!!


My goal is to boost my follower number to 100 in 2015.

Please, consider becoming an “I’m Annette” blog follower, and you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting. Sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)

IMG_0320On the road leading to Bacharach


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A Girls’ Disney Weekend

February 25, 2015

A Girls’ Disney Weekend

Photo Feb 07, 18 16 33My Daughter and I Meet Up with Mickey at Disneyland
February 7, 2015

I started it.
I innocently forwarded an email to my daughter, Martese, from D23, the official Disney fan club.  There would be a special showing, at the Walt Disney Studios-Burbank, California, of the animated 1961 classic “101 Dalmatians“, in conjunction with the re-release of this movie on DVD and Blu-ray. This Disney film has always been Martese’s favorite, since taking her, as a one-year old, to see it in the movie theatre in 1991. With this in mind, I often send Martese 101 Dalmatian sightings that I come across.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 10.04.41 PM
It all began with this one email from D23.
View it here.

Just minutes after sending the email, Martese text (or is it texted?) me that she had purchased two tickets to attend. This, despite the fact, that she lives in Minnesota! After discussing the trip with her husband, it was decided that I would be asked to join in on the dalmatian hijinks/trip.  I happily accepted, despite the fact that I live in Maryland!

IMG_4350 - Version 2
Martese (with red dalmatian balloon in hand) at her
101 Dalmatian-themed, 4th birthday party.

November 1994

Martese and Mike’s wedding;
the table decor included a touch of 101 Dalmatians,
and the wedding photos included a touch of Mickey Mouse.  :o)
May 12, 2013
(Original photos taken by Caleb Jamin Studios)

The Fun (long) Weekend Began!

Warm weather greeted us when we arrived
at LAX/Los Angeles Airport.

Martese volunteered to navigate through the L.A. Traffic.

After Martese and I found each other at LAX and rented a car, our weekend adventure began. We faced the evening, bumper to bumper, LA traffic, found the Disneyland exit, and checked into our hotel, situated directly across from Disneyland. Wasting no time in immersing ourselves in Disney, Martese and I immediately walked the short distance to Downtown Disney for dinner. Downtown Disney requires no admission fee, yet surrounds visitors in a festive Disney atmosphere. Throughout the weekend, when not visiting Disneyland parks, we took our meals in Downtown Disney, or the nearby Disneyland Hotel.

Downtown Disney and The Disneyland Hotel
February 6-9, 2015

Downtown Disney– an array of family friendly shops, and restaurants that offer everything from fast food to higher end “table service” meals.

The Earl of Sandwich offers quick delicious soup and sandwich options at Downtown Disney.

Photo Feb 07, 08 02 47
“101 Dalmatians” pillow pet was adopted by Martese from Downtown Disney’s World of Disney shop.

Photo Feb 06, 22 28 14

Having fun, trying on the new Star Wars Mickey Ears.

When not choosing Disneyland, or Downtown Disney fare for our meals and shopping, the Disneyland Hotel offered fun browsing, food for our breakfasts and an additional shopping alternative with their gift shop.

IMG_4285Photo Feb 09, 08 50 30 
Venturing into the Disneyland Hotel area (above),
we enjoyed yummy Mickey Waffles in the dining area, whimsical tea cup chairs in the lobby area, along with colorful Mary Blair artwork.(below)
(To read more about the talented Mary Blair, see below- It’s a Small World.) 



Photo Feb 06, 21 51 06

Photo Feb 06, 21 54 06


May 7, 2015
Disneyland Park and California Adventure

 Disneyland Park

The Entrance to Disneyland, early in the Morning

Photo Feb 07, 10 14 57
A statue of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, and a beautiful day, welcome Martese and me to Disneyland.
The castle in the background was covered in an illustrated tarp for renovations to prepare for this year’s,  60th anniversary year celebration for Disneyland, beginning this May. 

 Photo Feb 07, 10 44 20IMG_4211

 Martese and I are both fans of the It’s a Small World ride. (The facade of this attraction was under renovation and covered in illustrated tarp, too.)

Martese and I each bought a soft,
fleece  It’s a Small World throw, as our Disneyland souvenir.

Read about Mary Blair’s contribution to this ride and Disney, here.


Martese sips her non-alcoholic mint julep, as we both savor delicious Mickey-shaped beignets (sort of like a doughnut) near the Haunted Mansion.
Remember, calories don’t count at Disneyland! :o)

Photo Feb 07, 12 43 03Martese and I share a much anticipated, and luscious, Disney (pineapple) Dole Whip, and proudly display our
“I’m Celebrating Dole Whips!” buttons.

I loved it that my Starbucks Iced Tea sported
“Annette” on it!

Disney’s California Adventure Park

Martese stands at the entrance of
Disney’s California Adventure park,
early in the morning before the crowds arrive.

Photo Feb 07, 13 25 44
Martese and me with Mickey’s Fun (ferris) Wheel in the background.

Photo Feb 07, 13 29 44 Photo Feb 07, 14 13 23
Disneyland cuisine must include one of their tasty, and famous corn dogs. 


Photo Feb 07, 14 46 20IMG_4220
Martese and I tried the oft-talked about, and addicting,
dill pickle popcorn in the cute Car Land area.

Photo Feb 07, 15 15 47
Photo Feb 07, 17 31 09
One of my favorite attractions of the day was the
Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek ride.  This attraction is unique to Disneyland, and is not offered at
Walt Disney World.

The photos of this ride, below, are courtesy of Martese on a previous trip that she took to Disneyland.



To view this ride, watch it on youtube here. At around 2:10 on this video,you can see all of the doors that decorate the ceiling above, just as they do in the Monster Inc. movie.

For a nice write up on Monsters, Inc. Ride & Go Seek by mice, and more photos from this feature, click here.

Martese and I finished our Disney day with an elegant meal at the Carthay Circle Restaurant. This beautiful Disney restaurant is designed as a nod to the once grand, but now unfortunately demolished, Carthay Circle Theatre of Los Angeles. Walt Disney’s first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered in this theatre in 1937.

My delicious meal included this exquisite
Carthay Autumn Salad (see the recipe that
I, sort of,  have for this salad,
toward the bottom of this post)
and Carthay Signature 
Fried Biscuits
(filled with cheese and bacon) .


My grilled Angus New York
with Chimichurries (pesto)
was perfection! A Chocolate
Crème Brûlée Tart delightfully
rounded out the meal. 

Martese and I loved dinner at Disney’s
Carthay Circle 

A Look at Disneyland of the Past


For a glance of the Disneyland that once was, in 1962 to be exact, snag a dvd copy of  the cute movie, 40 Pounds of Trouble, (I bought mine here.). Tony Curtis plays a Reno casino manager (in this remake of the Shirley Temple film Little Miss Marker) who finds himself caring for the five-year old daughter of a customer, and in the process treats her to a day at Disneyland. To see the Disneyland clips from this film, click here  and then here. I also found a fun post on which shows, via movie stills, many Disneyland scenes from the movie. Did you know that at one time, you could take a helicopter from LAX  straight to Disneyland! Check out this entertaining Disneyland blog post here.

This photo from 40 Pounds of Trouble,
courtesy of

 Sunday-Hollywood and Walt Disney Studios
February 8, 2015

With a wonderful day at Disneyland behind us, Martese and I looked forward to the new day in and near Hollywood.  Our Sunday schedule had been in place, for awhile, with all activities scheduled around the much anticipated  2:00 pm showing of 101 Dalmatians.  

We set out early for Hollywood to stroll the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit Graumin’s (now known as TCL) Chinese Theatre, Tour the
El Capitan Theatre, and the Hollywood Costume Exhibition.

Photo Feb 08, 11 04 12
Clad in 101 Dalmatian sneakers, Martese stands next to
Walt Disney’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

To read more about The Hollywood Walk of Fame,
click here.

Photo Feb 08, 10 20 45
I’m Annette!
I pose by Annette Funicello’s star on the
Hollywood Walk of Fame .

Read about my mouseketeer connection. here

Photo Feb 08, 10 11 25

Photo Feb 08, 10 02 07
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre is famous for stars’ footprints in concrete.(above photo)
Martese and I pose next to one of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre’s two imposing, and authentic, guardian lion 
statues.(below photo)

To read more about Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, click here.

Fun Fact for ya- When Grauman’s went under renovation a few years ago, the theatre could not locate their original blueprints.  Then someone thought of contacting Walt Disney World.  It was Grauman’s who had given a diagram of their theatre to WDW to recreate a Grauman Chinese Theatre style front for their Hollywood Studio’s The Great Movie Ride. Grauman contacted Disney and was able to borrow back the blueprint to renovate their theatre.

 Photo Feb 08, 10 09 36
While viewing John Wayne’s famous cement footprints in the theatre courtyard,
I could not resist recreating an iconic I Love Lucy moment. (above)

Lucy and Ethel decide to take a souviner back to New York, in the form of John Wayne’s footprints from
Graumin’s Chinese Theatre. (below)
l Love Lucy: Season 5, Episode 2
Lucy and John Wayne (1955)

 The El Capitan Theatre is a beautifully restored old movie theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, and just down the street from Grumman’s.  Built in the 1920’s, the El Capitan Theatre, is now owned by Disney, and has been renovated to its original splendor.  Martese and I enjoyed a brief tour of the theatre, and were treated to freshly popped popcorn and drink.  While there, the El Capitan was preparing for the next day premiere for the movie, McFarland, USA. In addition to that, the theatre was also getting ready for the Academy Awards which would occur two weeks later. (After watching the red carpet arrivals at the Dolby Theatre across the street on Oscar evening, the crowd makes it way to the El Capitan to watch the Academy Award program broadcast on the theatre’s big screen.)

The ornate ceiling of The El Capitan Theatre, on the left.
On the right, Martese stands under the El Capitan marquee, on part of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which dons the sidewalks on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard

Across the street from the  El Capitan Theatre is this view of the historic Hollywood Sign.

Photo Feb 08, 10 55 21
The Dolby Theatre, the setting of the Academy Awards Ceremony, is also across the street from the
El Capitan Theatre.

Thanks to the Turner Classic Movie Channel, I learned that the Hollywood Costume Exhibition was in Los Angeles, for a limited time, not far from Hollywood. This exhibit began at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.  In fact, I had tried (on two different occasions), but failed to see it when I was there. Happily, this time we were able to secure tickets, ahead of time, to view this treasure trove of Hollywood costumes.  My favorite piece was a pair of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, along with Dorothy’s gingham dress . 

To read more about this wonderful costume exhibit, click here.


Martese and I wait to see the amazing
Hollywood Costume Exhibition in LA.
This particular site will eventually become the
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Our next stop was the Walt Disney Studios!  We arrived early, chatting with other D23 members, as we anticipated the opening of the gates and the showing of 101 Dalmatians.

Photo Feb 08, 18 41 13
The Walt Disney Studios six-legged water tower.
Roy Disney, Walt’s brother and business partner, thought that a six leg design looked better than
the standard four-leg design. For a “tour” of the
Disney Studios, read, here.

Photo Feb 08, 14 54 18
The Walt Disney Studios street sign.

Photo Feb 08, 14 53 25
Martese and I pose in front of the
Walt Disney Studios Animation Building.


The big screen welcomes us to 101 Dalmatians.

A happy Martese is glad to see her favorite Disney movie in the same theatre where Walt Disney sat.

We met Robert, sitting next to us. He has a Disney Instagram site findingwaltdisney.  To view his photos, click here.

Martese and I enjoyed second row seats.  :O)

IMG_0619Before the movie, guests were treated to an interview session with (from right to left) Lisa Davis (the voice of Anita), Mimi Gibson (the voice of Lucky),
and legendary Disney animator of the movie, Floyd Norman.

To read more about the day’s event, click here.

It had been a fun afternoon, and we were basking in the glow of all things Disney, as we walked toward the gates to leave. It was then that we spotted historic animator, Floyd Norman .  He was kind enough to speak to us for a moment, and allow us to take a photo.  He was delightful.

Mr. Norman takes time to pose for a photo with Martese.
Can you believe this man is 80-years young!?

To read Floyd Norman’s blog, click here.

A Mickey Bar and Good-bye
February 9, 2015

Our Girl’s Weekend, filled with wonderful memories, seemed to come  to an end way too quickly. Martese and I breakfasted on our final Disney meal of the weekend. While munching on Mickey Waffles at the Disneyland Hotel’s Tangaroa Terrace , it suddenly occurred to us, that we had not eaten the one “must have” Disney delicacy that weekend, Mickey Bars.  So, for dessert that morning, after a breakfast of Mickey waffles,  we enjoyed our early morning Mickey Bars, and our awesome Girl’s Weekend was complete.  :o) IMG_4293





Sort of a Recipe

Below is a “recipe”, as best as I could get,  for the delicious salad that we had at the Carthay Circle Restaurant. 

Carthay Autumn Salad-
Mizuna (a type of lettuce), crisp Pears, and spiced(candied) Pecans with charred Orange Vinaigrette.


Free Printable 

Print out and enjoy one of these free printables that Martese and I designed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 3.57.52 PM Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 4.09.27 PM

To read about my family vacation to Walt Disney World in June 2014, click here.

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


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but things are busy around here, so look for my next post around March 20, if not before.

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!


It is my hope to boost my follower number to 100 in 2015, so….

Please, pretty please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower. By doing so, you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)

Planning a Disney Vacation?


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!!!

Photo Feb 09, 08 58 45Saying Good-bye to the Disneyland Hotel Restaurant, Tangaroa Terrace
February 9, 2015

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Thinking of Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2015


Valentine’s Day: noun
a holiday that reminds spouses to do the romantic stuff that they should be doing anyway.

I had to chuckle when I recently saw this definition online about Valentine’s Day  ( I paraphrased it just a tad.)  While there is certainly  truth in this statement, I like to think that Valentine’s Day is for everyone to enjoy (especially the movies)!

Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a candy kiss, curl up on the couch, and read my not-overly serious, and at times random, thoughts on this day before Valentine’s Day, 2015.

Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a candy kiss and read along.

Random Valentine’s Thoughts

These items fall into the random Valentine’s category…

I found this heart-shaped potato chip! Then, I ate it. I love the Cape Cod reduced fat variety!  :o)

A heart-shaped potato chip

In the late 1980’s, before the advent of iPhones, laptops and home computers, I staged my two oldest (two more little cupids would bless my hubby and me in the next five years) in this Valentine pose to send out with our Valentine’s Cards to grandparents. Although, Trevor’s cupid wings are a bit crooked, and Spencer looks a bit tentative, I still think this Valentine montage is precious.

My two little cupids

Being a fan of classic movies, I love the comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). This scene from the song “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” with Marilyn Monroe in her bright pink gown, surrounded by  hearts and backdrop in red, just screams Valentine’s Day!

Marilyn Monroe stars in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


In last year’s blog, I focused on hearts at Valentine’s Day. (You can read that blog here.) Kisses are this year’s focus.

Kiss On My List (1980)

I always think of Hall & Oates 1980 song, Kiss On My List,  when the smooch topic comes up.  The catchy tune and lyrics are still fun to listen to thirty-five years later.

Your kiss is on my list of the best things in life….


 Click here to listen to this easy rock classic.

Three of My Favorite Movie Kisses

Since the beginning of the movies, the kiss has been an intregal part of  film magic.  Here are three of my favorite movie smooches.

Gone With The Wind (1939)
You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how. Rhett Butler

Clark Gable, as Rhett Butler, provides audiences with more than one memorable kiss throughout the 238 minutes of Gone with the Wind. This kiss is one of the best that Scarlett/Vivian Leigh receives during the movie classic.

Rhett and Scarlett
To watch these clips, click here and here.

The Quiet Man (1952)
If anybody had told me six months ago, that today I´d be in a graveyard in Inisfree, with a girl like you that I´m just about to kiss…Sean Thornton

John Wayne has had his share of admirable kissing scenes throughout his years in the movies, with lucky Maureen O’Hara on the recieving end. In The Quiet Man, this romantic kiss takes place in an Irish graveyard between Mary Kate Danaher and Sean Thornton.

Sean and Mary Kate
To watch the clip of this scene, click here.

The Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disney’s Lady and the Tramp find themselves lip to lip while slurping up Italian spaghetti, and being serenaded with romantic music.  This is a truly sweet moment in movie history.

Lady and Tramp
To watch the clip of this scene, click here.

  Valentine Movies

I have a fun movie to recommend for your Valentine Day viewing pleasure.  Undercover Blues(PG-13) is a 1993 romantic comedy that does not take itself too seriously.  It features Dennis Quaid and Kathleen Turner as Jefferson and Jane Blue, married ex-spies, attempting to live the normal life with their baby daughter, on vacation in New Orleans. The story is cute, and it is enjoyable to witness the rapport between this movie’s husband and wife team.

For my Valentine movie recommendations from last year’s post, please go here.

Undercover Blues stars Kathleen Turner and Dennis Quaid as married ex-spies. 

Free Valentine Printables

As I mentioned last month (here), I often use printable on my entry table to coordinate with the current season and holiday.  It is easy to print them up on card stock and slip them into my basic black frame.

This February’s entry table

Christi, from her cute blog Love From The Oven, offers many cute printables, and kindly gave me permission to share this one with you.
To print this Black, White And Gold Valentine’s Day Free Printable
click here.


In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I also created a free printable that features one of my favorite lines from the movie Rocky.  For more on this movie in last year’s Valentine post, go here.


Print this free Printable, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rocky quote

Thanks so very much for reading! :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, but things are busy around here, so look for my next post around March 20, if not before.

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!


It is my hope to boost my follower number to 100 in 2015, so….

Please, pretty please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower. By doing so, you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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An Ideal Lazy, Cozy, Winter Afternoon

January 25, 2015

momSkiisVan Johnson, Me (Well, my head, anyway, Esther Williams lays claim to the rest.), and John Lund, ski in the fun winter film, Duchess in Idaho (1950).

Don’t you just love the look of new fallen snow, all pure and white, as the frozen crystals glint in the sunlight?



The sight of the glittery, vanilla drifts may beckon some to the blanketed ski slopes, but for me, it just makes me want want to curl up all snug in my house by the fireplace.


With a winter wonderland just outside the window, what a luxury it is when I can enjoy an unencumbered afternoon inside all snug and warm, free from schedules, chores, and responsibilities.




The Essentials

Before settling into a day of restful winter bliss, one must gather together a few necessary essentials. (Essentials are proceeded by an asterisk*.)

My blankets of choice on this winter day are of the fuzzy variety, the kind that makes you want to snuggle under and get cozy.

A fuzzy blanket and my furry friend, Kali

(A quick aside: In addition to snuggly, fuzzy blankets, I am also a fan of the texture and feel of those wonderful silky sheets and sumptuous bedding that my hubby and I have encountered at some of the nicer hotels on our travels. I have been unable to locate anything comparable to them here in the states, but recently I read about a company called Parachute Home who is now selling them. The founder, Ariel Kaye, returned from overseas, and like me, was unable to find the luxurious sheets.  Her solution?  She started her own company.)
To read Ms. Kaye’s story, and view her merchandise, click here.


*The Eats

If one is having a special day, there must be some fun treats on the menu.  Although, I am normally an unsweetened iced tea girl, a winter day often calls for something of the warmer variety.  I often opt for a cup of black hot tea, made with my favorite Barry’s Tea.

To read about how I discovered Barry’s Tea, click on the link here.

I am a Barry’s Tea fan!

Other options for warm beverages are hot apple cider, or hot chocolate.
Click on the links below for the recipes.

For another delicious hot chocolate option, use a packet of Trader Joe’s Instant Organic Hot Cocoa Mix, but instead of making it with water, as directed on the packet, make it with warm milk.

Make Trader Joe’s hot chocolate mix with milk.

And if your calorie count can afford it, add some freshly made chocolate chips cookies
Yummy, Grandma Westphal’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Click on the link below for my Grandma’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

The First Snow

Mid-November of 1997, our family moved from Houston, Texas to Ashtabula County, Ohio.  All four of our children were born in Houston (actually Webster, Texas), so our new home’s winter snow was something new and exciting (at least in the beginning). When arriving in Northeast Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, we were greeted by our first of many snowfalls in the snow belt.  Bounding from the car, our children were eager to touch the white stuff.  After a minute of exploration, our youngest, Chandler, who was age three at the time, began to cry.  It seems that the little guy had expected that the snow would be just like ice cream.  Upon a quick taste, Chandler disappointedly found out otherwise. :o( It also quickly became apparent that we must head straight to the store to purchase coats, hats, mittens, and boots, because coming from Texas we owned none of these items!)

Chandler, age three, in 1997, not long before
our moving to the snow belt of Ohio. 

*A Suggested Essential

I have a friend who has perfected the true art of the ideal, cozy afternoon. In fact, she was the one who gave me the cocoa packet (and the add milk hint) and the great mug shown in the photo above. (Thank you, Jodi!) She insists that in addition to having some sweet treat and/or beverage, wearing pjs is a must. To quote Jodi, “Pajamas increase the experience 1000% !!!!”

I have yet to try wearing pjs on my cozy day, (I never know who may be dropping by during the day.) but I do have two sets of pjs handy when the opportunity presents itself. My old flannel ski pants set, and my new scottie dog set.  I received the scottie dog jams at Christmas from my daughter and son-in-law.  Aren’t they cute?

Ski flannel pjs and scottie dog pjs

*The Most Essential! :o)

My ideal lazy, cozy, winter afternoon would not be complete without including a few of my favorite winter-worthy dvds.

 A stack of winter-worthy dvds

Lucy Goes to Sun Valley ( 1958),
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour: Season 1, Episode 5

After the iconic I Love Lucy show’s six-season run, then came The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, that was a series of thirteen one-hour shows. Each episode still featured Lucy, Ricky, Ethel and Fred, plus a special celebrity guest star.

Fernando Lamas is the guest star in the Lucy Goes to Sun Valley episode.  This trip to Sun Valley was to be a Lucy and Ricky’s second honeymoon, but a television appearance for Ricky scuttles the plans.  Lucy and Ethel use the reservations, instead, and when they discover that Lamas is there, too, the fun begins.

Fun fact for ya-Fortunately, a double was used in the scene depicting Lucy skiing, because Lucille Ball”s double ended up with a broken leg!

Click on the link below to watch this fun Lucy episode.
Lucy and Fernanado Lama in Lucy Goes to Sun Valley.

Don’t Trip Over That Mountain (1963),
The Dick Van Dyke Show Season 2, Episode 22

Novice skier, Dick Van Dyke can not wait to hit the slopes for the first time, despite his wife, Laura’s, misgivings about his outing.  Unfortunately, the adventure turns into disaster (well, not too much of a disaster), and Dick must hide his ski injuries from his wife.

Click on the link below to watch this enjoyable Dick Van Dyke episode.

Dick Van Dyke practices his skiing prowess in his living room in
Don’t Trip Over That Mountain.

Ski Party (1965)

Okay, I guess you could call watching this beach movie, but on skis, a guilty pleasure, but who cares?  I love this movie!  It is light, funny, and features Frankie Avalon and Dwayne Hickman, who spend part of the movie disguised as British co-eds in an attempt to learn how to ski to impress the girls .

Ski Party is one of my favorite winter-time flicks.

Deborah Walley, Frankie Avalon, Dwanye Hickman
and Aron Kincaid star in Ski Party

Leslie Gore sings the upbeat “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”
Click on the link below to hear Leslie Gore sing this song.

One of the highlights of Ski Party is the rousing performance
of “(I Got You)I Feel Good” by James Brown, The Godfather of Soul.

Click on the link below to hear James Brown, and check out his amazing footwork.

The James Brown Connection

My first year of teaching, in 1980, was as a fourth grade teacher
in Winnsboro, South Carolina.
I have many memories of my rookie year, but one in particular pertains to
James Brown.  I remember one of my homeroom students (pictured below)
telling me that his cousin was thee James Brown!  I am sorry that I
did not ask more questions, at the time!

A photo of me, next to my 1980-1981(YIKES!)
Everett Community School class.

Other Winter Movies

For a list of other wintertime movie suggestions, including Duchess in Idaho ,in the top photo, click on the link here.

White Christmas (1954)

OR you could always watch White Christmas, because anytime is a good time to watch a classic Christmas movie!

Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye, and Vera-Ellen (her voice was dubbed by Trudy Stevens  in this song)
sing “Snow” in the movie White Christmas.
Click on the link below for a clip of this scene.

Free “Snow” Printable from White Christmas

White Christmas has several memorable lines, many from its repertoire of great songs. I currently have this printable, on my entry table. (The song above provided the inspiration for this printable.) It is appropriate for January.  You can print one ,too!( below )

A quote from the White Christmas song,
“Snow”, sits in my entryway.

White Christmas Print
Click the quote above and print this on an 8×10 piece

For another White Christmas printable, “Count your blessings instead of sheep.”,click on the link


Kali is having her own ideal, lazy, cozy afternoon.

Thank you to my children! To Trevor, for his assistance with the top photo, and to Martese for the White Christmas printable.

Thanks so much for reading! :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around February 13.

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!


It is my hope to boost my follower number to 100 in 2015, so….

Please, pretty please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower. By doing so, you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)

All of the winter photos, in this post,
were taken in Maryland, unless
otherwise specified.

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We’re Off to See the Wizard (of Oz movie)….

January 19, 2015

We’re Off to See the Wizard (of Oz movie)…

Here I am, very excited to see  The Wizard of Oz on the big screen!

The Wizard of Oz! I love it!  This 1939 movie classic has been a favorite of mine since childhood.  Its annual showing was the high water mark of the kid television world in the 1960’s. Unlike today, where one can watch most any movie with the slip of a dvd into the player, or the click of a computer button, back then if you missed the yearly showing, it was an entire year for a chance to see it again.

 1240393_648170598540677_699575817_nDick Van Dyke, with the help of his three oldest children, introduced the 1961 telecast of “The Wizard of Oz”.
Photo courtesy of Vince Waldron’s
The Official Dick Van Dyke Show Book,

It was with excitement that I received Turner Classic Movie’s invitation to attend a showing of The Wizard of Oz on the large screen.  Seeing this ageless movie in an actual movie setting, and upon a big screen, had been on my wish-list for a long time. I quickly bought tickets for the January 14th, evening showing,even bribing (with a promise of movie popcorn and drink) my 20-year old son to go along with me.

Turner Classic Movie’s Wizard of Oz announcement

Settling into our seats that evening, the previews began, complete with fun The Wizard of Oz trivia questions.

The answer to this TCM trivia question is “B”.

I was giddy with excitement as the credits to the movie began to roll.

Seeing the opening in the original sepia tones.

Run, Toto, run!!!
(I always wanted a Toto.  He’s so cute!)

Being a child of the 1960’s (well, actually I was born in 1958), I grew up with black and white television.  Which means that until 1968, when our family bought a color TV set, I saw The Wizard of Oz in entirely black and white.(Just in case you missed it, the beginning of the film is in sepia tones, and changes to color when Dorothy arrives in Oz.) The thing that struck me the most when watching the movie in the theatre that night, was just how vibrant the color in this film is…

tumblr_inline_mv1vca5pOs1qh2wboThe ruby slippers were redder, and sparkled more,

the yellow brick road was a brighter yellow,

Glinda’s dress was pinker and more glittery,
(Fun Fact for Ya- Glinda the Good Witch’s dress was originally worn by Jeanette MacDonald in the 1936 black and white  film, San Francisco. For a clip with a quick view of the dress, click here

the poppies were more colorful,
(Fun Fact for Ya- The snow used in this scene was 100% industrial
grade chrysotile asbestos! Yikes!)

the Wicked Witch was greener and meaner,
(Fun Fact for ya-Margaret Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch, was a former Kindergarten teacher.  I found this sweet clip from when she joined Mr. Rogers, in 1975, on his PBS children’s program and discussed her
Wizard of Oz part.

Click on the clip below to watch it.)

and the greens of the Art Deco decorated Emerald City were greener.
(Fun Fact for Ya- Judy Garland’s Dorothy was the inspiration for the character of Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island (1964),
and  The Three Stooges, Curly Howard, was Bert Lahr’s inspiration for the role of the Lion.) 

Note-The first two photos in this section were taken at the actual showing of The Wizard of Oz on the big screen,
but the other photos were not.

Things that I Noticed While Watching…

There were a few things that I noticed for the first time, thanks to the
big screen experience.

gty_scarecrow_kb_131019_16x9_992I could see the lines of the Scarecrow’s face, for the first time.
(The Scarecrow/Ray Bolger’s face make-up consisted of a rubber prosthetic with a woven pattern, like burlap. When filming was wrapped, the rubber piece had imprinted a pattern of lines on Bolger’s face, that took over a year to disappear.)

IMG_0612IMG_0613I saw a gold item in the castle scene, just after Dorothy and her friends find themselves in the poppy field.
The Flying Monkey hands it to the Wicked Witch.
(After some research, I found that this object is the magical Golden Cap from L. Frank Baum’s first Oz book , The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. The cap has special powers, which allows whoever is wearing it, to summon the Oz’s Flying Monkeys.
The other scenes in the movie that refer to the Golden Cap were deleted. )

The Scarecrow is carrying a pistol when they are in the Haunted Forrest.

And I wondered, just who was Nikko?
It seems that there was some mild controversy among
The Wizard of Oz fans about the true identity of Nikko.
Was he the Head Flying Monkey,
or the Captain Winkie of the Wicked Witch?

My research revealed that Nikko’s identity is that of  the head
Flying Monkey.
The name Nikko, coming from the name of a Japanese town which has a shrine for the famous Hear No Evil/See No Evil/Speak No Evil monkeys. 

Pat Walshe, the Flying Monkey, was an actor from Vaudeville days.

The Head Winkie was played by Mitchell Lewis, who had a long career in films, beginning with silent movies.

Much of the information in this blog post came from my personal knowledge, or the website below.
For more fun facts, click on it below.

One more piece of The Wizard of Oz trivia:
When Jack Haley played the Tin man, he used a falsetto voice throughout the movie.

My personal favorite of Dorothy’s special trio is the gentle Tin Man.  He seems so sweet and caring, plus I love his costume!

Who is your favorite of Dorothy’s three friends, and why?
The Scarecrow?
The Tin Man?
or The Cowardly Lion?
Please, answer in the comments section below.

Thanks so much for reading! :o)


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

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around January 31.


It is my hope to boost my follower numbers this year, so….

Please, pretty please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower. By doing so, you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)

I enjoy the Ruby Slipper’s display at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.
December 2008

At the Smithsonian Institution, one pair of ruby slippers used in the filming of The Wizard of Oz is a popular display, so popular in fact, that the carpet immediately in front of the shoes has had to be replaced several times.
 It is rumored that this pair of shoes is not a matched set!

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Christmas in Black and White

December 13, 2014

 Christmas in Black and White


 The Christmas season is again, upon us, and, happily, the yuletide season gives me everyone a legitimate excuse to watch all of those beloved holiday movies to excess. :o) Being an old movie buff myself, I actually become giddy as I gaze upon my Christmas movie-watching list, filled with holiday films galore. Many of my favorites, from an era gone by, were filmed in glorious black and white, and watching them has become an annual event for my family. Over the years, several of those black and white Christmas classics have become available in the, continually improving, colorized format. Although, some film classic purists may turn up their noses at altering the original film, I find that the colorization process brings a fun new dimension to old favorites. (Often, original notes, photos, and sketches are used to determine just how the film should be colorized.) In either case, whether watching in the original black and white, or colorized version, may your Christmas be filled with all those wonderful cinematic classics. I share some of my favorites below, in hopes that you might discover a new Christmas classic from the list.

 Christmas in the Movies

Holiday Inn (1942)

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire star in this film about an inn that is only open for holidays. Of course, Christmas takes center stage in this Christmas staple.

 The name of the hotel chain, Holiday Inn, was inspired by this movie.

Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds sing the song
White Christmas in the film Holiday Inn.

The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
A funny Christmas film starring Monty Woolley and Bette Davis, along with some real penguins! Woolley’s character turns an Ohio family’s home upside down, when he slips on their front steps and becomes a houseguest during his recovery.

 man who came to dinner
Jimmy Durante holds nurse, Mary Wickes, while Monty Woolley looks on in The Man Who Came to Dinner.

 Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Barbara Stanwyck is the Martha Stewart of the 1940’s, in this film. This housekeeping magazine maven, however, is actually a fraud, possessing no culinary, or homemaking skills whatsoever. When Stanwyck’s editor insists that she invite a WWII hero to her home for Christmas, comedy ensues.

Christmas-In-Connecticut-1945Barbara Stanwyck decorates the tree, while Dennis Morgan sings in Christmas in Connecticut.

I recently enjoyed watching Christmas in Connecticut on the big screen, (the two photos below were taken from that viewing) thanks to the Turner Classic Movie’s presentation last weekend throughout theater’s in the U.S.

TCM is showing White Christmas this weekend, and YES, I will be attending! :o)

I am nothing, but smiles, at the big screen showing of
Christmas in Connecticut.
December 2014

A shot from the big screen showing of
Christmas in Connecticut, a double feature that included the 1938 version of 
The Christmas Carol.

 It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It is tradition; my family watches this holiday gem every Christmas Eve, sometimes in black and white, and other times in color/colorization. We love this story of George and his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence shows George what the world would have been like if he had never been born.

 I remember the very first time that I saw this film. It was the early 1970’s, and I was baby-sitting. The children were asleep, and I caught this wonderful movie on the late show. I was hooked. I have been an ardent fan ever since!

Donna Reed and James Stewart star as Mary and George Bailey, with Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu in
It’s a Wonderful Life.

My Cat’s Meow Village of It’s a Wonderful Life always comes out this time of year, to be proudly displayed in my entryway. In sort of a reverse of the film colorization process, the Cat’s Meow Company came out with a black and white version of this set, complete with glitter/snow, after I had bought my colorized set. Each Christmas I consider purchasing the black and white set …

My It’s a Wonderful Life display, complete with a sign made by my friend, Michele S., and a for real Zuzu ornament.

The front of my Zuzu Petals Christmas ornament

The personalized back of my Zuzu ornament, signed by Zuzu herself,
Karolyn Grimes.

 Want your own? Click on the link below.

cat's meow
The beautiful black and white, glittered, Cat’s Meow
It’s a Wonderful Life set, that I covet. a wonderful life&f%5B0%5D=field_product_category%3A188

 Never Say Goodbye (1946)
I love this lesser-known holiday jewel. This Christmas comedy stars Errol Flynn as a reluctantly divorced father, who is devoted to his young, precocious, daughter, and strives to win back his ex-wife.

Listen for an uncredited voice-over of Errol Flynn acting tough in a trench coat. Yes, that IS Humphrey Bogart’s voice you hear. :o)

 never say goodbye
Is Santa, Errol Flynn, seeing double in Never Say Goodbye?

The Bishops Wife (1947)
Cary Grant is my kind of angel! Grant stars, in this delightful film, as Dudley the angel, who is sent to earth to assist a bishop and his wife in their life, at Christmas time.

Cary Grant and Loretta Young admire the family Christmas tree in The Bishop’s Wife.

 It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947)

Another lesser-known Christmas film, It Happened on 5th Avenue is such a joy to watch. A resourceful “bum” takes up residence in an empty mansion. Others eventually move in to join him, including the owner of the mansion, who is living incognito.

Alan Hale, Jr., Charles Ruggles, Edward Ryan, Gale Storm, and Don DeFore decorate the mansion for Christmas in It Happened on 5th Avenue.

 Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

A great cast makes this film a holiday delight. Maureen O’ Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwynn, and a young Natalie Wood star in this movie about a man who insists that he is the actual Kris Kringle.

Edmund Gwenn stars as Santa with Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street

 Come to the Stable (1949)

This is another Christmas movie that falls into the lesser-known category. I love this story of two naïve, yet endearingly faithful, nuns. Loretta Young and Celeste Holm, star as nuns from France who settle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to build a children’s hospital.

Loretta Young and Celeste Holm visit with Dooley Wilson in
Come to the Stable.

 Holiday Affair (1949)

This sweet Christmas story stars Robert Mitchum as a store clerk who meets war widow, Janet Leigh, and befriends her young son, played by Gordon Gebert.

holiday affair
Janet Leigh and Robert Mitchum star in Holiday Affair

 The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)

Bob Hope stars in this often forgotten Christmas comedy. Hope has unwittingly taken money from a mobster. In his attempt to replace the money, Hope enlists his friends to raise money for a (fake) home for old ladies. In addition to the fun, and one-liners, listen for the tune Silver Bells.

 lemon drop kid
Bob Hope stars with a whole lot of other Santas in The Lemon Drop Kid.

 Ma and Pa Kettle at Home (1954)

The sixth in the Ma and Pa movie series, the plot revolves around a Kettle son’s quest for scholarship money to go to college. Two judges come to visit the Kettles, to decide if the young Kettle is deserving of the money.

1318181990_8Pa Kettle, Percy Kilbride, dresses as Santa for his brood in
Ma and Pa Kettle at Home.

 Many of the movies featured above will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this month. For a complete TCM schedule, click on the link just below.|0/Christmas-Classics-in-December.html

 The Sounds of Christmas

When not watching the movies of the Christmas season, I enjoy the sounds of the holiday. I share with you what I am listening to this season, below, in the hopes that you may stumble upon an old favorite that you had forgotten, or a new song to add to your Christmas repertoire.

Click on this playlist to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2014-12-13 at 12.11.47 PM 

 My Christmas gifts to you

I give you two recipes this Christmas. The first is for my Christmas Eve Stew. I put this into the crock-pot on Christmas Eve morning and forget about it. It is all ready for that evening after attending church in the late afternoon, and/or driving around to look at Christmas lights. And it is always a hit!

The second recipe is for a deliciously chocolate cookie that is good anytime, and takes just basic ingredients.

Also, I have included a chalkboard printable for you to use from the movie It Happened on 5th Avenue.

Merry Christmas!


 Christmas Eve Stew



11/2 lbs. lean stew meat, in bite-sized chunks

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 can golden mushroom soup


1 small can (undrained) corn and one whole peeled onion,(I do this.)

or 1 envelope of Lipton’s onion soup

3-4 large carrots, sliced, or small bag of mini carrots, sliced, or not

(I have used canned, in a pinch.)

3-4 large potatoes, scrubbed, and chunked

frozen, or fresh, prepared green beans,

salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all the above ingredients in a PAM sprayed crock-pot.

Cook on high for approx. 6-7 hours.

(Or place in PAM sprayed casserole and place in 250 degree oven for 5-6 hours.

Note: Serve with rice, or oyster crackers, and French bread.

Chocolate Cookies



2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 sticks plus 4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


1.Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, 2 cups sugar, and eggs on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, and mix to combine.

Gradually add dry ingredients, and combine with mixer on low speed.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, or Silpat baking mats, if desired.

Using spoon, or cookie scoop, put batter onto cookie sheet.

Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake until set, about 8 minutes.

Cool on baking sheets for 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in seal tight container.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Free Printable

 Print this movie quote (in the color of your choice) from It Happened on 5th Avenue,
and frame it.


 Fifth Ave Quote

More from last year’s Christmas Post

Take time to look at my previous Christmas post, which includes additional Christmas movies, free printables, and a delicious and easy chocolate recipe. Click on the link below.

Thanks for reading! :o)


Thank you to my daughter, Martese, and son, Trevor, in their help with some technical aspects of this post. (My photo, and the printable.)

Also, thanks to Cathe Holden for her free clip art.,

and Cat’s Meow for the use of their photo.

Most importantly, a big thank you to all of my faithful blog followers!!!

I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around January 15.


I hope to boost my follower numbers this year, so

Please, pretty please, become an “I’m Annette” blog follower. By doing so, you will receive “I’m Annette” via email, FREE, yes FREE, immediately upon posting, sign up on the right-hand side of this page today. :o)


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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house…

It is 10:00 pm on the night before Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my hubby arriving home today, after being overseas for five weeks, and for our eldest flying in our direction, as I type.(He should arrive in about an hour from now).  I have prepared all of the foods that can be done ahead of time for tomorrow’s anticipated feast,(Dale is in charge of the frying and grilling of turkeys.) so I pause for a bit of relaxation , as my favorite, of all holidays is almost upon us!

Tomorrow, our Thanksgiving Day will most certainly begin with the watching the annual Macy’s Christmas parade, accompanied by our munching on Christmas Bacon and Eggs and Monkey Bread. (Both prepared ahead.) I share the recipes with you below.


A Bullwinkle balloon presides over a 1960’s Macy’s  Thanksgiving Day Parade 

Around 12:30, after a prayer of thanks, our main Thanksgiving table, surrounded by many of our loved ones, will be filled with all of those traditional dishes that my family has come to love, over the years: Turkey, dressing, potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, sweet potato “pie”, orange jello salad, black olives, cranberries, pumpkin pie, chocolate peanut clusters, and chocolate chip cheesecake. (What are your family’s favorites?)

Rockwell-freedom from want
Freedom from Want, By Norman Rockwell

Once every last morsel is eaten, and the clean-up operation complete, the remainder of our day will be filled with leisurely family fun in the form of playing football, watching football and movies on TV, and trivia board games. This is my idea of the ideal Thanksgiving. :o)

Trivial Pursuit Gameboard

Recipes to Share 

Christmas Bacon and Eggs



1 dozen/12 eggs

11/2 cup milk

2 cups grated cheddar cheese ( use sharp, 2%)

12 oz. bacon, cooked, and

cut into bite sized pieces, or crumble




Preheat oven to 325-350 degrees


Whisk milk and eggs.

Place cheese and bacon, onto greased/PAM 9 x 13 dish.

Pour egg mixture over the cheese and bacon.

Salt and pepper as desired.

Bake for 30-40 minutes.

 Serves 8-10

 Note: Make ahead and reheat later!

Monkey Bread



2-4 tubes of biscuits (2 for my own monkey bread/bundt pan)

¾ cup brown sugar

1 Tbsp. cinnamon


1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup butter /11/2 sticks (Can use 2 Tbsp. less)

1-2 Tbsp. cinnamon


Cut each biscuit into four pieces. Combine ¾ cup brown sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon. Roll all biscuit pieces in sugar mixture.


Bring to boil 1 cup of brown sugar, ¾ cup butter, and 1-2 Tbsp. cinnamon.


Put half of biscuit pieces into greased (I use PAM) bundt pan, and top with half of butter mixture.


 Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.

 Note: This may be put together the night before, and put into the refrigerator. Bake in the morning!

Bullwinkle Instructions on How to Cook a Turkey

Enjoy and a Very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Click on the link to view this short clip.

For my previous Thanksgiving posts, click on the links below.

Thanks for reading! :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around December 12.

Thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

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

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Autumn is the Mellow Time of Year?!

November 7, 2014

 Autumn is the Mellow Time of Year?!

Immersing myself in all that autumn has to offer!
Photo courtesy of Trevor Hoffman

I love autumn! Those lazy, cool, fall days;  trees filled with a myriad of colorful fall leaves, big bright orange pumpkins, and baskets brimming full of fresh-from-the-orchard, crisp red apples, culminating in my favorite of all holidays, Thanksgiving!

An example of the colorful beauty of autumn.
Ashtabula, Ohio’s Lakeshore Park, on Lake Erie.
October 2014

 The Irish poet, William Allingham, once claimed,
Autumn (is) the mellow time (of year).

 Mellow???? During this past month and a half, my mellow memorable autumn has included…

  • Finishing up a three-month stint living (and working) overseas
  • Spending a stopover (work week) in Switzerland
  • Family time over a three day week-end at Walt Disney World to cheer on our daughter in her first 10-mile race
  • Visiting a country pumpkin patch at Larriland, near home in Maryland
  • Taking a trip to Ohio, that included a one day business trip for Dale, and the beautiful wedding for a friend
  • Enjoying three days visiting family in Cape Cod

 Autumn 2014, Photomontage of Fun
Please, allow me to share with you,
a brief photomontage of some fun highlights of my Autumn 2014.

Posing near the Red Sea where we were living overseas,
September 2014.

The picturesque view from our window in Switzerland,
September 2014.

Look for a future photo blog about our week in Switzerland.
Meanwhile, please click on my Swiss post from 2013, below.

Enjoying our long weekend at Walt Disney World
with my youngest two.
October 2014

Our oldest son, Trevor, and his family, joined us for Walt Disney World fun at The Sci-Fi Café!
The dining cars are such fun!
At one time, waitresses used to serve in 
roller skates!

I love the Sci-Fi Café! (The official name is now the Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater)
Part of the fun are the sci-fi movie clips shown
while the meal is being served.
(Does anyone know if this movie clip “loop” is for sale anywhere?)
In my dream world, my basement is set up, just like this! :o)

Martese proudly displays her medal for completing the
Tower of Terror, 10 mile run, being one of the over 15,000 runners!
She ran, dressed as the original mousketeer, Annette Funicello!
Walt Disney World, October 2014

It was a pleasure to attend the beautiful fall wedding, in Ohio,
for Kim and Brett Fleischmann
October 10, 2014
Photo courtesy of Lauren Redmond

Chandler exhibits his pumpkin balancing skill,
while pumpkin picking at Larriland in Maryland.
Dale, and my mom (visiting from Iowa), look on.
October 2014

A spectacular autumn Cape Cod view.
October 2014

Dale and I just had to take a selfie on a Cape Cod beach
with Dale’s mom.
October 2014

Check out this awesome “Wizard of Oz” Halloween lawn display!
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
October 2014

 A Recipe to Share


 Happy Thanksgiving Trash


1 box (12 oz) Crispix cereal

12.6-1 lb. plain m & m’s

12.6-1 lb. peanut m & m’s

1 (8oz) bag small shaped pretzels

1 can (12.5 oz) can Spanish peanuts

20-24 oz. white almond bark


Mix all ingredients, but almond park in large bowl.

Melt almond bark slowly per instructions. (I do this in the microwave in 30-second increments.)

Pour melted almond bark over dry ingredients, stirring until well coated.

Spread out onto wax paper over cookie sheets.

Cool. (Might need to refrigerate.)

Store in airtight container.

Note: Make this for any holiday by changing the seasonal m & m colors (if you cannot find seasonal colors, the regular colors will do. :o)) :

Happy Halloween Trash

Happy Thanksgiving Trash

Happy Valentine’s Day Trash

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Trash

Happy Easter Trash

Happy 4th of July Trash

 Thanksgiving Traditions

Many of my favorite things about Thanksgiving revolve around all of those little traditions that our family has established over the years. Everything from…

  • the food we eat each year,
  • to our family’s own version of the Turkey Bowl,
  • trivia board game playing, along with new games,
  • to the movies and classic TV shows that make their annual appearance in-between the football games of the weekend,
    they all add up to making memories at our house.

Click on the link below to read about some recipes, along with movies and TV shows that my family enjoys. A free Thanksgiving printable is also included.Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! thanksgiving/

Some of our crew having fun playing “Just Dance”,
Thanksgiving 2013

 Thanks for reading!  :o)


I attempt to post my blog bi-monthly, look for my next post around December 8.

Thank you to all of my blog followers!!!

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

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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