Travel


Reformation Day–”Ya say you want a revolution!!!”

About 500 years ago on October 31st Martin Luther, a German monk, turned from the Catholic church. Here is a very good description of the events…https://thideology.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/standing-against-superstitions/

luther-posting-95-theses-560x366

He changed the course of the history of the church that day.

Since we are talking about Martin Luther, I thought I would share a little from another Luther celebration.

Our family took a trip to Germany last summer with my in-laws. The trip  coincided with Lutherfest, the celebration of Martin Luther’s marriage to Katharina von Bora. It was a festival like no other I have experienced.

Here is our hotel…

luther-hotel-wittenberg

hotel-menu

We started the day before the festival at the Wartburg Castle.

wartburg-castle

german-flag

The Wartburg is where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German.

This is his desk.

luthers-desk

The castle is quite ornate in places. Of course it has changed throughout the years.

door-in-wartburg-castle

door-detail

martin-and-katharina

They only allowed a limited number of photographers to take pictures. Naturally, we designated Chip as our photographer. Notice his official, fancy, green sticker.

photographer-sticker

There was a little cafe just outside the castle entrance.

lunch-at-wartburg

This is where they guys started the wurst count (or as we in the states call them…brats)

brat

brat-with-mustard

I’m not sure I remember how many they ate on our trip, but it was a lot!

After we returned to the hotel from the castle, we decided to check out the festival scene.

The main festival events didn’t start until Saturday. There were a few things to see and do that Friday night though.

festival-banner

german-beer

We had dinner a small restaurant. The highlight was the picture posing we did!

family-photo

family-faces

One of the things I loved about German was all the flowers!

Everywhere you went there were flower boxes. The little restaurant had a flower cart that was too cute!

flower-cart

Saturday morning we were excited to get to the festival–maybe a little too excited. We got there before too much was happening. There were a couple of vendors open, so we looked around a bit.

herb-cart

Before we knew it we started to hear a commotion! Drums!

black-and-gold-parade-band

Two bands marched through the streets to a field. There were all kinds of tents set up in the field. Everyone was having their own party. It was kind of like how you might imagine a tailgate party in the 1500s would be!

blue-and-silver-parade-band

Of course my band girls LOVED seeing the marching bands!

band-members

parade-horn

We didn’t have a program, well, not one we could read. There was a program–in GERMAN! We could make out bits and pieces. It was more fun to just hang out and see what happened next!

We had a time to tour the Castle Church.

castle-church

This is the church were Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses.

castle-church-door

luthurs-grave

The church was under a bit of construction at the time. Our tour was in German. Here is a tip, don’t answer your cell phone during a German tour! (any tour for that matter) There was one fella, who didn’t speak German either, who decided to have a conversation in the über resonant church! The tour guide told him, “Hello! We wait!”

All along the festival/parade route were vendors of all sorts–food, toys, herbs, jewelry. After our church tour, the girls and I felt the need to fit in to the atmosphere a little more.

festival-bells

There was a pretzel stand right outside of the church!

pretzel-cart

We had the chocolate one, of course.

pretzels

Next we stepped into a visitor center for a minute. I don’t remember where the others were. I DO remember the sky opened up and rain poured!!! The details of when and where everyone was are a little faded. I just remember Chip and Bud getting drenched!

luther-movie

This movie poster was in the visitor center. We have this movie. It is REALLY good. Maybe we will watch it tonight!

It is a good thing we did a lot of walking on this trip because we did a lot of eating!!!

potato-pancakes

These potato pancakes with apple sauce were quite tasty!!

waffle-cart

bread-cart

meat-cart

planked-salmon

We obviously couldn’t eat from EVERY food cart, although we wanted to try them all!

crepe-cart

crepes-with-nutella-and-bananas

Crepes with Nutella and bananas!

pizza

This little pizza was yummy. Instead of a traditional red sauce, it had a white sauce that was like a cross between alfredo sauce and ranch dressing.

mushroom-cart

Megan had spied this huge pan of sautéed mushrooms and couldn’t wait to try them!

mushrooms

brats

More wurst!

fruit-cart

Fresh fruit was a welcome change from all the fried food!

custard-with-strawberries

These little custard cups were AMAZING! Strawberries with vanilla creme. I still need to work on replicating this recipe. I think if I can ever make it as delicious as it was in Wittenberg, my family will never let me make another dessert!

The parade was such fun!

People of all ages participated.

parade

parade-fun

parade-baby

irish-wolfhound

flower-girl

dancing-baby

I’m not 100% sure why I am making this face…

parade-surprises

Maybe it had something to do with this…

washtub

The parade was a “wedding celebration”. There was a reenactment of the Luthers wedding ceremony. We missed the ceremony but caught them in the parade.

martin-and-katharina-parade

wedding-party

Toward the end of the parade route there were people passing around little cups of champagne. Katie didn’t think much of it!

champagne-face

That evening we went to a church service–in English!

english-church-service

Since it was the Lutherfest wedding celebration, there was a special ceremony for married couples to reaffirm their wedding vows. It was very cool. We all cried.

vows-us

vows-them

reaffirmation-of-vows-us

reaffirmation-of-vows-them

certificates

I hope you will go read the Martin Luther link. Here it is again so you don’t have to scroll forever! https://thideology.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/standing-against-superstitions/ 

Hopefully, you will have a new way of thinking about October 31st!

 

 

 

 

There is a new piece of artwork in our kitchen that I didn’t show you in the “big reveal”.

When we were originally discussing paint colors, I told Chip I wanted to paint the cabinets gray. He kinda looked at me like it was not a good idea. I told him it would be a “French Country” look. That idea he liked. The idea of a French Country kitchen got him to thinking about using some photos from our trip to France last summer. We finally agreed on a photo to use! I thought I would first share other photos related to our new artwork. We may even get some more printed!

Here is a map to show you where the Alsace region of France is located. As you can imagine, France and Germany argued and fought for many years to see who got to keep the area. So, while Alsace is in France, there are lots of German influences.

alsace-mape

We drove in to Alsace from Wittenberg, Germany. Wittenberg is about halfway between Leipzig and Berlin. Our car time was about 7 hours.  The scenery was breath-taking! Gorgeous vineyards and quaint little villages were everywhere.

french-countryside

french-vineyards

hillside-vineyards

Vineyards were not the only crops we saw. We came across a lovely cherry orchard. Alsace is crazy about cherries!
cherry-tree

 

I loved the flower boxes everywhere.

street-view

red-flowers

These trees looked like they were straight from a fairytale!

storybook-trees

Finally, we arrived at our bed and breakfast. Part of the home was built in the 1700s!!!!

bed-and-breakfast-alsace

bed-and-breakfast-alsace-full

window-with-flowers

The weather was lovely! Our hosts welcomed us with coffee and delicious coffee cake.

bed-and-breakfast

coffee-on-the-patio

coffee-cake

Here are a few pictures of the inside.

lace-curtains

view-from-loft

This is the view from our room.

view-from-bb

bed

dressing-area

shower

The girls stayed in the loft attached to our room.

stairs-to-loft

loft-bed

After a little time of resting and getting acclimated to our new digs, we headed out to find some dinner.

The first place we stopped was a little out of our price range. We had already taken this cute picture to remember where we had eaten! Then we didn’t eat there.

french-restaurant

We did not get the group shot at our actual restaurant. To tell you the truth, we looked pretty tired in most of the pictures.

We were actually lucky to get to eat. The folks at this restaurant only spoke French. Fortunately, Megan had worked with a French language app before our trip. She was able to order dinner for all of us. We were all very grateful and she felt pretty proud of herself.

glasses

We did learn to order water without “gas”. Carbonated water is apparently a big deal in Germany and France.

steak-dinner

pizza

chicken-and-gravy

pizza-with-egg

The food was very good. The fried egg on the pizza was a little weird. I ordered that for the local experience. I do not plan to repeat that experience any time soon, however.

We had our dinner outside. Right next to our table was a lovely patch of lavender. We noticed something buzzing around in the flowers. Katie is a bit scared of bees, so I went to check it out for her. It looked like a tiny hummingbird! I tried and tried to get a good  picture. Look closely at the picture below, just left of center.

hummingbird-moth-in-lavender

I did a little research on what I thought was a tiny hummingbird. It turns out that what I saw was a hummingbird moth! Here is some good old Wikipedia info for you. I thought it was cool and had fun trying to capture it in a picture.

When we got back to the B & B we decided to stroll around the little village a bit.

sutters-and-flower-boxes

village

french-barn

currants

The currants were beautiful!

We stayed in Alsace a little while and took day trips to the town of Riquewihr and the Haut Koenigsesbourg Castle. Hopefully, I will get around to sharing those pictures one day, too!

As we left our quaint little B & B to head to Paris, we stopped to snap a few more vineyard photos.

vineyard-sign

young-grapes

The grapes were far from ripe. I’d love to go back during harvest time.

vineyards-in-alsace

Oh, I almost forgot to share the artwork we had printed for the kitchen!

windowbox-art

custom-art

The canvas is actually a little larger than the actual window was! You can see the original photo above with the other photos of the bed and breakfast.

I liked this photo because it reminded me of all the window boxes we saw while in Europe! I loved them! This picture kinda felt like it was part of our kitchen. The wall in the photo kinda matches our cabinets. We ordered the print from a place called canvasdiscount.com. When we ordered it we had the option of ordering a hanging kit. We had not planned to order it originally. However, it was only a few bucks, and by ordering it, we were bumped into the category of getting free shipping. Ordering more saved us money!

Well, that is all for now. I’m ready to go back to Alsace!!

Life is busy.

This summer was VERY busy–went to so many great places, we ate so much yummy food and saw so many people we love.

vineyard

french bicycle

gingerbread houses

Eiffel Tower

Switzerland

cousin camp

There were also things that I didn’t do this summer–like write any blog posts! Gasp!

My poor little Pork Chop Tuesday has limped along thanks to a couple of popular pins on Pinterest.

Nutcracker plaid quilt

I have had the cloud of “gotta blog” hanging over me since May. black cloud

Another one of the things I didn’t do this summer was attend the Arkansas Women Bloggers blog conference. As I read through everyone’s conference recaps and chased them on Twitter and Periscope I wished that I could have gone. Money was a little different this summer. Big vacation+First child off to college+Purchase of an additional vehicle…I decided adding a conference was not the thing to do. I came across one of my fellow blogger’s post about the conference. She spoke about keeping the most important thing the most important thing. What an inspiration! Here I was all worried about the fact that I had not paid my blog any attention all summer and sad that I didn’t go to the blog conference. All along one of the biggest take-aways from the conference was what I was living! I spent wonderful, quality time with family this summer–keeping the most important thing the most important thing!

I’m trying to pick up blogging again. Boy it is rough. I’ve forgotten how to edit photos. I’m rusty at the keyboard. I am too embarrassed to tell you how long it has taken me to put this post together.

So, there you have it, summer in a nutshell. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’ll be relearning Photoshop and WordPress. I only have 1762 more pictures from our Europe trip to edit!

 

I recently returned from my first-ever trip to Baltimore, MD.

WOW!

There is so much to see and do in downtown Baltimore!

I was there for the Sweet Adeline International Competition!

Baltimore Welcome

My chorus, Top of the Rock, was invited to compete in the Harmony Classic portion of the contest! For those of you unfamiliar with Sweet Adelines–it’s a BIG DEAL!

The entire week was full of activities and contests. However, I was unable to stay the whole week, so I had to do my touring FAST!

We arrived late Sunday night. Our first rehearsal wasn’t until Monday afternoon, so we had time for a little exploring!

breakfast sandwich

Breakfast was at Potbelly. We discovered Potbelly on a trip to Houston a couple of years ago. They have yummy breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal. They are very reasonably priced, which is a good thing!

I saved my little Potbelly bag just because it had a “P” stamped on it. Yes, I’m a nerd!

Camden Yards

Our hotel was right down the road from Camden Yards–where the Orioles play baseball! My husband is a big baseball fan, so I had to snap a couple of pictures for him!

Oriole Park

The Baltimore Inner Harbor was really cool! Tons of restaurants and shops. I would have loved to tour the Domino Sugar plant! Boat tours of the harbor were available. Some of my friends took the tour and said it was great! I just didn’t have time.

Domino Sugar

This was not their tour boat. I guess it could have been though!

paddle boats

Some other friends hit the National Aquarium later in the week. I picked up some t-shirts for the kids at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Hard Rock Cafe

The McCormick World of Flavors shop was a fun little shop in the Inner Harbor, lots of Old Bay seasoning! Mom and I enjoyed the salt sampling we did there. Our favorite was the lime salt. I asked if they had any other samples we could try. One of the gals working there is a cupcake maker. She brought me some samples of her frosting. They weren’t bad. Here is a link to her Facebook page.

McCormick World of Spice

Off to rehearsal-the reason we came! Weeks prior to our trip, chorus members exchanged words of encouragement and small gifts with a Secret Sis. Look what my Sis gave me at the big reveal–a Baltimore scrapbook! What a unique and thoughtful gift! She included all kinds of scrappy Baltimore goodies in it. Thanks, Becky! You were a great Secret Sis.

secret sis

At one of our rehearsals several of us decided to dress alike–unintentionally.

black shirts

Later, we all dressed alike–on purpose this time!

with mom

Why do we girls always squish our faces together in pictures?

about to hit the stage

stage ready

friends

red costumes

in the lobby

Can you tell we are excited to hit the stage?!

bus ride

We did GREAT!

Guess what? We came in 3rd place–IN THE WORLD!!!!

Bronze medal

You can see for yourselves…

I have a couple more tidbits to share with you from my trip so stay tuned.  I can’t wait to go back to Baltimore one day when there is a little more time for exploring!

I did make it home in time for Senior Night with my girl! I even managed to make it though without tears.

senior night

Chip and I enjoy having a lunch date every now and then.

I have wanted to try out The Root Cafe for a while. It is on South Main in Little Rock, AR. The Root has several fun neighboring shops and restaurants.

The Root Cafe

The Root is all about “Building Community through local food!” They use as many products as possible from small local farms. Their menu even notes where items originate.

Locavore Sign

I arrived at the cafe before my date. There was quite a crowd, so I jumped in line.

The place is small. It used to be a dairy bar. Being elbow to elbow with other customers, I felt a little rude whipping out my phone to snap photos.

Keeping a sharp eye out for my date, I studied the menu while I waited in line.

I ended up having to let several folks jump me in line before Chip arrived.  Fortunately, we had studied the menu options on-line a bit the night before, so I knew what he wanted.

He showed up just as I was about to order his Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich and fries.

Deviled Egg Salad Sandwich

French Fries

The bread for the sandwich came from one of the fun neighbors I mentioned, Boulevard Bread Company.

I had the Praline Salad. It was full of praline pecans. The dressing was a spicy cumin vinaigrette and it was very yummy. The salad was served with “seasonal” fruit. So, yours might look different when you go.

Praline Salad

Dining indoors was a little cramped. We ended up on the side porch. There is also a front porch dining area as well as a small garden area. All were full!

porch dining

I really enjoyed the atmosphere at The Root. It felt very urban.

The food was really good. I loved the salad dressing on my salad. I stole a couple of Chip’s fries. They were quite tasty, too. I think next time, I will have a burger and sweet potato fries. I saw several being delivered to tables. They looked amazing.

Chip enjoyed the bread and the egg salad. However, being an egg salad connoisseurs, he was disappointed with the way the egg salad squished out of the bun. He recommends toast.

They had a display case full of lovely desserts. Sorry, no picture of the case. I did snap a shot of the HUGE Chocolate Chip Cookie we split.

Huge Chocolate Chip Cookie

After mowing down the cookie, we headed across the street to MOXY Modern Mercantile. It is a fun little shop with lots of unique gift items…

like this giant pencil!

Giant Pencil

 

The Root Cafe is a fun lunch date destination. Check it out!

After hanging out on the porch for a while at Moss Mountain Farm, it was time to go home.

Our soggy tour had been a blast, even if we didn’t get to go to the vegetable garden.

But wait….

as we headed toward the car, we realized the vegetable garden was “just right there”. We decided to take a speedy look before anyone realized it was past 3:00!

giant cabbage

I’m so glad we did. I think the vegetable garden was my favorite!

kale

chives

lettuce

onions

I love the “salad garden” planted in wheelbarrows.

wheelbarrow planter

Even the gardening sheds were neat to see.

garden path

garden sheds

potting shed

peeling paint

There was an extra second or two for us to see the stone-fruit orchard–

stone fruit orchard

and more chickens!

delux chicken coop

chicken coop

I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour of Moss Mountain Farm. Trust me, it is even better in person! If you go, I want to hear all about it.

 

With only about 30 minutes left in our self-guided tour window, Mom and I made a mad dash for the Rose Garden. We felt like we had to make a decision between the Rose Garden and the Vegetable Garden. Roses won!

Rose Garden at Moss Mountain Farm

I so wished for my great aunt to be in the rose garden with us. She had the most beautiful roses in her backyard in Atlanta! She always sends gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and such wrapped in rose paper. The same rose paper! She must have a ton of it.

I’m sure Auntie could tell you the names of all these different roses. I just know them by color.

pink rose bud

large yellow rose

They were so sweet-smelling.

peach and yellow rose

yellow rose buds

red and yellow rose

Raindrop on roses–now one of my favorite things!

single pink rose

rain-kissed roses

The color and fullness of these double peach roses was incredible!

double peach rose

After the roses, we peeked over a fence to see the back-side of the vegetable garden. We still had the Summer Kitchen and Art House to see!

I failed to take any pictures of the art house. Wouldn’t you love to have a private little get-away place to go create?!

Wouldn’t you love to have a second kitchen?!

You may see a little reflection on these photos. I was shooting through the window!

Summer Kitchen

peeking through the kitchen window

Time was just about up on our Moss Mountain tour.

One last look at the roses on the side of the house. These are the same roses you saw from the upstairs bedroom here.

small rose garden

photographer

dinner bell

I guess the only thing we saw on the tour that we didn’t like was this…

garden snake

Yikes!

Move along!

Mom and I took some selfies on the front porch-which all turned out horrible! So, here is a picture of just Mom on the porch.

I love the coral benches. I would have never thought to use that color.

coral bench

Allen and Laura were busy heading to Allen’s next engagement. Mom snapped this picture of Allen taking a picture of peonies under the big tree out front.

tweet

Later I saw where he posted the picture that we saw him taking on Facebook. Kinda cool!

See it here.

As we headed toward the car, we stopped at the barn to take a picture of the carriage.

buggy

More cool lighting…

outdoor barn lighting

We enjoyed our tour so much. We were sad it was time to leave–

Moss Mountain Farm–or was it?

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

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