Saturday, November 2, 2013

Passionate feelings for our Home Town, no matter the size!

I was contacted a few weeks ago by Kendra Thornton, formerly of Orbitz who is now a stay at home mom of three.  She wanted to find out more about my Small Town living and to tell about her passion of her home town.  So, I wanted to share our stories with all of you and hope that you will enjoy visiting both of our home towns, although different, it's still the same passion.

Most Beautiful Small Towns in America”

I live in a small town in central Kentucky between Louisville and Lexington called Bardstown.  Bardstown is home to approximately 14,000 and is considered to be one of the 100 Best Small Towns in America and one of 50 Best Small Southern Towns.  Dating back to 1780, Bardstown is the second oldest city in the state of Kentucky and is home to Federal Hill, the inspiration for the State song, “My Old Kentucky Home” by composer Stephen Foster. 

Bardstown is in the heart of Nelson County, a small friendly community and has a quaint Historic District in the downtown area.  We have lots of eclectic shops, cultural and historical heritage blend.  Bardstown is home to My Old Kentucky Home, The Stephen Foster Story, vintage trains, and museums dedicated to the Civil War.

Bardstown is strong in “spirit” – A Southern spirit that welcomes you home to one of the Best Small Towns in America.  A religious spirit -- home of the first diocese of the West, and a little spirit we folks in Bardstown call bourbon!  Bardstown boasts the title of “The Bourbon Capital of the World”.    There are two bourbon distilleries in town – Heaven Hill and Barton Brands.  Several other distilleries are just a short drive away.  Maker’s Mark is nestled in the small town of Loretto and the world famous Jim Beam distillery is also near by. 

Bardstown hosts more than 30 annual events which draw people from around the globe.  Bardstown is the heart of The Kentucky Bourbon Trail and was featured in 1,000 places to see before you die the New York Times bestseller by Patricia Schultz.

More than 225 years Bardstown has offered southern hospitality, fine restaurants and accommodations making everyone who visits feel right at home.  Want some down home country cooking or a piece of homemade pie, visit Mammy’s or Pat’s Place located on Main Street.  Want a nice steak dinner, visit Circa, The Rick house or Bourbon City Bistro.  Java Joint is great for a delicious sandwich, salad, soup and cup of the best coffee ever. Visit Hurst Drugstore and sit at the old timey counter and enjoy a cherry coke or malt, just like the old days.   Bardstown offers several Bed & Breakfasts and several hotel/motel accommodations.

Just to name a few sites to see while visiting Bardstown is our Historic District, centered in the downtown area, includes St. Joseph – the first Catholic church west of the Allegany mountains and one of the first four archdiocese in the United States, The Old Talbott Tavern and Jailers Inn, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History.  You can tour the mansion and its gardens at Federal Hill and on summer evenings; see Kentucky’s longest running outdoor drama and official outdoor musical, which celebrates the life of the composer, Stephen Foster at the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheater.

Although I was not born in Bardstown, I have lived here for over fifteen years and although Bardstown folk might consider me a “brought in”, it is my Kentucky home and I am proud to live and be a part of this small piece of the world.

Now, I have Kendra Thornton, formerly of Orbitz and currently a stay at home mother to her three children, here to tell you about her neck of the woods. She resides in Chicago, Illinois, and loves her hometown as well!

It is hard to find somebody out there who does not have passionate feelings, positive or negative, about their hometown. I am one of those people who desperately love their hometown. In fact, I still think Chicago is one of the best cities in the world to dine and be entertained, regardless of where I have been throughout my life. Here are a few of my personal favorites around the Windy City:

While many visitors find the Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Avenue alluring, Southport Avenue is actually a great alternative. In addition to offer laidback shopping in trendy boutiques, you can also walk a few blocks to the Wrigleyville area for a fun break. The Cerato Boutique is full of work by local designers. Krista K and Tula are also popular choices. Spending your day here is a relaxing way to shop, while also soaking in Chicago culture.

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is among the most popular destinations for visitors. I love to visit the Lake Michigan shore and take new visitors to the aquarium. There are thousands of species to see here, and this is a great option for kids. The month of October is National Seafood Month, and while it sounds shocking that an aquarium would be in support, the Shedd has put its own spin on it. Calling it National (Sustainable) Seafood Month, they are supporting eating those species that can sustain being hunted. This aquarium is great for families, couples, or just those looking for an afternoon of educated fun!

I think that to truly get to know a city, you need to understand its culture. The Chicago Cultural Center offers loads of wonderful artwork. Plus, you can head over to Millennium Park when you are done. If you are lucky, the cultural center will be offering a free event when you are there. This is a great way to spend a full day with the family.

When coming to Chicago, there is so much to enjoy regardless of your interests. To be able to soak it all in, look into staying in a hotel in the downtown area! There is nothing cooler than being able to walk from your hotel to local attractions, and many offer great deals during non-peak travel seasons! You can stay downtown in an affordable hotel with a little bit of help, regardless of season though. I always use gogobot when I’m trying to find a place to stay in Chicago. I love being able to venture out into the city whenever I want!

I know that everybody loves to come to Chicago for the deep-dish pizza and hot dogs with all the toppings. While these are delicious, I love to stop in at local diners. Chicago has so many to offer! Lou Mitchell’s is one of my absolute favorites. It is family friendly, affordable and delicious!

The only thing I love more than I love Chicago is introducing it to new people. I love to see the look of wonder on somebody’s face when I show him or her all the sights and sounds of the city. Maybe Chicago even has a place in your future.

Hope you enjoy reading about my small piece of the world and Kendra's love of her city!

Hugs and love,

Monday, July 15, 2013

A 90 Year Celebration!

I recently had the great pleasure of sharing my oldest Aunt's 90th birthday with her.  It was so wonderful and joyous to see her and so much of my family that I had not seen in many years for a happy occasion instead of a death or sad gathering.  Although it rained the entire weekend, it made it even more special, because we actually spent more group time together than we probably would have had it not been raining.  So right now, I am very grateful for the rain, time well spent with loved ones, laughing until I'm sore, safe travels for everyone, we were all very blessed for this occasion.

She is so happy...
How sweet is this face?....
These are my mother's other siblings with one of my Aunt's missing due some health issues and could not attend.
This is five of ten sisters and one of two brothers ... yep, you got it, total of twelve children...
My cousins, but only a few...
Now that's a BIG cake!!
Hugs and love, hope you have an opportunity to enjoy your family this summer, it was priceless!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Herbs overload!

All of my herbs are growing like crazy.  I have given tons away to friends and I use them constantly, but when I have an abundance of herbs is the time I store up and make my compound butters.  I always have unsalted butter on hand for baking.  I take two to four sticks of butter at room temperature and finely chop an assortment of herbs, add finely chopped fresh garlic, rind of one lemon, add a little kosher or sea salt and some fresh ground black pepper.  Mix together in the butter.

Once mixed thoroughly, I put in on plastic wrap in a log form, wrap it up snug, twist the ends.  I put it in a freezer bag and place in the freezer and then as I need it I just cut off a few slices.  It's is wonderful on any kind of meat, corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, you name it. Makes the best ever garlic herb bread for those pasta nights.

Another thing I do to use my fresh herbs is on my grilled vegetables, even when I use the "George".  On those 90 degrees plus days, I break him out!!

and even on my eggs, they are delicious!

Do you grow herbs?  If you have any other tips or suggestions, please let me know.  I sure don't like to waste them.

Have a wonderful day!,

Friday, June 28, 2013

It's all about family and good friends!

The positive side of my trip to Tennessee to attend the parole hearing was getting to spend a little time with my family and best friend.

My Aunt Judy and I.  I got to spend 2 nights with her and catch up.  She is one of mother's younger sisters who is 78 years old!!  She sure does not look her age!! that is for sure.

Me and two of my cousins, Kim and Paula!!!

Quiet the motley crew!!  Several of my Aunts, Cousins and Second Cousins went to eat Mexican.  That place will never be the same!!

This is another of my Mother's Sisters, Aunt Shirley with my brother, who was the only male in the bunch!!  He does not seem to mind!

I was able to spend Saturday with my best friend, but I was so exhausted that I never thought to get a  picture of us.  She and I did a tiny bit of shopping and had lunch.  Went back to her house and piled up on her sofa and watched Identity Theft together, so it was a great end to the day!!

When all is said and done, this is what's it's all about!  Spending time with our family and best friends are priceless.  I am so excited, my mother's oldest sister, is turning 90 years old.  We are having a birthday party slash family reunion in July.  We have family coming in from Houston, TX, Columbus, Oh, Waycross, Ga, Jacksonville, FL and me, Bardstown, Ky.  We'll all be meeting up in Oak Ridge, Tn.  I cannot wait, I have not seen a lot of my family in over three years!!  You know there will be some major shopping, eating, wine drinking, laughing, story telling and fun, fun, fun!!!  Hopefully there will be parts I will be able to share!  LOL

Enjoy your family and friends today and everyday you can.

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just not feeling it...

I swear every time I start getting ready to start up my blogging again something happens that makes it seem so trivial! Nothing personal to any one, I'm so glad the majority of blog land doesn't have all these heart felt roadblocks.  After getting my life settled down somewhat last week, at least temporally, then one of my dear sweet friends, Pat over at Gypsy Heart lost her grand daughter who was just short of being 16 years old in a tragic automobile accident last Friday night. They have just had her celebration of life service for her.  Breaks my heart! So so young, her whole life ahead of her. My blog godmother, at Life and Linda is going through hell fighting ovarian cancer for the second time!  Then I find out yesterday, our long time mail lady downtown lost her 55 year old husband over the weekend to a head on collision in Missouri where he was on a bike trip with his brother.  

I am feeling so over whelmed with all this bad stuff, it's just hard for me blog about happy things.  Maybe tomorrow will be a new day.  I am sending thoughts and prayers to all of them and their families and hope things will be better tomorrow.

Love and hugs to everyone.  They say everything happens for a reason, but I don't know what these reasons could be.  But, I guess we're not suppose to know everything.


Starting to feel human again!

Well, it's taken me a few weeks, but have finally started feeling like myself again. It's been a really long, hard, stressful four months, but I am getting there.  We are still working on the detached, it's slowly coming along. Between the weather, schedule conflicts, the concrete plant breaking down, of course on the day we were to get concrete, it was finally finished this past Sunday .  I am just thankful I can pull my vehicle under cover now with all the bad storms. I'm so grateful for the little things right now. Ill post some pictures soon. 

See no ceiling!  No gutters either.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thank you all

As most of you know I have been going through one of the hardest things I have ever endured in my life the past few months and that is saying a lot.  I just wanted to take a moment to let those who have been kind enough to comment and message me regarding the parole hearing of my mother's murderer.  It is finally over for this go around.  The hearing was held in Mountain City, TN at the prison where he has been incarcerated for 28 years.  My brother, his son, who is 20 years old, and myself sat in the same room with this man for the third time to hear him tell what he did to our mother and my nephew's grandmother. It is the most sicking, exhausting thing you can imagine to endure, but you have to do it.  The Tennessee Parole Board has 7 judge members and we must obtain 4 of their votes to revoke his request for parole in order to keep this cold blooded murderer in prison.

I received my official letter from the Board of Parole this past Monday, June 17 and it states, "the release from custody AT THIS TIME WOULD DEPRECIATE THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE CRIME OF WHICH THE OFFENDER STANDS CONVICTED OR PROMOTE: (you think!??)




 I know you can't read this, unless you have better eyes than me...
For those who have no clue about this process, and I sure wish I didn't, it's pretty lame. But, I am very grateful for a three year extension of his imprisonment and justice for my mother's death.  It's all we have, but three years is certainly a short time when it comes to this.

I just want to thank you all for your love, caring, prayers and support during this time.  I hope I have a little piece of my life back and hope to be more in touch and more involved with my blog.  I've missed you all and my blog.

Love and hugs to all...

my mother's 88th birthday was June 2, two days before this hearing of the man who killed her.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

New Project Finally!!

The contractor finally started on our new project at the house this week due to the weather breaking and dry soil!  I'm very excited to get this last phase done and over with, besides it will be so nice to have the extra room.

This is going to be my covered outdoor area.  A large room on the back for storing lawn equipment and garden tools, etc...  Patio furniture in the winter, things like that.  You have no idea how much room I will acquire in the attached garage once this is done!  Yay...  Hopefully by the end of this week the roof will be on and get ready for concrete to be poured.  We'll have room to pull vehicles in, especially when we have bad storms and have a outdoor cooking space.  I'm very excited.  I'm hoping, It'll be ready to complete the landscaping by the time I return from Tennessee the first week of June.

Speaking of landscaping, You will not believe how my landscaping has taken off and filling in.  It's amazing!!

And do you remember that I looked at mud for 5 months!!??  well take a look at this!

Nope, I do not live on a golf course!  but it sure is starting to look like it.  We had the yard power seeded and fertilized and poof!  green carpet.

My herbs and flower containers are already busting at the seams,

My container of lettuce will be ready for its first clipping for dinner next week if it keeps this up.
Although our Spring was winter, and we went straight from 60 degrees to almost 90, obviously somethings like that, but not me.  I miss Spring!!

How are things growing where you are?? I hope everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend.

Love and hugs,

Friday, May 17, 2013

The "real" reason I've been MIA!

Over the past few months I have been going through a very difficult, very emotional, trying time.  I have not been blogging because first of all, I've always wanted my blog to be my "happy" space, but in reality, I've decided, it should be my honest, what's going on in my life space and what is a blog good for if you cannot write about what's going on in your life and get support from your friends.  I've really struggled with sharing this information because it is so personal and so horrible and so painful, but here goes.

On December 31, 1984, my wedding day, was the last time I saw my mother.  On March 25, 1985 she was brutally murdered in her place of business by a 22 year old drug addict.  The crime was very horrific and brutal, I won't give you gory details, but it was bad.  He stole less than $300 dollars from her and then went back and murdered her so he would not get caught.  My mother was the most kind, loving, giving person you would ever want to meet.  She had paid this guy to do odd jobs for her in order for him to make money.  She would have given him money if only he would have ask.

Back in the day of this crime, laws were very different.  He received "Life" in prison, but then there was no "no possibility of parole" and he would have to serve 51 years before being eligible to go before a parole board.  Due to the difference in the laws from then to now, he only had to serve 20 years before being eligible to apply for parole.  He has served 28 years, but we have to fight his parole every three years now.  It is the most horrible, painful, cruel and inhumane treatment that there is.  My family and I must endure reliving my mother's murder every three years!  I can tell you that it comes very quickly!! The only thing that we as the victims can do for this hearing is obtain oppositions against his release!  Yep, that's it!

I am only sharing this information because I really needed to write about it and get things out of my head.  I have not been blogging and keeping up with my friends because of all the work and time that I have to spend preparing for this lame judicial process that we have to endure, but also because during this time, I feel so guilty doing anything fun or rewarding.

All I am asking from my best bloggy buddies is that I need prayers to help me and my family make it through this horrible process and pray that this cold blooded murderer does not get released on parole.

This is my beautiful mother with me on my wedding day.  Her birthday is June 2, she would be 88 years old and I will be traveling to Tennessee on this day to attend her murderer's parole hearing on June 4.  Great vacation!??

Bless you all.  I am thanking all of you in advance for your prayers!  I really want my life back!!

Love and hugs,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I Just Wanted to Say Hello! and I Miss Everyone

I know I've been MIA for a while now.  I have had so much going on in my life between the sale of the big house, going to storage, buying a really small house, going through everything I own and getting out of three storage units.  Once I got most of that done, the weather broke a bit and was able to get fill dirt and top soil brought in for the yard and it took several weeks in between the weather being up and down to get it dried out enough to get it spread, graded and the yard power seeded and fertilized.  Most of the landscaping is done and it's doing great.

Then all of a sudden it's mid April and we have the Kentucky Oaks and Derby upon us!!  I have been up to my armpits in hat decorating, purse making, soap making, working more at the store that I can hardly see.  Two fashion shows and Oaks and Derby only two days away, I'm hoping things will calm down some, but that won't last long.

I just wanted to check in.  Let you all know I'm still alive, just buried alive and I miss you all.  The month of May is so busy here, but it is a lot of fun and I love every minute of it.

Will share a few photos, but will do more later when I've got more time...

Derby Hat and Fashion show at Wickland Park, Bardstown, KY...

More at Wickland Park...

Just a few of my hats...

Some of the landscaping...  It's really starting to grow and get all settled in...  Yay!!  The grass is growing like crazy...

These are a few of my Derby inspired homemade soaps..  they make great hostess gifts for Derby parties and out of town guest to take home a little piece of Kentucky!

a few of my one of a kind Derby inspired handmade purses...

My lucky one's, decorated "real" horse shoes, everyone needs a little luck!!

Anyway, as you can see, I've been a little busy and I apologize for the length of this post, but I may not be back for a few days!

I hope you enjoy seeing what I've been up to and I have been checking in on you when I have a few minutes, but I'll be back more often after this week!

Have a wonderful week, happy Derby time, if you get involved and hope everyone is doing great!

Love and hugs!!

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