Nestles Toll House Delightfulls

Have you tried the new Nestles Toll House Delightfulls filled baking morsels? I have! They added an extra sweetness to their already classic chocolate chip cookie.

cookies

I tried the peanut butter filled one. As pictured above they also have caramel filling. I purchased a bag of those as well but have not yet baked up a delicious, tempting batch. There was also another flavor, some kind of fruit inside but I’m not much on mixing fruit and chocolate so I passed on that purchase. I can’t wait to see how the Nestles Toll House Delightfulls cookies taste with caramel inside.

I must tell you the peanut butter filled cookies went pretty quickly but my family is definitely a fan of chocolate and peanut butter.

cookies

The recipe is on the back of the package. I wholeheartedly encourage you to go purchase a bag of Nestles Toll House Delightfulls Baking Morsels of your choice and bake up a delicious batch soon.

How Blogging Has Empowered Me

Have I told you lately that I am a community lead for The SITS Girls? I am and I have been for over a year now.

Community Lead

The SITS Girls describes themselves as: When The Secret is in the Sauce (aka The SITS Girls) was founded in 2008, its objective was simple: To create a space where bloggers could find their tribe and grow their audience. Although the site has evolved over the years, its commitment to this mission has not changed. Whether you are new to blogging and looking for blogs to read, or a veteran blogger interested in learning everything you can about social media and making money from sponsored posts, The SITS Girls community is for you!

 

So I write posts for The SITS Girls.

Content Creator

I just did and it was on their blog Monday. I am sharing the link here in hopes that you will go check it out for yourselves! How Blogging Has Empowered Me.

Saying Good-bye to a Friend

Saying good-bye to a friend is never easy to do. Sometimes it’s harder than others. This friend has been trapped inside her body for nine years. She had Alzheimers, so to her family and close friends, saying good-bye was a blessing too, especially given her faith and theirs.

Good-bye friend

Jean was a very funny, talented, witty, wise and gifted woman. I have known her for most of my life. She became a friend to me when I reached adulthood. We shared a love of shoes, Jean and I,  and admired each others sharp wits, better known as sarcasm at times. I will always remember the good times we shared.

Her daughter-in-law is a very dear friend of mine and she is also a talented writer and fellow blogger. She wrote a tribute as a blog post a while back and I would like to share it here.

The post is entitle Jean’s Journey.  Jan began the post with this:

My mother-in-law, Jean, is an amazing person. In her lifetime,  she has earned academic  excellence. She has raised five boys. She has kept the books for my father-in-law, Sam, who was a dentist. Jean has fed forty to fifty people at a time in her home, serving delicious  meals, being a great hostess, without even batting an eyelash. She has been an incredibly gifted pianist and has used her skills in several churches. She has accompanied my husband and me when we sang for weddings and other occasions. Jean has led Bible studies throughout her life, and she has been a great student of the Bible. Jean has shown me an example for having faith in all situations.

Please click the link Jean’s Journey to meet my friend Jean.

 

American Queen Steamboat

While dining riverside on the banks of Indiana at Buckheads in Jeffersonville with my husband, we notice a paddle boat docked across the Ohio. It dwarfed The Belle of Louisville, the cruise boat of our city. We could barely make out the name of the boat American Queen Steamboat.

Louisville

We decided after we had finished our lunch to go find out exactly what that boat was all about and just why it was docked in Louisville. The American Queen Steamboat, we discovered, is a river cruise ship that paddles the Mississippi from it’s home port in Memphis, Tennessee, to Louisville, Kentucky, St. Louis, Missouri and Cincinnati, Ohio. The cruises vary, as do the prices and themes of the cruises.

Although we weren’t allowed to go aboard, we did get up close and personal to this quaint but massive river cruise ship.

River Cruises

I have always wanted to explore a river from the luxurious side of a river boat. American Queen Steamboat looks like it would fit the bill. We watched as passengers and employees alike made their way back to board their temporary home on water.

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It took a lot of will power not to sneak aboard, stow away, and paddle upstream to the next destination. Okay, not really, but I sure did want to!

River Boats

My husband came home to check out the website. I would love to do a river cruise and it looks like the American Queen Steamboat would be a great way to fulfill that goal.

 

Chocolate Eclair Cake

We had a family gathering over Labor Day weekend. It’s been a tradition in my family of origin for as long as I can remember. We used to get together at my grandparents’ farm, or go to a park or some halfway point. We always shared food prep. This year I fixed a Chocolate Éclair Cake. I used a recipe that was passed down from my aunt and was included in my mom’s cookbook, Cooking With the Cooks.

Labor Day

Cake

Here is my Aunt Ree’s recipe!

Chocolate Éclair Cake

1 box graham crackers (16 oz)

2 (3 oz) boxes French vanilla (or regular vanilla) instant pudding mix

3 cups whole milk

1 8 oz carton Cool Whip

Mix pudding with milk according to directions on the box. Add Cool Whip to pudding. Put a layer of crackers in the bottom of a 9×13 inch dish or pan, Add a layer of pudding and continue to alternate crackers and pudding, ending with crackers.

Topping

1 stick butter

1 lb. powdered sugar 6 Tbsp. milk

5 Tbsp. cocoa

Cook butter, cocoa and milk on medium heat until it starts to bubble. Mix powdered sugar with cocoa mixture, adding more milk if it’s too thick. Spread on top of graham crackers.

Note: You can use 1 can of ready-to-spread milk chocolate frosting thinned with water for topping if desired. Refrigerate.

 

Canoeing Floyds Fork

Kentucky ranks second only to Alaska in navigable water. Who knew? I didn’t make that up either. It’s on the internet…right on the Floyds Fork Recreational site. Canoeing Floyd’s Fork has been something I have wanted to do for many years and we finally did!

We’re not avid canoeing people here in this family, although our son bought a kayak earlier this year. We usually manage to go once or twice a year. We finally made it to Floyds Fork. The water levels were a little low on the day we went so we were unable to do a destination paddle, which means you paddle to a spot and the company you rented a canoe from picks you up and takes you back to your car. We don’t own our own canoes at this point so when we do go canoeing we rent. We used a company called Green Earth. Due to the low levels we canoed upstream and then back down. It was fun, hot and a little bit of work. At two low points we had to get out of the canoe to get it over the low spots.

canoeing

canoeing

It was a little muddy but we did see a few big fish along the way. I like canoeing in shallow-ish waters and this was a scenic trip.

canoe

It was only a short one hour trip so we kept our packing to a minimum. My husband was in the back of the craft so the majority of the maneuvering was his responsibility. Worked for me!

Canoeing

We reached our destination, Vahalla Golf Course, which was, incidentally where the 2014 PGA Golf Tourney took place a few weeks ago. We were asked not to go past the bridge so we wouldn’t get hit with golf balls. It was a lovely spot to turn around.

I finally canoed Floyd’s Fork! Not only that, I was knee deep in the stuff and I had a blast!

 

Kentucky State Fair

We went to the Kentucky State Fair a couple of weeks ago. It is always the same but I still like to go every year. We have an advantage when it comes to the state fair…we live in the host city , so I’ve been going to the Kentucky State Fair pretty much every year for my entire life!

This year we received free tickets. A friend of my husband enters his wines and gets several tickets in return for his entry. He and his wife gave us two tickets and a parking pass. This is a substantial amount of money when it comes to the fair so we decided to spend our savings on fair food!

Fair

J. Mattingly took home a blue ribbon! This is one of his bottles.

 Next stop we were feeling a hot dog. I don’t know why, maybe it was because we never eat them. I’m not sure why we didn’t go the corn dog route but nonetheless, a hot dog is what we had.

Ky Cattlemen's Association

All beef! 

Fried Snickers Bar

I  kept seeing people walk by with this confectioner’s sugar covered object on a stick. I didn’t know what it was but I did know I wanted one. After a little investigating I discovered I had a choice between a deep fried Snickers Candy Bar, or a deep fried Twinkie (thank the good Lord above that Hostess was re-established)! I chose the candy bar, however, hindsight is 20/20. I would have rather gotten a deep fried Derby Pie but it is what it is. This served its purpose.

Magic show

It wasn’t all about the food. We were at the Kentucky State Fair for about nine hours. We caught a few shows along the way including The Chipper Experience, a magic show with a little humor thrown in!

beyondmybluedoor.com

It was a hot day in the Bluegrass state, which is usually the case in mid August. We were walking around in lower 90º temps with humidity levels pretty high, so we caught the tram to hit the midway instead of making the trek through the incredibly hot parking lot. Some wares along the way were being sold, and Freddy the Farmer, the good ole boy who has been greeting fair-goers for as long as I can remember.

Freddy the Farmer

We actually walked around the entire midway, which was a major feat due to the heat. My husband succumbed to one of the vendors begging for a player of his game. My husband has always liked baseball so he gave it a whirl in hopes of winning a stuffed animal.

midway

chicks

And it truly wouldn’t be a trip to the state fair without popping in to see how the hatching chicks are doing. We see this exhibit every year!

Broknar

My favorite show was this guy…Broknar-the beatbox juggler, who plays drums while beatboxing and juggling! Guess you had to be there, or you can watch here:

cows

Just passing through.

beyoncmybluedoor.com

 

Midway

Deep Fried Bourbon Balls

The deep fried bourbon balls were a bit of a disappointment, I must admit. What were these? Really?! So to make up for this horrid mistake we grabbed a Grater Tater on our way home.

Grater Tater

That’s another one for the books, folks, 2014 at the Kentucky State Fair.

24 Hours in Chattanooga Ruby Falls and Incline Railway

The second portion of our 24 hours in Chattanooga was spent at Ruby Falls and the Incline Railway. I had discovered the day before that Ruby Falls was about an hour tour in a cave. I’m not a huge fan of caves so truth is, I wasn’t looking forward to this portion of our trip but I like a challenge so to the caves we went!

Chattanooga

As we were waiting our turn to take the elevator trip down 260 feet into the earth I had time to reflect on my life just in case the earth decided to quake and the tons of rocks caved in on us. Just kidding. I actually read the story of Leo Lambert and how he set out to reopen the cave to the public that was used by Native Americans and both the Confederate and Rebels of the war against the States as a hospital. I read how Leo discovered the waterfall that was 1,120 feet below the surface of Lookout Mountain, and how he named the falls after his wife, Ruby.

Chattanooga

Our time spent in the cave was interesting and not really as bad as I expected. It didn’t really feel cave-ish. Some of the rock formations were interesting and the way they used lighting down in the cavern was most effective.

Lookout Mountain

 

Lookout Mountain

This was named Donkey because it resembled the back side of one. Someone had a vivid imagination.

Lookout Mountain

The lights doing their thing reflecting off the water was lovely.

Chattanooga

This one called Tobacco Leaves may be deemed as politically incorrect but it did remind me of tobacco leaves, which in turn reminded me of my grandfather’s tobacco barn. Had to snap a shot!

A cave, is a cave, is a cave but I would be remiss if I didn’t regale you with a short video of the waterfall itself. Have you been there? Have you seen it? The lights and music in the distant background added to the experience for sure! Here is a short video of the highest underground commercial waterfall in America.

 

And then we made our last stop before turning our car northward and heading home. We rode the Incline Railway, “America’s Most Amazing Mile”, ascending on a 72.7% grade, while taking in the stunning views.

Lookout Mountain

Lookout Mountain

The end of the 24 hours in Chattanooga had finally come to an end. We grabbed a bite to eat and then headed home. A fast and fun-filled trip.

24 Hours in Chattanooga Springhill Suites Marriott

Disclosure: All opinions are my own. I was given a discount on a room.

After about an hour of riding around in Chattanooga and our Rock City adventure during our 24 hours in Chattanooga, checking our GPS and making phone calls, we found Springhill Suites Marriott at Cameron Harbor. The interesting thing about this hotel is it is the only hotel on the river. There was another hotel with a river view and a few others nearby but we knew what we looking for so we made our decision.

Chattanooga

The staff was excellent, which is no surprise as they are ranked third in the country for customer service of all the Springhill Suites. They are going for the first place slot and my money would be on them if I were a betting girl. The front desk was most helpful and efficient. Amy, the desk clerk on duty, went above and beyond in making sure we had what we needed and that we were satisfied with the accommodations. She made an excellent recommendation for a place to eat in the Bluff View area, an artsy part of downtown.

We walked across a glass bridge above passing traffic below as we were looking for a place to grab a dessert. That was kind of fun and not something I do every day, but I have gotten off topic. I want to tell you more about Springhill Suites!

beyondmybluedoor

Springhill Suites at Cameron Harbor was a quiet setting (which I love) but only a ½ mile to the Aquarium, The Block, which is a parking garage with a huge rock climbing wall on the outside of the building, and a couple of dozen restaurants. Our room had a private balcony that was right on the river. This may sound lame but we spent more than a minute or two looking at fish swimming below from our fourth floor room, and throwing Wheat Thins for the fish, turtles and ducks to go for. Most didn’t.

Chattanooga

Springhill Suites was clean and pleasingly decorated. The sleek lines of the décor added to the overall ambiance of the hotel. I must admit, I am very picky about the places I stay. I have changed hotels mid-stay more times than I care to say, just ask my kids. I have high standards when it comes to a room. Springhill Suites definitely passed my test.

There is a lovely courtyard with a fire pit at Springhill Suites. The night was warm and muggy so we passed on that bit of relaxation but the other features were nice too: an indoor pool with a Jacuzzi, and an exercise room.

courtyard

Marriott

 

Marriott

Lookout Mountain

I did actually use one of these….not for a real workout, more like a try-out.

Springhill Suits serves a complimentary breakfast each morning which includes both hot and cold selections. I truly can’t say enough good things about the place. I would definitely stay there again for a number of reasons. Being on the river, close to town with many attractions close at hand, not to mention the place itself, well let’s just say I highly recommend Springhill Suites Marriott at Cameron Harbor.

Springhill Suites

A great place to write a blog post.

Chattanooga

A comfy bed with a view of the river. Hard to get up!

There was a complimentary breakfast with both hot and cold offerings. The dining area was clean and well-stocked. There was a mart that had many items ready for purchase.

Springhill Suites

Chattanooga

The entire place had an appeal that was pleasing to the eye and inviting for all. I just can’t say enough good things about Springhill Suites Marriott in Chattanooga. I would definitely stay there again!

Lookout Mountain

Chattanooga

Marriott

Chattanooga

We were well rested and fed and ready for the rest of our stay during our 24 hours in Chattanooga.

24 Hours in Chattanooga Rock City

Have you ever been to Chattanooga, Tennessee? I have passed through many times on my way to Florida for family vacations as a kid and as an adult. I even stayed the night there once while on the way to Daytona Beach many, many years ago, but that was only to grab a few winks before making the rest of the trip. This time it was our destination; 24 hours in Chattanooga.

My husband has been on vacation for a week, with another week ahead. We decided to get out of town for a mini vacay…very mini, but a fun trip nonetheless. I knew my plans were a little ambitious with the amount of time we had to spend but hey, I’m always up for a challenge.

Rock City

We arrived at Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain early afternoon on Sunday. We knew we were going to visit all three attractions on the mountain so our best bet was to purchase the three tickets together. This helped to offset the cost of the attractions.

Chattanooga

Sunday we took in the sites of Rock City. What an amazing place that was, walking around on the top of the mountain looking at all the lovely vegetation with views of the valley below. There were also sightings of gnomes. I don’t get the whole gnome thing they have going on, however, it works, so why mess with it?

Rock City

One of the fun things we did was walk across a swinging bridge. It was an experience all its own. It was safe and sturdy but a swinging bridge in those altitudes was a bit daunting.

Chattanooga

One of the best surprises was Café 7 tucked away on the top of the mountain. We knew we were going to stop and dine al fresco on the edge of Lookout Mountain, regardless of the fact that we weren’t really hungry. We decided to settle for a bit of libation until the waitress told us how good the food was. We were thinking she could have been a little biased but the Fried Green tomato BLT with avocado, and Chipotle mayo was to die for. And the fries? I must confess, I do enjoy a good fry more often than I care to admit. We could have stayed all day but we knew we had to keep moving.

Rock City

Rock City

Another added attraction in Chattanooga is the Tennessee River that winds itself around the city. With that thought in mind, we knew we wanted a room with a view so we set about searching for just the right place. And found it we did, Springhill Suites Marriott at Cameron Harbor.

Chattanooga

A few more random shots:

Lookout Mountain

Chattanooga

Lookout Mountain

Rock City