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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Home of the Arch and Budweiser Clydesdales

My mom and I had the opportunity to spend this past weekend together in St. Louis...
I had never been here before.

I had a wonderful time! Looking forward to our next mini vacation!
A big THANK YOU to my mom for providing the chance to go out there!
I am also thankful for my husband who doesn’t mind if I go on a mini vacation without him.

I decided to leave right after work on Friday (as in I was already packed the night before and I brought my stuff to work with me) in order to allow me to have as much time as I could there.
It took me about 4 ½ hours to get there from Louisville - very easy trip – just hop onto I-64 almost the whole way to the city.

Moving on to the good stuff of where we went, what we saw and where we ate....

You cannot visit St. Louis without going to see the Gateway Arch.

It’s a landmark!
A must see!
Even ‘Fox and Friends’ shows the Arch on the show’s intro music.
Do you disagree?
Surely not!

Saturday we got an early start and went here first before it got busy.
In case you are curious, they open at 8 AM every day of the year except for 2 days.
Like all tourists we took a bunch of pictures all around and next to the arch. We also went into the Arch to look around.

Did you know they have a small museum you can visit for free? We didn’t either.

When you first enter the Arch (the underneath), you walk into a big open area which I was not
expecting. A big circular counter manned by several people is directly in front of you waiting to assist you. Picture Ben Stiller walking into the Smithsonian Museum for the first time – it reminded me of that scene from the movie.


They had this beautiful work of art on the wall where a line forms to watch some sort of video we didn’t watch. We were so early no one was in line yet. Worked out nicely for my picture.

In the museum they had real looking ‘people’ telling you there stories about the Arch and how they are a part of it. They look extremely real! They just start 'talking' when you walk up to them. When no one is near them they don't talk, but their eyes continue to look around and blink. It is a bit creepy. I honestly thought they might be real people at first.
Makes me think I NEVER want to go to a wax museum - I might get too freaked out.
The museum displayed several different artifacts to include this tee pee:

My mom is nervous with heights so we did not go up into the Arch. Perhaps next time.
 
While looking for a place to park for the Arch (parking meter), we saw this gorgeous old Catholic church.
The moment you walk into the church you could feel the history oozing out from everywhere. It was a little frightening to me. I felt like I had walked back into time and was experiencing the church as it was 50 years ago.
I am very glad I got to see what a traditional Catholic Church looks like in comparison to the church we attend. I like our newer church look, but maybe the reason is because I am used to it. This seems much more formal then I like as well.
 
Check out this bicycle we saw on our way back to the car:
Crazy looking!
Next stop was to the Farmer’s market!
I loved how busy and fast paced the environment was in comparison to other ones I have visited.


In addition to the Gateway Arch, no trip to St. Louis is complete without seeing the Budweiser
Clydesdales.

Beautiful animals!
Massive!
Check out these measurements:

To see these beauties we went to Grant’s Farm which is owned by Budweiser.
Grant’s Farm was marvelous!
Do not miss this stop if you make your way here!

The first thing we did when we got here was go to the right to see them. You can see some of the areas where they train, play and sleep.
One of the fun things we got to do was meet the famous Evan.

Evan’s claim to fame is when he starred in a Budweiser commercial several years ago when he was still young. He was the small/young Clydesdale attempting to pull the Budweiser sleigh and had to have help from two older Clydesdales to move it.
I had to YouTube it since I didn’t remember it.
Please watch!
Too cute!
Poor little guy kept pulling and pulling!
Just wasn't big enough to do it all by himself.

We had our picture taken with him. We were even able to pet him and ask his handler a few questions.

No one else was there to have their picture taken with him that early in the day. I stayed and petted him while mom paid and then we both petted him some more. We got lucky.
When I walked by again later in the day, his handler was washing his nose (she told me it was running).
She stopped and talked to me for a few minutes and I was able to pet him some more.
She must love her job!
 
They have very nice grounds at Grant’s Farm.
To view the other side of the farm you take a tram directly through the grounds - the scenic route to see a bunch of different animals.
They were so close to us!

 
Can you tell?

Even Matt was amazed when he saw the pictures.

We also saw President Ulysses S. Grant's house:

We got to feed goats.
What fun!
This was a new experience for me. Maybe for my mom as well.

Yes, they have a lot of goats. And yes, lots of people are there to feed them. Yet somehow these goats still acted like they were starving! You would feed one and then three others would come butt in! The moment you took away the bottle they would all leave you and go to the next person who was holding one out.
It was so funny!
And very cute!
Both my mom and I enjoyed this and would do it again!

Almost makes me want to have a few goats in my backyard so I can feed them bottles.
Not so sure Wyatt and Jake would appreciate sharing their yard with other animals. I’m not even sure they like sharing the yard with each other.

I did say 'almost'.

After leaving the farm we drove around the area where the zoo, art museum, history museum and other buildings were located.
Here are a few of the things we saw:

We ended our sightseeing filled day with cannoli from Vitale's Bakery and dinner at Favazza’s in the Hill.
The Hill is an area in St. Louis which is completely Italian.
So obviously, Favazza’s is an Italian restaurant.

Mom had chicken and I had steak.

Yummy!
We both had our leftovers boxed up only to be eaten later that evening.

Oh! I almost forgot to show you -
I have now seen the largest Catsup bottle in the US (maybe the world)!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dear Penn Station,

I love your sandwiches!
My husband loves your sandwiches!
We both love your fresh cut fries!


Mmmmmmm……
Makes my mouth water to even think about you and your sandwiches and fries.
I enjoy your honey mustard on my sandwich.
Is this supposed to be a secret ingredient?
I have been eating at your restaurants at least twice a month ever since Matt and I discovered you here
in Kentucky and I have been trying to figure out what brand of honey mustard you use.
Your employees never know the brand when I ask. Or are they not wanting to tell me?
Shame on you Penn Station if you are trying to keep this a secret. Secrets don’t make friends.


After 2 ½ years I now know the answer:
Naturally Fresh Honey Mustard Dressing

Hope you don’t mind me sharing this information – would be mean not to share.
We’ll still eat at your restaurants.


Thank you for your wonderful food!

Your loyal customer,

Monday, August 20, 2012

“And may the odds be ever in your favor”

Check out what I bought yesterday:
Yep – The Hunger Games on Blu-ray!
I bought mine from Kroger since they had a promotion going on to get all the items pictured for FREE
when you bought the movie. All for $19.99 - the same price as everywhere else without the free extras.
We watched it yesterday and I gotta tell you; it was as good as it was in theater. We need surround
sound at my house to make it even better. I had the TV volume up to 50 (I normally watch TV at about
20 or 25). Luckily for me, Matt was okay watching it so loud. In fact, I think he is used to it.
Sometime this week I plan on watching the second DVD to see if there are any good extras. I already
know there are no deleted scenes which makes me a little sad. Those are always my favorite.


Been wondering where I have been and why I haven’t been blogging?
The answer is very simple.
I haven’t had anything blog worthy to write about.
Nothing new is going on in my life. Nothing. I am hoping since it is starting to get cooler outside I will do
a little more. Then maybe I will have something to write about.
One of the other reasons I haven’t wrote is because I am a little ashamed to tell you I haven’t made
much progress in our bedroom. This will all change in two weeks. I decided to paint our entire bedroom
(ceiling and all) and I figure Labor Day weekend is a good time to do it. I am off work on that day so it
allows me an extra day to accomplish everything I want to complete. I have already picked out the color
and tested it on the wall. I am too lazy to get up and look at the name of the color or I would let you
know.

I do have a few pictures of some things we have been doing over the last few weeks which I will share
with you.

We did have a chain link fence around most of our backyard – now we have wood!
We brought it in a few feet to make sure it is only on our property.
Both of us are greatly enjoying our new privacy fence. I think even our dogs enjoy it. I know I feel more
secure with the wood fence and our dogs. They are safe. The people who live on one side of me do not
watch their kids and I was always concerned they would put their fingers through the fence to pet Jake
or do something else to him and then he would bite them. He is a big softy so the likelihood was slim,
but I didn’t want to take the chance to allow that to happen and then have them sue us. They are THAT
type of people.
At least I get that feeling.
I could be wrong.
Matt thinks I am wrong.
I don’t think I am.
Enough of this though.
It’s a moot point now.
Hopefully.
Better be.
Maybe we should get a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign.
Can people sue you if you have this sign and they still get bit?
Doesn’t seem they should be able to if you have a sign and they are on your property –trespassing. Of
course, while I was in college I took Business Law 101 and leaned if a robber comes into your home and
gets hurt they can sue you. So STUPID!

*Deep breath in*
*Exhale*

Who makes these laws???

Speaking of my newly fenced in yard…. One day I gave Jake a brand new tennis ball.
He LOVES tennis balls!
He likes to chase them, hold them, and chew on them (So cute! You can see his jaw moving up and
down on the ball while in his mouth. It’s a funny sight to see.).
He even likes to bury them!
Makes me mad when he digs!
I gave him his second ball from his pack of three since he has the first one wedged under the
deck ‘hidden’. I threw it, he chased it, brought it back near me, I pried it from his teeth, and repeated.
Fun game he enjoys and I don’t mind playing.
Eventually I got sick of playing and went inside to do something. I couldn’t have been gone more than
five minutes when I came back outside to play some more with him.
I see Jake. I saw no ball.
Well, do you remember my ‘rock garden that I removed all the rocks and added soil and seeds to grow
grass?
It looked different to me.
He dug in it.
Not only dug, but buried his ball!
I unburied it.
Not sure he liked that so much.
He was very proud of himself - annoyed with me though!
Ha ha ha!
I showed him!

I made an ice cream cake.
Yummy!
We both immensely enjoyed it!
I won’t make another one until we have a birthday, holiday or something to celebrate. I made this one
for no reason at all since it was my first attempt.
It was very easy to make, just time consuming.
My ‘frosting’ was too thin. I need to work on a different recipe for this part. It had a wonderful taste –
like my mom said, ‘What’s not to like, it was just heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar!”.
My ice cream cake consisted of 2 layers of cake, 2 layers of ice cream and 2 layers of crushed up Oreos
in fudge. The only thing I would change in my ice cream cake is I would do three instead of two layers of
crushed up Oreos in fudge next time. This was my favorite part!
I need a birthday to celebrate so I can make another.
Guess I will have to wait for my birthday November.

One weekend when I was in Tennessee, my mom and I met my brother for brunch at Puckett’s Grocery
and Restaurant in downtown Nashville.
Really neat restaurant.
Had a steady flow of customers.
You can tell a lot about a place based on how busy they are. Obviously its name tells you what I used to
be, but now they only serve food and souvenirs.
This was my first time here. My brother evidently has been here several times and has even taken my
mom here once.
One day I will have to take Matt.
On my brother’s suggestion I ordered Puckett’s Famous Burger.
Somehow I forgot to take a picture of the actual burger so this is all you get.
(Not sure why this is sideways)
I was impressed was the taste of the burger and how it wasn’t dripping grease.

Happy Monday!