Penny's Passion: September 2018

Saturday, September 29, 2018

National Coffee Day

Happy Saturday!  It's so rare for me to post on a Saturday, but I saw that it was National Coffee Day today and there's something I just had to share with you!

National Coffee Day September 29

Now full disclosure - I do not drink coffee.  I know.  I love the smell of coffee, but the taste just never has made me excited.  Over time, I do have a complicated-to-say drink I can order from Starbuck's and I even tell them to only put in half the normal amount of coffee.  Yes, the barista usually asks me to repeat that because who goes to Starbuck's and says they only want half the coffee!  Me, I do.  I don't like coffee.

But because most of my friends and family love it, I've learned a thing or two over the years about the muddy stuff and there's one gadget I want to share with you today - an electric frother.

My friend, Linda, was using her frother one weekend when we were visiting and my daughter-in-law fell in love with it.  I made a mental note and gifted her one the following Christmas.  That was a couple years ago and just recently she told me how much she still loves it and uses it often.  That's a sign of a good gift!

The specs on the above frother are ~
PERFECT MILK FROTH: Whisks milk into thick hot or cold foam with consistently small froth bubbles within 2 minutes to perfect your coffee or milk drink; also ideal for simply heating up milk without burning it
SIMPLE ONE-BUTTON CONTROL: Simply press the On/Off button for heated frothing or heating and hold for cold frothing; takes around 110 seconds to produce heated milk froth at 65 °C (149 °F); about 120 seconds for cold frothing
SILENT & CONVENIENT OPERATION: Uses magnetic stirring technology to operate silently without vibrations; no dangerous steam or annoying battery replacement issues common with other milk frothers
SEE-THROUGH AND SPLASH-PROOF LID: The fully transparent lid allows you to monitor the frothing process; the removable silicone sealing ring reliably prevents leaks
SAFE & EASY TO CLEAN: The inside of the jug is made of food-grade stainless steel and ILAG non-stick coating, ensuring high build quality; the easily removable parts make cleaning a breeze; 90 days return and 24 months warranty from the date of purchase
If you would like one of these for yourself or know someone who would love to get one as a gift (Christmas is only 86 days away!), click HERE to check it out.


Now back to my normal Saturday activities!  Enjoy your weekend and happy National Coffee Day!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Five on Friday - September 28, 2018

It's Friday!!  The weekend is knocking on the door and I'm ready to answer.  We've had a great week - saw a movie on Tuesday, saw Love Never Dies on Wednesday and had dinner with our son and daugher-in-law on Thursday.  Now it's Friday and I'm ready to share my five on Friday ~

1.  New Amsterdam
Fall is here and so is the new season of shows.  I picked up on New Amsterdam this week and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I saw the reviews the next day and they were not great, but I'm still going to give it a chance.  The star of the show, Ryan Eggold, was Tom Keen from The Blacklist.  Catch it on NBC Tuesday evenings and let me know what you think of it.

2.  National Good Neighbor Day
Do you know your neighbors?  Well, today would be a great day to meet them - it's National Good Neighbor Day!  We are blessed to have great neighbors.  I hope they have the same feeling about us!  If you want to impress those living around you, use today to drop off some cookies or do some yard work for them today.  You can never do enough for your neighbors, right!

National Good Neighbor Day September 28

3.  A Simple Favor
Eric and I had a date night this week and saw A Simple Favor.  This movie was quite good!  It's about a woman who is seeking to uncover the truth behind her best friend's disappearance.  I was expecting suspense and we got that, but in addition we got a little humor.  Several times the entire audience had a little chuckle. This flick also has some great twists.  Have you seen it? 

4.  Nordic Ware Pumpkin Patch Loaf Pan
In honor of everything pumpkin, check out this adorable pumpkin patch loaf pan.  Imagine baking your pumpkin bread in this baby!  Added bonus, the inside is non stick for easy release.  Want one for your kitchen?  Click HERE to check it out.

5.  This is one reason I'm glad I only have one child:

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Now, let's get out there and enjoy the weekend!  I have a low key Saturday and am going to have a fishing day with my family on Sunday.  I have this vision of us all sitting around the lake, laughing and enjoying the sunshine.  I'm also hoping to get some cute pictures of my niece and nephews.  Pop back in on Monday to see what really happens!

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Friday Favorites Linky Party - September 28, 2018

Hello Friday Friends!  Enjoy all the link today and have a wonderful weekend!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
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Thinking Out Loud Thursday - Rome: Day Uno

September has been a whirlwind month and it started with a trip of a lifetime to Italy.  The trip was made even more special because I got to share it with my husband, Eric, and my best friend, Linda.  The three of us rose early on Saturday morning and headed to the airport with all the excitement our bodies could hold.  That's what I'll be thinking out loud about today!

We had booked our trip through Travelocity back in February and had been anxiously awaiting September to arrive.  Little secret - I went through Ebates to get to Travelocity.  (Side note - if you haven't signed up for Ebates, what are you waiting for?!?  It's free money and SO easy to use.  Click HERE to get started.)

Our flight plan was St. Louis to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Rome on Delta.  The total travel time was scheduled for 15 hours and 20 minutes.  We landed in Rome right on time -- 8:00 am on Sunday morning.  I had arranged a driver through our hotel to pick us up and she was waiting with our name on a sign as soon as we cleared customs.  Our home for the week was Hotel Delle Nazioni.  This centrally located hotel was a fabulous place to have as a home base.  More on the hotel later.

We are big believers in the Rick Steves travel books and we carried both the Italy and Rome ones with us on vacation.  Last year we had the Paris book for our adventure there and he didn't let us down one time.  Same held true for this trip to Italy.

We arrived at the hotel and thankfully our rooms were ready.  We dumped our bags and hit the streets.  Our first destination was located steps away from our hotel -- The Trevi Fountain.  I'm not even kidding, I bet I ended up with 785748 pictures of this spectacular landmark.  It was so close to our hotel that we literally passed it at least 2 or 3 times per day.

Our walk took us to Piazza Navona.  Here we witnessed crowds gathered to enjoy life music and entertainers.  We sat down to try our first pizza of the week and a little caffeine.

With our Rome book in hand, we followed Rick's suggestion of The Heart of Rome walking tour.  We ventured past the Pantheon and headed to the Spanish Steps.   Even though we were operating on limited sleep, we climbed the 138 steps (which seemed like 8,000) to the top to take in the sweeping view of the city.

We rewarded ourselves for the hike to the top of the steps with our first (of many) gelato.  Oh my goodness - it was so good!

On our way back to the hotel, we stumbled across what ended up being one of our favorite restaurants of the week - Origano.

After logging 16,320 steps on my Fitbit, we crawled into bed at the early time of 8:30 pm.  We felt our first day was a success and we were anxious to get a good night's rest and start again the following morning.  Stay tuned for our Day 2 adventures!

What are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share! 

Enjoy more Thoughts for Thursday at:

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - September 26, 2019

Welcome to the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Oh my goodness, fall has arrived! It is official and you can certainly see it in the sky. Night comes earlier, much earlier. And, the fall decor and pumpkin recipes abound. Take a look at our features and see ... two of our most viewed posts were fall table decor and we have a delicious pumpkin recipe, too!

Most Viewed

Simple fall tablescape from Stilettos and Shiplap
Simple Fall Tablescape - Stilettos and Shiplap

Very Popular

Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake from Kleinworth & Co
Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake - Kleinworth & Co
My 2018 Fall Tablescape by Decorate and More with Tip
My 2018 Fall Tablescape - Decorate and More With Tip

Editor's Picks

Basil Frogs in the Garden - God's Growing Garden
Blueberry Lemon Bread - My Recipe Treasures

  And now it is time to get this party started!
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 2018

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Monday, September 24, 2018

Weekending - September 21, 2018

Welcome to Monday friends!  It always surprises me how fast the weekend goes by and how quickly we are starting a new week.  The good news for me is after several hectic weeks and things on my to do list, this is the first week in a while that looks pretty calm.

So the highlight of the weekend was celebrating my dad's 80th birthday!  It was great having family together and enjoy the beautiful day. 

We gathered in the city park where the kids had plenty of things to play on to keep them happy while the adults barbecued ribs.  My arms are a little sore from all the pushing on the swings!

Birthday's just aren't complete without cake -- and the cake we had both looked adorable and tasted fabulous!

Saturday night on the way home we swung by Cooper's Hawk to do our September tasting.  Ian and Kayla met us there and we enjoyed dinner after sampling the wines.

Sunday morning we decided to catch a movie.  We are still hanging on to our Movie Pass membership and we haven't used it much lately.  Frankly, they have been changing their policies on a daily basis and I'm not even sure what the rules are anymore.  One of the selections available to see on Sunday was Crazy Rich Asians and it had been on our list for weeks.  We both thought it was cute.  Not great, but good.  The story was pretty predictable.  Have you seen it?  What did you think?

Sunday afternoon we spent some time cleaning up all the wedding stuff we had piled in our dining room.  The wedding I helped with last weekend (how could it be a week already?!?) was on Sunday and when we rolled in at midnight we literally unloaded the cars and put everything in the dining room.  I was out of town on business most of the week, and while I was gone the wedding stuff didn't put itself away.  Thank goodness we don't have a dinner party planned in our near future, because wedding stuff if still all over the table!

After a while, I took some time relaxing and finishing a book I had been reading -- The Woman in the Window.  What a book!  It was the pick of my visual book club and I'm not sure it's a book I would have chosen on my own.  My typical go to read is not a suspense thriller.  This one was very enjoyable and once I got started, I had a hard time putting it down.  Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Sound like a book you'd like to read?  Click HERE to get your copy.

The Woman in the Window: A Novel by [Finn, A. J.]

We ended the day by going to our favorite ice cream shop, Dairy Haven, for a sweet treat.  They close in the winter so we know our trips there are limited for the season. 

Hope you logged a fun weekend and are starting the week on a good note.  Pop in later this week and see what's happening on the blog!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Five on Friday - September 21, 2018

It's Friday!  Who else is ready for a weekend?!?  I've been out of town since Wednesday with work and am anxious to get home.

Before I launch into my five for today, I want to wish my dad a very happy 80th birthday!  What a role model he has been in my life!  He is the most genuine, hard working, honest man you will ever meet.  Happy birthday, dad!  Can't wait to celebrate with you tomorrow.

Now -- let's look at my five for today ~

1.  Mickey Oreos
Speaking of birthdays - on Monday Oreos will begin selling their limited-edition birthday cake-flavored cookies to celebrate the 90th year of the Mickey Mouse character.  They will be available nationwide while supplies last.  Mickey's official birthday is November 18.  Wonder if these cookies will last that long or if they will be totally consumed by then.

Image result for mickey oreos

2. Cravings:  Hungry for More
Chrissy Teigen's new cookbook hit the stands on Tuesday and I'm dying to get my hands on it.  I read cookbooks like most people read novels.  Flipping through the pages and scanning the recipes is one of my favorites things to do.  From peeking inside this book, it looks like Chrissy has a brief foreword before every recipe -- love that!  Here's the summary from Amazon:
Cravings: Hungry for More takes us further into Chrissy’s kitchen . . . and life. It’s a life of pancakes that remind you of blueberry pie, eating onion dip with your glam squad, banana bread that breaks the internet, and a little something called Pad Thai Carbonara. After two years of parenthood, falling in love with different flavors, and relearning the healing power of comfort food, this book is like Chrissy’s new edible diary: recipes for quick-as-a-snap meals; recipes for lighter, brighter, healthier-ish living; and recipes that, well, are gonna put you to bed, holding your belly. And it will have you hungry for more.
If you're interested in picking up a copy, click HERE to grab it from Amazon. 
Image result for cravings hungry for more
Must be the week for celebrity books - Reese Witherspoon's Whiskey in a Teacup hit the stands on Tuesday also.  I'm a fan of this Academy award winning actress and am excited to crack open her new book.  Here's the Amazon summary on this one:
Reese Witherspoon’s grandmother Dorothea always said that a combination of beauty and strength made southern women “whiskey in a teacup.” We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.
Reese’s southern heritage informs her whole life, and she loves sharing the joys of southern living with practically everyone she meets. She takes the South wherever she goes with bluegrass, big holiday parties, and plenty of Dorothea’s fried chicken. It’s reflected in how she entertains, decorates her home, and makes holidays special for her kids—not to mention how she talks, dances, and does her hair (in these pages, you will learn Reese’s fail-proof, only slightly insane hot-roller technique). Reese loves sharing Dorothea’s most delicious recipes as well as her favorite southern traditions, from midnight barn parties to backyard bridal showers, magical Christmas mornings to rollicking honky-tonks.
It’s easy to bring a little bit of Reese’s world into your home, no matter where you live. After all, there’s a southern side to every place in the world, right?
If you would like to add this to your book collection, click HERE.

               Image result for when was whiskey in a teacup by reese witherspoon released

Now that we are nearing the end of September, my thoughts are drifting to our next holiday - Halloween!  I ordered this black lace fireplace mantle scarf with a spider web design this week from Amazon for only $5.99!  If it doesn't work on my mantle, I might throw it over the buffet in the dining room.   Wherever it ends up, it will add just a bit of spooky to my decorations.  Want one for your house?  Click HERE to check it out.

5.  I refuse to get old....

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Okay guys -- have a great weekend!  I'm headed home today from a work trip and hope to get a lot accomplished tonight before we head out tomorrow morning to celebrate my dad's birthday.  Then on Sunday I might just sleep the day away!  Check back in on Monday to see how the weekend turned out.

Linking up with:
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Friday Favorites Linky Party - September 21, 2018

Happy Friday!  Enjoy all the goodness in today's links!

Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:
Jerri at Simply Sweet Home - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Lisa at Condo Blues - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Penny at Penny's Passion - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst
Kelly at Under a Texas Sky - Twitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL
Jennifer at Busy Being Jennifer - Twitter | FB | Pin | Inst
If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!
You can show your love for this week's favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Dayna and Aaron Got Married!

The last few weeks have been a total whirlwind with vacation, work and a wedding, but things are finally settling down a bit and I'm ready to start sharing all my adventures with you.  Today I want to show you some of the highlights from Dayna and Aaron's wedding.

First, I just have to say that helping with weddings is something that truly fills my cup.  What I mean by that is I always view my life as a cup.  Sometimes my cup is very, very full and sometimes the cup has a huge hole in it and becomes completely drained.  Well, helping with a wedding usually fills my cup to the brim with joy and happiness.  The wedding I helped with last weekend did just that!

Dayna and Aaron (the bride and groom) first met with me about 8 months ago.  Aaron is the son of my sorority pledge mom and she introduced us.  They had already chose a venue and caterer, but everything else was still up for discussion.  I asked Dayna to pin some things she liked so I could start getting an idea of what her dream wedding would look like.  Through this process, I learned that her favorite color was green and she wanted things to be very natural looking.  I also knew they wanted their wedding to be fun for the guests and have a few elements that were not necessarily traditional.

The location of the wedding and reception was Silver Oaks Chateau.  Talk about a fabulous venue -- OH.MY.GOODNESS!  This place is gorgeous and I was so excited to get to do a wedding there.  Dayna and Aaron also took my advice and used two of my all time favorite vendors - Carol Genteman Floral Designs for the flowers and Turner Creative Photography as their photographer.  The dream team was assembled and we got to work.  The end result was breathtaking!  If you are looking for a florist or photographer, I can't recommend these two highly enough.

Rounding out the crew were my friends, TW and Linda, and my husband, Eric.  Big shout out to Linda and TW - they were helping me out of the goodness of their hearts.  Eric was too, but he has to live with me so he kind of didn't really have a choice.  The three of them helped keep me sane and focused.

Now let me share some pictures from the day ~

Dayna made a gorgeous bride!  And believe me, she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the out.  She was magnificent to work with from start to finish.

The wedding was held outside in front of a grand stone fireplace.  Eight months ago when we first started talking about the venue, we were thinking the wedding would be on a nice, cool day and we might even have a fire in the fireplace during the ceremony.  In reality, the temperature was in the 90s and the last thing we needed was additional heat from a fire!  Regardless, the fireplace served as a beautiful backdrop.  And the day was sunny with no rain so it was definitely a win in my book!

Guests were directed to seat themselves.  At each chair, a program, bottle of water and tube of bubbles waited.

When the reception began, guests were directed to their table by the escort cards they picked up upon entering.  I've used this concept at several of the weddings I've coordinated and it always works well.

The tables were adorned with a lantern perched on top of a wood slice surrounded by eucalyptus.  My dad cut all the wood slices for me and they were perfect!  We had made the table numbers to match the escort cards, place cards and menus.


The newlyweds sat at a sweetheart table and were able to be seen by all the guests.  I love when the bride and groom are visible!

A menu was placed on the charger so guests knew what to expect at the three food stations placed around the room.  Ces & Judy's catered and their food was amazing!

In place of a traditional wedding cake, the couple chose to serve their guests bundtinis in four difference flavors from Nothing Bundt Cakes.  Everyone raved about the dessert choice!  Dayna and Aaron had small cakes to cut and serve each other.  Dayna loves Harry Potter and Aaron is a huge Chiefs fan (can you tell).

The night was capped off with lots and lots of dancing.  I think it's safe to say that everyone had the time of their lives and Dayna and Aaron had the wedding they dreamed of!

I'm sure today won't be the last time I share things about this wedding -- there were far too many fascinating elements to put them all in one post.  If you missed the post on their hotel welcome bags, you can catch it HERE.

Congratulations to Dayna and Aaron.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing wedding!  I'll leave you with a couple sneak peek pictures from Erica, the photographer ~

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