Penny's Passion: October 2018

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Thinking Out Loud Thursday: Rome Trip - Day Sei

Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday!  Has everyone recovered from Halloween last night?  Hopefully you're not in a sugar coma today and are ready for some thinking out loud.  This is my final installment from our trip to Italy.  Today I'm recapping day six.  If you've missed the first five days, you can catch up by clicking on the day below.

       Day Uno      |      Day Due      |      Day Tre      |      Day Quattro      |      Day Cinque

Day Six was our last full day in Rome and we wanted to spend the day letting the city's sites and sounds soak in.  There was a bit of shopping we wanted to do and also take a spin on the Hop On Hop Off Bus.

After our big day in Florence on Day Five, we elected to sleep in a bit on our last day.  We enjoyed breakfast at our hotel for the last time and headed out to purchase our bus tickets.  By mid morning we had our seats on the double decker bus and was cruising around Rome listening to the history of the city on the provided earbuds.  There are five companies in Rome that offer the hop on hop off option, so you might want to do a little research beforehand to know which bus you would like to ride.  We chose the I Love Rome Panoramic Rome tour bus.

The bus carried us around the city and offered a higher-than-ground-level view.  To see many of the main attractions, however, you needed to get off and walk.  This was much different than the hop on hop off bus tour we took in Paris.  I'll be honest, I'm not sure I would do the bus again if in Rome.  Since you had to exit the bus and walk to see many of the attractions, this mode of transportation may not be the most efficient.  Regardless, I'm glad we took a spin around the city on this coach.

We had gotten a recommendation to Piccolo Buco.  Rumor had it they had the best pizza in Rome.  Rumors just might be true!  This eatery is located near the Trevi Fountain and don't be surprised if there's a line outside waiting to get in.  We had a short wait and actually met another couple from the US.  We traded tourist stories and soon we were escorted to a table.

We meandering through the streets and enjoyed all we could on our last day.  So much to enjoy!

By dinnertime, we were ready to try a place we had walked by several times - That's A'more!  We didn't have a reservation, but were able to snag chairs at the bar.  It was fun sitting at the heart of the restaurant's action.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for one more gelato and one more picture of the Trevi Fountain.  

This was a trip we will always treasure - one because Rome is amazing and another because we got to share the experience with our friend Linda.

Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop - October 31, 2018

Welcome to our party!
Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop 2018

Today, we want to give a big shout-out to say "thanks" to our faithful team member, Marilyn Lesniak, of the popular food blog "Marilyn's Treats." Marilyn has hosted our party for years. This will be her last week with us. You have got to know that Marilyn is much more than a co-host to us. She is just one of those people who goes way beyond the call of duty to help others. She shares her blogging expertise with us freely whenever we need help. Example: when our key admin's own blog, Ducks 'n a Row, "blew up" last year and the owner [Sinea] unexpectedly had to quickly migrate to WP from Blogger, Marilyn took over putting each new party together for her and she also coached Sinea as she learned her way on a new platform. It was like teaching someone a whole new language! To say that Marilyn has been a great friend is not even the half of it. Marilyn, you are loved, appreciated and will truly be missed.

So why is she leaving? Know that all is well with Marilyn but life's demands have been changing and she finds it necessary to streamline things a little bit. Sadly, our blog party has to go. "Sniff" As I said, this will be Marilyn's final week with us as a co-host. She will continue to host her own blog parties, create her amazing recipes and, of course, and you will find them on her blog. And she promises to be a frequent guest at this party, for which we are very glad. To keep up with Marilyn, sign up for her blog's email list and you will never miss a new recipe or party. The easy signup form is right at the top of her homepage: MARILYN'S TREATS ANOTHER NOTE TO OUR GUESTS: if you are accustomed to attending this party through Marilyn's Treats, we don't want to lose you! Be sure to follow one or more of our other co-hosts by email so that you receive reminders when our party starts! This week we are sharing our blog URL's [below] to make it super easy for you to follow at least one of us!  

Welcome to the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop

Now, let us begin our party by looking at this week's features:  

Most Viewed

Yema cake
SeƱoras' Yema Cake - Kocina De Pinay in Singapura
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars - Confessions Of A Mommyholic
Fall landscaping
Fall Landscaping - Follow The Yellow Brick Home

Editor's Pick

Denim Christmas Trees
DIY Denim Christmas Trees - Pillarbox Blue

So now let's get this party started! This week, follow our hosts by subscribing to our blogs' email lists!

Simple party guidelines:
  • Please TWEET our party. ♥
  • Add as many of your family-friendly posts as you would like to. No Etsy shops, adult sites or blog parties, please.
  • Visit others. Let them know you’ve been there!
  • If you are NEW, let us know in the comments so that we can follow you back. ♥ Help us find your posts – tell us what number they are?
  • NOTE: party entries appear in REVERSE. i.e. the most recent entry goes to the top! That way all of our guests will have a chance to be seen no matter when they arrive.
Thanks! ♥

Weekending - October 25, 2018

It's Tuesday and I'm just now getting to my weekending post.  I think that's a sign of how my week has started!  Lots to do and barely keeping my head above water!  Regardless, here's a quick wrap up of our weekend ~

First, let me share our Halloween decorations in the family room.  I added a few things this year, which is always fun.  The mantle scarf was an Amazon find and I picked up a cover for our lamp in the same pattern.  


When I pulled in the driveway after work on Friday, I noticed we had been Booed.  Such a fun neighborhood tradition!  Do you do this in your neighborhood? 

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Friday night I finished reading my book club book - A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult.  I'm not going to sugar coat it.  I didn't like this book very much.  Here's the summary from Goodreads ~
The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.
After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.
But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.
Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.
Jodi Picoult—one of the most fearless writers of our time—tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.
A Spark of Light: A Novel by [Picoult, Jodi]

The subject matter of the book is an extremely sensitive one and some of her descriptions were too graphic for me.  I don't have a ton of time to read and when I do, I want it to be enjoyable.  This book borderline crossed the line for me.  The way the book is written, it is constantly jumping time frames and characters.  A little too much for me.  Have you read it?  What did you think?

Before Eric headed off to work on Saturday morning, he set out our donation bags that were being picked up.  It was a great way to keep all those political solicitors from ringing our door bell!  

I hit the chores hot and heavy in the morning with the TV tuned in to the Hallmark channel.  By the afternoon I was in a Christmas movie coma and needed to get out of the house!  Nothing that a little retail therapy couldn't fix.


Since we got Booed on Friday night, I did put together two bags to Boo two additional neighbors.  I think they were delivered without the recipients knowing who they came from!

Sunday Eric had to work again so I spent the day working on a craft project I was doing for a friend and cooking.  Ian and Kayla were coming over for dinner and that made this mama extremely happy!  Sunday night family dinners can't happen very often because usually Eric works Sunday night, but this week he worked early (YAY!).  Didn't get a single picture, but it was a great evening.  I think food just tastes better when you enjoy it around a table full of people.

Now we're into another work week!  This one is going to be a little shorter for us because we're taking a trip to Parke County, Indiana.  What's in Parke County, Indiana?  Several covered bridges and HOPEFULLY some beautiful leaves!  

Hope your week is off to a great start.  Pop back in tomorrow for the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Five on Friday and A Mug Exchange Reveal - October 26, 2018

Happy Friday!  I'm doing a little double duty in this post today.  A while back I signed up over at Wife Mommy Me to do a mug exchange.  Today happens to be reveal day, so I'm sharing my package with you before I get to my normal Five on Friday post.  

If you've read my blog for a hot minute you know how much I love exchanges.  I mean, come on.  Does it get any better than getting a fun package to open waiting at your doorstep?!?  I think not!  

Stephanie from Wife Mommy Me did a fantastic job gathering all the people that wanted to participate and then pairing us up.  The package I received (and who I sent a package to) was from a sweet lady named Caitlin.  You can get to know her by checking out her Instagram at catalinamag.  

Eric and I had ran out on Sunday to get some lunch and when we returned, I noticed a package on the porch.  What a wonderful surprise to come home to!   Look at this adorable mug!  

Caitlin also sent me a variety of tea and a gratitude journal.  Thanks Caitlin!  Your gifts were so thoughtful!  I love them.  

Now, on with my five to today ~

1.  Hallmark Holiday Movies
Tomorrow is the day!  What day you ask.  Hallmark Christmas movies begin.  Starting at 1:00 am on Saturday morning, you can get cozy on the couch and binge watch all the Christmas movies the Hallmark Channel is going to air this year.  I have to admit, I'm kind of excited!  Even though I'm not one to promote Christmas before Thanksgiving (let alone Halloween), I might just be caught watching a Christmas movie in October.  

2.  Face & Body Crayons
Are you still trying to figure out what you and / or your little ones are going to be for Halloween?  You might want to order these and have them on hand for whatever you decide on.   If you order today with Amazon Prime they should arrive before you need them on Wednesday.  They would also be great to have on hand for birthday parties or just a fun play date!  Click HERE to get your set.

3. National Take Back Day
Do you have bottles of prescriptions buried deep in you cabinets that have been there for years and you just really have no idea what to do with them. Here's a solutions! Tomorrow - October 27, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.  The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.  Click HERE for locations to drop off your unused or unwanted drugs.

Image result for national dea take back day

4.  Indivisible
Remember Sarah Drew (April Kipner) from Grey's Anatomy?  Well, she's starring in Indivisible, which opens today.  The trailer for this film seems really good and you'll recognize a few other stars from Grey's too.  Here's the synopsis from Rotten Tomato:
INDIVISIBLE is based on the extraordinary true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. With a strong, faith-filled marriage, the Turners are ready to follow their calling: serving God, family, and country. Fresh from seminary and basic training, Chaplain Turner and his family arrive at Fort Stewart. Yet before the Turners can even unpack their new house, Darren is deployed to Iraq. Heather is left taking care of their three young children alone... as well as serving the families of the other deployed soldiers. Despite a desire to stay connected with their loved ones, the harsh realities of war take a daily toll over the course of the Battalion's extended deployment. Meanwhile back home, babies are born, kids keep growing, and nerves are frayed with every late-night knock on the door. With deeply etched battle scars, the soldiers' long-awaited homecoming is much different than any of their families anticipated. Carrying burdens the other can't comprehend, the Turners must decide if they're willing to face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage.
Image result for indivisible movie poster

5.  Are you ready for Halloween?

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!  I'm planning to hit an early polling place on Saturday and getting my vote in.  Pop back in next week and see what other things happen this weekend.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Italy Trip - Day Cinque

Hello!  Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  Today I'm thinking about our day five from the Italy trip.  If you need to catch up on days one through four, click the day below.

                       Day Uno       |       Day Due       |       Day Tre       |       Day Quattro

Day Five took us outside of Rome to Florence.  We were up bright and early to catch the train north and arrived at the train station well in advance of our departure.  As it turns out, we probably didn't need to arrive as early as we did because locating our exact train and departure track was a breeze.  We had purchased our tickets about five weeks before we arrived in Italy and the round trip cost of each ticket was just under 55 US dollars.  Well worth the day trip to Florence!

The hour-and-a-half train trip was very comfortable and the scenery became more mountainous the closer we got to Florence.  Eric, Linda and I chatted about our day ahead and mapped out our plan of attack.  We had pre-purchased our tickets to both the Accademia Museum and the Uffizi Gallery so we would not have to waste precious time waiting in long lines.  That plan worked like a charm!

We arrived right on time and began wandering the streets looking for the location where we wanted to grab lunch.  The sights and sounds of Florence were fabulous!  It was pretty easy to immediately fall in love with this city!

As luck would have it, Linda had recently reconnected with a past student of hers.  Guess where said student is currently living -- you got it, FLORENCE!  Unfortunately, she was going to be in the US during the time we were in Florence.  But she was able to give us some great recommendations.  One of them was the spot we choose to have lunch -

We literally walked past this little hole in the wall several times before realizing it was the place we were searching for.  So glad we were persistent because it was SOOOO worth it.  You stepped up, ordered your sandwich and found a place to enjoy it on the street.  

After lunch, it was time to get to the Accademia.  David was waiting.  Guys, David is as big as you have heard is.  This Michelangelo masterpiece is still in perfect condition even after 517 years. 

The Accademia had a tons of other statues and a whole area of classic musical instruments.  

From the Accademia, we headed back across town to the Uffizi Gallery.  Eric was particularly excited to hit up this museum so he could see the Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli.  Mission accomplished!

From the Uffizi Gallery, we meandered in and out of a few churches.  So many beautiful things to see!

All day we had been walking past the Duomo, each time I couldn't help but snap a few pictures.  The place is exquisite!  With only one day in Florence, we had elected to skip climbing to the top.  But we spent plenty of time in awe outside looking at it from all angles.

Late in the afternoon we hiked to the Piazzale Michelangelo.  Guys -- don't skip this location if you go to Florence!  This spot is high on a hill with a view of the entire city.  I'm not going to lie, it's a trek to get there.  If you don't want to climb a bazillion steps, take a cab.  We had to stop for a snack on the way.

You just can't beat the view from Piazzale Michelangelo!  As the sun began to set, I couldn't take pictures fast enough.

We ate dinner at the restaurant at the top named la Loggia Ristorante Caffetteria.  Guess what happened while we were eating.  The couple at the table next to us got engaged!!  Now, you know how I love all things wedding so you can only imagine how excited I was to be snapping pictures of their special moment.  Thankfully they welcomed my camera being in their business!

We said goodbye to Florence and hopped on our train back to Rome.  This is one city we just HAVE to return to one day so I can saunter up and down the streets and enjoy the atmosphere.  Goodbye for now Florence.  See you again some day!

Now it's your turn.  What are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!