Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Family Gatherings

Recently my sister and I traveled to Cincinnati to visit with relatives. My mom has two sisters who are still living, and my dad has one sister who is still alive. We drove over on a Thursday, and stayed with our cousin and his wife, who graciously put us up (or perhaps I should say put up with us) whenever we come over if they are in town. They also know that our first meal when we hit town has to be Skyline Chili. On Friday a small group of us got together for lunch, and a couple more relatives joined us for dinner.

Holtman's Donut Shop
Saturday morning one of my cousins picked me up to head to downtown Cincinnati. We began the morning at Holtman's Donut Shop, seen recently on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Donut Wars. Gina insisted that the Maple Bacon Donut was going to "change my world". She pre-ordered several as that is one of the donuts that they regularly run out of in the morning. After a short wait in line, which passed quickly with the entertainment of watching the staff make donuts, I selected a half dozen donuts to take back to my hosts since they had never come to this donut shop before. After Gina got her order, we walked down the street to a coffee and wine bar (the donut shop has limited seating and NO hot tea!?!) to order drinks and enjoy a donut. Oh, my! I am not sure if my world was changed, but my tummy was really happy to start the day with this special donut.

Maple Bacon donut

The City Flea
We then walked over to The City Flea, a "curated, urban flea market". While there were a few vendors who sold items you would expect to see at a flea market, most of the booths offered jewely, photography, scarves and other clothing items and some specialty items such as homemade chocolates. Food trucks surrounded the area on one side in case shoppers needed something to eat or drink. It was a fun and festive environment, and I picked up a few items for myself. I probably should have been thinking about Christmas gifts, but instead I was thinking about myself. (Except for the chocolate, which I brought home and shared with my husband.)
hot dogs from Senate

After walking and shopping we had worked up an appetite for lunch. (If it seems as if I eat my way through Cincinnati, that is probably because I do.) This time we chose Senate, purveyors of gourmet hot dogs, which also has made an appearance on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I ordered the Trailer Park and she got the special of the day, and we split them along with some fries. Everything was delicious!

It was time to do more walking after feasting on the dogs and fries, so we walked around the area looking at the murals. Part of a project dedicated to creating a mural in each of Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods, there are now 90 murals that have been completed. We saw a small sampling of them, but I know what I would be doing if I lived in the area!
Cincinnati wall murals
Crusham family reunion
From there we drove to Price Hill Chili (to eat more, of course!) where my Crusham relatives were gathering for a small reunion. We ended up with more than 40 people, which was a great turnout. We captured most of them in this photo.

Sunday my sister and I met with Aunt Gloria, my dad's sister, and her 3 children at a restaurant in Newport, Kentucky. It has been several years since we had seen them, so it was nice to catch up. I was also able to fill them in on my trip to Switzerland last fall, where I met many Kubler relatives that we had not known about prior to my trip.

Monday found us on the road back home, after a quick stop at Kroger to pick up Skyline Chili and goetta to tide us over until our next trip east. It was a great trip!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Company that Wasn't

Due to an illness on their end, we did not end up having company last weekend. Instead we had my sister and her husband over for dinner Saturday night. They had been invited over that day anyway, so we just ended up with a smaller dinner party. The weather was cool and crisp, and perfect for the chili and honey cornbread I had planned for the meal. It was nice to have some one on one time with them, as it has been awhile since the four of us have been together.

Jim took off on a motorcycle ride Sunday morning, which left me with a day alone. Hmmm...what to do? Rumor on the street was that the second Ameren cake, normally inside and available to employees and company guests only, was outside due to an event on Saturday. Early reports on the Cakeway to the West Facebook page Sunday morning indicated it was still out there. So I traded my workout clothes for jeans and a Cardinals sweatshirt, grabbed my camera and my garden gnome, and took off for Ameren. Sure enough, the cakes were there side by side, as well as a couple of other cakers.
Ameren Cakes
Since I was out anyway, I decided to take some new photos in the downtown area. When I originally went to the Shrine of St. Joseph, I didn't realize that even though the cake was behind a fence up on a stone wall, the gate can be opened to better photograph the cake. I also couldn't go into the church in June as there was a wedding taking place. I am so glad that I went back. What a beautiful church! Located at 11th and Biddle Streets, this parish traces its roots back to 1843. The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1844, and it was dedicated in 1846. And I absolutely love all of the St. Louis icons that appear on the cake.
Shrine of St. Joseph
Shrine of St. Joseph cake
Next I went to Citygarden as that cake had been moved to a new location, and then over to Kiener Plaza where I was certain the fountain would be splashing red for the Cardinals playoff game. I was not disappointed!
Kiener Plaza

I picked up a few shots of the Hilton and Drury Hotels for frame of reference shots for my cake book before walking down to the Old Cathedral. It had been draped in scaffolding when I photographed the cake back in June. It looks very pretty now. I took a peak inside, but Mass was just wrapping up so I didn't take any pictures of the interior.
Old Cathedral
This final photo pretty much sums up how it felt to be exploring downtown St. Louis with my camera on a beautiful fall day. Only one last thing to say - Let's go Cards!
Kiener Plaza

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fall Cleaning

We are having guests this weekend, so I have been on a cleaning spree. There will be four of them requiring three bedrooms, so that means even the third floor needs to be spruced up. Our workout equipment is up there, as well as my sewing machine and ironing board. As I am in the middle of two quilt projects, to say the area is a mess is an understatement. Hopefully I won't run out of time before I run out of dust. Ahchoo!

September sky
The weather has been so beautiful lately. I know we need the rain, but I certainly would prefer to have weather like this for the weekend. If it isn't too hot or rainy, I would like to take our out of town family members to the botanical garden for the Best of Missouri Market. I know it will be crowded, but if we get there when they open Sunday morning it shouldn't be too bad. Unfortunately the trams won't be running, so we probably won't get too far into the garden itself.

Bonhomme Old Stone Church
Today I was invited to speak at the next meeting of my local chamber of commerce. The topic is the stl250cakes, and I will be on a panel with the former executive director of the stl250 organization. She will talk about the genesis of the Cakeway to the West, and I will talk about the cake hunt itself and the historical aspects of some of the locations. I will also put together a slide show of all of my cakes that I will just have running in the background. Amazingly, there are people who have no idea what the cakes are all about, so the pictures should help them get an idea of the magnitude of this undertaking. The icing on the cake at this meeting, pardon the pun, is the unveiling of a "rebel" cake. (Meaning one that was not sanctioned by the stl250 organization. There are several unofficial cakes throughout the St. Louis area.) It should be fun!