Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods

Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods
April 23, 2017

   Kentucky Plants And Wildlife – Since the weather was gorgeous this year during spring break, we took the grandkids for a day of adventure in the Kentucky woods.  (You know this has to be better than having them sit in front of some video game.)

    Middle Creek Park in Boone County Kentucky is a really nice place to just enjoy a walk in the woods.  The kids discovered lots of surprises in the woods.  You’d be surprised at how observant they really are.

    We found yellow trillium and purple trillium.


    We found ‘Blue-Eyed Mary’s’!  I had never seen these before and guessed they were probably some type of viola.  Wrong!  These wildflowers, apparently, thrive in low moist areas in woodland; and that is exactly where we found these.  There was just a beautiful blue and green carpet of these covering the woodland floor.


    We found a ladybug resting on a dried brown leaf.

    Aidan found a box turtle and wanted to take him home.  He probably would have changed his mind after carrying him around for while, but I explained that the woods was a really good home for him.  I suggested that saving one of those little turtles from a pet store was perhaps a better idea.  He agreed.

   As Aidan and Will walked along the creek, Will commented that Aidan was walking a little too close to the edge and might slide down into the creek.  A few seconds later, he was in water up to his knees.

  Then, there was Will’s nonchalant comment, “See, I told you.”

    After pushing his wet pants up to his knees, he felt he was already wet, might as well enjoy it.

   Aidan found these fossils and told us how he had learned about what they are on a school field trip.


   We found a fiddlehead fern.  The new growth of most ferns is called a fiddlehead.  The name fiddlehead is simply because the new fronds look like the decorative scrolled end on a fiddle.


    We saw wild blue phlox growing on the woodland floor.  Wild blue phlox grow in woodlands, wetlands, and along the edges of fields by the woods.  The petals are usually a blue or blue-violet color.

    The Virginia Bluebells,(Mertensia virginica), were blooming. They are easily recognizable because the little individual flowers have five petals that are fused together onto a long tube and they bloom in clusters.

   We saw bleeding hearts and these tiny white flowers, which we’ve identified as’Cleavers (Balium Aparine)‘, also known as Goosegras.  I love the leaves on this plant.


    These are some of the cutest little flowers!  They are called Dutchman’s Breeches, (Dicentra cucullaria).  These flowers resemble old-fashioned pantaloons hanging upside down.


   Star Chickweed, (Stellaria pubera), grow 6 – 12 inches high.  What appears to be ten petals on these are actually five petals, which are deeply partially divided into two.  The stamens are tipped with dark anthers that almost look like colored polka dots against the white flowers.


    And, of course, we saw May apples.  When the May apples are up, so are the morel mushrooms but we didn’t see any of those in this woods, unfortunately.


   The kids could not resist crossing the creek on this moss covered fallen log.  

    Aidan’s observant eye caught sight of several snails.  He was mesmerized by the tiny little creatures.  It’s amazing what you can find in the woods, isn’t it?


   The kids enjoyed fresh air, a long walk through the woods, and learned a thing or two on the way.  Frankly, I learned about some unfamiliar wildflowers, too.  Kentucky Native Plants And Wildlife – A Day In The Kentucky Woods and it was a memorable time for all.




Indianapolis Children’s Museum Kid’s Spring Break Adventure

Indianapolis Children’s Museum Kid’s Spring Break Adventure

April 17, 2017

   This past week we had some ideas for spring break adventures with the grandkids.  The week began with a two-hour drive to Indianapolis.  We only heard, “Are we there yet?” one time.

  The Children’s Museum in Indianapolis

   Anubis, the jackal-headed god statue, which was believed to be the guide and protector of the dead in Egypt, stands watch over the Children’s museum parking garage.   The statue is 26-feet tall and weighs five tons.   Parking is free!

    Banners greet guests as they walk down the hallway to the entrance of the museum.  The Chocolate Slide caught Sophie’s and Aidan’s attention right off the bat.

    The 17-foot Bumblebee Transformer standing in the lobby was an impressive site.  Even if you aren’t big into transformers, this definitely grabs your attention and is quite impressive.  It slowly rotates, keeping vigil over the entire room.  He was originally built as a prop for the 2007 Transformer movie.


   We went through ‘Dinosphere’, where we were able to see, hear, and smell bits of the Cretaceous period.  



    And, of course, Aidan was the first to sit down at every interactive game at each display!  He’s fascinated with technology, as all boys are now.


    How interesting is this little dinosaur?  He is a ‘Dracores Hogwartsia’.   He looks like a dragon!  Apparently, he is one of the new dinosaurs and is a member of the ‘Bone Head’ family.  But, seriously,  doesn’t he look like a dragon? 

    Remember when we stayed at the Union Station Crowne Plaza in Indianapolis for Mother’s Day in 2015?  The same style of statues was all over that hotel.  I love these, don’t you?


   This conductor statue is a part of the train display.  Of course, Dave, being a retired railroader, had to check this display out thoroughly.  

    This actual 1890’s train engine from Madison, Indiana was  a ‘pushing engine’ not the normal ‘pulling engine’.  Apparently, Madison had the steepest grade in the United States and this train was used to push cars up that steep grade.   At that time the ‘Reuben Wells’ was the most powerful locomotive in the world.  It is on permanent display in the museum.


   Walking back into the passenger car, the train whistles and sounds of a train surround you.  It’s easy to imagine being there back in the day.

    We got to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and Aidan and Sophie reconstructed a warrior, which they found a bit challenging.


   Then it was on to space travel.  Familiar costumes from Star Trek and props from movies were displayed.


  The kids enjoyed seeing the toys from the past but they seemed to really enjoy pushing buttons…


and pulling knobs in this section of the museum.


   One of my favorite displays was the floating ceiling blown glass display.  There was actually a rotating round sofa to sit back on and view the lovely glass above.

   On the ramp to the next floor, the view of the blown glass tower stunned us.   Seattle artists blew these glass pieces and shipped them to Indianapolis.  It is 43 feet tall and weighs 18,000 pounds.  Dale Chihuly created the tower with over 3000 pieces of blown glass.

    Then, we entered the ‘Circus’!  Sophie and Aidan weren’t sure where to go first.

    Sophie crawled inside the cannon.  I think she crawled and climbed on just about everything.  It’s a good thing this is a ‘hands on’ place for kids.

    Sophie tried out the spinning hoops.  She even turned upside down at one point!

   Aidan seemed to enjoy trying out the Indy 500 car, probably imagining himself in that famous Indianapolis race.


  The carousel was on the fourth floor and the calliope music filled the air.   Young or old, who could resist riding the carousel for just one dollar?

    There is so much to see here at the Children’s Museum and almost everything is included in the admission price. There were life-sized playhouses, biotechnology areas, doll houses, and much more.  The kids had a great time and four hours went by in no time.

   Yes, we had a great “Indianapolis Children’s Museum Kid’s Spring Break Adventure.  You might consider taking your young children or your grandchildren to this wonderful place if you are in the Indianapolis area.  You’ll be glad you did!




Close To Cincinnati? You Need To Check Out These Places

Close To Cincinnati? You Need To Check Out These Places

Close To Cincinnati? You Need To Check Out These Places

January 27, 2017

      If you’ve ever driven up or down I-75 through Cincinnati, you have probably seen Jungle Jim’s International Market.  You may recall having seen the tram that was purchased from King’s Island, which is stored in this building protected by the huge snake.

   A little over a year ago, we took the grandkids to Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate, which is amazing, by the way.  Although we have been there a few times, we had never visited Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield.

    In pursuit of some kitchen items, which I couldn’t seem to find on this side of the river, Dave and I took a trip around I-275.  We stopped at Old Time Pottery across the interstate from Cincinnati Mills Mall.  Their stock is constantly changing and on this day, the items I was in search of were not to be found there.  We used to have an Old Time Pottery in Florence and I miss having it so close. 

    Knowing that Jungle Jim’s was close by, we got back into the car and headed there.   The parking lot was pretty full.

     Upon entering the store, we quickly realized we could be here for hours looking for the cookwares.  Spotting a bunch of maps displayed by another entrance, I headed for them.  A gentleman who worked there must have noticed my ‘lost look’ and asked if he could help.  

    After asking him if they had housewares, he laughed and said, “Do we have housewares?”  


   He pulled out one of the maps and pointed out the section at the back on the other side of the building.  

   On our way, we saw the yacht above with the Gilligan’s Island crew and lots of tropical fruits.  Dave had to check out the seafood.  They have tanks of live fish and lobsters.


   Just like the Jungle Jim’s in Eastgate, they have a firetruck and loads of hot sauce.  Every kind you can imagine and some you can’t.

    And back beside the Great Britain display, I found the section I needed.  King Kong hovered above it.  This place is massive!


    Here, you can find every kind of pot, pan, dish, utensil, server, and whatever you need to cook or bake.  Yes, I found the items I had been searching for here in the Italian section, a gnocchi board and right behind here, a potato ricer.

   Even though I have made gnocchi before, I admit it, I am a sucker for cooking and baking gadgets!  These will help make the process a little easier, the end product a little lighter and the ridges on this little board will help the gnocchi hold the sauce.  You can use the back of a fork for that, too.  Whatever… I told you I like gadgets.

     I  found a small pair of serving tongs, which will come in handy.  We picked up some arborio rice for risotto.   They have it in bulk and the price is about half what it is in our local store.  Score!  This place is overwhelming!  Don’t go here hungry!  At this point we were hungry and we paid for our things and left but we’ll be back.


    From there, we headed west on I-275, which loops around Cincinnati.  Just off of I-275 at 6052 State Route 128  in Cleves, Ohio is Kreimer’s Bier Haus, which serves German food and specialty beers.   The people who work here are friendly and the food is good.  We stopped here for a late lunch.


  As you walk in, you are greeted by a hostess and this huge bar.  


    There is a deck out back where you can be seated at a handmade table with benches in better weather.    On this day, we sat inside where more handmade benches and tables are.

   Kreimer’s has daily specials, which you can see on the card below.  Our favorite day to go here is Sunday!  You can order any 2 entrees for $30.00!

    There is no Saturday special and yes, that was the day we stopped by here.  Since it was lunch time, I had a salad with grilled chicken and Dave had this impressive plate of food.

    His choice was a burger on a pretzel bun loaded with onion straws and french fries. ( Usually, he orders one of their steaks.)

    There is also a patio in the back and a bar where you can order your favorite drinks.  The back overlooks the Great Miami River.  In the summer they have music, too.


   Yes, this has become one of our favorite places and we recommend it.  It was a successful day in pursuit of kitchen gadgets and an added bonus was stopping at Kreimer’s for another delicious meal.  Close to Cincinnati?  You need to check out these places!



5 Reasons You’ll Love to Visit Southern Indiana Now

5 Reasons You’ll Love to Visit Southern Indiana Now

 Southern Indiana 

October 5, 2016

   There are many reasons to visit Southern Indiana but here are 5 Reasons You’ll Love To Visit Southern Indiana Now.

 #1  Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches.

   From Northern Kentucky, Dave and I took a leisurely drive across the Ohio River into Indiana.  As cooler weather approaches, this drive will be even more beautiful when the trees begin to show off their Fall colors.  We drove through Lawrenceburg and in Aurora we headed south and drove along the river on Hwy. 56.

    Enjoying the rolling hills and the scenery, we drove through Rising Sun, Vevay, Madison, Scottsburg, and stopped for lunch in Salem.   In Salem is a little restaurant named “Christy’s On The Square”.

   The friendly people who work here make you feel so welcome!  The restaurant is clean and neat.  Aside from that, they make the best ‘breaded pork tenderloin sandwich’ I have ever had!  The breading is light and delicious.  The pork is tender and so filling.  The French fries are some of the best we have ever had, too. (Dave ate half of mine!)  But, I would definitely go back for their breaded pork tenderloin!

     From Salem, we headed west, driving through Livonia, Paoli, and into French Lick.  We had booked a room at the French Lick Hotel.  

 #2 The French Lick Hotel


   This hotel is beautiful!  The whole atmosphere is laid back.  The people who work at the hotel are, once again, so friendly!  The whole weekend, they all smiled and greeted us as they walked by.

   Visitors were taking in the view while resting on chairs and benches on the huge wraparound porch, as we came from and went to the hotel. 

   Take a look at these beautiful ceilings, not to mention the gold highlighting the architectural elements!  The entrance and lobby are just breathtaking. 


   Our room overlooked the upper and lower gardens.  Of course, we chose the wing with the garden view over the casino and the spa wings.

The tranquil Asian garden was a calming surprise here.

 #3 West Baden Hotel

     The West Baden Hotel was once called the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’.  You can see why if you check out a picture of the atrium dome!  There were 12-million 1-inch tiles artistically applied to the floor in this gorgeous room.   It is truly impressive.

  Al Capone, boxer Joe Lewis, Helen Keller, the Studebaker’s, and many other famous people and families have visited these hotels.

    In 1902 the wooden building was destroyed by fire.  It was rebuilt using brick and as many inflammable materials as possible, in place of wood.  This time, the 200′ dome, which was the world’s largest dome at the time, was also created.

    It was a very successful business until the Wall Street Crash of 1929.  People started leaving the hotel and it was pretty well cleared out overnight.  In just over two years the hotel was closed.  During the depression, people weren’t staying at luxury hotels.

   The Jesuits bought the property for $1.00 after the depression in 1934.  Sadly, they filled in some of the mineral springs and today they are covered with cement. They also removed some of the beautiful things in the hotel and dismantled the four Moorish towers.  

   They opened a seminary called West Baden College, which closed in 1964.  

    In the picture, you can see the cement floor that now covers one of the springs.  The windows are Tiffany glass!

    The outside of this building is brick and limestone.  When it was built the brick was covered with glazed brick as white and smooth as porcelain.  The sign outside the building said these bricks were known as ‘Tiffany’ and are worth about $100.00 each.

 In 1966, the Jesuits sold the property to a Michigan couple who donated it to a private college that was in operation until 1983.

    A small cemetery still stands adjacent to the back of the garden where several of the Jesuits were buried.

   In 1974, the property was listed as a National Historic Landmark.

  In 1983, the property was abandoned and left to deteriorate.  Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana purchased the property in 1996 and began to restore this beautiful landmark.

    From 1985 -1994 there was a battle to decide who really owned the property.

   Finally, in 1996, Cook Group Incorporated of Bloomington, Indiana started restoring the property.

    In 2003, the Indiana Legislature approved the overseeing of the hotels and the casino.  In 2007 the hotel reopened.

    A more detailed story of the West Baden Springs Hotel can be found here ►West Baden Springs Hotel.

   I took a lot of pictures here and at the French Lick Hotel.  More are posted on

My Humble Home and Garden’s Facebook page if you are interested.

# 4 The Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper, Indiana

    The first time I ever ate at the Schnitzelbank Restaurant in Jasper was in the early 70’s.  I had their ‘Sauerbraten with Potato Glaze.’  Tender beef marinated with a sweet & sour wine gravy.  The ‘potato glaze’ is a potato dumpling ball centered with bread crumbs and covered in sauerbraten gravy. If we lived closer, maybe we would try more of their German dishes!


   As it is, this has been an occasional craving of mine since that day!  Anytime we are near Jasper, we make it a point to stop here.



#5 Having to  S l o w  Your Pace Enough to Enjoy the Scenery!

   Driving through parts of Southern Indiana, you might have to slow down for farm equipment or an occasional horse and buggy driven by the Amish.

    As I drove, (We took my car.) it struck me how really beautiful the cornfields are!  Growing up in Southern Indiana, I don’t think I recognized the true beauty of the cornfields.   

   Memories of running barefoot through the cornfields to my friend’s house and back came flooding back.   I had to smile. 

   On this trip, we passed freshly picked cornfields, cornfields ready to be picked, and some in the process of being picked.  Spread across many acres, field after field, it was really a beautiful sight. 

   Yes, although there are more, there you have it, 5 Reasons You’ll Love to Visit Southern Indiana Now.



Cooking Classes For Little Kids at Local Restaurants?

Cooking Classes For Little Kids at Local Restaurants?

September 22, 2016

Cooking Classes

  Not knowing exactly what to expect, I bought tickets to a cooking class for kids atMaggiano’s Little Italy in Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The information was found on their Facebook page.   Apparently, this chain has kid’s classes all over the United States. 

   When asked if she would like to go, Sophia was beyond excited.  She loves helping in the kitchen and has expressed a desire to be a chef.  

   The extra bonus was that we would be making treats for our dog Lady, her Dad’s dog Winston, and Sunny her other grandma’s dog.   A portion of the proceeds from the cooking class will be donated to Tri-State CART, a local Animal Response Team, and Brother Wolf Animal Rescue to help with search and recovery efforts in Louisiana.

    When we arrived at the restaurant, we were directed to the lady’s room to wash our hands.  Then, we were escorted to a banquet room with large round tables.  A chef’s hat sat at each place and an apron was draped over the back of each chair.  


   A couple of aluminum take out containers, a pair of disposable food service gloves, a bowl of dry oatmeal, a small container of water, and a couple of plastic spoons were placed at each setting.  A large bowl of pumpkin puree sat in the middle of the table. 

   Printed recipes for two dishes, one for the dog treat and one for lasagna were also on the table. 

   Several children along with a parent or grandparent filled most of the chairs in the room.  The class was for children 5 and up, who had to be accompanied by an adult.  One of the boys with his grandmother had been to these cooking classes before.

    Chef Karl introduced himself and gave some interesting information about the restaurant and about the food service business.  He also quizzed the kids on different vegetables and herbs, passing those around so the kids could familiarize themselves with some of the ingredients.

    Kristin, who worked at the restaurant, gave directions on how to make the ‘No-Bake Dog Treats’ first.  The treats are actually good for the dogs.  I didn’t realize that the adults would be making these, too.  Sophia was tickled.  She wanted to be sure there would be treats for all of her dog friends.  She listened attentively and took it very seriously.


    After mixing the ingredients, we were instructed to roll the oatmeal mixture into small balls for the dogs.  Sophia got creative with hers and rolled one into a cylindrical shape and one into a patty.  She said Winston would like those shapes better.  Cooking Classes For Little Kids at Local Restaurants? on

   The lid was placed on that container, the mess and plastic gloves were whisked away, and it was on to the lasagna.

   Chef Karl explained the ingredients and demonstrated how to assemble the lasagna in the containers.  The kids all listened and watched attentively.  Then it was their turn. 

   The container was layered with marinara sauce, lasagna pasta, ricotta cheese filling, parmesan cheese, meat filling, mozzarella cheese, the layers were repeated, and then it was topped off with provolone cheese.  That container was sealed shut.  The empty bowls, the used gloves, and mess were once again whisked away.

   Then, plates, napkins, and silverware were placed on the table.  Next, bowls of pasta and salad were served family style.  I don’t know what is in it, but the salad dressing is, without a doubt, the best I have ever had!  ( Couldn’t get the recipe, but Chef Karl gave us a little takeout container with some to take home!)


   All in all, we got a lot for the price of the ticket!  A cooking class, dog treats, a meal, a take-home meal to bake and share with the family, and a memorable afternoon with my granddaughter!

  Yes, if you have a little aspiring chef in your family, I would recommend these classes.  The kids all seemed to really enjoy the class.  I can guarantee Sophia will be making lasagna soon, and of course, more dog treats.  Lady, Winston, and Sunny all love them!

  Cooking Classes For Little Kids at Local Restaurants?  Yes, there are probably some close to you!