S is for Summit Grill

The ABC Dinner Club went to brunch!  Check out the details here.

french-toast

Investigative Shopper|At Home

Our little town of Lee’s Summit will soon be getting a new store called ‘At Home.’  This national chain of stores used to be known as Garden Ridge.  Although there were Garden Ridge stores in our metropolitan area, I had never visited one so when I noticed an ‘At Home’ store during my stay in Omaha I decided to check it out for all my hometown friends.  Before going in the store my assumptions were that it would be similar to the HomeGoods chain of department stores and I was not completely wrong, but there are some differences.

storefront

The At Home store is much bigger than any Home Goods store I have been in and with a definite warehouse feel.  I would say 30% of the store I visited was devoted to patio and garden merchandise.  I am not sure if that is a nod to their former namesake or if it was just because we will soon be in spring mode and this was just their seasonal offerings.  I would definitely recommend this store if you are looking for outdoor furniture or miscellaneous outdoor décor.  I have never seen this many aisles devoted to outdoor furniture cushions alone.

cushions1

The store also had a VERY LARGE collection of throw pillows, again aisle after aisle of cushions displayed by color, as well as this entire side wall.  Quite an impressive collection.

pillows

 

If you are in the market for an occasional or side table you should definitely visit At Home.  I would guess there were ten aisles alone crammed with small tables representing all types of décor styles.

tables

The other item I noticed that the store devoted a large amount of real estate to was area and throw rugs.  I would estimate a good 20 percent of the store was dedicated to rugs of all sizes, colors and designs.  I would definitely visit again just for the rug collection.

Rugs

 

The store also offered the expected candles, lamps, picture frames, wall décor and other miscellaneous knick knacks that you would find in any home décor store.  These items reminded me of what I would see at Hobby Lobby and overall, the prices were fairly good.  I suspect that most items have a “made in China” tag on them and the quality would be what you would expect given the price.   I did enjoy seeing this touch of spring on the cold, snowy day I visited.

touch-of-spring

One thing I do like about HomeGoods that I did not see in the At Home store is the occasional brand name items.  This past fall I purchased a few pieces of Spode Christmas dishes from HomeGoods at a much reduced cost to finish out my collection.   I would probably visit this store again if I were looking for a specific item and it will be interesting to see how their seasonal offerings change.

 

 

I Miss My Silverware!

I am pretty sure I have never said those exact words before, even though they are true! Since our time in Omaha is work related and just for a short period of time we rented a corporate apartment, which basically means it comes furnished, including linens and kitchenware.   I am convinced it was stocked by a man who had never cooked before in his life. I have exactly 4 dinner plates, 4 salad plates and 4 cereal bowls. I have no mixing or serving bowls. I do have three sizes of tongs but not one serving spoon, unless you count the soup ladle. Believe me, I have tried to use it as a serving spoon but it does not work that well.

After custom building a home eighteen years ago and continually tweaking to accommodate needs and wants, there is an expectation that your surroundings are a certain way, I am not saying I am spoiled, ok maybe I am saying that, but I am a little inconvenienced by a few things around here.

  • MY SILVERWARE – When Dave and I got married thirty plus years ago we registered for twelve place settings of Oneida’s Dover pattern 18/10 stainless steel flatware.   These heavy weight utensils have probably been our hardest working asset over the years, feeding our family on a daily basis. I really never appreciated them or even thought about them much until I went to use the flatware in this apartment. I have never felt such lightweight utensils in my life. I swear they are made out of tin foil.  Can you guess which is my silverware?

forks

  • A Walk-In Shower – This complaint might seem minor to many of you but for someone who has 4 joint replacements, falling and dislocating something is one of my biggest fears. Stepping over the side of a bathtub when everything is wet and slippery and there is not much to hold onto can be a scary thing.
  • A spray faucet – Every time I wash dishes here I find myself trying to pull the stationary faucet handle so I can use the spray feature.  I never realized how much I used this nice feature at home.

spray-faucet

  • My recliners – When I started the process of joint replacement a wise friend told me I needed a recliner at my house. Over the course of those surgeries I ended up with two recliners, one in my bedroom and one in our living room. They were a life saver during that process and continue to be my favorite places to sit in my house. This apartment has a very low sofa and loveseat which neither Dave or I find comfortable to sit on.
  • recliner
  • Space –  This one bedroom apartment is 656 square feet, actually smaller than my master bedroom suite and walk-in closet at home.

Ok, I will stop complaining now. Overall the apartment is not that bad. It is fairly new with granite countertops and dark stained cabinets. The bed is king size and we do have a washer /dryer in the unit. It also has climate controlled indoor parking for one of our cars.   This time away  is making me appreciate all those things that are waiting for me back home and that is not a bad thing!

R is for RC’s

Check out the latest post of the ABC Dinner Club by clicking here, featuring pan-fried chicken from RC’s.

pan-fried-chicken

AK-SAR-BEN VILLAGE

I have mentioned before that I travel to Omaha, Nebraska once a month for work. This year I am spending much more time than normal in this chilly town so the Mr and I have rented a small apartment for a few months. The apartment is nice as apartments go, but it’s  best feature is its location, just 10 minutes from work and in a great new mixed use development called AK-SAR-BEN village.

apartment

If you lived in the center of the country in the 1980’s you probably would have heard of AK-SAR-BEN race track in Omaha (AK-SAR-BEN is Nebraska spelled backwards). Built in 1919 for thoroughbred horse racing, on it’s busiest weekend days it would host up to 25,000 people betting up to $2 million dollars per day. The racetrack closed in 1995 like many in the country when casinos and other forms of entertainment began showing up.

Since that time, the race track and an accompanying arena have been demolished. A large portion of the land was donated to the University of Nebraska – Omaha campus and the rest is being developed into a great area encompassing businesses, apartments, retail stores, a cinema and food and drink establishments.

street-scene

There is also a nice park that includes an outdoor ampitheatre, walking trails, benches and a children’s play area.  At night the tower is lite up with hundreds of light.  I am not sure if this is a seasonal thing or if the lights stay on all year.

light-tower

Also n the park there is a monument to “Omaha” the 1935  Triple Crown winner, who retired to a farm close by and made promotional appearances at the race track in the 1950’s. Upon his death in 1959, Omaha was buried in the race track’s Circle of Champions.

omaha

Last weekend we walked and walked and walked all over this little village. I love the idea of having entertainment and restaurants within walking distance. We ate lunch at an interesting place called VooDoo Tacos where Dave tried the alligator selection. I was not quite that brave.

voodoo-taco2

I kept eyeing the Jones cupcake store next door, but somehow managed to walk away.

jones-cupcakes

We then stopped by the cinema and watched “American Sniper.”  What a great movie that was!  It was a fun afternoon on an unusually warm January day and an easy way to get 10,000 steps on my fitbit!

 

 

Q is for Q39

Check out the ABC Dinner Club’s latest adventure at the unexpected Q39 here.

Menu

The Magic Tree

We had our first snow last night, just enough to make it seem like Christmas but not enough to really keep people from doing what they need to do.  I love it and hope it stays around for a week, but since the forecast is for temps to hit the forties over the weekend I am guessing our chance for a white Christmas is fairly slim.

FirstSnow

Last night I had Dave take me to a local attraction that has been getting some press for our city lately, it is called The Magic Tree.  During the day this lone tree sits in the middle of a field just off the highway and would not even command a glance as you drive by.  At night it transforms into a beacon of light, attracting a crowd who drive their cars across a field, park, take pictures and just hang out.

LSMagictree

I have to admit it is a beautiful site and I am not sure I have ever seen this many lights adorning one single tree, 12.500 to be exact.  According to Flip Short, the owner of the land, the purpose of the tree is to bring Christmas joy to the world one person at a time, starting right here in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  Rumor has it that there have been several wedding proposals at the tree while others just enjoy the tranquil setting for reflection.  The tree even has it’s own website lsmagictree.com where you can leave thoughts and comments on your experience.  A bin has been placed near the tree to collect can goods for Lee’s Summit Social Services for those who would like to donate.

Since I am a big lover of Christmas and all the traditions around it, I enjoy the sentiment and appreciate the efforts to create The Magic Tree.  Of course, like so many public venues, the Magic Tree has not been without it’s share of trouble.  A couple of weeks ago someone cut the power lines to the tree causing it to go dark.  The lights were restored quickly but I struggle to understand the mindset of someone who would impair a harmless symbol of the season.

As most of you are also, I am crazy busy with work and Christmas preparations but am making an effort to slow down and appreciate the real reason for the season.  I hope you can do the same.  Merry Christmas everyone!

 

 

 

P is for Piropos

Over three years ago a group of long time friends decided to start the ABC Dinner Club which is a structured approach to discovering new restaurants and branching out from our old favorites.  We are eating our way across Kansas City one alphabet letter at a time.

Provolone-salad

Every few months we select a restaurant at which the majority of us have not eaten.  If you would have told me three and a half years ago that it would have taken this long to get to the letter “P” I would have thought you were crazy given how much we eat out, but travel, weddings, children, grandchildren and even surgeries have sometimes made it difficult for this now group of twelve to get together.

373edit

We are far from professional restaurant reviewers, just a group of friends who like to socialize over a good meal.  Given the company we are with and our propensity to eat out, we are fairly generous with our reviews but have had a few we definitely would not frequent again.  Our bottom line is “Will we go back?”

Jaspers-2

To see our latest review check out “P is for Piropos” here.  Below is our list of reviewed restaurants to date:

Anthony’s

Beer Kitchen

Café Trio

Domo Sushi & Grill

En Chamas

Farmhouse

Gaslight Grill

Harry’s Country Club

Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant

Jasper’s

Kope Japenese Steakhouse

Lidia’s

Martin City Brewery

New Theatre Restaurant

Osteria IL Centro

Piropos

 

October

I cannot believe it is the last week of October.  I have had my house decorated for fall for a few weeks now but have just gotten around to taking some pictures. porch3

It could be because we have been out of town twice this month, once to Denver and once to Omaha.

entry-table

Or it could be because we are in sports heaven in this town with MANY late night playoff games and now late night World Series Games.  #GO ROYALS!

mantle2

Or it could be the unexpected but WONDERFUL visit from our daughter, son-in-law and grandson this week.

cleo-by-tree-2

No matter what has caused time to fly by, this has been a wonderful month of gorgeous weather, exciting baseball and cherished family time.

longview-reflection

As much fun as it has been, it seems like I just move from one activity to another at light speed without a moments time to reflect.  As long as I can remember I have always been what I refer to as a “thinker,” someone who plans, dreams, ruminates and thinks through life’s situations.   In this vein, I am my father’s daughter.  My dad would get up at 5:00 am each morning, drink a pot of coffee and sit with the lights off just “thinking.”

longview2

Although I am not that desperate yet, I do need to find a way to carve out some quiet time into my days.

longview3

This past weekend Dave and I took a quiet walk around a lake near our home.  It was just what I needed. Here is hoping for a little quiet time in your life also.

 

Candy Corn Cupcakes

It is no secret around here that I love cupcakes!  I can take or leave a piece of cake, but cupcakes call my name.  I am not even all that partial to the fancy mega-size cupcakes that are sold in their own storefronts, but give me a simple homemade or even boxed mix, paper lined morsel of goodness and I can not resist.  I have been seeing a few different versions of  candy corn cupcakes in blogland over the past couple of weeks and decided to make a simple version of my own.

I prepared a white cake mix according to the directions then divided the batter in half.  I mixed one half with yellow food coloring and the other half with orange food coloring.

batter

I filled cupcake liners one-third full of the yellow batter.

yellow-layer

Then followed that with the orange batter, filling each liner to the two-thirds mark.

orange-layer

After baking the cupcakes for 15 minutes I let them totally cool and then piped on some pre-made white icing.  A piece of candy corn topped them off.

finished-product

A super simple but festive treat!

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