Friday, April 28, 2017

Graceland ♥

Happy Friday!  

Today I wanted to share with you a few photos from our trip Graceland. 

As you probably know, John is a huge Elvis fan and when asked what he wanted to do over April break he said go to Graceland. It's something he's always wanted to see.  Rob and I had each already been in the past (separately and before knowing each other) so we knew what to expect.  

But John didn't.  

He was blown away! 

The night before we toured the mansion we took a ride over just to see it from the outside. The gates were closed so it was the perfect time for a photo! 

Taking a peek.....

There is a graffiti wall out in front that you are welcome to sign your name too.  
John brought a marker especially for this! 

The grounds are very pretty.  This is the driveway leading up to the house. 

The next morning we were the first in line for the tour.  They give you a headset and ipad to guide you around.  John was excited because the narrator is non other than John Stamos (i.e. Uncle Jessie from Full House! : ) 

Get ready to take a step back in time.  

I won't post pics of all the rooms because you could easily google it, but here are three of my favorites.

The living room. Totally retro! 

The Dining Room.

And here's the Den.  Check out those TV's.  In the 70's they were top of the line!
The house is exactly as Elvis had left it in 1977. 

After touring the house you are led out to the back yard to the meditation garden.  Here, Elvis, his parents, and grandmother are laid to rest.  

Ladies and Gentlemen..... 

Following the house tour you are taken by bus across the street to a brand new complex filled with museums, gift shops, and restaurants.  Or what I like to call Elvis Land! 

We saw Elvis' cars.  Here is the pink Cadillac he gave to his mother in the 50's.

There were so many cars.  My husband (who's a car buff) LOVED this! 

Three was a special building dedicated to all his clothes.  

Here is a room of those famous Vegas jumpsuits.  You get the idea! 
It was really incredible to see in person. 

We toured rooms of Elvis' belongings, gold records, awards, all his movie memorabilia, and toured his two planes.  It was quite amazing.

Not to mention the grounds were beautiful.  It wasn't very crowded the day we were there so believe it or not it felt peaceful to wander around.  They even have horses on the property. 

I'm still having flashbacks about the gift shops! One on every corner! It was like Disney World, but with Elvis. Crazy. 
John brought money to bring home souvenirs.  And did he ever! 

After leaving the Graceland we explored downtown Memphis.  
As you can imagine Elvis is on every block. 

One of our most favorite things we did was tour Sun Studios.  I highly recommend this tour if you are traveling to Memphis.  It was so much fun! 

Before the tour started we waited in this little coffee shop area.  It felt like stepping back into the 50's.
My heart, my heart!!! 

They also had the BEST coffee for $1! It was so good! 

This jukebox was out of order, but we loved it anyway.  
Sun Studios is nicknamed "the birthplace of rock & roll".  It's where Elvis recorded his first song ever (a gift for his mom) and where many, many other artists got their start.  

This famous photo of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins was taken in this room.  The tour guide played Jerry Lee's "Great Balls of Fire" and I got chills.  

After that we walked a few blocks to explore The Peabody Hotel.  I had stayed at this hotel many years ago when  I came to Memphis with my mother.  I remember how beautiful it was and was anxious to see it again.  The hotel was built in the 20's and still has an old fashioned feel to it.  

The Peabody ducks are famous in Memphis.  They live on the roof of the hotel and everyday they take the elevator to the lobby and march to this fountain, where they spend the day.  In the evening they take the elevator back up to the "penthouse".  

It's not a bad life at all! 

We couldn't leave Memphis without hearing some real live blues music. 
Rob wanted to go to BB Kings.  This man singing and playing the harmonica was blind.  
He was incredible! 

As if Memphis wasn't enough we had some time before heading home to visit Nashville.  

Spring is blooming everywhere! 

This is on the grounds of  The Grand Ole Opry. 

We didn't have much time and with so many things to do in Nashville we let John pick what attraction he wanted to see the most.  He chose Madam Tussuad's Wax Museum.  

It was so fun! 

They called it an "interactive" museum which means you can get up close and have your pictures taken with the "people".  

Oh hey! 

And for the grand finale, John did this! 

We really enjoyed Tennessee! All our hotels were lovely.

With little touches of sweetness everywhere. 

And since we were away over Easter you will be happy to know that the Easter Bunny will find you, no matter where you are.  He's in your heart forever ♥

So here I am, home safe and sound. Grateful to my husband for taking us on this fun trip and showing John all the things he wanted to see.  

I'm happy to be home sleeping in my own bed and back into my normal routine.  The funny thing about me is that I really do enjoy routine.  I love my normal.  Especially when I am away from it.  There is nothing like coming home after a vacation and being grateful.  Grateful for a decent cup of coffee for one thing.  #truth

I hope you all enjoy this last weekend of April. The weather here is supposed to be beautiful so I hope to get outside and get some fresh air. Maybe a walk down the beach? We'll see... 

I can't believe next month is May!!!  We are a hop, jump, and a skip away from Summer : ) 

I can't wait! 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Eggplant pizzas ♥

Hello! It's Monday and I haven't had nearly enough coffee yet today.  I've been busy all morning cleaning the house and getting caught up laundry and house chores.  I'm back to work tomorrow so I took advantage of the day at home to myself to get some things done.  I'm happiest when I'm puttering around the house, getting odds and ends in order and preparing for the week ahead.  It's the best part of having Monday as my day off. 
I was going to tell you about my vacation in this post, but I think I'll save that for later in the week because I just made a recipe that is too good not to share. 
I saw eggplant pizzas on Pinterest at least a year ago and I've been thinking about them ever since.  When I went to the market a few days ago this beautiful eggplant was calling my name. With Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (Reunion pt 1 & 2) on to keep me company I gave these a try.
They came out so delicious!!!! I can't believe I waited this long to make them. 
Easy too...Ready? Lets go....

Cut your eggplant into 1/4 inch slices. 
Lay them on a paper towel and sprinkle them with salt.  Let sit for 20 minutes.
The salt will draw the moisture out of the eggplant.  After 20 minutes wipe them dry.
Put your slices on a foil lined baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper, and Italian seasonings.
Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. 
(you want the eggplant to be tender but not mushy)
Remove from the oven and top with sauce and cheese. 
I was wishing I had some pepperoni on hand, but I didn't : (
Now broil for 3 minutes. 
Keep a close eye so the cheese doesn't burn.  I got these out just in time!
I ate a little one just as it came out of the oven and it was delicious!!!!  I'm going to serve these as a side dish tonight with chicken wings and broccoli.  I'm hoping John will like them. 
It's a veggie disguised as a pizza! ♥
Next time I will definitely do two eggplants so I'll have more slices : )
I hope you are all enjoying the start of this new week.  The sun is shining here today and I was even able to have my windows open for a little while.  The air feels nice & clean & fresh in here. 
It will be good sleeping tonight~
Well, just looking at the clock it's time for me to pick John up from school.  Hope he had a good day.  First day back from vacation is always the toughest. 
Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Getting back to normal...♥

Hello my friends! I'm back from vacation!  We had such a fun time this past week visiting Memphis & Nashville. It was wonderful. John loved Graceland (i.e. a Disney World for any Elvis fan), we ate BBQ, saw the Mississippi River, toured Sun Studios "the birthplace of rock & roll", heard live blues music at BB Kings on Beale St. and (my most favorite part) visited the famous Peabody Hotel (built in 1925) in Memphis and saw the ducks.  I'll tell you all about it soon!
Until then,  just wanted you to know that we are home safe and sound.  Traveling is fun but there truly is NO PLACE LIKE HOME! ♥♥♥  I  couldn't wait to get back to my own kitchen and cook.  The first morning we were home I made blueberry muffins.  Whenever I am away I crave homemade food.  It was the first thing I could think of to make : )  I missed my bed (oh did I eva!) and my shower.  Our hotels were wonderful, but nothing compares to your I right?
We were away for Easter so this Sunday my family is gathering at my parents house for a "belated" family celebration.  The Easter Bunny did visit John at the hotel but he's looking forward to our family egg hunt.  It's just not Easter without it.  I'm making apple pie (naturally) and lemon squares. We are having ham and Delmonico potatoes for dinner and I can hardly wait. 
One of the best things about coming home was  the moment we pulled into our little dead end street I saw that Spring had officially arrived!  All the trees are in bloom ♥
It was the best welcome home I could have imagined!

Today was John's last day of April break.  We met up with some friends and went to lunch and a movie.  Next week he goes back to school and Rob and I go back to work. Looking at the calendar I am feeling like summer is just around the corner.  And I have to say....I'm pretty happy about that!
Have a great weekend, friends!
I'll be back to my regular posting schedule on Monday of cookies, coffee, and candles. 
You know...the usual!
Love you! xoxox

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Corn Flake Cookies ♥

As I type this post it's Wednesday evening. I don't know where the week has gone.  We are leaving for our road trip from Boston to Memphis on Friday morning which means I have less than two days left to finish packing.  uh-oh...
Packing for a road trip can be even more stressful than flying.  Because I have license to load the car with whatever I want, the choices can be overwhelming. I have no restrictions. Its safe to say that at this point I have more food packed than clothes : ) 
After a while, food on the road can start to feel a little icky. I always like to bring a few homemade goodies to have on hand, for those times where we want to have some comforts of home.  I have a special bag packed with homemade cookies, blueberry muffins, and sour cream coffee cake (that I took out of the freezer tonight).  I also have a shopping bag filled with graham crackers, cheese sticks, apples, oranges, bananas, tea bags, chocolate (for emergencies), Chex mix, cereal, and water bottles.  Apparently the thought of being in the car for nine hours on Friday has me feeling like we may starve to death so better be prepared! : ) 
Our first stop will be in Virginia on Friday evening.  I can only imagine what we will look like when we arrive!


Sometimes it's fun to experiment and try new things, so on a whim I made these corn flake cookies on Sunday.  I actually got the recipe directly from the side of the box.  I had heard about corn flake cookies before, but had never made them myself.  Also, all the recipes I had ever seen with cornflakes had marshmallows in them as well.  This one did not, but does include coconut.  I suppose you could always leave it out if you are not a fan, but since I love coconut these cookies were right up my alley.  I gave them a try and was very happy with how they came out.
11/4 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups coconut
2 cups cornflakes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream shortening and sugars using and electric mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Stir coconut and cornflakes into dry ingredients. 

Stir dry ingredient mixture into creamed mixture.  Drop dough by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 -10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Let sit on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring them to a rack to cool. 

 John absolutely loved these! It's hard to describe the taste.  You can certainly taste the coconut and there's a definite "crunch" from the cornflakes. 
This is the perfect dunking cookie.  Coffee, tea, milk, whatever you like!
I ended up with four dozen cookies.  I set 2 dozen out for us to eat during the week and sealed the other 2 dozen up in an airtight container. 

These are coming with us on Friday!
Spring has definitely sprung around here these last two days.  Even my beautiful forsythia has opened up.  I hope to see more of this next week as I drive across country!  ♥
I will be tweeting and Instagraming all the from here to there if you care to come along. 
I hope you do!
According to Rob we leave early Friday morning.  And when he says early, he means early! Yikes! 
Graceland here we come!
"He's all shook up....ooh, ooh... :) "