A while back (a long while back) I mentioned that I was making a mini British pub for a contest. I received the kit in March and it is finally finished and submitted. I just wanted to share some of the pictures with you. I really liked how it turned out.
This is what the original kit looked like. It was a craftsman cabin. For the contest we had to use this kit.
This is a photo in progress, but it shows where I moved the door and window on one wall and created a new door and window on the other wall.
The front of the pub almost done.
This is the finished exterior of the pub. I didn’t have time to put a sign hanging from the corner, and I’m not sure how that would have looked. I made the flowers, and everything in this scene EXCEPT the phone booth.
The back wall and pool table. I made the pool table and the dart board. The pictures are all black and white photos of my pets (both past and present).
A picture of the pubs resident lush.
A view of the bar and my bartender Clizby (pronounced Clithby). I made all the food, the bar, most of the bottles and the Paddington bear doll. And the drapes.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. I’m crossing my fingers that I place somewhere in this contest. But even if I don’t I had fun making it. I am waiting to hear what their next contest kit is. I already have an idea of what I want to do, but that all hinges on what the kit is.
We are excited to announce that we have started offering to-go lunches. One of our sandwiches is a chicken salad made with grapes and walnuts. The other sandwich we are offering is a peanut butter, jelly and brie sandwich. Both are offered on our homemade bread, with homemade granola bars, Goldfish crackers, fruit and a drink.
The inspiration for the chicken salad was from a sandwich I used to get at a restaurant called the Chancery. People from the Millville area might remember the Chancery. We used to go there a lot when I was in high school, and they had a chicken salad on croissant sandwich that had grapes and walnuts. I was very sad when they took it off their menu. I think they are no longer around, but I always loved this sandwich, and our version is just as delicious! The granola bars are also delicious. The Boo makes those, and they will change in flavor depending on what the Boo makes. We hope our guests will enjoy them as well.
We also rent out bear spray for $5.00 dollars a day (with a $15.00 dollar maximum) for guests staying multiple nights. If you rent it out for more than three days we only charge for three. For people that fly here, its a good deal, as you can’t bring bear spray on a plane. Its also a money saver as bear spray is expensive. And bear spray should be a priority for anyone hiking in the park. Bears are definitely no joke.
I also want to use this blog to do some updating on our policies. I am never quite sure what people expect when they visit us as far as what housekeeping we do for multiple night stays. I know that I have been at B and B’s that never came into our room, not even to change out the garbage. Some came in every day and made the bed. Our policy here is to change out the garbage and replace the towels. If a guest wants turn down service, we are more than happy to do that. If a guest requests that we not replace towels, etc, we are fine with that also. We are pretty flexible either way.
Finally, I just want to reiterate our smoking policy. There is no smoking on the property. At all, anywhere. I never want to come across as a meany or a stickler, but this is one policy I will not budge on. For several reasons. One is that we are in a semi arid area. We don’t water our grass, and I personally do not want a fire. As well, we have no ash trays so there is no where to dispose of your butts.
That wraps up another one of my soon to be famous blog posts.
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Fair warning before we get too far into this blog… it’s pretty senseless… it’s not about the inn or us or our fur babies or even about Gardiner-although all of these things rock…. it’s really about my love for music, and specifically my obsession with one group in particular. So if this sounds boring to you-and really I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be boring-stop now. For the rest of you…
Music has always played an important role on my life. When I was a kid I remember listening to Barry Manilow and Luciano Pavarotti. If I had to trace back to the first song I actually remembered as a cognizant being it is probably Mandy-still a favorite. I also have memories of my mom listening to love songs with Rick Morales. Anyone who was around in the 80’s in Milwaukee knows what I’m talking about. I still love the song When I Need You by Leo Sayer. It says a lot about my character that I am absolutely NOT embarrassed to say I like ANYTHING by Leo Sayer. And on that note, Wildfire was and always will be in my top 5 songs of all time.
I remember the first album I ever owned-Men At Work. And spending hours-quite literally hours-watching MTV with my brother and a neighbor waiting for the video of Mr Roboto to play. Growing up in the 80s sure was a blast!
By my teenage years I was into the Smiths, the Cure and REM… I still love R.E.M… and I’m still waiting for the Concrete Blonde reunion tour. As a teenager it is so easy to see yourself in every song. Anyways, most of the music I listened to from my teenage years was depressing. And ya know that’s cool. I think teenage angst is great. At least for me, I have something to look back on and laugh at.
By the time I was transitioning to adulthood, I was all over the place. I saw Michael Bolton in concert several times. We were in the second row for one of those. I had a friend who was absolutely obsessed with Michael Bolton.Than there was my country faze (in the 90’s).I saw Clint Black at the Wisconsin State Fair, and I still maintain it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. And basically after that I listened to a lot of Italian rock. And no I don’t actually speak Italian, so who knows what any of those songs was about… well people that speak Italian do… I like to think they are singing about stuff so wonderful it can’t be put into words.
Now I basically just listen to stuff I’ve always listened to. I’m not really into new music. Shawn Mendez is ok, but seriously I have no clue what is popular.
I make an exception with Bastille.I liked them since I first heard Pompeii. And having been a huge fan (one of the biggest) of Twin Peaks, how could I not love a group who names one of their songs Laura Palmer? Right? I remember as a teenager driving way out to this restaurant in Oak Creek and thinking “my god, we’re in a David Lynch film.” The restaurant was John Busslers, the food was good, and the company was my crazy friends.And seriously, Oak Creek is not that far out.
In 2015 me and the Boo went to see Bastille at the Aragon ballroom in Chicago. And while I was a little unhappy with the lack (complete lack) of seating, I was blown away. I hadn’t been to a concert since…probably Michael Bolton…that’s sad really…
We have all their albums and EP… even the one that they have floating out there for free…
So fast forward to last week. We went to see them in Bozo… now I consider myself a one off kind of person… I rarely go to the same place twice on vacation-Memphis is the exception here, as is Yellowstone, although really I didn’t vacation here twice. We vacationed here once and than moved out here. And there’s those two Michael Bolton concerts… but honestly, what were the chances that Bastille would be playing in Bozo and we’d be living here. They’ve been to Chicago a few times, but that’s not a surprise. Maybe I’m not giving Bozo enough credit, Sir Elton John played there a few months ago, and I’m pretty sure me and the Boo were the only people left in Gardiner that night. Basically, that I have been to see them twice is a big deal for me. And it’s cool that I saw them in the two places I consider home.
So, this is kind of a shameless plug. But I don’t always have inn related things to talk about. And I think it’s ok to plug something your passionate about… remember my Victory Taco blog? I’m very passionate about tacos… but-I never did go back there after that first time. Like I said I’m a one off kind of person…
So, I find a common theme among my fellow innkeepers. They all seem to have crafty hobbies. I sometimes look at other innkeepers’ blogs, and it makes me feel wholly inadequate. While some of these folks are doing wood working, or glass blowing, or soap making, I’m over here like, “Hey, time to binge watch Parks and Rec or Brothers and Sisters! Woot Woot!!” We will be staying at a B and B where the innkeeper is a tea master. A certified tea master. I’m actually super excited about that.
I will be honest, I can make soap. I have, in fact, made soap. Have I made it a money making scheme? No. And it’s not that much fun to make in any case. I also do cross stitching, which is a great hobby to have, as I can work on my projects while I binge watch CSI. As a side note, for any of you that have visited, I have one of my cross stitch projects hanging by the coffee service. It’s a cross stitch rendering of Lincolns home in Springfield. It also happens to be the only cross stitch project I have actually finished. When me and the Boo got married one of my coworkers made us a beautiful cross stitch. It took her about a month at the most. And it really is beautiful, with flowers and metallics. Yeah, if I had made that for myself, I’d still be working on it. And this year is our 6 year anniversary.
I also got into sewing a few years ago. I even sewed myself two dresses. And a pair of jammy pants. And I sewed my husband a pair of jammy pants. Than the novelty of sewing was gone, and I haven’t sewn since. But if the spirit moves me, I have fabric to make a pant and jacket outfit. It looks like it would be gorgeous, and maybe I can find someone around here who can just sew it for me.
But now, I feel like I have found a respectable hobby that I can stack up against something like making award winning pies(something I think I could also do). I am making a dollhouse!! To be more specific I am making an English Pub in miniature. I have a friend who started a miniatures club a few weeks back, and I just love it. I am going to be entering my mini pub in a contest. For now, here are some pictures of where I am at:
Original doll house
Wood floor-in progress
I will be posting updates periodically with pictures on Facebook. But I do expect to win this contest. Plus I am having fun, and really that is what matters most. If you look close at the pictures, you can see Leo. That seems to be another theme with my innkeeper cohorts. Pets that act as greeters. Well, if people ask they can pet Leo. Our other two cats would just as soon spit in your face, as would Lou our super sweet, super cool dog. So, while they won’t be greeting you with a smile, rest assured me and the Boo.
So, pretty much every Friday we head into Livingston to do our grocery shopping. And eat lunch. Now, this blog has nothing to do with food. Having said that, I highly recommend Homemade Kitchen. Super yummy food.
This last Friday we did our grocery shopping, and than we ate at Homemade Kitchen. Again, super delicious. Enough about food. While we were leaving there I asked the Boo if we could go to Stafford Animal Shelter. I’ll tell you why. They had a dog on their website who I could have sworn we had looked at several weeks ago. I had to check out the situation. Really for my own curiosity. But let me go back a little.
We have been wanting a dog for months. But honestly, I am queen worrier. To say I did my research on dogs is an understatement. First we were considering a shelter dog. Our first visit to Stafford was relatively unsuccessful-although I will come back to this. Than I decided, no we should get a purebred Great Dane. From a breeder. I do love Great Danes. But they can get bloat, and wobblers so not so sure about giant breeds. Than there was how a dog would be living with the cats. How would they deal with it. I personally don’t want to live in a war zone. Than I worried about barking. Since we have guests… So we sort of put getting a dog on the back burner.
So back to Lou… A few weeks ago me and the Boo went to Stafford. I was interested in this pit bull/mastiff mix. We also saw a VERY scared vizsla. Very scared. We looked at him for a while. I won’t go into details, but we left without anyone. Fast forward to a few days ago. And Stafford has a Vizsla listed. I was certain it was the same dog. It was. And now he is our baby. He was still very scared, and has had a rough time of it. He had been adopted out and brought back. By crummy people I can only assume.
I feel like after only three days I could write a book about this boy. The cats are getting OK with him. And what touches my heart the most is how much he seems to enjoy sleeping on our bed. I don’t know his past. I think it was kind of crappy. But he is our baby now, and with that come quite a few perks. One of which is sharing the bed. And hugs. And walks. And encouragement.
The first night we had him I thought to myself, this little guy had no idea that morning that he wouldn’t have to sleep on a hard floor. That he didn’t have to be in a place that scared him and made him unhappy. It makes me cry thinking that he probably doesn’t yet get that he is home. And that we are his pack. But he is and we are.
We hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years. We had a great time. We made snacks for our guests and we spent the evening with friends. All in all a good time. We got home right before midnight, just in time to watch the repeat of New York’s New Years Eve. I honestly always thought they reset the ball in New York to drop special for all 4 time zones. Clearly that is not the case. In my defense the last 5 New Years I have lived near a city large enough to have their own televised celebration. And honestly I missed watching the news crew from Chicago’s ABC affiliate-especially Hosea Sanders. Yes folks we really know how to live it up on New Years. LOL
I hope people are sticking to their resolutions if they made any. Mine was to stop watching the news, and to say yes to doing more things. I’m more of a homebody. So far, I think I am doing great on both of these. I have no clue what is going on in this great big world of ours. And that’s great. The less time I spend fretting over things in this world I can’t control, the more time I can spend making my little corner better.
For 2017 we are hoping to add a few new things. One that I am very excited about is we would like to start offering box lunches. I am busy trying to perfect my sourdough recipe, and I already have a great multi grain bread recipe lined up. I will keep you all posted when I get that rolling, hopefully sometime in February or March.
We are also looking to diversify our to go breakfasts. And adding new not to go breakfasts and bakery items. One item I made and absolutely loved was cannoli stuffed french toast, topped with nutella. I served that over Thanksgiving and believe it is a keeper.
With that I wish you all a healthy and happy 2017. If you aren’t where you want to be, make 2017 a year to plan a change, or make a change. If you are where you want to be, make 2017 a year to make your corner of the world better, and to be thankful for what you have.
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I promise this blog is going to be upbeat and fun. It is Christmas after all (and Hannakuh too). But I do want to share some sad news. Most of our guests at some point or other hear about our cats, and even meet some of them. Yesterday our old man cat Sal passed away. He was 19, which, I have been told was almost old enough to get him a letter from the queen if we were in England. I had him for 16 of his 19 years, and we sure miss him already.
A much younger Sal.
But I promised this would be a cheery post, and it will be. While I am not a big fan of the Christmas season, I do have my fair share of holiday memories, and I love Christmas music. In the spirit of the season, here are a few of my favorite things about Christmas.
Christmas song: I actually have three. The first one is Wonderful Christmas Time by Paul McCartney. The Boo absolutely hates this song, as do a lot of people I guess. I don’t know what the problem is, its a good song.
My second favorite song is A Cradle in Bethlehem by Nat King Cole. It’s just a pretty song. And, well, Nat King Cole.
My last and possibly favorite favorite is the Snoopy and the Red Baron song. It’s Snoopy right? My favorite. The video I shared on here is super cute too, and well done. As far as all other Christmas Songs, there are few I dislike, and I find you can never go wrong with Perry Como or Johnny Mathis. And if I am invited to sing Christmas Carols, please, let us sing the whole song, not just the first verse. And if there is a version in Latin, you better provide those words as well.
Christmas Movie: A Muppets Christmas Carol. The version with the sad song in it.
Honorable mention goes to any number of Its a Wonderful Life copycats.
Best Gift I ever recieved: I think over all the best gift I ever got was a Mrs. Fields Easy Bake oven. My friend Jeff gave me this when I was 19. (yes, 19). I spent that evening making snacks for my family. And literally it took all evening to make what amounted to underdone mini (very mini) cookies and cakes.
Favorite Christmas Memory: In my family we have our big Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve. So, at the end of the evening, probably between 10:00 and midnight, I offered to start my aunt’s car for her(anyone who lives in a cold weather state can appreciate a warm car in the middle of Winter). I didn’t do this out of the goodness of my heart, I was going to play a joke on her. So I went outside and started her car, and proceeded to accidentally lock all the doors. This, by the way, was NOT the joke I had intended on playing. We called the police. It was freezing outside, but there we were, watching this very nice police man spend a fair amount of time not being able to break into her car. My aunt eventually had to call her soon to be ex husband (my uncle) to have him drop off the spare key she had at home. It was both awkward and funny. Actually it was hilarious, I’m laughing my butt off writing this. I think we were out there with the car running for about two hours. But it made for a very memorable Christmas Eve.
Favorite Christmas Ever: OK, To be fair, I do not have one. Two stand out in my head for bringing me big smiles. The first one was when I received all sorts of Barbie Doll stuff for gifts. I was kid. I say this is one of my favorites because it stands out to me. Most of my really early memories of Christmas just sort of blend together. The Christmases of the 1980’s were probably all the same as far as I was concerned, since I was just a little kid. Seriously all I cared about were the gifts. The second was mine and the Boo’s first Christmas together.
The last few years we have been lucky enough to be invited to our friends Hanukkah party. He makes awesome Latkes. And it’s always a fun time. We are gonna miss that this year. Not exactly a Christmas memory, but it fits with the season.
This year it’s just me and the Boo. We are going to make a standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding. And we will do something special for our guests for breakfast on Christmas-I’m just not sure what. But I know it will be yummy!!
So I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah (which I think starts on the 24th), or whatever else one wishes to celebrate. Be safe. If you drink, don’t drive. If there’s ice on the road, don’t drive. If you drink and there’s ice on the road definitely don’t drive. And if anyone wants to share there favorite things that’s cool. I post this on our Facebook page too, so feel free to leave something in the comments.
One final note, I don’t normally share youtube videos. So hopefully I’m not infringing on anybodies whatever. None of these videos are mine, I just shared them here.
Hopefully this blog finds everyone safe and healthy and happy. It’s been quite a crazy month or so. Not just on a worldwide level, but for us here at Yellowstone Suites. Last month we traveled to Chicago for a week. It was fun catching up with our friends. And eating awesome food. My plan before we left was to hit all of our favorite spots, including Pita Inn and Lou Malnatis (of course). So now that the big food holiday is upon us, I guess I am not all about the food so much. Well I am, that’s kind of a lie. But it sounds good. I am a foodie, that will never change.
But instead of writing about food, I am in fact going to write about what I have to be Thankful for. And I am writing this in list form, just cuz.
First and foremost I am Thankful for the Boo, and our furbabies. There is nothing better than going through life with someone who is your best friend and partner in crime. And well…. cats…. who wouldn’t be Thankful for them. Leo-our wonder boy, too naughty for words. Sal, our tiny old man. Scout, our little girl who likes to scold us… a lot and Batsu, our two year old chunky monkey. And Teddy bear our guinea pig 🙂 Sadly we lost Ellie Belle our other guinea pig a few weeks ago. But I am thankful to have her in my life for the short time she stayed to visit. To use a Leslie Knope reference, I found my team, and I like it an awful lot.
I am Thankful for our guests. Over the course of this summer we have met some really cool people. We absolutely appreciate all of our guests, but there a quite a few that just stand out. We laughed a lot and learned a lot, and I hope that when you left here, you left with a smile and a fond memory.
The milky way. Not the candy bar-although yum there too. I am thankful that on most nights we can see the Milky Way. For far too many people this has become an almost unattainable luxury. And that’s a shame. Its good to be able to see the vastness of what is around us. Its humbling to know that we are but a speck. That there are things so much greater than us.
I am thankful for this community. There are nice people everywhere, don’t get me wrong. The difference is this. When we lived in Illinois, we would say hi to our neighbors. Here we stop and chit chat…a lot. There is a saying that goes something like cities are built on organizations while small towns are built on people (this may not be exact, but you get it). Plus, there is some bank in this area that has a wreath made of money. I read about it before we moved here in the newsletter. I’m all about the money wreath. LOL
It’s so easy to get bogged down with negatives. It’s easy to forget that there are so many wonders out there and so many things to learn and see and do and be. So much out there that should make us smile and laugh. Don’t let the negatives get in the way of that.
Growing up in the midwest, when we would hear about wild fires, we were usually hearing about the big ones. Like the ones in California that cause immense property damage. Or the 1988 fires that burned a large portion of the park. Maybe now with the internet and social media and 24 hour news stations there is more coverage, but my point is I have always believed that any and all wild fires were a big deal. Until this year.
We have been told by both our neighbor (who is a fire behavior specialist) and the guy who works at the post office that this time of year in Gardiner is pretty hazy (smokey). The post office guy said that until fall it’ll be like this. They weren’t lying. Its very hazy (smokey). Its hazy from the fires-I think our haze may be coming from the Maple fire, but I am not sure. But the fires occur every year. Only when they go crazy-go-nuts are they really an issue. Otherwise they are monitored and people are redirected where it is necessary. That’s not to say people here don’t take them seriously. Fire prevention is of the utmost importance around here. Lightning strikes are one thing. Ding dongs who toss their cigarettes out the car window are another.
As you can see in the picture, electric peak is a little hard to see.
I’m not saying I really enjoy the haziness. It’s kind of odd to me. We were driving home from Livingston this afternoon, and I thought to myself that the smoke actually makes it look very wet and humid outside, even though it really is very dry. But it sparked a deep thoughts conversation with the Boo.
The fires going on are necessary. I knew that before I moved here. You need the fire to keep the forest strong. The lodge poles need the fire to open the pinecone so the seeds can begin new generations of growth. There are areas in the park where you can see the growth after the 1988 fires mixed in with the dead trees from that fire. These fires are just another reason I love living here. That connection with nature. That reminder that there are still things on this Earth greater than all of us. That still amaze. And I love that I get to live here. And learn here.
I love the Olympics. Immensely. I will love them even this year, in spite of the fact that I think they should be in Chicago. I may in fact be the only person from the Chicago area that wanted them there, and, as things turned out I am no longer in Illinois and would not be seeing them in person. But still…
In observance of all that is the Olympics and in the Olympic spirit, for the duration of the Olympic games, starting Friday, I will be making breakfasts based on traditional breakfasts from all over the world. Or at least what I can find on the internet, I am in fact not very well traveled. I have an idea for a German breakfast as well as a Greek breakfast. For the UK I think I will try my hand at baked beans-done their way, not ours- and maybe a fry up. We currently have two guests from England, I may pick their brains for ideas. I am also hoping to try non-European and North American breakfasts as well. Whatever I chose, I know it will be yummy, cuz all my food is made with love. There-now everyone knows my secret ingredient.
Aside from the plug for our yummy breakfasts, I would like to use this blog to share with you all some of my favorite Olympic memories. The first Olympics I remember were the 1988 Calgary Olympics. I don’t remember the games themselves, but I remember watching the first day of the games with my mom and my aunt and uncle. Not sure why they came over to watch them but there they were.
The year they were in Greece, I watched the opening ceremonies with my friends Nick and Jeff. We made pierogies and Saganaki. Yes, an odd combination, but it was fun and delicious. There may have been a salad in there somewhere as well. This is absolutely unrelated to the Olympics, but I remember this evening because me and my friend Jeff stood by his front door for a long while discussing road kill. If you don’t already get it, I’m a bit odd.
I was living in Madison, WI during the Sydney Olympics. Not the happiest of times for me. I worked second shift and I would watch them in the middle of the night when I got home from work-which actually meant I got to see them live because of the crazy time difference. My lasting memory of those games is watching Savage Garden perform the song Affirmation at the closing ceremonies.
By far my favorite Olympics memory is the party me and the Boo threw for the London games. I never appreciated English cooking until I cooked a party full of it. I must say this before I go any further, they had an outstanding opening ceremony, and while I am not English, nor do I have any English ancestry, nor have I ever been to England, Blake’s Jerusalem always brings a tear to my eye. Anyway, back to our party. We decorated our condo with flags from all sorts of countries drawn on paper plates with markers. I absolutely missed the boat with my Toad in a Hole. I precooked the sausage because I thought it would be too greasy, not realizing that the grease makes the bread AWESOME. And my bread did not poof up like yorkshire pudding. Aside from probably not being super duper authentic the food was great, and everyone seemed to like it.
And that’s really the important thing, and the point of this blog. I use food as a way to experience cultures I’ll probably never get to experience in person. The idea behind the Olympics is supposed to be a coming together of all of us, and while yes we will back our respective countries, we can still appreciate everyone there working their pants off(not literally that-would be awkward, and I believe there was a winter Olympics where a skeleton guy slid down the course without his sled, and did indeed lose a bit of his clothes). I will never be an athlete, but I can cook and I can share with my guests a little of who I am through my food. And if they leave happy, then that’s all I can ask for, and that does make me feel very Olympic.
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