Thought of my Dad this morning as a friend and I chased a balloon. He was often spontaneous and when we would see a balloon, he would jump in the old farm truck, and with kids sprouting off the rails in the back, the chase was on (before mandated seatbelts – how did we all survive?!) Fun memories.


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A New Cafe in Town


There is a new cafe in the small Indiana town of Hagerstown. It is worth the trip if you enjoy local fare and learning about Indiana heritage.

The Sidewalk Cafe – located in an historic building and open 11-3 daily, 7 days a week.

Along with the cafe, there is a lovely Christmas store attached called Every Day is Christmas. You can also step across the street to the Museum (open 1-6pm Thurs./Fri./Sat.).

Go out and explore the small towns in Indiana – they can hide some wonderful treasures!

Feel free to visit my food blog where I wrote more about the cafe food.

The Ruby Pear


Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you.  Now tell me about hundreds of things.  ~Saki

The Ruby Pear is a lovely tea parlor located in an authentic Victorian house. It is conveniently located on the main street that runs through downtown Noblesville (Conner Street/US32).

This was my first experience of a Victorian Tea and I am now hooked. The Velvet Chicken soup was excellent, the chicken salad sandwich had the perfect blend of flavors and textures, and the scones a delightful complement to the selected teas.

Call ahead and don’t be in a hurry. This is meant to be a time of contented companionship.

Slow it down, buddy!

My cat, Bendi, would eat himself comatose if I left food out for him. And he eats so fast he gets the hiccups. Every time. (Which is adorable, but probably not a good thing.) He is also not yet 1 year old and is a big cat, so I knew I needed to do something and fast.

First I switched him to a less fattening adult food (his birthday is next month) and then we have been trying out cat food dispensers to slow his intake. So far his favorite is the PetSafe SlimCat Interactive Toy and Food Dispenser Ball.

He has a constant purr as he bats it around like an expert. It is the cutest thing. It has also slowed him down significantly and he appears to be on high alert to every sound in the house (as opposed to laying down – yea, he did that – while eating from his bowl.) He is always pausing and listening. When he is done, instead of hiccuping, he flops out in total contentment.

Abbott’s Candies all Danced in Their Heads

In a small town in Indiana, there is a magical place where children’s sweet dreams are awakened and adults’ are relived. A place where wondrous creations can be watched as they are being born. It is a small factory, tucked away on a side street, called Abbott’s Candies. My family members have had their hand in making the Christmas rush of orders and the factory has been around longer than I have existed (since 1890, to be exact — now that is something to be proud of.)

Melt-in-your-mouth caramels from Abbott’s have had a far reaching reputation and are much coveted. The greatest compliment to a non-factory, hand made batch of caramels was to tell the beaming cook “these are as smooth as Abbott’s!”

Photo taken from website: http://www.abbottsalso.com/default.htm

I remember going into the store to buy a box of caramels for my Mother for Christmas. It was a solemn and very important occasion. A box of those sugary delights were the holy grail of Christmas candy and were treated with great respect.

This is why discovering that the company had been purchased brought both chills and thrills all in the same instance. Yay that our small town was retaining a precious tradition and heritage, but fears of change couldn’t help but seep into the joy. Come to find out, the new owners had been selling Abbott’s candies for nearly 10 years, so they already understood the appeal.

In reading the local paper, it appears they will not only be keeping tradition, the new owners are going to bring back old favorites that had been retired. What an exceptional marketing plan! And they will continue to offer them online and at their current stores.

By the way, my favorites are the plain or the cream puffs, if anyone is taking notes.

Picture of the Palladium Item – Richmond IN

Excerpt from the Palladium Item news article:

…So they bought the factory and store in Hagerstown and went to work, renovating some of the display cases inside the Hagerstown shop and learning all they could about the candy. They even encouraged employees — more than 20 work at the factory — to bring suggestions for new candy ideas.

Click for the full article from the Palladium Item.

Restaurant Review: Ocean Prime

A new restaurant, Ocean Prime, came to town about the time I was graduating with my BS in Graphic Design and working at a full-time design contract, so we missed our normal early visit to the new dining venue. However, we rectified the omission tonight and were more than pleasantly delighted.

Our adventure began with their crab cake appetizer, which is exceptional.

Ocean Prime serves steak and seafood, as well as a wonderful experience. Our server, Michael, was more than accommodating, as well as attentive and friendly.

When we ordered our entrees and discussed sharing them, he quickly offered to split and plate them before presenting them to the table. That does not happen at many restaurants, even when requested.

Both their grouper and the scallops with rissoto were delightful and not too heavy, although with the appetizer and wonderfully crusty sourdough bread that we began with, we  decided we could have split one meal and felt quite satisfied.

We finished it off with a 10 layer carrot cake… two bites and the remainder was taken home for future savoring. If you like carrot cake, this is delectable  but different than what you may be familiar with as there is a pineapple drizzle that gives it a wonderful and surprising flavor enhancement.

Absolutely a top rating goes to this restaurant for both food and service. A pleasant experience we have every intention of repeating.

Ocean Prime was born in Columbus, Ohio in 2006.  Visit their national website to see if they have come to a city near you.

They also have a wonderful gluten-free menu.  Note: I am gluten-sensitive, but did not follow the GF diet tonight.