Tag Archive | chocolate

Take Me Away, Vermont ~

We had spent our first three nights of vacation in Portland, Maine, but now, Tuesday morning, it was time to head out to Burlington, Vermont, catching some scenery through New Hampshire along the way.  All of our travel resources said it would be about a four hour ride to Burlington.  So, once again, I settled in and let Al take the wheel.

 Since we were only spending one overnight in Burlington, I had booked us into more moderately priced accommodations at the Burlington Travelodge.  It was convenient, right off the highway and not far from downtown and the ferry crossing we would be taking on Wednesday.  I had visited Burlington some years ago when I worked a marathon there for the American Heart Association, and I remembered it being a nice, relatively calm college town full of interesting things to see and places to go.

 The weather from the get-go wasn’t fantastic.  Overcast and threatening rain.  When we pulled into the Travelodge, Al went in to secure our lodgings (which I had booked February 13, 2013) as a king size room on the ground floor.  He came out and had been given keys to a room on the second floor with two twin beds.  Needless to say, I took my internet confirmation in with me to confront the young girl at the counter.  We ended up with a decent king room on the second floor, and made our way with our luggage just as the rain began to pour.  Eventually we emerged to go to dinner… a local IHOP.  We had decided to do most of our sightseeing the next day after we checked out and before our ferry crossing to New York.

 Cruising around Burlington was eye-opening, to say the least.  It had been “built up” since I had been there, and was very overtly commercial.  Still, we drove around the college section, where most of the more interesting shops still were, and then we decided to take the short drive out to Ben and Jerry’s.  I think we got there around 10:00 a.m., and it was so overwhelmingly packed with people that we didn’t even get an ice cream.  People were heard saying that they’d waited in line for over an hour for an ice cream cone.  I didn’t need one that bad!  So back down into Burlington to stop and shop at some of the more interesting stores we came across, and we also stopped and visited a really pretty park right on the water. 


Once I saw the Lake Champlain Chocolate Company it was all over.  We had to go in, even though I knew I would not be splurging on decadence like I wanted to.  I had done enough “damage” to my weight loss goals and promises already.  I did not want to add insult to injury.  But I thought there might be some interesting photos to be taken, so we went in.  We did end up buying two truffles each ~ they were enormous, and enormously expensive.  But, it was only four truffles… okay, and a small candy bar too.  Al ate most of it.  Okay, Al ate half of it and I ate the other half.  We are saps when it comes to good chocolatiers.

There were a couple of other “unusual” stores that Al had to check out.  One was a lighting store that had several statues in their parking lot that were created from lighting materials and metal things.  Right up Al’s alley.  By lunch time we were heading for the ferry crossing and parked second in line to board the ferry.  There was a nice little restaurant right there on the dock, so we took time for lunch, as we had an hour before the next crossing.  While we had lunch, the rain returned and deluged the dock.  Thank goodness we were inside.  The enormous bowl of clam chowder I was enjoying kept me warm while the wind whipped at the restaurant windows.  All too soon it was time to get back into the car and prepare to drive onto the ferry to cross Lake Champlain.  The weather remained unsettled throughout the crossing, but the ride was smooth.  On the other side, we stopped and took time to get our bearings and find out just exactly we would be getting to Lake George from the ferry crossing.

 I was looking forward to our upcoming accommodations in Warrensburg, just a six miles from Lake George.  This vacation that was supposed to be a rest and relaxation time, was wearing me out.

 Thanks for stopping by and reading about our excursion in Burlington.  Be sure to check out our Portland, Maine and Warrensburg/Lake George adventures.   TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Made to Crave ~ Of Ho-Hos and Yo-Yos

I can’t complain, though I’ve gained back a couple of pounds over the past couple of days… I’m still down like 10-11 lbs overall since July 15th.  I did expect to gain some back.  I’ve been having a little difficulty managing the hunger pangs thing.  They come on so suddenly and so strong that I want to just grab whatever I can at the moment to put something – anything – in my stomach to make them go away.  I do not need any more pain in my life!  But still, I’ve been good.  No, I have not eaten any Ho-Ho’s or anything of the sort.  I just thought that was a catchy title.  And it’s not like things like Ho-Ho’s don’t cross my mind when I’m in the grocery store.  So far, the closest I’ve come to anything “bad” for me are granola bars ~ at 90 calories each.  I expect my weight to “yo-yo” here and there, and I’m not discouraged.  As long as I know in my heart that I’m trying and I continue to eat the right things rather than the wrong things of the past, I’m happy.   God will see to the rest.

Tomorrow we head for New England for a nice, long vacation.  I am apprehensive about all of the temptations I know await me there… in the food department.  In past excursions with my husband, we always have liked to hit up candy stores to try the different delicacies that we can’t find at home.  And we always try something scrumptious at a variety of restaurants.  This time will be different, I will be restrained.  I won’t deny myself some of the finer things ~ well, except the chocolate ~ but I won’t go overboard on anything either.

I will redirect some of my food passions to photography passions.  Keep my camera in hand rather than something to eat.  And I will continue to drink, drink, drink flavored water.  I will have my laptop with me, so you might even see a post or maybe two from me while we’re away.  Sometimes the late evenings are conducive to blogging.

Lighthouse at Portland, Maine

Lighthouse at Portland, Maine

    Until next time, thanks for stopping in.  TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Pure Decadence… Add Caramel ~

Caramel Border for my Pure Decadence Quilt

Caramel Border for my Pure Decadence Quilt

I’m absolutely tickled pink that I finally managed to find the border color for my “Pure Decadence” quilt that I started several months ago.  It’s the hardest part of quilting, for me, matching colors!  Unless I buy my fabrics in a pre-arranged “bundle” that match, I’m usually lost for several weeks… as in this case.

I had the inside of the top complete, but when it came to choosing the borders, I couldn’t decide on where to even start!  I consulted Al, and we both discussed the “theme” of decadence (as in chocolate), and he thought something caramel colored would be appropriate.  Okay, so “caramel” ~ that could range from brown to orange to yellow.  I’ve been hunting in stores and online for several weeks.  I found some gorgeous fabric on Fabric.com that looked like melted chocolate, and it would’ve probably been perfect, but I’m wary about purchasing fabric that I haven’t touched.  I have purchased from Fabric.com before, and have always been very pleased with their prices and their quality.  But, this time it’s special.  Don’t ask me why.  Maybe because it’s so personal.  Chocolate is my “comfort”.  It makes everything right again.  So, this quilt that will be going in my bedroom on my bed needs to reflect that comfort ~ even in the border.

Pure Decadence quilt top pieces ~ making progress!

Pure Decadence quilt top pieces ~ making progress!

So, I will be using this caramel-colored fabric for the first border… just the first of probably 3 or 4 borders.  I found this gorgeous fabric at a local quilt shop, Mission Rose Quiltery, in North Syracuse.  It will encompass the entire perimeter of the top pictured above, around 4-6″ in width, I think.  After that, I will revert back to the fabrics that built the center, and use those colors for more borders.  I’m thinking, after the caramel, that pretty dark brown would look magnificent.  And then take it lighter and lighter from there.

However, this will most likely be an entire summer-long project, as I have one current paid project to finish for a friend, then baby quilts!  I’m expecting our 8th grandchild ~ a little girl ~ in July… that will require at least 2 quilts and several receiving blankets.  Then, I’m planning two twin size quilts for my twin grandchildren that will be visiting us from Alaska this Christmas!  So much to do!  So much fabric to buy!

This is my joy… my bliss. 

I’d love for you to share yours, please feel free to leave a reply.

Until next time, TTFN ~ Tamara Eckstadt

Share Your World Week 51

This week’s thought-provoking and revealing questions from Cee’s Photography

  1. Your most favorite fiction book?  Has to be “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell.  I’ve always been a horse lover and this story has always fascinated me.      

    Black Beauty

    Black Beauty

  2. What one thing you miss about being a kid? Carefree summer vacations.  Summers off from school seemed to last forever for me.  I remember laying in the cool grass under our maple trees watching a warm breeze move through the leaves and branches.  We had a small hill in our yard, that seemed big to us as children, and we’d start at the top and roll down over and over until we were dizzy.  Catching fireflies at night and keeping them in a jar and watching them blink until you fall asleep.   

    Fireflies in summer

    Fireflies in summer

  3. If you were an ice cream cone how many scoops and flavors would you be and why?  I’d be chocolate ice cream (a classic) and only a couple of scoops.  Just enough for a “child size” to enjoy, otherwise I might get thrown into the trash if there’s too much left over.  More importantly, I’d like to have one of those “flavored” cones with the flat bottom.  They used to come in chocolate, red and green as well as the “standard” one shown here.   

    Chocolate ice cream cone

    Chocolate ice cream cone

  4. What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?  I was lucky enough to be at the top of my class in high school as far as the business courses I took.  In my senior year, I was “teacher’s pet” of the business director, so when she was asked to recommend a student for an open part-time position as Receptionist at the school’s district offices, she recommended me and I got the job.  I started working during my lunch hour to cover the full-time Receptionist’s lunch hour, and after school.  Then I went on to substitute for the high school’s secretary over summer vacation (no fireflies THAT summer!) and other various temp positions throughout the school district.  
    Baker High School, Baldwinsville, NY

    Baker High School, Baldwinsville, NY

    Thanks, Cee!

Pure Decadence ~

(updated 12-29-12 w/new photo)

I’m not one to “name” my quilts, usually, but this time I think I’ll make an exception.  I made my “pink quilt” a few months ago as a snuggle/comfort piece just for me when I watch t.v. in the family room at night or on cold winter weekends.  Somehow, it ended up on our queen sized bed, and I am still often left out in the cold in the family room.  I quickly realized that I would need to make a replacement for our bed if I am to have my pink quilt to myself as planned.  I really liked the pattern of the pink quilt, so I decided to make the replacement of the same pattern, but a different color combination.  Our bedroom is mostly of brown/beige hues, so that’s the way I went with it.  Little did I know that during the process of making this new replacement quilt of brown hues, that I would encounter such distraction as I have.

Decadent quilt ipiccy 

decadent quilt 2 ipiccy

Mind you, I’m used to working with “theme quilts”, as I’ve made many.  There’s the “goth” one I made for my son filled with red, black and white skulls and assorted such; then my big “country/farm animals” one with mostly chickens and roosters as well as kernels of corn and barn siding fabric; I made an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) quilt for a fundraising raffle; and, of course, my pink quilt, among others.  However, nothing prepared me for the thoughts that would run through my mind as I pieced together this new quilt!  Does it remind you of anything?  My thoughts immediately wander to Milky Way or Snickers candy bars.  Or how about Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream?  Perhaps dark Hershey’s chocolate is more your thing?  Maybe coffee ice cream with caramel drizzled and whipped cream?

Yep, this is my “decadent quilt”, and it’s going to be a long project!


brians quilt 2

Brian’s “goth” quilt

EMS raffle quilt

EMS raffle quilt

Country quilt


Update – 12-29-12

I finally got all of the squares for the top of the “Pure Decadence” quilt created, I’ll be sewing them together this afternoon.  I’ll also be shopping for the border(s) fabric and then working on that this evening/tomorrow.  I just “might” have the entire TOP done before New Years! 

Pure Decadence quilt top pieces ~ making progress!

Pure Decadence quilt top pieces ~ making progress!