How to Tell if Pineapple is Ripe

Ripe Pineapple with CCTNT

My sister Tracey and I were recently in a grocery store looking to buy some pineapple.  While we were standing there in front of all of the pineapples hemming and hawing over which ones seemed to be the most ripe, the “produce guy” came up and asked if he could help us.  I’m assuming he could tell we had no clue what we were doing.  He then proceeded to teach us how to choose a ripe pineapple.

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Lemon Oil to Renew Wood

Lemon Oil with CCTNT 2

This post is really more about reminding you about the use of lemon oil than anything else.

A couple of months ago, I was sitting in my living room, looking across the room at an old newspaper roller I have on our fireplace hearth.  I have some dried flowers in the piece and was admiring how pretty they looked. Then, out of nowhere, I noticed that the wood handle of the paper roller was totally dry and worn looking. [Read more…]

Finding Amazing Places to Eat When Traveling


This isn’t a secret to my friends, but I love food.  In fact, I’ve been known to be a food snob.  A couple of my co-workers that I’ve traveled with frequently like to tease me about how difficult it is to please me when it comes to food.

When traveling for pleasure or work, I like to take advantage of the variety of food available in the places I’m at.  For me, there’s nothing better than finding an out of the way restaurant with awesome food.  Good ambiance is the frosting on the cake.

Finding said places can be a bit difficult.  Sometimes it’s by word of mouth from other tourists.  On our first trip to San Juan we were talking to some other tourists who recommended Waikiki on the Beach.  Fortunately we took them up on it and had an absolutely delightful meal!

Locals can be helpful about finding a good place to eat as well, especially if you’re looking for the hole in the wall place with excellent food.

The advent of reality shows has helped identified some of the best kept secrets as well.  Mike and I have seen so many restaurants that we’d love to try while watching TV.  Unfortunately we don’t have enough vacation time or money to try them all!

Occassionally you just stumble upon these gems.  This week I’m in Philadelphia for a conference.  Since the conference started 8am Monday I needed to fly in on Sunday.  I took advantage of the time and walked around the city checking out some of the highlights.  One of the highlights I found was Reading Terminal Market.  OMG!  I didn’t get to far into the place before plopping myself at the counter at Pearl’s Oyster Bar.  All I can say is yum!  The food was delicious (I tried a seafood sample and have to give the shrimp a two thumbs up – the picture at the top of the page was my lunch plate), the waistaff was delightful and I enjoyed talking to the other patrons at the bar.  I only wish I had the time to explore it more!

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A man’s best friend


This is my dog Shadow.  He is 9 years old.  He is not of any particular breed, but I do not like to use the “m—” word.   He was a free dog.  But, as we all know, there is no such thing as a free dog.   When we decided to get a dog years back, I was out numbered in the family vote: 3 FOR and 1 against getting a dog.   I was the 1 against it.   I knew at that time the dog would be more work for me no matter what the kids said about helping.  [Read more…]

My first 5k


I am easing into this 5k process by walking my first 5k last weekend.  I know, walking a 5k is not a major accomplishment, but this was my first experience in an organized walking environment.  I had some walking company with 2 of the chicks.  Yes, this is a picture of Jenny, Elizabeth and myself after we crossed the finish line.    Wanda also was participating in the 5k, but at a much faster pace with her daughter. 
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Sam’s Club–Current Finds


I’m switching it up and decided to do a post about a store other than Aldi’s! My current hot place is Sam’s Club. Well, I have always liked Sam’s Club, but recently they have been higher on the charts due to spring and summer purchases. Here are my top three purchases that I made from Sam’s recently:

Deep seating patio furniture for my deck. I have been waiting to buy furniture for two years now. It is just so expensive and so many choices! Well Sam’s Club has some great buys and they have quite a few sets to choose from; however, due to high demand, you likely will have to order it online. For larger items like this, it does take a bit of time for it to deliver as they amalgamate orders until they ship to a local distribution channel. You also need to pay for [Read more…]

Pinot’s Palette–Paint. Drink. Have Fun.


A few weeks ago, all of us Chicks had a girls’ night and we decided to try something new. You know, put ourselves out there. We had heard quite a bit about the new rage where you create a painting while sipping on wine or other beverages. Very enticing. One of the businesses in our area is called Pinot’s Palette located right on College Avenue in Appleton. We were feeling adventurous, so we decided to give it a run. Elizabeth booked our reservations (you must book them in advance) for a cost of $35 each and we were good to go!

Now, we met prior for a quick dinner where I consumed a glass of wine. I basically came into the Pinot’s Palette scene somewhat relaxed and ready for a new experience. Here she goes: [Read more…]

Panini Sandwiches

Panini Sandwiches CCTNT_edited-2

Several years ago I bought Rick a Panini sandwich grill for Christmas.  Well, after 4 years, we finally cracked it out of the box (yea, I know….let’s not go there in this post!!).  A Panini grill is a great appliance to have – it is versatile because it can be adjusted for the thickness of whatever you are grilling.  The other advantage with this adjustment capability, is that it doesn’t squash your sandwich as much as if you are using another grilling appliance, like a George Foreman grill.  The Panini grill also has a temperature control that is an advantage, depending on the type of bread you have and the ingredients you are using.  The recipe below is really a basic recipe – meaning you can make any type of Panini you want, depending on what meats, cheeses, condiments, veggies, and bread you prefer.  These are great for just plain grilled cheese too, so you can have ‘kids’ and ‘adult’ versions of Panini sandwiches and they are perfect for weeknights when your family has school and sporting events that limit you from cooking a huge meal. [Read more…]


Stromboli CCTNT

My husband, Rick, grew up in Pennsylvania near Camp Hill.  One of his favorite places to eat when he was growing up, and also got me hooked on, was ‘Your Place’.  They specialize in Stromboli – fondly known as ‘boli’.  I had never heard of or had stromboli, but after one visit to Your Place I was hooked.  Since we don’t go back to Pennsylvania often, we have searched for a recipe that would come close to the one at Your Place.  Well, Rick finally found one, and I have modified it a little to get it closer to what we remember.  Give it a try, if you like pizza or Italian food, I’m sure you will love it!

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Dripping Beef Sandwiches

Dripping Beef Sandwiches with CCTNT

I originally got this recipe from People® magazine.  These sandwiches are super easy to make and are absolutely delicious.  I recently made them when Olivia was home on spring break.  She continued to comment, “Man, that was sandwich was soooo good!”  That sounds like a winner to me. [Read more…]