“Count your blessings instead of sheep” – Rosemary Clooney sang this Irving Berlin song in the movie White Christmas. In the hustle and bustle and yes, stress of the holiday season, this is great advice.
So often we lay in bed worrying about packages arriving, money spent, who should sit next to who at Christmas dinner and whether Great Aunt Betty will forget to add the sugar to her cookies again.
Wouldn’t counting your blessings be a better routine after you crawl into bed?
1)Thank you for the giggles I shared with my daughter today.
2) Thank you for Taco Tuesday with family.
The holiday season is traditionally a time for gatherings with family and friends, this year was no exception in my home, (MB). My brother and sister-in-law provided our Thanksgiving meal at their home leaving me free to do something new on the Friday after.
Root Beer has always been a family favorite, to the point where some family members feel they can name the root beer brand with just a taste. In addition, we had a week-end guest who loved root beer.
The perfect combination to put together a root beer tasting party!
My criteria for root beer to make the cut was simple. It had to be in a glass bottle. While some would be old favorites, A&W, Dad’s, IBC; the rest would be unknown to me. I couldn’t be sure what my connoisseur had tried, so I simply picked up every brand I found.
A couple of the root beers came from the traditional grocery stores, in addition, I stopped in at our local ice cream and sweets shop for lesser know brands, Scrumptious, (if you ever have a chance to try their home-made ice cream, DO!), I explained what I was doing so along with the brands they had in the cooler, they found a new arrival in back. He also had 2 different types of root beer candy for my centerpiece. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf! World Market had a good selection of lesser known brands too.
I was unable to find A&W in glass bottles but it wouldn’t be a true root beer tasting without that fan favorite, so I settled for the plastic bottle. Barq’s was the only root beer that I could not find anywhere. In total, I ended up with 12 different brands of root beer.
I then began searching for small root beer mugs, something in the shot glass range. I found them at Party City. These I put in the freezer, root beer must be served in a frosted mug, right?
The actual tasting would be done in 3 flights of 4 each. I covered the labels, this would be a blind taste test.
Next, I put together a score sheet, covering 4 aspects, Effervescence, Sweetness, Zest, & Bouquet, along with their overall score for each one.
We did a 4th flight with the favorites from the previous flights to determine our winner.
I started the party with 2 songs about Root Beer to set the mood.
George Jones – Root Beer video by hankgwe
Who knew the Beach Boys sang about root beer? video by fatgator46
I made a point of opening the bottles out of sight of my testers. The A&W plastic bottle would be a dead give-away along with the possibility they might see and recognize a bottle cap.
Tasters were allowed to take as much time as they needed with each root beer. Some made their decisions quickly, others were very deliberate.
Comments from the tasters varied on every one.
“Strong Maple flavor”
“This one tastes like black licorice.”
“This one is so bland, now that I’ve tasted the others.”
The five root beers chosen for the final flight based on tester scores; although unknown to the tasters at the time; were: A&W, Dad’s, Dang!, IBC & Bulldog. One taster preferred Virgil’s over the rest but the others felt its anise flavoring was too strong, so Virgil’s did not make the cut.
Who’s #1 on our list? A&W was the hands down winner.
The Root Beers we tasted in addition to the above, were:
We had so much fun with this, we may try a cream soda taste test next!
What’s your favorite root beer? and why?
Here’s to a sweet life!
MaryBeth & Sherry
We found the perfect fall day to visit one of our old haunts.
Olde Town Arvada is about to experience a big changes due to the light rail station. The increase in foot traffic will be great for the businesses. Parking has always been an issue in Olde Town, so the city has opened a new lot near the movie theaters and offers a shuttle to bring you downtown.
We stopped first at a newer pub, Homegrown. They have a nice patio right on main street, it’s a bit noisy with traffic in the afternoon, so we were seated inside near a window. The decor is somewhat industrial with a touch of antlers. It was quite comfortable, the servers were friendly and efficient.
If you want to try a truly delicious appetizer, have the brussel sprouts. They were amazing. We ate every bite, down to the last crumb. Then it was time for a stroll to see what had changed in Olde Town, turns out, quite a bit.
There were a few of the long-time businesses, such as the Arvada Tavern. We’ve eaten here a few times, it’s always good. They did have a Rockabilly group upstairs once in a while, not sure if they still do. As always the Rheinlander Bakery smelled delicious, they are celebrating their 53rd year. We hurried on by as our taste buds were yearning to go inside, but our waistlines said no!
We strolled on down to Arvada Bead Connection, a local favorite where the proprietor is very friendly. Sadly, he is having a going out of business sale. With the changing demographic, the rents are being raised and parking removed which doesn’t appeal to his clientele. MB made sure to scoop up several seed bead tubes for future crafting. We wished him the best and moved on.
Fuzzy’s Tacos across the street is said to be good, we haven’t tried it yet.
There are a growing number of new coffee shops, which we are sure will appeal to early morning commuters. If you want to make your commute really good, drop into the Rheinlander. Hey, you’ll be walking to the light rail, so it’s all good!
Our next stop was Third Eye Gifts, upon entering you feel the warmth of positive energy. The proprietor has several Himalayan Salt Lamps lit and producing negative ions. The negative ones are positive! The smell of incense was not overwhelming, just an added touch.
We asked about the singing bowls and the owner took quite a bit of time to demonstrate them and teach us how they work. We were definitely rookies when he had us try them. I think we’ll be back to purchase one soon. This may be a new favorite shop.
For as chilly as it was, there were still kids in the water park! Located in the center of Old Town, they offer movies here in the summer. During the day, it’s a spot for kids to play while the adults relax on the nearby benches and visit. Near the holidays, a Christmas Tree and other decorations are added. You can also take an old-fashion carriage ride through downtown. We have to admit, this is an improvement on the parking lot that used to sit here.
Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations is aptly named as it is in the old Arvada School. We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this place. We happy to see them re-purposing the old buildings rather than tear them down. It helps to maintain the ambiance.
A local favorite with children of all ages is Scrumptious Ice Cream and their cement pig mascot.
He’s a Superhero today, just a few months ago, he was a hippie, but he’s always good for a kids photo-op. The shop itself offers some unusual and delicious home-made ice cream flavors, dark cherry and bourbon flavors are favorites. Everyday they have something different. On one side of the shop is the ice cream parlor, on the other is an old-fashioned candy store with bottled soda. On a hot evening, this place is packed. Right across the street from the light rail station, they’ll be busy all year-round.
We ran out of time to further explore, and there are so many new shops and restaurants to visit.
If you are in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop by Olde Town Arvada.
Here’s to a Happy Life!
🍁MaryBeth & Sherry 🍂
Recently, in our lives there have been many things to grieve, divorce, death, relationships, world problems and the current state of America.
We aren’t going to offer an opinion on the world’s problems or America; politics or otherwise. We’ll leave it to the media and the internet to misinform you.
It seems as we age that sorrow comes into our lives more often. We shed more tears, reminisce more often, sit alone in silence. It may seem odd to find joy in grief, but it is usually there nonetheless.
Both Sherry and I have lost both parents; we both took care of our aging parents at one point. If at first this seemed somewhat of a burden, in the end in it was a blessing. It allowed them to stay in their homes surrounded by the things and people they loved, letting them be at peace.
For us, the gift was the ability to move forward in our relationships with them, seeing them not so much as a parent but as a friend. I’ve always felt that it helped me to repay the years that they devoted to me even though they did not expect any payment.
In divorce, after grieving your loss, there is a sense of freedom, a re-bonding with yourself and friends that may have been neglected along the way. Your bond with your children changes as they see you in a different light.
There is pain in loss and we are all entitled to experience it. Feel, bemoan, embrace your grief and when you are ready actively seek out the joy that your loved one, your ex-spouse, or ex-friend left in you. Rejoice in your memories and get out there and make more!
Here’s to a happy life! 🍾
MaryBeth & Sherry
Yep! We’re talking menopause.
While researching menopause causes, symptoms and the treatment/prevention of the aforementioned, we’ve come to certain inevitable conclusions:
There is no known prevention for menopause. We know, we know, for the most part we don’t mind the end result of menopause, but, by golly, isn’t there a way to avoid the discomfort? Nope, just like exercise, we got to go through it to get to the end result.
After thorough Internet research, here’s what we’ve learned.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause hot flashes.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause insomnia.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause joint pain.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause night sweats.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause mood swings.
Anything and everything you eat may or may not cause weight gain.
Okay, now that every man has groaned and uttered “Ewwww” and left this blog, let’s talk turkey.
Sorry to say menopause appears to be a fact of life for most women. And if you think about it, for their partners. They enjoy it vicariously through us. You’re welcome. Did you all honestly think we were going to go through this without you?
(Insert evil laugh here)
Okay, we are done laughing and back to this blog.
As you can see by our bullet points above, the best thing you can do is avoid eating or drinking anything and everything. Difficult, we agree, but think of your waistline!
Based on the fact that we enjoy eating and drinking, we’ve decided to put together our own list of do’s and don’ts.
How to avoid or lessen the symptoms of menopause.
Do go through menopause with a buddy or two. This is the safest way. Keep your buddy on speed dial for emergency texts and calls.
Don’t decide for your buddy what they can and can not eat. This prevents injury to yourself and others.
Do go out with your girlfriends and laugh. This eases any and all symptoms
Do go out with your girlfriends and their significant others. The sympathetic nods amongst the significants makes them feel like part of the team. (Did we just call menopause a team sport?)
Do live near a nice cold swimming pool, lake or ocean. Do feel free to take a plunge at anytime. Do not feel free to do so naked. Alternate solution: Keep your bathtub full of cold water at all times – Do feel free to take this plunge naked.
Do take anyone who says “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”, to a local sauna, sit with them until they get up to leave, pull them back down and say “nope,not done yet” and “oh c’mon, it’s not that bad!”
We sincerely hope this helps .
Here’s to a Happy Life!
MaryBeth & Sherry
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I think I must be a closet politician. Why you ask? Last night I had a dream where I left my home and went to a crowded public place similar to an open air mall, and started giving a loud speech as to why everyone listening should vote a certain way. Of the little I recall, it seems to me that I was telling them why they should vote for me, what my platform was along with the reasons my views were a step up from the rest of the campaigning crowd! Talk about a nightmare!
Sherry and I both believe strongly that the United States of America has a solid foundation for voting rights. Sure it has a few kinks that could and should be worked out, but as citizens we are allowed to vote for whomever we wish, even though every vote you make is not without pressure. There is no campaigning, known as electioneering, within 100 feet of any polling place here in Colorado. Nonetheless you are inundated with signs and supporters along your route if you choose to vote in person. One of the reasons we choose the mail-in ballot.
Social Media is loaded with ads and personal opinions, along with the occasional friend who threatens to unfriend you if you support certain platforms or politicians. As our friend, please feel free to disagree in a polite, well-thought out, fact driven comment. You just might be able to change our opinion. Or better yet, hide the offending post and move on to our funnier stuff. The agree to disagree philosophy is an important part of our culture.
The deluge continues if you turn on the television or radio. We’d guess that there is a 50/50 chance that everything in these ads is actual fact and not just someone’s manipulation of the facts. That’s okay, we’ve been known to embellish a good story too. Just give the American public credit for knowing the difference.
The point is what used to be a few months of campaigning and all the accompanying rhetoric became an election year and now a minimum of one and half to two years of lead-ins, speculation and generalizations. Every candidate promises at the beginning of their run to avoid attacking other candidates and then the caucuses arrive….
Forget debates, we all know politicians like to argue, if there was that much arguing in our families, there’d be a whole lot of time-outs going on. Media misinformation, in a family situation would be called lying, at home this would have brought on a punishment reminiscent of the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie ended up with a very clean mouth. Baiting by commentators and reporters is bullying. And bullying is unacceptable in any other arena.
All of the above is why even if I am a closet politician, you would never see me campaigning.
You will find us sitting at a cafe somewhere sipping wine, water, coffee, whatever the discussion calls for (and sometimes that’s whiskey!) debating the relative (and I use the term lightly) merits of each candidate. We freely admit that usually ends in laughter and a diversion to a completely different subject. We prefer to focus on the positive and bring joy into the world.
Here’s to a happy life!
MaryBeth & Sherry 🌟
We’ve reached that phase where life starts to come full circle. Whereas you used to take your children to your parents for baby-sitting now they bring their children to you. And just like you did, they give you instructions on how to care for your grandbabies. It doesn’t matter than you managed to raise them pretty darn good, their way is the formula you must follow now, or at least until your children are out of earshot!
The first time we watched our granddaughter, my step-son gave us very clear instructions. We were to hold her on our shoulder and walk continuously as this is what she preferred. If on the off-chance she fell asleep, we could sit, but under no circumstances were we to allow her to see or hear the TV. (Boy, did she have them trained!)
We willingly obliged, right up until their car pulled out of the driveway. Then we sat, talked and cooed to this wondrous little doll until she fell asleep in Papa’s lap. At that point we turned on the TV, relaxed and watched. Naturally, as soon as we heard the doorbell ring, signaling her parents return, we shut off the TV, arranged that precious bundle on a shoulder, walking to the front door as if we’d been walking for hours.
Another sign of life’s circles is to us the tougher one. The caring for aging parents. I helped care for my Dad for 7 years before he passed. This journey is at time frustrating and unwelcome, other times it’s laughter and joy. At all times, for us, it is an act of love. Caring for aging parents can seem like a labyrinth for which there is no exit and a new surprise at every turn.
Often, there is anger from your parent because the tables are turned, they start to feel like the child and you the parent. It doesn’t take much of a stretch of the imagination to understand why this is so difficult for them. If there is a defined illness or pain, they become irritated with new regimes and medications. Your parents feel the lack control and they have to idea how to get it back. There might be a loss of activities with their contemporaries, making them feel isolated and confined. If their journey includes dementia, Alzheimer’s, memory or cognitive loss of any kind, they may not understand what’s truly going on.
Coming from that perspective helped me to better understand my Dad’s disposition and make an effort to focus on laughter and helping him take part in those things he could still enjoy. Being surrounded by his family made him the happiest.
All in all, being on this side of the circle (yes, the older side, haha!) is one of the most rewarding parts of your family life, helping you to see your parents in a joyful new light, having your children as friends and allowing you to spoil your grandchildren. Actually, there’s no reason you can’t also spoil your parent at this time, I know mine certainly deserved it.
How do you or your family deal with this new aspect of life? Let us know in the comments, you may help someone else gain new perspective.
Here’s to a Happy Life! 🍻