Only in Japan: Hedgehog Cafe

This is fascinating to me and had to share this post from a blogger I follow.

TRAVELLING THE WORLD SOLO

Japan is well known for having a pretty big obsession with any and all animals that are even remotely cute. In Tokyo, Cat Cafes and Rabbit Cafes have become incredibly popular spots for locals and tourists alike. These cafes offer people the chance to interact with beautiful animals in a cute little cafe setting.

However, Tokyo is the kind of place where things just keep becoming more and more experimental. So it isn’t all that surprising that after not too long, cat and bunny cafes became kinda normal and people were looking for new ways to spice up the animal cafe business.

Enter the new kid on the block – Harry’s Cafe.

A hedgehog cafe.

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Yup – your eyes are not deceiving you – that is a teeny tiny hedgie!

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Harry’s Cafe is located a short one-minute walk from Roppongi Station in Tokyo. If you are trying to get…

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Sunshine Blogger Award

I learned yesterday that my blog was the recipient of the Sunshine Blogger Award by Jessica at thishappymommy.com. If you haven’t heard of The Sunshine Blogger Award, it’s an award for bloggers from bloggers. It’s a way of recognizing bloggers who are positive and who creatively inspire others. Jessica’s blog is one that I enjoy as well and I hope you’ll check her out as her blog is terrific!

Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
Nominate 11 bloggers and add their links.
Notify the bloggers you included.
Keep the rules in your post.

The Questions for me:

  1. What makes you happy?  So many things, hmmm….retirement, a rare, really good night’s sleep, sitting in my garden or in front of a roaring fire with a glass of wine and Spence by my side. 
  2. What makes you laugh out loud? Funny animal videos and always Jon Stewart when he did The Daily Show.  
  3. Who’s your favourite comedian or comedic actor?  One of my favorite stand up comedians is Tim Bedore  Why? He does Wednesday morning segments called “Vague but True” on the Bob & Tom Radio Show that are so clever and original. I have several of his CD’s, saw him in person and got a chance to meet him.  “Animal Conspiracy” is a classic.  Spence and I take the CD’s on road trips and crack up every time we listen. Brilliant. 
  4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Barcelona or Santorini have been on my bucket list for years.
  5. What’s your favorite season or time of year? You might think with my love of gardening that it would be summer but I adore the autumn in Michigan.  That first cool down in temps, the color changes of the trees that takes your breath away is hard to top.  My second favorite is spring when everything starts to come back to life, green grass, flowering trees, hyacinth, tulips, bluebells and daffodils appear.
  6. Do you crave sweet or savoury food? Since going on Weight Watchers seven months ago, I’ve weaned myself off sweets (among other things) and find that I’m craving salty and savory dishes.  Which is not to say that I don’t have the occasional piece of pie….
  7. If you had a theme song, what song would it be? “Everything” by Michael Buble is such a happy song about having found that someone who is your everything.  You simply can’t be sad if that song comes on and I never tire of it. It’s a musical anti-depressant.
  8. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? This may not be the answer you were going for but being able to retire at age 57 was the greatest gift. I consider that I gave it to myself but also that Spence gave it to me since I never could have done it with out his full support.  It has opened up the best chapter of my life so far. 
  9. Do you prefer talking or texting? I was late to the texting party and I like the convenience but nothing beats talking with eye contact, smiles and laughter.
  10. What inspired you to start blogging? I’ve always enjoyed writing and had talked about doing it in retirement.  Blogging felt like the perfect outlet, allowing me to share a broad variety of things that I love.  I never would have dreamt that I’d love it so much and would reach so many supportive people from all over the world – that’s been the most lovely surprise!
  11. Besides blogging, what else do you enjoy doing? I enjoy cooking, gardening, travel, wine, reading, movies, dancing, music, snuggling with our cats, Tipper and Biscotti, seeing friends and family and hanging out with Spence.  And watching the Food Network.  And binge watching TV series.  And as I mentioned before, a good night’s sleep! 

My nominees (and I hope you’ll check them out) are:

  1. Swamp Yankee Style
  2. Aishwaryasivakumar
  3. Unwed Housewife
  4. Savannahs Paw Tracks
  5. Purrseidon
  6. Anna’s Gardening, Antics & Musings
  7. Tea in Wonderland
  8. Artsy Teen
  9. Eat Simple Love Food
  10. Kittens with Selfies
  11. Bunny eats Design

And here are the questions for my nominees, should they accept the Sunshine Blogger Award:

  1. If you could choose your favorite meal, what would it be?
  2. Are you a morning or an evening person?
  3. What goals have you not yet achieved?
  4. You get to pick a movie to watch tonight – do you choose comedy, drama, chick flick or slasher?
  5. Who is your favorite author?
  6. Who do you most admire?
  7. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
  8. Do you speak more than one language?
  9. Name one of the items on your bucket list?
  10. What’s one thing about you that most people don’t know?
  11. Fill in the blank “I wish ________”

I hope my nominees will accept and I look forward to reading their answers. If not, just know that your blogs brighten my day and I look forward to your posts!! Thank you again Jessica for your nomination.

 

 

The Happiness Tag

This morning I found that I’d be given The Happiness Tag by a favorite fellow blogger, Becky Ellis at beckysbubblesblog.wordpress.com – here’s the link: https://beckysbubblesblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/06/the-happiness-tag/

Becky’s blog encompasses information about my favorite bubbly adult beverages and frequently pairs them with amazing recipes; I hope you’ll check her out!

To accept The Happiness Tag:

  • 5  Things that Make Me Happy
  • 5  Songs that Make Me Happy
  • 5  Bloggers who Make Me Happy and Notify those Bloggers

5 Things that Make Me Happy

Being married to my soulmate.  Spence and I spent 18 years together before making it legal. As we approach our 7th wedding anniversary in a few weeks, I’m grateful knowing how lucky we are to have found each other and made this life together.

Being Cat Mom to Tipper and Biscotti.  Our two kitties were born in our back yard. Once they’d made eye contact with us we had to make them a part of our lives. Seven years later and each day they show me love with snugggles, purrs and playfulness.

When they were kittens…

Cooking. If you’ve followed my blog you could have predicted that it would make the list. There is something soothing and zen that happens to me during the creative process of preparing delicious food.  Learning new techniques, trying out recipes, tantalizing aromas filling our home and of course, sharing the meals with others who enjoy them all equal happy to me.

My garden.  In the first warm days of Spring, my hands start itching for contact with the dirt and with each week that passes, I’m in some stage of planting, pruning, gathering blooms and herbs, weeding and photographing it. Since retiring I’m able to spend more time enjoying it, stopping to smell the roses.

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Travel.  A goal of mine since retiring two years ago was to travel with Spence as much as possible. Our travel is comprised of new destinations and returning to places we love.  I have chronicled many of our trips in my blog and hope to share many more!

5 Songs that Make Me Happy

  1. Uptown Funk – Bruno Mars – no matter how many times I hear it I can’t resist the urge to break into dance. Every.Single.Time.
  2. Locomotive Breath – Jethro Tull – a throwback to my teenage years, this has remained a classic rock favorite that never loses it luster for me. The beat, the lyrics, the imagery plus the power to transport me back in time, simply brilliant.
  3. September – Earth, Wind & Fire – doesn’t this song make everyone happy? I defy you not to smile and stay in your seat.
  4. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys – one of the greatest songs about love. Ever.
  5. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond – so many great memories of this song, seeing Neil Diamond perform it when I was a teen, singing and dancing along to it in the ensuing years at numerous parties with great friends.

5 Blogs that Make Me Happy

tastingeverything.com – Chef Anne is not only responsible for creating healthy, delicious recipes but her food photography is unequaled.  She plates like an artist and I only wish she was in Michigan so that I could try her food.

storyshucker.wordpress.com – Stuart M. Perkins has a writing style that is honest, touching and his stories make me slow down to savor each word.

badcatchris.com – This blog may have begun with Chris, The Baddest Cat You’ll Ever Love (and he looks like my Biscotti) but he shares this blog with his siblings including recently adopted and adorable kitten, Floki.  Cat lovers, this blog is one you need to check out.

https://purrseidon.wordpress.com – Purrseidon is the star of this blog and is a cat. A cat who a fearless lover of water and a water sports enthusiast. But more than that, many posts written to Purrseidon’s “Furiends”  feature stories of siblings, selfies and everything that is good, informative and helpful for cat moms and dads.  “Purr-fectly fun”!

lovingleisuretime.wordpress.com – Frances is a breath of fresh air, pairing beautifully photographed flowers with perfect quotes and sharing delicious recipes.  Retired since 2013 her posts are like a welcome visit with that friend that truly “gets” you. Simpatico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – part three

For the final entry in the 3 Day Quote Challenge, here are three quotes that I loved and hope you’ll enjoy.

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Live in this moment….
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Truer words have never been spoken…
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Girl Power!

And for my final three nominees to this challenge:

alexdneagoe.wordpress.com

lifeat28andcounting.wordpress.com

Before I Forget

Thank you again to incahootswithmuddyboots.com for inviting me to participate.  This was fun!

 

 

 

3 Day Quote Challenge – day one

I was recently asked to participate in the 3 Day Quote Challenge by incahootswithmuddyboots.com and I’ve accepted:

The rules to this challenge are:

Post on 3 consecutive days
Post one to three quotes per day
Challenge three different bloggers each day

For my first post, I love these three quotes which sum up my love of traveling….I hope you will too!

 

I’m nominating the following three bloggers to join the 3 Day Quote Challenge, if they’d enjoy doing so:

The View from the Porch

lovingleisuretime.wordpress.com

justmidlife.wordpress.com

 

 

Award Season!

January 2016 has been Award Season for my little blog and I’m grateful for every one.

This morning I awoke to find I’ve been awarded my second Liebster Award from the fabulous Alexandra at https://alexdneagoe.wordpress.com.  Her blog encompasses her love for food, travel, film, TV series and more, please check her out!

Okay, so here are the rules:

Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you
Answer the 11 questions the blogger gives you
Nominate 11 bloggers that you think are deserving of the award
Let the bloggers know you nominated them
Give them 11 questions of your own

Here are her questions for me:

What’s one thing you really want to accomplish in life?  I’d like to visit every state in the United States.
If you would have to recommend someone a book which one would it be and why? I’ve had the luxury of enjoying many great books making it nearly impossible to name just one.  “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is one of my all time favorites. It’s a true story, absolutely fascinating and is solely responsible for my discovery (and deep affection) of Savannah, Georgia. They say true is stranger than fiction and this proves that theory!

 If you were to be stranded on an island somewhere which are three things that you would take with you? My Kindle, lipgloss and a really big beach umbrella. 

What would you do with the money if you won the lottery? I’d pay off our debts, book a European Riverboat Cruise, a trip to Spain and the Greek Isles with Spence. I’d gift money to family members as well as a few charities. I’d invest the rest.  

What’s the song you listen to the most these days? Uptown Funk has been my favorite song for the last year and motivates me to move, upping my FitBit steps per day!
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone? Don’t take yourself so seriously.
What is your favorite poem? The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is brilliant.
What is one thing you like about yourself? I’m resilient.
What’s you favorite movie at the moment and why? Funny you should ask this. A few days ago Spence and I watched a movie that was so entertaining.  A British film from 2009, “Pirate Radio” had the best 1960’s soundtrack (like a flashback to my younger life), witty dialogue and a great, based on fact storyline. We laughed aloud throughout the movie – highly recommend it. 
What are you looking forward to this year? This year I turn 60 and I’m excited about it. I don’t feel nor act my age so it truly is just a number. Spence and I will celebrate in Aruba, back at our beloved Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort. I’m also on a mission to become the healthiest version of myself, through Weight Watchers and simply moving more….
If you could travel in time, somewhere in the world or some place in a book you love what place would it be and why? I’d love to rent a houseboat in Amsterdam with Spence for a few months and experience the charms of this city. When we were in Amsterdam a few years ago, I felt such a strong connection as though I’d lived there in a past life.  

My nominees are:

Eleven questions for my nominees:

  1. What three words would your best friend use to describe you?
  2. What three words would you use to describe yourself?
  3. If you could live on the water, in the mountains or in a major city – where would you choose and why?
  4. Who is your favorite actor or actress?
  5. What is your favorite comfort food?
  6. White wine, red wine or no wine?
  7. What languages do you speak?
  8. Who is someone who inspires you?
  9. How do you define success?
  10. What would people be surprised to know about you?
  11. What talent do you wish you had?

Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m humbled and grateful to accept another award for Spence’s Girl from a blogger I’ve admired for a long while, incahootswithmuddyboots.com.  Sabine is a world-class contributor to the blogosphere. She travels the world, loves nature, gardening, cooking (and shares great recipes) and is a talented photographer and story teller. I’ve learned alot from her and appreciate her support of my blog; I hope you’ll check her out.

Here are the the Sunshine Blogger Award rules:

Thank the person who nominated you!
Answer the 11 questions you were asked.
Nominate 11 other bloggers and let them know they were nominated.
Ask the nominees 11 questions

1. Dream vacation! Where would you go? My dream vacation is a European Riverboat Cruise (as advertised on Downton Abbey).  The Greek Isles and visiting Spain are also very much on my Bucket List…. 

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Here’s hoping…..

2. Which book are you reading at the moment? Just this morning I finished “Re-Inventing Mona” which was a fun read and before that, “A Street Cat Named Bob” which I loved. Next up, “A Memory of Violets” which was highly recommended by my sister and mom. 
3. Who is your favorite poet? Maya Angelou 
4. What is your favorite time of day to write for your blog? Being retired, I can blog at any time the mood strikes but would say my most productive window is likely after 11:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.
5. Do you have any pets and what kind? I have the two most adorable, loving and fun kitties, Tipper and Biscotti.  Natural brothers (though different kitty-daddies), they were born in our backyard garden to Chica, a beautiful feral calico cat.

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Are these two cute or what?

6. How many and which languages do you speak? Fluent in English, some “Spanglish” (picked up during 15 years of vacationing in Costa Rica) and studied five years of French in high school which comes in handy now when dining in a French restaurant.
7. What is your favorite flower? I’ve photographed and shared countless flower pictures from my garden and travels on this blog.  A favorite?  I have to say it’s between my glorious irises and peonies. (And I’d add Hydrangeas as a favorite though growing them and getting any blooms has vexed me for years…)


8.  Do you prefer the beach or the mountains? A nearly impossible choice for me as Spence and I adore Aruba and yet we feel equally as passionate about our many trips to the Great Smoky Mountains and the Canadian Rockies.  I simply can’t choose. Next question please….
9.  What type of music do you like? I was a teenager in the 70’s and fell in love with the music and artists from that era. In fact I will be fulfilling a life long dream next month when I go to see The Who!  Jethro Tull, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, James Taylor and Carole King are among my favorite artists. I enjoy nearly all types of music…
10. Which fruit do you enjoy eating the most? Another tricky question….I love most fruit but raspberries fresh picked from the garden on a warm day are hard to beat!
11. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Though I know dark chocolate has health benefits and I do enjoy it, I’d have to say milk chocolate!

My 11 Nominees are….

  1. badcatchris.com – I’ve recently discovered this fun website about Chris, a former shelter cat who even has his own book (impressive) and looks very much like my Biscotti.  Together with his humans, siblings Frankie and Puck, the self-proclaimed “baddest cat you’ll ever love” is always a delight. If you love cats – and seriously, who doesn’t, check out this blog!
  2. rumpydog.com – another recently discovered blog which features Rumpy Dog, an Alaskan Malamute rescued from a busy street.  After no one claimed him, was adopted into a loving home along with June Buggie Cat, a darling ginger feline. There are also great posts contributed by their Mom and it’s a new favorite of mine!
  3. nourishedpeach.com – Melissa, a wife and mom of two whose passion for her family equals her passion for cooking. Her blog offers up scrumptious recipes that are  comfort food – both nuturing and nourishing.  Check her out!
  4. rantingchef.com – Pat is a Cleveland based, amateur chef who loves food and really knows how to cook it. Beyond recipes, on this blog you will learn things about food prep and technique. For the foodies out there, this is a blog you should be following.
  5. ronitpenso.wordpress.com – Ronit’s blog “Tasty Eats” is well named. She’s worked as an Executive and Restaurant Chef, Caterer and more, across the globe. Now a Private Chef, she’s published a cookbook, working on the next one, does cooking demos and is a champion of “from scratch” cooking, something I’m passionate about as well.  I’ve reblogged recipes from her, the diversity of her repetoire is astonishing and so creative, again for you foodies….
  6. stovetopstory.com – Julie is a French cook living in America. Her recipes are healthy, mostly vegetarian and always creative, appealing with photos and how-to’s to assure that you have the same delicious success that she did while crafting them. Her Three Ingredients Banana Pancakes have intrigued me as has the Sweet Potato Gnocchi with a Brown Butter and Sage Sauce….magnificique! Did I mention the recipes appear in both English and French?
  7. whatsfordinnermoms.com – Written by a Mom, this blog incorporates family friendly, home-cooking meals that make you hungry and inspired to prepare them. She and her family have recently relocated to Michigan (my state), are Disney enthusiasts and when you read her blog, you’ll find she is someone you’d like to hang out with.
  8. patcegan.wordpress.com – This blog “Source of Inspiration” offers stunning photography of nature coupled with inspirational and lovely poetry.  There is something so calming and zen in reading these posts. Though short in length, the warm embrace you feel when visiting this blog remains with you.  For those seeking a moment to be tranquil and breathe deeply, follow the link above.
  9. justmidlife.wordpress.com  – Suzy Barker shares her photography and perspective with stories and musings about life in the English countryside. She is a self-described “daft midlife scribbler” (love that) and promises her followers a crack-pot ride? I’m in!
  10. everydaysarahjane.com – Five years ago, Sarah taught herself to cook, finding not only did she have a knack for it but also discovering her passion for it. (I can relate!) She has oodles of yummy recipes but also how-to’s which afford opportunities to learn new techniques.
  11. unwedhousewifeblog.wordpress.com – Unwed Housewife is a fun blog I recently found after she liked one of my posts. A Texan, now living in the midwest, she is a stay at home mom to two cats (me too!) and is all about domestic bliss, cooking and recipes. What’s not to like here?

Congratulations to all those nominated! Keep on blogging and thank you for your contributions to the Blogosphere – you rock! Now…here are your 11 questions:

  1. What is a fun fact about you, never shared until now on your blog?
  2. Early riser or night owl?
  3. Glass half-empty or half-full?
  4. Who is your favorite author?
  5. What inspires you?
  6. Favorite vacation spot?
  7. Peanut butter – crunchy, smooth or peanut allergy?
  8. If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
  9. Sunrise or sunset?
  10. Are you a multi-tasker, procrastinator or laser focused?
  11. What was the last great movie you’ve seen? (theater, rental or streaming)

 

Blogger Recognition Award

I’d like to accept the Blogger Recognition Award from Anne at the fabulous blog, tastingeverything.com. If you haven’t visited her site – particularly if you are a foodie, go there right now! Her food is plated like works of art and the recipes are tantalizing as well as being healthy and primarily gluten free.  I thank you Anne for the nomination and her support of my blog.

There are a few rules:

  1. Explain why you started blogging
  2. Nominate some other bloggers
  3. Comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them

Why I started blogging?   For a number of years I’ve been talking about writing.  A novel, a cookbook, travel stories, a children’s book about the colony of feral cats that Spence and I care for in our backyard? I just knew the desire was there and when I retired (2/28/14), I could no longer use the “no time” excuse to put off my writing.

My BFF found a great local author to teach a creative writing group which she hosted in her lovely home (with yummy treats and wine…what fun).  Much to my surprise, it incorporated learning poetry styles and on-the-spot writing assignments – totally out of my comfort zone.  I enjoyed that “push” to expand my horizons and found that I was able to rise to the challenge, inspired from being amongst like-minded women.  It was a safe and nuturing environment and it got me started.

On the evening of Halloween 2014, I launched my blog after preliminary research on where to host it.  I’m pretty tech-savvy and found WordPress easy to use, with tech support at the ready when needed.  Blogging appealed to me on so many levels -sharing personal stories, recipes, humor, travel and garden photography as well as featuring my (now famous) cats, Tipper and Biscotti and new things I’m learning. I love the flow of blogging and the lovely support by those who visit, comment and/or follow me. Blogging means more to me than I ever expected and now I can’t imagine life without this creative outlet. 

Nominate fellow bloggers:

lifeat28andcounting.wordpress.comunder the AKA of Scarlet Pen, this blogger covers everything from great (healthy) recipes to tips on life, marriage, wellness and her adorable dog. There’s alot to like about this blog and I hope you’ll check her out!

ice-cream-magazine.com – this comprehensive blog provides an extensive repetoire of ice cream, gelato, sorbet and countless other “cool” recipes, coupled with amazing photography. Her posts make my mouth water and even during our frigid winter weather, I find myself compelled to make something cold and refreshing…

madebymitza.wordpress.com – I’ve been following this blog for some time and am so drawn to Mitza’s stunning photography. Her subjects include “flowers in macro, views of decay, fine arts”. She has an incredible talent capturing the perfect photos. She loves photographing doors in her travels, something we have in common. She is an artist (illustration) and has studied jewelry design with a goldsmith, now making her own jewelry in silver, gold and with gemstones. 

I hope you’ll click on the links to these nominees, all terrific and interesting blogs, worthy of this nomination.

 

Tasty Tuesday … Homemade German Spaetzle

Spence and I love Spaetzle and I’ve long harbored a desire to make it from scratch. Spence bought me a Spaetzle maker late last year and I set it aside. Till now. Check out this truly authentic recipe from a blogger I follow, incahootswithmuddyboots.com. And wish me luck!

in cahoots with muddy boots

Growing up in Germany, we ate homemade Spätzle fairly regularly. The side dishes served with these tastily little morsels depend  on the region you live in. We generally ate brown lentils perked up with a splash of vinegar and Wiener Würstchen along with the Spätzle.
First we would make the batter, let it rest and then cook the Spätzle in salted water. When all the batter was used, we would sauté a finely chopped onion with some garlic in butter, add the drained Spätzle and fry them until they got a bit crispy in spots. Last but not least, we would sprinkle some Swiss mountain cheese over the top. Before you knew, a huge pan full of these popular little noodles had disappeared!

It has been a long time since I’ve made Spätzle at home. A while back I

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