A Trip to the Strip – It’s a ‘Burgh Thing

Anybody that knows anything about Pittsburgh (aka da ‘Burgh) knows a Trip to the Strip  – –  Strip District that is – –  is a must to get the full “flavor” of our amazing city.  Whether you are shopping for fresh produce…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Produce

in a range of colors…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Produce 2

or looking to “spice up your life”

Penzy's Spice Strip District Pittsburgh PA

with the best smoky paprika – or my (are you ready for the “big reveal?”) top secret ingredient to my baked beans recipe – Penzy’s Barbecue of the Americas spice,

Penzy's Spice Pittsburgh PA Strip District

The Strip District is the place to go.  The Strip District is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that is about a half square mile area of land northeast of the central business district bordered to the north by the Allegheny River and to the south by the Hill District. The Strip District runs between 11th and 33rd Streets and includes three main thoroughfares — Smallman Street, Penn Avenue, and Liberty Avenue — as well as various side streets.

So Saturday was the day for my buddy Janet and me.  Janet had not been to the Strip since she was a child, and since she is only around for a few months in the summer before heading South, we decided to squeeze a field trip in.

Penzys Strip District Pittsburgh

After sniffing our way through Penzy’s, we visited In the Kitchen where we admired this beautiful Polish Pottery.  Can you find Janet?  Her top blends in with the pottery pattern! 🙂

In the Kitchen Strip District Pittsburgh Polish Pottery

The streets are filled with yummy treats – like these whoopee pies, cannoli, apple strudel, macaroons,

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

lady fingers, and sticky buns, and mini pineapple upside down cakes – oh my!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

Mike Feinberg’s is THEE iconic place to find your ‘Burgh-theme party supplies.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Co

It is black ‘n gold through and through

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Co

for anything Pixburg or Stillers

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Yinz Yinzers

even black ‘n gold flamingos to go with the sweet glasses Janet found!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Mike Feinberg Black n Gold Flamingos

I wanted to get her these tights for Christmas – we’ll see…..  look out Jan!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

There are colorful fruit kabobs…


and colorful artistic displays…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA

and a trip to the Strip is just not complete without a visit to Pennsylvania Macaroni Company – Penn Mac to us Yinzers.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

You will find bucket after bucket of every kind of olive

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

pickled peppers, and pickles

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

pitted and stuffed….


or fresh and unpitted.

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

The Parmigiana Reggianno and fresh homemade mozzarella is the best outside of Italy (and of course I bought both AND some awesome olives).

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

Here’s a little glimpse of my basket…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Penn Mac

Some of the sweetest music can be heard on the streets by local street artists.


But Black ‘n Gold definitely reigns supreme on these streets.


So if Yinz need any Stillers or Buccos or Penguins gear – The Strip is your one-stop shop.


Janet and I discovered the most amazing store of all on this trip!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Strip District Meats!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Not only because you can find boneless python – for only $35.95 per pound – because who likes bones in their python?!?!?!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

But mainly because of Henry!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Henry has worked at Strip District Meats for 11 years, and he is the most amazingly sweet, informed, fun, and charming salesperson and butcher you will ever meet!

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Not only did he specially cut Janet’s Lamb Chops exactly to her specification (which just so happened to be whatever Henry thought was best!),

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

but that little charmer talked me into buying a couple of Wagyu Steaks for Marty and me at the GREAT DEAL of only $19.95 – drastically on sale from the usual $31.95 per pound.  Oh they better be good Henry!  He went through three cases to pick the best two out for me.  Did you know Wagyu Beef are given daily massages and beer to drink (which so appealed to another shopper near me that he asked to be signed up to be a Wagyu Cow, until Henry gently reminded him –   with a swift hand motion across the neck – that they get their heads cut off after about 18 months of this spa-like treatment…

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

But if Wagyu or Lamb Chops are not your “cup of tea,” how about some Ground Camel – or Alligator – or Kangaroo – or Ostrich – or only the finest hind legs of rabbit?????!!!!!…..

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Strip District Meats

Melanie was Henry’s apprentice, and just as sweet – and even a little cuter (if that is possible 🙂 ). What a great place to shop that I will never miss again when visiting the Strip!


There is any kind of bread you might crave,

Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

and a visit to the iconic Wholey’s is a must before ending your day at the strip.


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

And look what I found!!  Striped Bass!!  (Could our one that got away be in there?!?!?)  (and if you look really close – you can find me in this picture – you know – the one with the camera – caught in the mirror above the fish tank)


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

In case you need some fish heads or bones, the price is right…



and they are quite fresh!


Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

Janet and I split an amazing Lobster Roll and one of Wholey’s Famous fish sandwiches for lunch before ending our shopping excursion and running out of money.
Strip District Pittsburgh PA Wholeys

It was a great day to go “dahntahn.”

Cheers & Hugs,


The Day We Almost Caught a Fish

Yesterday was such a great day on the lake.

What an enjoyable extra day off Marty and I had going out for a late breakfast and then heading to Moraine State Park for a boat ride/fishing trip.


Of course we took our trusty First Mate Mikey with us too, who attentively tried to sniff out the fish.


The sky was blue, the water was calm, and there was just enough of a breeze to make it even more pleasant.


While Marty baited his hooks….


and threw in his lines…


I read about 12.5 pages of a book I’ve been meaning to get to.


And then……….


It happened!


A bite!!!!!!

It was a BIG one!

It had to be about  20-24 inches…  at least!

A Striped Bass.

The biggest one Marty ever (almost) caught.

He pulled the line, grabbed the net, and just as he was pulling it up into the boat………..  SNAP!

The line broke, and Mr. Bass got away…..

I tried to get a picture, but to no avail…….

So I guess our story will just have to remain…

a fish tale.


And after a gloriously relaxing day with this hunk of a guy – – – who I remembered especially today how much I adore 🙂 – – –  our pizza was delicious for dinner.

Cheers & Hugs,


Gone Fishin’

side porch evening

Where did summer go?

I can’t believe it is Labor Day Weekend already!

And Marty and I are celebrating early as we both took today off to extend the weekend into four days instead of three.

And we are going fishing today!  Well……..  Marty is going fishing, and I am going for a boat ride 🙂

And our trusty First Mate Mikey will be with us.

I hope you are taking some time to relax and enjoy this holiday weekend.

Savor every moment of these last days of summer as we approach the magnificence of Fall – which I am going to strive to embrace again this year!  (Fall is so beautiful, but for many years I have not savored it knowing that winter was ahead and summer was over, but I realized last year that I was wasting a lot of beauty and joy worrying about what was behind and what was ahead instead of enjoying the moment I was in.)

So here’s to the ending days of Summer…..

the beginning days of Fall……

and every moment at Life in Between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Love you Bunches

by the tide love you bunches 3

I cannot believe it is Back to School time already!  Where did the summer go?

And even though my boys are grown, I still get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach this time of year…

When my boys were young, I was always a little sad to see summer end and have them go back to school.  Summer was so much fun!  I recall rushing to get our “chores” done in the morning, getting some semblance of a dinner started, even setting the table, and then spending lazy afternoons EVERY SINGLE sunny day at my friend, Barb’s pool.   Oh those were the days!   I was so fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom until Jake started 9th grade and Nick 7th grade.  There was no job I would have rather done when they were young.  (And I think that is why I can love my job so much now – because I have no regrets of time not spent with my guys when they were young – and since they don’t need me anymore – <SIGH!> – at least in the way they did when they were young – I needed more “purpose” to my days.)

I wonder if I’ll ever not get that feeling at this time of year?  When I hear my Dad tell me about the kids on the bus (and today is the first day of Kindergarten for the area where he is a bus driver – – – in his retirement after being bored staying home – – – hmmm – see any correlation there?! 🙂  ), my heart remembers those days of walking the boys to the top of the lane to meet the bus (and then take a walk with Tracy – who is still my walking buddy! 🙂 ) and passing the hours until they would come bounding home in the afternoon!

I sure did love those days and I sure do still love those guys – BUNCHES and BUNCHES!  And they both have terrific ladies they share their lives with now that I have grown to love also.   Marty and I are truly blessed.

Here is one of my favorite “First Day of School” photos taken at the bus stop, which is close to 20 years old!:

photoGosh!  How did I blink, and that turn into this?!?!?

JMW Nick Jake
Well – enough of that reminiscing!  Thanks for indulging me if you’ve read this far!  🙂

I hope you all are enjoying (or at least getting through) this back to school time of year!

The card I am sharing today is one I created for a new challenge to me – Freshly Made Sketches #151.  Here is the sketch we were presented with to create a card design from:

untitledSince I have lots of guys in my life, I need to come up with some more “masculine” cards.  For this design, I used SU By the Tide stamp set for the fish and seaweed, did a little watercoloring and sea salt technique to create my “ocean” background square, used some fun Neat ‘n Tangled “Punchinella” for an embellishment (cool stuff to repurpose the sheet that sequins are punched!!), a little fish scale look with my #WinkofStella brush pen (do you think I just love this brush pen because it is named after MY Grandma!? 🙂 ), and a couple of pearls for bubbles.

Enjoy – and Happy Back to School time!

by the tide love you bunches 3Cheers & Hugs,





Sometimes you just MUST have Chocolate!

rolo fudge brownies

Words are not needed…….

rolo fudge brownies 2

Sometimes you just MUST HAVE chocolate!

rolo fudge brownies 3

I could do nothing to perfect this amazingly decadent recipe for Rolo Fudge Brownies shared by one of my favorite bloggers, Cookies & Cups.  Thank you Shelly!

Rolo Fudge Brownies (as originally posted by Shelly at Cookies & Cups)


  • 1 box prepared Fudge Brownie mix
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 2 cups unwrapped Rolo candy, candies cut in half after measured
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla


  1. First make Fudgy Brownies in a 9×13 pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Let brownies cool completely.
  3. Pour and evenly spread caramel sauce over brownies, it will be a very thin layer
  4. Spread chopped Rolos over caramel sauce
  5. In a medium saucepan over low heat melt sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips together.
  6. Once melted remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
  7. Immediately spread over Rolos using an off-set spatula.
  8. Let fudge set for at least 2 hours and cut into squares.


Store airtight for up to 5 days. If you are using a boxed brownie mix, make according to package directions, but line the pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. It will make removing and cutting much easier. ( I missed this note when I prepared!)

TIP:  Did you know you could make sweetened condensed milk from a evaporated milk?  I was bummed when I realized I didn’t have sweetened condensed milk in the pantry, but had a couple of cans of evaporated milk.  I know there had to be a way to “convert.”  I googled – and Voila! – yep – simple – you just need to take a can of evaoporated milk and add (ahem – yikes – are you ready for this??!! ….) – 1 1/2 cups sugar!  Boil and let cool.


Cheers & Hugs,


Most Favorite

most favorite

I have ALWAYS had trouble choosing “FAVORITES”…..

Even as a child, I  could never choose a favorite color when asked….    I like one color to wear, another to just look at, another to decorate my house with….. how do you choose which one of those is your ultimate favorite???

Favorite food????  Well – favorite for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert?????

Favorite book?  Usually every book I am currently reading is my favorite….

Favorite season?  Whichever one we are in!

Favorite holiday – well – that’s easy – CHRISTMAS!!!

Anyway – you see I have trouble choosing Favorites, but I LOVED this stamp from Neat and Tangled (the sentiment – the type font), and I figure I can send it to any one of my “favorites” – of which I am blessed to have a few 🙂

I do love black and white, and I just got this awesome SU Cherry Cobbler Sheer Linen Ribbon as a #FreebieFriday PRIZE from Linda Heller (thanks Linda!), and was dying to use it, so I created this card for The Paper Players Challenge #210. 

Here is the sketch challenge Jaydee created:pp210
I was so excited to be chosen as “A Cut Above” last week for my “Birthdays are for the Birds” card.  How fun is that?!?!?  🙂  I get to post this little badge, and you would think I won an Emmy!  (which I am watching while writing this, so excuse any typos as I switch back and forth…  another thing I love – Award shows! )

Cut Above Badge

So here is my card – may not have nailed the challenge – but I still kinda like it – – –  just couldn’t decide which photo angle was my favorite…………
from the right……
or from the left ………?
You decide!  I just can’t!

most favorite 2

Thanks for checking in.
Just having some fun – – – at Life in Between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Homemade & Healthy Chewy Granola Bars

granola bar cover

Are you often looking for a quick, yet healthy and energy-packed breakfast or snack-on-the-go?  I felt like making something this weekend, but wanted to resist a sugar laden baked good (after making and sharing a hefty portion of “Crazy Addictive Caramel Corn” for a Pig Roast picnic we attended on Saturday) 🙂

granola breakfast

I searched a variety of recipes on line, and tried to find a tried and true one I had from a work friend to no avail (Tonya – if you are reading this, I need that recipe again 🙂 )

granola bar ingred

I ended up using the basics of a recipe I found at Five Heart at Home 

granola bar mix

and tweaked it up Jodi-style – adding some of our favorite things

granola bkfst

After preparing, I packaged them in individual bags and refrigerated for anyone to grab on the go or for a quick pick me up or breakfast on the fly.

granola bars wrapped

My taste testers (Marty, Nick and Liz) all gave them a thumbs up 🙂

granola bar cover

Here’s the recipe as I prepared it, but feel free to substitute your favorite ingredients:

1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil (solid form)
2 1/2 cups oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Melt peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil in a saucepan.
Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients.
Spread in a 13 x 9 pan.
Refrigerate approximately 2 hours.
Cut into bars and wrap or bag individually.
Return to refrigerator.

Feel free to substitute other dried fruits (golden raisins, dried cranberries or cherries) or nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts) or even chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, white, peanut butter, butterscotch)  if you like.  They would be great with sunflower or pumpkin seeds, too, but I didn’t have any on hand…

Then, I found this great site called Spark Recipes where you can enter the ingredients to a recipe you create, and it calculates the nutritional information, so I have provided that here also.

granola bar nutritional info














granola bars

Cheers & Hugs,