Happy Place in the Fog

foggy fisherman conneaut lake

Foggy Fisherman, Conneaut Lake, PA, 10/2015

Peace and joy can be found
even when things seem foggy.

Trust your heart, your gut, your “happy place,”
and things will become clear.

Cheers & Hugs,

I captured this photo on a recent trip to Conneaut Lake, PA. We were walking to a friend’s house for breakfast before the Fall Festival Parade and our Krautfest Celebration. The fog was thick over the lake, and there was a nip in the air. Within moments, the fog cleared, the sun broke through, and the day became happy and warm and beautiful. The fog, however, was magical and beautiful and couldn’t stop this fisherman from enjoying his “happy place” on the lake.

Annual Krautfest Time


For our gang, one of the best things about Autumn is the Annual Brugnoli Friends and Family Krautfest (maybe you remember last year’s), and this past weekend delivered beautiful weather for our festivities!

We started with a crisp, foggy morning that included a beautiful breakfast buffet at Sandy and Bill’s, where most of the gang hung out to watch the annual Conneaut Lake Fall Festival Parade (and the rest of us served as candy passer-outers and parade marchers for our Boro Council candidate, dear “Oh Rob” Brugnoli.

parade 1

parade 2

kf rob boro council

parade 3

After the parade, we hurried home to prepare for the Kraut-making festivities.  Halupkis and Pierogies and Brauts and Dogs in Kraut simmering, while we set up stations to make 800 pounds worth of cabbage into the world’s best homemade saurkraut in the warm Autumn sunshine.

Stations were set up… and then began…

the cutting…

kf cutters 4

and the slicing and shredding…

kf shredders

then measuring and weighing…

kf louis and louise

kf measuring

(…and always time for a mother-daughter pose)…

kf cindy louise
kf dumping 2kf scooping

then finally stomping and pounding.

kf pounding

and laughing…

kf all betsy carl stomping laughing

and composting.
kf compostkf cutters 2





Older generations taught younger generations…

kf roddy mason

kf cutting more

kf nikole shreddingkf cuttersand friends taught friends.

kf holly slices

kf holly

More laughs…
kf joyce holly

kf rob and al

kf joyce holly laughs

lots of hugs… and giving thanks.

kf rob hug

kf rob speech




Pumpkins were painted…

kf painting pumpkins


kf painting pumpkins 3

kf painting pumpkins 2


kf kids painting pumpkins

Swings were swung…

kf kids swing

and laughter filled the air.
kf kids swing 2

Treasures were searched for…
kf kids hay

and discovered.

kf ella treasure skeleton

kf kids hay skeleton find

Lots of delicious food was eaten…

kf pretzels

kf food 1

and YES – these cookies consist of three amazing layers: chocolate chip cookie topped with Oreo cookie topped with brownie!

kf brownies

Delicious, intoxicating beverages were enjoyed.

kf bourbon apple cide

kf joyce linda
Hot peppers were sauteed and served on fresh crusty bread by friendly “witches” and warlocks.

kf doreen peppers

Families were celebrated.

kf jenna rob noah


kf noah

kf ed grandaughter 2


kf michael beer 2

We even brewed beer!

kf michael beer







krautfest bowling

It was a day full of memories… and moments…

krautfest greenhouse

and people… and music…

kf bango

and love… to be cherished.

kf view of lake
Cheers & Hugs,

Lake Park Bash Fun


What a fun Fourth of July Holiday Weekend we had!

I am just catching up after a great picnic in Conneaut Lake with family and friends…

a couple hours of sleep at the best “Brugnoli B&B”…

then off to Cleveland to to celebrate a wedding with more wonderful friends!


So today, I’m sharing a little photo journal of the fun festivities we had the great pleasure of being a part of at The First Annual Lake Park Bash!

Group Shot

And I’m guessing, it will not be the last!

group telephoto

I hope you will join me in reminiscing on the fun gathering.

1st Annual Lake Park Bash

We were greeted by an “Uncle Sam” Scarecrow

uncle sam scarecrow 2

and festive decorations in red, white and blue.

table decor

Those who arrived by boat, were greeted by a salute from George himself


Lake Park Landing

and directed with arrows to point the way to the party.

This Way

One you got near, the smell of smoking chickens, pork, lamb, and beef permeated the perfect summertime breeze.


Meat Truck



And an ice cream truck offered sweet treats to satisfy every child….

Ice Cream

and every grown up

ice cream 2

with delectable, cool, creamy yumminess.

ice cream 3

There was plenty of beer…

Beer Station

and “Crappie White” wine

Crappie White Wine

and “Chewed Alive Red,” and even a special Fraternity Brother Blend!

Chewed Alive Red Wine

There were games galore –

like Kerplunk,


and Bocci Ball,


and Corn Hole,

corn hole

and pickle ball,


and putt putt.

Putt Putt

There were crafts


kids crafts


and hula hoops

Hula Hoop

and music


and dancing.


dancing al on ground

There were families


and friends


and lots and lots of hugs,



Ella and Marty

and even High Fives!

High Five

Puppies joined in on the fun.


New talents were discovered…


musking hula hoop

and serious discussions were had.


There were private little chats,


and twinkle lights when the day grew dim.


flags fence lights


And the day didn’t end until early the next morning

with bonfire songs sung with guitar and fiddle.


It was a great Bash on the Lake Park cul-de-sac.

Thanks to the members of “da hood” for allowing us to be a part of it!

da hood

Cheers & Hugs,


Oh the Web we Weave – wwMc8

spider web conneaut lake pa October 12 2014

Spider Web, Conneaut Lake, PA

This spider web caught my eye on my early Sunday morning walk down to the lake.

The thick and heavy morning dew dangled precariously in droplets that would soon disappear on the delicate threads of this web that daintily makes its home between the fence post pickets.

It reminds me of the fragility of life and the crazy webs we so often weave.

I love that having my camera with me causes me to take special notice of things I might otherwise overlook and nudges me to ponder deep and reflective thoughts.

Photography is so much more than just taking pictures.  It’s about observing life, sharing unique views (literally and figuratively), evoking emotions… It is art.

I dream of being an artist of life.

Cheers & Hugs,



Dreamy – Weekly Photo Challenge – wwMc7

dreamy conneaut lake morning fog 101214

My WordPress friend, Barbara at Silver in the Barn, has been encouraging me to join in on the fun at the WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge.  Feeling a bit intimidated to enter my extremely amateur photos, I’m stepping out and just doing it.

This week’s challenge theme is DreamyA misty morning, your handsome spouse, your grandmother’s house that’s also your elementary school and the Eiffel Tower — this week, show us something dreamy.

Well – after waking up early Sunday morning at Conneaut Lake after Saturday’s Krautfest, I couldn’t resist taking a walk down to the lake and snapping some photos of the “dreamy” fog while the sun was trying to break through for what ended up to be a gorgeous Fall day.  I’m so glad I captured this, because it didn’t last long.  I sat on the dock and got a very cold and wet bum, but it was such a dreamy few moments as I remembered the day before, thought about the day to come (celebrating my oldest son’s birthday), and simply cherishing the moment.

My “walk with my camera” (#wwMc) sure led me to a dreamy place for this week’s challenge.  And interestingly, as I look at this photo, I want to mention it was not taken in black and white or edited as such, this is the natural shot “in color.”  It was that foggy, and taking the shot into the sunrise created the silhouettes.  Not sure what all the technical terms are.  I’ll be learning some day….

Thanks for the nudge, Barbara.  You’ve been such a great encourager all along.  I truly appreciate you.  (check out her awesome blog and photos!)

Cheers & Hugs,


It’s Krautfest Time!

kf cover

It was an absolutely gorgeous Fall weekend, and a great one for the Annual Brugnoli Krautfest Party!  What a joy to be a part of the amazing festivities.

You may be thinking to yourself – “What the heck is a Krautfest?”

Our family has a long-running tradition of making homemade saurkraut, and our amazing Joyce and Rob know how to turn a “chore” into a party!

So about 40-50 family members and friends ranging in ages from 2 to 82 got together on Saturday with 600 pounds of cabbage and made a party out of making kraut!

Join me through a pictorial journey of the wonderful day.

It started with cutting…


cabbage girls

then chopping and slicing and dicing…

marty choppingMarty used his grandfather’s 100-year old cabbage cutter and embraced the heritage of using something today his grandfather used in exactly the same way all those years ago.

mason cabbage  mason cabbage 2and new generations learned the tradition.


there were measurers and salters…

measuring  measuring and salting

Then lots and lots of pounding and stomping and smooshing and smashing.


pounding close up

pounding 5

pounding 4

pounding 3

pounding 2

There was food galore!

reuben pierogies
One of my favorite treats of the day were these Reuben Pierogies!  We sauteed potato and cheese pierogies in butter until browned, then layered with a slice of pastrami, swiss cheese, picked purple cabbage, and a small dollop of Thousand Island Dressing.

mason pretzels

Warm soft pretzels were served with homemade mustard and cheese sauces.


We also had Parmesan Ranch Crusted Pierogies and Buffalo Hot Sauce Pierogies.

painting 3There was pumpkin painting,

painting 4


painting 2

ella painting

ella painting 2There were games…

mother daughter


donut game

donut game 2

dg 6

dg 5

dg 4

dg 3

dg 2

dg 1


laughs 3Zip-lining and Swinging

zip line

zip line 1

zip line 2

zip line 3


swinging 4

swinging 3

swinging 2

Friendship, Hugs, and Laughs



talking 3

talking 2


rob jodi


Michael and Ella


marty nik

games face



babies 2

Delicious cocktails – my favorite was the Bourbon Apple Cider with Rosemary Sprig!

bourbon apple cide

bourbon apple cider

We ate halushki, halupkis, pork and saurkraut, kielbassi, german potato salad, cheese polenta with homemade sauce. Oh the delicousness!!

We sang!


The saurkraut is divided up evenly between all the crocks and buckets to send home with each family…

to wait – and taste test – and wait some more – remembering the special memories we created and looking forward to enjoying the fruits of our labor throughout the year.


It was a BOOtiful day!  Thanks Joyce and Rob for your amazing hospitality.  We love you dearly!


Cheers & Hugs,


The Summer Wind…. Came Blowin’ In…. and brought me some amazing friends


I am extremely fortunate to have so many amazing women in my life.

This Saturday, after our rousing Friday evening of THE BEST BOOK CLUB EVER, I got to spend the day with three of those women.

These women, who are just a few months ahead of me on this journey we call life, sure know how to LIVE.

I am completely smitten with,

inspired by,

and madly in love with these “girls.”


After a little porch sittin’ and coffee sippin’….

porch sittin

… greenhouse gazin’…

greenhouse gazing

…lake lollygaggin’…

lake lullygagging

…and fig tree inspectin’…        Ohhh Rob – we are so proud of you! 🙂

fig tree inspectin

We headed out for a teensy bit of antiquing,

amassed a few treasures,

and finally ended up at Lago Inn and Winery

lago chardonnay

where we sipped chilled Chardonnay while the “summer wind… came blowin’ in…. from across the (lake)”

The beauty of the day couldn’t hold a candle to the beauty of these three ladies – – – their wisdom – – – their love for me – – – their encouragement and confidence in me – – – and the way they can take this somewhat broken, oft doubting and confused soul and make me feel like a princess, a prized possession, a worthy wanderer through life, a forever friend, and inspire me to be me.

What a truly treasured gift….

at life in between.

With love to Joyce, Kathleen, Laurie, and so many other amazing women in my life.

Cheers and Hugs,