Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2017 Books and Cocktails Book Club

Join us in 2017 for Books and Cocktails, a book club that meets in Lancaster county and or York county every other month, the second Thursday of the month. Each book matches up with a cocktail.We meet at various restaurants to discuss the book of the month, have a cocktail, and enjoy an appetizer or dinner. And yes, you may join us even if you do not drink, feel free to order your drink virgin or have a tea, coffee or soda instead. We read books across a variety of genres such as classics, biographies, memoirs, romance, Amish, mystery, historical fiction and many others. Most of the books come from the book Cocktails for Book Lovers by Tessa Smith McGovern.

Examples of drinks from the book are Sweet Sherry Cocoa, Gin Rickey, Orange Champagne Punch, Salted Caramel Bourbon Milkshake, and various martinis. For our very first book club, we read Eva Luna by Isabel Allende.  For the cocktail, we had Madrina's Banana Rum Cocktail.  Eva Luna's godmother was a lover of rum. This is the recipe from the book which the restaurant made for us.

 Madrina's Banana Rum Cocktail

1/8 cup low-fat milk
1 tbsp. light rum
1 tbsp. white creme de cacao
1 tbsp. creme de banana (or other banana liqueur)
1/2 banana
wedge of pineapple
maraschino cherry

Place all ingredients except the fruit in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with fruit. Serves 1.

We will also be having some additional events such as book festivals, day trips to bookshops, and author events.
Here are a few of the upcoming books we will be reading:

Murder is Binding

Wuthering Heights

Dan Gets a Minivan


We look forward to you joining us. Questions or comments, email or to sign up go to and request to join.

Anyone who may be visiting the PA Dutch country and would like to drop in the book club for a visit is more than welcome.  We like meeting new people!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Today across the U.S. we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day. I'm honored to share my birthday with one of the nations greatest leaders of our time. I'm writing this post because so many people are celebrating today and spending time with their family friends but, really don't know the man behind this national holiday. A man who lived his life for God, but was not without fault. A man who strived to make change in an unfair an unjust system, and who ultimately helped bring about desegregation.

He was born on January 15, 1929 to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King. He was actually born Michael King, as well as his father. But, after a trip to Germany his father changed their names in honor of Martin Luther the great reformer.

After years of investing his time and energy into the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. His death was mourned by thousands of people. It took 17 years but Martin Luther King Jr. day was finally a federal holiday recognized by all the states. Whether you already knew a little about Martin Luther King Jr. or you want to know more about him. Check out some of the resources listed below.

And on a closing thought I would like to leave you with this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top Five Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas Books

It's always fun to read Christmas Stories around the Holidays. So, why not sit back with a good old-fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas. Grab one for yourself, or give as a gift to a loved one.

1) Pennsylvania Dutch Christmases
This is a pictorial history focusing on the nineteenth-century Christmas customs of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Some earlier beginnings and traditions that continued into the early twentieth century are also included. The book includes Christian and secular observances of the holiday such as carols, trees, gifts, and superstitions. Kershner also traces the roots of Christ Kindle, Kriss Kringel, Belznickel, Saint Nicholas, and Santa Claus.

2) Pennsylvania Dutch Night Before Christmas

Children will enjoy this retelling of the Christmas classic by Clement C. Moore, which blends Santa Claus with the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch figure of the Belsnickel, a thin, cantankerous old man who visits children before Christmas and rewards or punishes them based on their behavior.

3) The Night Before Christmas: Pennsylvania Dutch & English; Die Nacht vor der Grischtdaag (English and German Edition)

Full-color illustrations complement this favorite children's story in English and Pennsylvania Dutch!

4) A Very Marienstadt Christmas

It's Christmas time in the Pennsylvania Dutch town of Marienstadt and everything is sparkling. You are invited to come spend the holidays in a community of people where tradition is strong and love is all around. When The Reluctant Belsnickel of Opelt's Wood was released in 2011 it quickly climbed Amazon's charts to #1 in Folklore. This novella tells the story of a sad, lonely man who finds joy and love when he is persuaded to play the folkloric role of Belsnickel for the children of Marienstadt. Published in 2013 The Christmas Daughter: A Marienstadt Story, is a novel about Boone Wilde, a former biker and heartthrob, who discovers he has a 12 year old daughter who needs him--a daughter that he comes to need even more. Treeing, in which a solitary antiques dealer is on a quest to find a holiday punch bowl for a traditional Marienstadt Treeing party and who finds much more in the process. In addition, Lola Eckert, the founder of Lola's Strudel Shop, a Marienstadt institution, shares with readers a collection of her most requested holiday recipes. Included are instructions for making strudel, including five strudels mentioned in the stories, plus keuchels, apple and peach dumplings, rhubarb tarts and more. This is a Limited Edition Gift Book for Christmas.

5) An Amish Christmas: December in Lancaster County Celebrate Christmas with Four Amish Romances.
A Choice to Forgive by Beth Wiseman After Daniel disappeared that long-ago Christmas Eve, Lydia built a life with his brother. But now she's a widow and Daniel has reappeared, asking for forgiveness. Can she go back to her normal life with her long-lost love as her neighbor? A Miracle for Miriam by Kathleen Fuller Seth is no longer the arrogant young man who shattered Miriam's confidence and broker her heart. Will he be able to show "plain" Miriam that she is truly beautiful to him? One Child by Barbara Cameron The birth of one child forever changed the world two thousand years ago. On a snowy Christmas night in Lancaster County, another child changes the world for two very different couples. Christmas Cradles by Kelly Long When Anna Stolis takes over for her aunt, the local midwife, Christmas night heats up with multiple deliveries, three strangers' quilts, and unexpected help from the handsome and brooding Asa Lapp.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

National Thrift Shop Day

PA Du August 17th is National Thrift shop day. Rather then buying new, now would be a good time to put into practice reduce, reuse, and recycle. Where and when it came to be I have no idea. But, I can tell you a few shops in Pennsylvania Dutch Country you might want to hit up for some great sales. And while your at it, clear out some of that clutter that is sitting around your house and donate it One man's trash it another man's treasure.

Shrewsbury Goodwill- 535 S Main St Shrewsbury, PA 17361

York Rescue Mission Economy Store-283 West Market Street York, PA 17401

Salvation Army Thrift Store- 1244 Manheim Pike Lancaster, PA 17601

Another Chance Thrift Store- 3560 Fairfield Road, Gettysburg, PA 17325 Parking and entrance on west side of building

Community Aid Thrift Store- 4833 Carlisle Pike Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17050

And for Inspiration to help you get started repurposing:

Buy Here

What thrift shops do you like to visit? Leave a comment below.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Ultimate Travel Gear Shopping Guide for PA Dutch Country and Beyond

When it comes to travel nothing is more important than convenience and style. These gadgets and accessories promise to make your experience, convenient, easier and fun.

First, let's start off with your luggage. Getting everything to fit inside your suitcase can seem like an overwhelming and monumental task. Long gone are the days of jumping, sitting, and standing on your suitcase trying to get it closed. Spacepak is here to help. Let their system help you get two weeks worth of clothing into one carry-on bag. No more standing around in long lines to check in your luggage. Their system allows the clothing to be compressed resulting in more items in less space. It comes in many different styles and colors to choose from.

Now, of those clothes you are taking with you, some of them should be fast drying clothing and able to wick away moisture. I absolutely hate walking around with damp clothing. Whether your here in PA Dutch Country or in the tropics nobody likes to walk around with damp clothes. And right now it is like the tropics just take a look at the weather from Tom Russell at CBS21 In fact, you will thank me for packing those fast drying clothing when your spending the day at Hersheypark and getting splashed by water rides or taking a walk through one of our parks and working up a good sweat. I wear this type all the time when traveling around and they really are comfortable.

Next is what I consider a travel necessity. A water bottle is a very useful item that can be used in your day to day activities as well as road trips, hiking, and flying in an airplane. You should never be without water. Your body needs to stay hydrated to perform its best. Water increases your energy levels. Most daytime sleepiness is actually caused by mild dehydration. I even have a water bottle sitting here while I'm sitting at the computer, that way I don't have to worry about knocking over a glass of water. If I knock over my water bottle my electronics and desk stay protected. I own several different styles of water bottles for different needs. I like this one for traveling about it keeps water nice and cold and on those frigid Pennsylvania winter days it keeps coffee nice and hot.

Remember all that talk about keeping dry. Well you never know when your going to hit with some rain showers. Be prepared and carry a travel umbrella or a rain poncho.

For all of you that know me, you know I love to read. I prefer to have a physical book in my hand most time, but you cannot beat the convenience of a Kindle when you are traveling. The last thing I am going to do is pack a bunch of heavy books to lug around. I love my kindle because it is lightweight and I can decide what I want to read whenever I want. If I just take a few books I am limited to only those. I don't like limitations. Therefore the Kindle Fire makes a great traveling companion. Not only can you read, but you can play games and watch TV.

Like I said though, as much as I like my Kindle I still love my physical books. When I go on vacation I like to find where all the local bookstores are. Such as, The York Emporium or The Lancaster Mennonite Book Frolic which takes place every August and now also in February. I usually leave with a nice size stack of books. But, sometimes those books have stickers and such on that are not always easy to remove. That is why I suggest these Scotty peelers to save your fingernails and remove the sticker easily. You can use these on books and other soft items such as cardboard boxes. Oh, and don't forget all those Christmas packages you struggle with every year removing all those crazy labels.

And last but not least, you need to save all those travel memories with pictures and video. The Nikon COOLPIX B500 Digital Camera has features such as: 40x optical zoom/80x Dynamic Fine Zoom super telephoto, Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth® low energy (BLE) maintain a constant connection with a compatible smartphone or tablet, Shoot from creative angles with the tilting 3.0-inch 921,000-dot LCD, Simple, convenient operation for stress-free shooting,1080p Full HD video recording with stereo sound.

That's it for this edition of the Ultimate Travel Shopping Guide. Stay tuned for more editions with a lot more great items to take with you on your travel adventures. Please leave me a comment and let me know what some of your favorite items are that you like to take with you when traveling.