Leslie’s Lovin’ Oven

It’s been a very long time since our last post, apologies for that, but we are excited to share that today we announced the premiere of somethin’ nice : Leslie’s Lovin’ Oven – a cooking show starring Leslie as the host.

LLO Cover

Leslie will be cooking and baking with Ed filming what she’s doing to make 5 to 10 minute cooking classes to share her favorite recipes and tips with followers on the web.

You can check it out and sign up to follow future episodes at :




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Bliss At The Cherry Tree Inn

We recently had a magical getaway that we are excited to share with you.

We wanted to go to Lake Geneva for the weekend. However we learned that finding lodging there at the last minute was a challenge.  

We had to get creative.  

We had the idea to stay at the Cherry Tree Inn located up north in Woodstock, IL about half hour from Lake Geneva, WI.  This is the bed and breakfast where Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors stayed in the movie Groundhog Day.  It recently reopened as a bed and breakfast under new owners, George and Lori.      We contacted Lori and made a reservation for the following weekend. 

We arrived Friday evening and pulled up the driveway onto the property.  We walked up the wraparound porch and through the front door where we were warmly welcomed by the owners as they were putting out some warm, home-made cookies. We got a prompt tour of the place and were told to make ourselves at home.  

The Victorian style home is grand with classic features.  The front of the property is surrounded by a white picket fence, with an archway at the gate.  The walkway has hydrangeas on either side, with flowers all about. The wraparound porch had ample seating with padded seat rocking chairs, benches and tables.  

Leslie and Ed on the front porch at The Cherry Tree Inn

Inside there is a large foyer, a grand staircase and fireplace.  In the adjacent room was a grand parlor. The parlor had classic furniture with numerous seating options. There was also a dining room and modern kitchen.

We unpacked our things and went to a local eatery, the Red Mill Tavern, and enjoyed a delicious meal.  We ordered the tater tot nachos appetizer, which was surprising delicious, and split a chicken wrap which was fresh and mouthwatering.  This place offers live music throughout the summer, but we passed on it and headed back to the Inn.

When we got back to the Inn we learned that while it was an old fashioned and romantic environment, it also had modern amenities. We got the WiFi password, and then learned that the music playing in the parlor was courtesy of Amazon’s Alexa.  We requested that Alexa play some Sam Cooke and Johnny Ace songs, taking us back in time to the 1950s, and moving us to dance to several songs right there in the parlor.

The rooms were very nice with a modern smart TV, WiFi and a modern bathroom. 

Saturday morning we got up and strolled to the farmers market in the Woodstock town square.  We got some zucchini bread and apple cider donuts.  We returned to the Inn and enjoyed a wonderful complimentary breakfast.  We were served farm fresh scrambled eggs, orange juice, fried potatoes and sausage. 

We drove up to Lake Geneva and spent the afternoon sunning on a blanket on the grass of the town shore.  It was a gorgeous day.  After a couple hours we moved under a nearby tree for some needed shade.  Late afternoon we dined al fresco at the Tuscan restaurant in Lake Geneva, and enjoyed salmon and salad dishes.  

After dinner we headed back to the Inn and talked to the owner on the porch for a spell, learning about our host and their story of how they came to own the Inn. We headed into town for some ice cream, then called it a night.

Ed and Leslie on the path to The Cherry Tree Inn

Sunday morning we sat on the porch on a beautiful morning and talked.  It was bliss. Birds were singing.  The sun was shining.  The wind was blowing through the trees.     It was idyllic. 

It felt like we went back in time, to a time when life was much simpler and wholesome. We danced in the parlor, we rocked in rocking chairs on the porch, we strolled through the grounds and gardens, and into the nearby town square. We spent quality time talking and listening to nature, each other, and other people.

Leslie and Ed on the porch at the Cherry Tree Inn

We enjoyed another wonderful complimentary breakfast.  Our hosts served poached eggs over bacon sourdough toast topped with avocado.  There was a fresh fruit cup and fresh jams to spread on whole grain toast.  We were told that the offerings were made by local farmers and merchants to ensure they were at the peak of freshness.

We enjoyed some friendly conversation with our hosts and the other guests at the Inn.  Our hosts took a commemorative photo, which we later learned was used on their inaugural website which was published a couple days later.  Where’s Ed and Leslie? Maybe you can find us there. Their website is at https://cherrytreeinnbnb.com/.

We came for the nostalgia, as we love the Groundhog Day movie, but loved the simple pleasures of the Inn that transported us back to a simpler time of living.  We were grateful for the warm hospitality that our hosts offered us, and look forward to staying there again in years to come. 

And we think you’ll love it if you arrange to stay there too. Maybe you too will find the bliss that the Cherry Tree Inn has to offer!

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“Senior” Prom

We recently had a wonderful evening when we went to Prom.

“Prom?!??”, you say. “Aren’t you a little old to be going to Prom?”

When are we ever too old to do something we really want to do?

Ed never went to Prom. Leslie went, but just with a group of friends. 

Now that we’ve found love together, it seemed like a perfect time to go to Prom with one another. 

 Why should high school kids have all the fun? 

So it was just a matter of creating a Prom experience for ourselves. 

Ed had the idea and asked Leslie if she would go to Prom with him. She said, “Yes!”

So Ed began planning the event that came to pass last Saturday night.

It was fun shopping and romantic getting dressed up for one another. Leslie bought a Prom dress/evening gown on sale at Carson’s. She had fun trying on an array of dresses. She wanted a bright and vibrant color to be a sign of spring. She selected a raspberry color dress. Ed was fortunate to find a similarly colored bow tie on clearance at K&G Formalwear for around $10, and wore his tuxedo. If you have a tuxedo, you feel good about finding opportunities to wear it, and Prom was just that opportunity.

To capture the true essence and romance of Prom, Leslie’s mom, Sue, designed and gifted us a wrist corsage for Leslie and a boutonnière for Ed to complete our attire.

Once we were dressed, we went to a nearby wedding hall and found a trellis that made a lovely backdrop for the photos. Ed used the selfie stick his son gave him at Christmas a couple years ago, and if you didn’t know better, you’d think the photos were taken by a professional photographer.

After the Prom photo shoot, we met our friends Bob and Mary Smith at dinner at Mon Ami Gabi restaurant in Oak Brook, IL. Mary had never been to Prom either, so she was excited to be Bob’s date to Prom. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed wonderful conversation.

After dinner, we headed to another location to do a little dancing. Ed’s friend, Paul Strolia, was performing at a nearby restaurant with a dance floor. Ed and Leslie got to dance together before the night was over.

You’re never too old to do what you want to do and have some fun doing it. Relive an experience or make something happen for the first time. The world is yours for the taking.

Who knows…we may even make Prom night an annual outing!


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Longing for Love? Be nice!

Here is our unsolicited advice for our single readers longing for love : BE NICE!

Yes, it’s just that simple. 

Being nice is attractive. There is not enough nice in this world. You never know when you’re going to be nice to someone and they’re going to notice. You may be nice to a total stranger who may turn out to be your true love. You’ll be like a rainbow in the gray of life. And others will notice. 

But you can’t just be nice to those you’re interested in and trying to attract. That will be noticed too. You need to be nice to everyone. EVERY ONE. And not just some of the time. ALL OF THE TIME. Being nice all of the time forms a habit and habits form who you are…the genuine you.
Being nice is nice. But being nice all of the time to everyone is very attractive.  

Being mean, mean-spirited or offensive to others is very NOT attractive. One single lapse into one of those can repel love and turn an otherwise potential lover against you forever. You’ll be perceived as two-faced, untrustworthy and not very attractive. Being nice all the time to everyone is attractive…genuinely.

Speaking from experience, Ed was attracted to Leslie years before he asked her out. He could see that she was nice to others. He found that very attractive. He observed her over years being nice to others – children, the elderly, strangers… He wanted to know more about her. He soon had opportunities to interact with her. She was nice to him too! He found this very attractive and wanted to know more about her so he asked her out…and the rest is true love history!

So what are you waiting for? 
Be nice!  

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find true love!  

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Homemade Soup

One of our favorite things to eat on a cold winter’s day is a nice hot bowl of homemade soup. It’s easier to make than you think. Here is Leslie’s recipe for you to try at home.

In a large pot sauté one half sweet onion with one to two tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Sauté 5 to 8 minutes. 

Add one quart of chicken broth. 

Add 2 cubs of mixed frozen vegetables (carrot, corn, peas and green bean mix works nicely).  

Add 2 cubs of chicken (leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken works well). 

Add salt or pepper to taste.

Simmer for 30 minutes.

You can add a half a cup of precooked minute rice or precooked potatoes or precooked stuffing or precooked pasta or macaroni during the last 15 minutes of cooking.  

For a creamy soup you can add a half cup of whipping cream during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

You can add a handful of spinach during the last 5 minutes of cooking. 
Garnish with parsley or croutons or crackers. 

Serve. Eat. Enjoy!

Makes approximate 4 to 6 bowl servings.

Feel free to try your own variations with what you enjoy or have on hand as leftovers. Other ingredients we enjoy include adding a half cup of sweet potato, butternut squash, zucchini, black or cannellini beans, or pumpkin. 

Remember to enjoy the scents as it cooks, the yummy flavors as you eat, and the warm feeling on the inside as it goes down and you feel great knowing you made it yourself. 

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Game Night

We had a wonderful evening tonight, making some warm memories, and want to share the idea with you.  

Often we play a board game at home after dinner. Tonight we made an outing of it, taking our games to the Carriag pub at Gaelic Park. We met up with family, had a drink, shared an appetizer, and ate a yummy dinner. Then we broke out the board game (our choice was a game called “Say Anything”) and played together in the pub fireside. It was warm, cozy, cheerful and fun…and a great way to beat the artic freeze for a couple hours.

We laughed easily, we learned a few things about each other, and made a nice memory together.

So it cost a few dollars. Our time together was priceless.  

Left to right: Ed, Leslie, Michael, Sue, Canyon, Barbara and Charles

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The Santa Express

One Sunday evening a couple summers ago, we were out for a walk in our neighborhood. It was garbage night and some people had already put their garbage to the curb for pick up the next morning. We passed one such house and Leslie noticed something that caught her eye — it was a Christmas decoration that was more than what you expect to see in someone’s garbage.

Upon closer inspection it was an extraordinary piece of garbage. In fact, it wasn’t garbage at all. It was a misfit decoration of some considerable value that someone was discarding.  
Perhaps the owner didn’t want it anymore. Perhaps the owner had hoped someone who garbage picks might see it and recognize it for the treasure that it is and give it a home. This evening WE were those garbage pickers.
We quickly recognized the value of this piece and created a plan to have it for our own. Leslie would stay with the item curbside, and Ed would go back to get the car and come pick them up. Ed hurried back home, got the car, and picked up Leslie and their newly found Christmas treasure.
Back home, we worked to clean the item up. It wasn’t long before we could see how magnificent this Christmas decoration was – a hand-made tin train called the Santa Express. It was beautiful. It was painted in rich crimson and green and gold and blue colors with Santa hanging out the window ringing a bell. It appeared to be decades old, harkening back to a time when things were made well and built with pride to last.
We loved it!

That next Christmas we displayed it proudly for all to see. Guests that came to the house commented on the wonderful conversation piece. They wondered about its origin. They were surprised when we told them we had just found it in the garbage earlier that year. We were so proud of it!
When Christmas was over, we stored it, and once again this Christmas decorating season we brought it out again. We display it with pride, and intend to for years to come.
And to think this could have been disposed of in a garbage dump!
What treasures have you found discarded by someone else? What things of value do you throw out that could be given away to someone else or sold to someone who appreciates its value?  
We seem to live in a disposable society. Everything has a “useful life” and then gets thrown out.  
Maybe we should look for things of quality and value, care for them, and pass them down to generations to come.
God doesn’t make garbage. He has made each one of us with great care. He doesn’t see us as disposable. What one of us may see as trash, another will recognize as a treasure. And we can be thankful when they do.

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Edconomics Lesson #2 : Have More With Les

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Pillow Talk

(5:30am this morning)

Me: “But I don’t wanna go back to that place (ie. work).”

Leslie: “Yeah. Let’s run away.”

Ed: “Where would we go?”

Leslie: “The North Pole.”

Ed: “What would we do?”

Leslie: “Make toys…sing Christmas carols… bake Christmas cookies…kiss under the mistletoe.”

Me: “Sounds nice.”  (I love this woman!)

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Edconomics Lesson #1 : Les Is More

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