When I hear David McCullough has a new book out I buy it even before I know what it’s about. That is not hyperbole, I have loved everything I have ever read from him and I think I have pretty much read everything he has written. Mr. McCullough of course is the great American historian who has brought us epic biographies and stories of Harry Truman, the Wright Brothers, the Brooklyn Bridge, and John Adams (still one of the best books I have ever read) – among others. Now, Mr. McCullough turns his great research and story telling skills to The Pioneers – The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West – and it lives up to all my great expectations.

About The Pioneers – The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough:

“Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David McCullough rediscovers an important and dramatic chapter in the American story—the settling of the Northwest Territory by dauntless pioneers who overcame incredible hardships to build a community based on ideals that would come to define our country. As part of the Treaty of Paris, in which Great Britain recognized the new United States of America, Britain ceded the land that comprised the immense Northwest Territory, a wilderness empire northwest of the Ohio River containing the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.”

The Pioneers – The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West by David McCullough is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

I love bowls. I don’t think I have ever posted that fact before. But the other day while I was looking for the perfect sized bowl for my dinner salad, I realized I had way too many bowls and none just the right size. Now that I have found the seven piece Thistle Nesting Bowls from the fine folks at Bamboozle Home, I can choose just the size I need any day and look good doing it.

About the Thistle Nesting Bowls from Bamboozle Home:

“The seven piece set is fabulous for everyday use, and the colors will make anyone’s kitchen pop! It includes sizes to suit any of your needs. Use larger bowls for baking or family style meals, and smaller bowls for salads or your favorite snacks.”

Find the Thistle Nesting Bowls from Bamboozle Home here.

See all the great things from Bamboozle Home here.

If you are like me, you are still trying to get your act together getting everything ready for outdoor summer living. And if you are like me you have some really nice outdoor furniture with faded or worn out cushions that need replacing. This is where the fine folks at Calico Corners come in – they offer custom replacements for your cushions featuring their great line of high-quality fabrics.

About the Custom Replacement Cushions from Calico Corners:

“Do you need custom replacement cushions for your outdoor furniture? Whether you need outdoor chair cushions, outdoor chaise cushions, outdoor bench cushions, or even outdoor seat cushions for your boat, we provide the highest quality of workmanship. For your indoor furniture, we provide custom chair cushions, bench cushions, window seat cushions and chair pads all created to fit your furniture perfectly while coordinating with existing decor.”

Learn more about the Custom Replacement Cushions from Calico Corners here.

Visit Calico Corners online here.

I have two trips to Chicago coming up this summer and I can’t wait. I’m already planning where I want to eat, and there are many choices. Although I hope to find new places to try, here are a couple a favorites I dream of going back to soon.

FF: Ironside Bar & Galley

When you travel or relocate somewhere far from home it is nice to have a place to go when you are homesick. One such place for this New Englander turned Midwesterner is Chicago’s Ironside Bar & Galley – a great place to have a bite to eat and take in a Boston sports team on one of the many screens. A little bit of Boston in the middle of Chicago.

About Ironside Bar & Galley:

“Ironside Bar & Galley – whose name derives from the nickname of the U.S.S. Constitution “Old Ironsides” – is a River North neighborhood sports bar with 25 flatscreen televisions. A bi-level dining and drinking destination, Ironside has the look and feel of a ship turned upside down accented by iron rolled ceilings. Ironside’s layout includes a large main floor with a separate ten-person private dining room, an intimate bar “Below Deck” and an outdoor patio. Executive chef Chris De La Cueva’s Ironside menu features crafted American bar food with seafood twists. Ironside also features 16 craft beers on tap, an additional 33 beers in bottles and cans, approachable craft cocktails, and value-driven wines. Ironside is proud of Boston & University of Iowa sports bar.”

Try the lobster tater tots!

Ironside Bar & Galley is located at 546 N Wells Street in the great city of Chicago.

FF: Wildfire

Meanwhile, the fine folks at Wildfire seated me and my friends when they just about to close on a visit last year. We had a nice time and were not pestered to leave and we stayed for quite some time – which means I owe them a return visit and will always say nice things about them.

About Wildfire:

“Located in the heart of Chicago just blocks from Michigan Avenue, the first Wildfire Restaurant opened in 1995 and set the standard of excellence that all others would follow. We still proudly offer the best steaks, chops and seafood in Chicago.”

Try the baked goat cheese!

Wildfire is located at 159 W. Erie in the heart of Chicago, IL USA.

OK folks, I know you have been anxiously waiting for posts about my 2019 garden. Well, here we go. It has been a rather wet and stormy spring here on the Kansas prairie (just across the river from the great city of Kansas City, MO) – which has meant the time to spend out in the yard getting ready for the season has been limited. But the weather has improved greatly over the past several days and I have been able to get things ready for my raised bed vegetable garden.

First, I tilled the soil that was already in the raised bed from last season, carefully mixing in some new soil and fertilizer to make sure there were enough nutrients for the new crop. Then I started planting in the seedlings I purchased from a local nursery (I did not have it in me to start from seed this year). After learning from last year – the first year with the raised bed – I planted the seedlings in rows as opposed to willy nilly which limited the space.

So far I have planted several varieties of tomatoes and peppers – two things I have always had success with in the past. I also have some squash, cucumbers and herbs including rosemary, basil and various mints. After laying in the first set of plants I realized I have room for another dozen of so plants – so it is back to the nursery to complete the 2019 lineup.

 

On this, the 75th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion, we take a moment to honor those of the Greatest Generation who made sacrifices so we could remain free. And to all those, of every generation, who continue to fight for our freedom.

On this, the eve of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, one of history’s most infamous dates, it is a good time to reflect on the effort to liberate Europe during WWII and look beyond the commemorations that will likely be saturating the media. One of the best ways to do this is by reading a fresh new history of the event, like Normandy ’44 – D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France by James Holland.

About Normandy ’44 – D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France by James Holland:

“In Normandy ‘44, acclaimed WWII historian James Holland has crafted a fresh chronicle that reframes our understanding of D-Day and the Normandy campaign, challenging the accepted views that Germany only lost because of the Allies material advantage; that the U.S. dominated the Allied effort; that air power was of lesser importance than ground power. Drawing on archives and testimonies of eye-witnesses—from foot soldiers, tank men, commanders, fighter pilots, as well as civilians caught in the maelstrom—Holland recreates the brutal campaign that, in terms of daily casualties, was worse than any in World War I. Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery was in charge of Operation OVERLORD, whose main target was Caen, principal city in Normandy where rail, road, and river converged. Its capture took almost six weeks of bitter fighting from the bloody sea landing and chaotic air drop to the slog through the hedgerows and sunken lanes that were Normandy’s landscape. Holland introduces characters such as Sgt. Curtis Curlin of the 2nd Armored Division who ingeniously devised saw-teeth to be added to the fronts of Sherman tanks, and Major General Pete Quesada, Commander of US IX Tactical Air Command, who developed crucial communication techniques between his planes and troops on the ground.”

No doubt D-Day was an important day, but it was several weeks before the objectives were met and there was still plenty of challenges and battles to come. In his exquisitely researched and chronicled book, Mr. Holland expands on the story we think we know and provides background and detail that will make you appreciate the heroic efforts of the Allies even more than you most likely already do.

Normandy ’44 – D-Day and the Epic 77-Day Battle for France by James Holland is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

I was never much of a roller skater. Sure, I tried it when I was a kid and visited my share of roller rinks back in the day – but I never took to the traditional roller skate. Ice skating on the other hand was fun for me and when roller blades came along I was a big fan. But now I am thinking I should give roller skating another chance now that I have found the Jack Boot Roller Skates from the fine folks at Moxi Skates.

About the Jack Boot Roller Skates from Moxi Skates:

“The Moxi Jack combines classic roller skate design with modern materials and features to create a high-performance boot designed to withstand the stresses of ramp, park and aggressive street skating.  The rich Jade suede upper is backed throughout for additional support in all directions.  Ankle padding and a soft, genuine Shearling tongue lining make the Jack as comfortable as it is strong, and a lace bar stabilizer helps prevent unwanted tongue rotation while skating.  Thoughtful touches such as solid metal hooks, wax-infused laces and a unique backstay design featuring the signature Moxi “M” round out the Jack and ensure that no detail is overlooked.”

Find the Jack Boot Roller Skates from Moxi Skates here.

See all the quality Roller Skates from Moxi Skates here.

I love a good hardwood floor, but even the best of the traditional flooring is boring compared to the Patterned Hardwood Floor Tiles I found from the fine folks at Mirth Studio. Every Mirth Studio tile is its own piece of art – working together – these tiles will transform your home.

About the Patterned Hardwood Floor Tiles from Mirth Studio:

“Mirth Studio began in 2014 by offering a completely revolutionary flooring product to designers, architects and builders. We pioneered and remain the only design house in the world manufacturing our trademark patterned hardwood floor tiles. Over the years the company, which is headed up by founder and designer Sally Bennett, has seen its operation expand to include a wider variety of products including wall tiles, peel and stick floor decals and wallcovering, all featuring Mirth’s kaleidoscope of patterns, colors and designs.”

Learn more about the Patterned Hardwood Floor Tiles from Mirth Studio here.

FF: The Capri Beach Towels from Kassatex

Life is too short to still be using a cheap novelty beach towel (my Back to the Future movie poster towel circa 1985 is a bit faded) which is why I love the Capri Beach Towels I found from the fine folks at Kassatex.

About the Capri Beach Towels from Kassatex:

“Our Capri Beach Towels are the definition of summer vibes. Available in a myriad of bold colors trimmed in bright white, these towels are exceptionally soft and plush, perfect for sultry summer days.”

Find the Capri Beach Towels from Kassatex:

See all the collections from Kassatex here.

FF: The Paso Lumbar Pillow from The Citizenry

Meanwhile, enough with the boring square accent pillows – what we all really need is something more like the Paso Lumbar Pillow I found from the fine folks at The Citizenry.

About the Paso Lumbar Pillow from The Citizenry:

“Featuring a handsome palette and subtle Zapotec design, this zero-effort lumbar pillow is a work of art. From deep crimson and brick red to rich indigo, every color is naturally dyed using plant extracts outside of Oaxaca, Mexico.”

Find the Paso Lumbar Pillow from The Citizenry here.

See all the great products from The Citizenry here.

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