I haven’t been inspired to write for a while…busy! Imagine that, life does have a way of keeping us from what we enjoy. Thanksgiving came and went and now Christmas is arriving in 19 days. Time to decorate the tree and do some baking! The photo above is of me and my older brother during circa 1964ish.


scary face, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Enjoy your day and your Hauntings…Boooooo


Pink and Green, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Wow, I happened to look back on a post this morning, only to find that I had missed the anniversary of my favorite place in the Cyber World…my blog. Five years has passed in no time. I have met some of the best cyber friends and fans during this time, and have actually met several of them in person during our travels. Thank you to all my readers for your support over the years!  🙂


Chichen Itza, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

September is almost gone once again. My favorite month. This year was no exception. I had not been able to see my husband since early June and had the opportunity to visit with him in Kentucky and we also traveled to San Juan Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. A great but tiring two weeks. The food, company, beaches, service and sights were far more than expected. We made new friends and spent time with old friends. One of the highlights was hiring a private driver, Felix and tour guide Luis to take us on a 12 hour adventure into the ancient Mayan history. Chichen Itza is a 5000 years old wonder and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A wonder of mathematics, astronomy and culture. The Mayan people are amazing and dedicated people with a rich and talented history.  The amazing stories of survival and beliefs told to us lit a fire for me to learn more. So as September winds down today I wonder what October will bring?  🙂

The Maya name “Chich’en Itza” means “At the mouth of the well of the Itza.” This derives from chi’, meaning “mouth” or “edge”, and ch’en or ch’e’en, meaning “well.” Itzá is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula. One possible translation for Itza is “wizard (or enchantment) of the water.”[4]

The name is often represented as Chichén Itzá in Spanish and when translated into other languages from Spanish to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllables. Other references prefer to employ a more rigorous orthography in which the word is written according to the Maya language, using Chich’en Itzá (pronounced IPA: [t?it?’en itsá?]). This form preserves the phonemic distinction between ch’ and ch, since the base word ch’e’en (which, however, does have a neutral tone vowel “e” in Maya and is not accented or stressed in Maya) begins with a glottalized affricate. The word “Itzá'” has a high rise final “a” that is followed by a glottal stop (indicated by the apostrophe).

There is evidence in the Chilam Balam books that there was another, earlier name for this city prior to the arrival of the Itza hegemony in northern Yucatán. This name is difficult to define because of the absence of a single standard of orthography, but it is represented variously as Uuc Yabnal,[5] Uuc Hab Nal,[6] or Uc Abnal.[7] While most sources agree the first word means seven, there is considerable debate as to the correct translation of the rest. Among the translations suggested are “Seven Bushes,” “Seven Great Houses,” or “Seven Lines of Abnal.”  ~ Wikipedia


plums, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Labor Day weekend, marks the end of Summer in Maine. Where did it go? So quickly? Close to fading memory…. Soon Autumn will be upon us. In the meantime I will take the time to enjoy the long weekend and wish my younger brother a Happy 46th Birthday. Happy Day little brother Mark! 🙂


hope, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Hope…A little word with big meaning when you don’t have it.

yellow, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

TGIF! Another gorgeous Friday! When I need a smile, all I have to do do is look at these photos taken in the Maremma region of Italy in June of the this year! A Sunday quickly turned into a photographic event. A sea of yellow surrounded us from all directions. I sight that will never be forgotten. Happy Friday!


Cortona, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

As you can see, I am on a gelato kick once again. Another sweltering day here in New England and we are suffering form the heat and humidity!   During our recent return to Italy, my husband frequently enjoyed Staciatella Gelato, here is a recipe to try at home!

Straciatella Gelato
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3/4 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Place milk in a medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Whisk sugar, yolks, and salt in a medium bowl until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return to saucepan; stir over medium-low heat until custard thickens and a thermometer registers 170°F-175°F, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain into a medium bowl. Stir in cream. Chill custard until cold, at least 2 hours.

Stir chocolate and oil in a small sauce-pan over low heat until melted; let cool.

Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Slowly add all but 1 tsp. melted chocolate during the last 30 seconds of churning (chocolate will form small chips). Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle remaining chocolate over gelato in zigzag lines. Serve immediately.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Stracciatella-Gelato-365289#ixzz1SqfH8bwI


San Gimignano, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

We are in the midst of summer’s heat and some days there is no way to escape. I always come back to thinking about my favorite Italian Gelato! Much better than out American version of ice cream, although a close second. Ice cream brings me back to my childhood, walking a across the street to the small neighborhood store to get a .25 cent ice cream on a stick. After my first excursion to Italy nine years ago I am hooked on gelato. You see gelato is a much more flavorful, somewhat softer, less heavy and sweet, than our ice cream. Tantalizing flavors await the palate. Pistachio, pear, marscapone, chocolate, rosemary, lampone, Nutella just to name a few!

Gelato is different from some ice cream because it has a lower butterfat content. Gelato typically contains 4–8% butterfat, versus 14% for ice cream in the United States. Gelato has a higher sugar content than ice cream. Dairy based gelato contains 16–24% sugar and water and fruit based sorbet contains 24–30% sugar. Most ice cream in the United States contains 12-16% sugar. The sugar content in gelato is precisely balanced with the water content to act as an anti-freeze to prevent the gelato from freezing solid. Types of sugar used include sucrose, dextrose, and invert sugar to control apparent sweetness. Typically, gelato and Italian sorbet contain a stabilizing base. Egg yolks are used in yellow custard-based gelato flavors, including zabaione and creme caramel. Non-fat milk solids are also added to gelato.  ~ Wikipedia

Have you ever had the luxury of eating Gelato? What is your favorite flavor? 🙂


yellow faces, originally uploaded by The Rambling Rountrees.

Summer has been fantastic so far this year. The weather is perfect. Last night, I sat out on the steps just before dark admiring the quietness, the smell of the grass and my bounty of fresh sweet basil that I had just picked. I wish every evening could contain the sweetness and simplicity of a summer night.