Tiny Hippo Goes to the Railroad Garden

I recently took a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden where I had an immensely good time exploring the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America. These miniature gardens are filled with all things tiny, I felt right at home. The great thing about this garden, other than the fact that it is full of small things, is that it depicts great American landmarks using many natural materials.

Let me welcome you to the Chicago Botanic Garden's

Let me welcome you to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America

Everything is to scale in this garden, the little bridge is perfect for the Sata Fe train

Everything is to scale in this garden, the little bridge is perfect for the Santa Fe train

The Seattle Space Needle looks better than ever made from branches and a large mushroom

The Seattle Space Needle looks better than ever made from branches and a large mushroom

I was lucky enough to survive one of the eruptions of Mount Saint Helens. I fear that the poor  house at the base of the mountain may be a dire choice.

I was lucky enough to survive one of the eruptions of Mount Saint Helens. I fear that the placement of the house at the base of the mountain may have been a poor choice.

This small Mack Engine delivers open passenger cars to a station.

This small Mack Engine delivers open-air passenger cars to a station.

The hilly landscape of San Francisco is looked down from by a trolly car.

The hilly landscape of San Francisco can be viewed by a trolley car.

I was able to get a

In the background, notice the stunning riverboat, the Belle of St. Louis

This wee hiker was traversing the wildernes

This wee hiker was traversing the wilderness

Trains chug along tracks high above the ground, they must get dizzy, right?

Trains chug along tracks high above the ground, they must get dizzy, right?

I just loved the miniature Napa vinyards filled with the smallest grape vines (of the ivy variety)

I just loved the miniature Napa vineyards filled with the smallest grape vines (of the ivy variety)

At the center of the train garden was a small depot housing trains not currently in use

At the center of the train garden was a small depot housing trains not currently in use

The sign says everything you need to know about the wonderful care takers of the garden. All of the wise gentlemen volunteering at the garden were kind and thrilled that a Tiny Hippo had entered their territory

The sign says everything you need to know about the wonderful caretakers of the garden. All of the wise gentlemen volunteering at the garden were very kind and thrilled that a Tiny Hippo had entered their domain.

While admiring Mark Twain's boyhood home I noticed a colorful tent in the distance...

While admiring Mark Twain’s boyhood home I noticed a colorful tent in the distance…

It was none other than the Ringling Brothers Circus. Their famous train can be seen in the background

It was none other than the Ringling Brothers Circus, their famous train can be seen in the background

After seeing the circus I was not surprised when I encountered a train with a face

After seeing the circus I was not surprised when I encountered this train with a face and moving eyes

No tour of the landmarks of America would be complete without a glimpse of the White House, and my was it impresive, with its large green lawn and organic vegetable garden

No tour of the landmarks of America would be complete without a glimpse of the White House

I highly recommend that you take a stroll through the Model Railroad Garden: Landmarks of America the next time that you visit Chicago Botanic Garden. You will find it more than charming and should you have any questions, just ask one of the wonderful engineers who will be more than thrilled to help you.

Valentine’s Day Surprise

Tiny Hippo Finds his Valentine's Day Gift

What is this? A Valentine’s Day gift for a Tiny Hippo?

Tiny Hippo and a Rose

Oh my, what a beautiful rose!

Tiny Hippo Finds a Love Note

Nom, nom, nom. That was a delicious gift, I wonder who it was from?

Tiny Hippo and Magical Hearts

Wow! An envelope full of love, it must be from a secret admirer.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tiny Hippo has a Snow Day

At first, I was not sure about this snow stuff, it was very cold

At first, I was not sure about this snow stuff, it was very cold

I found it to be rather unstable, were Tiny Hippos not made for snow?

I found it to be rather unstable, were Tiny Hippos not made for snow?

 Hippo Making Snow Angel

Well, if Tiny Hippos were not meant for snow, surely a Snow Hippo will be able to manage this

Snow Hippo

Yes, this Snow Hippo can tackle any challenge winter has to offer!

Tiny Hippo Digs in the Snow

A Snow Hippo does not fear the snow, he dives right in…

Tiny Hippo Surfaces in the Snow

…to reappear in a new location, the drifts providing the stealth he desires

Tiny Hippo Makes Snowman

As it happens, Snow Hippos are also very creative, they build whatever they need

Tiny Hippo and Snowman with Blue Scarf

Such as, a new cold weather friend

Tiny Snow Hippo

While I did enjoy my time as the Snow Hippo, I became chilled and decided that Snow Hippos must take many breaks to go inside for hot cocoa

Happy New Year’s Eve from a Tiny Hippo

Happy New Year’s from a Tiny Hippo!

It is New Year's Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

It is New Year’s Eve, a time for revelry, tiny hats, and fancy drinks!

Hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve and a wonderful new year! Check out my oh so scrumptious Spiced Mint Julep recipe.

Christmas with a Tiny Hippo

Oh my, what are these, are they all for me?

Oh my, what are these, are they all for me?

This package is oh so cute!

This package is oh so cute!

What a tiny camera, how perfect

What a tiny camera, how perfect

On second thoughts, this camera is too small even for me

On second thought, this camera is too small, even for me

Let me see what is in this box

Maybe a bigger box will contain the perfect gift for a Tiny Hippo

Nice, a vintage camera is just what I was hoping for!

Nice, I always wanted a folding camera, Ansel Adams, here I come!

EEEEE... A Zeiss Ikonta medium format folding camera with pop up view finder!!!!!

IEEEE… A Zeiss Ikonta medium format folding camera with pop up view finder!!!!!

Hmmm, this seems a bit large for everyday use

Oh bother, this seems a bit large for everyday use

Last chance for the perfect gift

This looks promising

What a great case, this looks promising!

Oh cool! A miniature Japanese Hit camera from the 1950s! This is just the right size for a Tiny Hippo with an artistic side. Now, to find the perfect subject!

Oh cool! A miniature Japanese Hit camera from the 1950s! This is just the right size for a Tiny Hippo with an artistic side. Now, to find the perfect subject!

Merry Christmas, we hope that you found your perfect gift under the tree!

Tiny Hippo Creates the Perfect Hostess Gift

With all the homes I visit during the holiday season it is great to have a delightful treat to offer my hosts. There is no better sweet treat than these homemade apple cider caramels!

Behold! These lovely caramels are a hit for anyone who tries them, and they look so cute in a little bowl or a mason jar with a twine bow.

This awesome apple cider caramel recipe comes from a great blog, Blondie’s Cakes and Things. The recipe is easy to follow with no alterations or additions needed, be sure to wear your protective goggles while stirring the bubbling candies. When you select an apple cider for making these little gems don’t buy the cheap stuff. I used apple cider from our local orchard because Wilson’s Apple Orchard makes divine cider, and it is a great place for a family outing, see my Tiny Hippo at the Apple Orchard post.

Once your awesome caramels have cooled its time to turn them into perfect little presents that all your buddies will love!

Alright, remove the caramels from the pan using the parchment paper. While you may be tempted to wrap this huge block up and keep it for yourself willpower must prevail.

Instead of scarfing down the whole block of caramel, divide it into even rectangles or squares using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter

Now for the fun part! Set up a work station for the caramel wrapping extravaganza. You will need the cut caramels, rectangles of wax paper, and a neat surface to roll up the caramel in paper.

Once your lovely caramels have been wrapped up safe and sound, all that is left is for you to take them to all those fancy parties where it is only proper to give a great gift.

I hope that you try these great caramels and take them with you when you visit friends and family this season.