A twist on the way we think…an adventure of thoughts and thinking


Once in a while, something outstanding is found and should be shared…and this is one of those times and circumstances. Changing up our environments, going on vacation, and changing the scenery are all wonderful aspects for personal growth and positive change… but taking an adventure within can also be exhilarating.

Listen to and watch the video below and see how wonderful a little change from within can be #selfhelp #easychange #thinkingdifferently #lifetips #selfadventure

Old Elkmont Cemetery, near Gatlinburg, TN


Yes, it’s true, I am a lover of beautiful masonry work and old stones– an appreciator of etchings and engravings and any opportunity I am offered, I enjoy a good cemetery crawl. Sometimes, more often than not, a “good” one is often off the beaten path and takes a little adventure and finagling to get there… and it’s always worth the effort!!

Fortunately, I had a bit of aid in locating/finding this particular older cemetery near Gatlinburg, Tennessee as a person briefly posted on a photo forum of Elkmont Cemetery and I had to use google mapping to get me there…the cemetery is quite small but hosts an elaborate amount of carved lambs on the headstones, those that are marked any way.

An interesting factor that I haven’t personally seen before… coins were left on certain graves… any one know the history behind that?

https://www.yelp.com/biz/old-elkmont-cemetery-gatlinburg?osq=Old+Elkmont+Cemetery

Swinging Bridge & Great Smoky Mountains,Townsend, Tennessee


A Sunday drive (albeit on a Monday) was a true delight!! Just taking the whim, before heading home, to enjoy the last day of our vacation was worth winging it in Tennessee!!

The Great Smokey Mountains (yes, the home of infamous Dolly Parton) are well worth visiting!! The natural overlooks are fabulous and well maintained. While the Smokies are not actually on fire (it’s the fog that rises that make them look smoky.) Absolutely stunning views!!! I admit, getting “lost” in the forrest is truly a delight.

We started driving from Sevierville, Tennessee, area and headed out , We enjoyed taking a pit stop in the tiny town of Townsend (which, by the way, hosts a Post Office with wonderful, helpful staff, and yes, I dropped off quite a few postcards and the clerk was able to help give us some local pointers.)

A triple ride… at Dollywood Theme Park


There are theme parks all over the place but until recently, I didn’t have a clue that Dollywood Theme park was a “thing” and that it was so close to where I live, within just a few hours drive from home. I hadn’t been to a theme park in ages—and if my memory serves me correctly, I hadn’t been to one since going on an activity bus on a “date” in college, to the Halloween themed one at Carowinds in college—but I am not going to date myself on that one!

Dollywood Theme parks sent out flyers, which is initially is what the idea going, offering tickets at a big discount for “Essential Workers”, which I qualified for, working at a mental health facility–and having some time off, We (my sweetheart and myself) decided to take advantage of a package deal he had purchased (3 nights, 4 days in Pigeon Forge through another venue) . And off we went….

Dollywood Theme park was between “festivals” and it being a Sunday, the park was pretty slow, which suited us just fine as there weren’t any waiting lines for the roller coaster, finding parking was a breeze and the staffed was not stressed or rushed, which was so awesome.

The biggest winner of the day, though, besides getting to hold hands all day with my sweetheart and riding coasters and laughing at the funny pumpkin scenes? I got to mark an item off of my dream list (I don’t want to call it a bucket it list because I am not kicking the bucket–plus, what did the bucket ever do that someone thought it needed kicking?) I have always wanted to ride a ride, a roller coaster, more than once without having to get off the ride and go around again and wait in line… and the dream came true!

As I said, the park was having a “slow” day and when I got on the “log ride”, which goes by another name but I can’t recall, again, as I had already ridden it a couple of times during the day, the operator let me ride it again without getting off, not once, but twice! So, yeah, I got to ride the ride 3 times back to back without disembarking in between!!! Yes, I left the park looking like a half drowned rat from being splashed, oh by the glory of it all!!

Easy Brunch, pulling it all together


Brunch is made to be enjoyable and make it easy for yourself, simply use what you have about in your fridge or make it “potluck” style with a couple of friends, bring only what you have on hand!! It makes it a fun and easy way to dine tastefully and on a budget…. and who doesn’t like that?

An easy brunch of things pulled together, a bagel with scrambled eggs, quartered roma tomatoes, red grapes and radishes made in the shapes of flowers (my neighbor is food crafty)

Summer Blossoms along the road side


Road side blooms make a lovely bouquet

On the way home, I came across a most obliging field of wild flowers; I couldn’t help but stop and pick some for my home (while leaving plenty for others to enjoy!) And what girl doesn’t enjoy a nice bouquet? I gifted myself the beautiful bouquet and it was well worth the 10 minutes of effort to enjoy such blossoms!!

I am using Acorns to invest. We both get a perk if you sign up here, too!! Help me invest!! https://share.acorns.com/apotthoff

Stone Soup–using what’s at hand.


The Stone Soup is a European folk story in which hungry strangers convince the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys, and exists as a moral regarding the value of sharing. In varying traditions, the stone has been replaced with other common inedible objects, and therefore the fable is also known as axe soup, button soup, nail soup, and wood soup.

Stone Soup – Wikipedia

While I most certainty don’t go hungry, I don’t like to waste. While trying to figure out what I wanted to make for dinner this evening, I realized I bits and bobs of this that and the other. I didn’t have enough of any item to make a “proper dish” of anything, so I made stone soup at home of the bits and bobs from my refrigerator that needed to be eaten; while none of the ingriedients were any were near spoiled or bad, they still needed to be used an eaten.

What is included in this stone soup:

CHicken Bullion-water, carrots (diced)-half a large onion (course chunked)-medium tomato chunked-3 cups of raw kale-salt-pepper-2 medium red potatoes (chunky diced)-2tsp Italian seasoning

It was all simmered together for about 90 minutes (of course, while I caught up on my pen pal correspondence).

Stone Soup –potato vegetable soup

She Crab Soup, a Charleston Delight


I found a postcard in Charleston with a delightful recipe I feel is worth sharing! I hope you also enjoy!!!

See recipe below

Charleston, South Carolina She Crab Soup (taken from the Postcard)

2 tbsp butter, 1 tsp. Flour, 1 quart milk, 2 cups white crab meat with roe, 5 drops onion juice, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp mace, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/4 pint heavy cream (whipped) , 4-5 tbsp dry sherry, grated rind of one lemon

In the top of a double boiler, melt butter and blend with flour until smooth. While stirring constantly, add teh milk slowly. Then add the crab meat and roe plus all the seasonings, except sherry. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Serve warm in cups with one teaspoon of Sherry, and a topping of whipped cream.

Playing Postcard “Where’s Waldo” In Charleston, South Carolina.


A friend, many years ago, introduced me to the notion/game of playing “Where’s Waldo” postcard style and I fell in love with the game. The idea is simple, when on an adventure, in a new town or country or anything, find a few postcards and try to find each item on the postcard(s). Sometimes the greatest adventures are had while searching for the items, discovering hidden away treasures along the way and finding victory when you find the place!! It’s a lot of fun, I often will then send said postcard to a friend or family member, expressing the joy that was experienced or send it to myself, as a “rememberal” souvenir to add to my journal when I do return home.

Pineapple Fountain, A Welcoming Site, Charleston, South Carolina


Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

The Pineapple Fountain, Charleston, South Carolina, located a couple of Blocks from Waterfront Park– a beautiful walk to reach the fountain, and what a stunner!! While the Fountain was bubbling and spouting while I visited, it provided beautiful entertainment and cool waters to splash my face in on such a hot day!!

A bit of history as to why the Pineapple is the symbol of welcome and hospitality, the Pineapple History can been joyfully read. This Pineapple sits on the welcome fronts of Charleston, most certainly welcoming locals, tourists and other adventures alike to the beauty of Charleston.

This is me, going into the fountain for refreshing cool off while doing walking adventures. The trees around the fountain are Palmettos, the state tree of South Carolina and other trees adorn the walk ways,

Live Music Duo-Music to my ears at Grits and Groceries, Belton/Due West South Carolina


An evening out with friends has proven to be quite lovely!

Live music, performed by a local duo, and great food at Grits and Groceries. Open for the live music outside of normal operating hours, the live event was quite entertaining and the sound quality was great way to have a lawn party with a small bonfire going .

Grits and Groceries – Destination restaurant in Belton, SC, featuring eclectic southern cooking

Discovering the vacation: tips for scheduling


Scheduling: it’s something we all do in life–dentists appointments, that meeting with the boss, pedicures with the girls, potlucks picnics for church- but what about scheduling a vacation? As Americans, we aren’t as “good” about taking time for a vacation or a true weekend getaway. Why not? The Washington posts suggests some reasons, Washington Post :

That’s not to say employers don’t offer vacation. According to the report, employers are granting paid vacation to 90 percent of full-time workers this year and 40 percent of part-time workers. But what might be shocking: Even when Americans get paid time off, they don’t use it all. And when they do use their days — it may not come as a surprise to learn — many of them fail to leave work fully behind.

Vacation might not even be an option for many in the United States, whether they can’t afford to lose wages or have to prioritize other spending ahead of leisure. The top barrier to taking a vacation is cost, says David Huether, senior vice president of research for the U.S. Travel Association. After that, he said difficulty getting away from work and dealing with the hassles of air travel stand between Americans and vacation.

What does America have against vacation? – The Washington Post

Vacation, down time, leisure trip, getting away from it all—however it’s said, everyone needs down time and something different. So how do we discover the world we live in without spending a fortune (as this is a travel adventure blog on how to go, see do on a frugal budget and about sites and venues that are affordable.)

Trips and vacations don’t need to cost and arm and leg to make it happen but with a little bit of planning and scheduling, it’s totally possible to have a vacation. This is adventurer is a working person, in total need of having a regular paycheck to pay bills and rent, not coming from a place of high independent wealth, it’s possible to still go and do, even on a yearly gross income of less than $25k.

Scheduling and planning on the key but flexibility is also important. If a package deal, say to Disney, is more of your cup of tea to lessen the hassle of planning things down to the detail, your vacation has just gotten a lot easier but more costly. How so? Package deals are generally more hassle free and everything is done for you, which can be cool and helpful but you pay for this hassle free, all inclusive package. If this is the venue and method you choose, wonderful!! The process of going on vacation, though, remains the same if you are creating a vacation of your own that isn’t a package deal, it’s about discovering what it will take to make the vacation happen: planning and scheduling.

Sit down and mark where you would like to go and do.

When is the best time to take time off of work?

Do you want to go to our venue during peak time or when a special event is occurring?

These are the key starting points. Why? Well, it will determine how much time you have to prepare and save for the trip, because, honestly, most of us just can’t take off on a whim, financially or professionally. We all also have preferences as well—be honest with yourself and those involved/going on the vacation as well. Your best friend is getting married, you really want to stay in the same hotel as the venue, even if it’s a bit pricey—you want to avoid big tourists sites—distillery tours are your priority—mojitos on the beach—hiking a specific trail—whatever it is that you desire and wish for, it’s possible with planning and scheduling–put your priorities and wishes first and “fudge” the non so important areas.

As an example, let’s decide that attending your best friends wedding is the priority and wish and you want to stay in the special venue hotel, but also make a vacation out of it (being somewhere else that isn’t your home area.) and that the wedding is 8 months away. Let’s say my friend, Gloria, in Denver, Colorado, is getting married in November of this year, as practice.

Planning out the money: You know you have 8 months to plan and make arrangements, perfect! With the internet, planning out flights or driving mileage, figuring out the cost of transportation is simple–and if flying, buying tickets in advance will save you a bundle. (If international flights are available by then, using http://www.skyscanner.com is a huge savings feature!)

Upon a cursory look, I can get a round trip flight from Greenville, S.C. to Denver, Colorado, for less than $200 roundtrip, per ticket, with a free checked bag (cha-ching!) Simply by using the internet, with less than 30 minutes in time, plugging in a few dates and details, you can find affordable airfare and hotel stays. (Hostelworld.com is a great site)

All the math below is based on a 7 day trip.

Airfare: $200 Hotel: $350 Food: $140 Fun Money $200 Treat for neighbor $20 Extras: $90= Total: $1000

That’s pretty affordable, in my book. While, it doesn’t include normal living expenses, those are figured to be already covered because adulthood is already being covered on a monthly basis. Treat for the neighbor equates to bringing home something as a thank you for whomever drove you up to the airport and picked you up–something sweet to say that you appreciate their help. By planning ahead, it will also give you plenty of opportunity to put in the request time off (and chances of a higher approval rating for planning advance) at work with your boss or HR department.

By choosing a hotel in the vicinity of the wedding venue, walking there will be a breeze (saving money by not needing a cab or ride share), also it will allow you to explore the areas and things by foot, which is always fun. Researching the area will also provide some low cost or free venues in the area that you can enjoy on your vacation as well.

Taking a week’s vacation for a friends wedding would require the traveler/adventurer would require saving $32 a week, which is very affordable (with the mindset that trimming a take out meal here, a special coffee there, having a movie night at home, it’s pretty easy to do!) and when the airfare portion is saved up, you can purchase your airfare in advance and rake in the savings! Many set up a special travel savings account with direct savings or put the money on a “prepaid” card so they can easily pay with the special travel card–or whatever method that you decide to use so that your travel funds get put all together.

Planning ahead and having a plan for your adventure and vacation will also give you something exciting and joyous to look forward to as well! Happy Travels!!

Easy Homemade Pasta Primavera


Sometimes an easy but tasty meal is needed and in a flash!! but who wants to blow their budget on an expensive meal? The following recipe costs a total of about $4-$4.50 I shopped at the local Dollar Tree/Dollar General for the items (when I was already out and about) and the recipe serves 3-4 adult size servings.

Ingredients:

1-1 lb box of whole grain penne pasta ($1.00 at Ingles Supermarket)

1 bag of frozen stir fry mix ($1 at Dollar Tree)

1 jar of Ragu Alfredo sauce ($1.25 at Dollar General)

1 can of Chicken breast ($1.25 Dollar General)

Cook the whole box of pasta according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, open the bag of frozen stir fry and dump into a medium sized sauce pan with a little water added to the bottom, open the can of chicken (drain it first) and add to the stir fry vegetables (you won’t actually be frying the vegetables, just lightly steaming them with the chicken.)

When the pasta is about finished cooking, add the jar of the alfredo sauce to the chicken and chicken mix, simmer until hot. When the pasta is finished cooking, drain the water off.

Layer pasta on the bottom of the plate and top with the sauce/chicken/vegetable dish and voilà, you have pasta primavera with chicken.

Easy Homemade Mediterranean-semi scratch meal, serves 4


Ingredients:

1 pound yellow fish tuna (I used frozen)

1 1lb bag of stir fry vegetables (Frozen)

4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp Lemon Pepper salt

1 package of butternut squash ravioli (i used fresh, organic)

4 tablespoons of fresh shredded parmesan cheese

Turn on oven to 400 degrees (F).

In a glass pie pan or baking dish, put in 2 tablespoons olive oil to cover and coat the dish. Put in the pieces of yellow fin tuna, sprinkle the lemon pepper salt over the fish. Dump the bag of stir fry on top of the fish, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top of it all. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 70-80 minutes, until thoroughly cooked but not over done.

When the tuna vegetable combo is about 90% done, make the butternut ravioli according to the package directions.

When everything is completely cooked through and hot, layer up the food, starting from the plate then put:

ravioli-vegetables-tuna piece-drizzle of salt and olive oil-topped with parmesan cheese. Adding a squeeze of fresh orange to the side is a delicious but optional treat. Serve hot. Serves 4

Wrapping Up the Year


2020 for all of us has been quite an interesting year; a year no one expected on so many levels. The pandemic had cancelled trips and vacations, altered the way we mix and mingle, go to work and the way we even grocery shop. Alas, it has been an amazing year, full of wonderful twists and turns, interactions, new friends made and so much more! Lie is one big beautiful adventure, as seen in just a few of my photos.

In 2020, I have enjoyed numerous cemetery crawls, a handful of dates, I made new friends, saw family, my nephew was born this year, and so many other blessing occurred.

I hope your 2021 is as glorious and blessed as years passed and filled with many more adventures and excitement.

Breakfast Bowl–Using up leftovers


Every now and gain we have leftovers and the question of “What’s for dinner”, sometimes both can be satisfied by coming just a few leftover ingredients.

While I am a huge fan of having breakfast for dinner, this meal can be truly served at any time of the day and be a success.

The ingredients of this breakfast bowl are easy: leftover baked potatoes, chunked and lightly fried, add leftover green beans and onion, salt and pepper and about a half dozen cracked eggs (after adding a bit of corn oil to the bottom of the pot first). Stir and simmer until it’s all the way cooked through, served with a drizzle of ketchup on top. Super yummy and it it’s inexpensive.

Herbed Peasant Bread, Freshly Versatile


A very simple and easy recipe with common ingredients-pretty inexpensive as well.

Ingredients:

6 cups flour-

1 packet of dry yeast

1 1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup corn oil (or olive oil)

2 cups extra warm water

1 1/2 tablespoons dry Italian season

Proof the yeast in the warm water, adding the sugar. Mix all other ingredients in a large metal or glass bowl. and the sugar/yeast/water mix slowly to the bowl of mixed ingredients until thoroughly mixed, form into one large bowl and put back in the bowl. Cover bowl with a warm damn towel.

After the dough ball has risen, punch down and split into two loaves (either into bread loaf pans or shape into boules.)

Let the dough rise once again (about 20 minutes). Pop the bread into a preheated, 350 degree oven-Bake for about 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.

This is awesome bread to just eat on it’s own with fresh, real butter, as a sandwich maker, or with soup. Works also great as a base for homemade turkey stuffing.

Don’t lose your marbles wondering…Did you forget Kevin? Make a list: Tips for successfully pulling it off.


Scene where the mom realizes she forgot Kevin in Home Alone

I am pretty everyone knows the infamous movie Home Alone, the holidays are chaotic, add an adventure and/or adventures to the pot, and all chaos can ensue, as well all know.

While I have never personally forgotten a person on a trip, I have, in the past forgotten to pack something or gotten stuck because of ill-planning or lack of thinking ahead. Yes, I learned the hard way and I hope to help prevent you from making the same mistakes I have made.

A notebook and a pen/pencil are all that is needed, likely to found easily in your home or easily purchased at the local dollar store. Either sitting down and creating a prep To-Do list or adding to it on your lunch break at work or while waiting inline for your coffee order, a few minutes of note taking will save you time and stress and worry down the way.

I suggest a notebook as it keeps everything in one place and easily accessible. Plus, you can check items off as you go along and get it accomplished and leave more notes, which tips are added in the list below.

  1. Luggage/Suitcase Packing list, for each member of your family. What will you need to put in your suitcase (number of outfits, accessories, shoes, etc.)? Don’t forget to add undergarments and pajamas. Yes, I have to sleep in my birthday suit because I forgot pajamas.
  2. Medications and toiletries -usually the last minute items added to a suitcase. List exactly what you will need, shampoo, toothpaste/brush, pain medication (such as aspirin or others), anything prescribed (in the correct amounts and quantities.) If you will run out of medication while on vacation, get refills before you leave or contact your physician /pharmacy to have them filled and able to be retrieved from a local pharmacy where you are traveling too if a pre-refill isn’t possible. A little first aid kit is always handy too or a box of Band-Aids, because who hasn’t gotten a blister on their heal? ouch!
  3. If travelling by vehicle, a check list of what will go in the car, any car maintenance that will be needed (i.e. an oil change, tune up, spare tire fixed, jumper cables.) Scheduled dates for this can also be added to your notebook and calendar.
  4. If traveling by airfare, train or bus, make sure you right now departure times and arrivals and means of transportation or shuttle from A to B. It’s not any fun arriving jet lagged, tired and hungry only to realize the last shuttle has run, taxi’s services don’t run 24/7 and it’s pouring rain and your are 15 miles from your hotel (yep, been there too). Winging it can be fun but there is a time and place for that as well. Also, will you leave your vehicle at the airport or station? If yes, your notebook will be a great place to mark down where you parked. If you have someone you off and/or picking you up, the Uber service number or having best friend Betty’s phone number and scheduled services will be beneficial to write down as well. Nothing like a dead cell phone to make you wish you had memorized someone’s phone number.
  5. A list of any reservations, appointments and venue locations, including check in and check out times or any other special instructions, Include reservation numbers and so forth. Paper clipping confirmation pages into your notebook will be beneficial. It’s embarrsing to show up at St. Mary’s hotel B Ave when you are reserved at St. Merry’s hotel on Bee Ave 7 miles away in a different town. Also noting in your book any important phone numbers or contacts in case of emergency.
  6. Business as usual: What regular things will be need to be taken care of while you are away? Will you need to set up auto pay for bills? Who will take care of your pet if you can’t take them with you? Water your plants? Do you need to put a hold on your mail or can your sister pick it up for you? Do you need to transfer your money from your adventure savings into your checking account?
  7. Gifts and Souvenirs-who will you need to brings treats home to? Do you have a neighbor to thank for checking your houseplants? A favorite Aunt whom loves magnets? Do you have your grandparents address so you can send them a postcard?
  8. Leaving the house Prep: Nobody wants to come home to a mystery science experiment growing in the fridge or having their wash machine smell like an old gym bag full of sweaty sports clothes because you forgot to run the last load and everything molded and soured. Mark down whatever last chores needed to be finished up or done before leaving so you come home to a clean and comfortable home.
  9. Coming home prep: This one is a bit of an extension of leaving the house prep. If you are going to be gone for more than a few days, groceries will likely be used up before you leave, especially fresh produce and the like. You can schedule a grocery trip on the way home or have a prepped in advance and therefore save some money in the process. A few frozen meals will be easy to pop in the oven, like casseroles and such or even one of those home-bake frozen pizzas could bake and would be useful time as you unload your luggage and start getting back to normal.
  10. Check things off as you get them done. By putting your notebook in your purse/backpack/carryon/travel tote, you will have it handy. It will also provide a way of making sure you got everything you need to take home with you. I failed to check my list once going from Inverness, Scotland and upon arriving and showering in London, after a long bus ride, I didn’t have any panties. Why? I accidently donated them with a couple of articles of clothing that I had chosen to be rid of but without my packing list, I didn’t notice!

A morning stroll along my own Street, coffee in hand


Adventures can be enjoyed any where, even a stroll down my own street this lovely morning. Here in Upstate, South Carolina, the changing of the autumn leaves are still taking place and it is quite splendid. A little stroll provided quite a stunning view while enjoying the cool morning air and golden sunshine that glowed over the Seneca River tributary.

Living in a quite neighborhood complex has its perks, as you can well see, not a whole lot of traffic but a great place to enjoy a little adventure this morning, admiring all the pretty colors and hues and smiling at neighbors walking their dogs, all while sipping a toasted chestnut praline latte (Starbucks was on the drive home this morning!)

A fine and lovely autumn morning at an adventure best!

As the legends and story goes: 18th Century, Eliza Huger, the Old Stone Church and graveyard, Clemson, South Carolina-a place of lovers.


As the legend goes, so the story tells…both very important key phrases when sharing (and I admit, i learned this expression while travelling) a story, as the key phrase adds importance to what is about to be told, shared, relayed….and it has crossed the oceans to here in the USA (for me, at least, I hope others are ahead of me and already heard such expressions here.)

The expression, as the story goes and is told, I found, is written on a historical plaque here at the Old Stone Church and Graveyard in Clemson, South Carolina (just off off Clemson/Anderson Highway).

“Accordingly to a long told Story, Eliza Huger, a member of prominent society, was banished. Even by the standards of that city, her actions were considered horrific by her and her lover….”

A remarkable cemetary, mostly from the late 18th century and through the American Civil war of the 19th century, the the stone walls, about 3 feet high, are quite something, holding within their realms lovers, outcasts, members of prominent society, founders of the Church that had immigrated from mostly Whales and England, and Confederate high ranking military members and families.

There is one a marker for a family plot, made of of men entered there, which contains a relief mark that I am unfamiliar with, others are identifiable as mark, ranks, memberships to societies, like the D.A.R. (daughters of the American Revolution) and more.

The large image, commemorating the Confederate Dead, stands between the church itself and the main graveyard, in a Cairn style rock built wall and is quite simple yet exquisitely beautiful.

While the church is now on the Historical register of National Landmarks, it’s not longer used as a tradition church (but by peaking through a window, a really cool old fashioned organ remains inside.)

This is a true gem and definitely worth visiting!!

Blackened Tilapia, Spiced Green Beans–One Skillet Dinner


A super easy, one skillet meal that feeds too (can feed more if double or tripled or more and if added skillets are used.)

Ingredients:

2 Tilapia Fillets

A zip lock baggie filled with 1 cup of white flour, 1 tsp salt and course black pepper, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and a dash of cumin

1 can of cut green beans

1 small onion chunked, 1 tsp minced garlic (jar kind is okay)

Olive Oil

In a medium sized skillet, put olive in the bottom and put on medium heat. Put each tilapia fillet in the zip lock bag and shake coating all over each put and put the coated fillet into the skillet.

When the fish is about half way done, open the can of green beans and drain them first and then add them to the skillet, along with the garlic, chunked onion, and sprinkle on salt and pepper.

Continue to cook with a lid on the skillet until everything is cooked through (periodically turning the fish)

Serves 2.

Changing of the Leaves…and of your wardrobe: a packing tip.


The season’s are changing and here in the Northern Hemisphere, Autumn is approaching, the leaves are changing into beautiful hues of reds and crimsons, golds and rusts; the skies are changing from Carolina blues to sapphires and jeweled tones as evenings come sooner and sooner, beckoning us to don cardigans and drink hot apple cider, cinnamon and cloves swirling on the steam.

Our wardrobes change with the seasons, well, twice a year for me, anyway. I swap in the Spring and the Fall, warm/hot verses chilly/cold weather is generally the theme. For some, this might be a major undertaking, especially if you have little ones or other’s you help to make the seasonal swap.

Often, while swapping clothes for the seasons, thinning and/or taking stock, inventory of what is in the closet is done in tandem. While we all often own too many articles of clothing and try to purge from time to time (and donating is a very good thing.) Clothes are rediscovered or make you “gag”, sick of wearing it, or possesses a piece that you love but is on its last leg:

Here comes the fun part: Pre-pack a suitcase and “forget about it”. Every one likes to have new clothes or something fun to wear on an adventure, weekend getaway or on a special vacation. In alliance with keeping adventures and travels affordable, this entails a way to experience something “new”, that you know will fit, and will feel fresh when you haven’t worn it in a good while.

Here’s how the system works:

While swapping your seasonal wardrobe, or whenever you choose, pull out 2 -3 pieces or outfits that fit well, that you over wear, forget to wear, or are just sick of looking at from your collection, or however many you choose to decide. Note: Choose clothing that you like to wear or would wear but wouldn’t mind parting ways with, I ‘ll tell you why in a moment!

Pull accessories, such as a fashion scarf or tie, funky socks, a necklace (I am a huge fan of costume jewelry) to go with each outfit. Note: Extra “winning points” if the accessories can go with all three outfits.

Place outfits and accessories in your suitcase. If you know you have an adventure or trip already planned in the future and can determine which seasonal wear to pull from, even better, no guess work involved.

The white dress, as seen in the far left hand picture, is such an outfit. I’d packed it, knowing it was “on its last leg”, not likely to be washed and worn much more. The perk? One snag on a railing tore the dress and it was a goner, and I was able to purchase a new dress from a sidewalk sale, a souvenir as a functional item and a happy memory!!!

Ultimate Tip: By packing clothing ahead of time and “forgetting about it” allows you to feel like you have something fresh to wear on your trip, while knowing it fits as you wish. The perks are, you were likely either going to donate the articles, eave them in your wardrobe unused, or wear it so much it tatters, which can easilyhappen on your trip. If you happen to ruin the outfit on your trip, no harm, no foul. Also, if you want to leave the article of clothing behind (donate it or leave it in a charity bin), especially if you packed an outfit that isn’t a “favorite”, you will free up space in your luggage, assuring space for something more special.

Keep the change…in a jar: Saving up for an adventure tips.


Everyone has heard and knows the adage, a penny saved is a penny earned. Why? Truth always rings true.

As children, we often saved up our pennies for that special toy or gadget desired. Some of us did extra chores, babysat, mowed lawns–donated blood/plasma in college. The principle remains the same as adults, perhaps with a slight twist.

Adventures, trips, a weekend getaway, a vacation–the “gadgets” often desired by adults but where does it come into your financial budget?

Budgets are always beneficial, as David Ramsey would say, budgets are telling your money where to go versus wondering where it went. Perhaps you already have a certain percentage automatically drafted into a special account, which is fabulous. An “electronic” piggy bank or special savings account, for many is simpler, as long as you don’t forget to deposit your earnings or to electronically transfer the amounts “leftover” from coming in under budget (see tips below) If not? There is an easy way to start saving in an “old school” kind of way.

First things first, figure out how much your desired adventure will cost–a weekend away for a cabin rental in the mountains, in which you can drive to and from yourself, will cost much less than a 3 week all inclusive cruise through the Caribbean. A bit of research will shed some light on the cost. This will be the budget for your trip.

Let’s go with the basic understanding that it takes time to save up for a really special adventure but the process doesn’t have to be exhausting.

Find a jar or jug, something with a lid and a fairly wide spout/mouth. It doesn’t need to be anything special or anything purchased. If you already own a piggy bank, perfect!!!

I personally repurposed a gallon mason jar that I had originally purchased–albeit full of whole dill pickles- at my local grocery store. Whether or not you decide to decorate the jar is totally up to you. I used a hammer and flat edged screw driver to punch a slot in the lid (with the pickle logo still on it) and screwed the lid on the jar–instant piggy bank.

Filling the jar: There isn’t a set amount in which your jar will hold but you can keep track by either keeping a chart of what you add or by counting it periodically.

A few tips on how to contribute to the jar:

Set aside a certain amount from every time you get paid–even $10 a paycheck adds up quickly. (It’s easy to set up auto-draft transfer if your “piggy bank” is a savings account)

Stay under your budget on common things, pay in cash. I.E. If you budget $100 a week for groceries, pay in cash, and whatever money you don’t spend, by staying under budget, put it in your jar. $100 budget- $95.75 actually spent earns that $4.25 gets put in the jar.

Host a yard sale or list items for sale you aren’t using or needing. The earnings go into your jar.

Cut back on “extras”, go out with friends each week? Consider going out bi- weekly instead or cut the event expenses in half. Movies and dinner? Choose one or the other and put remainder of the allotment in your the jar.

If you happen to work an hourly job, pick up an extra shift here and there.

Happy Travels!!!

Fants Grove Baptist Church, Pendleton, South Carolina


Once in a while, especially if wandering, one stumbles across a really unique name: Kirksey. A cemetary crawl this evening provided again the uniqueness of names, a first name.

A cemetary crawl, for those whom are curious, is very similar to a ghost walk or a or a garden tour. There are features to be enjoyed, such as the craftsmanship in the way the stones are cut, the history of the landscape or area to behold, the poetry and elegance in the inscriptions, the variety in the layout and landscaping. While I have I have had some mixed responses from poeple when I express that cemetary crawls are a hobby of mine, it’s not at all scary or frightening, it’s enchanting and beautiful

There are stories here, histories shared, and sometimes, very unique names that one doesn’t even find in good story books. While the photo of me of me looks like I am a bit of a spirit, it’s simply because I was using a timer on my phone and I moved in the moonlight.

Fant Grove cemetary is tucked off a lonely little road, attached to Fants Grove Baptist chch, just outside of Pendleton, South Carolina and is easily accessible.

Tilapia “Bowl”, Super Easy Homemade Meal


Tilapia “Bowl”

Bottom Layer: Steamed White Rice (you can use a rice cooker, too)

Middle Layer: Open a Can of Turnip greens, warm on the stove with a pinch of salt and pepper

Top Layer: A Piece of Tilapia (I used frozen fillets) coated in flour (mixed with a dash of salt, cayenne pepper, ground cumin and lemon zest, shaken all together in a resealable zip lock baggie that I can put the fish into and shake about to coat the fillets). Fry the fish in a skillet with a bit of oil on the bottom to make it nice and crunchy.

Top of it all off with a little bit of butter and lemon juice drizzle for a super easy meal, inexpensive for a family.

Guiding Stones (Standing Stones) Elberton, Georgia, USA–a clock and navigational place.


Found on Pinterest, the original source of how I found the stones.

Exploring my region, even while crossing states lines South Carolina into Georgia, has provided quite a charming experience, especially a nice treat as July is my birthday month. Pinterest actually aided me in finding this treasure with one of those informative sections.

Enjoying the afternoon started off by taking a lovely Sunday drive-over lake Hartwell, into Georgia, following GPS navigation of course, because I had a destination in mind. I already had packed a little picnic for myself in a tote bag.

I enjoyed walking around the stones, reading the inscriptions in English and Spanish, the only two languages of the 8 that I understood on the inscriptions. As the sun began to sat, I enjoyed the beams of light reflecting on and through the stones from the meadow behind the stones themselves and what a show it provided!!

Going Places, staying put–Exploring our surroundings


Covid19. Corona Virus. Pandemic. Those dreaded words hold a lot of impact these days but it doesn’t mean that adventures stop. There are many options for adventures while still adhering to the rules and regulations in your area that won’t break the bank, too.

While regulations and quarantine regulations and public venue capabilities in areas vary from place to place, regional difference and country standards, there are some universal things that can still allow for fun adventures. While we could all like to say ” wake me up when it’s all over” (part of the lyrics from Avicii’s song, “Wake Me up”)

Activities don’t have to be limited, just altered. IF you can’t walk over the wall, we can learn to modify by walking around it!

Adventure ideas, of course, are not limited to the idea of physically having to go somewhere but can be done from the comfort of your kitchen table, your backyard, or any place you choose. While there have been a multitude off lists that have been made to help with this that and the other aspects of the pandemic, something fun can come of it.

Adventures in your yard to lead discovering a fun little resident turtle, bird watching in the park could provide a new tune, and more!!

Go to the park, feed the birds
Go on a Cemetary crawl in your area
Get a journal or notebook (the spiral school notebooks are cheap!) and write about the good in your life and the daily joys
the homemade picnic
Play with your pet or volunteer to pet sit
People watching, just don’t get creepy about it!
Try a new recipe from a culture you want to experience. The library and internet are full of free recipes
This works anywhere, get a postcard of your home town, region or state. a postcard will also some highlights of the town/area you might not otherwise known of previously and thus will discover awesome things while hunting the sites
Work on your yard, find inspiration for it by lookiing up famous estates or gardens that you could incorporate

A Walk of Blooms, Adventuring Outdoors


Enjoying the fresh air and taking a lovely stroll is so nice!

I admit, marigolds are, by far, my most favorite of all flowers. In truth, though, is there such a thing as an ugly flower? I don’t believe so and they came in such beautiful varieties and colors, scents, and blooms.

An adventure easy in the making this time of the year and it doesn’t cost a penny to take a lovely stroll around such a beautiful place as here in upstate South Carolina, Anderson County.

A new found friend: A turtle in my back yard


Soocial distancng and general quarantine has given me ample opprotunity to work in the yard-and there is plenty to be done; the work is abundant and yet, I have found a new friend in my own backyard (but as you can see, he wants to stay at least 6 feet apart.)

Yard work is always an adventure, especially when working on a property that has not had any TLC for many years. Truthfully, it has been fun discovering what i find and come across and thankfully, when sister lets me play in the yard all I desire.

General cleanup of limbs, twigs and yard debris is a constant, especially after any rain shower or storm. While mowing and cleanup, I also came across a variety of bricks from previous structures or projects from bygone days? So, what is to be done but to create a small fire ring for a mini-bonefire!!!!!!

Curbing the Cost of Meals on Trips: Creative tips from my Grandfather


Recently, my grandfather and I were running errands together (and yes, we live relatively close together, making get togethers rather easy.) We got to talking, as naturally happens when two people are together and my grandfather brought up some very good points that I thought I would share, from his road trips, being a traveling salesmen for many decades and more.

My grandfather and Grandma Norma used to love to take road trips but being retired and being on a retirement income (both being remarried and so forth, combining incomes and responsibilities, he said, was something they discussed and worked on together.)

Here are some of Papa’s suggestions/tips to making a road-trip/travel more affordable, especially if funds are limited/tightly budgeted.

  1. Pack a snack basket for your vehicle occupants, things you like are often cheaper/more affordable if you purchase them at your local, regular grocery store or market (use coupons as often as possible.)
  2. Keeping snacks in your location, or helping to buy groceries when staying at someone’s house is not only courteous but it prevents “splurging” on take out.
  3. Stop off at a road side view to have a little picnic/stretching break, it will provide a chance for a great view and not cost you any extra time or money not be as tempted to pick up anything else along the way to your destination.
  4. When dining out, split a meal between yourself and someone else at your table. An “extra” side salad and one entre is cheaper than two whole meals.
  5. Groupon (okay, it’s my best friend Kevin who has used these and pointed this out). It’s a great deal to use and it provides a different take on an event and dining out and/or event tickets and so forth. I benefited from such a groupon where he treated us to a multi course meal during a Christmas event a couple years ago, both of us had a really nice multi course meal for a fraction of what other guests at our table dined for that evening.)
  6. There is an app to find the cheapest gas on your travels as well, something my grandfather notices all the time, hey a couple of bucks saved is still money saved.
  7. My friend Stacy also used an Ibotta app for groceries and other items picked up, while using her list to only get what she needs for the house and trip, earning money back (I am not sure how that works but she says it’s awesome!)
  8. Other’s in my family have “club memberships” (free rewards programs) to chain motels and hotels for discount rooms for repeat patronage, etc. There is also a way to get a percentage of returns on using certain hotel bookings etc. if you have the Acorns investment account, something I personally use, which means I can book a room online (after searching for the best price, I will get a kick back for investing!)

I believe what my grandfather was conveying is that a bit of preparation and forethought can be very beneficial in keeping the adventures going and doing it on a limited budget can be possible.

Super Easy–Semi Homemade (and inexpensive) Vodka Sauce Rotini


Everyone needs a quick, easy meal from time-to-time and I am no exception.

The Ingredients are very simple.

1 box of vegetable rotini (16 oz size.) I used the Publix brand Tri Color Rotini ($0.95 per box)

1 jar of Classico Vodka Sauce (Buy one, get one free, so 2 for $3.20/$1.60 a jar.)

2 tablespoons of Kraft Grated Parmesan ($2.50 shaker can.

Cook/make the rotini according to the package directions, drain and return to the same pan you cooked it in, dump whole jar of Vodka sauce onto the pasta, cook on low for 2-3 until hot all the way through.

Serves 4-6 people, divide the parmesan on top of each serving.

It’s quite delicious!!!

Blueberry and Strawberry Pie: Homemade


When is pie not t a good idea? Super easy to make and great for dessert at home, for a holiday, or to share (although if sharing, using a toss-away aluminum pan would be recommended unless you know for sure the person will return your pie pan!)

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen strawberries (From Dollar Tree)

1 bag frozen blueberries (From Dollar Tree)

1 TBS Real Butter

1/4 Tsp (each) salt, clove, cinnamon, orange (or lemon) peel

1 TBS corn starch

1 box Jiffy Pie Crust mix (make accordingly to package directions for 2 pie crusts.)

2 TBS Sugar (real sugar, not substitute)

Line a 9 inch pie pan with a crust, making sure the dough overlaps the lip of the pie pan.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together, stir until all is mixed thoroughly. Fill the pastry lined pie pan with the entire contents of the bowl.

Top the filling with the second pastry dough, pinching the edges together over the lip of the pie plate. Mark little slots in the top crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 F.

It’s delicious served hot, cold, warm and/ or with ice-cream.

Coffee with a best friend, Celebrating the New Year


Happy New Year!! The Year has kicked off Spendidly, my very best friend in the whole word, Kevin, has flown from Colorado, to celebrate the New Year with me!! What a wonderful way to begin 2020!

Kevin and I celebrating the New Year with coffee, popcorn, and the Disney Fireworks on TV

During this visit, Kevin and I have gone to the Botanical Gardens in Clemson (free entry with a really cool visitors center, too!!).

We also drove over the state line into Georgia, not to sit on the dock of the bay but to find smashed pennies (the souvenir kinds) and, of course, we had to try out hands on a single Georgia lottery ticket.

Life wouldn’t be the same without a best friend to enjoy a fun adventure!!

Upstate South Carolina, beautiful seasons


Autumn in Upstate South Carolina is quite stunning. I have never experienced such a wide array of colors, especially in such length.

Both Videos are taken in Anderson County, South Carolina, by yours truly.

nct seasons here and it is beautiful. I have made a few videos along the way to highlight to just some of the beauty.

Portraits of those before us, and more, National Gallery, London


Culture is in the eye of the beholder and the artists of old captured the essence of all things great  in the centuries before us….and viewing them is free at the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square in downtown London.

A fabulous aspect of the National Gallery is the general entrance is free, which is great for those traveling on a budget like myself. I attended/viewed the Gallery a total of 3 times to get through all the exhibitions (not fully shown here). The exhibits are large, spacious, and overly awesome to boot. Why? The National Gallery offers era’s from classical to Renaissance to Modern, DaVinci to Rubens to Van Gogh to Monet to Post Modern Art. It is all very wonderful.

The Gallery also sets on Trafalgar Square, which in its own ways is always awesome, a full day or two of free adventures all in one wonderful location, well worth checking out and very friendly on the wallet (post cards of must of the art work is also available for those without a photographic eye or wanting to play “Where’s Waldo” postcard style).

Old High Church and Kirkyard, Inverness, Scottish Highlands


Unexpected Lovelyness


As the titles states, unexpected surprises pop up, especially on adventures it seems. Meeting new people, making new friends, trying new foods and stumbling across venues and events are always such a delight!! Below, are just a few of the recent, lovely surprises  I have been blessed to enjoy while here in the Highlands of Scotland. I hope you enjoy as well.!!!

Rosemarkie-Fortrose Parish Church


Rosemarkie, a charming small town along the Moray Firth on the Black Isle, is a quaint place to wander, taking in the sea air and the charms of the area. Everything is acccessible by foot, once arrived in the town, which is a really nice treat.

The Church parish itself is easily found, tucked away just behind the High Street, along the Moray Firth, which offers stunning views inside the parish church as well as in the Kirkyard.

The church, founded by St. Boniface, is lovely and includes old history:

The town of Rosemarkie, though no large, is of considerable antiquity. It was erected into a royal burgh by Alexander, King of Scotland, probably Alexander II. The town of Chanonry was united to the burgh of Rosemarkie by a charter granted by King James II., anno 1444, under the common name of Fortross, which charter was ratified by King James VI., anno 1592; and confirmed in a still more ample form by the same monarch in the year 1612. (Source Link)

Making New Friends, Highlands of Scotland


The blessings continue to flow here in Scotland as I have made some wonderful friends along my journey. It isn’t always about what you are seeing, it is about whom comes into your life and leaves a happy mark on your heart that creates the best experiences; may the memories and friendships continue to bloom.

Portabello Salad, Super Easy-Super Filling


Slice Large Portobello mushrooms in long strips, including stems/stumps. Put in a large skillet, sauté in EVOO over medium heat with one toe of garlic, thinly diced. 

Wash/Rinse Salad base mix

Layer salad together, sprinkling with slivered almonds and bleu cheese crumbles

Finish it all off with a honey balsamic dressing and top with sautéed Portabella’s 

The Adventures of Flat Stanley


Recently, I was blessed in being asked to be a Flat Stanley participant for a student in Tyro Elementary, Lexington, North Carolina.

Here is a little back history Flat Stansley (compliments of this site.)

 

Dale Hubert first introduced The Flat Stanley Project to his students at Wilfrid Jury Public School in 1995.  The project’s name comes from the eponymous character of the children’s book Flat Stanley.[1][2] Written in 1964 by American author Jeff Brown, the book centers around the life of character Stanley Lambchop, a boy who is accidentally flattened.[1][2]

In an interview with CNN in 2005, Hubert explained: “In the book, by Jeff Brown, Stanley gets squashed flat by a falling bulletin board. Stanley’s parents rolled him up, put him in an envelope and mailed him to his friend in California. And that just seemed like a way of communicating that grade-three students might enjoy.”[1]

Students involved in The Flat Stanley Project are read the story of Flat Stanley and are subsequently given black-and-white cut-outs of him for them to color.[1][2] The students are also asked to write a story about him, including details such as where he is from, his daily routine and his interests, then they mail their Stanley to someone, such as a friend or relative in another country, or a student at another school participating in the program. The person receiving the Flat Stanley is asked to take a picture with the cut-out doll and to send a letter back, either via email or regular mail, to the student recounting Flat Stanley’s adventures along with the accompanying photo. The student then shares the photo and letter with their class.

By then end of its first year there were 13 classrooms participating in the project across the province of Ontario. Classrooms in the United States were short to follow suit and by 2006 the program had grown to 6,000 classes in 47 nations. By 2011 it was reported that at least 88 countries were participating in the program annually.

 

 

Cornerstone Coffee… Autumn Delights and hot Cider


Cornerstone Coffee, Main Street, Akron, CO 80720

Autumn comes alive in downtown, Akron, Colorado at Cornerstone Coffee, located conviently on Main street, with lots of available parking,  it has quickly become my home coffee shop of choice.  The lovely ladiens that run Cornerstone Coffee are not only excel at offering a delicious selection of baked goodies and sweet, they own the shop, an extra  nice perk (I am a huge fan of supporting and frequenting locally owned businesses, especially in smaller towns and villages.)

Autumn here in Colorado is beautiful, colorful (truly proving the “Colorful Colorado” motto) and darn right chilly, especially when the wind howls. The hot apple cider is a really lovely autumn treat at Cornerstone Coffee…the house brew is also a tasty way to cut the chill with a soft caffeine kick.

Cornerstone Coffee also offers free Wifi to its customers, which is a super perk as well as having many tables and seats avsailable for those wanting to socialize over their brew and baked goods or the daily breakfast and lunch specials.  Overall, this place is a “must” for those traveling through Northeast Colorado or living in the region. Located 2 blocks north of HWY 34 in Akron on Main street, check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

PS The turkey, swiss and bacon on toasted rye is amazing!!!

 

Sparkling Clean Housekeeping

River Stone Family Restaurant, Townsend, TN


A Sunday drive proved very delightful as we stumbled upon this gem, River Stone in Townsend, TN.

It’s affordably priced, which is awesome but even more outstanding, is the food is so good and the portions are large. The waitress was also super helpful and we really enjoyed the experience. I really appreciated how clean and tidy the whole restaurant was (and yes, I used the bathroom, which were also super clean!)

Such a wonderful treat!

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g55383-d851790-Reviews-Riverstone_Family_Restaurant-Townsend_Tennessee.html

Low Country Boil


A low country boil, as I have been told, is very similar to a crab cracking party–either way, it’s a whole lot of good food and fun to be had with family and friends. I was put in charge of finding clean newspapers and a steaming pot (with the fire ring kit, etc) for the party. The fire ring kit and steaming pot was the easy part, I borrowed one from my neighbor (and invited him to come along!)

I obtained the clean stack of newspapers with a stroke of luck; I happened to catch a newspaper delivery man and asked if he had any unsold newspapers from previous days that I could purchase off of him–he gave me a stack of folded, untouched papers for free, which was a blessing as we needed a lot of newspaper to line the tables.

The low country boil was held outside in a friends backyard. Everyone brought something along for the shin-dig and oh, boy, what a party!! Music, dancing and of course great food!!!

The large steam pots were put over fire rings, using propane tanks. The guys steamed up potatoes, chunks of corn on the cob, sausage chunks of an assorted variety, and of course, shrimp, lots and lots of shrimp–people even brought homemade cocktail sauce, drawn butter, paper towels, and more!!

Even the pups got to enjoy some scraps (and no, they weren’t eating from the tables!)

A bit of fun…


Okay, we all know what memes are and that there are various forums to find them; some are shared, some make us laugh, others make us ponder. Finding and reading memes, no matter the subject or theme (and the ones below don’t have any theme other than that they appealed to me) can lead one on a meme adventure (or down the rabbit hole.) I hope you enjoy (and I take credit for none of these, I just found them!)

Reader Beware!! Some are funny, some are sweet and others are downright creepy!