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

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!

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!!