Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sunset Walk and Homemade Beans and Potatoes

This evening we went on a 4 mile stroll along the Atlantic Ocean. It was a beautiful sight, with hues of pinks and oranges intermittent with the clouds and the most perfect temperature, not too hot...and not too cold (in the 70's).
After getting back home, and sand free, I made beans with potatoes. It was so simple and yet delicious.
Here's the recipe:
Quarter up some baby potatoes and put in a microwave safe bowl, fill with water and sprinkle with pepper. Put in the microwave for 10-12minutes.
Meanwhile on one hob heat up some Bush's beans in a saucepan and on the other add a table spoon of butter to a frying pan along with 1/4 of a diced onion and 1 diced celery stalk.
After the potatoes are cooked, drain and add to the sautéed onion and celery until golden brown.
Serve with grated mozzarella cheese.
Have a happy rest of the week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Topsail Beach, North Carolina

We arrived to our rental in Topsail Beach, NC on Thursday evening. We spent the day driving up from Valdosta Georgia and oh my, I just fell in love with the coastal architecture. It's just one of my favorite places in the US.
We spent Friday sightseeing. We stopped by the beach for a stroll, and would you look at all those shells! I think I might start a collection in a glass cloche. The weather was slightly chilly in the morning, but soon warmed up.
We had brunch at Sears Landing out on their back deck overlooking the dock, boats and wetlands. We tried the seafood pinwheels and fried green tomatoes, which were delicious. We'll definitely be back for another lunch sometime!
On Saturday, we took Sophie and Oscar to the beach. They we're pretty well behaved for their first time, and didn't seem to mind the passers by. We'd try distract them with the waves, and it worked!
On Saturday night, we stayed at home and made homemade pizza (Chicken, sweet peppers, onions, pineapple and cherry tomatoes) and watched the sunset over the wetlands from our balcony. It's the simple things, right?

On Sunday, we got up really early...okay around 7am ish, and got ready to attend Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. I took a picture that shows the English flag! There is definitely a lot of Anglicans in this area, and for that I'm extremely thankful.

Then we headed to Wrightsville beach for lunch. We ate at the Oceanic on the top floor, and watched dolphins swim by as chatted about our drive around downtown Wilmington. I tried the fish tacos, and they were delicious. Afterwards we headed to the Pet Store for an errand and they were doing adoptions. Oh my gosh, so many animals that need a loving home.
Until next surf have a beach of a week.

I'm linking up with Share Your Cup Thursday.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Remember when you were younger, how your mom would say "have you stopped stop and counted your blessings?"

Well, I don't think she was this literal...
Count your blessings.
But if you read Psalm 23:5
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
count your blessings
This Sunday, look at your blessings. They are best described as persons, pets, memories or experiences you cherish. Keeping a journal is a good way to reflect on your blessings, and as the old saying goes...

Travel Across America for less than $600

USA Map Children Colorful- All Sizes. $35.00, via Etsy.

Lest you think we're millionaire's I'm about to tell you how we managed to travel across country for less than $600.
Whether you'd like to make it a vacation, or even a sabbatical driving across America is a lot easier than one would assume. It took us 5 days (with one day not driving but visiting with family).
Here are some tips and disciplines we learned as we drove across country from WA to TN:
1. Prepare
We drove in 'Bibi' my Escape, and we ensured she had a service about a week before we left on our trip. Also, as we move from state to state we've been diligent about getting our oil changed. It's also good to check tire pressure, liquids and the air filter often to ensure a happy car.
2. Cautious
We didn't drive on less than 3/4 of a tank...always refuel every few hours, in states like Wyoming and Nebraska gas stations are a greater distance.
3. Plan, but be Spontaneous
Ahead of time, we knew where our end location was. We looked on Google Maps to see what the town was like, and also had the address in our GPS a day or so before we left (just in case) but then we left the day to day up to spontaneity.
4. Pack like a pro
We traveled with everything we needed for the year. All our other household items went into storage, and we rented out our home, so we didn't have to worry about it being vacant. We packed our clothes into 4 long boxes (usually go under a bed) a food basket, and other toiletry and pet supplies. We didn't have a trailer, or roof carrier...we just squished together, along with our pets, and it's one of my most fun memories.
5. Family
We were fortunate to have family to stay with for two nights. We spent the night we arrived, a day with my hubby's family and one more night, so we could get on the road early the next day.
6. Budget
When traveling with pets, you tend to save money. Firstly, because you can't take long breaks, can't eat at fancy restaurants and you cant check into fancy hotels. We chose pet friendly hotels, which have side doors, as walking our pets in and out of a lobby, is not something we're used to. We'd park on the side, and try reserve ground floor, or 1st story rooms so we didn't have far to bring in our overnight valuables.
7. Drive Thru
We are not your typical fast food family. So this was quite funny, trying to figure our how to use the correct lane, direction, window etc. but it was cost effective and fast. We ordered coffee to stay awake along those 10 hour drives, iced water (free, yippee) and salads, or chicken wraps. Other times we'd park, use the restrooms (nicer than gas stations -just sayin'-) and order.
8. Love the one your with
After sitting in a car for days on end listening to the same songs on repeat, that you consider bringing out the Christmas sing along ones, there is a lot of time where you can turn off the music and talk. We talked for hours, and hours, and hours. Growing up in the 80's and 90's we knew a thing or two about car games also.
9. Diversions
One thing is for sure, life is not all one straight road. We learned a lot about the places along the way, we'd pick up free brochures at gas stations and read about the areas, and several times I investigated their real estate listings (nerd -I know). On our trip, we just so happened to see the sign for Metropolis, IL and so we took a diversion to the home of Superman
10. Unpack like a Pro also
Last but not least, when you arrive, get out your car and enjoy the first 5-10 minutes of the place you've arrived to. Take photos and be grateful you made it safely. Then unpack with a plan, of what's going where, and if you need to remember where you unpacked it from take a photo beforehand.
Congratulations, you've made it across country.
It always seems impossible until it's done
In our case we traveled over 2,500 miles and it was the most fun filled, carefree, and spontaneous days ever.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Grateful and a Look Back at this Year

Hello lovelies,
we've been in Georgia for about two weeks, and have one more week here until we travel to Topsail, NC. I'm especially looking forward to our next rental; for it's on the island and is a hop skip and a jump from the beach. I do adore that fresh salty beach air, don't you?
It brings me so much gratefulness.
We've been traveling around the US since April for my hubby's job as an art director/graphic designer and it has brought us lots of adventures.
Then we got married while we were in Florida
We've definitely seen a lot of the Americas this year. By the end of the year we will have lived in 5 states, and traveled countless miles. But in hopes we'll be able to settle in North Carolina between Wilmington and Charlotte.
The south @Bethany Shoda Shoda Shoda Shoda Shoda Neighbors

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gone With The Wind Book Club

Ladies, welcome to the dining room in the 1906 Queen Anne style home we're renting for the month. The room has a berry hue and is adorned with antique furnishings. The windows are majestic, and allow in so much natural light and a glimpse of the courtyard. What a lovely room to host a book club luncheon.  
The fireplace is the focal point of the room, and hosts a china cabinet to the left and a secret door to the right.
The owners of the home are collectors of Gone With The Wind memorabilia, it adorns several of the rooms, and is fascinating to peruse. Here are some books to talk about at the book club.
Scarlett's Green Dress commemerable plate.
The patina on the silver forks and serving spoons.

Scarlett and Rhett's Honeymoon commemerable plate.
 The Melanie and Ashley commemerable plate
The Strolling in Atlanta commemerable plate
The back wall overlooks a sideboard, which houses all the table linens and cloths.
The extensive doll collection and more plate memorabilia.
After reading, I plan to make some delectable raspberry ripple and basil cupcakes from Ren Behan.
3 eggs, large, free-range
150ml Plain, natural yogurt
175g Melted, Unsalted butter
175g vanilla sugar (or use caster sugar and the seeds of a vanilla pod/teaspoon vanilla extract)
180g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
60g ground almonds
pinch salt
2 basil leaves (optional, finely chopped)
400g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 basil leaves (optional, finely chopped)
4 heaped tablespoons Raspberry Coulis (e.g Salisbury's Taste the Difference)
12 Basil (Small leaves to garnish.
Step 1
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and double-line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
Step 2
Mix the yogurt, eggs and melted (cooled) butter in a jug or bowl.
Step 3
Sift the vanilla sugar, flour and baking powder into a separate bowl, add the ground almonds and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Pour in the yogurt, eggs and butter into the dry ingredients and mix together until smooth. If using, add in the chopped basil leaves and mix.
Step 4
Use an ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon to fill your cupcake cases until about 2/3 full.
Step 5
Bake in your pre-heated over for 15-17 minutes, a stick should come out clean when they are cooked. Leave the cupcakes to cool for a few seconds in the tin, then take them out and leave them to cool on a rack.
Step 6
To make the butter cream, beat the 200g butter in a bowl until pale and then gradually add the icing sugar in small amounts. If the butter cream is a little thick, add a tablespoon of milk or water and beat again. Add the chopped basil leaves, if using.
Step 7
Put the butter cream into a piping bag and pipe a swirl onto each cupcake - or just dollop on!
Step 8
Using a teaspoon, carefully drizzle over a little bit of the raspberry coulis over the top of each cupcake. Add a sprig of basil to decorate.
Raspberry Ripple cupcakes
Hope y'all enjoyed the book club luncheon and try the raspberry ripple and basil cupcakes. I'd love to hear your suggestions for other Gone With The Wind posts.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Historic Home Tour in Valdosta, Georgia

This month, we are staying in Valdosta, Georgia in a Queen Anne home dating back to 1906. We have taken a few strolls around the downtown and the historic districs, here is a picture tour of the homes along our walks.

We had a chance to tour this home, called The Crescent . It is the home of the late Col. West.

The old library is now a museum, where we learned more history of notible residents like Doc Holliday. Here's a picture of my mom and I on the steps.

The Fairview District of historic homes.

Hope you enjoyed the picture tour, come back tomorrow for a picture tour of The Crescent.
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