Saturday, March 18, 2017

Garden City, South Carolina/ Family Beachhouse Vacation

All 18 of us in front of the 5 bedroom, 4 bath beachhouse rental

After Thanksgiving in Charleston, our little family drove up the coast just south of Myrtle Beach to meet our bigger family for a few days of memory-making times. The beach was a short walk across the street and we visited each and every day whether it was pleasant outside or not! Over the weekend, the sand was covered with relaxing persons and pets, but the rest of the week we had the beach strip to ourselves.

Shannon helped out on our breakfast meal by making a slew of pancakes to go with sausage grits casserole and fruit. My morning sickness tends to get better when I'm away from home, but I was still tired with an unsettled stomach, so kitchen duty is not my favorite. It was very nice to just have a couple meals to think about, then relax and enjoy the rest!

overflow seating
backyard view
Aunt Britney treated us out one evening. We drove around a bit in search of seafood, but those restaurants were all "closed for the season", so we agreed on Chinese, which did present some fish, shrimp, and crab on the buffet, and we all ate dishes to our liking...including cheese pizza and French fries for Brit. 

Since we wouldn't be together for Christmas, Grandma incorporated gifts in this week of fun times. The littles were so anxious to open the pretty packages stashed in the corner and the girls had their private gift exchanges and girly talky times. The ladies went shopping one day, while the men rode go-carts and flea-marketed. Another day Grandpa escorted the bigs to the outlet mall.

mostly matching pajamas from Grandma
The wind picked up. So did the waves. We enjoyed the body boards and other sand & water gear furnished at the house rental. We also enjoyed a walk down to the pier watching surfers of all ages test the waves.

Ahhh, the sweetness of sun, sand, and surf!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, HIstoric Charleston City Market, Angel Oak

A last minute travel decision led us to the coast of Carolina visiting family and tourist attractions.

With Grandmama's as our home base, we trekked through horrendous traffic across beautiful bridges and waterways to one of the plantation homes of Charles Pinckney, an author and signer of the U.S. Constitution. My principal reason for choosing this national historic sight was because it was free, however it tied in nicely with our two high-schoolers' studies who are learning Government and the Constitution this year.

Before touring the house, we explored the trails outside. My nephews spotted and captured a couple of lizards. We read about the plantation slaves, and the farming in the area.

Inside the home, we browsed a bit, then watched the short documentary on Charles Pinckney, his family and the historical events during his lifetime. Of special interest was a Gullah Bible (sea island creole language of the African-Americans) lying on the table. We giggled as we tried to mimic the southern dialect as printed.

Charleston's market is a fun place to browse. Local artists of all sorts display their trinkets and wares. It is especially enjoyable at Christmas-time, when the holiday d├ęcor and music is abundant.

We slipped down a less-crowded side street to get back to our vehicle, and just had to pause inside this tempting candy store. The smells wafting into the air were marvelous, and they were even giving samples of gooey, melty, warm-from-the-oven pralines.

Our next jaunt of exploration (another fine southern winter day) was to Angel Oak, an enormous and very old live oak tree on Johns Island.

We popped by my uncle's boiled peanut stand for some regular and Cajun goobers.

Last, but not least, we gathered with the family for a Thanksgiving feast and fun.

Don't forget the brown rice, mac-n-cheese, collard greens, and fried cornbread!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

2016 Garden Wrap-Up and an Announcement

Now that it's time to think about ordering seeds and garden planning, I want to wrap up last year's harvest before moving forward! We learn from history, right?

I wasn't able to tend to the garden all of August and half of September since we were traveling, however our kind neighbors kept the water going and the vines (and weeds) kept growing. Thanks to the melon and squash, we were able to harvest 83 pounds of produce in the last couple weeks of September, 86 pounds in October, and 16 pounds even in November.

Watermelon, tomatoes, spaghetti squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, chard, and radish were in our fall crop dinners. I "tried" to scale down on so many different veggies and get larger amounts for lesser varieties...I will continue with that mentality this year. Especially since this season prime garden-time will be baby-time, Lord willing, for us as well! We may fill our extra suburban seat yet!

We already have the empty chicken coop moved over part of the garden to add fertilizer when our mail-order chicks come in February. I'd like to spread some straw on the dirt to decompose a bit too, now that the sun is shining and first trimester blues are abating. It feels good to dream again.

Happy homesteading ya'll!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two Girlie Birthdays

They picked their cakes; they picked their menus.
One girl turned ELEVEN, the other SEVEN!
They even set the table to their liking...

Truth be known: This giant Hershey kiss was purchased for a gift, but some little teeth discovered it and nibbled off the top! What can we do with a child-tampered chocolate? Centerpiece a cake and cover the bite with icing and a red hot! That was Caroline's idea. with crescent dough, one with whole wheat sourdough.

Cora's choice...

 Breakfast burritos and hash browns.

Happy Birthday sweet blessings!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Everyday Life on the Road ~17 RV Logistics

1. Wipe feet on mat before entering. Have additional mat in underneath storage to get out when stopped. (Do not leave behind!)

2. Take shoes off at door.

3. Have multiple rugs on floor. Shake often.

4. Limit opening fridge door while going down the road as items tend to fall out.

5. Stabilize all dishes after meals. Either wash, dry, and put away or pile in sink for later clean-up. Place water and coffee cups on grip mat on counter before putting into drive.

6. Line cabinets with grip mats.

7. Take paper goods or plastic-type dishes. Our (I thought indestructible) tin cups and Corelle bowls got grooves, scratches, and small chips from continuous vibration on bad roads.

8. Turn water pump on before washing hands and using toilet. Turn off when finished. A couple of times the faucet handle was left up, so when the pump was turned on, water gushed forth!

9. Conserve water. Turn it off when brushing teeth, sudsing up in the shower, or rinsing dishes. Wash dishes in a bowl or basin to dump outside. There's no use in hauling around more gray water in the tank than necessary (added weight)! Our 40 gallon fresh water lasted our family of 7 approximately 3 days. We usually needed to dump black &gray water before we actually ran out of fresh. Oh, and let husband deal with disposal of such things.

10. All females throw bathroom t.p. in trash can to alleviate plugging the black tank. I found myself doing this for the first day or so after we were home since it had become such a habit!

11. Buy quick to prepare groceries...white rice rather than brown (less cooking time), canned beans rather than dry (hard for this frugal mama, but so much simpler), cold cereal (gasp! I haven't bought it for years, but baking granola in an RV is not feasible), canned meat/hot dogs/sausages. I actually splurged on boneless, skinless chicken after we used up all the home-canned (another rare purchase). Our frequent meals were eggs & fried taters, pancakes, cereal, spaghetti, stir fry, taco salad, straw hats, ramen noodles with chicken & gravy (fast & filling. Ignore long list of unpronounceable, nonfood ingredients), chicken fajitas & rice, PBJs, meat & cheese wraps, BBQ sandwiches, snacks, snacks, and more snacks.

Invite friends in if you have the chance!

12. Make bed each morning. Fold blankets and move pile to back bed so couch and buffet can be used during the day.

13. Turn on fan and vent bathroom when showering, overnight, and sometimes while driving to dry the towels. Our bath towels only needed washing once or twice in 7 weeks because they did not stay damp long.

14. Adults take showers every other night at the most. We're simply riding along. Since we traveled north the end of summer, it was rarely hot, sweaty weather. Children sponge bath regularly with a full-blown bath weekly.

15. If traveling with another rig, take walkie-talkies to communicate. Especially if you're in wilderness where no cell towers exist! Our phones had sketchy service a lot of the time and only one had Canadian calling. The radios were very important for warning of bad spots in the road, discussing meal plans, needing to stop for a stretch, sightings of wildlife on the roadside, and reading area history from the tour book.
     "Got a copy Big Al?"
     "10-4. Go ahead, Maverick."

16. Pack 5-7 outfits. Catch up on laundry every other week. Wear clothes more than 1 day if they don't stink or have spots.

17. Take grandparents along. There may be special perks and treats.