Sunday, December 30, 2012

30 Before 30 List

I found this idea on another blog and I really liked it.  Thank you for the inspiration, Anne! So, I set out to create my very own 30 before 30 list... because I'm just really "list-y" like that.  I'm one of those people that has a list for everything and get a big thrill out of checking something off.  Anyone with me?

I tried to be realistic with things that could conceivably be done in less than 3 years (due to be completed before August 2015), not necessarily lifelong goals or bucket list items (although some of them are). This list covers a wide range of things, from blogging to travel. I hope this list inspires you to set some goals and live more intentionally as well.

And without further ado...

30 Before 30


  • See another Broadway show (even if playing off Broadway at the time)
    • Phantom
    • Newsies
    • Annie
    • Cinderella
  • Attend a concert
    • Celtic Woman
    • Straight No Chaser (Christmas show)
  • Go to the Symphony
  • Play the piano in church and feel comfortable doing so
  • Hold a conversation in Sign Language


  • Go Stand-up Paddleboarding
  • Go on a cruise
  • Visit another one of the extreme points of the contiguous 48 United States
    • East (West Quoddy Head, Maine)
    • West (Cape Alava, Washington)
    • North (Northwest Angle, Minnesota)
    • South (Key West, Florida) completed 12/26/2012)


  • Memorize my Scripture List
  • Take a Photography class
  • Take an Herbal Healing class
  • Take a Traditional Cooking class
  • Read one educational/devotional book and one just for fun book each month


  • Buy a house
  • Have a natural childbirth
  • Get a cat


  • Make a complete quilt from start to finish
  • Cater a special event or reception
  • Make a slipcover for the chair and a half
  • Catch up my scrapbook to present day (currently 4 years behind)
  • Grow a successful garden
  • Grind my own wheat to make flour
  • Give the Recipe File a complete health makeover
  • Volunteer at a non-profit
  • Make a meal planning board


  • Post a how-to video
  • Host a giveaway
  • Get my own domain name
  • Have a guest blogger
  • Custom design the blog

Monday, December 17, 2012

Travel Tips: Vacation Planning

(not sure where this pic came from - I've had it forever!)
The Hubby and I save our $$ all year so we can splurge a little on vacation... but I'm still a frugal girl at heart. So by "splurge" I mean carefully planning my vacation in such a way as to allow us to do what we most want to do for the least amount of $$ possible.

Step 1:  Prioritize

I'm not a fan of trips that are completely off the cuff with no forethought... I find those types of trips stressful, disorganized and very expensive (all those little expenses add up).  If you're one of those "fly by the seat of your pants" types, then you may want to skip the rest of this post and join me again on the next one.  However, if you're like me, then read on...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Beginners Scarf

Want an easy project you can work on while traveling or watching TV?  This scarf was incredibly easy to put together.  I finished it in about 2 hours while watching a movie with the Hubby.

The easy part about this scarf is that it only requires basic stitches (single crochet and half double crochet) and it uses a HUGE crochet hook. Also, you can make it as long or short as you wish. Not complicated.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A DIY Christmas: Creative Gift Baskets

The key with giving gift baskets is to know the recipient.  I've heard from several people that they hate getting gift baskets during the holidays because the baskets usually include items they don't particularly care for (hamburger sauce? really?).

If you're sure your gift recipient likes all the items in a prepackaged gift basket, then by all means, give the person the prepackaged gift basket.

But, if you're not sure, then I'd recommend putting a basket together yourself and include only items you know they would enjoy.  Gift baskets should not be a cop-out... they're an opportunity to show you care.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A DIY Christmas: Lotion Bar

Photo Credit
Looking for a frugal or practical DIY gift?  I love these homemade lotion bars, and the best part is they're completely natural and are easy on sensitive skin.

Some tips:  it costs a little more to buy the beeswax already in small pellet form, but it will save you a LOT of time and aggravation.  Don't ask me how I know...  I found that Amazon had the best prices for beeswax and cocoa butter, but you may also be able to find the materials needed at your local craft store (use a coupon if you can!).

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Healthier Holiday Cookies

Who says the holiday season means you have to throw your diet/healthy lifestyle out the window?

Yes, I will admit, celebrations tend to equal sweets and treats, and my household is no exception.  The key here, people, is moderation... and modification...

We've all heard the moderation thing before.  That's right... leave that 14th cookie on the platter and have a glass of water... your straining waistband will thank you.  At least I know mine will.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Reflection: Getting My Priorities Straight

I've been reading and studying through "Lies Women Believe (and the truth that sets them free)" by Nancy Leigh DeMoss.  You may remember me mentioning this in a previous post and yes... I'm still only halfway though the study.

Today's chapter focused on a lie that many women believe... in fact, many women I know personally have fallen into this trap:  believing that the title, "Wife" or "Mother" is somehow less important than career and looking down on those women that choose make the wife/mother role a priority.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I'm Still Here! I Promise!

My apologies - it's been a month since the last time I posted anything... there's been a lot of stuff going on in my life lately, but the good news is, there's light at the end of the tunnel!

With the holidays almost upon us, it's time to start (or continue) thinking about Christmas gifts for friends and family.  In the next few weeks, I'd like to post a few DIY gift ideas, as well as a party idea or two and of course, at least one more recipe.

Big plans!!!  So stay tuned!

And thank you for bearing with me. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

This is ice cream not for the faint of heart.

I will admit, it does take some time and effort, but the results are SO worth it.  I've been experimenting with some ice cream recipes this year, but this one is by far my favorite.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apple Cider Baked Doughnuts

Apple Cider Doughnuts are a fall staple at every apple orchard I've ever visited.  I MISS FALL!!!  Born and raised in New England, fall to me means the scent of wood smoke hanging in the crisp fall air, apples and pumpkins, colorful leaves on the trees and crunching underfoot.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Adventure Date: Caverns Tour

M and I went on a great day trip recently to Florida Caverns State Park.  We spent the day walking nature trails and were able to take a guided tour of the caverns approximately 65 feet underground. 

Hubby and I kind of have a thing for caves... we toured another cave in Colorado last year and loved it.

I also loved the fact that the cave is a balmy 60 ish degrees all year round. Slightly damp, but nice and cool.  Especially in Florida when it's like 80 degrees in October.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Coconut Lime Power Balls

Shortly before our trip to Canada, I happened upon a recipe for a reverse engineered Larabar (similar to Cliff bars or Luna bars - basically pre-chewed nuts and dried fruit.  Sounds gross, but actually isn't bad.  As long as you don't think about it too much).

Inspired, I took to the kitchen to try out a few varieties... which I loved!  I brought 3 varieties with me on vacation and they held up really well on the plane and in the car as we traveled.  They were great for a quick energy pick-me-up while we were on the go.

When we got back home, I decided to branch out and try some other varieties, then got REALLY adventurous and created my own version with ingredients I had on hand - mostly inspired by a bunch of limes from the discount produce rack. Gotta love 12 or so limes for about $1.50.  I didn't care that they didn't look pretty; they tasted amazing!

I have to admit, these power balls are best fresh.  But, in a pinch, you can freeze them and they still taste fine a month or so down the road.  Disclaimer:  they only lasted 6 weeks in my freezer...because  I ate the last of them just recently on our day trip to the Caverns.  So, I'm not sure exactly how long they will last... 

Coconut Lime Power Balls
by Raye
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: none
Ingredients (8-10 balls)
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, unsulphured golden raisins
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
In a food processor (or blender), process nuts for about 30 seconds until they reach a mealy consistency.
Add raisins and coconut; process another 20 to 30 seconds, until raisins are chopped finely. Add zest, lime juice, and nutmeg. Pulse until combined. Mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If mixture is too dry, add water 1/2 tsp at a time until mixture comes together.
Roll into equal balls, approximately .75 oz each (1/2 inch diameter). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week (or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks).
Note: balls can be somewhat sticky, feel free to roll them in more unsweetened, shredded coconut so they don't stick together when packed.
Powered by Recipage

These are also a great variety to make if you have a hard time finding dates in your area - golden raisins tend to be a little easier to come by.   Note - I made these in a food processor (recommended), but you could also make these in a blender.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Date Night: Mystery Box[ers] Date

I came across a "Sock Date" idea on the Dating Divas website and thought the idea behind it was pretty clever.  In that situation, the husband used funky socks for his wife... since I'm the one planning the date for the Hubby, I used something that's become our sort of inside joke over the last two years - boxers!

The night before our date, I gave him 4 pairs of boxers and

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reflection: Do It Anyway

source: Microsoft Office
Ever had one of those sleepless nights?  You know, the kind where you can't get comfy, the bedroom's too hot and stuffy, you doze off just to wake up 15 minutes later?

Yeah... me too...  I had one of those this week. Yuck. I felt like a zombie the next day.  Somewhere around 3 a.m. I decided enough was enough and I got up to read for a while.

I'm glad I did.  I picked up at the beginning of chapter 17 in You Matter More Than You Think, by Leslie Parrott.  I've been working my way through it, but put it down a few weeks ago when things got really busy and hadn't gotten back to it... until my providential sleepless night.

Oooo... that sounded dramatic, didn't it?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Penelopes! (Otherwise Known As Empanadas)

I asked the Hubby what he wanted me to make for dinner and he said, "Penelopes!" I'm thinking, huh? He proceeds to describe the mysterious food item and it dawns on me... empanadas... yes, I see the similarity.  We had a good laugh over that one.  Now it's our joke and he's got me saying it too.

Side note:  a few readers have asked me to put the text of recipes into the posts and to keep showing the step by step photos. So, I happily complied. Since this is really two recipes in one, this post will be quite lengthy.  If you'd prefer to skip all the photos and details, jump right over to the condensed (and printer friendly!) versions on my recipage, here and here.

This is my first attempt at making Penelopes, er, Empanadas. We had them at a party a few weeks ago and they were so good, I knew I had to recreate them.  With my own twist, of course. These aren't just any old chicken stuffed into a piece of store bought pie crust run of the mill empanadas... no sir...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

USS Alabama Walking Tour

M and I are history geeks... especially military history... Not too long ago, we headed over to Mobile, Alabama and spent the day wandering around an old ship and submarine exhibit.

Ahem, that's a battleship, or to get even more technical, a South Dakota Class Battleship christened the USS ALABAMA.  If you're a history buff, you can read all about it here.

By the way, in case you're wondering, Mobile is pronounced Mo-BEEL, not MO-bill... Just sayin'.

Of course, I had to take a look at the kitchen, the mess halls (at least 3 of them!) and the bakery.  I don't remember how many thousands of loaves of bread they baked a day, but it was astronomical.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Eggplant Mini Pizzas

I was at the Farmer's Market this morning and had to laugh when I overheard a conversation between a vendor and a customer.  She asked how much he was selling his eggplant for and he told her her it was free for the taking.  Apparently, he planted a few too many and they're coming out his ears...

Are you in the same boat?  Eggplant and zucchini tend to the be garden gifts that keep on giving... and giving... and giving...

This recipe takes a little prep, but it's worth it.  I highly recommend using a Mandoline slicer if you have one; it will cut your prep time in half and your slices will be even (and they'll cook more evenly).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CLUE Party

The entry way decorations - don't we look rich? :-)
I am a huge fan of board games and card games, but surprisingly enough, I never actually played CLUE until I was in college.  But once I did, I was hooked.

In the great style of CLUE, I threw a party.  We had a limited number of guests that were able to make it, but the few of us had a fun evening.

M and I decided to be Professor Plum and Miss Peacock, so we gave the other guests the choice of being the other 4 characters, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, or Miss Scarlett.  As it turns out, our guests decided to change it up a bit, and did their own take on the characters, as you can see. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday... It was a pretty good day.  Had to work, but that's life, right?  

  1. M sent me flowers at work.  My faves - pink gerber daisies! Awww... isn't he sweet to me?
  2. Feeding the ducks at the park.
  3. Chilling with my favorite guy after dinner.
  4. Birthday dessert - Cheesecake!
For our birthday date, the Hubby and I picked up mexican to go (at Moe's - yum!) and took it to a park downtown.  This may not sound all that fab to you, but it's something we used to do a lot when we were dating, so this particular park is special to us.  They've recently re-landscaped the park, so we had benches to sit on this time.

Apparently, there was a 5K going on that night around the park... so we sat on the bench and watched people run by while eating our burritos.  The irony of it all just gets me.

After dinner, we took a walk around the pond and fed the ducks.  M commented that the ducks quacking sounded like evil laughter... you'd have to be there. But it sort of did.

Cheesecake!  I will be doing a separate post on this in the near future.  It was AMAZING. And yes, I made it myself.  Every year when I mention to anyone that I make my own birthday dessert, I get these sympathetic comments. But really, I enjoy this part of my birthday the most... choosing a different dessert and making it.  YUM.

Another year to thank God for and a fresh year ahead to accomplish great things.  Hope you'll come along for the ride!

On Our Bookshelf

Very excited about my birthday gift... I LOVE these books!
I blame my love for the written word on my parents (thank you!), who are REALLY big into reading themselves.

I was cleaning my office the other day and opened up a storage bin that contained some keepsakes from my childhood... some of which are my favorite books.  There was Mandie staring up at me.  I had to smile. I have fond memories of my mom reading us a chapter in the morning before school if we were able to get ready to go a few minutes early.  That was enough incentive for me to be early.  And at six years old, my love for books began.

The suspense of a mystery, the excitement of a new adventure, the emotion of a love lost or found... I've traveled the world and the centuries through books I've read... and I've loved every second of it.

After we'd been dating a while, M and I started reading books aloud together.  Partially for "speech therapy" for me and partially because it's something we enjoy doing.  While he was in grad school, the reading together really slowed down, but now that he's all done (hurray!) we're looking for a new book to read.  Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

No Bake Cookies

I have fond memories a cookie that was the common denominator of church potlucks, family get togethers, homeschool group functions and summer camps as long as I can remember.

There were two varieties:  the classic chocolate/peanut butter combination and the just peanut butter version.  I am a fan of both.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I took some time recently to go shopping... not that this is groundbreaking information really, as most of us do shop on a regular basis.  I, however, am too much of a tightwad a very frugal person and like to save money so I end up going without or passing up good deals because I just can't justify the investment.

The Hubby is actually trying to get me to shop more.  Shocking, I know. He figures, we have a budget and although it's nice to put extra in savings each month, I should be able to spend the money too if I want/need to.  Especially on items like clothes...which I rarely buy.

I'm a binge shopper... I'll go for months (literally) without buying a single piece of clothing (including accessories, shoes, etc.) then in one fell swoop, I'll buy a whole bunch of things.  Sigh. Need to be more consistent.

Anyway!  I had an afternoon off work recently and decided to go shopping.  I hit up Big Lots and found a good deal on Sunflower oil (you'll see that coming up again in a future DIY post).  $5 for a huge jar! Sweet.

Next, I swung by TJ Maxx and found these AWESOME Merrill Lithe Glove Barefoot Running shoes for $60.
 Ok, so that sounds like a lot. Until you find out that the original list price is $124.95.  They are ridiculously comfy.  Amazing how you walk/run differently in these shoes - it's so much easier on my shins/knee.

Then, over at Target they had some pretty cami's on sale for $6 each, as well as a cute cardigan (similar one here) on clearance for $11.  I'm hooked on cardigans - I wear one about twice a week to work - they are extremely versatile and layer well in the summer so I don't freeze at the office.

Over at Walmart (of all places) I found some gourmet raw milk blue cheese - $2.36 for 4 oz.  Much excitement!  I'll be using that in a future post as well, stay tuned for a fantastic sandwich.

Also, a few days ago, I stopped by Goodwill to look for some party duds (spoiler alert: costume party in the near future) and it just happened to be tax free day on all clothes (including belts, shoes, ties, and suspenders. Yes, suspenders.)  I may or may not have spend $103 dollars.  I may or may not have blown the clothing budget for the next 6 months.  But, I was impressed by how many incredible deals I found.  Almost everything I bought was either brand new (original store tags still on it) or practically new, with no signs of wear and tear.  The few exceptions to that were 1 of the pairs of shoes I bought (a scuff mark on the heel) and the party duds (which I don't care so much about since I won't be wearing them in public).  Here's the line-up:
  • 6 belts
  • 4 ties
  • 1 pair suspenders
  • 2 men's dress shirts
  • 1 women's sweater
  • 1 costume party shirt
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 4 skirts
  • 1 blazer
  • 2 pairs heels
  • 1 pair flats
  • 1 complete set sheets (brand new - still in the original packaging!)
  • 1 stoneware baking dish
  • 1 leather-look day planner

Any good deals happening in your neighborhood lately?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not Your Grandma's Tomato Soup

Spicy Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Is there anything more down home American classic than tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich?  I submit there is not...

As a kid, however, I wasn't a HUGE tomato soup fan... I always thought it was kind of blah and preferred chicken noodle.  Although tomato soup accompanied by a grilled cheese sandwich was perfectly acceptable.

Here's a soup/sandwich combo that will get your taste buds tingling.  And, sorry grandmas everywhere, this doesn't involve a can of condensed anything... 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Play in the Clay

It's finally here!!! Back in June, I went to Right Off The Batt Pottery in Borden-Carleton, Prince Edward Island (Canada) with my Mom.  Best girls day out ever!  We had to leave the pieces there, to be glazed and fired.  We were a little worried the pottery might break during shipping, but it was very well packed.  Whew!

Here's my finished pieces.  They came out beautiful!
  1. My blue/white glazed bowl
  2. Both my serving pieces
  3. An up close shot of the design on my serving platter
  4. The zoomed out view of the serving platter
Here's a look at our fabulous girls day out...

Friday, July 27, 2012


My feet at Rustico Beach, PEI.  Wow... they look really white and freaky...
If you're headed up to Prince Edward Island, Canada, and aren't a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, you might be wondering what else there is to do.  Anathema is a Greek word meaning, "a person or thing detested or loathed", in case you're wondering.  Ok, so you may not loathe Anne of Green Gables, but after spending a few days on the Island you may be looking for something to do that doesn't involve red hair and freckles.

Here's a few suggestions:
  • Go to the beach.  I'm not talking the public beaches, they can be SUPER crowded depending on the time of year.  I recommend one of the state parks or the beaches on the tips of the island, such as Tignish Beach on the west or Campbell Beach on the east.  Of course, Cavendish or Brackley Beach are lovely as well, but will be a bit more populated.
  • Walk or bike the Confederation Trail (maybe not all of it, but some of it!), weather permitting.
  • If you go during tourist season, check out one of the festivals or the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts in Summerside (they do concerts, or you can take a tour).
  • Try a Culinary Boot Camp at Holland College if you enjoy cooking.  They were closed for the week when we were there (early June), but I've heard great reviews and want to do this the next time we go! It is a bit pricey, but if you're as obsessed with cooking as I am, it may just be worth the cost.
  • Play in the Clay at Right off the Batt pottery in Borden-Carleton (right off the Confederation Bridge).  This was SO much fun, I'll be posting about this a little later.
  • Check out the many historical sites, museums, and exhibits PEI has to offer (more about them in a separate post also).
  • Visit the Brackley Drive In for a blast from the past Date Night. They show current movies, but the drive in itself is styled like the 1950's including the music they play until the show starts!  The first film is typically a family or kid friendly film, and admission includes 2 full length films and a free soft drink.
 The official PEI tourism site has a ton of information to offer - we got a lot of inspiration from there.  There's literally something for everyone.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Oh My COWS (Creamery)

One of my favorite things we did in Prince Edward Island was tour the COWS Creamery factory.  If you're Canadian, chances are you've at least heard of COWS.  If you're American, you've probably not heard of them.  Bummer.  You're totally missing out.

They have numerous ice cream shops across the province and have expanded across Canada in recent years.

COWS is manufactured exclusively on PEI, with cream and eggs from local farms and dairies. According to our tour guide, COWS premium ice cream is made with 16% butterfat cream, sugar and eggs, and is churned really slowly to make sure that the ice cream you're eating is actually ingredients, not air.

Interesting thought - the tour guide brought this up, but it's true!  Have you ever noticed that some ice cream you can just plow through a whole pint in one sitting, but other brands you can't? The difference is how much air is incorporated into the ice cream when it's freezing.  If you were to let a pint of store brand ice cream totally melt you'd probably end up with around 1/2 to 1/3 of the pint full of liquid.  If you let a pint of COWS melt, you end up with at least 3/4 pint of liquid.  That's some high density ice cream...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dating Your Spouse

The Hubby and me enjoying a picnic 
dinner at the beach
I realize 2 years of marriage does not make me an expert on relationships, but I know personally the power of dating your spouse. 

Let's face it. Life is rough. Life is demanding. On an average day, the average female has about 20 things going on all at once - more like 50 things going on at once if you have children.  I don't at this point, but between working full time and home responsibilities, not to mention taking a few classes... I'm pretty busy all the time.  Add the Hubby's grad classes and full time job to the mix and I wonder when we ever have time to see each other.

Many couples struggle with making their relationships work in the face of everyday stressors (like demanding jobs or a tight budget).  Add the constant time and energy drain of grad school and even fewer couples are keeping their relationships afloat.  If that's you, I feel your pain.  Been there! Am there!

Here's the good news... by making your relationship with your spouse a priority, you are investing in your future.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Pancake Breakfast Sandwiches

The Hubby is obsessed with anything related to pancakes...I may have mentioned that previously.  But, he also enjoys breakfast sandwiches.  I've been experimenting with making them at home... he's never been a huge fan of the pancake version, and up 'til now has stayed loyal to the biscuit and sausage variety.   I, however, am not a huge fan of sausage... and marriage was made for compromise, right? So, compromise we did.  He gets breakfast sandwiches. It involves meat, eggs and cheese. And pancakes - and they're WAY better than the "maple flavored" store bought kind.

A couple of reasons I prefer pancake sandwiches over breakfast biscuits.

1. They're flatter.  Weird, I know, but it makes me happy when things stack easily.  Deal with it.  
2. They're portable.

Still not convinced?  Feast your eyes on this! I wish this post could capture the smell.

To freeze, I recommend freezing the pancakes separately on a cookie sheet for about an hour, then assembling the sandwich without the cheese.  Either wrap each sandwich individually for storage, or stack them in a zip-top bag.

You can fit about 8 sandwiches in a gallon-size freezer bag.

There are a few ways to reheat these:
  1. wrap frozen sandwich in foil and warm in a toaster oven on high heat for about 25 minutes.  
  2. Or, you could microwave it for about 3 minutes, but I find it tends to make the eggs sort of rubbery.
  3. Or, you could thaw the sandwich overnight in the fridge, the warm it in the toaster oven for about 15 minutes on high heat.
  4. Last but not least - add a slice of cheese during the 2-3 minutes of reheating in the toaster oven (or last 30 seconds if using the microwaves.
Personally,  I prefer the thaw overnight/reheat in the toaster oven method.  Of course, they're best fresh!
    Ready to make yours?  Check out the recipe on my recipage here.  Comment below if you've got cooking/reheating question, or a favorite breakfast sandwich variation.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012

    Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

    Some things are better together.  Chocolate and cherries.  Biscotti and coffee. Or better, all four at the same time.  Chocolate cherry biscotti with a steaming cup of coffee.  What better way to wile away a rainy afternoon?  Or wind down after a stressful day at work?

    Other than chocolate cherry biscotti, coffee, comfy socks and a really absorbing book...

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

    The Fountain of Youth

    One of our recent adventure dates was a day trip to Ponce de Leon Springs State Park.  We live in the city, so it's nice to get away from the craziness and spend time in nature.  And I found a gray hair the other day...yikes... so it was off to the "fountain of youth". 

    Us dipping our toes in the shallow creek bed
    As with many of the dates I plan, this one was a surprise.  I typed up a clue and gave it to M the night before.

    Friday, June 29, 2012

    Travel: PEI Day Trip to Cavendish

    If you're female and over the age of 20, chances are you've at least heard of Anne of Green Gables. Or seen the movie. Or both... or, if you're like me, you lived and breathed Anne when you were a kid, read all of L.M. Montgomery's books, saw the Anne movies, visited PEI three times and went to the Anne musical in Charlottetown. On this last trip, I did draw the line at buying touristy souvenirs stamped with red braids and freckles, but I confess I did think about buying the "I <3 Gilbert" t-shirt I saw... I was thinking another addition to my zany t-shirt collection was in order, but in the end

    Sunday, June 24, 2012

    Cookout Survival Strategy

    The Hubby's co-workers are having a cookout today.  The cookout location is on shorefront property, so there is a good possibility of kayaking happening in my near future. Of course, eating healthy at a potluck cookout can be hard to do, since you don't know what's in most of the food.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Thoughts...on Mayo...

    Ok, so I've never been a huge fan of mayonnaise.  Even when I was a kid, good ol' yellow mustard was my go-to condiment. And now that I'm all grown up, I still adore mustard... not that I have 6 bottles in my fridge or pantry at the moment or anything...  Anyway! Mustard-aholic that I am, I still have to admit that there are some things that mayo is good for.  Chicken salad for instance... actually, any sandwich filling that ends with "salad" for that matter, egg salad, tuna salad, salmon salad... I could go on, but I'll stop there.

    Tuesday, June 12, 2012

    Soap - What's in YOUR Shower?

    I was excited to learn about the Great Canadian Soap Company, a small family-run business not far from our vacation rental home in Prince Edward Island.  We were warmly welcomed and took a short tour, watched an informational video about their soaps, petted the goats, and were treated to some free samples of soap and shea butter lotion. If you haven't guessed yet, goat's milk is one of the primary ingredients in their soaps and lotions.

    Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Raye's Travel Bucket List

    There are SO many places I'd love to see.  Here are a few - more to come as I learn and read!  As I travel and check destinations off my list, I'll post about them.


    • Florida
      • St. Augustine
      • Orlando
      • Tampa
      • Ft. Lauderdale
      • Key West
      • Miami
      • Tallahassee
      • Gulf Coast
    • Pennsylvania
      • Lancaster area
      • Philadelphia
    • Washington, D.C.
    •  California
    • Oregon
    • Washington
    • Hawaii
    • Alaska
    • Grand Canyon
    • Mackinac Island
    • Niagra Falls
    • New Orleans
    • Colorado
      • Colorado Springs
      • Denver
      • Glenwood Springs
      • Manitou Springs



    • Prince Edward Island
    • Quebec
    • Ontario
    • Alberta
    • British Columbia


    • London
    • English Countryside
    • Wales
    • Ireland
    • Scotland 
    • France
      • Paris
      • Brittany
      • Provence
    • Italy
      • Venice
      • Florence
      • Parma
    • Austria
    • Switzerland
    • Norway


    • Sydney
    • New Zealand

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Commitment... And Everything That Goes With It

    Photo Credit: Chicoine Photography & Design
    Anniversaries inspire reflection for me.  I sit and reflect on the many blessings in my life and I think about how different my life would have been if I had not married M.  He is truly my perfect counterpart and I could not have asked for a better husband. 

    Commitment is a common theme in books, videos and song lyrics - whether it's securing commitment, seeking commitment, or the breach of commitment - it's everywhere!

    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Travel Tips: Eating Well on the Road

    On the road in Puerto Rico (last summer's wicked awesome vacation)
    It's almost time for vacation! Hurray!  Those of you who know me understand my obsession with seeing new places.  I have a REALLY long bucket list that includes seeing hundreds of places.  It's the traveling TO the destination I'm not so crazy about.

    Right now I'm getting ready to hit the road... well, flying first, then driving (more about that later).  This year, I am determined to eat well while traveling and not spend a boatload of money on airport food. I'm reminded of a Jerry Seinfeld bit I heard once about stores in airports not knowing what the rest of the world charges... but he tells it better (as I'm SURE you can imagine). :-)

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    Basic Oatmeal Pancakes

    Saturday is usually the Hubby's day to sleep in. He enjoys lounging around until 10 a.m. or so. As a result, by the time he showers and is ready to eat something, it's usually closer to lunch-time than breakfast. Making pancakes together on Saturday mornings is something we really look forward to. We have many pancake recipe variations, but Basic Oatmeal Pancakes are the Hubby's favorite.

    Confession: He's better at it than I am. In fact, he may or may not have the recipe memorized.

    Thursday, May 17, 2012

    Food Philosophy

    As I begin this blog, I've given a lot of thought to why I do what I do and the journey I've taken to get where I am, nutritionally speaking. There is SO much hype online these days about what is and isn't healthy and it gets really old sometimes! At the beginning, I felt like I would just grasp one concept and begin to apply it, then read in yet another article or yet another blog that I was doing it all wrong. I felt so discouraged! But more than anything, I want to raise a healthy family and that has given me the motivation to continue.
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