Wally-Docking: On the Road Again

Wallydocking

A Luxury Spot for the Night!

We’re hooked on travel! We love being on the road and after a couple of months at home, we’ve hit the road again! Just a few days away this time, but I bet we’ll see some good stuff and have a great time!

One of the things we do that people who “just don’t understand” raise their eyebrows at is what you see in the picture. There is a word amongst the RV crowd, Wally-docking (who knows if it’s hyphenated, one word, or two?).

Wallydocking is the practice of spending the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot! Most Wal-Marts welcome RV’s and we’ve spent dozens of nights this way. It’s great for those overnight drives and you just need a safe place to pull over and catch some zzz’s! And in the AM, you run in and stock up on supplies! Perfect.

So, you can see that we’re hooked on Wally docking (I’ve covered all three potential ways of writing it now!) and if you run over to Hooked on Houses, you can see what some other bloggers are hooked on today!

Come back and see some pictures of where we end up this weekend! Who knows? Wherever!

Birds in Paradise

Sometimes we enjoy our coffee on the back porch in the morning, and this is what we see…

Bird

 

Quaker Parrots!

You can hear them as they fly all around in the morning. They are rather loud, but I love the sounds from these sweet little birds!

Quaker Parrots (sometimes called Monk Parrots) live in some southern areas like ours. They are just down the street living in three large palm trees. Tourists are always stopping in their tracks when they see them sitting there!

birds in palm

Quaker Parrots can live 25-30 years and have unique nest building skills!  Tons of them live in each tree, like a little hotel! To find out more about these neat birds visit quakerparrots.com!

birds on the wire 2

These guys were hanging out on the wire this morning.  I bet they’re planning their day, or maybe their breakfast plans.  

birds flying

Quaker Parrots have such a cute personality.  They zoom all around the area in large groups just talking away!

 Parrots and palm trees in the morning just make you feel like you’re living in a tropical paradise!

I’m so glad I could share the beauty of these birds with you this morning for Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer!

Tasty Tuesday – It’s a Soup Thing!

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday!

What’s with the tissues? Well…

tissues

We have been seeing our share of tissue over the last couple of weeks! With everyone but Tim getting sick, I should just buy them in bulk.

What’s the best food in the world for sore throats and stuffy noses?

chicken noodle soup

Chicken Noodle Soup!!!

Everyone knows there’s something special about it when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Some medical experts say there’s a real benefit to eating chicken noodle soup. Whether it’s because of the steam, spices, or the warm, happy, goodness of it, I don’t know!

I’m not going to be exact with this recipe because I never measure anything while I cook it.

I take about 1 pound of chicken ( whatever kind you like) and add it to a pot on the stove with a little olive oil, 1 small chopped onion, celery (about 1/2 cup, chopped) , garlic (about 2 tablespoons), and cook until the chicken is done and the onions are clear.

Then I add about 32 ounces of chicken broth and 32 ounces of water. Bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of baby carrots (really you can add them anytime). I usually buy baby carrots so I don’t have to chop them up. I add salt and pepper and maybe even a seasoning or two that I find in the cabinet. This is something you’ll have to taste test and then decide what you want to add. Cook for 60 minutes. Add 1/2 bag of egg noodles. Cook for 10 minutes and serve.

Here’s a really easy recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup with measurements!

We have Chicken Noodle Soup and hot tea on our menu this week!  What’s cooking in your kitchen?  Do you make certain food when someone in your family has a cold?

Please remember to include a link in your post back here to Tasty Tuesday. Also, be sure to link directly to your post rather than your homepage. Thanks!

Bringing Outside In!

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Bring Outside In!

Beautiful houseplants are a simple way to decorate your home!

Flowers look so pretty outside, but this time of year it’s especially nice to bring some inside to brighten things up.  Most houseplants last and last, so they’re a great value when it comes to decorating.  

The pretty yellow flowers at the top are Begonias and they are so easy to grow!  Isn’t the pot just gorgeous?  Don’t skimp on this part because it’s going to be in your home for months.  You don’t want to look at the cheap plastic pot you bought it in all that time! 

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Ferns always make great houseplants and they are hard to kill! That’s a good thing!

There are so many different varieties of ferns that you can’t buy just one.  Keep the ferns moist and they will stay green for months and months.  Simple beauty makes these a classic houseplant!  They are a great addition to any room of your house!

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Bromeliads are one of my favorites!  They are a little on the tropical side and are available everywhere.  The colors they come in are so striking! Bromeliads take very little care and last longer than you would think. Once the color of the bloom starts to fade I just plant it in the yard. They will multiply and have more blooms!

These make great housewarming or hostess gifts.  And they last so much longer than fresh flowers!

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This is an African Violet and they grow great in kitchen windows!

I’m going to go ahead and brag about how I won a blue ribbon at the State Fair with one of these beautiful plants.  That’s the only time I’ve ever entered anything and I won.  Yeah!  But it died a few weeks later!  After staying on display at the fair for two weeks and not really receiving the love I gave it, the poor plant was in rough shape.  Live and learn!

A Breath of Fresh Air!    

Houseplants help clean the air in your home! No silk fern collecting dust can say that!

Anytime you purchase new furniture, linens, or even bring clothes home from the cleaners, you are bringing chemicals into your home. Two or three plants every 100 square feet will help clean the air your breathing.

What a beautiful way to freshen the air!

Some other great houseplants are Orchids, Areca Palms, English Ivy, and Daisies.

What kind of houseplant do you have?

photos by BHG.com

Hooked on Books?

books sign

Are you hooked on books? I know our family is!

With all the reading we do, books can pile up fast and start to take over the house!  This is where Hooked on Books comes to the rescue!  We take in all the books we’ve finished reading and they give us credit for more books!  It’s a win/win situation if I ever saw one!

       books outside

The store is located in Fisherman’s Village, which is built out over the water into Charlotte Harbor. There’s a marina right behind the bookstore and hotel rooms above it. So they get a lot of tourist looking for that perfect book to read by the water.    It’s a wonderful place to shop, eat, or grab a cup of coffee.

Check out this big bag of books that we’ve been collecting.  Time to make a trip to Hooked on Books!     

books bag

Today I drove Jacob up there because the bag was a little on the heavy side. Most of the time the boys go up there on their bikes to trade the books in.  It’s just a couple of blocks from our house.  They do sell new and used books so you can find the latest and greatest at any time.    

books jacob

  The boys have even used the store credit to buy Christmas and birthday gifts.  They love to shop on their own and always find the perfect books for us!  

books inside

Take a look at the inside!  You can do a little people watching and enjoy a cup of tea while sitting in this cozy spot. 

books inside 2

From these seats you can sit and watch the marina traffic, which can be very interesting as people try to park their boats in the slips!

books last photo

Here’s what Jacob found today.  Doesn’t everyone need a book on pirates?  At least we didn’t bring home a whole bag! 

It’s a great way to save money and I feel like we aren’t wasting the books that we’ve read.

Julia at Hooked on Houses is hosting Hooked on Fridays today…go check it out!

Are there any bookstores like this near you?

Meal Planning Made Easy

Here’s something to make life a little easier!

recipe book first photo

My Meal Planner!

I have everything I need to plan meals (even take out meals) with this new notebook set up just right for our family. Sometimes there are organizational gadgits for sale that are supposed to help you out, but they might not work just right for you and your family!

Take a look at what I did…

I started out with an old take out menu folder that was falling apart and a recipe book with recipes stuffed inside it in a not so organized fashion.

Kitchen book - take out menu

kitchen book - recipe book 2

When you open my meal planner up there’s a great little pocket for extra recipe cards or coupons. This is a Post-It Pocket and I think it works out perfect for this spot!

pocket best shot

Then I have a Menu page so that I can plan ahead. Tim made me the coolest pages in the perfect color! The month and days can be added along with your meals for the day.

menu sheet

There’s a shopping list right there to keep it all in one spot!

shpping list

Now for the recipes!

 I printed out blank recipe pages (that I designed) onto card stock paper. The card stock should help keep the pages nice and sturdy. I plan on keeping all my recipes in here to make meal planning easier. I took printouts and copies of recipes from my old book and glued them on the pages.

recipe printed

 

recipe card green

Then I used clear plastic sheet protectors for each menu and put them all neatly in a “Take Out” section in the back. Maybe it’s more like the “Last Resort ” section?””

menu after

This book is all I need to help keep my meals a little more organized and I should be able to find my favorite recipes for years and years! No more flipping through 3 or 4 cookbooks trying to find what I made a few weeks ago.

Sections:

  • Menu
  • Shopping List
  • Recipes
  • Dinner
  • Breakfast and Lunch
  • Desserts
  • Holidays
  • Recipes to Try
  • Take Out

With all the new recipes that I’ve found through the Tasty Tuesday links, I thought I better get a little more organized!

Customize it to fit your family’s needs and save money by making it yourself.

That’s what Works-For-Me this Wednesday! Check out We are That Family for more great ideas! And visit our home page for wonderful recipes to fill it up!

If you like the Menu Calendar and Shopping List pages, we put them here for you to download!  Enjoy!

 

  Menu Calendar              Shopping List

Chicken Cranberry Pizza – Tasty Tuesday Blog Party

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday!

Pizza 1 - step 4 - donel

I bet you can’t guess what kind of pizza this is! (maybe the title gave it away?) It is a Chicken Cranberry Pizza! I know, I know…you’re thinking that your not too sure about eating a pizza with cranberries on it! Well, maybe this post will change your mind and you’ll give it a try!

When we were Auckland, New Zealand on vacation we tried a fabulous pizza like this one. It was delivered to us from a large pizza chain and we were pleasantly surprised at how awesome chicken and cranberries could taste together. And it didn’t hurt to be eating on the balcony overlooking Auckland Harbor!  (Check out our New Zealand Travel Tale for photos!) 

I recently found a recipe that sounded close and then I kicked it up a notch or two!

Chicken Cranberry Pizza

  • 1/2 – 3/4 lb. chicken breast
  • vegetable oil
  • dough or prepared pizza crust
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup cranberry (whole) sauce
  • 6 oz. Brie cheese, chopped
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup mushrooms of your choice
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • salt and pepper

Pizza 1 - step 1

First, I sauteed the chicken with a little oil. Then I added the onion, mushrooms, and all the spices. I removed the chicken once it was cooked and sauteed the rest a little longer until the mushrooms were just right. While this was cooking to perfection, I started on my pizza dough.

Pizza 1 - step 2

I think I hear you laughing from here! I don’t have a fancy pizza pan or stone thingy. I’m using my trusty cookie sheet! The dough? I bought it at the deli counter at Publix.

Yes, I know it’s not round…maybe I like oval pizzas better! You just go ahead and choose the shape on this part! Be creative…triangle, rectangle, whatever makes you happy!

I baked the dough at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes before adding the toppings. I brushed a little olive oil on the edges once it was out of the oven.

Time for the fun part! 

Pizza 1 - step 3

I added cranberry sauce, chicken, mushrooms, brie, mozzarella, and dried cranberries to top it off! It was piled up WAY HIGH! I was worried that I added too much, but it worked out great!

Bake it at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until everything is melted and the crust is turning light brown.

pizza 1 - step 5 - slice 

Tim and I both LOVED it and actually tried to play down how good it was so the kids wouldn’t touch it! Nice, huh?  You should give it a try! 

This pizza would be perfect for a picnic by the water watching the sunset with a bottle of wine. Hmmmm…maybe Valentine’s Day!

I made a second pizza so the kids would have something to eat.  See, I’m not such a bad Mom!

pizza 2 - final photo

Chicago-Style Pan Pizza

  • 1 batch of dough
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce)can petite diced tomatoes (garlic & olive oil – Delmote brand is what I used)
  • 8 ounces Pizza Sauce – Ragu Homemade Style
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Brown the sausage in a pan with the olive oil, mushrooms, onion, diced tomatoes, and spices. Line a 9 X 13 pan with pizza dough and bake it at 350 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes. Cover the pizza dough with the sauce. It doesn’t really “cover” it all, but I’m sure you get the idea. Then add everything from the pan on top. Sprinkle the mozzarella all over and add Parmesan to the top. I added a little salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes or until it’s all golden and yummy!

I did use 2 batches of pizza dough for mine because I couldn’t get one to spread out big enough.  I’m sure it’s something I was doing wrong.  This made the crust pretty thick, but they liked it that way. 

Both pizzas were great! I plan on making them over and over again!  The fun thing about pizza is that the options for topping are just endless! I would love to make a barbecue pizza next.

What’s your favorite way to top off a pizza?

Let’s see what everyone else brought to Tasty Tuesday today! I’ve had some great food from the last few weeks of this blog party and my boys thank you! 

Now don’t forget to put a link back to us in your post so the party will be more fun for everyone! You can use the button over in our sidebar if you would like.

Enjoy!

Check out Ann’s Food on Fridays for more great food!

I’ve Gone Postal!

I was driving down the street today and I decided to pull over and snap a photo of this mailbox…Miss Manatee! She is quite the beauty and almost looks like she’s doing a little dance with the high winds of the day blowing her grass skirt! I’ve seen manatee mailboxes before, since we’re in Florida, but this one is just heads and tails over the rest!

manatee mailbox

There’s no need to travel far around here to find unique mailboxes. Usually they are related to the water in some form or fashion. I ran across this dolphin on the next block. He looks like a pretty happy guy!

dolphin mailbox

Mailboxes can really help you express yourself and say a little about what you like.  We’ve seen some pretty interesting mailboxes while traveling around the country on back roads.  There’s always an occasional fish or tractor to catch your attention.  

Hey, maybe one of these is right down the road from you….you know, like this HAMMER mailbox. Hammer time! You can’t touch this! Do you think he’s in construction or just a major MC Hammer fan?

hammer mailbox

Ugly Mailbox has a ton of cute and not-so cute mailboxes to browse through. You should stop by for a good laugh!  

Now this next one might make me think twice about pulling into your driveway. I don’t know…do shot gun shells really say “Welcome?”

 

re 046 shotshell

 

Since we visited Santa Fe on our last trip I thought this one was kind of cute.

Adobe House sm

 If your in the market for a custom mailbox to brighten up your neighborhood, you should check out Morgan Home Accents.  I do suggest looking into any deed restrictions you might have!  

All this searching and then I found the perfect one for all you bloggers out there…  

The Computer Mailbox! 

puter

Don’t you think your neighbors would be thrilled to see you put this mailbox up? 

What kind of strange mailboxes have you seen?

 

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes on Tasty Tuesday!

Welcome to Tasty Tuesday at Forever…Wherever!  This week, Cupcakes take the cake!

Cupcakes - sweet treats

Everybody loves cupcakes!   Nowadays they are everywhere!  From good old fashioned birthday cupcakes, to high falutin’ wedding cupcakes, cupcakes are in!

These Valentine’s Day cupcakes I made are the perfect sweet treat for your special valentines.  I didn’t have to work for hours on them either, since I used a trusty go-to yellow cupcake recipe.   

The Fun is In The Decorating  

I could do this all day long!  I usually just make up the designs as I go.

I already had these M&M’s which I thought looked fabulous! Tasted good too!

I had some of this Wilton’s Ready To Use Rolled Fondant icing, so I used it to cut out the little hearts!  They sell little cookie cutter sets at the craft store. Fun!

Now These are Cookbooks!

cupcakes - cookbooks

Crazy about Cupcakes and A Baker’s Field Guide to Cupcakes are two of my favorite cookbooks!  They include easy step-by-step instructions to help you create cupcake art like Martha Stewart!

martha stewart cupcake

These are Banana Cupcakes with Honey-Cinnamon Frosting and I would like to try them next!

The Sweet Rewardscupcakes - jacob

My helper was pretty happy after we were done!  I usually get volunteers for this kind of cooking. 

Go figure!

This last picture is a chocolate version!  It was a hit too!

 

cupcake - chocolate with heart

Now let’s see what you brought to Tasty Tuesday this week!  Thanks for coming, and enjoy all the great recipes.  Remember, you can also post restaurant reviews, health food tips (unlike my contribution), or anything to do with food.

Now don’t forget to put a link back to us in your post so the party will be more fun for everyone! You can use the button over in our sidebar if you would like. Of course, if orange just isn’t your color…you can do a simple text link!

Enjoy!