April 22 2017

Peanut Slaw at Whisky’s

Hubby and I left on Friday, early afternoon, and drove toward Cincinnati, Ohio. Because it was my birthday and since we were going that way anyway, we decided to stop and have a late lunch in a cute little place in Lawrenceburg, Indiana called Whisky’s Restaurant. We had been there once many years ago. Back then, while waiting for a table, I talked to a local lady and asked what we had to try while we were there since it was our first time. She recommended Whisky’s famous Peanut Slaw. Our table was called only moments after her recommendation was given. When we placed our orders, we took her advice and tried it. I can’t remember what else we had that day, but the peanut slaw was memorable. So when we found ourselves in the general vicinity again, we decided to see if they were open for lunch this time. We were nervous as we pulled in because compared to last time when we had to wait at least 45 minutes to be seated, there were only a handful of cars in the parking lot. But luck was with us and they were indeed open, only a few tables seated.

We again ordered the peanut slaw and were not disappointed. Hubby also ordered the Gourmet Meatloaf with mashed potatoes (because it had a whiskey glaze I suspect, but also because the man really loves meatloaf). The slice of meatloaf was 2 inches thick. Very generous portions. I tried the Bangkok Chicken and it was good as well. Now you might be wondering what exactly peanut slaw is. I wondered the same thing my first time. It is a big scoop of some of the best coleslaw I have ever tasted that has been rained down upon by chopped peanuts. I thought I should take pictures to share with you, and I decided to take some of the menu too so you could see the offerings. (see all the photos below)

Since it was my birthday and also the first day of our vacation, we decided to celebrate/splurge and have dessert. Hubby tried the apple tart and I had the chocolate lava cake. I am kind of sorry I didn’t think to take photos of hubby’s food and the restaurant itself. The restaurant is made up of what used to be two houses.

It is a really great place to stop if you are going to be anywhere near Cincinnati, Ohio. It was certainly the right place to stop for a celebratory lunch.
Do you have favorite places to eat? Not chain restaurants now, I am talking about those great one-of-a-kind places that usually only the locals know about. Please share them with us in the comments below.

Menu Side 1
Menu Side 2
Peanut Slaw
Rye Bread in the bread basket
Bangkok Chicken
Lava Cake

If you are interested in seeing more photos of the place and the food, taken by others, you can find them here.

April 13 2017

Quarterly Goals Checkin

Back in January, I told you all about my 2017 SMART Goals.

Well somehow the first quarter of the year has come and gone and it is time to see how those goals are coming along.

Here are the goals I set at the beginning of the year:

FAMILY FUN GOALS:
1) Do a cabin weekend  DONE!
2) April trip (on track)
3) Annual Hockey Trip for the kids’ birthdays (not scheduled yet)

FITNESS GOALS:
1) Get 6 hours of sleep a night (Getting Better)
2) Drink 6 cups of water a day (Fairly Consistent)
3) Continue using MyFitnessPal app (Ok, so I only enter my weight each day)

HOUSE GOALS:
1) Clean out my home office (Not much progress)
2) Declutter the landing  DONE!
3) Declutter my clothes (1st pass done)

PERSONAL GOALS:
1) Do some genealogy
2) Take three writing classes  DONE!
3) Read for thirty minutes a day  (Fairly Consistent)

SPIRITUAL/CHARITY GOALS:
1) Pray daily  (Fairly Consistent)
2) Read 15 inspirational fiction books (4 read so far, so on track)
3) Crochet 26 hats to donate to charity (17 of 26 done)

Do you want to see photos? Let me know if you want to see photos of the hats I have made so far in the comments below. If more than 10 people show and interest, I will post pictures.

WRITING GOALS:
1) Finish one of my previous NaNoWriMo novels (working on edits and revisions during April)
2) Publish something (see writing goal #1 above)
3) Participate in NaNoWriMo (and hopefully win again)

How do you tackle making sure your goals get done each year? Do you schedule them into your monthly goals and then further yet into weekly goals? How does that work for you? I know I am finding that editing and revisions to my 2016 NaNo Novel have been even more difficult than I originally expected. I have amazed myself how far I have gotten on the crochet hats goal, but I attribute the success to getting a jump on it while at the cabin over New Year’s weekend.

How are you doing on your goals for 2017? You haven’t given up already, have you? I sure hope not, we still have nearly 3/4 of the year to get them done.

March 16 2017

Travel Tips for Parents and Everyone Else

Travel Tips

We have done a fair bit of traveling as a family and I have learned these travel tips along the way.

For Everyone:

Pack basic snacks, preferably healthy ones, for the road trip. I suggest baby carrots, celery sticks, bottled water, cheese sticks, and pretzels. This will help cut down on costs and the number of stops. Eating healthy can also help offset the extra calories we all tend to eat on vacations, just because it IS vacation and we know we deserve to treat ourselves.

When you are planning a trip, unless you already get some sort of member discount for booking hotels, you might want to consider getting a membership to your local AAA Auto Club. This can often save you at least 10% off the cost of hotel rooms or attraction tickets. The savings from one trip could well pay for the cost of the annual membership and you would still have the benefit of the roadside assistance and towing to use the whole year which can again save you to cost of the membership if you ever need to have your car towed.

Book your overnight stays before you hit the road. While I am all for being spontaneous, there is something to be said for having a guaranteed place to sleep each night. I have been on trips where we spent hours driving from one hotel to another only to find out they were filled. Nothing sucks the fun out of a trip faster than taking care of this sort of thing while actually on the road. Save yourself the stress and headaches and book ahead of time. Trust me on this. If you want to be spontaneous while on your trip, you can always change your plans but again call and make reservations for the night before you go off on the new plan. Most hotels will let you cancel a reservation without penalty as long as you do so before 6pm. If they don’t then you should know this upfront so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to stay there at all.

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Remember the games you played on car trips when you were a kid? Get the whole carload of passengers involved as you take turns trying to find the letters of the alphabet in order. There are many travel versions of family favorite games like travel bingo, checkers, chess, backgammon, Chinese checkers and more. One of the games we love playing on the road is called RubberNeckers. We picked it up at a Cracker Barrel store years ago and it stays in the pocket in the car door so it is at the ready.

For Parents with Young Children:

Get extra road maps and highlight the trip so your child can follow along. Talk about the places you are driving through as you are on the road. Get the kids interested ion maps and such early.

Consider wrapping small treats to give out every hundred miles or so. This helps keep them entertained because there is something new to hold their interest every so often. It helps the kids to track time. Discuss how many treats it will be before you arrive at your destination. This encourages counting and discourages the “Are we there yet?” whining that every child seems to feel is a necessary part of traveling.

Consider traveling at night so young kids will sleep through the better part of the driving. This can be hard for the parents because it could mean they are sleep deprived and cranky when the kids are wide awake, so use your own judgment here. You know your kids and how well they travel.

Again, consider healthy snacks and for heaven sake, avoid sugar unless you want the kids bouncing around the car for the entire trip. Think water instead of soda and fruit or raisins instead of fruit roll-ups or candy.

Keep baby wipes with you in the car at all times. These are great for so many things, but especially wiping sticky hands and faces.

For Parents with Teens:

Encourage your teen to pack their own entertainment. Headphones are your friend unless you enjoy the music your teen listens to.

Encourage them to bring along crossword puzzle books, electronic hand-held games or game systems (they may have these games on their cell phones). These can help pass the time. Our family used to bring GameBoys and Pokémon games. Don’t forget to bring books and magazines along to read. E-Readers can be great to keep them reading well after dark, but have them set the background to black or dark gray and the text to white so the glare won’t bother the driver so much.

Books on tape/CD/digital media are awesome. Have the family pick a couple of longer ones and consider listening as a group. They will be asking when you are getting back on the road again instead of are we there yet. Some of our favorites were the Harry Potter series (love listening to the accents!) and the Redwall series. Try to either make it something everyone is interested in and hasn’t read yet or a familiar favorite that you may have read but never heard read aloud.

Let the teens take turns navigating and choosing where you will stop for meals. Teens love to be independent and prove they have something to contribute.

One of our favorite apps to use while traveling is Interstate Exits Guide. This tells what restaurants and gas stations are at each exit on the major highways. It can be very handy. It also lists rest areas. Make sure your phone has a flashlight app when you travel, but it is also handy to have all the time. There is an app called HERE WeGo that allows you to download maps for entire states ahead of time and use the app offline so as not to use up your data while on the road. It goes without saying that you may need multiple chargers for the family’s electronic devices. We have used the sliding pencil cases to store cords and chargers in. These are cheap and easy to throw into a backpack or duffel bag while still keeping cords contained and tangle free.

Where ever you travel remember to be safe.

January 12 2017

​SMART Goals 2017

Picture

Ok, we have a new year and that means I need to bunch of new goals. I have been setting goals for years, but it seems I write them down, post them to the group that asks us to set the goals and then proceed o forget all about them until December when I dig them up and look them over to see if I have managed to actually, accidentally get any of them done. Usually, the only ones I got accomplished were the ones I would have done anyway because I certainly wasn’t deliberately trying o get any of my goals done. I decided that since I found this shiny new obsession called bullet journaling, that perhaps I would do well to really think about my goals before setting them this year and once they were recorded in my bullet journal I should actually try to actively get them done this year.

So I saw some folks in the bullet journal community talking about the importance of setting SMART Goals. So I, of course, Googled it and came up with lots of helpful websites and graphics. I decided I liked the looks of one of them so I saved it and tried to stick to what it said when it came to creating my goals this year. I will include the graphic in this post in case you want to see if the goals you have set for yourself are SMART Goals.

So, I won’t bore you by telling you what makes a smart goal because you can read them for yourself in the colorful graphic.
I split my goals into categories. I’m not sure why, but I’ve done this a few times before, so decided to stick to the established system this year because it seemed like a decent idea at the time.

FAMILY FUN GOALS:
1) Do a cabin weekend
2) April trip
3) Annual Hockey Trip for the kids’ birthdays

You are probably saying that these sound easy enough and you’d be right. I actually marked the first one off after New Year’s weekend because hubby and I decided the cabin was the way we wanted to celebrate the new year. (See my previous post and pictures of the cabin.) We already have the April trip planned because we planned it during our trip last April. The hockey trip is a matter of hubby and the two grown kids settling on a NY Rangers game that fits everyone’s schedule and is somewhere in the midwest. We actually did the 2015 trip in March 2016 and the 2016 trip in November 2016 because that was the way it worked out with the NHL hockey season schedule.

FITNESS GOALS:
1) Get 6 hours of sleep a night
2) Drink 6 cups of water a day
3) Continue using MyFitnessPal app

None of these is easy for me. I usually drink only water after work, but almost never drink water earlier in the day because I need my caffeine fix and so I drink my unsweetened iced tea instead. Yes, someday I will need to break the caffeine addiction, but this is not the year for that goal. I log into MyFitnessPal daily when I am at home, if nothing else, to record my weight each day. I am trying to do better about recording what I eat and drink in the app because I know when I do so regularly and stay within the caloric recommendations, I can lose weight. The sleep thing I have been trying to do better about since before I had kids (25 years ago) and it just isn’t happening, but I continue to try.

HOUSE GOALS:
1) Clean out my home office
2) Declutter the landing
3) Declutter my clothes

My office is an eight-foot square that was, in a former life, a breakfast nook. It has a built in china cabinet, an L-shaped desk, half of which has a hutch attached to it, three file cabinets with six drawers of files and four drawers of assorted junk between them and my desk has one of those long drawers for pens and such too. I am very good at cramming a lot of stuff in a small amount of space, unfortunately. Most of the stuff is just there at this point and needs to be gone through, sorted and decluttered. The clothing can always use a good culling. The landing is full of furniture waiting for the master bedroom to be gutted and rebuilt from the studs out. Seriously lofty, those goals!

PERSONAL GOALS:
1) Do some genealogy
2) Take three writing classes 
3) Read for thirty minutes a day

I was looking at the website just yesterday to see what classes are being offered at the local writers center. Reading is not hard, but I don’t always make time for it every day and I really should. I used to do genealogy all the time, it was my passion from the time I was in fifth grade until I started working full-time over ten years ago. I miss it, I can’t remember where I left off so jumping back into it might be difficult.

SPIRITUAL/CHARITY GOALS:
1) Pray daily
2) Read 15 inspirational fiction books
3) Crochet 26 hats to donate to charity (12 of 26 done)

Ok, so I already pray daily, but perhaps I should expand my prayer list a bit. I prefer to read inspirational fiction but want to make sure I am reading mostly in this genre. I attend three crochet/knit meetings a month where I can usually get an entire hat crocheted, but I don’t always get to attend the meetings and don’t always finish a hat at each meeting. I have already completed four hats this year toward the goal. Hats are my thing, I rarely deviate from the one hat pattern. Carpel tunnel could be a serious issue in achieving this goal.

WRITING GOALS:
1) Finish one of my previous NaNoWriMo novels
2) Publish something
3) Participate in NaNoWriMo (and hopefully win again)

In case you haven’t figured it out already, I LOVE NaNoWriMo! I have participated and won for the past four years. I have four unfinished manuscripts (just over 50k words each) to show for my efforts along with one Camp NaNoWriMo unfinished manuscript (just over 30k words) and a non-fiction book as yet unfinished. Thus, goal number one. Once that is completed, it would be nice to actually publish one of those six books. That goal could also mean writing and publishing a short story or article of some kind. Come November, I will be writing another 50,000 words on some new project.

So those are my 2017 goals for what it’s worth. The thing I’m not good at it checking in on those goals occasionally and planning to make sure they get accomplished. If you have any tips or tricks for how to actually get yourself to accomplish the goals, please contact me by email or leave a comment.