Things to Remember Before going on a Road Trip

Getting away for the weekend with your spouse or significant other is nice, family vacations are fun, but there is nothing like just you and the open road. This is something that I do every two years. I pack the car and leave my hubby, kids, and cats at home and head back to my hometown. The trip from Wisconsin to the town of Bourbonnais, Illinois, is approximately six hours give or take depending on the traffic.

You should always have a checklist before leaving on a road trip, especially if you are going alone. The following is a list of things never to forget when traveling.

Checklist before traveling

One month before the trip:

  1. Have a car tuned up or reserve a rental one month before leaving
  2. If you are going on a real adventure and unsure of what route to take. Go to Google Maps and enter the starting point and the destination. Google will give you detailed directions. Plan on doing this at least one week before leaving.
  3. If you are traveling somewhere, you have never been before Vroom has a list of all the states that have toll roads.
  4. If you are not staying with friends or family, look up the area that you are traveling and book your lodgings. Do this at least one month in advance.

One Week before the trip:

  1. Plan your wardrobe. If anything you want to wear needs to be dry cleaned, take it in now.
  2. Lightly pack some essentials like shoes and undergarments.
  3. Make up some meals for the family to have while you are gone, even though they will forget and spend the time you’re gone binging on fast food and pizza.

3 Days before the trip:

  1. Pack cosmetic bag leaving out just what you need to get by for the next couple of days. This makes it easier the day you leave, and you don’t forget anything.
  2. Print out your reservations and trip plan

The day before leaving:

  1. Finish packing including a cosmetic bag
  2. Gas up car
  3. Got to the bank and get coins (if there are toll roads on your trip)
  4. Get Snacks
  5. Pack the car.

The day you leave:

  1. Get up early, the best time to go is between 8:30 and 9:00AM. This is a perfect time, especially if you are driving through a larger city. You don’t want to get caught in rush hour traffic.
  2. Kiss everyone goodbye
  3. Plan on taking little breaks along the way so that you can stretch your legs.
  4. Don’t be in a rush. Enjoy the ride.

Defy the Under Eye Dark Circles

When they say with age comes wisdom, but what they forgot to mention with age also comes under-eye puffiness and dark circles. I was in my 40’s when I first noticed these little half-moons of horror. So, what is a girl to do? As hard as I tried to get rid of these half-moon horrors with everything money could buy. This included some pretty expensive stuff. Little did I know relief was not only in my medicine cabinet but my kitchen drawer as well. This, of course, was thanks to Mom. After all, Mother knows best, right?

After a long and conversation with my Mom, she told me what she did but didn’t tell me how. That’s when you go to Google. Where would be without it? I googled some of the ingredients that she mentioned and Poof! There is was! These home remedies actually do help with the appearance of the dark circles, but they don’t totally get rid of them.

I wanted to know more so my friend Google helped find out some of the causes of these little half-moons of horror. Many factors cause under-eye circles from age to not enough sleep. Surprisingly ethnicity and genetics also play a role in these pesky buggers. Though with some elements that cause under-eye circles are beyond our control.

I can honestly state that I have tried these home remedies. I have to add something important here, and that is you do not get instant results, the results can be seen over time. In the meantime, I recommend  Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer by iT cosmetics. This product is found online and at any cosmetic counter. Of course, if you have the resources, there are medical procedures such as tattoos, fillers, and laser surgery. I have now learned why to pay extravagant prices for products and systems that may or may not take care of something when, in fact, the solution can be found either in the kitchen or the bathroom.

Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash

I love trying new things, especially recipes. I had always heard of spaghetti squash, but had never seen or had tried it. One day as I was scrolling through Pinterest, I came across an interesting recipe using spaghetti squash. It had many pluses to it. The dish not only looked delicious; it also looked easy. Those two factors alone made me want to try it, as I read through the recipe an additional plus was that it was only 270 calories per serving! That alone screamed, “make me!” So I clicked the link associated with the recipe, and it took me to another site called Peas and Crayons.

Ingredients: The ingredients the recipe called for I, fortunately, had on hand except for the Avocado Oil. Now, this was a challenge because my local grocery store did not have it on their shelves. Thank goodness Walmart was there for the rescue. I want to note here that I forgot to get garlic, so I decided to be creative and use Italian seasoning in its place.

Directions: The directions, including cooking time,, were well written and easy to follow. The author of the recipe added her own personal touch with a dash of humor in the directions. I liked that the author gave tips on such things as how to make the squash easier to cut by placing it in the microwave for 5 minutes. That was extremely helpful and something that I’ll be doing in the future with other squash dishes that I make. Instead of cooking the meal inside the shell, I baked it in a casserole dish.

Results: The end result is that the dish is delicious! It had a smooth, creamy texture, and the spinach and squash go well together. This dish can be used as a side dish or as a main dish. 

Notes: I liked the way the author gave additional ingredients like chicken to the recipe. Now that got me to thinking why stop at just chicken? Why not add portabella mushrooms and maybe shrimp. The author also gave menu suggestions on what to serve with the dish. Tonight I chose to serve this dish as a main course along with a tossed salad.

Overall on a scale of 1 to 5, I give this recipe a 5. It was quick and easy (only took 1 hour to make). The directions were clear and easy to follow, and the end results were what the author stated.

Oh, The Hack With It!

It’s a funny thing, I have never heard of a “Hack” before let alone knew what one was. That was until one day, my daughter told me, ” You know Mom, you are using a “hack” when you do that!” So I thought I might share some of ” hacks” that I have been doing around the house for years.
1). Cleaning the Microwave. I take a glass measuring cup of water and put it in the microwave on high for 3-5 minutes. When it’s done wipe out the microwave with a damp cloth. No scrubbing.
2). Candle wax that has spilled on the carpeting. A couple of squirts of glass cleaner on the area then cover with a towel and use a hot iron over the sheet. The wax will absorb into the cloth.
3). Dirty window and patio screens. Use a lint roller over screens to pull out the dirt and pet hair.
4). Keep rooms smelling fresh during the winter months by placing a dryer sheet in the warm air registers. As the warm air hits the dryer sheet, the room will have a fresher smell.
5). I put the plastic bags for my bathroom wastepaper can in a drawer with an open perfumed dusting powder container. This way, my garbage can smell like Cinnabar.
6). A capful of fabric softener inside the toilet tank is excellent too at keeping bathroom odors at bay.
7). I could never get a perfect fluted pie crust edge. My mother-in-law told me not to worry just use tongs to make the edge by pressing into the dough.
8). Sunburn? A washcloth soaked in apple cider vinegar and placed on the area will pull the sting out of the burn.
9). When purchasing bagged spinach or salad. Take leftover spinach or lettuce and put it into a Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel. This will keep the greens fresher longer.
10). I’ve purchased many cast iron pieces at rummage sales., Usually, they look like they’re ready for the trash. All you have to do to make them good again is to wipe them down with a paper towel and vegetable oil, then place them in a 450 oven for 20 minutes.
11). Like your homemade bread with a chewy crust like french bread? Place a pie dish of water in the oven as you bake your bread. The water will produce the humidity that is needed to give the bread crust the chewy texture.
12). Are your scissors or knives getting dull? Crumple up a ball of foil and rub it along the edges of the scissors and knives. The friction from the foil will sharpen the blades.

A Question of Age

It was a warm spring day when he picked her up from work. Pulling out of the parking lot, he inquired. “What do you feel like for dinner?”

“Surprise me, “she replied. Knowing this meant they would probably end up at their favorite restaurant. 

Although they had been dating for only six months, there was a connection that they shared that was both humorous and eerie at the same time. For example, whenever they went shopping, people would comment on their dialogs, stating that they HAD to be married, the couple would just giggle at the mere thought of being married. At times they would scare themselves when one would finish the other’s sentences. Though they discussed almost everything, the one thing that never entered their conversation was age. That was until that warm spring day.

Driving to their favorite restaurant, she opened the glove box and grabbed a cassette and popped it into the car stereo. Sounds of Jackie DeShannon singing “Put A Little Love in Your Heart” filled the car but neither notice because as usual, they were in one of their deep conversations. That was until the introduction of the next song began.

“I love this song!” they both cried to one another. 

She reached back into the glove box and retrieved the cassette box and began reading aloud about the song that they liked.

“Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and the Shondells” she stated went on to say “It was recorded in 1969, by the way, what were you doing in 1969?” 

Casually he replied, “I was going off to Vietnam, what about you?”

Without thinking, she stated, “I was going to Kindergarten.”

For the first time in their six months together, there was silence. It was in that silence that two brains were performing calculations of an age difference that they never talked about before. 

That was thirty-two years ago, and to this day my husband and I laugh about the day we learned the other’s age, and to this day Crystal Blue Persuasion by Tommy James and the Shondells has remained our favorite song.

Inspiration where can we find it

According to Webster’s dictionary, the definition of the word Inspiration is ” a divine influence or action on a person.” But where can we find it? Can you believe that it can be found in just about anything we do? So, what gives YOU Inspiration? Here is a list of activities that inspire me, whether it be what kind of picture to paint or something as simple as to what to cook for dinner.

5 Things to do to find Inspiration

1). Take a Walk – It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural area, suburbs, or the city. As you walk, let your mind go. Look at what is around you the people you see, buildings along the way, or wild life you may encounter. People watching: Look at what they are wearing or the hairstyle that they may be sporting you could say hmm I’d like to try that, or if you desire to write make up a scenario of what their life is like. Buildings: What makes the architecture of that building unique or could that building or home be haunted or was some heinous crime committed there. Wildlife:: The colors of the flowers or the different hues of the birds this can spark Inspiration on your next painting project for your home or in my daughter’s case her next hair color.

2). Listening to music. Whether it be Tchaikovsky or the latest by any modern-day group. Lie down on the couch or relax in a recliner close your eyes and let your mind go. Sometimes the best ideas from a new project you may want to try to something as simple as what to make for dinner.

3). Whatcha DIY shows There is a warning with this one. I have become so inspired that one time I decided to repaint the bathroom, including the wooden accessories! My husband came home from work to find the bathroom green with bright lime green on all the wooden fixtures. Needless to say, I eventually replaced the accessories. DIY shows can give you ideas on recycling things that you already have as breathing new life in outdated drab rooms with little tweaks here and there.

4).Journaling. This is something relatively new to me. I was visiting Barnes and Noble one day and came across a book titled ” Creative Writer’s Notebook 20 Great Authors & 70 Writing Exercises” by John Gillard and published by Metro Books. The album features different writers and genres from Virginia Wolf to Stephen King. The writers talk about what inspires their stories, like in the case of Stephen King before he sits down to write, he asks the question “What if …?” He had asked the problem, “What if Vampires infested a small town? The answer to this question ended up being Salem’s Lot. My favorite exercise is to take a newspaper or magazine and look for a proper noun and create a town, describe it and who are the people that live there, for example, a newspaper article listed Bernard Sherman… So I took the last name of Sherman and wrote about a town that mirrored the city that I grew up in.

5). Take a Bath. Nothing says relaxation as a nice hot bath and add a glass of wine with it. As you relax, let your mind go. Inspiration will come to you. From what you will wear the following day to a new project you may want to try.

These are just a few things that can bring about Inspiration that can motivate you to create something new or how to plan your next day. Inspiration can come to you in so many ways from the little things that you can do for yourself.


Let me begin by introducing myself, my name is Lisa and this is the premiere of my first blog! So bear with me as we learn about this blogging thing together. This blog will feature many helpful hints on an array of things from recipes that I have tried and succeeded with as well as things to stay far far away from.

A little bit about myself is that I am a full-time student (imagine that! at age 54 I decided to torture myself and go back to school) as well as a full-time caregiver. I’ve been married now for 28 years with 2 grown children who have found their way back home to roost, as well as 3 fur babies that tend to tell me what and when to do things.

Other points that will be included will be of craft projects both successful and disasters. Interesting articles on subjects that interest me and you may find interesting as well.Other topics that I will be sharing will be about writing and ways of improving the craft as well as useful tips to get the creative juicesflowing.

You will find things to do here such as taking surveys, crafting projects, recipes, helpful hints on fun topics and interesting finds on the more serious ones. I have learned a lot in 56 years and want to share that knowledge with you so, let’s have some fun here. Sit back grab a cup of coffee if your visiting in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening and enjoy the ride.


Giving your all in all that you give.