Oui, Oui...It's the Hodgepodge!


Joyce hosts most weeks and provides questions for us to ponder and then answer. Check out how others answered the questions at From This Side of the Pond.

1. Tell us about one small blessing you have counted in the past week? 

2 weeks post-op and I was able to walk my usual route without any stops!

2. Bastille Day is celebrated on July 14th...have you ever been to France? Any desire to visit there, and if so what would site or city would you most want to see? (pretend for a minute international travel isn't an issue) 

I've never been but I hope to go some time. I'd love to go to several places in France but these would top my list: Liseaux to see the home to St. Therese, Lourdes (where the Virgin Mary appeared to St. Bernadette and is still the site of miracles) & Nevers (to see St. Bernadette's incorrupt body), Chartres (because of the history), and of course, Normandy.

3. A food associated with France that you love? 

Beignet.  Or a souffle. Or quiche.

4. Something you recently purchased where a coupon was involved? Do you regularly shop with coupons? 

I rarely use coupons because I never remember that I have them. I use digital coupons for my trips to Publix (when I remember ahead of time to save them to my account). I can't remember what I bought last with a coupon.

5. You have to give something away this week...what will it be? 

Hmmmm...how about the hurt a parent feels when her "baby" is hurting? 

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Can you believe summer is all but over for me? I feel like I say this every year, but this year I'm not sad to see summer go. I'm ready to get out of the house and stay busy.

Paddling Like Heck Hodgepodge

 I'm back at the Hodgepodge this week. Joyce hosts most weeks and provides questions for us to ponder and then answer. Check out how others answered the questions at From This Side of the Pond.

1. July 5th is National Hawaii Day...have you ever been to Hawaii? Any desire to visit or make a return trip? Pineapple, mango, or guava...what's your pleasure? 

I've never been but would love to go...Pearl Harbor is on my list.
Give me a nice juicy pineapple & I'm a happy girl.

2. Last time you were 'thrown in at the deep end'? Explain. 

It's been a week of paddling like hell under the water after being thrown in the deep end. I just can't explain it. 

3. Sun, sea, sand, salt...your favorite when it comes to summer? 

I say that the ocean is great...except for all of that sand. I'm not a big fan of the sand and as I get older the sun is sinking on my list of faves. And feeling the salt on my skin after taking a dip in the sea?  😝 I do love sitting next to the sea and listening to the waves, especially if there is shade!

4. Bury your head in the sand, the sands of time, draw a line in the sand, pound sand, shifting sands...pick one and tell us how the phrase currently relates to your life in some way.

Shifting sands. We have a lot going on in our household right now. We're trying to find ways to cope with the changes. Let's just leave it at that.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (1 = make your own rules and 10=like a warden), how strict were your parents? If you're a parent where on the scale do you land? 

I'd say my parents were a 7.5. Being the 8th child and the youngest girl, I think my parents were more lenient on me than they were my older siblings. I had friends whose parents were a lot more lenient than mine, but I also had at least one friend whose parents were much stricter than mine.
As a parent, I would say I was about a 6. It's difficult when both parents have different parenting styles and had a different level of strictness with our own parents. I gave in probably more than I should have.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I know I need to get started on my vacation posts. I haven't even begun to look through my pictures yet. Maybe tomorrow...

Not My Signature Color Hodgepodge

Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. What's something that reminds you of your grandmother? Tell us why. 

Sadly, I didn't really know either of my grandmothers. I have something very special of my maternal grandma's. Every time I take it out I can feel her fingers on the beads and (even though I don't remember what she sounded like) I can imagine her praying along with me. I touch the worn beads and wonder just how many Rosaries she said using this one:
2. Is your life currently more 'moonlight and roses' or a little more 'every rose has it's thorn'? Elaborate. 

Well, it's summer so right now it's more moonlight and roses.

3. June 23rd is National Pink Day...favorite thing you own in any shade of pink? Favorite thing found in nature in any shade of pink? Your favorite pink food or beverage? Your favorite shade of pink? 

I have a couple of v-neck Lands End t-shirts that are pink. So soft & nice to wear.
Pink in nature: Azaleas. It's just too bad they don't bloom longer.
Pink food or beverage: Shrimp
Favorite shade of pink: I have no idea. Blush or bashful??? Pink is definitely not my signature color!
4. Last thing that had you 'tickled pink'? 

The view from one of our campsites last week:
5. What are two or three words that describe your style. 

I have no style. (oops...that was 4!)

6. Insert your own random thought here.  

CH & I had a wonderful, relaxing camping vacation last week...except for 1 night. We both slept better on our cots in the mountain air than we had in a long time. Look for a post very soon!
Campsite #1

Buggy Hodgepodge

Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. Something you've seen recently that's 'cuter than a June bug'?
I'm not a cat person, but MS' 2 kittens are cuter than a June bug:
2. Tell us something about where you were and what you were doing in June of 1988? If you weren't born yet, June of 1998. Or if that doesn't work, June of 2008. 

CH & I were living in Dalton, GA. I was in grad school and VERY pregnant. OS was born in October of that year.

3. A place in your home or outdoor space where you feel 'snug as a bug in a rug'? 

I never can seem to keep this straightened up, but this is "my corner". It's my prayer corner, my reading corner, my practicing corner, my corner.
4. June is National Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Month. Do you normally get your 4-5 servings each day? What's a favorite summer dish you make/serve/like to be served-ha! made with one of your favorite summer fruits. A favorite summer dish made with a favorite summer veg? How do you feel about cooking in the summer months? 

I don't usually use recipes with fruit...I usually just eat the fruit as is. In the summer, we like to eat Layered Summer Pasta Salad from Betty Crocker. I add Perdue Short Cut Chicken to the pasta salad and don't put the pasta in with the veggies. That way everyone gets as much pasta as they want and it comes out fairly even.
Cooking in the summer? HA! My slow cooker, electric griddle, and now my air fryer are my best friends since they keep me from turning on the oven.

5. Do you have a summer reading list? If so share a title or two we can add to our own. 

 I don't have a reading list, but I have a boatload (or at least a cubby load) of books I need to read. A summer book club is reading "All the Light We Cannot See" (Anthony Doerr) and I'm trying to finish up "Paul: A Novel" (Walter Wangerin, Jr.). The Paul book is actually quite good. Of course, it's historical fiction because we don't know exactly how St. Paul interacted with some of the apostles and disciples, but it is good.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 1. CH & I rode over to a mountain bike race last Sunday to cheer on OS' girlfriend. This is her first year racing and she's at the top of the standings for her group. The cicadas are supposed to be crazy this year, but at our house there are virtually none. This is what we heard as we walked along the path:
The cicadas were flying around and one landed on a plant next to where we were walking. 
2. Every year, I look forward to my new planner. I was super excited about this year's because of the added features, namely the hard cover. I'm kind of hard on planners; I tend to just throw it in my bookbag as I'm heading out the door at the end of the day. The new one came on Monday, and it's perfect  for me!
3. YS' girlfriend planted some sunflowers in our backyard. It's been cool to watch them grown, and now they're starting to bloom.

From My Kitchen: April & May 2021

The title of this post says April & May (because I didn't get April's post out), but I actually made this dish at the end of March. I've never made a lot of fish; hardly any except for the frozen kind! This recipe was given to me by a kind seafood employee at my local Publix. I had it on my phone for a couple of years but didn't try it. Hoisin Sauce? What in the world? I decided to pull it out and try it after YS introduced CH to hoisin and he really liked it. 

Cooked salmon with hoisin sauce on a plate

This recipe was so easy to make. Not only that, but I had dinner on the table in no time. (Click on the recipe to print.)

The man said it goes great over a chef salad and suggested sprinkling some charcoal volcano salt over it. I didn't have time to search for the salt so I didn't use it. I wouldn't change a thing about this recipe! It was absolutely delicious!

I did make this in May: Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw from Feasting at Home. These tacos had a Caribbean flair. 
2 tortillas with cabbage slaw and shrimp
I stuck to the shrimp recipe, and it turned out great; there isn't anything I would change. I'm not a spicy-lover and these were borderline too spicy for me, but YS & CH really enjoyed it.
Cooked shrimp in a cast iron skillet
In the recipe, Sylvia (from Feasting at Home) added Cuban Black Beans, but keeping with my diet of watching carbs, I opted not to make them. We have a Cuban restaurant in town that has amazing Cuban sandwiches and their black beans & rice are to die for. Needless to say, I haven't had them in about a year (when I started seriously watching my carbs). 
I used the corn/flour tortillas she suggested; I had no idea there was such a thing, but they did hold up much better than regular corn or flour ones. 

The Cabbage Mango Slaw was just amazing. I bought a package of shredded cabbage and a can of mangos ('cause it's so much easier than trying to cut up a mango!). I forgot to add the jalapeno (oops!), so I'm not sure if that would have added anything more to it or not. It definitely didn't need it.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. I used 1 pound of shrimp and was able to feed 4 people without anyone going away hungry.

Do you cook fish? If so, please share your favorite recipes!


Stuck on the Hodgepodge

 Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

 1. Besides the flag, tell us about something red, something white and something blue from your weekend. 

My amaryllis is blooming. My Daddy gave me some bulbs & I thought I killed them!
Don't mind the weeds.
White: I'm completely stuck on this one. I wore white pants to Mass on Sunday, but that's the only thing I can think of!
Blue: CH & I took a trip to Lowe's. This picture was from last year, but again this year they had a parking spot with a Memorial Day Observance. I just didn't take a picture of it. 

2. June is here and it's National Give A Bunch of Balloons Month. Who would you give a bunch to if you could? Tell us why. 

My friend Michelle, who is the convention chairperson for our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women (CCW) Convention coming up next week. She envisioned balloons at the hotel & on-site. I think she's able to get some but not as many as she wanted due to the budget.

3. What are three adjectives you associate with the month of June? Something you're looking forward to this month?

Hot, reading, lazy. While CH & I aren't going on the vacation we thought we would, we are going to spend a week camping. We're going to 1 place we've never been, 1 place we've been to (with amazing views!), and we're ending the week at some friends' house.

4. Tell us about a time (besides the obvious Corona answer) when you felt stuck in second gear.

Every Fall with work. I always feel like I'm in second gear that time of year. Somehow, though, things always seem to get done.

5. Sum up your May in fifteen words or less.

Unbelievably anxiety-ridden, but it's over now and I can enjoy the summer.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

For the first time ever, we're having trouble with a pest in our grill. YUCK. I'm not sure what it is, but I'm pretty convinced it's of the mouse persuasion. I cleaned it really well over the weekend and it appeared to be all good until Tuesday. I have a bird feeder next to the porch, so maybe if I move that it will help. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Exploring East Tennessee: Norris Dam

 It's been a while since I've written a post about places in East Tennessee that are "off the beaten path", mostly because we haven't been anywhere. Mid- to late- May is a good time to go camping: it's not too hot & humid yet and the nights are still cool. The problem we have is that we usually decide at the last minute to go, and with COVID, camping sites are hard to come by. I looked at our usual campgrounds but every place was full at the beginning of the week. There was a campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that we hadn't been to but there is no electricity at National Park Campgrounds (at least around here). My next step was to look for state parks around us. I found Norris Dam State Park, which is just north of Knoxville. At the beginning of the week, there were plenty of spots available. So that made me a little nervous. I figured it was either going to be a hidden gem or a really crappy campground. I'm not going to get into our campsite or the campground here. If you're interested, visit Flyin' the Coop.

CH said it is just unbelievable that I grew up about an hour away from this state park and had never been. If I've been, I don't remember it. The State Park itself has some cool history: Norris Dam was the first dam built through FDR's New Deal. It was built by the CCC. 

Parts of the CCC camp are still standing and in use by the Tennessee State Park System. The cabins are available for rent. 

The "Tea Room" is available as a venue for weddings or other events. The day we were there, people were setting up for a wedding reception.

We also visited a grist mill and saw the threshing barn. The mill was a little cool.
The inside of the mill.
There were several millstones in the sidewalk.
Call me crazy, but if you've seen 1 threshing barn, you've seen them all! 
Just up the hill from the mill, there is a small museum. It had some pretty cool things in it.

Can you imagine walking around in these all day? No wonder the ladies in old photographs aren't smiling!

Just around the dam area, there is an "Orchard Trail". I'm not real sure that's what it's called, but there are trails winding through different orchards. There are signs designating what orchard you're in.
But the best part of the day was lunch. Between the dam and the grist mill there is a little microbrewery called Clinch River Brewing. We almost missed it.
The menu is rather small, but with a Louisiana flair. The young lady we spoke with said that a couple owned it, and he was from Louisiana. It's crazy how we unknowingly keep running into people with a LA connection. (Just in case you forgot/didn't know, MS lives in Louisiana.)
The beverage was really tasty, and the food was pretty good:
The atmosphere wasn't bad, either. There were rainbow trout swimming in the pond.
The obligatory selfie:
We thought the area was pretty nice. I don't know if we'll go back (been there, done that), unless it's to go to the Museum of Appalachia, which is just around the corner from the little museum we visited. If you're looking for a little piece of history (and need a little something to eat or drink!) then this is the spot.
Coming to East Tennessee for a visit and looking for some "off the beaten path" places to explore? You'll want to check out the posts in my Exploring East Tennessee series. Oh, and check back from time to time...we'll do more exploring (which means more posts!).

A Patriotic Hodgepodge

 Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. We're approaching Memorial Day Weekend in the US of A...will you mark this in some way? If so tell us how. According to a list found here some things you might do in honor of Memorial Day would be-shop in a Veteran owned business, learn to play a patriotic song, watch the Memorial Day concert, take a virtual tour of the White House, write a letter to a soldier or a soldier's family, fly a flag, attend a Memorial Day parade, donate flowers for a soldier's grave, put together a care package for a soldier, and take a moment of silence at 3 PM (the National Moment of Remembrance)....of the ideas mentioned are there any you will try? 

Take a moment of silence at 3:00 PM. I don't know that there are any Memorial Day parades around here, which is really sad. After being a marching band member for high school & college, I don't love a parade!

2. What's something recently that made you 'come to attention?'

Oh, absolutely! I had an extremely rough end of the year; one that really made me think that it may be time to retire. But I'm still laughing, so maybe it's not time.

3. In what area of your life do you need to 'soldier on?'

See #2! 

4. As a long weekend approaches and summer draws near, what's a favorite food from your childhood you think about adding to the menu? 


5. Your favorite patriotic movie? 

The Patriot. Part of that movie was filmed in the SC town where we lived, and Mel Gibson (before he lost it) showed up to Mass one Sunday. However, CH saw him & didn't let me know so I didn't see him. I just have to take CH's word for it.

This may not be considered a patriotic movie, but The American President is one of my all-time favorite movies.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

CH & I had a lovely getaway weekend. We went camping at a State Park we haven't tried out. Watch for a post on Friday!

Here are a few pictures I snapped over the past few days:

A hawk sitting on the top of the church.
Who can resist sidewalk chalk? I caught this "senior" man (who is one of our former city commissioners) stop, pick up some chalk, and make a contribution to the sidewalk in the park where I walk Gurl Dogg.
Speaking of GD...I walked out of my home office and caught my guard dog napping.
This squirrel was perched on the knot of a tree for a long time. I thought his position was quite interesting.

Planning Out the Summer with the Hodgepodge

Head over to Joyce's to add your post and see how everyone else answered this week's questions.

1. Realist, idealist, optimist, pessimist...which one are you? Elaborate. 

I'm each one at different times. Sometimes I can be a realist, although most of the time I'm an idealist. I look at the world a lot through rose-colored glasses and choose to not allow things that are happening rob me of my joy. I'm an optimist...except when I'm being a pessimist. I like to think the best of everyone until I have a reason not to.

2. What's something currently on your wish list? 

The main thing is to just relax. That may not be what Joyce was looking for here, but that's all I've got right now!

3. Three things on this week's shopping list? 

Well...since I haven't made out my shopping list for the next couple of weeks yet, I'm winging this one. We're camping this weekend so I'll definitely have some items we need on the list.

4. According to Trip Advisor here's a list of the top ten things to do in the US this summer-

Chicago Architecture River CruiseSkip the Line Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tour, New York In A Day guided sightseeing tour, Charleston's Old South Historic Horse and Carriage tourGrand Canyon helicopter tourFull day iconic sights of LA, Beverly Hills, Beaches and more, D.C. at Dusk guided night tour, Beneath the Streets Underground History tour (Seattle)New Orleans Swamp and Bayou Boat tour, Gangsters and Ghosts tour in Chicago...read more about each excursion in the link here. 

Of the ten attractions listed which do you find most appealing? Have you already experienced anything on this list?

I've done the horse & carriage tour in Charleston and have been in DC at dusk (dusk is the only time to see the Korean War Memorial) but that's it. The Beneath the Streets Underground History Tour in Seattle sounds appealing. We're having to ditch our original plans of going to Banff, Canada, so this has given me an idea of what we can possibly do for vacation! Thanks, Joyce!

5. Besides home and work where do you spend the most time? 

Not to sound like a "Church Lady", but...church. I love going and sitting in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel for a bit of time. It's so amazing to just sit and be still. 

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

 Summer vacation is HERE! Even though I have a somewhat busy summer with our Council of Catholic Women Convention at the beginning of June and surgery at the end of June with some appointments in between, I'm so looking forward to not worrying about meetings, paperwork, and planning therapy. I also have a huge decision to make before June 14. Next year is the first year I'm eligible to retire, so I'll be spending time in the Adoration Chapel asking God what He wants me to do. I don't want to leave too early, but I don't want to wait too long to make my exit. This decision is a lot harder than I expected it to be.

Mother May I Hodgepodge


I completely missed last week! Tuesdays seem to be creeping up on me rather quickly. Head over to Joyce's to see how everyone else answered the questions and to link in!

1. It's like my mama always said, "_______________________________________." 

The good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. That makes my mama sound like a backwoods country girl (which she wasn't)! 

2. May 11th is National Eat What You Want Day. What will you be having by way of celebration?

Well, that day is today & I had no idea until 3:45 pm. I did have some trail mix with little pieces of chocolate in it. Not exactly what I should be eating so I guess that can count. 

3. Describe your idea of a perfect spring day.

Sitting on the back porch with the wind blowing, the smell of honeysuckle in the air. And me with a book in my hand watching the birds.

4. Success, fulfillment, growth, achievement...pick one and tell us how it relates to your life in some way, either currently or in days gone by. 

Growth. When things aren't perfect I know they are put there so I can grow. 

5. I saw this going around on various social media sites and thought it would be fun to answer here. The last thing you bought on Amazon is your weapon in battle. How will you wield it?  (if you're not an Amazon shopper, then the last thing you bought online anywhere)

The last thing I bought was a book. All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel   I honestly don't know what it's about since I bought it for a summer book club that I"m participating in with some ladies from church. So I have no idea how I'd use it!

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

This is the last full week of the school year. Tuesday is our last day. I'm so looking forward to just relaxing and not giving another thought to school. This has been a rough year with COVID and not knowing from 1 week to the next if we would be in school. My school system did (in my opinion) a pretty good job of keeping things as "normal" as possible. We weren't virtual for any length of time and the teachers at my schools tried their hardest to keep the kids on track. I'm just hoping next year will be more like it should be.

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