Curiosities, Cool Finds, and Quirky Stuff

Check out these quirky pictures including 100% recycled toilet paper, Mosquito Lion, and more.

Thought you might enjoy these pictures of interesting things, signs, or just plain cool finds.

Cool car spotted at Subway parking lot in Grand Marais, MN. I just had to share this with you,

Red car with Coca Cola trailer

Coca Cola trailer hitched to red carCoca Cola trailer hitched to red car

Loved seeing this truck advertising on a Texas road and how the owner combines assumed love of fishing with the business. Nice slogan–“Catching whatever bugs you!”

Angler's Pest Control back of truck advertising

Next up is picture of a Mosquito Lion. A friend graciously let me photo his find at Grand Portage National Monument. With a quick look online, I learned they do not actually eat mosquitoes–unfortunately!

Picture of Mosquito Lion

While in Minnesota, our dog noticed the rain water that had collected in our yard cart. He just had to jump up and play in it–really! He loves water, snow, mud, and dirt. Surprisingly, he is easy to keep clean even though he is mostly white. His hair has an oil coating that kind of operates like tefflon.

Black and white Newfoundland dog in large yard cart with some water in it.Roll of 100% recycled toilet paper

Do you want to use 100% recycled toilet paper? I don’t want to know how they do it–do you? Do note it is “Recycled without Chlorine, Inks, and Fragrances” per the label.

Back label of 100% recycled toilet paper

I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more quirky stuff to share with you. Remember to enjoy the little things, and live a thankful life!

Charming Country Inn not our Cup of Tea

Lots of amenities to choose from at this beautiful country inn, but read our review to decide if it might be for you.

Pine Creek Country Inn entrance signPine Creek Country Inn
341 Pine Creek Road
Nacogdoches, TX

Venue: True to its name, Pine Creek Country Inn is located in a country setting. The grounds are beautiful, wooded, and hilly with a small meandering creek.

View of meandering creek with trees


Atmosphere: We lodged in a beautifully decorated, charming room in the Creek House complete with a refrigerator. A microwave was added at our inquiry at no additional charge.

View of charming bedroom

Amenities: Lots to choose from and too many to list here. Two outdoor hot tubs (one of which is semi-private with a partition surrounding it) and an outdoor pool. The pool and large hot tub are open 24 hours.

Outdoor hot tub surrounded by partitionOutdoor pool and hot tub

Continental breakfast is offered weekdays in your room with a Country Breakfast offered on Saturday and Sunday in the Creekside Café. Both are complimentary. While there is wifi, it did not work well in our room. We didn’t eat at the Creekside Café but it is open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. and you can BYOB. A variety of outdoor games are available such as horseshoes, badminton and volleyball.

Recommendations: If you are not a cat person, do not stay here. Upon walking up to the lodge, there were at least 10 cats lounging near the front entryway.

Gazebo on grounds

Service: Verify your room charges upon check in. We had 2 reservations 1 week apart and they were mixed up. The second, longer stay, was charged for the first, shorter visit. A mistake for which they refunded the difference. However, the manager assisting the front desk attendant was short and terse with the attendant during the correction process. Do note, it is less expensive to book reservations online.

The Creek House

Return Rating: Never. While the grounds were beautiful and the room was comfortable, we won’t return. We cancelled the second reservation. The manger’s demeanor and too many lounging cats at the entry are inhospitable to us.

Interesting shaped tree

Historic Tiny Texas Jail

We love discovering “old stuff” that has some history behind it. This tiny Texas Jail in Bedias is one of many throughout Texas.

Bedias Jail picture
Do you ever just enjoy driving around to see what you can find? We do and as we were driving through Texas, we tripped across this small primitive jail. We love discovering “old stuff” that has some history behind it. Wanting to share this find with you, I took some pictures.

Bedias Jail plaque
It didn’t take too much googling to find a lot of information about the Bedias Jail. There is a website/blog dedicated to documenting these tiny jails or calabooses all around Texas. William E. Moore is the author and a professional arachaeologist. There is detailed information on this website organized by county. Loads of reading and learning await you!

What interesting, out of the way historic sites have you tripped across?

Why I Love Using Freeze Dried Foods

These freeze dried foods taste great! The foods are flash frozen within hours of harvest which locks in the nutrients and flavor. Freeze dried foods have a long shelf life. They are great for daily or emergency use as well as camping and backpacking needs.

While searching “food” on Craig’s List to figure out how to let folks know about Thrive Life freeze dried foods, Pete found a listing for a Chocolate Lab. Aren’t search engines interesting? While we don’t have chocolate labs or even chocolate bunnies, we do have pulled pork, chicken, beef, and a variety of vegetables and fruits that are to die for. Keep reading and I’ll tell you why we like using freeze dried foods.

Convenience-I don’t peel onions or chop celery. I just open my can of freeze dried veggies, scoop out what I need and add to my recipe.

Various cans of Thrive Life freeze dried foods

Saving money-I don’t often have to run to the store for forgotten ingredients. I just go to my pantry and use what I have. While this takes a bit of planning to stock my pantry with freeze dried foods I will use, I save time and gas. Also, I don’t throw away spoiled vegetables or fruits I forgot to use because I use what I need when I need it.  Foods I love for this are: mushrooms, onions, celery, strawberries and mangoes.

Health-I love, love, love the taste of the sweet cherries, strawberries, and mangoes. We use these in our morning protein shakes. These taste great as a quick snack or dessert too! Another benefit, freeze dried foods have great nutrient density.

Taste-These freeze dried foods taste great! The foods are flash frozen within hours of harvest which locks in the nutrients and flavor. I have eaten some nasty tasting dried scrambled egg food product before. Let me tell you, the Thrive Life scrambled egg mix tastes great and is a quick meal fix. We add mushrooms and onions to it and have an easy meal in minutes. It is harder to use this for an omelet but great for scrambled.

Storage-Less leftovers in the fridge cause we use it as we need it. Freeze dried foods have a long shelf life. They are great for both daily or emergency use as well as camping and backpacking needs.

Have I  caught your interest yet! There are some great recipes on our website. Just clip on the recipes link in the previous sentence to check them out.  Feel free to explore the catalog of food choices.

Not sure what to try first?  My suggestion would be to pick out one from each of the following categories and begin adding to your favorite recipes.  You can order in the pantry can (smaller) or family size can (larger) sizes.  Pick what works for your needs.  Be sure to check out the monthly specials.  Also, there are gluten free and non-GMO choices.

Fruits:  strawberries, mangoes, sweet cherries

Vegetables:  onions, mushrooms, celery

Protein:  refried beans, pulled pork, scrambled egg mix

Here’s to convenience, savings, and health!  What have been your experiences with freeze dried or emergency foods?



Do You Know Where We Are?

“Do you know where we are?” started this delightful conversation. It ended with me hoping that at the age of 86 that my husband and I are driving cross country and bumping into new acquaintances along the way.

Returning to our McDonald’s table, I saw my husband, Pete, several seats down talking with an older gentleman and his companion. This gentleman was telling my husband that the highway was sure busy.  This didn’t surprise Pete as the highway was I-40.  Pete was intently using the iPad and the gentleman was looking at a large travel atlas spread open on the table. I caught enough of the conversation to learn that this couple was celebrating her 86th birthday down at Hot Springs, Arkansas.  Since the horses weren’t racing there, the new destination was Evansville, Indiana.  The two men figured out where we were (Lonoke, Arkansas) and the route needed to get to their new destination.

We continued to visit, and learned the couple was from the Charleston, Illinois area where we were married and had spent a good number of years. She knew quite a few of the same people we did. They had married late in life after each had lost a mate.  They freely shared how they met and had decided to marry.  Hearing their relationship story was intriguing as was the fact that two mid-eighties adults were driving cross country to pursue a desire to see horse racing and celebrate a birthday.

An elderly man learning over and asking “Do you know where we are?” started this delightful conversation. It ended with me hoping that at the age of 86 that my husband and I are driving cross country to pursue some passion or interest, and bumping into new acquaintances along the way.  Maybe we will be asking, “Do you know where we are?” to start a conversation.  Have you ever met someone by being lost?

Spring in Northeast Minnesota

It was mid-April, and you never know what Northshore weather will bring. The rhubarb had already shown its red heads above ground and the lilac bushes had budded.

It was in the mid-forties when we arrived at the little stone house outside of Grand Marais, Minnesota and the sun was shining. Heating up the sauna was not such a chore as with the below zero temperatures of January. Little stone house with light snow and ice It was mid-April, and you never know what North Shore weather will bring.  Eight days later, we learned that winter was not ready to lose its grip.  It was 26 degrees, roads were slick, and trees looked beautiful with their ice sheen.  Thin ice sheets gave up their purchase on the roof and made their slow decent towards the final plunge to the ground.  Heavy sigh.

Thin sheet of ice slowly sliding off metal roof

The crashing waves of Lake Superior have been beautiful to hear and see. Their steady, heavy pounding has brought sand to our beach area.

Lake Superior Waves  — link to beautiful video

The winter storm advisory became a reality that brought a dusting of snow and the closing of schools due to hazardous roads.  Our little stone house sits in the middle of this winter bluster awaiting spring.  The rhubarb had already shown its red heads above ground and the lilac bushes had budded.  The huge mulch pile was useable even though there were still ice crystals in the upper part.  The woodstove is fired and we have three windows partially open to manage the temperature in the house.  We have temporarily halted the outdoor projects we had gotten an early start on, and are finding indoor projects to work on.  Hopefully winter is soon ready to let go and allow spring to quite teasing and finally take hold.  Here’s looking forward to lilac blooms and an up north rhubarb harvest.  What are you looking forward to with the arrival of spring?

Snowy Lake Superior shoreline

Curiosity Caught

Sharing of a brief travel story about when my curiosity was caught by a gas station sign in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Traveling through the Upper Peninsula this past January, we stopped at a Holiday Gas station in Wetmore, MI. My curiosity was caught when reading the sign, “Bulk Propane and Liquor available.” I wondered what quantities the liquor came in and the cost. Hmmmm. As you guessed, I am a sign reader. However, since I wasn’t in need of bulk liquor, I didn’t get answers to my questions.  What a difference word placement makes!

Sign reads, "bulk propane and liquor available