The Last of the Catchup (Ketchup?)

IMG_7284Happy Leap Day! This is officially my last post about my 30 Before 30.It’s the last of the catchup due to life, my epic creative writing project, hubby’s nightshift rotation, and my own typical procrastination. Henceforth (don’t you love old fashioned words?), we’ll be working on the 30 During 30 and then shifting to a general bucket list for life.

I closely associate canning with growing up in the South on a farm.I know it’s a staple of life everywhere. Yet there’s something about food in jars, that raised word M-A-S-O-N, that takes me back to humid summer evenings and we’re-going-to-have-snow-it-never-snows type days one can only experience in this area. Sweet pickles. Canned tomatoes. Vegetable soup. Kraut. Jars of peaches.

To say I never canned anything before would be a half-truth. I never canned anything on my own. Yet, I grew up helping my grandparents can items from their farm without ever really thinking about it. Since there was a grocery store down the road, I never actively thought, I’ll have to do this on my own someday. This was before natural, organic, non-GMOs, locally sourced, farm-to-table.

IMG_7939However, after moving into an apartment, I discovered I really missed gardening. College BIO class peeked my interested in the science behind farm-to-table. A presentation at the Decatur Book Festival made me realize farming could be quite hipster. This combo, along with a growing interest in cooking, led me to add “5.) Can something” to the 30 Before 30.

I thought this would be an easy one. Knowing I could phone it in with my grandmother’s help. I thought we had more time. Not making this one a priority and taking more photos with her, are two of my biggest regrets. The item transformed from “something-I’ll-do-with-her-this-fall” to an heirloom mantle I found myself ill prepared to experiment with on my own.

I suddenly felt like Henny Penny. No one wanted to help me, but everyone was ready with some terrible story about hot cans blowing up in someone-they-used-to-know’s face. It started to feel like “Canning something” and “Hot Air Balloon Ride” were two items out of my reach. I’m sensitive anyways and started to despair that I was a failure as a granddaughter and blogger/writer.

But, a trip to a farm supply store really helped me. I bought:

  • A Granite-Ware 21 1/2 Qt Canner with jar rack
  • Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

The book was a lifesaver. I tried to make pickles using an Internet recipe but they didn’t turn out great. So, using the book as a guide and Pioneer Woman (she’s great), I decided apple preserves would be a recipe I had confidence in:

  • 6 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 medium lemon (unpeeled), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg


I know now that I should have peeled my apples. I was thinking about fiber, so I ignored that part of the instructions. There not bad with the peel on…just a little sharp on the tongue.


So there you have it friends. You can do what you set your mind to do. Take nothing for granted. Rise to the occasion. May you have the best adventures. I’ll be making more preserves this year for 30 During 30!


My Little Build-A-Bear

IMG_6986During my Marketing class at Shorter University I was given the task of writing a long, detailed paper about the tactics used at Build-A-Bear Workshop INC. While writing this paper, I realized I wanted to actually visit the store and experience the product creation myself. In my dreams, I am able to sew and create an awesome trend like Cabbage Patch dolls or Beanie babies.

I love plushies (in my day we called them stuffed animals…or maybe that was just a Southern taxidermy reference). I still own and display some of them from my childhood. They bring me joy, are eternally sweet and friendly, and I can’t wait to pass them down someday.

However, I had a slight feeling of foreboding going to the store. Being on the edge of 30 and childless, this felt like the geekiest reason to buy a stuffed animal ever. And the question came, as it always does: “So who is this for?” Strangely, people always assume I have kids. Maybe I look like a mom (and I take that as a compliment for possessing characteristics of nurture and femininity). Several times, in stores like Wal-Mart or Ross, children will be left to wander away and the sales associates or other shoppers will ask if they are mine. (Then again maybe this isn’t a compliment if they think I’d be the type that’s ok with free-range tantrums).

Anyhow, while it’s tempting to invent a large, detailed story about having ten kids, all with “Z” names, I just meekly reply, “For me.” Then it gets awkward when they ask if this is your favorite character…and you want to reply, “Well since you don’t sell plush Mr. Darcy’s” but then you’re too introverted, so you say, “Yeah.” But thankfully, I did manage to explain about the 8 weeks I spent writing about Build-A-Bear without having ever been to Build-A-Bear. So maybe the judgement zone equalled out a little.


Ta-dah! My little pony. So cute. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who love unicorns in the non-comical sense. I want to live in a castle surrounded by “The Hunt of The Unicorn” tapestries. “Legend,” before Tom Cruise went crazy, is one of the best fantasy movies. Good costumes and effects.

It was fun! We actually went back and built the hubby a Snoopy.

Housekeeping, Plot Bunnies

movienightWow, so where did January 2016 go? It ran in a flash, as I was chasing plot bunnies. A fictional short story consumed my month as I’ve resolved to do more creative writing. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and even though it’s done, I’m still not content with it.

Anyhow, looking up from Microsoft Word, I find that I have been a neglectful blogger, reviewer, housekeeper, and friend. Super apologies.

So, let’s continue to tie up some loose ends here on Adventure Kettle.

During the 30 before 30, I barely finished the AFI 100 movies, but I did finish it.

I have to say that the list, in my opinion, contains some of the best and worst movies I have ever viewed in my life. I have found some new favorites, as well as, a few I hope fall off the list one day.

My opinion, the best of the “previously” unwatched by me:

  • The Godfather – I really dreaded this one, but it’s great. I don’t like movies involving crime, but the story of a family draws you in. Beautifully shot (no pun).
  • Singing in the Rain – Actually very funny and not just about sining in the rain…
  • City Lights – I always liked Charlie Chapin, but now I think he’s completely adorable. The man was a genius.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – Another dread, although I love scifi! Once I finally, finally got past the slow first hour, it’s very thought provoking.
  • Sunset Blvd. – Amazingly dramatic and eerie. Everything I always wanted in an old movie.
  • The General – Buster Keaton was a name I knew in passing. However, now, he’s also on the adorable list. The movie is packed with old fashioned action.
  • High Noon – Made me love Westerns again. Great rising action. Hubby hates Westerns, but loved the plot of this movie.
  • All About Eve – The ultimate frenemy, revenge movie for chicks. Holds the test of time very well.
  • Shane – A hero for the ages, made me love cowboys again (ha). Wonderful, symbolism that keeps you guessing in the end.
  • Duck Soup – The Bros are forever the kings of comedy. Every funny movie I’ve ever seen borrows from them.
  • Toostie – Crazy, but very funny plot. Dustin makes you forget he’s not Toostie.
  • The Silence of the Lambs – I expected to be severely grossed out, but the suspense is good. I get the appeal.
  • It Happened One Night – Grandmother of all romcoms. I’ll be laughing at this one for years to come.

My opinion, the worst of the “previously” unwatched by me:

  • The French Connection – I get that maybe it inspired some people, but for me it was too slow. I didn’t care about the characters.
  • The Wild Bunch – Help, too much shooting, too much blood.
  • Pulp Fiction – Ditto.
  • Nashville – Prior to MTV, I see that this was like a cool, country music video concert. For me, it didn’t stand the test of time.
  • M*A*S*H – I’ve enjoyed the tv show, but the movie was dull and women are just objects.
  • The Last Picture Show – Could’ve been set in my hometown, sad, hit too close to home.
  • Bonnie and Clyde – Ditto, shoot em up, sad.
  • Network – Slow, I remember none of the characters.

So, there you have it! Now I’m working on the original AFI list and the 100 passions. I gotta say that I wish that:

  • The Jazz Singer
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • All Quiet On The Western Front

were still included on the 10th anniversary list. In my biased opinion they are much better movies and The Jazz Singer and All Quiet On The Western Front still deal with issues that hit base today.

The Fully Wrecked Journal

IMG_8947Almost 2016, already? Where did the time go? It certainly has been an action-packed, adventurous year.

Finally making time to “Wreck This Journal” was one of my favorite day-to-day memories of 2015. As a person who, at times, becomes caught up in perfectionism, it was great to accept the mess I created, and, like the Frozen song (that gets on everyone’s nerves by now), Let It Go. Paper gets wet. Let It Go. Pages get torn. Let It Go. Ink bleeds through. Let It Go. Stains are apart of life. Let It Go. You get the picture.

As promised, here’s the final result. I saved mailing it to my hometown for last. I thought it would be nice to send it off finished. Like a completed voyage. And, I’ll admit, my inner neat freak could no longer be silenced. I didn’t want to completely destroy it by removing all the duck and packaging tape.

So, now it’s a time capsule. I’m sure I’ll open it someday to remember this interesting year in which I decided to challenge myself to finally do a few major bucket list items. Maybe I’ll show it to the future kids. Maybe the great grandkids will find it someday and wonder “what in the world is this??”

Thank you, Wreck This Journal, for the memories. Thank you, 2015, for the lessons I have learned. Thank God, for the courage and strength to get through it all.

Happy New Year!

The Orchestra

IMG_7881There was a time, long ago, when I was closed minded about classical music. I had the child logic of “Who wants to listen to music without words? How do you know what it’s about?”

When I started my college career, I was told that it was helpful to listen to classical music while studying. So, that opened the gate for me. During NaNoWriMo I also tried writing to classical music, as well as, soundtracks from fantasy films. And, since then, I haven’t stopped. Nowadays, I find classical music very relaxing. Sometimes a pop song can have a great beat but depressing lyrics. With classical music, it’s just you and the sound and how it makes you think or feel personally.

So, over the years I’ve grown cultured enough to finally appreciate an orchestra. I just had to find one and work against my husband’s ever-changing resident schedule.

It so happened that Rome, GA was having a special orchestra event the same day we were in town to see my alma mater play their homecoming game. I love when things work out like that. We took the family along and everyone was awestruck. The group sentiment was “why haven’t we been to the orchestra before??” An hour passed like no time at all.



I believe it’s one of my favorite memories from this 30 before 30 journey. The wall of sound, the grace of the players, and the happiness it brought to everyone will stay with me for a long time. We will be going to the orchestra again!

Adult Coloring

IMG_8660When I added “Finish A Coloring Book” to my 30 Before 30, I had no idea how extremely popular coloring books for adults would become.

This holiday season, they are everywhere. Barnes and Noble. Hobby Lobby. The Dollar Store. And the millions of retailers online. They are marketed as this year’s must in stress relief. I think it’s wonderful. If you’re busy but still have the drive to do something creative, a coloring book is quick and easy. I’ve heard of “coloring groups” much like bingo or book clubs, which sounds like a nice way to hang out with like-minded people. Art is relaxing and therapeutic. I don’t know what I would have done without my art classes after my dad died.

So, although there are several great reasons to jump on the Adult Coloring bandwagon, I had different reasons to pick up a coloring book.

Firstly, for the simple fact I’d never done it before. Never finished one. The family bought me countless coloring books as a kid and I’d pretty much color my favorite pages and that was it. Time for another one.


Secondly, I was inspired by a friend. She has a coloring book that several members of her family helped complete. I was really impressed at what a unique heirloom it is for her grandchildren. I would give anything for a coloring book that my grandmother and all her siblings and cousins completed together.

So, more or less, I did it for any future child(ren) I have someday. I want to pass down unique things and creative bits that reflect me personally. Since it’s an ABC coloring book, I can see myself using it as a story to help teach them letters. Then I guess I can one day explain I was thinking about them during my 30 Before 30. Rock on, kids.

If you’re interested in completing your own ABC coloring book, here’s the ISBN info. I bought this one for $1.50 at Cracker Barrel. I’m sure it’s available online as well.



The 30 During 30

IMG_8456Crazy weather we’ve been having! It was nearly summer in December until yesterday, when the temperature dropped back to normal.

Meanwhile, my sinuses decided it would be a good time to get a cold.

I really, really want to cover some of the larger items on the 30 Before 30 that I didn’t get to blog about. Hopefully, I can get more on that wrote tonight and scheduled to post during the week.

Also, I’ve been mulling over what I want to do for 30 DURING 30. It hasn’t been easy. I have struggled to create the new list since my birthday. We did so much last year, but a lot of it came down to the wire. Therefore, this year I tried to pick more things I know I can realistically do without a lot of help or travel, while still being fun and unique.

So, after a lot of indecision and pressure to plan out the whole year not knowing much of the hubby’s schedule at this point, I give you the 30 During 30 list:

  1. Create A Geocache
  2. AFI’s 100 movies: Original list
  3. Make Figgy Pudding  12/18/15
  4. Make A Fruit Cake 12/17/15
  5. Continue Photo Diary via AdventureKettle on Instagram (in process)
  6. Read Dune
  7. Do 24 Hours of Silence
  8. Go Golfing
  9. Drive A Tractor
  10. Play Messy Twister
  11. Rock Painting
  12. Eat Breakfast In Bed
  13. Collect Postcards from all 50 states (21 out of 50)
  14. Read A Book With Goodreads Bookclub & Discuss
  15. AFI’s 100 Passions list
  16. No long be overweight based on BMI
  17. Take a RWA class
  18. Visit 5 Little Free Libraries
  19. Return to Fort Mountain
  20. Collect 30 recipes from other people
  21. Paint all 10 nails a different color
  22. Relive the 90s for a day
  23. Write 5 Classics’ Corner Book Reviews
  24. Make another batch of Preserves
  25. Try Perler art
  26. Unplug for a day (no computer, tv)
  27. Make a piece of Jewelry to Wear
  28. Write a Children’s story
  29. Continue webcomic
  30. Create more fanart

If you noticed that two of the items are already crossed off, you are correct! This year, I’m not wasting any time. Before the 3-0, I ended up rushing to crochet, creating an ebook on coffee quotes at random, and literally forcing myself to watch 3 movies a day to get the list done and not eat crow on my birthday. This year I resolve to pace myself better.

Anyhow, for List Items 3.) and 4.), I wanted to try some different types of baking for the Christmas Season. My Grandmother loved to bake and passed down the holiday tradition to me. Right now, it’s too difficult to make the same things I made with her. But at the same time, it wouldn’t feel like Christmas without making something…so I found new things to try. I’ll blog about it with photos and links to the recipes later.