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I never really thought about creating a bucket list before this year. I have wanted to visit Great Britain and Ireland since I was a child, but it was never on a bucket list. Then I planned a 50th birthday trip with my mom in 2020 and … covid.

I hesitate to even discuss that birthday trip, it depresses me a year later, but it is a trip on my bucket list. I live in coastal Georgia; I grew up in Northeast Ohio. I love and miss the turning of the leaves and the crisp sweater weather of Fall; We don’t really have that down here y’all. Sweater weather comes in around November, but there are no maples to speak of so very little leaf changing.

My birthday is mid October so it was only natural that I plan a trip to see the leaves change and what better place for a leaf peeping drive than Massachusetts and Rhode Island? The plan was to fly into Boston, immediately head up the coast to Salem. We were going to spend the day doing “Salem y “things then stay in Gloucester and visit a gilded age home the next day. From there, we were heading north to visit the Crane Estate, then swinging west for a quick trip to a quilting museum, before turning south and hitting another famous home and garden before ending up in Newport to tour the old mansions.

After Newport we were heading to Plymouth, then back to Boston to catch our planes home. I had the whole trip mapped on Google Trips and had named it the Gilded Age Tour. Mom and I love to thrift and antique shop, so we’d allowed plenty of time to drive the backroads and find little shops.

When a friend that lives in Plymouth told me the state was all locked down, I had to cancel and as of now, I have no intention of rescheduling. But that trip is high on my bucket list. My mom is a young 70 but you never know what life will throw at you and this was a big deal for us. And, too, I spent so much time researching and planning, the locations were personal to me.

Did covid mess up a once in a lifetime event for you? Will you reschedule or is it a gone for good?

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The Secrets of Seaforth House, by Angela Cassidy, is the first in the Abbey Mackenzie series. Ms. Cassidy is a first-time author that used her time wisely during the numerous U.K. lockdowns.

The Secrets of Seaforth House is set in Scotland, in a little seaside town just north of Edinburgh. The story starts with Abbey Mackenzie being made redundant from her job as team leader for the fraud division of a bank. Depressed, her friends drag her along on a weekend trip to Seaforth.

A chance meeting with a local man leads to Abbey getting a job as personal assistant to the countess who lives at Seaforth House. Abbey moves to Seaforth and soon is investigating a suspicious fall from the cliff that Seaforth House sits upon.

If you love cozy mysteries, you already know there will be an amateur sleuth sticking their nose into something that doesn’t concern them and solving a crime. I love that formula and I particularly love when authors give new twists to the genre.

The main character of this series had a job that makes it natural for her to investigate suspicious events; I love that. The town of Seaforth is populated by interesting characters and the descriptions of the town suggest I would love to live there; I love that. Abbey’s new job as an administrative assistant is one that I held for several years so I can relate; I love that.

The clues are presented in a casual fashion that doesn’t give the conclusion away but if you are paying attention, you’ll figure it out a little before Abbey does. This book was a pleasant way to wile away a rare gloomy afternoon on the Georgia coast. The Secrets of Seaforth House is a wonderful start to what promises to be a fun filled series.

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It is officially FALL y’all!! My favorite time of year has arrived. Time to get the silk maple leaves and faux pumpkins from the attic, buy some mums and pansies, and light the pumpkin pie scented candles.

It is also time for soups to return to my monthly menu. I make soup all year round but really, 100 degrees and a heat index of 103 is just not weather for soup eating. I make most of my soup recipes in Fall and Winter and, this year I am starting with Cheeseburger Soup. (Image is not mine, I forgot to take one, oops)

Cheeseburger Soup is really just potato soup with hamburger added; and a lot of Velveeta. I’m not going to go on and on about the soup, I really get annoyed when bloggers do that. So here is the recipe, if you make it, give me a shout, especially if you add something I didn’t think of!

Cheeseburger Soup Serves 6-8 Calories? You don’t want to know.


4-6 Large Yellow or Red Potatoes, Peeled and diced

1 medium yellow or white onion, diced

1 lb of ground beef, (I use 80/20)

8 oz Velveeta Cheese

3 Tablespoons of Fresh Parsley chopped

Or 1 Tablespoon of dried Parsley

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt/pepper

½ teaspoon onion salt (or powder)

1 can of Evaporated Milk (I use the low fat)


1. In a large stockpot add potatoes and onions, salt and enough water to just cover. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until fork tender. Remove from heat. Drain some water off if it looks to be more than 3 cups. Smash some of the potatoes with a masher but leave some chunks!

2. While potatoes are cooking, brown ground beef: season with the garlic powder, salt, pepper (to taste), and onion salt (or powder) Drain

3. Add drained hamburger to the potatoes and onions, return to low heat.

4. Add evaporated milk, Velveeta, parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

5. Heat through, careful not to scald the milk.

Garnish? You can sprinkle some shredded cheese though there is already a lot in this soup. Croutons might be good. We just have oyster crackers.

Serve this with warmed French bread, salad, or a relish tray and be sure to include the pickles; pickles go with cheeseburgers.

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