5 Things to Know about Vacationing in Emerald Isle, NC

watermelon flad1. Grocery shopping made easy.

The day before you leave home for your vacation on beautiful Emerald Isle, go online to Lowes Food in Cape Carteret, NC, and fill out your shopping list. They shop for you and pick-up is only $4.95. This way you beat the crowd and spend your first glorious hours of vacation on the beach instead of inside the grocery store.

2. Staying out of traffic.

The locals know when to avoid the roads leading to the Emerald Isle bridge: arrival and departure days for tourists. If you’re that tourist, consider arriving two hours before check-in, get on the island before the rush (when the locals arrive), enjoy the beach, and then check into your lodging.

3. Rainy day plan.

When the rain drives you inside or when a sunburn sends you looking for shelter, there are plenty of options. The local movie theater, the Emerald Plantation Cinema has the latest blockbuster films, but they are cash only. Over the bridge in Cape Carteret, MacDaddy’s can provide hours of entertainment with bowling, arcades, billiards and more.

4. Free music events.

The Crystal Coast is all about free summer music concerts. Check out SwanFest in Swansboro, the concerts in Fort Macon near Atlantic Beach, the Concert Series in the Park in Morehead City.

5. Happy Trails

The four-mile island path on Emerald Drive has been extended in the last year, so you and your family can enjoy a longer ride or walk. If you enjoy a shady walk in the woods, take a stroll (and a picnic) in the 41-acre Emerald Isle Woods Park off of Coast Guard road. Pets are welcome on a leash.

How to milk a…. what?

I heard that making my own almond milk was possible, but I didn’t believe it could be easy enough for me to do at home…

until I tried it!

picstitch (1)It’s as easy as:

soak, blend, and strain!

1. Soak a cup of almonds in water for four or more hours.


2. Drain that water off and put the nuts in a blender. Add water about 1/2 an inch over the nuts, and blend for a minute or until all the nuts are chopped.

3. Strain the nuts and voiala – fresh almond milk with no additives!

Add a banana and ice to this delicious milk for a scrumptious, protein-rich breakfast!


Particular Pancakes

photo 3 (1)These pancakes aren’t just your boring, ho-hum breakfast food.  These are Particular Pancakes because particular care was taken to make them not just gluten free, grain free, and dairy free, but tasty!  You’ll find them easy to make and even easier to eat.

                               Particular Pancakes

1/4 Cup of Coconut Flour                         1/8 teaspoon of baking soda

4 eggs                                                    2 Tablespoons of maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice                     1 pinch of sea salt

Prepare a skillet with two tablespoons of Grape Seed Oil.  The skillet (with the oil) is ready when it is sizzling hot.

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and stir with a whisk until thoroughly mixed.  The consistency of the dough should be moist and malleable. Take a large scoop of dough with a tablespoon and form in into a ball and then shape it into a flat pancake in your hand. Place it into the hot skillet for about one minute on each side.  Enjoy with a touch of maple syrup!

The Pirates are Coming!

20140503_160916Bolt your doors and shiver your timbers or face the fearless swashbuckling invaders of the Beaufort, North Carolina, waterfront on August 7th and 8th, 2015! These 17th Century bearded and bejeweled pirates begin swaggering the streets at high noon on Friday and will cause mayhem until the cannon fires at 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Bring your younguns and your peg-legged pooches to witness the scoundrels from the high seas. If you dare, look here for more details of the Pirate Invasion.

Rereading the Classics or nah?

photo (5)When I plopped my stack of books on the counter to check out, the librarian placed her hand reverently on the collection, furrowed her brow, parted her lips in a weak smile, and said, “Rereading the Classics?” I had the distinct impression that she meant, “Aren’t there any other books among the thousands on the shelves that would do for summer reading?”  I chuckled and said that I was preparing for classes in the fall. She exhaled with great relief and wished me well.

I was flattered that the librarian assumed that I had already read these ancient classics. If they were part of my high school studies, I was snoozing.  Is there really any value in reading the battles of Beowulf and Grendel or the voyages of Odysseus? Or nah, as a modern teenager may reply.  Here are 3 reasons why studying Ancient Classic Literature, such as Beowulf, The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid, is valuable.

Classic Literature…

1.  Enriches language.

2. Gives insight into World Cultures.

3.  Entertains.

If you’ve never read the ancient classics or it’s been so long that you don’t remember, then find a modern translation in book or e-audio, spread a towel on the beach, and set sail on an ocean of adventure.





Are dogs allowed on Emerald Isle Beach? 3 things you need to know

Sandy paws!Your furry four-legged best friend is welcome on the Crystal Coast beaches, but you need to know these three important facts:

1.  Local beaches require dogs to be kept on a leash.  Lest you think there will be no consequence of letting your dog run freely, the fine for a dog off the leash is that the dog may be impounded.  If the impounded dog is not claimed in four days, the family pet could meet a sad end.

2. No dogs are allowed in the area of Atlantic Beach which is protected by lifeguards.

3. Dog owners must clean up after their pet.  Garbage cans are conveniently located at regular intervals on the beach.  The penalty for not scooping the poop is a civil fine of $50.

Information is taken from the websites of the Town of Emerald Isle and the Town of Atlantic Beach website.

Remembering those who lost their lives December 7, 1941

20140521_162832For the United States, entrance into World War II began here on the island of Oahu when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Engraved on this wall in the floating memorial are the names of 1,177 men who died that day on the Arizona.  That number represents almost half of the population of men, women, and civilians who died in the attack that day.

My dad was a veteran of WWII, landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy. My father-in-law was also a veteran of WWII, serving on a battleship in the Pacific. This Memorial Day I am thankful for the heritage of brave warriors in my family and for the men and women who have served and still serve our country today in the armed forces.

Aloha Sweet Potato Brownie

20140522_141809 (1)Smooth and rich, this brownie is a healthy alternative when craving something sweet. Try it with fresh fruit for an unforgettable dessert.

Aloha Sweet Potato Brownie

Preheat the oven at 325 degrees.  Prepare one medium sweet potato by peeling, slicing, and boiling it until it is tender. Place the drained boiled sweet potato in a blender.  Blend for 30 seconds.  Add the following ingredients directly in the blender with the sweet potato:

  • 1/2 cup Cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup Rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil (This is where the Aloha originates!)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 large Egg

Blend all the ingredients until it has a creamy consistency, about 1/2 minute.  Spread in a glass pan and bake at 325 degrees 25 minutes or until a fork comes out clean.  Here is the important part:  Wait for the brownie to cool.  If you prefer a creamy pudding consistency that will not cut into squares, go ahead and indulge as soon as the pan hits the counter.  Enjoy!

Simply Put

If you or your child have ever delighted in a well-worn, loved-to-shreds stuffed animal, then Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator by Mo Willems will become a well-worn, loved-to-shreds book on your shelf!

Reviewed by Krisan Murphy
Review by Krisan Murphy

This delightful tale of Amanda and Alligator expounds all the emotions of childhood – waiting, wondering, wishing, and wanting. Alligator must wait while Amanda is at the library and hopes for a surprise. When she returns, Amanda delivers a “Boo” which is the “most interesting surprise.”  The simple drawings are crisp and clean, ideal for any age child.  There are six and a half stories about the friendship of Amanda and Alligator, all of which include surprises. Alligator discovers a sale tag which reveals he cost Amanda a mere seven cents.  The reader learns that “When friends ask you to tell the truth, you tell the truth.”  Amanda reveals that he was priced for seven cents, because no one wanted to buy Alligator. This saddens Alligator until Amanda explains, “Because they knew you were meant to be my best friend.” Alligator’s friendship with Amanda is tested again, when Alligator is left at home to wait while she is at the zoo with her grandpa.  Children will relate to Alligator’s dislike of waiting.  Finally, when Amanda returns, she enters the door with a brand new (and probably expensive) fluffy panda. No one is more surprised than Alligator that he and Panda turn out to be friends.


Cindy’s Salad Dressing

20140509_145244 (1)This isn’t just any salad dressing!  It’s a tangy, scrumptious concoction created by my friend, Cindy, who must eat grain-free, preservative-free, nut-free, sugar-free, well – you get the picture of a very limited choice of foods – to stay healthy.  Drizzle it over salad or savor it as a dip for vegetables and meats.

Cindy’s Salad Dressing

1/2 c. honey (can also use pure maple syrup)
2TBSP Annie’s yellow mustard
2 TBSP Annie’s Horseradish mustard
4 TBSP coconut vinegar (or desired vinegar)
1 clove garlic

Blend those on high for about 30 seconds.

1 c. grapeseed oil (or other)

Blend on high, at least, 30 seconds WHILE slowly adding oil.

Using a blender helps keep everything mixed well!