10 Ways to Get More Adventure in Your Life

Here are 10 simple ways to put more adventure in your life.

  1. Do something new
    Big range available here… do something that is new to you. This could be trying a new activity, meeting new people, or going somewhere you have never been before.
  2. Do something old in a new place
    Any every-day action can be made new exciting when you do it in a new setting. Your lunch will be much better if you eat sitting in a park instead of at your desk. Your supper tonight will be more exciting if you have a picnic instead of a “normal meal”.
  3. Pursue an interest
    Pick out something that you have always wanted to try, and start today! What are you waiting for?
  4. Go somewhere familiar and look at it in a new way
    There are many places that you visit on a regular basis and because of this familiarity you don’t really look at them. Go somewhere familiar and explore it as if it was new!
  5. Travel in a new way
    Either take a new route or try a new mode of transportation. You might be surprised how much you overlook out of familiarity on a habitual route.
  6. Try a new version of something familiar
    Do you purchase the same things every time you go to the store? Take the few extra moments next time and try a different version or brand of a product you use!
  7. Try a new food
    New food is one of the easiest things that you can introduce some variety into your life. If you don’t like it, you don’t have a large investment, and you can easily avoid it next time. You never know where you will find a new favorite!
  8. Take a break
    Sometimes the best thing you can do is give yourself a chance to recharge. On the way home from work, stop and sit in a park for a few minutes. Sit in the yard and read a book for an hour. Enjoy a hot bath.
  9. Turn off the TV
    Take control of your time and go have an adventure of your own, instead of watching someone else’s adventure.
  10. Plan your next adventure
    Want something bigger than the other 9? Sit down and plan your dream adventure!

Which of these are you going to try today?

Irish Soda Bread

The idea of making my own bread fascinates me. There’s nothing like the smell of bread fresh from the oven, and there’s nothing like the taste of that same bread sliced while still warm and then smothered in butter. I haven’t tried many bread recipes, and none that involve a packet of yeast (there’s an art to yeast bread, it seems). I’ve learned from the ones that I have tried and will continue to make them.

Irish Soda Bread

When people talk about Irish country bread, they mean bread made without yeast, leavened by bread (baking) soda or baking powder. The Irish love this traditional bread and its solid nourishment gives them more pleasure than almost any Irish food. It also gives them a feeling of continuity with the past; the Irish have never stopped making soda bread at home.
It is doubtful if anything was weighed much in the old days, people just didn’t have time. They threw handfuls of flour and oatmeal of different sorts into a bowl and mixed them with buttermilk. When the texture felt right, the dough was crossed deeply and bundled into a hot oven or cooking pot. Forty minutes later, it had become a loaf which was robust and individual.

Making Soda Bread

No bread pan is needed for country bread. It bakes far better when placed straight onto a floured baking sheet in the oven. You will need a wire rack and a clean tea towel (dish cloth) to wrap the loaf in after it is baked.


  • 1 cup white (all-purpose) flour
  • 3 cups brown (whole-wheat) flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp bread (baking) soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk (approx.)

This is the classic Irish recipe for brown soda bread. You can make white soda bread by using 4 cups of white flour. Some people put herbs into their bread, with good results. After you’ve tried it a time or two, feel free to experiment and see what you can come up with.

Sieve/sift the flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl. Make a well in the center. Pour in most of the buttermilk to make a loose dough, adding more if necessary. Turn the dough on to a floured board and knead it lightly. Form a round loaf. Turn the smooth side up. Flatten it carefully and cut a deep cross in the top of the loaf.
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F for about 40 minutes. The loaf should sound hollow if you tap the base (you may need to turn it over for 5 minutes or so to achieve this.) Wrap the loaf in a clean dish towel and put it on a rack to cool.

Some Advice

I’ve made this hearty loaf a couple of times now and plan on doing so well into the future. While I greatly enjoyed my first loaf, be careful not to add too much buttermilk, as you can end up with a sticky mess of dough to contend with. Likewise, it does make a difference if you flip the loaf over for the last 5 or so minutes to let the bottom fully bake, you might have some doughy spots in the bottom if you don’t. If you don’t sift the flour you can end up with a brick-like loaf; if you don’t have a sifter, use a spoon to scoop out the flour so that it doesn’t get compressed in the measuring cup.


A few slices of this bread make for a quite filling sandwich, or a single buttered slice for a snack. A thick slice goes wonderfully with a soup or stew. I’m comfortable enough with the recipe to start experimenting now. I will be trying various herbs, some sugar, perhaps even some molasses. Who knows what I’ll end up with!
Now it’s your turn! Spend a few minutes mixing, set the timer for the oven and enjoy your freshly-baked homemade bread!

Indoor Picnic

Is the weather not quite right to head outside for a picnic? Have one indoors! Indoor picnics have a number of advantages:

  • It doesn’t matter what the weather is
  • It doesn’t matter what time of day it is
  • You already have everything you need
  • You have a wider range of cooking options

Setting up

Clear an opening on the floor (a carpet or rug provides some padding) and spread out a blanket or sheet. Put some placemats down, and “set the table” with dishes, silverware and glasses. (I generally opt to go with the nice dishes and long-stemmed glasses). Turn down the lights and set up some candles.


Since your kitchen is readily accessible, you can make anything you want. Pick your favorite meal and get to cooking! I would suggest putting some focus on presentation. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but since you’re using candles for lighting, you can easily create a dramatic effect.

Serve and Enjoy!

Serve your meal, sit (or lie) down and enjoy! No worries with bugs, gusts of wind or sudden bad weather. Ahh… it doesn’t get much better than this!

What are you waiting for? There’s no excuse needed for an indoor picnic. Celebrate Wednesday, the fact that you’re alive and well, or just some good food. Enjoy!

It’s Picnic Time!


The weather’s turning warm, the flowers are blooming, and everything is beginning to turn green. It’s picnic time! My wife and I love going on picnics. We are always on the lookout for new places to stop. You can too!

What you need

Picnics can be as plain or as fancy as the situation calls for. Sometimes we just carry our meal in a lunchbox and use a picnic table in the park. Other times we load up the picnic basket and find a secluded beach or grassy field to spread our blanket out on.

I looked at a number of local stores before finding a picnic basket that I was happy with. This meant a few weekends of exploring shops, looking for just the right one. If I had started out by asking family members, I could have saved a bit of time, as it turns out that there were two sitting unused in attics. (hint, hint) You can pick up a number of different varieties online, such as this one, this one or this one. Most of these come with a set of dishes. If not, you can get a set from the local “everything for $1” store (insert the name of yours). For only a few dollars I had a set of plates, bowls, silverware, long-stemmed glasses , napkins, placemats and candles. Due to the low cost I can easily replace any that happen to break. I picked up a set of sheets at a yardsale for about $2, and have been using them as a blanket. Cheap, easily cleaned, and can be doubled up if desired. My whole picnic set cost around $30-40.

Packing tips

It took me a couple of tries to figure out how best to pack everything inside my basket. I don’t take everything if I don’t expect to need it (the bowls often stay home). Generally, I start with the plates on bottom, layering a napkin in between for padding. The silverware is wrapped inside the other napkin and tucked inside a glass. The glasses are rolled inside the placemats for protection and laid on top of the plates. The candles (tea candles in small glasses) are tucked into the corners of the basket. All of this takes up about 1/4 of the basket. I generally lay the blanket/sheet on top of the dishes and begin packing the food. The heavier/sturdier (tupperware/thermos/bottle) items go on the bottom, with the other items stacked on top.

What to eat

I don’t know that there is such a thing as a “picnic meal”. I’ve had everything from sandwiches to grilled chicken. It all depends on your location, how much time you have, and most importantly, your tastes. If the picnic is only part of a larger day, you will want something that travels well, such as sandwiches or a salad. Is the picnic the main focus? Try something a bit fancier; grilled chicken, rice and veggies.

Whatever you choose, it doesn’t have to be fancy. You might find that food you have everyday tastes better, simply by having it in a new setting. This means that a sandwich and chips might be exactly what you want. Try some bread and cheese, a selection of fresh fruit and a nice drink to compliment them. Maybe you won’t want more than a salad. See what sounds good and go with that.

Where to cook

Where are you going to prepare the food? If I’m having a picnic later in the day (say lunch during a day trip) I often choose to go with sandwiches and just pack the ingredients. I can actually put the sandwich together at the location so that it is freshly-made. When the picnic is the main focus, I sometimes prepare the food at home just before leaving. This generally means that I have to pack it so that it stays warm. Soup and liquids will go in a thermos, chicken and other solids are often wrapped in aluminum and then in a towel for insulation. Sometimes I take one of my camping stoves and simply prepare the meal at the spot.

Where to go

Now that you’ve got your equipment and decided what you’re eating, it’s time to figure out where to go. There are countless options available here. You can go to the local park and either use one of the picnic tables or find a grassy area where you won’t be interrupted. Perhaps you want to find a spot overlooking a ball game. Find a stream or beach and eat beside the water. Go hiking to a favorite overlook. Boat out to an island and eat there. My wife and I have tried all of these options, and are continually on the lookout for new ones.

Make it special

It’s easy to add those few small touches to make a picnic extra special. Have some fresh fruit for dessert. Bring some long-stemmed candles (be sure to catch the wax with something, or it can get stuck to your blanket). I always try to surprise my wife during our picnics, so I do all the packing; I try to slip in a bottle of sparkling juice, some favored dessert, or something else to make it special for her.

Picnicing alone

For those times when you don’t have someone with you, picnicing can still be greatly enjoyable. A past job of mine included traveling about the area, and I enjoyed the opportunity to eat my lunch in many wonderful locations. I focused on the good food that I had, and on the beautiful settings I was in. A picnic is as special as you make it.

It’s picnic time!

Paper bag or a hand-woven teak basket makes no difference. Doesn’t matter if it’s the same sandwich you have every day or chicken breast in a special sauce. Bench in a park or an island all to yourself, it’s all the same. Savor your food, drink in your surroundings and focus on the good things in life. What is important is that you get out there and go picnicing!

Banana Leaf Picnic Basket

Seek Out a New Version of Your Everyday Products

I hate chores and don’t like doing them. Unfortunately, my life tends to include some chores that I have to take care of. Shopping, for example. In order to work around the idea that it is a chore, I make it into an adventure. Looking at it as an expedition, I enjoy shopping and look forward to trips to the store.

One of the things that I do is to explore the different versions of the stuff that I have to buy. When you go shopping, do you always buy X brand of yogurt, Y brand of toilet paper and Z brand of clothes? Unless I have tried most of the options out there and settled on one that I prefer, I will continue to try new versions. This does make the trip a bit longer, but it helps keep it from seeming like just another chore.

Here’s a recent example: Before leaving for Ireland, I was perusing the food co-cop’s hygeine section and came across J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Bar Shampoo. It particularly caught my interest at that time because a shampoo bar would take up much less room in my luggage than a bottle and also cause no trouble when passing through security checkpoints. (Even better, if I liked it, it would not only work for this trip but also for camping.) I purchased a bar, put it in my luggage, and away I went!

I’ve never used a bar shampoo but figured it couldn’t hurt to try. The label states “This shampoo will not strip the natural oils from your hair so most people do not need a conditioner.” Since I was trying to save room while packing, not having to carrry conditioner sounded good to me! Worst-case scenario, I would not like the shampoo and would have to buy a bottle to replace the bar.

By now, a couple of months have passed since I purchased my shampoo bar, and I doubt that I will be returning to a liquid shampoo. My hair feels healthier than before, and I haven’t used any conditioner. My wife also tried the shampoo bar and liked it, except for the fact that I purchased an unscented bar. Once I told her that it also comes in a variety of smells, she was interested in gettting some for herself.

Without taking the time to explore a new section at the store (which was only a recent find itself), my hair would not be healthier, my haircare routine would involve an extra step and I would have bought yet another bottle of the same shampoo that I had been using for years. Who knows what I will find next time…

Now, instead of just blindly following your list, take the extra bit of time to seek out the adventures that shopping list of yours points to. Explore the offerings of the deodorant department, peruse the sock selections and try a new fresh fruit flavor! Your new favorite might be waiting just behind the next purchase!

43 Uses for a P-38

P-38 Can OpenerI first put my P-38 on my keyring over 10 years ago, and it has been there ever since. Keeping it there has saved the day in a number of instances. What is a P-38? It is a can opener. Designed as a throwaway item intended for one-time use, it will last forever. They were given out with canned C-Rations, which have been replaced by un-canned Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s), so that P-38’s are no longer standard equipment.

This little tool has an amazing history. Anyone who is familiar with the military (indeed, with any part of the government) knows that they do not do anything fast. In 1942 the P-38 was conceived, designed, prototyped and went into production in less than 30 days. For the Government to do anything in less than 30 days is a phenomenal accomplishment.

The P-38 is designed to do one thing; open cans. As such it is an amazingly effective device. It opens any classic tin can, any time, any place. It runs forever. No batteries required. Fully portable. Self-protecting. Cost is zilch. No users manuals or tutorials.

Fortunately for us, it also does more than just open cans. Without further ado, here are 43 reasons that I carry my P-38:

  1. can opener (duh!)
  2. all-purpose toothpick
  3. fingernail cleaner
  4. splinter remover
  5. flat-head screwdriver – use one of the ends
  6. phillips-head screwdriver – use one of the corners
  7. bottle opener
  8. box cutter
  9. letter opener
  10. chisel
  11. stirrer
  12. neck slasher (women used to carry to use in case of attack)
  13. seam ripper
  14. cut fishing line
  15. open paint cans
  16. window scraper
  17. scrape around floor corners
  18. digging
  19. clean out groove on Tupperware lids
  20. reach in and clean out small cracks
  21. scrape around edge of boots
  22. {in the field} gut fish
  23. {in the field} scale fish
  24. test for “doneness” when baking on a camp fire
  25. prying items
  26. strip wire
  27. scrape pans in the field
  28. lift key on flip top cans
  29. barter
  30. marking tool
  31. deflating tires
  32. measurement
  33. striking flint
  34. puncturing plastic coating
  35. knocking on doors
  36. Morse Code
  37. write emergency messages
  38. scratch an itch
  39. save as a souvenir
  40. rip off rank for on the spot promotion
  41. carburetor repair tool
  42. bee sting removal tool (scrape off w/ blade)
  43. knife sharpener

My trusty P-38 has come in handy numerous times. More than once I have gone on a camping trip and no one thought to bring a can-opener, even though everyone brought canned food. Fortunately, I was prepared (and it’s always humorous to watch the un-initiated use a P-38 for their first time.) I have even saved members of other groups, such as the unfortunate lady who walked around half of the campground looking for a can opener before getting to our site.

Besides a can-opener, I often use my P-38 for a screw driver; I have tightened glasses, fixed equipment at work, opened battery compartments when geocaching and more! I cannot stand having dirt underneath my nails, and so frequently use this to clean underneath my nails (I sterilize it on a regular basis, as well!) Without repeating the list above, suffice it to say that my P-38 is the most commonly used tool on my keyring and I feel lost without it.

Think you could use a P-38? You can grab one here, or G.I. P-38 Can Openers (15 Pack)get a number of them and share. Or keep them all for yourself and store them in various places: keychian, glovebox, tacklebox, mess kit, etc.

If the 1.5″ P-38 is smaller than you want, you can always try its big brother, the P-51. At 2″ long, it is still convenient enough to carry daily, but is easier and faster than the smaller P-38. The larger size affords more leverage and doesn’t require as much thumb pressure to use. They are especially good for smaller or arthritic hands.

Get yourP-38 or P-51 today, you never know when it’ll come in handy!

The Chocolate Follow-Up

I made it a point to pick up some dark chocolate over the weekend. I decided on some Moser-Roth 70% Cocoa. Eating it as described in my last post, I can say that it does have a more complex flavor than milk chocolate. It tastes a bit bitter when I first put it in my mouth, but as it melts the bitterness seems to recede. I wish that I were better at describing tastes, so that I could give you a better understanding of what it is like.

By the time that the chocolate is all melted away, I don’t notice any bitterness. I think that the aftertaste may be even better than the actual chocolate.

I have always been a dessert fan. A meal just does not seem complete unless it includes a finishing sweet taste. After supper tonight, a small bite of dark chocolate seemed to be exactly the compliment that the pasta needed. The sweetness of the chocolate seemed to balance out the lingering saltiness.

A whole new world of tastes is now open to me! While perusing the grocery store I noticed the wide selection of dark chocolates and am eager to try them all. This is so exciting! Writing about it made me want more… so I’m off to grab another bite!

Have You had Your Chocolate Today?

Have you tried a GOOD chocolate bar recently? I have found two options: a rich and creamy milk chocolate or a bitter chocolate with a high cacao concentration. These two options will appeal to different palates, so try them both to determine which you prefer.

Cacao is actually very good for you, so eating a dark chocolate is a pretty decent snack. It is the high amount of sugar found in milk chocolate that makes it unhealthy, so if you end up liking the milk chocolate you might want to be aware of this fact. You can still enjoy it on a regular basis, as I do, and by eating it “properly” you will automatically moderate your intake.

Whichever you end up prefering, here is how to eat it. Instead of just gobbling it down and not really tasting it, try breaking off a small chunk and letting it melt in your mouth. You are better able to taste and enjoy the flavor this way. If you are eating a bitter chocolate, you might want to start with smaller pieces and work your way to larger ones. Of course, your chocolate will also last longer; my previous chocolate bar (an extra large one from Valentine’s Day) lasted me over a week, even with two of us eating it.

I have heard some chocolate snobs say that a bitter chocolate’s flavor is “far more interesting than the simple flavor of milk chocolate.” I have not sampled a bitter chocolate recently, and so cannot comment on this. My only advice in exploring different chocolates is to avoid any kind of baking chocolate, as it is generally pretty unpalatable in its straight form.

Since you are eating smaller portions each time, you can actually eat chocolate more often! By eating only a small chunk after every meal, I can satisfy my sweet tooth while stretching my chocolate bar over the course of a week. Previously, that same bar would have last me no more than two sittings. However, I would not have enjoyed it nearly as much.

Three cheers for chocolate!

Enjoy What You are Shooting


I know nothing about photography, but have always dreamed of taking great photos. After years of wishing, I was finally inspired by Lisa at Travelin’ Local to start improving my photography skills. She loves her photography and is passionate about finding adventures in her hometown.

Based on my lack of knowledge, I needed[singlepic=15,320,240,,right]to start at the beginning. No matter where you look, one of the most important parts of getting better is simple, practice. I had to get out there and start taking more photos. One piece of photography advice I read was “Enjoy what you are shooting.” Following this advice, I spent some time staring through the camera at the keys and keyholes in our apartment. My wife found this quite amusing. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I find the old-fashioned keys in our apartment fascinating. It is helpful that they are convenient and readily available (and inside… it’s cold at night!)

Of course, we don’t have keys like this at home. I have seen them in a couple of the older homes I have visited, but only on interior doors, not on the front door. Since I don’t expect to live anywhere else that has them, I plan to enjoy them while I have the opportunity.

[singlepic=17,320,240,,left]I know I am not the only one who is interested in an everyday item in my house. I’m sure that you possess something that is different, something that either you or others find fascinating. Don’t let your familiarity blind you to how interesting something can be. You might need to change your perspective. An easy way to look at those items in a new way is through the lens of a camera. You don’t have a fancy camera? That’s ok, neither do I. Mine is a fairly cheap point-and-shoot, an older version of what you will see at any electronics department. It is neither fancy nor feature rich. I am using it as a starting point; it’s easy to use, has few options to confuse me, and will enable me to focus on taking pictures (things like composition and lighting).

Having trouble thinking of an item to re-look at? Here are some suggestions: [singlepic=16,320,240,,right]

  • something that you collect
  • a gift you received
  • a well-worn item
  • a heirloom
  • something different from everyone else’s (different color, shape, etc)

Now that you have your subject in mind, begin looking at it in a different way. My first key photos struck me as boring and plain (I must have taken 50 total, over half of which I deleted.) After some frustration it finally occurred to me that I was looking directly at them. While this worked in the picture above, highlighting the light coming in through the keyhole, it did not work with anything else. I finally realized that I should try a new angle, and ended up with the picture at the beginning of the post. I tried re-arranging the keys, holding them in my hand, combining them with the door, looking from every possible angle and more. (You wouldn’t believe how many tries it took me to get that key to stand on it’s edge… or how frustrated I was when I knocked it over before getting a satisfactory picture!)

Once you have done this a couple of times, you will be surprised to see how you will begin to look at everything differently. You will wonder how you can arrange the stuff on the coffee table for a good picture. “I wonder how that glass will look over here with the light hitting it just so.” Everything in your house is interesting, if only it is seen in the right way. It’s up to you to be looking!

[singlepic=14,320,240,,left]Another piece of photography wisdom I recently read was “Don’t think about what others may say about your image. If you like it, it’s worth publishing.” So while I know they could be better, I like these photos and hope you enjoy them too!

Photo Scavenger Hunt

I am taking part in a photo scavenger hunt. This has been something that I have been interested in trying for some time. I happened to stumble upon one over at Nicole’s site recently and decided to go ahead and jump in and give it a try.

What is a photo scavenger hunt? Exactly like it sounds, it is a scavenger hunt where, instead of bringing back the item, you take a photo of it. Of course, this presents some interesting options, as your list can contain items that are impossible in a conventional hunt. For example, you cannot bring back a building, but you can take a photo of one.

Now keep in mind that I am not a good photographer. However, this is part of why I am interested in joining in this hunt. By “forcing” myself to photograph subjects that I might normally overlook I will get invaluable practice and improve my skills.

I have completed the list and added all of my photos. You can click on the pictures to see them full-sized. This was my first ever photo scavenger hunt and greatly enjoyed it. I’ll definitely be looking to take part of more in the future. Who knows, I might even host one!

    Here is the scavenger hunt list:

  1. local currency
  2. local flag – Everyone’s decorated for St. Paddy’s Day!
  3. local food – Because what’s more Irish than potatoes?
  4. something rusty
  5. local wildlife – I couldn’t decide between these two, so I just included them both.
  6. local nature
  7. local stamp – it was local once it got here. 😀
  8. part of your neighborhood (it can be a very small part)
  9. traditional house
  10. a local person
  11. local weather
  12. local transportation
  13. traditional local clothing – I don’t know if it’s traditional, but how could I pass up a photo like this?
  14. night sky – this was my first ever picture with the nighttime setting. I’ll have to play with it some more!
  15. sunrise
  16. local product non food – this is the product I was going to photo, and my wife happened to spot this one on the way to the store… just hanging in the tree!
  17. something furry
  18. something feathery
  19. a sign of the season
  20. a part of you
  21. your main hobby – had to go back in the archives for this one. It’s a combo of my two favorite hobbies, hiking & geocaching!
  22. a local shop
  23. a local restaurant
  24. a street sign – For some reason, this sign hits my funny bone. Something about traffic calming being the answer to road rage. (I know, I know, but it’s what I think when I see the sign.)
  25. a local mail box