Myths and Legends Byway

Looking for a couple of days of good, wholesome, quality family time? A chance to get away from the tv and computer screens and really interact with each other while doing something fun…and even educational (don’t worry, you don’t have to tell the kids that last part), well the Myths and Legends Byway is the perfect trip for you.

The Myths and Legends Byway is a 181 mile, one to two-day self-guided tour that will have your family visiting pine forests and blackberry farms. You will stand in the same spot as the famous gunslinger Leather Britches Smith, and learn tons of great stories along the way.

You will start off in southwestern Louisiana at the Texas state line. Then you’ll travel through land that was originally settled by the Atakapa and Coushatta Indians. You will find tons of people along the way who will be happy to share the stories of their towns with you and your family.

DeRidder will be one of your first stops, and it offers plenty to do! The Beauregard Parish Museum is filled with local artifacts. The Beauregard Parish Museum is home to a collection of over 3,000 dolls! If you are looking for something a little different, make sure to check out the Beauregard Parish Civic Center-Covered Arena, which has rodeo shows all year long.

From there you will find yourself in Oakdale, known for its blackberry farms and beautiful azaleas. You will want to stop in Sugartown to see everything that the first settlement in southwestern Louisiana has to hold. After spending some time in Oakdale you’ll want to scoot over to Merryville. This is where you can see the grave of the famed outlaw Leather Britches Smith.

To learn more, check out the official website for the Myths and Legends Byways.

This article was written by Fancy Hands Assistants.

14th Annual Miracle on Washington Street Festival

Today is the Miracle on Washington Street Christmas event as well as the Christmas Parade.

Be sure to swing by downtown DeRidder today between 10am and 8pm today for the festival. Some festival attractions include:
​Children’s Games, SnoWonder Playground, Cindy Lou Who Beauty Shop, Frozen Bouncy Houses, Cookies & Juice with the Mrs. Claus, 50+Vendors, Food, Christmas Cheers and local entertainment

The parade begins at 5:30p and will start at the fairgrounds and end at Washington Street.

For more information, check out the Chamber of Commerce’s website.

EDIT: Check out the photo album on Shutterbug 1968’s Facebook Community Page.

Warmshowers: Meet Sarah

Sarah came to me on Thanksgiving Eve. When I awoke this morning, she was the first to tell me, ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’ before I was even awake enough to know my own name, haha!

She is from Vermont and started her trip in Seattle heading all the way to Saint Augustine (Florida).  I think she was mildily amused when I built a fire in the fireplace this morning.

A cool thing about Sarah is she is my youngest ever cycling guest. She is 18 years old. I’ve had a few that were 20 years old, but she is officially my youngest guest. (For the record, my oldest guest was 78 years old).

What Can You Get for $300k?

Trulia recently released an article of what $500k can get you in various cities. Check out the article here: How Much House $500k Gets You in These American Cities

What kind of bang can you get for your buck in our area? (Beauregard/Vernon Parishes)

Check out what is available in Beauregard/Vernon Parish for under $300k:

  • How about a 6 bedroom, 3.5 bath home with 3800 sqft and a pool for only $299k? This property is being listed by ERA Sarver Real Estate.
  • Want to be near the golf course? There’s a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom home available for just $289.9k. This property is being listed by Century 21 Steve Delia and Associates.
  • Are historic properties more your thing? This next home is 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Why not have a piece of history for only $265k. This property is being listed by ERA Sarver Real Estate.


Want to schedule a showing? Give me a call today – 337-509-0201.



Warmshowers: Meet Mike and Sharon

Mike and Sharon are traveling companions that found each other on a touring companion search. Mike is from Colorado and hosts cyclists as well. Sharon is actually from Canada.

The two started their trip together in New Orleans, after talking for months online and on the phone, this was the first time that they had physically met each other.

Their journey will take them to Austin and then they will get transportation from Austin to San Diego to meet up with a friend and ride some more.

Sharon is actually a chef by trade. She runs a restaurant up north in Canada seasonally for the “gold rush” and the ice road truckers. She prepared a wonderful meal – hamburgers, a classic! Her secret ingredient? Hot sauce! Who knew!

Warmshowers: Meet Harum and Los Mayos

Harum is traveling west to east on the Southern Tier. She actually has some friends in the New Orleans area and may end her trip there. She’s undecided at the moment, but regardless of what she chooses to do, I know it’ll be the best experience for her, especially since she will have some time to spend in New Orleans. That in and of itself is a great experience, too much to see and do even if you planned a week-long vacation there!

She was born in the US but grew up in Indonesia much of her life until returning to the US for education in journalism. Harum is certainly a free-spirited young woman. I wish her well in life!

Often times I do host cyclists who are vegetarian or vegan. Many times, those cyclists have to alter their dietary preferences during this trip. In many rural towns, it’s hard to find good quality vegan foods. Some manage to live on a diet of tortillas and peanut butter and remain strict, but most end up adding eggs, fish, and milk to their diet just to be able to consume the calories needed. (Did you know that touring cyclists can burn 8000-15000 calories a day, depending on their ride style?!)

Harum is one of those cyclists! Due to the several I’ve hosted with this dietary preference, I’ve learned how to reasonably accommodate. One of those ways is to go to Los Mayos Mexican Restaurant located just off HWY 171. Harum and I enjoyed fajitas. I’ve never personally ordered it, but Los Mayos has Vegetable Fajitas – remove the cheese and the sour cream and it’s instant vegan! I’ve heard great things about the veggie fajitas from other vegetarian/vegan folks. Personally, I like beef, so I had to go with the steak fajitas. Such a treat!

Whenever possible, I like to get pictures of my guests when they are all suited up and ready to ride out. Harum was no exception. Usually, I try to get a picture of them with their bike as well as a selfie. However, Herum gave me a new term today: a “We-fie”

Behold! The We-fie!

How to Organize Your Refrigerator

Leftovers gobbling up space in your refrigerator? Here are some tips for keeping things organized, efficient, and tasty.

A well-organized refrigerator keeps food fresh longer and lets you grab and go faster. Before you unpack groceries, spend a second thinking about the right place for everything.

Here are common sense ways to declutter and organize your fridge:

  1. The front of the middle rack, near eye-level, is prime refrigerator real estate. Put priority items there, like leftovers you want to be eaten soon and healthy snacks. The back of the fridge is the coldest part. Store milk there, and it will stay fresh longer.
  2. Don’t waste fridge space on food that doesn’t need to be chilled. Examples: fresh eggs from backyard chickens (though store-bought eggs do need refrigerating), ketchup, vinegar, jam, mayonnaise, and butter. Put those items in the pantry. You can store fresh eggs in a bowl on the counter for eight weeks.
  3. Never put tomatoes in fridge, or they’ll get mushy; onions will soften; honey will thicken; potatoes will turn too starchy. Keep onions and potatoes in separate paper bags and store in a cool, dark place (a lower cabinet drawer is great).
  4. Rectangular or square bins are your friends (round ones waste space, so don’t use them). Designate one for healthy snacks and another for breakfast foods like bagels and cream cheese. In the freezer, use one big bin for frozen veggies, rather than stuff individual bags into the freezer.
  5. Use plastic placemats as shelf liners, which makes cleanup easier.
  6. Place drippy food, like red meat and seafood, on the bottom shelf. That way it won’t drip too far.

By: Courtney Craig


How to Clean Up After Thanksgiving in Half the Time

The Pilgrims were on to something when they planned a Thanksgiving potluck; there are other good ideas that’ll simplify your T-Day kitchen cleanup.

Want something to be thankful for?

Check out these tips that’ll make your Thanksgiving kitchen cleanup faster and easier — and will give you more time to enjoy family and friends.

Plan a Potluck

The first Thanksgiving was a potluck; so let your guests share the fun and bring dishes to share. Then make sure they take home their serving bowls and platters, which will cut down on dishes to wash and put away.

Set Up a Soaking Station

Soak pots and pans as soon as you transfer food to platters. But instead of filling the sink with soaking pots, designate a small trashcan as the soaking spot. Fill it will soapy water and dirty pots, and hide it under a sink or in a mudroom. That way, your sink is free throughout the evening to clean as you go and rinse dishes on the way to the dishwasher.

Triple-Duty Cookware

Cut down on cleanup by selecting cookware that can go from oven to table to freezer. Or, serve food in edible containers, such as bread bowls or hollowed-out winter squash, which you can either consume or compost.

Empty Fridge

Start your holiday with a clean slate, which will make the inevitable mess less daunting than piling clutter onto clutter. Before beginning Thanksgiving prep, pick up depressing home clutter and clean out your fridge to make room for ingredients and leftovers.

If possible, designate a shelf for Thanksgiving food, which should be empty when you start your meal, then filled with leftovers when you’re finished. In a week, clean out that shelf again. Make soup from leftover meat and veggies, and then freeze. Compost wilted greens. Toss old dairy products.

Prepare Roasting Pans

You won’t have to clean what you don’t get dirty. So line your turkey roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, or cook the bird in a bag. Pour drippings into a pot to make gravy, then throw away the liner.

Line Garbage Cans

Double- or triple-line garbage cans, which saves time when the cleaning campaign begins. After you toss a trash bag, there’s another waiting for action.

Stop Stains

Don’t let stains on carpet or rings on furniture set. While wine stains are still wet, dab with go-to cleaner hydrogen peroxide mixed with a few drops of dish detergent; blot with a clean cloth. Get rid of water stains on wood furniture with a dab of white toothpaste (not gel). Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pump Up the Music

Up-tempo music will give you a second wind for cleaning. So turn off the soothing dinner tunes and get rocking with a cleaning playlist.

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

9 Ways to Stop Thanksgiving From Sending Your Energy Bill Soaring

Like turning down the heat when you crank up the oven.

Your home gets a serious workout on Thanksgiving. While you may be packing on the pounds, your home is sweating from increased usage — more people coming in and out, and more ditigal devices to charge so everyone can keep up with their favorite football team and friends. Your home’s energy consumption can skyrocket, especially when the oven’s working non-stop and you’re pulling out kitchen gadgets to chop and puree.

Give your home a break, and don’t make it work so hard, which will also save you cash on energy bills. Try these tips:

A Few Days Before Thanksgiving

1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb’s brightness by 10%, you’ll double the bulb’s lifespan. Most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. The dimmer switch will cost you about $10.

2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too.

When You Start Cooking

3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.

4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.

5. Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.

6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker: Each time you remove the lid, it releases heat and can add about 25 minutes of cooking time to your dish.

7. Use lids on pots to retain heat. The food you’re cooking on the stovetop will heat up faster when you use lids.

When It’s Cleanup Time

8. Scrape plates instead of rinsing with hot water. Unless food is really caked on there, your dishwasher should get the dishes clean without a pre-rinse. Compost your non-meat food waste.

9. Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.

By: Courtney Craig