Ant’s Army Fundraiser

13100793_963622750427833_9086826329136931256_nWe at Tuckers Kreative Journey love to give back. So we have decided that  Nov 14th thru Dec 4th we will be offering items up for sale to help benefit a wonderful local organization know as Ant’s Army. Ant’s Army was created in memory of Ashley Nicole Tucker, to serve the needs of foster children and families in the community.
For every item we sell a portion of the proceeds will help them to make a Christmas for lots of children.
We have everything from Jelly Fish to Chicken Pot Holders/Hot Pads. So please check out the link we have provided for you at the bottom of this post.
Also to learn more about Ant’s Army check out their website
http://ants-army.weebly.com/ and there facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ANTsArmy/?fref=ts

Also please make sure to check back to see if we add anymore items.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/KreativeJourney…

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Weenie Fest 2016 and some

Okay so this part of the trip wasn’t necessarily just one location , but then again what vacation is.

 Last years trip , we went and tried Hillbilly Hot dogs in Lesage , West Virginia . Which my Dad did find , but this place has some of the greatest weenies , lol ! With that being said , a couple months ago my Dad was scrolling through his facebook feed ( typically a ritual done when he finally finds five minutes to even remember his name ) he came across a list of the ‘ Top 10 hot dogs in West Virginia ‘ . We were already planning to go down , but this list definitely gave us an ‘ excuse ‘ to get away , lol . Only one rule though , at least one person must get a dog with chili & slaw . Sooooooo , here we go …

Lyn20160901_201740-1n’s Drive-Inn – A small drive-in located in Bluewell , West Virginia has been serving customers for over 65 years .

From first glance it looks like a walk-up place but this place still offers car hop services with some friendly staff. Which in Maryland is very rare to see .

Now, the hot dogs themselves weren’t as good as expected . which was very disappointing after reading the rave reviews on the place. My Dad who got the required dog , and I who got a chili and cheese both agreed the ‘ chili was tasteless ‘ and  he says the slaw wasn’t to his liking . My Mum said hers tasted as if it was marinated in grease water all day . We all complained about soggy bread ( so disgusting !! ) , and with my Mum having a food OCD that was just a no go .

So , even though the service was nice we gave this place a 2/10 . The service may not have been bad , but the terrible food kept the rating pretty low .

K20160901_213808ing Tuts Drive-In – Located in the little place that’s much adored , Beckley , West Virginia. King Tuts opened in the 1940’s and continues to deliver many hot homemade dishes . This is one of my Dad and Granddads favorite places to eat while being down here. My granddad who grew up in Beckley , said that he did go there but not very often as a kid . Going out then was more of a delicacy for anyone , it wasn’t like it is today . There were two more little restaurants he went to that are no longer there , sadly. BUuuut , this place is kind of like Lynn’s with the car hop service and the friendly staff.

So again Dad ordered the required , along with a pork bbq sandwich. While the rest of us got the dogs to our likings ( chili and cheese for me , Joey and Mum got basics ).

For all of us the hot dogs were much better than Lynn’s , and the homemade toast like buns were new , but unfortunately the bun was just to much for the hot dog . Again the chili was tasteless , but my Dad said the slaw was great .

In all fairness I have read other reviews online and some have said that it is a hit or miss experience for them. For us, sadly it was a miss this time but we will likely try again next year to see if we can hit it . Overall the rating was a 5/10 .

20160902_135550Skeenies– Located in Charleston , this is really a hidden gem. Settled along Rt 21 it is one of those places that is hidden away.

Skeenies has been in business for over 65 years .Run by Mary Skeen ( 89 years old ) , who opened the restaurant with her husband in 1953.

Its a tiny little place that you could probably miss if you weren’t looking for it . A walk up window with a cute older woman , who I only assume could be Mrs.Mary herself , is what we were greeted with . Along with a cash only sign and two homemade benches made from 5 gallon buckets and 2×4’s , ( very creative lol ) .

After placing our order this cute lady made conversation with us as we stood and waited for our food. She was so sweet that we almost hated leaving after our order was up. Most places you go to today , the people are so impersonal and just rude. It was nice to come up and they not just shoo us like people do now.

These somewhat skinny franks at first glance worried us a little , especially with the past two hot dog places we tried . But after one bite we all were hooked ! Considering my Mum is very picky about her food , after my Dad offered her a bite ( which she took ) she wishes she went with slaw and chili . These skinny dogs came with homemade chili , that had nothing tasteless about it . A homemade creamy white cole slaw, that was just right , mustard , and onions. Which Dad and Mum both agreed it was the perfect balance on these dogs. Each of the other places up until now lacked this perfect harmony of taste .

Our overall rating on these hotties are a 9.5/10 . The only reason it wasn’t a 10 was because we all agreed it’d have been better with a thicker hot dog.

20160902_153703Stewarts Original Hot Dogs – Even though they have two locations in West Virginia , we decided to go to the one in Huntington .Again , a car hop came out to take our order . He was nice , explained what we asked , not to personal / impersonal.

Here Mum finally opted to get the required , along with Dad and Joey . This place being known for their root beer, Mum and I got mugs of nice cold root beer , Joey and Daddy got creamy root beer floats. Given this place is known for their root beer , some of the best out there , their hot dogs must be great ! Well , that would be wrong . At this point , Mum was just so done with eating hot dogs. We all agreed that hot dogs themselves tasted like they’ve been sitting in greasy water. The difference was this water wasn’t as soaked up , and the buns weren’t soggy . Usually the hot dogs have the chili and stuff slopped right on top. Having the mess , is one of the best part of getting chili , cheese , slaw and all that. These dogs have just a little bit of whatever you wanted under the hot dog , so you could hardly taste it at all.

These hot dogs were not that good , so our rating was really based on the fact that their root beer is just too amazing to pass up . So good , we bought a 1/2 gallon of it to take home with us . We chose a 6 /10 to rate this drive-in .

Hillbscreenshot_2016-09-09-09-04-55-1illy Hot Dogs –  Now I’ve already mentioned that they were located in Lesage,  West Virginia but what I haven’t told you was that when you first get there , you may believe you are in the wrong place. It looks like a local junk yard , but the more you roam and find your way into the building , you are greeted with a smile. After you’ve figured out what you want and place your order , you have the option to either find yourself a seat on the school buses that are attached to this building or to sit outside at the picnic tables or on top of the buses.

The first time we went there we sat on one of the buses . It was November when we first went , and yes these buses have heat and a/c . Everyone that has came and ate , have written all over the place with names ( which is allowed). It’s been so popular that to even find a place to sign is very hard , there are probably over a million names written down from all over the U.S. This place is so creative ! Not only with their presentation , their food , their people. It is an amazing experience.

We figured that there’s really no use in rating these weenies because we already knew it was going to be a 10.This may be a hot dog tour , but what fun would it be if that’s all we focused on.  When we came here in November they were in progress of building a ” Weenie Wedding Chapel “and it all kind of cracked us up. Now my parents are not ordinary, they are very unique beings , and a ball to be around. They have been talking about renewing their vows for about 2-3 years now , but never really found time to breath let alone a vow of renewal. The chapel was opening at some point this year , and since going to West Virginia is a yearly thing , they thought it would be fun to do. On this visit the chapel was open ! woohoo . The renewal was happening ! Neither of my parents were ready for it though , lol . We got to meet the owners , Sonny and Sharie Knight ( they are fabulous people). They were so sweet , they got to share stories , had a conversation and by the end of the ceremony it felt like we were leaving family. Since Jo and I were witnesses , we were even involved . Its definitely something you can have a ball with . Lots of laughs , Lots of love .

So again , the rating is a 10/10 because this place has some real zing. We’ve also agreed that this is going to be added to our annual visits to West Virginia . And in case you were wondering , before we got to meet Sonny the weenie man , we did go stop in his weenie stand (we are also trying to talk my Grandmom and Granddad to have a weenie wedding vow renewal lol ).

With that , this is the hot dog tour . Buuuuuuuut , we arent done yet . We didnt hit every place on the list , after two dogs the night before and three in one day we were all sick of the hot dogs. These are not ‘ Breakfast  Lunch and Dinner ‘ type food , lol. Even though we didn’t do ten hot dogs , we did stop at two other places worth noting.

20160902_123407Dickeys Barbecue Pit – Located in Beckley , West Virginia . This place is adjoined to a gas station . Yeah , I know , I know . Usually not the greatest idea to eat from a gas station   (even though my dad has a bad habit of getting a cheeseburger from Pilot , which are disgusting . lol ). We all were a little nervous , but it was definitely worth the risk of food poisoning. As we stood in this line , none of us could figure out what we wanted. So once we did finally figure things out this were the results ; Jo got something called a Beefy Mac. Which is just as described ; slow roasted beef brisket with creamy mac and cheese. I got a Frito Pie ; corn chips with baked beans , chopped beef brisket , and cheese ( also could come with onions ). Mum settled for a chopped beef brisket sandwich on a brioche bun . Dad got a pulled pork sandwich with raw cabbage slaw .

It was a little weird because at home Mum usually lets the meat cook in the bbq sauce , but we have watched so many shows to know everyone does things a little differently . Also its not like the meat needed the barbecue ( Daddy said its much better without it ). Nonetheless the brisket was tender and had a great taste , the mac and cheese was divine and the buns were extremely soft and fresh.

Who would have thought , huh ? But I would totally eat at this restaurant that’s adjointed to a gas station again.

Last but not least ;

20160903_192213Tailpipes – Located in Morgantown , West Virginia . They are advertised as #3 on the list of 10 best burgers in West Virginia and holds that to be true. A small place filled with mufflers , tail pipes , tags , all sorts of things. This cafe styled restaurant  is located right next to West Virginia University Campuses, right after a game why not grab one of their juicy burgers and one of their very interesting flavors for a milkshake.

You can order some great classic burgers or one of their signature burgers which includes The Chevy , The Challenger , or The Barracuda , just to name a few.

These were some really great burgers ! Have alot of taste with their homemade patties, and even their signature sauce ! Its well worth the trip , and the money .

Okay okay , this post is long enough . I’ve done rambled on all day , sheesh , took me all day to type ( I took some breaks , lol ) . But I shall return to share on the other 2 locations I went to on this vacation.

Devils Bathtub

Hey there nice to meet ya! I am Shawna.

Often times my Mom and Aunt get so busy with their full time jobs and Etsy store that they neglect this lonely blog. So I have offered to help out a bit and try an write a few blog posts for them.

Just so you know this is my first time EVER blogging. So if you would cut me a little slack as I begin with my first post of one of the many mini vacations we took this summer.

Thanks

Devils Bathtub

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Every year for the last 5 years, my family along with my grandparents have taken a trip to the beautiful state of West Virginia. My paternal grandfather “Granddad” was born and raised there, so he likes to go back and see the state that he once called home.  Usually on these trips we wonder around checking out all the places that Granddad lived or hung out. I love the twinkle in his eye as he reminisces about the days of old. And let me just say that Granddad has some stories to tell.

Unfortunately, though my grandparents were not going to be able to attend this years trip, so we were gonna need something to do.  So I made it my mission to to create an amazing itinerary and I must admit I think I did a fabulous job.

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So if you would come along with me and check out our first location known as the Devils Bathtub located in George Washington National Forest in Fort Blackmore, VA. To reach the location of the bathtub you must walk and extremely challenging trail that is approximately 1.5 miles long. With rugged terrain it will have as many as 13 stream crossings. You must also be vigilant for this area is prone to copperheads and rattlesnakes, along with whatever wildlife is living in the forest.

As treacherous as this trail seemed nothing could prepare you for the beauty of the creeks and woods that surround you, the bathtub itself along with its elegant rock formations, and the waterfall behind it. Each of these made the hike well worth the work we had to put in to get to it. Here are just a few of the beautiful images that I captured along our way.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

KODAK Digital Still Camera

 

Grief

Writing my thoughts and emotions has always been the easiest way for me to try and ease my heart and soul. So as I pen this post I can only hope that maybe I can ease just a bit of what I am feeling.

A little over two weeks ago I lost my Dad. WOW! the enormity of these words. The idea that my heart truly knows it but my mind has yet to wrap around the reality of it. Over the course of the last two weeks my heart has had to remind my mind many times that he is no longer here.

It is amazing the range of emotions you run through when a person passes. Sorrow and pain being the most indescribable of those. Yet, anger has been at the foremost of my loss and of course most will say that is normal but my anger is not for the loss of my parent but more the ignorance of others.

It has never really ceased to amaze me that when a person passes away  true colors of others will arise . I, of course as many others have seen it over and over with others who have lost loved ones. Fighting erupts between families over what is to gain, but the worse is to watch as grown adults act as if their grief is worse than someone else’s.The idea that grief is a competition is truly a despicable thing. When you lose someone whether it be your parent, spouse, grand parent, etc .. the loss is felt all the way around and as my stepmother has said it is felt deep by all those that feel it.  My pain is no unbearable than hers, just different. But instead of families uniting, it often times just becomes ugly and often times causes huge rifts between families. I suppose that I had hoped that my Dad’s passing would be different, but again I suppose I knew that there would be a few that could not control themselves. I have been told over the course of the last two weeks that “NO one loved my Dad more than me” and just yesterday was told “I have no idea what grief is”. The sad part is that this is the only person from my Dad’s remaining family that has even called me. Yet, it wasn’t to say those much dreaded and now even hated words of “I’m sorry for your loss” or “He’s in a better place.” It was just to say mean and awful things and then to ask about some of my Dad’s personal belongings. Funny how family is supposed to be connected by blood, but in most cases that means nothing to many of them.  Yet to my Dad that meant everything and that is why I have tried to keep calm and remain cool.  I have bit my tongue and not lowered myself to someone else’s standards. I have remained the woman that my father wanted me to be.

Oh the list of things that have caused my anger could go on, but that would just not be becoming of me to keep sharing them.  I will say that I have learned so many things, since my Dad has gone. Like for instance, you tell your spouse and children each and every single day how much you love them. Sometimes it is often said without regard, I mean you know you love them but we usually are just saying it. I personally, have learned that my spouse and children say it with meaning, as they have had to set aside their own grief to hold my hand as I maneuver through this pain. They each along with my mother, stepmother,and in-laws, have loved me, held me, and cried with me. And for days didn’t leave me alone. My stepmother, who has suffered a tremendous loss of her own and cried until her tears were dried up, has left her own grief to help me learn how to deal with mine.

I long to hear, just once more”I love you” from my Dad each day and am grateful that for just about every day of my single life I heard them. I am truly grateful that in my Dad’s illness he found a way to try and prepare me for what was to come next. I am comforted by no more sickness and no more pain. And honored that in the end I was there to watch as he crossed over into the next part of his journey. My Dad has finally figured out all the mysteries to the universe that he so desperately wanted to know.

Yet, the idea of not being able to hold my Dad’s hand, call him each and every day to discuss the days events, to have him here to watch as Poppop’s girl graduates in a few days, or to even see my daughter’s wed and give birth is just some time often too much for me to bear. I know that losing someone is never easy, and for me this is new because I have never had one hit so close to the heart. I know that in time I will feel better and I will continue to move on. I am just not sure that it will be today or tomorrow. All I can say is that in time it will not be so raw. I can only find comfort in the fact that I loved my Dad and he loved me. I say it is important though that we should take the time to tell the ones we love that we love them, because one minute they will be there and the next they may be gone. You may never have the opportunity again to tell them..