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WIS, WWA | a week with Miss Sonia

Long-time readers may remember that we’d usually taken our kids on a week-long trip of their choosing when they were 16.

Kristen and Sonia in the car

Us in 2020, the year Sonia turned 16.

Sonia wanted to go to Prince Edward Island with me when she turned 16, but unfortunately, the pandemic happened. And Canada was closed.

Sonia in Edwardian style

Sonia was in her Anne of Green Gables era that year.

The next year, Prince Edward Island still wasn’t open.

Sonia with a tuxedo kitten

During the pandemic, Sonia and I mostly just went out to volunteer at the cat shelter together. Which is not as fun as a trip to PEI.

And then last year, life was all in upheaval due to me leaving my marriage.

So, the budgeted trip money has been sitting there all this time, unused.

Anyway…eventually Sonia decided she’d actually prefer to go to the beach with me, because she wanted to do surfing lessons. 

And now, at the age of 19, Sonia finally got her long-awaited 16th birthday trip.

Kristen and Sonia holding surf boards.

And Zoe will get hers next year, when she’s 18. 

Better late than never, right??

Sonia on a beach chair.

Sonia and I have spent lots of time reading at the beach. Sonia just looks more elegant at it than I do. 😉

So, we’ve been at the Outer Banks of North Carolina this week.

view under a pier at the ocean.

And Zoe’s been bonding with Miss Chiquita at home. 😉

What I Spent

I’m sure I spent more than usual, but I’m not going to calculate it out. I did take a trip to Aldi the night before we left, to buy some supplies for our trip.

I knew Aldi would be cheaper than any store here on the Outer Banks!

And then when we got here, we visited the local Food Lion to buy the rest of our groceries.

blue skies.

We’ve had some hazy days here, but also some clear skies.

It hasn’t been as cheap a food week as I have at home, but I did do a really good job of keeping our food costs down by cooking every night. 🙂 

And we’ve been eating simple breakfasts and lunches here too. Eating in is cheaper, but it also makes it way easier to work around Sonia’s allergies!

sandwich and grapes.

What We Ate

I told Sonia that I was gonna have to dust off my allergy-friendly cooking skills; since Lisey and Zoe aren’t dairy-sensitive, I have gotten used to being a profligate dairy-user in my cooking. 😉 


Our first night here; I made BLTs, and we had some fruit on the side.


I made chicken katsu, which is pretty much Sonia’s favorite thing ever to eat. We had that over rice, with a fruit salad.

chicken katsu cooking.

This kitchen had no mallet to flatten the chicken with so, I improvised.

I ate the last of the Cheez-its that I’d brought, turned the bag inside out, put the chicken inside the bag, and used a can of tomatoes to pound the chicken.

chicken in a bag.

I prefer my mallet at home, but this worked fine in a pinch. 🙂 


We had skillet baked ziti, which was a bit of a challenge because all of the skillets here had plastic handles that didn’t seem oven-safe.

So I made the recipe mostly in a skillet and then I transferred it to a cake pan for the baking part.

baked ziti.

Cooking in a rental kitchen is ALWAYS an adventure. 😉 

(To make this Sonia-friendly, I left out the mozzarella, but I did use the Parmesan, which doesn’t bother her.)

Oh, and check this out: the oven here has no window and no interior light either. I was kinda worried I was going to burn the ziti!

windowless oven.


Shrimp is a thing Sonia is not allergic to, soooo, I steamed some shrimp, which we dipped in cocktail sauce.

On the side, we had some garlic breadsticks (from the freezer section), and a salad.

chopped lettuce.

When I went to steam the shrimp, I realized this kitchen had nothing that could work as a steamer. Hmm.

I went to the local Dollar Tree and found a little strainer that worked; I did have to steam our shrimp in two batches due to the small size, but hey, at least it worked! 

shrimp in strainer.


I made pulled chicken sandwiches, which we ate on brioche buns that I’d brought along from Aldi. On the side we had a salad and some fruit.

This meal required no kitchen-equipment gymnastics. 😉 


We got a seafood boil from a local seafood market; they sell it to you in a big metal stove-top safe steamer pot, and you take it to your rental and steam it there!

steamer pot.


Last day here!

We have plenty of leftover shrimp and potatoes from the seafood boil, so I think we will eat the shrimp cold with cocktail sauce, and I’ll probably brown the potatoes in a skillet on the stovetop.

And on the side we will have whatever produce in our fridge that needs to be used up before we drive home. 

What did you have for dinner this week? 

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it's me, Sam

Monday 12th of June 2023

Your trip looks amazing. If you ever decide to go to PEI, I would go late August, early September. Cottage rentals tend be cheaper then. Fresh , local food can be bought at road side stands that are many time paid by the honor system ( you leave a note of what you bought, and deposit your cash in a lock box). There a lots of free beaches, with minimal people, and miles to walk. It's my favorite vacation spot, and you can drive the island from tip to tip in about 4 hours. There'sl even a Nordic Spa on the island now. ( and it is heavenly). I'm sure that there are a few readers from PEI that could help out even more, with fun, frugal things to do. ( Perhaps a graduation trip for you?)


Monday 12th of June 2023

Ohhh, I love those kinds of roadside stands! Thank you for all the tips!


Sunday 11th of June 2023

I think it would break my heart to hear my mom say she’d gotten used to cooking for my sisters and not me.

Sort of seems you are pals with the two daughters, this one doesn’t want to live there? Does she feel excluded?? It all seems sad with you kids.


Monday 12th of June 2023

@Kristen, YAY! So glad you are doing this, and I hope you do not read any further comments from this person.


Sunday 11th of June 2023

@Jen, that’s pretty shocking and presumptuous, and none of our business!


Sunday 11th of June 2023

Just a heads up; I'm going to delete any further comments from you. You are not interested in listening to what I say or in trying to understand the situation.

My girls are fine, and to continually leave comments insinuating that they are not, or that my mothering is lacking, is just flat-out unkind, and the fact that you try to hide behind different email addresses and usernames just shows that you know you are being rude.

So; don't bother. Your comments will automatically be marked for the spam folder in the future.


Friday 9th of June 2023

That sounds like a lovely week away! How lovely to spend some quality time with elegant Sonia. :)


Friday 9th of June 2023

This has been a crazy week. I'll try to remember what we ate Sat: BLTs and salad. I went to Aldi after test driving a car. Sun: Grilled chicken and salad Mon: Clean out 'fridge. Tues: Hawaiian ham & cheese sliders Wed: Leftover slider after my grandson's end of the year school program Thurs: Appetizers at the art exhibition Fri: Herb garlic spread and crackers after I spent the afternoon buying a car.

My 10-year-old car was starting to give me problems that were getting difficult to diagnose and starting to get costlier. Also the body was rusting. I figured it is about time. Also, I need a dependable vehicle if I am going to drive my grandson around (and my other grandchildren). So, my summer trip is a brand new car. Hopefully, it will be dependable. All I wanted was heated seats. The new cars have so many bits and pieces to them, a computer chip here and a computer chip there. It is crazy.

Katy in Africa

Friday 9th of June 2023

We've been traveling too! So it's been a weird mix: - fast food fried chicken x3 - yogurt & thiakry (it's like millet couscous) and chips. - Empanadas (my go to travel meal). I filled them with beef and rice, then beans and rice when I ran out. -Salad and tuna sandwiches

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