Thursday, October 30, 2014

Paying It Forward

Today's post was going to be about paying it forward.  I have a real life case to tell you.  But, my daughter put a post on her blog about the very same topic.  (She beat me to it.)  Since she is a published author  (Her first book - Witness Protection  will be out November 29 and the second will be published in early 2015.) her post is so much better than I could ever write.  She does the subject justice.

With this in mind I'm going to link her blog,  Boys, Badges and Writer's Block here.

If you like her work you can check out exerts from her novel on her Facebook page.
Carolyn LaRoche - Author

I  promise you won't be sorry you clicked over to the blog post.  A good heart warming tear will leak down your check.  You always say it's from allergies.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

Yesterday I organized the Christmas gifts I have bought throughout the year.  I usually line each family's gifts on one wall so things are spread out.  I do much better visually when the gifts are out and lined up.  Seeing them gives me the opportunity to know what I have to purchase yet and how much are here already. 

Each Christmas the grandchildren receive one toy, one book, and one outfit.  This year I will have to forgo the outfits.  There's no worry on my part because Santa and Mom and Dad are on it.  Thankfully no one goes without.

There are a few more items I need to get, but the wrapping will begin shortly, even if I have more to purchase.

Most of the fall garden is planted.  There's 31 garlic bulbs - from the ones I grew this past season, 2 rows of spinach, parsley, and 2 rows of carrots.  The huge marigold plants were going to be pulled, but I am enjoying them.  So I trimmed one back - out of the planting space.  More seeds can now go in that area.  We're expecting heavy rains tomorrow night, so the seeds will wait until after. 

The mulch container has lots of leaves in it now so it can cook all winter.  It will be exciting to see how well it decomposes, making a good soil to add to next year's plantings.

The plant in the large pot was dead so I threw it into the woods hoping next year some of the seeds would take and bring color to the edge of the woods.  The excess soil went in the blackberry bed.
The garlic is covered in grass clippings to protect the tender bulbs during the winter.  The seeds will be Ok without mulch because they will be harvested before our temperatures get below freezing.  There's room left behind the rows because I plan on planting some tulip bulbs my daughter gave me for Mother's Day.

I got a nice bouquet of marigolds after I cut back the plant.  They would look nice in the house, but they're not the best smelling flowers.  Outside seemed the perfect place for them.

When I moved in here I went to TJ Maxx to find things for the kitchen.  Standing in a corner of a shelf was a large metal rooster.  He begged to go home with me.  How could I resist?  There really hasn't been a place for him in 21/2 years, but cute overcame this problem.  He was in the living room for a short while next to a chair.  When I found a great magazine basket, he was moved to watch over the stair landing.  I wanted him closer to me so he picked up and moved to the kitchen, on the floor, next to the end of the cupboards.

A light bulb went on this morning when I put a small lamp on the counter that I moved from the guest room.  I needed to hide the cord.  Bingo!  The rooster now sits on the counter, in the corner behind the small lamp.

The rooster finally found a permanent home.  I know he'll be happy here because he likes to help me cook!  ha ha


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Home Made Poultry Stuffing

The holidays are coming up and it's time to cook the traditional turkey.  Watching a video on yoo toob this morning was fun, but I was amazed that the young mother bought a box of stuffing and said she wanted to learn how to make stuffing herself.  When I started to make stuffing there was no pre made boxed item on the shelf.  If you wanted stuffing, you made it.  ( It's only been about 30 years since all the pre made items came to the local grocery store. Even though I'm letting you know how old I am, I'm not ancient -yet!)

Here's a basic recipe for turkey stuffing.  I use broth in it.  I make the broth out of the neck, water, salt and pepper, celery and onions before I cook the turkey.

Turkey Stuffing / Basic Recipe

One loaf of white bread.  The store brand sandwich will work fine here.  Any other loaf will work too, but remember some of the darker breads have a distinct flavor of their own.

One teaspoon (t) salt
Half t. pepper
1/4 t. Italian seasoning or poultry seasoning
One tablespoon (T.) parsley
One chopped medium onion (small size chops)
2 sticks chopped celery ( small chops)
One stick of butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 to 1 cup (C.) broth
2 eggs

Break the bread up in small pieces in a large bowl or pan.  They don't have to be uniform.  You can tear the bread or cut it with a knife.  Either way will work fine. Add the celery, onions, and spices and mix with (clean) hands.  Add the butter and beaten eggs and mix again.  Add broth and give it a final mixing with a large spoon.  (The broth will be hot.)

Loosely stuff the turkey with the stuffing mix and cook the turkey according to manufacturer's directions.

If you like a heavier seasoned mix, feel free to experiment.  Or maybe you love onions.  Add more.  The final product is up to your likes.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dollar Tree Haul

I had a good time checking out all of the new items in one of our local Dollar Tree stores this morning.  Dollar Tree headquarters are just about two miles from my home so this area has numerous stores.  Some are bigger than others and some of them have items (the bigger stores) that others don't have.

Today I got a few things that I have been not considering a need, such as the pot scrubbies.  I have made my own from onion bags for close to eleven years.  The changes made in the onion bag construction had me looking into investing a dollar in ready made ones.

Some people would consider me being foolish because it's only a dollar I saved.  Yes, that's true.  But a dollar was saved six times a year for eleven years. I saved -on just that one frugal hack - sixty six dollars.  Add on using a pan to cover items in the oven for those years and the savings increase from $66.00 to $313.00 for eleven years.  I have saved untold hundreds or even thousands of dollars using frugal hacks.  Not including coupons and sales. 

That's how it works.  You wake up one morning and you have enough saved to pay off a bill.  When all the bills are paid off, you can experience freedom.  It doesn't matter how long it takes because you will be living each of those days anyway.  Choosing to get a handle on finances is an extra bonus during that time.  I think it comes down to daily small choices that add up to big savings.  It can't be done in a day or two.  Or even a week or two.  It takes a long term commitment.  It is well worth the commitment, for sure.

Today's Haul:

Chopping mats.  I plan on cutting these down to fit the drawers in the refrigerator.  They can be easily removed for cleaning in hot soapy water.

Honey Maid graham cookies for the grands when they visit.

Cobblestone rye bread.  This is easily 3.69 in the grocery stores.

Fabric refresher.  I've used this before and it works just as well as the name brand.  I make my own room sprays for a nice cozy smell in the house.

Epson salts for the garden.

Cough drops



Parchment paper

Pot scrubbies (3)

York peppermint patties

Of these items I would consider the fabric freshener, cough drops, razors, Epson salts, and bread essential.  The additional items are personal choices that I wanted. 

What are your favorite items from the dollar store?  Don't you just love this store?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Love Story

Today is my 44th wedding anniversary.  I have spent four of those years without the man I said 'I do' to.

A few days ago I had a dream about my departed husband with whom I committed my life to.  The vows included until 'death do us part', but death has not diminished my love for him.  I came away from that dream with the idea I had to let him go.  All of the way.  Leave him alone, don't talk to him, don't think of him.  So I have been trying to do that.  He needs to be free of me.

I couldn't be more wrong about this.  Why, you ask?  I just stopped crying a boat load of tears after the only song that played on the trip between my house and my daughter's (we live close together) was the song I played over and over when my husband was in the hospital for long periods of time.

When he had his heart transplant in Boston we were separated for a couple of months.  I went to work and took care of things like always, but my heart was with him.  I was there for a couple weeks for and after the transplant, but I had to go home before they could release him.

So to replace him I 1. slept with (and would not wash) his pillow and 2. listened to Ricky Nelson's, 'You Are The Only One'.

Today that was the song that played on the oldies channel.  The first time I have heard it since DH was with me.

I want to say Happy Anniversary to the only man I have ever loved.  The man who took care of us the best he could.  The man who always wished he could do better for us.  As far as I'm concerned he gave his family his all.  I was always satisfied with what he provided for us.

I love Robert Charles with all my heart and I just can't help it.

This is the man I gave my heart to.  He's with our son when he was little fixin' his 'vehicle

This is a family favorite.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Motivation to Purge

Part of my morning routine is checking out my favorite yoo toob channels.  It's relaxing to sit with a cup of coffee and check out what women are doing across the globe.  It's relaxing until I find one that's motivating.  I found motivation this morning.  The vlogger was discussing counter tops and she has found keeping her counters clear of appliances, mail, and dish washing items makes her feel better.  You know I am the same way, but one little sentence got me off my butt and checking out my cupboards. 

The vlogger said clean out the cupboards to make space.  Dispose of items you no longer need or use.  There it was.  As I have said in the recent past, I've been here 2.5 years.  You wouldn't think I have had time to collect extra 'stuff'.  But I have.  Until I could get a dish set, I bought four $2.00 salad dishes at a local department store.  I was gifted two cups from my daughter, as well.  I haven't used these items since daughter number two gave me a set of dishes.  The only thing missing from the set was 3 cereal bowls.  Since soup bowls came with the set, I don't need the three bowls.  Out to a charity shop they go.  Same thing goes for the bowls I bought (This store has great clearance sales.)

All of these items are in great condition, but I don't need them.  I like to think another family could benefit from their use.

Do you like to donate items you no longer use?  How much cupboard space do you have?  When we move into a house the space seems more than we need.  Then, before you know it,  we're scrambling for space to get items out of sight.

This week's donations to the charity shop.  I bet someone will pick up the large coffee mug to create a Christmas gift.


By emptying this top shelf, I made more room in the cupboard that holds my bowl sets and storage containers. (below)

I don;t have a large family living with me any longer, so I don't need as many items as I use to.  When they come over for dinner I improvise where I need to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Angie did a Bad Thing!

By accident I removed a nice comment from the blog.  I don't know who wrote it, but I want you to know I appreciate the kind words.  The poster told me she liked the blog and she likes to blog as well.

A Good Day

Even though the weather was a bit to be desired, I had a good day.  With the bed made and dishes done my daughter and I met for lunch.  She's a science teacher, but had a few medical appointments today so she got her favorite sub to take her classes and spent most of her day at appointments.

Lunch was a big burger  on a large Italian roll with onion rings.  We normally order water with lemon as drinks to hold down on the calorie count. (and bill)  Both of us brought home half a burger for another meal.  That's how big the burger was.

I went to the mall across the street to return a couple items.  I bought some refills for my plug in air freshner that were cinnamon scent.   After I learned how to open them, the opened one took some of the finish off my washing machine lid.  I decided if it was capable of doing this, I probably wouldn't want it smelling up my house and breathing it in.

At home I ordered a couple of Christmas gifts from Kohl's using my two coupon codes and paid 38.46 for two gifts that were originally 53.00 and some change.  The total out of pocket expense included shipping and tax.  The $53.00 and change was the total for just the items.  No Kohl's cash, but I was satisfied with the deal I got.  When the numbers go up to 100.00 I will receive a $5.00 gift card from Kohl's.  Thank you Mr. or Mrs. Kohl!

On to amazon. com to find 2 more items as gifts with a cost of zero.  I attach my credit card points to the site to purchase gifts for family that is not local.  Saves a bundle on shipping, too.

I talked to a friend on the phone for a bit before lying down for a rest.  No nap today, but the rest felt good.  The pup laid next to me and did nap.  Since she is older, napping is her best 'activity.  I have to play games with her for her to exhibit any enthusiasm. 

The day is ending with the wind howling and me sitting in front of the fireplace watching a couple Law and Order episodes.

What did you do today?

Our daughters a few years back.  The eldest is pregnant with her first child.  The two standing behind her were not married yet.  Among the three of them today, there are seven grandchildren. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Accomplishments and Thankfuls

This week was a catch up week after enjoying time with family in the North.  It will be interesting to see (for me) what I can remember.

Cut the grass and put some of the clippings around the blackberry bush and on the soil that's waiting for new seed.

Turned and put paper in the compost box.

Swept the patio and used the fallen leaves for compost.

Re trimmed the blackberry bush.

Scrubbed the powder room and cleaned the master bathroom.

Washed all the mirrors and glass framed pictures as well as the sliding door into the garden.  Today I will finish the windows downstairs.

Went to the meat store for a roast and ground beef.  The ground beef will become a meatloaf and meatballs.  The roast was cooked and devoured by my daughter and her family ( and me) last night.

Rearranged fall decorations putting the arrangement I made in the powder room and adding cute Halloween towels for the grandchildren's benefit.  I also have two Halloween towels on the oven door.  I'm not a big fan of Halloween so not much interest goes into decorating for it.  I was traumatized when the kids were little because I had a very difficult time coming up with costume ideas.  That was enough to block the day from my mind.

Posted two boxes.

Had a couple of conversations with vendors.  I cancelled a credit card at a popular 'undies' store because they didn't send me a bill then I got charged with a $25.00 fee for non payment and interest.  They removed the charge but not the interest.  I don't need the drama in my life so I cancelled.  Guess that can't happen again.

Did two loads of laundry.

Watched the two year old for a bit.  She redesigned my patio with colored chalk. 

Things To Be Thankful For

A warm home.

A producing garden.

A family that loves me.

A pup that follows me around when she's not busy sleeping.

Warmer weather than the North!

Stay safe and enjoy the day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fear, God and a Rant of Sorts

I'm going out on a limb here today because I want to discuss fear. I also want to talk about God.  So if you are uncomfortable click on another site.  I'll also be ranting a bit.

 All around us is fear mongering.  Ebola, The Illuminati, the economy, the government doing unheard of illegal activity, predators, and so much more

Last night a post came up on my Facebook page that declared the government is putting RF chips in the Ebola vaccine.  That could be true, IF there was an actual vaccine available.  I checked it out and asked a friend - who is a great researcher- to check it out also.  Neither of us could find information on the person who was suppose to be the whistle blower or who owned the 'news' site that the report came from.  Although I don't trust Snopes to be entirely on the truth side of things, I also checked on their site.

Reading this was the straw that broke the camel's back.  I was on overload with fear induced information.  I became very tired in an instant.

I have no doubt that the scales of good vs. evil are unbalanced.  The important question is why is that?  Why are children suffering with deadly diseases?  Why are marriages failing at a more than 50% rate?  Where do we point the finger?

A friend of mine always said when we point a finger at someone, four are pointing back at us.  Very wise words.  Is it time mainstream society begin to take responsibility for their actions?  This country needs a change of heart.  We need to recognize and bring God back into our personal lives and homes. 

I'm not saying to try to evangelize our friends and family.  I'm saying that each of us needs to bring God into our lives.  That would be the God of Christianity.  Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and inequities.  He did the sacrifice before we committed the sins.  Now that's love and trust.

Marriage is a union.  It is about loving and caring for the other person more than you care for yourself.  It's never giving up on the other person and turning to God to reach a person's heart.  That place where no person can reach. (The exception is ay kind of abuse - physical or emotional.  Then we pray for the person from a distance.)

How about having a family?  Children are a blessing straight from heaven.  Look at how many people disregard the needs of children.  Needs include time, sheltering from evil, and loving discipline.  I really don't want to hear how things have changed and we need to keep up with the times.  Look at what is out there and then decide if you think children should keep up with the times. 

Greeting each day with a simple prayer and putting your day in God's hands is so simple, but how many people in this country do this today?  Ebola?  God knows about it.  He knows every under handed thing anyone has planned.  He can thwart plans of evil, we only need to ask and leave it in His hands.  Let Him do what He promised us - to care for every living soul that is created.  He is not a God of fear.  He wants what's best for us, but does not force it on us because He has given us free will to make our choices.  He wants to be loved, not because of who He is, but because we choose to love Him.  Just like we want friends to like us for who we are, so does God.

Even if you are having a difficult time believing my words, God knows this.  He also knows why and what trauma caused a person's response.  What would it hurt to ask Him about heaven even if you do not believe?  If nothing happens, then you go on you way just as before.  But, I will make you a promise.  He will reveal Himself to you in a way that you can relate.

Please know one thing.  We don't have to be afraid of all the garbage out there that is quietly sneaking and stealing peace from our hearts and spirits.  We don't have to pay attention to the half truths.  We can live a peaceful and simple life by putting our trust in God and what He offers us.  Enjoy your day in peace.

Stay safe.


Friday, October 17, 2014

When Will I Ever Get the Winter Garden Planted?

The time has come to plant the winter garden.  I'm still learning new things about organic growing.  I watched a video today that talked about using unsulferated molasses to create a food source for micro organisms.  The process made a lot of sense to me.  So since I have molasses, I will add the food when the plants begin to surface.

So far I have learned to use Epsom salts in the hole before I plant, started a compost pile in a bucket, and  will use the molasses tea.  I also use diluted milk to provide calcium for the plants after a heavy rain because the rain dilutes calcium in the soil.  Ground up egg shells are an additional source of calcium that releases calcium at a slower pace.  These are the things I have used that work for me, so far.  I tried spraying a concoction on a tomato plant to get rid of insects.  The insects died and so did the plant.  I can't remember what it was, but I will definitely research things in more depth before I do anything else to my future plants.

Today I cut the grass and weeded some of the garden.  The weeds behind the blackberry bush were enormous so I put vinegar on them to kill them because I don't have the strength to pull them.  The grass clippings went on the soil to be tilled under for a feeding to the soil.

Most of the grass clippings went on top of the soil to be tilled under.  Hopefully doing this will create a better soil environment for the new plants.

The blackberry bush got another trimming and has mulch of leaves and grass surrounding the roots.  Sleep tight my little producer.

I'm thrilled with the marigolds this year.  I used seeds I harvested from plants I grew while I lived in the North.  They produced huge and healthy plants this year.  Currently seeds are being harvested from these plants.

I lost the flowers that were in a pot while I was away, but the ones in the garden soil survived the absence.

I'll finish off the grass and till the soil then plant seeds for the winter.  I am happy the parsley is growing from the seeds I collected from last year's plants.

 The parsley is tiny, but doing nicely.

One of five peppers left on the plants.  Since the nights are getting cold, they need to be harvested today.  No time left for them to turn red.

Molasses Tea

1 gallon of water
1/4 cup UNSULFERATED molasses

Mix well and use after the garden has been watered.

Egg Shells

I use these two ways: Broken into pieces to surround plants on the soil.  This discourages pests from reaching the plants.  I also grind them in the spice grinder to create a powder that is spread over the garden soil and turned into the soil.  The shells need to be washed in hot soapy water and dried out before use in the garden.  This keeps the soil safe from salmonella contamination.

Epsom Salts

Put in the hole before the plant is placed and covered. (About one tablespoon) Then for tomatoes I dilute 2 tablespoons in a gallon of warm water when flowers begin to appear.

If it doesn't rain tomorrow I will begin planting seed for the winter.  Garlic, more parsley, lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots and beets.  At the end of the season I'll leave a couple plants of each food go to seed so I have enough seeds for next year.

The pepper plants are still in the ground and are producing more veggies now then during summer.  I have since read they like cool nights.  Bring it on.  I now like cool nights too.

The blackberry bush has been cut back for the winter and mulched with leaves and pine needles.  The five strawberry plants that were planted at the beginning of summer are growing like crazy.  That portion of the garden will be only for strawberries next year.  Their growth is encouraging me to hope for my own berries for jam next year.  We shall see.

Survivng Young Motherhood

My visit to my daughter's had me realizing that today's mother has quite a bit on her plate.  Looking back to the early 1960's women revolted.  We were tired of being under rated and associated with only the ability to keep a clean house or cook a dinner.  Being submissive was tiring and acting like we were people of lesser intelligence took it's toll on us.  A revolt was born.

Many good things came from the changes, like women were now admitted into medical schools and we could dress in the style that suited our tastes.  We demanded to be listened to and openly gave our opinions without fear of retribution.   But, for every positive outcome, a negative hid in the dark.  We went to work to contribute to society, but we didn't realize that was added to all of the other responsibilities we already took on.  Raising families, cooking, shopping, laundry, and cleaning were still there for that first generation of brave women.  It took an entire generation for males to realize they needed to work around the home too.

Here we are today with women who are exhausted trying to 'do it all'.  Tired women.  Exhausted women who fall into bed at 10 PM, only to wake to the same schedule the following day.  Where in my generation women had a choice to work outside the home, today's economic atmosphere sometimes prohibits what is now seen as a luxury. 

How do women do it all?  They can't.  Something has to be altered for young mothers.  My suggestion would be house work.

I'm not suggesting that women stop doing house work, I'm suggesting that standards of cleanliness be kept up and the rest be left until there is ample time to perform it.  Cleanliness is important for the health of a family.  Dishes must be done to avoid rodents and unwanted guests from taking up residence in your home.  We all need clean clothes and food in our tummies, as well.  But, do beds really need to be made every day?  Or does the dusting need to be done every day?  Does that pile of school projects have to be gone through or even the junk mail?  Not necessarily.  These things - and others-should be done once a week, but only because it is helpful to you to keep your home in order.  When a home is in order, you feel less stress.  Less stress on you means a healthier and happier family.  A relaxed atmosphere translates into a relaxed and content family.  Decompression time each day is also healthier.

How does a women begin to change things?  It takes time.  It takes some organization, too.  And it takes a routine.  Since every family has individualized needs the only people who can create a more relaxed environment are those in your own home.  I can give you a few ideas to begin the changes, though.

Take time to step back - out of the situation- to look at the dynamics of your day.  Take as much time as you need for this step.  Jot down notes on things you see can be altered.  As an example: If you find you don't have time to relax with your family in the evenings, one way of changing this is to have dinner together with no problems discussed at the table.  Only laughter and silly things are allowed during this time.  Then everyone helps clean up after dinner with the same laughter intermingled with the chore.  Complete this time with snuggling while watching a show for 30 minutes together.  It doesn't matter what time this happens, as long as it's a together activity.

House work is another hazard.  Keep the trash cleaned up and the dishes.  This is important for health reasons.  Soak that pot overnight if you have to, but make sure the food is not on it to attract rodents.  Keep the laundry up, even if tomorrow's clothes are still in the dryer when you go to bed.  Anyone who says they never do this, is not being totally truthful.  We all have those days.

Another must is nourishment.  This is a big one.  Feed your family healthy food with a dash of junk food added in for enjoyment.  Warm dinners are a comfort.  They don't have to be elaborate.  A grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of soup and a piece of fruit and glass of milk is just as healthy as a ten hour elaborately prepared dinner.  To make it special use a table cloth or nice place mats that can wiped clean  Throw a candle in the center of the table and you have an instant relaxed atmosphere.  Planning lunches ahead by cooking extra for dinner that can go into a lunch for the next day cuts down on lunch prep time. 

De clutter the home and have a place for everything you need on a daily basis.  Keep keys and phones in the same place.  Grab and go.  No stress there.  Train the children to put coats, shoes and school gear in the same place.  It's surprising how easy mornings can be with these small changes.

Another great help is having a consistent routine and bed time for the kiddos.  A child under the age of ten should be in bed by no later than 8:30.  They need a long nights sleep to be the best they can be.  They are less crabby, too.  This gives you the decompression time you need to begin the next day.  It also gives you and your partner time to interact.

This list is meant to get you started on simplifying  life.  Reduce the stress and life gets so much more relaxed.
  As the saying goes, "If Mom's not happy, no one is'.  Being kind to yourself is being kind to those around you.  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Week Spent in the North with Family.

I just came home from a week in the North visiting two of my children and a bunch of grandchildren.  Please note, when I go away for an extended period of time I don't feel it's prudent to post that I'm gone.

I had a great time.  Time bonding with my son for two days felt so good.  We went to a favorite local hot spot and bought Italian food that you just can't get in the South.  A big pot of sauce was waiting for me on the day I arrived and we had to discuss whose sauce was the best.  I rooted for mine because the recipe came from my grandmother.  He's a chef so he was all about his version.  Either way, it was good.

My daughter in law is starting school later this month to be a medical assistant.  So she was excited.  With the excitement came a bit of apprehension - which is to be expected.  The program is local, so during the harsh winter it will be easy for her to get to her destination. 

My daughter in law brought three children into the marriage.  All of them adore my son and are very relaxed when they're at home.  I was pleased to see they blend well together as a family.  The 14 year old is industrious and a go getter.  He's even bringing his grades up.  He can clean and scrub a bathroom until it sparkles and helps his parents around the house without complaint.

The eight year old is shy and quiet  - until she's comfortable with a person.  Then she becomes a chatter box!  How refreshing it is to see the confidence and secure feeling of a little girl.  We had three girls so I felt comfortable with her exuberance.  She gave up her bed for me so Hello Kitty and I developed a relationship.

Her third child was spending time with his dad, so I was unable to see him.  maybe next time.

Since time was limited and I wanted to see two of my friends, we all met at a local hot spot for dinner.  I had a good time and I was reminded how fortunate I am that time and distance has not diminished relationships.  I wanted to meet up with another friend, but her daughter just had a baby and she was a busy grandmom.

Then off to my daughter's house.  She just moved in two weeks ago.  What a delightful home build in 1940.  They renovated - and still are in the process, but most of the living area is complete.  The kitchen was gutted because the floor was rotted through when they purchased the house.  Even though they stressed about the choices that needed to be made with coulters, cabinets, and flooring, the finished product is beautiful.  I'm not sure if the end result was worth the stress, but the kitchen is a dream.  One thing a mom does is butt in to help arrange a kitchen.  We tweaked a few things and added a couple of personal touches to the counter and the finished project was very nice.

I played American Girl dolls with the four year old and slept with the five year old's bunny.  He said I could keep the bunny, but had a change of heart when he understood he would not  see bunny if grandma took it home with her.

The one year old loved playing peek a boo and baby monster.  She would growl like a dinosaur and laugh at herself when she was done.

My daughter and I bonded at Victoria's Secret choosing a birthday gift for her.  The one year old did very well in the store.  The four year old loves to shop, but wondered why we only went to a mommy store.  So grandma had to go to Target to check out toys.

One last thing.  My son in law broke his foot carrying a TV up to the in law apartment for me.  The worse part is I didn't even know he was doing it and never heard the cuss words coming from his mouth when he tripped.  But, he continued up the stairs anyway and set up the TV for me.  The next morning the urgent care sent him home in a boot and directions to contact an orthopedic doctor. 

He went to work that day and couldn't understand why he was so tired.  LOL  My daughter explained to him how the body needed to heal, so yes indeed, he would need to curtail his hours a bit. 

The broken foot didn't curtail his interaction with his children.  He did, however, fall asleep in 'the' chair early.

I'm home now.  Enjoying the warmth and rain.  Happy to see my Southern children and grandchildren, yet missing my Northern family.  Already.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

This Week's Accomplishments

I often don't remember all that I have accomplished in a week.  I think it's a good thing to forget things that were hurtful.  I throw hurtful things into the 'Sea of Forgetfulness'.  Doing this helps me continue on with a good attitude and a healthy mind.  After all what's done is done and can't be changed.  The only thing that can be done to alter an outcome of something unpleasant is to throw it in the emotional trash and move on to other things that are good for you.

The down side of this is forgetting some of the things you've experienced that are good.  I remember feeling accomplished this week, but some of the details are fuzzy. (to say the least.)  But, let's continue and I'll see what comes up.

Cleaned out the refrigerator.

Washed sheets and bedding.  The winter sheets are now on the bed.

Cleaned 2 bathrooms.

Made chili.

Did 2 loads of laundry.

Swept the garage.

Cleaned out and trimmed the blackberry bush.  I got three cups of berries this year.  I think that's pretty good because this is the first year the bush is in the ground.

Watched the parsley grow. tee hee

Scrubbed down the kitchen and polished the counter tops.  They're Formica, but I use an old time polish, Jubilee to protect them from me.

Dropped items off at the charity shop.

Purchased a Christmas gift for the 2 year old.  The grandchildren get three small gifts from me at Christmas.  A toy, a book, and an outfit.  Santa and mom and dad indulge them with most of the bounty of the celebration.

Donated food.  I had too much because I'm still trying to figure out what I need, not what I've always bought when I had a family.

What have you accomplished this week?  It would be nice to hear from my readers.

Stay safe.

The Simple Life Series, Post Five

I'd like to talk about shopping.  Shopping is a personal experience.  An experience that becomes habit over a long period of time.  Sometimes the style is developed because there are constraints on us.  Groceries become an after thought when we have little ones in school and activities.  Working out of the home takes up to 40 hours plus commute times, not to mention preparing the children for day care or school, making lunches, and pitching the trash before you leave in the morning.  I think most of us are aware of the routine.


On top of the groceries needing to be hunted, the kids need clothes and someone used the last of the toothpaste without telling you.

The idea is to get the thoughts out of your head and onto paper.  Not everything has to be completed that day, but there will be a reminder for you in writing.

I learned a trick from a special education teacher long ago.  Instead of numbering items on a list, draw a little box in front of the item.  When the task is completed, check off the box with a big check mark.  I couldn't believe how much this mattered when I started following through on her suggestion.  A feeling of relief came along with that simple check mark.


Making it a habit to inventory your things before you go out the door is helpful.  There will be less buying of items you already have.  This would include food, clothes, make up, health essentials, or anything that is on the list.  This saves real estate (space) in your home and money.  Many people are on tight budgets these days.  A penny saved is a penny earned - as the saying goes. 

I know there's so much to juggle.  I've gone through it myself.  But, I promise you once you get into the habit, it will become second nature.  The learning curve is minimal, a couple of weeks at most.


This is a difficult one.  All we feel like doing at the end of the day is putting on sweats and dropping into a favorite chair.  I do recommend this.  I also have found that once I learned how to manage time more efficiently, I wasn't so tired at the end of the day.  How you divide your time will be an individual decision.  It helps to get started by jotting down everything you do in a week, then reviewing the list.  Can you pop a load of laundry in before you get online to check out what friends are up to?  Something is being accomplished while you are decompressing.  Perhaps when dinner is made you can cook enough for lunches the next day, too.  There are many ways to manage time.  But, like I said, it is an individual thing.


I know you hear this word a lot these days.  I'm not sure  if reasons are given to why this is important.  One big reason is de cluttering unclutters your mind and spirit.  We take in our surroundings into the spirit.  When there is less 'stuff' around us, there is less stress on our mind and spirit.  We would not notice a difference until the de cluttering process begins.  Then just doing one area encourages us to do more.  This is part of the simple life style.

A good rule of thumb is; if you haven't used/worn something in a year, then you most likely won't.  There are many organizations that could benefit from our un needed items.  Donating does the spirit good!

Things that could be de cluttered are, makeup, pantries, cupboards, closets, basements, bathroom cabinets, linen closets, shoes, clothes, entertainment items such as DVDs, CDs, sports equipment, and books.

If you do end up creating empty space you can look at it as room to move.  Do everything you can not to refill it with 'stuff'.  You will feel so much less stress and will be able to enjoy life and loved ones more because you will have more peace in your spirit to be able to relax and laugh. 

Stay safe.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

It Was a Good Day

The sun is a promise of a good day here in the South.  The sun makes me feel good and healthy.  A few minutes under it's gleam and I'm good to go for the day.

Yesterday was a catch up day.  There were little things I had to complete.  I had previously dried some herbs, but never ground them, so that was done yesterday.  A few phone calls that I've been putting off were made, too.  Then I had to attend to the 5 peppers that came off my garden plants.   I decided to dry those as well.  So into a pot of boiling water they went to soften them and onto three trays in the dehydrator.  I added the last of the parsley to another tray and had one tray of celery.  These items will be used during the winter months to make soups and stews as a quick meal.

This is the start of the peppers after they were washed and sliced, but before they met the heat of a pot of boiling water.


The parsley was very green.  This is the last of the current plants.  I have more planted in the winter garden from last season's seeds.  They are slow to grow, but are just now breaking ground.

The peppers, celery and parsley ready to meet the dehydrator.  It makes for yummy meals during the cold winter.

Off to two grocery stores where I got free Ball Park hot dogs and had two 1.00 coupons that doubled (Wednesdays only) for cheap food.  Well, cheaper food as the prices are steadily climbing here.  One sure thing is price increases.  I have definitely been limiting the amount of meat I eat and replace the protein food with eggs, cheese, milk, tuna, and nuts  I find I like these things better, so not a big change for me.

One of the coupons was for the 'new' noodles that are already broken up to fit the pot.  The final cost was .59 cents for each box.  The coupon as 1.00 off two boxes.  The flour was a bit more at a final cost of 2.49 for 5 pounds.

The day ended with an invitation to my daughter's for dinner.  My son in law (who is a chef) made delicious fried chicken.  After eating two pieces, I brought one home for tonight's  dinner.

This is a new day and time to get started with today's tasks.  Enjoy your day and stay safe.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Friendship Circle is a Blessing (A story of Friendships)

I have been blessed with a good friend that lives 3000 miles away.  Another blessing is a friend two states north of me.  Our friendships have endured for four years to date.  I pray they last until the end of time.   I communicate with each of these ladies nearly every day.  The communication began at a time when I was widowed and so needed the companionship.

Even with shipping costs on the rise we sporadically mail each other packages of goodies.  The goodies could be anything we find precious to each of us.  The boxes could be filled with home grown herbs or oatmeal.  Whatever the item, we try to pack in as close to the seventy pound limit of priority mail that we can.  It's just a little side game we play and laugh about.

I just received a package from my 3000 mile friend.  In it was oatmeal, walnuts, and white chocolate chips for baking.  I would like to focus on the walnuts.  Here's why:

My friend cooks meals for her elderly neighbors.  They provide veggies free of charge from a coop and she provides the meals and proteins.  The neighbors' son wanted to show his gratitude for her compassion and picked walnuts from his backyard tree, shelled them and presented them as a gift to her.  She graciously accepted them, even though her family does not eat walnuts.  But I do!  It is one of the foods I eat on a regular basis to enhance my intake of proteins.  So in a box that was addressed to me they went.  The arrival day of the more than four pounds of walnuts was Thursday of last week.  I felt very blessed as I vacuumed packed them wondering if my friend would care if I shared them.  After all such a blessing is meant to be shared.  She loved the idea.  So a one pound pack will go to our friend two states away.  The friendship circle of giving is complete.  It is good.  I love it.  Sharing is one of my greatest joys.  In return -although we don't consider counting a priority - the 3000 mile lady will receive basil from my garden.  Lots of it.  Basil does not grow well where she lives and she is excited because it's her favorite herb. 

My two state away friend sends me things that are exciting to me, too.  As we are both Catholic -and she is a retired teacher that taught religion in a private school - she sends me things that she knows enhances my life.  This information is what makes the circle of friendship complete, as well, because I share it with others and that includes the 3000 mile friend.

With such good relationships in my life, you can see why I am pleased with my simple life.  I have been blessed with everything a girl could ask for.

Walnuts that weigh in at well over 4 pounds are meant to be shared.  Fresh from a tree they taste scrumptious.