Monday, December 28, 2015

Purchasing After Christmas Items IS a Goal Met

Like most women in the country I did some after Christmas shopping to stock up for next year.  Unlike most women, I waited until two days after Christmas to beat the crowds. Michaels had 70% off, Pier One was at 50%,  and Dillard's items were also 50% off.  Dillard's had quite a bit left over so they will have a 70% off sale on the first of the year.  But, the zoo it will be on that day does not fit into my lifestyle.  I'll take the 50% off and feel good about it.

The items bought were comsumables such as tags, gift card boxes, and paper.  I thought I'd best get the gift card boxes because a gift card I sent nearly got thrown away because it was so small.  Hopefully, the boxes will be large enough to stand out.

I'm thinking the red 'open me' stickers can be used on any gift.
I'm sorry to say I took other pictures, but for some reason
they won't transport to the blog.

Most of the decorations are put away for next year except for the tree and the Nativity.  The tree will come down around the first of the year, but the Nativity will stay put until I have the feeling to put it away. 

This year I bought a bin to put the decorations in so they are contained and organized.  Before this year I didn't have enough to worry about so they went into a closet I use for storing holiday decorations and gifts.  I like the idea so much (Don't know why I didn't think about it before.) that I'm going to purchase bins for the other holiday items, too.  My first organizational activity for the coming year.

Another goal this year is to purchase a desk.  I thought I could get away without one, but this paper work stuff is getting frustrating.  A desk with a drawer for hanging folders will fit the bill nicely.  It's time the empty office room became an office.

Long term goals this year:

1 Set up the printer to WIFI
2 Save coins until I get to 25.00 then turn the change into gift cards for gifts.
3 52 week savings plan, beginning with the last week first.
4 Set up Google Chrome, then drop the cable.  I seldom watch TV because of the long commercial periods and, let's face it, the content has more to be desired.

Short term goals:

1 Purchase camera batteries for the year
2 Go to Sam's to purchase bathroom tissue and Kleenix
3 Make address stickers or purchase them, depending on cost.
4 TRY to remember to purchase a lottery ticket each week.  This has been a goal for three years, yet to be followed through.  I'm just not a lottery kind of girl.  If I could purchase them all at one time, the problem would be solved.
5 This past year I increased my prayer life to include a number of individuals as well as learned new prayers.  I'm happy to report (to myself, more than anything) that I missed not one day.  This year I'd like to increase the list of prayers I learn by heart.

Do you have goals this year?  Let me encourage you to set goals and feel satisfied if even one comes to fruition.  That's one more than the year before!

Stay safe.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

De Cluttering the Spirit

I'm going to go out on a limb today and write about de cluttering.  Not our homes or garages, but de cluttering us.  Spiritual material is included in this post, so I wouldn't be offended if you choose to bypass this one.  I hope you don't though because that is only a portion of the post.

Life, for most of us, is pretty long with many things that happen and are said to us.  We say things to others too, with no intention of injury, but sometimes things are received in a negative manner.  As an example let me tell you what came out of my mouth to daughter one (C) last night on the phone.

We were talking about Christmas gifts and I blurted out, " I got lots of 'sheet' from you and S.  My intention was to say I got a 'sheet' load from you and S.  The words came out all jumbled and I laughed still trying to get the words to come out in the order they were meant.  Of course she gave me a hard time, as is her way of jesting with me.  We ended up laughing and said good night.

The unintentional words could have been hurtful, IF she chose to receive them that way.  She knows at this stage in her life that holding onto infractions can clutter her spirit.  This is not how she wants to live.  Neither do I.  I want a spirit that's free to laugh and not bogged down with old hurts and pains.

How does one de clutter their spirit, you ask.  Or perhaps you may think there's so much past hurt that it's not possible.  Not to be too harsh, but yes indeed, it's possible.  Lets begin with the Our Father prayer.  The prayer Jesus gave when asked what we should pray.  He replied that when you don't know what to pray, to pray this.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORGIVE THOSE who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.

There have been a number of times in life that my spirit was damaged.  Deeply.  But, I didn't want to carry the injury forever.  It's a bit selfish of me because I was more concerned about me carrying the pain than the other person.  I began the process by saying I forgave them.  Not really forgiving, just declaring it.  Over and over again.  Then I would say the Our Father with an emphasis on AS WE FORGIVE.....  It use to take forever to get through the process, but each time it became easier and now all these years later the process is instant.

Most people have no intention of hurting others, especially when love is in the mix.  There are, however, people who enjoy hurting others.  Forgive them as well and move on with no further interaction with them.  Always be polite, but keeping an emotional distance is a very healthy choice for you and those around you.

All of this is easier said than done - for certain.  It takes time to go through the list and use this process to remove the negatives we store up.  I promise you, though, the process is worth the time it takes because it becomes a part of you that eventually will take no time to be put into action.  After all, de-cluttering our homes takes tiny steps and time, too.  Looking at it in this light may be helpful in reminding you to stay the course.

If you choose to accept this challenge, I commend you for your strength and fortitude.  After all, what is 'woman' but a collection of strengths.

If you'd like more on this subject, let me know and I'll do what I can to help.

Stay safe.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hacks that Don't Work for Me

Just a short post today to clue you all in on a couple of hacks that don't work. Not for me, anyway.

1.  Dollar Tree batteries are a no go.  I put them in the LED candles I bought and they lasted three days, at about four hours a day.   Lots of ladies on yoo toob say they're good.  No they're not!

2.  I also tried the hack women are raving about - turning granulated sugar into confectioner sugar.  I have a NINJA for gosh sakes.  I let that baby run for a good four minutes.  I ended up with smaller granules, but no fine confectioner sugar.  I wanted to try it before I put it on the blog.  So glad I did.  If you have luck with this, let us know.  Maybe I did something wrong.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Ham and cheese on rolls
Jello for the kiddos
Watergate salad
Brie with raspberry sauce
Cheese and crackers
Cheese ball (olive)
Lettuce and tomato platter (for sandwiches or salad)
Dessert (to be determined)

Dinner will be at my home and lunch will be at S.'s home.  We usually eat light on Christmas Eve because there's so many last minute things the moms have to wrap up.

I wish all of my readers that celebrate Christmas the most blessed of day with those you love.  Oh, and a full tummy!  Merry Christmas.

Stay safe

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Creative? OR Problem Solver?

Daughter number three (S) called to chat tonight.  I suspect one reason she called was to express her ire about something I say on this blog.  She told me to stop saying I'm not creative, because, yes - you are.  As a patient mom I explained that I'm not creative, but I do excel at problem solving.  Here's the difference.

Creative people envision something, then have the ability to bring it to fruition.  They dream up a bouquet of flowers, envision it, then go to the task of creating it.  They do this with all things.  I do not envision, nor do I create.  Believe me I tried when I was a young mother.  I finally gave up and accepted creating was not a strength.  No harm in that.  The truth is the truth.  I was at peace with it.

Problem solving is indeed a strength I possess,  Recognizing this brings on a confidence that can't be taken away in any way.  I don't brag about it, it is what it is.  Just like recognizing creativity eludes me, is what it is.

My children are creative.  It's a genetic pass down from their dad's side of the family.  They have the best of both of us - creative and pragmatic.

Let me explain what I mean when I refer to problem solving by using a couple of examples.

In the past:  When the children were small there was quite a bit of chronic illness in our home. (Two members at the same time.)  I worked three jobs, but it wasn't always enough money to go around.  I knew if the cupboards were bare, the kids would feel they were poor.  So what I did was fill the frig with good snacks such as carrot sticks, celery sticks, and apple slices.  The fridge was full and for all they knew there was nothing they 'wanted'.  I did the same thing with the cupboards.  I left quite a few cereal boxes that were close to empty to make it appear as if the cupboards were full, but the reality was quite different.  Problem solved.  The children thought there was plenty of food, only I knew the reality.

In the present:  Currently the Christmas presents are getting wrapped.  I ran out of tags.  But, I do know how kids notice if someone has a tag and they don't.  Their little spirits get dinged.  So I have two types of Santa wraps.  I cut out a Santa from one wrap and used it as a tag on the package wrapped in the other Santa paper.  Problem solved.

I used a brown Santa as a name tag on the paper with the red and white
Santa.  The grand will never know this tag is any different than
 most of the others.

That - to me - is the difference between creativity and problem solving.  Both have a place in our lives and both serve us well.  Besides, I have the yoo toob ladies to help me appear to be creative.  That's my secret.  I copy what I see that I like.  Sometimes with a personal spin, sometimes not.

Stay safe!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Years ago I went to a cookie exchange with my small children.  So you know it was years ago.  One mother took the time to make small wreath ornaments for all of the participants.  I loved that little ornament and hung it on the tree for years.  The thing is, I don't know what happened to it.  So when I found a simple crochet pattern to make that wreath three days ago, I was so excited I looked for items in my home to make the wreath.  The pattern used plastic rings, red and green yarn - red being the color that was looped through the wreath to make a bow at the bottom.

I had none of the supplies the original pattern called for, but I was determined to make the wreath ornament.  I could certainly use wheat colored yarn with slender raffia ribbon, but how to replace the plastic ring was the dilemma.  Checking out the small stash of craft supplies that were on hand I eyed gold pipe cleaners.  Bingo! 

The end result was I took two pipe cleaners and twisted them together, then folded them in half and formed a circled.  Taping the ends together was not enough to hold them together so yam was wrapped around the make shift ring.  The end result was sturdy and a perfect copy of the plastic ring used in the original project.  I don't consider myself creative, bit I am a fairly decent problem solver.

The wreath ornament, done with what I had on hand. No
one would ever know I didn't use a plastic ring as the
center.  The next one I'm going to try is a snowflake

A friend found that a cat loved using her raised bed garden as a toilet.  Needless to say this was not acceptable, but she could not catch the cat to discourage it from returning.  She did the next best thing.  A wall of plastic forks lined the area to discourage the behavior.  The problem was solved.

The same friend uses clothes pins to mark what is growing in the garden.  They last for years and her cost was zero since she had them on hand.

Each of these scenarios were created using the idea that 'Necessity is the mother of invention'.  Each of these scenarios also created a sense of pride.

Not everyone thinks they  have the gift of problem solving.  In the same way I admit I'm lacking in the creative gift area.  I think these things can be obtained (to a degree) by trial and error.  Just as I have embraced a road to finding a speck of creativity in myself, anyone can achieve the critical skill of problem solving.  I do admit that it takes time.  But, as I tell my children (and grandchildren)  you're going to be around anyway, may as well use the time as wisely as you can.

As promised more Christmas decorations in my home.

The lighting is the worse in this powder room, but I hope you can
see the moose nested on the shelf.  There's a bit of whimsy in
tis room because the kiddos use it quite often when they visit.

I removed a picture and replaced it with the wreath.  I consider
this wreath a symbol of the Alpha and Omega.  The reason for
the celebration of Christmas for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Beginning to Look A LOT Like Christmas

I see this blog has made it as the first choice on both bing and my normal search engine.  That's quite an improvement from a year ago. I found an engine that I earn points which I turn in for $5.00 gift cards.

The house is now decorated for Christmas.  I removed a number of everyday items to display the Christmas items.  A trip to Marshall's yesterday with daughter number three was more fruitful than I anticipated it would be.  I found the most lovely Advent countdown in the form of a four foot tall angel made from muted material.  Looking at her brought a smile to my face and joy in my heart.  There in lies the secret - joy to the heart.

I bet you can guess what I named this gorgeous lady.  Yup,
Angie.  An honor, once again,  bestows on my grandmother.

The poinsettias got relocated to the kitchen table once I put the Christmas cloth on it.  It's a good possibility they will get moved a few more times.

My daughter bought me a present yesterday and called to come over to deliver it.  It's Frosty's hat as a wax burner.  He's tucked into the corner of the kitchen counter just in front of the mixer.  The scent waifs through the entire first floor.  Yum!

While her family was here the children trimmed the tree with help from mom.

I wish her dress was visible from the front.  She looks
like Cindy Who from the Grinch Stole Christmas cartoon.

When the three year old saw thus ornament, she got all
excited.  She loves owls.  Like most of my ornaments he was
purchased after Christmas at a drastically reduced cost.
Tomorrow, I'll put up more pictures.  Today I have to think about what goodies I'll make to celebrate the Christmas holiday week.

Stay safe.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Bit Like Christmas

Even if it's chilly outside the sun is out early this morning.  Saturday began with winter coat weather and ended up with spring coat weather.  Maybe today will show the same kind of love.

I had an appointment yesterday and decided to go to the bank first as well as return clementine's that were green with mold.  I packed up the fruit then left the house without it.  I was afraid that too much time would pass before I brought them back so I stopped into the grocery store to speak with the produce manager.  He assured me it would be OK to return them on Monday.  He explained that since they come from Spain in a wooden box, they have a difficult time inspecting them because most of them can't be checked by sight.  That's OK with me, a slight inconvenience is better than not because the fruit is a product of Spain.  No GMOs or other naughty things to make us ill.

 Friday evening  the family celebrated daughter number three's birthday by going to a restaurant of her choice.  We went to one of those Japanese steak houses with four kids in tow.  Their behavior was exceptional so we all had a good time.  The chef cooked and chopped and made a volcano out of onion rings to impress the kiddos.  They were indeed impressed.

Thursday night daughter number three and I went to the Dollar Tree to grab stocking stuffers.  We left about 7:00 PM and returned home after 11:00 PM.  Most of that time was actually spent in the dollar store.  I ended up with a few stocking stuffers and a few items I needed for the house - batteries, tape - that sort of thing.

I found the cutest chef hats for the little ones to wear
when they're helping their chef dad in the kitchen.

Earlier in the week I ordered a set of flameless candles from amazon.  Since my credit card points are tied into amazon my out of pocket expense was zero.  There's a sconce above the Nativity set on the fireplace.  I saw that sconce as the perfect place to put a candle to represent the Star of David over the set.    I'm pleased as punch with the outcome.  Small things like this bring joy to my heart.  My friends and family put up with listening to my exuberance when I gush about such small joys.

Stretching the imagination!  The 'star' works for me.

My daughter brought the Christmas tree down to the living room because I thought I was unable to.  How embarrassing to find all I had to do was turn it upside down so the branches folded in to make the task a one person (a short person) task.  Now I know!

Packages are ready to be mailed this week, as well.

My frugal hack for the week was bought at the dollar store.  I bought a pack of three small gift bags and three small frames at a total cost of four dollars.  The fabric handles were removed from the bags, then the bags were placed in the frames.  I have a set of three Christmas pictures.

One of the pictures went in the powder room.  I add a few
small items on the shelf in there because the kiddos use
this room quite often during visits to grandma's house.

I've also been thinking about my life lately.  Someone close to me challenged me to look at what it is I like to do, asking why I don't go to functions with other seniors and meet new people.  I thought about it and decided I really am not interested in meeting new people and making new friends.  Every friend I've always had has been placed in my path, I've not looked for them.  I'm content with my life and really don't want to search for other things.  If they fall in my path, I'll prudently assess the situation and if it's meant to be, I take up the challenge.  My life is filled with peace and activities I like to do.  I think she wasn't thinking about my readers as friends, either.  I so appreciate all of you in my life.  Only thirty something have added their names to the 'followers' list, but about 400 to 500 people read this blog each week.  This number is small compared to other blogs, but I feel I'm reaching those who are truly interested in learning.  So, this is where I thank you all for sticking with me.  You're all quite a nice gift.

Stay safe!

New prayer for my Catholic friends.  Short, simple and to the point.  This prayer was given to Sister Lucia when she was praying in the convent chapel as an adult.  As a reminder Lucia was one of the three children of Fatima.

" By Thy pure and immaculate conception, O' Mary, obtain for me the conversion of Russia, Spain, Portugal, Europe, and the whole world.  Amen." 

Disclaimer:  When we say a prayer that is addressed to Mary, we are asking that our heavenly mother carry the prayer to the Throne.  What man doesn't give his mother special recognition?  Sneaky, I know, but so effective!  I am in no way trying to influence anyone.  As stated this was put here for the many Catholic friends and family I have in my life.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This Week at Angie's House

Before I forget again, the seeds were mailed to Australia a week and a half ago.  Please let me know if they reached you because I've had a problem twice before where the receiver never got them.

This week appears to be a time that old memories have come to the surface.  A cleansing of sorts.  I'd like to celebrate Christmas with a free and forgiving spirit so I'm thankful of these little reminders.  Just small things that I thought were forgiven, but obviously not.  I'll embrace them and move on to enjoy a free spirit for the season.

My Christmas shopping is complete.  The only thing that remains in that area is to get packages mailed out.  I have most of them ready to be mailed, but one remains to be wrapped.  I'll do that today and, hopefully, get to the post office in the morning.

I have to pay my utilities this morning and perhaps receive a sick grandson that will be spending the day with me.  I woke up at 5 AM so I would be ready if he needed me.  Since he just turned 13, I would imagine he won't need too much attention as a little one would.

I ordered a ham for Christmas Eve so we can have big sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls as the featured food.  Since there's so many other last minute things to be done on that day, we keep dinner simple.  When the kids were small we would celebrate Christmas Eve with a dinner that signified the life of Jesus.  I can't remember all of the foods we had, but there was no color to them with the exception of the wine (grape juice) that signified the Blood of the Lamb.  I do remember fish was served to represent Christ's vocation.

The Nativity went up December first and I put the poinsettia plants I bought at Wal Mart on the steps. That's all I've done in the decorating department so far.

I made four jars of dried soup mix using the dried veggies I have dehydrated.  Even though most people like the recipe, I didn't.  The dog did though!  I think it's just me because my tastes are changing and I don't care for  heavy foods any more.  Also, this week, celery went into the dehydrator so it would not spoil before I could use it.

The original recipe for the soup mix was for four people.
I made enough for one person and added 2.5 cups of water rather
than the ten cups the recipe called for.  My girlfriend's
family loved the recipe.

Groceries cost about $31.00 this week with a haul of mushrooms, bananas, clementine's, yogurt, butter, cottage cheese, bread, and a few other items that elude me just now.   I do remember I picked up a can of chopped clams to make clam sauce to put over pasta.  That was last night's dinner.  That has always been a favorite, but not so much last night.  Which proves to me I'm not fond of heavy meals any longer.  I'll finish it up for lunch today, but it may be the last time I make it.

Thanksgiving was a nice day with family.  My son in law made the turkey and it was divine.  The best I've had.  Needless to say some white meat came home with me for cold sandwiches for two days. Cold turkey sandwiches are the reason for the season!  We made all of our traditional foods.  My contribution was a Watergate salad, jello, greens salad, two cheese balls and a chocolate cream pie.

Time to get ready to receive my visitor for the day as my daughter just told me my grandson was spending the day with me.

Stay safe.