Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Busy Week is Now Behind Me

I'm sure my readers are familiar with the weeks that fly by leaving you wondering where they went and what did you do anyway.   That was last week for me.  Nothing profound happened, just, it flew by. I took pictures to prod my memory for the blog.  Thankfully, because I'm shooting mental blanks right now.

Let today be the start of the list of accomplishments for the past week.  First thing I went to pick up my new glasses.  Being older and having a desire to preserve my eyesight as long as possible I opted for transitional lenses.  The sun now bothers my eyes.  The transition is slow and hardly recognizable
But my eyes are thanking me for spending a bit more to help The lady who was fitting my glasses had pity on me and provided me with a cool animal print case that has a hard cover and snaps shut.  Animal print not being my first choice in most things, this case being the exception.  Things really are relative, wouldn't you say?

How cool is this case?  I'm styling!


From there a stop was made at Marshall's.  I picked up a cute container to keep next to the bed to put my night time items in.  It has front pockets, but I have no need for them now.  Maybe in the future they will come in handy.  The clearance section had multiple items in it so I found a journal that I'll use for next year's notes.  I started using a journal this year to jot down any notes as reminders of things not to forget.  The pages on the left, I jot down reminders and on the right, I jot down recipes and projects.  Things I've tried (such as making hand soap) I mark with a small strip of colorful  washi tape as an indicator that I like it and will incorporate the recipe into my life.
I also have a journal that I use to record my gardening dates and tips and outcomes.  This journal will be used until it's full, with the year written before notes are taken.

The bedside organizer holds the remote, tissues, glasses case
and a note pad in the event I remember something I don't
want to forget.  Did that make sense?

'In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different'.
(Coco Chanel)  This described me to a tee.  The being different part.
Seeing the rest of the sentence I consider a gift as I was always under
the impression that being different than the mainstream
population was considered unacceptable.  Something
I struggled with until I was around 50.
 



There's a big movement concerning datebooks.  My daughter and I go to the book store each summer to purchase our date books for the coming year.  We go in the summer because her year begins in September with the start of school.  Both of us are happy to have the books with little to no embellishments.  The trend is to purchase multitude types of stickers to decorate as well as commemorate special dates such as birthdays.  I've never been one to go all out and crazy over anything, so I don't see me getting on board with this trend.  I do put a sticker next to birthdays which helps me to spot them at a glance.  

It appears the two lizards in my garden had a baby.  He is braver than his parents and zips by the pup while she is laying in the sun.  Of course she totally ignores the little guy.  It seems she can't be bothered.  None of the plants have been ravished by bugs, only by too much rain.  Wait, I lied.  The sunflower has huge chomps out of a couple leaves, but doesn't appear to be effected by it as each of the four plants have produced flowers.  One of them must be nine feet tall as it towers well over the top of the six foot fence.

We are never too old to learn new things.  I just learned something this past month.  Let me preface this with letting my readers know that I have never been into fancy makeup or clothes or grooming products.  It's just who I am.  I've secretly looked up to women who knew how to use products to enhance their inert beauty, but I don't know how to, nor do I have a desire to enhance what I am.   I do have a desire to care for what I've been given.  I keep my personal space clean ad free of dirt.  Face always washed and hands washed more times a day than anyone would care to count. (The hand washing came from working in the medical field.)

The feel of moisturizers on my face is unpleasant to me, until recently.  I was become gaunt looking so I increased the water intake.  This helped a bit, but nothing noticeable.  Then I discovered a product from Japan that promised to hydrate the skin.  I was apprehensive, but the promise was I could return the item with no questions asked.  The belief that these types of products were just hype to sell something was still in my mind.  With a mental picture of my friend, Kyoko, I thought it was worth a try.  OMGosh!  The product does indeed hydrate.  I love the face wash so much, I went back this month to purchase the moisturizer.  The gaunt look is gone and my face is plumped up once again.  I'm now a believer.  But, not in all product claims.

I'm not advocating the purchase of this particular
product,  I'm only saying that there are really products on
the market that do indeed follow through on their claims.


 
This week also had a visit to the famer's market at the end of the day with lower prices on tomatoes and peppers along with a free ear of corn. 



I also went to the wholesale flower shop to look for a BOGO deal which I found in some beautiful yellow flowers.




Stay safe.  Feel free to share what you've accomplished (or did not) this week in the comment section.
 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Time to Prepare a Hurricane Bag

I just watched a video that reminded me I have been lax in providing a seventy two hour hurricane bag.  One thing everyone knows in this area is to be prepared for a hurricane at home and if people need to evacuate the area.  The newspapers put out booklets every year and the news channels talk about being prepared for the hurricane season.

I am always prepared for a storm in my home, but I've been lax about gathering together items in one place to take with me if there is a need to evacuate.  Time to be diligent and make a bag up.

I used two bags, one for food, then one for equipment to prepare or eat the food and clean clothes.  As far as water is concerned I can grab it from the garage while heading out the door if I need to evacuate.   I also have 2 disposable grills that I bought at Wal Mart a couple of years back.

The food bag needs to be filled with long lasting items that have an expiration date at least six months out.  I don't want to have to worry about  the food often so my bag is filled with food that has an entire year before I have to worry about it.  Since there is only me, the cans are single serve ones as is the cereal.  Another thing is because it gets so hot here in the summer, I can't store my bag in the ideal place - the vehicle.

The food bag (or container of your choice) needs these items:

Breakfast for three days for each person
Lunch for three days for each person
Dinner for three days for each person
I added snacks like packs of cookies, tea, coffee packets, and bubble gum.
Don't forget water
You may want to add a couple of small bottles of wine!

Here's a sample of the food I have packed in my bag. 
The beans are for a protein source, as is the tuna packs.


Also needed:

Matches or some sort of igniter
A source of light: candles, flashlight, solar lamp, etc.
Some sort of pan, I'm using dollar store aluminum pans.
Eating utensils, paper plates, cups
Prescription medicines
Band aids and antibiotic ointment
Cleansing wipes

Because the bag is for three days only, small amounts of these items are all that is needed.

In the vehicle I can store a blanket and an atlas.

Wherever you live in this country abnormal weather patterns can emerge.  It's a beautiful land, but with beauty can come unforeseen calamity. Being prepared for such things is prudent and will reduce stress if a weather condition forces you out of your home.

Monday, July 13, 2015

What's Happening at Angie's House This Week?

For the first time ever I met our eldest daughter for breakfast.  The plan was to meet at a local restaurant, but when we arrived we were informed they no longer serve breakfast.  The closest place was McDonald's so we ventured there to fill up on a breakfast sandwich.  I sometimes crave one of their egg biscuits.

When breakfast was over and we parted ways, I stopped in to the Dollar Tree.   The cashier was a happy woman who sent a genuine greeting my way.  My spirits were instantly lifted from the greeting then hit high when I spied the new back to school supplies.

My daughter brought over two large zucchini for me. From one of them I got five cups of shredded veggie, four cups that went into the freezer and one cup went into the dehydrator.  The other one was sliced and dried for use in winter stews, soups and sauces.  I hope the harvest is good this year so I can dry lots more.  I am impressed with the health benefits of zucchini, but I'm not too fond of the bland taste.  This way I can bake with it and use it in one pot wonders.

I really wish I was a better photographer, but my poor skills will have
to do for now.  The next time there's a class online, I will be the first
to sign up, just so I can do better on this blog.  One jar of the dried zucchini
will go back to my daughter and the other will stay at my house. 
She wants me to keep the shredded bunch.
My neighbor moved, but before she did she shared a few organic veggies with me, one of which was a squash.  Today that squash will also be dried.

Two mornings this week I got up early and spent some time with the two youngest grands.  My daughter needed some help for a few hours on those days, so I went early, then the eldest daughter finished off the morning watching the kids until their mom got home.  This isn't something I do often, but when the parents are in a tight spot I'll watch the kids.  I'm not the grandmother that devotes her retirement to watching the grands.  I've made that very clear to all of my children.  My responsibility ended when my kids grew up.  Their children are their responsibility.  My job is to spoil the grands.  I think I may be good at my 'job'.  Tee hee hee.

I ordered two solar lamps from amazon this week, as well.  Let me tell you they are the neatest little lamps.  I have been testing them out at night to see how well they work and decided I could save on electricity by using them now and having them on hand if the power goes out for any reason.  I thought, even on sale, they were a bit more than I would normally spend, but I felt better after my son in law told me the bulbs were LED and would never have to be replaced.

Aren't these lights the cutest things?  There's even a handle so they
can be hung up.
Our buildings are being power washed this week. My community is small so they have put aside just three days to finish the project.  My home was the first one done.  For those of you not familiar with the humidity in the South buildings need to be power washed every year or so because the humidity tends to leave green slime on them after a while.  Especially the parts that don't get much sun light.

I had to pitch one pot of tomato plants because the rain  did a number on them.  I'm hoping I get at least a few tomatoes off of the remaining plant.  Even if they have to be picked green I can make bread or jam from them.  So far the cucumber plant and the melon plant are loving the rain.  Here's hoping.  I have gotten quite a few berries off of the blackberry bushes with many more to come.  So some successes along with some failures.

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post that I bought two winter shirts from the thrift store.  They're washed and ready for the first cold day.  The intention is to use them as sleeping shirts, but there's no reason I can't wear them in the house to keep warm during the day.

These shirts came from the Goodwill thrift store. The blue
one was half price for 2.50, the cream one was full price.
The cream one still had the tags on it and the blue one
was never worn.  A simple way of testing this is to run
your fingers over the tag.  If the printing is raised
then the shirt was never washed.


Just to let you know this posted well before it was finished.  I don't know how I did that.  I may never figure it out.  But I will be diligent the next time I have a half finished post to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Stay safe.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Intangible Success

  • noun

    the accomplishment of an aim or purposethe attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
This is a definition of the word SUCCESS.  I like the simple and straightforward definition - 'the accomplishment of an aim or purpose'.
 
This part of the definition is often over looked in our society as we tend to focus more on wealth or fame. (as a society)  I'm not fond of this activity.  I am, however, a fan of obtaining goals.
 
This morning I read an article describing fifteen things the wealthy do.  I am happy to report I do thirteen of the activities.  I do not obsess over money and things though.  I'm not wealthy in terms of cash reserves.  I am wealthy in terms of everything else -all of the things I set goals for have been met.  (You can read the article here:   http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/personalfinance/15-things-wealthy-people-do-every-day/ar-AAcMTQW?ocid=AARDHP )
 
I thought I would write a list to obtain intangible goals.  In my way of thinking the world would be a better place if more people reached for the intangible rather than the tangible.  It's a theory I'd like to see the results of.
 
I am a big proponent of education.  Not everyone can afford a formal education at one time.  I went to a prominent university, but the truth be known I chose a career that was in big demand and paid me to learn.  Back then I received a stipend to attend school because no one thought of entering the field.
 
I'd like to point out there are numerous ways to be educated.  One of the easiest is to master your language, which is accomplished over time.  If you find this is a weakness, one of the ways to learn more is to choose a word each day.  Spell it, use it in a sentence and learn the definition.  Before you know it your vocabulary will be something to envy.  Speaking the language correctly will reap many benefits that you won't even be aware of.  It may be the one thing that impresses an employer.  We will never know if a job is unobtainable because of our speech.
 
Be kind.  There are laws of physics that can't be altered.  Have you ever heard the saying 'What goes around, comes around'?  This is a simple way of saying that the laws of physics will abound in life.  There's no getting around it.  There could be days the patience needed for this practice will be enormous.  All of us have failed in this area at one time or another since we are human and are prone to mistakes.  But, we are also able to create patterns of kindness when kindness will become part of who we are. Take it from a former bitch.  I didn't even know I was a bitch, it was how I was brought up.  Add to that a snob, and you have a rotten person.  I like myself so much more now than when I was young.  I owe this transformation to my patient husband's teachings.
 
Be clean and organized.  Being clean is a no brainer, but being organized can mean different things to different people.  Organization benefits everyone in numerous ways.  Less precious time is wasted looking for things, not to mention money because something not found has to be acquired again.  Chances are the item will be found after a new one is obtained, causing dismay, then resignation and cluttered homes.    
 
Saving money rather than spending it all.  I guess this could come under the heading of budgeting.  In a budget there should be a category for discretionary spending.  Even if it's 5.00 or 10.00 a week  I currently put aside a small percentage of my income for the things that are not necessary, but bring me joy.  This could be something as small as a custard cone from Rita's or as large as a new blouse.  The operative words are 'brings joy'.  If there's something big you want, then saving this part of the budget until there is enough to pay for it will bring a great sense of accomplishment.  There's nothing like that sense of accomplishment.  It's empowering, to say the least.  It's not money that has the power, it's the sense of accomplishment when it's used to benefit us that is powerful.  Power brings on a feeling of confidence.  A win - win situation.
 
Speaking from a mother's heart please think about a path to becoming debt free.  Most people that have taken this path follow Dave Ramsey.  I have not only because for some reason I've always known things about this subject.  I thought nothing of going on an austerity budget when our family had to deal with medical crisis(es).  Thankfully it was inherent to educate myself with measures that pulled us through that situation.
 
Give God some of your attention.  Obviously not everyone believes in the power of God, but for those that do pray and converse with God every day.  Even if you don't believe in God, talk to Him anyway.  It can't hurt.  What can hurt is if there really is a God and denial is practiced. 
 
This is the basic list of accomplishing intangible success.  The first step is the most difficult.  But, as time moves forward there will be a peace and desire for more knowledge.  We spend the time any way, may as well use it to our advantage.
 
Good luck and stay safe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Accomplishments and Favorites

This month I have a few favorites, but not too many because I haven't researched or purchased too many new things.

BOOKS

The book by Carolyn LaRoche, Undercover in Six Inch Stilettos.  This is an up and coming author with a flair for humor, romance, and suspense.  Here's a blurb from amazon to get you started.
If you find you have an interest in purchasing the book, it's available on www.amazon.com in
Paper back and e book format. 

As a transparency statement Carolyn is my daughter.  Her numbers are high for a new author and she tells me she is very popular in the UK.  I always told my kids that I didn't care what their chosen profession is, to only be the best at whatever they chose.  It looks like Carolyn was serious about following this advice.  She also teaches forensics in a local high school as her Master's is in this field of study. 


Cyndi Mills has a great life. A handsome husband that is totally hot for her, a beautiful daughter, and friends she could trust with her life. Her life should feel complete, yet she feels something is missing. She knows her husband won't approve when she takes on a job where her closest friend is a cross dressing bartender, her mentor has a feather boa for every occasion, and her alter-ego spends every shift shaking her... um... assets. She manages to keep her new career a secret from her husband, Jason, until her co-workers start disappearing. Cyndi is determined to find the missing girls. Unfortunately, solving the case means her overly protective cop husband has to know where she goes every Friday night and the killer soundtrack of 80's rock won't matter to him one bit. Cyndi's thrown deep into the case when she becomes a confidential informant.

With her marriage and family on the line, will she risk everything to find justice?


http://www.amazon.com/Undercover-Stilettos-Secret-Lives-Police-ebook/dp/B00ZK3M87K/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436360620&sr=1-4&keywords=carolyn+laroche

FOOD

Washington state cherries.  As long as they are available, I'll be snacking on them.  I canned five jars for a winter treat.

Organic tomatoes that a neighbor shared with me.  The flavor was so 'tomatoy'.  I miss the true flavor of veggies that I remember from childhood - before our crops were messed with.

PRODUCTS

A pack of ten Mylar blankets.  People use them to cover their windows in the summer to deflect heat from the sun.  I'll be putting them up on key windows this week.  I hope this lives up to the great reviews I read.

VIDEOS

I'm a sucker for the homecoming videos that pop up on my fb page from the Veteran's site.  I normally need facial tissue while watching the happiness of families reunited after a soldier's tour in the Middle East

I'm a big fan of the Royal Family in the UK.  The new pictures up on facebook of Charlotte's christening are adorable.

The Tudor Farm (BBC documentary) on yoo toob is packed with information that could be used in today's simple life.  However, I won't be raising any hogs or chickens in the near future.

Accomplishments

Dried 4 cups of pumpkin that I froze in the fall.  This way I'm not pressured to use it before it gets freezer burned.  When I want to make bread, I'll reconstitute it.

There are two quart bags of blackberries in the freezer, with a whole lot more to come.  The berries on the bush are in different stages - some red, some green, and some still in the flower stage.  I'll wait until all of them are picked to process them.

I tried to get a shot of all three stages of growth on the berry bush.


The bedding is washed and put back on the bed.

Some items that need to be hand washed are hanging over the shower door.



Some bay leaves are also dried and sealed in a canning jar.

I documented what was in the freezer and pantry so I don't waste money re buying what I already have.

A trip to Sam's club and the kitchen now has 10 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of sugar, vitamins (my son in law insisted), an eight can pack of baked beans, and tuna.  I also stocked upon toilet tissue and facial tissue.




Some blackberry leaves were also cleaned and dried for a tea in the colder months.  These leaves are said to aid in digestion.

What are your accomplishments this week?  Let us know in the comment section.

Stay safe.



Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Singing the Praises of Coconut Oil

I admit it.  I broke down and bought coconut oil.  I'm glad I did. There has been so much talk about the benefits of this item, I needed to check it out for myself.  I first looked for it when I went on a trip to Trader Joe's a few months back.  The shelf was empty of coconut oil.  Sold out with no word when it was to be replenished.  Is this the only store that carries coconut oil?  I figured if it's such a trend other groceries would pick up on the trend if for no other reason than profits.  I was right.  Of all the places to find 100% pure coconut oil, I found it at the Wal Mart grocery store. For around seven dollars the jar became mine.

This is the container the magic wand item comes in.
 It's good to remember that just a small amount is needed
for most uses.


The consistency of the oil was solid, yet pliable when I opened the jar.  If it goes above 76 degrees in temperature the oil becomes a liquid.  Below 76 degrees and it transforms into a solid.  I've been storing the opened jar in the refrigerator realizing a very solid and hard mass of oil.  It doesn't scrape out well so I looked into the proper storage.  The pantry is the most reliable area to store coconut oil as it can easily be scooped out and used.  I have just transported the jar to the pantry because I am using it for more things than cooking.  Some practical uses of coconut oil are:

Used with baking soda to brush teeth.  I tried this and it works wonderful!

As a lip balm.  It has an SPF of four.

As an eye cream.  Several of the ladies I watch on yoo toob swear by this practice.  Apply before bedtime to see that it relieves puffiness.  I'm going to try this tonight.

As a shave cream to protect the delicate skin on a woman's legs and any other area that's shaven.  Coconut oil does not clog pores.

Deodorant. I made this with peppermint essential oil and it works great for me.  Store bought deodorants contain small particles of aluminum, this oil does not.  I'm not sure if this is enough protection for everyone.  It wouldn't hurt to try it by filling an empty deodorant container with the finished product. (recipe below)

Applied to dry hands and feet before bed then covered with socks.  For those who suffer from dry heels and hands, just a dab on each area will soften skin.

Coconut oil works wonders on a baby's bum before a diaper goes on.  It's pure and natural so there is no concern for an allergic reaction for baby.

As a de frizzer.  Rub a small amount between hands and scrunch into hair.  If you have long straight hair the oil can be run through the strands.

The lay out cost of 14 ounces of pure coconut oil is around seven dollars.  The cost may seem high, but if it replaces the eight separate items needed to perform the above tasks than it's a frugal hack.  Only very small amounts of the coconut oil is needed for most of these hacks.  The largest amount used is for the deodorant, but that lasts a while.

Just to let you know the oil will still be usable if it changes from solid mass to liquid mass.  It will not be harmed even if the changes take place multiple times.

Coconut Oil Deodorant

6 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons corn starch -Preferably organic
4 tablespoons baking soda
Essential oil of your choice. (Not needed for performance)

Mix all ingredients and spoon into an empty deodorant container.  It will turn into a solid in an hour or so.

Let me know in the comment section if you have tried any of these hacks and how they performed for you.



Thursday, July 2, 2015

What is a 'This and That' Lunch?

I've been a bit ill, so forgive the lack of posting.  I think today will be a 'this and that' post.  When our kids were small and I wanted to use up small bits of fresh foods I'd tell them we're having a 'this and that' lunch.  They loved the term and no noses were turned up at the last piece of cheese or the last carrot in the refrigerator.

This morning I wanted to preserve the carrots that lurked in the refrigerator so I blanched them and they are currently in the dehydrator.  The top rack is half full of bay leaves that came off the plant in the backyard.  I have some parsley that's ready to grind and garlic that is drying. I've been doing light duty things in the kitchen.

Monday I canned five pint jars of cherries with all of them sealing.  The carrots in the garden also got weeded on Monday. 

Since I have to rest more than work this week I have been re watching a BBC series on  the World War II farm in England.  When I like a series, I'm known to watch it over and over again.  Each time I find additional information that I missed the time before.

One of my favorite movies to watch over again is The Devil's Advocate.  I hated it the first time I watched it, I think because I was scared.  For some unknown reason I watched it again - most likely because my husband did.  I went past the crude language that popped up every so often and began to notice the message of the movie.  Looking at Keanu Reeves wasn't too difficult either.

My favorite movies are: The Godfather - all three parts, Nanny McFee, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Storm of the Century, and the Stand.  Once in a while I'll watch Baby Boom.  How's that for an eclectic mix?  I won't even try to figure that one out.

I also own DVDs with Clara, Two Fat Ladies and Jamie Oliver.

I like cook books, too.  My favorite books are written by Ina Garten.  Did you know in a past life she was the Minister of Energy for the USA?  Wow, what a turn around.  She is obviously a person who knows how to navigate success.  More power to her.

I've been missing my mate this week quite a bit.  I think because the anniversary of his passing is on July seventh.  Most widows are interested in someone else by now, but I'm not that bright.  My loyalties still lie with a man I can't see or be with any longer.  I've accepted this is the way I feel and go with the flow.  Maybe there is some sort of glitch in me, but I'll go on the premise 'what I don't know won't hurt' when it comes to this.

Harris Teeter grocery store has buy two packages of coffee, get three free.  The final cost came to about 2.20 a package.  Difficult to beat that price.  I chose the hazelnut as it's my favorite kind of coffee.  I also got a personal size watermelon, bananas, grape tomatoes, and cookies.  The kind with peanut butter in the middle.  Oh, yummo!

The other store I visited was Ross and found a patch (scratch) kit for the hardwood floors.  I've been looking for one for a while now.  Patience, in this case, was definitely a virtue.  The kit has five different shades of stain so it can be used on just about any wood surface.  I feel like I hit pay dirt with this one!

That's about all I've been up to this week.  Time to go rest again.  Stay safe.