Monday, December 31, 2012

Snowblower Update

After trying everything we could and all we knew about with the snowblower, I insisted Mark
go and discuss the problem with the next door neighbor, Paul.  Mark came home with an industrial
heat gun and the words of Paul ringing in his head. Yup, think your impeller is probably froze up.

(Which if you remember is where the last post left off. Mark had my hair dryer and was going to try
that next.)

Took another 20 minutes or, so but, the heat gun worked! There was a whole bunch of ice behind
the impeller we could not see. The heat gun made fast work of melting it. I was never so happy to
see that impeller and auger turn. Yippee!

Oh and the snowblower isn't just used to clear the driveway and the sidewalk. DH of mine makes
paths in our back acre for our little girl, Gracie, to charge around on. Otherwise she would be chest
deep in the snow. I should get you a picture of her out in the snow. She's so dang cute.

Anyway, all's well that ends well.

Best Wishes

I know the song behind this video but, can't name it.
Can you help me out?
Just leave a comment if you think you know.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Post Christmas Excitement

What have you been doing for fun today?
Working on getting our snow blower working again.
The shear pin on one end of the auger sheared off.
It needs to be replaced.
(Thank goodness we had two spares.)

Check this link;

But, seems the shear pin was not the only thing wrong with the snow blower.
The auger still won't spin.
Which means the snow that fell yesterday can not be cleared from the driveway.

Thought the impeller might be frozen to it's housing.
Poured a bottle of isoproply alcohol on the impeller.
Took alot of the ice away.
But, due to the housing it's hard to see if the ice is really and truly gone.

Plus with the temperature at a -14's terribly cold outside.
Nasty working conditions. 

Next will be the hair dryer on the impeller.
Or, going next door and seeing our neighbor, Paul, who is mechanically inclined for his thoughts. 

Keep your fingers crossed for some good luck here.
We really need our snow blower.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

All is well. Subdued and quiet here. But, that's the norm for us.

We spent yesterday entertaining our close friend, Lisa. She lives over an hour away so to have had her here is special to us. She arrived laden with gifts and food stuffs. The food was her idea. She made most of our dinner and I filled in the bare spots in the menu.

You would have found us sitting at the dining room table and having some great cheeses she had picked up as we visited and chatted for well over an hour.Then we realized how dark it was starting to get outside. Lisa hates (as much as I do) driving in the dark. So it was time to eat.

Our menu included: ham, beef, risotto w/pine nuts, yams with apple chunks all from Lisa's hands. I added a few things from our garden I had canned; pickles, beets and chutney and some green beans which also were part of this past year's garden harvest. Our dessert was supposed to be a pumpkin pie. But, Lisa did confess and say she made one without a recipe and it didn't gel. I told her I would cover our dessert. I made a pecan/maple layer cake with a cream cheese frosting. Oh yum! Sent a good portion of that home with Lisa. Get those sweets away from me!!!!! 

I hope everyone is having or, has had a wonderful day. Happy Christmas! 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Christmas Eve

 Want to know where Santa is? Or, how to send a Santa message to a friend?
Google has got you covered.
Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

 While you enjoy your day enjoy some beautiful music with pictures.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Repeat post from 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Geminids are coming

In the same vein as yesterday's post I bring you the info on the Geminid showers...

The Geminid meteors should perform well after nightfall on Monday, December 13. They will continue into the next night, December 14 th. Hopefully, the full moon's (Dec. 21st) light won't interfer too much with the viewing of this spectacular show.

No other meteor shower boasts more meteors than the Geminids—with 75 per hour in a dark sky. Plus, viewing is all night (whereas most meteor showers are predawn)!i

  • Where to look? The "point of origin" is where the flight course starts from. This is a good place to start. The bright and fast Geminids will appear to come from the northeast out of the Geminid twins.
  • You don't need any special equipment! To enjoy, just find a dark place free from man-made lights, spread a blanket (if you live up north where I live, bring extra blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate) on the ground, and look up in the dark night sky!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Got Hair?

Here I am status post chemo and radiation treatments. My hair is just now starting to grow back in. Wondering if it's going to be curly or, straight is the big question in my mind. You see it used to be curly. I so wanted straight hair all my life. Anyone want to place a bet what it will be?

Have to add.... after yesterday's post, I needed to write about something lighter and less emotional.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My life now

It has been almost 9 months now since my mammogram came back positive for breast cancer. Nine months since my life was changed forever. Nine months of learning about cancer treatments, nine months of of getting an education that I never signed up for. Nine months of finding my own strength, while learning to lean on others. Nine months of crying every tear my tired eyes could produce; nine months of discovering that some of the humor that makes me laugh the hardest is the stuff that comes from a dark place. Nine months of appreciating things I overlooked before....and nine months of letting go of what is not important. 

I probably don't look much different to the world. My hair is returning and I am thinking of keeping it very short in remembrance. Daily doses of Tamoxifen will dry my skin, make my waist thicker and my temper a bit shorter. No one except the person living inside this body really knows how much I've changed. 

I was one of the lucky ones --- I had a lot of support from family and friends. But, not all the people who started on this journey with me were able to hang in there for the long haul. And, some of the people who helped me the most were an unexpected surprise. 

My cancer was treated by a team of capable and experienced doctors. My soul was treated by my family and friends who stepped up and helped me live through the daily angst of continuing my treatments. 

My life has changed so much, yet so many things are the same, that sometimes it feels surreal. I still forget to take out the garbage, I still spend too much time in front of the TV (or, computer). Yet always in the back of my mind is the anxious feeling that I should be doing something important, that somehow on this wild roller coaster ride that I have been on these last 9 months, I should have discovered the "true purpose" of my life. 

I have not. 

What I have discovered is that everything is temporary. Happiness, grief, joy and heartache --- it's all temporary. I always knew that even life itself is temporary, but now I really KNOW it. 

Cancer or no cancer --- expensive cars, grand houses and huge bank accounts can't save us from the inevitable. All we have is this minute, right here, right now. 

I wish I could say that I'm living this minute to the fullest. For now it's enough that I'm living this minute. I'm still working on the `fullest`.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

The light.... it's here. Finally.

You know how people talk of the light at the end of the tunnel? After using this phrase often these past
eight months myself, my cancer treatments are done. Finished. Completed. And, again I'll say, finally.

It's been a long struggle these past eight months. Without the love and support of my husband, family and dear friends, I know these past months would have been worse. Much, much worse.

I won't be specific with incidents or, names. Because these people know who they are.

I love you all very much.Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Julia Child Remixed | Keep On Cooking | PBS Digital Studios

August 15th would have been Julia Child's 100th birthday.
Psst, recognize any of the other chefs?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Being Missing in Action

It's taken me some time to get my head around what has been happening to me. You see, I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. (Should breast cancer be capitalized?)

Back up in time to February when I went in for my yearly physical. The physical included having a mammogram. You see, I hadn't had one done in over ten years. I also have a strong family history of breast cancer, my mother who died at 42 and paternal aunt who died in her 70s and, a family history of cancer in general. My father who had lung cancer who died at 75 and a younger brother with brain cancer who died at 41. Good enough reasons to get that mammogram done.

I went to a nearby hospital on a Saturday... yes they were open on a weekends to allow working women to get their mammograms done. The mammogram went well and was done fairly quickly. The tech talked of her life and a friend who was just starting back in the dating world at the ripe age of 60. We had a few laughs talking about dating. When she was done shooting the pictures, she left the pictures up on the viewing screen as she left the room. 

As a retired RN, I have seen plenty of xrays in my day. What I saw on the screen scared the bejesus out of me. There were two lesions in my left breast. But, nothing was said by the tech except, "you can get dressed now". I drove home stunned and really unsure about what I had actually seen. Though in emails to friends and family I spoke of seeing those lesions.

 I was called by the hospital the next week to come in and have more pictures taken and to also have an ultrasound done. These were read immediately by the radiologist as I waited in the ultrasound room. She (nice that it was a women too) came in to speak to me. She told me the lesions were "suspicious" and needed further investigation. I can not remember exactly what she said to me. My brain shut down I think.  I started crying.. I don't remember the half hour drive home that day. Scary to think I was driving in that kind of condition. But, I had no one with me. Dumb move that.

I do remember the radiologist telling me the information was going to be faxed to my general practitioner. It would be imperative for me to see him as soon as possible. Yeah right..... ! I was working full time, my doctor's office is a good distance away (80 kms/50 miles one way) and he is a busy man. I tried unsuccessfully to book an earlier appt. than the one I had scheduled in about 4 weeks time. I even tried to make it to one of his clinics were it's a first come, first served situation. But, on our (my husband and I) way in there was a freak blizzard that turned us around and headed us back to home. I eventually heard from the doctor's office a week before my appt. was due. The message was he wanted to see me as soon as possible in the office. If you guessed I didn't miss that appointment, you are right.

to be continued.....

Friday, June 1, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. white distilled vinegar
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
2 large cloves garlic (or more if your DH loves the stuff)
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Makes ~ 1/2 pint

In a medium mixing bowl, combine sour cream and mayonnaise. Set aside. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, smash the garlic cloves on a cutting board and then rub a 1/2 tsp. of salt into the smashed garlic with a fork.

Add the parsley, chives and garlic mixture to the sour cream and mayonnaise mixture. Sprinkle a dash of salt and fresh ground pepper and whisk to combine. Pour in milk and vinegar mixture to reach desired consistency and whisk to thoroughly combine.

Let chill for several hours before serving.  Enjoy as a salad dressing or as a dip for fresh veggie.

Last year I made all of our salad dressings as the gardens were bountiful. This is one I kept tucked away and just found again. The gardens are starting to be proliferative and I needed a good dressing, so here it is. Enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chive Blossoms

Here I was sitting and wondering what to do with the chive blossoms growing like weeds in one of our garden boxes. I have used them in omelets, potato salad, veggie salads and then I saw this recipe. Eureka! I will be making this today.

Chive Blossom Vinegar Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups Champagne or white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups chive blossoms, snipped right beneath the head


  • 1. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan over low heat until just warm. Keep an eye out so that it doesn’t boil; you want the warmth of the vinegar to seduce the coy, subtle flavor out of the blossoms, not immolate them.
  • 2. Meanwhile, plunge the flowers in a bowl of cold water and gentle swish them around to flush out any dirt and bugs that have taken up residence. Dump the flowers into a colander and thwack it against the side of the sink to shake off the excess water.
  • 3. Stuff the pint jar with the blooms.
  • 4. Pour enough of the warm vinegar into the jar just to submerge the blossoms, using a metal spoon to push down any errant blooms that want to float up over the top. You might not need all of the vinegar.
  • 5. Let the vinegar cool, then place a square of parchment paper over the opening of the jar and screw on the top. You want to make sure the vinegar doesn’t come in contact with the metal lid, as the acid will erode the finish of the cap and do nasty things to the taste of your infused vinegar. Of course, you can make short work of this by using a glass-lidded canning jar–I just can never find them. Place the container in a dark, cool spot that’s so hidden you’ll forget about it. This infusion benefits from a long steep–1 to 2 weeks minimum.
  • 6. When you’re happy with the chive-y strength of the brew, strain it through a fine sieve and toss the spent blossoms. Pour the vinegar into your favorite (preferably glass) sterilized bottle with a rubber stopper and display prominently. Its hue–the blush of a very embarrassed Rosé–is a great conversation starter. Just don’t forget to use it.
Thanks to Leite's Cuilinaria blog for this recipe.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Natural Beauty Lotion

Instead of buying expensive creams for face and body, use extra-virgin olive oil! One bottle goes a long way for the price, and after using it, you will not want to go back to other creams. It absorbs into the skin and moisturizes better than anything else. Also, it is absolutely full of the kinds of vitamins, minerals, and emollients (including squalene) that the most expensive petroleum-based moisturizers contain. Italian women swear buy it and so will you! What you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body, and there is no harm in absorbing olive oil. If you shake it up in a spray bottle with a few drops of essential oils for a nice fragrance, you just made applying it both easy and pleasant!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My absence

I am taking a medical leave of absence.
Hopefully will be back sooner than later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

US May Day protests planned, may disrupt commutes

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — May Day protests may disrupt the morning commute in major U.S. cities Tuesday as labor, immigration and Occupy activists rally support on the international workers' holiday.
Demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience are being planned around the country, including the most visible organizing effort by anti-Wall Street groups since Occupy encampments came down in the fall.
While protesters are backing away from a call to block San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, bridge district ferry workers said they'll strike Tuesday morning to shut down ferry service, which brings commuters from Marin County to the city. Ferry workers have been in contract negotiations for a year and have been working without a contract since July 2011 in a dispute over health care coverage, the Inlandboatmen's Union said.
A coalition of bridge and bus workers said they will honor the picket line, which may target an area near the bridge's toll plaza. Occupy activists from San Francisco and Oakland are expected to join the rally.
"We ask supporters to stand with us at strike picket lines on May Day and to keep the bridge open," said Alex Tonisson, an organizer and co-chair of the Golden Gate Bridge Labor Coalition.
In anticipation of the strike, the agency that operates the Golden Gate Bridge and related public transportation systems canceled Tuesday's morning ferries from Marin County to San Francisco and urged regular riders to make alternate travel plans.
Police say they are working with other area law enforcement agencies and have a plan in place for potential disruptions. They would not discuss specifics.
Across the bay in Oakland, where police and Occupy protesters have often clashed, officers are preparing for a long day as hundreds of "General Strike" signs have sprouted across town.
In New York City, where the first Occupy camp was set up and where large protests brought some of the earliest attention — and mass arrests — to the movement, leaders plan a variety of events, including picketing, a march through Manhattan and other "creative disruptions against the corporations who rule our city."
Organizers have called for protesters to block one or more bridges or tunnels connecting Manhattan, the city's economic engine, to New Jersey and other parts of the city.
The Occupy movement began in September with a small camp in a lower Manhattan plaza that quickly grew to include hundreds of protesters using the tent city as their home base. More than 700 people were arrested Oct. 1 as they tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.
The city broke the camp up in November, citing sanitary and other concerns, but the movement has held smaller events and protests periodically since then.
Elsewhere on the West Coast, Occupy Seattle has called for people to rally at a park near downtown Tuesday. Mayor Mike McGinn has warned residents there could be traffic delays and has said city officials have evidence — including graffiti and posters — that some groups plan to "commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity."
In Los Angeles, Occupy is organizing a daylong "people's power and bike caravan" that will start from the four cardinal directions around the city in the morning, converging on downtown LA's financial district in the mid afternoon for an approximately 90-minute protest. The themes of the marches are foreclosures and police brutality.
In a website statement, Occupy LA promised the event will be "city-paralyzing" and "carnivalesque" with en route actions including a food giveaway in a South Los Angeles park, and mini-rallies outside the Veterans' Affairs and Bank of America buildings in West Los Angeles.

Take heed my friends who live and work in the San Francisco Bay area. This may screw up your day.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

May's Bounty

 The bounty of May....


  • okra
  • zucchini
  • rhubarb
  • artichokes
  • asparagus
  • spring peas
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • cherries
  • pineapples
  • apricots
 To save money choose fruits and vegetables that are in season.
Overbuy and freeze, can or, dehydrate for use later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Belated Earth Day

These commandments were written in 1990 by Ernest Callenbach.

1.  Thou shalt love and honour the Earth for it blesses thy life and governs thy survival.

2.  Thou shalt keep each day sacred to the Earth and celebrate the turning of the seasons.

3.  Thou shalt not hold thyself above other living things nor drive them to extinction.

4.  Thou shalt give thanks for thy food, to the creatures and plants that nourish thee.

 5.  Thou shalt limit thy offspring for multitudes of people are a burden onto the Earth.

 6.  Thou shalt not kill, nor waste Earth’s riches upon weapons of war.

 7.  Thou shalt not pursue profit at the Earth’s expense but strive to restore it’s damaged majesty.

 8.  Thou shalt not hide from thyself or others the consequences of thy actions upon the Earth.

 9.  Thou shalt not steal from future generations by impoverishing or poisoning the Earth.

 10.  Thou shalt consume material goods in moderation so all may share the Earth’s bounty.

 If only we would live by them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eating Weeds, Why Not?

Why bother eating weeds?

We live in a nation of extraordinary food abundance. Foraging wild foods requires knowledge, skill, and a lot of work (and time). Plus, it takes most people a while to acquire a taste for the often-stronger flavors of wild foods and to learn to prepare them creatively.

  • Unlike our cultivated food crops, which we pamper with selective breeding, fertilizers, and chemicals that protect them from disease-causing microbes, wild plants have evolved sophisticated strategies for foraging everything they need in an intensely competitive, often-hostile environment. They often contain higher nutrient levels than those found in cultivated food plants, especially trace minerals.
  • Wild plants also must manufacture all the compounds that protect them from excess solar radiation and from the attack by fungi, viruses, and bacteria, as well as larger predators. The same compounds plants manufacture for protection from environmental assaults may serve humans as anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, pain relievers, and in many other ways. These health-promoting compounds, which generations of selective breeding have all but eliminated from our cultivated crops, are responsible for the stronger flavors of wild foods. You’ll need to experiment to find tasty ways to serve them.
  • Finally, for me anyway, foraging a little of my food from the wild satisfies some deep, primal need, connecting me to the natural world around me and to my hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Before you start foraging: Important rules of thumb

  • Never use any plant for food, beverage, or medicine, unless you can identify it with certainty. How do you learn? Read books on wild-food foraging. Check to see if your Master Gardener program, or community education center offers wild-food foraging workshops. Seek old-timers who know their weeds and ask if you can accompany them on their foraging trips.
  • Never forage weeds from lawns or agricultural fields that have been heavily fertilized or sprayed with pesticides. Know the history of the land you forage on.
  • Don’t harvest wild greens and roots from lawns or other areas frequented by domestic pets whose droppings may contaminate your harvest. This is especially important if you plan to eat your wild foods raw.

Thanks to Margaret Boyles.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Make Your Own Insecticidal Soap

I have learned to make my own insecticidal soap. In the stores, a small bottle will run approximately $7 or more. You can make your own for much less!

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons baby shampoo
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 gallon of water
Mix all of the ingredients together. An old, gallon milk jug works great. Then pour it into a hand sprayer or a clean spray bottle. Mark any bottles and store them properly. Spray the solution on all of the plant that is infected with bugs. You may need to spray your plant everyday for three or four days to make sure that you have killed off all of the bugs and any newly hatched ones. This will save money for insecticidal soap and save money on replacing plants that have died due to insect infestation. Now, sit back and enjoy your bug free garden!

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools Day

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.... things are happening which I must pay attention to.
And, with that serious stuff in mind, I had to post this you tube joke video.
Watch, enjoy and laugh.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tomato Growing - tips, and hints

Plant tomatoes where they will get at least 10 hours of light in summer. And leave room between plants for air to circulate.

Alternate your tomato bed between even just two spots and you diminish the risk of soil borne diseases such as bacterial spot and early blight.

When buying tomato seedlings, beware of lush green starts with poor root systems. They will languish for weeks before growing.

Plant your tomato seedlings up to the first true leaves. New roots will quickly sprout on the stems. More roots means more fruits. (tried to tell someone this yesterday who wasn't listening as they knew better)

Soak your tomato bed once a week, or every five days at the height of summer. Water directly on the soil, not on the leaves.

Prune off these non-fruiting branches. This directs the tomato plant's energy into growing bigger, better fruit.

Use 6-foot stakes for indeterminate varieties like the 'Brandywine' tomato. Put in the stakes when transplanting to avoid damaging roots.

While the first fruit is ripening, encourage new growth and continued fruit set by scratching compost around the stem, and trim some of the upper leaves.

Three weeks after you plant tomatoes in your garden, put in another set so all of your harvest doesn't come at once.

Heirloom tomatoes that are too ripe can be mealy. Harvest them when they're full size and fully colored.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Uses for Newspaper

• Use as a fire starter and then use the ashes to raise the pH of garden soils.
• Use as a weed-suppressing mulch. Lay them down several pages thick and cover the paper with a thin layer of hay, pine needles, or wood chips to make aisles between your garden beds.
• Create a new garden spot without mechanical tillage. Lay down a thick layer of newspapers and top off with a thinner layer of hay, straw, or leaves. By the following spring, the grass underneath will have died!
• Protect young vegetable seedlings from cutworms. Wrap the lower stem with a tight collar of wet newspaper that extends an inch into the soil and at least an inch above the soil line.
• Clean windows. Crumpled newspaper and white vinegar make an unbeatable combo for washing windows and other glass surfaces.
• Cut-flower holder, wrapping paper (cartoons especially), and funny hats!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pressure Cooking

Why You Should Use a Pressure Cooker
Learning to use a pressure cooker could save you time and

Do the words "pressure cooker" bring fear to your heart? Do
you have visions of grandma's double-decker aluminum
monolithic model needing a forklift to move it? Do you fear
permanent facial scaring from flying pressure cooker shrapnel
and scalding tomato bits? If so, please consider the time,
money, and energy savings a pressure cooker can bring to your

Food Network's Chef Alton Brown assures us that pressure
cookers today are safe, efficient, and friendly to use. They
come in a variety of sizes, from large canning models to
medium-sized stockpots to others hardly bigger than a frying
pan. Electric or stovetop varieties are available. They can be
used for cooking meats, rice, legumes, and vegetables as well
as for the traditional pressure canning.

French innovation first led to steam technology in 1679.
Napoleon later used this unique way to avoid food spoilage as
a military secret. Word eventually leaked out of France and
pressure cooking became widespread. Americans use of pressure
cooking has been rather fickle since WWII, but it is now
making a comeback. European and Asian cooks have continuously
used this method due to low energy usage. We would be wise to
follow their lead.

Chef Arlyn Hackett says, "We are in the new age of pressure
cookers." Our user friendly second generation pressure cookers
come in aluminum or stainless steel with a variety of features
like precision spring valves and safety locking devices, which
only allow opening when pressure level is safe.

Saving Time Saves Energy Costs - Pressure cooking reduces
cooking time, usually using only a third of the time of stove
top cooking and much less than that for slow cooking. This
cuts the energy costs for cooking. An electric pressure cooker
uses only 110 volts rather than 220 and both types keep a
summer kitchen cooler.

Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, carrots, and
other root vegetables all cook in under five minutes. Even an
artichoke that might take an hour to cook in boiling water
will be done in twelve minutes. Rice takes eleven minutes.
Whole chickens and roasts are falling off of the bones in
flavorful tenderness in less than an hour.

Saving Time Saves Food Costs - And it encourages home cooked
meals. A wholesome soup can be made in 30 minutes, feeding a
family for a fraction of the price of buying hearty soups in a
can. Pressure cooking tenderizes less expensive cuts of meat
and cooks whole chickens rather than more expensive chicken
parts. Chicken, beef, pork and venison fall from the bones and
make perfectly shredded meat, which can be used in soups,
stews, sandwiches, salads and casseroles. (I add onion,
celery, garlic, and at times, I also bay leaf, green chilies,
Cajun, Mexican or Asian spices to the meat for mouthwatering
flavor and excellent broth.) Meats and broths/stocks can be
frozen in recipe-sized portions to be quickly pulled out for
easy future meal preparation, saving time and money on those
meals too! It's a wise, time-conscious investment.

Saving Time Promotes Healthy Choices - In our fast-paced
lifestyles, many families find themselves running for fast
foods or buying processed foods that have less preparation
time. These are often less healthy foods filled with
additives, salt, saturated fats, and high calorie counts.
Those foods contribute to health problems connected to
obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Eating healthy can save money in medical cost savings.

Pressure cooking uses minimal amounts of water so nutrients
remain in the food and are not poured down the drain. When
using a pressure cooker, you control what you eat. Consider
buying and eating fresh foods that can be pressure cooked (not
overcooked) and ready to eat in minutes. Fresher, tastier
meals can also be packed to reheat for healthier work lunches.

When choosing a pressure cooker, Alton Brown and Chef Hackett
stress that heavy is best. One adviser says, "If it feels
cheap, don't buy it." Choose double-handles for safe handling
and a three-ply bottom to avoid scorching food. A sense of
confidence can be gained by carefully reading all directions
and planning to stay nearby when using a pressure cooker. With
a little practice, this is well worth the payoffs of time and
money saved. Plus, you'll have delicious, healthy meals to

Many notable cooking personalities promote pressure cooking.
Wolfgang Puck sells his line of electric pressure cookers on
Home Shopping Network , which also offers a
pressure cooking cookbook by Tori Ritchie. Several brands of
cookers are available on . Emeril Lagasse is
another avid pressure cooking advocate. See his recipes and
others at . There are several interesting
and instructive videos on . Check your local
library, bookstores and recipe websites for more ideas. Each
instruction manual has recipes also.

Thanks to;
Cynthia Bower

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Home made Cleaning Products

Make your own cleaning products. Homemade cleaners are simple and a great way to save money.

WARNING: Never mix cleaning products containing bleach and ammonia, as dangerous fumes will result.

Oven Cleaner

2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid
2 teaspoons borax
1/4 cup ammonia
1–1/2 cups warm water

Mix the ingredients together, apply to oven spills, and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Scrub with an abrasive nylon-backed sponge and rinse well.

Easy Scrub

3/4 cup baking soda
1/4 cup borax
dishwashing liquid

Combine the baking soda and borax. Mix in enough dishwashing liquid to make a smooth paste. If you prefer a pleasant smell, add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice to the paste.

Jewelry Cleaner

1/4 cup ammonia
1/4 cup dishwashing liquid
3/4 cup water

Mix all the ingredients well, then soak your jewelry in the solution for a few minutes. Clean around the stones and designs with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Buff dry. (Caution: Don't use this with gold-plated jewelry; with soft stones such as pearls, opals, or jade; or with costume jewelry, because it could ruin the plastics or loosen the glue.)

Heavy-Duty Disinfectant Cleaner

1/4 cup powdered laundry detergent
1 tablespoon borax
3/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup pine oil, or pine-based cleaner

Slowly stir the detergent and borax into the water to dissolve. Add the pine oil (available at hardware stores and supermarkets) and mix well. For bathroom cleaning, use the mixture full strength. In the kitchen, dilute it with water.

Wood Floor Polish

1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Mix the ingredients well, rub on the floor, and buff with a clean, dry cloth.

Rug Cleaner

1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
1 cup lukewarm water

Combine the ingredients. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution over a large area, or use the solution to spot-clean nongreasy stains. (Don't use laundry detergent or dishwasher detergent in place of dishwashing liquid, as they may contain additives that can affect the rug's color.)

Toilet Cleaner

1 cup borax
1/4 cup vinegar or lemon juice

Combine the ingredients to make a paste. Apply it to the inside of the toilet bowl, let sit for 1 to 2 hours, and scrub.

Mildew Remover

1 tablespoon powdered laundry detergent
1 quart chlorine bleach
2 quarts water

Combine all the ingredients in a pail. Wearing rubber gloves, wash off the mildew.

Floor Wax Remover

1 cup laundry detergent
3/4 cup ammonia
1 gallon warm water

Mix all the ingredients together and apply to a small area of the floor. Let the solution sit long enough for it to loosen the old wax, at least 5 to 10 minutes. Mop up the old wax (or scrape it up, if there's a lot of it, using a squeegee and a dustpan). Rinse thoroughly with 1 cup vinegar in 1 gallon water and let dry before applying a new finish.

Furniture Polish

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 tablespoon boiled linseed oil
1 tablespoon turpentine

Combine the ingredients in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake until blended. Dampen a cloth with cold water and wring it out until it's as dry as you can get it. Saturate the cloth with the mixture and apply sparingly to a small area at a time. Let dry for about 30 minutes, then polish with a soft cloth. Note that this mixture gets gummy as it sits, so make just enough for one day's work.

Glass Cleaner

2 tablespoons ammonia
1/2 cup alcohol
1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
a few drops blue food coloring

Combine the ammonia, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and food coloring, then add enough water to make 1 quart. If you prefer a nonammoniated cleaner, substitute 3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice for the ammonia.

Carpet Freshener

1 cup crushed dried herbs (such as rosemary, southernwood, or lavender)
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda

Combine all the ingredients in a large jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid. Shake well to blend. Sprinkle some of the mixture on your carpet, let it sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum it up. It will give the room a pleasant smell and neutralize carpet odors.

Scrubbing hand General-Purpose Cleaner

1 teaspoon borax
1/2 teaspoon washing soda
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid
2 cups hot water

Combine all the ingredients. If you don't have washing soda (generally found in the laundry section of supermarkets), use 1 teaspoon baking soda instead. For a more pleasant smell, use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Be sure to label the bottle accordingly.

Source: The 1999 Old Farmer's Almanac Home Library Series

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Homemade Body Butter

Body Butter


This is a wonderful allover body cream.

¼ cup grated or chopped cocoa butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 tablespoon avocado oil or sunflower oil or almond oil
1 tablespoon grated beeswax

1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and warm on the stove until they just begin to melt. Or heat ingredients in a microwave on high, about 1 to 2 minutes.

2. Remove mixture from heat and stir until well blended.

3. Pour melted mixture into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Massage a small amount into your skin to condition and moisturize.

Sorry I haven't been on lately. I am dealing with some pretty important medical issues concerning myself right now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Senior Moments by Golf Brooks

A friend and I were talking (Skypeing - is this a word in the Oxford English Dictionary yet?)
about how poor our memories have become these days.
So.... Lynda, this one's for you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February 15—National Flag of Canada Day

February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. It marks the day in 1965 when the red and white maple leaf flag was first raised over Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and indeed, hundreds of communities across Canada. Red and white were designated as Canada's official colours in 1921 by His Majesty King George V.

Did you Know?

  • Every province and territory in Canada has its own flag. The one symbol that represents Canada at home and abroad is the red and white National Flag of Canada.

  • The Canadian Red Ensign flies at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in Vimy, France.

  • When the Canadian flag flies along with the flags of the 10 provinces and 3 territories, the flags of the provinces and territories follow in the order that they entered Confederation.

  • The maple leaf has been used as an emblem in Canada since the eighteenth century. It has often served to distinguish Canadians abroad, as was the case with Canada's first Olympians in 1904.

  • Red and white were proclaimed Canada's official colours in the proclamation of the Royal Arms of Canada in 1921 by King George V.

  • Dr. George Stanley, a professor at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario in 1964, suggested a red and white single maple leaf design for the flag because it could be seen clearly from a distance.

  • The Canadian flag is twice as long as it is wide. The white square and its maple leaf make up half the surface of the flag - equal to the 2 red bars combined.

  • Vexillologists (flag experts) often cite the National Flag of Canada as one of the world's most beautiful based on its simple design and limited number of colours.

  • In 1982, Laurie Skreslet, a skier from Calgary, took the Canadian flag to the highest point in the world, Mount Everest. Along with the flag, the expedition was outfitted with another 27 tonnes of equipment.

  • In 1984, the Canadian flag reached new heights when it blasted into space on the flight mission uniform of Marc Garneau, the first Canadian astronaut in space.

  • In 2005, one of the original maple leaf flags that flew over Parliament on February 15, 1965, was returned to Canada by its owner, Ms. Elisabeth Hoffmann-Lamoureux. The flag was presented to the Prime Minister during the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.

In tribute to my host country.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Really Good, Really Easy Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

2 lb bulk Italian pork sausage or ground beef (I use about 1 1/4 lbs)
2 large onions, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans (15 oz each) tomato sauce
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less or leave out altogether if you don't like it spicy)

Spray 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

In a skillet, cook sausage or beef, onions, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage or beef is no longer pink; drain.

Spoon sausage or beef mixture into slow cooker.

Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Cook on LOW for 8-9 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

Makes 24 servings.

Originally found on Betty Crocker website

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Make it Yourself Lip Scrub

You will need;

  • pure coconut oil
  • honey
  • brown sugar
  • a teaspoon
  • a tablespoon
  • a mixing bowl
  • an empty jar or 2.5 oz baby food jar

    Mix the coconut oil and honey until they bind together. The consistency should look like thick honey-comb honey. Make sure to mash up all of the coconut lumps so that the mixture is clump-free. This will serve as the base of the scrub.

    Add two hand packed teaspoons of brown sugar and fold it into the base. Brown sugar not only tastes fantastic, it is also a great natural exfoliant because it’s not too harsh and leaves skin soft to the touch. All of the brown sugar should be coated in the coconut oil and honey base.

    Add one teaspoon of just the oil from coconut oil jar into the bowl. This will help smooth out the mixture and make the scrub extra moisturizing. Transfer the scrub from the bowl into a small jar or container.

    The scrub will last up to 2 weeks if refrigerated. Before using, allow the scrub to stand at room temperature for a good 10 minutes so that the formula softens a bit. Apply scrub to lips in small, circular motions for 1-2 minutes and rinse off with a warm washcloth. Congratulations – you are now armed with a soft, moisturized, and plump pout. Pucker up!

  • tutorial courtesy of Sarah Howard of Beauty Banter)

Friday, February 3, 2012

An Inexpensive Valentine's Day Gift

DIY kit for true love.

Get a suitable container and fill with the following for your Valentine:

A rubber eraser (to erase the mistakes of the past)

A diary (to plan your lives ahead together)

A glue stick (to hold the pieces together)

Candles (to keep the romance burning)

An angel (to watch over them when you can’t)

A mini bottle of bubbly (to remember to celebrate the little things)

Chocolates (to keep them sweet!)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Making Your Own Beauty Treatments

If you want to save some money and make your own beauty
treatments from oats, here are some quick and easy solutions
to try:

Oatmeal Mask

You will need:

3/4 cup oats
1/3 cup warm water
Optional ingredients: honey, lemon, egg, olive oil, banana

Make sure to remove any make up or grease/grime from your face
by washing first.

Mix the oats and water together to make a nice smooth
consistency. Add any of the optional ingredients listed above.
Spread the paste gently and equally over your
face and neck, leaving your eyes clear. Relax and wait for the
mask to dry (you may find your skin a little itchy) before
washing it off.

Oatmeal Scrub

You will need:

2 Tbsp. oatmeal (grind it in a blender or coffee grinder to
make flour-like oats)
1 Grapefruit

Squeeze the juice and pulp out of the grapefruit and mix with
the ground oatmeal to form a paste. Scrub over your face
and/or body for a few minutes in a massaging motion. Rinse off
with warm water first and then splash on cold water.

Oat Bath

You will need:

1 cup of oatmeal, ground in a blender or coffee grinder
Bath water

Sprinkle the oats under the running water, making sure to
break up any clumps. Water should be milky looking. You can
add more or less depending on the consistency of the water.

Spend at least 15 minutes in the oat bath to get the most
benefit from it. Oat baths are great for such conditions as
chicken pox, poison ivy, eczema, sunburn, dry skin, and insect

Monday, January 30, 2012

Making Your Own Ice Packs

To make your own ice packs, you'll need two Ziploc bags (they can be the thin sandwich style, but they will last longer and be more durable with the freezer style Ziploc bags), water, and one quarter cup of rubbing alcohol for each ice pack you are making.

In an easy-pour cup, combine three quarters of a cup of water with one quarter cup of rubbing alcohol. Pour the mixture into one of the Ziploc bag. Carefully squeeze the air out and seal it. Place that Ziploc bag into the second Ziploc bag, carefully squeezing the air out and sealing it. Then place the whole thing in the freezer until needed.

When you notice the mixture leaking out of the inside bag, you can easily transfer it into a new set of Ziploc bags.

I have done this for a long time. They conform to most body parts, are small enough to tuck away in a corner of the freezer and are cheap to make.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Your Own Clothes Soap

The ingredients you need to make this recipe are: water, washing soda or pool pH adjusting soda, Borax, Dawn dishwashing liquid, grated hard soap and water. Any hard bar of soap will work. Some people use Ivory. What I used for this particular recipe was a "laundry bar" that I purchased specifically for this application. I grated the soap bar by hand, but you can use a food processor. Most recipes do not use Dawn dishwashing liquid but I have read that it makes a big difference in the grease cutting and stain removal power of the detergent, so I added it.

You can add some fragrance oil, if you want to. I left mine unscented.

You will need a large bucket. This recipe makes 10 liters, so you need a bucket that will hold that much and some, so you have room to stir vigorously. You will also need a large pot for the stove top and something that measures 1/2 cup.

This is the simple recipe:

1 cup of grated soap or store bought Ivory soap flakes (also hard to find).
1/2 cup washing soda or not quite 1/8 cup of pool pH adjusting soda
1/2 cup Borax
1/4 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid

Bring a quart of water to boil on the stove in a large pot. Add all ingredients except the Dawn, slowly while stirring well. Stir in the boiling water until very well dissolved. Pour into bucket.

Add enough water to bring the amount up to 10 liters and stir vigorously until well blended. Let sit overnight. This should be a gel by the next day. Add 1/4 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid and stir vigorously. If you add the Dawn with the rest of the ingredients, it stops it from gelling as much as it should. Add fragrance oil at this time. Pour into usable size containers. Shake before using. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of this to a laundry load, depending on size of load.

It was quick, easy and cheap to make! I will find out very soon how well it works.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Save $$ and Make Your Own Suet

The nuthatches and titmice LOVE this as well as the woodpeckers and chickadees.
Suet Cakes
1 c. lard
1 1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
1/3 c. sugar
2 c. quick cook oats
2 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour
1 c. mixed birdseed
1 c. cracked corn

Melt lard and peanut butter. Add sugar to the melted mix and stir well. Add oats, cornmeal, flour, birdseed and cracked corn. Mix well and pour into large cardboard orange juice cartons with the top cut off. Chill or freeze. Slice into blocks to fit into suet feeders. You can also stuff toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for easy slicing to fit into the suet feeders with round 1-inch holes.

Thanks to My Country Blog of This and That for posting this.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Start of Self Sufficiency

This is an easy way to get started on the road to self sufficiency. And, it's the way we started. Our 13 different types of fruit trees are just now starting to produce for us.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Thoughts on Organic Foods

At some point in the past few years I’ve become very aware of what we eat and what we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Maybe it’s the talk about pollution, or the constant recalls of commercially produced foods and prescriptions, or the possible long term health effects of eating antibiotic laced and hormone injected meat…the list goes on. Whatever the reason, I’m aware and trying to reduce my and my family's exposure.

So, where to start? How about FOOD! There are so many different aspects of food toxicity. I will break it down including the points I find most important for me in a few different posts so check back for the rest.

So, what is Organic?
To produce something organically it must be grown/ produced without antibiotics, hormones, synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, irradiation or genetic engineering. Organic farmers have strict guidelines they must adhere to regarding water conservation, soil management, and the humane treatment of animals.

The Benefits:
The are a wide array of benefits from eating organic. There are added nutritional benefits:
Organic produce can have up to 40% higher levels of some nutrients according to a 2007 study done in the United Kingdom. A review of nearly 100 studies in 2008 by the Organic Center concluded that organic plant-based foods are generally more nutritious than their non-organic counterparts. You’re also supporting air quality and reducing your negative imprint on the environment. In all likelihood you’re also supporting a small, independently owned or, better yet, a local family owned farm. (Hey there Heritage Harvest Farm!)

The Toxic Stuff:
Pesticides: According to the EPA pesticides may be carcinogens, pose a threat to the nervous system, and/or affect the hormone or endocrine system. On top of the pesticides that are used in our country, some pesticides which have been banned in the USA are still used regularly in other parts of the world. We then import this produce and are still consuming those nasty pesticides. This is yet another reason to buy local.

Antibiotics: We all know the detrimental effects of overusing antibiotics in humans; we hear it all the time- superbugs. Health officials are concerned about a trickle-down effect of handling and eating antibiotic laced animal products as well. A large portion of commercial farmers regularly give livestock doses of antibiotics, whether the animals are sick or not, to prevent diseases from spreading.

Hormones: Animals are regularly pumped full of hormones to speed up growth making the animal grow faster and larger than it would naturally. We then eat their meat, drink their milk, or consume some other form of animal based product. The effects of these growth hormones on humans may cause early onset of puberty, increase cancer risks, and cause hormonal imbalances.

It’s my understanding that the potential risks have not been conclusively linked to the use of pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones in our food supply but there is substantial evidence pointing in that direction, just do some research if you’re skeptical. And what’s even more alarming is that the effects of these substances are magnified in children.

The downside to eating organic is felt in the pocketbook. It’s pricier, especially when it comes to animal products. We’ve greatly reduced the amount of store bought meat we consume. I have a local farm who I do buy most of my meats from now. We have an ever expanding garden and dreams to one day provide a home for some chickens or, goats. Oh and also this year I plan on starting to fish again.

My thought is this- Why expose myself and my family to these potential risks when they can be easily avoided? In time, I’m sure the true, long lasting effect of what we’re doing to our food sources will be fully known. In the mean time, it’s your responsibility to know where your food is coming from, how it’s grown, and what is in it because you are what you eat!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Making Your Own Hand Lotion

  • 1 cup glycerin
  • 1 cup rosewater


  • 10 drops (or about 1/8 teaspoon) essential oil fragrance, such as lavender
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) vitamin E oil

Put all ingredients into glass or plastic bottles. Portion out the ingredients according to the ounce capacity of the bottles you are using. Shake well until all ingredients are completely combined.

If using scent, shake well several times a day for two to three days before giving or using. If using a fragrance, pick one that smells good combined with roses because of the rosewater.

Don't use metal containers or utensils; they taint the lotion and change the acidity.

Glycerin, rosewater, and vitamin E oil are available at most drugstores. Essential oil fragrance are available at specialty fragrance, bath or herb shops. One tiny bottle costs a few dollars and will scent many quarts of lotion.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Oh Gosh...

I know I have been extremely lax when it comes to posting on this blog. Sorry folks.

But, I am just exhausted. I have worked most of the holidays just past. Who says time and a half is a great thing? It's the only thing that made the working the holidays better.

Don't get me wrong... I love my job. I love what I do and who I do with it with. Thank goodness for my co-workers. They are pretty spectacular people.

But, working being ill.... and starting a new med.... well, it's been hard. And, it's taken it's toll.

Hopefully this new med will help and I'll be back on my game soon.

Thanking you for bearing with me.... Happy 2012!

Little old me...

My photo
An american yankee up past the 49th parellel.


Blog Archive