Archive for January, 2010

One thing I like to keep beside my bed is my ‘Pleasant Things’ journal. Before I go to sleep, and when I remember, I like to recall something pleasant from the day and write one or two lines that describe it.  Sometimes, when life seems is a little gloomy, I will read my ‘Pleasant Things’ journal. This reflection helps keep life in perspective. Other times, I just read it and remember wonderful things I have forgotten.  Ladies why not start your own ‘Pleasant Things’ journal.

Here are a few entries from my journal:

August 30, 1998 – Erin drawing funny pictures and writing funny notes to me in church.

January 28, 2003 – Peacefulness, Lindsey painting, Erin making a CD, Gerry puttering around the house, Mojo snoozing.

October 1, 2007 – Watching my funny birds, walking in fall leaves, making a meal for a friend.

January 25, 2010 – Gerry’s warm smile.

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Hello Ladies, this morning I was thinking about how important it is to learn to get by on less. There will be periods when we have a smaller amount of cash available. I am referring to times when we are experiencing cut backs – possibly due to loss of income, unforeseen expenses or nearing retirement.  Please do not allow yourself to become overwhelmed by the situation but do your best to be content.  If you are married, do not let this come between you and your husband.  Use the resources you have wisely.  Taking care of your family, yourself and your home can be done on less with a little creativity. Entertainment can become very inexpensive also.  The possibilities for reducing really are endless. Here are a few tips that I have found helpful. (more…)

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It is so much fun to have a nice table when the family sits down to share a meal.  I have collected a few sets of dishes and I like to use different ones depending on the occasion, and also the presentation of the food.  For instance, when I plan a supper, I consider food color as well as plate color. I like to use white dishes for everyday use, but sometimes a meal can look very anemic on a white plate.  I picked up a set of 13 antique plates at a thrift store for 6.00.  These plates are beige in color with orange flowers.  I love to use them for Thanksgiving or anytime my white plates will not do.  I also have a mix of china plates that are various patterns – some of these I picked up at garage sales or thrift stores. I like to use these for a special occasion like Easter.  Another easy and economical way to add interest to a table is by using placemats. I use placemats with every meal.  You can collect a few sets over time. Placemats are also easy to make, if you sew.  Serving bowls also add interest. I have various colors like red, green, and beige. I like to serve food from a dish – a pot is almost never seen on my table. When my girls where very young and I was home with them, I set the supper table at different times during the day. Sometimes, I set it right after breakfast if that was the convenient time. Now that I work from home, I often set the supper table right after lunch. Setting an eye pleasing table is one simple way to show your family they are important.

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For many years I have benefited from menu planning.  I save time, money and I waste little food.  I started planning menus about 20 years ago when my girls were very young.  Menu planning is quite simple & if you write down your menus you can reuse them. I base my menus mainly on what is available in my pantry and deep freeze. I tend to buy items on sale and then use when I plan my menu. My local grocery store offers 10% off the first Tuesday of the month. I do my larger shop at this time. When life was fuller, I planned breakfast, lunch and supper meals. Now, I plan main meals only when I am at home. When I travel and have a kitchen available, I include three meals on my menu.

Here is a main meal  sample menu:    (more…)

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I really think God has put animals on earth because they would make our lives more pleasant. I know first hand they require upkeep and they are costly, but they give us far more – affection, protection, comfort and enjoyment.

In our family we have, & have  had,  a few pets. Today I would like to give tribute to Johnny, my beloved lovebird. You see, Johnny passed on this month and so it seems proper to write about him today. (more…)

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If I were to pick one fictional book as my favorite read in the past 12 months, it would be ‘The Book of Negroes‘ by Lawrence Hill.  I have recommended this book to many friends and will keep my copy for many years to come. Here is an excerpt from the book.

An Excerpt

Let me begin with a caveat to any and all who find these pages. Do not trust large bodies of water, and do not cross them. If you, Dear Reader, have an African hue and find yourself led toward water with vanishing shores, seize your freedom by any means necessary. And cultivate distrust of the colour pink. Pink is taken as the colour of innocence, the colour of childhood, but as it spills across the water in the light of the dying sun, do not fall into its pretty path. There, right underneath, lies a bottomless graveyard of children, mothers and men. I shudder to imagine all the Africans rocking in the deep. Every time I have sailed the seas, I have had the sense of gliding over the unburied. Some people call the sunset a creation of extraordinary beauty, and proof of God’s existence. But what benevolent force would bewitch the human spirit by choosing pink to light the path of a slave vessel?

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You know, I am so blessed to have girl friends.  I was recently sick and my friend brought over a beautiful homemade cherry pie.  She took the time to put a lattice design on it. I really felt cared for by her deed. Her thoughtfulness made me realize how good it is to have friendships.  It really does not take much to show concern  when a friend is sick or having a personal challenge. A simple phone call can let the person know you are thinking of them.  I have heard people say ‘I knew you were sick (or lost your dog or your parent passed on …) but I did not call because I did not want to bother you’. Ladies, please do not put yourself in the position to have to utter these words.  Just pick up the phone; send a card; or do something special. Trust me; you will not be a bother. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer and had surgery one year ago, I was surprised who did contact us and who did not.  Not contacting someone sends a message that maybe you did not intend.  I have never had anyone tell me that I was a bother when I acknowledged their challenging situation. As a matter of fact, I have only seen great appreciation in the twinkle in their eye. Your act of kindness will be appreciated far more than you can imagine. Start today – make the call; send the card; or make a meal.  Be creative.

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Hello Ladies, I hope you are having a wonderful day.  While shopping, I often see nifty utensils and such in the kitchen area. I am referring to items like: decorative stir sticks; attractive coasters; brightly colored pots, measuring cups & peelers; silicone tea infusers; colored popcorn; etc.  I am sure you know what I am talking about.  Some items are retro looking. I often think ‘this is nice- but is it practical?’ Last week I was speaking on the phone with my daughter, Lindsey. She was so cheery. She said she was feeling so happy because she was cooking using her neon spatulas. For her, colored spatulas just make the experience fun.  Now, I understand one purpose for these clever items – enjoyment. I’ve decided they make great gifts. Color appears  to enhance the cooking/serving/hosting experience. If you are not already using something like this, I hope you give it a try. Come to think of it, my favorite roaster is red, my favorite casserole dish is green and I do like my colored spatulas.  Thanks for reading my blog today. Have a great week. Linda.

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This morning I came across an article about de cluttering. I am always interested in this topic as I  like to keep things simple and organized in my home.  The suggestions in the article seem to be practical and manageable.   You can view the piece at http://homemadesimple.com.

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As we start the New Year , I thought you might like to read this poem.  It is one of my favorite pieces of wisdom. I hope you are inspired by it also.

by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck
after she found out she had a fatal disease.

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

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