Storybook Places – Take 14

Oia Greece via Paow Magazine

Oia Greece via Paow Magazine

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“Little Waterfall”

"Little Waterfall" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Little Waterfall” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Need a Hug? – Take 1

My friend Marsha Koenig sent me these in an email. I melted into a puddle. I thought YOU might need a hug, too…












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Filed under Amazing Animals, Awe-Inspiring Photography, Family

Purging and Reorganizing – Master Bath – Before


I really have little excuse. I’m not Suzy Homemaker who puts things where they belong as they are used. I wish I were! Instead, I clean things like our sinks and the counter between them, stuffing things in drawers or on shelves. As a result, we have another area that desperately needs attention. It’s on the second floor of our home, so no one sees it but us, but enough is enough.



This is one of two sets of shelves in our master bath. This mess has essentially been years in the making. This one acts as a linen closet, medicine cabinet, and cleaning supplies place.



This second set of shelves is cosmetics, soap, lotions, potions….

I won’t show you my drawers (if you’ll pardon the expression :0) )  But I will show you some close-ups so you’ll have an idea of the job I’m undertaking. I can imagine you shaking your head in disgust, or feeling good that YOU don’t have this mess. It’s okay. I ALWAYS have excuses, other priorities…. I would have to clean and reorganize before I could get people to come and try to clean my house!











The above pic was the end of the pics for the first set of shelves. The remaining pics are for the second set of shelves.















So, now that I’ve again admitted that I’m a slob, I’ll get started doing something about it. I’ll need to do this in several sessions over at least a few days, but when I take breaks, I’ll post again – unless I get completely buried. (My husband is concentrating on straightening out our genealogy records on the computer and may not even notice I’ve been buried until he wonders why I haven’t brought him food yet….

Encouragement is definitely appreciated!

Have a wonderful day!!!

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Supplies Part of Pantry – After


Well, it’s about 4 hours later and I’ve finally finished. I HOPE you can see a difference here. I threw out a bunch of stuff. relocated other stuff, and reorganized what was left so that the things we use most often are the most accessible.



I also tried to organize things so my husband can find what he’s looking for easily.









My husband noticed that things were ALL over the kitchen when it was time for me to fix lunch. We managed amid the complete chaos. He then noticed all the stuff that was in the kitchen had made it ‘somewhere else.”  He made one suggestion on moving the instant pot to the place I had the salad spinner, “since I never used that anyway.” I shooed him out with a big smile and left them where they were…

I’m feeling much better since I found some things I had lost. Everything is much cleaner now, and I think I have things where I want them. If not, I have a GREAT start on another move-around!


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Keep On

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Happy Halloween – Take 8



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Filed under Creativity, Halloween - How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin?

I’m a Slob – ‘Supplies’ Side of Pantry


I’ve admitted before that I’m a slob. Some people have tried to excuse this for me, saying that I’m too busy ‘creating’ to bother with this. To this, I thank them for being kind, but say, HOGWASH.  Every once in a while, my clutter and stashing bothers even me, and that’s when I finally do something.

I showed you the food side of the pantry that I finally cleaned up a few days ago. The trigger for this was that my husband needs to eat as sugar-free as possible, so we are getting rid of a lot of foods that neither of us should no longer eat, clearing the decks for a new emphasis on making condiments, sauces, etc., that are not filled to the brim with sugar. Due to the purging and reorganizing, I can now find things quickly and easily, concentrating on the MAKING, rather than the FINDING.



I hate to have to admit I’m such a slob, but with the glorious supplies side of our pantry, I have now stuffed and jammed as much as the shelves will hold – and more. I’m going to take a good, long look, get rid of a bunch of ‘stuff,’ and reorganize the rest some that we don’t have to climb into the shelves to get things, hoping nothing falls on us.



Even UNDER the shelves is jammed full.



All I can say is, “What a mess!” I’m determined to make sense out of this, though, and hope to be able to report significant progress by the end of the day.

Strength – don’t fail me now….



Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Housekeeping - Maintenance, I'm a slob

Taylor’s Greenhouse/Deck Progress


Our good friends, the Taylors, are building a fabulous new addition to their home – a second story deck outside their bedroom and a two-story greenhouse! Here you see Dave working on the new deck. I love the way he’s built it around the full-grown tree!



And here is the gorgeous greenhouse. This is useful, of course, as Laufrain is a master gardener and will love working in it, but it’s also simply stunning.

This is a lot of work for both of them, but what a wonderful addition to their house – one they’ll enjoy for years to come.


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Filed under When Wood Comes Alive, Wonderful Projects

Cats Play Pounce


I’m not the only one using my new exercise ball.

The dogs laborious walk around it, or nudge it carefully out of the way of their bed, which is beneath the entertainment center. They’re pretty leery of it, mostly.

The cats, however, used it as a play opportunity yesterday, and had my husband and me laughing out loud. :0)

My husband noticed it first. Abby, our older tortoiseshell cat, was on ‘our’ side of the ball. She was looking at the ball funny for some reason. All of a sudden Smoke, our short-haired gray cat, suddenly leaped from behind the ball onto Abby. They rolled for a second, then split up, opting to try it again. Abby didn’t leap, but was totally engaged in the game. Smoke leaped a couple more times until Abby hissed at her. The next time, the ball suddenly came at Abby, running right into her, causing her to leave the area.

I swear I heard Smoke giggle…

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Filed under Amazing Animals, exercise, Family

Garden Harvest 2016-10-22


Well, I certainly got my exercise today! I had the perfect day for it. I went back out to take the fabric shade off the top of the garden and hauled it to the burn barrel. I cut it into thirds, put one section in the burn barrel and put the other two sections beside the burn barrel. Then I took down the old neon colored tape, which was really faded and brittle, and replaced it with new. I spread cedar chips under all the new planters.



This is a pretty awful photo, but I wanted to show you the garden with the shade fabric off and the new tape on.



This is taken from the north side so that you can see the new spring planters and the fall garden planters behind them.



This is taken from the south so you can see the abundance of ‘leaves of the garden…



This is the ‘salad blend’ I harvested this afternoon.



This is the head lettuce.



And this is the broccoli.

No sign of anything but leaves on the cauliflower so far…

I’ll try to plant radishes tomorrow and get a pic of the sweet, little bitty celery plant that is still with us.

Hope your day was wonderful.

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Filed under Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Fall Garden Progress 10-22-2016


This is a planter with broccoli and cauliflower. The plants are looking healthy, but I have no clue how much actual FOOD we’ll get…



On the far right and the far left, toward the top of this picture, you can see some broccoli florets! Woo Hoo!!!! :0)



This planter is mainly two kinds of lettuce: head lettuce and ‘salad blend’. There is a teeny tiny celery plant that is very green and still alive, and I’m going to plant a 2nd batch of radishes today.

The next pictures you see won’t have the fabric shade at the top. I’m about to go out now, spread the cedar chips under the new planters, and start snipping wire tires that hold the fabric shade in place all the way around the garden.

Wish me luck?

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Filed under Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Raised Bed Planter Photos


This gives you an idea of what our raised bed square foot garden looks like now. You can see the three planters on the left (south side of the garden) where I’ve planted my fall garden. On the right side of the picture (north side of the garden, you can see the three new raised bed planters we’ve installed. We’ll start using these in the spring.



Later today we’ll remove the fabric shade from the top of the garden and spread cedar chips under the new planters.



I just came in from working out there. I put the Mel’s Mix into the last planter. I’ll top these three off before I plant in the spring. I also measured off 1 foot measures all around the top of the three planters and put in screws. We’ll use these when we stretch string in both directions to mark the squares for planting.



We’ll run some 1 x 2 strips down the center of the planters so that we can add a sprinkler in the middle of each square, then tie them together with hose cut to length, and finally attach these three planters to the garden irrigation system.



I’ll weed whack again around the garden and sprinkle Sevin to try to keep the grasshoppers away. I’ll also replace the pink ribbon that runs around the garden and down the guy wires to detour deer from running into it.



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Hannah Brencher via Victoria Toumit via Akiva Huber

Hannah Brencher via Victoria Toumit via Akiva Huber

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getting on in age

getting on in age

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We Did It!



To say we’re exhausted just doesn’t cut it.

We spent all afternoon putting up the last of the six raised bed planters. Part of the process went well. My husband had made the stakes come to a point on the lathe. The drilling on three of the four holes went well and the stakes went in pretty easily. It went down hill from there, though.

We had trouble getting the 4×4 template up off the stakes, bringing two of them back up in the process. We managed to pound them back in, and then brought out the metal legs and square box frame. We had trouble getting the frame at the right height, having to move vice grips one at a time and moving the legs from the inside of the frame to the outside, trying to get all to fit and be level.

We discovered that one part of the frame didn’t have a hole drilled in like it was supposed to. We had to rig to bring the drill out and do it in the garden. We got the legs cut off and the extra hole drilled and finally got the bolts in.

The last step was bringing the wooden box out and placing it into the frame. Except this time it was too big to go into the frame! My husband said he thought this frame was the first one he made. After this one, he decided to give an extra 1/8th of an inch or so on the frame dimensions to give us more slack. This time we had to use a chisel, pry bar, and a sledge-hammer to move down the edges and force the wooden box into the frame.

We finally prevailed, but the installation of this last box took us about four hours and completely exhausted us.  The next step is to install the sprinklers in the three planters on the north side of the garden and unite them with lengths of hoses, attaching them to the irrigation system for the garden.

Tomorrow I’ll put the Mel’s Mix into the planter. We also plan to remove the fabric shade from the garden now that the 90 degree + weather seems to be behind us. (The first year we had the garden, we had an ice storm. The weight of the ice pulled down one half of the garden completely. Usually we roll up the fabric shade and attach it to one side of the garden. This year we’ll take it down and dispose of it, putting up a new one for the spring planting.

Tomorrow I also plan to harvest lettuce and maybe some broccoli! I’ll take some pics of both the planters and the fall garden to share with you.


Filed under Arkansas, Gardening, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

“Money Monster”



“Financial TV host Lee Gates and his producer Patty are put in an extreme situation when an irate investor takes over their studio.”

This movie stars George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Connell. My husband and I watched it last night and we both were impressed. It was directed by Jodie Foster. There wasn’t a dead spot in the movie and we both held our breaths until the end. Neither Clooney nor Roberts played on their good looks. The acting was superb and the plot believable. It was amazing that we actually felt sorry for the ‘bad guy’, who took over the TV station and threatened all of their lives.

We highly recommend this movie if you haven’t seen it.

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Filed under Book - Movie - TV Reviews

Prints for the Young and the Young at Heart – Take 2








I’m so proud to display the 8 x 11 prints of these original sketches by Bethany Kerr. Delight your child or grandchild, put them up for a giggle or two in your office, decorate your classroom, give them as gifts to friends who appreciate intelligent, creative artwork!






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Filed under Decorating Ideas, drawings

Food Part of Pantry is DONE!


The high carb or high sugar foods have been boxed up to give to the local food pantry or relegated to the lower shelves where ‘out of sight – out of mind’ reigns. I threw away a lot of half-used things from the pantry and the fridge. I went through all the containers to make sure all was good and then wiped down all the shelves with Clorox Clean-up.



My husband feeds the dogs twice a day, and his only request was that I keep the shelves clear where he is working with the dogs and bowls. Otherwise, he just said, “Wow! You’re getting serious, aren’t you?” when I was about half way finished.



All is clean and reorganized now so that I can find the ingredients I need to make our low carb, low or sugar-free meals. I’m going to be trying to find recipes for the condiments we use most often if I cannot find good sugar-free alternatives.

Tomorrow I’ll start on the other side of the panty where we keep supplies. Right now it looks as if a bomb went off somewhere near… :0)


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Housekeeping - Maintenance




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Glorious Fall

Sun Gazing via Cathy Ruggiero

Sun Gazing via Cathy Ruggiero

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Lost in Translation – Take 6











Thanks to Evie Zimmerman,

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Cleaning Out the Pantry

The Spadina Monologues -

The Spadina Monologues –

I’ve spent about an hour so far in our pantry. I’m making progress, but it’s VERRRRRRY  slow. Thus far, I’ve discovered that

  • almost NO condiments, such as A1 Sauce, Tartar Sauce, Ketchup, BBQ sauce, etc. are good for our low carb/as-little-sugar-as-possible lifestyle. ( I did find a mayonnaise made with olive oil that’s good, a low-sugar ketchup, and I made sugar-free BBQ sauce a couple of days ago. I’m going to need to do lots of research – particularly in the area of tartar sauce for my husband – and do some good replacing, or making more of my own.)
  • I’m not at all sure my husband can be switched to low sugar or sugar-free jelly. (But then I also realized that we’re not going to be eating bread!)
  • We have LOTS of fruit in heavy syrup :0(
  • I’m going to need to get lots of boxes from the shop to hold all the stuff we’ll give to the local food pantry. (NOW I feel guilty that we’ll be giving families the stuff we KNOW isn’t healthy…)
  • My husband ordered an entire CASE of Krustees Snickerdoodle cookie mix – I’m hiding this in one of the back corners of one of the shelves so that I can treat him on his birthday and Christmas…
  • SOME of the things I’m finding I ordered in order to use it for particular recipes – but I don’t remember WHICH recipes. I’ll have to look up the ingredients on the net to find out if I want to keep these or not.
  • Cleaning out and reorganizing the pantry should be at LEAST an every-six-months job so that I’m not completely overwhelmed by the size of the job

It’s a very good thing that I’m not on a strict schedule for completing this job. I’ll do hour+ sessions, resting in-between, until I’ve finished.


Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Kids and Pets – Take 7








Thanks to Emily Davis,

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"Lantern" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Lantern” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Happy Halloween – Take 7




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Filed under Creativity, Halloween - How Do You Carve YOUR Pumpkin?

Ahhhhhh! via Cathy Ruggiero via Cathy Ruggiero

Isn’t this picture WONDERFUL? This is just how I feel this morning. The front came through late last night/early this morning. Yesterday the high was 91. Today it’s supposed to be 71. AHHHHHH!

I’m happily wearing jeans and a long-sleeved shirt as I type. The doors are open, front and back, airing out the house. We may actually have to close a door if it gets TOO cool. How great is that!!!!

Since working outside may not be an option, at least until later in the day, I’m going to dive head-first into our pantry and see what good I can do. Since my husband is serious now about trying to avoid sugar, or things he eats that cause his body to MAKE sugar, I’m going to get together a huge group of things to go to the local food pantry.  (When we had our home built almost 30 years ago, we devoted the room off the kitchen to be a walk-in pantry. We have huge, heavy-duty built-in shelves going from wall to wall with a place for a 2nd fridge. We live on top of a ridge line. Sometimes we get snowed in up here and can’t get down – or back up – our STEEP driveway until the snow and ice melts – once for 14 days without power or public water.)

If you don’t hear from me, I probably got buried in there.


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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, Housekeeping - Maintenance

Sugar Free BBQ Sauce Recipe

I found this recipe for “The World’s Best Barbeque Sauce (Sugar Free)” on the net. It’s by A Real Food Lover

(makes 2 cups)


  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced small
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 cups homemade chicken stock (or beef or vegetable)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Stevia Powder (or sweetener of choice)


  1. Heat butter/oil in sauce pan and saute’ onion for 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. (You can serve it like this, but I like to boil it down to thicken it a while. I turn down the heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. I also find the longer cooking time melds the flavors, and it turns out to be even more delicious.


This keeps for 3 weeks in the fridge and also freezes very well. If you eat as much meat as we do, it won’t last you that long.

COMMENTS: (mine)

Since we are wimps when it comes to lots of spices or any idea of what we consider ‘hot,’ I used maybe 1/4 tsp regular chili powder, and didn’t have the chipotle chili power at all. I used 1/2 tsp of Truvia, rather than the Stevia, just because I had that. I used Kerry Gold butter, and Swanson chicken stock.

My husband was skeptical, but got interested as he smelled the simmering sauce. :0) We ate it on our servings of pork loin. I waited to hear what my husband thought. He said it wasn’t the best BBQ sauce he ever ate, but that it was GOOD – and that he was delighted he could still have BBQ sauce even though he’s watching his sugar. HOORAY!




Filed under Cooking/Canning/Recipes/Low Carb, DIET!

Prints for the Young and the Young at Heart






These are 8 x 11 prints of clever and creative original sketches by Bethany Kerr of Creative Artworks.

  • If I were still an elementary school teacher, I would want all 12 prints to decorate my classroom.
  • When I did medical transcription for 8 busy general surgeons, I had a wall-sized bulletin board where I put wonderful things. Patients would regularly stop to see “what was on my board” this time. I would LOVE to have delighted them with these!
  • You could decorate the walls of your child’s or your grandchild’s room with these, adding some for each occasion until you had the whole collection.

See all the artwork of Bethany Kerr on Creative Artworks!



Filed under CREATIVE ARTWORKS GOODIES!, Decorating Ideas, Don't Miss These Products!

20 Quotes from Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know – Take 12

J.M. Barrie-Peter Pan via via Melissa A. Eastman

J.M. Barrie-Peter Pan via via Melissa A. Eastman

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Filed under Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental

Pork Loin Roast in Crock Pot

I found the following recipe on Facebook. My husband hasn’t stopped raving about it.



  • 3 lb pork loin
  • 1 apple
  • 1 onion
  • honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Cut pork loin across top to make places to put the apple slices (approximately 1 cut every 1 inch)
  2. slice apple and put sections in the cuts in the pork loin
  3. put pork loin in crock pot
  4. dice onion and put on top of roast
  5. drizzle honey over roast and onions
  6. add 1 tsp cinnamon
  7. add 1 tsp salt
  8. cook on low for 3 hours


  • We’re spice wimpy, so I used half as much cinnamon and salt listed.
  • I drizzled very little honey because we need low sugar.
  • out pork loin was 4.5 lbs, so I just set the temperature to low and cooked it for 8 hours.


My husband was really enthusiastic about this. He said it was “YUMMY” a couple of times while eating it, and then at least a couple of times the next day. We ate another batch for another meal, and he wanted to put BBQ sauce on it, saying it reminded him of pulled pork – one of his favorite things. We didn’t have any sugar-free BBQ sauce, so I made a bit of gravy. (I found a recipe for sugar-free BBQ sauce I’m making today. Will let you know how things went later.) I think the rest of this will freeze nicely for us to enjoy at another time.

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Filed under Cooking/Canning/Recipes/Low Carb, DIET!