Monthly Archives: October 2016
Happy Halloween – Carvings by Ray Villafane
And now we meet the grand master of pumpkin carving – Ray Villafane, from Queens, New York. The following examples of his work are my personal favorites – (Thanks to Emily Davis, trendingly.com)
November 2016 Prize on Creative Artworks!
This beautiful 4-card set of historically correct paintings of Fort Smith, AR during the Civil War printed from original paintings by Linda Faber is the prize for some lucky winner in November!
Included in the set –
- “Abandoning Fort Smith”
- “Deputy U.S. Marshal, Fort Smith”
- “The Sentinel” and
- “War Trophy.”
Whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll be proud to send notes to friends, co-workers, and family on this unique set of note cards. You may opt to frame them and hang them on the wall or give them as a gift!
To enter the contest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org –
- Your full name
- Your full shipping address
- Your home phone number (optional). This will be kept in the strictest confidence and is NEVER shared with anyone, EVER. It will only be used if you’re the winner of the contest and I am unable to reach you via email.
The winner will be chosen November 30th! Best of luck to you!
Linda Faber is a multi-talented artist, offering
- signs and plaques
- hand painted gourds and ostrich eggs
- canvas or paper prints of historical events during the Civil War in Fort Smith AR
- a hand-painted gourd Nativity Scene
- unique Christmas ornaments
You can see all of her work on Creative Artworks HERE
Filed under Uncategorized
October 2016 Creative Artworks Contest Winner
The winner of my OOAK hand-painted “Task” Grocery/Hobby tote bag is CYNTHIA from GREENWOOD, MISSISSIPPI.
If you would like to see other things listed by me on Creative Artworks, please click HERE
Filed under Uncategorized
Fold Myself into a Paper Airplane and — Take 3
I just finished my “Gentle Yoga” for the day. I managed to do the new section for Lower Back today, followed by the sections on Head, Neck and Shoulders (and jaw); and then “Joints.”
I am very relaxed right now. I particularly need the section on lower back because mine is stiff and tense. The most trouble I have with the whole DVD so far is trying to relax at the end of each section on my back. I spend a long time trying to push my lower back down to the floor, trying to get the tension to ease up so that I can fully relax. It really shows I need what I’m doing.
The other difficult thing is getting UP after each section! :0)
I’m very happy I bought this 2 DVD set called, “Gentle Yoga.” It is meant for people just like me – over 60, sedentary, and have never done any yoga before. The teacher is quite pleasant, explains what she’s doing and why, and gives you time to follow. She’s pleasant without being effusively pert and violently happy – a thing I really like.
Tomorrow I’ll try to do the first section on the 2nd DVD. My goal will to be to do at least one section a day, building to doing one DVD one day and the other DVD the next.
Filed under exercise
Bullets, Spaghetti Squash and Cauli-Rice
It’s important to my husband that I am able to defend myself if the need arises. To this end, he built this set of metal ‘falling plate’ targets. We shoot at the plates, knowing that if we miss the bullets go into the high hill of slag behind the targets. (This pic was taken about a week ago, when I hadn’t taken the fabric shade off the garden behind the slag pile.) When you hit a plate, it falls back and down. When all the plates are down, you stop shooting, set the plates up again, then go back to kill them again. :0)
Here’s another view of the targets. Today he added half a brick to each of the plate rods, making a nice counter-weight. I hit more than I missed, but need practice again soon. He wants to work on the targets more, since the small one on the end fell down if you hit any of the other three plates.
I’ve gotten lax about eating, my excuse being I’m trying new things to satisfy my husband’s sweet tooth now that he has to avoid anything with sugar. I’m trying to get back on track, so I bought a spaghetti squash and a head of cauliflower at the grocery today.
I split the spaghetti squash in half long-wise, then put the halves face down on a tray lined with aluminum foil. I baked it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, then pulled it out and let it cool. When it was easy to pick up without burning myself, I took a fork and scraped out all the squash inside. The one spaghetti squash yielded 4 cups of nice spaghetti-looking squash. I put a cup into each of four sandwich bags and then put the bags inside one gallon freezer bag, labeled it and put it in the freezer. That will be good for four dinners for me, while I make some actual spaghetti or elbow macaroni for my husband, topped with spaghetti sauce, Alfredo sauce, or other goody.
I cut up the cauliflower into chunks. I put the chunks through the food processor, pulsing. I measured out the cauliflower into one cup increments, putting them into sandwich bags, then into a gallon freezer bag. I got 5 cups of cauliflower, meaning 5 meals for me, when I make rice for my husband.
My husband is really turned off by eating spaghetti squash or cauliflower, but that’s okay. He’s trying to avoid sugar and I’m trying to limit my carbs. This works well because I can make the starchy stuff for him, heat up the squash or ‘rice’ for me in the microwave, and make one sauce to go over both.
Filed under Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!, Healthy Eating
Happy Halloween – Take 14
Punny – Take 1
1. The fattest knight at King Arthur’s round table was Sir
Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.
2. I thought I saw an eye-doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned
out to be an optical Aleutian.
3. She was only a whisky-maker, but he loved her still.
4. A rubber-band pistol was confiscated from an algebra class,
because it was a weapon of math disruption.
Filed under Funny Signs - Humor
Sugar-Free, Low Carb Blueberry Muffins
I’m not sure there IS such a thing as sugar-free, low carb blueberry muffins, but the mix is in the oven as I type. I’m making them for my husband, primarily, since his sweet tooth is very appreciative. I’ve been scouring the net and our stores for things he’ll consider a treat even though he’s having to really watch his sugar these days. If these pass muster, I’ll write more about them tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
*P.S. Judgment – Pass
They smelled wonderful, both while I mixing it up and later, when I took them out of the oven. I was hopeful. I served us each one hot, with a small pat of butter.
My husband ate one half of the muffin. He thanked me for trying, but gave the other half to our pit bull, who thought it was wonderful. I wasn’t enthusiastic, either. It wasn’t worth the 8 carbs. Sigh.
At least the doggies can have a healthy treat mixed in with their dog food for several days. And the search goes on…
Filed under Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!
Money Well Spent
When we were looking for land on which to build our home over 30 years ago, we wanted a lake, a nice creek, or a great view. We found that we couldn’t have all of them, so when we found this piece of land on top of a ridge line in Greenwood with a great view to the south, we jumped on it. When we were sitting on our porch several months ago, we were dismayed that we could no longer see down the hill into the valley due to a huge surge in growth of what we call, “weed trees.” They come up like a rocket and grow no matter what. They’ve particularly enjoyed the wet spring we had and the fairly mild summer.
We were also upset that we had lost our ‘fire break’ that might protect our home in the case of wild-fire.
We hired a man who works in Greenwood, handles several people’s lawns on the weekends, and agreed to take on the project of cutting our weed trees down. We agreed that he would come when he could and would pay him by the hour until the job was done.
He finished today and we’re delighted. This is our view taken while I’m sitting in a chair on the porch.
Here’s another shot from another chair on the porch.
Here’s a pic taken while sitting on the deck.
This one was taken standing in the yard.
And another. You can see that I still need to use the weed whacker to clean up the edges between the ‘civilized’ part of the back yard and the hill, but that won’t be too large a job.
We’re delighted to have our view back, plus we now feel safer that we could protect our home in case of a wild-fire.
Money well spent, indeed! THANK YOU, Shane.
Filed under Arkansas, Challenges, Mother Nature
Folding Myself into a Paper Airplane – Take 2
I told you that I recently received my set of 2 DVDs called, “Gentle Yoga”, especially geared toward people 6o and above. I was still wondering if this would work for me when I listened to the introduction and then tried the section for “Head, Neck, and Shoulders” a couple of days ago. I found that I was able to do everything the teacher asked, realizing that as I practice, I should be able to stretch better and better, breathing into each movement.
I had to miss yesterday because I wanted to finish my purging/reorganizing/and deep cleaning our master bathroom project.
I tried the section on “Joints” today. This concentrated on ankles, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders, neck, and spine. Although I could hear parts of my body snap, crackle and popping like the proverbial cereal, I was again able to keep up with the teacher. We always end up lying on our backs, trying to fully relax.
Today I had some trouble relaxing after doing all the exercises. My back was tight and painful, and I had to concentrate on relaxing enough to lie flat. After a couple of minutes I was able to lie perfectly flat with no pain and was able to relax fully. This time I knew I could trust her to start talking again at the end of the relaxing time or play some music or something, so I was able to relax even more than I did the last time, once my back allowed.
I had more trouble getting up off the floor after the practice than I did doing any of the exercises. :0)
I am really encouraged by the DVDs and the teacher so far. She emphasizes that this is all an ongoing process, not something to be accomplished. No one cares if you can touch your toes or not (thank goodness!) or how far you can bend or stretch. As long as you do what you can, you benefit. You end up feeling more relaxed and in touch with parts of your body – some of which you didn’t realize you had!
I’m planning to try the next section – for the lower back – tomorrow. I – who am probably the most sedentary old lady on the planet – am actually looking forward to it!
Filed under exercise
20 Quotes from Children’s Books Every Adult Should Know – Take 14
Filed under Favorite Quotes, Reading is FUNdamental
Happy Halloween – Take 13
Gift of Love
This picture gives you an idea of what my good friend Kay is making for her sister, who has Alzheimer’s. She showed it to us yesterday at Lunch Bunch, and I’ve had tears in my eyes off an on every time I think of it.
Kay’s sister is always doing something with her hands when Kay visits – folding a piece of paper, then unfolding it, worrying a thread she found, etc. Kay got the idea that she might enjoy a quilt that had lots of interesting and fun things to do, as well as serving as a lap robe in her chair.
- zipper to zip and unzip,
- a ribbon tied in a bow that she can untie, then tie again
- a snugly material right in the center with openings on both sides so that her sister can put her hands in it to keep them warm
- a stuffed doggie that barks when you squeeze him
- and she’s making a quilt ‘book’ that her sister can enjoy, turning the pages
I may be forgetting something, but you get the idea. I’ve never heard of a more thoughtful gift, or one that shows more love and compassion.
Filed under Family
Master Bath Cleaning/Reorganization Project is Finished!
One set of shelves
Second set of shelves
Main part of bathroom – vanities are on the right. Closet is to the right, as well. Shower to the left.
Vanities with now clean/organized drawers!
Shower room – shower is to the right.
The project took several days, but we spent several YEARS stuffing things into drawers and shelves. We can find everything now. Nothing falls on us when we open a door, cabinet door, or drawer. We actually have lots of places we can put things! It will take us a bit of time to get things as out-of-control as they were. The trash man will be impressed with the amount of ‘stuff’ we’re getting rid of this week. :0)
Happy Halloween – Take 12
I’m into the home stretch now. The shelves have been cleaned out and reorganized. The drawers were completely emptied, cleaned, and reorganized. The shower has been scrubbed.
The whole bathroom and closet have been vacuumed.
I have now mopped the floors and am waiting for them to dry.
The last steps will be to finish a bit more scrubbing, put the rugs back in, and vacuum them.
It will be good to have things clean and organized, at least in one room…
Heavy Duty Cleaning – Master Bath – Session 3
The drawers are cleaned out and organized. A BUNCH of ‘stuff’ has been thrown away.
Now we’re down to the cleaning –
- Dusting first
- Then scrubbing of facilities above the floor (scrubbing bubbles, comet, soft scrub, Clorox Cleanup with bleach, occasional dynamite)
- Then I’ll vacuum the shower area, main bath area, and my closet floor
- Then I’ll mop everything
- Then I’ll put the rugs back in
- Then vacuum the rugs
Assuming I live to tell the tale later today, I’ll share pics. Then, I’m hoping to do more yoga – but if not, there’s tomorrow…
Creative Vandalism – Take 7
Filed under Creativity, Grin for the Day
Our master bath area has a main part, with vanities and a whirlpool tub, my walk-in closet, and a combination toilet/medicine cabinet/shower area. It doesn’t look QUITE this bad, but you get the picture of what a mess things are upstairs. I’m trying to gather my motivation to attack the problem as I type.
Yesterday I took EVERYTHING out of three large drawers beneath my sink. I’ve been stuffing things in the drawers for years, only getting appalled recently. I procrastinated for another long while, thinking about the fact that it was long past time to go through things. This week I did the two sets of shelves and the medicine cabinet, throwing away LOTS of stuff and reorganizing the rest.
I pooped out yesterday, running out of time and energy, and warned my husband that things were quite a mess in there, but that I would tackle it again today. He was amazed at how much ‘stuff’ came out of the drawers!
This morning before we joined our friends for Lunch Bunch, I pulled up the three smaller rugs and one larger rug, the runners under them that keep them from ‘traveling,’ and then got everything else up off the floor. I brought in the vacuum cleaner and brought up the mop and mop bucket in preparation.
I’ve run out of time to procrastinate, so I’ll finish this post and get to it.
I’ll try to post pics later today, assuming I’m successful in making sense of everything up there.
I hope that your day is filled with fun stuff today.
Fold Yourself into a Paper Airplane and…
A few weeks ago I ordered a 2-DVD set called, “Gentle Yoga.” I received it in the mail yesterday and thought I would listen to part of the first one today to get an idea of what I would be trying to do ‘soon.’
An hour later, I had listened to the introduction, which stressed that this yoga exercise was for people 60 and older, who had ‘issues’ of various types or had had surgery, sedentary folks, and those who had never done this before. That was encouraging! I also TRIED one section of the 1st DVD called “Neck and Shoulders.”
I have to admit I’m amazed. Although I’m not as flexible as I would like to be by a long shot, I was able to do everything the teacher asked. I just ‘did what I could do’ as she suggested on each of the poses, concentrating on BREATHING while in the poses and trying to relax into each stretch. We did things for the neck, shoulders and jaw. We ended the session stretched out, completely relaxed, for as long as we wanted.
I also have to admit that I guess I don’t really relax much. During the ending relaxing session, I kept opening my eyes to see if the session were over, and there was a beautiful moving picture of a nice stream in the middle of a beautiful green landscape with lots of trees. I did this three times before the session was actually over. A lesson in itself!
My neck and shoulders don’t feel as relaxed as they would if I had had a massage, but they definitely feel more relaxed, looser, and BETTER than they did when I started. AND, as I learn to do what she’s asking better and better, my results are supposed to improve.
My goal will be to do the first DVD, concentrating on neck and shoulders, joint mobility, and lower back one day, and then the 2nd DVD, concentrating on spinal health, hips/legs/balance, and overall flow the next day.
I feel excited about this. I know I need it, and that it can do me a lot of good. The teacher is very good, emphasizing that you just try each thing, doing the best you can each time, and not worry about anything. Even learn to take yourself less seriously.
My mantra of ‘be better than you were yesterday’ fits right in here!
Filed under exercise
I’m going to print this one and hang it up so I see it over and over. I’m impatient by nature and have to really talk to myself (I know – I’m nuts) to keep going, whether I’m trying to lose weight and build strength and flexibility, undo several years worth of ‘stuffing’ things into drawers or onto shelves in our master bath, or get our garden and yard under control.
I’m looking at this as a character-building exercise, something that will make me a better person in the long run. I AM making progress on learning my own limitations as I age and modifying my expectations of what I can now do in a day. I still tend to overdo, spending the next day trying to recover. I’m learning to do projects in ‘sessions,’ stopping when I’m feeling overwhelmed, then doing another session until the job is done.
With my weight and strength, there is no time limit. This isn’t a ‘diet.’ It’s a lifestyle change. Now things are complicated because we need to do low or no sugar for my husband. It’s a worthy goal to achieve because it’ll do both of us good. I want my husband to live as long as he is able, feeling as good as possible. Scrambling to learn what I can do to help is something I really want to do. An example, I’ve discovered that avoiding gluten for him is counter-productive, since the gluten is offset by alcohol sugars and other additives. We MUST do a good job of reading labels!
On the master bathroom going through/throwing out/reorganizing/cleaning project – right now it looks as if a bomb exploded in there again, since I’ve emptied out my three large drawers and put things on the step that goes around or bathtub. I’ve already thrown a bunch away and plan to do more of that before deciding what do to with what’s left. Assuming I can finish that today, I’ll plan on the last session tomorrow – pulling out the rugs and doing a deep cleaning of the whole area, including the tub, shower, vanities, floor, and rugs. If I falter, I’ll reread the reminder above…
Filed under Favorite Pictures, Favorite Quotes
Crock Pot Roast Chicken Recipe
I found a nice recipe for crock pot roast chicken at Spark Recipes . This one was submitted by JESSYLOO. The picture above shows a regular roasted chicken. This recipe is more of a poached chicken, but it’s delicious. It called for a whole chicken, but my husband doesn’t care for the dark meat, so I simply used six chicken breasts. To have my husband asking if we have some leftovers is quite a compliment around here –
We’ve already had one meal of this and we both liked it a lot. Tonight we’re having leftovers so that we can enjoy the chicken with the new sugar free BBQ sauce we found. I’ll have enough that I can fix some chicken salad, or chicken alfredo, as well. I will be using this recipe often. Thank you, JESSYLOO!
Filed under DIET!
Sugar Free BBQ Sauce – Take 2
I wrote recently that, after looking all over Greenwood and Fort Smith AR for a sugar-free BBQ sauce, I found a recipe and made it. My husband was very grateful, since he loves BBQ sauce. He said it wasn’t the best he had ever eaten, but that it tasted ‘fine’ and that he was SO glad he could use it.
I later got on the net and found some I thought we should try. The name of it is G Hughes Smokehouse Sugar Free BBQ Sauce. It’s gluten free and hickory flavored.
We received it recently. I had made a crock pot chicken that was good – but that my husband thought needed something more. I brought out this sauce and we both tried it.
WE LOVED IT. I can’t say enough about the flavor.
I can’t believe the nutrition label:
- Total fat 0 grams
- Saturated fat 0 grams
- Trans fat 0 grams
- Cholesterol 0 grams
- Sodium 190 mg
- Total Carbs 2 grams
- Dietary Fiber 0 grams
- Sugars 0 grams
- Protein 0 grams
- Vitamin C 2%
- 0% Vitamins A, Iron, and Calcium
Ingredients: Crushed tomatoes, water, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, modified cornstarch, salt, Black pepper, ground cinnamon, natural hickory smoke, spices, natural hickory smoke flavor, natural caramel, color, xanthan gum, sucralose. No allergens.
We feel that we have won the lottery on BBQ sauce. My husband asked if we had more of the ‘good chicken’ so that we could have it with the BBQ sauce tonight…
Filed under Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle, DIET!
Happy Halloween – Take 11
Filed under Reading is FUNdamental