Monthly Archives: December 2017

Amber on Ice

Amber is thoroughly worn out – for the moment anyway – after her first experience with ice.

My husband let the dogs out this morning. It was 24 degrees F and there was a thin layer of ice everywhere. Amber went bounding out, landing immediately on her rear and sliding for several feet into the grass. My husband said she looked surprised, then got up again with no damage done, and continued to cavort, as usual.

She’s been out several times today, coming in cold and energized, and this time finally got on her bed plopping down in a huff. She oozes off the bed like this most of the time. I’m not sure why.

By early afternoon the sun was out and things were melting. We decided to go to town . Even though we got ice overnight, it’s been warm enough that it was only a problem for a few hours. Next weekend, when the next wintry mix is forecast, we probably wont be so lucky.

As we were coming home I was struck by the beauty of the grass on both sides of the road. Even though things were melting and the sun was shining brightly, the individual blades of grass and other vegetation were encased in ice. Everything “glistened” just like in the I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” classic.  stunningly beautiful.

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Marvelous Mosaics – Take 1

Elena –


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“Beauty Place”

“Beauty Place” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Spray vs Drops – Doggy Dental Care

I love this picture. I have to admit that I haven’t been the best about taking care of our dog’s teeth. Recently, I ordered some spray. You peel back your dog’s lip on one side and spray the stuff in however many times they indicate, depending on your pet’s weight. That meant two sprays for Molly on each side. 5 sprays on each side for Amber. Good luck with that.

I really tried. I don’t know if it was the spray sensation, the taste, the smell, or what, but I did well to get ONE spray into each side – with everyone teed off in the process. The company customer service person was really nice and suggested I put the stuff on a Q tip and then rub it on the teeth. I tried that – no way, Jose’.  So, they kindly agreed for me to send it back and will give me a refund. Good company, Probably good product – just above my pay grade. I could probably bully Molly, but there is no way I can bully Amber, our 81 pound lab puppy, into compliance.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law told me about a product they use with their dogs. It’s called OxyFresh Dog & Cat Oral Hygiene Solution. I put 4 teaspoons of it into a gallon of water and then pour the solution into their dog water bowl. This is a communal bowl, so when anyone – dog or cat – gets a drink, they get a bit of help for their teeth and gums. GREAT IDEA!


They do remind you that this is only a partial solution and that you should either brush your pet’s teeth or do something actively to give them the best chance of good teeth and gums possible.

To this end, I just ordered a few things –

First –

Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Dog & Cat Poultry Flavor Toothpaste




Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Dog Finger Brush, 2-pack


Nylabone DuraChew Double Action Dental Chew Bacon Flavor Dog Toy

I’m HOPING that the fact the toothpaste is supposed to be chicken flavored will help with my efforts to move my finger around in our dogs’ mouths, at lest for a reasonable length of time. I chose the finger brushes instead of a regular toothbrush-looking-thing because I’m hopeful I can control things better. I may not have enough hands, but it’s definitely worth a try.

We have dental chews of all types around here, but I also got the dura-chew bone, hoping they’ll opt to use that in-between my giving them things to consume.

I would like to take good care of our pets’ teeth. I really don’t like the idea of having the vet do it, where the animals are given anesthesia. I don’t know if the finger brush and chicken flavored toothpaste will be usable, but they weren’t expensive. Meanwhile, every time someone gets a drink, they’re getting a bit of a dental boost.

*Note – these are all available from

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Brad Paisley via Sun Gazing

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In This Year to Come – 2018



“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.” ~ Neil Gaiman, British author

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Snow People – Take 13

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Painting Water – Take 10

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Shannon Hale, The Goose Girl via Lisa Bearnes Richey

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Gorgeous Gourds – Take 16

Hand Carved Woodland




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Sucky Forecast

February 4, 2009 – Coco the siberian tiger plays with an industrial strength bungee cord in her habitat at the Toronto Zoo in Toronto Ontario. Toronto Star/Pawel Dwulit –

We moved to Arkansas over 30 years ago because the climate was mild. We really don’t like the cold.

Our forecast for today through the first day of January sucks.

We woke up to a temperature of 40. That’s good, but the forecast is that THIS was the high for the day and that the temperature will drop from there during the day and then will be below freezing the rest of the week. We’re forecast to get rain/freezing rain/sleet/and/or snow this evening through tomorrow. Arkansas doesn’t do winter well. We tend to get really bad ice storms that break our trees, kill our power, and make it impossible to get around in one piece.

We prepare for winter here on top of our ridge line seriously. We put on our snow tires in November and take them off mid March or April. We have public water plus well water plus extra bottles and containers of water ready. We have extra food in our pantry. We have a generator that will run everything except heating and cooling. It comes on automatically when it senses the power is off and turns off automatically when it senses the power has returned. We have a wood burning fireplace. We have cold weather bags we put in the car if we’re going any distance. We carry a basic tool bag in the car. We have good hats, mittens, boots, coats, long underwear, etc. We have extra food for our dogs, cats, and fish.  We have a winter checklist we go through to try to keep things from being damaged by the cold.

Some winters here are downright balmy. Last winter, for example, I was still growing and harvesting lettuce in one planter beside the house through January. Some winters are brutal. We got serious about preparing for winter after having a really bad ice storm in 2000, where we were trapped up here without public water, public power, or being able to get down our driveway for the ice and fallen trees for 14 days.

I’m hoping that the weather people have been bored lately and are hyping the possibility of bad weather. Sometimes I suspect that the weather people must get kickbacks or perks of some king for forecasting bad weather causing everyone to rush to the store for milk, bread, eggs, batteries, etc.

I promise not to gripe if we just have some cold weather. I won’t gripe, either, if we get a dusting of snow, or a bit of sleet. I won’t gripe if the north wind takes my breath away when I’m out trying to play with our lab puppy. I promise!



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Beautiful Flying Birds

“Dancing and Flying” – Paul Militaru Photography


“Looking at Flying Birds” – Paul Militaru Photography

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New Year’s Resolutions – 2018

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons via Stephanie Youmans Wilson

I’ve made many over the years, and I’ve actually kept a few.

This year I’m going to concentrate on ONE – to be the best person I can be. To be kind as much as humanly possible. To really listen. To love with all my heart and tell the people in my life how very much they mean to me.

Happy New Year!


Filed under Funny Signs - Humor, holidays

Bookkeeping Blues


Have I mentioned that I HATE bookkeeping and tax prep? If not, picture me this afternoon pulling my hair out – while feeling hostile – while yawning and wishing I were almost anywhere else. My husband doesn’t want any part of this – and his part for years has been driving us to our CPA and waiting while I take the stuff in and leave it with the receptionist – and then driving us back when it’s time for me to write the checks.

Part of getting ready to pay taxes has been – for about 17 years – my bookkeeping for my Creative Artworks business. I’m very old-fashioned when it comes to bookkeeping, using the old style DOME Simplified Monthly Bookkeeping Record books. I tried using Quick Books, but couldn’t make things come out right. Details, such as selling my stuff through my website, as opposed to orders I got through Etsy or ArtFire, would throw me for a loop. The computer version bookkeeping also didn’t like the fact that I represented several other artists, getting checks, e-checks, Paypal payments, credit card payments, etc., and then turning around and paying the artists for their work. The computer version also HATED the situation where a refund was needed for any reason, or a freebie….

I closed Creative Artworks in June, and it took several months to be sure all was shut down, as far as the ability to take credit cards, and payments to all the entities involved in running a website. Now I’m trying to get all the details into my DOME book – the LAST time I’ll have to do it!

I’m thinking that, after the first of the year, I’ll pare down what I’m selling on ArtFire and Etsy, having big sales and just leaving up the things I still really love to create.

I will STILL hate trying to get our stuff together for our CPA, but not having to fight with the bookkeeping for my website will be a huge load off my shoulders. :0)


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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, Challenges, Changes, THINGS I HATE!


I know I’m going to show you what a weenie I am when it comes to cold weather, but the weather is really getting our attention this week. In Arkansas, last year, I was still growing lettuce outside in December and January.  It’s 24 degrees F. outside now. It’s supposed to get to 38 this afternoon. AND we’re having a cold front come through this weekend!  Lows in the single digits or teens usually comes to us in February…

The good part of this is that, other than gathering the sticks Amber has laboriously gathered for display in the front yard, and cleaning up the two empty planters in which she continues to dig, I’m not even thinking about spending much time outside.

The one thing I AM planning to do in the next few months is organize my greenhouse so I’ll be ready to start seeds around the 1st of March (depending on the temperature in there.) I’m reading every day and researching on the net ideas for how to get set up. I’m making plans of which seeds to start first. I’m even dreaming about where to put my first-ever home-grown transplants in my raised bed square foot garden this spring! And THIS from the lady who still wears the moniker, “Serial Seed Killer.”


While the weather is wet and cold, I’m concentrating on trying to go through our STUFF, room-by-room, closet-by-closet, shelf-by-shelf, drawer-by -drawer, in the hope I can do some serious damage by the start of spring. I’m trying to get into a ruthless frame of mind – using a ‘less-is-more’ mantra.

I hope that you’re able to stay warm and dry wherever you are, making this a fun day.

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Filed under Acting Like a Grownup, greenhouse, Housekeeping - Maintenance, Mother Nature, Organizing/DeCluttering

To Fetch, or Not to Fetch…

Talk about a “Daddy’s Girl…”

We are working on several new things with our 9 month old, 81 pound Yellow Labrador Retriever, Amber. It’s still up for grabs on who is teaching whom around here.

PICK-UP-STICKS – Amber provides ME with some great “bend-over-and-pick-up,” plus “carry” exercise each morning. She collects sticks she finds and brings them into the civilized part of our front yard, leaving them for us to admire and praise.  Some of these are 12 feet long! Yesterday I saw her prancing around, carrying a huge, long branch around the yard. I called to her and she turned, humongous branch in teeth, and I swear she grinned at me around it, saying, “Look at me!”

FETCH – while I was doing the “PICK-UP-STICKS” game this morning, I brought a large, bright green squeaky ball out. It was 20 degrees, so I didn’t want to spend any more time than I needed to out there, but wanted to give the doggie a bit of exercise, too. I squeaked the ball and then threw it. Amber happily bounded across the yard after it, catching it pretty quickly and then brought it back to me. The problem is there. She loves running to get it, and readily runs back to me, ball in her mouth, eyes dancing. But she doesn’t want to give it to me. She stands there, squeaking the ball, or even comes up to me and puts the ball in my hands, teeth never leaving the ball. She looks at me expectantly. I say, “GIVE IT!” She pretends to, but when I try to get the ball, she clamps her teeth down, clearly wanting to play “TUG OF WAR.” Since I’ve learned the hard way that my hands are vulnerable to her teeth in this game, I won’t play.  She runs off, then returns right away, trying to entice me into HER game. FINALLY, when she accepts that I won’t play, she gives me the ball and I throw it again….

SAY IT! – We have taught every dog we’ve ever had to bark when they want to come in from outside. Sweet little Molly, our 12+ years old cocker spaniel/schnauzer cross readily barks when she wants to come in, many times when she is out at the same time as Amber. When we hear her bark, one of us gets up and lets her/them in, giving a treat. We are trying to get Amber to bark when she wants to go out, and then when she wants to come in. This is hard going. It seems weird to be trying to teach a dog to bark, doesn’t it. But it’s a really handy thing when a dog will communicate with you.

Amber has a hard head. So far, after we say, “Say it!” over and over, looking at her expectantly by the door, we FINALLY get a noise between a whine and a bark. You have to start somewhere. She has barked once when she was out, beside the door. We think it must have been a coincidence, though, because we jumped right up, let her in, and gave her a treat, but she hasn’t repeated it…



Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe

I have won the lottery on a low carb casserole recipe. It’s called, “Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole” and it is from Karly Campbell,  who has a website called Buns in My Oven.

Since I’m always busy and then poop out, energy-wise in the afternoon, not wanting to cook, I did this recipe in stages. In the morning I got the casserole ready to put in the oven, then covered it and put it in the fridge. Then I decided to go ahead and cook it mid afternoon, while I was resting. Then I let it cool a bit and covered it and put it back in the oven. When we were ready to eat several hours later, I put it in the microwave and heated it up to temperature. All of this is hard on a recipe, but this was handled it in style.

My husband’s reactions during and after eating it were –

  • an enthusiastic two thumbs up – saying, ‘Wow. This is great. Are you SURE this is low carb?”
  • “Did I tell you this is really good?”
  • He went back into the kitchen and got himself a second serving
  • Then he said, “This is too good to be low carb. Can we have this every night?”
  • Again – “Did I tell you this was really delicious?”
  • “Can we split the leftover piece for lunch tomorrow and have a salad with it?”
  • “Will you make this again soon? I’ll help.”

My husband is usually encouraging when I cook something he likes, but this was over the top. To say it will become a regular at our house is an understatement. I have now bookmarked marked Buns in My Oven  and signed up for her newsletter. I also bookmarked a page on low carb casseroles and am planning to make her “Oven Spaghetti” soon.

Low Carb Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole Recipe

Source: Karly, Buns in My Oven

Prep Time 30 minutes Cook Time 30 minutes Total Time 1 hr
Serves serves 6 adjust servings


1/2 pound bacon
1 pound ground beef
1/2 sweet onion
1 clove garlic
4 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons reduced sugar ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
4 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 ounces grated cheddar
1 teaspoon fresh dill


Dice the bacon into small pieces and place in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside. Drain grease from pan.
Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook until browned, crumbling as it cooks. Drain fat.
Add the onion and garlic to the skillet with the beef and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the cream cheese, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and seasoned salt to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until combined.
Spread the beef mixture into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Top with the cooked bacon.
Crack the eggs into a medium bowl and whisk together with the heavy cream until combined. Stir in the pepper and hot sauce.
Pour the egg mixture over the beef and bacon.
Top with the cheddar cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until set and golden on top. Sprinkle with dill before serving.
Disclaimer: The nutrition information presented below is not guaranteed to be accurate.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 638,
Total Fat 53g
Saturated Fat 23g
Cholesterol 265mg
Sodium 760mg
Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 4g
Protein 32g
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

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Filed under Cooking/Recipes/Low Carb Lifestyle

“Leaves 2”

“Leaves 2” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Gorgeous Gourds – Take 15

Antler Baskets and Gourds by Texas Weaver Susan

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Snow People – Take 12

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Stupidity – Take 1


“He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.”
― P.G. Wodehouse


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I Double Dog Dare You!

Stephen King via The Writers Circle via Cathy Ruggiero

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Snow People – Take 11

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Painting Water – Take 9


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“Mona, My Girlfriend is Fixing Me” – Paul Militaru Photorgraphy

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Playing with Your Food – Take 23








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Today’s Collection

One of Amber’s favorite things is sticks. She loves ’em.

Because we don’t want her to eat the baseboards and the wall in the utility room at night, and NOTHING we’ve found to put on the wood to make it taste bad has worked, we give her a stick at night. Happily, she chews on this and leaves the other things alone – mostly.

Since the poor dog doesn’t have ANY toys to play with, each time we let her out, she gathers sticks. We live in the sticks (appropriately named in Amber’s honor) outside of Greenwood AR we have lots of trees and branches. Amber has decided that it’s her life’s work to gather as many of these as possible each day in a collection in our front yard.

Here is this morning’s collection –

Maybe she’s being generous, providing me with exercise in my efforts to keep moving. I gather these each day, taking them to our burn barrel. Maybe she’s thinking ahead, trying to save us money, by not having to pay someone to clear out the underbrush in our woods.

I suspect, though, that she’s just being a healthy, happy puppy, gathering wonderful treasures to play with and chew on. She doesn’t complain that her treasures disappear each day. Happily for her, there are plenty more where these came from…


Filed under Amazing Animals, Family

Mr. Bountiful

My husband and I work in harmony each morning to get all the animals fed, breakfast fixed and eaten, dishwasher unloaded, and our basic chores done.

He usually takes the animals out first thing, stopping at our big bucket of sunflower seeds in the garage to take out to the deck for the birds. We put out both sunflower seeds and the small seeds you see in the picture above.

After he comes in and we are sitting at the dining area table for breakfast, it’s like the memo went out – “Mr. Bountiful has come!”

All of a sudden we’re awash in lots and lots of birds of all stripes bouncing from feeder to feeder, plus a squirrel or two, entertaining us as we eat.

We put a special squirrel feeder up, right on the other side of the window. It has a gallon glass bottle held up by a wooden closure. The squirrel has to come into the wooden enclosure and then stretch out to get the seed in the bottle. We get a really great look at him. There are little pointy-headed birds that also use this feeder, popping in and out with regularity.

With the birds and squirrels outside the window, our two dogs and two cats sitting on the floor around the table, and the fish happily eating in their aquarium, we feel happy and rich.


Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Delightful Surprises, Family, Favorite Things, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Happy New Year – 2018

We put up our “Happy New Year” mailbox decoration with Calvin & Hobbes today.  I’ve still had to ‘think’ a bit when writing a check to get 2017 on it. NOW – another year has whizzed past my head, making my hair blow!


“My Wish for you in 2018:

May peace break into your house and may thieves come to steal your debts.

May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet of $100 bills.

May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!

May your clothes smell of success like smoking tires.

May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy.

May the problems you had forget your home address! In simple words …….

May 2018 be the best year of your life!!!”  ~ Source Unknown

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Filed under Encouragement, Favorite Quotes, holidays, Lewis Art, Lewis Mailbox Decorations

Love and Need

American Hippie via Kitchen Crafty Fun via Stephanie Youmans Wilson

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Favorite Quotes

Playing with Your Food – Take 22

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