Month: July 2014

Things I’ve Learned … Living Everyday with a Sick Loved One!

Yesterday was a really bad day for me, sadness and loneliness took hold of me and trying to get back my joy felt like an impossible task.

Tried to reach out to my sister but she was so busy with her daughters and grandchildren that I did not want to interrupt their fun time together with my problems. Just having someone to talk to helps tremendously.  I was able to reach my brother late last night and I thank him for his words, and love.  I felt so much better.

My husband suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.  He doesn’t like doctors, and he is convinced that since there is no cure for the disease, they cannot help him.  He reads everything he can online and tries to be his own doctor.

His illness was one of the major factors in my decision to stopping working.  I wanted to be with him, to help him, and possibly make his quality of life better.

Everyday is a struggle for him, and without sounding selfish, for me too!

Today I thought I would share some things I have learned about living with him and his disease.

Pray – If you can, have your first cup of coffee in silence, in a peaceful setting. Pray for strength and patience to get through the day ahead, with all that might be thrown at you, with joy and love.  Be thankful for everything that you have and especially the time we spend with those we love.

“Dear Lord, if you cannot cure him, please don’t let him get worse!”

Help Them Without Making Them Feel Helpless – I really try hard to help my husband in small ways without appearing to be watching his every move.  Getting him things that might be on another floor so he doesn’t have to try to climb a flight of steps, saying “I’m going upstairs, do you need something while I am up there?”.  He is stubborn and even through climbing a few steps can take him a long time, with the risk of falling, he doesn’t like to ask for help.  He is very independent.

Do Not Criticize – No one likes to be criticized, but when you are ill it can be devastating. Since his balance is off he spills things all the time.  I try to keep my home clean and many times I would react to things he would do in a negative way saying, “try not to spill that” or “can’t you pick up your shoes”.  Oh, how I have learned the things he does, or does not do are nothing to fret about in life.  I pick up his shoes, and I clean up the spills, and I love him!

Laugh Together – Laughter is great medicine and helps to eliminate some of the depression they feel everyday.  Jim is a funny person and when he is having a good day may repeat a joke I have heard so many times before, but I just laugh again.  I know there will be a day when I will miss his silly jokes, or he will miss having me to repeat them to!

Do Things Together – Do the things with your loved one that you can, going out to breakfast, taking lunch to the park, going to the movies, even if it means seeing the latest “Planet of the Apes” movie (which we did last week).

Ask For Their Help – When I have a small task that I know my husband can do, I ask for his help.  When the job is completed I can see a sense of accomplishment come over him, thankful that he could contribute.

Be a Good Listener – I have learned that when Jim wants to talk about his health issues or his thoughts on politics or whatever, listen. Don’t just listen with your ears, but with your eyes as well.  Engage them, let them know you are taking the time to hear their point of view.

Learn to Hold Your Tongue – As I have mentioned, there are some impossible days.  When someone is sick they are angry, “why me”, “what’s the use”, etc.  It’s as if they want to argue and be hurtful with words.  I understand this now, and when he wants to argue I leave the room.  I do not need to have the last word!

Observe Changes –  Especially since my husband will not see a doctor I try to watch for signs that he is declining further.  This is mostly for safety issues.  Right now taking away driving is at the top of the list.  He only drives a block or two to the grocery, to get a milkshake, which he loves, or to the barber.  I drive the rest of the time.  He assures me he is OK to drive and will know when he cannot.  Taking this away would be devastating to him.

And the last thing I have learned, is to Love Them.  They are so scared, they need us.

Being with my husband is part of “Loving My New Simple Life”.

I am so very proud of him, the way he is trying to cope with all that is thrown at him every single day.  He doesn’t give up and won’t.  He exercises, lifts weights, sit ups, hundreds of them, and tries to walk on the treadmill by holding on to the side handles.  Falls a bunch, in fact he had a bad one last night, but he gets up and tries to continue, bloody legs and all!

Hope some of this helps other folks dealing with a sick loved one like me!

Blessings to all.




Simple Pleasures – Thank You Grandma!

When I was a little girl I loved to spend time with my Grandma, especially in the summer when school was out.

So many special memories of those days, sitting on her front porch just spending time together, taking the bus for a short ride to a grocery store, pulling with us her little rolling cart.   Grandma would always let me pick out my favorite cookies to take back with us.

At breakfast she would give me my very own large cup of coffee, I am sure it was mostly milk, which didn’t matter, I loved it just the same.

I loved Grandma’s cups, and there was always a saucer.

Grandma's Coffee Cups

That was the beginning of my love of coffee, which continues today.

Thank you Grandma, for the simple pleasure of a great cup of coffee.

There are many things that I could give up, even cookies, but giving up coffee would be very, very difficult.

My son and husband also love coffee.  Some of our best just sitting down together times are with coffee.

We also love a little something sweet with our coffee, especially in the mornings.

Here is a simple recipe for “Banana Cream Cheese Bread with Cinnamon Crumb Topping”.

There are no nuts in this banana bread recipe as with most others.  I am not crazy about nuts!

The cinnamon crumb topping adds a special touch.

It is so good, especially warmed with a little butter.

The recipe makes two loaves.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread with Cinnamon Crumb Topping


Ingredients for the Bread:
• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks, 3/4 cup) butter, softened to room temperature
• 8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened to room temperature
• 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas)
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the Topping:
• 1 tablespoon butter
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8 1/2- by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar until very light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and bananas.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined.
4. In a small bowl, mash together the topping ingredients until combined and crumbly.
5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with the topping.
6. Bake for around 50 minutes until the bread is nicely domed and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
7. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pans for 5-10 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack to cool completely.


The bread is also great on the side with a salad for lunch.

Try it, I know you will like it.  Good for using up those very ripe bananas.

Hope to see my Grandma again someday, I am sure there is coffee in heaven, also cookies, and banana bread.

Take a few minutes today to think about your favorite special times with your Grandma.

Simple blessings to all of you today.

Love your life!  XOXO


Italian Margaritas

Added a small table and two chairs to my back porch and I was thrilled when I found a colorful tray for $3.99 at Michael’s at 80% off the original price.

The colors are perfect, bright blue and also the bright green color of my pillows.

The tray matches some summer Margarita glasses that I already had.

Bright green and blue tray and glasses.

The glasses reminded me of one of my favorite adult drinks, Italian Margaritas.

They are a twist on the regular Margarita by adding a shot of Amaretto to the mix.

You can add salt to the glass edge or sugar.  To get the salt to stick to the glasses you first need to moisten the rim with lime juice, and then swirl glass rim in the salt.

I found that the best Margarita mix, which already has the alcohol in it, is the soft packages sold by Daily’s.  I have tried other mixes but this is by far the best.

IMG_0012[1] You can freeze the packs for frozen drinks, or just serve on the rocks.

Love the addition of the small table and chairs to the porch,.

Love my new inexpensive colorful tray.

Love Italian Margaritas, and I love all of you!

Happy Summer!



Shortcake Sundae in a Jar

Strawberry Shortcake Sundae in a Jar!Strawberries are on sale everywhere, so for dessert last night I made a really easy treat.

I saw an article in People magazine when I was at the hair salon last week, waiting my turn to be transformed into a younger me!

The article featured easy recipes by the folks from the Today Show.

You can tell by the title of this post that the recipe calls for using mason jars, but just a bowl will do!  It looks amazing when completed.

Strawberry Shortcake Sundae!

Here is what you will need:

1 (16 oz.) carton of fresh strawberries, stemmed and hulled

1/2 cup sugar

1 (16 oz) fresh or frozen pound cake loaf, thawed (Sara Lee’s the best)

1 (8 0z.)  carton of blueberries

Vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt

Whipped cream or frozen whipped topping

1. Place mason jars in freezer until ready to assemble sundaes.  Slice strawberries into 1/8″ thick slices.  Toss strawberries with sugar in a medium bowl, cover and chill 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

2.  Cut pound cake into 3/4″ cubes.

3.  Toss blueberries with strawberries: set aside.  Place 1 scoop ice cream into each chilled jar.  Layer cake cubes evenly over ice cream.  Top evenly with berries.  Repeat layers.  Top each sundae with whipped cream or topping.  Serve immediately or chill up to 30 minutes.

I bought the blueberries, but forgot to use them.  It was good just the same.

This is a really good recipe for summer, no baking, also good for last minute, unexpected guests.

Today is Sunday, the day of rest, so this would be a simple, easy, not much time or work  dessert, for after dinner tonight.

Hope you all have a blessed Sunday, and a joyful, week ahead.




My Crooked Little Porch!

This past week I have been working on sprucing up my back porch.

The years have not been so kind to my little porch, it’s a little crooked from age, and wear and tear, but I love it just the same.

I started with the floor.

The stain had faded a bunch since the last application, several years ago.


Back Porch Makeover!


Back Porch Makeover!

I used the same Olympic solid stain that is on the front and trim of our house, chocolate brown.

We have some outdoor furniture, two chairs, both with ottomans, that are in very good condition. The cushions for the chairs, are tan, and also in good shape, but some color was definitely need.

Found some print toss pillows at Home Goods, with a little terracotta, blue, brown, and bright green.

The terracotta color blended well with the brick wall.

I really love pillows, so I added some bright green ones as well.

Bright colorful pillows for outdoor furniture.

A rusted table, sprayed painted dark brown.  New again!Added two small tables, both as a result of my on going garage cleaning.

They were rusted, so I sanded, and spray painted, one brown, and the other a bright green.

Garage sale items, painted, and made new again!

The brown one fit between the chairs, and the green one was the perfect size for my Hoya plant.

Feels so good to use things that you were going to trash.

They really turned out great!

The sun shines on our little crooked porch quite a bit, especially in the mornings, so we bought an inexpensive roll up, tan, bamboo type shade.  We are very pleased with it, we not only get shade, but some privacy from our neighbors.

Back porch makeover!  Added a citronella candle in a bright green tin, and an ivy plant.

So that takes care of one half of the porch, but there is still room for something more!

Back porch makeover in stages, maybe a small table and chairs is needed!

Maybe a small table next to the railing would complete our little space.

That will be the project for next week!

A colorful back Porch quiet place.

Everyone should have a special place to sit, with a comfortable chair, hopefully by a window, if not outside, to read, pray, write special things, enjoy some coffee, and sometimes music, as I do every morning.

It’s a simple pleasure that adds to life.

If you don’t have a crooked little porch, find a private spot in your home, or apartment, make it yours, and enjoy the time you spend there!

Love to all!



Never too old! – Love This!

Ran across this on Pinterest, and I love it!

Love this, especially since I am 67, best years ahead!

Why do you think I love it?

Well, I am 67 years old.

 I feel some of my best years are now, and many more ahead.

I really love my life right now.

I have so many dreams.

So, so many ideas I want to work on and create.

So much life yet to live!

Hope you feel this way about your life, no matter how old you are.

There are 1440 minutes in each day, don’t waste any of them.

Live with joy, and appreciation for all that you have, especially the small,

simple things.

See you tomorrow!

Just a Photo!

A sweet, cute, dragon, for my someday grandchild.I ran across this photo when working on one of my “someday” projects, sorting and framing old photos.

This is a photo of a blow up dragon I purchased on one of our vacations to the beach in South Carolina, in 2001.

We (just me and my husband) were sitting in chairs close to the water, reading and enjoying a beautiful day at the beach.  There was a dark haired, beautiful little girl close to us playing in the sand and sitting on this colorful, cute dragon.  As I watched her, my thoughts went to thinking maybe, just maybe, I would have a grandchild just like her.

After dinner one evening, we stopped at one of those beach stores always found in beach resort areas, and there it was, the little dragon. I bought one!  It was going to be for my grandchild.

At the time my son was engaged, and I thought his life was set in order, and my grandchild would not be far off.

Unfortunately, life took a turn, and some years later, my son’s relationship with the young woman he was with for years, ended.

“Suddenly”, that is life isn’t it?

He is still trying to recover and find his way.

He will be OK, God must have something else in mind for him.

As for me, I believe that by purchasing the little dragon I was being bold, and being confident that God hopefully has a grandchild already planned!

I have the little dragon stored in a safe place.

In life we need to declare good things and believe in our God and then just sit back and watch the awesome things He will do for us.

Expect, believe today, that all things are possible.

See ya!





The Wannabe Art Teacher is “in”!

Do you all remember Lucy’s psychiatric help booth?

Love the “Peanuts”!

So cute!

Well, I have always wanted to be an elementary school art teacher, so when I post a kid’s art project, it will show as the “Wannabe Art Teacher is “in”!

Silly, but cute to me!

Lot’s of summer left for our kids and grandchildren, so I have an art project to help them show their creativity.

"30 days of drawings" “30 days of Drawings”

I typed out a list of 30 things to draw, printed them from my home printer on colored card stock paper, and used my circle punch to cut each one out.

You can do several things with the colorful circles. Above I glued them to a piece of poster board, and to add some extra fun to the project I used arrows, dots, and squiggly things to lead the child to the next day drawing instruction.

"30 days of drawings"

If you didn’t want to use the poster board idea, you could place the colorful circles in a jar, or as shown below I used a little plastic bucket.  Having the child pick a circle out for each day.

"30 days of drawings" Another idea would be to glue the circles to each page of a small tablet.

Below I used a $1.00 tablet from Michael’s.  It has a cute summer theme and also has a magnet on the back to place on your frig door.

"30 days of drawings" If you do not want to print out the things to draw on card stock, using your printer, you could buy a small pack of colorful post-it notes, hand print, and place them on the poster board or tablet.

"30 days of drawings"

I used simple things to draw.  Many were summer related items such as a piece of watermelon, an ice cream cone, fireworks, hot dogs, etc.

I believe kids need to get away from TV, electronic games, and tablets, be creative, and also read every single day during the summer.

Hope my idea becomes yours.

It was so much fun to put together.


Love to all, especially the kids!




Clipboards to Chalkboards!

I have shared my ongoing project with all of you, cleaning out my garage!

So much to sort through and eliminate.

Last week I came across a box of clipboards that are leftovers from my job when I stopped working, over a year ago.  As I have mentioned before, I traveled and did a lot of training with the position that I held.  Clipboards were used quite often during training.

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"

I didn’t really want to pitch them, so I came up with a very useful, simple idea that anyone can complete and have fun at the same time.

Using chalkboard paint, a sponge brush, and a detail brush, I painted the clipboards.

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"So now I have chalkboards!

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"I bought a bottle of chalkboard paint at Michael’s.

Using a coupon, the bottle at 50% off, was only $2.50.  The brand is Folk Art found in the acrylic paint section.

There are many chalkboard paints on the market including chalkboard spray paint.

Using my sponge brush I simply painted each clipboard with several coats of paint, allowing time to dry between each coat, as indicated on the bottle.

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"Be sure to smooth out as painting, to prevent brush stokes from showing when dried.

I painted up to the clip area on each board, and then using an inexpensive detail brush I painted around the silver clip piece.

When all the boards were painted several times, and completely dry, the fun part was starting.

Decorating the chalkboards!

You can use tapes, ribbons, or most any type of embellishments.

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"Of course, you do not have to decorate they are good plain for most any room.

An eraser can be stored on the top of the clipboard when hanging, and chalk can be slipped in the clip area for easy access.

"Clipboards to Chalkboards"Don’t throw out your old clipboards, turn them into chalkboards!

Be creative and have fun with this simple, useful project.

See ya!


Happy Birthday America!

Happy Birthday to our wonderful country.

Celebrate our freedom, and have fun today!

Happy 4th of July America!We are going to grill today. Hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the trimmings. We are also having some baked beans, marshmallow fruit salad, and deviled eggs.

Typical 4th menu!

I thought I would share my recipe for baked beans with you today!

They are made with canned beans, and lots of dark brown sugar, and ketchup.

This is a photo of my favorite crock that I always use for the beans.

Crock for baked bean recipe!It reminds me of an old candy from years ago, they were called “Boston Baked Beans”.  The photo on the candy box was beans in a crock.  I can’t remember the candy, just the box.

I found this photo of the box on line.  I guess you can still buy them at some specialty candy stores.

Boston Baked Bean Theater Box - 4.75 oz

My beans are simple to make, just canned beans, dark brown sugar, ketchup, onions, and some bacon slices for the top.  That’s it!

Recipe for baked beans!1 large can of pork and beans (the can that I use to fill my crock is 53 ounces)

2 cups of dark brown sugar (or more)

1 cup of ketchup

1/4 cup of diced onions (optional)

3 slices of bacon

Before pouring beans into the crock, drain off most of the liquid, since we are going to replace with the ketchup.  I do not like really runny beans!  Some folks make them and they are more like bean soup. Yuk!

Add ketchup, dark brown sugar, onions, and mix together.

Top with 3 slices of bacon, I usually cut in half with my kitchen scissors.

Recipe for baked beans!Cover and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Remove cover and bake another 30 minutes.

Recipes are works in progress, depending on your taste, if you like more brown sugar, add more, try it!

I have made these for years and I judge the amount of sugar by the color of the beans when adding the sugar.Recipe for baked beans!There’s lots of summer left, give these a try!

Enjoy the fireworks, and have a spectacular 4th.

See ya!