Category: Random Thoughts

So sweet, so easy!

Today I would like to share a really sweet, and oh so easy Mother’s Day gift idea.

Photo charms for bracelets or necklaces.

PHOTO CHARMSI made these for myself!  A photo of me and my husband smooching on our wedding day, over 45 years ago, and my dear son when he was so small.  Our favorite photo ever of him.

This one is of my dear mother, now in heaven.  Miss her so very much.  It was a photo taken on her last birthday.  She is blowing out the candles on her birthday cake!

Mom with charmsThere are so many charms that can also be added for a bit of extra sweetness.

Kid’s artwork, a meaningful quote or saying reduced to size, would also work great.

The next photo is one of a piece of old lace placed in a locket.  The lace was on my First Communion veil when I was a child.  My mom made the veil and at the time I was sad that I did not have a really fancy store bought one like so many of the other little girls.

I wanted to frame the lace to remind myself of how horrible I was not to realize I had the best veil, one made with my mother’s love in every tiny stitch.

LACEAll you need to make any of these is one quick trip to Michael’s.

They have a nice selection of charms and lockets that are so inexpensive. There are many bracelets and chains to choose from as well.

Charm AssortmentJust select your photos, reduce on your computer, and print.

Trace the photos to the size of your locket or charm and assemble.

That is it!

Help your kids make some for mom or grandma, they will love these as if they were made of real gold or silver.  Place them in a box with a ribbon and a handmade card or drawing.

Hope you all are working on your special mom’s gift for Sunday.

Happy Friday!

XO

 

 

Welcome May!

Welcome MayMay is one of my favorite months.  The weather is nearly perfect!

So many simple joyful things to do,

  • May 5th was “Cinco de Mayo”, I had lunch with a friend at a small Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood.  We ate outside. So much fun!  I made corn salsa to go along with the chicken quesadillas I made for my family for dinner.  Yummy!
  • “Mother’s Day” this year is May, 10th. We cannot forget our mothers, or those mothers in our lives who have difficult jobs raising children alone.  Celebrate all those mothers who have given you love and understanding. Moms love homemade gifts, help your kids make special gifts for grandma!
  • Go to garage sales, the weather is perfect and you might find a special item to recycle.
  • Visit your local nursery, the flowers are amazing.  An awesome place for photos.
  • Go to the park often, pack a lunch, or just take a book and enjoy!
  • Plan a trip to the zoo.  It is really a better trip when the weather is not so hot.  I still remember trips to the zoo when I was a child.  It was on one of these trips that I experienced my first “Oreo” cookie.  We would pack lunch and my aunt brought a bag.
  • Open your windows!  Let May inside!
  • Rearrange your furniture so your desk or favorite chair is by a window, one you can open!
  • Make a cup of coffee and go outside early in the morning, when everything is quiet.
  • Take a morning walk, not the fast paced exercise kind, but a slow enjoyable one.
  • Get out your sandals, or maybe go buy a new pair.
  • Dust off your grill, make potato salad, hot dogs, and burgers.
  • Plan for a “Memorial Day” gathering.
  • Clean off your outside furniture, get your porch or your peaceful spot outside ready for this wonderful weather month.
  • Treat yourself to a yummy shake or malt.  If you have a “Steak and Shake” near your home, shakes are 1/2 price from 2 to 5, they call it “Happy Hour”.

Just get outside when you can, play, be happy, laugh, be grateful!

I love this photo of my niece playing with her dog “Denali”, blowing bubbles for him to catch.

None of us are too old to “play”.

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Enjoy the “happies” in life!

Enjoy the month of May!

XO

 

 

 

 

My Little Part of the Earth!

One day last week was recognized everywhere as “Earth Day”.

Of course, most of the talk was related to global warming, but we all need to do our part, whatever that may be, to keep this earth clean and safe.

I walked around “my little part of the earth” with joy and peace on this glorious day God has given me.

What a beautiful day!

Blue skies, flowering trees, warm temperatures!

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Have you ever just looked up, smelled the air, felt the sun, and whispered, oh wow?

“Kitty” was right with me this day.  She is so cute about following me around my yard, almost as if she thinks she is my protector, so sweet.

IMG_0391[1]Much clean up needed to get ready for the warm weather just ahead.

Weeding, raking old leaves that have accumulated under shrubs, planting, and cleaning up my little flower bed.  All I do gladly to keep “my little part of the earth” clean and beautiful.

IMG_0418[1]Oh my gosh, dandelions!

IMG_0420[1]In my old life of trying to keep up with everyone, before I realized the really important things in life, I thought folks who had dandelions were lazy, terrible people. I am so ashamed of how I would judge people on what they had, or did not have, or what they did, or did not do!

Having a home and a yard calls for time, work, and money.  Money some folks just do not have.  Now that I am not working, we struggle with home improvements due to lack of money. A gallon of paint can cost over $40, fertilizer and weed killer for a yard can be over $40, and even buying flowers for a few pots can be very expensive.  A lot of rearranging is done to our budget this time of the year.

It would be nice if some paint manufacturers started a program of giving back, donating paint, or offering discounts to poor folks, or senior citizens on fixed incomes.  Maybe they do!

It is so uplifting to see groups volunteer to paint, and fix up homes of the elderly.  Most want to stay in their homes, but are not able to do the work or afford the supplies needed.

We all see the quick signs of deterioration when repairs and maintenance is not kept up.  It must be heart breaking for the elderly to see this happen to their homes.

I know you all are doing what you can do to keep this creation of God the way it should be, it brings us all so much pleasure.

Thank Him for this gift when you say your prayers this night.

Blessings to all of you with love!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing Seasons

Monday was the first day of autumn!

Our weather the last few days has been absolutely spectacular!  So much sunshine,  temperatures around 75 degrees.  Perfect!

Knowing these days are numbered I walked around my yard thanking God for all the joy, and the many peaceful days I spent outside this summer.

My burlap flower bags laying across tree branches.  I will definitely do this again next spring.

Burlap Flower Bag with ImpatientsBurlap Flower Bag

Hours of joy potting and caring for plants at my planting work space my sweet son helped to fix up and recycle.

Potting Work TableRemember how it was in early spring?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJust needed a little paint and some loving care!

How wonderful to see how all my plants have grown and thrived this year.

Potted Geranium

Most of all I will miss my “quiet place” as the weather turns and cold times arrive.

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Oh the joy of sitting out here, especially mid morning, feeling the sun, having my coffee, reading and praying.  No stress, just peaceful quiet time.

But there were signs of change as I walked.

The last daisy of the summer, holding on, all others withered and gone.

IMG_0240[1]Leaves beginning to change, falling here and there.

My son working hard chopping and stacking wood for the cold ahead.

My son stacking wood for winter!

As time and days pass, everything changes.

This life of mine has changed over the years, maybe because I am growing old, but how I regret all the days of my life I wasted.

Wanting more things, acceptance and approval of people, trying to be whatever someone else at the time, wanted me to be, only to turn and go!

It is easy to think that we are without in this life but I have learned, as I have mentioned before, the first step in finding happiness is appreciating all that you have right now. We all really do have so much and I am not talking about money!

These glorious days of being outside make loving life easy.

Good bye summer!

Love to all, and please don’t forget to love your life!

 

My Brother’s Birthday Card

Today, September 16th, is my brother’s birthday.

We have always exchanged cards on birthdays.  This year, just as it has been in previous years, I was so disappointed with the “Happy Birthday Brother” card selections.

They are all so “stuffy”, trees, streams of water, mountains, just nothing that has ever appealed to me for my brother.

I wanted something fun, with some “bling”, some color.

Finally I found a card I really liked, the front was bright, and full of cupcakes!

Denny's card

The only problem, the inside of the card was blank.

inside of card

So, I decided to make it “personal”.

Typed and printed out my own greeting that tied the cupcakes on the front to a really sweet memory of another birthday several years ago.

I added a photo, another personal touch, of my brother, sister, and myself as children.

Used photo corners to attach both to the card.

For a little more fun, I added a “party” hat to my brother’s head using “Pic Monkey“.  It really turned out so cute!

IComlete inside of card

Added a bit of glitter to the confetti on the card, and an extra comment to the photo.

Extra Comments on card

I really hope when I call my brother tonight, he is pleased.

This is just an idea for making cards, special, and as I said, “personal”.

When you put time into something like this, it makes the card itself a gift to the person you love.

Blessings to all, and especially to my dear sweet brother.

I love you Denny!

XO

 

Photo Fun Using Pic Monkey!

A couple of days ago I briefly mentioned my family going on a mini reunion trip to Brown County State Park.

When getting ready for the trip I wanted to do something special and fun!

Using family photos, some old, some recent, and pets too, I put together a “Concentration” card game.

To add a little silly to the photo cards I altered some with captions, hats, glasses, facial hair, and such.  They turned out really cute!

Family PhotosThere were about 14 sets of photos.  We placed them face down and just as the old game, turned over to make matches.

We all played the game, laughing at the sillies, and filling our eyes with tears from looking at others.

There really isn’t much these days offered with no cost attached, but I stumbled across an awesome site, www.picmonkey.com.

Using Pic Monkey is how I was able to add to my photos for the game.

Pic Monkey is a free photo editor with lots of offerings. You can crop, resize, sharpen, fix imperfections, put together collages, and so much more.  It is a treasure.

Ana, my 7 year old niece, also had us using the photo cards to play “Fish“, asking “do you have a Grandma in a hat”, or “do you have Squeeze Box the cat”.

Of course, the player with the most matches in the end is the winner in both games.

If you love photos, as I do, try Pic Monkey.  It’s free!

To end this post, I am going to share some photos from our mini reunion.

Love to all.

IMG_0101[1]Our two floor cabin, lots of room, with a full deck on the back.

IMG_0108[1]Pony rides and horse back trails were available.

IMG_0111[1]One of the shops in town.  Nashville, Indiana is a town right outside the state park with many different shops and restaurants.  We had lunch at a charming corner restaurant and bakery

IMG_0120[1]I loved this sweet shop, with a full flower garden on the side, and the old bike at the entrance.

IMG_0131[1]We visited an old cemetery playing something new to me, Geocaching!

“Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.”

Fun!

 

 

 

A “slowing down” time!

It has been over three weeks since I posted to my sweet blog.  I have missed it so much, it really does bring added joy to my life.  I hope some day I can build a following of folks who love the things I love in my life.

This time off has been a “slowing down” time for me.

First, a mini family reunion trip to a state park in Indiana.

We rented a family cabin in the woods, no Wi-Fi, and very little cell phone service.

It was really a beautiful place.

Family Cabin in the woods.

A time for me to reconnect with my sister and all of my nieces.

Over the years, we lost the closeness we once had due to all the different directions we chose in our lives.

We talked, laughed together, and of course shared good food.  It was really a wonderful time for me to be with all of them.  I thank God for that special time.

On returning, I immediately came down with a terrible summer cold.

Better now, just dealing with a lingering cough.

For nearly two weeks my best friends were lemon, honey tea, and a box of Kleenex!

Tea and Kleenex

When we are sick we are forced to “slow down”.  It is a hard thing to do when your everyday routine is moving and doing.

Sleep, rest, and reading from time to time, was all I had in me!

Books I am reading!

Most of the time I felt so guilty that I could not get up, clean, and cook for my family, but they did just fine. I realized that if the house work wasn’t done, it was OK.

We really do put pressures on ourselves that are not necessary.

Everything in life does not have to be perfect!

Again, I feel so much better, life is so good, and so beautiful.

See you tomorrow, begin your tomorrow with joyful expectation.

I will.

XO

 

“Let it Go”

Folks can be so hurtful, or are they just unaware of what they have done?  Regardless, today was my day to “let it go”.

Such a gorgeous morning, so I pulled out my little box of watercolors, and I headed to my quiet place, my back porch.

WatercolorsTrying to express my feelings I painted this sweet artwork.

I know it is not a Van Gogh, but it is special because it was painted by “me”.

"Let it Go"!

So that we can be happy and find peace and joy in our lives, we need to sometimes just let go of the things that cause us so much pain and unhappiness.  Many times these are things that are out of our control.

Forgive and “let it go”.

The sadness and hurt I have felt this past week from some I love is over.

We are all made in different ways, some more sensitive than others.

After prayers and quiet reflection I realize that my problem most of my life is my darn heart that I wear on my sleeve!

I placed my simple artwork on my desk as a reminder of what we all might need to do sometimes in our lives.

let it go desk

Just love those who hurt you, and “let it go”!

XO

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

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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

Directions:
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.

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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