Monday, June 29, 2015

Tried and True Recipes: Banana Bran Muffins

I've had this recipe for some time.  It came from the back panel of a box of Millville Bran Cereal (Aldi).  I've been meaning to make them for some time.  Yesterday I started to clear the counter top and decided to put the recipe in the tras...and then I read it.  I realized the amount of the ingredients and the fact that it made 12 muffins meant they were relatively low in carbs/fat with plenty of fiber to offset those counts. Next time I will substitute the Stevia baking blend for the sugar.  I just wasn't thinking this morning...I was baking pre-coffee, lol.

I did not mash the bananas.  I did break them into big bite sized chunks.  The ripeness of the bananas and the bran cereal helped them to break down fairly quickly.

These muffins were tender and light and not heavy as I feared they might be.

Banana Bran Muffins

Heat oven to 400F

1 cup all purpose flour
1tbsp (yes, tbsp) baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Mix in small bowl.  Set aside

2 cups bran flakes
1/3 cup fat free milk 
1 cup very ripe bananas
Mix in large bowl and let sit at least two minutes until bran flakes soften.

2 egg whites
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Beat egg whites until foamy.  Add with butter and nuts to bran flakes and stir to blend well.  Add in dry ingredients and blend until all is moist. Spray 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.   Spoon batter into muffin tin, putting same amount in each cup (I guess about 1/2 cup each).  Bake 20 minutes.

Immediately turn out of muffin tin and cool on wire rack.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

This Week In My Home: Summer Time and The Living Is Easy

Time to plan another week of menus.  The week just past was awesome, hard, fun, and naturally tiring but it was just that, a natural tired.  I think I'm getting my feet under me once more.  I even spent the morning contemplating a Monday morning routine for tomorrow.  I'm pretty sure I'm going to do a thorough wipe down of the kitchen this afternoon.  No fears, I'm not pushing myself too hard yet but I am feeling restless and a bit more energetic.  I've taken care to limit myself to a load of laundry, fresh bed linens and emptying the dishwasher today.

I did rather well overall with meal plans last week but at least one day I seemed to be 'off' somehow, either with carb or fat counts, not sure which.  I'm giving myself leeway to make mistakes and figure things out.  I have a goal starting this week: figure out just what carb count works best for me on a per meal basis.  The nutritionist told me to never go below 130 grams per day.  The dietitians recommended  60 grams per meal for an 1800 calorie a day meal plan.  There's a balance point in there somewhere that will keep my sugar at a normal level and I mean to find it.

I'll share all about this past week in an Iced Tea Chat post later.

I did have a few questions from a few of you about what I eat for breakfast.  I've pinned several ideas on this board on Pinterest along with other healthy tips about diabetes management.  If it seems a few recipes on that board are not diabetes friendly, rest assured it's there because I felt I could alter the recipe, but most are from one diabetic friendly site or another.

Now on to my meal plans...and just for fun, I'll share all three meals for the next seven days.  It will help me and perhaps help you, too.  I will include a snack or two here and there but find overall I'm quite satisfied to eat the three meals a day.  I usually only eat a snack at night IF my blood sugar numbers are below 115.  If it's higher than that I tend to skip it.  Check out that Hearty Healthy Soul board linked above though...there are plenty of snack ideas on there as well.

Spanish Egg Plate, V-8, coffee with milk
I fried an egg (used the same pan I cooked John's breakfast in but didn't add any oil, just residue from previous cooking), warmed a small tortilla (10gms carbs), 1/2 ounce low fat sharp cheddar cheese cut into thin slices, 1/4 avocado, 2 tbsp. salsa and 1 tsp non-fat yogurt, fresh cilantro.  I piled all the ingredients on top of the tortilla.  You could roll for a burrito or brown the tortilla and make it more tostado like.

Hot Wings, Carrot and Celery Sticks, Oven Baked 'Fries', Blue Cheese dip, Diet Ginger ale with lemon wedge
I made sure to buy the wings that are NOT breaded (decreased carbs) but let's be real.  These are high in fat and therefore I tried to be careful with portion control.  I think I'm going to buy wings and make my own at home for future meals.  I made sure to keep my potatoes portion controlled.  Just three fingerling potatoes made 1/2 cup of potato wedges.  I mixed 1 tbsp blue cheese dressing with 1 tbsp of nonfat yogurt, a trick one of you shared with me and it's worked beautifully to reduce carbs.  I have to be careful with the dressing measurement as it's another higher fat food.

Chef's Salad, Whole Wheat Crackers, Low Carb Dressing, Milk, Plum
We bought a bag of salad for John's work lunch and forgot all about it.  I'll use some of that tonight with about 1 ounce of slivered low fat turkey luncheon meat, an ounce of cheese and one boiled egg along with tomato, carrots, peppers to make my salad for supper.  I have a low fat/low carb dressing in the fridge and will have fruit and milk to complete the meal.

Vegetable Omelet, Hash Brown Potatoes (for John, none for me), Milk and Toast

Beef  and Vegetable Shish Kebab, Salad, Whole Wheat Roll, Peaches and Cream (FF Whipped)
Note that both breakfast and supper are featuring lots of low carb vegetables today.  I will use onions, peppers, squash for the kebabs. 

Turkey Wraps, Salted Almonds, Chocolate Milk, Apple Slices
I'll use the last of the turkey luncheon meat, spread a small tortilla with 1tbsp of cream cheese with a little pesto added for flavor, Swiss cheese slice, lettuce leaf and thin sliced tomato.

Banana Bran Muffin, Hard boiled Egg, Milk, Coffee, Cantaloupe
I found the recipe on the box of cereal we just bought and noted it called for skim milk, egg whites and bran flakes.  I think this should be no more carbs than a slice of whole wheat toast.

BBQ Chicken, Black Eye Peas, Summer Slaw, Strawberries
Summer Slaw: Just regular cole slaw made with a diced tomato and a bit of green pepper.  It's very refreshing in summer when these vegetables are all to had fresh.

BLT Sandwich,  Cashews, Sugar Free Pudding

Whole Wheat Waffle, Turkey Sausage, Banana, Milk

May go out: definitely will have salad and perhaps chicken or fish

Vegetable Beef Soup, Crackers with Cream Cheese, Peach

Scrambled Eggs, Banana Bran Muffin, Banana, Milk

Roast Beef with Root Vegetables, Tossed Salad, SF Pudding

Roast Beef Sandwich, Carrot Sticks, V-8, Plum

Peach Smoothie, Peanut Butter on Toast

Southwestern Chicken, Whole Kernel Corn, Green Salad with Avocado

Leftovers, Banana Bites rolled in nuts and mini chocolate chips 
I'll watch my carbohydrates on this meal but I'm pretty sure we'll have something in fridge that needs to be used up.  I'll limit myself to 1 tbsp of mini chocolate chips for my banana half, which I'll break into three or four 'bites' and roll in chopped nuts and chocolate chips.

Hard Boiled Egg, Toast with orange marmalade, Milk, Berries
1 tsp only of jam and only if my numbers have looked good during week.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Salad and Mock Tiramisu
The Mock Tiramisu will use 1 graham cracker, 1 serving of pudding, 1 tsp of strong instant coffee to saturate the cracker, fat free whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.  I'll limit my spaghetti portion to 1/2 cup.

Chicken Salad, Broccoli Soup, Peach
I'll make the salad with apple, chicken, toasted pecans, and substitute NF yogurt for some of the light mayonnaise I would use.  I'll serve in lettuce cups.  If I find I don't have broccoli in the freezer as I suppose I do, then I may plate with tomatoes and carrots on lettuce leaves.

Around the House

This week I hope to:

Do a Monday routine and a Shabat cleaning

Tag and take at least 10 new items to the booth.

Must go get lab work done.

Sweep porches and clean storm doors, deadhead and water plants.

Possibly go out to lunch with Mama and pick up mid pay period produce/fruits.

Go to the peach shed for peaches.

I'll leave everything else up to energy levels and John's plans.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

This Week In My Home: A Family Way With Savings

Sometimes new just isn't in the budget.  Fortunately slipcovers can be found fairly inexpensively if you look carefully through clearance end caps at stores like Walmart or Target.

Saturday:  I had a plan for mine and John's meal which involved using up all the bits of leftover vegetable dishes in the fridge and a crock pot cooked meat.  Maddie enjoyed the bones from the beef.

Family coming in this evening, so I planned for a simpler meal.  I had hot dogs in the freezer, made potato salad from scratch.

We packed up leftovers right away after the meal.

Living Well:  My grandsons don't get opportunity to 'run free' very often. When they asked if they might go outside and play we told them what their boundaries were and turned them loose.  They ran out to play.  They didn't stay out long, but I couldn't help but think of the beagle incident the week before, lol.

Sunday:  Grampa cooked eggs to order this morning and made breakfast for all of us.  Gramma did the cleaning up after.

Maddie was happy recipient of lots of bits of food.  When she didn't finish all that was in her pan, I brought it indoors where heat wouldn't cause it to spoil.  She can have the rest of it tomorrow.

I had a simple meal plan for lunch.  Steamed corn on the cob, hamburgers.  The kids would never eat a regular sized burger, but I had small slider burgers in the freezer that I served them.

I hadn't planned to have guests an extra night...Fortunately my son offered to go into town to purchase supper.  I gave him a short grocery list of the usual trinity of needed items: bread, milk, eggs.  I am out of grocery money so the cash for the groceries came from my allowance.

No need to water plants today.  A nice rain shower came along and did that task for me.

Went into survive mode, lol.  I let others take care of the evening tasks and I relaxed.  I love having my family about me but it's wearing.

Made an order at this morning and ordered the highly recommended glucometer and test strips.  I've been given two but the cost of strips is prohibitive.  I think I can get more with my insurance for one of the other meters, which gives me a back up to keep in my purse.

I checked my shopping list and ordered from it.  I had notebook paper on the list but I know it's going to be on sale by end of July for $.10 a package somewhere for back to school.  I'll wait until then and stock up.

I made sure my order totaled $50 so I  got free shipping but I didn't put silly stuff in the shopping cart.  It was all from my list of needed items.

John washed a full load of laundry this afternoon.  It clouded up and began to rain just as the laundry finished spinning.  He hung a few things to dry but the children's clothes went into the dryer.

Living Well:  The quiet time in the kitchen sitting area each morning is the best part of each morning to me.  John usually leaves me to myself and this morning I had much needed time for prayer before the boys got up.  It meant a lot that little space of time.

Monday:  I made pancakes this morning from scratch.  This fact surprised my grandson a great deal.  He asked why not just use a mix?  I explained that sometimes we do, but I didn't have any and I did have all the ingredients on hand.

It's Harvest Day in our home.  I worked on bills and checked our register against the bank record.  In paying bills I discovered that a third pay period from March finally caught up with some substantial bills this pay period.  It meant I had some extra money I could set aside to help cover medical costs and I was pleased with our bit of balance in the medical payments area.

John worked on the deck of the lawnmower and got the bent piece bent back into place.  He's not quite through with this repair but at least it's started and has saved us the cost of new deck or a hefty welding repair.

We took bills with us to mail when we went to pick up John's check.  We did our banking in that town as well.

Living Well:  As we left the house this afternoon a little bird flew off...John said "Terri I think they are still nesting here."  I peeked into the little round hole and saw four eggs inside the nest.  I won't water that silly aloe because I don't want to get the nest wet.  If the plant dies I'll get another.  I'd rather watch the birds thrive!

Tuesday:  We went grocery shopping today.  We've become label readers.  I'm willing to make a lot of switches for the sake of my diet at present but honestly if the carb/calorie/protein counts aren't much better than what we're eating (and saving money on) at present, why make a switch?

I was pretty happy with my Aldi total today.  I have no plans to shop elsewhere this pay period now that we're pretty settled with what we need.  I felt a bit unhappy at first thinking of the extra spent this last pay period but I reminded myself that except for vacation we never did shop for groceries for nearly four weeks.  So whatever extra I might have spent will balance out over the weeks all the same.

John stopped in Publix to get a sandwich for our lunch...Honestly the last thing I wanted was another take out sub sandwich but I must say that this one tasted so superior to the last ones we've had from Subway...and cost no more.  I told John I thought we'd just make that grocery our go to sandwich shop.  Still...I'm going to do some research and figure out other take out/take away options because I've had about enough sandwiches!

I organized the fridge this afternoon after a rest spell.  It was so jumbled up with foods I couldn't tell what was what.  I did a fairly good job of it.  I found a piece of chicken breast that got tossed.  I know it's been in there for too long!  Nothing else needed to go out though.  And it's organized enough to see right away what we want and where it is, however full it may be.

I pulled enough leftover items from the fridge to make supper.  I had some leftover soup (the black bean rice I made the other night trying to replicate the hospital soup), a half ear of corn and a smidgen of salsa left in a jar.  I cut the corn from the cob and added it to the soup along with the salsa.  Gosh but that made a good soup!

John had his own supper of leftover items.  Good use of good foods in a timely manner.

Saved a quart sized jar we'd bought a good quality fruit cocktail in.  I made sure standard jar rings and lids would fit it before I decided to keep it.  I dislike the lids which come on those jars.

Put some instant mashed potatoes into another saved jar.  I've had fewer incidents with ants since we moved to glass jars.

Organized the kitchen food cabinet while I was in the kitchen this afternoon.  It needed the work and I was mildly surprised at how much of certain lunch bag items we had.

Living Well:  This afternoon John played guitar.  He does a mix of songs he's written and songs written by others but he inevitably finds just the right songs to speak to my spirit.  I've felt a little battered of late and questioned my ability to do well what God has called me to do.  Tonight I heard just the songs that spoke most deeply to my need at this time.  I am so grateful God gave me a worship leader husband even if his current congregation is just one.

Wednesday:  What we didn't do today: stop to get sodas at any point.  It was hot and we were more than ready to get home, but despite being an hour away from home, we agreed to wait until we were home to get drinks.  Of course, mine was plain old iced water.  Sure hit the spot.

Stopped to buy lawn mower blades and postage in the small town we drive through just before we hit home grounds.

I cooked/planned out all three meals.  Not take out, no fast food, no frozen convenience.

Leftovers were packed in the fridge for later use.

Washed zippered baggies that held cheese or vegetables.

No need to water plants courtesy the nice rain shower we had.

Went to a doctor's appointment.  We chose to pay off the balance at that doctor's office.  I was so happy that over half that money was already set aside.

Made my own taco seasoning for meat for taco salad.

Living Well:  Family woes hit us hard today.   Happily our daughter in law Bess came to spend the night with us, bringing along grandson, Josh.  It was a very happy distraction for us.

Thursday:  Sent Bess on her way to her destination with a fresh supply of water.

John washed and hung a load of clothes to dry on the line.

John spent a second morning working on the deck of his lawnmower and got it fixed just right.  He was so happy he went ahead and mowed the lawn.

I had hair appointment this afternoon.  I took off trash, picked up mail, dropped off outgoing mail and went by the dollar store.

I spent a pretty sum at the dollar store but I'm not in the least ashamed over it.  I bought black out curtains for the living room windows.  I bought four panels for $50.  Turns out I only needed three for the double window.  I will be buying two more at a different dollar store (I bought all they had at my local store) for the dining area window.

I also bought another basket for the fridge. I find baskets are handy for corralling things in the refrigerator.  Right now we have lots of loose fruit and I was tired of it trying to 'escape' the fridge.  Now that it's in a basket, it stays put.

I bought several cleaning products.  It's really not a big distance but it IS convenient to have doubles of certain items for the two bathrooms.

I made tortilla pizza for supper tonight. I used tomato sauce as pizza sauce.

Received my order.  This included my new glucometer and 100 test strips.  I purchased both items for less than a bottle of 25 test strips cost for either of the other three glucometers I was given

Living Well:  There's a lot to be said for small town living.  I went in to get my haircut (and oh let's just pause a moment to contemplate the bliss of getting your hair in shape once more!) and received a heart felt hug from my stylist who'd seen my health plight on facebook a month ago.

Friday:  Used two small sized chicken breasts to make four servings of oriental type chicken dish.

Used a variety of vegetables from the fridge to stretch the dish.

Set aside food for Bess who was due back in this afternoon.

Fed Josh a variety of on hand foods.

Encouraged Bess to take what she wanted of the pastas on the counter.

Made hamburgers for supper.

Made Challah.  I attempted whole wheat this week.  It was okay.  I'll need to refine the recipe just a little more.  Net: three small loaves.

Cut up two chickens for Saturday's dinner.  Saved the backs for broth making.

Living Well:  Another visit with my baby grandson...I don't typically get to spend so much one on one time with him and I confess he charmed me most thoroughly.  He enjoyed playing with Gramma this visit...and Gramma enjoyed him.  By the end of tomorrow I will have seen four of the nine grandchildren, had letters from two more.  It's been a difficult week with family difficulties but a blessed week just the same.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Retirement Remedies: Affordable Make-Up Basics

While this is hardly a fashion blog and not likely to turn into one, it has certainly been my focus of late about how to look my best on a budget.  That being said, it's understandable that as I put on my makeup today I couldn't help but note some basic items that I consider my 'go to' items.  I do have other make up items but they don't stay in my cosmetic bag.  They move in or out depending upon my mood/season/desire for change.  My basics stay pretty much the same.  I thought you might be interested to know what I use and why/how.

I start with a concealer stick.  I have one that is from Cover Girl and is in crayon form. It is the TruBlend FixStick.  I have some sun damage to my skin from years of time spent in the sun without sunhats or sunscreen.  While the damage is not horrid, there are some dark spots I like to tone in a bit. I put this on first in summer and I'll share why in  a moment.  In winter, it goes on over my primer.
I like the coverage it gives me for dark spots, but I do blend it into the skin.  I don't want to look patchy.  You can also use as a highlighting tool (though I don't) by putting it on over the top of your makeup.  I prefer to use it just as a concealer.

I really like using a primer to smooth and moisturize the skin, while at the same time giving both protection and a mattifying effect which helps control shine.  While in hospital I had no face care items with me and it was too tedious to even think of telling John where it was all located.  I did have my makeup bag (eventually) and I used the primer as my sole skin care item for nearly a week.  My skin improved during that time, after almost a week of neglect, and I'm even more sold on using that face item than I ever have been.

Currently I am using a Rimmel product, Fix and Perfect Pro,  but I like E.L.F. face primer very much...It just tends to go rather quickly.  The Rimmel does last a little longer.  It comes in tinted and untinted formulas.  I prefer the untinted.

In summer, I tend to mix a dab (and it takes a very small amount) of the primer with a small amount of foundation for a sheer coverage that is just right for summer skin.  My skin takes on a light tan almost the moment the sun brightens in warmer weather and while I will wear a foundation in winter time, I just don't want that extra heaviness on my skin in summer.  Mixing a small amount of primer and foundation gives me just the amount of coverage I want and need without looking made up.

The foundation I'm currently using is Revlon Photoready Air Brush Mousse Foundation.  It comes in an aerosol type can, is a foam and lasts for quite a long time.  My current bottle is over six months old!  Of course, I don't wear makeup every day but I do use it two or three times most weeks, so you can see it's really quite a good bargain.It takes only a little.  I apply with my fingers because a sponge type applicator tends to absorb it and I have to use more.  My fingers don't soak it up.   I often swap foundation (and powders) about summer each year for something a shade or two darker, but this year there's been no need since I have that slightly wan look from my recent illness, lol.

I then use a cream blush from Eyes Lip Face, ELF HD blush.  I am at an age where I just don't want a glittery blush on my cheeks.  It's not flattering and seldom has the intensity of color I want.  Katie helped me find this blush last October (bought at the same time I bought the Revlon foundation) and I shall have to replace it due to age long before I use it all up.  I use a pin point amount and I mean just a pin point sized amount, smash and blend that pin point between two fingers (one of each hand) and then pat onto my cheeks.  It's a lovely blush, with real color and no mica to make it shine.  It goes on smooth and light and it looks natural (provided I don't use too much) all day long.  I can't imagine ever using another blush and I mean that sincerely.  In a pinch, it would also make a lovely lip stain with a gloss over top.

I finish off my face by using a powder foundation.  My current compact is Maybelline FIT me! pressed powder.  I use a big brush to lightly powder my face and neck and set the makeup I've just put on.  Then I use a contoured soft eyeshadow brush to apply the powder to my full eyelid/brow bone area.  It is the base for eye makeup for me.  I really like that 1950's sort of look and copied this from the magazines of that era.

At this point I generally use a Cover Girl powder shadow in a dark brown (Brown Smoulder is the matte shade I am currently using) and an  angled liner brush to line my eyelashes.  This product is truly a multi-purpose one for me.  I will use this shadow as a liner for my eyes, and on dressier occasions I'll use in the crease for a smoky look.  I sometimes use a wet fine liner brush to add a fine line near the lashes (over the dry liner) to create a cat eye look.  I use another firm angled brush to fill in my brows and give them definition.  In a pinch, a light smudge can be used as a contour shadow under my foundation.  I get a lot of mileage from this one shade!

Finally I finish off with mascara.  I love the L'Oreal line of mascaras.  I typically purchase Voluminous because I can buy it just about anywhere, even locally, so when I am out of mascara it's just a matter of running into town.  I much prefer black and even the Blackest Black colors though I am a soft brunette.  It just really gives my eyes the extra definition they need behind my glasses.

I do wear lipstick when I make up but the colors vary.  In summer I lean on corals and a color from Rimmel that is a rich brown called Kasbah, which tends to be my go to color.

 In winter I like to use berry colors and occasionally a softer red.  This is one area where I am fickle and not at all set on one color.  I generally have five or six lipsticks in use at all times!

So really the six products listed above from concealer to mascara are my makeup basics.  They average  about $7 each.  I like to start fresh each New Year by cleaning out my makeup bag and replacing all the items, (I didn't do that this year since I have blush and foundation from October!) for about $45, which I don't consider a hefty expense.  I'll replace items as they are used up throughout the year.  I will suggest you get a good set of make up brushes.  I have a set from ELF that includes a blush brush, eyebrow brush, two liner (thick and thin) and a soft contoured shadow brush.  I am pretty sure I paid under $10 for those brushes and they have been in use for a couple of years.

While I find perfume a joy, I don't care to have a lot of fragrance in my face products and one of the reasons I like all of the above mentioned items is that the aromas are light and pleasant and fade quickly.  I did note a review on the Cover Girl site stated the concealer has a waxy crayon sort of aroma.  It does.  It's easily masked by the other products though and has never been a problem to me personally. I happen to have a broken vein at one nostril where I apply concealer and I never notice the aroma once I put on my full makeup.

I hope you find this information helpful.  I am not in any way being paid or compensated to promote these products, simply letting you know that an affordable makeup regime is possible and sharing what products I've found to be worthwhile.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This Week In My Home: Family Time

My oldest son and his two boys came up this weekend to spend time with Grampa...Gramma pulled meal duty for two meals.  Grampa took care of breakfast and our son provided supper for us one night.  I won't say it was hard, but I can't tell you it was easy either.  Guys are guys are guys if they are 60 or 3 and I mean that sincerely.  Everyone happily did whatever I asked, but asking was key.
I've survived it...and good thing as there is family coming in mid-week and next weekend as well.  My family is anxious to see me, to make sure for themselves that I really am okay.  Well I am.  I am slowly building up my strength and still taking it fairly easy.

Meals were kept simple as could be this weekend.  Now it's time to plan for the week ahead.

Hamburger, Corn on the Cob, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Potato Salad and Strawberries with Sugar free angel food cake
I skipped the bun, measured out half a cup of potato salad, and had half an ear of corn.  The strawberries were fresh and sweet, just the way God made them and they were delicious.  I kept carbs low this meal on purpose since I knew I would be having the cake. The package said a serving size was one-fifth the cake.  I shook my head and said, No way.  I cut the cake into 12 pieces which seemed more reasonable to me.  It also cut the carbohydrates per serving in half.

Turkey Almond, Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli with lemon
I had a bit of turkey left and this is as good a way as any to use it up.  I need to feed the boys.  Fortunately it's inexpensive enough to make. Just celery and onions and turkey in a very light soy based sauce.  I'll sprinkle almonds over the dish when I serve.

Oven 'Fried' Chicken, Black Eye Peas, 'Fried' Green Tomato, Leftover Corn (for John)
Mama sent out black eye peas last week and I'm anxious to have some of those fresh peas.  I like to chop a bit of Vidalia sweet onion over the top when I serve them.  The oven fried chicken will have no flour but I plan to cook it with cooking spray on to crisp the skin.  The tomatoes will go in a frying pan with a tiny bit of oil, just barely enough to brown the slices.

Ropa Vieja with flour tortillas, Shredded Lettuce, Pico de Gallo, Squash with Roasted Peppers, and onions
I can put this in the crock pot and have it cook while we run errands and then company dinner will be ready when we come in.  I may put on some Mexican rice and black beans for the rest of the folks.

Hot Dogs, Coleslaw, Oven Fries
I bought good fat free all beef hot dogs last week on sale at the grocery.  I can have one slice of whole wheat bread and 1/2 cup of oven fries in the same meal.  I just have to balance the carbs all through the day.

Leftovers Day
Whatever we have leftover will be eaten today.  I'm pretty sure there will be Ropa Vieja left and possibly some of the vegetables from the week.  If not I'll make a big salad.

Ranch Chicken and Potatoes, Squash Casserole, Butter Beans, Corn Muffins, Peach Cobbler
I'm making a post birthday dinner for Katie this weekend.  She requested the menu and that's fine.  I'll have some butter beans and skip the potatoes.  The cobbler will be very low sugar and a small 1/2 cup portion for myself (mostly peaches).

I found the appointments back to back took their toll on me hard this past week.  This week is likely to be tough, too, as we've not only company, but it's Harvest week, grocery week and I have an appointment.  Fortunately John will be home all week long to help out.  I am not making other plans because it feels like it is more than enough to keep up with

Friday, June 19, 2015

This Week In My Home: Easing My Way to Savings

                                           Lovely fresh tomatoes...It's so good to eat them in season!

Saturday:  Put a turkey in the crock pot this morning to cook.  I'll use for meals and sandwiches this week.

When the turkey was done, I saved the broth that accumulated in the crock pot.  I put in a jar in the fridge so I can de-fat it.  I"ll use it for soup this week.

My dishwasher was packed full...I washed a full load of dishes on the longer wash cycle due to the fullness of the machine.

Made a small pan of chicken vegetable soup.  I used odds and ends of leftovers in the fridge: leftover roasted chicken and vegetables, a bit of panzanella (yes, really), onion, celery, garlic and a few frozen peas from the freezer.  Yummy stuff that soup.  I've been on a big soup kick lately.  I find in the evening it's just the sort of rich nourishing stuff I need.

I made spaghetti for lunch using a frozen portion of sauce put up in the freezer.

De boned the turkey and packed it for the fridge...just after John made a turkey sandwich for his supper.

Living Well:  Enjoyed going through the vintage magazines Dale sent me.  I spent all day reading short stories and articles, enjoying vintage ads.  I never peruse a new magazine half as hard as I do these older ones!

Sunday:  Tried to eat a proper breakfast this morning to offset any lowered blood sugar mid-morning...I decided to carry a small can of juice with me to church.  Good thing.  I bottomed out and that was just the ticket to bring it back up.

John went into grocery to pick up some chicken for dinner.  I was just longing for a good piece of fried chicken and we indulged with a piece each.  Yes, it's more expensive to buy it that way but then again it isn't if it keeps me focused.

John got bananas while he was in store as well as a bag of salad.  The salad was a misread on our list but that was okay.  It was nice not to have to prepare the salad at home.

Made a pan of Oriental Turkey Soup...sort of my take on sweet and sour using the turkey broth and some of the turkey from the turkey I cooked yesterday.

Prepped John's work lunch for tomorrow.

John bought a Sunday paper.  I am happy recipient of coupons.

Living Well:  We went to church today.  John took me to the door rather than have me walk the length of the parking lots as I normally do.  A gentleman greeter hurried right to the car and tucked my hand in his elbow and escorted me to the doors.  How nice!  I felt a lady of another era despite my jeans and shirt attire (Oh my dress pants fell OFF at home, I had to wear the jeans instead!).  Truth told I felt shaky being out of the house and in a new environment and I was doggone grateful for that support!  Kindness is highly underrated these days and it takes a very special sort of man to feel confident enough to offer that assistance these days.

Monday:  I spent the day at home alone...Not a hardship at all.  I can't help but note how much money is being saved just now as we are staying very close to the house, aside from too many runs to the grocery when we do go out.  And even those are within our budget thanks to the extra money from the pay period before!

It's very hot just now and the AC is working hard.  I try to offset as much of the heat as I can, drawing shades to block sun, pulling drapes to offset the residual heat coming through the windows and using oscillating fans to move air.  I don't touch the AC thermostat either, unlike in years past.  I find it's best to just let it alone and let it work out it's own cycles.  I'm very grateful for the shade trees in the back that shield the house from the western sun come evenings.

I have decided that the room darkening curtains in our bedroom have done such a nice job of blocking heat (that end of the house is not shaded) that I'm going to invest in some for the living/dining room.  I bought the panels at the dollar store for $10 each.  I suspect I'm going to need four for the double windows in this big room but I think the savings on electricity and the additional coolness indoors will offset that expense fairly quickly.  I believe we've enough in our house fund to cover the costs but if not I've a month's allowance in my purse that will, so no real expense to us.

Went through my kitchen cupboards and pantry and cleared out the white pasta products and the jasmine rice.  I'd let my mind drift back to an old way of thinking that carbs were merely bread and rice and pasta and therefore I was planning those into meals without stopping to consider the starchy vegetables which might be used instead and had more nutritional values, fiber and few carbs overall.    It helped to pull those items and set them on the baking counter where I could see them and remind myself those are off limit.

Spent the afternoon in research online, learning more about Diabetes II, reading recipes, helpful information and looking at suggested menu plans.  All in all it was a productive afternoon  with a better understanding and happier outlook than I'd had in the morning hours.  I'll no doubt go back and read many of those things again because it all doesn't sink in.  Thank goodness for the Internet and home access.

Gave myself a nice pedicure this evening, complete with soaking my feet, using a micro scrub on them and following up with fresh polish and lotion.  I felt positively pampered.  And it took only a few minutes more than my usual quick pedicure.  I had all I needed on hand, stashed in the bathroom cabinet along with numerous other unused products.  Silly to not use that stuff, isn't it?

Living Well:  Had a nice long phone call with V this afternoon...and it made me realize that two things I truly enjoy are real mail and real chats.  It's true it's nice to text and to message on facebook but a phone call just does things that a text can't quite do.  I enjoyed that hour's talk most thoroughly.  I'm gonna make time for more of that sort of thing.

Tuesday:  We had an appointment to get the car serviced this morning in Perry.  I took along my current book, a bottle of water, a small can of juice...Good thing.  The service on the car was covered by money already set aside in our account for car maintenance.

There's one medication plaguing me with a hard drop into low blood sugars every morning.  That juice is, literally, a life saver and is worth every penny it costs to keep the small cans so I can grab one when we're going out!  I had to use one Sunday morning at church and again today.  I'm planning to ask the doctor to remove that medicine from my list on Thursday.  In the meantime, I do as I'm told and watch sugars carefully in the mid-morning hours and if we leave home, have juice/will travel.

We went to the grocery while we were out.  I told John we'd get fresh fruits and I'd recalled my list of 'needs'...well most of the list.  I'll pick up the other items next time we're out.  In meantime, I have a nice supply of whole wheat breads and whole grain pastas.  I paid cash from the grocery budget to cover those items.

Washed a very full load of dishes in the dishwasher this evening.

Opened a can of store bought soup...I won't be sending that money again on that.  I have really enjoyed having soup nearly every day but the homemade is most definitely the best and the most cost worthy.

I ordered a free issue of Prevention magazine as a trial offer thing.  I'm glad.  I am so disappointed in the magazine and the vast difference between what it is now and what it was 20 years ago!  I was even more disgusted by the emails that flew into my inbox promoting all sorts of book sales and products that are just clearly not up to the standard of what the magazine once was either.  I've unsubbed from emails and have written 'CANCEL' plainly across the bill and am returning it post haste.  I'd rather spend my money on a magazine that will prove truly beneficial in some way.

Used up a bag of salad that John purchased on Sunday, (having mistaken a scrawl on the envelope I'd listed grocery needs on).  I added fresh lettuces to it as well as some leftover salad from our meal on Saturday.  All in all it made up a big bowl of salad, big enough to make chef's salads from for supper.

I've decided that there are some indulgences that are totally in line and necessary.  For instance, buying extra fresh fruit mid-week, purchasing whole wheat items and whole grain pastas...and indulging in V8.  I love a nice cold glass of V8 but never ever buy it because I'm the only one in the house who likes it.  To heck with that stuff!  V8 is fairly good for you (more so than soda which I bought happily enough in the past) and I LIKE it.  So I bought a big bottle and have enjoyed an 8 ounce glass.  Yummy! (PS I got low sodium).

I repackaged the whole wheat breads for my personal use and stored them in the freezer.  I used waxed paper to divide slices of the loaf bread and stored that in a zippered bag as well as the original bread sack.  Same with the little whole wheat pitas and the dinner rolls.  I know I won't eat them all in a two week period and I wanted them to stay fresher for as long as I could extend them.  This will encourage me to add that extra carbohydrate to my daily meal plan and hopefully find that happy number that results in good finger sticks consistently throughout the day.

Living Well:  As I talked with V yesterday I watched a pair of birds on the back porch who apparently were intent on building a nest.  It wasn't until this morning that I discovered their choice of new home was in the aloe vera pot, tucked neatly under one long arm.  I'm afraid we frightened the birds badly when we left home this morning and the nest appears to be abandoned.  I've watched for them to return but so far haven't seen the pair at all.

I've enjoyed the construction of the nest which has a hole for entry on one side and they apparently dug a hole in the dirt of the pot, because there's quite a bit on the porch floor.  I hope wherever their new build is, it is safe and appears half so homey as the nest they left behind.

Wednesday:  Mama sent out tomatoes, squash and a lovely big cantaloupe today.  Riches!  I told her I'll miss all this good fresh stuff come fall and winter.

My niece dropped off the vegetables and took some of my pasta and homemade jelly for her family to use.  I was so happy for her to have those things.  I'll see if Bess and Katie want any next week when they come to visit and then what they don't take home I'll follow the guidelines about mixing half and half with the whole grain items to accustom myself to the taste of the whole grains.

John planned to go into town to get gas for the mower.  I decided it was a good time to get some things in the mail.  I sent off a requested item to youngest son, a document he needed to get his new state drivers license and then I gathered homemade cards to send off to all the boy for Father's Day this coming weekend.  

Made a small batch of egg salad for sandwich filler for John.  He was mowing lawn today and it was so very hot.  I thought a nice cool supper would suit him so mixed up the egg salad and served him chilled fresh pineapple.  He looked positively restored.

I had a better can of soup for tonight's supper (one serving of it anyway).  I might purchase that one again to keep on the pantry shelf.  I still think homemade is the very best.  I think I'm going to have a soup making day here shortly!

We didn't have enough pineapple to make a full serving for one.  I mixed with a sliced banana.  Nice sweet dessert with out one bit of added sugar.

John tells me he hit a tree stump and the deck on the mower is out of whunkus somehow or other.  He's going to diy it first and if that doesn't work he'll take it to the machine repair shop and let them sort it out.  His initial thought was he'd need a new mower deck but these two options will be the better priced ones...and if neither do any good we'll order one as a working mower is a necessity.

Living Well:  Reading is an old love of mine that I too seldom indulge in any more.  But that has changed over the last month.  I finished a book this week in a bit over a day's time and started another.  What luxury to do something so restful and enjoy it so much!  Of all the purchases I've ever made, my books are one that I never ever regret.  I discovered long ago that to keep well loved authors about me meant I was always surrounded by friends.  At the end of the day, I love to go to bed a little early, get comfy and read until I start to doze.  Lovely way to end any day!

Thursday:  Not really a big day for savings nor spending.  I continue to keep the shades pulled and curtains drawn on the sunny side of the house.  It's been mighty hot, in the low 100's all week long.

A simple salad is often the best in my opinion and in summer nothing is better, less expensive or more appropriate than a nice thick sliced tomato over a good leaf lettuce.  I drizzled a bare 1/4 tsp of pesto over my tomato.  Oh yum!

My doctor's visit went well today.  I was taken off two meds, increased one dosage and given a short list of vitamin supplements to take on a daily basis.  All in all I was quite happy with the new doctor and his approach and feel I am in good hands.

We went to a near by Walmart to get more diabetic supplies and to pick up the suggested supplements.  I was given another free glucometer (I now have three) with a few test strips.  Walmart in that area was woeful on diabetic stuff.  I told John since I no longer have to check multiple times a day I'd see about just ordering supplies online.  In the meantime, I have enough test strips to carry me through nearly two weeks between the three meters.

There is another glucometer that came highly recommended from the Diabetes Health Ways women: Relion Prime which is fairly inexpensive and the strips are as well.  I am debating getting that glucometer just for the savings on supplies, but I'll try to work out all costs before I do so.

It was 105F when we headed home from the doctor's office.  We didn't even turn on the AC in the car until we were well out of town and the frequent stop lights.  It just makes the car work harder and it does use up gasoline quicker.

John had a meeting he had to attend for work.  I opted to stay home.  It was much too hot to sit in an unshaded car and wait.

Living Well:  I was so happy today after seeing the doctor.  He calmed my fears, made me feel I was okay and as I told John I went from feeling something of a train wreck to feeling pretty sure I was just relegated to the side rails for a short bit of time and not a wreck at all.  I was also surprised to see how much weight I've lost.  My clothes don't tell the half of it, lol.  I'm awfully near a rather major goal, one I never thought I'd reach if I'm honest, but I'm now full of confidence that I can do this!

Friday:  I was released to drive.  I planned to go get blood work done, fill new prescriptions and pick up bread and fruit for the weekend.  I recalled as I sat at the hospital waiting my turn that Publix would cover one of my meds for free.  It seemed silly to go to another pharmacy and pay for what was free!  I combined my bread/fruit buying with pharmacy at Publix and was surprised to discover that BOTH medications were free.

I was worn out by the time I headed back home but I'd put in a good many 'extra' steps today and had plenty of free to me exercise, lol.

I stopped at Mama's.  She gifted me today with 15 packages of black eye peas and 8 of creamed corn...

And a stack of gently read magazines and an old galvanized dishpan that belonged to Granny.  I'll be replacing my old plastic dishpan with that one in the kitchen sink.  I can still sit it sitting on a burner atop Granny's stove, gently heating for a hot rinse water for her dishes.

Came home worn slap out.  I didn't move too much all afternoon long.

I wondered this morning if I was over buying fruit.  I think not.  I got a phone call from my oldest and he and his children are coming to spend time with us this weekend.  The children will likely happily eat any excess fruit I might think I have.

Made another quick homemade soup.  I was trying to copy a recipe had at hospital but I haven't got it quite right, simple though it was.  I sauteed an onion and garlic and cumin powder together then added in 2 cups chicken broth and two tablespoons each of black beans and parboiled brown rice.  I am sure the soup at the hospital had at least those ingredients but I'm missing something.  Despite this, the soup was good and I am, as always, very happy to eat soup.  I have enough over for supper another night.

Washed a full load of clothes this morning.  The bulk of that load went out on the line to hang dry where it blew about in the nice hot breeze.  It's cooled down today.  It was only about 99.  Solar powered dryer was most welcome assistant this morning.

Stopped and filled car in the area where I went to get lab work and grocery shop.  It is almost $.20 a gallon cheaper to buy it out of town and while we do fill up locally at least twice a month, we have no qualms about getting it less expensively elsewhere when we're out.

Organized the fridge so I can see just what I have in there.  I found a bag of salad John apparently bought while I was in the hospital and needless to say that was beyond gone.  I also tossed a package of flat breads that we'd bought which neither of us really liked and it was just apparent they weren't going to be eaten.  Even Maddie declined to try it and the piece she took out in the yard appears to be of no use to ants and  fairly durable despite rain and sun.  Things like that do make you wonder at times just what we are eating doesn't it?

Since I shall have a solitary Shabat tonight I have a small bakery roll for my Sabbath loaf.  I'll only eat a pinch of it during kiddish, and John will eat it with his meal tomorrow morning.

Living Well:  I was listening to a favorite worship CD this morning as I ran about doing the errands.  It's an old CD but well loved by us even after all this time.  I was listening to a singer saying "I want to bring you the sacrifice of praise..." and I thought about it.  A sacrifice of praise isn't just all about telling God things are great... the sacrifice is when  you're  praising him when things aren't great and don't look good and appear to be every kind of wrong. 

One thing I've learned with the repeated readings of the Old Testament, and something I think too many fail to understand, is that sacrifice is messy.  It wasn't the priests who made the sacrifice.  It was individuals who brought the sacrifice and it was the individuals task per the Old Testament laws to slaughter, clean, and portion that animal for the priests. That person worked hard and had mess all over him when he was done and likely had worked up a good hard sweat to go with it all.   The priests made the offering on the altar...but the work of sacrifice was up to the individual.

Well that's the same way with the sacrifice of praise.  Sometimes our lives are messy and messed up and it's dirty business.  To make an effort to praise in the midst of all that messiness is hard.  It requires a lot more of us than those sacrifices of praise when life has been handing out blue ribbons and we've a handful.    

It seems lately I'm being asked to make a sacrifice of praise in the midst of messiness... I pray that I can do this.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Iced Tea Chat: Gently Easing Into Routines

Hello dears...Come in and have some tea.  Though pleasant enough outdoors it's very warm.  There's lemon, lime and ginger root to flavor the tea if you'd like.  I wish I had fresh mint.  My but that is refreshing in an icy glass of tea!  I acquired a taste for good tea unsweetened in the hospital and assure you I can drink it just so...but it must be GOOD.  Perhaps I'll become a tea aficionado just as I have acquired a taste for really good coffee.

There are no sweets.  I'm not ready to push that into my diet at present, though I've eaten plenty of melon and berries of late.  I'm waiting upon the peaches to begin coming in.  I'm not such a fan of the early varieties except the white peaches.  However, I did find some lovely nectarines in the grocery yesterday.  I'd gone in to remedy the lack of whole wheat products in my home.  I bought bread and pitas and rolls which I put in the freezer and some brown rice and whole grain pasta.  I don't expect to use loads of those things but I have them on hand for when I do want them. I took all the white pastas from the cupboards/pantry and the lovely jasmine rice I'd bought and will pass that on to the kids and my niece.  I did this because the pastas made a major stumbling block for me this past weekend.  I just couldn't seem to shake the idea that only pasta or rice or bread made a starch.  I didn't feel well overall and was not eating quite as well as I might.  I gave myself a stern talking to, spent hours online researching menus and snack foods and copying out ideas I might use.  In the end, I realized I'd forgotten that some vegetables are higher in carbs but better for you than pasta of rice: potatoes, corn, butter beans, black eyed peas, dried beans...Well that was just the right twist to get my head screwed back on right...and the inspiration to go by the grocery when we were out to pick up a few necessary whole grain items.

I went through my recipe file notebook  and cleared out every single recipe that had never been tried which had no nutritional info printed at bottom.  It will be a help in future meal planning.  I didn't discard my very favorite, most repeated recipes.  I kept those.  I might not make them so often but I've made them so many times I can't picture myself never making them again.  However, for desserts/cakes/pies, I kept only those most tried and true sorts and nothing new at all.

I've been perusing the Good Housekeeping cookbook.  Samuel had that cookbook and I used to love to just sit and read it.  It's a thick and heavy book, meant to be read while resting on a table because I swear that book weights five pounds!  It has lovely photos and recipes are sometimes repeated in different sections, but there are all sorts of neat little non-recipe type footnotes and suggestions for things that make the book just fun to look at. It has all the nutritional values listed after most recipes and I need that information just now to help me judge what I might eat and what would be best left off.  I noted at least three soup recipes I mean to try right soon.

I had a new issue of Taste of Home magazine and I went through it to search for friendlier recipes for my current eating plan.  I was happy to find a few.  I told John perhaps I shall try Cooking Light as a source.  It's just a matter of tweaking a few things these days, not a hard stretch for someone who loves to cook and readily substitutes anyway.

I will say that I've cooked all but three meals in the past twelve days at home.  I've enjoyed being in my kitchen playing about and all in all I've done well, at least per the finger stick numbers.  Confessions time though:  I'm a lot less  physically strong than I'd anticipated being!  I think I got a false sense of how well I felt at the hospital because all I did there was rest/eat/sleep/and donate a certain amount of blood on a four hour basis for tests.  Here at home, I've found it a bit different to piddle along and feel tired and make a meal and clear up behind.  I'm improving.  Little trips out of the house don't devastate me the way the first couple did and I can almost manage a full routine clean of a room before resting.  It's all...not exactly uphill, but on an incline!

I was just worn slap out last Wednesday.  We went to the hospital lab for blood test, then John got a haircut.  We had lunch out (I chose my meal very carefully), then to Aldi.  I finished up the shopping and left John to bag it all and bring to car.  I couldn't even hold up my head at that point, I was so worn down.  When we came home I crawled up in the bed and stayed there for over two hours, too exhausted to move. John put away the groceries all by himself.   It shocked John and I both how crazy tired I was.  I decided then and there a gentler approach was required and I took it.  Hence the improvement over this past week.

John has been a complete and total guardian, and he is quick to clear up and vacuum and do laundry and make beds.  I cook because I need to cook (it's therapeutic for me) and it gives me best control over my eating plan, which he is attempting to follow.  I've assured him he can snack at will and have more and sometimes he does, but he's trying hard to avoid sweets and I simply don't care for any at the moment which is a nice state of affairs really.  I think honestly John's finding it a harder go than I, but I can't make him see that I'm not feeling deprived in the least and he won't send me over the edge if he does have a bit of something sweet, so we'll just keep pushing on.

Thursday John went off to work and checked in every couple of hours, worrying over me from the day before.  I slept well and gently worked my way about house.  I made myself a soup lunch (Beef Stroganoff soup with Mushroom Tortellini...)Oh it was so good!  That's part of me being kind to me approach.  I enjoy soup and I'm indulging a lot more.   Later I put a chicken and vegetables in the oven to roast.  My son and Bess and baby were packing up their apartment Thursday and planned to spend that night with me.  I just felt sure they'd be happy with a hot home cooked meal waiting at day's end and boy were they ever!  That and a shower were the two best offerings I had for them.

Josh was upset by the day, lack of proper routine and naps, and hot and sticky as well.  I bathed him in the kitchen sink with lavender soap and he was a happy boy after that.  It felt so nice to have a baby fresh from the bath in my arms.  And what baby isn't happy splashing in a bath?!  It made me happy just to see his pleasure in it.  He really did not want to settle down and about 9:30 I encouraged them to just put him down and let him cry it out.  In less than 10 minutes he was quiet as could be, sound asleep, but what a little ruckus of upset went on until he got to that sleep stage!  Poor little fella.  Everyone wanted to rock him and soothe him but there was none of that going to put him to sleep.  I think it bothered his Mama and Daddy because they thought I'd be disturbed but gracious, Gramma has learned a thing or three about babies over these years!

You might think that visit was hard on me, but no, it wasn't.  Bess and Sam were quick to do things for me and really I just settled down to play with Josh and have a good chat with them about their new home and the things they hope to do in their new community.  Bess and I always look forward to a little one on one time and so I stayed up a bit later than I've been doing just so we could talk a little.  I was glad to see that her previous anxiety was less and her anticipation was increased.  It's a big move for her, to be so far from family, in a new state and in a new community, but I could sense she'd made her mind up to it and was ready to take it on.

They came with all their pets, four cats and a beagle who goes by Blossom.  The cats were put in a crate for the night on the porch, and I can't imagine what they all thought of life at that time, as they are very much indoors cats and two of the four are the sort of skittish type that you will seldom to never see.  The other two are far more friendly, including Muffin, which is Sam's cat, a big orange tabby who truly seems to feel he is grandchild to me.  Muffin generally finds his way to me to nudge or flick his tail over my arm when I'm visiting and will sit quietly next to me.

Blossom, too, is an inside doggy but did she ever take to running free here!  She barked her beagle-y bark, gazing up into empty trees, tail wagging wildly.  She tracked rabbits and barked lustily at nothing and just completely took to the country dog life right off.  In fact, they had a hard time getting her to come to load up the next morning!  It did my heart good to see a doggy enjoy my peaceful country land.

So the kids packed up and left a bit after 5am Friday morning...and the house seemed awfully empty after they went.  I regretted John didn't get to see them at all, again...sigh.  And I thought how very grateful I am that there's cell phone, text and facebook to stay in touch.  Eventually we'll be traveling down to see them, but I really must build up my strength once more before we travel so far.  It's a six hour drive from here...and that's why they spent the night as it took three hours off their trip for the day.   They signed papers on their house on Friday and moved in immediately after, just an hour before Josh's first official birthday rolled around.  I teased Samuel that a house was certainly a big birthday present for a one year old and I'd no idea how it might top that next year.

John and I did light housework Friday morning and then after lunch he suggested we get the car serviced.  We'd been ignoring the warning light for a month.  I gathered up several things to mail: letters to the grand daughters in North Dakota, a package from my long time pen pal to be forwarded to Katie for Taylor, a magazine from another friend I was sure V would enjoy, a thank you card to a dear soul...We took off trash and stopped by the flea market so I could settle up.  I owed rent money this month but it can't be helped...No time to refresh or rearrange since we went on vacation and no energy to do so now.  John went off to post office while I was in the flea market and mailed things off for me.  Then we drove to Perry.

The drive was pleasant enough and I really enjoyed it but I could feel my energy slowly draining away.  I was so disappointed because I'd truly felt better the past two days.  But I gave myself a cheering talk and reminded myself that I just needed to give myself a bit of time.   We couldn't get the car serviced as we'd planned, as the place was packed.  John drove to the grocery to buy me some sugar free ginger ale.  I've had some unpleasant symptoms from two medications and I was hopeful the ginger ale would be helpful.

I was tired when we came home but thirty minutes lying down put that right once more.  I got up and managed to pick up the house and set it to rights, a sort of soft Shabat cleaning.  Towards the end of the hour I was essentially giving a lick and a promise to tasks, but you know what?  That was good enough.  And good enough is just all right and I mean that sincerely.  Sure I like to do things right, and to make a good job of what I'm doing, but I'm smart enough to realize that sometimes it's okay to relax and do just enough.  It felt good to have the house neatened up once more.  John's a dab hand at many things but he doesn't notice the accumulation of stuff on surfaces so much, the very thing that makes a home look not so neat, you know?

Do you know what the most fun thing of all has been for me of late?  It's reading the comments of you all who took my Wardrobe posts to heart and commented on how often YOU are getting compliments when you go shopping or run errands!  I just love that you're enjoying stretching yourselves in that direction just a little.  It's no surprise to me either that those of you who have done this report how nice you feel.  It is an attitude changer, as I know very well.  I took time to set up fresh outfits one morning this week, using my notes of tried and true combinations to put thins together.  I have used two already this week and think I have three in the closet at the moment, just waiting for the next appointments and errands.   And good thing I got inspired to do this because I sure don't have energy right now to shop for clothes.

By all reports my family are doing well.  Katie is pretty much confined at home at present, not yet allowed to drive.  The baby looks healthy and well.  Matt went back to work shortly after Katie came home when it was obvious she was going to manage things just fine.  I hope I get to see them next weekend.  Neither Katie nor I can drive at present ( I hope that changes tomorrow at my doctor's appointment) so that is hindering us girls from visiting.

I had a letter from Lily, who is Amie's second daughter.  It was a sweet note, wishing me well after my hospital stay and complimenting me on my 'nice handwriting...the nicest I've ever seen.' lol  I wrote her a note back yesterday morning and told her of Blossom's joy in being a country dog for a little while.  I hope she enjoys that letter.  I went ahead and wrote a letter to Josie as well while I was at it and then gathered some other items up to mail off to various folks.  I thought how pleased they would be to get 'good mail' in their boxes.  I hope to do more mailings this year than I've done in the past.  Postage is such a minor expense and it's so nice to have real mail that isn't requesting payment.

I like texting and facebook well enough but two things I've found I enjoy greatly is a good long phone chat and a real honest to goodness, hold it in your hand and read it card or letter!  Knowing I'm hardly unique I've made up my mind that those are pleasures that cost little and bring much joy.  Evidenced by a happy phone call from V on Monday thanking me for that magazine I'd dropped in the mail.  If I've gotten a 'life is short, let's enjoy it' attitude of late (and why shouldn't I?!), it's certainly time to make it show.

My oldest son went to California to check in to his new post. He was back home by the weekend.  His family has chosen to continue to live her in Georgia.  He'll be in Pensacola next week and that will be his duty station for four months, then he'll go out to sea for five months.  I think it's best to keep the family in their home but I worry how well they'll do without seeing Daddy, you know?  But that is in God's hands, where I am learning to put more and more things.

My oldest daughter has a heavy care at the moment.  Her partner is in the hospital with a major heart attack.  He's not a well person overall, but this major event followed on the heels of a smaller minor one.  He'd just been stinted and a blood clot formed.  He's in ICU and poor Amie is struggling to juggle home and family with hospital needs and work hours.  She was so broken up over my own health scare and I can't even imagine how she's coping at the moment, but she will.  She's awfully strong, in a wonderful way, but I know how difficult it can be to stay strong for long periods of time on your own without respite.  Ya'll keep her in prayers please.  She needs that lifting up!

Sad news this past week: the lovely old Victorian home where we enjoyed going to eat in the foothills burned to the ground the other morning.  John and Mama and I were all saddened by that news.  I confess it's the only restaurant I'd given thought to what I might eat when we returned for a visit. a friend said to me, what's the point of even going if we can't eat at the Bulloch House?  For myself the mountainside where John and I go to pray is call enough to head in that direction but admittedly it will seem odd not to treat ourselves to dinner after a good long prayer time.

There's no replacing something like that.  No one would ever build a house as lovely or detailed or as solid as that old place was.  I think of all the people unemployed by that loss as well.  The young man from Montana who managed the place, the waitresses who were familiar faces.  And then there's the behind the scenes folks who worked in kitchens and bakery and such, the gift shops that relied on the trade on that sight... sigh.  What a loss!

Well I suppose really that's all my chatter.  I haven't done so much thinking of late.  I seem to be quite content to just let time pass quietly and not delve too deeply into things.  I know this is just a temporary state with me.  It's my true nature to figure things out, to analyze why I see them as I do and to share my thoughts.  I've finished a book, Emilie Loring's When Hearts Are Light Again.  And now I've started a Miss Read book.  But in the meantime, be patient with me.  Inspiration will strike and energy will arise and things will return to normal in time.

Now I will end here and bid you well...until next time.