In My Home This Week: The Last Week Of July



La ti da da...This month is nearly over and it's been a rather good month overall.  As always as July dwindles to an end, I am torn...There are only weeks left of peach season now.  I asked this morning and the projection was 3 1/2 weeks.   I am torn because August here is back to school time but autumn is a long way away.  I am torn because about this point for us in Georgia, it feels like summer will never, ever end.  Were it not for the spate of fresh produce and the last of the peaches, I'd consider the month a lost cause and go on vacation for all of August the way the French do.  I mean it.  John will deny August is a sad month.  It's the beginning of football pre-season and he'll be happy as can be.

Alas...it's not France, August will come and linger and July will end. I shall find as many pleasures in the month ahead that I possibly can.  In the meantime, let's finish off July with a Bang!

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.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My! A Short List of Replies for May


Well dears, I am not fit for much at the moment...I thought I'd be right back to normal, because I'd felt so restless in the hospital.  I forgot all about those thrice daily naps I was taking and the very limited amount of exercise I was allowed and grossly misjudged how I'd feel in a normal environment.  Keeping up with meals and dishes afterwards has been about all the tasks I can handle.  I even refused to go grocery shopping today because I felt like the stuffing was knocked out of me just going to CVS yesterday.  Mind you all, I am being kind to myself and not forcing myself to do anything.  I'll get back to my natural energetic self eventually and in the meantime I'll let my body be the judge of how much I do.

I thought I'd try to make replies to last month's posts.  Not sure I'll be as in depth as usual but I'll hi the highlights at least.

In my first savings post of May  it was the Living Well section with my comments on blooming being a seasonal occupation that drew the comments.  It was such a revelation to me when I worked it out in my own mind, and I'm glad that it resonated with you as well.

Shell's comment on this post that my blog is like a dairy of sorts... that was my intent when I left Xanga and came to blogger.  I wanted my blog to be like my journal of life here in my home.  I am so flattered by your idea that I ought to write a book.  I love to write, to share my thoughts but right now I haven't an urge to write a book.  Though I'll share I wrote one years ago and after it was all done, I set it aside and let it be.   It was good experience and suited to the time it was written.

This Week In My Home: Ambition + Inspiration = Determination to Save

What I really want to show you are the two beautiful feather stuffed pillows I picked up for $7 at a thrift store the other day...part of a future tiny makeover in the living room...alas there are woes with Windows 8.1 that sometimes allows me to upload my photos and mostly doesn't these days.  So what I'm showing instead is a former shot of the little side flower bed I redid last year.  I wish it looked half so good just now but that's due to change as I'm feeling so much better.  In the meantime,  I want you to know that pretty on a budget is entirely possible if we'll just use what we have in a creative manner, as I did here.  This little flower bed cost me three bags of mulch and a lot of sweat equity.  Everything else was on hand, including the flower filled pots I moved from other parts of the yard.

Saturday:  My favorite day of the week.  Namely because I like to use today to gather inspiration.  I read magazines, blogs, scan Pinterest, jot down ideas and just thoroughly stoke my creative engines.  While it may seem that inspiration has been sadly lacking of late, it coming...I can feel it!  Hopefully this week will be proof.

John worked a 24 hour shift which started yesterday morning at 7am.  I pack him a healthy lunch bag meant to last him through snacks and lunch and supper.  What it doesn't do is feed him a good hefty breakfast, especially when he wakes at 4am and works three hours before coming home.  I didn't want to serve him our usual light breakfast of bagel/cream cheese so I planned ahead.  Whole grain waffles from the freezer, sausage patties, fresh fruit almost filled him up and he found enough extra (crackers and more fruit) to satisfy him.

Baked an awesome all in one dish for dinner.  I didn't even need to have side salad as it was chock full of vegetables.  And I put a dish of under ripe peach halves in the oven alongside that dish to bake. Oh my goodness!  I'd forgotten how prone heat is to bring up the sugary taste of fruit.  I served the peach halves as dessert with a dollop of whipped cream.  It was so yummy!

Curtains have been pulled on the sunny sides of the house to prevent the heat from coming in.

I took a dishpan of water out last night, meaning to use it to water plants in the back.  Well, I found ants swarming the porch in the spots where Maddie had set down her frozen bones, so I used that dishwater to rinse the pests off the porch.

Refilled dog pans with water and watered the front flower pots, while I was at it.  The cat drinks only from those front buckets, so I make sure to keep them filled to the rim or she gets dehydrated and sick.  I waited until after yesterday's brief showers to see if enough runoff from the roof refilled them but alas, no.

Living Well:  I've groused and groused about our internet connection which comes and goes, sometimes multiple times in an hour.  Yes, we've complained to our provider and their answer is that it's our router.  Its not the router.  Reading back through my blog I found we complained of the same thing in 2011 and it ended up being a wired problem which was fixed.  Anyway, complaining, complaining...BUT what good has come of this?  I've been reading once more.  I keep my book next to me when I'm working on the computer and if I can't continue with a survey or search due to internet outages, I read.  Result is I've finished two books in less than two weeks.  I've 'found time' to read all over again and some mornings, I'll take an hour's reading over an hour of cruising the internet.

Iced Tea Chat: Peaches and Tea



Oh Hello!  Come on in and let's have a nice little chat.  Peaches are in the fruit bowl.  They are the lovely free stone variety I prefer and so juicy and sweet.  I shall enjoy peaches daily for the next four weeks or so while they are in season.

So...I didn't mean to disappear.  I truly have been so busy about the house, reading, getting out, reading, praying, cleaning, reading...Get the drift?  I've done it all except writing and I have struggled with that.  It happens at times that the flow just quits and so I am priming the pump by being creative, reading and thrifting and seeking inspiration all over the place.  So far, not a peep.  But it will come eventually and then you all shall find a spate of posts coming.

I'm all alone and while I'm not blue by any means, I wanted someone to talk to, so I've conjured up a tea party just to have a bit of company.  That's all right with you, isn't it?

I tried to have a tea party last week but the whole thing felt such a sham  and wouldn't come around right no matter how I tried, so I tossed it and started over.  One thing about typing away on the computer screen is that there is NO satisfaction at all in wiping a screen clean.  It's so much nicer when you can rip a sheet from a typewriter or notebook with a satisfactory outraged zzzziiipppp and then crumple the paper noisily and toss it into a trash can across the room.  It's a lot like not being able to slam a phone down on someone who has annoyed tar out of you.  No satisfaction at all in quietly pressing a button marked 'End Call'.  Anti-climatic.

This Week In My Home: Ambition Meets Inspiration


For all my meal planning last week we only ate about two meals off that menu.  Well not this week!  We've been kind of casual about spending lately, with the attitude that if it's good for me I should just go ahead and buy it.  I'm not saying that's the wrong idea.  If it's good for me I should be buying it...but budgets are necessary and it's time to whip myself back into shape on that score.  Our balance dropped a little and it's mostly due to the healthy but not quite necessary little trips to the grocery mid-pay period.  I did a little better last pay period by purchasing more long lasting and less delicate vegetables, as well as extra bread.  What I didn't do was work ahead well enough to offset take out meal because I was already hungry and late eating and looking at an hour or more before a meal.  Friday I considered the weekend ahead and did indeed get to work and prep foods for the weekend. Big help. To budget and my own schedule. I'll try to keep up with that plan from here on out.

Another fail on my part: I didn't take along a picnic meal when we went out of town on a fun day...and then I didn't prepare myself very well when I was out running errands the next day and heat and long hours overtook me.  I was in no danger either of those days but healthy options that were affordable didn't go hand in hand.  I can prepare better for these days too and I mean to do just that from now on.

I'm feeling awfully ambitious lately.  As in I'm considering all sorts of outdoor tasks as a real possibility as well as multiple projects indoors.  So I might just be back on track physically at the moment and I'm finding the need to rest is no more than absolutely normal.   Oh it feels good to be ambitious once more and that's also got me feeling a little inspired...Good things will come of this, I feel sure!

Lana, your answer

Lana, I believe it's exit 29.  The station was called Goasis at one time but I think they changed the name.  There is also a Huddle house and I think a Krystal just across the drive from that station.  The gas brand is BP...Hope this is timely for you!

In My Home This Week: Better Saving Habits

One of the things I love: collecting.  And the second thing I love: putting items together to create a vignette that reflects my current likes.  I enjoy finding new uses for items I've had for years upon years.  This little area above my stove is a good example...and it makes me smile each time I walk into the kitchen.

Saturday:  Saturdays are our day (usually) to stay home and rest.  It means we seldom spend money on this day.  Instead we're all about a certain ritual, from what we have for breakfast to stacking dishes in the sink and leaving them until the next day.  John usually prepares either breakfast or supper on Saturdays.  It's all part of our rhythm and it works beautifully for us.  I find, at the end of a Saturday that I am often starting a list of things I mean to accomplish the next week, simply because I'm so rested I can think of all the things I would like to get done.

Fed the pets the scraps of food from fridge clearing out and from dinner plates.  I didn't need to give either of them any more food, so a 'free' meal for those two.

I washed a full load of dishes last night after Shabat started.  I'll unload them tomorrow morning, but I know there was a savings in washing them mid-evening.

It must have been hot outdoors this afternoon.  I didn't even put my nose outside the door, but I'm judging by how the AC ran all afternoon long.  I can only imagine how much more it would have had to run had I not pulled the room darkening curtains on the sunny side of the house.

John has gotten on board with the 'flush less often' thing.  I've been trying to institute that for years upon years.  I don't know just why he's ready to do it now, but I'll take the small savings in it.

Do you remember my saying I took out too much money last week?   I set it aside.  I picked up John's prescriptions on Thursday and it occurred to me, I had cash in my purse...why on earth use the debit card to pay for it.  That cash is all accounted for so it works out just fine.

Gave myself a fresh pedicure this morning.

I meant to set up outfits last week...I took time to do that this morning.  I didn't use inspiration photos this time.  I just opened the closet and the drawer where I keep my costume pieces of jewelry and sort of paired things up based on what I liked.

Living Well:   When all seems wrong in the world, or at least it seems as the old hymn puts it, "tempest tossed", I find Shabat to be a sweetly peaceful day for our household.  I feel the weights falling off my shoulders Friday evening as sunset approaches and it seems that nothing can disturb that peace.  We had a lovely day today and yet there was nothing at all to it.  Just two people who enjoy being together, siting quietly reading, listening to music and feeling blessed.

Book Review: The Mapmaker's Children by Sarah McCoy




I confess that I'd bypassed this book twice in choosing what I'd read for review...I am deeply sorry, I did.  Why?  Because I've just found my newest 'book friend', one of those books I expect to pick up and read again and again.

Ms. McCoy has done a difficult thing: She's told the story of two distant generations side by side.  I dislike swapping characters and centuries in books finding that the stories are muddled.  Not in this book.  Ms. McCoy has skillfully blended the two stories, while keeping them separate and distinct in the story they each tell, by threading in common characteristics and objects.

The story is part mystery, part history, and partly a coming of age sort of story though not of a child.  It is the coming of age of grown women who must find their own way from a place of grief to a place of peace, each in their own century.

I couldn't walk away from this book and hated to see it end.  I can't recommend it highly enough!

This book was provided to me courtesy of Blogging for Books in consideration of a review.

This Week In My Home: Better and Better



 No worries ladies, I'm fine.  Really.  Remember when I said I was lightening up on myself?  Well I did.  I had a very busy week, full of lots of normal day to day sorts of activities and two days out (ate out both times, but navigated it very well).  I was tired.  I didn't feel good the first part of the week but I made it through and was only slightly snarky yesterday as a result.  No head for blogging at all, and I'm sorry for that but each time I came here I sat and sat before the blank page and there was nothing.  Nada.  So I gave up and went away.  I read.  I looked at too many diabetic friendly recipes.  I worked hard.  I went over Pinterest more than the usual number of times.  I  played in the kitchen.

And what did I have for all that lightening up I said I meant to do last week?  A pretty good week overall.  Steadily decreasing numbers.  Confidence.  Revelation.  A lighter closet.  A heavier debt load.  A fresh pedicure.

I'll share all about those things later.  I promise.  In the meantime, let's get on with this week's meal plan.

This Week In My Home: Tightening Purse Strings



DIY decorating is often slow going, but I enjoy it all the same...I get a look that is unique to my tastes and feels comfortable to others.  This spot isn't nearly finished but it looks just as it did in early Spring when I re-worked the area.  Eventually I'll finish it. 

Saturday:  I made steak fajitas from the leftover steak.  I added peppers and onions and served in warm tortillas.

Made an avocado dressing using 3/4 of an avocado, some non-fat Greek Yogurt and lime juice.

We had leftover salad as our salad today.

John made egg salad from the remaining boiled eggs I cooked earlier this week.

The weather was unexpectedly mild so that the AC cut on and off routinely all day long.  That's nothing to do with anything I did to save money, but it surely is a help to the budget!

Spent the afternoon going through the magazines Mama gave me earlier in the month and culled recipes, articles, coupons, inspirational photos.

Continued to treat my cold with vapor rub and Eucalyptus oil.  By evening the cough and sore throat were finally lessened.

Prepared John's lunch for work tomorrow.

Washed a full load of dishes in the dishwasher.

Reviewed the Fifty not Frumpy site on Polyvore and pinned a few more inspiration outfits to my boards.  Not sure how much longer I can wear these pieces but until I replace them, I've a few more 'new' ideas for those old things.

When I heard the first pop and hiss and whistle and boom of fireworks this evening I went out on the front porch.  Happily discovered we could see fireworks above the tree line on the next hill...so we got a free show.

Living Well:  I didn't start out the day as a happy camper.  I didn't feel well, wasn't happy with the way the week had gone overall...I just needed to be nice to myself today, so I was.  I  gave up chocking down the awful whole wheat bread I'd bought and instead enjoyed a whole grain but so delicious bread.  I read.  I napped.  I rested.  By end of the day, I felt a new person.  TLC...sometimes we just need to take care of ourselves.

I Wonder as I Wander...A Rambling Post



My brain won't settle enough to let me get inspired just yet, but I've all sorts of random things wandering about in my head of late and so I decided it was time to share them and get them out of the way.

The little bird on my back porch that is nesting is perhaps a sedge wren...Or at least as near as I can tell from the bird identification book and online photos.  The female sits on the eggs alone. Certainly the rounded nest, with the side entrance, tucked under the bow of the aloe leaf  is as described in the bird book.  And having taken my flashlight and peered in Sunday morning, I saw the fine lining inside of feathers and dog hair and such that is woven in to the interior of the nest.  The bird sometimes hesitates just a moment when any of us comes up on the porch or out of the door and then quickly flies off through the porch banister and into the brush alongside the driveway.  She's quite shy really, but oh what a lovely song is sung.  Like mocking birds they tend to mimic other bird songs.

Maddie has a thing about winged creatures.  She thinks God meant her to chase down and destroy bees and wasps and butterflies and yes, birds.  To that end it took her just a little while to notice the bird in the nest.  As I saw John off to work Wednesday of this past week, she nudged the aloe pot several times.  The mother bird was hiding already but Maddie jostled that pot until I was afraid she was going to knock it off the crate where it sits.  I blockaded about it with some chairs we have on the porch.  That seemed to keep her away, but I noted she was trying to slip behind the rocking chair and nudge the pot from there.  She couldn't quite reach it so was frustrated in those efforts.

Sunday morning when I was seeing John off to work, I saw that she's now placed her rug in front of the chair nearest the nest.  I am not worried about her getting at the bird but curious as to why she feels she must be right there.  It doesn't seem to keep the mama bird off the nest.

For our part, we're trying to limit our coming and going so the bird will sit on the eggs and hatch them.

This Week In My Home: Lightening Up


I have this tendency to do things hard...Not the hard way, but to work hard at whatever I am currently doing.  If it's housework or yard work or office work, I'll push and push until I get all I meant to accomplish finished.  It took a car accident 24 years ago to teach me that sometimes things get accomplished just as well if I stop and rest a bit and then get up and go at it again. Still working hard, mind you, and only just barely allowing myself time to rest, but a slight improvement over my former self.

Well, I've been going at it hard with this whole diabetes thing.  I meant to do it just exactly right and to that end I started studying hard, even while in the hospital, and I've kept it up for the past 5 weeks.  I can't help but notice how many sites conflict in information.  No carbs, low carbs, moderate carbs.  Eat no fruit, eat at least two servings daily.  Eat no starches at all, eat at least 2 servings daily. Dairy 3 times a day.  No dairy. at. all.  No fat, low fat, high fat.  Moderate protein, high protein.  This drug is no good, that one is better.  No medicine necessary, diet and exercise is enough.  No exercise needed, just proper diet.  Just one drug can't give consistently good results.  One drug will work just fine if you're patient. Testing is necessary multiple times a day within an hour of eating and two hours of eating and always first thing in the morning for fasting and last thing at night.  Testing is only needed once or twice a day at most and perhaps just a few times a week.  Websites that state where blood sugars should be disagree as well....  The clatter and chatter and spatter of it all inside my head got to be too much.

This week I struggled.  I have a cold, a sore throat and am not sleeping well.  My blood sugar numbers are not where I want them to be despite making changes and tweaking and tweaking.  A wisdom tooth decided to flare up.  I got up Saturday morning and had a pink matted eye after coughing my head off all night long. I went to the kitchen to do my fingerstick and it hurt, darn it.  I've been cringing every time I go to do it but to have it hurt too was just too much.  And this go at it hard gal sat down and cried for the second time since my life took this dramatic turn.

This Week In My Home: Summer Savings Come Easy

Sometimes when I find myself itching to redo an area and funding is short, I settle in for a good old fashioned neatening up.  My desk really needed it this past week but I'm feeling far less dissatisfied with life overall after taking the time to refresh and straighten the area.

Saturday:  Ran into town this morning to get more dry ranch salad dressing mix.  I had promised Katie her favorite meal for birthday and then discovered I had no ranch dressing mix.  Tsk tsk.  Made the trip count though by taking mail to be posted, picking up mail from Friday, stopping by the Women's Club house yard sale.  Not a lot to be had, but then it had been up and running for a few hours at that point.  I spent just $1 there.

Noted the Key Lime Pie in the freezer case.  Katie's favorite and a fitting treat for a birthday girl.  went ahead and purchased it.

Prepared mashed potatoes, black eye peas and ranch chicken.  I also sliced and fried green tomatoes.  I did tasks in spurts and despite this had dinner ready to go on the table as soon as they arrived.  Mama provided the squash casserole.

Prepared tea from scratch, too.  I have known folks to buy prepared tea in the grocery, but it's so easy to make that it seems awfully silly to me to purchase it and it costs just a few cents to make, even if you add sugar.

Saved tea bags and put more water over them.  Yes, I will make a second batch of tea...for the geraniums.  They just love tea water.  Not sure why but they always puts on fresh leaves and blooms when I water with tea.

Questions, Answers and Comments, Oh My!



Here we are with a brand new month once more. I realize I didn't write a lot of posts last month but there were loads of comments and replies and I really wanted to acknowledge those and share a bit here and there about different ones.  I am working on a creative project at present and am hoping it will fire my brain into inspired status all over again.  I feel quite hopeful after the spontaneous post on Makeup Basics last month, lol.

I'll start with my first post for June:  Home, Home is Best.  There were 35 comments on this post and I can't even begin to address them all.  You all touched me with your warm welcome on my return, your own stories, your prayers, your sympathy and concern.  Funniest remark of all was from Shell who said "There is, however, no pill for being stubborn. Next time listen to your body and get in right away."

Shell, you are so right;  it was a wake up call that I really needed to 'listen' more closely to my body and a reminder that sometimes we let one thing frighten us when really it's a minor thing in the end.  Even though I have insurance I was worried about the out of pocket and deductible expenses...and being the daughter of an RN/Nurse Practitioner and wife of a Paramedic, I am accustomed to treating myself  at home or waiting to see.  Well I nearly paid with my life on that score.  And the fear of having to pay that deductible is such a silly one now, under the circumstances.  But if they ever do make a pill for being stubborn, I promise to be the first to ask for a prescription!

A few mentioned Warfarin in their comments.  I chose Warfarin because it is easily reversible in an emergency and because I knew it had a long track record.  And as I said, being medication sensitive, I figure others have already experienced the side effects.  My primary care doctor did mention the calcification that occurs but said he feels sure we can work to offset that over time, and I expect more supplements will be added to my current ones as he sees how I react to these.

Iced Tea Chat: Humming Along


Hello love... Did you hear me humming as you came in?  It's doctor's orders.  Yes, really.  I've had this weird thing going on with a Eustachian tube and I feel as though my ear is just full of water.  Well when I mentioned it to the good doctor he told me the trouble isn't fluid at all (he did look in my ear) and he suggested I sing or hum whenever it bothered me. It has something to do with vibrations when you hum...  The sensation of being full of water comes and goes and each time I begin to feel bothered by it I start to smile because really, how often is it prescribed that you sing or hum?  Never, in my experience!  As it happens I have been singing my whole life, but I've admittedly fallen silent more and more the last few years.  I must say I've noted that the doctor is exactly right.  I hum or sing and in a while I have no more trouble with that ear at all.

Tea...I have mint this week, fresh ginger root, and lemon, or lime...Take your choice and settle in.  I'm all ready for a nice long chat....

Afternoon Coffee Chat: Weathering the Storm

Hello dears...Do come in.  I've a fresh pot of coffee and though it's hot outdoors, I confess that after my day in the kitchen t...