Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Mind Set on Health & Happiness

Change Takes Time...

It took longer than a day to get out of shape.  It took longer than a day to develop unhealthy eating habits.  So, why are you looking for results over night?  Don't get discouraged, you can't change everything in a day.  

But you can get started today.  

I found this on Facebook, seems appropriate.
Get yourself a small note book.  On the inside front cover write a little note to yourself; I LOVE YOU, XXXX XXXX.  

You could stop there ~ or delve deep and turn the page, (leave a page front and back blank) At the top of the page as a sorta of title, write:  I LOVE YOU XXXX, BECAUSE..., then list 7 things that you love about you.  Leave plenty of space between each item.  That way if you want to elaborate on it later you will have room to do so. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty good, after finding 7 things that I Love about me.  

I don't want to be Debbie Downer but now turn the page and list 7 things that you want to change or improve about yourself.  Keep your smile as you make this list, make it a good thing.  Say, you want to lose 45 lbs... Don't write I am fat and need to lose 45 lbs.  Write; I will looks stunning when I lose 45 lbs.  Or maybe even; I will be so much healthier when I lose 45 lbs.  Remember this is all about you!  It is about you and what makes you happy!  There aren't any "Ifs" when you are looking for change.  It's all about When! 

Another little tid bit found on Facebook

Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Changes - A Mind Set on Health & Happiness

Only YOU can Change YOU!

Breakfast the First Day of the Clean Eating Challenge!!

I started my day with 24 ounces of room temperature water upon awakening at 5:45 a.m.  Water is the KEY to all life.  Water is the best way to clear the body of toxins as well.  Start your day with water, it will also keep the cravings away.  Most of the time you are not hungry.  It is the water that your body is craving.  

I didn't even feel any hunger pangs, but at 9:30 a,m,  The thought of Breakfast enters the realm of consciousness.  I don't want to skip meals.  The whole idea of the challenge is not to skip eating but to start eating the things that my body needs, and to eliminate the things that it does not!  I tend to crave salty snacks. They will be my greatest challenge!

I have been searching my Pinterest Boards for some healthier options for the coming week.   You can start at these boards:  Healthy Things,  Getting Fit,  Healthier Foods,  Lunch ~ Keep'n It Healthy  There are many more, but these will get you connected to me there.  I have pinned some 9,000 links, most of them to things and ways to improve your health and well-being.

I'll keep you posted on my progress for this challenge....  I do have some before pictures.... but you won't see them until I have some after photos or at least some midway photos.

Cheers to Health and Happiness!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Random Busyness of Summer

At first i had written the title b u s i n e s s .  Then i looked at it and said that is not busyness it is business.  Oh so business is busyness.  Imagine that! :)

It has been a very busy summer.  I surely haven’t kept up on the blog here. I apologize to those who have stopped by looking for a cute new project like: the Portable Office or my Pinterest Inspired Projects.  Maybe you were looking one of the Yummy Recipes .  I've gotten myself somewhat organized…  It is quite the process when you have been unorganized for awhile.  ;)
Now you will have to be patient with me while I get my blog in order over the next few weeks.  I am going to be doing some rearranging on here too.  I am really excited to try some new things here and on Pinterest too.  So if you haven’t started following me on Pinterest, you might want to.  I will also be giving away several selections of e-books, covering quite a few different subjects.  I also see also see a Facebook Page in my future. ;)

But for now here is a random collection of Summer Busyness.

Wild Blueberry Picking

The wild blueberry bushes in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan are quite low.  So if you are envisioning domestic blueberries where large jumbo blueberries grow on high bushes.  Think again, it took 2 ½ hours to pick this large bowl of blueberries.  

The picking bucket that I used was a 4 quart ice cream bucket.  I told myself that I couldn't stop until I filled it!  And I didn't stop until I did.  It involves a lot of crawling around on the ground, or a whole lot of stooping and bending.  I’m a crawler.  My grandson had so much fun on our little excursion.  His Mom packed us a nice little lunch of fruit, yogurt, and sandwiches, and drove us of on our adventure in the RZR!  He really loves that!  Off to pick blueberries with his Mom & Mimi.  Blueberries are his favorite; he ditched his bucket right away and just started grazing.  

The Chickens Started Laying Eggs!

The chicken coop has had it's share of troubles this summer.  We lost 12 hens when they were only about 8 weeks old.  We still aren't sure what was getting our young hens, but we think that it was probably a couple of Ravens.  My hubby had a 22 bullet with their name on it!  We still haven't figured out what kind of hen our tiny little hen is.  But she is such a pet.  She follows my husband around like a dog would.  And even though we have repaired the fence and covered the top of the run she still finds a way to get out into the big world every day.  My husband calls her Whodini!  The two hens that we have left are laying eggs and we are planning on adding 4 hens and a rooster to the flock for the winter.

Grandsons' Garden Harvest

Remember those cute little plant starters that we did for Mother's Day Project.  Well things finally grew here in the U.P. once the weather warmed up.  But it really wasn't a good year for gardening here.  Some is better than none though.  And we are still getting stuff too, so it definitely wasn't a total loss.  Just to see his happy little face picking peas was worth any and all efforts.  Here are a couple pictures of him with his little harvest.
Zucchini Cucumbers and Peas

He Loves Peas!!

Cucumbers Are Pretty Good Too!

Mimi's Tomatoes

A couple years ago we found some Black Cherry Cherry Tomatoes.  They are so sweet and delicious .  We couldn't find them anywhere last year.  But we did find some this spring at the feed mill in Pickford.  They usually have a nice little greenhouse set up and they always have great deals on bulk seeds.   Check out the size of the Black Cherry variety as opposed to the regular ones.
Black Cherry Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Largest of Each!

Help with the Fruit Flies...

If you ever get fruit flies while you are ripening fruit or veggies...  they love tomatoes.  I used a recycled Chobani yogurt container with a clear plastic lid.  Poke holes in the top of the lid, add a quarter cups of apple cider vinegar to the container, put the perforated top on and there you have it a Fruit Fly Trap!  Just discard the whole thing when you have caught all the little critters. 
Fruit Fly Trap

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Favorites

Get Grilling

It’s the end of July; summer is in full swing in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.  I've been grilling for weeks now.  It helps to cut down on the heat in the kitchen.  I use a Weber grill, occasionally I purchase charcoal, however most of the time I use small chunks of wood from branches that have been trimmed.  My husband uses spruce sap as a starter, it works really well.  You also don’t get the chemical taste from starter fluid.  Cooking over wood is just the best.  Even when I use charcoal my husband puts some pieces of green wood atop it so as to get the nice smoked flavor.

Potatoes and Chive Side-Dish for the Grill

Since I am picking a bunch of chives today, it seems only right to have some for dinner.  I don’t have potatoes yet but they had a pretty good deal on them at the co-op today.  This recipe is quick and easy, it has taken me longer to type this then it will take to prepare. 
You will love this side-dish for the grill; cube 5-6 medium potatoes, sprinkle with zesty country seasoning, salt and pepper, then top with lots of chopped fresh chives and dot with 3 tablespoons butter (unsalted). Wrap up the foil you are ready for the grill. Takes about 20-25 minutes, turn after 10-12 minutes.  Yummy!

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I make my own BBQ sauce.  I've been using this recipe for over 20 years.  I originally found this recipe in an old cook.  At first it just appeared to be an old newspaper clipping.  Then it turned into our family BBQ sauce recipe.  I have made a few adjustments over the years to the original newspaper clipping.  One side of the clipping has a date, 1957, my birth year.  The original recipe is for making “Beef in Barbecue Sauce”.  And it is very good like that… pulled beef.  If you want to make the pulled beef just add 1 cup stock to the recipe, and your beef of course. 

In a skillet heat 4-6 tablespoons of grape-seed oil (I like this oil because it has a very light flavor and you can turn the heat up without burning), add 1 heaping cup of chopped celery, 2-3 large diced onions.  Simmer until celery is tender and onions are translucent. 

Add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (this will de-glaze the pan), now add 4-6 tablespoons of brown sugar (depends how sweet you like your BBQ) and 2-3 cloves of garlic, simmer until sugar is completely dissolved. 

Then add 1 ½ cups of ketchup, 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and a teaspoon of salt.  Simmer for about 20 minutes to combine all the flavors.  This sauce is quite zippy, the vinegar zippy that brings a sweat on, but not spicy.  Like your sauce spicy?  Add a dash of cayenne pepper.

I made it ahead of time and put it into the fridge.  Today I am putting it on grilled chicken. It is awesome on Burgers with an onion ring (we call it a cowboy burger).  This sauce makes a great dipping sauce for chicken tenders and onion rings too.  

I would love to be able to can some of this up for the pantry.  I will have to experiment with the recipe and quantities.  Surely all that you would need is a boiling water bath.  I have pinned some recipes for ketchup.  So I think that that would be a good place to start.  If I am going to be making enough to can I surely will need quite a bit of ketchup.

The Rock Quarry

About 25 minutes from our house, nestled in a wooded area, on private property, that everyone enjoys. I am pretty sure that it adjoins a large area of state land.  And for the most part it is taken care of by its’ patrons.  Most people don’t leave trash behind.  I know that every time we go there we leave with more than we arrived with.   We make it a point to look for litter. 

The swimming is great!  Not much fishing to speak of, it has been over fished; you might find some catfish in the deep water.  We have caught and released 3” blue gill.  Kids love catching those little fish.  There are some crayfish too.  The kids catch them on willow branches.  Silly crayfish to greedy to let go… so the kids capture and carry them in buckets all afternoon, only to be set free before departure.  I wonder how many crayfish have been brought home to fish tanks.  I know my kids took a few home, only to find that they will snatch up a gold fish.  Poor Fishy!  

So peaceful!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Great Pies

Great Pies Start with Great Pastry

I make an awesome Blueberry pie! I really like my apple pie too. You might say I have those recipes down. I have never made a cherry pie, can’t keep a peck of cherries long enough to make a pie. But I would love to try it some time. I always seem to have a little trouble with all of the juice in a rhubarb pie. I have never tried using tapioca in a pie for thickener. It just always seemed weird to me. It certainly doesn't bother me that it is tapioca because tapioca is one of my favorite puddings, but why the aversion to it as a pie thickener? I know that I have made a few pies in my time that had just way to much flour for thickener. They were good, nice and sweet and nothing was running all over the plate. But the site and texture of too much flour isn't very appealing. I have never used cornstarch either. Cornstarch to me has always been a tricky thing. You have to reach the ideal temperature and not go over or hold it too long or everything goes back to soup. 

Surely a great crust will make any pie! Maybe no one will notice a little extra juice if the crust is perfect. I have been using the same recipe for years and have shared it with many along the way. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have! 

Pie Crust Recipe 

2 cups flour, 2/3 cup shortening, 1 tsp salt and 7 tablespoons cold water. Combine flour, shortening and salt until crumbly. Drizzle with cold water, stir only until dough follows fork around the bowl. It will be a little sticky. Divide dough. Flour pastry towel, flatten dough, turn flatten slightly more then roll. Repeat for top crust. After I have applied the top crust I cut a few vent holes then brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. This makes for a beautiful lightly brown yet sparkly crust. Even if I am making a cream pie, I use this recipe, and make a sparkly crust to be filled with pudding. 

Blueberry Pie Filling 

Keep in mind I use a 10’ large glass pie pan, adjust accordingly. In a large bowl; 5-6 cups of blueberries (if using frozen thaw and lightly drain), 1 ½ cups sugar, ½ cup flour, a dash of salt, 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Lightly fold the sugar and flour into the blueberries. Do not mash the berries! Make sure all of the berries are covered with a coating of the mixture. Put blueberry mixture into uncooked pie crust, sprinkle blueberries with any leftover flower/sugar mixture, dot with butter, about 2 tablespoons. Now you are ready for the top crust. Make a cute smiley face or a message pie. I once wrote “Eat Me” on an apple pie. *Wink* Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar, bake at 400 for about 40-50 minutes. 

It is getting close to blueberry season here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My daughter-in-law and I are planning on picking, tons. LOL Well, not a real ton but I hope to pick a lot. My grandson loves blueberries. Fresh or frozen, he eats them as if they were candy. Fruit, nature’s candy; I would say it is probably one of the best fruits to eat. I try to eat it on a regular basis, even if it is not in season. I freeze as much as I can whenever I can. I sure hope that there will be a substantial amount for freezing this year. It is looking good for the apples this year too. I promised my daughter that I would share applesauce recipes this fall. There are more apples this year than I've ever had. It is usually a race to get to the apples before the deer. Somehow the deer know when the apples are perfect for picking. 

I don’t think that that will be a problem this year, even if the deer get all the low ones there will still be plenty. Somehow my apples trees got quite large when I wasn't paying attention. Or so it seems. I have gone through fazes with my apple trees. It seems as though for a few years we will prune and shape, then we will let them go wild for awhile. They have been going wild for a couple years now, recovering from over pruning. We over did it for a couple years, thinking we knew what we were doing. Since then I have found some great sources on pruning apples and other trees and shrubs. Next pruning I will use one of the guides that I found on Pinterest. You can check out a few sources on my Pinterest boards; "On the Farm" or "Gardens".

Bake a pie on the next rainy day!  It will take the dampness out of the air!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Preschool Mother's Day Project

Little Garden Starters

This is looking like a pictorial and I haven't uploaded all the pictures.  My grandson was so excited when I told him that we were going to make something for mommy.  Not only am I the Mimi, I am also the daycare provider.  I try to keep him busy with stimulating projects.  

He is so smart and has such an extraordinary vocabulary.  I try to keep him busy with stimulating projects.  (That could be another blog topic.)  I don't want him to miss out on any of the types of projects that he would be doing in a nursery school.  This time of year they always have such cute projects that involve growing things.

We started by gathering up all of our supplies.  I cut colored paper into strips, got out the markers, some stickers and glue sticks.  He was so happy to accommodate all of my requests... color this... pick stickers... peel stickers... put glue on this... Although he had gotten plenty of glue on the strips of colored paper, he needed help from me to get them all aligned.  Working on this project I discovered that he really loves to using the glue sticks, so I have since come up with a few other projects that allow him to use them.

The little window containers are nothing fancy or spectacular, but to him they are grand!  He checks on them every morning, See, Mimi, more flowers!  I suppose with a little creativity and some cute materials like; buttons and bows, some hot glue, and a few other crafting items they could really be gorgeous.  

At this point they needed to sit and dry for awhile.  I think we had lunch, a story, and a nap.  He awoke just before daddy (my son) got home from work.  He knew we had to wait until daddy got here to put the dirt in.  They were dry and ready to go.

We went to the garage to fill them with potting soil.  You can imagine how exciting that was for a two year old.  Potting soil and a toy shovel...  Oh, Boy!!  It was great!  Then we got to put the seeds into our crafty little containers.  Of course he thought that we needed the whole packet of seeds. 

Next....  Just wait for them to grow...  And they are definitely growing!  There is enough little kale sprouts in that little cup to plant a whole row in his little garden.  I tried to pick things that would germinate fast.  I thought that the beans would be the first thing to sprout, no luck though.  The kale came up real fast, maybe three days.  The Swiss chard took a little longer, but they are up for Mother's Day.



Friday, May 3, 2013

My Portable Office

Gets a make-over...

The Old Office/
Lunch Box
The old ReBag had gotten to be a bit tattered....  Although it looks pretty good in this picture... LOL (Trust me, it will be of better use carrying groceries.) Needless to say I was really pleased when my daughter-in-law gave me a new reusable bag.  I have been using reusable bags for quite awhile now, several years for sure.  My children have on occasion joked about the "Bag Lady".  That is quite alright with me.  I am really proud to say that my children, as different as they all may be, each in their own way have learned an environmentally friendly habit from me.  I have five children, so the impact goes on.   You can learn some innovative ways to recycle and repurpose at Recyclebank,  it is website designed to inform, you can earn rewards and discounts on green products too.

Contents of Office

I carry quite a bit of stuff with me every day.  Breakfast, lunch, snacks, a project or two, or ingredients for a baking project.  I am the daycare provider for my youngest grandson.  I like to bring new and intriguing  things for him to do or experience.  Sensory projects, new books to read, crayons, markers and paper, and the list goes on.  He is a very smart little boy, he just turned two a month ago.  His vocabulary is extraordinary and so is his memory.   As you can see I need a large bag for all of my projects on the go.  

Gathering Materials
I started my project by gathering up all of the materials that I might need.  The glue gun, because I wanted to make this a simple no-sew project.  A dress I haven't worn in about seven years.  I don't think I will be wearing my dresses that short any time soon.  Besides I don't think that one of my boobs would fit in it now let alone two.  I have a whole box of print dresses that I saved for sewing projects and quilting squares. 

At first I thought that one box would be all that I needed.  My main concern was keeping all of my paperwork separate, neat and easily accessible.  However, once I got into the project I soon decided to add another.  This time when I went to my little box collection I was in need of one that was just the right size.  Bingo, one of my husbands' pop tart boxes was a perfect fit. 

For some reason I haven't been able to get rid of this old lace tablecloth, now it has come in handy.  I think that the only part of it that is usable is a few feet of the edge.  Of course, I did not need it all for this project so it went back into the lace box.

I didn't include step-by-step directions as it is such a simple project.  First, I covered the boxes with the fabric as if I were wrapping a package, using hot glue instead of tape.  On the open end of the box I just folded it in and tacked it down with the hot glue.  I still had a nice swatch of material left so I made a pocket for the front.  It covered the printed advertising quite well.  I love how all the colors seem to match and touch of lacey fun too.  The finished project even holds my laptop and cords.  :)

The New Portable Office