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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Help for better health

Take a good look at the symptoms above, do any of these sound familiar?  When our gut isn't healthy it effects many different areas in our body.  Were you aware 80% of your immune system stems from your gut?  Here is an easy little test to help you determine just where your gut health stands:

When you awake in the morning, before you put anything into your mouth, work up some saliva and spit it into a clear glass of bottled room temperature water. At the 15 minute mark (and up to an hour), look in the glass.   If there are strings coming down from your saliva, if the water turned cloudy, if your saliva is falling apart or sank to the bottom, YOU MAY HAVE A CANDIDA CONCERN! Healthy saliva will simply float on the top! (You may want to put out a glass of water in the bathroom or on the nightstand the night before you wish to do the home Candida Saliva test, just to remind yourself not to brush your teeth or kiss your Honey prior to spitting into the glass.)

I have come across Plexus Worldwide and have been very happy with the results of these natural based supplements.  I take daily what is known at the Fab Four: Slim, Probio5, Biocleanse and XFactor.  Together, these four natural supplements have changed the course of my health.  I have natural energy during the day (not caffeine induced), I go to bed and fall asleep quickly....and stay asleep all night, I no longer am searching out my next sugar fix and most importantly to me is being 'regular' after 30 years of terrible bowel problems.

Check out my Facebook Plexus page for information and to ask any questions
Getting Healthy With Plexus

Please don't think this blog post is just a commercial for my business, because it isn't.  I truly believe in these products and the natural way they help the body become so much more healthy. a side benefit, many people find they are losing weight and inches as their bodies become more healthy.  Sounds like a win/win to me!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Not a Suzie

Suzie Homemaker, yep that's me!  Oh wait, I'm awake-not dreaming.  In my dreams I am Suzie Homemaker, complete with shiny clean home, meals cooked to perfection, perfect hair, nails and make-up, always dressed in the nicest way, plenty of time for volunteer work and a husband who absolutely adores all I do.

Now onto reality.  You can easily find dust bunnies and fingerprinted windows, cooking is sporadic with the crazy schedules Papa Bear and I have, I give it a try with the hair and make-up but not always with success and I dress most of the time only with comfort and functionality in mind.  As for my husband, he does adore me and I am blessed that he puts up with me.

I would dearly love to be a Suzie Homemaker and I think Papa Bear would appreciate certain aspects of it too.  However, I just don't see it in the cards.  I'm thinking if I ever win the cabilliony dollars with the lottery, I will hire a live in cook/maid who will give the illusion I'm a Suzy...and that will be just fine with me. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Beauty

I love the beauty of a new fallen snow.  Trees shimmer in the sunrise, everything looks fresh and clean, there is a feeling of renewal and energy.  The local birds and critters know our front yard is an open 24/7 buffet.  There is always feed available along with suet blocks when it is cold and the sometimes even fresh fruit.  It makes me feel useful keeping the buffet open, knowing many of God's creatures depend on me to get through the long cold winter months.  When we are going to be gone, I have a neighbor who takes care of the feedings for me.  Papa Bear might think I am a bit obsessive about this (gentle grin).

I love winter and snow, it is my favorite season of the year. By the end of February, most people are ready for it to be over and for Spring to make its arrival...not me.  I work from home so I suppose that gives me an advantage over those who have to go out in the cold every day.  I get to sit in my comfy chair with a nice hot cup of tea and marvel at the wintery beauty outside my big front window.  From this vantage point I have the joy of watching children come and go from school, and when it's warm enough, see them playing on the playground.  I see the horses across the way getting frisky and running around.  Snow gently blows across the field, the plows  are busy on the roads and of course the birds and critters are feasting in the front yard.

About mid-March I will be ready for snow to leave and be replaced with the warm sunshine of Spring, but for just a few more weeks, I'm going to sip my hot tea and enjoy all the beauty of this wonderful time of year.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Healthy Beginnings

Today marks exactly two months until I officially turn old (yikes...50!).  For probably the last 20 years I have been on a get healthy yo-yo.  I work at it, then I don't, then I work at it, then I don't even get the picture.  A little background: I am 6' tall and except when I was with child, I have never weighed over 125 pounds.  When there is a good wind, if you listen closely you can actually hear my bones rattling around in my skin (grin).  We used to have a Black Lab that when he was a puppy would actually try to use my arms and ankles for chew toys!  Yep, I'm that skinny.  However, even with how skinny I am, each time I gain the tiniest bit of weight, it appears in my gut. Tall and skinny with a protruding belly, not all that attractive, I can guarantee you that.

Today I am going to commit to intentionally working on my health for two months.  I'll be tracking my food and water intake as well as my physical activity.  I don't think I will be changing my eating habits much except to try and eat three meals a day instead of skipping meals because I am busy. I also have started on Plexus Slim to work on getting my insides healthy too.  In the 'working on it times' of my healthy yo-yo, I have enjoyed various 30-Day Challenges.  These will be making appearance again.

*Planks (ugh) at the end of the month I should be able to hold a 5 minute plank!! 
*Shoulders (trying to build up the muscles and ward off that yucky bursitis) will have me doing upright rows, side lateral raises, shoulder presses and shoulder rotations.
*Guns, Buns and Abs (my favorite) at the end of the month I should be doing 250 squats, 40 push ups and 100 leg lifts.  I have used this challenge before but have to modify for my back. 

* Arms-push ups, dips, bicep curls and punches
*Glute and Legs (I'm already dreading this one)
*Burpees (groan) Start with just 1 singe burpee on day one and increase by 1 each day so at the end it will be 30 of those dreaded things.  Nope, I don't like burpees, I don't care how good they are for me, they are not my friend and I don't foresee me ever inviting them into my inner circle.

So dear friends, come along with me on my Healthier Me Journey.  Follow along or even join me!  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Broccoli Cheese Soup

With the coming on of fall, a nice hot bowl of soup was being called for.  Papa Bear is spending all his time in the fields which left me eating this whole batch all by myself!  (oink oink oink)  This recipe is quite simple to whip up and put in the crock pot leaving only some stirring while it cooks.

Broccoli/cauliflower soup

1/2 C. onion, chopped
2 Tbls butter or margarine
1 (10 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 (10 oz) bag frozen chopped broccoli
1 1/2 C. Milk

Saute onion in butter.  Combine all the ingredients on low in crock pot for 3-4 hours.  You do NOT want to add salt to this recipe.  For a thinner soup, add additional milk one cup at a time.  I usually end up adding at least two cups.  I don't like the big chunks so I throw just the veggies for a quick spin in the food processor.  

This recipe could be used with just broccoli, just cauliflower or just whatever veggie you would like to use.  it pares very well with a nice thick slice of homemade bread. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weeds Be Gone

Have you ever taken a look at something and think to yourself, "What have I done"??  I guess really, it happens to be what haven't I done.  I haven't been giving hardly any attention to my yard this summer.  Papa Bear sees to it being mowed, other than that, it has been sorely neglected.  The garden, back flower bed, side flower bed and strawberry patch have all been taken over by the weeds.  In the quiet of the night, when the windows are open, I sometimes think I hear a faint whimper. 

Today, I began to tackle the weed problem.  Have you ever tried to weed an overgrown strawberry patch and NOT pull up the plants?  Whew, glad that is over.  Strawberries look great and now I can actually see how much room I have for more plants in the spring.  MmMmMmmmm  I can almost taste those sweet juicy bits of goodness already. 

I'm kind of excited about my back flower bed.  It is mainly hostas with a little something thrown in here and there.  My mind is already planning what to do with the spare area in the spring.  (It is possible a groan may have just come from Papa Bear).  I do enjoy my hostas, but am thinking a little pop of color here and there might just be what it needs.    

My garden, well, that's a different story.  I knew I was going to be gone three weeks this summer, so only an eating garden was planted, not a canning one.  I'm done eating.  I started to pull the weeds and have decided when these last peppers are finished, I'm just going to pull the whole thing up and till it under.  It can have a nice rest until spring.  Watch out next year though, I plan to double it's size and grow enough food to feed a small army! 

The bottom of my garden shed is rather unattractive.  I've been wanting to plant something on the side to try and hide it.  Mums are on sale right now so I'm thinking that is the route I am going to take.  Mums are a nice green plant all summer and then bloom into gorgeousness in the fall...they are also very low maintenance, which is my kind of plant.  But...this will mean bugging on Papa Bear once again to help dig another flower bed.  This man of mine is a saint I tell ya. 

All in all, the yard is starting to look better.  I'm definitely looking forward to spring and the changes that will be made. 

Mama Bear

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Guns, Buns and Abs Challenge

I think about getting fit and healthy often.  Lots of thinking.  Yep, I am great at thinking about it.  With all this thinking, why am I not getting more fit and healthy?  Let me be clear, I DO actually give it a try from time to time, I just don't seem to stick with it very long.  A month or so ago I bought some work out clothes and a good pair of walking/running shoes.  My thinking is if I put money out on it, I would actually stick with it.  Yep, that's what I thought.  Didn't work.

Here is the problem, Papa Bear and I are taking our Boy Scout troop hiking, fishing and camping in the Idaho mountains this summer.  **Hiking** am I supposed to do this when I am so out of shape?  How am I supposed to out-run the boys when we are being chased by a bear? 

Well, dear friends, I am going to do it!  I am going to start with a 30 day arm, hiney and abs challenge.  I am going to reward myself at the end with a mani/pedi.  I'm also going to see if I can enlist a few of my friends to do this with me as I always do better when I have to be accountable to others.  If you would like to join in, the challenge is as follows:

 Click on picture to enlarge

Who is in for the challenge with a mani/pedi (or reward of your choice) afterwards?

Friday, April 25, 2014

New Spring

Spring has finally found her way to our neck of the woods, she had gotten herself lost and I didn't think she was EVER going to get here.  Now that she has arrived, she has brought with her all the joy and beauty she has.  Flowers are in bloom, grass is green, leaves are starting to open.  The birds and squirrels I have fed all winter are busy making new homes for their little families.  If we take the time to sit outside and do nothing but enjoy the goodness of Spring, we  find ourselves renewed with energy and newness.  In the midst of busyness by our animal and bird friends, we find  peace and calmness all around.  By the simple act of sitting outside, I am able to soak up the suns goodness, watch the creatures prepare for new families, witness the new growth of vegetation and empty my mind of old stuffy, musty, useless thoughts that have accumulated there over the long winter months.

Another event that comes each year with Spring is the annual spring cleaning of 'stuff'.  Yards are being raked and mowed.  Gardens are tilled and planted.  Cars are being cleaned inside and out.  Windows are opened to let the winter stink out.  Bedding is on the line, homes are given a top to bottom scrubbing and the purging of unwanted stuff is in full swing. 

What types of unwanted items do you purge?  Clothes, shoes, purses?  Items from the back of the closet you haven't seen since last years cleaning?  Toys the children no longer use or have broken?  This year I am purging something Facebook page.  It's going to take me a bit of time to achieve my goal, but I am set on getting it done.  I was reminded recently of something I myself have said several times: "If all a person knew of Christianity was what they learned by watching you, what would they learn?".   If all someone knew about me was what they read on my FB wall, what kind of person would they think me to be?  My goal is to remove unwanted posts all the way back to the beginning of my FB birth.  Once this undertaking is complete, I think my new clean page will bring me joy and peace.  Peace of knowing those who look at it will not be led astray.

Happy Spring to you all.  My hope for you is finding your own joy and peace in purging what is no longer needed or wanted in your life.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BSA needs equality for all

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is an organization  near and dear to my heart.  I joined fifteen years ago when my youngest son started as a Tiger Cub.  He has long since aged out of the Scouting program, but I am still quite involved as Scout Master for Troop 1056.   Each year, our Troop attends a week long summer camp program at Ingersoll Scout Reservation.  Throughout the many years, I have had the opportunity to watch young scouts on staff grow from little thirteen year old CIT's to mature young men taking on the leadership roles at camp. 

I want to tell you about one scout whom I watched grow before my very eyes over the years at camp. I met him as a CIT when he was young and silly and full of so much energy and goodness.  It was impossible to be down when he was around.  In fact, I don't recall ever seeing him not upbeat.  This boy was on staff for many years and made a big impact on both youth and adults.  In addition to his Scouting duties, he was also active in other youth organizations, making a difference  wherever he was involved.  He was respected by both his elders and his peers.  All this while he was still considered a youth himself.  This leads one to believe his involvement would continue as an adult.  Unfortunately, he is not being allowed, and so many youth are missing out.  You see, this Scout, now a Scouter (leader over the age of eighteen) is gay.

BSA has a ruling allowing gay boys to be Boy Scouts, earning merit badges, being voted into the Order of the Arrow, becoming Eagle Scouts, and leading younger scouts....until they are eighteen.  Once they reach this age, they are considered adult leaders in the program.  A program that does not allow gay or lesbian leaders.  As a woman, I am able to lead the boys, go swimming with them, go camping with them, have them in my car with me, yet a gay man or lesbian woman cannot.  What is up with that? 

Just recently, a United Methodist Church in Seattle Washington has had its Charter with BSA removed because they stood behind their Scout Master, who happens to be gay.   

Shame on BSA for depriving this Troop of its Scout Master.  Shame on BSA for depriving so many youth of great leadership from the Scout I told you about.  Shame on BSA for being closed minded.  This organization will allow Scouters who are alcoholics or drug addicts (not under the influence while doing their Scout duties).  BSA will allow Scouters who have no business being leaders due to their inability to know how to properly deal with youth, yet they will not allow persons to be Scouters who have a Scouting background and are proven to be excellent leaders and role models just because of their sexual orientation.  I believe it is time for the Boy Scouts of America to re-evaluate their discriminatory policy against gay and lesbian Scouters. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Cowboy Candy

Year after year I plant a garden with all the best intentions of canning up the fruits (and vegetables) of my labor only to get about half way through the summer and lose momentum.  The weeds take over, I get overwhelmed and that is about the end of it.  Not this year!  Wowzers, my garden did well and I did well too!  Weeds were kept down, watering was kept up and the Lord blessed me with so much bounty I was begging people to come over and pick my garden for their use while I was away on vacation.

Among other crazy growers this year were my jalapeno plants.  Who knew those things would produce SO much?  I cut up and froze  them by the cookie sheet to then be stored in freezer bags.  I canned them in half pieces to be used for stuffed jalapenos.  I even tried something new for Papa Bear since he is such a lover of hot things: Cowboy Candy.  I am NOT a lover of hot things, but I gave it the old college try and took one bite...too hot for me, but Papa Bear absolutely loves them.  I ended up with a total of twelve 1/2 pints of them canned up, and I'm thinking I'm going to have to hide them in the pantry to make them last until next garden.

Cowboy Candy

Recipe says it yields 4 half pints, but I got 6 both times.

*3 pounds firm, fresh jalapeno peppers, washed and sliced into 1/4 slices WEAR GLOVES
*2 C. cider vinegar
*6 C. white granulated sugar
*1/2 tsp. turmeric
*1/2 tsp celery seed
*3 tsp. granulated garlic (I used garlic salt)
*1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper (I didn't have any so I used crushed red pepper flakes)

In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients except peppers to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add peppers, careful not to splash, and simmer 4 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, ladle peppers into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Turn heat up on syrup and bring to a full, rolling boil.  Boil hard for 6 minutes.  Ladle syrup into jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space again if necessary.. Wipe rims down, center lids and tighten bands to fingertip resistance.  Place jars canner and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes for 1/2 pints and 15 minutes for pints.

* After processing, remove lid from canner and leave jars in for another 5 minutes.  Slowly remove jars and place on a towel in a draft free area for at least 12 hours. Removing jars immediately after canning can cause hissing and loss of liquid.

You may want to be in a well ventilated room while making this as the smell from the syrup is quite potent.  Both times making this, my sinuses got a good clearing out.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Stewed tomatoes for canning

'Tis the season for canning up what the garden has brought forth.  I've spent the last few days on corn, with still more to go, but decided to take a break and throw in a batch of stewed tomatoes. house is smelling yummy!  I thought I would use the recipe from Ball Blue Book, but it just didn't seem to have enough flavor.  What is a girl to do but turn to Google.  After looking at different recipes, I kind of concocted one for myself. 

Stewed Tomatoes

4 qt. chopped tomato (I did not take the skin off)
1 C. chopped celery
1 C. chopped onion
1 C. chopped green pepper
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. salt
4 T. minced garlic
1 T. Italian seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot.  Cover and bring to a boil, stirring prevent sticking.  Boil for 10 minutes.  Ladle into hot pint jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.  Process 15 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

This gave me 6 pints with a bit left over, which will be going over some noodles later.  I think next time I will add 1 can of tomato paste to help thicken it up.

**Make sure to follow all safety measures and instructions when canning any type of food**

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rainy Day Happenings

Before going to bed, I set my alarm with plenty of time to get up and walk a 5K this morning.  Morning and late evening walks rank among my favorite things to do as the world is quiet, allowing thoughts to flow easily.  Many of life's kinks have been straightened out on these walks.  Unfortunately, it was rainy when I woke, dashing all hopes of my enlightening stroll.  

Rainy days like today bring about two very different thoughts for me.  Yesterdays rainy day brought  the desire to sit in a chair with a good book and spend the day enveloped in a great story.  Once the children were schooled, fed and down for naps, that is precisely what I did.  Today, however, the rainy day has brought about the desire to  put on my apron and do some organizing.  I look around and see the bathroom cabinets could use a tidy, the little freezer could do with a swish of my cleaning wand and the linen closet, well, it just plain needs an overhaul.  I won't even scare you with the details of the shoe explosion in my bedroom. 

I firmly believe it is never too early for children to learn life skills.  The girls in my daycare are the caretakers of their playroom.  They are learning to 'keep house' and it is their responsibility to keep their 'house' clean and organized.  I think they would have lots of fun putting their own aprons on and helping me with today's rainy day cleaning.  Little girls in a shoe explosion, I can see the smiling faces now!  (I don't think I will let them know it is also educational as they sort and match the shoes).

I know there are some who complain about rainy days, but I do love them.  I love the quiet reflection days, and I love the get up and get something done days.   What type of rainy day person are you?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Re-purpose Unstopables

Being the frugal person I am, when Downey Unstopables first came on the market, I took advantage of a great sale and added to it a large coupon, which gave me an incredible savings.  It was such an incredible savings I bought several (read that to say twelve, I had lots of coupons) of these bottles of lovey laundry scent.  I soon found out I wasn't all that crazy about the product.  Don't get me wrong, when I open the bottle, the scent is wonderful.  The problem is when I use it and dry my clothes in the dryer, I can barely smell it at all.  When I use it with my bedding and towels and hang them on the line, it works great, but I am not always able to hang outside.  I have tried adding it to just the rinse cycle and it does work better, only not all the little pellets dissolve, leaving me to pick them off my clothes.

So, what to do, what to do.  I have all this product and needed to find a way to use it so as to not have wasted my money.  I read somewhere (probably Pinterest) about using them in one of those warming pots you plug into the wall.  I just so happen to have one of those pots so I gave it a try.   Ding! Ding! Ding!  We have a winner!  I LOVE this!   Fill the pot about 1/2 full and turn it on.  Soon you will have a clean, homey scent going.  It is not an over powering scent either, just nice in the background. 

You know how it is when you are out on a walk and you can tell when someone is doing laundry because you can smell the fabric softener from the dryer vent, yeah, it's that kind of a smell.  This is perfect for Spring and Summer.  When it quits putting out its smell, just clean it out with a paper towel and add more.  I have gotten quite a length of time with one in several days running an hour or more at a time.

Being the frugal person I am, I love finding multiple uses for items.  Who would have thought there would have been more than one for Downey Unstopables?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

I am a firm believer in the Declaration of Independence, and the words our forefathers put down for us as a nation to live by.  I am also a firm believer in the Bible and the words our Lord put down for us as Christians to live by.  Today, these two great works conflict. 

The Declaration states; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Right to the Pursuit of Happiness means man’s right to live for himself, to choose what constitutes his own private, personal, individual happiness and to work for its achievement, so long as he respects the same right in others. It means that Man cannot be forced to devote his life to the happiness of another man nor of any number of other men. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence nor prescribe his choice of happiness.
“Textbook of Americanism,” The Ayn Rand Column

By the words of our Declaration of Independence, gay and lesbian men and women should be allowed to wed whomever makes them happy. 

My parents raised us to know no person or group of people are any better than another.  We are all God's children and we are all equal.  I know both gay and lesbian individuals and would NEVER think they are less of a person than I.  That kind of thinking is just plain crazy! The Bible is very clear on the whole 'love one another' thing. 

Here is where the conflict comes in for me.

The Bible (to me) is also very clear on the point of homosexuality.  The Bible is NOT in favor of it at all. 

Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."

There are several such scriptures through the Bible.  Can you see where my mind is on overload?  I love our great nation and the  principles it was founded on.  I also love the Bible and try to live my life by its teachings.   Unfortunately, this is not a topic that is easily discussed.  Most people are strongly on one side or the other, leaving those of us teetering in the middle, well...teetering. 

I strongly believe every individual is created equal, and should be treated as so.  I also strongly believe homosexuality is wrong...yet I accept everyone into my life, regardless of their sexual preference.  Clear as mud?? 

I'm thinking this is a subject that may never be fully worked out in my mind. 


Monday, March 18, 2013

Pre Spring Cleaning Declutter

It looks like a bomb has gone off in my home after the weekend.  It is that time of year to start my pre-spring cleaning.  Time to go through each room and get rid of items I know longer want or need.  Time to get everything in tip-top shape and ready for a good spring scrubbing. 

I started in the back room.  The 'someone is coming over, hurry throw everything in there and shut the door' room.  It also serves as a guest room and my office.  Up until just recently, I had two babies in my daycare which also put two playpens along with various other baby items in this small room.  Have you ever seen the show Hoarders?  Yep, that would be this room.

I started the declutter process by first removing all baby items.  These are now in the living room needing to be put in totes and taken to storage.  Let's see, two playpens, a potty chair, a bumbo, two high chairs, baby toys and a walker.  I next put all Boy Scout and pre-school items in two piles on the bed.  I know, I know, I am just going to have to put them away at a later date, this at least helped me to get a bit more organized though in my decluttering and organizing.  Anything else left sitting around was either put in its proper place, thrown out or put in the pile to give away/yard sale.    Once the floor was cleaned (REALLY cleaned), I set up a play area for the children.  They have all they need to play house and they are so enjoying it this morning.

Once this room is complete, I will declutter each room, one at a time.  My goal is to have this entire process complete by Easter.  Once Holy Week and Easter are over, the Spring Cleaning will begin! If all goes according to plan, my house will be a lovey clean, decluttered, organized home just in time for nice weather and yard work to begin. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tortilla chips and Avocado dip

I am a big fan of all things junk food.  However, I am getting no younger and my old body can no longer tolerate all the junk.  That being said, my taste buds are still wanting it.  It's a constant battle between the two of them.  One that I am caught in the middle of. 

I have been doing my best to try and make both of them happy.  The following recipes for chips and dip hit the nail square on the head.  My body is happy~my taste buds are happy~life is good!

Baked Tortilla Chips

As you can see, there are very few ingredients necessary for these chips. 
Soft flour tortilla shells
Non-stick spray
Seasoning of your choice

Preheat oven to 450*
Cut tortillas into 8 triangles.
Spray with cooking spray.
Sprinkle with seasoning.

Arrange triangles on cookie sheet or baking stone and bake for 10 minutes or until crisp.  You may need to turn triangles if they are not done at 10 minutes.

While chips are cooking, you can take a couple of minutes and make the:

Spicy Avocado Dip

2 Avocados
3/4 C. Salsa
juice of Lime or lemon
1/2 C. Sour cream

Scoop out and mash avocado.  Add rest of ingredients and mix well.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Say hello to my little friend

I'd like to introduce you to one of my furry little critters.  He is enjoying some breakfast by himself at the moment, usually he has two buddies with him. 

I'm sure you have noticed my fancy dancy squirrel and bird feeders.  These came about in my quest to recycle items I am no longer using for their intended purpose.  Two years in a row I attempted to have pretty flowers in these baskets while they were on the front of the porch.  Two years in a row I committed murder on said flowers. 

I have fed the birds from a bird feeder hanging on the tree, along with some suet blocks.  I always seem to have more birds than my feeder can handle, so I started scattering feed on the ground also.  While looking at my flower killing baskets, I thought to myself, why not move these to the side and put feed in them also?  Sure, I have to sweep my porch everyday to remove the empty shells and bird droppings...but I am quite happy to do it since it means I get a front row seat to watching the wonderful wildlife. 

I have mainly squirrels, Sparrows and Starlings, which is fine with me.  I know many people scoot them away, but they are God's creatures and need to be fed also.  Occasionally I am graced with a Redheaded woodpecker, a couple of Cardinals and a Blue jay.  One afternoon I actually had a hawk in my front yard!  I absolutely adore hawks.  However, I was worried it would go after my other critters, so I must tell you, I was a bit relieved when it left.

My furry and feathered friends have brought much joy not only to me, but also to the children I care for.  They get excited and let me know which birds are eating.  At any given time, I can grab a cup of hot tea and sit in my front window and watch them. 

If you don't already have one, I recommend you put a bird feeder in your yard and watch your own wild life.  However, if you start feeding, you MUST continue through the winter.  These critters have found a source of food and if you take it away, then they must go hungry until they are able to find another source.

If you will excuse me now, I have a furry little friend eating and looking at the house.  I think he is waiting for me to show up in the window.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

No-boiled egg

Hard boiled eggs are one of those things I love to snack on.  They are easy to make, easy to eat, easy to take on the go.   I have discovered a new way of making my eggs which makes this yummy healthy snack even more yummy! 

I will no longer be hard-boiling my hard boiled eggs, from now on I will be baking them!  Yep, you heard me right, baking them in the oven.  It really couldn't be easier to do.  Warm the oven to 325*, place the eggs on the rack and set the timer for 30 minutes.  When the timer goes off, plunge these little white ovals of goodness into cold water until they cool down. 

MmMmMMmmmmm...cooked this way, the egg has a much creamier texture.  I'll be honest with you, when I tried this, I only cooked one little egg.  My thought on this is one egg mess would be much easier to clean up than multi-egg mess if this didn't turn out right and I ended up with an egg explosion in my oven.

A nice perk of cooking my eggs this way is the warming up of my kitchen from having my oven going.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Chicken and Broccoli Pie

I just can't seem to get enough of my Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook these days.  I have gobs of sticky notes marking pages for recipes I still want to try.  One thing that seems to be consistent with the recipes already tried is needing to add extra seasoning.  By following the recipes as they are written, the end result seems to be a bit bland for the taste of Papa Bear and I.  That is an easy fix though, so I'm not too concerned about it.

Last night I made chicken and broccoli pie.  Outside of needing a bit more seasoning, it was very good.  It is getting marked as a keeper for future use.  There recipe calls for making it in a 9" pie pan, however, I don't see any reason it could not be made in a casserole dish.  I will give you the recipe as it is written and you can tweak it to fit your own individual taste.

Chicken and Broccoli Pie

1 10oz package frozen broccoli, thawed, drained and chopped
1 1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese (6oz)
1 C cut up chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 C. Bisquick
1 C. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400*.  Grease  9" pie plate.  Put broccoli, onion, chicken and 1 cup of cheese in pie plate.

2. Stir remaining ingredients (except cheese) until blended.  Pour into pie plate. 

3. Bake 30-35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.  Bake 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Next time I make this, I might try using some cream of mushroom soup in place of the milk for a bit more flavor.  I may also add a bit of dill to the wet mixture. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Crab Cakes

I've had a Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook for several years sitting on the shelf with all the other cookbooks.  I was feeling a bit adventurous and decided to plan my menu around this cookbook for a week.  Oh my goodness!  I have been having such a wonderful time trying new recipes out on Papa Bear.  He really is a great guinea pig for me.  The other night I tried the Crab Cakes recipe and it is so darn good I had to share it with all of you.  I will tell you, the recipe below is not exactly the same as I made it...I did a bit of tweaking to it.  Also, I used imitation lobster instead of the crab as that is what I had in the freezer.

Crab Cakes
1 T. margarine or butter
1/3 C. each finely chopped onion, green pepper and celery.
1 C. soft bread crumbs (I used crunched up crackers)
1/2 C. Bisquick
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 14oz package imitation crab flakes, chopped

I also added 1/2 T. horseradish and 1/2 tsp. seasoning salt to give the patties more flavor.

1. Heat oven to 400*. Generously grease 2 cookie sheets.  Melt margarine in 10" skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion, celery and green pepper in margarine about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

2. Mix vegetable mixture and remaining ingredients.  Shape mixture into 1 1/2" patties.  Place on cookie sheets.

3. Bake about 12 minutes, turning once, until golden brown.  Serve with cocktail sauce.

Instead of baking these, I heated vegetable oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and cooked the patties 4-5 minutes, turning them over once.  They will reach a beautiful golden brown.

Papa Bear liked these so much he gave me permission to make them again!   I want to add, these are just as good heated up the next day in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Relaxing Detox Bath

While perusing Pinterest last night, I clicked on a link for a detox bath.  After reading about it I thought to myself, "Self, this might be a good thing for you to try".  Since I don't think my self would  lead me wrong, I followed my advice. 

I was actually wanting to have a nice long soak before going to bed but the directions make it clear to drink plenty of water during and after the soak, and I wasn't really wanting to drink bunches of water before going to bed.  Instead, I set my alarm a bit early and started my day with a nice relaxing soak in the tub.  If it weren't for the fact of loving my sleep, I might just start every day in this manner.  I don't see this happening though as I really enjoy my sleep time.

Bath Detox Directions:

1.  Schedule your bath.  You'll want to plan out about 40 minutes for maximum results.  The first 20 are to pull the toxins out while the second 20 are for letting the minerals absorb into the body.  If in a time crunch, at least getting the first 20 minutes in is still very helpful.

2.  Fill the tub with comfortably hot water.  You don't want to burn your hide, but you do want to sweat.  Fill it as full as possible.

3.  Add Epsom Salt.  Soaking in Epsom salts actually helps replenish the body’s magnesium levels, combating hypertension. The sulfate flushes toxins and helps form proteins in brain tissue and joints.

For children under 60 lbs, add 1/2 cup to a standard bath.
For children 60 lbs to 100 lbs, add 1 cup to a standard bath.
For people 100 lbs and up, add 2 cups or more to a standard bath.

4.  Add 2 cups of baking soda.  Baking soda is known for its cleansing ability and even has anti-fungal properties. It also leaves skin very soft.

The directions go on with fresh ginger and scented oils, but they aren't necessary to the detox. 

The main objective is to sweat, sweat, sweat.  And sweat you will.  If you have a shower curtain, I recommend closing it for optimal heat retention. I will give you a heads up on the gross water you will be ending up with.  The grossness are the toxins floating around.  Honest, this is a good thing! 

Once your detox bath is complete, a warm shower followed by a cool rinse finishes the whole affair quite nicely.  During my next bath, I do believe I will light a candle and have some soft music playing to help set the relaxing mood.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Warm Blanket Snuggles

With the coolness creeping up on us outside, I've been doing a bit of spoiling of the kids inside.  While the children are going potty and getting themselves ready for nap time, I'm tossing their nap blankets into the dryer for a couple of minutes.  Once they are laid down and ready, I snuggle them in with their very own nice toasty warm blanket.

Sometimes the smallest act of kindness can bring joy to another.  The children love the warm snuggly blanket, I love the smiles it brings to them. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

French Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I've been having such a fun time on Pinterest finding all sorts of interesting recipes. The following is for a homemade coffee creamer and literally only takes a few minutes to make. The recipe gives the choice of either vanilla extract or vanilla coffee syrup, I used the syrup and it is so delicious.

 14oz sweetened condensed milk
14oz milk (whole, lowfat, or skim – doesn’t matter)
 2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR Vanilla Coffee Syrup for a stronger flavor
a mason jar (quart is perfect)

Pour all of the ingredients into your mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly, and shake vigorously for a few minutes until well combined. (This would be a perfect opportunity to hand it to your big strong husband and ohhh and ahhh over his big strong muscles as he does all the shaking and mixing)

  To Make it creamier, substitute the milk for heavy cream

Now all you need to do is make a cup of coffee, add your creamer, grab a book and snuggle up in your chair for a time of delicious relaxation.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Season's change...and so do I

Days are getting longer, nights are getting cooler, children are back in school. This all leads to the coming of autumn. With the changing of the season, I'm finding myself going through my own personal change. No, I'm not talking about 'the change of life'. The change I'm referring to has been coming on slowly, yet steadily. I'm finding myself wanting to slow down a bit, take time for myself and Papa Bear, not wanting to be gone from my home three to four nights a week. I thoroughly enjoy all the volunteer work I do and don't want to give up any of the organizations I am a part of. That being said, I don't think I need to be quite as involved in each one as I have been for so many years.

Along with slowing my pace, I'm feeling the desire to change myself. I know, I know, I've talked for a long time about doing this exercise or that, making healthy meals, trying to get more sleep...etc. Now is the time. I have always in the past done (or at least started to do) healthy stuff because it was the right thing to do. Now I actually WANT to do it.

Who knows, maybe I'm coming into my Mid-Life Crisis. Whatever it is, I'm hoping to embrace it and make some much needed changes around here. After spending two whole days with Papa Bear just riding the bikes and seeing the sights, I realize I want much more time like that.

Simplicity. I do believe simplicity in my life is what I will be striving for.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gift of fresh produce

If you are a regular reader of Bear Necessities, you know how much I love living in my little town. This was once again reinforced last week for me. A friend of mine had posted on facebook about spending the day making spaghetti sauce and canning it. I asked for her recipe as this is something I have not yet done. Not only did she send me the recipe, but when I came home from church, there was a big bucket (27 pounds) of tomatoes on my porch!

The process of making spaghetti sauce is a long one. It took me about eight hours from start to finish, but Mm-Mm-Mm it is so worth every minute of it! Now that I have eaten really good sauce, the store bought stuff will never again be good enough. From this 27 pound gift, I was able to can 11 quarts and have enough left over for a meal.

If this wasn't enough, this same friend brought over a bag of green beans which I prepared and was able to can 10 pints! This friend doesn't know it, but come apple time, she is getting a HUGE box of apples left on her porch!