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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!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fair Food!!

It has once again been one of the most magical times of the year..County Fair time!

It's hard to beat a small county fair. The building showcasing local talent with displays of garden goodies, photography, sewing...etc. Also the building with booth after booth of local business owners showing their wares, political parties wanting to impress you with their candidates, and the Sheriff's Department giving out free popcorn.

Then there is the actually fair with all its stimulation of the senses. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and my favorite...the tastes! Bureau County Fair food is something I look forward to all year long. Last year I was experiencing some health issues and was not able to take part in this annual ritual of feeding my face. It was a very sad time for me *sigh*

This year though I was able to enjoy! (insert Hallelujah Chorus)

Papa Bear and I made our way to the fair on Saturday evening to watch the Draft horse show (and to eat). My first stop was to my favorite vendor who has THE BEST cherry limeade and corn dogs. The rest of the evening consisted of watching the horses, eating, walking through the buildings, eating, walking around, eating, and then a little more eating.

Two large cherry limeades
1/2 large lemon shake-up
Corn dog
Chocolate peanut butter fudge
Fried zucchini (veggies..good for me, right?)
Fried Twinkie
Pixie Stick
Nacho w/cheese
Cotton Candy

Papa Bear and I decided we had enough Fair and walked to the car where Papa had the wonderful idea of running through Dairy Queen for a shake. Hey, he was driving, I was kind of forced into it. (grin)

The local volunteer ambulance services provide coverage at the fair, Sunday was our turn...I HAD to go again, darn the luck. It was raining when we got there and proceeded to rain the almost five hours were were there. Well gosh, what is a person to do when it is raining and nothing going on? Yep, eat. I took it easy this time though.
Cherry limeade (only one)
Corn dog
Fried green tomatoes, onion rings, mushrooms and cauliflower (more veggie goodness)
Part of a funnel cake
Iced coffee

When I got home I finished off the cotton candy from last night as I didn't want it to go to waste (at least that's what I told Papa Bear as he gave me a funny look). I still have a few pixie sticks left and a box of salt-water taffy. I'll hold these back for a rainy day when I need a little pick-me-up.

I am a happy girl.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pre-School Time

It is once again time for my Pre-School to start up. Over the summer we have been doing little bits and pieces of it, but not a whole lot. This week, I have been adding a bit more to get the children back in the groove. We will be full-blown class again when September starts.

I've always worked with the children throughout the years, however, I felt the need to do more, to help make them more prepared for school. A few years back I wrote up my own curriculum. Since then I have found a company with a curriculum I am very pleased with...and it fits well with my own.

I would love it if I was able to teach pre-school half days and that was it. Hmmm, I think maybe I'll run that past Papa Bear and see what he has to say. *giggle*

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The window from which we look

A young couple moves into a new neighborhood.
The next morning while they are eating breakfast,
The young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
"That laundry is not very clean", she said.
"She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry,
The young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a
Nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:

"Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this."

The husband said, "I got up early this morning and
Cleaned our windows."

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others
Depends on the purity of the window through which we look!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Who else has been glued to the TV since Friday evening?

I've always enjoyed watching the Olympics in the past, but it's always been a take it or leave it type of thing. I enjoyed watching if I happen to turn it on, but didn't really think about it otherwise. Not this year! I just can't seem to get enough of it. I'm already sleep deprived from staying up late and it's only a few days in. I'll probably have huge dark circles around my eyes by the time it ends.

Saturday two of the grandkids and I watched volleyball and cheered and yelled and jumped up and down and clapped our hands as if we were really there. I'm even thinking about decking the livingroom out patriotic for the duration of the games. I just can't get enough!

I'm finding myself enjoying more than just the main sports...who knew there was more than gymnastics, swimming and volleyball?? Sycrinized diving was interesting, but I was afraid the men were going to dive right out of their little bitty speedos. There is a woman who hit 99 out of 100 clay pigeons, that is awesome! She also has won a medal (not sure if they were all gold) five times in a row. I even watched soccer at the Mexican Restaurant while I was Spanish. I still was glued to the TV.

If you haven't yet watched the games, get the family together, pop some popcorn and take the time to do so and cheer on Team USA!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The end of 35 days

Goodness gracious, life has been one busy day after another...35 days in fact. Beside work, I just came off of having something going on every day for 35 days/nights in a row. *whew* I am one tired puppy.

Even as tiring as it has been, there is not one single thing I would have given up.
Boy Scout camp
Our town festival
Vacation to see Ben in South Dakota

It's been a crazy busy summer, unfortunately it has also meant my home has suffered 35 days of neglect. Good news: that is being rectified even as I type. Just a few more days and everything should be back in tip-top shape.

So dear friends, posting will once again be happening here at Bear Necessities, feel free to comment on posts, recommend topics or ask questions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Maple Syrup Burger

Sometimes I amaze even myself when I decide to invent some new recipe.

Planned on grilling some elk burgers for lunch today but didn't want the same old burger. Looking around the kitchen gave me a light bulb moment. Here is what I came up with:

Elk burger
Chopped onions
Crushed Honey Chex Mix
Maple syrup

Mixed it all together and cooked on the grill. MmmMmmMmmm

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Be The Match

Yesterday morning on Good Morning America, Robin Roberts revealed she has a rare bone disorder and will be needing to undergo a bone marrow procedure. Fortunately, her sister is as close to a perfect match as can be found.

This morning I went to to sign up to be a donor. If I am chosen as a match, I WOULD NOT have to have a huge needle stuck in my spine sucking out my bone marrow. From what was explained this morning on GMA, I would be given a medication that somehow would put what was needed into my blood stream, and then I would basically give blood for a few hours. I know I just explained it in a very simple basic way, but you get the idea of what I'm talking about.

There are so many people on waiting lists trying to find matches. If you take the four minutes needed to fill out the form, you could help save lives. What better feeling in the world is there than helping someone to live?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Italian Raisin Pasta Salad

Last night I stood in my pantry with my hands on my hips trying to figure out what I wanted to go with the spicy oven fried chicken I was making. It was a tad warm out so I didn't want anything hot and heavy.

Still standing there looking.

Still standing there looking.

I spotted the pasta shelf and decided I would go that route, but didn't want the same old same olds that I normally make. I guess I was feeling a bit adventurous as I decided to come up with my own recipe. Because I couldn't come up with anything more exciting in the name department, I'm just gonna go with Italian Raisin Pasta Salad. Yeah, no creative juices were flowing when I came up with that one.

Italian Raisin Pasta Salad

4 C. pasta noodles cooked, rinsed and cooled. (I used bowtie noodles)
1 1/2-2 C. Italian dressing
1/2 avocado~chopped
3 T. banana peppers~finely chopped
1 T. spicy brown mustard
2 1.5oz boxes of raisins
1 C. cucumber~chopped
1/2 C blue cheese crumbles
big handful of spinach~coarsely chopped
1 small tomato~chopped

Mix all of this together. Pour over noodles and mix well. Refrigerate until cold.

This would also be good as a main meal with some grilled chicken on top.

I served this with spicy oven fried chicken and home canned cinnamon pineapple.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"Now now Johnny" doesn't work

Soap Box Alert!

I was brought up with parents who loved us enough to discipline us...regardless of where we were. I was also brought up in a time when it was socially acceptable to discipline your children and make them behave. Because of that, my parents were able to take us children into public to grown up places and not for one second worry if we would act inappropriately. And if we had a brief moment when we started to get a bit naughty, off to the bathroom we were marched and got a spanking right there. It's how all the children I knew were raised and we all seemed to grow up without any major defects because of it.

Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore. When Johnny is in a restaurant and throwing his food and banging his fork on the table and yelling and running around, mom and dad only say, "Now now Johnny, we don't act like that. Now now Johnny, let's not throw our food at the nice lady. Now now Johnny, if you quit running around and yelling I'll take you for ice cream".


What happened to the good old days of actions and consequences? When children were taught from a young age what is and is not allowed? When going for ice cream was a treat, not a bribe to stop bad behavior. I am a firm believer that bad behavior should never be rewarded.

I may sound like an old fuddy-duddy here, but what are these children being taught? How are they going to grow up to function in society if they have no concept of right and wrong? If children are not taught young, how will they ever make good choices when they are older? If they have a sense of entitlement, how will they ever understand when things don't go their way~and know how to deal with it?

There seems to be so much anger in younger people. Could it be they were given life on a platter when they were children, and now as they get older, not have a clue how to deal with being told no and not having it all their way?

I'm happy to say not all parents raise up their children this way. My foster daughter is tough on her children..and we can go out in public with no worries. They understand what 'no' means, and the fact that disobeying it comes with consequences. I applaud all parents who still take a firm stance on child rearing.

Another thing that seems to have gone by the wayside is a good old fashioned spanking. Believe me, I had my fair share of them growing up and I am very thankful to my parents for it. Well, I'm thankful now, wasn't so thankful then. We knew if we got too out of line, off to the bathroom we went. My mom only used her hand, never a spoon or belt or switch or any other object. We were never beat, we were never abused. We received spankings and learned right and wrong.

You may be wondering why I am on my soap box today. Well, I can't really say. I don't have any certain event setting me off. I guess it's just a concern for our young people and the effect 'Now Now Johnny' parenting is having on them. How they are not being taught life has boundaries and just because you want something doesn't mean you are going to get it. They are not learning how to cope with rejection.

Please, please, please, if you are the parent of underage children, it's not too late. Please love your children enough to discipline them. This doesn't meant as your children grow into adults, they are going to be perfect people. Nope, not at all. What it does mean is they will have the knowledge in them of right and wrong. They will make choices, not all of them good, but they WILL have knowledge inside of them that can help in those choices. Without this knowledge, they will make choices only on knowing they should always get what they want and there are no consequences for bad behavior.

Soap box talk is over, thank you for listening. (Smile)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Drinking and Driving

Back in February I shared with all of you when my son was in an accident. This accident was due to drinking and driving. By the Grace of God, both he and his passenger lived. This event drastically changed my sons life.

Sunday, there were three young people in an accident. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene. A girl passed away that evening while the other girl has been released from the hospital. These young people were 20 and 21 years old. It has not been released to the media, but friends of these young people tell me there was alcohol involved. I have no doubt this event will forever change the life of the young girl who lived.

When I was younger, I did my share of drinking and getting behind the wheel. In fact, I did it for many many years. I guess this makes me the proverbial pot calling the kettle black because I want to just kick people square in the seat of their pants when they perform such a dangerous and stupid act.

My heart is breaking for the parents who have just lost children. My heart aches for the girl who will carry this with her the rest of her life.

If there is any good to be found here it's maybe friends of these young people will think twice before drinking and getting into a vehicle.

Friday, May 25, 2012

So much more...

I completely understand getting excited about a three day weekend. Getting to spend time with family and friends around a picnic table, or campfire, or riding down the road on the bikes. Not having to set the alarm clock for three days. Not having demands on our time for three days.

There is so much more...

There needs to be time spent remembering the reason we have this three day weekend. All the men and women who died defending our great country. Some willingly went to battle while others went only because they had to. Regardless of how they came to wear the uniform, they are still dead. Their lives were taken in order for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms we have.

Please check your area and find a program honoring our service men and women on Monday. In my little town, we have a parade followed by a service at the cemetery. It is the same every year, and I wouldn't think of missing it! The parade starts at the Methodist Church, stops at the Veteran's Memorial on Main Street, and ends at the cemetery. The parade is led by the VFW followed by the Ladies Auxiliary. After that are the various Girl Scout Troops ending with Cub Scouts and then Boy Scouts. Years ago, when my little town had its own school, the Marching Band would also take part. We stop at the Veteran's Memorial and the Ladies Auxiliary does a reading. We then proceed to the Cemetery for the ceremony put on by the VFW. The whole parade is about three blocks long, but it is a solomn walk.

I was raised going to the Memorial Day Parade and so were my children. It's not big, it's not fancy, there are no floats or candy throwing. It is however just a very small way we are able to pay respect.

So this weekend, enjoy your picnics and camping and motorcycle riding, but remember to take some time to show your respect and pay honor to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Legacy of Home

From time to time I think we all find ourselves needing a bit of inspiration to keep going in certain areas of our lives. We may actively seek a source of inspiration or if we are lucky, one will fall right into our laps. I have had the wonderful luck of just such a source of inspiration coming into my life.

As you know, I am a wanna-be domestic goddess. I want to be Suzie Homemaker, Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart all rolled into one person. Sadly, I am a closet hoarder, mediocre cook and have to force myself to be organized.


I just happened to follow a link from somewhere to a blog that has richly become my daily source of inspiration. Mrs. White, the woman who blogs, takes being a stay at home mom/wife very seriously. Her satisfaction comes from taking care of her home and family. Her writing is just lovely and I often feel as if she is talking just to me. I used to turn my computer on and go directly to Facebook, now the first thing I click on is her blog. I'm inspired to be a better wife and homemaker.

If you are looking for a source of inspiration, click on over to Legacy of Home and let Mrs. White work her magic on you too!

Monday, May 21, 2012

First campout of the season

If you are a regular reader, you know I occasionally take a little break from Bear Necessities to give my brain some rest. I'm happy to report my brain is well rested and once again ready to go.

I would like to share with you the wonderful weekend I had. My longtime friend Vienna (I call her V) and her family made the two hour drive to our neck of the woods to spend time together camping. Before we even started setting up camp, their children were already in the pond. Now mind you, even though it was in the upper 80's, it is still only May and the pond is spring-fed, making the water quite chilly. I must say it was very enjoyable listening to the kids scream as they kept walking further out into the water.

As we each began to set up our tents, Papa Bear and I had a bit of difficulty with our big tent in the wind. The set up of said tent was ended as the wind kept taking it and I said *gasp* a curse word! The big tent was rolled up (as there was no chance of folding it correctly in the wind), stuck back in the trailer and the smaller tent was pulled out. Even setting the smaller tent up was a bit of a chore, but with the help of V and David, we got the fly on and all was right again in the world.

The weekend was spent basically with the kids playing in the water and fishing, the guys fishing and V and I sitting under a tree with our crochet in our hands and good conversation flowing. Of course, no proper camping weekend is complete without a campfire and s'mores.

I must tell you of one not so wonderful part of the weekend. About dusk, there are these tiny little bugs that come out this time of the year for a couple of hours. We were just finishing up supper when they made their appearance. I was literally having to squint my eyes and hold my breath cleaning up the kitchen area. I'm sure you've all seen a swarm of gnats, this is basically how the whole camp was. They got inside our cooler, tents, clothes...everywhere! We decided enough was enough and went into town for some ice cream. Wouldn't you know it, they followed us! I'm just so thankful they aren't a biting bug or there would probably be nothing left of us. I had finally had enough and sat in the truck. When we got back to camp, I stayed sitting in the truck until V assured me it was safe to come out. After that, everything was back to normal.

I wish my schedule afforded me more camping time as I love to sit and relax with Papa Bear while he fishes and I read or crochet or even just sit and do nothing. Waking in the morning and sitting outside enjoying a cup of coffee while watching the sun come up on the pond is an awesome way to start the day.

A big thank you to David, V, Jacob, Bekah and AnnMarie for sharing a wonderful weekend together.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Big Ten ~5 & 6~

Welcome to week three of a short series on The Ten Commandments. Last week we discussed not taking the Lord's name is vain and remembering the Sabbath. This week we will continue on with numbers five and six.

#5 Honor your father and your mother
In the 23rd chapter of Proverbs, it says to listen to your father because without him, you would not exist. When your mother is old, show her your appreciation. It also says to let your father and mother be proud of you; give your mother that happiness.

Colossians 3:20 "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord".

As a mom, I would love to quote every kids obey your parents scripture in the Bible. But, since I'm a cool mom, I won't do that to you. There is one scripture though that's pretty important. The one about treating others the way you want to be treated. This also applies to your folks.

When I was growing up, I was blessed with good parents. They were strict, and believe me, during my teenage years we fought like cats and dogs, but I knew they would always be there for me. Even now, I don't think I could make myself be disrespectful to them. Partially because that is how I was raised, and partially because I don't doubt to this day if I sassed them, I would get backhanded (my mom had a wicked backhand when I was a kid...back when parents were still able to backhand their own kids).

I grew up in a little town of 1000 people, I still live here, and it's where I raised my boys. I didn't grow up in an abusive or alcoholic home. I didn't grow up in a one parent home, or have divorced parents who constantly showed disrespect to each other in front of me. I can't begin to understand how growing up that way is. But I do know God tells us to honor our parents. It's not a suggestion from Him.

I want to share a little story with you. A Sunday School teacher was teaching her class about the Ten Commandments. After talking to them about honoring their mother and father, she asked if there was a Commandment teaching us how to treat our brothers and sisters. Without missing a beat, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill". [giggle] This brings us to our 6th Commandment:

#6 Do Not Kill
God gave us life and we should treat our lives, and the lives of others, with care and respect.

What about killing other than life, what about killing a person on the inside? When we cut someone down, or keep nagging at them or showing disrespect, we're slowly killing that persons self esteem. No matter what a person lets be seen on the outside, we all know someones words can cut like a knife on the inside. We never know what is going on inside another person and one unkind word from you might be all it takes to push them over the edge.

Gossip falls under this Commandment.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Clean freezers and cooking

I have had a renewed interest in cooking and doing a menu. Friday, Papa Bear and I defrosted, cleaned and organized all three big freezes. I found strawberries in the bottom of the chest freezer I had vacuum packed before we got married (which will be 10 years in July) YIKES! Now that there is a place for everything and everything in its place, I can actually see what I have and am excited to be using it! Unfortunately, I ended up throwing out a 5 gallon bucket full of freezer burnt meat. It's my own fault though, and it did me good to see how wasteful and costly my disorganization can be.

I'm so very happy with the work we accomplished, I have gone out to the garage just to open the freezer doors and admire it all. I'm not being proud or boastful, just feeling accomplished at starting a project and actually seeing it through!

I am now inspired to start cooking again. WooHoo! I am very blessed to be married to a man who enjoys my making supper, but is also completely fine with getting himself something to eat. With the schedules we both keep, we aren't always able to be home at a decent meal time together, which just compounds the problem of cooking. This week seems to be looking pretty good, so I'm going to enjoy some meal planning and preparation.

Wild hog ribs

Turkey and dressing

Venison ham and beans

Crispy oven fried chicken

Grilled salmon

Friday, May 4, 2012

Circa 21 Salad Recipe

Last Sunday afternoon I was enjoying the company of ten other ladies as we left town heading west to the Quad Cities. Our destination was Circa 21 Dinner Theater. There are a group of us ladies who make this trip two or three times a year. It seems our numbers grow with each adventure (word must be getting out about the crazy ladies!).

On this particular trip, the dinner salad was so awesome I vowed to find the dressing to be able to make it at home. This incredible dressing was a cinnamon apple dressing, one I had never had before. In my searching for this recipe, I was fortunate enough to come across the exact salad!

This will not only make a wonderful addition to a meal, I'm also thinking it will be great as the meal all by itself on the hot days of summer.

Give this a try and I hope you find it as enjoyable as I did.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Big Ten ~3 & 4~

Welcome, my dear friends. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and we will continue on with a small study on the Ten Commandments.

Last week we discussed numbers 1 and 2. Today we'll cover numbers 3 and 4.

#3 Watch your words
If you know the 10 Commandments, you know this is actually 'Do not take the Lord's name in vain'. Watch you words, what you say about the Lord, is more to the point though. God wants us to use His name in a loving way, not in vain or anger. Now, the obvious swear word would be G** D****. {shudder} Even thinking that word makes me feel dirty. Unfortunately, there are many who seem to be unable to talk without inserting it into the conversations.

Maybe you don't use that word (good for you!). But...have you ever exclaimed "Oh My God!"? What about in a time of frustration saying "Jesus Christ!"? Yep, just as bad.

There are only two reasons that you should be using His name, when you are talking to Him, or when talking about Him. Everything else falls under the whole 'name in vain' thing. Think about it, how would you feel if your good name was used at a cuss word? I don't think I would take to kindly to Papa Bear hitting his thumb with a hammer and instead of saying "shucky-darn", he yelled out "Mama Bear"!

#4 Remember the Sabbath
We are to rest. We have six days to do our work, but the seventh is dedicated to rest and family and God. By keeping the 4th Commandment, we are showing God we are willing to honor Him. God made the Sabbath as a time for us to rest from the previous six days of work...whether we think we need it or not.

He knew we would need to rest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. The Sabbath is a time to break away from the daily routine. There is much debate on which day is actually the Sabbath, and then what about people who HAVE to work on that day...firemen, hospital workers, farmers still need to milk the cows and feed the pigs and gather the eggs.

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, I feel as long as we take one day a week and set it aside to relax and unwind, that is fine. I like to work in my yard and in my garden. to me, this isn't working. I have no problem doing this on Sunday as I find it to be very relaxing. I really think the Sabbath is meant to take a break from the daily grind, to spend time in Christian fellowship, and to spend time with God.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Egg Bread Recipe

I grew up on cheap white bread, to this day, it is what I prefer. I've been trying to do better about eating whole grains, I'm just not developing a real love for whole grain bread though. Oh, I suffer through and eat it because it's good for me, but it is definitely not my first choice in white bread is.

As I looked through my bread recipes yesterday, I came across one my friend Karyn from The Teakettle Corner gave me several years ago. I had completely forgotten about this little jewel. It's as close to cheap white bread as any homemade bread I have made. I teased Papa Bear with the smell of it, then teased him more as I explained how very light the loaf was, but he couldn't eat any of it yet as it needed to cool. When he was finally allowed to dive into it, he asked if I was going to make another loaf tomorrow! Believe me, this is really something coming from a die-hard wheat bread eater. I'm thinking next time I make it, I'll put the flour as 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat and see how it turns out. Who knows, if whole wheat bread can be as soft as white bread, I may just learn to eat it.

Egg Bread

1/2 C. water
2 C. white bread flour (I used regular white flour)
1 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 T. butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk (reserve white for later)
either 3/4 tsp fast rise yeast or 1 1/2 tsp active yeast

Place all ingredients as recommended into your bread machine and bake with light crust setting.

What I did is:
Place all the ingredients into the bread machine on the dough cycle. When this was complete, I turned it out onto the floured counter and kneaded it a few times. I then made it into a loaf shape and placed it into a greased loaf pan to rise (about and hour). I then brushed the top with the egg white left over from the extra egg yolk. Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes.

This is so incredibly yummy, your Papa Bear will be begging for more too!

Feeling the Love

When I was younger~~much much younger~~I looked forward to my birthday each year. It almost seemed like I was starting the count down the day after my birthday for the next one. Now that I'm a little bit older, this day doesn't seem to be as sought after as it once was. As time goes on, the special day turns from parties and family and presents to getting the kids up and off to school, going to work, getting supper before going out to a meeting. The whole "WooHoo it's my birthday!" becomes just another day.

This year, I had the most marvelous birthday! It all started Saturday when it became clear to me Papa Bear and my dear heart-daughter Alicia had been conspiring together to give me a special time. My most favorite birthday meal is Hooters. Seriously, I DO go there for their hot wings! And for the crab legs, and shrimp and oysters too. So, off to Hooters we all went. Well, Alicia and her family went in their van, Papa Bear and I rode the motorcycles over..Yippee Skippee!

Later that evening, Papa and I went over to our oldest daughters house for a visit and I got to spend some time with two of my grandkids...Yippee Skippee!

Tuesday night, as I lay sound asleep in my bed, the phone rang. Now, everyone knows if the phone rings that late at night, something is wrong. Nope, I was wrong, it was my son Ben calling. He wanted to be the first one to wish me a happy birthday...Yippee Skippee!

Yesterday was my actual birthday and boy oh boy was it great! It started in the morning with my daycare children bringing me cards. My mom and her daycare came over for a visit and brought me a gift. Not just any gift either, it is a singing and dancing bear from Menards (my most favorite store in the whole wide world). It sings the Menards jingle and is absolutely adorable. When I logged onto Facebook, I had gobs and gobs of Happy Birthday wishes (my heart was so filled with happiness). Last night was an ambulance meeting and the whole crew sang Happy Birthday to me, that was just so very sweet of them. After the meeting, we stopped at Alicia and Joe's for a bit and they gave me a gift that fits perfectly between our two families, they couldn't have picked out anything better. AND, I got to spend time with my two heart-grankids...Yippee Skippee!

Tonight, when I get off work, I am going to town to spend time with my foster daughter and my two foster grandkids...Yippee Skippee!

All in all, I think I can say this birthday has been one to rival the birthdays of days gone by. No, there wasn't a party with balloons and cake and presents galore. What there was is way better. This year, I really felt the love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Big Ten ~1 and 2~

Last week I started a short series on the Ten Commandments. I'll be covering a few of them each week. This week are numbers 1 and 2.

#1 There is one God
We worship one God. God made our world and each one of us. He wants us to know He loves us and He will always be with us. There's really not a whole lot to say on this one...ONE GOD, that's all you need to remember.

#2 No false idols
Should we worship more than one God? No, two is too many, one of them must be an idol because there is only ONE GOD. It's ok if you have a cross, that's a reminder. It's a symbol. It's NOT ok if you worship that cross.

I'm gonna show my age here a little and let you know that back in the day, I was a huge Hulk Hogan fan. (You can't see it, but I'm flexing my ripped muscles right now) I was glued to the TV every Sunday night to watch wrestling...'cause we all know how real it is. I lived and breathed Hulk-o-mania. I was definately a Hulk-o-maniac! I think my obsession was on the side of idol worship. Could the Hulkster help me in my time of need? Could he comfort me, heal me, teach me? (Well, he did teach me how to do some great poses in the mirror, but you know what I mean)

Anything we put more importance on in our life then the Lord, is most likely an idol. It is all too easy to find ourselves busy busy busy going and doing in our everyday life. Are these things keeping us going and doing pushing time with the Lord out of the way? At the end of the day, are you able to look back and know you spent time with HIM? If not, then you may be placing more importance on the 'stuff' of life than you are with God. Remember, there is only ONE GOD, things that get in the way of your relationship with Him may be false idols.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My friend, the author!

I look forward to the mail lady each day. Her arrival in front of my house means there is the chance of excitement when I open my mailbox. Who knows what it might be; a seed catalog, a Boy Scout magazine, the latest from LTD, maybe a letter from a friend or family member far away. The possibilities are endless. I even have a friend who raises chickens and each spring brings a whole lot of chirp chirp chirping to the Post Office as her little chicks arrive.

Yesterday was one such day of excitement. Yesterday, my autographed copy of Earth's End arrived! My dear friend, Kim Curley, is a published author and I am so very happy for her. Kim's story, Faith: An Apocalyptic Story, is one of eight stories in this book.

I'll be honest with you, this type of book would not be something I would normally read. That said, I sat down with my book and a glass of water and started to read Kim's story. Wow! I couldn't put it down! It isn't a real long read, I was able to do it during nap time. The problem I ran into was not wanting to put it down, and at the same time drinking a HUGE glass of water. I thought I was going to tinkle my pants by the time I read the last line. I am anxiously looking forward to reading the other seven stories.

Shameless plug

You can click right here and you will be linked to Earth's End on Amazon. Don't let the picture on the cover fool you, this is a wonderful read.

You might even be able to go to your local library and request a copy.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Frugal Tips

As I searched around the internet this morning, with my cup of fake coffee in hand, I came across some tips on being frugal from

Use what you already have. Not buying something is always cheaper than buying something. Look around your house. Do you have another item that will accomplish the same purpose? Can you engineer a solution out of materials you already own?

Borrow items from friends and neighbors. In many situations, you do not need to own an item, you simply need to use it occasionally. If you have a reputation as a good borrower (i.e. returning items on time and in good repair), you will be able to borrow many items from your less frugal neighbors and friends. For example, unless you are an avid camper, you will only use a tent a few times a year. Don't buy one, borrow one from the boy scout leader in your Church.

Use public transportation. You will save gasoline and wear on your vehicle. If it is possible, eliminating your vehicle entirely is an excellent cost saving measure. Or, if you live in Podunk like I do, car pool.

Cook your own food. Restaurants are expensive because you pay for service, ambiance, and space to eat. Cooking your own food also allows you to customize recipes for maximum savings. If you have the space, gardening provides even greater cost savings when combined with cooking your own food.

Avoid name brands. Famous brands are usually more expensive. There are often cheaper, store-brand alternatives that may be of the same or superior quality.

Fix broken items. Often repairs are as simple as a paperclip or some glue or a coat of paint. Even if repairs require tools, it may be cheaper to invest in the tools for future repairs.

Replace only what you need to replace. You can buy a kit to refill your ink cartridge instead of buying a new ink cartridge every time yours runs out. You can buy a new wheel instead of replacing your stroller.

Buy items that are reusable. In the long run, throwing something away and repurchasing it many times will usually be more expensive than buying one durable item. A good example is disposable vs. cloth diapers.

Comparison shop. Compare different brands and packaging sizes of the same product. Sometimes a larger container will be cheaper per ounce. Compare prices between stores. Rarely will one supermarket have the best price on everything. With large purchases such as cars, savings can be even more substantial by comparison shopping.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Big Ten

I will be doing a Wednesday series on The Ten Commandments, or as I like to call them, The Big Ten. I hope you enjoy.

When I was growing up, my folks had tons of rules, and most of them didn't make sense to me.

"Stop and look both ways before crossing the road."
My friends were on the other side having I had time to stop and look BOTH ways. Besides, we live in Podunk, it's not like a lot of cars are on our street.

"Eat everything on your plate."
Even the the carrots? Are you serious??

"Make your bed."
I'm just going to mess it up again.

"Clean your room, don't smoke, be home by curfew..."

At the time, I didn't see a need for their rules other then they were a pain in my rear. Now that I'm older, I see they were there to keep me safe, healthy and learning to be responsible.

Just about anywhere we go in life, there's gonna be rules: home, work, school, even in play. Anyone play basketball? You have rules. Same with soccer, baseball, NASCAR and even Go Fish. I take care of children and we're pretty big into Chutes and Ladders and Candyland. Even my little 3 and 4 year olds understand there are rules.

The Sky is blue, the grass is green and rules exist. It's just a part of life.

What I'm going to tell you about The Big Ten isn't exactly word for word what the bible says. I'm going to tell it a little more simple, but hopefully it will be easier to remember.

The Big Ten

1. There is one God
2. No false idols
3. Watch your words
4. Remember the Sabbath
5. Honor your mom and dad
6. Don't kill
7. Don't commit adultery
8. Don't steal
9. Don't talk about others
10. Don't get the 'gimmies'

Next Wednesday I will start discussing these more in depth with you. I hope you are able to stop by and join me on this journey.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Blue and Gold Banquet

One of the many hats I wear is temporary Cub Master for our local Cub Scouts. I say temporary as I am already Scout Master for the Boy Scouts. I only stepped in to help fill the position and help the Pack out for a few months. While serving as Cub Master, I was given the opportunity to host the Blue and Gold Banquet yesterday...what a great time!

The Pack has some wonderful leaders in place who stepped up and helped get the setting up and decorating done.

Like any good function, it started with a potluck meal...MmmMmmm...I sure love a potluck meal! Somehow, the table I was sitting at went first (golly, I wonder how that happened).

Each Den performed a skit before receiving their awards. Is there anything more cute then nervous little boys talking in front of a crowd of people?

All in all, it was a great day. I think everyone walked away having a good time and encouraged in their Scouting path.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sparky for Cancer!

I would like to introduce all of you to an incredible young man. Dan Knapp is the kind of man we would all love to have as a son...or son-in-law.

I met Dan many many years ago at Ingersoll Scout Reservation while camping there with my Boy Scouts. He went by Sparky then, and believe me, he lived up to his name! Dan was only 12 (I think) at the time but already serving in a leadership role. I've had the honor of watching him grow up over the years, grow into a caring young man who isn't afraid to step way outside the box. Because of this, he relates well with young people, helping to spread a positive message to them.

You may be wondering why I am singing the praises of Dan today, well, let me tell you. He is once again stepping outside that box to help others. He is raising money for childhood cancer by agreeing to have his head shaved.
Here are a few pictures of Dan (Sparky) and some of his wild hair-do's.

In case you are wondering, no, he isn't some kind of weirdo. Well, not in a bad way anyway.
Dan in unselfishly giving each and every one of us an opportunity to help others. Please click on this link to help children with cancer.
Thank you so much for not only taking the time to read this blog post, but for also helping those who are unable to help themselves.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Busy Pinning

Man oh man oh man! I have discovered the world of Pinterest!

I must admit it did take me a little bit to get the hang of it...actually, I asked a few people who set me on the right path to understanding. Once this happened, I find I can't get enough of it. I was warned this would happen but I didn't listen. Listen to me people, if you are not already on Pinterest, be warned, you WILL get addicted!

Here is my shameless plug to join me

Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Maundy Thursday!

Today is Maundy Thursday. I am looking forward to going to church this evening and taking part in Communion. It's a sacrament I always enjoy, but Maundy Thursday and Easter Communion seem to hold a special place in my heart. Here is the link to my Maundy Thursday post from last year.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Milk and Eggs

Here’s proof that husbands do listen to their wives.

This is a story which is perfectly logical to all males:

A wife asks her husband, "Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get 6".

A short time later the husband comes back with 6 cartons of milk.
The wife asks him, "Why did you buy 6 cartons of milk?"

He replied, "They had eggs."
**This is an email I received from my dad that made me giggle right out loud!**

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Declutter

I had mentioned earlier about a declutter calendar I have been following. I just can't hardly believe how much I've gotten done just by following it daily.

In case you are interested in starting along, you can click here for April's calendar. Honestly, doing one chore each day will soon have your home almost decluttering itself!

On another note, I must once again hang my head in shame as I admit to homemaker failure. Papa Bear was gone for two weeks and in his absence, my kitchen was spotless! Dishes done after every meal...AND put away. Table kept cleaned off. Floors mopped every day.

And then Papa came home...and the day he came home my counter and table looked like they belonged in a hoarder house! What's up with that? I so wish I was one of those women who keep a spotless home at all times. I would love to not cringe when someone stops by for a visit un-announced. I'd also love to be rich and never have to work again, but I don't see that happening either.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beginning of Holy Week

Today, Palm Sunday, marks the beginning of Holy Week, a most important time for Christians.
This week, I will be linking back to my Holy Week posts from last year. If you were a reader last year, it's always good to have a reminder. If you are a newer reader, I hope you will enjoy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

DIY for Spring Gardeners

I was cruising around the internet this morning and found this great idea for watering plants at A journey to a Dream blog.

Not only is it pretty cool, it also practises something I'm a big fan of~~recycling!

Hop on over and take a look.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

MmMmMm...yummy banana bread

My kitchen is smelling all kinds of scrumptious this morning. As I sit here and type, there are exactly 34 minutes left on the timer until the yummy banana bread can be taken out of the convection oven. After that, I will force myself to wait the required 5 minutes for the bread to start cooling.

Watch out though, once that time is done, the bread will be sliced and butter slathered on it. I will then sit down with said buttery bread and a nice hot cup of my fake coffee and enjoy a little bit of me time.


How can 34 minutes move so slow??

Betty Crocker's Banana Bread

1 C. sugar
1/3 C. margarine or butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. mashed bananas
1/3 C. water
1 2/3 C flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
I do not add nuts but I do add 1 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 350*. Grease bottom only of loaf pan.
Mix sugar and margarine in 2 1/2 quart bowl.
Stir in eggs until blended.
Add bananas and water (beat 30 seconds)
Stir in remaining ingredients just until moistened.
Pour into pan.
Bake 55-60 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes (this is SO hard for me!)
Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing (as you read above, I skip this part).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fridge Addiction

I think I may have an addiction to cleaning out my fridge. I have it scheduled for Monday morning, and it seems I'm just itching to get in there and do it. Even throughout the week I *have* to keep it organized. Each shelf is designated to certain items. Heaven help the poor soul who puts a condiment on the left over shelf!

What I'm wondering is how I can get this clean/organized fridge addiction to spill over into the rest of my house?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Great Blog Find

As I was doing my morning cruise through Prairie Homemaker, I came across a link to a blog which sounded a bit interesting to me. Much much time later, I finally pulled myself away from it. The Legacy of Home is dedicated primarily to homemaking and the joy of it.

It's so easy to find ourself going through the motions of keeping house only because it needs to be done. I have been guilty more than once of this. This blog is a wonderful reminder to me that I actually do enjoy taking care of my home.

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and go over to The Legacy of Home for a visit.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A long, cool drink

Jesus cried out, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"
John 7:37-38

Each year the local FFA grows plants and flowers to be sold in the spring. I look forward to the plant sale as soon as it starts getting a bit warmer out. Each year I go way over-board, coming home with my trunk stuffed full of my purchases. Before long, planters are placed around the patio and yard filled with their beautiful flowers. I take the time to water and care for them daily. It brings me joy to simply walk around the yard and look.

Then I get distracted.

Before long, my beautiful flowers are dry and droopy. I run for the hose to provide them with a much needed long drink, hoping they will be able to revive.

We need the water of God's Word as much as my flowers need the water of my hose. When I get distracted by life and neglect my time in prayer and with my Bible, I get dry and droopy. The great thing is, by believing in Christ, I can tap into an endless supply of life giving water. When I stay in the Word, I feel stronger, able to survive the day.

My question to you: Have you turned to Christ lately for a cool drink of the water of life?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wanna Comment?

It has come to my attention there are some of you dear readers who would like to leave comments on Bear Necessities, you just don't know how. Well, we can fix that right now, it really is an easy thing to do. In fact, I explain how to do it in any earlier post right here.

As a blogger, it is always nice to hear some lets me know I'm not here just talking to myself! LOL

Beer Bread

When Little Bear was just a cub, he loved my beer bread. Of course, we called it 'dense bread' as I didn't want him running around saying he got to have beer. In the summer, we would make a tray up with sliced cheese, deer salami, fresh fruit and veggies and slices of dense bread w/butter. This was a regular summer supper for us.

The bread itself is very simple to make. It takes a couple of minutes to make and an hour to cook...presto!

Beer bread

3 C. self rising flour**
3 T. sugar
1 12oz. can of beer @ room temperature

Mix all ingredients. Put into greased loaf pan. With wet fingers, smooth out top.

Pre-heat oven (very important) to 325*. Bake 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly then remove from pan.

**Self rising flour**
1 C. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Whisk together well. Be sure to adjust for 3 cups needed in recipe

Sprite or 7UP can be used instead of the beer, it just isn't quite as good in my opinion.

This bread is best eaten the same day. It's also a perfect bread for adding flavorings too. I like to do a heavy sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar to the top and make toast. Italian spices can be mixed in for eating with spaghetti or lasagna. Horseradish and ground black pepper is tasty for eating with cheese. Use your imagination!

Since this is a very dense bread, it is great to also eat with soups and stews in the cold weather time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Don't be a party jumper


For my Illinois readers, tomorrow is a very important day for us. Tomorrow are the Illinois Primaries. Some don't get out and vote at this time thinking it's not a 'real' election. Boy oh boy are they ever wrong! It's a chance to choose the best candidate for your party.

There is one part of the primary process that gets on my nerves and that is party jumpers. Those people who jump party lines to vote for who they feel to be the weaker candidate to go up against their own candidate. To me, this says they don't have faith in their own party. I think party jumping is just a shame.

Please take the time tomorrow to get out and exercise your right to vote. Every vote counts.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The corner station

When I was a little girl, my little town had a corner full service filling station. Full service meant not only filling up the gas tank, but also cleaning the windows, checking under the hood, putting air in the tires and asking about your day~and waiting for the answer. They also did repairs in the garage.

As kids, it was a great treat to take 3 dimes in and get a bottle of soda. It was also fun to jump on the hose run across the drive to make the bell ding.

When I was in 8th grade I had a huge crush on the high school boy working there. I would get lots of sodas each day just to see him. *sigh*

I understand progress is needed in order for small towns to thrive and grow. That old corner filling station has been gone for many many years. In fact, only the garage part of it is still standing and it is now used for private storage. I just wish progress didn't have to mean getting rid of the very things that make a small town quaint and homey.

In my own little world, my town would still have the filling station, and the barber shop for all the men to sit and tell their stories. There would be a grocery store with a butcher to cut your meat and bag boys to not only bag up your items, but to also carry them out and put them in your car.

The bank would be locally owned. Main Street would be a bustle of activity on Saturday mornings. Kids would be out riding their bikes and playing ball on the diamond and using their imaginations to keep busy all day.

Parents would sit on the front porch to watch the children play in the evening. Neighbors would visit with neighbors.

You all might as well go on with the rest of your day, I think I'm gonna stay here in my own little world in my own little town with a bottle of soda from the filling station where that cute high school boy works.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bike Time


With the mild winter we have had here in Illinois and the above average temperatures we are experiencing, motorcycles are are out and about already. Please look and double-look when crossing intersections.

That said, I had my first ride of the season last night. Papa Bear was a sweetheart and did all the maintenance on my bike this year to get it running before July! Unfortunately, his wasn't quite ready to go so I took my first ride of the season by myself *sigh*

Looking forward to an evening here soon where neither one of us have anything going on so we can get out and ride.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Couch to 5K

Today I am starting on a nine week journey. Don't know how much fun this journey is going to be in the beginning, I'm sure though I will be loving it by the end. You see, today I start the Couch to 5K program. The idea is to take me from a couch potato to running a 5K in just eight weeks.

Even though the program is for eight weeks, I'm starting it by first doing a week of conditioning my body. Drinking lots of water, eating pretty healthy, and doing some basic exercising so my body doesn't go into shock.

I'll be keeping a journal during this journey. Tracking my eating, my sleeping, my water and my program progress.

I tried to do this about a year ago and failed miserably at it. I don't think my heart was in the right place. I think I might be ready now...uummmm...I HOPE I am ready this time.

If all goes well, I will be able to run in my little towns 5K race during the summer festival~that is my goal.

Well dear reader, that's what I have going on, feel free to keep me accountable!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fake Coffee


I stand before you this morning to say, "My name is Mama Bear and I am a fake almost every day". Judge me if you will, but it's not going to change.

You'll remember a few weeks ago I shared with you about EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, my friend Lori turned me on to. This technique has made a huge difference in my life. Lori also helped me in another area I was having much struggle with, coffee.

I like coffee, I really really like coffee. Not to the point of being a coffee snob or anything like that, I just really really enjoy drinking coffee throughout my day. Due to health issues, I am no longer able to do that.


Lori came to my rescue once again and turned me onto a product I can drink in place of my decaf pots of coffee each day.

Cafix is an all natural drink that is naturally caffeine free. I can drink as much of it as I want and it doesn't cause me any pain. I like that it is instant so I can enjoy a cup anytime I want.

The flavor is just a bit different than coffee, however, it definitely takes care of my coffee fix.

I do want to caution you, even though I can drink Cafix all day without it causing me health problems, I don't. Well, let me clarify that I won't do it again. You see, it is all natural...ALL gets you moving (if you know what I mean). Nope, won't make that mistake again.

If you are interested in trying this wonderful hot drink of happiness and you are local, visit Lori at Optimal Health in Princeton, IL. If you are not local, I'm sure you can do a Google search and find it in a health store near you.

I'm going to take a small break and enjoy a cup of my fake coffee, I do hope you all have a day filled with friendships, happiness and blessings.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Start of Spring Cleaning!

It's time! It's time!

With Spring right around the corner, I find myself in the Spring Cleaning mood. I have been doing a bit here and a bit there and this morning I am pleased to announce my kitchen has been purged, decluttered, organized and spring cleaned!

So, two rooms down (bathroom was the first I did), five areas left. I think the next will be the laundryroom. Once it is done, Papa Bear is going to build two more sets of cabinets for me. After that, the whole room is getting a fresh coat of paint and some new curtains.

I love this time of the year when it is barely warm enough to crack a window just a bit to let in some fresh air, yet not warm enough to really get out and do anything. Once it's warm enough to be out, I find I have to literally force myself to get anything done inside.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


My friends Joe and Alicia have created a monster! Yep, it's all their fault. I am completely blaming them for my being tired today due to staying up to watch the Daytona 500 last night.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't give two hoots for NASCAR. I found it to be a waste of time. I would liken it to watching paint dry. I even took my Boy Scouts to a race at Chicago Speedway and found myself so very bored. I said I would never again do that...EVER!

My, my, my how things have changed. I am addicted to it now! It all started a couple of weeks ago when Papa Bear was gone and I was lonely. I took my crochet and went to my friends house to hang out with them and play with the kids. This is a huge NASCAR family. While there, they turned on the Budweiser Shoot-out, did a bit of explaining to me, and I was hooked. Who knew picking someone to follow would make such a difference?

This weekend, I made my plans around the races. Last night, I changed plans so I wouldn't miss the race which had been rained out on Sunday. My friends got me in on Fantasy Racing. *SIGH* I'm hooked. I sure hope the Chicago Speedway offers special discounted tickets for the Boy Scouts in the fall again!

Lesson here...never say never!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A bad kind of dry

In some instances, dry is a good thing:

* A dry spot in a rain storm
* Dry grass to sit on
* Dry sheets when it's time to go to bed (as opposed to still being wet in the washer because I forgot about them)

One thing definitely not good dry is a bloggers brain. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has been going on here. My brain has been dry dry dry. Think desert dry. Think left extra long in the dryer dry. Think so dry I could not squeeze out a single drop of creative juices dry. Yep, it's been a very dry couple of weeks.

I'm happy to report the dryness is lifting. I'm feeling a bit of wetness in my brain again (hoping it doesn't mean my brain has a leak!) I'm looking forward to once again posting, and I want to thank all of you for hanging in there with me during this dry spell.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Do you Ash Wednesday?


Today, Ash Wednesday, is the first day of Lent.

For many Christians, now is the time of fasting and repentance. The time to let go of bad actions and concentrate on becoming better. The time to 'give up' something that is difficult to go without (think chocolate, coffee, internet...). During times of cravings of the given up something, remember the sacrifices Jesus made for us. In comparison to that, [insert your given up something] doesn't seem like such a difficult thing to go without for 40 days (plus Sundays).

Lent is also a great opportunity to spend more time in God's Word. Spend time in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John...first four books of the New Testament) and learn how Jesus lived His life. How did he deal with conflict, with demands on his time, with haters? Is it possible to learn to live a better life by reading about His? I do believe so.

You don't need to be affiliated with a church/denomination to practice Lent. It's a personal journey.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday: how will you observe the day?

Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras, is being celebrated around the world today as Lent draws near. This holiday, however, has two very different observances leading up to Ash Wednesday. While many enjoy Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, as a time of indulgence and possible gluttony, others spend the day in prayer, preparing their hearts and minds for the upcoming period of Lent. But where did this holiday get its start, and why are there such different means of observing the day?

Mardi Gras marks the period of time between Epiphany, the revelation of Jesus as God's son, and Ash Wednesday. Many use the final three days as a time of pure indulgence and celebration before Lent. Celebrations throughout the world include parades, sporting competitions and dancing. One of the most well-known parades, at least in the United States, takes place in New Orleans.

According to the American Catholic website, "Mardi Gras, literally 'Fat Tuesday,' has grown in popularity in recent years as a raucous, sometimes hedonistic event. But its roots lie in the Christian calendar, as the 'last hurrah' before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday."

Some, however, take a more solemn approach to Tuesday and spend the day in prayer. Fat Tuesday is also known as Shrove Tuesday, which means, "to confess." People in primarily English-speaking countries often pray and confess their sins as a way to prepare for Lent.

Pancakes are traditionally eaten on Tuesday, as they are made of simple ingredients most already have in their homes. In fact, pancakes have become so popular for the day that there are pancake races held in Buckinghamshire. Kansas and Buckinghamshire have held International Pancake Day races as part of a tradition dating back to 1950.

Tomorrow's observance of Ash Wednesday will lead Christians and believers into the period of Lent, which is a time of fasting and giving up as a reminder of the time Christ spent in the desert. But the question remains: How will you observe today? Will you spend it celebrating and indulging? Will you spend the day in prayer and confession? Or will you work to combine the two?

[copied from World]

Thursday, February 16, 2012



I am completely in love with this multi-purpose cleaner. With all its uses, it is very cost effective (frugal). Take a look at the list:

•Odor eliminator
•Air freshener
•Multi-purpose cleaner
•Laundry refresher
•Kills 99.99% of germs
•Original eucalyptus scent
•128 oz. jug of concentrate make up to 32 gallons
•24 oz. ready-to-use spray bottle
•Fabric refresher

I use it with my laundry, to clean my bathroom, kitchen, laundry room. I spray it on my laminate floors and wipe. The couch and chair along with the children's table and chairs are cleaned with it. When I had carpet, I would use it on those troublesome dog accident areas. The possibilities are endless...all for about $14 a jug!

I have a friend pick it up for me at Sam's Club, however, you can get it online...but you have to pay more for shipping then what you pay for the jug.

Thankful Thursday

If you are my friend on FaceBook, you already know the excitement we had over the weekend. If not, you will soon understand why I am so very thankful.

I was woken Saturday morning with a phone call by my 20 year old son, who lives 13 hours away from his mom, saying he had been in an accident and was in the hospital. He and a friend had been out drinking and were stupid enough to get into a vehicle. They both fell a sleep. The truck went off the road, hit a field turnout and went air born. My son (who was not seat belted) was thrown from the truck. His friend (who was seat belted) was pinned inside and had to be cut out.

Both are out of the hospital and healing. It is only by the grace of God these boys are alive. I have told God thank you about a cagillion times already, and will continue to do so.

There is a silver lining here, my son is taking this all very seriously. He is publicly telling everyone about the drinking and his stupid actions. He wanted to see if the truck could be parked near the high school as there is a real problem with teenage drinking in the town he lives. He realizes he was given something his brother wasn't...a second chance at life. He wants to see why God has kept him here and what is in store for his life. He understands there will be huge consequences to his actions and is ready to accept them.

My son and his friend lived through this and I am so very thankful they did. Thank you Lord for your shield of protection!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love my Bear


Today is the day for love. Mmmmm...I sure do love Papa Bear.

He's my rock. He's my calmness in a storm. He's my grounding. He knows my good sides, my bad sides and my weird little quirks, and loves me anyway. The Lord definately blessed me when He put Papa Bear in my life.

Happy Valentine's Day Honey, I love you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Eat the Fridge

Do you find science projects in the back of the fridge? Green oranges in the crisper? A bottle of...wait, what is that??

Food wasted is money wasted--not a very frugal thing. So, what are we going to do about this? Hmmmm {scratches head} let me think. I know! {Lightbulb moment} Use it up!

Instead of throwing that little bit of veggies away, put it in a container in the fridge to make soup with at the end of the week. Some meats can also be added to this. The water you drain off boiled potatoes can be added as well as the liquid drained off the veggies. At the end of the week, add broth, seasoning, noodles, rice...whatever you would like, and enjoy a waste-free soup.

If you aren't into the soup thing, you can keep your leftovers in a designated area of the fridge and once a week have a leftover buffet. Little dabs of this and that. The reason for a designated area is to keep science projects from happening.

If there are large enough amounts left for another meal, you can package them and place them in the freezer (make sure to mark what is inside and the date). You not only will save money, you will also save time later on when all you need to do is pull the package out, let it thaw and reheat.

Fruits getting a bit soft and no one wants to eat them? Cut into bite size pieces, add a bit of yogurt, stir and enjoy.

Groceries is one of the biggest areas we can save money. There really is no reason to ever throw out food.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

No Stress??

You hit snooze one to many times making you late for work. The boss was a jerk. You forgot your lunch at home. The car has a flat tire. One of the kids comes home from school sick. Your teenager has major attitude because you dared to breathe her air. Supper was something just thrown together and no one really cared for it. The dog puked on the floor.


I've lived many years dealing internally with stress and anxiety. I've been able to remove many of the triggers from my life, yet some things are just unavoidable. Until now, I've just dealt with it...but no longer. I've been turned onto a natural way of feeling better that I feel I must tell everyone about. It's just way to good to keep to myself.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). It's a series of 'tapping' points on the body to rid the body of the yucky stuff. My friend Lori has a store in Princeton, Optimal Health, 815-915-4115 . What Lori teaches is a natural healthy way to deal with the 'yucks'. This is a technique you take with you into life. You can do it whenever you need.

There is no way I will be able to fully tell you the wonders of EFT, I highly recommend you research it for yourself...and call Lori! If you aren't local, find a naturopath in your area and ask if they are familiar with this technique.

Think of it, a life with little to no stress...even when the dog pukes on the floor.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I like football??

I think I might like football {audible gasp}. I know, right? Who would ever think I would be a football fan? Oh sure, I don't mind half-way watching a game when it's on, but I wanted to watch the Super Bowl, and not just for the commercials either. In fact, I found myself in quite the predicament during last nights game--I didn't want to miss any of the game and I didn't want to miss any of the commercials...when was I supposed to get up and get my football game munchies?

Of course, I decide to get into football when it's over for the season. I couldn't get excited about it when it was on every week. {rolls eyes at myself} Oh well, better late than never I guess.

Go Bears!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do you need an ambulance?

One of the worst feelings to have is the feeling of helplessness when a loved one is hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen this over and over again. As many of you know, I'm an EMT on our local volunteer ambulance service. When we respond to a call, there is certain information we try to obtain either from the patient or the family. When the patient is unable to respond, and the family has no clue, that helpless feeling is written on their face.

Sit down with your loved ones and discuss some of the following. It's also an excellent idea to have it all written or typed on a paper that is handy in an emergency. Some people carry it in their wallet, put it on the fridge door or in the medicine cabinet. Gosh, you could even have a copy of your spouses sheet with your own in your wallet.

Family doctor
Medication and dosage
Medical history: diabetes, heart, COPD, surgeries...
DNR: Copy MUST be shown to EMT's

This information is important in the care of patients. Make sure medication list is kept current. If not 100% sure it is, grab a bag to put the medications in to be taken to the hospital with the patient.

Also, when following the ambulance to the hospital, keep in mind you still must follow rules of the road! The ambulance has lights and sirens...we are both seen and heard. The car following behind us with a worried driver at the wheel is nothing more than just another car on the road. No special privileges apply to you. If you follow an ambulance through an intersection, there's a good chance you could be in an accident.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flash Freeze It

I'm going to take a leap here and assume you enjoy saving both time and money. Flash freezing will help you accomplish both of those with little effort.

The money saving comes from stocking up when fresh items such as onion, potato, celery, carrot, blueberry, grape...etc are on sale. The time saving comes from having items cut and ready to use while cooking.

Let's use celery as an example. When it's on sale, I stock up and take advantage of the deal. I wash it and cut it into pieces I will use in soups and such. What then needs to be done is to line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lay the celery pieces out in a single layer, pop the cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour and presto! You have just done a flash freeze. Label quart size freezer bags with the contents and date. Put the frozen celery in the bag and toss it back into the freezer for later use. When you need some celery for a dish, pull the desired amount out of the bag. The reason for the flash freeze is to keep you from having one big frozen clump of celery in the bag.

I especially like to do this with onions so I get all the crying out of the way at one time.

Grapes and blueberries are also great for flash freezing. They can then be eaten either frozen or thawed. I do want to caution you though, don't thaw out a large amount at one time. Once thawed, the grapes need to be eaten in a relatively short amount of time or they tend to get a little mush factor going.

Watch those sale fliers for great deals, stock up and save yourself both money and time in the long-run.