Friday, November 6, 2015

Finger Painting and Other Art Projects - Part II

Mr T.'s older brother loves "projects", but then again he is 5.  Torren at age 3 is not so much interesting in Grandma's projects.  However, I decided to try, try again, just in case.

While doing these projects, someone was not having much fun.  You'd think I was making him do something sit in one place and utilize his small motor skills.

This was the second try at the mess-free finger painting.  I used paint labeled "washable finger paint". It must have contained some sort of medium because it had a very weird consistency, even within the ziplock bag.

This is using the same finger paint but without the zip lock bag.

This one was using sponges and fingers.  He definitely preferred the sponges.  He doesn't appear to like anything sticky or wet on his finger tips.

The next day, we tried painting using other tools, like popsicle sticks and Qtips.  I handed him a Qtip, which he promptly used to clean his ear and then proceeded to dip it in the paint.  At least it wasn't the other way around.

And today, giving it one last (for this week anyway) try, we attempt cotton ball painting.  This was another Pinterest find.  Torren was not impressed.  He was entertained by this for less than 60 seconds.

Mr. T seems to be more interested in using his larger muscle groups.  Re-enacting "Five Little Monkeys" jumping on the bed is far more interesting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Recipe Share - Korean Beef In The Crock Pot - A Pinterist Success Story

Honestly, most of the recipes I try from Pinterest are epic failures.  Last week, I tried a Korean Beef recipe that used ground beef.  It wasn't quite a "fail" but it was unimpressive.  I decided to try again when I saw that my local store had chuck roasts on sale.

OMG - this recipe was easy and so fricking good!  I served it the first night with jasmine rice and broccoli.  The second night, I made stir fried veggies, added some of the left over meat and sauce, and mixed in some Top Ramen Noodles (cooked and drained - no seasoning packet).  We still have more roast left, and I haven't decided if I'm going to freeze it, or just eat the rest for lunch and dinner tomorrow as husband will be visiting at a friend's home.

Click here for the recipe Slow Cooker Korean Beef From Damn Delicious 

Sorry no photos on my page.  I'm not much on presentation.   The Damn Delicious site has pictures and nutrition facts.

The only thing I did differently was to sear the roast before I put it in the crock pot.  Also, I did not have any sesame oil on hand, so I just used regular vegetable oil in which I had toasted some sesame seeds.

This will be a regular menu feature every month in my house.  I might even invite guests over - and that is saying something because I DON'T entertain!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mess Free Finger Painting - Another Pinterest Fail

Of course, it may have gone better had I actually read all of the instructions.

My disclaimer is that this project was initially created for infants becoming comfortable with tummy time.  The idea came from the Can Do Kiddo website  It appealed to me because I love mess free, especially as I am without a kitchen table.

We had sold the old kitchen table and benches we had be hanging on to for years.  The benches were really cool as they had built in storage.  However, the benches had pink colored fabric that matched the kitchen before we remodeled five years ago.  The kitchen is now predominately green and black.I guess my tolerance limit is about five years.

Anyway, we were using the galley table and chairs from our fifth wheel.  Then we sold our fifth wheel.  Good bye table and chairs.  Between losing the table and chairs, and moving a train table from our daughter's house to ours, we had to do some rearranging. This is why there is a train in my dining room,

and my good mahogany table is in kitchen.

And that is why I'm into anything "mess free".

But back to the finger painting.  I'm calling this project an initial fail.  However, I'm taking some of the blame; okay - most of the blame.  I didn't have any traditional finger paint, so I used acrylics.  They do not spread easily by hand the way finger paint does.  Also, I failed to read the part about preserving the painting.

Placing dots of paint on paper, you then slide the paper into a zip lock bag, and let the little fingers go to town.

Here is Mr. T's painting.

And here is how it looked when I tried to remove it from the bag.  Unfortunately, the paper ripped.

My bad though.  The instructions did suggest using a sharp knife to cut along the edges of the paper and then peel the plastic off.  That way the paper does not tear.

I'm not writing this project off as a complete failure.  I will try again next week, with regular finger paint, and preserving the picture as suggested by the website.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Never A Dull Moment - I Need More Coffee

You would think that when you retire, things would slow down, allowing one the freedom to come and go as he or she pleased.  That is a misconception held by many working people.  However, ask any retiree, and they will tell you how much busier they are now.

I find that it actually goes in cycles.  I'm busy for a bit, and then I slow down and do as little as possible, just because I can.  When we first retired, we travelled in our RV for about 4 months.  Grandkids started arriving (two in 2010, one in 2012, and one in 2013).  It was time to stay put for a while to enjoy them and help out.  We did some more traveling and came back.  We spent some time working on the house, and then updating the RV.  I say "we" but it is really my husband that was doing all the work.  My job was to start going through all the stuff we had accumulated in 35+ years of marriage.  It was time to let go of things we no longer needed or used.  I had boxes and boxes of things from my mother's estate that I had saved.  I used the affirmation, "I easily let go of things I no longer need." I'm down to just a few odds and ends to make final decisions on.

Just when I thought we were winding up on a busy stretch, we decided to take do another stint of "Grandma and Grandpa Daycare".  We had taken care of two of our grandsons during each of their first years of life.  It is a lot of work, as any stay at home mom or dad can attest to.  There is a reason people have children in their 20s and 30s (and if they are really brave, in their 40s), and not in their 60s.  And we were not dealing with the normal "there's a baby in the house" sleep deprivation, yet still we are pooped by the end of the day.  As one of our younger grandsons moved into a new class at preschool/daycare, we noticed a sudden change in his behavior and his moods in general.  He was not connecting with his new teacher, and the new more structured routine of this class.  He appeared to be unhappy and almost depressed.  I couldn't stand it, and with his parents' approval, we began again to care for him during the day.

Mister T just turned three.  I don't care what they say about the "twos" - I find the "threes" to be the most terrible.  At three, they are more independent.  They are better at problem solving, i.e. if I move that chair over, I can climb up on the kitchen counters, etc.  They are stubborn.  They refuse to nap even though you know they are tired.

Mister T is really Grandpa's boy; all our grandsons are Grandpa's boys.  Grandma becomes slightly more interesting when there are art and cooking projects to do.  Most of Mister T's day is spent dragging Grandpa from this to that and back again.

To give my husband a break, I scour Pinterest to find ideas to keep Torren busy for a few minutes here and there.  I have found lots of preschool activities, some better than others.

The other day, I found a blog article about tea-bag painting.  I'm not a tea drinker, but from time to time, I buy boxes of herbal tea to have on hand if someone has a sore throat or wants a warm, decaffeinated drink before bed.  I thought I'd give it a try.  Going through my assortment of teas, I found mostly mint and chamomile teas, along with some green tea.  Not a large choice of "colors" especially when someone's favorite color is red.  I made a quick trip to the store for another choice.

This is what I found:

Obviously I bought tea that I thought I might drink.  Maybe I should have picked something with berry in the title.  The tea bag painting might have turned out more impressive than this:

Torren wasn't impressed either.  He was more interested in squooshing and squeezing the bags over my clean kitchen floor.  (Anyone who knows me, knows that "clean" is an objective adjective - so consider the source.)  This whole project held his attention for maybe one minute.  Way too much work.

This is just one more reason I will never become a tea-drinker.  Coffee is really my morning beverage of choice.  But I will say, the White Chocolate Mocha Black Tea was pretty good.  Of course, I made it better with some stevia and some half-and-half.  Hmmm.....I wonder how some Bailey's would taste?

Stay tuned for more Pinterest fails.......and maybe an occasional keeper.  Right now, I'm off to make coffee!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Affirmations For September

This month's affirmations come from a book by Woodeene Koenig-Bricker, 365 Saints. It is a book of daily inspirational readings based on the lives of Saints.  It is a book I read every day and have done so for five or more years.  I find much encouragement about life in general from reading about these individuals.  They are so "human"!

1.   Today and every day, I will trust in the goodness and wisdom of life.

2.   I know that each time I choose love over hate, I grow spiritually.

3.   I seek peace in all situations.

4.   I will look for God's loving touch in my life today.

5.   I open my eyes to new possibilities in every life situation.

6.   I do what I love and I love what I do.

7.   I believe that God is with me at all times and in all places.

8.   I use my time wisely and efficiently.

9.   I look forward to all life has to offer.

10. I believe in miracles.


Monday, August 31, 2015

The Divine Power of Wisdom

Things got busy around the house, but I finally got in some painting time.  I'm continuing on with my paintings of the Twelve Divine Powers.  Today's painting is wisdom.

"I am guided by divine wisdom in every thought, word and action."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Day #22 Came and Went, This Is Day #23

and I'm done.  At least with the challenge.  And maybe with the blog.

I'm bored.  I don't feel like I have anything to say or share right now.  So I'm taking a break, and releasing my challenge for the month.  This feels like a time for self reflection to me.  And it is something better done in a journalling format, rather than through a blog.  Y'all really don't need to know about those random thoughts that float through my mind - trust me!  I'll be back at a later date, or maybe I shall become a hermit and never post again.  Time will tell.  Take care all!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Day #21 - To Blog Or Not To Blog…..

I've been asking myself that question.  I understand the reasons that many people blog….that is to promote their work, or to earn some income (honestly, I do not get how people make money through adsense, at least enough to call income) or just to be heard.  I guess I fall into the latter category.  It's not that I have anything of real interest to say most days.  My goal is to channel some words of wisdom, or something that makes the read smile or laugh, on a somewhat regular basis.  Thus, I am 21 days into my personal challenge for the month of August.

The problem with committing to a personal challenge (for me, anyway) is that I will always follow through, even when I don't feel like it.  This brings us to today.  I'm having one of "those" days.  I feel blah.  I do not feel inspired to write, to paint, to clean, to garden, to walk.  I feel inspired to eat junk food.  And that is the problem.  I'm feeling pretty blah because I have not been eating food that satisfies any nutritional need and certainly is not satisfying my soul.  I hope to change that pattern today.  But as of right now, Betsy's Blah Blah Blog is just that...a bunch of blah, blah, blah.

So why am I still writing? (And more importantly, why are you wasting your time reading this?)  I'm still writing because I made that personal challenge to myself to write something everything day this month.  And this is it.

Today's words of wisdom?  People without gallbladders should not eat high fat foods.  And they certainly should not eat them three days in a row!  Let's just leave it at that.  Anything more would come under the title of TMI!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Day #20 - Facebook Hint

OMG - this is such a cheesy excuse for a blog post, but I am so excited.

The other day, I complained about Facebook taking away the ability to not have to see everything that your "friends" like and/or comment on, especially when it does not concern mutual friends.  For instance, I could care less if one of my causal acquaintances commented on posts of one of their nieces or nephews.

I found this quite by accident, and although it has only been a few hours, I think it works.  If you enable the "ticker" on the right edge of the page (by all the ads), then those "like" and "comment" notifications show up there, and NOT on your wall.  For me, the ticker thing is the lesser of two evils.

Disclaimer:  I think my newsfeed is less bogged down with the likes and comments of others, but I can't be sure.  Maybe my friends are just having a non-participatory day.  Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Day #19 - Pinterest Hacks: Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

Every now and then, Pinterest pays off.

Ever since I became old enough to know that ovens needed cleaning, I've dreamed of having a self cleaning oven.  A few years ago, we replaced our old wall oven with a self cleaning model from Whirlpool. I was so excited to try it. It worked very well, but the cupboards around it got really, really hot.  Recently, I was looking for other options for cleaning.  The literature that came with the oven said not to use spray on oven cleaner.  Just wiping it with a wet sponge wasn't working.  I read the following idea on Pinterest (original site is

  • Heat the electric oven to 150 degrees. Turn the oven off.
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove top. Place the pot of boiling water into the oven on the bottom rack. Fill a bowl with one-half cup of ammonia and place it on the top rack inside the oven.
  • Shut the door to the oven. Allow the pot and bowl to remain in the oven overnight.
  • Remove the pot and bowl from the oven in the morning. Keep the oven door open for a bit to allow the inside to air out.
  • Pour the bowl of ammonia into a bucket with 1 quart of warm water. Add a few drops of dish soap to the mixture. Remove the racks from the oven and set aside. Dip a rag in the cleaning solution and wipe the oven clean.
  • Place an old towel into the bathtub or a washtub. Place the oven racks in the tub. Fill the tub with enough warm water to completely submerge the racks. Pour one-half cup of ammonia into the water and allow the racks to soak for a minimum of 15 minutes. Remove the racks from the tub, rinse them off with plain water and wipe clean with a dry rag.
    I was really surprised how well this worked.
    Under the heading of "Don't Bother" - cleaning shower grout with Woollite Heavy Duty Foam Carpet Cleaner, and cleaning window tracks with baking soda and vinegar.  Both those "hacks" were a waste of time and money.
    But still, I keep checking Pinterest once or twice a week; you never know when you'll find a gem.

  • Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Day #18 - Sunrise or Sunset?

    I'm definitely a sunrise girl.  It is what I miss most about living in Hawaii.  We had a beautiful sunrise view from our lanai.  I would get up really early (never did get break out of the Pacific Time), and watch the skies change from black to dark blue and then just light and lighter, filling the skies with pinks, oranges and yellows.  It was so uplifting to me.

    Then we spent some time in Arizona and I learned to love their sunsets.  Gorgeous!  There is no other word for it.

    And now we are back in Washington.  With our hot weather (unseasonably hot - and I don't mind saying I'm pretty sick of it), we've had some lovely sunsets recently.  Hard to catch the depth of the pinks and reds with an iPhone camera, but these are the best I've done this summer.

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Day #17 - The Divine Power Of Love

    Today I open my heart to give and receive unconditional love.

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    Day #16 - When I Grow Up, I Want To Be ......

    I posed that question to my oldest grandson (age 5), and his response was to be a pet store owner.  We have known since he was about 15 months old that his passion was animals.  He made the sounds of animals and matched them to pictures years before he talked.  At age five, he knows the names of more animals and facts about those animals than I knew at age twenty.  It is clearly a passion with him.

    Growing up, I remember that I wanted to work in a medical office (not be a doctor like my father, or a nurse like my mother) but to do the check ins, the billings, the assisting. If I had to name one thing as my "calling" that would probably be it.  It was something I enjoyed, something I was good at, and if I ever wanted to go back to work, it is what I would do.  However, after 20+ years in that field, I was restless.  I had accomplished that career goal, and left a wonderful job managing a neurology office for something new.

    That something new was working for a New Age author and speaker.  I was attracted to the metaphysical topics.  I learned a lot about various practices involving spiritual counseling, psychic readings, healing, hypnotherapy, mediumship....lots of what you might call "woo woo" stuff.  I still consider those things worthy tools in my tool box, but I don't use them much anymore.  The main thing I learned is that is sucks to be famous.  Or rather, for me, it would suck to be famous.  Obsessive fans have no boundaries.  There are more people out there with stalking tendencies than I would ever have imagined.  Fans AND critics can be very intense.  There is complete lack of any sense of privacy when you are out in public if you have a recognizable face and presence.  I don't know how celebrities can stand it.  At any rate, I accomplished my goal of wanting to work with this author.  Leaving that job wasn't my idea, but it definitely was the best thing that could have happened to me.

    I wasn't sure what I was going to do at that point.  I did not feel drawn to any other profession.  I didn't feel like going back to school.  I was looking for new experiences but nothing that required a commitment, of sorts.  I started writing a novel, but set that aside.  My husband and I bought an RV and started traveling.  That was fun but at the same time, we just found ourselves going from place to place visiting people.  I was looking for something fresh, something new.

    And my something new?  Grandkids!

    Growing up in West Seattle, my paternal grandparents lived about 150 miles away, in Kelso, WA.  My maternal grandparents lived in Madison, WI.  Most of our interaction was via letter.  Occasionally, we'd have phone calls.  It is so funny to remember that in the 1950s and even into the 1960s, calling "long distance" was a BIG deal!  Anyway, I felt like I missed out on having that grandparent presence in my life.  I really wanted to be here for my grandkids, especially until they started school and became active outside of the core family.  As my older grandsons start kindergarten in the fall, I feel like I've accomplished that goal.  I still want to be around for a few more years for the two younger boys who are almost 3 years old now.  (Nope, no twins in case you were wondering.  Both my daughter and daughter-in-law had babies within months of each other.)

    I don't think we stop having goals when we retire.  I think those goals may be harder to define.  I'd still like to finish that novel.  I took up painting, and I'm having fun with that.  It is hard for me to think about goals, and separate the idea of "goals" from "making money".  I'm blessed in the fact that making money is not a priority for me.  It would be nice, but if it meant becoming famous (which incidentally is such an absurd idea right now - my painting and my writing are far, far away from an level of formal recognition) and losing any sense of privacy, I'd chose privacy over money any day of the week.

    I have managed to come up with three goals that I think are doable.

    1)  I'd like to visit every state in the USA (and possibly every province in Canada) in our RV.

    2)  I'd like to reduce my weight by about 40 lbs in a healthy manner.


    3) Now that I am grown up (at least in terms of years), I want to be a positive influence.  It's as simple as that. I want to help my kids, my grandkids, my friends, my family, anyone who stumbles upon this blog, to be a wiser, kinder, gentler, more loving person, so that they may do the same for others.  Yep, when I grown up, I want to be a positive influence.

    Saturday, August 15, 2015

    Day #15 - The Divine Power Of Elimination

    "I release anything and everything that no longer serves my unfolding good."

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Day #14 - The Divine Power Of Imagination

    "I envision good unfolding in every area of my life."

    Thursday, August 13, 2015

    Day #13 - Senior Moments

    I started the day by congratulating myself for doing things like word puzzles each day to keep my brain active.  I should have known better......

    While making hummingbird food (see below for a no-fail technique), I poured boiling water from our electric tea/hot water kettle into a heavy glass measuring cup.  I didn't want the cup to crack so I quickly dumped it in the bowl with the sugar.  And then, I'm not sure why, but I continued to pour water all over the kettle's electric base.  I probably only poured a few tablespoons before I realized what I was doing, but still you gotta love those senior moments.  I unplugged the base, and quickly dried the counter, the base and the trivet the base was on.  I went off to tell my husband what had happened just in case he planned on using the kettle soon.  I wanted time to let the base dry completely in case any water dripped into the casing.

    While all this was going on, I had put frozen waffles in the toaster, and I had started the dishwasher.  The waffles had popped up and weren't really cooked through and through, so I put them down again to run another cycle.  Or rather I tried to put them down.  I apparently broke the toaster as well.  I called husband into the kitchen, again.  He unplugged and replugged in the toaster.  He shook it to clean out the crumbs in the bottom, and we tried the waffles again.  No go.  Oh well, luke warm waffles - whoopee!  "Try not to break anything else in the next few minutes," husband said as he went down the hall.

    That is when I noticed the dishwasher had quit running.  Oh crap!  Replacing a tea kettle and a toaster is one thing, but I really did not want to have to replace the dishwasher.  A quick prayer, and it occurred to me that perhaps I had tripped the breaker when I poured the water over the kettle's base.  Thankfully, that is exactly what had happened.  I restarted the dishwasher.  Added my waffles back into the toaster for another round.  And fingers crossed, when I plug in the tea kettle tomorrow morning, we will have hot water in about 90 seconds.

    As you get older, these senior moments just start happening.  Most of the ones I experience are the word finding difficulties - I couldn't remember the term hash browns yesterday.  I could describe them, but I just couldn't remember "hash browns".  I'm sure I'm not the only one my age who walks into another room for something, and when I get there, I can't remember what it was.  This was my first experience with something could have been dangerous.  Should I be shocked?  (Hahaha - get it - shocked?)  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

    Hummingbird Food:  Back story - I knew to make hummingbird food, you use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.  If it gets more sweet than that, it attracts bees.  I usually watch the pot to make sure I take it off just when it starts to boil, and then it does not get too syrupy.    Recently, I've had one feeder that has just been really popular with the bees.  I took it down and washed it throughly.  (And now the hint) I mentioned it to a friend and asked if she had any hints.  She suggested that I boil the water separately, then combine it with the sugar, stir, cool and add to the feeders.  I've been doing this for two weeks now with excellent success.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Day #12 - The Divine Power Of Strength

    "Divine Strength surges through me now as energy, encouragement and patience."

    Tuesday, August 11, 2015

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    Day # 10 - The Divine Power Of Life

    I am a fan of many New Thought teachers, including Charles Fillmore.  He was one of the co-founders of the Unity Church.  Part of his teaching included the idea that every person is blessed with 12 Divine Powers.  I made a meditation CD based on this teaching.   I decided to try a series of paintings based on the 12 Powers.  Today's painting is inspired by the Divine Power Of Life.

    Appreciate your gift of life.  Praise it.  Bless it.  Give thanks for it, and you will find that the supply of life is unlimited and everlasting! - Winifred Wilkinson Hausmann

    Sunday, August 9, 2015

    Day #9 - Facebook and My Love/Hate Relationship

    Disclaimer:  I never watched the movie, The Social Network.

    When I first joined Facebook, it was indeed a "social" network.  Somewhere along the line, it changed to a marketing ploy.  Celebrities and businesses got involved.  It became less about being social, and more about promotion.

    From my own personal standpoint, I appreciate the opportunity to interact with friends and family on a daily basis.  I enjoy exchanging stories and photos, sharing in the joys and accomplishments of others, and providing support to them during the rough times.

    If I were going to offer suggestions to Facebook on how to make their service better for me, it would be the following:

    1.  Offer personal accounts  and business pages with no cross over.  I want to interact on a personal level with my "friends".  I don't want to hear your pitch about the latest multi-level-marketing campaign.  I don't want to be bombarded with notices about a half-day class you are teaching in Vermont.  I don't live anywhere near there.

    2.  Give us an opportunity NOT to have to read about EVERYTHING each of our friends "likes" or "comments" on.  Right now, the only option we have is to "not follow" friends.  But you see, I want to read things they are posting.  I just don't need to know that they liked a comment made by their 3rd cousin once removed.

    3.  With all the news about identity theft, I don't understand why personal accounts have the option to be open to the public?  From a business standpoint, I get it.  Businesses need to be available to the public.  However, I refer you to Suggestion #1.  And yes, I understand that the option is there now, but it would be nice if it was a requirement rather than an option.  I even sort of understand the need of some people to "collect" friends.  There is (IMHO) a false feeling that the more "friends" you have, the more people actually "like" you.  But I tell you, it is hard to really like someone if you don't really know them.  Relationships take work.  Are these relationships you want to nurture?

    Do people really need thousands of Facebook "friends"?  I know those who have a kajillion friends can't be actually reading everything each one of those "friends" posts, shares, or likes.  So I begin to wonder, how much of all this "social networking" is about building relationships/networks, and how much is about self gratification and attention?  Are we as a society encouraging a generation of narcissists?  I don't get it.  Maybe I'm just old.

    Have you heard the new acronym FOMO - It stands for "fear of missing out".  Have you been to a social gathering where people are checking their phones more than they are talking to you?  It is uncomfortable and offensive.....but then again, maybe I am just old.  I haven't worried about missing out for a long time now.  Usually I am just relieved.  I guess I am old.

    Saturday, August 8, 2015

    Day #8 - It's A Day For Gripes

    Gripe #1:  If there is a speed limit on how fast you can go, shouldn't there be a speed minimum?  Nothing like getting stuck behind someone going 35 mph on a 2 lane highway where the speed limit is 60 mph.  And of course, there was on coming traffic so I was unable to pass.  Pull over for crying out loud!

    Gripe #2:  I reminded my husband this morning that it was his sister's birthday.  A few minutes later, he comes to find me, only to say, "The 8th doesn't sound right."  I said, "Well, it is.  August 8th."  Still telling me that I'm wrong, I replied, "Well, there are a lot of birthday wishes on her Facebook page."  Of course then it is, "Oh, okay.  It must be."  Yes, of course, if you read it on Facebook, it must be true, but if your wife says it, she must be wrong.

    Gripe #3:  Neighborhood potlucks.  Yes, I know, I bitched about this the other day, but it is worth another mention.  I really don't want to go, but I am still working on caring what people think of me.  So I will go and bring the Paula Deen Corn Salad and hope I don't offend anyone when I leave at the first opportunity.

    Now I think I shall go back and re-read my blog on Elimination Lists.

    Friday, August 7, 2015

    Day #7 - The Elimination List

    When I was teaching courses on topics such as Achieving Your Dreams, Prosperity 101, and similar subjects, I wrote a little article called The Four Be's To Abundance.  It describes a process of changing your thought patterns to a more positive outlook.  And anyone who has read any New Thought, Metaphysical, New Age (or whatever term you like to use) book or article has learned that when you consciously change your thoughts, you can change the course of your life.

    If I were writing the article today, I may have added a fifth "Be" .  Be willing to eliminate things, people, memories, resentments, grudges, and other negative feelings from your life.  To eliminate them, you have to recognize them.  For me, the easiest way to recognize these types of things is to write about them, whether it is in journal form or by making lists.  You will be surprised about what things we hang on to, whether that be an item, a relationship or a feeling, even though we know it no longer matches "our vibration".

    I've been re-reading Catherine Ponder's book, Open Your Mind to Prosperity.  She talks about making an elimination list as a place to start.  We need to take a look at what we are willing and wanting to release in order to create the vacuum that brings in that which we desire.

    I know I have belongings (i.e. stuff and junk) that I am ready to eliminate.  I have extra pounds I'm more than ready and willing to eliminate.  And I carry some resentment regarding a situation in my past that I am really ready to eliminate.  I'm sure there is more, and I will discover more as I journal this week on the topic.

    I am so ready to let loose and let go, to let go and grow, to let go and trust.

    What about you?

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

    Day #6 - Slump Day

    We've all heard of Wednesday being Hump Day, well I dubbed today Slump Day.  We have been doing nothing but just slumping around.

    Actually, that is not true.  We started the day by taking a few mile walk on the Centennial Trail.  We started at the Rhododendron Trailhead and walked south.  It is a nature protected area so there were lots of trees and the sounds of birds, bunnies, frogs and other little creatures.  It is a very straight part of the trail, and not much change in scenery.  There also weren't many people on the trail this morning which is a big plus for me.  I'm not sure if it was because it was a work day or if it was because we had a very welcomed rain shower last night and early this morning.

    At any rate, once we were back in the car heading home, the slump set in.  It was just one of those days.  We did absolutely nothing of what one could call productive.  And truth be told, I'm having a challenge trying to think of anything to write about, so I will share a few salad recipes I've made over the past few weeks.  It has been hot and the thought cooking "side dishes" to go with whatever we have been barbecuing has not been appealing.  The salads were better than fair, but far from fantastic.  
    I'll be taking the Paula Deen's Corn Salad to a neighborhood potluck on Saturday.  (We have owned this house for 25 years.  In those 25 years, there have been two potlucks - always scheduled when someone new moves into the 'hood.  We are not a potluck/party neighborhood.  We are a neighborhood of "over the fence" talkers.  We will go and hope to find an excuse to leave early.  Is it wrong to pray for rain?)  The recipes came from Pinterest and were modified to fit the bland tastebuds of my dear husband.

    Grill Corn and Avocodo Salad

    2-3 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off of cob
    1 pint of cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
    1 avocodo, peeled, sliced and diced in medium sized chunks
    Dried cilantro to taste (original recipe called for 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped)

    Combine items above in a bowl.

    Whisk together: 

    Juice of 1 lime
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 tbsp honey
    1 clove garlic, minced
    S&P to taste
    a dash of cayenne pepper

    Add dressing to salad and gently toss/stir to coat and combine.  Let set at least 15 minutes for flavors to mingle.

    Serves 4-6.  This recipe came from the website,

    Paula Deen's Corn Salad

    2 - 15oz cans of whole kernel corn, drained
    2 cups grated cheddar
    1 cup chopped celery (original recipe called for green pepper, not celery)
    ½ cup red onion, chopped
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 - 10.5 oz bag of Chili Cheese Fritos, crushed

    Combine everything but the Fritos, and chill.  Stir in Fritos before serving.

    Note:  If you are eating only part of the salad, and intending the rest for left overs, I would add the fritos to each individual serving.  I put them all in at once, and then had two days of left over salad with soggy fritos.  I would say this serves 6-8.

    Ramen Noodle Broccoli Cole Slaw

    1 Package (3 ounces) Ramen NoodlesOriental Flavor (others work well also)
    1 Package (12 Ounces) Broccoli Slaw (in the bagged salad section of the store)
    1 Stick (8 TBS) Butter
    1/3 Cup Slivered Almonds


    1/3 Cup Olive Oil
    1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
    4 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
    Seasoning Packet From the Ramon Noodle Mix

    Crush the Ramen noodles with a rolling pin while melting butter in a large skillet over low/medium heat. 

    Add the crushed noodles and slivered almonds to the skillet and saute, stirring occasionally (keep temperature at low/medium heat). 

    Meanwhile, whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. 

    Place the shredded broccoli into bowl and toss with the noodles, almonds.

    Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.  Chill 1 hour or longer.

    Note:  This is similar to what I call Chinese Chicken Salad, minus the chicken.  The broccoli slaw gave it a different texture than traditional shredded lettuce.  If I were making it again, I would use regular vegetable oil rather than olive oil.  I would substitute white sugar and then only use 3 TBS of the apple cider vinegar.  Also, I thought the whole stick of butter was a bit much so I used only half a stick.  Next time, I will just use oil.  I didn't think the butter added to the flavor enough to warrant using it over canola or olive oil.

    The recipe came from

    Now, back to slumping.....

    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Day #5: Potty Training - Round 2

    Well, technically, it is round 4 - if you count my kids, but right now I am referring to my daughter's younger son.  He is at that age where he is mildly curious about using the toilet, but he is really more fascinated with someone else going potty.

    At any rate, my daughter and her boys are currently living in a two bedroom home with a small bathroom.  There is really no room for a potty chair.  As a "surprise", we went over and installed a child's toilet seat on their toilet - just like the one we have at our house.

    Why didn't they have these seats when my kids were young?  I wonder how many hours I spent holding their little butts over the big open hole so they wouldn't fall in (one of their biggest fears).

    We left a note taped to the door alerting the boys to a "surprise".  The boys went in, expecting toys.  To say they were disappointed is a big understatement.  We should have known better.

    In an effort to make up for our less than exciting surprise, we went back the next day.  This time we left a box of their favorite donuts in the bathroom, along with the note on the door.

    When the boys and their mother came home that evening, Odin saw the note, and said to his mother, "It's not another toilet seat, is it?"  Silly boy!  How many toilet seats does one bathroom need?

    Needless to say, he was much happier with the donuts, and was looking through his toys for a "surprise" to give Grandma and Grandpa.  What a sweetie pie!  I think Torren was unfazed by the whole thing.

    Tuesday, August 4, 2015

    Day #4 - Big Brother Is Watching....

    Or rather, I am watching Big Brother!  I'm a little late to the game, but I have become obsessed with this reality show.  I just finished Big Brother Season 14.  It was a crazy season (it was the one where there were 4 coaches, who eventually became a part of the competition).

    What I really came to write about is this:  Where do they find these people?  I assume there is an open call/audition.  They must have some algorithm that combines idiots with savants, those with integrity and those without, those who can look into your eyes and lie, and those who couldn't tell a lie to save themselves.  I think it is the social aspect that always surprises me.  A few of the things that surprised me included contestants that had never eaten hummus or guacamole.  Really?  How about the 30 year old guy that had never met a lesbian?  Or the gal that had never known a gay man?  Really?  Do they pick people that have led sheltered lives?

    I'm a bit sad that I have caught up as best I can on all the seasons, without paying a ridiculous amount to watch the "All Stars" season ($45).   Season 17 is still going on, so you know where I will be Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday nights....well, technically, I record the sows and end up watching these on the following mornings because my husband can't stand reality TV.  But that's okay - I can't stand the history channel (his favorite).

    With any luck, tomorrow will bring a blog entry that has more substance.

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Day #3 - Back To Painting

    I have been on a mission at home to declutter.  Kim and I are about a year away from down-sizing.  We have tried a few times to leave on an "around the USA" RV trip, but grandkids kept appearing.  As any grandparent will tell you, grandkids come first.  We put the trip on hold, and basically, it is still on hold.  However, the downsizing is going ahead full force.  I've used eBay, Craigslist, and garage sales.  (There will undoubtedly be a blog post on these experiences.)  I'm down to the last few things that I need to make a decision regarding.  And when faced with those kinds of decisions, I procrastinate.   I haven't painted anything for well over a month....until today.

    Here is my first shot at painting using only a painting spatula/palette knife.  I call it "My Brain At Work"-

    And here is my first attempt at painting a person.  I'm still working on the ribbon in her hair.  It looks fuzzy when you look at the painting from across the room.

    Sunday, August 2, 2015

    Day #2 - Crazy Dilemas

    We all have those daily decisions we have to make that will neither make or break our day.  Some of these decisions are almost silly, and I have to question why I am even writing about them.  But we do all face them and I find the absurdity of it all amusing.

    The other day, I was at Walmart.  I buy my favorite yogurt there - Chobani's Almond Coco-Loco.  The price is about 40 cents less than other local stores.  I enjoy this yogurt every day, so when I'm at Walmart, I try to buy at least a week's supply.  Unfortunately, this time they only had 5 containers.  To make up for it, I bought two alternative flavors.  I tolerate these flavors, but they are not my favorite.

    Jump forward to this morning.  I made the PERFECT cup of coffee.  I have coffee every day, and I would not consider myself a coffee connesieur . I'm not a big fan of Tullys.  I tolerate Starbucks.  Seattle's Best and Dunkin' Donuts are better.  But regular ground coffee - think Folgers or Maxwell House or Yuban - is generally my coffee of choice.

    But I digress.  I made the perfect cup of coffee this morning, with just the right amount of sweetner and cream.  And here is my dilema:  Do I honor the perfect cup of coffee but choosing one of my less favorite yogurts, or do I treat myself with my favorite yogurt to go with this fabulous cup of coffee? The consequence of the latter will be that I may end up tomorrow with a not so fabulous cup of coffee AND a not so favorite flavor of yogurt.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

    And yes, I am totally aware of how blessed I am that these are the types of decisions are the ones I face.

    Hope your day is off to a great start!

    Saturday, August 1, 2015

    Day #1 - Getting The Right Mind Set

    Anyone who read my blog or knows me well knows that I am all about the power of positive thinking.  I try to post 10 affirmations each month.  My choices for August come from a little Unity booklet called Empowering Prayers For Everyday Life.

    I am calm, centered and at peace.

    I vibrate with harmony and wholeness.

    I am free with the knowledge that all is good.

    My thoughts are filled with light and joy.

    The miracle of life works its wonders in me, and I am grateful.

    I am at peace with all people and all things.

    I am blessed with happiness, success and true achievement.

    My mind no longer clings to the complexity of mortal finances.

    I consciously choose love over hates, peace over conflict, compassion over fear.

    I trust God to reveal the blessing in every situation.

    Wednesday, July 15, 2015

    The 100 Day Challenge: Day #100 - I Made It!

    We were headed to Fife RV in Fife, WA to look at a Forest River motorhome.  It would have been very easy for us to hop on I-5 and just drive directly there.  We decided on the scenic route, however. We drove down Hwy 203 from Monroe to Fall City, making a stop at Snoqualmie Falls.  The falls were still falling, but you can tell that there was a very low snow pack this year.

    We cut over to Hwy 18 and took a nice leisurely drive into Fife.  We pulled into Camping World to see if they had anything we wanted to look at, and Mt Rainier was out.

    We returned home the way we came, but by-passed Snoqualmie and came through Preston, hoping for a side trip to Lake Alice.  Unfortunately, they were working on the road to Lake Alice, so we stopped at the Tolt River Park in Carnation WA instead.

    All in all a nice day.  No motor home, but a lot more research to do!

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    The 100 Day Challenge: Day #99 - Oso Bound

    The intention today was to go to explore the end of the Centennial Trail at the Nakashima Trailhead.  We had a nice drive up Highway 9, through Snohomish, Lake Stevens, Arlington and Bryant.  Very nice trailhead parking area (but just one port-a-potty).  Then we saw this notice:

    Hmm....maybe another time.  We just walked a short way.  We will definitely come back at some point.  I just wasn't into a bear encounter today.  I did take a few shots, however.

    I did like that the County Parks Department is into re-purposing signage.

    From the front:

    From the back:

    As long as we were north of Arlington, we decided to take a drive out to Oso.  We had not been out there since the infamous mud slide in March 2014.  Forty-three people lost their lives in this disaster, and approximately 50 homes and other structures were destroyed.  It was devastating to the area.  They are still working on repairing and repaving Hwy 530 and I was only able to get a shot of the slide area from the car.

    We continued our drive out to Darrington, stopped for a late breakfast, and then heading back home with a few stops for photo ops.

    This is the Squire Creek Campground (Snohomish County Parks).  Dry camping only but some fairly large spots to accommodate RVs.

    Some shots from the side of the highway.  It is a pretty drive.

    The North Fork of the Stillaguamish River (between Oso and Darrington)

    And then the South Fork, in Arlington, WA (taken from Haller Park)