Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Menu Planning Monday

Welcome to Menu Planning Monday, hosted by Laura over at Organizing Junkie.

Monday - Turkey Tenderloins , brown rice, steamed carrots and broccoli

Tuesday - Ranch Pork Chops, Cajun Roasted Potatoes and Tossed Salad.

Wednesday - Easy Shake and Bake Chicken, Avacado and Cucumber Salad

Thursday - Meatloaf with a Bite, Corn on the Cob and Green Beans

Friday - Turkey Subs, Tossed Salad and Sweet Potato Fries (frozen)

Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Baked Salmon, Rice Pilaf, and Sauteed Veggies.

That's it! Have a great day and be sure to check out the link above for more menus and recipes!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am lying here in bed with the flu today. After nursing my children through it and being coughed on for over a week, I guess it is my turn. I could start complaining about the all the work I ought to be doing...but then I started thinking about Thankful Thursday and my heart turned to enumerate all of my blessings. I am really grateful that I have a nice, warm bed to lie in when I am sick. I'm thankful that my warm bed is in a safe home, in a neighboWherhood full of wonderful people who look after one another. I'm thankful that in my neighborhood I can call on people, if I need anything from a teaspoon of vanilla for cooking or late night help for a sick child...anything. I am grateful that my neighborhood is in a wonderful country where I don't have to worry about war at my back door or having my rights taken away. There is an abundance of food and everything else is easily accessible. Sure, we all struggle with money problems, family problems and such, but I am glad that I can lie here and be at peace, knowing that this whole world is watched over by a kind, loving and immensely merciful God.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Outdoor Wednesday

Welcome to Outdoor Wednesday! I would love to show you some of the lovely flowers that are blooming in our beds.

I love these delicate blossoms...

Our irises are blooming, slender and beautiful...
I don't know the names of my flowers, but the blossoms are almost rose-like..
Here are some bright red blooms on a decorative bushs...
And some happy yellow ones...
Don't forget to stop by A Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts!
And have a lovely day!

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY, MAY 25, 2009

Outside my window...the noon sun is warm and bright. The blue sky, after yesterday's rain, is softened with white, puffy clouds. There is a slight breeze.

I am thinking...how fragile life is. We move along like we understand the future and yet everything can change in a moment.

I am thankful for...all the time that I have spent with my children. Of all my weaknesses, and they are many, I focused my time and attention on what matters most to me.

From the learning rooms... my son is yet to complete his State Report on North Carolina, plus there is make-up work from his sick days.

From the kitchen...my Happy Lite burns to brighten an area that is left dark from no windows (Oh, this house construction!) and I have not yet begun cooking.

I am wearing...a blue peasant blouse with jeans and light shoes. My hair is still wet from a recent bath and I have yet to put on my make-up. This is a lazy day.

I am creating...a few simple words in this daybook.

I am going...to find something tempting to eat for my still sick boy, but, first, I will sit in the swing in back to put on my make-up, hoping to catch a view of some of my feathered friends.

I am reading...the scriptures today. Just that, for I need it.

I am hoping...to feel the touch of God's hand in my life.

I am hearing...my son talk about how he coughed all night last night and could not rest.

Around the house...there is laundry, more cleaning and some baking to do...

One of my favorite things...is to sit in the swing out back and be a part of nature. If my scriptures are with me, too, then I have all that I need.

A few plans for the rest of the week...are to help my son catch up with his missed school work and help him with his State Report, I pray to get some housework and paperwork done, go to doctor appointments, and get things back to normal from our week of sick children. :)

Here is a picture that I am sharing... (above)...a profusion of lilacs that until recently hung over the back fence behind my covered swing and one of the reasons I love to be out there.
Drink deeply of the Beauty, my friends, for Life is fleeting.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lillies of The Valley and Sunday Meme

Happy Sabbath, Sweet Friends!

I have been out of touch for awhile. Both my children have been fighting the flu and it has taken all my time and energy running between the two. My daughter is much better, but my son has taken ill again, this time worse than before, and so I am mothering overtime and have been unable to blog or visit blogs for awhile.

Having said that, I have a small period of quiet time and thought that I would share some pictures of my garden. The Lillies of the Valley are out in force. They are such delicate flowers. They remind me of my mother, because while I was still living in NC, I once gave my mother a small pot of them for Mother's Day.

These sweet flowers also remind me of a song my sister and I use to sing when we were children. It goes:

"White, coral bells upon a slender stalk,
Lillies of the Valley deck my garden walk.
Oh, how I wish that you could hear them ring.
That will happen only when the fairies sing

We would sing this in a "round", while swinging on our backyard swingset.

Such lovely memories, all of them. And I leave them with you today, along with my wishes for you to have a wonderful Sabbath.

God bless,


  • Are you available? For what?
  • What is your age? XX
  • What annoys you? Noise


  • Do you know anyone named Billy? My cousins, Fallon and Val, have Billy for first names.
  • When is your birthday? November
  • Who is your best friend? I have several super close friends.


  • What is your favorite Candy? Chocolate caramels
  • Crush? Nope.
  • When was the last time that you cried? I don't cry much, but after an upsetting dream.


  • Do you daydream? Constantly.
  • What is your favorite dog? Golden Retriever
  • What day of the week is it? Sunday


  • How do you like your eggs? Omelettes and poached.
  • Have you ever been in the emergency room? Unfortunately, yes.
  • Have you ever petted an elephant? Yes.


  • Do you use fly swatters? I prefer persuasion.
  • Have you ever used a foghorn? No.
  • Do you have a fan in your room? No.


  • Do you chew gum? Occasionally.
  • Do you like gummy candies? Not really.
  • Do you like gory movies? Rarely.


  • How are you? Plugging along...
  • What is your height? 5'3"
  • What color is your hair? I say dark-blonde, but it's really light brown.


  • What's your favorite ice cream? Chocolate chunk.
  • Have you ever been ice skating? Yes.l
  • Ever been in an igloo? NO!


  • What's your favorite jelly bean? Licorice.
  • Have you ever heard a hilarious joke? Yes. Favorite joke: "What's the last thing that passes through a fly's mind when he hits your windshield?....His fanny!"
  • Do you wear jewelry? Earrings, mostly.


  • Who do you want to kill? Mosquitoes.
  • Have you ever flown a kite? Badly.
  • Do you think kangaroos are cute? To other kangaroos.


  • Are you laid back? Half of the time.
  • Lions or tigers? Lions
  • Do you like black licorice? Love it!


  • Favorite movie as a kid? Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz
  • Ever shopped at Moosejaw? What?!
  • Favorite shop at the mall? Don't like the mall.


  • What is your nickname? Beth (don't call me that!)
  • What's your favorite number? 15 and 17.
  • Do you prefer night or day? Day


  • What's your one wish? For HEALTH INSURANCE
  • Are you an only child? Nope.
  • Do you like the color orange? Uh, no, but my son gave me an orange mug for Christmas and I LOVE anything he gives me!


  • What are you most paranoid about? Being an idiot.
  • Piercings? One set for earrings.
  • Do you know anyone named Penelope? An old friend's basset hound.


  • Are you quick to judge people? No.
  • Do you like Quaker Oats? Just plain quick oats.
  • Know anyone who makes quilts? Sue!


  • Do you think you are always right? Except when I'm wrong.
  • Do you watch reality TV? Dancing With The Stars!
  • Reason to cry? The loss of loved ones.


  • Do prefer sun or rain? Sun!
  • Do you like snow? Yes.
  • What's your favorite season? Spring and Fall.


  • Time is it? 2:15 p.m.
  • What time did you wake up? 10:00 a.m.


  • Can you ride a unicycle? No!
  • Do you know anyone with a uni-brow? NO!!
  • Uncles do you have? Three still living.


  • What's the worst vegetable? Brussel sprouts!
  • Ever watch Veggie Tales? Oh, yes!!
  • Ever considered being a vegan? Yes.


  • What's your worst habit? Picking my cuticles - yuk.
  • Do you like water rides? Yes.
  • Ever been inside a windmill? No.


  • Have you ever had an x-ray? I glow in the dark.
  • Ever xeroxed anything? Yes.


  • Do you like the color yellow? Yes, very much.
  • What year were you born in? 1957
  • Do you yell when you are angry? yes


  • Do you believe in the Zodiac? No.
  • What is your zodiac sign? Scorpio.
  • When was the last time you went to the zoo? Last year.

To participate, click HERE.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Homemade Upholstery Cleaner

Hello, One and All!
Happy Monday!
I hope and pray that your week is beginning well. Mine is lit with beautiful sunshine and decorated with blooming flowers and sweet little birds flying around (outside, of course!).

Today, I am cleaning and doing laundry. I would like to have a professional cleaning service come to my home and clean my upholstery, because it is beginning to need it. However, these are still tough times, so we can't do that right now. So...I went to my trusty computer and googled "homemade upholstery cleaner". I then found myself at the Michigan State University Extension, which had a whole section on homemade cleaners HERE.

I decided to use the recipe for their upholstery cleaner, which is...
1 cup of warm water
1/4 cup of dish detergent
Whip it in your mixer

So, here I go...
The mixture becomes quite frothy...

a>Get a clean rag and using ONLY the froth, not the liquid underneath...

Press firmly and scrub back and forth over upholstery surface, paying special attention to trouble areas, such as arm rest, etc...

Whew, just after a minute or so, look how much dirt came off on my rag, although my furniture doesn't look "dirty".
I was very pleased with the results. After doing the whole chair, it looked much fresher.

Give it a try sometime. I just love it!

Sorry that I don't have a menu plan for today. I have no CLUE what to serve this week and I get out of thinking about it for tonight, because we are invited to a friend's house.
Have a truly great day!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Show and Tell Friday

Kelli, from There Is No Place Like Home, is once again hosting "Show & Tell Friday". Today, I want to share some old photos that were part of my mother's belongings that were recently sent to me. Old photos and school records, which bring back many memories...

I love the above picture, taken when I was five and part of a dance studio. I was a very feminine little girl, fanciful and open-hearted. I believed in everything magical. The world was a rainbow to me, multi-colored and splendiferous. I was sure I would grow up to live in a castle.
Above, here I am in second grade. A wistful girl. An average student, I was given to daydreaming when I ought to be paying attention. A doctor wrote of me that I had "sensitivity rarely seen in a child her age". I easily made friends, but was shy and longed for solitude.

As the years went by, I grew to be awkward and buck-toothed. Braces didn't add to my self-confidence. I wore dark-framed glasses and struggled with style. I no longer felt like a princess and believed I'd be lucky if anyone would ever take a second look at me.

Then the braces came off. I traded my glasses for contacts. I found my style (romantic). I felt confident and I forgot about myself.

Here I am with Mark, years ago...

Now, I am middle-aged, chubby, at times awkward and not as stylish I once was. But that's okay, because deep inside, I feel like that little girl with the crown on her head. I know that the world can be a scary, sad place, but it can also be magical, where anything is possible .

As we experience life we can one day find that we are far away from our true selves. It's a journey to get to that place and it's a journey to find our way back. It reminds me of a poem that was shared at church last Sunday...
Beautiful Women
At age 3, a little girl looks in the mirror and sees a queen.
At age 8, she looks in the mirror and see Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty.
At age 15, she looks in the mirror and sees fat/pimples/ugly and says,
"Mom, I can't go to school looking like this!"
At age 20, she looks at herself and sees too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly, but she decides she is going anyway.
At age 30, she looks at herself and sees too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly, but decides that she doesn't have time to fix it and goes anyway.
At age 40, she looks at herself and sees too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly, but says, "At least I'm clean," and goes anyway.
At age 50, she looks in the mirror and says, "I am" and goes.
At age 60, she looks and reminds herself of all the people who can't see themselves in the mirror anymore and she goes out and conquers the world!
At age 70, she looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability, and goes out and enjoys life.
At age 80, she doesn't bother to look. She puts on a purple hat and goes out and has fun with the world.
Moral: Maybe we should grab that purple hat earlier!

Courtesy of the Purple Hat Society

Have a lovely day!

Picture Perfect!

Hello, Wonderful Friends!

I have finally learned how to upload photos from my camera onto my blog again - hurrah! Now, I can start publishing some posts that I've had in mind for which I needed my camera. This includes a Give Away, etc. Woohoo!

For today, I will just leave you with the following, my favorite snack...

Reduced Fat Triscuits, shredded mozarella and a lovely pickled jalapeno! Has lots of fiber, not too much fat and a powerful kick! Woohoo!

Have a lovely day and come back tomorrow for some fun!


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Cautionary Tale

Hello, Sweet Friends,

I've had a busy last seven days. My father was out here visiting for awhile. We had some great, quality time with him, going on walks, sharing meals and much conversation. My father is 84 and he drove all the way out here from Virginia in an RV. Now, he is off to a destination in Utah to go ATV-ing some trails. Wow, hope I'm like him if I get to be his age!
I would like to share with you something that has happened that recently that has demonstrated to me the need to take a very active role in one's health care...As I have recently shared I have a damaged kidney that is subject to many infections. Since early February, I have had three such infections all of which have been treated with the drug Cipro. When I was given this drug I was not warned of any potential side effects. I asked if Cipro could do any harm when taken long term. I was told that it was perfectly safe, so I allowed myself to go on three long regimens of it. Recently, during my third period on Cipro, ligaments in my knees have become very swollen and painful, making stair climbing, kneeling, and rising from a seated position very difficult. I can walk, but it hurts. Everyday this has been getting worse. There are also other mysterious symptoms, which I won't get into here. Anyway, none of it made any sense to me, because I haven't injured myself. So, I went online and began looking up all sorts of ailments to try and figure out what was happening to me. Then, I remembered that once my sister had told me that my father had suffered a torn ligament while he was on Cipro. So, I googled "Cipro side effects torn ligaments" ...Oh, my goodness, this drug is horrible to take long term. All my recent symptoms are under this drug's side effects, plus this one, "spontaneous ruptured ligaments and tendons." Sound like something you'd like to be on? There are dozens of class action law suits against the makers of Cipro for all of its debilitating effects!

Boy, have I learned my lesson. Never again will I blithely just take a medication without researching it myself. In fact, I remember my late mother once telling me that I needed to do my homework about doctors and medications, because most docs are too busy to really stay current with all the meds and treatments that they have to prescribe.

I have gone off Cipro. But I really want to put a word of caution out there. It is often prescribed for UTIs, pneumonia and other respertory infections, but it is a very dangerous drug and produces some side effects that are irreversible.


As soon as I learn to work my new camera (a recent gift), I will be adding my own photos again and also, hopefully, a video feed. Then, I can finally hold this Give Away I've been planning.

Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Simple Woman's Day Book

FOR TODAY, MAY 12, 2008

Outside my window...I hear a myriad of little birdie chirps in the lovely sunshine.

I am thinking...how lovely it is when it is quiet and peaceful inside the house.

I am thankful for...sunshine, God's creations, the peace of knowing that despite my weaknesses I am close to God, and for my wonderful family.

From the learning rooms...we have found a wonderful website for memorizing U.S. states and capitals. It is

From the kitchen...nothing is cooking quite yet, but soon there will be sausages and jambalaya simmering on the stove.

I am wearing...ugh, my blue jeans (I feel more feminine in skirts) and a pink striped shirt, but at least they are pressed and clean.

I am creating...a beautiful space to call my office.

I am going...to warm up some soup for my daughter who could do this herself, but thinks it tastes better if I do it. :)

I am reading ... many things..."Defend The Valley", a compilation of Civil War journals from Winchester, VA...Some spiritual-based books and a cookbook.

I am hearing...cars go by, punctuated by little birdie sounds.

Around the house...all is quiet as my daughter studies, my husband and son are out and my two kitties are asleep.

One of my favorite things...is to eat a favorite treat while reading a good book!

A few plans for the rest of the week...get a mamogram (ouch!), complete fixing up my office, complete training for Internet Transcribers, Inc. , figure out my new camera that a loved one got for me this past weekend.

Here is a picture I am sharing...nope, need to figure out camera!

For more of these musings or to take part, visit The Simple Woman's Day Book.

Have a wonderful day!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mothers Day - For More Than Just Our Mothers

Courtesy of All Posters

With Mother's Day right around the corner, I would like to pay homage not just to my own mother (who is now deceased) or even to my own role as a mother to my children, but, rather to the sweet women who have acted as mothers to me thoughout my life.

Despite the beautiful ideal of motherhood which we honor in the church, many of us have struggled with less that ideal cirumstances growing up. I personally was blessed with what felt like a near-perfect mother in my early years, but as the years wore on and troubles came, my mother was deeply overwhelmed and not always emotionally available to me. I was not raised in an LDS family, but, later, it was within the church that I have been nurtured by older women during important times in my life.

The stand-out example of this would be my friend, Holly. When my husband, Mark, and I were newly married and completing his education at the University of North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, I became pregnant with our first child. All was fine at first, as I combined outside employment with preparations to eventually become a full-time mother. However at 14 weeks, my left side swelled up and I began experiencing discomfort. A quick trip to the OB resulted in my being admitted to the hospital with a congenitally obstructed kidney. That's when the problems started. The doctors rigged me up to get me through my pregnancy without surgery, but in doing so I found that I could not continue my fast-paced job, I was in a lot of discomfort and had difficulty getting around, and would require major surgery soon after my baby was born. With my husband a full-time student and also working full-time, what in the world was I going to do for help and support when the baby came? My mother, who lived in neighboring Virginia, was disabled and could not be there for me, as much as she would have like to do.

In walked Holly H. to my life, an older woman in my ward with no dependent children. She had barely known me up to this point, but when she heard of my need, she immediately made me her business. She helped with household chores, brought food, and most important, became my friend. When the baby was born, she treated me as her daughter and my baby as her grand-child. When I went into surgery, she took my baby in for the weeks when I could not care for her and often cared for me, too.

The most wonderful part of all, though was that once I was well and could care for my daughter by myself, the relationship not only continued but flourished. My daughter, Sarah, and I had become a part of Holly's family. We are close to this day, 14 years later.

I am sure that I am not alone in my experience. Older women play such a wonderful role in the lives of younger women. They teach, love, support and inspire by example. And what a wonderful opportunity Mother's Day provides for us to extend our appreciation beyond family bounds to the other women who have nurtured us.

What can we do to make them feel appreciated?

Make a phone call.
If you have the resources, send an unexpected bouquet of flowers
Send a card or a letter
Spend a some time with them
Find a way to express your love

One never knows how long a beloved older friend will be with us. Remembering them at Mother's Day is the perfect way to express one's gratitude for they have done!


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Roasted Potatoes and Stir-Fry Beef

Hello, Ladies!

Whew! It is difficult finding an opportunity to get on the computer these days, with my whole family needing to use it in the evenings and my husband needing it for work during the days.

I hope everyone is well and happy! It's gloriously beautiful here today, with the sun shining and warmer temperatures. Hopefully, NO MORE SNOW!!

Today, I'd like to sing the praises of roasted potatoes and stir-fried beef. Yes, I know this is off of my menu plan, but sometimes I get a hankering for something specific and here you have it!
My favorite way to roast potatoes is to take red potatoes, wash and scrub them and leave their skins on. Then I quarter them, toss them with olive oil, crushed garlic, salt and parley flakes, and set them in the oven at 450, uncovered. I eyeball it, but usually it takes 30-40 minutes until they are toasty and fully cooked. Easy and oh, so yummy!
Stir-fry beef is so much easier to make if I have frozen it and allowed it to de-frost enough to be able to slice it. Much easier than trying to cut it while it's completely room temperature! I cut it on an angle and then quickly stir-fry it with a little soy sauce and garlic (love that garlic!). Sometimes I add broccoli.

What a yummy and quick meal to prepare!
Enjoy and have a beautiful day!