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The Simple Life

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  • Sheryl Simons
    By Sheryl Simons Simple living is being the same person on the outside as the inside. I was waiting in line at a store yesterday when a woman in front of me
    Message 1 of 23 , Jan 31, 2006
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      By Sheryl Simons

      "Simple living is being the same person on the outside as the
      inside."

      I was waiting in line at a store yesterday when a woman in
      front of me caught my attention. Just minding my own business,
      thinking of spring, maybe getting some seedlings started on a
      windowsill, when my pleasant thoughts were so rudely interrupted by
      a woman whose mouth just wouldn't quit. The man she was with I
      assumed was her husband. I felt sorry for him. She began complaining
      about the poor service she claimed she received at this business.
      It all went downhill from there. The cashier suggested she move to
      an empty nearby line if she didn't want to wait. She didn't want to
      walk that far, and made it perfectly clear. There was no person
      within earshot who wasn't disturbed by the debilitating drivel that
      dripped from her mouth. I wanted to get as far from her as I
      could. The cashier remained professionally cool as she patiently
      waited on her customer and then the complaining woman.
      If the service was so terrible, why was the woman here, I
      wondered. No one else was complaining. I think some people just
      enjoy going through life whining. Maybe they like listening to
      their own voice. Or maybe they don't care what kind of attention
      they get as long as it's attention. I also know everyone was very
      relieved when she was gone. It was as if the sun came out. Not a
      pleasant experience, but a learning experience.
      I can go through life being a bright spot in someone's day,
      or an angry cloud. We all have things we can complain about. But
      why be in a hurry?
      I don't really like driving on bad roads, but when I slow down to a
      safe speed, turn on a nice radio station, and watch the pretty
      scenery of winter, I can still enjoy my drive. Most of life is all
      about attitude. Most of my time waiting in line, I can find
      something to talk about with even strangers, and often do. Maybe
      there is a baby to smile with, or an older person who shares a piece
      of their life with me. Before long I'm walking to my car feeling as
      if I'd made a new friend. I always tell the clerk I'm not in a
      hurry. I'm not. Life is too short. Why am I here for this moment
      in time? I can try to brighten someone's day in a minute or less.
      It takes no talent or special skill except for a smile!
      * * *
      "Joy is to feel the doors of the self fly open into a wealth that is
      endless because none of it is ours and yet it all belongs to us."
      ~~William Sloane Coffin

      "As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding,
      mistrust and hostility to evaporate." ~~ writes Albert Schweitzer

      * * *
      Simple Dinner Idea

      How would you like to have dinner delivered to your door several
      nights a week, without hiring a cook or paying for delivery fees?
      It will even save money? Four families with a small amount of
      cooking talent can easily do this.
      You each take one night a week to prepare a meal, but you make
      enough for four families. You can do easy meals like a large pot of
      chili or potato soup. Baked spaghetti, or other casserole. Add a
      salad vegetable, and or bread. One night a week you make the
      delivery just before the dinner hour and return home to your own
      dinner. The other three nights you just stay home while dinner is
      delivered. Get together with a couple other families and decide how
      you'd like to do it. Maybe you only do Wednesdays. Maybe you take
      turns hosting a family night at your house on Fridays. Maybe you
      are a bunch of single parents who also share childcare. However it
      works for you, it just takes a little ingenuity. It may sizzle out
      after a while, but that's okay. You will probably have to adjust it
      occasionally with schedule changes. That's okay too. Try it for a
      month and then have another meeting to discuss changes. It just
      might work for you!
      * * *
      Simple Sausage Lentil Soup

      The spices for this soup can be easily adjusted, as well as the
      sodium. Using different flavors of sausage can also vary the amount
      of spice needed.
      This soup is great with bread and salad!

      Ingredients: 1 16-oz. pkg. dry lentils, 1 lb. sweet Italian
      sausage,1 large yellow onion (chopped), 2 garlic cloves (minced), 3
      celery stalks (chopped), 1 lb. carrots (sliced into small pieces),
      6 cups chicken broth (or water with enough bouillon cubes to season
      to taste), Salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and basil to taste, Freshly
      grated parmesan cheese to garnish

      Directions: Rinse lentils according to package instructions.
      Brown sausage in a large soup pot and drain well. Add onion, garlic
      and celery. Cook until onion is tender. Add all other ingredients,
      except cheese. Cook until lentils are tender, approximately 30 to
      40 minutes.
      Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

      Keeping it Simple,
      Sheryl
    • Sheryl Simons
      Being content where you are is the center of Simple living I really want to play the guitar better. I love going to the Dulcimer Festival, and enjoy the
      Message 2 of 23 , Mar 1 4:53 AM
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        "Being content where you are is the center of Simple living"

        I really want to play the guitar better. I love going to
        the Dulcimer Festival, and enjoy the music. I even have a fiddle
        that I haven't played in a couple years. I love gardening, and
        sewing, and cooking. I also love playing golf, etc. etc. There are
        some important things that take time, but sometimes they get left
        out. I have several priorities. But sometimes I just end up
        reading a book, going for a walk, or doing something that isn't all
        that important. What about volunteer time, or family time, or time
        for my faith? I have to be sure that isn't on the back burner.
        Whew! Do you see what I see? When I do have a day off, how do I
        spend those precious hours? Way too many hobbies, and only so many
        hours in a day.
        Maybe this year it's time to prioritize my priorities! I
        know exactly what I should be doing. I am committing myself to that
        end. What about you? Do you know what your priorities are? What
        can you do to make it happen? If you have kids, that is your
        priority right now. You can't do it all. Do everything you can to
        make your time with your family your priority. After that, it's up
        to you. Don't waste it on stuff that doesn't really matter. It can
        all seem important. It isn't. Make a list and number them. If
        it's not near the top, lose it. Maybe not forever, but just for
        this year. Work on one or two important priorities. Think about
        it, study it. Get good at it. Now you can see what happens. Don't
        let the unimportant things block your path to the more important
        things.
        * * *
        "If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy
        expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your
        goal." ~~ Norman Vincent Peale
        * * *
        Working in a local retail store, I can see what a difference
        it makes to keep your receipts. It's not that hard to put them in
        an envelope, shoe box, or file folder when you get home and empty
        your pockets. You might have a place in your purse or glove box.
        Many nurseries guarantee plants for a year. You don't have to keep
        all your grocery receipts, unless you want to keep them for only a
        month, or so. You could even have several large envelopes, one for
        clothing, one for tools, and kitchen tools, or furniture, or even
        home improvement. Some stores will take back items without a
        receipt, but only at the clearance price. Most stores will give
        full credit if there is a receipt that is less than 3 months old.
        It's your money! If you buy extra supplies for remodeling, take
        back the excess immediately. If a product goes out of date, such as
        a style of lamp, or furniture, and many more, once it is clearanced,
        you cannot get credit for it. Put it immediately in the front seat
        of your car to return at the next time you get near that store.
        * * *
        Produce----Yield
        Here are some amounts for some common produce items! Copy this
        and keep with your recipes.
        Produce Yields
        1 medium onion 1/2 to 2/3 cups chopped
        1 medium pepper 3/4 to 1 cup chopped
        1 medium cucumber 1-1/2 cups sliced or chopped
        1 medium apple 3/4 cup diced, or 1 cup
        chopped or sliced
        3 medium apples 1 pound
        1 medium potato 1 cup cubed, or 1/2 cup
        mashed
        3 medium potatoes 1 pound
        3 medium carrots 1-1/2 cups diced or sliced
        1 medium head leaf lettuce 4 to 6 cups torn up
        1 pound broccoli 3-1/2 cups florets
        1 pound green beans 4 cups trimmed

        Simple Cleaning: It doesn't take special sprays or formulas to get
        the sticky gunk off the counter, stove, dishes, etc. Just letting it
        soak with water is all it takes most of the time. Dishes soak for 15
        minutes before scrubbing. If the stove or counter has hard gook on
        it, I spray it down generously with water, and let it sit for a
        couple of minutes or cover with a warm and wet dishcloth. If it
        doesn't come off right away, I just spray it again, or let it sit
        longer. If you are worried about germs, use very salty water. Put as
        much salt in the water as will dissolve. The salt kills the germs. A
        doctor who volunteered in third world countries told this. That's
        what they use to kill viruses and germs in the hospital. It's easy
        to keep a spray bottle under the sink!

        Keeping it Simple,
        Sheryl

        --
      • Sheryl Simons
        The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. * * * A Simple Faith A writer is always on the
        Message 3 of 23 , Mar 6 7:05 AM
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          The Simple Life


          By Sheryl Simons





          "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
          happy."

          * * *

          A Simple Faith

          A writer is always on the lookout for interesting insight into
          things that happen in life. Whether it's for an article, or a
          novel, there is great material all around us.

          A couple weeks ago, a friend was telling me that he had a
          great professor in college. The professor had explained to the class
          that religions were just invented in ancient days by people who needed
          to somehow understand the meaning of life. They used religion to
          explain great tragedies such as earthquakes or floods. I was rather
          dumbfounded, but there wasn't time to ask any questions.

          A week or so later, this same friend saw me using a red pen.
          A simple little red pen, which had just happened to be available at the
          time I needed a pen. "Red! Why are you using a red pen!
          That's not good Karma! It's bad luck," he said.

          I laughed. "It's just a red pen. I don't believe
          in Karma anyway," I said. He handed me a black pen. "Here, use
          this."

          Right then and there, I knew I had my weekly column all
          wrapped up. It's true that everyone needs something to believe in.
          His professor was right about that. What happens when an atheist falls
          overboard in the middle of the ocean? He screams, "Oh God!, O
          God!" If given the chance we will all turn to God in the end. But
          why wait until the end?

          It's been said that anyone who had seen a baby, knows that
          God exists. Having seen my own babies, as well as my granddaughter, I
          have no doubt. All babies are miracles. Who could believe different?
          Miracles don't just happen. There was no "Big Bang" that
          happened billions of years ago, that "evolved" into man.

          It amazes me that we can go through life and chose not to
          believe in the God who gave us our very breath. We go through day after
          day and don't seem to care that the creator of the world is waiting
          to help us through each of those days.

          Ever watch a three year old getting dressed? You are in a
          hurry to get to an appointment, but when you try to help them, "I do
          it myself!" they demand as they put their arm in the wrong side of
          the shirt. We are not unlike that child. We demand from the
          air-craft-controller of the universe, "I can do it myself!" We
          hang on to our crutches and excuses, arrogantly believing that we know
          better. We could ask for simple guidance through our day, but would
          rather stick to our stubborn independence. We wander around in the
          deserts of our lives with the oasis just over the next dune. But we
          can't see it because we don't ask for directions.

          Everything that happens to us screams, "I am here! Call
          on me! I want to help you!" But when do we pull out our "Get
          out of jail free" card? We usually wait until it's a last
          resort. We wait until a loved one has cancer, or we get a flat on the
          way to an important job interview.

          Many people believe that God is love, so everyone will be in
          heaven. Can't possibly be true. Why? Because of free choice. We
          choose to be kind, or hateful, or be a bank robber or a teacher. No
          matter what we believe or don't believe, it takes faith. It takes
          faith to be an atheist. It takes faith to believe the teachings of a
          charismatic professor. It takes faith to think, "I'll deal with
          this when I'm old."

          But no matter. God is patient. He will wait as long as it
          takes. Now or later. And sometimes, never. He just wants to hear
          those two little words, "I believe." Now how hard is that?

          * * *
          Simple Home Fries:4 large Potatoes -- scrubbed1/3 cup
          Vegetable Oil1/4 teaspoon Garlic Salt1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt1/8
          teaspoon Black PepperSauce:1/2 cup Miracle Whip®1/2 cup Catsup
          Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Using a large baking sheet, pour oil onto
          baking sheet and spread to completely cover. Sprinkle all seasonings
          evenly over oiled surface, then set aside. Using a large knife, or a
          decorative slicer, slice each potato into long strips, about 1/2" x 1" x
          4". Lay strips on oiled baking sheet, turning each one to coat with
          spiced oil. When all potatoes have been prepared on baking sheet, bake
          for 20 - 25 minutes, or until fries are beginning to turn golden on
          edges. Serve hot as a side dish with the sauce.


          * * *



          Simple Cider Cure

          A man had a serious problem with heartburn for the last three years.
          They were purchasing Pepcid Complete once every other week at around $17
          a bottle. He got a tip from a relative of taking a tablespoon of Apple
          Cider vinegar at night before bed or before any spicy meal. It's hard
          going down but does the job wonderfully. Since starting this, he has not
          had one episode of heartburn and the $2.49 bottle of cider (which lasts
          a lot longer than two weeks) is much cheaper than the $17 we were
          spending.



          Keeping it Simple,
          Sheryl


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sheryl Simons
          Spring is on the Way! The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. It may be snowing outside
          Message 4 of 23 , Mar 14 5:32 PM
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            Spring is on the Way!

            The Simple Life
            By Sheryl Simons


            "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
            happy."

            It may be snowing outside right now (yes, it is!)
            here in lovely `ol Michigan, but spring is in the air. Richard, (my
            husband) saw 9 robins in the yard yesterday. I'm pretty sure they
            are hiding today, but in a couple days, they will be back, pulling
            the worms from the yard. We've seen cranes, already, in fact, the
            whole bird population seems to be exploding.
            Bird watching is a great family entertainment that
            is not costly. Taking a walk in the woods where ever you are, is
            cheap, especially when you pack a lunch. The exercise is a fringe
            benefit.
            Keep a calendar. It doesn't matter which year. If you
            see a bald eagle, or another rare sight, jot it down. Maybe you see
            a bird really early in the spring one year. Or you visit the beach
            and see another kind of bird for the first time. It can be quite a
            fun hobby for the whole family. You can also take some photos and
            keep them in an album. Whatever your hobby, your family can think
            up great ways to enjoy it together. Do it on a regular basis. There
            are all kinds of new things to notice with each season, as well.
            The internet has also opened a great new world of exploration. When
            you see a new bird, for example, you can find perhaps thousands of
            articles of information on the subject.
            I recently met someone who told me about being a naturalist.
            I really didn't know what a naturalist was, but he learned it from
            his own father. He and his family spend time each month noticing
            nature, and documenting sightings of different kinds of plants
            animals, and even bugs! It's definitely not expensive, but what a
            great way to spend time as a family.


            * * *
            Simple Gardening
            Did you know that for the most part, soil test kits are really not
            necessary? After all these years "experts" admit that most soil, on
            any given property is "average". Something most of us amateur
            gardeners suspected all along. Most soils need amendments. Good
            old fertilizers, such as manure, or green manure. If you know a
            farmer, or someone who raises rabbits or has horses, manure won't be
            too expensive, maybe free. Or, you might want to raise chickens or
            rabbits on your own.
            Composted manures are better since the weeds seeds have
            been destroyed by the heating process in the composting. So if you
            have sand, clay, or good ol' loam, you can all benefit from some
            good ol' fertilizers. And whether you have sand or clay, you both
            need the structure. Sand drains too well, so needs other materials
            such as chopped lawn clippings, manures, chopped straw, chopped
            leaves, or worked in green crops, to help keep moisture in the
            soil. Clay soils need the same added structures to help it drain.
            If you have very fertile soil, you don't want to add too much
            nitrogen, however, to garden plants or flowers, because nitrogen
            encourages "green" growth instead of flower and fruit growth. If
            your land hasn't been chemically fertilized in a while, you may
            qualify as "organic", which is really important lately with all the
            new information about chemicals that we have been finding out. No
            one really know the effect some chemicals could have on us, so
            staying natural is important. If you sell your produce at all, being
            organic is a really good thing.
            So save the money from your test kit and just add some
            simple compost.
            * * *
            "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right
            thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing
            you can do is nothing."~~ Theodore Roosevelt

            "Every new opinion, at its starting, is precisely in a minority of
            one." ~~ Thomas Carlyle

            * * *
            Sugar Cookies
            1 stick oleo 1/2 t soda
            1 stick butter 2 1/2 c flour
            1 1/4 c sugar 1 t vanilla
            1 egg

            mix ingredients as listed. Form into balls. Roll in sugar and
            flatten with fork. Bake @375` about 8-10 minutes until just lightly
            turning brown. Remove immediately from pan.




            Keeping it Simple,
            Sheryl
          • Sheryl Simons
            The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons When you are content to be simply yourself and don t compare or compete, everybody will respect you. ~~ Lao-Tzu Finding
            Message 5 of 23 , Mar 21 4:42 AM
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              The Simple Life
              By Sheryl Simons
              "When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or
              compete, everybody will respect you." ~~ Lao-Tzu

              Finding peace in your life is all about the simple life. I
              have to laugh at some of the incongruous ways that people try to
              make a living. There are some pretty stupid criminals. The guy who
              was trying to rob a convenience store and left his wallet behind.
              And with all the surveillance cameras, you can't hardly get away
              with anything. But who wants to go through life looking over his
              shoulder wondering "will I get caught today?" One man fled to
              another state after a crime, but recently was picked up after 10
              years. Ten years of looking over his shoulder.

              No one can be truly happy when there is no peace. Life is
              about being true to oneself. It's about hard work, and honest
              living. It's about integrity and being able to look yourself in the
              mirror.

              Anything you can't be really proud of is an area that needs
              improvement. It's not about getting even or seeking revenge, as we
              sometimes feel. Guilt is a good indicator. What is it you feel the
              worst about? You don't have to be a criminal to have things in your
              life that beg for a deeper look. We can spend our lives trying to
              prove to others what a "good" person we are, but we all deal with
              being the same on the inside as we are on the outside.

              I recently heard a man turn down an alcoholic drink. "I
              know I can't handle it," he admitted. Wow. Humbling to be sure.
              But he knew what he had to do. I don't know if he felt strong, but
              he was really showing his strength. It takes a big person to admit
              their weaknesses.

              A woman I know realized she was yelling at her kids too
              much. She sat down with herself one day and thought about it. She
              realized it was the stress in her life, and had nothing to do with
              her kids. It had also been a pattern in her family when she was
              growing up, and she didn't like it. Right then and there she quit
              yelling. She told me it wasn't even tempting once she figured out
              why she was yelling.

              A man had to quit a good job because he was being asked by
              his superiors to do some dishonest things. He was told to look the
              other way, at times. He did it for a while, but eventually, he
              couldn't do it any longer. He quit. He gave up the paycheck.
              Things were tough. He had to sell some "toys" that his family had
              enjoyed. He may never find a job that pays as well. Maybe he will
              move. But now he can live with himself. His life is already
              better. He's spending more time with his kids. He hasn't even
              realized that he did the right thing yet, because it still stings.
              There is fallout to doing the right thing at times. Sometimes it
              takes a while to realize you did the right thing. Simple living is
              being right with yourself.

              * * *
              "There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship,
              communion, or company than a good marriage." ~~ David Ben-Gurion

              Simple Squash Casserole

              1 pound yellow squash, sliced,1 onion, finely chopped, 1 cup grated
              Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup half and half, 2 Tablespoons butter, 1 egg,
              beaten, Dash of nutmeg, Salt and pepper to taste,1/2 cup cracker
              crumbs, Paprika to taste

              TO PREPARE:
              Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Steam squash and onion until done.
              Drain. Combine squash and onion in a large bowl, add cheese,half and
              half, butter, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Mix well. Place
              mixture in a greased casserole dish. Top with cracker crumbs and
              paprika. Bake approximately 25-30 minutes until slightly browned.

              Doesn't this recipe make you hungry for that fresh squash
              from the garden? I can't wait to get my fingers in the soil, but
              right now my garden is just a mucky mess. When you can walk on your
              garden, you can plant peas, onions and a few other veggies that
              frost won't hurt. It's almost here! It's not too late to plan how
              big or small you want your garden. A grape tomato plant in a pot or
              a –half-acre menagerie – it's up to you!

              Keeping it Simple,
              Sheryl
            • Sheryl Simons
              The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons Gardening is the heart of simple living. A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry farm, and bought 8
              Message 6 of 23 , Jun 28, 2006
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                The Simple Life

                By Sheryl Simons

                "Gardening is the heart of simple living."

                A special HI to all! Yesterday I found a local strawberry
                farm, and bought 8 quarts of strawberries, just picked that
                morning. There berries were fantastic! My friend had bought someat
                a local fruit market, and they were all mushy. When she took them
                back, she found out they were from Mexico! I don't know how long it
                takes to get strawberries from Mexico to MI, but several days to be
                sure! So if you want the most yummy berries, BUY LOCAL GROWN!

                My hubby cleaned them, I chopped them up with my hand chopper,
                the kind from Pampered Chef (works great) and made two batches of
                jam. I like the reduced sugar Sure Jell. Making Jam is so easy. I
                cook the jam, and put it in jars. My mom had given me all her
                canning stuff, but when she saw my jam, she wished she had not given
                it away! I gave her some jam, and told her we will do a batch
                together.
                For dinner, we had warm homemade biscuits, covered with
                strawberries and whipped cream. The biscuits were still warm.
                Yumm! I always use the recipe from the back of the Clabber Girl
                biscuit can
                1/3 c marg (the recipe calls for shortening, but this is better)
                2 1/4 c flour
                2 t Baking Powder
                1/2 t salt
                2 T. sugar (my addition)
                about 3/4 c milk
                The dough should be almost dry enough to not be sticky. If it's too
                sticky, add a bit more flour. For good biscuits, don't stir it any
                more than you have to. Put some flour on your pan ( I use a baking
                stone) Preheat oven to 450`. Pat out the dough on the stone, using
                a bit of flour under and on the dough. Pat out to 1/2 inch. Cut
                with biscuit cutter, or glass. place one biscuit on top of the
                other to make a double high biscuit. Bake for 12 minutes. THESE
                ARE THE BEST BISCUITS EVER!!!! Very Simple. If you have biscuit
                mix, just add 2 T. sugar. You can double this batch easily!

                Now what is more simple than a strawberry dinner in summer???

                * * *

                From a tomato in a pot to crops in a huge plot, a garden
                grounds us. It brings us back to basics. It makes us see what
                matters. It gives us the responsibility to realize that when we
                nurture something, we touch the earth, and it touches us back.
                If every child had a plant to take care of, or maybe a small
                garden, the violence in this world would be almost non-existent. We
                all need to learn to nurture. A child who learns to grow things
                doesn't want to hurt things, but learns to take care of things. We
                need to feed and water a plant to get it to grow. Watch a gardener
                walk among his plants. He talks to them. He waters them, feeds
                them, trains them in their growth. He waits for them through long
                winters and welcomes them each spring. And each morning, he walks
                among his plants, touching them, enjoying the fragrances, noticing
                what kind of care his plants need. Weeds are plucked, flowers
                deadheaded to encourage more blooming, watering here, harvesting
                there. And then, enjoying the fruits of his labor. Sliced
                strawberries on a bowl of cereal for breakfast, an onion slice on a
                hamburger for dinner, or an ear of juicy-sweet corn steaming and
                dripping with butter for dessert.
                Gardening is a peaceful endeavor. Gardening is inexpensive –
                from the cost of a seed packet or two, to the cost of a flat of a
                variety of plants. Maybe a pot and some potting soil and a bit of
                fertilizer. But when combined with some freezing, drying and
                canning, it can be a money maker. Think of the cost of strawberry
                jam for a year. Now think of the cost of a few jar lids and some
                pectin, and you have free jam for a year! Gardening can be good
                exercise, from building a new plot with a shovel (the best way), or
                it can be merely relaxing by planting a few plants in a pot and
                watering them.
                However you choose to garden is your choice. But no matter
                how you do it, it will make the world a better place. Even with a
                few weeds, (and not all weeds are a nuisance) No doubt about it – it
                makes your corner of the world a great place to start!
                * * *

                "Hope is seldom found in the things we can see; it is the sweet
                fragrance of grace."

                "I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find
                out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't, and die to
                find out there is." ~~ unknown

                "If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written
                upon the heart. The spirit should never grow old."~ ~James A.
                Garfield
                * * *
                Simple Watering
                Having a garden means watering. But watering doesn't have
                to be expensive. Water plants well, and mulch with newspaper,
                plastic, leaves saved from last fall, grass clippings, or old strips
                of carpet. When mulched, plants need little watering unless it is
                very dry.
                If you must water, consider it a pleasure to walk among your
                plants and water each plant. It gives each plant a good drink, as
                well as a chance to observe insect problems, and also doesn't water
                the weeds like a sprinkler would do. Watering each plant starves
                the weeds. After watering, take a few more moments once a week to
                move your hoe lightly along the surface of the soil. That is all it
                takes to eliminate the small weeds. No large equipment needed. Or,
                if you have a large garden, do several rows a day. Keeping it
                simple in the garden.

                * * *
                Simple BLT's and Strawberry Shortcake

                Fry up some bacon and slice up a nice juicy tomato from the
                garden, and wash some bibb lettuce from the garden. Add some salad
                dressing and you are on your way to a great sandwich dinner. Slice
                some strawberries and mix in a bit of sugar or splenda. Spoon over
                ice cream, with a dollop of whip cream. Put a sweet biscuit under
                it for shortcake. To make easy biscuits, use a biscuit mix, adding
                a tablespoon or two to a batch making them just slightly sweet.
                Warm biscuits, fresh from the oven, under your shortcake is truly
                the best strawberry shortcake there is!

                Keeping Summer Simple,
                Sheryl
              • Sheryl Simons
                The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. Lessons for the Garden A garden that one makes
                Message 7 of 23 , Jun 25, 2007
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                  The Simple Life
                  By Sheryl Simons

                  "The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be
                  happy."


                  Lessons for the Garden

                  A garden that one makes oneself becomes associated with one's
                  personal history and that of one's friends, interwoven with one's
                  tastes, preferences, and character, and constitutes a sort of
                  unwritten...autobiography. ~Alfred Austin

                  "If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional
                  love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of
                  flowers can bloom and grow." Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

                  * * *
                  This week we put up a new arbor, painted Buttercream. I
                  mixed the color, adding just a little yellow paint to some white I
                  already had. It is not easy to paint an arbor, there are a lot of
                  nooks and crannies, but I did get it all covered. I had a
                  beautiful `heavenly blue' morning glory to climb up it, along with a
                  few other colors, and when it was all put together, the effect was
                  beautiful! I had some morning glories that came up from seed on
                  their own. But I had to transplant them. Why is it when they come
                  up from seed, they don't come up where they should be? The next
                  morning they were looking pretty wilted, even though I was so
                  careful. By the next day, though, they were looking healthier. They
                  are going to make it!

                  In the garden we are still planting some seeds. With no rain
                  now for a week, we are sure to give lots of water to our healthy
                  plants. Especially when they are just coming up, they really need
                  water every day to help keep them strong. It's getting harder to
                  find seeds, but there is still lots of time to plant things like
                  radishes, beans, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and many favorites.
                  Even some plants that need a longer growing time, can be found with
                  shorter days to harvest. Good care helps, too. The proper watering
                  and fertilizing help to get plants producing. Too much dryness,
                  stunts growth, and keeps the plant just hanging on instead of setting
                  fruit.

                  So, if you are wanting to plant some fall crops, pick up your
                  seeds while you can still find them! If you have extra seeds,
                  storing them in a cool, dry environment can help lengthen their shelf
                  life. I keep mine in tins, veggie seeds in one, flower seeds in the
                  other.

                  For watering plants around my deck, I use tap water that
                  would normally go down the drain. My tap runs almost a gallon of
                  water before the water gets hot in the kitchen, but I don't just let
                  it run down the drain, I use it to water the plants close to the
                  house, and a few indoor plants. I try to conserve when possible.
                  Keeping my fertilizer right under the sink makes it easy to add to
                  the water.
                  * * *

                  Simple Pork Chops
                  4 to 6 pork chops
                  1 cup ketchup
                  1 cup Coke
                  Brown pork chops and place in baking dish. Mix Coke and ketchup
                  together and pour over pork chops. Cover with foil. Bake at 375 for
                  45 minutes. You could also grill these, wrapped in foil, on a medium
                  grill. Nice and tender!

                  * * *
                  No one has an exclusive on opportunity. When the sun rises, it rises
                  for everyone. ~~Chinese proverb


                  When your bow is broken and your last arrow spent, then shoot--shoot
                  with your whole heart. ~~Zen proverb



                  Keeping it Simple,
                  Sheryl

                  Please contact me with recipes, questions, comments and simple living
                  ideas that work for you. Email: thesimple_life@...
                  Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
                  columns.
                  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thesimple_life
                • Sheryl Simons
                  The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret. Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins 1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal 1 C
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jan 28, 2008
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                    The Simple Life
                    By Sheryl Simons

                    We can stay young by focusing on a dream instead of on a regret.


                    Simple Good Oatmeal Muffins

                    1 C Old-fashioned Oatmeal
                    1 C Milk
                    mix and let sit for 5 minutes
                    Add:
                    1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
                    1/3 c brown sugar
                    ½ t salt
                    ¼ c oil
                    1 egg
                    1 c flour
                    1 t cinnamon
                    1 T baking powder

                    scoop into greased muffin cups. Makes about 8 muffins. Bake @ 425
                    for 20 minutes until golden brown.
                    * * *
                    Special Delivery

                    When you wish to give a plant to someone in the hospital, put
                    together your own and take it to the hospital to the volunteer desk
                    with the patient's name and room number. It'll be "delivered" by the
                    volunteers just like the florist shop items! This can save a lot of
                    money because you use your own container purchased from a thrift
                    store or garage sale and your own plant and make your own delivery.
                    The patient just knows that you were thinking of him/her, and then
                    you can make a visit later that day or the next day if you are in the
                    same vicinity. Try it. No one questions your dropping off a gift to
                    be delivered. This also gives you incentive to repot those `extra'
                    plants, like those extra baby spiders plants, or take cuttings from
                    your philodendra. Even orchids make baby plants you can get starts
                    from! When you get them established, you can get them potted up in a
                    nice pot for a birthday or "cheer –up" gift. You could also look for
                    clearance plant sales, just to get a start! When a friend gave me an
                    orchid, she also gave me a note card with instructions for care, and
                    the likes and dislikes of the particular plant. It's easy to look up
                    plant names on the internet and make your own little plant cards and
                    keep them in a filebox for your own reference.

                    * * *
                    I try to get out every day and get some fresh air, and go for a
                    walk. Even though I don't often feel like getting out, especially
                    when the wind can be so frigid, but I really enjoy it, once I get out
                    there. The past few days 6(!)Bluebirds have been entertaining us
                    right in front of our bay window. I was watching them this morning,
                    and the thought crossed my mind that maybe we were the ones being
                    watched. Maybe they feel sorry for us, thinking we are stuck in the
                    cage called a house? Who knows who is the watcher and the watchee!
                    They flit about and sing, and ruffle up their feathers to look
                    bigger, and now that there are 6 instead of 2, and even though there
                    is about a foot of snow still, there they are. If they can stand the
                    cold and the snow, just maybe I will make it too. While they have
                    cheered me up this morning, who can I cheer up today?

                    * * *
                    I have been spending a lot of spare time working on our family
                    history this winter. There are a lot of free sites you can access
                    from the Internet, just by searching genealogy, family history sites,
                    etc. I am combing through family photo albums, and notes as far back
                    as I can find. The other day I was able to add my Great
                    grandmother's middle name (Nora), and some other details, all one at
                    a time. It's like adding more and more pieces to a puzzle. I hope
                    to just keep adding more and more. I even found a cousin Sue, that I
                    have never met on the internet. We share a great-great grandfather!
                    If you are looking for a simple, and yet meaningful hobby, family
                    history is really fun, and it can get creative and artistic. You can
                    find lots of ideas at libraries, and most local libraries have
                    genealogical societies, that will be glad to lend you a hand, and
                    point you in the right direction.

                    * * *
                    Keeping it Simple,
                    Sheryl

                    Email: thesimple_life@...
                    Join the online newsletter to print recipes and look up previous
                    columns.
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