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The Simple Life

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  • 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 1 of 23 , Mar 1, 2006
      "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
      * * *
      "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.
      * * *
      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
      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 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 2 of 23 , Mar 6, 2006
        The Simple Life

        By Sheryl Simons

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

        * * *

        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

        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

        Keeping it Simple,

        [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 3 of 23 , Mar 14, 2006
          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

          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
          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 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 4 of 23 , Mar 21, 2006
            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

            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 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 5 of 23 , Jun 28, 2006
              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
              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.
              * * *
              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 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 6 of 23 , Jun 25, 2007
                The Simple Life
                By Sheryl Simons

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

                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

                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

                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,

                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
              • 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 7 of 23 , Jan 28, 2008
                  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
                  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,

                  Email: thesimple_life@...
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