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The Simple Life

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  • 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 1 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
      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 2 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
        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 3 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
          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 4 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
            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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