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Simple Holidays

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  • Sheryl
    Keeping Christmas Simple 2004 Simple Ideas for the Holidays!!! *********************************************** Holidays
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 29, 2004
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      Keeping Christmas Simple 2004

      Simple Ideas for the Holidays!!!


      - they come; they go, year after year. Some are better than
      others. One thing we have in common is wishing for the `Norman
      Rockwell' setting, where everyone is happy, and all is well. It
      doesn't just happen, though, as we all know. We don't all get to
      ride in a sleigh to grandmother's house and back. Cars are
      invented, things happen - life doesn't always take the curves we
      expect. Our kids grow up and move away, or sometimes we are the
      ones who move away from home. There are all kinds of reasons we
      might find ourselves in an atypical situation on the holidays. But
      some of these holidays can be the best ever!
      One family I know made their holiday special by inviting as
      many `singles' as they could. It made for an interesting and
      eclectic day. Everyone had fun by getting to know each other, and
      it was a real learning experience.
      If you are going to be alone on a holiday, plan ahead. If you
      are invited to a party, don't think of being a `third wheel'. Just
      say `yes'! Go and enjoy. Be glad you have someone to spend the
      holidays with. Or you might want to invite all the singles you know
      for a party at your place. Don't let age or differences keep you
      from getting together. You have more in common than you thought.
      Let everyone bring a favorite dish. Holidays don't have to be
      traditional. One family I know has a really great taco bar party!
      Maybe your family wants to try something different. Get your
      kids involved at a young age, volunteering at a shelter or community
      meal. Even young kids can help with setting up, and serving.
      If you do have a regular party at your home, make a menu way
      ahead of time. Keep this list with your recipe file – it will last
      for years. No sense making a new list every year. Figure out what
      you will provide, such as meat and potatoes, and let everyone else
      bring a salad, dessert, etc. Don't be afraid to call them a couple
      days ahead of time, to check to make sure they know what they are
      bringing. Who wants two dishes of baked beans, or no dessert?
      Life just seems to get busier during the holidays, but having a
      master calendar for every little detail will keep it simpler. Post
      it where everyone knows exactly where it is. That way you can line
      up babysitters, gifts, etc. well beforehand. You can also plan easy
      meals or cook ahead on nights that will be very busy. This way you
      will make sure to have time for special religious events, as well.
      Don't pencil these in, write them in bold ink. We all look back at
      these events where family attends together to be the highlight of
      our holidays. When we miss them, it just doesn't feel the same.
      Save money by trading babysitting with a neighbor or friend.
      Save gas by traveling together as much as possible. Plan shopping
      trips during slow times and go with a neighbor, if you go to most of
      the same places.
      Gift giving becomes quite a challenge in families. Exchange
      names to make it easy. Become a detective to find out what someone
      really needs, or use a gift card. They will probably have more
      buying power if they shop after the Christmas season for what they
      really need. No one wants something just collecting dust if they
      don't have a use for it. Also, think of something you really need
      or want. When someone asks you for ideas, tell them! It's better
      to get something you need, than something you will never use.
      The biggest desire of parents is that their children will
      learn the gift of giving as well as receiving. You might want to
      give a gift to a needy family, by inviting them to dinner, or making
      an anonymous contribution to their family. Do a special deed for
      older folks in your neighborhood. Visit an acquaintance in a
      nursing home. A great thing for kids to do is give coupons for
      chores such as wash the car, mow the grass, one day of cleaning,
      babysitting, etc. Everyone has something to give, and that's where
      the great joy comes from. Make sure to make a child know you are
      thrilled to get their gift!
      Put your heads together when it comes to shopping. I know a
      group of girls who go out to breakfast on a Saturday and then head
      out to finish their shopping. The guys spend the day with the kids
      watching family movies. The next Saturday, they trade places.
      Another family makes gifts instead of buying them. They come
      up with a craft item everyone can help with, and the whole family
      gets involved. Sometimes they make a game, wreath, birdhouse, bird
      feeder, or yard ornament. The gift they give is usually worth more
      than the dollar value of the gift exchange!

      Simple Bluebirdhouse Plans
      Top: 7-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches Front: 4-15/16 x 9-1/4 inches Back: 5
      x 9 inches Sides (2): 6-1/2 x 9-1/4 inches Bottom: 5 x 5 inches
      Predator guard: 4-1/8 x 5 inches Hole diameter: 1-1/2 inches for
      Eastern bluebirds. Cut from wood 3/4-inch thick; all measurements
      are height x width. 1-3/4-inch galvanized nails. Use screws for the
      front to make your birdhouse easy to clean. Paint only the outside.
      For more details search the internet, or go to bhg.com. There are
      lots of simple craft plans online.

      Simple Crock Pot Lasagna

      8-10 uncooked lasagna noodles
      1 1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey
      1 tsp. Italian seasoning
      28-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
      4-ounce can sliced mushrooms, optional
      1 pkg. frozen spinach, thawed
      6 ounce low-fat ricotta cheese
      6 ounce sour cream
      4 ounce cream cheese
      1/3 cup water
      2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

      Brown ground beef in skillet. Drain. Stir in Italian seasoning.
      Combine sauce, mushrooms, spinach, ricotta, sour cream, and cream
      cheese. Break noodles into thirds. Place half
      in bottom of greased crock pot. Spread half of ground beef mixture
      over noodles in crock pot. On top of beef, layer 1/2 of sauce, 1/2
      of water, and 1/2 of mozzarella cheese. Repeat
      all layers. Cover. Cook for at least 5 hours on low or jump- start
      and cook on high for 1 hour and low for 3. Enjoy!

      Keeping it Simple,


      Happy Holidays,

      Make sure to pass this on to your friends who are interested in
      Simple Living!

      Pass on "The Simple LIfe" for a great, on-going and FREE Christmas
    • Sheryl Simons
      The Simple Life By Sheryl Simons The happier you are with the simple things, the easier it is to be happy. I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder to
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 20, 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

        I wonder why it is that we are not all kinder to each other than we
        are. How much the world needs it! How easily it is done!~~Henry
        * * *
        the four simple holidays

        I did a survey around work for Valentine's Day. Most men do not
        think Valentine's Day should be all up to them. Some co-workers told
        of a romantic night out. One woman got flowers delivered, and she
        said her husband never forgets any special occasion. She was
        beaming! The look on her face alone was priceless. Several people
        said they went to dinner or had plans for a special day when they
        weren't working all day. One man thought that Valentine's Day is
        just a commercial holiday invented by flower shops and card companies
        to increase revenue during the middle of winter. Maybe so. However
        you decide to spend the day, this is something you need to talk about
        early in your relationship to avoid hurt feelings.

        From what I heard women and men saying, there are four days a year
        they want to be treated extra special. That is they want it to be
        more special than an average day. They are not hard to remember.
        Birthday, anniversary, Christmas, and of course, Valentine's Day.

        Of the women I talked to, if there was nothing special done for the
        holiday, the disappointment showed on their faces, even if they tried
        not to say so. Of course, the women whose men did do something
        special for them were really happy about it. Everyone likes to feel
        special. But as I stressed last week, almost any effort will be met
        with good feelings. Both men and women can do their part to make the
        day special. Talk about it ahead of time. Don't be afraid of saying
        that you will be disappointed if there is no celebration. If you want
        to take charge, just tell the other person, "I have something special
        planned for next Tuesday. Keep your calendar free." The anticipation
        will be worth it, believe me! That is how you feel. Nothing wrong
        with feeling like Cinderella once in a while! Smart men know how to
        make this happen daily with a phone call, a great kiss when you
        arrive home from work, and just helping with day-to-day chores.

        Nothing melts a woman's heart but to see a man giving the baby a
        bath, or giving the kids a slobbery kiss on their bellies in the
        afternoon that has everyone giggling, or taking the grandchild for a
        walk, or reading a book with them, or drying the dishes, etc. etc.
        That's how marriage is supposed to work, but we have not all figured
        that simple truth out. Partnership. When one is down, giving them a
        boost up, or a helping hand, or a few hours away from the normal
        demands of life – that doesn't involve grocery shopping. We all need
        a break!

        And, if you are allergic to Valentine's Day – no problem! Just pick
        another day for a special event – just let your loved one know ahead
        of time if you plan to skip it for another day. Let them know you are
        planning a surprise (or whatever). We all love to be treated in a
        special way. There are a million ways to show it – just pick one or
        two! A quiet dinner at home with candles, a picnic in the living
        room. You can make it commercial as you choose. But keep it simply
        about love and you can't go wrong!

        * * *

        Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy
        that the thornbush has roses.~~ German Proverb

        A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will
        annoy enough people to make it worth the effort. ~~ Herm Albright

        * * *
        Simply Good for you!

        I have finally gotten on the band wagon and am not drinking
        soda (Diet Coke was my drink of choice.) For 3 months now I have
        rarely had any pop, but I might have soda with pizza. Anywho, now I
        drink water, or water with lemon. I bought a case of water bottles,
        and usually refill them with tap water, so they last a long time. We
        have great tasting tap water here, from our own well, so that helps.
        I do like to add lemon, too, and usually ask for lemon in a
        restaurant. At home I'd buy lemons, and then forget them in the
        veggie bin. Now when I buy lemons, I cut them into wedges
        immediately when I get home. I pop them into a zip lock baggie, and
        put them in the freezer. So when I want water with lemon at home, I
        just take out one chunk of lemon and its and ice cube and lemon wedge
        all in one! Lemons are good for you, too.
        Lemons help with:
        your heart
        blood pressure
        Smoothes skin
        vitamin C

        * * *

        Super-Simple Skillet Honey Chicken

        2 T butter
        2 T honey
        4 to 6 chicken breasts, boneless
        1/2 cup orange juice

        Melt butter and honey in skillet, add chicken and brown. Add juice,
        cover and cook 10 minutes. Remove cover, cook til liquid turns to a
        glaze. Serve with brown rice, noodles, salad, green beans – anything

        Here's a simple dessert recipe to go with!

        Simple Jell-o Dessert

        1 cup Cool Whip Free
        1 large box (or 2 small) Sugar Free Jell-O
        1 12-oz.can of diet soda (see flavor combos below)

        Completely dissolve Jell-O into 2 cups boiling water. Add soda.
        until "wiggly" (about 2 hours, but no longer). With a mixer, stir in
        Cool Whip until
        completely mixed. Return to fridge until very firm (overnight is

        Simple Flavor Combinations: Blueberry or Grape with 7-up, and Peach
        Jell-O with cream soda - Orange Jell-O and soda - Lime Jell-O with
        Sprite - Strawberry or Cherry Jell-O with cream soda. Use your

        Other uses for this dessert: A mousse pie filling - Layer it with
        slices of
        fruit for a yummy parfait - Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers,
        walnuts, slivered almonds, crushed pretzels, or any other low-calorie
        crunchy treat.

        * * *
        "You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take
        risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that
        are always going to be placed in front of you. If you don't have that
        kind of feeling for what it is you're doing, you'll stop at the first
        giant hurdle." ~~ George Lucas

        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 Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homey home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 20, 2007
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          The Simple Life
          By Sheryl Simons

          Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you
          need – a homey home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth
          the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog and a
          pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear… Jerome Parr

          …Simple Holidays…

          Holidays are not always so simple. "I used to hate
          Christmas. I worked full time, there was so much stuff going on with
          the kids, and then there was all that extra stuff that goes with the
          holidays. I got grumpy and it trickled down to the whole family.
          Everyone wanted to just stay out of my way. We just barely made it
          through, and it was such a relief. I finally got smart and had a
          talk with my husband. I explained about all the decorating, the
          baking, the cooking, the dishes to pass, the dressing up for parties,
          and the not enough sleep. Now he and the kids really pitch in and
          now we all love Christmas again," my girlfriend told me. She told
          them, either you help out, or you've got `grouchy mom' for the
          duration. They chose to help. Now everyone pitches in with the
          decorating, and mom arrives with the milk and cookies. They all have
          fun. No more stress - well unless you count dad and the untangling
          of the lights!

          Simplify the holidays? It's easy.
          1. Make a list of what is important to you. If it's not
          important, cut it out.
          2. Delegate the work. One person can't do it all.
          3. Keep a calendar, and immediately put on it any date that
          comes up. If you need outfits or special gifts, or food, put it on
          your list well in advance.
          4. For parties, decide ahead which recipes are important. Do
          you really have to do the turkey in the oven with stuffing, or would
          a turkey roll do? Or would you like to buy your meal ready to go
          (most of the people I know are great cooks, so this is not an
          option). You could go out to dinner, but what fun is that? Part of
          the family fun is in the preparation! If you don't have any great
          cooks, then by all means, go out or have it catered.
          5. If you do decide to cook the meal, do a pot-luck or get
          together early and fix it all together! Plan ahead and everyone
          bring their favorite dish. So what if someone brings a store-bought
          pie. The whole idea is just to get together. And don't do too many
          dishes. That just leads to overeating, anyway, and no one needs
          that. Or you can always go with a real easy meal like sloppy joes,
          taco bar, or ham sandwiches and salads. Keep the main idea the main
          idea, it's about low stress and happy families. Do it your way, the
          easy way. And don't forget the paper plates unless you have hired
          help to do the dishes!
          6. Having your family parties away from the actual holiday makes
          it easier to get everyone there. How about at the beginning of
          December and Thanksgiving weekend instead of Thanksgiving Day, etc.
          7. Don't forget the religious part of the holiday. It's easy to
          leave out the important part when it is getting squeezed out. Don't
          let that happen. Incorporate the Christmas or other service as part
          of the tradition. Read from the Bible, and sing the carols. Go out
          for dessert afterward for a treat!
          8. Now for the real fun. Try doing one extra giving thing.
          Invite someone who is alone. Or bring groceries to a family in need.
          Do something as a family that will teach the kids the values of
          giving. And, give everyone a hug! That's the simple part.
          9. Little ones have a hard time waiting for "the big day". Have
          some simple small gifts for them, just for a surprise, to take their
          mind off Santa for a little while.

          Take from your best memories of childhood – the special dishes, or
          traditions - and from each of you combine them into a holiday piece
          of art that is unique to only your family.

          Or, The Short List!
          For the cynics who say that the list above is too long, there are
          really only two steps to simplifying:
          1. Identify what's most important to you.
          2. Eliminate everything else.

          * * *
          Simple 7 Layer Salad

          Start at the bottom with torn lettuce, layering your favorites of
          chopped egg, peas, onions, bacon bits, shredded cheese, etc. Keep the
          salad dressing toward the top, with cheese and bacon bits on top!

          * * *
          Life appears to be too short to be spent in nursing animosity or
          registering wrong. The pain we nurture controls us.
          Charlotte Bronte
          * * *

          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
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