Tuesday, December 31, 2013



Year Two Statistics

Another year down.  We take the good with the bad, and move on.  Thank you all for allowing me to still be here.  Knowing I have followers makes it all worthwhile.

Last December I shared my statistics for the year with you.  This year I thought I would share them again, but this time I have a past year to compare them to.


                       2012                 2013                            TOTAL

Posts                52                      52                                 104       
Comments     394                    383                                 777        

Followers                                
     Bloglovin      11                       91                                 102
     Linky            17                         5                                   22
     GFC             87                      74                                 161        
     Google+                                 33                                   33
     Networked                               4                                     4
                         115                   207                                322


Page views    6,493              9,315                          25,808

The month with the most page views was September with 2,343, compared to 2012's December month with 1,060.

The comment numbers were pretty close but looking at the followers, I'd say I did very well indeed.

Thanks so much for your continued interest.  May you have a wonderful 2014.


A Few Wise Words

One last reflection before we start afresh in 2014:


Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference. 

Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the callers'. 

Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is. 

Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river. 

Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. 

Don’t major in minor things. 

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. 

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Learn to say no politely and quickly. 

Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. 

Don’t waste time grieving over past mistakes Learn from them and move on. Every person needs to have their moment in the sun, when they raise their arms in victory, knowing that on this day, at his hour, they were at their very best. 

Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death bed, ‘Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office’.

Give people a second chance, but not a third. 

Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health and love. 

Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly. 

Leave everything a little better than you found it.

Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation. Loosen up. Relax. 

Except for rare life and death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems. 

Never cut what can be untied. 

Never overestimate your power to change others. 

Never underestimate your power to change yourself. 

Remember that overnight success usually takes about fifteen years.

Remember that winners do what losers don’t want to do. Seek opportunity, not security. 

A boat in harbor is safe, but in time its bottom will rot out. 

Spend less time worrying who’s right, more time deciding what’s right. 

Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life. 

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is liking what you get. 

The importance of winning is not what we get from it, but what we become because of it. 

When facing a difficult task, act as though it’s impossible to fail.

— Jackson Brown Jr.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Five Things You Should Be Doing

Here's another article I thought would be of interest.  I found this one here.  I will be the first one to admit to not doing these things.  However, I vow to start doing at least some of it.


FIVE THINGS THAT EVERY WINDOWS PC OWNER MUST DO

Making resolutions for the New Year? How about including some essential computer tasks that we all know we ought to do but often don’t. Gizmo’s readers are pretty savvy PC users so you may already practice these good habits. But it’s a good bet that many of your friends and relatives do not. Pass these tips along to them and you may save somebody a lot of future computer misery.
1. Make a system restore or recovery disk
A restore or recovery disk is a copy of the restore partition that comes with most PCs. Few manufacturers provide a Windows installation disk or even a restore disk with a PC these days so you have to make your own. If your hard drive ever fails, you’ll be glad you did. How to make a restore disk in Windows 7 is described here and for Windows 8 in this article Also, many PCs come with OEM software for creating a restore disk from the restore partition. It won’t replace an up-to-date full backup but it’s a lot better than nothing.
If you are more ambitious, you can periodically create a new drive image with all your latest files. You can use one of the free disk imaging programs reviewed here. Making an image of an entire hard drive should be done on an external hard drive.
2. Back up your data
This may seem like stale advice but it has to be repeated. Everybody knows they should back up but they don’t. “Back up” seems to rank in popularity with the advice to “get more exercise and eat more vegetables”. Neglected it may be but backing up personal data and files is a must. Look what happens over and over. Somebody’s hard drive crashes or they lose their personal data to some malware infection and there go all those precious photos or other important files. Don’t let that happen to you.
Data backup is a simpler and quicker process than imaging a full disk so it can and should be done frequently. Personally, I use several external hard drives in rotation but a USB flash drive is also a convenient place to put data backups.  Free software for creating backups is reviewed here.
3. Write down the Windows product key
It seems to happen all the time. People’s system gets bollixed and they need to reinstall Windows. Then they discover that they do not know the product key for the original installation. On laptops, it may be on the bottom of the case but often is not or is undecipherable. So record your product key in a safe place somewhere. If you don’t know what it is, this article gives some ways to reveal your Windows product key.
4. Make an emergency Windows boot or startup disk
Sometimes it happens that a PC won’t boot or load Windows when you turn it on. An emergency repair disk that can be booted can be a lifesaver when that happens. Both Windows 7 and Windows 8 provide for the creation of a CD or USB key to be used to repair a Windows installation that has corrupted system files and won’t boot. This is a much smaller disk than a full installation or restore disk and is just a set of tools to help repair the Windows system. Instructions for Windows 7 are in this article  and for Windows 8 are here.
5. Make a bootable rescue disk with anti-malware programs on it
If you are unlucky enough to get a malware infection that keeps your system from booting or that your installed anti-virus program is not removing, an external bootable disk with anti-malware program or programs on it may be able to save you. By working outside of the infected system, an anti-malware program has a better chance of dealing with an infected PC. The major anti-malware programs provide for a way to create a bootable disk so check yours out and create a live CD for running your particular antivirus program. Major antivirus vendors also provide free downloads of iso files for creating rescue disks. Here are three of the many that are available:
And there you have it – five essential steps that will prepare you to deal with big Windows problems. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Handy Tip #8





While cooking, do you use several paper towels to absorb grease from your food?  I used to but figured a less expensive way.








Start with a layer of newspaper, or brown paper bags, or do like this and use school papers destined for the trash.  Make it as thick or thin as you want.

I know what you're thinking.... ewww, that has germs on it. Don't worry, it will be covered up.






Now all you have to do is use one paper towel to cover those germs you were worried about. The under paper takes care of the excess grease. You could use two paper towels if you're still worried.






Since I have been doing this, I buy half as much paper towels. Yay, for saving!




Friday, December 27, 2013

Free E-Books

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I thought I would share with you a few cooking related eBooks compliments of The Prepared Pantry.  There is more on their site if you are interested.




How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking (over 200 pages)

The Egg and I: How to Make Incredible Omelets and Frittatas

How to Make Chowder: A Chef’s Guide to Making Chowder

The Popcorn Handbook: Recipes, Techniques, and Tips for Great Candy Popcorn

Easy Cheesecakes: Recipes and Principles for Making Perfect Cheesecakes

Creative Cupcake Ideas: Gourmet Cupcakes

A Baker’s Guide to Chocolate: A Collection of Recipes and Useful Information

Baking in Your Skillet: A Collection of Skillet Recipes

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Life Lessons You Should Unlearn


This was an interesting article I came across here.  I thought it would be very appropriate for a New Year's resolution. Don't you?



10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn





By Martha Beck

In the past 10 years, I've realized that our culture is rife with ideas that actually inhibit joy.
Here are some of the things I'm most grateful to have unlearned:

1. Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by 
boring authority figures. You learned that problems -- comment se dit? -- suck. But 
people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding 
planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job 
burnout? It's steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It's teaching 
you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They're suggesting you hire an accountant, 
so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each 
problem is what gives life its gusto.

2. It's important to stay happy. Solving a knotty problem can help us be happy, but we 
don't have to be happy to feel good. If that sounds crazy, try this: Focus on something 
that makes you miserable. Then think, "I must stay happy!" Stressful, isn't it? Now say, 
"It's okay to be as sad as I need to be." This kind of permission to feel as we feel -- not 
continuous happiness -- is the foundation of well-being.

3. I'm irreparably damaged by my past. Painful events leave scars, true, but it turns out 
they're largely erasable. Jill Bolte Taylor, the neuroanatomist who had a stroke that 
obliterated her memory, described the event as losing "37 years of emotional baggage." 
Taylor rebuilt her own brain, minus the drama. Now it appears we can all effect a similar 
shift, without having to endure a brain hemorrhage. The very thing you're doing at this 
moment -- questioning habitual thoughts -- is enough to begin off-loading old patterns.
 For example, take an issue that's been worrying you ("I've got to work harder!") and 
think of three reasons that belief may be wrong. Your brain will begin to let it go. Taylor 
found this thought-loss euphoric. You will, too.

4. Working hard leads to success. Baby mammals, including humans, learn by playing, 
which is why "the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton." Boys who'd 
spent years strategizing for fun gained instinctive skills to handle real-world situations. 
So play as you did in childhood, with all-out absorption. Watch for ways your childhood 
playing skills can solve a problem (see #1). Play, not work, is the key to success. While 
we're on the subject...

5. Success is the opposite of failure. Fact: From quitting smoking to skiing, we succeed 
to the degree we try, fail, and learn. Studies show that people who worry about mistakes 
shut down, but those who are relaxed about doing badly soon learn to do well. Success 
is built on failure.

6. It matters what people think of me. "But if I fail," you may protest, "people will think 
badly of me!" This dreaded fate causes despair, suicide, homicide. I realized this when I 
read blatant lies about myself on the Internet. When I bewailed this to a friend, she said, 
"Wow, you have some painful fantasies about other people's fantasies about you." Yup, 
my anguish came from my hypothesis that other people's hypothetical hypotheses 
about me mattered. Ridiculous! Right now, imagine what you'd do if it absolutely didn't 
matter what people thought of you. Got it? Good. Never go back.

7. We should think rationally about our decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer 
and more error-prone than your deeper, "animal" brain. Often complex problems are 
best solved by thinking like an animal. Consider a choice you have to make -- anything 
from which movie to see to which house to buy. Instead of weighing pros and cons 
intellectually, notice your physical response to each option. Pay attention to when your 
body tenses or relaxes. And speaking of bodies...

8. The pretty girls get all the good stuff. Oh, God. So not true. I unlearned this after 
years of coaching beautiful clients. Yes, these lovelies get preferential treatment in most 
life scenarios, but there's a catch: While everyone's looking at them, virtually no one 
sees them. Almost every gorgeous client had a husband who'd married her breasts and 
jawline without ever noticing her soul.

9. If all my wishes came true right now, life would be perfect. Check it out: People who 
have what you want are all over rehab clinics, divorce courts, and jails. That's because 
good fortune has side effects, just like medications advertised on TV. Basically, any 
external thing we depend on to make us feel good has the power to make us feel bad. 
Weirdly, when you've stopped depending on tangible rewards, they often materialize. 
To attract something you want, become as joyful as you think that thing would make 
you. The joy, not the thing, is the point.

10. Loss is terrible. Ten years ago I still feared loss enough to abandon myself in order to 
keep things stable. I'd smile when I was sad, pretend to like people who appalled me. 
What I now know is that losses aren't cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul their 
natural cycle of breaking and healing. A real tragedy? That's the loss of the heart and 
soul themselves. If you've abandoned yourself in the effort to keep anyone or anything 
else, unlearn that pattern. Live your truth, losses be damned. Just like that, your heart 
and soul will return home.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Can You Say Arkansas?






How would you like to own a new piece of property for your Christmas? It's possible.  But you must enter today. It ends tonight. The land is in Northern Arkansas. That's beautiful country and not a bad place to be.

All you have to do is like this Facebook page and that's it. It's that simple. Good Luck!!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Win a $500 Amazon Gift Card


Win a $500 Amazon Gift Card from DontPayFull.com

Wanna win this?  I sure do. Just go to DontPayFull.com and enter by rafflecopter.  It's quick and easy. Some of the entries you just basically click for it.

Giveaway ends December 31.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Pocket Full of Cash Giveaway and Apron Swap

pocket full of cash giveaway













Katherine from Katherine's Corner is hosting this giveaway, along with Angel from Sew Crafty Angel, and Anna from Cuddlebug Cuties, and the lovely people at 7 Hopes United.

7 Hopes United is providing an apron and matching potholder as the prize. Katherine, Angel, and Anna have filled the pocket with $75 paypal cash.

To enter by rafflecopter, go here.

 Prizes $75 paypal cash and the apron and potholder in the image below :-)
cash giveaway prizes

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What I'm Thankful For

Today, I am thankful for the many years I shared with my Daddy. The Lord couldn't have picked a better person to look over me.  He made me who I am today.  I dedicate this Thanksgiving post to him.


I may not have spent every Thanksgiving day with you, Daddy, but I sure do miss you on this one.


Friday, November 22, 2013

Handy Tip #7

When you need your tap to run hot water for different reasons, such as dishwater (yea, I'm one of those who still does that), you waste water down the drain while you wait for it to turn hot, right?  Well, I have one solution that saves on this water waste.






Your coffeemaker!









When you're ready for hot water, just run the hot tap into your coffeemaker's water reservoir or carafe, whatever it is you have.  By the time you have filled it, you have hot water.  

You could go ahead and add your ground coffee and your pot is ready and waiting for it's next brew whenever.




Just imagine how much water you can save over a year's time.  It really adds up when you think about it.

Now, go get those dishes washed.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween 2013




I love to go around and look at all the houses decked out for Halloween. People are so creative.  I just found this one on facebook.  You just have to watch it.  It's so awesome!!

In case you didn't know, the song is SAIL, by AWOL Nation.  One of my favorites.

Here's the link once more:  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151925694233544

Do you have links to any others like this?  I would love to see them.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Frosty Festivities 2013

Frosty Festivities Event at Jennifer Grace Creates



It's time once again to join Jennifer of JenniferGraceCreates for her Frosty Festivities weekend.  You can read about it here. This is how Jennifer describes it:
The event will follow the same format as my previous events. Over the weekend there will be posts every hour from 4pm-10pm Friday, and 10am-10pm Saturday and Sunday (GMT), including crafts, tutorials, challenges, tips, a blog hop (with a mix of old and new faces in the hop), and many, many giveaways! It will all be on the theme of Winter and Christmas, so we can get nicely in the festive spirit and share lots of ideas to see us through colder days.
The giveaways will stay open until the Monday night (11th Nov) at 10.59pm GMT, so if you’re not around during the weekend then you’ll have the Monday to try and catch up. The challenges will stay open until the following Sunday (17th Nov), so there’s more time to take part in those too!

This will be the second year for her Frosty Festivities theme.  You can read about my last year's winter plaque at Frosty Festivities Blog Hop.  Also, Jennifer made a pdf of the weekend's activities that you can see here.

And while you're at Jennifer Grace Creates, be sure to enter to win a Glitz Designs Hello December collection kit.

Glitz Hello December

I hope I have enticed you enough to join in.  I'll see you there.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Convoy of Hope

Have you ever heard of the Convoy of Hope?  Last Saturday they came to my town and held a community gathering.  I had never heard of them before then.  All I knew was that they had a sign stating free food, clothing, and dental and health care. It was for one day and everyone was welcome. So my husband and I went to check it out.

This is what we came home with:
 

Not bad huh. They gave each of us a bag of groceries, a bag of toiletries, and a bag of granola bars.  There were 80 granola bars in all. Of course my son has whittled that number down to 40 in 3 days time. 

For the dental and health care, they just did basics, like check blood pressure, sugar levels for diabetes, height and weight, quick eyes and teeth look-over, and things like that. If you wanted, they would advise you on health risks and treatments.

They provided hot dogs and cokes and chips and popcorn. There were several blow-up bouncers for the kids.  With so many people there, we didn't even make it to the clothing part.

It was all run by volunteers. I know that the healthcare people were locals, but I'm not sure about all the others.  Through it all, they made you feel special. I was sure to thank each and every one of them that I interacted with.

When I got home I went online to their website to learn more about them. This is what they have to say about themselves.
Since Convoy of Hope, a 501(c)3 faith-based nonprofit, was founded in 1994 we have served more than 55 MILLION people throughout the world through international children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing.
Currently, there are more than 120,000+ children in our feeding initiatives in El Salvador, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua and the Philippines. Through the feeding initiatives we provide good nutrition, clean and safe drinking water, instruction on agricultural techniques, healthy living environments and education.
 
Year after year, we are lauded for our effectiveness and efficiency in mobilizing tens of thousands of volunteers for community outreaches and during times of disaster response.
No matter what we are doing, our objective is to always deliver much-needed food, supplies and hope to the impoverished and suffering.
At Convoy of Hope our goals are to provide help and hope to people in need in the United States and around world through our children’s feeding initiatives, community outreaches, disaster response and partner resourcing.  
In the past 15 years, Convoy of Hope has been active in 46 states and over 109 countries providing disaster response, conducting community events, and directing nutritional programs and sustainability projects.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Handy Tip #6

Don't you just love left-over pizza.  Let me show you a quick and easy trick for warming it up.



If your household is like mine, there is usually only a couple of slices left to eat the next day.









Run your slice under the faucet to dampen it.









Shake off the excess water.











Microwave the slice for about 30 seconds, more or less.








Enjoy!  It won't be soggy like you would think.  I promise.  It steams it nicely. Be careful though, because it will burn your mouth with just that little of heating.

I actually do this with a variety of foods.  Hamburger patties especially. You would be surprised how many things can take the water splash.  Try it and let me know how yours turns out.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Updated Blog Design


Did you notice?  Does it stand out?  Have I gone out of my mind?  What in the world could I be talking about?

My new blog design silly!  I just love it.  And look at some of the cool features:


I Create Purty Thangs

                                    My new heading. Isn't it perfect for my site.                                              




My social icons. Love!


I Create Purty Thangs



                                    And I even have a button!!!



Can you tell I'm excited.  I think it's all perfect and fits so well with my site. Now before you ask, no, I did not do this myself. I only wish I were this creative.  

The genius mind behind this is Tiffany of Sunglasses and Starbucks.  I found her through a blog hop that she was co-hosting.  Then upon checking out her site, I read that she does FREE custom blog design.  My lucky day.  Did I have a job for her:)  

Can you believe that she did this in 2 days?  2 days I tell you!  All I had to do was fill out a form with basic information, just a couple of questions. Every thing was done by email, and she was in constant contact. There were a couple of small hiccups at the end but nothing she couldn't fix.

All in all, everything went smooth as could be. If you have a site that needs a makeover, I highly recommend Tiffany.  



Friday, September 27, 2013

Treehouse

If this were in my back yard, you can believe that I would practically live in it.  I take that back......I WOULD live in it.



Photo: Falcon Perch TreeHouse, Hampton, New York
Falcon Perch TreeHouse, Hampton, New York



From: 1,000,000 Pictures

Thursday, September 26, 2013

When You're Hot, You're Hot

This came through on facebook, and I thought it was so cute I had to share it with you.  Poor little feller.




This summer when it got so hot in Missouri, one woman started putting bowls of ice out for the squirrels in her yard. This little guy was so grateful, he fell asleep cooling off on top of one.

From:  Interesting Amazing Facts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Incredible Edible Egg

If you read last month's post, My Chickens, you'll remember that I was hoping that my babies would hurry and start laying eggs.  They were 20 weeks old at that time.

Well, at 21 weeks, my little white Queenie started laying every day.  She was the only one.

Last week, I started getting a couple more eggs each day.

Now at 24 weeks, I get 4 eggs a day, one from each of my 4 hens.  



Yay... I'm a proud mama!  I love all my babies. And my breakfasts too.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Handy Tip #5

This tip is about buying ground beef in bulk.  It's usually cheaper per pound when you buy larger packs.  The problem is, it can ruin before it is all cooked up.  Right?  Here's my solution.





This is a 3 pound pack.








I cook the entire pack all at once.  Usually I will go ahead and add my chopped onions and bell peppers.  This time I didn't because I am using most of it for tacos, and I prefer my onions uncooked.

How do you like my iron skillet?  I couldn't live without it.









As you can see, it makes a lot of grease and it's only half way through.  I go ahead and drain this out, and then do a final drain once thoroughly cooked.













At this point, I will turn the meat every so often to help it dry out and cool down faster.








While I'm waiting on the meat to cool, I label my ziplocs.  These are just regular quart bags that I put 1 pound of meat in per bag. Normally, for this 3 pounds, I would have 3 labelled bags.  Right now though, I'm going to be using 2 pounds for Tacos tonight, so 1 bag is sufficient.









I put one-third of the meat (1 pound) into my bag.  Before sealing, I push all the air out.  It helps to fold the top half over and seal most of the way. Then kinda lean onto it to help push the last of the air out.














This is about one inch thick.











Nice and flat for stacking.  Although I wouldn't stack them on top of each other until they are frozen.  That's for safety reasons.








Now my next meal already has the meat cooked.  This is so easy to pull out at the last minute and add ingredients to for a quick meal.  Very handy when you haven't taken anything out to thaw ahead of time.

And one more thing...doing it this way means that there is no more grease to mess with later.  This comes out very lean.  Win-win.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Quilled Butterfly

This is my first attempt at quilling a butterfly.


































I used the comb method.  Didn't turn out too bad.  I may do a tutorial on it later.

By the way, that's a silhouette of me when I was in the fourth grade, back in the 60's if you can believe that.

Hope you have a nice Labor Day!


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Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Chickens

We hatched 10 baby chickens back in April.  



They were raised in a hamster cage. This is them around 3 weeks old under their heat lamp.  The one on the roost was the last one to hatch.  I called him Baby.




This was around 6 weeks old.  I was letting them roam outside during the daytime, and brought back in at night.  There came a downpour with lightning and they didn't like it.




Last month I lost 3 of them to a raccoon.  It broke my heart, especially since it was my fault.  I had left their door open after dark.  Then a couple of weeks ago, one disappeared during the day.  




These are the 6 that I have left. They are now 20 weeks old.  I've read that they can start laying eggs now.  I hope so.









These are my 2 roosters.






This one is named Spot. Obviously.



And this is Baby.  He's not so small any more.  In fact, he's as big as Spot.

This is their pen.  I lock them in overnight and the next morning they are looking out waiting for me to open it no matter how early I am.

The pen gets rolled to a different spot every few days.




And believe it or not, they are all Road Island Reds.  So where does the white and speckled come from?


They are my babies, and will follow me all around the yard.  Spot will come running when I call his name.  I didn't know how much fun they could be.  

I highly suggest you try it out sometime!