“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Inflaction, recession, no money, OH MY! Waste not, want not...

It's not often that something I buy exceeds my expectations, but this little gadget received an A+ from me and an 11 on a scale of 1-10. I live alone since my last son married, so all the good, quantity buys at the grocery store were usually passed up. If I bought ten pounds of anything, by the time I got to the last package I had to toss out the contents because it had freezer burn or it had discolored or inside it looked like tiny Eskimos had set up housekeeping and built ice condos all over the place.

I hate to toss out money, who does? And, I don't like to cook food that looks like it should be buried and buried DEEP! There is just something about eating "something" that I just had to beat on the kitchen counter to break the ice crystals before I could even guess what was in the wrapper in the first place. I've bought "freezer bags" in all shapes and sizes. I've double wrapped food, especially meat and fish. Hey, I've even done a little dance in the kitchen with a candle in each hand to ward off the Freezer Burn Fairy. Not a thing worked to keep my food looking fresh and edible until...until I bought a little goodie that I thought might work, but if it didn't I wasn't out an arm and a leg in cost and I was willing to give it a chance. The Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealing System really is all that it says it is and what it will do for you.

It's not all that often that a product comes around where you buy more of the same thing just to give to friends and family because you are so thrilled with its performance. It's not all that often that you like something so much that you are willing to tell perfect strangers about it if you happen to meet in front of a product display at your local discount store. I know...it's strange, but I really have talked to strangers (shhh, don't tell) and happily shared my experiences with this little machine to just about anyone who would stop to listen.

I now buy my food in quantity knowing that it will stay fresh, keep it's "just fresh/frozen" look and color and not appear as though it was auditioning for the winter Olympics. I don't use this little gem just to separate large packages of fresh items to get ready for the freezer, oh no, there's more! A light went off in my head (don't tell my kids) that I could also keep freezer burn at bay by taking already frozen food (fish sticks, waffles, pancakes, veggies) out of the original box, cut out the cooking directions, and then re-pack it in one of the Sealing System bags. Works like a charm, honest! I know, I know, isn't it great? No more funny smelling waffles or toaster pastries. No more frozen potatoes or veggies or bacon or sausage of questionable quality. It's all good! I love it!

Some complaints have been that the bags (quart and gallon) are a little pricey. I'll tell ya what, tossing out food in today's economy is pricey; so costly that it nearly brings me to tears! I got a little inventive, too (probably out of my delirium). You have to lay the bag on a flat surface in order for a good connection to suck out the air for a tight fit. Well, I wanted to freeze a liquid. So, I filled the bag half full, held it vertical against my kitchen cupboard and viola' another little wonder! In addition, you can keep your cheese and lunch-meat from ending up like an audition for a Lego brick! Again, so the juice in the meat doesn't get siphoned out of the bag, just hold it tight against a hard, upright surface and you're good to go.

Except for the bags I use to freeze meat, I'll wash the bags and tuck them away for another time. Great for cookies, candies and...ta-da...wonderful to keep a washcloth moist when you are out of the house and have a little one along with you. The bags can be re-sealed over and over again. So, yes, they may be a bit more expensive initially, but you don't have to toss them out once you have used the contents.

If you do nothing else today, go out and buy one of these now! I promise, you won't be disappointed. Oh, and a little caution, don't be fooled and buy the similar item made by Zip-Lock. You'll be sooooorrrrrry. How do I know? Trust me. You'll be sorry. Oh, and watch what you are doing. I didn't realize how powerful it was until I got distracted packing some muffins to send home with my son. We got to talking and I flattened them into hockey pucks! Waste not, want not...my dogs were in canine Heaven munching on buttermilk muffins for a snack.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

A New Year, full of promise and wonder

New Years MySpace Comments and Graphics

Strange, it was the end of the year that inspired me to take on new challenges, change some old habits, nourish my creative side that had been on the back burner and to just jump in with both feet first learning new things and taking the chance that I would fail. You'd think that I would have begun last year making changes, but, nope, not me, did it at the end of the year instead. Sometimes I felt as though I was playing "beat the clock" because the end of the year was creeping up on me, but plod on I did, and I am so happy that I kept my goals in sight.

One of the new things I tried last year was blogging and, I must say, it's fun! I had read My Romantic Home for a couple of years and always thought that Cindy was so creative and imaginative and inspiring. Every now and then I'd pop over to her blog to see what she had been up to and I'd think to myself that I'd love to have a blog but I didn't know if I'd be able to create one that I would be proud to say was mine. (I'm a very fussy person.)

But in June of last year I happened to discover a diet site, SparkPeople. I needed something, but I didn't know what at the time, that would hold me accountable and to help my lose weight that I had put on due to inactivity from an illness and from quitting smoking. Over at Sparks members received a blog page along with the FREE membership. Didn't know if I wanted to do something like blogging but decided that I had nothing to lose. Well, I got hooked, but still wasn't confident enough to generate a blog that would be more exposed.

After six months of blogging on Sparks, and loving it, I decided to just "do it" and I produced what you see before you. I do have to say that it sure is an experience; one that takes a lot of patience, exploration, and humility, yes, a little of that, too. I still have so, so much to learn, but I'm on my way and as Martha would say, "It's a good thing". I am just amazed at the volume of blogs that have been created by some very informative, sweet, and generous people. Sharing, it seems, is a given. I like that because I have always been someone who shares, believing that whatever you give away comes back to you one hundred times over.

Either today, or tomorrow, I'll be trying something new for me. I'm going to share a product that I use all the time and couldn't live without in my kitchen. It's one of those things that you tell your friends about and when you do, you sound like a paid commercial.

Happy New Year, it's going to be special, I can feel it in my heart.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


The mid-west has had some really rough weather for the past few weeks. Ice cold, high winds, rain, dropping temps and more wind ranging in the 60 mile per hour range. Sandwiched in that was Christmas and soon, the New Year. Yesterday it poured and this morning I was greeted by wind so powerful that my bird feeder was sent sailing to the ground. Right now, I can barely see across the street.

At times like these, I feel so sorry for my dogs. If someone asked me to go outside to do-my-duty I'd look at them as though they were nuts and run the other way to hide under the bed! But go through the door they do and they seem to do it smiling and happy all the way into the backyard. Freyja (German Shepherd Dog) and Scout (Golden Retriever) are always eager to please and spend their lives giving me all of their attention, goodness and grace. No matter what I want to do, they are game to do it with me, no complaints. It's as though if my heart stopped, so would theirs. And, if I am to be honest, there have been times in the past, when I've had to let one of my dogs leave me for a better place, I thought my heart would stop, too, or at least break into a million pieces.

No matter what I ask of them they are happy to oblige. By my side during all seasons and all weather, they give me so much pleasure...just to look at them, no matter what they are doing and to know that they love me...deeply, and, I love them right back. They are my protectors and my buddies in the car and the guardians of the backyard putting all birds, squirrels and cats in their place should one dare to trespass into their territory.

Earlier this evening I was peeking through some blogs for a little winter window shopping and came upon one who offered to share some graphics. I'm never the one to pass by something free, so I took time (I really should be cleaning and doing laundry) to look and found several vintage cards with dogs...faithful dogs, run-of-the-mill-dogs who were loved and who gave love. There were a few that touched my heart so I placed them on my computer and decided to make a collage to share, just like The Graphics Fairy graciously shared her talent and treasures with me.
My home and life has been filled with dogs for decades and I can't imagine being in a room or sleeping in my bed without a pup curled up at my feet or cuddled next to me with its head resting on a spare pillow. One of my sons and one of my grandsons has inherited my passion for animals. I couldn't be more pleased and more touched, especially when I see Benny, the little guy, tending to and caring for God's creatures with such a gentle touch. Of all the treasures I could leave to my family when I am gone, it is my love for those who cannot speak that is most precious to me and the most valuable. I know that darling Benny, to be sure, has his Mimi's passion for protecting those who need it the most.

Life, to me, would not be as good or complete or safe or welcoming without a dog walking by my side. Life, to me, would be absolutely meaningless without my children and grandchildren.


Here are the fruits of my labor for the past several days. Never in my life did I think that I'd just sit at my kitchen table glued to my laptop piddling around with scrapbooking goodies I found on the internet, by accident, too! But, as you can see, my grand-daughter, Rachel, is just too cute to hide and too sweet for her Mimi to not learn how to make scrapbooking pages for her.

I've neglected so much since before Christmas that today I am just going to have to bite the bullet and be a good girl catching up on laundry, getting some of the cat hair out of my microwave and catching up with family and friends. I think they might wonder if I've gone to the "big computer in the sky", so before they start to call the priest and start to prepare casseroles for the meal in the church basement, I'm gonna tell them to hang on, at least for a few years!