Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!!

To you, my dear readers, a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans' Day!!

"A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to and including my life."

To my fellow veterans, thank you.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Benefits of Membership

Are you a member of Amazon Prime?  If so, there is a new service you will absolutely love!!

Head over and check out Kindle First !!  This is a new service from Amazon that allows you to choose one free book each month.  These books are selected from various genres by the Amazon Publishing editors.  I've already grabbed mine for November!

Here's the low down from Amazon:

Kindle First is a program that offers customers early access to new Kindle books across popular genres from Amazon Publishing.
  • Prime members are automatically eligible for Kindle First.
  • Every month Prime members can enjoy one of the four books selected by Amazon Publishing editors for free.
  • Kindle First books can be read on any Kindle device or free Kindle reading app and become part of customers’ permanent libraries.
  • Prime members can sign up to receive a monthly e-mail announcing new Kindle First picks.
So not only do you get a book for free each month, Amazon will also send you an email reminding you to go grab it!!

Head over here: and sign up for Kindle First today!!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why So Excited?

I graduate May 8th!!!!!!!!!!!

Why so excited?  I am 51 (well, I'll be 52 then) years old and this will be my first (and probably my last) graduation ceremony.   Yes, I'm excited!!

I graduated a semester early from high school and immediately entered the Air Force.  When it came time for the graduation ceremony that spring, it happened to fall on Memorial Day weekend.  Because of the holiday weekend, I was unable to obtain leave to return home as there were already too many people who had requested leave for that weekend.  I missed my high school graduation.  I never had the opportunity to wear the cap and gown, or to walk with my class.

Now, as a grandmother, I finally get to take that walk when I receive my Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Technology.  I finally get to wear that cap and gown.  I will walk with my friends with family in the audience.  Yes, I'm excited!!!

Let this be a lesson...never give up!!!  It may have taken me 34 years to get there...but I'm doing it!!!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye

A couple weeks ago, the day I had been dreading finally came.  It was time to say goodbye to my beloved Max.

To be perfectly honest, I would have kept him with me if I could.  His cancer had gotten to the point where keeping him with me would have been the most selfish, hurtful thing I could do to him.  I so wanted to be selfish.  Like any dog lover, I wanted him to live as long as I would.  That's not the way it works.  It comes with the territory of owning a pet.  The day will arrive when you have to let them go.

Max was 16 years old.  For a lab, that is extremely old.  He was rescued as a puppy and I did everything I could to make each one of those sixteen years full of love, comfort, and happiness.  I know I received unconditional love from him for each one of those years.

With a broken heart...Rest in peace, Max.  You are so dearly loved.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Merry Mabon!

Wishing my Wiccan friends a blessed Mabon!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Best Advice

As you know, I've been having a rough week.  My friends have been INCREDIBLY supportive but I've struggled to pick myself up.

I then remembered something.  When Mutual of Omaha was doing their AHA Moment tour, they had contacted me to participate.  I revisited the spot I taped today.  What I needed to hear?  Turns out I already said it.

Jerri's AHA Moment    Thumb_ms_13a_04_jerri_01

I listened to my own words and the conviction with which I spoke them.  Those same beliefs are still deep inside.  Time to bring them back to the surface!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Here I Go!

I have a confession to make.  Yesterday, I had a full-blown meltdown!  I was feeling overwhelmed and didn't even know where to start.  So I melted.  And not in a pretty know that ugly cry?  Yep...that was it!

But just like every other woman on the planet with a full plate, I got up this morning and started over.  I actually got quite a bit accomplished!  I tutored at an elementary school, attended a meeting, wrote a newsletter, and even managed to feed myself!  (Hey...sometimes it's the little victories!)

We all know the saying, "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it!"  Well, here's the size I needed!!

Upward and Onward!!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Celebrating Womanhood 2013

Living, Learning, and Loving Life

My post is extremely late today.  It was an overwhelming day at school.  When I got home, I looked at my calendar for the week and seriously wanted to curl up in the corner and cry.  Then I remembered what today was.  How was I to write a post about celebrating womanhood when this particular woman was barely hanging on by her extremely ragged fingernails?

But that is the best time to write this post.  Too often, we forget that everyday activities and surviving them is something to be celebrated!  Here's to:

The women who get up every morning and do the same chores over again and again and again.

The women who go to work each day even when their beds are still calling their names.

The women who answer a toddler's same question a hundred times...and then answer a hundred and one.

The women who juggle school, a family, and a job...and don't quit.

The women who put on a uniform and risk their lives for their country.

Honestly, this list could go on forever.  Look of these marvelous women is right there.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Tomorrow Jerri's Empty Nest will go dark in observance of 9/11.  Please join our fellow Americans in the moment of silence tomorrow morning.  Hug the ones you love and tell them you love them.


Monday, September 9, 2013


Obviously, the comments policy and stating that trolls are unwelcome wasn't stated strongly enough.  Here it is in no uncertain terms!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

New Page

There has been a new page added to Jerri's Empty Nest...the Comments Policy page.

Unfortunately, due to a troll, it was necessary to set forth some guidelines for commenting on this blog.  I hate that it became necessary to post actual guidelines but I found myself with no other recourse.

What is a troll?  A troll is a person who attempts to "stir the pot" by posting comments that are extraneous, off-topic, or inflammatory.  In the specific case of Jerri's Empty Nest...the trolling took the form of tagging serious, heart-felt posts as funny.

Why trolling?  I honestly cannot tell you.  I do not even pretend to understand a person who would take the time every day to read my blog and wait for a serious post to tag as "funny".  Personally, I have too much on my plate to have that kind of time to try to annoy another person just for pleasure.  It confounds me.

Please take a look at the new Comments Policy.  For 99.999% of you, this won't apply and you can freely continue commenting as you have been.  Each and every one of your comments is appreciated and valued!!


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


I spent the majority of my Labor Day weekend with my nose in a book.  I have a weekend class coming up and I spent the weekend noting my chapters in advance of the class.

I realized that I enjoy the actual process of going through a chapter, pulling out the relevant facts, and putting them in a neat format on a piece of paper.  There is something about the detail of the process that puts me in a deep state of concentration.

Although I didn't make it to the parties, I feel a sense of accomplishment from the work I did this weekend.  I have tangible evidence of my labor and a lasting proof of my hard work.  That is a great feeling!

While I may not have had the typical holiday weekend, I definitely had a productive one!  I hope your weekend was fantastic!!


Friday, August 30, 2013


It's 8 o'clock on a Friday night and I'm just now getting around to today's post!!

I do have an excuse.  The carpets were cleaned today and I spent most of the day moving furniture around.  I am one whupped girl!

I admit, it's not a spectacular excuse...but it's the only one I've got.  So here is just a quick note for Frugal Friday.

I am taking Public Speaking this semester.  One of the speeches we have to give is on communications in our chosen field of study.  I'm studying to be a paralegal.  Obviously, paralegals are not expected to be doing much verbal communication or public speaking...because a book on the subject was almost impossible to find!!

I did finally find ONE book that dealt with interviewing skills for the paralegal.  This is going to be the required book I need for my speech.  But I'm a full-time college student.  Translation=I'm broke.

Luckily, I had some Amazon credits built up from using Swagbucks.  Score!!  It paid not only for the book but the shipping!  I've got my book for class!

That's it for tonight...Have a safe and happy Labor Day Weekend!


Thursday, August 29, 2013


What is it about the human race that so many think they not only have the right but the responsibility to judge others?  Whether it be a pop star's performance on television to what someone thinks is going on in your life; it seems to be irresistible to so many to pass judgment.

The truth of the matter is that no one has a clue about what is going on in anyone's life once their front door closes.  No one has any idea of what kind of problems one is dealing with on a daily basis.  The demons of addiction, abuse, poverty, and depression all hide behind those closed doors.  People seem to believe that the tiny flashes they get of someone's life are a complete picture.  It's not.

To exacerbate the problem, these same people also feel the irresistible urge to share their opinions with others. How can spreading misinformation help anyone?  Is it helpful to the person struggling?  Does it place an unnecessary burden on the person receiving such information?  The only thing is does accomplish is that the person judging feels self-important and superior.

When the temptation strikes to make a judgment of someone else's life, resist.  They are walking a path that is hidden from you.  You don't know what twists and turns their life has taken and it truly is not your place to know.

Above all kind.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wahoo Wednesday!

I've seen a few bloggers do this on a regular basis so I thought I'd give it a shot.  Here goes...

What is my Wahoo Wednesday?  I have a week off school starting now!!  All of my classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays.  With Monday being Labor Day, I don't have to be back at school until Wednesday morning!

That gives me an entire week to get all my homework done!  Wahoo!!!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One Week Down!

One week down in the fall semester!!  So far I've managed to keep up with all my work and I've only cried once from exhaustion!  I'm counting this week as a win!

Now that I know graduation is within reach, I seem to be putting even more pressure on myself.  I've noticed that I'm actually getting obsessive about my note-taking, organization, etc.  I've also had a friend comment that I need to relax a bit and ease up.  After she told me that, I did stop and take a look at myself...and she's right.

My goal for today?  To relax just a bit more.

Of course...that comes after the dishes, and the laundry, and cleaning the bathroom, and straightening the patio, and.....


Monday, August 26, 2013

My Weak Spot

I received my Herrschner's catalog in the mail Saturday.  For those who haven't heard of it, it is a craft catalog with the most beautiful things inside.

Truthfully, that catalog is like porn for crafters.  It is page after page of kits, supplies, and patterns.  The unfortunate part?  I'm not rich.

Some of the most beautiful kits are upwards of the $50 mark.  Is it just me or does that seem like a lot of money for something you still have to make yourself when you receive it?  Granted, some of them are absolutely breathtaking...I'm just not made of money.

For now, I'll peruse lustfully through the pages.  If you happen to borrow my copy...please excuse the drool marks!!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Indulgent Comfort

Herb Linguine


8 oz. linguine, uncooked
1/3 cup butter
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. lemon

Cook linguine according to directions and drain.  In saucepan, melt butter, including the garlic.  Stir in linguine, herbs, and lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat until thoroughly warmed.  Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

My personal variation:  I add shrimp.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Frugal Workouts

Ugh...the bad word...workout!  As much as we don't want to do it, we all know we need to.  You can accomplish the goal though without expensive equipment or a gym membership.

  1. You don't need to buy a set of hand weights.  Head to your pantry and grab two cans (of the same kind) that your hand will comfortably fit around.  
  2. Take a walk.  If you don't live in the best neighborhood, visit a friend and explore her area.  Also, head downtown in your town or city and explore while you exercise.
  3. Swim.  If you don't have a local lake or ocean to take advantage of, contact your local high school or college to see if they offer free open swim times.
  4. Find a free gym.  If you live in an apartment, many complexes offer a workout room.  If you don't, see if you have a friend who does and wants to buddy up for workout sessions.
  5. Utilize YouTube for workout videos.  If you enter the word "workout" in the search bar, it will return over 12 million videos to choose from.
  6. Head to the playground.  There is built-in equipment.  Swing on the swings and work your way across the monkey bars!
  7. Find a charity walk/run.  Although a small entry fee is usually charged, the fees go to the charity and are tax deductible.  You not only do something good for yourself, but for someone else as well.
  8. Spring clean your house.  One good deep cleaning of the entire house will burn calories and work all kinds of muscle groups.
  9. Ride your bike.  If you don't have one, keep an eye out at garage sales, thrift shops, and pawn shops.  A bike can be extremely inexpensive and is a great way to enjoy your surroundings.
  10. Contact your local community center.  Many have pools, indoor walking tracks, and classes available at little to no cost.  Your own town or city can be one of your best resources.
These are just a few ideas to get fit on the cheap.  If you have others, please let me know!!


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Today I received a spam email that just absolutely floored me!  The subject line read "Magnificent Menopause!" which of course grabbed my attention.

The email was from a psychic offering relief from menopause by conducting a healing via a telephone call.  Now call me a skeptic...but I have a hard time believing I would get any more relief from this "healing" than I would from my usual practice of sticking my head in the freezer!

Don't get me wrong...I have had hot flashes that have pushed me to the point of desperation.  I'm just not sure I've been desperate enough to believe that a psychic can heal me over the telephone.  Call me crazy?

Tell me, my beautiful ladies...what is the most desperate thing you've tried for relief?


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Day!

Today was the first day of the fall semester.  I'm officially a college sophomore!

And once again, I was reminded of the age difference between myself and the majority of my classmates.  In my public speaking class, the professor mentioned Radio Free Europe.  Glancing around, I realized I was the only person who knew what she was referring to.  In addition, I'm pretty sure I was the only one old enough to remember it!!  Sigh...

The up side?  Being around so many younger people keeps me up on my game.  It's not easy keeping up with those in their teens, twenties, and thirties!!  It works my brain!!  I also like to think I have at least a small bit to offer from my decades of experience.

I'm ready to dive back in and learn all I can.  Wish me luck!!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer, Sweet Summer

Today is the last day of my summer vacation.  School begins again tomorrow!!

I cannot believe how fast the last three weeks flew by.  I had such an ambitious list of things I wanted to accomplish and to be honest, it didn't happen.  Life just got in the way.

Luckily, one thing I did accomplish was taking care of everything that needed to be done for the fall semester.  Tuition is paid in full, I have my books, and I have my new rolling duffle that I needed to carry everything this semester.  That enabled me to skip the madness that is registration day!

As long as I don't keel over from exhaustion, I'll be able to complete my Associate's degree by May.  Wish me luck!!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Hate It!

What do I hate?  Feeling helpless.

I hate when a friend is in need and there is nothing I can do to help except listen.  I'm a mom...our natural tendency is to try to make it better.  Sometimes, though, life does not offer that option.

I hate when one of my children is having a bad day.  I hate the fact that they are now grown, and I have to let them fix it by themselves.  A hug and a kiss is no longer a fix for life's dilemmas.

I hate watching a pet age.  Though we know deep down in our hearts when we get a pet that they won't be with us forever; there is an overwhelming urge to find some miracle way to extend their lifespan to match our own.

I hate not being able to be everything I need to be for everyone.  Knowing that there are some things I just cannot fix or make better.

Hasn't this always been a woman's lot?  At least in my generation, we were raised to be caregivers.  The frustration of not being able to do it all is something many of us live with on a daily basis.  Personally, letting go has never been a particular talent of mine.  I always try harder, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.  The fact remains...I cannot do everything for everyone.  I cannot fix everything.  I cannot make everything better.

I will keep trying.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Getting Ready for Fall

As fall is right around the corner, here is a treat to dip your apples in!

Fall Apple Dip


1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla


Beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.  Serve with apple slices.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweeps Routine

I enter a lot of sweepstakes.  A LOT.  After doing this for quite a while, I've learned that a routine helps make the process much easier.

  1. Have an email address that you don't mind if it gets filled up with junk mail.  Most sweeps require you to sign up for an email newsletter so it helps to have a separate address.  That way your personal email doesn't get overwhelmed.
  2. Get an alternate phone number through Google Voice.  This number will automatically go to your personal phone, but it allows you to keep your personal number private.  If you don't answer the call, the voice mail is sent to your Gmail account.
  3. Set aside a specific time of day to enter your sweeps.  Some contests require entries only every 24 hours and entering at the same time every day allows you to meet that requirement.
  4. Set up all the required accounts.  You will need Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest at the minimum.  Don't worry about active use, you can just use them for sweeps if you wish.
  5. Share the wealth.  Some sweeps allow you to share the contest for extra entries.  Do so!  In addition, if you win something you can't use...pass it on!  There is sure to be someone in your circle who would be thrilled with that prize.
These are a few tips to get you started!  Let me know if I can help you in any way!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not a Napper

I am not the type of person who takes naps.  For some reason, I just cannot seem to lay down at a random time during the day and fall asleep.  I envy those who can, but I've never quite learned the knack.

Yesterday I actually took a nap.  I was so exhausted, I fell asleep while reading for about an hour.  When I woke up, however, I didn't have that refreshed feeling everyone talks about.

I woke up feeling very disoriented.  By the time I felt on an even keel again, I started running through my head all the things I still needed to accomplish.  I began to feel rushed and stressed.

I've talked to people who swear by a nap.  They will say they wake up with a second wind and lots of energy.  I woke up to panic.

Obviously, I'm doing something wrong.  Or...I'm truly just not a nap person.  Oh well, I tried!!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Utter Confidence

Every morning, I take Max and Emma for their morning walk between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m.  At that time of morning, I'm barely coherent as I haven't had my coffee yet!

Max is almost 16 years old.  He's all business in the morning.  He goes about his business immediately.  He spends the rest of the walk smelling whatever dog has walked the same way in the last day.  Granted, he's blind now and smell is what he does best!!

Emma, on the other hand, is a totally confident extrovert.  She greets each morning with boundless energy and enthusiasm.  The ducks at the pond?  Obviously they are out there just to be herded by her.  The lady who jogs past us every morning?  Emma has to start running behind her!  Never mind the fact we go the opposite direction.

The older couple that walks every morning?  Please...everyone knows they come outside just to pet her.  If they forget their purpose, Emma is quick to remind them by whining.  If whining doesn't appear effective, she'll then begin talking just to make sure they don't pass her by.

The kids on the way to the bus stop? is just what they say.  Emma knows they actually come outside each morning to pet her.  Seriously, what else could be that important?

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  Perhaps Emma has a few lessons she could teach me.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A New Pledge

After running around like a crazy person yesterday, I've come up with a new pledge.

Starting today, I will take at least thirty minutes three times a week to work on a craft project.

I have determined that I need something to feed my soul.  I have been so incredibly busy with life that I've forgotten to take those few minutes to create something beautiful.  It's necessary, and I've been neglecting it.

Granted, I did spend ten minutes of that time today searching for an embroidery hoop!!  Why is the supply you need never handy when you need it???  Okay, I won't count that time.  I did find one, though!

I did make up that ten minutes thanks to the project I'm beginning.  The embroidery thread came pre-sorted!  Personally, I think that should be mandatory with every kit!

I've got my start!  If you could make a pledge for something to feed your soul, what would it be?


Monday, August 12, 2013


What a day!!

I got an early start this morning and headed over to campus to pick up my books for the fall semester.

Let me back up a minute.  Saturday, I received a bill from the college saying I owed over $1400!!  I knew my grant money had already been applied to my fall tuition.  Yikes!!!  That caused a minor heart attack!

When I got to campus this morning, the first place I headed was the financial aid office.  Long line.  I signed in and waited my turn.  When I finally got up to the counter, I was assured that everything was fine with my grant money.  Okay, first step down.

I headed over to the business office to see if they could clear up the bill.  Luckily, no line and she was quick to tell me that they had a computer glitch which sent out erroneous bills.  I didn't owe over $1400!!  I did still owe about $136...but I have another grant coming so that's covered.  Whew!!

Alright...scary bill all taken care of.  I then headed over to the bookstore to pick up my books.  If you are lucky (and I am), your college allows you to rent books.  All I had to do was stand in line...again...then get my books and check out.  Uh oh.  Another problem.  According to the lady at the bookstore, Admissions had placed a hold on my account for a bad address.  Bad address?  I haven't moved!!  She still allowed me to get my books and I headed over to Admissions.

At Admissions, I signed in and waited.  What I was waiting for?  Not sure...there wasn't anyone else waiting!!!  But I waited.  Finally getting called up to the counter, I explained what I had been told.  I was informed that happens if mail is returned.  Okay...but I still hadn't changed my address.  She pulled me up on the computer and behold!  My address is correct!!  Hold lifted from my account.

Next, I headed over to the police department to get my new parking permit for the year.  Another line.  Yay.  Luckily, this line was moving fast and I left a few minutes later, permit in hand.

I then headed over to my advisor's office.  I have her for four classes this semester and I was hoping I could get class calendars to be prepared for class.  Oh happy day!!  She was in her office and printed me the calendars!!  Wahoo!!!!!!!

Looking back over all this, it looks like an all day ordeal.  In fact, I was only on campus for about an hour!!  It just seemed like a whole day!

The best part?  I'm ready to go for the fall semester!  Bring it on!!!


Monday, August 5, 2013


A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about the culture shock of moving from a huge city to a small town.  That difference was reinforced the other spades!!

One day while I was heading to school, I got stuck behind someone going a steady 5-10 miles BELOW the speed limit.  I was already running late, and my frustration was building with every foot we crept along.  At one point on my journey, we stopped at a red light.  When the light turned green, the car in front of me didn't move an inch.  I could see the driver's head tilted down and to his right like he was reading something on his phone.  After a few seconds, my impatience won out!  I hit my horn and startled him back to the awareness that the light was green.  We then headed on our way at the same snail's pace.

The next morning, I had to run to my local dollar store for a quart of milk.  As I entered the store, I heard the manager yell, "Girl, what were you thinking honking at me last night?"


Caught a bit unaware, I brilliantly replied, "Ummm, what?"

I was busted!!

After a bit more teasing from him, he did admit he had been looking at his phone.  Redemption!!  But I learned my lesson.

I live in a small town now.  The odds are that if I honk at someone, I either know them or someone who knows me sees me do it!  A valuable lesson in culture shock!


Friday, August 2, 2013

Frugal School Supplies

Sorry the blog is so late today but I spent today shopping for school supplies for next semester.

I've preached before about checking Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree for deals.  I saw it again today.

I needed four 1.5 inch binders for school.  At Kmart, they were $6.99 each.  At Family Dollar...only $3.00.
I bought four, saving $3.99 on each binder.  That is twelve bucks that is much better off in my pocket!!

If I had only needed one inch binders, I would have headed to Dollar Tree.  They have a huge selection for a dollar each.

School supplies are a huge chunk of the back-to-school budget, even for us ancient college students!  Get the most for your money by exploring your options before you buy!!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

School's Out for Summer!!

Finally!!!  The summer semester has finally ended.  That was a rough ten weeks!

Now I actually have a bit of time off before the madness begins again.  I don't have to pick up my books for fall until the 12th and fall classes don't begin until the 21st. that I look at those dates...that doesn't seem like that much time!!  Crap!!!  I have a huge (and I mean humongous) list of stuff to get done before school begins again.  Ugh!!

But for now...I'm back!!  I am so appreciative of each and every one of you!!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Winding Down

The summer semester is almost over!  I only have two finals left...I will be done Wednesday evening!

I want to thank you all for hanging around in spite of these huge gaps in posting.  I have been completely overwhelmed this semester and I truly appreciate y'all!

Without a doubt...I'll see you Thursday!!


Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I'm halfway through finals for the summer semester.  Three down and three to go!!

I don't think I've felt exhaustion like this since my youngest son was a newborn.  I'm talking exhaustion to the point of sitting at my desk and breaking down in tears because I am just so tired.  My brain is completely, totally fried!!

I saw a post from an author friend the other day celebrating that she had done 10,000 words that day.  Oye, the guilt!!  10,000 and I couldn't even manage 100 for a blog post!!

Halfway next Thursday, I'll be done!!  Then three weeks off before the fall semester starts.  I'll be asleep if you need me!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

I'm THAT Woman!

Sigh...I've become THAT woman.  What do I mean?

My son bought me a new laptop for school.  First, read that sentence again.  Kind of backwards, huh?

Anyways, it has Microsoft 8 loaded as the operating system.  I had never seen it before so today I had to ask my son how to find my programs and where the shut down button was.

I've become that woman who has to ask her children for basic computer help.  I've become a cliche.  How did this happen to me?  When did this happen to me?  I'm so ashamed. (Kidding!)

Actually, I'm thankful I have such a thoughtful child.  He supports me in my education fully.  I'm a lucky mom.


Monday, July 15, 2013


Last week I lost a friend.  She was murdered by her ex-husband.

Domestic violence is not a new issue.  Here are a few statistics:

  • Every 15 seconds, a woman is abused in the United States.
  • Women who leave their abuser are at a 75% greater risk of being murdered.
  • 1 in 4 women in the United States have been beaten by their significant other.
  • 4000 women a year in the United States are murdered by their significant other, former or current.
  • 1 in 3 women murdered in the United States are murdered by their significant other, former or current.
Why did I quote statistics?  Because I am so incredibly, all-encompassing angry.  By quoting stats, I'm hoping to gain a bit of distance and a bit of control.

I remember the first time my friend left her husband.  We worked in a small office and we all came together to gather supplies to help her set up her new household.  I don't know what kind of spell or hold he had over her; but it ultimately cost her her life.  And I'm angry.  At the same time, I don't want to give him that kind of power by allowing my anger to grow.  He does not deserve that time or energy.

I have struggled all day with this post.  There are no words that are adequate.

To my friend...You will be missed.  Rest in peace...there will be no more hurt.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Frugal Reminder

We frequently receive freebies, samples, or hugely discounted/coupon items.  You can only stockpile so much!  What to with the overflow:

  1. Select a variety of samples and gather them together in an attractive basket for overnight guests.
  2. Donate extra canned goods to food drives in your town.
  3. Take extra shampoo, conditioner, razors, etc. to your local women's shelter.
  4. Pack extra supplies in your emergency kit for extreme weather.
  5. Donate extra pet freebies to your local shelter or ASPCA.
These are just a few ideas on what to do with your extra freebies.  Pay it forward!!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Culture Shock

Moving after my divorce was an adventure all in itself.  Then there is the culture shock of moving from a city of almost one million to a town of less than 45,000.

Every once in a while I'm reminded of just what a difference there is between the two.  Chinese delivery?  Nope...if you want something delivered here, it's pizza.  Period.  Shopping?  Let's just say that there are quite a few stores I miss!!

There are the benefits, also.  While it used to take up to 45 minutes to go 5 miles, around here I can do it in less than fifteen.  I know my cashier at the grocery store by name.  The manager at the Family Dollar lets me know if something I regularly buy is on sale.  If my UPS driver sees me out and has something for me, he will pull over to deliver it then and there.

When I got my new driver's license, I was in and out of the DMV in under 20 minutes.  Total.  The last time I went to the DMV in my old was over three hours.  Truly, when it comes to fast, personal service...a small town just cannot be beat.

While I miss my Chinese delivery, the benefits of living in a much smaller city far outweigh the downfalls.  I'm still adjusting...but I love it!!


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I am blessed with the most amazing friend.  Truly, she is absolutely incredible!!

A few days ago, I was lucky enough to win a turquoise necklace in a sweepstakes on Facebook.  Here is a picture of the necklace I won:

A few days later, I received a package from UPS.  What did I find?  A beautiful pair of turquoise earrings to complete the set!!


How thoughtful is that?  One...not only to pay attention to what I actually blather about on Facebook...but to pay close enough attention to actually match the earrings!!

I was so touched to realize that she actually took that kind of time, research, and effort to make me happy.  There is no greater blessing than a friend such as this.  I am exceedingly lucky and grateful to call her my friend.

Give a friend a call today!!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rainy Day Recipe

It's been raining here for three days straight.  This is the perfect recipe to warm the soul on a rainy, gray day.

French Onion Soup Casserole


3 LARGE yellow onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter (the real stuff...not margarine!)
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tsp. soy sauce
Swiss cheese slices (enough to cover a 9x13 pan)
Dash of pepper
Loaf of French bread
Additional butter for bread


Sauté onions in butter in a skillet on low to medium heat until transparent. Place in a pre-buttered 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Whisk together chicken soup, milk and soy sauce. Pour over onions. Cover with Swiss cheese slices and sprinkle lightly with pepper. Thinly slice and butter the French bread.  Place on top of the onion mixture.. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and brown. 


Friday, July 5, 2013

The How of the Matter

Quite often, I win various prizes on Facebook.  The response I get most often?  How do you win all this stuff?

The answer is actually quite simple.  I enter.  Think of the lottery.  You will never win if you don't have a ticket.  Makes sense, right?

To enter contests on Facebook, a large number of them are listed here.  For others, if you like the page of your favorite brands, the actual sweeps will be posted on a tab on that page.

A surefire way to find sweeps is to watch what your friends are doing.  Frequently, a contest or sweeps will require that you share the sweepstakes either for entry or to earn extra entries.  Keep an eye on your friends' walls and see if they are entering.  If so, click on those links and enter also!

Remember, companies run these sweepstakes to interact with the fans of their brand.  When winning, be sure to thank them publicly on their pages.  Companies are not required to give products away for them that you are appreciative of the opportunity.



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer is Flying

I am halfway through my summer semester.  So far, so good!  I am exhausted, but I'm still upright!!  I've also been doing better this semester at keeping up with my blog.

My friends, on the other hand, have not been so fortunate.  I am not the best friend right now.  If I actually answer an email, it is usually only a sentence or two.  Phone calls and texts?  Forget about it!  But I am an extremely lucky woman...I have some of the most understanding friends ever!

This past Sunday, I did actually leave the house for something other than food or school.  I attended Social Media Day at the Beau Rivage (see yesterday's post).  It was wonderful to be out and about.  I have to be honest, though.  If it hadn't been work (blog) related, I probably wouldn't have gone!  Thankfully, I did go, and I enjoyed my evening out.

Over this holiday weekend, I'm going to do my best to at least make a couple of phone calls, send an email, and actually interact with other human beings.  If I have to (and I might), I will add it to my ever growing to-do list!

If you're a friend of mine, know that I haven't forgotten you, I love you dearly, and I will do better!!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Social Media Day

Sunday, I attended the Social Media Day celebration at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.  Wow!!  What a fabulous event!!

First, let me share a couple of photos I took at the Beau.  They have nothing to do with the event, but this place is so stunning, I have to share.

They have the most beautiful floral arrangements!!!  It's hard to tell from the picture...but this is about five feet across!

On to the event...It was held at the Eight75 club inside the hotel.  The setting was perfect...large enough to party but intimate enough that you didn't feel lost in the crowd.  This is the Beau's third year of participating in Social Media Day.  The hotel decided to participate to guild a strong social media presence and to interact with fans of the Beau.  The event was well organized, easy to register, and quite enjoyable!

Throughout the evening, trivia questions were sent by text that needed to be replied to on Twitter.  Below is a picture of the prizes awarded for the trivia contest:

I did get lucky and came home with a new Apple TV!!  The trivia questions were all based on social media and were a blast to answer.  It was an extremely creative way of playing the game!  The only suggestion I would make is to have a charging station available.  We were all so diligent about tweeting; everyone burned through their phone batteries pretty quick!

In addition, there were special drinks created for the festivities.  Personally, I recommend the "Facebook Friend" was scrumptious!!

Oh...did I mention we all received a free t-shirt for attending?  I personally love having a t-shirt to remember an event!

The entire event was a lot of fun and I was so happy I was able to attend.  Jessica and the rest of the social media crew for the Beau Rivage did a outstanding job!!!  The music provided by DJ Zack Avelon was fantastic, perfect for dancing and not so loud you couldn't have a conversation.

Next year, find the Social Media Day event in your area, and be sure to attend.  For'll find me at the Beau!!


p.s.  Remember my post a few days ago reviewing the show, "Funambula"?  Check out the pic below with the star of the show, Bello!

Monday, July 1, 2013

There Oughta Be A Law!

You know those things that just make you crazy and you wish there was a law?  Here's a few I came up with!

1.  Restaurants should come with "Adults Only" section.  Nothing ruins a romantic dinner date quicker than being seated next to a table with three screaming children under the age of four.

2.  There should be a separate lane for those drivers who have "Retired" anything stamped in to their license plate.

3.  When hot dog buns come in packages of eight, Hebrew National should also be in packages of eight, not seven.

4.  Get rid of the heat index.  If it feels like 106 degrees outside...say it's 106 degrees outside.

5.  If you are rude to a store clerk, you still have to pay for all your merchandise but you don't get to leave the store with it.

What about you?  Is there anything you think should be a law?


Thursday, June 27, 2013


I was recently fortunate enough to attend a performance of Funambula at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino.  Let me tell you a bit about it!

First, the Beau Rivage is absolutely gorgeous!!!!  The flower arrangements are jaw dropping and the shopping mezzanine is a dream!  While the Beau has a huge parking garage with ample room, I personally prefer the courtesy valet.  When you are wearing heels, which I was, it is nice to have your car brought to you.  Granted, there will be a few minutes wait after a show as popular as Funambula lets out...but it was by no means excessive.  While you're waiting, you get to take in the beautiful front gardens at the Beau.

Now on to the show!  Funambula is led by feature performer Bello.  How to describe Bello?  I guess I would describe him as a tornadic ball of energy with two feet tall hair.  Trust you are watching the show, you'll be able to determine which performer is Bello with no problem!

The show consists of multiple acrobatic acts.  There are beauties dancing on ribbons, contortionists, motorcyclists, etc., etc., etc.  From beginning to end, the action never stops.  There were moments that make you laugh out loud and others where you cannot breathe because your heart is in your throat.  For breathtaking beauty, you cannot miss the final was spectacular!!

This is a child-friendly show.  Be warned, you will have to walk at the edge of the casino floor to get to the theater.  Once inside, there is not a bad seat in the house.  I was extremely fortunate to be on the second row and had an incredible view.  Actually, for some of the acts that took place very high, a higher seat probably had an even better view!  I would definitely recommend this for families, couples, or a girls' night out!

If you are wondering why I haven't included pictures...there are two reasons.
1.  It was prohibited in the theater.
2.  I didn't want to get kicked out and miss the show!!

To learn more about the stunning Beau Rivage...check out their Facebook page HERE.

To get your own tickets to Funambula...they are available for purchase HERE.

Don't miss this fantastic show!!!


Disclaimer:  I received free tickets to Funambula through a Facebook promotion.  All opinions are strictly my own and were not influenced by the receipt of said tickets.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Behind The Scenes

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative from Mutual of Omaha.  She had seen my blog and thought I would be a good fit for their "My Aha Moment" campaign.  I was thrilled to be asked to participate, and terrified at the same time!!

Heading down to the Mutual of Omaha trailer, my hands were shaking.  I'm not the bravest person in the world and the thought of speaking on camera scared me to death!  But I pulled up my big girl panties and went for it!!

Pulling up, this was the sign that greeted me.  The sweetest young gentleman greeted me and filled out my paperwork.  Leading me to the trailer, he handed me off to a darling young girl.

Leading me in to the trailer, she took me to the back.  In the pictures above, it is the far left side of the trailer.  There was the actual room where we would be doing the filming.  Luckily, I didn't have to speak off the top of my head.  She stood next to the camera and asked me questions which I then answered.  I was praying the entire time that I wasn't stuttering or that my nervous shaking wouldn't show up on film!!  

During filming, the fan and the air conditioner had to be turned off in the trailer so as not to interfere with the filming.  Before I had left for the shoot, a dear friend "S" had come over and done my makeup and hair.  I looked pretty good!!  Well, it was a 90 degree day outside and I was now enclosed in a small room in a metal trailer.  I swear the temperature hit 130 degrees by the time we were done!!  Luckily, as soon as the filming finished, my guide rushed to turn the air and fans back on.  Whew!  I was melting!!  A few headshots were taken and I was done!!

This was one of the scariest things I've ever done.  But then, that was kind of the point of my AHA Moment!!  I'm glad I did it now!!  

So without further is my aha! moment...I hope you enjoy it!!  Let me know what you think!!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Just A Thought

The news has been full the last few weeks with tracking Edward Snowden's every move.  I do have a thought on the matter.

My thought does not involve what he did or why he did it.  It also does not involve the NSA; what they did or why they did it.  It involves something else entirely.

My thought on the matter concerns Mr. Snowden's assertion that he is an American patriot.  Not the fact that he made that statement; but how and where the statement was made.

Before I get into that, here's a brief history refresher.  On July 1, 1997; Great Britain's lease of Hong Kong expired and Hong Kong was returned to the People's Republic of China.

Now...on to my thought.  Edward Snowden loudly proclaimed that he took the actions he did because he is an American patriot.  If that truly is the case, why did he run to a communist country?  Why was his declaration of patriotism made while standing on foreign, communist soil?

Edward Snowden has now left the People's Republic of China for the equally anti-American soil of the Russian Federation.  It is rumored that from there, he will flee to Ecuador via Cuba.  Does anyone besides myself see a pattern here?

I personally do not believe a true American patriot would run to those nations to proclaim his patriotism.  That is my personal thought on the matter.

So to Mr. the words of the unknown poet..."These colors don't run!"

And those are my random thoughts this morning...


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

By Request

Today's post is a bit longer than usual.  According to my English Comp latest essay would be a perfect blog post.  Here it is.  Here's to you, Mrs. M.!!!

What is Loneliness?
Loneliness is the lack of the human touch. It is living each and every day without the human contact that is critical to survival. Loneliness is going to bed every night without a kiss good night. It is the lack of a hug when you are hurting and the absence of warmth when you are cold.
Loneliness is having no one to tell your stories. There is no one to listen when you get home from work, and you need to vent about the horrid driver who cut you off on the way to work that morning. Loneliness is watching television alone, and there is no one to share the joke in a comedy or to grab your hand during a scary movie.
Loneliness hits at the oddest times. It will rear its ugly head when you are carrying in the groceries, and there is no one to help with the heavy stuff. It appears when there is that one jar in the pantry that you just cannot get open no matter what. Loneliness is having no one to tell you if your new perfumes stinks or if that skirt is really too tight.
You do not have to be alone to be lonely. Loneliness can be staring across the table at your partner, and you do not have a single thing to say. It can also be having something to say, but your partner is not interested in hearing it. Loneliness can be living with someone day in and day out for years, and you are wondering why you are there. Loneliness can be someone taking you for granted to the point that you feel like a piece of furniture. It feels like you are the wallpaper in a room that no one bothers to glance at; you are a vital component, and no one notices that you are there.
Loneliness can take you so deep inside yourself that even those who wish to reach you cannot reach that far. Loneliness can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can become a never-ending spiral.  Loneliness can become your beginning and your end. You begin to structure your life around your loneliness, and it perpetuates itself.
          Loneliness can be directly caused by a loss. Loneliness is reaching out to the other side of the bed, and there is no longer anyone there. It is reaching for the phone and remembering no one will answer. There is no greater outward expression of loneliness than kneeling before a tombstone and pouring out your heart. It is the grandchildren you will never have, and it is the life events you will never witness.
          The search for the cure can take many forms. Some pursue the company of others with an almost manic need for human contact. Others withdraw into themselves, fearing that any contact will fall short of their expectations. This belief leads them to fortify their walls of loneliness to avoid any possible hurt. Either scenario can have far worse consequences than loneliness itself.
          If loneliness is your cross to bear, reach out. You do not need the company of thousands. One person will do. Once you have connected with one person, others will come. If you know someone suffering, reach out. You may be the hand that pulls one from the pit that is loneliness. Loneliness does not need to be the primary force in your life. There are options, and there is a way back.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Remember way back when Oprah persuaded a large number of women in this country to keep a gratitude journal?  Did any of you actually do it?

I'll admit...I tried.  I actually kept up with it for a week or two, but then it fell by the wayside.  Life got in the way and my natural ability to forget everything including my name kicked in.

One thing I learned...say thank you immediately.  Let the people you are thankful to and for know that fact as soon as possible.  There is no need to write in a journal.  Say it.  Keeping a personal list may serve as a reminder to you, but that doesn't translate to the people you are grateful for.

A book hidden away in your nightstand drawer won't tell the people in your life that you appreciate them.  A sincere thank you from you to them will. 

Assignment for today?  Thank someone.  We all have someone we owe thanks.  For today, pick just one and say thank you.  No need to run out and buy a journal.  A phone call, a Facebook post, a notecard, or an email will do.  Do it now.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Favorite Parable

A minister was out one day visiting his parishioners.  Stopping by Mrs. Smith's home, he spent a goodly portion of the visit listening to her complaints about her neighbor, Mrs. Jones.  Mrs. Smith went on and on about the faults of Mrs. Jones.  Looking out the window, Mrs. Smith exclaimed, "Look, she can't even do laundry!  Do you see how dirty it is?"  Following her gaze, the minister gazed out the window and admitted to himself that, yes, the laundry did appear a bit dirty.

Wrapping up his visit with Mrs. Smith, the minister headed over to Mrs. Jones' home.  Answering his knock at the door, Mrs. Jones greeted him with a smile.  Settling in for a chat, the minister was impressed with her gentle nature.  Mrs. Jones expressed her concern over Mrs. Smith and the disconnect between them.  It saddened her and she ws confused as to the source of the animosity.  Glancing out the window, the minister was amazed to see her laundry, now gleaming a bright white.

Are you looking out a dirty window or are your windows sparkling clean?  Personally, I have days when my windows are dirtier than others.  In addition, we all have those in our lives who seem to live with perpetually dirty windows.  Their words seem to be constantly colored with discontent.  It hides sometimes behind "well-meaning" advice, "just kidding", or "just saying".  Some don't bother to hide it at all.  Their words are blatantly filled with hate and anger.  You cannot be responsible for someone else's windows.  All you can do is make sure your own offer a clear view.  With that clear view comes kindness and compassion.

Wishing you sparkling, clean windows...


Monday, June 10, 2013

Complete Randomness

A few thoughts that have been bouncing around in my head lately...

1.  There is no such thing as "boneless" chicken wings.  They are the exact same chicken nuggets your kids and grandkids are eating.  You can call them any fancy name you want...but they are still chicken nuggets.  Own it.

2.  It is not "Obama", "Bush", "Clinton", or "Reagan".  It is President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, and President Reagan.  You don't have to like or respect the man.  Respect the office.  Do not complain about the lack of respect from the younger generation when this is the poor example you set.

3.  Why does "America's Got Talent" only have one American judge along with a Canadian, a Brit, and a German?  Do we not even have enough talent to fill out the judges' panel?

4.  Who's brilliant idea was it to attach a name to every snowstorm?  The alphabet isn't long enough!!

5.  For that matter, if there is no actual weather event happening; I firmly believe the Weather Channel should default to your local radar screen.

6.  Facebook will NOT donate a dollar for every share of a picture of some poor, mutilated child.  You have been told this is a hoax a multitude of times.  Knock it off!!

7. Why is coffee not available in IV bags?

8.  Why is chocolate not available in IV bags?

9.  The most precious gift you can give a child is that of reading.  With reading, doors open and new worlds appear.  The journey is endless.

10.  [Insert your random thought here.]


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Menu Planning

Instead of a recipe this Saturday, I thought I would share a link to a handy service I use in the kitchen.  Visit here to take a look at the menu planners.  They are printable, downloadable, and free! 

Menu planning saves time, money, and aggravation.  The additional downloads of grocery lists and inventory lists save you from that last minute panic when your recipe is half-made and you realize you've run out of a key ingredient.  And we all know what that feels like!

Take a little time this weekend and give menu planning a try.  Don't overwhelm yourself by attempting a month your first time out.  Do just one week.  Make your grocery list and organize your recipes.  Eventually you will have a multitude of weeks built up that you can rotate.  If your family only sees a particular dish every few weeks, they'll never get tired of it!!

Be creative.  Include different types of meat and vegetables in each week.  It's your menu...have fun!!



Friday, June 7, 2013

Easy Savings

The other day I was watching "Extreme Couponing" on TLC.  In my wildest dreams, I can't picture myself achieving those kinds of savings.  For one, I don't have forty hours a week to devote to the endeavor.  I wish I did.  But I do have a simple tip I use to garner some easy savings.

Did you know that the majority of dollar stores accept coupons?  I'm talking the big ones...Family Dollar, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree.  Yes, Dollar Tree.  Where everything is only a dollar. 

Look through the coupons in your Sunday paper.  Pay attention in particular to those coupons for personal hygiene items.  Why?  These are the highest value coupons.  Dollar Tree carries a large variety of personal hygiene items, many of them name-brands.  If you have a coupon for 75 cents off, your purchase is only going to be a quarter.

At Family Dollar and Dollar General, your best bet is going to be paper goods and cleaning products.  These stores regularly carry these items at discounted prices.  When you use the manufacture coupons in addition to the discounted price, your savings accumulate quickly.

Sunday morning, look at those coupons in a new light.  Keep in mind the products you've seen at your local dollar stores.  The savings are yours for the taking!!


Thursday, June 6, 2013


What is 6603?  It is the number of Americans who lost their lives on D-Day.  June 6, 1944 was one of the deadliest days for the American military.  While this actual date is rapidly receding in to history, it is our duty and our privilege as citizens of the United States to remember and honor the sacrifices made by those who came before.  In humble observance, we thank them.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Writer's Block

Today I had an assignment that really threw me for a loop.  I had to write an essay.  Yep, I had to write.  You would think that would be a breeze for me.  But no....I sat staring at a blank screen for hours!

Why?  The essay had to be narrative.  Writing dialogue is NOT something I do on a daily basis.  Or a monthly basis, or a yearly basis, etc.  I had no idea how much I would struggle with it.

I didn't struggle with the actual words; in fact, I used a real-life situation.  I had a much more difficult time writing the words surrounding the dialogue.  What we say doesn't just hang out there in a vacuum.  There is a setting where they take place, there are emotions taking place behind the words, and there is a circumstance that prompted the dialogue.  Those were the words I struggle to write.

This essay was a valuable lesson for me.  Like many other aspiring writers, I hope I have the next great American novel in me somewhere.  Now I can write the dialogue.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I've come up with a new plan.  I have piles of homework and needed some motivation to get through it.

I have a bag of Heath bites.  After I complete each assignment, I eat one.  Just one...I don't want to end up as big as a house!  Nothing motivates me better than chocolate.  I've already tried it once and it worked beautifully.  Heath ranks right at the top of my list of favorites, followed closely by Almond Joy and Baby Ruth.

Looking at my assignment list for the next couple of weeks, I think I need to head over to Amazon.  Surely, I can order them by the pallet load from there!  

If I'm not here...I'm buried in a book!  Y'all behave while I'm gone!!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Little Bit Later

If you follow my blog closely, you'll notice each day's post is getting later and later.  Why?  I'm back in school!

So far, I'm keeping up with all I have to do.  I only have three classes this week but I add three more next week.  Once that arrives, I am making no guarantees.

I'm glad to be back in school.  I enjoy learning new things and meeting new people.  I do spend the time before class observing people.  It is quite interesting and this community college has a very diverse population.

I have always been a strong proponent of the school of thought that if you stop learning, you start dying.  Here's to a long, long life!!


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Do It Now!

I observed an interesting phenomena today.  I returned to school for the summer semester.  As I walked to my morning class, I noticed a ridiculously long line in front of the business office.

One thing that stood out immediately was the age of the people in line.  There wasn't a single one over the age of thirty.  Is it a generational thing?  Why did the older students have their bill paid and everything in order before the first day of school?

If there was one piece of wisdom I could pass on from my advanced would be to DO IT NOW!!  Life is short...too short to be standing in line!  When you have issues to resolve with deadlines, get on them as soon as you can.  Don't wait until the last minute or you will be joining those poor souls in that long line.

Get up, get moving, get it done!


Monday, May 27, 2013


I am an active duty soldier standing guard this Memorial Day.  My day is Armed Forces Day.  Do not thank me today.  Today is not my day.

I am a veteran who served with pride.  My day is Veterans Day.  Do not thank me today.  Today is not my day.

I am a sailor at rest deep beneath the sea in the Arizona.  Remember me today.  Today is my day.

I am a soldier asleep in the fields of Normandy.  I never made it home.  Cry for me.  Today is my day.

I am a pilot, unclaimed and alone, deep in the jungles of Southeast Asia.  Mourn for me today.  Today is my day.

I am a newlywed just flown home from Afghanistan.  Comfort my bride as she weeps at my grave.  Honor me today.  Today is my day.

To all who have paid the ultimate price for the freedom in which we are blessed to live, we thank you.  Today is your day.

Memorial Day 2013

It's not about the long weekend.  It's not about the picnics and barbecues.  It's not "Happy" Memorial Day.  It IS about the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  We honor you today.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Chicken

An easy recipe that you can fix and forget!

Saturday Chicken


4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs
1 can Diet Coke
1 cup ketchup
Few dashes of hot sauce

Place all ingredients in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for six hours.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Frugal Textbooks

As I've said, I'm taking a huge course load this summer.  One of the textbooks I needed was $110!!  I didn't have enough financial aid left after tuition to cover it.  The actual cash?  No way, no how!

I headed over to Amazon to see if I could find a used textbook I could afford.  One thing about used books, not all of them qualify for Amazon Prime.  I didn't want to pay as much for shipping as I did for the book; so I narrowed my search for just those available on Prime.

Found it!!  There was a used book in good condition for $16.  It also qualified for Amazon Prime.  That meant free shipping and I would have it before class starts.  Yay for me!!

Even better, I had earned enough Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to pay for the book in full!!  I earn the Swagbucks by answering polls, surveys, or watching videos.  Easy as pie!

The textbook that would have cost me $110?  Final cost=$0!!!  Now that is the way to get your textbooks!

To join me on Swagbucks and earn your own Swagbucks for Amazon credit, click here.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

How I'm Spending My Summer Vacation

Considering the fact that I will be in school for the rest of the summer, I though I would get a jump on the traditional end of summer essay.  This is what my summer looks like:

Yep...six classes this semester!  If you don't see me, or hear from me, or read anything I've written this summer; it is because these are my companions for the next two and half months.  They are the ones I will be spending my days and nights with, my weekends too.

If you need know where I'll be!!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What A Morning!

Have you seen this picture making the rounds on social media?

This was my morning!  My almost 16 year old black lab, Max slipped his collar on the morning walk today.  Have you ever tried to corral a deaf, blind dog who is relishing his taste of freedom?  Lord have mercy, it was an adventure!  Or should I say misadventure?

Max took off like a bat out of hell.  Who knew a dog that old could run that fast?  And silly me...I'm yelling his name as loud as I can; knowing full well he can't hear me!

I know I won't have Max for much longer.  To be honest...I'm glad he slipped his collar today.  I'm glad he ran.  I'm glad he had that freedom.  Max, I love you!


Monday, May 20, 2013

It Begins Again...

First thing this morning, I got myself in gear and headed to school.  I was at the bookstore by 7:30 to pick up my books for the summer semester!

I can't believe my break is almost over.  I feel like I didn't accomplish half of what I wanted to do and I'm still trying to fit in time for something fun!

I just keep reminding myself that there is a greater purpose...that I'm doing this to better myself and my life.  And I keep reminding myself that as I deal with financial aid, admissions, the bookstore, etc., etc. etc.

I am carrying a massive load of classes this summer as I had the Pell grant available to pay for them.  If you see me disappear's because my head is stuck in my books!

But the semester hasn't started just yet...I'm here for now!!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Different Kind of Apple Juice


Apple Clear


1 gallon pure apple juice
6 cinnamon sticks
1 jar apple jelly
1 quart Everclear


Dissolve the apple jelly in the apple juice over low heat.  Add cinnamon sticks and continue stirring until an apple pie smell is easily identified.  DO NOT LET MIXTURE BOIL!!  Remove from stove and allow to fully cool.  Add Everclear and refrigerate.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Fast Thinking

The other day, I made an incredibly frugal dinner.  How?  I got lucky.  I happened to be in the grocery store and pre-seasoned leg quarters were marked down to $2.50.  Okay, there's the meat part of dinner...done!  Wandering around the store, I also found chicken flavored noodles on sale for $1.00.  One side...done!  Using some vegetables I already had and some cookie mix I had won in a giveaway; I managed to put dinner  for two on the table for under $5 dollars.

Does that happen all the time?  No...though I wish it did.  I used to pride myself on meals under $1 per serving.  With the way prices have increased in the last decade or so, that is almost an impossibility now.  But if you think fast when you find a great deal, you can still put a meal together for a frugal price.

Obviously, this will be more difficult for those that only eat organic, or paleo, or Atkins, or name-brand.  My budget, quite honestly, does not allow for anything exotic!!  But good, hot food is on the dinner table including a dessert.  I do what I can with what I have.

All it really takes to make a frugal dinner?  Fast thinking when you come across a bargain at the grocery store.  I know all of you are excellent at that!!


Thursday, May 16, 2013

My First Time

Alright, people...get your minds out of the gutter!!  Not THAT first time!  Seriously...what am I going to do with you??

Actually, last week was my first bone density test.  For women over 50, it's a test to determine if we are suffering from, or beginning to suffer from osteoporosis or osteopenia.

I had never had the test before and was a bit apprehensive as I hadn't the slightest clue what it entailed.  Turns out it was the easiest test ever!  You simply lay on a bed and the dexa scanner moves over your body.  It takes film of your lower back and hips as those are the first locations that show signs of bone loss.

Perfectly painless, it took only about fifteen minutes for the entire test.  I don't have my results yet, but I do know I'm at a higher risk due to my smoking.  Sigh...yes, I know better.

We'll see how it turns out!  Stay tuned!


UPDATE:  Just received the phone call from the doctor.  Thankfully, my spine is just fine.  Hips?  Not so much.  I have osteopenia in both hips and I am at risk for fracture in both.  Sigh...I'll be starting supplements to increase my Calcium and Vitamin D.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Generation Gap

One of the most noticeable things about my first semester in college was the obvious generation gap.  I'm not speaking of just age (though that was DEFINITELY there!) but the difference in attitude.

I don't take this opportunity I've been given lightly.  I treasure each second I'm in school and I realize the immense value of my education.  I've been given the chance to start my life over again and I am deeply cognizant of the blessing in my life.

There were quite a few kids (meaning those in their early twenties) in my classes who seemed to treat that same opportunity as a joke.  They frequently came to class late, slept through class, texted through class, or just didn't bother showing up at all.  The general demeanor seemed to be that it just didn't matter.

As a mom, I seriously wanted to shake some sense in to them!  I wanted them to know not to squander the chance.  More than anything, I didn't want them to be me.  I didn't want them to just be starting at age 50.  Their entire life is ahead of them and this is the way it should begin.

Not all of the younger students fall in to this category.  I met quite a few that realize how important education is and were working incredibly hard, all while working and raising children.  Many of them were single mothers intent on bettering their lives and those of their children.  It was awe inspiring.

One last note:  For the love of all that is NOT go to school in pajama pants!!!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Writing...I've missed you!

Getting caught up in my first semester of college, blog posts were one of the things that fell by the wayside.  I've missed it terribly!

Writing these blog posts offers me an opportunity to connect with people.  It provides me an outlet for my thoughts, dreams, and fears.  It allows me to share my frugal tips which I enjoy.  I share my favorite recipes on Saturdays and am always thrilled when someone lets me know that dish was a success.

As I was going through my divorce, this blog provided a safe outlet for me to express myself.  In doing so, I learned that so many other women had felt and dealt with the same things.  Those writings connected me to women in a whole new way, providing a new sisterhood.

I have a bit of a short break between semesters.  I plan on writing each and every day.  I hope that when the summer semester begins, I will find it easier to handle schoolwork and this blog.  Hopefully, I won't miss so many posts!

I'm glad to be back writing and glad to be back with you all!


Monday, May 13, 2013


A landmark for Jerri's Empty Nest!  My Facebook fan page has hit one hundred likes!

I realize that doesn't seem like a lot...some blogs number their fans in the thousands.  To me, every single one of the hundred is precious!

I am probably the world's worst at self-promotion.  The fact that I have attained the magic number of 100 has me absolutely ecstatic!

To each and every one of you...Thank you!!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Time to Take a Dip

It's warming up outside and here is a great dip to go with those tortilla chips!

Shrimp Dip


2 lbs. boiled shrimp, chopped
24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 green onions, finely chopped
A few drops of hot sauce (up to you how much)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until fully blended.  Green onions and hot sauce should be added to your own personal preference.  When blended, cover and refrigerate overnight for the best taste.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Free Friday

Did you know you can get your weekend entertainment for free?  Here's a few ideas:

  1. Your local library has DVDs.  They may not be the most current releases, but they can be checked out for free.  Pick up an oldie but goodie you haven't seen in a while.
  2. While you're at the library, check out some home decorating books and make a wish list.  If you want to get tech with it, scan the photos you love in to your computer and create a dream board.
  3. Visit your local community center.  Check out the list of classes they offer and sign up to learn something new.
  4. Watch free how-to videos on YouTube and learn a new hobby.  Juggling, anyone?
  5. Visit your closest park.  Lace up those sneakers and walk.  Spring is in the air...enjoy it!
There are a few ideas to get you started.  What can you find to do for free this weekend?


Thursday, May 9, 2013


Wow, is time ever flying by!!  It's already May 9th...I'm back in school on May 28th!  I still have my financial aid to work on, supplies to obtain...I already feel like I'm running out of time!

I have a huge list of things I need to get done during this short break.  I have that feeling which every woman knows of feeling that the faster you go, the further behind you get!

I have become the queen of lists this week.  Lists of things I need, lists of places to go, lists of things to do.  If I complete just one or two things, I feel like I'm only making the smallest of dents and I still have that deadline looming.  I have a full load of classes this summer and I have to be able to concentrate solely on school once it begins.  Help!!

This post was my few seconds of breathing today...back to the lists I go!!


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Honor of the Sacrifice

Today is VE Day.  For the remaining veterans and those who have already passed; all honor and respect.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


As I age, I am losing the older generation of family members at an ever increasing pace.  Growing up, I was taught that this generation had it all together, almost to the point of infallibility.  I was taught to respect my elders, to not question, and to obey without a second thought.

As this generation passes, closet doors are opening and skeletons are falling out.  Not just any skeletons, but those that shake the very foundation of what you thought you knew and believed to be true.  The kind of skeletons that leave destruction and pain in their wake.  The kind of skeletons that negate that on which you've based a large portion of your life.

Part of it, I believe, is generational.  These are a generation who was taught that private matters are never to be discussed.  Today, we are much more free and open about our lives.  Then...anything that might be considered to not fit the image was hidden away in a deep, dark place.  But every closet door eventually opens.

While myself and other family members deal with the latest fallout, we realize that our child-like belief in our elders was an innocent tradition of days gone by.  Now it is up to us to reconcile what we had always known with what really is.  It's a difficult, emotionally devastating task.  Without a doubt, this is one of the least enviable aspects of this empty nest.


Monday, May 6, 2013


This is my favorite time of year.  I love the sounds of the birds chirping, the soft breeze through the trees, and the sound of children playing outside.  I love to see the the trees in bloom:

One of the most precious things about spring is the renewal of life.  Whether a tree in bloom or a soft, fuzzy baby duckling; spring is the time for new beginnings.

There is joy in simple things:  the smell of fresh cut crash, a morning walk in the sunshine, and the beauty of a patch of clover.

Head outside today and find your own little slice of springtime joy!



Jerri's Empty Nest