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!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Winding Down

I've finished my first semester of college.  I'm proud to say I didn't miss a single day and I wasn't late to a single class.  Considering I haven't been in school in 33 years, that's pretty good!

And my body knows I'm done with the semester too.  I woke up this morning congested, sporting a killer headache and every joint aching.  My body has said "I got you through the semester, now I'm taking you down".

I believe a nap is in order today.  I've got a couple thousand books on my Kindle and my Nook.  An escape to another world is just what I need!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm Back! (Almost!!)

Today is the last final of my first semester in college.  I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a day arrive since I was pregnant!!

I've been absent from this blog for quite a took up all my time!  But I'm back and for the next three weeks I'll be here every day.

Summer semester begins on May 28th.  I think I'll have a better handle on the next semester so hopefully I will be able to post a bit more.

I can't wait to get back in to the swing of things...I've missed all of you!!



Jerri's Empty Nest