Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Stay Safe Tonight!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

That Time of Year

I know...we do it every year and blow it by February.  What is it about resolutions that make them so difficult?  

This year, I am going to try to take a different path.  I have one resolution and one resolution only.  If you read yesterday's blog post, you read that I struggle with the woman in the mirror.  My best friends, along with my man, have tried to pound it into my thick skull that the woman I see in the mirror is not the same one they see.  I struggle with this on a daily basis.

That brings me to this year's resolution.  This year, I resolve to love that woman in the mirror.  I will cut her the same slack I do others and forgive her the same way.  I do not expect perfection from those I love and it is past time that the woman in the mirror is granted that same grace.

While this year's resolution may be internal, it in no way excuses me from getting my big butt on the treadmill!!  I actually broke down and bought one and it is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.  Just in time!!

Resolve to be kind to yourself this deserve it!


Monday, December 29, 2014

Feeling Feminine

This past weekend, my sweetheart spoiled me by taking me shopping.  After I got home, it dawned on me that unlike my standard wardrobe of a sweatshirt and jeans, he makes a point to buy me dresses and skirts.  Not just dresses, but those that flatter my figure and look fabulous!

I like that feeling.  I feel feminine, cared for, and safe.  It takes a strong, true man to be able to bring those feelings out in a woman without demeaning or subjugating her to a lesser position.  He has no compunction whatsoever about publicly showing his affection and walking in his arm feels wonderful!

It has been a long time since someone cared for me in such a way.  I have realized, also, that the woman I see in the mirror still is not the one others see.  I am working on it...and as I travel that path, I will be the one in the fabulous dress and heels!!

Look in your mirror today.  That woman looking back?  She is kind, loving, and incredible!  Always remember that!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

'Twas the Weekend before Christmas

No recipe this Saturday...just a few words of advice!

Most of us have to work all week, including at least part of a day on Christmas Eve.  Take a little time this weekend to prep what you can for Christmas dinner.  You don't want to spend the day chopping and prepping when you have family that want you with them.  Whatever few minutes you can save on Christmas Day are precious moments with those you love.

There is no shame in delivery!!  If you're overwhelmed with wrapping, baking, and cooking...pick up that phone!  Whether pizza, Chinese, or sandwiches...let someone else carry some of the load.  When it arrives, stop what you are doing and actually sit down and enjoy your meal.  You've earned it!

Wishing you a calm and peaceful pre-holiday!


Friday, December 19, 2014


One of the easiest ways to save money while shopping online just got easier!

Do you use Ebates?  If you enter through their portal for hundreds of websites, they pay cash back on what you spend.  My problem always has been that I never remembered to go in through Ebates when I start shopping!

Thankfully, Ebates has taken care of that problem for me!  For Google Chrome users, Ebates has created a Chrome extension with an Ebates button.  Add this extension to your browser, and Ebates now automatically lets you know if there is a cash back offer available on the site on which you are shopping.  No more forgetting!

Ebates will send you a check when you meet a certain dollar amount.  You set the dollar amount, you can receive your checks frequently...or save up for something big!  I have seen stores that give up to 12% back though the norm is more 3-4%.  But every little bit adds up...quickly!

If you haven't signed up for Ebates yet, here is my referral link:

Get shopping...and saving!!


Thursday, December 18, 2014


As we enter the holiday season, we also enter the season for increased depression, anxiety, and suicide.  Sometimes, a friendly ear, a hug, or a shoulder to cry on can make the difference...even between life and death.

This Christmas, let friends and family know you are there by using the hashtag #IWillListen on your social media.  It lets people know you are available, perhaps in a situation where they wouldn't have reached out otherwise.  It opens the door.

For veterans, there is a hotline designed just for them.  Please share 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  The line is staffed by specially trained personnel.  In its first year alone, the hotline received over 62,000 crisis calls.

I make this pledge.  #IWillListen


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Words to Live By

Whine less, Breathe more

Talk less, Say more

Hate less, Love more

And all good things will be yours.

Sound like simple words, don't they?  Look just at the first line.  Breathing is a technique I am slowly learning at my advanced age.  Luckily, I have someone in my life who reminds me to do so and has an amazing ability to calm me.  I have a long way to go but I am getting there.

Move on to the second line.  It seems to contradict itself on the surface.  Look deeper.  As you talk less, the words you do say carry greater weight and meaning.  Makes sense now, doesn't it?

Line three would be a pretty easy one...or at least you would think so.  Have you seen the news lately?  The racial divide seems to be growing, and the distance between the classes is increasing day by day.  There is no doubt more love is needed in our world.

The final line is truly just a reminder of the Golden Rule.  Treating others as we wish to be treated, what goes around comes around, karma...however it is worded...what you reap is what you sow.  Breathe more, say more, and love more.  The same will return to you.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Night for Me

Saturday night, I was home alone.  My son was working and the gentleman I've been seeing was out of town for work.  I decided to indulge myself.

As my son hates seafood, I rarely eat it at home.  So out came the pots and pans!  I made Shrimp Fettucini Alfredo.  It was delicious!!

While I ate, I also indulged my love of reading.  I went back a few years and pulled out a classic.  "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier.  "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again."  One of my favorite books of all time and the perfect selection for my evening.

As we get caught up in all the holiday craziness, it is important to take some down time.  As women, we frequently forget that we cannot care for others if we do not care for ourselves.  

Take some time this week to recharge.  It will make the holidays just that more joyous.


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Holiday Breakfast

This is a favorite quick, easy breakfast when you're on the go this holiday season!

Orange-Blueberry Muffins


1 package blueberry muffin mix (the kind with the blueberries separate)
2 egg whites
1/2 cup orange juice (pulp-free)
Orange marmalade


Blend muffin mix, egg whites and orange juice well.  Mixture should not be lumpy.  Gently fold in rinsed blueberries and pour into muffin tin.  Fill muffin cups about halfway.  Bake at 375 degrees for 16-18 minutes.  You can use the toothpick test!  As soon as you remove the muffins from the oven, spoon orange marmalade over the top of each muffin.


Friday, December 12, 2014

Almost Made It!

So far, we've discussed handmade gifts, giving food as gifts, and limiting presents as ways to have a frugal holiday.  Today, let's talk about frugal presentation!

For wrapping needs, please consider your local dollar store.  In addition to the traditional wrapping paper and gift tags, dollar stores are a great place for gift bags and boxes.  At a dollar, they run quite a bit cheaper than even your big box store.  

Every present needs that finishing touch.  Dollar stores also have ornaments and florals that make the perfect topper for that perfect gift.

While you are there, check out the assortment of serving dishes, etc. for those holday parties. Cleanup becomes a breeze when you don't have to worry about breakage.  If you are sending someone home with food, you also don't have to worry about getting that dollar dish back!

Head to your local dollar store and see how much of that list you can knock out in one place!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Christmas Card Saga

I promised on Monday that there would be more on the Christmas cards later in the week.  Here goes!

I had every intention of getting my Christmas cards done this weekend.  I truly did.  As usual, I have great intentions right up to that point where real life decides to intervene.  What really happened?  I did not even begin to work on them until 9 p.m. Sunday night!

I'm working on them as I have time.  I am also trying to take my own advice and cut myself some slack.  Is it working?  Eh...I'm a work in progress!

I promise, as soon as I finish these and get them in the mail...I'll start designing one for the blog.  I can't let the season go by without expressing my love and appreciation for you, my readers!!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What If Wednesday - Holidays

Time for another What If Wednesday.  We have already covered fear and appreciation of the little things in life. Let's take a shot at the holidays.

What if:

1.  The meal doesn't turn out perfect.  It will be just one will starve,

2,  Someone cancels at the last minute.  Great...more wine for you!

3.  Someone doesn't appreciate their gift.  This would be the perfect opportunity to trim that gift list.

4.  You didn't get what you were really hoping for.  That's what day after sales are for!

5.  The tree isn't perfect, dinner isn't perfect, the gifts aren't perfect. I will guarantee you that no one noticed.  They are spending the holidays with YOU, not the tree, dinner, or gifts.

The biggest gift you can give yourself this holiday season is to relax, enjoy, and savor every moment!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Necessary Repeat

Three years ago, I wrote a post about fear mongering.  At the time, I referenced an email I had received.  Now the same practice has transferred to social media.  How often do you see a post warning women about some fictitious gang initiation, stranger in the back seat, hundred dollar bill on the ground, or the myriad of other urban legends created for no other purpose than to incite fear?  

And how often do you see otherwise intelligent people repost these myths without checking the information?  You wouldn't believe such rumors if you heard them...does seeing them on the Internet make them more plausible?  With that in mind, here is that post from April 19, 2011.

Spreading Fear

Today I received yet another email warning women about another threat.  This one was a crying child asking to be taking home and the woman attacked upon reaching the address.  In less than one minute, I had checked Snopes and found it to be false...another urban legend.  Hitting"Reply All" (a thing I rarely do), I informed the ladies on the email that it was not true and attached the link containing the denouement.

Why do otherwise intelligent women buy into these rumors?  Women today admittedly face threats to their safety...but why forward something you haven't even checked to be factual?  Is it a misguided attempt to keep a friend safe?  Or is it a gullibility that only exists online?  These same women wouldn't believe half of these stories if they were told them face to face.  Is it because the account purports to be verified by CNN or Fox?  If so, wouldn't a reasonable person check those sources?

What frightens me is that these friends allow this additional fear into their lives.  That they live with yet more reasons to look over their shoulders.  That this fear pushes out capacity for joy.

Please, if you receive ANY email that contains FW in the subject line...check it out!!  Don't forward something that could impact someone's daily life and/or routine without verifying at the very minimum that it is true!!

If you truly want to help a girlfriend...give them a call!  Ask how they're doing...ask if there is anything you can do for them!  This simple action will do so much more than a scary, false email.

And those are my random thoughts for today...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Cards

One of my goals this past weekend was to get out my Christmas cards. (More on that later in the week!)  Friday, I was chatting with my best friend and mentioned what I had planned.

She then made a statement that surprised me a bit.  She said she was glad that I was coming out of my shell and rejoining the world.  Why did it surprise me?  I honestly hadn't realized just how deep of a hole in which I had hidden.  

A great deal of it was due to fear, and partly still remains so.  I am coming to realize, however, that you cannot live in a constant state of apprehension and fear no matter how justifiable.  If sending out Christmas cards, as trivial as it may seem, is a step back into normalcy, I welcome it.

May this holiday season truly be one of peace.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Candy

Here's an easy recipe for a Christmas candy.  Makes a perfect gift!


1 package almond bark (I prefer the white--it's more Christmassy!)
1 package chocolate chips (again...I prefer the white, but you can use the milk chocolate)
5 cups salted peanuts


In a double boiler, melt the almond bark and chocolate chips.  Stir well and slowly add peanuts. Drop by teaspoonful on to waxed paper.  Chill for 30 minutes in the fridge and store in an airtight container.  If you use the white, these look wonderful nestled in red tissue paper for gift giving!


Friday, December 5, 2014

Handmade and Delicious!

I have already espoused the benefits of a frugal Christmas.  Did you know that one of the most frugal, and most appreciated, gifts at Christmas is food?

Whether it is candy, cookies, or cake; people love handmade food for Christmas.  If you watch the sales at your local grocery store, you will be able to keep the costs down.

To add to your own Christmas yummies, consider hosting a cookie exchange.  Each person brings their favorite cookie recipe.  Bring one dozen to share at the party and one dozen for each person attending.  Depending on the size of the may be set through New Year's!

Dig out those recipes from Mom and Grandma and get busy!


p.s.  Don't forget to sample as you go!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Holiday Travel

We have all heard and seen the holiday travel horror stories.  They are true, they exist.

I want to encourage each of you to travel to your loved ones this season if you can.  Personally, it is not in my budget for the year but I can guarantee you that I would be on the first plane if I could.  I have learned this year just how precious friends and family are and how, as Aerosmith says, "I don't want to miss a thing."

If you can, fly, drive, ride a train.  Put yourself in hugging range of someone near and dear to your heart but far from your front door.  While Facebook and other such social media gives the illusion of closeness; you don't truly know what it going on behind someone's front door until you walk through it.  Give that someone the gift of your love, attention, and time.

Time to map that route, book that ticket, and make those reservations!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter's Misery

Living on the Gulf Coast, I am spared the brunt of winter's wrath.  I was raised in Wisconsin, however, and am more than familiar with Old Man Winter's fury.  Now you know why I live in the South!

I do enjoy seeing the photos my friends and family post of the beautiful snow.  I am glad I no longer have to wear 12 layers just to stay warm.  It gets cold down here on occasion but I now look at those cold temperatures as an opportunity to wear cute sweaters and boots!

This past weekend saw the official end of hurricane season.  We made it through without a single storm.  This allows us to breathe a sigh of relief, not only for the end of hurricane season but that we still don't have to deal with multiple feet of snow!

Confession:  I do enjoy teasing my friends and family up north.  I may even be known to post a beach shot now and then just to rub it in a tad.  Sigh...I can only imagine the words and names that come flying out when they see them!

For my readers in the North...enjoy the snow!  For me...I'll be at the beach!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014


Have you decorated yet?  I've begun.  The Advent Calendar was out on time and filled.  Bulbs are making it on to the tree bit by bit.

We are still deciding if we are going to do the outside lights.  It is feeling like a whole lot of work at the moment.  The Christmas music boxes are out, the dogs are wondering what is going on, and my son has already been beaned in the head by the hanging mistletoe.  (For the record, he's 6'5" and we live in a 1940's bungalow...the doorways are short!)

I am still mapping out my baking and candy making schedule and menu.  I know I'll be making the peppermint plates to use in gift-giving.  Look on Pinterest...they're everywhere!  I will say, that is one thing on Pinterest that actually looks like the picture when you do it yourself!  Keep an eye on the blog Saturday morning...I will be sharing one of my favorite make and give recipes!

Are you done with your decorating?  I have friends that have posted pictures of fully decorated homes complete with wrapped presents.  I am so not that person!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Hangover

Do you have a holiday hangover?  I am not talking the actual hangover, I mean the one you get from four days off work, a house with company, shopping to be done, tree to go up, etc., etc., etc.

Exhausting, isn't it?  Seriously, it's Monday morning and the exhaustion from the holiday is still there only to be added to by the work week.  Like most women, I have a problem with saying no.  I frequently try to do it all.  At 52, you would think one would know better.  However, my generation was brought up to be caretakers.  Delegation is a relatively new concept, particularly when it comes to hearth and home.

I wish I knew the magic formula for getting everything done without some portion suffering from a lack of attention.  If such a formula exists, please let me know!

Hang in there, my friends!  This week won't last forever!



Jerri's Empty Nest