Saturday, January 31, 2015

Amish Yumasetta

A wonderful, filling comfort food!


2 lbs. ground beef
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large yellow onion (I didn't have an onion so replaced this with 1/4 cup minced onion)
1 can tomato soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
8 oz shredded cheddar or shredded Velveeta
12 oz package wide egg noodles


Brown the ground beef and onion.  Stir in the brown sugar.  Add the can of tomato soup and keep the mixture on warm.

Cook the egg noodles and drain well.  Immediately mix in the cream of chicken soup.

In a casserole dish or 13x9 pan, layer the noodles and hamburger mixture.  If using a 13x9, you will only have two layers of each, more in a casserole dish.  Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


Friday, January 30, 2015

A New Way to Give

There is a new method of donating to your favorite charity that won't personally cost you a dime!  It does not get much more frugal than that!

Amazon has rolled out a program named "Amazon Smile".  When you enter Amazon through to shop, 0.5% of your eligible purchases will be donated to the charity of your choice.  

Amazon Smile is the same Amazon you usually shop with all the same items, prices, and Prime.  The only difference is now a half of one percent of your shopping will support your favorite charity.

When I first signed up for Amazon Smile, the charities available were Water, Doctors without Borders, and the World Wildlife Fund.  However, there is a write-in box where you can choose another charity if you wish.  My shopping donation will be supporting the work of the WWF.

Head on over to Amazon and sign up for Amazon Smile.  You can do the same shopping you do now and do good at the same time!


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Doing the Work

Savoring life does not come labor-free.  There is some work involved, particularly on an emotional level.  

Part of that work involves forgiveness.  If you do not forgive, those hurts and betrayals will color your world and impede your enjoyment of life.  I, personally, make the choice to forgive for myself. I do not have the energy or strength to carry the burden of hate.  I am acquainted with some who thrive on it, and it is not surprising as that burden of hate multiplies and grows as it is carried, other emotions such as joy and compassion are pushed almost completely away.  

I choose to forgive to make room for love and joy in my life.  Choosing to do so does not make me weak, susceptible to past behavior, or a willing participant in toxic relationships.  It means I choose to let go and move on.  Moving on does not mean moving backwards.  Forgiveness does not mean allowing someone to hurt you again.  Forgiveness changes your heart, not the heart of someone else.

Forgiveness is just one aspect of the work that must be done to savor life.  I am still working on my temper and my impatience which are also aspects.  I am human, therefore I am always a work in progress.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015


I have always been an introvert.  With all the events that have gone on in my life in the last year, I am almost bordering on agoraphobia.  Other than work and trips to the grocery store, I am perfectly content to stay at home.  

Savoring that time alone, I indulge in reading, crafts, and spending time online.  I have to make a conscious effort to leave the house and it is frequently difficult.  I have turned down invitations, backed out of trips, and missed time with friends.  

In order to more fully savor life, I am going to endeavor to step out of my comfort zone a bit more.  I will live more, love more, and give more.

Join me!!


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Part of my plan for savoring life has to include boundaries.  In order to enjoy my year, I have to erect boundaries (or walls) keeping out those who wish me ill or just bring such toxicity with them, that if discolors all around them.  As I have said before, this is extremely difficult for me as I tend to believe that deep down, everyone is good.

The truth is, deep down, there is good in everyone.  However, that good does not always surface or is aimed in your direction.  Which leaves one with the dilemma of what steps to take to protect yourself. How do you eliminate the toxic without throwing away the good?

My personal litmus test is past behavior.  The adage is true, "If someone shows you who they are, believe them!"  If someone has treated you shabbily in the past, their behavior speaks for itself.  As a friend of mine recently reminded me, "A leopard doesn't change its spots!"  He was absolutely correct and is also a friend whose opinion I truly value.

By closing my circle and not allowing such people in, I have been accused of being unforgiving. That is not the case.  I have forgiven.  I have also chosen not to allow another opportunity for someone filled with hate to enter my life again.  It is my life, and I am allowed to make that choice.  Does this make my circle smaller?  It definitely does.  It also makes my circle one of love.  Again, my choice.

How are you with setting boundaries?  Have you succeeded in eliminating toxic situations and people?  Let me know your tips and tricks!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Savoring Life

Too often, we get wrapped up in the minutiae of every day life.  There are a million little things every day that make life special.

The other day, I woke up to a special gift.  As I started my day, I went to turn on my laptop.  Sitting on the keyboard was a bag of cotton candy.  I am a cotton candy addict!  The night before, my son had gone to the store and picked up a bag, just to put a smile on my face.  It worked!

This is a little thing that, in reality, was a huge thing.  Knowing that someone took the time to think about me means the world.  That is what savoring life is...appreciating each and every little moment and taking them to heart.  

Take a look back at the last couple of days.  I know you'll be surprised at just how many of these little minutes actually happened.  Now take a minute to savor them.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Easy Chinese

All this week, I've posted about self-care.  Here is a delicious, easy dish that you can throw in the crockpot and let cook while you take care of yourself!

Beef Teriyaki


1/2 cup Teriyaki glaze (sometimes the label says Baste and Glaze)
1 can crushed pineapple (DO NOT DRAIN)
1 or 1 1/2 pound chuck steak


Combine glaze and pineapple in your crockpot.  Cut the chuck steak (strips or chunks, whichever you prefer) and mix well with the glaze/pineapple.  Set the crockpot on low and cook for 3-4 hours.  Serve over rice.  Hint:  It's also great wrapped in a tortilla!


Friday, January 23, 2015

Financial Health

On this Frugal Friday, let us close out the week of self-care with a quick look at financial self-care.

This is probably the area of self-care where I fail the most often and in the most spectacular fashion! I am, however, working on this area the most!

Actually, I am probably the last person who should be even writing on this subject!  I do have the experience, though, of doing everything the wrong way!

Here is a short list of things to review to up your financial self-care game:

1.  Check your retirement plan.  Will you have enough money?  What can you do to better your investment or protect what you already have invested?

2.  Check your monthly budget.  Are there areas where spending can be cut and savings increased?

3.  Check your car.  Yes, your car.  Is it properly maintained so that it is efficient and you avoid costly repairs?

4.  Check your closet.  Can the clothes you have be put in different combinations to extend their use?

5.  Check your credit cards?  Can you pay down a few more dollars a month?  Are you getting the best rates?

6.  Check your pantry.  How much food is actually in there?  How long could you actually eat off what you already have before you need another major shopping trip?

7.  Check your utility providers.  If you have a choice, are you going with the provider offering the best price for basic services?  

8.  Check your craft room.  Do you have projects to complete rather than purchasing more?  Do you have projects that can be given in the stead of bought gifts?

9.  Check your entertainment.  Are you getting the best deal on television services?  What about your internet provider?

10. Check this blog.  In addition to the Money Makers tab at the top of the page, I offer hints, tips, and tricks every Friday to not only make addition money but also to save money.

Okay...I guess I did have a bit to say!!  You definitely have a starting point for financial self-care. Remember, I'm right there next to you working away!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Your Spiritual Self

Allow me to preface this post by saying I am not a huge fan of organized religion.  In my lifetime, I have noticed the distinct trend of people who most loudly proclaim and publish their church attendance and their personal holiness as being those same people who are mostly likely to betray, stab their fellow man in the back, and use that same religion to judge and belittle other people.  That is not my personal opinion of a spiritual being.

Most religions, whether Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Wicca, hold the same premise of the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?  Wicca takes it even further by decreeing that whatever action you take toward another person will be returned threefold upon you.  That applies whether that action is helpful or harmful.  Makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

Your spiritual self-care is an extremely personal matter.  It may, for one person, include praying in an official church each Sunday.  For another, it may involve a determined effort to treat all who cross their path with kindness and compassion.  A third may find their spiritual self by spending a few quiet moments in nature.  

However you find your spirituality, it takes a commitment of time and deliberate action.  Your self-care in this are begins when you resolve to take that time for that purpose.  Like any other type of self-care, you will reap the benefits of the effort you invest.  


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Emotional Care

Yesterday, I spoke on physical self-care.  Honestly, I believe that the physical aspect is probably the easiest to improve and manage.  Emotional self-care is more difficult by far.

Taking care of yourself emotionally means making some difficult choices.  Is everyone in your life healthy for you?  Are there toxic people or relationships that really need to go?  We all seem to have that friend who disguises a slam as "just trying to help" or "thought you would want to know". Actually, no.  A true friend that actually wants to help lets her actions speak for her.  

Frequently, it is our own doing that brings such toxicity into our lives.  We consciously make the choice to repeat or continue behavior that harms us emotionally.  We return to situations or relationships that we know are not healthy.  You have heard the definition of insanity?  Repeating the same actions expecting a different result.  If someone has hurt you, betrayed you, or disrespected you in the past, that person is showing you who they really are.  Believe them, forgive them, and run away as fast as you can.  To remain in or return to a relationship with that person will continue to bring the same pain it always did...but this time YOU made the choice to bear that pain.  Why?

This is probably the area of self-care with which I struggle the most.  Most of the time, I believe that deep down inside someone, there is some small speck of redemption.  In actuality, some people may just be unredeemable.  In addition, it is not my job to repeatedly bear pain in the hope that someday that person may change and become caring and kind.  Repeat after me:  NOT MY JOB!

How do you handle the toxic people in your life?  Even more, how do you handle that person who makes the deliberate choice to invite such pain into theirs?  Any and all suggestions welcome!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015


You have heard it before.  "You can't take care of someone else until you take care of yourself."  How many times have you answered that statement with "Yeah, right!"?  Exactly.

There are just as many aspects of self-care as there are to one's personality.  The self-care can be emotional, physical, spiritual, financial or any other aspect of life.  For today, I want to touch briefly on the physical.

While men typically have the reputation of avoiding physician visits, women have also developed the same habit but due to another reason.  Frequently, a woman is so busy caring for others that her own physical well-being gets put aside.  I am definitely guilty of just that.

I have taken a step toward changing that.  About six weeks ago, I somehow injured my hip.  I know...cue old lady jokes now!  However, I have been in agonizing pain ever since.  Finally, I have made a doctor's appointment and will get the issue resolved.

Step one done.  I am also hitting the treadmill every day, even if only for thirty seconds.  I know, thirty seconds does nothing physically.  However, it keeps me in the habit of getting on it every day. Hopefully, when my hip is fixed, I will be able to extend my time.

Examine your life for a moment.  Are there small things you can do to improve your physical self-care?  Now is the time!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Silly Little Things

Resolutions tend to be major changes or life events.  I know my resolution is and so are those of some of my friends.  I also have some silly little ones that I work toward on a continuing basis.  Allow me to share a few of them.

I'm slowly replacing my lingerie with matching sets.  Yes, I realize that those are the women who die in horror movies; but I want to feel pretty, even when it's covered by a hoodie and jeans!  Like most women, I have spent the majority of my life ensuring that my children had everything, that my man had every need met, but rarely focused on myself.  I am 52 years old.  Purchasing pretty, matching sets of lingerie is a small way to focus on myself.

I will read at least 52 books this year.  Reading is one of my greatest pleasures.  It is also the activity that falls the furthest down the list when I get busy.  No more!  I have already completed three books this year and I will make my goal!

I will continue to reduce.  I wish I meant my weight, but I actually mean my stuff.  I have already unloaded three large bags of items and have a quite healthy donation pile in progress!  I may never qualify as one of the fad, a minimalist, but I am realizing that reducing my clutter increases my peace!

None of these qualify as those huge life-altering resolutions we make every January.  In truth, they are much more of lifestyle adjustments.  Yes, even the lingerie, as that entails treating myself well in a small way.  The next one I will add to the list?  Probably managing my email accounts...though that one may qualify as a major life event!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Supporting The Arts

This Frugal Friday, I am asking you to actually spend a little money.  It does not have to be a may even be able to find a free event in your area.

In honor of the artists lost in Paris, take time this weekend to support your local artists.  Visit a museum, buy a book by a local writer, or attend a performance by local dancers.  The journalists and cartoonists in Paris died for their art, their passion, and their belief in the freedom of the press.  Honor that by supporting those in your locale who pour their hearts and souls into such expression.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Poet's Soul

I am blessed to have a friend who is a poet.  I admire her art, her ability to express herself, and her openness in sharing herself.  I, personally, do not have the grace she possesses.  I admire it from afar and am grateful to have such beauty in my proximity.

I have observed that her poet's soul feels things deeply.  With the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo, she was devastated; not only for the loss of life, but for the loss of the art and the artists.  Aside from the political and religious aspects, she knew that at the most base of levels, it was a loss of art.

This world needs every artist.  Whether with pen, pencil, or brush; each message is pure.  A cartoonist in France is no less an artist than a poet in the United States.  I am proud to know and love such an artist and grieve for the loss in Paris.

For the love of the art,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Into The Ether

When I write, the words are mine as I am writing them.  Once I hit that publish button, they no longer are in my personal possession.  Each word becomes the property of the reader, and each reader endows them with their own experience and spin.

In the past, I have had readers who were convinced I had written about them when, in truth, I had not. It upset me at first, but it also taught me a valuable lesson.  I am not responsible for the perception of others.  However, if the shoe fits, may it be two sizes too small and hurt like hell!

Think about the blogs you read, including this one.  We bloggers open our hearts and souls and pour it out on to each post.  If you do not respect the actual words written, respect the process we go through to share our lives with you.

This is my blog, my life, my heart.  You are welcome here.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Power of the Pen

Last week, we received a horrific reminder of the power of the pen.  My heart breaks for the families of the cartoonists, editors, and writers of Charlie Hebdo.  The deliberate assassination of journalists strikes at the very core of any democracy whether here in the United States or in France.  

Along with the power of the pen comes the knowledge that such freedom bears a price.  The staff of Charlie Hebdo knew the risk they had taken as evidenced by the police guard present in that editorial meeting.  But they didn't let that risk or that fear stop them.  

I am aware that this terror was carried out in the supposed name of religion.  As far as I am personally concerned, that premise lost all plausibility when the gunmen paused and shot an Islamic policeman in the head after he was already down on the ground.  If religion were truly their motivation, that would have been an unacceptable action in killing a fellow follower of Allah.  

This was nothing more than cold-blooded murder.  There was no higher calling, no ultimate motive. This was a deed born out of hate, pure and simple.

Freedom of the press, and thereby, the power of the pen, is a precious thing.  That freedom has been paid for in blood, by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and police time and time again.  The battle has now been brought to the doorstep of our journalists, writers, cartoonists, and authors.  Do not let their deaths be in vain.

Je Suis Charlie


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Three and Go!

Only three ingredients and fabulous taste!!


1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 lb pork tenderloin


Spray your crockpot with cooking spray.  Mix the cranberry sauce and apricot jam.  Place the tenderloin in the crockpot and cover thoroughly with the mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours.


Friday, January 9, 2015

How Are We Doing?

How are we doing this Frugal Friday?

Have you started the money challenge I posted about last Friday?  As I said, I am participating in reverse.  That way I can wipe out the smaller amounts towards the end of the year and be able to use my money for Christmas.  I also took a frugal route when it came to the envelopes themselves and picked up a box at the dollar store!

Another way of saving money I have posted about earlier is the WalMart Savings Catcher.  So far, I have saved about $10 which is not too bad considering I have a very small grocery budget!  In case you need the link again, here it is:

The final frugal tip for today is a reminder about Ebates.  Since installing the Ebates button to Chrome, I have managed to get my Ebates balance above $30!  That is just off regular shopping...nothing special!  Here is the link to sign up for Ebates:

Every little bit helps!  Let me know how your frugal new year is going!


Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Simple Step

I have a full length mirror on my closet door.  Typically, I avoid it like the plague.  However, that behavior does not fall in line with my resolution.

In order to love that woman in the mirror, I have to first face her in that mirror.  Step one...I gave the mirror a good polish.  My perception of myself is already distorted enough by my childhood, media portrayals of women, and my own lack of self-worth.  I do not need the additional distortion of a dirty mirror.

If I am to love the woman in that mirror, let it be in a clear and true light.  A simple step, but a necessary one on my journey.

My journey toward the fulfillment of this resolution are you doing on yours?


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Happiness Jar

Earlier this week, I talked about using a happiness jar to remind myself of the little things that me happy and for which I am grateful.  I thought I would share my set-up with you so you would have a better idea of just how little effort it takes to get started!

As you can see, I keep my slips of paper and pen in a pretty blue juice glass.  The jar I already had, and simply downloaded a free printable from online.  After printing it, I simply used a regular glue stick and stuck it to the jar.  Nothing to do it!! excuses!!  This is an easy project and you will have an entire year of joy to review on 12-31-2015!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Self Talk

One of the largest issues that I have observed getting in my way is my negative self talk.  Frequently, it spills over to others.

This past weekend, I was window shopping with my sweet gentleman.  Not until after I got home that evening, did I realize how often I had told him I couldn't wear something due to my age, build, etc., etc.  What was I doing to myself?

First, I should have been incredibly flattered by the way he saw me and what he thought I could pull off.  Deep down, I actually am!  That age old adage of when someone pays you a compliment, just say thank you?  Yeah, I need to work on that one.

It is not easy to reconcile who I see with who others see.  The first step has to be that I discontinue putting myself down.  I am sure there is a list of people out there who will be more than happy to do so for me...I will no longer be one of them!


Monday, January 5, 2015

Now The Hard Part

It is past New Year's Day.  I have made my resolution.  Now comes the hard part.  

The standing joke, of course, is that most resolutions do not last past the first couple weeks of the year.  I have been guilty of that along with most other people.  How do I change that pattern?  How do I make the commitment stick?

First, I chose a resolution that, while not physically intensive, does require work on my part.  My resolution is to love the woman in my mirror.  It sounds simple enough, until you actually start the work.

My first steps have been small things to make my daily life easier, to allow time to focus on myself, and to remind myself how grateful I am for the things I have right now.  

To make my daily life easier, I have gone back to my use of a household manual.  I have used one in the past to manage menu planning, grocery lists, and my collection of never-ending to-do lists.  I already feel less stressed.

To allow time to focus on myself, I am setting aside 30 minutes each day.  Currently, that thirty minutes is spent on the treadmill, but I hope to increase both the time on the treadmill and the time spent on things I enjoy.

Being grateful for small blessings has been the easist thing to keep up with so far.  I have created a Happiness Jar and and putting a blessing in the jar each day.  It does my heart good just to see the little papers building up.

Stay tuned!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

No Time

This is an incredibly easy dip to whip together when you have no time at all!

Jerri's Fiesta Dip


1 can whole kernel corn, drained (15 ounce)
1 can black beans, drained (15 ounce)
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing (I use the light version)
1 jar salsa (16 ounce) (I use medium, but you can use hot or mild)


In a serving bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Chill well before serving.

That's it!


Friday, January 2, 2015

A Profitable Year

Have you seen this on social media?

I am going to try this plan this year.  I went to the dollar store and picked up envelopes which I have numbered 1 through 52.  Actually, I think I will do it in reverse.  By doing so, I can finish off the last few dollars in November and have plenty of cash for Christmas shopping!  As I get paid twice a month, I will also have to fill more than one envelope at a time...but it will keep me honest!

Have you ever done anything like this?  Want to try this with me?  Let me know!



Jerri's Empty Nest