Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tea, Spice, and a Scent so Nice!

You, my lovely readers, know I am a huge fan of the slow cooker.  Here is a yummy recipe for a Spiced Tea that will not only warm you during this cold winter, but make your home smell fabulous at the same time!


1 gallon water
8 tea bags (I prefer Earl Grey)
3 Tbs Red Hots (cinnamon candies)
1/2 cup brown sugar (for a lower calorie tea, use Splenda brown sugar)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice


Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and stir until the cinnamon and allspice have completely dissolved.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove tea bags from slow cooker and enjoy!!  This tea may also be served cold over ice.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Bits And Pieces

Some frugal reminders...and answering some questions I've received

1. Have you downloaded the Ebates extension on to your Chrome browser?  If it now!  I have drastically increased the amount of cash I'm getting back from shopping now that I don't have to remember to log into Ebates on my own!

2.  I am frequently asked how I win so many sweepstakes.  The simple answer?  I enter...tons of them!  The more you enter, the better your odds of winning.  Simple but true.

3.  Are you following me on Twitter?  That is where I share the majority of the sweeps that I enter.  If not, head over to Twitter and follow me @JerrilynnA .

4.  Have you visited the Moneymaker tab lately?  I don't get rich off of these websites, but I add an extra few bucks to my discretionary fund every month!

5.  Do you have a question or comment but you don't want to publicly comment on the blog?  Email me directly at or head over to the fan page on Facebook at Jerri's Empty Nest , hit the "Like" button, and send me a private message!

Have a fabulous weekend, my darlings!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bad to the Bone

Bad habits...some are worse than others, but everyone has at least one thing they wish to improve. For me, one of my biggest is disorganization!

For Valentine's Day, I received a Starbucks gift card.  I was right on top of it and transferred the gift card to my Starbucks card.  I went on the website, found a gift set I wanted to order and loaded it into my cart.  I was so organized and with it!!  As I went to check out, I realized that I had to enter the number from my Starbucks card.  Funny, I didn't need the number to transfer the gift card balance! Now I have a shopping cart ready for checkout, a Starbucks card freshly loaded...and everything comes to a dead stop because I have no clue where my Starbucks card actually is!

What then ensued was a search of ridiculous proportions.  Wallet?  Nope.  Desk?  Nope.  Shred bin? Thankfully, no!  Turns out it was stuck in a pocket in my purse.  Do I know why or remember when or why I put it there?  Nope.  I was just so thrilled to find it at that point, I didn't care!

I found my card, ordered my coffee, and all is right in my world.  Until the next time something like this happens!

I'm working on it...slowly but surely.  What habit are you trying to break?


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Good Habits

Good habits are just as difficult to stick to as bad habits are to break.  Previously, I have written about my Happiness Jar.  Every day, I write something good or happy about that day.  Simple concept, right?

Even though the jar takes only a few seconds out of my day, I have still experienced those times where I am playing catch-up and writing more than one day.  Why?  Like any other habit, it takes time to become one.  

One difficulty is my attention deficit disorder.  Some days, it is impossible for me to pay attention for more than two seconds at a time!  Over the years, I have learned to overcome a lot of the difficulties it presents, but challenges remain.

As with breaking a bad habit, the same focus needs to be given to creating a good habit.  Don't feel overwhelmed, thinking that such a habit must be of monumental impact on your life.  Start small...say, with making your bed every morning or eating a piece of fruit every day.  

We can do this!!


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hard Habit to Break

What if the bad habit you are trying to break is actually a person?  Like the song says, sometimes an actual person can be "a hard habit to break."  

We all have or have had people in our lives who drag us down, bring drama in, or are just generally bad for us.  Yet something keeps us from breaking that bad habit.

Love is probably the the most common factor holding someone in such a situation.  For me, personally, I tend to believe that everyone has good in their core.  It is difficult for me to comprehend that some people are truly despicable.  I find myself giving chance after chance even when it comes at my expense.

How to break this hard habit?  The best method I have found is distance.  Whether emotional or actual geographical distance, I find it to be the most effective route to eliminating that particular bad habit.

Geographical distance leads to 'out of sight, out of mind."  The process still takes time, but having the habit out of proximity assists in the breakage.  Emotional distance requires a conscious decision and willpower to close the drawer on a particular situation and refuse to open it again.

How do you break a bad habit when that habit is actually a living, breathing person?  Share your tips and tricks.


Monday, February 23, 2015


Habits...we all have them whether they be bad or good.  Friday evening, I went out to dinner at a restaurant I have frequently visited.  I did not take the time to review the menu as I already knew my favorite dinner dish.  That was when I was labeled a "creature of habit."

Is that necessarily a bad thing?  I do not believe so.  I see myself more as someone who knows exactly what she likes to eat at that particular restaurant.  Actually, I'm that way at just about every fast food joint, too!

The myth is out there that habits take 21 days to form.  The truth is that studies have found it takes an average of 66 days.  Think about it...that's doing something faithfully for over two months.  Two months!!

I know that I have personally fallen for the "21 day" myth.  That may explain why some of my bad habits still hang around.  It changes your mindset when you view a habit from a 66 day standpoint.  

Which to do first?  Do you set out to break a bad habit or begin a good one?  Let me know!


Friday, February 20, 2015


Just a quick reminder this Friday...

See the ads on the side of the page?  (Not if you're on your phone, on an actual computer)

If you click on those ads, I make a couple of cents per click.  You don't actually have to buy anything ever; just clicking the ads does the job!  

This blog supplements my regular income, so if you would take a second to would make this empty-nester one happy girl!!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday, February 19, 2015


You have an expectation of how a certain situation should be and you have put in the necessary work. Through no fault of your own or factors beyond your control, your expectation does not attain realization.  Now what?

There will be times when "It is what it is." is the only answer.  Acceptance is definitely not easy. There are times, however, when there is no other option.  We may have an expectation that was unrealistic from the beginning, or there may have been an extreme change in circumstances that rendered it unattainable.  

Acceptance allows time to grieve the loss of a dream, hope, or expectation.  It does not allow for the unending complaining and bewailing of a dream lost.  To dwell on what might have been is to rob the present of its joy and the future of its possibility.

It did not work out the way you planned.  Unfortunately, life happens.  It is up to you to accept, move on, and move up!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Time Flies

"Time is swift, it races by; Opportunities are born and die...Still you wait and will not try--A bird with wings who dares not rise and fly."     A.A. Milne (Creator of Winnie the Pooh)

Monday, I spoke of expectations and how effort must accompany them.  Let's take a moment to talk about time.  

You can have every expectation in the world.  You can expect for your income to increase, to travel, to find love.  All of these expectations have a reasonable chance of attainment.  The biggest constraint?  Time.

Life is short.  As you age, you realize just how fast the sand is slipping through the hourglass.  As time slips by, some expectations may need to be adjusted.  Beginning college at age 50, my expectation of a long, lucrative career is, by necessity, adjusted by the actual number of working years I have remaining.  My expectation of more travel as I age is then adjusted by my income.  

Have I abandoned those expectations in whole?  No, they have merely been adjusted by time and a healthy dose of reality.  Do I allow that concession to slow me down?  Never!!  My expectations are not required to beautifully displayed on a perfectly straight line.  My path has plenty of curves.

Don't ever give up your hopes, dreams, and expectations.  You can do, be, or become anything and everything!


Monday, February 16, 2015


"It is what it is."  How often have you said it?  I know I do on a regular basis.  But is it true?

I suppose, in some instances, it is true.  There are definitely circumstances that are beyond our control.  In the majority, however, are circumstances we can affect and those we can outright change.  
Having no expectations infers either a sense of despair or the deluded vision that you, and your surroundings, are perfect.  Expectations are hopes and dreams for the present and the future.  To live without any is to exist in a stagnant state.  

Expectations are futile if not followed by effort.  As I've written before, one of my favorite replies is, "So what are you going to do about it?"  And therein lies the effort.  If you have an expectation of travel being a part of your life, what are you going to do about it?  Are you starting a savings account to save for a trip?  Have you looked up information on your destination?  The expectation remains unfulfilled until you put in the effort.  

Expectations are not a burden to be shed.  They are what keep us moving forward.  Like a pond, that which becomes stagnant eventually dies.

Embrace your expectations...then get to work!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Not a Usual Saturday

Usually on Saturdays, I post my favorite recipes.  Frequently, I wonder who and how often someone reads my blog.  Recipe Saturday is my proof that people are reading.

One reader has asked when I will put them all together into a cookbook.  I want to let you know that I have heard you, and it is on my project list!  I will definitely manage an e-book, and hopefully a print version at some point.

Another reader has requested pictures with the recipes.  That is a total "my bad"!  The truth is that I usually worry more about eating it than photographing it!  What can I say?  This girl likes to eat!! However, I will start to make every attempt possible to start adding photos.  I am not the world's greatest when it comes to a camera, but I will do my best!  Just, please, don't expect real cookbook staging in the photos.  What you will more than likely receive is a shot of my personal plate right before I dig in!

If there is something you would like to request, dare me to try, or any other suggestions for Recipe Saturday...let me know!


Friday, February 6, 2015

A Frugal Friday Update

At the beginning of the year (can you believe we are already in February???), I had posted about a free/low-cost way to appreciate the little things in life.  It was called the Happiness Jar.

I wanted to post an update on how my personal jar is going.  I have been diligent in writing something down every day to add to the jar.  Trust me when I say this, some days I really have to dig deep to find a "happy" to write down.  That is what life is all about, though, and not every day is rainbows and unicorns.

Here is what my jar looked like at the end of January:

From the looks of it, it appears it may be full before the end of the year.  I plan on just smushing it down to make room!

Look at all those tiny folded pieces of paper.  There is an entire month of nice things that happened to me, around me, or just in life.  Just seeing that after one month does my soul good.

Have you been doing the happiness jar?  Head over to Jerri's Empty Nest on Facebook and post a picture of your jar!  I can't wait to see them!!


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Virus Scans

We all run virus scans on our electronics on a regular basis.  Have you thought of running such a scan on your life?

Allow me to elaborate.  Are there people, situations, or things in your life that interfere with your daily living?  Are there those things that slow you down, cause problems, or derail what you are trying to accomplish?  Is that not the definition of a virus?

Take a look at your life.  Are there toxic people, those that are never happy, that spread their misery so that it overflows and infects your life?  Are things cluttering up your home making it hard to find what you need to live your best?  Are there situations in your life that are impeding your progress in the attainment of your goals?

Perhaps it is time to do a system repair.  As on your computer, the problems will need to be fixed one at a time.  When you think you have finished, run that scan again.  There is always a sneaky little devil hiding somewhere ready to cause chaos when you least expect it.  

As with those electronic virus scans, they take time.  We have all sat in front of our screens waiting for a scan to finish so we can go back to business as usual.  With a life scan, we can have it running in the background as we go about our daily living.  Just remember to quarantine that which does not benefit you!!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Just Say No

One of the hardest boundaries to set is that which includes the word "NO!".  Why is that two-letter tiny word so hard to say and so hard to live by?

Whether it is saying no to taking on more activities, responsibilities, or even daily chores, why do we struggle so?  Granted, it is a human trait to want to be liked.  We fear that if we tell someone no, that we will not be as liked, popular, etc. as if we had agreed to whatever was asked of us.  There is not a mother in this country who has not been sucked into just one more PTA activity, fundraiser, children's party, or anything of that ilk.  Why?  Because we were either afraid of not being liked or afraid that saying no might hurt someone's feelings.

The truth is that those feelings are not our responsibility.  That same principle applies to those people and situations that will put our emotional or spiritual well-being in jeopardy.  We have the right to say no to someone else's drama.  It is perfectly okay to say no in the act of self-preservation.

Is it easy to do?  Definitely not!  For those of us who are innate caretakers, it is particularly difficult. But by saying yes when we shouldn't, we open ourselves to unnecessary trauma to our psyche, not to mention the utter exhaustion that comes from carrying another's emotions.

For today, if something feels like it is too much, say no.  Start small if you have to.  Remember, you are human and, as spectacular as you are, there are limitations to what you can do, carry, and fix.  Just say no.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Emotional Deafness

When trying to make peace with someone in your life, one of the key components, in my opinion, is that they hear not only your words, but what is in your heart behind the words.  Unfortunately, that is not always the case and it impedes any progress that can be made.

Frequently, the emotions in a conversation become buried under the need to be right, the hurry to get out what you want to say, or absolute belief that you have been wronged.  Anger raises a wall so high and so impenetrable that any other emotion is blocked.  

To make progress in resolving a situation, all of the emotions have to be acknowledged.  If your anger or pain will only allow negative emotions to permeate the environment; the love, caring, and true compassion fall by the wayside and are lost.  Most situations, no matter how dire, still contain elements of those emotions and they are needed for resolution and peace.

Remember to hear and acknowledge all of the emotions.  That is the only road to peace.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Finding Balance

Most of my posts lately have been about finding balance in your life.  Honestly, I struggle with this each and every day.

While I am doing a much better job of balancing my finances, my emotional balance is still all over the map most days.  I find myself struggling not to be a caretaker.  There are emotional burdens that are just too much for me to carry and still care for myself.  At the same time, I cannot abide the feeling that I may be walking away from someone who needs me.

What to do?  I don't have any answers.  As I said, I struggle with this every day.  I am unsure of where or how to draw these lines.  Is the line drawn in sand or is it necessary to build a stone wall?  If the wall is not made of stone, am I strong enough to not allow a breach that may cause me harm?  

Learning to set those boundaries and stick by them is an ongoing lesson for me, even this late in life. Emotional balance is surely an attainable goal, I just need to figure out the ways and means of getting there.

Please join me on this journey.



Jerri's Empty Nest