Thursday, April 30, 2015

Reaching Out

Part of the power of women is the circle with which we surround ourselves.  Our circles are those women we love and trust, who love and trust in return, and who we know are always there.

As we grow older, our circles change.  The women included are no longer the ones we go out to the clubs with on a Saturday night.  They become those women who are comfortable enough in our homes to kick off their shoes, curl up on the couch, and ignore each other while the movie is playing. The level of comfort within your circle is what defines that circle.

Reach out to your circle.  Pick up the phone.  Don't text, call.  Listen to your friend's voice.  Do you hear things she is not saying out loud?  There are a myriad of emotions that just cannot be expressed through a text or email.

Admittedly, I am remiss in calling.  I am one who prefers to throw a quick text just to check in.  This is something I need to work on.  My circle deserves more of me.

Reach out, check in, and always say "I love you."


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

At The Polls

While we have been discussing the power of women working together, I received a reminder of that power last night.

My city had a special election yesterday for the office of mayor.  I rushed to vote when I got off work, and pulled into a packed parking lot at the polling location.

When I walked inside, every single person voting was a woman.  EVERY SINGLE ONE!  What better evidence of what women can do when they work together than our democratic process. Women as a voting bloc are a force to be reckoned with.

As we approach another presidential election, keep your fellow women in mind.  I know the constant ads and commercials are annoying.  I realize that listening to the insults, the mud-slinging, and the accusations is draining.  Rise above the noise and join with other women to utilize the vote for the benefit of all.  

Never underestimate the power of a woman...especially when she stands with her sisters.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

It Isn't A Race!

Life is not a race. It is not a competition.  The one who dies with the most friends, the prettiest home, the best figure, or the perfect marriage does not win.  That one who spends their entire life in competition, whether real or self-imposed, simply misses life.  

I, personally, am an extremely non-competitive person.  Non-competitive to the point that I even avoid most board games as seeing people's ruthlessness and competitive sides truly horrifies me.  I realize that I am the extreme, but does everything in life have to be a competition?  

Whatever happened to being happy for someone who has received a blessing in their life?  When I see a friend do well, or out enjoying life with friends or family, I am so happy that they are enjoying themselves.  I do not feel the need to one-up them, to exclude them from my life, or to disparage their success in any way.

In the end, we all get put into the same size hole in the ground, regardless of how fancy the box.  Is it worth missing the joy in the meantime?


Monday, April 27, 2015

Woman to Woman

I have noticed a beautiful occurrence on Facebook, at least among my friends, of women supporting women. Whether through a personal crisis or just making it through the day, I see my friends sharing love and strength on a daily basis.

Granted, the majority of my friends are of an older generation.  The words THOT, skank, and more are not part of our daily vocabulary.  And the "C" word?  That is saved for an extreme situation and only while talking to our best friends!

However, regardless of age or generation, it is vital for women to support one another.  When women work together, there is no greater force on Planet Earth.  However, when women believe that putting down someone in some way raises them up, we all lose.  

Reach out to your circle today.  Support those who need it, heap praise on accomplishments, comfort those in pain.  Not only will we all be better for it; but it will spread and grow.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

It's Heating Up!

Living on the Gulf Coast, the temperatures are already rising!  Here is a treat to cool you down.


1 14 oz. roll butterscotch cookie dough
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1 12 oz. jar caramel sauce


Bake cookies according to directions on the wrapper.  When thoroughly cooled, crumble and line a 10-inch pie pan.  Save 1/2 cup to use as topping.

Place ice cream in a bowl and set out to soften.  Stir caramel sauce into the softened ice cream and spoon mixture into the pie pan.  Sprinkle the saved cookie crumbs over the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in to the freezer to set.

P.S.  You can also make other variations such as sugar cookie with strawberry ice cream and sauce, chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream and fudge sauce...the possibilities are endless!!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Showing Appreciation

On Wednesday, we not only celebrated Earth Day, we also celebrated Administrative Professionals Day.  As I work in a law firm, I wanted to show my appreciation for my fellow paralegals.  As I still have student loans to pay off...I had to get creative!  

What I came up with is this candy boquet.  Not a lot of money, but a bit of effort and some serious time and I had boquets ready for all!

To make the boquet, it took a quick trip to Walmart and the dollar store.  I am lucky in that my neighborhood has both right around the corner from each other.  The gold ribbon was found at Walmart on sale for $4.00 for the entire spool.  The snack-sized candy was available for $1.96 for a twelve-pack.

Then I headed to the dollar store.  That is where I picked up the vases, marbles, pencils, and flowers. I use pencils rather than dowels to make the candy flowers so that when the candy is gone, you still have something you can use.  Of course, the vase and marbles can be re-used again and again for fresh flowers.  And the silk flowers?  They make perfect toppings for other presents!

The candy pretty much speaks for itself.  Who doesn't love some chocolate?

Put your imagination to work.  There is no limit to what you can (frugally) create!


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Celebrating Earth Day

I love holidays.  I celebrate them all!  I thought I would share the little "happy" I made for Earth Day.

A quick trip to the dollar store and my own backyard created this little goodie!  The pot, spade, seeds, and pebbles (for the bottom of the pot) all came from the dollar store.  The potting soil came from the bag in my backyard.  

It is easy to celebrate a holiday without breaking the bank.  All it takes is a little imagination and creativity!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Yesterday, I mentioned the Home Depot Do-It-Herself workshop I participated in.  I thought I would share a picture of the concrete paver planter I made.  I am really proud of it; even if I am unable to actually lift it by myself!!

If you are interested in learning something new, head over to Home Depot , find your local store, and register for the next workshop.  Home Depot also offers workshops for children so get the kids and grandkids invoved, too.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Not That Girl

I try hard to be "that girl."  You know, the one with the nails that look perfect, the fabulous outfit, and the great life.  

The great life?  I'm well on my way.  I work hard, love hard, and eventually I hope to have time to play hard!

The nails?  Let me tell you how that works.  A couple of weeks ago, I created my front garden.  I put down 4 cubic feet of black mulch which resulted in seriously gray-stained fingernails!  That took about a week to wear off no matter how much orange cleaner I used!  Then, I participated in a do-it-herself workshop at Home Depot.  That involved staining wood, which resulted in...yep...more stained nails!  

As to the outfit?  I'm that girl that always looks like she ran out of the house mid-project.  Probably because I am usually mid-project and I have to go get just one more thing.  Over and over again!

I will probably never be "that girl."  But my life is good, my projects are fulfilling, and every stained nail results in something beautiful that I have created.  I'm "this girl" and she is quite something!!


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sweet and Spicy!


3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp course ground black pepper
3 lbs whole chicken wings


In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except chicken and bring to a boil.  Boil for one full minute. Cut and separate chicken wings, discarding wing tips.  Place chicken wings in a large bowl and add rasperry mixture.  Toss wings to coat.  Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours.

Line a 10x15 baking pan with foil.  Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken wings from bowl and place on pan.  Reserve the remaining marinade.  Bake wings at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once.

Re-heat reserved marinade.  Brush over the wings and bake for an additional 25 minutes.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Completely Free!

Adding joy does not have to cost money!  As this week is National Library Week, what better way to celebrate than getting your library card?

Libraries are no longer just books.  Most offer movies to check out and more libraries every day offer e-book rental you can take advantage of from home.  Re-visit favorites from your childhood or re-read those books you dreaded in high school.  Trust me, you will have a whole new appreciation for them when there isn't a grade or essay depending on reading the classics.

Check out an old black-and-white movie and have an old-fashioned movie night.  Pop some popcorn and settle in for some fun!

Head to your local library this week and explore all the amazing services and opportunities they offer!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Starting Anew

Once you have evaluated how to eliminate items from your life causing the stress and need for multi-tasking, it is time to start anew.  It entails re-arranging your previously packed schedule.  When doing so, you now have the opportunity to build in those precious pockets of time for self-care.

Self-care has been discussed on this blog before.  As women, we cannot take care of others without taking care of ourselves.  This is something I am working hard at, being one of those women who take care of everyone BUT myself!  

By eliminating the multi-tasking and the accompanying stress, your life becomes simpler.  Simpler, however, does not mean less fulfilling, boring, or devoid of joy.  In fact, it allows more room, time, and opportunity for just such joy to enter your heart, your home, and your circle.

Here is to you and the joy that awaits you!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Knock It Off!!

Part of the pressure to multi-task comes from self-imposed expectations we impose on ourselves.  As women, we believe we should be able to do it all.


We can't!!  Attempting to do it all results in stress, exhaustion, tension, and one miserable woman. Taking tasks on one at a time allows you to give your all to that one task, providing an immense sense of satisfaction upon completion.  Moving on to the next task then allows you to concentrate fully on that.

Doing it all is an extremely persistent urban legend.  It does appear women are coming to the realization that it is a myth, as evidenced by more and more women returning to the homefront to be full-time wives and mothers.  While that option remains a luxury available to few families, those that are unable to do so are in pursuit of a simpler, down-sized lifestyle.

Leave the multi-tasking behind.  Take stock of what you have, what you need, and what you love.  I guarantee you will find more time, more energy, and more joy.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Multi-tasking or Multi-stressing?

As I enter my later years (okay, I'm actually here), I am learning that multi-tasking is not necessarily an enviable skill.  While it may feel like much is being accomplished, the reciprocal increase in stress is an unfortunate result.

When I multi-task, I do not give my full attention or effort to any of the projects I am working on. Only when I give my full focus to the task at hand do I obtain the optimum result.  This is especially true in my writing and my craft work.  

It is impossible to bead a pair of earrings without giving it full attention.  Not doing so results in a missed loop, a crooked wire, or a cracked bead.  By remaining focused on my project, it actually takes less time, produces a better result, and reduces the stress of having an inferior result or having to repeat some of my efforts.

Like that pair of earrings, any projects attempted in multiples have the same type of outcomes.  While multi-tasking still seems to be a buzz word in today's world, I have noticed a shift back to the simpler time of focusing on the task at hand.  Not all crazes or fads must be adopted.  There is no shame in saying that I tried multi-tasking, it is not for me, and I prefer the superior result of single focus.

How are you at multi-tasking?  Does it make you multi-stress?  Slow down, enjoy the process, and be proud of your final result!


Monday, April 13, 2015

A Comedy of Errors

I had such high hopes for this past weekend.  I had my to-do list ready to go.  Spring breakers are in town so I knew I would be on lock-down all weekend as it would be impossible to get anywhere!  In addition, rain was forecast for the whole weekend so that guaranteed I would have to stay in the house and behave.

Then the leak happened.  Just a small drip in the bathroom.  Nothing to worry about, right? Well...when I got home from work Friday night, the drip was now a large drip.  The landlord was going to be there first thing Saturday morning to repair it.  When I awoke Saturday morning, the drip was now a large hiss.  And I was quickly running out of towels!!

I live in WWII era home.  That means there was no water shut-off valve at the sink.  So I sat without water Saturday morning while the sink was repaired.  That translates to not only extra loads of laundry from all the towels; but now hours delay in getting the laundry and dishes started.

Sigh.  There is nothing I love more than having to rearrange everything to accomodate an unforeseen circumstance (sarcasm).  Needless to say, I spent the remainder of Saturday hauling butt to catch up! How do you deal with those unexpected bumps in the road?

Let me know your tips and tricks!!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Delight

Here's a little libation to enjoy after a long day of completing those to-do lists!


1 cup Watermelon Vodka
1/3 cup Triple Sec
1/3 cup Coconut Malibu Rum
4 scoops Pink Lemonade Mix


Mix first three ingredients in a pitcher.  Add pink lemonade mix and add water according to the mix label directions.  Add sliced strawberries and mix thoroughly.  Pour and store in pint canning jars.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Frugal Repurposing

Earlier this week, I posted about the tile tray that now graces my coffee table.  Unique, one-of-a-kind items do not always equate to expensive.  Repurposing an existing item into something new can be both a frugal and personal way to enrich your home and life.

The tray, as I posted, was found at the back of a shelf at Goodwill.  It was obtained for $7.99.  You might consider that a bit much for Goodwill, but this is made with painted ceramic tile.  The door pulls I added for handles were found at the hardware store for $2.97 each.  Not bad at all.

For less than $15.00, I have a beautiful, unique item in my home.  Plus, I have the satisfaction of an item that I repurposed, using a bit of my own creativity.

Look at items not only for what they are, but what they can be.  It may not take any more than a coat of paint, or new handles, to make a so-so item something fabulous!


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Feeding My Soul Part III

My third activity this past weekend to feed my soul was a bit more crafty.  I enjoy creating things, especially those items that bring beauty to my surroundings.

I had seen this project on the internet, but didn't have access to the exact things that person had used to make it.  Living an a city that is on the smaller side sometimes limits my access to certain supplies that are more readily available in larger urban areas.  I did, however, find something I could use instead and quite enjoyed this little project.

Using a metal watering can found at a hobby store, I was stymied when it came time to find the crystals to use for the cascading water.  After wandering around the store for a while, I did determine that the beads in the craft department were way too expensive!!  Following the suggestion of a friend, I headed over to the floral department and hit the bridal aisle.  I have a very smart friend!  There in the bridal aisle were crystal dangles and at a much more affordable price than the beading department!

With about an hour's time threading the dangles into the holes in the spout of the watering can, and household cement to keep them in place, my garden accent was done.  It is a perfect addition to the garden I created this weekend.  

The Internet is full of fabulous ideas of things to create.  Remember, you do not always have to have the exact items as shown in the picture.  Be creative.  Use what you want to use and that will truly make it your personal creation.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Feeding My Soul Part II

I am a huge recycling fan.  I believe that anything possible can and should be recycled.  Of course, part of recycling is up-cycling.  One of my projects this weekend was an up-cycled success!

My son found a gorgeous tiled picture at Goodwill.  His first thought was that it would make a great tray for the coffee table.  He was right!

I picked up two door pulls at the hardware store.  I removed the picture hangers from the back and after pre-drilling the holes, it took only a couple of minutes to attach the pulls to the frame.  That was it!  For only about ten minutes total labor, there is a beautiful tiled tray now residing on my coffee table.

At some point, someone loved this picture enough to buy it and hang it in their home.  For an unknown reason, it ended up at the back of a shelf at Goodwill.  Giving new life to something beautiful feeds the soul.  A discarded item now has a new life and purpose.

Next time you're out thrift shopping, look beyond what you see.  Look for the potential.  Something old can become something new.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Feeding My Soul Part I

While I was busy this weekend, I still took time out to feed my soul.  I actually wrote those items on my to-do list to make sure the time was available.  Here was my first activity:

As I live in a rental, I wanted my garden to be portable if I move.  It took about three hours total including the time I spent at the garden center.  I unpacked my garden gnomes who had been stored away for the last three years and placed them in my garden.  Not only feeding my soul, doing so also reminded me that things you enjoy should never be packed away.  While circumstances may not be ideal, or someone else may criticize, or even if you are told "no"...what you enjoy should not be put in a box for "someday."  

Part of feeding your soul is surrounding yourself with beauty.  Trees and plants are nature's own beauty.  Feed your in the dirt!


Monday, April 6, 2015

A Busy Weekend

What a weekend!!  I had a huge to-do list and I'm happy to say I made a huge (like 2/3) dent in it!

Of course, there is still enough left on the list to last me a couple more weekends.  For now, however, I choose to enjoy my accomplishments.

There is something very satisfying about being able to cross things off a list.  For this list, I even went old-school and used an actual pen and paper.  While I normally keep my list going on my tablet and phone, it seemed to motivate me more to have the physical list.  It was something tangible and I truly think it made a difference.

How do you keep up with everything you have to do?  Is it a list in your head?  Do you go old-school?

Here's to crossing off those items on your list!



Jerri's Empty Nest