Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vietnam Veterans Day -- Welcome Home

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Few Days

I will be taking a few days off to deal with some personal matters.  I'll be back next week.  Thank you for hanging in there!!


Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Thursday 10 -- The Garden Version

So far, we have taken our notebooks to the bedroom and the bathroom in order to update our spaces and turn them into rooms of comfort and sanctuary.  Today, we're going to take that notebook outside and do the same for our garden.

What do you need to turn your yard into a place of peace and joy?  Are new cushions needed for your furniture?  What type of flowers do you wish to plant this year to enjoy?  Do you want to attract hummingbirds and butterflies?

At the same time, are there things you can do in your yard that will lower the amount of time and effort needed for maintenance?  Can plants or furniture be rearranged to make mowing or watering easier?  Remember, not only are we reducing actual numbers of items, we also want to reduce the time and labor needed to maintain what we have.

Grab that notebook...head outside.  Spring awaits!


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Renewing Your Spirit

This spring, take a bit of time to renew your spirit.  After a long winter, one can feel drained, down, and depressed.  Spring is the perfect season to lighten your soul.

If warm enough, grab a blanket, a new novel, and a glass of lemonade.  Head outside, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy some me time.

If still stuck inside due to the weather, get a piece of poster board from your local dollar store.  Make a vision board.  It can be of what you envision your garden to be this year, what projects you want to complete in the warm weather, or even what local activities you want to attend.  Once made, start planning!  The board will remind you of what you want to accomplish.

This spring, surround yourself with joy and beauty.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Get Outside!!

Spring is here!  Get outside!

Okay, I realize some of you are still snowed in.  I am sorry.  That does not, however, mean you cannot enjoy spring right now.

For those of you still in the grips of Old Man Winter, start your seedling trays inside.  Grab some tulips at the local store and bring the beautiful colors indoors.  Sit down with a notebook and make your garden plans.

For those like me, where spring is here, get outside!  Head to the garden center and get your fruits and vegetable plants for the season.  Have you thought of landscaping with edibles?  You can have beauty and food all in one!

Regardless of where you are, please remember to plant for the bees!  We need them to fertilize our crops; indeed, for life on this planet itself.

Wishing you a fruitful season!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is officially here!  Living on the Gulf Coast, we have been enjoying spring for a couple of weeks now but it is still nice for the official start!

Spring is a time of awakening and renewal.  In the Wiccan faith, it is the yearly victory of light over darkness.  Is that not a beautiful thing?  Spring is the time when we crawl out of our winter's nest and re-emerge into the light outside.

This spring, I wish you peace and light.  Renew your surroundings, your circumstances, and your joy.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Way Back Recipe

My grandparents are definitely on my mind this week so I thought I would post a childhood recipe. Growing up in the 70's, gelatin salad was a staple at every holiday meal.  Confession:  I still love it!!

Orange Salad


1 package orange gelatin
1 package cream cheese, 8 oz., softened
2 cans crushed pineapple with juice, 15 oz.
2 cans mandarin oranges, drained, 10 oz.


Prepare gelatin, adding 3/4 cup boiling water and mix thoroughly.  Let gelatin partially cool and very slowly beat in cream cheese until completely blended.  Fold in pineapple and oranges.  Pour into a gelatin mold and chill until completely set.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Frugal Friday

This Friday, I am going to touch again on Wednesday's post.  All of us have photos from way back when.  It doesn't cost a dime to share your history.

First, scan the pictures into your computer to save them.  Make sure each scan is labeled with who and when.  Years from now, your children/grandchildren will need that information for the photo to have meaning.

Second, set some time aside and share the photos and the stories with your family.  As in the picture I posted on Wednesday, I have no idea why all three couples are in the same picture.  Was it a triple wedding?  Were photos so expensive that they took one together to afford it?  They are all gone now so I may never know.

Third, Ancestry.com offers a free trial.  Use that free trial to learn as much of your history during that period as you can.  Be careful, though!  Once that free trial expires, Ancestry will IMMEDIATELY charge your credit card!  If all you want is the free trial, make sure you cancel before it expires.  The family tree you have created during the trial is, however, saved for you to view without having to pay.

These old photos are your heritage.  Share them, enjoy them, and feel the love in the memories. Love doesn't cost a thing.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Treasured History

This past weekend, I received a package of family photos.  Included was this picture:

The couple on the right are my grandparents.  What an absolute treasure!!  In addition to my grandparents, the photo also shows two of my great-aunts and their husbands.

In this digital age, we forgot the value of an old photo.  In an instant, I was given the gift of holding a piece of my history in my hands.  The lesson?  Slow down.  Actually touch your history.  Everything in life is not routed through a keyboard.


Friday, March 11, 2016

Frugal Friday

This Friday, I want to discuss a subject dear to my heart.  Let's talk about pet adoption.

While it is easy to go to a breeder, you will also spend hundreds, if not thousands, for your pet.  At the same time, there are a multitude of dogs and cats in your local shelter, begging for someone to love them.

Regardless of the fact that adopting is the right thing to do, it is also the frugal way to add a pet to your family.  Adoption fees are a mere fraction of purchasing from a breeder.  The pets have already been checked out by a vet, received their shots, and, in most cases, are already spayed or neutered.  In a large number of shelters, discount adoption days are also held to reduce the population at that particular shelter or to help place pets which are 5 years or older.  

Before adding to the over-population of pets that already exists by going to a breeder, take a trip to your local shelter.  I can guarantee you that the love of your life is waiting for you there!!


Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Thursday 10

Last week, we talked about surveying your bedroom and making a list of things you wanted to do to bring it to the room of your dreams.

I managed to get one thing on my list done.  I ordered a rug for my bedroom floor.  While I love the look of hardwood floors, hearing my dog's nails on the floor when she's restless at night is not the most serene environment!  I am hoping, once it arrives, that if muffles some of the sound in my room. And no, shutting her out of the bedroom is NOT an option!!

This week, let's move on to your bathroom.  Get your notebook and take an honest, hard look at the room.  Is your shower curtain and/or liner well over its expiration date?  Is the lighting flattering?  Do you have a window that gives a view from outside that you would not want to share?  Can it be frosted to keep the light and keep your privacy?

Remember, not more than 10 things per room.  If you exceed the ten, you will spend a fortune and forever in one room!  This exercise is to get you started.  Small changes can be made, with either little money; or, in a lot of cases, simple muscle power!

On to the bathroom we go!!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Preparing for Spring

As the weather rapidly warms on the Gulf Coast, festival season begins and there is some kind of activity happening each weekend.  I am looking forward to attending as many as I can!  

In addition, I have some woodworking projects in mind for the warm weather, one of which may take a month or more as I can only work on it on weekends.  Of course, I cannot forget the gardening that is about to be in full force!

As I prepare for spring, it brings a sense of anticipation.  I look forward to the warmth, to the ability to enjoy time outside, and the sense of renewal. There are numerous flowers and flowering shrubs that are already in full bloom and the colors bring joy.

Start your list.  Prepare for the warm weather, the time outdoors, and the time spent with your hands in the Earth.  Mother Nature is awakening.  


Tuesday, March 8, 2016


It is amazing what laughter can do to turn your day around.  While working on Sunday, I somehow hit a combination of keys that made everything I typed show up backwards.  I have no idea what I did but I was so stressed from trying to get things done, that I completely lost it.

In between yelling, pleading with my son to FIX IT, and just generally losing my mind, I began to laugh.  True, it may have been a bordering on insanity kind of laugh; but it was also the kind of laugh that brought tears to my eyes.  Once started, I could not stop.  I'm sure exhaustion played a role in there, also.

Once my laptop was again typing in the correct direction, I managed to catch my breath and get back to work.  In truth, that laugh break was much needed.  I sat back down at my desk, refocused myself, and actually accomplished quite a bit!

There are times when life gets so overwhelming that the simplest thing (like a keyboard typing backwards) can send one over the edge.  When it happens, laugh!  It may delay you for a moment, but the moments that follow will be lighter.


Monday, March 7, 2016

Manic Monday

I woke up this Monday already behind.  Don't you love that feeling?

I had such good intentions this weekend!  Unfortunately, life decided to take me another direction and it feels like I spent most of the weekend playing catch-up.  Which I never do.  Ever. In my entire life.

What to do?  I believe it is time to take a hard look at my to-do list and decide what can go.  Either that, or I need to learn to function on three hours of sleep a night!  The truth is that I am no expert at delegating.  There are things on my list that my son could help me with but I either do not ask, or give up after the first asking.  Either way, the fault is my own.

A long time ago, I used the trick of setting a kitchen timer with each chore to keep myself on task.  I do believe it is time to get another one and use that trick again.  

Do you complete your to-do list?  What are your tips and tricks?


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Potatoes on Top!

While I love scalloped potatoes, I hate the time they take and the heating of the oven.  Here is a skillet version that tastes fabulous!


1 Tbsp butter
3 cups sliced red potatoes
1 Tbsp minced onion, dried
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup half & half
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


In your skillet, melt butter.  Over medium heat, add potatoes and onion.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Stir in broth, half & half, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and re-cover.  Cook an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Thursday 10

This Thursday, we are going to do something a bit different.  We have already spent weeks eliminating different categories of items.  We have cleaned out clutter and things we no longer need. We have recycled, donated, upcycled, and re-purposed.  Now it is time to create an environment that comforts us, cradles us, and welcomes us home.

For this week's Thursday 10, you will need a notebook and pen.  Starting in your bedroom, make a list of ten things your bedroom needs to make it your perfect room.  Does the furniture need to be re-arranged?  Do the walls need a coat of a calming color?  Should your pillows have hit the trash months ago?

Spend ten minutes in your bedroom.  Make your list.  This weekend, complete as much of the list as you can.  Next week...we move to another room!


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Paper Monster

One of my biggest struggles has always been, and remains, the paper monster.  You would think that in this digital age, and the fact that I spend at least 10 hours each day on the computer, that I would have everything scanned, stored, backed up, and paper shredded.

Yeah...it is so not that way!!  For some reason, paper always gets the best of me!  I keep every owner's manual for everything I own.  Why?  I can attest that I have never, ever, ever read the owner's manual for my toaster.  But yet I keep it.  Will I ever need that manual?  No.  I know how to use a toaster.  So why do I still have it?

This is going to be added to my goals for this year.  If nothing else, I will scan and store all of my warranty manuals for everything I own.  Just this small step will open up at lease two inches worth of room in my filing cabinet!

I have now said it publicly.  I am counting on you to hold me to it!


Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why Simple?

We've been talking for the past two months about simplifying and reducing.  Why?  With the process of simplification, room is made for things you love, time is made for those you love, and clutter is cleared to bring a sense of peace.

Personally, just the reduction in the number of things of which I have to take time to care for and maintain has freed up my time,   By no means, however, is my system of simplifying perfect!  I still struggle emotional attachments to items.  In addition, the paper monster is still kicking my butt!

However, my to-do list seems more manageable.  I no longer feel quite as guilty taking some time to enjoy my television shows or to read a book.  Notice I said "as guilty"...there is still some guilt there! I continue to have to remind myself that I deserve the "me" time and the world will not come to an end if I don't get everything done.

As with anything in life...simplifying is a process.  I am still learning to find my balance.



Jerri's Empty Nest