Monday, February 29, 2016

Happy Leap Year!!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Happy Public Sleeping Day!!

Where will you nap today??

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Meatball Soup

Before the cold weather leaves us, here is a delicious soup to warm you up!


2 cans chunky baked potato with cheddar and bacon soup
12 meatballs (either store-bought or home-made)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup whole milk


In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients.  Simmer until thoroughly heated.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Free February

Well, it is almost the end of Free February.  How did you do?  For the most part, I behaved myself!  I did have three instances where I broke the rules.  Here they are:

1.  I bought the book I needed for March's book club meeting.  In my defense, I did get it for 50% off and only spent $7.50.

2.  I spent $15 dollars on a dvd for my son for Valentine's day.

3.  I completely broke down one night and got us Domino's for supper for a total of $27.00.

In total, I spent $49.50 on items that were not necessities in February.  Personally, I could have done better but the fact that I spent less than $50 in one month is pretty good!

What did I miss most?  Definitely, without any doubt, I missed fast food.  Which makes that a pretty good indicator that I eat it waaay too often.  Even so, I really want some Taco Bell!

Fortunately, my biggest vice, reading, is easy to feed for free.  There are a number of pages on Facebook that gather free books for Kindle on a daily basis.  As far as my crafts go, I have enough projects already on hand to last me a few years.

What did I learn?  I learned I have an unhealthy addiction to fast food.  I learned that, if I just look around what I already own, I have more than enough.  What did you learn?


Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Thursday 10

This week, I had another go at my clothes.  While I thought I was brutal on the first go-round, there were whole categories I skipped.  My boots and jeans came under the chopping block this week!  

Here are some easy questions to help you reduce the clothes in your closet.  If you answer just these three questions, you will be amazed at how much ends up in the donate pile!

1.  Do I love it?

2.  Does it fit?

3.  Have I worn it in the last year?

While most articles recommend six months as the time limit for wearing something, I try to keep in mind that some clothes are not worn in that period due to a change in seasons.  That is why I use the year as a guide.  You will still be astounded by how much you don't wear!

Remember, unless the clothes are damaged beyond repair, do not waste them!  Donate, take them to a consignment shop, or pass them down to a friend.  Our goal is to reduce, not increase the size of the local dump!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016


A few steps today to renew your space, your time, and your life.

1.  Clean out clutter.  Empty space brings a feeling of lightness and freedom.

2.  Set your weekday routine.  Laying out clothes for the week, packing lunches the night before, all allow free time in the morning which not only lightens the load but removes stress from your mornings.

3.  Build "me" time into your calendar and make it non-negotiable.  Whether time to do your nails or indulge in a good book or favorite hobby, "me" time is vital to your soul.

4.  Cuddle a pet.  Not only good for your pet, it is shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress in humans, too!

5.  Take advantage of seasonal fruit.  Besides the obvious vitamin benefits, it will reduce the sugar cravings that lead to more non-healthy options.

Just a few ideas to get you started on your own personal spring cleaning.  What would you add?


Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Spring is rapidly approaching.  Here on the Gulf Coast, it is pretty much already here.  Just last week, the heavy equipment was on the beach, preparing for the invasion of the spring-breakers.

With the advent of spring comes a time of renewal.  Physically, emotionally, or spiritually, spring brings new life to all around us.  

For a lot of women, it means spring cleaning.  Opening the windows, letting in fresh air, and making everything shiny and new.  Those same activities can be metaphors for emotional and spiritual renewal as well.

After a long winter, it is refreshing to the soul to begin new activities.  A new endeavor can renew your spirit and boost your energy.  It is also a perfect time to revisit resolutions made in January and refresh your goals.  

Welcome spring with open arms, an open heart, and an open mind.  Allow the new in and refresh your life.  


Monday, February 22, 2016

Social Media - The Loving Side

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been the recipient of an incredible blessing.

I am the friend of a beautiful woman who is losing her battle with cancer.  How does social media fit in?  She has used her Facebook page to keep everyone updated.  It also allows us, her friends and family, the precious opportunity to tell her how much we love her, how she touched our lives, and how much she will be missed.

Too often, there is no opportunity to say what we need to say before someone is gone.  In this case, social media has given us that opportunity.  While she may not have the strength to answer every phone call, she can check Facebook when she is up to it and respond when she is able.  I have been able to share with her how much I love her...I am so appreciative of that blessing.

Remember, social media is neither good or evil.  It is what we make of it, how we use it, that determines what comes out of it.  Use your social media.  There is no better, faster way to spread love far and wide.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Topping It Off

I love this glaze for so many things!  It is great on ham, ribs, and chicken!


1/2 cup pineapple preserves
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves


Mix in a bowl.  Cover your choice of meat 20-30 minutes before it is finished cooking.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Hobbies, Crafts, and DIY

On this Frugal Friday, I have a link for you that will help you learn.  Not school type learning, but the type of learning you can use to find your joy.

OHFB is a website that finds discounted and free e-books.  I personally visit every day as the selection is changed every day.  Within the website is a section devoted to hobbies, crafts, and diy. The books offered range from crochet to making your own shampoo to raising chickens!  There is definitely something for everyone.

Follow this link:  and discover a new hobby.  I think I may wish to add some woodworking skills to my life!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Thursday 10

This week is another virtual task.  When is the last time you took a hard look at what is saved on your hard drive?

For me, this task is long overdue.  I have numerous papers and homework assignments still hanging out on my computer and I received my Associate degree two years ago!!  Talk about virtual clutter!

After cleaning off your hard drive, make the investment in an external drive.  Copy the documents and pictures you still have onto the external drive.  This ensures that you won't lose them if your computer ever bites the dust.

If you're like me, this Thursday 10 is a lot more than 10!!  Go for it...your life, and your computer, will thank you for it!!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hold Them Near

A reminder this Valentine week....

Hold those you love near and dear.  Let them know you care about them.  There is never "too many" times to tell someone you love.  Do not let a conversation or visit end without those words.

Time is short.  The people we love can be gone in a blink of an eye.  Make sure they know how you feel.  Leave no doubt, if you leave them behind, that you carried them in your heart.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

F**k Cancer

I am so tired of this evil stealing the people I love.  How is it that we can send a machine to Mars yet cannot defeat what begins with a single cell?

Reach out today.  Tell people you love them.  Do what makes you happy.  Life is short...too short.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine Parfaits


2 cups whole milk
White chocolate instant pudding mix
10 gingersnaps, crumbled
1 cup cherry pie filling


Mix pudding according to package directions.  Let stand about two minutes, or until partially set. Starting with 1/4 cup of pudding, begin layering the pudding, 1/3 cup cookie crumbles, and 1/4 cup of the pie filling.  Repeat the pudding and cookie layers on top of the pie filling.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Cheap Eats

This week's tip is one I use and I also have quite a few friends who do the same.  Give it a try, it may work for you, also!

Walmart roasts and sells rotisserie chickens.  Early in the morning, they mark down the chickens left from the day before.  In my area, they are marked down to just $2.49, though it may vary where you are.  I frequently buy a couple to "beef" up my weekly menu plan.

Once I get them home, I debone them.  This gives me chicken to be used in a variety of dishes. Some menu ideas include chicken fettuccine alfredo, chicken salad, chicken quesadillas, chicken and dumplings, etc., etc., etc.  You get the idea!

If you don't have a chicken dinner planned, debone and stick the meat in your freezer.  Another way I like to use it is to warm the chicken pieces with some taco seasoning and make chicken tacos. Tortillas are considered a staple in my house so it's a quick, easy meal.  To add even more protein, spread some refried beans on the tortilla before you put the chicken in.  Bonus tip:  If you spread refried beans on your tortilla and place your pieces of meat into the beans, it keeps the meat from falling out while you're eating!

If you think $2.49 is too much to pay for a whole chicken, consider this.  It is already cooked with both time and energy savings.  The only prep time the chicken will take, no matter the dish, is the initial deboning of the chicken.  The chicken will also be slightly (and I mean slightly) seasoned as rotisserie chickens keep most of their seasoning on the skin, which you remove while deboning.  As you have already removed the skin, that's also calories saved!

Next time you are at Walmart, check right next to the deli for the discounted rotisserie chickens.  You won't regret it!


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Thursday 10

This week's Thursday 10 is one I repeat on a regular basis.  I receive a large quantity of magazines (all of which I get free) and if I am not vigilant, they breed, multiply and take over my office.

My solution?  I recycle them.  Not by throwing them in the recycle bin, but by passing them on to others to enjoy.  All it takes is a couple seconds to cut out the address label and they are ready to be enjoyed by others.  As I get them free anyways, I definitely get my money's worth!

Recycling your magazines is just one way to reduce clutter and tame the paper monster.  Read your magazines, enjoy them, and pass them on to others to do the same!


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Best Efforts

Simplification is not easy.  Despite our best efforts, that pesky little critter called "real life" gets in the way sometimes!

I have emphasized before of the importance of routine.  Sometime real life looks at that routine, busts out laughing, and blows it all to hell!

Let me give you just last week's example.  I had my weekend all planned out with what I needed to get done, building in a little reading time along the way.  When I woke Saturday morning, I had a message saying a friend was coming into town.  Immediately, I rearranged my schedule to include time to spend with him.  

While it accelerated my schedule, the time spent with a good friend is precious and irreplaceable.  No routine should be so set in stone that it does not leave room for unexpected blessings!  Remember, the goal of simplifying is to allow more time for those people and things we love.  Be flexible enough to allow that to happen!


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Different Mix

A different look at a mix to make for the big game!


1 1/4 cups Golden Grahams cereal
1 1/4 cups Apple Jacks
1 1/4 cups miniature pretzels
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 package white chocolate baking chips
2 Tbsp peanut butter


In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.  Melt the chips in the microwave and stir until smooth. Add the peanut butter and stir until thoroughly blended.  Drizzle over the dry ingredients, tossing to coat.  Spread on wax paper and allow to cool and set completely.  Break into pieces.  Store in an airtight container.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Frugal Friday -- Free February

So far so good!  I haven't spent a dime so far this month!!

This week, I attended a book club meeting, taking a bottle of wine I already had.  I also purchased my book in January so it doesn't count as a February purchase.  

In addition, I worked on some needlepoint I already had.  It is a gift for someone so I can't get into too many details about that now.

I also bought the supplies I needed for Valentine's Day on the last day in January.  Not only do I have them in plenty of time...I don't have to rush to get the projects finished!

Granted, it is only the first week of the month.  And yes, this February has an extra day.  But I am a quarter of the way through and I haven't spent a dime other than gas and groceries!

How are you doing?  Have you ever done a no-spending month before?  Let me know!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Thursday 10 -- For the Girls!

This Thursday 10 is gender specific...unless you are a guy who regularly wears foundation and mascara!

It's time, ladies.  Time to clean out the makeup department.  Not the one at the store, the one you have at home!

Mascara -- 3 months

Liquid Foundation -- No more than 1 year

Lipstick -- 2 years

Nail Polish -- 2 years

Powders (eye shadow, blush, skin) -- 2 years

Perfume -- 10 years

Lotion -- 2 years

Looking at this list, I have no doubt we all have more than 10 things to get rid of this week!  Not only will this week's assignment reduce the clutter, it is better for your health and your skin!

Grab that trash can and be honest about how long some of that stuff has been in there!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Simple Act

As we talk about simplifying our lives and making more time for those people and activities we love, we need to remember that one single act frees us more than any other.

The simple act of forgiveness relieves us of the burden of anger, hurt, and disappointment we may have been carrying for years in some cases.  Once that burden is gone, we are free.  We are free to move on.  We are free to welcome joy and peace into our hearts.  We are free to enjoy life without the tinge of hurt.

It is frequently said that carrying such anger is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.  Such a burden on your soul taints every day, every thought, and every undertaking.  Remove the taint.  Forgive.  Let the pain go.  Let those who brought the pain go.  Live in peace and joy.  

A simple act but a huge impact.  Give it a try.



Jerri's Empty Nest