Sunday, January 31, 2010
I think the real opportunity to pay it forward came recently through Facebook and Swagbucks, where I 'met' another very nice lady who just barely started her own blog. I wanted to introduce her to the nice people who visit my blog. Her name is Michelle, and she is a stay at home Mom, a former air Stewardess, or flight attendant. She has so many ideas for being thrifty and saving money, and I just know her blog, Thoughts and Ideas, which is also titled "Girl in Air' in blogger, will be a great success! Please join me in giving her a warm welcome and visiting her blog. And please, do leave her a comment....or two ;)........As bloggers isn't that the one thing we aspire to? Comments, of course! I always say that comments to a blogger are like applause to an artist. So please head on over to her blog and pay her a friendly visit. You'll be glad you did, because already from the looks of it, she has some super helpful tips posted.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
In other news, I've been tryin to make time to visit my fellow bloggers' sites. Also trying to learn to use Twitter. I for the life of me cannot get the workings of it. But I'm trying. Interestingly, it's also one of the sites used by Swagbucks for giving out codes and Swagbucks.
If this sounds like I've neglected my other hobbies, I'd have to agree. But only for today. I've got a couple of things I need to add to my Etsy shop. I will post about that soon.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Mmm... they looked so good at this stage and ready for enjoying.
But the recipe said to toss them in granulated sugar, so that was the final step.
They are delicious and bittersweet. I really like their color! They remind me so much of Mexican candied sweet potatoes "dulce de camote". Now I just have to find a nice container to store them in. This is such an easy thing to do with something you'd normally throw away. I'm thinking I'll do this again with oranges and even ginger. It's so easy and fun!
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Windy days like this are perfect for snuggling inside the house to write or read. My Sweetie has gone to the ranch to change the batteries in his cameras. I could have gone with him, but the last time I went the jostling of the truck on one of the dirt roads left me with a very sore backside. I can still feel the pain when I cough. A visit to the Doctor because of that yielded a prescription for sore muscles. I decided not to chance getting hurt again.
And so I am all alone now with my thoughts. I look at my hands and I see five small and faint age spots, but only on my right hand. An old hand and a young hand? Had they been on my face I could chalk it up to freckles. Freckles are cute. But on hands, they are a symbol of aging. Proof that no one escapes the ravages of time.
I like sitting in this very spot when it's windy. For some reason, possibly less noise barriers, I can really feel and hear the sound of the wind. Usually it evokes sadness in me. But today, it just makes me think about the realities that other people live. Like a blogger in Illinois, who I'm sure loves where she lives, but I think about the stark countryside she is surrounded by at this time of year. And how the wind must sound there. Probably more pronounced and sad. I remember passing through the countryside of Illinoise on my way to Chicago during my late teens. It was the trip which changed my life forever. But perhaps that's a post for another day. There were so many fields, similar to where I had grown up in North Texas. Everyone has their own reality to deal with. Whether surrounded by beautiful green landscapes or dormant fields, it's what each person carries inside that shapes their view of their own and others' world.
For me, it all comes down to the fact that I'm a people watcher. No, not stalker. Watcher. Ever since I was a little girl, I remember my Abuelita taking me to the town plaza on Saturdays or Sundays to enjoy a snowcone, a tostada with chile, or a skewered mango with chile,and we'd sit in the beautiful marble benches, just watching people stroll by. I was always very curious and often wondered who they were and where they were going. I'm afraid I watched so much, I forgot to just live fully. But in a sense I suppose it explains why I enjoy blogging. It's a form of people watching. And we bloggers all do it. Of course, it also comes with a small caveat. This form of people watching is on a global scale. No longer merely the people strolling by in your neck of the woods...... and now they can also watch you! On the plus side, it has become a way to make new friends and to share knowledge and skills. Mind boggling when you think that just before the last twenty or so years, life as we know it was so very different. You'd lose touch with people you had known in school, and that was it. You'd never hear from them again. But then along comes Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and all that changes. Such a different reality from the one I grew up with.
Goodness! A windy day can surely set me to thinking!
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I think I needed something to remind me of future Spring blooms. Every time I step outside all I see are the forlorn and rotting vegetation left from the recent freeze we had. I do love cold weather, just wish the garden didn't suffer.
So, if you're in the market for some pretty florals, this is probably the time to get the best selection. I also found some nice filler flowers for my front door wreath. I usually just change the flowers and ribbons for each season. Right now I've got a Valentine themed wooden wreath. Once that day is gone, I'll hang the Spring wreath. And then next month I have to replace the flowers at the cemetery for my Mom and Dad. I like to do my own floral arrangements. I just cannot justify paying the prices that the flower shops charge. After doing your own florals for a while, you accumulate enough supplies to make arrangements for almost any occasion.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Well, seeing as how we had already used epazote in our own quesadillas, and no harm had befallen us, I figured I'd use our latest batch as well. We had some leftover smoked ham from the Holidays in the freezer, so I diced that up into small pieces, pan fried until nice and brown, added some diced onions and let them caramelize a bit, added epazote and spinach leaves, lots of them if you please, sauteed that as well., then added some whisked eggs. Once cooked, I added a little bit of cheese to melt over that.....turned out mighty tasty! And I got up from the table feeling good that I had incorporated some greens to our meal. Epazote leaves- not just for beans any more! The picture above is courtesy of the herbivoracious website. Their version includes poblano peppers, which I would have added if I had them in stock. I am so glad I didn't get rid of this 'weedy' herb. It can just seed itself so easily, there'll be times you want to get rid of it. But don't. Just harvest it, rinse, and set out to dry. Turn the leaves every so often so they dry evenly. It will take several days before they become dry and brittle, but then you can store and use like any dry herb. If you check any of the online herb sites, you'll see that it can be a pretty expensive herb to buy. It's not hard and it's best to grow your own.
After I sent in the link to my post, I was very pleasantly surprised to hear from TSG that he had read it and liked it. He proceeded to add five swagbucks to my account. So my little writing endeavor earned me some swagbucks and for that I am happy! Virginia, there really is a TSG!
Saturday, January 16, 2010
About a month ago I signed up with a search and win website which can earn you digital dollars called swagbucks- good for buying gift cards or prizes. I was a bit leery at first, and my first impression was that it was mainly a 'youth' oriented application. The site is called Swagbucks and basically to find all the tricks and tips of the site you also visit their facebook page. Like most online forums, the site has the resident 'guides' who will slap you silly if you happen to ask redundant questions- which by the way everyone has to in order to learn. Well it turns out they much prefer if you read the FAQ's before you venture into their territory. In the end, as you read more, you do actually learn a few things to help you along the way. When I saw and experienced firsthand just how rude these tech saavy young people could be, I impulsively decided it wasn't worth it to stay on as a member. Later, in my imminent wisdom, I decided to give the site a second chance. I downloaded the toolbar, which is useful because it is there that the head honcho known as TSG or The Swagbucks Guy and his lady friend TSGal- who by the way are they who must be thanked for their great generosity- will place codes for which announcements are made.....which in turn generate a flurry of activity on the fan page--and the hunt is on! I pity the poor soul who dares to ask for the code, because you see one must work for these codes by going through the steps to find and sometimes even decipher words or letters. All in all a lot of fun, and a good way to waste away a few minutes for that elusive swagbuck. Thankfully, those swagbucks really do slowly but surely start adding up if only by doing searches.
Well, it also turns out that our fine TSG is also a very fine individual, because just as an example around Christmas he encouraged the fan base to donate some of their swagbucks to a Children's hospital charity. His latest effort I find altogether very altruistic and noteworthy. Since the disaster in Haiti occurred, he has been leading yet another effort for donations not only of swagbucks, as well as providing helpful links and information where donations can be made. The website also featured celebrity singer Wycleff Jean who is from Haiti by showcasing his utube videos since he is also leading an effort to collect donations. I had never heard of him before, but after seeing his performance in the Norway ceremony to award President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, I came to see that he is a very talented musician. And so, my point is that this web site has earned my respect. Even now, the main title of the Facebook Fan page as well as the Home page is encouraging everyone to do all they can to help the people of Haiti.
With all this I became satisfied with my decision to stay with Swagbucks. It is a corner of cyberspace inhabited by fine young men and women who are very conscious of the world around them, and want to make the world a better place. Of course there are also the occasional old fuddy duddies like moi who join up.
I usually like to pass along info regarding positive online experiences. I think Swagbucks qualifies as such. I also placed a swidget on the sidebar, so for anyone interested in signing up, hopefully you will use it. That in turn would give me a few 'referral' points. Now that would just make me giddy with glee!
P.S. I should probably add this disclaimer; I know there will be a concern about viruses, as this site is also visited by a lot of spammers. However, like anywhere you visit on cyberspace, do not click on any links provided by the posters unless you know them. Also, I have been told that some of the links for which you can sign up for special offers have been known to spread bugs- but it is only those which are for the video games. All the other sites are well known and reputable. As to the virus I picked up recently on my computer, I have reason to believe it was from an email well before I frequented Swagbucks.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
So until next time, I bid you farewell.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Writing as much as I can has certainly helped me with attaining focus- period. It gives me a sense of purpose. I've become scatterbrained in many respects. I don't like that. Sewing and knitting have gone by the wayside. I don't like that. And for some time now.......sleeplessness. And I don't like that one little bit either.
So, with this being a new year, what better time to 'redecorate' your blog than on one of those sleepless nights? I look at my 'new' blog and it looks so cluttered, an excellent metaphor for my life right now. I am certain, I am positive, that I will snap out of this. I am a daughter of the most high King. It's just that even the King's children have to deal with..well....life.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Gloria, wishing you a joyful day full of blessings surrounded by all your loved ones! May the Lord bless you and keep you in his care!
I've only known you for a while, but in blogging time, it has seemed like a long time. Your sheer joy of living and your sense of humor is always an inspiration to me. You have been a constant and loyal bloggie pal, and I just wanted to say I appreciate your friendship greatly. I pray the Lord blesses you with a long healthy life so you can share many more wonderful posts! Keep up the great work on your blog and keep doing the things you love--whether it's creating beautiful artwork and bangles, or delectable meals you share with us via your photos. Please accept this heartfelt and genuine wish for a very Happy Birthday!! P.S. To my other bloggie friends, please join me in visiting Gloria's blog to wish her a Happy Birthday!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The tangerines didn't produce as much as last year and the guavas didn't produce at all, except for two which very recently were found on the ground. I usually harvest our guavas in September, so that was rather weird. One of the orange trees produced a few, the other tree is too small. Our softshell pecan tree- zero. Now with the koi pond a thing of the past, maybe we can take better care of it. We could never spray it for bugs before because of the koi. So, yes, we're hoping for a better harvest next year, Lord willing. For me though, the crowning jewel this year was the pomelo grapefruit. First time it ever produced! So, yes, we are happy with our trees! At times like this I'm really glad we live in a tropical climate. During the Summer though, I am always wishing I lived elsewhere. I guess I'm just really trying to accentuate the positive here by journaling our fruit harvest.
As I enjoyed a few tangerine segments, I commented to my Sweetie how nice it was that we didn't have to go to the store to buy this wonderful fruit. We agreed it was nice that we could just take them fresh off the tree, unlike the fruits at the store which may travel thousands of miles and may have been harvested before they're ripe. Freshness is a very important factor- that and prices! A few days ago I was in San Antonio and stopped to buy some seedless grapes. I grabbed a bag and took it to the cashier and the tally was $17! Can you imagine paying that much for grapes?! The grapes were labeled as grown in the USA too! The ones labeled as coming from Peru were just as expensive. I had to rebag and take a smaller bag, which cost me a much lower price of $12.....still a lot, in my opinion. I am going to have to seriously think about taking better care of our grape vine! Yes, times are getting harder and the first place you feel it is at the food market. I am so thankful to my Lord for providing so much for us in the face of these difficult times.
Until next time,
Friday, January 8, 2010
We got down to the mid 30's today,which is such a rarety around these parts. But it was also a good excuse for having soup. I made my version of Olive Garden's "Tuscan Soup", which is much like a creamy potato chowder soup. It's made with Italian sausage, but I've also made it with regular breakfast sausage and I think it tastes better that way. Like any soup, after you fry up your meats, just add the flavorful components: finely diced onions and garlic, celery, green peppers, then add about a TB of flour and sort of 'brown' that into a roux, add your stock, in this case chicken stock, and your veggies. I also add baked potatoes because they supply a really nice unique flavor to the soup. For this pot I added 4 medium baked potatoes roughly chopped up.
If you want to layer more flavor, I usually add about a cup of of wine (whatever you've got on hand; I like to add white wine, but today I only had red wine on hand so I used that) and about two cups of whipping cream. Note: Wine is very much an optional addition.
For adjusting the seasoning I like to add Knorr chicken bouillon- that and maybe some dried parsley, thyme, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. I also season the sausage while it's browning with those same herbs.
At the end just add your kale and/or spinach and let the pot simmer for about 10 minutes.
Serve with some crusty French bread and be sure to add lots of grated parmesan cheese like they do at Olive Garden. And if you like heat, add more red pepper flakes!
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Lose All the Weight You Want, One Meal, One Pound, One Day At a Time!
I've got great news for you: You are about to feel better and look better beginning today! Today is truly a new opportunity for you to reach your weight loss goals. No, you won't fit into your "skinny jeans" today, but I'm going to show you how each day will get you closer to that goal.
Yesterday's mistakes are gone so let them go. You can't control tomorrow, so stop worrying about it. Today is your opportunity to lose weight, get strong, and look great. It won't happen overnight, but you can build a new life by changing your actions immediately and I'm here to show you how to make the changes that will create the new lifestyle you dream of: body, mind, and spirit. Best of all, you will start celebrating right away!
Come on, my friend. Let's get started! By opening this book, I'll show you how to unlock every tool you need to lose weight and get fit —and stay that way for the rest of your life. Success can be yours, what are you waiting for?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The author of Never Say Diet and The Never Say Diet Personal Fitness Trainer, Chantel Hobbs is a motivational speaker, life coach, personal trainer, marathon runner, wife, and mother of four whose story has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, the 700 Club, and the covers of People and First magazines. She appears weekly on two fitness-themed radio programs and promotes her One-Day Way Learning System on television. Visit Chantel at ChantelHobbs.com for fitness updates and coaching tips.
For me, reading this book certainly opened my mind to what losing weight should be all about. The author deftly constructs the case for losing weight based on your own unique goals and situation- and not based on comparing yourself to others. She walks the walk because she's been there. She knows and identifies all the pitfalls that can leave a dieter feeling defeated. She brings them up because she knows you'll be confronted with them....sooner or later. But she also provides several useful tools to help you succeed. In her ''Laying Out The Foundation'' chapter she provides a list of very effective things to do, some of which are Spiritual in nature. I very much liked that! And about exercise......something I felt is just too personal, at least for me....well, she suggests finding a way to 'like it'. I can relate to that. It's like when I tell my kids that success in life is all about attitude. If you decide you're not going to like something, you won't. So I tell them to try and find the positive in situations they dislike. I guess that can very well translate into exercise as well. I'll have to remember that!
In closing, I had determined when I first received this book that I would end up not liking it and that it would just be another diet and exercise book. And I was quite prepared to state that in my review. But in all honesty, after reading it, I will say that it will be of great value and use to me personally. I can say that I believe it will help me in my struggle to lose weight.....but like any book or weight loss product, the rest is up to me. That's the catch. There is no magic pill. That being said, I can very truthfully say that I highly recommend it. I would give it 5 stars out of five.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
To learn more about or where to purchase this book visit Random House.
But I've not lost my focus----must remember how much I really want a spinning wheel! Sure there are quite a few machines and gadgets out there for all kinds of creative work, but sometimes you just have to choose only one or two outlets. It's the sensible thing to do.
After all that surfing, a nice big bagel loaded with whipped cream cheese really hit the spot- that and a steaming cup of hot coffee! That was supper for us on this cold January day. I may have to make a quick trip to Wallieworld for some items I need to work on a project. Not sure yet. I hate going out. Oh yeah! Did I mention how much I hate to drive and how I hate to go out! I prefer to wait until my Sweetie can drive me. This city I live in has grown exponentially, and there is an unbelievable amount of traffic at any given time of day or night. We also have quite a lot of 'crazy drivers'. Some of them are even known to exhibit a healthy dose of road rage. I try to avoid that. I guess I just very much enjoy being at home.
This about ties it up for now. Oh, dear....I feel another post coming on. I still have to do my book review! Details later.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I got to thinking about it, because I realized it's a very good thing he is not like me, and his ways are higher and better than mine. I've only waited around 52 years for my biological Mother and siblings to love and accept me. And I already got tired of that wait. No more. Over. Finito. January 2010. Marked. Checked. I guess to all things there is a beginning and certainly an end. And to God's invitation there will also be an end. I'm just saying......