Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Years Resolutions

I don't like to call them that, because if I fall off the wagon, do I have to wait until next New Years to try again? I guess this year I will work monthly. I have a lot of resolutions I want to achieve, but if I break them down to monthly, I may have more success.

Number one...I want to eat healthier....I strive now for five days a week, I am going to continue this. I can indulge on the weekends, and eat healthy every other day of the week. I also want to eat Sunday dinner every week at my dining room table. Other days are optional, I want every Sunday to be home with my husband and kids, the only exception is when we are out of town. Take note: my dining room table includes my patio table outside in the warm months.
Next, I want to remove negative people from my life....or at least, keep them at a safe distance. If someone does not have a positive attitude, and treat others positively, I don't want to be around them. This will be hard, as there are one or two relatives who are very negative, in fact, I never hear a postive thing from them about my family, so as long as I can keep them at a safe distance, I am fine with that.

I want to exercise more often, whether it be playing tennis with my sisters, hubby and kids, or friends, going for walks, doing workout dvds or whatever, I need to keep variety in my work out for muscle confusion and to keep it fun.
Lastly, I want to strive to meditate everyday at least once a day and once a week, a really long meditation session.
These are my goals for January, and if I fall off the wagon, I will just start back up again.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Zoning laws

I am trying to understand the reasoning for some of the zoning laws.
I thought that I owned my home.
I have to pay taxes just to own this home. Then, the government is going to tell me what I can and cannot do. I have a decrepit fence that I inherited when I bought this home. It is falling over, has holes in it and looks a mess. I must pay money to get a permit to replace my fence, but my neighbors can spray their lawns and trees with pesticides that are poisonous to wildlife, our children and our environment and linger in the environment for decades, and do not need a permit to do so.

So replacing my ratty fence with a nicer fence that hurts no one, is not allowed without permission and paying a fee, but they can poison the world, just so their lawns don't have dandelions and need no permission to do so. I remember reading an article about a woman who was told to cut her wildflowers down that she planted, because they were "weeds". The definition of a weed is a plant that is not valued where it is growing. So who needs to value this ? The homeowner that planted the wildflowers to attract birds or the government, who leads us to believe this is a free country, yet we never really own our homes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chew your food!

Back in the 70's, when I was a child, my grandmother had a magazine with Suzanne Somers on the cover of it. Well, she was just the most beautiful person in the world to me then (and don't get me wrong, she is still very pretty, I only hope to age as well as her)....anway, I opened up the magazine and there was an article asking her how she stays so thin. She said, she chews her food. If I remember correctly, she mentioned that she chewed it, umteen times...I forget how many exactly, but she said by chewing her food very well, she was able to tell when she was full, when she was full, not when she had over eaten. Plus, you are not getting the great taste of it. Chew those favorite treats well, you eat less of them, and be able to savor the taste while eating them.
I got an email from sparks people* (http://www.sparkpeople.com/) the other day about chewing your food and enjoying it. Most people inhale their food, which is not good for your digestive system and also, you are eating more than you should.
*Sparks people is a great site for weight control...it's free, you can sign up for motivational emails, keep track of exercise you do daily, keep a food diary online, and make your own page, simliar to myspace, but to chat with other's looking to control their weight.
My favorite place to get calorie counts for my food journal (which I find easier to hand write in a notebook, rather than logging online for keeping a food journal) is...
http://www.calorieking.com/ as recommended by Jillian Michaels.

wine charms

I make my own wine charms out of shinky dinks, swarovski crystals and other charms. I stamp the blank shrinky dink material, with things like cute characters for generalized charms to personalized charms with names stamped on them.

These are great for parties, and also for kids. My kids like to drink grape juice, water etc from wine glasses, and so do we. You can also put these charms on the pop top of soda cans to tell whose is whose, and coffee mugs too.

I cannot take credit for these wine charms pictured here, but they are the basic type of layout for my wine charms. I did not take pictures of mine. Some have name tags, animals, bugs, etc...and some have silver charms instead of shrinky dinks.
I actually got the idea from Long Trout Winery, they have shinky dink charms of their fish logo they gave to us when we bought a case of wine. It did not have any beads on it, it was just the fish logo shrinky dink, but it was so cute, I had to make them.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My family as elves

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pantry Challenged

I joined a great group called, Pantry Challenged. It's a yahoo group with some great gals (and maybe guys) where they talk about kitchen issues, using the foods in the pantry, how to stock the pantry, ideas etc.
Its a fun group. Nice members
Here is the homepage description
This list was the original Pantry Challenged list that became Pantrychallengedandfrugal at one point. We've decided to "reclaim" this list and make it active again. All topics related to homemaking, budgeting, shopping, cooking cheaply, living frugally, menuplanning, eating out of our pantries, decluttering, couponing, and just trying to save and get by are all welcome. "Whats for Dinner?" topics are welcome as well as recipes and even a little off topic chat! This list has a "Closed Membership" setting so the only way to join is by invite or direct add if you allow it. If you would like an invite or would like to be added directly please email the list owner and mods and request so. Be sure to include where/how you heard of us in your request along with a brief introduction as we are a private list and not listed in Yahoogroups directory.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Homemade Dark Chocolate "mounds" candy

Homemade Mounds Candy

I decided to make these home made mounds today. (link at bottom for recipe if interested)

When I was at the Wilbur Chocolate Factory last week on a homeschool field trip, I got some dark metling chocolate to make these.

It's all about the ingredients. I made a peanut butter pie about 15 years ago, and it has been a family favorite (extended family too) ever since. My sisters, their husbands and my mom always want some, not to mention my hubby and the boys. One thing I did differently in the recipe was subbed in what I liked....starting with the crust. Don't get me wrong, I like graham crackers, but my family loves it my way...with chocolate chip cookies made into crust. Cook what you like, and use only the ingredients you like! I made the mounds filling and its in the frige firming up.

The filling is good already, so they have to taste good!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Homemade Christmas

This is posted on my other blog, but I wanted to post it here for those who do not read my other blog.

This year, we are financially strapped, as most people in the world seem to be these days. I refuse to put Christmas on a credit card. That is not what Christmas is and I dont' want to have to pay for it later.
Some of the greatest gifts I ever recieved were homemade.

My step mother made me a book with school papers from my childhood. I still have this and cherish it. She also made me a recipe book, which I still have and remember it came from her.

My mom made me a card box out of wood with real cards decoupage on the front and cards inside for my game collection. I still have them and although these gifts were a long time ago....I still remember who made them for me. I pick them up and think of them every time I see them. I cant' say I remember what I got from someone who store bought me something 10 years ago, but I remember those homemade/handmade gifts. I think the thought and the care put into making them made them very special and memorable.

I have some really terrific ideas for homemade gifts, but unfortunately, I cannot post them here until after Christmas. Those on the recieving end may read this blog post.

If you are interested, please, provide your email addie and I will share them with you.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Lititz Trip

Brian, Alex and Allen

Nov. 21, 2008

Lititz, PA

Above...Alex, Brian and Shannon (me)

A few pics from the trip....

Margie and Henriett

Trinity and Kelly

The wolves, watching the people lol.

Brian, Shannon (me) and Alex

Brian, Allen and Alex

We went to Lititz, PA yesterday with a bunch of other homeschool families for a tour of a Wolf Sanctuary. It had snowed all night and the whole time we were there, but it was a gorgeous snow. Did not lay in the roads, just on the ground and trees.

It was nice to get together with the homeschool group. I would have to say the Wolf Sanctuary tour was not really much of a tour. The tour guide talked about where he got the wolves, and how they adapted to his sanctuary, how they bit him, etc...but did not really teach about wolves. I guess that is a good project for my kids, to research about wolves and learn some more.

I paid 5.00 to bring a camera in (on top of the 25 to get in for our family) and had to take pictures through the chain link fence....thinking to myself, had I known that, I would have opted out of worrying about pics there lol.

We then went into the historic town if Lititz and had a nice time eating at the Cafe Chocolate on Main St. Hubby and I got a Cubana panini and a portabella mushroom burger with jalapeno sauce...we split those, as we both wanted to try both..we do that alot. Ours both came with a little salad on the side with chocolate dressing, it was really good.

Brian got a peanut butter and banana with chocolate sauce panini, he loved! And Alex got a flatbread pizza with spinach, artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes, turkey sausage, and prov cheese. He loved it. Everything they served was organic. We had a turbo to drink, which was organic cocoa with a hit of expresso...and the boys had organic cocoa. I also bought an adorable "for life" tea infuser that was adorable and a chocolate mint tea, which is really yummy, I should have gotten more, I know I will drink it all in less than a week.

We then went across the street to an old friend's oriental rug shop. Robert Brobst and his wife Amy Eways Brobst sell and repair oriental rugs there. We have not seen them for about 15 years. Mr. Brobst was there, but Amy was home. It was great to see them again and we plan to visit with them, as they are from Wyomissing, they just happen to have a shop in Lititz. They are raising their great granddaughter from birth, who is now 10, both of them are in their 70s, but Robert said, it keeps them young, that is so true. He looked just the same as he did when we last saw him 15 years ago.

We took a trip over to the Wilbur Choc Factory/museum. I saw a Wilbur cocoa tin I have there, in their antiques. Pretty neat. The boys got a chocolate bar and I got some dark melting chocolate for some candy I am making for Christmas.

Then we went down to the Julius Sturgis Pretzel tour. We had too much time on our hands, as the boys and Allen were not into going through all of the shops, and I can't blame them, it was a fun time for girls to shop the town, but not much for the boys/men, so we ended up at the Sturgis house a half hour before the rest of the group.

We decided to take the next tour and then head home. The 14 year old girl Ivy, who gave us the tour, was a wonderful tour guide, very informative and dramatic through out the fun tour. There was only two other families in our tour group, so it was nice, we all got our hands in the pretzels and were awarded diplomas for our pretzel making lol. I am easily amused. I said a hello on our way out to the homeschoolers, hoping they were not mad that we went ahead in early. The group was rather large so it was better for us to be in a smaller group.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

clutter and hand outs

People keep trying to give us their junk that they do not want. I very quickly refuse it, hubby brings it home and leaves it to collect dust here. I think he is finally realizing, if they didn't want it, why would we. I am hoping he can now say, no thanks.
I am also guilty of handing my stuff off to people lol...but I will not keep it around anymore to sell at yard sales, the effort, and time I put into a yard sale makes me nothing! I gave a friend of mine some stuff, things like a good pot rack, worth over 100.00, and brand new things from Southern Living from when I sold it. I didn't care if she threw it out, but I know she had a flood a year ago and lost everything. She could also give it out as gifts, as I had so many of the same thing, I gave the same types of things as gifts to people already. lol.

I like the rule....one in one out. When I see something I want now, I think...where would I put it? Can I get rid of something if I bring it home? This saves me a lot of money. I have not been to a yard sale in ages, nor have I had the desire to go.....I have been feeding my trashman big time lately. So PLEASE, if you see my husband, do not give him your crap! We do not want it and I will throw it away anyway! lol. If he comes home with a box of stuff from you, I will find you and dump my unwanted items on your porch! lol.

My Windows Calendar

What's for dinner?

I love my windows calendar that came on my laptop. I use this as my main calendar now. You can set reminders so that it will pop up and remind you of appts.

I also use it to plan my meals. It's wonderful, because if things change, you drag that days meal to another day. It's just an easy drag to a new day. You can rearrange etc.
So if you are supposed to have meatloaf today and someone invites you out to dinner,you decide you don't want to cook today and order a pizza, or you decide that you are not in the mood for meatloaf, you can drag it to another day and drag what you want to that day. I plan my meals for the week and then I grocery shop by what we want. I ask the boys if there is anything special they want and I add it to the calendar for the week.
I also plan to play tennis with a friend, if it rains, she will call and we reschedule and its just a drag across to the date we replan it for.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving at home!

This year, we are having Thanksgiving dinner at home. No stress, nobody but hubby, the boys and I. I am making dinner for just us and we are going to eat whenever its ready, and actually have leftovers for a few days after this time! We always get together with family. This year, we are just going to stay in, alone.

I have done dinner at my house with 20 some people and my house is tiny, my kitchen is tiny...I don't mind entertaining, outside, but when all of those people are in my house, it drives me nuts. I have gone to family houses, sisters, mother, in-laws..and I always have to cook anyway and I never have leftovers. If this works, it may be tradition lol. Hubby and the boys are going to drywall and I am going to cook...and when its done, its done, no stress...no deadlines, no worrying about pleasing everyone else, etc.

I know it sounds self-centered, but this year, I am thankful that I can be self-centered occasionally if I want. lol

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My favorite homemade trail mix

I keep this in the frige in a jar to keep it the freshest I can (plus it tastes great cold) and carry it out to eat while watching tv.

in a 3 cup canning jar..

dried cranberries
dried raisins
dried dates
and semi sweet chocolate chips

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

artisan bread in five minutes a day

I just prepared the cinnamonn raisin bread using the buttermilk bread dough recipe. Its rising now and I can put it in the oven in about an hour. I looks good already. I cannot wait to try it.
This picture is from their site... http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/?p=337 I totally recommend this book. They are coming out with a Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day next, but until then, I highly recommend this book. I don't even put it away. I am constantly reading it to get ideas and finding new recipes I want to try (jalapeno bread is going to be next!)

I started a yahoo group to try to find other's that like the book to share ideas, tips etc.
Click to join Art-Bread-in-Five

Click to join Art-Bread-in-Five

PS I am not affiliated with the authors, I do not make any profit from promoting their book, I just am a big fan of their book.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

I got this from http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/ great site.

Apron Evangelism

philosophies on the pleasure & power of aprons
One day not too long ago I was struggling with the boys over some minor details which come up when a lot of people live in a small shack in the woods. Details like the value of picking one's dirty clothes up off of the living room floor when company has been spotted driving up the mountain. The boys were unusually stubborn that particular day. Rather than fight with them over their household responsibilities I picked up the dirty clothes myself and crammed them into the washing machine. I ran some soapy water in the sink to get a start on the dishes before the company arrived.
Now usually I am not one to hold a grudge over small disagreements like laundry on the living room floor. This one settled in my brain though, and I felt compelled to mull over it for several days. It was the outright insubordination which offended me the most. After I figured that out I went in search of solutions.
About the same time I was in the process of Spring Cleaning. I was having a great deal of trouble motivating myself to wash the walls in the kitchen and mop the back porch where the cats live (blessedly with a doggie door so they don't need litter boxes).
Well, the more I worried about these twin dilemmas the more I felt the need to discuss them with the queen of solutions, my momma Darthulia. As I suspected she had the perfect solution. Darthulia told me I needed a uniform or costume which would reassure myself and others of my intention and status in the home. She claimed it would remind me of my duties, inspire me to greater levels of cleanliness (which as a hillbilly I sorely need), and reaffirm my authority in the home.
Darthulia then went on to describe the homemaker's uniform to me in detail. "Imagine the modern archetype of the housewife." She began. "Think Donna Reed, or Beaver Cleaver's mom. They wore full skirts, and stockings, and heels when they vacuumed. But you knew they were doing housework because they had their aprons on. A string of beads graced the necks of their classic shirtwaist dresses, and a lacy bibbed apron proclaimed their role as matriarch in charge of household management."
I only have a fleeting memory of Donna Reed. I sort of wish she came on television regularly so I could take notes but she doesn't in my area so I am stuck looking for other heroines-of-the-home to model myself after. Most of what momma said made sense to me though. That very day, I put on a full skirt, stockings, sensibly low high heeled shoes, and a string of pearly white beads. Then I sat down at my sewing machine and ran up a couple of bibbed aprons, decorated with lace and ribbons.
I made up the pattern as I went along using a small rectangle for the first bib and a heart shape for the second bib. Then I stitched lace around the edges of the bib and attatched it to a simple tie with a full apron skirt gathered to the waist. I made them short waisted so they would fit my maternal figure a bit better, and voila, I was set. I put the first apron on, a creamy white or ecru, and looked in the mirror to admire my handiwork. I expected to see myself staring back at me, probably looking a little silly in this frilly piece of confection designed to protect my clothing.
Boy howdy, was I in for a surprise. In the mirror I saw a vision of the homemaker I have always strived to become staring back at me. Her cheery face glistened in the sunshine. Her hair tied up neatly in bun looked authoritative, and compassionate all at the same time. The apron covered several figure flaws and accentuated the fertile curves of the woman I saw in the mirror. This woman had purpose. She had status. She had clout. I stood there, contemplating the wonder of the homemaker that shone through my image in the mirror. "This is who I want to be" I told myself. "This is the Keeper of the home, with a capital 'K'. "
I wear my aprons every day now. I have made more, in different colors and configurations so as to be pleasing to my senses. I have come to believe they are a like lacy bits of lingerie, only worn on the outside, and a quite a bit more respectable. When I put on my aprons the children mind me better, wandering visitors immediately know my role as a stay at home mom. Door to door religious missionaries assume I am a virtuous woman and cheerfully move on to the next house. Fred thinks I look cute as a button, and neighbor children hug me more often.
I like my aprons. They have changed my life, raising my standards, inspiring me to greater feats of home making skill, and making me more effective as a parent. Whoever thought that a dollars worth of fabric and lace could effect so many changes on one woman and one family? Since my success with aprons I have become a true believer. I am now called to spread the word among my fellow housewives. Join the crusade by sharing your love of aprons with friends, family and internet buddies around the world. Together we will change the face of the House Wife, the world over.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A friend asked me to share the easy casserole I make and since I was sharing, I figured I would share this on the blog for future reference.

My boys have their friends sleeping over all the time, seems like I have a house full of kids every other weekend sometimes every weekend.
...I love to make casserole type breakfasts so I don't have to slave over the stove all morning...

Breakfast Casserole
I make this all the time for when the boys have friends over .
My short cut is, I buy frozen cooked sausage from schwanns and cooked bacon pieces (real bacon) from sams and freeze it, you can grab what you need right out of the bag and put it back in the freezer...saves so much time in the kitchen, not to mention electric to cook bacon and sausage.
in a lasagna size pan or stone in order....
1 bag of shredded hash brown potatoes (I use giant generic brand)bacon and sausage (I buy it already cooked and I freeze so I have it on hand) cut up sausageand sprinkle sausage and bacon over top.12 eggs1 c milkput shredded potatoes in casseroleadd cut up bacon and sausagemix the eggs and milk, add some pepper (salt not needed with the bacon and sausage)pour over the casserole and bake at 350 for an hour. you can add cheese to this, onions, green or hot peppers, whatever you have on hand, whatever you like. I stay away from the cheese, as I feel it only makes it salty and the bacon and sausage already salt it.

And one I also make a head of time allen and the boys love....
..sausage gravy with biscuits...just make the sausage gravy and put in a glass jar....make the biscuits and put in a paper bag and refrigerate..when ready to serve...just put two rolls on a plate, some sausage gravy over top and microwave about 1-2 min til hot.

this looks yummy for when you have guests....
although its not very nutritional, looks good. this one I have not tried yet, but will tonight.
Overnight Coffee Cake

1 small pkg. vanilla pudding mix (not instant)3/4 stick butter, melted1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 cup chopped pecans25 oz. bag frozen rolls (20 rolls)Combine dry pudding mix with brown sugar. Place pecan pieces in wellbuttered Bundt pan, then place frozen rolls on top of pecans. Pourmelted butter over frozen rolls and sprinkle with the pudding mix.Leave cake out overnight, covered. (Dough will rise.) Bake at 350for 30 minutes. Invert on serving plate right away.

Great article

I got this from someone I don't know this morning in email (thanks whoever RolandStcy is).....great article

A Republican Says It Better Than I Ever Could
by thereisnospoon
Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:36:50 AM PST
About a month ago I wrote that America is not now, and has never been, a conservative country. Paul Rosenberg, Eric Alterman, and Think Progress have also done an excellent job swatting away at this meme.
But the best argument that America is indeed a center-left nation was penned without fanfare by one of the Republicans at RedState.com, nephewmiltie, in response to a post assessing the grim future of the GOP.
In just a few short grafs, nephewmiltie exposes the entire GOP economic fraud better than I've seen any progressive do.
thereisnospoon's diary :: ::
People are not afraid of Socialism, it is an acceptable political outcome.
Well, be honest. The voters have long supported socialism. This country was dominated for 50 years by the New Deal coalition, remember? The Reagan and Gingrich revolutions were never against the New Deal. They were against the Great Society. Thus, people have never opposed socialism for themselves. People have for decades wanted free public schools, grants to go to college, retirements, medical care, money to keep their businesses and farms afloat, etc. So in other words, Americans supported the socialism that benefitted them and people like them. They just opposed it for the other guy. The Great Society was easy pickings, because it went to a small segment of society that, let's face it, most people didn't like anyway.
In other words, when most of Europe went hard right in the wake of global depression, America went socialist with FDR and the New Deal--and loved it. But when that New Deal got extended to minorities and the desperately poor, many people freaked out. The Old Dixiecratic South switched to the GOP, and the rest is history.
But the GOP never even seriously tried to cut off the spigot of the huge amounts of money going to "real Americans." By contrast, the GOP actually gave away more money to their constituents than the Democrats ever dreamed of giving to their inner city base. Remember when Democrats were pointing out that "red state America" was a net economic drain while "blue state America" paid more taxes than they spent? It was 100% true, yet the next GOPer who stood up before his "real American" constituents of suburbanites and middle Americans and told them that they needed to get off welfare and stand on their own two feet would be the first. No, that was a message for the folks in Barack Obama's inner city, not the Iowans whose economic boom the past few years has been totally due to the government funded ethanol industry.
In other words, the Republican Party isn't about "small government": it's about socialism for corporations and rich white people.
The GOP needs to come up with a "no socialism for anybody" message instead of the "no socialism for the people who we don't like and don't vote for us but plenty of socialism for 'our types of people the real Americans'" message and actions that have dominated the GOP since 1980.
By the way: small government Sarah Palin actually increased spending in her state. So why did we presume that she supported small government and less spending? Simple: because she is a Republican from a state that doesn't have a Chicago, Detroit or Harlem in it. That is precisely the problem that I am speaking of.
Ouch. In other words, the Republican Party is, above all, a party of lying racist thugs who steal money from the electorate, and have gotten away with it because they refuse to spend it on black people. That's really all she wrote.
And the worst news for the GOP? The country just elected an African-American. As I said many moons ago, Obama's election means the GOP is screwed, because every day an African-American family lives in the White House, is another day the Southern Strategy dies, and people get used to the idea of African-Americans being not "other", but American just like them.
The racist lie upon which the GOP has predicated itself is exposed. We're ALL "socialists" under their definition, with the rare exception of a few in the utterly discredited Club for Growth crowd. It's just that some of us with a moral sense want to put that "socialism" to work for all of us, while others are content to advocate only for "socialism" for our rich, white, and corporate citizens.
Thank you, nephewmiltie, for putting it better than I ever could.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bucca di Beppo should be ashamed!

I was going to eat at Bucca di Beppo last night and emailed asking for their nutritional information, since its NO WHERE on the internet. That really ticks me off. And I heard back from no one. I did the same for outback steakhouse and they sent me the menu from NYC right away because its required by law to be on their menu....wish that was the law everywhere. We w ent into Bucca and I asked the hostess...no, they don't have anything like that....WHAT? I AM EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED IN BUCCA DI BEPPO!

Monday, October 13, 2008

If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough!

If you're not failing,
you're not trying hard enough!
~Jillian Michaels
I love that. It's so true.
She is very motivating.
Listen to her podcasts on
I struggle to stay focused but I have been doing her workout 5-6 days a week, plus other exercise. I am not really worried about losing weight, so much as I want to tone and not gain weight. I think listening to her podcasts really keeps me on track. I watch her on the biggest loser and read her books, that I love too, but I love her podcasts.
Tomorrow we are going to Hawk Mountain.
Hiking burns more calories than walking on a treadmill, because of the unstable terrain.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jillian Michaels 30 day shred

I have been doing the Jillian Micaels 30 day shred in an effort to tone and get back in shape. I just love this chick...she can come and rip me off the sofa and yell at me anytime lol...I love her workout because she keeps on you to not stop, it should hurt, that means it is working.

I have her books and watch the Biggest Loser to keep motivated. I know I don't need to lose much weight, its mostly about toning but I should eat right and work out a lot more so I have been counting calories and working out all the time now.
I meet friends once a week to play tennis with the boys also. When it gets too cold, I will have to find another way to get my exercise in, besides just the videos.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weight loss tip

I love laughing cow cheese. Each wedge has 35 calories and is great on a sandwich in place of mayo. Great on crackers and alone too.
They are one weight watcher point for those on weight watchers....I am just a calorie counter.

I have been doing Jillian Michaels workout, 30 day shred. I am on the second level, boy do I sweat. A great book of hers is Making the cut for those who want to lose 20 lbs or less and for those who need more.....Winning by Losing will help those who need to lose a substantial amount of weight.

I love how she tells people, you can not blame other people or you life situations....its your fault you are heavy. No one else's. Only you can change that.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Making Scarecrows...

The kids and I made scarecrows at Green Valley Nursey the other day. It was a blast. It was either 2.99 for just the kit (bring your own clothes) or 7.50 for everything...

I opted for the 7.50 and wow, did I make out lol.

I got Tommy Hilfiger overalls for my one scarecrow.
I am going to save them to reuse every year!
since then, we have gone to my moms and the nieces, sisters, and my mom and the kids and I....made more scarecrows....
Now we have five in our yard! lol

Photos and Recipes storage

Again, it has been awhile!
I just wanted to share my thoughts on sharing recipes. If you have a private family recipe, and say, you are the only one who has a copy, or your family is scatterbrained, and does not keep good copies of things....and say, God Forbid, you have a house fire or other disaster that you lose everything in your home....that family recipe could be gone forever.
I feel, the more people I share it with, the better. I know, if anything happened, someone else has a copy of that cherished recipe. So what if they are making to too. It's good, right?
Another thing I have been doing is, I made a private Yahoo Group. It's a yahoo group that only I belong to, and I would welcome my family and friends if they wanted to join, but its just a nice place for me to store my recipes. Should there be a natural disaster and all of my friends lose my recipe too lol...hey, it could happen....Its online. I have not added them all yet, but I love it, because my friend will ask for a recipe and I will say, I will email it to you...and I go on my group, in my files there and copy and paste it to them. Should my hard drive go, or anything, the recipes are there.
I have also been doing this with myspace (although I rarely use it anymore) and facebook with my pictures.
It's just a little extra padded protection for the things I love and cherish.
Almost everything else is replacable (material things, of course not my kids or hubby)...

Monday, September 22, 2008

artisan bread in 5 min a day

This is an excellent book. I was skeptical, but thought, heck, I will try it. it was terrific...the family loved it!

What you do is...make a master dough recipe (and there are a few types to chose from).

Some of the recipes can make anything, bread, pizza and even donuts.

Each master recipe makes 4 loafs. You can double triple etc. You mix the dough NO KNEADING, just easy mix and let it rest on the counter for 2-5 hours. Put it in the frige for 3 hours or up to two weeks! Anytime you want to make bread, etc...you get it out, cloak it with flour (dust the top) and cut off a piece. throw the rest back in the frige, and the piece you cut off, shape and let proof (for bread) for 40 min orrrr if its pizza, just shape, top and bake.

As you can see, it takes more than 5 min some days....but you are only physically doing the work for 5 min....the resting time is not a problem....just walk away.

check out their website

My family loves it and I will be making many more doughs from the book. I can't wait to try the calzones, pizza and the cinnamon raisin bread!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's been ages

My niece came over today and said, I read on your blog......omg...I have neglected this thing lol

I am making bread today from a book I got called Artisan Bread in five minutes a day. I will let you know how it turns out.
I am also making chicken pot pie in my pressure cooker.

Hi Devynne.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Amish Friendship Bread and starter recipe

I have made the bread twice now.....It is so good. starter recipe at bottom if you lose your starter or have no one to get it from.
Yes I know the amish do not use instant pudding...this is a variation recipe, if you google, you will find recipes that do not use it....I like mine with banana pudding and walnuts.

Amish Friendship Bread
Important: Do NOT use any type of metal spoon or bowl for mixing. Do NOT refrigerate. If air gets in the bad, let it out. It IS normal for the batter to rise and ferment. The date lines below ccan be used to help keep track of the date or day you are at in the process.
Day 1- Do nothing, this is the day you receive the bag, unless told otherwise.
Day 2- Mush the bag
Day 3- Mush the bag
Day 4- Mush the bag
Day 5- Mush the bag
Day 6-Add to the bag: 1 c flour, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup milk and mush the bag
Day 7- Mush the bag
Day 8- Mush the bag
Day 9- Mush the bag
Day 10- Mix and divide the starter. Directions below.

Dividing directions: Pour the entire contents of the bag into a non-meal bowl. Add 1½ cups flour, 1½ cups sugar and 1½ cups milk. Mix. Then measure 1 cup of the batter into each of four Ziploc bags. Keep one for yourself and give the other 3 starter bags away with a copy of the recipe instructions.
Note: Starter should be passed to a friend on the 10th day. Be certain to tell the recipient what day the bag is at when you present it to her. If you keep one starter yourself, you will be baking every 10 days.
This bread makes a great gift.
Baking Directions: To the remaining batter in the bowl add:
3 eggs 1 cup sugar ½ tsp salt
1 c oil 2 tsp cinnamon 2 c flour
½ c milk 1½ tsp baking powder 1 large or 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding
½ tsp vanilla ½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease two large loaf pans. Mix together and additional ½ c sugar and 1½ tsp cinnamon. Dust greased pans with half of this mixture. Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle remaining sugar on top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour. Cool until bread loosens from the pan evenly (about 10 min). Turn over onto serving dish. Serve warm or fool.
Options: Add 1 cup chopped nuts, raisings or chocolate chips. You can also use chocolate pudding instead of vanilla if you prefer. ( Its really good with banana and walnuts)
If the starter turns green or gets an awful smell discard and start over.
It should have a beer like smell, that is normal.

Amish Friendship Bread Starter
1 pkg. active dry yeast1/4 c. warm water1 c. flour1 c. sugar1 c. warm milk (110 degrees)
Mix all and divide into one cup portions in Ziploc bags.
Follow the directions for the amish friendship bread as it needs to be fed and tended to or it will die. If it turns green discard.

My newest sunflower opened

My boys in front of our sunflower....Alex is 5 feet 8 inches tall..... and Brian is a smiley kid.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I love Journey, miss Steve Perry, but wow, look at this story....this guy is just as good.

I am going to see them at the end of the month in Hershey


this new song is awesome

Saturday, July 26, 2008

benefits of recycling

Where Does All Our Paper Go?
Recent customer surveys informed us that a large majority of customers are interested in the environmental and economic benefits of their recycling. Depending on the amount of material your facility generates and the type of service you require, your individual recycling program may be a revenue generating program, or simply a cost diversion and a way to avoid disposal costs.
Regardless of your situation, in recycling there are significant benefits that you and your fellow employees are providing for the community, environment, and economy. Before reviewing the many examples, we would first like to thank you for your patronage and inform you of how proud you and your fellow co-workers should be of your actions. We look forward to continuing to serve you, and hope to help you expand your current recycling program to positively increase your bottom line while simultaneously improving our environment, economy, and communities.

Recycling 1 ton of paper saves:
17 trees
6,953 gallons of water
463 gallons of oil
3.06 cubic feet of land fill space
4,077 kilowatt hours of energy
provides 5 times the jobs versus using virgin wood pulp
prevents 587 pounds of air pollution
This means 74% less air pollution, 35% less water pollution, 63% less water consumption
Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates: 1 job
Land filling 10,000 tons of waste creates: 6 jobs
Recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates: 36 jobs
Every day Americans throw away 44 million newspapers. That's equivalent to dumping 500,000 trees into landfills each week
Recyclable Paper Products make up approximately 40% of trash in America.
Americans throw out about 85% of the office paper used. That's enough office and writing paper annually to build a wall twelve feet high, stretching from New York City of Los Angeles.
Annually, 27 million acres of tropical rainforest are destroyed (that's an area the size of Ohio). That translates to 74,000 acres per day, 3,000 acres per hour, and 50 acres per minute.

Quick Facts
Percent of the world's annual wood harvest used for the production of paper products - 37%
Yearly amount of trees cut down to provide raw material for American paper pulp mills - 900 million
Amount of trees taken to product the Sunday edition of the New York Times - 75,000
Recycling a stack of newspapers only 3 foot high - saved one tree. One tree alone can filter 60 pounds of pollutants from the air.

Commingle Scoop GLASS
Recycling 1 ton of glass saves 9 gallons of fuel oil.
1 glass bottle recycled saved enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
Recycling glass reduced air pollution by 14-20% and saves 25-32% more energy than making glass from virgin materials.
Recycled glass containers are used for new glass containers, fiberglass insulation, road bead (aggregate), concrete block, and glassphalt (asphalt).
Glass is a product that never wears out. IT CAN BE RECYCLED FOREVER! STEEL
Annually, enough energy is saved by recycling steel to supply Los Angeles with electricity for almost 10 years.
A steel mill using recycled scrap reduces related water pollution, air pollution, and mining waste by 70%. COPPER
Manufacturing copper using copper scraps saves an estimated 85% in energy costs. ALUMINUM
Recycling 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to light one 100-watt bulb for 20 hours.
Trashing 1 aluminum can is equal to the waste of pouring out half the cans volume of gasoline.
Energy savings from aluminum can recycling in 1993 alone were enough to light a city the size of Pittsburgh for 6 years.
Every 3 months, Americans alone throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial air fleet.
You can make 20 cans from recycled material with the same amount of energy it takes to make 1 new can.
If the average aluminum which contains 50% post consumer recycled aluminum were recycled today, it would be back on the grocer's shelf in about 90 days. PLASTICS
95% of all plastic bottles manufactured are from PET (soda bottles) or HDPE (milk jugs & detergent bottles), 48% and 47% respectively.
HDPE and PET bottles showed the highest recycling rates of any plastic bottle types, at 23.8% and 22.8%.
Americans use 4 MILLION bottles per year, yet only 1 out of 4 bottles are recycled.
Plastics accounted for 9.9% of municipal solid waste generation by weight in 1997.
5 recycled PET plastic soda bottles make enough fiber to fill 1 ski jacket, make 1 extra large tee shirt, or 1 square foot of carpet.
The most common use for recycled PET is textiles. 56% goes into the manufacturing of fiber for things such as carpet and clothing.
HALF of all polyester carpet made in the USA is made from recycled PET.
HDPE (milk/detergent bottles) have many uses including plastic pipe manufacturing, plastic lumber (see www.everlastlumber.com), flower pots, trash cans, and new bottles for non-food applications.
A Joint Effort.
Again, we thank you for your patronage over the past year. We want you to know that providing the best customer service possible is our number one priority. We urge you to contact us at any time without hesitation if you have any problems, questions, or concerns. As a company, we take these concerns seriously and will do everything in our power to address them quickly. We hope that you not only found these facts interesting, but that they also displayed the drastic impact your company is making by recycling and buying recycled products.
Together, in 2003 Alone, CRI and our Customers Have Saved: Paper Product Recycling:
We saved 1,000,000 trees
379,151,118 gallons of water
26,446,278 gallons of oil
33,529,082 pounds of air pollution
174,785 cubic feet of land fill space
232,875,753 kilowatts of energy (enough kilowatts of energy to heat almost 28,000 homes for 1 full year). Aluminum Can Recycling:
We saved 2,554,090 gallons of gasoline
Saved enough energy to power one hundred 100-watt bulbs for 124 years Tin Can Recycling:
We saved 2,500 ton of iron ore
1,000 tons of coal Plastics Recycling:
We recycled enough PET to make 4,591,944 square feet of carpet, t-shirts, or filling for ski jackets
We recycled enough HDPE to produce 1,299,953 linear feet of plastic lumber (this amount could cover 9,000 average decks with decking boards) Glass Recycling:
We recycled enough glass to save 33,401 gallons of oil
We also prevented the mining of 2,468 tons of sand, 803 tons of soda ash, 803 tons of limestone, and 280 tons of feldspar. Just to recap, the most important values in recycling:
Recycling conserves our precious natural resources.
Recycling promotes clear air and clear water.
Recycling saves money and creates jobs.
Recycling saves energy.
Recycling saves land fill space.
You, ALONE can make a difference by recycling just 1 bottle, aluminum can or stack of paper.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My favorite storage containers

I don't like to use plastic containers for food so I buy Ball (Atlas, Kerr, Mason) canning jars and use them for everything. They are freezer safe, microwave safe and dishwasher safe.

I use them for food leftovers, they store in the freezer and refrigerator nicely. I use them for dry goods, like flour, chocolate chips, rice, etc.

I use them for candy jars, and have one or two in my living room with candy, almonds, or snacks in them for guests to munch on.

I make home made iced tea and simple syrup and have pre-sweetened iced tea in my refrigerator for guests to drink, in pint jars in the frige. When I use one, I just take off the lid, they can be drank out of and put right in the dishwasher.

When guests come for food, I send him leftovers in the jars, and don't mind, they are cheaper than those other brand containers and can be reused by the person who gets it. I think people are more inclined to reuse something glass than a plastic container, which get throw away more often.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

cute tip I read today

I like this tip, thought I would share....
I am back from camping, doing wash and hanging out on the line....sleeping bags etc...busy busy

A Girl Scout TrickGirl Scouts use bandanas when camping, and I've adapted theidea to use at home. As an at-home mom raising five kids withtwo still in diapers, I wash my hands often. To keep thingssanitary (especially during times of sickness), I tend to usepaper towels to dry my hands. Now, I use the bandana!Simply tuck the corner of the bandana into your pocket orwaistband or hang it near the sink and use to quickly dry yourhands. The thin bandana dries quickly and you might besurprised how many times you use it if you keep it tucked intoyour pocket or pants.I've drastically reduced the number of paper towels I use andthe addition of laundering the bandanas has been marginal atbest. And because my bandana is for my personal use, I'm notpicking up or spreading any germs to my husband or kids. Giveit a try!
Michelle in DE

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tennis pic from this year

It was a family affair this year...my sisters and their kids played with my sons and I, and my mother in law was there too. Also three fellow homeschoolers we know and some of the tennis players from last year were there, so everyone had a ball, we all pretty much knew each other. My friend Kelly took this pic, thank goodness, I forgot my camera every stinking week lol.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

We love the show...watch it when we catch it on...fun to play along...well, my friend's daughter has the game for her ds nintendo hand held...i looked it up, only 20.00...I want to get it for my kids, what a fun educational game!
I played with my friend's daughter for a long time.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tennis in the Parks

My kids and I take Tennis lessons at the local parks dept...these pics are from last years lessons....they are so reasonably priced (25 dollars for 8 weeks of lessons!). We had such a blast last year, so we took it again this year and we are going to take the advanced class in Aug also. I have to take updated pics this year, as my kids have grown, both of my sisters and my nieces, and also my mother in law all signed up this year so I want some updated pictures. Tennis is fun, and free (plus gas lol), if you play in parks. We met up with some friends to pay king of the court and we all had a blast...we love playing tennis.


Brian and one of my nieces and her friend

My Wolfgang Puck Appliances

I haven't posted for awhile, as I have been busy, both in my life and in my groups. I run a few yahoo groups and figured, I would write them up here today to at least get something written in my boring blog that has not had any activity for awhile...

My favorite kitchen tools (next to my hands) are my Wolfgang Puck Pressure Cooker, Rice Cooker and Immersion Blender. Don't get me wrong, I love my professional kitchen aid stand mixer my hubby bought me...but as far as use, Wolfie's stuff gets used the most. Wolfgang, Deb Murray (cook book author and food stylist for Wolfgang Puck and also Suzanne Somers, and Marian Getz, Wolfgang's pastry chef are awesome people and I adore all they do for the group, to help us get the most out of our appliances....

If you want to join my WP Pressure Cooker group, go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WP_Pressure_Cooking_Recipes/?yguid=9577836

If you want to join my WP Rice Cooker Group, and this is a large group, go to

and I also have a

WP Panini Grill group, its small, just starting out

I run these groups and when Wolfgang, Deb and Marian are on HSN selling, I get extremely busy in group with people talking about it, and newcomers joining us.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Planet Green

Wow, I love the new channel Planet Green....Living with Ed has to be one of my fav shows...I used to watch it on demand when they had some episodes on...now I have my dvr set to record the series....what a fun show!
I loved the recycled glass counter tops they got put in...I am having my kitchen redone, hopefully in this decade lol...seriously....its been torn up a long time....time to get it done....I want those counter tops she got.....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Parakeet, snapping turtle and bald eagle

Sorry, been MIA again.

We had that parakeet in our yard for two weeks. Then for the past week and a half, we have not seen it.

We were outside removing this snapping turtle from the road yesterday and a neighbor from up the street came by and stopped to tell us about the bald eagle that was up the street last week. It stopped traffic. Everyone wanted to get a picture of it.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chicken Burgers from scratch

Wow these were so good, I could eat one now. My friend Kelly does not eat beef or pork and she is here alot with her son... I am always searching for creative things for her, and we love to cook out. We have fish a lot and chicken breasts etc....even veggie burgers, which we really do like....just want variety. I made these the morning of the wine festival and froze them ...and we had them when we got back....

I bought a family pack of Chicken breasts. I chopped them up in the chopper bowl with the immersion blender into a ground chicken. I added....garlic, chopped onion, chopped green peppers (actually red and yellow)....chopped mushrooms, about 2 T avocado oil (olive would do, avocado has high heat point) a bit of celery seed and ground pepper (I add that to everything lol)....I think that is it..again, "me no follow recipe, little this little that" lol....
I mixed it with my best kitchen tool, my hands and then made big meatballs, placing them on wax paper on a baking pan....then, cover with wax paper and put another baking pan on top and smush the meatballs into burgers. Freeze for a few hours (or longer but at least a few hours).
Grill and add cheese if desired and serve on a bun, or for you guys who are Atkins followers, no bun.... (bleu cheese and hot sauce is what we added, once it was cooked, with lettuce and had celery sticks on the side, well, Brian had Barbq sauce on his, he isn't a hot sauce kid)....Yummo!

I used a family pack of chicken breasts (about 10 or so) and made about 16 burgers, so we have more for next time! I am going to grind my own burgers from now on, both beef and chicken, it was soo good and quick and easy to do.

Parakeet 6 days

Tomorrow will be one week its out there. We caught a Red Breasted Grossbeak, a black capped chickadee and a blue jay in the cage, but that little parakeet is not going to be caught! Not much we can do. We tried everything. Its the fastest bird I ever saw since road runner lol.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Still chasing parakeet

We put a cage out with food, to try to get the parakeet and caught several other birds lol...here is a rose breasted grossbeak.

I am still trying to catch this darn bird lol. I was sitting right next to it, it was on the ground with me, talking to it, but darn it, when I put my hand near it...off it goes...ugh.

Clean does not have a smell

If it smells clean, it probably isn't. You cannot smell clean!

Right now, across America, inside cupboards or sitting out on a shelf, are products that contain ingredients like chlorine, phenol, ammonia, and formaldehyde. These ingredients – and more – may be toxic. Toxic means dangerous, hurtful, and not very clean at all. A home is no place for dangerous and hurtful. Common household cleaners and appliances give off fumes that have been linked to increasing the risk of children developing asthma, the most common serious chronic childhood disease. Asthma rates in children under the age of five have increased more than 160%. An average of one out of every 13 school-aged children has asthma. These are alarming statistics. Children are highly vulnerable to chemical toxicants. They drink more water, eat more food, and breathe more air, pound for pound, than adults. The concern here is that children will have a much heavier exposure than adults to any toxins that are present in our water, our food or our air. There are other disturbing statistics as well. Over 90% of poison exposures happen at home. Common bleach is the #1 household chemical involved in poisoning. Organic pollutants, found in many common cleaners and even air fresheners, are 2 to 5 times higher inside the home than out. A person who spends 15 minutes cleaning scale off shower walls could inhale three times the “acute one-hour exposure limit” for glycol ether-containing products set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. People should be aware that if their home is like the average home in this country, it generates more than 20 pounds of household hazardous waste each year. Examples of hazardous waste that are designated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) are: toilet cleaners, tub and tile cleaners, oven cleaners, and bleach. There is a place one can go to find out the toxins contained in products, brand by brand. The National Institutes of Health and Library of Medicine Household Products Database is a source that will provide information on almost any brand of cleaning products. It will list exactly what is in a specific product, and state the health effects. There is also the opportunity to search for information by chemical ingredient, and discover what brand products contain the harmful chemicals and toxins. The website to explore this information is: http://www.householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/ingredients.htm. There are certain chemical ingredients that should be investigated if they reside in your home. It is recommended to read the labels on the products in your home and look for ingredients such as: sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, butyl cellosolve (2-butoxyethanol), formaldehyde, bleach (sodium hypochlorite), ammonia, sulfamic acid, petroleum distillates, sulfuric acid, lye (potassium hydroxide), and morpholine. Back to the alternative choices. Clean homes do not have to be associated with dangerous or hazardous products. There are completely safe, products that are available as alternative choices. Green is equivalent to nontoxic, natural, concentrated, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, phosphate-free and chlorine-free. People have been encouraged to believe that clean has a smell attached to it. Whether it be lemon or pine or any number of scents, many times these smells can be absolutely unhealthy. Clean does not have a smell. Clean is simply clean. As in all consumer product choices, there are differences brand to brand. This would apply to the green market as well. There is consumer information available, and some brands do independent testing in order to see the results of how brands compare.
For safe cleaning products, visit my website:


This is a great idea. A lady at the grocery store told me in Australia they charge you if you don't have your own bag. I always take my bags to the store.

The PlasTax - About Ireland's Plastic Bag Tax

"It works." - The Australian (Australia's national daily newspaper)
"...surprisingly popular" - Plastic News
"I think it's a cracking good idea." - UK Environment Minister, Michael Meacher
"the wave of what's going to happen next" - Vincent Cobb, ReusableBags.com Founder, listen to interview
"Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable" - New York Times In March of 2002, Republic of Ireland became the first country to introduce a plastic bag tax, or PlasTax. Designed to rein in their rampant consumption of 1.2 billion plastic shopping bags per year, the tax resulted in a 90% drop in consumption, and approximately 1 billion fewer bags consumed annually. To complete the win-win scenario, approximately $9.6 million was raised from the tax in the first year, which is earmarked for a green fund established to benefit the environment. Several other countries and cities around the world are now considering implementing a similar tax, including UK, Australia and New York City.How does it work? First of all, the purpose is to change consumer behavior, not to generate revenue, moving habits from mindless consumption, to reducing and reusing. In a nutshell, it's a simple market-based solution in the form of a consumption tax. Individuals pay a tax of $.15 per plastic bag consumed at check out. Retailers save money since they only have to stock a smaller quantity of bags (in Ireland, on average they were spending $50 million a year on single-use plastic bags before the tax). Many retailers are also now benefiting from selling reusable bags. Administration is straightforward and retailers keep simple records on purchasing and receipts, while the government monitors retailer compliance and collects revenue. What is exempt? In Ireland, exemptions from the tax include heavier weight reusable plastic bags; bags used for meat, fish, or poultry; bags for unpackaged produce, ice, or other foods without packaging. What are the results? Consumption has dropped approximately 90%, from 1.2 billion to 230 million per year. Litter has been dramatically reduced. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to reduced production of bags. Reusable shopping bags, rather than paper, are taking the place of plastic disposables. Weaker plastic bag companies went out of business, while others have benefited by seizing the opportunity to make reusable shopping bags. Summary The PlasTax is a major success. Consumers have widely adopted using reusable shopping bags and retailers no longer incur the costs associated with giving away free bags.
www.reusablebags.com hehe, you would think I work for them or something, I don't! I just like their stuff and they have a lot of useful info on their site.

Chasing Parakeets

Hehe. Yesterday around 6:00 pm my husband found a parakeet at one of our feeders. We have about 11 feeders in my yard and are avid bird watchers, this is not a normal thing to see at our bird feeders here in Berks County.
Now here in PA, its unseasonably cold....went down to 34 last night. We figured we have to catch the bird to save it. So, there is my husband, my sister-in-law, my three kids and I chasing a bird around for 2-3 hours...saying, pretty bird, pretty pretty bird, pretty baby....having it within inches of us and it flying to another tree. Flying up the street to the neighbors, coming back, almost as if it was teasing us lol. I want to catch it and see if we can't find the owner. After two hours, I said, heck, now I want this bird to keep (and really, if I found the owner, I would give it back)...but I started to really like this little fellow. He was truly having fun with is.
Once nightfall hit, he stopped coming around. My sister in law, having had 50 parakeets (well okay I exaggerate, but she had many) said they won't fly at night. I was worried that some other big bird might try to kill it. This morning, there it was on a branch in our yard. Not only survived the cold bitter night, but also the wild animals of the night.
So now picture this. My husband and his work crew are out there this morning, trying to catch the bird lol. What a cute site to see three brawly construction workers out trying to con a tiny bird to come to their finger lol. I really should keep my video camera charged!
I will keep you posted if we ever catch the thing. I told my boys to open their window and maybe it will just fly in? (hopefully not every other bird does too)

Living Plastic Free

I just signed up for a Living Plastic Free blog subscription. My kitchen is plastic free, but my food isn't yet. I don't use plastic storage containers and I use glasses now, not plastic cups. I do have a few plastic cups for our patio, as we don't want broken glass out there, and friends come over to hang out. I might have them start bringing their own reusable cups or just go with glass and pray no one breaks any. I bring out my wine glasses and seem to do okay with them. But the plastics on food....I mean, you get meat, what does it come in, you get pretzels, produce (carrots, etc)....everything is plastic! Yikes. I didn't even think about that. I have to start going to a butcher who wraps in paper, like in the "old" days. Too bad we don't live like that anymore. returnable cocacola bottles, milk bottles etc.

I have stopped using plastic bags at stores, except maybe once in a while, where I reuse them in my bathroom trash (and I know, I should not even do that). I have to look into those biodegradable trash bags.....

My green bags are my favorite. I have ones from Australia with the leaf on them, I have Shaklee ones and even Target. I even have two that hold wine for when we go to wineries. They each hold six and it works for juices at the store also. They hold a ton of weight. I got comments on them when I started to carry them last year, and funny, since then, the stores sell them now....I was the only one last year in my store with them. (not that I started it, Oprah did a big thing about it and got everyone interested).

We recycle everything we possibly can. I don't buy plastic milk containers anymore either, plastic bottles of water, in fact, we got SIGGs for our water and they are in the frige ready to go at the drop of a hat. We recycle every bit of paper in this house, and well, it can get out of hand. Our recyclers only come twice a month and that really gets to be a mess here with all the cardboard packaging, pizza boxes etc that we have waiting for them to pick up.

I could go on and on, as I am living and learning to be more ecologically friendly, but I must stop for now.


http://www.reusablebags.com/ a great site to get all kinds of earth friendly things.....

Facts and figures regarding the true cost of plastic bags

Want to know more about Ireland's wildly successful PlasTax? How about numbers on consumption? Think paper bags are better than plastic bags?...Think again, and be in the know.
Top Facts - Consumption
Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. (Estimated cost to retailers is $4 billion)
According to the industry publication Modern Plastics, Taiwan consumes 20 billion bags a year—900 per person.
According to Australia’s Department of Environment, Australians consume 6.9 billion plastic bags each year—326 per person. An estimated .7% or 49,600,000 end up as litter each year.
Top Facts - Environmental Impact
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
As part of Clean Up Australia Day, in one day nearly 500,000 plastic bags were collected.
Windblown plastic bags are so prevalent in Africa that a cottage industry has sprung up harvesting bags and using them to weave hats, and even bags. According to the BBC, one group harvests 30,000 per month.
According to David Barnes, a marine scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, plastic bags have gone "from being rare in the late 80s and early 90s to being almost everywhere from Spitsbergen 78° North [latitude] to Falklands 51° South [latitude].
Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups, according to the nonprofit Center for Marine Conservation.
Top Facts - Solutions
In 2001, Ireland consumed 1.2 billion plastic bags, or 316 per person. An extremely successful plastic bag consumption tax, or PlasTax, introduced in 2002 reduced consumption by 90%. Approximately 18,000,000 liters of oil have been saved due to this reduced production. Governments around the world are considering implementing similar measures.
July 2003, ReusableBags.com goes live, advancing the mainstream adoption of reusable shopping bags.
Each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime.