Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What I Saw: Roadside Americana

Found at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. If you click on the bottom picture it will enlarge and you can read the story of these signs and the man who made them.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Beautiful Blogs: Primrose Design

Janet's blog Primrose Design is a collection of beautiful pictures and great stitching tutorials. She teaches you how to make just about any stitch you might want to use. Makes me want to pull out the needles and thread and stitch up a master piece. What? It could happen!

Photo: Property of Primrose Design

Sunday, April 20, 2008

To Do List: Try New Things: Violet Jelly and Dandelion Syrup

Patty at Morning Ramble has a recipe for Dandelion syrup on her blog. I have plenty of Dandelions so I thought I would give it a try. The soaking Dandelions didn't look so appetizing. I wasn't too confident about how it was going to turn out. I kept a positive attitude and continued on.

After following the directions I had a nice thick golden colored syrup. That taste like...well...syrup. I can't say that I taste something that taste like Dandelion. All I know is that it is good.

After success with the Dandelions I was fired up to try something else. I have been wanting to try Violet Jelly for a couple of years. I found a great recipe and tutorial at Prairieland Herbs.

I picked Violets out of our yard. It took about 20 minutes or so. I just plopped down in the middle of a patch and cleared them out. I followed the recipe and because it was late after I soaked the flowers, I refrigerated the liquid from the violets overnight. Making the jelly only took about 45 minutes total. I think it is delicious. It has a light floral taste to it. It is delicious on toast with butter. Here are the results. Isn't it beautiful? I love the lavender color. The tall bottle is the Dandelion Syrup.

Finally, inspired by my success I decided to use some fruit I had that I was afraid would spoil. So I made some Pear and Pecan Conserve and Plum preserves. I just had enough for a jar or two so I just threw them in the water bath with the jelly.

I put some extra in a decorative jar I had and we have been enjoying it with some buttered biscuits.

This has been fun. Who would have thought weeds from my yard would taste so good!

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Sunday Musings

My kids are all grown and I don't have any grandchildren yet. I miss little people in my house. Surfing around You Tube I found this adorable video of a little girl who loves to sing hymns and I decided Sunday would be a great day to share it. I hope she brightens your day.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Cause Of Grey Hair

This email has been going around. I think my Mom sent it to me. It is very true and I thought I would share it.

Do you worry?

Is there a magic cut-off period when offspring become accountable for their own Actions? Is there a wonderful moment when parents can become detached spectators in the lives of their children and shrug, 'It'sTheir life,' and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties, I stood in a hospital corridor waiting for doctors to put a few stitches in my son's head. I asked, 'When do you stop worrying?' The nurse said, 'When they get out of the accident stage.' My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little chair in a classroom and heard how one of my children talked incessantly and disrupted the class. I was certain that he was headed for a career making license plates. As if to read my mind, the teacher said, 'Don't worry, they all go through this stage and then you can sit back, relax and enjoy them.' My dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime waiting for the phone to ring... the cars to come home... the front door to open. A friend said,'They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry, in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be adults.' My dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

By the time I was 50, I was sick & tired of being vulnerable. I was still worrying over my children, but there was a new wrinkle. There was nothing I could do about it. My Dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

I continued to anguish over their lives, be tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in their disappointments. My friends said that when my kids were married, I could stop worrying and lead my own life. I wanted to believe that, but I was haunted by my Dad's warm smile and his occasional, 'You look pale. Are you all right? Call me the minute you get home. Are you upset about something?'

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of human frailties and the fears of the unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue that elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable recently, saying to me, 'Where were you? I've been calling for 3 days, and no one answered I was worried.' I smiled a warm smile. The torch has been passed.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

To Do List: Things To Do Instead Of Watching TV

Take your camera on a walk and take pictures of your neighbors beautiful red tulips.

Talk your 16 year old into sitting for some practice taking portrait style pictures.

Get some weeding done and then sit in the backyard and watch the birds at the birdbath.

Work on recording some family history.

Learn to use editing programs on family pictures or

on pictures you have taken. Work on a recipe for dog biscuits using pulp from juiced vegetables.

And that just about takes care of the first 3 days without TV.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

To Do: Back Away From The Remote

This article in the Wall Street Journal talks about the happiness levels of average Americans and why we might not be as happy as 30 years ago.

Even though more women are in the work place these day , and responsibilities at home haven't changed that much, because of technology there are more free hours that can be used as we see fit.

When people rated their activities for satisfaction produced it was found that passive activities brought the least amount of satisfaction and activities where we are engaged, physically and/or mentally, were rated the most satisfying. These were things we chose to do instead of things we had to do. Things like visiting friends, playing with kids, working on a hobby, going to church, any activity that we choose to take part in brings more joy.

Over the 30 years of the survey it was found that instead of using additional free time in the pursuit of these activities we have increased the amount of time watching TV. Women now spend 15%, and men 17%, of their waking hours watching television.

Television is one of the most passive activities around. It really only presents information to two senses: hearing and sight. We don't even really process much of what we see, it is there and gone quickly and we move on. Actively engaging in the research process helps us to process and retain information.

Reading a book, walking in nature, or having a conversation with another human being, where one takes the time to ponder and think, are far more educational than watching TV. Viewing television represents an endless, purposeless, physically unfulfillable activity. Watching television has no built-in endpoint. Television keeps us sitting in one place, leaves little time for meaningful conversations and seriously impairs the ability to think.

I am guilty of using TV to fill my downtime and to entertain me. I haven't figured out exactly what percentage I'm at but I hope it isn't 15%. Television can be an effective diversion but realizing when a diversion has gotten out of control can be a real challenge. Is it keeping me from things that would promote lasting feelings that would bring a higher level of satisfaction?

My To Do assignment this week is to turn the TV off and put the remote down. I am going to allow myself 1/2 hour of TV a day to keep up with the news. Other than that I will not be engaged in watching any television this week.

My goal is to fill that time with other worthwhile activites. I will add a list of activities that I took part in at the end of this week. If anyone has any ideas or comments please leave them for me.

If you are following along on your blog please leave a comment with a link to your post about your To Do list goal for this week.

Oh, and if the world happens to end, send me an email and let me know would you? Edit: Well after two days I can report that turning the TV off is a hard habit to break! I find myself turning it on without thinking. Monday I managed to spend an entire evening without it on. I helped my son prepare for our Homeschool talent show and end of year party. We had a very pleasant evening. Last night was harder as my husband wanted me to watch a show with him. I managed to be in the room but not become absorbed in what he was watching by keeping busy sorting and filing coupons. Two days down and 5 to go.

The Road not Taken

by Robert Frost, 1874-1963

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay n leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back. I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence; Two roads diverged in a wood, and I�

I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

Friday, April 11, 2008


It is Friday. The end of the week and what a week!

All 3 of our family vehicles have been in the shop in the past week. Fortunately only one is being worked on. Unfortunately it is to the tune of $1454.00. Yikes! We just spent $500.00 on it last week. It seems that the mechanic we used did more damage than good. We paid with a check and at this point it doesn't seem we have any recourse except to pay to have someone fix what he was supposed to fix and what he messed up.

We have SSI taxes from our business to pay from last year and the first quarter of this year. All due this week. We have money due from customers that is late. That would help if they would just send it.

On top of it all my 92 year old MIL fell and either broke her arm or messed up her shoulder. I called to check on her but her daughter was outside and I couldn't understand what exactly happened. I need to call back today and see if I can talk to someone else.

You know, in spite of it all, I'm kind of OK. Life goes on. The sun is shining and it is 76 degrees. I'm going to finish my work and I'm going to work in my yard. I want to plant some tomatoes and squash and I need to get the garden ready.

For those that might be wondering when I will post another "To Do" list post, I promise it will be soon. This week has just not been a good one for it.

I've been thinking a lot about the feelings of happiness and how fleeting they can be. I've come to the conclusion that we aren't meant to stay in a state of happiness . If we did, what would be the catalyst for change in our lives?

I found this quote:

Men spend their lives in anticipations,—in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have time. But the present time has one advantage over every other—it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come. We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer the tasting of them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age. Charles Caleb Colton

I like that. It reminds me that the time to be happy is now. Here in this place. Just as my life is. My task is to find those things in my day to day. To "lay stock of pleasure", and enjoy them now To cease a life of anticipation and live one of simple joy.

Picture: From my backyard.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Savings

This has been a good shopping week. Today at Target I picked up a Glade Flameless candle, on sale for $9. I used a $3 off from recent newspaper inserts. I noticed that some of the candles had $5 off stickies on them. So I ended up paying $1. Great deal! I also picked up a Glade scented candle. They are on sale for $2 and I had $1 off. So both candles cost just $2 together.

I didn't bother to photograph my Kroger trip this week. Their sale was really good, the buy 10 get $5 off your order netted me $89.86 in groceries for $29.54. That included 10 bags of cookie mix, 5 bottles of grape juice, 5 cans of soup, 3 boxes of muffin mix, 2 boxes of brownie mix, so on a so forth and a few items I didn't have coupons for.

For more Saturday Savings check out Money Saving Mom.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

To-Do List: Let's Get This Train Rolling

Have you seen those V8 commercials where they smack the person in the head because they aren't observant enough to see that they need to eat better?

I've been running around since yesterday morning. I've taken my son to our homeschool group meeting. I've worked. I've cleaned. I've told myself I needed to decide what my assignment would be for my new To-Do project. I thought that I would have a chance to make a decision while waiting for my son during his music lesson, but I got sidetracked talking to the director about possibly volunteering there.

SMACK! Right between the eyes! It is obvious what my first assignment needs to be!

First item added to my To-Do list: Get OFF the hamster wheel!

I need to set aside some time to think about how I want to change things and what exactly do I want out of this. There is only so much time in every day and I need to decide exactly how I'm going to spend it.

I've got so many thoughts running through my head about this venture. I know the things I feel obligated to do. Now I need to decide what I want to do. At this point that is a foreign concept almost. What do I want?

Me. Carrie J.

How am I going to get it? What changes will I have to make? What bad habits are standing in the way? How am I going to break them? How do I get my family on board this train? Good questions. Now I need to find the answers.

So, I'm going to set aside one hour everyday the rest of this week to do something, anything, toward the planning and execution of my project, to iron out all the details. I'm going to turn off the TV and give up some of my blog reading to make time for it.

I don't know if very many, or anyone, will take part, but I thought it would be fun to put up a Mr Linky so that people can link to their own post about their To-Do list post. Everyone is welcome. I hope you will join in.

edit: Mr. Linky isn't working right for some reason. Until I can check it out if you have a link please leave it in the comments.