June 26, 2009
For the last four days I’ve been out at our Retreat in the Uintah Mts… without a High Speed Internet connection. In fact… no Internet connection at all. Yikes… I didn’t know how much I depend upon it. No e-mail contact, no blogs, no research….oh my gosh… I feel like a fisherman without line, sinker and bait.
Our place is right up on the side of Mt. Tabiona where no Internet connection has been available… until now! Yeah! While there, I found that High Speed was available as of the first of the year. So… off I went, 60 miles away, to sign up. The connection will take about a week to connect but I’ll be off and running the next time I go out.
My business depends on the Internet but no sense in staying in the hot city working when I can be out watching the hummingbirds, chipmunks, and deer…. or RAIN
June has been a cool wet month and this week was no exception. My daughter, Emily, and the Grands were at our leisure when it started to rain for the 10th time. We were caught off guard when it began to pelt us with large pea like hail stones.
We watch the water flow and wash out the road.
Wow… Winter in Summer.
Finally the clouds parted and the sun came out.
After a rain storm everything is so lush and green. What a sight to behold.
So… today is a “Good” Friday. High Speed Internet and Sunshine. What more could I ask for.
Have a “Good” Friday too.
P.P.S. My 15 year old Grand Daughter, McKenzie, took the photos. Good job Kenzie.
June 19, 2009
Happy Father’s Day Dad! My daddy has been gone for over 20 years, but he’s remembered in my mind’s eye… often. On this “Only the Good Friday,” I want to celebrate my Father… James Woodrow DiStefano.
Don’t you think my dad was a good looking man…. actually movie star material?
Last night, I attended the DiStefano family reunion planning meeting. As the meeting progressed, my thoughts went back to my Dad’s nonstop effort in getting an estranged family together after many years of separation.
My father, James, was the third child in a family of nine children… eight boys and one girl. (He’s the second from the right.) Dad’s family suffered through the depression, like so many others in rural Tabiona, Utah. His father abandoned his mother and the children, so Dad took on the role of Father and bread winner. He worked in a government CC camp, building a dam.
Just before he reached his twenty-first birthday, his mom pass away. The younger children were farmed out to be raised by relatives and friends. As time went on, the children married, but due to distance and circumstances… they had an “on and off” relationship with each other.
Dad felt it was important to get the family together to heal old wounds. The first couple of years were sparse in number but the numbers eventually grew. Now we have well over 100 family members that annually meet in Tabiona for two days of games, a raffle, dancing and of course feasting…. and feast we do. We have been gathering as a family for over 35 years now.
All of the original family members, except one, are gone now… but a great legacy has been left. (Dad is on the far right.) Extended family members may not see each other all year long but when we come together at the family reunion it feels friendly, comfortable and “at home.”
On this “Good” Friday before Father’s day, I want to say, “Thanks, Dad for having the love and foresight to bring an estranged family together for a “Good” time. Those who have gone on, would glad to know that we have continued this tradition in your absence.
Hope this Father’s Day finds you with a “Good” relationship or “Good” memories of your dad too.
P.S. For other “OtGF” news, visit our host, Shelly, over at This Eclectic Life. And of course, go see my my sister, Sheila at Newbie Lifeline. We share the same “Dad.” We come from a family of 6 girls. Poor Daddy. However, he never made us feel like he was disappointed in not having a son… another one of Dad’s “Good” qualities.
June 18, 2009
My gardening tools were scattered all over the place until I came up with this handy gardening tote, which is simply a large basket. Now, you can certainly purchase a gardening tote at your local hardware store…but this simple basket works just fine for me.
Until all my small gardening tools ended up in this basket tote… I was forever running back and forth to the garage to pick up this and that.
Here are a few garden tools that seem to be constantly needed.
1. Small clipper and scissors. Use them for “dead heading” flowers and pruning out-of-control branches and stems.
2. A gallon container. This is just a convenient container for the weeds and flower tops I collect.
3. An extra sprinkler and nozzle. It makes change overs easy.
4. A small garden sprayer. I found this one at a farm and garden supply store. It was only $10.00 and well worth it. It holds a quart of Round Up. Getting right down among the flowers is easy. You can give the weeds a straight shot of Round Up without the spray surrounding flowers. Of course… do this on a calm day. Now if you don’t want to invest in a regular garden sprayer… a regular spray bottle will do… as long as you can twist the nozzle so it sprays in a narrow stream.
5. Disposable vinyl gloves. Pick yourself up a package of disposable gloves. Find them the paint department at Walmart rather than in the first aid area… they’re cheaper. Always use them when you handle Round Up because the chemical will go right through bare skin. Put on shoes (no sandals,) long pants and a long sleeve shirt. After spraying, change your clothes.
6. A salt shaker?
Now if you noticed in the first photo… there is a salt shaker in the basket. I often go out early in the morning and find those nasty slugs chewing on my flowers. Boy… they’re “dead meat” when you sprinkle a little salt on them. I then scoop them up with my little shovel and toss them into the gallon container…. to be disposed of in the garbage can. Don’t step on them… they leave their eggs behind. Using slug bait this year has not worked well because we’ve had so much rain.
You probably have your favorite gardening tools. Find yourself a basket or garden tote and filler up.
My sister, Sheila, has decorated her garden shed with antique garden tools. Can you imagine decorating your garden shed? Well, go take a look. It’s a treat!
June 17, 2009
“Fire!” “Fire!” “Fire!” Those are words I never thought I would be screaming. But, due to grease fire in my kitchen, those words came from my mouth. Even though the kitchen fire occurred in my home a couple of years ago, my fire experience has been recently recalled because of the number of fires in our community lately.
The family was coming over for Mother’s Day dinner and I was preparing Baked Beans, and Broccoli Salad, and both recipes called for bacon. Two lbs. of bacon was cooking in a large kettle, when my brother-in-law, Dew, came to my back door to discuss my lawn mower. I stepped to the door and visited with him while he was examining my mower blade. At that moment, a back yard neighbor slipped into my garage to tell me of a problem with the fence we were replacing. Forgetting my stove was on… we all stepped to the back fence to discuss the issue.
After 15 minutes, we walked toward the house and I noticed my kitchen windows appeared black…. then it dawned on me. We ran inside to find the house filled with smoke. There were a few flames behind my stove which Dew put out. My cell phone, which was by the stove, was fried… and my portable phones did not work. So, I went yelling to the neighbor, to call the fire department.
The kitchen grease fire had already exploded before we returned to the house… thank heavens! Notice the tall kettle by the side of the stove. Imagine, all that damage coming out of that kettle. A kitchen grease fire can be devastating.
Lots of lessons were learned from this experience…. here are just a few:
1. Keep your wits about you when your cooking. Kitchen grease fires are the most dangerous. Most kitchen fires happen because of neglect! Guilty!
2. We shouldn’t have entered the home when we realized my kitchen was on fire. We could have been caught in the explosion… or we could have caused a back draft if there had been flames.
3. Portable phones do not work if the electricity is off. You need one phone in the house that is connected to a land line.
4. Even though the flames were no longer visible, I called the fire department because I was concerned that the fire had moved into the ceiling. But…don’t expect your fire department to have anymore wits than you do. When they arrived, they took their good time getting their gear on….and hooking up their hoses and grabbing their chain saws. I ask them not to shower the house with water until they knew if there was still a fire. No sense in doubling the damage by adding water. DUH!
5. Don’t let some nit wit place a large fan in the kitchen door so the smoke could be blown down the hall, though all your bedrooms and out your master bedroom window. No kidding… when I saw the smoke billowing out the master bedroom window… I thought the entire house was gone. Hummmm…. Perhaps a wiser move would have been to place the fan in the hall and force the smoke out the kitchen door.
6. Call your Insurance Company carrier immediately…. not your agent. Since the fire was on Saturday, I waited until Monday to get a hold of my agent. It slowed the up the cleaning up process by several days.
7. Find out who the very best Disaster Clean-up Company is in your area…. not only one who will do a great job…but one who will go to bat for your with the fire insurance company. I had the best! Utah Disaster Kleen-Up. If you’re in the Utah or Idaho area… I highly recommend them. There were kind, helpful and very competent.
8. Prepare yourself for delays. Approval for each process has to be made one at a time, because of insurance regulations. Triple the time they say it will take to complete the job. Sub-contractors are not always reliable in the timing area.
9. Know that smoke damage is as disastrous as the fire itself. All the walls and ceilings on my main level… the living room, family room, four bedrooms and two baths had to be cleaned, sealed and repainted. All carpets were replace. (The carpet nightmare was another issue.)
10. Be aware… that every object in your home must be cleaned or thrown away. They discard all plastics, because of the change in composition. The plastic becomes toxic. All of the kids toys, bedding, pillows, mattresses are thrown away… no questions ask. Insurance companies don’t want to be held liable for a child becoming ill.
11. Every item and object in your house is cleaned… down to the last pencil… by the disaster workers or YOU. Every item that needs to be replaced is put on an inventory list ….even down to a stick of butter and a chicken drumstick in the fridge. The inventory is taken by disaster workers or YOU.
Every item that needs to be replaced has to be priced at full replacement value. Guess who does it! Yep! YOU! That is unless you have great neighbors and friends who are willing to stand in Walmart for hours and check prices. I had over 50 pages of items and great friends and neighbors were there to help.
I had just updated my home owners insurance policy… just 6 months before the fire… to include “Full Replacement.” It means, destroyed items are replace at full value and not discounted because of age. I also had provisions that allowed for the disaster company to do all cleaning and inventory. However, disaster companies DO NOT do the inventory pricing. There is no choice… you are responsible for it.
12. Remarkably, I held my tongue when they said they were not going to replace certain carpets. As the process moved along… it was necessary to replace all carpets. In other words… “Be Nice.”
13. I had wall paper in my family room and I chose to have it painted rather than replacing the vinyl. Some fire insurance companies won’t let you pay for exchanges or up grades… mine did. They just off set the allowance and I paid the difference for the upgrades… like the lighting in my kitchen.
I love my new kitchen… but a fire is NOT the way to remodel.
My insurance was Met Life… and I was dropped from their plan. I found a new fire insurance company who raised my rate only $50.00 per year … for which I was grateful.
So… the moral of the story is…. Don’t leave bacon cooking while you chat with the neighbors. Be fire aware.
I’ve included a video that you MUST watch. It’s very short… but it shows what can happen if you put water on a kitchen grease fire. I was soooo lucky!
P.S. Utah Disaster Keen-Up said that unattended B.Q’s are the number one cause of fires in the summer time.
P. P. S. Make sure you have a good fire insurance company… it makes all the difference in the world. Check with your agent to make sure you’re adequately covered and have “Full Replacement” in your policy.
P.P.P.S. Now if I could only do as well with a before and after of me… I would be thrilled.
June 15, 2009
Selecting unique wedding gifts and cards isn’t much of a challenge if you’re trying to please both the bride and groom. “Couple” gifts are usually the most common wedding gifts offered. You know…housewares for the kitchen…. a toaster, can opener, and steak knives. And, who spends the most time in the kitchen? Generally, it’s not the man of the house.
I suggest, if you really want a unique wedding gift, purchase something that will please the groom. I ask a few future grooms what they would like to receive as a wedding gift. Here are a few of their suggestions.
* Tools - You almost need a hammer right away to hang photos of your wedding on the wall. So, a few tools is a great idea. A hammer, a set of screwdrivers, and pliers placed in a simple tool box is a unique wedding gift and will be greatly appreciate by groom.
* Ex. Large Towels - Guys like towels that are large enough to dry off their larger physique. They want a towel they can comfortably wrap around their waist and tuck the corners in. This casual attire is the preferred dress for the shaving routine. This is a great time to personalized your wedding gift. A towel for her as well as for him… with their names embroidered on the bottom.
* A Bar B Q - Ah haa! They want to cook the burgers and steaks. If you are going to make this type of purchase, check to see if their apartment has a balcony or a place where the grill can be stored before you buy. If you can’t afford the grill… Bar B Q tools are a great alternative for a unique wedding gift.
* A Cooler - Yes, I can see where a cooler would be useful. Purchase one that has a smaller cooler inside (double the value.) The smaller cooler will come in handy when the groom attends football games. And, it can also be carried on a golf cart.
There you go… a few unusual wedding gifts suggestions… that will certainly please the groom.
Now… unique wedding cards? Well that’s a different story. I never seem to have a wedding card on hand. I have always wished I had one I could just print off on my computer. Well, here you go. I designed a few unique wedding cards for you to download and print. Just right for those times you forget to pick up a wedding card.
Here are two choices… a set with a colored back ground and a set with a white back ground. Wrap your gift and tape the card securely near the bow so it won’t fall off when the wedding gifts are loaded into the car.
All you have to do to get these free printable wedding cards is to fill in your name and e-mail address below and I will zip them off to you in a flash.
Next time you’re invited to a wedding, consider the groom first… and give the couple a unique wedding gift. And, don’t forget your wedding cards so you can attach it to the package.
P.S. Another unique wedding gift is a snow shovel. Tape your free wedding card to the handle.
P.P.S. The great wedding photos were taken by my daughter Katie. She’s a professional photographer … and you can see more of her fantastic work at Kate Benson Photography.
June 12, 2009
Unique Father’s days Gifts are sometimes hard to come by. For some reason, my father was more difficult to buy for than my mom. He seemed to be a bit “needless,” but he always provided well for all of our “needs.” Of course, there was the standard white shirt and a pair of new socks for church. We would give him a garden tool here and there… but how fun was that? Sounds like work to me. I think he would have enjoyed new fishing gear… but for some reason… we never thought of that. Our father’s day gift giving was more on the practical side. In recent years, as society, I think we’ve become more clever in giving Father’s Day presents.
I think more emphasis is being place on clever or unique Father’s Day gifts. Kids love to make homemade gifts and dads seems to really appreciate the extra thought and time put into such personal treasures. I call them gifts from the heart. How about gifts of service… like washing the car, sweeping out the garage, fixing dad his favorite dessert or offering him a good old “back scratch?” Such an inexpensive gift idea… but meaningful.
You can get these Father’s Day Gift Certificates for only $3.00. These fun service certificates are printable downloads… so you can print as many as you like. Each card is 3 X 5. They can be bundled together and placed on Dad’s dinner plate… or you can place an individual card inside of another gift. All family members can participate in signing these certificates. The kids will love them.
There are blank cards included… so you can fill in your own service gift ideas. For instance… 10 kisses… From Emily… or… 5 back rubs…. From Sammy. It’s a great Father’s Day gift project for kids. Turn them loose and they’ll have a great time coming up with ideas.
You can use these certificates for Father’s day presents for Grandpa, an uncle, or a special male friend. Print up a bunch so you have them on hand… in case you forget some one. Give them a stack of service gift certificates or just one…. you choose.
These printable Gift Certificates are an inexpensive Father’s Day gift idea. They are only $3.00 and you can print as many as you like… so how can you lose? I print my certificates on matte photo paper… but if you have card stock on hand that’s great. Plain paper will work, too.
Just Click On The Button below and these inexpensive Father’s Day Gift Certificates can be yours immediately for only $3.00.
Have a good Father’s Day!
P.S. Psssst. These cards are not just for Father’s Day giving….you can use these printable cards all year long for a birthday, anniversary gift, or …. “just because.” Keep some printed up for a quick gift for later on. Your $3.00 purchase can stretch and stretch.
P. P. S. By the way..The first Father’s Day was celebrated in around 1920 in Washington state but Father’s day was not officially celebrated until President Lyndon Johnson made the third Sunday in June… the date to remember.
June 12, 2009
Yea! The sun is out on this “Good” Friday. I was getting a little blue after so much rain… so I turned to You Tube for a bit if entertainment. I love kids… and so did Art Linkletter. I remember going home for lunch from elementary school and watching “Kids Say The Darndest Things,” on the Art Linkletter show. Now that was entertainment.
If you’re like me, I get a big kick out of the funny things kids say. My “Grands” can really come up with some “doozies,” that really make me laugh. Children are so innocent with their words. So on this “Only The Good” Friday, I want to share with you a little entertainment to brighten your day. Between the sunshine and a good chuckle… this is a “Good” Friday for me.
Have a “Good” Friday… and I hope the sun is shining on you today!
June 5, 2009
Virtual relationships are made everyday on the Internet. The definition of “Virtual” is interesting. It means “All Most”… “Imitation”… “Computer Generated.” Are the relationships formed on the internet make believe? Are they imitation… artificial? Hmmmmm.
Well, I have to confess… I have many Virtual Relationships via the Internet. I love to get to know people via their blogs… and I am a member of a couple of forums. One group I belong to is a business forum called “Milagroworld.” It’s a forum where we toss around business ideas and and give each other support. And, of course, we chat about personal things too. I have met many fine people on this forum, which I consider to be my friends.
Well, last night, my sister, Sheila, and I had an opportunity to meet a member of Milagroworld, Trapper Sherwood, from Nashville, Tennessee. It was so fun to meet him face to face…because we all had become good friends via the Internet. He is in Utah on business and we went to dinner together. Nothing “Make Believe” or “Imitation” about this man. I found him to be sincere, and loads of fun. We had a good old time talking and sharing information about our families and tossing around business ideas. After a four hour “chin wag.” we looked up long enough to notice the restaurant had closed it’s doors and was mopping the floor.
So on this “Good Friday”, I want to report that this “Virtual Relationship” turned out to be a great one. The face to face contact was rewarding. To feel Trapper’s great energy and spirit told me I had already made a great friend… via the Internet. This is a “Good Friday.” Thanks Trapper!
P.S. We made new business plans and discussed new ways to support each other. Now, there is nothing “Virtual” about that.
June 3, 2009
This imitation crab salad recipe made with cottage cheese was introduce to me by my friend and co-designer, Kristen Cook. In the summer, she brought this incredible crab salad to work. She would actually double this recipe… which is already a large one… and feed the gang. I don’t think she ever went home with left overs. The cottage cheese extends the salad and it’s a flavorful addition to the crab. Besides tasting delicious… it’s good for you… and kids seem to like it equally as well as adults.
The ingredients are pretty simple… and you can have this salad but together in about 15 to 20 minutes.
All you need is: 2 large (24 oz.) cartons of Cottage Cheese. 1 small (16 oz.) carton of Sour Cream. 2 lbs. of Imitation Crab Meat. 3 TB of Lemon or Lime juice. 3 TB Parsley. 2 bunches of sliced Green Onions including the tops. (That may seem like a lot… trust me… it’s not.) 1 tsp. of salt (or to taste.) 1 tsp. black pepper (or to taste). Note: The original recipe did not call for celery… but I added 4 med. stalks for a little crunchy texture.
Place the Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream into a large bowl. Fold the ingredients together.
Add two bunches of sliced onions… including the tops. Don’t be afraid of all those onions. I thought this was a little too much onion but it’s not.
Add 3 TB of Parsley. I used dried parsley… but if your growing your own herbs… give your fresh parsley a try…. just chop it up well.
Add 1 tsp. of Black Pepper and 1 tsp. of Salt. You may want to add more salt and pepper after you get the crab salad put together. Adjust it to your taste.
You get more juice from your lemons or limes by putting them in the microwave for about 15 seconds or so… just until they’re warm… then rolling them on the counter top with the ball of your hand until they are soft.
Squeeze 3 TB of Lemon or Lime juice into your salad.
Fold all of your ingredients together before you add the Imitation Crab.
Add the Imitation Crab Meat and Celery… then fold all of the ingredients together again. Remember… I added the celery as a little extra crunch… but it wasn’t in the original recipe.
Serve your Cottage Cheese Crab Salad on a bed of fresh greens with crackers on the side and watch a smile appear on your family’s faces.
Receive a hard copy of the Imitation Crab Salad Recipe, simply by filling in your name and e-mail below. I’ll send you the download link immediately. I’ll be sending you two sizes for you to print. (Some gals need a bit larger print.) As a little bonus… I’m including a hard copy of the Fresh Ranch Dressing recipe I just sent my friends… who have already joined Insightful Nana.
From now on… you will also automatically receive all future recipes, crafts, printables newsletter and goodies. You’ll never have to sign in again.
Don’t miss out… fill in the information now… before you forget. You won’t want to miss future goodies.
Have a nice day.
P.S. The Imitation Crab Salad made with cottage cheese will last in your fridge for about 5 days. Sure is good for a mid-night snack.
June 3, 2009
Hair dryers eventually die… and this week mine bit the dust. Immediately, the words, “Ionic ceramic dryers”came rushing into my mind. Several months ago, my sister, Sheila, raved about her new ionic dryer and, come to find out… the hair dryer buzzword is, Ionic.
What this means is… the coil that produces the heat is made of ceramic… not metal. What’s the advantage of a coil made of ceramic? Well… the way I understand it is… Ions are molecules with a positive or negative charge. According to manufacturers, instead of taking the air from the room and heating it, an ionic hair dryer uses negative ions to shrink the water droplets in your hair. They claim that negatively charged ions help dry your hair faster and with less damage. It also makes your hair smooth and shiny.
Now I don’t understand all the scientific information… but I do know that my new hair drier dried my thick Italian mane much faster than my old dryer and my hair is softer. Can’t say my hair is any more shiny than usual. I’ve always been blessed with shiny hair. Come to think about it…my shine may come from the ingredients in the little bottle I use to keep me looking youthful… if you know what I mean.
Now, an ionic hair dryer can run as much as $250.00 to $300.00. Way out of my budget range…. but there is good news. According to Good Housekeeping magazine and Consumer Report, the best non-professional Ionic hair dryer is a Revlon… which retails for under $20.00. I purchased mine at Walmart for $14.99. The Conair is next in line for value and preformance. The professional Ionic hair dryer doesn’t preform any better… it is just build to last longer.
So, I suggest, when your hair dryer dies and you’re in the market to purchase a new one, check into an Ionic ceramic dryer. For only $14.99 at Walmart… why not?
P.S. My Revlon Ionic Ceramic dryer is pink. Part of the purchase prices goes to fight breast cancer…. another good reason to purchase a Revlon Ionic hair dryer.