April 16, 2010
Here are a couple of printable Mother’s Day Cards you can print in a snap. These unique cards are designed for your kids to attach their small school photos. Of course… they can color the card… or there is a pre-colored card available for them to just cut and give. I suggest the cards be printed matte photo paper or card stock.
I just read that Mother’s Day is one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States. The occasion is now celebrated not so much with flags as with gifts, cards, hugs, thank yous and other tokens of affection.
I’m pretty easy when it comes to Mother’s day. In fact this year, the mothers in our family will be sharing the day with my grandson Wyatt. He will celebrate his 14th birthday. We will also be celebrating Easter with the belated Easter Egg hunt… since the weather played havoc on April 3rd.
So… all in all… we plan to have a fine day. Hope you will too.
P.S. How are you going to celebrate Mother’s Day. Does your family take the lead… or do you?
July 23, 2009
Tomato Pollination is usually left up to the bees. Since each yellow tomato blossom has both male and female parts, the tomato is considered a “self-fertilizing” plant. All the bee has to to is flutter it’s wings around the blossoms, which causes the blossoms to vibrate, and waaa laaa… tomatoes are born. Almost! There are a few other factors to consider… one is temperature. Tomatoes love the night time heat between 60 and 70 degrees. If the temperature falls below 60 or above 75… it interferes with the growth of the pollen. Also so… if the weather is to damp or too dry…it interferes with the pollination.
Now… I like to help Mother Nature’s bees along by pollinating my own tomato plants. Follow along and I’ll teach you how to pollinate your tomatoes.
First… I grow container tomatoes… and I have cherry, grape and regular tomatoes. The containers sit on casters so I can roll them around if I need to. Tomato plants need at least 8 hours of sunshine. I water them every day because they dry out easily because the container exposes the soil to extra heat. When tomatoes begin to appear… I fertilize them once a week. It keeps the blossoms coming. Now if your have a regular tomato garden… this regiment may be difficult to follow.
Grape and cherry tomatoes have clusters of blossoms… when when the bees come around fluttering their wings… a lot of blossoms get pollinated at one time.
Successful bee pollination produces lots of tomatoes on one stem…. like the grape and cherry tomatoes.
And, it produces an abundance of tomatoes for salads or just to pop into your mouth one at at time.
Regular tomatoes have fewer blossoms in a cluster. When is a blossom ready to be pollinated?
When the tomato blossom is wide open, the yellow petals turned back and the flower is pointing down, the blossom is ready for pollination.
Here are the male and female parts.
The bees flutter their wings or a wind will blow… causing the pollen to come out of the straw through the Antlers on to the Carpels or Ovary.
If the tomato pollination is successful… you’ll get an abundance of tomatoes on one tomato plant.
Now, I help tomato pollination along by gently tapping the blossom stem, causing a vibration. From all I can find… the best time to do this is mid-day… around noon. Not earlier than 10:00 and not later than 4:00. Some folks have been know to use a battery powered tooth brush… as it’s vibration is suppose to simulate the bee’s wings. I’ve never been that particular. I just give the stem a little shake so the pollen will fall out of the male straw and fall on the end of the blossom.
Now some say this is all “folk lore… or myth.” Who know? My experience is.. I have one heck of a lot of tomatoes on my plants whichI haven’t had before hand pollinating.
So give it a try because the tomato harvest is just beginning…. and you have the rest of the summer… into the fall… to see if this pollination process works for you.
You can watch the video… to see this procedure in action.
P.S. I’ve already pick my first tomato, wiped it on my shirt and with my salt shaker in hand… given it a dash of salt… and popped the whole thing in my mouth at once. Mmmmmm. Is this heaven?
P.P.S. I may not look like it… but I removed a lot of leaves from my tomato plants. Looking at these photos… it reminds me it’s time to remove a few more leaves. Taking leaves off will give your blossoms a greater change of being pollinated by bees… and more energy goes to grown the tomato rather than the leaves.
Also… I read about a farmer who walks down the furrows of his tomato garden with a stick and gives the plants a shake. He claims his tomatoes produce 50 percent more yield.
P.P.P.S. One more thing. A woman standing next to me at the nursery says she give her tomatoes a shot of Epson Salts a couple of times a season. 1 TB to a gallon of water will do the trick. She claims it sweetens the tomatoes as well as encourages greater tomato production. She said, “Tomatoes love acid and the Epson Salts provides it. Haven’t tried this one yet… but I’m heading to the store for my Epson Salts.
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.
April 17, 2009
Are there 10 “Good” reasons for snow in April? Yes, of course. If I didn’t look at the “Good” side of it…I might sit down and cry. So on this “Only The Good” Friday” I’m going to share with you my reasons for being grateful for snow at this late spring date.
I woke up to eleven inches of snow this morning. It looked like a “White Christmas Scene” on a card.
The Ten Good Reason Why I’m Grateful For Snow In April.
1. We can always use the water. The mountains are getting bombarded.
2. It has extended the ski season and that is good for the Utah economy.
3. It has pruned some of the trees… naturally.
4. It’s a gentle reminder that Christmas is only 8 months away.
5. I have an excuse not to leave my house because I’m snowed in.
6. I have kindling and fire wood for my wood burning fireplace from all the fallen limbs.
7. The grands have one more chance to play in the snow.
8. When my yard is covered with snow… my yard looks as good as all my neighbor’s including Linda, who is the Queen of Gardening.
9. I have another few days before I have to finish cleaning up my yard to get ready for the “real” Spring and Summer planting. (Those cans are full of pine needles, old grass and twigs.)
10. It’s another sure sign that “Global Warming” needs to be reassessed.
There ya go… Snow in April… Yeah!
P.S. I have another reason to be cheerful on this “Good Friday because, I know the snow won’t last long. It is suppose to be up to 73 degrees by Monday.
April 3, 2009
The Easter Bunny and Chicks are probably the most recognizable icons for Easter. As a child, Easter was an exciting time because the Easter bunny always left, a necklace, new socks, and patten leather shoes next to a Chocolate Rabbit. Mom would dress her daughters up in their finest and march us all off to Church.
However, before we left for Church…picture taking was in order.
Me, at age 6
My sisters, Sheila and Janis. For your olders gals… remember the old box cameras? You had to have the full sun on the subjects…. even if their eyes watered and they couldn’t see. Poor Sheila. Now days… cameras are magical… no film… and the convenience of point and shoot.
The neighborhood gang posing before Church. I’m in the back… in the middle. My two younger sisters, Carma and Janis are directly in front of me. All decked out.
Easter has certainly changed through the years. It has grown from a simple gift of pearls, new socks, patten leather shoes and a little candy… to huge Easter baskets filled with “who knows what all.”
Easter bunnies an Easter chicks are in the stores right after Valentine. So much for merchandising. I’m just as guilty as the rest for buying into the Easter hype. Besides… how else to you celebrate the coming of Spring after a long winter.
So, here’s my contribution to the Easter fray.
Here are 6 Easter 3×3 cards for you. You can put them in the Easter baskets or in a Easter gift you want to share.
No Easter table is quite complete with out place cards. Kids love to fill out the names and place them around the table.
If you want these two Free Easter goodies… fill in your information below and I’ll send you the link right away. If you’ve already joined the Insightful Nana community… you will automatically be getting your copies… so watch for your e-mail.
I hope all of your past Easter memories are fond ones.
P.S. Can you believe… I still have my old Easter basket? (Mom use to save them from year to year.) I think I will set it out and see if the Easter Bunny will fill it with hundred dollar bills.
April 1, 2009
The “Special Needs” your family will need in case of an unexpected crisis is our next emergency preparedness category. Since every family is different, “Special Needs” will vary from person to person within a household. Perhaps you have a baby, a pet or an elderly person living in your home. “Special Needs” are the individual essentials for the people living in your home.
The following are just a few items that may be considered special needs. This list is just to get your wheels spinning.
1. Baby formula, diapers, wipes, medications, bottles, baby food.
2. Feminine products, Advil, medication, extra contacts, contact solution, shaving supplies (male and female.), extra eye glasses, vitamins.
3. Needs for folks who are may be impaired. Dust masks and inhalers for an asthma sufferer. A cane or walker for an elderly person.
4. Pet food, food dish, portable kennel, muzzle, a leash, medications
If you need prescription medications, such as insulin for a diabetic, consult with your doctor on the best way to increase and store an extra supply.
Collecting all of the individual needs for your family members can be a bit over-whelming. So, I’m giving you a “Special Needs” form for you to fill out. You can get it HERE free.
Post it some place convenient, so as you think of things, you can write them down. Under their name, other family members can add to the list as they think of the important items they will need.
Make your list over several weeks, then pick up a few things every time you’re out doing a bit of shopping. Of course, you can make one full sweep at Wal-mart and get the deed done. If you do…. consider taking the kids along… they would have a good time picking out the things on their list.
Now I realize…. the shiny lip gloss your daughter thinks is important… may not meet your criteria for being a “Special Need.” However, boosting one’s spirit during a crisis is important. Although, you may have to limit such items, don’t eliminate them completely.
I’m adding important things to my list daily…. Snickers… Peanuts… Almond Joy … you know.
P.S.In case of an emergency… do you think hair dye could be considered a “Special Need”?
March 27, 2009
Claire celebrated her fifth birthday on the March 24th. It was a quiet celebration…just with her family. I was lucky enough to be invited to join them at Denny’s for dinner…. the restaurant of her choice.
Now don’t let this serene photo fool you…. This little child is full of surprises. Yep… she sure surprised us.
When she was a baby, she so was so quite… so good… so relaxed. That lasted for about a year… and then she grew way beyond her years over night. One day she was serene and the next day she was… well, curious, on the go, independent and had all of the confidence of an adult. In fact… there is no adult that she’s not comfortable with. She’s will strike up a conversation with anyone… and everyone is her friend. She keeps us in stitches all the time… she is one funny girl.
Now if there is any photo in the world that takes on the personality of the child… this is it. An all time favorite of mine.
Back to the birthday party. Here’s Miss Confidence… picking out her food fare.
The decision has been made.
The Birthday song has been sung… and now it’s time to blow out the candles. She didn’t want to get too close for fear her hair would catch on fire.
Now comes the fun part… the birthday gifts… and boy did she clean up… dance leotard, roller skates, watch, and DVD’s.
The Birthday cake was delicious…. I’ll get Katie to share this recipe with us. It’s certainly one we need to have in our recipe boxes.
Bet ya can’t guess. Yep… it’s the decorative art of Miss Claire Benson…. Called “Inside The Cake Mixing Bowl” Looks like there’s another artist in the family.>
Happy Birthday dear Claire… you make my heart happy.
P.S. This ends our big March Birthday Month. Thanks for celebrating with us. Did you get your free Birthday Note cards? Get them HERE, at the first of the month celebrations. See our middle of the month celebration HERE.
March 12, 2009
I think Pansies take a bum wrap. How in the world did the word “Pansy” get tagged as being effeminate and weak. The pansy is one of the boldest and strongest of flowers. Pansies that are planted in the late fall, face winter snow, wind and hail, and survive to lift their faces to the sun in the early spring. I was just pulling out of Wendy’s and noticed a bed of Pansies that were in full bloom… despite our off and on again warm weather. Yes… Spring is around the corner!
When I was growing up, our neighbors, the Barlows, grew Pansies. My mom was a Petunia lady… no Pansies at our house. But I loved them anyway… their little faces fascinated me. I especially love the orange ones… and so when I purchase Pansies, I make sure there are plenty of orange ones in the mix.
The flower is traced back to the 4th century B.C. in France and was named “Pensee” The French word means thought or remembrance. However, during Elizabethan times, the word became a disparaging term for a man or boy who was effeminate. (Perhaps, that’s what caused the tiff between France and England.) Anyway… I think Pansies get a bum wrap.
My grand daughter Ella’s birthday is March 4th. A take home prize for each of her tea party guests was a potted tea cup filled with Pansies. Actually, I think the mom’s loved them more than the girls did. The kids probably would have preferred a little bag of candy. Katie, my daughter, picked up the cups and saucers at a thrift store and we filled them up with Panseys. Purple was the favorite of the day. Of course, in the cup, they don’t last forever… but it is a bright ray of sunshine sitting on the window sill after a long cold winter.
Give it a try!
P.S. Pansies like rich soil.. so fertilizing them will give you lots of blooms. If you plant Pansies in areas that will become shaded when the trees bear their leaves… they will last longer into summer months. Pansies are a cool weather friend… so protect them from the direct sun.
March 6, 2009
According to Ph. D. Sir Ken Robinson, schools are not allowing our children to be creative. In fact, according to Professor Robinson, the present school system…world wide… stifles or kills creativity.
In is new book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, he explores the need for more creativity in our in our school systems in order to prepare our children to meet the challenges they face in the next 20 years. According to Robinson… present education is not preparing our children for their future. Times have changed… and education has not kept up with present needs… let alone future demands.
For a long time, I have keenly felt the importance of parents and educators helping children discover and fulfill their dreams. I devoted an entire chapter of my book, 5 Power Tips Moms Us For Raising Fantastic Kids, to the subject. I share ways you can discover, very early, what your child’s dreams and passions are.
Professor Robinson spoke at a Ted conference that was promoting creativity. This information is so important, his 20 minute talk is included here. You must take a few minutes to view his presentation. You will clearly see why present education policies, and sometimes parents, are killing creativity in our kids.
By the time you finish looking at this video, you will be convinced how important it is for us to revamp our present education systems to allow for more creative expression so our kids can discover and follow their own dreams and passion. Their future and ours depends upon it.
P.S. In the second grade, I had one defining moment when, I knew I was going to be an artist. In my book, I share that moment with you.
P.P.S. Click on the books and get further information about Sir Ken Robinson