Monthly Archives: October 2008

Has Common Sense Gone Out The Window?

Has common sense gone out the window?  “Common sense” values was pretty much the theme of Glenn Beck’s address at UVU on Saturday night.  I have to admit… I’m a Glenn Beck follower.  Sometimes, I have to turn him off when he gets ranting a bit because he just wears me out…. but for the most part… I enjoy his point of view.

He was here in Utah to receive the Pioneer In Leadership Award from BYU and UVU.  He addressed his audience, begging us to come back to a “common sense” point of view and make “common sense” choices. He encouraged us to stand up and fight for the “old values” that made this country great.

For instance, it doesn’t take a genius to know that if your spend more than you have… you will pay the piper down the road.  That’s true for the government, as well as individuals.  Bailing companies out by a method that creates debt is crazy and will have devastating consequences down the road.  Who’s benefiting from all of this bail out?  Not the common man… but he will end up paying the piper.

We can get so caught up in what is considered “politically correct,” that we buy into ideas that are just plain stupid.

Some schools are being encouraged to not correct papers with a red pen because, red is a strong color and might hurt the child’s feeling?  Blue is too passive… so purple is the right color because its made up of red and blue.  This information comes from a color specialist. And… just what is a color specialist?

While we were waiting in line to get in, my friend Patsy and I entered a into a discussion with a couple who have just moved here from Boston.  They told us of some real stupid things that are going on in the East. Now that Gay Marriage has been passed in Massachusetts, there is a push for schools not to use language that might create bias.  No more “Mr. and Mrs”… No more “Mother and Father”.  The term, “Parents or Parent” is the acceptable word now.  Books, such as “King and King”… are being brought into the classrooms and libraries.  No more of this “King and Queen” business.

I agree…. Where is common sense?

Beck is not encouraged about our immediate future… no matter who wins.  However, one candidate will create more devastating consequences than the other.  But, he feels… in the long run the American people will rise up again to their full potential when they embrace the same values our founding fathers did when they established this nation.

In the meantime… he suggested we gather our families tightly around us… stand up for sound principles and values… then hang on… because the journey is going to a very rough one for awhile.

All I can say about Glenn Beck is… he’s passionate about his mission.  I have to admire that… whether I agree with all that he says or not.  All of should be as passionate as he is and perhaps we could really change what’s going on in the world.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I am going to vote next week.  But, I have to admit… I have knots in my stomach.  I’m afraid we’re going to see “Common Sense” thrown out the window.  I just wish we had other choices… other than the two that are running.   How in the heck did we get here anyway!

Aging Gracefully Is Not Always Easy

Aging gracefully is not always easy if you’re ill or incapacitated in some way. It’s hard to keep a smile on your face when your body doesn’t function well or you can’t remember your grandchild’s name.

Since I have been helping to take care of my aging mother, I have begun to question this business of  “growing old” and living to the age of Methuselah.  Among many variables, medical science has done much to increase the expectancy of human life.  Most people will live well into there eighties and life expectancy is increasing all the time.  That’s all well and good… unless you are ill or incapacitated in some way.

For instance… what good does it do to have a body that functions but have a mind that can’t remember one thing from the other. The older you get…. the greater the chances you will have some form of dementia… especially if you live into your eighties.

Alzheimer’s, the severest form of dementia, is increasing every year. Between 2010 and 2050, the number of people with Alzheimer’s will increase from an estimated 5.5 million up to 14 million, as the Baby Boomers enter the age of highest risk.

When our elderly get sick, we rush them to the Dr. and load them up with medication that will extend their life well beyond the body’s natural ability to survive.  Sometimes I think the only real winner here is the drug companies.  One elderly lady in our local rest home put it this way,  “Medical science has keep us alive until go into a rest home where… we just rot away.”

Laws often bind doctors, hospitals and nursing homes into keeping a patient alive even under the most adverse conditions… often beyond patient and family wishes. When is enough… enough?

My mom is 88 years old and, up until this past year she has had very good health and a pretty good mind despite the fact she sometimes loses her purse.  Early last spring she contacted the flu and not only lost her physical health… but lost her ability to think clearly.  She is now confused most of the time.  She went from being independent to needing almost around the clock care in a matter of a few days.

Just as she was beginning to improve, she contacted a bacterium that has taken a toll on her body again.  We’ve loaded her up with all sorts of vitamins, antibiotics and the like… and for what?  She’s weak, miserable and confused…. and we are undertaking around the clock care again.  She will never recuperate to the point she was, even a month ago.

I know… I can just hear it now.  “God is in charge… and he will take her when he’s ready.” But, perhaps He’s saying, “Hey, butt out and quit cramming all that stuff down her and let me do my job.” We just need to listen.

What’s the alternative for her and for us?  Home health care?  Rest home?  Do we continue family care?  When can she say, “Enough is enough?”  When can we say, “Enough is enough,” without legal consequences?

Upon some investigation, we found that an individual does have a right to say, “I’m done!” and stop all medical intervention.  There’s a little legal document that’s called, Advance Health Care Directive.  This document is separate from a Living Will or can be a part of a Living Will.  It’s a directive that you can detail as to what medical care you wish to have withheld… in the event that you become incapacitated.

It covers everything from withholding artificially supplied nutrition and hydration to food and water.  It can include withholding surgery procedures, CPR, antibiotics, dialysis, respirators, chemotherapy, radiation, medication and all other life prolonging procedures.

It’s the best way to make your medical and health care wishes known to your family and doctors.

Each state has it’s own requirements, and restrictions. You need to follow the guidelines provided by your state.

In looking into my mom’s trust, we discovered that she had stated and signed such a directive in 1995… we just became aware of it.  It will make it easier for us to make decisions on her behalf.

We want what’s best for our mom.  And, now comes the big question… when is “Enough… Enough?

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Baby boomers are now the caretakers of this older generation.  Except for medical procedures, home health care in not covered by Medicare… so companionship, household duties, dressing, feeding and companionship are the responsibility of the family… unless you can afford to put your loved one in a care facility.

School Policies – Are you Watching?

School policies for your children vary from state to state and from district to district.  Are you watching?  In the last several weeks, it has come to my attention that some districts have policies in place that may not be in the best interest of your family.

When you sign your children up for the school each year, the district has documents that parents sign that allow the school certain rights regarding your kids.   Because, each district is different, you need to be aware of the permission you are giving the school during school hours in your particular area.

1.  Immunizations records follow your children through out their entire school career.  Once you give permission to have your child immunized, your child’s health is in the hands of the state.  If your child in not immunized, or you do not keep up with their shots,  they can be denied entrance into school… at any given grade.  However, by law, your child can be exempted from immunization by following the Exempt Procedures on the back of the Record.

Now why do I discourage you from signing this document?  Because, if you do, you have just turned the health of your child over to the state.  At any time… the government can require your child to be immunized for anything they deem appropriate.  Immunization has gone well beyond Polio, Measles, Mumps, etc.  The list now up to 12 vaccinations… which some are repeated several times.  The next immunization that is being pushed to be on the list is the the Gardasil HPV vaccine for young girls for uterine protection.  The push is to immunize girls as young as 9 years old.

Now I’m not going to get into a debate as to whether you should have your children immunized or not.  I just think it needs to be take out of the hands of the state.  If you are exempt from signing the school policy… then you can manage your kids immunizations and health needs with out government interference. By not signing, you can examine each immunization requirement individually and make your own determination. You never know what’s coming down the pike.

2. Be careful of what records you allow to be passed from school to school.  You do have the right not to allow a school to pass on Special Education Records or Psychological Reports.  Are you are aware… in some states you are not allow to ever see your child’s school records? However, some social services can review, or  be given information from them.   So protect your family… don’t give any information you don’t want the school to have.

3.  In some districts, you sign away your parental rights as long as the child is in school.  Your child can be questioned by a councilor, principal, or teacher concerning family matters.  Caution your children about revealing “family matters” that are really family matters.

4.  If you think it’s alright to take your child out of school for a day for a family activity… you could be wrong.  In the State of Utah, the only valid reasons for missing school are: A. Illness.  B. A family death.  C. An approved school activity (field trip).  D. An absence permitted by the school… which is rehabilitation, or individualized education for those who have disabilities.   That’s why they can lower your child’s grade if their absences don’t fall in the above categories.  Schools can be tough on this issue, or lenient.  Know where your school stands.

I realize policies are put into place for a few irresponsible parents.  But…I don’t want to forfeit my rights when I have a choice and can do something about it.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Hmmm.  Does it mean if I don’t immunize my child… and they kick him out of school… they can take him away from me because he is truant?

Home Canning Back To Basics

Home Canning is getting “Back To Basics” for me…back to my childhood.  During the summer, I could be found along side my mom at the kitchen sink canning bushels of fruit and veggies for the approaching winter.  It wasn’t much fun at the time… being out with my friends was far more appealing.  After my marriage license was sign, I swore, the wretched activity would never be repeated again.

Wrong!  About the middle of each June, my mom would call on the phone.  “The beets are on,” she would chirp.  Acting like a robot, I would order the beets from the farmer.  This ritual, in some form,  would be repeated the entire summer and into the fall.

So…here we go… with a list of the wretched activity that was not going to be part of my married life.

June: picked beets, strawberry jam, apricots, apricot nectar, apricot jam, dried apricot, dried apricot leather, cherries, cherry jam, frozen pie cherries, dried cherry leather, maraschino cherries, Queen Anne cherries.

July: dill pickles, sweet pickles, sweet pickle relish, bread and butter pickles, dilly beans, mustard pickles, pickled vegetables, frozen corn.

August: peaches, peach jam,  pears, pear butter, dried pears,  plums, dried plums, frozen fruit compote, raspberry jam

September: tomato juice, snappy tom, stewed tomatoes, whole tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, salsa, green tomato relish.

October: chili, bottled fresh trout, corned deer meat, apple sauce, apple pie filling, dried apples, grape juice

I now look at the list of items I preserved in the past and it makes my brain rattle in my head.  However, there was great pleasure in going into my fruit room and seeing all the bottles lined up on the shelves.  When the door was closed there was a sense of security and a feeling of well being in my soul.

When my kids were small, the home canning helped my family through some tough financial times.  It was then, I felt gratitude toward Mom… who taught me well.

Still, one year I let a bushel of apples rot on the back porch… just too exhausted to put them in canning jars.  When they ended up in the garbage… I said to myself, “Enough is enough… my canning days are over.”  However, I did keep all my canning jars.. just in case I ever changed my mind.

For years, the case lot sales was the direction I went for my winter supply.  I won’t tell you how many years ago that was… but as the years went by… my memory dulled… and the  hankering to do a little home canning came back.  At that point, I home canned just for pleasure.   A little of this and a little of that.

This year…my hankering was a pretty strong and I dragged out my canning supplies.  Dill pickles, tomato juice, stewed tomatoes, and whole tomatoes sit on my storage shelves.  One afternoon… a bushel of peaches landed in the back of my car.  Hmmm… what’s this all about?  It was the “Back To Basics” stirring in my soul…. and the fact I need to be better prepared for an emergency.

Now, everyone doesn’t have the availability of the fruits and veggies to take on home canning… and in some cases… it might be less expensive to go to the case lot sale and purchase the items.  My shelves have case  goods on them too.

The point I’m trying to make is, whether you do a little home canning or buy case lots, having a little extra food on hand in case of an emergency can put your mind and heart at ease.  And, if no emergency arises… great…. additional food on your shelves is sure convenient.

But… since you never know… it’s best to be prepared.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  We had our first frost here in Utah County… and the grapes are ready… Hmmm… got that “Back To Basics” feeling stirring again in my soul again. Cold frosty grape juice would sure be nice in January.  Apples…. applesauce…. pie filling…….Hmmm.

Smelly Odor In Your Washing Machine

If there is a smelly odor in your washing machine, it’s coming from mildew, fungus and mold. If you have a new HE front loading washer, you will eventually have a tendency to have a stale or foul order come from your machine. Older top loading machines often have the same problem. Once the washer has a build up of mold, it’s nearly impossible to have fresh smelling clothes… especially towels and rags

The gals who have front-loading HE machines love them because they can do a batch of laundry in no time at all and… they claim, their clothes are cleaner. However, some gals complain their towels eventually begin to have a moldy smell, which does not revel itself until they dry off after a shower and the towel becomes damp.

The density of the fabric is what makes the difference. The more dense and heavy the fabric, the more it holds mold spores. Personally, I’ve found my micro-fiber rags are the worst. Even though the rags are thin… they are very densely woven.

Regular clothing doesn’t seem to have the same problem… at least not in the beginning. However, if the problem is not nipped in the bud, in time, all of your clothing will have a bit of a moldy smell.

There are several reasons why this problem occurs in the new HE machines.

1. Water gets trapped between the washer drum and intricate parts of the washer. Some models are more predisposed to this problem than others. The seal around front-loading washers can be very tight and water gets trapped under the seal and can’t dry out.

2. A build up of fabric softeners and detergent under the seal and other parts of the washer become a breeding ground for mold and fungus… which leads to smelling clothing.


1. Remove clothes from the washer as soon as the cycle is over. Leaving wet clothes in the washer over night or for long periods of time can begin to create mold spores.

2. Reduce the amount of detergent you’re using. Several sources say you can use ½ of the HE detergent suggested on the container and still have clean clothes. Use a dry detergent rather than a liquid. Liquid detergent has properties that cause build up.

3. Avoid fabric softeners. I know, you want wonderful smelling clothes… but fabric softeners are the biggest culprit for builds up. Use dryer sheets… but wash your dyer filter often.

4. Leave the door ajar after doing a batch of wash. This will allow the interior of the washer a chance to dry out. On a top-loading washer, this is especially important.


1. Pull back the seal to examine whether you have a built up of detergent, softener and mold. Remove build up with a solutions of water and bleach.

2. Run a 1/2 cup of Cascade Complete through a hot water cycle…no clothes of course. (Top loading machines only)

3. There are products that you can purchase on line which are effective in helping over come this odor problem. claims their product is for front-loading machines. seems to be recommended the most. These products will run you about $20.00 and will provide around 20 cleanings.

4. After you’ve cleaned your washer… add a couple of teaspoons of soda to your wash and it will keep your clothes and towels smelling fresh. Borax is also wonderful… because it whitens as well as gives your clothes a fresh aroma.

5. If your smelly washer problem persists, call the manufacturer’s hotline or service department. I wouldn’t go though the store where you purchased the washing machine. I really don’t think salesmen know how to remedy the problem anymore than you do. If you feel apprehensive about using any product, always call the manufacturer of the product first.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. On the Q.T. In my research, the Whirlpool, the Bosh, and the LG… in that order… had the most consumer complaints in the smelly washer area. Kenmore had the least.

P.S.S. If you have any suggestions or homemade remedies that work for smelly washing machines and towels… give us a comment. We welcome all of your ideas.

We’re In For A Change

We’re in for a change and I don’t mean on the political scene.  I’m talking about making a change right here at Insightful Nana.

For sometime, I’ve wanted to share some information with you and didn’t quite know in which category it belonged.  I’ve finally decided that the information is so important that it needs a category of it’s own. The new category is going to be: “Back To Basics.”  Because I’ve witnessed so many economic changes in our world lately, I have the feeling I should get “Back To Basics.”

As a child, I was raised in a home where my Mom was very frugal.  We lived very simply… without a lot of frills.  My mom made all of our clothes… and that was quite a feat since she had 6 girls.  She was a “Scratch Cook” and prepared wonderful meals and taught her 6 daughters to do the same.

I have certainly enjoyed more financial abundance in my life than my mom did when she was raising her family.  It’s been a fun ride… but I see where my money could be more wisely spent at the present time.  So, for me to cut back a bit and tweak some basic skills, is like going home again.

In “Back to Basics, we’ll be exploring all kinds of subjects… Simple, down to earth ideas and tips that will help you through tough times.  That is… if your having to tighten up a bit.  Themes such as emergency preparedness, homemade cleaning solutions, simply homemade medical remedies etc. will be featured.

Freedom comes when you have lots of choices.  I want to give you a lot of choices… so if you have to tighten your belt a bit… you’ll have some back up.  If you don’t have to tighten up… great… these tips still might come in handy.

The “Mom” category is being moved under the “Family” category.  So… it’s kind of like she’s going home too.

I hope you’ll enjoy the new ” Back To Basics” category.  I will be posting there in the next couple of days…  So hold on.  I’ll be inviting you to contribute your ideas too.  Together…we can be prepared and weather any storm.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  In no way am I buying into the “Great Depression” or “Great Recession.”  But, it’s like looking at the planet and saying, “We can do a better job keeping our planet safe… so we can do a few “green things” and help make a difference.”   So, in that light, we can make a difference in our own homes and communities by learning and practicing “Back To Basic” skills.  In helping and supporting each other, we can be prepared for anything.

Free Halloween Printables

These free Halloween printables are just the ticket for your Halloween favors.  These headers can be used to top a candy Halloween gift for your party guests or the treats for those little ones who come to your door for trick or treat and a little Halloween fun.

If you want to take a gift to a friend, take a Halloween gift… such as a bright, cheery orange pumpkin.  There are so many fun pumpkin varieties these days, it would make a fun gift.   Write your greeting inside of the tag and simply tie it to the stem of the pumpkin with a piece of jute or ribbon.

For my other Halloween treats, I found clear bags at my local paper store…I’ve also seen them at Wal-mart.  The bags are 3 1/2″ X 7.”  I filled one bag with my special Carmel Popcorn. I cut the top down on another bag and filled with Halloween candy corn.  The final bag, I filled with jelly pumpkins, tied the bag closed with jute and attached the tag.

Cottage In The Country is having a month long Halloween party.  I’m offering these Free Halloween Printable Header/Tags to all party goers. Check out this site and join in the Halloween fun.  Great Halloween party ideas, Halloween activities and free Halloween printable await you there.

Have a fun time at the party.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  The Halloween party will soon be over but I want to continue to give you free printables. The holidays are coming up and you won’t want to miss all the fun things I have planned for you.  Besides… you’ll get a free report on stress immediately for joining.  Once your on the list… you won’t have to ever sign in again.  Don’t worry about your personal information… your information is safe… I hate spam!

All you have to do is sign in the box in the upper right hand corner. Simple! Sign in now… for all future give-a-ways!

P.P.S.  Don’t forget your other free printables…. Halloween coloring sheets for your kids.  Check them out!

Lead Poisoning and Ceramic Glazed Dishes

Lead poisoning and ceramic glazed dishes remain a concern.  Since I received several comments on my post, Lead Poisoning and Crock Pots, I thought I would tackle the subject of Lead Poisoning again.

The holidays are approaching and cute holiday dishes will be everywhere.  Which dishes can you use with food and which are just to be used as decoration?  The best thing to do is watch the labels.  Many holiday type dishes will state whether you can serve food in them or not.  If a sticker states…”Not Food Safe”, I would not purchase the product for food use… but only as a decoration.

For many years I designed products for the craft and gift markets.  This Christmas bowl was manufactured in China.  With the label stating, “Not for Use in Microwave and Handwash” it’s a pretty good guess that this product contains lead in the glaze… and I designed this bowl.  Whoooh!  Who do you trust?  Since I can’t part with the bowl, I use if for chips and popcorn.  I don’t put anything hot in it.

I paid a pretty good price for this bowl.  With the stamp,  “Oven Safe – Freezer – Microwave – Dishwasher”, printed on the bottom, it’s a pretty safe bet the bowl does not contain lead.

I would be a bit skeptical of the dishes brought in from China that are sold in $1.00 discount stores.  They are cheap for a reason.  Lead glazes are inexpensive to make.  I know… I was a ceramic student while getting my art degree.

Several years ago, I purchased some darling antique bowls.  They are so old, the glazed has cracked giving the bowls a fun “vintage” look.  After doing a bit of reading… these cute little bowls should never be used to served food.  The fact they’re old and cracked, they most likely contain lead and will seep lead by way of the cracks.  No sense in poisoning the family.   Hmmm… On the other hand… who can I invite to dinner?

So, the old ceramic dishes given to you by grandma should not be use to serve food but used as a decoration. We have only been aware of the dangers of ceramic glazes containing lead in the last few years.

Putting hot foods in lead based ceramic glazed dishes is the rub.  It is also suggested that you don’t store food in the fridge in ceramic glazed dishes either.  Glass is probably the best.  However, I don’t think a one time shot of putting taco chips in a ceramic bowl is going to create a lead poisoning problem.

If you have any questions about the dishes you own… the best precaution is to contact the manufacture of the dishes your use.

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana.

P.S.  Remember to check out the Halloween Blog Party going on at Cottage In The County.

Halloween Jack 0 Lantern – Printables

These Halloween Jack O Lantern printables are precolored for your convenience.  Black and white copies are also provided for your kids or grandkids to color.  There are three printable pumpkin designs for you to choose from and you’ll want to print them all.

If your young ones are having a Halloween party… coloring these pumpkins with crayons or markers would be a fun activity.  Perhaps you have a church or school activity… you’re welcome to run off as many as you like.

My granddaughter, Claire, came to keep me company and, was delighted when the black and white Halloween Pumpkins came zooming out of my printer.  She wanted to color them all… so I make plenty of copies.  She and her friend Hunter loved coloring the pumpkins to add to their Halloween decorations.

If you want to enjoy more Halloween activities, join the Halloween blog party at Cottage In The Country. Hostess, Debbie Crabtree Lewis, will be there to greet you.  Lots of exciting things going on this month… and you won’t want to miss it.  By the way… I hope you had a chance grab my famous Carmel Popcorn recipe. If you haven’t… you don’t know what your missing!

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S. If you want to be automatically sent future printables and all kinds of fun things… just sign in to my newsletter in the box in the upper right hand corner.  Right off the “bat” you get a free report on stress.  With the holidays approaching… you may need this report.

In the next few months… I’ll be giving away a lot of great holiday stuff… you just won’t want to miss it.

P.P.S. Here are your downloads… have great day.  If you’re on my e-mail… list watch for more Halloween Treats and great recipes this month.


Cat Pumpkin

Ghost Pumpkin

Frog Pumpkin

Black and White

Cat Pumpkin B/W

Ghost Pumpkin B/W

Frog Pumpkin B/W

Welcome Beck Adams Benson

Welcome Beck Adams Benson… born Oct 1, 2008.  7lbs. 4 oz. – 19″ long.  He’s my darling 15th grand baby born to my baby Katie and her husband Mark Benson.

He’s just an hour old here. Isn’t he a doll!  He as two older sisters, Ella and Claire….(I mean two other mom’s).  Ella is 6 and Claire is 4. We all wondered which of the two girls he would look like most… but…he’s as different from the two girls as they are from each other.  He has his own little look.

This little guy was suppose to be born in Sept… but for some reason, in my mind Oct 1 was the day… and so it was.  After Katie’s visit to the doctor, it was decided she should be induced.  She called and I made preparations to leave for the hospital when she entered and was settled.

Some how there was a missed communication and I waited for the call.  It didn’t come.  When I found out she was already in the hospital and in a lot of pain… I jumped in the car with my camera in hand and headed toward the hospital.  Just as I entered the freeway, Mark called and congratulated me…. I had a new grandson.

Of course, I was disappointed I missed the birth… but happy that all went well and everyone was healthy.

It came as a surprise to everyone he was born so fast… only 2 1/2 hours from the time she entered the hospital until he was born.  This time table runs in my side of the family.  Fast labor… fast birth.. two pushes…plop.

Welcome little Beck…you have a family who loves you dearly!

Blessings…blessings everywhere!

Till Later

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I think this about does us for awhile anyway… All my kids say, “We are done!”…. We’ll see.  15 grand children is fine with me… such abundance!