a "been-there" mom of six offers encouragement
to wives, young mothers, and those not so young,
and simple common-sense approaches to
the "ings" of life:
child-rearing (hints and helps), homemaking (all areas),
cooking (simple, cheap, and do-it-yourself)
making (toys and gifts), preparing (for the unexpected),
maintaining (sanity and peace in this increasingly crazy world) and more---
all aspects of making the most of making do on little---
and having fun in the process.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Initial and Emotional "Trauma" of a Newly Diagnosed Diabetic

 My doctor has been telling me for years to lose weight and for the past couple of years that I was pre-diabetic.

Six weeks ago I began to eat really well---  mainly, I must admit,
so I could prove him wrong at my visit next week. 

When  my pre-visit blood work results came back.......... the numbers were up!!!

I am now officially, apparently undeniably, diabetic!!!

My first action was to eat three of Dave's malt ball Easter eggs. I hadn't had one single piece of candy up until then --- not even one of looked-forward to yearly treat: Peeps  Note when they started making Peeps for the other holidays I refused to buy them.  It just didn't seem right!

For years I have (alternately and repeatedly) counted calories, fat grams, "points" and exchanges and
felt really really righteous eating all fruits and non-deep-green-veggies and stuff labeled low-calorie.

Now, it's count carbs!!!!  Not just the obviously high-carb items but the many I had never considered high-carb. Fruits? Vegetables?

Low-Fat foods have more carbs than full-fat! Don't ya love it.

And things I previously ate, along with the accompanying guilt I can now have actual guiltless servings --- bacon, ham, beef, eggs, cheese!

This I can love!

It seems so wacky.

After several hours of book and internet searches and trying to grasp it all. I came to the conclusion that it not only "seems" wacky it is and consoled my self with a generous slice of pecan pie which I had stashed away in the freezer.  I first consumed a smallish "sample"  in its still frozen state ---- and it was fantastic.

Since that splurge I have been back to not just being good, but extremely good. Looking up the carb count of zillions of foods, actually measuring the servings of food*, counting those carbs, writing them all down, and totaling them up each day.

*I imagine I will be able to "guestimate" after a time.

I still have to learn to eat lots of low-carb veggies (which are mainly dark and not, to my mind, very tasty) and lots more of them to beef  bulk up my diet.  Baby steps!

I know it is waaay too early to brag or think I can keep doing this forever but I have to tell you what I have found out already.

  • I feel much better.
  • I walked 1/3 of a mile for the first time in many, many months (for me, a big deal).
  • I don't have cravings (and I am not making this up).
  • One 12 ounce can  of V8 juice and two one ounce mozzarella sticks will keep me feeling full for 4-5 hours. Honest!!! (This became my main go-to breakfast.)
  • I have lost 10 pounds! (without my usual going to Curves for two weeks because of cataract surgery--first one last week and the second yesterday). 

Last week in  going through my favorite recipes (to pack away---deep, deep, away---) I ran across a newspaper clipping from 2005 which I had never tried.  Until NOW!

Foolproof Omelet in a Bag

Quick, simple, no mess and next to NO CARBS. I've had it twice this week and it is foolproof just as promised.  Could be a fun build-your-own-omelet bar l for a family or small party.

First,  Put a large pan of water on the stove and bring to a boil. Or two pans, if it is a group thing!

1. Crack one extra large or two large eggs into a one-quart zip lock bag and smooosh it around, breaking up the yolks a little. 
2. Add to the bag: whatever else you want, in whatever quantity you want. I did sliced olives, red bell pepper, green onions, shredded cheese and chopped cooked bacon, plus a dash of  Lawry's season salt and pepper
3. Give it another smooosh or two, press out the air, close the bag and put it in the boiling water.
4. Set timer for exactly 13 minutes and let it boil away---no need to do anything else with it. 

Immediately remove bag and open (careful of the steam), turn it over your plate and watch it roll out on the plate (in even an omelet shape!!!.)  No sticking, very little residue in the bag.

And, enjoy.

  • Warning/Apology/Explanation (you choose)  In case you hadn't previously noticed, I can be (read am) a wee bit compulsive and  must immediately try to wrap my head around whatever it is that comes my way.
  • (this dot and the one below mean nothing (except I can't find the way to eliminate them) 
  • I  will probably be sending low carb recipes your way.  But hopefully no whining!

  • I haven't  been feeling well for quite a while, thus the lack of posts.

  • .Oh yes, we just purchased an air fryer --- had never heard of such a thing until a couple of weeks ago. (They are apparently very popular in India, Europe, etc. Read great reviews for cutting out fats, and mess, and with no possibility of  bad burns (been there done that not fun). 
  • Found a Faberware one at our local Wally store for $79 whose reviews compared very favorably to the $200-$400 models. Because of my post-surgery blurry eyesight I haven't opened it yet. But very soon! 
  • So possibility of air fryer results/recipes, also.
Many years ago in Missouri there was a gas station that had some kind of shiny silver pumps. I don't know how it "did it" but when you looked at your reflection while pumping your gas, this is the image you would see.                                        That station did a LOT of BUSINESS!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Squashing Toilet Paper! or . . .

Honey, I shunk the tissue.

Just as I was finishing up the "visual aid" for this post our youngest son telephoned. He asked what I was doing.

"I am vacuuming toilet paper",

and he didn't blink an eye (I guess that would grammatically be an ear since it was a phone call!).

This gives you a good idea of what it was like growing up in our home with Simply, Gail their creative cheapskate mother.

Or as our oldest son likes to refer to me:  Simple Gail

Whatever works!!

And here is the latest thing that works for us as we enlarged and re-worked our storage area.

The package on the left is an original 36 roll package of Costco toilet paper.  This original  package measures 14"x 24"x 9-1/2"

The package on the right is a large Ziploc brand space saver bag filled with 50  rolls (36 Costco brand + 14 additional same-size rolls of another brand) after it has been vacuum squashed to  
14-1/2" by 21-1/2"  x 10-1/2"

If I were a math major, or knew a math major, I could tell you the exact difference in inches but since I'm not and I can't, suffice it to say a picture is worth a thousand measurements.

And, it is soooooo much fun to watch it shrink!
I used up all my large space saver bags and  still had  24 rolls of TP left.

That will never do (and, again vacuuming has never been so much fun!)  ---- so........

I shrunk it in the medium size bags - 12 rolls fit in each bag!

More fun when I  discovered the packages fit neatly, stacked one on top of the other, between the studs of the unfinished (and to remain unfinished) new addition.

I was showing off our new storage area to a friend who exclaimed, first off:, "Where did you get those cute little rolls of toilet paper?"

Spousal Points of View:

He: You are sometimes and somewhat compulsive.
Me: I am on a roll.
He: Patience is not your strong suit.
Me: The stuff is already out---I am efficient.

Image result for rolling toilet paperImage result for potty trained cat

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Homemade Dog Biscuits, Healthy Simple ...

and named for our shelter acquisition!
It is hard to believe Milo has been a part of our household for 15 months.
How time flies!
We adopted him  the day before Halloween. The shelter provided the "costume"
Milo is an Australian cattle dog mix and is nine years old.  Even though Dave asks him quite often, Milo will not tell  how he lost his ear. It certainly has not affected his hearing!!! Nothing gets by him, even though our windows are insulated double-pane.

He is a well-muscled 60+ pounds and very strong. You wouldn't want to enter our home uninvited!

Surprisingly he is also a particular and very gentle eater. He doesn't like veggies, nor most fruits---not even the ones that are vet-okay-ed!

We rarely feed him any people food but on rare occasions we will give him slivers of left over meat (we take outside to give him) he will sit down and take the offering one bite at a time.

He doesn't like rawhide bones, and is not crazy about many commercial dog treats.


he does love his "Milo Bites", a healthy recipe I have adapted (and simplified) from another.

1 egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 medium-sized banana, ripe and thinly sliced.
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or cover a baking sheet with lightly sprayed parchment paper.

Using an electric hand mixer, combine first four ingredients mixing until bananas are well "smooshed" up.

Add flours and wheat germ.

To roll out the treats, I cut open the sides of a gallon size zip lock bag,  lay it flat on my counter and dust it lightly with flour.

Actually, the zip lock bag thing is the way I roll out any dough --- rolls, biscuits, cookies, pie crusts, tortillas.  It is great, quick and makes very little mess. And because I am a creative cheapskate, I wash and reuse the cut open bag.  

I place part of dough on the “down side” of the bag, fold over the top portion to cover the dough, and roll to about 1/4 inch thickness.

I then turn the whole piece on to parchment.

And, repeat with remaining dough.

Once on the cookie sheet, I cut the whole thing all at once using a pizza cutter*.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes until  dry.

At the end of the baking time if  I don’t feel they are dry enough, I may bake them a while longer or I may just  dump them off the paper onto the cookie sheet, turn them over, break them apart and let them sit in the turned off oven. (the very first time I made them, some possibly thicker than others, were not dry enough and got a little "hairy"  in the jar. A little extra baking solved that without harming the taste.

Notes:  *You can use a cute doggy bone or other cookie cutter and cut them out one at a time but I am not only cheap with money, I am cheap and efficient (read lazy) with my time. Who cares what they look like---certainly not the dog!

(I even cut my biscuits in squares with the pizza cutter, rather than a round official biscuit cutter and to date, have not had any complaints! ) 

I usually double the recipe because I have a large cookie sheet and again, it is efficient time- and   energy-wise.
And finally. . .
               Another great thing 
about these doggy treats----               
they are not 
harmful to humans
 if ingested 
accidentally or on purpose! 
They even taste okay, or at least bearable. 
Have a happy and grateful day!

I am Simply, Gail

Sunday, December 27, 2015

We are All On the Same Team --- Whatever our Skin Color, Language, Religion or Continent

Master, the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! 
The sky is o'er-shadowed with blackness. No shelter or help is nigh. 
Carest thou not that we perish? How canst thou lie asleep?
When each moment so madly is threatening A grave in the angry deep?

Master, with anguish of spirit I bow in my grief today.
The depths of my sad heart are troubled. Oh, waken and save, I pray!
Torrents of sin and of anguish Sweep o'er my sinking soul,
                     And I perish! I perish! dear Master. Oh, hasten and take control!

The winds and the waves shall obey thy will. Peace, be still
Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea Or demons or men or whatever it be,
No waters can swallow the ship where lies The Master of ocean and earth and skies. 
They all shall sweetly obey they will: Peace, be still; peace, be still.
They all shall sweetly obey thy will: Peace, peace, be still.

Text: Mary Ann Baker, ca. 1874
Music: H. R. Palmer, 1834-1907
New Testament Scripture References: Matthew 8:23-27 and Mark 4:36-41

This morning I read  "Calm the Storm Inside"  by Ashlee Birk. It really touched me and is, I feel, a message for all of us.  I contacted Ashlee and she gave me permission to share her message with you.  

Sometimes it is hard to watch the news — attacks in Paris, the recent shooting in California. Tragedies remind us all how powerless we are. We hurt for the wounded of heart, of spirit and of mind. We mourn for the loss of those who have fallen, for their families, and for a safety we once took for granted.
A few days ago I kept getting dark thoughts about "why?" Why do these terrible things happen? Bitterness and anger began to build. I could not snap out of the agonizing feeling of chaos that filled my soul.
By late afternoon, my 4-year-old had gotten his feelings hurt and was going on about how his sister wouldn’t include him. Finally he said (with added breaths for effect), “Maybe I should hate her too.”
I took his hand and tried to think of ways to distract him. An idea came. I said, “When I don’t understand something I open my Bible to a random page and read."
So we did.
We opended to 1 John 4:18, which reads, "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."
I almost burst into tears; it felt like those words had been written for me. I had been living in fear and hadn’t even seen it sneak in.
With that awakening, the day began to feel brighter.
That night, I stood in the hall as my 6-year-old daughter’s voice echoed through its walls as she sang: "I am a child of God, and He has sent me here. Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear. Lead me, guide me, walk beside me, help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with Him someday."
The whys of my fears were again hushed as I was surrounded by the truth of his love.
Fears are the lies that surround us now. Fear that we are all prisoners to terrorists, power, and hate. Chaos and turmoil are tools to make us live without faith. We have to fight for grace.
God is there. It is hard to imagine that it is his sons and daughters he is watching hurt each other.
I used to believe that this world was divided by religion, social classes, countries, states and cities. I used to think that we were all divided — by waters.
But we aren’t. What divides this world is not oceans and borders. We are divided by lies, secrets, hate, pride and fears. Politically, emotionally, physically and spiritually — we don’t want to be wrong — and we sure as heck don’t want to lose.
But what we are losing — as we fight to be right — is our faith. What we are losing as guns sound to show power is our courage. It takes courage to live life in a shattered world we cannot control. And it takes even more courage to let others believe differently than we do. But it is when our beliefs blind us — and make us think we are better — that courage is lost.
We are all fighting the same war … and it isn’t about who is right or who is better. It is about finding love for ourselves, for each other, and for our Creator. If we found a way to unite against the real enemy, our world could find peace.
So today, whatever our religious beliefs, we are on the same team. This world is only broken because we have lost sight of the truth that we are all connected. Maybe we don’t all share the same skin color, or language, or religion, or continent, but we are all one.
We are connected in the fight against evil.
Others can try to take away our sense of safety — and unity — and even our lives. But they can’t take away our faith. Be strong. Have courage. Look for the light, for even though he cannot take away the storms around us, he can calm the storms inside.
Ashlee Birk is the author of "The Moments We Stand," the blog and book series of her healing journey after the secret infidelity and murder of her husband in 2011. She is a graduate of Utah State. Her webiste isthemomentswestand.com

Friday, December 18, 2015

No-Sew Activity Books---Simple and Quick . . .

to help you out if you don't sew or are in a time crunch for making gifts for those you love. . .

and/or for those who need a little love. 

(This is a "re-gifted" post from two years ago)

'Tis the Season for gift-giving but for those in special circumstances or who have special needs there is no special season.  Anytime is the right time if you have a little extra time.

Besides your own children or grandchildren, think of all the places (even for adults) were they would be lovingly welcomed:  Safe Houses and Homeless Shelters, Nursing Homes, Rehabilitation Centers, Hospitals, personal homes of those we may be aware of who are less fortunate than we are. 

These books are simple, quick, inexpensive, adaptable for any age and ability level, and can be used over and over again.  No sewing nor skill required.


1. Remove coloring or activity pages from magazines or coloring/activity books or print them from the computer. (There are many free printable pages available for all age and interest levels).

2. Insert the pages into page protectors. You can put the two sheets back-to-back in each protector.

3. Put in a thin 3-ring binder. 

4. Include a small box of dry-erase crayons or markers and a small piece of cloth for erasing.

I buy most of my binders at thrift stores.  They often come with page protectors already in them. Even if you buy them new, there are soft vinyl ones available, in bright colors, at Wal-Mart for $1.00.  When I need new page protectors I use 50 percent off coupons  at craft stores. A inexpensive zippered pencil pouch that has holes to fit the binder rings is great for holding the crayons/markers and cloth.

If you want more information, here are three helpful.




Have a grateful day,
I am, Simply Gail

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Give the Gift of Self not Stuff . . . for Those Who are Far Away

More Coupon Ideas-----For Those Who Live Away

Give a gift that keeps on giving—in the form of personalized coupons.

An offer for a future service is usually most welcome, especially when they are away.
Those who are away will especially welcome periodic contact!

Recap: To get started just think of things you would appreciate if you were the recipient. Next, consider what you are willing to do, like to do or do well, and combine the two.

For those away, the coupons would be different but with a little thought, there are still a variety of options.

Someone Moving Away: A promise to write every week, month, etc for a set period of time. No matter how friendly new neighbors are, moving from an old neighborhood is hard and letters are a welcome "upper."

For a Member of the Military, Missionary, or College Student: Let your imagination, their situation, and your relationship with that individual be your guide. Coupons can be provided for any number of items---letters, cookies, photographs, phone calls, or even new socks. They could be sent periodically or the recipient could redeem their coupon when they wanted the item.

Grandparents (or other relatives) who live alone or a distance away: Again, a promise to write as above---every week, two weeks, or a month, etc. Maybe include a photo when you can. Write a postcard if that is all you have time to do. You could even use the photo as the postcard!   I know your free time short and hectic, and I also know in many cases, their free time is long and lonely.

Even in this day of electronic correspondence and the telephone, there is something very special about a letter. 

Even in this day with the speed of all the
electronic correspondence and the telephone, 
there is something very special about 
receiving a letter.
     Years ago there was a short film "The Mailbox." Often I can't remember something I saw or read yesterday but this film I have never forgotten.
     An elderly lady lived alone on a rural country road. It was quite a long walk to her mail box but she made the effort every day, only to be disappointed----day after day. Occasionally there was a bill but nothing else. Her mail carrier would apologize if he was delivering when she happened along.
     Her children called her faithfully every week but she said it just wasn't the same. A letter you could hold and see and read--and re-read when loneliness became too much in between the phone calls.
     Finally there was a letter. She clutched it as she excitedly, and gingerly, made her way back up the long rough driveway. She eased herself into the chair and opened it.                                                                                                   

And fortunately, she passed on before she could read it. Her children had written to tell her they were would be there the next week----to move her to a nursing home.

Another RE-Gifted post  from October 2011. On this short notice (if you decide to use one of these ideas) the gift, while possibly belatedly received will still be very well received---I promise.

 And, if not this year, maybe you will want to tuck these ideas away for next year!

I hope my ideas may help wrap up your needs.

I am Simply, Gail

Monday, December 14, 2015

Give the Gift of Self . . . Not Stuff

It’s a gift-giving occasion! Often gift-giving time is stress time. Especially if the recipient "already has everything!" Doesn't want anything! Or you are short on time and/or money!

Give a gift that keeps on giving—in the form of personalized coupons.

An offer for a future service is usually, and universally, most welcome.

An offer for a future service is usually most welcome. 

To get started just think of things you would appreciate in a given situation, consider what you are willing to do, like to do or do well, and combine the two.

IDEAS to get you started:
Since we are usually deluged with goodies during the holiday season, consider giving your friends a  coupon for that goody--- redeemable about mid-January, when their larders are depleted and your time is freer.

Bride to Be: Copies of your favorite simple, seasonal treats, redeemable at the appropriate month throughout the year.

New Mother: What new mother wouldn’t appreciate an hour or two of babysitting (either with the new baby or if she has other children, taking them for a designated period of time), a casserole or special dessert at a time down the road when the attention has worn off and she is back in the grind, or maybe even a vacuuming of her home.

Young Family: An offer to take the children to the park or the library or wherever suits your fancy for an afternoon. The kids would love it, the parents would adore you.

Elderly or Home Bound: Coupon for lawn mowing, errand running, housecleaning, a special treat, or just simple periodic visiting.

Care Giver: If the situation is such that the care giver can leave you in charge for a period of time, they would truly appreciate an hour or two for themselves. If they cannot leave, you can offer to come over and read to, write letters for, brush the hair of, simply visit with the confined individual, or do whatever is needed—giving the care-giver an at-home break.

Child’s Teacher: Teachers need help with projects, bulletin boards, tutoring, or other classroom assistance, much more than they need “stuff.” Just pick the activity/help you feel comfortable with and the time you are available. Or, if  you are game for anything, give a coupon letting the teacher choose what she could use help with.

New Neighbors: If they are not familiar with the area you can give a coupon offering to show them around the town and a tour of the area; provide them with a list of local businesses and services that you have found economical and satisfactory; help for a project around their new home; a meal on a hectic day; or an invitation to come over and visit with you and some of the neighbors.


This is a post from October 2011 that I am "re-gifting" !