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.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Country 'tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty Let Freedom Ring

Each year, at the end of May, we in the United States remember and honor those who gave their lives in service of our country — to maintain our freedoms.

Each year on June 14th, we in the United States celebrate Flag Day, to honor the precious symbol of our freedom.

Each year on July 4th, we in the United States celebrate the day our country declared  its independence.

In the 1760's a small group, The Loyal 9, were the founding members of the Sons of Liberty dedicated to establishing these freedoms.

Sadly, each day we see these hard fought freedoms being eroded.

If you live in the United States you understand fully what I mean.  It is very frightening. It is very sad, but likely, that those of you living in other countries are seeing decline or further decline of your own nation, and are fearful for your families.

We, as individuals, wherever we live, may not be able to do much individually but we can help make a difference collectively —  there is great strength in numbers.

Take a pencil or slender stick and break it in half.  It is easy.
Hold several pencils or slender sticks together and see how difficult it becomes.

I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything

But still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

                                       Edward Everett Hale (American Clergyman 1822-1909)

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the myriad of challenges we face that need to be overcome. Rather than letting the culture, system, bureaucracy, and numerous challenges paralyze us and get us down, we need to put our focus on what we CAN do.

Our lives are so busy doing the necessary daily things that the most important things---no matter how good are our intentions---are never gotten to.  Our country’s freedoms are slipping away at an alarming rate. The zillion-page-bills that are being rushed, inappropriately, through our government processes are full of increasingly dangerous hidden agendas.

There is a new website that is bringing these deceptions to light — quickly and simply — in plain English so we can see and understand how this is happening. It also provides the opportunity for us, at a click, to respond to our respective representatives. The authors of this site, two of our sons, Josh and Luke, are passionate about our Constitution — the Constitution of the United States of America — and the freedoms it guarantees. They have spent many hours over many, many months developing this site at their own expense for our good. Please take a few minutes and check it out.


Each journey begins with one step.
When we fall down, it does not mean we have failed unless . . .                 we fail to get up.
Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.
Who and what we are is God’s gift to us --- What we give back is our gift to Him.

We may not be able to influence everyone or everything but with our actions we can bring peace to ourselves, our families, and maybe our immediate surroundings. Even those who live in the most dire circumstances imaginable can find peace internally.

In the Holy Bible (John 14:27) our Savior, Jesus Christ gives each of us this promise
    Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: 
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.        
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

footprints in the sand photo: footprints in the sand Sept.152007018.jpg
Footsteps in the Sand
                                      photo by 

One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

                                                                                        - by Margaret Fishback Powers

Our country’s days of remembering and honoring are becoming less and less days of remembering and honoring and more and more about just another holiday for fun and games.  Let’s do our own individual part to ensure that the fireworks we shoot off in celebration do not become fireworks aimed at our freedoms.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Quickly Capture Kitchen Clutter . . . In Stuff You Usually Throw Out

I understand the trendy term is "repurposing".

It suits me better to simply call it what it is --- finding practical and handy uses for things you normally discard.  Or, to use another previously trendy term  "thinking outside the box" . . . or tube or jug or dish drainer.

I like visuals so I planned a cute arrangement of what I am about to suggest but, alas, my day was crazy, Dave is not home to take the photo and get it to the blog, and we are in the middle of a strong electrical storm and I should turn off the computer so I am forging ahead---knowing you can easily visualize what I describe.

I know there are many commercial or cute/crafty clutter "capture-ers" available but the following serve their purpose at no cost or effort. You can fancy them up if you are so inclined.

I stuff stuff in the stuff I usually throw away!

Tissue Boxes:  My kitchen drawers are quite small, but three tissue boxes fit perfectly ---- two are placed to fit "long-ways" and the third fits "cross-ways".  Into one goes the empty bread or roll sacks or similar to reuse.  The second holds the quart zip lock bags I wash and reuse and...reuse.  The third contains my collection of bowl covers --- the handy (and retro) multi-sized elastic-edged "shower caps" of the kitchen.

Toilet Paper Tubes: Very handy for corralling appliance cords. Writing the appliance name on the tube saves some thinking. You can cover them with wrapping paper or scrapbook paper if you want pretty.  Imagine extending this concept to empty paper towel or wrapping paper rolls!

Gallon Milk Jug: Simply cut a round hole out of one side of the jug (they always seem to have an indented circle just begging to be your guide) and stuff it full of your plastic grocery bags.  Each jug will hold about 32!!  They will stand in a cupboard or hang from a hook. I keep a few bag-stuffed jugs on hand in case of some kind of emergency. In such a time there will probably be more uses for them than we can imagine right now. Before storing them I simply cover the hole with a piece of heavy paper or plastic and tape it. 

Dish Drainers:  Okay, this one may cost a few cents at a garage sale or thrift store if you don't have one laying around. Over the years I have used several, in a variety of sizes, in several different ways --- all of them perfect for the task at hand.

  • Back in the days before plastic grocery bags, folded brown paper grocery sacks stayed neatly and obediently upright between the spacers.
  • As a handy desk "file."  The spacers neatly hold file folders upright while the file folders neatly hold bills, receipts, correspondence, and whatever else seems to quickly and sometimes mysteriously pile up. I even have a file folder labeled "things to file." (which sometimes bulges!). Envelopes and notepads and more also fit well and the silverware cup is great for pens, pencils, scissors, etc.  If I decide to pay bills at the kitchen table it is handy to pick up and move from the office to the table. 
  • I have used dish drainers to file sewing patterns; hold my file folders of recipes, and even folders on information I am using as I work on my family history/genealogy.  
  • If I had been inclined to share, I am sure our children could have found good use for one in their rooms at their desks!
If you read my blog regularly you may find some of my ideas crazy. I have no problem with that, especially if you also find some of them helpful.  

Fortunately and thankfully, I have always taken "broke" as a challenge not a hardship. I find great satisfaction in making-do or copy-catting something---even if/when I could afford to buy it commercially.  I find even greater satisfaction in being able to share these things with all of you.

Here's to Happy Creative Frugality--Self Reliance--Ingenuity-- or just plain old Cheapskate-ness! Whatever it takes!

Have a great day.

        I am Simply, Gail