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.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way Towards Cool, Refreshing Summer Drinks . . .

Ready to Enjoy in about a Minute!

It is 4:00 in the afternoon and 
our thermometer currently
registers 114 degrees!

lowering sun shining
(same as yesterday--same forecast for tomorrow) 

And the thermometer isn't in the direct sun!!

It doesn't take much time to chop fresh fruits and stock the freezer.  Whenever beverage-friendly produce is on sale I buy a lot. This week it was 30 pounds of bananas at 39 cents per pound ---  $12.00. The regular price of bananas range from 53 to 69 cents per pound, depending on the store.

We use frozen bananas as the base for the majority of our smoothies and icy drinks.

I know many people freeze bananas whole and break them up when it is time to use them.  I don't want my hands or our blender to work that hard! We do it simply by . . .


  • quart-size zip lock freezer bags
  • one wide mouth container to hold the bags upright if desired. (I like to fold the edges of the bags down, so the area to be sealed doesn't get banana goop on it.)
  • one damp washcloth to wash said goop from hands, as needed.
  • one knife
I thinly slice 2 bananas into each bag. After doing several bags, I wipe off my hands, and one at a time, lay each bag flat on the table, seal it about 3/4th of the way closed, and using the flat of my hand, smoosh the bananas. This spreads the bananas throughout the bag and pushes out the extra air at the same time.  I seal it the rest of the way. Stack the flattened bags and freeze them. 

To use, I bend the unopened bag back and forth to loosen the frozen bananas and break off the amount I need. When I am making drinks for the two of us I usually use the entire bag.

I also reuse the bags --- over and over and over. I thoroughly rinse them out, drape them over a faucet to dry, fold them and store them in an empty cardboard tissue box in a drawer.

mix 2.gif
Currently our favorite cool-off drink is simply one package of the frozen bananas and some frozen cantaloupe cubes blended with apple juice to achieve the consistency you like. 

I use different juices and different fruits and berries for   variety. Sometimes, canned pineapple. Sometimes orange juice.  Occasionally, unflavored sparkling water. You are limited only by your likes and your imagination! 

If you want more ideas, check under beverages in the recipe list on the right hand column of this blog.


You can freeze lemon slices and add a few to a pitcher of cold water.  Fresh (not frozen) cucumber slices, added to cold water also makes a refreshing drink. Both are 100 percent calorie free.

I buy frozen raspberry pieces in 10 pound blocks, defrost slightly so I can  divide the block into portion-sizes and freeze them in the zip-lock bags.

Grapes are a delicious snack to eat frozen---or to garnish a slushy fruit drink. Simple wash and stem them and spread them on a cookie sheet and freeze. This keeps them separated after you bag them. 


We don't have an ice maker and I hate to bother with ice cube trays so I do the same with pebble ice. Pebble ice is what butchers use in their fresh meat displays. In our local store the pebble ice machine is actually located in the butcher department. Years ago, when I would ask to buy a plastic grocery bag full they would just give it to me. Now I buy it in the freezer section, right next to the other bagged ice.

I buy a large bag, divide it as above and freeze those bags. They are perfect!  Grab the portion-sized bag, bang it on the counter once or twice and the ice is back to its pebble form. (Even when I have left the large bag in the freezer for weeks before dividing it, it still easily breaks into pebbles. Not so with crushed ice.)


I am Simply, Gail and I hope you find my postings helpful.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Our gift exchange with our God

From Dave and Gail : We don't know how or when this got started but since it has worked so well for us for over 50 years, we want to share it with you.   

In spite of our deep love for, and friendship with, one another --- once in a while we each encounter little irritants in one another. 

You know, little things like, one puts the glasses top side up in the cupboard while the other turns them upside down, one puts the toilet paper on the opposite way the other thinks it should go. Sound familiar? Little unimportant things that some couples let fester. 

As they have occurred we have simply categorized each as an IN SPITE OF  (relegating them to their proper place of unimportance)  and go on with life.

As in, I love Dave in spite of . . . and Dave loves Gail in spite of  . . .

In happy marriages both the husband and the wife consider their relationship to be a treasure of infinite worth---Something to be nourished and strengthened daily. Their marriages are based on cooperation, not negotiation. 

Disagreements can be expected on occasion, as each spouse comes from different backgrounds and different ways of doing even simple everyday things. Discussion is the way to handle those times, along with mutually agreed upon compromise when needed. Arguing is nothing more than a power struggle!  

Recognizing that the most important work that anyone can do takes place in their home,  couples consciously turn off electronics and tune in together by making their dinner hour and the family time that follows the center of their day and the object of their best efforts.They share household duties, and share in getting their little children ready for, and putting them, to bed. Ideally, following that, the electronics stay off allowing the couples to share meaningful time together. 

Successful marriages are built on the foundation of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and adherence to His teachings. Couples do not consider the commandments to be a buffet from which they can pick and choose only the most appealing offerings.

In happy  marriages transparency is a key element to that happiness. Ideally, couples should make all financial decisions together, both have access to all information; both keep their social media use fully worthy in every way with no secret Internet experiences nor anything that approaches the appearance of impropriety---either virtually or physically. 

Joy is gained when marriage is not a 50-50  relationship but rather a 100-100  --- one in which each spouse strives to give their best to the other. 

In fulfilling marriages husbands and wives treat each other with respect and as equal partners, making decisions unanimously, with each of them acting as a full participant and entitled to an equal voice and vote in decisions. At no time should it be a competition. 

Humility, (and repentance in partnership with forgiveness) maintains (or restores) harmony and peace. 
Consider the letter at the center of the word pride.  Pride is pure selfishness and the need to always be right. 

Humility is selfless, not selfish. It doesn't demand its own way or speak with superiority. Humility answers softly and listens kindly for understanding, not vindication. 

Working towards a great relationship requires each of us to realize, and accept the fact, that we cannot change someone else. With faith, effort, and the help of God, we can honestly examine our own self, and make changes in our own  heart and behaviors. Taking needed steps to improve ourselves improves our attitude and our improved attitude improves the atmosphere in the home as we strive to treat others, especially our spouses, as we want to be treated.

Our Lord has commanded couples to cleave to one another, or in other words to be completely devoted and faithful to one another. Couples, when marrying, should  leave behind their single life, establishing each other and their marriage as their first priority. 

Much of the above comes from  a talk by L. Whitney Clayton, a member of the Presidency of the Seventy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Dave and I, still very much in love and "in like" after 50 years, second everything he says.  If you would like to listen to, or read,  the complete talk simply click below