My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

They're Done!!

True to his promise, hubby has built raised garden beds, and they are a work of art! They are 10 inches tall and after laying down a thick layer of newspaper, landscape fabric was stapled to the first tier, all in an effort to prevent weeds. How wonderful it will be to garden without endless weeding.

Pics to follow. Now all I have to do is figure out what to plant! More on that soon!

Monday, May 25, 2009


In an attempt to use up the store of material I have, I searched the internet for patterns for a little girls skirt and found one at
It was a simple pattern for a ruffled skirt and knowing how much my grandbaby loves frills, I just had to try it. For those who enjoy quick results, you must try this. It takes relatively little material and is a suitable pattern for a beginner like me! I finished it this weekend and will post a pic. What you won't see, unless there is a strong wind, is the label which reads, "Handmade by Nana with love." It is hidden under the first frill.

I love to make things with my hands. I like the sense of accomplishment I feel when a project is completed. I knit, crochet, hook rugs, quilt, but my favorite hobby is painting. The kayak picture on this blog header and one posted at the bottom of the page is one I did this year. I will attempt to post others. I am learning still. The biggest lesson to learn, however, is to always make time for those things that you love to do. Life is short and the biggest regret I have heard over and over again in my nursing profession, is the regret of what was not done. Enjoy those things that you love!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A new beginning...

Today I attended the birth of a new grandson. Can anyone really describe the emotions felt at hearing that first cry? Is there anything really better than this? Everything...all other experiences...seem to pale in comparison. What possibly can be more thrilling than a new arrival?

Our children and our grandchildren are our greatest trust...our greatest gift....our great treasure....our future...our hope. They are the rainbow after the storm... They are proof positive that life goes on....that life is good.

Martin Farquar Tupper wrote... "A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love. a resting place for innocence on earth. a link between angels and men."

We welcome you, little one, as we welcome, and look forward to the arrival of your little cousin this fall. Life IS good.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Laura Bush's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hubby and I seldom eat cookies. (We sure don't need them!)...but when I know that we have company coming to help "dispose" of them, I make them then. I have fond memories of walking into my grandmother's house to the smell of home baking. This is the kind of memory I want my own children to keep...

Below is a recipe I happened upon. It has quickly become a favourite.

Laura Bush's chocolate chip cookies.....


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon. baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups sweetened flake coconut
  • 2 cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)

  • Directions

    Prep Time: 25 minutes
    Bake Time: 17 to 20 minutes
    Yield: About 3 dozen cookies (see note below)

    1. Heat oven to 350 F.

    2. Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.

    3. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes.

    4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla.

    5. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.

    6. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.

    7. Bake in 350 F oven 17 to 29 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

    Note: For 6 dozen small cookies, use 2 tablespoons dough for each. Bake at 350 F for 15 to 18 minutes.

    Copyright 2000, Laura Bush

    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Homemade Yogurt

    For the past several weeks I have been making my own yogurt, and have found it such a simple task to do. Not only have I saved a lot of packaging from going into the recycling bin, or to the garbage, but I have produced a product that is clean, free from fillers, chemicals and possible contaminants.and also one that tastes fresh and good. Yogurt makers are inexpensive, and although the wait for the finished product is several hours, prep time is only about 1/2 an hour. The following is my recipe...

    Bring 4 cups of milk to a near boil. Cool milk to room temp and add 2 tbsp of skimmed milk powder and 2 tablespoons of "starter". (Yogurt from a previous batch.) Pour into yogurt glasses that come with the maker and "cook" for 8 to 10 hours. I have found that the longer I cook it, the thicker the end result.


    Tuesday, May 12, 2009

    A Busy Day

    Today I spent three hours tending my garden. The tulips are almost done and my Magnolia tree is starting to leaf out. The garden will have very little colour for a few weeks until the roses are in bloom. Gardening can be back breaking work, but the results are worth the labour.

    Anthony Robbins said "that there's no abiding success without commitment." I have committed to tending this garden of mine like I have in no other year past. I have often tired of weeding and haven't watered as often as I should, and the garden has reflected my lack of interest. This year I commit to doing better.

    Before going outside, I prepared another vegetable stew. I tend to lose interest in preparing meals when I am alone and my crock pot has been very useful lately. Nothing is prettier or more nourishing, than a pot full of colourful vegetables. I have now fully committed to a vegetarian lifestyle.

    I have also committed to using my clothesline as often as weather permits... and as the day wanes, I have one more chore to do...and that is taking my sweet smelling laundry from the line.

    This has been a full day... a productive and a satisfying day...

    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Take it from me...

    From a nearly 60-year-old abstainer, who has far too much time on her hands...

    THIS I know to be true...

    1. Older women should not be left alone... Far too much time is spent in conjuring up projects to amuse oneself.

    2. There is no explanation why an abstainer would suddenly want to make dandelion wine.

    3. The older I get, the further I am from the ground.

    4. God made that wonderful race of Italians...who are excellent wine makers... shorter in stature for good reason.

    5. Picking dandelion heads is like picking strawberries EXCEPT that the "fruit" is further apart, and more walking is involved, which is challenging when you can't get up from a stooped position.

    6. It would be prudent to stretch before picking.

    7. There is good reason to enlist help from family members while picking. However...on the flip side...

    8. Due to the odd and painful positions one must assume while dead-heading, picking should only be done in privacy.

    I am sure that I will be able to add to this post in the coming days as I was only able to harvest three cups of heads....(in 2 hours, but not let that discourage you!) Thankfully, Dandelion heads can be frozen until enough have been harvested.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009


    Wow! It has been hard to find the time to blog when my garden is constantly calling... I just love this time of year so much. Every day surprises me by revealing what has survived the winter. The apple trees and cherry tree are in bud. The blueberry bushes are alive! Tulips, Hyacinth, Magnolia and Rose bushes are either in flower or are showing leaf. I just love it! This weekend, hubby and I will start building our raised flower beds.

    I have, since starting this blog, slowly transitioned to a vegetarian lifestyle. It has not been difficult. Eating non- meat based meals makes me feel lighter and more alive :) Unfortunately, I had to make a purchase..(I say that because I am attempting to consume less)..of a new Crock pot as mine cracked across the bottom and I was concerned about lead leaching into my food. Today I threw every vegetable that I could find into the slow cooker... tomatoes, celery, beans, potato, carrots, sweet potato and barley... It looked so pretty that I just had to take a picture of it, and when I can figure out how to load pictures on this site, or when hubby gets home to do it for me, (whichever comes first), I will.

    I have finished one sock and am halfway through another. I am working on a child's quilt. I don't expect to finish THAT any time too soon. Instead of buying more projects, I am working hard to finish up forgotten crafts.

    So, I think I have made little steps, and I look forward to making more. If anything, I feel more aware and more conscious of the benefits of the choices I make. I think I am moving in the right direction.

    Friday, May 1, 2009


    Today I revamped an old towel into reusable Swiffer dry dusters. I no longer need to buy disposables!

    Today I worked on a half-finished pair of socks!

    Today I connected with an old and dear friend.

    Today dad came for supper... and we discussed plans regarding our upcoming trip to PEI.

    Today my daughter and I chatted.

    Today my tomatoes.... livingroom grown...turned red.

    Today I brought in clothes from the line which smelled fresh and clean and they continue to dry indoors adding moisture and fragrance to our home.

    Today I have focused on the positive....and was thankful for each and every encounter.