Living A Simplified Life!


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Making Transitions and New Adventures

I am really noticing more and more families wanting to move out of cities into small towns, or out into the country where their children will have lots of room to spread their wings and room to roam. They will be in smaller classrooms where there will be about 15 students rather than in a classroom with 25 - 28 students. They want their children to experience getting out of the house and not sitting in front of a TV or computer, or continually talking on a cell phone, but the fun of playing with and caring for farm animals, going to the pond out back and throwing a fishing line in the water, swinging on an old fashioned tire swing or catching fireflies or as some call them "lightening bugs" in a mason jar as dusk begins to fall. The picking of fruit from the tree or a fresh tomato from the vine in the garden out back.

Mom and Dad may have to work in the city, but are now anxious to get home to their new lifestyle and relax. They like going back in time, to being more self sufficient, with their own vegetable garden, raising chickens for eggs and meat, maybe a goat or a cow to milk  and a horse or two to ride along dusty trails, soaking in the beauty of the country that surrounds them. We now live in such a fast paced world, rushing here and there, relying so much on all the fantastic electronics in our lives, that we forget to take time and appreciate the simpler things in life and I think the thirty and older crowd are now beginning to realize that.

I basically have been a city girl most of my life, only having the luxury of living out in the country for about six years, when we lived in the Austin, Texas area. Being born in the Midwest, in Michigan, I always joked with folks that when they said booties I thought they said boots and that is why my heart has always been in the wide open spaces!  We may no longer be in Texas but we are in Oklahoma and we love it here as well. There is nothing better than trading in a suit or a dress for a pair of jeans, a simple T shirt and a pair of boots!

I am so thankful that my grandchildren are going to have the experience of living in the country I know they are going to love it. From the gathering of eggs, chasing and playing with goats, to participating in 4H and attending the local rodeo!

Friday, August 17, 2012

My Computer is Fried!


Aka...........What do I do now?

Eventually that dreaded day is going to come, like it or not, when you are going to have something happen to your computer. You will log on and get nothing but the “blue screen of death and doom and gloom” or it won’t turn on at all.

Your first reaction of course is what happened? Well, it could have been a power surge that made it past your power strip. You do have one installed on your unit right? If not that is your very first line of defense.

There could have been a severe thunderstorm with lots of lightening and you didn’t totally unplug your computer from the electrical socket before the storm struck and whammo! You got fried!

The next thought, at least in my case is “all my important contacts and information is on my computer.”  I do lots of genealogy work and my mind is instantly reeling because I know I’ve not backed up the files in forever.  Lesson learned, back up all your files every single month. Put EVERYTHING onto a DVD /CD disc. At least your information can be easily installed onto a new computer and all your hard work hasn’t been in vain.

The other thing is, even though the motherboard is dead in the water, chances are if you have a good technician, he will be able to retrieve all your information off of your hard drive. Enter Mitch from PC Headquarters, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I contacted him and he could hear my fears and frustrations of what had happened. After calming me down, the instructions were to send him the hard drive and he would try and get everything he could off of it for me. 

Within just a couple hours of receiving my hard drive, Mitch gave me a call and said that we were in luck he was going to be able to retrieve everything for me and would be putting it onto a disc for me. Now when I say everything, I mean everything. He was able to not only get every file for me, but every bookmark as well.

Within 5 days I had my package back, along with the old hard drive reformatted and installed in the external drive unit that I’d purchased and sent to him.

Now I have the external hard drive where I can put all of my genealogy work separate and if I need to run to the storm shelter because of tornadoes, I can grab that unit and take it down into the shelter with me, knowing that information will be safe and secure. Now I also have a family site where I have information posted as well, but 9 times out of 10, it isn’t as up to date as the records on my computer.

So no matter where you live, if you need a good technician that really “knows his stuff” and is reasonably priced, give Mitch a call. Tell him Kay sent you!
 

Thanks Mitch for saving the day and my sanity!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Too Hot To Cook

As summer temperatures begin to soar, most of us not only don't feel like standing over a hot stove cooking, detest heating up the house unnecessarily, as well as most of the family really doesn't feel like eating hot foods anyway.
So take this time to create some quick and simple menus that require little or no cooking, that will be satisfying to everyone.

If you have portions of the meal that do require cooking, try to do that in the early morning or later in the evening. Here where I live, we have the "Smart Meters" on our electricity usage. From 2PM-7PM is considered "peak hours" so I do everything that I can that requires using lots of electricity outside of that time frame. Besides, cooking early in the day or later in the evening, either for the night meal or prepping ahead for the next day, is easy to do.

So here are some of the things that I've been making which require little or no cooking that might be of interest to you as well.

Tuna Salad. Make up a large batch that can be used in several ways. The conventional sandwiches, or on a bed of lettuce with some tomato slices and crackers, or try scooping out the insides of a tomato and put a big scoop of salad in the center. Make a Tuna/Macaroni Salad where you cook up your macaroni noodles, mix in the tuna salad and chill it for eating later on.

Fruit platter delight. Set out a large platter with different types of fruit and let everyone fix their own. A variety of Grapes, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honey Dew . Make a dressing out of honey and mayonnaise or miracle whip (if you prefer something a little lighter) or even just put out a tub of Cool Whip.

Strawberry Shortcake. I remember Grandma making up  huge cake pan sized shortcakes. She would core and sweeten the strawberries while the cakes were cooking. Then hot out of the oven, the cakes would get sliced and berries and whipped cream would be layered in the middle and on top. Then cut into big pie shaped wedges and served with a tall glass of ice tea.

Ice Cream and Cantaloupe  Cut a cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds, fill the center with Vanilla ice cream.

Hoggies are also always welcome in the summer. Using a loaf of french bread or hoggie buns, have ready a variety of luncheon meats, pickles, onions, olives, peppers, lettuce cheeses and condiments. Let everyone fix their own sandwiches. Since some adults might rather use vinegar and oil than regular condiments, put out a shaker bottle for them as well.

Hopefully these will give you some new ideas on fixing something that is not only quick and easy to prepare but also a new "twist" on summer eating.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

With the onset of high 70’s and low 80’s for temperatures here the next few days, I do believe that spring has finally sprung!

My daffodils and jonquils bloomed early and then got hit by the cold temperatures. They were so pretty for the short time they lasted this year and I was sorry to see their little heads drooping with the second cold snap that hit them.

Today I have the windows open wide, curtains are blowing gently in the breeze. Little bit is snoozing on the bed and Misty is up on the window ledge watching the robins pecking away in the yard looking for something to eat.

Our recent heavy rains have made the grass and weeds really grow and everyone in the neighborhood is taking advantage of our beautiful day to mow their yards. The humming of the lawnmowers is a welcoming sign that spring is indeed here. It’s a beautiful day to get outside and visit with your neighbors.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

What Have You Been Doing?

I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve actually been working on accomplishing my New Year’s Resolutions.

Getting Organized

The big one for me, since I’m also in the process of downsizing my house. Trying to decide what I really am willing to part with has been difficult to say the least!  The one thing I have to remember is that I just won’t have the room for it all in an apartment. 

This next week, I am going to schedule a day when I can go look at some local apartments and get a feel for how much room is actually there to work with. Even though I’ve drawn out several layouts on paper and arranged furniture, actually seeing the space should help more in my decisions of what to keep and what to get rid of. I’m also thinking that psychologically it is going to be a good thing, bringing me closer to the realization that this has to be done.  We all fear the unknown, it is a known fact, so the more I can prepare myself the better off I’m going to be.

I’ve already boxed up many of my books, "knack-knacks" and craft supplies but I’m afraid I am going to need to go through everything and let go of even more than I already have. At least I know that they will be going to new homes as I’m either giving things to the Salvation Army or listing them on free cycle.

So how are you doing?  Are you getting that “Spring Fever” cleaning feeling yet? I’d like to know what all you are doing around your house.




Tuesday, January 3, 2012

KISS

What an odd title for an article you might think until you realize that KISS stands for Keep It Simple Silly (I don't  like the other word "stupid" because of it's negative connotations)

We are all making our New Year's Resolutions and many will have a list as long as your arm!  Do you really think with that many you will even be able to accomplish all of them?  Why not just make just a couple instead so that you know you can actually fulfill those goals.

Think of the most pressing issues that you need to accomplish. Is it to lose some weight this year? How about saying you need to lose just 10 lbs or 20 lbs rather than that 30-50 that you THINK you really need to get off. Once you are able to shed the smaller amount, then the rest will be easy to shed. Think about signing up at a local YMCA or gym where you can use either exercise equipment or a pool to get some additional exercise and also increase your energy and desire to lose that weight. Better yet, go buy an outfit, one size smaller than you currently wear, hang it on a hook on the outside of your closet door as a visual reminder that you WILL get into that by next New Year's eve!

Getting organized...... oh how I love this one, I do it every year!  So this year, because I've already done a lot of pitching and tossing of items in preparation for moving, I won't have such a chore with this one this year. I used to get overwhelmed at the prospect, looking at all of the "things" I had accumulated from living in my home for over 14 years. So when I decided I needed to sell my house and that I would be looking at an apartment, with probably under 650 sq ft to accommodate all my belongings, I went on a cleaning spree. I've already packed away many items that will go with me and have the boxes labeled and stacked in closets. But you know what?  I am thinking I will be going through some of them again and doing some additional "weeding out."

I have heard a few friends say that they haven't taken a vacation in years. Many did the "stay-cation" this last year or two because of the economy and the price of gasoline to go on any long trips. Since most people plan to do their traveling between June and September when their children are out of school or the weather is nice in all parts of the country, this will give you six plus months to start saving for that trip. This month, think of a few places you would like to go visit, start searching on line for information such as cost of accommodations such as  hotels or camping grounds (if you are going to go by RV), sign up for some grocery store flyers and restaurants so you can see what the cost of food will be in that area. Of course you will want to check out the Chamber of Commerce websites to find out what special activities might be available during the time you plan on being there. By planning now, you will likely be able to meet your goal of having a true vacation this year. Send for some of those pretty brochures and put them out where you can see them and then place a big jar next to them where you can pitch in all your change. Granted, that isn't going to cover the cost, but it is a great visual aid when you see that jar filling up.

One of my goals this year, which I didn't give you the other day, is to have a more positive outlook on everything! I really got in a funk this past year. I personally had many struggles as did so many of my friends, family and just acquaintances. We all felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel, someone turned the light out. So this year, I truly am looking for better things for everyone, from improved personal relationships, to new or better conditions in their work environment, and personal introspection and growth. For our country, this is an election year and one that I truly hope will bring about our public officials at all levels of government from local to national, realizing you can't borrow your way out of debt and some changes really do need to be made. With elections coming up, we the people can have a strong voice in helping to bring about those changes by exercising our right to vote.

So get out your pen or pencil, a piece of paper and write down your resolutions. Then post them where you can see them every day and then be accountable, you know you want to reach them !