Living A Simplified Life!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Great Website to Share

I came across a really neat website that I want to share with you.
It is called Alice and it has all kinds of grocery items and they deliver to your doorstep! Do you hate to clip coupons?  Alice even does that for you too!

Check it out I was amazed at the variety of items they have and the fact that you only have to order 6 things at a time and your shipping is free!There are items there for every room in your home, including the garage and your office. Even pet food for your cat or dog. What a great idea especially for the elderly who may not have a car to get too and from the store and have to depend on others to get them there, or as in our case here the past few days in Oklahoma, with the heavy snow storms and the roads iced over and extremely slippery.

I can see this site as a great money saver and time saver for many, because there is even a section there where you can list how often you run out of things and they will remind you!

I have browsed through the different sections and have been comparing prices and there some terrific savings to be had!

Or as in our case here the past few days in Oklahoma, with the heavy snow storms and the roads iced over and extremely slippery.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We Got Snow!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Here is a picture of what our little city looked like as the storm blew into Oklahoma! Whiteout conditions, 50 mph winds which started with rain and sleet and then turned into snow.  By the time Christmas morning came, this is what we woke up to

 Some brave souls actually attempted to drive in this
Depending on where you live you woke up to between 12 and 14 inches of this white fluffy stuff!

Looks pretty doesn't it?

Thank you Annie for some great photos
I just had to share them with others so they can see how pretty all this looks!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's Grand to be Great!

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would live long enough to be a Great Grandma! I would have settled for just being able to live long enough to see each of my grandchildren grow to maturity and have the opportunity to see what they do with their lives.

December 18th, one of my granddaughter's made me a Great Grandma! Her little boy weighed in at 6lbs 12 ozs. He was a little early, they said he would be born at the end of the month rather than in the middle, but you know babies, they make their entrances when they think they should!  He did have some complications. They had to put him on oxygen for awhile and then transport him to a larger hospital to their NICU unit because of some additional medical problems.  So if you would please keep this little guy in your prayers I would surely appreciate it.  They named him Rhett, which is his daddy's middle name. I have a feeling it is a family name that has been carried down from generation to generation.

I made cookies last night and then marshmallow fudge today and did it ever turn out yummy!  All I know is I'd best get it wrapped up fast before I end up eating it all. Otherwise I see a holiday weight gain of at least 10 lbs that will take me forever to get rid of!

I also made 8 mini-loaves of banana bread to be given as gifts. They all turned out really nice and have been wrapped and all I need now are some pretty bows to go on top.

Tomorrow I will line the wicker sleighs with wax paper and saran wrap and fill them to the brim with spice cookies and chocolate cookies filled with chocolate chips. My daughters are really going to love me, I am going to have my grandchildren on such sugar highs they are going to be bouncing off the walls for weeks!

Tomorrow I have to also make some regular fudge, the recipe is posted over to the side of the blog. I was in a panic earlier today because I had picked up several cans of evaporated milk, thinking all my recipes I was making called for it, where as the regular fudge calls for condensed milk. So I got on the internet and checked to see if I could substitute one for the other.  I know that evaporated milk is not as thick and creamy as condensed, but I was figuring maybe there would be just a reduced amount that you should use in order to substitute. I learned that you can actually make evaporated milk into condensed milk by adding sugar and heating the mixture to reduce the water content. I have added this handy tip over on the side of the blog.Otherwise the advice was NOT to just substitute one for the other since they vary in sweetness and density of liquid.

It looks like at least parts of Oklahoma are going to get a slightly white Christmas! We are expecting some snow here in Oklahoma in the next 24-48 hours, with the upper part of the state receiving more than the central and southern sections. There is still a very good chance that we could get 1-2 inches of accumulated snow down into the central section of the state, with blustering winds and cold temperatures for at least several days.I will need to remember to "drip the faucets" if the temperatures stay below freezing for at least a 24 hour period. Nothing worse than busted water pipes on a holiday!

But before the snow arrives, we are expecting some thunderstorms and rain which will then turn into snow flurries, so driving could be quite hazardous. If you are traveling into Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado or the Texas panhandle, please be sure to check your local weather reports for those areas ahead of your trip. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Christmas.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays

Like most everyone else, my house has been a flurry of activity, getting ready for the holidays. At least I finally have some decorations up around the house and the wreath on the front door and the porch post trimmed with a pine garland and some ornaments!

Do I have gifts wrapped yet? Nope not a one!  I am in the process of still making many of my handmade gifts for this year. Luckily most of it will be done in the kitchen, in the form of cookies and candy which will hopefully go quickly.

I do have one tradition, where each year I give my grandchildren their own ornament to go on the tree. Some years they are purchased ornaments and other times they are handmade ones. Hopefully they will be taken care of and when they are grown up and ready to leave home and do a tree of their own, their parents will give them the ornaments that their Grandma has given them over the years. I am hoping that this will be a way for them to remember me long after I am gone.

This year, I am taking purchased ornaments and I am going to personalize them by doing their names on them in a monogram design with the year beneath it.

Besides a new granddaughter added this past month, I also now have a great grandson born just yesterday. Guess Grandma better hurry up and get busy, only a few more days and it will be Christmas Eve!

Wishing each and every one of you a blessed and safe holiday.
Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

What's In Your Stocking?

In our family it was always a tradition to have stockings hung to be filled by "Santa" and these were the first thing that one could open on Christmas morning. The stocking would contain an assortmant of wonderous little gifts, all depending on their ages, from little cars and crayons to hard candies and gum. As they got older the contents changed. Little did I know how much my oldest son recalled what was in there!

One year, after he had grown up and moved out on his own, I sent him a Christmas stocking in the mail. I get this phone call "Where's my Whitman's sampler? My mini flashlight?  My toothbrush and little tube of toothpaste? "  Ok, so I substituted Russell Stover, no big deal. As for the flashlight and the toothbrush and toothpaste, well, I figured he would much more appreciate some shaving cream, a razor and a nice bottle of men's cologne. At least I left in the packages of gum and the orange! I learned not to mess with tradtions.

My tree was always adorned with handcrafted decorations that my children made at school. Even though I don't put up a big tree any more, I still have many of those ornaments that I have wrapped lovingly in tissue paper, stored in a box. I probably should give them to my children to put on their own trees.

When my children were little, the Christmas tree always went up on December 1st so that we could enjoy it a long time and then came down on January 2nd. There were challenges when they were toddlers as to how to keep them from "undecorating" the tree, as they were fascinated by all the ornaments and lights. Back then all I could do was put chairs around the tree, with the seats facing the tree, or plunk them into a playpen if they were still of that age to do so.  Nowadays, they have those plastic paneled play yards that you can open up and that is what my daughters use to keep their little ones away from the tree.

Now that I have grandchildren and I have started a new tradition with them. Every Christmas, I give them an ornament to go on the Christmas tree. Some have been purchased and others have been handmade ornaments.

What traditions have you started with you family? Do you go to church on Christmas Eve? Get together to sing Christmas Carols or go caroling through your neighborhood? Have certain decorations that you always put up no matter what?  Do you make cookies and candies special for the holidays?

If you don't have a tradition, start one, you will be surprised on the impact that it has on your family.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Misdiagnosing Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia

I know that as a senior citizen, I used to worry about heart disease as being my cause of death since it is what killed many in my family, but I have since worried more about Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia because I would not remember my children, grandchildren or friends. To become so isolated within one’s own body, to where you would not be aware of your loved ones or your surroundings or the present time in your own life terrifies me!

Now that being said, there seems to be a great rush to conclusions today about the state of mind of our seniors. We are quick to put a label of these two diseases upon someone because they are starting to forget things such as eating, to pay bills, where they placed their car keys or where they were going. If you actually take time to look at some of the younger generation, say those in their 30‘s to 50’s you will see that they are actually doing the same forgetful things, but it ends up being shrugged off as happening because they are “pre-occupied, too much multi-tasking and too hectic or stressful life.” So do others think that just because we have turned 60ish that we are all at once removed from this hectic life style because we are now of retirement age? I think not, in fact we are probably a lot more stressed now that we are retired than we were when we were working!

Now that one is about to retire, or has retired, the very first thing that comes into consideration is “what am I now going to do with all this time I have to enjoy my golden years?” I know when I was younger, I really looked forward to the day when I would be able to retire, to sit back, relax, go on trips, go visit my kids and play with my grandchildren whenever I wanted to! I could take my time doing things, no more wearing a wrist watch and having to worry about schedules. By the way, that was the first thing I ditched when I retired….. Got rid of the blasted watch! I soon learned that the golden years aren’t what they were cracked up to be! You thought you were going to be able to retire but instead you are continuing to have to work, even if it is just on a part time basis and it isn’t easy to find work when you are of retirement age.

We also worry a lot about finances. I know that in my particular case, I was so busy supporting and raising four children almost all of their lives by myself and with no child support from their father’s (back then there wasn’t the court enforcement the way there is today) that I didn’t have enough money to set aside for my retirement. I worked quite a few different jobs over the years, never staying with a company long enough to have a 401K or retirement program set up through the company that I worked for. Consequently, now that I am retired, I have only my Social Security and what little else I can earn on the side by continuing to work, as my only source of income. This does make for a very stressful situation, since it seems there is no end to the continual rise in prices for every day necessities such as food, electricity, gas, insurance for both house and car, car tags etc. I can say that I am fortunate enough to have my car paid for but not my house, so there is that expense also, but it is still cheaper than trying to live in an apartment. I also pay my portion of the Part D Medicare, not asking for that to be paid for me.

Like many seniors, I enjoy being independent and not having to avail myself of the social welfare services of asking for assistance with my every day living expenses, although if things continue as they are, I may end up having to humble myself and apply for some assistance. Our generation is a proud generation, having been raised that you take care of yourself, you don’t ask the government for help. For some reason, the younger generation seems to think that they are entitled to all kinds of government assistance and I have to wonder where that mindset came from. Surely all of us as parents didn’t impart that to our children, that they are owed assistance from the government or from other people for that matter. You do for yourself or you do without is what I always learned.

Children, if you happen to notice that your elders seem to be exhibiting the signs of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, please start looking at their situation more closely before you put that diagnosis on them. Maybe what you are seeing is nothing more than financial and emotional stress rather than those dreaded diseases. Remember your parents are proud and they don’t want to ask you for assistance after all, a parent is supposed to help their children, not the other way around!

Here are some signs you need to look for that could be the signs of financial and then consequently emotional distress rather than actually being sick with Alzheimer’s or Dementia or it could actually be signs of those diseases as well. Look beyond the possibility of being sick!

Your parent is more reclusive than they once were. This can be a sign of not having enough money for gas to put into the car to come visit you, or enough money to pay for the insurance or the current car tags. It can also be a sign of depression which comes with not getting out in the sunshine or being with other people. This is one reason a circle of friends, family and church are very important especially at this age. Keeping active, sharing thoughts and times with others helps keep seniors young.

Sudden changes in their eating habits. They no longer eat meat, a variety of fruits and vegetables, or large meals any more. Look beyond the statement of “I am dieting, or I have become a vegetarian.“ Perhaps they just can’t afford to purchase the groceries needed to provide them with a good variety of food items.

They have upped their use of vitamins, holistic medicine alternatives, natural cures for illnesses. Truly they may be serious about wanting to take better care of their bodies but maybe they can’t afford to go to the doctor or pay for their medications

They tell you they don’t watch much TV any more. Could it be that they no longer have electricity?

They are giving up their telephone? They can’t afford the monthly bill.

They are keeping the house warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter than they have in the past? They are trying to conserve on cooling and heating costs.

Are their personal hygiene habits faltering? Dishes piled up in the sink or lots of dirty laundry around? It could be they are without water, trying to conserve on water, or the washer or dishwasher is broken!

How often do you go and actually check on your parents? Do you talk to them more by phone rather than visiting them in their homes? Have you looked inside their refrigerator or cupboards to see how well their cupboards are stocked? Have you checked to see that they have electricity or heat if they use gas furnaces? Have you flipped a light switch or changed the thermostat setting? What about the water, have you run the tap?

Now if you go into their home and see it in total disarray, filthy dirty, unopened mail, stacks of papers everywhere and not filed away, having to make pathways through the house to get from one end to another, then you need to be worrying. I have a friend who has been telling me for over 20 years now that she is getting organized and according to her caretaker she still has tons of cardboard boxes full of papers! Now granted, she is a writer, but I know for a fact that she has umpteen copies of the same manuscript because she keeps revising and revising and never throws out the old copies. It is the same way on her computer!

Overstocked cupboards with items that they would not normally stock up on (like 10 cans of baking soda or 20 bottles of wine) you need to be concerned. Purchases of items that they normally wouldn’t buy or making investments that they normally wouldn’t make, it is time to worry.

I can tell you that you will need to be subtle about doing this, otherwise your parent will become paranoid and you may be in for a tongue lashing….. “What are you doing checking up on me? Don’t you think I can take care of myself?” Where in reality maybe they can’t or they are too proud to tell you that they are in need of financial assistance.

If you notice they are struggling, perhaps you can offer assistance to them without them even realizing you are doing so. Drop by one day with a bag of groceries and fresh fruits and lots of canned goods and staple items. “ Oh I went shopping and found some great bargains and overbought! I thought you could use these I’d hate to have them go to waste and I don’t have room to store it all.”

“I thought I’d just come on by and mow your yard for you…. It’s been too hot for you to get out and do it, or it’s been too wet and hard to push the mower” are good excuses to help them with yard work. Perhaps bring over some pretty flowers to plant or weed killer to get rid of the weeds in the yard.

“You are always helping me, so I thought today I would come over and repay the kindness and love you have shown me” as a way to help with the housework. What parent could say no to you when you say something like this?

If you have really evaluated the situation and are sure that it isn’t just circumstances that have caused your parent to be in the position that they are in, then it is time to get a medical evaluation and face the situation together. Remember that parent who is losing control of their life and their memory is very frightened inside and will do the very best they can to not only hide the fact that they are getting confused and forgetful, but will do everything in their power to cover it up and hide the truth from you. They realize that eventually they will be all alone, trapped inside their body with no connections to the ones they love and who love them. Reassure them now while you can, that you are going to always be there for them and will always love them no matter what.