Living A Simplified Life!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Christmas Gifts for College Students

Gifts for College Students

Christmas will soon be here and finding something different and unusual to give to a new freshman going off to college can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when you aren’t around them all the time and know their likes and dislikes. Do not be tempted to stick a twenty-dollar bill in a card and call it good, but do you really think that is something that will be remembered once that money is spent? Here are some ideas that might make a longer lasting impression.

For the girls

A wicker basket filled with a pretty towel set, some fragrant scented soaps, a pair of slippers and a bathrobe

Potpourri, scented electric candles (many colleges will not let them use regular candles) and sachets for their dresser drawers and closets

Herbal teas, flavored coffees and creamers, cookies, biscotti and chocolate bars

A bulletin board decorated in their favorite colors or their school colors

A throw pillow for their bed with a large monogram initial embroidered on it

One of those new picture frames that does the automatic slide shows, filled with family and friends pictures

For the boys

A wastepaper basket filled with snack food items, like pretzels, popcorn, and beef jerky, different types of candy and energy bars

Gift certificates to the local pizza place

Oversized bath towels and washcloths make great gifts. Guys would much rather use an oversized towel wrapped around their waist than to wear a robe after their shower

Bulletin board in their school colors

A blanket with the school’s mascot or logo on it

Portable CD player with earphones and a carrying case for their music

Pay for a couple of tickets to their school’s football or basketball games

If your student is allowed to have a hot plate in their rooms, take a laundry basket, put in all types of canned goods that they can heat up quickly to make a meal out of, add a small saucepan, a large spoon and a can opener. Throw in various types of crackers, peanut butter, the squirt cheese in a can, Spaghetti O’s, corn-beef hash, pork and beans, macaroni and cheese, and a variety of soups.

With college kids anything food they love whether it is sweet, salty or sour. Your gift does not have to be expensive; just make it unique, something that comes from the heart. You will be surprised how years from now, they will remember it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Kay's Country Cottage Store

With the holiday season fast approaching and Christmas to be here soon, I have added a store for your shopping convenience. If you are like me, you hate the hustle and bustle of crowds and would much rather shop from the convenience of an easy chair where you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee or cocoa and relax as you shop.

Right now the store is under construction and I hope to have it up and running for your buying pleasure in the new few days.

I hope you enjoy this new addition to the website.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Passion for White Towels

What it is about fluffy, large white towels, especially when they are still warm from coming out of the dryer? I love them! Particularly the over-sized towels; the ones you can wrap up in after a good hot shower or a languid soothing soak in the tub. Maybe it is all those “chick-flick” movies where you see luxurious bathrooms in a hotel or penthouse, with spa type tubs and gold handles, filled to the brim with multitudes of bubbles and the floor strewn with rose petals and candles everywhere, all lit, casting a soft glow around the room.

One of the reasons that I like white towels is when it comes time to redecorate the bathroom. White towels, hand towels and wash cloths go with everything. There is something very refreshing about seeing sparkly clean white towels hanging in a bathroom. They are also very easy to keep clean and don’t look faded like colored towels. After just so many washings you feel like you need to send colored ones to the rag bin! White ones can be bleached or hung outside on a clothesline to be brightened by natural sunlight.

I prefer towels with just plain hems at the bottom. So many towels will have that small section about three inches up from the bottom that has a woven section and they always seem to pucker up. Here is this beautiful big towel now scrunched up to about half its width at the ends because of this crazy woven strip! At first I thought it had to do with inexpensive towels so I decided to purchase more expensive ones. That didn’t help either, they still puckered! So now when buying replacements, I look for ones that just have a hem and no fancy stitching.

Do you think that plain white towels are just too blah for your tastes? There is something special about having monogrammed towels, especially the ones with the large monogram on one end; it makes your towels very personalized and elegant.

Now please excuse me, there is a bathtub calling my name. It is surrounded by lit candles, a CD is playing some soft relaxing music and a big white fluffy towel is waiting. Oops, I forgot to get the rose petals!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Day In History That Should Not Have Been

Nine years ago today, 4 planes destroyed many lives in our country, by attacking the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon and Flight 93, hijacked and headed towards Washington D.C., which ended up crashing in a field in Western Pennsylvania near the city of Shanksville.

I think every person in America who was old enough to have recollections, remembers this horrible day and the days and months that followed. Live images streamed across the television, of people fleeing collapsing buildings, their faces reflecting the fear and horror of what they saw and what they were experiencing. Dazed and rushing down streets covered with ash, which was pulverized building facades and glass, shreds of paper from someone’s desk fluttering in the air. Brave firefighters rushing towards the remains of the buildings, past those who were running away from there as fast as they could. Images of tired rescue workers, overjoyed and renewed with vigor when they were able to pull someone out of the ruble alive and the sorrow and despair when they didn’t. They to lost many of their own, as buildings swayed and crashed to the ground, firefighters who had rushed in before the total collapse of stairwells in an attempt to get people out safely.

As days turned into weeks and then into months, work continued, loved ones began making makeshift memorials on the streets of New York. Windows of storefronts became billboards of pictures, plastered with taped on photographs of missing people, with messages of please call me and a number scribbled along the bottom, by friends and relatives trying to locate them.

Over at the Pentagon, a plane dives into the building, killing and trapping many and others attempting to rescue fellow servicemen and determine the damage. The scene there doesn’t appear to be as chaotic, but of course the plane is almost totally engulfed by the building so little can really be seen.It is days after, as the gaping hole in the building is seen are we aware of the damage that was truly done.

Shortly thereafter the heroics of the passengers on Flight 93 begin to filter across the newscast airways. How they somehow managed to get cell phone messages to and from loved ones. They learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They in turn letting their loved ones know that their plane had also been hijacked and their own fate was precariously hanging in the balance. As the plane changed course heading towards Washington DC, now a group of passengers planned to “do something” to overpower the hijackers and take control back of the plane. As we all know, part of their plan worked, they were able to stop the aircraft from making it to the intended target, most likely our nation’s capitol, but the plane went down with 33 passengers, 7 crew members and 4 hijackers aboard. The nose of the plane burrowing deep into the ground.

Today, the memorial at the Pentagon is completed and the memorial at Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers once stood is well under way. But what about the memorial in Shanksville? According to CBS channel 3 in PA, this memorial is far from finished. In fact it is still at phase one! To read the entire article, click here.

The National Park Foundation states that they need an additional $18 million to complete the project. Why is it that this memorial isn’t receiving the funding and recognition of that fateful day the way that the Pentagon and Twin Towers are remembered? Is it because there were only 44 people killed in that incident versus the thousands in New York and the high profile of the Pentagon attack, where 58 passengers and 128 military staff lost their lives?

There are several websites that can be visited at the bottom of the CBS Channel 3 article, where money can be donated to the Flight 93 memorial fund.

There is site of a jeweler who is creating commemorative lapel pins and they only cost $10 and every cent goes to the memorial fund.

There is a link to the LeRoy J. Homer organization. He was the plane’s co-pilot and this organization was set up by his wife Melodie .This foundation assists students with scholarships who want to attend pilot’s school.

You can also donate directly to the Flight 93 Memorial fund by going to their website.
As we remember and reflect on this sad day in our history, lets also remember how we joined together in unity as a nation, to help heal the wounds and honor those perished in this tragedy. Let us remember each and every life that was lost that day. Please help with the necessary funds to complete the Memorial for Flight 93. Don’t let these brave souls be the forgotten heroes of 9/11.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Do It Yourself Diva

I have always been one to attempt to do just about anything when it comes to home decorating or home repairs. In most cases, my projects come out fantastic, well okay, I’ll admit to an occasional disaster now and again.

Recently I’ve had a plumbing problem. I’ve unclogged a toilet before, nothing to it, or so I thought. Now I know from past episodes, that you first use Dawn dish detergent, (handy hint from the Wiley sister’s book) that will usually get rid of the clog in your toilet.  Pour it in, let it sit for about an hour then flush and away goes trouble down the drain. If that doesn’t work, resort to your “plumber’s helper” commonly known as a plunger. You want one that looks like a bell rather than those old flat looking ones. Don’t you love my technical terminology? Those flat ones don’t work worth a hoot in a toilet. You are supposed to give it a few good plunges up and down and it is supposed to flush everything down. Still plugged up! Then go to the toilet snake and surely that will solve your problem. NOT!

Now you are in for some seriously drastic measures. It is time to pull out the long “snake” and open up the main cleanout drain and run that baby down as far as it will go both towards the house outlet and then out the other way where your pipe connects to the main sewer line. Be sure to wear gloves of some sort because this is going to be a messy job! Somewhere along the line, it will stop and hit a solid object, or at least semi- solid objects, then you need to twist and turn the snake breaking through the plugged area. Sometimes when you pull the snake out, you will find tree roots wound around the end of it. This time there were no tree roots.  This should solve the problem. Go back inside and flush the toilet; hopefully watching the water going down the drain. As I watch the water rising in the bowl, I am standing ready to turn off the water input valve in case it decides it wants to go over the top. The water stops rising just before it gets to the ridge. At least by this time, with all the flushing and the siphon action of the water going down in the bowl, it is at least clean now.

Back to the office and using the Internet, I can hit a couple of my favorite search engines and some of my bookmarked “How To” websites for some other ideas. I spot one that I haven’t tried yet. The advice was to heat up a big pan of water, just below boiling stage and then take it, holding it up high above the toilet, pour it in.  So I put a pan of water on to boil and continue looking for any other suggestions I might find. Then I remember the water, oh dear, go grab it quick and pour it in the toilet. As I am standing there pouring, all of a sudden I feel very warm water on my feet. Up to this point there had been no water on the floor. I look down and now water is oozing out from the base of the toilet. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! You guessed it, the water had gone to a rolling boil and in my haste, and I didn’t let it cool down to below boiling. Conclusion is now that I have melted the wax ring. Conclusion is substantiated when I lean on the toilet and it is now rocking like a row boat in a rough sea.

I have watched how a toilet is disconnected from the water supply, the bowl drained and the toilet lifted off to replace a wax ring. Part of that I could do myself, but there is no way that I could lift it alone. The last time this had to be done, I tried to just move the toilet across the bathroom floor a little bit to give the plumber more room to work and it was heavy. He told me a toilet weighs approximately 70 pounds. In order to get a good seal on a new wax ring, you have to lift the toilet up and position it just right before sitting it down on the opening. I have to admit that I truly did try everything I could to fix it myself and I failed in my do-it-yourself attempt.  I think I should have had a copy of this book before reference

Now it is time to call the plumber!