..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Yard Sale Buys

I got all 3 of these pieces for $3.00!

Spunky Monkey In His Royal Bed

Spunky Monkey is taking a nap in his little royal bed!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sharon's Chili Beans

Sharon's Chili Beans

1 lb ground beef, browned, drained
1 fresh tomato, washed and chopped
2 cans of kidney beans
1 can tomato sauce
1 can water (I fill the tomato sauce can with water)
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 lg (or 2 sm) cloves garlic, minced
good dash of cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp chili powder
Salt & pepper
Chopped Fresh Herbs: A handful of basil, thyme, parsley, cilantro

Place everything in the crock pot. Turn on high and cook for 4 hours. Serve with cornbread, salad and maybe a dollop of sour cream.

Clothes Drying Racks

Check out this site that shows all different types of indoor and outdoor clothes drying racks and clotheslines. I had no idea how many different varieties and some are so inventive!

Make Your Own Exfoliant

To make your own exfoliant or body scrub:
You will blend a dry exfoliate ingredient with a wet base ingredient to make a natural scrub. The wet base ingredient is either an oil or liquid soap. The best amount to make of a body scrub is just enough for immediate use. The fresher the ingredients, the more benefits they have to offer. A one-time use amounts to about two tablespoons. So use 1 Tbsp of the dry ingredient and 1 Tbsp of the oil ingredient. You can drops of essential oils as you like. Consider about 5 drops per cup of body scrub.

A bathroom is a humid and wet place, the introduction of water in the scrub will reduce its useful life. Fingers, also, should be kept out because of the presence of bacteria. Use an applicator or scoop, if you make a larger recipe.

Dry, Scrubbing Ingredients:
Ground walnuts or almonds
Ground apricot pits
Ground oatmeal
Corn meal
Coarse salt
Coarse raw sugar
Coffee grounds
Epsom salts

Jojoba oil
Safflower oil
Apricot kernel oil
Grapeseed oil
Olive oil
Rice bran oil
Sweet almond oil
Do not use mineral oil (baby oil) because this will not penetrate into the skin like the other oils. Mineral oil is pore-clogging and once it evaporates, your skin may be left looking dryer than before you used it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hot Days

The last couple of days have been brutally hot here. We usually don't have these kind of days until July and August. It's about 10 degrees above normal and we desperately need some rain. It's so dry. I don't water my grass but I do water my bushes and trees. Grass can be easily replaced but my bushes and trees can't, so they get water every 2-3 days. We have pulled a lot of bushes over the two years we've been here. I hate hollies (the previous owner must have loved them!) and we had a lot of loss due to last year's drought. So we got rid of bunches of bushes. But I still have a lot of bushes around the house that I love, especially my old boxwoods. And we need the trees. They were strategically planted to provide summer shade on the house (thanks to the previous owner) and our heating expense would be more if it weren't for them. They lost 2 trees in the backyard just before we bought the house and you can really tell it. We have no shade on our patio and through our atrium doors and living room picture window. This really heats up that side of the house during the hottest part of the day. We have re-planted but it's going to take some years. Anyway, now you can see why we water our trees and bushes.

A tip for all of you who own houses...carefully place your trees when you plant. Don't just plant a tree where you think you want it. Take into consideration how it will shade your house during winter and summer. You want trees that will shade your home in the summer but will lose their leaves and give you sunshine in the winter. This will greatly help your heating and cooling bills. Don't plant trees too close to each other, or too close to power poles and lines, or underground wiring or water pipes (roots) or too close to the house (limbs can fall on roofs and leaves and nuts can clog gutters), or too close to a fence, etc. Watch where the sun is around the year because the sun comes up and goes down at different angles depending on the season. Look for trees that do good in your area. If you have problems with humid heat, or dry heat; droughts, or floods; fungus, or pests (like pine beetles)...then plant accordingly. You waste your money, time and energy planting trees if you don't do it right. You want to think in the long run and don't just pick a tree because you once saw one that you liked. It may or may not work in your situation. Then take good care of the tree. Fertilize and water it until it takes good root. Keep it trimmed and straight so you won't have branches breaking off with ice or snow or wind. You want a strong tree with a good, deep root system to keep it from toppling.

Murder Room by P.D. James

Another Adam Dalgliesh murder mystery. In this one is a private museum called the DuPayne Museum in London and it is devoted to the years between WWI and WWII (1919-1939). One room of the museum is called the Murder Room because it holds the exhibits of famous murders from that time. The 3 siblings who inherited the museum are at odds about whether to keep the museum open or not. One man, Dr. Neville DuPayne, wants to close it and sell everything for the money. He is a psychiatrist with a troubled adult daughter who is demanding the money. The oldest brother is Marcus DuPayne and he is retiring with his frustrated socially ambitious wife. He was never able to reach the heights that his wife desired but he has the prestige of being able to run the family museum. Their sister is Caroline DuPayne, single, and works as a Vice Principal at an elite finishing school for girls. She has an apartment at the DuPayne Museum and wants to keep the museum so she can keep the apartment. She is very willing for her brother, Marcus, to take over the running of the museum as she aspires to own the finishing school herself one day. Of the staff, there is a young gay man named Ryan Archer with a troubled, migratory past who works in the yard. Muriel Godby was hired from the finishing school since some of the girls had taken a dislike to her and made her life miserable. She helps Caroline DuPayne run the museum. Then there is sweet Tally Clutton, the housekeeper, and she lives in a cottage on the grounds. She is worried about losing her job and losing her cottage if the museum is closed.

After an argument between the siblings about whether to keep the museum open or not, Dr. Neville DuPayne is found murdered. He keeps his Jaguar garaged at the museum and he is sitting in the Jag when he is doused with gasoline and set on fire. Who did it? All of them have motives just on the surface. But Adam Dalgliesh and his crew have to sift deeper to find the real reasons and then which one of them actually did it.

P.D. James writes wonderfully well and I enjoy her mysteries but they are a little gloomy. Her very British characters are all a little too stalwart, uncommunicative, holding too much to the chest which seems to make them cold. Their "pree-vacy" means much more to them than honor, honesty, or any other virtue. Very selfish, cold and calculating and godless. Yes, I said "godless". She makes it a point to have at least one character that mocks Christianity or talks openly about their atheistic views. She does make that point in every book. Christianity and God are not just ignored in her books but at least one character makes a statement about it. God is dismissed as ridiculous and no intelligent human would seriously believe in God. It's sad. I think that is why I like Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas series because Koontz has positive Christian characters just like he has other positive "odd" characters. He presents all his characters (not the villains) with a positive light. They are different, odd, eccentric, have different interests or even handicaps but he presents them in a positive light. But James' can make even her "good" characters look cold, selfish, materialistic, overly ambitious, etc. For instance, Dalgliesh is so afraid of rejection and wounded pride that he won't communicate with his lady love, Emma. He is too afraid of saying, "I love you." Kate Miskin and her colleagues are so ambitious that they step on each other. She wants financial security above all else because of the poverty she grew up in. And she hugs that financial security to herself every day and makes sure it's part of her every waking thought. She is constantly jockeying and thinking in order to keep that "financial security".

Anyway, P.D. James is always a good read, her mysteries are always interesting and they're not solved by knowing the clues on the surface.

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