My Private Oasis

Remember how I mentioned in an earlier post how cheap I am?  Well, having a privacy fence installed is not so cheap.

I hated writing that check!  Hated it!  But I love my private yard!!!  And I am hoping that a privacy fence has not only made my home more appealing and beautiful, but has increased the value.  Maybe that’s just wishful thinking with this economy.

My yard is flat, sort of, well maybe in a few certain spots, so they had to ‘step down’ the sides and there is one spot where my pup can and has gotten out.  That will soon be fixed.

My back yard is now a blank canvas just waiting for me to splash it with colorful plants and flowers!!!  Unfortunately with my shoulder issues right now I won’t be the one to be digging up the grass and planting the shrubs.  Maybe that’s a good thing??

I have been scouring the internet researching the flowering shrubs and plants that I love, trying to figure out what I can plant where with sun and shade. I would imagine that it’s going to take quite a bit of time to get this finished but I plan to get at least 2 lilac’s planted this fall, along with a forsythia or two!!

I plan to put a shed down in the corner (that’s the box in the middle of the yard, it’s a plastic shed!).  I’m trying to find something to provide a little bit of shade because I get FULL sun all day in the back yard.  I’d like a raised garden next spring too and maybe some sort of a water feature back by the patio.

Thankfully a lot of my friends have offered to divide up some of there plants and share with me!  I think those plants will be my favorite and most treasured!

What do you have in your yard that is your favorite and why?

Live Well friends!


Busy Busy Busy

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since January and still have my winter snow photo up!!! My bad!  I’ll change the photo sometime this evening!

Since that post I moved, and for a 55 year old single girl (okay, grandma)with Fibro, that’s a challenge!!  I also had to move everything out of storage, got rid of the kitties I adopted last July, and then unexpectedly was asked to adopt an adorable little 4 year old bichon-pooodle!

I have been steadily settling in and making changes and updates to my new home.  I have hardly cooked at all!  My diet has been mostly fruit, veggies, cereal and peanut butter!!  Dealt with several fibro flares.  And had a few minor melt-downs….

Spray painted these plastic urns that I found on clearance last year at Joann Fabrics.

Here is one of my Pinterest finds that helped moving my clothes a little easier!

And here are my curtain rods that I hung by myself and it took several weekends to hang 9 rods!  I only have sheers up for now. See that blind on the chair? That’s the blind from HELL!!

Working on getting a patio put in the back yard, I can hardly wait to sit out in the evening my a fire in my new fire pit!  Pictures later!

With all of the unpacking of storage boxes, I found things like my Mom’s high school jacket, a uniform my Dad wore in a band, several OLD camera’s among several other sentimental things!

Unfortunately, my white Christmas tree may be ruined!  The top part of the tree wouldn’t fit back in the box so I put it in a white plastic bag and it is now discolored.  I have not used the tree for a few years because with the fibro, running to storage to drag my tree and all the decorations back to the condo, was a bit much.  I was thinking of spray painting a light mist of white paint on it, but that could be a fire hazard.

I have also planted a few pots of herbs and did my first cutting of all the plants last evening. I have a planter full of mint.  In a separate planter I have sage, chives, rosemary, parsley and basil.

So this weekend I WILL BE COOKING!!!  I’ll also be making dog treats for my special little furball.

Hope you are all well and able to enjoy the nice weather we FINALLY getting!!

Live well friends!!

Tips for Packing and Moving

I have moved so much over my lifetime.  I get exhausted just thinking about it!  And now that I have my offer accepted, I can begin to make my moving plans and start packing….again!

Hopefully this is my last move, not that I’m ready to call it quits on life but I am hoping this will be the home that I will live out the rest of my life.  Unless of course I win the lottery!!!  That’s an entirely different ballgame!

So, here are a few tips I have learned over the years of my moves.

1.  Hopefully before you list your current home on the market you had prepared it for the sale by cleaning out closets, organizing, etc.  The worst of the work should have been done already.

If you haven’t, now is the time to start sorting through your belongings.  You will want to put things in categories of keep, toss, or donate.  Stick to it, don’t throw things in a box and tell yourself you will get to it later.  You know you won’t!

2. Pack your boxes thoughtfully. Yanno that saying “size doesn’t matter”??  Well it does!!  Give careful thought to the size of boxes you will be packing and the contents.

Don’t fill them with all heavy or breakable items.  Boxes will be harder to lift and move if they are too heavy and things will break.  Mix your glass dishes with your plastic lighter items.  Wrap your precious breakables with bubblewrap or good sturdy paper.  I have even used plastic shopping bags for wrapping some things.  Be creative, you can use your dish towels too.

3.  Organize your packing.  By this I mean, don’t pack your everyday plates that you will need as soon as you get to your new home, with your wedding crystal that you will probably not be using until you can set up in your hutch.

For example, I used my kitchen towels with my everyday plates and glasses so that when I unpacked that box, I had everything I needed right away.

Also, organize your boxes by labeling: kitchen, dining room, bedroom (by name such as yours, kids)  bath, den, etc.  Put a large note on the bedroom doors so your movers will know what room is what.

You might want to give a quick list on the box as to the contents inside: crystal for hutch, everyday plates, glasses, etc.  put it on the top and side.  Ask your movers to place the boxes with the writing to the front so you can see what each box contains.

4.  The first thing you will want to set up is your beds, and make them!  You are going to be exhausted and its nothing like having your bed already made so all you have to do is crawl in!

Next on the list is your bathroom.  Get your necessary toiletries and towels and the all important TP set up.

And finally, your fridge.  Get it plugged in and get that ice maker ready!

5. Assign duties to your movers!  If the weather is not cooperating, give someone the job of being by the door to give things a quick wipe down so you are not having rain or snow drug through your new home.  Keep rugs by the doors so your movers can wipe their feet BUT be careful that you are not using loose materials like sheets or towels that will cause your movers to trip and fall!

6. Your pets.  This needs some thought because moving can be traumatic for them and they need to be in a safe place until you are ready for them to roam around in your new home.  Can they stay at someones house while you move, can they be boarded somewhere.  If that is not possible, you can either place them in a secure room in the house you are moving from OR move your pets first and put them in a closed room.

If you take them to the new house, let them sniff around while they are leashed.  Then place them in a safe room with food and water, maybe even some music.  Close the door tightly and put a note on the door “Pet inside, please DO NOT OPEN”.  Make sure you clearly give your movers instructions about the pet.

If you decide to leave them at your house that you are moving from, again…put them in a room with food and water, put a note on the door letting your movers know there are pets in the room and not to open the door.

You will need to check on your pet consistently.  Make sure all doors to the outside are closed before  you open their door in case they attempt to make a mad dash.  Spend some time with them and love them up so they know they are not alone and are loved! Don’t forget to take them outside for their potty breaks!!!

If your pet is a nervous and anxious little creature,  you may want to check with your vet on some moving pointers and possibly medication to calm them.

7.  OH!  And trash bags are your friend!  Not just to toss out the crap you don’t want anymore but they are great for packing!  Yes packing!  Toss in your blankets, pillows and towels to keep them clean.  Use them for handbags and clothes too.  You can also group some of your clothes on hangers, maybe about 6-8 hangers, tear a hole in the bottom of the bag to slip the curvey part of the hanger thru, just like a dry cleaner bag!!

8.  Food. I would suggest that you try to use up as much of your food in your freezer, refrigerator and pantry before you move, I really dislike wasting food!!  If you are just moving across town, pack up whats left and take it with you.  If your move is much farther you may want to donate your food items to a church or local food bank.

Now is a good time to go through your pantry items and discard items such as dried spices, seasonings and herbs that may have lost there potency.

9.  Address change!  Good grief is this a major pain!  I am always surprised when I hear someone mention that they forgot to make address changes!  Start with a list, and a cup of coffee or tea!  Relax and start thinking….  You will need to call your utilities, cable TV, any other banks other than the bank holding your mortgage, credit cards, investments, insurances.  Not to forget any subscriptions you may have.  Doctors, dentist, vets.  Don’t forget your employer!  Memberships, clubs and recreational activities, and your church will need your new information too.

Grab your bank statement and your planner and go through them to find any place you may have missed.

Most importantly, go to the post office and complete the necessary forms for an address change so that your mail will be transferred to your new address.  I believe you can do this online as well.

You might also want to let all of your friends know your new address, or at least the friends you WANT to know that you moved!

10.  Lastly, recycle your packing boxes whether it be to a recycling center OR giving them to someone else that is moving.  Recycle any paper or bubble wrap you have used.  The paper would be great for the kiddos to draw and paint on, crafts, etc.

Enjoy your new home and remember to give yourself time to unpack and get used to your new surroundings.  Drink lots of water and make sure to give yourself some much needed breaks, stretches and snacks.

Anyone else have any good tips for packing and moving?

Live well!

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this week?  Make these very aromatic ornaments!!!  You can use them on your tree as decorations or tie them onto gifts.  They are very easy to make and need about 2 to 3 days to completely dry.

Here’s the recipe (but DON’T eat them, they are NOT edible!!):

2 cups Cinnamon

1-1/2 Applesauce, NOT chunky

2 tsp ground Nutmeg

2 tsp ground Cloves

4 Tb Elmer’s Glue

Mix all the ingredients well.  When completely mixed, divide the dough in two parts,  roll out one batch between sheets of plastic wrap. Keep the dough around a 1/4″ think, if you make it too thin the ornaments will curl or break.  Using a toothpick or a small straw, put a hole in the top of the ornaments for the ribbon.  Place on cookie racks to dry.  After they are completely dry, you can carefully use a fingernail file to finish off the edges, tie a pretty ribbon in the ornament for hanging.

Selling & Buying a New Home, around the Holiday

My condo sold! Yay!! I’ve been a little busy running around looking at houses.
There just aren’t enough hours in the day right now. Working, looking at properties, and then going home to pack a box or two.
And speaking of packing, how does one person accumulate so much stuff!!! I didn’t think I had much to pack….until I started putting stuff in a box. Wow. Really, just wow.
I will try to keep up with my posting but it’s really been a challenge just trying to survive right now, and keep my eyes open throughout the day. I’ve not been cooking too much although I have a ton of things I want to cook!!
So, I’m not finding anything that I’m actually falling in love with. And can afford on my own. My next step, is to look for an apartment if I can’t find a new home. That will accept cats.
My nerves seem to be a little frazzled right now. It’s the Christmas season and I cannot decorate, no tree this year. My gifts are in bags sitting with boxes that have been carefully packed. (*insert sigh😔)
Please say a prayer for me that I soon find my new home. Oh, and as I’m cleaning out my kitchen I’ll want to use up some food in the pantry, I’ll try to get those recipes posted as quickly as I can. Hopefully I’ll get some yummy stuffed shells made this weekend!
Live well friends!!

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

I love French toast!  And I love Autumn, so why not combine pumpkin & spice to my French toast?  Sounds reasonable to me!

I had a loaf of Italian bread…..yea making “French” toast with “Italian” bread, I’m silly that way!!  I sliced half the loaf about ½” thick. I like to let the bread sit on the counter so it can start to dry out a little while I prepare the batter.

In a bowl place 3 eggs and whip them a little.  Add ½ cup of milk or half and half, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, a dash of salt, ground cloves and nutmeg.  Mix together well and then add 3 HEAPING tablespoons (or a ¼ cup) of canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie although I’m sure it would work).  Blend well.

Here comes the fun part, soak the bread, bathe it in that wonderful pumpkin batter!  Let the bread absorb but not get mushy, and then toss it in a preheated pan.  I usually do a medium low heat and flip the toast numerous times to make sure if gets heated thru completely and toasted nicely.

With this batter I was able to make about 7 or 8 slices of toast.  Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon, your favorite syrup and a very tall glass of ice cold milk!

Enjoy and live well my friends!

Mini Taco Pizza

Once upon a time, our local Pizza Hut had a little lounge in the back called the Grog Shop, more of a bar.  And in that bar they served taco pizza.  I would occasionally take my kids there, with much glare from other customers, and we would devour a large taco pizza.  That was a treat to take them BUT it was a better treat that I made them at home too!!

I would buy one of those already prepared pizza crusts *insert a shudder, and build my taco pizza with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa.  The kids LOVED it!  I often wonder if they remember that??


Now, I make my taco pizza on a quesadilla shell.  Here’s what I do…

I like to use a Gluten Free corn tortilla, but I have also used flour tortillas/soft taco shells and they work great.  I like to  fry them up a little, just enough to get a little crispy.  I have this weird thing about wraps, quesadillas, etc.  I TOTALLY dislike the uncooked floury taste and texture so I have to crisp them up.  You can omit this step if you’re not crazy weird like me.


For the flour tortillas I would just use a small amount of olive oil in a fry pan over a medium heat and lightly crisp each side.  With the corn tortillas I prefer using a little more oil, almost enough to simmer the shell, and again lightly crisp each side.  It only takes a few minutes and I flip it around on both sides a few times.

I then put them on a pizza stone and smother them with refried beans.  I have dressed the beans up, depending on my mood, with different ingredients.  I’ve chopped jalapeno’s, added some taco seasoning (I now use my own concoction), cayenne pepper, whatever spice I feel like at the time.


Pop the pizza stone with the smothered shells in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the beans are hot to the touch.  The shells will crisp up a little more too.  You could also put them directly on your oven rack, I’ve never done that tho.  I am a creature of habit!!

When they come out of the oven, here is where you can be creative and build your own “personally designed taco pizza“.  You could add cooked and prepared taco meat if you want but I never use the taco meat mixture with the beans.  It’s just how my taco pizza rolls.  No meat.  Just beans.  Top with shredded lettuce, drizzle with your favorite salsa, then comes the cheese and chopped tomatoes.


Top with sour cream and/or guacamole.  I have already put them back in the oven to melt the cheese a little more, that is quite good as well but I am usually too hungry for these and I just CAN’T wait to devour them!!

These are perfect for the single person.

They are perfect for having your friends over for lunch or a movie.

And perfect for your family too!

Live well my friends!!