Simple Heart And Mind


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I'd Rather Be Thrifting

Posted by Sandy on September 24, 2016 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I'd like to say that since my hubby has been out of work, we need to cut costs in any way we can, including doing most of our grocery shopping at Aldis, and buying most of our clothes from the thrift shop close by. I'd like to say that, but the truth is ... I'd rather be thrifting.

I was raised to be thrifty. My parents grew up during the Great Depression when money and resources were scarce, and nothing was wasted. I was raised to be the same way, even though we weren't really poor. Fast forward to being a grown up myself, and the lessons remain a big part of who I am.

Not a bad thing in any way, though. I wondered how we would continue to live on my little nurse's salary. The fact is, we are just fine! Learning to be satisfied with what I already had was a good lesson in contentment. Learning that shiny, new things are not always superior was a good lesson, too.

Today I stopped by the thrift store, just for a quick peek at the clothes, and found four good quality, interesting to look at shirts that fit me ... no, they were actually flattering on me ;) ... and when all was said and done, I spent less than $10 on the lot of them! Pretty darn good!

The thrill of thrifting, I love it.

Peaceful Sanctuary

Posted by Sandy on May 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM Comments comments (2)

I've been thinking about this for awhile, and I really do believe that your bedroom should have some priority.


It's easy to dump things in the bedroom when you're focused on picking up the rest of the house. Company doesn't usually get to wander in your bedroom, so why not? It's a quick fix.


But while the bedroom is often the last room to get cleaned, it probably should be the first. It's the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing to see before you go to sleep. Clutter and chaos are not soothing or calming.


So, today, I finally got around to cleaning our bedroom. Sheets washed, furniture decluttered and dusted, floor vacuumed. I even moved a couple things around to make more sense of them. And now I've been looking at the room and wondering why it took me so long to do this.


It feels really good.


Routine Blessing of the House

Posted by Sandy on February 10, 2012 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

I do like a clean house, but not enough to obsessively clean it.


Some years ago, I was following Fly Lady, and it was helpful for awhile. And, I probably did learn some good strategies and organization. I sort of burned out with all the email reminders, though, and ended up feeling like a failure.


One thing that helps me though, is having little routines that I do every day. The kitchen and dishes are done right after supper. The living room is tidied up before I go to bed. Animals are cared for before I go to bed. A load of laundry is done at least every other day. The first floor is vacuumed, dusted, and wiped down weekly, usually on Thursday or Friday. I'm finding that if I do the same thing at the same time in the same way, it's much faster and usually gets done.


The bathrooms are another thing. We have three in the house to keep up, I know some folks have even more. Even though it's nice to have more than one bathroom, I kind of think that's a lot to keep clean. Recently I decided to drop bleach tablets in the tanks, and it's wonderful how clean they smell!


What kinds of routines do you feel helpful in your day to day life?

Making My List

Posted by Sandy on December 22, 2011 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, the crazies have set in.


As I was trying to sleep the other night and my mind wouldn't let me, I heard some loud music and water running from the shower. That wouldn't be so unusual except it was midnight. Got up to see what was happening and it was Jake, who thought it was morning and time to get ready for school. A classic moment, and one that just summed up how wild our household has been feeling this week.


So after a not so restful night, I decided it was time to write out my list. Of everything running through my mind that had to be done in a few short days before Christmas. Immediately I felt better and could focus. I should have just made the list when I couldn't sleep, but I kept tossing and turning and refusing to give in and do it. Silly me.


Have you made out your list? It really does help.

Brown Christmas

Posted by Sandy on December 15, 2011 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (0)

It's the middle of December already and time is flying by.


I haven't officially begun to panic as I eventually do as the holidays get closer, but there is time. Every year I tell myself that I will be more organized so that the panic doesn't set it, but so far I've haven't been successful. Ah, well. I do have some things ready and some good thoughts in my head, so I suppose I'm moving in the right direction.


I came up with the idea for Christmas Eve dinner last summer. I had made a surprisingly good batch of beef and mushroom stroganoff for family, and all of a sudden I thought, why not for Christmas Eve? Everyone said they liked it, and it was an easy recipe using my crockpot. I served it with those yummy make ahead mashed potatoes instead of noodles or rice, and I think I'll do that again. Maybe make some cranberries to add some holiday color and cheer.


The tree is up and decorated. The mantle and dining room is, too. And the mistletoe is hanging. Even some presents are wrapped. I still have a bit of shopping to finish up on, but I know what I want to buy. I'm thinking that maybe this season will be just fine.


We really don't have snow yet, which is very unusual for this part of the country, but I don't even mind that. People are joking about having a brown Christmas and I don't mind that, either! After the long winter we had last year, this weather is kind of a relief.


And, I'm always looking for ways to make life easier, so if anyone has ideas to share, please do!


Posted by Sandy on November 17, 2011 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

It's getting towards the end of November already and that means the Holidays are almost upon us!


For some reason, I'm not feeling the stress. I'm sure that I will eventually, but I have been simplifying things the last few years, and that has helped quite a bit. We usually spend Thanksgiving dinner with my folks at their home, and I have been bringing some things to the dinner already prepared and that helps cut down on the stress. This year I'm bringing my special mashed potatoes (with the cream cheese and the sour cream and the butter), homemade cranberries, and the gravy. I know that I won't have the turkey drippings to make the gravy from, but there are some great recipes out there that don't require turkey drippings and I'm excited to make some the night before and warm it up on the stove right before dinner.


Will the family embrace my gravy? Don't know but I'm sure I'll find out!


I don't think I'll go wild with the Christmas decorating, either. Last year I kept the decorations to the mantle over the fireplace, and you know what? It looked pretty nice. Simple yet festive. Of course, we have our tree, and last year I only put about half of the ornaments on it. That looked pretty darn good, too, so that's my plan for this year.


I can't seem to think of anything I want for Christmas, though. I think that's good. I think that means I'm feeling content with my life, and contentment can't be a bad thing. More on that later.


I'm wondering how other folks try to reign things in over the Holidays. If anybody has any of their ideas to share, please do.

Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Creamer

Posted by Sandy on October 27, 2011 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (2)

We've been kind of disappointed that we can't find chocolate raspberry coffee creamer in the stores anymore.


Why they would stop making it or selling it is beyond me. In fact, chocolate raspberry creamer is the reason why I learned to drink coffee in the first place at all! We've had open minds. We've tried the new flavors on the shelves. We've settled for french vanilla and hazelnut. They are not the same.


Today I reached out to the Internet to see if there was a solution, and found a recipe for making your own chocolate raspberry creamer. I haven't yet tried it, but it looks easy enough. And, I'm pretty sure it's cheaper than buying ready made, too, so added bonus. Let me know if any of you have made this and what the verdict was!


Homemade Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Creamer


1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1-1/2 cups skim milk

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons raspberry syrup


Measure all ingredients into a 32-ounce container, seal container, and shake vigorously. This will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


I'm thinking I can use one of my mason jars.


Here's to a yummy cup of coffee!

Not Feeling My Best

Posted by Sandy on October 25, 2011 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Wouldn't it be great to have a seasonal shot for colds?


I did get my flu shot for the season, but I've been fighting off a cold this past week. A friend told me about the wonders of Vitamin D3 if taken at the very start of cold symptoms coming on, and I decided to give it a try and see if it made a difference. After four days of taking the D3, my cold had not progressed much beyond the initial scratchy throat that I almost always have at the start. I never did get the stuffy nose stuff that makes it impossible to sleep laying down, so I was encouraged.


I stopped the mega dose after about five days. I don't know what the odds are of becoming toxic from too much D3, but I didn't want to chance it. Since then, I've had kind of a junky cough in my throat. It's been annoying, but tolerable. I'm not feeling my best, but that might have more to with how my week is going. I'm going to a funeral this morning, and I think that's bringing me down more than my cold.


Anyway, that's the way it goes sometimes.

Another Carrot Raisin Salad

Posted by Sandy on October 18, 2011 at 11:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I know I made a big deal about making carrot raisin salad awhile ago.


I searched the web for that perfect one. However, the other day I was craving a salad, and decided to try again as the last one I made was just a tad too sweet for my liking. So, this time I looked into my fridge and pantry for ingredients and pulled out what I had ... a bag of carrot matchsticks, some plain old regular raisins, and mayonnaise.


Dumped the carrots into a bowl, added about a cup of raisins, and stirred a half cup of mayo in. It was fantastic! So simple, so fast, and not too sweet. Why was it such a big deal before? Plain old mayo, the magic ingredient.


Bruce did say that he wasn't used to the carrots being that particular size, I believe he was thinking about a grated carrot, but I also noticed that he finished up the salad over the next couple of days.


Isn't the easy way frequently the best?

Good Reason to Clean

Posted by Sandy on September 27, 2011 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

There's nothing like knowing that a bunch of people you don't know very well will be in your house to make you want to clean.


We hosted our son's Homecoming Pictures last weekend, survived, and lived to tell about it. Well, it actually was a lot of fun, but I think other moms might understand what I'm talking about. And, I think I have come a long way as the years have passed, in my approach and attitude towards these things. I had a plan. I had an organized list of things to do, sort of. I did not panic.


It helped immensely that a lot of the clutter was gone from the first floor. I do still have a couple of rooms in the house that I struggle with, but I have been able to keep the first floor fairly decent so that if people were to drop in unexpectedly, I could invite them in without feeling embarrassed. That helped a lot. Because of this, I was able to see little things like marks on the walls, spider webs in the corners (it's been a bad summer for spiders this year, even the newspaper said so), and spots on the carpets. Nick washed all the windows recently, so we actually had sparkly windows. That was nice. And because I wasn't feeling too overwhelmed, I wasn't screaming at the family. All good things.


Anyway, we had about thirty people in my living room. There was a moment or two of feeling overwhelmed with the number of bodies, but one just has to let that feeling go. We had some classic moments, too. At one point, my husband started shoving furniture back to make room for the group to pose, and all the animal hair collecting underneath the couch became obvious. I heard someone yell, I'm sure it was me, "push it back!".


I wonder when it was last vacuumed under? Probably not in my lifetime!


We got some good pictures. Some parents stayed for awhile to drink wine and chat. I think the evening was a success. And, I wonder if I'll remember to vacuum under the furniture before the next large gathering. Probably not.