Grace brings us face-to-face with aging as she relates her experiences, her memories, advice for surviving the aging process...with Grace. This is a place for humor, sharing, and learning as well as what I hope are some entertaining meanderings of my thoughts.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

15 Tip To Get Organized For Christmas

 

Holiday time is a good time for lists.  Creating them keeps us on track for projects, and at this time of year, for getting ready for Christmas or your favorite holiday.  I usually have a mental list, but I do much better when I write things down. 

Today, I thought I'd share my list with you and maybe give you a tip or two you might not have thought of:
  

1.     Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for, including their sizes, things they would like and how much you can spend.

2.     Make a list of everyone you want to send Christmas cards to - write the cards or at least address the envelopes. Keep a few cards with you to write during "waiting minutes" when you're at the doctor, picking the kids up from school or on a work break.

3.     Finish sewing, knitting, crocheting, and/or craft projects now – don’t wait until the last minute.

4.     Decide what cookies and candies you want to make. Set aside the recipes now.

5.     Mix up the dough several weeks ahead and freeze. That way all you have to do later is bake them.

6.     For cookies that you can't freeze, measure all the dry ingredients and put them in a plastic bag. You can even do this three months ahead. Be sure to label the bag so you remember what is in it!

7.     Decide what you are going to serve for holiday dinners. Set aside the recipes.

8.     Several months ahead of time, put a bag or container in the freezer and put in any unused slices of dry bread to use for your turkey dressing.

9.     Deep clean the house.

10.  Organize your gift wrap, make sure you have enough paper, ribbon, bows, tape,  etc for the gifts you will be wrapping.

11.  Get out the tree and ornaments and decorate the house (outside, too, if you do that).

12.  Mail Christmas cards

13.  Listen to Christmas music – it will get you in the mood for all things holiday.

14.  Bake cookies to be used for gifts and mailings, and get them delivered or on their way.

15.  Make time to enjoy the season – window shop, take a drive to see the lighted houses, go caroling.

Your list may be different from mine, but the point is, a list can be helpful during this busy, stress-filled time of the year.  Happy to-doing and a have the best holidays ever! created by made it for you

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our Christmas Letter

 


Woof! Woof!

Let us introduce our furselves…

I am Jacob.  I am 9 and the prettiest one! 
 I am Moses, the old guy at 13 & the handsomest dude! 
 
We adopted our new people, Pat & Walt in January after our owner got very sick and couldn’t care for us any longer.  They are now well-trained in the treat department and are very good to us.  So, we are surprising them by paw-writing this letter to you. 

It’s a good thing we were around to care for these two helpless humans!  In February, Walt developed swallowing problems.  After several procedures, and even a feeding tube for 6 weeks, his weak esophagus is under control and as long as he eats slowly and carefully he doesn’t have any problems.  We were by his feet every minute of the way, making sure he ate on time, took his meds, got enough rest and petted us from time to time. 

Once Walt was on the mend, Pat developed health issues.  For the last 6 months she has been short of breath, fatigued and a few other things.  All the tests and various doctors have yet to find the problem(s).  We can tell when she is having a bad day and we make sure to stay close to her just in case she needs to pet someone.  We heard her say she has more doctor appointments coming up. We are hoping she gets her energy back so we can play with her in the backyard again!

Pat’s been blogging for more than a year now and finds it is a good creative outlet for her.  Her Grow Old With Grace blog has quite a few followers and new-found friends reading it daily.  She uses Grace to tell stories, give advice and humor to help with the aging process.  The Green Living Thrifty Frog blog is about her journey to “go green” around here.  So far this hasn’t affected us much, but they are composting, recycling, and making homemade laundry soap, dish soap & dog shampoo.  We were the test dogs for the shampoo.  It works great!  The newest blog is Pat’s Travel Talk blog.   Pat has also written articles for Exploration Travel Magazine, an online magazine.  This was a new and exciting adventure for her!  We hope she can get back to it when her health gets better.

Wishing everyone a Merry Woof-mas and a Happy New Year filled with fun, family, friends, peace and joy!  God has been good to all of us at the Mallett household and our Blessings are many.  We count you among them.

Blessings,
Jacob, Moses, Pat & Walt 

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

How To Make Your Own Gift Boxes

This post was originally posted 12/5/2011.  I wondered if it might be helpful as we are in the midst of our Christmas season...enjoy!




It's a new week and time for another of Maggee's creative ideas!  This time she is going to let us know how to make our own gift boxes.  Who couldn't use a frugal, thrifty idea like this, and the kiddos just might have fun with this, too!  Have fun!
Did you try one?  The bonus to this craft is that we get to empty the box first, so let's find a yummy cereal to munch on!  Let us know what you think!
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Herb & Spice Poster ~ Gift Idea

 
 Here is a great gift idea for your foodie friends!  It was created by my Sister, Maggee and can be found in her Etsy shop - Maggees Farm.  These posters (see more detail when you visit Etsy) are so helpful in deciding which herb or spice to use with what...especially for a klutz like me!  She has drawn pictures so we know what we are reading about, and she explains which goes with what, making it easy peasy to choose that special flavor that your family will be raving about! 



Please visit her Etsy shop ~ you might just find this is the perfect gift for that helpful friend, your BFF, or anyone who enjoys creating savory dishes!  Thanks!


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Sunday, December 9, 2012

We All Need A Blog Buddy



Lately I have been in a slump...a Grand Canyon size one.  As some of you know, I have been having health issues with no solution so far and it has taken most of my energy from me.  Whenever I feel like I should be writing, I find I can't sit at the computer long enough to accomplish any more than reading a few emails and checking facebook to see what my kids and grandkids are up to.  I bet some of you have had a similar experience, right?


Well...I have found that having a Blog Buddy is not only a huge help, but also a Godsend.  Having someone to confide in...to actually admit I don't feel like writing, or have lost my creative edge even for a short time is just what I needed to get back in blogging mode - more than once in the last six months!  Thank you, Ginger!  Friends are sympathetic, but unless they are writers, they just may not "get" the lousy feeling we get when we want to write or feel like we "should" write, but we can't or don't have the oomph to get it done!



Why, I was even on the verge of saying "Bah Humbug" to putting up a Christmas tree and decorating the house.  Yep!  I was having a regular ol' pity party right here in the comfort of my own home.  That's when I was rescued by my friends - and my Blog Buddy Ginger.  Little do they know how much they helped in snapping me out of my blue funk!   Oh, it likes to rear it's ugly little head now and then, but I can squash it now.  Like today when my daughter called.  Bless her, she was just checking up on me and here I was, sounding forevermore like Eeyore!  She must have been so happy to get off the phone and away from my doldrums!  I feel awful for sounding so glum on the phone!  Ugh!  I squashed that Eeyore syndrome and made a concerted effort to present a happier me...I hope it worked!  A note from Ginger caused a burst of laughter and I realized there was joy hidden inside of me and I needed to let it out!  (smile)

So, all of this is to say, thanks to my family,  friends and my Blog Buddy, Ginger for being my angels!  Yes, you are Godsends and you mean everything to me!  And, to let you know that I plan to / will make an effort to / want to get back to my blogging, even if it is sporadic, short, silly or whatever pops out of my little head.  But, I miss all of you so much, I just hate to be missing in action! 
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Friday, October 26, 2012

7 Tips ~ How To Make A Good First Impression



 
There is a familiar saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  If you are like me, you always make that attempt to do everything right so the person you are meeting walks away happy to have met you.  Meeting new people is something we all do often – even those who shy away from social situations. Whether you’re meeting someone for business, or just in a casual setting, a good first impression can make a big difference to your continued relationship.  With that in mind, I have a few tips to help you get off on the right foot.

 

1) Make Eye Contact:  The very first and most important thing is to make sure you are making eye contact.  This helps create the impression of honesty and also shows that you are paying attention to them.  You want the person to feel important.

 

2) Smile With Feeling:  Smiling at the other person helps create an atmosphere of warmth and also serves to disarm the tension that can exist when first meeting a stranger.  It will help you both relax.  But make sure that your smile is given with genuine good feeling – it should go all the way to your eyes!  Shallow smiles are easy to spot and tend to put others off.  Always be sincere.
 

 
 

3) Offer A Firm Handshake:  When shaking the hand of a stranger, ensure that you grasp firmly.  A limp hand can give the impression that you aren’t all that interested in the other person.  However, you don’t want to go overboard and deliver a crushing handshake that leaves the other in pain – that would come across as inconsiderate and over the top.  My Mother’s hand was broken when she was in college when some young man gave her and extra strong handshake.  Oops!

 

4) Ask Questions About The Other Person:  When you’re talking to someone for the first time, be sure to ask them questions about themselves.  Ask about their hobbies, their business interests, and their family and so on.  Everybody likes to be asked questions and given a chance to speak about themselves.  Giving someone else this opportunity will leave the other person feeling good about the conversation they had with you.

 

5) Don’t Go On About Yourself:  Some people love to talk about themselves, but this really isn’t a good way to start a new relationship.  It’s okay to talk about yourself, but wait until you’re asked, or until there’s an appropriate reason – for example, you find out that you share a common interest with the other person.  If all you do is talk about yourself when you first meet, the other person may get the impression you’re self-obsessed, and aren’t interested in them or anything else.


Source: Flickr.com akk_rus
 
 

6) Use The Other Person’s Name:  It’s a good idea to use the other person’s name shortly into the conversation.  Not only does it show that you remembered it, but it also helps generate a friendly tone that makes conversation easier.  I use this one often since I am horrible at remembering names!

 

7) Listen Closely:  To really get off on the right foot, it’s important to listen closely to what the other person is saying and respond.  Nothing is more of a turn off than feeling like you’re being ignored in a conversation.  By being attentive to what the other person is saying you show that you’re interested and that you care – two key foundations for any relationship.


 

Was this helpful?  I realize that by the time we are of a certain age, this should be no new revelation, but I am of the mind that it never hurts to share things and remind ourselves of things that should be second nature to us.

 

Do you have a favorite tip for first impressions?  Care to share?


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hungry? Try These 10 One Dish Meals

One dish meals are great for those times when you just can’t muster up the motivation, energy or time to cook an elaborate meal. Lately, this is me, so here I am offering up some help in the kitchen!  Instead of needing to gather up several items to create a meal, one dish meals allow you to feed yourself and your family bountifully with just one delicious dish.

One dish meals can vary a lot in preparation time, number of ingredients and complexity of the recipe. Some one dish meals can be quite complex and gourmet. So this list includes both simple recipes and a few more complex one dish meals.

I'd like to clone Rachel Ray and install her in my kitchen, but, well, that hasn't worked out yet.  So, here are today's top ten picks for the one dish meals.  (Note: These are not complete recipes with measured ingredients, cooking times, etc.  Rather they are suggestions to get you thinking about which recipe to look for.  You may already have your Grandmother's favorite recipe in a box in the kitchen, or you may be like me, surrounded by cookbooks, but finding what I want on the ever-so-helpful Internet!) 

Meal #1: Chili


 
Chili is a fantastic way to cook up a meal that’s delicious, filling and fast. There are many different recipes you can choose from to create the perfect taste. It’s a very flexible recipe. You can add more garlic or onions to add more kick. You can add more chili powder to give it spiciness. You can add a bit of sugar to make it a little sweeter. You can use meat or go vegetarian.

One great thing about chili is how easy it is to cook up an enormous batch. Since all the ingredients just go in one pot, you can easily cook up a lot more than you need for one meal. The rest can serve as leftovers for the rest of the week.

 

Meal #2: Chicken Noodle Soup

If you’re in a rush and want something yummy and satisfying quickly, chicken noodle soup does the trick. Cooking the whole meal takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

If you’re really in a hurry, this meal can be prepared without much fanfare. Just throw the noodles in chicken broth, along with some vegetables, and simmer.

If you have a bit more time, you can fry some of the ingredients going in your soup before throwing them in the pot to boil.

If you want to get more complex, you can cook up some Chinese Noodle Soup or Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup instead as well. These take more time to prepare, as both have ingredients whose flavor needs to be gradually released into the soup.



Meal #3: Cream of Celery Soup with Bacon


You might not think that bacon, celery and cream soup would go well together. Surprisingly, they do. The contrast between the bacon’s salty texture and the celery’s clean texture creates a very nice blend of sensations.

Preparing cream of celery soup with bacon is a bit different than how you’d cook other soups. You start by frying the bacon on the bottom of the pot itself. The bacon will release fats that’ll help flavor the cream soup.

After the bacon is done cooking, you throw in the rest of the ingredients (onion, garlic, celery, etc.) Finally, you add the cream soup and then add the bacon back on top once the soup is finished.

Best of all, most of the cooking for this meal doesn’t need much attendance. After the bacon is fried and the soup is in the pot, you can spend your prep time reading a book, catching up on work or doing leftover dishes.



Meal #4: Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables


This dish uses the flavors of root vegetables to flavor the chicken, as well as the grease from the chicken to flavor the vegetables. This dish offers a fragrant symphony of incredible flavors. It’s also quite an easy dish to prepare.

Cooking this dish is no more difficult than slicing up all your vegetables, placing it on the bottom of an oven-friendly dish and then placing the seasoned chicken on top.

The actual vegetables you choose depends on your tastes and what you have in your fridge. Try to get a mix of contrasting flavors. For example, beets for sweetness, onions for tanginess, potatoes for starch and so on. These flavors when combined with the chicken’s richness will bring out and incredible taste and aroma.


Meal #5: Chicken in White Wine


This meal was first popularized by cooking roosters in red wine. Chefs found that this particular way of preparing a rooster resulted in ever so tender meat. Today, instead of using red wine we use white wine and instead of using roosters we use chicken. But the effect is the same: A tender, juice and flavorful dish.

To cook this dish, you’ll need a Dutch oven, which is basically a very large pot. You cook the in the pot first to add flavor to the grease. Then you cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side to brown the chicken, again in the pot. Then you remove the chicken, lower the heat and cook the rest of the ingredients.

This dish is a relatively complex and time consuming dish to prepare. Cook it on a day when you have a bit of time to spare. The cacophony of flavors will absolutely make it worth your while.



Meal #6: Sausage, Pepper and Onion


This recipe falls under the “medium” difficulty and time-spent category. The dish is quite filling and once you’ve made it a couple times becomes quite easy to make. You can use different kinds of sausage meats, like garlic sausages or cheese sausages to change up the flavor of the dish. For an unconventional meal, you can even go for chicken sausages or Italian sausages.

To make this meal, you’ll need a high sided skillet or Dutch oven. You cook the sausages first in water and olive oil, then add the peppers, onions and other ingredients. The recipe comes with chili peppers and parsley, which you can of course replace according to your personal flavor preferences.


Meal #7: Chicken Parmesan


Chicken Parmesan (one of my all-time favs) is a baked chicken dish with yummy pasta sauce on the outside and soft tender chicken on the inside, topped with cheese. If you’re handy with the oven, it’s quite a simple dish to prepare.

You start by seasoning the chicken on the outside. You coat each piece of chicken with eggs, flour, salt and pepper then fry it up to make it and nice crispy. Then you pour the pasta sauce in your baking tray, place the chicken on top and add cheese and other dressings.

Put it in the oven and wait for the cheese to melt. That’s all there is to it!


Meal #8: Lasagna


An old standby standard in one dish meals, lasagna can be as elaborate or simple as you want. You can make it vegetarian and add all kinds of vegetables like colored peppers, mushrooms, carrots and more. Or simply go meaty and cheesy.

You can save time by using a premade sauce or cooking your sauce in batches and freezing them for when you need. In addition, most recipes don’t require that you precook the noodles because the sauce cooks the noodles during baking. 


Meal #9: Taco Pie


This is a truly fast and easy one dish meal. If you’re feeling lazy or in a hurry, this dish serves as both a delicious meal and a time saver.

Preparation is simple: First, you fry the ground beef in a skillet with your taco seasoning. If you want to add additional vegetables like onions or tomatoes, just throw them in the pan as well. You can use a premade pie crust and add your taco ingredients, top with cheese and you’re ready to bake. Drizzle with salsa, sour cream and guacamole when it comes out of the oven.


Meal #10: One Pot Chicken with Mango and Couscous


This meal is both sweet and extremely delicious. It’s also very healthy, as both couscous and mangoes are full of all kinds of high quality vitamins and minerals. To top it off, it’s quite easy to make.

Start by cooking your onions and your chicken. Add in the tomatoes, then the mangoes. Make sure to get all the juice from the mango in the pot. As you cook the mangoes, more juice will come out and seep into the couscous and chicken.

Then add chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Add the couscous, wait 10 minutes and your meal is ready!

 

These are ten fantastic one-dish meals you can cook up whenever you’re pressed for time or just don’t want to put that much work into preparing a multi-course meal. 
What are your go-to recipes for meals in a hurry?


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday ~ Brought To You By The Letter Purple

Ahhhh...Pinterest!  This week I found some gorgeously purple pins I want to share with you...










Source: flickr.com via Pat on Pinterest






Have a very purply sort of day today!



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