Welcome to Life Through Bifocals

Life is not always clear and easy to figure out. So grab a cup of coffee and your bifocals and let's see what we can see.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin! There is Pumpkin Everything!

With Fall officially here I am seeing Pumpkin every where, haven't you? I mean it's pumpkin muffins; pumpkin coffee cake; pumpkin donuts, not to mention pumpkin coffee (my favorite), pumpkin tea and pumpkin hot cocoa.  I love the Dunkin Donuts pumpkin coffee and even if it is cheaper than Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Coffee it can still add up. I am trying very hard to be frugal and not waste extra money so with that in mind, I set off to make my own pumpkin syrup - low carb style.

So, the other morning I got up, put my "chemist's" hat on and created this. Now I will tell you that there are lots of Googled sites all named "Pumpkin syrup" so if you want, look around. I mean syrup is syrup right?  Any how this is what I did.

1/2 cup Sweetner (Your choice)
2 Heaping Tablespoons of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup water

Put everything into a blender and really mix it all up. Pour into a saucepan and cook on low until it starts to simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes stirring often until it resembles maple syrup.  Let it cool for 10 minutes or so and then put it in a jar in the fridge. I guess you could keep it in there 4 weeks but with my luck, it will be gone by this weekend and I will have to have to make more.
cooking on the stove
sticking to the spoon like maple syrup
In the jar ready for the fridge. Add a couple of tablespoons to your coffee, tea, or hot coco for a sweet, tasty, frugal treat.

Have a nie weekend everyone. Lord willing, I'll be here Monday with the hot cocoa story.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Another Whoopie Pie

While I was adding pictures to yesterday's Hodgepodge, I came across another picture that I'm not sure I ever posted, and since I love all things Summer I decided to post one today. Along with the traditional Whoopie Pie, our friend Mark  also made German Chocolate Whoopie Pie for Hubbies Party.  It was a huge hit!
What kind of cake yells "Party - Celebrate -Fun " to you all?  What kind of party do you prefer? Outside BBQ? Dress Up Halloween? How about an Emmy Awards Party?  Pool Party? Let's start a list!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge: The First Fall Questions

Joyce did a great job once again and I'm so glad she gives us the questions a day early, because I really needed the time this time.  Thank you Joyce.

1. It is officially fall here in North America...I realize not everyone who participates in the Hodgepodge lives in North America but if you do, what's your favorite memory of Summer 2011? If you're not in North America, what's your favorite memory of the season just ending on your side of the world?
Hubby retired this summer and there was a "This is Not a Retirement Party" Party with family, good friends and good food. The favorite food I think was the Whoopie Pie Cake made by our friend and Chef, Mark.

2. Your favorite nut? You know I mean the edible kind, right?
Walnuts. I eat a hand full almost every day. They are filling and give me the crunch I want.

3. What activity puts your sense of balance to the test?
Taekwondo requires a lot of balance. I managed to get all the way to 1st degree Black belt before my osteoporosis got so bad that I started breaking bones just by doing it.  Still, balance was a big part of the skill.

4. How would you describe your sense of humor?
 I married it. He's 6 feel 3 inches of pure laughter and joy!

5. September 28th is National Ask a Stupid Question Day...what's your stupid question?
If you live at the South Pole, is there a south direction?

6. Roller skates~hula hoop~jump rope...which activity would you most enjoy? Yes, you have to choose.
With so many body parts sagging there is no way I'm jumping rope!  You know I may knock myself out doing that. Roller skates may be OK but I think I would enjoy the hula hoop so that I can use the time working on finding my waist  - killing two birds with one stone.
7. What's your most sentimental possession?
My wedding rings. They are a symbol of our love and journey together.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

When it's dark out, I really love to turn this light on in the kitchen. It gives off a soft glow in there that just makes my heart warm.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Our Kitchen is Back!

Back in February our kitchen had problems. We could still cook and do the dishes, but a set of cabinets was falling down, so we (and by that, I mean Hubby) took them down and we decided to revamp that side of the kitchen.  That was in February. The cabinets came down, and we waited for the new cabinets to go up.
In place of cabinets over the peninsula, a light was going in. New cabinets were bought, but were not put up so that we could use them, yet.
A ceiling fan went in where the plain light was
Finally the new light went up over the peninsula and the new cabinets went in. See the curtain there? Well it's an appliance garage.
Our small toaster and electric water kettle fit nicely back there.
I really like the way it opened up the kitchen and love the look of the red color.
The appliance garage curtain can be changed to match the seasons, or what ever whim I feel

Thank you Hubby for all your hard work and I really love it came out. Well done!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Review: The First Fall Monday!

Fall showed up with 70 and 80's degrees Summer temps. Well, this is fall in New England. One day it's 80's and the next 50's! This is when some people get really sick because how does one dress when the temps are all over the place.  Since it is fall, I did fall things, like put out a fall garden flag.

I planted some Fall Mums - just look at the leaves all over the ground! Oh My! I see raking in my future.

Put up the drive way markers for the snow plow---last year the ground froze before we got them in!  Not this year!

And pulled out my fall clothes - that is what was made me the saddest.

I really don't like the heavy material. It hurts my body because I have Fibromyalgia. The weight become so heavy trying to keep me warm with so many layers that I do suffer more in the cold weather.  I did keep some short sleeves and shorts out for because the weather for this week says we have a few days in the 80's coming up. Want to be able to wear the summer outfits for a bit longer.

If you read my blog last week, you know that Hubby was away then and I lost the TV remote. I was looking for sympathy but none of my fb friends gave me any. They laughed at me.  You can read the story here.
Hubby went to the men's retreat and this time he took care of me so that I couldn't loose the remote.
He attached a long line to it so that I could not loose it this time. It made me laugh every time I used it. How funny was this! What a man!  So instead, I lost the Internet and somehow got hacked and my email account sent all sorts of email off to people on my email list... Oh my, he had to fix that when he got home.  I'm so sorry to those of you that got an email from me over the weekend. I didn't send them!! Hubby is wondering what will happen next time he leaves, one never knows!

I also took photos of the changing colors, we are mostly green here but there are pops of colors here and there.
I also took photos of the best yellow lab ever sleeping on our floor.
I was really tired on Friday and so I took the day to take it easy, I only counted my walking and some painting that I really wanted to do but my energy ran out and I stopped. By Saturday, I was all better and jumped back into the grove and later that day when I added up all my miles for the week, I discovered that I did 68 miles!! Well no wonder, I felt really, really tired! I have only 146 miles to go! Yippee!!!

How was your weekend?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Feeding Becke the Wonder Dog

I often comment on FaceBook what Becke is eating and others write back that she is eating better than what they are having for meals. So I though I would give you a peak into Becke's meals.
Many years ago I was introduced to this book.
It changed my life and the way I look at dog food. Spoiler alert, it will make you sick what is in dog food.

So began my search for better food for my dogs. I started with this book.
and added a few more.

And created some of the meals that Becke now eats.  Here is one page from the above book "Home Cooking". Click on it to make it bigger to see how easy this meal really is.
She really likes it when the pots and pans come out. She does eat well and her blood work so far shows that she is very healthy (but yes, overweight) So we are cutting back on the size of each meal.

I have also added Honest Kitchen food as well. This is dehydrated grains, vegetables, fruits, and beef (Human grade) which I rehydrate and add extra meat, real meat, human grade meat. This goes in her evacuation kit (e-kit) as well.

Once you get a rhythm you can make meals for a week in about 30 minutes. I freeze everything but 2 days worth and just take them out as I need them. She eats 2 times a day. 

So, how do you spoil your 4 legged friend(s)? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Really, it is!

Can you believe that it's Wednesday all ready. Are you all watching the new season of your favorite shows? We sure are!  

1. Do you like chili? Red or white? Beans or no beans? Spice or no spice? Toppings?
Yes I do like chili, red, but not the really hot kind. Yes on the beans and for toppings, well cheese is always nice, corn chips is even better.

2. Red~Orange~Gold...your favorite fall color?
All of the above and add rust to the mix. I really love the darker colors of fall.

3. Who did you idolize when you were growing up?
Note sure I Idolized anyone, but I liked the clothes and colors of the 60's and I remember watching the Ed Sullivan Show which I enjoyed a lot. I wish they still made TV like that and not all this "Reality" Junk.

4. When was the last time you did something 'arts and craftsy'? Share please.
Does painting furniture count? Sure it does, then last weekend, when I painted and rearranged our dining area furniture.
Our Ice Box that was in my kitchen growing up. It was used back then, the ice went in the bottom left side cabinet. 
5. What's a place that makes you really nervous?
Any place where I have to do public speaking. I get very nervous when I have to do that.

6. Horse back riding...yay or nay (neigh?)
If the horse is trained, like the ones you rent for a group ride, then I'm OK with it. As in visit a friend and jump on a horse and giddy up? NAY (Neigh)

7. What is your favorite cliche?
So here's the thing, I have a condition called Malapropism, also known as "Yogi Berra's" syndrome. I cannot say cliches correctly at all. I seem to either mix 2 or 3 together or use the wrong example all together. Often something funny comes out and Hubby has learned to figure out what 2 or 3 I mixed into one and sometimes he has no clue where I came up with whatever came out of my mouth. I am nothing, if not comic relief.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Our home heat has been on in the morning for the last few days, in September!! That is just wrong people! One morning I woke up and it was 48 degrees outside!  Fall is here early, I sure hope we get a little bit of what we call "Indian Summer." 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend Review: Heat!

WOW! What a difference a day makes!  I really wanted to put on my flip flops and enjoy the last weekend of Summer, instead I put on the heat and curled up under a blanket (electric throw) on the couch.  The temps went down so low, we had a light frost here!  
Hubby was away for a few days helping out at the Ladies Retreat (in the kitchen feeding them all) so I was left to entertain myself. I really like those days because I can eat (or not), clean early (or not) and watch what I like on TV (which is lots of HGTV-BTW)

Well you know what they say about the best laid plans right.......

Friday night I wanted to watch something on channel 5 so I put the TV on channel 5 to watch the show and then for some reason, because this type "A" person had too many irons in the fire, doing too many things at once, I lost the remote and was stuck with channel 5 (which was football, both collage and pro from 7:30pm on....). So I had sports to watch in the living room once the other projects were done. OK we have more than one TV but without the remote I couldn't find a way to turn OFF the TV. Our TV doesn't have a power button, it's all remote controlled. What's a girl to do??? I FaceBooked my dilemma and only received laughs from my "Friends". When they found out that hubby was away at camp, they then FaceBooked back and forth camp songs!! Hey, what about some sympathy here!! None...I was told to simply unplug the TV.  Some Friends!! I love them all and it was funny. I even told hubby who laughed as well - for quite some time.

As for projects, I turned this Microwave cabinet 
Into this with left over paint
Took the  Ice Box  from the above picture and added some details and got this.
Fall table cloths added to the tea cart, gives a new look as well
Washing the floor, moving funiture and putting the room back together, makes our dinning area look ready for fall.
Bird seed on the floor by the freezer will go into the feeders soon.

So even though I wanted summer heat, I got home oiled heat and lots done while Hubby was away.  He goes away later for hunting season, wonder what I'll do then?????

On my personal challenge, I'm up to 2186!  I was able to get in the equivalent of 73 miles this week!  Remember, it's not just walking...bike riding, painting, weights, step aerobics and Zumba all counts.  I'm getting there! How was your weekend?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Good Bye Summer

This the last Friday of Summer and this weekend is the LAST WEEKEND OF SUMMER
I love summer and look forwarded to it every year. I know that Fall brings joys of its own. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins and all sorts of pumpkin stuff. Pies are made, the oven gets turned on and baking happens again. The warmth of the wood stoves or pellet stoves puts a glow in your home and life seems to slow down a bit while you still have days to sit on the back deck with a cup of hot apple cider in your hands.  People open there windows and air out the house and put the AC units away! Yes all nice things indeed.  But I love the heat of summer, the light weight clothes of summer, and the grilled summer salads and fruits. I will miss summer and look forwarded to seeing it again soon.
So on this last weekend of summer, go outside and grill. Wear your flip flops and shorts, eat ice cream, and do all sort of summer things because when you do them next weekend, you will be doing fall things.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Humble Thank You for a New Award

Julie over at What Else is Possible? was kind enough to give me this award.  Julie is a talented writer who has been published already and has time to visit my little blog and encourage me to continue.  Thank you.

The award is designed for new bloggers who have less than 200 followers. - but hopefully not for long. Here are the rules:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet – other writers.
5. And best of all – have fun and spread the karma!

So here are my five picks for this great award.
1. The World According to Tracy
2. Life of a Honey Bee
3. Patiently Waiting
4. The Quest for Me
5. Anearthenvessel

Thank you Julie!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge:

1. What do you do at the first sign of a cold? Will you get a flu shot this year?
I will not get the flu shot and will take Mucinex at the first sign of a cold. I love that stuff and it doesn't interfere with any other meds I am on.

2. What advice can you give about how to conquer fear?
Boy, fear is really a hard thing to give advice about because fear is better once you face it and do the thing you are afraid of but it is so hard to do the thing you are afraid of. My advice is do it anyway because when you look back you will see that you are stronger for doing what you were afraid of in the first place.

3. Share two good things about your life right now.
Hubby is retired and I love having him home. Our grand daughters are pure joy. I am so proud of our daughter and the "Mommy" she is!

4. A hot fall fashion trend in 2011 is a return to sixties style...tunics with pants, shift dresses, pencil skirts, cinched waists, bold prints, high necklines and short lengths to name a few. How does this fashion trend fit with your wardrobe and personal sense of style?
Well I loved the look of the 60's even though I was just a young girl at the time :-). However, most of my clothes consist of jeans and sweaters, jeans and t-shirts, jeans and sweatshirts.  Don't image that will change too much.

5. Were you involved in scouting as a kid? How about as an adult?
No and no.

6. Apple, pear, plum, pumpkin...your favorite fall flavor?
I have to pick one??? OK then I pick pumpkin because Dunkin Donuts has there pumpkin coffee back!

7. What characteristics do you think are essential in a good teacher?
A good teacher needs to want to teach! Not someone who has the job because they want summer's off, or because they want to have weekends and holidays off. A good teacher wants to work with the age group that she has and love kids and wants to see them reach for the stars!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Yesterday I blog about the evacuation kit I have for my dog and what goes in it. We have had several different weather conditions that warrant leaving ones home and when you leave, your pet should as well. Anyway, one of the things I mentioned was to label everything with your pet's information but the picture was blurry. What you need to add is dogs name, breed (and color), Date of Birth, altered (spayed or neutered) allergies, Tattoo Number and Microchip info, Vet's name and phone number, Animal Emergency Number and address, Your cell number, your name, any medicine and medical condition of your pet. Include rabies expiration date, normal diet, Animal Poison Control Center. Also put in down your town by name and the dog license number. Also a picture of your baby. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pet Evacuation Kit - Have it ready to Go

I mentioned last week during the Wednesday Hodgepodge that I have an evacuation kit for our dog Becke, the Wonder dog. It sits waiting for the time when we have to leave and she needs to go as well. It gets cleaned out and repacked every 6 months. If in the event you have to evacuate, it will be almost impossible to gather everything that you will need for your pet so have it ready. Here is what is in Becke's kit. You can enlarge each picture to get a better look at what is there.
Her crate turns from this flat easy to pack item to..

A full size crate for her in seconds! 

Inside the container is everything else. Notice the sign on the top and front, it has all her medical information, a photo of her as well as lots of information.
You can purchase pet first aid kits everywhere. It has small bottles of items you will need.Or you can put together your own from a list here.
But since I have a large dog, I add to it with more of some of the things.
Having extra supplies for cleaning wounds that may happen is always a good thing to pack.
Pack food enough for 5 days. If you feed kibble, pre pack each meal, add whatever supplements you add to the food. Having baby food handy will help if the stress is too much for your pet. It will help ease your pet's tummy. Remember to pack the cookies as well.
Pack them all in one larger container with your pets name on everything!
If you home cook, then have meals ready to grab from the freezer. Put a note to yourself on top of the evacuation kit to remind you to grab it before you leave.
You can also pack some caned meats, veggies and fish to create some fast meals for your pet. You want to create meals for 5 days! Don't forget the can opener!
Don't forget something to use as bowls for water and food as well.
Pack towels in case you need them to either clean your dog, or clean up after your dog.
Something your pet knows is his (or hers) to lay on.
A back up to lay on (in case your pet gets sick on the first one)
A blanket for those pets who love to "Nest"
Pack it inside the large container. Label everything! 

Add extra leashes and collars or harness.
You need 1 gallon of water per pet per day. This container holds 5 gallons for Becke.
And don't forget those pick up bags to clean up after your pet.

Something to consider:
If you have a cat, you will have to add some cat litter and a box to put it in. You can purchase disposable litter boxes that have the litter already in it. Also pack trash bags to put the litter boxes and used litter into as well.
If you can, get samples of your pets food and use that in your evacuation kit, just remember to change it out before it expires.
All pet medications need to stay in the original bottle with vet instructions and information clearly on the front. Put a post-it-note on the top of the box with a HUGE "RX" on it to remind you to take it.

So as you can see, it's more than just having a pet first aid kit - you need an evacuation kit.  Start building yours today. When you need it, you will be ready for whatever happens.