First blog post

This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

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I Love To Bake

Let me start off by saying that I also have a sweet tooth. I am trying to eat healthier, not eat so many sweets, because I really don’t know when to stop. I don’t buy cookies, I buy ice cream for my husband but only the type I do not like and I stopped drinking soda years ago. My husband, loves pie, cake, cookies etc and I would love to indulge him by baking if only he would eat it all. For example, for his birthday he wants a layer cake, which I bake for him, he takes one slice and just leaves the cake untouched for days! I mean really who does that? I thought I could make him cupcakes so he could take them to work and share them but no. I have tried to tell him that the cake doesn’t last forever on the counter but it doesn’t seem to help, so I have a slice then another… You see the pattern here?

food plate chocolate dessert

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I have tried cutting back sugar in some recipes but it is a drop in the bucket and I am sure my serving size is not appropriate. I am going to look up healthier recipes and find a cookbook that centers on better for you desserts. I like the process and exactness of baking and most people are willing to try a new dish you have made if it is sweet. I think I will go back to bread baking, which I also like and I love bread. This may not be the best trade off but it will cut back on the sugar and I go healthier with the ingredients.

It is tough when one of your hobbies doesn’t work with your lifestyle. I do not think I am competent enough to fiddle around with recipes myself to make them healthier, maybe I need to go back to basics and learn the properties of the ingredients so I know why they are in the recipe and how they affect the outcome.

So do any of you know of any cookbooks that have healthier dessert recipes? I may have to spend the day in the library and bookstore researching things, but I would love your input.

Posted in Baking, cutting sugar, recipes, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It’s The Little Things

I was sitting the other morning with my first cup of coffee and realized how much I enjoy that particular mug. I put quite a bit of thought into picking out mugs. I need it to be a certain size and I need the handle to be big enough for all my fingers. To me there is nothing worse than a mug that doesn’t hold enough or one you have to pick up with one or two fingers. I also like the color, a cool celadon green, it makes me happy. It really is the little things that make an impact on your day.

For instance, I have decided on certain beauty products because after much researching I have found a line of face serums and creams that are cruelty free, use organic (not all) ingredients, actually work, not a lot of packaging(not all of it is plastic), unscented, and I love the feel of them on my skin. They glide on and make me feel taken care of. The line up of bottles on my bathroom shelf make me smile and I look forward to using them.

My dog, while a very needy animal, greets me every morning with a bright look and a wagging tail, happy to greet the day. She makes me smile because I know she loves me unconditionally, will be at the door to greet me at the end of the day and will always be ready for a snuggle. I mean do you really need any more?

Daylilies are a wonderful flower. Yes their blooms only last a day, but you can plant them and they come back year after year with no complaints, not asking for plant food, fill in spaces where little else will grow and there are so many kinds! I swear there are ones in every color imaginable. They are just a honest, hardworking flower that does it’s job with little fanfare and no problems.

Baseball, I have watched this sport my entire life, married a man that played it and a son as well. There is nothing like watching a beautifully turned double play or a pick off play at second (I have a soft spot for catchers as my son was one). Yes, they are grown men playing a game for an exorbitant amount of money, but when they play well they are really just overgrown little boys. The little smirk as they round the bases after “going yard” and the congratulations when they get back to the dugout seem like snapshots of their past on some little league field somewhere. Even when my team isn’t doing well, the game makes me smile for the pure joy of it. Of course , this year the Red Sox are doing well, so that makes me smile too.

A cotton tee shirt, I have a few organic cotton tee shirts that feel so good to wear. They are soft, fit well and are so comfortable. They are long lasting because they are well made and I reach for them time after time. I don’t have a large wardrobe, it may even be a capsule one not sure, but I figured out the clothes I wanted to wear were always the same things so now if something wears out I replace it with almost the same thing. I have purchased trendy items that I thought I would like and it might perk up my wardrobe but I might wear them a few times and then they get pushed back in the drawer and out comes my comfy, organic cotton tee shirt, it makes me smile because it never fails me.

I made cookies yesterday and it was a recipe I make at Christmas a lot but I thought why wait for Christmas and then give them all away. We like them too, one bite of these soft ginger cookies make me smile, maybe they are a winter taste but I know I won’t eat a lot at one sitting so they are a treat for us that will give us that sweet without wreaking havoc on our waistlines.

A couple of bloggers write about being grateful and showing gratitude and I love reading what other people find for which to be grateful. This little blog was about the little things that make me smile and for which I am grateful. It really is the little things.

 

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Classics Cost Less

I have mentioned before that I am a retailer and lately I am having trouble with the fact that my living is dependent on people buying things. Now I work for a specialized retailer and a good part of what we sell is consumable. That being said the other things we sell quite a bit of are clothes. I would love to say that they are all classic, organic and free trade but sadly that is not the case. People want the newest trends even in a sport that to it’s heart is classic and hasn’t changed in years and those changes were slow to take a foothold.

person riding horse

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We want repeat customers so when someone is new to the sport, we suggest entry level clothing and equipment as long as it fits well and is safe that is all they need. People don’t need to buy top of the line clothes and equipment to start enjoying their new hobby. If and when they continue and go on to different levels then they go up to items that are better made and with that more costly, but these are usually classic styles that will last years. So basically we are telling people that when you first start out you can buy these trendy, fashion type items before you know better and then once you get into it you realize that it is wasted money? If they are kids okay they will grow out of certain things and it is better that you concentrate on fit and safety.

I have found that with our well to do customers they wear/use items until they are thread bare and not even fixable, but the ordinary customer buys new all the time. This floors me. I guess it is how the rich stay rich, they don’t waste their money if they have something that works or can be repaired they make do. I do live in New England and part of this is the old Yankee mentality that I grew up with and had pounded into my brain growing up. Our business would not last very long if we had only rich customers.

photo of black flat screen monitor

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I have been in this industry since I was 13 years old and I am familiar with most facets of it from buying, selling and marketing and lately it is really going against my beliefs that people have too much and especially too much cheap stuff. So try to live like the rich, only buy the best quality and make it last. Repair it if needed, take care of it and don’t treat your belongings as disposable.

Posted in consumerism, habits, minimalism, needs, retailing, shopping, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Tropical Heatwave

Okay, most of us on the east coast of the US are suffering with the first heatwave of the summer. I say the first because I am sure we will have others. Climate change aside, I really wish people would learn how to cope with this sort of thing better. I learned a lot about how to keep comfortable from my mother. We went away every summer and we didn’t have air conditioning and only a few fans, but it generally got cooler at night so we would open all the windows to draw in the cool air and then shut things down in the morning if it was going to be extremely hot and closed curtains against the sun. I continue this process everyday in the summer as we do not have central AC in our house, we have a window unit in our bedroom that my father purchased years ago when he came to visit. He was horrified that I didn’t have one and that he was having trouble finding a place to purchase one. It was the middle of the summer. He lived in Hawaii at the time and I am sure that he could have found one at the corner store at home. We had been okay without one and now that we have it,I will admit to sleeping better.

I never experienced AC in my home until my first apartment in 1977 and while it is nice to have I wonder if we have become so dependent on it that we don’t even use the more natural ways to cool ourselves. I sometimes bemoan the fact that I have less sunny areas to garden, but the shade given off by the growing trees is cooling the house and I am using less water to garden. This is natures way of taking care of weather extremes. I marvel at a new subdivision of large homes being built in what used to be a pasture or cornfield and how there are no mature trees and each house is being built with central AC. They put some trees in that won’t mature before the first mortgage is paid off.

architecture building business buy

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This past Sunday we went to my brother-in-laws house for a cook out and on the way, we noticed no one was outside, it was in the high 90’s and houses were closed up tight. I was glad that people were staying out of the sun, but it made me think of how many of these houses were in air conditioned comfort. We stayed outside on the shaded patio and there was a little breeze but the house was stifling with no cross ventilation it was about 10 degrees hotter than the outside. We were prepared for the heat and dressed appropriately, had cool drinks and enjoyed ourselves, while it would have been better if it wasn’t equatorialy hot but this too shall pass.

We enjoyed the AC in the car on the trip also, if it is a short trip and not on the highway we will just keep the windows open, but the car had been shut up in the sun for most of the day, my husband couldn’t touch parts of the steering wheel. I stopped at a market to buy a dessert to bring and walked by 3 cars that had their engines running with the AC on and no one in the car. People idle their cars all the time, drive thru windows are everywhere and if there is someone waiting for a person to finish in the store, they do not turn off the car even in temperate weather.

Yesterday before doing my weekly food shopping I had to stop by the local AAA office. I walked in from the heat into the heat it was a bit shocking. I got up to the counter and commiserated with the manager, who said they had contacted the people in charge and hope to see some relief by the following day. When you work in a place like that, an office, or retail establishment you go to work dressed for a different environment than if you were working outside. You have to be presentable, these poor people looked done in and it was only 10:15 in the morning. I couldn’t do anything to help with their AC problem but I dropped of bottles of cold water, even if they had access to water, it was a way to let them know that I was sympathizing.

car interior air conditioner

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We as a human race have created the need for AC and the more we use it the bigger the need. I will continue to do what I can to reduce my usage and employ other strategies with which to cool myself off. When I get out of my car, I make sure the windows are down a bit so the car doesn’t get quite so hot and if I can get away without the AC I will. I also never use drive thrus.

Posted in air conditioning, air pollution, climate change, cooling, doing your part, environment, needs, New England, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

20% Waste Reduction

Wanting and needing to cut back on my waste is important, but there are times when it just seems like one step forward two steps back. Cutting out plastic completely is not doable for me and for very few people although there are some out there that make you feel as if it were not for you being lazy you could do it. I am a realist, I know that if I try to work at it, I can make a difference but it will be minuscule. IĀ  am not of the camp that says all or nothing or try to guilt, scare or berate those that do not do the zero waste route. I am going to continue in my own way and terms to cut back my waste and try to close the loop whenever possible. If people could change just one wasteful habit it would help, so we need to work together not being tearing people down for not doing enough according to some arbitrary benchmark; that doesn’t help anything. The following is a list of things I am working on to cut back on my waste; I will continue to add to the list as I am able.

scrap metal trash litter scrapyard

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Paper towels: I can make a roll last at least 3 months. I will admit to using them for cleaning the toilet. I use microfibre cloths for cleaning but the toilet needs a different approach as far as I am concerned. I may start using an old washcloth instead, but havent gotten there yet.

Single use plastic bags: I always have a reusable bag in my purse or I just plain refuse a bag if I am only carrying a couple of items. There are a few towns around me that have banned them so you get a paper bag, but I will still use mine if only one bag is needed. Unfortunately, my husband is harder to regulate and he will bring them home. I do recycle these at the supermarket. I also have string bags for my loose produce at the market. I bought some organic cotton ones that came as a set in different sizes.

vegetables stall

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Bottled water: I have many reusable water bottles and a Brita Filter pitcher in my fridge at home. Brita has a recycling program for their used filters, so It doesn’t feel as wasteful if I can save them up and ship them back to them.

Paper: I recycle all the paper I can and this is only after reusing it if possible before I recycle it. If I have to buy paper for my printer( I do have to from time to time) I look for recycled paper that has a high % of post-consumer content. This is an important distinction, this is closing the loop. I am starting to get my bills electronically sent to me, I already do my bill paying on-line. I am afraid I do get quite a few magazines sent to me, but I really don’t enjoy them online.

photo of pile of ripped carton

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Packaging: This gets tricky because the beauty aids I use as with most of us come in plastic, although I do use items from manufacturers that don’t use extra packaging and some use recycled plastic in their packaging. Plastic packaging has become such a norm that you can’t walk down any aisle in any supermarket where it is not being used. I have contacted stores, and brands that I use and frequent and have asked for them to at least look into and possibly cut back on the use of plastic or at least look into post consumer plastic. It is scary when you realize how much plastic is in our daily lives. How do we get rid of it or do we have to come up with a viable alternative first?

Food: I cook from scratch most days, but we do enjoy eating out at various local restaurants and supporting our neighbors in the process. We do bring home leftovers every once in awhile and it is bad how they are packaged, but I don’t want food to go to waste and my husband is really good about eating leftovers. Chinese take-out is a problem because we have been recently told by the town/state that some of those containers are no longer on the recycling list. I don’t want to stop getting take-out from these places and they are small businesses that we need to support so I will try to find an alternative. I always try to eat fruits and veggies in season, but being in New England with it’s short growing season we do have to go for frozen fruits and veggies at times, this brings plastic into play again. I do not like canned and even then canned isn’t always a good choice for your health. I couldĀ  preserve at home which I may try this year for fruit, but I like my vegetables crisp so that type of preserving is not good for me. You can’t freeze in glass so now what?

jar with red jam on white sauer

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I am trying to make a difference so while aiming at zero waste I am going try for 20% less. This sounds a bit more doable and at least in a positive direction. We have a pay per bag trash collection with single stream recycling so overall as a community we are trying and that is all people can expect. Yes, we can do better and we should always try to improve as a community, personally as well as world wide. We didn’t get into this mess overnight nor is it going to be fixed overnight, but if we don’t all do our part nothing is going to get better. We can all make a difference, after all one drop at a time will eventually fill the bucket.

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Posted in doing your part, environment, everyday life, going green, habits, plastic free, recycle, Uncategorized, Zero Waste | 2 Comments

Oprah’s Book Club

Let me start by saying that I believe that anything that encourages reading can’t be bad. I read to escape, always have. I get involved with characters, their lives, loves etc. I want to be engrossed so that when I finish the book I am sad that the character and I are no longer together.

When celebrities start book clubs it makes me feel like I am not reading the right type of books. The ones they choose are usually deep, thought provoking and sad. The books are well written credible pieces of literature, but very rarely something I am interested in reading. I am left wondering “am I reading fluff” because I am not in on this moving book. My mother used to read the New York Times book review religiously and was first on the list at the library for the new best seller in fiction, but I am not that type of reader.

I understand that Oprah probably wants to get people thinking, talking and expanding their minds and worlds. Before she came along to tell us what we should be reading there was a whole lot of people reading all types of things and no one noticed us before so we continued quietly on our way. Now that she has a “Book Club” it has become the “thing” to do. I am sure her recommendations are good but not to my taste most of the time. This month is “The Sun Does Shine” and as she described it-” a soul searing memoir that will stay with her forever”. It is about a man that was on death row for 30 years and is now free. I agree that this is an important story to tell and read. As for me I will stick with fiction for the most part that has endearing, frustrating and engrossing characters that become friends with me by the end and I am cheering for them.

People take up hobbies for personal reasons and to me reading and the choices you make to read couldn’t be more personal. You could always find me with a book when I was a kid and when my kids were growing up we read together every night. Even when they were reading on their own we would read books together before bed. My daughter loved the Anne of Green Gables series and my son loved the Matt Christopher sports books. What they choose to read now is as different as they are but they usually find something that peaks their interest and is not on any list of must reads!

We have a great bookstore a few towns away from me that was opened by the author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books, Jeff Kinney. It is called An Unlikely Story. It is a wonderful store that has an ambiance to it that makes you want to just sit and find a new author, get a cup of coffee and immerse yourself. Quite a few of the sections have staff pick and reviews and while other stores do this, it feels personal like it is your next door neighbor telling you about it. This is the type of reading I want not something that sears my soul, enlightens me or makes me depressed because it was so sad. So, I guess I will continue to read my type of literature and there is room for everyone so find a book in the library, at a bookstore, used bookstore or borrow from a friend and immerse yourself in whatever you want.

Oprah is a well read woman with a successful life and I am glad people want to read and share with her, but people just read! Who cares what any celebrity wants you to read, it feels a little condescending to me. Living everyday to me is having at least one good book going at all times.

 

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Whose Mess Is This?

I find that I get things done when under pressure. My daughter and a friend from out of state, might be coming this weekend for an overnight as they have a bridal shower to attend nearby. I was happy to have them as I haven’t seen my daughter since Christmas. My daughter’s old bedroom is just that a bedroom, although my husband seems to have taken it over as a dressing room, but no big deal just overnight. My son’s old room, well lets just say it isn’t really company ready. I had been given plenty of notice that this trip was happening so I went about cleaning it up a bit at a time.

First thing was the purchase of curtains, since no one was really using the room, it didn’t have any. Found some I thought were ok and hung them up. I don’t know if I thought it would magically make everything better; just so happened it made everything worse! I was made acutely aware of all the items that needed to be gone through. I knew that I couldn’t ask my son to get rid of his belongings, beside not having the time, he would also want to keep it all. He is a sentimental soul. I think we have all of his old cell phones, really who keeps these? I forgot Blackberries were so small.

hand old retro phone

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Nothing more to do than just start. Washed the sheets and bedding and put all extra bedding away( I will deal with that later). Bed done so I decided to take all his baseball hats put them in the dryer with a wet towel and wool dryer ball to get the dust off them before I brought them over to his apartment, done! Storage boxes (the opaque cardboard type) were in the corner, only one of which I new the contents. That was my taxes from previous years that needed a place to be stored, but that would mean a trip to the attic. It has been very hot, so I don’t think this will be done now. I open the first box thinking it was filled with odds and ends of my son’s high school years-Nope, all crap I had removed from my office when organizing that room! I obviously didn’t miss any of it so I could get rid of it, but didn’t think I should just throw it out, that would be wasteful. Found old computer cables and discs that were no longer needed and tossed them along with old magazines and antique guides. I started feeling a bit better, but more to do and as I am on vacation this week I will be able to continue. I was going to pace myself.

Just found out that my daughter and her friend would not be coming after all due to unforeseen circumstances. I am unhappy they are not coming because I would have loved seeing them, but now I have no pressure to finish the room! I am going to have to just put on my girl pants and get it done. Wish me luck.

I wish I could lay this mess on someone else and I could feel righteous about cleaning it, but it is of my own making so now I just feel bad about letting it get this way. I really shouldn’t have rooms that don’t have a purpose, so I am going to try to figure out a dual use for this room so I don’t fall back to old ways.

coffee girl cafe flower

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