Coffee and the best way to make it.

pexels-photo-867470.jpegWe have a wonderful family friend that likes to share things he enjoys with us and while this is great it can sometimes feel like an obligation to make sure we continue to use the product or go that place to eat etc. Christmas is a particularly stressful time for that.

He comes to our house every year to celebrate Christmas Eve with us(this is when we have our big meal and open presents), it is a long fun evening that I have been told has to start earlier because my husband needs to go to bed earlier! This year was no different. I opened up a gift from this friend and found a beautiful cribbage board with a map of a lake that was near where I went every summer. Very thoughtful, except that we don’t play cribbage. He has tried to teach my husband and let’s just say this has not gone well.


This friend knows I love Kona Coffee and always tries to find it either in bean form or ground which I love and have taken to looking forward to opening, this year along with the coffee he gifted me with a french press. I want my coffee HOT and this works for that as I then pour the extra into my insulated carafe. The press really only makes about 2 generous cups, which has cut down on my coffee consumption( I never considered it a problem) which is good for my pocketbook. I just hate the mess it makes. I used the pour over method into my carafe and then was able to throw out/compost the liners with the grounds. The french press has taken away the need for filters, but I have to wait until much later for the grounds to dry out, then scrape them out, wash the carafe, take apart the plunger to really clean it and then let it dry before I put it all back together. I am trying to figure out if it is worth it. It makes a nice cup of coffee, but I feel as if I am too set in my ways.


I never jumped on the Kuerig bandwagon, because it doesn’t make it hot enough, seemed expensive and I didn’t like the waste of those little plastic cups. My daughter and son in law enjoy theirs but it was not for me. I could use a percolator on the stove as was the custom years ago, but the coffee always tasted a little burnt, I had a programmable coffee maker and it was super convenient but again not hot enough. It appears as if I want to burn my mouth! I will keep up with the press for a bit longer and maybe he will not ask if I continue to use it. I see accessories in my future!

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5 ways to stay in shape during the Olympics

I am going to say right away that I love the Olympics both winter and summer, it is a chance to watch sports that we don’t get to see very often and I am in awe of these athletes who lay it all out there for a medal. Some of them do not have a chance of seeing the podium or even making it to the final in their respective sports, but they are there doing something most of us cannot even fathom doing.


When I was younger we had a great television show called the Wide World of Sports and I can tell you I miss it. They would televise sports that were not widely known as well as the more main stream. “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”, I am sure the poor ski jumper that was known as the agony of defeat was not sad to see that show go away.

The Olympics of modern day are fascinating and the technology in just timing the races is mind boggling. We don’t get to see all the sports as they happen at a time when a lot of other things are going on and they have changed the way they bestow the medals and we as Americans we only usually get to see them if an American is on the podium( a shame really).

Now I want to share a few things you too can do to keep in shape while watching the Olympics.

  1. Hold a plank while waiting for the judging of the figure skaters
  2. Jumping jacks during commercials
  3. Tricep dips or pushups during the filler pieces in the studio
  4. Squats during interviews with exhausted athletes
  5. Every time someone mentions the weather/cold/heat drink water

There you go, you can stay in shape instead of melting into your couch. You can feel the burn of tired muscles along with the competitors you are watching. Go for the gold!pexels-photo-236937.jpeg

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7 Things I learned on my way to a simple lifestyle

While on the way to a more minimal lifestyle I discovered a few things about myself. I learned that while I was striving to cut clutter and to not be owned by my belongings I realized that looking around my home I did not like what was left. My house was beginning to look like we just moves in. My family room, where we spend most of our time( it is where the tv is) looked empty. Let me give you the rundown of this room with the exception of the artwork on the walls we have the following: leather couch, chair with ottoman, coffee table, end table, antique wooden toolbox(used as end table also), corner tv cabinet and the tv. I know this sound like a lot but really we can only sit 4 people comfortably. This is not a room I am proud to bring people into. We recently swapped our living room and dining room and it makes our living room more cozy and I have a friend that is making slipcovers for my wing chairs which are in great shape but the upholstery looks nasty. I probably have too much furniture in that room.

I have friends and relatives that can decorate their homes in such a way that a guest is welcomed and comfortable, I am afraid I do not have that ability. My father loved mid-century modern and Danish furniture and I too love that look along with antiques that showcase simple lines and craftmanship.

I decided that I would go from room to room in my house and experience each room and the feelings I felt in each. My kitchen is fine, since I recently updated it, I need to refinish the cabinets but otherwise I am good with it. My dining room, feels unfinished as it has the table and six chairs and an antique cupboard. I put up curtains, but they are blah. My family room is cozy and I will like it even better when the chairs are finished.

My master bedroom was a revelation, I felt calm, comforted and happy. I have a bedroom set that is about 40 years old and I don’t like the style anymore and an odd table for the tv (I know I shouldn’t have a tv in the bedroom), my dog has her bed up here and I love the color of the walls. This is the one room that I have not gone minimal, I have cut back some clutter, but I have lots of family photos, baskets with my cosmetics, a jewelry tree and my agenda, but it doesn’t make me stress.

So what I took away from this is:

  • not everyone is a minimalistic person
  • go with what makes you happy
  • what works for one may not work for you
  • don’t force it
  • don’t lose who you are
  • love what you have
  • every stage in your life is different

I am all for living a simpler lifestyle but there is more than one way to do it. It is personal as it should be and while there are plenty of blogs and books telling you how to live simple, it has to come from within, it has to make you happy, and help you to enjoy your life. I know I am going to rearrange some furniture to see what I already have that can be used else where and then I am going to nest!


Posted in decor, family, Friends, Home, minimalism, organizing, simple things, style, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

I am not a nurse!!

I am not a nurse, but I have been asked to play one numerous times. As a mother you can expect to be a nurse, but there have been times when it was more complicated than just a cut, band aid and a kiss. My youngest has had medical problems since birth but there were times when they sent us home from the hospital expecting us to be nurses at home. Nurses train long and hard for their thankless ( at times) careers and I know that it was never in my future. Strong stomach, every ready smile, gentleness, will of steel and unending patience are among the few traits that they require. I have had and continue to have nurses in my family way back and I know that they are not paid enough or respected enough.

My husband, is currently on the couch after having his left foot operated on and I am chief nurse. I realize he is in pain and itching to move around, but I am just trying to make sure he makes it alive to his next doctor’s appointment in 3 days time. He spent his first night on the couch because the stairs were just too daunting and I don’t blame him. We got him all set up with his foot raised, blankets, phone, water, the tv remote, crutches, his pills and Alexa on a reminder to wake him to take his pill at 1:30 in the morning. I gave him instructions to take one pill at that time, all set! Apparently at 4:30 he started feeling pain and instead of calling me to see if he could take a pill, he just decided to wait until I got up. I have been sick with a sinus infection and vertigo so he felt that I needed my rest so when I greeted him at 7 this morning he was green he was in so much pain so now the meds had to work from behind. He is a 63 year old adult that obviously couldn’t make the decision to either call me or read his instructions on the bottle. I do not have a medical degree nor was I even very good at science, but apparently I am the designated nurse in this house.

My daughter had her ACL replaced last January and I went down to Pennsylvania to help her out for a week. I know her husband was glad to see me. I can deal with my daughter because she is like me and when she gets all weepy I am just supposed to leave her alone. I helped but I was no nonsense about it all. Very matter of fact about what needed to be done and when. She did not require constant attendance and company. Maybe it is a guy thing or just an individual requirement.

The constant apologizing for being a pain, but not trying to change the behavior is just annoying. I know he is sorry for all the trouble I don’t need for him to keep telling me. I know I am ranting but this is about the 6th operation he has had over the years and as he has gotten older he has required more attention and the endless talking and discussing. I am sorry you are in pain, I know you feel bad about putting me out, I know you are bored, I know you just fell asleep, I know you don’t want to become addicted to pain pills etc.

When I am sick or hurt I want to be left alone, I can’t stand it when someone hovers around me, asks me questions or just wants to keep me company. Please, just LEAVE,ME ALONE! I will call you if I need anything or I will get it myself. Being helpless does not come naturally or easily to me so when a grown person acts this way I lose my patience. I know this too shall pass and I should be grateful that it was something that was able to be corrected and is not a terminal disease. I am thankful, but I wish I had a wonderful angel of a nurse to call on instead. They really are angels of mercy.


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So Many Choices

Vegan, Cruelty Free, Organic, “natural”. Recently I have started a purge of my cosmetics and beauty products. The skin is the largest organ you have and what you put on it should be thought out. I had been concentrating on my face creams, body lotions etc but realized that is really just the tip of the iceberg.

I sat down and listed what was most important to me in descending order and looked up my favorite products to see where the company stood. Unfortunately, quite a few were owned by larger corporations that did not jive with my ideals, so choices were going to have to be made. I came across a blog that gave me a really good comprehensive list of vegan cosmetics, She has done quite a bit of research and it is a great resource.

Cruelty free was my top choice, then vegan, then organic, too bad “natural” really doesn’t mean anything, just green washing. My choices reflect my values and thought process. Vegan products will be cruelty free by nature and so goes for organics, usually. So here goes:

Face creams and Body lotions:DSCN0314

Andalou Naturals

Molly’s Apothecary

Shea Moisture


Physicians Formula





Physicians formula




Bert’s Bees



I will continue to keep an eye on these companies to make sure they do not change their policies or if they get purchased by a larger corporation(sadly this happens too often) and the new company decides to go a different route. I plan on contacting the companies that I like and letting them know that I am pleased with their products and the direction of the company. I like to focus on the good so they will find it beneficial to stay the course. I am a label reader and the labels on most products are very small so symbols are a quick reference. Keep in mind that these products might not work for some people as they might have allergies or different skin.

I have had to say goodbye to some products that I have used for years because they did not mesh with my ideals and values. All my Cover Girl , Maybeline, Clinique and Loreal products went in the trash. I know it sounds wasteful but it was actually quite freeing. I had quite a few things that I rarely used and could easily be replaced by another company.

There are a couple of companies that I still want to try but I can only get them on-line and I find it difficult to buy cosmetics that way. Poofy Organics, and Celadon Road both have make-up that interests me but I am not needing anything right now so I will continue to make lists of things to try so when the time comes I will be better informed.

There a lot of organizations and watch dog groups that are doing us all a service by investigating companies and their policies and procedures so that we as consumers can make informed decisions, so the next time you are looking for a replacement for a beauty product that has run out, doesn’t live up to it’s promises or you just want to try something new read your labels, be informed and proactive about what you put on your skin, it is just as important as what you eat.



Posted in chemicals, cruelty free cosmetics, health and beauty, natural products, organic, skin care, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Girls Night

Girls night has a new meaning now that I am no longer a twenty something. I do not feel the need to go out for drinks, dancing and the next morning regretting. I never really did enjoy that very much anyway.

I recently participated in a class put on by a local artisanal soap and beauty care company in my town. She has wonderful natural products all made on site. I use quite a few of them on a regular basis. The owner is passionate about her products and teaching people about them. We all left with a bag of four products that we made and were able to customize ourselves. It was a small group of twelve with four people at each table. We all had a task to do to complete each product, she then divided them equally then we were able to add scents and  or colors as we wished with essential oils and natural colorants.

The first item was a lotion “parfait” which as the name suggests was made in layers. We got an explanation of every ingredient and what it does. I added a peppermint scent to it and no color. Can’t wait to use it. She urged us not to stick our fingers directly in the jar for any of the products as the result can be transferring bacteria, explaining that you can pick up small popsicle sticks from a craft store, spraying them with alcohol and using it to transfer the product to your hand. I hadn’t really thought about that but it makes total sense even if you are the only one using the product.


We then moved on to a face lotion that we mixed up in the same way as the parfait although we did not add anything to it in the way of color or fragrance as that really is not optimal for a face lotion.


Our next two items were ours to make our own. First was a foaming bath salts. She gave us 2 dishes filled with epsom salts and another ingredient which I am pulling a blank on. She stressed the fact that we should all take the time to have a nice long soak occasionally and to pick a scent that would add to the relaxation aspect. There were so many to choose from, with some odd names (Sexy Man), didn’t think that one was relaxing or really smelled all that great! I chose one called pink lemonade, which was nice and sharp but still relaxing at least to me. Everyone seeded to pick something different and it was fun to see how they all came out. These were all essential oils, even if they were mixtures of multiple oils to come up with the fragrance. I am becoming more suseptible to afticial and chemical smells so this really pleased me. We could put a color in one dish if we wanted and then poured the layers in a cute little jar with a cork stopper.


The last was a sugar scrub that had some nice oils as well as the scent we wanted, we mixed all this up and it was placed in another jar. All of these items were put in jars with a label, with our name on it and given to us at the end of the night in a bag. We then took a tour of her facility down the hall to see where she makes all her products. The facility is in and old mill in town that was completely renovated to hold offices, hair dressers, nail salons, a physical therapist etc. It is very well done and it is nice that it is being used again rather that just torn down.


So overall my girls night was fun, educational and I came away with something I can use as well. I am liking this change in my life. I have seen and read about more of this type of night out (ie paint and sip) and I think it is a good thing to step out of the everyday and do something different. Who knows it might start a spark in you to make a change or give you a new hobby. I will be participating in another one of these nights in February, different products being made and imagine it will be as fun as the first. People who have a passion for what they do can be great teachers and the owners of Molly’s Apothacary in Medway, Massachusetts have found their passion, check them out on line, they ship most anywhere.



Posted in health and beauty, Learning, natural products, relaxing, sharing projects, skin care, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments

Tips for Gift Cards

I was given a few gift cards for Christmas for stores I frequent and quite a few for restaurants that we like or new ones to try. I will start off by saying that I do like these, especially from people who really don’t know my like and dislikes or live far away. My husband and I like to eat at local places, not only chains and we have been introduced to some that we continue to go back to as well as others that we would not.

gift cards

Last week I decided to break these store gift cards out and purchase some of the items I had asked for but did not receive. Went into my first store, and could not find the type of item I wanted but I knew I wanted to pick up a baby present for a friend’s first granddaughter, so I picked up a few cute onsies, that you really can’t ever have enough of on sale. This did not use up the entire amount on my gift card so I started wandering the store “just looking”, lots of items looked nice, but I realized I didn’t need or want any of them bad enough so I moved on. I mean really why did I feel the need to use it all up. They don’t expire (at least not in Massachusetts) so I have a small balance, who cares I go to the store often enough for various items I can always use it later.

My second store, worked out better as they had most of the items, missing one size of an item, can always wait. Again found myself wandering, talking myself out of a purchase again and again. I didn’t need anything it was just nice to look and maybe find a replacement for an item at home that had seen better days such as the shower curtain in my bathroom. I saw some on line that I liked on Etsy but have not found anything like them. Now that is a gift card I could get behind! So now I have another gift card with a small balance and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but at the time I felt as if I should have spent it all even if it was just something little that I thought was nice, but that is just needless consumption. I am trying to be a more conscious consumer and not buy things just to buy or pass the time. We are a consumer society but that doesn’t mean we should not put some thought into our purchases.

I will have no problem with the gift cards for eating out, we can usually use up the entire certificate, all in all a no brainer. I will continue to enjoy getting gift cards and continuing my inner dialog about wants vs needs. So if you run into me while shopping and I am mumbling just remember I am not crazy just having a case of analysis paralysis. If you have the same problem here are some quick tips:

  1. Have an idea of exactly what you need before going
  2. Ask directions as to where your items is if you do not know
  3. Once you find it go directly to the register
  4. Know that you can leave if the said item is not in stock
  5. Balances just defer your pleasure to another day

Living everyday can be a challenge so there is no need to put more pressure on ourselves when using a gift!

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