Kayaking in December

When my family lived in Florida, kayaking in December wasn’t unusual; it was still sunny and very warm. However, living in the midwest now, it is a real treat to find a day suitable for kayaking at the lake. 

Sunday was that golden day. It was a balmy 70 degree day and on a whim our family decided to pack the kayaks in the truck and head for Springfield Lake. To our surprise, many outdoor enthusiasts had the same idea. The waterways were dotted with blue, yellow, red, green and orange brightly colored sailing vessels. What a gorgeous day and a special time to be outdoors!

After paddling and playing for a couple of hours in the lake, we took our granddaughter to the nearby park until the sun disappeared. It was as if we wanted to extend the day as long  as possible. Sure, it was only 6-8 weeks ago that we were complaining about the oppressive heat and humidity. But, that’s what makes this Indian summer day so great!

During the summer months, a trip to the lake is almost ordinary but there is something about being able to sail down the stream knowing you’ve taken advantage of a rare opportunity that makes it more enjoyable. Those warm days will be fewer and far between for the next 4-5 months, which makes you appreciate them even more. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the seasons and the changing temps, but I do love the spring and fall times that the midwest has to offer. So, until spring comes around, I’ll curl up with a good movie or book, while sipping a caramel latté and basking in the warmth of the fireplace. A few unexpected summer-like days sprinkled throughout the winter months would certainly be welcomed, but if not, I’ll appreciate the time to hibernate. 

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A Few Of My Favorite Foods For The Holidays

As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach, I quickly reach into the recesses of my memories. Thoughts of large family gatherings with children running and laughing while the ladies congregate in the kitchen sharing treasured recipes and town gossip; the guys sit on the edge of their seats in the living room exchanging second-hand smoke, jokes and hunting stories. 

Today, our family gatherings have evolved into smaller, quieter settings with our daughter and her fiancé, granddaughter and a handful of out of town in-laws. Things are different and I miss family members but I’m thankful to share the time with loved ones and enjoy providing many of my favorite family recipes. I thought I would share a few with you.

~ FRESH APPLE CAKE ~

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

 2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. baking powder

dash of salt

ADD:

1 1/4 cups oil

2 eggs

3 cups diced apples

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Mix ingredients together and pour  into 13X9 in. glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until done.

My mom made this moist, tasty cake for many occasions. I find it also can become a delicious breakfast muffin by baking the recipe in Texas-size tins. It’s great for breakfast or brunch after the holidays!  Happy Thanksgiving!

AUTUMN IN THE OZARKS

Sweet juicy apples are in abundance this fall.

SCENES FROM AN AUTUMN DAY IN THE OZARKS

Take a drive to see the majesty of the Autumn season’s beauty in your area. The brilliant reds, oranges and yellows are undeniably the handiwork of a most creative Creator. You can’t help but send up a heartfelt “thank you” as you take in the awesome landscape. Enjoy!

Pumpkins come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Choosing a pumpkin or gourd display adds interest to your decorating motif.

Sunny Fall day and taking in the view ~ Ozark, Missouri

The leaves are painted by the hand of God ~ a superior artist!

Brilliant display of color unlike any human ability to replicate.

Great Weekend for an Art Show – See you there

There will be no laundry or clothes hanging this week. It’s preparation time for the first art festival of the season in our area. I am going through my latest photography shoots and find that these may be my best so far. I will have a display of my latest photos of 2012 and make prints available to purchase for gifts or home/office decor. Plus, I will be available to sign my book, “Rhythms of the Heart”.

It’s going to be a great time for all interests and ages.

Stop by my booth to browse and say, “hi”.

 2012 Not So Square Arts Festival in Mt. Vernon, MO.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Mt. Vernon Arts & Recreational Center . 

 

 

Tips for Money, Laundering

Consumer Energy Report tips for savings on clothes drying.

It’s Your Money 

Here are ways to cut the amount of energy and money you spend drying clothes:

    • Locate your dryer in a heated space. Putting it in a cold or damp basement or an unheated garage will make the dryer work harder and less efficiently.
    • Make sure your dryer is vented properly. If you vent the exhaust outside, use the straightest and shortest metal duct available. Flexible vinyl duct isn’t recommended because it restricts the airflow, can be crushed, and may not withstand high temperatures from the dryer.
    • Check the outside dryer exhaust vent periodically. If it doesn’t close tightly, replace it with one that does to keep the outside air from leaking in. This will reduce heating and cooling bills.
    • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation. Regularly clean the lint from vent hoods.
    • Dry only full loads, as small loads are less economical; but do not overload the dryer.
    • When drying, separate your clothes and dry similar types of clothes together. Lightweight synthetics, for example, dry much more quickly than bath towels and natural fiber clothes.
    • Dry two or more loads in a row, taking advantage of the dryer’s retained heat.
    • Use the cool-down cycle (perma-press cycle) to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.

And here’s the ultimate money saving tip for drying clothes:

  • Use a clothesline! Let the heat of the sun dry your clothes, and don’t use the clothes dryer at all.

*Clothes Dryer Consumer Tips:

*Fill your dryer, but do not pack it like luggage bound for Europe.

*A dirty lint screen can cause your dryer to use up to 30 percent more energy-and it can be a fire hazard. Clean the lint screen after each load. Lowly lint has little use, and maybe you’ll find that missing sock!

Keep your dryer’s outside exhaust clean. A clogged exhaust lengthens drying time and increases energy use.

*If your dryer has an automatic dry cycle, use it rather than a timed cycle. Or, use the moisture sensor option on your dryer, which automatically shuts off the machine when the clothes are dry.

*If your clothes washer has spin options, choose a high spin speed or extended spin option to reduce the amount of remaining moisture, thus starting the drying process before you put your clothes in the dryer.

*Since lightweight items take less drying time, separate loads into heavy and light items. Underwear and rugs do better if kept apart!

*Install a solar clothes dryer (a clothesline)! It will give your clothes a “fresh outdoors” smell.

I couldn’t agree more! It’s a great day to “hang out”!

Clothesline Therapy FOR MEN

While I choose to hang laundry on the clothesline to create a sense of peace and accomplishment to deal with stress and tension, my husband has a similar but yet different approach.

He enjoys filling a bucket with warm soapy water, grabbing an oversized foam sponge and plunging into the suds. With long cautious strokes, his hands glide over the hood and fenders of his prize possession – a black G35X Infiniti. The dirt, dust and grime disappear with each swipe of the sponge, erasing the dull finish and replacing it with a glistening shine. He stands back and proudly observes his work.

I don’t really understand that process but I can appreciate driving or riding in a clean, polished vehicle.

Just as a sense of productivity coupled with physical exercise is gratifying by hanging out laundry, the same is evident when my husband sees his reflection in the hood of our car. It says, “I  think it’s important to care for my material possessions as a representation of how I care for my family and myself.”

Well….maybe that’s reading into it more than I should, but both, car washing and clothes hanging can be stress relievers and positive chores, accomplishing something beneficial emotionally, physically and spiritually.

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New Old Social Networking

Social networking is used as the primary method of connecting with friends, old and new, long distance family members, be it an estranged son or daughter or a long distance third cousin on your mother’s side twice removed. We suddenly re-connect with high school sweethearts and classmates even though we haven’t seen them in 30 years and wouldn’t recognize them in a small crowd and definitely wouldn’t want to be seen with them in public. But with the nostalgia of days gone by, we often scan photos and Facebook profiles and walls to see where they are in life, what they’ve had for dinner, where they went on vacation, successes, family dynamics and current relationship status.

But why?

I suppose we are naturally interested in people and without getting too “up close and personal,” feel the need to stay connected and if we’re honest, want to compare our lives, hoping to measure up or even surpass those we’ve known all our lives.

“Back in the day,” people were equally as interest in the affairs of their friends and family. They just needed to accomplish it in a more creative way. It took a little more effort but nevertheless they were able to observe from afar the inner workings of their neighbors to get a glimpse into their everyday lives.

No computers, wifi or quick internet connection necessary. Just an observant glance on the way to the General Store.

A Clothesline Poem (Anonymous)

A clothesline was a news forecast, to neighbors passing by.
There were no secrets you could keep when clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link, for neighbors always knew
If company had stopped on by to spend a night or two.
For then you’d see the “fancy” sheets and towels upon the line.
You’d see the “company tablecloth” with intricate design.
The line announced a baby’s birth, from folks who lived inside
As brand-new infant clothes were hung, so carefully with pride!
The ages of the children could so readily by known;
By watching how the sizes changed, you’d know how much they’d grown!
It also told when illness struck, as extra sheets were hung;
Then nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too haphazardly were strung.
It also said, “Gone on vacation now,” when lines hung limp and bare.
It told, “We’re back!” when full lines sagged with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, if wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbors carefully raised their brows, and looked the other way…
But clotheslines now are of the past, for dryers make work much less.
Now what goes on inside a home is anybody’s guess!
I really miss that way of life – it was a friendly sign;
When neighbors knew each other best by what hung on the line.

What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,

and there is nothing new under the sun.    Ecclesiastes 1:9