Monday, October 12, 2009

The Woodmans Garden - Part 5

Just a reminder to head over to Mother Moons Message to catch up on my ongoing story through the month of October.  Today part 5 will be posted.  Be sure and check out all the other neat things that are also happening. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Woodmans Garden - continued


Don't forget to head over to Mother Moon's Message and read the second entry to the on-going story "The Woodmans Garden" 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Spaghetti


As I am sure Ihave mentioned before, probably several times, I love to cook especially when the weather is cooler.  Yesterday being the first day of fall, came in just as it should.  It started off a wonderful summer day yet by mid afternoon a cold front had blown in and the weather shifted much cooler.  A stiff north breeze made it seem all that much colder.  Of course this immediately put me into the mood, so for dinner I prepared one of Vince's favorites Spaghetti. 

I love the aromas this meal puts through the air... Garlic, Oregano, Rosemary and they are just a few.  Of course my sauce starts first, as I love to let it simmer for as long as possible.  Start to brown a pound of suasage.  I know many people prefere beef, yet to me sausage gives it a bit more of a spicy taste.  As that is browning, I add chopped onions, any peppers I may have (green, red, yellow whatever), and a few cloves of garlic.  Seasonings of salt,

pepper, oregano, thyme,  and parsley are also added while the meat is browning.  I then add about 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms. Add a small splash of olive oil, about a Tablespoon or so.  You may not necessarily need it but it gives a wonderful hint of taste.   When the meat has cooked thoroughly, I then add my sauce.  I am all about easy so... I use a jar of good sphaghetti sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes, and a small can of tomato paste.  On the top I place a fresh sprig of Rosemary.  It is wonderful to have my own herbs growing outdoors where I can just go and pick them when I wish.  The difference of fresh is wonderful.  Cover and let simmer on low while you prepare the rest of the meal and enjoy the wonderful aroma.

Next of course are the noodles.  While boiling your water, add salt, pepper, 2-3 crushed

garlic, olive oil, oregano, & parsley.  Place your noodles in when the water comes to a good boil.  It seems everyone likes their noodles a different consistency... Yet I remember an old woman once told me the way to check for doneness is to take a couple noodles and throw them at the wall.. If they stick they are done.. Now I dont necessarily do that yet I found her method quite funny.  Strain the noodles in a colandar.  Much of the herbs added eariler will cling to them giving that much more flavor and appearance to the finished product.  The olive oil also helps to keep them from sticking.

Of course no spaghetti dinner would be complete without garlic toast.  Slice up a small loaf

of french bread and place on a cookie sheet.  In a small bowl combine:  olive oil, pepper, sesame seeds, 1 Tablespoon butter, and 1-2 crushed garlic cloves.   Microwave this briefly just to melt the butter .  Spread on both sides of cut bread and broil in oven until lightly brown.  Turn as needed.  The rest... well that is simple... sit down and enjoy.  Needless to say it was an enjoyable dinner and just the right meal to start off our Fall season. 

The weather this morning is cloudy and a cool 56... I may just have to bake a little.. I did promise my son a goodie box in the mail.... Enjoy your day.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Other Blogs


Some of you are already aware of that besides "Rantings" I have a couple other blogs.  However there may be a few of you who are not.  I'd like to take a moment to invite you to visit my other two sites.

The first is Mother Moons Message.  This is a blog that is quite dear to my heart.  It reflects a bit more of a personal side of myself and my inner feelings and beliefs.  Although "Rantings" is quite personal too, it is more the mother, wife & grandma (gg) side of me.  To some it may bring new enlightenment to your understanding of me.  I ask that you view it with an open mind.  I am still very much the same person I have always been.  This is just an area of my life that is very real and I would like nothing more than to share it with those who know me.  I have kept it back far too long.

The next site is The Picture as Janie Sees it.  It is strictly a photography blog.  This activity has become one of my most cherished past times.  It is an attempt to protray my world via photography.  It is still very much in the early stages, as I have learned this can become a very time involving process.. Yet it is something I wish to do. 

The buttons for each of these bog sites are to the left side.  You need only click to venture to the other sides of me... I hope you enjoy them.  I look forward to your comments. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Update on my Button

girlichef
I have been saved... by a younger and much wiser (in computer jargon) woman... Heather from Girlchef was my hero for the day.... She helped me out with my button. She did everything but paste it on my site...

And might I add her site is incredible... If you like to cook or if you just like wonderful recipes with some beautiful photography... I urge you to click on the picture above and take a gander... I am sure you will enjoy it...

I already have plans to make the party nuts this weekend during football.... Thanks again Heather you are a doll... But it is like I said... what else would you expect from a Scorpio...





Friday, September 18, 2009

My New Button


As some of you may have noticed I have attempted to create and add a button to my site.  To be honest this has almost drove me crazy... I finally got the picture added to my sight, figuring out all the little quirks etc.  Yet when attempting to figure out the addition of the hmtl text below... well let just say I think my computer savy went out the window.

The instructions I were given were simple enough and I attempted several times to complete them yet each time in doing so, it would raise havoc with my button.

Seeing how it only makes sense to me that when there is an easier route that does exactly what I want it to do is available I opted to go for it. 

So in saying this, if you opt to post my button to your sight, it is quite simple.  You just copy the picture and add it as a picture gadget.  There is an area above to add a link.  Simply put my blog site:  RantingsOfACrazedWoman.blogspot.com  Save and it is finished.

I guess I am just one of those girls who "has" to be different... Honestly... I am one of them old women who can't figure it out... Have a wonderful weekend...

Janie

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday

There is no better feeling for a mother than to feel that her children have grown up well and have found someone good to share their lives with.  I have been blessed to have that for all of my children.  It is something I am very thankful for. There are attributes in all of them that compliment the other and a happiness shared by all. 

My son in law is celebrating his birthday today and I would just like to wish him a happy birthday along with warm wishes.  Not only is he a fantastic daddy to my 2 grandkids and (one on the way)... a great friend and husband to my daughter... and a son in law any mother in law could love... he also is a Captain in the United States Army

I am thankful for all he gives to his family, yet also thankful for all he gives to his country.  Happy Birthday Jon!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies


As the cooler weather continues and the sun decides to stay hidden by the clouds, the urge to bake is becoming stronger and stronger... I have tried somewhat to keep myself from its calling yet I think today I will give in. I have decided that my baking season has begun. Even if I have to give all my creations away. The urge is too strong.
Thus, today I decided to start small and make some cookies.. Usually Chocolate chip are the usual standby.. I love them soft and gooey, yet Vincent is not fond of them. So I will whip up a batch of his favotite, Peanut Butter. They also lend themselves nicely to the coolness and feeling of the coming Autumn.

This recipe is simple and usually one that is a favorite with my grandkids as they love to make the criss cross with the fork. Enjoy

1 cup shortning
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

In a mixing bowl, cream shortning, peanut butter, and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt and add to creamed mixture.  If you do not have a sifter, an easy way is to whisk the ingrediants together in a separate bowl, this works just as well. 

Roll mixture into small balls, aproximately 1 1/2".  Place on ungreased baking sheet 3" apart.  Flatten with a sugared fork, making the well known criss cross pattern. 
Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 12 minutes.  Let cool slightly and remove from baking sheet.  Sit back and enjoy.

Extra note:  Recently per the Domestic Witch blog ( http://domesticwitch.blogspot.com/ ) she had a delightful recipe for lavendar sugar, which I intend to use.  I think that this would be perfect to use as a dusting on these cookies or possibly the sugar to dip the fork in before making the criss cross. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Potatoes & Gravy


There is a good reason that some foods are called comfort foods. They give us a feeling of calmness, warmth and often fond memories. Unfortunately many if not all of these foods are not necessarily something that we should be eating at every meal. Unless of course we work a 10 hour day of hard labor. Yet still there are the occasional times when we indulge ourselves and partake of those things that always seem to bring a smile to our face.

A comfort food that can well be called one of my favorites is potatoes and gravy... You know the real potatoes cooked up and mashed just right. Then the gravy that is not from a package but made from the drippings of the meat cooked earlier. My mother being the German she is, had several ways to prepare potatoes. And I think I can safely say we had them every day at least once and sometimes twice. From potato pancakes to fried potatoes and onions they were all so delicious. Yet my favorite by far was when she fried pork chops and made potatoes and gravy.

I have tried over the years to duplicate that taste from her yet I just never seem to get it right. I think much of this is because it just always taste better when someone else prepares food for you.... That is if they are a good cook. Yet from the reviews I receive on my own attempts I am led to believe that I am not too bad at it.

There are a couple other things that give me a smile and a fond memory. My grandma's Lemon Pie: something I later found out she would make just for me when she knew I was coming. Saltine Crackers with a thin layer of real butter spread across the top: This was the treat that my grandma would give us as children when we stayed at her home. Soft white bread with butter and sugar on top: Another treat from Grandma. My moms fried chicken: something I still have not completely perfected. Pie Crust squares: Left over pie crust which is rolled out and topped with sugar and cinnamon. Violet, a woman I worked with when I was young, taught me how to make this. And the list goes on.. I guess I have a few more than just a couple.

Comfort foods bring us a feeling of nostalgia. A remembrance of people whom we love and hold dear. They may not be the healthiest food, yet it is hard to say that they are not good for you. As they take the worries of the day and make them disappear for a bit, giving you a moment of serenity and peace. So I say indulge now and then. Give homage to the memories and the people who with just a few bites can make us feel a little bit better, if only for a while.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Nurturing Power of Rain


There are not many who would say that they do not enjoy the rush of cool water falling over their heads. Yes at times the sudden change in temperature can be a shock, yet it can also be quite refreshing. Rain is no different. It is mother natures way of washing away the grime that accumulates, making the world and ourselves once again new.

It was a wonderful damp rainy weekend. A weekend to just sit in the house and read a good book or catch up on movies that you have not seen in some time or possibly not at all. A weekend to be still for a bit and enjoy the solitude and peace.

Although the sunlight is loved by all, occasionally it is a pleasant change to have a damp cool misty day. As the rain continues through the beginning of this week, giving glimpses of sunshine as the week progresses, I intend to take advantage of the time. It is a perfect time to capture some photography that only a foggy wet day can give. It is a perfect time to sit with a nice cup of hot tea and read a good book. It is a perfect time to run away into my imagination and work on the story I am writing for my grand kids. It is just a perfect time to enjoy.

Although I know that this slow lazy attitude can not be practiced for long, I intend to hold on to it for a bit longer and enjoy its presence. Happy Monday to all.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Remberance


September 11 2001... A date that will forever be etched in the minds of millions. At 8:46 am the world was to be changed forever. Although the attacks that occurred on that day were executed on American soil, the repercussions would in time effect so many more.

A total of 3017 people lost their lives on this day. Yet the loss was greater still as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, children, and friends were also lost. The grief that would blanket us would be felt world wide. Over 90 countries were represented in the loss.

And still the death count continues. For out of this event arose another. The current death count for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) according to the Washington Post - Faces of the Fallen is 5130. A direct result of the 9-11 attacks, this war shows no sign of ending soon.

Thus today do not just remember the 3017 whose lives were lost 8 years ago today.... Also remember the 5130 who have lost their lives since.

And still the sobering sadness continues, as this number of 8147 does not include the others. Contractors, Journalists, Civilians of said countries, the family and friends touched by the loss, and so many more. A moment of silence.... A prayer for peace....


http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Roaming Gnome




I am always looking for new and inventive ways to prepare food. The simpler the better. On our recent trip to Tennessee, we visited a local pub called "The Roaming Gnome."

It was my son who found it in his search for a good place to eat on the Internet. Seeing that I am a lover of Gnomes, we all decided to visit. Have to say we were quite glad we did... Definitely a local hang out and probably not frequented much by those who are not familiar with the area. All traits of a good place to go, at least in my opinion.

After the over commercialization of much of the Smokies, The Roaming Gnome was a much needed relaxation. After a couple pitches of beer and an array of wonderful appetizers we could easily say that we had made a great choice.

I spoke of the food... We had what was called Cheese Logs... which basically are homemade cheese sticks. Giving them the name Log was not a mistake.... as they definitely were not sticks... Coupled with fresh homemade marinara sauce that was simply to die for. We also had what was called Irish Boxies. Potato balls deep fried served with sour cream and fresh picante.

So if you are ever in the vicinity of Sevierville, Tennessee, make the extra effort to locate this out of the way place... I can assure you it is worth the trouble... Oh, and the picture of the gnome above... that is my own roaming gnome...but then that is a whole other story.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Birthday Giveaway



I am quickly becoming quite a fan of this blogging. One of its many blessings are the people that you meet. A follower of "Rantings" is doing a simply wonderful thing. She has opted to give presents away on her birthday. Just wanted to drop a quick note about it as it is such a sweet thing to do as well as her blog is quite enjoyable and one that you may just enjoy. Please see the link below.

Hurry... you only have until September 14th to register as her birthday is on the 15th and this is when she is going to draw the winners....


http://rueandhyssop.blogspot.com/

9-9-9



Today is one of those days that everyone finds fascinating as all three numbers of the date are the same... Yes it is September 9, 2009 or as it is better known, 9-9-9.


I am sure there are many reasons that people find this date so fascinating and special yet for me there is mainly one.


It is the day that the Beatle RockBand is released. Like many other Beatle fans I have been awaiting this date... Although I think many of us are closet RockBand/Guitar Hero fanatics. I can hardly wait to purchase my copy and start learning. Although I usually play the bass on Guitar hero, I will need to brush up on my skills as George is my favorite beatle thus, I have to play lead. The words, no problem.. I already know them all...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Long Way Home

I have arrived home from my trip... It was quite an enjoyable experience, although anytime I have the chance to see my grandchildren or my kids I enjoy it. Our destination was the Smokie Mountains in Tennessee. A beautiful contribution to the world...

Although the area was quite built up and very commercialized. I was somewhat surprised by this as I really was not expecting it. It is a pet peeve of mine. To take such a beautiful area where God has created such beauty and to mar it with billboards and trinket shops.

The trip was for my grandson's third birthday so the majority of the time was spent at the water park with the family. Although I do think that it would be a lovely place to sneak away up into the mountains where the existence of man is not as evident. In the mornings the mist covers the hills and you can just feel nature calling you away from the rat race of the multitude of cars and noise.

Maybe someday I will have another opportunity to visit and this time will experience the quieter side of the Smokies.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Moments in Time


I have busily been preparing to take a short trip and visit my grandchildren. My grandson is turning three years old and although they no longer live near me, I would very much like to be with them for their birthdays when it is possible. It has been a few months since I last seen them and I am sure both have grown.

It has taken some time yet I think I have resolved the fact that I am not able to see them at a drop of a hat anymore. I am fortunate that the drive to see them is not that far. A good days drive, yet it could be worse.


Time seems to go so quickly as you get older. I remember when I was young, all I ever wanted to be was 13 years old. I thought when I turn 13 years old, the world will be right... Whatever, it still had all the same problems as it did before.... and then some. Each time I talk with my grandchildren I can hear a difference in their voice or they tell me of something new they have done or are planning on doing... I realize at these moments that time is fleeting and yes, they are growing up.

One thing I did promise to myself when they moved was that I would not allow the distance between us to keep me from experiencing their lives and many changes. It is quite different than before yet still I am able to share in the moments. My daughter has been quite good at keeping me up to date with such things and still calls me at times to let the kids tell me good night before they go to bed. No I dont get to tuck them in and snuggle down with them for a bit. Tell them a good story or sing a few songs with them... but still it is a pressence.

Remember that moments are fleeting. Take advantage of all you can. Not just from the little ones but from the older ones and the in between ones... No one ever knows what tomorrow holds.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Photography


As I am sure you have noticed, photography is one of my favorite pastimes. Sometimes I am amazed at the number of pictures that I have accumulated. Since I first received my Nikon D8O for Christmas 2 years ago, I have been taking pictures.

I recently started a pictorial blog The Picture As Janie Sees It. I wanted to be able to show more of my photography and the different areas I shoot. I would like to invite you to stop by when you have some free time to browse at the pictures. I can promise you that there will be more to come..

Enjoy

ThePictureAsJanieSeesIt.blogspot.com

Friday, August 28, 2009

Barely Holding On



As August quickly ends, as it goes it takes with it the last remains of summer... The days have shortened and the mornings are cooler. Each morning the ground is covered with a heavy dew. Fall is fast approaching. I have to be honest and say that I am glad for change. Autumn is my favorite season. I love the changing colors of the trees, the way the animals seem to be overly active preparing for the colder months ahead.

The hummingbird feeders are now needing to be filled at least once a week and sometimes more as they prepare for their long journey south not long from now. The grass has slowed and is not needing mowed nearly as much as earlier in the season. Signs of the local Armadillo can be seen through out the yard as he forges for food each night. Even my cats are starting to fatten up. It can be seen in everything.

Still there are a few signs of summer still holding on. My hibiscus still occasionally gives me a brilliant flower to enjoy. I always know when I will be receiving another gift soon, as the bud appears and within a few days another beautiful face appears. They are a beautiful plant. The flower does not stay long, a day maybe two if we're lucky. Yet for that time it lifts its face up towards the sun for all it is worth.
This morning when I sat on the back porch to enjoy my morning coffee, I could see the reminder that in a day or two I would once again receive a present. A beautiful red one.

Take a moment, and enjoy something beautiful and have a wonderful weekend.
Janie

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Squares

It was not that long ago when our grandchildren would stay with us on a regular basis. We definitely had our routine down. When evening rolled around and it was time for her brother to go to bed, Kylie was ready for the ritual that her and Vince had created. I would tend to her little brother, seeing that he was bathed and dressed for bed. We usually would read a story and do our normal chit chat. Needless to say this took a while before I once more returned to the others. They likewise would begin their nightly tradition of going to the freezer and eating their frozen Reese Cups. It was one of their favorite things to do.

I was given this recipe a few years back by a young girl, whom I worked with. Courtney did not necessarily look like the cooking type yet she made some of the best things to eat. I usually only make these at Christmas time, yet they could be easily be enjoyed year around. They taste very similar to a Reese Cup.

Bottom
2 sticks butter
2 cups smooth Peanut Butter
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Melt 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of smooth Peanut Butter. Mix with 1lb. box of powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers. Spread in greased 9x13 pan. Pat down until smooth.

Topping
1 stick butter
12 oz. chocolate chips

Melt 1 stick butter with 12 oz chocolate chips. Pour over top of Peanut Butter Mixture. Refrigerate approximately 2 hours or until firm. Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

French Fries & Coffee with Cream



When I first started writing this, it was my intention to somehow help those who knew me and others who would eventually know me to possibly understand me a bit more. You see I am not the easiest person to get to know... At an early age, I was a very timid child and kept to myself most of the time. There were reasons for such behavior yet that is something that I do not necessarily want to dive into today. However because of this kind of character, I have always been the kind of person who stands back and observes. Slowly inching my way forward until I feel comfortable enough to dip my toe into the water. And believe me... sometimes this can take a while.


Because of this behavior, I have been considered aloof, recluse, snobbish, and just plain wierd... All of which I dont really consider myself... Ok.. maybe the last one, but only at times... In looking over the entries although I do believe that they give insight to me, I wondered if they gave enough..... I guess it is time that occasionally I write a bit more personal...


I spoke earlier that I was an observer. I am sure you know what I mean. The kind of person who just sort of sits back and watches. I have to say that it can be extremely insightful. I have learned that in doing this, one can find out so much about a person.... People like to tell you who and what they are, yet I think that many do not realize that they can say alot of things, yet it is their actions that will truly paint the truer picture.


In the town where I grew up, my mother cleaned the bank on a weekly basis. Since I was too young to attend school I accompanied her. The banker and his wife, took a liking to me, seeing that they themselves did not have children of their own. Each week, while my mother cleaned, Mr. Pate would see it as his duty to give me something to do. This could be a variety of things.


Sometimes we would go across the street to the local cafe where he would get me french fries and a cup of coffee. I have to say that it was more milk than coffee. To this day I still drink my coffee the same. He taught me to never drink my coffee with my spoon in the cup. Not only was this unmannerly, it also had the possibility of poking my eye out. Mr. Pate also felt an obligation to see that I was a proper little girl. In the closet next to his office he kept a nail file and nail polish remover. He did not feel it was appropriate for little girls to wear nail polish, so if needed he would clean my nails of any polish and file my nails down to an acceptable length.


Mr. Pate was a grandfather figure to me. That is the manner I remember him most. A kind man who was thoughtful and good. Not only to me did I see these actions exhibited yet to many others whom I watched him interact with.


Some thought the manner of his attention towards me was odd. In later days I even found out that others thought it more than odd and decided to add their own gossip and stories to the mix. I found this revelation sad and it greatly angered me. Yet, people will be people, especially in a small town. When there is no news to pass, there is a good chance that someone will think of something to talk about while they sit around the pool hall or coffee shop.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good News



Since my grandchildren have moved out of state, much of my communication with them is in the form of letters and/or phone calls. I always look forward to talking to them on the telephone. I love trying to discern what it is my grandson is trying to tell me about each time. I am learning slowly his telephone talk, as he is quick to let me know when it is that I am wrong. My granddaughter is much more articulate and we have had some good conversations.

This last weekend, once again we had our weekend talk. However this time there was good news to be told. When my granddaughter called I could hear the excitement in her voice. Something must have happened at school or with one of her friends I thought... Maybe at her tumbling class. I could not have been farther from the truth. As she took the receiver from her mother to talk to me, she quickly blurted out the news... Momma is going to have a baby. Of course she wants a little sister, seeing that she has already had the "joy" of a little brother. A little sister in her mind would just be too much fun.

She has already began thinking about names for the baby. Of course they are all girl names. I asked her if the baby would sleep with her. She stated, "Only after she is potty trained. Until then she can sleep with my brother." Speaking of her brother, he informed me that he is "super excited too." Although I have a feeling that when April rolls around and a new little one is the center of attention that he may change his mind a little.

Needless to say I am also "super excited".

Friday, August 21, 2009

Continuous Fate

Long time… much ago
When things were younger still…
When time went slowly
And love was gained by will…

A boy with eyes of dragons
That shown an emerald green…
Felt love and lust for someone
Whose face he had never seen….

Yet still he could taste her passion
And yearn her skin to feel…
And long for that one moment
His fate with hers he’d seal.

His life it seemed was destined
To meld with her as one
Yet nowhere could he find her
Her presence was but gone

For many years he sought her
Her nearness a constant need
Seeking every corner
The path to her to lead.

At last one day she faced him
Her eyes a brilliant blue
That shown with Mother Moons own glory
And beamed a love so true

His hands they finally touched her
Ran his fingers cross her skin
Kissed her lips so softly
Wishing so much more to win

Their love transcended others
Much further than all else
For time had waited for this moment
To complete and fill the self

Even when at last they parted
Something not that either wished
Love still burned and shown as brightly
As when they received the gift

Through out time they seek each other
Wishing only just to find
That one that touched them deeply
And was one of their own kind

No one else can ever fill
The void left by that they lost
Never will they yield the search
No matter what the pain or cost

They will search until they find
The one that filled them with such joy
The love, the passion, and the pleasure
The final ending to their story.
By J. Sheik
Copyright 2009 - All rights reserved

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Loss of Wonderment



To many, living the modern life means dealing with daily stresses brought on by deadlines, worries, and a number of other things. There seems to be no time to just stop and listen to the world around us. There always seems to be something that distracts us from taking the time to stop and with all the senses we have experience the moment.

Yet also with this faster pace there have come new ways to cope. No longer does one need to grow and harvest their own food, wondering if the yield will be plenty to sustain them throughout the time needed. There are now supermarkets where one can easily go at anytime and purchase any and all they may need. Why take the time to walk in the quiet woods where the wild flowers grow freely and abundantly, gathering some to take home to admire and remind you of your solace. One can always go to the nearest florist and purchase a multitude of flowers that have been purposely grown in conditions which have been altered. Of course, the advantages that have come to us through the years are helpful and naturally one would not wish to do away with them. However they have come with a price.

We have lost our sense of wonderment. We find the need to work that extra overtime rather than come home and spend time with our family. We choose to stop and pick up take out, rather than fixing a fresh home cooked meal. We stay indoors on a beautiful summer eve as to not miss an episode of the latest reality show on television rather than sit out on the back porch and admire the uniquely beautiful sunset as it paints the sky in pale pinks, oranges and purples.

It is a choice one makes within themselves, whether to take the extra time to experience such joys. Yes, there are those times when it is not a possibility, however in most cases there is no reason that the later of the choices mentioned cannot be taken. Such action could actually help one to deal with the rat race a little more easily. It is hard to believe that one would argue that sitting in a comfortable reclined lawn chair, iced drink in hand, watching the beauty that mother nature can exhibit would be a stressful thing to endure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Womans Kitchen



There is something about a woman’s kitchen. You can feel its energy as you enter. There are some that feel warm and inviting and give a feeling of comfort and solace. I remember my grandmothers kitchen in this way. It was a place of pleasant memories and wonderful dishes that had been prepared out of love for those she cared for. I believe most of us can recall such memories, whether it be from our grandmother, moms, or others who have touched us throughout our lives.

The kitchen has long been considered a sacred place. In earlier times the kitchen was considered an honored place of the home. It was the first area of a home to be built as it held the hearth or home fire. The hearth fire was seldom allowed to die out as it symbolized the heart of the home. Most of us are not fortunate enough to have a true fire built hearth in out kitchens. In today's world this is somewhat impractical so we settle for a gas or electric stove. Yet still it represents the same. Although for those who have used both, (gas or electric) the use of a gas stove is preferred. There is something about the sight of the actual flame burning as opposed to an element turning red and distributing heat.

In today's society it has become a time of quickness. There seems not to be the time it takes to prepare a “real” meal. Kitchens have become smaller in some cases and the microwave has taken the place of the oven. It is the simplicity of the boxed and/or frozen dinner that has lured many away. Not to mention the wonderful fast food revolution. Restaurants where you merely stop by on the way home and pick up take out, not considering the ingredients used, the nutritional value or the cleanliness of the place or its employees. Yet there are still those who practice the old ways. They have learned that even though one may have to do a little extra work, the result of their efforts can be well worth it. Not only is the taste so much more real, the nutritional and health value is better. Plus you know whether or not you washed your hands after using the restroom earlier that day.

Cooking has long been a passion of mine. There is something about taking the time and energy to gather and combine items in a matter to create something delightful for others. A true lover of the kitchen knows exactly what I am speaking of. Growing your own items to be used, cleaning and preparing it as needed, then the actual cooking and serving the dish you have prepared. In each act it is as if one injects a piece of themselves. Thus when given to others it is as if you are presenting yourself.

The memory of my grandmothers fresh baked plum pudding, my Aunt Inez home made chicken and noodles, or the way my mother could make a potato taste wonderful no matter how she prepared it, are all perfect examples. Maybe it is just because I love to eat and the taste of some foods can just make me smile all over… And I know there are those of you out there who know exactly what I am talking about. Consider yourself lucky when you have the opportunity to either experience these moments again and/or you have the time to share of yourself and give the gift to others. It is a bit of a lost art…

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Simple Yummy Snack


Recently while talking to my youngest son, he commented on how much he enjoyed the recipes each week. He also added that he had not tried any of them, he just enjoyed reading them. This statement got me to wondering if possibly the difficulty was too much for him.

This week I have chosen something that is by far one of my favorite foods to eat through out the summer. It is good for a snack, a meal whatever. The best thing about this food is that it is so low in calories so really you don't have to feel guilty about eating it. Even having seconds can not hurt you. Best of all, it is as simple as simple gets

I am talking about a sliced tomato sandwich. I learned this recipe from my mom, being the proper German she is. Take a slice of rye bread, I prefer the Jewish rye as it is lighter than pumpernickel and not as many seeds. Russian Rye is also good. Lightly butter the bread. Personally real butter is my preference. Lightly pepper. Thinly slice a tomato as to cover the bread then lightly once again salt and pepper the tomato.

That is all there is too it. Simple.... fast... and totally delicious. Roughly 80-100 calories depending on the type of bread you use. One note: If you feel you do not like rye bread and attempt to use wheat or white, be forewarned that you will not achieve the same taste. The rye bread is a large part of the wonderful taste of this sandwich and its denser texture lends itself nicely.


Enjoy....
Janie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Belief



It amazes me at times how difficult some make it. What is it? Anything really. It is almost as if they strive for discord or difference. Their lives are just not complete without a little unsettleness occurring. When it comes to the discussion of ones beliefs, this is even more true.

Growing up in a small Oklahoma town, the one thing that we were not short of was churches. It always seemed that each one was striving to boost their attendance and membership more than the other and therefore whichever one was winning at the time was the place to be. Not growing up in a church going home I was what was considered fair game. I can say that out of the 7 churches in our small town of approximately 5000 I attended all but one. I do not regret this in anyway as it truly gave me a broad overview of all the denominations and their beliefs.

The church itself gave me much comfort and guidance as a child, something I will forever be grateful for. However the people truly made me cautious. I learned to be careful and not trust completely all that was said to me. I learned to search for myself to find the answers to the questions I asked. This search led me in several directions yet always it seemed to eventually lead me to what I needed to learn. "Seek & Ye shall find" Yet some of the paths which gave me the wisdom I longed for were forbidden by the "church".

It took a great deal of time to get past this feeling of shame and guilt that loomed over me. Yet with time and much soul searching, I made it past this point. Ones spiritualism is just that... one's spiritualism. It is a personal relationship that is shared between oneself and their God/Gods. It is not for any other to dictate and force onto one. However there will always be those who do just that. I truly feel that my beliefs and path is a combination of many.

"Belief" by John Mayer is a beautiful song. If you have never listened carefully to it, I recommend that you take a moment and do so. The first time I heard this song, its words rang so true in my mind and seemed so well to explain to me why people feel so passionately about what they believe. Allowing each their own is something I truly have always tried to do.... Knowing that I am not perfect and at times fall short. Yet still I have to keep in mind that as much as I want for others to allow me my space, my beliefs, that I likewise need to allow them theirs, regardless. I am sure that still I will find disagreement in my manner of belief. That as I become bolder and step out further in regards to this side of me, many who before I could call my friends may not be as receptive as previously.

Yet I have never been more complete in my life. My life has never been more full and enriching. The path I follow is truly where I need and should be. I know there are many out there who feel much the same way. Yet when it comes down to the bottom... I remember this one fact: It will not be those that disagree with my beliefs who I stand before or who will judge me and decide my fate as I pass on into the next phase of life. Just as it will not be me what they stand before. I am at peace with my God and that is truly all that matters.

Peace
Janie

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sour Dough Bread Starter


Although it is only early August, we have been blessed with some wonderfully cooler days reminiscent of early fall. It never fails when the cooler days begin, my love for cooking, especially baking rises to the top of my priorities. With the kids not as close as before I have to watch the things that I may bake as an over abundance means waste or the fact that Vincent and I may have to eat it.

Breads are a good alternative to cakes, pies, and cookies,especially sour dough bread. The starter is kept and fed over a weeks period just in time to make a new loaf when the other has been eaten. I have also kept it in the fridge a bit longer than normal if a new loaf is not needed and it has survived just fine. This lends itself to a slightly sweet bread that I have toyed around with and made cinnamon bread and others. Enjoy

Starter

3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons of instant potato flakes
1 cup warm water

Mix together in the morning and let stand out of the refrigerator all day. You may make bread the first day, however I have found it is best when you let it stand a bit longer. At the end of the day place the starter in the refrigerator in a quart jar with a loose lid. Saran wrap placed loosely on top works well.

Let the starter sit for approximately 3 to 5 days. Take the jar out in the morning. feed with the above ingredients and let stand on counter for the day. In the evening or late afternoon you will be ready to prepare your bread dough.

Take one cup of starter out of the feeder jar and place the jar back into the refrigerator until you make bread again and start the process over.

Bread Recipe

1 cup of Sour Dough Starter
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup warm water
6 cups bread flour

Mix all the ingredients together and place in large greased pan. Cover lightly with plastic wrap . Leave on counter overnight to rise.

Next morning, punch down and divide into 3 parts (possibly 2 depending on the size of your loaf pans). Knead each part on a floured surface and put into greased loaf pan. Brush the tops with oil. Cover lightly and let stand until doubled in size. This can be anywhere from 3-6 hours.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden. Brush with butter when removed from oven.

The starter gets larger each time you feed it. You may use an extra cup occasionally to make extra bread, or give the starter away to a friend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Rule Of Three


Bide ye the Rule of three ye must,
In Perfect Love & Perfect Trust.
Eight Words the Rule of three fulfill
And it Harm none, Do as ye will
Lest in Self Defense it be,
Ever mind the Rule of Three
Follow ye this Mind & Heart
Merry ye Meet & Merry ye Part

The Rule of Three has several variations. Each one in some way fitting a bit more comfortably with the one who prefers it written in that manner. However this is a rule that can and probably should be used by all, thus the translation above is used. Not necessarily does one have to follow Wicca to hold these words close to heart.

How grand of a world it would be if we all were to abide by the Rule of three. Our actions and words being carefully considered before we exhibit them. Verifying that to our knowledge no harm will come to anyone because of them. Unfortunately life is not so. We do not have the ability to control anyone lest ourselves.

To many this rule and/or law refers to a warning for anyone who may be considering to pass bad energy whether in the form of magic or other on to someone else. It warns that the repercussions would be three fold of whatever one projected towards another. When I first learnt of this rule it fascinated me as I tried to implement it. If one abides by its guidance, and in an honest manner, it is quite difficult to justify any wrong doing towards anyone, no matter how tempted we may become. The simple attempt to abide by it alone can alleviate many situations that may have other wise not been avoided.

Many will notice the reference to the exception of self defense. Not all renditions of this rule include this reference, however I have chosen to include it. Mainly because I think it is important to emphasize that this is not a rule that says one should roll over when injustice is done to them. On the contrary, I believe that when negativity is given to one that considering the situation, one should respond accordingly. This is consideration for the entire situation. A response and not a reaction. Meaning an action taken after reflection and not immediately in haste and strong emotion. I have found that dealing with such times in this manner will not only make the result more fair and just, it may detour it all together. Forgiveness is something that is often found in quiet times of reflection when we look at something not necessarily from solely our own eyes, yet the many perspectives that may be involved.

The message can be found in many variations. Examples of such are that of Hinduism's Karma concept, Christianity's Golden Rule, Wicca's Rule of Three and many more. All emphasize the need to think before we act. To understand that a consequence, whether good or bad, comes with each action we choose. It challenges us to be more diligent as we walk the path laid before us. To become more aware of our surroundings and the energies that may be coming from us. Many choose to not acknowledge the power they may have simply by the words that come from their mouths or the manner in which they conduct themselves.

A simple exercise... a conscious effort to stay aware of the Rule of Three. No, perfection is not a possibility however, it is something that should be our goal.

Peace,
Janie
Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Monday, August 10, 2009

Solitude

Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Another week is upon us and I look at all the things that I have to be done... Much is the normal things... housework, yard work, etc... Yet there is that pile of other things... you know the things that you have good intentions of eventually getting to, yet it just never seems to get completed. My pile seems to keep growing...

None of the things in the pile are exactly pressing or of any time limitation, however they are all things that I would like to work on and eventually complete. Much of the reason that I have not lent the time that I usually do to this stack of growing items, is that Vince has been home more than often this year and so much of my excess time (and some of my non-excess) has been given to him... I am not exactly sure why it is hard for me to stay on schedule when he is home, yet it is... A conclusion that I have to just accept as fact.

However, this weekend his older brother and him are planning on a long bike ride down to New Mexico to visit with their little brother. Although I would love to be on the back of the Harley for a nice long trip, I am also looking forward to the solitude... A few days with silence and possibly some time to do a little work to that pile I mentioned previously. I do not think I am exactly what some may refer to as a hermit, yet I do like to have my time alone occasionally.

Having the entire bed to myself, for a few days, is nice. Not having to cook if I don't necessarily want to... although that is really not something that is a bother to me.. as I love to tool around in the kitchen and make things... Watching my TV programs....or just turning it off if I want to... It will be nice... Yet I am sure when the few days are coming to their close that I will be happy to see him when he returns from his trip.

The pile of things that need to be done.... Well to be honest I am not sure how much of that I will get to... Some I am hoping, although I am honest in knowing that I may not even touch it... Spending most of the time I have doing other things I feel are more pressing and the things I would like to work on once again being put to the side, waiting for that moment when there is more time to work on it... Ah... the life of a procrastinator.....

Enjoy your Monday
Janie

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mother Moon




On a cool November eve,
After setting of the sun.
As the twilight hastens forth,
And the night has just begun.


In her brilliance forth she comes,
Lifting from the east
Shining forth for all to see,
From grandest down to least


Upward slowly as she climbs,
Into the darken sky
Shedding glow to all below,
From her pedestal on high


She is known as mother moon,
And full this night she be
In all her glory forth she comes,
And shines her light on me


Her strength is felt deep in my soul,
Her guidance in my heart
Shes been with me for many years,
Yes from the very start


Each month I watch her come and go,
From waxing thru to wane
Her movements guide me thoroughly,
Thru loses and thru gains


My mother moon, my dearest friend,
To you always be true
For you have been there all for me,
I give myself to you.




Content Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Banana Nut Bread

One of the things I miss most about my old job are the friends that were made. Some of them I still keep in contact with and visit with quite often. Yet there are some that I have not. One inparticular was a woman named Mireida. She was of Dutch descent and came from Aruba. She was a lovely woman with truly compassionate personality. Often she would bring me goodies as a gesture of our friendship. One of my favorites was her Banana Nut Bread. It was so moist and so wonderful with a cup of coffee. It took some coaxing yet eventually I was able to get the recipe from her. I am not usually a big banana bread lover, yet this recipe changed my mind. Enjoy.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 cups unbleached flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisens
* Cream butter; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time. Beating well after each addition. Add bananas and mix until smooth.
* Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture, stirring just enough to moisten. Fold in chopped pecans and raisens.
* Pour batter into greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes .

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Here Comes the Sun



There is nothing like a summer shower to break the heat. We have been fortunate enough to have approximately 3 weeks of cooler weather with a nice rain thrown in here and there. Once again our yard is green and lush like it was at the beginning of spring. Birds are more abundant and seem to be more active. New flowers have bloomed and flourished also since the beginning of our cooler wet spell. Yet it seems that summer is not quite finished with us yet.

Although July gave us a nice break from the heat and reminded us of the wonderfulness of fall, August came in and seems to be telling us that summer is not over just yet. The 100 degree plus temperatures are said to be heading back our way this week. The added heat has already given a nice boost to the grass and mowing is going to be a chore that will need to be tended with before the week is over.

The heat has also once again urged the sunflowers to once again grow and bloom their big beautiful yellow flowers. Lifting their faces towards the sun at the start of day and turning them slowly as if to follow it throughout the day to bask in all its warmth and sunshine. Being an avid bird lover, sunflower seeds is something that are abundant at our home. Throughout the yard small seedlings can be found. Not just underneath the obvious bird feeders yet also throughout the yard from where the birds have dropped them, the seeds seem to be everywhere. Many of these seedlings are mowed over or plucked from their place in the ground. Yet this year many have been allowed to grow and bloom.

Thanks to my granddaughter, who shared her left over pumpkin seeds with me a couple years back, I have learned the joy of cultivating the seeds of many plants and using them the next year around. Thus, the large yellow flowers that eventually drop their faces from the sun and lean over as if in exhaustion due to the weight of the seeds that have grown to cover their face, are then cut and dried. When fully dried the seeds are then extracted and kept until the next year to once again start the cycle over.

Granted many of my sunflowers are not grown in this manner yet from the seeds that have dropped from the birds, yet there are a few that still are planted from the seeds that have been recycled from the years past. This is still a project in the early stages. With flowers only being on a 2nd or 3rd generation. Yet I look forward to the years when I can enjoy the flowers that have been grown from seeds that have been taken from a plant, that can claim the first seeds as a long distant relative.


Much like an aloe vera plant given to me, which came from a plant that is over 30 years old. Many a new growth has been taken from her and many have enjoyed her remedies. Imagine 30 years. Silly maybe, yet to pass something, even a plant through time excites me.

Peace & Blessings
Janie

Monday, August 3, 2009

Taking Advantage of the Moment



You may have noticed that the last few days I have not been as vigilant at keeping to my promise to have an entry every day. I could make up several excuses as to why this is so, yet the truth of the matter is that I have been enjoying spending time with Vincent.

It is a grand thing when you find someone who you truly just love to spend time with. Vincent and I are that way. He had been working non-stop for the month of July and when he finally received some time off, we took advantage of it. The weather had been just beautiful, much cooler than normal late July weather. We took the bike out a few times, worked in our yard, went to the movies, and did nothing at times. It has been enjoyable and well worth the laziness. Yet once again it is time to get back to the things that need tending.

I think it is important to take advantage of moments like that. I think of my grandkids and know there were plenty of times when I let things slide just so I could sit and play with them. I would not trade those moments for anything. I have found that most things will still be there when you decide to become industrious again and tend to them.

Love & Peace
Janie

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Happy Birthday



Today is a special day. It was 25 years ago today that my youngest son was born. I remember it as if it were only yesterday. He was ill at the beginning of his life and there were some scary moments yet as he is in life he pulled through. So many memories I have of him as a child... Hiding was one of his favorite things to do when he was small... He thought it so funny when you could not find him. One time we looked for hours only to find him asleep under his bed. His little grin would say it all. He thought it all so funny.

He was a quiet child as he grew. Loving to lose himself in a thick book or spend tedious hours working on his models of world war II tanks. He seemed to be like a sponge, drawing up all the information he could. Although he did have his moments when he would follow his older brothers temptations and join in for some simple teasing of his younger sister. Although it seemed he always got the bad end of the deal.

As he grew older, his intelligence grew and he went to a advanced school in another city, which required him to be away from home. It was not a hard decision for me at all allowing him to take this opportunity and run with it. I knew the possibilities that would come from it would be more than any he could have gotten at his home school. It became even more than I had hoped for. It fed him with challenges and engaged him with others of like minds. It gave him a broader view of the world and thus made him more aware of the differences in people. It was also at this place where he met his fiance. A wonderful girl who only helped him to grow more.

Today, as I look at him I smile. He is a young man who challenges himself, grabs opportunities when he sees them and never turns down an opportunity to learn. He travels the world and experiences new things and accepts the fact that there are others who are different than he. He is compassionate to others and their feelings even when they do not necessarily go along with his own. He is diplomatic and examines both sides of a situation. Understanding that there are many perspectives to a story and not just his own. He is a fine young man.

Yet at times.... when he smiles... I still see that little boy I fell in love with so many years ago. Happy Birthday, Zac

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summer Salsa





This is a perfect salsa to make in the summer to just keep on hand to eat at anytime. It is fast and easy to make and is even good for you.


2 cans of black beans
2 cans Rotel tomatoes (Mild or Hot depending on your taste)
2 cans Corn
1 bunch of fresh green onions
1 red onion chopped
1 ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing
1 finely chopped JalapeƱo (Optional)
1 small green and red pepper chopped


Put all the ingredients into a large bowl, chopping up the vegetables as needed. Cover with Italian dressing and stir to coat entirely. Cover with lid and place in refrigerator overnight. Before serving drain in colander to remove excess liquid and place in serving dish. Great with tortilla chips or just by itself. This can be altered to fit your taste in regards to spiciness. I have found also that squeezing a lime over the top adds a nice little kick. Enjoy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Monday Morning




I woke this morning to find a cloudy day. Rain came down lightly on the roof drumming softly urging me to just stay in bed a bit longer. The covers felt good snuggled up tight around my neck and I could hear my little voice telling me to just stay in bed a little bit more. Yet I knew it was time to rise and to once more start my day.

Slowly I scooted around the house in silence, as I was the only one here. Vincent had left much earlier to begin his work week. I greeted the kittens (Willow, Emma, & Turd) good morning as I entered the utility room. I opened the back door to let them escape to the cool dampness of the morning. They scampered out quickly as they do each day; stopping to greet the other cats that had already began to occupy the back porch. Ah the life of a cat. Eat, sleep, play… then start it all over again. I leaned down to pet each one a bit before I returned to the house to further continue my daily routine.

I picked up a few things in the kitchen and started a load of laundry. Ate my breakfast and took my vitamins. So many things that I can see that I need to do. It is another week and another day. I begin to work on the things that need tended to. My chores take me outdoors once more to feed the cats. They jump and run about my feet, speaking as if urging me to play with them. Seeing some stray weeds in my flower garden I kneel to pull them.

Such a peaceful day it is. The frogs are lined up along side the pond, enjoying the gentle rain as it falls. Birds congregating around the bird feeders to eat their morning snack. A beautiful flicker lands on a nearby willow, displaying all its colors. A lone hummingbird takes turns between the 3 feeders enjoying the fact that he has it all to himself. Even the flowers seem to be enjoying the slowness of this morning. The rain drips off each petal slowly, falling onto another to follow the same sequence again. I find it hard to motivate myself today. I would enjoy to just sit on my back porch and experience the quiet summer rain. And perhaps later, after “some” of my chores are finished… I will do just that.

Enjoy your day
Janie

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fairy Honey Cakes

Cooking has always been dear to my heart. It seems that when I prepare something for others to eat, it is like giving them a little piece of me. I have always enjoyed eating, especially something that is delicious, and therefore I strive to give my company that same experience when they partake of my creations. They are not grand or exotic, mainly just home-made and tasty. Simple home cook food is what I am most fond of. I am blessed to have local growers who supply me with a variety of garden vegetables and fruits. Farm fresh eggs are also available. I like the natural taste of putting it all together yourself. Yes I know it takes a bit longer to prepare but it tastes so good…

Beginning today and continuing each Wednesday hereafter, a new and creative recipe and/or kitchen tip will be introduced. And requests, feel free to ask. I may not know yet I am willing to try and find out. Today’s recipe is my Fairy Honey Cakes. This is a recipe I only recently found, yet loved it the first time I made them. They are a spice cupcake that is simply wonderful with a cup of hot tea or coffee. The honey lends itself to create a sweet crunchy top that is simply to die for. I usually make these in cooler weather, yet recently I found some of the most delicious local honey that I just had to make a batch. Enjoy.

1 ½ cup honey (fresh local honey is best)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar packed
½ cup butter (real butter is best)
1 egg
2 cups flour (I prefer the unbleached)
½ teaspoon baking soda
Approximately 2 Tablespoons milk


Sift flour, cinnamon, and soda together in small bowl. In large bowl cream butter and sugar. Separate egg. Add yolk to butter and sugar mix and set white aside for later. Add honey gradually to butter mix. Stirring until blended. Fold in flour mix slowly. Add milk as needed so that the batter is stirable but thick. Whisk the remaining egg white to a stiff froth and fold gently into the batter. Fill muffin tins ½ full. Sprinkle a little sugar on the tops. Natural brown sugar works wonderful. Bake at 425 for 15 -20 minutes.

Peace & Blessings
Janie

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Secret Garden



There is that place for all of us where we go and escape when the stress of everyday life seems to become too much. It is a place that helps us to drift away and find the solace that we so desperately need at that moment. For some it is a good book that takes them away to some other world other than their own. Some lose themselves by closing their eyes and allowing their ears to do the traveling while their favorite music plays softly for some and loudly for others. Each one of us feels that our secret place is the best. And for each individual this fact is true. As we each have our perfect fit.

For myself, I feel that I am truly blessed. On an early morning, just as the sun begins to peek over the horizon, or at the end of a busy day, I can go to my special place and it always seems that all the worries just pass and life is just pleasant. I am speaking of my yard, yet to me it is my secret garden. From the moment we laid eyes on our property I knew that it was special and that it would hold a dear place in my heart.

It is a large yard of about 3 acres with a small pond just off to the side. Willow trees circle the pond while large and small bullfrogs line its bank. A variety of birds have called it home and frequent the bird feeders that are scattered through out. Our many cats and kittens can be seen running and playing in the coolness of the morning or lounging in the heat of the afternoon. The sounds are simply that of peace. Although we have a few neighbors near, we are off the beaten track of the noisiness of a city or the road of a busy highway.

As the years have passed we have worked hard on tending it. Many of the willows that circled the pond initially were damaged in an earlier ice storm. However this clearing made room for other things. Smaller flowering shrubs and scads of wildflowers now grow in their place. A tree house has been built in the large elm and a small wild flower bed is tended beneath her. The squirrels frequent the woodpile nearby as well as the feeder that is consistently filled with their favorite morsels. Large fairy rings fill the yard near the time of the full moon and gifts left under the small oak, which I tended from a sapling, are welcomed by the bunnies that also enjoy the lavender and rosemary that grow along side. We have had an abundance of wild animals visit throughout our time here. Deer, geese, turkey, roadrunners, coyotes, turtles, armadillos, to just name a few lend their presence on occasion. It is a refuge. Not only for us yet for anyone or anything that comes to visit.

It will change even more as time passes and become even dearer to my heart. For it is my place of peace. Where I know I can go and all my troubles for that time will be gone, or at least made lighter. It is a place where my head is cleared and my thoughts once again run freely and uncluttered. Yes, I do love nature and all her glory. For she is where we all first came from. Our sweet dear mother earth. How in her simplicity she shows us her wonder. And just like a mothers soft words, her beauty calms us once again.

Peace
Janie

Content Copyright 2009 – Mother Moon’s Message – All rights Reserved

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cleaning the Closet



It is funny sometimes how we try so hard to what we feel to be the "right" thing. Sometimes our efforts lead us to do exactly the opposite. Either that or the end product does not come out in a manner that is exactly pleasing to us or what we wanted to show to those around us.


It seems at times all of us have wavered from what we felt to be led to do because it did not seem to fall exactly into the guidelines of what we thought to be proper. We can blame this on so many things. Wishing to fit into the crowd, our knowledge of the situation was skewed in some way. There are many ways to skin a cat as they would say. None of them exactly being the only way you should or could do it.


I am sure that there are times when my reaction of choice of dealing with a situation is not what some or possibly even many may think to be the wisest of choices. Yet it is my choice to make. Any consequences, good or bad, that may come of it are mine to shoulder. And believe me I have had my share of bad choices and messes to clean up. Haven't we all?


My acceptance of this fact and the realization that I don't have to please everyone around me has cleared out much of the clutter that had been in my mind before. It is much like cleaning out an old closet. Getting rid of the things that you "truly" don't need. Holding on to those things that are precious or may be of some use at a later time. I have learned that trusting my own intuition is of the utmost importance. I listen and seek out wise counsel. In fact I would say I crave it. I know the value of the wise and aged and also the simple truth of the young. I know the nuggets of gold that each of them possess within them to share if we only will listen. These moments I cherish and only wish for more.


So.. I urge you, to trust yourself. Trust the gifts that have been given to you to hold... to share... Do not hide yourself away or think yourself more important than others. Seek the path that you are called to follow and begin your journey.


Wishing you a blessed day

Janie

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Cane & the Rolled up Magazine

A friend of mine is the proud owner of 3 large dogs, a German short hair, a 9 month old malamute, and a black mutt. She insists that the dogs have to stay indoors. As anyone with animals knows the more of them you have, the more you have to control them. This is very much the issue here. My friend lives with her elderly mother, who if it weren't for a bum leg, is one feisty woman. There are times when my friend is out of the house and her mother is left with the chore of managing the 3 large canines. This can be somewhat of a task for her as they are large and boisterous and she is not as agile on her legs as in earlier days. Yet each time when I see her with the animals they are calmly sitting at her feet.

This is far from the case if I experience the dogs in the presence of my friends. They are jumping, barking, and doing anything but behaving in a mannerly way. She yells at them to come to which they give little if any attention. They are consistently on all fours running circles around her or jumping to gain her attention. I often wondered what it was that made the dogs differ so in there behavior between the two. One would think that since the dogs belonged to my friend, that their obedience would be first and foremost to her. The lack of movement on the movement , one would think would lead the dogs to think that they had run of the house when she was home alone. All the things that were forbidden could be done at this time as she would never be able to catch them in time to do any harm to them.

I asked the mother recently how she managed to get the dogs to behave in such an orderly manner. She smiled at me and looked to her right and patted the cane that lay beside her on the sofa. It is because they know that I will knocked them over the head with my cane if they do anything that they are not suppose to she said boldly. She continued to say, I may not be the alpha male but they respect me as the bad ass old lady of the house. It was near this time that the daughter came into the room hearing the tail end of our conversation. Her mother than stated, she refuses to use the cane. If she disciplines them this is what she uses. She lifted a rolled up magazine off the table. And sometimes she thinks that is too cruel.

Never had I ever seen the mother hit the dogs with her cane, however they were well aware of the fact that she would if it needed to be done. Many times I had seen the daughter yell and swing the magazine at the dogs. Yet even if she struck them they continued their ruckus. Why because they knew there was little if no consequence to their action. They could do almost anything and the worst thing that could happen was a little spake with the magazine.

This comparison soon helped me to realize the difference in the personality of the mother and the daughter. Whereas the mother is brash and ballsy and has no problem saying what she feels or thinks, the daughter is timid and quiet and afraid of hurting others feelings, therefore forfeiting her own in most times. The mother is willing to do what need be to get what she wants or to get done what needs be, whereas the daughter walks softly being careful to not disrupt things around her and at times giving up things done the way she would like as to not make a fuss.

So, which one are you. Are you the cane or the rolled up magazine. At times a happy medium needs to be established. However, I think I prefer the cane. It need only be used once or twice and then only its presence is necessary. Something to think about at least... Until next time

Peace
Janie

Comment Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Picture of the Day

Copyright 2009 - Janie Sheik - All rights reserved

Update to P3

Wanted to take a moment and let you all know about a great idea. As in the previous blog, I spoke of the perfect peach pie. Well it may have just been perfected a bit more. And the best thing is, that the credit goes all to my daughter. In her execution of her version of the pie, she realized she had no rolling pin. Therefore instead of a full size pie she opted for petite pies made in a cupcake pan, pressing the dough into place with her fingers. Needless to say they came out wonderful. She compared them to a fruit torte. I am so eager to attempt them myself as many times making a full size pie for just Vince and I is not a good thing. The pie sits on the cupboard just tempting me to eat more and more. In this case, an individual size pie would be perfect.

The only adjustment to the recipe is to bake them for apx 20 minutes or until they are golden brown... The perfect peach pie just got better.