News From the Front

Occasionally there are  events which warrant notice and some publicity.  This week has provided some such events noted here:

New Word!

Here is a new word invented by our very own Sosew.

Sosew modeling (shoes)


Pronunciation:  tee-dic-you-luss

Meaning:  a ridiculous and tedious process, event, or occurrence

Background:  Sosew is in the process of resolving an issue with her internet/TV provider.  This process is taking many hours.  Yesterday she was forced to stand in line to resolve a modem issue for 30 minutes.  All the  customers ahead of her were there for the same issue.  This, she deemed, was “TIDICULOUS’!

(Oh, alright.  She meant to text  ‘ridiculous’  but  I thought the new word was more appropriate.  Now, then, write it ten times, use it in three sentences, and practice this new word until it is in your own vocabulary.  I’ll bet you will have no problem doing this.)


Farming Frustration!



and her Hubby, The Engineer/Farmer,

The Engineer/Farmer

plant a large garden which he tends.  When he is home.  Unfortunately, last week whilst they were off vacationing with family, the wild turkeys which inhabit the area around their home noticed the Farmer was not present and helped themselves to the ripening corn.    This, despite the fact, reported Vanna, that he had judiciously and carefully installed many “Sponge Bob/Square Pants” helium balloons strategically around the corn.


What’s that?


Well, no.  I don’t know what the turkeys thought seeing these.  Evidently encouraged their feast, however.

Thankfully, the the tomatoes and potatoes were not bothered and we are the grateful recipients of some of those jewels!


Appliance Wars

Well, first it was those new-fangled, no-agitator washing machines and now it’s the water/ice dispenser on the kitchen fridge.

Along with most of my friends, we are the none-too-happy owners of a no-agitator washing machine.  Turns out these things don’t dispose of all the water and will form mold underneath and inside the machine itself.  This causes them to smell, especially if they are left closed (whether front loading or top loading) and/or in an area like a garage or small laundry room.   And where do most people house their washing machine?  Right.  In a small laundry room.

No amount of cleaning with any brand or non-brand product seems to get this smell out of the machine.  I have faithfully cleaned this machine every month  since it arrived here!–as directed in the instructions. I now have taken to cleaning the washing machine when I’m done with it each time, wiping it down inside, removing the soap and softener tray to clean them, and wiping all around the upper rim of the tub.  The bleach dispenser has actually RUSTED (ever heard of that?!).  Still, there is no way to get underneath the drum where water stands and will, over time, form mold.

We discovered there are several class action lawsuits surrounding these machines–but alas! I don’t know how we’d join one.  (If you do, please let me know!)  These machines can cost upwards to $1,000–a major expense for many households–and they are a huge disappointment to most of us.  I can tell you this:  the next time I purchase a washing machine, it will be one with an agitator.  I never had a problem with them smelling!

(And, full disclosure:  I have a very large laundry room, well-ventilated, and so my issue  isn’t nearly as dire as some who have those closet arrangements or garage space for their laundry.  But it still emits an unpleasant oder!)


This morning, the refrigerator water dispenser was dripping and a puddle had formed on the floor.  Thankfully, the model and serial number of the fridge is located where I could actually see it, so I quickly wrote down the numbers and called the appliance store from which we purchased it.  Turns out they are open at 9 a.m.–banker’s hours?–and so I left my information on their answering machine voice mail (whatever happened to the term, “answering machine” anyway?).  Since it’s now just 8:32 a.m., I have not yet received a call back.    I will report on the outcome of this, yet another great adventure in living.

Turns out our helpful appliances have now become so advanced they take up much of our time (and money) just to maintain.

TIDICULOUS, isn’t it!


The Laundry is DONE; On to Little Vegetables

And I’m the only one with the courage to share my ‘dirty laundry’?  Cowards!

Ok, enough of that topic.  It’s on to the next.  It’s the Thursday before Easter.  What else would I be doing but making little teeny, tiny vegetables?  I mean, what else do people do the Thursday before Easter?

These are for the Peter Rabbit cake I make every year.  Go here to see the recipe:

This year I used this to make the vegetables:

I was unable to locate the Marzipan, but this works very well.  One package made all the vegetables and some dough leftover.  I tinted it with food coloring.

So with the vegetables done, it was time to make the cake, which is cooling right now.  (The recipe and all the instructions can be found on the above referenced website.)  A trip to various stores to get in supplies, a few trips in and out of the house for Miss Poppy’s enjoyment, and that’s what I’ve done all day long.  How about you?

Meanwhile, the Poodlette is having a grand time now and again with her friends:

Above, entertaining Granddaughter

And, of course, TMWLH is back to his role as ‘dog walker extra-ordinaire” which makes him and the Poodlette very happy.


And  me too, by the way.

We are feeling more SECURE now as Miss Poppy has learned that if a strange person comes to the door, it is important to sound the alarm.  So she runs to the kitchen, far away from the front door, and barks.  Better than no alarm at all.  And, she’s not yet 5 months old.

Good Friday is tomorrow.  I do wish every one of you a very happy weekend and a Hoppy Easter.  I hope you spend your time with family and friends and that Mr. Rabbit delivers some Easter eggs and candy to your house.



Zip lock bags

How many do you throw out that could be washed and reused?  Of these:


Next time you are throwing out packaging, take a look first—can it be washed and reused for food storage?  Use white vinegar (natural disinfectant)and dish soap, wash well, and dry—I like to air them over night after wiping with a clean towel.


The zip lock works just fine!  Reuse! and save some money.

Also consider inside packaging from cake mixes, cereals and other foods.  They can be substituted for plastic baggies, which cost quite a bit.  I sometimes wrap foods to be frozen (such as chopped onions and peppers) first in cake mix packages and then inside zip lock bags.  Be sure to label.  In this way, I can also reuse the larger zip lock bags again.

Well! I NEVER!

Have hulled a strawberry  with a straw before.  Have you?

It’s close to strawberry season. I’ve seen this on the internet, but this is the first time I’ve tried it.  It works well.







It’s kind of fun to do, too!  Give it a try if you never have.



“Yeah, yeah……you’re full of ‘em” Jabber sarcastically mumbled.

Yes, am.  Ma’m.  So there.

Here are a couple:


Get a couple of decorative bottles—these are from you-know-where—and fill one with liquid dish soap and the other white vinegar.  Place a stopper in each one so that they pour slowly.  Advantages to this:  you use less dish soap and the white vinegar is handy for cleaning/disinfecting things in the kitchen.  Plus, they’re pretty.


Above is a canister filled with baking soda.  Baking soda and white vinegar are exceptional cleaning products and I like to have them next to the sink for use.  Will save you bundles of moohla on more expensive (and sometimes less safe) cleaning products. 

Oh yes.  You can use them to cook, too……….

(Well, of course the canister came from a yard sale.  Whatdidya’think?  Use the scoop–enclosed in the large baking soda container you buy at the store–in the canister.)

“Never mind that.  What’s for breakfast?” Jabber demanded.


Isn’t it funny that we think getting a sandwich from a fast food place perfectly acceptable, but seldom think to make a sandwich at home for breakfast? 

Why not?

Especially when you may have some things which need to be used up in the fridge.  It’s Sunday.  I like to have a nice breakfast/brunch on Sunday and I have more time to cook/invent.

Here is what I had:  leftover deli ham slices, leftover cheese (in this case, I sliced up some from a cheese log, almonds and all), French bread, one hard roll, two jars of strawberry preserves with about 3 TBS left in each jar.  I assembled the sandwiches, heated up the skillet and made:


French bread, ham slices, cheese, strawberry jam sandwiches, fried in a bit of butter and topped with powdered sugar.

Serve whatever jam might be left on the side if you wish.  If you want a Monte Cristo sandwich, dip the sandwich in beaten egg and then fry in the pan.

TMWLH gobbled them up.  Security gobbled up what was left when we were finished. 


Cook over low heat and allow the cheese to melt and the French bread to toast nicely.  You can use whatever bread and jams you have on hand and you might try substituting turkey or chicken breast slices or combining with ham slices.  Use any type of cheese you have which would make a good combination.

This is also good for lunch or supper. 

Now, I’m out of ideas.  So I have to go find some more.

Hey, wait a minute!  HOW ABOUT YOU GIVING ME SOME!



“I don’ mean to be MEAN or anythin’, but, you ARE 111 and the idea of takin’ up rappin’ on this blog is a lil’ peculiar for you, isn’t it?  I mean, you can’t even put together a rhyme affer you’ve worked on it all day, so how you gonna’ make up rhymes to music beats on –the-spot?” Jabber contemplated outloud, not so gently…..

She can be an idjit sometimes.

WRAPPING PACKAGES AND PRESENTS!  That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout here!  WRAPPING!

“Sorta’ waited to the last minute, didn’ you?”

No.  Didn’t.  Planning ahead, too……

You all know about wrapping packages with comic pages or newspaper pages, but there are other ideas on how to use items for wrapping you already have on hand.

Reminders:  If you HAVE to buy new paper and supplies each year, buy wrapping paper at the after Christmas sales.  Also stock up on ribbon and any other items you know you’ll be using next year. 

If you go to yard sales consistently, you will often find rolls of wrapping paper at very discounted prices.  I purchase wrapping paper at yard sales along with lots of ribbon.  And gift bags—stock up!  Once I purchased a huge box of unopened tags—the person had been in retail sales, evidently—and shared it with family and friends.  I have enough tags to use for the next ten years and so do they.  Cost?  $5  If you don’t believe the savings here, go price tags at the store!

Here are some fantastic ideas (not mine, I read about them so I’m passing them along to you):

After all that unwrapping is done, you can do this with your torn wrapping paper:



2.  Put it through your shredder!



3.  You now have a colorful pile of shredded paper which you can use at the bottom of baskets as ‘filler’ or you can use for packing delicate items or even, if you want, for packing up your Christmas ornaments which need special care.


Why didn’t I think of that?









If you have Grandkids old enough to do this (and not ruin your shredder), this is a good, short-term project for them!  You were only going to THROW IT AWAY WEREN’T YOU?  Yep!

Here are some more ideas, courtesy of TipHero which linked to these:

1.  How to make a gift bag out of magazine page

2.  How to make a gift bow out of a magazine page


Save the tissue paper, too, when you unwrap gifts.  I use it to pack up delicate Christmas ornaments.  If it is in good shape, I’ve been known to IRON out sheets of tissue paper, carefully fold and store and reuse for another gift.  This works exceptionally well with gift bags.

Ribbon:  It really goes without saying, save the ribbon if it is nice.  I reuse ribbon for years, organizing it according to color and storing it in baskets in my craft room.

Gift Bags:  Carefully fold and store.  Christmas comes every single year on December 25.  You’ll use them again and save a bundle.

Yeah, I know.  I’m a little bit OCD.  But in this case, you are saving yourself some big bucks on items which you’d otherwise throw out, have a variety of wrapping items to choose from in the future, and helping the environment.  Make an effort!   Get a tiny bit organized and tell your family and friends to save the wrapping and bows for you.  You really will be glad you did.

And if you have a bit of time, try making a bow out of a magazine page. 

Happy Wrapping!


Household tip!

‘Tis the Season for your indoors to smell lovely, all cinnamony and warm—here is a great tip on how to do this!
“Odor Removal

To absorb stale, smoky odors, place a bowl of apple cider vinegar in an out of the way place. To add a fragrance to the room and remove odors, put 1/2 cup of vinegar, two cloves, and one teaspoon of cinnamon into a small glass jar. Place it in the microwave for one minute and then place in the room. It will absorb odors instead of covering up the smell like commercial air fresheners do.”

I just tried this (just now, really!)  Be careful–make sure the concoction doesn’t boil over in the microwave–might try a larger container so it has room to expand.  The kitchen does smell good!

From:  Dollar Stretcher Tips newsletter

Here are some more tips on how to have good smelling home, inexpensive and chemical free:

As we all know, commercial candles, air fresheners, etc. may contain harmful ingredients—especially those that you plug into your outlets.  NOT GOOD!


  • The Endowment for Medical Research has suggested “air fresheners” should be called “air pollutants.” Many brands contain known toxic chemicals. A 2002 EPA study testing plug-in air fresheners found that the fragrance chemicals in these products react with common indoor air pollutants to produce serious health hazards. Air freshener chemicals have been implicated in cancer, neurological damage, reproductive and developmental disorders. They can also aggravate or trigger asthma attacks.

Read more:

Try using a natural, inexpensive air freshener instead—it’s better for your health, and your wallet.

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