freedom

Relax, Recharge, Refocus

Are you ready for the week ahead? Once upon a time the work week was Monday – Friday 9-5. Now it almost 6 days a week and family life on top of it all. Lunches, laundry, errands, sports, Dr’s appointments, kids school activities, with all this going on what happened to a relaxing weekend. One for the extras to get done the second to take it easy. The crazy school week cluttered with your job, kids homework, getting dinner on the table each night.  It can seem like going from 1 disaster or challenge to another.  To make it easier to handle some simple organization can make for a lot less stress.

  • Plan out your week.

Knowing what is coming for the week ahead let’s you plan for it.  Knowing what day you have to work late or make it the same night as say soccer practice.

  • Meal prep

Using part of your weekend to meal plan or do prep will save loads of time during the week.  I try to keep breakfasts, lunches and dinners ready for the week ahead.  I plan a full month menu with some days I can easily change out.  Then I make a shopping list.  I’m a huge fan of order pickup and delivery.  Instacart, Shipt, Aldi, Publix,  Amazon Fresh, among others delivered right to your door.  The fee is nominal and saves you even more time to spend with your family, or re-charge your own batteries.  Once the shopping is done it’s time to prep.  We use family favorites and adapt as needed.  We love freezer meals that go from freezer to either crockpot or quick cook on the stove.  Breakfasts can be multiple choice with the finished product in the freezer.
Lunches can be prepared and stored in the refrigerator so it only takes minutes to pack lunches. 

Stores like Walmart deliver in some areas but not mine.  I love thier order service.  I can pick out what I need, browse, and re-order frequent purchases from the comfort of my home.  Simply log in to the app and shop the grocery store.  I can get all the groceries including produce, paper goods, household, pet supplies, even deli and bakery.  They have also added a liquor store (in some areas), stores so as long as we present ID when we pick up.  So a bottle of wine, beer, and some liquors can be added to the order.  Schedule a pick-up time, checkout, and you’re done.  They give a window to alter the order including something either forgotten or someone just remembered to tell you about for a special day at school.  Arrive at pickup time, park in special lane, and checkin from your phone.  Walmart will bring and load your groceries in the car for you.  It usually takes about 15 minutes from checkin, but can take longer if they are exceedingly busy.  Even when I have to wait it saves me the trip through the store with heavy traffic, screaming kids, and the aisle road rage you can experience in the store when you are on a mission.

Family time

We do our prep work as a fun way to spend more time together.  We joke, laugh, catch up, share stories, experiences.  Working together builds the teamwork in families.  It also adds to communication and respecting each others contributions.   2 or 3 can get alot done in a few hours.  Young children can be included to help fetch and carry ingredients as appropriate.   You will see the pride and happiness shine in thier smiles when they bring the right item.  They also feel like an important contributer to the project. Older children or adults can cut, chop, measure (little ones like this to with supervision), package, label..and so on.  I can even get my kitchen phobic husband to help with easy tasks.  Biggest piece of advise I can pass on is never assume children and even some adults know how to do certain things.  In my husband’s case you cannot take things for granted.  Anyone who cooks alot knows that a cup of something refers to a specific measurement.  I have learned I have to explain what kind of cup you need to measure an ingrediant.  Children may also not be familiar with what or how.  It’s also a great way for them to learn both math, like fractions, history, like where come spices come from, and the science-based principles of things like yeast.  Next time someone is doubling a recipe have a child help figure out the measurements needed.

Package prepared foods

Singles work great for a lot of things like a breakfast or snack.  Dinner, at least at our house is a family affair.  We try to sit down together and eat as a family.  This gives us further chance to stay close.  We take a break from the electronics in our lives and connect with each other.  We keep things family appropriate with very few taboo subjects.  Open discussion is encouraged and every one right, wrong or different can weigh in.  Whether sharing a personal experience or just a preference, or opinion, it helps all understand the world as it was, is, and possibly will be.  Exposure to multiple points of view opens the world and helps all decide which way to handle almost everything life throws at you. 
With all the prep done it makes it easier to get everyone where they need to be.  Grab breakfast, lunches, and dinner for later.  Place dinner in the crockpot, microwave breakfast as needed, and quickly pack lunches so all is ready to go.  This reduces the morning rush of trying to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door.  The big plus is of course dinner is ready when you get home that evening.

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  • Re-charge


While we recharge our phones, tablets, and any other items we need, we often forget to recharge our own batteries.  Imagine all the love we give those special to us in a pitcher labeled you.  Evertime you hug, kiss, talk, listen, care, it pours from that pitcher.  What do you do when it’s empty?  If this was just water we would simply refill the pitcher from the tap, right?  Well when the pitcher is filled with love the sink just doesn’t have a re-supply.  We regain the energy we give by doing things like going to church, relaxation, personal time, a hobby or other things that bring enjoyment.  Having a full picther allows us to juggle all the things thrown at us.
While we recharge our phones, tablets, and any other items we need, we often forget to recharge our own batteries.  Imagine all the love we give those special to us in a pitcher labeled you.  Evertime you hug, kiss, talk, listen, care, it pours from that pitcher.  What do you do when it’s empty?  If this was just water we would simply refill the pitcher from the tap, right?  Well when the pitcher is filled with love the sink just doesn’t have a re-supply.  We regain the energy we give by doing things like going to church, relaxation, personal time, a hobby or other things that bring enjoyment.  Having a full picther allows us to juggle all the things thrown at us. While we recharge our phones, tablets, and any other items we need, we often forget to recharge our own batteries.  Imagine all the love we give those special to us in a pitcher labeled you.  Evertime you hug, kiss, talk, listen, care, it pours from that pitcher.  What do you do when it’s empty?  If this was just water we would simply refill the pitcher from the tap, right?  Well when the pitcher is filled with love the sink just doesn’t have a re-supply.  We regain the energy we give by doing things like going to church, relaxation, personal time, a hobby or other things that bring enjoyment.  Having a full picther allows us to juggle all the things thrown at us.

 Refresh  

After all the chores are done take, some “me time”.  Read a favorite book, watch a movie or simply spend quality time with your children and or significant other.  Make sure you go to bed early enough to get plenty of rest.  Try not to rush through the tasks you’re doing.  We have enough hustle and bustle.  Making these things fun for all nor only makes them a lot less if a chore, it makes them enjoyable too.  As you look around savor that special feeling that comes when we do for those we love.

Re-focus

To get the most out of your time focus on what you have to do, need to do and want to do. Get the have to and need to done first. This will let you be more relaxed and concentrate on the things you really enjoy. I hear the expression there’s an app for that and I can say for myself at least it’s partly true. We use things like Google Calendar, Prism bill pay, Keep,and several others to tract our world. The notifications help keep us on track. Google Calendar let’s us track everything from my husband’s work to Dr appointments. I pay all our bills in about 15 hassle free minutes each week with Prism. It keeps track of what’s due when and I can schedule payments ahead of due dates to avoid things like missed payments or late fees. Keep helps us track everything from grocery lists to tasks like cleaning medical equipment, Pet medicines, simple to do lists, and I keep a running list of blog ideas and scheduling here. At the end of my day I can easily cross off what I got done and know what I still need to complete and when.

Me time

As we move into the future technology helps us run our world’s. While there is no shame in making things in your life easier, never forget that things like love, family, patience, kindness, understanding, and others still need the old fashioned low tech approach. I use my technology to speed up the have to’s so I can spend more time with those I love and the wants in my life. Between, Spouce, siblings, children, friends and neighbors I keep a busy schedule and get the best out of life by being available to those I love. To me the love I shower on my pets (our children), family incuding my neices and nephews, extended family, friends, and neighbors fulfills my life. Take the time to nuture these connections. You never know how precious that is until the prospect of tomorrow never coming makes an entrance in your life.

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Happy 4th of July

From our family to yours Happy 4th of July

Is your July 4th exploding with fun?

Every year in America on July 4th, we celebrate our freedoms. Most of are looking forward to great food friends and family, and a great show of fireworks to finish it off.

In cities and towns large and small people gather for bbqs, potato salad, swimming and maybe some yard games. Those more inclined to rest spend time in the shade, surrounded by good conversations and a chance to catch up. Sip refreshing libations for children and adults. Watch the children expend their energies. Or simply enjoy you peace and quiet in red, white, and blue. On this day Americans happily fly the flag of our nation with pride. You see, this flag represents the sacrifices that have been made both here at home and abroad to give us what we enjoy today. It is unique to this country even though lots of others have done the same. Each independent nation on this world we call earth has a symbol like this. Whether born here, or not we stay here for the unique chance to make our own American dream.

Our traditionally consists of grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, and or chicken. On occasion, we have even done t-bone steaks. Of course deviled eggs, potato salad, fresh veggie tray, baked beans, chips, flag cake, fruit salad, and watermelon, make for a filling meal.

Our family follows the tradition of fireworks, for the evenings entertainment. We leave it to the professionals to display an awe filled pyrotechnic show. Ours are usually choreographed to music played on a local station.

As I’ve grown older and faced health challenges, I’ve grown to appreciate my father’s stance of watching our local display on tv….in air conditioning, with volume control. My dad’s favorite movie the last 10 years he was with us was Independece Day. He would pull it out every July 4th to watch again. I wish he had been here to see the sequel he wanted.

Will Smith (Actor), & 2 more

As I look at the goings on in our world today, I’m reminded of the speech given in the movie. Is something like that going to be what it takes for humanity to put aside the characteristics I see dominating the news? I truly hope not.

As we prepare for our nation’s birthday this, July 4th, the love, patriotism, and family traditions continue to shape our future generations. From our family to your have a happy and safe 4th of July.

One of my favorite movies.

Deviled Eggs

12 hard boiled eggs, peeled

1 tsp yellow mustard

1 tsp white vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

4 Tbsp Mayo

1 1/2 tsp Paprika

Slice eggs in half. Empty yolks into small bowl. Place white halves face up. To bowl of yolks add mustard, vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, and mayo. Mix well. Place in piping bag with star tip. Pipe yolks mixture into white halves. Sprinkle with paprika. Chill until served. I’ve had lots of versions of these over the years. Some add things like sweet relish, avocado, bacon and others. I prefer mine in this classic recipe. It’s what I grew up with. I’ve also seen the whites dyed different colors. I still like mine this way.

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Flag Cake

This easy, festive cake will be the highlight of your patriotic party.

1 box white or yellow cake mix

1 pint blueberries

1 pint strawberries or 2 pints rasberries

1 LG container Cool Whipcream

1 can Readiwhip or small container Cool Whip with pastry bag and star tip.

Bake cake as directed in a 9 x 13 pan. Cool cake completely. Remove leaf and stem from top of fruit. If using strawberries, slice from top to tip in halves or quarters depending on size. Using whipped cream spread even smooth layer over entire cake. Use toothpick to draw the flag box and red stripes. Star box should be about 4 or inches. A real flag has 13 strips but the cake can only fit about 5. Make sure you leave space between red stripes for white ones. The top and bottom stripes are red.

Place whole blueberries in star box as tightly as possible. This is the blue field for your stars. Gently place rasberries or strawberry strips along red stripes from left to right. Starting at the top next to star field to edge of cake. Place all red stripes. Using readiwhip or pastry bag with star tip, place alternating number rows of stars on blueberry field. (I usually do 5 and 4.)

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For fancy look depending on time you may want to pipe stripes in white whipped cream as well. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Featured photo belongs to Dricolls.com

Summer Sun

It’s summer, and this time of year we all like to spend time in the great outdoors. With the sun shining high, we vibrate with anticipation to get outdoors. Be it camping, hiking, backyard bbq, the pool or the beach, please remember, with the warmer temperatures, to drink plenty of water, use protection from the harmful effects of the sun, and avoid the possibly deadly consequences of heat and/or sun stroke.

  • The daily recommended amount of water is 8 – 16 oz glasses a day. That increases dramatically the longer you play in the sun. As you sweat, that fluid must be replaced. Sodas, alcoholic drinks, and energy drinks won’t do the job. In fact, some can do more harm than good. They provide sugary, empty calories without the electrolytes that fuel your boby. Cocktails and beer deplete your fluids, making you even more dehydrated. Pure waters, sparkling waters, and sports drinks, help to replace the electrolytes your bodies needs. Make sure you drink at least half again as much as you normally would while having your fun in the sun. Get a great recipe here.

  • Wear protective clothing. That sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? With the heat of the summer most of are thinking about how little we can wear to stay cool. Things like sunglasses that block uv rays protect your eyes. A large brim hat protects the top of your head from sunburn. It also provides shade to your face, neck and sometimes shoulders.
  • Adequate sunscreen will help block the damaging effects of the sun. Children especially need to wear sunblock. I’m a redhead, so I learned about the damaging effects of the sun at a young age. I don’t tan. I go from extremely pale to lobster red in a very short amount of time. Like babies, I have to use a sunscreen with spf 40 or higher. I blister easily and you can easily see where I did damage in my younger days trying to keep up with my friends who tan. Take it from me, the worst places to sunburn are under your hair, and the backs of your knees.
  • Avoid the most dangerous times of the day. The suns rays are the most dangerous for anyone between the hours of 10am and 3pm. If you’re heading for some fun in the sun, you’re get less direct sun before 10am or after 3pm. It’s best to avoid doing yard work or gardening during these peak sun times. If you must perform these activities during these times take care to protect yourself and know the warning signs of things like heatstroke.
  • Don’t be deceived by shade. I would give my mother the excuse of our pool being in the shade, to get out of wearing sunscreen. Trust me when I tell you, shade from a tree or other porous material will not protect you from the sun. You still need sunscreen!

  • Water reflects the suns rays. We’ve all seen people in movies who use those reflective panels to direct the rays. Like most, I thought, hey, I’m under the water, it will help protect me from the suns rays. While water does help diffuse the suns rays, it also reflects it back. So, if you wear the hat in the water, it’s directing those rays right back onto your shaded face and shoulders. Same rules here, make sure you wear the sunscreen. That tan is great when you’re young, but, as you age, that damaged skin begins to look like leather. The potential of developing skin cancer from those areas is also very high. The bandages and/or scars after having cancers removed from a place like your face are not attractive later. Indeed, if not caught, it can become something much worse than skin cancer.

  • Back to the fun. You celebrate family and holidays with a backyard bbq. Again, heavy hydration, will keep you healthier and cooler. Take frequent breaks from the heat and sun, on a patio, a porch, a pavillion, or in the house. Not only does taking such a break provide a temporary resbite, from the sun and heat, but keeps you from the overheating, that leads to sun stroke or heat stroke.

Stay safe and enjoy the summer fun and make memories you’ll cherish for years to come. I would love to hear how you spend your summer time. Drop us a comment letting us know. Don’t forget to like and share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest.

Flag Day

In America we fly our stars and stripes with pride. Indeed over many years, and many styles have come to be the “Stars and Bars” we see today. This symbol of our country is a lot more than a mere piece of cloth. This flag has consistently stood for freedom both here at home and around the world.

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This flag has seen us from the times of the American Revelution, and Civil War, through the times of today in places like Syria, Libya, Afganastan, Iraq, Suadia Arabia, Korea, France, Germany, Vietnam, Puerto Rico, and many others. It has been welcomed around the globe by people liberated from oppression, persecution, tyranny and any other entity that holds peoples inaliable rights hostage. I am saddened by the events I see in the news today. As June 6th was the 75th Anniversary of D-Day its difficult to understand how we have come to this state of affairs. From D-Day our troops joined forces with many nations and were welcomed with great celebration in cities and villages across France, Poland, Russia, Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Luxembourg and so many others. After liberating North Africa from the invasion force of the Axis powers.

Throughout our long history the men and women of our armed forces have sacrificed and died for the ideals in America and the freedoms we enjoy. Indeed those freedoms are so precious that we have people coming to our shores for the last 527 years. If you were lucky enough to be born here we should remember how hard won some of our freedoms are. Even in todays modern world people are still yearning for some of the basics we take for granted.

Since some of the etiquette has been forgotten over time here is the etiquette for the American Flag.

The standards below are from USflag.org I am simply publishing to my readership to remind them why our flag is both important and the proper way to care for and handle one. Anyone who has been given a folded flag fully understands the price of it and knows the value of which they hold.

Flag Etiquette

STANDARDS of RESPECTThe Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, also contains specific instructions on how the flag is not to be used. They are:The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyardThe flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object; it should be received by waiting hands and arms. To store the flag it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.Note: Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony, often on Flag Day, June 14th. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well. Contact your local American Legion Hall or Scout Troop to inquire about the availability of this service.

Displaying the Flag OutdoorsWhen the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag – of a state, community, society or Scout unit – the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag’s union should be farthest from the building.When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor – to its own right.
..The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
..No other flag ever should be placed above it.
..The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

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Raising and Lowering the FlagThe flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Displaying the Flag IndoorsWhen on display, the flag is accorded the place of honor, always positioned to its own right. Place it to the right of the speaker or staging area or sanctuary. Other flags should be to the left.The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of states, localities, or societies are grouped for display.When one flag is used with the flag of the United States of America and the staffs are crossed, the flag of the United States is placed on its own right with its staff in front of the other flag.When displaying the flag against a wall, vertically or horizontally, the flag’s union (stars) should be at the top, to the flag’s own right, and to the observer’s left.

Parading and Saluting the FlagWhen carried in a procession, the flag should be to the right of the marchers. When other flags are carried, the flag of the United States may be centered in front of the others or carried to their right. When the flag passes in a procession, or when it is hoisted or lowered, all should face the flag and salute.

The SaluteTo salute, all persons come to attention. Those in uniform give the appropriate formal salute. Citizens not in uniform salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover should remove it and hold it to left shoulder, hand over the heart. Members of organizations in formation salute upon command of the person in charge.

The Pledge of Allegiance and National AnthemThe pledge of allegiance should be rendered by standing at attention, facing the flag, and saluting.
When the national anthem is played or sung, citizens should stand at attention and salute at the first note and hold the salute through the last note. The salute is directed to the flag, if displayed, otherwise to the music.

Watch “Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance” on YouTube

The Flag in MourningTo place the flag at half staff, hoist it to the peak for an instant and lower it to a position half way between the top and bottom of the staff. The flag is to be raised again to the peak for a moment before it is lowered. On Memorial Day the flag is displayed at half staff until noon and at full staff from noon to sunset.The flag is to be flown at half staff in mourning for designated, principal government leaders and upon presidential or gubernatorial order.When used to cover a casket, the flag should be placed with the union at the head and over the left shoulder. It should not be lowered into the grave. 

This page is maintained by Duane Streufert, Contact Us.
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This Site Established on 20 November 1994.
Last Updated 10 February 2005.
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Don’t forget Father’s Day is this Sunday. Find great gifts here.

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