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Quotes from the Masters: Bacon

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“We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand–and melting like a snowflake.” Sir Francis Bacon     

This weekend my husband and I held a Wedding Shower for my son and his future bride.  Since they live four hours away, we had a difficult time coordinating a date, but settled for July 7.  Of course, the entire week before the party, it was in the 100’s and the heat wave broke all sorts of records. 

Consequently, we would work outside early morning and late afternoon.  When the sun was at its hottest, we would work in the house trying to get ready for the full house of company we would have for the weekend.  If we felt too over-heated  we would jump in the pool to cool down.  However, even the pool was having trouble keeping up with the heat.  After four days of high temperatures the water was 92 degrees and not quite as refreshing as it should have been. 

Our goal was to make things as cool for our guests as possible. The dress was casual because we knew it would be too hot to be formally dressed.  We had a shelter, lots of cool drinks (Sangria), good food, and an air-conditioned house for respite.

 On the morning of the shower, as we all began to set up for the party that was set for one in the afternoon, it was still 98 degrees.  Tempers flared as we attempted to set up the pop-up canopy and arrange the tables.  The prep work in the kitchen was set to a furious cacophony of women trying to prepare cheese, meat, and vegetable trays.  Everyone on duty was sweating and hot, but we worked together, so that when the first guests arrived, the place looked perfect.

 Then, the magic occurred.  As the future bride and groom opened their gifts, a swift breeze fluttered the top of the canopy. The flowers on the tables began to sway and a blessed cool wind came from the northwest.  All the guests turned instinctively toward the relief. “Ahhhs.” Were heard all around. 

 The wind had shifted bringing a cool front to the stifling heat.  The temperature dropped 10 degrees in fifteen minutes.  By the time all the presents were opened and the cake was being passed around, the guests were no longer asking for iced drinks, but for coffee to go with their cake. 

 The universe had chosen that moment to give us all a break from the oppressive heat and blow in happy wishes for the future bride and groom.  Never again will we be blessed to watch our son share this moment with his bride–to- be and his family and friends.  Similarly, as the quote from Sir Frances Bacon states, “We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand- and melting like a snowflake.” Fortunately, none of us melted like a snowflake in the heat, but we did have the opportunity to view a couple, sparkling like the stars for a brief moment.

 View more Quotes from the Masters at Bringing Europe Home

 

 

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Honey Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberry Muffins are one of my favorite morning grabs. Blueberries were on special at the grocery store, and I purchased too many to eat all by myself. This recipe will be a perfect use for all those blueberries. Romancing the Bee always shares great recipes with her readers. Go and visit her site and see for yourself. You will Bee impressed, honey. 🙂

Romancing the Bee

I’ve loved blueberry muffins since I was a girl.  They’re even better made with honey!

2 1/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk or buttermilk
6 tbsp. honey
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. blueberries
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 c. butter or melted shortening

Wash blueberries and toss in sugar enough to coat (about 1 tablespoon). Sift flour with salt and baking powder.

Combine milk, honey, egg, blueberries and shortening. Add to dry ingredients, stirring quickly just long enough to moisten dry ingredients. Fill lined muffin pans half full.

Bake in 400°F oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Yield: 12 muffins.

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Helen’s Porch

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When Helen is sitting on the porch, I know summer has arrived in my town.  The weather turns warm and suddenly, everyone is outside. People I have not see for six months, other than to wave at or say hello as I run from the car to the house, are now mowing their lawns, weeding their gardens, and sitting on the porch.
All winter my neighbors and I are stuck in our individual houses.  Oh, there are greetings when the weekly garbage goes to the curb, and when the driveway needs to be snow blown. We see each other at the holidays to exchange pies and cookies, but generally, there is not much interaction.
Nevertheless, when the warm southwest winds blow the balmy air into town, I am afforded the luxury of actually interacting with my neighbors. A few of us gather around Helen’s porch, she is the oldest neighbor; she turned 80 just a few weeks ago.  Helen always has her famous homemade chocolate chip cookies waiting for us as we sit on her swing and catch up on the happenings.  I learn that Jackie had a bout of the flu that lasted forever, Sharon’s daughter had a baby girl in February, and Pat’s son is getting married in October. Now, on warm evenings, instead of watching “The Voice” on TV,  I will sit on Helen’s porch and revive the friendships that have been put on hold.
It is comforting to know that no matter what has occurred over the long winter, I can relax on Helen’s porch and share my life with these beloved people.  I know that in our world, it is not often that we find such good neighbors to share our ups and downs with, even if it is only for a few months. Therefore, I am going to soak up the sun, slap at mosquitoes, and enjoy my neighbors until it is too cold to sit on the porch.
Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

House Plants = Healthy Indoor Air

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Keeping our air clean and free from chemicals is a concern for us all, especially the air we breathe indoors. 

Today, buildings are better insulated and hold more toxic chemicals than at any time in history.  Toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, ammonia, and petroleum-based materials reside in our homes creating a potentially harmful environment. Plants can help to eliminate some of these toxins and add ambiance to our residence.

According to research done by NASA, living green and flowering plants, clean pollutants in the air. We close up our houses in the winter due to the cold weather and breathe reconstituted air-filled with contaminants. These contaminants come from the furniture we sit on, the cabinets we open, and the carpeting we walk on. “Harmful indoor pollutants represent a serious health problem that is responsible for more than 1.6 million deaths each year”, according to a 2002 World Health Organization report. These impurities in our air has attributed to a rise in chronic and reoccurring sinus infections, chronic post-nasal drainage, asthma, bronchial infections, ear infections, and other illness cause by synthetic contaminants. Unfortunately, summertime does not alleviate the problem, due to climate controlled homes and office buildings where air conditioning is taking the place of heating systems when the weather turns hot.

The good news is that we can reduce the effects of the most common toxins by adding houseplants to our homes.  Plants produce oxygen, add moisture, and filter out toxins in the air neutralizing indoor pollution. By placing, a few houseplants around our homes and using specific types of houseplants our environment can be beautiful and healthy.

Below is a list of beneficial houseplants and the toxins they are best at filtering.

Plant Names

Toxin it Removes

Asparagus fern Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride 
Aloe Vera: Eliminates emissions from most toxins 
Chrysanthemum: Reduces toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia 
Dieffenbachia: Formaldehyde, Toluene, Xylene
English Ivy: Eliminates petroleum-based products 
Gerber Daisy Adds oxygen to the air 
Peace Lily Removes chemicals from smoking 
Purple Waffle Plant Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride 
Schefflera Benzene, Formaldehyde, Toluene 
Spider Plants:                                Exceptional for reducing formaldehyde 
Variegated Wax Plant Benzene, xylene, hexane, heptane, octane, decane, trichloroethylene (TCE), and methylene chloride
   

 

©Jamie Nowinski 5/10/2012

Garden Gate Nursery. (2011). Retrieved from The Garden Gate Nursery and Floral: http://www.gardengatenursery.com/gardentips/gardendesign/58-healthbenefitsofhouseplants.html

Science, A. S. (2009, November 4). Common Plants Can Eliminate Indoor Air Pollutants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 10, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/11/091104140816.htm

Wolverton, B. C. (1997.). How To Grow Fresh Air. New York: Penguin Books.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

GIGGLES OF HOPE

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When I was a little girl, my parents gave me a Giggles Doll for my birthday.  I had yearned for this doll for a long time, and I was so delighted when I received her as a gift.  The doll was just as any doll except she would giggle when you moved her arm up and down.  Every time she giggled, I giggled.  I loved my doll!

My little sister wanted to play with Giggles, too.  I would let her play with my doll on occasion; however, my sister did not just want to play with her in our room.  She wanted to take my favorite doll in the bathtub.  The instructions that came with Giggles explicitly said not to put the doll in water.  Therefore, I warned my sister to play with the doll anywhere but in the bathtub.

One evening I went with my father to the store and left Giggles at home.  When I returned, I went in search of Giggles, finding her in the bathtub with my little sister.  The horror of seeing my favorite doll in the water was overwhelming! Giggles’ beautiful hair was matted to her head, her clothes were on the bathroom floor, and when I swiped her out of my little sister’s hands, she was waterlogged with soapy bath water.

My mom came running to see what was wrong when she heard my scream.  Quickly performing doll CPR, my mom placed Giggles in the sink and shook her roughly to remove the excess water.  By then, I was crying and Giggles had bubbles pouring out of her head.  I was traumatized by the scene. The first thing I did the following morning was go into the bathroom and check on Giggles.  I found that she was dry and did not have any residue of bubbles in her hair.  I dressed her in her colorful dress and put her shoes on her plastic feet. The hair on Giggles’ head was still matted and gently I tried to brush it to its former luster.  Finally, I sat on the bottom bunk of the bed I shared with my little sister, and pulled Giggle’s arm up and down to see if she would work. NOTHING!  I tried repeatedly to no avail. I was heart-broken.

For days, I kept hoping that Giggles would giggle once more. I would pull her arm, but she did not work.  My little sister was just as upset as I was.  She felt terrible that she had broken my favorite doll.  We both worked hard trying to rehabilitate Giggles, but we finally gave up and set her on the shelf.

Many months later, I walked past Giggles and the twinkle in her eye made me take her down from the shelf.  I smoothed the hair on her head that never did have the store-bought luster return, and for the heck of it, I pulled her arm up and down.  I do not think I have ever had a happier day, for when I pulled her arm she giggled.  It was a loud, robust giggle that made me, too, giggle. I ran out of the room yelling.  I found my sister and hugged her. We giggled together, pulling Giggles’ arm up and down until we were crying with laughter.

It is funny, but I learned a valuable lesson from my Giggles doll.  I learned that I should never give up hope.  Miracles can happen even when it seems impossible. If I can just be patient, wait a little while, and pull the arm up and down, the world will be all right.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Pictures on Grandmother’s Fridge

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Colorful works of love and imagination grace the cold appliance making it appear warm and welcoming.  It is the perfect frame.  Art is viewed daily and critiqued. The art lover changes the pictures as the artist creates new works to replace the old.  Never was there a better place than Grandmother’s Fridge.

 

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
 

Putter…Putter…Putter…

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I am a putterer.  A putterer, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, is a person who regularly or occasionally engages in an activity as a pastime rather than as a profession.  I have named myself this because it is impossible to keep my mind from flitting from one subject to the next.  Where some people have the ability to focus on one thing exclusively and become good at it, I on the other hand, flit about, or putter with hundreds of things.  I guess I get bored or maybe I have adult ADHD and this is what it looks like.  Who knows?  All I know is that I cannot stick with any one thing so diligently, that I actually succeed at that one thing in a big way.  I guess I am the epitome of the quote, “Jack of all Trades; master of none”.

Here are some things that I have puttered with…

Singing.  I have always wanted to be a singer.  As a little girl, I stood in the bathroom mirror and sang to Donny Osmond and Michael Jackson songs.  At 17, I joined a band for about six months and lost my voice singing “Highway to Hell” by AC-DC.  I have sung at karaoke night, been in a talent show, and even tried out for “The Voice”.

At one point in my early years, I was not happy with myself; and I hated the way I spoke.  Following this further, I went to the library, picked up some English workbooks, and taught myself proper English.  It was not that hard, I had learned English in school. I just used too much slang when I spoke.  This helped me talk better and made me feel comfortable around others.

When my children were young, my family needed another income, but I did not want to get a job outside the home and leave my kids with strangers.  So I opened up my own daycare. It was a legitimate business with a license and a food program.  I had many clients with many babies who came and went through my home while my kids were growing up.  I even claimed it on my taxes.  Nevertheless, I got bored and it was hard always having your home as a place of business. Consequently, daycare led to going back to school full-time and working part-time to become a teacher.  After all, I still enjoyed kids; I just did not want to have them in my house.  With my own children older and in school all day, I could now focus on getting a BA in Education.

However, that still was not enough for me.  I then began reading about alternative medicine. No, I didn’t become a doctor! However, I did learn some interesting things about supplements, and ailments, and different cures for everyday things.  I also learned how eating affects your health, which lead to cooking!

Trying out different and healthy recipes became a new hobby of mine.  I took old recipes and adjusted them to the new and improved recipes.  I collected recipe books from garage sales and thrift stores.  I made some delicious meals and a few duds that even the dog would not eat.

I took up hobbies like sewing, woodworking, and gardening.  I collected books on each of those subjects, too.  I have made curtains for my whole house and for a few family members’ homes. One Easter Break, I decided to make a queen-sized bed out of pine. (I still sleep on this bed.) In addition, every spring I plant my garden of tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumbers.  I still have not perfected a good gardening technique.

When my bathroom desperately needed to be gutted and redone, I convinced my husband we could DIY it.  That too began on an Easter Break and lasted a few weeks after break to my husband’s dismay.  I have since, challenged myself to redo a room for under $500, laid two laminate floors, and painted every room in my house twice.

Then there is writing….  I have always, as long as I can remember, written: Diaries, journals, stories, jokes, articles, poems, and now, blogs.  I have tried to write novels, without much luck, because, I believe, I cannot stick with anything that long.  However, short blogs, short anything, I can do.

I am not sure if I will ever find one thing, I can stick with long enough to be good at it. I guess I really like to putter.  Oh, did I mention that I have been married 31 years?  Maybe I am a star at marriage.  Who knew???

Are you a putterer or dabbler like me?  Tell us about the puttering you do in your daily life.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 2012-2013.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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