Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rainbow after the Storm

Have faith in your dreams and someday
your rainbow will come smiling through.
No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep believing,
the dream that you wish will come true.
Dream is a Wish in Your Heart

It's Spring and it's raining! Memories of my childhood come flooding back. When it was storming, my sister, brother, and I would sit on the front porch and watch the lightening. We would argue whether the angel who was bowling got a strike or not. We'd count the seconds, and declare that the heart of the storm was raging that many miles away.

If it got too bad, my mother would shoo us in the house. If the electric went out, it was that much better. We'd sit around telling stories and laughing. I loved those times!

When the sun reappeared in the dark sky, we'd search for the rainbows, and count the pastel colors. My mom would remind us that rainbows were God's promise to man. He would never flood the earth again.

As in life, rainbows follow storms. I am continuously learning how to laugh during the storm, make the most out of the high winds, and look for the gold in the rainbow. After all, the loudest thunder was a strike!

Time Savings Tip

To clean out the inside of a microwave, bring a cup of water to boil in it. The steam will help loosen dried on particles making them easily wiped away.

Money Savings Tip

Okay, don't laugh - I'm a little slow to pick up on this one. It is so much cheaper to buy a six pack, 12 pack or carton of pop at the store then it is to buy it from the vending machine. I just really realized the savings - over $2! So, this tip is for those of you, like myself, who didn't really realize this. $2 a week time 52 weeks is money in my pocket!

Until we blog again,
Aunt Janet

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Life is a Journey

They say "life is a journey." But you know what they don't say? It's a crazy, bewildering, mysterious journey ... The journey is your very own. Everywhere you wander, you belong. And everyone who cares about you wants to come along.
Hallmark Cards

While I was searching for an e-card for a friend, I found this and fell in love with it. It is so true - life is a journey. It's a journey that doesn't always take us where we think it will. It takes us where we are suppose to be.

At times, it doesn't feel like we are on the right road. We feel lost, confused, and bewildered. Why me? Where am I going? But, when we look back and contemplate the tough roads we have traveled, the path becomes clear and the why is answered. Life is a journey. Live it to the fullest!

Free Stuff

Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Sample

Cream of Wheat sample - Click here then click on Try Cream of Wheat FREE on the bottom of the right side.

Money Savings Tip

Want to keep your lettuce fresh? Wash your lettuce and remove any damaged leaves, and dry it thoroughly. Wrap the lettuce in paper towel, and place in a plastic bag or storage container. Put in refrigerator, preferably the crisper drawer. Replace the paper towel any time it gets really wet.

Time Savings Tip

CUT DOWN ON JUNK MAIL.Visit the Direct Marketing Association Web site and ask them to remove you from direct mail lists you don't wish to be on: http://www.the-dma.org/consumers/offmailinglist.html.


This is one of my family's favorite cookies. My sister makes them during the holidays, and everyone eats at least one (or two or three).

Seven Layer Bars

1/2 cup butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups butterscotch chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup salted peanuts
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan. Mix with the graham cracker crumbs. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Layer the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, coconut, and peanuts over the graham cracker crust. Pour the condensed milk over the layers.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. Cut into bars.

Who Are You?

I subscribe to SiteMeter, a service that tells me how many people visited my blog, what they looked at, and how far away they live. It does not give me e-mail addresses or other personal information. Being the curious one, I wonder who you are, especially the ones that visit my site often.

So, every so often, I will ask who someone is by referring to where they live. If you respond, by e-mailing me at auntjanetjwlr@sbcglobal.net, I will send you a free sample of the tasty food that I sell. Please include your name and address in the e-mail. I will not post any of your personal information - name or address.

Okay - My First Who Are You? You live about 470 miles away from the Chicago area - I think somewhere in Kansas - the upper or middle East side. Who are you? I'd love to find out.

Until our paths meet again,

Aunt Janet

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pain Subsides and Joy Returns

Do not undervalue the headache. While it is at its sharpest it seems a bad investment; but when relief begins, the unexpired remainder is worth $4 a minute.
Mark Twain

I suffer from migraines. When I have a migraine, the only thing that will help is taking a pill and laying down in a dark and quiet room. I am out of commission, I cannot think about anything but the pain, and, when the migraine is severe, it feels like my head is going to explode.

When the migraine subsides, I feel like a new person - a little tired and drained, but so relieved. The pain is gone.

Pain comes in many forms - some physical, some emotional. At times, we may feel like our head is going to explode or our heart is going to break into a million pieces. But all pains do subside, and joy does return, whether it be here or in Paradise.

For those in pain - May God carry you through, and give you peace in the days ahead. Even though it doesn't feel like it now, the pain will subside, and joy will return.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

At times, it feels like God isn't around. You pray, and there seems to be no answers to your prayers. When this happens to a family member or friend, I share this little prayer:

I know that God will help me, but help me until You help me.

This has always helped me get through the trying times, because it reminds me that He will help me.

Free Stuff

Get a free sample of Eucerin Daily Moisturizing Calming Cream (Click Here). Fill out form and they will mail it to you.

Or get a free sample of Victoria's Secret Mini Body Lotion (Click Here). Coupon ends April 21st. (The website is the coupon.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Do What You Love

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.
~Mirabel Osler

I love the beginning of Spring when it's warm enough to get my fingers in the soil, to cut away the old, and plant the new. I am a gardener. I lose myself in the work, in the planning, preparing, planting, and harvesting of my little plot of ground. My husband says "If there's a empty piece of earth, Janet will find a way to plant something." It is my passion.

Too many of us neglect our passions. We spend too much time trying to please others, to do as they say, as they desire for our lives.

Most of us are not encouraged to seek our passion. We are taught to go the safe route, to blend in with the norm, and to forget ourselves.

My life was like that. I choose a major in school to please others. I got a job, found a niche, and have worked in my present occupation for the last twenty years. But it's not my passion.

My advice to the young - Do what you love. Only you can determine which path to follow. Do you follow the one others have set for you, or do you follow your passion? They say: Do something you love, and the money will come. Or do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.

My advice to the elder - You can always change your occupation, and do what you love. Go part time to school or start your business small, working part time at it until it can support you financially at a level in which you are accustomed. But never, ever, think you are too old to grab a hold of that dream and fly!

Someday, hopefully soon, my dream to have a working garden will happen and I will be smiling. I just wish I figured this out sooner, but, for now, I pour through gardening books, work with the soil, and learn as much as I can about my love.


Perennials multiply. Some quicker than others. As I clear my flower beds, and vegetable garden, I see what needs to be thinned and transplanted. I need to break up my irises, hostas, and day lilies. I need to pull up the candy mint that took over the strawberry patch. The strawberries have grown beyond their imaginary boundaries. I need to dig up horseradish before it takes over, or my husband hits it with the rototiller (if we get ours fixed).

Spring is a time for sharing, for giving of one's garden to another. By doing this, if my plants die, I will always find these plants in someone else's garden, ready to be given back to me. So, I will ask "Who wants strawberries, horseradish, candy mint, or any of my other perennials that have taken over?"

Money Making Tip

Another way to share is to sell your plants at a garage sale, or, if you have an overabundance of many plants, advertise in the classifieds or have a plant sale.


Aunt Janet's Stew

1 lb. stew meat, cut in bite size pieces
5 potatoes, cubed
3 celery stalks, sliced
4 carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
1 garlic clove, minced
16 oz. can of tomatoes, undrained and chopped
3 beef bouillon cubes
1 Tbs. of Italian Seasoning, or 1-1/2 tsp. basil and 1-1/2 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. pepper

Put all the above in crock pot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or high for 5-6 hours.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dancing in the Rain

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.
Author Unknown

Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be sad. You can choose to let everything bother you, or you can choose to let it all go upwards. If someone is arguing with you, you can choose to argue back, or choose to walk away. It is all your choice.

So many people expect things to fit into a mold, to go the way they want them to go, and, to even expect others to act the way they want them to act. They curse at the next driver, or snap at a store clerk. Why? What's the purpose? Are you going to change anything by acting negatively?

Life, and people, will not be what you want them to be. God made each of us unique, with are own values, talents, and beliefs. That's what makes life interesting. You have no control over what goes on around you - you can only control what goes on inside yourself.

When I'm upset, I am a master distractor (sp?). I read, write, take down wallpaper, tear down walls (I have done this), make something, go for a walk - anything to take my mind off the problem. Sometimes this is good, but sometimes you do have to face your problems, and work through them, understanding that you alone can make a change. Again, you cannot control anyone or anything else, only yourself.

So, when life gets you down, do something positive - anything. Plant a garden, visit a friend, go to a movie, just something. Because life will not always happen like you planned it, and, from time to time, it will pour, leaving many puddles and muddy patches along the way. You can dance and get muddy like a child, and make the most out of what was handed to you! Have you ever danced in the rain?


Even though it is only the end of March, and, more than likely, there will be another frost, I bought onion sets the other day. Onions are hardy. If the frost kills the green tops, the bulb is still okay. In fact, every year, I find onions that I forgot to pull last year, with their green tips sticking out of the earth, ready to snip off for cottage and green onions.

One other bulb that comes back year after year is garlic. It multiplies! Each clove becomes a new plant. I only planted garlic once. I am able to give it away, and use it all through the growing season, and still have a healthy garlic patch. It even grows if it's been rototilled and the little clove has been moved, involuntarily, from its bed. My husband always hits part of the garlic patch every year with the rototiller.

I plan to spend this weekend separating my garlic cloves, so each will produce new bulbs, and planting my onions sets. Within a couple of weeks, I should have green onions, and my first harvest from my little garden. Yummm!!!

Easy Recipe

When we make the Chicken Crescent recipe that I posted just recently, I always make this recipe. My husband and I decided that they just go together, along with some kind of saucy noodles. And it's so easy to prepare.

Cottage Cheese and Green Onions

16 oz cottage cheese, your choice what kind, low-fat, no fat, or with all the fat
2-3 green onions

Cut green onions tips into ringlets (I don't know how else to say this). Chop bulb into small pieces. Mix with cottage cheese and serve.

Free Stuff

Get a free sample of Tide TotalCare.


My family is celebrating two birthdays today, March 19th - my sister-in-law Linda's birthday and my nephew Eric's birthday. Happy Birthday to you, and I won't sing because you know how I sound. (Everyone makes fun of my singing, and I can't figure out why. It sounds great to me.)

Aunt Janet

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Eye on the Sparrow

His eye is on the sparrow, so I know He watches me.
Civilla Durfee Martin

Sometimes life gets overwhelming. We wonder "Where is God?" We look for answers, searching for the why, reaching out to others and up to Him, and our prayers go unanswered.

There is a Bible verse where Jesus tells us "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)

We have heard the song, reflected on the words. I found out a little about this beautiful hymn. Civilla Durfree Martin wrote the song was "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" in 1904. She had said, "I wrote the song 'His Eye Is on the Sparrow' in the company of a bedridden saint in the city of Elmira, New York. I was reading and singing to her and during our conversation, I chanced to ask her if she did not sometimes get discouraged. This is when she responded about God's care for the sparrow. Her answer prompted me to find paper and pencil, and in a very short time I had completed the poem."

If God cares enough for a sparrow, why should I even think He doesn't care for me? If He knows when one sparrow falls, why shouldn't He know when I fall - when life's problems are too great?

The verse goes on to tell us not to be afraid. He knows how many hairs we have on our head. He cares. He will take care of us.

What can we do while we are waiting, when our life's problems surround us? My first thought is "Be still and know that I am God." Someone once told me that we are to be still because satan cannot read our minds. He can only see our actions, hear our words, know our heartbeat. So, if we are still, he has no idea what is going on in our head - our worry and hopelessness. She said that the only way to do this was to pray, to hand over all our worries to God. Our actions won't reflect our anxiety. Our words and actions will not convey our hopelessness. Think - when you pray, doesn't it feel good to get it off your chest, to ask for help, to say "I cannot do this"? You let go, and let God. Who is more able to take care of our problems then God?

I think that one reason I write these blogs is, not only to share what I believe, but, maybe more importantly, so that I reflect, so I can remember, and so I can get through my hectic life, and then strive for that simple life.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

When I worry about a family member, I have been know to ask: "What do you want? A balloon, flying carpet, basket, or airplane? And what color?" I take whatever they say, have them hold it, put them on it, or in it, and let go. In my mind, I visualize them going up to God. Who else is better able to take care of them? If I step in the picture - give my opinion, try to help, or offer advice - and I am worrying too much about them, I just may get in God's way, and I don't want to do that. I mean He's the big guy, the top dog. God is far more capable to take care of them then I am.

So, what do you want? To fly to heaven on a balloon, flying carpet, basket, or airplane? And you know if I'm asking you, don't you? Purple with pink polk-a-dots flying carpet girl, or is it the basket lady?

The Garden

I thought I'd add a new section to my blog - The Garden. If you've read my previous blogs, you may have found out that I am an avid gardener. I also don't have a lot of time to spend in the garden, but it's the place I find peace.

In early spring, I try to go out to the garden to cut back all the dead debris from the last year. The earlier I do it, the more I am able to do. See, perennials and herbs tend to start peaking through the ground early, and if you wait to cut them back, you may not be able to cut them back without injuring the new growth.

Also, I do this in the beginning of spring instead of the end of fall because the leaves and other dead material will cover the plant in winter. A harsh winter may kill even a hardy perennial. You have heard of cones that you put over your rose bushes. Well, the dead stuff covers the plants like the cones - to help them survive another winter. (Side note - There are some perennials that are not winter hardy, and should be dug up and put in a sheltered area. One that comes to mind is calla lily. So, it's best to read about your plants to know for sure.)

Okay, I feel better again. Thanks for reading my blog! Please do pray for me and my frazzled life (and click away on this blog), and I will pray for you.

Aunt Janet

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fettucine Alfredo and My Nieces

Fettuccine Alfredo is macaroni and cheese for adults.
Mitch Hedberg

One of my fondest memories is cooking with my nieces. It got to the point where they would help themselves to whatever was in my pantry or fridge and create their own delicacy. They even told me if I had to buy something.

I let them use a knife when they were young - one thing that there mom was afraid of doing. It made them feel older. One niece, no matter how many times I told her to be careful, always cut herself. It was just a surface cut, but after a while, I know she learned to be careful.

I loved being with them, cooking, talking, and then eating these foods. These are memories that will cherish forever. I miss these times, but I am fairly certain, soon their children will occupy my kitchen, and we will create the most tasty of foods.

Easy Recipe
One of our favorite recipes to prepare was Fettuccine Alfredo. It was a meal that each one loved - it was so hard to find something everyone liked.

Fettuccine Alfredo

1 box Fettuccine noodles
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs. butter
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of salt and pepper

Simmer 2/3 cup cream and all of the butter over medium heat until thickened. Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Drain and transfer to pan with sauce. Stir until pasta is coated with sauce. Add rest of cream and grated cheese. Toss until cream is thickened. Serve immediately. Serves 5-6 people (usually).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Flowers and Hope

Where flowers bloom so does hope.
Lady Bird Johnson

Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland
Artist: Becky Haldorson

The robins are singing, the plants are peaking through, and the crocuses have bloomed. Behold, spring is in the air.

I always feel uplifted when I go to the garden. To me, removing the dead remininces of the last year is saying goodbye to what was yesterday. Today is coming alive, and tomorrow there will be flowers. It gives me hope and promise that beauty is yet to come.

I cleansed myself yesterday. Today I played in my garden with hope. My problems may be overwhelming at times, but the beauty that God has bestowed on us is wonderous. He is there. Like a flower that starts as a small plant, growing until it bursts with its beauty, I am growing through my experiences and know that someday His plan for my life will bloom, with all of the beauty He intends for me.

Money Making Tips

My talented friend displays her pictures on the Artist Rising website. The above picture is an example of her artistry. She makes a commission on each photograph they sell. To view her other photographs, please go to this Artist Rising link.

If you would like to find out more about displaying and selling your photographs on line, go to Artist Rising

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where is the Light?

Love comes to those who still hope even though they've been disappointed,
to those who still believe even though they've been betrayed,
to those who still love even though they've been hurt before.
Author Unknown

To those new to my blog – it always ends with hope, belief, & love. This is long, but read on...

Violins please...

Some days I can't see the light. Like today, darkness has settled in. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but someone moved the entrance to this long and winding tunnel. Some days I try so hard to be positive, to look up, to count my blessings, but they seem so far away. The weight of the burden is heavier than I can hold.

I've been disappointed by things not happening the way I want them to. I was given a task, I did something to help someone else, I gave of myself to people, but the weight did not lighten. I desired with all my heart to be a mother, and I've been accused of wanting a career, not understanding how hard it is to be a mother, and not having enough responsibility.

I've been betrayed by close ones. Things have been taken from me, or the time was not given to me. When I reached out, at times, it felt like no one was there. I've done something to help someone else, and, if things don't turn out the way they want it, I'm treated like I was in the wrong. I've extended a helping hand to someone in need, only to have them get mad at me for implying that they need help. And if I couldn't help, if other responsibilities held me back, or if I was just too tired, I have had people get mad at me. How come people in the wrong always justify it and blame it on the person that was not in the wrong? Why do people expect so much from others, and so little of themselves?

I've been hurt by the ones I love. I've been taken advantage of, as if I am responsible for some part of their happiness. I've had my heart broken, again and again, by the same person. I have done things to help others when I know it may not help me. I have dropped everything for a family member or friend in need. Yet, I've been told by others I'm selfish, why don't I help this person or that person, or I'm not there for them. When I didn't respond the way someone wanted me to, when I didn't agree with what they said or did, or when they expected of me to do as I have in the past, people have lashed out at me.

What started all this negativity? I owe thousands on gas bills for the apartments, I have numerous other bills that I don't have any money to pay, and I have a tenant who won't pay me rent and won't leave. I have to hire an architect to draw up plans for something I did without a permit, when, for years, I reached out for help on this issue, did not receive it, and didn't know what else to do. I was told the buildings could not sell until this is taken care of, and it may extend the closing by months. Today was a bad day.

Well, I still hope, I still believe, and I still love. I still hope that God has a great plan for me, I believe that He is there, and I love because He loves me. These tough times are just preparing me for His plan.

Why do I hope? I've seen a family member, with very little, give to me in my time of need. I've had an unexpected financial gift just because... I've had family members offer financial help with money, a job, or a meal. I am able to help others by the experience of my disappointments. I have seen people admit to their mistakes, and not repeat them. I've seen the smile of a new baby in our family. I have had a nephew or niece stop by unexpectedly just to show or tell me something. I've had my nieces sit on my bed while I cried my heart out from under the covers, not wanting to face the pain.

Why do I believe? I've been given distractions or something I didn't expect when the pain was too great. Ants, tangled hair in an earring, old friends reconnecting, a kiss from my dog, a hug from my nephew (who gives the best hugs in the whole wide world) - these things He gave me in my time of pain. I've had a sister who forgot (intentionally) that I owed her money, because she paid for my last 3 classes in college. I've seen the sun peak out after a storm, the first red tomato in my garden, and my dogs greeting me with wagging tails.

Why do I still love? I was taught to love, to turn the other check, to treat others how I would want to be treated. I still believe and have hope in others, that when searching for the truth, they will make amends, or just pass what they were given forward. I've seen many turn their lives around. I've been loved. In the midst of the chaos, God has shown himself in someway or in someone, whether it be a crocus blooming in the garden, a husband who cooked dinner and then made me eat it, or a friend who reminded me of what is good.

Why did I decide to write this? Because of a friend. Thank you to my friend who, when I cried about my woes, told me to clean my kitchen this weekend, and give thanks for every item that I cherish in this little kitchen. She is right - there is so much to be grateful for, even if it's as little as the Pampered Chef apple wedger or as big as a self-cleaning oven.

Thank you - I needed to be reminded, and you were sent for the task.

For everyone else - hope, believe, and love, because there is so much too be grateful for. (Now, I feel better.)

Money Savings Tip

Use Vinegar instead of expensive cleaners. Did you know that vinegar is great for cleaning windows and makes hardwood floors shine? Did you know that it also can be used with baking soda to unclog a drain or remove water stains from the tub? There are many different variations on recipes for these items. Here are the ones I use all the time instead of expensive cleaners. They all use white vinegar:

Glass Cleaner - 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water, and clean with newspapers.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner - Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and one gallon of warm water. Mop with wet mop, and then go back over it with well-wrung-out mop to get up the moisture. Never leave any water, or cleaner, whether store bought or homemade, standing too long on hardwood floors as it will take away the varnish.

Unclog Drains - Put 1 cup of baking soda down drain. Pour 1 cup of warm vinegar over baking soda, and let sit for 5 minutes. I have even covered the drain after adding the baking soda, but be careful doing this if you have old pipes because they might burst. After doing this, run hot water down drain.

Remove Water Stains from Tub - Spray or wipe with straight vinegar. Rinse with water, and towel dry.

What are your favorite vinegar cleaning recipes? Please post them below.

Easy Recipe

When I was growing up, I always looked forward to going to my friend's house for lunch. Her mother would make buttered noodles every time. So, for those without cholesterol problems, here is the recipe.

Mrs. Lupa's Buttered Noodles

1/2 pkg egg noodles
1/4 cup butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Garlic powder and onion powder, if desired and to taste

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain. Melt butter in the same pan. Stir in cooked noodles. Add salt and pepper, and seasonings, if desired. Feed to hungry children, with ketchup, if desired. I don't know why but my friend always ate them that way. Just give me the buttered noodles.

Oh, and by the way, my husband is a good cook, and writing this made me feel better.

Blessing to you,
Aunt Janet

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cooking and Love

Cooking is a once child's play and adult joy.
And cooking done with care is an act of love.
Craig Claiborne

Mealtime brings back many happy memories. When I was growing up, some of my happiest moments were at the table. A glass of milk was always spilt - never failed. It brought laughter because it always happened. "Never cry over spilt milk" was a quote I heard almost everyday.

The table was a place where we shared our lives, told our stories, listened, and learned. Sometimes we laughed with joy. Other times we listened while someone cried. It was a place where we were required to gather, and we did so, without questioning, but anticipating what we will hear or learn or share.

My dad was the best story teller - stories about his childhood, growing up during the depression. Even though he had a tough childhood, he remembers the good times. They raised chickens, had many pets, and helped others in need. My grandma must have been a great cook - he passed down many of her recipes that we still make today.

My siblings' children are grown, and times together are precious. Someday I want to have family meals once a month in a dining room large enough to hold the ones I love. Everyone that can come, will come, and we will share our stories and lives. We will listen and learn. Someday I will have a table surrounded by family, laughing and crying, joking and listening, with children of every age. It is a dreams I intend to make a reality. The invitation will be open. No one will be expected, but everyone will be asked to attend.

And I will remember our family table - the place I felt loved.


I found this video site about depression cooking. This lady is adorable, and I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.

Monday, March 09, 2009

The Promise of Spring

There is no winter harsh enough to withhold the promise of spring.
Karen Kaiser Clarke

I was born a gardener with dirt under my fingernails. It was passed on from my grandparents. Some of my siblings and cousins did not receive this gift. Others acquired this passion, and the next generation is popping up with its own set of gardeners.

Each child has put time in my garden. From their hours spent digging, planting, weeding, and harvesting, I can tell which ones were born with this love. I do believe that each one has made discoveries in the little garden of mine, and were amazed and awed. It might be a cocoon or butterfly, a baby rabbit nibbling at lettuce, the first radish or a hidden bunch of strawberries, or, for the boys, a garden snake. Aah!!! Once a possum even took residence in my tool shed.

No matter what is going on in my life, I am at peace in my garden. The sense of time vanishes. Only when the sun begins to set, do I realize that I've been meandering too long in my piece of heaven. Shh - I've been known to take a flashlight out. I would go out, say, to get a tomato for dinner, stop to pull a couple of weeds, and before I knew it, I couldn't see which tomatoes were red. God put out the lights!

This past weekend made me yearn to explore my garden. I'm even thinking of what I could plant now. Is it safe? Has winter past? Spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and even maybe lettuce if I dare. I don't know, but what I do know is that no matter how harsh the winter, spring will always come. It gives me hope in everything. No matter how bad things get, good things will come around. It's a promise He gave us.

I am anxiously awaiting spring!

Easy Recipe

I found this recipe years ago in a cookbook my sister Judy spent hours at typewriter, banging away because home computers did not exist. It was our church's cookbook. If I want to please my nieces and nephews, all I have to do is make this recipe. I think they all love it!

Crescent Chicken Squares

3 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. butter, softened OR add more cream cheese
2 c. cooked, cubed chicken
1 Tbsp. chopped onion or green onions
2 Tbsp. Milk
8 oz. can refrigerated crescent rolls (or 2 cans for smaller squares)
Salt and pepper, if desired (I usually don't add any)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In bowl, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add chicken, onions, and milk, and mix well. Separate crescent rolls into 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal. Spoon about 1/2 cup (less if making smaller squares) into center of each rectangle. Pull 4 corners to top and twist slightly to seal edges. If desired, brush top with melted butter. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Money Savings Tip

Plan your meals by the sale paper. If you are like me, and I have to admit, if something finds its way to the back of my freezer, I'll never find it. So, I usually shop for 1 to 2 weeks. I guarantee that what we eat today was on sale a week or two ago. Very rarely do I buy meat that isn't on sale, and I think I've never bought steak for full price, that is, when we can afford steak.

I do have one exception. The vegetables usually stay where I put them. Since we freeze many of the items from our garden, this is a very good thing. But the darn veggies do move around on my husband, especially the corn. (Side note - we canned or froze enough vegetables to hold us through the winter, and into the spring. Yeah!!)

Now, if you are one of those super organized people, and/or the stuff cooperates and stays where you put it, then you have the luxury of buying meat on sale, and planning your meals according to what's in the freezer.

Time Savings Tip

I have to mention this because I've told you how my nieces and nephews have helped in the garden. Canning is a lot of work, and I usually recruit who I can to pick, wash, peel, chop, and can the vegetables. One way I can guarantee help is making tomato sauce. Got me, but they all love smooshing the tomatoes in the juicer what-cha-ma-call-it.

Part of the fun of gardening is in the harvest, and call in the gang to help. A couple of years ago, the phone rang. I answered it and proceeded to watch my nieces chattering, and canning all by themselves, without my instruction. One put the stuff in the jar, one took the air bubbles out, and the other wiped off the top, put the seal on, and put it in the canner. What a picture!

Wow! I think I taught them something that they will remember forever. Now, if they all will can is the question, but, if they do, I am certain that another will be by their side, talking and laughing, chopping and filling jars.

So, my point is, recruit helpers in the kitchen! Children love to help, especially if they can lick the spoon afterwards.

Spring is coming! The robins are here!

Aunt Janet

P.S. Happy 21st Birthday, Jeremy! I remember when you first made your appearance in our family. You were dressed in a tiny red suit, and you had a head full of curly hair! I fell in love with you immediately!

Happy Birthday, Mandie! I won't tell the world how old you are, but I think you're still alot younger than me. I love you!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

This Too Shall Pass

If I can endure for this minute
Whatever is happening to me,
No matter how heavy my heart is
Or how dark the moment may be-

If I can remain calm and quiet
With all the world crashing about me,
Secure in the knowledge God loves me
When everyone else seems to doubt me-

If I can but keep on believing
What I know in my heart to be true,
That darkness will fade with the morning
And that this will pass away, too-

Then nothing in life can defeat me
For as long as this knowledge remains
I can suffer whatever is happening
For I know God will break all of the chains

That are binding me tight in the darkness
And trying to fill me with fear-
For there is no night without dawning
And I know that my morning is near.

...Helen Steiner Rice

I needed this poem today. Somedays I get overwhelmed with my debt and not paying what is due, and today is one of them. Time to Let Go and Let God - there is nothing else I can do. Please keep me in your prayers.

For those of you who were also touched by this poem, I pray that God gives you strength to endure.

Selling Stickers

I am selling each of the following stickers for 80 cents each, plus shipping. One of each - first come, first serve. If you would like any of these stickers, please email me at auntjanetjwlr@sbcglobal.net. (Don't laugh. 80 cents build up.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

In Times of Need

Refusing to ask for help when you need it is
refusing someone the chance to be helpful.
Ric Ocasek

Pride can sometimes be a foolish thing. We are too proud to let someone else know our woes, and too proud to ask for help. Our stubbornness can cause us many restless nights worrying.

On the other hand, most people will help a family member or friend in need. In fact, we usually feel good after we help someone. Being human and not mind readers, sometimes we do not know when the need is great. Many times we may help too much, doing for others what they can do for themselves, or we expect something in return. If you help others, do it unselfishly with no strings attached. From my own experience, it's hard when someone doesn't do what you expect - do work, pay you back, etc. After many disappointments, I needed to teach myself to give without expecting since we cannot control other's actions.

If you have a need, share it. Some angel may be listening that is more than willing to help. Be sure it really is a need that you cannot take care of yourself, and never take a gift and use it unwisely. And, lastly, always pay it forward. Someone always needs an angel!

To all the angels in my life, thank you from the bottom of my heart! Someday, somehow, somewhere, someone will repay you for your kindness. Tears well up in my eyes when I think of how unselfishly you gave. You, my angels, will truly be blessed!

Hopefully, with God's help and your prayers, this chapter in my life - this financial burden - will soon be over. I'll be where I started, no richer or poorer, with a good credit score again (after a couple of years), knowing in my heart that I was meant to help someone in need. I again will have the ability to help others in need. Please God, don't let me ever go in debt again, ever!

Money Savings

This might not seem like it goes under money savings, but it could save you on interest. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot meet all your loan and credit card bills, call the companies. Tell them your situation in detail. For me, I explained how I inherited the money pit that refused to sell, I work full time and have 4 part time businesses, and I cannot afford to pay the current amount. Okay, I shed some tears. They were real!

In my situation, about half of the companies were willing to work with me. I did need to do an income/expense sheet for most of these companies, showing that my expenses outweigh my income. They lowered the interest rate (some drastically) and the amount of payment due each month. Usually, a payment plan was set up, and some of the companies take it right out of my checking account each month.

Don't be afraid. Just ask!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Absence is to love what wind is to fire;
it extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.
Comte DeBussy-Rabutin

At times in our life, our loved ones are absent. We may miss them terribly, or be happy for the free alone time. Eventually, if it is truly love, our hearts will long for their presence.

Due to war and economics, many loves are separated, standing up for our nation or trying to make ends meet. May God watch over those that are separated from their loved ones. Keep them safe, and bring them home swiftly. Rekindle the love in all.

Easy Recipe
Italian Tomato Soup

1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings
Water, to taste

Cook on medium until thoroughly heated. Mash tomatoes with a potato masher. Add water to taste. Heat again until hot enough to eat!

This easy tomato soup recipe is sooo good with grilled cheeses, and so easy to make. It is very tasty, and can be easily modified to include vegetables or noodles of your choice.

Money Making

Sell what you do not need. Many of the items we buy are left unused, collecting dust and adding to the clutter. If money is short, even items we like can be replaced at a later time. In the cold weather, when it is not feasible to have a garage sale, you can sell your items on-line.

I know I have mentioned this before but Ebay is really a great place to sell items. There is a small charge for listing, and a charge when you sell. Ebay will keep track of your bids, and email you when an item sells. I've been selling many of my unused or "can replace" items on Ebay. Please feel free to browse my items for sale on Ebay anytime by clicking on Ebay under My Ways to Make Money. I list items every week, relisting items that didn't sell and listing new items.

There are other free sites to advertise like Craig's List. With this site, you can list an item for a week for free. If an item sells, the buyer will contact you. After a week, you need to relist it. The one thing I found cumbersome is that you need to upload the pictures every time you relist, but it does save your listing's wording. If anyone knows how to get it to save the pictures, please let me know.

If you have a home business, you can sell off your inventory at a discount to get some quick cash. Right now, I am in need of cash to pay numerous bills. I have three home businesses, and will be sending out emails to all my customers. I will sell my display jewelry and extra kitchen gadgets at a greatly reduced price. Also, I will be offering a discount on my tasty food item business. If you would like to see my items for sale, please email me at auntjanetjwlr@sbcglobal.net, and I would be happy to forward the sale email to you. Any order or purchase will be greatly appreciated.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

This one is borrowed from someone else - the author is unknown.

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder." If someone really cares for you, they will be back. Let them go. If it is meant to be, it will be.

I think back on my life, and wonder ... but I am not sad with the choices I have made. For if someone really loved me, I would have been able to fly, to reach for the stars, and then land back safely in their arms. This I have found.
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