Thursday, April 30, 2009

Letting Go

True love doesn't have a happy ending, because true love never ends.
Letting go is one way of saying I love you.
Author Unknown

colored balloons in the sky Pictures, Images and Photos

Last weekend, my niece and her husband unexpectedly decided to move. I am feeling sad tonight because, for the past month, my niece and baby would come over for dinner on Thursday nights. She would let me hold, feed, and cuddle with him, things that I always yearned to do with my own children. It was filling a hole in my heart that was never filled for I have no children. I would thank her, thank her for letting him be a part of my life. Her mother had let me "mother" her when she was a baby. At the end of the visit, she would tell me "Okay, Aunt Janet, it's time to give her back now."

Now, my niece and her baby moved far away - too far for a day trip. I will miss them both terribly. I know I can talk to her on the phone, but he can't talk yet. I know I can see pictures of him crawling, but I can't get on the floor and encourage him. I won't be able to rock him to sleep, or hear him say his first words. I will miss this.

My sister and her sisters are grieving, each dealing with it in their own way. Some through anger, some through tears. I, myself, cried unending tears as I watched her drive away. She, being young, doesn't realize the emptiness her absence will cause. Just to see her smiling face, or watch her glow when the baby smiles and coos. I will miss not having him underfoot, watching him explore in my garden, growing at an amazing pace, and teaching him about life, as I did with her.

Before she drove off, each family member released a balloon, with the words that we did not want her to go, and we would miss her deeply. We were putting her in God's care, and she was holding on to the string of the balloon as it carried her away into the unknown.

To my niece - I miss you already, and you have only been gone a week. Each of us reacts to this loss in our own way, but each of us feels the pain. You are a very special part of our lives, and to have you so far away, not being able to just drop by and give you or the baby a hug, is hard. Do not be angry with us for how we handle this situation, for we will miss you terribly. As your life changes, so does ours, and grief stirs our emotions, as excitement stirs yours. Let understanding and compassion become part of who you are. If you feel any of the following, let go of defensiveness and anger, and instead accept and hold dear our grief, for it is with love that we let you go. Remember - we are always here. We love you!


This is one of my niece's favorite meals. I would invite her over whenever I made it, or send a bowl or two home with her. Here is the recipe so you can enjoy it and think of me.

Aunt Janet's French Onion Soup

8-10 large onions, sliced thinly into circles
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbs. flour
6 cups of beef broth - I use 3 cans of beef broth and 1 cup of beef bouillon broth
1 tsp thyme, if desired
French bread, sliced
Grated cheese - I usually blend Swiss and mozzarella, or use Gruyere cheese

Melt butter over medium heat. Add the onions. Sprinkle with the sugar, and cook, stirring as needed so the onions don't stick. Cook until they begin to caramelize (become a golden brown - usually about one hour. While onions are cooking, toast the bread under a broiler until golden brown.

Sprinkle the flour over the onions, and stir to coat. Add the broth and thyme, and bring to simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes.

Ladle the hot soup in ovenproof bowls, top with bread, and sprinkle with cheese. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

My dad passed away years ago, and the majority of my nieces and nephews never met him. I feel that I need to share who he was with them so they could have a glimpse at this wonderful man. So, his sayings have become mine. As Grandpa used to always say "Friends will come and go, but family is forever."

Until we meet again,
Aunt Janet

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

Time to rest - to refresh myself. Life's challenges have worn on me. I need to rest. Sweet dreams!

Time Savings Tip

Take time to rest. Your mind will be sharper if you are rested, and you will accomplish more with a good night's rest than if you are dead tired.


Aunt Janet

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Blame Game

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?
Katharine Hepburn

This afternoon I ventured to the woods to take a walk, and something made me change my mind. I turned around and headed for a wooded lot my mom owns. Here I have a hosta garden, and I knew that it needed tending. As I pulled up, I noticed bikes at the edge of a path. The neighborhood kids were probably building their fort made up of scrapes they had uncovered in the neighborhood.

My family doesn't mind the kids. For boys, and some girls, what is more fun than building a fort in the middle of the woods? We do have rules that I have explained to them in the years past. No climbing trees, pick up your garbage, and keep my garden safe.

As I got out of my car, I noticed smoke. The fort window (scrap plastic) was turning brown. Fire! The kids were huddled around the fort, and were trying to put out the fire so I didn't see it. They threw bricks on it, and covered it with plastic, only causing more smoke. With all the dead wood around, I nicely scolded the kids, and told them to run for a big bucket of water. In the meantime, I removed the plastic and bricks, and tried to put out the fire with my glass of soda. It only caused more smoke.

I yelled to the kids to hurry, and they started walking back with their mother. As they approached, I told them that I wanted the lighter or matches. What I am about to describe is a mother hen defending her chicks. I explained that the kids had started a fire, and asked the children again for the lighter or matches. She started saying that this is vacant property. (What does that have to do with a fire?) I told her that my mom owned it, and we didn't mind the kids playing on the property as long as they followed the rules. She kept insisting that it's vacant, that someone from our city had told her that it was an easement. I explained it was not, and asked the kids to go get another bucket of water since the fire was still smoking.

I again told her that they had rules, like no garbage and no climbing trees, and I had explained the rules to them in the prior years. She said that her kids didn't start the fire, the other boy with them had. She also said that her daughter had picked up garbage, and she had told her not to fill up her garbage can with this garbage. The kids came back with the other bucket, and I finished extinguishing the fire.

She was protecting her children for something that they did wrong, whether they did it themselves or watched as someone else light the fire. Later, I turned it positive by asking the children to make a sign, listing all the rules. Next time they see my vehicle, we would wrap it in plastic and hang it by the entrance. The parents stood in their yard, looking at me, not knowing how to respond. The kids responded with glee, saying they would have a sign for me when I returned.

This encounter made me think. We are so quick to put the blame somewhere else, instead of taking responsibility for our own actions. How many times have we found someone else to blame for our poor or bad actions? If this person did or didn't do that or say that, we would have not responded in the negative way we had. Wrong. We are responsible for ourselves (and the children God gave us).

When I was growing up, no one let me get away with anything. If I did wrong, the teacher or friend's parent corrected me right there and then, and I got it again when my parents found out. To top it off, they thanked the one who had first corrected me. I'm not that old, but, lately, I find more and more people blaming others for their wrongdoings.

We also watch someone else do wrong, without trying to stop them. Okay, I do agree that we cannot control another's actions, but doesn't God say that we are to tell them, with love? If they chose not to listen, at least we know in our heart that we had tried. Growing up, I usually got the same punishment as my sibling because I knew what they were doing was wrong.

When you go to blame someone else, when you make excuses for your actions based on someone else, think. You alone can react the way you do - there is no one else around that can make you react a certain way. You are in control of your own actions. If someone did hurt you, turn it around into something positive.

I wonder why she didn't thank me for seeing a fire, and responding to it. With the wind and all the dried wood, her children could have been hurt. I stepped in, by chance, and stopped something tragic from happening. Who do I have to thank today for stopping me from making a mistake? Or do I get defensive, and turn it around, putting blame on someone else? Think about it.

Aunt Janet's Famous Sayings

I have told this to each one of my nieces and nephews. At first, they say "Right, Aunt Janet." Later, they are amazed at how I found something out, or how I just ended up being someplace to stop them from making a mistake. For example, my youngest nephew was amazed when I found him in a dumpster behind the Parish Hall. How in the heck did I know he was there? For some reason, I had missed my friend's driveway, and I turned around in the parking lot behind the Parish Hall, and there he was, knee deep in garbage, looking for copper. I got him out of the dumpster, and, being a good aunt, called his dad.

What do I say to them? "I have ears and eyes all over town. Whatever you do, I will eventually find out." From experience, they know that it happens.

Free Stuff

Free Sample of Carmex Chapstick
Free sample of Emergen-C® Health & Energy Water 1000
Free Sample of Always and Tampax(r) tampons and liners

Money Savings Tip

Being short on funds, this week I went through my freezer and pantry to decide what to make for dinner. I came up with enough meals to last us a week, and we only have to buy a few items. Yeah!!

What's in your freezer today? How many meals can you make without making a trip to the store? Sometimes it helps to investigate.

Aunt Janet

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Keep Pushin' On

When the road gets rough, and there is no answers to the questions, just keep pushin’ on because tomorrow will be better day.
Janet A. Bartos

This quote was given at a high school commencement by the valedictorian. She had gone through some turbulent times as a teenager. Her first love, the break-up, the loss of this best friend, trying to make new friends in a new town years after she moved there, the boy that never went away, dealing with a difficult and distant father, trying to stay number one in her class, when she liked to party and have fun, and other normal growing up pains. She had caused some of the turbulence by making poor decisions. Others had just happened. Standing in front of friends, families, teachers, and fellow students, she really believed what she said because she had lived it, she had experienced it, and she knew, like one of her favorite songs, if you keep pushin’ on, tomorrow will always be a better day.

I am this person. I gave this speech. I believed in what I said. And I did have fun!

Yes, my name has changed, my education continued, I fell in love again, my father passed away, my grammar has improved (should be are, not is), and my challenges have become more difficult, but I still believe. I am blessed with the continuing friendship of girls who had put their arms around this broken-hearted new kid on the block. I am blessed with an education, and the ability to have paid for it on my own through long hours and hard work. And, yes, I’m still blessed with friends and family that know I still like to have fun!

When life throws another curve ball, all I have to do is put in the CD, turn up the volume, and sing along with REO Speedwagon the song that kept me going, “Keep Pushin’ On” because tomorrow will always be a better day.

Easy Recipe

My friend served this dessert at her last dinner party, and I couldn’t eat enough. It is so delicious! (I found the recipe, so you don't have to send it to me.)

Fruit Salsa and Cinnamon Chips

2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces raspberries
1 pound strawberries
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor

10 (10 inch) flour tortillas
butter flavored cooking spray
2 cups cinnamon sugar

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, Golden Delicious apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. Spray again with cooking spray. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with any remaining tortilla wedges. Allow to cool approximately 15 minutes. Serve with chilled fruit and spice mixture.

Time and Money Saving Tips

If you have left over potatoes, put them in a oven safe bowl, top with cheese, and bake for around 20 minutes until cheese is melted in 350 degree oven. Sometimes I even throw in a couple extra potatoes so I can have this the next day. It saves time, and helps turn leftovers into something totally different.


Have you read "New Moon" yet? My mom questioned why I would want to read a story about vampires, something evil and ungodly. You have to read the book. It's about vegetarian vampires, who, because of their beliefs, were not evil. I highly recommend it. You can't put it down. And the main vampire character is so cute!

Keep Pushin' On,
Aunt Janet

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Let Them Fly

Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
Ray Bradbury

With youth, comes adventure, dare-taking, and, sometimes, carelessness. We are invincible! With age, comes caution, predictability, and knowledge. We learn from our mistakes, or we repeat the mistakes until we learn. We take less risks, preferring to take the safer road then to venture into the unknown.

We caution the youth, trying to teach from our own mistakes, thinking that the consequences will repeat themselves. Will they? Are we so sure that their path is even the same path we took? It may look the same, but is it really the same?

Success only comes when you jump, and learn to fly. No one can teach you to fly. You can be encouraged or discouraged, but you alone can fly or stay nestled in the brush, just to dream of soaring. Take the chance, and go for it. Only on airborne wings can you fly. Encourage the young for we do not know of their future. Let them spread their wings and fly!


One of my favorite books when I was a young teenager was Jonathon Livingston Seagull. I remember the quote: "You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now - and nothing can stand in your way! " This book inspired me to excel, to reach for what many thought was the impossible, to soar. Even if I am different, even if not every one agrees with me, does not mean I am wrong. My way may just be the more liberating way.

If you have never read this book, and you need inspiration, or a push to try, I highly recommend this book.

Easy Recipe

Spring brings celebrations. To me, it brings to mind First Holy Communion parties, weddings, showers, and graduations. This is a quick and easy punch to serve at your party.

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

2 - 12 oz. frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrates
2 qts. Water
1 qt. Ginger Ale
12 oz. Sliced Strawberries
Strawberry Sherbet, if desired

Mix Lemonade with water. Pour in ginger ale, and add strawberries and sherbet. Serve in beautiful punch bowl.

Spread your wings and fly!
Aunt Janet

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Voices of Angels

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.
Maya Angelou

Words do not describe the beauty of their voices. Enjoy!

Aunt Janet

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.
Clarence W. Hall

Double Click on the words H a p p y E a s t e r

Free Stuff

Free Cinnabon on Tax Day

Did you know that you can get free samples at Walmart. Just go to and search for Free Samples. At the top of the next page, there is a link to their free samples.

Easy Recipes

Grandma Bartos' Cream Cheese Jello Mold

1 lg. Cream Cheese
1 c. Boiling Water
1 c. Cold Water or 10 Ice Cubes
1 lg. Jello, any preferred flavor

Cream cheese until smooth. Add jello and cream until very smooth. Add boiling water a little at a time. Add cold water or ice cubes until melted. Put in any 3 cup jello mold or small serving bowl. Chill overnight or at least 6 hours.

Have a Blessed Easter!
Aunt Janet

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out alive.
Bugs Bunny

Most people that I know tend to take life too seriously, including me. After all, deadlines need to be met, bills need to be paid, and people need our care. Although this is so true, we need to do these things, but why not enjoy the ride!

If only we could be like a child - looking at life through wonderous eyes, living for the moment, and laughing. The say laughing relieves stress, and adds years to your life. You know this is true. I know it. So, instead of taking our responsiblities so seriously, why don't we try to live for the moment, enjoy the moment, and laugh at the moment?

I have a condition. My friends call it Janet-isms. Out of the ordinary things just happen to me. I do nothing to provoke or cause them. They just happen. Some are good, some bad. To give a couple examples:

I bought some books at a jewelry rally. Months later (okay, a little late), I went to balance my credit card bill and thought I was charged twice. So, I called the number on the bill, thinking it would be a payment service company. Well, when the person answered the phone, I immediately knew I was wrong - it was his voice - the author of "When God Winks", producer of ABC After School Specials and Schoolhouse Rocks, a person who has won Emmy's. Imagine my astonishment when I found out that I had called his personal cell phone while he was boarding a plane. So, for a small fortune, I could give you his number. Hehe - I wouldn't do that, I don't think. Better idea - maybe I'll forward this blog to him. It shouldn't be too hard to get his email address, you think? (I wonder if somehow this could be a God Wink. Imagine - he reads my blog, falls in love with it, tells his friends, and I become famous.)

Another one - I went to the closing of my buildings, signed all the papers, and, guess what? The buildings didn't close. As my one friend put it, it can only happen to you.

Here's one - I went to a Dan Fogelberg concert, and had backstage passes. While I was backstage, I didn't meet Dan Fogelberg. I met his parents, the other band members, but not the main attraction. I didn't even see him. Later, my friends told me that he was standing right behind me. If I had turned around, I probably would have smacked him with my hand. Janet-isms.

I think that God gave me Janet-ism to make me laugh. If I fall in the mud, if I spill coffee on my college papers worth 50% of my grade, if a crazy person starts pounding on my window, if Father O starts pounding on my window while I'm starting to do a doun-ie (sp?) in the church parking lot, it's just normal - these things just happen to me. They happen out of the blue, when I'm taking life too seriously, and all I can do is laugh. Crying would be totally useless because I can't change them. As I said before, my one friend would say - "It can only happen to you."

Laugh, live, and love! After all, we might as well enjoy it!

Easy Recipe

Baked Ham

1 cup 7-up
1 can Pineapple pieces
Jar of Cherries (the ones for cocktails, not pies)

Mix all the juices together (including cherry juice). Glaze ham and bake according to instructions on ham. Continue pouring glaze over ham until ham is fully cooked.


When I was little, one tradition that my family participated in was going to church on Easter Saturday to bless baskets. The baskets would be overflowing with candy, colored eggs, butter, bread, salt, and polish sausage. In other words, it would really smell. I always understood the eggs, butter, bread, and salt, but I never got the polish sausage.

I loved that tradition. When my nieces and nephews were young, my sisters carried on the tradition. Sadly, I never did. Maybe because I though this was a tradition to carry on to your children, and I didn't have any. Today, I wish I had because of the memories. I wonder if my nieces and nephews are going to pass this tradition on to their children? I hope so - but they could leave out the polish sausage unless someone could explain to me why it is put in the basket. Anyone??

Sad note - I just found out that Dan Fogelberg died in 2007. Now, I have to buy his album so I can sing “Same Old Lang Syne”. I love that song. And I never got to meet him! I'm bummed!

Wishing that the Easter Bunny is good to you,
Aunt Janet

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Work, Work, and More Work

I've been working so much at my businesses and my job that I haven't had time to blog. I promise I'll get back to it tomorrow.

Free Stuff

Book a jewelry show and get a free purse plus free jewelry!
Order tasty food and get a free sample!

To book a show or order tasty food, email me at

Until tomorrow,

Aunt Janet

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Why Worry?

Worry is a misuse of imagination.
Dan Zadra

So many times we worry about things that don't really matter. We worry about our bills, our health, our children (or, in my case, lack of them). What good does the worry do? None. Does anything postive happen from worrying? No. So, why do we spend our precious time worrying?

I have to admit that I am a worrier. I worry about if I said the right or wrong thing to someone. I worry about not having the money to pay my bills. I worry about my health issues. Does it help any? No, it just creates more stress and sleepless nights. And I will get that migraine.

Lately, I've been trying to just be still, think of something else, or do something to take care of myself. It may be as simple as me repeating "God is in control", until the anxiety passes. I may read a book. I'm a romance novel lover, and they always get my mind off my problems. Or I may treat myself to an ice cream cone, or a plant for my garden. Remember, no matter how bad it is, we all deserve treats once in a while. Just be practical.

I once organized a concert night with my friends. I could get really good tickets to a band I love - REO Speedwagon. These friends and I have been to their concerts before, and I thought it would be nice to remanince about our high school days.

I had a couple of friends comment "How can you afford this?" Well, in reality I couldn't, and I started to feel guilty. Then, I had another person say "Good for you! You're finally doing something for yourself. Your money problems aren't going to go away overnight. The buildings may not sell for years. But, for gosh sake, you have to do something to treat yourself once in a while."

Boy, did I need to hear that! It is so true - we can go through life worrying, but it gets us nowhere. It can even cause more problems. You've heard "Stress is a killer." Well, from my own experience, stress does weigh down on your body - migraines, backaches, stomach problems, etc. As long as you are practical, don't go overboard, and enjoy yourself, once in a while, you do have to treat yourself.

So, have you treated yourself lately? Remember - it doesn't have to cost much, it can even be free. It's just has to be fun for you.

Go ahead - treat yourself today!

Money Making Tip

I included a poll on this blog. Do you shop on-line? I must confess that, for the past couple of years, I've done most of my Christmas shopping on-line. It saves time and money.

Why I'm asking you is this: If you shop on-line, please use my links. I make money everytime someone makes a purchase. If there's a store that you regularly shop at, and I don't have it listed, please post it as a comment, or e-mail me. I will try to get their link so you can shop directly from my blog. (Thanks to the person who shopped from Kohl's! I made $4 on your purchase.)

If you are thinking of blogging, this is a great way to make extra money. Share how your readers can help you by doing something many already do - shop on-line.

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