Archive for June, 2009

my {deep} thoughts….

June 29, 2009
interesting huh?

interesting image huh?

I was trying to come up with something to post for tonight, assuring you all that I have not dropped off the face of the earth.  Just a few days.  🙂    My husband and I went to an Art Festival and concert.  Yeah, imagine that.  I usually do not wander too far from home, but the timing was good, weather was wonderful so we went with it.  I was very proud of my husband as HE made the plans and was quite proud of the fact announcing that the entertainment was all FREE  !!!  Maybe I really AM rubbing off on him!!!  LOL.  Makes me wonder, how many people truly take advantage of all the FREE entertainment provided near them?   We are trying to do that more and more.  Even though it might be FREE to the spectators so-to-speak, generally someone has put up alot of time and money to provide it through sponsorship, so it only feels right to show appreciation by attending every now and then.  Think about that.

And this really was a nice ending to an otherwise sad week.  {sigh}  I know some was on the national level and some on the local level. It just seemed like everytime I turned around, something BAD was happening!!

1.  Ed Mc Mahon

2.  Farrah Fawcett

3.  Michael Jackson

4.  An Iowa football coach was senselessly gunned down by a former football player and killed in the midst of a weight room full of other students.

5.  A gal that was graduated from our local high school, wheel chair bound, was bludgeoned to death with a hammer by her boyfriend!!

6.  A childhood neighbor boy and former customer of mine, drown yesterday after a very brief swim in a lake to simply cool off with some friends.

What gives with all of this?  tragic, unfortunate, and some just brutally UNnecessary.  All basically within a weeks time!!!    I just felt very saddened and even my kids were wondering what on earth is going ON!!!  It is hard to make sense of these things as adults, let alone kids!!

and then……..

We went to church this morning.  I am guilty of feeling the need to “sleep in” more often than I care to admit, but today we made it.  I will not go into detail on the message, and it WAS a good one, but I am not one to repeat words in the same manner and get the point across nearly as good as it was originally done .  See???     BUT……what I do enjoy is at the end of the service, often our minister gives us a little “work” to do in the upcoming week.  I like this ALOT, and this week I am extending it to you.

“Write  a note “.

How SIMPLE is that???  a good old fashioned note (or letter) for you overachievers!!   now, mind you , each and every morning of ours, is started with a note.  My husband leaves very early, so for the last 20+ years, and not missing ONE day, he leaves me (and now “us”) a “note”.  The kids both look forward to Dads note each morning!!!  If I were to every wake up to NO note, nothing would feel right all day long.  His notes might simply be to tell us to all have a good day and he will see us when he gets home.  It might be much longer.  Telling us something he forgot from the night before, or compliment one of us for a nice weekend / evening / meal  the list goes on and on.  There is alot of notes to remember in 20 years.  🙂  it is a VERY simple thing, but one we would be lost without.

I, of course, do the same.  I leave him a “note” each and every single night, and it is waiting on TOP of his coffee cup in the morning.  🙂    I remind him what the temp is going to be, remind him what “plans” we have for the following day, and that we will be waiting for him when he gets home.  SIMPLE.

Hence the image,  in case you were wondering.  A hand written well thought out note,  presented to the recipient can be just as heart warming as a great big hug!!!  and we all know how good those feel!!!

I am not counting this tradition of ours as my homework for the week.  We do it regardless on a daily basis to each other.   We are all looking for someone else to acknowldege.  Not sure who mine is going to be, and I may easily do more than one, but I know somewhere in the weeks time, the right idea will fall into place.

PLEASE write one this week.  Husband / kids / co-worker / paperboy / whatever.  Commend a job well done, and do it in good old fashioned writing.  Make the effort.  You can spend an hour doing it, or you can do it within 5 minutes, but please do it.  It will mean more than you can ever imagine, bringing a smile to someones face as they read the words.  Trust me, this will happen.  It will put the bounce in their step and might be just the thing they need.  You just never know.

Seems like a small act of kindness considering all the sadness in the world.  All accomplished with a few short written words.

I would love feedback (as always) but even without any, I know the small effort will IS taking place.


{FINALLY!!!} “Simply Fantastic” all purpose cleaner…

June 25, 2009




Finally, the recipe is ready to REVEAL  !!!  yeah   !!!!!  I know alot of you are waiting very patiently.  I had to tweak it a little after the initial use , and since  having my cleaning {sister} give it a good trial run, we unanimously agreed, it is “Simply Fantastic”  !!!!

Disclaimer:  before I get flamed for any misrepresentation.   I am not claiming for this to be ALL natural, nor organic, nor toxic free.  BUT.  In comparison of the common and ALSO extremely pricey items with a million different scents and additives etc etc etc that are lining all the shelves at the local grocer and discount store, this is a darn good alternative!!!!   it is one I am using, and I am sure you will AGREE, it is very price effective and UTMOST simple!!!!!!!!  and most importantly….does it work FANTASTICALLY  ???  oh, of COURSE it does.  I know you will love it.

Simply Fantastic:

3 Tbsp distilled white vinegar

2 tsp Borax   (perfect to use leftover from Simply Wonderful laundry soap)  !!!   🙂

2 Tbsp Original (blue) Dawn dish soap

1 cup hot water

2 Tbsp Isopropyl alcohol

Pour vinegar, Borax and hot water into a 32 oz spray bottle.  Stir around to dissolve, and add Dawn.  Add alcohol and top off spray bottle with cool tap water. {and of course, I had to dress mine up with the “official”name.  lol

It is THAT easy. (oops)  Simple.   🙂

As of now, I will probably keep my window cleaner.  I am working on that next.  But for now, this will replace all my other pine / lemon / whatever all purpose cleaners.  I am hap hap HAPPY to see the bottom of my sink looking VERY streamlined.  I will donate all my leftover “stuff” to the local animal shelter, or Crisis Intervention.  Two very worthwhile organizations that are more than willing to take donations of any kind.

This cleaner MIGHT require a trip to the store to get whatever ingredients you do NOT have in your home already, but trust me, it IS worth it, and think of how long you will be NOT going to the store for cleaners from now on.  !!!!!!!!  yeah!!!!

I would love to hear FEEDBACK.  My ideas are only as successful as the wonderful ways it works in YOUR home as well as mine.

and as always , refer your friends to    🙂


(oh yeah, gotta notice the Cherry Limeade items in the background of the second image???   we can not make them fast enough around here!!!  definitely refreshing!!!!)

we have ANOTHER winner….

June 25, 2009
(sorry for the shadow)  ...

(sorry for the shadow) ...

…and the winner from the Fathers Day post, is  JEAN McCORMICK  !!!!!!!!     a beautiful Simply Altered pendant will be headed your way as soon as you can send me your snail mail info.

Please send it to my e mail address.

Thanks so much for all the comments from everyone!!!  I sure enjoyed reading all the different stories and as always, THANKS for your input and support!!!


HOT & HUMID!!!!!!

June 23, 2009
my newest ATC

my newest ATC

I thought….. considering there was a HEAT advisory issued for out part of Iowa, this adorable little ATC that I made was an appropriate image for an update.  🙂    actually I think it is too hot for ice cream, a pool or any outdoor activity!!!   stay in the house and uhhhh, maybe declutter???  that is what I feel like doing.

My son is SO sunburnt from many hours he spends at the local pool.

My daughter thinks the kitchen at Wendys has to be atleast 200 degrees.

and my poor husband works all day long in the sweltering heat, only to come home and go mow one of the 10 yards he takes care of!!!  he is a glutton for punishment, but he LOVES  every minute of it.

The kids and I have been enjoying MANY Cherry Limeades in the last few days and now their friends are even hooked!!  🙂    and I am flattered.

Reminder that I will be drawing on Wednesday from the Fathers Day update.  Add your memories before you miss out.  🙂

and next up???  hmmmmm…..might just have to be an ALL PURPOSE cleaner that has been tested over and over in our house.  Gotta make sure it is “just right” before I let the recipe leak out to anyone.  You are going to like it.

Maybe THAT is motivation for you to get busy CLEANING the inside of your (hopefully cool) house in this hot weather…..use up all the “commercial” and over priced stuff before I update again.

Yes, I think that is a very good idea


June 21, 2009
the mold has been broken...

the mold has been broken...

“My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it”   (Clarence B Kelland)

…..not even sure where to begin on this one.  I usually do not have a hard time with words, written or spoken, but this one is not coming to me real easy for some reason.  Maybe because no words could adequately describe a man of such greatness???  that is it.

I am the last one of 5 GIRLS  !!!  can you imagine??  I was the one everyone assumed might finally be “Jerrys boy”  I even had a boy name ready to go.  “Kent” was going to be my name, to go right along with our tradition, once you have your first born, every child after that has to begin with the same letter.  Kathy, Karla, Kim, Kris, and Kent, Kelli.    🙂   Little did everyone know, my dad was MORE than 100% delighted with all his GIRLS!!!  he was a king in his castle, in every sense of the word!!!!   we all ADORED him!!!

My sisters all proudly followed him in the family trucking business, but myself, the baby of the family, had no intentions of doing that.  My dad embraced my dreams, for me, and with me.   He found that having a hairstylist in the family was very convenient.  How many times I cut his hair (no appointment necessary)  and his haircuts were “free”  (???)  which always meant slipping me a very big bill when he was done, “as a tip”    🙂

Growing up, I guess if I had to remember only  ONE thing, it would be that between 5 girls, he was asked alot of questions, and NEVER one time, did he not have an answer.  Might not have  been an accurate one, or an honest one, but there was NEVER a time that he said “I don’t know”.  NEVER.   He was an over the road truck driver early on in life, so vacations answering 5 girls of “how many more miles?”  he could tell us.  It could have been 200 miles off, but it was his answer, so we took it as gospel.  Later in life, he owned the business, and withOUT computers, cell phones, and all modern technology, he could tell you at any time, where each of his many drivers were, and even find them in the nearest truck stop if he needed to.  I am sure if there WERE computers, he would have refused.  He needed nothing more than a sharp mind, an impeccable business sense and a piece of scratch paper….and his quick wit made him “Daddy” to all his drivers as well.   He may not have been a man of many words, but when he spoke, you listened.

He was also a quiet presence in our home.  When things were going wrong, he most often remained silent.  He did not NEED to say anything.  You were well aware if he was disappointed, so there was no need for him to remind you, much less reprimand you.   Maybe my parents were just getting tired in their age and after raising 4 girls before me, but I can honestly say, I do not ever recall them raising their voices.  If there were any issues to address, the less they said, the better message it sent.  I have to remind myself of this often.  I tend to do the opposite and say TOO much!!   My dad (and mom) always had an unbelievably  quiet confidence that,  in the end, “everything would be fine”.  ….and it always was.

Had we known more about “Not sweating the small stuff” it would have been my dads motto.  If you don’t sweat the small stuff, it rarely turns into “big stuff” .  Very true in my family.

and I had given thought to cropping my mother out of the picture since this is for Fathers Day, but I did not have the heart to do so.  As the saying goes, “behind every successful man is a strong woman”  (something like that)  and this is a perfect example.  She was an ANGEL on earth!!!!!!!  I wish I would have had this idea for Mothers Day, but I did not.  Maybe next year, as I have ALOT to say about my mom.  God bless both their souls.

I lost them WAY too young.  My mom was 62 and my Daddy was 60.  That put me in my early 30’s, and beginning to be a parent myself, and seeing their qualities in a completely different light.  I could only HOPE to be the kid of parents they were.  I do try though.   🙂

Enjoy Fathers Day with your own dad if you are still blessed with having one around.  Remember your father is he is gone.  And take a deep look at the father of your children.  Time is too short not to savor each and every day with them.

Add your comments, and your stories to mine , for all to enjoy.  There are others posted in the Homemade Firestarters section , if you would like to go back and read.   I appreciate everyones input and I will be doing a random drawing on Wednesday from them.

pure refressshment!!!!!

June 19, 2009
sorry Iced Coffee, we have found a NEW love...

sorry Iced Coffee, we have found a NEW love...

O   M   G   !!!!!!!!   this MIGHT be “to die for” refreshment.  (makes my husband NUTS when I say that)  but I am telling you, it is YUMMY  !!!!!!   my daughter went to  Ottumwa last night to the movies and I had her bring me back a Sonic Cherry Limeade !!!!!!!!   they are THAT good!!!   then we all put our heads together and did our research trying to find the right recipe and make it BETTER to create them on our own.


1.  We want to SAVE money, and have the ease of doing them at home at our convenience

2.  The closest Sonic is 30 minutes away and I can only go to Ottumwa so many times in a week!!!   😮    people will start getting suspicious of what the heck I need to go there all the time for, and I can HARDLY justify the GAS money just for a beverage!!  haha

3. And of course, it makes a perfect blog post for the HOT HOT (and humid) 90 degree day we had today!!!

ok.  Here goes:

fill a tall glass 2/3 full of ice (of course, we use crushed)  to get the full effect.  🙂

add 2 Tbsp Grenadine

add the juice of 1/2 lime (squeeze really well)  and add the actual lime TO the drink.

Top off with COLD Sprite  (we used Sprite Zero)

Stir well

It will fizz really good, and make you EXTRA thirsty!!    You can even HEAR it bubbling!!!

My son and I just came home from a late night walk with our poodle and tried one out.   Then we had to make ANOTHER one!!!   and I will do a third one when my daughter gets off work.  She will be impressed as we have all come to LOVE these!!!!!!!!!

The perfect summertime drink.  (and now on the cheap!!!)   yeah!!

Try one, and be SURE to let me know how much you love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

our Fathers Day idea…..

June 18, 2009
what man wouldn't be thrilled with this handmade gift?

what man wouldn't be thrilled with this handmade gift? (click to enlarge)

Thought a reminder that Fathers Day is this coming Sunday and if you ARE planning on doing the handmade fire starters, you need to get busy!!!!

I made these a few days ago, using NOTHING but items I had on hand as well as alot of  dryer lint that was headed for the garbage!!!   I had been collecting paper towel tubes, and since I do try to keep out paper towel consumption to a minimum, I had to also recruit my mother in law to save me hers as well.  She always comes through for me.  I am certainly blessed with a WONDERFUL mother in law!!!

If you can not remember the instructions, refer back to the archived posts to “Homemade Fire Starters”  and you will find the info  you need there.

Add a cute tag, let  the kids write on it  (I could not do that as my TEENAGERS were “out” with friends when I came to that part!!!)   and I needed to get the pic taken.

I did take this image by our fireplace in our house (actually now in my SALON!!)  yeah!!!  I love it.    BUT……knowing that too much paper can clog a flue, I am NOT recommending this for indoor fireplaces, only outdoor ones, or a campsite.


I will be adding a small (ok, maybe big) tribute to the #1 father EVER!!!  my  OWN dad!!!  He was so wonderful beyond words, but I am going to try.   I want to hear the #1 memory from YOUR dad as well, so get your memory ready, there will also be a random drawing involved with all comments left on that post.   🙂   I would say it is high time for another give-away, wouldn’t you agree???

Until then


my store is OPEN for business!!!!

June 16, 2009
this is definitely MY idea of shopping!!!!

this is definitely MY idea of shopping!!!!

It only took me about 3 hours to FINALLY get 7 or so items listed, but it is up and running!!!  I was even able to CUSTOMIZE it  !!!!  I know, I am really going all out huh??    LOL.

Please take a look / see, and most of all, the BEST thing you can do is REFER YOUR FRIENDS!!!!  it is a great way to patronize artisans from all across the world!!  (and of course, little me in small town Iowa!!!)    haha.     It really IS an amazing site and a wonderful way to get one of a kind items!!!!!   so many fun things to see, I think I will go back and browse a little myself!!

ok.  (pay attention)  the details of how to FIND my store:

go to        did you notice I had to do things kind of “backwards” ????   yep, altered, THEN simply, all one word.   Someone already had my name the correct way!!   {darn}  so, this was as close as I could get.      Everything else is always simply altered, EXCEPT this.  Go figure.

There ought to be 7 different listings as of now, but many more will follow.

Grab a glass of “ALTERED CAFFEINE” and go shoppping!!!!   🙂   all without ever leaving the comforts of your own home.  How sweet is THAT?????

“Altered Caffeine” is here !!!!!!!

June 15, 2009

our "frugal" version

our "frugal" version

My husband gets the credit for this creation, and my daughter for the nice image.    🙂   she was very proud of the coffee scoop tilted “just so”    LOL.

After becoming hooked on this delicious fast food drink, but spending nearly $3 per order, Glenn KNEW he could make them just the same!!   after much trial and error, he nailed it perfectly, and only PENNIES per glass!!!    We usually drink them through a straw to really get the full effect, but for the blog, it is straight from a 12 oz glass.

“Altered Caffeine”

make any amount you need of DOUBLE strength coffee (maybe even a little OVER double strength)  then COMPLETELY cool it.

fill a 12 oz glass full of ice


2 Tbsp DaVinci vanilla syrup   ( we tried caramel , but did NOT like it) you may also need to adjust this for sweetness preference, but 2 Tbsp is a good place to start.

1/4 cup ORIGINAL Coffee-Mate liquid

Top with the COOLED double strength coffee.

Pure refreshment on a hot summer day.  !!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to emphasize this is all done from a 12 oz cup full of ice and you may need to adjust ingredients for personal preference, but this is as close as you can get to the Drive-Thru version.  🙂     Glenn was spending $3 each day on the way to work, and now we have a pot of the double strength coffee on our counter, and each morning, he makes his OWN and takes it in his to-go cup.  Can you imagine the money savings on this?????     makes me smile.  🙂

Additonal notes:

I have to laugh, my son is mowing the yard today and stopped the mower RIGHT next to my computer room window.  “Mom, you ought to take a picture of ME mowing for the blog”  !!!!  too funny!!!  they are as “into” this blog deal as I am, and are SURE everything they do is definitely blog worthy!!!   (and of course, it IS!!!)    but in the meantime, my daughter was ready for the photo shoot of the Altered Caffeine!!!

Also, I am deep in the process of setting up an Etsy shop.   I am still trying to figure it all out, but as soon as the Etsy shop is up and running, I will let you all know, you can invite your friends and do some shopping!!! of course, those not familiar with Etsy, it is all handmade items by artisans from all over.  Just my style!!!     🙂

Please let me know how you like this post, some will like it more than others of course, and as always forward it on to friends that also enjoy Iced Coffee…….. but now, for a FRACTION of the cost!!!   yeah!!!!!

another year behind me….

June 14, 2009
taking lots of special orders.....

taking lots of special orders.....

the magnets were a HUGE hit!!  especially with all the kids!!!

the magnets were a HUGE hit!! especially with all the kids!!!

dedication of the Iowa Building!!!   UNbelievable!!!

dedication of the Iowa Building!!! UNbelievable!!! (click to enlarge)

I am not even sure I will see the light of day tomorrow!!!  yes, I am THAT tired!!!   There was no rain and hardly any wind, {yeah!!} but there was also no sun!!    😦     {darn}, I guess I can only ask for SO much!!!!

But what there WAS???  lots and lots of familiar faces, familiar names from blog readers, friends I had not seen for a long time, as well as my friends and family I see on nearly a daily basis.  All was good.  (did I mention how TIRED all this socializing makes me though???)  LOL.

Besides all these things, the highlight of the day was the dedication of the Iowa Building.  For those of you from out of town, it is WELL worth a visit to Oskaloosa just to see what this is all about!!!!!!  It is a long,  LONG time coming, but the cornerstone of our downtown looks like nothing I have ever seen, and I am a lifetime resident!!!  it is certainly something to be most proud of.  Some communities only dream of this type of renovation and  it is reality for Oskaloosa residents now.  May this set a precedence for many other projects to come!!!

I have been everything but “threatened” to let go of my “Altered Caffeine” recipe in my next post!!!  haha..   ……and as tired as I am, I think I will go make some now.    🙂   the recipe IS next up, but it require a visit to Hy-Vee tomorrow, but what the heck, after the popularity on laundry soap today…..I am also out of Fels Naptha!!!!  yikes.

Thanks again, to all who stopped by to see me today!!!!