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Saturday, June 2, 2018

All Pollinating Bees Welcome

Many people do not like bees but to a gardener bees are useful workers that are often welcome. Bees are natural pollinators and if there were not bees there would be much less flowers, fruits and vegetables.

What attracts bees:
Nectar--- energy to a bee. Nectar is loaded with sugars and is a vital part of a bees diet
Pollen --- pollen is found in plants naturally and is protein and fat to a bee. The bee needs pollen to have a balanced life

Welcome bees into your garden, they will help increase pollination and give you more flowers.

The more variety of flowers in your garden the more a bee wants to visit. The more types of plants offers bees and butterflies more pollen and nectar. Choosing plants that will last the entire growing season is a great idea as well.

The more colorful your choice of plants and flowers are the more they will attract bees. Bees have great colour vision and love plants that are blue, purple, violet, white and yellow.
Keeping flowers in clusters will help to attract more bees as well as make your planters and beds look great.

Choose Milk ---- Dairy Month

June has been known as Dairy month since 1939. The goal is to appeal to more families to drink milk as beverage of choice. Coffee is great in coffee, on cereal, and many other ways. The nutritional value of milk is one that can not be disagreed upon Both the U.S Department of Ag and the Department of Health and Human Services agree that milk is important part of human diets and recommend three daily servings of dairy foods like milk and cheese.-

Dairy helps provide many nutrients including calcium, potassium and vitamin D. Nutrients in milk can help prevent heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. Strong bones and teeth are also helped out by dairy products. Each meal should have at least one dairy product included.

While there are many alternative milk products on the market cow's milk offers superior nutrient over the rest. Soy, almond, rice or coconut take your choice they will not stand up to milk. Fat free cow's milk has 15 fewer calories per glass, 70% more potassium and nearly double the amount of protein as the other calcium fortified beverages. Price is something else to look at milk is nearly 1/2 the price f alternative drinks. In addition, organic and regular dairy foods contain the same essential nutrients key to a healthy and balanced diet. For those that are lactose sensitive should giv lactose reduced or lactose free products a try.

Summer Time Healthy Snacks

Schools out for summer!!! This is something that our grand-kids have looked forward to for a while. One issue that often occurs is the snack attack. Yes, you heard me right, summer time is full of snack attacks. If not prepared this can lead to snacks that are not good.

To prepare for snack attacks skip the store bought snacks and grab a whole food or a homemade snack instead.Avoiding those store bought snacks is the issue. Grabbing  a whole food or homemade snack is the kiey. Here are some tips to do just that.

  • At our house we have a drawer for snacks that can be placed on the shelf, a tub in the fridge and a space in the freezer for in between snacks. Good and healthy snacks are easier to select and grab when they are easy to reach. Some ideas include: dry cereal, cheese pieces, fruit, healthy baked goods, crackers, raisins, homemade popsicles .....
  • Fresh fruit will normally be found at our house. The kids and I love fruit and if it is not found in the fridge then look on the table. 
  • Make up some homemade goldfish crackers

1 cup Flour
4 Tbls Butter , cut into small pieces
8 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese , grated
3/4 tsp Salt
2 Tbls cold water

Pulse flour, butter, cheese, and salt together in the food processor until it resembles coarse sand.
Pulse in water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minute.
Roll out dough, and cut into desired shape. You can use a toothpick to make the eyes and smile if desired. Place on lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until crispy.
Recipe from In Katrina's Kitchen

  • Another good snack is tortilla chips and salsa. 

1.5 pounds of roma tomatoes
1 small onion
1 small green pepper
3 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Chop your tomatoes up into small pieces. Put your tomatoes in your food processor and pulse 8 times. Depending on the size of your food processor you might have to do this in 2 batches. Transfer to a bowl once processed. Chop up your green pepper and onion with knife. Add your green pepper, onion and all seasonings to the tomatoes in bowl. Stir so all ingredients are combined evenly.
This makes 32 ounces of salsa. (recipe source here)

  • When its hot outside something cold often taste great. Frozen bite size pieces of fruit when placed on a toothpick are a treat that will please. Some of the best fruits to use include grapes, bananas and oranges. 

I would love for you to share your favorite summer time snack in comments. Have any thoughts on what I shared, I would love to hear that as well.

Happy Snacking

shared this seasonal blog post at these blog hops, linkups and parties
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Happy Belated Birthday

Born the first day of June 1926 was a man known as Andy Griffith. He was born in Mount Airy to Carl and Geneva Griffith. Griffiths father was a carpenter and at around the age of the 3 purchased a house for the family. During high school Andy often was activ performing and playing music. He was mentored by a priest at Grace Moravian Church who helped Andy nurture his skills til graduation in 1944. Perhaps it was the manner of his mentor that convinced Griffith to leave the persuit of being a Moravian preacher and pursue music.

Andy Griffith lived a good long life passing on July 3rd 2012 at the ripe age of 86. Andy was married a few different times during his life. Griffith also fathered two children Andy Griffith Jr. and Dixie Griffith. He had worked as an actor, television producer, writer and a singer. I for one have enjoyed his work, you can still catch reruns of the Andy Griffith show

Friday, June 1, 2018

History Wrapped Around a Donut

One of the "holiest" days of the year has arrived. June 1st National Donut Day is one of the sweetest days and if you are lucky enough you may find a free donut as well.

You may be wondering where all this sweetness got started. The truth is doughnut day started with the Salvation Army in 1917. All these years later we still celebrate donut day on the first Friday in June, this year it happens to fall on the first day of June. Doughnut day helps us have a sweet celebration an recall the days of the ladies of the Salvation Army that served donuts to the soldiers during WWI

The "Salvation Army Doughnut" and the ladies that served them traveled to Europe to keep the moral of the boys up by offering them a donut. Doughnuts were often cooked inside the heavy metal helmets that the American soldiers wore. This may be the reason that American infantrymen were often called "doughboys"

National Doughnut Day was created by the Salvation Army as well in 1938. This time it was to honor the women who served the doughnuts to the soldiers. The first donut day was a fund raiser for Chicago's Salvation Army , the goal was to help the needy during the great Depression.

Were you able to score a free donut today??

Take Your Kids Fishing

A few things to get your child started on their hobby of fishing would include: 

Accidents are bound to happen in life but fishing accidents may be avoided if you play the game right. What game?? Safety game, the game is played best when you stay on side of caution. One main thing to do is to help watch over children at all times, the second rule would be is set an example that your child can learn from. A few other rules includ:

  • children always fishing with adults
  • if you fish on the water in a boat life jackets should always be worn
  • If a storm should happen shelter should be found. Thunder is a good sign to get away from water
  • Children's eyes and skin should be protected on sunny days. Sun will reflect off of water surface making it easy to get a sunburn or eye damage. For these reasons be sure to wear protective which includes: hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses
  • teach children about hook safety not letting their hook get near anyone and to look around before anyone cast Barbless hooks or pinch down the barbs on your own hooks

Anglers pledge to:

Have a valid fishing license for all members of your party.
Understand and follow state and lake-specific regulations. Compliance to regulations directly plays a role in sustaining a healthy recreational fishery and benefits fishing for the future.
Strive to keep the watershed clean and minimize the impact you may have when fishing. Avoid degrading stream and lake banks and properly dispose of debris and trash, including monofilament line.
Respect property and share waters respectfully with others.
Avoid the introduction of aquatic nuisance species to protect the integrity of Illinois lakes and streams. Prevent the transport of unwanted plants, fish, and other aquatic animals by thoroughly cleaning all recreational equipment and disposing of live bait in the trash.
Practice best handling guidelines for catch-and-release fishing. Fish should be released with minimal harm help ensure post-release survival and promote healthy fish populations.
Keep no more fish than needed for consumption.
Take care when anchoring to minimize damage to the aquatic environment. Be aware that there may be nesting fish close to the shore during the spawning season.
Preserve the sport fishing tradition by sharing knowledge, skills, techniques, and ethics. Help others to understand sound fisheries conservation practices

resources used include
fishing in Illinois

Strawberry Peach Pie #Recipe

1 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
4 Cups sliced fresh peaches (3 to 4 large)
2 Cups sliced fresh strawberries (1 pint)
2 tsp lemon juice
Milk, enough for brushing on
2 Tbsp blanched almonds
2 tsp sugar

Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Stir in peaches and strawberries, squeezing lemon juice over before tossing.
Spoon filling into prepared pie crust, then top with second crust.
Brush top crust lightly with milk and top with almonds and sugar.
Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

recipe resource here

Looking for a fun way to serve drinks in the heat of the summer?? An ice cold drink may do the job to keep us cool but a drink with cool ice cubes will provide fun as well. It can also be a fun time to get kids in the kitchen as well. Funky Time created and shared a great way to have a bit of fun and drink as well. The refreshing drink with gummy bear ice cubes offers you a little snack when the ice cubes melt.

Ice cube trays
Gummy bears (or turtles, or fish, or any kind of gummy candy you prefer)
The Recipe:

Place your gummy candies into the ice cube trays – one per cube.
Fill your ice cube trays with water and place into the freezer.
Once the cubes have frozen solid, toss into your favorite summer beverage. That’s it!
This summer, keep your kids engaged and trying new things with these awesome candy creations. Even if you’re only cooking something once in a while, you’ll be making fun memories that your children are sure to cherish for years to come – and you’ll get a something sweet to eat, too!

recipe resource here

Farmer Market

For those of us who never quite get a garden in the ground, want to see what others are growing or simply are doing a bit of grocery shopping I have great news for you. The Farmers Market is open!!!!

The farmers market where those that have to sell go to sell and those that want to buy go to buy. What is it that they are selling and buying?? How about fresh fruit and veggies, meat from the farm, crafts, baked goods and much more. In the case that you was not able to put your garden in the yard this year the farmers market is the next best thing. Have you visited a farmers market before?? Do you know where there is a farmers market located close to you?? Search here 

Most farmer markets will only take cash. Some vendors may accept credit cards or EBT as well. Limit yourself to how much you want to spend, take only that amount. If you want best selection at the market know what times and days the farmer market is. Being early may allow you to choose the best. In the same manner, if you are looking for a bargain shop later in the day, prior to the market closes. 

One of the favorite finds here at our local farmers market is fresh honey straight from the hive. First thing I do when visiting my farmer market is to do a bit of scouting. Take a minute to take a walk around your farmer market, see what all they have to offer, what is available and who has the better choice and price. 

Prepare to go to the market. Will you be traveling or is it just a walk away for you?? A cooler is something you may consider taking with you. You can keep the fruit and veggies cool and fresh Vendors do not alway bring enough bags so that may be on your short list of items to bring as well. Lets see the top 3 things to bring with you to the farmers market

  • cash
  • cooler
  • extra bags
Vendors at farmer markets normally know everything about the products he or she sells. Ask questions , what is it that you want to know?? They should be able to tell you how it was grown, how long it can be stored and great ways to use the fresh items you purchase. 

If you know of a great farmer market in your area share it with your friends. Sharing all about the great farmer market, new foods that can be found there, and what products are available will help the market grow. Many of the vendors at the farmer market are just that farmers or home gardeners. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Protect your ears

This morning as I was taking the children to school we saw a man on a riding lawn-mower. He was mowing his yard with head phones on. One of the younger children inquired about what he might be listening to. I told them I was not so sure it was for music but most likely was to help him protect his hears from the loud noise. Hearing is vitally important and we should do what we can to protect it.

picture source here
There are many reasons that hearing loss may occur. Reasons from health, genetic, and environmental causes. Environmental reasons may be caused by repeated long term exposure to loud, high decibel noises that leads to hearing loss. The last reason can often be avoided. Today, is Save Your Hearing Day and also a great opportunity to share with those you love and learn a bit for yourself about how to avoid hearing loss.

May 31st is the anniversary of a special concert played in England. It was the Who and they played at the Charlton Athletic Grounds in 1976. The concert would and is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the loudest rock band ever. The concert noise was measured at 76,000 watts and 120 decibels.

There are a few ways that you can help protect your hearing.

  • Protect your ears from excessive noise exposure. Reducing exposure to extremely loud noise if possible will help drastically reduce hearing loss. Some examples include gunfire, power tools, jet engines, explosives, rock concert, and large sporting events
  • When you can not avoid loud noises then the next best thing to do is to wear earplugs, earmuffs or something else to protect your ears. The tiny hair cells in the inner ear are sensitive to loud noises and if those hair cells are damaged a permanent hear loss can occur
  • Household appliances and sounds that we are exposed to daily may be too loud. Blenders, hair dryers, food processors, vacuum cleaners and even children's toys are items that we should examine and check for decibel levels before we purchase
  • Never clean your ears by sticking foreign objects into your ear. This may lead to ear infection and / or injury to the ear. Physical injury to your ear may result in hearing loss. 
  • Ear infections known as Otitis media are located in the middle ear. This is more common in children but can occur in adulthood as well. Frequent ear infections can lead to permanent hearing loss Leaving an ear infection left untreated for extended time can damage the ear further. If an ear infection is present see a doctor for treatment a.s.a.p
  • antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy and aspirin can also affect the ears. The medications listed are known as ototoxic medications and are toxic to the ear. Is there an alternative medication that can be used. 
  • Smoking tobacco has been linked to hearing loss. Secondhand smoke is included.

shared at,
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018


This week I will transfer shifts and join the midnoc shift at work. There are great differences in the shifts the biggest being that I will be working at night when most are sleeping rather than day time when most are active and alert. This brought thoughts of late day gardens to mind and one flower that entered my thoughts was the Moonflower.

Many enjoy their garden area after a hard day of work. One way to do this is to add the fragrance of the moonflowers. The beautiful large white or purple blooms grow on a climbing vine. The amazing scent in the evening is a wondrous treat.

Moonflowers are part of the Ipomoea alba family. Other members of this family include the sweet potato vine and the morning glory. The flowers open in the afternoon and are large in size. The beauty of the flower in addition to the heart shaped leaves enhance the attractiveness of the Moonflower vine

Moonflowers can be grown in yards or patios where there is not much ground space. A trellis or other support for the vigorous vine will help the vine grow up rather than out. Moonflowers have been known to grow up to 20 feet tall. Regular watering , fertilization at 1/2 strength, will help you grow your moon flower.

***** Accidental poisoning can occur if small children ingest the seeds of this plant as Moonflowers contain lysergic acid. ****

All about Composting

Composting is a great example and opportunity to "Go Green" Composting is an easy way to help the environment and make you feel good as well. Everyone can compost it is simple way to recycle many things from garden and yard scraps, leftovers, papers, untreated wood and cardboard. Compost can help the plants in our yard by feeding them, keeping weeds down and helping to retain soil moisture. Don't have a yard why not offer it to someone who does.

There are a few different ways that composting can be done. Starting a simple compost pile in your backyard is one way. Another way would be to start a compost bin or barrel. Using indoor compost pail can help as well.

Good gardens are rich in organic materials. Plants consume nutrients that are present in the soil. Over time these nutrients need need to be replaced for future crops. Adding rich garden compost is a great way to do just that. There are 5 main steps to successful composting

  • The right mix of materials containing Nitrogen (Greens) and Carbon(Browns). See What to Compost
  • Micro-organisms - microbes and bacterias that break down materials
  • Air need for microorganisms to thrive
  • Moisture - needed by microorgaisms
  • Temperature - A cold pile doesn't decompose

Materials such as kitchen scraps (no meat, grease or fats), weeds that have been pulled, grass clippings, leaves, straw, wood chips, branches and stems (cut up to make composting speedier) , dead flower and garden plants following the season.

 you are not using a composter or a compost tumbler, select an area near your garden, to create your compost pile. When I was a kid , my parents would have a spot in the garden to compost in. Organic matter from the garden and yard are great for composting. We would rake the leaves each fall and place the leaves right on the pile. Things that may be considered trash such as vegetable and plant waste, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and any spoiled veggies or fruits are perfect for composting as well.

I hope this post has helped you understand composting. When I was a kid we never called it this but I realize now that is exactly what we were doing

Happy Gardening

Many Uses of Paper Clips

May 29th is the day that the paperclip, loved by office workers every where, is honored. The piece of curved wire that keeps papers together and helps keep the office organized is being offered its day of honor. 

The early office museum finds that Samuel B. Fay from the U.S. was the first to patent the "bent wire paper clip" in 1867. There are reports that the paperclip may have been used prior to this date as well. Fay created the clip to attach tickets to fabric. Prior to 1899 there were as many as 50 other similar designed products patented. Erlman J. Wright patented a clip to be used for advertising and fastening newspapers in 1877. 

The Gem paperclip from Britain in the 1870s was created by The Gem Manufacturing Company. The product was never patented but is still in use today. In the late 1800s and early 1900s the Gem paperclip was brought to America where a registered trademark of "Gem" was created. The paper clips of today come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Paperclips can help dress up your paperwork making it more fun and lively. There are many things that can be done using paperclips a few include: 

Replace a zipper tab
Unclog a spray bottle
Unclog a single serve coffee maker
Hem holder
Emergency hooks for broken necklaces
The Paper Clip Project

The paper clip has even been useful in wars. It was during W.W. II that the small office supply provided a visual method of protest. Norwegians were persistent in the development of symbols. The paperclip represented "sticking together" against the Nazis. The paperclip would  be worn to outwardly send a signal When it was noticed by the Nazis the practice was banned. 

In 1998 middle school children and a language arts teacher as well as an associate principle would begin a project known as the Holocaust Education Class. The class was voluntary after school class that was created to help build a foundation of tolerance and diversity.  The story of the Norwegians had inspired the students. It was decided that a paper clip collection would begin and six million clips were collected.Each paper clip represented one Jew that perished during the Holocaust. The class and collection became known as The Paper Clip Project. Find more information at

Lets think about this for a minute?? I know there are a few things that all paper clips have in common

Here are a few great ideas that I found on a search of the great www.

Need an easy way to hang decorative plates?? How about using a rubber band and 4 paper clips.

are you a bit artistic?? Paper clips can be made into many different types of jewelry

Don't you hate it when you loose a button and don't have a safety pin?? Next time be creative and use a paper clip easy enough to do

these ideas and others can be located here

How Do You Eat Your Burger

Today, May 29th is the day to celebrate one of America's favorite sandwich. The hamburger is the unofficial sandwich for events such as the Memorial Day cookout or the Fourth of July picnic. Hamburgers are American by origin. Americans have been eating hamburgers since the 19th or 20th century The one thing to know for sure is that the flavor the of the All American hamburger is one to be savored.

Whether you like your hamburger grilled on an outdoor grill, fried in a pan inside keeping cool and away from the heat and bugs. Top your burger with your favorite fixings:

  • cheese
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • pickles
  • onions
  • bacon
  • ketchup
  • mustard
What's your favorite topping?? 

Did you know::
The World's largest burger was created on September 2, 2012 at the Black Bear Casino Resort in Carlton Minnesota The burger weighed in at 2014 lbs. and would make up around 8,056 1/4 lbs sandwich 

History of Hamburgers

Thousands of years ago it was the ancient Egyptians who enjoyed eating ground meat. The traditional food went down through history. Ground meat has been enjoyed in many different forms including patties. 

The emperor of all emperors Genghis Khan and his army of Mongol horsemen battled and conquered many parts of the ancient world. The Mongols traveled fast and rode sturdy ponies. There were days when they would not dismount and had little opportunity to enjoy a meal. Behind the mounted soldiers were villagers who pulled large carts that carried sheep, goats, oxen and horses. This in turn led to ground meat and speedy meals. Ground meat would be made into patties that the horsemen would carry under their saddles and eaten raw. 

The traditional food of the time would be carried down by those who were battling. Genghis Khan's grandson would carry this tradition when they invaded Moscow. The Russians would adopt the cuisine and name it after the Mongols that they called "Tartars" The ground meat patties would be known as "Steak Tartare" This dish would travel through history and be developed into a fine dish that also included onions and eggs.

The Russian steak tartare would eventually travel back to Germany. The German port of Hamburg had previously created minced beef into delicious delicacies that were shared throughout Europe. The steak tartare would become known as Hamburg steak. Step ahead in time when the largest ports in Europe were in Germany and ships would travel to America. Sailors would help spread the Hamburg steak as they ate the sandwich at the ports in Hamburg. The eating stands in New York city harbor would offer sailors "steak cooked in the Hamburg style" 

German speaking immigrants to the United States would bring with them their favorite foods. The hamburg steak made the list of favorites that would be shared in America. The beef was shredded and low grade that contained spices and was cooked but it was also enjoyed raw. The seaport town of Hamburg would gain the name of Hamburg Steak stand.  

German immigrants would also travel to England in the mid 17th century. A recipe titled "Hamburgh Sausage" was found in a 1758 cookbook in England The recipe called for chopped beef, suet and spices. The recommendation of eating the sausage on toasted bread was also offered. By the mid 18th century the Boston Cooking School cook book had a recipe for broiled meat cakes as well as Hamburgh steak. 
  • To make broiled meat cakes take chop lean, raw beef and season with salt , pepper and chopped onion. Make the mix into small flat cakes , broil on gridiron or on hot frying pan. Serve hot with butter
  • hamburgh steak was made by pounding a slice of round steak. Fry a couple of onions that had been minced. Spread onions over the meat, fold ends of the meat together and pound again. Broil 2-3 minutes Spread with butter season with salt and pepper. 

During the early 1900s Upton Sinclair would author the book The Jungle. The book would tell the stories of the Chicago meat packing plants and the horrors found there. Chopped meat seemed to earn a distrust in the U.S. It would be a while before the Hamburger would be developed and then many would take the credit for creating it. Read the rest of the story here