WHEN YOU HAVE A BLOG — YOU MAY WANT TO TRAVEL

When you have a blog, you most certainly may want to take it on the road.

I am in the middle of a cross country trip right now.  Eleanor (90 years young) and I left Florida this past Tuesday and are now in Salina, KS.

Neither Eleanor or I really planned this trip, nor was it well organized.  She decided she wanted to be closer to her granddaughter in Oregon.  So, here we are on the road traveling west.

She has been my “side hustle” for about three years.

Nick Lopez, owner of Side Hustle Nation,   http://www.sidehustlenation.com/blog/ does a fantastic job introducing bloggers and others to the fine art of “side hustles”.

It is crazy to work two and sometimes three jobs, just to make ends meet.  Don’t you agree?

It took me a couple of years to get the hang of reading blogs, exploring different side hustles and finally creating my own blog.

Initially, I was intrigued with Pinterest.  The more I read, the more I learned how many people turned their interests into great blogs — that earned them a viable income.

I am not there yet, but feel that I am slowly heading in that direction.

NEWS UPDATE!

Because of the terrible forest fires in Montana, Oregon and California, Eleanor and I have relocated to North Platte, Nebraska.  I know that sounds absolutely crazy.  We have signed a year’s lease in a nice one bedroom, one bath, ground level apartment.  While trying to check out another apartment, we met the landlord, who had another apartment available.  Because Eleanor uses a walker, he agreed to install grab bars in the bathroom, build a ramp for entry to the apartment and provide us with a new refrigerator.  Best of all–he had a 5 gallon paint bucket of paint (linen white) that he was ready to apply to the walls.

We move in on Monday, 9-11-2017.  I changed the date on the lease to 9-10-2017…

It is important in life to be flexible and be willing to take risks at the same time.

How good are you at doing that?  What type of challenges have you faced recently that could put you in another place–that you liked better?

Though the above photo makes you think life is rosey, sometimes it isn’t.  This weekend Florida residents are tying up loose ends in preparation for hurricane Irma.  I asked a friend to take down all my hanging plants and put lawn furniture in my tiny travel trailer.  There is no telling what the ramifications of Irma will be for the other RVs in my park.  I will fill you in on next week’s post.

Please join me in praying for those in Irma’s path.  Thank you.

Thanks for dropping by.

3 EASY DECLUTTERING TRICKS — YOU CAN DO TODAY

3 EASY TRICKS TO START DECLUTTERING TODAY

  1. Clean up after yourself.
  2. If it brings you joy — keep it.
  3. If you want and can use it — keep it.

Take all the “other” stuff out the door!

Decluttering is not just about getting rid of things, it is about creating systems in your home that make your life simpler.

  • Clean up the kitchen before you go to bed.
  • Empty wastes baskets daily.
  • Set up a dirty clothes hamper in your closet.
  • Vacuum the whole house weekly.

Decide and commit to decluttering, while you read this post.

Sometimes decluttering is simply the process of clearing your kitchen counters.  An example is to move the salt and pepper shakers on the kitchen counter to the spice rack.  Now you have more free counter space.

Yesterday, I requested both The Nature Conservancy http://nature.org  and the National Audubon Society http://Audubon.org  to stop sending me the hard copy edition of their monthly magazines.  They gladly agreed to my request!

Declutter the easy things first.  Set a 10 minute time limit.

Please send me a note at   ksbills21@gmail.com  and let me know how decluttering is working for you.  I would love to hear from you!  😇

How does your garden grow?

That photo was taken by my friend, Margaret, of the harvest from her garden.

Book Nook

Tracie McBride, who wrote Frugal Luxuries  http://amzn.to/2en0QEA , got it right the way she pointed out the luxury of having a garden, a clothes line, and taking time to prepare a home cooked meal are frugal luxuries.

Today, it seems like we are all in a rush to dash off somewhere, without taking time to appreciate what we already have.

Please join me in giving thanks to the many people who stepped up to the plate to help others during and after Hurricane Harvey.

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

Repurpose What You Already Have At Home.

Drawer divider is now a spice rack.

When you live in a small space, sometimes a little tweaking does the trick.  I took a former drawer divider and turned it into a handy spice rack in my tiny kitchen.

I wish you could see the true color of the wall!  It is a very relaxing shade of blue (Heavenly Blue, Aura in a satin finish, http://benjaminmoore.com/official_site  by Benjamin Moore).  It has a hint of green in it.  I think that is why it is such a soothing color.  The satin finish makes it easy to wipe up splatters, plus gives the walls a soft finish.

A friend came by the other day and said how much she loved the color.  Yep, I gave her the nitty gritty too!

What can you repurpose around your house?

Today’s Tip:  Keep a bar of Irish Spring near the kitchen sink.  It helps keep your hands clean, smells nice, while keeping bugs and ants away.  Try it!

Attention all bird lovers!

The Wonder of Birds http://amzn.to/2vh1pWy by Jim Robbins explains the nature of birds.  Written in a style that you makes you not want to put it down–once you pick it up.

“It’s hard to fathom the notion that the feathery little creatures that flock to our feeders are modern-day dinosaurs, but it’s true.”  By Ken Dial

The illustrations by D D Dowden are an added delight to this great book.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries.  Without them, humanity cannot survive.    — Dalai Lama

Yesterday, was truly a wonderful day.  I really enjoyed seeing the eclipse via my iPad.  I do not know what it passed over after it left the US.  No matter what, anyone fortunate enough to see the eclipse live was very blessed!

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen 

 

 

Clean Out Your Bird Feeders Today–Don’t wait!

 Clean out your bird feeders–today!

  • Birds depend on us to help them live through cold winter weather.

That’s where a good, sturdy bird feeder  http://amzn.to/2uSzcFv , stocked with appropriate seed, makes a big difference in their ability to survive the winter months.

There are plenty of bird feeders available. Some are designed for attaching to windows http://amzn.to/2wGoAvy , pole mounted, or those hand crafted.

I have three feeders.  One is cylindrical and the other two are basic, plastic models that hang from a string or lightweight cord.

The feeder I had hanging from a branch fell, when we had a servere wind storm this spring.  It and the branch crashed to the ground.

I want to get a new feeder, that can be pole mounted and that is squirrel resistant.

Does my problem sound familiar?

Because I live in the Ocala National Forest, I bring my feeders in EVERY night.  Bears, raccoons and squirrels have a field day when they are left out.

Black oiled sunflower seed, is my favorite.  Some recommend saffoil seed, because squirrels don’t like it.  For my cylinder feeder, hangs on a tall shepherd’s hook, I like to use light mixed seed.  Last winter, I used a heavier mixed seed and nut variety, which the squirrels feasted on!

Leave the leaf debris on the ground.

I know most of us are dying to rake the yard and flower beds.

  • Birds LOVE all the seeds left scattered on the ground after the flowers have died back.

Ever notice when you hear a rustling in the bushes, that it is a small bird scurrying through the leaves and underbrush?  That is where they find protection from predators.

The above photo is one of the winners from the Audubon 2016 Photography Awards.  What a fantastic shot!  Sometimes, when you are birding, you get lucky enough to catch Mother Nature in action.

I wouldn’t trade my Audubon audubon.org membership for anything!  If you want to give yourself, a friend or love one the perfect gift, this is it.

Get good binoculars, if you don’t already own a pair.

I checked  http://opticsden.com  to see what they recommended for 2017.  They have a wide selection at different prices and for all ages.

I have an older pair of Bushnell, 8 x 30, which are light weight and work fine for me.

This is a short prayer that has helped me stay positive.

Lord, help me to overcome my fears by filling my mind with positive thoughts and my life with positive actions.

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen 

Clean Out Those Ugly Twist Ties In The Kitchen Drawer

Clean out those twist ties you have tucked away in a kitchen drawer.  How many do you actually need and use regularly?

You know those little twists that you unwind to open a loaf of bread.  Once you come to the end of the loaf you usually toss the tie into a kitchen drawer.  Right?  Have you counted how many of those little things you have lately?  My guess is that you may have as many as 20!  You could count out ten, keep those and toss the others in the trash.

What else do you see in that drawer?  Cooking utinsels?  Pencils?  Pens?  Loose change?

Is that your kitchen junk drawer?

Take a minute (keep a waste basket at your feet) and drop whatever is damaged or unusable into the basket on the floor.  What is still in the drawer that doesn’t belong there?  Put each like item in a pile, to be redistributed in its proper place in a few minutes.  By now the drawer should be empty.  Next, shake the empty drawer over the waste basket and wipe it out with a damp cloth.  Now, it is ready to be reinserted into the cabinet and ready to be used again.

It is always a good idea to keep a junk drawer nearby.  The trick is to clean it out once in a while.

Kitchen Clutter Collectors

  • Plastic/paper bags
  • Plastic utensils/paper plates
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Loose recipes/paperwork
  • Cookbooks
  • Children’s outdated art work
  • Pots without matching lids
  • Jars without lids/lids without matching jars
  • Unsorted mail
  • Kitchen used as a dumping ground for nonkitchen related items

You get the idea!

How do you regain your kitchen space?

Ask the family: Are they willing to put their belongings where they belong, rather than in the kitchen?

Please be sure to ask them if they are willing to help.  Try very hard NOT to say, I have told you not to drop your stuff on the kitchen table, when you come in!

When you do that you only, once again, sound like a Drill Sargent, not a loving, caring person.

One of my favorite authors

If you are interested in the pioneer immigrants (1850s) heading west to Oregon, then you may love, All Together in One Place  bhttp://amzn.to/2fnvyBm by Jane Kirkpatrick.

This was the first book by the author that I had read, back in 2000.  It is the first in the Kinship and Courage series.

I have read almost all of her books.  They truly resonate with me!

In July, 2004, I drove west to Douglas, WY and traveled over some of the original Oregon Trail.  The Oregon Trail is only a few miles out of town.

Have you ever been so taken by the area in a book that you wished you could GO THERE?  Well, Jane Kirkpatrick’s books about Oregon got my blood pumping and my imagination working overtime!

With a current copy (at the time), of America’s Best 100 Small Towns, I read about Douglas, WY.  Today, I am still in touch with several of the friends I made while I lived and worked in that small, western town.  Population 5000.  I think they figured that I had just stepped off the stage.  They sure had me pegged right!  What a beautiful part of America!

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free”.  Frederick Douglas

Thanks for dropping by.        Kathleen 

 

25 Easy Ways to Improve Your Life

25 Easy Ways To Improve Your Life

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Cancel the cable service.
  3. Turn off the cell phone during meals.
  4. Eat meals together.
  5. Share events of the day during meals.
  6. Install a clothesline.
  7. Set up an outdoor dining area.
  8. Use organic garden products.
  9. Plant a garden.
  10. Weed the garden.
  11. Teach children about plants and gardening.
  12. Learn about gardening yourself.
  13. Start an emergency fund.
  14. Discontinue unwanted magazine subscriptions.
  15. Write “remove from mailing list” on front of junk mail and return it.
  16. Make a SHORT to do list.
  17. Make your bed every day.
  18. Wash the dishes before going to bed.
  19. Switch to LED light bulbs; indoors and out.
  20. Turn off the light when you leave the room.
  21. Shop at thrift stores.
  22. Donate to thrift stores.
  23. Count your blessings.
  24. Pray.
  25. You fill in the last one!

You may have completed many items on the list.  It’s okay to start your own new list.  Grab a pen and paper and start jotting things as they come to mind.

Is time let go of things you don’t want or still have a use for?

I sold my Smart TV.

Because I use my iPad to watch PBS, news channels, weather stations, and many  websites, I realized I simply did not need or want a TV.

That one change saved me a lot of money, plus it simplified my life!

 

The message is clear.  Enjoy life and don’t take things too seriously!

Make a list of things you have to be thankful for!

When you do, you will begin to lose the blahs and realize that your life isn’t so bad after all.  No matter what your circumstances!

Aloe plant coming into bloom

I was sitting on the garden swing one afternoon and saw a small blur on the orange blossoms of this aloe.  I looked closer and realized that it was a green hummingbird!  It whizzed around, going from blossom to blossom  and then flew out of sight.  Much to my surprise, it returned!

Aloes are interesting plants.  I believe there are over 500 varieties.  I usually keep a leaf in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for quick home remedies http://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/10-health-benefits-of-aloe-vera.html.  It is my go to for bug bites or scratches.  Have you ever used it

Take time to slow down and enjoy life.

Taking time to NOT hurry has benefits.  Before TVs and radios, folks sat out on the front porch or at the dinner table and talked.  It may not have been the most exciting conversation, but it kept families connected.

When was the last time you prepared and enjoyed a home cooked meal?

Making a sandwich and ice tea is a great way to start.  Just remember not to eat in front of the TV!  Get rid of those TV tables, if you haven’t already.

Handy Tool

Where do you do most of your bill paying, letter writing, using your computer, or talking on the phone?  My favorite spot is the living room couch.  My latest tool to make doing these tasks easier was the purchase of a clip board http://amzn.to/2f90khc.  I have it on the floor, leaning against the coffee table, right by my feet.  It is a snap to grab it.  I cannot think why I never used one before!

A bad attitude is like a flat tire.  You can’t go anywhere until you change it.

Anonymous

Let me hear from you about changes you have made to improve the quality of your life.  I will be glad to share them with other readers.

Thanks for dropping by.    Kathleen 

Let the sunshine in–improve your mood!

Let sunshine in and brighten your mood at the same time!  These photos show how a little sunshine brightened my living room.

Before

After

After

When I moved into my little place, I wanted to cut down the drafts and darken the room.

Now, I want a more open feeling in the living room and more sunlight.  The drafts have been taken care of with the use of strapping tape put on the outside of the windows.  I also inserted bubble wrap on the inside of the windows and secured it again with strapping tape.  The mini blinds offer another layer of insulation and provide filtered light.  Finally, I added sheer curtains.  They add soft color and texture to the windows.

This wall faces due east and the morning sun really heats up the room!  Fortunately, the heat dissipates as the sun rises.  Cross ventilation occurs because I keep the kitchen and other living room windows open.  One of the cheap tricks to keeping a room cool in Florida is to use fans.  Having the ceiling fans (turned on the lowest speed) in both the kitchen and living room and small fans going keeps the air moving.

Last month my electric bill was $40.05.

I also have a small 6,000 BTU Sharp window air conditioner installed on the outside kitchen wall.  It is used on those hottest days and often in the afternoon.  The main purpose of turning it on in the afternoon is so it can cool down the kitchen and living room.

Watch Your Language!

Don’t say:  “I need to go to the store.”

Do say:  “I want to go to the store.”

The word need implys that you are “needy” and have no power.

The word want implys that you do have “power” and choices.

Practice switching out the word “need” for “want”.  You will automatically begin to feel better about yourself.  Life is full of choices.  You will be amazed how many times you can operate away from a wimpy position to one of power!  Start talking to yourself to get the hang of it.  That way you can quickly make the switch with none the wiser, but you!

For years, I have used aluminum http://amzn.to/2uueaQy ice trays.  You know those silver things that came with your mother’s new refrigerator?  So many of us thought the “new” plastic ice trays that came with our new refrigerators were the best.  Wrong.  I found my antique trays in a small antique store in Nebraska.  They produce large, solid, blocks of ice.  In the south, ice tea is often the beverage of choice.  I always have some spearmint in pots near the front door, so I can easily pinch off a sprig.  With a quick crunching of the mint, the fragrance permeates the kitchen.  That”s when I drop the sprig into a glass, filled with those cold ice cubes, pour in some freshly made sun tea and I am good to go!  Try it!  You will like it!

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

This store is open for business!

I never though I would have a storefront , when I created My Home Place.

That changed when I applied to become an Amazon Associate.

Disclaimer:

We are a participant in the Amazon LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to http://www.amazon.com and affiliated sites.

I will be sharing products with you that I have and use.

One of my favorite household tools is my orange, light weight, VonHaus, stick vacuum. It came with several hoses and nozzles, but I have never used any of the attachments.  I bought it was because a reviewer commented that “it worked great sucking up the sand on her floors”.  She must live in Florida like me!  I bought mine in March, 2015 and it is still going strong.  Another great feature is that it is EASY to remove dirt in the HEPA filter.

The VonHaus has 600 Watts, is a 2 in 1 Corded Lightweight Upright Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner with HEPA Filtration.

I have to admit–having a storefront is NOT easy. This is as hard as vacuuming the whole house.  I know my little, 1966 travel trailer is not large (8’x29′), but I still like a clean house.  Did I mention that I constantly go through the process of decluttering?

My next product is a Sun Joe 14-inch, 12 Amp Electric Lawnmower http://amzn.to/2ui9Vpj with Grass Bag by Snow Joe.

I killed the first one right off the bat.  Fortunately, they are an excellent company and paid for return shipping.  I received new one a few days later.

The most important thing I learned about owning one of these small, light weight mowers is to FIRST raise the blade to 3″.  That way you don’t pick up so much sand.  Sand can kill any mower, no matter where you liv. The second thing to remember is to USE the detachable grass bag.  It is easy to attach and remove, so there is no reason not to use this handy tool.  The grass clippings caught in the bag can be scattered on your flower beds, providing a natural mulch.

One of the advantages of these mowers is that they are perfect for small yards.  Seniors also love them because they are easy to handle and you do not have to fight it while mowing.  To make it easier to mow farther out in the yard, I bought two, 50′ outdoor grade, electrical cords and connected them.

Alba Botanical Very Emollient, Midnight Tuberose Bath & Shower Gel  http://amzn.to/2tmMgTG is the last product I will discuss.

It comes in several sizes.  I chose the 32 Ounce bottle that fits nicely in a corner of the bath tub.

Little did I know how much I would enjoy using this gently Tuberose fragrant shower gel by Alba.  This is the first time I have used any of their products.  I highly recommend it to friends and family and will likely buy it again.

TIP:  Give yourself, friends and love ones GIFT CARDS!  My niece, Clare, gave me an electronic gift card for $25.  I used it to buy my Alba shower gel.

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen 

 

Add Music to Your Garden and Make it Your Own Special Place

How can you add music to your garden?

Most gardeners start with wind chimes.  They can be bought for just a few dollars and up.  Their notes cover the entire musical scale and can be made from sea shells, glass or metal chimes, handcrafted sterling silver flatware to wooden chimes.

I always keep an eye out for them while on vacation, scouring garden centers, thrift sores, yard sales and unique speciality shops.  Of course, you can make one yourself.

It’s a good idea to have different types and sizes through out your property.

I found this video on YouTube and loved it!  It was so much fun to watch.

Of course, you don’t have to make your own, but I think it would be fun.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Water fountains are another favorite way to create music.  Again, you can either diy your own or hunt around for one you love and buy it before someone else does.

The more I thought about water fountains, I honed in on birdbaths.  When checking the web, I was surprised to learn that solar birdbath water pumps are available and cheap to boot.

I found this water fountain on the web that is offered by WalMart.

Best Choice Products Bird Bath Garden Decor

It got good reviews (4.5 stars), was under$30, is made of resin, which makes it light weight, so it can be moved easily.

One reviewer commented that “they put it near their bird feeder and it was an instant success”.  That is a good idea.

While doing my research, I learned that solar pumps have to be kept in the sun all day.  I don’t think birds like hot water, except maybe during the winter.  So, I don’t think I will go that route.

As you can see, you have many things to consider, when it comes to adding music to your garden.

I have decided to simply keep my eye out for a larger, deeper, clay flower pot base.  I will put sea shells and flat rocks on the bottom, keep it filled with fresh water and place it in the shade.  That is cheap and easy.

They say that creativity is the mother of invention.  Put your thinking cap on and get busy, designing and creating ways to enhance your garden just the way you want it.

New canopy

New canopy for front entry for dining area under the shade.

My canopy is an example of what I have been talking about.  It was set up just this morning, so nothing is in place yet.  It was worth every cent I paid for it and it is a delight to sit under.  I ordered it using my Red Card, so I would get Free Shipping and a 5% discount from http://www.target.com Target.

I don’t get a commission or credit for pointing you to Target.  I just love that company!  I have been very satisfied with their service and products.  Plus, I pay by bill by phone.

When you have a comfortable place to sit and enjoy listening to the birds, their music makes your heart sing! Think about how you can create a seating and dining area outside.  Then you too can enjoy your garden, birdbath, wind chimes and even the sound of the sprinkler watering your lawn or garden.  You will be so glad you did!

Here is a one of my favorites.  Open your windows and let fresh breezes blow in.  It is so refreshing.  Right now, since it is after 9pm, I can hear the crickets.  Ah.  Summertime in Florida.  Crickets add music to your garden too.

There is always Music in the Garden but our Hearts must be Quiet to hear it.

It has started raining.  I love to hear the patter of rain drops on the porch metal roof.

Thanks for dropping by.     Kathleen ,

Practice makes perfect when learning new skills.

We all know that to improve any skill takes practice.  Not once, but many times.  That is what today’s post ai all about.

The first thing I want to practice is inserting a link–the easy way.  Wouldn’t you know–I have lost that little, yellow, post it note!

I am member of The Nature Conservancy https://www.nature.org/.  This link is not blue, like it should be.  Why?  Let me try inserting the link the old way http://www.nature.org

The old way seemed to work just fine, except that I cannot type a period at the end of the sentence without the period becoming part of the link.  Look closely and you will see there is no end to the sentence.

I will try inserting the link here https://www.nature.org and can see it came across, but it is in black versus blue.  So, it is not a good link.

http://www.nature.org

The above link works fine, just as long as you don’t type anything to the right of it.  That is crazy.

I guess the link button at the top of my post is good for something.

Okay.  Now, I will insert a photo.

Life is good

Life is good when you are at the beach!

At least that was a success.

let me try another link and see what happens.

http://www.swagbucks.com/.  It’s there, but it’s not blue.

http://www.swagbucks.com

Now, it’s blue and you can link to that website.

  • Sign up and have fun earning SwagBucks–no kidding.
  • Turn your SwagBucks into either cash or gift cards.
  • I love their Daily Poll–vote and see the poll results right then.
  • I started this blog from one of their Inbox offerings; earned points too!
  • Ocassionally, I watch their videos.
  • Surveys are another way to earn points.
  • Their shopping cash back points keep your points going up, up, up!

You may be truly glad you joined.  You earn points, which you can turn into cash with every 5000 SwagBucks you earn, by doing things you enjoy and would have done anyway.

You can shop from their site, which REALLY does pay off.  As an example, I have a Target Red Card.  I like to go to their Target link, where I earn cash back (TRUE) for each purchase.  The nice thing about using my Red Card is that I automatically also get FREE shipping.  How do you like that?  I love it!

You can also use their search engine and earn points–right then.  Sometimes a small pop up window appears telling you how many points you earned by doing your search.  When that happens, be sure to type the letters in the display box, exactly as shown, and hit enter and you are done.  Don’t expect this to happen with every search.  It is a nice surprise when it does.  See, those points do go up.

This is a 4th of July boat if there ever was.

God Bless America!     Happy 4th of July, 2017!

Thanks for dropping by.   Kathleen