On the Blog

  • A meal I make…(when I don’t feel like cooking) 😉
    Friends, do you ever get tired of trying to figure out what to fix for dinner? Oh! You plan out all of your meals and buy the ingredients ahead of time? Uh, yeah…so do I. But those good intentions usually last about two weeks, then I am back to my old habits again. Someday, I will be a meal planner and follow through. Someday. Today though, I have a quick and easy recipe that I think you will find very easy to make and your family will find very easy to eat. Hamburger or Tater Tot Casserole. Here is a video for you and I will list the recipe ingredients below. For this tasty recipe, you will need 1 1/2 lbs hamburger meat, cooked and drained of excess fat. 1 can cream of mushroom soup 1 can cream of chicken soup 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon dill 1 bag of frozen tater tots 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese Large casserole dish Add both cans of soup to the cooked hamburger meat. Add dill and water. ( I don’t salt the recipe because there is enough in the canned soups) Pour your tater tots in the casserole dish and cover with meat and soup mixture. Top with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes. (It depends on how frozen your tater tots were when you started cooking) Serve with a crisp salad and remember to chew it well. 😉 xoxo, Lindy
  • 5 Ways I Support My Family as a Homemaker
  • Encouragement for the Mother at Home (when society tells you, you’re doing it wrong.)
    In today’s video, I wanted to give some encouragement to Stay at Home Mamas I received several notes from young mothers who tell me that it is discouraging because even though they know they are doing the right thing for their family- society seems to be giving them a different message. It’s mind-boggling to me that someone would even think about telling a mother (who chooses to stay at home instead of going back to work) that she is wasting her life or degree because she wants to say at home.  It is the most natural thing in the world for a woman to want to remain with her baby.  Wild animals do it.  Why is it questioned when a human being does it? Well, I have some tips for you if you feel discouraged by friends, family, and society about your decision to be a stay at home mom. And I also want to encourage you by saying; You’re not the first to feel this way.  I say that because it helps when you learn that this is nothing new,  and many other women feel the same.  I used to get discouraged, and all of my friends did too, and I don’t ever want you to feel like you’re the lone ranger. Read good books to encourage and uplift your decision.  Books about motherhood by Sally Clarkson, Karen Andreola, Nancy Cambell, Dr. Laura Schlesenger, and Lorrie Flemm are a few that I would recommend. Set boundaries with the people in your life who are discouraging. If you have friends or family who are negative and say things to you like, “you are wasting your career and degree!” Set them down and every so politely say, “Thank you, but your opinion means nothing tome.”or if that seems too harsh; flat out say something to them. … in a gentle way, of course.  I have found that people will continue to talk to you that way as long as you allow it.  If you don’t say something, you might eventually explode and cause an ugly scene. SO if they are a family member or close friend, set them down, have a face-to-face talk and tell them that this is YOUR decision and please never say anything to me about it again. 3. Move; I know this is drastic and not feasible for everyone, but it will save your sanity and make your life happier. Seriously, if you have to move out to a tar paper shack in the middle of a field.  Move.  We had a neighbor once who was incredulous each time I was expecting, saying, “You’re pregnant again!” don’t you know what causes that?  Then when our oldest was four, she asked why he wasn’t in preschool.    When I told her we were going to homeschool him, she went nuts and said we were crazy.  Thank goodness my husband changed jobs that year, and we moved 4. Find groups of like-minded moms.  I know that is not the easiest thing to do, but if you could find a MOPS (mother of preschoolers ) at a local church to join or a joint interest group, they are lifesavers.  One small thought about that. Don’t give up if the first group isn’t your cup of tea.  I went to 5 different social groups before I found the right fit.  So keep trying. 5.Finally, don’t give in to peer pressure.  This is YOUR life and your family. Don’t let someone else’s opinion cause you to live differently.
  • The Lost Art of Handwritten Letters
    My favorite time of day is early morning.  I like to get up and catch the sunrise and watch the new day come in fresh and full of promise. I like to use this time alone to reflect and catch up on letter writing. Now, I know it would be so much easier and quicker to make a phone call or send an email or text, but there is just something extraordinary about receiving a handwritten letter in the mailbox from a friend. I have an old writing desk that I like to sit at to write, and it is stocked with plenty of stamps, pens, stationery, envelopes, and an address book.  Everything you need to write a letter.  I even have an old folder from school full of fun stickers to use as well. My friend Kitty brought a magazine to my house yesterday that she just thought I would enjoy.  It has an article about aprons and family homesteads that she thought I would like to read. Kitty is around the same age my mother would be, had she lived, and I have to appreciate her kind, motherly friendship for many years. Now, I could have just called Kitty and thanked her for the magazine, but here’s the thing.  She didn’t have to bring that magazine all the way over to my house while I was away yesterday.  But she did.  She was thinking of me, which is not a small thing when another person takes a second out of their busy day to think of another.  The very least I can do is jot off a quick note and pop it in the mail.   Miss Kitty made my day.  Why not surprise her and make her day too? Way back in 1988, shortly after I met the boy who would become my husband, we started exchanging letters in the mail.  We lived 23 miles away from each other, and neither one of us had cars.  It was also long-distance to call each other back then to keep our parents happy because we didn’t “reach out and touch someone” remember that slogan? We wrote letters. Lots and lots of funny, sweet,  silly notes.  I still have all of those letters.  Even after we got cars, and it was no longer long-distance to call, we still wrote to each other. There is just something special about a surprise letter in the mail. This second letter is going to a friend with whom I used to do yoga. Suppose you are like me and have trouble keeping your letters straight on no lined paper.  Just take a ruler and lightly make lines on the form.  After your ink dries, you can gently erase the lines. This last letter is going to my dear friend, Alta, in Pennsylvania. She and I have been exchanging letters for nearly 20 years.  We met in a Yahoo Group in 2001 that was devoted to Gladys Tabor’s books.  The yahoo group book club eventually faded away, but the friendship between Alta and I stayed.   She is also older than me and has been an excellent mother figure all these years.  We even stayed with her and her husband at their home in Pennsylvania one magical Christmas and experienced a Christmas carol singing at her quaker church- built in 1804.  What about you?  Do you write letters?Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear if you do;  I want to bring this gentle art back. xoxo, Lindy
  • How to make Beauty Cream at Home
    Friends, you are going to LOVE this! With only two ingredients (plus some optional essential oils) it is simple to make and easy on the pocketbook. After experimenting with different oils and amounts, I think I have found the perfect recipe. What did I use? Hemp Seed Oil & Shea Butter. I also used a metal bowl and a hand mixer. That’s it! Easy as pie, all natural, and works beautifully! All of the ingredients came from Amazon and were delivered the next day. I also used these containers to put the finished product in, but you can just use small mason jars. Lastly, I used a few drops of Geranium, Sandalwood and Rose Absolute essential oils. You do not need to use essential oils though. In fact, the first time you make it, I would encourage you to make it without the extra ingredients, just to see how you like it. You can experiment later with different essential oils. If you make it, would you let me know how you like it? Watch the short, 4 minute video below to see how it’s done.
  • New Cuisinart Cookware & and easy Chicken Salad Recipe
    Hi friends! Today’s video features the unboxing of my new multi clad cookware by Cuisinart. And I will also show you how to make a delicious and easy chicken salad. I ordered this cookware as a Christmas present for myself this year. It is replacing our 25-year-old set of revere ware that we received as a wedding gift in 1995. I tend to use things forever. But it was time for some new equipment. I hope this lasts as long as the previous pots and pans did. The Cuisinart multi-clad was highly rated, and that’s why I purchased it. In all, there are 12 pieces. It is oven safe and has riveted handles. I like that because a couple of my older handles became loose, and I often had to tighten them up. The set consists of 1-1/2- and 3-quart covered saucepans; 8- and 10-inch open skillets; 3-1/2-quart covered saute pan; 8-quart covered stockpot; steamer insert with lid. Twelve pieces in total. Professional Triple Ply Construction features a core of pure aluminum and a brushed stainless exterior The Cuisinart Cookware is warranted to be free of defects in material and artistry under regular home use from the date of original purchase throughout the original purchaser’s lifetime. If your cookware should prove defective within your lifetime, we will repair it or replace it if we think it necessary. The price of this entire set is $299.00 Do most people keep and use their cookware for 25 years? I will be cooking with this from now on, and I will let you know how it is doing in a couple of months. And now for the chicken salad! This is an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe. You’ll need dill pickle relish, one whole cubed apple, 1 cup of pecans, 1 to 2 cups of mayonnaise, (not miracle whip!) 1 cup of grapes, salt, pepper, rosemary, and dill. And, of course, chicken. I use about eight chicken breasts in total. To start, I like to trim my chicken breasts of any extra fat and tendons. And I go ahead and cut it into cubes before cooking. If you prefer not to mess with raw chicken, you can cut the chicken up after it is cooked. I also like to add a chicken bouillon cube to the water to give it some extra flavor. Boil the chicken for about 12 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Strain through a colander. And now you can assemble your chicken salad with the ingredients listed above. My family loves this, and it is usually gone by the next day. We serve it on top of lettuce, it is excellent on croissants, rolled up in a tortilla, on bread, or just eaten plain. *Please note, I belong to the Amazon Affiliate program and I receive a very small commission when you use the links I provide, to purchase products.
  • January Declutter Challenge
    Hello friends and welcome! Today starts the January Declutter challenge where each week, we will declutter a different area of our home. Several other you tubers are doing this in January as a collaboration. Although I am not in that group, I am following along because I want to encourage my viewers to do it too! I’ve been a fan of Marla Cilly’s Book- Sink Reflections for some time now. It’s a how-to manual with simple daily processes for keeping your home neat and tidy. She is steadfast in that she wants you to take baby steps with her methods, especially if your home and head are overwhelmed with clutter. It’s a great book, and if you would like more information about her, here is a link to her website. http://www.flylady.net/ Now, there is one thing that I have learned over the years, and it is- You Cannot Clean Clutter. Let me say that again; You cannot clean clutter. That is why you need to get rid of it. If you find this task daunting and feel overwhelmed, below is a fun and simple way to deal with it. If you make things that you don’t want to do into a game or a challenge- it is much easier to accomplish. Grab three containers such as laundry baskets or boxes- and if you don’t have containers, make three separate, marked piles for your things. Keep, give away, and throw away. 2. Set a timer for 15 minutes; I like to use an old fashioned timer, but you can use your phone if you don’t have one. (don’t get distracted. 3. Start going through a small area in your kitchen; One or two drawers at one time. Don’t take on too much space at once. You don’t want to pull out more than you can handle in a 15-minute time frame. Do you have a pile of junk mail that needs to be recycled or tossed in the trash? Put it in the throwaway pile. Did you find an appliance that you have not used in years? Put that in the giveaway pile. If you are working in your kitchen- there is no need to take your things out of the cabinets and put them in the keep pile. That pile is just for items lying around, and you have not found a home for them. After the timer goes off, take the box of Giveaways out to your car or near your back door immediately. ( you don’t want to leave that stuff lying around. If you do, you may be tempted to keep it). Throw away or recycle the trash and find a new home for your keepers. You will be surprised at just how much work you can get done in 15 minutes; if you have more time, set that timer again and start working in another section. The objective is to not get overwhelmed by too much at once. (That is why we set the timer) At the end of 15 minutes, you can give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
  • The Silence Between The Notes.
    Hello, friends, and welcome to our very first Refined Lady lesson of the new year! Our refined lady lessons are videos that I make at the beginning of each month that encourage you to become a more sophisticated version of yourself, with manners, etiquette, music, and poetry. Today, we will talk about a classical composer and want to encourage you to do a composer study of your own. I want to read you two quotes about music- “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” – Aldous Huxley He also wrote brave new world, by the way. Excellent reading. And the second quote is- “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence in between.” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart My introduction to classical music wasn’t from music lessons or school; It was when I watched Warner Brothers cartoons as a child. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fud were hilarious on their own, but the addition of the music from Rossini’s Barber of Seville made it wonderful and piqued my interest in the beautiful music that accompanied it. How many of you were introduced to the classics by cartoons? Later, when I got older and got my first car, I discovered a public radio station from the University of Tennessee.  They only played the classics, and that is when I became familiar with many of the great classic composers. The composer that I want to focus on today is Claude Debussy. He was born in France in 1862, and to give you an example of how his mind works here is a quote by him-  “I have made mysterious Nature my religion … When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, a great emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpeted earth, … and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration.” Isn’t that lovely? Debussy was introduced to me in another non-traditional way, and that was by the works of Tomita.  Isao Tomita was a Japanese composer, regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic music and space music, and as one of the most famous producers of analog synthesizer arrangements.   Tomita’s version of Debussy’s, Reverie was the first time I heard this beautiful composition. I was around 5 years old. When I got older, I heard the traditional version, connected the dots, and figured out it was Debussy’s music, and that sent me on a quest to find more compositions by him. Clair De Lune, Reverie, Snowflakes are dancing, and Girl with the flaxen hair are a few of my personal favorites. Now, why should you do a composer study? Music Study Enhances Overall Learning Music Adds Depth of Knowledge  Music Encourages Creativity  Music Builds Critical Thinking Skills  Music Gives a Glimpse into History  Composer studies were a critical part of the Charlotte Mason Homeschool Curriculum that we used, and it was wonderful to introduce our children to such beautiful sounds that soothe the soul and truly make you feel better after listening to them. Today’s refined lady lesson is to do some research on Claude Debussy and learn about his life and his music and spend some time listening to it today. I will link some of his music below to give you a head start. I’ll leave you with this quote by Debussy “We must agree that the beauty of a work of art will always remain a mystery […] we can never be absolutely sure ‘how it’s made.’ We must at all costs preserve this magic which is peculiar to music and to which music, by its Nature, is of all the arts the most receptive.” For a good mix of compositions and instruments, listen to these links below.
  • The Importance of Saying “Thanks”
    The 4 steps to writing a thank you note. Step 1: Address the recipient by name and say thank you, be sure to mention specifically what you are thanking them for. Dear Lisa,Thank you so much for the beautiful yellow rose bush. There is no need to write ‘I am writing to thank you’. That is self-evident. It is better to jump right in by expressing your thanks and appreciation, for example: It was wonderful to receive.. .My sincere thanks for.. Many thanks for your help with facilitating the meeting… The teas are delicious, thank you so much! Step 2: Continue by describing your feelings about the gift, event, favor, kindness, or service done. One sentence will do, but two or three are better (don’t overdo it though, or you’ll start to sound insincere). For example:As you know, yellow roses are my favorite and I have planted them in a special spot near my door so that every time I walk outside I can smell their fragrance. Step 3: Focus on the recipient. How are they? How is work/ school?  Any plans for the holiday season? You may also like to suggest a meet up (in person or by phone) in the near future. How have you been doing?  Do you have any plans for the Summer? I hope I can join the family at the beach house this year – I’ll give you a call later in the week to catch up. Step 4: Finally, repeat your thanks and appreciation with a brief sentence, and sign off. Thank you again for picking out such a lovely gift. Love, Aunt Melissa And below is all of it put together- Dear Lisa,Thank you so much for the beautiful yellow rose bush. As you know, yellow roses are my favorite and I have planted them in a special spot near my door so that every time I walk outside I can smell their fragrance. How have you been doing?  Do you have any plans for the Summer? I hope I can join the family at the beach house this year – I’ll give you a call later in the week to catch up. Thank you again for such a lovely gift. Love, Aunt Melissa