Essential Oils for Weight Loss

Like most people I know today I struggle with my weight. This blog post from Revitalize Your Health centers in on one of the main culprits, cravings. Our mood often dictates our cravings and our mood can be changed by using Essential Oils.

The writer suggests you vary the scents throughout the day so you don't become desensitized to it.  There are several essential oils listed so you could try them all. Be sure to comment and let me know how it goes.

I recommend you buy your EOs from Spark Naturals. High quality oils at affordable prices! Also you can use code enjoy for 10% discount on your order.

Read more....

Hurricane Preparedness for Backyard Chickens.

I ran across this blog by "The Chicken Chick" quite by accident. This particular post quickly caught my attention as we live in a very active hurricane zone and because some of my friends have chickens.

It was written in August 2011 by someone who lives "up north" when Hurricane Irene was threatening their eastern shore. They did a bit of research to find out how best to protect their outdoor flock and poured it all into this blog post.
They provide tips for bringing your flock inside or how to best protect them outside. Also some things to do after the hurricane has passed.


How To Fix a Screen

This post from One Creative Housewife caught my attention because I do have a screen I need to fix.  How many times have your kids, grandkids, or pets pushed the screen out? It happens a lot but there is a simple fix and all you need are two tools!


Moist Garlic Roasted Chicken

I love garlic chicken and when I saw this recipe on I knew I had to try it.

Just a few ingredients and easy to follow instructions make this a winner in my kitchen!

  • 1 (4 pound) whole chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large lemon, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 sprigs thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Place a large sheet of parchment paper into the middle of a roasting tray. The parchment must be large enough to completely envelop the chicken. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, stuff with half of the lemon slices, and place breast side up in the middle of the parchment paper. Sprinkle garlic slices, and thyme sprigs evenly over the chicken. Lay the remaining lemon slices over the breast. Fold the parchment over the chicken forming a loose parcel.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken has cooked, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. A meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of the thigh should reach 180 degrees F.

Prissy, last days :-(


She spends most of her time like this now, sleeping and dreaming unknown dreams of chasing rabbits maybe. She has been such a great little dog.

We got her almost 13 years ago. We already had a beagle named Buster and felt he needed a companion. Less than a year later we would lose him when he was hit by a car. It happened one stormy night when somehow a gate came open. During a break in the weather we let the dogs out not realizing the gate was not latched. Both dogs got out and Buster was killed almost instantly when a car hit him. My husband had been looking for them and had spotted them just as Buster got hit. I'll never forget him carrying Buster home in the rain and burying him in our back yard. Prissy ran home on her own and never tried to leave our yard again.

Barclay & Prissy Nov 2002
We thought she would grieve herself to death. She waited by the back door, often sleeping there. She didn't eat. So we got her a puppy, another male Beagle named Barkley. And she started to perk up. She loved the puppy and began to mother him. She did the same with the Italian Greyhound puppy we brought home three years later.

She was diagnosed with Cushings Disease two years ago and did great on the meds. But now she is loosing too much weight and is anemic. Our vet suspects some sort of cancer but given her age and other health problems its no use putting her through lots of tests to find out as we probably still couldn't treat it. She had two blood tests yesterday.
Prissy & Barclay June 2003

It looks like the end is getting close for her. She is often cold and is coaxed into eating with people food. We keep her as comfortable as we can. She rarely makes it outside in time to go.

She has been a good dog and I think she has had a good life with us.

Lots of love to you, our Prissy Dog

Addition: Prissy kept getting weaker. She would eat a little food just to vomit it up later. She began having mini seizures and had a hard time breathing.

Prissy passed away the morning of Aug. 29, 2012.


Southern Sweet Tea in the Microwave

As long as I can remember I made southern style sweet tea the same way. I put tea bags in a small pan with water, brought to a boil and then took off heat to steep. Then added that to a pitcher with sugar and more water. Sweet tea is an everyday staple in our house. My Mom made it with loose tea. Same method but she had to strain it.

A couple of times I made "Sun Tea" as it was all the rage some 30 years ago or so. That was made by setting a glass jar with tea bags and water in it in the sun until it had steeped enough to make the tea.

For the last few years though I have made it in the microwave. Many of you probably make it this way too, but I thought I would share just in case...

What's that in the background??? Why is my Camp Wonder Gardner's Moisture! Love that stuff.

Here's how I make sweet tea:

  • Put 3 family style tea bags in a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup
  • Microwave on high for 4 1/2 minutes
  • Let bags steep in the hot water for a few minutes
  • Put about 1 cup sugar in a pitcher that will hold 12 cups of tea.
  • Add the steeped tea and enough water to fill the pitcher
  • Refrigerate

Serve over ice and with lemon if you like.

Please note! Never pour hot tea into a glass pitcher as it could break. I made this tea in a plastic pitcher and then transfered to the glass one.

Pig Pickin Cake

One of the first cakes I ever made as a young woman was a Pig Pickin Cake. I'm guessing it was called that because it showed up so often at Pig Pickins. If you don't know what a Pig Pickin is well...its when a whole split pig is roasted outdoors on an open pit, enclosed grill, or something converted into an enclosed grill. Then the pork is picked or pulled from the bones to serve with some of the most amazing barbecue sauces you will ever eat. It takes hours and is usually accompanied by lots of southern side dishes like potato salad, slaw, baked beans, hush puppies, banana pudding and perhaps Pig Pickin Cake.
Pig Cooker

Its usually part of a celebration or family get-together. A small town about 10 minutes from where I live has an annual Pig Pickin Contest complete with games, bands, and of course a contest for the best tasting barbecued pig.

This cake is often called Mandarin Orange Cake but that name is a bit misleading as it doesn't really have a real orangy taste. If you want more orange flavor you can add 1/2 teaspoon of orange extract to the batter or substitute orange juice for the canned juices.

There are many versions of this simple cake. It can be made in 2, 3, or even 4 layers. You will want to make a few adjustments if you want to do a sheet cake. Look at the end of this post for instructions. I have also seen this cake with frosting between the layers and on top but none on the sides.

You may want to set aside a few orange segments for decorating. In fact another name for this cake is Sunshine Cake because it was often decorated with 5 orange segments in a sun design.

One more thing about this tastes much better after it has been in the fridge for several hours or even overnight! This is a good cake to make the day before because it really will taste better the next day.

My original recipe is long gone but I found this one on I think its  just like the one I had.

So lets get busy and make a mighty good cake!

Assemble your ingredients.

Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil.

Add the mandarin oranges with the liquid.
Save a few if you want to use them for garnish.

Look at those orange bits.

Pour into greased and floured pans and bake. Let cool.

I only had 2 8" cake pans, so I improvised! lol
Fill between layers. I like to put in refrigerator for a bit at this point
to keep the frosting from getting too warm.

 I had to move my cake to another plate here because my footed cake plate was too tall for the refrigerator. Anyone remember these plates? From the late 60's I think.


For the cake:
  • 1 box of butter style yellow cake mix
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (11 or 15 ounce) can of mandarin oranges, undrained
For the frosting:
  • 1 (5.1 ounce) package of instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 (20 ounce) can of crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 (16 ounce) carton of whipped topping (like Cool Whip)
  • Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8 inch cake pans and flour or line with parchment paper; set aside.

Add the cake mix, oil and eggs to the bowl of a mixer and mix on low until blended. Reserve a couple of the oranges for garnish if desired. Add the remaining oranges with their juice, blend in on low then mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Divide evenly into the three prepared cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes back clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cake rack to cool completely.

Blend together the instant pudding and crushed pineapple; set aside for 5 minutes. Gently fold in the whipped topping and spread in between the layers, and frosting the sides and top of the cake. Garnish the top with a sprig of mint and the reserved orange segments, if desired. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

My Notes:

  1. Any butter style yellow cake mix is fine. I think the old reciepes called for Duncan hines.
  2. Make sure you use instant pudding and not the cook and serve variety.
  3. I think the full 16-ounce Cool Whip is too much and don't use it all.
  4. To prepare in a 9 x 13 inch pan, increase eggs to 4, use 2 cans of mandarin oranges, draining one, and use an 8 ounce whipped topping, 3.5 ounce vanilla pudding package and about a 15 ounce or slightly smaller, crushed pineapple for the topping. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 to 40 minutes.
  5. If you want to garnish the cake with lots of orange segments, use a second can of mandarin oranges but drain off the juice.

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Robert's Potatoes

Ya'll know I like easy, and let me tell you...this is way easy! And, its way good!

This simple dish has been made regularly by my husband and has come to be known as "Robert's Potatoes". I couldn't believe how easy and good these potatoes were. And just WHY hadn't I thought to cook them like this on my own?

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Onion (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

There's no measuring here. Start with peeled potatoes cut into cubes. (Note: We have done this without peeling too).

Put the cubed potatoes into a microwave safe dish

Add a few onions if you like. These are wonderful with or without the onions.

Add salt and pepper.

Add a few pats of butter. I usually end up using 1/4 to 1/3 stick.

Put the lid on.

Place in microwave for about 2 minutes on high.  Take out and stir and return for another 4 minutes on high.  Remove, stir, and cook another 4 minutes. Repeat until potatoes are tender, remember to stir well each time. The potatoes pictured took about 12 minutes total to cook.

Told you it was easy. Avoid the temptation to add water or other liquid, you don't need it.

That's it!
There are all sorts of things you could add to this....use your imagination and let me know what you come up with. I would love to hear from you.  We have even added canned corned beef toward the end of cooking for quick Corned Beef Hash!

Saved Hibiscus

I was going into the grocery store a few weeks ago for a couple of items and noticed a bunch of hibiscus in really bad shape. The store had separated them from the other flowers they had for sale but they had no clearance signs or anything on them. It looked like they were about to throw them away.

I went inside and asked someone, who had to ask someone else, who had to ask someone know how it goes. Finally someone said I could buy them for like $1.50 each. I said, "I'll take all of them".
There were seven in all. I so wish I had taken some "before" pictures, but I didn't. They were almost dead. I brought them home and watered them immediately. Then I trimmed off the dead branches and waited. They flourished!  Finally I saw little buds starting to appear and today they started blooming.

They are the Luna variety which is supposed to be a hardy first Year-Flowering Perennial. I didn't want to plant them until I saw what colors I had so I wanted to wait for them to bloom.
I read that the Luna series produces big, bushy, well-branched plants without pinching. They are supposed to be ideal for large containers or they can also be planted in the ground as a perennial. They are heat-loving plants that not only tolerate moist soil conditions, but are also drought tolerant once established in the garden.

Now that they are blooming I can't wait to select a place to plant them.

New Shellac Color!

You may have seen my post on Shellac nails. I still love it!  The color stays for at least two weeks and best of all...its MY nails!

I just had to post this new color because I love it and wanted to show it to all of you. This color was created by my nail salon by combining a different base and top coat color.

The cost at my nail salon is only $15.00 for color change and $20.00 for manicure. Both prices include removing the old shellac.

Top 10 Homemade Dog Treats

Oakley's favorite dog treats: Kiss Me Cookies

There have been soooo many recalls and warnings involving dog treats! Not to mention how pricey they are. I've been spending way too long looking at dog treat labels and looking to see where they are made. Making them myself has been a much better option. They cost way less and I know what is in them.

All three of our dogs are seniors and already have health issues and I'm not going to chance further complications from dangerous store bought dog treats!

Think you may want to try making them at home? I have one suggestion, rather than looking all over the Internet at various dog treat recipes, look at this site first. Here are 10 easy and healthy treats to get you started.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Please let me know if you decide to try any of these, would love to hear how they turned out.

DIY Plantable Gift Tags

Sometimes I see something from another blog and think, "Wow, what a neat idea". That is exactly how I felt when I saw this idea from Hill City Bride. This idea can be used to make place cards, gift tags, or favors. Use left over paper scraps, flower seeds, and cookie cutters to create eco-friendly tags. These tags can be taken home by your guests to plant and commemorate the special event.

See complete instructions here.

Organizing the Medicine Cabinet / Drawer / Shelf

I don't actually have a medicine cabinet. Well, I have one but I don't use it for medicine. I have a drawer, a very large drawer. Its not that we need that much medicine, its that I hate to throw stuff away.  After all, I may need that Dulcolax one day!! Right?? 

Recently I had to go in said drawer and I was appalled. Although I tried to keep it organized....Cold and allergy meds together, prescription meds together, get the idea. But it kept getting "messed up". Mysterious occurrence that happens here from time to time. Actually I hate using a drawer and wish I had a shelf somewhere I could use for this.
I actually considered just turning the whole drawer upside down in the garbage but I was sure I wouldn't go through with it. So I decided to cut it down by at least 50%. Yes half of it must go. And the other half had to be organized in a better way. I'm thinking labeled boxes.

First step is to remove everything from the drawer.
Next I need to look at expiration dates and toss any expired items.
Now I need to put like items together
Seriously...its not expired but when would I really use that? Toss it....
Now I am looking at how much stuff I have in each group and how much more I need to get rid of.

Now that I am down to less than half of what I started with I can see how big my containers need to be for each group. I am printing labels for each container so that when someone needs say cold medicine...they just remove the container marked "Cold & Allergy" and find what they need. Saves rifling through the whole drawer looking for the Sudafed!

All finished!

I got my Better Homes and Gardens free printable storage labels here....

Free Printable Storage Labels

I would still love to be able to move these to a large linen closet shelf or bathroom shelf and put the label on the end of the box. It would work so much better I think. Oh well, its still a big improvement and I'm satisfied.