Kindness is essential in our daily lives.
I will share weekly a new post with a message of how powerful kindness really can be.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Homemade Dog Shampoo on a Dime

Dog beautification.

That's what it's all about, right?

Saving dollars in the process doesn't hurt either.

Just like my food recipes, this homemade dog shampoo recipe is short and simple and extremely cost less than a $1.00...ah, now I have your attention. ; )

Most of those in my circle of friends and relatives elevate the status of their pet(s) to a higher level than most. This only means they regularly maintain their pet's health and well-being so kitty or doggie are happy, healthy and smell good vs being tied outdoors 24/7 with no water and/or food, collecting fleas and receiving no medical attention while performing guard dog duties (if you know what I mean.)

I make every effort to plan once a month to bathe my two dogs*, Libby Lu Jenkins (on the left) and Ginger, (on the right) followed by their  monthly application of flea and tick treatment. Looking to add more to my want-to-be-more-self-sufficient list, a couple of years ago I experimented with making homemade dog shampoo. Realizing the cost of dog food, vet bills, etc. which are given expenses, why not take a cost savings where possible. I see you agree; now let's get down to business.


Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipe:

1 Cup Dawn Dish Detergent
1 Cup White Vinegar
1 Quart Warm Water

It's as simple as combining these 3 simple ingredients together in a large bowl and using a funnel to transfer into your preferred storage container(s). The recipe produces approximately 50+ ounces of effective cost-saving dog shampoo one can be proud of. : )

As you can see in this picture, to store my recipe I use an old plastic dog shampoo bottle that I previously purchased a few years ago and poured the remaining recipe in a glass quart canning jar sealed with a plastic screw top that can be purchased at places like Walmart in both pint and quart sizes.

In the past I have used regular scent Dawn in the blue bottle. But, here's the kicker, for enhanced fragrance a Dawn product with Olay Beauty Pomegranate Splash Scent in pink color is now available. The 'Divas" smelled absolutely awesome following their 'Pomegranate' bath and the 'Olay' has their hair silky smooth. Quite impressive!!

I paid $0.99 for the 9 fl. oz. of Dawn, had the white vinegar in the pantry and figured this cost less than $0.02 an ounce. After all was done there was still one ounce of Dawn left in the bottle to use in the kitchen for washing dishes.

I challenge you with this cost savings.
Please, by all means, share with me a better, more cost-effective homemade dog shampoo that actually does as good a job; I'm listening...

and join me on the band wagon of becoming more self-sufficient.

* For those who may be curious what breed my girls are I'll share that Libby Lu Jenkins is a Puggle (cross between a Pug and a Beagle) and Ginger is a Jug (cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Pug.) For more information regarding their adoption details, please check out my Canine and Feline Companions page.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Relationship Between the Tenant and the Landlord

Wearing the hat of a Landlord never is fun and games, especially if you're an emotional individual with a soft spot in your heart. Although necessary, it is extremely difficult to separate yourself emotionally and look at land-lording as a business.

Disputes happen. Most of the time there are resolutions. Many times things remain the same, at which time the Landlord must take action.

The eviction process causes a great deal of stress on the Landlord (mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.) To eliminate this stress, the Landlord generally makes every effort to resolve these issues but when lies, denial and disrespect enter into the picture there is no alternative but to bring the situation to an end via eviction.

The following case scenarios are an indication that the end result will be eviction:

Dispute #1:   What caused the kitchen sink to overflow three times?

What do you mean a dish rag was accidentally left in the sink drain?
What do you mean the drain was clogged? Why wasn't it reported?
Do you understand this water overflow is doing damage to the unit below you at a great expense?
It was just an accident?

Resolution #1:


Dispute #2:  The one-piece flooring is peeling around the edges of the kitchen floor caused by the kitchen sink overflowing.

Why is a resident ripping these loose pieces up and off?
Why didn't you call us and report the situation?
What do you mean it was like this when you moved in?
Don't you remember we repaired it once following a code enforcement inspection on your behalf?
Why is this now happening on the other side of the room?
Normal wear and tear you say?
It wasn't your fault?

Resolution #2:

None; denial.

Dispute #3:  You know your rent is due on the 1st of each month; why does it arrive routinely during the 2nd - 3rd week of the month?

You say you had car repairs, school supplies, etc., etc.?
Why am I not notified?

Resolution #3:

No promises; too many unexpected monthly expenses.

Dispute #4:  Why is there a fist-sized hole in the center of one of the bedroom doors?

That's not new?
It's been there for awhile?
Why wasn't it reported?

Resolution #4:


Dispute #5:  Your lease states that the premises shall be occupied by you and your two children.

Who is the other woman living there and the additional three children?
You've invited your friend and her children to live with you because her home was condemned and they have nowhere else to live?
Why are they still there after you received written notice from your Landlord asking you to have them move out?

Resolution #5:


Dispute #6:  It was reported by a third party that the front entry door to your unit (made of steel) would not stay shut and annoyingly banged open and shut.

You knew it wouldn't stay shut?
You didn't report it?
The repair man reported that the door was kicked in from the outside so hard it caused damage to the door jam resulting in major repair.
No way, you say, that the door had been kicked in?

Resolution #6:

None; denial.

Dispute #7:  The water from the kitchen sink overflowed into the dining room causing large wrinkles in the wall-to-wall carpet.

Resolution :#7:

None; no defense.

Dispute #8:  The kitchen floor as well as the back stairway are desperately in need of mopping/scrubbing. Walking in these unkempt sticky areas allows for tracking this sticky matter throughout the rest of the unit resulting also in dirty carpeting and a bug and/or rodent infestation.

A fifteen day written request to eliminate this situation was given verbally and in writing.

Resolution #8:

More than 15 days later the floor remains unkempt and sticky.

Dispute #9:  Failure to take responsibility serious for maintaining smoke detectors in working order.

Resolution #9:

None; no defense.

Verbally disputed and denied: broken window glass; friend observed in drug deal on premises whereas police were called; several unsupervised teenage boy guests partying on the premises after midnight annoying other residents; garbage improperly placed in receptacle(s);


  1. In addition to paying rent, the tenant's other obligations are to keep their rental unit clean, safe and free from unnecessary damage.

  2. There is no room in a Landlord/Tenant relationship for lies, denial, or lack of respect.

  3. Honest open communication on both parts is required to prevent a trip to the courthouse.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blueberry Muffin Recipe


For some unknown reason, although blueberries are fairly easy to grow, many of us are not inclined to plant them in our landscape and/or gardens. Blueberry bushes, as they grow, produce lots of berries which are both delicious and good for our health - reason being I decided to plant a few bushes here at home amongst the veggies in my raised beds. Growing them at home will also save me the time and money spent traveling and the cost of the berries themselves. I purchased my bushes at a local nursery where I could trust the employees to provide me with the pertinent information required for properly planting and providing for them. It was recommended, for cross-pollination purposes, to plant more than one bush so I bought three different types. Having planted them just this Spring it's amazing that I've been able to pick handfuls at a time for cooking with pancakes, eating on cereal and mixing them with yogurt. Not only that, I know exactly what type of pesticide was used on my berries - NONE!

This year I picked six quarts of blueberries at a local blueberry field where the only thing they grow is blueberries. I gave two quarts away;

used two quarts to produce 10 jars of delicious blueberry jam;

used 1 1/2 cups for making a dozen blueberry muffins
(note 3 are missing - taste testing - yum);

and froze the remaining berries so I can make more yummy blueberry muffins during our too long and too cold winter.

Freezing the blueberries really is a very easy process. First, using a strainer,wash the berries and pick through them to remove any stems or leaves that may have fallen in your quart.

Spread them out in a single layer on a large cookie sheet (preferably one that has sides)
and place them flat on a shelf in your freezer. 

After they have frozen, you simply transfer them from the tray into your preferred size freezer bag(s) and take out only the amount of frozen blueberries you'll need per recipe as required.

(best one I've ever tasted, so well worth the wait) 


1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (full fat or low fat)
1/3 cup vegetable, canola, safflower, or corn oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not thaw before adding them to the batter)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

           In a large bowl whisk together the lightly beaten egg, yogurt, oil, and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Gently stir the blueberries into this dry mixture.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and
stir only until the ingredients are combined and moistened. (The batter will be thick.)

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes (+/- depending on your oven)
or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Makes 12 good-size muffins.


Note: This recipe was borrowed from where instructions are provided via a video.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bella and Froggie = Precious Moments

Five year old Bella, grandchild number 7, misplaced her most huggable and best Froggie ever. Somehow poor Froggie drifted off to the wayside into a dark remote area where he wasn't seen for quite a long time.

Miraculously one day he courageously fought his way back into daylight and into Bella's heart once again. The joy and excitement expressed from such a young girl was overwhelming. They hugged each other and reaffirmed their love for one another.

But...Froggie was found to be a bit dishevelled. A few dust bunnies here, a few there; a few tears, a few rips - he needed a little TLC.

Almost unwillingly, Bella agreed to let Froggie visit G-ma's house (only 'cause she's a pretty good sewer) to stitch him up and get him back in good shape.

G-ma got him all stitched up but it was clear he needed a tubby.  Thinking a good soaking would be beneficial, a bubble bath was ordered. With all the comforts of home he was cleaned from head
 to toe.

After the bath Froggie started shouting:
"Hey, move over you two stinking dogs. I want to smell fresh when I meet back up with my Bella."

Froggie hung out in the bathroom to dry 'cause it's the warmest room in the house.

In the meantime he's just hanging around until he gets reunited with the love of his life, Bella.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Josh Haulin' Wood

Today, being a very cold and blistery winter day, I made a decision to surf the web for a new recipe - one, of course, that required me having a close relationship with the oven to sort of take my mind off of the chill I could see out the window. Not in the mood for anything chocolate (ate too much on Valentine's day) d.i.l. Kelly recommended Monkey Bread. Oooh, the thought of warm cinnamon and butter sounded wonderful.

The recipe I chose to follow required making the dough in the bread machine - couldn't get any simpler than letting the machine do the mixing, kneading, rising, etc. After the machine was finished with the dough-making process I continued to follow the recipe looking forward to my finished product.

Joshua, Ginger and Libby Lu

Ring, ring - phone interruption, grandson Josh calling for
permission to come over for an alone-time visit with us - permission granted. He arrived just minutes before the Monkey Bread went into the oven for baking, and he could barely keep his excitement under control when he laid his big, handsome brown eyes on the bundt pan. Today he will be my taste tester. You see...he said his mom, d.i.l. Andrea, has her own Monkey Bread recipe... and he said that she makes it for the family many times throughout the year... and he said it's always delicious... and he said the family eats the whole thing hot right out of the oven...and it seemed like he said it all in one breath, one sentence. : )

Joshua and the Monkey Bread
Because this was my first attempt at making Monkey Bread, I was really
looking forward to hearing how Josh's taste buds would rate my effort.

Please don't be disappointed but this recipe and the results of the taste testing will be illustrated in a future blog post because today's writing will be dedicated to the title of this post, Josh Haulin' Wood.

Josh, as well as all the rest of my grandchildren, is very well behaved. Their parents have taught them to show respect to their elders and we are very appreciative for this lesson. Just like us adults they have their good days and not-so-good days; some days more energy, some days less energy.

Josh's energy level during his visit with us today was high, high, high as it is most other times he comes to visit. His grandfather was needing to bring in some cut firewood from the freezing outdoor elements and the help that Josh could provide would shorten the length of time to perform this task and lessen the wear and tear to an already aching body. Always looking to pitch in, Josh volunteered to help his grandfather bring in a few trailer loads of firewood from the brutal cold outdoors and re-stack them in the garage. Not only the all-you-can-eat Monkey Bread being provided as a snack today during his visit, Josh also had the privilege of driving his grand-father's garden tractor making the chore much more enjoyable. : )

He drove the tractor three times from the garage
to the woodshed empty
and then

he drove the tractor three times from the woodshed
to the garage
full of cut firewood.

He drove the tractor full of firewood inside the garage where he helped his grandfather empty the wagon as well as

re-stack it.

 I did notice that his sweet little cheeks were getting rosier with each trip out to the woodshed but

 what kind of grandparents are we that we never noticed he wasn't wearing any gloves!

Luckily the oven was still warm from baking the Monkey Bread when he came back indoors so I had him place his hands on the warm flat stove top to warm up his cold little fingers.

Thank you, Josh, so very much for lending us a helping hand today. You can be sure that from this day forward I will always make available to you a warm pair of gloves. I'm also considering taking out an insurance policy on your hands as they are worth a million dollars to us! We love you and appreciate you a whole bunch!

A hint to anyone wondering if Josh liked the Monkey Bread:

1. This picture represents the amount of Monkey Bread left on the plate before Josh went outdoors to help with the firewood.

2. I refuse to show a picture of the amount of Monkey Bread
left on the plate after Josh returned home because that would be a dead giveaway!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Homemade Kahlua Recipe

I was totally blown away during a 'google' episode when I came upon a recipe for homemade Kahlua. Further searching revealed that there were several different ways to make it - with instant coffee, fresh ground coffee, plain brewed coffee, etc. Sure, Kahlua is a tasty beverage but I would have never in a million years believed the flavor could be duplicated in the confines of my very own comfy kitchen. As another step in being self-sufficient, I accepted the challenge to make homemade Kahlua as follows:


  • 6 cups of your favorite brand of brewed coffee
  • 1 lb brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of vodka

While the coffee is still hot, mix in the brown sugar

Let the mixture cool

Mix in vanilla and vodka

Using a funnel, pour the liquid into an appropriate bottle for storage

 Serve over ice or in a mixed drink of your choice


Cutting the recipe in half makes the perfect amount to fill a smaller previously used (and empty) Kahlua bottle. : )

This is a winner - simply simple and delicious!

Old Fashioned and All Natural Cold Remedy

I'm not the type of person who likes to 'drug' up on prescription or over-the-counter meds unless absolutely necessary - as would be in the case of a serious infection, heavy-duty pain, etc. (you get the picture). My preference is to take the natural route for get-well (and hopefully quick) recoveries.

Searching through the vast knowledge of information we're provided with on the Internet I came across several simple natural cold remedies. Because of the many dying brain cells I've been experiencing of late I thought if I came across one particular recipe that peaked my interest it would probably be a good idea to write it down on a notepad (rather than trust my memory) and tuck it away for future reference.

Then it happened. My yearly cold/sinus infection, which almost comes like clock-work early winter, didn't arrive until late January this year 2013. (Maybe the fact that I had the flu early winter 2012 had something to do with it. That big old stinking flu just wasn't going to step aside for that little old cold.)

After waking up one cold morning with a wicked sore throat - BINGO - I pulled out the notepad which held the written remedy (it was an amazing fact that I found the notepad) and began taking
the mixture immediately.

After three days of being diligent with this concoction I WAS HEALED! Sore throat disappeared 1st day. I never had any other associated cold symptoms such as chills or lack of appetite. As a matter of fact I remained quite active in the kitchen during this entire period. During the second and third day the sinus burning and running eyes greatly subsided. On the fourth day, although a slight nasal issue remained, I felt so good I decided to skip my dosage and on the fifth day it was over. Not developing a sinus infection was pleasant! Yes, it could have very well been a mild cold strain but then again this remedy could have been the cold killer of all times and just beat it to death. I'm definitely not wishing for another cold but should one catch me off guard I will not hesitate to follow this miracle mixture again and again and again.

Alright (drum roll please) here is the terrific old-fashioned cold-cure recipe I'm thrilled to brag about and hopefully you will be willing to give it a try when 'the cold' gets a grip on you.


1 tsp honey,
1/4 tsp cinnamon


Mix the two ingredients together and take twice a day for minimum of 3 days

  1. I enjoyed it best when adding the mixture to a hot cup of green tea.
  2. Although some sites recommend using organic honey and cinnamon I did not and still had excellent results.

It doesn't get any simpler or healthier.

Here's to a happy and healthy new year
to you and yours!

Don't Look For Happiness - Create It

Christmas 2013, being the first holiday of the year for me without my mom and dad to celebrate with, was very painful. I missed them both tremendously and efforts were taken to create new traditions. In looking back at the sadness that prevailed during that period I was able to take special delight from a particular gift bestowed upon me by my Cuz Chris of which I surrendered to humor.

Welcome Chicken Who?.

Golden yellow of color with beautiful pink-colored roses adorned on lucious green stems, Chicken Who? masters the art of balance with the long, strong feet of a Ninja warrior, displays a physically powerful neck in resemblance of a WWW wrestler and is supported by a back that can be compared to the strength of a lumberjack.

A beautiful bird (through the eyes of the beholder) none-the-less, Chicken Who? must establish its (pecking) order and need in its new surroundings called home.

A grand welcome would have been appreciated but a nose-to-nose meeting with Libby Lu the Puggle proved not to be above and beyond. Libby Lu, being raised to extend a warm welcome to all the guests who enter our home, left me somewhat disappointed. Not sure but maybe Chicken Who? had bad breath from eating too many worms.

Unlikely to develop a strong relationship with Libby Lu, Chicken Who? considered a friendship with Peter Rabbit (another gift bestowed to me from Cuz Chris.) Hmmm, looked good at first but when Peter realized that Chicken Who? wasn't able to reproduce he quickly removed himself from the picture.

I was kind of glad this relationship fizzled because it was starting to look a little kinky when Libby Lu decided to make it a three-way (if you know what I mean.)

Being a natural instinct for chickens, Chicken Who? took flight and perched on the highest landing in the room (a wall clock almost as high as the ceiling) to assess the situation. Feeling sorry for the tough transition into our home I thought maybe I would perform an introduction to some of the other members of our 'fowl' family.

Enter the ducks. Well first meeting was terrific but these darn little creatures began taking advantage of Chicken Who?'s strong massive back by using it as their primary mode of transportation. The line of ducks kept forming so I had to put them back in their place on the windowsill to eliminate the constant activity taking place on the kitchen counter. NO CHICKEN ABUSE ALLOWED!

I need to put my thinking cap on and help poor Chicken Who? to immediately find its niche! Please, please Chicken Who?, don't turn to the bottle, give me one more chance to make this right!! It looks like my Kahlua may be in jeopardy - I must move quick!

OK! OK! It's official!!

Chicken Who? is now Chickquita Chicken! Yes, she's a girl and the keeper of the bananas. Her attributes are being used to the max and I can tell by the contented look on her face this new responsibility gives her a wonderful sense of accomplishment. I am so pleased that Chickquita Chicken likes her new role because I soooo needed a place to store my bananas.

I can only hope that Chickquita Chicken
put a smile on your face and
happiness in your heart.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Six Months of Passings

During the last six months, episodes of illness and death took some of my mental aptitude and strength from me leaving me unable and unwilling to put forth blogging efforts. Without going into great detail I will lightly share some of these details.

Friday the 13th of July, 2012, Tuxedo, my handsome cat of 13 years, took ill and passed away peacefully. A terrific mouser and loving brother to sister dogs Libby Lu and Ginger, he will be greatly missed. There is no doubt he reunited with his brother Levi, sister dog Hildie and my grand-cat Fester. Fester passed away a short time before Tuxedo and was buried under an apple tree in our backyard. It was only fitting that Tuxedo be buried alongside of Fester under that same apple tree.

...On a much more serious note,

I was the main caregiver for my elderly parents during the last 2-3 years assisting them in every facet of their lives. I committed myself to making sure they could continue to live in their home of 66 years together by stepping in and handling the day-to-day activities they no longer physically or mentally were able to perform. It basically was like running a mini nursing home and then some - doctor visits, prescription runs, house cleaning, grocery shopping, meal prep, passing meds, hospital trips, laundry, lawn mowing, snow shoveling, and the list goes on and on. During some of the really serious periods of declining health I moved into their home to be there 24/7 sleeping on the living room sofa which enabled us all to be on the same floor during night time. Thankfully friends and relatives were able to step in for a few hours every few days allowing me home visitation. Then things started to get very serious. First dad went into the hospital with some health issues. Mom entered the same hospital a few days later very ill but got discharged to home before my dad. Dad was discharged to a rehab center where his improvement would go up and down. During his stay at the rehab center my mother unexpectedly developed a serious infection and had to be hospitalized again. Not having the strength to fight off this infection she passed away at 88yo on 10/19/12 in the MICU unit during the wee hours of the night with me, my children and her niece at her side. Dad was still not feeling well but two wonderful nephews of his managed to transport him to the funeral services followed by a family dinner gathering and then back to the rehab center. With failing health and age-related loss of strength, my dad suffered many set backs before he also was sent back to the hospital for better care. It was at this admittance I was introduced to the palliative care group who explained that my dad was dealing with some very serious health issues and that I should consider Hospice Care. After meeting with the Hospice group my dad agreed to be discharged to my home for comfort care. A ramp at the front door was built for his arrival, the spare bedroom was totally revised for his comfort by providing him with his lift recliner and large-screen TV from his home, guest chairs were placed around his bed to comfort his visitors and a comfortable hospital bed, commode, bedside table and all other medical necessities were provided by Hospice. I doubted that I could have given my father the complete care that he deserved and was going to need, therefore, I found it necessary to employ a health care assistant for a few hours a day to assist me with dad's morning and evening routines that included bathing, feeding, dressing, etc. My young male assistant was so much more. He was a friend to my dad and the rest of the family. He was loving and totally devoted to the care of my dad. The training and skills he brought with him to our home eased the transition of being able to give home care to my dad properly. With much excitement dad arrived via ambulance on Monday, December 3, 2012. So much happened during the next few days. Ups and downs. Daily and sometimes nightly visits with family, Hospice nurses, aides, clergy, social workers, etc. Days started running into nights.  Just six days after my dad's arrival to our home and less than two months following the death of my mother my Dad, at 93yo, reunited with his beautiful wife on Saturday, December 8, 2012. His funeral services followed shortly thereafter and a double burial was held.

Additionally, although it's all a blur, sometime during the later part of November I suffered with the ill affects of the flu. It seemed natural that my husband came down with the flu also but being a diabetic it spiraled him out of control and he was hospitalized for four days. He ended up bedded down in the same hospital during the same time period as my dad. Uncontrollably out-of-control it was necessary for me to see the doctor who put me on bed rest making it impossible for me to visit my dad or my husband while they were in the hospital. Oh, yes, the furnace stopped working during my bed confinement on a night the temperature outdoors was 20 degrees leaving me no other choice but to sleep in front of a small space heater shivering with my two dogs until help arrived the afternoon of the next day. My husband was discharged from the hospital on the same day I had a meeting with the comfort care group discussing arrangements for my dad to be discharged to my home. It gets much more confusing. During my dad's short stay at my house a home health nurse was also coming to our home to oversee the progress of my husband.

It probably doesn't mean much to anyone who has never had a pet chicken, but on what would have been my dad's 93rd birthday, 1/23/13, one of my four pet chickens also passed away.

I'm definitely still grieving but more subdued.
I'm taking giant steps in moving forward.
I have a few things up my sleeve I hope to be sharing soon.
I'm getting my groove back?