Even though we’re still in summer-fun mode, I was curious if any of you have done any shopping for school already. Have you stocked up on pencils, crayons & glue sticks? Done any clothes shopping for the kids?

Believe it or not, I still usually end up buying a handful of things for the grandchildren and because the stores put out so many supplies, I tend to stock up on a few for the office as well; while their on the cheap.

Today, I was asked where I was during the Moon landing 45 years ago, and it’s funny, not thinking that it was in July when Neil stepped out, my mind immediately went back to my elementary school days. The teachers would escort us all down to library to watch the landings together on TV. We had to sit on our knees with our hands folded in our laps, lights turned off. If you made any commotion then you were escorted back to class without getting to witness the most exciting moments of all time unfold before your eyes.

School can be both, a learning experience and culture shock. Be prepared.

Let us know if you’ve shopped for school already this summer!

I’m trying really hard not to turn this Christmas into yet another McChristmas. A quick shopping trip the day after Turkey, to the stores at the crack of midnight [which I missed again this year – I slept in] just to buy as much as I possibly can in as little amount of time as possibly can. I do love shopping as much as the next woman, but it’s really getting to be more than I can handle at this point. Then look on the kids faces when they didn’t get exactly what they wanted under the tree or as much as they thought they should have. Is this really “Christmas?”

My sister-in-law told me that her grown children actually counted the gifts under the tree to make sure they all had gotten the same amount. Now, I thought the entire point of a gift was to give something from the heart. Where did I go wrong in my thinking?

An old friend, Maxine Morris, many years ago, told me that when she was a very young girl, that Christmas was an apple, an orange and a stick of penny candy in a stocking. And she was thrilled for it. Try that today in our McChristmas world.

I’m not really complaining, as much as, I’m just thinking out loud.  I’m trying to rationalize my way of spending at Christmas.  This year, like every year past, my husband has vowed we are cutting our holiday spending way down. Maybe one or two gifts per person.  And really we should. There is no real reason to buy presents just to see packages climbing the walls, as it was in our youth. The economy isn’t even the real reason, it plays a part, but it just isn’t practical. How much stuff does one person need?

I know we don’t need anything really, and if our kids need something, they just run out and pick it up. So aren’t we all just getting a little crazy over an event that takes a few minutes to unwrap and in a day or two they won’t even remember what they got?

Example: Two years ago, I bought Steven an 60Gig IPod it was stolen at his school the very next day @ wresting practice.  Yes, just a few bucks short of a felony. Now you know, when some kid brought that home, there was no way his parents thought he got a new $498 IPod as an exchange gift.  But like I told my son, it’s just a thing… you got along without it… before you had it. Hopefully next time, he’ll be more aware of his surroundings and just not trust anybody[Doubtful, since he lost or had something stolen weekly]. I guess, some kid at his school was a kleptomaniac. I blame the parents.

Anyway, I don’t plan on giving anyone a gift this year, that will cause someone to loose their soul over. Nothing coveted here. Just a handful of little trinkets, not to tell them that I love them and cherish them, but just a little something to put a smile on their face. I’m still making my list and checking it twice. They have all been a blessing to me and I hope to be a blessing to them.

If you want to give ME a gift this year, I would consider it a huge blessing, if you help me – help others with these query’s: Virginia history Pennsylvania county Morris; what is the Scottish clan name for the surname Caswell?, Adkins genealogy, Blue Sky – Chief Cornstalks daughter, Quakers + “Simon Metcalf”, ancestry of John Montgomery b. 1779 KY, John Franklin Reed family history. If you have any information – no matter how small, please do share it. Thank you in advance.

A rose only becomes beautiful and blesses others when it opens up and blooms. Its greatest tragedy is to stay in a tightly-closed bud, never fulfilling its potential. ~ DALE GALLOWAY

GroceryShopping1. Shop once a week.
2. Shop from an organized list. (Save 18-22 % off a planned list.)
3. Do not shop while hungry. One has a tendency to buy more ready-prepared, expensive foods.
4. Beware of special displays. Impulse buying greatly increases food bills.
5. Confine your shopping to two stores, if possible.
6. Clip and use coupons (if available) for items you need to use.
7. Compare size of tin or package and cost per unit of measurement.

Think enthusiastically about everything; but especially about your job. If you do, you’ll put a touch of glory in your life. If you love your job with enthusiasm, you’ll shake it to pieces. You’ll love it into greatness. ~ Norman Vincent Peale US clergyman (1898 – 1993)

Plan menus at least one week in advance.

Make a 3×5 file card for each menu you now prepare. Add a new card for each new menu your family enjoys. In a short time, a week’s menus and shopping list can be prepared in seconds by simply choosing seven cards.

Proverbs 10:27
Proverbs 16:3

Incorporate small appliances into your plans, like a slow cooker, small broiler, electric skillet, and a microwave oven. (We all know I’ve been a micro-slave for many years)

Try new recipes so your meals will be varied, not predictable. Plan nutritionally-balanced meals and use foods in season. Cut down the necessity of using convenience foods by careful planning. Serve left-over attractively. Buy larger roasts, turkeys, ham and chickens and plan to use slices of meats for sandwiches, pot pies, casseroles, salads and soups. Make your own TV dinners by freezing left-over portions. Remember to remove meat from bones before refrigerating.

It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune, but just yourself that kept things from you. ~ Lillian Hellman

For those of you unfamiliar with “stumbling”, here’s a link –  http://www.stumbleupon.com/, but be forewarned about the addictive properties. While playing on it I found this:

Abraham Lincoln’s Letter to his Son’s Teacher

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,

Steer him away from envy,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.

Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick…
Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books…
But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.

In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.

Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow,
my son!


“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that perseverance means a strong will and obstinacy means a strong won’t.” ~ D.W. Jerrold

Plan your menus at least one week in advance. Make a 3×5 index card for each menu you now prepare. Add a new card for each menu your family enjoys. In a short time, a week’s menus and shopping list can be prepared in seconds by simply choosing seven cards.  I use a Menu planner (pencil, so I can change it if need be) and I have 52 weekly pages.  


Incorporate small appliances into your plans, like slow cooker, small broiler, electric skillet, sandwich maker or grill, and of course the microwave.


Try new recipes so your meals will be varied, not predictable.


Plan a nutritionally-balanced meal. Use foods in season. Cut down the necessity of using convenience foods by careful planning. Serve leftovers attractively. (Remember to always remove leftover meat such as turkey, chicken or ham from the bone before storing).




Or you can try the easy approach and let someone else do it for you.


Fastest and Freshest
What You Get: Every Wednesday, five entrée recipes with side-dish suggestions and a shopping list are e-mailed to you. The list highlights the required amounts of staples, like sugar and oil, down to the teaspoon; recipe codes make it easy to reformat a shopping list should you want to skip a recommended meal.

Cost: $5 a month, $26.50 for six months, $47.50 a year.  Previous weeks’ menus, $1.50 each