Monday, December 21, 2009

Video Of Bear

Hello! Please help us find Bear. Read the story below and please pass it on in any way you can as soon as possible. Time is of the essence! Every minute counts! Thank you!

This Christmas, we tried to do something nice. There was this dog who was living outside in rural Missouri. Several people got together to bring the dog back here to Chicago to a new and loving home, just in time for Christmas. The process of finding him a home took a few months, and coordinating the three legs of the trip took some effort, but finally, FINALLY, last week we did it! Bear, a two year old beagle mix found a lifelong loving home in Oak Park. Great story, right?

Well, having lived outside for all of his young life, Bear did not have any training and on Thursday, he pulled too hard on his leash and got loose. Terrified, he ran with the lease dragging behind him, and ran, and ran. His new owners searched for him for hours, and called local shelters, the police, everyone they could think of. He still has not been found. The two little girls who thought they had a new friend for Christmas are heartbroken. It will not be Christmas for them without Bear.

Please help us to find Bear! The whole purpose of bringing him here was to give him a good loving home where he would be warm and fed and loved. He is probably out there somewhere scared to death of the big city and doesn't know his way home. Won't you please pass this to everyone you know on Facebook, Twitter, Email, any way possible and help Bear find his way home for Christmas? He is a beautiful young dog with a loving spirit.

A dog expert that I know, recommends offering him a McDonalds burger (no onions as they are toxic for dogs). He was still wearing a red harness and if you try to catch him you would have to be careful that he doesn't pull backwards or he will be able to pull out of the harness. He could be hiding under a house, in someone's garage or shed. He may be too scared to come to you, so please call me right away if you see him. Thank you so much for caring!

Thank you.
Dancy Bateman

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness

During these difficult economic times, it can be hard to take our focus off of our own problems. However, there is so much we can each do to bring happiness to others, which in turn can bring happiness to ourselves. Please check out this link to Random Acts of Kindness that we can ALL do.

And remember, when someone does something nice for you - pay it forward! You will be amazed at how a small act of kindness can make a big difference!

You may have to cut and paste this to your browser.
Thanks for reading my blog, and have a GREAT day!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Folk Remedies

Great new folk remedies by my friend the Snow Leopard! If the link below does not work, please cut and paste to your browser.

What other folk remedies might benefit others? Would love to post them here!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mother Nature Knows Best

Check out this link to see how some schools are putting a new plan into action - breakfast and lunch plans, that is!

Please cut and paste to your browser.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Johnny Crawford

Last night while watching Svengooli's feature film The Village of the Giants, I recognized one of my old TV favorites, Johnny Crawford, from The Rifleman. Out of curiosity, I searched the web for information on what became of him. Here is what I found:

You wouldn't think a former rodeo cowboy would end up leading a dance band that specializes in music from the '20s and '30s, but readers may recognize the name Johnny Crawford for another reason: For five years, Crawford played Mark McCain, Chuck Connors' son on one of the most memorable Westerns from the early years of network TV, "The Rifleman."

Crawford, now 63, has amassed a lengthy resume over the years. In addition to his current job leading the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra, he's an Army veteran, stage and film actor, former teenage heartthrob and one of the Mouseketeers from the first season of "The Mickey Mouse Club" in 1955.

Those who remember Crawford on that show (Disney dropped his option when they pared the kiddie crop from 24 to 12 after 1955) or his Emmy-nominated role in "The Rifleman" may wonder how Crawford managed to survive the pressures of being a child star and, in his teenage years, a pop star ("Daydreams," "Patti Ann," "Cindy's Birthday"). But talk to him now and you'll quickly understand why: It has to do with the combination of a centered upbringing and having so many other interests he probably never had time to crash and burn.

"I always say that life is not easy for anybody," he says by phone from his Los Angeles office. "People hear about the young actors who have a rough life, but there are plenty of other kids who aren't actors who have a rough time, too, and I don't know if the ratio is any different."

In the late '80s, a two-year stint as a vocalist for Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks convinced Crawford that he could make a living performing the music from the '20s and '30s that he obsessively loves. He formed his dance orchestra in 1990 and is reissuing the band's 2008 CD, "Sweepin' the Clouds Away" this month. It's already available online and will be in record stores by June 16, his publicist swears, although Crawford the perfectionist is still tinkering with it.

Musical family

Crawford came by his musical interest through family ties. His paternal grandfather had been a jockey in Chicago, but a fall from a horse redirected his career toward music. He became first a song plugger and later an important music publisher. Although he died before Crawford was born, his grandfather left a trove of sheet music and original recordings that his grandson fell in love with.

"My parents bought a record player for my brother (former actor Bobby Crawford) and me, for our room, and I grew up playing these dance band records - Eileen Stanley recordings, Paul Whiteman. I just loved 'em."

Inevitably, as he became a teenager, he "got sidetracked by Johnny Ray and Frankie Laine, but then I would every once in a while put on one of those old dance band records. And early on I remember thinking, this is really wonderful and it doesn't sound like any of this other stuff I was hearing."

His mother's side of the family was also musical, he adds. His maternal grandfather was a violinist who became concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic in 1918 and the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the late '20s, and his mother was a classically trained pianist who continued to play at home even after she developed her acting career.

When Crawford was just 5, a producer wanted to cast him in a stage play.

"My mother, who was still doing theater work around L.A. at the time, was not comfortable with the idea of us getting into acting," Crawford says. "She was afraid it would lead to disappointment. So they put it to me. I felt kind of guilty that I should want to do it, but I said, 'Yeah, I'd like to do that.' "

One of first Mousketeers

After a number of small parts in film, theater and TV, he was tapped as one of the original Mouseketeers when Disney unleashed the daily "Mickey Mouse Club," in glorious black and white, and changed the whole notion of children's TV in the United States. For millions of Baby Boomer kids, even more than "Howdy Doody," "Hopalong Cassidy" or "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," "Mickey Mouse" became destination TV.

Although disappointed to lose the Mouseketeer gig, Crawford kept working between 1956 and the start of "The Rifleman" in 1958. Like lots of kids in the '50s, Crawford was nuts about Westerns, but he kept getting overlooked for those parts because he didn't look like the blond, muscular idea of an American kid. Finally, a role in what he calls "a grade-B movie that was really a grade-C movie," "The Courage of Black Beauty," enabled him to learn to ride horses, and that made him more attractive when the next big Western part came along.

"The Rifleman" was originally an episode of "The Zane Grey Theater," a TV series produced by former film crooner Dick Powell. As excited as he was to be doing a Western, Crawford was just as thrilled to be working for Powell because he was already a fan of music and film musicals from the '20s and '30s. Powell at first thought the 12-year-old "was putting him on," Crawford says, "when I asked him about 'Hollywood Hotel.' "

After "The Rifleman" ended, Crawford kept working, snagging roles in TV and film. He has more than 60 TV credits to his name, appeared in films such as "El Dorado" and "The Naked Ape," spent two years in the Army before his discharge in 1967 and then turned to stage work until he formed the orchestra.

Although Crawford keeps contact information for some 500 musicians he can call on to work with the orchestra, it's not always as easy as just picking up the phone.

"Trying to play the music in an authentic style that is no longer used is a real challenge, and I find I have better luck with younger musicians," he concedes. "They don't have as much attitude."

Authenticity is important to Crawford's music, which is why many of the familiar songs on his album, such as "Isn't It Romantic" and "You Were Meant for Me," may not sound like the versions we heard at our cousin's wedding or even on original recordings and old films. One reason has to do with the limitations of early recording equipment. But the real difference has to do with the orchestrations, Crawford explains. Today, "wedding bands" will offer predictable arrangements of classic songs in a single key. But the original orchestrations were far more complicated, with key and tempo changes that might vary from orchestra to orchestra.

More to the point, the orchestrations were meant for unamplified performances in concert halls and hotel ballrooms that were specifically designed for orchestral performances.

"My CD is really about the orchestrations," Crawford says. "This music is so rich, and what's exciting is that, because of the Internet and iTunes, young people can discover it for the first time."

Today, Johnny Crawford lives in Los Angeles and is separated from his wife, Charlotte, the high school sweetheart he reconnected with in 1990 and married five years later.

These days, rodeos and "The Rifleman" may be behind him, but you don't get the idea he's wallowing in the past.

Except, of course, for the music he's loved since he was just a little kid, playing his grandfather's old 78s on his bedroom record player.

"Sweepin' the Clouds Away" is available at www.cdbaby. com.

Hear a young Johnny Crawford sing Cindy's Birthday

Read more:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Free Clothing!

What a great idea my friend had! Host a clothing exchange in your home or church.

Here's how it works: Everyone brings clothes in good condition that they or members of their family no longer wear. Whomever brings items to exchange gets to look through the clothing, try things on, choose whatever clothing they would like to take home, and enjoy each others company. If there are any clothes left at the end of the evening, it can be donated to the charity of your choice. This is a great way to get rid of clothes you no longer wear and get new ones without spending any money! With Fall emerging, this is an especially good time to trade seasonal clothing.

For a little twist, you can have everyone bring a nonperishable food donation for your local food pantry. Many food pantries are struggling and with the colder months just ahead, it is only going to get worse. You can do this with food, toiletries, or anything that someone else can use.

To put a different spin on the exchange, make it a theme centered around children. Bring their outgrown clothes or toys. You can even work out play dates or offer to exchange babysitting services.

What other kinds of ideas can you come up with? We would love to hear from you!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

In loving memory of Roscoe
1994 - 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Back from the North Woods

I can't believe it has been so long since my last post! It has been too long indeed!

We vacationed to the North Woods in July, and had another unique experience. Every year is just a little bit different. The lake has a spirit of its own and we have seen several of its faces. This year it showed us yet another. Whitecaps dominated the surface and we were unable to take the boat out until Friday of the first week.The weather was cold, blustery, and rainy with temperatures reaching the low 40's at night and barely touching the 50's and 60's during the day.

The second week was much better weather wise with partly sunny to sunny skies and daytime temps in the upper 60's. Nights were still cold as the temps dove back down to the 40's, but it was great for sleeping! Finally, we were able to get out on the water and we caught over a dozen beautiful small mouth bass to bring home to savor throughout the balance of the summer, and perhaps even into the fall.

Bass fishing is by far my most favorite! The thrill of that strike and the experience of bringing in even the smaller bass is something I will enjoy for a long, long time! I love catching the larger ones but, even the little guys can put up a good fight!

Both my honey and I love it up there! We do a lot of fishing - mostly along the shoreline - but we are happy just to be there and take in all that nature has to offer. We love to stop and smell the pines, go for a hike, or even take a dip in the cold waters during the heat of the day. But we REALLY enjoy spotting wildlife!

The lake is teaming with loons, and various species of duck. The loons will sometimes hang around us as we sit anchored in our favorite channel. What a wonderful call they have! A pair of loons even staked out our little bay one night to mate by the light of the full moon! Have you ever heard loons mate? Interesting, to say the least!

Deer were plentiful as usual. But the 3 or 4 pairs of eagles that we normally see were somewhat scarce this year and I suspect it had something to do with the weather, as other species that are typically seen in abundance were suspiciously not present this year. We did not see any beaver, muskrat, or foxes as we usually do.

We have been going up to the same lake for about 5 years now. The first two years, we were gifted with the sight of a white wolf not far from our lake! How exciting! We look for the wolf every year but have not seen it since. And never have we seen a wild moose.

Our camp has been visited by a bear or two for the last three years in a row, but we have never seen them personally. However, as we were leaving the cabin for the last time this season, a black bear slowly lumbered across the two lane rural road about 200 yards in front of our car. I was blown away!

Our trip had been cut short by the death of our beloved dog, Roscoe, who was approximately 15 years old. As we left the cabin, I carried with me a terribly empty feeling, and secretly hoped to see a black wolf in the wild before we left. Why a black wolf, you may ask? Because Roscoe, being a shepard/lab mix, had a very wolf-like appearance, and I had hoped for some sign from him that he knew how much he had meant to us, and how broken hearted we were to have lost him and not been there with him when he died. I had decided that a black wolf would be a good sign.

That was when the bear came along. At first glance, my heart skipped a beat thinking it might be the wolf I was waiting for. It took only a second to see that it was not, but it was a gift just the same, and I accepted the gift with reverence. I feel blessed anytime I see a wild animal.

During our trip home, we contemplated going back in the fall as we often do, but I realized it would be too difficult to get away. Autumn is such a magical time and I will make time this year to enjoy it wherever I may be. I hope you will, too.

Do you have any photos of wildlife that you would like to share? If so, please send it to me at the following email address: and I will post it here on my blog.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Great Website!

A good friend of mine sent me this link to the Hillbilly Housewife website. It is a very interesting source of information on being frugal. I had a chance to look it over and must say that there are some very interesting tips and ideas. The recipes also sound delicious! Check it out at:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I Did It!

I can't believe it, Folks, but I actually canceled my account on Facebook! Why? You may ask. It's a terrific tool for networking, for finding long lost friends, and for keeping in touch. So what was the problem? I was addicted, for one. I felt compelled to check it often throughout the day, when my time would have been better spent doing things that I really should have been doing. However, when I began to feel the urge to check the site while waiting in traffic, I knew it was time to let go. Yes, I admit it. I was a Facebook junkie!

So, now that I have pulled the plug, it will be interesting to see how well I fill my time, and how well I keep in touch with those I care about - which include all of my Facebook Friends. Let's hope that I can restructure and re-prioritize so that I may slow my pace just a bit and get on with the business of living instead of frantically trying to keep up with the daily doings on FB. Oh boy! I can feel the jitters already! :-) I'm hoping my FB friends will not forget me and will tune into my blog regularly.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Check out My Favorite Links!

Please take a moment to check out my favorite links at the bottom of this page.

My friend Sue is an expert camper and has started an incredible new site called How In Tents! She also has a blog called The Snow Leopard. I'm sure you will enjoy her short stories and anecdotes.

If you have a favorite site that you think readers may be interested in, please include it in the comments of this posting.


To Continue.....

As some of you may know, I stopped contributing to my blog due to a disagreement with Adsense. So there will be no more ads on this blog for the time being.

I have been asked by a number of you to continue my blog, and so for now, I think I will do that. It is fun, and I hope that you all get something out of it as well. Please feel free to continue commenting and making suggestions. My goal is to post items that not only interest my readers, but also involve them and perhaps in some way, will be of help. Let's see what we can do with this!

And a big THANK YOU to my loyal followers whoever you are!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Want To Sell Your Handmade Crafts?

Just now I was surfing the net and came across this site. It is a venue in which you can advertise your handmade crafts. I don't know how it works, but I know some of you out there are very talented and just need a place to sell your wares. Check it out, and don't forget to let us know how it works out for you!

New Information

Hello, and thank you once again for visiting my site! I have noticed that the ads on my main page do not seem to have changed. However, should you click on a particular story, the ads change to something more in line with what has been written.

Each day, I try to add something new and interesting. Note the new addition at the bottom of my page, called Favorite Links. Also, please comment and contribute whenever you can. I love exchanging ideas!

Thanks again, and have a beautiful day!

Make Your Own Bird Suet Cakes

I found this recipe on the internet and it not only sounded good, but easy to make.

Sharon Smith's Sure-Fire Suet Mix Jan28, 1997

This is SOOOOOO easy to make, and my birds love it...from woodpeckers to chickadees to thrashers to sparrows.
1 part peanut butter (I use crunchy)
1 part shortening
1 part flour
3 parts cornmeal
1 part cracked corn
I also add black oil sunflower seeds and/or mixed seed
As I say, it's very easy to make and quite a popular item. (Last year I was given some store-bought suet cakes, and my birds refused to eat them! I finally broke them apart and combined with the above recipe!)

Interested in Wolves?

The International Wolf Center in Ely Minnesota is a terrific resource for all things "wolf". I have pasted a story here that I thought might be of interest. At the bottom of this web page there is a link to their site, which I'm sure you will enjoy visiting over and over again! Especially fascinating are the web cams!

Wolf Populations Double in the Northern Rockies, Alaska, and the Midwest Reports the International Wolf Center

May 7, 2009

Just when wolves have been removed from the federal endangered species list, the entire wolf population in the western Great Lakes states, and the northern Rockies has suddenly doubled. Similarly in Alaska, where coincidentally wolf control has just wound down, wolf numbers have also doubled. Rarely recognized, but as certain as spring, this doubling of wolf numbers has occurred in ground burrows, rock caves, abandoned beaver lodges, and various other secluded spots where each pack's breeding female gives birth to a new generation of offspring. This news may be reassuring to individuals and organizations worried about the survival of wolf populations.

Wolves typically live in packs averaging six adults. Spring litters in these packs average six pups, thereby doubling the population. For example, the Great Lakes states' overwinter population was about 4,000 animals, but after about May 1 those states can claim 8,000 wolves. Likewise, Montana estimated about 500 resident wolves during this past winter. Today the actual number is near 1,000. Traditionally, state and federal population estimates have been calculated when wolf numbers are at their annual low point, normally in winter. Although all wildlife populations experience these annual fluctuations, the more meaningful number is the rate at which a population is increasing or decreasing.

What happens to all these recently born wolf pups? Studies from Alaska to the Great Lakes states tell us that some pups die from disease, predation, accidents, and even starvation. In spite of high pup mortality and the fact that many states' population estimates do not account for dispersing juvenile animals, the yearly trend for wolves across North America has been to increase, and that annual increase has usually been at the rate of 4 percent to 30 percent. As you read this, in hundreds of hidden seclusions, a new generation of wolves is being born, and many of them are destined to live long enough to add to this growing population.

Wolves have needed sound science and public policy to recover to this point where their own reproductive rate can offset natural and human-caused losses. That recovery has been a landmark conservation achievement. The wolf's future, however, will rely on sound management and the preservation of vast areas of wildlands and the prey that thrive there.


ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WOLF CENTER- The International Wolf Center, founded in 1985, is known worldwide as the nation's premier source for wolf education. The mission of the Center is to advance the survival of wolf populations by teaching about the wolf's life, its relationship to wildlands and the human role in its future. The Center educates through its Web site,, its ambassador wolves, museum exhibits, on-site adventure and outreach programs and International Wolf magazine. Its flagship educational facility in Ely, MN, 1396 Highway 169, Ely, MN 55731. (Phone: 218-365-4695) is the future home for the new pups. The Center's administrative and outreach offices are at 3410 Winnetka Ave North, Minneapolis, MN 55427.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Make Your Own Garden Bird

Garden Bird


3/4" wood
3/8" drill bit
3/8" dowel
1 1/4" finish nail


Delta Ceramcoat:
Light Ivory

Apple Barrel Paint:
Burnt Umber


Cut bird body and two wings from 3/4" wood. Round all edges with sandpaper.

Place one wing on each side of body as shown in picture.

Drill 3/8" hole approx. 1" deep for dowel as shown on the body drawing.

Paint: Base coat the body and wing with Burnt Umber. Paint the beak and

belly Tangerine. Add an eye in light ivory. Load a brush with light ivory

and dab on paper towels to get rid of most of the paint color, then paint

some lines on the wings.

When dry, coat bird with Folk Art Antiquing medium or stain, wiping it into

the dried paint until you achieve your antique looking color.

Copyright 2007 Design may be used for fun or profit.

This design may not be mass produced for the wholesale market without

written permission. All rights reserved.

Looking for Craft Ideas

Do you have a favorite craft that you would like to share with us? We are looking for How To instructions and ideas. Please feel free to provide a link to your site.

New Tips to Help You Save Money!

A few more tips to help you save money! Hope the information is useful!

1. Do you have a cell phone? If so, you might want to consider getting rid of your land line. Why pay two phone bills?

2. Do you accumulate a lot of those plastic grocery bags? There are two remedies for this situation. First, help save the environment by using a fabric tote bag. Leave them in your car so they are there when you do your shopping. Second, use the plastic bags that you have already accumulated by lining your smaller garbage cans (such as in the bathroom or office). You can also use them to pick up after your dog, instead of buying special bags that are now sold specifically for that purpose!

3. Ride your bike! Now that the warmer weather is here, it's an ideal time to get your bicycles out! It will help you save on gas, wear and tear on your car, and also help you get into shape for shorts weather! It's just around the corner!

4. Drive your car as long as possible - especially if it is paid off! However, if you find you are putting more money into maintaining your old car than you would spend on a car payment, it may be time to begin car shopping!

5. Don't buy a car brand new! Always buy a pre-owned vehicle. Even though dealerships are offering no interest loans, if you buy a new vehicle, it will depreciate significantly the moment you drive it off the lot. Avoid the temptation to buy new!

6. Save money by avoiding coffee houses! Many people make this their first stop of the day on their way to work. Instead, bring coffee from home. Or better still, wait until you get to work. Many companies provide free coffee for their employees. Your $4 per day can quickly add up to $1,000 a year based on a 50 week working year. More if you buy more than one cup per day!

7. If you drink bottled water, refill the bottles a few times using tap water. If you have a filter on your tap, that's even better. Be sure you wash the bottles before reusing.

8. Do yo love to read? How about buying used books? Or trading with friends? Perhaps you can start an "exchange" at your place of work, or church, or other group. Be sure to write your name in the inside cover so you will know right away if you have already read a book! You can always use your local library as well.

9. Cancel your health club membership and work out at home. You don't need a gym to walk, run or do push-ups, sit-ups, etc. If you can also walk to stores instead of drive, you will not only get exercise, but also save money by not buying more than you need! Who wants to lug home more than you have to?

10. If you must go out for dinner, consider cutting back on drinking. I have recently replaced my usual two glasses of wine with a glass of iced tea. It costs less than half the price of a glass of wine, and the refills are free! Or, simply drink water instead. Waiters are happy to supply a slice of lemon if you are looking for extra flavor.

Do you have ideas on how to save money? We are always intrerested in hearing your ideas!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is the Economy Really Improving?

I was talking with a good friend of mine from out of town, who told me a heart wrenching story. She was in a place of business late one afternoon, when a man came in and asked to speak with a manager. The man was pretty average looking, middle thirties maybe. He wore a decent looking pair of slacks and a button down shirt that stuck to him in places, telling of a long day that was nearly behind him.

He was obviously tired and a bit agitated, wringing his hands unable to be still. When the manager came out to see the man, an all too familiar story emerged. The man had lost his job. He had a family to feed, and was looking for work - ANY work. He had been all over town looking for a way to earn an honest dollar simply to bring food home to his family that night.

The manager knew that his own business had dropped considerably and in fact, he was doing all he could to keep his doors open. All the manager had in his own pocket was $5. He gave it to the man who asked if he could at least sweep the floors so he could earn the money. You see, he was too proud to just take a hand out. The manager said it wasn't necessary, but the man insisted. He swept the floor making sure it was a job well done. Before leaving, he tucked in his shirt, walked over to the manager and shook his had, thanking him for the opportunity to earn the money.

There are many people out there right now who need an opportunity. They aren't looking for a hand out, but a hand UP. If you can help someone, even if you just need your garage cleaned or your grass mowed, I'm sure there is someone out there who would be very grateful for that opportunity.

Do you have a similar story? Can you tell us how someone has been helped? Please share your ideas and stories. We would love to hear them!

Monday, May 4, 2009

We Really Need To Do Something!

Good Morning!

I watched a program last night about needy families in America, and it was very disturbing! This is AMERICA! We shouldn't have people going hungry in this country! What about the children? They are supposed to be our future. If we don't take care of them, how are they going to be prepared as adults to take care of themselves, or us as we get older?

I realize that times are difficult right now, but there must be something each of us can do to help. So, I've listed some ideas below, and would love feedback from our readers. Can you think of ways to help our hungry citizens? Can you think of ways that we can positively impact a child's life? I believe that we should start at home - within our own families - but don't stop there! There are any number of things we can do to improve life in our country. Here are just a few:

Plant an extra tomato plant or other kind of vegetable, and bring the extra produce to a food pantry, shelter, or just give it to a neighbor that you know is experiencing financial difficulty.

Buy an extra can or two of food when you go grocery shopping. I know there is someone in your area who really could use it!

Host a charity get together with friends where each person brings a food item to donate. You can rotate holding the gathering at a different person's house each month. One month you can bring food donations, the next maybe toiletries, kid's toys or clothing? Warm clothing? Blankets? School supplies? The list is endless!

Volunteer one day a month at a local shelter.

Bake cookies for a shelter.

Prepare a gift basket of food for an elderly neighbor on a fixed income. Often our seniors cannot afford to buy both food and medicine. It must be so very difficult to have to make that choice. Anything extra that you can give them will make it that much easier for them to squeeze through the month.

Clip coupons for pet food and take them to your local animal shelter. You can always donate your old towels, too. There are many more pets that have had to be given up because their owners have lost their jobs and can no longer afford to keep them. It's heartbreaking to think of a pet going into a shelter. They don't understand why they are no longer wanted. Perhaps a better idea would be to buy pet food for someone in financial trouble who has a pet. Better to keep them out of the shelter if at all possible!

Get your church or place of business involved in a food drive for people or animals!

Please add your ideas. I, personally, would love to hear them!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Any Mommies Out There?

Newborns In Need will also take gently used clothing! Lots of babies out there could use your child's outgrown clothing. Consider making them a donation to your local Newborns In Need chapter. Simply go to and find a chapter in your area.

If you do not know how to knit, crochet, or sew, consider donation supplies to your local Newborns in Need chapter. Many people with experience in these crafts, may not have the financial means to purchase supplies, but would be thrilled to turn these supplies into wearables for the needy babies.

Perhaps you would like to host a baby shower to collect donations? A fun reason to get together with friends and a most worthy cause!

Your contribution will be greatly appreciated! On behalf of needy babies everywhere, a big THANK YOU!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Newborns in Need

Do you have a special talent for knitting, crocheting, or sewing? Newborns in Need is a wonderful organization committed to providing support to low or no income parents of newborns. To find out more about the organization and how you can make a difference in the lives of these needy babies, please go to the following website. A child is waiting.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lowering Your Cost of Living

Tell us what you have done in the last year to lower your living expenses. How are you saving money? Cutting coupons? Buying only on sale? Hosting a clothing exchange? Give us your ideas and share your experiences. We want to know!

Are You Going Green?

Tell us how you are going green! What are you doing to change how you live in order to protect the environment for our next generation.
Cutting Gardening Costs

When shopping for plants, look for those that are in bad shape, but not dead. Ask the manager of the store what kind of a deal he or she might give you if you were to take them off his or her hands. Oftentimes, the store no longer wants to deal with plants in this condition. You may be surprised - and it doesn't cost anything to ask!

Know other gardeners in your area? Why not ask for clippings or starter plants? Many gardening enthusiasts are happy to share! They may even give you helpful information on how to care for your new plants.

Save your seeds! At the end of the season, store your seeds in a brown paper bag or envelope and keep them in the garage (if unheated) or freezer. The seeds will go "dormant" as they would naturally, and will be ready for spring planting.

Buy seeds from the gardening store at the end of the season. Most seeds are still good for a few years after their expiration date.

Got any other ideas to share? Feel free to contribute your ideas!

Protect yourself from Swine Flu

What You Can Do to Stay Healthy

There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

* Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
* If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Useful Links

Helpful information about dryer sheets. Please check out the link below for all kinds of uses! Thanks, Sue!

Please note that you can also use a crumbled up piece of aluminum foil in your dryer. It will eliminate the static electricity, you can reuse it over and over and save on the cost of buying dryer sheets! Or if you like the fresh scent of your favorite dryer sheet, simply cut them in half and they will last twice as long!


Gardening Basics

Since it is nearly time to begin planting – well, it is here in northern Illinois – I thought it best to begin with an article on gardening. Let us begin with the basics.

After the danger of frost, which is usually about May first in this area, it is safe to begin planting your vegetable garden. If you are fortunate enough to live on a large parcel of land, you can plant enough vegetables to feed a family of four for the year! If you live in town, and have only a small patch of land, there are techniques that you can use to maximize your garden space.


The key to a good garden is to PLAN FIRST! Know the kinds of vegetables that you and your family will eat. Know the cool weather crops from the warm weather crops. Know where the sunny spot in your yard is, as most vegetables need plenty of sunlight.

Our yard happens to be partly shady, however, in the early spring (such as now) the trees that surround us are still quite bare and allow lots of sun to come through. It is a good time to begin planting. This sun will allow the young seeds and plants to get a good start. Be prepared, however, to cover your plantings should Mother Nature fool us and the weather turn cold unexpectedly.

Allow plenty of space between plants. Remember they will grow to fill in much of the space around them. If you plant from seed, be prepared to thin out your crop accordingly. It is a mistake I have made more than once in my zeal to grow more than my garden space allows. If you do not allow enough space, you will end up with small plants that bear little or no fruit. Check the backs of the seed packets for information on how much space each plant requires, how deep to plant your seeds, and how much sun and water is required for your plants to grow. It will also tell you when it is the ideal time to plant that particular vegetable in your area.


To begin planning your garden, mark off the area in which your plants will get plenty of sunlight. Measure and mark your lines, then turn the soil. I suggest adding peat moss and blending it well throughout the dirt. Adding a border will help prevent weeds from spreading into your garden and also can be an attractive addition. Though you can use almost anything to create your border, I suggest something smooth such as brick, or treated lumber, or concrete cinder blocks. This will allow you to mow along the outside of your garden and save you the time of having to weed whack later in the season to keep it neat.

If you have pets, I highly recommend fencing your garden. A wire fence is best in my opinion, because it throws less shade. If you have a small space, as I do, you will want to maximize the growing area.


After you have selected which plants to buy, and which to start from seed, you may begin to plant. I like to start with a row of stringless pole beans along the back of my garden. If you remember to get the stringless kind, it will be much less work for you at harvest time! Bush beans are fine, as well, but I prefer pole beans. For our situation, they get more sunlight as they grow vertically up the trellis, and since we are somewhat deficient in sunlight, we need to find it where we can!

When choosing a location for your plants within the garden, I suggest planting the taller ones in back and graduating downward in size as you work your way to the front of the garden. Leave enough space in between rows so that you can easily walk through your garden without stepping on your plants. Remember, they will grow much bigger than they are now!

When beginning with seedlings, I highly recommend using a watered down solution containing a good plant starting fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro for vegetables. Follow the directions on the package for the proper water-to-fertilizer ratio. Dip the root ball of the seedling into the solution before you plant. It will give the plant a good healthy start. For plants such as tomatoes or peppers that may require a cage or stakes, I suggest you install them shortly after planting. This will prevent possibly injury to the roots that can happen quite easily after the plants have had a chance to grow.

Once your garden is planted, be sure to water regularly and feed them per the instructions on the fertilizer package. You may also want to line the spaces in between rows with newspaper and/or mulch to help prevent weeds.

One thing that I like to do is to surround my garden with marigolds. The Marigold is a natural repellent to many creatures – insects and otherwise. The flowers are also edible, and can make a pretty garnish. I also like the bright splash of color that it brings to the yard. Many herbs act in the same manner, even going so far as to repel deer!

Lastly, remember to have some fun! Gardening should be joyous! A good way to stay connected with the earth!

Good luck with your garden! Please share your experiences with us – successes as well as failures! Your tips and ideas are most welcome!

Happy Gardening!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Welcome to my new Blog!

Living With Nature, is a forum for discussing ways to live green in our changing world. It is set up to be an exchange of ideas and techniques for treading lightly on the earth, while eating healthy and living green!

We hope that you will find this site informative, and look forward to hearing from you.