AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

TL AUGUST 1-7 IS SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE WEEK

SIMPLIFY – To make simple or simpler: as a :  to reduce to basic essentials 

b :  to diminish in scope or complexity :  streamline <was urged to simplify management procedures>

c :  to make more intelligible :  clarify

A SIMPLE LIFE

It seems to me that it should be simple to simplify, ya know???  No matter how much effort we put into trying to simplify, it seems we work twice as hard to make it happen.  Now, does that make any sense to anyone?  No, I didn’t think so.  :-/
Well, here’s my take on simplicity.  I honestly believe that it begins within.  How high-maintenance are you, and what would you be willing to live without?  I’ve had many friends through the years and have traveled with a few.  I never let them know I was doing this, but I was secretly observing the luggage they carried.  You see, the things we travel with are the things we are not willing to part with.
The more stuff you are willing to live without, the more simple your life will be.  If you truly desire simplicity in your life, it’s necessary to let go of some non-essentials.  I know they seem like essentials right now, but stay with me.  This may make you re-think things.
For example, do you need a ton of makeup when you travel?  I’m not suggesting you go without makeup altogether (oh, heaven forbid) – but there are ways to travel with less.  I take one container of mineral make-up, a tube of mascara, a shadow, brow pencil and lip gloss.  Choose one color of lip gloss and plan your wardrobe around that theme color.  I usually choose red in the fall/winter months or dark pink in the spring/summer months.
I believe simplicity begins with the discarding of extras.  It’s about organization and pre-planning.  To make life easier, surround yourself with less.  It sounds like you would be denying yourself of things, but it is the most freeing experience to rid yourself of clutter and get organized.
Recently I went through my closet and took out pieces that I have not worn in the past year – for whatever reason.  If you have not worn a piece of clothing in the past year, you probably don’t need to keep it.
In the kitchen, organize with cook ahead cookbooks, or go online to find some great recipes.  Here are 20 of my favorites!  http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/quick-easy/make-ahead-meals-0
If you cook on the weekend and freeze each serving, that frees up the weeknight to relax and enjoy your family.  Simple.
Teach kids to pitch in and help with things like laundry.  Even boys will need to know how to do that at some point when they get older, so you’d may as well get them involved now.  They will feel like they are helping out and it will take some of the load off you…  get it – load – laundry?  Never mind.
 When you make a conscious decision to make do with less, that is when simplicity will become a reality.  When you organize things a bit and enlist help from the rest of the family, it will pay off in the long run.
Give it a try…  and bask in simplicity!  🙂
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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)

There are some changes taking place in Wichita.  Although embracing change with an open mind is a challenge for me, I’m opinionated and need to add my two cents worth (which in today’s economy is worth less than one cent).  :-/

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DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER NATIONAL AIRPORT Wichita, Kansas

Wichita has a new airport – the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.  It looks quite modern from the outside and everyone talks about how fresh, clean and new it looks inside.  My husband and I decided to go check it out.

Before I go on, allow me a moment of nostalgia.  There’s not a ton of fun things to do in Wichita, so we used to go to the OLD airport and watch the planes take off and land.  Don’t feel sorry for me – that was fun!  We used to do that for a while, then eat at one of the restaurants and just walk around a bit.

PRE 9 11 MEMORIES

These days – in the post 9/11 world – it’s considered loitering.  Just hanging around an airport is not encouraged now for obvious reasons.  I get that – but part of me is sad.  Bit by bit our innocent activities are being taken from us.  Hey – when you’re low on cash, watching planes at the airport can be sort of fun!  There’s a people-watching opportunity you just can’t get anywhere else!  😉

There is absolutely no reason to darken the door of our new airport unless you are catching a flight.  There is one small “café” on the ground floor – as far as I could tell, they sell donuts and coffee – maybe hot dogs.  That’s about as good as it gets for those of us who are not being winged off.

If you are going to pick someone up at the airport, take my advice and brown bag it or eat something before you get to the airport.

All the other restaurants are beyond security!  Yeah – I’m just sad.  

Gone are the innocent days of eating a nice meal with friends or relatives then walking them to their gate to see them off.  Then once they’re on the plane, standing at the huge window to watch the plane take off (crying and waving – as though they can see you).  LOL!!!

It’s sentimental and silly – but I will miss it.

I guess the new plan will be to eat at a restaurant somewhere in the city before taking them to the airport.  Then we will say goodbye outside in the parking lot – and drive away, trusting that they will get through security and on the right flight at the right time.  It seems so cold compared to the way things used to be.

I don’t like it – but I don’t like the way 9/11 changed our country and our lives forever.  The new airport is efficient and discourages loitering – I get it – this is the way it has to be.  Just give me a minute to be nostalgic and sentimental – and yeah – silly.  I pray that God will bless our country – in this post 9/11 world.  We will never see the innocence we once knew again.

It’ll be okay – really it will.  🙂

COUNTRY INN BED & BREAKFAST DAY

TL 10-5 COUNTRY INN BED &amp; BREAKFAST DAY
http://youtu.be/4gKwCOOGlEo

Whether you are in Indiana or Maine, today is COUNTRY INN BED & BREAKFAST DAY!!!  Isn’t autumn the perfect time to stay at a bed & breakfast? We naturally enjoy a change of scenery and the rooms are usually very nice and smell amazing! The best part of the getaway is enjoying some wonderful meals and snacks. These great pumpkin cookies await you at White Cedar Inn in Maine. http://www.whitecedarinn.com/freeportmainetodo

Ingredients:
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch salt
1 1/2 c sugar
1 stick butter
1 c canned pumpkin (15 oz can works well, use the remaining pumpkin as a snack)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Grease baking sheets. Preheat oven to 350.

Directions:
Cream together sugar & butter in large mixing bowl. Mix in pumpkin, egg & vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt to pumpkin mixture, beat until well-mixed.

Using a cookie scoop, drop rounded mixture on baking sheets, leaving room for expansion. Bake for 15 minutes until edges are set.

Let cookies cool and then drizzle on glaze. I used a condiment squeeze bottle, but a plastic bag with the corner cut off works well, too.

Glaze:
2 c confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp whole milk
1 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Transfer to ‘dispenser’ to glaze.

Keep in mind that 15 ozs of canned pumpkin is by weight. You’ll be using 1 cup by volume so there will not be that much left over. Mix it in with some Greek yogurt for a really creamy, seasonal snack.
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Well, I won’t get to stay at White Cedar Inn tonight, but maybe I’ll make a batch of these cookies! I’ll use Splenda instead of sugar, of course, and probably skip the glaze. They’ll still be good I’m sure! It is pumpkin season and we should celebrate! Wink! 😉

DAY TRIPPIN’ AROUND KANSAS

DAY TRIPPIN' AROUND KANSAS

 

9-5 CORONADO HEIGHTS

 

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It’s a journey we and many other families have taken many times through the years. We went to Coronado Heights Park this week just to get out of the house for a while.

Of course this landmark just northwest of Lindsborg, Kansas was not always known as a park. It was the highest hill in the area (a prominent 300 ft. above the valley below) where local legend teaches that Francisco Vasquez de Coronado surveyed the rich valley before he abandoned his search for the legendary Land of Quivera and its seven cities of gold.

Chain mail was found by a professor at Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas in 1915. It was at an Indian village excavation site a few miles southwest of Coronado Heights. Another Bethany College professor promoted the name of Coronado Heights for the hill. In 1920, Swensson Drive was constructed on the hill with a footpath known as Olsson Trail.

In 1936, the Historical Society sold Coronado Heights to Saline County for $1.00 so the Depression-era Work Progress Administration could make further improvements to the park, including construction of the iconic castle, additional cooking and picnic areas, and restroom facilities. They also built a front gate made of the same soft Dakota Formation sandstone.

In 1987, Saline County sold Coronado Heights back to the Smoky Valley Historical Association for – you guessed it – $1.00. I think that’s a HOOT.

In 1988 a sculpture that says “Coronado Heights, A Place to Share” was put at the half-way point up the hill. It was obvious the Heights should be valued and accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Now it’s a park, owned by the Smoky Valley Historical Association. The view from the top is amazing and you can see for miles. There are wildflowers in bloom on the hill in the spring and summer months. A beautiful mix of yucca, butterfly milkweed and spiderwort along with various prairie grasses are astounding. Clumps of sandhill plum, sumac and gooseberry are found around the north and east sides of the hill. As you get closer to the entrance, you can see where people have carved their initials in the soft sandstone.

I was talking with a local shop owner in Lindsborg who told me the castle has been used in movies! He recalled a couple of years ago when large vehicles were parked all around Coronado Heights – up top! He said he was amazed they could maneuver the curves and avoid the potholes going up Swensson Drive. I must say, I agree. The road is very rough and there are some hairpin curves!

The Smoky Valley Historical Association is trying to raise funds to make some necessary repairs to the park, specifically, update the bathrooms and make some repairs in the picnic area. I asked if the road was on the list of things to repair. I was assured that it was the third item on their “to-do” list. If you would like to give, you can send it to:

SMOKY VALLEY HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
P.O. BOX 255
LINDSBORG, KS 67456

Or, credit & debit card donations may be made by going to:
http://www.lindsborghistory.org
and click on the Coronado Heights donate button.

A gift to support Coronado Heights is an investment in the history of Kansas and the future of Kansas. I hope and pray that future generations of Kansans will get to enjoy the natural beauty of Kansas as they picnic with their families at Coronado Heights Park.
Kansas thanks you!

The Smoky Valley Historical Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

Directions: From Lindsborg (18 miles S. of Salina), follow K-4 to the west edge of town. Take Coronado Avenue 3 miles north to Winchester Road and go 1 mile west. Open 8 AM to 11 PM.

We here in Kansas say, “Go down Coronado till you pass the cemetery, then hang a right!” I hope if you’re ever in Kansas you’ll visit Coronado Heights Park.   🙂

NATIONAL TRAIL MIX DAY

TL 8-31 NATIONAL TRAIL MIX DAY

8-31 TRAIL MIX

A nature hike with John Minton.

Damita Jo Rogers used to say, “I’m gonna SCHOOL ya about this!” I smile when I think of her. Today I decided to do a blog to SCHOOL ya about Diabetes and healthy snacking.

There are so many misconceptions and falsehoods about Diabetes and food, regardless of the “type”. People tend to focus on keeping sugar away from Type 2 Diabetics. That would be fine, but if a Type 2 has a low blood sugar, guess what they need to bring that number back to normal? Yes, they need SUGAR.

It’s true that we can’t sit around eating anything we want all day long (bummer). We don’t have to do as much pre-planning and calculating as Type 1 Diabetics do, but we do need to be prepared for a low blood sugar when it happens. I carry glucose gel and hard candy (not sugar-free). If I know I’ll be doing a lot of walking or be very active, I also carry some homemade trail mix in my backpack or tote bag.

I like to make my own because that way I know what is in there. Sometimes there are added ingredients in the store-bought varieties. I’ll be brutally honest – it’s also much cheaper to make your own trail mix. It is outlandishly expensive, especially from convenience stores. A small bag can cost over $5.00. Yes, I am frugal, thank you very much!

It’s not only NATIONAL TRAIL MIX DAY, but today is also PORTION CONTROL DAY!

I like the motto:  Respect your body, respect your health, respect your life!   

Here’s my recipe for Diabetic friendly Trail Mix.

Low-Carb Trail Mix

1 cup raw almonds (I use sliced but you can use whole)
1 cup pumpkin or squash seeds (you can toast them or not)
2 ounces unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins or currants, loosely packed

This makes about 16 servings of 1/4 cup each. I bag each serving separately to avoid overeating. This mix has only 6.5 g. of carbohydrate. I think you will see that it’s better than the pre-packaged stuff at the store!

You can use sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin or squash seeds. Also, hazelnuts, soy nuts or walnuts in the place of almonds once in a while is good.

I’ve also learned that if I have a craving for chocolate (c’mon… who doesn’t?) I can add a SMALL BAG of regular M&M’s to the mix and it will take care of the craving. I usually have my worst cravings around Halloween. There’s just something about Autumn and Halloween that brings out the chocolate cravings! It does add a few carbohydrates to each serving, but it’s better than going crazy eating a candy bar!   😉

DAY TRIPPIN’ AROUND KANSAS

DAY TRIPPIN' AROUND KANSAS

MID WEEK TRAVELS
As the weather gets warmer, we tend to travel more often.  Today we took off down I-135 heading north.  I captured this photo of an oil well pumping early this morning.  The colors are so beautiful at dawn.  Isn’t that blue just amazing?

I hope you dance…  – Lee Ann Womack

When you are traveling, are you ever entwined in your own thoughts and silently thank God for the day and for your safety? Do you wonder why you are sometimes on a wild goose chase as you try to find the right highway? Maybe God is protecting you from imminent danger. Don’t be discouraged or angry the next time you have a difficult time finding the right road. We don’t know what lies ahead, but God does.  That delay could be for your protection.

You will probably be heading out for vacation soon. Don’t forget the essentials: SPF 15 or more, snacks for the road, and pray for traveling mercies. Trust that the times you get sidetracked or held up on the highway or just plain lost, God has a reason for allowing those delays and they are for your own good. Your days are in His keeping.

Mapquest really needs to start its directions on number five.  Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.  – Aaron Karo

Only God knows if I’ll get to travel to all the places on my bucket list.  One thing I do know, as I travel, prayers for traveling mercies will be said and I believe God will keep me safe.

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Even though we have modern technology to help us get where we need to go, may we not forget or refuse to seek divine guidance. Nothing takes the place of that prayer in the driveway before you begin the journey. May God keep you in the palm of His hand as you travel this year. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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JUST A THUMBNAIL MOON

Until it’s time for us to travel ON… we just travel. There is one simple joy in being a childless couple. We are free to take flight at a moment’s notice if we want to! My husband and I have been known to suddenly take off for parts unknown and drive all night to get there.

One such night I noticed the sky was darker than usual. We were parked at a local convenience store and I decided to get out and stretch my legs one last time before we did some serious traveling. I grabbed the camera and got a shot of this beautiful thumbnail moon. As I pointed the camera to take my shot, I said a little prayer for traveling mercies – again. Hey, you can’t over-pray these things!

I took the photo around 3am, which lets you know that we travel at strange times to be sure. I just kept thinking about how dark it was with that bit of light glowing in the sky. Other than being dark, it was beautiful weather. There was not a lot of wind (which is unusual for Kansas) and as I recall we wore long sleeves, but did not need coats.

The darkness was a little spooky. I’m not afraid of the dark, but it was just a different sort of night. It’s actually better to travel when there is not a full moon because that’s when strange things happen. So with that thought in mind, I embraced the little thumbnail moon and decided that God would see us safely to our destination.

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. – Proverbs 29:25

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

The giant known as FEAR disappeared through prayer and reminders from God’s Word. It was a lovely trip. ❤