"A Single Prayer Moves Heaven."

~Japanese Proverb


"Dr. Eben Alexander's near death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon... one of the crown jewels of all near death experiences... Dr. Alexander is living proof of an afterlife."  
 ~  Raymond Moody, MD, PhD



"Proof of Heaven" is a very thought provoking book.  I read it a few weeks ago and each chapter is fascinating.  Yet, I can't stop thinking about the segment where the author tells us he fell into the depths of despair after...   

How to Find the Time...Getting Things Done During the Busy Holiday Season...Without Losing the Joy!

Frugal Luxuries: Newsletter Classics

Here are a few strategies for finding the time to make gifts and get things done during the busy holiday season...while keeping the joy alive.  Note: This article is an excerpt from a 1998 issue of our newsletter, Frugal LuxuriesAt the bottom of the page you'll find a scan of the original page!

  • Every evening, after dinner, I would choose an old movie to watch on video or television (I enjoy watching those with a holiday spark my enthusiasm).  I settled myself in a comfortable seat in the family room to prepare the apples [for the apple pies I planned to give as gifts]. Flanked by two large mixing bowls, I peeled and cored apples over bowl #1.  Next I cut the peeled apples into slices directly over bowl #2 (I also added a bit of lemon juice at the bottom of the bowl beforehand, to prevent the apples from browning).  This process continued until all of the apples were processed, taking about two hours.  I then seasoned the apples with cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and cloves and set them, covered, in the refrigerator.  The following evening, while playing my favorite Christmas music, I prepared a quantity of pie crusts, and proceeded to bake the apple pies. [See HERE  for more on easy food prep.]

  • My "movie watching strategy" is also quite effective for many craft projects as well.  You may settle yourself in a comfortable chair and hand sew or craft over a deep (2 inch) lap-size tray (you may substitute cardboard boxes, or jelly roll pans if you have no trays available).  Doing this keeps your mess within a confined space (the tray) and makes clean up simple and easy.  If your project requires several days, you may set aside your tray (perhaps on a closet shelf) until you have a chance to finish.

Create a master craft and cooking/baking list helps you to budget your time.  Because you are able to see at a glance... click HERE to read remainder of this (much longer) post


Homemade Holidays: The Gift of Dinner

"I am in the habit of looking not so much to the nature of a gift as to the spirit in which it is offered."
~~Robert Louis Stevenson

I've been putting together a few Frugal Feast for the Gift Pantry to give as token gifts to neighbors, friends and hosts/hostesses.  It's pretty simple, as you can see from the photo... 


Frugal Gifts from Kichen: Gift~Pantry~Vanilla... Hand Crafted With Love

The irregular and intimate quality of things made entirely by the human hand.
~Willa Cather



This make~ahead gift began last August with re~purposed vinegar bottles... a bundle of fresh Vanilla beans... and a liter of plain vodka.  I placed about a dozen, split, whole beans in each bottle then covered them with vodka and allowed Time to work its' magic...  Click HERE to read full post.


The Luxury of Frugality

Delight in ordinary things.
"Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be."
--Samuel Johnson

 Many people confuse luxury with opulence.  To understand luxury you must look at the true sense of the word...   
Click HERE to read full post.


Cookery: A Useful Accomplishment...Or How to Eat a Giant Zucchini

" ' Lounging and larking don't pay,' observed Jo, shaking her head. 
 'I'm tired  of it and mean to go to work at something right off.' 
 'Suppose you learn plain cooking; that's a useful accomplishment, 
which no [one] should be without,' said Mrs. March."
--Louisa Mae Alcott, Little Women
I was practicing the art of cookery today and wanted to share the results of making use of just one of those super~sized zucchini I had  mentioned HERE (bought from the farm stand, 3 for $1).   
Click HERE for the rest of the post.


"Potential Accomplishments" and the Natural Magic of List~Making: Creating a Master~List

"All things on earth point home in old October....--Thomas Wolfe

As you probably already have guessed, I am a list~maker and leave very little to memoryIn fact, the only thing I really leave to memory is where I put my lists! I've found that lists are an invaluable tool for staying focused. My memory is on overload most of the time so I especially love the idea of a Master List of Potential Accomplishments and have long used this tactic to unburden myself mentally.

I firmly believe there is a kind of a natural magic in list~making. The very act of writing out your potential accomplishments sends a message to your central nervous system and consequently you find yourself doing the very things you want to get done! CLICK HERE TO READ FULL POST.



(Exercising) The Art of Frugality

"Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship." 
 -Benjamin Franklin

How are you practicing the art of frugality lately? Here are some of the ways I've recently exercised the art...plugging the small leaks in my ship.   

Click HERE to read the full post


Homespun Alchemy™ ... In the Kitchen
Lacto-fermented carrots and garlic after about eight days of fermentation

"You are an alchemist; make gold of it."
-- William Shakespeare

Several years ago after reading about...and being intrigued by...a somewhat mysterious food-alchemy called "fermentation" ....

Click HERE to make the jump and read more.


"Discovering... the Forgotten Wealth of Nature"

"It is the thrifty who prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."

~ Aesop (circa 550 BC)

"It was the children who spied them first. Our bare ankles and sandal~ed feet scraped scraped against the cactus~like needles as we stepped gingerly over the vines sprawled across the landscape. They had buried themselves inside a mysterious, shadowy tangle of Pepper and Avocado trees like long forgotten treasure. A colossal patch of blackberries lie before us, not unlike an ethereal gift, the type of gift that night~fairies might leave to mere mortals. The dark glistening berries seemed to blink at the sun's brightness as we gently lifted the brand of an ancient Pepper tree to examine our cache'....