Small Space Decorating – Outside

Previously I’ve shown you how you can decorate your small home with simple things such as changing your dining table centerpieces. It can make a big difference in how your house/apartment looks.

But what about the outside of your home? I live in a single wide trailer in Florida so I have a small amount of space. It still takes some planning to change the looks outside.

Decorating your mailbox is one easy improvement you can make. The covers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. If your mailbox is metal, there are magnets on the edge of the cover that hold it in place. If it’s plastic, there are small holes punched along the edge that you can use zip ties to secure it with.

As veterans, we always have an American flag out, but on the other side is a different story. Here I use large garden flags. I tend to change these with the seasons!

I have a number of the smaller flags that I use. Here are the three that I have out right now. The one on the left is positioned so that when I am backing in, I can use it as a guide for how far over I should be. If I’m doing it right, that flag will be just to the right of my car fender.

You can only go so far with flower pots so try adding colorful solar lights to add interest to your space.

Don’t forget the special appeal of garden statues! These come in all sizes and can also be changed to reflect the seasons.

That’s all I have for you now. Stick around to see what else I can find to decorate my space!

The Pioneer Woman by Ree Drummond

Two for One Book Review

I’m going to do something I haven’t done before, review 2 books on one blog post. In my defense however, your enjoyment of both books should be enhanced by reading the other at the same time. At least, that’s what I’m finding, and I don’t willingly read non-fiction at any time!

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – A Love Story

This is the story of how Ree left Los Angeles and returned to her family home in Okalahoma after breaking up with her long-time beau. At this point in time, Ree was a died in the wool city girl who was just stopping over on her way to Chicago. She had convinced herself that she preferred the fast-paced life to be found there.

A chance invitation to meet up at the local bar at Christmas time found her crossing paths with a handsome cowboy she dubbed “Marlboro Man.” One thing led to another, and somehow Ree never moved on to Chicago.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but the rest of it is filled with tears and laughter as Ree and Ladd get married, have their first child and face all the trials of living in the Midwest.

Kara Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars I definitely recommend this book.
Reviewed in the United States on January 30, 2018
Verified Purchase
I've been thinking about buying this book, but from the cover it looked like it would not have much substance. Well, I thought I would look inside and read a couple of pages, boy was I surprised. I was hooked and had to buy it. In fact, it was so good I gave a copy to my daughter and granddaughter, they both couldn't put it down.
I bought the paper back not knowing if I would like it.

The way Ree describes events will make you laugh. Their are some sad moments, but don't we all have them.

Some of her passion for Marlboro Man does repeats itself a little to often, I just passed over it.
Susan R. Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Love Story
Reviewed in the United States on August 25, 2018
Verified Purchase
If you love Ree Drummond and her family, have watched any of her cooking shows -- whether you're a diehard fan or casually observing, like me -- this book will make you fall in love with her all over again. I love Ree's wit and humor throughout the telling of the story. It gave me an understanding of where Ree came from, what she and her husband are about and how they set the foundation for a beautiful marriage and beautiful life together. It helps me have a greater appreciation for where they are today. They're not perfect people, and that's what makes them so relatable. It makes my heart smile to see what the combined powers of love, family, commitment, hard work, faith and joy can produce as the years unfold. May God continue to richly bless you, Drummond family.

Frontier Follies: Adventures in Marriage and Motherhood in the Middle of Nowhere

We all have them, funny little stories that happened to us, around us, or even by us. They are the stuff that family reunions are made up of. In this delightful book, Ree has written all these little stories down, sorted them out, and presented them for our enjoyment. If you’ve ever watched her show, you will absolutely enjoy this book!

5.0 out of 5 stars Luv this book
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2020
Verified Purchase
I remember buying her first love-story book years ago at a rural-supply store while buying dog food, even though it didn't seem my "type", and then I really enjoyed it. I always wished Ree would continue the story of the growing-family years, and now she has. Its a warm, funny, feel-good book. If you liked the first book, you'll be glad to get this one.
Kathy Crenshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars So Fun!
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020
Verified Purchase
I have been following Ree since her blog days and have read her other book and seen every show. I just adore what she represents and this book was salve to my much giggling and laughter as I turned the pages. All at a time that laughter and lightness is SO needed and appreciated. Love the book.

2021 A Year in Review

It’s been a long year, hasn’t it?

It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? Who would have ever thought that the pandemic would be still dragging on at this point? It’s been almost 2 full years of the pandemic and it has impacted every aspect of our lives. We started out the year with vaccinations being approved which made us all hope for a swift end to things. Alas! So many people have still not gotten vaccinated, which has enabled the virus to mutate and surge in waves. With the holidays currently running, another surge is expected as people travel home for the holidays.

So how has all this impacted you? For myself, I find that despite not being able to get out as much, I don’t have the time I’d like to have for myself. When I checked my blog stats, I posted a whopping 283 posts! That’s almost 1 post per day! But along the way, I discovered some things about the posts. I needed to put more of myself in them.

My husband’s take on all this was that I was overwhelming myself trying to do a post a day. So let me see about changing that. Now there will still be Lifestyle posts, in fact, I will have a guest post next week. I also want to start including some Blog Tour Posts on new books.

The main focus of the blog will still be on book reviews, but if I’m honest with myself, that doesn’t mean that I have to write all the reviews. I may flirt with reposting reviews from other blogs.

My year in books

I took a look at my GoodReads stats and was really surprised.

  • 424 books read
  • 70,867 pages read
  • Shortest book – 22 pages
  • Longest book – 1209 pages (Lord of the Rings)
  • Average length – 167 pages
  • Most popular book shelved – Lord of the Rings (414 people)
  • Average Rating – 4.23
  • Highest Rated on Good Reads – 4.95 (Submission by Delta James)
  • First Review of the Year – His Human Claim by Stella Rising
  • Last Review of the Year – Alien Conqueror by Sara Fields

I have to laugh at myself. These stats would have been very different if I had remembered to mark all the ones that I was REREADING again!

Last Thoughts

It’s been a long year for my house. My husband’s decreasing mobility has meant that I spend a lot more time caregiving than I do other things. Thanks to a visit from a friend from Ohio, I’ve started taking time for myself away from the house. Right now, I’m attending Country Church with a newly widowed friend on Saturday nights. When I can, I take a walk.

If you’ve found yourself serving as a caregiver for a loved one, remember to take time for yourself as well. It will make a world of difference for you.

Till next year!

Sandy, the Reluctant Retiree!

Good Bye Little One

This is hard to write for me. I’m still trying to process what happened. Our very beloved Shitz Tzu, Coco, passed away on Christmas Eve. Her death left my husband and myself reeling a bit.

On both December 22 and 23, she had a case of the runs. We couldn’t figure out what was causing it. On the 22nd she ate her supper and seemed in good spirits. Unfortunately on the 23rd, it was another repeat of the very liquid, stinky poo but this night she threw up a little. Not knowing what else to do, we cuddled her all she would let us.

The morning of the 24th, Coco seemed to be back to her same old self. She never went poo that day, but I wasn’t too worried since she hadn’t eaten supper the night before. She climbed up on the chair with my husband and we thought everything was okay.

At some point that evening, I remember catching sight of her behind his chair. I didn’t think anything of it since she would frequently sleep back there. Then came bedtime.

As we went back to the bedroom, I didn’t hear her nails clicking on the floor as she came back. So I started looking for her. She wasn’t under the bed, in her bed in the living room or on the shelf. I glanced behind my husband’s chair at the blanket and she wasn’t there either. I double-checked to make sure she hadn’t followed me outside to turn off lights. Nothing.

Coming back into the living room, I started checking all the smaller spaces she could have gotten into. Then I caught sight of her tail coming out from under his chair. Now our chairs are power lift chairs so there is some room there. I hit the button to lift the chair higher, thinking she’d gotten stuck.

My worst fears were realized as I grabbed her out from under the recliner. She was absolutely limp. I yelled for my husband who came out to check her out. She was gone. Take great care, we laid her to rest in something that we could use to transport her to Pet Passages, which is where we took Odie when he died.

My husband says no more pets. At the moment I have to agree with him. I don’t know why Coco died, but she will live on in my heart.

Downsizing Lasagna

We all have a favorite recipe we love to use for lasagna. I have to admit that the first recipe I tried came from a book included with a microwave. It made good lasagna so I kept it. Only problem was that it made a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna.

Now if you have a larger family, or they are big eaters, this size isn’t a problem. This size is also great for taking to potluck dinners. If you don’t eat all of it, there is usually enough to store for later consumption. Win – win, right?

Or is it? At this point in life, it’s just me and my husband. The kids are grown and married. Trying to make a 9 x 13 pan of anything just results in too much food. Most people can only stand leftovers so long before they grow tired of them. So how can you cut things down?

Change the Pasta

Rather than using the typical lasagna noodles, swap to an oven ready version. These are much easier to use and fit in smaller pans. A single piece fits in a loaf pan, while 2 can fit side by side in an 8 x 8 pan. As a plus, you don’t have to spend all that time boiling the lasagna noodles before you assemble your meal!

Change the Pan

As I mentioned, switch to smaller pans. A loaf pan will make 2 generous servings, while the 8 x 8 pan will make 4 servings. Since your original recipe make a much larger pan, you will in all likely-hood be able to make multiple pans.

Assemble your lasagna in your normal manner. The only change I would recommend is to leave off any toppings that you may add to the pans that are destined for the freezer. Put a lid on the pan if you have one, or wrap it tightly in freezer paper.

When you start to pull out that frozen lasagna to make for the night, defrost it first overnight in the refrigerator. Then increase the baking time to 1 hr. If you just made it ahead and the pan has been in the refrigerator, no defrosting is needed. But you will still need to bake it longer.

And there you have it!

Your favorite lasagna recipe, now sized to fit your family as it exists today. It wasn’t all that hard, and only needed to change a few things.


November Wrap Up

Since I wasn’t doing as many posts in a month, I decided to temporarily suspend the weekly Sunday Post. But I still wanted to wrap up the month, so here’s a listing of the posts and books from the month of November.

Book Reviews:

Silent Predator by Delta James.

Touch of Light by Delta James.

Touch of Fire by Delta James.

Claimed by the Cyborgs by Grace Goodwin

Lifestyle Posts

Fixing the Bike Trail

Remembering the Casserole!

Rethinking Audiobooks

So that was my month. How was yours? I’ve made it through Thanksgiving surrounded by friends. We’ve all made sure to get our vaccinations, boosters, and flu shots. If you are choosing to not be vaccinated, at least do everything you can to protect others. Whether that is by wearing a mask, getting a test the day before, or something else, think of your family and loved ones before yourself.

See you in December!

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