It Starts With A Seed

seedsWith March quickly marching toward us, it’s time for us Floridians to start gardening.  Well, some here never stop, but technically now is the time to plant.  The non-Floridians could also start, indoors anyway, and I have a couple of ideas that you may find useful.

Seedlings are easy to start and fun to watch grow.  Here’s a way the whole family can see:  Wet a sponge and put it on a plate, spread your seeds out evenly on the sponge and put the plate in a sunny window.  Keep the sponge damp by frequently adding water.  When the seedlings have a healthy root, pot them up in peat pots to get them ready for the garden.

You can also make a simple “mini-greenhouse” to start your seeds in, using materials you can recycle from the grocery store.  Clear plastic containers that goods come in from the bakery work well, with the hinged top and see-thru plastic.  You can fill it with starter mix if you want, or just use the bottom and close the lid to retain moisture.  Empty egg cartons also work well.

When watering the seedlings, use a teaspoon of baby shampoo mixed with a quart of water.  This will keep the soil surface soft and moist so seedlings can break through easily.  You can also keep your seedlings cozy by storing them on top of your refrigerator, where they will stay warm.  Just don’t forget about them, they need to stay moist too.

So go have fun with some seedlings, and make sure you check back for ideas for when your seedlings become sprouts!


When Life Throws You Lemons

When my daughter called to tell me of her plight at the auto mechanic shop today, I was doing housework and was a sweaty, disheveled mess.  “My car won’t be ready until five, and I have to be at school at three to take an exam.  Do you think you could pick me up and give me a ride, and if not, can you help me with the bus schedule?”  Just the thought of her willingness to take the bus makes me smile.

“No, you’re not taking the bus, I’ll be there in a half an hour,” I said, and hung up the phone.  As I headed for the door, I caught my reflection and in my thoughts gasped, I can’t go out in public looking like this!  I washed my face, brushed my teeth and grabbed a baseball hat out of the closet.  I am so glad I did, because when my daughter suggested we get a bite to eat in the mall’s food court, I didn’t have to feel sorry for her having to be seen with me.  With a pair of big sunglasses to go with the hat, I was incognito.

My sweet daughter apologized for ruining my day and I told her that life happens, and when it does, we just have to go with it.  You can either float along with the current or fight it.  “No big deal,” I told her, when I should have said, “Are you kidding me?  I can’t remember the last time just you and I got out and had lunch together, and that absolutely made my day!”  Because it did.

So remember the hat trick next time life happens to you.  And who knows, you may get lucky too!


If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say…

Sometimes the solution is as easy as keeping your mouth shut.  Whether you are a passenger in a speeding boat or have a hot head in a room full of people, keeping your mouth shut can save you.

I recently heeded this advice, which is good, but I keep wanting to throw my two cents in, which is not good.  No one wants my two cents, not on this matter anyway.  And I don’t blame them, considering I haven’t much nice to say.

So God, with His great sense of humor, reminded me of this and why I need to continue to keep my mouth shut.  Currently in week three of Beth Moore’s study on the book of James, I opened my homework up tonight and found instructions to write Proverbs 17:27.  Proverbs?  I thought.  This is a study of James, why am I looking up Proverbs?  Then I got the punchline.  Proverbs 17:27 says, “The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding.”  Thank you God, I needed that reminder!

To Train A Cat

The newest kitty in our home, affectionately called “Miss Kitty”, likes to climb.  She particularly likes the shelves on our bedroom wall, which is a problem.

To put an end to her shelf-climbing, I put water in a spray bottle and kept it next to my bed.  Every time I saw her checking out the shelves, I sprayed a stream of water across the room at her.  Let me tell you, she does not like it.  Needless to say, she started staying away from the shelves and before I knew it, the spray bottle wound up in the kitchen since I found I really didn’t it in the bedroom any longer.

Well tonight, Miss Kitty walked over to an area I did not want her in and when I reached for the spray bottle by my bed, it was not there.  Miss Kitty did not seem to realize this either, as she flashed me a look then took off from the area.  It was as if she said, I know, I know, I’m outta here.

So using the spray bottle to keep my cats out of my stuff has worked well.  And after a while, a pretend bottle even works!


Share Your Uses!

Who doesn’t have a tin of petroleum jelly in their medicine cabinet?

If there were such a thing as a list of “must haves around the house,” I would think it would be on it.  It has so many uses, and I would have thought it to be with first aid stuff, but at my local grocery store it is only on the baby aisle.  Having no babies, it took me a while to find it.

My inclination of looking for it in first aid probably comes from a doctor telling me that it was just as good to use on my cut as neosporin because I was on an antibiotic.  He said the antibiotic made up for difference between the two.  This was many years ago, but I don’t think either has changed much since then.

I have many more uses for petroleum jelly, but the one I came across today is new to me.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I was told that you can use it to remove imperfections in your wood furniture.  Rub the jelly on water spots and heat marks, coating the area of the imperfection and let it stand overnight.  Wipe clean in the morning.

What are some uses you have for this product?  G Rated please.

How About Some Salt in Your Wash?

While I was folding clothes this afternoon, my husband asked me why I was doing laundry on my birthday.  “It’s Thursday and I need to do laundry,” was all I could think to say.  “Awe, well you shouldn’t have to do laundry on your birthday,” he said.  No that’s okay, you don’t know it yet but I’m not cooking today, I thought.

I will take laundry over cooking any day.  Okay, most days.  Washing my husband’s clothes can be challenging, depending on the type of job he is on.  I have learned some helpful tricks though.

  • Add a couple pinches of salt to your wash water.  Your clothes should keep their vivid colors and wear longer for a lot less than colorsafe bleach.  Bleach is harder on fabric than salt.
  • If your laundry soap is almost gone and you have a couple of loads left to do, make it stretch by adding a 1/4 cup of baking soda.  As a bonus, your clothes will smell fresh and feel soft.
  • And did you know that rinsing your clothes in cold water not only saves energy, but it keeps clothes from excessive wrinkling and makes them easier to iron?  Now you do!

It was a good day to catch up on laundry because it was a good day not to cook.  Happy Birthday to me!


It’s Time For Me To… Take Over

Do you have a particular project that you wouldn’t mind delegating?  Do you have a friend with a tendency to take over projects you start?  Well there you go!  Need I say more?

Well, I will anyway.  My wonderful husband of 20 years this year has that tendency.  My best friend dubbed him “Take Over Dave” a couple of decades ago, and we laughed about it again today as he started clearing an area my friend was clearing.  She moved to another area, and he was over there within 10 minutes.  I searched my brain for something I’d been wanting him to do; I was going to start doing it and just wait for him to come take over.  Unfortunately, I don’t climb ladders, change electrical parts or work on automobiles, so there wasn’t anything on my “his to do list” that I could actually start.

Another unfortunate is, I have found out that it doesn’t work well with dishes or laundry.  It occasionally works with cooking, but it’s a gamble and usually only on Sunday’s.  Is this deceitful?  I don’t think so, but then again, my husband is well aware of what’s going on.  It’s all in fun, and hey – we get something done!


A Walk A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Ever since I can remember, my father has stressed to us kids how important exercise is.  He would quote statistics that showed how exercise lowers the chances of stroke and depression and how it improves overall health.  And he didn’t just say it, he lived it.

Both of my parents were always into sports, while I was growing up it was tennis.  Prior to getting married and having children though, they both played basketball in high school.  My father, Wendell Arnold, touches on this in his book, FROM THE COTTON PATCH TO Ph.D., GOD’S MANAGEMENT OF MAN THROUGH THE EYES OF A SCIENTIST, and their first picture together that I know of is from this time period on the basketball court.  From page 38 of Wendell Arnold’s autobiography:

By the end of the year basketball season got into full swing.  We were both very good basketball players.  Our school had girls and boys traveling on the same bus.  As we traveled to the game boys and girls had to sit on opposite sides of the bus, but on the way home we could sit together.  Everyone knew the back seat was ours on the trip home.  Everyone thought we were making out but really we were sleeping, as we were exhausted.  We continued dating the remainder of my senior year and then all through Carolyn’s senior year.


I had received a scholarship from Tishomingo College to play football but I thought it was too far away from Hastings.  I was also considering enrolling in at Oklahoma State University; however, I decided to go to Cameron College in Lawton because Carolyn thought it would be nice if I went to Cameron, as it was closer to home.  She was in her senior year and I could come down on weekends. We went out every weekend.  Life was good.  Carolyn’s dad became increasingly concerned that our relationship was growing much too serious and he monitored her curfew relentlessly.  Carolyn was at the top of her class academically and her parents weren’t about to let their daughter sacrifice her grades for a courtship.

If you haven’t already, please visit for more information about Wendell Arnold’s autobiography.  Already receiving rave reviews, you won’t want to miss this intriguing story!

In the meantime, exercise just a little each day to lower your chances of stroke, depression and improve your overall health, even if it’s just walking for 20 minutes.  And I’m not talking collectively, but all at once!

Oops, I’ve Done It Again

How is it possible that in the last 4 hours I went from not caring one bit who wins the super bowl, to getting emotionally involved in this close, close game?

And who didn’t feel just a bit of suspense when the lights went out?

What about that Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale?  It left me a bit misty-eyed.

Darn Super Bowl, you roped me in as I sat on the sidelines not wanting to get involved.  Considering that happens to me frequently in life in general, perhaps I don’t want to just sit on the sidelines as much as I think I do.

And this might not make sense to you, but I’m reminded of a bumper sticker I saw today for my solution –

If you skeered, say you skeered.

Never Saw This One Coming

Have you ever heard of someone taking their cat to get “fixed” only to find out the cat’s already sterilized?  Well now you have!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about making an appointment with the spay shuttle for a new kitty that adopted us.  Well I have an update.  On the appointed day, I dropped Miss Kitty off at 8:30 AM and was told to return at 3:30 PM for pickup.  Around noon, I received a call from the vet at the shuttle.  She started slowly and even sounded confused as she asked, “Ms. Raffey, um, you brought Miss Kitty in this morning to get spayed?”  “Yes,” I replied.  “Well, hmm, she is already sterilized.”  Not making the connection that sterilized means “fixed,” I stammered, “What?” “She has been sterilized,” the vet repeated.

I was shocked.  “How long have you had her?” Still trying to comprehend this news, I weakly said, “About two months.”  It had actually been a little longer.  The vet said, “Well she’s yours then, we’ll go ahead and put the chip in her, she’s yours.”  I was surprised that this kitty had been sterilized but did not have a chip.  I questioned the vet about this and she confirmed that was the way it was.  And as if this wasn’t strange enough, I was shocked once again when I picked her up.

You see, I had assumed Miss Kitty was just a kitten.  She is small and very playful, just like kittens are.  Her “meow” is soft and whiny, just like a kitten.  She has no fear, and the other animals, even the dog, steer clear of her.  As it turns out, she is full-grown.  Based on her teeth, the vet estimated her to be three and a half years old.  Did I mention she has a bobtail?  Not exactly the same breed as a domestic short hair cat with  a tail.  But she is lovey and playful and just as cute as could be.  And it makes me wonder if someone is missing her.  It makes me wonder why she didn’t have a chip, as it usually comes with the “fixing” these days.  I have a couple of reasons why I don’t like the idea of micro-chipping, but it is a solution to not loosing your pet.

She has a habit of sticking her tongue out, and keeping it there!


Keep On Keepin On

Whether you are dieting, quitting smoking or trying to write in your blog everyday, it is important to start with a plan.

When making that plan, don’t forget to include positive self-talk at least every hour such as, “You got this!  You can do it!”  I have a friend that says, “Fake it till you make it,” or as Kenneth on 30 Rock told Jack when Jack asked him how he could be so happy all the time, “I lie to myself every morning when I get up.”  I started doing that and found that the lie I thought I was telling myself became the truth.  It was actually the truth all along, I just didn’t believe it.

Another ingredient for success is to not let a slip up totally derail you.  For instance, if your goal was to write in your blog everyday and you missed like the twenty-eighth day, don’t let it get you down.  Get right back up on that horse again and keep riding.  Or smoking, say you got a puff from a co-worker at lunch so you thought, what the heck, I might as well go get a pack, no, no, no!  Please don’t.  Learn from your mistake and resolve to do better next time.  Give yourself a next time to do better by staying on that horse.

Funny thing is, that’s not what I was going to write when I started.  I guess someone out there needed to hear this.  Possible me.