The Harvest Season Is Approaching

As Halloween and Thanksgiving approach, it’s time to think about the harvest season. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to go trick-or-treating as memories of pillowcases full of candy encouraged me, my siblings and neighbors to stay out late to see how full our bags could get. It wasn’t until tragedy struck one Halloween Eve, and then that Halloween night when an older man in a car chased us down a dark street–three of us ducking into a neighbor’s backyard until the car disappeared–that I realized real frightening experiences weren’t much fun.

Ask anyone who’s gone through terrorizing experiences if they enjoy being a part of petrifying things, they will probably say they stopped watching horror movies because it became too real for them.

That’s when people who have been spooked in real life will tell you they started looking at alternative ways to enjoy the season.

So, if you want to protect you and your loved ones and are looking for other ways to enjoy yourselves here are a few ideas. Check the listings in your local area. Most likely you’ll find you will have a deluge of options that will lift up your spirit.

[You’ll have to skip past the events that already passed or mark your calendars for next year]

Country Living Ideas

US News Suggestions

USA Today Recommendations


Storing Your Food Expenses

To be honest, I’ve never really liked sitting down to make budgets. The word pedantic comes to mind. But, since I’ve spent so much time volunteering with little or no pay, I’ve had to use reserves to live on. So, it became necessary to examine the amount of money I was spending. My housing expense was fixed but I could adjust and save money on my food costs which are variable, and the second or third biggest household expense.

I realized eating at home and grocery shopping was not only more healthy but I liked shopping at different stores. I started examining the grocery mailers and discovered new places. Strangely, dare I say it was fun, or at least it wasn’t that hard to keep track of what I was spending. I was happy to find I was saving money. My budget got so low, I matched the USDA’s Thrifty food budget plan.

So, while making notes of my expenses, I started coming up with business ideas around food. I was enjoying doing outreach efforts to distribute day-old bread from restaurants and making gift boxes for people in need. The culminating effort of thinking about a business product and helping others, turned into a book I created called Food…Organizer. It’s made to keep track of expenses on dining out, grocery shopping and grocery lists. It also has a section to write down new places to explore, because when you’re on a budget you still need to find ways to have fun. It is set-up to be used yearly with monthly and overall goals in mind.

It’s the right size to keep in a purse or carry-on bag so you always have it close by.

Here’s a link to purchase a copy, and/or share it with a friend or business you think might be interested.  Now go have some fun, whatever your budget.


What Is Your Best Memory This Summer?

I posted a version of this question last year. I’m curious what your favorite summer memory is so far this year? Officially, we still have another month of summer. The season ends September 23. So, if you don’t have great memories, why not plan to start making some now?

For me, I decided to buy a movie theater season pass so I’ve seen some good summer movies so far. I still remember the essay I wrote for my college technology class. The professor was pontificating that in the future, and this was in the 90’s, people would not be going to the theater as much as watching videos at home. My point of view was that movie theater watching would still be relevant. There’s nothing quite like seeing a movie at a theater with others, no matter how great your home movie theater experience is. I wish I still had that essay to re-read my reasoning.

So, the movies I’ve seen so far are Sound of Freedom, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Dial of Destiny, Barbie, Are You There God it’s Me Margaret and Theater Camp. Are You There God came out in the Spring but is still trending on the charts. I enjoyed all of them to different degrees. I think Theater Camp wasn’t in enough theaters to give it a high ranking but it’s worth watching.

I traveled and read some good books too. I hope there will be more good memories to report. For now, let me know what you’ve experienced as highlights. Would love to hear your comments.


Summer Movies 2023

The summer movie season has begun. Movie preferences vary, so use these rankings as a guide but based on recent box office sales from, the top grossing movies so far for July, 2023 are,

  1. Barbie, $162,022,044
  2. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, $135,314,365
  3. Sound of Freedom, $124,433,512
  4. Mission Impossible-Dead Reckoning, $118,607,980
  5. Oppenheimer, $  82,455,420
  6. Insidious: The Red Door, $  71,136,883
  7. Elemental, $  56,192,700
  8. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, $  43,450,794
  9. No Hard Feelings, $  25,181,425
  10. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, $  24,609,171                    

If you are interested in the movies that are most favored, as of today, the IMDb rankings for popularity are as follows. 

  1. Oppenheimer
  2. Barbie
  3. Mission Impossible-Dead Reckoning
  4. Sound of Freedom
  5. The Flash
  6. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
  7. Secret Invasion
  8. Hijack
  9. Justified: City Primeval
  10. The Out-Laws

As Siskel & Ebert used to say, “We’ll See You at the Movies.”

Please note: These numbers and rankings may change as the season progresses. Use the links to check for the latest updates.


Look Up To The Mountains

I lift up my eyes to the hills,

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,

who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2


The first time I tried crêpes was in a junior high romance languages class. We studied French, Italian and Spanish and students had to demonstrate a recipe from one of those areas. As a kid, I preferred pancakes. The crêpes just seemed, well too crêpy and floppy. It wasn’t until recently that I began to really enjoy them and all the creative variations–sweet or savory.  

Some recipes are easy to memorize the ingredients for and this is one of them. When I was doing advertising for a cooking school the owner told me the difference between their school and others was that they taught skills that could be applied to many recipes.

So, this recipe is sort of a take on that idea. You can adjust how many you make depending on the size of your crowd. 

There are just four ingredients. You combine equal parts of your favorite pancake mix and milk. Two tablespoons of butter per 3/4 cup of mix and milk and one egg per 3/4 cup mix and milk. You should combine liquids first and then add them to the dry mix. Some pancake mixes even have a recipe on the box. The recipe I follow is from a Food Lion Blueberry Complete Pancake & Waffle Mix.

If you’re cooking for two, for example, you would combine 3/4 cup of mix and milk, two tablespoons of butter and one egg.

Double the recipe if you’re making them for three or four people. So, you’d combine 1 and half cups of mix and milk, four tablespoons of butter and two eggs.

Then, you add a little butter to the pan, pour the batter into a skillet just like you would pancakes, wait until you start seeing bubbles and flip.

The filling can be as easy as adding your favorite preserves inside, then rolling them up, to more elaborate creations like a combination of Nutella, graham crackers, caramel and anything else you like thrown in that would be appealing to you.

Recently, I’ve enjoyed making savory crêpes filled with a cucumber, tomato and feta cheese salad–Like the picture below. You can purchase a prepared salad or make it yourself. Generally, the salad consists of equal parts chopped cucumber and tomato, green onions, a sprinkling of feta cheese on top then dousing it with oil and vinegar and adding salt and pepper to your liking. I topped them with homemade hummus from the cookbook Easy Elegance from Fabulous Fairholme [This is a recent favorite cookbook of mine. All the recipes I’ve tried so far have been ones I’d make again, and like the title says, they’re pretty easy].

I finished with a couple pieces of arugula. I think splashing more oil and vinegar dressing over the hummus would really make this one you’d want seconds to. Easy right?  Now it’s your turn to experiment. Enjoy.


It’s the 4th of July

On this day in 1776, the United States declared independence which was adopted by the Continental Congress. It meant that the thirteen North American colonies separated from Great Britain.


What to Read on Your Vacation

Wondering what novel to take with you on your summer trip? Years ago in anticipation of long flights oversees, I would read a book that was based in the area I was going to. I read Pride & Prejudice on a flight to England, then The New Italians on a flight back from Italy. You get the picture. Sometimes it’s fun to immerse yourself in the culture of the area. Or, you can indulge in a book that is just for fun. 

Let’s take a look at the popular books that are making the top seller lists right now.

The New York Times Bestseller List for the week of June 25, 2023

This is a list that combines print and e-book fiction. Click Here for more rankings from the New York Times.

  1. Cross Down by James Patterson and Brendan DuBois
  2. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  3. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  4. It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
  5. Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

The Los Angeles Times Bestsellers List for the week of May 21, 2023. Go here for more LA Times Lists.

This is a list of hardcover fiction.

  1. The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
  2. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  3. Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Grams
  4. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  5. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  6. The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece by Tom Hanks
  7. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
  8. Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
  9. Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
  10. In the Lives of Puppets by TJ Klune

Amazon Bestseller List Overall. Click here for more from Amazon.

  1. Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS by BTS
  2. Why a Daughter Needs a Dad by Gregory E Lang
  3. Why a Son Needs a Dad by Gregory E Lang
  4. Dad Jokes: Over 600 of the Best (Worst) Jokes Around by Jimmy Niro
  5. Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel by Bonnie Garmus
  6. Happy Place by Emily Henry
  7. Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, 1) by Rebecca Yarros
  8. The Five-Star Weekend by Elin Hildebrand
  9. Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia MD
  10. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Also, check out Barnes & Noble here.

Happy reading.


Public Art at Malls

Have you noticed more public art features at malls and outdoors? This one was at a shopping mall. Fun.


What To Pack For Your Travels

Those little containers of shampoo, lotion and toothpaste are there every time you go to the grocery store. But now with travel plans looming it’s time to consider which ones you need. Also, what snacks will you allow yourself to indulge in? Here’s an article that might help when planning snacks for airplane travel. TSA-Approved snacks.

Packing Checklist

Here is a list of items to pack on your vacation. This checklist is for traveling where there is bedding and towels already supplied like when you are staying in a hotel. Check with the place you will be at to make sure you will not need to bring your own sheets and towels or any extra items like electronic adapters if you’re going overseas.

One of the best things about planning your packing is that you can spend time thinking about how much fun you’ll have, and sort of experience your trip before you go.  Most hotels supply shampoo, conditioner, and soap. It is suggested keeping jewelry to a minimum.

__ Nightclothes

__ Outfits for the total number of days and a few extra items just in case

__ Shoes and sandals

__ Underwear

__ Swimsuit

__ Exercise/special activity clothes

__ Extra items like hiking boots or wet suit depending on your destination

__ Evening wear for special outings

__ Sunscreen

__ Deodorant

__ Hairspray/gel

__ Makeup

__ Razor

__ Toothbrush/Toothpaste/Dental Floss

__ Facial cleanser

__ Hairbrush/comb

__ Socks

__ Prescriptions/vitamins


__ Deck of playing cards

__ Snacks

__ Novel

__ Sunglasses

__ Emery board

__ Nail polish and remover

__ [What else do you need?] __________________________________________