Thoughtful Thursday and Bread Crumb Cookies

After my early morning routine, I spent two hours with an 89 year old telling stories then came home to beans for lunch and a bit of crochet while I read and listened to Arnold Bennett’s Mental Efficiency. Here’s the audio version. While I listened I also found a recipe for Bread Crumb Cookies to make for tea time. We use Splenda in place of the sugar of course and my homemade bread crumbs that we squirrel away in the freezer.



On the way to pick up the teen, I sang along to Celine Dion in the car. One of my favorite memories of my Mother was singing to the radio in the car with her. It’s still one of my best pastimes to enjoy the present moment in the afternoon.




Tonight the menu says pizza so it’s a thin pizza crust, Rinaldi pizza sauce from the dollar store, and Daiya Vegan Mozarella style cheese from WinCo Foods. I add a little ground garlic, salt and pepper, and pepperocini slices on my half. When the current crusts from the dollar store are gone, I’ll be making my own whole wheat ones with the bread machine since we keep 50 pounds of flour at home and want zero waste.



We’ll make popcorn the way my Mom used to make it tonight by using a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, Medium-high heat, and a few tablespoons of popcorn along with a couple of pinches of salt. Then it’s all up to sight and sound.




Frugal Living, The Beginning, Uncategorized, Zen Routines

Money Monday

Mondays are pretty pleasant. It took a lot to get here but I took baby steps. I don’t generally go to work on Mondays unless my home care company has a needed shift to fill. Most of my work is done on Friday and Saturday so when that dreaded Monday comes for everyone else, I can sit back and relax.

In the past, I didn’t structure my free time so my mind would take over and I would get everything from hyperactive projects to sadness to take up my time. I finally got smart and learned to structure my time a bit so that I get things done and yet rarely stress about any of it. Today, for example, is Money Monday.

Money Monday is pretty easy because we do these steps for a Zen Life 365:

1) Put everything possible on online autopay. Everything from the Mortgage, Credit Cards, Utilities, Solar, Car payment, and phone service is put on a payment schedule online so we plan well for our budget.

2) We don’t carry cash. This makes tracking easier and we are instantly accountable.

3) We use Google Drive (Linked to our family email) to build spreadsheets and store receipts so that each of us can view the expense record from anywhere.

4) Receipts are scanned with our TinyScanner app using our smartphones as soon as it’s in our hand. The rule is that we don’t leave the parking lot until it’s done.This work done right away means that we don’t have to worry about keeping physical receipts including the mess that goes with them.

5) Every Monday I sit down with a cup of tea in the afternoon and enter our expenses into our monthly spreadsheet. This takes just a couple of minutes because we prepped well enough and because we don’t spend nearly as much as we used to.

This year we have goals to pay off our credit cards and one of our vehicles. We are saving money by eating frugal vegan meals and by avoiding needless little shopping trips where we would be tempted to buy more than we need. Instead, we stocked up on what we need and have more time to spend at home as a family together.en


Growing My Own Tea



Last year I planted mint and spearmint. It spread and held on nicely through the winter with a cover on it. This year it has produced gallon bags of mint for tea. I dry it in the mild sun or the dehydrator. In the tea garden, I added Lavender, Cinnamon Basil, Italian Basil, and Lemon Grass.  The Lavender won’t really produce for another couple years I think but the Cinnamon and Italian Basil has been divine to add to a mixture of Flat Leaf Parsley and Mixed Mint.  I also blended in some Rose Hips that I bought in bulk.

I thought that it would be harder to grow my own herbal teas but it just took some creativity and some patience. It has worked so well that I am thinking of not planting vegetables next year and planting lovely wildflowers instead.


April is Complete

My accomplishments:

Dried mint and dandelion leaves for tea.

Sorted clothes out of the closet for quilts.

Bought two wool sweaters.

Bought high quality dehydrator.

Froze varieties of bulk vegetables.

Reorganized the kitchen and pantry.

Planted peas, onions, and carrots.

Used the garden spinach and red lettuce.

On the list for May:

Dehydrate more mint for tea.

Dehydrate dandelion.

Plant medicinal herb garden.

Plant warm weather vegetables.

Plant butterfly garden.

Start scrap quilt. 

Spring cleaning.


Stepping Back

Although I love writing I have been having a hard time finding something to write about. I have a good life. Very often I take pictures of the dog or the kids and post them on social media. I read other’s writing and I think that I should comment on some things. I wish that I could say that I enjoy all of this.

Social media has kept me connected to the past and to others without me having to leave my zen house. One thing that I have to admit, though, is that it has not brought me peace. The more I watch social media, the more I dislike it.

I want to take a step back and get back to simple.

Maybe I’ll call someone, you know, on the telephone.
I’ll stop by the bookstore and pick up some classics.
Perhaps my husband and I will have an actual conversation after dinner.
Walking more in silence sounds good.
I won’t even track the miles.
The garden to bed for the winter and the yard calls to me.

All I know is that there has been a restlessness that I can’t shake.
There is a longing for peace that I feel is coming soon.

Simple Exercise, Uncategorized

Simple Exercise


I learned that going to the gym just doesn’t fit into my Zen Life. Gone are the days of my being a gym rat that couldn’t wait to get back to pumping iron. I lived and breathed it. Not anymore. Now I like the simplicity of hitting the local trail with the dog and sometimes with the family. Most days We walk the neighborhood or the closest trail to get in our simple exercise. It just doesn’t make sense to me anymore to pay for a gym membership, the gas to get there, special clothes to work out in, and all the digital music I need to distract me from what I am doing.

When I walk I am never bored because now even the neighborhood changes from day to day. Just watching  the dog get such pleasure out of exploring makes me smile.  I walk at a pretty good clip in order to get the cardiovascular benefits from walking and I try to challenge myself at least twice a week.  At least two other days of the week we walk at a rather leisurely pace and just enjoy the weather, the birds, the plant life, or people watching. We never go home early.

Walking is great for your back, legs, arms, and core if you choose to engage all of them by standing straight and swinging your arms. Pull in your stomach muscles and practice good posture to improve those abdominal muscles.

  • Warm up your joints and muscles before you begin.
  • Start with short distances if you haven’t been active.
  • Add on more distance and/or increase your pace each week.
  • Take a walking buddy to keep you company.
  • Make it a joyous time by smiling as you go.
  • Walk in the light of day in a safe place.
  • Enjoy the scenery of a local park or trail.
  • Change your route to keep it fresh.
  • Have fun.

Sometimes I add in more steps each day by parking farther away from my destination, chasing the dog  or the kids in the backyard,  taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and using my treadmill desk when I write instead of sitting at a desk. Simple walking will help us live a longer, better life.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. Namaste’