Unique DIY Ornaments

Well, here in the states, the days are closing in.  Christmas is just around the corner.  To be honest, I’ve been busy since before Thanksgiving.  I don’t like crowds in a GOOD year.  So, I try to get a jump on Christmas before everyone panics and is out in droves. 

I did a lot of shopping online this year.  As it turns out, so did many others and thankfully having websites with Wealthy Affiliate allowed me to benefit from this. People bought from links on my website(s).  In any case, shopping online saved time and I was able to do a lot of DIY this year. 

I made all my Christmas cards and little gifts for my bookclub members.  This reminded me of making ornaments with my kids.  We had SO much fun and I wish I had taken more photos of the actual ornaments.  However, here are my 2 lefties making them SO many years ago.

Intense work – lol
So serious!

Salt Dough Ornaments:

  • 2 cu flour
  • 1 cu salt
  • 1 cu warm water

In large bowl, mix flour and salt.  Slowly add water while stirring until a ball forms.  Knead by hand on a floured surface. 

Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick and use cookie cutters to make shapes OR use like clay and form objects.  I remember we made Eskimo people.  We used a garlic press to squeez some of the dough through for hair or fur around their parkas. 

Use a straw to make a hole in the top or break a paperclip apart and insert a piece in the top of your ornament.

Bake at 250 degrees F for 1-2 hrs until hardened.  Cool completely

Paint to decorate.  We used polyurethane to seal them.  Careful this should be used in a ventilated area.  String a ribbon through the hole to hang. 

These ornaments lasted MANY MANY years!!!!!


– a mask for 2020 or how about a roll of TP

– simply a plain round ornament and on one side write all the BAD that came out of 2020 and on the other side, all the GOOD. 

Cinnamon Ornaments:

  • ¾ cu applesauce
  • 2 bottles cinnamon (I always used McCormick)

Mix applesauce and cinnamon in bowl until a smooth ball forms.  Using about ¼ of the dough at a time, roll dough to ¼ inch thick.  Some suggest rolling between 2 sheets of plastic wrap but I never did. 

Cut dough into desired shape(s) with cookie cutters.  For some reason, I usually did hearts or stars. 

Use a straw to make a hole in the top.  Bake on 200 degrees F for about 2.5 hrs.  Cool on wire rack OR (my plan) dry ornaments at room temperature on wire rack for 1-2 days.  Turn occasionally.  It made the house smell SOOOO good.  Just like those pinecones you buy.

Paint if desired (but I never did).  Insert ribbon in holes to hang.

These are 2 DIY and easy ornaments that you can do with grandkids OR just by yourself. Give them to family and friends. People love handmade gifts.  They can be personalized with stamp sets or simply your own writing.  Think outside the box and most of all HAVE FUN! 

If we have to be in, let’s have FUN!!!!

Show me what you’ve created!!!!

Your thoughts and comments are important to me. Please share.



Founder of Not Your Mama’s Senior and

Scrapbooking for Anyone

Fun Activity for Family

Enough about knee replacements Let’s talk about a fun activity for adults.  I suppose every age category has it’s own fun activity.  I know my teen fun activities are NOT what I want to be doing today!!!!  Lol 

Today I want to talk about Geocaching.  This is actually something that the entire family can enjoy no matter what the age.  It’s fun to do with grandkids.  It also gets them away from the computer and out in nature.  It’s a good yet not strenuous exercise for us.

So, what is it?  Geocaching is basically an outoor treasure hunting game using GPS enabled devices.  Yes, the treasure hunting (or hide and seek game) has become more upscale than when we were kids.  The idea is to navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and find the geocache (container) hidden in that location. 

The first time I became aware of it, I was on a hike with friends and we were climbing one of the fire towers.  A family came along and I thought they lost something.  However, they explained geocaching to me and showed me the cache they found on one of the legs of the tower.  The kids were very excited.

What do I need?                                         

  • a GPS device or a fully charged GPS enabled mobile phone (I used my Android smart phone) so that you can navigate to the cache Please note: Some state parks have kits you can rent.  If you use your phone, use airplane mode to save battery life. 
  • Geocaching membership – Basic is free
  • “Handle” name
  • App – on phone, go to Playstore look for c:geo, download app (Android) or cachly (IPhone)

How do I play?                                 

  • Register for membership (see above)
  • Visit “Hide & See a Cache” page
  • Enter your postal code and click “search”
  • Choose any geocache from the list and click on the name
  • Enter the given coordinates into your GPS device
  • Use your GPS device to help you find the hidden cache
  • Sign the logbook inside and return cache exactly where you found it
  • You are also welcome to leave something of your own in the cache (something small)
  • You can write about your experience at the geocaching website. 

Where are caches?

Caches can be found all over the world!!!!  I had a friend who searched and found some when she visited Israel.  The locations can be quite diverse. They can be from on top of a mountain to a WalMart parking lot.  One of my obsessed friends made us search a parking garage one time and was NOT leaving until we found the cache.  We did but I can tell you, I was not excited about the area. 

This brings me to something else.  As with any outdoor activity, it’s best to go with another person.  You just never know these days. I mean you can stumble on a path or get yourself into a dangerous position.  Just be aware of your surroundings. 

What kind of containers am I looking for?

I’ve seen many different kinds of containers such as ammo cans, tupperware containers, big pill bottles, empty film canisters or anything that can sustain weather really.  Whatever they are, they will be big enough to contain a logbook.  I’ve seen little books or just a bunch of papers stapled together.  Larger containers may contain items for trade.  You take something out and put something back of equal or greater value.

Pin in cache

Regarding those items for trade caches – put something in that everyone can enjoy (ie no alcohol, dangerous objects).  Don’t use food either since animals can find and destroy cache.  I’ve seen people put lapel type pins in like this one that I have.

Of course, there’s a market and collectors of these. 

Different kinds of caches?

  • Traditional geocache (explained above)
  • Mystery or Puzzle caches – these involve logic, math, clues or signs to dertermine the correct coordinates
  • Multi-Cache – these involve 2 or more locations and the final destination is where the actual cache is located. 
  • Earth Cache – this is a special geological location where you can learn more about the earth and it actually has it’s own site
  • Letterbox Hybrid – this uses clues instead of coordinates and the caches contain a stamp that remains in the box but is used to record visits
  • Event Cache – gathering of local geocachers.  A specific time is established and coordinates are provided
  • Cache In Trash Out – environmentally based and are normally larger gatherings of geocachers that focus on litter or vegetation clean up.  Many hiking clubs do this as well.

As you can see, Geocaching has become a big thing.  Now, I’m not good with directions on a good day.  I can get lost if you turn me around too many times.  However, I CAN use a GPS and am THANKFUL for GPS.  So, it’s not that hard to use if I can do it, anyone can. 

I have only done this a few times and it’s been fun.  However, I do have friends that are serious about this and some even plan their vacations based on caches they have not found even in other countries.  To me, that’s a little extreme but if that makes them happy, that’s all that counts.

So, if you’re looking for something to do while it’s still nice out, you might want to give this a try and take the kids!  It will let them burn energy because, if you’re like me, you can’t keep up with those grands.  It also might lead you to interesting places that you never thought about going to. 

If you go, let me know what you think and if you found and goodies! 

Comments and thoughts are welcome and encouraged!



Founder of Not Your Mamas Senior and Scrapbooking For Anyone

Knee Replacement – What to Expect

Last week I posted an article on how to decide if you were ready for Total Knee replacement.  This is a follow on to that. You and your doctor decide that it IS time for a total knee replacement.  Remember there are things you should try first AND don’t be afraid to check with more than one doctor. 

I had 2 very different experiences with 2 different doctors for the same knee!!! Their approach to the surgery was even very different.  Who knew??? 

Dr 1 procedure (traditional):

  • All the normal pre surgery tests need to be done to determine if you are healthy enough for the surgery.  For me – chest X-Rays, EKG and bloodwork
  • Get any prescriptions needed after surgery beforehand
  • Enter hospital
  • Determine anesthesia – general, spinal or regional nerve block. Any anesthesia has risk but PUT ME OUT!
  • Surgeon makes an incision (6-10 inches )over the front of the knee to expose the joint
  • Replace the damaged tissue with new components that mimics your original knee
  • After surgery you will have pain (that’s normal) but the dr may give you a nerve block during the surgery to help with immediate pain
  • Your knee might be placed in a continuous passive motion machine (CPM) that will extend and flex your leg while lying down. 
  • Recovery – most people will be up walking within 24 hrs with the aid of a walker.  They like to get you moving quickly.
  • You will be helped with learning to walk and how to navigate
  • Most people are discharged (pending no issues) 2-3 days after surgery
  • Physical Therapy continues for several weeks.  You really need someone to help you at home or do rehab in a nursing facility for a short time depending on how much you can do yourself. 
  • Sometimes you need a CPM machine to use at home to increase knee motion
  • Most people recover with 3 months although for some it may take 6 months.  I’ve seen both.

Dr 2 procedure (this is what I went with):

  • Counseling about the procedure. I was given a book that was required reading and given a CD where I could watch how the surgery was to be done (Ummmm, no NOT for ME – didn’t care)
  • Steps from pre surgery tests to surgery were the same but please note that much of the surgery done by this dr is done in a medical facility unless patient has potential complications that might require hospital involvement but due to COVID, the facility was not open so I did use the hospital.
  • BIG DIFFERENCE – Procedure is done as OUTPATIENT surgery!
  • Dr gave me a pain block during surgery so I didn’t feel pain for a while.
  • I also went home with a medicine ball that was attached to a tiny catheter in my thigh. I could turn the dial on the ball and get pain meds.  Theoretically you can take the catheter out yourself after 4 days but I had to call an EMT friend to do it while I was distracted.
Medicine Ball
  • No machines, I woke up from anesthesia and was on a walker immediately.
  • The book I was initially given had exercises in that I was required to do when I got home. NO PHYSICAL THERAPY.  I will list these exercises below.
  • This seems to be a fairly new procedure and it is called “SwiftPath
  • The BAD thing about this is that it is not done in very many places yet.  Not to sound cynical, but the other procedure, while it achieves the same results, costs quite a bit more for the Hospital stay plus Physical Therapy.

Having said that, you MUST be diciplined to DO THE exercises HOURLY!  My mother in law did not and she is still having issues.  These exercises are from Allina Health but I modified them to be he same as the ones I was given. I was given access to a video and website after surgery with all the information/exercises I needed.


For Swelling

Rest and elevate

  • Lie down with your surgical leg at or above the level of your heart for 20 minutes.
  • You may place two to three pillows lengthwise beneath your surgical leg if you have an increase in swelling. Call your surgeon if you are concerned about the amount of swelling you have or if your swelling does not improve.


  • While you are resting and elevating, place cold packs around your knee for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Place a clean, dry towel or pillowcase between your skin and the cold pack.

Do the following exercises each 10 times each hour.  Takes about 20 min.

1-Ankle pumps and circles

Pump your feet up and down by pulling your feet up toward you, then pushing your feet down away from you.

2-Knee straightening stretch (sitting knee extension)

Sit on a sturdy chair with your lower leg on an equal height chair or solid surface in front of you. Relax your muscles to let your knee straighten. You should feel a gentle stretch on the back of your knee.

3-Knee bending stretch (sitting knee flexion)

Step 1: Sit toward the front of a sturdy chair. Bend your knee by slowly sliding your foot back-and-forth, resting briefly as needed. Try to move your foot back farther each time as you are able. You can use your hands to help. Do this for a few minutes as a warm up. You may want to use a plastic bag under your foot to help it slide easier.

Step 2: Slowly bend your knee back until you feel a gentle stretch. Scoot your body forward on the chair to increase the stretch as you are able. Your heel may lift from the floor but do not lift your hip. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and relax. 

The stretching should be more slow and gentle than fast and forceful. Try to keep your muscle relaxed throughout the exercise.

4-Heel slides (hip and knee flexion)

Bend your surgical hip and knee by sliding your heel up toward your buttocks while keeping your heel on the bed. Slide your heel back down to the starting position and relax. Keep your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling during the exercise. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier.

5-Leg slides (abduction/adduction)

Slide your surgical leg out to the side, keeping your kneecap pointed up toward the ceiling. Slide your leg back to the starting position. You may want to use a plastic bag under your heel to help it slide easier.

If you’re like me, you look at this and say that’s 40 min out of EVERY HR of the day that I’m awake!!!!!  WOW.  That’s a LOT.  It is but it is SO worth it. Just think of all the time/money you save by NOT going to PT. 


You might have to use the walker, but make sure you walk around as much as possible.

PLEASE BEWARE.  There are a couple GRAPHIC photos here (at least to me).  Perhaps I’m just squimish.  I don’t even do blood very well. 

Bandage after surgery
Bandage Off

Meds/Supplements:  7 days before surgery I was asked to stop NSAIDs and my Vit E.  Of course, you’ll have to tell the dr all the meds/supplements you take and the dr can work out what’s best for you and your situation. 

The meds/supplements I had to take after were very minimal.  Tramadol for pain, Extra Strength Tylenol, Gabapentin (an anti-convulsant), Meloxicam (anti inflammatory) and Vit D. 

These are MY 2 experiences with 2 different doctors.  The first doctor I used for my hip replacement and it went very well. 

The second dr I found through a friend and I was VERY pleased.  I do understand not everyone can GET to a dr that uses the SwiftPath approach. It’s not a common procedure yet. Maybe you’re not even comfortable with this approach.  Everyone is different.  After talking to a friend of mine, she felt better using a doctor who used the traditional approach but she did the exercises that I did and that’s working really well for her.  You MUST be comfortable and confident with your doctor!

As I said last time, this is MY experience.  Many people have asked me about it so I wanted to share with all of you.  If I can give you some insight into all of this or some other options to think about — great, I’ve accomplished my purpose. 

How to prepare for home recovery:

-If you live in a multistory house, have a space on the ground floor when you first get home.  I went upstairs after the first week

-Free the space of any obstruction such as area rugs, furniture or clutter

-Make sure you have good handrails where needed

-Think about a grab bar in the shower

-Also think about a raised toilet seat if you’re really having issues

If you do the exercises and walk, you should be back to “normal” in no time.  They still suggest you don’t run or jog although that’s not an issue for me.  I’m only going to run if someone is chasing me with a knife!!!!!  It does feel weird, but I can even kneel on mine but I’m gentle. 

I understand that the quality of these replacement knees has improved and they should last for a number of years.  It feels SOOO good to be able to hike again without pain.  I’m so glad I did it.

PLEASE NOTE once again:  This is NOT medical advice, this is from MY experience.  Knee Replacement is an important decision and it should be made with your doctor!

I hope this helped you. PLEASE let me know if you have any questions. The whole purpose of my site is to exchange information and/or help.

Comments/Thoughts are welcomed and encouraged.



Ready for Knee Replacement?

I know this post is overdue but I was helping my elderly mother-in-law.  Why is it that the older I get, the older “OLD” is?

Anyway, I wanted to share some thoughts and my experience with total knee replacement.  Please NOTE:  This is by NO means a recomendation for you per se. It is MY PERSONAL experience with knee replacement and some information I found helpful.   I just share it because I did a lot of research and trial/error and I want to help others to possibly avoid that. 

This might take a few posts.  Knee replacement is not to be taken lightly and should not be the first option when you feel pain.  There are things you can do such as:

Lose weight and exercise if you’re overweight (I was)

I was told that for every 10 lbs I lost, that was 40 lbs less force pressing on my knee.  Losing weight helped a lot. Some of my activities were: 

          –walking with a knee brace or kinesiology tape (tape supports muscles to relieve pain and reduce inflammation – it comes in many pretty colors/patterns)

          –bike riding – again with a knee brace or kinesiology tape

          –strength training – be careful with the weight though

          –water aerobics – this felt about the best

          –yoga but then I can’t live without my yoga

          –tai chi was suggested but I’m not a fan although I know many are

Physical Therapy

They can help you with a plan to strengthen the muscles around your knee and be there to not only make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly but monitor your progress.

OTC Medications & Supplements

Options I tried:

          –Excedrin (acetaminopen and NSAID) but I took so much it made my stomach bleed

          –Advil (NSAID) again bleeding

          –Tylenol (acetaminopen) worked for a while

          –Topical creams that have capsaicin which also provide temporary relief

          –Osteo BiFlex  – no help

          –Glucosamine & Chondroitin Sulfate  – no help

          –Revival Balm from Lemongrass Spa

          –Bio Freeze –  temporary relief

          –Deep Blue from DoTerra – temporary relief

          –Green Deva Massage Oil which was an essential oil blend  – temporary relief

There are many more options available and they MAY work well for you.

Corticosteriod Injection

This was an injection right into the knee.  It wasn’t painful to get.  It supposedly helped with inflammation and pain.  For many, this will work and relief will last for several weeks.  It’s a great option. 


This is an ancient Chinese technique that uses thin needles injected into your knee to change the flow of energy within your body.  While it sounds kind of creepy and painful to get needles put into your body, you really don’t feel them.  It can take several sessions for them to work and most insurance companies don’t cover the cost. 

I was offered Prolotherapy which is where the dr injects a solution into the ligament to increase blood flow and supply nutrients.  It takes several injections about 4 weeks apart and there is no guarantees.  I opted out of that AND an injection for a pain block.  I felt the pain block was just a bandaid cure. 

There are other options that I’ve read about but did not try such as:

Arthroscopic Surgery

This is where the surgeon uses a small incision to operate on the inside of the knee,  It can be used for a torn meniscus, damaged cartliage or repair ligaments. 

Stem Cell Treatment

I read where they use bone marrow stem cells to help regenerate cartilage. 

I’m sure there is or will be more options as us baby boomers continue to age and research continues.  Remember this is a big money maker for all those involved with treatment. 

I went to the doctor, he took X-rays.  When I saw the X-rays, I could see that my cartliage (the cushion between my knee bones) was pretty much gone.  I was bone on bone.   

With anything this important, always weigh your options before you opt for invasive surgery.  So, when IS the time?


-Knee pain can cause you to walk in such a way that it will affect other parts of your body because you will favor the knee.

-If you have difficulty in just accomplishing normal tasks due to pain – like walking to the mailbox

-Your overall health is getting bad  due to your increasing sedentary lifestyle

-Bottomline – is it affecting your quality of life????  

I found this Questionnaire online from Healthline: Osteoarthritis Newsletter  I thought it was really helpful:


For each question, rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5. The total may help you and your doctor decide whether a knee replacement is a suitable option for you.

1. Overall level of pain

How would you describe your overall pain level?

1Slight pain and/or no trouble
2Slight pain and/or little trouble
3Moderate pain and/or moderate trouble
4Serious pain and/or extreme difficulty
5Severe pain and/or impossible

2. Pain and difficulty bathing

How difficult is it for you to bathe and dry yourself?

1Slight pain and/or no trouble
2Slight pain and/or little trouble
3Moderate pain and/or moderate trouble
4Serious pain and/or extreme difficulty
5Severe pain and/or impossible

3. Using transportation

How much pain and difficulty do you experience when getting in and out of a car, operating a vehicle, or using public transportation?

1Slight pain and/or no trouble
2Slight pain and/or little trouble
3Moderate pain and/or moderate trouble
4Serious pain and/or extreme difficulty
5Severe pain and/or impossible

4. Walking capacity

How long can you walk, with or without a cane, before experiencing severe knee pain?

1Longer than 30 minutes
216–30 minutes
35–15 minutes
4Less than 5 minutes
5Can’t walk without severe pain

5. Standing up

After sitting in a chair or at a table and then getting up to stand, what level of pain do you experience?

1Slight pain and/or no trouble
2Slight pain and/or little trouble
3Moderate pain and/or moderate trouble
4Serious pain and/or extreme difficulty
5Severe pain and/or impossible

6. Pain while walking

Does the pain in your knee cause you to limp while walking?

1Rarely or never
2Occasionally or only when first starting to walk
4Most of the time

7. Kneeling down

Are you able to kneel down and get back up easily afterward?

1Yes, without any problem
2Yes, with slight difficulty
3Yes, with moderate difficulty
4Yes, with extreme difficulty
5Not possible

8. Sleep

Does your knee pain interfere with sleep?

2Once in a while
3Some nights
4Most nights
5Every night

9. Work and housework

Are you able to work and do housework?

1Yes, with minimal or no problem
2Yes, most of the time
3Yes, fairly often
5Rarely or never

10. Knee stability

Does your knee ever feel as though it’s going to give way?

1Not at all
3Fairly often
4Most of the time
5All of the time

11. Household shopping

Are you able to do household shopping?

1Yes, with minimal or no problem
2Yes, most of the time
3Yes, fairly often
5Rarely or never

12. Managing stairs

Are you able to walk down a flight of stairs?

1Yes, with minimal or no problem
2Yes, most of the time
3Yes, fairly often
5Rarely or never


Final Score = ______________ (Add your score from above.)


  • 54 or higher: indicates that your condition is fairly severe
  • 43 to 53: indicates that you have a moderate problem
  • 30 to 42: indicates some problem or inhibited function
  • 18 to 29: indicates that your condition is relatively mild
  • 17 or lower: indicates that you have little to no knee problems

Only YOU and your doctor can determine when the right time is but DO NOT be pressured.  YOU will know more than anyone when the time is right!  It was 6 years from the time of my first X-ray and was told I needed Total Knee Replacement immediately to when I actually had it done. 

Was that good or bad?  I don’t know but it was right for me.  I chose to look at alternative solutions first knowing that a replacement is only good for a limited number of years.  Surgery for me is always a last resort. 

I’m going to end this here and will continue with what to do AFTER you make the decision. I promise I won’t take as long for the next part.

Questions/comments/or thoughts are welcome and encouraged.



Founder of Not Your Mama’s Senior

and Scrapbooking For Anyone

Favorite Comfort Food

So, we’re all stuck inside and what are we wanting to eat?  Lettuce?  Ummmm, NO!  WHO craves lettuce and really, if you think about it — have you ever seen a skinny rabbit?  Yeah, me neither. So, why do we eat lettuce to lose weight?  Go ahead…think….I’ll wait.  I have time!

This is going to be ME!!!!!

MY answer to the question….we want Comfort Food.  So, I saw this cute quiz titled Comfort Food IQ!  Who knew we had one of these but while we’re stuck inside, we might as well exercise our brains: 

1. Which of these comfort foods does not have an emoji?

  • A. Hot Dog
  • B. Burrito
  • C. Pancakes
  • D. Potato Chips

2. What’s another name for Chicken and Dumplings?

  • A. Parchment chicken
  • B. Chicken and slicks
  • C. Saucy chicken
  • D. Noodle bird

3. Why does lava cake have a gooey center?

  • A. Hot fudge is piped into it after baking
  • B. A center of chopped chocolate melts after baking
  • C. Cake is underbaked so the middle is still runny
  • D. Center is made of pudding

4. Which of these creamy pasta dishes does NOT typically have milk?

  • A. Carbonara
  • B. Alfredo
  • C. Penne alla vodka
  • D. Mac and cheese

5. What meats are in the “meatloaf mix” sold at supermarkets?

  • A. Beef and veal
  • B. Pork and veal
  • C. Beef (with herbs and spices)
  • D. Beef, pork and veal

6. Match the type of gravy to the food it’s commonly served with: Redeye, Sausage, Cream, Giblet

  • A. Ham
  • B. Chicken or turkey
  • C. Cream
  • D. Chicken-fried steak

7. Which combo of veggies are you most likely to find in chicken pot pie?

  • A. Peas, potatoes, broccoli
  • B. Peas, carrots, onions
  • C. Corn and peas
  • D. Corn, red and green peppers

8. Chicken-fried steak is typically made with what?

  • A. Chicken
  • B. Pork
  • C. Beef
  • D. Veal

9. Which of these ingredients is not found in a traditional Texas chili?

  • A. Beans
  • B. Tomatoes
  • C. Ground beef
  • D. A, B & C

10. Why are grilled cheese sandwiches often served with tomato soup?

  • A. Traditional pairing in England where both were invented
  • B. School kids loved the 2 served together
  • C. NYC Waldorf Astoria hotel offered the duo in the 1940s & it stuck
  • D. During WWII, soldiers cobbled the meal together from their ration kits

11. Which cut of beef is used to make pot roast?

  • A. Chuck
  • B. Sirloin
  • C. Tenderloin
  • D. Brisket

12. What is the name of the white sauce frequently used in mac & cheese?

  • A. Veloute
  • B. Hollandaise
  • C. Consomme
  • D. Bechamel

13. Which of these pies is made with chocolate?

  • A. Hoosier
  • B. French silk
  • C. Chess
  • D. Shoofly

14. Cincinnati chili is traditionally served over which starch?

  • A. Mashed potatoes
  • B. Spaghetti
  • C. Rice
  • D. Cornbread

15. Which of these dishes is a casserole?

  • A. Chicken tetrazzini
  • B. Beef stroganoff
  • C. Chicken Kiev
  • D. Steak Diane

16. T__F__ Grits and polenta are the same

17.  T__F__ When making biscuits, you should melt butter before adding into dough

18. T__F__  Spaghetti and meatballs originated in America

19. T__F__  Chowder is the same as bisque

20. T__F__  Traditional green bean casserole is made with cream of chicken soup

Answers:  (give yourself a point for each correct)

  1. D
  2. B
  3. C (yuk?)
  4. A (creaminess comes from eggs)
  5. D
  6. A Redeye, B Giblet, C Sausage, D Cream
  7. B
  8. C (breaded and fried like chicken)
  9. D
  10. B
  11. A (one of my FAVS with mashed potatoes!)
  12. D (equal parts butter and flour and whisk)
  13. B
  14. B (invented in 1920s at Empress Chili Parlor in Cincinnati)
  15. A
  16. F (different types of corn)
  17. F (work cold butter in until size of peas)
  18. T (really? how many Italians beg to differ on this?)
  19. F (bisque is smoother than chowder)
  20. F (estimated 40% of mushroom soup sold used for this dish)

So—-how’d you do?  I pretty much flunked but y’all expected that.   

0-7 points:  Total Discomfort.  You need a crash course in comfort food

8-17 points:  Getting Warmer.  You’re no stranger but you need more of it.

18 and above points:  Comfort Zone.  Celebrate but not a lot.  Comfort food has a LOT of calories unless you’re working them off. 

If any of you awesome cooks have an issue with an answer, please argue with the Food Network Magazine, March 2019 issue.  I have NO idea how I came to possess this magazine but I thought the quiz was fun. 

I could really go for some chicken and dumplings right now though ……………my crash course I guess. 

SO, what was YOUR score and what is YOUR favorite comfort food?

Comments/Thoughts are welcome and encouraged as always.



Creator of Not Your Mama’s Senior

5 Rules of the Kitchen

I will be the first to admit that I am NOT a cook.  I have a TON of interests but cooking is not one of them.  I have a kitchen because the builder said it came with the house.  I do like to bake – well, in reality, I like to decorate more than bake.  Since I don’t have an assistant though, I thought these tips would be useful:

  • Measure flour accurately

Use a “spoon and sweep” method which means to spoon the flour into your measuring cup rather than scooping your measuring cup into the flour. 

With the back of a knife, level the cup and “sweep” the excess back into the bag/container.  I use a container for mine because when I lived in the south, I had issues with it. 

Scooping the flour directly can pack the flour leading to dry, dense baked goods.

  • Warm eggs to room temperature

Get eggs out before you start to bake so they get to room temperature.  If you don’t have time to wait, put cold eggs into a bowl.  Cover with WARM water.  Let them set 5-7 minutes while you’re preparing other things.

Warm eggs blend more easily and whites whip up with a bigger volume.

  • Test your baking soda and baking powder

I need to do this!!!!  I’ve been burnt before but never learn.  Spoon baking soda and baking powder into separate small bowls.  Pour boiling water into baking powder.  Pour distilled white vinegar into baking soda.  If the fizz, they’re still good. 

If these ingredients aren’t good, your baked goods will not rise or be fluffy.

  • Measure liquid and dry ingredients separately

I’m bad about this one too.  Use clear measuring cups with pour spouts for liquids.  Use flat-bottomed cups for dry ingredients.  Again, use that spoon and sweep method. 

Too much or too little liquid can spoil the recipe.  The clear cups allow you to see exactly how much liquid you’re using and let you pour right up to the fill line without spilling. 

  • Prevent over baking

Use and oven thermometer to check your oven.  Sometimes they don’t heat accurately (above or below what the dial says)

Set your kitchen timer and check for doneness a few minutes early.  You might want to rotate your pan half way through for even baking. 

Watch how your baked goods are browning.  Some spots in your oven may be hotter than others. 

(Most of  this is from Oct 2019 free Giant flyer – you know where I bought my pre cooked chicken)  LOL

Sample cake.
One of my cakes.

Since I bake mostly for other people and on special occasions, I guess I won’t be doing much now that we are in quarantine.  However, the silver lining to having to stay in is that I used my GPS and the builder is right…..I found my kitchen. 

I always thought that eating prepared food or eating out was cheaper (less waste) since I was cooking for one.  I don’t know how to cook for one and I got tired of eating a dish after a couple times.  I know— freeze.  I am eating in more often now AND saving money!!!!!  Go figure.  I might have to keep up this trend!!

So either way, cooking or baking, I hope these tips help. 

Comments/Thoughts welcome and encouraged.



Founder of Not Your Mama’s Senior

Survive Social Distancing

Have you heard of the terms introvert and extrovert?  They are terms used in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.  This is based on C.G. Jung’s ideas about how different ways of perceiving and judging, in combination with different attitudes, describe different types of people. 

Two of the indicators are Introversion and Extroversion.  They merely indicate how you interact with the world and renew.

Introverts – focus on the inner world.  They can work with people but often need moments alone to renew their energy.

Extroverts – focus more on the outer world and gain energy by interacting with other people.

There is nothing right or wrong with either.  When I worked for the government, I administered this test to all employees.  It helped create a better work environment by helping coworkers understand each other better. 

As it turns out, studies show that the majority of people are extraverts.  Perhaps it’s because this style is encouraged by a society that values one’s ability to be sociable. 

So, in these trying times, it’s difficult for many extroverts who are asked to stay home and not be closer than 6 ft from another person or not to engage with more than 10 people.

However, these things are necessary to help prevent the spread of this Corona virus.  We, as seniors, are more vulnerable so we have to be really careful especially if we have:

  • -compromised immune systems
  • -chronic lung disease or asthma
  • -serious heart conditions
  • -other underlying medical conditions like diabetes or liver damage
  • I know they listed pregnancy as well, but I can only hope that no one our age is pregnant.  lol

My brother, who is older than me, is just one of those folks that’s really having a hard time not being able to interact with people on a regular basis.  This is causing him to be depressed.  So, I thought I’d share some of the things with you that I suggested to him. You can:    

Read.  That could be a physical book or one on your Kindle.  It could be a magazine or even something on the internet.  I’ll have another blog with some book suggestions. 

Learn a new skill.  It could be a new language, how to knit/crochet or even scrapbooking (  Maybe you’ve always wanted to paint or learn photography.  Start a garden.  You Tube is great and there’s a video showing you how to do anything you can think of.  The magic of technology!!!

Take Virtual Tours.  Again, technology rules.  This will eat up HOURS in day especially if you follow all the little side trails like I end up doing.  Here’s some links to start:

DC Capital:


The World:

-Now that you’re back home from your tours, clean out the clutter that you’ve been meaning to do forever.  I bought this book by Marie Kondo

Her idea is to hold something in your hand and if doesn’t bring you joy, toss it.  I have to admit, I didn’t find joy in that book so I tossed IT!!!  Sorry, Marie.  You may find it helpful though.  Most likely there are things in your house that can be cleared out. Even I was able to do that.  Look under your bathroom sink.  That’s where I found most of my toss stuff.  So, keep it, gift it, recyle it or toss it!!!

Do a puzzle.  This can be a jigsaw puzzle, a crossword puzzle, sudokoo or any number of puzzles out now.  Anything that keeps your mind sharp. 

Play a game.  Ok, I know the whole purpose of hibernation is to stay away from people but there are plenty of online games that you can play alone or compete with others online.  My 92 year old mother in law plays on a site called Club Pogo  all the time.  There’s a fee but there are TONS of games.  It keeps your brain sharp – scam prevention brain I call it.  One of my favorites (and it’s an oldie) is Bejewled.  I love hearing those jewels explode.  Is that warped?????  LOL

Go for a walk.  The sun and the vitamin D it produces is good for your immune system. Exercise is good for the joints as well.  We have to keep moving if at all possible.  Just remember to stay away from others.

Start a journal.  Sometimes when you’re depressed, it’s helpful to write your thoughts in a journal. Just acknowledging how you feel sometimes helps.  I’ve had one for years and it’s fun to look back periodically to see how far I’ve come.

-Last but not least and one of my personal favorites that takes up most of my time is Wealthy Affiliate.  I joined in 2011 and will never leave.  I did a blog about working from home. I love writing blogs although I do get sidetracked when life calls but hey—I’m retired.  When I first joined, I had NO clue how to create a website but the training is fantastic and so is the helpful, diverse, fun community.  There are surprisingly MANY people our age that are now doing blogs.  Check it out

Above all, stay home, wash your hands a LOT, be safe and do NOT panic. While there IS a real danger, the media sometimes simply likes to keep us in a frenzy. It’s what makes money. Good news doesn’t. Sad.

I hope this helps. We’re all in this together but we’re not all alike. Don’t let this get you down. This too shall pass!!!!!!

Comments Please.


Snow Tubing Gone Wild

I am from UPSTATE NY NOT to be confused with NYC please!!!  I will have some do/don’t for that in another blog.  In any case, when I was a kid, I used to lie in bed and PRAY for 12 inches of snow so that the schools would close.  Two reasons, I hated to get up and more than likely I hadn’t done my homework.  I was NOT a child who loved school obviously.  Alas, schools normally opened so I’d have to go to Plan B.  When my dad called me to get ready, I’d tell him I was sick.  He’d say “oh, feel better” and that was it.  Then my mother would come get me and basically say “suck it up, buttercup!”.  She knew when I was faking!

Then I married an Army man (no choice, he was drafted – remember those days?).  Our first duty station was Brooklyn, NY where I was introduced to my first roach.  I had NO idea that they even existed.  I didn’t care WHERE we were transferred as long as there were not bugs.  We moved to Anchorage, Alaska.  Whoa, talk about snow banks taller than me.  Ok, so I’m not that tall but they were taller than my husband and he was over 6 feet! 

My point is, I’m no stranger to snow but given a choice of living in NY or living in VA, I choose VA because they don’t have snow right????  WRONG!  My first winter here we had a HORRIBLE storm.  My friends in NY were laughing at me.  Yet, VA is not prepared for snow like NY was.  If someone says snow on the weather forecast, schools close; shelves in the stores are picked bare of groceries.  We’re not even talking an inch, much less at least 12!!!  Why didn’t I live HERE as a kid?? 

Well, it snowed this weekend.  It was a heavy, wet snow – actually great for snowballs or snowmen.  Not so good on the back when you’re shoveling.  So, what do you do???  You “suck it up, buttercup” and go snow tubing. 

Fun in the snow

The first run down was quite dicey.  No one told me to kind of lean back in the tube a little and hold my legs up.  You’re on your own at the top of the hill.  Well, I spun down the whole way!  By the time I got to the end, I thought I was going to get sick.  That was not an option for me so I got my bearings, talked to some people, learned the trick and did it again.  Once I got the hang of it, it was great.  However, one of the ladies (and I’m not really sure WHAT she did) as she was going down, fell out of the tube and hit her head.  I guess she won’t be tubing again any time in the near future.  She was alright but they took her to the hospital for tests to make sure. 

So, if you’re in a place that has a lot of snow, get out in it!!  I don’t downhill ski – I’d surely break my neck.  I cross country on occasion.  If you snow tube (which is really quite safe), please keep your feet up and lean back a little then enjoy the ride.  Just getting out and walking  (carefully) can be invigorating. 

Until the next adventure (I have another snow tubing date coming up), enjoy Winter. I mean, do we have a choice??

Comments/Thoughts are welcome and encouraged.


Life Reboot 2019

At the beginning of every year (I am kind of OCD and need a new year, new month, new week to start something), I evaluate the previous year to determine where I have grown and what I would like to work on for the coming year. 

Let’s DO THIS!!!

Some people have words that they choose for the year.  I tried that one year.  My word was PATIENCE.  Whew, I will never do THAT again.  I was tested from the moment I made that decision.  My patience muscle was exercised to the max!!  I tried breathing IN with the good, OUT with the bad but it kind of turned into hyperventilating.  I gave up.  lol 

The  4 “F”s (or areas of life) to look at when creating goals.  They are:

          Faith – Start the day with devotions, perhaps keep a gratitude journal, find a small group of like minded people that you can be open with and grow spiritually.  Even if you are not a group person (like me), it helps. When trouble comes (and it will), know that there is a higher power at work; trust in that; tap into that power.  Never give up hope or let your joy be stolen.

          Family – Plan time with spouse and (grand)kids.   They remember memories that you make even if you do not have a lot of money to spend.  Time is more important that elaborate events or even money.  Plan a night with your spouse or kids.  Go outdoor (sports, hiking on trails, building a snowman, etc) or inside (board games, restaurant).  The most important part is reconnecting and making memories.  Take time to sincerely talk to one another and I do not mean through texts. 

          Finances – Get out of debt, go on a spending hiatus.  Think carefully about each purchase.  Do you NEED it or WANT it.  If you are able to buy anything you want without going into debt, kudos to you.  Go for it but most of us need a budget.  Perhaps you are planning for retirement or even a trip.  It was on the radio this morning that many people would rather sit in traffic than sit down to evaluate where they are in their finances.  You have to know where you are NOW so you can determine what it will take to get you to where you want to be.   

          Fitness – Do NOT be a couch potato.  Some of us have limitations but our bodies were made to move.  It keeps the joints lubricated.  Some insurance plans cover Silver Sneakers where they will pay for your gym membership.  Check it out! I am loving it!  Swimming is great for sore joints.  Remember eating is part of this plan as well.  I am a junk food person so this is tough for me.  I HATE to cook so I tell everyone if you are what you eat then I must be cheap, easy and fast.  I basically have a kitchen because it came with the house.  I made a plan for this though. 

You may rank the list differently and it is ok.  The objective is to make you the best you can be mind, body and spirit because we are made up of all three parts.  Do any of the above need a reboot?  It is never too late to start but the beginning of a new year always helps with my mindset – starting fresh.  Now that you have determined the area, make SMART goals. 

I did not always do this. In the past, my goals were vague.  “I want to lose weight”   This year, I drew a line in the sand and said 2019 WILL be MY year!  I set SMART GOALS – not resolutions.

What is the difference?  I looked it up.  A resolution is a firm decision to do/not to do something (often unachievable) whereas a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.  I understand there is a fine line here but, admit it, resolutions get broken quickly.  To me, it sounds like going cold turkey.  In my mind:  resolution:  I will not eat bad food vs. goal:  I can have a cheat day once a week (but only 1).  I can plan, stay motivated and still reach my goal.

Back to SMART GOALS.  It is not a new concept.  I have heard it many times and used it in work but not in life. So, what are SMART goals? 

S=Specific, M=Measurable, A=Achievable, R=Relevant and T=Time-Sensitive  For example: 

  • (S) Instead of saying I want to lose weight (I wish I was the weight I was 20 years ago and thought I was fat), I wrote “I wanted to lose 21 lbs.” 
  • (M) This is certainly measurable (ask my scale – at least it is not one of those talking ones).  I figured out how much I wanted to lose per month and the steps I would take to do it such as go to the gym and eat healthier.
  • (A)  Certainly achievable and realistic.  I mean not even GOD can make me taller now so no matter how much I do, I will still be short – no sense in making THAT goal!
  • (R)  It has to fit with an overall objective that you have for your life.  Yep, it is something that will benefit me overall.  I will feel better, help prevent diabetes (runs in family), help my asthma, have more energy and have less stress on my joints.  …and yeah, I will fit into those jeans!!!  Total win!
  • (T)  You need a finish line.  My time limit is June. 

What areas do you want to work on?  Do you have a plan? Have you heard that a GOAL without a PLAN is simply a WISH? I am calling 2019 to be the BEST YEAR EVER!  With all the stuff that is going on in our world these days, we HAVE to remain positive.  I believe that staying positive is half the battle.

Comments/Thoughts are Welcome. I would love to hear from you.


Forest Bathing For Health

What???  Getting naked in the woods?  Ummmm, no!   For many seniors, that would be frightening in of itself…..although………..I’ve seen some really good lookin’ senior men….but I digress.  Oh, and no bathtubs required either.  So, don’t stop reading.

Do you ever get stressed?  I know, you’re retired, what’s there to stress about right?  I have a list if anyone needs ideas.  However, I’m sure most of us, at times, still have something that we stress about.  If not, you’re either dead (go ahead check your vitals) or not really of this world.

So what am I talking about here?  I’m talking about spending time in nature.  It can be as simple as a walk in a tree lined park or preferably walking in the woods.  It costs nothing to do and the benefits are countless.   In Japan, it is actually a form of medicine.

In 1982 Japan introduced a program called Shinrin-Yoku which means spending time around trees.  This is a brief You Tube video.

that explains Shinrin-Yoku.  Don’t fall asleep watching the video.  It’s very calming.  There is even a coalition you can join to promote this practice if you’re interested.

This doesn’t mean that you’re walking or hiking through the woods with your head set on.  Not only is that dangerous these days with all the weirdos out there, it’s not the point of this whole process.  Instead, be in the moment.  Pay attention to how your body responds to the environment.  Listen to the birds and observe everything around you.  The environment doesn’t judge you.  It doesn’t care how much money you earn, what you look like (thankfully), what your gender or race is.  You can just LET GO and feel the freedom to just BE!

Forest Bathing

Me Forest Bathing

We are bombarded by technology today between the TV, cell phones, IPads, computers, fitbits and everything else.  Many people don’t even read real books.  They use a Kindle.  I understand there are benefits to that but where does it end?

Many times people don’t even talk to each other directly.  How many times have you emailed someone instead of visiting?  I admit I’m guilty of this.  I’ve seen people text each other from within the same house though!  How bad is that???  I have another article I’ll share about the “blue screen”

Sometimes we need to step AWAY from all this and get back in nature to relax and unwind.  You don’t need a lot of time to reap t benefits.  Start with 5 minutes if you have to.  It’s not wasted time.  It’s an investment in your well being which will only improve your day.

So, what ARE some of the benefits?  This is a compilation of several articles that I’ve read and just some of the top benefits.

  1. Reduce stress
  2. Increase Vit D (which most of us have a deficit of)
  3. Improve mood by decreasing depression and anxiety
  4. Immune boosting (via compounds released by many evergreen trees)
  5. Reduced blood pressure
  6. Improve sleep
  7. Increase energy

I don’t know about you, but I think the Japanese have it right.  Instead of reaching for a pill, this looks like good medicine.  I can tell you from experience that I DO feel better when I get out into the woods for a short walk.  I usually do about 3 miles but you don’t even have to do that.  I sleep SO much better too.  It just gives my brain a rest and allows my body to absorb some of the earth’s energy.  I love that it’s free too.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  I’d love to hear from you.

Comments Please


Founder of Not Your Mamas Senior