Around the House · Musings

The Zen of Doing the Dishes

By Hand

I’ve washed dishes by hand for most of my 6 plus decades. I did have a dishwasher for a few of those years, and I did enjoy it, but the truth is that washing dishes can be quite cathartic. The following article reminded me of this:

Forget Biohacking…

There is something powerful about taking the task of cleaning up the kitchen in hand and leaving behind clean dishes, counters, sink. It literally provides a clean slate for the next day.

And, to be honest, unless you, or someone in your house who cooks, is a person who uses every pot, pan, utensil, and dish every single day, it really does not take that much time.

Here is a great article explaining how to wash dishes by hand: Dishwashing Made Easy

While it may not sound as amazing as it is, doing the dishes by hand provides time to just be.

Around the House · Classic TV

Chill Baby!

Finding ways to relax when things get busy

We have entered that time of the year when things get a bit (?) hectic…stressful…chaotic.

Yep, The Holidays have arrived.

If you find yourself needing a bit of a stress relief or some time away from the hustle and bustle, I invite you to join me as I embark on a journey to find some zen quiet. For as long as you like. 😉

Bob Ross has been a staple for decades. Even for those of us who don’t paint, sitting back and enjoying the process can be quite relaxing. You can find an entire channel (!!!!) of his shows on PlutoTV.

Katie Scott (Salvaged by K Scott) has a YouTube channel packed with videos of her work. She is an excellent teacher but more important to me, watching her process is very relaxing.

For the ultimate in relaxation, try Girl With The Dogs over on YouTube. Vanessa has two channels filled with grooming videos of dogs and cats. I have found her videos not only relaxing but educational as I had no idea what was involved in grooming a dog. Some of her clients may not enjoy the process while others truly enjoy the experience. Check her out for yourself.

I’ve noticed that several ‘fireplaces’ have appeared across several streaming platforms. In addition, YouTube has some very comfortable jazz based videos (think coffee houses or bookstores) that you can click on to not only add some nice background music but a rather nice view, too.

Sometimes you just need to find a few minutes to relax. I hope these options are helpful.

Audiobooks · Books

From the Reading Table: The Olympian Affair

The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every once in a while I come across an audio book that I can’t stop listening to. This is one. I have spent the better part of the last few days listening while I occupied my hands with a project.

Jim Butcher has once again created a world that is interesting and engaging with characters that I want to spend time with and learn more about. Before purchasing this book I took the time to revisit the first book in the series, The Aeronaut’s Windlass. If you are new to the series, do yourself a favor and read that first.

Butcher takes his time with a series and each entry is carefully crafted to build upon the prior book and to add a new layer of the story.

This new addition has expanded some back story, added characters, grown characters, created a bigger world and, as if that weren’t enough, upped the ante. Just when I thought I knew where we might be going, I discovered I really hadn’t a clue.

The ending was a twist I did not expect … actually more than one twist. I don’t know how many books Mr. Butcher is planning for this series but he has definitely created some captivating story lines.

My only hope is that he doesn’t take as long to write the next one as he did to write this one.

Oh, and the cats are probably the best of the bunch, which is saying a lot because I like a lot of these characters.

View all my reviews

Around the House

Easing Into The Funnies

Or, a quiet time during the day

The daily newspaper contains a lot of things but the biggest draw for me is the comics section. Granted there are a few papers who have given up on this old standard, but the one I enjoy has kept its’ comics section going strong.

I haven’t taken the time to count the number of entries there, but I can usually find a wide variety of offerings that cover a lot of topics.

The thing about comic strips is that you can usually find something to please pretty much every mood. Some are very cute, others on point, and even a few make you stop and laugh – the best ones make you laugh out loud unexpectedly.

Personally, I prefer to browse my favorites, groan about the one or two where the kids have yet to plug in their brains, ponder the messages in others, and think back to when the oldies were actually new. And, yes, I remember when those particular rerun strips were first run. It is almost like watching MeTV at times…

My favorite thing about the comics is their ability to bring life to the reader in ways that capture imagination and interest where there might not have been any before. Sort of like taking a walk around the neighborhood and being able to peek inside the houses at the people inside.

When I want a bigger hit of the good stuff, I head over to and do a deep dive. Pure bliss!

Yes the daily newspapers have lots of information but I think their best offering is in the comics section. It is where connections are made.

Cooking · Food

Looking For Doable Recipes

The title of today’s post could be a question or a process. Thankfully, Kaleb over on WyseGuide provides solutions.

I discovered WyseGuide a couple of years ago and was captivated. Here is a young farmer from the Midwest who shares not only his love of gardening but of cooking and baking, too. He makes things easy to understand and easy to do while providing that touch of ‘You can do this!’ encouragement that folks need.

One of the things that caught my attention was his cookie recipe collection. If you are thinking about baking for the holidays and are looking for doable recipes, check out his website. There are loads of options that would make wonderful additions to a cookie tray or box.

If you are looking for recipes for the holiday table, check out his Thanksgiving collection.

Don’t forget to check out his YouTube channel. He covers a wide variety of topics in addition to cooking and baking.


Around the House

Go With The Flow

Or Learn to Adapt

I caught a bit of Mornings With Granny the other day and while I did not sit through the entire video, her point was pretty clear: Learn to adapt.

It has been clear for a while now that many folks seem to be terrified / paralyzed at the thought that they would have to use their own initiative to complete a task or a recipe if they did not have exactly what was required by the instructions. How can you be ‘Perfect’ if you went off script?

Here’s a thought: Everything we are told to do via instructions or recipe came about because someone went off script.

You might want to read that again.

That recipe you love came about because someone somewhere did not have all ingredients called for or forgot to change the oven temperature or … … …

That process you are trying came about because the original instructions did not work for someone for whatever reason, so they changed the way they did it and look what happened.

Adaptability is one of those things that can make your life easier with a lot less stress.

Do you have allergies to certain foods? Leave them out. Try substituting foods you do like. Do you not like certain colors or patterns? Don’t use them. Instead, use what you like. Worried about what others will think if you do? Realize that many of them are looking to find ways (or excuses) to not be caught up in doing exactly what others are doing, too.

While you might be thinking that following the crowd is the best way even though you really are not happy with the results, here is your permission – should you need it – to do what you really want to do.

Who knows? You might be the next trend setter!

Audiobooks · Books

From The Reading Table: The Graveyard of the Hesperides

The Graveyard of the Hesperides by Lindsey Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy Lindsey Davis’ books and find myself rereading (or rather listening) to them frequently. I always find something I missed when I go through them again.

Flavia Albia is a favorite character among favorites. She has come a long way, in every way possible, since Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina adopted her and brought her to Rome.

This particular book is both intriguing and unsettling. The wedding preparations are amusing – the wedding itself is beautifully written so you can find yourself wandering amongst the participants if you are not careful.

The mystery is not straightforward at all and the investigation gathers information on all sorts of topics that could be very uncomfortable for some readers. The solution is … I started to say ‘striking’ changed my mind and thought ‘shocking’ and decided to leave it hanging. You’ll understand the inadvertent puns when you read the book.

Let’s just say ‘surprising’ and ‘unexpected’, shall we?

One of the things I appreciate about Davis’ writing is the way her characters grow and evolve. Sometimes without the reader realizing it. When that is mixed with her delightful locations and interesting mysteries, her books are a pure pleasure to read or listen to. Even the uncomfortable parts.

View all my reviews

Cooking · Food

Left Over Pot Roast

A simple option to make use of left overs

I don’t know about you but I hate to waste food. I especially hate to waste a good pot roast. One of my favorite go to options for the end of the pot roast is to turn it into a stew. Since I always have frozen vegetables and cream soup on hand, this is an easy solution. You could always make your own cream soup and use canned vegetables.

Left Over Pot Roast Stew

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 Dutch Oven or Oven Safe Casserole Dish 5 quarts


  • 2 Cups Cooked Pot Roast Cut to fork size pieces
  • 1 – 2 Cups Gravy Left over from the roast
  • 1 Can Cream of Soup Use your preference
  • 1 Can water Use the empty soup can
  • 2 Cups Mixed Vegetables Frozen


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Adjust the middle rack to accommodate the pan if needed.
  • In the cooking pot combine all ingredients and mix.
  • Cover and put into oven to bake until warmed through.
  • Once the mixture is heated, pull out of oven and test seasonings. Adjust to taste.


This is one of those dishes that makes use of left overs.  The majority of the work has already been done with the cooking of the pot roast.
You could heat this through on the stove top if you like or put it in the slow cooker on low.
I don’t use canned vegetables in this because they would disintegrate in the oven.  You could leave them out until the end and add them to warm through.  Don’t forget to drain them first!
You could serve this with potatoes on the side or over biscuits.

This is a great ‘clean out the fridge’ recipe that you can adjust to suit your taste or make use of what you have on hand.


Cooking · Dining · Food

Hot Dish Extravaganza!

A friend and I have been talking food lately. As in food we are really needing / wanting to make because the temperature has dropped and it is time for the kitchen to get warm and cozy.

For those of us who live in colder climates, hot dishes, aka casseroles, are the comfort food that does more than just fill you up. Think macaroni and cheese, potato soup, chicken spaghetti, and, of course, Hot Dish.

If you have never tried a hot dish recipe, click HERE to see what Taste of Home has included with their collection of recipes. There are quite a few good ones and not all require tater tots.