Monday, February 25, 2013

Spring Fever is setting in!

Hello again friends!  I have had several people asking me about gardening in the city.  So many think that they can't do it.  You can!  You just have to be creative.

I am lucky that we have a double lot so I am able to take a section of the yard for my garden.  If you don't have that yard to spare or you have issues with a Home Owners Association banning gardens (I can't for the life of me understand that one!), you just need to get creative to have some produce.  

Just about anywhere that you can grow flowers, you can grow veggies!  Whether you use a flower bed or a neglected area near the house, you don't have to have one, large, set spot to garden.  You can put a few things around a porch or around a deck or in a corner of the yard.  I have a clothesline beside the garage that leaves an area between it and the garage that is pretty useless for other things.  I had my husband build a box to keep the dirt contained and initially had the salad bed (lettuce, spinach, radishes, etc.) there.  This year I am moving my blackberry bramble there because I totally underestimated the amount of spreading they will do and they were getting into the strawberry bed.  My point there is even a small area in the corner of a fence can be turned into a veggie bed.  You can use simple black edging to separate it from the yard.

Your situation may work better with container gardening.  I have mint in a large flower pot because it is invasive and will take over the yard.  You can, of course, grow any herb in pots.  I know someone who used a storage tote to grow potatoes and carrots in.  The possibilities for containers to use are only as limited as your imagination.  Use what you have!  It's going to be full of dirt anyway!

Start planning now.  Decide whether you can have a garden in the yard, need to use small beds or containers.  Figure it out now and start planning.  Our last freeze date will be here before we know it!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Baking on Snow Days

Well, it's not exactly a "snow day" but more of an "ice day" here.  The kids didn't have school today and I didn't venture out either.  As much as I love my History class, it wasn't worth my safety and that of others to try to skate on the interstate!  

Being cold and dreary out is a great day to bake.  The oven being on makes the kitchen feel warm and cozy.  I tend to get on a baking binge and stock things up in the freezer.  

Today, I made the kids mini cupcakes.  We aren't big cake eaters here, most of it will go to waste.  Mini cupcakes are the answer!  When I make them, I ice a few and put the rest in the freezer in a Ziploc.  Then we can take a dozen out at a time.  It only takes a minute to ice them.  

I also had to restock our banana bread stock.  I used to take my banana bread recipe and make it in the mini muffin pan as well but, they tend to dry out a bit quicker.  I found these great mini loaf pans somewhere and they are great!  The loaves stay moist and for my husband, one is a single serving and the kids share one.  The banana bread in the picture for this blog is from a mini loaf pan.

I collect old cookbooks and this recipe is from a 1966 edition of the American Home All-Purpose Cookbook.

2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2-3 medium-size bananas
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (OPTIONAL)

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Grease & flour whatever pan you want to use
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, set aside
Beat sugar, shortening and eggs for 3 minutes on medium speed with mixer
Mash bananas

Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with bananas beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  
Blend well after each addition

If using nuts, stir them in now

Put into pans 
If you are using a loaf pan, it will take about 60-70 minutes in the oven.  If you're using mini-muffin pans I start checking them at about 12 minutes.  For my mini loaf pans, I start checking them at 18 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

When I pull them from the oven, I let them cool for a few minutes (maybe 5) and then turn them out on a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled COMPLETELY, I wrap the mini-loaves in press and seal or wax paper and then put them into Ziploc bags.  I wrap them in the wax paper or the press and seal wrap because when you warm them in the microwave, they don't get that soggy, rubbery feel that things do when you warm them in plastic wrap.

I generally double this recipe so that I have a really good stock in the freezer for cold mornings.  I feel like June Cleaver to be able to whip out some warm bread for breakfast on those cold mornings without having to get up early enough to actually make them.  And they are much healthier (and cheaper) than what you buy in the grocery.  Win-Win!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Peer Review Process

Here is another one of my assignments.  The paper I wrote was about the creation of this blog!

Reflect upon the peer review process for project one.  Did you get some helpful feedback? Is there anything you could have done to improve the quality and helpfulness of the feedback you received? (Ask leading questions, post earlier in the week, etc.) Can you think of a question you would like to have added to the peer review questions? If so, what? When reading your peers’ work, did you gain a new understanding of the assignment of its value? Explain. Did reading your peers’ work help you with your revision? In what way/s?

Submitting my paper for the peer review process was rather intimidating.  I mean, I have written papers before, many times.  Those were more formal, traditional research type papers and they weren’t submitted to my peers, only to my professors.  I read and re-read my paper for a couple of days before I finally bit the bullet and hit “submit”.

I got some positive feedback on the creation of my blog and how it represents me.  I also got some feedback questioning how this relates to me and my life.  In reading over my paper for yet another time, I feel that it does adequately represent the fact that I live a clean and simple life. 

I’m not sure that there was anything I could have done to improve the quality and helpfulness of the feedback I received because I did post earlier in the week but only had two of my fellow students review my paper. 

I think the questions were thorough and covered the aspects of the assignment. 

In reading my peer’s papers, I noticed that some of them created avatars that were almost exact replicas of themselves, some who created a fantasy version of themselves and some who started with a fantasy version of themselves and later changed it to be a more accurate version of their true selves.  It was interesting to read their reasoning for each of their choices.  I am of the thinking that I need to have mine be a true and accurate representation of me.

I don’t think reading my peers work caused me to change my paper in any way because I created something that truly represents me. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stretching the Chicken

I was talking to a friend (isn't that how most of these blog posts start?) and she was asking me about ways to use the chicken meat from the "Magic Chicken" post and possibly sharing a recipe or two.  I can do that!

I'm busy through the week, as I'm sure you are too, but I like to make weeknight meals that don't taste like they are quick meals.  That's why I love having chicken, broth and other things in the freezer ready to go.  

Here are some of the quick chicken meals that my family likes.  

Chicken & Dumplings 

I actually make Spaetzle, my German friend told me to pronounce it "spetch-la". That's as close as I can get to spelling the way she told me to say it.

Put about 8 cups of chicken broth and a cup (give or take) of finely shredded cooked chicken in a large pot to heat up


With a fork, beat one egg, 1 tablespoon of salt, and 1 cup of water together.  Slowly mix in 2 1/2 cups flour.  This mixture will be stiff and sticky.

Once the broth is at a simmer, dip a teaspoon in the broth and then get some of the dumpling dough on it and slip it off the spoon in the broth.  

***Hint-dipping the spoon in the hot broth will keep the dumpling dough from sticking to the spoon and it will slide right off but you MUST dip it in the broth before each and every dumpling.***

Let this simmer for about 10 minutes and you have dinner.

We call this next one "Grown Up Chicken Soup":

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken-Corn Soup

Again, put about 8 cups of chicken broth and about 2 cups of finely shredded chicken in a large pot to heat up.

Once the broth comes to a boil, add 2-3 handfuls of dried egg noodles to cook.

After about 8 minutes, add a cup of frozen corn and 2-3 chopped up hard boiled eggs and a teaspoon of dried parsley.

In a couple of minutes, this is ready to eat.

Chicken Pot Pie

If you don't make pie crusts, you can use the pre-made ones that are sold in the dairy section of the grocery store. How ever you do it, if you have enough pie crust to make two pies, you have enough for 4 individual pot pies (with top crusts on them)

You can do this in a large pie pan but my family prefers them in individual pot pies.  

I put the bottom crusts in the individual pie pans

I peel, dice and par-boil a large potato (you don't want it totally done because it still has to bake in the pot pie)

In a sauce pan, melt 2-3 Tablespoons butter or margarine over medium-low.  Add the same amount of flour.  Cook for a minute.  Add 1/2 cup of milk and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth.  Cook until thickened a bit.  Remove from heat and add in the potato, 2 cups of chicken, and about 1 1/2 cups of mixed vegetables.  For the vegetables, I generally use what I have in the freezer:  corn, green beans, carrots.  Many will add peas, I'm allergic so we don't do peas!  Sometimes I even add a few sliced mushrooms.  You can really pick and choose what veggies to put in.  

***You do not want this to be soupy at this point.  If you think it is overly thick, then you're good!  If it is too loose, it will be runny when it's cooked!

Spoon the mixture into your pie shell until full and then put your top crust on. Be sure to crimp the edges to seal them well.  And you will need to cut slits into the top so that steam can escape.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.  Remember, the mixture is already cooked, you're only cooking the crust here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Garden begins

Today, I started some garden preparations!  No, even though it was really sunny today, I wasn't able to work in the garden outside.  But I worked on getting my indoor greenhouse set up for starting seeds.

I went through the seeds I have already accumulated and began work on what I am going to include in the garden.  I'm pretty upset that it appears that my tattered garden book is gone.  I'm assuming someone thought its raggedness warranted throwing it away.  Sigh.  So I am starting a new one!  

I've put those trays with the little peat pods in my greenhouse.  Each of the big trays holds 72 seedlings.  One of them is dedicated to the seven varieties of tomatoes I plant.  I generally put out about 60 plants, the others are "just in case" plants.  Just in case I kill a couple!  Hey, it happens to the best of us.  The other tray will be for various other plants, cucumbers, leeks are going already, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini and yellow squash and some others.  I also have some smaller clay pots that I started the herbs in.  

Here is a view inside of my greenhouse:

This is my new set up, I got the greenhouse at Lowe's for under $40, it's much bigger than my previous arrangement.  In the past, I turned a fish tank into a seedling terrarium.  One issue I had with this is with the tank on its stand, I needed a step ladder to reach anything inside it.  Shoot, when I first started gardening, I put the plants in cardboard boxes and put Saran Wrap on top to keep as much warmth and humidity in as possible.  Improvise, there are tons of ways to make this work!

I put a light inside this plastic covered shelving unit to aid in keeping it warm.  I do this because we set the thermostat back at night and it's cooler downstairs.  The plastic helps to keep the warmth and humidity in.  

It was so nice to be able to get my hands in dirt in a way that I actually like!  LOL.  Getting seedlings going means that Spring is almost here!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Magic Chicken

How can a chicken be magic?  When you can take one chicken and get multiple meals out of it, that's how.  When chickens are on sale, I will buy the biggest one I can find, sometimes more than one.  

I put that chicken in a large stockpot of water with an onion, some carrots, celery, a dozen or so peppercorns, a bay leaf, a little salt and a little minced garlic.  I bring it to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer.  (**helpful hint-use a slotted spoon to remove the grayish foam that will come to the top as it cooks) I will simmer it until the chicken is done.  I will pull the chicken out and it should fall off the bones.  I will put the bones back into the pot, there is loads of flavor in the bones, and continue to let it simmer.  I will let this cook down until it is about half of what it started as.  The longer that you let it cook, the richer the chicken broth will be.

Once the meat is cool enough to handle, I will shred it.  You will be amazed at how much shredded chicken this will make.  Then you can package it in meal sized portions, using good freezer bags to ensure that the meat comes out of the freezer in as good a quality as it went in.  

When the chicken broth is to your liking (taste it, that's the only way to be sure of the flavor), let it cool a bit and then strain it.  Some people do this through a cheese cloth lined strainer, I generally just use a fine mesh strainer when it is just for my family.  Then I put the broth in good freezer bags, some in large bags for chicken soup or chicken & dumplings and some in small bags for gravies or even to use in boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes.

The size of the portions will depend on what you are intending to make.  For my family of 4, I will package about a cup of shredded chicken for things like chicken and yellow (saffron) rice or for chicken & dumplings or chicken noodle soup.  I will put more if I am making shredded chicken bbq or chicken salad.  

So you see, a whole chicken that would feed a family once if you fried it can now make multiple meals for your family.  I know that I generally get at least 6 meals off one whole chicken plus all the sides that can be made from the smaller amounts of broth I put in the freezer.

There you have it:  A magic chicken!  Enjoy!

Media Writing

My experience with writing for media is somewhat limited.  I have created Power Points for prior college classes.  In writing for things like a Power Point presentation, one must recognize that information has to be clear and concise.  This requires that the information presented doesn't include any frivolous or unnecessary text.  The information must be to the point and not include jargon or other technical terms unless the audiences you are presenting to are in the profession that would generally use this jargon or technical terms.  I find this very different from the types of academic writing that I have experience with.  In academic writing you have to be much more thorough in your text.  Just as you must be clear in writing in the academic area, you have to be very clear in other media, most often with far fewer words.  For me, my strengths are being able to focus my words on my topic, which will help me to work towards those clear and concise bits of information.   I can also be said that my strength is also my obstacle.  I tend to want to be too thorough in my writings, wanting to leave the reader with very few, if any, questions.  I will need to be cognizant of that and work to be concise in writing for other media.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Meal Planning

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about meal planning.  One of the reasons she was wanting to begin meal planning is that it's one of the easiest ways to get a food budget in check.  If you have a  weekly plan in place before you go to the grocery, you can make a detailed list of what you need.  You also have less chance of overspending because "something sounds good" or having to make a mad dash to the store because you're half way through a recipe and realize you are out of something.  

Making a meal plan can seem intimidating, but it's really not.  It can really be pretty simple if you just stick to the basics.  You don't need fancy spreadsheets or books on the subject.  I make my menu on a blank piece of paper.  

To start, I just list each day of the week.  I then decide which meat/protein we'll have each day.  I try to rotate so that we don't eat the same meat/protein each day.  We'll have pork one day, chicken another, beef another.  Once you have your meat/proteins then you can move on and add sides and veggies.  This helps you to work some variety into your meals.  Also, don't discount 'meatless' days.  Since meat is the biggest expense, this can help the budget too.  You can follow this same process to include breakfasts and lunches as well.  I always start with dinners as they are the most expensive meals.

I build what my family lovingly calls 'guinea pig' days in.  These are days where we try a new recipe, not always the main dish, sometimes a creative side.  They have to be nice and at least try it as I won't make something I know they flat-out don't like.  We have a rating system too, "work it in the menu rotation", "once a month is ok", "not a favorite but I'll eat it" and finally "we tried it, that's enough".  It's a nice way for them to say whether they like it or not.

In my family, the only true leftovers are used in lunches the next day.  We do a lot with "planned overs".  Those meals where I plan to have extra meat that I will use later in the week.  For example, it we have roast chicken on Monday, I will take the leftover chicken and plan on having chicken & rice or chicken salad on Thursday.  Extra roast beef can be turned into beef Manhattans.  The possibilities are almost endless!

Links & icons

Here's another one of my assignments!

In your reading, Gerrand quotes David Riordan as saying, "Infinite choice equals a database.  Just because you can make a choice doesn't mean it's an interesting one."  Think about this quote and its implications for multimedia and writing.  What are the implications for you as a writer?  Explain.

As I think about the quote by David Riordan, “Infinite choice equals a database.  Just because you can make a choice doesn’t mean it’s an interesting one.” It makes me think about some of the websites I have been on in the past.  I think of this like just because you can make a clickable link or icon doesn’t mean you should make a clickable link or icon.  Would I love my blog to be like some other blogs I have seen with all these icons and links to click on?  Sure, I would.  But at this point in my blog, I don’t have enough going yet to warrant all those clickable links.  They would in essence be links to one item.  That would not be an interesting choice and would in fact be annoying to my readers.  It would just be easier to simply write out the information to begin with.  I think that once you get enough varying information that a database would make sense in keeping the information organized and easily accessible for the reader is the time that one should look into icons and clickable links.  When there are interesting choices to make.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Longing for Spring!

It's a beautiful day in Indianapolis today!  It's one of those days where the sun is shining so brightly and the sky is a pretty blue.  It belies the fact that it was in the mid 30's this morning!  It makes me want to go out to the garden and plant something.  

I'm wanting to start planning my garden.  Not necessarily where I'm going to plant things but what I'm going to plant.  I have the basics that I plant every year (tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, carrots, celery, cauliflower, onions, etc.) and then I have the things I rotate every couple of years, I grow and can enough to last me a couple of years to maximize what I get from the garden, this year is sweet potatoes.  And then I always have a few things that we experiment on or that the kids want, I need to figure out what that will be this year.  I will admit that I do not grow sweet corn.  It takes up sooooo much space in the garden and I have found a local source to get it by the bushel.  This lets me still put corn in the freezer in quantity without sacrificing valuable garden space.  

Speaking of garden space.  Gardening in the city is challenging.  I found a wonderful resource in a book at the local library.  It's such a great book that I actually went out and bought it - at full price - and those who know me know that I don't pay full price for anything!  It is the "Vegetable Gardener's Bible" by Ed Scott.  It can be found in most libraries and can be bought at here.  It's a great book for beginners or experienced gardeners!  

Using the Square-foot method allows me to plant a large garden in a small space.  Below are some pictures of how my garden looked last year just after I got it all planted.

Come on Spring!  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


This morning while I was making the family oatmeal for breakfast, one of my kids asked why I didn't buy the packets of oatmeal that are flavored.  I told him making the kind on the stove let everyone flavor it the way they wanted and it was healthier.  

I know that the little packets cook in the microwave in one minute for one person but, I can make old fashioned oatmeal for the entire family on the stove with just 5 minutes of cook time. 

Old fashioned oats can also be flavored the way you want.  Although my hubby is a purist with just sugar in his, the kids love mix-ins.  Sometimes mixing in maple syrup and brown sugar, sometimes a spoonful of homemade jam, and sometimes even a few chocolate chips!  The possibilities are almost endless!

From a Mom view, old fashioned are healthier and cheaper.  After the discussion this morning, I popped by the grocery to grab a gallon of milk (we go through so much milk, we should own a cow!) and decided to look at the oatmeal aisle for a little comparison.  Although, I would always buy the biggest box of oatmeal because it is cheaper in volume, for this I tried to compare boxes that are closest in size.  In this case, I compared a box of 10 packets of flavored instant oatmeal and the smallest container of old fashioned oats.  I also compared Quaker because it can be bought in most places.  With oatmeal, I tend to buy Kroger brand, it's cheaper and just as good.

The instant packets were $2.74 for 10 packets ($.27/serving) and the oats were $3.19 for 13 servings ($.24/serving) it's not a huge difference but it is a difference.  The oats can also be used for cooking (cookies, meatloaf, etc) so you'll see even bigger savings if you buy the bigger container ($5.19 for 30 servings or $.17/serving).  

A huge thing I noticed was the sodium content, even I was surprised at it.  There was NO sodium in the old fashioned oatmeal.  In the flavored packets, in one serving there was 250 mg of sodium.  

I'm not saying my kids never eat the packets, but they are not a staple in our house.  I have found that sometimes the "convenience" foods don't really save you much more time than making things the old fashioned way.  They do, however, cost you more money.  

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I have a picture!

I wanted a picture and decided that some of what I make would be the best picture!  Pictured are Bread and Butter pickles, Salsa, Peach and Strawberry jam, Mint jelly, Apple Butter and a mini loaf of homemade Banana Bread.

I want to thank my friend Liz from Eternal Lizdom for helping me with this.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Experiences in creating a blog

Here is another one of those assignments.  I didn't dream that starting a blog would be such an adventure!  LOL

February 2, 2013

Setting up this blog was as much of an experience as actually writing on it.  What did I find challenging?  Pretty much the entire process!  I read all the suggested items our instructor linked on our class page so I had a pretty good idea what each part of the blog was and what to include for the class.  I just had to figure out how to get mine going.  A friend suggested a template and my teenage daughter showed me a “Googled” list of suggested sites with free templates.  That wasn’t overwhelming AT ALL!  I spent HOURS checking out site after site after site.  I finally found one I thought would be great and hit the download button.  When I tried to open it and actually create the blog, I ran into even more problems.  It was time to admit I needed help.  A dear friend came to my rescue, showed me that I had chosen a bad template that had a problem in its ‘coding’.  I’m sure that my deer-in-the-headlights look assured her that it was okay to tell me I should abandon what I’d spent hours finding and go to the blog site and use one of their templates.  Why didn't I remember that suggestions from a teenage girl are never simple?  At this point, we were able to get a simple and clean template set up and got the blog up.  I really have to thank Lety of Real Simple Solutions!
What did I find most enjoyable?  I had the blog up and fonts chosen and the basics done.  I hadn't written a word of the actual blog but I was enjoying that I had something that I thought was pretty cool looking up and running.  Wait.  Now what?  What was I going to write?  Other than my assignments, what was I going to write?  I finally wrote the first entry.  And then I just sat and looked at it.  Was I ready to hit enter and put it out there for the whole world to see?  My friend said “Just doooooo it”.  So I hit publish.  It’s out there now.
Now to remember to breathe until I see a comment or ten!

My Garden Book

I've been going a little crazy the last day or so looking for my Garden Notebook.  It is generally with my favorite gardening book but it's not there!  We've had a lot of reorganization around here and a little home remodel so I'm sure it just got moved but now my mission is to find it.

I should back up and explain my Garden Notebook.  It's just a notebook that I have my garden notes in.  I learned a long time ago that I don't always remember what I did and how my garden reacted from year to year.  Yes, I just referred to my garden as its own entity because it is.  It grows and changes from year to year, just like we do.  I know, I'm a nerd when it comes to my garden!

Back to the Garden Notebook.  I keep a simple hand-drawn layout of what I planted where each year.  Trust me, it's a very rough sketch, nothing fancy as I am not an artist.  In the garden planning stage, this lets me decide where I'm going to plant each item and what companion plants I can put with it.  Each item in the garden has friends that it does well being planted with, some people can keep this straight in their head, I can't, so I write it down.  I generally do this layout in the cold winter months when I can't really do much outside.  

I also include notes about the garden.  What worked where, what struggles I ran into this year, suggestions on what to change next year.  For example, I have one section of my garden that tends to be a bit shady, so in that area, I plant things like lettuces that like it a little cooler and out of direct sunlight.  I even take notes about the weather, nothing extreme but like "we had a lot of rain in the spring" or noting the drought that we suffered last summer.  That information helps me when I note how the harvest was.  

It's really not as complicated as it sounds.  Mine is just a ratty old one-subject notebook that has dirt stains on it because it's spent time outside in the garden with me.  Your notes can be as simple or as complex as you'd like or need them to be.  For me, the notes in my garden book are as important in planning my garden as the seed books that will soon be filling my mailbox.

Ok, I'm off to search for that book!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Why I took the class

Here is one of those "assignments".  I'd written it a few days ago but was having trouble getting the blog up and running.  I told you, I'm a country girl, I'm great with a trowel and hoe, technology...not so much!

January 26, 2013
I chose to take “Finding your e-voice” for several reasons.  I wanted to stretch my limits a bit.  I write research and other academic papers well.  At the time when I learned to write papers, it was required to write very formally with very strict rules.  That is what I know and that is how I write.  In today’s world, more and more work is being done online and we are, in general, a less formal society.  That meant I needed to learn to write more informally.  I thought this class would be a great way to try to break the old habits I have in the way that I write.  I feel the strengths that I bring to the table are the fact that I know the basics of English writing.  Obviously, the biggest obstacle I have is going to be getting comfortable with a more casual style of writing.  I have to realize that a contraction here and there isn't a bad thing!  I think the best way to overcome this is simply by practice.  

Welcome to my blog!

Hello everyone!  Welcome to my first blog entry.  I'll be honest, I read blogs but never thought I'd have my own.  This began as a requirement for a college class and while I was procrastinating friends helped me to realize that I could share a lot more than just the requirements for a college writing class.  

I lived in the country for years and, as all good country girls do, I gardened, canned, cooked from scratch and lived simply & frugally.  Then I met the man who is now my hubby and he brought me to the "big city".  Talk about a fish out of water...LOL!  It took me a bit of time but I have managed to find a way to have my garden here and I still can what I grow and I make jams and jellies, too.  I had to get creative, but I have managed to bring a lot of the country to my own backyard.  

When the economy tightened budgets for everyone, I began sharing some of my tips and tricks about gardening and stretching the dollar with a mom's group that I belong too (Shout out to my IndyMoms!).  We all help each other and I hope to share some of those helpful hints here.

Occasionally, you'll see an entry labeled "assignment", those entries are for my writing class...just so you all don't think I'm losing my mind and throwing randomness out there!  

I hope you enjoy this and find a little something useful in it!