The Stars are (RE-)Aligned!

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

In the early 80’s, one of my high school teachers read daily horoscopes (from the day previous) out loud to the class to see if the predictions truly were accurate. As members of the class “oohed” and “aahed” and nodded their heads in agreement that indeed, yesterday had been just as their horoscope had read…I, as the lone astrological skeptic, thought, “I could have fit yesterday into any of those generalities.” Then the teacher revealed that he had actually “twisted the dial” and read the incorrect horoscope for everyone.

Well, it seems the stars have (re-)aligned, and just when
you got that Taurus Tattoo, you became an Aries! That’s progress people…the earth tilts and suddenly the whole galaxy as we know it is put into a primordial spin. On the bright side, it is certainly going to help the tattoo-removal business. In case you need to go re-read today’s horoscope, “here’s your (new) sign”:

Capricorn: January 20 to February 16
Aquarius: February 16 to March 11
Pisces: March 11 to April 18.
Aries: April 18 to May 13
Taurus: May 13 to June 21.
Gemini: June 21 to July 20
Cancer: July 20 to August 10
Leo: August 10 to September 16
Virgo: September 16 to October 30
Libra: October 30 to November 23
Scorpio: November 23 to November 29
Ophiuchus: November 29 to December 17
Sagittarius: December 17 to January 20

If you are disturbed by this shift in the galaxy, you are not alone! There are claims that perhaps this doesn’t apply to the western world (we can choose our own reality!), or since we added that 13th constellation, we should add a 13th month to the year (poor Ophiuchus…he’s been there all along and now he’s finally getting some respect! Let’s name the new month “Ophiember”), or (my favorite): Earth’s movement does not determine astrological signs (Hello? Do they not understand the definition of Astrology?). But wait, there’s more: Maybe it only applies to people born after 2009…

Most likely, it doesn’t matter at all. Because if you are the type of person who won’t get out of bed when your horoscope tells you it’s a one-star day, you have bigger problems.

Change Time, Change Batteries or "Learn from my mistake"

A few Saturdays ago, we made and bottled Apple Pie Filling until 9:30 p.m. (see below for a great recipe given to me by my best friend, Kelli). We were pretty exhausted, the husband and I because you see, we had been up since 3 a.m. (a story for another time). But the last batch we made was beautiful! We cleaned up the canning kitchen (which is in our basement), mopped the floors and turned out the lights. As we were preparing for bed, one of the smoke detectors started chirping because the battery was almost dead. 
This may be as good a time as any to explain that we had already removed 3 dead batteries (from the 5 total smoke detectors in our home) and had never replaced them. That annoying chirping when the battery dies ALWAYS starts in the middle of the night causing one to lose sleep waiting…for…the…next…beep!!! AARRGGHH! And of course, once one has had a good night’s sleep, one never thinks to replace the battery, because that would require going to the store and buying some 9 volt batteries, which one never happens to have just laying around.
Back to the story: We promptly removed the battery from the second-to-last working smoke detector (ensuring an uninterrupted night of rest!), said our prayers (thanking God for safety and protection, of course…all the while He’s shaking His head, I’m sure..) and went to sleep.
At 1 a.m., we awake to the blare (NOT a chirp or beep) of the last working smoke detector screaming that there is a problem! Remember the old movies about how to be safe in a fire? You are supposed to feel your door to see if it’s hot, right? Who remembers that when the alarm is piercing your groggy brain? My husband flings open the door and 3 feet of smoke billows in on the ceiling. Suddenly I remember that I forgot to turn off the hot water bath with the last batch of Apple Pie Filling!!
We were lucky…the water had burned off and 3 bottles had burst, allowing the apples and sugar to start smoking and were able to get it out the door before it started to burn! 
So take it from me, folks…when the time changes, CHANGE THE BATTERIES IN YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS!!! And here’s another little life lesson: Don’t Google “smoking pot picture” if you are looking for an image of a burning pan in the kitchen…
Now to the good stuff! Here’s the recipe for bottled Apple Pie Filling (thanks, Kelli!)
24 pounds (1/2 bushel) Apples, peeled, cored and sliced 
Mix together: 5 c. water, 6 c. sugar, 12 T cornstarch and 3 T cinnamon. Heat and stir until clear (it will still be brown, but not opaque). Add sliced apples and stir just ’til hot. Pour into jars and process in hot water bath for 25 minutes (REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE STOVE WHEN FINISHED). 
To make a pie: Pour into pie crust and bake 45 minutes at 425 degrees.

Musings of a 43 Year Old

I turned 43 two weeks ago and it has caused for some reflection. Surprisingly, I LIKE THIS AGE! Today I’m sharing some of the things learned along the journey to this point. I invite you to share your life lessons in the comments, or tell me what you liked most!:
  1. Eat to Live, don’t live to eat (thanks, Anita Refroe for the musical reminder)
  2. Desserts are an exception to #1
  3. Don’t get attached to a house or “stuff”~ Get attached to people. 
  4. Friends are the only thing worth keeping. Everything else is yard sale fodder.
  5. A new rubber spatula is a better gift than diamond earrings.
  6. I don’t worry about what my behind looks like…I can’t see it, so it doesn’t bother me.
  7. …but NOBODY over 24 (or 120 pounds) should EVER wear spandex in public!
  8. You always find things in the last place you look (because who would keep looking after you’ve found it?)
  9. In my mind, I stopped aging at 19, but my body tells me we’ve traveled a few miles since then
  10. and I may need to see if Miracle Ear can help me hear what you just said.
  11.  I’m learning to say NO and not feel guilty.
  12. My kids are actually fun to hang out with…
  13. So are my parents!
  14. Laughter is the best medicine, but Tylenol P.M. runs a close second.
  15. I {heart} coming home to a clean house, scrubbed toilet and kitchen sink…
  16. That really says “I love you” to me!
  17. …but a *little* clutter is a sign that “Life Happens Here” and I *can* let it go.
  18. There is a definite line between clutter and filth. 
  19. Sitting on a porch swing with the one you love in silence is a great date.
  20. Roller coasters are still my favorite, and I’m grateful I to have a strong stomach.
  21. Be firm in your standards but never extreme in your opinions.
  22. There are more good people in the world. It’s just easier to be annoyed at the dorks.
  23. One person can make a difference.
  24. Clean sheets are underrated.
  25. My favorite chore is to fold clean laundry!
  26. New cars are overrated. As my wise father says, “Cars are just a bucket of bolts.”
  27. Having said that, you *should* vacuum out your car occasionally.
  28. I used to be a night owl, but have turned a 180 (as only owls can do) to find mornings are truly my favorite time of day. I am full of hope at dawn!
  29. Chickens make the best pets.
  30. Most people need to learn how to use an iron.
  31. Watching your children suffer the consequence of their choices is really, really hard.
  32. Letting them do it helps them grow. 
  33. Mothers really do know best, but they can’t tell their kids that. 
  34. Keeping my mouth shut is a life skill/parenting technique I wish I had learned earlier.
  35. Cold cereal can be eaten at any meal
  36. …and comes in handy when mom is reading a good book and is too engrossed to cook.
  37. Family dinner is important and something I need to work on.
  38. Together is a great place to be.
  39. Rubber Stamping is cheaper than therapy!
  40. Photos are better enjoyed in a scrapbook that in a box or on a computer.
  41. Listen to that still, small voice
  42. Forgiveness feels good.
  43. Mistakes Happen. The Atonement Helps.