Grandma Susan’s Almanac Calendar is an informal monthly journal that encourages homemakers to do more things for themselves - crafts, handiwork, “from-scratch” cooking, gardening, and other domestic arts. Grandma's motto is: "Let's work together to improve our lives by simple living, self-reliance, maintaining our religious faith, and sharing the blessings of life with others."

 Saying of the month 

"It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Autumn. "
-   B. C. Forbes

   April, 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

New Moon    First Quarter    Full Moon    Last Quarter
Apr 14/06:29   Apr 21/12:20    Apr 28/06:18    May 5/22:15 

U.S. Central Standard Time



Some Bible verses for April

"But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment, lets us be therewith content. (Timothy 6:6-8)

  Recommended reading

Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth,

James Lovelock.


 Some Bible verses


Saying of the month


 Recommended reading


 Make vegetarian meals


Harmony in your sacred space


 A place for outdoor shoes


 "From scratch" recipe of the month - Pasta with quick spaghetti sauce 


There are a number of advantages for cutting back on meat consumption in the diet or becoming vegetarian. The main advantages are: 1) better health, 2) saving money, 3) avoiding so much cruelty associated in the harsh raising conditions and slaughtering of animals, and 4) helping lower our carbon footprint on earth. (See earlier blog on carbon footprints.) 

But many people are reluctant to change their animal protein-dominated diets, even when they believe that it could be better for them and for the planet.  They are usually afraid that they would need special cooking skills for such a dietary change. They may also doubt that they can prepare tasty foods, given the short time that they have for meal preparation.

My diet for the past 40 years has been based on vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products, eggs, and ,yes, some meat. (I mostly eat fish, turkey, and chicken -- in that order-- and try to avoid red meat. I do not eat beef.) 

There were also years when I was totally vegetarian, and I feel that I was healthier at that time. Nevertheless, cultural and family pressures have kept some fish and meat in my diet in the past couple of decades.  

From my experiences, I can assure you that “greening” your diet is not hard as you may think and should save you money.  Of course, if you insist on all organic or gourmet vegetarian foods, you probably won’t save money. But, if you buy regular supermarket or farmer’s market foods and serve home-cooked meals, your vegetarian or mostly vegetarian diet will be economical.

There are many good vegetarian recipes available on the Internet. Besides that, I include an easy to prepare vegetarian(or mostly vegetarian) dish as a monthly feature of this Almanac Calendar.



Modern society, with all its demands, struggles, and frustrations, often leaves us feeling fearful and anxious. We look for ways to escape from the stresses and fears that are affecting us. And, too many people choose escapes that are questionable or even harmful in an effort to ease their desperation. But, there are other things that can be done. What I’m talking about are the spiritual traditions, known for thousands of years that help to calm people's spirits and bring harmony into their lives. These traditions involve practices that you, through consistent effort, can do to change the focus of your thoughts and actions through regular prayer, meditation, and other quiet personal rituals.  


Unfortunately, many households have a lot of members with a lot of activities that don’t seem to be at all suitable for any kind of spiritual practice. Here's my suggestion to you: create a specific place in your home for your own spiritual practice. You can choose a room, a little-used corner near a window, or even an outdoor space, where you can feel safe and relaxed.  There, you can carry out your rituals, that might include prayer, meditations, yoga, journaling, listening to quiet music or reading devotional material. (continues)

(Sacred Space continued)

Once you have chosen the area, there are some things that you should do during daylight hours. Clear the space of all furnishings and accessories. Next, clean the entire room of dust and vacuum or mop the floor. Hopefully, you have a window in or near your space, open it and let fresh air and light come in. If you’ve chosen an outdoor area, you may also need to clean it up or make some kind of minor modification.  When you’ve defined the limits of your sacred space, decide what kind of personal or family items you want to fill up this area.



You may want to build a little altar as a focus for your prayers or meditation. Perhaps there’s enough area for a comfortable chair or bench or for a few pillows on the floor.The most common things that people introduce into their space are: religious images and objects, Bible or other inspirational reading material, artwork, flowers, candles, CDs and player, water, incense, and their own inspirational journal. Don’t bring too many things into the area. You can always add or subtract an item or two later on. Keep your space clean and clear of clutter.


If you want your family to be healthier and your house cleaner, leave the shoes that you use for outdoor activities at the door. It's the Japanese style and it makes a lot of sense. When you leave your shoes at the door, a lot of dirt, germs, and other contaminants won't be entering your house.

Find a shoe bin or build a little shelf and put it near your front door. Be sure to always leave your outdoor shoes at the door. Encourage all the members of the household to do the same. Inside your house, weather permitting, you can go barefoot or wear simple rubber sandals. It's good for your feet to be free from the confines of street shoes and "aired out" a good part of the day if the weather is too cool, be sure to have clean comfy slippers near the door (in an attractive box or basket) to put on right away when entering your house. You might keep some extra slipper socks at the door for house guests.  


Have a seat or two and a rug near the door for the occasional visitors who may not want to remove their shoes. This will limit their shoe dirt to the front entry and hopefully, not too much of it will be tracked into the rest of the house.


Pasta with Quick Spaghetti Sauce

Boil and drain pasta. Blend tomatoes*, onion, garlic, salt and pepper and any combination of parsley, oregano, or cilantro. Add blended mixture to a pan along with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one teaspoon of apple vinegar, and boil for about 5 minutes. Serve pasta with the spaghetti sauce, topped off with Parmesan cheese or pine nuts.  If you don't have any fresh tomatoes, use canned tomato sauce, but taste it - canned tomato sauce is often salty. 

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