Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Great Escape Holiday

This weekend was so busy. I needed to get my youngest Princess to visit her dad for a few weeks about 9 hours away. Princess number 2 was coming home for the long weekend about a 5 hour drive and was picking up someone to go with Princess number 1 to take Princess number 5 the long distance. Princess number 3 had a boy coming to take her on a date and he was driving about 2 hours to do that so they ended up at our house for a few hours in between each part of their date. Princess number 2 had people over for a party while she visited home. Princess numbers 2, 3 and 4 all had last day of school parties where they were out VERY late. All the while I did the cooking, packing, changing sheets, planning etc for the weekend.


My family has a park, picnic, softball game every year but I was stressed about all the driving as they were in different directions and also the cost of gas and the wear on the car. We probably put 1700 miles on our cars this past week with all the visits and trips. So, I didn't feel like making the long trip and paying for the gas.


We also spent some time singing to patients in one of the local hospitals. They seemed to enjoy our visit as we let each one choose a song and we enjoyed sharing our talents with those stuck in a hospital on the holiday weekend.


I was grateful that with the food I had in the freezer and at home, I was able to feed everyone and provide snacks and treats for everyone without extra cost.




Today, however, we needed groceries as I now have three girls home daily as school is out. They are busy but will still need meals. So, I went to the store and spent over $100 in just perishable foods. I was stressing as I came out about spending that much on food and on the floor between the outer two doors at WalMart, I found a dime. I laughed and said to my girls. "Heavenly Father loves, me. I used to get pennies all the time and now I get dimes." I decided to stop stressing and trust him to take care of the bills as he always has.




Princess number 2 called to tell me she made the long trip back to school safely and I told her about shopping and the dime. She laughed and said, "I went to WalMart here when I arrived home and found a penny on the way out."

My coin jar where I put all the coins I find is getting quite the pile in it. I forgot to write about the U2 concert. When I was leaving, there was a penny on the ground. How blessed am I?

So, this weekend, I sat at home in between cooking meals etc and worked on a puzzle that princess number 5 thought we should do. It is 2000 pieces. I spent hours working on it and finally got some of the "friends" that were over this weekend to help finish it as I would rather work on my hand print quilt than do a puzzle. It is a beautiful puzzle of Christ coming for "Passover" and as beautiful as it is, I am glad it is done. I still have a way to go on my last two quilts.


I hope you had a wonderful memorial day. I took a moment with my girls to reflect on those who have done so much to get us where we are today. We are blessed with a great heritage.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Waffle Ice Cream Cones of Varied Flavors

I went to my bunko group and won a waffle ice cream cone maker. I had never seen or heard of such a thing. I saved it and gave it to the girls for Easter. I have been busy with things for the last month of school so we hadn't had a chance to use it.



This week was the last week of school so we had some company visit. I thought it would be a good time to try out the maker.


The company that makes the waffle cone maker is Bella cucina Artful foods. The maker was really easy to use. I just put some coconut oil on it to "season" it and heat it up as I put in the five or so ingredients to the bowl and mixed.


The maker comes with a booklet which has three or four recipes for different flavored cones. They have chocolate but for my first try, I wanted to make the traditional "Vanilla" cones.

I have always loved waffle cones and have always gotten them when available. I was interested to see if the cones actually tasted like the ones you can buy.

The mix was very thick. Not like regular waffle mix. It was almost thick like a fudge is pouring it into the pan. Here is a photo of it on a spoon.


Once the batter is made, you spoon a few spoonfuls into the center of the heated and oiled pan. The booklet recipe said to cook the cone for 1 minute but you may have to add 5 to 15 seconds.


The first cone I made, I used the little green light on the top figuring it would turn green when the cone was ready. It went off finally and the waffle was black. So, I then set a timer for 1 minute. Once again the waffle was black.


I then set the timer for 45 seconds and here is how it came out. It was really dark on the edges and lighter at the bottom of the machine. The cone was still edible but just darker edged. I finally started setting the timer for 30 seconds and it seemed that was the best time for a good golden brown waffle.



The maker comes with a "mold" for shaping the waffle. However, the instructions say to get a "clean" cloth and use it to hole the waffle as you wrap it around the mold. I used a spatula to pull the waffle off the maker and tried to use it to hold the waffle onto the mold. I didn't like using a cloth but wondered if I used honey on the maker down a strip if I could then just roll the waffle on. I didn't try that but think it would probably work.


Once you have the waffle on the mold, you hold it there for about 1 minute as it cools. Once it is cooled into the "cone" shape, you drop a marshmallow or two in the bottom to "plug" up the bottom so ice cream doesn't leak or drip from the bottom of the cone.


They tasted great and I used some of the crumbled ones with overdone edges to crumble up on top of some ice cream as a "mix in" as we like waffle cone ice cream. They were just the right amount crispy and tasted like a waffle cone but even more like the really good fortune cookies some places have.


We didn't finish them that night and so I left them on a plate thinking they would get eaten the next day. My kids kept breaking pieces off to eat. The next day, they were a bit less crisp from sitting out but still tasted wonderful. I would bag any leftovers next time to keep them fresh.


I look forward to trying the chocolate and other flavored recipes now that I have the timing down. I checked out the company online and they have some other fun bakers such as brownie, muffin, doughnut, cake pops etc. I have seen many of the other types of bakers but never the "waffle cone" baker.


It is a fun thing that can turn a boring afternoon into an evening of fun. You could experiment by adding different flavorings to the mix. It could be interesting to try Mint with mini chocolate chips in it or something. The possibilities are endless.

Friday, May 27, 2011

U2 - Kiss for the Future







My oldest Princess and I have enjoyed U2 together since she was a baby. I lived in New Zealand as an exchange student in 1983 and during that time, I learned to love U2 and their music.


The first tape I ever bought was U2 "Sunday bloody Sunday" in New Zealand. I bought a few other groups but through the years, U2 has been a favorite.


In my senior year of high school, my best friend and I flew to Denver on St. Patricks day with a local radio station and saw U2 at Mile High Stadium. That was a fun day.


This was my fourth time seeing them in concert and they never cease to amaze me. They can come up with something new and still mix in the old. It was an amazing concert and it got me thinking about how blessed I have been being able to see some amazing groups. There are many that I can't even remember who were opening acts etc but I tried to list all the concerts I have attended over the years and wish I had kept a list somewhere. Here were a few of the one's I could remember up front:


U2 four times

David Bowie

Bob Segar

*Sting

No Doubt

*The Smiths

*Garth Brooks

*Tim McGraw

*Harry Conick Jr.

*Duran Duran

The Fray

*The Beach Boys

*Reba Mcentire

*David Archuleta

Miley Cyrus

The Jonas Brothers

*Jesse McCartney

*Jimmy Eat World

Mandy Moore

Thompson Twins

Howard Jones

Tori Amos - Missed it but bought a ticket

Billy Joel

Elton John

*Sarah Mclauchlan

*REM

*James Taylor

*Hermans Hermits (Peter Noone)

*The King Singers

*Celtic Woman

*The Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Huey Lewis and the News

*Styx

*Goo Goo Dolls

*Mayday Parade

*Parachute

*Kurt Bestor 

Osmond Brothers

*Amy Grant

*Michelle Branch


Every time I think I have them all, I remember another event. I wish I could remember all the opening acts but I don't even remember the head liners from the 80's.

We went to U2 with my best friend and her oldest daughter. We had such a wonderful time. I have never bought a shirt at the U2 concerts so I bought one for my daughter and I to wear and put on my t-shirt quilt. Shouldn't my favorite band be included on that quilt? I think it should.


Funny that when we saw the stage, I said, "It looks like a huge Hershey's kiss is on the top." I then read my t-shirt which said, "The future deserves a big kiss. U2 360 tour." I then realized it was a big "kiss" on the top of the stage. Click on the photo and you can see it at the top.


The lights and stage were amazing in that for the most part, everyone could see the stage. However, they did stand on one side most of the time but the surround screen moved up and down and opened and closed making it smaller or long and covering the band at times. It was really amazing and looked like something from outer space. Click on this photo and you can see how the screen opened up covering the stage.



My best friend leaned over and commented that her favorite memory of "She moves in mysterious ways" was when she visited me in Boston area and she remembered my oldest dancing in the living room singing that song. My oldest then said, I think we have video of that. I am sure we probably do have that somewhere.



I have been so blessed to see all those artists and the better part is that most were free to me. I think I will put an asterisk next to the one's that I saw for free either on a date, winning the tickets or someone giving them to me.



How blessed to have eyes to see that wonderful show and having ears to hear the music and messages portrayed through the music. I am very grateful for both.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gratitude Grant for Kenya

I have had a very busy May with the girls finishing up school. That is expected and if you look at last year during this time I posted a post called, "May, May be Busy." which has been the case this year.


However, amongst those crazy times, there are wonderful miracles that Heavenly Father puts in my path to remind me that he is in charge and loves us.

My Princess number three that is going to Kenya, received a call from the local ELKS club saying that they were going to give her $500 towards her Kenya trip. We were very excited and she promised to give them a presentation upon her return to show what things they did to help the people in Kenya.

I think I posted about another person we aren't close to giving her $500 as well. How blessed we are to have people so willing to share.

We looked at the check when we arrived home and I laughed out loud when I looked at what they called the check. Hopefully, you can click on the photos and see for yourselves what they chose to entitle the check. However, if you can't, I want to let you know that the people of the ELKS club don't know me and I don't know them. They chose the title of the check not knowing me....


They wrote, "Gratitude Grant" on the check both in the memo spot and on the tear off portion. I thought to myself, "There couldn't be a better title for a check written to our family."

So, here are the checks with the names blanked out. I just had to give gratitude for the "Gratitude Grant!"


Thanks again to you for reading my blog!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dehydrating and Freezing Zucchini For Soups



Normally when I dehydrate zucchini, I slice it in a coin shape and lay them to dry on the dehydrator. This past time, I wanted to try something different. The large round pieces are rubbery when I try to use them whole after they have been dehydrated. I have to crush the pieces and use them smaller in omelets etc.


When I have frozen zucchini in the past, I have only frozen it shredded to use in zucchini bread. I bought some stir-fry vegetables a few weeks ago and they had zucchini chunks in it. So, I thought to myself, I can do that.



I like zucchini in soups and stir-fry's but wanted to try a different approach. I was blessed to get two crates of zucchini from the food bank. They received about 20 crates and they were giving them away as quickly as they could but they were going to go bad before they could give them all away so I took two of the crates and thought I would try a few things.


I cut the zucchini length wise into a cross. I then froze them in Ziploc bags writing the date on them so I could just put them in soups or use them in stir-fry all ready to go. I then washed and cut some up to dehydrate in this new way.


I placed them onto the dehydrator just in those chunks wondering if they would dry OK. They seemed to dry just fine and I was excited about it hoping they will turn out better for use in stir-fry and omelets than the bigger round coin shaped zucchini.

I haven't used them yet in anything but I will let you know how they work out. I have been busy with end of the year events for the girls. However, I am excited about the new way of freezing the zucchini to give me more options when we have bags of zucchini hitting us from every neighbor. I must say, it has never gone to waste, we always use every one. Now I just have a few more ways to use them. Aren't I the blessed one!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Knitting Bag or Ear Bud Hole in Back Pack

I showed you some knitting and crocheting bags I made up awhile ago for my kids. The bags weren't expensive because I keep my eye open at second hand stores and yard sales for the right type of bag. When I first made them I tried several different types. I made mine out of a fake leather look with two side pockets and one on the front and it has been something I have enjoyed.



So, my sister just became the first grandparent of all my siblings. Congrats Grandma! Anyway, I think she believes that a grandma has to do needle work or something because she has taken to knitting. I have knit for 25 years after living in New Zealand for a year, I knit daily for a time. She on the other hand hadn't done much needle working.
She now has passed me like a jet passing a glider. I am so impressed with her. She has gone online and watched videos and has done cable knit and many different patters. She always has it near her now. So if knitting is any indication of what type of grandmother she will be, watch out. She is amazing.



So, I thought I would make her a knitting bag to keep all her supplies and latest projects handy. I also wanted to donate some yarn to the cause. So, I kept my eyes open for a bag like mine and last week I found the exact bag I have been looking for at a second had store.


The grommets were the most expensive part of the bag as those large metal grommets were about $2 each. Well, a few weeks ago while shopping at Walmart, they had lots of carts of clearance items and I found these little bags of yard fabric snap grommets for $1 a bag and they have 10 grommet sets in each bag. $.10 a grommet works for me.



I measured how far apart I wanted the holes and how many I wanted. I marked the spot and then used the tip of scissors to snip a hole in the fabric. I then cut in a star type pattern to make the hole big enough to fit the bottom of the grommet into it. I like to make it tight so that the fabric helps hold the grommet in place.


I then mark the fabric that is hanging over the grommet base so I can cut it off which will make it easier for the grommet to stay in place. As you can see, the left grommet is snapped on, the two in the middle need trimming and I had already trimmed the right hole as the fabric is cleared off that grommet base.


Once I have trimmed off any excess fabric from the base of the grommet, I used a rubber hammer to tap the top piece of the grommet onto the bottom one that is sticking through the fabric. It was so much easier that trying to tap the metal grommets on and sometimes when the metal ones are sealing they leave a rough edge which can catch on the yarn. I am SO happy with the way the plastic grommets went on. So much easier than needing the little tool, and centering it just right to get it evenly on. Sometimes I have had to remove one and start over.


I would suggest if you are going to make one of these or anything similar, go to the yard and garden center and buy plastic yard weed guard grommets that snap together. Better yet, wait until they go on clearance and stock up. I think I bought 5 packages.


I hope grandma likes her new bag and yarn color assortment. It was easy to make and didn't take much time. You could do the same thing for a favorite bag, home made bag or back pack that you wanted to add a hole for earphone jacks or ear buds for your ipod or phone.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Big Win part 3f - Valentines Again part 4

The videos from last Friday were up wrong, the second video of me opening the boxes is now up.


For our prizes, we received a suite of Panasonic HD products including a 50 inch large screen 1080p Plasma HDTV, HD Camcorder, 2 LUMIX Digital Cameras, Blu-Ray Disc player, Toughbook laptop and photo printer, $1,000, home theater system and gaming system. We also got hd movies, 9 sd cards, extra wii paddle, wii games, mouse, a computer wi-fi system and a computer camera. I am sure I am probably missing something but that was the "official" list but they threw in a few other things.



My favorite things are the computer and the camcorder. I do use the camera ever day however and so that has to be at the top of the "Grateful for it" list.



At the top of this post, there is a copy of the check they sent us to help pay for the DSL for a year. I also added a photo of us in the newspaper for our winning.

They have contests every so often on their websites and we have entered a few by sending in photos we have taken.



I have Panasonic on our gratitude frame in a few spots on the old and my new frame. Here is a photo of some of the mail stamps, letter head and the promotion company's letter head. I love looking at my gratitude frame regularly and seeing all my blessings and being constantly reminded how blessed we are...



video


Here is a video of our public service announcement that we made while in Peru. I am sorry for the quality, (I am not doing Panasonic justice) but one of the software packages I got conflicts with another and for some reason, I can't burn non-hd video so I had to video the computer playing the video in HD. I need to have faster DSL to upload the HD. As it is, I have been waiting for 1/2 hour for this few minute video to upload, so, for now, you will get the message. It really makes you think.


Now you know about my biggest win. Not that it negates any of the other amazing things with which my Heavenly Father blesses me with daily. I had something miraculous happen this week and am constantly amazed by Gods watchful eye.

Viewing this video also makes me grateful for teeth, dentists, grass, and just about everything else. After seeing the video, I have one question to ask you.... "Are You Happy?"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big Win part 3e - Valentines Again part 4




video
We found out that we won for sure on 3-3-08. The girls were so excited, as was I. In anticipation, I tried to quickly get my flooded basement refinished and I was shopping for furniture to put in the room where we were putting the winnings.


Here is my journal entry for Monday, March 17, 2008 – "I stopped at the furniture store and looked at entertainment centers and couches. When I walked in, the first TV I saw was so big. I looked at what size it was and freaked out when I saw it was a 50 inch plasma. I sat in a chair across from it and called ..... almost crying. I couldn’t believe it. I had tears. She was good to be kind about it. It would seem like boasting but I was overwhelmed by it.


I talked to the worker about it and he said he never knew anyone that won something big. I saw a Panasonic TV that was a 50 inch and it was so cool. It had the sd card slot. The worker asked it I knew the model number and I said 1080 and he freaked. He said that is the nicest model with the best resolution. He told me that the cable here doesn’t offer things in HD yet.



He said that if I hook up my TV to the antenna in the attic that I should get HD as the TV has a box in it. He said that the satellite still doesn’t have most things in HD yet and that I have to pay extra for things to be in HD and extra to get the local channels and extra for the dvr etc. I think if I can get reception I would be happy with the local channels in HD.


I looked at couch sets and found an entertainment center that I really liked but it is $2800. I don’t know if I am willing to put that much to getting it. I thanked him for his advice. He was stoked about the Blue Ray DVD player. I think he is more excited than I am."


The install company called me and asked if they could come and see where I was installing the items and see what they needed for the install. Here is my journal entry from that day.


"Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - I then came home as the install guys from Panasonic were here. They looked at the house and we are going to try to mount in on the entertainment center for now. He is going to see if they will send both the platform mount and the wall mount in case I want to wall mount at some point. He is going to install a router and I think since I can get the local channels in HD and the cable doesn’t provide them in HD, I will just ask if they will pay for my DSL instead. They left and I called .... and talked about how cool it will be having all the stand up surround speakers etc. The guys here both joked about sending it all to their houses."


On April 11, 2008 we got a call from a delivery person who picked it up from the airport and drove it to our small town and he was a bit lost and he was concerned that the TV box was going to be hard to get in by himself. I called my friend Lenny and asked if he would be willing to help carry it in. We ended up being able to get it in by ourselves. The video is me unpacking the boxes.

On April 16, 2008 the installers drove down and spent most of the day installing everything. They did a great job and it was a good day. The girls couldn't wait to try out the wii.

Check back Monday for the list of winnings, copy of the check and I hope I can upload our public service video made in Peru... To be continued....



video

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Big Win part 3d - Valentines Day part 4


video


If you remember, I sent my friend the camera I bought her on Thursday, February 7, 2008.

On the next day, Here is my journal entry: "Friday, February 8, 2008 ..... handed me a fed ex package and it was an over night package from New York. I hadn’t ordered anything so I opened it and I could see legal papers and I got nervous that ........ was doing something again. Then, I pulled it out and noticed that the first paragraph said something like, “Important information!


You entered the Panasonic high definition challenge contest a few months ago and your entry has been selected to be a possible winner in out contest.” So, I read the information and they wanted social security numbers, drivers license numbers, all the family’s full names and ages and I had to have it notarized. I thought they were going to a lot of trouble for just being a possible winner but they had a return paid fed ex package and everything.


There was a number on the letter and I went to the bank and got it notarized and then dropped it in the Fed ex box but the letter said I had five days to sign and return it. It was sent on the 7th but with the weekend, it won’t be picked up until the 11th and it is due on the 12th so I thought I had better call the number on the letter.


I thought it would be closed at the late hour back east but when I called, the woman from the letter answered her phone. I told her who I was and that I just wanted to let her know that I had filled everything out and it was in the box waiting to be delivered.


I thanked her for the package and asked her how many “Potential” winners there were. She said, “There are 3 grand prize winners”, I said, “Yes, but how many potential winners did you send letter to?” She said, “Only three.” So, I said, “then if everything looks good with the paperwork I have won?” She answered, “Yes.”


I thought it funny that I bought and sent out a digital camera better than mine yesterday to ..... and today, I get the letter telling me I won two. It would seem that God has one upped me again. And, it is Valentines again and I always seem to win on Valentines week and He keeps upping the surprise each Valentines day."

I didn't dare tell the girls until I was "cleared" as a winner. They still could find some reason not to give us the prize so I told them we "may" have won a prize. A week or so later, I was getting into bed and opened a book to read and it opened to the following as recorded in my journal the next day.


"Thursday, February 21, 2008- last night I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 - And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more." and I remember as I was going to sleep that I thought, "I gave away a camera that was $200 and I am winning a prize that was $20,000." It is true."


Check back tomorrow when I tell you what we won and show a video of getting the prizes! To be continued....

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Big Win part 3c - Valentines Again part 4

Here was my entry:


Dear Panasonic Judges Panel,

November 29, 2007


First, I want to say that I have used my Panasonic Digital mini DV camcorder so long and hard that I have to bury it. I LOVED it so much during that past 9 years using it almost daily to log video of my five daughters that I was researching your latest products in order to get another quality product when I came upon your contest.


1 - In regard to you first question on the Essay portion, “Why would your family make a good HD spokes-family?” I would have to say, that my family would be the model family because I have a child of every age needing representation and we could connect with all age types. (my youngest is 8 and my oldest is a Jr. at College) I taught and recorded six emergency preparedness dvd’s and one is on the web and I offer all six to anyone that asks free of charge.


The winning of your wonderful products would make it so much easier to make and distribute such information in a more quality format. The sound on my video was hard to hear. If you are interested in viewing to see how much better they could be with quality products, the link is: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6362302020911998913&hl=en



We are also a family of service and I respect your company first for the quality products that I have come to respect and love that earn loyal customers and second for your choice in contest and rewarding people for choosing to do service and use modern products of convenience to help others who may be in a worse situation than themselves.



I am a single mother of five daughters and even going through a difficult divorce, we often found time to go and sing to the patients at the local nursing home and as a massage therapist, I have also rubbed their feet with oil as we sing. I learned many years ago that when I start feeling sorry for myself, I go and do service. This choice has helped me through many difficult times and when my girls start to feel sorry for themselves, we go do small acts of service for neighbors, friends and the community.


2 - This last summer, we were blessed to go to Peru and do a service mission with 30 members of my family. We worked in a small Mountain village near Cusco. My grandfather’s estate left some money and my family voted to use the money for service rather than on other things even though many are on limited and low incomes. We realized we are far more blessed than most of the world’s inhabitants. Several other family members whom could not attend last year will be going this summer.


I would use the Panasonic winnings and go to Machu Picchu and video “The top of the world” with something like “When we are on the top of the world… we need to remember those who will never know what that is like.” And then show the mud huts the size of a bathroom in the U.S. that have no doors or windows and grass for a roof. I would show the little children playing in the dirt with sticks for toys. I would show how most of the world lives to remind us for a moment that there is a world of poverty out there and for the cost of a new HDTV you could spend 2 weeks serving those who have never even heard of a TV.


We feel we are blessed and why not share it. Thanks for giving others an opportunity to share also.


(About the location space where the winnings would go… my basement flooded while we were in PERU doing service this summer and insurance didn’t cover it. I had to get rid of everything and replace the wall. That is why there is no furniture in the photo)



Tomorrow, finding out we may have won! To be continued....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big Win part 3b - Valentines Again part 4



I had a small video camera which I LOVED and used for years. It broke in the summer of 2007 and because I used it so much and it cost about $1200 new with all the extra batteries etc, I didn't want a new one.


I paid to have it fixed which was about $75. I guess a little rubber band that drives the gears fell off. The man didn't replace it but just put the band back on. Within a month or so, it had fallen off again. I didn't want to keep having to pay to have it done so I tried to figure it out myself but couldn't so I knew I needed a new video camera.



I went to the library and looked at consumer reports and researched what they found to be the best product. I wasn't surprised that the camera they found to be the best was made by the same company that made the video camera I had loved and used for about 8 years. My TV, microwave, older video camera and a few other products were all made by this company and I found their products to be very reliable.



Journal entry Tuesday, November 27, 2007 - "..... has a program this week also and I have no video camera now. I need to take the time to see if I can find one online that is similar."


Journal entry Thursday, November 29, 2007 - "I then went to ....’s patriotic program. She was so cute and kept looking for me. I wish I had a video camera that was working as I would love to have had that for her. I need to get one before Christmas. I want to research it."


After writing in my journal that night, I got online and researched it and went to the company website and did some comparing of different types of cameras. Once I found one I liked, I looked online at pricing.


The problem I ran into was even if I could scrape together enough money to buy a camera, the new video camera's were all digital and my computer was pre-Y2K and wouldn't be able to interface with the newer camera so I would be looking at having to buy a new computer to go with the camera.


At that point, I got frustrated thinking a new camera was not going to happen. However, while I was on the company website, I noticed they had a contest. They wanted people to write a "public service announcement" as well as to tell them "Why your family would be a good spokes family?" for their company and lastly they wanted a photo of where you would put the winning products.


Before spending time writing out an essay, I decided to review the "contest rules" and when I saw that the contest ended on or around February 15, 2008, I laughed and thought to myself, "Wouldn't that be the funniest thing if I won on Valentines week like I have the last two prizes?"


To be Continued....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Big Win part 3a - Valentines Again part 4



Last week I tried to use Firefox to upload the last two days of posts and haven't used it much before. I had nothing but problems and the posts went up wrong and Friday didn't post at all. It is now posted but I am sorry I didn't check it while out of town but wasn't near a computer. I hope you read Friday's post as it has information on an amazing health item.


I am also sorry about the confusing title but I figured if anyone wanted to just look up my winnings, they would have to read all the gratitude moments. There are lots of those, so, I thought I had better do them in parts with the same name. I changed the names on the wins to "Big Win" and this win needs more than one part so it will be 3a, 3b etc. Also, some of my Valentines day events actually weren't wins so I needed to do those in parts as well.




If you haven't read my "Big Win" parts 1 and 2 and my "Dream Believer, Valentines again" posts, before reading this new post, you may want to refresh yourself with those wins. They all have happened on Valentines Day week. Here are links to those posts:



http://thesecretisgratitude.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-first-big-win.html




http://thesecretisgratitude.blogspot.com/2010/05/my-second-big-win-valentines-again.html




http://thesecretisgratitude.blogspot.com/2011/03/dream-believer-part-3-valentines-again.html



The things mentioned in this post are such a blessing in my life and I use the products I won every day to post on my blog. If it weren't for the winnings, I wouldn't have the computer and camera used to write the blog. So, here is the story of "The big win part 3a."




Over the Christmas holiday season of 2008, a friend of mine that I hadn't seen in about 15 years sent me an email Christmas card. In it, she included some scanned pictures of her family. Some of the photos were blurry and for some reason when she scanned them it came across as one big photo and was really large and you had to use the mouse to click and move it to see them and you could only see part at a time.


In her reply to my Christmas letter, she wrote, "The only pictures I have is a collage my mom made when she came to visit after "baby..... was born. Some day I'll have a digital camera of my own . I'm so glad to hear from you. Love, ....."

I thought to myself, "I want to buy her a digital camera." Even though I hadn't seen her in years, I knew she had many children and her husband was having health problems so I thought that buying her a camera was something I could do for an old friend to bring joy into her life. With her just having a new baby, it would be great to have a camera on hand.

I wrote telling her I wanted to send her a "card" asking if I
could get her address. This took a few weeks to put together. I went to WalMart and bought a very nice digital camera and 2 extra sd cards. I spent almost exactly $200 on the camera, sd cards and shipping.

I was tempted to keep the nice camera and send out my used one that wasn't as nice but that was a momentary thought as I wanted her to have something nice and new just for her. She replied with her address on 2-06-08 by email. I got everything boxed up and here is my actual journal entry for "Thursday, February 07, 2008 -I sent out the digital camera I bought for ...... today. I also sent a card and two sd cards."

What I didn't know was that it was her birthday week. But, I know God knew and made it work out so she would get it for her birthday. Here is her actual email which she entitled "Hey S-n-e-a-k-y!" sent on 2-14-08 (Valentines Day). Thank you for the "card", I REALLY appreciate your thoughtfulness. I bet you forgot it was my birthday (the card didn't say) but you have almost perfect timing. I can't wait to see what cool things I can do. I'll make sure you get lots of pictures.Love ya too, ....."


Tomorrow, I will give you some history about my video camera and why I entered a contest to win one....

Friday, May 13, 2011

Tree of Life - Moringa, Malunggay or Miracle Plant

I have a friend that told me about a product call Zija 2 years ago. I tried it for general health along with another friend who had some issues with high blood pressure. I always got a bit of a stomach ache when I would take the dry formula added to water and my friend had the same issue. I only tried it for a month or so. It is high fiber so our weak systems weren't used to it.



Fast forward to this January. I have been having thyroid issues and with that weight issues. I pondered on what
to take to help my health and the Zija I had in the cupboard came to my mind. I felt like I should take the powder by breaking it into thirds and taking some with my morning pills, some at lunch and some at night before bed with my evening pills. By breaking the one dose down into three, I was able to take it with no side effects and actually started feeling better and lost some weight.



I ran out of the powder and it was expensive and I don't have the money right now to buy it so a few weeks ago, when I had gained some of the weight back that I lost, I prayed and told my Heavenly Father that I wasn't feeling good and that I really liked how I felt on the Zija and that if he wanted me to do the things I felt he wanted me to do, he needed to help me get more of that or something else. I told him I didn't know how he would get it to me living in a small town but I knew he could.



A few months ago, after running out of the powder I had, I called the friend that told me about it and asked if she knew how I could get some perhaps out dated or something and she brought me over a few packets but said she didn't know of any way for me to get it discounted.




My oldest Princess then looked it up online and told me that in the Philippines where she was, this plant grew like a weed. Zija is made from the Moringa plant but in the Philippines, it is called Malunggay or "Tree of Life" or "Miracle plant." (The link takes you to Wiki) It has been getting more and more notice as the perfect plant and nutrition source. Every part of the tree, bark and fruit is usable and they keep finding more and more out about the tree. My daughter told me that usually if someone has a fruit tree in their yard, you would have to ask them if you could use it or have some. She said this plant is so common that it is the only tree you don't have to ask people to have, you just take it because it is everywhere. She said they took the long leaves off and would cook it like kale. She told me that people would always take it and tell her they used it for high blood pressure.



So, last week my friend that told me about it drops off a wedding invitation and tells me she knows a lady who bought some and never even tried it but was willing to sell it for half price. It was in the cans and I told her I was looking for the dried powder. She left. The next morning, I felt like I should call and ask her about it again. I called her and asked if she was sure that it wasn't the dry powder. She said she thought it was the cans and would let me know.


She called me back an hour later and told me that the lady checked the expiration da
te on the cans and that it was expired so she said I could have it if I came and picked it up. She lived about a 20 minute drive from my house. I went and picked it up. I couldn't believe it. There were 6 cases. Each case is about $90. I was shocked that the lady never even tried it but was willing to give it away.



Her son helped me carry it out to the car. As I stood there thanking them and started to get into my car, you won't believe what I found! That's right!!! A DIME!
I laughed and laughed as I called my daughter to tell her how I have to keep trusting my Heavenly Father as he helps me through this life. Who would have imagined that this woman would buy almost $600 worth of something to stick it on a shelf for a year and then give it to me just when I needed it?




I would love to have my daughters friends in the Philippines dry some of the Malunggay tree and ship it to me. I am guessing that would be cheaper than buying it from this MLM company but however the Lord wishes to bless me with this, I will take it! Here is a link to an article about Moringa/Malunggay and what they are finding. It is short but informative. Also you can click on the picture of the pamphlet and it will enlarge so you can see all the benefits of Moringa. It is known to help among other properties, anti-diabetic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, anti-tumor and anti-aging activities. I feel better taking it, maybe it will help you as well.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Candy Apples - Any Flavor

I bought a Candy Apple making kit from the store thinking it may be fun to make. I used to get them when I was a child but most of my girls had never seen or heard of a candy apple. So, I had a few minutes this afternoon and asked my youngest if she wanted to make them. She helped me put the ingredients into the pan and start stirring and boiling the mixture. I should have known better but we doubled the recipe using two boxes.


The reason I should have known better is when I make suckers, for some reason when you double the recipe, som
ething goes wrong with the cooking and you end up with divinity type candy. My youngest had to leave mid cooking for dance. I was on a long distance call with Princess number 1. I noticed that the mixture looked done and told said princess that I needed to get off the phone. I started dipping the apples in the mixture and promptly burnt myself with hot candy. So, while I took care of the burn, the mixture over cooked and turned into a play dough looking mixture that had a divinity texture but good flavor. I figured that my girls could share it with their friends calling it "play dough candy."


Having already put the Popsicle sticks into the apples, I had to do somethi
ng with them or they would go bad. After looking at the back of the box of candy mix for the apples, I found that it was the same ingredients as my sucker recipe. I figured I could make any flavor of candy apple I want now. So, I waited for the youngest Princess to arrive home from dance and we started again.


Candy Apple Recipe

2 cups sugar
2 cups water

2/3 cups corn syrup
coloring

flavoring


Put all ingredients into a sauce pan except for the flavoring. Bring to boil until it reaches the hard crack stage. This is when you put a few drops of the boiling mixture into cool water and it makes a cracking sound or is hard and makes strings of hard candy in the water. It looks something like this photo on the left. Once it reaches that stage, put a few drops of whatever flavoring in you would like and stir. My daughter chose "Tutti Fruity" and made the mixture green.


We then dipped the apples into the mixture
trying to cover the whole apple and then placed them onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Make sure you don't touch the apples as they make mars on the candy and stick together making sharp little points. If you have a little candy mixture left over you can drop it, swirl it, zig-zag it onto the cookie sheet and it will make cute hard candy shapes you can put in a little snack bag for a treat.



I bought a box of 1000 Popsicle sticks at a craft store for fairly cheap. I used them for different crafts and caramel apples. Place them deep down into the center of the apple so they will be strong enough to hold up the apple. I used the smallest apples I could find to make the candy go further and so they would fit into the bags I purchased.


The apples cool rather quickly and become hard. I bought these gift bags in the wedding section at Walmart. They are by Wilton and are about $3.50 for 100 bags. I thought that was quite reasonable. I used some the other day to wrap caramel apples we made. I did have to cut the top down to the bottom of the neck to get the apples to fit but I thought they made a very cute wrap for inexpensive. I used all sorts of short ribbons I have left over from other projects to tie them at the base. They came out looking quite cute.



I have a niece that gave out chocolate covered apples for her wedding reception gift. I thought these would be less expensive and you could make them any color and flavor you wanted and wrap them with a colored ribbon for much less especially if you can get your apples at a discount by picking them yourself etc. With the bags being cheap as well you could make 300 for about $10 in bags, $1-$2 in sticks and $1 or $2 in ribbon. Sugar, corn syrup and flavoring are all quite inexpensive as well as you only need a few drops of flavor for each batch.



Just some thoughts. They would be cute for teacher appreciation week gifts, wedding or baby shower favors, class parties, scouts etc. They would be fun to make at a "back to school" party as well.




I thought I would show you the "play dough" candy and my burn as cautions
for each. Don't double the batch. I have had two going at a time on different burners at alternating stages and that worked OK. On the burn, don't let small children help dip these. I was doing several things at the same time and should have been doing one. I used tea-tree oil and lavender oil and it hasn't hurt a bit. I am glad I know about those oils. Best thing I know for burns. Tea tree is 2 oz for $8 at WalMart. It is also great for baby teething! Be careful and have fun.