Monday, October 31, 2011

Kurt "BEST"or Concert - Award for Dad

Sometimes I have so many things going on that things I want to post about get pushed aside or left behind. With all the wedding plans and getting Princess number 2 off to Taiwan, I have been a busy mom. However, I was blessed to be able to support my father recently. He doesn't ask for much and doesn't often allow us to do things for him.

When his wife called and asked me if I would be able to go and support him as he was being acknowledged for his years of service for a past employer during their 50th year, I told her I would love to go. I enjoyed being there to support my dad and see him recieve this beautiful award! Thanks for all you do in my life dad!

Kurt Bestor was also doing a concert that night. I have loved his work for over 20 years now. When I lived on the East coast, I used to sell his music to distributors all over the south around Texas to the East coast. Because of the connection with my dad that evening, we had great seats.

I have never heard Kurt perform his own music "Live" before. If you remember my post about people I have seen in concert, I don't have him listed. I am glad to say that I can now add him to the list.

He wrote one of my favorite songs. "Prayer of the Children." If you search "youtube" with that title, 36,200 items come up to view. There were so many people signing it, that I couldn't choose which to put on as a link.

If you haven't heard the song, I would hate to have you listen to a bad rendition. I have heard many recorded versions of it but on "youtube" they are usually people recording it with ambient noise in a concert. So, I listened to several and picked this version which is closer to my favorite. It is sung by "Plead the Fifth."

One of the first times I heard this song was at a concert by five brothers who are called "The Standards." They sing a cappella and have been singing together for 15 years or so. They turned out all the lights so the place was black. Then, they sang this song. No visual distractions, just the song, and the feeling it brings. I was hooked.

David Archuleta has some really beautiful a cappella versions on "youtube" but the noises in the audience (camera's clicking) were so loud and his voice is only one but I love the harmonies in this song so chose the other rendition for that reason but I suggest listening to his versions as they are amazing. He is so talented.

Kurt was beyond talented. I think I have to say that I have never seen a more talented person perform in my life. He just composed on the spot. No wonder he is an Emmy award winner. Kudos to the "Best"or in concert.

It speaks for his talent when my 12 year old, Princess number five leaned over during his concert and said, "I am glad I came." She had a cold and didn't want to come and usually during concerts she is asking "When can we leave?" That says how amazing it was!

As you know if you read this blog, I go to many dance and drill team competitions. One year, we were in Vegas with hundreds of other teams. There was always noise even when teams were dancing as people leave or come in to find seats and the music is usually loud enough you wish you didn't forget ear plugs.

One dance, the little girls came out in rags. This music started similar to the rendition I linked to above. It was a cappella. Within ten seconds the huge arena was so silent that you could hear nothing but the music. Every eye was focused on the little girls in rags dancing. In all my 20 years of going to dance programs, concerts, competitions etc, I have NEVER seen that. Even concerts, I have never heard it that quiet.

I doubt there was a dry eye in the building when the little girls finished their dance.

I talked to my children later about how sometimes if you are in a position where you can't share a prayer out loud, if you choose the right song, it has more impact than a prayer. I know Michael Ballam has a talk tape where he talks of using a song as a prayer in such a situation.

One thing I didn't know before the concert was why he wrote the song. He shared his experience with us and rather than writing it, I will send you to the Wiki link where he explains why, and how he wrote it along with the lyrics.

Here is a link to his web page. He is one amazingly talented man who has given me much enjoyment through the years. I listened to his music when my eldest Princess was a baby, and I just remembered I have heard him live when my girls danced at Stadium of Fire. I also enjoyed hearing his work during the Olympics on TV. I am guessing his work has touched the lives of many who wouldn't recognize his name. Hopefully, more will now appreciate who he is and what he has given us!

Thank you Kurt for sharing your talent and time with us for the concert and through the years. Thank you DAD for all the rest in between!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wedding Blues... Hard to Match

My darling Princess number one has chosen cream/off white and a lovely shade of blue for her wedding colors. However, one doesn't realize how many shades of blue there are until one tries to match said shade of blue to other items that are blue.

Princess picked a Disney blue custom color and Mother of the Bride can't find anything in any fabric store or party/paper goods store to match that lovely custom shade. So, the dilemma....

Mother of the Bride can fine brighter blue shade in almost every paper good store and in every fabric store and even found some cute clothes that just came out in said brighter blue.

Princess/Bride number one is overwhelmed with new job and moving into a new apartment where she doesn't even own a chair yet, so, both mother and daughter are hoping that everyone will be OK with Bright BLUE!

So, now we have the wedding blues figured out! After dropping off Princess number two yesterday, I went to many paper good stores and craft type stores looking for what we needed. I had Princess number 2 meet me early before we went to meet the parents of the Groom for dinner so I could show her what I had figured out.

We had a lovely dinner with the grooms parents and the groom. They are wonderful people and I can see where Prince number one gets his personality. We talked ideas and strategies and I asked if they would like to see what I had so far. They seemed to get the vision and have some closet bi-fold doors in their garage we will be able to use for the wedding as well. So, with that and a few more doors I am waiting for, I think we have most of the items for decorating but just need to do the "fixing them up" part.

Princess has scheduled a day to come down and help me paint so I think we can get that done. I have much to do on the wedding food front but it will all happen. I am blessed. I set up a rough set up of the serving table at the top just to see how the colors look together and how the bowls and platters will fit. I want to do a three tiered look.

We are doing a soup and sandwich bar similar to the restaurant "Zupas" for the meal. I think it will be great. I can't wait to share the sandwiches and soups with you as I make them for the wedding. I am sure you will enjoy them as much as my family. I wish now I had taken pictures of the smiles as they tried one of the sandwiches I made them to try the other day. It was wonderful.

I'm glad we took care of the wedding "blues!"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Long Goodbye - 18 Months

Princess number two and I were up late into the night finishing the last minute packing for her 18 month visit to Taiwan. I had to laugh that one bag was under by 13 pounds and the other was over by 13 pounds when we weighed them after we finished packing. I got to bed very late or early as the case was.

We got up and packed the car and Princess number 5 went to school without saying goodbye so we stopped over there to get a hug. It was "70's" day at the school so we took a cute photo of the two of them saying good bye at the school.

Then, Princess number one was in training for her job and couldn't go with me to drop Princess number 2 off so we stopped in the small town where she was training on our way.

There was a small miracle there. I some how took the wrong exit and ended up driving right by a store I was hoping to find. I bought napkins for the wedding at one of the stores and they ran out. Last weekend I tried to find some in another city's store and they were out. I ran in quickly to the store and they had all the napkins we needed. They have twice as many in a package for the same price. They don't carry them all the time as the cream napkins were a fall holiday item.

So, I got those and didn't have to get off and search the six stores in different towns I had gotten the address for last night.We found where Princess number one was and she ran out for a minute from her training to give Princess number two a hug. The other girls said goodbye this morning and I missed getting a photo.

We then got some lunch and I dropped her off. I was just about to cry with the tears welling when a man walked right in front of my car slowly and my phone rang. I had to slow down and answer the call. I answered the call and had to meet someone to exchange something so I was busy with that and I had several errands that needed doing searching for wedding stuff so I was busy for most of the day with that.

It is super late so I will finish posting about the rest of my day tomorrow. I miss my Princess!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

So Long, Fare Well...

This is going to be a hard day for me. Today is the day I drop off Princess number two to leave for her mission to Taiwan. Last weekend, we had a family get together and she gave a talk at our church to say "farewell" to all those who have watched her grow into the beautiful Princess she is.

We had our church services at 9 a.m. so we had our brunch at 10:30. I rented out a building as I wasn't sure how the weather would be as it had been cold. We invited all those who have been so supportive to us in the past.

I had a friend come and help me the night before and we made two large pans of french toast which I put in disposable pans. I made three large batches of scrambled eggs adding some milk to keep them moist. I put a little crushed garlic and crushed red pepper in one batch and some cheese on the other batch. I had some home made Banana Nutmeg Waffles in the freezer that I pulled out. I made instant hash browns which I buy in bulk by the bag which fills about 2 five gallon buckets.

I just soak them in hot water for about 5 minutes and then fry them up. I put those in a disposable pan as I did with the eggs and french toast. I forgot to mention that the french toast we made we added bananas blended in the first batch and I blended in some frozen nectarines off my tree in the second batch. Here is the recipe for the French Toast as they are different because the fruit is in the batter and it cooks into the toast. Yum.

We went over the night before and got the tables ready and then I went over in the morning and put all the "hot" stuff in the oven as I had it stored in the fridge there. I put the oven on 250 degrees and then left for our church services. We got out and went over and everything was hot and ready to serve. It made it so much easier having everything already made and ready to heat in the morning.

We fed about 75 people and then had a lunch spread at the house later that day for anyone that came over from the neighborhood. It was a busy and wonderful day. Princess number two felt very supported and many people donated to help her pay for her mission which I was grateful for as with a wedding coming up, every little bit counts between the mission and the wedding.

I will post about the drop off and goodbyes later. I am going to miss her and know that saying goodbye will be hard but she will have a great experience serving those people in Taiwan.

We will miss you Princess number 2!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Apartment Renting 101

Princess number one has a new apartment. She is setting up the "home" so that once they get married, everything will already be ready. She was renting a room in a house but the apartment will actually save them money rather than the two of them renting as they are now.

She told me it was really small and she needed a very small table to fit into the living area so that they will have somewhere to eat as the kitchen is long and skinny and wouldn't fit a table.

So, I found this really small table with a leaf at a second hand store and bought it for $10. I took the legs off so we I could fit it into my car for the two hour ride to her new place. It needs a bit of spray paint on the legs but I figured she could pick whatever color she wanted and use a cloth on the top to match the colors she chooses for the apartment.

When we arrived we all thought it was a dump. The hallway stairs down to the apartment were dirty and the floor in the hallway was on an angle and there was a dirty door going into the furnace.

However, when we walked into the place, everything was new and clean. We thought it was cute and it will be a wonderful first apartment. I figure most newlyweds have a first apartment something like the one they are renting.

I do have a few concerns with the bathroom as her fiance is tall and the shower is raised and short. I don't know that he will ever take a long shower as he is taller than the shower.

The other thing that is so funny and odd that I actually took a photo to post is that the bathroom is actually raised up on three layers so it is like a "throne!" There is a step up right when you go in the door and another to the shower level and one that the toilet sits on. When you sit on it you are looking at yourself in the vanity mirror. :-) I hope she doesn't have to find her way in the dark some night!

There are two small bedrooms and the first will be filled with a bed and the second will hold their clothes. It will be great for them while they finish school and move on to bigger and better. If the plan goes as they think, Princess will have her Masters degree when her Prince Charming finishes up his Engineering degree.

It will be fun to see how she decorates the place and makes it their "home." I can say that we probably won't be house guests anytime soon. It is nice to know that the royal couple will have a "throne" finally. We are happy for their great find and as you can see, she is almost all unpacked! She has now graduated from Apartment set up 101! Enjoy your new "Castle" Beautiful!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cleaning Windows the Easy Way

This last week, I took a day during this indian summer weather and cleaned my windows. When we first bought the house, the sprinklers were so high that they hit the windows daily. Because of that, the minerals covered the windows in a white film. After trying to get them clean using many containers of CLR, I made every effort to make sure the sprinklers were turned down or closed off the ones nearest the house to keep the brick and windows from turning white.

They were so hard to clean that I hired people to get them clean. They had a hard time getting them clean as well.

I had a product I loved in the shower to get off the hard water and the company that made it was a multi-level company called "Melaleuca" and the product was their "Tub and Tile" Cleaner." I thought I should try this product on the windows. I sprayed it on the window, used a squeegee to swish it around and then used water to rinse and squeegee it off and they were done. It took just as long as it would to just wash a window. I did leave it for about 30 seconds after I swished it around but that was it. I was hooked.

One year when I was really busy, I hired a guy again and he tried what he had and I gave him my stuff and he tried it and asked where he could purchase it.

When my mother almost died, I was signing her off her multi-level but before I did, I ordered a full case of the "tub and tile" so that I would have it for my windows and shower for years.

My sink and apple corer both were showing signs of water /mineral scum on them tonight so I thought I would use the tub and tile cleaner on them. The first pictures of both are just them dirty. The second of each is them after just spraying them with the "tub and tile" cleaner and the third is after a minute or so rubbing it down with a sponge. It is amazing to me how quickly this cleaner can clean it off with no toxic chemicals. It does stink to me but works so well it is worth the smell.

I wanted to show you my clean windows so I took a photo of the skeleton window decoration we have up for Halloween. The girls have been having fun moving it into different positions. Each time I go into the room, they have it doing something different. I have to tell the truth that I didn't get the inside of the windows done but you wouldn't be able to tell because the outside is so clean.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Invitation Engagement Photo Shoot

I took some engagement photos a few weeks ago for my eldest Princess and spent a few hours editing them and getting them in an order that she could view and pick which she wanted to use for her wedding invitation.

I thought there were some really cute pictures from that day. We visited several different spots and enjoyed getting different looks, outfits and views. I like how anything can be used for a cute shot. Light posts, pillars, props such as umbrellas, ipods, phones etc can also be used. Sometimes just a shot of feet can be cute.

I am finding it hard to pick just one. I would put several on the invitations if it were me but Princess number one has opted to use just one. I honor her wishes but want everyone to see the happy couple together so I figured I had better post some of my favorites on here and will allow her to send out her favorite in the invitation so I will not be posting her favorite on here.

It is so exciting for things to be coming together. I still can't believe that she is old enough to marry but when I look at her life, it is time for her to move into this new phase. She graduated college, served a mission to help others, learned some home-making skills and is now working for the state in a wonderful job. This last weekend she moved into an apartment and is setting it up so it will be ready for them when they get married.

It is time for her to take this step. We couldn't be happier with her choice in a Prince. Even though they will be busy as she starts up a program for a Masters degree and her Prince is still working on finishing school, it will be a wonderful time for them to start a life together.

"It's the REAL thing...."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bed Bug or Flea Natural Insect Spray

I thought I had bed bugs a few years ago. My mother had been to New York on vacation and ended up waking with bites all over her body one night. She came home with head to toe bites. She changed hotels after the first night but the bites irritated her for weeks.

I had been working with my mom on sorting some boxes my sister had in her garage that were my mothers. My mom put one of the boxes down on my luggage one night. I brought it home and for the next six months, I had the fight of my life. We had these little red biting mites most likely from mice nests in the boxes. I thought they were bed bugs having never seen one as I transported my mothers suicases from the airport.

I had an exterminator come down to our small town which cost over $500 for two sprays. In the end, I spent probably close to $2000 putting things in bins and spraying. I sprayed everything for days on end with one mixture or another I bought online. I tried outlawed bug sprays I found in the garage. I used diatomacious earth all over my house for weeks it looked like a haunted house. I put Boric Acid along every edge of my carpet and to this day have white in the corners. I bought "Cedarcide" and Peppermint sprays online. Nothing worked. The worst was when I bought flea powder and we walked in thick powder for days on end as I sprinkled it on the carpet and floor and left it.

Finally, I gave up. We moved out for two months after we caught a bug and sent it to the extension of the State university and found out that it was a biting mite closely linked to the tick family. It had a hard shell that kept it from dieing easily.

I did cut down our bites by placing whip cream containers under the bed legs and put double sided carpet tape all the way around the base and it would keep them from coming up at night. It was interesting right before I found them, I opened the door to my daughters room and there was a really bad oily smell. That is why I thought it was bed bugs as I read about a smell like that when they hatch. Then, on the same day, two of my girls saw tiny little lint like red bugs moving around on their beds.

Bed bugs are much larger than these little mites I had. Another way I kept them from biting us is that I placed slick thick plastic covers on the table and we would sit on the table sometimes knowing they couldn't get on the plastic. Instead of chairs, we used folding metal chairs and I placed sticky double sided tape on the bottoms of those as well. However, I learned later they can't climb slick metal. That is why in hotels they have those metal suitcase stands. Those were invented to keep the bed bugs out of luggage and keep it from transferring them from place to place.

I was grateful that moving out helped our problem but because of all the reading I did during that time on bed bugs etc. I learned about some essential oils that helped others keep themselves from getting bitten. I learned a few things that I have taught my girls and used myself when we travel to help us keep from bringing home bugs of any type.

Never place your purse on the bed or end tables etc. I always hang mine from a hanger in the closet. Sometimes bed bugs are on the end tables or head boards. Never put your suitcase on the table or unpack them into the drawers. Always use the metal suitcase stand and close the suitcase never leaving it open. Check the corners of the mattress for any little black or brownish dots. This is bug dung. It is usually in clusters. Check mattresses and sheets for brown or red dot stains. These are blood stains which happens when the bug bites someone.

In the morning, take your pajamas off and place them in a Ziploc bag which can then go into the luggage and when you arrive home it can go directly into the wash. Never leave any clothes lying on the bed. Hang them up or put them directly into your suitcase.

If you get bites, get into the shower, take off all your clothes and put them into a Ziploc bag, shower making sure to wash your hair and put on clean clothes from the suitcase and don't stay at that hotel. You can go to the wash area and wash your clothes at the hotel or a laundry mat so as not to take them home in any way. Wash and dry them in hot water if you can.

When we had the bugs, I didn't let any bedding touch the floor ever. I washed all our bedding daily and only used minimal bedding. I washed our pj's daily and we wore only clothes taken right out of the dryer. If we went anywhere, I put all our clothes in the dryer and packed them right out of the dryer so we wouldn't take the bugs with us when we traveled.

This spray helped us in the other countries where we traveled. I didn't want to take any chances of bringing anything home. At each hotel, I would take this oil spray mix I made and sprayed the beds all the way around the mattresses. I would make sure that the bed was pulled away from the wall and that the bedding didn't touch the floor. Luggage stayed zipped up and on racks.

When we went to a horrible and dirty house to do service, the first day, we sprayed ourselves with the bug spray listed and everyone else made fun of how we smelled. They all ended up with bites and we didn't. The next day, everyone asked to use our bug spray.

Bed bug spray is all the "thieves oils" mixed in a spray bottle along with thyme and citronella oil if you have it. (Thieves oil includes, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, lemon and eucalyptus.) I also added peppermint. Spray it on the edges of your bed after making it to keep bed bugs and fleas from biting or just rub it on your pj's at night before bed to keep them from biting. I will also lightly spray my hair from the back as to not get it into my eyes. The head is where most people get bitten at night and some found bugs in their hair even after leaving the hotel.

The oils will break down plastic and make it sticky so I usually mix all the oils in equal parts into glass jars. When I need it, I pour a small amount into a plastic spray bottle and spray it around the bed mattress sides. I avoid spraying much on the sheet top as it can smell strong and the cinnamon oil can burn a little to sensitive people. I use red Sharpie to label them so they don't confuse them with the singles oils. Once I spray them and the oil is gone out of the sprayer, I rinse the bottle and sprayer with hot water so that it doesn't break down and it is ready for the next use.

I hope some of the things I have shared will be helpful to you but pray that you never need the information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Packing for Taiwan, Blessing of Life

This week has been so busy but I am grateful that it is with mostly wonderful things. I have a family member who's 2 nieces 13 and 15 were just killed being hit with a train and they lost another friend in the accident. I also spoke with my friend Nancy today and her daughter lost a friend who was broad sided by a truck as she pulled out in front of it without seeing the truck. She was a senior in high school.

It is times like these that make me grateful for the trials in my life. I may have difficult situations and people in my life who are a challenge at times but I would much rather have my trials than those of the families who have lost children this week.

Sometimes I worry sending my daughters off to all parts of the world to do service but as we have been several times to Peru and one went to Africa and another to the Philippines and now one to Taiwan, I realize with this weeks events that they are no safer on my street than they are across the world serving others.

We spent time today packing and getting things needed that are on the packing list for her mission area of the world. We have piles all over the basement as we get ready to start squeezing everything into small spaces to fit it all into the limited luggage space and to fit within the weight requirements.

Today marks a week before she leaves. It has gone so quickly and I know I am going miss her extremely much as I am now used to having Princess one or two living with me since November. I have LOVED having them home and working on different projects and scanning pictures and many other things we have done together over these past few months.

Princess number one called me tonight to tell me she had been in a car accident. I expressed how grateful I was that she was ok and we got the insurance information for the cars.

She called me back later to tell me that I have been a great example to her about not getting upset about things. I was taken back a bit but had to admit that because of all the trials I have had over the past few years dealing with many floods, bugs, court/divorce, health issues etc that I have really learned to take trials with a bit more grace. I thanked her for calling me back and sharing that and I am grateful that my trials this week are so much less than those other families who have had such great loss.

Our prayers go out to those families.... I hope yours do as well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today was a Masterpiece part 2

I laughed and laughed at my post of yesterday. I can't tell you how many times I fell asleep at the computer. My girls kept coming in and laughing at me sleeping and telling me to go to bed. I couldn't go to bed without posting but how embarassing to have that mess. I have many, many times fallen asleep while writing in my journal and even a few times while writing my post but not to the point of what happened yesterday. I was planning on writing about some other things today but will post about our playing "Masterpiece" yesterday.

We have played the game of "Masterpiece" for years. I love art and enjoy learning all the names of the different paintings and learning about the artists who painted them. We probably play it about once every month or so. We have other games we enjoy and have picked up a few new one's each year. Through it all, "Masterpiece" still remains one of our favorite games.

We each have our stratagies on how to play. My favorite stratagy is that I won't pay more than $6,000,000 for a painting. Sometimes that is hard if you don't have any painting but it usually works.

We were all a bit tired but enjoyed playing tonight because Princess number two is leaving soon, she wanted to play a game. My youngest princess noticed the painting she is holding in the top photo on the board and said, "It's the Shitlips." We all burst into laughter as with being tired, she got the name backwards. The painting is the "Lipchitz" by Amedeo Modigliani, 1916. We try to pride ourselves on remembering the name and the painter on the cards. Over the years, I have purchased note cards with artist I like and added them to the game.

I think it was a Masterpiece day and am glad I was able to write about it. I doubt that Princess number five will ever be able to live down the "Shitlip" comment but it will be a funny memory each time we play.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Today was a Masterpiece

I had such a long day. It was a good day but so long that I am so tired. I have fallen asleep twice iwhile I was typing in here and fell asleep twice earlier in a meeting for singles. I will post about the day later but I just wanted to let you know that it was a good day anddddddddddddddddddddddddd I just fell asleep again and woke to find all those d's. lol I think I will just say that we finished up the day by playing "Masterpiece" and I have to tell you I have fallen asleep about five more times as I upload this next picture. I hope you will understand when I say that I will fill you in later.

jjust woke up again. I am sayinv good night for now....