Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vegas Or Bust - Filled with an OUTpouring

Last weekend, I went to Las Vegas with some friends. I actually knew many people that went to the conference we attended. I mentioned yesterday that I went to a class by a woman that I hadn't planned to attend. Since I didn't ask this woman if I could post her name and photo, I blotted her face out in the picture but the experience I had in her lecture / presentation has changed me.

I want to let you know of a few other things that happened first. (Just to let you know, I was doing something else and just had a thought and came back to the computer and looked at it and it was 11:11, see that post here.)

At lunch the first day, we were eating lunch in a huge cafeteria, there hadn't been any music playing while we were eating. Someone came in to set up some speakers for something later that night. I didn't see that as we were 50 feet away or so. Just then, they plugged in the speakers and the song, "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls comes on. (See that post here.) It wasn't at the beginning of the song, but in the middle. I stopped in the middle of my sentence and turned to see where the song was coming from. The women I was with asked what was going on and I told them about that song and how I always hear it. Perhaps because it is from "City of Angels" it is God's way of letting me know I have angels around me. I still don't know why I hear it all the time, everywhere I go it seems.

I also found coins in the parking lot and twice when we stopped for food somewhere. I picked them up happily and showed my friends. One woman asked what I was doing and I was able to share about how God's name is on them and we shouldn't leave them on the ground and about how it is Heavenly Fathers way to let me know I need to trust in Him. (Click here to link to the post about that.)

Now, back to my Vegas enlightenment. I went to the first presenter and they had saved me a seat. Not many minutes into her presentation, I had the weirdest sensation. It was nothing I had ever felt before. It felt like someone was pouring something down my spine from the top of my head. It was tingling and lasted for several seconds. That same sensation happened about 5 other times while I was sitting in that classroom.

I have felt the Spirit of the Lord touch my heart and give me "chills" before and this sensation was like that but long and pouring in. Not just a "feeling" for a few seconds and not just a tingle in one spot. I have also felt a burning feeling in my chest that I felt was "the spirit" of the Lord. I have also felt promptings of the spirit from the Lord where you just "know" something. It is usually about me needing to call someone or do some specific thing.

This feeling wasn't like a prompting, it was like someone was pouring spirit into me. Each time lasted several seconds. I don't think it was what the presenter was saying, I think the presenter prayed before she started and brought this spirit with her. I also feel like I needed to learn something and I also feel like for some reason, I have a special bond with the presenter. Perhaps I knew her in Heaven. I don't know exactly what the reason was but as I pondered on it and talked to my friends to ask if they felt it, they didn't and I described it as an "out pouring" of the spirit.

I have heard in church before people say, "We have felt and outpouring of the spirit hear today." When I would hear that I would think, "Yes, I did feel a good spirit today." or something similar. However, it wasn't until I was describing it to my friends that i realized "an OUTPOURING" of the spirit, is just that. The spirit is "pouring" over you. I am over 40 and have never felt that in my life until this weekend. I feel it was a blessing and gift from my Heavenly Father. It was a beautiful experience.

This morning as I was half asleep, I had a thought that I am sure was given in the only way it could be. Sometimes, when I am awake, my life is so busy that I don't often hear inspiration or promptings because my mind isn't still enough. So, this morning, I have this thought, "Are you Faith Full? You have faith, but are you Faith Full?"

I was still sleeping and when I got up, that thought was still stuck in my head. I wrote myself a text to remind me as I know once my day gets going, I lose those inspirations which I think are so strong, that I will remember them. Guess what? Halfway through the day, I couldn't remember exactly what the thought I had was so I am glad I know my busy life well enough to know I needed that reminder so I could write about and ponder about it more. When I pondered on it, I came to realize, I have faith in some areas of my life and not so much in others. I have always thought a was a "Faithful" Christian. However, today, I learned, I am not as "Faith Full" as I thought I was. If I were faithful, I would be full of faith.

The lesson I learned today is that I need to be "Faith Full" and pray for an "outpouring" of the spirit regularly in my life. Trusting my Heavenly Father enough that I am Faithful at all times.

Back to the presenter. I talked with her after the presentation telling her I felt such a great spirit when she spoke and that I felt connected to her somehow. She told me she felt the same and gave me her personal information. I don't know what will happen in the future but I feel like I could see her in 20 years and we would connect and just be friends. There aren't that many people that I have ever felt that comfortable with right off like that.

When I went to Liz Lemon Swindles class and she asked us to give away 5 pictures of Christ, I asked her to sign one so I could take it to this other presenter. I ran back to the first class, went in and gave her the picture and asked if I could get a picture of us together. I got it and will cherish it as I know we are sisters in another realm and it is a reminder of the first time I had an outpouring of the Spirit.

I am grateful for the chance to go and be with friends this weekend. We went out dancing and to a party and enjoyed Karaoke for a few hours one night. I also got to see a good friend that moved from my area to Las Vegas a few years ago. She allowed us to stay at her home. It was good to visit with her and her new husband.

I truly feel that I had an "outpouring" of blessings this week and am grateful to my Heavenly Father who worked it out that I could attend the conference and spend time with friends as well as feeling of His love in so many other little ways. May your life be so blessed.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Artist of my Dreams - Liz Lemon Swindle

There are two living artists whose work I love. Both have many painting depicting Christ. One is Simon Dewey and the other is Liz Lemon Swindle. I also love the work of Carl Bloch whose work has passed the test of time and still can bring tears to your eyes after 100 years.

This weekend, I met an artist of my dreams, Liz Lemon Swindle. I went to a conference in Las Vegas with a few friends and she was presenting at the conference. I wanted to attend her class first but my friends went into another presenter before I talked with them, as I had an errand to run. I had talked them into going to the conference and didn't want to leave them alone for the first presentation so I decided I could go to her second presentation. I don't think it would have mattered which one I attended and only mention the above so you will know how excited I was. She was one of the main reasons I chose to attend the conference.

I was so impressed when, at the end or her beautiful presentation, she mentioned a project she was working on to help every home have a picture of Christ. She brought cases of prints with her and said, "Please take one for you and 5 to give to others." I went up after and spoke with her asking if it were OK to put the photo up on my blog, to get her to sign it, and allow me to take a picture. She said, "Yes" all around and so I had someone take a picture for me. I am sad they didn't notice the glare on the print but was glad I got a picture with one of my hero's.

I then asked her if she would mind signing another one for one of the other presenters as one of my "five" to give away. I got her to sign it and I ran it back to the room were the first presenter was and I gave the picture to her.

I would write more about that but I will write about that class tomorrow as it touched my life.

I have several paintings by Liz lemon Swindle in my home already. I appreciate how she makes everything so real life. If you stand back from her painting a few feet, it looks like a photograph. When I returned home with my signed print, my eldest daughter said, "Oh, that is my favorite, can I please frame it and take it to college with me in the fall?" I think that would count as another house and how wonderful that my princess wants a picture of Christ in her room at College. What a wonderful thing they have done making those prints available to everyone.

The other thing I got to speak to the artist about, was how every painting I have ever found of Christ washing some one's feet, the feet of the person are beautiful and look like they wear socks and shoes daily. I shared with her how I did pedicures in Peru the two years I went and the people wear sandals or no shoes, their nails are broken, damaged, bruised or missing and they don't have nail clippers. They have cracks, fungus, parasites and open wounds on their feet and they are dirty even after being washed. I told her how I wish I could paint that or that someone else would. I hope she does take that on. I could only dream of painting something so well. Here is a link to my "Pedicures in Peru" post.

Today, I framed the beautiful picture of the Savior that she gave me and signed. It is now hanging in my front living room wall with many of my other favorite paintings of Christ. I feel so blessed to have met such an amazing woman with such wonderful talents. I feel so grateful for those who helped make her dream of putting a picture of Christ in every home so I could have it and already share one with another and have Princess number 3 take one with her to college.

I have Christ's life depicted on my coffee table in my living room and some of her work is also on that. Click here to link to that post. If you would like to see more of her amazing work, click here to go to her website.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Brownie Crust / Shell Banana Cream Pie

I was looking for a way to make a treat for my bunko group the other day with things I had on hand rather than having to go to the store to make something or buy something and prayed for a little inspiration as money has been tight since the wedding and the holidays.

I thought about the brownie shells I made when trying to figure out what I wanted to make for the wedding treats. (See that blog here)

I had many boxes of brownie mix left and wouldn't have to go to the store for that. I then looked in my cupboard to find some banana cream pie mix. I didn't have any milk however to make the mix but I did have cream left over from the wedding in the freezer so I used half cream and half water to make the banana cream pie mix. I had bananas already at home so I was able to make shells the day before I had bunko and mixed up the filling that afternoon. I placed a few slices of banana in the bottom of the shell, scooped in the pie filling, placed whipped cream on top and topped the whole thing off with a banana.

I let it set and chill in the fridge until time to be served and actually didn't put the banana slice on top until I was serving it because I didn't want to to get brown and shriveled.

They were a hit!!! The women loved it and asked if this recipe would be on my blog. I told them I had taken pictures thinking if it were good I would. I tried a small one before they came and figured they would enjoy it.

I didn't take pictures of me making them because I had talked about that in the first post on the brownies with the link above. I did learn some valuable lessons I want to share. First, this didn't work on my gluten free brownies. They ended up being a horrible sticky mess. Second, the light on the "shell maker" didn't turn off even when the shells were done. I had to test the time with the first shells and use a timer on the rest. I used aluminum foil on the counter and just dumped the four shells out letting them cool on the foil and after they cooled for a few seconds, I turned them right side up to let them finish cooling.

The other thing is that I put in about two heaping tables spoons of brownie mix in each shell hole. The first batch I made came out really small and had no outer lip like a pie shell would. More like a tart shell. The second and rest of the batches, I added about three heaping spoonfuls and ended up having a nice "pie shell" shape. On the last batch, I added more to use it up and the pie shell edges extended out making an uneven edge that broke off. Try one batch, if it is not enough, add more. If it is too much, add less. I got 16 shells out of one brownie mix.

This would be a five star recipe in my 1-5 rating. Everyone of my children liked them. I still have another pie filling so I am looking forward to making them again.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chicken, Parmesan and Veggie Stroganoff

Last week, I made some beef stroganoff with veggies and curly noodles. The girls LOVED it and gave it rave reviews. It didn't last long even though I made a large amount.

This week, I thought I would try something new. I had a few bags of Parmesan cheese left from the wedding sandwiches (Link to that recipe here - all time favorite) and am trying to clean out my freezer and cupboards so I made up this recipe. It is a winner.

Chicken, Parmesan and Vegetable Stroganoff
Chicken breast
sour cream or cooking cream
olive oil
crushed red pepper
minced garlic
Parmesan cheese
frozen vegetables ( I like the veggie mixes and throw away the sauce packets)
dehydrated mushrooms optional. You could use fresh as well.

Depending on how much you choose to make, add the amount of ingredients according to how much you want.

Cut chicken breast into small pieces, pour a generous amount of olive oil into the bottom of a wok or large frying pan. Pour in desired amount of garlic and crushed red pepper. Cut onions into thin slices and place all the above into the pan and saute until chicken is cooked through and the onions are soft. If you want to add dehydrated mushrooms, put them in and let them soften while you cook the chicken.

Next, pour in the frozen veggies. Don't rinse or drain them as the water and frost will give you the moisture needed to soften the noodles.

Once the veggies are heated and any ice is melted, I stir in the noodles. Add 1/3 as many noodles as the water amount you have in the bottom of the pan. If you want, you can add cream or water or chicken broth to add moisture if you want to have more noodles in the mix. Cover and stir often until the noodles are done.

Once noodles are soft, stir in cooking cream or sour cream. Add as much as you like until it becomes like a sauce. It tastes great just like that or, you can dump in a bag of grated Parmesan and stir.

I like my food spicy and add lots of garlic and pepper but
you may want to experiment until you know the best amount for you. If I gave you amounts, it may be too spicy for your liking.

You really can't go wrong with this recipe. It would be hard to ruin it. If you don't want to add the noodles in the cooking process, you can serve it minus the noodles and serve it over cooked noodles as a sauce for the noodles. Either way, I think you will make it again. Yummmm.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Essential Oils - Cost, Worth and Getting them Cheap

I have used essential oils for years. Basically what Essential oils are is the oils from different parts of plants pulled out without heat (by distillation) to create an oil that is expensive as the time to gather, distill and bottle them is a big expense.

The oils can be from bark, leaves, fruit, root etc. Some plants have many parts that can be used. The hardest ones to get and thus the most expensive are from trees. You can't get the oil from the tree without destroying the tree usually so they tend to be expensive as they destroy the tress in the process causing a shortage in the tree, making the oil expensive. There are places now that grow the trees just for the oils helping restore some balance but they are still usually very expensive.

As you can see by the picture at the top, I have lots of oils. That isn't all of them but most of what I have. There are a few oils that I buy in bulk because I use them for diffusing in the house or use for specific treatments. When you buy oils by the little bottle at the health food store, the item has been marked up 3-10 times with each person who handles it. Many of the main oil companies buy their oils from the same importer. The oil is the same but just sold in different manners.

Some oils I buy in bulk, I get from an importer. I looked into buying larger bulk but didn't want to get into the "business" aspect as they have to sell only to wholesale businesses. So, I buy from a smaller importer when I need those type oils in larger amounts.

If I want larger bottles but don't want to make an order I will buy the larger "Now" brand oils to diffuse in the house. I don't usually use those oils on people just because they aren't all marked "pure" or "Organic" and I don't want to take a chance.

When using oils on people, I make sure I trust the source and they are marked "Pure" and "Organic" as sometimes they add thinning agents. I talk about "Thieves" oil in my health pages off the main page. Here is a link where I describe how I use Thieves.

Three times now I have wanted to get a "set" of oils for my daughters as they leave for school and missions etc. If I were to go anywhere and buy an ounce of every oil the company sells, it would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars. When I say that I have thousands of dollars worth of oils, I am NOT joking. Some of the oils or oil mixtures are $100 an ounce or more.

One of my dearest friends daughter-in-law had a serious head trauma in a car accident about 5 years ago and they thought she would be a vegetable for the rest of her life. My friend went daily and applied some of these expensive oils on her feet and head and did body work on her. I went a few times as well to help. Yesterday, I saw her daughter-in-law with her 11 month old baby carrying her and walking. She still walks with a limp but functions in life.

I used some similar oils on my mother when she almost died a few years ago. They helped her get rid of a brain infection requiring a emergency brain shunt. Link to that here.

You have to decide how much faith you have in the oils and do your research. Those are two witnesses I have of the power of oils and could go on and on about what we use them for in our home. Burns are one of the biggest reasons we use oils. Tea tree oil (melaleuca tree) kills pain immediately on burns. Here is a link to a post about that. It is also good for teething or teeth issues. (Here is a link about how it helps that and wisdom teeth pain.)

What is the best way to store the oils? I have tried several things in the past and end up using an insulated lunch bag. It isn't good for the oils to have drastic heat fluctuations so the insulated bag keeps them at a constant temperature in case I am taking them somewhere. It also protects them against breaking if it fell. They do sell foam containers through some of the oil distributors but I have found that mine are ok if I treat them well. I don't often take all the oils anywhere. If I need some oils, I usually take a smaller padded overnight bag with just the oils and the carrier oil (olive, grape seed or some other oil to add to an oil to make it not so strong on the skin. Cinnamon burns on the skin if not used with a carrier oil) needed for the treatment.

The best way to get a set of oils is to buy the testers from a store when they are replacing the test bottles. Most of the time, the bottle is still 1/4 to 1/2 full. They don't fill the tester bottles but there is still a good amount of oil in the bottle. It is a good way to get some of the more expensive oils and some of those you may have not used before. It lets you try them for cheap before expending money on them. The store gets the testers for free with their purchase so if you ask them if you can purchase them for $1 each, you get a set of oils for $30-$100 depending on how many testers they have. Most oils have about 40-50 oils in their lines.

If you go to a large store, they may not have as much oil left in the tester bottles or may keep them for an employee. I suggest finding a smaller store and ask them to call you when they get new tester bottles. Make friends with the owner. They are usually people who enjoy helping and healing others and would be happy to make $50 on something they didn't pay anything for anyway.

I have purchase tester sets three times now. I offer to pay $1 for each bottle if they sell me the whole set. If you say $1 per bottle, they may keep out the expensive one's and sell you ones that may not be worth $1 like orange, peppermint and Citronella which are quite inexpensive. So, by asking, "If I buy the who tester set, will you let me have them all for $1 each?" they will be happy to clear out the whole set and make $50. Any less, they may only let you have the cheaper oils.

As you can see here, I got a great deal when you think that most of the bottles I bought were 1/3 to 1/2 full and I paid $1. Look at what the full bottle costs. You can see that I got a good deal. I just showed the price of a few but most bottles in the set were at least $10 a bottle.

I put them in this case with a booklet from the company on which oils are good for what and a copy of a booklet from Young Living Oils which talks about the safe way to use the oils. I write on masking tape with a Sharpie, the name of the oil, put it on the lid and cover it with scotch tape or packing tape so I can find the oil at a glance. Some companies sell labels but don't cover all the oils so that is the best way I found to label them.

I use oils daily in my life. I rub them on my sore spots, for headaches, burns, sore throats, I have some diffusing 24/7 to keep germs down in the house, etc.

We make our own bug spray and insect repellant using bulk oils as well. Here is a link to that post. 

If I had to suggest three oils every house should have, "Thieves" mix by Young Living, Tea Tree - bought at Wal-mart in the vitamin section for $8 for 2 oz. used for teeth issues including teething and best for burn pain, and Pan Away - mix by Young Living as well. Used for headaches, joint pain, alertness etc.

If you "put it out there" that you want oils, they will show up. You can find them for less money. I'm living proof.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Zealand Knitter

Funny the things that happen in my life. So I posted yesterday about not having pictures of the things I knitted. Well, today, I went looking for something else and came up with a box of pictures that I took out of an album about a year ago.

I had been thinking about a specific even that I wanted a picture for and when I picked up a pile of pictures, there, in front, first picture I could see in the stack in my hand, was that picture.

Well, after that, I started showing my children some of the pictures. It was my album before getting married. It had my year of living in New Zealand in it. Guess what I pulled out every few pictures..... Yes, pictures of me wearing many of the things I knit.

I hadn't remembered all the things I had knit. I got rid of many over the years. I have three of the sweaters left. I have the Ski sweater I am wearing above. It is actually Swedish Darning on top of the sweater sort of like darning in a different color. I loved the kiwi bird. My girls now wear that sweater as an "Ugly Sweater" to school on Ugly Sweater day.

I also still own this sweater shown in the black and white. One of my host mothers owned some yarn she wasn't going to use so I ended up getting the yarn for free. Real wool yarn isn't cheap and wasn't back then. I still think it is a cute sweater and the girls say it isn't as "ugly" as the other with the Kiwi Bird on it.

This one is one I knit together with one of my host mothers. Yes, they all knit there and spin wool, and shear sheep. lol Ok, so they don't all do it all but most of the women I stayed with did knit and were VERY good. We knit this for my father and I over shot his size and it was very large but since Bulky sweaters were in style, I wore it for a few years. I think I still have that sweater somewhere.

The other sweaters and some I don't have pictures of have gone over the years. There is one I wish I kept. It was made from all little scraps and I left pieces of string hanging out all over the sweater. It was like "Joseph's coat of many colors" but it was my sweater of many colors.

The fingerless gloves at the top were my specialty when I returned home. Everyone wanted a pair. I can't tell you how many pair I knitted but it was before they were available here and I made a pair for most of my family members. I think the patriotic pair at the top were for my brother in the military but I ended up finding them when we cleaned out my mom's house or something.

This blue sweater was out of cotton bobbly yarn that was also free if I remember right. I liked the pattern because it was simple. I had the most pictures of me wearing this sweater. I also learned to sew around this time and made a few dresses similar to the one in that picture.

Princess number three said I was a "Domestic housewife" as a teen when she saw all the pictures I pulled out of the box saying, "I made that dress." "I knit that sweaters." over and over. It was fun to show them those pictures. They kept telling me I looked like Princess number 1.

Here is a picture of me knitting some fingerless gloves on our trip to Mexico my senior year summer. If I was sitting, I was knitting. In New Zealand I remember getting joked that I was the "Knitting American" at school. I always had it with me and when I had a minute, I would pull it out.

This last picture is of my first host family in New Zealand and my "sister" and "Mum" with their dog Peaches. My sister and I ended up with the same sweater in different colors. Mine was grey and I think hers was lavender. I spoke to a man tonight who is taking his kids and going to live in New Zealand for a few months at least. I would LOVE to do that.

What a blessing that time in my life was. The people of New Zealand are such a kind and giving people. I remember running into an American male tourist on a boat once and he told me how people he just met offered to let him stay at their home. I have to say, they are amazing that way. They all have spare bedrooms and are willing to share.

I love my New Zealand family and pray I get back to see them soon!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Knitting Grandma Guru

My sister has never knit before. She became a grandma a few months ago. When she found out she was going to be a grandma last year, she decided to take up knitting. She didn't know anything about it but started watching youtube videos and bought supplies.

She started less than a year ago and I can't believe what she has come up with. I used to knit and did so for years. I never took on the difficult and expert patterns that she has now mastered.

She showed me some of the cute things over the past 6 months or so that she has made and I asked her if she was taking pictures of the things she made.

I know that I regret now not taking pictures of the many things I made and gave away. I only have one or two of the sweaters I made left. It would have been nice having pictures of the projects I made over the years.

I asked her this last time I was visiting her if she would show me some of the projects she has made. She said she was sad she had given away so many that she hadn't taken pictures of and I suggested she make a little album that she could keep project pictures inside.

Here is a photo of her with a "baby sac" that you wrap your newborn in so they can't kick off their covers. Also, she made these cute fingerless gloves you can see in the same photo.

I love the little hat she knit for her son with the micro machine cars on it. She made one for a nephew as well. She said it is hard to find the micro machine cars now but I suggested those little finger skate boards or something. Little planes would be fun as well.

She got several books from second hand stores, checked some out of the library and I got her a few. Her favorite thing to do now is get patterns off the internet as there are sites where you can show your work and how you did it a bit differently than the next guy.

She has created some cute mittens for charity, head bands with flowers, hats, place mats, leg warmers, boot covers, clothes for her grand daughter and has about three projects going now that she showed me.

I am proud of her, how she has picked up the the skill so well. She went through a pattern book just working on the patterns on one project. It was really cute that it had so many different patterns on it. She even picked up cable knit which I have been afraid to try. I will have to take "grandma" knitting lessons from her when Princess number one decides to have kids.

I am in no hurry as I am still in "mom" mode with the other princesses in my life. I do enjoy crafts but am working on other things at the moment so the knitting will just have to wait.

I'm amazed by you Knitting Grandma Guru you!!!! Keep up the amazing work!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Again - Original Song at 12 Years Old

I posted recently about my youngest Princess taking up the guitar and how impressed I am with her skills knowing 4 songs in a week or two.

Well, last weekend I was out of town on Saturday and she didn't want to go so she stayed home with her sisters and decided to write a song. I was spending the day with one of my best friends and got a call in the afternoon from Princess number 5 telling me that she wrote a song. I asked her to play me a bit over the phone so she played the first verse.

Of course, over the phone, I didn't get much but I did know that it sounded like she had good chord harmony and rhythm.

I got home after driving in a blizzard most of the night. The next day, we had church, choir, I did some home visits to members of our congregation and returned home at five p.m. After being gone all day and the all night drive, I climbed in bed and didn't see her again until after school on Monday.

She was so excited to play the song for me and I was excited to hear it. She pulled out her stool and guitar and I pulled out the video camera for her "first original work" concert.

I am so impressed. She wrote the song in about 20 minutes and did the chord progression, lyrics, tune and everything on her own with NO help from anyone. It is all her!!! Amazing to me.

I gave her a few suggestions on the tone and how to enunciate the words a bit clearer and suggested an intro and maybe some chords between verses. A few minutes later, she did a second "Concert" for me and I am so impressed. She is doing amazing things for playing the guitar for less than a month.

Now she is working on different strums and she asked me later Monday evening to help her write the tune onto sheet music paper so she can put the words down as well. She and her friend want to perform her song at the talent show.

Here are the words so you can read them before you watch it. She does have a cold and her voice is a bit nasal and hard to hear in the video but either way, it is still amazing. She is a natural.

I Want To Be Happy Again


"I’ve gone through the torture and the pain,
The stepmother and the rain.
Across the desert and the snow,
And I want to let it go.

I want my happily ever after to come true,
My story book ending to come soon,
I want this tale to end so, a new one can begin.
I just want to be happy again!


I’ve been with the dragon and its madness,
The dungeon and its sadness.
In my heart that just the start
Of what’s happened in my life


Because life is beautiful to me, and I want to see it go on and on and on!
Throughout my life time there’s been many bumps in the road,
But now there gone, I hope so.


Now my happily ever after has come true,
My story book ending‘s come to view,
Now this tale has ended and a new one has begun.
Now I am happy again!

Now I am happy again!"

She even typed it up herself on Sunday night. I got to see the words before I heard the song. She typed it up and left it on the computer so when I woke up, they were there for me to read.

It is funny that in both versions of the song (I will link you to both) she messes up only on the last note. We talked about it and I think it is because this song is about how she feels her life has gone and she really does want to be happy. As of late, she is happy with the way things have gone but she really isn't sure how things will end. Sometimes in life when you are a child, you have things forced upon you that may not be what you want or desire.

She has dealt with the trials in her life amazingly and she will deal with those ahead just as amazingly. We talked tonight after watching a movie together while her sisters were gone. Both of us were crying after the movie as some of the trials of the woman in the show were similar to things we have gone through.

However, she realized and we discussed how if we hadn't had the experiences we have, she wouldn't have had the situations needed to write such an amazing song. Sometimes, our trials give us what we need to move on in a different direction than we would had we not had the trial.

We talked about giving gratitude for the trials and the things that they teach us. She is the most easy going of my girls and has probably taken more than her share because she is the youngest. Being her mother put aside, Princess number five is an AMAZING person and I am sad for those who choose to miss out on that.

Here is a link to
"Happy Again" - Take One.

Here is a link to
"Happy Again" - Take Two.

I wish the links didn't take you off this page but my internet is too slow to upload through blogger so I had to upload through youtube. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do.

I find myself humming it through the day.... Not many songs can do that... Like I said, Taylor Swift, move on over......

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home Library - Part 2 - Make Lots on Books

When your children are young, you aren't sure what books are best, after having one or two, you know what the "classics" are as you have seen them come and go on every book order for years. Sometimes, you can take the book orders with you in search of special books or just make a list of the books your child may like.

I had one daughter that LOVED to draw. So, I collected "How to draw....." books of all kinds. We have How to draw; pokemon, animals, cartoons, Disney etc.

The probl
em that came up for me, was I kept buying the same books over and over not remembering which we already had. To solve this, one day, I went to the book shelf with my laptop in hand and started a list of books that I have. I did it by series.

Most of the books I kept are sets. Dr. Seuss, Beverly Cleary, The Great Brain, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, The Little's, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Junie B. Jones, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Hardy Boys, Clifford, Curious George, Amelia Bedelia, Horrible Harry, Encyclopedia Brown, Bernstein Bears, Cam Jensen, Nate the Great etc.

By making the list and keeping it in my purse, I no longer bought doubles and found that I had most of the sets already. I have never taken the time to look online at what books are available
in the sets, I would just check second hand stores every so often. Actually, it has been a year at least since I bought a kids book but today, I found a stack of "Dr. Seuss and Disney" set books that I know we wouldn't have.

My Dr. Seuss books were given to us when my eldest was about 2 by some friends whose children out grew them. The books I saw today were all the newer Disney additions to the set so I picked up the stack for $0.25 each.

I started buying Golden Books when I was expectin
g my eldest. I paid $0.25 to $0.50 a book on sales. Then, when I started looking at second hand stores, I picked them up for $0.10 etc. I don't buy those anymore because I have two shelves full.

The thing I do like about Golden Books is that they have EVERY set included. They have Barbie, Disney, Sesame Street, Warner Brothers, Classics, etc all condensed into matching books that are small and easy for a child to hold. The only time I will buy one now is if it is a first edition and old or a new release such as "Nemo" which we wouldn't own. The books I bought when Princess number one was born are now 25 years old.

To keep the dust off the books, I bought some used balloon valences and put them over the book shelves and had the rod portion hang down keeping the dust off the tops of the books. I just vacuum the edges with the vacuum every so often but the tops of the books are dust free.

The last thing I have to share is how you can make some
money collecting old used books. There is a market for first edition books that are popular such as Dr. Seuss, Caldecott winner books, "Make way for ducklings" ($10,000+ in good condition) type books etc. A first edition "To think that I saw it on Mulberry Street" with a dust jacket in good condition can bring $8,000.

You may want to "dust" off those old children's books and check the prices out online if you think you are through using them with your children.

My girls debate who will get "what" collection when they are older. I tell them, they can pick numbers. I have a large set for each and then many smaller sets they can take and do with what they will. I think the fact that most are complete or near complete make them more valuable and also, the library copies being older and ordered at printing are probably more valuable than the new one's they ordered.

Either way, the girls have enjoyed reading them and have fond memories of them. I will keep just a few for "Grandma's library" and hope they enjoy the rest.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

At Home Library - Part 1- Save Big On Books

When my children we young, they would come home from school with the Scholastic and other book club book order forms. They would ask me each time if they could buy a book. At first, I thought that would be OK but the books were expensive and having two in school, I had to get them each one and they also had book fairs at the school for fund raisers during Parent Teacher conferences.

I ended up spending lots in books each year. One day, I was at a second hand store and saw several of the books on the book order for sale for anywhere from $0.25 to $1. Mostly the children's books were a quarter however. I had a brilliant thought.

Instead of getting one book from the book order, I told my daughters, they could get TWO books from mom's library instead. They liked that they could get two books and that did the trick. A few times, the orders had toys or puppets that came with the books and that caused some issues so from then on, I kept my eye out for puppets that went with books. I ended up with a Clifford, Lamb Chops, Curious George and a few others book character puppets to put in the box along with corresponding books. With this idea, I saved myself LOTS of money and was able to gather a nice variety of books for the girls.

I always kept my eye open for specific books that were classics. I also went to the Library garage sells and book sales. One year, I was able to buy the entire set of "Nancy Drew," and the full set minus one of the "Hardy Boys" for $25 each. That was less that $1 a book. The library was updating their sets. I also got the "Bernstein Bears" hard back set they were upgrading for $10.

Over the years, I have gotten some great buys at yard sales but I haven't been to one in years. I hate the crowds in a small town and people go days early asking what is for sale. It isn't my idea of fun. I have however sold some of my items for sale at yard sales to people who came early asking about big items so perhaps that is an option for some but I don't have that nerve.

So, yard sales, library sales and second hand stores are always a good bet. The last option I will suggest is one that I haven't used but I know others that have so I will include it. Have a book drive for families in your neighborhood who may be past the children's books stage. Pass out fliers and offer to "buy" the used books they may be willing to part with. Most people like the idea of making money without having to do much work and also like the idea of knowing that their "loved items" will be going to someone that will appreciate them.

For some, it is easier to get rid of things if they know where they are going. I went through my books a few years ago. I had lots of "learning" books that were history, animal facts, etc which would be great for a home schooler. I thought I could sell them at a yard sale but then I would have to "store" them and to me, getting rid of them was a bigger issue so I called a friend that is a home schooler and asked if she wanted the three large boxes of books I was passing on.

She was thrilled to get them and eventually, opened a pre-school as well so I know the books went to a good cause making it easier for me to give them up. It gave me room for keeping the books my children actually read as well.

To be continued.... Tomorrow, making money on books and collections.