Friday, March 30, 2012

Bunko or Bunco - 16 Years Strong - Like Sisters to Me

Forgive the sparse pictures. My 256k internet service is having some big issues loading the past two weeks. I have been at it for hours and can't get much to load. Sorry about the lack of pictures. It may be the weather storm coming in as we lose internet at times.

When I first moved to this small town, I didn't know anyone. It was my first move as a married adult. I had only lived in one home after getting married and had no children at the time. Moving with Princess number 3 being a new born and two other small children to a small town where it seemed everyone knew each other, I was a bit lonely at first. Two of the first three friends I made were recent move-ins themselves. One was from the west coast and the other moved down the week she had her second child.

After we finally settled in after renting for about a year, I wanted to make more friends in my new neighborhood. I asked people of different faiths, ages and personalities to join a bunko (some spell it bunco) group. The group has lost a few members to moving over the years but of the original 12, 8 are still in the group. The four others that are in it now have replaced those that have moved in and moved out over the years.

I have come to love each of these women like sisters. They have been through my divorce and now another dear friend is going through a difficult divorce. We have lost parents, had babies and some have taken vacations together. Today, we had two happy announcements that two had children get engaged this month and one sad occurrence in that one lost her father and the viewing was today.

One of the women I mentions and is actually my first friend in town, she announced her 27 year old daughter is engaged. We were all so happy for her. The other women I mention that was one of the other women I met that moved into town, her father died this week.

I can't tell you the emotions that swell when I think of these women and the things we have experienced together. Many have had health issues, some depression, others divorce, some child issues, loss of children and other family members, and the list goes on. We are real life moms living with real life issues. However, we are blessed more than most in the fact that we have each other. If someone is having a crisis in life, we take over hosting for them or help when and how we can.

When my mother almost died, (see here for that post) the dear friend whose father died this week, went to my house, picked up the prizes I bought and put on dinner at her home for me. That is just one of the many things she has done that has blessed my life through the 17 years I have lived here.

Today, I woke to a feeling that I needed to call her. I did. I asked if there was something I could do for her. Her answer almost made me cry. She said, "People always think we are sisters anyway, I am on my way to the funeral home, they would think we were related and you are good at decorating, you could come help me set up the display if you want." I was so honored she would allow me to come help her with such a tender an emotional thing. I cut some flowers from my garden and put them in a vase and went to help her set up.

I took a camera and got some precious pictures with her with her father which about brings tears to my eyes. We set up the display and it looked lovely. I feel so blessed to be able to help her.

I had to drive a friend to a Dr. visit in a town about 40 minutes away so had to leave right after but as we walked out, she said, "Have fun at Bunko tonight." with tears in her eyes. I know that was because we are family.

We pitched in on flowers and a card to help with expenses and went to the viewing. I bought one flower from each "sister" that she could plant in her yard to remember from year to year. She loves her yard and I wanted something she could enjoy. I wish I had taken pictures of the beautiful hyacinths and tulips as the colors were beautiful and bright. I also got her a watering bucket charm and wrote, "I hope this "waters" you as you have often "watered" us." I actually looked for "dice" on a charm but wasn't able to find any.

I have to tell you one funny thing that happened as I was headed out the door for bunko. I changed after going to the viewing and was walking out and "Iris" was playing by GooGoo Dolls. (
to see what that is about, click here.) I asked Princess number four if she picked the song. She said, "No, it is Pandora." I laughed and said aloud, "I wonder what God is trying to tell me because I am obviously not getting it!" I leave, go to bunko, take a detour to drop my youngest Princess off at the viewing to be with her friend, drive across town, and walk in to the hostess's house. One of the women took a group photo which took a few minutes. The hostess quites us down and starts to pray and guess what song is playing during the prayer? Bet you can't guess! Yes, "Iris!" I actually was a bit freaked out. One, because we don't normally pray with music playing but she had her ipod in a speaker system and I thought of the millions of songs out there, she had "Iris" playing.

I told the women how much I love them tonight and for some reason have a feeling that something in my life will soon change. I pray it is a good thing but we are all moving on and things have a way of shifting so I pray that things will shift in a good way. If I did end up moving or something, I know these women will always be counted as blessings in my life.

We really are blessed to have such an amazing group of women. I have met many people over the years that said they didn't like their group or the group fell apart over the years but our group is stronger and stronger as we went through having our children together, we are now going through having our grand children together. If I ever move from this beautiful town, the thing I will miss the most, are the women who hold it together, my friends, my sisters!

The prizes we win and yummy dinners we eat are just frosting on the amazing cake of friends. The bunny at the side is the prize I won tonight. Its ears are the spreaders for the dip that goes in the bowl. Its a cute decoration as well.

Am I blessed or what?!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home Energy Audit - Part 2 - Heavenly Father Loves Me

Yesterday and today I had fun filled days with five different workers. I had the energy audit people fixing different things on and in my home. I guess when my house was built, they forgot to caulk around the outside of the basement windows. That explains the bug problem I have had in the basement. It didn't seem to matter what I did around the windows, little beetles and small spiders would get in. I put boric acid around the edges of the carpet to kill them once they were in but never figured out how they were getting in. Now, I know.

One man caulked around the edges of my window. Another, fixed a spring that opens and closes one of my windows. Two men came to figure out how they were going to fix my furnace code violations and scheduled to come in a few weeks. Another cut holes in my bathroom ceilings to replace my scary exhaust fans that vented illegally into the attic. The fans we had would stop working and I would have to get up and spray them with WD-40 almost monthly and they made a horrible sound. The new vents they put in are Panasonic and so quiet that when they are on, and the door is closed, I can't hear them.

Funny story about that - About two years ago, Panasonic contacted me asking if I wanted to test their bathroom vents. I said I did, we got to the point of contacting a contractor to put them in when Panasonic pulled the trial because of budget cuts. I hoped they would decide to reinstate the test trials. Funny how Heavenly Father blesses me with what I want and with what I need. I was to the point that I was getting scared to use the ceiling fan in my bathroom because it would make noise and not go around. I looked at it wondering if I could replace it myself even to the point of going up into the attic. It was a bit beyond me as new holes needed to be cut. I also have radiant electric heat through the ceilings and was worried I would do damage to those coils. I don't use the radiant heat but if I ever needed it, I wouldn't want to worry I would start a fire or not have it work. If we didn't use the vents, the bathroom is humid and mildew grows. Here is a picture of the outside vents. I had one of the bathroom vents on and the other off. You can see that when the vent is on, the little shutters open up and when off, they close keeping the attic safe from critters.

Once again, my Heavenly Father has provided for my needs. After they vented the fans to the outside, they then found the source of a direct inlet of cold air to my basement under my large tub. They put foam in the attic around the pipes that weren't insulated and then sprayed another 3-5 inches of insulation into my attic and then cut a board and put foam around the edges and screwed it in beneath the tub so that there would be a barrier on both ends to keep the cold air from coming in.

One man put little fuzzy sticky corners at the bottom of all of my outside doors. I guess the magnetic strip were a bit compressed at the bottom and sometimes I could see light through and also sometimes bugs would come through so they have these little sticky backed fuzzy corners they stick to the bottom of the door frame and that took care of it.

Other men replaced my shower heads and faucet aerators with water saving ones. I was a bit shocked at the sediment that was blocking my old aerators. The shower heads, I knew had issues ,but the aerators were a shock. I tried to clean the old one's after just to see how they would look, most were so bad it took the coating off the bronze or copper.

Even though I replaced most of my lights with the compact florescent lights that I mentioned in my other post (click here for that) about the energy audit, there was the bathroom strips downstairs that they replaced with compact florescent bulbs which will help on my bills as the girls use the lights to get ready every day.

The men left me with these little insulation pieces that are cut into the shape of the power outlets and the light switches. I couldn't believe when they hooked up the fan and sucked all the air out of my house, when you stuck your hand on the outlets of an outside wall, that you could feel cold air coming in through the power outlets and light switches. It was really amazing to see and feel. Today, after the men left, I took screwdriver in hand and while listening to a book on audio, I put insulation into all my outside wall outlets and light switches. Who would have thought that would be an issue. I figured the wall insulation would have taken care of that but I can testify that I felt cold air coming through my light switches on the outside walls.

Lastly, they replaced the carbon monoxide detectors and two of my smoke detectors with combined smoke and carbon units. I didn't even know they had a combo unit. I was thrilled about that. I do test my smoke detectors regularly and use lithium long use batteries in most of the smoke detector units, the workers told me that they usually last less than 10 years so any unit you have had over ten years, should be replaced. Both my carbon monoxide detectors and the smoke detectors are over 10 years old so I am grateful to have the combined units. Look how dusty and dirty mine was. It even had cobwebs inside.

I mention all of the things they did to help me save on my water, electric, gas and other bills to give you ideas on what you can do in your home to help cut down the bills. I don't think you need to have them come hook up a fan to help you now that I have shared all the things that they did to help insulate and improve my house. I know that the gas company will send someone out to check your appliances and give you a green sticker. I had that done before. The other things I mention are things you can do mostly on your own to make your home more economic for you as well as keeping you warmer in the cold months and cooler in the hotter months. I am sure that insulation will work both ways.

Heavenly Father really does take care of all my needs. I really do need to start trusting him in other ways. I think I just lack faith to trust that he can heal my heart and bless me with a good and honorable man. Any ideas how I can let go of that fear of being hurt again? I am so good at seeing issues in others and helping them overcome them but when it comes to my biggest issue.... I can't seem to get past it myself. I'll keep turning it over to my Father and see what he comes up with for me! He hasn't done me wrong yet! Prayer does wonders..... Keep the faith!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It Was Worth The Risk

My youngest Princess LOVES games. For Christmas, Santa brought lots of games we haven't played before as a family so she could try some new games. One of the games was "Risk." I haven't played Risk for over 25 years.

When I was growing up, my brothers and sister and I would play this game for weeks on end. We would keep the games going forever. I remember watching MASH after the news and playing late into the night with them. With those fond memories of playing it those many years ago, when I saw a "Risk" game for sale, I had to get it.

It had been so long that I didn't remember much other than you roll the dice to "battle" your opponent for land. I didn't even remember how the dice thing worked. It I am embarrassed to say that I lost and was the only player wiped off the board. We had to set a time limit as I know the game can go on and on.

Actually, it took us a few minutes the other day to read all the instruction and figure out how to set it up and we also found ourselves doing a few things wrong as we went but by the end, I think we figured it out.

Princess number 3 that has never played the game before in her life won. All the girls did well. If we kept playing, I think it would have been any one's game.

When we finished playing, I asked the girls if they thought we should keep the game or get rid of it as I am trying to clean the house of things we aren't using. They all said it was a keeper. I guess some games are timeless.

The next night, we played Monopoly. I had to get a new game, somehow, ours disappeared. Perhaps one of the older princesses took it to college. So, we opened a new game. I did miss our old one as the money was difficult to count out being new.

We also have a VERY difficult puzzle out but I was the only one that worked on it last weekend. It has been out over a week now and no one has worked on it as we have been so busy. I did all the easy stuff and now it is really hard as it is a collage of little pictures put into a bigger picture. I think the only puzzle we didn't finish was a "Pooh" one like this and now after working on this "Peanuts" one, I remember why we didn't finish the other. They are difficult puzzles. I don't know if we will finish it but I think I will leave it up for one more weekend and see where it is next week.

Take the Risk, and play Risk with your family. It really was fun and is a classic.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Hunger Games Midnight Show - Not What I Had Hoped

The girls and I bought tickets weeks ago so we could see the opening night, midnight showing of "The Hunger Games" last week. We went a few hours early and sat in line so we could get a good seat. The theater in town is small and I don't do well close up to the front so I was thrilled to get a seat in the back. The girls of course sat with their friends. Princess number three sat with me.

I felt so old. There was only one other older couple in line and I made the comment about feeling a bit out of place and being the oldest in line. The man pulled out his drivers licence and showed me. I had him beat by a year. So, I was the oldest at our midnight showing and did try to take a nap in the afternoon before going knowing I had a busy next day and weekend coming up but the nap thing didn't work well so I was really tired by the time the movie was over.

I kept my camera out to get a picture of the title of the screen for my blog and was a bit surprised by the small lettering on the front. I was hoping for a bigger than life opening I guess. From the opening title page through the entire movie, I found myself being disappointed. I don't often go the the movie theater as I have a nice comfortable reclining couch and large screen HDTV at home (thanks to Panasonic - view here for that post) so for me to spend $30 for us to go to the movie left me with some big expectation and lets you know I thought it would be worth the money.

For the first 20 minutes, I kept thinking to myself, "Will they ever stop jumping around with the camera?" the shots and views were so choppy and jumbled. I almost felt like I should get motion sick. They never did stop jumping around. It reminded me of the "Bourne" movies especially the second. It jumped around so much I actually did get motion sick.

I also felt that they didn't give any depth to the characters. If I hadn't read the books, I would have been really lost as to what was going on in the story. I kept finding myself sad that they did such a great job with the actors and costumes only to have it ruined by the filming and editing. I thought for the most part that the actors were true to their characters but did have a hard time with Haymitch as Woody Heraldson. He did win me over by the end but I think what was hard was the lack of background or character depth as I said before. I was so glad I read the books or I would have REALLY hated the movie.

Princess number one and her husband went to the movie. We didn't tell them anything before hand and when we talked after they went to the Saturday morning show, I asked, "How did you like it?" and she replied, "No character depth." I asked if she had looked at any reviews before hand. She said she hadn't. I asked her what her husband thought and she said he felt the same way.

That is three people who red the books that had the same feelings. It wasn't only me.

The dream "memories" were all choppy as well. I was really disappointed over all with the whole movie. I guess in my head I thought that they were going to make it up there with "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. The special effects left me wanting. I felt it looked like they had a high school student do them. I wish they would have not jumped around so much.

There was actually one shot in the whole movie that I was finally happy with. It was when the main character was crying in the forest over the death of Rue. They gave a straight on shot. Not jumping around from angle to angle and I felt like I was actually able to see some emotion from one of the characters because the way they shot it, it was so short in the shot that you didn't see any interaction or emotion with the characters. I almost felt that they filmed each person in the shot all by themselves with no other actors around. They all seemed disconnected.

We walked out and a woman walked out from the other theater saying, "I hated it, I hated it." The youngest two Princesses thought it had good and bad but weren't "thrilled" with it. Princess number three said, "It's a movie." didn't love or hate it but she is a HUGE "Lord of the Rings" fan and "Star Wars" so I think if it were made by a masters hand, she would have LOVED it. As it is, I wouldn't buy the video. I almost wish, someone would remake it and make it into the masterpiece it could have been.

I had to wonder how the author felt about the movie. Did it make her feel like it was all it could be? I had someone else express the same thought when we were discussing it. Once again, it wasn't only me.

In the end, I had to love that I got to spend an evening with the girls. As we were walking to our car, guess what I found? Yes, a coin. A nickle to be exact. I laughed as I picked it up. It was a shiny new one. I thought, "In God I Trust!" as we got into the car to drive home. In the end, that is where it's at after all!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Eve Has Her New Garden of Eden

This past weekend, we went to help my sister move. They have moved 4 times in about 8 years. It has always been around this same time of the year but we were blessed with wonderful weather. We were worried about rain or snow but were grateful that it was nice weather.

We arrived about five on Friday evening and worked until I dropped sometime in the night. She stayed up all night but we had done the midnight moving showing the night before and I had an early appointment that morning so I was not up for the all night marathon.

We were then up at 8:30 after a few hours tossing on the couches to spend the day helping them move. The princesses were extremely helpful cleaning up after things were moved out. They washed out cupboards and drawers, packed and got great at washing window's and vacuuming empty rooms. They are a bit sore from lifting boxes as well.

I was more of the packer and organizer telling people what needed to go, stay, making donation piles and trying to keep parts together from taking things apart as we moved them. I couldn't believe how many people came to help. There were so many that came to move them. They had a huge basement storage room and she home school's so she has lots of science things and many books and very steep and narrow stairs. People were great. Many brought food, some cleaned, some loaded, some donated trucks and trailers and some will come and help her unpack as we had to head home.

However, when we finally got to see the new house last night just before dark, I was thrilled to see the back yard. Today, I quickly took some pictures from behind the house but should have gone back to the orchard where they have about 12 different types of trees. It has a well. It has a windmill. It has all those fruit trees. It has an underground cement root cellar. It has the garage you can see and another shed behind that along with another deck and patio. It has the fire pit you can see. If I had taken a picture of the back of the house where I was standing, it has raised beds along the length of the house, and along the whole length of the property which goes back very far. It also has a green house glass room on the back of the house. The front yard is all grass and is about the same size as the entire house. The yard is fully fenced. It has five bedrooms, three full baths and a half bath. It has a two car attached garage. It has a huge workshop with a wall of peg board and the other two walls are all shelves. The laundry room has shelves it's full length and a full storage room and built in closets everywhere. Wood stove, two family rooms, gas fireplace, three closets in the master bedroom and a living room upstairs. The only down I think is the eating area is smaller than desired with the amount in their familyas they have two married and five children still at home. It does need some updating as you can see by this lovely shot of them showing off the light above the dining area. Not sure why they people before updated the kitchen, walls, flooring etc and left this light but it gave us all a great laugh.

Here is the happy family before going to church today. They are all excited to be in their new home. They found 7 snakes this week and her youngest caught his first snake this week and it was all he could talk about. They did have a discussion about not bringing the snakes into the house as we had a funny experience a few years ago with my daughter thinking someone put a fake snake on the handle of the suitcase..... Turned out, it wasn't fake. They didn't tell us their pet snake escaped and had been missing for a few weeks. That would not be a fun repeat experience.

One more funny story about the weekend. Someone dropped off a glass bowl of cut oranges for the workers yesterday. My sister told me to grab it so we could return it. I washed the bowl but ran out of paper towels so it air dried and had some spots. My sister was told it was their new neighbor. She didn't want to have the bowl get lost in the new house mess so she walks over to the only neighbor that had brought something over and introduced herself. The women opens the door and invites her in. My sister said, "Sorry the bowl has spots but it is clean." The lady said, "Do you want to wash it?" my sister said, "No, my hands are dirty." The lady then takes the bowl, washes it and dries it. My sister said, "I just wanted to thank you for the oranges because my husband said the new neighbor brought it over and I knew it had to be you." The women hands my sister back the clean bowl and said, "It wasn't me."

My sister was so embarrassed. This woman invited her in and thought she wanted her to wash a dirty bowl for her. She got home with the bowl and I said, "Wasn't she home?" My sister starts laughing and crying because she is laughing so hard. She tells me the story and I laugh until I cried. So, today, she asks a few more questions from her husband about who brought it over. She then goes to the other neighbor who has turkeys in her yard and tries to give her the bowl.

Guess what! Yep, it wasn't her bowl either. We had a good laugh about that. I am sure in time, they will figure out who was so kind to offer the oranges. They were all eaten and enjoyed.

My sister's middle name is Eve and she has always loved gardening. I am so happy for her to now have a beautiful yard of her dreams. It needs a little help on the back grass but the front grass is like a parks. I look forward to seeing what amazing things she will do with her Garden of Eden. See here for my post about her and gardening.

I love you EVE! I'm so happy you now have your own "Garden of Eden!"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Updates on Life - Singles - Crafts

I finished the baby quilt I was working on. It really came out cute. I was going to give it away but thought I may save it for Princess number one. I'll have to think on that one. Here is a picture of that. Below is a close up of how the hearts came out as well. I really think it would be cute in not such a neutral color but gender specific as well.

Princess number five still hasn't finished the quilt she was working on so Princess number four said she wants to work on it and finish it so I may have to give Princess number five a deadline or tell her it will become Princess number 4's. I am trying to get some projects finished up. Here is a link to that post.

I am still having problems uploading videos as you can tell if you read the carrot juice post the other day. I don't know if it is this site but have a feeling it is both this site and my slow internet. I tried for three days to upload them from this site so that when you click on the link, it doesn't take you from the page. I will just have to load them directly to youtube and post the link on the page. There are many things on this site I love and some others that I don't.

With that, I got an email from my brother about a web hosting site having a sale. If you remember, he bought me "" and I tried in all my simplicity to get it running with my limited web design understanding. The site had limited use programs and I could get some things up and running but after spending a few days messing with it, I gave up. Here is a link to that post. My life, as you can see by reading this blog for two years, is very busy.

I checked out the site my brother mentioned and it was amazing. To buy and have them host for ten years cost me just over $30. Then, rather than messing with the whole "designing" thing, I just forwarded anything that came to that site, to this blog. I would rather have my own web page and design a new look but right now, I am getting Princess number 3 ready to graduate and start college. She went to an overnight interview for a leadership scholarship last weekend and we need to get her registered for classes and I am still dealing with a few other things in life that take precedence.

I am working on calling every single in my county age 30-55 and setting up a master database where I can email them and text them using one email. I have 100 singles on the list after a week of calling and still have hundreds of names of people to call. I contacted the local church's asking if they had anyone that may be interested and I had over 100 names just on my list from doing a dinner night once a month for several years for singles. So, I went through my list and am working on one of the church lists and still have 3 or 4 more to go. I figure if I start with every single coming from the first activity, then, there will be enough people there to make the activity fun. I have been really pleased with the response. I thought I would get people being upset at my calling or something. In the hundred people I have on the list, I had 5 that said they didn't want to be included in emails of activities. That really surprised me. I thought I would get more negative replies. I guess that people are having a hard time finding things to do in this small town and surrounding area so welcome someone doing something to make it better and easier to meet single people. I have made some wonderful friends from the dinners I started three to four years ago starting with just one friend and I, it grew to a list over 100. In this post about a game I have used over the years, the pictures are from a singles Christmas party we had back then. (Click here for that post.)

I am hoping to get all the calls made in the next week or two and starting with a big dinner in May. I had several summer cook-outs the summer before last, which were fun, and I am hoping to do some this summer.

I also wanted to let you know that my Heavenly Father still reminds me that he loves me. I find pennies regularly. I see the 111 numbers daily. Just a few days ago, I posted about reflexology and constipation (click here for that post) and when I clicked on the video I uploaded to make sure the video worked, I burst out laughing when I saw the length of the video was 1:11. I couldn't have planned that if I tried.

Heavenly Father is constantly showing me signs in my life that he is there and is watchful of me and my girls. I am so blessed. Anyone that has read this blog for more than a few days has to see how blessed I am.

My friend that I wrote about in the reflex post said the information and foot reflexology has been working wonders. She did say that it did slow down a little and I asked if she were pushing hard because she told me she was using the big toe of one foot to reflex the other foot. Sometimes, that may not be enough pressure to keep things moving. A knuckle or some other soft pointed object may work better giving you more constant results. I like the erasers better as I don't have to hurt my thumbs or knuckles to get a good pressure. The reflex stone is also wonderful. Some people use rounded crystals. Any of them would work fine.

Well, I am off to make a few more calls to singles as I can only call between 5:30 and 9:30 at night to reach most at home. I know this may be a lame post but it is a busy night. We are having friends over for a "Hunger Games" opening night party. Ok, well maybe not a party as it is a school night but we are soon headed over with four friends in tow to wait in line to get good seats and I bought the tickets a few weeks ago. They have been sold out for the midnight viewing since last Wednesday. Here is my post on "The Hunger Games" a few weeks ago.

On that note, "May the odds be ever in your favor!"

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Princesses on Marimbas

Every year Princess 3 and 4 go to a competition where they compete against many other high schools in our category for a chance to go to the state competitions. The girls did well. They both played with an ensemble. Princess number 3 played a duet with one of her best friends and then the two girls played a duet together. The judges gave them some instruction and good advice I thought. We will see if they get a chance to play together at the state competition.

The judges told them they thought they could have done a harder piece. True, as they had seen them play before but I am not sure why they chose what they did. I was a bit sad that I didn't know that they could have sung together as part of the competition. My girls have always done band and dance as they already sing so we have never had any of them sing at the competitions.

I think when Princess number 4 and 5 are in high school together, we should have them sing together. This past Sunday in church, we had some visitors due to a friend leaving on a mission to Canada. The visitors turned around after the meeting and said, "We are so glad that you sat behind us today. It was worth coming just to hear you all sing. It was beautiful." I keep telling my girls that they should use that talent more but they are so busy using all their other talents that they don't have much time for that right now.

Thanks to all those who teach or have taught them. I love it when they share their talents with me and others. Here is a link to the youtube video. It will take you from this site. Until I get faster internet, it just won't work on this site unless the video is less than a minute in length and still takes me an hour to upload. Here they are, the two princesses with Mallets! Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Freezing Carrot Juice, Bananas and Making Vegetable Flours

If you remember my post of two days ago, (click here for that) I talked about my blessings from the food bank in getting two cases of carrots. I want to share several other ways we use the carrots that may not be as common as the roast and soup uses I posted about this week. One great use is to juice them. Carrot juice is one of the best things you can take to keep away illness. If you throw an apple in the juice as well, it is at the top of the list. I don't always have a large amount of fresh carrots to juice so one way I have found to keep fresh carrot juice available is to freeze it.

I take the carrots and wash them well or if in doubt, I peel them. If I want to use the carrot pulp from the juicer, then I peel them. As I did want to use the pulp to make carrot flour, I peeled them. As I peel them, they get brown if they sit for long so I keep them in a bowl of cold water after peeling and washing them until I get to using them.

Next, I use the juicer and juice the carrots. Sometimes, I will run the pulp through the juicer again making even more juice if I am going to dry the pulp as it helps it dry more quickly as well.

I then take the juice and pour it into ice cube trays or put the juice into the mini Tupperware containers which would be a single use. After the ice cubes freeze in the trays, I pop them out and put them into a Ziploc bag to keep them fresher longer. Notice the beautiful vibrant color of the carrot ice cubes in the top photo. I feel healthier just looking at them. Here is a video of that but it will take you from this page so click AFTER reading the post.

I let a cube thaw in my cup with a bit of water and drink the juice as I enjoy the flavor. My girls, however, don't like the flavor of carrot juice so in order for them to get the benefits of the juice, I make a fruit smoothie most nights for dinner. It curbs their need for "dessert" and it is helping me clean out the freezer of some of the fruit I have frozen that are on the older end of their freezer life. It also adds fiber to their diet. As you can see by my posts, I do lots with fruit in the fall so I have a freezer FULL of fruits. We don't like canned fruit so we either dry it or freeze it. I do much of both. The girls can't tell that there is any carrot in the juice and they always finish their glass.

The second thing I do, is to use the pulp. Once the carrot juice is taken care of and in the freezer, I then take the clean pulp out of the juicer container and do one of three things. The first thing I do with the pulp is to freeze the pulp to use in the girls smoothies. I drink the carrot juice ice cubes but they can get the benefit of the carrot and fiber from the carrot through the pulp. In the smoothie with the other fruit, they can't tell it is even in there. If I threw a whole carrot in there, the pieces would make it chunky and they wouldn't like it. But, because the carrots have been through the juicer, the pulp is so small, it is smaller than orange juice pulp.

The next thing I do is to dehydrate the pulp for use in my rice cooker to add texture, color and flavor to my rice. To do that, I take the clean pulp, since it was peeled and washed before juicing, and made little wafers out of them and dehydrate them. Once they are dry, I put them in a Tupperware. When I want to add it to my rice, I just grab a cake and crush. It gives little carrot orange flecks to the rice. These will also work in soup to add texture and thicken a soup making it more like a stew. Because they were dried soon after peeling and going through the juicer, the color is vibrant and adds a nice color to whatever you use it in. The picture shows the dried carrot patties and some other mixed veggie patties. I like the mixed vegetables patties in the rice for flavor.

The last use is to dehydrate it so I can make carrot flour. I take the little carrot patties and put them in my Vita mix or into my coffee grinder. I turn it on until I have a nice smooth flour. This can be added to pancakes with pumpkin flour to make them more orange and give it a bit of sweetness as carrots are quite sweet. Pumpkin flour is more of an off white in color so carrot flour can enhance the color. It is also great for use in a cream based soup similar to the carrot/squash soup I made for the wedding. (Click here to view that post) It would save lots of time boiling the carrots down. If you pour it in and stir, it thickens like a flour would. There are no lumps and really saves on cooking time. You can just use it in any soup to thicken or add color. I use it to thicken soups or sauces. I posted pictures of some mushroom flour and some greens as flour. Here I am showing that process in a video. This will take you from this page so watch it AFTER you finish reading.

The food bank also had a case of bananas that someone had placed in the large fridge. If you have ever done that, you know that bananas turn black in the fridge. The peel does anyway. The inside is just fine but try to get anyone to eat a banana with a black peel. It doesn't work very well.

When that has happened, I have just peeled the bananas and frozen them. If you want to use the bananas for deserts like chocolate dipping them on a stick frozen, you can just lay them side by side in a Ziploc bag and freeze or you can lay them side by side on a cookie sheet until they are frozen and then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag. If they are mushy or old banana's, I crush them with a fork and put them in a glass jar, or a Tupperware container. I can add banana's as they come at any point. The top bananas may turn black and you think perhaps they have gone bad, but, just scrape the top layer off and the banana's under that black layer are just fine. It is like when you cut a banana in half and leave it on the counter. The top goes black, you cut it off and the rest of the banana is fine.

I add one of these bananas to our fruit smoothie nightly. I NEVER use ice in our smoothies. I use frozen grapes, blueberries, bananas and peaches. I then almost always add a fresh apple or orange. I usually use the oldest one's that the girls may not pick. If an orange has been in the bottom of the fruit basket and is getting a bit old, or the same with an apple, I just cut it up and put it in. This way the ripest fruit is always available for eating and the old fruit gets rotated out but used.

If you like a "smooth" dairy flavor like taste, add yogurt. I get yogurt sometimes when the food bank has an overage. They don't want to throw it out or have it go to the pigs so I take and freeze it. This is why I don't use ice. I use the frozen yogurts and fruit which is the ice. I do have to add a bit of water to get it to blend sometimes but the girls enjoy it. I try to use the Greek yogurt that is high in protein and plain flavor which has less sugar as the fruit has plenty of that. Here is a video of the way I freeze bananas.

I hope you are able to try some of these things. If you "Put it out there" that you want more of something, have faith it will come. I wanted more carrots as my freezer was almost out, and I got two cases. This happens daily in my life. Trust in your Father in Heaven to give you your WANTS as well as your NEEDS and he will come through for you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Move Over Leonardo Da Vinci - No Lion Sleeping Tonight

STOP the Presses! I was going to post on the carrot juicing and other things but that will have to wait.

Princess number five as the BIG winner today. She had to enter a poster contest for her art class. The Lions club has a contest each year and this year the theme was "Peace". So, princess spent hours and hours designing, looking up ideas on-line and then drawing and coloring her poster about peace. She really worked hard at finding as many signs that represent peace that she could. She had an idea that she could have the world in a hand, showing that peace was within each of our grasps and is really, "In our hands."

I thought the poster was AMAZING last week before she turned it in and made sure we got a few pictures of her holding the poster. It seems that the judges agreed with me.

She turned in the poster last week and they were judged over the weekend. Well, what do you think Princess number one brought home today..... She won $100, a shirt, got two certificates, (one of which was framed,) a bag of skittle, and a soda. She was the grand prize winner. She was so proud to show off her certificate and prizes.

She also brought home the release for the poster to be sent to the district level. I don't know what the award is at the district level but if it goes beyond to the international level, they pick one grand prize winner who gets $5,000 and 23 merit awards and they each get $500 each. I had no idea how big this is for the Lions club until I searched it on the web.

I guess that is why they have shirts made. This is an international event. I found it interesting as I read up on it. I do remember another of the girls doing something at one point but I don't remember them making such an effort. Princess number 5 is really lucky in general but I do have to say that she really earned this prize. She was very dedicated to putting all the symbols on the page and gave it much thought and effort.

When I looked at the 2011 international winner, I couldn't believe that it was done by an 11 year old. There are some talented kids out there! Here is a picture of the 2011 winner. I can't imagine the hours that it took for them to draw this. Or for that matter, to come up with that idea. It is amazing.

Keep your fingers crossed for Princess five to get the prize! She is saving up for something wonderful so I hope she does win at the next level. She is the big winner in my eyes, keep up the amazing work Princess.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Carrots and Mushrooms - Love the Food Bank

I got a call from the food bank the other day. They said they had pallets of carrots that needed to go and cases of cut mushrooms. Of course I rushed down. They asked me to dehydrate the mushrooms so I took two cases of the sliced mushrooms and two cases of the huge carrots. Once again, they were very large. Here I am holding one. I have large hands and I couldn't get my hand all the way around the carrot. It was LARGE.

Princess 4 and 5 spent the evening with me peeling carrots. (Notice they are wearing the aprons I made them last year. Here is a link to that post.) It was lots of work peeling and cutting up the two cases. The state food bank wraps the boxes in cellophane and sends them down on a refrigerated truck and they get moist and start to mold. The top boxes seem to do OK but the bottom boxes are always wet. So, I took two cases off the bottom and we had to do something with them quickly or they would mold.

It was great timing as the last cases I got before the wedding were just about gone. I had one large bag of sliced carrots left.

We sliced one case into larger chunks for Sunday roasts and put them into quart bags and then put two of the quart bags into gallon bags. I had some gallon sized Christmas bags I got on clearance that I used. For the second case, we cut those into small slices for soups so I can just dump them in already peeled and cut. I also juiced some and put them in ice cube trays so I can add a cube to the girls smoothies I have been making at night with dinner.

Peeling all those carrots stains our hands black. I am not sure why that is but it happens every time. I also left some fresh to use for carrot sticks etc.

The house smelled like mushrooms for a few days. The girls said they couldn't stand it but Princess number five said that she wanted me to make my hot salad dressing. I usually put mushrooms in it so I guess the smell made her want it. Here is a link to that dressing.

I got two stuffed quart sized bags of mushrooms to take back to the food bank. I am so glad there is some way to help other than sorting and fund raising. Sometimes, those take time away from home. But, dehydrating, I can do while at home with my girls.

I am grateful for the food bank in my life. It allows me to serve those at the food bank, those that use the food bank and at other times, those in the community in other ways like when we did the fourth of July booth. Click here for that post.

Check out tomorrow, I will show videos of juicing, freezing banana's and making vegetable flour if I can get them to upload.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Reflexology Points for Constipation or Colon Issues

This post gets so many views that I am adding this information at the top so you won't miss it. Try the reflex points in this post. If you still have problems, click on this link and read about this product I posted about. I have no connection with the company but LOVE their product. If they both don't work, try the tapping I post about here. Look at "What am I having a hard time letting go of in my life" as constipation issues deal with "holding on" to something emotional. Please read this post but know these other two suggestion can help if the problem is more than an occasional bout with constipation. 

I had something happen this week that made me think I should post this information on my blog. I was at the dentists office of all places in town visiting with the receptionists. One had laryngitis and I suggested she take some GSE and Thieves along with Colloidal Silver to help her get over her laryngitis since she has had it for at least two weeks. I gave her some of my thieves oil and she dropped it into her mouth and swished it around. Within a few minutes she was talking with more of a voice and we continued talking about how Vitamin C in large doses would help her get over her illness much quicker as well. I continued on saying you can't overdose on Vitamin C, if you take too much, it will only give you diarrhea. Her friend said, "That wouldn't be a bad thing for you." laughing. I asked if she had a problem with constipation and she said she did.

I have known this woman personally for years and actually gave her our goldfish for her beautiful pond. I explained that reflex point are on the feet and other parts of the body. I explained also, that the bottom, center of the foot, is like the spine and the big toe is the head and the base of it is the neck. I took the picture at the top so you can see the similarities in the foot angle and arch to the actual arch of the back. If you put both feet together, it is the body. The shoulders are the outside of the feet just below the toes. the two arches make up both sides of the spine etc.

I asked if I could come show her where to rub on her feet to help that problem. I spent about 2 minutes rubbing her feet on the reflex points for the colon and she had lots of "crystals" in the area of the transverse colon. I seriously only rubbed each foot for about 1 minute each. I washed my hands and went on into my appointment in the dentists office. (Always make sure you wash your hands after doing any energy work or working on another person in any way.)

The next morning, my friend called me and told me "Thank you so much for doing that, it worked wonders and was a cure for her constipation." She then asked a few more question about what to use to rub the area and I suggested that she take a few minutes to find a foot reflexology chart online and print it off so she can make sure she is on the right spot but it is hard to miss the right spot when it has lumps and hurts when you push on it.

She told me thanks again and I felt really happy that I could help her. Sometimes I give advise or show people things and wonder if they ever followed through or if what I shared helped them or cured them. It was nice to have that feedback.

I will share that I usually use my knuckles when I am doing reflexology on others. I have used my thumb or other finger tips but my favorite thing to use is a large pencil eraser when I am doing reflex points on my own feet. It is hard to get the right angle sometimes on your own feet.

When I was in Peru doing our service missions, (click here to read about that) I bought these wonderful little rocks with lots of little points of different angles on it. I gave one to my sister who is into reflexology and I kept one for myself. They work really well but sometimes, they work too well and hurt more than a knuckle may.

I have several books on reflexology, two that I like are by the same woman. Mildred Carter. Her revised addition says that they have sold over 400,000 copies so it shows that reflexology works or there wouldn't be that many copies sold. I have included a picture of her page and a picture of the front of two of her books so you can see what a general chart looks like and keep an eye out for one of her books.

The nice thing about reflexology is, that once you have the feet chart or hand chart down, you can fix any problem with just your hands. No tools needed. The only thing you need is a foot and time. It is a simple healing technique that will give you results almost immediately.

One of my favorite things to do with my mom or sisters, is we sit at opposite ends of the couch and we put our feet up and we both give and get a reflex treatment at the same time. This is really funny when one of us finds a painful spot and we stop and hold on that spot. We start saying "ouch" and the other will then find a spot and push on that painful spot and we both start pushing harder and harder laughing as we go, sometimes we hurt so much we start crying but we are laughing at the same time so it makes it all the funnier.

The colon runs right across the middle of the feet. The ascending colon comes up the outside and then the transverse comes right across the middle of both feet, then the descending goes down the outside of the left foot and then the sigmoid goes across and down towards the bottom of the arch on the left foot.

You always rub and work in the direction of the normal movement of the colon so you start on the outside of the right foot and work your way towards the left foot and then down the outside of the left foot and across to the bottom of the arch area.

If you feel any lumps. Stop on the lump with a little pressure and hold. You will feel the lump start to get smaller and smaller as you hold it. You can gently rub it in small circles to help it move and if you tell the person to picture the lumps melting like butter in their mind and send that thought with some heat into the spot energetically, you can help move the process along.

There are spots on the hands, face and ears as

well. That is why acupuncture works on the ears. It sometimes is easier for me to work on myself using my hands, rather than my feet, but then my muscles get sore in my hands so I prefer to swap treatments with someone else.

My kids know, every holiday and birthday, they always ask me what I want and I just look at them and don't say anything and they then say, "A back rub and a foot rub!" I never have to say anything because they know that is what I ask for every time.

I made the video and laughed after when I realized, I was holding the camera on end and the video looks normal when you are taking it and actually even looks like it is taking it at the right angle when you watch it on the camera but when you transfer it to computer, it is sideways. My daughter had already gone to bed so I decided to post it sideways anyway. It gets the point across.

So, if you have a child or family member that has a problem with constipation, you can give them magnesium, lots of vitamin C, some fiber or you can rub their feet! I wish I knew what I know now when I first had babies. I had one princess that was always constipated. We gave her prune juice by the buckets and that didn't work. I gave her enemas constantly. I had suppositories in the diaper bag and at home because I had to use them regularly. Finally, I gave her straight apple juice and that was the only thing that helped her for years. Now, I would just rub her little feet! But, if any of the grandchildren ever had that problem, I would know what to do!

This is something you CAN TRY AT HOME! Don't you hate when they show you something really cool and then say, "Don't try this at home!" Well get to it! This works for everything not just constipation. Start Rubbing!