Friday, January 29, 2016

Star Spangled Beauty - Princess Number Five

Princess hasn't been singing much lately with her studies, cheering, competitions, Student Body office etc, etc, etc. 
I am sad that she doesn't sing much but I told her I wouldn't ask her to sing and would be happy if she "chose" to sing but didn't want it to be an issue with us.  I LOVE when she plays her guitar and sings but being so busy, it really doesn't happen as much as I like. 

Tonight was a rare treat for me. Princess Five chose to sing the National Anthem with a girls she has known her entire life. They are on the cheer squad together and I thought their voices blended well together. 
Princess Five has recently been trying to learn to harmonize but is actually a true soprano so it makes what she did tonight really amazing. She sang the alto part in a duet acapella. 

I thought she did well and was very proud that she is choosing to sing in her own way on her own terms. Things like that really do need to be something you want and not what others want. 

If you can't tell by the smile on her face, she is / was excited to sing. We ran through the alto a few times this week truly in passing as I haven't been home much having been at the hospital with my mom many times this week.   

Her sisters sang the national anthem a few times at competitions and school games. 
Here is a post about one proud moment.  

Here is another day Princess Three and Four sang. 

I am SO blessed with talented Princesses!  Thanks for sharing your talent with us Princess Five!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Two Units of Blood and a Pedicure - Spa Hospital Day - 111

I know most of my regular readers will know that my mother is living with me for a few months while we try and deal with some health problems she has been having. 

The day she arrived, I was giving her a pedicure when I found one of her many infections that was causing havoc in her world. Click here for that post and pictures of her toe. She had a huge infection in her big right toe. Not only was the toe infected, but it also has a toenail fungus. 

Since I was soaking it already in peroxide for the toe infection itself, it was a nice plus that I recently found that soaking infected toes and feet fungus in peroxide can help cure that.  

Here is a link to my post about how my toenail fungus has been getting better due to peroxide soaks. I have updated it once recently as my nail grows out healthy and I plan on continuing to update it with photos as my toenail gets better. 
I noticed that my mothers nail has also been growing out healthy since I soaked her feet for a few days in peroxide. 

She has leukemia and with that, she gets low on her red blood cells and has transfusions about once a month. Today, her count was low enough that they gave her two units of irradiated red blood cells. It was an all afternoon affair as the town we live in had to order in the irradiated blood. 

It was a long day but thanks to my sisters donation of a tablet, my mother was able to listen to movies as loudly as she wanted. (She is still hard of hearing due to infections inside her head.) 

While she watched some movies, I was able to give her a pedicure. It took me almost two full movies to just clean and file her nails down. I know she loved having her toes done as she has been begging me fore weeks to paint them. 

I told her we needed to leave the polish off until the fungus grows out. I am also putting tea tree oil (melaleuka) on her fungus nail at night hoping to speed up the process as I don't plan on her being here more than another month so I am trying my best to clear up all her infections and get all the medical stuff done that we can before she moves on. 

The past few days, she has been quite clear of mind most of the day remembering almost everything. She has slipped up a little on small things at night when she is tired but I for one can't judge. 

Princess Five told me at the beginning of the week she cheered every night. I had that in my mind and when the hospital called 40 minutes earlier than we were to arrive and told us the blood was ready early, in my hurry to get my mother ready and out the door, I somehow missed Princess Five telling me that tonight was an away game but she didn't know it earlier so I didn't need to go watch. 

I have so much going on with my mother this week that I guess I couldn't handle another change. I took my camera bag to the hospital with me so I could watch her cheer. The blood took forever and I needed to leave to watch my daughter and since we were in outpatient IV therapy, all the workers had gone and my mother was the only person in the entire place, even the cleaning people had gone. They left us with a call light to the floor of nurses which is a wing away! 

I called my sister in a panic and made her drive the 20 minutes round trip to come and watch her while I went to an empty school. I even got into the building wondering where all the cars were before I had some remembrance that Princess Five told me it was an away game! I felt quite stupid as I rushed back to the hospital to let my sister go home to her kids and to get my mother home to my house. 

We were at the hospital yesterday, did two days last week and were there for over 4 hours today and have an appointment at 9 a.m. in the morning with another Dr. I have another apt. at 3 tomorrow, someone is asking Princess Five to prom at 6, and Princess Five is singing the national anthem and dancing at wrestling tomorrow night and I have Bunko so my sister is "mom sitting" tomorrow night. (Thanks sis for helping tonight, tomorrow and this weekend!)

Princess Five has her state cheer competition this weekend which is a six hour drive and a day of sitting on hard bleachers and a good friend is celebrating her daughter arriving home from serving as a missionary for 18 months on Sunday. All these things are good things and I am happy to do them all but I can't tell you how much I am going to enjoy next week, when so far, I don't have any appointments! 

I thought it was great that the IV pump at the hospital had the number 444 on it and I took a picture and sent it to Princess Two as that is her "God loves me" number. She always sees it when she needs a boost and it lets her know to Trust in God. 

I get home, get us dinner, I tuck my mother into bed, giving her all her medications, drops in her ears, oils on her toe, oxygen on etc and I take off her wrist band from the hospital.... YES, it really did have the number 111 on it. I couldn't even make this stuff up if I tried!!! Thanks Heavenly Father for the constant reminders that everything will be OK! (Click here for the original post about that.) I have many posts on 111. You can search them as I am amazed and how many times that number shows up in my life!  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Removing Marker off Plastic Bins - Toys - Totes

I discovered a way to get marker off of plastic bins, totes, toys etc. It wasn't anyone telling me anything, it was a happy mistake. 

I cleaned off a smaller bin before showing it on this bin and I was just trying a few different cleaners to see what would take the marker off the best and nothing worked by itself.  

I guess the order in which I used the chemicals helped me make this discovery. When I used the turpentine first and then used the "Totally Awesome Cleaner" from the dollar store, (the kind you see on TV) there was some type of chemical reaction and the totally awesome cleaner started bubbling and dancing around the top of the bin and then the marker started to "bleed" and color the cleaner so I knew it was doing something to take the marker off the bin lid. 
I tried about five different cleaners and fingernail polish remover which usually does the trick removing it from game boxes and books but I had no luck with it on the plastic bins. 

You may have to do this a few times and allow the mixture to sit on the marker for a few minutes but I am fairly sure that the top marker was a Sharpie marker. 

I was able to remove the marker entirely from the smaller bin lid so much so that you can't even see that there ever was marker. You can see that picture at the bottom as it is the last picture. 
It this picture, you can still see the word "tree" that was the first word I cleaned off the larger bin lid. By the end, you can't see it at all and I wasn't able to get the entire  larger words off but they had black marker scribbled over them crossing them out at the beginning and the fact that I got it all off except a faint bit of the larger words is fairly good.
It did take some elbow grease but I didn't spend more than 10 minutes on the lid and that was taking time to video as well so if you let it sit for a few minutes and then use some pressure, it comes off fairly well. 

You can see quite well on the video the little chemical "dance" that happened when I put the two chemicals together and you can clearly see how it is taking off the ink so I suggest if you can, watch the youtube video I have above.

I have gotten many bins in my home at second hand stores. I think people donate them due to the Sharpie on them and so I purchase them for $2 to $3 dollars and never pay more than that as I can purchase them new for $4 or $5 on sale. 

I only buy the type we like and that can stack as all the girls can pack all their college stuff and the stuff they are leaving in them and we can see through the sides to know what is inside rather than having to pull it down or look at a "list" of what is inside. 

The girls don't have much storage at college so they like that they can stack the clear totes and they don't take up much room and since they move lots as they have to move for the summer, it is nice that they don't have to find moving boxes to move as they have their stacking totes which makes it so much easier for them to store what they won't need over the summer etc with just a glance at the see through totes. Here is a link where I posted about the many reasons we have so many totes.

I am grateful for "happy mistakes" that make my life so much easier and thought I would share the good news on how to remove the marker from plastic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Needing Enlightenment - Taking a Brighter Look

A few weeks ago, I was in my basement and I had been sewing Princess Five's Winter Ball Dress. Here is a link to that.
I was squinting through that process but didn't realize that it was because one of the two bulbs I use in each fixture in that room were burnt out in two of the three fixtures. 

I used to have several extra bulbs in the garage for the units. My brother gave me all new energy efficient ballasts a few years ago and a box of energy efficient bulbs. I went to the garage to get new bulbs and I only had one left. 

I replaced one of the burnt out bulbs and was VERY grateful that I found an entire box of the four foot energy efficient bulbs at a second hand store for $1 each. I purchased three thinking I would have extras. 

It wasn't until I arrived home and replaced the other burnt out bulb in the basement that I realized I had nine burnt out bulbs in my light fixtures in my home. 

I had two of the four in my kitchen burnt out. Lately, when I would make videos for youtube, everything came out yellow and I couldn't seem to get any good lighting. The bulbs I had in the kitchen were a yellow tint and having two of them burned out as you can clearly see in the pictures, it is no wonder that my videos were yellowish and dark.

I went back to the second hand store the next day and purchased three more bulbs so I could have some extras and needed more to replace the bulbs in the kitchen with the whiter light bulbs rather than the yellow tinted bulbs. 
I then went around the house replacing the bulbs not having realized how many lights in my home were burned out.

I used to notice when one would go out and would keep up on that but I guess my life has gotten too busy. I realized that like the "light" in my house, the "light" in my life has somewhat dimmed as well. 

I do feel somewhat "burnt out" as I am so tired with the parasites and taking care of my mother and trying to keep up on all the "to do" things that need to be done in the yard and house as well as being there for all of Princess Five's activities with Cheer, being a student body officer, dances, and everything else that it takes to be the mom to four unmarried beautiful Princesses and being a grandma when I get the opportunity to Princess and Prince One's amazing daughter as well.  

I also realized how when the lights go out one at a time, you sometimes don't notice how much dimmer it is unless you are there when the bulb burns out. It is dimmer when the lights go on so it isn't obvious that any light has lessened. 

We go along with life living in the darker places and get used to the light being darker. It gets darker and darker until we have someone point it out or we take stock and realized we have missed something for awhile. 

I think sometimes we live our spiritual lives like that as well. We slip some unkind thoughts or gossip into our world and don't realize that we are complaining more or gossiping more, swearing more and it takes someone pointing it out for us to realized how far into the darkness we have wandered. 

I know for myself, it is easy to get down on myself or others, to criticize or make fun of things others do but it isn't until the judgement is pointed at the person making the judgements or the critical person that we realize how negative we have become. Sometimes it is hard to accept when others point out that we have gotten negative or critical but I find that if I take offense or get defensive, there is usually something truthful to what they are saying. 

I use this analogy with my kids sometimes; If someone tells me I am green, I don't care what their opinion is because I know I am not green. I am not going to argue the point with them because they can think I am green, but, I know I am not so I won't argue it because it really doesn't matter what they think, I KNOW I am not green. 

However, if someone tells me I am always late (or fill in the blank with whatever sets you off) and there is some truth to it, I will try and justify, defend, get offended or argue why I am NOT always late. Why is it that we have those emotions if it wasn't true? 

We have those emotions because there is some truth to what they are saying. Either we do have issues being late or we have issues with someone in our past being late and have created some "issue" with them or it. 

We see in others what we don't like in ourselves. If someone does something you don't like, it is usually something you do or someone you have issues with, did that. 

Sometimes we get "comfortable" in the darkness as we can't see flaws clearly and "choose" to stay in the darkness where we can hide our flaws and hope others don't see them clearly or we don't have to face them ourselves. 

It was interesting that I LOVED having the white bright lights restored in the kitchen but Princess Five had gotten used to having it be a bit darker in there and wasn't sure what to think about the brighter lights. I found that I could clearly see more dirt on the floor and could see when the kitchen or the dishes weren't spotless more with the bright white lights. 

It really made me ponder what I have been hiding in the corners of my life and how easy it is to avoid seeing the spots in my world of judging myself and others for things I thought I should do or things they do do. It made me realize that I have some "spots" that I haven't been seeing clearly due to the place I have been of being "burnt out" and being too tired to do all the things I would like to do. 

I realized that I didn't have to "enlighten" myself all in one day. Even replacing the bulbs, I had to go purchase new bulbs three different times to fix all the burnt out bulbs in my home that week. I thought I had some smaller compact bulbs but used the few I had up in minutes and had to go out and purchase more. 
It was nice that I could take my time to pick up better bulbs than I had in the fixtures, making it lighter and whiter. I purchased LED bulbs as well that are cheaper to run and give off the same amount of light without as much energy.

I was able to take stock in the fixtures I have and decided that I wanted more light in one of my bathrooms and put in a new fixture with two bulbs and is more updated than the one I had. 

Sometimes it is good to "enlighten" ourselves and take stock in the "fixtures" - how much energy we are expending on a project or area of our lives and decide if it is worth the energy and time it takes and the "cost" of doing that activity at the expense of other, perhaps better, activities. Sometimes we may need to remove something from our lives entirely once we take an "enlightened" look.

Also, it is good to "enlighten" ourselves by looking at the light we are following or using. Some bulbs use 100 watts, some take 75 watts, some 60 watts. Then you can replace them and get the same light with 16 watts in a compact florescent bulb. Now, with LED bulbs, they don't get "hot" and burn you or start fires. They last about forever, they give off the same amount of light as a 60 watt bulb but, only burn 5 watts of power! 

The last thing I noticed was, that even thought some of the bulb were working and shinning brightly, the dust and dirt on the shade, glass globe etc darkened the light that was there shinning all along. The light itself wasn't dimmer but how we saw the light was dimmer. Sometimes, people around us may be shinning brightly and giving off wonderful light but due to our judgements and opinions, maybe WE aren't seeing their light clearly. We are looking at them through our dusty and old or tinted opinions. 

It is amazing to me that if we don't keep up being "enlightened" in our lives, we can find ourselves falling into darkness, expending more energy on the things that don't matter and can be "burned out," or even burned, or starting a fire if we aren't careful. 

I know this post is very metaphoric but as I spent the evening getting ladders, step stools, purchasing more and more bulbs, cleaning the dust out of fixtures, I realized I had fallen into darkness without even noticing it. I LOVE the light that is now everywhere in my home and I am grateful that we can constantly renew and asses where we are and continually improve and grow. I think that is what life is all about, growth and light. 

Lastly, I replaced the two lights that are on most of the night in my home with the 5 watt LED 60 watt equivalent and it is such a blessing. One is over my stairs and is always on so that if anyone gets up in the night, there is some light. The other is in my mothers room. She gets up and down all night and knocks things over with her cpap and oxygen hooked up so having a lamp in there could be such a fire hazard and it is a blessing to have the LED cool bulb in the lamp by her bed. I don't have to worry about her burning herself when she turns it on or off or accidentally pulling it onto her bed with all the tubes etc. 
I thought that I would like to be like those lights. On all the time for other to see, never "burning" anyone, never drawing power from others or needing too much attention, low maintenance yet giving out the same light on much less energy, lasting forever and being constant, being reliable and consistent all the time. 

There are so many metaphors for light that it is easy to see them but it was good for me to take an "enlightened" look at myself to see where I need to improve and where I need to use my energy in my life since right now it is limited. 

Is there somewhere in your life that you feel you may need enlightenment? 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Removing Colored Paint or Varnish From Jars, Canisters, or Vases

I found these three green jars at a second hand store awhile back. It was just before Christmas and I loved that they were different sizes than the one I already had. 

I have had one filled with marbles for a few years now. It is full and I have lots of different colored glass marbles and different shaped glass "drops" they use for center pieces or sprinkled on the tables at weddings etc. 

I actually had lots of bluish ones that we did use for Princess One's wedding. I thought it would be fun to put different colored ones in each jar. 

Problem with that is that one is clear and the other three were green mostly but had some scrapes on them that took off the green varnish / paint and left clear spots as you can see in the picture.
I needed a fast way to take off the paint / varnish so that I could have four clear jars to put the marbles in. 

The kids have played with the marbles for years making shapes out of them on the floor and so the girls thought that filling them with the different colored marbles was a great idea. 
I have several pictures of them with the decoration on the floor but don't want to take the time to search for them all but here is one Princess Four made for a "reflections" contest for the PTA.  

Both Princess Four and Five were happy to help me sort the colors into different jars once I had the paint off of them. You can see them sorting in the pictures. 

They jars actually came out really cute and I know the grand children will have as much makings shapes on the carpet as my girls did with their cousins. It is nice that I have space to put all the different colors I have used in the past for different things. 
Basically, use a paint brush and wear gloves. Purchase some type of "paint remover" as you can see I used "Strypeeze" brand shown in the photo above. I like this one because it is a gel more than liquid. It is pasty and goes on thick enough to then make it so I don't need to do multiple coats. 
You paint the product on the painted surface and allow it to sit and bubble for a few minutes depending on temperature and wind etc. Once it bubbles, you can take a scraper or a rag with water and wash off the jar. 


This will strip paint or varnish off of anything. DON'T get it on your skin or clothes! Make sure you wear "work clothes" so you don't ruin good clothes. It WILL burn skin so wear sleeves, eye protection and gloves!

You may need to do a second coat if you didn't get enough coating on the first try. Just paint a little more on and let it sit and then wipe clean! I do this on newspaper usually and then just roll up all the old paint, varnish and stripping product and throw it away. Be careful to not leave rags with it anywhere as they can combust. I usually put the newspapers into the outside trash and move the can far from the house when using anything that could be combustible just in case it did catch on fire. We have a company in town that burnt down due to this a few years back.        
Watch the video and feel free to ask any questions you may have on this. I like how the jars came out and think it is a cute set! It really can do any type of glass or metal container. It will eat plastic so don't try it on that. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Making Fruit Leather and Home Made Roll-Ups

A few weeks back, I posted about how I make fruit smoothies all at one time and then freeze them in containers and when I want a smoothie, I can just pull it out and leave it on the counter for an hour or two and I have a slushy fruit smoothie. 

If you want to make it into a green smoothie, you can just throw the frozen container into a VitaMix and throw in a handful of fresh greens and having made the smoothie base earlier, it saves pulling out all the container of fruit and makes for a VERY fast smoothie. 

Here is a link to that post showing how I made the smoothie base. 

I also made a video on how I use that smoothie base to make fruit leather and fruit "roll-ups" for eating later. It is a great way to get kids to eat fruits they may not eat raw. 

To make the fruit leather, I called a friend. My daughter said that in the past, her friend has shared some great home made fruit roll-ups with her. 

I have never had any luck as they always stick to the trays, even the "non-stick" trays so upon advice from Princess Five, I called my friend (the mother of her friend) and asked about how she makes the roll-ups. 

I was surprised to hear that she makes them in her oven with a cookie sheet. She lines the cookie sheet with saran wrap and then pours on her mix of fruits all blended smooth and adds about 1/2 cup of honey to the mix. 

She spreads it evenly onto the sheet lined with the wrap and then puts it in the over for about 24 hours on the lowest heat setting for the oven.

I adapted the recipe to fit my dehydrator. I made a few trays using only fruit and no honey. I thought they tasted great but Princess Five said she would like it sweeter. 

I added honey to the next batch and she said she just really wasn't into it. However, she is a Jr. in high school and I don't know any that age that are into fruit roll-ups. I gave some to my grand-daughter and she loved it. So, I think it is an age thing. 

They honey did make it a stickier roll-up and I liked it without the honey so I would suggest that you try a batch without before adding any as you may like it without and could avoid anything sticky.   

Basically, you can juice anything, or blend anything and make it smooth and put it on a dehydrator tray. I just taped saran wrap onto the non-stick trays I had and poked a hole in the middle so the air could circulate. 

I dried them on 130 degrees for just over 21 hours and they rolled up and were dried well. I did rotate the top and bottom trays about halfway through the dry time. 

Lastly, I put some of the dried mix in my nut chopper and blended it smooth and added a tablespoon to my rice in my rice cooker and it gave it a nice color and some sweetness. I am always trying to use dried fruits and veggies in new ways. I think with some coconut milk added, it would be really good in the rice making it both sweet and creamy. 

It is a great way to use up fruit you have in the freezer that may be getting older and also frees up some freezer space by drying the frozen fruit into a usable form. I think you could add some frozen or fresh veggies and the fruit could cover the taste and it would help you get the kids to eat those "hard to eat" veggies. 
Remember to keep these in an airtight container such as Tupperware to keep any moths or other creeping things out of them. Fruit and nut moths love dried fruits!  

Thanks Elizabeth for your fruit roll-up recipe.