Friday, December 30, 2016

Fixing and Cleaning a Sega Genesis Gaming System and Games

I posted a few months back about our old original NES Nintendo entertainment system. 
I spent days trying to figure out what to do with it and even ordered new parts and finally, I was inspired to use steel wool to clean the 72 pin connector and the games. 

It worked like a charm and you can see the post here. I was very excited about my discovery as it will be a very effective way to keep the games working. 

Since Princess Three got the Nintendo, she said she would let her sister have the Sega as it was originally to go to her. The Nintendo was to be her older sisters but they gave it up. 

Due to that, I asked Princess Two if she wanted the Sega. Princess Four wants the playstation and Princess Five, the Wii. 

I pulled out the Sega from storage and plugged it in. It had some lines and glitches so I wondered if I could use the same method to clean the Sega games and system. 

We had about 20 games and so I cleaned them using the steel wool running it up and down on both sides of the games. Once I rubbed it with the steel wool and then used alcohol on q-tips and rubbed them over the tops and bottoms of the contact points and while doing that, I rubbed it all around the area to clean it of dust etc. 

I had a few games that we bought at second hand stores that have different names on them and I share on the video that using alcohol, I was able to get the sharpie marker names off the games. 

Princess Two was able to take the game system home and I am happy to report that the entire thing works like new. I cleaned all the games and the pin connector inside the game system using the same method with steel wool that I used on the nintendo and it worked! 

I think Princess Two will have some fun game nights ahead with her new / old game system!

I am adding this update as I got a call from her tonight on how to set this up and she texted me a picture of a group of her friends playing it on the big screen. I could hear them in the background on a later call and it sounded as if they were having fun! Yea for working antique gaming systems! 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Some of my Favorite Things At Grandpas House

 I shared with you yesterday that my dad and "mom" (step in name only as I love her like my mom) put on our annual sibling Christmas party at their home. 
I had to share this picture to show what a beautiful table she sets. Live flowers in the center. A beautiful table cloth from Princes Edward Island, china and crystal times three!

For years, I have loved enjoying some of the art / furniture pieces / items in their home. Most people have similar furniture and styles in their home and you can find the same colors and "style" you would find in a magazine as people follow trends. 

If you read my blog, you will know that I like unusual pieces of furniture. I like "one of a kind" pieces that you don't see most places. What I really enjoy, are pieces that are functional yet beautiful. I love things that work as one thing but still look like art, carved pieces, etc. 

To see my childhood Pump Organ click here.

To see my hand crank or treadle sewing machine, click here. 

To see the oxygen refilling station coffee table, click here.

To see part of my dining / carved table set click here.

To see my clock that is art / functional matching the table click here.

To see our radio table before I worked on it here.

To see our Victrola / Pathe hand crank record player, click here. 

As you can see, the functional yet beautiful, have a place in my world. So, I wanted to share with you some of the pieces that I enjoy when visiting their home. 

My "mom's" family is from Hawaii. This little table above with six chairs is hand carved with such amazing scenes on it and yet is functional. You can just see little children enjoying sitting at the table. When the chairs are tucked under the sides, it makes a great coffee table and you wouldn't even know it has chairs. 

Another piece I enjoy is this "secretary" desk. What I truly love about it is that she actually uses the desk to write notes and pay bills. So many pieces of furniture just take up space and don't get used. I love when you actually can use them and yet enjoy them as you use them. 

It seems like before the 1960's that making furniture was an art. Since then, it seems that furniture is getting cheaper and cheaper and doesn't last very long. I love that the old furniture has some style and workmanship as each piece was made by someone and not something. This piece has also been in the family for years which makes me love it even more.

I had to add a picture of her Christmas cactus as it is always starting to bloom at our party. It is SO beautiful and is such a huge plant. She gave me a clipping but my life is such that I gave away all my plants as I just don't have the energy to take care of one more thing. Every time I see a beautiful flowering plant, I think of her as she always has flowering plants in the house and yard. 

I absolutely LOVE the picture of Christ they have featured on her wall. It is one of my favorite pictures of Christ in the original. It is one of a kind and original so of course I LOVE it.         

She will probably not be happy I posted a messy picture of her desk but I LOVE that she uses it. Her house is always clean and the desk is just "used" and I love that. I can't tell you how many notes I have from her that were probably written at that desk! I just wanted to share these things but truly, the things I love most about the home is the people in it! "Mom" not only takes care of my dad, all of us kids, and grand kids, but her 90+ mother for many years now and they are truly a blessing in our lives. Without them, it would just be a nice house with nice pieces but because I love them, I love their home!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas Kitchen Makeover - Excited For Grandparents

My Dad and his wife (step-mother in name only as I love her like a mom) host a family Christmas party for my siblings and I on the evening of boxing day (the day after Christmas) every year. It used to be every other year and my mother would host the odd years but now that she has past away, my "mom" and dad host it every year. 

She is SO good to make a wonderful dinner for us to enjoy and always sets a beautiful table and I may post that tomorrow but I am fighting getting sick again. Prince One got quite sick over the holiday and several of us are now fighting sore throats but it has been going around so I am hoping to get to bed soon and chose this post hoping it would be the quickest upload as I didn't take any video of the events. 

My dad is getting a new kitchen. They waited to do the kitchen until the family party was over but scheduled the cabinets to be delivered at 10 a.m. the next morning. They asked for some help cleaning up and moving things.

My step mother is SO organized and already had cleaned and emptied out all the drawers and cupboard which was amazing as she had dinner made and ready with most of her kitchen packed up in boxes! 

I know when I am starting projects, I always forget to take "before" pictures and sometimes even forget "during" pictures but usually remember to take "after" pictures as you want to show off what you did. I decided I would take the "before" and "during" pictures for them as I know they were super stressed to get everything ready for the installer the next day. 
Having four sons and four daughters makes for light work when they all work together and one of my step-sisters worked hard the entire time as well so between us all, we were able to get all the decorations down, tree and needles cleaned up, the floors cleaned and covered, the furniture moved for the new cupboards to arrive, the appliances pulled out and hauled off except the fridge which they purchased last year. 
They pulled out all the cabinets and it didn't take more than a few hours of work as they had so much already done. I had to leave before they finished with the last few cabinets as I had a longer drive and "the men" could handle it. ha ha
I am SO excited for my step mom as she is one of the hardest working people I know! She spends LOTS of time in the kitchen always providing at least one or two meals for the entire family at each event we have during the year and between the two mixed families, that is about 100 people if everyone is there. 

They pay $100 each month to each of their grandchildren's missions for 18 to 24 months a piece totaling $1800 to $2400 per missionary. They are on their 27th missionary doing that! At one point, they had 7 missionaries out at the same time meaning that $700 a month went to that. Can you imagine if they didn't pay for the missions and bought or built a bigger house or drove new cars instead of used etc. 

If I calculate $1800 for the 8 girls that have gone it is $14,400 and calculate $2400 for the boys that have served as missionaries times the 19 that have served, that is $45,600. Yes, a few came home early but then you throw in a hundred here or there to help them get ready as I know they gave my daughters some before their mission so if you add them together, that is $60,000! 
They could have added that to the house they now have and built themselves something nice. I mentioned to my step mother how amazing she is that she would donate so much of her hard earned retirement to "support" our kids on missions as her children have mostly younger children and she said, "I have never thought of any of you as "his" or "mine" you are all ours! 

I know this is true! I feel her love all the time and she comes to all the kids events and I LOVE her children and enjoy when they do come to family things. Some live further away making it difficult but I do love them. 

I am SO excited for this ANGEL of a mom to be getting a new kitchen as she does SO much for others. How blessed are we to have gotten such an amazing example of Christlike love as a "mom" in our lives! I told her I want to post "after" pictures as well as I can't wait to see what she picked out! 

My dads grand-mother wrote a song called "Carry On" which is one of my favorite hymns. Here is one of my favorite renditions which I have shared in a past post. 

I think my dad and "mom" live this song and, that because of their example, their children and grand-children will "Carry On" with what they have shown in our lives and the lives of our own children and grand-children. 

Carry On lyrics ~

Firm as the mountains around us,

Stalwart and brave we stand
On the rock our fathers planted
For us in this goodly land--
The rock of honor and virtue,
Of faith in the living God.
 They raised his banner triumphant--
Over the desert sod.
And we hear the desert singing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Hills and vales and mountains ringing:
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
Holding aloft our colors,
We march in the glorious dawn.
O youth of the noble birthright,
Carry on, carry on, carry on!
We'll build on the rock they planted
A palace to the King.
Into its shining corridors,
Our songs of praise we'll bring,
For the heritage they left us,
Not of gold or of worldly wealth,
But a blessing everlasting
Of love and joy and health.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Missing My Mom This Christmas - Grandma Reading Lives On

Princess One came a day or two earlier than the other girls and it was wonderful to get some time with the grandchildren before the rest were around. 
Grand-Princess One loved the "book table" that I have with all different Christmas books on so they can read them through the season. She likes the sing-a-long ones and we went through each many times. 
I actually had tears in my eyes when she picked up the "Night Before Christmas" book I made with my parents reading the voice recording book I made last year with all the grandparents reading different pages of the book. Here is a link to the blog I did about it. 

My mother passed away this year so it is our first Christmas without her. 

My grand-daughter, who is two, was reading the book and remembered my mother. I don't know how she did but when she first heard her voice, she said, "Grandma!" and I tried to get her to say it again but the moment was over. It brought a tear to my eye as I was SO grateful that I followed that feeling to make the books with my parents reading the pages! 

I then found this video from last year I had forgotten about and she was so cute reading the book. Here is a link to the post I wrote for that video.

I had them do a Christmas book and several other books and had them each do a few pages in each book. This video is of them reading the book and me showing the pages and I posted it on youtube so my nieces and nephews could have their children watch it. 

Here is the video of them reading "All The Ways I Love You!" This one is special as I have their grandma, great-grandparents, and a great-great-grandma reading the pages. 

Lastly, I have a video of "How to record your books."  These videos have made a history of their voices even if something did happen to the book. I am excited that I did this especially now that my mother has passed away.

Now my grandchildren will all know their voices even though they wont be able to know them all.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Eve Star Wars Challenge - PJ Tradition

Every year since I was born, my grandmother would make pajamas for us and we would open them on Christmas Eve. 

I continued that tradition with my own family making pajamas for many years. I wish I still had the time and energy to do that but I don't anymore so I now buy matching pajamas for the group and hopefully someday, I will be able to get back into making pajama pants or nightgowns for the grandchildren. 
Here is a link to last years pajama post. On that post, you will find our pajama post for the past six years linked and on the 2010 post, I tell a bit more about the tradition. 

Princess Three and Prince One are big "Star Wars" fans and the rest of the group enjoys it but aren't super fans. In fact, Princess Two wanted us to watch the entire series this year over the holiday but we didn't watch one movie this year as with two babies and only a full two days with everyone here, we played games and with the grandchildren over watching movies. 

Princess One's family opted to all be "Yoda" in the options available and so for Grand Princess One, we used a t-shirt as a nightgown as I couldn't find any little yoda girl jamies. ha ha. 
She was so cute, she kept running around saying, "I have on my "doda" jammies!" and wore it the next day as well as she loved it. 

I wish we could say we all went and saw the movie together but several have seen it and with teething babies, we won't all be going to a movie anytime soon. 

After we took pictures in our pj's, we grabbed the nativity puppets and did a super fast nativity / Christ's birth story. It was really hard as you can see in the pictures to get the baby happy and his sister looking at the camera is a feat for sure.

We had a great Christmas Eve and having little ones around sure makes it more fun. I feel so sorry for those who don't have children around on Christmas as the wonder make the entire things so much more enjoyable to me.

We hope your family had a wonderful holiday and that you all travel safely home if you went away for the holiday... Remember the reason for the season!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Beautiful Bunko Besties - 22 Years of Fun

When I first moved to the state in which I now live, I felt a bit lost. My church group had been my family for so many years as I lived in a state thousands of miles from my family for ten years. 
I moved to a small town. I never remember living in a small town before that and struggled with making friends as most of the people in the town had grown up in the town and knew everyone so I felt like somewhat of an outsider. 

When we bought our first house after renting for many months, I wanted to make new friends. I decided to invite different people in the town I had met through church, PTA, and community events to join a BUNKO group so I could get to know them better. 

One of the first women I met in the town was from another state also and her daughter and mine hit it off and we became friends. She went to nursing school after we met and has worked as a director of nursing for years now and I often think of how our lives have changed since we met 22 years ago. Looking at the group, only one or two is originally from the town. I think that is partially why the group works, we don't have family in town so we have become our own family. 

I wanted it to be a diverse group of women. I didn't want all one religion, personality or career. I wanted friends, it didn't matter to me what they did, how many kids they had or if our kids were friends etc. 

I prayed about who to invite as I had heard of other groups getting into smaller groups or bad mouthing each other to someone in the group or competing to make the best meals or prizes etc. 
Bunko is a game like Yahtzee but doesn't take much thought or effort. It is and has always been about visiting and friendship with this group. I believe that because I prayed about who to invite, it has worked. People have moved in and out but we still have 8 of the original 12 women in the group. We aren't best friends in that I know everything about all of them but we still love and care about each other but have our own lives and world but if someone in the group is in need, we all would be there and have been there at some point for each other.

I was looking at each of them tonight and thinking of the trials, joys and tragedies that each has had through the 22 years of bunko and we have had three children pass away, two divorces, one severely autistic child, a death of one of our members and her husband last year, Princess Five's accident and anther friend had her son roll an ATV with his girlfriend on it not long after that, wayward children, health problems for our children, ourselves, loss of parents, taking care of parents, birth of many children and now grandchildren, not being able to have children, and on and on.... 

Isn't that what life is about..... Loving others and getting through the trials of life with the ones we love.... These women saved me during my divorce. It was my one "out" in a crazy life where I could be myself for a night with people I trusted and who knew me and didn't judge. 

I found these cute dice earrings and wore them tonight for our group picture as it is the first time in many months, maybe even a year, that we have all attended as our lives have been busy and difficult. I actually have some family home tonight but when I found out that everyone was going to be there tonight, I made the choice to attend as one of our member will be moving soon and we will say "goodbye" to another beloved member. 

Of course the prizes are fun and we all commented that many of our holiday decorations came in the way of bunko prizes but more so now that we all have homes and our children are raised and we are now onto being grandparents, we don't need "stuff" like we did when we were having our babies so many years ago. 

Tonight, I won a prize and was so excited to see "reindeer" bells as one of the prizes. Just last night I had Grand-Princess One shaking a tambourine while we sang "Jingle Bells" so I picked that as my prize over a decoration (all of them were adorable) because I am hoping to get a video of her playing the bells while we all sing so I can send it out as our "video" Christmas card. I have sent out one for the last few years so I think that will be cute if I can get her to participate that way. 

I love my bunko friends and am SO grateful for them in my world as many times they have said or done exactly what I needed when I needed it. Truly, I don't know of any other groups that have passed the test of time like this group and I believe it was God's hand knowing that I would need them in my life and I hope that at some point, I have been a blessing in their lives as well! 

Here is a post where I talk about my group and share about BUNCO or BUNKO. I calculated the years wrong in it as Princess Three was one when I moved in to this house and it was within a year that I started the group. She is 21 and it was before she was one so we have been at this a VERY long time! 


Thursday, December 22, 2016

DrainWig - Easy Way To Keep Hair Out Of The Drain

I found this cool thing at a second hand store this past week. 
Having had five daughters with long hair all their lives, I have had my share of drain clogs. 

I have three bottles of drain cleaner in my "stash" and have had to use them over the years. 
I have also had to unscrew the tub drains and "snake" the drains several times but it has been less and less as the girls leave.  

Princess Five lived with my uncle for a year going to her senior year of high school at a theater arts school.  

We visited him a few years ago after she lived there and we had a funny conversation about how much hair they found in their drain after she left. 
She then shared that she had cleaned it out several times while living there. My uncle has all boys but one daughter who didn't have long hair and it isn't thick so it was quite funny and they couldn't believe she had cleaned it out. I could verify that she had as I remember telling her how to take off the cover and get the hair out.  
I have taught my girls to clean the drain guard after every shower as the hair collects fast but the item I found at the second hand store for $.75 is great if it works. 
It is called "DrainWig" and is something I have never seen in any form before. It is a cheap chain with what looks like little rubberbands tied to it at different intervals and directions to catch the hair. 

You thread it through the drain once you have cleaned it out. I had to push it through which took a minute. I think it all depends on how big your drain holes are. I think in my upstairs shower, it would have just slid through but in the tub shower, I had to push the elastic portions through.  
Once you have it through, it snaps into place and then you turn on the water so that the chain goes down the drain rather than balling up at the top. I was worried it may slow the drain but Princess Five tried it out and said it worked fine so we will see how it works in the next few months and I will let you know. 
With the family getting together this week, it will be a good test as most still have very long hair so I will post about it when I take it out and let you see how it worked. 

I searched online as it says it was sold on TV and online and it costs $5 each. If you go through one every 3 months, it would be $20 a year but you can only buy them in the "buy two get two free" format for $20. 

Still, $20 a year is cheaper than a plumber and if it is as easy as it states, it is much easier than a hanger, or a snake / plunger. It is less caustic than drain cleaner so it may be worth it if you have lots of kids with long thick hair!