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Friday, June 28, 2013

Do We Really Know People In Our Community?

     You never really know the people you see in your community. We see them everyday, pass them, maybe smile, maybe even strike up conversation in a waiting room. One a rare occasion, make a friend that you stay in touch with. I call the quick, daily contact with people mini-connections. I am by my nature a positive, optimistic person and when I look at people, tend to smile. I hold the door for others, apologize if I bump into you, pick up and return that item you dropped and didn't notice. MOST people act decent to others in public.
On thing I have learned recently is that yard sales can and do bring out the worst in some people.  Several months ago I found that there was a Facebook group for people in my local community to buy and sell things from each other. I thought "what a great idea!" Physical yard sales are tough to pull together if you don't have time to organize, price and schedule. The are exhausting!  I have done those in the past and did not like it. Being harassed over the fence by "early birds" while trying to bring stuff out to the table was just the beginning. We tried to ignore their rude behavior and grumbling about not letting them in until we were set up. Now my mom is royalty when it comes to a yard sale. The woman knows how to price things to move. and knows how to set up the layout, arrange the tables, the whole thing. Now I know the culture of a yard sale is also that people will want to haggle, but those early birds, they were literally wanting us to GIVE them stuff for free and huffed and puffed at us over items that were $1 or $2. Now I also know that the very nature of a yard sale, is to get stuff for the least amount possible. What was aggravating about the early birds we dealt with is that we recognized them.... they were business owners who had booths at the local flea market. They troll the yard sales before dawn and then rush out to their booths and mark up and resell the stuff they got cheap. God be with you if you happen to be selling antique dishes or furniture! Those people are down right vicious if they show up and find out you have something like that and didn't "advertise". Another problem we dealt with was outright theft. People stole things right off our tables and acted like they were daring us to accuse them. I had some jewelry and things in the original boxes and we were keeping the tables neat and orderly between shoppers so we knew what was where.. The would even take the items out of the boxes and leave the boxes so we would KNOW they took it... And then a little bit after they left, another group would show up and say, "I heard you had some jewelry." I ended up boxing a lot of stuff back up and just selling online.
     So when I discovered this online forum that would allow me to still sell the stuff I have, without going through the trauma of a physical yard sale, I just thought it was fabulous. I have been selling online through auctions and listings since 1997 so I didn't think twice to start posting stuff. I counted the fact that it was people from my own community as a plus, because we could meet or arrange pick up and I wouldn't have to ship things and then worry about them arriving damaged or not arriving at all. It should be a win-win for everyone involved. SHOULD BE. There are a few very simple flaws in the equation: PEOPLE REFUSE TO PLAY BY THE RULES and REFUSE TO USE COMMON SENSE and ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO ACT LIKE DECENT HUMAN BEINGS. Several weeks ago The group quite literally imploded. It had already been getting out of control and people weren't following the few simple rules laid out by the admins: if you interested comment that you are, if not interested, just keep browsing. If you don't like the item of even if you think the seller has it priced too high, keep your opinion to yourself, stay "in line" and if don't jump on someone else's post if you have the same thing to sell. Just make your own post. Simple right? You would think so. I had already had my fair share of aggravation when I made arrangements to be "in town" to meet people that said they wanted to buy things from me and got stood up by 5 people. Then it happened... someone posted tickets they had bought for a "big" concert that was coming to our city I'm not talking New York City either.. we have maybe 33,000 citizens in the city, another several thousand in our rural communities ...anyway, this concert was organized last year as a fundraiser for our community in the aftermath of the April 27, 2011 tornadoes that ripped this area up. The city plans to make this an annual event and this year was much bigger. This year it was a two day extravaganza with some pretty big names... Hank Williams Jr. Willie Roberson, Sara Evans, The Band Perry, Scotty McCreery... Anyway, those tickets... there were a few different price levels and the "big" ones were the VIP tickets. They originally sold for $129 each. With only a week left before the concert people started posting their VIP tickets for sale for hundreds of dollars over face value and it sent people into a tizzy. Some had that kind of money to blow and were willing to buy them. I could not have cared less. I knew it was going to be a madhouse and had no desire to be there. So I followed the rules: wasn't interested, kept my mouth shut! Others could not control them selves and after several days of vicious name calling, hateful talk and lots of cussing, someone complained to the police about "ticket scalpers"... in the midst of all this turmoil, a state law was brought to our attention that individuals are in fact able to sell tickets above face value and it is not considered a crime. People that "scalp" tickets as a job and on a regular basis have to have a state license to do so... learning these facts still did not settle people down... the ones that wanted the tickets so badly were cussing and carrying on about it being "unfair" for people to price them so high. I had to laugh... they don't really understand the meaning of unfair. Just because they couldn't afford it, certainly does not make it unfair. I couldn't understand why all these people didn't get tickets when they first went on sale. After all, it was announced well in advance. Before the dust settled, the admins of the group disabled everyone's ability to post anything new and they went through the list of members and removed all the people that had caused any drama, which was a good thing. I myself ended up blocking a few people just because they had no restraints at all in insulting others, calling names and cussing. I am in no way perfect, but I can usually contain myself and work through a problem or issue. The group is back up and running again, but I am a bit gun shy to post anything. I guess I'm waiting tho see if people will follow the rules.
After it all, I have been left with some unsettling and mixed feelings. These people had no problem behaving so terrible online, hidden by a computer screen, but we all still live in the same community. Do they act like that is public? Do they use such hateful, foul language at the grocery store, in the park, at the restaurant? Is the lady I saw slinging insults online the same one I held the door for? I am saddened to know that people in my own community have no problem behaving like that online. That they would not think twice about posting an obscenity laced comment filled with hatred. That they could have so little respect for others and even for themselves. I am sad that when I see people in the store, I hesitate just a moment.....

Monday, June 17, 2013

Toffee Butter Crunch Recipe

Toffee Butter Crunch

Prep: 15 Minutes      Cook: 20 Minutes     Chill: 20 Minutes
Makes: about 1 1/2 pounds (48 servings)

1 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon light-colored corn syrup
1 Cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 Cup finely chopped pecans or almonds, toasted (see below)

1. Line a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over the edges of pan; set pan aside.
2. Butter the sides of of a 2-quart heavy saucepan.In the saucepan, melt butter, add sugar, water and corn syrup. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils.Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium;  Continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate, stirring frequently until thermometer reaches 290 degrees, soft crack stage (about 15 minutes). (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil). Watch carefully after 280 degrees to prevent scorching. Remove saucepan from heat; remove thermometer. Pour candy into the foil prepared pan, spreading quickly.
3. Let candy stand about 3 minutes or until set; sprinkle with chocolate pieces. Let stand 1 to 2 minutes. When chocolate has softened, spread over candy. Sprinkle with nuts. Chill about 20 minutes, or until firm. Use foil to lift out of the pan; break into pieces. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


Toasting Nuts, Seeds and Coconut: Toasting  heightens the flavor of nuts, seeds and coconut. To toast, spread the food in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown, watching carefully and stirring once or twice so the food doesn't burn.


Notes From Me:  I have made this several times, now. As with most recipes, I don't follow all the directions :)  I haven't included the chocolate (yet!). I toast the almond slices before I get occupied with the boiling and stirring. Once the mixture is done boiling, I turn the burner off but don't remove the saucepan. I then add the toasted almond slices to the mixture, stirring them in well. I then proceed to pour the candy into the foil lined pan. 

Recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

     Father. Dad. Papa. Pop. Whatever you call him one thing is for sure. He is one of a kind. We are shaped and molded and become the people we are by the people and experiences in our lives. Our Dads play an important if not fully understood role. Most of us grow up knowing the role our mother's play. That too is a complicated relationship, but with Dad's it's different and I'm not sure they fully (or any of us) understand how much influence they have on us.
A young man in the Navy
      For much of my young life my dad was working. He was in the Navy, then he had a job that took him away for days, even a week or so at a time. He worked hard and even won awards for his job performance. Somehow in his absence and in part because of our mom, we respected him for his role as head of the family. He was everything from a truck driver, to a Safety Man over a fleet of trucks, to an auto body man that did show quality paint jobs, to a hospice chaplain and Clown.  Our dad didn't "rule" by fear but we did get disciplined when we had behaved badly. He was fair and honest. He talked TO us, not at us. He taught us things we probably didn't even know were life lessons at the time. He was also so much fun! He made us shaped pancakes. We could tell him what we wanted and in minutes there would be a pancake in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head, a giraffe, even money, with different sizes for each of your "coins". He took his vacation time from work during the Summer and we camped at the lake for at least a week. One Christmas we went out of state to his parent's house. It was not the most pleasant trip (a whole other story!). We arrived back home in the very early hours of either Christmas day or the day after. We were tired, worn out and after the dismal trip just ready to be home. We we sure Santa had passed by our house since no one had been there and there were no milk and cookies for him. When we opened the door three kids lit up brighter than the sun and two tired parents were delighted to see their kids joy. It seemed the room was completely filled from the corner where the Christmas tree was almost to the door! All the weariness melted away and we were transformed into laughing smiling faces. I didn't find out until many years later that mom and dad had given one of my best friend's dad the key to our house so he could put the presents out in their absence. Even as an adult the memory of coming through that door makes me smile. Because of Dad's hard work, strong ethics, Mom's love and support of him, their unified teamwork and their love for their children, we had a childhood filled with great memories. There were still bad things and tough times we went through, but without the family I was blessed with, those time would have been a lot worse and I would not have become the person I am.
     As an adult I have a completely different relationship with my Dad. It has evolved into a more than just being his daughter. He is my friend. I can talk to him about adult things and still have tons of fun with him. Last year he got very sick and only after an exam did we find out he had had a heart attack and had to have stents put in to open a clogged artery. Thankfully he recovered and is much better now. It was so scary sitting in that hospital thinking we might lose him. Even now those kind of thoughts bring tears to my eyes. Even as adults, our family needs him... I need him. We are still evolving, changing, growing. I am not done learning from him (I WILL get the hang of making balloon art, I promise, Dad!)

A whole new personality!
     Because of the man he was when I was growing up I became the person I am. And because of his example, I married a man who has been the best father to our son. My husband is setting good examples for our son teaching him things that will stay with him forever and guide him through life. I have watched my husband morph from a high school boy through college graduate, to a husband, to a business man and to a father. Again, a life not without problems or troubles, but one filled with unique experiences that could have only become treasured memories because of him. The are our own, unique and one of a kind to us. I can only pray that when my son is reflecting on his childhood that the force of the happy times, fun memories and lessons he learned bring him an appreciate and gratitude that he knows is irreplaceable. I know that because of the man his dad is, he is already well on his way to becoming a fine man. 

I have been blessed with men in my life that were and are positive influences and role models. I am blessed that I am still able to able to learn from them. Above all I am blessed to have them here with me in this life. I love you Dad. Thank you for all it all. I love you honey. Thank you for being the Dad you are. I could not ask for more. 

A Hands-On Dad
Building Memories

To all the dad's out there. HAPPY FATHER'S DAY. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Blogging, Bloggers and Friends

     When I started my blog I had no idea where I wanted it to go. I really had not idea what to even put in this little space that I was going to be my own little part of the world wide web. I created it, posted a few things and then got busy with so many other things in life, it was pushed to a back burner. I posted a few random things, but by and large it was not a significant part of my life. Little more than a year ago, I began seeing giveaways on Facebook and entering and I noticed very quickly that they were linked to bloggers and it brought mine back into focus. I had absolutely no one seeing or following so I began to join in promoting the giveaways for a little exposure and try to gain some experience. Still have a ways to go on both counts.
      However, another funny thing happened..... I began talking with these others bloggers. Putting names with blog titles, reading the thoughts they have written, having people that could help and answer questions when I felt stuck. Having people that understand when I need to rant about frustrations that pop up in the blogsphere. I find myself in a wonderful mix of company that makes me totally laugh out loud or even cry depending on where our discussions wander. I feel their elation during happy moments and ache with them when they are having trouble or suffer a loss. I have never met these people face to face but they have become an important group of people. Our experiences vary as we have all been blogging for different amounts of time have very different life experiences and lifestyles. I belong to one group that is particularly close and it is great. I get to see different viewpoints and opinions without anyone getting bashed or torn down. Every day brings us something new to discuss and we revel in gladness and wallow in despair together. Being connected to people you wouldn't know if you passed them on the street sometimes seems like a strange situation. But when I consider that I live near family that I rarely get to see just because everyone's schedules conflict, it really isn't all that strange. It's reassuring to know there is a group of people that are willing to help at the click of a submit button and are there to listen when I need an ear.
     So for all my "bloggie" buddies, I have to say thank you for not only helping me get back on my blogging journey, but for being there to help me navigate it!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

$0.50 Ice Cream Cones at Burger King

It's back! The 50 cent cone at BK! Treat yourself, treat the kids! That's a great tasting bargain!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Le Savonnier Marseillais All Purpose Liquid Soap Review

SAVON NOIR - 100% Natural All-Purpose Olive Oil Soap (33.81 FL. OZ / 1 Liter) - Eucalyptus

Le Savonnier Marseillais provided me a bottle of Le Savonnier Marseillais All-Purpose Natural Liquid Soap to try and review. 

I had never heard of this product before but I have quickly become very impressed with it! Le Savonnier Marseillais is a 100% natural olive soap that cleans, degreases, and shines. It is a concentrated formula so it doesn't take a whole lot to get great results. 
I first used it in my kitchen. Upon first opening the bottle it smelled a little strong, but I used  only a small amount and once diluted and in use, the smell was very pleasant. I received the eucalyptus essential oil version, which was good because I love eucalyptus. 
One of my biggest uses so far and the one that sold me on this product completely was adding it to my homemade laundry detergent recipe. All I can say is WOW! It added a huge punch of power! The stars aligned so that it was time to make the detergent right after I received the soap and I had used it on some smaller cleaning with a washcloth and since it is all natural, with no added colorants or solvents, no animal by-products and is biodegradable, it seemed like a good fit with my detergent recipe. I like to be able to smell clean when I remove my clothes from the washer but my family doesn't like heavily perfumed clothes. I added a little more than 2 tablespoons of the soap to my detergent and the results are terrific! The clothes are clean and just as important, they smell fresh and clean after being washed and dried. I have had no more complaints of stale smelling clothes! 

The size is also very impressive! Since it is concentrated and and is so effective in small amounts, this one bottle is highly economical. 
I will continue to use this around my house. My next task is to wash our cats and since one of the listed uses is organic agriculture, I will use it in my garden when the time comes. It is very versatile and I keep finding uses for it! It quite literally can replace dozens of cleaners that contain harsh and toxic chemicals. It is safe and effective for:

Household ~ On many surfaces
Laundry ~ Cleans and refreshes
Garden ~ use on plants such as roses, ornamental plants, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens
Household Pets ~ Use as a shampoo to gently clean and nourish your dog's fur
Vehicles ~ Safe on wood, carpet and plastic. Cleanse interior and exterior surfaces.
Painting ~ Cleans surfaces and removes paint stains from fabric

You can find more tips on the Le Savonnier Marseillais website

Thanks to Celebrate Woman Today for the opportunity and to Le Savonnier Marsellais for providing this product for reveiw!

Disclaimer: I was sent a product for my review but the opinion is solely mine based on my own usage.  Your opinion may differ from mine.