Friday, October 9, 2015

Better Late than Never

Hello Friends,
Just an FYI:  this post is a carry over from yesterday.  It's a mix of things from yesterday and today.  Sorry for the delay.  Enjoy!

Two Things I am Grateful For:

1) My Co-workers who make work life so much easier to deal with.  Today was a rough day for all of us, but at least we could help each other, laugh about a few things, and get things done together.  
2) Surprises that come in the mail!  Today we actually received physical paperwork to fill out for Kevin's disability!  That is such a HUGE blessing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

From the Camera:

Today's the day!  This girl is 27 today! Hard to believe that by, this time 27 years ago,.....the afternoon, we had a cute baby girl to bring home.  

When Danielle was a little girl all of about 2 or 3 years old I would have the hardest time just getting her dressed to go somewhere.  She insisted on doing EVERYTHING herself.  
We would struggle the entire time.  
Most days she would snatch the clothing out of my hand and insist on doing it herself.  I still hear her saying, 
"I do it, Mommy, I do it!"
We would hear that with pants, shirt, socks, shoes, and even brushing her hair.  She use to hate it when I would have to stay in the bathroom with her to give her a bath, until she washed her hair herself and got the soap in her eyes.  
It was so hard to get her ready and out the door to the babysitter on time.  Now look at her.  She is all grown up and everything.  
I can hardly believe it.

Happy Birthday Danielle!
Danielle got a visit from someone pretty special. 
Chance....her boyfriend.  
He came bearing batman themed gifts (Danielle's favorite) for 
the birthday girl.
I had to laugh at the photos and couldn't help myself...
I had to share.






Danielle made out quite well, but this was the highlight.
Her bat signal.  Silly girl!  


From the Craft Room and Other Things:

Just a few things I have found on Pinterest that I LOVE!  Take a look.....




From the Heart and Spirit:
“I testify to you that the Lord Jesus Christ can help us fix anything that needs fixing in our lives through His atoning sacrifice.” 
  M. Russell Ballard, Ensign, May 2015

From the Kitchen:

Homemade Snickers Cheesecake

Homemade Snickers Cheesecake Recipe

INGREDIENTS:
1 and 1⁄2 packages (12 ounces) cream cheese, softened 1 tsp vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup sugar + 1 TBS Sugar
1 TBS flour
1⁄4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
6 fun size snickers bars, chopped roughly (or 1 whole regular sized snickers bar) + 3 fun size snickers for topping
3⁄4 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 TBS butter, melted
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon
caramel sauce for topping (as much as desired)
DIRECTIONS:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cream cheese, vanilla, and 1⁄2 cup sugar, salt and flour; using the paddle attachment beat on medium until completely combined and no lumps. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixed. Add sour cream and beat for 30 seconds; scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula; beat 15 seconds. Add the 6 chopped snickers bars, and beat 20 seconds. Set mixture aside.
In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, 1 TBS sugar, and cinnamon with a fork; completely combine. Pour crumbs into the bottom of the spring form pan and press down evenly to make the crust.
Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the crust, into the spring form pan.
Add just under 1 inch of water to your large slow cooker (5, 6, or 7 quart slow cooker).
Place a wire rack into the bottom (I used 3 rings from Mason jar lids to set it on), and then place the filled spring form pan on top. Lay 3 layers of paper towels across the top of the slow cooker (hold tight so they don’t fall and touch the cheesecake), then place the lid on top.
Cook on high for 2 hours (do not remove the lid at all during this time), turn off and let stand for 1-2 hours or until slow cooker is cool. Place cheesecake in pan into the fridge and let set for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Using a non serrated long knife, run it between the cake and the pan sides, then release the lock and pop to cake out on the base. Using the remaining 3 fun size snickers, chop and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Then, using the caramel sauce, drizzle over the top. Slice and serve!
 From the Schmidt's:

Did you know the name Cinderella was a nickname?  I guess I never really realized that.  OR it's just been so long since I have watched the old animated Disney version of the movie.  Well, I was enlightened, for sure, after watching the new movie this week.  WOW!  Her name was Ella and the step sisters added the Cinder part after she woke up one morning with soot from the fireplace all over her face.  They were teasing Ella for looking like a hot mess, and the name stuck.  No wonder!  I'm learning.  {smile, smile}


We actually received disability paperwork...in the mail!  I was shocked and so glad.  BUT, the paperwork didn't come directly from social security.  It came from an advocate.  I guess these advocates charge 25% of your first payment, which is usually a lump sum.  I'm still having trouble letting go of that much.  I wish there was a way to get approved without an advocate.  We have already filed twice and got shot down each time.  So, I guess we really need an advocate, or attorney.  Darn it!  I'm a little tired of dealing with attorney's lately.  We seem to have three different groups of them dealing with various things for us.  Today I had to find a new attorney to send our trust and estate documents to.  Our old attorney's office just went through a merger and they were giving us the option to move from their Scottsdale location to another firm here in Mesa, which is a good thing.  Their office is close and now we can stroll on in whenever we need to and it will not require me to take time off of work either.  Not that I anticipate having to visit any time soon.  

With the weather teasing us this week and showing us just how nice and cool it can be, I have started to think about getting ready for the fall/winter/holiday months.  

Okay so, let's get down to business.  You know what I mean.  The down and dirty kind....


How to get ready for the Fall/Winter Season


CLEANING:

1) Clean the windows.  You can lift your spirits while the weather changes just by giving your windows a good cleaning each fall.  They may get wet from rain or snow all winter, but you'll have a better view everything.  Others will enjoy your holiday decorations more if they can see them instead of the hard water built up all summer from the sprinklers.

2) Hose things down.  Pull bikes, mowers, garden tools, summer toys, trash cans out onto the driveway and given them all a good shower before you put them away for the winter.

3) Clean out the gutters as soon as the leaves stop falling.  Gutters work much better when they aren't full of debris.  A good time to do this is when you are putting up the holiday lights after Thanksgiving.  Doing both jobs at once decreases the chance of the "handyman" falling off the roof, which, shocking enough, is a major cause of injury during this time of year.

4) Flip your mattresses.  It protects the mattress from having grooves in it and preserves the life of the mattress.  It's a great way to retrieve all the things that have fallen behind the headboard and under the bed, if you aren't one who cleans under the bed regularly.

5) Wash all camping gear before putting it away for the season.  Spread out the tarp, hose it down, let it dry in the sun, fold and put away.  Take the sleeping bags down to the local laundry mat and toss them in the giant washers before putting then away.  Season all of the dutch ovens and camp cookware before they get stuffed away for the winter.

DE CLUTTER:

1) Toss out old holiday decorations as you get them out to display.  I store my holiday decorations in large plastic bins labeled with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  You can also label things like lights, angel tree, living room tree, Christmas books.  This works for any holiday that you have more than one bin of "goodies" for.  

2) Get rid of old toys and clothes before you even think about holiday shopping.  You're making room for the new to come in and replace it.  Plus, you have a better idea of what you actually need to buy as gifts and where the new gifts will go once you get them.  Live by the motto of: Everything has a place, and everything in it's place.

3) Clean out the lint trap on your dryer before it gets cold out.  A full lint trap can be a fire hazard and it only takes about 2 minutes to give it a good cleaning. Deep cleaning that is.

4) Toss or complete any craft projects from the previous year. 
(This is always a tough one for me)  If you don't plan on finishing it before the upcoming holiday or if you don't plan on using it for the upcoming holiday, why store it?  Some decorations are sentimental and may be used, but trends change in decorating every few years.  Why keep the old when you are not even using it anymore??  Donate it to charity or toss it.  Have a bin full of things that you have emotional ties to and pull it out on occasion, but if you don't plan on using it anymore, just get rid of it! 

5) Fall is a great time to toss medicines and remedies that are outdated, no longer needed, or that will most likely be refilled during the winter cold and flu season with fresh meds anyway.  Don't keep it around cluttering your medicine cabinets, refrigerator doors and closets.  Toss it out!

6) Get rid of summer reading material.  Lots of people (like teachers) spend a lot of time reading in the summer, which means a new collection of books and magazines.  Don't keep them around all year long.  Pass them to other friends who read, a hospital library, or a thrift store.  Unless you plan to read it again, why take up space keeping it?  

GET ORGANIZED:

1) Switch out your summer clothes for the fall/winter clothing.  If space is an issue, purchase some of those under the bed size clear storage bins.  Put away swim suits, beach towels, flip flops, sandals, shorts and any shirts that won't be worn through the colder months.  This is also a great time to consider the rule, "if you didn't wear it last spring/summer, and most likely, you won't wear it next spring/summer...so get rid of it!!  (I know, Arizona doesn't really have a big summer to fall change over and we all still wear our flip flops in the winter time, but you get the idea....change of seasons time to purge.)

2) Put away the pool toys, balls, and other seasonal items.  That way you will have them for the next season and you will save yourself some money if you take care of what you already have.

3) Fall can be a great time to take the lawn mower in for a tune-up, get the trampoline re seamed, get bikes repaired, the tent zipper re sewn, etc.  After all, the repairman is sitting there praying for work, it takes less time, and you get a more thorough non-rushed job.  Don't wait until spring when everyone else is in line.  Be efficient and get it done now while it's cooler out.

4) Establish an organizing calendar or planner for your schedule.  By now, all kids are in school and on a regular schedule.  Stay on top of things by getting a giant whiteboard calendar or a large paper calendar that you can keep track of everyone's schedules for one to two months at a time at a glance.  Hang it in a place that everyone will remember to use it, preferably close to the main phone in the home.  For about $10-$20 you can purchase a nice calendar at Staples, Walmart, Target, and keep it all together.

5) A good filing system or cabinet is a must once the kids are in school.  Keep track of their papers, important documents that need to be pulled often.  Also, as the end of the year approaches, this is the time to be gathering papers that will be needed for tax-time.  Get a jump start on that by organizing yourself early!  

6) De-junk and organize your desk!  Take a weekend or a night to go through all of the papers that have accumulated since last time (even if it was 1986) and get your desk together.  Have a temporary filing system to keep it all together. In theory, you spend more time inside during the colder months, you have more expenses during the months, you need to keep things more organized during the winter months.  Now is the time to be on top of it all!  That way, you have more time to enjoy the holidays and family times that are approaching!



PREPARE:,

1) Keep your gas tank full or on the upper half during the cooler and cold months.  This prevents condensation in the tank, causing water in your gas, which causes poor performance of your vehicle.  With a tank of gas costing between $50-$75 these days, keeping it on the upper half takes away a bit of the pain of filling it completely too. 

2) Change the batteries in smoke detectors, clocks and flashlights that may be used during power outages.  A good time to do this is, faithfully, plan and prepare with fresh batteries on the day that you change the clocks for daylight savings time.

3) Have a 72 hour emergency kit prepared and ready in case of any outages or blizzards, or extremely hot days too.  You never know when you will need it but it's better safer than sorry.  Then, the secret is to keep it fresh and rotated in the future.  www.ProvidentLiving.org is a great place to read up on food storage and emergency preparedness. 

4) This is a great time to get cupboards and cabinets emptied and sorted.  During the upcoming months, we purchased items not used during most of the year...extra sugars and flour, chocolates and baking items.  Deep-clean your baking center before you start bringing in additional goods so that you use the old before the new, so that you have room to store the new, so that you can find it more easily. 

5) Empty the refrigerator and start over!  I do this just before buying the Thanksgiving meal items, so that things are clean and spacious to fit Mr. Gobble and all of the other ingredients for the holiday cooking.

6) Get the heater/air conditioner checked.  For very little cost, the HVAC man can come and check yours to make sure that it's safe and ready for the colder months.  Then, you don't have to worry about being chilly during those months. 

7) Check your windows and doors for broken seals and gaskets.  Fix them now before next summer when the heat will raise your already ridiculously high power bill!  

8) For Pete's Sake!!!  BUY A CARBON DIOXIDE DETECTOR!!!  They are less than $40.  It could save the lives of your children or pets or YOU!  Every home needs one!

9) Replace your water storage. Water goes flat after so long.  Give your kids the job.  Have them empty the bottles on the flowerbeds or the garden that might be growing still before the frost of winter begins, or let them soak each other with the old water.  Refill this storage every fall.  Again...this is just in case you ever need water in an emergency. 

10) It's time to add the winter gear to your car trunk.  A large storage bin in the trunk filled with an extra blanket or three, battery cables, an ice scraper, gloves, a tow rope, some drinking water and energy bars...you get the idea....fill it to fit your own needs.  You could even add picnic supplies year around because you never know when you are going to have an emergency picnic!  

DECORATE:

1) Bring out the warm colors!  Put away the summer brights and pastels, put out the autumn colors in your dishtowels, guest towels, and service ware. 

2) Place an extra blanket or throw in the bedroom, sitting room, or 

guestroom.

3) Get the candles out and burn them! One of my favorite 

decorating quotes is: Candles are meant to be burned, not dusted. 

Fill the air with scents of fall...lilac candles are for spring!  This is

the time to burn apples and cinnamon and baking scents.  

4) Organize a reading area, preferably by a window.  Have

a basket of your favorite magazines or latest reads, a good lamp 

and a throw or pretty blanket.  Your little reading nook will call

your name and the others in the family!  Keep it clean and tidy and

enjoy it during an autumn rain, a snowstorm or just watching the

leaves blow in the wind.  Pamper yourself!  Everyone needs a 

reading nook!  (Mine just happens to be in my bedroom)

5) Switch to GE Reveal light bulbs.  These "true color" lights are 

helpful to people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective 

Disorder - a mood disorder where people suffer depression 

through the dark winter months.)  Spend a little extra and fill your

home with Reveal bulbs.  They'll brighten the home, keep you 

smiling and make colors of everything look great!  

From the Missionary:

Nothing from Curtis today.  More next week.

Quote of the Day:


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