Coming Soon: Free Book

Coming Soon: Free Book
Planning to give away a book or two!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Oops! can I vs may I

At the KA theatre at MGM the ushers were in costume.  Similar to the Renaissance Festival, your participation will enhance the performance.  I saw the performance ring set up outside and I really wanted a picture of myself in it.  Often times, these are set up with a don't touch policy. So I asked permission.  But I allowed my grammar to slip and I asked "Can I?" instead of "May I?"
Can I take my picture up in the ring?
I knew my error when I received a non-verbal response.  This charming young man began jumping to make sure that the structure was going to be sturdy enough for both of us to stand upon.
I mean "May I?"
When we started posing for the picture, he leaned away and started playing with the hat that I was wearing.  I had borrowed a hat from my sister so that I would not get a sunburn in the part of my hair when we rode on the top of the bus earlier in the day.
This won't do! Your hat is covering your eyes.
I didn't realize until it was too late.  But his first pose was a set-up for a fake kiss. Darn! I missed that shot.  Our faces are washed out from the bright lights but I have a fun photo.
Smile honey! You are next to me ;^)
Then it was Tabatha's turn.  We switched places and he had to play with her hat before they officially posed for the picture.  During this whole time, we were bantering back and forth like you would with one of the actors at the Renaissance Festival.
Another hat to adjust
Since you are not afraid to put your heart into the performance, there is no doubt that you will enjoy it.  It did not disappoint!  KA was fabulous!
Enjoy the performance!
I have many other things from my Las Vegas trip that I will be sharing.  There was so much to do and see that there really wasn't time for extensive gambling.  You have to put a bill in the machine to say that you did it.  But, I guess spending a lot of time on the machine isn't a priority for me.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Home again ....

Home again, do a big gig. As excited as I get about traveling, I  was so excited to be coming home.  I actually arrived home about 2:30 AM and I asleep by 3 with two dogs snuggled against me.
Morning came too early.  After going out for breakfast, I went up to the church in Sauk Rapids to pick up the deposit and bills. After all this week is month end. When I got back all three Dobermans jumped on the bed by me and snuggled for a good nap.
Misty Blue and Duchess snuggle up to G-ma
I started going through pictures today. I will be making a Shutterfly album for my brother and sister.  I  have all the photos that we all took this week. I  am using some photos from each of us for different perspectives.
My brother had a pedometer that he uploaded throughout the week.  We walked an average of 14,700 steps a day. We also started our days between 5 and 7 AM and kept moving until after 1 AM. We ended each day with a swim in the pool and a soak in the hot tub.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

A treat for me

When I travel I like to purchase a piece of jewelry unique to the  area.  This trip I purchased a set: necklace,  earrings and ring.
They have a combination of white buffalo turquoise,  black onyx and turquoise in silver settings. White turquoise is normally too low of a grade for polishing.  But in a small vein in a mine found near Tonopah, Nevada the white turquoise has a hardness of 5.5 to 7.5 allowing it to be polished.
White Buffalo Turquoise

Friday, March 27, 2015

It's not far!

After all it is only this far on the map. That was a running joke when I traveled with a group on a Mediterranean cruise. The same holds true on the Las Vegas strip buy to an extra extreme.  They have purposefully built the buildings so that they look closer than what they are.
Some of the illusions include making one window the size of 4 windows and creating the hotel so that it is the size of a city block with a good height proportion. The strip is almost three miles long and it looks like it is 10 to 12 blocks long. 
The maps are also deceptive. They are not created to scale.  Sometimes they show two buildings next to each other that are nearly a block apart. Then be prepared because the lights are long, the escalators don't always work, and you get the privilege of going up and down many stairs.  
It is this far on the map
That tall building down the road is just this far on the map.
It is three blocks just to get down the side road.
From this angle you can't see the building
The map

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I tripped up

Pray for me. When I was at the Grand Canyon I fell up a stone stairway.  I have done that in the past too. It takes talent to fall up the stairs.  I twisted or jammed my lower back when I fell. The ground at Grand Canyon is pretty hard (in case you were wondering.)
On the interesting side if you ever go to Las Vegas there is a fabulous place to eat pizza. It is a nameless pizza shop on the second floor of the Cosmopolitan.  Many people refer to it as the secret pizza shop.  There is no advertisement telling you to turn down the hallway. 
The dark and narrow hallway is lined with pictures and dead ends at the pizza shop where they make fabulous pizza. You can order a whole pie or an individual piece.  I  decided if I was going to be bad and eat pizza crust that I would be really bad and what I like best! There is nothing like thick crust pizza.
I was better with my afternoon snack. I  took the bottle of cinnamon out of my purse and had a cinnamon apple.
Adding Cinnamon to my Apple
Does this fit as wild in Las Vegas?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Now how do we get there?

A lesson for life about following the directions and finding your own way. My brother, Troy and sister, Tabatha are with me this week in Las Vegas. The Cosmopolitan hotel is literally built into back of our hotel, the Jockey Club resort.

We are on our way to the Grand Canyon. It is a long trip and we had to be at the bus pickup point at 6:35 AM.  Everything here seems so close but usually ends up so far away. We gave ourselves 30 minutes to find the Cosmopolitan main valet area.

The other day we found a two sided elevator.  Two floors serviced the Jockey Club and two floors serviced the Cosmopolitan. We took the elevator instead of walking to the front and around. We were hoping that it would provide a shortcut. Up one floor we made our way to the main valet area. When we arrived we were directed to some benches at the side.

As soon as we sat down, we realized that if we would have turned left outside of our hotel room instead right that we would have arrived in two minutes. In the picture below the black railing provides a safe walkway to the entry of the Jockey Club. By not seeing the big picture ahead of time we added additional time and walking onto our trip.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Modifying a favorite recipe

This was a quick and easy change I made  when I traveled.  The place that I stayed had a full oven. Planning for that I packed premeasured ingredients for my Palao  blueberry muffins with coconut flour that I posted awhile ago.

There were no blue berries at the mini-mart by the hotel  and there was not a larger grocery store nearby. Since the rest of everything that I needed was available at the mini-mart, I  decided to use the fruit available. My options were apple or pear. I  chose the apple (my picky sister was along and she approved of the apple.) Besides who can resist cinnamon and apple? 

Traveling with earrings

Do you like to take earrings with when you travel?  I do but I often misplace one of the earrings.  I am trying to come up with a solution. 
My first thought was to take a remnant piece of fabric. Arrange the earrings on the fabric. 
Roll up the fabric and pack it for travel.  The idea worked fine for earrings with a back on them or hoops that self connected. I guess that it's back to the drawing board. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Moderate drought conditions

They announced on the news that Minnesota is currently in a "moderate drought".  As if we can't tell that.  Although, I would guess that there are many people who don't have access to the water like we do.  This end section of the dock is still "floating" on the water.  There is a big drop off at that point.  
Floating dock close to bottoming out
Looking at the dock from the other side, you can still see that the end is floating.  But I have to wonder for how much longer. At this particular lake , the residents are still allowed to water their lawns from the lake. I don't get that.  If you lived on the lake, wouldn't you want to do whatever was needed to keep the lake at a healthy level? I guess it is a priority of which is more important: the green lawn or the level of the lake.
Wow! The water is low!
On this side of the lake, there is this weird berm of sand and lake plants.  Am I seeing it because the lake is so low? Is it there because the winds were so strong last fall that this line of debris washed a shore? More likely it is a combination of the two.  This is a county park.  I would not be surprised to find out in about a month that a bob-cat was brought in to move the debris down the beach line (close to where I was standing when I took the photo.)
Where did this bank come from?
The early above average temperatures have the lakes thawing fast. To my surprise the girls are running in the water along the shoreline.  I guess there is nothing better to drink than ice cold water after a good run!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Neighbors .... a strange story

This story begins at the beginning of the new millennium. 1/1/2000 I moved to Wisconsin.  Eventually I found some land just North of Cumberland, Wisconsin and put up a house.  I found out later that my neighbor had a few nicknames "12 volt" and "pallet people".  They were not hooked up to electricity and used a gas generator to charge batteries that provided electricity to their "house".  The house was under construction.  He would bring home broken pallets from work, tear them apart and he was using them to build their house which they lived in while they built it.  I was reminded of them today.  I had been in my home for almost a year when I took a walk trough the woods. There were orange bands around many of the trees on my property.  I tore them off and removed them from the woods.  I found out later that they had "marked" the maple trees to tap in the spring.  These trees were 4 to 8 inches in diameter.  They were all too small to be tapped.
Maple tree being tapped
I now live in a small town in Minnesota.  I noticed some strange activity in my neighbors yard.  Well I guess that I mean strange for the middle of the city. He has had this pot cooking slowly in his yard for several days now.  I see him out there frequently tending to his project.  I've been very busy and haven't had a chance to talk with him personally. But I realized when I walked to the post office that he had his maple trees tapped.
Making Maple Syrup
Dale told me this evening that he is tapping some trees someplace else too.  I would think so!  His 2-3 good size trees that he has tapped would not provide enough sap to boil down.  The process is referred to as maple sugaring.  40 parts of sap will make 1 part syrup.  In other words 10 gallons of sap will make one quart of maple syrup.  I thought that it was funny that two of my neighbors had aspirations of making maple syrup.  This guy looks like he is going to be successful!  I am going to need to stop by there when he is out in the yard and my dogs are in the house. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Almond filled banana treats

I saw on Pinterest a recipe for frozen peanut butter banana treats dipped in chocolate.  It looked good but I immediately thought that I could make it just a little healthier.
2 bananas
1/2 orange
almond butter
homemade chocolate sweetened with vanilla bean liquid stevia

I started out by slicing an orange in half and juicing it.  Then I added a bit of water.  

Sliced bananas in citrus water
I sliced the bananas into about a centimeter slices and dropped them into the citrus water for a quick bath before putting them onto the drying tray.  You can use either an orange or a lemon it will help to stop the banana from turning dark brown.
Drying banana slices
....It also helps the cinnamon stick to the banana.  I only put cinnamon on one side.  Since the banana is a high glycemic index fruit, I decided to offset the effect by adding cinnamon.
Dried banana chips with cinnamon
After the bananas had dried into chips, I added a dob of home made almond butter between two banana chips (cinnamon towards the almond butter.)
Making banana chip almond butter sandwiches
I dropped my cacao beans in the food processor and let them blend until they were liquid.  I added liquid stevia to taste.  I prepped a plate with plastic wrap so that the chocolate would not stick. Then I dipped each sandwich halfway into the chocolate.  I tossed it for a few minutes into the freezer to quickly set the chocolate.  There is a limited time frame that the chocolate in the food processor will stay liquid.
banana almond butter sandwiches half dipped in chocolate
The other half was dipped into chocolate and allowed to set.  That was the most difficult part of making these.  Letting them set until the chocolate was hard.
Finished treats
It called my name "Trisha! eat me!"  Sometimes you just need to listen.  It was delicious and very filling.  Enjoy the treat!
What can I say, it called me to try one!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Dale said that I'm 80!

He has never seen my resume. Maybe I should show it to him sometime. The whole thing ~ every job. Recently we stopped by a store together and he questioned my interaction with the clerk. I told him I knew how they felt because I used to do that job.
Then at China Star after supper I made two vanilla twist cones. Perfectly that is and I told him that I used to make cones at the A&W drive-in. That was when he told me that I was 80 years old.
I started working very young. I worked summer season in the drive-in and Christmas season at department stores. Through the years I have pushed myself to be my best and because of that I have gotten promoted and I have been challenged to take on harder jobs.
Looking back: yes, I have done a lot. I plan on doing a lot more!  Good, better, best, never ever rest, till your good gets better and your better gets best.
Sun dogs in the sky predicts a colder day tomorrow.
God say's tomorrow will be colder

Monday, March 16, 2015

Happy St. Patrick's day!

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's day.  A nearby town had their annual parade last Saturday.  After the parade, the party started.  From the advertisements, parties were planned everyday from Saturday until Tuesday.  I guess that I'm just not Irish.  
Is your Leprechaun giving you good luck?
As we headed out for supper, we drove the back way and ended up driving through this small town.  They had barricades on both sides of the road.  The people were "supposed" to stay behind them.  I guess that concept was a little bit difficult.  The parade was well over but I am not sure for how long. It was a beautiful day so people were hanging around outside much longer than normal at this time of year. 
One way traffic ~ two sided partying
There were mini parties all the way along the parade route.  Not having been at the parade it was difficult to tell which people were part of parade floats and who were exuberantly participating by the side of the road.
Tailgating at the parade
Many people had this bright green top hat.  I was just a little bit jealous.  What an awesome party hat!  But then again, where would I wear it? I am not Irish.  Please make safe decisions as you celebrate St. Patrick's day.
Top that Lucky Hat!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Superstitions, karma or placing positive words in the universe?

I am a watcher and a thinker. What does this mean or is that true?
Friday 13th! This year there will be three and last Friday was the second.  Many people fear the day as an unlucky day. My mother was born on Friday 13th. She always claimed it as her luckiest day.
Saturday I made it to the fast food restaurant earlier than normal.  Periodically, I bless someone by buying their meal. A young woman was in the car behind me and I felt moved to pay for the car behind me.
Saturday evening Dale and I went out to a Chinese buffet for supper. After supper we were given fortune cookies. They are usually good for a chuckle. Mine said, "You will be traveling and coming into a fortune."  Yes I will be traveling soon.  It doesn't say that the fortune will come during the travel.  It doesn't say if the fortune will be financial, success or relationship oriented. 
Yes, I will be traveling in the next 30 days
After all I have two books published and two more ready to publish. I am trying to get hold of someone from Hallmark or another movie company to look at the first two books. I will be submitting the other two books to publishers. Those books are "Trusted Friends" the third book in the Goodwill Mystery Series and "Hugs, Hands and Heaven Help Hank" about a man who loses three wives to cancer before being diagnosed with cancer himself. My travel will be with two of my siblings so far we have planned to go to the show "KA" playing at the MGM in Vegas, going to Hoover Dam, and bonding. 

Sunday on the way up to the Landing to have lunch with Dad, Pat, Tab and family I saw an eagle flying back and forth across the road.  I wish that I would have brought my camera with me!  As it flew around, it flew directly over my car.  I have been told in the past that when an eagle flies over you it means that you will be blessed.  I went looking for the origin of that wives tale on the internet and I couldn't find it.  Instead, I found  The paragraph that they had about "Spiritual Essence of Eagle Symbolism" was very interesting.

"When Eagle spirit animal appears in your life you are being asked if not challenged to go deeper into your spiritual quest.  Eagle symbolic meaning is challenging you to take your idea and bring it into reality, just as Eagle can spot it's prey from a very far distance and uses it's ability to remain completely on it's mission.  You must take action on your visions, this is your greatest destiny.

Eagle spiritual meaning reminds us of being victorious, proud and strong, do all of these things with great humility... the humility of nature which is beautiful and grand yet does not boast. This is the symbolic meaning of Eagle being shown to us by Great Spirit."

I believe that God is in control.  But even the bible talks about speaking your desires into the air, having faith in God and his ability to perform miracles and his willingness to pour blessings upon his children when they ask.

"I see the signs" but I don't know what they mean.  So I will keep pushing forward with my plans.  One of which is going to be having a book give away.  Stay tuned for more news on that story!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nature walk with the dogs

With  210 acres to walk on there is a lot of exploring to do. Today I noticed a few unusual seed pods.  I stopped to take picture. 
Interesting seed pods
A few steps later was a seed pod that some critter had poked a hole into so that it could eat the seeds.  At natures best,  I am pretty sure that a few seeds dropped during the feeding process. I didn't get the best picture because the girls had to see what was so interesting and kept it moving.
Seed pod snacks and Misty in the way.....
The windy river under the trestle bridge
A few times this spring and summer I will need to come back without the girls.  I want to walk down by the river and take some pictures.  It would not be safe with the girls around. It won't be long and I won't be able to see this beautiful winding river through the trees. There is something about the winding river that is calling to me to see more and enjoy!
Dobermans admiring the view
Close up of the river under the trestle bridge
At the edge of the hillside before the steep drop towards the river is a circle of stone. At some point in time, someone used this picturesque spot to have a camp fire. The area is so overgrown now that it would be dangerous.
Stone fire pit?

Spoiled rotten...

Pet version of a cookie jar!
...dogs!  Everyone knows by now that my dogs are spoiled rotten.  When I saw this dog treat jar for sale, I had to buy it.
Whose paw prints are on the jar? lol
It is not only made in the USA but it is made in Minnesota. Besides, even when I buy treats that are in resealable packages they don't always seal correctly.  Hopefully this will stop them from drying out.
Made in Glencoe, Minnesota!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Stevia with Maltodextrin

The learning curve has hit again. I have found several fabulous recipes that I have shared with you.  I also found this product of white stevia powder. I did my due diligence and checked the label.  No carbs. Good, right?

Lately my blood sugar levels have jumped up a bit as well as my weight. I  needed to investigate. Was it caused by the coconut flour or the powder stevia?

After reading the label, I  saw that it had maltodextrin added.  Maltodextrin has many different bases including corn, rice, and other grains.

As I  looked online there were a few small studies that brought up concern that maltodextrin was actually worse for diabetics than sugar. There were also indications that maltodextrin can cause weight gain.

Today I called Good Food Coop to request that they put up a warning "not safe for diabetics".  They agreed to talk to the manufacturer and get back to me about what the manufacturer says about the product. After all it is being marketed to have negligible carbs when it is having a significant impact on my blood sugar.