January 31, 2009
This week, KSL reporter, Paul Nelson, interviewed Geek, Thom Allen about the monthly Geek Dinner, which welcomes all Utah Tech. Geeks.
“We’re famous,” I yelled into the phone, nearly deafening my sister, Sheila. I have KSL News for my landing page when I turn on my internet. On Wednesday, I clicked on the internet and noticed the headline, Self-proclaimed Geeks Organize Dinner Group. Hmmm… sounds like us…. and it was.
This is a tech. savey group that’s into everything from WordPress, IPhone, Web design, Blogging and Free Lancing. If you’re a Digital Bedouin, you’re invited. Once a month… the Geeks get together and break bread, chat, network, eat, chat, and network. It’s a informal gathering that Sheila and I look forward to every month.
Now mind you… We don’t claim to wear the true “Geek” hat… not smart enough… but it’s fun rubbing shoulders with bright young minds. Every time we attend, we learn something new. Everyone is so sharing.
First we break bread.
We visit and share. In the middle there is Laura Moncur. She’s the organizer and keeps us all informed of the next meeting’s where-about. If you know someone who’s tech… savey… or not… and would like to join us, contact Laura at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We had about 26 folks at the dinner last night. Loads of fun and helpful information.
P.S. I think a Utah Geek hat or shirt should be in the making… don’t you? At least a Geek button!
January 29, 2009
Valentine’s gifts can be clever and inexpensive… and… you make them yourself. For me… it has to be a uncomplicated task or I loose interest real fast. These easy valentine gift pockets are made from 12 x 12 scrapbook papers. The paper pockets hold candy or small gifts for your loved ones and they’re a breeze to make. This is a paper craft your older kids or grands can easily participate in.
1. The craft supplies are: 12X12 scrapbook paper, gift tissue, scissors, paper punch (optional), scotch tape, paper clips, tacky glue, 1 1/2 yards of wire ribbon 1 1/2″ wide. 1/1/2 yards of narrow contrasting ribbon 1/2″ wide.
2. Fold the paper corner to corner. Press the crease well.
3. Hold the paper in front of you with the folded side on top.
4. Fold the outside corners toward the center and over lap them. This will create two points that look like ears. This will begin to form a cone.
5. Roll the paper so the cone fits tight at the bottom. (So, you goodies won’t fall out.) Keep the seam
on the back of the cone so it won’t show from the front.
6. Secure the top with a paper clip in between the “ears” and on the side. Now you have formed your gift pocket.
7. Apply a bead of tacky glue under the back seam. You can apply a small bit of tape to hold the seam down, but make sure the tape doesn’t show from the front side of the pocket. Also, remove the paper clip from between the ears, and apply a bit of glue to secure that area. Reattach your paper clip.
8. For the ribbon holes in the back of the pocket, measure 1″ from the sides of the pocket and 1/2″ down, so the holes don’t show from the front edge. I applied two marks with a pencil to guide me. The space between the holes will be about 2 to 2 /2 inches apart. Use a paper punch to insert the holes if you’re using thin paper.
9. If your paper is heavy or double sided paper, you’ll need to insert the point of your scissors to make the holes. Make the holes about 1/4″ in diameter. The holes might be jagged, but your ribbon will cover them up.
10. Layer the narrow ribbon on top of the wide ribbon.
11. Take one end of the ribbons, insert them into one of the holes from the back side of the pocket. Take the other end of the ribbons, and insert them into the other hole from the back side of the pocket. On the front side of the pocket, hold all ends of the ribbon together and pull forward. The ribbon should come out even.
12. The back side of the pocket should look like the photo. If you happen to pull the ribbon to the backside, the pocket will not be stable when you put in your gifts.
13. The first tie of your bow should be about 4 to 6 inches above the pocket.
14. Tie the bow. You might have to fuss with the bow a bit to make sure the ribbon is turned correctly. Crinkle the wire ribbon a bit… and trim all the tails with the scissors.
15. Insert 1/2 sheet of gift tissue.
16. Fill your pocket with fun gifts such as perfume, jewelry, a small photo frame and candy.
17. Don’t forget to add your Love Note to your pocket. These Love Notes are free… here at insightful Nana. There are 18 designs to choose from. The Love Notes you don’t use in your pockets can be tucked here and there around the house, for your loved ones to find.
You can make small Valentine pockets for party favors or a small gift. Cut your 12×12 paper into fourths. Follow the same instructions. Use 1 yard of ribbon, 1/2″ wide or 3/4″ wide. Fill the small pocket with candy, or a cute pair of earrings.
Wouldn’t you love to come home and find one of these darling pockets filled with fun Valentine gifts and goodies hanging on your door? Hang one on a coat hook at the back door…or remove a wall photo and hang one on the nail. Use your imagination.
Use lots of colorful paper and tissue… and whether you fill them with small Valentine gifts or candy, I can guarantee the receiver of one of these cute pockets will be thrilled. Don’t forget to add your Valentine Love Note to your gift.
Have fun crafting these simple Valentine gift pockets and sharing them with your friends and loved ones.
P.S. Valentine Advice: You have to walk carefully in the beginning of love; the running across fields into your lover’s arms can only come later when you’re sure they won’t laugh if you trip- Jonathan Carroll
P.P.S See me in action making these paper crafts on the video below.
January 27, 2009
When was the last time you changed your furnace air filter? If you forget to change your furnace filter, you’re bound to reduce the operating efficiency of your furnace which could eventually damage the motor.
This warning comes as a, “do as I say, not what I did,” bit of advice.
January has been snowy and cold. In the mornings, I head to my home office, shut the door, and flip on a small electric heater for just a few minutes to add a bit of additional heat to what my furnace provides. I stay toasty warm.
For the past several weeks, when leaving my office, I noticed the rest of the house seemed a bit chilly. I thought it was because the outside temperatures were so cold and the fact that my office was so warm, that the other rooms of the house felt cold.
Last Saturday, while working in the rest of the house, I noticed how really cold it was. Putting my hand over the heat vent and feeling very little air flow, it dawned on me what the problem was.
Bolting to the basement, I tried to remove the furnace filter to no avail. I tugged and pulled, tearing one end off before it became loose enough to remove. It was so full of dirt, the blower had forced it up against a side wall trying to push air through. What came out looked like a gray fur bearing animal.
In shock, and I tried to remember the last time the filter had been replaced… sometime around Halloween flashed in my mind… or was it Labor Day? Once the filter was removed, my house warmed up in just a few minutes and the furnace did not run continuously. I can just imagine what my fuel bill is going to be! Yikes!
Some dealers recommend that filters be changed once a month. Others say that every three months is sufficient. However, during the coldest months of the year, the filter should be changed more frequently because the furnace is running for longer periods of time, filtering out dust and other contaminants.
Learning from this experience, I’m marking my calender in advance, as a reminder to “change the filter.” On a three month rotation, the first day of every season might be a good idea. Every other month is probably a better idea…better safe than sorry.
Again… “do as I say and not what I did.” Run now and check your furnace filter so your furnace will function more efficiently and you’ll say warm.
PS Don’t forget, most air conditioners filter the air through the furnace. Changing the filter often will help keep your summer fuel bill reasonable. On second thought… is there ever a reasonable fuel bill?
January 27, 2009
Knowing basic survival skills is really getting back to basics. Sound emergency preparation can relieve your mind and eliminate the fear that comes from not being prepared in case of an individual or a collective hardship.
After attending a meeting, on surviving a Pandemic, I decided to include helpful information on this site that will help you be better prepared, no matter what hardship you may encounter.
This program is called “Survival In A Closet” The line up will be something you can store in your apartment or condo. Not everyone lives in individual homes where space may be readily available. If you have a closet, you can designate for survival preparation, then you’re in great shape to follow the program.
This is a step up from a 72 hour kit.
In the next several months… we’ll move on a fast track to get you set up for a two to three month emergency supply for you and your family. You can follow the program, or just include some of survival tips in the preparations you’ve already made.
Now, remember… this won’t be a luxury program… just a simple basic “survival” plan. Down to the bare bones. Once you get your plan in place… you can add all the little extras you want.
The first thing that comes to mind for many folks is food. However, In my booklet, “4 Family Survival Needs that Are More Important Than Food,” I explore why food is not the most important consideration.
The logical place to start would be the first consideration mentioned in the booklet… but if I know most of you… food is still your primary thought. What will we eat?
So with that in mind, we’re going to start with food because this will be the easiest step in the program. Then we will consider the other four as we go along. Remember… this is a fast track program.
The food bucket can be found at Costco for about $69.00. It contains 200 adult meals… which will cover 3 meals a day for 66 days. The food packets must be reconstituted with water. Last summer, I purchased one of these buckets after sampling some of the meals. They were actually very good. I have tasted some reconstituted food that was so bad, I knew if I had to count on it, I wouldn’t make it.
These food buckets can be found at “Emergency Preparedness Stores,” but they are a little more expensive.
You will need to determine how many buckets your family will need. It might be a good idea to purchase one bucket and cook up a food packet before you invest in several containers.
Since these buckets stack very well, you can stack them in the corner of your closet to the ceiling.
So… the first in our “Closet Preparation” series is… food. Get moving and pick up your buckets at Costco now.
P.S. There is not a basic survival guide in the world that works… unless you work it. Go for it.
January 27, 2009
Should I purchase a cool-mist humidifier, a steam vaporizer or an air purifier for my home? This question is frequently ask by many moms during the height of the cold and flu season. There are drawback to each of these systems that you should consider before making an investment.
Humidifier: A cool-mist humidifier pumps moisture into the air that will help break up congestion. To be the most effective, it should be used in a small room. Because it dispenses cool air, there is no risk of your child being burned.
However, cool water is a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Some of the problems of breathing mold spores are: respiratory infections, headaches, redden eyes, memory impairment, just to name a few. The machine can also disperse the minerals in tap water into the air, which can also cause health problems.
Make sure you wash the humidifier on a daily basis with soap and water. A small amount of bleach in the soapy water can be helpful Also, use distilled water to reduce the dispersing of minerals.
Steam Vaporizer: A steam vaporizer also emits moisture into the air and is less likely to produce mold and bacteria because it’s a hot air machine. Minerals are not dispersed into the air as in the case of cool-mist machines, so you can use tap water. However, there is a danger of your child being burned by the hot steam, so it shouldn’t be used for younger children.
Air Purifier: An air purifier generally does not dispense moisture in the air. It’s purpose is to clean the air of impurities such as smoke and allergens. Larger machines can be attached to the furnace. Make sure and clean the filter on a regular basis. Some air purifies emit moisture too. Read the manufactures instructions to learn how to avoid mold and bacteria.
My 88 year old mom, who has respiratory difficulties, was running a cool-mist machine during the day thinking it would be helpful for her lungs. The problem was, it was not cleaned on a regular basis, let alone daily. Her home began to smell like mold and we found her humidifier was one of the culprits. Upon learning about the dangers of mold, we removed the machine promptly.
P.S. If you’re going to use the machine for a short period of time… a couple of days to help a child breath better, my preference is a cool-mist home humidifier. Just remember to clean it daily with a bit of soapy bleach water and rinse well.
January 27, 2009
Surviving the recession, and other scary events play a game in my head. I seem to move from “fear” to “hope” on a regular basis.
Part of the fear comes from the fact, I’m not as prepared for “hard times” as I would like to be. Even though I have a 72 hour kit, and have added to my emergency preparedness food storage on a regular basis, there are gaps and holes that need to be filled.
When I’m in the “hope” mode, my mind really does a dance. I neglect picking up a few extra things at the store to put into my food storage… “hoping” I’ll have more time. Besides, haven’t I thrown out one heck of a lot of old food and nothing serious has happened yet? No hurry! On top of that, “What you focus on is what you get,” so why focus on the negative?
So, my mind plays a game with itself. If I’m focused on “fear,”… all I see are problems. If I focus on “hope,” my mind has a tendency to go in to denial… or “woo woo” land. Where is the balance so I don’t go crazy?
Sunday evening, I attended a meeting about being prepared for a “Pandemic.” I found the meeting to be well worth attending and the speaker didn’t try to scare the heck out of the audience, but gave good, helpful information.
One thing the speaker said, helped to balance my thoughts a bit. He said, “Hard times come in different forms at different times to all of us. Some hard times hit us individually and some hard times hit us collectively. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” The question is, “How well will you recover?”
“HOW WELL YOU RECOVER WILL DEPEND ON HOW WELL YOU ARE PREPARED.”
For some reason… it hit home. I’ve decided it’s wise to be prepared. I will do the best I can to get prepared and then move on with my life. I have things to do, places to go, and folks to meet with out the fear and worry of the future.
With this new insight, the “Back To Basics” portion of this site will focus on emergency preparation and survival tips. I want all of us to recover well from what ever emergency, recession, or hard times we face in the future… whether it’s an individual or a collective hardship.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject… so give us a comment or two.
P.S. Grab your free booklet “4 Family Survival Needs That Are More Important Than Food.” Join the Insightful Nana Community. All you have to do is fill in the box in the upper right hand corner.
In the future, you’ll receive all kinds of fun goodies… printables, recipes, crafts and survival guides.
January 22, 2009
This Inauguration Day certainly was one to be remembered. I turned on my TV early to get a quick glimpse of the “comings and goings” of the event, and ended up spending far to many hours with my eyes glued to the screen.
The highlight of Inauguration day for me was, Aretha Franklin’s hat. I loved that big gray bow with the shiny stones around the edges. I wish I could be so big and bold about my apparel. What a woman!
Now, you’re probably wondering if I’m so shallow as to consider Aretha the highlight of the day. No… just trying to balance all the seriousness of the occasion with a little fun. Now, let’s get serious!
1. Yes, it will be an Inauguration Day that will live in the memory of many for years to come. I was a senior in high school when JFK’s famous inaugural speech was piped through the inter-com system. I remember that speech well. Come to think of it… I can’t remember an Inauguration speech given by a President since. Some events really make an impact.
There is no doubt… Obama is eloquent. We have not had a President with such a command of the language in a long time. His demeanor exudes confidence… or is it pride? What he said yesterday will make an historical impact, but only if I step up to the plate on a personal level… as he encouraged all Americans to do.
2. When I woke up this morning, I thought about inaugural speech, and it took me back to when I paid for seminars, and listened to speakers that were powerfully motivating. I would leave the seminar convinced I could change the world… only to wake up a few days later to find the same old gal looking at me in the mirror. My mentor was gone and I felt abandoned some how.
Since the election… it seems the world stood still… waiting for Obama to become President so he could take charge and fix things. I looked into the eyes of the crowd, and felt that there may be some expectation of… “Please fix things for me.” If I expect government to fix it… it will never happen. Nothing is fix from the top down. There are many fallen governments that took that path. Too much power at the top.
3. Change will happen from the grass roots up. That’s the strength of this country. The point is… Do I have the courage to look at my own values and change what I need to change? Do I have the courage to stand up against friends and neighbors who exhibit unhealthy morals and values? Do I have the courage to stand up against my local, state and federal government, when I see things that do not promote honesty and integrity and freedom? Do I understand… I have to stand on my own two feet and not expect the government to fix everything for me?
I refuse to stand by and allow this administration to follow the same course as the last one… and I refuse to allow this administration to take away my constitutional freedoms and replace them with socialist values with out raising my voice. I want to join other Americans who believe we can make a difference by speaking out. Change… you bet… change from the grass roots up. Look out Washington!
Time for me to look into the mirror and say… Yes I can.
P.S. After Aretha sang… the hat company was bombarded with orders. They sold over 500 hats out of Dallas alone. They have several hundred more orders. See… I know a good thing when I see it.
January 19, 2009
Oh my goodness… I have no need to complain about anything after taking a look at this video from You Tube my sis sent me.
When hearing myself whine… I usually relect on my experiences in China… and it brings me right out of my victim mood. In fact… I’m a firm believer that every child, between the ages of 5 and 2, need to be visit a third world country for a month or two… so they can develop a little greater appreciation for what they have. As a matter of fact… we could all use a dose of “third world country” once in awhile.
I heard it said that… “Most of our problems aren’t really problems… they’re just inconvenient situations.”
Talk about life being inconvenient… gather your young ones around and take a look.
All I can say is… inspirational!
P.S. I need to find one of those signs that say “No Whining Allowed Here” and post it around my house.
January 16, 2009
These free printable Love Notes for your Valentine is my Valentine gift to you. Thank you for being a part of the Insightful Nana community.
Remember the Christmas tradition of the 12 days of Christmas. You know…where you secretly take a gift to a loved one or friend for 12 days in a row. Why not do the 14 days of Valentine and tuck these love notes into the gifts you give your sweetie, loved one or kids.
If you don’t want to give the gifts… just place the cards around here and there for 14 days. This would be a fun way you could express your love and tender feelings toward your husband or sweetheart leading up to Valentine’s day.
There are 18 individual mini Love Notes to choose from. All you have to do is cute them out because tender sayings are already printed on the cards. I printed mine on Matte Photo Paper.
I bet you can think of a 100 ways to use them… but here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
1. Tuck one under his pillow… or under the covers where his feet will land.
2. Place one on the steering wheel of his car… or on the rear view mirror.
3. Hide one in his sock drawer… or better still, in his shoe.
4. Slip one into his coat pocket… or in his pant pocket where he keeps his wallet.
5. Put one in his desk drawer at work… or on on his work phone.
6. How about under the toilet lid… (blushing)
7. If he is reading a book… replace the bookmark with a card.
For kids… place them in their pack packs, CD covers, lunch bags, in their school desks.
Here are the Love Note designs. Of course that big KG won’t be on your copies.
Print off extra copies of these cards and use them through out the year. Every one needs to know they are loved and cared about during the year… as well as at Valentine’s Day.
P.S. I would love to be a fly on the wall when your loved one discovers a love note. Aren’t surprises fun!
P.P.S. Get your Valentine Love notes now.
All you have to do is enter your information below so I can zip these printable to you immediately. Once you’ve entered your information… you’ll never have to do it again because I’ll automatically send your fun printables, recipes, goodies, and helpful information directly to your in box. You can always opt-out…but you won’t want to do that because… great things are coming your way.
January 13, 2009
This recipe for chocolate brownies has been in our family for over 40 years. Usually brownie recipes are quite small… but this recipe is a “Cooking For A Crowd” deal.
These chocolate brownies are perfect to take to a gathering. But don’t expect to take any left-overs home… because they will vanish off the plate in no time at all. If you want any… you better consider taking a few brownies and hiding them someplace before you leave the house. Mmmm. So Good.
Here it goes.
This chocolate brownie recipe makes about sixty 2″ pieces… and is so delicious. Not only are they good… but they are easy to make and the recipe uses ingredients you already have in your kitchen. No extra special chocolate.
In a bowl, sift together 2 3/4 C. of flour… 1 C Cocoa… 1 1/2 tes. Baking Powder… 1 1/2 tes. Salt. I use a wire whip to sift my ingred. together. Works just fine.
In another bowl put 3 C. Sugar. I use quite a large bowl because all of your ingredients will in up here.
Measure 1 C Shortening in a small bowl.
Melt the Shortening in the microwave.
Add melted Shortening to the Sugar Mixture and mix well.
Add 6 Eggs and 1 tes. of Vanilla to the Sugar and Shortening mixture. Mix well.
Add the dry ingred. to the Sugar and Egg mixture. If you want to add nuts, add them at this time. About 3/4 Cup is good.
The batter will be thick. Don’t add any extra liquid… even if your tempted to. Grease your cookies sheet.
Spread the batter on a 12″by 17″ Cookie sheet. I use a professional cookies sheet with 1″ sides. It’s called a “Half Sheet.” You can purchased them at a kitchen specialty store. However, I have seen them at Costco and Sam’s club.
Bake at 300 degrees. This temperature is not as hot as cooking a regular cake. I bake them from 25 to 30 min. Don’t over bake… As soon as a toothpick comes clean from the center of the brownies… they’re done.
Allow them to cool… and top them with the frosting of your choice. My family like white and chocolate frosting… so I do half and half. (I do notice the chocolate frosting goes first.) Maybe it’s just me who likes the Cream Cheese frosting. You can cut them into about sixty 2″ squares.
Mmmm. So good!
P.S. I’m convinced… once your try this recipe for Chocolate Brownies… .you won’t want to use anything else. If you want to see me in action, making the brownies… watch the video below.
If you want a printable copy of the Chocolate Brownie Recipe… just fill in your information below and I’ll send you two sizes of the recipe. Once you’ve given me your information… you won’t have to give it to me again. I’ll automatically send you recipe updates and other fun stuff.