Archives for January 2011

EASY Heart-Shaped Cake and CupCakes

Making Heart Shaped CupCakes

Needed: Cake Mix, Muffin Pan, Paper Liners & glass marbles. 

Using a Muffin pan—line each cup area with a paper Baking Cup.  After preparing your favorite cake mix—fill each baking cup ONLY  1/3rd full.  Then take a regular size glass marble and place between the paper liner and pan.  Continue to fill the cup to 2/3rds full and bake as specified in your recipe.  The marble will cause the liner to indent and make the cupcake appear “heart shaped” after baking.  Frost and decorate when cool.
*(I have done this for years and the kids love it).



Needed:  Cake Mix, 9 inch Round Cake Pan and 9 inch Square Cake Pan.

After mixing Cake Mix, pour batter into greased pans. Follow baking instructions on your mix.  When cakes are baked, let them cool and carefully remove from pans.  Turn your square cake so that it appears as a diamond shape in front of you.  Cut the round cake in half and place each half on the upper corners of the square pan.  You now have a Heart Shaped Cake.  Frost and decorate.

If you have a heart Shaped Cookie Cutter, use for cutting Sandwiches for the kid’s lunches.

A good Website to go to for Valentines Day History and Ideas:


Valentine Party Games for Kids

This is a really fun game for a group of youngsters from ages 3-7.


Needed: a bag or box of simple children’s Valentines. ( Dollar Stores usually carry these)

 Cut each valentine into 3 pieces.  Have one valentine per participant.  Mix all cut pieces together.

Have children sit in a circle on the floor.  Put all mixed up pieces on the floor –face down.  Have each child pick 3 pieces, but not turn them over.  When you say “GO” each child turns his/her pieces over, picking 2 and passing one to the child to the right.  They keep playing until each child has completed the valentine.
The one who completes her/his Valentine first is the winner.


CANDY GUESS  for children ages 7 and up.

Buy a bag/box of small candy hearts ( either cinnamon or ones with the sayings on them) .

Place candy in a clear bowl or container.  Have each person guess the number of candies in the container.  Closest to the correct number wins!



Kid’s VALENTINE Recipes

1 6 oz. pkg. red Gelatin (strawberry, cherry or raspberry)
3 envelopes Knox unflavored Gelatin
(Mix well together– dry)
Pour into 4 cups boiling water–mix until dissolved
Pour into rectangular pan so that jello mixture is no more than 1/3 inch thick. Refrigerate until jelled.
Cut with heart shaped cutter and place on white serving platter. The extra pieces, left around heart shapes, will be happily eaten by the participating kids. GREAT, HEALTHY SNACK for kids!
(I made these with my 3 yr. old grandson when it was not even Valentines Day and told him to keep it a secret until dinner. He was so excited about it that the minute our daughter got home he ran to the door and said “Mom we made you jello Valentines”).
Needed: large funnel–old Tupperware funnel is ideal
rice Crispies
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 10 oz bag of marshmallows or 4 cups Miniature marshmallows.
5 cups rice cereal

Melt butter in large saucepanusing low heat. Add Marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat and add rice cereal. Mix well.
Butter hands and push mixture into funnel. Tap out onto plastic sheet and go on to next one. When all of the mixture has been made into the funnel shape, wrap each with aluminum foil and put in a paper at the top with the child’s name on it.
Very cute for parties with each child guest’s name on one.








Great, Easy CHILI


With the cooler or colder weather in many States this time of year–what can be better than a nice big pot of warm, healthy chili?  You can change the type of beans or other ingredients depending on what you like, what you have in your cupboard, and how much you wish to make.  I like to make a big pot so that we can have it for a few days or if you are having company.

My Basic Ingredients:
1-2 lbs of good Ground Beef ( 80-90% fat free)
1 Onion ( chop it or cut in small pieces)
Bell pepper–cut up (optional)
1 can Stewed Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Sauce
1 lg. can Chili Beans
1 lg can Kidney beans
1 small can Black Beans or Pinto Beans (optional)
Spices: Chili Powder, Cumin, minced garlic, salt & hot sauce (optional)

Cook ground beef & onions in large pot just until there is no pink.
Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, cans of beans (rinse out each can with a little water and add to the pot).
Add about 1-2 TBLS of both Cumin & Chili powder. Add minced Garlic (I prefer fresh gralic pressed), 2 tsps. Salt  (as desired)
I add a couple of squirts of hot sauce & then put the bottle on the table for those that at like it really hot!

Cook on medium for at least an hour, strirring occasionally. Sometimes I drop it to Low temp if it starts to boil.
Serve with cornbread or warm bread. Shreaded cheese may be sprinkled on top of each bowl of chili.  ENJOY!  It will last for about 5 days if you use fresh ground beef or you like it so much it is gone!

New Breast Cancer Screening

BREAST CANCER SCREENING VIDEO BY TED—Innovative Testing for the Future!

For all of us women who have tired of mammography and having our breasts pressed between two plastic trays and then tightened to get the best view possible, which is usually painful. There may be new hope for a NEW Breast Cancer Screening that not only is easier but with much better results.   Although there are 2 plates involved they do not come down onto the breasts like a vise, nor are you asked to get in an uncomfortable position.  Please take the time to view this informative video.   Thank you to TED for making this video possible. Dr. Deborah Rhodes is an expert at managing breast-cancer risk. The director of the Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program is now testing a gamma camera that can see tumors that get missed—

The Family Christmas

Lookin’ pretty

Off to Spokane on Christmas Eve.  We were met at the airport by our grandsons, that we barely recognized.  They had just come from church to pick us up and were looking quite “dapper” in their suits and hats.  The boys could hardly wait to get home to open the “Christmas Eve 1 present- pick”.  (We traditionally did that in our family with our 3 children).  Then off to bed, late of course, and with a Christmas story read first.  Of course we were up again at about 6 am.   (Last yr. the middle boy, then 6, picked a package we had given him, as his Christmas eve pick.  I tried to talk him out of it, as we had bought him PJ’s & knew it would not be the expected gift, but he insisted. When he opened it and had a “not really what I wanted” reaction, our daughter had him put the PJ’s on to wear for the night and some of Christmas day.  All 3 received PJ’s along with a few more preferable “toys”. ( This year he asked if it was pajamas, when he picked a gift on Christmas Eve!)

The house stayed full all afternoon and early evening with about 18 extra friends & their visiting relatives–bringing the total to 23 in the house.  It was our introduction to a “turdukin”–a large turkey with a duck and chicken inside–actually very good.  So there was lots of food, fun and frenzy. We played games, ate, talked, ate & I went to bed about 8 pm.

Highlights: *Watching “Sound of Music” which the boys had never seen before. Resulting in several days of singing  “Do, Re, Me” repetitively.
*Lots of basket ball tournaments on indoor Christmas gift- double hoops.
*Watching the youngest (age 4) open his own purchased Christmas gift to himself with his money–a remote truck. (You get what you want that way & it was the Christmas Eve pick).
*The middle grandon (age 7) who was the biggest game player–liking the new one we bought from called “Quirkle”.
*The oldest Grandson “assisting” his Papa with a 944 piece Lego Halo Transporter which took Papa into another mind zone completely.  He would look for a piece the half the size of a pea in all of those pieces.  Yowser
* Listening to the 4 yr. old saying to a neighbor “Do you think it is fair that I didn’t get to play on X-Box a-l-l day today & my brothers did?”  The neighbor responded “Do I look like Judge Judy?”–and then said “no, not fair”.  Funny thing is–it had never come up to any of us all day.

Getting ready for the professional photos was a task in itself–but that is what the Holidays are about–family having fun & choas.  We do always remember the reason for the holidays we are celebrating.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions & money and they can take away your health.  But no one can ever take your precious memories–So, don’t forget during this holiday season & every day to make Memories!   (author unknown)

3 Grandsons

BEST INFO. on Websites & Blogging

Are you just learning about websites and/or blogging?  I perused the internet looking for a website where I thought I could really learn–easily.  There are many good “teaching” websites.   I, personally, have learned more about  Website Creation, Blogging, Internet marketing and just good common sense ideas from Lisa Irby at    I guess one of the main reasons that I am so interested in what she says is the versatility in how she presents her material and the many subjects that she teaches.  She has some materials on U-Tube, so if you are a person who learns things visually, you can see her. She often uses diagrams and visuals to help make an idea or subject easier to comprehend.  It is so helpful for a “newbie”  and you can keep advancing when following Lisa’s blogs.  She also incorporates other’s expertise and ideas.  There is always something new to see or learn.

 Even though I have had a couple of websites since the early 1990’s, targeted to one type of  “social expression” (yard cards),  I wanted to expand and write about more things that might be useful to a larger segment of society.  So as a senior, (you know–older) I have not really grown accustom to all that is technologically available and sometimes learning is time consuming and exhausting, mainly because things are not explained well. Now Lisa, she really explains things clearly, honestly and with enthusiasm.  I like that, and her site is the one I visit most, even when I get into an “internet slump” or start to feel discouraged with so much to learn.  You can just feel her enthusiasm and dedication and willingness to share. 

 If you are just learning about blogging and internet marketing, or even if you are a seasoned internet user, I would highly recommend visiting one of her websites and perusing her blogs for things that would be helpful to you. If nothing else, her cheerful voice and attitude will lift your spirits! Go Lisa!
           (written by Marty Miller with permission from Lisa Irby)

“You don’t get any rewards out of this life unless you make an investment”

Rotator Cuff Surgery


 My rotator cuff surgery was done July 2008, due to several complete and partial muscle tears.  The supraspinatus was the one that was surgically repaired. There was also some scraping of bone spurs (debridement). The tear was repaired both with arthroscopic surgery and a small incision surgery.  

The following ideas are worth knowing prior to having any shoulder surgery.  Surgeons do surgery; therapy and proper preparation are up to the patient and PT.  I find that it is imperative to have a PT that works in this body area both pre and post surgery.  

Pre-Surgery:  Pulley to help strengthen arm—need a PT’s advice on what exercises to do. (pulley hangs over door & is usually provided in the orthopedic office).  

Physical Therapy: Without the advice of my Physical therapist, I would not have known when to move from passive to active motion, how to use the pulley at each improvement or when to start thera-bands.   

Post surgery PT should be required!    Would not have had the constant, consistant improvement without my PT.  

WATER THERAPY: I started in a hot tub at day 18 and slowly let my arm rise in the water. (no active arm movement at this time).  I continued this daily and then started more movement in the hot tub.  At 6 weeks, out of sling, I went to a therapy pool.  At 9 weeks I swam using only the breaststroke carefully and did  arm motions suggested by PT for hydrotherapy.  

PRODUCTS & INFORMATION: Patient should be advised of the following Pre-Surgery & again post–surgery.  

Rt. Arm surgery—need a recliner that can be worked with left arm or make some furniture adjustments, since much time is spent in recliner post surgery.  There seem to be no left arm lift recliners, other than couch with operation facilitated by an electrical button or side pull.  If surgery is on Left shoulder than it is easier to find a recliner that operates with the right arm.  

If Dominant arm surgery—start practicing eating, combing hair, brushing teeth, pulling up pants etc. before your surgery.  

Button down shirts, blouse or dresses should be purchased prior to surgery, as nothing can be pulled overhead with your arm in a  fixed type sling.  

Possibly purchase an extra sling for washing one—available at a Medical Supply Stores.  

Shampoo, Cream Rinse, etc. should be placed in bottles with plunger tops, so that it can be done one-handed.  ( Bottles like Soft-Soap—counter size can be emptied and replace with shampoo and cream rinse).   

A shower seat is nice to have, if you have a hand held shower attachment.  

A pillow from Scandia Down (on Fillmore in Denver) is a lifesaver. Scandia Down pillows can be ordered  or by phone.  We had to order a 2nd one after my accident in MI.  It is square and placed behind the back and cushions around the back and shoulder.   FABULOUS, but about $120   Well worth the money!  


BEST home-made Ice Pack.  Take kitchen towel and place in 1 gallon Ziploc Bag.  Mix ½ Isopropyl Alcohol w/ the other half water—about ¾ cup ea..  After mixing,  Pour into Ziploc Bag , saturating the towel.  Zip bag, taking out air and place with Zipped end into another gallons Ziploc.  Freeze. Ice pack is flexible and can be wrapped in another kitchen towel and placed over surgery area.  The cold will last about 20-30 minutes and then can be refrozen—also great for children when they have injuries.  

Recommended Websites about Rotator Cuff surgery:
 Mayo Clinic       Cleveland Clinic