Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ten Commandments for Travelers

Awaiting an airplane, St. Louis

Thou shalt not expect to find things
as thou hast them at home,
for thou has left thy home
to find them different.

Refilling the commode tank using the shower head, Majuro

Thou shalt not let the other tourists
[or anyone else for that matter]
get on thy nerves,
for thou has paid good money
to have a good time.

Our taxi driver never got on our nerves, Majuro

Thou shalt not take anything too seriously,
for a carefree mind
is the beginning of a vacation.

A "king wave" cancelled classes for these
"school vacationers," Majuro

Remember thy passport
so that thou knowest where it is at all times,
for a man without a passport
is a man without a country.

Blessed is the man
who can make change in any language,
for, lo,
he shall not be cheated.

Blessed is the man who can say
"Thank you"
in any language,
and it shall be worth more to him than any tips.


Thou shalt not worry.
He that worrieth hath no pleasures,
and few things are ever fatal.

Waimanalo State Park, O'ahu, Hawai'i

Thou shalt not judge the people of the country
by one person with whom thou [who] hast had trouble.

Christmas Day 2011, National Children's Hospital, Manila

When in Rome
thou shalt do somewhat as the Romans do;
if in difficulty
thou shalt use thy American common sense
and friendliness.

NCH, Manila

Remember, thou art a guest in every land;
he that treateth his host with respect
shall be treated as an honored guest.

Handsome with Sir Acme, our waiter at Enro, Majuro

Each time he greeted us, we were welcomed again
to his beloved Majuro.
"May you return again soon."

"Ten Commandments for Travelers"

Seatbelt fastened? For your lighthearted entertainment, watch this Southwest Airlines flight attendant.  It took only a few seconds to recognize which airlines she worked for, and she is not reading. This girl is good!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Homemade Butter Mints (a recipe)

It is the destiny of mint
to be crushed.
~Waverly Lewis Root

Brenda E-mailed me last week, asking for "MY" butter mint recipe. Perhaps she saw it on my {old} blog back in 2010.

Thanks for requesting this butter mint recipe, Brenda. I hope YOUR mints are divine! Mm-mm!

Homemade Butter Mints
Makes 1 pound (about 225 mints)

NOTE: Begin this at least two (2) days prior to serving.

1 stick salted butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
2 Tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk
1 teaspoon pure mint extract
Food coloring

1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. With mixer on LOW, add sifted powdered sugar to the butter along with cream and extract until creamy and smooth.

2. Turn sugar mixture out onto a work surface that is lightly dusted with sifted powdered sugar. Knead until smooth and satiny. Divide mixture into thirds. Leave one portion plain; tint one pastel pink with 1 drop red food coloring; tint the final third pastel green with 1 drop green food coloring, kneading the coloring throughout the dough. Cover each portion with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.

3. Line 2 baking sheets with nonstick foil. Lightly dust a work surface with sifted powdered sugar. Working with one color at a time, roll out 1/4 cupful of the mint mixture, using fingers, into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Cut rope into 1/2- to 3/4-inch pillows. Carefully transfer mints to prepared baking sheet with a spatula. Be careful; mints are soft and will squish easily. Repeat with remaining mint mixture(s).

4. Let mints air-dry at cool room temperature for 2 days until firm enough to handle. Transfer mints to covered tins or containers.

Storage Tip: Store in an airtight container at cool room temperature up to 2 weeks, or keep in refrigerator up to 1 month.

5 mints = one serving
Per serving: 62 calories, 0 protein/0 fiber, 11 g carbohydrates, 2 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 6 mg cholesterol, 15 mg sodium

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Week in My Guam Home

"After all," Anne had said to Marilla once,
"I believe the nicest and sweetest days
are not those on which anything very splendid
or wonderful or exciting happens
but just those that bring simple little pleasures,
following one another softly,
like pearls slipping off a string."
~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

At this writing, my husband is outdoors, enjoying a long overdue game of golf on another beautiful day in paradise on Guam. Immediately after he left, I opened two of the apartment windows to transfer the air. It's so tempting to just run, run, run the air conditioner plus the nice, new dehumidifier for which we traded Home "The 'Po'" Depot a bunch of money. *wink* We can't transfer the air like this in Manila because the smog has wafted well beyond nightmarish proportions, so as I greet you today, I can hear the roosters and hens in the neighboring yard. Am I on a farm? No. It's just another day in paradise on Guam.

Here's what happened this week in my Guam home.

1. Handwork updates

Last week I showed you what I made with this thrifted skirt.

These sweeties will go into the yo-yo quilt throw
I've planned for the foot of the Guam apartment bed.

And here's the yo-yo progress I talked about two weeks ago.

Probably 1/3 of the way there

Maybe the bistro tabletop wasn't the wisest background choice.

2. When we lived on Guam back in 2008-2009, along with all of our neighbors-- the majority of whom were U.S. military-- we complained about the high cost of electricity on the island. Nearly every chat together included sharing ideas for shaving money off our electric bill. One of those tips we learned back then is what we're doing again here in the apartment. Each evening we ON our electric water heater breaker switch. Sometimes we then set an alarm to OFF it in about an hour. For two people, at least two showers, washing dishes (not laundry), we have plenty of nice, hot water. With all this painting and sweaty work, we've even been taking a couple of showers each day with plenty of hot water. Our girls also saved money this way when they rented their first apartment together after college.

3. For more than a year now I've been applying a progesterone cream to certain areas of my skin on the first through fourteenth days of each month because my gynecologist explained that I am estrogen dominant (excess estrogen hormone). Besides the progesterone cream, he encouraged me to study Dr. John Lee's books about menopause, estrogen dominance, etc. (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause). With several marble-size fibroids and this estrogen dominance, I was still enduring wildly painful and unpredictably crazy monthly cycles as I entered my 50s. Fortunately, at 53, I am finally going through menopause, and I can say that the progesterone cream has helped incredibly. It's all-natural and aids with cycle regulation and mood. What I buy online comes in a pump that measures the amount needed per application.

On the first day, I apply it on my chest and breast bone area. The next day I apply it to my inner upper arms and elbows. On day three, I spread it over my inner thighs and on the backs of my knees. On day four I concentrate the application around my ankles and then work my way up over the entire calf as a lotion. Day five, the rotation begins again at the top of my body. The progesterone cream is most effective on thinner-skinned areas of your body. If applied in the same place each day, that area becomes immune to it. Ideal places are the bottoms of the feet and palms of the hands, but again, those areas develop an immunity after repeated application. I wish I'd known about this product in my 30s and 40s.

In the kitchenette, "tango" colored liquid hand soap

4. I'm strange about liquid hand soap pumps. When I get a new one, I want the labels off immediately. WD-40 removes the gummy label backing. When I refill the pump, first I fill it half full of water, and the rest with liquid hand soap. And did you know we're to sing "Happy Birthday" twice while washing our hands?

5. If you missed it, you can see the Guam apartment mapoupage wall clock I finished here. Notice how nicely the hand liquid soap looks with the clock's tango colored hands?

6. Let's linger here in the kitchenette a little, sharing some ideas with you. In both my Manila townhouse and here in the Guam apartment I use a clear plastic Rubbermaid shoe box as a dish pan. I also use only white terrycloth dishcloths. After I wash the final, suppertime dishes of the day, I empty the dish pan and lay the dishcloth in the bottom of it. I cover the dishcloth with tap water and add a capful of bleach. The cloth can bleach overnight, or for a half-hour; that's all it needs to be white again. Our former house-girl Sharon taught me this in Manila back in the early 2000s. Wring out the dishcloth, rinse it, wring it out again, and spread it over the faucet to dry. A daily clean dishcloth. Each Monday {House Blessing Day!} I replace it with a new one.

More thoughts about dishwashing. I've told my husband that if we ever move back to the U.S. mainland, I will still never own an electric dishwasher. Since 1998 when we sold the only home we didn't lease, I've not had an electric dishwasher. Now, I have to explain that in our Guam house in 2008-2009, yes, that brand new house possessed a dishwasher. After one or two uses, however, I grew to loathe it. More often the dishes were pulled from it dirtier than when they were put in. So I stopped using it and went to hand-washing every dish, utensil, glass, pot or pan. Immediately. As in, immediately it's washed, dried and put away.

Even when I go to my children's homes or to my mother's (Handsome's mom owns no dishwasher), I don't use her dishwasher if I'm the one doing dishes. Everything gets washed, dried and immediately put in its place. No rusty {expensive} cutting knives-- which every chef knows should never, ever see the inside of an electric dishwasher. No crusties stuck on anything. No hiding of dirty dishes in the dishwasher. The kitchen's not clean if dirty dishes are in the sink just as the kitchen's not clean if dirty dishes are hiding inside the dishwasher. OK. I'll get off my soapbox. *smile*

7. Kitchen floor talk now. When I'm done with the dishes, I sweep the kitchen floor and mop it. Mop it?! Yes, "mop" it. Every time? Every time... Filipina-style.

-- Keep some old cotton T-shirts cut up into rags in a basket under the kitchen sink.
-- Put one of the rags in a little fresh soapy dishwater; a little is all you need.
-- Sweep the kitchen floor.
-- Wring out the soapy rag and drop it onto the floor.
--  With a bare foot, mop wash the just-swept kitchen floor. No Swiffer. No mop to deal with. No fancy electronic jobby that squirts out soapy water expensive perfumed "cleanser."
-- Call out "I just mopped the kitchen, Babe" so the king doesn't hurt himself.

In a few minutes the floor's dry. Walk back into that kitchen later and see it clean, top to bottom, mm-mm. A pleasing reward for a few moments of exercise labor.

8. Front Entrance pics and Back Door



Wreath: Clearance, $10, K-Mart
{I got white flowers because
the sun will fade colored flowers anyway.}
Mat: $8, Home "The 'Po'" Depot
The Door: Hours Days of Handsome's work,
energizing the door frame that we could see daylight through.

Still mulling over how to block this view in
from the outside.

Inside view of the front door

I got home from my run one day, changed into my grubbies and dived in to clean the handrails. Paint smudges and splatters in three different colors, minimal rust, and concrete globs, all baked-on over several decades. After about five minutes with a Scotchbrite pad and soapy water, I started over with a razor knife. I scraped and scraped with that razor knife, and haven't finished yet with steel wool. 




No, we're not painting the rails.

My back groans to hear my brain say, "And after we scrub those railings with steel wool, we're washing the landing and all the steps with soapy bleach water and a scrub brush!"

See? It needs it.

I think we're the only ones around the church who give Minion water. {The church didn't really adopt Minion. He adopted the church.} I filled this for him, set it down, and he lapped it up and licked it dry. I refilled it and he drank half of that bowl. It was empty this morning.

Here's the back door.

Handsome painted it the wall color for me because it looked too goofy white like the front door. The white broke up the flow too much there by the ref left and the window right. A yard stick and the fly swatter hang on a hook attached to the ref. The plastic bag holder, remember, was once a thrifted skirt, and there's the new little thrifted magazine basket.

9. I realized I forgot to share this earlier in the month. Ohio's still experiencing winter, and Chanel's cute little coat helps keep her warm. But, um...

The little gal managed somehow to get that button off of there.
Dunno if Dad or Mum have seen it again since...

10. When the next bottle of Ranch dressing is empty in Manila, I'm eager to try this recipe I read in Laine's October 2001 letter.

Laine's Ranch Dressing

Mix the following dry ingredients and store in an airtight container.  It will yield 24 four-cup batches of Ranch dressing. Let's see: 24 x 4 = dry mix for 96 cups of Ranch dressing!

Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup dried parsley
1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1/2 cup garlic salt
1/2 cup onion salt
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
2 Tablespoons dried dill weed (or 3! We love dill!)

For Ranch Dressing, mix the following until smooth. Chill 2 to 4 hours before using. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks.

Ranch Dressing
Yield: 4 cups

2 cups mayonnaise
2 cups buttermilk
3 Tablespoons Dry Ranch Dressing Mix

11. Spray paint marathon updates!

Whitened the yellowed frames on this map wall art

These were dug out of storage where they had sat since we moved from Guam to Manila in 2009. The Pacific consists of three regions: Polynesia (many islands), Melanesia (black islands) and Micronesia (small islands). Excluding the Marshall Islands, Micronesia is on our wall.

The Football Court football,
for the Mother-Daughter event

Simple metal framed student desks
are the perfect height for our bed's nightstands. 

I sprayed the frames taupe
and bookoupaged the top of Handsome's nightstand,
but didn't have enough Mod Podge to seal it or even do mine. 

I love the unique results and can't wait to do mine!
I'll bring more Mod Podge from my supplies in Manila next trip.

12. Back in January I began saving the Pacific Daily News that the Hilton Resort ~ Guam delivered daily to our room as Diamond Guests. One day this week I opened up each daily issue and separated and stacked the single sheets inside the apartment's kitchenette sink cabinet. I stood the stack against the cabinet's wall, held in place by a big refill bottle. When I need to dry windows or picture glass or the bistro tabletop, I open the cabinet and pull the one or two sheets needed to finish the job. Arranging the sheets in singles took all of about five minutes. There's nothing better for drying windows and glass tabletops than newspaper. My blogosphere-mentor Lori Alexander even saves the used, wet, crumpled newspaper ball under the sink. It's dry again by the next time she needs it.

13. Since my husband owned a construction business in the mid- to late-1990s, Howe and Associates has handled the preparation and filing of our income taxes. I just want to say how thankful I am that they have served us well. We've never had a problem, not once. Last year or the year before, the IRS said we were owed a refund that was more than Howe's figures stated. Howe wisely advised us to do nothing with that refund because the following year the IRS would likely realize their error. Sure enough, that is exactly what happened. I'm grateful to the LORD that we have enjoyed a positive relationship with Howe and Associates all these years.

See the "Tax Deductions I'd Like to Take" here.

14. Ima Sewing Machine's been busy...

Curtains for the windows

Mommy RayAnne chose the floral below and Chloe's "Lily" kitty skirt and Bailey's "Zoe" poodle skirt is well underway.

See how I'm embellishing Chloe's hem?

Bayleigh's hem will be trimmed with the darker trim
in the first photo.

15. Thrifty finds!

$1 book basket
I didn't share a picture of this last week.

$2 frame
I like the frame as-is; I just washed it.
It'll be perfect for a future handwork project.

$1 ceramic toothbrush cup
Its squareness is perfect on our CR vanity.
Could also be a vase,
or prettily contain dishwashing liquid at the sink.

$2 dust ruffle
I bought this for that white panel that lies
between the mattress and box spring.
I will use a solid fabric for a new dust ruffle,
following all the measurements and pleats
of this thrifted one,
make it longer (our bed's on risers),
and trim the hem with ecru cotton lace I love.

16. The guys were making a cross for Sunday morning's Resurrection Day Celebration service, so I asked if they would make us a small one to take to Saipan.

Oh, The Cross.

Thank You, Lord, for The Cross.
Isn't it beautiful?

17. Who could have planned it better to enjoy two homes each month-- our townhouse in Manila and this apartment here on Guam-- for which the morning sun rises upon our risings and the hot afternoon sun sets upon our evenings?  We love that! Don't tell me there's not a God Who watches over and blesses us with ideas only He could orchestrate.

18. I neglected to tell you about this cross stitch piece I made in the mid-2000s. Before I left Manila two weeks ago, I prepared it for sweet Arlene whose favorite color is red.

Stitching this piece distracted and occupied my thoughts
during the darkest trial of our lives.

It evokes the deepest of memories,
of how a loving God took us through
the godly sorrow that leads to repentance,
to the other side of betrayal's agony
and of loss's mourning.

Releasing bitterness is likely the most freeing decision
my heart could ever embrace.

The fruit of my hands served me well,
beautiful Home Sweet, Home.
May you be cherished by Arlene and her precious family
for altogether different reasons than mine.

19. The LORD has been teaching me a hard lesson this week: the value of acknowledging others' feelings, that-- as I teach in our marriage retreats-- "Understanding is better than agreement." In class this week {my marriage *smile*}, I've been disciplined by The Master Teacher Who assigned an additional extra-curricular study or two after I failed a test and not a few pop quizzes. Oh, how wonderful to serve the Wonderful Counsellor, and to be married to one who would never "trade me in" for a couple of 25-year-olds (I'm 53!). I'm deeply grateful that true love is patient and kind and never keeps a record of wrongs.

Reminds me of the little chorus I wrote years ago at the piano one day.

Love keeps no record of wrongs
Though the body is weak
True love is strong
Love never fails
Love will always prevail
Love keeps no records
No, love can't remember
Love keeps no record of wrongs
~Kelley Dibble

Every wise woman
builds her house:
but the foolish plucks it down
with her [very own] hands.
~Proverbs 14:1

I trust you will enjoy your Resurrection Sunday weekend. To the One Who gave His life-- no man took it from Him-- we owe our all. Our lives. Our everything. Hosanna! He is risen, and Jesus is His name!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Face Time (book page project)

Don't watch the clock;
do what it does.
Keep going.
~Sam Levenson


23-inch clock


Clearance, $10 (Home "The 'Po'" Depot)

I tore up an old Guam map.

I   b a r e l y  had enough snippets for the mapoupage
of this Guam apartment clock.

Tango hands speak
from the kitchenette wall.

Surely you don't expect me
to leave these $5 laundry room and CR clocks alone,
do you?!