Tuesday, July 23, 2013

World's Ugliest Pinata Take Two

I turned a significant birthday this year.  (Here's a hint -- it ends in a zero!  Yikes!)  Each year I host an annual party and this year I decided to make it the weekend of my birthday because I could "turn old" by myself or "turn old" with friends, and I decided it would be best with friends.

Each year I wrap stuff I've gotten free through the year.  It could be something I won in a sweepstakes when aiming for a different prize, something that I got free with coupons, or some other way that I came across an item with no cost.  I take all these, wrap them up and we play the "Dirty Santa" game with them.  I draw a name out of a hat, person 1 can choose from all the wrapped gifts.  Person 2 can steal from person 1 or choose any of the wrapped gifts.  Most people play this game with "three steals and it's out" but we play unlimited steals because the gifts aren't that expensive and there will be no hard feelings.  This year's most stolen items were a box of shredded wheat cereal, a pie plate, and a package of men's 2XL boxers.  (Both people stealing them were women!)

I also made a pinata.  I found a homemade pinata idea on Pinterest last year and mine was a far cry from that one. 

Here is last year's pinata:

Well, this year I didn't have a large paper bag.  I think one of my friends was a bit embarassed by the pinata I rigged this year.  But the kids care about what is inside, right?  This is what I came up with this year:

Someone told me they liked the multiple bag idea because when they were a child they were blindfolded, the pinata broke apart on the first try and they got no candy because they were blind folded.  We had ages 4-10 so it worked well because all kids got some candy or small toys as the bags were broke open at different times!

The most special part of my party this year was I invited a former teacher of mine.  She was a resource teacher and I had her from the time I was 8 until I was 12 when she moved away to get married.  I have stayed in touch with her but haven't seen her since I was 12.  She lives an hour and a half away, and on Friday I received an e-mail telling me she was coming!  It was so nice to see her again.

Next year I'll likely move my annual party back to August or September as that's usually when I have it, but I think I'll keep the Sunday afternoon date.  It seemed a better day of the week than Saturdays when I have had my party in the past.

I just can't believe I've hit the big (mumble)-zero.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Plastic Donuts

Plastic Donuts: Giving That Delights the Heart of the Father by Jeff Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

This is a short book at only 109 pages, but it's full of thoughts and ideas about giving.  Most of us who have been in church for any amount of time have heard things like "To NOT tithe is to rob God." or on the opposite side "The tithe is an Old Testament mandate and we live under grace."   Author Jeff Anderson doesn't take either of these approaches, but rather the approach of Christians should give God their plastic donuts.

What does that mean?  His daughter gave him a toy piece of food from her kitchen set one day and he saw the delight she had in giving him what she was able to give freely and willingly.  He came to the conclusion that is how our giving should be to God.

This would be an excellent book for a small group discussion or to make into a sermon series at your church.  I'm not sure the average person would pick this up on their own because, honestly, money is a topic that is shied away from in many churches.  What pastor likes to get up and teach on giving?  It's a hot topic and certainly one that can ruffle feathers of the flock.  But the way Anderson approaches it, it's a Biblical concept that doesn't dictate what you should do except to give joyfully.  THAT is something I think all Christians can agree is a great idea. 

I think it's great this book is out there as a resource for both individuals and churches, and I hope that the ideas within Plastic Donuts become the attitude of giving we see in western Christianity.

Please rate my review here:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Filippo Berio® Olive Oil

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free bottle of olive oil to review for this post.

One thing I learned recently is it's important to have some fat in your diet if you want to lose weight.  After the fat-free diets of the 1990s I thought the best thing to do was cut as much fat out as possible, but that's not true.  The key is to eat GOOD fat, and one of those things you can use is Filippo Berio Olive Oil.  You can even download a guide at their website as to how much olive oil to use in place of butter in a recipe.   

There are also recipes there you can use to inspire your taste buds.  I am one who likes to make my own tomato soup.  (My mother says I'm the only person she knows who doesn't just open a can when I want tomato soup.)  I always saute my onions for the soup in olive oil.  I also use olive oil to drizzle over salad at times when I know I need a little extra fat in my diet that day.

I use olive oil a lot as it is healthier than other oils, and currently I have a bottle of Filippo Berio Olive Oil on my kitchen counter!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

In Memory of Fuzzy the Guinea Pig

Fuzzy the Guinea Pig
May 4, 2008 - July 2, 2013

The Sunday before Mother's Day in 2008 a couple kids showed up on our doorstep, rang the doorbell and asked if we wanted two girl guinea pigs.  They were living outside, had no food, and needed a home.  While we didn't really want more guinea pigs (we had three) we had to do something.  I decided I could at least help them find a home.   Turned out they were boys (we had boys and didn't want girls because we didn't want hundreds of guinea pigs!) While I attempted to find them a home, they started showing off for us -- almost asking to stay with us.  We knew they couldn't be separated, and that was more difficult than finding a home for just one guinea pig.   Needless to say, during this time they became not just part of the household, but part of our hearts.

 A Fuzzy Photo Bomb:

They arrived to us un-named.  They had no food, no water bottle, no home, and no names.  One had a beautiful plume of white fur that reminded me of Albert Einstein, so he quickly became named Einstein.  The other had silver and white fur that made him look a bit dingy, and the fur on his rump went straight up instead of falling beautifully.  He looked like a FuzzButt, so that became his name, shortened to Fuzzy.

He had a tragic last year.  Einstein passed on June 14th of last year and then his next cage mate, Bingo, passed on December 28th.  We adopted another fellow so Fuzzy wouldn't be lonely as he lived out his days.  (Looks like Lucky is going to adjust quickly to being an only pig.  He has a strong personality and   I have always thought he'd do well with "only pig" status.)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Yet Another State Visited

I visited Utah for the first time and now I can update my states visited map.  They are getting filled in slowly.  Someday I would like to have traveled to all 50 states.

visited 30 states (60%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or website vertaling duits?