We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Easier way to view ALL of your friends on Facebook

  I enjoy Facebook. Well, most of the time I do. At times I get tired of people's 'drama', which had resulted in me pretty much pulling out of Facebook at one point in time. But I found I missed it. Not the 'drama'. (inset eye roll). I missed having frequent connection with friends. And family. I have friends on there whom I haven't seen in person for years, due to life moving them elsewhere. But via Facebook, we have more of a clue as to what's going on in one another's life's. I like that. A LOT!
   So I returned full force to visiting Facebook.
   Then I got frustrated by a technical aspect of it. It seemed that I was only getting 'feed' from certain people, yet I was friends with lots more. Why did I never see things the others posted? Sure, I could go to my list of friends, find their names, click to go to their home page and read up, but there had to be an easier way, right?!
   There had to be a way....
   Then one day, when Brian had called me in to read something somebody had posted (most likely something he was chuckling over :-p), after I had read it, he moved his courser (the little arrow) over to the left side bar and clicked on something which made a whole different group of people's postings show up. "What did you just do?!?", "Changed which list I was on", " 'Spalin to Lucy!"
   He had gone through his list of friends and divided them up into groups. He only explained it a bit, but I was intrigued! I had to figure this out and implement it for myself. Exclamation point.
   So I did*. And if I can, then definitely you can to!
   First step - open another tab onto your main Facebook page.
   Second Step - Hover your little mouse controlled arrow, over a friends name. A little box will magically appear. SLOWLY move the arrow down to the 'Friends 'check mark' ' box. Slowly, otherwise either the box will disappear, or you will suddenly be on that person's home page.
   A second box will now magically appear. This box is a list of options. At the top it says, "Get notifications". Then there is a light line. Next comes, "Show in News Feed", then "Settings". Another light line. Below that are, "Close Friends", "Acquaintances" and "Add to another list". There's more below that, but we aren't going to talk about them today.
   Third Step - click on the "Settings". The box changes and displays new options. At the top it reads, "Go Back?", then a thin line and it asks, "See which updates?". Your listed options are, "All updates", "Most updates", or "Only Important".  If you are super into that particular person, or you are a stalker, then you'll want to click on "All updates". I always click on "Most updates".
   Under another thin line it asks, "What type of updates?". Your listed options are, "Life events", "Status updates", "Photos", "Games", "Comments and Likes", "Music and Video's" and "Other Activity". You'll notice that unless you have already personalized these settings yourself, every single option is checked. Personally, I always click to un-check "Games". I do Pinterest, I don't need games too :-p. Unless they are a very close friend, I click to un-check "commetns and Likes" too. I also un-check "other activity". That leaves me getting info. about when they post about their life's events, their status updates, the pictures they post for us to enjoy, and if they come across a wonderful music video they want to share. If it looks intriguing, I can watch it. If it doesn't, I can scroll right on past it.
   Fourth Step - Now scroll back up to the top of that third magically appeared box and click to "Go Back". Your now back to the list which starts with "Get notifications". I un-check that. Under the thin line it says, "Show in News Feed". The way I now have mine set up, I only leave that checked for my closest friends. Everybody else got un-checked. Under the next thin line it lists, "Close Friends", "Acquaintances" and "Add to another list". IGNORE THE FIRST TWO!
   Remember this higher up in this posting, "So I did*",? I thought by putting people that I randomly know from here or there on the "Acquaintances" 'list', would make it so that I had access to their posting that-a-way. Wrong. Over time, I started wondering why so-and-so never posted anything anymore. When I went and checked their home page, they had posted. hummm. Double check my settings, 'yup, they are under acquaintances". "Weird". More on this again in a minute*.
   Fifth Step - Click on "Add to another list". The box will change again. At the top, it will again read, "Go back". Under a thin line it will read, "Add to lists" and you will have the option of making your own list titles. I divided my facebook friends up into groups ("lists") such as, 'from church', 'from camp', 'from day camp', 'immediate family' ( = my husband, our kids, some of our "part time" kids), 'extended family' ( = all of the people (excluding my own little family) who are in some way legally related to me), and 'random people*'.  Break people up onto your own lists, in what ever fashion you want.
   I don't click to 'go back'. That way if I ever want to double check which list somebody is on, all I have to do is hoover the little arrow over 'friends, check mark' and it shows me.
   In the future, should you decide that you want to again see games they join, etc., you first have to click to add them back to 'show in news feed' for 'settings' to show up. After your done adjusting things, remember to un-check "Show in news feed", or that person will now show on your first page when you sign into facebook. 
   Sixth Step - In the left hand corner, at the top of your facebook tab, click on the word "Facebook". Your screen will change. As you scroll down, you will only see things posted by the people whom you left "Show in news feed" clicked on for. At the top of your left hand side bar, under your profile picture, will be a subtitle of "favorites". Next subtitle down will read, "Friends". Under that, you will find all of your own list titles. Read through the postings showing, then one by one, click on and read through all of your different lists. This way, you actually see things that everybody you are friends with have posted. And even though it does take a bit of time to set all of this up, in the end, it is ever so much easier than trying to go to every bodies home page and reading their postings that-a-way! So fix yourself a nice cold beverage of your choice and go to it! :-D
   Now, about 'random people*'. In the early hours this morning, after having sent a comment to somebody off of that 'Acquaintances' list, thereby noticing that they had done numerous posting lately I had no clue of, I had re-looked over the list of 'my friends' lists titles and realized that there wasn't one on there titled"acquaintances". ' Then why is that option available on their magical box?!?', "I'll fix that", I said to myself (yes, literally O;->), and I went back through my friends list and every single person who was checked as an 'acquaintances', got moved to a newly created list I titled 'random people'. "Much better", relieved sigh.

    While I'm on this subject, of people your friends with on Facebook...
   A while back, I had questioned Brian about how I could un-friend somebody, without causing any hard feelings, etc.. I was just tired of seeing this particular persons postings, all of their (from my perspective) self induced "drama", etc.. He had chuckled and stated that he had changed his settings, so that that same persons postings, didn't show up on any of his lists. "HOW?!" (remember, I'm 'Lucy'). "Just make sure they aren't checked to show up in your news feed, nor have you added them to any of your lists. BINGO! I tell you, I have a very wise, technically savvy, husband! THANKS Brian! :-D
   Now, I am fully aware that some of you have scanned through this posting and thought "Duh!". I tip my hat to you, for 'getting' all of this easily. My hope is that there are others out there more like myself, whom will benefit by reading these tips.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring, wherefore art thou?

  In the local news cast Friday night (11:00 news) the weatherman stated that while it was currently rainy and cold, come Sunday the weather would change and the temps would jump to 60 degrees. Epic fail weather man!
   This is the current (Sun. April 14, 2013, 12:44 pm) scene out my kitchen window* -

   notice the white flakes in the air. Notice them accumulating on items in the yard. [*I left all of the other curtains and drapes in the house closed, if I can't see it, maybe it'll stop misbehaving. :-p] I am sitting here with a blanket wrapped around my lower half and double layers on my upper half.
   I had chuckled when I came across this, that Patty Dor. had posted on Facebook. I had then pinned it to my 'Michigan' board on pinterest.
   [ https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/63467_128168780707108_1148857633_n.jpg]
   I think I need to go take a slow leisurely stroll through my 'Spring' board. And after lunch I'm going to work on a spring themed wreath.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Spring is a com-min! :-D

    As I looked out the window above the kitchen sink one day last week, I saw something which gave me hope that Spring really was on the way. I had to have a picture of it! Quickly I grabbed the camera, zoomed in and snapped, hoping that it would turn out, even though I was taking it from inside the house, through the window and screen.
   I was both amazed and thrilled with how good it turned out. (Thank-you Lord!)

   I was glad I took the picture when I did, because two hours later, when I stopped to look again, there were no traces of it what-so-ever.
   Spring is a com-min! :-D

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My version of 'Stuffed Cabbage'

  As a family, we had eaten Corned Beef, Red Potatoes in butter and parsley, Sauerkraut (well, three of them had it 8-p), etc., for Sunday Dinner the Sunday before St. Patrick's day. I know they r-e-a-l-l-y liked it, due to how little was left afterwords. So much for making a big casserole out of it later in the week. Aw well. I totally took it as a compliment!
   But I still wanted to make some type of a Corned Beef Dinner for St. Patrick's day, just because. Yes, I know that there are lots of other Irish type recipes that use other meats. But we really like corned beef, yet we seldom have it. Crazy!  So I went through my 'St. Patty's Day' Pinterest board and my 'Recipes I'd like to try board' trying to find something that struck my fancy.
   In doing so, I came across this recipe for 'Stuffed Cabbage'. The note I had made to myself read, "only substitute chopped tomatoes for the raisins". (More about that in a minute.) I had made stuffed cabbage one time, ever so many years ago. Our sons hadn't liked it at all! I had only been mildly impressed. But Brian had really liked it. He's often talked about liking stuffed cabbage. One time we had eaten it some place else and I had made a mental note about his comments concerning how dry theirs had been. I knew that 'someday' I would break down / get brave and make it for him again. Only took over fifteen years to do so. o:->
  I clicked on the picture on pinterest, to go to the recipe itself. Reading down the ingredients... vegetable oil - "no problem", yellow onion - "no problem", green cabbage - "okay", ground beef - "I can just substitute finely chopped up, already cooked, corned beef", cooked rice - "Brian's not a fan of white rice, I'll substitute finely chopped potatoes", raisins - "Brian does not like raisins! But I could substitute chopped canned tomatoes", (When I was explaining all of this at the dinner table, Byron commented on how the raisins part was a highly praised thing in Polish communities [Cyndi is from a strong Polish family]. Grandpa 'Honey' reminded him that he (Byron) comes from a strong English background. :-p). salt - "okay", tomato sauce - "that would go good with all of my substitutions", beef broth - "corned beef still is beef", paprika - "have it on hand", top with sour cream - "oh, I bet that would taste good!".  And thus the recipe for 'my version' of Stuffed Cabbage was formed.
    Now on to how I made it, partly so I can do so again, as has been highly requested; and also so that you might want to make it too.
    First step - remember that I was making a big batch of them. You can adjust the recipe to how many you personally want to make.
   Pull the corned beef briskets out of the fridge and thourally spray the roaster with pan coating spray. [Remember, tis easier to spray, then to scrub forever afterwords!]
                                                                   [ # 690 ]

   Place the briskets fat side up in the roaster. [ Do NOT cut the layer of fat off of meat before cooking it!!! Always place the meat in your pan or on your grill with the fat side up. That way, as the meat cooks, the flavors of the meat, which are stored in the fat, flow down into the meat producing a more favorable and moist finished product. Once the meat is done cooking, let it 'sit up' for five minutes (covered somehow), then it's okay to cut any remaining fat off, before slicing and serving.

                                                                     [ # 691 ]

   I pour the juices out of the package over the meat and into the pan too. Yes, it's a little slimy. But I figure, 1 - it's it's good enough to be packed in it, it's good enough to be cooked in it. No. 2 - since it's been sealed together, it must contain a lot of the flavoring of the meat and it's better to keep it in there while it bakes, rather than rinsing it down the drain. And 3 - The mere process of baking it, will remove any un-pleasantries from it.

                                                                     [ # 692 ]

   Sprinkle on the spices that come inside the little packets with the meat.
                                                                      [ # 693 ]

   Put the lid on the pan, put the pan in the preheated oven (temp. set to what the meat package said) and bake. The package says to bake so long per pound of meat. For tenderer meat, cook an additional hour.
   While the meat is baking, go ahead and get started on the other ingredients. First up, the carrots. After chopping the ends off, use a vegetable peeler to peel them. [I set a used bread bag inside a plastic container in the sink to do so. Makes cleanup ever so much easier! Peel about two inches of the thick end first, then turn the carrot upside down and peel away.
   Slice the carrot in half lengthwise, then cut/slice the halves into thirds.
                                                                           [ # 694 ]
   Proceed on to chopping the long thin slices into small pieces.
                                                                  [ # 695 ]
   Some I chopped into small pieces to go inside the cabbage rolls, some I made larger to bake and serve in a side dish.
                                                                  [ # 696 ]
   Next up come the potatoes. I use red skinned potatoes, because for whatever reason, they contain less natural sugar and thus are better for people with high sugar levels (diabetics, etc.)

                                                                     [ # 697 ]

   Then turn them and either cut them into very small pieces for in the cabbage rolls, or into larger sizes for part of the side dish.
                                                                    [ # 698 ]

   Layer both types of the potatoes into well sprayed baking pans (it's okay to use glass or metal ones, I used the glass ones since the pictures would show what I'm talking about easier). Top the potatoes with the same sized chopped carrots.
    Top the carrots in the larger sized veggies pan, with thin sliced butter (yes, real butter) slabs.
                                                                       [ # 699 ]

    Yup, that's a lot of butter. But you want it to cook into all of your chopped veggies, not just some here and there. And it will melt down and do exactly that during the baking process.

    Finely chop up a yellow onion and layer it on top of the carrots in the smaller sized chopped veggies pan.
                                                                     [ # 700 ]

   Now top that pan with thin slices of butter.
                                                                  [ # 701 ]

   Cover them and place them in the oven with the baking meat. I 'think' I baked the veggies for an hour. (Should have written that part down too. Sorry).
    Time to start prepping the canned tomatoes. Now yes, you can buy cans of already chopped tomatoes, but they contain such big chunks, larger than I wanted. And pureed tomatoes don't really contain chunks. Therefore, I cut them up into the size I want!  First drain the tomatoes (saving the juices for later!), cut into each tomato right before you remove it from the strainer, so that the juices on the inside slip out there, instead of all over your cutting board.

                                                                   [ # 702 ]
                                               Sorry, I could not get the picture to stayed turned.

    Once your done, set them aside (back in the rinsed out strainer until it's time to combine all of the filling ingredients.
    Once you have removed the meat from the oven, let it sit for fifteen minutes (sitting up time plus cooling down a little time), slice the meat into thin slices, slice the thin slices into thin strips, then chop them into smaller pieces via turning them the other way (I just turn my cutting board. ;-> )

                                                                       [ # 704 ]

   Dump each board full of the chopped up meat, into a big mixing bowl. {Remember, I was making a big batch of them}.
                                                                     [ # 705 ]

   Remove the finely chopped up veggies from the oven.
                                                                       [ # 706 ]

    Add them to the bowl. Add the chopped tomatoes. Blend everything together thourally! You want to get a little bit of everything in every single bite.

     It's time to get the cabbage ready. Directions of the recipe on line stated, "Bring large pot of salted water to a boil (a full boil is when the big bubbles form and roll on top of one another).  Remove core from cabbage head. Place cabbage in water. After about two minutes the outside leaf will come lose. Remove it with tongs. Pat dry with paper towels. Keep repeating." I was going to take pictures of this process... but then the cabbage head started bobbing in the water. And when I tried to remove the first leaf, I learned that I must not have cut out quite enough of the core, because the leaf wouldn't come 100% free. So there I was, at 11:00 at night, me - 'Ms. Vertigo', trying to cut each leaf off a bobbing head of cabbage, in a pan of boiling water... Mercy! I really am quite surprised they never did an episode of 'I Love Lucy' out of this process! o:-D    "Cut out the thick part of the rib of each leaf, but don't cut more than a third of the way into the leaf. With the stem side of the cabbage facing you, place a scant 1/3 cup of the beef mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the mixture and then fold the sides over and roll into a tidy packet." 'Tidy', hummm. Maybe the ground beef and rice stick together more and make it easier to make a 'tidy' packet'. I don't know. Do the best you can. I did. "Place the cabbage rolls seam side down in (well) greased baking pan." Squeeze them close enough together and make sure you have a large spoon to scoop them out with at dinner time. ;-> I was ever so totally amazed, for how falling apart mine were when I left them in the pan before baking, they came out all together in nice little bundles when we scooped them out. I literally thanked the Lord for that while sitting in my spot at the table! 
    "Mix together the tomato sauce, broth and paprika." I improvised again. Why drain the juice off of the canned tomatoes and dump it?! I mixed a can of tomato paste in with the liquid from the canned tomatoes, added the beef broth (I used two cups) and paprika (I used 2 teaspoons) and blended thourally. 

                                                                    [ # 707 ]

  Pour the broth mixture over your crammed full pan of cabbage rolls.
                                                                [ # 708 ]
    I refrigerated the finished rolls overnight (most things (such as goulash, spaghetti sauce, etc.) taste better after the mixture has been chilled together and then reheated, right? ).
    Bake at 350o for 1 hour.

    I served ours with the other baked veggies, peas (many of the Irish recipes contain peas. I am not a fan of peas. But both Brian and his dad are. Therefore, I served them as a side dish. o;-p.), green beans w/ bacon,  dinner rolls, and a pasta mixture, because I wasn't sure if our now adult sons would like the new cabbage rolls or not. 
     [ # random pic.'s - stuffed cabbage rolls - picture is smaller due to being sent to me via Byron's phone. Thanks Byron! ]

    By the way, topping the stuffed cabbage rolls with sour cream is an wonderful idea!
    And for the record, Grandpa 'Honey', Brian, Brent and Kayla kept exclaiming over dinner about how good my version was and each one inquired if I had remembered to write down what I did as I went along, so I could make them again, sooner than fifteen years from now. :-D I love it when an idea works out!
        I had ended up with one and three quarters pans full. Had filling for more, but was not up to boiling another head of cabbage. It (the cabbage) was turned into slaw a few days later. :-> Brian ate up the left over filling for lunch one day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I 'plan' on linking this particular posting up to:

  ~ "Making Your Home Sing Monday('s)", are hosted by Nan, at 'Mom's the Word (I love to hear)'  (http://momstheword--livingforhim.blogspot.com/).
  ~  "Kitchen Tip Tuesday('s)", hosted by Tammy, at 'Tammy's Recipes'  (http://www.tammysrecipes.com/). 
 ~ "Tuesday's Tasty Tidbits", hosted by Susan, at 'Permanent Posies / Creative Chaos' (http://permanentposies.com/)
 ~ "Totally Tasty Tuesdays", are hosted by Mandy, at 'Mandy's Recipe Box' (http://www.mandysrecipebox.blogspot.com/).
  ~ "Tempt My Tummy Tuesday('s)", are hosted by Lisa, at 'Blessed with Grace'  (http://www.blessedwithgrace.net/)

  ~ "Full Plate Thursday('s)", are hosted by Miz Helen, at 'Miz Helen's Country Cottage' (http://mizhelenscountrycottage.blogspot.com/).     
  ~ "Foodie Friday('s)", are hosted by "Gollum" (aka: Michael), at 'Rattlebridge Farm' (http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/)   


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Wreaths -

   As many of you know, I am sort of starting my own little craft business. So far, I am working on wreaths. I do have numerous other little projects in mind to make as well.
   I shared with you the wreath Amy Mal. had me make for her mom for Christmas (find it HERE).
   My sister-in-law Staci, had me make two Spring type wreaths for her. She told me sort of what she wanted, I sent her links to wreaths I had on Pinterest boards, to better judge what she liked, printed off pictures of the two she chose and went shopping for supplies.
   She gave me two grapevine wreaths she had to use as the bases.
                                                     [ #681 ]

   THIS is the Pinterest pinned one, that I used the larger wreath and it's ribbon to make my version of. I had hoped to use white lilacs and cream colored hydrangeas on it, due to this comment Stacy had made, "I love the ivy and hydrangea wreath. At one point I had made one but the flowers all blew off in the strong winds as I used it so many years.  I have a red/rose colored front door that I'd like to hang this on. I really like the cream and beige colored hydrangeas with the ivy and leaves as they stand out so well."  But nobody currently has lilacs stocked in their spring flowers. Am I the only one that automatically thinks of lilacs, when I think of different types of spring flowers? So I did what I do most, improvise(d).

   Here is my finished version -
                                                          [  #685 ]

   And THIS is the second Pinterest one. She had added this comment about it, in our correspondence, "Also would like one like the 3rd link you sent with the same colors but maybe add a bit of white flowers for contrast with the pink flowers."

    Here is my finished version -
                                                         [  #687 ]

    I had called my brother and asked him to swing by and pick them up after work. At the time, Staci was off visiting her relatives. She was thrilled to come home to spring wreaths, especially since our weather at the time was anything but spring like.  [Staci, thank-you for the note and all that you sent with your payment! Now I can go get more supplies. ;->]

  Currently, I am working on one of the ones a friend ordered for Mother's Day gifts, as well as a Spring grass base idea I came up with while standing in Hobby Lobby.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


  I posted the following on Facebook yesterday afternoon - "We're headed to take the GRAND kids back to Cyndi's and meet their new 3 weeks old half sister"

   We would now like to introduce her to you -
Introducing, Rylee Elizabeth Rae M____ -

                                                         [#022 Easter/Rylee]

   She was born earlier than predicted, arriving on March 5th, 2013 at 4:55 am.
   She weighed in at 5.5 pounds and was 18 inches long.
   Currently she is around 5 pounds 6 ounces. A tiny little thing!

   Her big sister Analyse (pronounced Auna-lease) has blond hair and green eyes and is currently 31/2 years old -

                                                                 [#807 - Dad's files]

    Her big brother Elliot has red hair
and bright blue eyes and is currently 20 months old -
                                                          [#816 - Dad's files]

    (For the record, their Uncle Benson picked out and picked up their Easter outfits for them. :-D  Didn't he do an AWESOME job?!!)

    Ms. Rylee is a brunette and so far her eyes are really dark in color.

   this grandma and 'our' three GRAND kids -

                                                [#023 - Easter/Rylee]
    (A+E are eating the Easter treats which had been waiting for them them they got back)