Crock Pot Candy Gifts

I”m still baking and cooking for the upcoming Holidays. I find a lot of joy making yummy gifts for others. The following recipe is one of my favorites as it is SO EASY! Make up a double or triple batch and give to your friends and family. This also makes a great hostess gift!

Crock Pot Candy

32 oz. Pecans (you can also use peanuts, walnuts, almonds)

12 oz. Semi sweet chocolate chips

4   oz. German sweet chocolate

32 oz. Dark Chocolate Melts (or white chocolate)

I use all dark chocolate, as this is my favorite!

Place ingredients in a crock pot as listed. DO NOT stir. Cook on low for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. DO NOT open the lid. After cooked, stir and drop by spoonfuls on a parchment paper or wax paper lined pan..   Allow to harden (I stick mine in the refrigerator to speed this up) Store in a closed container. SHARE as these are addictive and you can eat them all yourself.

These make great Christmas & New Year’s gifts!

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Life is GOOD!

Some mornings are frustrating from the very beginning. My first clue, as I am stumbling down the hall with my eyes half closed, I step into cold cat barf. I suppress the urge to scream as I hop down the hall on one foot so I don’t spread the joy.   I grab paper towels and spray cleaner and clean the gross crap off my foot first. When that is cleaned up I run for the coffee which is so very necessary to get me through my mornings. COFFEE!   But wait…..the fancy automated coffee maker did not start. So I push the manual button as I stare longingly at the empty carafe. Must have my coffee.

To kill time, I start my computer only to find there are three bazillion updates waiting to load! I watch the counter 3 of 468, well this is going to take awhile. I really didn’t need to get any work done, at least not in the near future, as my computer continues to count down the numerous updates. COFFEE!

I stumble back down the hall to get my glasses so I can see…..yes that is the kind of morning I am having, I forgot my glasses when I got up and I really need to see.   On my way back out to check on my coffee, I peek into my daughters bedroom to see her peacefully sleeping.   A beautiful calm look on her face and suddenly everything is fine. Life is good.

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Words

Word are just that, words.   We as a people have created the meanings to those words. We make them good or bad. We let them lift us up or allow them to hurt us. Remember a rhyme from our childhood “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Harsh words are usually spoken by those who are frustrated. WE choose to allow them to hurt us or we can laugh. Words only hurt, make us cringe, or laugh if you let them. Choose to laugh.

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind     

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No more War

It seems like all my life we, as a country, have been involved in one war or another.

1950-1953 Korean War United States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960-1975 Vietnam War United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion United States vs. Cuba
1983 Grenada United States Intervention
1989 US Invasion of Panama United States vs. Panama
1990-1991 Persian Gulf War United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995-1996 Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina United States as part of NATO acted peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001 Invasion of Afghanistan United States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism.
2003 Invasion of Iraq United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq

http://americanhistory.about.com/library/timelines/bltimelineuswars.htm

As a young girl, living in Ohio, I can remember visiting a shopping mall where we got to tour bomb shelters. You could buy one of several different sizes and put one under your back yard. Not that they would have done any good, but it made our parents feel safer. It terrorized me. How many back yards in the Midwest still have these shelters underground? How many of them have been forgotten.

I remember vividly the Bay of Pigs, I didn’t sleep I was so scared. That was all any adult in my small farming community could talk about.   We even made and rolled bandages, we were preparing for the worst. My cousin was on a Navy blockade ship and I was so afraid I would never see him again. War, conflict, is a social disruption and economic destruction and has a way of instilling fear into your heart and soul.

So why are we still involved in someone else’s war, even though we are not wanted there. Why do we as a nation think we need to be the “World Police”. Why can’t we be the “World Peacemakers”. There has to be a better way.

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Too Much Stuff

I haven’t blogged in a while, and it is because I have allowed to much “stuff” get in the way. Family, extended family, paper work, bills, mental and physical “Stuff”. Way too much “STUFF” in my life that has gotten out of control.

What have I done about it? Well about three weeks ago I bought a book called “Everything That Remains” by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus. They were in town at a local book store and I was ill and could not attend so I bought their book and glad I did. This book is a story of how they went from the very hectic corporate world where everything is about excess to where they are today, a more simplistic lifestyle.   It struck a note with me and I took a look around at all my “stuff” both real and imagined, and started doing something about it.

The first thing I tackled was my bedroom closet. I went through it like a mad woman and eliminated over a third of my “stuff”. Just mine, I didn’t touch my husbands as I wanted this to be his decision, not just mine.   Some of you are saying “only a third” and yes you are right, there will be more being donated out of my closet over the next weeks and months. But for now, whew it was very freeing to have open space in my closet.

Next I tackled the spare bedroom and the excess furniture in my house. What I didn’t sell at my garage sale, is being donated.   And the positive result of this is after three years, I am going to be able to park my car in the garage!

Over the next month I will be going through each room and eliminating all the extra “stuff” I have either kept because I might use it someday or though guilt.   If you got a gift that you will never use, don’t let guilt stop you, give it away or donate it so someone who need is will use it.

It is a long road to travel lighten your burden, less is more!

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OOPS! Holiday Shopping- A Year of Living Cheap

Don’t let the frantic pace of the holidays make you lose site of your budget goals.  Don’t buy that first gift you see because  you just want to get it over with and move on.  THINK! 

Ask yourself, is this really the gift you want to give?  Is this the price you want to pay.  Is there something that is more appropriate or something  they will appreciate/use more than this item?

Take a few minutes to sit down, write down the names of the people you want to give gifts to this holiday season.  Then go over the list again and eliminate the people that should not be on the list, don’t let emotions guide you, be practical.  Write at least two gift ideas that are inexpensive and would mean something to the person you are giving the gift.  No gift has to be expensive  if it comes from the heart.  A handmade item often times will mean more to the recipients than an expensive gift bought in haste.

My mom would rather receive a card that tells her how much she has meant to me than something I bought.  So buy a nice card, and write with your heart.

You still have time to plan ahead and get the right gift.  Do not let the fast talking marketers make you buy, THINK.

You will be glad you did when the holidays are history and you can look back with a smile and know they were the best.

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Protect your Car – A Year of Living Cheap

You can save yourself hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars every year by making sure you check your car fluids every month to three months, depending on the age of your car.  

Check the motor oil. The oil should probably be checked after the car cools down for an hour.  Pull dip stick out all the way, wipe it off with a paper towel then  reinsert, pull it back out and you can see the level of your oil.  The dip stick has markings on it as to your oil level.  Check your owners manual to see when to add oil and the correct oil to add.

Check the transmission fluid (if you have an automatic transmission). This is usually done with the engine running and fully warmed up, either in Neutral or Park, depending on the make and model. It will be the second of two dip sticks. As with the oil, locate it, pull out  the dip stick , wipe it off with another paper towel (don’t use the same one), push it all the way back in, then pull it out and read the level. Again, look for a level between the two marks on the dipstick.  Always check your car manual to see when to add any fluids.  Never over fill.

Check the brake fluid. Consult your manual for the location, or look around for a plastic reservoir such as one labeled brake fluid. If your reservoir clear or semi clear, you can read the level of fluid right through the plastic. Wipe dirt off the outside, if you need to. ONLY add fluids when your car manual says to add.  NEVER over fill.

Check the coolant.  Your car must be cooled down to do this one.  Most coolant reservoirs are up front near the radiator.  Cars are designed to operate with antifreeze as a coolant, or a mix of 50/50, NOT just water .  On my car it says to add when level is below the minimum level, but all cars are different so, again, check you car manual.

Windshield washer fluid.  This is usually in a clear or semi-clear vessel.  Check the level and add water or washer fluid as needed.  Keep your windshield clean so you can see!

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