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Viewing Blog: Marjory Steele Skousen - Writer, Most Recent at Top
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Happenings of getting published in MG world or, just the ramblings of someone who likes to write. Im still deciding...
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1. Here's What Happened In My Neighborhood This Week.

Large smoky fire tears through Puyallup Walmart store
First we had a fire at the Walmart. We had someone drive smash through a Bikini Bottom coffee stand. One daughter had her first car accident. House caught on fire in my subdivision a couple streets over.  Plane crashed at the end of the parking lot of my gym. Another daughter was given a huge award at her job. Hubbie came home sick from a business trip.

How did your week go?

Do you remember the song Mr. Roger's sang as he came into his home, it had words something like:
"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
  Won't you please,
Please won't you be my neighbor?

Well it's been a wild week in our neighborhood. Our little neighborhood has had some excitement, starting out with a fire at Walmart.

Now don't you just want to be my neighbor? LOL

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2. What's With Pier 39 And Sea Lions?

   We had heard on the news that Astoria, Oregon was having an unusual amount of sea lions on their docks, in fact over 2,300 of them.  Never having been to Astoria my husband and I decided to go and spend the weekend there and see this unusual event. Upon arriving at our hotel's lobby we noticed a basket full of ear plugs for the guests, I asked "what's the ear plugs for?" the clerk answered "seal plugs". This might cause concern for some folks about a noisy stay, but it made me giggle with excitement to experience our weekend here.
   Our room was located on the top floor, facing Pier 39,and the last room on the end. From our balcony I could see the sea lions lying on the docks, and the sound of them barking was amazing. Yes, some folks  might run to put in their ear plugs in at this point, but I rather enjoyed those dog faced looking Sea Lions just barking away, twenty four hours a day. My husband even commented during the night that somebody had quite the party going on. "Yes, those boys are sure the partyers." I replied.
   Turns out, all the Sea Lions here are all males. Scientists who study these guys  have  branded their backs with numbers so as to keep up with them. They come every year to feed on the smelt and salmon fish, but this year there was a bumper crop of smelt fish so instead of the 300-400 normal amount of sea lions, they got thousands.
   What is really interesting is these sea lions go from this Pier 39 and travel down to San Francisco's Pier 39 to meet up with the females! Once they do their business of meeting up with the females they travel back up the coast bringing back all the little males that are ready to leave their momma's.    
   Astoria sits on a hill spotted with colorful Victorian houses that over looks the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the 1200 mile long Columbia River. It is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. It is a beautiful little town with a rich history, such as Lewis and Clark's winter in 1805, bustling fish canneries, shanghaied sailors, and of course who hasn't seen the movie "The Goonies" filmed here in 1984. Hollywood has been making movies in this area since 1908, movies like: Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, and Free Willy II.
    I learned something from these Sea Lions, they know where the best Piers are to hangout at on the Pacific Northwest, and like them we too will return to Pier 39.

Free ear plugs for the guest.

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3. Supernova seen by CWU physics students - Daily Record: Members


Ernest Skousen

Hans Berghoff

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 2:00 pm

In the observatory above Lind Hall, Ernest Skousen hunkered down with his coffee, cold-weather gear and the telescope’s computer late in the evening Jan. 31. “We were ready for the all-nighter,” he said.

   Skousen, along with Hans Berghoff, another physics major at Central Washington University, and physics professor Michael Braunstein were trying to find a supernova in a galaxy more than 11 million light years away.

Astronomy students in England happened along the supernova — a profoundly energetic explosion which can expel more energy in a few months than the sun will through its entire multi-billion year lifespan — catching the object in their scopes Jan. 21.
Berghoff, also a senior, was already doing research work on asteroids when he caught a news item about the supernova, called SN 2014J on Facebook.
“Sure, I maybe should be focusing on asteroids,” he recalled thinking. “But this is too cool.”
The two, who have a few classes together, brought it to Braunstein’s attention.
Even though the weather had been cloudy, they knew SN 2014J might be bright enough to pick up with Lind Hall’s telescope, so they decided to try.
Skousen, who studied meteorology in community college before coming to Central, kept an eye on the weather, thinking Friday, Jan. 31 was their night.
Slightly ahead of plans, the skies were clear Jan. 29. He got out of lab, ate dinner, and went to meet the others, to find that Braunstein had sent the computer they were to use in for repairs to get ready.
Luckily the weather held when Friday came around, Skousen said.
They headed up to the observatory and started the computer.
It froze.
They turned it off and on. It froze again.
They fiddled with the mouse and the keyboard. Still no luck.
The repairs made to the computer involved cloning the entire hard drive to another computer. When the technicians did that, it seemed they used a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Skousen said they ran out to scavenge a standard, plug-in keyboard and mouse, and things started working again.
You know you’re doing good science when everything’s going wrong, he joked.
Science isn’t all just lab work and data crunching, he said.
“Most of the science is problem solving, when you want to do something as cool as that,” he said, such as looking at an exploding star in another galaxy.
They were able to get a bead on the supernova, a faint glitter of light in galaxy M82, another faint, yet slightly larger blob of light.
The Lind Hall observatory telescope can only gather so much helpful data, Braunstein said, but there’s still useful information to find.
Supernovae can help as a yardstick to determining long astronomical distances, he said.
“In astronomy, in some sense, that’s the most fundamental measure you can take,” he said, and it can be a difficult number to find.
A star millions of times brighter than the sun looks like a small point here on Earth since it’s so far away.
“We need these distances to start finding out the other properties of these astronomical objects,” he said.
Getting the distances right helps toward answering other questions, such as an object’s composition and brightness.
“Because this is such a close supernova and so many people are able to collect data on it, it’s going to be able to refine our models of supernovae,” he said.
Skousen gave all the credit to Braunstein for his help tracking the supernova, and helping through last-minute repairs.
“The guy’s smart and resourceful enough to be some company billionaire,” Skousen said. “But he absolutely and throughly enjoys being a teacher.”
The group recorded images of the supernova using different filters, and were able to put those together to create a false-color approximation of the image.
“There is something very primordial about this picture, about this supernova,” Skousen said.
That supernova happened 11 million years ago, and its light only now travelled far enough for us to see it.
Skousen said he can get philosophical about science at times.
“All the heavier elements in our bodies were born in these super nuclear furnaces. … We are made from the very process that we are seeing in that telescope,” he said.
“That’s our creation right there, and so studying that is helping us along those answers of where do we come from, why are we here, where are we going.”

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4. Field of Flowers Painting

Well, what do you think? This is an acrylic painting on a 20 x 16 canvas. Any thoughts or suggestions? I tried painting on a larger area than I am used to, considering I have been painting on 8 x 10's, so this was a little scary to go a larger scale. I do love the purple's in it.

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5. I just love Van Gogh!

Van Gogh's
My painting

One of my own.

 Here is another picture I painted of one of Van Gogh's still life's. I so love his work. This picture is probably one of my favorites. After I paint a piece, I like to leave it up on my painting easel for a few days so I can decide if I want to add, or take away anything from what I have painted. The painting of the flowers in the vase is my favorite, because I found at different times of the day the light from outside hit it differently and the colors and shadows changed so wonderfully. Vincent was so good. Love his stuff, and now I have my own painting that really pleases me.

The  bottom picture here  was one that  felt like it would be in France.  Brings back happy memories of Paris to me.

Hope you like them. Oh! By the way I have been actually selling copies of my paintings, so if you would like to purchase any of the things I have painted let me know. You can 'friend' me on FB and get a message to me that way.

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6. What Happened To You In Paris?

This was my third painting I  finished and I had painted it on a 10 x 12 acrylic  paper. Because it was just on paper I wanted to have it heat set to a foam board to keep the paper from curling up on the sides. I took this and another painting down to a local frame shop and when they called my name to come pick it up there was a woman and her husband there at the counter also having some pictures framed. When the clerk handed me my paintings the woman exclaimed "Oh my! Those are Van Gogh's". I smiled and said "Well, yes they are, my copycat of them anyway". She took the paintings from me and studied them and then asked, "Can I buy these? Are they for sale?" I was taken aback for a moment, and said that one may be sold already but she could buy this one. She asked how much and I told her the price. She actually offered me twenty more than I asked, but I said "no" because I had already given her a price.

Turns out she is an art collector! When I explained that this was only my third painting, she said that there was real passion in my painting and she was excited to have it. That's when I turned to the sales clerk to pay for my purchase, and said "I guess Van Gogh's go!" So I painted a few more of his. I have made copies so at least I have something to show for myself. Life is funny.

When I came home and told my husband he asked "What happened to you in Paris?" Life is funny. Go to Paris and come home and become an artist. Who knew.

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7. Trying to paint like Van Gogh

My painting

Flowering Garden with Path   July 1888
   Since I've been home from Paris my heart has been yearning for more art, so I went to the library and picked up a book on Van Gogh, and his complete paintings. As I looked through the book I saw this picture and it inspired me, so I thought to myself ...... "um I think I'll try painting this." Now the interesting thing is, I don't draw or paint. I tried  painting for the first time the other day and did a version of Starry Night. This was my second try at painting and I found I really enjoyed doing it. When I finished I told my husband "man this looks nothing like his". He laughed and said, "you know honey, he was a master painter". 

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8. Art And Paris

Painted by Giovanni Paolo Pannini
I tired to get a detail pic of some of this painting here.

I know, I know, the Mona Lisa is supposed to be greatest piece at the Louvre, but this was my favorite. I wish I had a better picture. Maybe if I had taken a decent camera with me to Paris instead of using my camera off my phone, you would be able to see and appreciate this amazing painting. I actually went into the gift shop at the Louvre asking if they had a print or picture of this that  could be purchased, only to find out they did not have anything. What a disappointment for me, because this is just amazing to me how he painted hundreds of little faces, each with a different expression on its face, and each body was in a different position. One of the men painted into this  even was sitting there reading a book, and when you looked at this little book he has actually painted a bit of scribbles like words across the pages. Look at the difference in the clothes, hats, and hair colors, some of the men are even balding. This thing had the most  minute details in it. I could have spent an hour or more just trying to discover all the little secrets in this.

Katie loved this one, because the little boy on the right had tears coming down his cheek, she thought it looked like someone had put a clear liquid on it, because it looked just like a real wet  watery tear.

The Lovers by Rodin
Who wouldn't love this. Through out my life I have always loved sculpture. So everything Rodin did I love.

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9. Carmel Made From Sweetened Condensed Milk

I saw this on Facebook and it looked so easy. My husband loves Carmel so I thought I would try it out. 
Place an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in a crock pot for  8 hours on low (completely submerged in water).  Cool it down in the fridge, and you have Caramel. Talk about easy!

We warmed the carmel up for ice cream. My husband said he loved it, as he licked his fingers clean.  So I guess this will be a something we will have again.

Bring on the apples and all the apple recipes, because this caramel will go with these too.

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10. How To Eat Like A Parisian, And Look Like One Too

Hot goat cheese salad
We shared this for dinner one night.
How do the French people stay so thin when eating croissants, baguettes, macaroons, cheese, crepes, and drinking lots of wine on a daily basis? I think I know......stairs, stairs, more stairs,  some bicycling, and add lots of walking.
I read an article before going to Paris that said if you wanted  look 'French' buy a baguette, then eat the end off of it as you leave the boulangerie  (bakery) while it was still warm. They weren't kidding, as we walked around  Paris we saw so many baguettes with the tops eaten off of them.

 A plate with a sliced baguette, a variety of cheeses with some dried meats would actually be a course during a meal.  Now here in the US we are told to watch our carbs, cheese is fattening, and sugar is a treat that we can have only once in awhile.

I think I live in the wrong country, because I love breads, cheese, crepes and while we were in Paris I ate and drank like them and I did not gain one pound. In fact Katie lost four pounds! So how does that happen?!


The stairs! And all the walking we did. Every day we were climbing at least 1000 steps a day. I'm not kidding, just going in and out of the Metro's you climb a couple hundred  stairs. Every building we visited had hundred's of stairs. The elevators in Paris are only big enough for one person at a time, or two, if you like the other person. We found it faster and easier just to climb the stairs, even at our hotels, the first one, we were on the fourth floor and on the second floor at our second hotel. If you take an elevator you can sometimes have a wait. Katie only used the stairs, me..... if by chance an elevator was just sitting there waiting for me, I would use it.
I  loved the hot goat cheese salad we had in Paris, so when I got home I tried to remake it for my family. Turned out yummy, I changed the regular walnuts for candied pecans. I also made crepes which turned out divine. So I guess if I want to eat these wonderful foods, and not gain any weight I will have to park my car, walk more, and always take the stairs.

This is my try at the hot goat cheese salad
My homemade crepes.

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11. Whimscal Moments In Paris

Have you seen the French movie  Amélie ?  One of the cutest, charming whimsical shows I've seen. When researching things to do and places to see while in Paris, I found a web site called The Worldwide Guide to Movies. For this particular movie it gave nine different locations in which the movie had been filmed around Paris.
 So while we were there we especially wanted to visit a couple of the locations.
Café des 2 Moulins, Montmartre, Paris
 The place that made me smile and feel giddy was the café where Amélie worked. It is Café des 2 Moulins. We sat in the exact place they filmed! Ordered drinks and took lots of pictures. The poor staff  must get so tired of all the visitors taking pictures of them and every thing there, including  the bathroom where  one scene took place. To my surprise and delight as you entered the bathroom they had a little glassed-in area where they had props and paraphernalia from the  movie. What a place to put this right?! This just tickled me.

This was the enclosed museum stuff in the bathroom.

The garden gnome was one of the cutest parts of the movie.

A view from where we sat.


One of my favorite parts of the movie was Amélie secretly kidnapping her fathers garden gnome out of his garden, then giving it to her neighbor who was a flight attendant. The flight attendant  would then take pictures of the gnome in different locations around the world. In the movie the dad knew his gnome was missing, but adding to his confusion he started getting letters with  pictures of his gnome in front of the Statue of Liberty, and different places. This was Amélie's way of encouraging her father to travel.
 Katie and I had  gone to the Latin Quarter one day, and was walking back along the West bank of the Seine when a woman approached us holding a 'Flat Stanley', and asked if we could help her get a picture. For those of you who don't know about Flat Stanley, he travels the world in envelopes, then has pictures taken of him at different locations, and then writes a little bit of a journal about his adventures. Turns out that this woman was a flight attendant herself and  was doing this for her seven year old niece. It made me think of what  Amelie did with the gnome! How funny. When she asked if I wouldn't mind holding up the little 'Flat Stanley' in front of the signs by the Notre Damn I had to giggle and say yes. I felt a little like Amélie at that moment,  it was a whimsical moment, and one   that  made my trip extra fun.

Can you see the little gnome in different parts of the world?

Look hard and you can see the little Flat Stanley dressed in blue under the signs.

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12. Keys and Hotels

We had two different hotels while in Paris, one was 80 euros a night, and the other was 215 a night. We decided to spend five nights on the East side, and five on the West side. Our first hotel was in Place D'Italie.   It didn't have A/C with this room, but because of the time of year we really didn't need one, it was just plain and simple. One night in Paris while at this hotel  I  got sick to my stomach from some rich food that I had eaten earlier. Needless to say, we were rushing back to the room. As we got to our door Katie was doing her best to hurry, but the key was the old fashion metal kind that you inserted into the lock and then you had to turn it around and around two times to either lock or unlock the door.

The next morning as we were getting ready to leave I asked Katie if she still had the key, she said no you have the key, I replied no because it was she who was trying to get the door opened the night before when I was having stomach problems. Katie dumps out her purse on the bed, gives it a good shake and then says "See I don't have the key." So I dumped my purse out thinking maybe she put the key in my purse, only after shaking my purse do I look at her and reply, " I don't have the key either." Now we are looking at each other like no, Oh... So we went through our luggage, shaking our bedding, and down on the floor crawling on our hands and knees looking for the key. At this point I decided I'd better go down and talk to the front desk, as I opened the door, guess what? There was our key! In the lock! It had been there all night long, and during that night we heard people coming and going past our door. So I would have to say this was a very safe place to stay.

Twin beds. And I loved our window view.
Another view from our window.

Clean and everything worked well.
Our second hotel was right by the Arc De Trompre Etoile, in fact everyday we walked by it to get to and from our hotel. This room did have A/C, and the building was an actual old mansion that had been renovated into  a hotel. Katie and I felt so 'French' here. Now the key at this hotel was  a plastic card that you just touched the door key and it automatically opened, then you would have to put the card into a slot by the door that would allow the electric in the room to work. One day after sightseeing, we returned to the hotel and upon  reaching our door  we stand there looking at each other and I inform Katie she has the key, and she's like no you have the key mom. I once again dump my purse there in the hallway and no key! So I go downstairs and ask for another key card, and the guy is so sweet, "oh don't worry about it, it happens all the time."  Later that night Katie was getting something out of her purse and guess what? Yep, Katie had the  key in her purse. For the rest of the trip I was in charge of the keys, that way we never had to ask "who has the key".

This had a double bed. We didn't have a pick of twins or not.
More modern bathroom

Free mini bar  which was restocked daily. 

Beautiful Courtyard.
Locations on both hotels were the same to the Metro. Each one was clean, and everyone that worked at these hotels spoke good English and where just a sweet and helpful as ever. So I guess you have to decide how much you want to spend for rooms, because we loved all the people from both hotels, and loved spending time in each location it would be hard to decide which one we'd go back to.

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13. Meet Me In Paris Under The Eiffel Tower


On our first day in Paris we had two things we had to do:  go pick up our Paris Passes, and meet Bob under the Eiffel Tower at 4:00 p.m.  What a more perfect way to start out in Paris than going to the Eiffel Tower. Bob a friend of ours, who is an airline pilot was going to be in Paris that day and would meet us under the tower.
After getting lost for two hours and finally finding our way to the Paris Pass office, we headed for the Eiffel Tower. Upon exiting the Metro at Trocadero,  I was trying to figure out where we were when Katie comes over to me, grabs my arm trying to turn me around and excitedly saying, “Mom, mom, LOOK!” As she turned me around, there it was, the Eiffel Tower. It was ‘Love at first sight’.  I had no idea how huge it was plus I had not noticed from photos how beautiful the iron work on it was. I literally stopped in my tracks, mouth open, and then the tears started swelling up in my eyes. I couldn’t believe I was in Paris looking at the Eiffel Tower!

I asked my daughter Katie “didn’t you cry when you saw it”, she said no because she was so taken by my reaction to seeing it for the first time.

Your whole life you see pictures, watch movies of this site, but I wasn’t expecting the actual size of it. Seeing the surrounding area with the long water fountains, green grassed park areas, I was frozen and struck with awe. I couldn’t believe I was standing here in person, me! Both Katie and I just stood there trying to take in the moment “Maybe you should pinch me, because I still can’t believe I’m here,” I said.

Our tree. You can see the towers reflection in Katie's sunglasses.

We had a little extra time before Bob showed up so we walked over to the grassy park area, and found a tree to sit down by and lean against, and just stare up at the tower, watch the people around us. There were people having their picnics with a baguette, cheese and wine. It really is an amazing thing. 
After spending the day with Bob, walking the East bank of the Seine, going to the Norte Damn, seeing the Lovers’ Bridge with all the locks on it, having dinner at Bob’s favorite restaurant and then having desert at a crepe stand, we walked back to the Eiffel Tower after dark so we could see it all lit up and to get to watch when it sparkled. This time of evening we saw a lot of couples sitting there on the grass with a picnic, but we noticed instead of wine it was Champagne.   I asked Bob, “Because you travel all around the world as a pilot, and get to come here often, do you appreciate these moments?” And you know what he said? “Yes, I do, every time I come here and see it.” 
A few days later Katie and I went back again, wanting to go to the top of the tower when it was still light outside, but then see the lights come on while we were at the top. Our wish came true, and all in perfect timing.
Like in life itself you always want the last moment of something or the last bite to be savored. So on our last day in Paris we decided to end it at the Eiffel Tower. We sat by the fountains, listened to Edith Piaf’s music and watched as the sun set and the lights came on. Ooh La La


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14. Meet Me in Paris

Our last night in Paris


"Let's not go to bed tonight, then maybe we won't have to go home tomorrow." That was how I felt and what I told Katie as we said our goodbye's to the Eiffel Tower. It was Katie's idea that we go to Paris, I wasn't so sure because I had heard that it was a dirty city, that the people were rude and the lines to get into anything where awful. But Katie wanted to go and spent her full ten days of leave there, so of course a mother can't say no.
   We had four months to prepare and get ready, so prepare I did. It had been twenty five years since I had taken a French class, so my husband bought me the Pimsleur conversational French audio set. Every day I worked on my French until I left, I also downloaded French music, watched French movies, and used YOUTUBE  to learn even more French, found and followed blogs of people who live in France, and even FB sites like 'Paris Pass', my favorite site is: http://www.thegoodlifefrance.com.
   I researched the do's and don'ts, tried to learn as much as I could so not to insult or anger anyone while on their soil.
   Now, I'm not for sure if it was all of the above things or what, but.....I LOVED PARIS! We had the best time and found the people absolutely wonderful. We had no trouble getting into places, and didn't find the city dirty at all! Maybe it was the time of year, who knows? When I travel to foreign countries I don't expect or even want them to be like America, that is the reason to go. Yes bathrooms can be VERY different, but I always carry my own packets of Kleenex just in case and you have to remember that some countries are poverty stricken, or maybe the area is hundreds of years old.  I like to camp too and I have seen and used some interesting sites here at home. When I've gone to amusement parks, professional sport games, Disneyland, etc. I have stood in lines for quite
 some time. Yet, I found most of everything in Paris just the same for wait times. So there was nothing disappointing to me.
   I wish I could actually go live in France for a few months so I could travel to see more of it. In fact my husband and I decided that every time we go to Europe we will stop in Paris for a few days, because even after ten days there I still didn't get to see everything Paris has to offer.

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Do you say, "bold-faced lie or bald-faced lie"? I was asked this morning that question and needless to say I had to stop and think, because I wasn't even sure how I said it. Saying both over a few times, trying to let it roll off my tongue  naturally without thinking about it made me stop and realize I really didn't know. I'm sure I've heard people say it both ways never knowing.
So I actually took the time to look it up and this is what I found. 

The original term seems to have been bald-faced (bare-faced) and refers to a face without whiskers. Beards were commonly worn by businessmen in the 18th and 19th century as an attempt to mask facial expressions when making business deals. Thus a bald-faced liar was not a very good liar, and was not able to lie without the guilt showing on his face.

The more correct term is "bald-faced lie" or "bare-faced lie" (bare is more common in Great Britain). It refers to a "shameless" or "brazen" lie. One where the teller does not attempt to hide his face while telling it.
 The phrase can either be used as bold-faced lie, as in someone with a bold enough face to lie (bold meaning daring, or brazen) or someone bold enough to lie to your face; it can also be used as bald-faced lie, where the older meaning of bald (meaning uncovered or unconcealed) - the more correct usage with this term is bare-faced lie. Earlier editions of Merriam Webster define bold-faced as someone being bold or forward, with no relation to lies.

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This has to be the best mac and cheese recipe I have ever put on my lips, which now are on my hips. My daughter who is in the Navy, found and cooked this recipe for a group of sailors on Thanksgiving day. She said it was a huge hit, and so I too wanted her to make it for us while she was home for Christmas. It's true, it is a big hit! Plus it is soooo easy to make!
Cook a box of Rigatoni noodles. Follow the instructions. Be sure and don't over cook them so they won't get mushy. Drain and keep aside for a few minutes.
1 stick butter
2 cups milk
add about 1/3 cup flour
Melt the butter in the same pan that you just emptied out all the pasta from. Add the 2 cups of milk, then whisk in the flour making sure you have no clumps in it. Heat on medium until it slightly thickens. Now throw back in your well drained pasta, then start adding your cheeses.
1 cup mild Cheddar
1 cup Sharp Cheddar
2 cups Mozzarella
1 cup shredded Gouda Cheese
Stir these all together, make sure the cheese is well stirred throughout the pasta. Place into a buttered pan.
Layer the top with bread crumbs. I used Panko bread crumbs. Then I sprayed the top with the "I can't believe it's not butter" spray. This is to help it brown up better.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
Hope you enjoy this as much as we have.

1 Comments on TO DIE FOR MAC AND CHEESE, last added: 12/31/2012
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17. Christmas Food Gift

 I love making and giving food and gifts to those who I love, and want to show my appreciation for. As I have been lucky enough to spend time volunteering in a first grade class I wanted to do something special for my little ones.

  I bought these little Chinese takeout boxes then stamped and embossed them . I then placed a little felt red nose reindeer on the back, added red tissue paper inside, then filled them with M&M's, Kisses, and Christmas pretzel's.

To finish it off, I added curly ribbon to the handles and when all was counted, I had twenty-six boxes total.

 While  making these boxes for the 25 students  and one for the teacher, I realized that this was the number of people killed Friday at Sandy Brook Elementary in CT. These are 1st graders I work with, same grade as the ones killed in CT. My heart and mind struggled with thoughts of those little lives at Sandy Brook, and I kept thinking that it could have been here in this class room, this teacher. I thought about  how those teachers took such heroic care of those students. As I filled each box with treats, I couldn't quit thinking of those 1st graders in CT,  and the ones I love volunteering to help every week.

The kids in the class I volunteer in always say "You're the best Mrs. Skousen", they want to tell me about their pets at home, about their brothers, sisters, and parents. They make me smile, they make me giggle, and I always leave that class every week feeling better than when I walked in. So as I give these little boxes of treats to my little class of 1st graders, I hope they will know it has also been filled with lots of love just for them.


1 Comments on Christmas Food Gift, last added: 12/30/2012
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   When our kids were young I would plan many summer activities with them. (Mostly things that were free) Yesterday,  when our little petty officer called home, we sat around talking on the speaker phone with her, and were talking about all the fun things we used to do during the summer months. One of their favorite things to do was the library reading program, where they would get little prizes for reading so many books. (Sticky hands were their favorite) I was always sorry when school had to start again, because we would always have so much fun.  
   As the kids got into the teen it actually got harder to find things to keep them entertained during the summer. Each kid had such opposite interest, and those interests always cost money.
   This summer we have taken our trailer and traveled around the Pacific Northwest area discovering a slew of new and interesting places; but we still we have moments where the kids get bored when we are here at the house. The best part about having teenagers is that they are "usually" able to entertain themselves. Our youngest child who is very artistic found a site on the Internet that showed different ways of using makeup.
   She found a picture where they had used toilet paper and glue to deform faces, "naturally" this was a light bulb moment for her and off she went to create her own Zombie look.
   I love being a mommy, my kids now keep ME entertained during the summer.  Funny how life turn out!

All this was done with toilet paper,glue, and her makeup kit.


4 Comments on ARE YOUR TEENAGERS BORED THIS SUMMER?, last added: 8/1/2012
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With the New Year, and trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do with this new season of my life, as two kids have left the nest. I just happened to be looking up something on Dr. OZ website when I came across this article on happiness, and I want to share this you.

Week 1: Keep a Daily Diary
Can you easily identify the daily activities, interactions and occurrences that make you happiest? Keeping a daily diary will help you identify the situations and people that make you happiest. Take note of these occurrences, which can be as small as listening to music while working, talking to a good friend, or spending time with your family - and slowly begin to increase the frequency of those tasks which make you happiest.
This step is about self-awareness and thinking critically about your daily reactions and emotions. Only by understanding why we feel the way we do can we expect to make lasting meaningful change.

Week 2: Fake It Till You Make It
This week, you are going to put a smile on your face even if you're feeling blue, grumpy or burdened. A response called facial feedback indicates that when you smile, you send a signal to your brain that says, "I am happy." Additionally, if you're smiling, you're likely to seem more approachable and happy to others - and people are more likely to smile back. We experience positive emotions more frequently than negative ones, but negative emotions are unfortunately stronger.
It's important to remember that you aren't attempting to eliminate all your negative emotions - such a task would overwhelm anyone. Instead, try to increase the instances of positive emotions (remember your daily dairy!).

Week 3: Create a Diversion
When you find yourself drowning in a sea of negative thoughts - "I'm overweight," "I'm unlikeable," "Why am I even at this party?" - you need to find a strategy to stop ruminating. This applies to social situations and when you are spending time alone. It may seem like an overwhelming task to divert your attention from issues swirling in your own mind - but all you need are 1 or 2 escape mechanisms.
If alone, put on your favorite song and sing along or go for a long walk. When in a social setting, try to concentrate on what others are saying in the conversation rather than what's going on in your own mind.

Week 4: Random Acts of Kindness
During the fourth week of your happiness action plan, you are going to commit 1 random act of kindness a day. By feeding a stranger's parking meter, sending someone a thank you note, or paying someone a compliment, you give yourself a burst of positive emotion. By practicing small acts of kindness, you will perceive yourself and others more positively. You'll also appreciate your good fortune in comparison. Give yourself a self-worth, self-esteem boost by helping others. (End of article.)

Well, I started the daily list of things that make me happy. So every now an

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1 stick butter
3/4 c. creamy peanut butter
12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 box Rice Chex
1 box powdered sugar

Melt butter with peanut butter and chocolate chips; mix well. Pour box of Rice Chex in a very large mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate mixture. Stir until all of the Rice Chex are coated. Place half of the powdered sugar in a large paper bag; pour in the "chow". Place the other half of the powdered sugar in bag and shake until all of the "chow" is thoroughly coated. Makes a wonderful snack!

The pink little hats are made from Buggles dipped in pink melted candies, then rolled in white sprinles.

0 Comments on PUPPY CHOW TRAIL MIX as of 3/6/2012 8:12:00 PM
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21. St. Patty Day's Fun

Here's a cute idea for a 'Knock & Run' for St. Patricks Day.   To see how to make and put it together, click on the link to the blog Time to get PINCHED! It's a St. Patrick's Day version of getting Booed or Elfed! Download the poster/instructions as well as the ...

1 Comments on St. Patty Day's Fun, last added: 3/16/2012
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  You know when you have packed up the camping gear? Or in our case stocked up the RV trailer, traveled all day, set up the campsite, and then you have to make dinner for all the hungry mouth's?

Well here is the easiest fastest way to feed them. And the best part is there is hardly any cleanup.

Can of chili beans
Bag of Fritos (Individual bags)
Sour Cream
Bag of shredded cheese
Bag of shredded lettuce
Chopped up tomatoes, onions
Hot sauce

 Each person opens up a bag of Fritos, add some chili beans, cheese and any other thing they want to choose for  toppings. Give them a plastic fork, and WALLA! Dinner is served. When finished, NO DISHES!!


Used the Bisquick recipe for short-cakes. I only made enough bottoms for the amount of people. Then with the remaining dough I rolled it out about an 1/8" thick. Then used my miniature star cookie cutter and cut out little stars, brushed canned milk over the top and added the blue decorative sugar  to them. I baked them at 325 for about 10 min.

1- bag of the frozen mix berries, add  sugar over the frozen fruit, shake and place in refrigerator.

Add cool whip topping,

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Ooh La La. Wineries, berry fields and rows of Lavender. It looks and feels like Paris. Well the pictures of Paris anyway. But here in the Pacific Northwest we have Sequim. We loaded up our trailer and off we went to the Sequim Lavender Festival.

This was our first time attending, and were told by a good friend ‘Mike’ that this place was the driest area in Western Washington, which I thought was interesting because we actually stayed at the KOA in Port Angeles eight miles west of Sequim. Everyone who is a Twilight fan knows Port Angeles is where Bella and Edward had their first date. As luck would have it, the weather did not live up to the theory that Sequim has a blue hole in the sky over it. We woke up our first morning to rain. Not wanting to let the rain stop us from exploring the area we took on our adventure. There were about 14 farms open to the public for tours. We just happened upon the greatest farm which not only had lavender, it also had acres of every berry your mouth would want. My kids loved that we got to pick our own.


Each of the farms had some kind of activities from u-pick fruit to lavender, music, crafts, and some of the farms had demonstrations on cooking with lavender. And last but not least was their own gift shops with everything and anything to do with lavender.

Here is a recipe that was in the offical program guide for the event.


4 cups whole milk                              8 white fresh lavender top

1 cup sugar                                          Fresh raspberries

1 cup honey                                         Fresh lavender buds

In a medium saucepan cook milk over medium heat to almost boiling. Remove from heat; stir in cup sugar, honey and lavender tops (each about 5 inches long, or 2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender). Cover and steep until mixure has cooled to room temperature (45-60 minutes). Strain milk mixture; discard lavender. Freeze mixture according to ice cream maker manufacturer's directions. Serve with fresh raspberries ( or fruit of choice) and sprinkle with lavender buds.

Recipe provided by Mrian Platt

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Since the late 1970s Roswell, New Mexico has been the subject of intense controversy and of theories as to the true nature of the object that crashed there. The incident has turned into a widely known phenomenon, making the name Roswell synonymous with UFOs.

Stonehenge is a unique monument, an icon, an inspiration and part of an important prehistoric landscape. It is a source for finding out more about prehistory and in the development of archaeology.

Now we have ROW 19. When owners Rick and Susan Olson bought this five acre Creekside Lavender Farm it had two acres of lavender consisting of 20 varieties. Each row is numbered and labeled with a name of its kind. One row had no name to identify it, only the number 19 was there. So began the mystery of this row of lavender. Rick had local experts come and try to identify it, but to no avail. So after 5 yrs. it is still ‘Row 19’. The funny thing about this is that Rick said it has become a favorite. Oils and other products sold using it are labeled and sold as Row 19.

When entering the gift shop we meet their two daughters. One of the things you can do there is create your own scent for a spritzer. My daughter loved this.

Rick is an engineer and when he found that my son is a physics major at college he invited him to come see his distillery equipment and then explained the process to him.

This little guy has been placed in the front of Row 19. You will just have to go there and ask them "why?".
If you would like to know more about this wonderful lavender farm or order some of their Row 19 , you can go to LAVENDERCONNECTION.COM

The trail that leads down to the spit.
   Spit?  Where? What?  I embarrassed to say I had never heard of a spit. Go figure there would be one in the State where we now live. Coming from the Southwest spit is something that comes out of your mouth! Who knew it was a growing piece of sand.

Having gone to Sequim, WA to attend the Lavender Fair. We noticed a exit sign that said Dungeness  Spit. SURPRISE! We would never have guessed this 631-acre refuge was that close to the freeway. When you're just driving along,  you never know what is only a few miles off the road.

This is the longest natural sand spit in the United States, it is 5.5 miles long, extending into the Strait of Juan De Fuca, growing about 15 ft. a year for the last 120 years. Out on the tip is a light house. It's been said that they have seen 200 or more species of birds encompassing this area.

Adjacent to this refuge is another 216 acres of shoreline that you can hike. Only thing is we wished we had found the spit earlier in the day, because we were only able to hike out on it a few miles due to  the tide that was coming in, and it was getting harder and harder to get around some areas on the spit. It's a good 10 mile round trip hike.

So now I know...and you know....and you know, that I know what a spit is. HAH

2 Comments on TAKE AN EXIT! ANY EXIT AND SEE WHAT YOU FIND!, last added: 7/29/2012
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