Jan 23, 2014

Adventures goes to a jazz concert.

The Falany Performing Arts Center is located about ten minutes away from Canton, in Waleska, GA, at Reinhardt College.  

I saw Aimee, our local Macaroni Kid blogger, post a give-a-way for four tickets to tonights' show, and I entered.  I entered as many times as possible, and then, told Geoff about it.  We looked up the musicians on Youtube, and just knew this was going to be a show that we did not want to miss.  We were right!  It was amazing!  We got the email that we had won the tickets, and then spent the next two days jumping out of our skin until the show.  (We lead very dull lives.  Charlie has a crazy mouth infection from biting his cheek after having it numbed for a dental procedure.  That's as exciting as our life has been lately.)  

This was really an amazing band.  Shay turned to me at the end, after bopping and singing along all night, and said, "Mom!  They were fantastic!"  Kid has got herself a sense of musical appreciation unlike any other.  While we expose our children to practically EVERYTHING when it comes to the arts, they have a great appreciation for music because Geoff and I are music lovers that truly do love everything from rock to the Dead, classical to oldies, and everything in between.  I became a serious Frank fan some time in my early twenties.  Luckily, we share the same musical taste, and we are passing it down to our migits.  

The only moment of hesitation was right after the Band Director, Jeremy Davis, entered the stage and started introducing himself.  Charlie looked at me and said, "Where's the magician?"  "Uh.  Well.  I am not sure what you are thinking, but we are here to see a jazz concert."  To which he said, "I thought you said we would see a magician." OOPS.  I guess musician and magician do sound similar.  Luckily, he quickly got into the groove with us and we all enjoyed the snot out of the whole show.  (They describe themselves as part Rat Pack in the way they carry out their show.  True.  Lots of banter and story telling.  The time just flew!  

Jeremy Davis- Band leader.  He was a talented musician and had a very mellow way about him.  
Clay Johnson- Lead Vocal- and adorbs.  I told Geoff that I wanted to stick him in my pocket and take him home.  Geoff said we could.  He's cool like that.  He had a very classic voice and I actually preferred the arrangements with his voice better than the original versions.  

Both men took tons of time chatting it up with the kids, and they left on cloud nine.  We bought the CD and had Clay sign it, and we listened and sang along the whole way home.  We got home and pulled up this video I found a few months ago of Michael Buble getting stopped during his concert by a mother who wanted her son to get to sing on stage with him.  The kids loved it.  (Look it up- hilarious!)  I guess we are headed into some long Jazz-inspired home school days next week ;o) Thank G-d, seeing as I am really not into Bluegrass or Fiddler on the Roof- unlike my migits, who were begging for that lately.

Thank you Macaroni Kid for sharing events like this with us!  Geoff had been trying to get me to agree to go even if we didn't win the tickets.  It would have really been a challenge to go this week, so we are extra special grateful for the opportunity.  *You can find the Canton/Woodstock/Cumming Macaroni Kid on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  She sends out weekly newsletters with all family friendly, local events.  She has TONS of giveaways- ALL.THE.TIME!  Go like her on Facebook and share her with your friends with kids.  

As for the Falany Performing Arts Center- THANK YOU!  Thank you for providing our community with quality arts for the whole family!  We have enjoyed a number of shows there this past winter, and look forward to many more!  The theater is incredibly family friendly and the volunteers and employees are always so kind to us.  

Jan 15, 2014

Adventures in Netti-Pots!

FYI I drink two cups of green tea with a vitamin C packet each day, as well as a daily 4000 mg. vitamin D drop.  Those two vitamins work nicely together, and have you read the research on vitamin D supplement being an anti-viral?  That has been our flu preventative for a few years now. Our family not only eats a variety of fresh fruits and veggies each day, but we supplement enough that aside from seasonal allergies, we are a healthy group.  

I used a Netti Pot for the first time yesterday.  Not sure what I did wrong, but my ears popped and hurt, and my nose still feels like it is burning.  I only used half a packet of the stuff for the full amount of water.  It was an experience, and somehow, the automatic hand sanitizer decided to spit out at me and then I was all about laughing but laughing while you have water draining out of your snout is not the best choice at that moment.  Here's the scene-
I have a thing for automatic/refillable soap and hand sanitizers.  (I refill my soap dispenser with my own soaps.  I don't buy refills.) And I have not had to yet, but you can make your own hand sanitizer as well.  That is coming soon!

Jan 14, 2014

Why I love Comfort Zone Heating and Air

It's really what they didn't do that is most impressive.  They didn't try to argue with me.  They didn't act irresponsibly.  They didn't take their own sweet time in rectifying the error.  From admission to resolution, Comfort Zone deserves the highest praises.

About four years ago our heater and our air conditioner both died, each in the deepest part of it's season.  The air conditioner was the worst one for us.  First, this piece broke in it that was about the size of a soda can.  A stab in the dark prompted us to call a company that was in the area, Comfort Zone,  and they came out immediately.  During that summer, there was no less than four heating/cooling repair trucks lining our street at any given time.  I took pause and had a brief thought that maybe I had missed my calling.  Once the air conditioner was fixed, I returned to my senses.  Within weeks, the whole air conditioner literally exploded.  It was the Fourth of July, and let me tell you, I was about 15 feet away in the kitchen when it blew, and I think my ears are still ringing from the explosion.  Again, I called back the same company and they were able to determine the cause of the explosion.  (Our old dog used to "relieve" himself on the side of the air conditioner and it literally corroded the box and one day, it finally had enough and exploded.  True story.)  They gave us the fairest price for a top of the line system with a really great warranty.  The rest of the summer was a very pleasant one.  One of our neighbors whose air conditioner also blew a soda can part one day had to lay her then baby down for a nap in our frigid home.  It all worked out.

That winter, when our home was colder than it had ever been, and we froze and killed our seven year old beta fish, we again called Comfort Zone.  I microwaved the fish for a few seconds to try to warm him, but apparently, beta fish don't care for the cold or to be cooked.  If you had doubts, I don't run a pet sitting service either.  My lack of business start ups are due to my lack of abilities-  never for lack of ideas.  Yes, like everyone else on the street that winter,  we had to have our HVAC replaced.  Those guys worked for hours in the attic and in the cold.  They were great, and didn't leave until we were warm again.  If I have ever doubted that angels walk among us, faith was restored.

Well, this past freeze didn't leave without incidence.  Last week, our eight year old came in at five in the morning to announce that he hears a sound.  Hubby, not hearing it due to hearing loss, walked the said eight year old back into his room, and told him to go back to sleep.  Half an hour later, our son returned, and this time, I was awoken by him.  I also heard the "sound."  I walked out of the room and turned the hall light on and saw a water dripping from the second story ceiling down to the leather sofa below.  UGH.  That is the only thought one can have that early in the morning.  It's too challenging to have many thoughts before the sun and caffeine have taken hold.  I called a restoration company that we had great success with this past summer.  They have a 24/7 hot line and sadly, my call from 5:30 a.m. was not returned until almost noon!  By then, I had already called Comfort Zone and had someone at my house to assess the problem.

Upon inspection, it appeared that the condensation line was frozen, and backing up.  Sadly, the line was not able to properly back up into the tray designed for such events that would cause an automatic shut off due to improper installation of the line.  So, the drip ended up flowing onto the dry wall in the attic and fell between the seams and dripped into the living room below.  Luckily, as soon as I turned the heat off, it began to slow down, and within 12 hours, we were drying out, and now, the only issue we are left with is the staining of the ceiling.  Comfort Zone has set up a drywall/painter to come out to my home on Wed. to see what he needs to do to fix that.

From our vantage point,  the whole ordeal was made so much more pleasant by dealing with a  company that not only is professional, but respects their customers.  Brian from Comfort Zone has repeatedly apologized and done everything right to fix what could have been a really difficult situation.  We have had a lot of home repairs lately. We have had incredibly good and one incredibly bad experience while trying to resolve home repair nightmares.  Comfort Zone ranks up their with the best of them.  We used the Comfort Zone in Ball Ground, Ga.  They can be reached at (770)574-4063.  Brian was ethical, and wanted to make sure that his company did the right thing.  He would have no idea that I could have a platform to share my experience with his company for better or worse.  Luckily for him, I like to share my positives with those around us.  

*I regard customer reviews more highly than anything when making decisions for goods and services, and hope that you recognize that while we were not held financially responsible for the repairs necessary in this situation, the point was that this company accepted responsibility for one of their employees' errors, and have done enough work with us over the past four years that I am sharing multiple experiences to highlight why they have earned our praises.  They also replaced my parents 30+ year old air conditioning units in their Marietta home right after installing ours.

Jan 6, 2014

Just how bad is that store bought stuff, anyway?

Things that are made for consumers are made to have a certain shelf life.  That need to "shelve" product for longer terms causes additives to be put into your product.  Are those additives all bad?  Probably not, but over time, probably.  There are some stabilizers that are more natural, but there is no need to purchase products that you can easily make at home, more naturally, AND save a ton of money on.

We have some chilly weather in our part of the woods in northern Georgia for a few days, so yesterday I made a homemade potato soup and homemade beer bread.  I was introduced to beer bread by way of a pyramid selling company called "Tastefully Simple" back in the early 2000's.  I could not afford the nearly $7 a box (once you add the taxes, shipping, and handling charges), so I researched ways to make it at home.  I have switched from my traditional beer bread to now adding honey in it and the new and improved honey beer bread is good enough to make you "wanna' slap yer' granny!"  I pulled up my simple recipe, and probably spent about $2 on it with my can of beer as the yeast agent for rising, and other common kitchen ingredients.  I know exactly what was put into my product, and can safely say that I can pronounce every ingredient.  (recipe to follow)

While I was gathering my ingredients, I panicked realizing that the recipe called for baking powder.  I had thrown away my baking powder after some research on the dangers of store bought with the aluminum addition.  So, I made my own!  It is not a double acting powder, but it honestly did not have a negative effect on my finished product.  The bread turned out amazing!  Do your research on aluminum  and making your own baking powder.  There are many scientific studies showing dangers to heavy metals.  I can testify that in the mid nineties, around the time of my hippy-headbanger phase, the Megadeath/Suicidal Tendencies concert had some lasting effects on me.  Heavy metal is nothing to joke about.
Because, what Jewish teen in the early nineties doesn't wear peace signs, black combat boots with shorts and go head banging?  I think that was my first confession when I became Catholic.  

Going to Cabbage Patch Land with your grandparents and mom on your sixteenth birthday is such a fun event when you are freak show like I obviously was.  There is just so much wrong with this picture.  Like, why are both my grandparents sun glasses on in doors? And Ma, that perm? 

So, here is the recipe I chose to use for the homemade baking powder.  Basically, 2:1 ratio of cream of tartar to baking soda.  I then added one tablespoon of cornstarch to the jar since I intended on storing some.  I found multiple different recipes for it, and ended up doubling my recipe and using the following; 4 Tbs cream of tartar, 2 Tbs baking soda, and 1Tbs corn starch.
I love using my contact paper to make my glass recycled jars look all fancy.  One day I will bore of that print. Today is not that day.  

Want my honey beer bread recipe just for fun on this arctic cold kind of day?  Okay!  Enjoy!


And when you read her blog, you will find that she took it from someone else, and that someone else took it from yet another, and so on.  I found her on Pinterest.com.

I also make my own laundry detergent and bathroom/kitchen cleaners.  I use peroxide to clean carpet stains,  Dawn (original formulation) mixed with half white vinegar (antibacterial properties) and some water on bathroom and kitchen.  I was a sworn believer of those bubble things, but I no longer scrub and man does it clean and not leave a film, therefore, it stays cleaner, longer.  I also make my own sugar scrub that I use in the shower each day!  I am going to make my own vanilla soon.  Want to use up what I have first, then, I will save a ton of money on the homemade stuff.  I do know if you plan on making that, you have to allow for at least a month or more for it to make, and you need to have some containers to store that in.  Need to research a little more into that one.

I have had a homemade fail or two.  Like, those dishwashing detergent tablets.  That were crazy easy to make, and really turned out great, but they don't work well.  That was the most ineffective one I have failed on.  I rely on the internet for ideas, but tweak them along the way as I learn how different recipes and products work.  We love our brownie mix more than any box we have ever bought.  I keep the dry ingredients together in a container or plastic baggie, and when we need a quick dessert, I just throw a few ingredients together with it, and we are set.

Do you have any home made products/recipes that you enjoy?  We stopped buying most prepackaged meals and snacks a few years ago, and while we still buy pretzels and chips, we buy much less than ever before, and stick to the perimeter of the grocery store for our staples.  The savings is appreciable.  What sort of changes have you made to not only save money, but your families' health?