Grandmothers Old Fashioned Homemade Fudge

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At first glance, I fell in love with it.

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fudge

I knew I have to know how to make it, whatever it takes!

Good thing is, the site was given and so, it did not take me ages to look for the recipe. But wait, there’s more! Granny did not only give out her best-tasting recipe, it also is available to be shared right here!

Thank you, Grandmothers Kitchen!

And so, here goes the oh-so-yummy, Grandmother’s Old Fashioned Homemade Fudge.

Ingredients include:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Tools:

Candy thermometer

Directions:

Note: Making perfect fudge can be a bit tricky and sometimes fudge will crystalize or not set. This old fashioned recipe makes a fantastic fudge. It is best to have a candy thermometer on hand so you know you have reached the necessary temperature.

Butter an 8×8 inch square baking pan. Set aside.
Grease the sides of a medium sized sauce pan with butter.
In saucepan combine sugar, cocoa and milk.
Stir to blend, then bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat and simmer. Do not stir again.
Place candy thermometer in pan and cook until temperature reaches 238 degrees F (114 degrees C).

*If you are not using a thermometer, then cook until a drop of this mixture in a cup of cold water forms a soft ball. Feel the ball with your fingers to make sure it is the right consistency. It should flatten when pressed between your fingers.

Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla extract.
Beat with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until the fudge loses its shine.
Pour into prepared pan and let cool and cut into small squares.

Original Old Fashioned Homemade Fudge Recipe found at Grandmothers Kitchen Recipes.

So when you’ve tried this recipe out, you can tell us about it too!

See yah!

United Nations 2014 Celebration

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It’s the time of the year once again, to celebrate United Nations Day.

My Kids were pretty excited to try out their costumes, and participated in the parade!

My daughter chose Egypt,

and was the young queen, Cleopatra.

Sophia

Sophia, as young Cleopatra

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with her teacher

I have made the costume myself, and took me close to two weeks to finish, due to my busy work schedule. Materials include a meter of white alpa geena cloth, a piece of metallic gold cloth for the yoke, belt, headdress and bangles, and a blue georgette (see-through) cloth for the cape. I also used a lot of beads and faux jewels to decorate the yoke and belt. The dress design was pretty much simple, but it was the beadwork that took much of my time to finish this costume.

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For the headdress, I used black yarn, which I crocheted myself to give a braided-look, and  attached a golden clamp at the ends. What I also love is IN2IT’s black eyeliner, which was smooth and easy to apply and cool to the skin. It had a gel-kinda-feel, and thank my sister-in-law for it. It’s now in my list of things-to-buy this Christmas.

:)

As for my son, I bought him an authentic “bahag” (loincloth) from Baguio City. It’s original and was woven by an Igorot.

Imagine my frustration when he told me, he is not joining the program. Fortunately, he later on decided to join, and bravely donn the bahag. Here’s how he looked with it.

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The day ended.

My daughter then asked me, “What will be my costume for next year?”

Well, that’s one great question,

and I have got a lot of time to think about till next year.

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Time to relax now.

See yah!

Goodbye, My Angel … Tschüß, mein Engel!

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I know,

I never visit this site as regularly as before.

And every time,

I always give an excuse.

But in the deepest abyss of my heart, I have longed to be here.

August had been a special month for me. Special, because I have found one of the greatest love of my Life. Now, it is still special… in another way.

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August 23rd – 25th were not easy days.

I received a call from Germany, letting me know that Stefan had a heart attack. His first … and last one!

It was a sad news, and a very painful one, for it was so sudden. I was shocked! He was so full of life, with no trace of sickness. And yet, it happened. So many times during the phone call, his mother would ask me, “Joy, bist du noch da?” (“Joy, are you still there?”) For many times, I felt my tongue left me.

The 24th of August would have been our 4th official anniversary. But if we’d count the unofficial ones, it is close to 10 years that we’ve been together.

We started out as friends. No, without benefit. It was purely platonic. He had a girlfriend, and I had a life of my own. But we were a team. We supported each other through life’s ups and downs. We were best of friends. And so, it was so much later on in the relationship that we realized and decided to be life partners and raise kids together.

We have lived, laughed and even, fought. Yet the most important thing is, we have loved each other and stayed true, till Death parted the two of us.

But I know that the separation is only physical. Death is when we discard our earthly suits, to be one with the Source of All, to process what we have learned here and later on, might come back to learn some more. Death is the birth of our Soul, our true selves, into the Spirit World. It is when we go back Home, and become our true Selves.

As humans, we have been programmed to weep for the death of a loved one, to be attached to the outer physical covering, which is the body. We know not the Soul, who lived inside the body. We have forgotten of it, somehow.

Knowing about this cycle of Life and Death has kept me (or at least, I have learned and still continue to do so) unattached to all that is physical. My mother and my kids are not my own, and so is Stefan. Even my body is not my own, and not mine to keep. I wept, but not for long.

What’s left in my heart is not pain, but only Gratitude and Love.

I am so thankful that we have met. That in my mess of a life, he found me and literally, picked me up. He had taught and helped me in various ways, so many but don’t want to enumerate for he already knows. He was, for me, my personal Angel, sent to help me along the way. And now, his great work is done.

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Thank you, Stefan! Vielen Dank!

Ich habe Dich ganz, ganz liebt, mein Schatz.

Until we meet again…

Tschüß!

Take a Moment for Mesothelioma

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Here I am again!

Been gone for a month, I guess, and it’s not because I don’t have anything to share to you guys, but it’s all because it is sooo difficult to juggle my time between work, family and my groups. Then after a late Sunday night meeting I had with one of those groups, I silently promised to myself that I will have to sit down and write.

A while back, I received a message from Heather Von St. James, asking me if I could help her out in spreading awareness about Mesothelioma. In my previous 7 years of being in the allied medical profession, I have never heard of it, and before I answered Heather, I first had to answer my own question,

“What is Mesothelioma?”

I immediately had to go to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance site.

Mesothelioma is a cancer that occurs in the thin layer of cells lining the body’s internal organs, called the mesothelium. It has three recognized types:
1. Pleural – the most common form of the disease
2. Peritoneal – occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity
3. Pericardial – that which is seen in the pericardium, the heart’s lining.
“So, what causes it?”
The disease, generally, is a result of occupational asbestos exposure, but sometimes environmental exposure can be the culprit. When products containing asbestos deteriorate, asbestos fibers can be inhaled and may be lodged into the lining of the lungs, resulting to Pleural Mesothelioma, or if swallowed – can result to the Peritoneal type.

Asbestos exposure is the number one cause of occupational cancer in the U.S. even more than 30 years after the peak of its use.
“But, what is asbestos and where can it found?”
Asbestos refers to a set of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals, used as a fire-retardant and insulation material. Factories and builders use it because of its wonderful properties like: its resistance to fire, heat, electrical and chemical breakdown, strength, sound absorption and affordability. And so, it is used in roofing shingles, floor tiles, ceiling materials, textile products, cement compounds and automotive parts.
We do not get to worry when these asbestos-containing products are intact and stable. It is only when they get damaged or break down and the minute asbestos fibers get airborne and inhaled, then it would be very hazardous indeed. Therefore, it can be found in many older homes, schools, factories and commercial buildings.

Here’s more about Mesothelioma:

mesothelioma facts

Mesothelioma Facts

To know more about Asbestos Occupations, click on the link: Workers at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
And as I have mentioned earlier, asbestos is used in a lot of products and sites so to know more about them, click on: Asbestos Products

“What about Treatment?”
Conventional treatments for mesothelioma include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Because of the rareness of this disease, it has been a great challenge to run research studies to compare treatments and find out what the ideal treatment is for every stage of the disease. Therefore, the major goal for treatment of Mesothelioma patients is to reduce pain, and to prolong a patient’s life as long as possible.

Looking at all this, I do not think I would be able to bear the pain, of one suffering from the disease or of a family member having to see their loved one suffer. And now that we know about it, what we can do is to prevent ourselves from contracting it, or if you think you’ve had contact with asbestos materials, it would be best to consult a good doctor who knows about Mesothelioma.

When Heather first wrote to me, I have learned that she’s a Mesothelioma survivor, and I thought and told her that she is one brave Soul, that after winning her battle with the disease she is now working to spread the word about it. I believe in her cause. Awareness does help. So, thank you Heather, for opening my eyes …

To Heather, and everyone at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance,
and to those suffering from the disease, and their families,
I send my Joy, Peace, Light and Love.

Thanks for stopping by …

See yah!

Events, Anniversaries and what not…

It’s a gloomy day today. Well, at least it was, till it rained cats and dogs! This is just the kind of day that makes me want to just lay on my bed, doing nothing … but today is just different!

I finished a whole round of the Metis set and 110 situps.

I went out early, to hand my extra seeds to a friend.

Washed my dirty baseball cap.

Meditated…

And these are not the things that I do on a regular basis.

Sounds like a miracle!

And even with the gloomy atmosphere, I cannot help to notice my sunny disposition. Today is just a special day for me. It’s my fifth month being a happy Catapulter, and therefore, I am now a regular employee. I did not expect to get a raise … so, read my lips:

R.A.I.S.E!!!

you get the idea how much that is.

And now, WordPress just congratulated me, because I signed up with them a year ago. Imagine that! WordPress remembered, and I did not. hmmm… Could that be a sign of something?

I don’t know.

You tell me. :) 

‘love you, Folks! but bye for now…

see yah!

It’s a Jungle out There! — Part I

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Zombie apocalypse, WW3, a Life of Pi moment, Hunger Games, an airplane crash into the Amazon — and you’re the only survivor thingy, The End of the World, and what not …

those were just some of the ideas that got to our head.

Whatever it is that we are preparing for, I do not know really, but our group has signed us up for a Disaster and Survival Skills Training for two Saturdays this month. It was not compulsory and it’s not for free, but of course, I signed up. Why would I not want to survive?

And who better to train us than the experts of this field? RAPID, or Rescue Assistance Peacekeeping Intelligence Detail, Inc. is a group of volunteers, with only one Motto and that is to save lives.

I took up the training, especially now that I have joined a trekking and spelunking group. The skills would be useful, should we stay in the mountains overnight (or more days) – or if unfortunately we get stucked in the jungle somewhere. Well, hopefully not! So, this is just in case disaster strikes, we’ll know what to do.

The first part is more on the classroom setting: how to get food and water, how to make a shelter, to guard against hypothermia or make snow shoes and improvised sunglasses, how to tell whether a plant/animal/insect is edible or not, water purification, how to start a fire without use of matches, life-saving skills, etc…

our small group of Survivors

our small group of Survivors

one life-saving technique taught to us

one life-saving technique taught to us

What I love most is the part where we teamed up, went outside and got dirty. :D

each team member was bound to each other, as we looked for fuel and stuff that we can use for our cooking

each team member was bound to each other, as we looked for fuel and stuff that we can use for our cooking

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we're proud to be the first team to start the fire and cook our food

we’re proud to be the first team to start the fire and cook our food

and built an underground oven too

and built an underground oven too

our improvised water purification system

our improvised water purification system

Survivors!

Survivors!

I don’t usually believe it when someone says, “Believe me!” because I am the type of person who’ll first try it out. But yeah, BELIEVE ME, the food we cooked tasted great, especially the fish we cooked in our underground oven. The leaves and the trapped smoke has brought out a kind of smell that made the food soooo delicious as it reaches the palate.

And so, here I am, looking forward to next  Saturday of more survival fun. I anticipate hours of running after chickens, killing them (ewww, don’t know how!) and cooking. Also perhaps the actual making of a shelter, and so much more!

Do you think that maybe I should take up Archery, too? (for a Hunger Games-type of survival) :D LOL.

And lastly, here’s what I learned and will always remember.

It would take 3 weeks for us to live without food, 3 days without water, 3 minutes without air — but only 3 seconds of panic to die.

So whatever situation you are in, always think, think and think. Don’t lose that head.

Thanks for stopping by…

see yah for Part II!

Happy Fathers’ Day

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Father,

Head of the Family

Daddy, Papang, Tatay, Papa, Tati, Pappi …

however we call them,

I wish you a Happy Fathers’ Day!

And on this day, I remember mine though he’s no longer with us. I’ll  remember him as the silent one, soft-spoken, patient, loving and kind father I’ve always had.

Papang and me

Papang and me

And like most fathers, you’ve provided and cared for us, seen us through our difficulties. You were always there for me, in school, in Life… Gave me a beautiful and comfortable life, but it was just me to leave so early and face the outside world. That was when I had to earn my own living and raise my Kids on my own. It was you who visited me often, and I hated how you’ve seen me during my lowest moments and yet, you stood by me.

Thank you, my dear Papang!

At times I miss you, and I know you are just there and so, you still make me smile! :)

I love you, ‘pang and know that to me, you are perfect!

Happy Fathers’ Day!

The Empress’s New Dress

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Helloooo there!

A while back, I have been busy making clothes for friends, clients and the Kids. So busy that even though I have thought about making one for myself, I actually have no time to do it!

But thanks to the holidays, the longer weekend have provided me extra time for a much-needed addition to my wardrobe. You see, I am not a work-at-home mom anymore. I go to an office now, and this requires me to get up at a specific time of day and be at work on time. And also that I dress the part.

For me, it really is simple.

All I need to do is, to rummage through my stash of fabric. I know I’ve got everything in there to make a dress. And yes! I found a jersey (stretchy) type, print fabric that has shades of pink and black.

I decided on a simple cut, where I don’t have to put darts on the bodice, and the sleeves are continuous that I don’t have to attach them to the whole piece later on.

What I really like about sewing my own dress is that, I can choose my own design and execute them, and I won’t have a problem with the fitting, or unwanted accessories. Unlike buying from stores, I won’t need to resize or adjust something from it.

me!

me!

This one has a slight high-low (mullet), lettuce hem with a v-neckline that I like, because it elongates my neck a bit more. It’s so simple that I was able to finish it in just about 2 hours, and when worn, you have the option to use a belt on it or not. Either way would be just as good.

I am thinking of making a peplum blouse as my next for-me project, and perhaps also, another dress… I just hope I’ll have more time to do all these and also to go back to sewing as a business. My previous clients have all been bugging me already, asking me when I’ll take their orders.

In time…

for now, my clients are my Kids and myself, and to share with you guys.

:)

Wish you all a Happy 5% Friday! (Why 5%?)

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will tell you all about it next time.

Thanks for stopping by… See yah!

The Song of the Mountains

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This is more like a dream-come-true for me and I’ve been at it for a while, thinking and wanting to do what the others have been doing for some time now.

My friends, in the past months, have been inviting me to get on a life of adventure in the mountains with them.

At that time, it was just impossible. Aside from work and family, I have entered a student’s life, as I have been into my German language studies again. Well, it was only for 3 months and when it ended, I have decided it’s high time to train the body. (Remember my New Year’s resolution?)

For what good is a brain, when the body is … weak? LOL. That’s just a passing thought. Of course, we can do anything and everything when we never give up.

And so, for the last 4 weeks I have started with Aerobics and Strength training, strengthening my body and increasing endurance for physical activity. I use FREELETICS. It’s a free workout, without having to rely on gym equipments. And it is what I really like, because then, I can do it anytime and anywhere.

So yeah, I have started 4 weeks ago.

And I thought to try and check myself by joining my friends, trekking and spelunking, on the last day of May. I let my Kids join, too! I know that it’s the kind of adventure that they would go for.

We started out very early in the morning, as we had to travel 30km from the city. Our starting point was at the middle of 2 of our destinations, and started off at 8:30 in the morning. We went by 2’s on motorcycles, to the main path going to Balao cave. We got there and geared up, and walked for a good 20-30 minutes.

We had to go through a narrow, muddy path (since it rained the night before)

We had to go through a narrow, muddy path (since it rained the night before)

along farms ...

along farms …

and through some forest!

and through some forest!

At the very sight of all the untouched nature, my heart leaped and sang! I want to cry with an indescribable Joy I felt within. I’ve wanted to SING to the mountains!

“It’s AWESOME“, I roared when we finally got to the mouth of the cave!

DSC_0037You would need to crouch here, to enter the cave, which I didn’t mind doing. This was not my first cave visit. The first one was so much bigger than this one, and you just walk right in, like it’s a house. Inside, is like a Cathedral though.

the descent into Balao Cave

the descent into Balao Cave

rock and crystal formations inside the cave

rock and crystal formations inside the cave

my young spelunkers!

my young spelunkers!

Balao Cave is my daughter’s first cave and I am glad she was not afraid to get in, even when it was so dark inside.

I could not remember how long we stayed inside this cave. I was in awe of what I saw. It’s beautiful! It’s just sad that we saw some writings on its walls and a few broken crystals/stalagmites, probably made by the others who’ve been there.

The hike back (to the small road) was easy, at least. But from that part of the road going back to where we first started, it was a good 45-min walk. It was a long, winding road … going uphill, then down… and my shoes were killing me. I went crazy! We made a few stops, to rest and buy some water, as we’ve consumed all 2 liters of what we brought. Then in the last stretch of our hike, I couldn’t take the pain, I hailed a motorbike-for-hire. And then I realized, we were just around 10 minutes away. :D But it’s done, I cheated on that hike. Damn shoes, they were an old pair that I haven’t used for a very long time.

Pity my shoes!

Pity my shoes!

After lunch and a half hour of rest, we headed for our second cave. They have called it the Golden Cave before, because of the golden appearance inside it. But we were told that it’s now called Misal, from the owner of the land where the cave is located.

the way to the 2nd cave was more forest-looking, with lots of thorny (rattan) plants

the way to the 2nd cave was more forest-looking, with lots of thorny (rattan) plants

it's a more difficult path than the one to the 1st cave

it’s a more difficult path than the one to the 1st cave

yet still, we made it!

yet still, we made it!

Misal Cave's narrow opening. This is how you enter it, legs first!

Misal Cave’s narrow opening. This is how you enter it, feet first!

Me, the Kids and the rest of the group, with our guide

Me, the Kids and the rest of the group, with our guide

the "doorway"

the “doorway”

on our way of the (2nd cave) mountain

on our way out from the 2nd (cave) mountain

Honestly, at this point when we were coming out of this mountain, I told myself that this is going to be the last time. I was so exhausted, all I wanted to do was to roll and roll, and sleep.

We were supposed to go to a third cave, the Dos Andanas, but I opted out. The rest of the group continued on, while me and the Kids changed and got ready to go back to the city. We grabbed some food on the way, got home and went straight to bed.

The next day, I woke up early and pondered on the happenings of the previous day. That’s when I realized I need to train harder, be fit so I will last in this kind of activity (and get a more comfortable pair of shoes too!). The Kids were okay, of course I asked them! And they want more of this. Me too!

It’s an indescribable feeling, a kind of high that you get when you go out and be one with nature. And I definitely want to finish that song I’ve heard from the mountains… The song that tells you who you are, where you’ve been, and that Everything in Life is awesome!

Just Add Fun (and Water, too!)

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Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free – wish I could be
Part of that world …

… Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world

I guess, a mermaid’s dream is to be part of our world. But at any point in a girl’s life, she dreams of becoming a mermaid too… Of being able to swim as fast as the fishes in the ocean, or to be able to breathe underwater, or to be just as mermaids are – – – beautiful!

Simply, beautiful.

And so to know how it would feel like having a tail, instead of legs, my daughter and I joined the Philippine Mermaid Swimming Academy here at the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu City for a couple of hours of ‘mermaiding’ fun! (I wonder, is mermaiding already a word accepted by Merriam Webster?)

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My daughter, wearing a monofin, while practicing her dolphin kick.

DSC_0136-001I have taught swimming to kids and adults alike, some 14 years ago, and donning a fish tail made me feel just like a non-swimmer. I was totally conscious of the tail, which felt a ton-heavy! (or perhaps, it was because the monofin material can break and I was being cautious not to break it or else I pay a pretty nice sum!) It seemed to pull me down, but I got used to swimming with the tail on after a while, and that’s when the fun part kicked in. I am glad too that the excitement has brushed off my daughter’s fear for putting her head down into the water, and she’s now got the moves, like Ariel.

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Our session ended with a photo shoot, which we had to do in a hurry, because our photographer was already itching to be in the water! And I have to say, KUDOS to my son for taking such lovely pics.

there goes our photographer!

there goes our photographer!

Well, both Kids stayed in the pool after mermaiding class and the fun part did not end. For sure, I’ll donn the fish tail again soon or I’ll grow one, whichever comes first. As for Ariel’s song, we are indeed happy to be part of this world! Which one? Well, hers and ours, both! The switch is not too hard. In fact, it’s as easy as putting on your leggings. :)

So, till then folks!

Thanks for dropping by …

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