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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite summer desserts. Years ago I was introduced to this recipe at Weight Watchers. The recipe has morphed into what it is now. It can work well for many diets; sugar free, fat free, full fat or full sugar. It is equally delicious in every version. These are the basic ingredients.
1 – 8 oz. Free Cool Whip
2 – 4 serving packs Strawberry Jell-O
2 C. hot water
15 – 13 oz. Angel food cake, cubed
4 C. Strawberries quartered, frozen
½ C. Sugar or Splenda

This is a really quick recipe. You start with a readymade cake and you cut it into cubes. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries, just cut them into quarters and they need to be frozen.
The Jell-O can be regular or sugar – free. Your prep is really quick. Once you cube the entire cake, set it aside. Dissolve the Jell-O in the hot water, fold in the frozen strawberries and sugar. Quickly stir in the cake cubes, so that all the liquid is absorbed into the cake. Pour it into a Bundt cake pan to set. It should be set in an hour. Once you unmold the cake, ice it completely with the Cool Whip and Enjoy!
This is the first of many summer desserts.


Pat G

Why Donate Blood ?

I first started donating more than 20 years ago. My insurance company at the time, had a perk for donating blood. If I donated once every 2 years, I could receive blood free of charge in the hospital. This was my first intro into donating. I soon found out that I was the universal blood type and better yet, a “Baby donor”. My type is O- and C M V-, which means everyone including newborn babies can receive my blood. I was living in the Bay area and they wanted me to wait for a special request from them.

Now that I am in Arizona and actually work for United Blood Services, I am much more aware. Someone needs blood every 2 seconds. What many don’t know , only 5 % of the population donate. There are people who can not donate for various reasons. There are also many who can donate, but don’t. If people donated just 3 times a year, we would not need to make calls . We would have what is needed for hospital patients.

Let’s talk about the process. It takes about an hour. You come in to the center, present identification and are given paperwork to review. Once you review the information, you log into a computer and answer many questions, related to medication, travel, as well as life style. Once that is complete, you go into a private room. This nice person will review your answers . They will also check your blood pressure, pulse, temperature and your iron level. Once this is complete and you are good to donate. You next sign a form authorizing your blood draw. Then you are taken to the next area where another person will actually draw your blood. At every step, they are reconfirming your identity. They clean your arm, find a good vein and proceed with putting the needle in your arm. (This is not my favorite part) They will tell you just before the needle stick, that it’s coming. This is not good for me, personally. I tell them not to tell me and I just look away. I am there to save lives and I don’t want my fears to get in the way. Once the blood starts to flow into the capture bag, I’m okay with the whole procedure. When the draw is complete, the machine rings. The attendant comes back to finish off the procedure. Don’t forget to hold your arm up with the gauze in place. Your arm is wrapped and then you go to the “canteen “ area. You are to have snacks and water and remain in that area for 15 minutes. Then you are good to go.

I have had times when my Iron level was not high enough. Low iron means, I can’t donate that day. I have to wait at least 48 hours before I can try again. I used to feel bad because I couldn’t donate. Now, I am wiser and know that it is my body protecting me.
Here is the story of another person who donates, her name is Bernadette and there are other stories available at that link.

I get so excited when I am able to donate. It’s my way of giving back. It’s just an hour of my time, that can save some one’s life.
I am being of service. Think about it, figure out your way to give back.


Pat G

Best Fathers, Ever!

My daddy was my first hero. He worked 2 jobs most of my life. His garden became his second job, when he retired from driving a school bus. He didn’t talk a lot, but his actions spoke volumes. He taught me to be independent. I started working for my uncle at 12, answering his business phone and setting up appointments. He also taught me how to budget and save. My most favorite memories were mornings, he would make us breakfast and then I would go off to school and he went to bed. Gone too soon!

Walter Green is my hero still. We met 3 times, growing up and the last time was the one. We were set up by my friend Sandi. Once we met, it was forever. He was my only love!
We married in 1962 and Cynthia came in 1964. This is the way we did it then, marriage first. Make the commitment to each other, before we add children. Make your commitment legal, as soon as you are sure. A wedding is a big party, have the party when you can afford it.

Walt was a great dad, always available for her. Even as an adult, he was always her daddy. Cynthia called him the cool dad and he was a cool dude, with a heart of gold. He had a tough look, but he was a teddy bear. Even with all his illnesses he was a special person. He looked out for us and gave us advice that we still follow. He taught us how to survive in this world. Miss you baby, LOVE you STILL!

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!

Pat G.

My Life, right now

When you get to be 75, your prospective changes. I have been living life and not preparing for my “Golden Years”. Oh my goodness, I’m in my Golden Years and just now starting to plan. Will I continue to live in this home or will I move into my forever home? What kind of business will I operate? What else will I do in my Golden years? I have 4 books I plan to write; our story(mine and Walter’s),how to give great customer service, how to be a lady in this world and how to go on without your life partner.

One of the things I never planned for was retirement. Because women never really stop working, sometimes we are getting paid and most times we are not. Over the next few months, I will take you on my journey. I will be preparing for my future home, work, goals and how to say goodbye. Some of these subjects are very hard to talk about, but let’s face it we are all going to die. Let’s have a plan. This is not just for me, but for all of us.

Thirteen years ago, Walter and I decided to move out of our home into a mobile home in a very nice park. It was the right decision at the time, but times and circumstances have changed. It was the perfect place to be as I would become a widow that year. It was a safe place for me to grieve and recover. You never really recover, when you lose the love of my life. What happens is you learn how to function without them. I went through most of the stages of grief. But I was never angry at either Walter or GOD, just the circumstances.

Walter became a diabetic at 39 and it changed the whole family. Both our fathers lived 49 years, so for us, this was a game changer.
The idea of working all our lives to retire just didn’t seem like the right plan. There was much sickness and struggle, but when he was healthy, we would hit the road. We were full time RV’s for years. We have been in all fifty states and several countries. What we were doing was living life and building memories. Our last motor home was a 36 foot coach and we towed our car on a dolly. Because of his illness, I had to learn everything. We had one of the first cellphones, it was large, black and in it’s own case, larger than a carton of eggs. We were very fortunate, Walter never got sick while we were on the road. So many stories I will share. Let’s just say that, we crammed many years into a few. I do not regret any of our decisions, they were right for us!

Over the years, I have left the work force several times. This is my time, I will continue to work, but for myself. Most everything
I’ve done is Customer Service. If you think about it, when we interact with others, it’s Customer Service of some kind.

For the past few months, I’ve been to seminars, on webinars and done lots of research. I’ve come to the conclusion, that writing is my path. I am now in the middle of a course on a special form of writing. Since I want to write books, this is the most logical step for me. Everyone I speak to tells me, there is lots of money to be made. My goal is to enjoy my journey and to make enough to more than cover my expenses and take a few more trips.

Moving is a four letter word. It’s not something I look forward to, but it is more than necessary. Over the years I have accumulated a lot of stuff, most of it I don’t need. This is forcing me to be an adult, who doesn’t leave a lot of junk for my daughter to deal with. Please be excited for me. I plan to have order in my life for the first time ever! I am making lists and leaving instructions, something we should all do. I don’t fear death, because I know where I’m going. I am really excited for that chapter. Not to worry, I still have work to do, here. My grandmother lived into her 90’s.

I plan to blog at least once a week and I will be sharing this journey and every so often, I will share recipes of food. Maybe I’ll put together a cookbook. This is the part of my journey where I share recipes for life. My outlook has always been positive and I try to learn something everyday. This will never change, it’s who I am. Mostly I am a child of GOD and that is all I really need to know.

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!

Pat G.

Let’s do lunch!

Thousands of dollars are wasted, because we don’t take the time to plan our lunch. If you are going on a road trip, do you wait until you’re on empty to fill your gas tank? We all know that the better plan is to fill-up before you leave. Why do we drop the ball, when it comes to lunch? Is there something in the vending machine that you’re craving? For the next 2 weeks, keep a running total of how much money you are spending on lunch.

When I started school, we went home for lunch. When we started high school, we had choices. I quickly discovered that I could keep more of my allowance, if I brought my lunch. Some lessons we only have to learn once. Almost 70 years later, I’m still bringing my lunch. Two of the most important reasons are; it’s exactly what I wanted and it did not cost a lot of money. Think about it, what gives you the most and sustains you through the rest of your work day?

I have many favorites; sandwiches, soup, salads with protein and my easy favorite is peanut butter on graham crackers. Picture this, I have a lunch kit and it’s always stocked with my soup mix, a container of graham crackers and I use a clean medicine bottle, full of peanut butter. Even when I forget to make a lunch, I always have a lunch. One of my other quick lunches is the chicken salad and crackers in a box. No, I didn’t make it, but it’s only a $1 at the dollar store. That same exact salad may be $3 in the vending machine. Yes we are only talking about $2, but how many times does it take to add up to $10?
Let me tell you about my soup mix, I buy the package and it has 8 servings. Read the package, each serving is 1/4 Cup and to kick up the flavor, I sprinkle in some dry chicken bouillon (1/2 teaspoon). I use the snack size zip bags and measure them all at once. On the days that I want soup, I just dump the powder into a cup and stir in about 6 ounces of hot water, put on the lid and in 6 minutes I have soup.
My all-time favorite sandwich is a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomatoe. They can get soggy, so I pack the parts, separately and put it together just before I eat it. My next favorite is roast beef and Swiss cheese. I like the very thin sliced beef, so I go to the deli and have them slice it for me. I have a new system for these sandwichs. Because I don’t want the same thing every day, I still get a pound, divide it into sandwich portions, wrap each portion in waxed paper and stack them in a freezer zip bag and freeze. When I decide to make a sandwich, I get just the right amount out of the freezer, thaw it and make my sandwich. When I make dinner, the plan is to have it again for lunch, so I freeze individual servings. I thaw and warm up this meal and put it in my thermos.
I could go on forever, but you need to put on your thinking cap and figure out what you like and what works for you.
I also challenge you to see how much money you’re spending and figure out what you could do with that money? Once you figure it out, please let me know.

Remember to Be Nice, Be Kind and Be of Service!

Pat G.