Cooking, Holidays

REPOST: Homemade Sugar Easter Eggs

Just in time for Easter, and the COVID-19 Quarantine (and to break our World-wide fast), I thought it would be really neat to bring up this post (originally from 2011) on how to make those GIANT SUGAR EASTER EGGS, you know the kind that you can look into and see a whole world inside. My daughter is going to try this and we will post the results on Instagram.

Just a couple of notes:

  1. You can get the Wilton Meringue Powder from Walmart, but if you are unable to get out or don’t have it at a store near you, you can use egg whites or egg white powder. Here’s more information on substitutes you can see this post on The Pioneer Woman’s blog.
  2. We couldn’t find an egg mold from Michales because they’re closed or on Amazon because we put it off too late. However, at Walmart, there are a ton of plastic eggs for the easter baskets and we bought a couple of different sizes to use. 

The original post follows and the recipe for the Homemade Sugar Easter Egg is at the bottom.

Please post your picture of your sugar egg in the comments or tag us on social media so we can see!!

Original Post from 2011

My husband’s amazingly creative Aunt Susan and her daughters made Easter eggs this year for my mother-in-law. Not just any Easter eggs, mind you, but the beautiful, sugar, peek inside to another world kind of egg.

I read a book about a sugar egg like that when I was little and it made such an impression on me.  The book was called, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward

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Those eggs are seriously cool!

So, Aunt Susan graciously gave permission to write about her AND sent her recipe to share. (She’s one of those women that blow you away with her abilities and talents!)

Maybe we should have a contest next Easter… ūüôā


SUGAR EGG RECIPE

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp Wilton Meringue Powder

Placed sugar in large mixing bowl. For extra strength, or if you live in an area that has high humidity, add 2 tsp meringue powder to mixture. Mix sugar so there are no lumps in it. Make a well in sugar, then add water. Rub mixture between your hands & knead for about 1 minute or until well-blended & mixture packs like wet sand. Makes 1 large egg, 2 medium eggs or 3 small eggs. (These are SOLID eggs without scooping out the sugar to hollow them. You can reuse the scooped out sugar to make more eggs so you’ll get more than what is stated.)

To tint sugar:
Add icing color to water. Add color sparingly; lightly tinted sugar makes the prettiest decorations. Mix until color & sugar are well-blended. I usually just make mine white then make it colorful by adding the decorations to it.

HOW TO MAKE HOLLOW SUGAR EGGS (Note – I use the sugar I scoop out of the eggs to make more eggs.)

*Dust mold with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Pack sugar mixture into half egg mold, pressing firmly with heel of hand.

*To remove excess sugar, hold metal spatula at 45* angle to egg mold and scrape off excess sugar.

*Unmold at once by placing cardboard circle over mold and turning mold upside down. To loosen mold, tap top of mold with spatula. Carefully lift mold off.

This is what I do – cut the narrow end of the egg of both halves about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. This is what will make your opening to see your display inside the egg. You can keep this part of the sugar to reuse – just keep it covered with a damp cloth.

*Let egg dry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then carefully pick egg half up holding it in palm of hand. Do not squeeze or move egg while it’s in your hand or it will crack.

*Use a spoon to gently scoop out soft sugar following the contour of the egg. Smooth inside & opening of egg with your fingers. You can keep this sugar, just put it in a bowl & keep covered with a damp cloth. Then reuse it to make more sugar eggs.

*Place egg right side up (so hollowed part can dry) on cardboard to finish drying for about 24 hours.

DECORATING SUGAR EGGS

Decorate the inside of your egg putting decorations in with royal frosting. Then put top & bottom of eggs together with royal frosting carefully handling the halves. Decorate the outside with royal frosting & decorations. Let dry. To store during the year, put in a box that has no light & keep in a cool place.

ROYAL FROSTING RECIPE

3 Tbs Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 min at low speed with a heavy duty mixer or 10-12 min at high speed with a hand-held mixer. Makes 3 cups.

NOTE: I make my own flowers by coloring the royal frosting & making drop flowers on wax paper night before until they are dry & hard. Make plenty, they do store well if not used. I have even made little chickens before but haven’t done rabbits yet.


Again, we invite you to please post your picture of your sugar egg in the comments or tag us on social media so we can see!!

Check out these posts:

Creativity, Holidays, Money Wise (aka Budgeting)

Non-Pumpkin Halloween Fun

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I wanted to do a fun Halloween family activity, and so I decided to be creative with what we had at home. My husband is out of work, and we literally have no extra money. I wish that were a joke. I know how cheap pumpkins are, but I don’t get paid for another week. Since one of the main points of this blog is to celebrate good old-fashioned creativity, I thought I’d share. You’ll probably laugh at me, but here’s what we did.

We had a box full of apples that we’ve been eating for a while. We still have a bunch left, so instead of decorating pumpkins, we decorated apples. Paint, glitter, paper = an evening of family fun. Even my sweet husband had a good time painting apples to celebrate sports teams.

Here are the results:

The front of my husband’s apples –

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And the back –

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My four-year-old’s –

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My seven-year-old’s (she did a squash, because, to be honest, we weren’t going to eat it ūüėČ –

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All together now –

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So silly, I know, but I think that the girls will have a fun memory. Also, it took the sting out of the job search to spend time together rather than self-medicating our sadness by watching television or moping.

Arts and Crafts, Holidays

Christmas Creativity

This Christmas, I observed adults and children alike being crafty. Here are some fun, zany observations from Christmas 2012 –

I am always amazed when my daughters and nieces will busy themselves for hours with paper, glue, knock-knacks and do-dads. Simply with things I had on hand, they came up with homemade presents to give – this year, it was jewelry boxes.

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Note the intricate detail ūüôā – the buttons that framed the ‘S’ for my daughter’s name. The way they covered the oatmeal box with fabric and then trimmed it with ribbons.

Sure, I had oatmeal packages on the shelf for a week or two, but it was a small price to pay for creativity, cooperation, and hours of time when they were busy in activity that didn’t involve electronics. (And just imagine how much I got done while they were busy at it! Babysitting is a dream when you open up your craft supplies and let them “have at”.)

Another Christmas idea was from my cousin, Jana. She is fantastic at coming up with neighbor gifts. Never is my diet ruined by Jana! Some examples of previous year’s gifts include:
‚ÄĘ A Christmas plate for Santa’s Cookies
‚ÄĘ A small card game
‚ÄĘ Winter window decorations

Each year, it’s something fun and this year, I thought that she was especially clever.

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Wrapping paper – very handy! I used it right up.

Family friends of ours are never short of ideas for crafts. This year, they figured they better build a Chimney for Santa to come down. Look at the size of that thing!

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Complete with very detailed logs –

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Finally, I wanted to close with creativity to the extreme. We found this Lego fireman on display at a Toys —Ź Us store this Christmas.

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That took 170 hours to build and over 21,000 Lego Bricks. So impressive!

I love what creativity and group synergy can do! Now, let’s get going on those Valentine’s Day crafts.

Oh, I forgot one – my three year old figured out how to make jewelry from twine and buttons. You can’t buy the joy and satisfaction etched on her face, due to figuring that one out!

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Holidays, Sewing

Christmas Advent Calendars

I love Christmas countdown traditions.  From easy ones like paper chains, to elaborate homemade countdown items.  This post will look into some Countdown Ideas that will help children, old and young, anticipate that special day.

Missy's Advent Calendar

 Muffin-Tin Advent Calendar

My dear friend Missy Glancy, put this one together for our Relief Society Super Saturday Activity¬†(it’s a gathering where woman from our church sit down and make homemade items). ¬†It’s basically a muffin tin in which you can insert small gifts or slips of paper listing activities that you and your children can do together that day. ¬†You cover each tin with a¬†piece¬†of decorated¬†card-stock, and those papers are held onto¬†the¬†tin with a small magnet.

Missy said that this is a very easy set-up.  She puts in some big activities (going to see the lights) and some small ones (reading a Christmas story or watching a Christmas movie).  If one day they are not able to do an activity that they had planned, she can switch it out for an simpler one.

A Stocking Countdown Calendar

Disney's Family Fun Advent Idea

For this next one, I turn to Disney’s Family Fun¬†Magazine. ¬†Their idea is quite festive and fun – if you can find¬†the¬†right socks. ūüėČ ¬†You basically fill a sock for each day until¬†Christmas¬†with a treat, small present, or activity. ¬†These socks are hung with clothespins¬†across a¬†piece¬†of yarn, twine, or small rope.

The magazine also presented some fun stocking ideas for each day –

  • “Get Out of Chores Free” or “Pick a Movie Rental” cards — each good for one use!
  • A puzzle distributed in pieces among the socks; kids can put it together over the course of the month
  • Trading or sports cards
  • Special coins such as foreign currency or a silver dollar — chocolate coins are always a hit too!
  • Music or other gift cards
  • Jokes or riddles (stick the punch line in the next day’s sock; see AZKIDSNET.COM for ideas)
  • A game (a Mad Libs or Sudoku a day)
  • Art supplies, such as a mini paint kit and pad
  • A special ornament to add to the tree
  • A new pair of socks.¬†

You can see the full article here. 

Paper Chains

Simple Paper Chain

This can be as simple or elaborate as you wish it to be.

Instructions –

  1. Cut up 24 pieces of paper (red and green construction, beautiful wrapping paper, crafting paper that matches your Christmas theme, or even beautiful Christmas ribbon).
  2. Wrap the first one into a circle and secure the ends together with tape or glue.
  3. Insert the next paper through the first and secure the ends of that link together.
  4. Continue with all of the papers until you have a paper chain.
  5. You can hang it horizontally across a wall or vertically by a door.
  6. Cut off one chain each day until Christmas.

You can do the following to “spice it up” if you’d like, or leave it as simple as the chain –

  • Write an activity on the papers (do this before you begin to link them).
  • Make a treasure hunt out of them.
  • Write a Christmas poem on the links.
  • Choose a person to contact (letter,¬†phone¬†call, card, etc.) or serve each day. ¬†Write their name on¬†the¬†chain links and have fun with your family doing (RAKs) random acts of kindness for a new person each day.

Mom's Advent Calendar

Wilhelm Family Advent Calendar

When we were little, my Mom made this calendar at a RS meeting. ¬†I have such fond memories of it. ¬†We’d pin the little¬†sequinned¬†felt ornaments on the little tree, starting with a star on the first and Santa Claus on the twenty-fourth. ¬†Then a couple of years ago, my mom gave each of us (each of her four children’s families) an advent calender that she had handmade. ¬†She¬†said that she couldn’t get the little sequins on the calendar any¬†other¬†way but by hand sewing each¬†piece. ¬†It was one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever¬†received.

The great thing is, I can incorporate any of these ideas in those little pockets for my family.

Other Family Countdown Traditions

Chocolate Advent Calendar

We love the German Advent chocolate countdown calendars. ¬†Each day you pen a door and find a piece of lovely chocolate inside. ¬†When I was a young girl, we lived in Germany and my parents bought each child a Chocolate calendar. ¬†I remember having a¬†friend¬†over and for some reason, we were hanging out in my brother’s room. ¬†She and I ate all of my brother’s calendar chocolate. There is something much more satisfying (surprisingly¬†enough) to savor these each day, rather than gobbling the whole calendar of stolen chocolate in one sitting.

My girls love these calendars and I even buy one for my husband each year. ¬†The¬†women¬†at his work tease him, “What¬†are you five?”¬†¬†but, as I said before, countdowns are about helping children, both old and young look forward to that¬†special¬†day.

What do you and your family do to countdown to Christmas?

Holidays, Sewing, Uncategorized

Halloween Costumes

Moms who make costumes for their kids are fantastic! We were at a Halloween fun run this morning, and a Mom had made Minion costumes for her children. Wow!

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What costume ideas have you found?
Any favorite costume memories from childhood?

Also, just a note, the fun run was hosted by my sister and brother-in-law to help raise funds for an adoption. Visit them at their website here.

What a creative way to have a fundraiser!

Arts and Crafts, Cooking, Holidays

Homemade Easter Sugar Eggs

My husband’s amazingly creative Aunt Susan and her daughters made Easter eggs this year for my mother-in-law. Not just any Easter eggs, mind you, but the beautiful, sugar, peek inside to another world kind of egg.

I read a book about a sugar egg like that when I was little and it made such an impression on me. ¬†The book was called,¬†The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Dubose Heyward –

Those eggs are seriously cool!

So, Aunt Susan graciously gave permission to write about her AND sent her recipe to share. (She’s one of those women that blow you away with her abilities and talents!)

Maybe we should have a contest next Easter… ūüôā

SUGAR EGG RECIPE

4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tbs water
2 tsp Wilton Meringue Powder

Placed sugar in large mixing bowl. For extra strength, or if you live in an area that has high humidity, add 2 tsp meringue powder to mixture. Mix sugar so there are no lumps in it. Make a well in sugar, then add water. Rub mixture between your hands & knead for about 1 minute or until well-blended & mixture packs like wet sand. Makes 1 large egg, 2 medium eggs or 3 small eggs. (These are SOLID eggs without scooping out the sugar to hollow them.You can reuse the scooped out sugar to make more eggs so you’ll get more than what is stated.)

To tint sugar:
Add icing color to water. Add color sparingly; lightly tinted sugar makes the prettiest decorations. Mix until color & sugar are well-blended. I usually just make mine white then make it colorful by adding the decorations to it.

HOW TO MAKE HOLLOW SUGAR EGGS (Note – I use the sugar I scoop out of the eggs to make more eggs.)

*Dust mold with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Pack sugar mixture into half egg mold, pressing firmly with heel of hand.

*To remove excess sugar, hold metal spatula at 45* angle to egg mold and scrape off excess sugar.

*Unmold at once by placing cardboard circle over mold and turning mold upside down. To loosen mold, tap top of mold with spatula. Carefully lift mold off.

This is what I do – cut the narrow end of the egg of both halves about 1 – 1 1/2 inches. This is what will make your opening to see your display inside the egg. You can keep this part of the sugar to reuse – just keep it covered with a damp cloth.

*Let egg dry for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then carefully pick egg half up holding it in palm of hand. Do not squeeze or move egg while it’s in your hand or it will crack.

*Use a spoon to gently scoop out soft sugar following the contour of the egg. Smooth inside & opening of egg with your fingers. You can keep this sugar, just put it in a bowl & keep covered with a damp cloth. Then reuse it to make more sugar eggs.

*Place egg right side up (so hollowed part can dry) on cardboard to finish drying for about 24 hours.

DECORATING SUGAR EGGS

Decorate the inside of your egg putting decorations in with royal frosting. Then put top & bottom of eggs together with royal frosting carefully handling the halves. Decorate the outside with royal frosting & decorations. Let dry. To store during the year, put in a box that has no light & keep in a cool place.

ROYAL FROSTING RECIPE

3 Tbs Wilton Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbs warm water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 min at low speed with a heavy duty mixer or 10-12 min at high speed with a hand-held mixer. Makes 3 cups.

NOTE: I make my own flowers by coloring the royal frosting & making drop flowers on wax paper night before until they are dry & hard. Make plenty, they do store well if not used. I have even made little chickens before but haven’t done rabbits yet.

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Ballet, Dance, Holidays

The Nutcracker Ballet

 

I think that little girls are hardwired to love ballet. ¬†Maybe it’s the costumes, maybe the very beautiful dancers, the music … who can really say? ¬†All I know is, I loved it when I was a kid, and tonight, my girls (ages 5 and 2) are GLUED to the TV watching ¬†PBS’s Programming of the San Fransisco Ballet’s The Nutcracker. More information can be found here .

The thing that intrigued me is that this particular production was set it in San Fransisco 1915, during the World’s Fair, which made it unique and visually stunning. ¬†The production was¬†choreographed by Helgi Tomasson, and¬†scenic design by Michael Yeargan.

Here is a video snippet from it –

This is a link to a very informative ten minute video that PBS produced about the history of the 1915 World Fair.

Dance in America: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker – Video: The 1915 World’s Fair in San Francisco | Great Performances.

For any of you locals to SLC, it’s on KBYU 11 tomorrow night (December 24th, 2010) at 1 am in case you’re up late wrapping Christmas presents or want to record it for your little ones. ¬†Just a little Christmas treat – enjoy!

Holidays, Money Wise (aka Budgeting)

Homemade Gifts, Treats, and Other Delights

 

Yesterday I went to a store (not naming any names) and was wholly drawn in by their sale on Christmas items.

I began to muse about ¬†friends and what they’ve done for gifts, etc. ¬†For example, my sister Fiona (yes, just like the Princess on Shrek) gives away homemade¬†jewelry.

Really beautiful bracelets, earrings, etc. ¬†So whenever she has a little extra money, she goes into a craft store and buys some of the materials. ¬† Then, when she needs a gift, feels like someone needs a little “pick-me-up”, or wants to brighten a day, she has a truly lovely present. ¬†She’s taught herself to do it, and I’m amazed at the creativity that goes into her gifts. ¬†Sometimes, I’ll walk up to a friend who is wearing her jewelry and say, “Are you wearing a Fiona original?”

Some people do this with blankets – crocheting, knitting, tying a fleece blanket (here’s a great site that gives instructions for fleece blankets – babies LOVE to play with the tassels).

My cousin Jana made me a hat and scarf one year that I still wear to this day because I LOVE it sooo much!

My sisters-in-law are fabulous at giving homemade, heartfelt gifts. ¬†Here are a couple of them –

The girls each got a¬†piggy-bank¬†from Aunt Heather when they were born. ūüôā

Aunt Heidi made a nativity that the girls, and especially younger children love to play with. ¬†My two year old organized them this way and was really upset that one of the sheep is missing ¬†(I think it’s under the tree in our mess of presents and Christmas books :)).

Another gift that I really treasure is a hand painted Christmas card that I got from a friend in Bulgaria that has since passed away.  We bonded because he was from Germany and I lived there when I was little.

It means so much that he put the time and effort into it, for me.

Alas, my homemade contributions seem to be at a minimal these days, due to a crazy schedule. ¬†But, whenever I need to bring¬†anything to a¬†get-together, my pantry is always stocked with the ingredients for Snickerdoodles and Lemon Squares. ¬†Somehow, “from scratch” always tastes better.

Here’s one of them (I wrote about it in an earlier post) –

Snickerdoodles

(From The Better Homes and Garden‚Äôs Cookbook, aka ‚ÄúThe Plaid Bible‚ÄĚ :))

1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or ¬ĺ tsp lemon juice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1.¬† Preheat oven to 375 ¬į F.

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium for 30 seconds.  Add the 1 c sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar.  Beat until combined scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour.  Cover and chill dough until easy to handle if too soft.

3.¬† Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the cinnamon ‚Äďsugar mixture to coat.¬† Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.¬† Bake 10 to 11 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.¬† Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

I usually double this recipe when I need to take it to a party.¬† Cream of tartar works best (found in the spices of most grocery stores) but you can use lemon juice in a pinch.¬† Very kid friendly ‚Äď they love to help put ingredients in the bowl, roll the dough, and then coat the dough balls in cinnamon and sugar.

 

 

Do you have a talent/skill for homemade gifts?  If so, what do you do?

What can you teach your children about giving, and how?

What are some gifts that they can do/have on hand that will help them feel good about developing talents and giving?

What have you received that has been meaningful?

What are some other ideas that you have?

Creative Play, Creativity, Holidays

And an Orange Peel on a Christmas Tree (sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas)

Last week we went to dinner at¬†the *Moseman’s¬†house, (*name changed to¬†protect¬†the innocent, and not so innocent :)). ¬†After a great dinner, we were sitting around eating “cutie”¬†oranges¬†(the kind that are so easy to peel). ¬†The kids (five of them ages 6-18) were peeling their oranges in really elaborate designs. ¬†Later, I saw that the peel was on the Christmas tree, and I laughed about it, until I noticed that there were a lot of peels on the Christmas tree.

When I pressed the issue, I was told that the girls of the family decorated the tree in orange peels this year. ¬†I love it! ¬†I love that the kids are allowed to do their wacky ideas in that house. ¬†The thing that’s really amazing about this family is that the father and grandfather build airplanes. ¬†Not model airplanes, but real two passenger airplanes in the barn in their backyard.

Yeah, as in “See ya later Ma, I’m ¬†just going to go out and build an airplane with Dad, be back for dinner!”

We had the dinner with the Mosman Grandparents and the grand matriarch, let’s call her Maggie, asked me to look at a book that her daughter had written and illustrated. ¬†The design of the children’s book took my breath away, and even more shocking was the fact that this daughter had written it when she was a teenager.

The house was full of inventions, design, and creativity. ¬†I asked Maggie how she taught her children to be so creative, and she said that it was because she and her husband were creative. ¬†But I need to add that these people were not just the “idea” type of ¬†people, but the “doing” people as well. ¬†The couple¬†possessed¬†the twin virtues of vision and work ethic – and the kids followed suit.

I told Maggie a little about my oldest daughter (who calls herself an artist).  Maggie told me that in order to encourage her, I should go to the store, buy some mats, and frame her work.

A couple of days later, my daughter drew a picture for me and wrapped it up as a present. ¬†I took Maggie’s advice, and bought a frame. ¬†When I showed the frame to “J”, she looked like her five-year-old heart would burst with joy and gave me a gigantic hug.

When I asked the Orange Peel father (Maggie’s son) about writing this post and how often the girls decorate for holidays, he said that they are fanatic about it, “doing up the home” with wonderful wacky children mayhem for every holiday. ¬†I asked if he was¬†OK¬†with it,¬†and¬†he said, “you think I could stop them?”

I guess orange peels on the tree serve a grand purpose after all, your kids just  might end up being  the next Wright Brothers!

Holidays, Uncategorized

Another Fun Birthday Idea

Have a “Nature” theme party. Put masking tape around each child’s wrist and have them go outside and get certain things to put on their tape ie pieces of grass, rocks, flower petals etc. when they are done they have a nature bracelet. Then have each child paint a pretty good sized rock. Hide their painted rocks in the yard and have them find them like a treasure hunt.

Thanks so much to Jamie for those great ideas!

Now that I think about it, I’m going to put up an email address in case you’d like to contact me, but don’t want to leave a comment. ¬†Please feel free to send ideas, suggestions, requests, etc.

laryssa2@juno.com