Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More of My Favorite Things - #5 Day Spa's!

On my 45th Birthday my daughter, Duana, took me for my first PEDICURE! I very well may have had my first manicure also. Being the mother of seven there wasn’t money in the budget to do such things let alone trying to find the time to get away from the family to do such a thing. I did enjoy it and it did become a regular seasonal thing. Pedicures can last at least 3 months so I’d go towards the end of spring and that would last till nearly the end of summer and I’d go again at that time. I tried the acrylic nails but when I would have them taken off I didn’t like the way my nails were left so thin. In March of 2007 for Bobby’s wedding Duana had introduced me to silk wrapping and I kept them up through Duana’s wedding that took place the end of June. With the kids getting older getting away for an hour or so was easier and since I started working money wasn’t so tight any longer.

Another way of being pampered was the massage my nephew and his wife gave me as a gift for catering their wedding. It was for Peaches & Cream in Glendora and that was the first full fledge massage I ever had.

I had a SPA Experience with my husband once a long time ago for our Anniversary and it gave you a little bit of everything in about an hour’s time. That probably was about 20 years ago. It was a place where men and women were split up so I basically went through it by myself. I remember going into the Sauna then I was taken into a hot tub filled with mineral water, showered off then was given a robe with some flavored water to sip while laying down on a wooden bench listening to soft music. I had an Edward G. Robinson experience which is a part of the movie in "Soylent Green" where he goes into this place and is laid on a bed to relax while watching a video with scenery of beautiful green grasses & flowers with this type of soft music playing and then he falls into a deep sleep never to awaken. If you have never seen this movie I encourage you to rent the dvd and watch it but it may hamper your ability to ever be able to enjoy a SPA Experience again!


In most recent years I have been to Cote d’Azur in Pasadena. I should clarify that I have been there twice. I was able to get a half-price discount so I tried it and absolutely loved it. I especially loved the hot stone treatment they give you. I took my mother since she needed to have a massage for medical reasons and this was her first ever experience too. She really enjoyed it too.

This past Mother's Day, my children went in together to buy me a gift certificate for Glen Ivy. I've had mixed emotions about this place. I had no idea what to expect. I know I have looked at their website before and read about the different things you can experience there but I never would have imagined in a million years that I would do The Mud Thing. People really put mud all over their bodies? REALLY? Well, let me tell you about my experience I had on Monday, June 20th.
The Friday before was Duana and Billy’s Birthdays so I had arranged to take Billy and his friends from school to go see “Green Lantern.” His brothers were available to join us too so it was a day spent with my boys. So on Monday I would be spending my day with my girls. Well, at least with Duana and Diana. Dawna had to work so she wasn’t able to join us. Diana and I left the house around 10am to pick up Duana. We stopped by Chick-Fil-A to get some breakfast then proceeded on our way to Glen Ivy in Corona. We took the same exit for Tom’s Farms so I knew when we were done we’d have to stop by there. When we arrived in the parking lot I was in total awe. We had to park in the overflow parking lot and as we were walking up the path I could see the line of people waiting to get in. We weren’t even up to the sign yet that read, “90 minute wait from this point.” Oh my goodness! Are you kidding me? After about 10 minutes a lady was walking by the line asking if anyone had appointments made. I said we did for 1:45pm. She said to follow her. She took us up toward the beginning of the line on the left side where there were about 10 people ahead of us. It didn’t take much time at all to reach the entrance and then we were taken to the locker room area to check in. While walking to that area the lady was showing us the different areas. We checked in and then put our things in the locker. By now it was about 11:45am so Duana suggested we start at the hot tub. We went to the covered one but it was full so we opted for the one that was in full sun. It did have a nice view of the hillside in the distance but being that it was a hot tub and the water was rather hot and we were in full sun we didn’t last long in there. We decided we would try the covered hot tub again and even though it was full we walked into it anyway. While standing in the center a few ladies did leave so we were able to sit at the edge and enjoy ourselves. We must have stayed there for at least 20 minutes. Next we would make our way to the wading pool but on the way we saw the sulpher tubs and thought we would wait for one to open up but they were full and other people were waiting to get in so we passed on those.
The wading pool wasn’t any better. All the rafts were taken so we walked over to the pool area but looking at the water it looked a bit murky with the various sunscreens people put on themselves. I kind of have a thing about stuff in pool water. I told the girls let’s just go sit at the edge of the wading area. We would at least have our feet in the water and it wasn’t long before someone asked if we would like their rafts to lie on. But of course! There we were, lying on the rafts with the chattering of people everywhere. Bumper to bumper in the wading pool, you could hear the pleasant music playing so we relaxed. Relax? We did the best we could.
After another 30 minutes it was time for The Mud Thing. Club Mud I should say. I think as a young girl I made mud pies once. Now I was going to be rubbing this mud all over my body. REALLY? I should call it Red Clay Mud. Is there really a difference in Mud? I saw the Mud pool but I do have a thing about murky water so there was no way I would get into that pool of mud! Good thing they have an area where they bring out a pile of mud you can grab by the handful and rub it all over yourself. Am I really going to do this? I started with my feet and worked my way up. Diana rubbed it on my back then the girls helped each other rubbing the mud on their backs. My Indian blood is coming out in me. I’m of Navajo decent and they do have a rather red tint to their skin so I was getting in touch with the Indian in me. The last part to do would be my face. I am really doing this. Good Lord! Now we are to allow the mud to dry. We went into the hot room to try and let it dry but it wasn’t drying on the girls’ skin. We went back outside so after about 10 or 15 minutes it was dry enough to start brushing it off. Diana brushed it off my back and I started on my arms. I kept rubbing and rubbing but it didn’t appear to be coming off! I thought to myself, “This is supposed to be fun?” It’s NOT coming off! Diana was explaining to me that this is exfoliating my skin. I could feel the tiny grains in it and it was hurting a little trying to brush it off. The girls had already started washing off in the shower so I went over their way and waited till they were done. All I could imagine was trying to wash this off and just looking muddy. It was washing off pretty easily. Now was the moment of truth. I stepped under the shower and started washing it off. Oh my goodness! I couldn’t believe what I was feeling! My skin, it was so soft! Wow! Our phrase of the day was, “We’re going to look like a baby!” If you haven’t seen the Wal-mart commercial of the little girls smearing cream all over their grandpa’s face you need to look it up on YouTube! I was astonished although I it did look like I rubbed off my tan that I had.
Now it was time for The Grotto. This was our saving grace that we were able to get into  Glen Ivy since we had an appointment set. This is probably one of the least expensive services you can do and if it helps get you through the line quicker by all means, do it! None of us had been through this experience so this was something new for all of us to try. It was explained to us what the process would be. We would go down the elevator to start at the first station. We were painted with this mixture of shea butter, aloe vera and coconut oil. It was on heavy. In the next room we would sit there and just rub the mixture all over our body. It was very slippery and if you rub it on the bottoms of your feet walk very carefully as on the ground can slide easily. We were to be there for no longer than 10 minutes. At that point we went into the next room where we would shower off al the cream. This made our skin feel even softer. Truly amazing! The last room is where we would sit as long as we liked sipping on hot tea or cold water. They also gave us a crisp green apple to munch on. We were all feeling so relaxed.
Now it was time for lunch. The food is so delicious at their restaurant. I think we had the Goat Cheese and Pear Salad and the Margherita Pizza that the 3 of us shared. They serve you so much food so you would be smart to share whatever you order. It was all so good! We took our time. By now we determined that we would be staying until they closed. We took our time eating and then we went and found a place to lounge.
Around 4pm Diana wanted to go to the Sauna. I followed her and once she walked into the Sauna she realized that wasn’t where she wanted to go. I followed her around until she found where it was she wanted to go. It was the indoor Roman Bath she wanted to go in. I joined her so we stayed until 5pm. We had to wait a bit for shower stalls to open. I had thought of waiting until I got home to bathe but then thought again that it would be nice to go home feeling so nice and soft and squeaky clean! The shower stalls have shampoo, conditioner and body soap. It felt so good. There is also an area where you can use the hair dryer and put on your makeup. By 6pm we were done!
We took a few pictures by the entrance before we left. This really was my first true Day Spa Experience. Would I do it again? Of course! Would I do it soon? No. This is something to look forward to once maybe twice a year. It will probably be at least 6 months before I felt I needed to do this to peel off a couple layers of skin. From what I understand you can get in free for your birthday. My birthday is in a couple weeks so I may not do this again till next year. If my kids get me another gift certificate for Glen Ivy I will hold on to it. I’ll come for my birthday and then I’ll use my certificate the following January. It would be fun to try this experience in the Wintertime. Everyone should try this at least once in their lifetime!
On the way back we did stop at Tom’s Farms. I bought rhubarb, strawberries and mangos. They were delicious! On the way home I received a text from Duane letting me know he had a board meeting to attend. I was already in bed by the time he came home. He wanted to hear about my day. I gave him all the details like I did here. We were laying in bed while I told him the story and I could tell he was starting to doze off. I finished my story and we just laid there. I finally had to say to him, “Aren’t you going to feel my skin and see how soft I am?!” I may wish I looked like a baby but I am so glad I am a woman. What is that song Shania Twain sings? “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” REALLY!

12 Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics. Esther 2:12 NIV
I experienced just a day. I can’t imagine a whole year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#4 Of My Favorite Things - Mexico Missions!

I can remember soon after accepting Christ as my Lord and Savior I would say, "Lord please don't make me go to the mission field!" Little did I know how the Lord would prepare my heart to serve him on The Mission Field. As a young girl I attended GA's, Girls Auxiliary and learned about Lottie Moon who went to serve the Lord in China. It sounded scary to a young girl like me to leave everything that was familiar and go to a foreign land.

Only the Lord knew what he would have me do in my adult life. As a very little girl I would visit Tijuana with family. It always felt exciting to be there. When we had foreign exchange students I only took one girl with me who was Yugoslavian but came from Germany to Mexico and gave away clothing and toys to a community outside of Tijuana. She had never done anything like that and really enjoyed it!
Entering the Border

In the mid 90's a friend of mine moved to Mexico to manage vacation homes for various people that lived in the community of Bajamar. She invited me and my family to come for vacation and stay at "Casa Garcia." After about 5 years I finally took her up on her offer and couldn't believe why I didn't take her up on this sooner! We only had to pay for the cost of cleaning, it was such a deal! We did spend 4 years vacationing with her. She showed me places around Ensenada and helped to acclimate me to the culture. It was funny being that she was the blond, blue-eyed American showing this Mexican how to respond to her people. She took me to places to eat and I had my first fish taco with her at La Bufadora. During this time visiting Mexico I would hear about these Mexico Missions trips sponsored by Family Ties from CCV. There was that word again, Missions. Lord, I know you aren't sending me anywhere to do Mission work. The Lord knew what he was doing. He had already been preparing my heart for Mexico through my friend.
The Entrance to Bajamar where my good friend lived for many years.

I finally heard the call to serve in Mexico but I told the Lord I wanted to stay somewhere where I would be comfortable. My friend allowed me to bring people along and stay at "Casa Garcia." It was a 4 bedroom villa with a courtyard in the center. Everyone I would bring absolutely loved staying there. I had no idea how easy it was to serve in Mexico. We helped at a Casa Hogar where children are brought so their parents could get back on their feet. With my love of cooking I would give the kitchen help a break and fix lunch for everyone. I had no idea I could serve the Lord in this way! I did this for a number of years until my friend had a brain aneurysm and died two years ago. Shortly after this things at Casa Hogar weren't going well and we had to leave the ministry we were doing there. This was a very sad time as I was enjoying the work we were doing.
The Church/School we have partnered with.

Ready to serve at the BBQ!
In time the Lord would lead us to two new places to do ministry. This past March we had a meet and greet BBQ at the church/school and the ladies with their children from the Restoration Home joined us. Once again I was back feeding The Multitudes! This past week we had a 5 day Mexico Missions trip where my husband went from Wednesday thru Sunday and I came Friday to Sunday. The foundation was being laid for the school that is at the Church we support. There was also work done at The Restoration Home for the women and children. On Saturday was an outreach held where we all worked together to minister to the community of El Zorillo and Pipila. It all went very well! The parents were involved in workshops learning how to parent while the children were told a Bible lesson, watched an experiment done by my husband filling a balloon with hydrogen. Then we had a carnival and then ran an obstacle course. Everyone had so much fun!

I didn't have to do anything with the food on this trip but I did help with cutting up watermelons. It was while doing that I felt the Lord telling me to come spend my birthday at the Restoration Home in July. I told Rebeca what I was planning on doing and she asked me if I wanted to stay in the dorm with the ladies or in the triangle house? I opted for The Triangle House. I have known since last October at The Women's Retreat that the Lord wanted me to stay with these ladies at The Restoration Home. It seems like it will be the best time for me to go is during July when I have my vacation scheduled. I am excited to go! One friend has already asked if she could come with me. My mom is even planning on coming but she will be stay with the Pastor and his wife. Lord only knows who else he will send.
The Rebecca's!
This is where I will live for 10 days at The Restoration Home.
So here I am ready and willing to serve on the Mission Field in Mexico. I get such a wonderful feeling inside when I see the hillside as we cross the border into Tijuana. In July I will spend 10 days with the Ladies at the Restoration Home. I don't have the comforts of "Casa Garcia." I will be spending 10 days in one of the triangle houses. No running water, no heating or air conditioning but I will have electricity! None of the comforts of home but if I am to suffer for the Lord I know of no better way than this!

God has truly changed my heart for Missions and I am so happy for that!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Another one of my Favorite Things...COOKING!

I wasn't sure I even had anything to write about tonight but I have made Tuesday nights my Blogging night so when I looked at my list of my favorite things I saw COOKING on there. It seems very appropriate to write about this since I watched my niece, Jyll, compete on Food Network Star this past Sunday night. It was fun to be at her Premiere Party and to hear her commentaries that went on behind the scenes. She didn't know how it would be edited so it was fun to hear the inside scoop. It was so much fun to see her on the show and to think this is on national tv! What an experience! On one hand I think it would be a blast to be a part of something like that but after hearing Jyll talk about it, I'm glad it's her competing! She has the personality but I think after the first show Jyll appears to be much "too nice." I hope after her experience with Howie and how she wanted to be a "team player" that she learned you have to take care of your part first then if there is time you can help out the others. This isn't the norm I'm sure for Jyll but this is clearly a competition and you do what you have to do. I am so glad the air was cleared though and the truth came out as to how much Jyll did to help out Howie but was so sad she wasn't able to plate her food in the team effort. I do hope Jyll has her opportunity to truly shine in future episodes! I can't even imagine all that she went through although right now she can't really divulge too much. I so much enjoyed watching all the dishes being prepared and it has inspired me to want to do more cooking.

I have been in my own competition that has actually been going on for some time. My competition has been in getting organization to my home. I am fully convinced when you run a family you need a third adult in the mix. I can see where it may be a help for a husband to have more than one wife. A man could use a wife to clean up after himself. Another for raising the children. Another for doing the regular household chores. One that cooks wonderfully! Then another for the, let's say it in a PG form, for doing "the marriage act." But alas in our day and time for a man to have more than one wife is rather looked down upon. So here we are as the wives that we are and we do all of these things listed above. As the saying goes, "man cannot serve two masters" you can relate this to being divided if one works outside the home and tried to keep up with everything at home. One area will suffer. I believe women may excel in one area and fall short in other areas. I believe I did a good job and am doing a good job raising my kids, I am a good cook...just look at the husband. Where I fall short is in the area of "keeping house." I have had help in years past while the kids were young. I am a firm believer also that a family should have "servant/s". When I read Proverbs 31:15 She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. Look at those last words, "and portions for her "female servants." If we strive to be The Proverbs 31 Woman we should have servants in the home.

Granted I could get into how we do have these "servants" with the dishwashers, washers and dryers that were invented to ease our load. It was always my hope that these children I gave birth to would grow up and "be helpful" around the house with some of these basic chores. They did their share but as they grew older they outgrew some of the basic chores. At 16 we relied on them noticing when something needed to be cleaned up and would do it on their own. Well, that didn't exactly happen. The basic chores did fall on the younger ones and we reorganized the charts but the kids kept growing older and before I knew it I was left with one child under the age of 16 who in no way would be able to keep up with ALL the basic chores. With having some children move back home they noticed the upkeep that the house needed and would freely give their "advice" as to how it should be handled fully knowing that I didn't NEED their advice. What I needed was action on their part. One said he would be willing to help out in order to not have to pay "rent". Rent...oh now there is another issue to be dealt with but will have to blog about that another time. So this "said" adult child offered his help but it didn't last. Now I have the second adult child who we have had a bit more success having his help. He is the "third" adult in the home that we needed to make headway in getting organization around here. His goal this week was to "uncover" the dining room table. I can't tell you how many times over the years I have tried to tackle this one. It's always been one of those "Catch 22" scenarios. You clean one area only to find you have to clean other areas to make the room to put the things away from the first area and so on.

Well, today was the day the dining table was done and ready to have a family dinner around. FINALLY I could do some REAL COOKING! It was around noon when the table was ready so I hunted through my freezer to see what I could cook up.

I found a chuck roast, I won't even get into the date it was purchased. I took it out and put it in the microwave to defrost. Usually with a roast I use onion soup mix sprinkled all over with a little bit of water and cook it in the crockpot and it comes out so moist. I didn't have enough time to cook it in a crockpot so my only option was to put it in the oven. 300 degrees for 4 hours. I didn't have the onion soup mix so I used some dry beef bullion with onion powder, salt and pepper then sprinkled dry dill weed all over. Wrapped it up in foil and put it in to cook. In a few hours the heavenly smell was permeating throughout the house! The house hasn't smelled that good in a long time! It was a wonderful feeling to be cooking again. Not that I haven't been cooking but this time I knew I was cooking a meal that we would be sitting down to at our dining room table. I haven't felt this anxious to cook in years! If I had a bag of potatoes I would have made homemade mashed potatoes but I opted for box potatoes. I did peel carrots and made candied carrots. I had bought two bags of carrots thinking they were each a pound but when I saw how few carrots were in the pan I realized those were 12oz bags. I had picked up a bag of salad mix. God bless the company that came up with that idea! Salads are probably one of the few things I don't care to make. This made for a very nice meal for dinner time.

At 6pm I received a call from my dear husband who gave me the news that he was going to work another hour. I should have known it would happen since he was taking the next 3 days off work. So I turned everything off and took the meat out of the oven. Good thing I did that! Turns out the way I wrapped the meat in foil it didn't hold any of the juices in so my chuck roast was as dry as could be. I thought there goes my gravy. I remembered seeing in the recipe book how to make gravy from pan drippings which was about all I had left. I heated up half a cup of water and poured it into the pan and started stirring it to melt what it could of the pan drippings. I ended up with half a cup so I could make gravy. It turned out great! So there was gravy for the mashed potatoes and to pour over the dry meat! Thank you Lord!

I had a wonderful feeling of "success" putting all the dishes on the table for dinner. I may never compete on TV for my own show but when I can take meat that has been in the freezer for nearly a year and even though the juices all dried up I was able to come up with other options and make it work. Rachael Rae, Bobby your heart out! This girl is COOKING!