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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Cheese Cake - Gluten Free

Gluten Free Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake 

Cheesecake is easy to convert to gluten free as in most recipes the only gluten is in the crust. 

Preheat oven to 325 

We used a bag of Mi-Del gluten free ginger snap cookies to make the crust.  
Crush the cookies and mix with 4 tbsp of butter and press into the bottom of a spring-form pan. 

Pumpkin Layer Filling
Two 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
2 Eggs
1 cup Pumpkin puree

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
Mix in eggs one at a time.
Mix in pumpkin puree

Vanilla Layer
Two 8 oz packages of cream cheese
1/2 cups of sugar
2 tsp of vanilla
1/2 cup of sour cream

Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. 
Mix in eggs one at a time.
Mix in sour cream.

Remove 1/2 cup of the pumpkin cheesecake mix and save on the side.  Add the pumpkin mix to the spring-form pan, smooth mix over the crust.  Add the vanilla mix gently on top of the pumpkin layer and smooth.  Take the reserved 1/2 cup of pumpkin mix and pour gently in the center, swirl with tooth pick, or as I did with the pointy end of the cake tester. 

Bake in the oven for 55 minutes or until the center is set.

Cool until room temp and then chill in the refrigerator.    

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Catching Up

Well it has been a busy couple of months I did manage to have a bit of fun with a whole lot of work in the middle.

September ended with a trip to Florida.

Universal Studios


Then the wonders of 3rd Quarter close and reporting followed by an Indian Pow Wow the first weekend of November.

This weekend the Hubby and I took a trip to Chattanooga for a lovely day of good eats and sunshine.

I even managed to fit in a few past life regressions over the last few weeks and I have several more in the near future, however, I have totally fallen off the wagon in regards to studying for the CFP exam.  With all the changes at work and the pending Holidays not sure my future course on that front.

It has been a good day.

Life is good :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Repost - Upon Waking Each Day...

 A New Message From VERONICA 
Upon Waking Each Day...
     "Upon waking each day, be sure to decide that whatever occurs will be an adventure.  In the linear, there are moments that one would define as unusual.  To have the opportunity to explore that unknown territory is indeed a gift.
     As soon as your eyes open, breathe in the life you are creating.  Place your feet upon the floor and boldly begin the walk through your day.  Being an energy that moves through risky, often thick physical environments can feel awkward if you are hoping for a calm easy run.
     You came into the physical for experience.  Know that that experience can have many layers of texture.  By being bold while expecting the adventure, you are being the person you intended to be.
     Leave fear at the door and walk into the life you are creating.  Be positive in the face of negativity.  Be sure when you start to feel uneasy.  See the beauty in the most uncomfortable moments.
     The outcome of any situation is uncertain until you make the decision of how you intend to handle it.  There is only victim-hood if you decide so.
     Stand up and embark upon this adventure called "Your Life".  It might not be easy at first, but with focus, it is easily attainable.

     The journey is what you believe it is.  Decide that the adventure begins now and move through it with assurance.  You come from a powerful position.  Maintain it while living it."

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bit o' Fundraising - Give Caresa HOPE For The Future

So I have been a bit wrapped up in my own life the last few months.  Work has presented lots of new challenging opportunities, the girls have gone back to school and the college search for the young one has begun (that is a whole other blog).  So this morning when I read a story posted on Facebook by a former classmate and Retired Marine I was rather touched and made fully aware of how my challenges are blessings in so many ways.

Caresa'a Hope

Caresa's Mother (a Retired Marine) is trying to raise funds for medical treatment for her daughter through Indiegogo I have copied the info below.  This fundraising campaign runs through October 2, 2012.

Donations amounts start at $5  less than a lunch at Chick Fil A to help a young girl get medical treatment.

Caresa's Story

Hello, I am the mother of Caresa Vance. I am also a Marine veteran who has served my country faithfully for over 21 years of active duty.  I have made sacrifices for my country that I don't regret, but now I need my country to sacrifice for me.  If you are a Marine, a military service person, a veteran, or anyone that appreciates the many sacrifices that military members freely make, I ask that you read this and consider giving.  All I need is 12,000 people to give $5 and I can give my daughter and possibly others like her a chance at true healing. Therefore I'm looking for a few good men and women that will stand with me.  If you know of any Marines or other military service members, please pass this on to them.  I know my Marine family won't leave another Marine behind, and I hope you feel the same too.  However, right now, I'm a Marine wounded  and suffering in a world that is not responding to my cries for help. 

I desperately need your help. My daughter Caresa, is a young, vibrant spirit that has suffered with illness most of her life. She has a condition known as schizoaffective disorder which, over the years, has required a lot of treatment and frequent hospitalizations. As of this writing, she is once again in a psychiatric hospital and not getting better. Years of psychotropic drugs and undiagnosed physical illness have robbed Caresa of her spirit of life. I need your help giving life back to my daughter.

Caresa's story started many years ago when she was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school, forcing me through court order to get her evaluated for meds. Never once did the school system or her doctors consider the traumas that happened to her as a child (while I was serving in the military) might have caused the issues she was having in school. At the time, I never realized that the side effects from these drugs could actually lead to psychosis for some people. When she started displaying symptoms and side effects, I was always told it would only last a short time. Caresa graduated from one drug to another, and from one diagnosis to another, until age 14 when they diagnosed her with schizophrenia, and more recently schizoaffective (Bipolar type) disorder.

Last year, I took Caresa to an outpatient alternative treatment facility and they found she had several severe allergies, infections, toxicity and chemical imbalances in her body. These imbalances cause Caresa to continue to relapse and end up back in inpatient psychiatric care (where they give her more psychotropic drugs). We cannot even begin to get Caresa the treatment she really needs to deal with the traumas she's faced in life, because of the (psychotropic) medication roller-coaster she has been on all of these years. The meds only mask the symptoms of what is really going on, and cause her severe side effects (the reason many mentally ill refuse to take them). The problem is, weaning her off of psychotropic meds in an outpatient setting does not give Caresa the intensive support she needs while her body adjusts to alternative medication treatments. When she feels unstable, the mental health establishment just puts her in a psychiatric hospital, back on higher doses of medications...and the recovery process begins all over again. Repeatedly rescuing Caresa from the abyss of toxic prescription medications has caused an extreme financial burden on my family, and I am still trying to pay expenses from her last outpatient treatment, and Caresa still needs many more treatments to clear her body of toxins and imbalances identified during her outpatient treatment.

Caresa desperately needs an alternative inpatient facility that can help wean her off meds while she gets her bodily imbalances corrected. Only then can she get the help she really needs to deal with her past and move on with her life. We know Caresa will do well with the new treatment program because we have seen so much improvement over the last year since she completed the outpatient program. And if that news wasn't good enough, she has also been blessed to loose over 130 pounds since she the beginning of her treatment regimen (as you can see by the pictures above).

Give Caresa HOPE For The Future

You can make a difference by giving a generous donation towards Caresa's inpatient medical treatment costs. We have set up a Patient Donation Account in her name at the Alternative To Meds Center in Sedona, AZ. Once we raise enough towards her treatment program, we will transfer the funds to her Patient Donation Account so she can start the program and (finally) get the help she really needs. Caresa will likely require a full three-month stay to get her started towards a full recovery.If she doesn't the monies will go to help others seeking treatment.  We really want to start sponsoring others to get this well needed treatment.  If you would like to learn more about the Alternative To Meds Center, please visit their website at The point of contact for donations is Steve Woodring at (540) 535-8876 (or email him at

Again, I hope everyone can find it in their heart to contribute at least $5 and share this site with at least ten others who will do the same. We need every possible donation to help my daughter get her life back. Every dollar received will go towards Caresa’s care and treatment!

Once Caresa gets her life back, we plan to publish her book detailing the road to her deliverance for others seeking knowledge and help for these and other similar afflictions.  I am already speaking to groups large and small, any that care to hear, that there is another way to help people with mental illness.  People don’t deserve the treatment they are getting from the government and corporate medical bureaucracy. Just putting people on heavy drugs will never be the answer to their problems. The regular hospitals are overcrowded, jails are becoming holding places for these people.  Now my brothers and sisters are coming back from war and they need REAL help as well.  I need to get the word out nationally, as well as internationally because of what my daughter and I have been through, I know we can make a difference in others’ lives as well so please don't ignore this campaign.  Give and pass it on.  Get it to a Marine or othe military service member and I know they will do what is right.  You may be helping to change the world.  One person at a time.  If we don't get these people the real help they need we are bound to see more incidents of crime and violence from this community who are not getting the true help they need from the current modality of treatment.  Again, please give and leave a comment here so we can generate national and international support for this community of people who cannot advocate for themselves. 
Thank you for your prayers and support,

Crystal E. Kelley USMC, Ret.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Where did the Summer go....

Well summer has once again flown by.  You may wonder what I am talking about as it is only August 4th.  However, for me summer is effectively over and I feel certain I did not make the best use of my time.

Why do I say summer is over well my youngest daughter started her Senior year on Wednesday August 1st.  (I know it is crazy, but thankfully this will be the last year as she will be off to college next year.)

I have been sucked into a black hole of work since July 13th, if all goes according to plan I will escape when we jettison the dilithium crystal 10Q around August 8th.

I have a vague memory of going on a vacation at the end of May to the beach and Brookgreen Gardens.

Now I am making plans for fall -
1. College visits
2. Visit JeJu, Korean Spa in Atlanta.  I hear it is amazing.
3. Tickets to The Railroad Revival on October 20th - purchased :)
4. Annual Trip to Mercer Orchards for Apples.

oh yeah and do something about that fact that the bathroom floor looks like it could use a haircut,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Need Some Relief....

I think we are all in need of some summer time relief, whether from work (as in my case), kids on  summer vacation or the heat. So here is something to make you smile.


PORTER DAVIS - They always make me smile.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Movie Recommendation - The Way

I have always wanted to take a walking holiday - my dream trip is a coastal English walk, however, ever since I read Paulo Coehlo's "The Pilgrimage"  about a year ago I have been rather intrigued with The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St. James.  

So a few weeks ago I saw a promo for "The Way" by Emilio Estevez, starring Martin Sheen, and realizing it was about "The Camino",  I added it to my mental watch list.


Then other night as I was flipping through Netflix, what pops up in my movies you will like section - you got it "The Way".  I took it as a sign and started the movie rolling.

So needless to say I really enjoyed the movie.  The characters were nicely balanced - annoying yet lovable and one of my favorite French Actors has a small role which warmed my heart.

If you find yourself intrigued by the thought of Walking the Camino de Santiago this is a great blog full of information.

I think I have two walk tours to contemplate (Although riding a bike might be the better option on this one).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Chopra Center 21 Day Meditation Challenge

The Chopra Center is starting the Free to Love Meditation Challenge on July 16th.  I have completed two of these challenges and I find them a nice shift from my regular meditation practice, which is very unstructured.

The way it works is for 21-days you will receive notification to listen/download the daily meditation (I usually save each daily mediation to my Ipod). If you miss a day it is easy to catch up as you will have approx 5 days to access the meditation.   

This is great for beginners or the curious as it provides a nice structured platform and for the seasoned practitioner as a way to bring new depth to your daily practice.

Give it a try, it is free and you might be surprised by the results.

There was no compensation in any from for this post.  The opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Pictures of the Older One as she prepares for Saturday's Performance

What a transformation 
Not sure I know this Sassy Chica :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Broadway Dreams Atlanta Summer Intensive

Broadway Dreams Foundation - BDF 

As I have stated in the past my daughter lovingly known as the Older One is a theater major in college.  She loves her major and firmly believes her life's calling is to be involved with "The Theatre".  (I can attest this has been a bit scary for a bean counter parent like me.)

For the last two years she has been involved with a group called Broadway Dreams Foundation (BDF) which pairs theater professional and those with "Broadway Dreams" an opportunity to co-create.

The Older One was given the title of Intern this year and has spent her various school breaks and the odd weekend working with BDF whose main event each year is the Summer Intensive.

Here is a video of Day 2 of the 2012 Summer Intensive

Last night I had the privileged of watching the culmination of months of hard work and a week of sheer energy and drive transform into an evening of delight and indescribable amazement.

Here is a video of Day 4 of the 2012 Summer Intensive

I am still basking in the joy of last night's performance.

To the Older One - I am so extremely proud of you.  Your performance was amazing but beyond that your drive and determination to make it to this point is inspirational.  This is your dream and you pursued it, when others were tentative and suggested other outcomes you held fast and believed in yourself and found others who could see your dream and understand your abilities.  I know it has not been easy and rarely have things gone according to plan, you have altered course when necessary but never lost focus on the dream.   I am so very proud of you and I know you will succeed in creating the life you desire. 

I am so very grateful for everyone involved in this group.  The news this week has been filled with stories about children harassing a bus monitor but here I saw 142 children and young adults with drive and determination, who work hard and give everything they have to making their dreams a reality,  I saw adults willing to give their time and skills not only help another but to learn themselves. 

To you all I say - BRAVO!!!

 (I have no doubt the groups in Philadelphia and Omaha will have an amazing experience in the weeks to come.)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Grumpy Time

So the Hubby is sick, I mean really sick, I mean he finally decided after a week that he needs to go to the Doctor sick.  So we traveled to the Urgent Care on a Sunday morning for medical intervention.

Now I am sure not all husbands are like this but when mine is sick he turns into Mr. Grumpy with the dial on 10.

I will be staying on the other-side of the House today for both our sakes.

PS - Sinus infection - aka Not Life Threatening - at least not if I stay on the other-side of the house.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Really!!! I am only 46

I received this email today and my reaction was - REALLY!!!   I am only 46.

I mean I do look forward to one day claiming my senior specials but can I please do it at my own pace.  I know Christmas now starts the day after Halloween but I am not going to rush from 46 to 60..  I am planning on taking the slow train and dragging my feet the whole way.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Cherry Blossom Moon - Hanging with the Girlies

I like hanging out with my daughters - I know this may sound crazy but I have been graced with two lovely daughters who's company I do enjoy (not necessarily 24/7) but over all we have a fun time.

Friday night I invited them to join me and a group of friends at Painting with a Twist for an unofficial ladies night.  It was a risky move inviting the Girlies to join in this Ladies outing because no one will out you faster than your kids - as any parent can tell you.  

So far I think I got lucky and survived with all my friendships intact.  I did make a point of sitting away from the Girlies mostly so I did not kick into Mother Mode.  For this evening we were just a group of  Nine Ladies having a lovely evening painting.  

You can see the focus and concentration on the faces of those painting... 

And the finished products were quite lovely too. 

Life is Good :)

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Perfect Saturday - Life is Good

Today I had a perfect day, I didn't plan it - it just happened.

I woke up this morning to a beautiful clear blue sky and gentle breeze.  I drove into Atlanta and met up with The Older One to attend the monthly healing circle held by The International School of Shamanism.

The healing circle has two parts, there is a sharing portion and then an energy work portion, during the energy work portion the Shamans and Shaman Apprentices work with people that desire energy work and the rest of us get to Drum or play other musical instruments. I love the Drumming, if you ever get the opportunity to drum with a group I highly recommend it.  There is something very cathartic about Group Drumming it is dynamic - sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow and sometimes everyone is doing there own thing and that too is beautiful.

This process takes a few hours so by the time we are done there is a desire for food.  My friend Retha, The Older One and I headed out to a restaurant and shortly after we sat down, (before we had even ordered our food) two more friends arrived.  Anna from Universal Energy Radio  and an amazing life coach, and Donna a graphic artist.

Talk about synchronicity.

Great Food, Great Conversation - Needless to say we had a great lunch  :)

Afterwards I headed home and spent a few hours with The Hubby sharing the days events.  He even found me a Bunco Game set among his other prizes from Yard Sale Hunting this morning.

Life is Good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Sweet Home from Vacation

The Hubby, The Younger One and I took a vacation to Garden City South Carolina over the Memorial Weekend.  Part of our trip revolved around a wedding taking place on Memorial Day.  While I had a wonderful time going to Brookgreen Gardens,

Georgetown SC,

and of course the Beach,

 I made a sad realization while I was away.

I love my bed.  I love it so much that for the past 7 nights I have barely slept a wink and as soon as I got home and got some sort of order in place I immediately went to lay on my bed and give thanks for the wonder of it comfy softness.  How will this realization affect future vacations?  Not every place I desire to go is a day trip away from Atlanta.... I will have to find a solution to the Beds of Rock fear that has materialized during this trip.

For now, however, my bed is calling to me and I intend to enjoy this last night of sleep as I return to cubical world in the morning.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Grand Old Trees

I just love old cemeteries.  I especially like old cemeteries of the Coastal South East.  Today we ran across a lovely example in Georgetown South Carolina.

The Hubby and I stopped to take a few photos - ok in my case over 130 photos.   I used my little digital camera for most of the pictures however, I recently picked up a Cannon EOS Rebel (film) at a yard sale as I want to learn how to take "real" pictures.  

I was in awe of the trees in this cemetery - there were several huge southern oak trees. 

 I have included several photos of this tree at different angles to show just how expansive it is. 
As I walked around it I was really quite surprised it hadn't fallen over - check out the next few pictures to see what I mean. 

This Tree was just lovely 
I could imagine him as an ENT from Lord of the Rings


The following pictures are from the roll of film I shot playing with the lens and manually focusing - trying to take "real" pictures  :)

With any luck I should have a few pictures of Brookgreen Gardens in the near future.