Jo & Elliott's Huge Adventure

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

QUOTES to usher in the New Year

Do you believe in miracles?

This story has circulated for years; usually it is a church on Christmas Eve. Patricia Polacco has written a beautiful children's book, the Christmas Tapestry, which has it taking place in Detroit. She says she heard the story many years ago.
The brand new Rabbi and his wife were newly assigned to their first congregation to reopen a Shul in suburban Brooklyn. They arrived in early February excited about their opportunities. When they saw their Shul, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Erev Puirm. They worked hard, repairing aged pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on 8th of the Adar (February 17th) they were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On February 19 a terrible snowstorm hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the Rabbi went over to the Shul. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaste r about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high. The Rabbi cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Erev Purim service, headed home.

On the way home, he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Mogen David embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the Shul. By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The Rabbi invited her to wait in the warm Shul for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the Rabbi while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall ta pestry. The Rabbi could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area.

Then the Rabbi noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. "Rabbi, "she asked, "where did you get that tablecloth?" The Rabbi explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials, EBG were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Poland. The woman could hardly believe it as the Rabbi told how he had just gotten "The Tablecloth".

The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Poland. When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to a camp and never saw her husband or her home again. The Rabbi wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the Rabbi keep it for the Shul. The Rabbi insisted on driving her home. That was the least he could do. She lived on t he other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.

What a wonderful service they had on Erev Purim . The Shul was almost full. The Service was great. At the end of the service, the Rabbi and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the Rabbi recognized from the neighborhood continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the Rabbi wondered why he wasn't leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Poland before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the Rabbi how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a camp. He never saw his wife or his home again all the 35 years between.

The Rabbi asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same ho use where the Rabbi had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman's apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Erev Purim reunion he could ever imagine.

Based on a true story; God does work in mysterious ways!

Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent this to you:

"Hashem, bless all my friends and family in what ever it is that You know they may be needing this day! May their lives be full of Your peace, prosperity and power as they seek to have a closer relationship with You. Amen."

Then send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you. Within hours five people have prayed for you and you caused a multitude of people to pray for other people. Then, sit back and watch the power of Hashem work in your life.

P. S. Five is good, but more is better

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fleamaster flea-market & what we think of some movies

Jo has had a group of online friends for about 15 years. She has met a bunch including in those in MA, CA, NY and FL. Her Florida friend lives in Fort Myers so once again we got together with her and her husband for a great breakfast at First Watch.

Jan and Jo

We decided to take the girls to the flea market and they were dreams. We are so lucky to have them. Elliott got a bunch of stuff...he loves the hardware type stuff. Jo got a top for her mom...Her Florida gifts are tops that just aren't sold at home.

We watched the football game (Yeah Pats) and the...hmm third or fourth movie this trip. This one was The Conjuring.. Horror you say? Yup, Jo loves stuff like that; Elliott doesn't. We won't be renting a horror movie again. She'll have to watch them at home. 

We also saw Red 2. We liked it. Now you must understand we are not movie elitists. As long as a movie keeps our attention i.e. we don't fall asleep, it gets a thumbs up. 

We saw 2 Guns. This one was odd and difficult to follow.

We thought We're the Millers to be funny and enjoyed it. 

We liked World War Z. A zombie movie but it was entertaining.

Summoned was good. Cuba Gooding, Jr. had a small role although he got top billing and I didn't like Ashley Scott, whoever she is. 

Wow six movies! Too bad I don't review them on epinions.

Last night we watched Parkland. Drink some coffee because it is a bit slow but worth the time.

We suppose someone likes The Lone Ranger but.not us. Jo read in bed. Elliott managed to finish it.

Family reunion in St. Pete Beach

What a great time. We miss these relatives a lot. They are on Elliott's side: aunt Doris and uncle Stanley and two of Elliott's cousins.. Mike and Helene and their spouses Phyl and Russ, Phyllis and Mikes' daughter Stephanie, Elliott's brother Alan, wife Anna and son Thomas.. we sat around and chatted and laughed and sat around for dinner and chatted and laughed. Funny thing is that many of us have NYC in common so our new years resolutions are to see each other more. Everyone is tagged on my Facebook page

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Valentine's Day crafts DIY

Although this is considered a craft for kids, I am going to turn it into a business adventure like I did the reindeer candy canes (below), which were a big hit.

I think I will mix up the candy - perhaps use small bags of pretzels and other healthier choices for people who I know don't eat sugar, etc. The card will go on the heart. I will post a picture after I make it.

All it takes is a strip of green paper, an elastic around the candy to make it look like a butterfly. pipe cleaners and a heart, which could be made of foam, paper, felt or anything you have around the house

Friday, December 27, 2013

Jo's rant: Cigarette butts

Jo ranted yesterday about the whining going on regarding people not getting their Christmas gifts from Amazon. Come on, people! Do you know that people are without electricity? How about hurricanes, Tsunamis, wars for peace, civil wars all over the world, women getting raped and mutilated because they are women, children dying from starvation (not as in I am starving, let's go to Burger King) but real starvation? How about not having clean water to drink, on and on and on and you are angry that your gift is coming a couple of days late. It is hard to believe so wake up and stop whining. Be glad you woke up today. Be glad you woke up in the United States of American. Be glad you have money to receive a gift.

On to rant number two...this is the beach we have been at and will continue to be for the next few days. It is truly one of the prettiest we've seen. 

Sparkling blue water and powdery, white sand is littered with cigarette butts? We have been to the most gorgeous National Parks and have been appalled that people put out their butts on these wonders. But THIS beach has a sign and the sign says that it is the law to pick up after you dog (which people do) and to pick up your cigarette butts, put them in the doggie bags and throw them away. Two days ago as we were leaving we saw a pile of butts and were amazed. Sure enough the same couple who were smoking two days ago were there again and their butts were next to her chair. 

Jo handed her a baggie and suggested she obey the law and use it for her butts. She looked at Jo like she was crazy but took it and say ok in a very unfriendly way. A minute later Jo went over (yup she does stuff like this even though Elliott thought she was going to get swung at by the boyfriend) and asked if they were smoking Marlboro's because that was what the pile consisted of. She said ya and Jo said that perhaps they would want to pick up their butts from the day before. She told Jo to get out of her face to which she commented that the beach is so beautiful why would they want to ruin it, how long it takes to degrade, etc. Jo wanted to take a picture of them, the butts and the sign and hope it went viral but Elliott said NO.  He didn't want Jo to get so aggravated and what would it accomplish. Would you have done anything? What do you think about people who litter anywhere. As a side note 30 years ago when Elliott and Jo "met" over the phone and they were asking each other questions, Jo asked Elliott if he "threw gum wrappers out the window" to which he replied "only beer bottles." She knew she had her soul mate. 

(¯`v´¯) `*.¸.*´ ¸.•´¸.•*¨) ¸.•*¨) (¸.•´ (¸.•´ .•´ ¸¸.•¨¯`*

Kid-Friendly Sparkling New Years Jello Drinks

Kid-Friendly Sparkling New Years Jello Drinks- made with grape juice and sparkling cider

Thursday, December 26, 2013

We ~♡~ FUDGE


Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 48 squares 
This fudge is easy, foolproof and only takes 10 minutes…no candy thermometer required! The average price per pound of fudge from a candy shop is $8 a pound, and this recipe makes 1½ lbs. for about $4!

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1, 5 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Line an 8″ square pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  2. Combine butter, evaporated milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly.
  4. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately stir in miniature marshmallows and chocolate chips until melted and smooth.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Stir in nuts, if desired.
  8. Pour into pan.
  9. Refrigerate 2 hours.
  10. Cut into squares or use a heart shape cookie cutter for a Valentine’s treat.

Notes Source
recipe adapted from Nestle’s Carnation Famous Fudge

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Fort Myers beach & Woodside Camping Resort

We are probably staying at the friendliest campground we have ever stayed at. In addition there are lots of activities, a beautiful pool and sauna, a dog run and nice sites. We had help backing in yesterday buy all in all it was easy but our levelers won't go down! The name is Woodsmoke Camping Resort.
Today, Christmas eve day, we left the girls in their crate and went to Publix, the liquor store, and got a couple of movies. Our very nice neighbours said they didn't hear the girls. We walked around, the girls ran bit in the fenced in dog area and checked out dog beach, which some people love but we didn't and then went to fort Myers beach, which we went to often in past years. It was cool but the dogs are allowed on leash, the sand and water are beautiful. The only downside is the $2.00 an hour meter.

If you have never seen a campground, this is the one at which we are staying.

The dog run. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Florida glorious days

You may know that the weather is unseasonably warm. Everyday we take the girls for a run on the beach, which we have to ourselves, we sit outside and Elliott takes a bike ride. There isn't much on the strip and we haven't ventured off it but we have cable so we watched the 30 year old virgin for the second time. We head to Fort Myers, where the beach is dog friendly, we know someone there and it is within striking distance of perhaps a family reunion in St Petersburg. I can't post pics because we are using so much data since the wi fi here is non existent.
We think we should submit this one to some magazine??

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Four point Weight Watcher yummy recipe: no guilt added

This is so easy to make on the road and so yummy. 

Frozen Bananas, peanut butter and yogurt...delicious ice cream without the guilt!! 

If you are on weight watchers use sunflower seed butter. It has 2 1/2 points for 1 tablespoon and is delicious. 

Have you tried PB2 yet? 45 calories (1 WW point) in 2 teaspoons and it is yummy. It's a powder. You can put it in liquid for example soy milk (2 points for 1 cup fat free),  sprinkle it on yogurt (see above), mix it with water and spread it on an English muffin - you get the point. Back to the frozen bananas! You can substitute the peanut butter for the PB2, go easy on the cocoa (or skip it) use Yoplait 2 point yogurt and a tablespoon of Cool Whip and I've made a delicious 4 point snack! 

© Jo Levy 

Cute video of Cloey and Zoey

Flagler Beach, FL

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flagler Beach Florida

It can take us two hours to decide where to eat so why wouldn't it take even longer to decide where to spend a few days. Hours later we settled at a campsite for $65 a night right on the beach. It's a good thing people write reviews because we almost stayed at Bulow until we found out they have fire ants. We had given them a credit card but when jo explained how sensitive she is to bugs she was given a refund. So it all worked out and as Jo says it was meant to be. We are on the beach side with very few people. Took a walk on the beach with the girls. Elliott set up their corral and it all seems OK.

Friday December 20 Jo slept much better on the foam mattress we bought. We paid for two more nights since the beach is  beautiful and we have no neighbors. Luckily iron foot bar, which is part of Flagler by the Sea, sees as much business as the higher priced real estate here. After Elliott took the girls for a walk we all took a nice walk on the beach, which is made up of finely ground shells. Jo's back, which had been bothering her, felt better so she was able to do what she loves... Collect shells.

It was warm and sunny and we

spent much of the day outside the coach listening to the sound of waves. Kind of like being home but no snow!

What are the chances that the EXACT same unit would pull up next to us at a campground in Flagler Beach, FL? It did. Elliott gave them a hand with a flashlight. 

Help I need my own seat

Jo can't stand to see the girls shaking. Cloey is worse than zoey but she can't just have one and not the other. It is cloey on my lap and then zoey looks pathetic or vice versa and jo ends up facing Elliott but it is all good.

We had lots of swaying today. Elliott has his work cut out. We might need a bar of some sort that jo read about on forums. It's a beautiful driving day.

The pic is not clear because 
Jo took it while bouncing around. Cloey is on the left with her tongue hanging out.

The rest area stop

A lot of rest areas-they may or may not have a lot of amenities-let you stay for a period of time. We have never been"chased" away and we have lots of company. We all slept really well and bought this rig for many reasons one of which is the ability to live in the unit without opening up slides. We are almost to Georgia. In 150 miles we will stop at Wal-Mart to buy a few things...well the list is growing. The girls pottying is 100 percent!

our first campground

We stopped at a KOA. A very large chain and great if you have kids. This was in Staunton, VA. It was almost empty and cold out.went down to 26F.
Jo needs a bed topper because the Serta is too hard for her.making a walmart list already and there are always Wal-Marts.
Jo made her reindeer candy cane crafts while Elliott submitted graders!

Heading south and snow

We haven't made great time but actually we aren't in a hurry. We pulled into a rest stop and slept for five hours. The girls are doing great though Cloey is more agitated than she was yesterday. We had to pull over once because of the snow but Eliott is doing great and Jo is knitting, on her phone or looking up things in The Next Exit. We are hoping to get to a KOA we looked up by tonight.
This is the girl's setup.

Leaving Massachusetts

We got a late start on Dec. 16. Left a day early trying to avoid the snow. We immediately had a problem with the tow bar but Elliot figured out what was wrong and we were all set. Stopped for gas and dinner. The girls are doing great. We thought they might like their new bed in back of Elliott's seat but now it's between us. At least jo doesn't have them both on her lap. They aren't wandering around and finally went to sleep. They did potty on command sort of and are just much better travelers than we expected. So far so good. Hoping to get far enough south tonight but that might be impossible. We are both tired.  It's nine degrees. Think we'll all potty inside tonight.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Sunday, December 15, 2013

How to make a Santa doll

This is way beyond my skill level!

aluminum foil
flesh-tone polymer clay
glass eyes
floral wire
2, 3-inch long dowels with holes drilled on each end
serrated needle nose pliers
sculpting tools
glue gun
white glue
pastels and water base oil paints
Grumtine solvent
8-gauge copper wire, 3 pieces (22-1/2", 17-1/2", 12")
wire crimping tool
electrical splice caps
drilled stained round wood base
natural colored canvas weight fabric
sewing machine
stuffing pellets and polyester stuffing
12-1/2" - 1/2" dowel with a hole drilled in one end
flesh colored nylon fabric
upholstery thread
fabric for gown, robe and hat
thread to match fabrics
trim for robe
fabric glue
metal dog comb
old scissors
greenery and small artificial fruit and leaves
miniature pinecones
Figure A

1. Create a foil ball for the head. Cover the ball with polymer clay and sculpt the head by first setting glass eyes (figure A).
Figure B
2. Then add the nose, mouth, eyelids, cheeks and ears (figure B).
Figure C
3. Create age wrinkles. Bake according to manufacturer’s directions (figure C).
Figure D
4. Make wire outline of hands for armature using 20-gauge floral wire (figure D). Twist wire at wrist and then glue into one end of a 3-inch dowel. Using a glue gun cover hand armature with strips of foil and then pinch the foil with serrated pliers creating a rough surface for the clay to adhere to.
Figure E
5. Pose the hands for holding the garland and then add polymer clay to both hands and sculpt the fingers (figure E). Bake according to manufacturer’s directions.
6. Color the head and hands with paints and pastels. Glue eyelashes to the eyelids.
Figure F
7. Glue the 12-1/2-inch dowel into the base and make a torso armature from 8-gauge copper wire using wire crimps (figure F).
Figure G
8. Cut out and sew the canvas body. Put the canvas body over the dowel (figure G). Stuff with pellets and polyfill to the top of the dowel. Glue torso armature into the top of the dowel and continue to stuff the shoulders.
Figure H
9. Sew the body closed at the shoulders (figure H).
Figure I
10. Place head on the body, add clay and sculpt the neck and shoulder plate, sign your name and make holes in breastplates to sew onto the canvas body. Next lift the head and neckpiece off of the armature and bake according to manufacturer's directions (figure I).
11. Attach hands using glue gun and wrap arms with batting. Sew nylon fabric for sleeve and attach.
12. Attach head to the body by sewing onto the canvas body.
Figure J
13. Cut out and sew a gown, robe and hat and add trim to the robe as desired (figure J).
Figure K
14. Comb and trim the end of wool and glue it onto the face and head. Glue on mustache and eyebrows (figure K).
Figure L
15. Attach a hat to the head using a glue gun. Cut out a piece of fur, glue the edges to the inside and glue it on top of the hat with a glue gun. Glue the tassel to end of the hat (figure L).
16. Make a loop in each end of the greenery to go over each hand. Glue fruit, leaves and pinecones to the greenery with a glue gun.

You can see the entire post at HGTV.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Crafts on the road & martketing ideas

This blanket I am making (see post below) is getting very boring. I am going back to my frilly scarves while on the road even though after making so many I couldn't wait to stop. I will buy some more frilly yarn. They were big sellers so perhaps people at campgrounds will love them too.

Speaking of which, I got my business cards from 123 Print rather than the ones on the right from Vista Print. Vista Print was going to take too long and am attaching the candy cane reindeer craft to them to give out as well. Hoping to drum up some business.