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Tri-Tip & Veggies Crockpot Style

As a busy Mom of two, I don’t always have time to cook as much as I’d like to. I truly enjoy being in my kitchen and experimenting with different recipes, but I never seem to have the time I need. Life is busy and chaotic, especially now that it’s holiday season!

I had purchased two tri-tips (pre-marinated) from a local grocery store and cooked my first one in the oven for my hubby’s 50th birthday this past Monday. It came out ok, but it was a little dry (next time I know not to cook it too long and it was my first time cooking one), so I didn’t want to cook my second one in the oven again. I decided to experiment with my crockpot. Dinner needed to be ready by 6pm or close to that, but I got home from teaching classes at the gym that morning at noon, had to shower, make lunch, homeschool my kids, get ready, make dinner and leave by 5:45pm to teach again. A crockpot meal was my best solution for dinner that evening.

Grocery shopping usually happens mid week in our home, but we’ve had a lot going on, so I didn’t have much of a veggie selection. I grabbed what vegetables I had, chopped them up, and put them in the crockpot first.  After that, I took the marinated tri-tip out of it’s wrapper and placed it on top of the veggies, set the crockpot for 4 hours (high) and that was it. Dinner would be cooking while I was working with my kiddos.

Photography by Z Queen Bee

I walked in the door after classes on Wednesday evening and it smelled soooo good! Dinner was delicious, the kiddos loved it so much that they asked me to make it again today, and everyone was happy. Mission accomplished! I had shared my photo’s of meal prep on Facebook, and a few friends requested the recipe, so I’m posting it below. Let me know if you try it and share your photos too.

Bon appetit!

Prep Time: 10-15 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings depending on size of tri-tip)
1 Pre-Marinated Tri-Tip
8 Small potatoes
Cauliflower florets
Carrots (baby carrots, chopped carrots or whatever you prefer)
1/2 Cup of broth (beef or chicken is fine)
Drizzle of olive oil
Basil
Salt
Pepper
Italian seasoning
Parsley (fresh or dry)

*I would also have added mushrooms and chopped celery if I had them on hand.

DIRECTIONS:
Peel and chop the potatoes into cubes. Peel and chop carrots and cauliflower if using full size veggies. Once you have chopped the veggies, place them in the crockpot. Drizzle the veggies with olive oil (about 1 Tbs) Add your spices and then mix so that the veggies are coated with oil and seasoning. Pour broth over the veggies. Place the tri-tip on top of the vegetables, close the lid and set for desired cooking time. I did 4 hours on high because I needed my meal cooked quickly.

Once it’s cooked, remove the tri-tip and slice as desired. Serve over vegetables.

Humbug-Willow Creek Bike Trail by Reuben Hernandez

The Humbug-Willow creek trail is really several trails combined.  The two primary trail sections follow the Humbug creek and the Willow creek, hence the name.  The trail is better marked than most trails we’ve been on, but the city probably needs to spend more money on placing signs at the intersections as it is incredibly easy to get lost.  If you go, make sure your map (or GPS) shows all the trails as there are more trail crossings and trail extensions than we’ve seen on any other paved trail we’ve ridden.

According to the city of Folsom there are roughly 45 miles of multi-use trails snaking through the city.  We would love to ride every inch of these trails and report back, but we didn’t want to plan an extended journey as we had to account for the possibility of taking a wrong turn and adding several miles more than our two children could handle.  As it turned out, this was a good approach.  We had planned a 9.9 mile route, and thanks to more than one wrong turn, we ended up going 11.14 miles.

We started our Journey at the Starbucks on the corner of East Natomas street and Blue Ravine Road at the Raley’s shopping plaza.  If you are using your GPS to find this Starbucks, the address is:

25055 Blue Ravine Road
Folsom, CA 95630

The trail runs along the backside of the shopping plaza.  This is a great starting point as there is more than one place to grab a meal or purchase a snack to take with you.  We journeyed east from the trailhead next to the Mexquite restaurant, but either way works since the trail constantly loops over itself in figure eights, and both directions take you to the same crossing.

One of the hallmarks of a great trail is good scenery.  What makes this trail so amazing is that it feels like you are a hundred miles away from civilization even though you are never very far from homes and businesses.  We were rarely more than twenty feet from the sound of the babbling creek, which was evidenced by the countless wooden bridges we crossed during our trip.  There are some wide-open fields to cross, but most of the trail is well shaded giving us that Wizard of Oz yellow brick road feel.  That is to say, it was magical.

We pedaled along the Humbug creek portion first, which is the northern section that never strays very far from Blue Ravine Road.  This appears to terminate unexpectedly at Oak Parkway, which left us hunting along our map for a little while.  There are two options from here, turn left (south) and ride the sidewalk until you see a crossing that takes you to Cummings Family park, which will eventually get you back on the trail.  We elected to cross Oak Parkway at the nearby intersection and catch the dirt trail where it picks up about a hundred feet south of where we were.  So we turned right, pedaled a hundred feet to the intersection, crossed Oak Parkway, then turned left (south) and spotted the dirt and gravel  connector that gets you back on the trail towards Bidwell.

There is a concrete bridge that crosses over Bidwell with side paths that take you down to the street on either side.  This is a good place to stop as there are numerous restaurants, coffee shops, and amenities at the corner of Bidwell and Blue Ravine road.  In hindsight, we probably would have planned the trip with a stop at The Habit Burger Grill on Blue Ravine, which isn’t visible from the trail but easy to get to if you have your map with you.

We followed the trail over the Jim Konopke Volunteer bridge, which is one of the most charming curvaceous bridges I’ve ever pedaled across, then down to Riley street where we took the trail fork on the left.  The fork turns sharply before you actually reach Riley, and takes you back along the Willow Creek trail.   If you can navigate your way properly (we couldn’t!) it should take you back to where we started.

This trail exceeded all of our expectations for family biking adventures.  There are hills but none of them are impossibly long or steep, so you should be able to bring your children along.  Just remember that most young children can’t handle more than a mile or two when you throw hill climbing at them. We have a contraption for towing our daughter on her bicycle, otherwise she would not have been able to make it.

In hindsight, we should have started down near Folsom Blvd or Prairie City Road, as this would have given us more downhill riding towards the end of our trip.  Nonetheless the climbing was not so difficult that our son couldn’t handle it.

This is the route as we had intended it:

If you live in the area and haven’t tried riding the Humbug-Willow creek network of trails, we encourage you to take your family out and ride it.   This is easily in the top ten bike trails we’ve ridden in the country.  There are numerous access points with excellent amenities nearby.   The trail is safe and scenic.  The trail can be shortened and lengthened in various loops with varying degrees of elevation change to appeal to any level of experience with several connections to other trails for a potential ride extending over one hundred miles.  But for us, this trail gets high praise because it is laid out to maximize the shade and mystery of what’s beyond the next turn.  It has that special appeal that makes you feel like you’re riding in a secret woodland passage between magical kingdoms.  Don’t miss it!

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Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut & Walnuts

Have you ever heard of a Chia seed pudding? Apparently I’m a little behind on the times, and just discovered this deliciousness that can be enjoyed as a pudding or a breakfast!

Chia seeds are extremely rich in Omega-3, which is healthy for the heart, and great for the joints. They also contain antioxidants, fiber and protein. Chia seeds make a perfect breakfast, because they will fill your belly and satisfy your hunger. 

Once you’ve become a Chia expert, you can master your own recipes and tweak it to suit your tastes. Here’s how I made my first batch today…

Chocolate Chia Pudding with Coconut & Walnuts

First, you will need some mason jars or storage containers…

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients (Makes 1 Serving)
Mason Jars for your pudding
1/4 Cup chia seeds
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs Maple syrup (2 tbs if you want your pudding to be a little sweeter)
½ Tbs Cocoa powder (1 tbs if you don’t use the Spectrum mix)
½ Tbs Spectrum ground chia, flax, coconut and cocoa
1 Cup rice milk (you can use any milk you prefer)
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 Tbs Walnuts
Assorted berries for topping as desired

*All of my ingredients used are organic, but use whatever suits you best.

DIRECTIONS:
Combine the chia seeds, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cocoa powder, Spectrum mix, cinnamon, coconut flakes and walnuts in your mason jars.

Add your rice milk or milk of your choice and shake it up well. Place in the refrigerator overnight (preferably), or for a minimum of 6 hours before consuming.

Serve with berries of your choice. If you prefer your nuts to be a little more crunchy, consider adding them once your mix has set.

Photoraphy and recipe by Z Queen Bee

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REVIEW: Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL

My family and I were eager to see the Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA last night. This was my very first time attending a Monster Jam event, and of course, my kids couldn’t get there fast enough!

My husband (who is excellent at prepping for events and trips), made a quick stop at Harbor Freight for ear plugs and protective ear muffs. We all opted for the ear muffs… It gets rather loud at the show, so be sure to keep those ears protected, especially for little ones.

We left home early to secure a parking spot near the Golden 1 Center, but ended up circling for almost an hour. Be warned, if you’re attending the show, it’s best to go early! Traffic was crazy and parking was difficult…

Once we were inside, my kids were instantly captivated by the Monster Trucks. My daughter (5) squealed with delight as Monster Truck Zombie entered the arena, arms flapping with each amazing trick; my son (8), yelled with excitement when his favorite, Maximum Destruction, did cool tricks!

My favorite monster truck was Monster Mutt Dalmation driven by Cynthia Gauthier. Cynthia did an AWESOME job and won the first Monster Jam Freestyle at the Golden 1 Center. The crowd went crazy!

There was never a dull moment at this family friendly event! From racing buggies to ATV’s, to the large Monster Trucks themselves, this show is not to be missed!

The entire event is about two hours long, including intermission. You do not need close seating as every view is perfect. Be prepared for the noise, and have a great time!

For more pictures and video footage, please look for me on instagram https://www.instagram.com/z.queen.bee/

Here’s a clip of Monster Truck Zombie in action…

*Sponsored Advertisement. My family and I were given complimentary tickets in exchange for my opinion of this event.

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Interested in Homeschooling?

Are you interested in homeschooling your child or children? Afraid to take that first step? Don’t know where to begin?

About F.A.C.E Charter homeschool in Sacramento is a GREAT place to check out!

We are a homeschool family and have been with About F.A.C.E for almost a year. We are loving our amazing advisors and some of the fun field trips we’ve taken. It’s a smaller charter homeschool group based out of Sacramento, which makes things more personal.

About F.A.C.E does not have an informational meeting date set yet, but you can email jpotter@heritagepeak.org to get on the list, so that you will be emailed as soon as a date is set.

Please mention you’re from Sacramento when you contact Janet.

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL Roars Into Sacramento For Three Action-Packed Events January 20-22

**Ultimate Showdown of Eight Extreme Monster Jam Teams

Going Head-to-Head in Seven Endurance Competitions

Driving Three Different Vehicles**

(Sacramento, CA) – The infamous 2,000 horsepower engines are revving up again and ready to roar full throttle back into the Central Valley as the Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL, the most adrenaline charged motorsports experience for families on the planet, makes the first-ever motorsports event appearance in Sacramento’s new downtown venue, Golden 1 Center, for three action-packed events from Friday, January 20th – Sunday, January 22nd.

The Monster Jam Triple Threat Series presented by AMSOIL can only be seen in select cities across the country and features the most extreme athletes of Monster Jam competing against one another in a points-based format that showcases the best lineup of Monster Jam vehicles to deliver what fans want to see most – more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action!

Unlike any other Monster Jam event, the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series is the definitive test of endurance, versatility and driving skills that showcases these premiere athletes as they go head-to-head in seven unique endurance competitions driving three different vehicles: Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs; ultimately battling for points in both racing and freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit.

Opening Night tickets start at just $15 for the BIGGEST show in the Golden 1 Center! Don’t miss Monster Jam coming to Sacramento from Jan. 20-22! Restrictions, exclusions and fees may apply.

#monsterjamsacramento #monsterjam #gravedigger #Golden1Center #blogger #familyfun #Sacramento #thisweekend #weekendfun #tickets

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL

Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL Roars Into Sacramento For Three Action-Packed Events January 20-22

**Ultimate Showdown of Eight Extreme Monster Jam Teams

Going Head-to-Head in Seven Endurance Competitions

Driving Three Different Vehicles**

(Sacramento, CA) – The infamous 2,000 horsepower engines are revving up again and ready to roar full throttle back into the Central Valley as the Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ presented by AMSOIL, the most adrenaline charged motorsports experience for families on the planet, makes the first-ever motorsports event appearance in Sacramento’s new downtown venue, Golden 1 Center, for three action-packed events from Friday, January 20th – Sunday, January 22nd.

The Monster Jam Triple Threat Series presented by AMSOIL can only be seen in select cities across the country and features the most extreme athletes of Monster Jam competing against one another in a points-based format that showcases the best lineup of Monster Jam vehicles to deliver what fans want to see most – more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action!

Unlike any other Monster Jam event, the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series is the definitive test of endurance, versatility and driving skills that showcases these premiere athletes as they go head-to-head in seven unique endurance competitions driving three different vehicles: Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs; ultimately battling for points in both racing and freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series team athletes vying to be Sacramento champions are:

Grave Digger® driven by Cole Venard

Max-D® driven by Jared Eichelberger

El Toro Loco® driven by Mark List

Monster Mutt® Dalmation* driven by Cynthia Gauthier

Zombie™ driven by Tyler Groth

New Earth AuthoritySM (N.E.A.) driven by Travis Groth

Scooby-Doo™ driven by rookie Myranda Cozad

Mohawk Warrior* driven by rookie Bryce Kenny

*Two new Monster Jam teams coming to 2017 Sacramento event (not featured in 2016 event)

Plus, fans are always encouraged to come to the arena early on both Saturday and Sunday for the Monster Jam® Pit Party pre-show experience which provides unprecedented access to the Monster Jam trucks and drivers – you can see the trucks up close, meet the athletes, get their autographs and take photos!

*Pit Pass required for entry; purchase price $10 for all ages.

WHEN: Friday, January 20, 2017

Event Time – 7:00 PM

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pit Party open from 4:30 PM–6:00 PM

**Saturday event ticket & Pit Pass required for entry

Event Time – 7:00 PM

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Pit Party open from 10:30 AM–12:00 PM

**Sunday event ticket & Pit Pass required for entry

Event Time – 1:00 PM
WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 500 David J. Stern Walk, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Tickets are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at just $20 each*

Pit Passes available to purchase for $10 each

Tickets are now available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*ticket prices subject to change – additional venue/ticketing fees may apply.

For the die-hard Monster Jam fans, we are now offering the official Monster Jam Collector’s ticket featuring stunning 3D graphics! This special souvenir keepsake is your ticket into the show and is the ultimate collectible for Monster Jam fans – available for exclusive purchase online only through Ticketmaster.com.

**Sent only via UPS or Mail. Tickets will be delivered within four weeks of your purchase. Any changes to your ticket order after the fact may cause delays. Offer is only available at the time of your internet ticket purchase.
2017 Season Kickoff presentation video:

https://www.facebook.com/MonsterJam/videos/10154400000030833/

For more information on Monster Jam, please log onto www.MonsterJam.com

Tacoma event information can be found at:

http://www.monsterjam.com/en-US/events/sacramento-ca-0

Or follow us via our social channels below:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MonsterJam

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MonsterJam

Instagram: www.instagram.com/MonsterJamLive

YouTube: www.youtube.com/MonsterJamLive

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.

DISNEY ON ICE presents PASSPORT TO ADVENTURE

Pack Your Bags for the Ultimate Tour of Disney Destinations in
DISNEY ON ICE presents PASSPORT TO ADVENTURE
Coming to Sacramento’s newest venue Golden 1 Center from November 3-6

Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as your tour guides a magical globetrotting getaway as they travel to the timeless worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and the #1 animated feature film of all time, Frozen, in Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure! Celebrate some of the most memorable Disney tales and landscapes with all your favorite characters in one fun-filled ice production, playing from November 3rd–6th at the the brand new Golden 1 Center in downtown Sacramento.

Mickey and Minnie will take audiences on a sightseeing adventure created for the entire family to explore the African Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage deep under the sea to Ariel’s mystical underwater kingdom and tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy before flying to Neverland to meet up with Tinker Bell. Plus, travel to Arendelle for an extraordinary adventure with sisters Anna and Elsa, rugged mountain man Kristoff and everyone’s favorite, huggable snowman Olaf, as they journey to discover that true love is the most magical power of all.

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure features an international team of award-winning figure skaters, high-energy choreography and a colorful set that captures all four unique worlds. Upbeat music, lovable characters and unforgettable moments make this an experience families will cherish forever!

WHEN: Thursday, November 3 – Sunday, November 6
Thursday, Nov. 3 7:00 PM
Friday, Nov. 4 7:00 PM
Saturday, Nov. 5 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, Nov. 6 12:00 PM & 4:00 PM

WHERE: Golden 1 Center – 547 L Street, Sacramento, CA 95814

TICKETS: Ticket prices start at just $20!

Special Opening Night discount tickets available for 50% off for select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row levels)

All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 800-745-3000 or visit the Golden 1 Center Box Office.

*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

Tickets for Disney On Ice presents Passport To Adventure, along with the full line up of Disney On Ice productions for the 2016-2017 season, go on sale August 16, 2016. Visit http://presale.disneyonice.com for the shows and dates coming to your hometown.

For more information, please visit www.DisneyOnIce.com or follow us on these social media platforms:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIce
Twitter: @DisneyOnIce #PassportToAdventure
YouTube: www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram: @DisneyOnIce

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About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com.

Disney On Ice Celebrates “The Magic of Storytelling” With a Passport To Adventure Storytime

Disney On Ice Celebrates “The Magic of Storytelling” With a Passport To Adventure Storytime at the Sacramento Central Library’s Kid Zone *Thursday, November 3 @ 10:30 AM*

Disney On Ice arrives back in Sacramento to showcase the fun-filled production, Passport to Adventure, with its first performances inside the new Golden 1 Center. Four classic Disney stories are featured in the performance including the timeless worlds of Disney’s The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan and the #1 animated feature film of all time, Frozen.

To help promote literacy among their young fans, Disney On Ice is making a special appearance at the Sacramento Central Library’s regular Thursday morning Toddler Storytime. Children and their caregivers are invited to 30 minutes of stories, fun songs, rhymes and movement activities, all designed to build early literacy skills. Disney On Ice will also take the kids on a Passport to Adventure journey through all the Disney “worlds” featured in the show with special themed activities from each of the movies.

Plus the kids & families will have a special surprise character visit from two of Disney’s biggest stars!

WHERE: Sacramento Central Library – 828 I Street, Sacramento CA 95814

*Event will be located in the Kid Zone / Lower Level

WHEN:
Thursday, November 3rd starting at 10:30 AM
10:30 AM – Frozen storytime with kids
10:50 AM – Disney character appearance

CONTACT: Heather Atherton, Atherton Public Relations
916.316.4568 (mobile) / athertonpr@gmail.com

Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure skates into Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center November 3-6, 2016. Tickets can be purchased at www.disneyonice.com.

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About Feld Entertainment
Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 75 countries and on six continents to date and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live! and Marvel Universe LIVE! More information about Feld Entertainment is available online at www.feldentertainment.com

Kicking Butte to Make A Difference #KickButte

Just over a week ago, I posted a request on my personal Facebook page, as well as my pay it forward group called “Sacramento Free or Pay it Forward” for our neighbors to come together as a community to help those who lost their homes, businesses and animals to the fires here in Northern California (Butte County). I was absolutely amazed at how we did just that.

Michelle (a local neighbor), and her Dad (a retired firefighter), volunteered to assist me with my quest to make deliveries to those in need.  After we received two rooms FULL of donations of all sorts, we loaded our vans and headed to Valley Springs, CA. We managed to get ALL the donations into two vans because Michelle knows how to pack a car properly (she’s got some serious skills).

Donations

We drove up to the first location where they were unable to take our donations because of the size of the facility (it was tiny).  They weren’t able to take too many evacuees either which was really heartbreaking, but I’m glad that they could serve a few.

Make shift bathrooms

While we were there, we met an elderly lady who lost her home and animals to the fire. She shared her story with us and it made me tear up. She also needed various toiletries and supplies and we were so excited to be able to assist her, as the place we were at did not have what she needed.

*An extra special shout out to those of you who gave us boxes of depends, diapers, toiletries, etc. You’re amazing! We couldn’t have done it without you.

We then drove down to Burson, CA,  where we dropped off the remaining deliveries and were told that evacuees are camping on the sides of the roads in San Andreas – they have no place to go and the camps are already full. It was so sad driving up through the hills seeing tents set up under trees in various spots. I saw an entire family at one place, starting to set up camp as it got later, using just a two man tent with their vehicle parked close by. These people have nothing and it broke my heart.

Camped out under a tree for the night…

Thank you to all of you in our community who have so generously donated, and thank you to Michelle and her father for taking time out of your day to help me, help others.

Michelle & Dad