Month: December 2014

Lilah Mei Compilation Video

Shortly after we received Lemondrop’s file from Madison they sent us some video clips of her at the orphanage. The following is those videos tied together along with music from My Neighbor Totoro as a sound track.



Have a Magical Day!


Going Green with Greens

You may have noticed on social media pages a image going around that says you can regrow some vegetables from just their base; you can & we do.

We get many of our veggies from a local farm & for the last couple years now I have been using them to grow our own. I started by taking potatoes that had started to shrivel and sprout and put them in the ground. Potatoes are super simple: plant them, water them & when the plant dies harvest the spuds.

Last year I noted that Leeks we got from the farm still had some of their roots intact so I put one of the discarded bases in a dish of water to see what would happen; lo and behold I ended up regrowing the plant.

Last year was a very strange growing year; with the exception of string beans which always do great, most of what we planted had troubles producing ‘fruit’ of any significance including a couple dozen Leek sprouting’s I was given & which ended up growing only pencil thin. The recycled Leek though flourished and even produced seeds.

We’re still a long way from Spring but, now that I know that they are still viable, I feel guilty just tossing the Leek bases away so I have started a few more (so far).

Here you can see one that I started along with two others that were started a week or two later; these things grow fast.


Note the fresh roots sprouting from the larger plant & the pale yellow color of the cores of the two smaller freshly cut bases; it isn’t as obvious in this pic but two days later that yellow begins to turn green.


Here is a shot a little closer…


You can see that as the rest of the base begins to shrivel the center starts to protrude. Check out the next pic, one day later…..


The other thing growing in there now is the end of a Rutabaga; it had started sprouting so I figured i would give it a try too. The greens were in sad shape when I put it in the water but they quickly revived.

Here is three days later; the Leeks are well on their way and the Rutabaga is looking happier too.


And this one was taken five days later….


I have transplanted the more mature Leek into a pot with soil, the two little ones are chugging along and the Rutabaga is starting to stretch out its leaves; not sure how that one will end up, time will tell.


That little cup now to the left is a small celery root I picked up at the farm this week. I usually grab larger ones to dice up into a stew or sipping broth; I spotted this small one with a tuft of green sprouting out of it so I decided to see what would become of it. Once I know these things are not just alive but pushing to continue on I just feel compelled to help them.

One thing that I find is very important is making sure that you have not only sufficient water but clean water as well. Every couple days or so I switch out the old water with fresh water (filtered; our water has a heavy chlorine smell). I also gently work my fingers into the roots a bit while holding them under running water and clean out any gunky stuff hat may be growing; if not your little garden is going to start stinking as the water grows stagnant.

This also helps avoid secondary plant life from taking hold, like algae. If you plan on leaving the plants in water for an extended period of time you may want to try and prevent the roots from getting direct sun.

You will note over to the left another plant growing in a container of water, that is a sweet potato; The container is a glass jar that sauerkraut came in. In previous years when I started a sweet potato plant in a clear glass jar I ran into an issue where algae would grow around the roots and starve the plant. What I did this time though was wrap the jar with some foil and then, for decorative purposes, wrapped a colored plastic bag around that. This plant has had roots for about 4 months now and they have remained clean.


Sweet potatoes give me the most trouble sprouting. For some reason they take the longest to get going. What I usually do is take the last stragglers in the bucket and put them in water; making sure the part that was attached to the mother root remains above the water. Not sure if that even matters, but it seems right to me.

In previous years they would start to either sprout in a few weeks or not at all. I know that the ones you get from a conventional supermarket are often sprayed to inhibit rooting while they sit in storage or on the shelf but the ones we get from the farm aren’t.

The one in the photo above was actually started 5-6 months ago but took so long to start rooting that by the time it did it was getting too late in the season to plant it outside. The size you see it is how it has remained, I haven’t trimmed it, but once it has some soil to munch on it should grow much faster.  Even if you don’t want them for their fruit sweet potatoes are nice to have outside for their beautiful vines and flowers.

Growing plants from cuttings or their seed/pit, is fun and something that is a great educational project; my mom did it with me and I look forward to doing it with Lemondrop when she comes home.

I also have a Avocado plant I rescued after the original owner who started it from a pit tossed it away when they got tired of it. That one now stands over 6 feet tall and I put it outside every summer along with a pineapple plant I rooted from its top and a  3 foot tall Mango I started from its pit.

Sue doesn’t have much of a green thumb but I love having plants around the house; it is a sign of life and, no matter how dreary a winter day can be, having all that green growing around you can lift your spirits.


Have a Magical Day!

Big Step

We have just received a copy of the LOA (letter of acceptance) from China; whereby they grant approval for us to be the adoptive parents of Lilha, aka, Lemondrop.

We now need to sign the letter acknowledging our acceptance and it’s a done deal!


Video: Repairing a Climate Control knob

I had been thinking about making a ‘how to’ video but was not sure what about.

Fate intervened; one of the knobs for my trucks climate control broke.

I thought about just replacing it but had an idea & decided to try fixing it instead, in turn I made this video about the process.

I am happy to say that the switch is now working great again.

Toyota uses this style knob on quite a few models of their vehicles, mine is a 2005 Tundra, but you may be able to use these instructions to either fix or inspire you to come up with a solution for your own vehicle.

Here is the video; it’s only a few minutes or so long, below I will go into a little more detail.

 The Problem

So, what was happening was that, because of the cracks in the sleeve or knob stem which fits over the control’s stem, the sides of the knob stem were spreading under tension as I turned it and as such it could not grip the control stem and move it.




The Repair


The basic tools for the repair are as follows:

  • A narrow fine toothed saw like a hack saw.
  • A pair of needle nose piers, mine included a wire cutter.
  • A twisty tie or similar flexible wire.
  • Epoxy.
  • Toothpick or something similar.
  • A tool like a flat screwdriver; I used the one on my Swiss Army Knife.
  • Possibly some cellophane tape.

If you look at the knob you will see four raised ridges; these add strength and stability to the thin walls of the knobs stem which acts as a sleeve sliding over the climate controls stem.


With your saw cut a notch in each of these, making sure that all the notches are directly opposite each other and line up. Don’t worry about affecting the strength of the plastic, the epoxy we will be using will more than make up for it.


Take your wire and wrap it around making sure that it sits in the notch. The wire will want to take on the the shape of a circle; take your screw driver and press the wire against the sleeve so it sits close to the sides, if you have a narrow tipped needle nosed pliers they will work too; put one half of the tip into the hole and use the other to gently press the wire down. When done twist the two ends of the wire into a knot and snip off the tails. Using your screwdriver or needle nosed pliers press the knot also close against the sleeve/stem.


The reason you cut the notches and want to make sure the wire and knot sit close to the sides is because you want the knob to fit back in the dash. If you look at the opening in your dash you will see a clear plastic area with a space just wide enough for the sleeve or stem on the knob to fit through; this clear plastic conducts the light from the bulb in your dash to that clear plastic piece on the back of the knob which in turn conducts the light to illuminate the little white indicator spot on front of the knob.


After you are satisfied that the wire is pressed firmly against the knob stem mix up a little epoxy and lather it around your work; use something small & disposable like a toothpick to pick up the epoxy & spread it evenly around. You want something you can move the epoxy around a bit along the length and into the small crevasses of the knob; remember we cut into the ridges which gave it strength & support. If you happen to get some epoxy on the little clear part on the knob make sure to remove it before it dries so it can still do its job effectively.


Let it dry overnight and you’re done. It may not look pretty but it works very well & you wont see it once the knob is back where it belongs.

When I went to install the knob back where it belonged it fit just a little loose, so I stuck a small square of cellophane tape on the end of the control stem and pushed the knob over it; this held it nice and snug but wont prevent me from pulling the knob off again in the future if need be.



And that’s it!

Have a Magical Day!


The title says it all – plus2extra – on eBay is not a reputable seller. I purchased a 1394 firewire cable from them back in August of this year and it did not work.

I know things happen; quality control isn’t what it used to be and defective products get out there. So instead of being a hot head & leaving a negative feedback I sent them a email asking for some help.

This was their reply:

Thank you for letting me know your concern. I don’t think the problem is with the cable since it was tested and many are sold without any problem. It’s a good quality cable.
The problem is mainly is between your computer and your device.
You can always send it back for a full refund.

– plus2extra


So I bought another cable, this one from Amazon, tested it, and as suspected, the first cable from plus2extra was defective, I then made this video (it had a different title at the time) and sent them the link to this video:



And on 10/10/14, I received a automated email from eBay stating:

“plus2extra is out of the office until 10/15/2014 and may not be able to respond to your message.”


So I waited, and waited….and waited. No answer. My patience began to wear thin.

I then sent this email:

To: plus2extra
Subject: Re: Other: kwugger sent a message about Laptop Notebook DV Firewire Cable Cord for PANASONIC Mini DV camcorder IEEE 1394 #190702380695
Sent Date: Oct-29-14 08:56:45 PDT

Dear plus2extra,

I sent you a message while you were away, I hope that everything is okay, I have not though heard back from you regarding a cable I bought from you. As it may have slipped through the cracks since you returned I would like to give you one more opportunity to respond.

You wrote: >>>>The problem is mainly is between your computer and your device. <<<<
No, the problem is with your cable.
Please watch the video linked below; it will show you a comparison between your cable and one I just received purchased elsewhere.
Please refund the cost of the cable & shipping cost – I should not have to pay for the shipping of a defective item.
If you would like the defective cable returned to you then please include sufficient funds to cover that cost as well.

Thank you


On October 30th I got this response:

Thank you for your wonderful work. I will issue full refund to you.

– plus2extra




I sent a email last week (my second one actually) stating that I had as of yet not received the promised refund but they appear to feel at this point that since there is no longer retribution for not keeping their word, why should they, and are ignoring me. You see, at this point in time, I can no longer even leave a negative feedback because it has been so long since the transaction.

In fact it is even impossible to contact eBay directly on this matter as well; when trying to contact their Resolution Center” they only show a list of the most recent purchases to choose from and trying to email someone directly about anything just leaves you clicking links and going around in circles; so, yeah, they’re on my naughty list as well.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Well, for what it is worth, This message is out there and, who knows, maybe it will benefit someone.

By the way, their eBay email address is:


Have a MAGICAL Day!