About Sugarcrush Graphics

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First, a little CYA… :) About the Candy Crush Saga styled graphics I’ve made and posted to various areas of this blog: The original game elements of Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga that I use were designed by King.com, the developers of these and other games. The fonts used, “Banana Split” or “Candice,” can be found on most font sites on the web.

“Sugarcrush Graphics” is a little project of mine, strictly for fun and love of the Candy Crush games, and because the game elements are so cool. It’s not a business. I do not sell my graphic pieces, nor is money made from this project in any way. I occasionally take screen captures of my actual gameplay to use as examples in game posts, or to use parts of in graphic art. Most of the art I make is for birthdays, holidays, special occasions, and for friends or other Candy Crushers who request a graphic for their blogs, websites other specific purpose. The fonts are beautiful and the game elements are versatile enough to use outside the gaming environment too…they’re colorful and make great art for children or for any event where you want to create a positive and cheerful atmosphere.

People have asked if they can use my graphics in other areas like in Facebook or Twitter posts. Of course you can! Feel free to use them for e-mail greetings or in social media posts. All I ask is that if you share any of these pieces, that you share it “as is” and don’t alter it in any way or claim it as your own creation. Bloggers and webmasters: you may use them on your sites, but I’d appreciate a link back to here from your site. Thank you.

Happy 240th Birthday, America! :)

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Wow, 240 years of being an independent nation. Doesn’t that make you want to shout USA USA USA! Well, I do. So here goes nuthin’….

USA SG stars USA SG lower 48 USA SG hats

😀

And let’s not forget those past and present who fight to keep us free…

Support Our Troops green brown camo 759x615

So here are a few new goodies specific to Independence Day. The background art for the Statue of Liberty graphic is compliments of King.com, with an additional embellishment or two by Yours Truly. And if you grabbed my patterned texts from last year, here are a couple more.

CCS Statue of Liberty SG 20160704 800x800 Happy 4th of July SG stars stripes Happy 4th of July striped Candice

Freedom also means the right for our citizens’ voices to be heard. So looking ahead to November, be sure that you…

Vote SG 2016 stars over stripes

Everyone have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend, wherever you plan to be. As for me, the senior facility where I live will be hosting an afternoon barbecue. Looking forward to it, should be fun!

And as always, feel free to use and share the graphics. Bloggers and webmasters: If you use these graphics on your pages, I’d appreciate a linkback to this blog. Thank you.

37 left-side seamless border graphics for web pages

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The latest project from Sugarcrush Graphics has been left-side seamless borders that can be used as backgrounds for websites, flyers, e-mails, Microsoft Word docs, or other printable pages. They’re fun and super easy to make! All you need is a repeatable pattern that works down either or both sides of a page and a solid color for where you want to place text, photos or other items…and a graphics program to design them.

Mine are 1024 pixels wide in total, including a repeatable pattern within that is anywhere between 64 and 128 pixels wide. For the solid color, I usually pick one that is somewhere within the pattern, but white or black can also work well with almost any pattern. Small repeatable patterns by themselves also work well for web page headers and footers.

Here are 37 border graphics to start. Repeatables used were tie-dye patterns, rasta patterns, a tartan plaid in three styles, and other patterns using elements of King.com’s series of Candy Crush Saga games that can work on non-gaming-specific sites too. Feel free to use any that you like. Webmasters and bloggers: if you use any of these on your pages, I’d appreciate a linkback to this site. Thank you!:)

I will be making new and different styles in the near future. If you’d like to see future ones made in a wider size, such as 1200 pixels across, let me know. Meanwhile, enjoy these, compliments of Sugarcrush Graphics! The filenames of each include the description and dimensions of the graphic, and all are in JPG format. (For example, the filename of the first one shown is “CCSS white chocolate border 1024×184.jpg”)

CCSS white chocolate border 1024x184 CCS wrapped fish on vanilla 1024x922 CCS stripe yellow border 1024x66 CCS stripe purple border 1024x66 CCS stripe pink border 1024x66 CCS stripe cyan border 1024x66 CCS silver tray on lt grey 1024x128 CCS silver tray on grey 1024x128 CCS silver tray on black 1024x128 CCS chocolate squares on vanilla 1024x190 CCS chocolate squares on milk chocolate 1024x190 CCS chocolate squares on dark chocolate 1024x190 CCS cakebomb on slate 1024x118 CCS cakebomb on purple 1024x118 CCS cakebomb on pink 1024x118 CCS banner border yellow 1024x128 CCS banner border red 1024x128 CCS banner border purple 1024x128 CCS banner border pink 1024x128 CCS banner border orange 1024x128 CCS banner border green 1024x128 CCS banner border blue 1024x128 tie dye swirl on yellow 1024x271 tie dye swirl on green 1024x271 tie dye swirl on blue 1024x271 tie dye spirals on orange 1024x128 tie dye spirals on green 1024x128 tie dye spirals on dk blue 1024x128 tie dye burst on purple 1024x123 tie dye burst on green 1024x123 tie dye burst on blue 1024x123 Rasta zigzag on black 1024x101 Rasta weed on green 1024x128 Rasta weed on black 1024x128 green tartan plaid 3 1024x128 green tartan plaid 2 1024x128 green tartan plaid 1 1024x128

Memorial Day 2016

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While you enjoy this long weekend and the beautiful weather, please take a few moments to remember and honor those servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms all Americans enjoy. And pray for the loved ones who lost them. That’s what this day is really about. Freedom is not free.

Here is this year’s Memorial Day graphic. The full size of the graphic is 385kb, dimensions are 1000×600 pixels. Hope you like it, and please feel free to share it!

Memorial Day 2016 SG

Happy Jason Day! :) Yep, it’s Friday the 13th.

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For everyone who’s a fan of Jason Voorhees and all the havoc he’s wreaked in twelve movies since 1980, today is your day. The last one made was in 2009, so we’re about due for movie #13.😉 According to what I’ve been reading, the film script was ready in 2011 and was scheduled for completion with a release for today, but apparently it’s been postponed till January 13, 2017…that is, if it doesn’t get pushed back yet again.

FridayThe13thHorror

But whether or not you’ve seen the films, Friday the 13th has been shrouded in superstition for hundreds of years. Google it and you’ll find many articles explaining the possible origins for this being an unlucky day. For some, triskaidekaphobia (fear of 13) is quite a serious thing. I worked many years ago with a woman who was generally superstitious about the number 13 but had a mortal fear of Friday the 13th. She not only called into work to take that day off, but she also refused to go out of her house…sending her kids to run errands, clean the yard, or anything else that involved having to open the door and peek her head outside.

But most people aren’t that extreme. For me, it’s always been just another day to do whatever it is I normally do. Today, I made a patterned text graphic for the occasion!😀 Feel free to share it.

Friday the 13th skulls

For anyone concerned or just curious about when Friday the 13th falls, here’s a list I grabbed off Wikipedia. Any month starting on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th. There can be as little as one or as many as three in one year. Today is the only one for 2016….we won’t see it again till January 2017.

Friday the 13th months

Well, there you have it. So whether you’re staying in or going out, have a great day. Walk under ladders and cross the paths of black cats at your own risk. Enjoy bingeing on slasher flicks. But if you’re really REALLY adventurous enough, how about spending the night on beautiful Crystal Lake?😉

Today does double duty: first day of Passover, and Earth Day 2016

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The festival of Passover (Pesach) celebrates the emancipation of the Jewish people from bondage in ancient Egypt. The holiday is celebrated annually from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan. This year, it begins at sundown tonight April 22 and ends at sundown on April 30. One of the features of this holiday is that matzoh (unleavened bread) is eaten because that is what the Jewish people ate when they left Egypt. On the first two nights of Passover, there is a ritual feast known as the Seder, at which matzoh, bitter herbs and other ritual foods are eaten.

Now that I live in a Jewish faith-based senior independent living facility, I don’t cook most of my meals. The food here is kosher, and the kitchen will be preparing the Seder meals in accordance with strict kosher laws, with a local rabbi or other official conducting the Seder services in our dining room. And that means lots of matzoh ball soup, which is TO DIE FOR at this place.:) However, I will occasionally make matzoh brei (fried matzoh) for breakfast because it is so yummy! Two years ago I blogged about fried matzoh, with a simple recipe and some suggestions for variations. At that time, I lived at home and cooked all my meals. Here’s a link to that post: https://starwars8340.wordpress.com/2014/04/17/matzoh-brei-fried-matzoh-a-passover-tradition/

As good as matzoh can be, and we do eat it for 8 days, there is one caveat: matzoh can be binding. As in constipation, big time.😛 So during Passover, it’s a good idea to drink a lot of liquids – water, tea, coffee – and eat fruit and vegetables with fiber to keep you regular.

In addition, the ban on eating kitniyot (i.e., rice, corn, legumes, peanuts) on Passover has been lifted for Ashkenazi Jews as of November 2015. Sephardic Jews were not banned from eating them on Passover. Read more about it here, as well as other sites on the net: http://forward.com/food/339180/with-kitniyot-ban-lifted-could-sushi-on-passover-be-kosher/

I’ve also included Jewish learning and food sites in “Links” if you’d like more information.

Here are a couple of graphic-patterned text tranparencies I made, so feel free to use them. One is Passover-specific and the other is the Jewish word for peace as well as a greeting of hello.

Happy Passover Shalom - Jewish pattern 3

Today is also Earth Day, an annual commemoration celebrating the respect of our planet, its resources and our environment. This is the anniversary of the environmental movement which began in 1970. We each can do our small part by supporting our local recycling program, reusing and repurposing items, donating usable items instead of throwing them out, and reintroducing organic food waste such as coffee grounds and vegetable discards into the ground to nourish our plants. So here is both a text and image graphic for this day; image background is courtesy of King.com, in their partnership with the World Wildlife Federation, to donate a portion of proceeds from in-game sales within Candy Crush Soda Saga to the WWF.

Earth Day whiteshadow Earth Day 2016

So Chag Pesach Sameach to all bloggers, followers and everyone celebrating Passover!:)

Senior living blues: getting sick sucks :(

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If you live or work in close proximity with people on a daily basis, you’re bound to get sick. Especially during colds and flu season in your region. Well, guess what….last weekend I caught whatever bug was going around the senior facility where I live, and I’m still sick. Getting better, but it’s still slow going.

I’ve been getting flu shots regularly for the last 10 years at least, and hadn’t gotten sick once, not even a mild cold. I used to get colds, bronchitis or sinus infections after starting school or work in a new place, or moving to a new town. My mom, may she rest in peace, always said it was because I was exposed to “new germs.” Whether that’s an old wives tale or a medical truism, I don’t know…but for me it seemed to be the case most of the time. New germs indeed…I moved to this facility in September and for the last few weeks there have been sniffles and flu going around. I didn’t anticipate catching anything because flu shots tended to keep such nasties away from me, as well as my eating well, exercising and keeping myself healthy. But nope, not this time.

Some of the residents here don’t get flu shots and others do, and a few have been walking around blowing their noses and sneezing all over everything, and standing…or should I say hovering…over me and my food while I’m trying to eat. (Which is a rude thing to do even if you’re not sick.) Not only that, some staff members and employees have come to work not feeling well…one person even had a sinus infection, and those can be devastating if caught by someone with respiratory problems.

Unlike other work places where the majority of employees and customers are fairly young and healthy and can fight off minor illnesses easily, special care needs to be taken if you visit, work or live in a predominantly elderly environment. Like a senior independent living facility or one that provides specialized care like a nursing home. We seniors don’t heal as easily as the young folk.

So if you visit, live or work in a senior residence of any kind (or anyplace else outside your own home, for that matter), please take care and follow this advice if you have a cold, flu or sinus infection:

If you live in a senior residence, stay in your room. Don’t walk around making everyone else sick. If you’re ill, tell your go-to staff person and check in every day to let them know you’re OK. If meals are provided, have them delivered to your room…there may be a small charge for that, or it may even be free if you’re ill. If meals aren’t provided, make sure you have at least 2-3 weeks of food at home. Have a family member, staff member or friend pick up any needed medications you might not have at home. Most cold and flu meds are easily bought over the counter; always keep some in your medicine cabinet for “just in case.” For a sinus infection, you may need to see a doctor and get a prescription.

If you work in a senior residence, stay home. Please don’t come to work and make us or your fellow co-workers sick. You may not like the idea of using a few days sick leave, but why come to work and make your fellow staffers use up theirs? Nor is it fair to give elderly residents what you have, and then we get it and are sick for weeks. Even if you think you feel well enough to return to work, you still might not be 100%. Check with your doctor. Come back when you’re WELL.

If you must be among us when you’re sick, cover your nose and mouth. Face masks are cheap. A box of 50 surgical face masks goes at Walmart for anywhere between $6.95 and $11.95. Or if your workplace provides them as part of the job, grab a few to keep at home to use whenever you’re sick but need to go out to conduct necessary business. The Japanese have the right idea…watch a video clip of city streets in Japan and you’ll see many people wearing face masks. They do that because they’re sick, or to protect others from their own mouth-borne germs (same reasons surgeons use them!), or to keep airborne germs out. Americans need to be just as considerate. Don’t worry about how you look…people will thank you for looking out for others. Yesterday I wore one outside my room, and when one of the resident’s family members saw me and asked why, I told her I was sick and didn’t want to pass it on to anyone else. She thanked me and said that was very kind. Here’s what I wore, having gotten it from one of our maintenance workers…not a pretty sight, but it serves its purpose.

facemask

Now that’s the best I’ve looked in years, lol!

Last but not least, eat chicken soup!😀 The nice thing about this facility where I live is that it’s always been primarily Jewish-faith based…and that means lots of chicken soup. Kosher penicillin. And yes, it works. Chicken soup was a part of my growing up and when I did my own cooking, I made it frequently. It has wonderful healing and comforting powers when you’re sick. If your sinuses are stuffed, it’ll open them quickly, even if just for a short time. And since tonight is Shabbat, there will be matzoh ball soup….wonderful chicken soup with carrots, seasoning and matzoh balls. Not that anything ever tastes good when you have a bad cold, but one always will appreciate hot soup. Yummy.

And wouldn’t you know it….I just ran out of Kleenex tissues. <sniff>😦

St. Patrick’s Day 2016, lads and lasses!

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Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th!:) Of course you don’t have to be Irish to love corned beef and cabbage (one of my favorite dishes to make) or drink green beer…but if you are imbibing, please do it responsibly and stay safe.

Here are this year’s graphic and patterned text greetings for St. Pat’s. I looked for some Irish and Celtic-style fonts to use, but none were thick enough to support embedding a pattern so I went with the Candice font which works nicely for just about any festivity. Feel free to use and share them.

First is the graphic, the dimensions are 900×824 pixels. Simple, but cheerful.

St. Patrick's Day 2016 SG 900x824

And now 5 patterned texts for your enjoyment. First, some Irish rose…

St. Patrick's Day 1600x1050 Irishrose

Some stripes…

St. Patrick's Day 1600x1050 greenstripe

And there’s gotta be wearin’ of the green….

St. Pat Top o' the Mornin'! 840x140

Some shamrocks and stripes….

St. Patrick's Day 1600x1050 shamrocks stripes

And more green!😀

Happy St. Patrick's Day green CCS with green border 880x127

And last but not least, have some corned beef and cabbage. It’s what’s for dinner on St. Patrick’s Day. Yummy….😉

St Pat corned beef and cabbage CCS FB 2016 800x534

Happy Valentine’s Day 2016

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And Happy Singles Awareness Day for the rest of us.😀 Every February 14th, I wait for those three little words that every woman longs to hear on Valentine’s Day….

* I have chocolate!*  😉

Chocolate brown text bordered

Now doesn’t that look yummy?!:) That being said, chocolate and candy both figure prominently in two Valentine’s Day graphics plus a bunch of patterned text art I made. The Candice font and the sweet treat elements from King.com’s Candy Crush games, and the lovebirds from King’s Paradise Bay game, are especially great to use in Valentine’s Day creations. So here are this year’s offerings, and feel free to download and use them as is or incorporate them into your own greetings. Once downloaded, the actual files are larger than the size displayed in this blog. You may wish to resize them to fit your projects.

BLOGGERS: If you use anything from Sugarcrush Graphics on your site, I’d appreciate if you’d share a linkback to this blog somewhere on your page. Thank you.

First, the graphics in JPG format. The filenames for both of these include the dimensions in pixels.

Valentine SG 2016 1024x891 Valentine SG 2016 900x870

Now for some text art in transparent PNG format. How do I love thee….let me count the styles. First are three samples of “I Love You.” Roses for the gals, masculine colors for the guys, and a cutie for the grandkids.😀 Use them however you like.

I Love You roses pattern I Love You guys pattern I Love You fun pattern

Next are four patterned “Happy Valentine’s Day” greetings in transparent PNG format: a plain red one with a bit of texture, stripes, hearts, and red-hot candy hearts.

Valentine's Day updown redtex Valentine's Day striped Candice Valentine's Day updown pinkhearts in red Valentine's Day updown redcandies

Hope you enjoy these, and I’ll be back with more for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Fun with text in Photoshop: Mardi Gras

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Lately I’ve gotten into experimenting with patterned text in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014. It’s super easy and lots of fun to do, and Photoshop has many great features. In most graphic programs, you basically start with a transparent background, choose a font and use the program’s text tool to create some text, then “fill” it with an image or texture as a pattern. Since today is Fat Tuesday and New Orleans will turn into one gigantic party, I thought I’d do something for Mardi Gras. For this, I used the Candice font, since it’s cheerful and festive-looking and lends itself well to creating colorful party graphics for any occasion.

Here are 3 text transparencies in PNG format (dimensions including transparency are 939×682) and 1 wallpaper-size graphic as a JPG (dimensions 1485×897). I found the pattern samples in Google Images while searching for various holiday graphics. Feel free to use or resize them to fit your project. BLOGGERS: If you use any of these graphics on your website, I’d appreciate you credit me with a linkback to this blog. Thank you!

Hope you enjoy them, and stay tuned…I’ll be making more text art for Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, patriotic, seasonal and other special occasions.:)

Mardi Gras stripes Mardi Gras harlequin Mardi Gras beads Mardi Gras SG 1485x897

Candy Crush Jelly Saga: the new kid on the block

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January 7 saw the worldwide release of the third in King.com’s series of Candy Crush match-3 type games, Candy Crush Jelly Saga. It’s available for mobile devices running on iOS and Android operating systems, and on January 8 it was released as a new app for Windows 10. Before then, it was soft-launched several months ago in Europe for testing. At this time, the new game has not yet been released for Facebook, nor is it currently playable directly on King’s website. It will be at some point in the future, but I haven’t heard when.

If you already play Candy Crush Soda Saga, you’ll see Jelly Saga’s availability on your mobile device, or Windows 10 as in my case, by an icon or other notification in the Soda Saga app you can click to get the game installed. Here’s what I got…a new icon with a character from Jelly Saga named Jenny, who happens to be a little Yeti girl. Like blonde Tiffi from CCS and dark-haired Kimmy from Soda Saga, Jenny is the one whose adventures you follow in gameplay. Click on the notification, and you’re taken to Google Play Store, iTunes, or the Windows App store, depending on your device.

CCJS 1 indicator from Soda Saga

Within the CCS app on my Android phone, I saw a “New Game” Jenny icon on the map screen. As of right now, there are no icons or notifications about this new game in the CCS app for Windows 10.

If you want to play Jelly Saga on your PC via an Android emulator like BlueStacks but don’t have Windows 10, you can also download the official application package file, such as an .apk file for Android, from various websites. Just google for it. Make sure it’s a King.com release or it won’t automatically update from Google Play Store through BlueStacks.

Once you install and start the game, you’re taken to a map similar to those in CCS and Soda Saga. Like most other King games, you’re given 5 lives and 50 gold bars to start off with. Click on level 1 and start playing!

CCJS 2 start map

This game has many of the elements of the original CCS and most of those in Candy Crush Soda Saga, but with a new twist….I’ll get to that later.😉 The candies in Jelly Saga are practically identical to the ones in CCS and Soda Saga, except the blue ones are Life Savers instead of lollipop tops. Special candies like striped, wrapped and colorbombs do the same thing in all 3 games, you can make combo switches with them as well, and you can make fish and coloring candies the same as you do in Soda Saga and use them in the same ways. The music is kinda cool too, it even contains soft choir voices in the background.

The game is closer to Soda Saga in style and elements than it is to CCS. Jelly Saga has frosting under which something you need to collect is hidden, as well as levels where you have to spread a sticky food item all over the board. The dark purple triangular Soda Saga candies are present here. And like Soda Saga but unlike CCS, you don’t have to score a specified number of points to complete the level…the purpose of your score is only to determine how many stars you earned by completing that level. You also have boosters like lollipop hammers and a new colorbomb lollipop hammer, and blockers like layered cupcakes and licorice cages, but I haven’t gotten far enough in the game to see whether chocolate is present here too. You’ll also have some levels with multiple boards like you do in Soda Saga.

You get the same text affirmations with vocal sound bytes showing up after you make good moves. Tasty, Delicious, Divine, and Sweet are still there, as is Sugar Crush when you complete a level. You’ll also see new ones like Marvelous, Sassy and Jellylicious during play.

CCJS L10 Jellylicious

I got this one after the Sugar Crush screen upon completing level 2:

CCJS Marvelous

If you fail a level, you can go back and play it over. Or if you know you could pass it if you only had a few more moves, you can spend gold bars to gain 5 extra moves so you can continue playing and win that level. The game appears to be monetized the same way other King games are. Until this game is released on Facebook, the friends from whom you get lives and tickets are other players who installed the game via official download sites, all of whom (like you) have a King ID#.

CCJS L6 puffler failure

These are the main characters of Candy Crush Jelly Saga. Jenny is the one traveling through the game, having adventures. The puffler is something you need to find, hiding under frosting. The Jelly Queen and Cupcake Carl are recurring throughout the game.

CCJS 3 main characters

Now, for those level types….like where you need to complete tasks within a specified number of moves, as you would in CCS or Soda Saga. But here’s where that “new twist” I mentioned earlier comes in. This is the first of King’s games in which there are levels you play against a character opponent…these are called “boss mode” levels, and your opponents will be either the Jelly Queen or Cupcake Carl. These are the level mode types so far:

JELLY MODE: This is identical to jam levels in Soda Saga, except you must spread pink jelly all over the board (instead of grape jam) within a specified number of moves. The next and best move to spread more jelly in the screen below would be to make a striped candy by matching 4 green candies with one of them already in the jelly.

CCJS jelly_mode

PUFFLER MODE: Instead of finding bears underneath the frosting as in Soda Saga, your task is to fully expose a little critter called a puffler which may be hiding under 3 or more tiles of double-layered frosting, within a specified number of moves.

CCJS puffler mode 1 goal

Expose a puffler by removing all the frosting which covers it. But there’s a catch…pufflers are like worms, partially expose one and it can bend and move around under connecting frosting, trying to escape from you. After removing one layer of frosting, the remaining layer is translucent enough where you can see if there is a puffler hiding under it. Pufflers cannot move on tiles that are free of frosting. In this screen, there are 3 pufflers. The one in the left column is partially-revealed. The one in the right column is covered by 3 frosting tiles; because there is no other frosting connected to it, the puffler cannot move. The puffler in the middle has just been exposed by matching 3 red candies, which cleared the frosting that concealed it.

CCJS puffler mode 2 board

JELLY BOSS MODE: In these levels, you’re playing against the Jelly Queen. You alternate taking turns. The goal is to spread more jelly around the board than the Queen within a specified number of moves. Here’s an intro screen:

CCJS jelly boss mode 1 goal

Your jelly is dark pink and hers is lime green. You (or she) can get extra turns by making special candies. For example, you get to take another turn if you make a striped candy. The game will tell you whose turn it is at every move change, and the Queen makes her moves using a pink-jellied hand, examples shown in the photos below. The Queen can be aggressive and unrelenting, trying to overtake your jelly and turn it green. She’ll frustrate the hell out of you most of the time….trust me on this one, she’s a real MEAN QUEEN!😛

CCJS jelly boss mode 2 turns L80

CCJS jelly boss mode 3 queen hand

PUFFLER BOSS MODE: Also called critters levels, and in these you’re playing against either Cupcake Carl or the Jelly Queen. In the example below, you and Carl are each given the same number of pufflers to find. You take turns moving. Your goal is to find more pufflers than he does within a specified number of moves. Making special candies should give either opponent a turn advantage here too. In this example, you each have to find 2 pufflers. (You may have to click on this photo and expand it to read the top more easily.)

CCJS puffler boss mode screens L33

When you play this type of level against the Jelly Queen, your goal is to find all the pufflers within a specified number of moves, like you would in normal puffler mode. But this time you alternate turns with the Queen, who doesn’t have to find any pufflers. What she does is spread more frosting around the board by making matches or setting off special candies, making it more difficult for you to expose pufflers.

The opponent factor makes Jelly Saga interesting and in some ways even more challenging than Soda Saga. And I’m sure King will add new elements and challenges to the game as time goes on. Right now, Jelly Saga has 120 levels, and it’ll be quite a while before I ever come near to catching up. But I’ll have fun trying, if the Jelly Queen doesn’t give me a conniption first!😀

Happy New Year 2016

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Just wanted to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year’s Eve celebration, and a healthy and prosperous 2016! If you’re drinking, please don’t drive. And to all staying in, whether having a party or just a quiet time at home, enjoy your night. As for me, I’ll be joining the cocktail hour, dinner and evening festivities with a local radio personality here at the senior facility where I live…should prove to be an interesting time. I’m not much of a drinker myself, but I might have one tonight so if I do get a bit tipsy, all I have to do is waddle back to my room and pass out on the bed.😀

Here is this year’s graphic, enjoy and share. This time I got a bit lazy and decided to keep it simple, starting off with a party scene provided by King.com, adding only a little text and some streamers. Sorry ’bout that, but I had several other graphics projects on my plate. Next year I’ll resume making something from scratch.:) Dimensions on this one are 755×600 pixels.

New Year CCS use for 2016

My New Year’s resolution is to drop the 5-10 pounds I’ve put on since I moved here in September. This place has great food. I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing, lol!

And for all the Candy Crush Saga players out there, I completed 615 more levels of CCS between last New Year’s (800) and today (1415). :) So my New Year’s wish to you is may you collect all orders in 2016. If you also play Candy Crush Soda Saga, may you always get the bear over the candy string. And if you’re playing the new Candy Crush Jelly Saga, may you always beat the Jelly Queen and find all the pufflers.😉

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Merry Christmas 2015!

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Here’s wishing a very Merry Christmas to all my fellow bloggers, Candy Crush players and followers of this blog. May Santa Claus bring good cheer to you and your loved ones. Peace on earth, good will to all every day of the year.

Please enjoy and share this year’s holiday JPG graphic. Dimensions are 512×512.

Christmas CCS use for 2015

And to all who play Candy Crush Saga, may you spin the daily wheel and win the Jackpot for Christmas!😀

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Some senior humor

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Found this on a friend’s Facebook page and decided to share it here. So true….

“I am a Seenager. (Senior teenager)

I have everything that I wanted as a teenager, only 60 years later.
I don’t have to go to school or work.
I get an allowance every month.
I have my own pad.
I don’t have a curfew.
I have a driver’s license and my own car.
I have ID that gets me into bars and the whiskey store.

The people I hang around with are not scared of getting pregnant.

And I don’t have acne.

Life is great!

Also, you will feel much more intelligent after reading this.

Brains of older people are slow because they know so much. People do not decline mentally with age, it just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, scientists believe.

Much like a computer struggles as the hard drive gets full, so too, do humans take longer to access information when their brains are full.

Researchers say this slowing down process is not the same as cognitive decline. The human brain works slower in old age, said Dr. Michael Ramscar, but only because we have stored more information over time. The brains of older people do not get weak. On the contrary, they simply know more.

Also, older people often go to another room to get something and when they get there, they stand there wondering what they came for. It is NOT a memory problem, it is nature’s way of making older people do more exercise.

SO THERE!!”

So there you have it.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. As for me, I’ve always been a big kid. I love comic books, games, cartoons and action movies. Give me a Superman comic and I’m in 7th heaven. And don’t even get me started on Star Wars…that’s a whole ‘nuther story. And with a love of music in all its forms, especially rock, my goal was to be the world’s oldest teeny-bopper.  I believe I’ve succeeded. But yes, I’ve walked around the house looking for my car keys, and they’ve been in my hand the whole time.:)

Happy Hanukkah 2015/5776 ✡

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Tonight is the first light of Hanukkah this year, so Happy Hanukkah to all of my readers who are celebrating!:)

Last year at this time I blogged about the pot roast and potato latkes I made, but now that I live in a senior independent living facility, I do very little cooking. Because this facility is primarily Jewish faith-based and all the food is kosher (and very good, BTW!), I’m looking forward to good latkes and other great traditional food. Also, each of the 8 nights of this holiday, a resident will help lead the menorah candle-lighting ceremony and prayers before dinner….my night will be Tuesday.

Here is this year’s holiday creation from Sugarcrush Graphics, hope you enjoy it. The full dimensions are 1280×800 pixels. Mr. Toffee looks kinda cool in a yarmulke, doesn’t he? lol!😀

CCS Hanukkah Tiffi and Mr. Toffee use for 2015

And finally, no Hanukkah is complete without chocolate candy…whether it’s Hanukkah gelt or a chocolate dreidel like this one:

Chocolate dreidel Wegmans 20151130

So wherever and with whomever you are, enjoy the festivities and the food!

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

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Wherever you’re going to be this Thanksgiving, have a wonderful day and a great meal! And if you’re traveling, be on the alert and get to your destination safely.

Meanwhile, here’s my Turkey Day graphic this year for you to enjoy and share…

Thanksgiving CCS use for 2015 SG

And if you’re playing Candy Crush Saga on mobile, King is having a Thanksgiving holiday rewards promotion, so happy crushing!:)

Yeti Thanksgiving Dinner_Party

Veterans Day 2015

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To all US veterans in all branches of our armed forces who have served this nation in defense of our freedom, thank you for your service!

Please honor our veterans today and every day.

Veterans Day dogtags sg

Halloween graphic for 2015

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Here’s a little graphic I made for Halloween this year, using the elements of King.com’s games Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga. Feel free to share it with your favorite CCS players, on social media or wherever you’d like to wish someone a happy Halloween. Open the full-size image in a new window; the dimensions are 1098×462.

CCS Halloween 2015 gfx

Everyone have a happy and safe Halloween this year. And if you’re staying in and love horror movies, Turner Classic Movies channel is showing horror flicks all day both Friday Oct. 30 and on Saturday Oct. 31!:) You can find the daily schedules here: http://www.tcm.com/schedule/

Transitioning to senior living, Part 2

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Two months ago today, I blogged about preparing to move from a house into a senior independent living facility apartment. Now, that I’ve been here for a couple weeks, it’s time to blog an update.

At this particular facility, the staff is great and ready to accommodate just about anything you need. I’ve made a few buddies among the staff, as well as new friends among fellow residents, and a few I already knew. Most of the residents are in their 80’s and 90’s, with one person who just turned 101. One other person and I are the babies of the group…we’re in our 60’s. So most of the women here want to be my Ma…especially the ones who actually knew my mother, lol!:) There are two or three other people in their 70’s. Everyone is very nice, and each has their own anecdotes and wisdom to share. There’s also a lady here who plays Candy Crush Saga…I helped her get unstuck from level 89 so I think I have a friend for life now.😀

There are a group of us who are the first to show up around 8am for breakfast in the morning…we recently started calling ourselves “The Breakfast Club.” For lunch, we’re on our own. Unless I signed up for a scheduled trip during the day, I usually have something light for lunch in my room, and that gives me time to check my e-mail, blog or take care of any other needed business that requires alone-time. Dinners in the dining room are assigned seating, which I don’t mind as the group at our table is a pleasant bunch. The food for the most part is very good, and the desserts are yummy…many of those involve generous amounts of chocolate, so I don’t believe my idea of maybe losing a few pounds will be a viable option.😉

My apartment itself is the size of a small condo, a little over 700 square feet. In a way it’s good because there is less to clean and its overall layout is quite efficient. The downside is that the galley kitchen is tiny. The sink and dishwasher side is adequate enough, but the counter space near the stove is practically non-existent and although there is a pantry, that and the cabinet space leaves much to be desired. I don’t cook much now but when I do, I like ROOM, which I don’t have.

Sr_kitchen1

Sr_kitchen2

Going from a larger space in a house to a tiny area takes some getting used to, but it can be done. Give it some time, I’ll probably come to appreciate it, especially after I’ve been here several years. The REALLY great thing about my apartment is that a previous resident had washer/dryer hookups installed, and it’s the only one…so now I don’t have to deal with the shared laundry. I bought a stackable unit and it works quite nicely! And the cleaning staff vacuums and dusts the place once a month at no charge; there is an extra charge for more frequent cleanings.

All the apartments have builder’s-beige walls with white trim. So I made sure to accessorize with bright-colored items to make the place look alive. I also switched out the dingy-yellow incandescent lightbulbs for “daylight” LED bulbs…it makes a huge difference and got rid of that depressing look that a lot of old-age homes have. This is a red wheelie-cart I put on the kitchen wall at the end of the galley to give it a pop of color, and I use it as a coffee and microwave station:
Sr_coffeestation

And some cool bedding in the boring beige bedroom until I switch it out for the bright Candy Crush Saga quilt.:)
Sr_cover

There are many safety features in the apartment, mainly in the bedroom and bathroom. Most senior facilities of this type have two pullcords above the bed: one to be pulled every morning upon waking to let the front desk (which is staffed 24/7) know that you’re OK, and another one to be pulled in case of emergency. There is also an emergency pullcord in the bathroom by the shower and grab bars by the toilet and inside the shower. Residents also get an alert necklace to wear inside the apartment that can be used in case of a fall or some other emergency where a call for help is vital.
Sr_pullcords

Sr_shower

And of course, there’s the laptop space set up in the den, which I lovingly call “Candy Crush Central,” where all things CCS take place…
Sr_candycrushcentral

A word of warning here: If you’re one of those folks who loathe to see the light of day before 9am or later, forget it. The daily announcements over the loudspeaker, which is on the wall next to the pullcords over the bed, will make sure you’re out of REM sleep by 9. Breakfast during the week is only available from 8am to 9:30, so I now set my alarm clock for 7:30am, as that’s the only way I’ll be up in time for breakfast. Saturdays I get up later and cook my own breakfast, which is about the only time I cook now. Sundays there’s an early brunch offered, which has both breakfast and lunch food, and it’s wonderful!

There’s never a lack of stuff to do here. Our social director is a wonderful lady who plans exercise classes, trips to theatres, restaurants and places of cultural and historical interest, as well as musical entertainment here in the lobby of the facility a couple times a week. There are also resident discussion groups and committees, a couple of which I’ve already joined or attended meetings.

This facility is part of a larger campus of senior residential services which also includes rehab and continuum care, so transitioning to a higher level of temporary or permanent care will be relatively smooth if I get to a point where I need it. This was a major factor in deciding on an independent living facility to park my butt for the rest of my life, as many of the other facilities didn’t have on-premises transitioning.

Important questions to ask when choosing an independent living facility:

So if you or a loved one whom you are responsible for is considering an independent living facility, call or search online to compare the features, requirements, prices, amenities and apartment floor plans of each. When you speak to the facility’s contact person about new residents, address some important concerns which may not be in the facility’s brochures or on its website. Such as…

–Is there a minimum age for residency?

–What are transitioning options if you need more extensive care?

–Are there elevators?

–Are the entryways and common areas barrier-free?

–How quickly can disabled residents be evacuated in case of fire, and how far away is the closest fire department?

–Are motorized wheelchairs allowed, or any wheelchairs at all?

–If you don’t drive or no longer drive, will the facility provide transportation to doctors’ appointments? If so, is there a charge, and what days of the week is that transportation available? (You may have to schedule appointments around that availability.)

–What nearby pharmacies will deliver medications to the facility if you don’t order them through the mail?

–If you have allergies, are the floors carpeted and if so, will the facility change them out for something inexpensive but allergy-friendly?

–Are pets allowed? If so, what kinds?

–What food accommodations are made for religious and dietary restrictions?

–What medically-trained staff or triage services are available on-site prior to the need for calling an ambulance?

–At what point does the facility consider a resident no longer qualified as “independent” and able to live there? At the one where I live, a resident must be able to eat, bathe, go to the bathroom, get in and out of bed, and walk without staff assistance. Motorized wheelchairs are not allowed, but canes and walkers are. Outside aides often come in to assist residents as needed, and that’s OK as long as the resident or a family member is paying separately for them, but the resident can’t be bedridden.

Make a list of these and any other questions pertaining to your individual situation, and take them with you to ask the contact person from the facilities on your list for consideration. This will help you narrow the possibilities down to the very best fit for you or your loved one.

As for me, I think I’m gonna like it here…:)

We’re not getting any younger…transitioning to senior living

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As I prepare to move into a senior independent living facility in mid-September, I’ve given a lot of thought about how my life will change. Will it be drastic? Yes, but hopefully in a good way. And very different from living in and maintaining one’s own home. And at my age and with growing health issues, it’s time. It’s something most people put off thinking about for years but eventually have to deal with for a loved one or themselves, so we might as well be realistic and hit the ground running. If you or a loved one must consider such a change, read on…

I looked into several places and after weighing the logistic and financial pros and cons of each, chose a facility that offers transitioning into further stages of specialized care when the time comes to need them. It’s located in an area I’ve been familiar with for years, close to my doctors and to people I know, and to places I frequently shop. And it has an excellent reputation for continuum care. This will be my “forever home” once I move in. It also has activities for residents on-premises, as well as outings to area stores, museums, theatre and opera, restaurants and other places of interest. Yep, I’m gonna be one of those you’ll probably see getting on and off a bus full of old people…lol!

angelgrandma

Some ways I know my daily life will change…first of all, I’ll rarely be cooking. Most of my meals are part of the package, so cooking a lot of the dishes I’ve blogged about in the “Food” section will be out of the picture. That I will miss, because I love to cook. But I can still make wonderful salads for lunch, and specialty omelettes for the two mornings per week that breakfast isn’t included. The kitchen is sooooo TINY with very little counter/prep space and not very many cabinets, so that severely limits how I can cook, as compared to my house which has lots of counter space and cabinets for all kinds of specialty cooking pots and pans.

Because I’m moving from a 1270 square foot house to a 700 square foot apartment unit, I’ve done some serious downsizing. Most of my kitchen items are gone except for what will fit in the cabinets (at least I hope they will), as is a good portion of my furniture. You never really know how much stuff you own until you have to move it or are forced to downsize, then you realize just how important a lot of your stuff WASN’T. Keep what you know you really need to live with. Sell and/or donate the rest of it. If you haven’t used it or even looked at it in the last two years, or forgot you even had it, you don’t need it. Those home-organizing or house-hunting shows on HGTV or programs like “Tiny House Nation” can give you a lot of great tips and ideas if you’re moving from a larger home into a much smaller space.

The facility has a small but decent fitness room with a treadmill and other machines I’d use, as well as on-premise walking trails outdoors, so I can dump my gym membership. Hopefully I’ll lose a few pounds. But I don’t know…the food at the place is kosher, and it’s good, and there’s a lot of it…so the jury’s still out on that one.😉

There are also religious services, discussion groups and sing-alongs held weekly on-premises by local rabbis, which beats having to go out in the middle of winter. So whether you’re very religious or only mildly, there’s something available in-house.

I’ll have buttons over my bed. One to push in case of emergency (there’s one in the bathroom too), and another I have to push every morning when I wake up to let them know I’m alive. That will take some getting used to, but it’s nice to know help is there if you need it and someone is watching out for you…that’s more than I have now living alone in my house. And the bathroom has a walk-in shower and grab bars. Safety features are nice to have whether you need them or not.

Another benefit of my living in a facility like this is that my family doesn’t have to worry about me being alone. My family members are getting fewer and farther between, and those living near me won’t have to rush anytime I need something or they can move out of the area (like retire to a warmer climate) knowing that I’m safe and being monitored daily, and help is close by. Peace of mind for both them and me.

Young at heart

Although I’ll be making new friends among the residents (a few I already know and I met some new ones and had lunch with them when I went there to take measurements at the apartment) and engaging in on-premise activities with them, there are still things that I like and want to continue doing…

…like this blog.

…like I want to see the upcoming new Star Wars movie and hope to live to see any subsequent ones George Lucas plans on making. Let’s hope he lives that long too. And BTW, it would be cool if this aging Star Wars fan had one of these:

starwars walker with AT-AT legs

…and studies have shown that video games, and puzzles like crosswords and sudoku help maintain cognitive brain function in older people, so I’m gonna keep on playing Candy Crush Saga until King.com decides to retire the game!😀😀

Some words of encouragement:

Only the good die young. As for me, I plan to outlive everyone I’ve ever driven nuts. That is, if I’m not murdered at the age of 105 by some hot 90-year-old’s jealous wife.😉

But there are some things we should always keep with us as we age:

The music. Never forget the music you know and love. Always take your music with you. CNN did a news segment recently on Alzheimers patients, which showed that subjecting them to familiar music helped them recall more of their memories.

Your sense of humor. If you’ve got that, you can face any situation and deal with it less stressfully. And speaking of which, here’s some I found about getting older.:)

..Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

..Life is sexually transmitted.

..Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

..Men have two emotions: hungry and horny, and they can’t tell them apart. If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

..Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

..Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, dying of nothing.

..All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.

..In the 60’s, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

.. Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers. What you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

..Don’t worry about old age; it doesn’t last that long.

Age well and happy, my friends!

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Happy Independence Day! :)

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Everyone have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend, wherever you plan to be. Here are some graphics I made for the occasion, feel free to share if you’d like.😀

These first two are PNG transparencies that you can place over a graphic of your choice, or use as-is:

Happy 4th of July striped Candice Happy Birthday America

This one is in JPG format:

4th of July 2015 from Sugarcrush Graphics

10 ways to cook garlic scapes…plus 1 more

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Now that all the farmers’ markets locally are offering more vegetables and fewer flowers, I’ve been doing a lot of shopping for wonderful locally-grown produce. Over the weekend I saw one of our town farm stands offering a strange-looking green stalky vegetable called garlic scapes. At first, I thought they were scallions. The vendor told me it was a variety of garlic in a young stage, but you can use them in the same way you’d use garlic or scallions. He suggested that I cut the buds off and throw them out, and only use the stalks. Here is what they look like:

Garlic scapes

So I bought a bunch and took them home. ^^^ I cut off the light-colored bulbous buds with the “tail” attached and discarded them. I cut off a tiny piece of the stalk and tasted it. It tasted somewhere between a sweet garlic and a VERY strong scallion. Then I looked at them and thought “OK, now what?” Well, I fired up my trusty Google and found an article online by Bon Appetit which suggested 10 ways to use garlic scapes. (Thank you, Bon Appetit!) If you want to read the article, here’s the link:

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/garlic-scapes

Some great ideas there, but there’s one more way that wasn’t mentioned…MY WAY!:) Which was washing the stalks, cutting them into approximately 2″ pieces, and spreading them in a roasting pan along with meat and other vegetables. Because garlic scapes were new to me, I only used a few just to see whether or not I’d like them. In this case, the dish was a Cornish game hen cut in half, yellow squash and Zucchini squash cut lengthwise. I roasted the dish as I normally would roast chicken. I also plan to try them with other meats, like pot roast, pork roast, or other poultry.

The garlic scapes softened during the roasting process and besides taking on the flavor of the food they cooked with, they lost most of the harshness they had when raw, and tasted a lot sweeter. They were wonderful! I’m definitely buying these again, but apparently the season is limited because they’re harvested while they’re young, before they mature into full-blown hard-neck garlic.

If you like onions and garlic in your food, especially if they pack a punch, you’ll probably love any recipe where garlic scapes are used raw. They’d probably be great in an Asian stir-fry too. But if you love the sweetness of roasted garlic or onions, definitely try garlic scapes instead…you’ll get the best tastes of both. Delicious!:)

 

Superfoods for Seniors!

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A great article, worth a reblog! Thanks go out to Julie at “The Flexi Foodie” blog.

The Flexi Foodie

8110122610_59ee6bc199_zFood is one of the most enduring and consistent parts of our lives – and the old adage “You are what you eat” has never been truer, especially for seniors looking to improve their diets and their bodies.

As we get older, there’s a certain tendency to wonder if healthy eating still matters – after all, we may not have long to experience any effects, right? That’s true, but our daily nutrition still has a major impact on how well our body functions. Today, we’re going to look at a collection of fantastic superfoods for seniors that could help reduce the chances of certain medical issues.

How To Make A Super Meal

Before that, though, we need to know how to make a great meal. Blueberries are fantastic for getting dietary fiber and antioxidants, but a meal consisting of nothing but these tiny blue marvels wouldn’t be a good idea…

View original post 561 more words

Another Candy Crush Saga milestone :)

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With last Wednesday’s release of Candy Crush Saga’s latest episode “Caramel Keep,” a milestone is achieved: level 1000. A special Millennium playing screen for this level was created to celebrate the occasion.

Level_1000_board

The goal is to remove (i.e., collect) 1000 green, 1000 blue and 1000 orange candies from the board in 30 moves. As soon as you open the board, all those green candies start matching and exploding, as do the cascade of candies that follow so that it’s relatively easy to start collecting such a large candy order. There are plenty of opportunities to make the special striped and wrapped candies and color bombs, and most of the time the cascading candies will make them for you, so there’s a cavalcade of explosions going on all over the board. Level 1000 is fun to watch as well as fun to play!

Hope you don’t mind if I blow my own horn here, but I completed level 1000. GO ME!:) I blocked out mine and other players’ identities in this screenshot, but anyone who plays CCS on Facebook knows that the blue-numbered score on the list is always yourself. I have since gone on and completed the episode, which ends at level 1010.

CCS 1000 stat

I don’t know how long King plans to keep CCS in their active repertoire of “Saga” games, but if they don’t retire the game (i.e., due to lack of profitability), I hope to be around to complete level 2000. Till then I’ll keep crushin’ on and on and on….!😉

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

 

 

More gift ideas for your favorite Candy Crush players

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Since I blogged a CCS gift idea post last September, I’ve accumulated more game-related merchandise. Most of it consists of useful items, the rest of it is just plain fun. My home was once decorated in a Classic Star Wars motif, now it’s the new style Modern Candy Crush.:) So here goes Round 2…

These 3-1/2″ square coasters and 8×9″ mousepads were found on Amazon through the merchant The Image Shark. The owner’s name is Bobi, she does high quality work and can even make a custom item. I’ll definitely be contacting her again. She originally offered the coasters, and after I got them and e-mailed her about mousepads, she said she could make them and offered them on Amazon the very next day. What I like about the coasters is, like the mousepads, they are made of neoprene with some traction on the bottom, so they won’t slide around on your table, nor will they rip like paper coasters or break like ceramic or glass ones. They’ll probably last longer than I will, lol! I gave two of the coasters and a mousepad to my sister and a friend of hers, and they love and use them!

CCS coasters 3.5in amazon CCS mousepad 3-candy logo CCS mousepad Divine

Here are some more items I got through Amazon via the seller Toynk.com. These same items can also be purchased through King’s official Candy Crush store online. First off, these socks. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and just plain COOL.

CCS socks 2015

These stuffed bears and plushie really brighten up my living room. Squeeze the plushie and you get a sound byte. There are several different plushies in various shapes and colors, but of course I had to get the one that says “Sugar Crush!”😉

CCS bears and plush

This queen-size zipper pillow case was on Amazon from the seller “somrds.” It’s very well made, feels like a heavyweight satin material, and it washed and dried beautifully with no wrinkling. The same image is on both sides. The design is bright and bold, and will bring cheer to any bedroom or sofa pillow for your living room.

CCS pillowcase queen chars

King featured this 11-ounce coffee mug and chocolate egg item a couple months before Easter. It’s no longer available on their CCS store online or Amazon.com, but they still make many other styles of coffee mugs you can buy. And the hollow chocolate eggs were TASTY! SWEET! DELICIOUS! And lastly, DIVINE!😀

CCS mug and chocolate eggs 2

Last but not least, a t-shirt for Candy Crush Soda Saga players. I bought it on Amazon via the seller Haishen Co., Ltd. This shirt comes in different colors with the CC Soda logo. It’s an excellent quality shirt in a cotton-poly blend, and it washed and dried nicely without shrinkage. They also make t-shirts and tank tops with the regular CCS logo in different styles for men and women.

CC Soda t-shirt yellow

A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT SPENDING MONEY ON CANDY CRUSH ITEMS: A lot of people buy CCS items like boosters, lives, gold bars, etc. through in-game popups or the Yeti Shop feature on the main map. It helps them pass tough levels they’re stuck on and/or progress through the game more quickly….but after all is said and done, what have they got to show for it, other than game progress? As for me, I’ve gotten through all 980 CCS levels (currently released as of this post) without spending one red cent in-game…the game itself is free and so are the boosters (through the Daily Wheel feature), tickets and lives if you’re willing to not be in so much of a hurry, and not too desperate to just keep trying until you pass the levels. Any $$$ I’ve spent on CCS has been on something tangible to show for it that won’t be long gone after the credit card bill is paid: household items I really use, clothes I really wear, or gifts for other candy crushers to enjoy. So for me, the game itself will always stay free and I’ll keep crushin’ on and on and on.:) But all that cool merchandise…well, that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.😉

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

 

 

 

 

 

From the makers of Candy Crush Saga, an educational new game

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The game developer King, which released Candy Crush Saga and others in their Saga series, has recently come out with a new game which is educational as well as fun…it’s called Alpha Betty Saga. If you like scrabble and word search puzzles, you’ll love this one.

The nice thing about it is that if your kids favor playing video games over running around outside to play, this is the one you’d hope they get into. It’s not only cute with adorable characters and pleasant sounds, but unlike other match-3 games with candies to crush, vegetables to pick or animals to rescue, Alpha Betty Saga will give your kids something to show for it. They’ll be looking for words, learning new ones and building a vocabulary. And for adults, it’s wonderful brain candy with some very challenging aspects.

Here are the basics. The game takes place in the 1930’s, with mouse characters Professor Alpha, his granddaughter Betty and his assistant Barney. They are on a worldwide quest to collect words to compile into an Encyclopedia of Everything.

ABS intro chars

There are different types of playing levels, each with their own objective to be completed in a specified number of moves. Each level is a board of tiles which have letters and small numbers on them, similar to scrabble. Some ask to find a certain number of 3-letter, 4-letter, or 5-letter words….those are fairly easy. Others have additional tasks. On this screen for level 16, you must bring 6 pieces of cheese down to the bottom of the board by making words with the tiles underneath them.

ABS level 16 playscreen

You choose words in the game by clicking the first letter of the word, holding the button down and dragging your mouse over the letters, and release the mouse after you’ve chosen the last letter of the word. On a touch screen, swipe your finger over the letters. Words can go across a horizontal row either forwards or backwards, up or down a vertical column, diagonally, around in a circle, or a combination of any of the directions, as long as the tiles touch along the way and a tile is not used twice in the same word. Here are a few I found – “sun,” “tea” and “shot,” which I’ve circled in purple. And I can still see more. Can you?:)

ABS level 16 found words

Notice the blank tile at the bottom of the board. It’s a wild card to use however you want in a word. You could use the vertical “S,A,blank tile” to make a word because there are legitimate words like “sat” and “say.” As you clear tiles on a board by making words, those still on the board will move down and more new tiles will cascade down from the top of the board for you to use.

Tiles colored differently from the tan ones will give you extra points or do something else special in your favor if you use them, like remove a whole column of tiles to bring a piece of cheese to the bottom. And the longer the word you make, you’ll get an exclamation with a sound byte of how well you’ve done (similar to “divine” or “sweet” in Candy Crush) and earn more points. Here’s what I got for a 6-letter word:

ABS sharp for 6 letters

And for an 8-letter word, I got this:

ABS 16 magnificent for 8 letters

There’s also a “Brainiac” exclamation, but you probably need to find a very long word for that one.

When you complete a level, you get this (similar to “Sugar Crush!” screen in CCS), before you get the final confirmation screen showing points and bonuses earned by passing that level:

ABS objective complete

In another type of level, you have to use all the letters with bubbles over them within a specified number of moves. Here is a screen for level 17, where your objective is to clear 49 bubbles in 21 moves:

ABS level 17 playscreen

Already I see the 7-letter word “empires” along with the more obvious smaller ones. Can you find more?

Will I stay on top of this game as I do Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga? Probably not, but as I have with others in King’s saga games, I’ve played a few levels of each to get the feel of the games. Each has its unique appeal, but Alpha Betty Saga is impressive and a definite winner. Some of my hard core Crusher friends have really gotten into this game big time!

This game can be played online from a computer or on a mobile device, and is available in many languages.

“The beginning of a cheese-tastic adventure awaits. So gouda luck!”😉

 

Turkey drumsticks roasted my way :)

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While searching the net to find good recipes for roasting turkey drumsticks, I found they all called for adding four basic ingredients: salt, pepper, butter and water. I’d never used butter before in turkey roasting so I figured OK, I’ll give it a shot. (Kosher alternative to butter: use your favorite plain or herb-infused olive oil.)

I took two very meaty turkey drumsticks, total weight 2.21 pounds, put them in a roasting pan and preheated the oven to 350 degrees.

Turkey drumsticks 1

Now to prep while the oven preheats. The next step is to coat the outside of the legs and inside the skin as far as you can go with butter (or olive oil). But instead of regular butter, I used Land O’Lakes Spreadable Honey Butter….it’s soft and easy to work with, just dig your hand into it and start coating. Just make sure you wash your hands thoroughly (safety first!) before you dig into the butter tub a second time, especially if you use that butter for other things like spreading on toast. I also put a few small pieces of the butter on the bottom of the pan to lend the juice some flavor. Then I seasoned the meat on all sides with sea salt and pepper, and added 8 ounces of water to the pan. You can substitute chicken broth for the water, but since I had no more leftover homemade chicken stock, I used water and it worked just fine.

Turkey drumsticks 2

When the oven reached 350 degrees, I covered the pan with foil and roasted the meat for 40 minutes. After that, I removed the pan from the oven, turned the drumsticks over with tongs, then added some broccoli, cauliflower and baby carrots. I seasoned those with a little sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder. (This would be the time to add more water or broth if needed.)

Turkey drumsticks 3

Then I re-covered the pan with foil, and back into the oven it went. After another 40 minutes, I removed the pan, took the foil cover off, basted the meat and veggies with the juices, then roasted everything uncovered for about 18 minutes.

Total time in the oven: 98 minutes (40/40/18). Turkey legs made this way should be roasted for a minimum of 1-1/2 hours, maybe 2 hours if they’re much larger or you’re making more than two in the pan. 50/50/20 would probably work OK for that. Alternatively, if you want to roast it covered the whole time, just take the pan out halfway through, turn the meat over and baste the veggies and meat with juice (adding more liquid as needed), then cover and return to the oven.

After the uncovered roasting time, I removed the pan, tented it with the foil cover I’d removed before, and let the meat rest for at least 10 minutes so the juices within the meat would redistribute and the veggies wouldn’t dry out. Then, dinner was ready to plate!

Turkey drumsticks 4

The result was phenomenal. The meat was moist and delicious, and the veggies were tender without being mushy and took on a nice flavor. Using honey butter instead of regular butter didn’t make the dish taste sweet. It was still savory, but with just a subtle hint of the honey to give the dish something unique, but pleasant. And it’s a healthy, satisfying dish for those who are cutting out carbs.

I would definitely make this dish again, but try using olive oil. There are some wonderful infused olive oils on the market as well as my old standby extra-virgin olive oil. Also, I use sesame oil quite frequently in cooking as it gives a dish an Asian flavor…that’s also on my must-try list for this dish. If you decide to try this recipe, please let me know how it worked for you!

Turkey. It’s not just for Thanksgiving any more.😉

 

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