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: you may use them in your posts, but I’d appreciate a link back to here from your site. Thank you.

Candy Crush games – links to helpful sites and merchants



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Listed here are some Candy Crush games-related links I’ve found to be most helpful for game guides, general information, and purchasing items. These are long-established working links. If you can recommend any more not in this list, feel free to comment below. Please *DO NOT* post links to game hack or cheat sites, they will be deleted! If you host a Candy Crush blog site which doesn’t support cheats or hacks, please comment and let us know! :)

Candy Crush Saga All Help is a comprehensive website for all aspects of the original CCS game. You can find walkthrough videos for all levels, tips, and descriptions of the game’s features. Also, if you’re having trouble with the games on a PC or your mobile device, there are many problem solutions here as well.

Candy Crush Dreamworld All Help is a part of the regular All Help site shown above, but is focused on the Dreamworld aspect of the game.

Candy Crush Soda Saga All Help is a comprehensive website for all aspects of this game. You can find guides for all levels, tips, and descriptions of the game’s features.

Candy Crush Saga Wiki is a comprehensive news and info website about the reality and Dreamworld sides of CCS, which anyone can edit.

Candy Crush Soda Saga Wiki is comprehensive news and info website about this game, which anyone can edit.

Pete Peppers’ guide to Candy Crush Soda Saga.

Candy Crush games and other King games you can try out online. You may need to set up an account at King’s site or already have a Facebook account to play them online.

This is King’s forum for troubleshooting their games, reporting glitches or getting help with a game’s behavior on mobile devices or the Facebook platform. You can choose a game from the dropdown list and read other’s posts, but you need to establish an account there to actively participate.

King’s official store where you can buy Candy Crush items such as candies, clothing, accessories and other gifts.

You can also search Amazon, eBay, and Etsy for CCS-related goods as well.

These and other King games can be downloaded to your mobile device from Google Play Store and iTunes.

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. :D

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.



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:

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

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.


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…

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!


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! :D :D

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. :D

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:


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.

Originally posted on 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 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.


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! :D

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. ;)


Memorial Day 2015


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While you’re celebrating this long weekend at that backyard BBQ, please take the time to remember WHY. A few moments of silence, or however else you wish, to honor those servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms all Americans enjoy. And have a great weekend!

Memorial Day candyfont

STAR WARS: The Force is still with us


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With the advent of the seventh Star Wars movie coming out in December 2015, it got me thinking…I’ve been blogging off and on since October 2013 and have yet to post anything about Star Wars! After all, it is in the URL for this place, right? ;)

I love science fiction movies and novels, and I’d have to say that Star Wars is my all-time favorite in this genre. Everyone who has been following this epic has many wonderful memories and stories to tell. So here are a few of mine…

When I first heard of this movie in 1977, being hyped then as a space opera, I must have taken the term literally and thought it was going to be hokey. I’d never been an opera fan and found out soon enough it wasn’t a real opera as I might have expected. What I’d read about the movie wasn’t all that impressive at first. But in early summer 1977 I went out of town to stay with some friends for the weekend. One night about 10 of us were out and someone mentioned seeing Star Wars, most had seen it before and I never had nor did I want to. They practically dragged me kicking and screaming into the theatre. I figured OK, I’m outnumbered and I wasn’t about to sit in the car by myself for two hours that late at night, and I certainly didn’t want to be a party-pooper. So I bit the bullet and sat through the movie. WOW. The story, the realistic special effects and The Force. I loved it! And I wanted to go right back in and watch it again. This time, they had to drag me kicking and screaming OUT of the theatre.

I was never the same afterwards. That summer, I saw it 28 times in my local movie house, with friends of mine who also loved it or with someone who *I* had to drag kicking and screaming to see it. I was captivated by Darth Vader. That imposing presence and oh, that VOICE. Posters and other Star Wars goodies adorned my apartment, and John Williams’ soundtrack could probably be heard through the halls of my building at any given time. I even had a bar of Darth Vader soap that came in a green box. And who didn’t have this iconic Darth Vader poster from 1977:

SW Darth Vader poster 1977

(This photo was courtesy of the internet, as my original of this poster eventually got ripped and folded and mangled many years ago.)

Being a longtime comic book fan and one-time collector, I still have the original 1977 collectible oversized 10″x13″ 2-comic Marvel set based on the movie. In the normal sized comics, the movie constituted the first 6 issues of Marvel’s “Star Wars” comic series. I keep the 2-comic set in plastic and it’s still in good shape (and no, they’re NOT for sale so don’t ask):

SW Marvel comics 10x13

Since then, I’ve also gotten into the Star Wars expanded universe through the comics and the novels. I have most of those in digital comic or e-book format now.

Another collectible I’ve kept is the first edition paperback novel by George Lucas from 1976. This is the original pre-movie novel, not the silver one with movie still inserts that came out after the movie was released. That’s protected in plastic too (also not for sale. Sorry.).

SW paperbacks

Another collectible must-have for the avid Star Wars fan is the coffee-table-sized compendium “Star Wars Chronicles.” This book is massive, and the current prices for this on Amazon and eBay are outrageous. Mine is the original 1997 edition, which retailed for around $100-$120 at the time but I found it on clearance for $75. This book was published again in 2005.

SW Chronicles

And let’s not forget the humor. TV programs and talk shows parodied the movie. There was even a short film, made as a trailer for a movie called “Hardware Wars,” which became immensely popular. The movie was also spoofed in newspaper comics and magazine covers. Then there was that godawful holiday special TV show from 1978. Now here’s a fun artwork piece I have that a friend of mine gave me for my birthday in 1980, called “May this farce be with you”:

SW Farce Be With You

Also, I have a few cool Star Wars goodies around the house…like a cube with movable sections and a 6-foot stormtrooper standup:

SW Kenobi cube

SW standup trooper

I’ve loved all the Star Wars movies over the years, and have seen them many times both in theatres and at home on VHS tape or now on DVD. Of the original trilogy I thought the middle one “The Empire Strikes Back” was the strongest and most entertaining of the three as a movie. “Return of the Jedi” had its good points but I found it the weakest of the three in both storyline and acting.

Of the prequels, I found “The Phantom Menace” entertaining although cute…who didn’t love little Anakin Skywalker, even though you knew what he’d grow up to be? The middle one, “Attack of the Clones,” one word: AWFUL. But this trilogy totally redeemed itself with “Revenge of the Sith,” clearly the best movie of the three and which perfectly set the backstory for how and why Anakin became Darth Vader.

So now I’m looking forward to the December 18 release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which takes place about 30 years after the end of the story in “Return of the Jedi.” It’ll be interesting to see how much of the expanded universe George Lucas accepts as canon for this movie. And if he does go ahead and make movies 8 and 9, like it’s been rumored for years of his planning a “sequel” trilogy, I hope to live to see them all.

Until then, may the Force be with you. :)

Ring out the old (2014), and ring in the new (2015)


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For everyone planning to go out on the town and celebrate on Amateur Night…oops, I mean New Year’s Eve…just wanted to wish you all a happy and safe one. If you plan to drink, please don’t drive. Get a designated driver or if you don’t and you’ve indulged in too much holiday cheer, call a taxicab or one of those services that will take you home (check out what’s available in your community or through your auto club beforehand, some may be free of charge). Or if you’re at someone’s home, ask if you can crash there until you’re safe to drive in the morning. And to those staying in, whether you’re hosting guests or planting yourself in front of the TV to watch the ball drop, have fun and enjoy the evening.

New Year 2015 gfx

As we enter into 2015, let’s resolve to make the world a better place for everyone, be it on a large scale or locally in your community or for your loved ones. One small kindness can make a big difference to someone out there. And speaking of resolutions, it always seems that diets and weight loss after piling on that holiday poundage are at the top of everyone’s New Year’s resolution list. Sometimes they work and often they don’t, at least in my case they never seem to. But in any case, out of all the diet suggestions available out there, how can you NOT love this one…. (heh-heh)

Diet holiday stress

And for all the Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga game players out there, I did meet my goal of completing level 800 in CCS by the end of 2014. :) So my New Year’s wish to you is may you never fail to clear all the jelly and bring all the ingredients down to the bottom in 2015. And my New Year’s resolution is to keep on crushin’ and bloggin’! As for all that leftover candy from the holidays, especially if you have resolved to lose some weight, just grab the nearest hammer and crush it for real. ;)

So to all, a very happy and safe New Year’s holiday and a prosperous 2015!

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Merry Christmas!


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I’d like to wish my fellow bloggers, followers and Candy Crush Saga players a joyous holiday to you and your loved ones. Peace on Earth and good will towards people everywhere, not just on Christmas but every day of the year. Lord knows, this world needs more kindness.

Xmas graphic by me for 2014

Enjoy your favorite foods of the season, whether you make your own recipes or enjoy others’ creativity. And ooh, those Christmas cookies…always yummy!

But whether you’ve been naughty or nice, I hope you’ll receive lots of goodies from Santa….especially CANDY! :D

And if you’re a Candy Crusher, I hope you’ll hit the Jackpot on the daily wheel for Christmas. Now there’s a great present… ;)

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Happy Hanukkah! ✡


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To all who are celebrating…Chag Sameach Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights!

CCS Happy Hanukkah

Thought I’d share with you the dinner I made for the first night of the holidays. It’s not traditional brisket, but a nice chuck roast with carrots and onions. Normally my pot roasts include whole potatoes but since it’s Hanukkah, potato latkes are a must. There are tons of recipes for latkes on the web, my advice is to find one of your own if you don’t have your mother’s or your bubbe’s special recipe. Or you can use ready-made commercial products, some of those aren’t half bad. As for frying the latkes, you can use any cooking oil you want, although I find that frying them in peanut oil gives them a wonderful flavor.


Hanukkah dinner 2014

As with many Jewish holidays, humorists say it all boils down to “They tried to kill us….we survived….let’s eat!” ;)

So have a Happy Hanukkah…or is that Chappy Chanukah?  However you spell it, enjoy the holidays with friends, family and loved ones…that’s what’s important! :)

Ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night…


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Taking your little boys and ghouls out trick-or-treating, making the party rounds, having people over or staying home by yourself watching monster flicks this Halloween?

CCS Halloween 2014

Whatever you do, stay alert and look out for others as well as yourself. Little and big kids will be walking around out there in costumes or masks which may limit their peripheral vision, so drive slowly and safely Halloween night. And if you’re drinking, don’t drive. Make sure you have a designated driver to take you home or if you don’t and you’re at a friend’s, ask to crash on the couch until the next morning when you’re sober enough to drive. Otherwise, call a taxicab.

Go nightcrawling with a group. You never know who or what’s out there. No, I don’t mean vampires and werewolves, witches and goblins. They’re relatively harmless. :D I’m talking about those crazies who may really be out looking to cause harm to a child or anyone else walking alone…Halloween would be the perfect time for them, since they can wear a costume and blend in with everyone else in disguise.

Halloween - boo & 3 ghosts

Check yours and your kids’ trick-or-treat bag to make sure all those goodies are safe. Look for pinholes in candy wrappers, anything stuck into an apple or whatever else may look suspicious. Most people handing stuff out are good, but there could be a few sickos out there. If you happen to find anything harmful, you or your child try to remember who gave them what, hold onto the treat and call the police.

If you’re staying home alone curling up with some hot chocolate and horror flicks, don’t answer the door after you run out of candy or after 9pm. Turn your porch lights off. If you’re not giving out treats, don’t turn the outside lights on in the first place. And if you have a garage, make sure your car and your garbage cans are inside it. That’s usually when the mischief makers are out and about.

Whatever your level of alertness is on Halloween compared to other nights of the year, it should be appropriate for the neighborhood. Trick-or-treaters in my small-town neighborhood are out early while there’s still some daylight, and most are small children accompanied by an adult. And we don’t get a whole lot of them around town because the elementary schools host Halloween parties and haunted houses in safe environments where kids and parents can have more fun and probably score more candy and swag than they could beating shoe leather door-to-door.

Last but not least….if you’re a Candy Crush Saga player, don’t crush that REAL candy with a hammer to take out your frustrations because you’ve been stuck on the same level for a month. Eat and enjoy it. Yes, even the CHOCOLATE. ;)

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)

Pork shoulder roast with Rome apples


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Fall is a wonderful season for apples for eating or making pie, and drinking a glass of apple cider, and there’s no better time than now for using either or both of those in cooking as well. Pork pairs well with most apple products in any dish. Who doesn’t love pork chops with applesauce on the side? Or the current trend of putting bacon in everything (did someone say BACON?), including apple pie? Granny Smith apples are great for cooking when you want to give your dish a tart flavor. Romes are sweet and are good eating apples, but they’re also hard and dense enough to hold up when roasted with meat for 2 hours. Since I love to pair meat with fruit in roasting, I made a pork shoulder roast with Rome apples.

So here goes nuthin’… ;)


Pork shoulder roast weighing 3.94 lb., mostly boneless

4 Rome apples, each approximately 3-1/2″ in diameter

Buck’s Seasoning (25% reduced sodium) to taste

Black pepper to taste

Ground sage to taste

8 oz. liquid minimum (water and/or apple cider)

Cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan with foil (it helps to use the non-stick foil from Reynolds). Season the roast all over with sage, black pepper and the Buck’s Seasoning (or make your own mix; sea salt works nicely if you don’t use a seasoning mix), and place the roast in the middle of the pan. Cut the apples in half and core them. If you like apples and cinnamon, rub some cinnamon over the fleshy part of the apples, then place them flesh side down in the pan all around the meat.

Pork shoulder roast + Rome apples 1

Cover the pan with foil, and place roast in the preheated oven for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, remove pan from the oven and the foil cover from the pan. Here is what it will look like:

Pork shoulder roast + Rome apples 2

Baste the meat with juices from the bottom of the pan. There should be enough juice to baste the meat but if you want to add more, now would be a good time to add (more) apple cider, or water if you don’t have cider. Return the pan to the oven, and cook uncovered for another 35-45 minutes. (This was a thick roast. My rule of thumb for total in-oven cooking time for a pork shoulder roast like this is a minimum of 30 minutes per pound.)

Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for at least another 15 minutes. It’s up to you if you want to tent the roast with foil while it cools. After the cooling period, the roast is ready to slice and serve. The meat will be tender, moist and flavorful. The apples will be soft, about the consistency of applesauce, and will take on some of the pork flavor.

OPTIONS: (1) If your roast is thinner or smaller than the one I used and will cook in less time, you can cut the cored apples into wedges instead of in half. (2) If you want the apples to come out less soft, don’t put them in the pan until after the 90-minute covered cook time, then cook the whole shebang uncovered for those last 35-45 minutes. (3) If you don’t eat pork, roast the apples with chicken or duck instead…poultry and fruit pair nicely too.

Eat and enjoy! :)


Candy Crush Soda Saga: The Sequel


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Monday October 20 saw King.com’s worldwide Facebook release of its latest match-3 game Candy Crush Soda Saga, the younger-sister sequel to its popular ongoing game Candy Crush Saga. It had already been on limited mobile release for several months in Europe; however the application package for android devices could be found on the web via a simple Google search. It can soon be installed on mobile devices through Google Play Store and iTunes. The current version of Candy Crush Soda Saga is v1.29.26 and has 135 levels.

I downloaded the android app package of Candy Crush Soda Saga about a month or so ago, and checked out the files stored within it. This game contains many of the original features, concepts and elements as original CCS, but is different enough from CCS as to hold your interest. The new sound effects are cool. And there are new voice exclamations, such as “Juicy” and “Sodalicious,” for example. As nice as the music is in CCS, the Soda Saga music is refreshing, soothing and less annoying when repeated than a couple of pieces in CCS that played over and over again.

The structuring of both games is also similar. You have levels within named episodes, and episodes within worlds. Candy Town is the name of the first episode in both games, but after that the names differ. You also get 5 lives at a time, and the in-game features for getting to the next episode and/or help from Facebook friends is similar.

The main characters are different in this game, although a few of the characters appear in both games. In CCS, the little girl was Tiffi and her dad Mr. Toffee introduced the tutorials and goals in each level. In Soda Saga, Tiffi is gone (although she’s mentioned by other characters in the cutscenes) and so is Mr. Toffee, and dark-haired Kimmi takes Tiffi’s place. Mr. Yeti is more prominent in this game than he was in CCS, as he now introduces the tutorials. Elephants and other cute characters show you the goal at the beginning of each level. What was the Yeti Shop in CCS is now the Soda Pop Shop for purchasing boosters and other items.

Most of the candies are the same, except with a few differences. A new diamond-shaped cyan candy is introduced. Besides the familiar dark chocolate in CCS, there is now a 2-layered white chocolate that looks scrumptious enough to eat, but with a catch: when the chocolate grows back, it can replicate the 2nd layer as well. There is a fish candy similar to the one in CCS, except it’s not a jellyfish…it will eliminate one obstacle of any type on the board to help you reach your goal; for example, it may remove one licorice cage covering a piece of candy, or it might remove one piece of chocolate. You can make a fish candy by matching 4 candies of the same color in a square. There are layered obstacles like cupcakes, bubblegum and honey squares, among others. The special candies from CCS like color bombs, striped and wrapped candies are present and do the same thing in both games. Now there is a new one called a coloring candy…match 7 of them in a t-form and it makes a candy which, when matched with any one around it, will turn a whole bunch of candies on the board into that color. Here is a progressive screenshot sequence of how to make a coloring candy and what happens when it is switched with a yellow candy on the board:

SodaSaga Soda coloring candy made

And the fish…make as many of these as you can. So far, I’ve found the fish candy can be your best friend in this game, especially when paired with a color bomb or a striped candy.


The levels are challenging as in CCS, but in a different way. A voice comes on to tell you what type of level you’ll be playing. There are 5 types of levels so far….

SODA LEVEL: Collect or “pop” one or more soda bottles They can be anywhere on the board. In this screen from level 114, there are 3 orange ones in licorice cages and a cyan one at the bottom right of the board. Since 11 are required to be collected in 30 moves, more bottles will drop down as you clear candies from the board.

SodaSaga Soda level board start - level 114

FROSTING LEVEL: This is similar to a Jelly level in CCS, except that you’re breaking blocks of ice to release one or more green gummi bears trapped underneath. The bears may be partially or completely hidden, and may be of different sizes. In this screenshot from level 6, you can see parts of the 3 bears you need to release in 20 moves. Blocks of ice may be one or two layers.

SodaSaga Frosting level board start - level 6

BUBBLE LEVEL: In this type of level, you must save a pink bear trapped in a soda bubble at the bottom of the board. You must match candies and soda bottles above the bear, eventually floating the bear above the string of candies near the top to “save” the bears within the specified number of moves. In this screenshot from level 9, you must save 3 bears within 20 moves. This is similar to CCS’s Ingredients level, except in reverse…you’re moving from bottom to top in Soda Saga, and the second bear doesn’t appear until you’ve saved the first one. So far, I’ve found the Bubble level to be the most challenging type. In some of these levels, you may have more than one board as the bears float upward. It’s not as easy as it looks.

SodaSaga Bubble level board start - level 9

CHOCOLATE LEVEL: In these levels, you need to clear or “eat” all the chocolate on the board within a specified number of moves. The chocolate may be dark or white. Here are two screenshots of chocolate levels. The dark chocolate in level 31 can be cleared easily. The white chocolate in level 128 with the “C” are two-layered, remove the first “C” layer and it looks like the other flatter ones. All the white chocolate in this level are blocked by single- and double-layered honey squares.

SodaSaga Chocolate level board start - level 31SodaSaga Chocolate level (white choco & honey) board start - level 128

HONEY LEVEL: In these levels, you have to break through layers of honey to save the bears. In this screenshot from level 105, you must save 7 bears in 45 moves.

SodaSaga Honey level 105 board

:) :) And now for some GOOD NEWS! :) :) Unlike CCS, there are no timed levels, at least so far. Also, you don’t need to score a minimum number of points to complete a level. Your goal is only to fulfill the order (eat chocolate, free bears, etc.), and the number of points you get during level play is only to determine the number of stars you earn on completion of that level. This is a big improvement over CCS where you could fail a level, even though you fulfilled the required order (especially in Ingredients levels), because you didn’t get the minimum number of points needed to earn 1 star.

After you complete the goal of any level in Soda Saga, you get an exclamation over a bubbling screen of grape soda:

SodaSaga Soda Crush sample

There are a few style and layout differences between the mobile and Facebook versions of Candy Crush Soda Saga. For example, when you complete a goal, the congratulations screens are different styles. The font used in the mobile version is a typewriter font on a pink background, and the Facebook version uses the candy-style font on a tan background. These differences are minor and don’t affect actual gameplay.

NOTE FOR MOBILE “STANDALONE” PLAYERS: Like with CCS, I started playing this as a standalone on my android phone, not connected to Facebook. When the game is installed, you get 50 free gold bars to use however you want in the game. After I completed level 45, which was the end of an episode, and clicked a graphic to progress further, a screen popped up with options to either use gold bars or connect to Facebook and ask friends to help me to unlock the next episode (compare to tickets in CCS). There was no option given for me to play mystery quests or an equivalent thereof in this game like there is in CCS, so if you want to continue playing past level 45 on your mobile device, you’re forced to connect to Facebook. As much as I didn’t want to, I had to set up a Facebook account specifically for playing CCS and Soda Saga. King has been slowly doing that lately with their games, steering players away from standalone play once they get to a certain point in the game.

I think even seasoned CCS players will like Soda Saga. It has a positive, fresh approach in its challenges, graphics and sound. As much as I love CCS and always will, this game looks to be way cooler in many aspects. :)

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)


Horrorfest for October 2014


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October. Halloween. Gotta love it. :) Again, we’re at the time of year when tons of TV stations air horror flicks, monster movies, Twilight Zone marathons and other ghastly thrillfests for your viewing pleasure. From frightful fare to creepy comedies, you’re bound to catch some of your favorites, old and new.

As for me, I’ve always been partial to the older classics from the 1930’s and 40’s like “Frankenstein,” “Dracula” “The Mummy” and “The Wolf Man”….and of course my favorite zombie apocalypse movie of all time, “Night of the Living Dead” from 1968. Turner Classic Movies is great every October with it’s variety of horror movies, and this year definitely won’t disappoint. Last year, TCM’s focus on Friday nights were movies about witches. This year’s specialty is ghost stories on Thursday nights. Here is their prime time lineup on Thursdays for the rest of October.

On October 16th….

TCM Oct 16 Ghost stories prime time

Then on the 23rd…

TCM Oct 23 Ghost stories prime time

Yet again on the 30th….

TCM Oct 30 Ghost stories prime time

All leading up to the big day….Halloween. TCM will be showing horror movies all day long. It’s on a Friday this year, so if you don’t have party or other evening plans outside the home, this can be a perfect movie night for you, your family or with fellow horror fans. So order the pizza, make some popcorn, dip into your kids’ trick-or-treat bags and have plenty of coffee or hot chocolate on hand, and get ready to pull an all-nighter…

TCM Oct 31 Halloween 1

^^^ by day…

TCM Oct 31 Halloween 2

^^^…and by night.

Not doing the marathon on TCM? How about some corny but creepy movies from the 80’s? The series of “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” mainstream horror flicks are always fun. Or if you can catch them on TV or online, check out more obscure cult classics like “Eating Raoul” and “Basket Case,” both from 1982…corny but humorous. And then there’s always “Motel Hell” from 1980…now that’s scary.

Or sift through your DVD collection and find your favorite horror movies to curl up with. And you can always have lots of fun with these…

Ghostbusters box set

Or if you’re not big on TV, you can cozy up in your favorite comfy chair and read a good scary novel or collection of vampire stories. For that, I’d like to recommend “The Dracula Book of Great Vampire Stories” published in 1983…it contains some great late-19th/early-20th century stories, including the classic gothic novella “Carmilla.” How about old “Tales from the Crypt” comics or vintage Fangoria magazines? If you don’t have the original print copies, you can find digital versions online. Just don’t forget the hot chocolate. Or that glass of wine. ;)

Everyone have a fun and safe Halloween! :D

Halloween - boo & 3 ghosts

The blog is 1 year old today!


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This little experiment of mine made it through its first year. :D

Sugarcrush blog anniversary 1 (Oct 6)

I’ve periodically posted product reviews on other sites and social media over the past several years, and one friend who also blogs and writes reviews suggested I start a blog of my own too. Also, with some encouragement from fellow Candy Crush Saga players on a gaming site and several other forums where I participate, this blog was born. It started out primarily for fellow CCS enthusiasts but soon took off on its own in several directions. Like for instance, another passion of mine…FOOD and cooking and recipes, for starters. I love food blogs and recipe websites from all over the world, and appreciate the time and effort that goes into them.

Many bloggers post regularly every day, but I post when I feel inspired. Which could be once every several weeks, or twice in one day. Whenever and wherever my muses take me, that’s what I share here with you.

So to all who are reading this, thank you for taking the time to drop by here. I appreciate your likes, comments on posts and feedback I’ve received this past year…and please keep ’em coming. And to fellow bloggers and those listed in “Blogs I Follow” or in “Links,” thank you for sharing creative ideas, recipes and the experiences that inspire you. Keep up the good work. I’ve learned much from you, and I hope you’ve learned something from me too! :)

King.com pulls a fast one on Candy Crush Saga standalone players


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If you’ve been playing Candy Crush Saga as a standalone game on your mobile device, meaning never connected to Facebook, you’re in for a big surprise if you haven’t already noticed by now. When you attempt to spin the Daily Booster Wheel, update the game or use other features, you get a pop-up that says you can’t “connect to Facebook” or “access the kingdom” or something to that effect. Or you may get something like this:

CCS FB kingdom access failure text

Since the late-August update of CCS, people have noticed they can’t do certain things, like earn boosters from the wheel or even access new levels unless they connect to Facebook. I’ve played this game as a standalone, either on an android emulator for PC or on my mobile device for well over a year until I reached level 680 (the end of an episode). I’ve always had Google Play Store set to automatically update the game as soon as King released a new version to them. But after completing 680 I couldn’t update any further, and soon found out I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t update their mobile versions of CCS.

It appears King is forcing standalone players who want to update the game to connect to Facebook in order to do it. Even those standalone players who do pay for items (see my blog post of September 12 in this section about playing for free) are being forced to connect if they still want to continue to spin the daily wheel or play beyond the levels already included in the version of the game on their devices. This is unfair to those players who don’t have or want a Facebook account, or to those who are connected to Facebook but don’t play online because they don’t want an app to spam their friends’ News Feeds or bug their friends for tickets and lives.

I originally got a Facebook account to connect with family and friends, especially those living far away, and fellow alumni for school reunions and events…not to play games. Being spammed with other users’ game posts in my News Feed bugged the hell out of me and still does. Finally, within about the last week or so, being the hard-core candy crusher that I am :) , I broke down and started playing on Facebook, but not the way that most people do. About 3 years ago, I had opened a test account on Facebook under another name, which I’d only use to occasionally check the security and accessibility of my regular account every time Facebook made changes to its security options or other features, since my regular account is set to “Friends Only”…I wanted to see what a public stranger on Facebook would see when searching me, in case the “View As” feature on my own account didn’t pick up on all my security settings. So I thought….why not use that test account for playing CCS, since I don’t use it for anything else?

I had no problem synchronizing the CCS progress already on my mobile device to the test Facebook account as a “new” player. Not only did it pick up that I had completed through level 680 at the time, but it gave me a ton of boosters and 50 gold bars to start me off, and I could now spin the daily booster wheel. I also made new CCS friends from all over the world who I figured were doing the same thing I was, using an account other than their regular one just for playing CCS (their profiles seem to prove that)…and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were originally standalone players like I was. Others you can tell are using their regular accounts for playing. The new friends are requesting lives, tickets or extra moves from me. The only thing I’ve requested so far are tickets as the game updates new episodes, and people send me them quickly. I don’t ask for lives because I don’t mind the wait…I’m not THAT addicted, lol! ;)

Actually, playing on Facebook isn’t that bad. I found out a few cool things I didn’t know by being strictly a standalone player. One is that if someone asks you for lives or tickets whether you have any or not, you can still give them one without losing anything. The game doesn’t penalize you for helping out others. The first time I noticed that is when I had 4 lives and I got a message requesting a life….I thought what the heck, I’ll send it. After I sent the life, I still had my 4 lives. The same held true with tickets. And the CCS friends aren’t intrusive into any other part of my life or profile except for a game request or a post that the CCS app itself makes. You help them, they help you, and otherwise remain anonymous.

Now for the REAL rant a lot of people are having. You can sync your mobile version of CCS to your Facebook account for the first time as a “new” user, but the problem lies as you progress through the game on Facebook: you can’t sync the other way around even when connected to Facebook on your phone or other device (or both, which is what tutorials suggest you do to properly sync). Those who were able to sync before find they can’t do it now, which was an advantage especially for people who travel. Why doesn’t it work, you ask? Because King, at least via Google Play Store or the Facebook option to sync your progress to your device, isn’t updating mobile version of this game. At least not the episodes/levels feature. On Facebook, I’m now at level 706 but on my phone, the episode portion still won’t update past level 680. Funny though, it’ll send current game requests and other messages to the phone. Players are up-in-arms about this, and if you contact King (I read their forum), they say they’re “working on solving the problem.” Yeah, right. They just want more of the mobile phone market.

As far as I know, this seems to be a problem only on mobile phones. I don’t know about tablets or iPads…Google Play Store or iTunes might be updating the game OK on those for standalone players and/or syncing Facebook with those fine.

The advantage to crushing candy on Facebook on PC or laptop rather than just over a mobile phone is that Facebook always keeps your progress, no matter what happens. On a mobile phone or PC, you could lose your progress for various reasons, like your hard drive dies, your mobile device emulator crashes or a corruption in updating via Google Play Store to your phone sets your level progress back to 1. (I had that happen, and it’s not fun.) Or something goes wrong with your phone.

After all is said and done…..Bottom line: the game is still free. So if King never fixes the update problem on phones, I’ll just delete both the Facebook and Candy Crush Saga apps on the phone. And since I have to be physically sitting at the PC in order to play and progress (at least until the sync-to-phone problem is fixed), I spend less time playing. Which I suppose is a good thing. And I really don’t mind that!

CCS Sugar Crush (on a board)


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