Monday, December 31, 2012

NY Times Ball Drop and New Resolutions!

 
 
 
 
 
Okay, so I am originally from Upstate New York, or rather a four hour drive from NYC, and I have never been there, most think that is shocking, but I grew up watching the ball drop on TV, like almost everyone else.  But, for the last several years, since my 6 year old was born actually, I have gone to bed before the ball actually dropped.  Sad about that, you might ask?  Not so much!
 
I like many make my own list of resolutions that I hope to keep each year.  I am starting a gratitude jar tonight and will include happy moments and happenings written on slips of paper with the hopes of reading them on New Year's Eve next year, and I have shared information about that in previous blog posts, so take a look.  But I want to share with you a newspaper clipping from probably about fifty plus years ago.  There is no date on the slip of newspaper, but it is old and yellowed along with all of the others which included cut out articles and recipes in my Great-Grandmother's recipe book.  The poem by James J. Metcalfe is titled Never Hopeless and goes like this:
 
As life goes on from day to day...And God is always near...There is no place for need to fear...Lift up your eyes, behold the skies...The bright, the dark, the dim...Whatever weather there may be...It is ordained by Him...Do not despair because of some...injustice done to you...Doubt not all other souls on earth...Because of one or two...Do not condemn yourself too much...For wrongs that you have done...It may deplete your moral strength...In battles to be won...Lift up your heart, have faith in God...And say a fervent prayer...For as you trust in Him, so He...Will keep you in His care.



Friday, December 21, 2012

A quick, last minute idea!

Chocolate Covered Peppermint Stirring Sticks

Perfect for the holidays!
What you'll need:
One dozen candy canes
1 cup chocolate chips
5 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Vanilla (optional for taste)

Directions:
1.  Heat chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in double boiler until completely melted and thoroughly mixed - stir often
2.  Add vanilla to chocolate/cream mix if vanilla taste is desired
3.  Dip candy canes into melted chocolate/cream or spoon melted chocolate/cream onto candy canes
4.  Allow to cool on wax or parchment paper
http://bit.ly/ONZd0r

Chocolate covered Candy Cane stirring sticks!  Why did I not think of this on my own.  Thanks for the idea go out to the internet, but nonetheless a great idea!

  What you'll need:
One dozen candy canes
... 1 cup chocolate chips
5 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Vanilla (optional for taste)

What to Do:
1. Heat chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream in double boiler until completely melted and thoroughly mixed - stir often
2. Add vanilla to chocolate/cream mix if vanilla taste is desired
3. Dip candy canes into melted chocolate/cream or spoon melted chocolate/cream onto candy canes
4. Allow to cool on wax or parchment paper


* The only trouble I can see with this, other than the obvious being that they may not end up as gifts for anyone other than me is that, I will have to buy a lot more than one box of candy canes due to my difficulty in getting the candy out of the wrapper without it breaking first.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Another look at the Gratitude Post!

In light of the tragic events from a short few days ago, I decided to re-post this, just as a sort of reminder to Focus on the positive, and look for the good things that happen in life.  While tragic things do happen, and the incident in Connecticut is so very sad, I want to focus on good things.

I have a child in Kindergarten and like many, when I first heard of what happened, I wanted to race over to her school and bring her home right away, and never let her or my other young daughter out of my sight again.  I know that is not realistic or even practical, so I am trying to look forward to the good things in life.

I feel devastated for the families of the children and their teacher's, but I know that those children are in an amazing place, with all the warmth and love of our Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ enveloping them.





So, pick out a jar, empty peanut butter, a jelly jar, also emptied first or like myself a mason jar, and fill it up with all the happy, fun, enjoyable moments that WILL happen throughout the next year. My thought is, why wait, why not start now and if you can't wait until the eve of the New Year 2013-2014, open it Christmas Eve 2013, surrounded if possible by loved ones and those closest to you or if not open it just the same and reminisce about all of the happy moments!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day Eight, after a breather!





Okay, so who get as plate of cookies that look something like this?


And who wants them to look more like this?

First of all, I like the assortment in picture #1.  If you don't like the taste of one certain cookie, you are not out completely, you have choices, but as a downfall, you run out of favorites quickly.

Growing up, my favorites were the sugar cookies with the mounds of colored frosting that were in the shapes of snowmen and santa and others, and my least, and I do mean least were these old style two toned butter cookie, that my Mom made hundreds of each year.  There never was enough milk to down those cookies.  But, in that regard my Mom was pretty smart, and thrifty.  That recipe made dozens and dozens for very little money.  Which made it good in that way.  But as for us kids, I myself, did not favor them, and they were the only ones we still had in March or April.

When I make plates of goodies for others now, I usually go to the standard peanut blossoms, chocolate chip, with M&M's instead of chocolate chips, and I make soft gingerbread, read and green rice crispy treats, and if I am feeling ambitious, I include a family recipe of chex mix.  In years past, I have even included quick breads, and homemade jelly.  Usually not all in one gift basket, but a variety for each family.  It has become somewhat of a tradition here, to bake and decorate bags, and baskets for families the week before Christmas.  So, I will be starting that tomorrow.

Is there a tradition that includes baking that you do in your house? Are you surrounded by family and friends? Is there music playing and laugher and fun?  Those moments make the best memories, so embrace them, and if you have started your gratitude jar ahead of the new year, write about those moments and include them in your jar!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Day Seven...Fettuccine!

This is just a yummy, and quick meal when you are on the go, or when you are rushing to get out and shop for presents or just getting home and realizing that you forgot to set something out to make. 


Fettuccine with Garlic Herb Butter

What You Need:

p.s.  This makes 4 servings so you may need to double it at least if you want fuller plates or more of a serving.

6 ounces uncooked fettuccine noodles, I use dry ones.
1 teaspoon butter
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs
       (possible ideas, parsley, basil, margoram or thyme)
1 Tablespoons butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
Small pinch of pepper

What to Do:

  1. In a large saucepan, cook the fettuccine to doneness, as directed on package.  Drain, and return to saucepan.
  2. While pasta is cooking, melt 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat.  Add minced garlic, and cook for 30 seconds to a minute, or until the garlic begins to become a golden brown color.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the chopped herbs, 1 Tablespoon softened butter, salt, pepper, and cooked garlic, mixing well.  Add this to the noodles in the saucepan, and tos to coat the noodles well.
This is great alone, or with a grilled chicken breast to make a full meal, alongside a green salad with garlic toast. Enjoy!



Thursday, December 13, 2012

A gratitude feast...

Instead of posting a recipe tonight, I saw this shared on facebook, and decided to share it with people I know, and now I am sharing this again!

I just truly love the idea, and it will be a way of remembering and sharing memories in a positive way!


So, pick out a jar, empty peanut butter, a jelly jar, also emptied first or like myself a mason jar, and fill it up with all the happy, fun, enjoyable moments that WILL happen throughout the next year.  My thought is, why wait, why not start now and if you can't wait until the eve of the New Year 2013-2014, open it Christmas Eve 2013, surrounded if possible by loved ones and those closest to you or if not open it just the same and reminisce about all of the happy moments!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day Five...An idea!

Okay, so instead of posting my own recipe, I have an idea to add to a reliable one.  If you make any type of quick breads, like banana, pumpkin, sweet potato, applesauce or any other.  This is just an amazing idea, and I do not know why I did not think of it sooner, and have added the following ingredient to all, and I do mean ALL of my quick breads ever since...



Are you ready?

Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, and not even the whole bag, just about 1/4 of a cup to a full batch of bread.  I omit the nuts and add chocolate! When the bread bakes, it smells just as yummy as without, but when you slice into the bread, and see the yummy spots of goodness, and better yet taste it, Wow!

Try it and let me know what you think! I am sure that you will thank me for it later!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Day Four Crock Pot Chili...

Ground Beef and Sausage Chili



Oh, and by the way this recipe has beans included.

What is needed:

2 pounds ground beef
2 cans of chili beans (I use western style)
1 quart tomato sauce (I use homemade sauce, but it is a preference)
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 can of diced tomatoes

What to Do:

  1. Set out your crock pot in a spot where it can cook all day, and assemble the ingredients there, it is easier to do this than move a full crock pot when you are ready to plug it in.  I use a medium sized crock pot, and it works well.
  2. Spray the inside of the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Break up the raw ground beef and place in the crock pot.  Don't worry, it will cook in the juices and will no longer be raw when it is time to eat.  Place the chili beans with the juices, the tomato sauce, the chili powder and the diced tomatoes on top of the hamburger.  Stir slowly to incorporate.
  4. Turn the crock pot on low and let to begin to cook.
  5. After about two hours, uncover and stir thoroughly to break up any hamburger that is still in larger chunks.  Recover and let cook again for another two hours.
  6. After the four hours, spoon a little into a bowl to taste for "heat"  you can add additional chili powder in needed, but remember only a little at a time.  Recover and cook for 3-4 more hours or until about 45 minutes before serving. 
  7. At this point, turn off the crock pot, uncover and let the chili begin to cool.  Stirring about every 15 minutes.
  8. Transfer the slightly cooled chili to a serving bowl, and serve with shredded cheese, chopped onions, corn bread, and/or homemade rolls.  If it is still really hot, you may want to let it sit and cool further.
* This can cook for longer if you like it is a pretty sturdy dish, and very hearty.  A big favorite in our home!
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Day Three...Smore Cake!


This cake is amazing with or without the marshmallow creme "frosting"...
Just a side note, this page of my recipes is sticky from the numerous times I have made it.

Things you Need:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (I buy the boxes of crumbs, but it equals 24 squares)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can use up to 1 cup, but that is a lot)
1 (7 ounce) jar (1 1/2 cups) marshmallow creme) - this is optional for us.

What to Do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and soda with salt and mix thoroughly.
  2. In a large bowl, cream brown sugar, shortening, and the eggs.  Add the combined dry ingredients, and the milk, mix together on a low speed until combined, beat for one more minute on a medium speed.  Add the 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and combine.  Transfer the batter to the 9 x 13 pan and spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes, testing the cake for doneness.  Cool for approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Optional - While the cake is still a little warm, spoon the marshmallow creme on the warm cake a teaspoonful at a time, to spread more evenly, dip a knife in hot water and use to spread the creme over the cake. 
  5. Cool for about one hour before serving.
I found this recipe a few years ago in a Pillsbury cook book, and have tweeked it a tiny bit for our liking, but this is a go to snack/dessert for our family, and it takes very little time to put it together.

Try it and let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Not the Same Green Bean Casserole!



 
Don't get me wrong, I do love almost any kind of green bean casserole, but my additions to it, just add a little something extra. 
 
 
 
What you need:
 
 
2 (14 ounce) drained cans of green beans, french style, or italian style, or cut style are fine.
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can of cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk, I use vitamin D, but not required
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup parmasan cheese
2 cups french fried onions
 
What to do:
 
  1. Combine the soup, milk, pepper, and granulated garlic in a large bowl,  stirring until combined and smooth. Add the two cheeses and stir until combined. Set aside.
  2. Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray, and pour the drained cans of green beans into it.
  3. Pour the soup and cheese mixture over the top of the beans to cover them.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and top with fried onions
  6. Return to oven for an additional 5 miutes to crsp the onions.
  7. Cool slightly and serve.
*The cheeses add an extra layer of flavor and cheesy goodnes to this staple for thanksgiving, Christmas or any other time of year.  Try them and let me know what you think.
     


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Day One...Ham Rolls

The big dilemma with this simple yet yummy recipe is to either use pickles or leave them out.  This recipe is great either way. p.s.  For this initial post, I borrowed a pic from the internet.  You see while easy and delicious, these little pieces of goodness can be a bit on the messy side, but don't let that deter you one bit, they are worth it!



  My first experience with these were actually a bit different.  My Grandma Mike as we called her used the dried beef from the glass container on the shelves by the canned tuna and canned chicken, and you can if you so choose, but my main reason for upgrading is size.  You can make a lot more using slices of cooked ham.  So, lets get down to it.  The recipe is as follows:

You will need:
        One 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
         8 slices of cooked ham, thicker slices work well, usually sliced of sandwiches if from the deli counter.
         8 dill pickle spears (optional)

How to assemble:
         I have found that drying off the ham slices allow for an easier assembly, so dry the ham slices with a paper towel and set aside.  Soften the cream cheese, if you need you can place the cream cheese in a microwavable bowl and soften at 15-20 second intervals, stirring each time until it is easily spreadable.  If using dill pickles, dry them of their excess juices also.
         Spread one slice of ham with the softened cream cheese covering the surface almost to the edges, and if you choose place a pickle spear along the short edge and roll it up, jelly roll style      then repeat with the other pieces. Refridgerate the large rolls allowing for them to chill.  When ready to slice them, using a sharp knife, cut the edges off, then slice them in approximately 1-inch pieces, and place them either on your serving platter or in a resealable container for later plating in the fridge. *Don't let the edges go to waste, they are still yummy, just snack on them yourself!


Tune in Tomorrow for Another Recipe Idea! Post and let me know what you think!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Beginning Tomorrow!

Beginning Tomorrow I will be sharing favorite holiday and family recipes.  Some of those I am planning to share are a recipe for appetizers that we call Ham Rolls, quick and easy fudge, pumpkin cheesecake, gingerbread, snazzy green bean casserole, and some cookie recipes, and a crescent roll appetizer that is a huge favorite here.

So, starting tomorrow, check back and see what I share, and better yet, try them out for yourself and let me know what you think.  So, come follow me on this adventure!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Turkey Time" A Week Later...


Since our family of five went to visit family on Thanksgiving Day and again for the weekend, our turkey has gone uncooked, our stuffing and mashed potatoes un-fixed, and our rolls and desserts, un-baked.  That is, until this coming weekend. 

I actually prefer it that way.  Who really wants to eat turkey, and pumpkin pies for three to four days in a row, not taking into consideration the leftovers.  So, we will be having our family "feast" Sunday afternoon, and then I will freeze the leftovers in portion-sized containers to be used later on.  Some of my ideas for the leftovers are:  Casserole, pot pie, soup, and the ever favorite sandwiches...warm, open-faced are my favorite served with the leftover stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, but a cold slab of turkey between two pieces of bread are fine too, of course.

But, also now that Thanksgiving is over for another year, I need to consistently remind myself that I should be more vocal about giving thanks more often, and not just on the holiday itself.  So, here goes.  My thankful moment came today when Anna, my three year old and I were out running errands after dropping Robyn off at school.  We first went to the library.  I am thankful for all of the choices we have there, books, movies, games, and other fun activities, like pre-school story time that we try to attend each Wednesday morning.  Anna is sitting through more and more of the story hour, and hopefully soon she will want to stay the whole time.  Secondly, I am thankful for the $10 vegetable and fruit sale at the grocery store.  You could buy any number of certain produce for $10, provided you could put it in a provided bag.  We ended up with eight oranges, one bag of baby carrots, four small bundles of romaine lettuce, five onions, a stalk of celery, and a good sized pineapple.  If we had had more money I would have filled more than one bag, but I was able to get one produce bag, two gallons of milk, and a snack bag of chips for Anna for $19.88 and I had $20 cash.  Pretty good for a extremely tight budget.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Christmas Cards vs. Holiday Newsletter

Christmas cards are fun to get, I really cherish the cards that I get in the mail every year, though the number is sadly dwindling.  Some of them have newsletters filled with a variety of information, others have copies of pictures included, some are in small print, while others have larger print, some are on fancy Christmasy letterhead, while others are on on colored paper.

I am set for both this year, as I have been in years past.  I just don't know how I am going to approach my address list this year.

The Christmas cards are pretty easy.  I sign the card with pretty much a generic signature, and with family I want to include a personal quote or a few comments, I do so.  This year, I have a family picture to include, as well as Robyn's school picture, to those select few. 

As for a newsletter, that is where things get a little tricky...Do I have enough to chat about for a newsletter?  Should I include good and bad scenarios?  Or should I just sugarcoat, like a lot of people find themselves doing this time of year?  Pictures or not?  How much or how little should I share?  There is a lot to consider if I go this route...

Well, I had better decide, I only have about two weeks to sign, address, include a newsletter if decided on and mail out before they might end up arriving after the holiday...

Now, if only I could decide who is getting a card this year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Dollar Dinner for Four!


This boxed of rice and seasonings make my life so easy, and are certainly budget friendly! 

There is a recipe on the box even.  I added one pound of browned hamburger that I already had, and 1/2 cup of frozen corn, again that I already had and presto, dinner was served!  And instead of a salad or slices of bread with butter, which either would have been a good addition, I sliced a mini loaf of sweet potato bread from our freezer that I had baked a few days ago, and dinner was served.

The cost breakdown for me was as follows:

One box of Rice a Roni - $1.00 on sale
Water - no cost
2 tablespoons of Butter - already had on hand
One pound of hamburger - already had on hand
1/2 Cup of frozen Corn - already had on hand

The cost breakdown if you needed to purchase the items:

One box of Rice a Roni - $1.50 (approximately)
Water - no cost
2 tablespoons Butter/Margarine - Possibly no cost, could be omitted in none on hand
One pound of hamburger - $3.00 (approximately)
Corn - $0.65 (cost for one can, only use 1/2 cup, will have leftovers)

My cost:  $1.00           Cost if Purchase of Additional Items:  $5.15 (approximately)
Remember that is for a family of four, which breaks down to $1.29 a serving!

The best test as to whether this dish was successful is my 3 year old.  She ate most of it on her own with out prompting, and pleading to do so! We will be having this again!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

So many people are grateful....

I have seen a lot of blog and facebook posts where different friends and family are listing, sometimes daily different things that they are grateful for.  One blog lists a different thing daily.  Her home, her car, her husband, each child individually, technology, and finally today, her scriptures.  It is hard to pinpoint one thing each day, as I am of course grateful for all of those things daily.

Are you grateful fo something in particular?  Other than the usual, I mean.  We are or can be grateful for our families, our home, electricity, our Heaven Father, our Savior, the scriptures, and so on but is there something that you are specifically grateful for that is out of the ordinary?

For me, there are two things for today.

#1.  My Pain Pump!  I am truly grateful that is working correctly today, and dispersing the medicine that it does so that I have been able to remain upright and moving in a forward direction.  Even though I hurt, I am no longer curled up in a ball, and taking huge dosages of OTC and perscription meds so that I can function.  Though I still do occasionally, and probably will be doing that tonight, I know that with a little rest and respite, Ican be upright again in a day or two.

#2.  The food in my fridge.  Especially this last month, things have been tight financially, really tight.  But, I called our Relief Society President today to see if she was going to need help picking up the Thanksgiving bundles next week for our ward members in need, and she informed my that our family would be getting one as well.  It was such a relief!  I am not a person to ask for help, I am more of a suffer in silence person, but she shared with me, that she was given a prompting by the Holy Spirit to have a bundle ordered for us.  She told me that she just felt so strongly that we needed a little help this month, and I got really emotional, because I know that Heaven Father is truly watching out for us! 

So, my question to you is,what else are you grateful for?

The teenager's room!

Oh, my...where do I even begin? 

Well, for one, I got so sick of the seven, yes...SEVEN large plastic, fast food drink cups that had been in her room, that finally on Sunday she got rid of them! One of which after we kept telling her was probably growing something, she admitted that several of them were.  But, sadly that isn't the worst!

I got so tired of the growing pile of dirty clothes and whatever else was lurking underneath that I cleaned up her floor, which took 30 minutes, and part of that was sorting her laundry, which she never does, and now there are three good piles of laundry.  Some of which may be clean and some that I know is dirty, but I got sick of sniffing from a safe distance to tell, so technically I am treated it all as dirty.  I even made her bed.  Which I haven't done in quite a while, but she was sleeping on her newer mattress, well, OUR newer mattress without even a mattress pad, so it was time!

I have threated until my face is blue to take a trash bag to her room, and I almost did today, but I thought better of it,as I might end up finding some of my belongings among her piles...

So, what do you do with a messy teenager, turn young adult?

I wonder if she will even notice that she can see her floor right off? 

Friday, November 9, 2012

A peaceful moment during a stressful time!


Last night was wonderful!  Six Sister's from the Relief Society, including myself spent an evening together at the Twin Falls Temple.  What amazed me was that there was a Sister with us, whose primary language is not English, and despite that, the Holy Spirit was so strong that the language barriers were not an issue!  Once our session was complete and we were all gathered, that sweet Sister embraced each of us with such tenderness, it brought me so close to tears! 

After the week that I have endured, it was such a respite to go to the temple, and close out the rest of the world and just think spiritual thoughts, and ponder.  As always throughout my time there, I pray for those in my life who may need special blessings, but once I am in a session, I focus on who I am there for.  I always say specific prayers for the deceased Sister, that she might be open to learning what is being taught, and I focus on being there in that moment.  For me, that puts me in tune with the Holy Spirit more by putting her before myself, if that makes any sense. 

As we were leaving last night, we had attended the last session for the night and the cleaning was about to begin.  As we were all walking out the doors, I looked back to see the cleaning crew, all of whom are temple-worthy, and who volunteered part of their evening to complete this, but I noticed that they too were dressed all in white.  They were all wearing white hospital-style scrubs to clean.  I suppose only in the Holy Temple will you find that.  At every moment in the temple it is a time of reflection and introspection, even while sweeping, dusting and mopping.  What a wonderful thing.

Thanks for letting me share! 



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Voting today, A relief in more than one way!

Yes, I voted.  I am a person who voted for what a person stands for, for the most part.  Leading up to today and including today, many, many people I know or are people I know because of Facebook have given me a glimpse into their political life that I did not know, about them. 

I have watched over the last month especially as people who I thought were calm, go-with-the-flow, kind, peacefully people become so forceful with their opinions and stances on issues that I was taken aback.  I have an opinion, and that is my opinion.  I feel that they are intitled to their own opinions, and I am not a person to push or force my opinion on another person.  Free Agency is a belief of mine.  But, I found that over the last month or so, people were whether meaning to or not, pushing at me because my opinions did not jive with theirs. 

I still like and admire many of these people, and still call them some of my dearest friends, but I am now looking at them in a slightly different light.  Whether the person I voted for, or you voted for wins tonight, I hope that we can still be friends in the morning! 

I just hope and pray that America and the American's and others who live here can work together, and come together as a society to better things here for those of us who live here!

The reason I am relieved is because I have voted, and that is my say in the matter, and number two.  There will be different ads, posts, tweets and the like other than political verbage!

So, whoever you are planning to vote for today, that is great, just get out and vote! Otherwise, you have no reason to complain if things do not go your way!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The last bit of fresh potatoes...



Made mashed potatoes that I have now frozen.  I figure that if Ore-Ida can do it, then I should be able to do it too.  I also diced some fairly small and blanched them so that we can have hash browns too.  I have learned that blanching them keeps them from turning that cloudly shade of unappetizing brown in the freezer.  They tasted good before I put them in the freezer, so that shouldn't be an issue when I take them out to use. 

This next week, my hope it to make apple pie filling, and maybe some more Crock Pot applesauce.  The reason for that, my husband brought home a large apple box filled to the brim with Red Delicious Apples from one of his bosses trees.  I thought the apple peeling was over for the year, but apparently I was wrong.  The girls and hubby do enjoy apples though, so who am I to complain.  Plus, they taste good, and were free, so I will not look a gift horse in the mouth. 

Even though our potatoes are in the freezer, I am looking forward to the semi-yearly gift box from my awesome sister-in-law.  She will be sending us product from her work to try.  Different varieties of potatoes, in practically every shape, form and flavor, varieties of breads, and vegetables, and the like.  Which we truly appreciate.  We wouldn't be able to afford anything like she sends to us.  Those boxes are still amazing to get.  The last one was about 70 pounds, which was send overnight delivery, packed in dry ice.  We love her for her thoughtfulness!

What is your favorite way to prepare potatoes?  Fried, baked, mashed, in a casserole, or straight?




Monday, October 29, 2012

Are you Obsessed with Couponing?

What I am asking is, do you have what people call a stock pile of products? 

The reason I ask, is that I do coupon some, and I am trying to build up my Food Storage, that I along with others of the Latter Day Saint, Mormon, faith have been asked to do, but I average about $40-$50 saved per visit, sometimes more, sometimes less.  I am one to only use coupons for thing that my family uses.  If it is not something we will use or consume, I for the most part will not buy it.  I do not purchase 40+ newspapers per week, just to get the inserts, and I do not run multiple computers or have multiple email accounts, to get more than the maximum allowed online coupons in the allotted time, and I most certainly do not dumpster dive in commercial recycle dumpsters to get paper inserts. 

I have watched Extreme Couponing, a couple of times, just out of curiosity.  I found out a few tips that make my own shopping more profitable for me.  But, I watched once as a teenage boy proudly displayed his stockpile of femine hygiene products, and baby diapers, and formula off with pride, just because it was supposedly free.  And, I often wonder as people displayed their stockpiles of 5,000 rolls of paper towels and toilet tissue, what good is that if one little mouse decided to take up residence?

Admirably I watched once as a person bought items that they fully intended to donate to their church or food bank, and I was glad for the recipients of those items.  But, and this is a big hot button for me.  When a person "cleans the shelves" of the products, what does that leave for those of us who only want or better yet NEED two or three of that item?  What happens when they stores decided that because of, for lack of a better word selfishness of those who hoard these items, and make work harder for them, so they decided to one day do away with the privileges of couponing, or double couponing or the like.  What are those of us who count on the extra $40-$50 savings each trip that pays for another monthly bill to do?

I know that there is an adrenaline rush that comes over you at your accomplishment, and you feel so great about it, but think for a moment about what you are depriving the rest of us, who work the system honestly of.

Fun blog that I found!

I came upon a blog today where the blog writer is celebrating a friend's accomplishment at becoming a published author with a blog party.  That is a great idea!  She, the blog writer, is a reader, not a writer, like myself.  But, I love, love, love to read and this is a great way to celebrate her friend's achievement!  The blog is Nothoughts2small.blogspot.com .  So, go check it out!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Another way to be frugal with food...

Have you seen the price of bread at the grocery store lately?  All bread is, is flour, and water, and yeast, with maybe a few other ingredients tossed in occasionally.  My husband use to like a certain type of bread that on the label stated that it was a "2 pound loaf".  That bread was actually good for store-bought bread, but the price over the years has rise, and now runs about $3.85 a loaf, yes, per loaf.  And, so with a husband who eats for the most part two sandwiches each day, one kind for breakfast, and one for lunch, that gets pricey. 

Three years ago, we decided to change that and I started making bread here at home.  I still use the same basic flour, water, yeast, a little bit of sugar, and an egg, but the price is a whole lot different.  I spend less than half for two loaves to the store-bought one. 


This one looks a lot prettier that mine do, but you get the idea.  We do actually save money, inspite of the not so sad fact that we now eat more bread.  Could you blame us, it just tastes so good!  It does my heart good, not to mention my ego when, on the occasion I do buy a loaf at the store, my husband tells me, "You NEED to make more bread, this just doesn't taste right." 

I have a recipe now for sheepherder bread, and the recipe appears similar to what I already do, just in a different style of pan so I hope to try making that this winter. 

Don't get me wrong, I have not completely stopped buying bread at the store.  I still buy hamburger and hot dog buns, but I just haven't quite gotten the hang of those, but I do have a recipe.  Maybe I will start that after I conquer the Sheepherder loaves.

What's for Dinner? Hot Dog Soup? Read on and find out!

I knew that I needed to make Beef today, after all, "It's What's for Dinner!"  So, I decided on the Coke Roast recipe that I found in my fairly new Crockin' Girls Cookbook that I talked about in past posts, and so I went looking for a recipe that sounded good.  After looking through the cookbook, I decided to, instead of making something totally new and foreign, to make this one.
Doesn't it look yummy?  I am planning to serve it with freshly mashed potatoes, last time I made egg noodles, and rice is also an option, but this just sounds good, and in about 3 hours, it will smell amazing throughout my house!

I know that I make a lot, and I mean A LOT of Beef recipes, and I understand that for some people beef roasts, and steak and even sometimes hamburger is hard to come by due to the costs at the grocery store.  It use to be that way for me also, hamburger use to be about all we ate, and even that was sparingly, and sparcely, until I met and married my husband.  He grew up in the dairy industry, and for the past 15 years has farmed for a larger family-owned farming and trucking operation ( not our family). 

The only reason I say this is that we raise our own steer each year through the Spring, Summer and Fall, then come December, "Dinner", as I like to call them, go off to visit the butcher, and then white paper packages makes it back to our house, in late December, only for "Dinner" to show back up again in March/April.

This is not something that is available, feasible or otherwise possible for a lot of people because of where you might live, or other reasons and I understand that, I was once there.  I have a few friends that raise chickens, so they have a seemingly neverending supply of fresh eggs and poultry that they eat.  So, as with us, when they are able to get something different, it is a treat. 

If there is tuna fish or peanut butter or ramen-style noodles on sale, you learn to make due.  It is amazing how many ways you can use, peanut butter, or tuna in different dishes if you put your mind to it.  Of course probably not in the same dish, unless you prefer that.  But, there are certainly ways to stretch you dollar these days.   

When my now 19-year old daughter and I first moved to Idaho, we had very little of anything, and so to make meals fun we would try out different things.  One of her favorites, still to this day is something we called, "Hot Dog Soup"  it was a really simple concept and easy to pull off.  The best part, it is a cheap and filling meal.  For the two of us, we would buy a cheap package of 8-10 hotdogs, and I mean cheap, usually less than a dollar.  I would cut up 1/2 of the package of hotdogs into thin round disks, then take one package of ramen noodles, usually chicken flavored as it was our favorite, but you could certain try beef or any other flavor you prefer.  I would prepare the ramen as directed on the package, adding the hotdogs before the noodles, so they have a few more moments to warm and cook through, and then adding the flavor packet from the noodles at the end,, and combining just as the package direction states.  And, there you go.  Easy, and inexpensive.  All for about $1.25 you have a hot and filling meal, sometimes with leftovers, and even the rest of the hotdogs from the package for another meal.  Now, that is frugal!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Recipes and a Good Book!


Have you read this yet?  The Author Joanne Fluke, has written several of these murder mysteries, and each book has numerous recipes, and not just for dessert!  I found myself, reading throught the chapters, reaching the point where a recipe had been included, then I would stop reading the mystery portion, and actually read the recipe.  They sound delicious, and I am planning to make some of them.

I have borrowed three of these mysteries from the library.  Carrot Cake Murder being one, Devil's Food another and, Apple Turnover.  These books each have a dessert title, and the food is a part of the storyline because the Heroine, Hannah is a caterer and bakery/coffee shop owner.  The books, in so much as I have read so far are comical at times, and have the moments where I cannot wait to turn the page, and do not lag in the middle, as some books do. 

I can't wait to read the next book, and try the recipes!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a Canning Time of Year!

I get this way each year in the late Summer/early Fall.  I am not sure if it genetic or environmental.  The reason really doesn't matter, but what I try to accomplish every year seems monumental. 
Last year it was tomato sauce.  100 quarts of tomato sauce!  That was my final tally.  I was even shocked!  This year, I am a bit more diverse, most due to the good and bad that is my garden.

My husband is a farmer by trade, and so he grows a lot for the company he works for.  Super sweet corn, russets- I even learned something new this year after 9 years of marriage, and that is that there are early and late potatoes, sugar beets, winter wheat, barley and hay.  So, our garden is relatively small because of things he grows at work.  This year our garden consisted of cucumbers, green bell peppers, pimento peppers, cantalope, strawberries, and pumpkins.

I have frozen the corn in cob form mostly, we have eaten ourselves relatively sick on cucumbers and cantalope, and I have frozen the peppers.  The strawberries were mostly eaten right off the vine by the girls, and as for the pumpkins, we check them almost daily as they are in varying stages of ripeness.  It is comical that I can cheer up a three year old, just by asking her to show me the pumpkins.  She then gets so excited and animated to show them to me.

As for the potatoes, I will freeze some of it, but I was told about a way to can them so I decided to give it a try.  The processing time on them is enormous, three hours in boiling water, but they sealed and appear to have weathered the adventure so we shall see.  Also, we have so many potatoes that my husband traded some with our neighbor for some apples, as they have sort of a mini orchard at their house.  I have made some crock pot apple sauce that smelled divine, and I will also freeze pie filling for later in the year.

You might notice that I skipped over the tomatoes, and all for good reason.  Last year, my plants looked sickly and dingy and sad, but I ended up with a huge crop of amazing tomatoes.  As for this year, The plants are chest high, healthy and robust, with hardly any tomatoes on, and very few of them have ripened.  The term "early girl" is there for a reason, I would think.  I am hoping that a miracle happens before it fully freezes but at least I still have leftover sauce from last year so we should be fine!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What a Lovely Day...

I will hope, for the most part! 

This morning is the first of many "Late Start Wednesdays," which means that Robyn's school, and also the others in the district start at 10:45 a.m. instead of at 8:15 a.m.  This is suppose to allow for teacher meetings, trainings, and the like so that the kids do not miss full days throughout the year...we shall see how this works out.

So, after we drop Robyn at school, it is off to the Library for our first Storytime, so looking forward to that, hopefully Anna will sit still!  Then we have to head to Twin.  First to drop off Robyn inserts for more work to be done on them, which luckily the cost is already covered and not an additional expense.  Then, the dreaded activity of the a.m., blood work for me...yuck!  My Doctor and I are still not sure why my extremities are falling asleep at any moment, other than the decided upon nerve damage, which we are still trying to determine a way to lessen that from happening, so the next step is to have a panel of blood work done to see any possible clues that way.  The fun part, ha, ha, ha...Anna will be there with me.  I will be more worried that she will see. 

Then, is is home to clean house.  A friend and her family are coming from Utah on Saturday, and I need my house to at least look like a tornado has not passed through recently.  Good Luck with that, right? 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How long could you live without...

a Microwave?

The reason I ask this is because we found this last week that we were about to adjust to living without one if we did not go and get one right off.

I was keeping things warm in the microwave to eat for dinner when sparks were spotted, and the most horrid smell of burnt metal came wafting into the kitchen/dining room.  To keep anyone else from attempting to burn down the house, I unplugged it.  Instantly, I felt a loss.  I really did!  That is bad, right? 

I was unable to keep dinner warm, and juicy.  I had to resort to rewarming on the stove and in the oven, which led to dried out fried rice, which became a salt filled mess, and burnt edges on the sweet potato fries.  I was so looking forward to that dinner.

Within a matter of an hour we had made the decision that first thing the next morning, we would bite the bullet and go buy a new microwave, after all, the one that just "died" had served me/us well for 12 years,so it was just time. 

Yea! Now I can again, boil water, defrost meat, and make popcorn!  We were without a microwave for less than 24 hours, and I felt like my daily life was coming to a halt.

The reason this seems to absurd and comical is that my Grandmother who passed away almost a year ago, was not at all a "slave" to technology.  She did not own a computer, she was given a cell phone for safety, but did not use it, and hardly ever even turned it on.  She did not have a dvd player, or a cd player, she never even had a VCR.  When family and I would discuss e-mail in front of her, she would tune us out.  She even had rotary dial telephones in her house until the day she died.  She was even given a microwave once, which she never used, and gave back to my Uncle when he needed a new one.  All she ever said was that it took up a lot of useless counter space.  My Uncle told me later that the instructions were still inside.  So, she had never even tried it out.  Another funny thing was that a few years ago, she bought a brand new car.  Which of course came equipped with things like Onstar and so many lights and fancy gadgets that she felt she was flying in a space ship.  The first summer she drove it back to NY from Wisconsin, she somehow changed the default language on the dashboard display from English to French, and was unsure how to change it back.  We all laughed and laughed over that one for a long time!  We were even all afraid to call her on the Onstar phone to avoid scaring her, and having to drive off the road into a ditch!

She never had the things that we all cannot seem to live without, and she had an amazing and full life.  I am sure that we can all learn from that!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let's Play Catch Up!

So, I have been lacking a little bit. 

As far as the cookbook that I won, with all of those yummy looking crock pot recipes, the cola chicken one, tasted, pardon the pun...A little flat.  The chicken was moist, and there was a lot of gravy/sauce, but there was no real flavor to it.  So, sadly, that one is out of the family recipes.  Also another flop, but mostly on my part was the Hot Fudge Cake.  As it was cooking away, I kept smelling burnt smells, and so I turned my crock pot from the recommended High temperature setting, to Low, and then finally turning the crock pot off all together.  The edges were burnt almost to a crisp, and the center was close to raw.  So, while we did not like how this recipe turned out, I will probably still try it again, but do my best not to mess with the settings. 

Secondly, and in my mind, most important...my 5-year old, Robyn started Kindergarten on Tuesday!!!  Monday night, she was so excited, talking a mile a minute, wanting to make sure I knew just how much fun she would have, and how much she was going to learn...Only to arrive at the school Tuesday morning with a scared, tear filled, and nose running, soft hearted ball of nerves!  Wednesday morning, same thing...Wednesday afternoon, we started to turn a corner.  She saw a friend from her 3-year old preschool class, who remembered her! WooHoo!!! Wednesday night, a mile a minute talking about this friend who remembered her, and how they played together at recess, and even though they are not in the same class, they are going to still be friends...Then, this morning.  Thursday...tears before she went down to her classroom, perked up a bit when I mentioned that a trip to the Library in town would be her reward for being a brave girl and trying her best not to cry...Have to give her teachers a high five on what happened next.  Robyn was a bit weepy, and wanted my to give her hug after hug.  The teacher say, "Mom can't come in today Robyn, so give her a great big hug, then go sit down..." To which Robyn did.  I was able to walk out without the whaling of my soft hearted 5-year old wanting just one more hug!  I almost cried!

Another thing she has informed me of, was that "everyone" brings his/her own lunch, "everyday." She informs me of this with all the conviction she can muster, AFTER I bought a three month lunch ticket for her to eat from the lunch line in the cafeteria.

Wow, what Joy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I won this amazing Cook Book, and...



I have decided to post how the recipe and meals go.  A few days ago, via snail mail, well Fed Ex, actually, I received a cook book that I had won for posting a comment to a blog post for the Crockin' Girls.  The cook book is HUGE!  After looking it over, the recipes both look good in the pictures and sound relatively easy to make.  It is a crock pot cook book after all, so ease is a big part of it, but most of the ingredients are things that are usually in our pantry anyway.

So, the first recipe I made for last night, was Salisbury Steak.  The recipe called for golden mushroom soup in a can, and since I have neither heard of, nor seem that, I had to improvise a bit.  Instead I added cream of chicken soup along with a small can of sliced mushroom, minus the can juices.  Also, I served the salisbury steak over egg noodles, and let me tell you...

It was a great big hit! With everyone, kids, hubby and me! We will be having that one again!

On tap for tonight, Cola Roast, and yes as the name infers, cola is added.  I am interested to see what the cola does to the meat.  My plan is to serve the roast with mashed potatoes.  I will let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Buhlwinkles!

Okay, okay I know...The cartoon Moose is named Bullwinkle.  But, I am not talking about him!  There is a store here, similar to that of a craft mall.  Except, when you walk in this store, there are no booths where individuals set up their own stuff, instead there are "rooms" of things.  There is a kitchen, where you will find homemade hand stitched dish towels, sets of bowl, cook books and the like, there is a "baby room" where there are handmade blankets, handmade dresses, and dolls, etc.  This store is run by a very sweet woman, who knows mmembers from my in-law family, and so always greets me so warmly. 

Over the years, I have purchased many items from her.  Mostly for gifts for Christmas or Anniversaries for family that live elsewhere and cannot visit her store themselves, because a lot of the things available there are fun and unique.  In addition to buying things this time around, I intend to sell some items starting this Fall, and leading into Christmas. 

As mentioned in prior posts, I have been working on cross stitched Christmas ornaments, and Boise State and Idaho State ornaments for themed Christmas trees.  I have also made some baby burp cloths with sayings on them. 

I will be going over to Buhlwinkles in the next few days hopefully to chat with the owner about doing this, and also participating in the yearly holiday craft fair that she oversees.  This is an intimidating thing for me, but I am excited about it!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

I am happy for you, I really am...but!

How many of you have those friends on social media site who brag.  We all do right, but there is inevitably one or two or even more who seem to "pour it on a bit thick," right?  You know who I am talking about.  Those who are going on an amazing vacation, and share every single moment, or those who have a beautiful yard that you have only ever seen in architectural magazines, or those who take so many pictures of their children, that you almost want to say, "Enough, already!"

You see, I have wonderful friends and family and they mean so much to me, they really do, I would go to bat for them in a heartbeat, but come on! Seeing showroom photos of your newest car with a ribbon on it, seeing the cruise photos of not only the scenery, which is gorgeous bytheway, but seeing the pictures of the food you eat before and after, what is that about!  And then there are the numerous photos of your "precious" child in each and every new outfit that you just purchased for him/her at the most recent outing to some larger city.  Or better yet, all the Mommy and me, and the swimming lessons, and the library reading moments that you share.

That is not entirely what gets me though.  I love to see the pictures, but what puts it over the top for me are the descriptions.  The detailed descriptions of how much things cost, and how it is now a weekly thing or how "amazing" it is that you can go to the coast for the third time in 3-4 months. 

I am not saying that I am jealous, I am not.  I am truly happy that you and your family are able to do those things together, and buy those things.  But, for me seeing how well you are doing, helps me realize just how much we are doing without.  I use to try my best to "keep up appearances."  But that is just crazy.  So, when we visit you, or you come to see us, and you see my kids in the second hand of second hand clothes, do not let it shock you.  This is how we were before, we just never let you see it until now.

Next weekend, I have a friend from high school driving through and the plan is that we will get together for a while and catch up.  As if after 22 years, that is at all possible to completely catch up.  I never lied about our living situation to her, not at all, but I am a bit worried...if she comes to our house, what will she think, we live here, it is not a showplace.  If they want to go out to eat somewhere, can we afford it?  Will my kids let me pick out their clothes that day without WWIII happening, and so they do not look like they were just playing out back in the mud pile... Only time will tell!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Mormon Messages!

The "Mormon Messages" are short videos, that share something, talk about something, and teach something to those who watch them.  They are funny sometimes, poinant, sweet, and even make a person think.  For me, and my little girls, they bring peace into our home.  Not all the time, but it seems that when I let these messages stream on the tv, we are a lot more relaxed, and calm than at other times.  I usually "play all" so that I do not need to stop what I am otherwise doing to begin a new video.  I turn up the volume loud enough so that we can be in the kitchen or dining room and still hear the message, but not too loud to not be able to discuss what the girls just heard. 
I have gather much knowledge and understanding from these short messages, and have even had a "Wow!" moment during one of them, well more than one actually.  But, my favorite is "Dare to Stand Alone" which talks about President Monson's time in boot camp. His statement about Daring to be a Mormon, and having a purpose and sharing it was an eye-opener for me! 

Focus on the Positive!

I have spent the last few months in the bit of a funk.  Each evening, while myhusband waters the yeard, waters the garden, pulls weeds, and plays with the kids, I am sadly left out.  I hear them screeching and giggling, yelling, and laughing, all while I remain inside.  Not that I do not want to be a part of what is happening, but I cannot.
My intention earlier in the year was to do all of those things.  I wanted to be the one pulling weeds, and watering and harvesting the garden, but alas, I am not.  We had hoped that this pain pump that now lives within my body would be working at "full capacity" and I would be able to take on some of the outside work/ burden that my dear hubby now finds himself saddled with.  Instead, I find that I am having to do another round of intense physical therapy, and more frequent doctor visits, with an x-ray, and impending MRI.  All because of nerve damage that has presented itself since I went to visit family back in May.
The purpose, or so I had hoped for this pain pump was for me, in my mind to be able and participate, even just a little in my family's lives.  I still hope for this, and will continue to do so, but frustration is settling in.
So, until then I spend my days doing whatever and however much I can, be it a little or more than that.  I read, mostly scriptures, as I hope to read the Book of Mormon before the end of the year, a few other books as well, mostly repeats of favorite authors, and I cross stitch, I am working on Christmas gifts again this year.  The only thing with that is that, with my hands going numb, that is getting harder and harder to do. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Apricot Jam...

I tried something new today, and it was sure yummy! A very sweet, dear friend and neighbor brought over a large bag of apricots from her tree yesterday, and I had just enough to make a batch of apricot jam.  As I have never done it before, I found a recipe on the internet, I was worried because it did not call for pectin, to which my concerns were unfounded as there was enough natural pectin that I did not need it.  We are not a raw apricot family, but we are now a apricot jam one!  Yum!

8 cups of diced apricots (peeled) - this is the messy, messy part, and my hands are stained an orange tint now, so I might suggest rubber gloves.
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 cups sugar

I combined all of the ingredients, in a large stock pot, because at one point at the beginning of the process the ingredients double in size, then bring everything to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Once it begins the rolling boil at the same temperature, I stirred frequently to keep the jam from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot for 30 minutes.  This seems like a long time, but it will be worth it, I promise!

The recipe, said that it would take 10 half-pint, sterilized jars, but I ended up filling 12.  Probably because my cup measurements were generous.  Don' forget to seal in a water bath canner anything you do not plan to consume right away to eat later, or in our case, give as gifts!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dare...

I am 40 years old this year, there I said it.  I am a convert to my faith and I never did experience traditional occurrences within my church, primary classes, and singing time, baptism at eight, the young womens organization, girls camp and EFY (Especially for Youth), so when I found out that I could actually take part on my own in the Young Women's Personal Progress Program, I decided to do so.  I am currently working on the first attribute, faith. 
The first task is to establish a habit of prayer, which I think is good for anyone in any faith or church that they attend, I am doing better now, at the end of the first week.  The first two days or so, I had to find express time to sit and quietly pray, away from the hustle and noise that is my life.  Not that I did not pray before, it is just that I am making a conscience decision to take time away from my routine to thank my Heavenly Father for the blessings that I experience in my life, and I want to focus explicitly on that.  I am also working on bits and pieces of the other tasks as well as the project I have chosen which has to do with aspects of planting and harvesting a garden, and how that is related to Faith. 
My point though being, is that I was watching a "Mormon Message" today, and it was about Thomas S. Monson, the President of the Church, and he was speaking to the youth in an address.  He was talking about his military service, and he said something that was so profound to me, and it felt as though he was speaking directly to me.  You see, I am the only member, aside from a step-sister, to whom I am not that close to, and I married a man who does not believe as I do, so there are times when I feel alone, and rely heavily on prayer, and I also am a bit timid to share my beliefs with others also.  His quote is as follows: 
"Dare to be a Mormon,
Dare to Stand Alone,
Dare to Have a Purpose Firm,
Dare to Make it Known."





Saturday, June 30, 2012

Divine Guidance...

Divine Guidance, or whatever the phrase may be, is what I would consider what is about to happen!  Last week, I went to the third week of Temple Preparation classes, and that is what I could consider what happened.  You see, I have been struggling, in life, with my health and with my church responsibilities.  A few weeks ago, I had finally listened to Heavenly Father's promptings to "do something" and not just sit idle.  My calling, you remember, the one that I was so strongly excited for, and had such hopes for...well, those feelings quickly disintigrated, and I was left feeling discouraged, frustrated and disenchanted.  I so wanted to help, offered, and was there to do just that, it was as if my help was not wanted, and I was given mixed signals about it.  I knew that Heavenly Father would never give me anything more than I could handle, even though I had questioned that in recent weeks/posts, I wanted to do all that I could before I threw in the towel and went to speak to my Bishop.   In preparation to speak to my Bishop, I brainstormed a bit, that Sunday afternoon, and formulated an outline/list of sorts.  Sharing hopes, dreams, discouragements, and questions.  I then gave the file a name, and let it lay on the desktop for a few days. 
At Sunday's evenings class, the Bishop was there to share information with our group about the temple, answer any questions or concerns, etc.  First off when he arrived, he said, "Sister Taylor, may I meet with you for a few minutes afterwards." To which I answered, yes.  A little worried, though there was no need to be, class began, and ended after a time.  We went to speak in the kitchen area of the home where we were having the class and said to me, "Sister Taylor, I have been thinking about you, and your situation a lot over the last week, I even wrote myself a note last Sunday morning, that I needed to talk to you." He went on to share that he feels that even though I could most effectively run the library, and that he was happy with all that I am willing to do, he was going to release me from my calling in the library.  I was so relieved.  No that I would not have given my all and done all that I could possibly do for our Ward family, but this fit, is just not the most optimal, to which he whole-heartedly agreed!  The situation is just not a good fit with me and the other Librarian, and he feels that I will be able to assist others in a better way in another calling, to which I also agree. He had even already at that point spoken to another person, who will be called to the position I vacate tomorrow.  He was that certain.  Divine Guidance! Even before I voice my concerns to the Bishop, I had voiced them to our Heavenly Father in prayer, and He answered me!
Prayer works, and I knew that before, but I an reaffirmed more now!
So sorry to sound preachy but I really felt the need to share.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So Much Has Happened!

Since my last post, I was still in New York, having a great time with family and friends...That is where the good times ended.  The night before I was to return to Idaho, we, Grandma and I, ended up calling 911 because my Grandpa couldn't breathe, and he was having intense chest pains.  They admitted him, and I was unable to say "good-bye" and give him a hug before I was to catch my plane in Thursday.  As I was getting settled after the layover in NYC, and then sitting in the airport in SLC, I checked my messages, only to get one from my Mom, saying that she was headed home to NY to be with Grandpa and the rest of her family.  My Grandfather passed away right after midnight on Saturday morning, he was 87.  So, in the span of less than a week, I buried one Grandmother, and lost my Grandfather.  I know that Our Heavenly Father will not give any person more than they can handle, but I felt that this was asking way too much! 

I have been reflecting a lot on what each of my Grandparent's have meant to me, and the memories that I have of both of them.  I remember some wonderful things, and that is how it should be!  I am so grateful for the time that I had with both of them!  I now am trying to keep focused on the girls and my great husband, and not let myself go to the dark place that I was in for the first two week after I got back to Idaho. 

My first major outing since getting back, is to go camping this weekend.  I have been packing the camper a little each day, and will finish up today.  I have been prepping food for our trip, and you would think that we are going for at least two weeks instead on three days and two nights.  I keep telling my husband, "we are traveling with children, remember..."

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Returning to Idaho Tomorrow...

Since Saturday evening, I have been "back home" in Upstate New York.  I have enjoyed being here.  I have been here to attend a funeral service for my 91 year old Grandmother.  She passed away last October and we were all able to spend time celebrating her life over Memorial Day weekend, which was one of her favorite holiday's.  Other than the funeral, I was able to spend time with other family that also lives here. 

Tomorrow though it is time to get back to Idaho, and my life there, and my family.  I have called my kids each night, right before their bed time, and I don't know who that call is harder for, me or them.  They ask me if I am at the airport yet, and my Robyn tells me about the pictures that she is drawing for me, and Anna tells me she misses me, and want's me to come home right then so we can snuggle.  Tomorrow cannot come soon enough. I hope that all will go well during the travel.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Testing the Boundaries...

The worst of my kids that is doing this right now, is actually my teenager.  Well, she is barely that anymore, she is 18, and she thinks and expects me to treat her like she is 30 or so.  But instead she acts like she is two, with the temper tantrums, and the "silly" decisions that she makes and such.  One major thing here is that currently she does not have a job.  One part of that that drives my husband nuts is that she shows no real gumption to get one, to follow through with those she has "supposedly" applied for, etc.  For me, the bothersome part of that is, she is receiving cash gifts from family and friends, well, MY family and friends, but she is blowing that.  On food, for herself and her friends, and gas to drive around, just because, and goodness knows what else.  She even bought a graduation "dress" last night.  I knew that it was going to be bad, when the first phrase out of her mouth when she walked in the door started with, "My friend is going to let me borrow a pair of leggings..." The dress falls about mid-thigh.  What is she thinkng, it is a semi-long shirt, NOT a dress. 
The bad thing, I know what she is doing.  I have tried this same tactic myself.  You push your parents to see how far you can until they argue with with you, and you can reply, "I am 18, and an adult, you can't tell me what to do." To that the parents say, "As long as you live under my roof, you will abide by my rules..." We all know the drill, right.
The sad part with all this, and what I have been saying to my husband for about a week now is that, I did not raise her this way.  I do not wear tight fitting clothes, I do not show my butt cheeks off to people by the shorts I wear, or  wear tank tops with my bra strap showing and no shirt.  I am proud to say that I wear modest clothing, I am covered, and still manage to look stylish.  On Friday, prior to the graduation ceremony, we are having a few friends and family over for cake to celebrate her graduation, and I am dreading their responses with all honesty.  Some of my friends who will be here are, our ward's Bishop and his wife, who are dear, dear friends, my Visiting Teaching Companion, and her husband, who was just release as a Stake High Councilman, another friend and her husband who are teaching the Temple Preparation class, and he is currently a Stake High Councilman, not to also mention my parents, my husband's Mother, my Ex and his wife, my brother, and siser-in-law, and numerous children. 
I know that her choices are not mine, but I am worried what my friends will think when they see her dressed in clothing that leave little to their imaginations.  Will that be a reflection on me? 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More to Life than Folded Laundry...

I know that there is more to life than folded laundry, I know it, but when there is a knock at the door, there is sheer panic that rises up within me that cannot be calmed.  There are a few other things too:
1.  Dusty Furniture - my Grandma always told me that if her dusting was done then she felt as though the rest of her house was clean.  No matter the piles of other things that needed attention. I don't happen to agree with that logic, but there was no arguing with a 90+ year old woman.
2.  Dishes - I always try and clean the dishes right after my husband leaves for work, and keep them going throughout the day.  Well, at least I try to unload and reload the dishwasher.  My sister use to cover the sink with a towel if she knew people were coming over, which made no sense to me then, we all knew what was under the towel.
3.  Cluttered Counters - in our home practically everyone comes through the back door and straight into my kitchen, where there is a large counter/seating area which seems to become a catch all for all kinds of books, clothes, socks, papers, mail, and any form of anything else that I need to find a place for.
4.  The Toy "Corner" - Yes, "Corner".  You see, we use to have a large bucket where we would put all of the little girls toys, and ideally they would play with a toy or two and then put it back in the bucket.  Over time they would dump the toys out of the bucket, and play with the bucket.  So, a corner in our living room became their corner.  Which is typically okay when the toys remain in the corner, but more often that not the toys creep out into the rest of the living like the mixture of a school volcano project. Another downfall of this corner full of toys happens to be why most everyone goes to our back door.  Their toy corner is right in front of our front door, and if we have to for some reason answer the front door, it takes forever to get to the door and then wretch it open from lack of use.
5. Vacuuming - Growing up this was a OCD thing for my Dad.  In his mind the floors were not clean if you, well if he could not visibly see the lines from the vacuum cleaner.  Hence the reason we would wait until about 10 p.m. and vacuum the entire house right before bed, so that when he got home from work at almost midnight the floors were freshly cleaned.  For a long time after I moved out and took care of my own house this was an issue.  If someone called and said they were coming over I would pull out the vacuum and madly put fresh vacuum lines on my carpets.  That issue has lessened for me as the years have gone by and the number of children has increased in our home.  Now with three active girls, I am happy if the toys are picked up and I can follow a path from one room to another.  I promise, most days it is not that bad, but there are times it feels that way. 
7.  The Dreaded Laundry - This is now my panic inducing chore.  I usually fold the laundry on our dining room table, this chore can last anywhere from 1-2 hours for a few small loads, to an all day marathon event, as things were yesterday.  By the end of the afternoon, there were tall piles of each clothing item for each person, waiting to be put away. 
I get so antsy when the dogs bark for a little longer than normal, waiting for the knock on the door, signally someone, whom I may want to see, and visit with, but if I still have to do any of the above mentioned chores, please be prepared to hear, "I am so sorry for the mess, but we actually live here."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pancake Picnic

The little girls are wanting to go outside so badly right now, but we are experiencing a large amount of cold wind, so I decided that they could have their breakfast, consisting of chocolate chip pancakes and syrup in the house, but to make it more fun, I laid down their lady bug fleece blanket on the floor in the living room.  Hence the pancake picnic...complete with bugs...ha, ha, ha!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Instead of Walking Today, I ended up doing...

Laundry...I do not know which one was worse on my body.  The constant cadence of the walking on the hard surface of the track, or the standing, walking while holding items, and the sitting in a hard chair while folding.  I seem to hurt eqally as bad from both tasks.  Well, at least it is all done, for today anyway.

There is so much to get done this week.  Our teenager is going to Prom on Saturday night, so Sunday afternoon we went to a friends house and did a dry run with her hair style, trying different things, and finally settled on her favorite, and while there, they helped me to steam her dress, and petticoat thingy, of which the name currently escapes me.  Tonight I will be working in the church library, and then my plan is that on Thursday, I will be making the slight altertions to her dress to help it stay in place better while at the Prom.  Friday we can hopefully get a breather, other than cleaning the house and most likely more laundry, then Saturday the madness begins.  By lunchtime, we should be in full swing, my friends will be here putting together hair and make up, and helping put the dress on.  All the while, I will be making dinner for my teen and her date.  There will of course be pictures taken when her date arrives.  They will be eating family style with everyone, and we will be having chicken alfredo, and garlic toast.  Yes, I know, but in my opinion.  The garlic will not matter, they are just friends.  At about 7:30 p.m. they will leave for the dance, in my vehicle.  And since they have my vehicle, I will miss the Grand March at 8, which is when all of the kids line up and enter the gym so that the parents and their families can see everyone all dressed up.  The dance goes from 8 - 11 p.m., so that put's her getting home at aout 11:30-midnight, as her date literally lives a half a mile from our house. 

Just thinking about that makes me worn out.  Luckily I will have a few years to recouperate, our five year old has a few years to go before we will need to do this again!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day One of Walking...

My intention has always been that on warm, or even semi-warm days, I would get the little kids ready and we would go to the track at the high school and walk, then afterwards, as a reward for putting up with Mommy, we would stop at the park so the kids could slide on the big slides there.  Today was day one.  I know it is the end of April...so why is it taking me so long, either the weather has been cruddy or there have been doctor appointments, or we were having to run errands or some other excuse...But, no more!  I will be making time to walk and/or exercise in some form every day. 
As for this morning, my 6 week body makeover begins AGAIN! I have tried the meal plan at other times, with some success, but it had been hard in the past for me to keep up with the exercise, and it will this time around too, but the weather is warmer, and we can get some fresh air, so I will try my best.  There may be times of frustration and pain and exhaustion, but I am determined to give it my best shot!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Banana Bread and the Crock Pot...

Banana Bread is a BIG hit in our home, we do not just eat it in the Fall during Thanksgiving and at Christmas time, we eat it year round. Also, along with its cousins, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato. Do not know exactly why but my family goes absolutely Ga Ga over this bread. I guess that the recipe I use for these three yummy breads will become the thing that all three girls will fight over when I finally leave this Earth. But until then I will continue to use these breads to my full advantage. In our house, the coveted loaves are used as a reward. "If you are good then, we can have banana bread..." or "We can have banana bread for dessert if you be nice to your sister..." and other such bribes. Hey, whatever works! The reason I bring this up, is that earlier in the week, I made some new loaves, and my house smelled absolutely Divine for the rest of the day!
Do you have a crock pot in your home? I do, well two actually. One that I received before I had children, and one that I bought after our second daughter was born. So, depending on the size of the meal, I will use one or the other. I am preparing a roast in the larger one right now, with seasonings and homemade tomato sauce from last year's tomatoes, and that also smells Divine right now. I had wanted to get my daughter one for her college dorm room, but was surprised to learn that they are not allowed. So, the cookbook that I am assembling for her to take away to college with quick, easy, and cheap meals to fix will be a lot smaller than expected. Do you have a favorite crock pot "go-to" meal? Mine is usually chili with beans added, and our second "go-to" is the roast, so the family will be pleasantly surprised that we will be having it, and the best part, I did not have to slave over a hot stove and a steam filled oven all day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Big Weekend Ahead!

This past week has been busy, with a college visit for our daughter. She will be attending Idaho State University in the Fall, and so we visited the campus, and walked the route over and over and over again. She was truly excited and energized about it. Then, for the rest of the week, we need to clean and do laundry and clean some more in preparation for the arrival of her boyfriend, who will be spending the weekend with us. Plus, I got news that her step-brother might be arriving also from Seattle, which could throw a wrench in some of the weekend plans, as my vehicle is not big enough to transport everyone. But, anyway, the boyfriend for sure arrives on Saturday at lunch time.
Sunday we are all making the trek to Boise so that the little girls can join in for Easter festivities, and an egg hunt at my brother's house, he is making food there for us, so my contribution will be two fruit pies, one cherry and one mixed berry, that are so yummy! Then for dinner, my parents will join us, and we will be getting about 5 dozen, I hope, organic, semi free range chicken eggs to bring home. Then we will head home. Our daughter's boyfriend will then head back to the base where he is stationed in Texas on Monday afternoon. Busy weekend but should be fun.
Oh, what about dear sweet hubby you ask, he will be enjoying the weekend also, he has to work Saturday, but as for Sunday, I know that he will be spending at least a good chunk of the day napping in a peaceful and quiet house! Must be nice!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pros & Cons - Shriners vs. Private Insurance...


For those who don't know, five and a half years ago, our middle daughter, Robyn was born with bilateral club foot. We were in shock and we did the whole "why me/us?" guilt trip thing, then we got to work trying to get her feet corrected so that she would "not remember" the trauma, according to the Doctor, which is a BIG laugh, by the way, she remembers!
Anyway, initially, when Robyn was two weeks old, we thought, that since we had private insurance, why not get things taken care of right away. So, we did, with weekly trips to Boise, two hours away, with a screaming and sore baby. Then it tapered to twice a month trips, several series of casts on both feet then a series of braces, with three surgeries. We are at the end of our journey as far as the pain and the trips to the "big" city for Doctor visits goes.
We could have instead, waited for approval from the Shriners organization, driven four hours each way to Salt Lake City, and seen their Doctor's there, in their facility, and we might only be half way along in the process instead of at the end, but there is one main advantage to have gone with the Shriner's instead, and it all come down to the money involved, on our part that is.
Our travel time, and lost wages of course were not covered by insurance, neither were the necessary meals and stops for drinks, and the like. We also discovered, after the fact, that we could have "tried" to re-coup some of the travel costs, and the like on our taxes, "if" we could prove that the Doctor visits were the only reason we traveled two hours each way, which we couldn't have 100%. When you go that far from home, and there are stores you do not see near home, and family and friends that you do not see any other time, you make the most of your time.
Now, as I look back at the deductibles, co-pays, amounts not covered for some unexplained reasons, I second guess myself. I even did that today, when I reviewed the statement from only the hospital from Robyn's most recent surgery in December. Which by the way the total amount came to almost $14,000, of which $36.00 was deducted for the insurance's adjustment, then their "allowed" amount was shown as $9,600, then another $30.00 was taken off as another adjusted amount, of which the insurance paid exactly $4,739.10. Leaving me with the balance amount due of $4,800.07. I had to call them and make payment arrangements, obviously! I am going to be making what amounts to a vehicle payment each month, for the next 18 months.
If, we had waited and gone with Shriners, we would have still had to cover fuel costs, and for meals, and lodging, and for other incidentals, we would have lost wages too, plus we would not be finished with the process, and instead probably wading somewhere right in the middle of it with much more pain and suffering to go, but I would not be looking at another large payment each month coming out of already strapped budget.
Asking if I would do it the same all over again, more than likely, because there is nothing better than a happy and content child running, jumping and playing without pain and difficulties, but I would have probably done a little more research into better insurance.
We have told my daughter's Doctor the following more than once, "She loves you, she just doesn't know it yet!" And maybe one day I will feel the same way about our insurance company!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Admitting a Mistake and a New Recipe...

Okay, okay so I admit. I mistaken gave the wrong web address for Bountiful Baskets a few posts ago, so I figure that I should remedy that now.
The correct web address for the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op is www4.bountifulbaskets.org I cannot believe that I got that wrong, so sorry.
The reason I bring this up is that in today's basket, there was Kale,and I had no idea what to do with this leafy green and purple vegetable. So, a friend suggested the following and I looked the recipe up online. I typed into my search engine, Olive Garden Kale Soup Recipe, to which I found a few different variations, but I chose the one that included bacon, can you blame me, I can say I do not know many people who don't just love bacon. I doubled the recipe, just in case, and was able to feed our family of five, and still have three medium-sized containers full for the freezer. That is sure a pleaser for me.
A new thing that I am trying tomorrow afternoon for Sunday dinner is something I also have never tried. I am going to attempt to make Corned Beef and cabbage. I enjoy eating that, once a year, but have never made it myself, so I figured why not. I purchased the corned beef, and the instructions look pretty simple, and thanks again to the Bountiful Baskets basket that I got today, there were the potatoes, and the carrots, so the only thing for that recipe I picked up at the store, other than the Corned Beef was a few onions. One for the soup tonight, one for the Corned Beef and cabbage tomorrow, and the remaining one for the Pico de Gallo, that I plan to make next week, using the tomatoes from my Basket this week, and the peppers from my baskt two weeks ago. I am trying to use as much of my basket as I can, even if it means doing what I did today and searching the internet for new and unfamiliar recipes to try.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Smith's, Shots and the Dollar Store...

The Smith's grocery store in Twin Falls was nearly unrecognizable. From the outside of the building you couldn't tell anything at changed, but once we walked through the door, oh, boy! Nothing looked farmiliar. Things had moved, the store atmosphere was different, and the most confusing part for me, was that I spent over 30 minutes walking up and down the aisles going, "this use to be here, now where could it be?" That is probably my own fault becasue it has been two years since I set foot in that store, but still, something should have looked familiar to me, but no. Don't get me wrong, it looked wonderful, and now knowing that, I probably will shop there more frequently when I go to Twin Falls, but I was hoping for an in and out trip, to which that didn't happen.
As for the shots, sad to say, both little girls had to have them today. Anna had just one, and Robyn ended up getting three, but they both screamed and hollered and carried on like it was the end of their life. This was the first time I had to do this alone with them, usually my amazing hubby will go along for my moral support, and also to, let's face it, be the bad guy and hold them down, but not today, it was ALL me...So needless to say, I felt a tremendous amount of guilt. Hence our next stop over in Twin Falls before heading home...
...The Dollar Store! I did a lot of browsing, as my teenager is heading off to college this Fall, so she will need to know where she can pick stuff up, but I do have to say that the kids did find quite a few great "treasures", and because of the aforementioned guilt, I did NOT say no!
As for now, Anna is napping, Robyn is painting a picture, but getting tired, and I am about wiped out! So, ta-ta for now, it is nap time for me too!