Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bien Viaje

Me and the good hubby, TL, are headed off this afternoon for a little R&R in San Diego. It seems we are having an Anniversary manana.........33 years!

Nope, we're not staying here-we did that on the big THREE-OH anniversary but we're staying across the street at another historic mansion-turned-hotel.

Our only disappointment is that the temple is closed-Dang.....Oh well, I think there's some pretty good shopping on Coronado Island......(teehee)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breaking News

The Queen of Gardening has fallen off her throne....

I ignored the promptings to harvest the lettuce and I ignored the promptings to cover the plants. So guess what happened.....waaaaa waaaaa waaaaa..

It froze last night!

Actually everything survived fairly well, considering. Some of the lettuce is wilted but I think we will salvage most of it. So lest you think I am the awesomest gardener ever......

Well, I'm not......

The Pantry Principle

I've wanted to share this idea for awhile but I needed to get my pantry cleaned up first!! =) I was telling my daughter-in-law about it and I realized that maybe others didn't know about it either. I learned about this years ago as a young wife from Barbara Salsbury She wrote a preparedness book that I devoured and I have been practicing her ideas ever since. (I don't think the book is still in print-but she has others)

She taught me the "Pantry Principle." It is an invaluable tool when first starting to build a food storage. It can seem so OVERWHELMING at first.

Simply defined, the Pantry Principle means to FIRST plan your meals around what you already have in your pantry/refrigerator/freezer. SECOND, check the food ads to see what is on sale to plan the purchases you could add to your food storage or to supplement your menu. This frees up a little more grocery money so that you can buy that extra can of soup or bottle of ketchup-only if it is on sale.

I think you would be surprised at how much stuff you already have available at home. After I told my daughter-in-law about this, she called me back and excitedly told me that she had enough food in her pantry to make meals for TWO WEEKS without having to go to the grocery store, except for maybe some fresh produce.

Keep doing this week after week and eventually you will be able to accumulate enough food that you'll be able to buy what you need only when it is on sale. You can go "grocery shopping" in your pantry! That's a pretty good "principle" if you ask me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Week Ago Today-

I haven't really posted my thoughts about our historic inauguration last week. I did watch TV the whole day and here's my thoughts on it:

And that's pretty much all I have to say about that.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Sight to Warm a Mother's Heart

From this:

To This:

There is hope!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Notice: If anyone is interested in fresh, raw pecans, I can put you in touch with the person getting them. They are $5.70, minimum 10 pounds....yikes...I know...but if interested...comment and let me know. P.S. You need to live close to me--sorry---

10 pounds PSI, Ham and Being Frugal

So how does the title of this post relate?
Good question. I am going to tell you.
It seems that being frugal these days is really hip.
Or necessary, depending upon the state of your personal economy.
I've found lots of really cool blogs and information on various ways to be frugal.
Some of them I really like.
Some not so much.
I've already done the cloth diaper thing.
First three kids in fact, been there, done that.
So I guess I was hip before I knew I was hip.
But I digress.

We were discussing ham.

During the holidays, ham was on sale, so I decided to buy one and then see how long I could make it last.....being the frugal girl I am.
First day, we had a lovely ham dinner with the requisite funeral potatoes.
Next day we had ham & pasta-a little dish where I throw together diced ham & pasta with a sort of semi-Alfredo sauce.
Next we had our breakfast dish that the kids like with bits of ham and hash browns and eggs.
And then using the ham bone and split peas, I made a big batch of split pea soup and scraped every last bit of ham of that bone.
FIVE DAYS! I was able to stretch that ham for five meals.
I was proud.

Then I got the brilliant idea to can some ham---(as opposed to green eggs and ham.)
So I sent a little prayer out to the heavens......
"The next time ham is on sale, I think I will buy some and make a large batch of split pea soup to freeze and then can the ham....."
Well, by golly, the heavens came through and last week I came across an unadvertised sale of very large hams at my local grocery store! Amazing! I bought 20 pounds worth, made my soup (pictured yesterday) and canned 9 pints of ham!

So I guess the point of my little post is this:
Being frugal can be fun sometimes.
The heavens really do listen and answer prayers.
Choose to be frugal in ways that work for you.
Remember I don't have toddlers hanging on to my legs every day.
So don't get depressed if you can't handle canning nine pints of ham.
Do what you can do.
Recipes? Umm, well I looked up Split Pea soup on and then added my own stuff-sort of throwing in a little of this and that......sorry, but it did contain, water, split peas, hambone, dehydrated onions, poultry seasoning, diced potatoes and shredded carrots. Does that help?

Friday, January 23, 2009

'Tis the Season For.....

Wednesday Z., L, and B. helped me harvest some peas! This year I planted the edible pea pods since the other kind are so labor intensive. They had a great time... The pea vines are a tiny bit worse for the wear, but they will bounce back! Our weather has been so warm that they are producing lots of happy blossoms.

Lookee Grandma!!
Not a great photo but the only one I had of Z. proudly holding up her freshly harvested carrot. I was trying to keep them from harvesting the whole patch at once. They were thrilled beyond belief and squealed every time they pulled one up. It was hilarious... We washed them and cut them up and cooked them and put them in our chicken pot pie for dinner.

Since today's theme is peas, and Thursday was a rainy day here in Sunny AZ, it seemed fitting to cook up a large pot of split pea soup, with my sale ham....(more on that one later) and this will be ladled into jars and frozen for TL and I to enjoy later. (the teenagers draw the line at eating split pea soup!!)

Miss Z's quote for the day, as reported by her mommy...."Mommy-we need to have a garden like Grandma because then we would NEVER have to go to the store. Grandma NEVER goes to the store except to buy clothes and stuff. That would be very good."
hahahahahahahaha---I wish sweet Z.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Tutorial-Or, Help! I got wheat for Christmas, but I don't have a Grinder!

Disclaimer: Not as fine as a Pioneer Woman tutorial and for you old hands at food storage out there, this post may be a real yawner. But for some of you newbies out there....Here's how you can get your family to start eating wheat, while you save up for your wheat grinder.

Basic ingredients-all from my food storage. oil, honey, powdered eggs, salt, wheat, powdered milk and baking powder.

Put 1 1/4 c. water and 1 c. of WHOLE WHEAT, and 1/4 c. powdered milk in the blender. If you are lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy, or don't have any powdered milk, leave it out.

Turn that sucker on and let 'er rip. The force of the blender will crush the wheat kernels. This will take 1-3 minutes depending upon the rpms of your blender (I have a Vitamix-so this takes barely a minute). Basically you can tell when it's ready because the sound of the blender changes, you can actually hear the wheat kernels turn liquid (cool-huh?)

Next add 1 egg (I'm starting to use powdered eggs for this-works great!) 2 T. of oil, 1 T honey, 1/4-1/2 t. salt. You can use sugar if you want, I have done it and it turns out fine but I have a cool trick with honey. Whenever using it for baking, always add your oil first, then use the same measuring utensil for the honey-and it slides out slick as a whistle! Now turn on your blender again for 30 seconds and mix.
Now add one generous tablespoon of baking powder-FRESH baking powder! (very important) and pulse it three times.

Watch those bubbles pop up! The batter starts literally rising up in the container-it's an exciting thing for those of us who don't get out much.

Now you need to cook immediately. Take advantage of those bubbles. Be sure to have your waffle iron hot and ready. Don't have a waffle iron-you mean you don't have nice kids who bought you one for Christmas? That's okay-just make pancakes. Make sure the pan is hot and ready.

Enjoy-Sorry no photo. But I promise that even teenage boys will eat these up. Especially with lots of syrup.
Note: If you have wheat allergies, intolerance or celiac can still do this. I have been using different grains 1/3 c. each with great results. I also have to add a little xanthan gum. If you are really interested, comment and I'll send you the recipe I use.

1 1/4 c. water
1 c. whole wheat kernels
1/4 c. powdered milk
1 egg
2 T oil
1 T. honey or sugar
1/4-1/2 t. salt
1 T fresh baking powder

You know the rest.

Edit**** Oops-I should have let you know how much this makes. I make two batches in my belgian waffle iron (8 sections all together) But belgian waffle irons are pretty deep so I think you could squeeze three batches in a regular waffle iron....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Room for Food Storage

A couple of weeks ago, I proudly shared my food storage closet. I mentioned how my daughter, Jessica, who lives in a 900 square foot condo does her food storage. Recently she shared a photo of how she does it:

Yard sale bookshelves in their office/spare room. Go see the rest of the post here. Seriously, very inspiring. There's no excuses now!

Also, while I'm bragging on my offspring, go check out my daughter, Amy's new blog. If you are interested in children's literature, she is reviewing and recommending books.

And then while you're at it, go check out another of my talented offspring, Jen's photography blog. (There happens to be a few pics of my own grandchildren and another of my female offspring posted there)

Ok-enough bragging for the day....

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vicks Vaporub-I ♥ you!

Insomnia has been my best friend these past few days. Waking up with a hacking cough every hour has been seriously interferring with my shut-eye. I have tried drinking water, cough syrup, cough drops, hot herbal tea, sitting up, lying down and still that annoying tickle would not let up and allow me to go to sleep!
A few nights ago, in the midst of my sleep deprived brain, this thought occurred to me:
Vicks Vaporub!
I had recently received an email from my friend Michelle reminding me of the old remedy of slathering Vicks on the bottoms of the feet, cover with socks, and it is supposed to give relief to the 1:45 am, one is willing to try anything! My mother used to coat our chests and throats with it when we had colds years ago....

So I shuffled down the hall to search for my stash of Vaporub, hidden somewhere in the depths of the bathroom closet, found the stuff, and proceeded to thoroughly coat the bottoms of my feet with the odiforous stuff, add socks, smear plenty on my throat and as an extra added measure, slather a generous coating on my lips........

Bundling myself up in a warm quilt on the couch, I waited for relief.

Lo and behold, within 15 minutes that nagging tickle began to subside, I drifted off....and I slept for four whole hours straight!!

So I pay homage and tribute to my new BFF these days: Vicks Vaporub, now with a place of honor on my nightstand....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Twins

I know, I know, there are THREE people in the picture.
It would have taken me half the day to find one of the two of them together.. alone.
And then their big day would have been half over!
FYI: It's the two people on the left.
What? They don't look like twins?
Well, it so happens that one morning the mommy woke up and realized that she was in labor and IT WAS HER BIRTHDAY!
So guess what she had to do on her birthday?
Give birth.
But once that was over......
She got a great present!
Her baby!
Have a Happy Birthday today
and please don't hate me for posting this picture of you-C.!!
(I think it's kinda cute)
(P.S. Don't bust in on me today-I'm in the midst of creating the present-you know....)

Edit-Due to my extremely gifted writing skills, residues of virus still hanging in my head, and after reading a few comments, I realized that I need to clarify that the cutie on the left and her cutie-pie little boy, the sacred grandchild, are the birthday kids. The child on the right is a random child who got in on the photo---jk--it was her birthday on Jan 2. (it was the required birthday party-of-the-month photo!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

joy, [joi] n.
the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation.

I recently "met" a new blogging friend, Joy For Your Journey, and I enjoy reading her stories and uplifting moments. This has caused me to reflect on what has brought me joy this past week......

  • having a husband, sons, son in laws, father in law and father who are worthy priesthood holders, being willing to exercise that priesthood at a moment's notice.
  • receiving insights when attending the temple
  • sweet cheeks to kiss and little arms to hug
  • hanging out with my teenagers, and realizing they are going to be ok.
  • making yummy food out of something i grew myself
  • one-on-one time with a child
  • so blessed with a lovely home and surroundings
  • being able to create for my home and family
  • my callings
  • saying a prayer in Spanish

When I start having my own little pity party, remembering my joys sends that pity out the door!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Listen to your Momma-Eat your Fruits and Veggies

I just plumb don't feel good today.
Sore throat-achies.
I hate not feeling good.
I don't want to slow down, rest, take it easy.
So what does this have to do with fruits and veggies?

Anyone else out there vow to lose weight/eat better/give up sugar this year?
Me too.
Anyone else out there still keeping that vow?
I am today, at least.
I've been trying to eat lots of fruits and veggies the last few days thinking it will help the virus go away.
I think it helps.
At least I know I feel better when I eat better.
Sometimes it's easier to say-I will eat more fruits and veggies than to say, "I will not eat anymore sugar/Coke/white bread." Because as soon as you say it, you want it, and you want it BAD.

So how am I going to eat my 5,6,7 servings of fruit and veggies every day?
First, go find out how much you are supposed to eat here.
You may agree or disagree on how much-but at least it's a start.
Then, go measure. Seriously, I'm supposed to eat 1 1/2 c fruit and 2 c. of veggies daily.
I'm already halfway there today-one clementine and about 1/2 c. veggies in an omelet, and it's only 8:10 am. (i'm reaaallly lazy today)
You'll be amazed when you measure, it's a lot easier than you think.

Then start thinking of ways to add more fruits and veggies into your diet.
Eat a salad every day for lunch-keep cut up veggies ready to go. Sometimes I will pre-cut them and put them in containers and then we can all have a mini- salad bar.
Make a smoothie-you can add a ton of fruits into these, I even add spinach to mine.
Eat salsa-not only with fattening chips-I made a mango salsa on some fish last week that was delish! Good on chicken too.
Sneak them into regular foods-my daughter in law makes a to die for homemade mac & cheese with butternut squash-the kids never knew!
Have them available and buy them in season-keep apples & bananas hanging around for snacks. We don't eat cantaloupe in the winter or oranges in the summer-it's cheaper.
Make what your family will eat-for example, my family doesn't like cooked spinach-but they will eat it raw in salads, they don't like cooked broccoli or cauliflower but they will eat it raw with dip or in salads.
Don't make it hard-you don't have to get crazy with recipes, just cut up an apple and spread it with peanut butter-it's as good as a Reese's peanut butter cup! (wellllll, maybe)
Plant a garden! I know, I know, some of you are covered in snow but it's the time right now to plan and dream!

Ok-I gotta go take some more vitamin C.

Go see some more kitchen tips here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My New Garden Friend

Saturday I was digging around in the garden box, replacing a few plants and lo and behold I saw this:

(my husband thought I was a little goofy taking a pic of a worm-but oh well)

I shouted for joy! Because my friends, THIS is an earthworm! Earthworms are our friends in the garden. I was so happy to see my little wriggly friend in the dirt because that means my soil is getting better and because......earthworms make other little earthworms....and earthworms eat stuff in the soil and when they eat....earthworms make earthworm poop....and earthworm poopies are GREAT soil enrichers.

So don't run screaming next time you see an earthworm in your garden...BE HAPPY! You have good soil that is just going to get better......

P.S. Stay tuned for a food storage tutorial. I hope to have it up in the next day or so, but I'm feeling like I'm getting sick and I need to drown my sorrows in gallons of echinacea tea........

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We got an email from our boy today!
He has been called to be an assistant to the president.
We are so thrilled for him.
He is very, very excited because he will be serving with his bestest buds, two other AZ boys, Elder Patterson and Elder McBride.
Elder Patterson is on the left, Elder Larsen on the right. No photo of Elder McBride, darn it.
Elder Santos in the middle-from Barcelona, Spain.
What an exciting opportunity for him and how much fun it will be to go pick him up now and meet many of the people he has served with.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Frugal Friday-A Miserable Failure

Remember This??

Homemade Laundry Soap = Not a success. (no-I didn't use pinto beans in the mixture)
I loved the smell.
It did clean my clothes.
But I got a very nasty looking film coating the stainless steel tub of my washing machine. Not a good thing. (yes, I used a few vinegar washes to see if that would help)
So reluctantly I returned back to the mega-size Gain box purchased from Costco.
Oh well, I tried.

P.S. If anyone out there has any suggestions, I'm still open to try again.
(Now I can delete these photos from my hard drive)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Law of the Harvest

"...for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap..."

bad photo!

The reward: harvesting the veggies that went into California Soup for our dinner.

Chicken, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots and Potatoes in a thick, creamy cheese soup


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Theme of the Day: Cuteness

My kids gifted me with some really cute things for Christmas:

Ames handcrafted some signs for my garden.

I have at least a dozen more on order!

Jess & Jen gave me this adorable sewing basket, and a cutting table to put it on. I have a list of projects already!

And the piece 'o resistance....

This for my wall. Jen produced the portraits but Rick & Cassandra produced the cuteness!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The ipod Shuffle of My Life

I got this from Jessica-it only took me 10 minutes to figure out how to get my itunes to "shuffle." (remember I'm over 50!!)

1. Put Your iTunes/iPod on shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!
4. Put any comments in brackets after the song name.
5. Anyone tagged has to do the same, because fun pointlessness spreads like a virus.

If someone says, “Is this okay?” You say?
The Name of the Game- Abba {haha}

How would you describe yourself?
Classical Gas-Techno Edit {Oh my gosh!}

What do you like in a guy/girl?
Missing-Techno Edit {weird}

How do you feel today?
Nella Fantasia - Sarah Brightman {whatever that means}

What is your life’s purpose?
Scene de Amour-Sarah Brightman {You got it!}

What is your motto?
A Love for Life-Yanni {seems like love is a recurring theme here}

What do your friends think of you?
Within Attraction-Yanni {well, that's nice-}

What do you think of your parents?
Someone Said Goodby-Enya {oh-that's sad}

What do you think about very often?
Wild Child-Enya {ha-ha-ha-not so}

What is 2 + 2?
Stop This Train-John Mayer {pretty much explains my math skillz}

What do you think of your best friend?
Accidentally in Love-Counting Crows {this is too funny}

What do you think of the person you like?
Gravity-John Mayer {trying to figure out the deep meaning behind this one}

What is your life story?
Policy of Truth-Depeche Mode {well that's a good one}

What do you want to be when you grow up?
A Whisper-Coldplay {huh?}

What do you think of when you see the person you like?
Hijo de la Luna-Sarah Brightman {ha ha-translation-Son of the Moon}

What will you dance to at your wedding?
Cemeteries of London-Coldplay {what?????}

What will they play at your funeral?
Life in Technicolor-Coldplay {that's appropriate}

What is your hobby/interest?
The Heart of Life-John Mayer {hmmm, good for some deep thinking}

What is your biggest fear?
So Many Things-Sarah Brightman {so true}

What is your biggest secret?
Big Girls Don't Cry-(remix) Fergie {hahahahahaha}

What do you think of your friends?
To the One Who Knows-Yanni {interesting}

What will you post this as?
It's in the Rain-Enya {uhhhh....ok}

I can see that I need a little more variety in my itunes list.......I tag anyone who has the time to sit down and figure this out and copy and paste.....but really it's kinda fun!

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Web Site

I just found an awesome new web site that has lots of information on food storage!
Fun with Food

Go check it out!

So Beyond Excited- My "Fruit Room"

I've been trying to figure out a title for this post, and nothing really comes close to the extreme excitement and pleasure I have experienced over one of my Christmas gifts. Let me preface this by telling my true confession.

I wish I had a basement.

I do.

I am so envious of you people in the northlands who have "fruit rooms."

I think my sister's basement storage room is to die for.

She probably doesn't.

So anyways.......

Since I can't have's the rest of the story.

Five years ago we completely remodeled our house.

Hardly any area we didn't touch/paint/redo.

We added on 1000 square feet.

To our little 1800 square foot house.

One of the quirky things we did was to change a bedroom into a hallway.

Sounds weird, but it is actually very cool-just ask my family.

I have cabinets lining my "hallway."

And I have a bedroom closet on the other side of the hallway.

I know, I know, it sounds weird, but it is actually very cool-just ask my family.

So I asked TL .....oops Santa....if I could have a closet redo for Christmas.

Another side story....

We used to own a closet remodeling business.

I have custom closets in my house.

Please don't envy me.

So last week TL....oops...I mean Santa....came through like a champ.

Closet-actually after it was all torn apart and prepping for the "new" closet.

Santa's trusty side-kick, Bubba D......look you can kinda see the hallway.

Men love tools that make noise.

Loading the "closet."

Final product. I am SO beyond excited about this. This is almost as good as a fruit room I think. My long-term storage....

View 2

Okay-here's the challenge-

Figure out a way to put some more food storage in your house, if you don't have a "fruit room."

Do you have a linen closet?

Ok-go empty it out-put your towels in the bathroom under the sinks. Still don't have enough room? get rid of a few towels.

Put your extra sheets inbetween the mattress of the beds-or get rid of the extra sheets.

Put your blankets on that tippy top shelf in your closet, or get some kind of a chest that can double as an end table in your family room to hold them in.

Now you have a "food storage closet."

Don't have a linen closet?

Well, do you have little kids with lots of extra space in their closets?

Clean some of it out and put your food storage there.

Don't have any extra room?

My daughter with the two bedroom condo and no kids bought some cheapo shelving and put it in their extra bedroom, with the computer. She filled it full of her food storage, it looks awesome! I'll get her to send me a photo to post (thx Jess!)

Still don't have any room?

Then get on your knees and ask Heavenly Father for some inspiration.

I promise idea will pop into your head.....I promise!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Times, they are a Changing

If you are a member of the LDS Church, tomorrow brings change.....
Meeting schedule change, that is.
For some, it is a sigh of relief.
For others it is a groan of agony.
Depending upon what time you go to church.
And if you have Toddlers or Teenagers
Or a mixture of Both.

We go at noon.

Our family has times ranging from 10:30-2:00 PM.

So why do we do it? year after year after year?

Because we love God.

Because we want to serve our brothers and sisters.

Because we have testimonies of the gospel.

Because our moms make us.

Because we are the Bishop.

***Edited! No-we are NOT the Bishop-It's just a figure of speech.***

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Fourthborn Child!

Twenty-three years ago right now I was recovering from giving birth to this lovely child, who has been such a pleasure even before she actually took her first breath (she was my first epidural child!). She is a joy and we all ♥LOVE♥ her so much and hope that she has a wonderful birthday (spending the $1000 gift card that she won!!!)

She's beautiful and talented and smart and very, very good.. and I still love that cute little dimple she has in her left cheek-except I can't kiss it like I used to all the time!
Happy Birthday Jess!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to One and All!!

I've been reflecting on my "New Year's Resolutions" and I realized that I am continually making "New Year's Resolutions." I read a very interesting article today in Meridian Magazine. The author says that as members of the LDS Church, we reflect and resolve each week during our Sacrament meetings to be better. We are taught from childhood about setting goals and improving ourselves....

Faith in God

Cub Scouts

Duty to God

Boy Scouts

Personal Progress

And if you're old enough, "Pursuit of Excellence."

I mean every week I think, "I resolve to pray and read my scriptures daily." "I want to eat better." " Exercise daily." "My goal is to pay off _____ debt." I think I am making tiny bits of progress.......

So I guess my New Year's Resolution(s) of 2009 consist of:

Press Forward

Stay the Course