Friday, August 27, 2010

Ick . . . shudder . . .

Arizona Bark Scorpion

Seven in the house in fourteen months.

Need I say more?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Humans should be able to . . .

One of the blogs I read nearly every day is The Simple Dollar. I really liked this entry regarding the start of college years.

My favorite quote is:
As Robert Heinlein put it, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

I'll make it my checklist.

change a diaper, YES
plan an invasion, NO
butcher a hog, NO
conn a ship, NO
design a building, NO
write a sonnet, IF I HAD TO
balance accounts, YES
build a wall, YES
set a bone, IF I HAD TO
comfort the dying, YES
take orders, YES
give orders, YES
cooperate, YES
act alone, YES
solve equations, YES
analyze a new problem, YES
pitch manure, YES
program a computer, NO
cook a tasty meal, YES
fight efficiently, NO

Monday, August 16, 2010

First day of school

We've had a great summer and I wish it would go on a little longer, but school calls. Our school closed at the end of the last school year, but a bus from that school is being provided to the new school a mile away and across a busy main street.

I was surprised and really pleased to see the old pricipal (who is now a co-principal at the new school) out waiting for the bus kids today. It was a nice touch, I thought. She rode along with them to the new school.

C & E look a bit worried here, don't you think?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Camp Laffalotta: part final

Camp Laffalotta didn't go as well as I hoped this summer, but it was better than doing nothing. We learned about oceans, the solar system, dogs, dinosaurs, and now, finally, pioneers and ancestors. After our FANTASTIC visit to Nauvoo, Illinois, how could I let the summer finish without touching on pioneers and our family ancestors?

I checked out Little House on the Prairie and we've passed the halfway mark with my reading it to the girls. I have to laugh at how closely dh seems to be listening to the story when he happens to be around. :-) We listened to three of the others in the series on our trip and have already read a couple others, so we are just rounding out our experience with those books. I think we have just one left after this one, By the Shores of Silver Lake. Not my favorite one, which is probably why I've left it for last.

Today for lunch we are going to have:
Johnny Cakes

1 cup cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
vegetable oil or shortening
maple syrup

1. Place cornmeal, salt, butter, and sugar in a mixing bowl
2. Boil the water in a covered saucepan and pour it into the bowl.
3. Add the milk to the bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spoon to make a smooth, thick batter.
4. Use a paper towel to coat a griddle and pancake turner with a light coat of oil.
5. Heat a frying pan and reduce the heat to medium.
6. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the hot griddle, like you would with pancake batter. Use a pancake turner to press each spoonful flat to about 1/2" thick.
7. Cook the cakes two at a time over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. The cakes should be crisp and slightly brown when done. Flip them a second time, if necessary.
8. Serve the cakes hot with maple syrup.

Hay-time Switchel

2 quarts water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/8 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp ground ginger

1. Heat 1 qt water in a covered saucepan. When the water is hot but not boiling, little bubbles will form on the side of the saucepan.
2. Stir in the sugar, molasses, vinegar, and ginger. Continue stirring and heating, but don't let the mixture boil. When all the ingredients have dissolved, turn off the heat.
3. Remove the mixture from the stove, and let it cool until it reaches room temperature.
4. When it is cool, add the rest of the water.
5. Pour the switchel into a pitcher and chill it in a refrigerator. Serve cold.

I wonder if we will be full or starving? Haha. That switchel looks too interesting to NOT try.

Here is a link to pictures of us in Nauvoo, Illinois:
link to pictures on Facebook

Edited to add pictures. The Johnny Cake batter wasn't nearly as thick as the recipe led me to believe it would be. It still made a nice eggless kind of pancake. The girls liked it. The switchel met with mixed reviews. We thought it was too sweet and would have cut the sugar by half.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


*I had a frustrating day at the doctor's office.
*S's filling that fell out was replaced quickly and easily and for FREE as it should have been
*When school starts for the girls I'm not going to be able to stay up late, get up early for work, then go back to bed for an hour or two. Those girls aren't going to get themselves off to school, are they? I'd better plan an earlier bedtime. :-)
*It's hot here in Arizona and we haven't had much in the way of summer rains.
*I'd like to visit Leigh in Australia and Sara in Germany and Michelle in Korea. That doesn't mean it's going to happen, but I can wish, right?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Super bargains

I'm back in the sale/coupon groove again after taking off for vacation. Couponing isn't really a casual hobby if you really want to save money. I don't just cut out a coupon here and there and take it off to the grocery store *if* I remember to. Nope, I have a system of a small file box of extraneous coupons and careful stacks of the Sunday newspaper advertising inserts in my office. I don't cut them out until I know I'm going to need them.

How do I know if I'm going to need them? I go to and I find out what coupons I'm going to need and where they are. THEN I cut them out of the advertising inserts or print them off the Internet. It's just easier that way. The extraneous coupons in my file come from the little blinking machines in the store, magazines, inside product packages, and previously printed off the Internet. I'd say 60-75% of my grocery store shopping is done by looking for a sale and also by looking for a sale and then matching a coupon to that sale to really get rock-bottom prices.

My first stop yesterday was at Fry's. It's a Kroger-family store.
Pineapples $1 each -$.50/1 mq x2 Fry's doubled each coupon to $1=FREE.
Brownie mix $2.49 each -$.75/2 doubled to $1, -$.75/2 ecoupon with a $1 bonus from the ecoupon company, -$1/1 Betty Crocker mq because I complained about a product's quality.

However, Fry's made a mistake in my favor. They charged me the regular price for the brownie mix so I marched myself (and three dds) right over to the customer service counter and asked for the correct price. For their mistake they gave me one box for free and refunded the difference. I walked out with the four items free and 28 cents extra in my pocket thanks to the coupons and the free item.

Albertson's was playing games this week. Hold on to your hat and I'll explain this one. Buy 10 Kellogg's/Morning Star/Keebler products for $3/each and get $10 off your order (=$2/each). Then you get a $10 Catalina coupon good on your next order at Albertson's (=$1/each). THEN you use coupons. I mostly had $1/2 mqs on the cereal and $1/1 for the Morning Star items.

I had coupons for all the other items as well, either Albertson's newspaper coupons or Albertson's coupons + mqs. My total for all of this plus 2 gallons of milk was a hair over $37 AND I still have a $10 Catalina coupon for my next trip.

So here are the ups and downs of this kind of shopping. The downside is that coupons tend to be on processed, packaged food. The pineapples were a rarity in the couponing world. Another downside is that on a trip-by-trip basis or even a weekly basis, the food I buy is lopsided. Lots of cereal this week. No soup, beans, eggs, and so forth. Because of that, I devote a lot of space to food storage. Over several months' time, it all evens out, but I have to be able to store it to have a balanced supply of food at any given time.

The upside is that my family likes processed food and I balance it with homemade bread, cheese and other dairy products, lots of fresh fruits and vegatables, and meat. The other obvious upside is that my cost for feeding my family is quite low and I always have lots of food on hand in the house.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My girls are almost ready to go back to school. Yesterday C & E received letters from their teacher telling them what items to bring to school. Yes, they have the same teacher, which makes me quite happy. Having them in the same class last year really simplified things and I hope it goes well again this year. I'm waiting to see what S is supposed to bring. Dh and I went shopping last night to get as much of C & E's list as we could and got a few things that are probably going to be on S's as well.

The transportation letters go out today, so once we receive that we'll know where and at what time the bus will pick up the girls. This is their first time to be bus riders so they are pretty excited about it. I'm hoping the bus stop is no farther than the corner, eight houses away. Logically though, it would be on the other side of the main street coming in to our subdivision and I really hate having them cross that by themselves. We'll see what the letter says though.

Monday night I took the girls to Stride Rite to get shoes. All three needed new sneakers and two needed new dress shoes. We ended up with only four pairs because C didn't like the way the dress shoes "felt." Sigh. So I still have to find a sturdy pair of them for her somewhere. I refuse to get any frou-frou dress shoes that will wear out or fall apart in a couple of months, so I'll continue looking for something good.