Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Thank you Clark

Does this piano look lonely? It has hardly been played since our piano teacher, the wonderful Clark, quit suddenly over Christmas vacation. We still had one paid lesson remaining, so he came over today and gave each of the big girls a final lesson.

He really isn't coming back, so I have to decide what to do now. Do I try to teach them myself? I'm not a good piano player, but I am ahead of the girls and can use the books to teach them. Do I contract with a woman I heard about from my church? Do I just give it all a rest and try again next year? Getting the girls to practice just 15 minutes a day is a Herculean task. I will decide by week's end.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Where is the return on my dollar?

Today I bought a 50 lb bag of chicken food. Each one lasts about 50 days, so it's about 35 cents per day plus the kitchen scraps. Lately I've been getting 1-2 eggs a day, so that makes each egg about 30 cents, or about $4 per dozen. Hmmm. That's twice the price in the store and doesn't include the $300 initial cost of buying the chickens or building the coop. Or replacing half the lawn they have torn up. Or the water to wash the chicken poop off the patio.

Good thing I like the little girls, isn't it?
The storage shed area next to the coop. We keep the feed inside.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Teriyaki Beef and Peppers

This was all right. There was too much teriyaki sauce and the sirloin steak I used was kind of tough. This is a "glad I made it once" recipe.

Tuesday: Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili

Wednesday: Chicken Supreme from the freezer

Thursday: Bean Enchilada Bake

Friday: Pizza

Kevin's first Portuguese talk in church

Kevin's last paper letter took 19 (!) days to get to me, so this news has probably been surpassed in the meantime. However, he gave his first talk in Portuguese in front of the congregation. He said people came up to him afterward and said his Portuguese was good, so he was very happy. Here is the first page of his talk about testimonies.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A day for reminiscing

Dh and I went back to our old town Friday -> Saturday because he had some business there he needed to attend to, and I wanted to see my older dd. Something of big note: it was the first time we had ever left our younger girls without either of us being there overnight. Almost 10 years and dh and I had NEVER been away overnight together without the girls! We left them in the very good care of Grama and Conor and everything went fine.

Going to the flea market in our old town is kind of a Saturday ritual, so we picked up dd, s-i-l, and grandson Zachie. Dh and s-i-l dropped dd, Zachie and me off at the flea market. As you can see, we will be adding to our family very soon.
I always like to look in these rows of boxes. Lots of inexpensive imported products, mostly junk, to be honest, but a few good deals in there. Zachie was great about looking at the toys and touching some, but not throwing a fit when we didn't buy anything. He's so sweet.
When you go to this area you have to buy fry bread. It's a local delicacy. ;-) (I think dd had some food in her mouth--her chin really is completely normal!)

And finally, I ran into my old next door neighbor at the market. She and her husband have been selling knick knacks there for about a year and a half. Their table was busy most of the time I was there, so it looks like they have hit on a good combination of things to sell. Unfortunately their cute son (that my dd C adores) was not there with them today. C would have loved to have seen a new picture of him. You just get his mother and me.
P.S. Do you like my muffler? It was made by my special Australian friend.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Getting thinner

When Kevin called on Christmas day, we talked on Skype. It was almost unbelievable to see him, looking like a "real" missionary, being so far away in Brazil, yet we could just chat back and forth. At one point I stood up to show him my thinner figure and dh snapped this picture. BTW, Kevin looked great!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Valentine's Day Quilt

For two years I've been saying I'm going to make a Valentine's Day quilt to be used only around Valentine's day, and this week I finally made it. It is 42x50--just right for a cold winter's evening with a good book.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This is the foot . . .

. . . that pressed on the accelerator that took me through the signal on the red. I got flashed. Expecting a $200+ ticket in the mail in a couple of weeks.

Clorox.com | Clorox Special Offers — Coupons, Apps, Sweepstakes and Contests

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A little plug for a convenient product--I love to use these in the bathroom because it shortens my cleaning time by about half!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Touch-me-not chickens

I told the girls I would take their pictures outside with their chickens if they wanted to. Those little feathered girls were not in the mood for holding!

First they hid under a bush . . .
Then Spot let Caroline catch her and show off her molting neck. Spot is usually very sweet, but not so much today. No eggs out of her for a few days, either. I'll be glad when this molting thing is over for all four hens.
"Just leave us alone, okay?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Muffins from Australia

Okay, just the recipe. I mixed the wet and dry ingredients separately before I went to bed. I used dry milk and mixed it into the dry ingredients. In the morning I broke an egg into the wets, mixed it up and combined the halves. I had fresh muffins out of the oven 25 minutes from my starting time. Who needs a boxed mix?

Marshmallow muffins
10 oz plain flour
6 tbsp cocoa
3 tsp baking pdr
3oz castor sugar
1 egg beaten
10 oz milk
2 1/2 oz melted butter
3 1/3 oz choc chips
2 oz mini marshmallows

preheat oven to 375F
sift together flour,cocoa,and baking pder.stir in sugar
beat together egg,milk and butter in bowl.
make a well in dry ingredients pour in liquid mix
Add choc chips and marshmallows
stir gently.

spoon into muffin tins
bake for 20-25 mins

That is the recipe as I received it. Castor sugar is finely granulated sugar, but I used regular. The quantities were a little hard for me to decide as I think my friend changed them from metrics for me and some may have referred to weight and others volume. I know, I know, I don't want to hear from anyone how crazy our American measurement system is because I dearly love it. I added the marshmallows by eye, since I knew 2 oz by volume wasn't much. I used oil instead of butter/margarine just to make it a little healthier. When I make them again, I'll add 1/2 tsp. salt. The batter seemed thin at first, but thickened right up. I used 10 oz. flour by volume (1 1/4 cups), and if I had done it by weight it would have been a little more. A variation for next time too. Some chopped walnuts would have been nice too, making it more of a rocky road muffin, but my littles wouldn't have appreciated that as much as I. As it was they loved these muffins. The recipe made 16 muffins.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Taco soup & chili from the freezers, rolls


Wednesday: Cheesy Potato Soup

Thursday: Asian Chicken Skillet

Friday: Pizza

Weekend pictures

Friday and Saturday my friend and I attended a Family History conference in the big city. We got new ideas from talented speakers, talked and talked to each other, stayed up late, and snacked for two days. It was great!

I left dh in charge at home and never had a moment's worry about the job he would do taking care of the family there. This picture tickles me pink:
Dh took the picture himself, without my asking him to. I ordered co-op produce before I remembered I wouldn't be there to pick it up. Dh offered to go get it and when I got home all the produce was put away and he told me he had taken a picture of it as well. Isn't my honey the sweetest?

Another highlight of the weekend was the visit of our old friend Wayne from Alberta. He brought the girls some goodies . . .
. . . and played games with us . . .
. . . until late in the night. It was great to see him again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A rare sight

My desk--clean!
You can see my two telephones--one is a regular phone and one is an Internet phone I use to call Korea. The pictures are baby pictures of my twins and Kevin's graduation picture. One the screen is a picture of my three little girls last spring. The desk itself I bought from a neighbor when she moved, then refinished. I love it all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Conor's birthday

He's 21 today!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Relief Society luncheon

Our church ladies' group has a pot luck luncheon every month. It's mostly older ladies, but somehow I usually get there as well. Maybe I'm getting to be one of those "older ladies"? Today I brought the delicious Chicken Supreme casserole I made and froze earlier in the week. It sure was easy to pop that into the oven!

That's me on the left.
And my mom in the middle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What we did this afternoon

Sophia made a tent for reading and TV watching.
Elizabeth drew pictures from a "You Can Draw Cartoons" book.
Caroline made pretzels from a recipe in the Friend magazine.

And Mom worked at the computer.
Not shown, but also done: homework.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Freezer dinners

Tonight was Chicken Supreme and I got the recipe from a site that focuses on Once A Month Cooking, so I knew I could easily freeze this dinner. I doubled it and put it in medium containers instead of large ones, so I got three dinners out of the double recipe. We ate one and I froze the other two. That gives me either two dinners without having to think much, or two dinners to give away when a need arises, or one of each.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday's easy dinner

I had six packages of soup mix in my pantry, so I let Sophia choose which two she wanted. She chose to combine the two singles, so we had minestrone/lentil soup tonight.
Then I walked out onto the back porch and got a bag of a dozen whole grain rolls from my freezer.
They were nicely thawed by dinner time and were delicious. I added a big salad which included sprouts my neighbor had just brought over, and that was our wonderful Pantry Challenge (dinner from what is on hand) dinner.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A sweet treat

Caroline wrote up her own recipe for apple crisp, inspired, I'm sure, by the 3 1/2 pound bag of apples I got at the store yesterday. I thought it was a good idea, but I suggested she use a quart jar of home-canned apple pie filling I had in the pantry. She made it herself and I hear it was delicious!

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Soup from a package in the pantry, rolls

Tuesday: Chicken Supreme

Wednesday: Cheesy Potato Soup

Thursday: Taquitos from the freezer, rice

Friday: French bread pizza

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Saturday morning with my honey

Dh was going to take older ds to the monthly "Coffee and Cars" this morning, but ds wanted to sleep instead. So I got to go. :-) Anyone who wants to show his or her car just comes to the parking lot at a high-end mall here in town and parks it. No fees, no entrance cards, or anything, just show up. Our car is the one on the left.
Some of the shows we go to now and then have more of an antique or muscle car vibe to them. At least today, this one seemed to have more of an "exotic cars" theme going on. Lots of Ferraris and Lotuses. All that said, I'm an all-American girl, so my favorites were the Chevy Corvettes. Quite a few newer ones, but I favor the C-3s and there was only one today.

One of my life's goals is to own a C-3 Corvette some day. I want a driver, not a show piece though, because I want to DRIVE it.

This one is German, but such a fun car with the surfboard on the roof and you can't see it, but a child's Lego project was on the back seat.
On the way home we drove through quite a few different neighborhoods until we were driving through one that has lots of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in it. We passed a grocery store that I'd heard had terrific prices on produce, so we stopped in. Trust me, even in the southwestern United States, the average grocery store doesn't have a display like this:

In addition to lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and rice, I picked up a bag with about 8 still-warm fire-roasted New Mexico green chilis. I've never had them freshly roasted, but I knew I could figure out how to process them when I got home. All I did was scrape off the thin burned skin, cut off the tops, slit open the side and scrape out the seeds and ribs. Then I chopped them into tiny pieces and froze them in 4 oz portions, just like buying a can of chopped green chilis, except 1/5 the price and 3xs the flavor!

The last thing I saw on our way home was one of my favorite things to ever see:

Friday, January 13, 2012

My new favorite way to prepare a grapefruit

I've heard about this way to prepare citrus fruit for easy eating, but for some reason never tried it. My mistake! I think I'd still peel and section an orange the regular way unless I were making a salad and wanted only the tender centers of the orange, but for grapefruit, where you don't want the bitter rind or even the skin of the individual sections, this is perfect. Perfect! Even dh has been eating sections of grapefruit which he normally doesn't. At.all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

We're off to an "additional Relief Society meeting," i.e. Homemaking Meeting

Dh was invited to a college basketball game tonight, so the girls are coming to Homemaking Meeting with my mom and me. They really like to go to the nursery and play with their friends, so it's a win-win for everyone.

I told the girls they could bring a set of toys or some books. E is bringing Little Pet Shop toys and a few tea set dishes tonight.