Monday, April 30, 2012

Wedding pictures!

We had a grand weekend in Idaho at David and Alicia's wedding. Bill and I flew up on Thursday and the wedding was Saturday.

Those beloved extras in the last picture are Bill's parents.  Sure do love them!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Smoked sausage and campfire beans with cornbread

Tuesday: Spinach and Chicken Layered Enchiladas

Wednesday:  Spaghetti, summer veggies


Friday: Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza or calzones
dessert: Dulce De Leche Bars

Bounty from our yard

Well, not a huge bounty, but it's stuff I love--citrus and eggs!  Our small orange tree had about 40 oranges on it this year and they are sweet, sweet, sweet.  Our grapefruit had at least 400 grapefruits on it and we've eaten maybe 75.  Our little tangerine tree that we planted 18 months ago looks like we'll get the promised first harvest this winter.

We are getting 2-3 eggs most days.  Our Easter Egger isn't laying much, but is preferring to sit on the eggs.  No rooster, so it's not going to do much good.  I looked online to get some ideas on how to stop that broody behavior, but I don't have the rabbit hutch to put her and her food and water in.  That's supposed to stop it within just a day or two.  No eggs, no nest, no comfort--stop hoping for baby chicks!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

David's wedding day

No pictures of his wedding just yet, but I thought I'd post my all-time favorite picture of Bill and me. It's our wedding picture and was taken by Busath Photography in Salt Lake City.
We were so young! {I'm sure you'll see this picture again . . . because I love it so much!}

Friday, April 27, 2012

Our little garden is producing!

Not much of a garden, not much produce, but I'll take it! AND it saved me from a trip to the grocery store when I needed spinach for a recipe.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

My sweethearts

"This gal" is a lucky gal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why I love being an American

Picture taken today at my local Albertson's.  I don't even need to say anything else.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Watching The Decorah Bald Eagles Nest Live

Watching The Decorah Bald Eagles Nest Live

We have become addicted to watching a nest of Bald Eagles.  It's really fun to watch them!  In the picture above you can see the three gray babies.

The picture below was just a couple of minutes later and you can see how the chicks perked right up when the parent arrived to feed them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Hearty Lentil Soup from the freezer, rolls

Tuesday: Citrus Teriyaki Chicken

Wednesday: Spinach Manicotti, vegetables, bread

Thursday: Smoked sausage, vegetables, bread

Friday: Pizza strips from the freezer

"Mommy, you taste like a Ritz!"

Last night Sophia kissed my cheek and stopped and said, "Mommy, you taste like a . . . a . . . Ritz cracker!" That was about the last thing I expected her to say, but I realized that we had been outside in 100 degree (38C) heat for several hours and my skin was probably a little salty from perspiration. I asked her if my skin was salty like a Ritz and she said, "Yes! And I like Ritz crackers." :-D

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A favorite sitting spot at our zoo

This brass sculpture sits near the aviary at our local zoo. See the parrot on Sophia's shoulder? It's part of the sculpture. The brass upper surfaces of the sculpture are very shiny--lots of use!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Caroline Funny

Dh and I pulled in tonight and the headlights shone on a sign attached to the mailbox:
Caroline has fallen in love with the 32 ounce sodas at the am/pm convenience store near our house. They cost 25 cents each with a current coupon. She didn't ask me for a quarter--she decided to earn some money, which is what the girls usually do when they want a bit of pocket money.

Here are the "fortunes" folded up in the paper airplanes we found with the game she had set up:

For children:
Your future: you will soon meet the love of your life!
Your fortune: you love water and someday you'll be afraid of water!

Teens and adults:
Your fortune: you will get a limo when you're 15
Your fortune: you will probably hate your dinner tonight. Chance: 51.9% or 51/100

How does she think these things up??

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cute, cool hairdo

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Am I?

I love this Bimbo brand because it has such a funny meaning in English!
Here's another, better, one. That's my cute niece Carolyn.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A surprise in my mailbox!

A couple of weeks ago I clicked on a Facebook link for the Abuelita brand from Nestle and I thought I might have "won" a gift basket, but the way the website was set up, I wasn't sure.

Look what arrived today:
It wasn't exactly a basket, but I'm not complaining! Inside was

a bag of chocolate granules to make hot chocolate with my milk
a box of chocolate almond disks to melt in hot milk to make hot chocolate
a traditional Mexican spoon to stir the chocolate and milk as they melt together
a sliced pecan pound cake
a can of dulce de leche (condensed milk, I think)
a packet of decorated note cards
It was the nicest free gift I've received since the time in college I complained that Payday candy bars said they had a fudge center coated with peanuts and instead it was a caramel center. They wrote back and said caramel could be fudge too, it didn't have to be chocolate to be fudge (hmmm . . . okay), and sent me a large assortment of their company's candy bars. See? I still remember after all these years.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

IHeartOrganizing visitors--here is what I posted in the comments section of IHeartOrganizing with some information about my menu plans:
I linked above to my blog where I post a weekday menu every Sunday. I keep several weeks worth "hidden" on my blogging page with an automatic date to post each one.

This allows me to have a place to put links to recipes I come across on the Internet that I want to try. I never knew where to put them, didn't want to add to my clutter problem by printing them out, and found it generally hard to find desired recipes again.

If I need to change my menu, I just cut-n-paste to move the recipe to another day or week that is still hidden. If I make a double batch and freeze half, then I cut and paste the recipe link into a menu 2-3 weeks in the future, with a note that says "from the freezer," so I don't forget to eat the meals I have prepared ahead.

I can quickly look at my menu to see what I'm going to need for the week's meals, and dh can look at the menu any time he wants to see what we are having.

I choose simple recipes/meals because I work and we have a family of seven. I love knowing exactly what we are going to have each day (with leftovers for the weekend), and it will be something easy and I have

You can click on the "menu" tag to the right/below to see other menus.

Monday: Leftovers, green salad

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

Wednesday: Tomato and spinach pasta toss, salad

Thursday: Sweet and sour pork, rice, veggies. I think I'll make it without the breading and frying in oil. I'm also going to look for a recipe for the sweet-n-sour sauce.

Friday: Bloomin' Pizza Bread

Linked at:
IHeart Organizing

I bought myself a few hours of work yesterday

Yesterday was Market on the Move, the program that lets you buy up to 60 pounds of product for $10. It was raining, so after Bountiful Baskets I drove over to the distribution point, thinking the line would be short. Not so. It looked to be about 45 minutes long and they still had 10 minutes before opening time. I took a quick look to see what they had, but decided that since I didn't have a coat let alone an umbrella, I didn't want to stand in the rain waiting. And I wasn't sure I wanted to can anything anyway.

Bill and I went out later and we drove by to see if the line was shorter. It wasn't.

Still later, on our way home, we drove by again and there was no line at all. Ugh. Decisions, decisions. I didn't really have anything planned for the day, but I didn't really want to can anything either. In the end opportunity won, so we picked up

Yellow squash
Bell peppers
Grape tomatoes
Small slicing tomatoes
50 lbs of Roma tomatoes

Since we already had most of these things from Bountiful Baskets, we got them for our neighbors. I was especially interested in the 50 lbs of Roma tomatoes.

I found a recipe for spaghetti sauce and started slicing and dicing. I used my food strainer (Vittorio strainer) and that made processing the tomatoes go much faster than I expected.

Would you be surprised to hear 50 pounds of Roma tomatoes makes only about 11 1/2 quarts of spaghetti sauce?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bountiful Baskets and my weird kids

Here is what I got from Bountiful Baskets today ($16.50):
Romaine lettuce
Brussels sprouts (in the paper bag)
Roma tomatoes
Yellow squash

Red Bosc pears

The "my weird kids" part? I knew my girls would be delighted when they found out I had Brussels sprouts in my basket and they were. They love broccoli and cauliflower as well. Aren't I lucky?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Activity Day for Girls

Yesterday for Activity Day we had a Spring Party. We were 8 strong and divided into 3 groups and rotated among 3 stations.

Letter writing to missionaries serving from our ward.

Alphabet collages. I divided 13 papers in half and wrote a letter in each section, then laid them out on the table. I provided old magazines, scissors, and glue and each group looked for pictures and added them. They loved it.

Sweet treats. Cupcakes, frosting, sprinkles. 2 each.

It was a very easy activity with simple preparation. We did something similar for Halloween as well.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What did you find in your washing machine today?

I'll bet it was different from what I found in mine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter egg hunt, part 2

As Kevin said, "Every good Easter egg hunt has at least one missing egg." The wind blew hard today and it must have blown this plastic egg off our concrete block fence. It does seem familiar now . . . .

Caroline was the one waiting to find it, so the hunt is finally over.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another quick trip to Mexico

Today's visit was for a monthly check for Caroline, as well as putting a bracket back on a tooth. I was informed the price to put a bracket back on is $10. No one ever told me about this charge, so I talked them out of it this time. :-) This one was the result of biting off a chunk of uncooked ramen. Ho hum. No more of that. This picture was by a Chinese restaurant that offers your choice of 5 items for about $4. I always wonder if 1) the food is safe and 2) if Mexican Chinese food is different than American Chinese food.
As soon as I shot this picture from across the street, the man stood up and beckoned me over to his store to look at his things. You have to have strong nerves to walk around this town as the purveyors are constantly standing near the front and calling you to come in and look around.
Pretty picture, I think.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I love my evaporative cooler

I think I make a post like this every year in the spring. Because I live in the desert, it's common here to use evaporative coolers in homes. In my case, I also have a chilled air conditioner unit, but the "swamp cooler" gets the biggest work out.
It can lower the inside temperature by 20 degrees F and it adds some humidity. That's good for your skin and lungs, but I'll admit in the heat of the summer sometimes that makes it a bit muggy in the house. The rest of the time it is just the right amount of moisture.

Mine is on today and I love that it's cool in the house and it's costing me practically nothing.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter egg hunt

This morning we went to Church and had wonderful talks about Christ's resurrection and his atonement for our sins. Repentence is a wonderful gift from him to us.

In the late afternoon we had an Easter egg hunt in the back yard.
We ended up with a lot more eggs than I expected, so there were eggs, Peeps, and chocolate bunnies everywhere!
There was a small gift hidden for each girl as well.
Even Bill found two eggs. It's possible he checked under a warm hen.
There is still at least one missing. I wonder when we'll find it?

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday: Orange Sesame Chicken and Butter Tossed Asparagus

This whole dinner was delicious! I wanted to drink the sauce, it was that good. :-)

Tuesday: Quick Chicken Quesadillas, horchata

The quesadillas were a hit, but I was the only one who really liked the horchata.

Wednesday: Sausage, potato, and egg breakfast casserole

Thursday: Larry's pasta surprise

Friday: Pizza Snowballs

Everyone loved these! I used Grands Reduced Fat biscuits and cut each one into 6 pieces, then used 4 pieces for each snowball, which made 12 balls.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Taco Pizza

A week or two ago I came across a recipe for taco pizza. The theory is a pizza crust with taco toppings and that's just the way it turned out.
It was easy to make because taco shells are always the ingredient that trips me up, while pizza crust is simple for me. It was really pretty and everyone liked it.
Expect to see it in the weekly menu again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Carrots and Bunnies

I made a super-easy carrot cake today:

Betty Crocker carrot cake mix + ingredients called for on the package
4 spears of fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1 cup California walnuts, chopped

Combine all ingredients except the walnuts and mix according to the package directions. Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake according to the package directions.


4 oz cream cheese (mine was fat-free)
1/2 stick of margarine or butter
Powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and margarine or butter very thoroughly. Add powdered sugar a little at a time. I didn't need to add any extra milk, but you can if necessary. Add vanilla and beat to mix. Continue beating on high speed another minute or two, until the color lightens a little.

Frost cake.

Put Peeps all over the top.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Look at these pants I took out of the laundry!

What, pray tell, do you think caused this? Let's just say ALL the other jeans came out with no damage.
All I can think is buying a certain pair of "pre-distressed" jeans last summer was a big mistake.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy birthday to my brother

This is my brothers and me with my maternal grandparents, Helen and Sinclair Driver at their home in Wilmington, California, in 1978. The birthday boy was looking a little "ho hum" that day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lo-Cal Hot Drinks

I got on the scale this morning and let's just say I'm motivated to get back on the weight-loss bandwagon!

Three areas I need to address are:

Drinks with calories
Portion size

I'm starting with drinks today. Here is what I've had so far:

Pero is a coffee substitute (light flavor) and cocoa powder adds a stronger flavor, a little bitterness, and a darker color. Twinings herbal tea is just good. I don't add any sugar or artificial sweetener with either of these because I don't prefer it that way.

I'm keeping the other two problems in my mind as I go through my day. In addition I'm going back to writing down what I'm eating. That always helps.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pictures of David when he was little

I'm scanning some old pictures of David for a "slide" presentation to be shown at his wedding reception. What a lot of fun memories!