Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This is not our usual kind of egg shell

Caroline brought this shell in to show me.  That is her hand in the picture (although the camera angle elongated it strangely), so you can see how small it is.  The little birds we have around here usually lay blue eggs, so this one was unexpected.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lemonade Cheesecake

Did you see my recipe link on the weekly menu post?  I made lemonade cheesecake pie this morning and it was almost perfect.  The "almost" is that one of the recipe reviewers suggested doubling the lemonade powder and I wish I hadn't.  It was nearly too sour, although the flavor was good.

The "perfect" part was that the filling was smoooooooth and that's hard to do with the fat free cream cheese called for in the recipe.  You couldn't tell it wasn't the full-fat version.  Chalk that up to a hot kitchen and really leaving it until it was room temperature.

I intended to suck it up and buy a premade graham cracker pie crust, but when I got to the store and saw even the cheap ones were $2.50, I just couldn't.  Instead I bought a box of the cheapest graham crackers they had, ran about a quarter of the package through my salad shooter, mixed in a little sugar and melted butter, pressed it into a pan, and baked it in my little toaster oven for 10 minutes, then froze it.  It took about 8 minutes of prep plus the baking and cooling time and cost about 50 cents and I didn't waste an aluminum pan or plastic lid that would have come with the store-bought one.

Here is what was left after everyone had a slice after Family Home Evening.  Delicious!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I love these girls so much!

Menu Plan Sunday

Monday:  Curried Chicken and Grape Salad (with chicken from the freezer)
Lemonade cheesecake for FHE dessert  [the "link' thing isn't working, so you can find it at: http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/lemonade-cheesecake-55173.aspx ]

Tuesday:  Spaghetti

Wednesday:  Egg/potato/sausage casserole

Thursday:  Chicken parmesan

Friday:  Pizza pockets on the grill

Saturday, July 28, 2012

An old-fashioned live-in girlfriend?

I think the terms have changed over the years!  When I'm indexing the 1940 US Census I come across entries like this now and then:
"Roomer" could be true, as there were quite a few roomers and lodgers listed in the 1940 census.  I'm guessing girlfriend.  "Roomer" sounds more quaint though.

What do you thik?

Friday, July 27, 2012

What are these girls doing?

Waiting for our friends to come pick them up to spend a couple of hours at the skating rink!  Caroline doesn't have skates, so she rented some, Sophia has hers in her backpack, and Elizabeth carried hers in a grocery bag.

 I'm not sure why Sophia wanted to wear a maxi dress to the rink, but once I saw that it was wide enough I figured--if she likes it, who else cares?

They had fun!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Going out on a limb . . . .

This Groupon came across my email yesterday and dh and I decided--what the heck?!--to buy it.  We have never taken dance lessons together before, although I took quite a few in college and dh dabbled in it then as well.
I bought the option that gives the two of us five group lessons. 

The best part is what has held us back for years--the girls are old enough to stay home with Grandma and so we don't have to worry about a babysitter. :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Being prepared

No, this isn't me with my best canning buddy, although I hope I can find a great price on peaches this year so I can put up a few.  I'd love to have a canning buddy too, although Caroline is turning into one, so I may have a home-grown one from now on.

There is a trend in the United States to can--peaches, tomatoes, pickles, spaghetti sauce, jam, jelly, you name it.  It's exciting because I've been a canner all of my life.  Limited for the most part, but a canner nevertheless.

I've become a customer of Azure Standard through a buying club in my town.  I am a patron of our local Family Home Storage Center.  I keep my eyes open for opportunities to maintain, consume, and increase our home food storage.

Dh and I have a debt-reduction plan and are laying our debts to rest.

I want to be prepared for at least some of life's surprises.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Why my vacation was much more fun than usual

Due to a variety of reasons, none of them bad, Bill and I seldom vacation together.
He's my favorite travel companion and it was DELIGHTFUL to vacation with him this year!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Heading for home

The slow way?

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Traveling

Tuesday:  Petite Santa Fe Casserole Cups

Wednesday:  Chili over baked potatoes (Caroline makes)

Thursday:  Grilled Tex-Mex Nacho Packets

Friday:  Pizza

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Every night we were in Nauvoo we attended the Nauvoo Pageant.  It's a grand play/musical about the history of the Mormons in Nauvoo.  It's a wonderful production.

You can see the Nauvoo temple in the background.  It was rebuilt ten years ago after being destroyed shortly after the Mormons left Nauvoo in the 1840s.  The outside is a near-exact replica of the original and many aspect of the interior are also the same as the original.  Modern conveniences abound, of course.  I like my air conditioning!
 The girls liked it almost as much as the adults did.  It's fun for everyone.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Pulling a handcart--hundreds/thousands of poor European Mormon immigrants crossed the American plains to Utah pulling handcarts because they did not have enough money for a wagon and team.  Some of my mother-in-law's ancestors came to Utah by handcart.  A handcart this big would carry about 500 pounds of a family's supplies.  It was rare for anyone but tiny children and sick people to ride.  Almost everyone walked.
 Quilting for area charities.
 Our friend G.W.P.
 A braided headband like pioneers braided rugs.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The leader of the parade!

The brass band came by the pioneer play area and played in a quick parade that was for everyone.  The leader got to choose where the band went and you can see how delighted Elizabeth was to lead the musical parade!

 And Sophia brought up the rear.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My little pioneer girls

Aren't they sweet?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Monday, July 16, 2012

A little family history

One of Bill's dad's great-great grandmothers was born into slavery in the early 1800s.  Since the descendent is actually my f-i-l's stepfather, we don't have any blood relation,, but Bill's father changed his name to that of his stepfather, so we feel a kinship.
 For years Bill has wanted to visit the historic family home in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, and we finally had a chance.
 We arrived after the house had closed for the day, but the tour guide was still there and when Bill made an impassioned plea to see the home of his ancestor, Pelagie Amoureux, he relented and gave us the grand, family-only tour. ;-)
Here is some information about Pelagie Amoureux:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grant's Farm

Grant who?  Ulysses S Grant's farm, a president of the United States, that is.

He summered in St. Louis, Missouri and had quite a spread there.  Around the turn of the 20th century the Anheiser Busch family or corporation bought the farm and it's been open to the public for decades.

We started off with a tram tour of a deer park--lots of deer and good commentary from our guide.  This fence top (the upper uprights) was made from gun barrels!
 The most interesting part for the girls was the goat feeding area.  You could get 4 ounce bottles of baby goat formula to feed the (satiated by then) kids.  The bottles were exactly the same Evenflo bottles and nipples I used to feed my older children and I'll bet more than one has made its way into a child's mouth.
 Above: Bald Eagles, the national bird of the United States
Below:  a nonplussed Sophia, along with Caroline and Elizabeth
 This was Sophia moments later.  Just add water.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

An important bit of Mormon history

In 1844 the Mormons were living in the area in and around Nauvoo, Illinois.  Joseph Smith, the prophet and leader of the Church had been arrested on some trumped-up charges, and was being held in this jail in Carthage, Illinois, which is about 20 miles from Nauvoo.  
He and some friends were moved to the jailer's own bedroom since he could see these guys obviously weren't a danger to anyone.  The bedroom window is the upper window.

A mob of local men came to "take care of" Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith, thinking that if the leaders were dead, the Church would go away or wither and die.

The mob did shoot and kill Joseph and Hyrum Smith that day.  Joseph was shot as he looked out the window and lore has it that he fell to the ground near the well, mortally wounded.

The local people expected backlash from the Mormons, but none came.  However, within two years the Mormons were under such pressure to leave, that they headed west under the direction of the new Church president, Brigham Young.  He's the one who led them to the Salt Lake valley in Utah.

Here are the girls with a statue of the brothers:

Friday, July 13, 2012

My quilt is really close to being finished!

My quilt has come back from the machine quilter in Utah and I love the way it looks!  It was really, REALLY nice to have the fun of making the top and not have to worry about hand quilting it (as something to give to my youngest daughter upon her marriage, as long as she doesn't marry until she is 35), tying it (not a big fan as a general rule), or trying to man-handle the whole quilt under the (very short) arm of my sewing machine and sew on it for a week or two.  Or three or four.

Now I have to figure out about the binding, which will take me about four or five days to hand sew, then wash and dry it to get it to crinkle up. I can't wait!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This is what I look like when I'm working.  It hardly even seems like work since I chat with friendly Koreans!  (I know I'm lucky.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My weekly joy and obligation

Almost every week I write a letter to Kevin and mail it.  I'm not talking about an email (which I send weekly), I'm talking about a real paper letter.  I know if I were living in a foreign country, I'd appreciate seeing my mother's handwriting and reading about the mundane tidbits of life back home.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Look carefully at this computer screen

Do you notice anything strange about it?

That is the stand at the TOP of the picture!  Dd spilled some water on my keyboard and when I wiped it up, suddenly everything on my monitor was upside down!  I must have accidentally pushed a sequence of keys that changed the orientation of the screen.

I didn't have time to figure out how to reverse it, so took the obvious approach--turned the monitor upside down!

When dh got home he ran a quick search and found out all I had to do was push 2 keys, then a 3rd and it righted itself.  I was glad.  Hehe.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What is this dessert exactly??

Look at this container:
 Silly me, I thought I was buying ice cream.  What in the heck is "dairy dessert"??

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do you know about Sweet Tomatoes?

Strange name for a restaurant, I know!  It's my favorite fresh buffet restaurant.  Dh and I had dinner there the other night with NO children.  The only options there are salad, soup, pasta, a few cut fruits, a variety of breads/muffins, frozen yogurt, and soft drinks/milk/lemonade, coffee/tea.
 This was my initial plate of food.  The strawberry lemonade was delicious!
Some berry mousse and tapioca pudding.  On the right was some Moroccan lentil and garbazo soup.

I wish I could say this was all I ate.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Why do I bother?

My mom and three children had homemade pizza for dinner.  I made two medium pizzas so everyone would have plenty.  Bill came home late.  This is what was left:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A special treat for the girls and their visiting friend

Now where is that "laughing" emoticon??  After the other mom and I put together a surprise overnighter for my daughters and her daughter, I shopped at the grocery store to pick up the perfect treat.  Yes, ramen noodles.

Don't ask me why, but whenever Caroline thinks of ramen noodles, she thinks of her friend.  Since I don't buy ramen often, she and her sisters were delighted with their evening snack.  LOL

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day!

"I love America,
Yes I do,
I love America through and through!"

From Brite Music "Take Your Hat Off." song 2.
The United States declared its independence from England on July 4, 1776.  At that time there were 13 states in the north east part of today's United States.  Today there are 50 states and the 50 white stars on the flag commemorate that.  The 13 stripes remind us of the 13 original states.  Our first president was George Washington and both the state of Washington and Washington, D.C. are named after him.

I love being an American!  (And am delighted to have friends from other wonderful countries who stop by my blog).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Over 7,000,000 names indexed on July 2!

This is a trophy I earned on Monday.  I am a regular volunteer with the 1940 Census Project via http://www.familysearch.org.  The goal is to index (type into a database every name and basic info from all the nearly 2 million pages) the 1940 US census in 5 months or less.  This database will then be available for anyone to search for FREE at the above address.  My assistance with the project was relatively modest (5 pages of 40 names each), but I'm glad to help make these records available in perpetuity at no cost to the searcher.

After the 1940 census is indexed, I'll go back to indexing the variety of records that are available to be indexed.

Anyone in the world with a connection to the Internet can index.  Try it!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Family Home Evening

This afternoon Caroline asked to give the FHE lesson and started looking through old copies of the Friend magazine for lesson ideas.  She chose a story from the Jauary 2011 Friend called The Cookie Solution, in which two boys become friends because one extended a hand of friendship to the other over a batch of homemade cookies.
It reminded me about making my own friend out of a potential enemy about 17 years ago.  That was over three ripe pears, not a batch of cookies, but it was a friendship that extended to the end of my elderly friend's life.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Job Chart (.com)

A couple of years ago I read about www.myjobchart.com on a blog I read, and decided to check it out.
It's a program for parents and children to use collaboratively to list chores that need to be done and to list the rewards for doing those chores.

We don't always use it, and in fact, we use it mostly in the summer when we need a little more structure.  We don't pay our girls an allowance, not because we're opposed to it, but we just never have.  Each task is assigned points (by me) and each point (I have decided) is worth 1 cent.

Through myjobchart the girls can log on and see the tasks that need to be done each day.  Not all of them get done, but every one of them pays at least a little.

Last, I have set up the rewards section so the girls can buy something from Amazon.com with their points (a sponsor), or cash their points in for dollars.

Which would you rather do?  Make your bed or comb your hair?

note:  I am not affiliated with www.myjobchart.com, nor is this a sponsored post.

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:   Pineapple-ginger flank steak from the freezer, with rice (didn't get to it last week)

[This was REALLY good.  I served it with quinoa plus watermelon balls.]

Tuesday:  Slow Cooker Big and Spicy Chicken Hoagies

Wednesday: Stouffer's Italian Lasagne from the freezer

Thursday:  Peanut butter waffle toast (new recipe--looks DIVINE!!)

Friday:  Pizza