Sunday, September 30, 2012

A few more details of our new fridge

When we got the fridge home and Carolyn moved all the food over, we realized it was even a little bigger than our old one.  The main thing is that we can put nine gallons of milk in it instead of only six.  Six is what we could get into our old one and that was my main size requirement.  I was delighted when I realized the depth of the new fridge was such that I could get them in three deep.  With our big milk-drinking family, I sometimes want to put nine gallons in.  If not, that allows for six or seven plus a pitcher or two.

The shelves aren't as adjustable as the old ones were, but really, once you set them, how often do you actually move them around anyway?  So it's okay.

Here is our interesting ice maker/storage container:
Well, I guess it's just the storage bin.  The ice maker is in the door above it, not on the top shelf of the freezer.  Here are the two problems:  1) it's small 2) it hasn't started filling yet.  The manual says it can take up to twenty-four hours to start working and three days until it's going at full tilt.  I have no idea why it would take that long, but that's what the manual says.  If there is still nothing tomorrow, I'll call Sears and see what they suggest.

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Skillet lasagne, green beans [this turned out to be very good]

Tuesday:  Quesadilla Casserole (recipe is on the package of McCormick spices)

Wednesday:  Ham and cheese rolls
Breakfast: Harvest bread

Thursday:  Pancakes

Friday:  Pizza

Saturday:  Someone's birthday
Birthday cake:  German Chocolate Crazy Cake
German Chocolate Cake

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Here's the promised new major appliance

The old fridge was on life support after 13 good years, so we got a new one today.  I can't say it's an EXCITING! EVENT! because we bought pretty much the same thing we've had all along.   Big, white, side-by-side, with ice and water through the door.

We went to the Sears scratch-n-dent outlet here in town and in 15 minutes found the one we wanted, dh got on the phone and called a friend with a pickup truck to haul it home for us, paid for it with a credit card I got for a project I worked on + birthday money from my mom, and I was on my way home while dh waited for our friend.
And here is the frosting on the cake: my dear niece moved everything over from the old to the new.  How's that for true love?

Friday, September 28, 2012

A kind-of-cheating birthday gift for a child

Caroline and Elizabeth were invited to a friend's birthday party today.  Yesterday I talked to the mother to see what he might like and we settled on a gift card.  That made my life really easy!
It was a 2 hour party (brave mother!) and the kids had pizza played games, and made tie-dye T-shirts.  Pictures of those to follow.

Great party and I am sooo stealing some of the ideas!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Birthday lunch with my friends

September is birthday month for me!  Two of my friends and I have the pleasure of going out for lunch to celebrate.  I think this is our third year.  Or maybe our second.  I don't know, but I do know I look forward to it.
We went to Paradise Bakery which is a delicious regional soup/salad/sandwich place.  My lunch was cheddar-broccoli soup and a mediterranean veggie sandwich.  Oh, they also throw in a roll, butter, and a chocolate chunk cookie with their "You Pick 2" lunch.
Lisa had a meat sandwich and a tomato-basil soup that she said was delicious.
Amber had the same soup I had (and said it was very good) and a panini.
We chatted and chatted (mostly me--I was excited to tell about the interesting things going on in my life--thanks, gals, I owe you!) and the time flew by way too fast.  Their birthdays are in the spring and we'll be doing it again . . . .

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting ready for October

Every year I fill two large, decorative jars with candy corn and mallow pumpkins.  I tell the kids not to eat them but they always do.
Here's this year's start--six bags.  But I can't eat it anymore.  Much, anyway.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Korean Snacks

I came across a website that lists ten favorite Korean snacks.  Among Koreans, that is.  Here is my least favorite:
Another typically Korean flavor, ojingeo (오징어) and ttangkong (땅콩) literally mean squid and peanuts. Real dried roasted squid with roasted peanuts is a favorite anju (안주, food that accompanies alcoholic drinks) pairing, so someone came up with the brilliant idea of putting these two flavors together in a snack. Like its name, the snack has a strong sea-like salty taste outside with a peanut in the center.

The snack also has traces of being “roasted” on its exterior, making it interesting trying to find smiley (or frowny) faces. As expected, it is a favorite with beer lovers.

The snack has its own fun site:
Katie here:  I don't like fish AT ALL.  I can't imagine eating a squid-flavored-covered peanut.

Here are a couple of my favorite Korean snacks:
Do you have a Korean friend? Do you have a Korean guy friend? Do you have a Korean guy friend who has completed his mandatory military service? If you do, you most certainly have heard a story about Chocopie (쵸코파이). Chocopie is a chocolate covered spongecake-like snack with a marshmallow center, and it’s the soldiers’ main obsession (besides K-pop girl groups) during their service.

Military service is really hard, as any guy will tell you. Deprived of civilian joys such as freely pigging out on sugary goods, this sweet snack is somehow like a prize to them, probably symbolizing a “normal” life. They all have tearful, heart wrenching Chocopie stories to tell, whether their own or a fellow soldier’s, so try asking if you haven’t heard any already.

Chocopie is also popular as an alternative birthday cake; for students without a lot of pocket money, one will suffice, for those who want something different, a pyramid stack of Chocopie is used.

Chocopie’s website :
 Chocolate, in my opinion, is always a homerun. How could it not be? So when you pack chocolate in a ball of fluffy pastry? It becomes a Homerunball. Designed after a cream puff, it’s as creamy and light as the original and just darn addictive. There is a plain cream version as well, but I always go for the chocolate.
Katie here again:  there are other great Korean snacks on the page, but these two piqued my curiosity.  I wonder if I could find either of the sweet snacks at an import grocery store or if I'd have to make a return trip to Korea to get them?

Hmmm . . . thinking . . . thinking . . . .

Monday, September 24, 2012

FHE treats

I had a Family Home Evening lesson activity in mind when Bill said, "It's Fall now, how about we let the girls swim tonight since we don't know how much longer it will be warm enough?"  What could I say to that?  So two of the girls went swimming while a third finished her homework.

I baked the cookies.

Yesterday I asked one of my Facebook friends to bring me some of her fresh pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, but she refused.  She lives in Tennessee and I don't know why she wouldn't just hop on over with a steaming plate of them. ;-)  Oh, that's about 2,000 miles from here.

I figured I'd have better luck making my own, so I made the dough from this recipe last night and put it in the fridge for today.  All it took tonight was a little scooping and baking and--oh my!--the house smells like a wonderful spicy Fall evening!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Burritos and tacos

Tuesday:  Spaghetti with salad


Thursday:  Chicken enchilada pasta bake

Friday:  Pepperoni Pizza Puffs

Next big purchase?

I think it will look something like this:
More to come.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Temple trip today!

Once or twice a year our ward sponsors a trip to the Mesa, Arizona LDS temple.  Of course anyone can visit the temple any time (although it or the visitors' center might not be open), but on this trip the ward provides babysitters for children as well as a lunch afterward. 

It's a favorite in my family because my girls love to be babysat.  Bill and I can worship in the temple together, then we can have a nice lunch afterward without having to pack a picnic or find a restaurant.

Except . . . .

Bill had to go to Gallup today to take care of some business.  When I found out about that I invited my mom to go with the girls and me instead.  My mom hasn't wanted to make the trip to Mesa because it is several hours away by car, but she has had something important to do in the temple. 

Did you know that an important part of LDS doctrine is that families can be together forever and not just "until death do you part"?  Husband and wife can be sealed together in an LDS temple and when children are born to them, they are also sealed to their parents.  If children come into a family through adoption or before the parents are sealed, there is a special ceremony in the temple to seal a child to his or her parents.

So what if some of the family members have died?  Doesn't seem fair they don't get this blessing of being sealed, does it?

That's where proxy temple ordinances come in.  A living person can "stand in" for a person who has already died and the same ordinances (like sacraments) can be performed.

My mother's parents and sisters have all passed away and they have had these special ordinances performed for them.  I hope they have accepted these ordinances, as it is always up to the deceased to decide if he or she wants to accept in heaven what has been done here on earth for them.

Today my mother was sealed to her parents.  Now her family (father, mother, sister, and sister) are all sealed as a family.  I feel really happy and my mother does too.

Here are a couple of pictures of Caroline today:

Friday, September 21, 2012

I had most of the day off and turned it into Errand Day!

I started out a little too early--8:45 am and neither the bank nor the hair cutting place were open, so I went to the post office.
Mom needed stamps and I needed stamps for international mail.  Gotta keep those letters to Brazil going.  In addition, my friend's son is serving a mission in Panama and I'll send him an occasional letter.  And a Christmas card will probably make its way to Australia as well. :-)
 Albertson's is close to the post office, so I stopped there and picked up a couple of things that were on a super sale this week.
I almost didn't go to the beauty salon because the sign in the window said it was still closed.  I decided to walk a little closer to see what time they DID open and realized there were people inside waiting.  I pulled the chain to change their sign from CLOSED to OPEN.
Next was a quick stop at Fry's.  No, not to buy electronics.  This kind of Fry's is a Kroger store with a pharmacy.  I picked up some prescriptions for a family member and a couple of items on sale there this week.  TV dinners and milk.  Exciting.
 I came home and the girls were home due to early-out today.  We all had lunch, then I took Sophia to pick up her new glasses.  They took only four days to come back!
On our way home we stopped at Fry's again to take advantage of the gas price discount for shopping at Fry's a lot.
Who would believe this is a reduced price?  It's a full 54 cents a gallon more than I paid six weeks ago.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Which did she choose?

Sophia will have new glasses next week.  Requirement #1 was the frames had to be pink.  She tried on every pink girls' frame in the Walmart optical department, including some of the ones you can bend and twist, but she didn't like those ones.

Here are her top 5 choices:

.Next week you can see what she chose.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Rare, rare day for me.

This is how I feel today:
Nothing else to say.  I'm done with work and going to bed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PTA--for the good of our children

Tonight was the first PTA meeting of the school year and I'm on the board this year as the secretary.  It's great because that means I have to really pay attention to every single thing that is said!

The PTA raises money for music lessons, to give money to the teachers for their classroom budget, to provide family fun nights, to put on a carnival or two, and lots more.  The focus is on our children and families.  Could it be any better?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Who has OCD tendencies?

Here are the two piles of phone books ready for distribution:

One belongs to a young woman and the other to a young man.  You guess who owns which.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:   Creamy Broccoli Pasta Bake (divide in half, freeze one)

Tuesday:  Turkey chili made by my niece

Wednesday:  Polenta and sausage pies

Thursday:  leftovers (Activity Day for girls at dinner time)

Friday:  Pizza

The name of that Mother's Day gift plant

I don't think I ever told you the name of the desert plant I received for Mother's Day.  You can see it close to the camera on the right side.  It's an ocatillo.  This is actually the second one because the first one didn't grow.  I don't have high hopes for this one either, unfortunately.  I'll probably pull it out of the ground this winter, take it back to the nursery, and just get my money back.
Here is some information about ocatillos (my favorite desert plant):
The article above does not hold out much hope for my plant.  However, I see them in people's yards all over the place, so I know they can be transplanted.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Yesterday's cloud

Yesterday morning I was up before sunrise, as usual, and looked out my front window toward the north, as usual.  There in the sky was a really tall, pink, unusual-looking cloud, interesting enough that I took a picture of it.
It turns out I wasn't the only one who noticed it!  See this article on a missle test:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dear niece's job-while-she-waits

My niece is going to be working in a family business soon, but in the meantime, the bills are still coming in and she still needs cash in her purse.  Being the go-getter that she is, she found out about . . .
. . . phone books!  It's time for new ones here in the city and she is going to deliver her share of the 500,000 or 600,000 that will go out in the next few weeks.  It is paid on a piece rate and she has about 1,200 to deliver in the next three days.  If she likes it, she'll deliver more.

Being that Hubs and the girls are gone camping tonight, I told her I'd go along with her as her unpaid worker.  It was lots of work, but we saw some interesting things in the neighborhood and had a good time.

Oh, that stack in the picture is about a quarter of her phone books.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What kind of cricket is this?

Bill and I were driving along and thought we were seeing tarantulas crossing the road, and maybe we were.  By the time we stopped to see what they actually were, the color had changed to brown vs. the black we had seen earlier and this is what we found:
What do you think?  Is it a cricket?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I wish I could say . . .

. . . this picture was taken in Mexico, but it wasn't.  It was taken from our elevated picnic area in Bisbee, Arizona last weekend!
Doesn't that look like the back window of a 240Z?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11

Today I talked to my students about the events of September 11, 2001.

I was teaching in public school in Idaho and when I walked in the door that morning, the school secretary told me a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings.  I remembered several years earlier when a small one or two passenger plane had crashed into a New York or Washington D.C. building and didn't give it much thought as I walked to my classroom. 

Nevertheless, I turned on my computer and went to a news site and was pretty shocked to realize it was a big jet that had crashed.  And then another.  And then one into the Pentagon.  And then one tower after the other crashed to the ground, crushing the survivors who were hurrying out of the buildings.  And then we found out a plane had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania and was probably part of the whole plot.


That night dh and I went to the mall because we didn't know what else to do.  Half the stores were open, half were closed.  The operators of the stores didn't know what to do either, and the mall was almost empty.

All American airplanes were grounded.  Ds was on his way from one military posting to another when the planes crashed and his plane was forced to land in Denver, Colorado, where he had to stay for several days while alternate transportation was arranged.

It was a strange, sad, scary time.

Today there is a new World Trade Center going up.  Osama Bin Laden, who planned the attacks, is dead.  However, no American who was past elementary school age in 2001 will forget that day.
Dick Cheney, who was vice-president of the United States on September 11, 2001, visiting the memorial to those killed that day.

Monday, September 10, 2012

I love farm stands!

On our drive through the country on Saturday we drove through some small towns and saw some farmer's fruit stands.  Well, they were mostly fresh corn, pecans, and pistachios.

We decided to turn in at a farm with a driveway so long we couldn't see the house.  When we got to the house we saw a sign that said:


However, we parked right next to this little trailer and didn't need to honk.  If you click on it you can see we were instructed to take what we wanted and leave the money under the wooden nut bowl. 
It's hard to describe how much I like this kind of sale.  On the left there were 4 bags of pecans that were still in the shell, but heavily cracked so they were easy to remove from the shell.  On the right was 1 bag of whole pecans in the shell for a lower price.  We bought a 2 pound bag and a 3 pound bag of the cracked nuts and left $22 under the bowl.  We never did see the farmers, although a big dog wandered through the driveway area and showed about a 3% interest in us.

A mile or two farther down the road Bill stopped at another stand that was right on the road because he wanted to pick up one more thing.  He came right back out and said no way was he going to pay those boutique prices!  The pecans we bought for about $4.40/lb were $9/lb there.  So glad we bought directly from the farmer!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Meal Plan Sunday

Monday:  Quick chicken parmesan and spaghetti (Costco chicken tenders, sauce, mozzarella, parmesan all on a bed of spaghetti), green beans

Tuesday:  Smoked sausage, peppers, potatoes

Wednesday:  Sliced turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy (from the freezer)

Thursday:  Bulgogi, rice, fresh vegetables

Friday:  Pizza

My happy family :-)

Yesterday we had a lot of fun together.  Here are some pictures of us at an outdoor display of mining equipment that was used in Bisbee, Arizona a hundred years ago.
(I'm posting this horrible picture of me only because Conor looks so good in it.)
Sophia at the rear of the coal mine train.
 Caroline and Carolyn
 This is my favorite picture.  Doesn't Elizabeth look delighted with the adventure?
 Cool Cat Conor with his little sisters
We had a great day together yesterday.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Bisbee, Arizona

Before we even got up this morning I asked Bill what he had in mind for the day.  He said, "I was thinking of taking everyone to Bisbee today."  Good idea!  He had been there once, but I never had, and of course neither Conor or Carolyn had been there either.
Copper mining began in Bisbee around the turn of the 20th century and was always done mechanically.  No pick axes and mules.  The mine closed in the mid-70s and the town started to turn into a ghost town before it was discovered by artists and Bohemian free thinkers.  Today it is mostly a tourist town with lots of antique and junk shops next to art galleries and jewelry shops.  Quite a number of raucous bars as well, even on a Saturday afternoon.
Two of its famous features are the narrow, steep streets and houses clinging to the rocky mountain sides.  Some were shacks and others were nicely renovated little Victorian homes, with everything in between.
There is an annual festival to celebrate all the stairs around town and we decided to take part even though the festival is a month and a half away.  This is what we came across:
181 stairs.  I'm not in great shape, but decided to go up because there was art on the walls and I could see some interesting houses on each side and there was a bit of mystery about it all.
On my way!
I thought there was an interesting house at the top, but that was NOT the top!  The path went around the side of it and kept going up and up!  I stopped several times to catch my breath enjoy the view on the way up, and celebrated with the girls when we got to the top.
We all counted the steps coming back down.  Carolyn and I came up with 181 if we counted both the top and bottom surfaces.  The three girls came up with different numbers, but I'm pretty sure 181 was correct.
Gonna be sore tomorrow!