Friday, December 5, 2014

Sophia's getting into the family fudge tradition

I bought a couple containers of marshmallow cream and apparently they kept calling out to Sophia.  I couldn't hear it, but she could.  I told her I was planning to make fudge some time in December, but she couldn't wait.

Here is her first-ever batch of fudge--grainy, but delicious!  It was also chock-full of pecans, so how can you go wrong with that?  It was gone in 24 hours, of course, but there will be more.  Next time she should try Bill's family recipe (no marshmallow) and see which she likes better.  Grandpa Andy would be proud of her.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A little Thanksgiving children's project

I wanted something to keep the children busy for a bit on Thanksgiving afternoon, so I had them make turkey placemats.  Can you see them there?

I traced a luncheon plate on a piece of construction paper and a saucer on another, then filled in with turkey feathers.  I gathered stickers, buttons, and cut up bits of ribbon, yarn, and lace, putting them in pie pans on the table.  We used white glue, a glue stick, and hot glue to attach the various decorations.

The children were busy for at least half and hour and we had cute decorations for the table!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Meal Plan

Monday: Potato sausage, potatoes, stir-fried cabbage

Tuesday: One-pot Mexican spaghetti, avocado slices

Wednesday:  Vegetable soup with veggies from Bountiful Basket that need to be used up

Thursday:  Wyatt & Afie's sesame chicken from the frozen dinner club

Friday:  Pizza

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Another canning first

Ever since buying my handy dandy pressure cooker last year, I've been looking for opportunities to can things I never could before.  I'd seen a company called Zaycon that sells bulk meat and finally the price was good enough to make me trek across town to pick up an order, so I ordered a 40 pound box of chicken breasts.  I knew I wanted to freeze some of it, but 1) I don't have lots of room in my freezer, although it is a second freezer kept outside, and 2) I wanted some chicken cooked and ready to go, and 3) I wanted to try pressure canning meat.  So I froze about half the chicken and canned the rest.

So easy!

Here are the last three jars of nineteen I canned and . . . why can with a partly-empty canner?  So I did five jars of pinto beans as well to fill the canner.  I love that thing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Avon home party?

It has been years since I went to a home shopping party, such as a Tupperware party.  Years.  When a friend recently asked me to an Avon home party I decided to go.

First of all, I've never known an "Avon lady" to hold a party, but it was fine.  There were lots of expected items such as the ones on display.  The catalog held a lot more items I hadn't seen, such as toys, clothing, and even underwear.  Kind of one-stop shopping for the busy woman, I guess.  Second, I needed a couple of Avon items anyway, so it was a good opportunity to do a little shopping.  The hostess had delicious cookies and ice cream sundaes too, so it was very good use of my time. :-)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I'm feeling my German roots today

I haven't participated in Bountiful Baskets for six months or so.  Found out my regular location has been discontinued, so I found one near our church that is pretty convenient.  I also like the later pick up time, so even though I arrived the usual hour early to help unload boxes and distribute baskets, it was already light when I got there.

Look at what I got and see if you can tell why I'm feeling German today:

Lotsa root vegetables there: onions, potatoes, and beets, plus a cabbage for good measure.  I think I see a soup or stew coming next week.  Anyway, when I lived in Germany I was struck by how common cabbages and root vegetables were on restaurant plates.

It was fun to go back for more vegetables and I plan to not wait nearly as long next time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

An October medical tradition

Somehow the girls' annual checkups have become an October thing. A couple of years ago I had to take one of them in for something (very rare in our family) and the regular pediatrician was out and we agreed to see his partner.  Loved her.  Never went back to the original one.

It's fun to listen to her ask all the medical questions, then launch into the social ones, great to hear the age-appropriate answers, reassuring to see their growth and development is right on track.

Love these girls!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recipes I'm thinking about making for Thanksgiving

Have I mentioned I love Thanksgiving?  No?  Well, it's just about my favorite holiday because it is all about family, friends, and being thankful.  There is some pressure to put on a good meal, but none of the overwhelming expectation of gifts and d├ęcor that comes with Christmas.

And speaking of food, here are some recipes I'm considering (and this list will increase!):

Layered Pumpkin Dessert

Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

"Almost Like" Kings Hawaiian Rolls

Salted Caramel Pecan Pie


Friday, October 17, 2014

LJ's very good day

If running errands with Grandma Kate is a good day, LJ had a good day.  We started off the day at library story time.

We stopped at the bank to get a copy of a money order the State of New Mexico Vital Statistics says it never got.  Found out it had been stolen and cashed at a "speedy loan" kind of place.  Guess that's why I never got the birth certificates I ordered.  LJ was remarkably good-natured during the long wait.  Like those blue lips from the bank's free DumDum?

Next we went to the county sheriff's office and found out we needed to go to the city police station instead.  That shows about how much police contact I typically have, i.e. NONE.

We finally got to the right police station and waited outside after pushing the button, then calling through the little round microphone thing that amplifies the voices through the glass.  I guess it was turned on inside after all.  Happily, there were lots of toys in the waiting room.

Our last stop before home was a stop at Costco where I managed to keep it from becoming not the "dollar store," but the "hundred dollar store" for once.

Finally, lunch and a nap.  What a morning!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A great week for Kevin

This week Kevin joined the Utah Army National Guard.  We have a long tradition of military service in our family and I'm very pleased by his choice.

Isn't he handsome?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meal Plan

This week I'm taking advantage of Jessica's pre-planned menus

I like the menus she posts because she has very approachable food my family likes. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Meal Plan

Monday: Beef stew (beef from the freezer, veggies that need to be used up), biscuits

Tuesday:  Kung Pao Chicken over rice (from last week--didn't get to it)

Wednesday Crockpot chili (I have a lot of salsa that needs to be used up and this uses salsa)

Thursday: Chicken Fajita Bubble-Up Bake, vegetables/fruit

Friday: pizza

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy birthday to me!

I didn't plan anything in particular for my birthday, but had a pleasant day of doing what I wanted (shoe horned in around work, of course).

I started off the day with breakfast at IHOP, or International House of Pancakes, as I like to call it.  I had a coupon for a free stack of pancakes, but invited David to come along and he treated me to the hot chocolate, even offering me to order the Lumberjack Special and forget the birthday pancakes.  The pancakes were great and the hot chocolate was nicely piled with whipped cream and the waiter brought me a second one as a birthday bonus.

I had three books to return to the library, so that was next.  Yes, I'm a geek; I like to read Consumer Reports, so I always read it in the library.  I read the whole September issue, then checked out a couple of books for Conor.

The library is in the same complex as a Goodwill thrift store, so I stopped in for a quick look in my favorite departments (housewares, linens, children's clothing) and spent a grand total of $1.79 for a new canning jar and a pair of shorts for my grandson.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meal Plan

Monday: Leftovers from the fridge--spicy chickpea stew, Cuban beans over rice

Tuesday: Asian Beef Noodle Bowls, green salad

Wednesday:  Spaghetti with meatballs, green beans

Thursday:  Kung Pao Chicken over rice

Friday: Slow Cooker White Pizza Dip with tortilla chips and/or pita chips

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lots of Mormon temples being built all over the world--infographic below

A Mormon temple has been announced for my city, but it's still in the planning stage and not included below.  But look at the exciting things happening all over the world:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Look! Look! Look!

The third time is the charm for us with regard to growing our own ocotillo in the front yard, right where I can see it out my office window.  It's my favorite desert plant and on our third try we have a thriving plant.
Bill and I thought it was dead because no leaves grew despite regular watering after it was transplanted.  We were thinking about calling the nursery where we got it and pulling it out to return and get our money back.  However, one day we noticed flowers at the tips of two branches (arms?) and the humming birds had discovered the flowers as well.  We knew we had a live plant after all!

Such smart plants, these ocotillos; they grow leaves when it rains, then drop them after a fairly short dry period.  Since plants lose most water through their leaves, this is an adaptation for the desert. They can grow and drop leaves up to eight times a year! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

More rain we really need!

This is a beautiful sight here in the Sonoran Desert:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Quilt club!

This morning was my monthly quilt club--a block of the month club.  Each time I go I receive a pattern, instructions from the teacher, and two small pieces of fabric that must be included in that month's block.  There is not enough fabric to sew the whole thing using only those two pieces, so we must add our own fabric and design choices.

The two fabrics given in August were the light pink and one of the dark pinks.  I have decided to add one color and to use premium white muslin liberally each month. Since I want a larger quilt than the twelve monthly blocks will make, I decided I need to make thirty blocks this year, so three for each of six months, then two for the remaining six months. 

My second block in August was almost identical to the one above, and my third block was completely different.  The only difference in the seams is because I was not turning this one in, and the corners were all white, I did not sew together two triangles to make the corner squares.  If I had been turning this one in to the quilt shop, I would have had to make them according to the official pattern.  The placement of the colors makes an amazing difference, doesn't it?

Here are the August blocks the quilt shop ladies made:

Ha--I realized the pictures are sideways but . . . they're quilt blocks so it doesn't matter!  I'm thinking of making at least one with color placement like the blue/gold one in the lower picture and I don't know about the others.  The two turquoise fabrics are the must-use fabrics for August.

This is what my niece was doing during the class:

Yes, crocheting.

Friday, September 5, 2014

When cats fly . . . .

Wednesday night I was driving the girls plus a friend home from activity night at Church.  As we neared our neighborhood on the main street, one of my girls asked me if I thought the little grandsons would be in bed already.  I laughed and said, "When pigs fly!"  I had to explain that it meant something was extraordinarily unlikely, just as pigs' flying would be very unlikely.

We dropped off the friend, then went slowly around her street, which is a circle, headed toward our house.

Suddenly two of the girls shouted, "Mom!! There's a cat in the road!"  Instantly I saw reflecting gold eyes and dodged the car to the left as the cat TOOK FLIGHT.  It was an owl--a huge owl sitting in the street and it looked just like a large cat in the dark.

We laughed and laughed as we thought about the "pigs flying" comment just a few minutes earlier and wished I had said, yes, the boys would be in bed when CATS fly!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our anti-wildlife project

A month or so ago I was checking on the chickens when I heard sounds coming from the storage shed that sounded like Michael Westen was tied up inside.  Thump, thump, thumpety, thump!  While I was wondering what on earth was going on, a little head popped out from the tiny space between the shed and the concrete block fence--a cute little squirrel.

Cute squirrel, but she brought along a number of her friends and relatives and while they didn't get into the shed, they dug around under it and hung around in the side yard all the time.

Bill bought a no-kill trap to take care of things.  This weekend four squirrels were relocated and about 6:30 this morning we caught a fifth.

Like two of the others, she was vigorously try to get out and you can see she was trying to figure out the trigger bar.  The third squirrel actually damaged the mechanical parts, he was so anxious to get out, and Bill had to take the trap apart and reassemble it.

This has been a very interesting experience!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

First day of school--Part 2

While I was taking Sophia to the bus, Bill was taking Caroline and Elizabeth to theirs.  Last year he drove them to school every day because for one reason or another we never figured out exactly what time the bus came through the neighborhood.  However, this year the information was easy to find and Bill and I decided they need to ride the bus both to and from school, which makes it easier for him to get to work early.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

First day of school--yes, it's still July

Our girls get out of school early (middle-end of May) and have several 1-2 week vacations which all lead to a very early start to the school year.

The girls had to be to the bus stops at almost the same time and going in opposite directions from the house, so Bill took the older girls and I took Sophia.  Doesn't she look cute in her pink, pink, pink outfit?  (She LOVES pink.)

And here is Sophia and her friendly bus driver:

It's her last year of elementary school as her school goes from Kindergarten to fifth grade.  Wow.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A very nice "shop locally" promotion

We almost always get out of the house on Thursdays because my mother's house cleaners come that day and I need to get the girls out of their way.  Today I took them to 4th Avenue, which is a fun and funky street near the university.  I thought we would window shop up and down the street, which entails about 6 blocks, then go home.  Instead we found announcements for a "Where Is Waldo?" promotion.

The girls got a "passport" at one of the sponsoring stores, then set out to find a 6" cardboard cut out of Waldo in the stores listed.  We found 15 of them!  Some of the store clerks were helpful and some weren't.  I did notice about half the clerks' eyes darted to the approximate location when I told them we were looking for Waldo.  LOL.

Holding the passports in our hands kind of gave us permission to walk all over various stores and even restaurants while we looked for Waldo.  It was fun.  And of course it got us into more than a dozen stores we never would have gone into.

When it was all over we did not stop at one of the interesting restaurants that dotted the street because they were a little more than my budget would allow, but we did stop at a Dairy Queen in the district, which was actually a very rare event for my girls.  No inside seating, only outside.  Two Blizzards and a large sundae, please.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer party!

Our ward (church congregation) has parties . . . just because, and plenty of them.  This was the first time we've ever had a large water feature for a party and it was a huge hit with all the kids and some of the adults as well.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

We love our zoo!

This trip certainly seemed to be for the birds . . . .

There were a couple of good looking girls in the same area and you can see one of them in the background above.

This was another peacock.  Such beautiful feathers!  The bird below let me get that close to it (no telephoto lens).  It does not have an aviary but flies free.  However, I've seen it there many times, so it knows the zoo is a good home.

This crane got spooked by something and gave a really loud squawk that startled us!

There were a number of duck with their teenagers.

The girls wore their swim suits in hopes of playing in the water area, but it was closed due to an infestation of bees.  Water + heat, of course the bees like it!

And of course we always take a picture by the sculpture.  It's almost as good for watching growth as the marks on the back of the kitchen door.