Thursday, December 30, 2010


I've gotten a little behind with my plans for this winter.  I had intended to plant lettuce under our grow lights and have not yet.  I intended to take cuttings from the grape vines, and haven't.  My other to-do project this winter was get bees ordered.

photo credit
That, I actually did, which means my Mister needs to get hopping (as soon as he is healthy again) and build a hive.  We've decided to use a Top Bar Hive instead of the traditional type of hive.  The honey production is slightly lower, but it's much easier to use, cheaper (especially since mr. can build it himself) and produces lots of wax that we can use.  I'm looking into making those wickless candle square refill things....  The harvesting of the honey is also much easier, since we don't need any special equipment.  A potato masher, cheesecloth for straining out the wax, some clean buckets, and the sunshine should take care of the entire process.

The bees will arrive in april, and we're looking forward to adding them to our suburban homestead.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010 in review... sort of...

Merry Christmas to our friends and family!  I thought I'd make things easier on myself by putting a link to my blog in our christmas card, and not sending a million copies of our christmas letter around.  Also, I didn't write a christmas letter.  I sat down to start one, but was interrupted in the first attempt by J throwing up.  The next week when I sat down to do it again, my Mister and A had come down with the flu.  The funny thing is that I've put off writing anything on my blog because after nursing sick people for two weeks, I am sick, along with CP and baby E.

Due to my lack of sleep/general achyness, I can't really remember everything that happened this year.  My most recent memories involve trying to get the binky to stay put in baby E's ear, until it dawned on me that that was not where binky's go, and taking a handful of wet burp rags to the garbage can instead of the laundry.  (I caught myself in time).  Remind me not to hold the baby when trying to do anything else, or he's likely to end up in the bread box or something.

The second-biggest thing we did this year was, after unsuccessfully trying to sell our home for a year, we decided to try the rental market, and had renters within a week or two.  We then moved in with my parents, and are now living in their home while they are on an LDS mission in the Lima Peru Temple.  We miss them, but are glad they're doing something they love and serving in a wonderful area.  (My Mister also served his mission in Peru, which has J (age 9) very excited about serving a mission in Peru someday also.)

We're currently crossing our fingers and jumping through hoops in hopes of building our dream home on some family owned property adjacent to my parents' house.  Send good building thoughts our way, and also to the city council and planning commission.

J (age 9) is in 4th grade this year, and has a wonderful teacher.  We love her!  He's growing up so much- the other day I looked at him, and couldn't take my eyes off of him.  I can see signs of maturity.  Luckily he still wants to snuggle with mom on occasion.  His favorite things are his wii games, (preferably anything lego), his bike, and books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians set.  For christmas his brother bought him The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero, by the same author, and he's loving it.  J also likes basketball and soccer, and can't pick one over the other, which makes for a couple of crazy weeks when the two overlap.

A (age 6 11/12ths) is loving first grade, although he has decided that kindergarten was "more fun".  He's learning to be independent and is testing limits, which has been an adventure, but he's also the first to give me a hug and a grin.  A also played soccer and basketball for the first time this year.  We're hoping he can pick a favorite, but we're not holding our breath.  My Mister has been giving him piano lessons here and there, and he thinks that's pretty neat too.  His absolute favorite thing to do is build things, whether it's "paper wallets" (mom has had to be really careful about throwing random papers away in case A has stuck his life savings inside), or working on his miniature tool bench that he got for christmas last year, or building forts around the yard.  If you come to our house, you'll see off the front porch an elaborate system of rope, wood and cardboard boxes.  A also enjoys playing with legos and does that pretty much anytime he can't go outside to build something.

CP is 3, and continues to be a fun and happy kid.  We've enjoyed nearly everything about him for his entire life.  He likes to help A build things, and play on mom's ipod.  He's gotten pretty good at some of the puzzle games, which has convinced mom that he's going to grow up to be a genius.  He likes to "play toys", and will do pretty much whatever his older brothers will let him tag along for.

Baby E (about 5 months) is an adorable baby (he's the biggest thing we did this year!), but we wish he'd sleep more.  He likes to be held and played with constantly (I can't blame him, we're a fun family- who'd want to be stuck of in a baby chair at the side of the room!).  He can roll over from front to back, and gives the best baby smiles.  He was doing pretty well sleeping until we messed up his schedule by taking him to Oregon for Thanksgiving, he still hasn't forgiven us for that car ride, and wakes us up several times a night to remind us not to do that again anytime soon.

We hope you all had a peaceful Christmas.

All Our Love!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Perhaps the rest of the year, when I don't think so much about buying STUFF, it's easier to not think about those who can't buy necessities, let alone, STUFF.  It hurts my heart to think of anyone sleeping outside right now.  I just walked around the corner to pick my preschooler up from his playgroup, and by the time I got home my fingers were freezing.  

If it hurts your heart too, consider making a donation to The Road Home.  You can donate money online, you can also drop off in-kind donations at:
 210 South Rio Grande Street (455 West)

Salt Lake City
Some of the things they need the most are: all sizes of hats, jackets, coats, socks, (new) underwear, blankets, larger sizes of diapers, towels, pillows.  There is a whole list of things they are in need of.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Picture Round Up (Thanksgiving and beyond)

We spent Thanksgiving with my Mister's brothers in Oregon again this year.  We went to the Portland Japanese gardens.  The gardens were beautiful, and made me wish we could have a yard like them.

 J wanted to have a picture of just him in front of this zen garden, but cousins kept popping into the picture.  When he finally got some space, he posed triumphantly.  

We also went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.  Here are how my boys measure up to seabirds.

We were able to watch some of the animals being fed, and doing tricks.  The trainers said that learning tricks keeps the animals from getting bored.  The tricks sure kept us entertained!

Me, my boys (baby E is in the bottom of the double stroller), and A's new best friend, cousin C.

We're in the shark tunnel.  Sharks above, and the sides, and underneath.  The underneath sharks were hard to see unless you got down for a close-up.

Shark above.

Some boys got eaten.

Baby E, and his cousin Baby C who were born 11 hours apart on the same day.

We had quite an adventure coming home from oregon.  There was a big storm, and the road we needed was closed, so we spent the night at the Best Western in Jerome Idaho.  It was really nice, if you ever need a place to stay in Jerome, I highly recommend it.  The kids had a blast.  There's nothing like staying up late, eating microwave popcorn in bed and watching TV in a hotel.

Once we were home and had a week or so to settle down, we got out the Christmas decorations.  We bought the tree (in oregon) 9 years ago, for $10.  Every year I think it looks pretty bad, and think about replacing it with something a little nicer, and something pre-lit.  But, every year we get it decorated with all the things the kids have made over the years, and it doesn't look too bad.  So I decide to save my money.  My Mister and I wrapped the presents.  CP's present is as big as he is, and when he saw it, he pumped his arms up and down in the air.  His comment after the decorations were all up was, "Is Santa here YET?!"  He's also very concerned about the snow melting, for some reason he thinks that it can only be Christmas time if there is snow on the ground. 

We set up my nativity, and pinecone garland on the bookshelf in front of the greenhouse.  

 It's been a few years since the outside of this house had any decorations.  When I was a kid, I remember my dad climbing the huge pine trees in the yard and putting lights everywhere.  My Mister declined to do such a thing.  (I don't know why, as if he has anything else to do...)

We took down the Peruvian hat that the buffalo was wearing in honor of my parents, and put the santa hat.  Hopefully it doesn't scare off the reindeer.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Can you guess what this is?

These are the things I took out of A's backpack.  He was having a rough day and said, "mom, sometimes I feel like running away".  He was even packed and ready to go.  I'm glad to see he had clean socks and underwear, along with a couple of notepads and a pen- he likes to make lists of things he does or sees.  He also packed a bingo card from a Mario Bros birthday party he attended recently, and a tile that he was given by the primary leaders in our last ward.  He's such a sweet kid.  Instead of him running away, we've been having snuggle time.  

Monday, November 08, 2010


This month, I went to Costco and the grocery store and spent most of my grocery budget.  I actually went on October 27th or something.  Pretty bad to spend most of your November budget before the month even starts, but I've decided it won't be all that difficult to stick to my budget, even with Thanksgiving.  I made a month schedule for dinner every night (including leftover nights, although my Mister has been eating leftovers for lunch so often lately, that we may have to come up with alternatives to leftover night...), based off of things I have in the pantry or freezer.  We also have some tomato plants growing in the greenhouse, which yield a tomato here and there.

Tonight's dinner was one I wasn't sure about throwing together out of the pantry/fridge/freezer, but I haven't been to the grocery store since October 27th.  (I get milk delivered every week)

I partially defrosted a buffalo rump roast, sliced it, then cut each slice into strips (cut against the grain to make the meat more tender).

Once the meat is cut into small strips, place it in a pan and cook- I don't know if it was the fact that the meat was still partially frozen, but it ended up with a lot of liquid (not a lot of fat though- buffalo is very lean), leave the liquid because it makes the meat nice and juicy without having to add anything to it.  Once the meat is cooked, add onions and multi-colored peppers (I had bags of chopped peppers in the freezer- some from the garden and some leftover from a family party a couple of months ago).  Season with garlic, chili powder, and a little cumin.  Cover and turn on low to simmer until peppers and onions are cooked.

I served the fajitas on corn tortillas (I keep a package in the freezer, and take out however many I need and defrost them in the microwave) with sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa, spanish rice (my easy spanish rice is just rice cooked with some tomato sauce, chili powder, garlic and salt), olives, lettuce and tomatoes.  Avocados would have been nice, but they're not really a food storage sort of food.

These were really easy (aside from cutting up meat- I don't like handling raw meat, though having it partially frozen makes it a little less disgusting), and the kids even liked most everything (they didn't like the peppers, and would have complained about the onions, but didn't notice them).  Writing this post and looking at the picture is making me want more- they were really good.  Maybe I'll have leftovers for lunch tomorrow too...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Garden Clean Up 2010

We plowed the big garden where the corn and beans were planted several weeks ago.  Today we finally got around to pulling out everything in the raised beds.   There were a few unfrozen peppers and tomatoes so we gathered them up along with the rest of the asian pears.  I'm hoping we can store them in the garage and have the fresh fruit for another month or so.
While we were cleaning out the garden, we cut the artichoke plants down, covered them with sawdust, then several thick layers of newspaper, and finally some netting to keep the newspapers from blowing away.  We would have used leaves, but the trees haven't dropped enough yet.  Now we're crossing our fingers that the plants will survive the winter and really produce next year.  The Prudent Homemaker was able to harvest 100+ artichokes last year.  (this fact triggers salivating...)
The part without newspaper is where the onions are.  We harvested the bigger ones and left the small ones for next year.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shameless Friend Promotion

My totally amazing former college roommate is the author of the blog The Great Fitness Experiment.  She's hilarious and wonderful, and now you can enjoy even more hilarity in her book (preorder it now-I did-, once it's out, the price will go back up):

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion

I've been feeling wordy lately.  Check out my guest posts at Feminist Mormon Housewives and Wheat and Tares.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Getting Through the Winter/Propagating Grapes

It's supposed to snow.

Yesterday, I sat in the garage loading sliced and peeled apples into jars, and admitted to my Mister, that canning apples (and grape juice) made it finally feel like fall.

If it snows, that means the garden will freeze soon, and there won't be any more fresh tomatoes. I like fall, with the leaves changing color, and the garden in full swing. I like eating squash. I don't really like winter. The only redeeming thing about winter is playing in freshly fallen snow, and drinking tea or hot chocolate by a fire. I'd be good if winter was condensed a bit and we had a week around christmas time where it snowed, and no one had to go to work or school, and we could play and wrap up in blankets around the fire. Then it could be spring again and I could start a new garden.

Since gardening is my main hobby, winter gets a little old fast. This year to get me through, I'm planning on bringing a cherry tomato plant indoors and see how long I can keep it going, as well as a couple of regular tomato plants we have growing in the green house already.  We'll also do indoor lettuce again, they were a little leggy last year, but it was fun to have fresh home grown lettuce in december.

The thing I'm most excited about is propagating some grape vines. My parents house, where we are living was build around 1890. There are grape vines that we're not quite sure how long they've been around, but know that they were here before my parents got married. My mom says they're called agwumps. They make the best grape juice. Concord grapes are nothing in comparison. They grow along the driveway, and when we build our new house, we may not have as easy access to them (not to mention that when my parents get home from Peru, the might want to use the grapes themselves), so we're going to take cuttings to plant in our own yard. I got the instructions from this website.  It looks pretty easy.  Cutting dried stems with three or four buds, dipping them in rooting hormone, and planting them in potting soil and repotting in individual pots as they get bigger.  The website says that by spring when it's time to plant them outdoors, they should be around 6 feet tall.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gotta love conference bingo

The most fun part about conference bingo (aside from the candy) is hearing the kids yell, "PRAYER!  THEY SAID PRAYER" as they're grabbing candy to mark their cards.

I did something right, sort of...

You may (or may not) remember a post I wrote about growing artichokes.   Here is the result:
Out of 12 seeds that came in the packet, I ended up with 5 healthy plants.  Out of five healthy plants, one produced an artichoke.  (actually it produced two, but the other was so dinky, i'm not counting it.)  I debated whether to pick and eat the artichoke or not, but it wasn't huge, and there was only one, and if I picked it and ate it my kids would want some, and I decided it wasn't worth it, besides I'd heard they have beautiful blossoms, so maybe it would be better to just leave it.  (phew, sorry about that rambling)

I'm glad I did, the flower IS beautiful.  I'll try to save some seeds to start again this winter.  I'm also planning on cutting the plants back, covering them with leaves and plastic and hoping against hope that they somehow survive the winter and REALLY produce some artichokes next year!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Getting back to normal?

Aside from the thoughts that perhaps I now have more children than I can really handle (I really only think that between 3:30 and 5:30 pm on school days), I think we're adjusting to having a new baby.  Here's the evidence:
I got new bread pans several months ago, but hadn't ever used them.  They're narrower and longer than regular bread pans, which work well for sandwiches to send to school with my boys.

Can you believe these were made with freshly ground 30-year-old wheat?  Go food storage!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Baby E at 2 months

A full belly and a good stretch feels soooo nice!

Monday, September 27, 2010

A DuHa! moment

I recently had a DuHa! moment. Duh, because I can't believe this didn't occur to me sometime during the previous, oh, 9 years that I've been a parent and Aha! because I think I've had a major realization of what my job as a parent is (maybe that should be Duh! also).

It's not about me.

When my kids "spill" baking powder all over the kitchen floor, it's not about me.
When my kids "decorate" their rooms (walls, blankets, toys, bed frame) with a sharpie marker, it's not about me.
When they have a total meltdown over cleaning up their playroom, it's not about me.
When they have a tantrum over doing their homework, it's not about me.

If it was about me, I'd be angry that they made such a huge mess that they were in no way capable of cleaning up themselves. I'd be mad that they ruined a new bed spread, and left me a lot of work to do with a magic eraser (praise be to magic erasers). I'd be frustrated and feel like throwing their toys in the garbage. I'd be ready to tack on some extra jobs, and maybe do a little tantruming myself.

But it's not about me.

So instead, I show them how to use a measuring spoon without spilling the whole jar (or I keep it out of reach of little fingers), and teach them how to use a broom. I keep permanent markers up high, and kid-friendly markers and paper down low, and get two magic erasers and teach them how to clean their toys. I provide places for each toy to belong, and teach them how to put each toy away before getting out new ones, and sometimes I put toys in time out (but I don't yell, because it's not about me). Finally, I sit down with them and show them how to make a to-do list when they're overwhelmed, and if it helps, we both eat lifesavers to get us through the work.

My Aha! moment was that it's not about punishment for things they do that make me angry or frustrated, it's about teaching them to take care of their belongings, and how to clean things up if they make a mess, and use their words to express frustration, and take a deep breath and take overwhelming tasks one step at a time.

It does my kids no good for me to yell and send them to time out because I'm mad. Time outs are for helping them to calm down and think about things. What I need to do when they do something they shouldn't, is teach them what they SHOULD do next time, and show them how to fix whatever it is that they did.

Seems pretty obvious, but it took me 9 years for the idea to occur to me.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drying Nectarines

Guess what I've been doing lately?  The nectarine tree looks beautiful this year.  We don't usually can the nectarines, I've actually never tried it, but my mom said they don't can well, and she knows practically everything.  So, we've been eating them, (yum yum!) and drying them as fast as we can rotate batches through the dehydrator.
Pick and wash nectarines
Cut in half and remove pit.  Slice each half into 4 or 5 wedges.  If a piece ends up bigger or smaller than the others, you have to eat it.  A shame, I know.  Place wedges close together on drying sheet.  Load into dehydrator.  (I recommend this one: Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator - ED 2900 Dehydrater - Jerky Maker Food Dehydrator Excaliber)
Dry for somewhere around 20 hours- check occasionally so you don't overdry them.
Store in a airtight container.  If you have room, and want to keep them fresh for a longer period, store the bags in the freezer.

The most difficult thing about drying nectarines is not eating them all before winter even starts.  I keep having to tell the kids that they can eat fresh nectarines if they want, but we need to save the dried ones for when the fresh ones are gone.  (of course, I still eat a few here and there, I deserve it, I did the work, right?).

Zoo Trip

Before my parents left, while my brother and his 3-year-old were here, my mom and I had a 3-year-old-boy-zoo-trip.  Baby E got to tag along also.  It was so fun to see CP and LG play together.  They're finally old enough that they really interact and have fun together.  We were sure sad when they had to leave.  Having cousins your age is so much fun!
CP and LG at the zoo.

Isn't the baby Elephant so cute!

Are we in Peru yet?

We took my parents to the Missionary Training Center this past Monday.  They're going to be there for about two weeks, and then they're off to serve in the Lima, Peru Temple.  We're excited for them- this will be quite the adventure.

CP with Grandpa and Grandma outside their "dorm".
The older boys were at school, so we had my parents, my Mister, CP, and baby E.  As we neared Provo, CP said, "are we in Peru yet?"  He knew that's where grandma and grandpa were going, and thought we were taking them all the way there.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy Birth Day Baby E!

Baby E was born at 4:08pm on August 3rd.  

My sister helped through the delivery again, like she did with CP.  Thanks Mary!

Grandma and Grandpa took the boys while we were at the hospital.

Proud Big Brothers:




Proud Dad

I'm so glad baby E is here and part of our family.  He's so sweet, and we are all in love with him.  CP even licked him a couple of times (I think he was pretending to be a dog).  I'm also glad that I can sleep on my stomach again. :)

Food Storage Alfredo (sounds yummy doesn't it?)

(This isn't really called food storage alfredo- I just happened to have everything to make it in my fridge or pantry.  The name sounds mormony and maybe a little disgusting though doesn't it?)

  Lacking inspiration for dinner several weeks ago, I scanned the list of frugal dinner ideas at my friend Jessica's blog.

Here's what I found:

Alfredo Sauce


  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 1/2 -2 TBSP flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (I used 1%)
  • Half a block of cream cheese {cut into chunks. Low-fat varieties work just as well!}
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese {can use fresh or Kraft}
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used minced garlic)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Melt butter in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour. Gradually add milk, whisking to combine as you go. I generally add it about 1/2 cup at a time, whisk, then wait for the milk to heat up and thicken a bit before adding more.

Once all the milk has been added and it's hot {do not boil!} add the cream cheese. Whisk to combine. Heat the sauce back up before adding the Parmesan cheese. Simmer this until all is melted, and mixed well. Add salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles, with chicken, in a pizza, or however you like it!
Tips: I normally double this recipe, so that I can use the whole block of cream cheese. I freeze about a cup in small containers, for future dinners. I love this sauce and use it in a variety of ways, however my favorite is in the pasta dish described below. It's so easy and versatile! If it's summer, add zucchini, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. In the winter, I add eggplant, collard greens and frozen bell pepper. Really, I use whatever vegetables I can get inexpensively! I don't actually have a recipe for this, I just toss things in and call it good! 

I mixed the sauce with some green beans and tomatoes from the garden, and some frozen broccoli, and tossed that with the pasta.  A little sauce can go a long way, and makes for a light summer dinner.  Next time I'd put about 40 times the amount of vegetables in it that I used this time.  Other than that, It was a big hit!

July and August... Where did the summer go?

We've had a busy summer, and I haven't had time/energy/desire to update my blog.  I've been thinking about getting it printed in a book as my journal, so I thought I ought to do better at keeping things up to date.
A few days after we got home from our Ferron Reservoir camping trip (and did I mention I couldn't sleep at night while we were there?  The elevation made it hard for me to breathe), we left again for Baumgartner, the yearly trip we go on with my Mister's side of the family.

We left friday after work and stopped for the night at a truck stop.  I can't believe some trucks idle all night long. 

My Mister and CP floating in the river (it was REALLY cold this year.  I had pictured myself floating in the cool water, and how good that would feel, being large and pregnant and all- but I didn't get in further than my ankles).

All the kids in the hot pool trying to sink my Mister.  

We got home from Baumgartner and started swimming lessons the following Monday.  J and CP both passed their levels.  A will take level two again next year- the boys always repeat the same level several times before advancing.




Next up:  Back to School time.  We have school supplies in abundance, new clothes as needed, and we're all getting rather tired of each other (well mostly, J and A are tired of each other, and the rest of us are tired of hearing them argue).  I used to think it was weird when people would say they couldn't wait for their kids to go back to school.  I hated sending my little kindergartner to school, and was so happy when he was home all summer.  Now with the boys being a little older, and having a little too much "together" time, I've joined the ranks of those who are excited for the kids to go back to school.