Monday, December 17, 2012

After Pants

I wasn't surprised to be the only woman in my ward in pants on Sunday.  I did see a bit of purple, and that was nice.  No one said anything unkind to me, and I think I felt like I got stared at more than I actually did.

The biggest thing I learned from this is that no matter what anyone else actually thinks of you, it's your perception of what others think that affects you the most.  I gained a greater understanding of what it feels like to not "fit in".  I hope that I can take that knowledge and use it to be more compassionate to others who, for whatever reason, feel like they don't fit in.

I was also thinking about the parable of the good samaritan.
Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"
He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind, [Deuteronomy 6:5]; and your neighbour as yourself [Leviticus 19:18]."
He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."
 But he, desiring to justify himself, asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbour?"
 Jesus answered, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he travelled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, 'Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.' Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbour to him who fell among the robbers?"
He said, "He who showed mercy on him."
Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do." 
This past week, we've seen women (and men) who are in pain, hurting.  Some over things they don't understand.  Some because they've been treated badly by those who should love and support them.  Some over deeply rooted cultural issues.

The overwhelming response I saw, to this expression of pain was statements of, "well, I've never been treated as less than", or "my husband treats me like a queen".  I'm saddened that instead of trying to understand, and to offer help regardless of differing perspectives, I saw a lot of turning away, of passing on the other side.

What a missed opportunity to listen and comfort, and show mercy on a soul who was in pain.

On the other side, I saw many women find their courage.  Women who stood up for something they believed in, even though it was scary.  I also saw conversations happening that will lead to greater understanding down the road.  I saw sisters find others who understand their pain, friendships formed. My heart is happy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Last week some women on facebook got together and decided they were going to start a "wear pants to church day", this sunday.  I'm late to the party, posting about it, seeing as it's been all around the news and there are more blog posts talking about it than I can count.

I know that I have friends and family who are perplexed by the whole thing.  They've never felt treated less than at church, and don't get why some women want to be like men.

First, I want to say that I love each of you, and I don't care if you disagree with me over this one.  I'm used to loving people who disagree with me on various issues.  I do hope that you can consider a few points here.

  1. These women are not trying to make women be like men.  I personally wear pants 6-days a week and have not yet actually turned into a man.  Pants don't make the man.  Pants are an item of clothing that come in many different styles.  Some casual, some dressy, some more masculine in design, and some very feminine.  
  2. Some women do actually feel very real pain, and do actually feel like they are not treated equally at church.  (Some have had real-life horrible experiences with unrighteous dominion.)  Just because that is not your personal experience doesn't invalidate other people's experience.  (Likewise, their experience doesn't invalidate your own, so there is no need to feel defensive.  Nothing is under attack.)
  3. When people are hurting, it is unkind for us to respond by calling them names (silly, stupid, ridiculous, dumb feminist b****- just a small sampling of things I've seen this week), or telling them that they shouldn't feel the way they do.  That doesn't fix anything.  What they need is for someone to say, "I don't understand why you feel the way you do, but I'm sorry you are hurting. How can I help?"
  4. No one is showing up at church to disturb the meeting, or protest anything.  Most people who are wearing pants or purple to church are doing so to say, "here I am, in support of my sisters or brothers who are hurting, and maybe I hurt to, so I'm going to mourn with those who mourn, and comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and hopefully someone will see that I could use someone to mourn with me, and to comfort me too."

Friday, November 16, 2012

Product Review Update: Lunch Containers

I wrote awhile back about my search for lunch containers that didn't leak, were easy to open, and weren't plastic.  I kind of failed to find anything, since glass wouldn't work, and all the metal containers seemed difficult for small hands to open (or they weren't water tight).  My mom introduced me to Preserve, she found a cutting board and brought it home from a trip to California.  I ordered a set of the Mini Storage Containers.  We've been using them for several weeks, and the kids haven't had a problem getting the lid off, they don't leak, they're the perfect size for yogurt or fruit, and they seem pretty solid- so they should last for quite awhile.

I'm not getting paid to say this, or being provided any free product, I'm just reviewing this item because I love it.  Check out the website, they have some neat products, all made from recycled #5 plastics.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Funeral Potatoes without the "cream of..." soups

I love funeral potatoes.  It may be a Mormon thing, I don't know.  What I do know is that aside from actual funerals, I don't think I ate "real" funeral potatoes until I was married and my Mother-in-Law made them for dinner (along with a ham, because that's what you do).  My mom made "Cheesy Potatoes" which are also delicious, but they're not the same thing.

My Mother-in-Law's recipe is the gold standard to which I hold all other funeral potato recipes:

6 boiled, peeled and grated potatoes

1/4 cup melted butter
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup grated cheese
1 cup sour cream

2 cups corn flakes, crushed

Put half of the potatoes in a 9x13 baking dish.  Spread with half the mixture, repeat with remaining potatoes and sauce.  Cover with crushed corn flakes.  Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Now, I'm trying to get away from using cream of anything soups, because they're full of stuff that's hard to pronounce and maybe we shouldn't be consuming.  I'll keep eating funeral potatoes made this way when other people make them, because they're still delicious, and it's not every day, but I decided when I make them myself I'd try to find a way to make them without the cream of soup can.

Looking around the internet, I found a recipe that looked promising at  I made it as directed at it was really very good.  I think I'd leave out the thyme, and I used Better than Bouillon added directly, and then just milk in place of the chicken broth.  It was really easy to make, not much harder than the gold standard (easier if you use store bought hash brown potatoes) So here's my version:
{Photo Credit}

-3 Tbsp butter
-1 medium onion, finely diced
-1/4 cup flour
-1 Tbsp chicken flavored Better than Bouillon soup base
-2 1/2 cups milk
-1 1/2 tsp salt
-Pepper to taste
-2 1/2 cups (or so) shredded cheddar cheese
-1/2 cup sour cream
-6 potatoes peeled, boiled and shredded OR 1 26 oz bag of frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
-2 cups lightly crushed corn flakes

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter and saute chopped onion until the onion is soft and starts to caramelize (caramelized onions make everything taste better).  Add the flour and stir until it is combined well with the onions and butter.  Add the chicken Better than Bouillon and stir, then add the milk.  Whisk.  Add the salt and pepper.  Heat until almost boiling, but not quite, whisk until the mixture begins to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in all but a little of the cheese (save some for topping).  Place half of your potatoes in a baking dish, and top with half of the cheese sauce, repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese sauce (you can stir everything together if you want, but it tends to mash the potatoes more, especially if you're using real potatoes you shredded yourself).  Sprinkle remaining cheese and crushed corn flakes over the top and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  In a pinch you can use crushed corn chex or other similar cereal.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pinterest Halloween S'mores

I saw a cute halloween treat idea of Pinterest, and thought I'd try it out for my son's halloween party at school.  The original had ghosts, but halloween peeps were really hard to find, so I used what I could get.  I made up my own label for it since the pinterest label said ghosts.
I used a sandwich bag, the snack size would work, but would make the label a little trickier to attach.

Place peep and chocolate on crackers (I broke the chocolate in half so it fit better).

In the microwave the peep gets frighteningly large, but it flattens out when you take it out.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Putting the Garden to Bed, and Storing the Harvest

The last post of the season is up over at fMh.  Go check it out, and learn what you need to do to make sure your garden is ready to go in the spring, as well as how to get your fall harvest to last as long as possible.

Also, it looks like picked up some of my Inner Pioneer posts in their Mormon Report section.  Yea me! 

Now I just need to get out and finish putting my own garden to bed.  I only dug about half the potatoes, and there are a lot more sunflowers out there.  My Mister likes to eat sunflower seeds to keep him awake while driving, so maybe he can eat home roasted ones.  If you have any great flavor suggestions, let me know.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Homemade Grape Juice

Head over to feminist Mormon housewives to see my post on making your own grape juice!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Under Pressure: Pressure Canning Without Fear

I have a new post up at Feminist Mormon Housewives on pressure canning tomatoes, though the tips are helpful for any food you want to pressure can (low acid foods like green beans, and meats, and things like soups should be pressure canned.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Product Preview: In search of the perfect lunch container

I've been searching for over a year now for the perfect container to send homemade yogurt to school with my kids for lunch.  I've looked at lots, and found a few that might work, but they just cost so much that I hadn't yet bit the bullet and bought them.

Enter Preserve.  The containers are made from recycled #5 plastics (things like yogurt cups).  Kind of fitting to use recycled yogurt cups to store my homemade yogurt.

At 3.99 for two or 9.99 for ten, they're inexpensive enough that I don't worry so much about sending them to the school lunch room.  Plus they're super cute.  I'll report back after I get them and we've tried them out a few times.

The website sells toothbrushes and razors (and the neat thing about these, is that you send them back when you're done and they recycle them to make more), kitchen items and tableware.  


Head over to feminist Mormon housewives to read my new post, and learn how to can applesauce and pie apples. 

(pay no attention to the jar of apricot puree)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Alice Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

Every year, I plant one or two jalapeno pepper plants.  Inevitably, if I plant one, it dies, and if I plant two, they both flourish.  The same thing seems to happen with zucchini plants.  It just happened that while I was making salsa with my Mister, we took a break for lunch, and he pulled the store bought jar of pickled jalapeno peppers out of the fridge to put some on his sandwich.  It was an "aha" moment.  Something we've been buying that we don't need to be.  A few days later I went out and picked all the jalapeno peppers, did a little googling for a good, simple recipe and got busy.  My adjusted recipe worked perfectly for 2 half pints of chopped peppers.  

1 quarts jalapeno peppers
1 cups white wine vinegar
1 cups water
1/2 teaspoon pickling salt per half pint
1 small garlic clove peeled, whole per half pint

Wash the jalapeno peppers, then, wearing gloves, chop them all into quarter inch slices.  The gloves are important so that you don't burn your skin.

Fill your jars, leaving an inch or so headspace (these were packed down a bit before we added the brine).

Add garlic clove and salt.

In a pan, combine vinegar and water and bring to a boil.  Pour boiling liquid into jars, wipe rims, and top with 2 piece caps.  Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusted for altitude in my area it was actually 20 minutes).  

This is my first year getting into pickling, and it's so easy, I can't believe I haven't done it before.  Remove the jars from the BWB canner, and place on a towel on the counter until cool.  Check for seal by pushing in on the lid.  If it didn't seal, put it in the fridge and eat it first.  Jars that sealed can be wiped down and put in the pantry.  Delicious, easy pickled jalapeno peppers ready for use all year!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Garlic Scapes and Garden Update- June

Last week I finally got around to cutting the garlic scapes.  Garlic scapes are the stem that the flowering head grows on.  They should be cut off to allow more growth to go to the bulb.  

You cut them at the point they meet the leaves.  I think I had close to 25 scapes.  Cut just below the flower bulb and discard the upper part (I fed them to my chickens).

Coat scapes with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt.

Put on a hot grill (this was a bedtime snack...)

It's just like cooking asparagus.  They were tasty, but the two of us could only eat so many.  The rest I pureed with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts- garlic scape pesto.  We ate some on pasta for dinner the next night and the rest, I put it in little containers and froze for later.

This morning when My Mister got back from a scout campout, we headed over to my cousin's house.  She's out of town and said we could pick her raspberries.  We picked about a gallon of berries.  Two trays full went in the freezer, and we saved a bowl for eating.  Some day I'm going to have a patch like that.  We'd have plenty to eat, make jam, and freeze enough to last the winter.  Also canning.  I canned a few jars last year as an experiment, and while we didn't like them for eating, My Mister loved them for putting in smoothies.  I'm all for smoothie fruits that don't take up freezer space!

After picking berries, we took naps (we all had late nights) then I planted this rocoto pepper plant that we started from seed.  It's in a self-watering container, which hopefully means I don't kill it off.

I planted three small cherry tomato plants in a larger self-watering container.

I mowed the patio-yard with the reel mower.  Plus My Mister moved the dog kennel since the backyard is now fenced in.  The property value just took a jump up.

My Mister moved things around and weed whacked around the chicken coop.  The chickens get the dog kennel and now have a much bigger yard to roam in.

I watered the garden, and My Mister put the last of the grass clipping pile and spread it out on the pathways.  The garden is looking great, although the sprinkler system is not working.  The control box malfunctioned.  It's getting replaced tonight- I'm tired of hand watering.

My Mister mowed the field.

I buried the potato plants again.  I'm mildly concerned about the potato box.  Apparently late season potatoes work better, and I think the variety I have here is a mid-season.  Hopefully I'm not disappointed this fall to take the thing apart and have only a hand full of potatoes.  The plants have grown really well, so whatever happens, I'll do it again next year, but I'll be more careful about selecting a good variety.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Early Morning Watering and Garden Puttering

This isn't garden or puttering, but you can never have too many cute baby pictures... Baby E playing on his "computer".  We train them young around here.

I *think* this is a cucumber.  There are so many weeds that look similar that it's hard to know for sure- so I'm not pulling anything until they get a little bigger and I can better distinguish weed from plant.

The transplanted raspberries seem to be doing pretty well- we only lost a couple.

Beans are up, and I'm happy to report that the saved seeds appear to be coming up at the same rate as the purchased seed.

Finally, potatoes!  There are only three plants up, so hopefully the others pop up soon, so I can bury them all again...

Some of these are weeds, but most of them are sunflowers.  It's going to be fun to have the long row of them edging the garden.

Blackcaps.  Even without the bees, they seem to be thriving and there are lots of buds where fruit will form.


I didn't take a picture, but the tomatoes and peppers are being hardened off, so we'll get them planted on saturday.  Also, there are three cracked eggs on the garage floor that I've been putting off cleaning up... I put them in the pocket of the stroller canopy to bring to the house, and when we got to the garage, baby E pulled the canopy down, dumping the eggs.  I about cried because we have two or three broody hens and eggs aren't as abundant as they have been.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Garden Progress and a DIY Wasp Trap

My Mister and CP worked on digging a trench to run the sprinkler line to our new smaller "big" garden.  Since the house is going to be under construction this year, we'll have trucks driving over our regular garden spot.  My Mister plowed up an area further south, leaving room for trucks to get through where they'll need to.  It makes the big garden smaller than we'd like it, but we'll survive.  Originally he was going to run a line all the way up the side of the garden, but the side by the sheds is so rocky that we decided to run the line just next to the sheds, and from there, just do some sort of above-ground line.  We don't know if we'll need to use this garden again next year or can move back to our regular location which will soon be my back yard.  (Imagine- gardening in my own garden in my own back yard....sigh...)

12 rows of green beans.

3 rows of potatoes.

One peach tree.  This replaced the peach tree we planted with my dad two years ago that died over the winter.  It's a little taller than I like for a new fruit tree, but it had the best shape of all the trees at the nursery.  I can't remember the name, but it's a mid to late producer (which means it's safer from frosts), freestone, and very sweet. 

One Bartlett Pear.

This is my potato tower.  I plated 12 or so seed potatoes in the bottom.  Once they sprout, we'll screw the first round of slats around the bottom of the tower and fill it in with soil or something... It will end up being a lot of soil, so I'm not totally sure about what I'm going to use.  I have a big bag of peat moss, so I may use that.  I also have a lot of old potting soil, which I may use.  The idea is that as the plants grow, you build up the sides of the tower.  I'll be able to harvest early potatoes by unscrewing the bottom slat and pulling the little potatoes out- all without disturbing the rest of the tower.  I've posted the link before, but I got the idea from pinterest, and this website.

The strings are to deter Inti dog from romping through my newly planted garden.  This is the bean side.

The potato side (well there are more beans over there too..).  My Mister says I need to work on my straight rows.  Whoops.

These are the raspberries we got from my cousin.  We were going to plant them somewhere else, but it was filled with weeds, and we didn't have time to get it ready, since the raspberries were a last minute trade for some of our tomato plants.  This will be a fine place for raspberries.  I'm just happy to have a year head start from when I thought I'd be planting raspberries in my yard.

The far end that isn't planted yet will hold squash and as many tomato plants as we can fit in.  Along the right side of the picture I planted a row of giant sunflowers.  

Gratuitous chicken pic.  I have two broody hens, and they weren't tempted out by the greens I tossed in.

I saw a tutorial on pinterest for a homemade wasp trap.  We had several crawling around in the chicken coop, so I cut the top off of a 2-liter bottle, inverted the top inside the bottle, and filled the bottom with vinegar and sugar.  I caught three wasps and several flies the first couple of days, but haven't caught anything since.  I think it needs to be refreshed regularly.  

Hello Egg.  No reason for this picture, other than to express my joy that it is spring, and the grass is green, and the eggs are aplenty.