Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Grateful Heart

This week has been busy with family and friends.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I love helping them.  As, they help me.

I can not begin to count my many blessings: and they are thousands and thousands.....!

But, as Christmas approaches I find myself so relaxed and so thankful for my ability to accomplish all that needs done.  It is a blessing to me each night, as I get into bed, to reflex on the day and what I have experienced.  Each thing is small by itself, but when the day is totalled up, I am pleased with my life and all I am able to do.

I don't know how often I will be posting over the next several weeks.  I have a date on Dec. 29th that will keep me away from my computer for awhile. During that time I will be strengthening parts of my body and healing from a surgery.  But, I want each one of you who drop by my little corner of the blog world to know I will miss you.  I will miss sharing my thought with you.  I will miss your comments.  I will miss not seeing my little world through "blog eyes".

Over the past few days I have entertained my nieces and their children and husbands.  I have shared their lives and their trials.  I have grown ever more fond of them and their children.  Children make this world so much sweeter.  I love the big eyes, the curious questions, the sincere hugs, the smiles and spontaneous giggles.  Children brighten my life.  Any age of children, whether they are 38 or 5 months, I love them.

So, as Christmas is getting closer, I find my time spent doing more service, more pondering, more reflecting and giving thanks to my Savior for all my blessings.  On Sunday I will be speaking in Sacrament meeting and also teaching in Relief Society.  What a blessing this is for me.  I have studied and learned so much this past week, and continue to, as I prepare for Sunday and Christmas.  I am grateful for my challenges and blessings with each new day.

I hope each one of you can slow down your lives and reflect on your blessings and count all the special moments in each day.  Each trial, each experience, each blessing, and each moment is precious.  To be on this earth, in this time, and to love our earthly experience with those we love is a cherished moment to be savored.

From the bottom of my heart I wish each of you a Merry Christmas.  With the love of our Savior for us as the best gift we are given, may you share that love with others.  Be more patient, be more thoughtful, be more kind, be more forgiving, and be more loving.

As we embark on a new year, may each of us be more of who we want to be.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.....from my home to yours....from my heart to yours.......... xoxox.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hot Bread In 1 Hour

My friend JoyLynn is a cooking consultant for Pantry Secrets.  JoyLynn belongs to Kenny ( #2 musketeer).  She is a fabulous cook.  She is a great decorator.  Her home is perfect in every way.  She is kind and beautiful, inside and out.

Just to prove how kind she is, she taught me how to make bread in 1 hour.  I am serious.  From the time we got out the ingredients until we pulled it out of the oven, it was one hour.  I witnessed a miracle!!!  A Christmas Miracle!!

So, after my class with JoyLynn, I thought about it for 2 days, and then I tried to make some bread.  It is true!  1 hour was all it took.

Now, this recipe belongs to Pantry Secrets.  It is the result of someone taking a lot of time to perfect it.  They (Pantry Secrets) are based out of Utah, but there are consultants springing up every where.  They teach Wheat Bread, too.  Yes, they do it in 1 hour.  They are kind of like Pampered Chef, and teach from the home.  So, I suggest you find someone in your state, or country and have them come to your house and teach you. Or, if you want a part time job, become a consultant yourself.  There is a fee for the classes, but it isn't much ($20.00) and they will teach you how to make braids, calzones, and much more.

But, I have to tell you this bread is fast, easy, and so delicious!  The dough is heavenly.

When JoyLynn made the dough, I thought she could stop right there.  I loved just touching the dough!

So, I am not going to share with you the White Bread Recipe from Pantry Secrets.  Please, go on line and order the DVD, or some cooking supplies or what ever you might need and make some.  I   like the Cinnamon Drops, so you can make Cinnamon Bread, which is the best I have ever eaten.  It makes great toast.  It makes "out of this world" French Toast!

A Bosch Mixer, will make your life easier. If not, you will be mixing for a while if you have to knead it by hand. (It might take you longer than an hour).  A Kitchen Aid mixer can do the job, but on this recipe, I would only do 1/2 of the dough at a time, so it won't burden the mixer.

Now, I will tell you some things I learned.

Contact your nearest Pantry Secrets Consult, or better yet, order  DVD.  It will be some of the best money you have ever spent.  You will save buying premade items from the store, and will be using that money to recover the small price of the DVD.  And you will be healthier, and stay home and not do impulsive buying.

*I have been eating Weight Watchers diet for a while now.  I try to buy bread that is low in calories and high in fiber.  It isn't always easy to gag down some of the bread I buy.  It doesn't satisfy me.  However, I have eaten this bread for a week.  I eat two slices a day.  This week I lost 3 pounds.  I think Lecithin is a result of that.  I didn't do anything else different.  I love of Lecithin!

I know you can order Lecithin from Pantry Secrets.

You can make other types of bread with this dough.

Spread melted butter on the dough.

Sprinkle Garlic Spread on the dough.  My favorite is Johnny's Garlic Spread from Cost Co.  McCormick makes a garlic spread, as well...it has 3 cheeses in it and it is very good. I have't checked to see if Pantry Secrets offers it.  I bet they do, but I haven't checked.  Also, sprinkle some Italian Seasoning on the dough.  Sprinkle it as thick or lightly as your little desires.  Just make it how you want it, and know you will love it.


Put the pans close together, but not touching.  The bread will raise and you don't want it to touch when it grows big.  Cover the dough with a clean towel.  One without lint!!!!

Set the timer for 25 minutes.  This is 25 minute of the total 60 minutes from start to finish!  Can you believe this miracle in one hour.  And during ths 25 minutes you can clean up your kitchen and your bosch and set the table for dinner.  Or rest and read the latest Somerset Magazine you got in the mail, or play Words With Friends, or...... you get the idea!  Multi-taking is great, isn't it!!!
Don't look at the bread.
Don't lift the towel.
Just wait.
You will see it growing.

Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

Bake the bread, (loaves not touching) for 25 minutes.

Remove from bread pan onto a cooling rack.
Spread softened butter on the bread, all the sides.
I like to use a paper towel and spread the butter evenly on the top, but also to remove the excess butter.  The bread will pucker a little from the butter, but it is suppose to, don't be alarmed.

Let the bread cool.

Then enjoy!
And enjoy you will!
This will all be accomplished in 1 hour!
You are a super hero now!!!

Butter, jam or honey on hot bread is the best dessert in the world.  Or for an after school snack. You kids will worship the ground you walk on. You will thank me!  You will thank Pantry Secrets!  You will be rushing to the phone to tell your friends and relatives.  You will be astonished, as never before of the greatness you now possess.  You are truly magnificent!

Oh, and next time you can add the cinnamon drops that Pantry Secrets has.  It makes cinnamon bread raise to a new level.  It is fabulous toast, or French Toast.  And your home smells so good when it is baking.  Oh, there are so many things you can do with this recipe.  Just use your imagination!

Good Luck!

Remember Pantry Secrets and all they offer in your will!  We all need to let them know how wonderful their company is.  I love what they offer!!!!

** Due to Pinterest and other marketing media, I have removed the actual recipe for this bread.  It is not my place to offer free to the world what some lovely ladies have worked very hard to develop.  I appologize to Pantry Secrets for making public the recipe.  It is their business, and I, without realizing the possibility of so many seeing this blog, shared what I should not have.

** Please Contact Pantry Secrets to assist you with this wonderful bread!!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Turkey Noodle Soup

The days are pretty chilly here in Idaho.  The sun is shinning and the air is cool, crisp and clean.  No pollution at all.  In fact, yesterday was so clear we could see the mountains of Sun Valley, Idaho.  Yep, that is clean air.  That is a couple hundred miles away. 

With these sunny cool days comes a strong desire for me to be in the kitchen.  I love baking and cooking and having the stove on.  It doesn't just warm the food.  It warms my house, and especially my heart.

My neighbor Norman is fighting off a deep chest cold.  He sounds awful!  He has the lowest (sexiest) voice with this cold.  So, I figured, he needed some homemade chicken noodle soup.  But I don't want to use chicken, since I have turkey from Thanksgiving, frozen in the freezer. So, I made some Turkey Noodle Soup for him.

Here is how I did it.

I gathered my ingredients.
Chicken broth
Diced Turkey
Salt and pepper, and other seasonings as desired.

I also used some butter, but forgot to add it to the picture.

Start with melting butter in a big stock pot.  I used about 4 Tablespoons
Sorry this photo is blurry.  I needed my Tripod up high and just didn't do it.  I "free handed" it.

Put the butter on low heat.  You don't want to burn it, just melt it.
While it is melting dice up some celery.  As much as you want.
I used about 3/4 of a cup.
First, I like to cut it down the stalk to make it smaller pieces when diced.

Then I dice it. Just make it bite size pieces, which will be easy to eat.

Put the celery in the pot, and dice up the carrots.

Again, just dice up as much as you want.  I did about a cup of carrots.
Add them to the pot.
Dice up the onion.  I am showing you 1/2 of the onion, as I only do that much at a time, but I diced the entire onion and added it to the pot.

Just simmer this until the onions start to get translucent.  And the celery and carrots are a little bit tender.
Stir it frequently so everything is cooked the same.

At this point the neighbors start smelling it too.  They want to know if they are on the list to receive such wonderful aromas in their house.  But today, it is just us and Norman, cuz he's sick.

In between stirring, be sure to get your turkey diced up.  Be ready to add it to the pot.

Diced turkey and chicken stock are next in the pot.

Pour in one can of stock, then........

Then add the turkey.

About now the sun has broken through the clouds.  It is bright and shinning in my kitchen.  But, let me warn you, it is just an illusion.  It is still only about 19 degrees outside.  This soup is going to taste so good tonight.  After all our chores are done.  The visiting teaching is done, and we sit down to relax.  This soup is going to blow your bangs back!

Now, add all the spices you want to.
I added parsley, fresh dried basil crushed, salt and pepper. 
You could add bay leaves, oregano, whatever your little heart desires.
I think the more the better......

Give it a stir, and turn down the heat.  It needs to simmer for the rest of the time....which is about 5 minutes.....just to get the flavors to mix.

This is when I put everything away except the noodles.  I was off the counter and cutting board.  Put them all away.

At this point to can make a choice.
Do I make this entire pot up now,.......
or do I save some of the soup in a different container and freeze it......?
If I freeze some, the first part will be all done and next time it will be quick to make more.

That is what I did.
I ladled out 4 cups of broth and ingredients.
I set it aside to cool. 
When it is cool I will put it in a freezer safe container and freeze it.
When I need soup next time, I will thaw it out, maybe add another can of broth and the noodles.
Then that meal will be done, and I will have time to make bread to serve with the soup.

Now, add the noodles to the pot..
I don't measure. 
I just add a couple of handfuls.
If it looks like there will be room for more, think about it for a moment.
These noodles swell.
They drink up lots of fluid and get big.
So think about it before you add too many.
And it is always okay to add water if you need to, or another can of broth.

These noodles come from Sam's Club.
They are as close to "homemade" as you can find.
I used to buy some frozen ones at Walmart, but I find these just as good.

I usually add another can of broth at this point. 
Mainly because I know how much liquid the noodles will absorb, and I want more leftovers, and I have room in the pot now.

The noodles will stay firm for about 20 minutes....so keep the liquid barely simmering and be patient.  It will happen.....they will cook. 
Stir occasionally.

You can see here I need more liquid.  I added a can of broth and a can of water.

Set you timer for 20 minutes.  It will help you to keep track of the time.  20 minutes goes by pretty fast when you are cleaning your kitchen and setting the table.  Don't forget about the stove.  Give the pot a stir every few minutes, just to be sure everything is submerged in liquid and spices.

If your door bell rings, it is because your neighbors can't stand the aroma one more moment and they want to see what you are doing, and see if they are invited....

Just let the soup simmer.
You will be drooling now, as well.
Wipe off your chin.

You can thank me later.

Carefully lift out a noodle with a fork, and blow on the noodle. 
Taste it.
Is it done?
Do you need more salt and pepper....now is the time to add it.

Call your family to come and eat.
It won't be long until they surround you, with drool on their chins.

Ladle out a big bowl to take to Norman,
and ladle out bowls for you and your family.

Sit down and enjoy.

And remember, no texting at the table.  No reading the newspaper at the table.
Sit together and talk, and enjoy the next 10 minutes and taste your dinner.
And dwell on the dinner.
Tell the person who made it how wonderful they are.

The end.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Love Reading Blogs

I have been known to forget to prepare meals in this house because I am reading blogs.

I have been known to forget to go to bed, even if it is after midnight, because I am reading blogs.

I have fallen in love with a blog, and especially the post today.


This gal has had her home in a home show.  Check it out.

And follow all the links, and read all the blogs, and you won't go to bed either!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Family Dinner, part 2

We had such a wonderful time having the family over for dinner.

Our gracious guests have asked that I send them a few of my recipes.  I thought about doing a typical "The Pioneer Woman" cooking section, and then I remembered I don't want to over stress myself with this.  "Keep it simple" was chanting in my head.  I remembered it is Christmas time and I am trying to still make a few things so I didn't put myself in front of the run away bus (by over achieving) and decided to "keep it simple". So, here are the recipes, without the photos of preparation.  Sorry.

The first thing I did was kennel my dogs and the extra testosterone canine who is here, as well.  They are great in the kennels.  That is where they are safe, content, sleep, rest, and stay out of my way.  For the party I put the kennels in the utility room.  I needed a little extra space in the eating area to make room for two tables.  The dogs could see the guests arrive from the utility room and that made them happy.

My menu:
   Appetizers:  Smoked Salmon, Crackers, celery and carrot sticks,  jalapeno poppers, grape tomatoes,
peta chips, and anything else I could find in the kitchen to make it look festive.

  Main course: Taco Soup, Clam Chowder, Hot rolls with butter.  I served the soup from crock pots.

  Desert:  Nantucket Cranberry Pie and vanilla ice cream.

  Beverage:  Water with lemon slices.

I believe in keeping it simple when you are feeding a crowd of people who are mostly over 60 years of age, and most of them suffer from some genetic gene of diabetic aliment.  That limits the butter, sugar and junk that most people want to eat....and the chocolate.......and the Wassail!  I wanted the wassail so bad!  But, just figured it would be better with water.

I want you to have to recipe, though.  It is Aunt Rochell's recipe, and it is so so so so so good!


6 cups apple cider or juice
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 cup honey
3 T. Lemon juice (Use fresh lemon juice.  It is a much better taste than bottled type)
1 t. grated lemon peel
1 can (18 oz) Unsweetened pineapple juice (2 1/4 cups)
Orange slices, studded with cloves

In large saucepan, heat cider and cinnamon stick to boiling; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Uncover, stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes longer.  Float orange slices studded with whole cloves.  This will hold in a crock pot.

My Nikki loves this Wassail as much as I do.  I wanted her with me as I cooked that day.  She would have insisted that we make Wassail, and she would have done it for me. 

Jalapeno Poppers

Rubber gloves must be worn when preparing the Jalapenos.  Trust me you don't want to leave this part out.  I buy cheap vinyl gloves by the box and they work fine. 

18 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 green onion, sliced
18 slices thin bacon, cut into halves
1 bottle BBQ sauce

Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and light-colored membranes.
In a bowl combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and green onion. Mix gently with a spoon.
Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture.
Wrap bacon slice around each pepper.
Brush the surface of the bacon with BBQ sauce.
Secure the bacon with toothpicks.

Bake for about an hour at a low temp.....until the bacon sizzles.  Then they are done.
Serve hot or room temperature.
Make plenty, as they go fast!
*This is a recipe from The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond (my hero).

I now want to be sure to thank my youngest off spring for sticking around and taking pictures of the event.  She even took photos with her phone and sent them to her siblings.  They were all texting back and forth throughout the evening.  All of the kids loved seeing the relatives that they don't see very often.  They each wished they were with us.  We were all grateful for phones and pictures that night.

Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained
1 can corn
1 can pinto beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can diced green peppers
1 can tomato sauce
1 envelope Taco Seasoning

Toss it in a crock pot or sauce pan.  Heat, stir and serve.  It doesn't get much easier than that.
I had a bowl of  shredded cheese and a bowl of taco chips next to the crock pot to top the soup with.

 Tawnya's World Famous Clam Chowder

2 cans (6 1/2 oz) minced Clams
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cups diced potatoes
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
1 quart Half and Half
1 1/2 tsp. salt
sugar to taste
dash of pepper
* 1 can corn, optional (the DH insists I use it, and it is better with it)

Drain the juice from clams and pour over vegetables in a medium saucepan; add enough water to cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, melt butter, and add flour and blend.  Cook a minute or two. Add half and half and stir while cooking using a wire whisk.  Add undrained vegetables and clams.  Heat through.  Season with salt, pepper and sugar.

I double this recipe every time I make it.  If you have left overs (not likely if you invite guests over) it freezes great!

At the party I saw one of the brothers go back for 3rds.  It caused my heart to soar!  Like an eagle.  That is when you know it is good, and appreciated by your family and guests.

Nantucket Cranberry Pie

2 cups heaping Cranberries
3/4 cup chopped Pecans (optional)
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t. Vanilla extract (optional Almond extract)
1/4 t. salt
1 T. sugar for sprinkling on top
butter for greasing the pan

Preheat oven to 350.
Generously butter a cake pan or pie pan.  Add cranberries to the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle chopped pecans, then sprinkle on the sugar.

In a mixing bow, combine flour, 1 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs, extract, and salt.  Stir gently to combine.  Pour batter slowly over the top of cranberries.  It will be thick, so spread it a bit to cover the surface.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes.  5 minutes before removing from the oven, sprinkle surface with 1 T sugar (I opted not to do this. We don't need more sugar).

Cut and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

This is great with or without the nuts.  Many in my immediate family don't like nuts so I only put nuts on one half the pan.

For the party I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9x13 pan.  I used 2 bags of cranberries, which equaled about 5 cups and it tasted just great! 

I have shared my roll recipe with you before, so I am not adding it today.
It is just the Potato Dinner Roll recipe, which is easy and fool proof.
Just be sure to add the salt to the recipe when you make it, or you are the fool.  I forgot the salt for the party.  I didn't tell anyone until all the guests went home.  I hope nobody noticed.  When you are getting so many dishes ready all at once it is easy to forget something. 

Although I have been troubled with nightmares of the guests being in their cars and driving home and saying "Those rolls tasted so flat.  I wish they would have served jam or something to put on them.  Butter just wasn't enough"!

Or they say, "I don't know why she gave us this baggie with these rolls?  We will never eat them.  They taste so flat.  Let's stop on the greenbelt and feed them to the geese".

I hope they say, "That was so fun tonight.  We just don't see each other enough.  Everything was so pretty and tasted so good, except the rolls.  She should have sent V to Sam's and bought some.  But, it is OK, as the rest of the food was delicious and they are so sweet to send us all home with leftovers".

I also planned ahead a little bit.  V had made Scrabble Mix and we had put it in containers and tied a big holiday bow on the containers.  That was the gift they were given to take home with them.  (If they were hungry still, they had something to munch on until they got to Article Circle and ordered that hamburger!)

The end.

ps.  *Some photos were edited in Picnik.  Some wrinkles were removed but no harm was done to that person.*  You can thank me later.  :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Families Are Forever

One of the most important deciding factors for us to move where we have moved, is FAMILY.

Yep, family is pretty important.

I have had many good examples for me to help me realize how important family is to me.  I have a friend who passed away a few years ago.  I miss her still, like it was just yesterday that we said farewell.  She was in a coma when I said my last words to her, but I know it didn't matter.  I said the same things to her all the time during our friendship.  She knew how I felt about her.  Her husband knows how special he is too me,as well.  I tell people I love my feelings.

My friend always had a party for her friends and family the first Monday in December.  We had such a fun time at that party.  We looked forward to a special night of socializing and good food with her family and our shared friends.  Sometimes we had pizza, other times it got pretty fancy.  It didn't matter.  It was so fun to be together.  Sometimes we played games on the patio, other times we gathered around the fireplace and read the Christmas Story from the scriptures.

I have cherished that memory and that tradition for years.  I have always wanted to do the same thing.  So, this year I started my own tradition.  My Darling Husband helped me get all the Christmas decorating done early.  He helped me clean and cook.  He was by my side every minute of the way, because we threw a party for his family.  His brothers and sisters and their "other half".  I have great in-laws and it was fun to look forward to and fun to do.

My DH is one of 10 children.  They are all quiet and short people.  They are as diverse as any family is.  2 sisters live near the Boise area in Idaho, and one lives in Pocatello, but the rest of the siblings are near by.  Although they all live fairly close to each other, they don't always see each other very often.  We all get busy with our lives, and we just take for granted our family is close.  They are near when we need them, they know we love them, and we are close, but don't communicate frequently.  We like that about this family.  We like knowing we are loved and close and don't need to feel guilt if we don't see them often.

This night was just to be together.  Brothers and sisters to see each other, to give each other a hug, and share a little time together.  To touch, hug and smile at each other.  To share the love at Christmas time.

This is my DH and a couple of brothers.  One is older than DH and one is younger.  Just look at the same body habits they have.  All of them do it.  Even DH on occasion.  But, they all do it. They all have small hands and they touch their faces with them.  They all have gray hair.  There is no denying the family genes here.  Their parents were gray at a young age and all the boys inherited that trait.  Their parents were hard workers and so is everyone of the children.  They are remarkable people. 

Look in the background.....do you see on the right side.....the two brothers....same thing.  They are doing it again.  It is a family trait they all share.

Now, sitting next to me is the Oldest Brother, and next to him is his wife.  He is such a great man.  He loves to fish and hunt.  He loves to grow things.  He even works a little part time now and again to help out one of the local nurseries here in the spring.  He knows his plants.  He went to school and learned about them.  He climbs the sides of the mountains and picks chokecherries, and then he goes home and makes syrup. He has many many many talents, and just about as many kids.  (And he wanted seconds and thirds of my Clam Chowder....I love any man who loves my cooking!)

Then there is this lady.  She is such a remarkable lady.  I cry and laugh when I think about her.  She hasn't had the easiest life.  She has raised two kids with Cystic Fibrosis.  She raised a whole bunch more kids, too.  Each one of those kids are so special.  They each hold a special place in my heart.  But, the remarkable thing about this angel is I have never heard her complain.  She is so strong.  She always has a positive attitude.  Always.  She just smiles, and makes the best of everything.  She crochets, sews, grows gardens, cans her harvest, quilts, sings, smiles, and doesn't swear.  When I grow up, I want to be just like her!

In the family of 10 children there are 5 boys, and 5 girls.  My DH is the youngest of the first 5 kids....he is the troubled middle child, I guess.

His sisters adore him.  The sister who lives the closest to us now is who you will see.  Next to her is a sister in law.  They are both so sweet and thoughtful.  They are always positive and happy.  Even when their hearts are breaking they put on a happy face.

The lady on the left is the mother of 3 terrific kids.  They love her and take good care of her.  You see, she lost her husband a few years ago.  He went fishing and had an accident.  At the time we just couldn't believe it could happen to him.  Then, as the years have passed it makes more sense to me now.  He needed to go ahead and prepare a place for those who were going to be joining him soon.  There isn't anyone else I would want to prepare a place for me.  He is thoughtful and thorough.  He would create a great place for those who were joining him.  A niece, a nephew and this ladies parents.  You see......he always carried for them on earth, why wouldn't he in heaven?  I just know he was put there first for that reason.  However, it left this wonderful lady here, and she had to finish up the work here on earth.  I will be glad when she will be reunited with her love again.  She surely misses him.

Then there is "this" guy!  I absolutely love him!  I love his wife and his kids, too.

When we were first married this guy took a real interest in us.  He made sure we got a camp trailer and joined him fishing and camping.  He used to call DH and say. "Let's go deer hunting today."  And they would go.  They would be gone all day.  When they got home they would say, "come and see our deer."  I would put on my coat and go out side and look into the back of the truck and see 4 geese.  That is just how these two guys are.  They would go fishing and come home with an elk.  They would just roll with the flow of whatever they saw.  If the fish weren't biting they would do something else.  And the best part of it all was just the "being together".  If they came home empty handed they would come home laughing and telling stories on each other.  These two brothers are like two peas in a pod. 

Having this family in our home filled my heart to over flowing.  Preparing for this night was a pure joy for us.  I hope they had a nice time sharing the evening with us.  I know we enjoyed having them come to see us.  I hope they left with full tummy's, warm hearts and a desire to do it again.

I do love my in-laws.  I miss those who weren't with us.  I look forward to being with them many more times.  For this is....Just the beginning....of Families Forever!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Disturbing Phone Call

Last night I had the most disturbing phone call. 
The information I was given is not what I want to hear.
There are changes on this earth that are taking place every single day and I don't like it.
I don't like it one little bit.

I have a middle daughter who is to blame for this disturbing information.
She felt the need to inform me of the changes that are taking place everyday.
I am powerless to stop these changes.

You see, there is "someone I'm longing to see....."
And now I find out he has changes!


You see, there is a certain baby, who....as rumor has it....is changing.
He is growing.
He is getting fat.
He is simply changing..... AND I AM MISSING ALL THE CHANGES!!!

I gave strict orders for this every thing not to happen.
I knew it would be too hard on me.
And it is.

I haven't had near enough days with the little tike, and I want more!
I want him to stay the same until I get to see him again.....oh, heck, ....
I want him to stay the same until I get to TOUCH him again!

Many days and nights pass and my eyes are not able to feast upon this little angelic face.
I miss out on the bathes, the giggles, the discovering of hands and feet.

I miss out on the squeals of delight, the gurgling, the bubble blowing, the laughter, the hic-ups, all of it!
I miss out on the folds of skin getting pudgy, and the soft baby bum skin, and the big eyes.
I miss out watching as discovers are made when Christmas trees light up, and fires and candles burn.
I miss seeing the delight as this baby learns new things every single day!
I miss out on so dang much!

I know this little baby would love to see his grandma's Christmas Tree.
He wants to watch my fire in my fireplace.
He needs me to smash up bananas and let him taste them.
His life is only half complete by not getting to ride in grandpas truck.

I wonder how he feels knowing how upset I am about all of this.
I bet he would want to sit in my lap and tell me it will be okay.
It will be okay because he is going to be able to see me more often,.....because......
his address would be closer to my address.

It is just a thought I am sure he has growing inside his little head.
He will soon be able to express his thought....
Because I am going to brain wash him....................
and make him impossible to live with.................
unless this thought becomes a reality.................. !!!!!!

Yep, this is what I want for Christmas!
No more disturbing phone calls telling me the universe is changing and I am missing out.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

10 Favorite Things

Although I should finish telling you about Thanksgiving, or the weather, or what dishes I have cooked...or how wonderful my "homemade" laundry soap is, I would rather ramble.

This morning while showering I started to count my blessings.

Here are just  few:

1.  Soft Water

2.  Clean sheets on my bed.

3.  Christmas trees decorated.

4.  Fresh falling snow.

5.  Going to the temple with my darling.  And the temple is 13 minutes away, on slick roads.

6.  A healthy body.

7.  Cable TV.

8.  Fire in the fireplace.

9.  Furniture after it is dusted.

10. My family, my Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ.

I could make a list of 100 favorite things today.  I have a full heart and realize how blessed I am.  I am so thankful for my life.  For the sacrifices of my parents and my husband to make my life good.  I adore my children and grandchildren.  I am so thankful for my friends.  My Life Is Good.

........to be continued another day, when I am not so emotional.
........when the spirit is strong, the body is weak.....!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Nothing Beats "Homemade"...............

I am a believer in "homemade". 

When I was in High School I sewed my own clothes.  In Jr. High, my Grandma Webb sewed for me.  She made me the neatest white fur suit when I was in Jr. High.  She also made a dress for me to wear to a High School dance.  Yes, the guy I am married to was my date that night.  I will have to dig out the picture and show it to you some day.  She sewed many things for me over the years.

The last 40 years I have enjoyed many aspects of "homemade".  I sewed everything when I was first married.  I sewed my husbands shirts.  He wore cowboy style shirts then, with the yoke in the front and the back.....yep, I sewed them.

I really stretched and learned one Christmas when I sewed downfield ski clothes for us.  I have pictures of those, too.  Truly, I sewed the little feathers inside our ski coats.  I sewed matching ski bibs to go with the coats. 

I sewed Easter dresses, flannel pj's, maternity clothes, everything!  Not my underwear, but everything else.  When Jams were the style, my kids had dozens of them.  The girls had flannel nightgowns on Christmas eve, and their new dolls had matching nightgowns on Christmas morning.  I loved doing it.  I saved us lots of money.  I would sew until the wee hours of the morning to be able to accomplish a lot, while my babies slept.  I could get so much more done when they were asleep.

Nothing is better than "homemade" bread, rolls, soup, cakes, etc.  No restaurant can make me feel so healthy as a homemade meal can.  There is pure joy from the beginning to the end, knowing you are feeding your family a good filling meal.

My Grandma Walters taught me lots of homemade skills.
She taught me how to can food.
She taught me how to garden.
She taught me how to be a better person.

Grandma Walters always made "homemade soap". 
I have several bars of the soap she made.
I can see her finger prints in the bars, as she would mold them.

I don't like to use this soap, as it is priceless to me.  And when it is gone, it is gone.
I know she used ashes from her cook stove, and lard to make it. 
I know it would be very time consuming.
I know her hands would be raw for a day or two after she made it from the lye in it.

I have used it a few times.  It works great.  It gets out lots of stains.  Even blood.
But, I mostly just leave it in a wooden bowl in my utility room.
I save it.

So, since I won't use my Grandma Walter's soap, I have learned to make my own.

Yep, I have mastered another "homemade" skill.
I make my own liquid laundry soap.

Don't laugh.

I have.

And I have pictures to prove it.

You aren't going to believe this.....but I can bare/bear my testimony on this skill.  It is a good skill.  It is "Thee Best"!  It is remarkably affordable.  You will save hundreds of dollars if you master this skill.  It isn't hard.  Everyone can do it.  Even my daughters can (and should) do it.

Are you ready....do you want me to tell you what it is?  Sit down.  You need to sit down.  You will be so shocked!  You better be sitting down.

I have been using this detergent for a couple of months to be sure it was something I knew worked.  I have put it to the test.  For instance, I have a brown sweat top.  I cooked in it about a year ago and got some grease on it.  I have washed it a dozen times.  I have used the Tide stick....didn't help.  I used Spray and Wash....didn't help.  I have used Oxy Clean....didn't help. 

But, when I washed it with my "homemade" laundry soap it came out!!!!

I put a little of the soap directly on the spot and gently scrubbed.  Just for a few seconds.  Then I put it in the washing machine and did the load just like I always do.  Then into the dryer all the clothes went.  When I took the top out of the dryer to hang it up, I saw the miracle!  The grease spot was gone.  Gone!  After dozens of washings and dryings, it was gone.

Today I did another test.

When we had Thanksgiving I tried a new recipe which called for pomegranate seeds.  My darling husband put on a white apron to wear while he took the seeds out of the pomegranate.  The apron was so splattered with pomegranate juice!  I just shook my head and thought to myself.....*self, this is a real test of the power of that soap!*

I didn't do any pre-soaking....no pre-spotting....nothing.  I just plopped the apron into the washing machine along with all the other clothes, added my 1/4 cup of laundry soap and prayed for the best results possible.

Prayers are answered!

Here is a picture of that apron after it was washed......with no pre-treatment on the apron, not one bit!

And I am here to tell you that this white apron was covered with lots of red juicy splatters.  Lots!  I tell you, lots!

So, I know you want to know how to do it, too.  You will thank me.  You will put me in your will.  This laundry soap will save you hundreds of dollars on buying other soap, and you will save many many clothes that would normally be ruined from stains.
So, here we go.

Go to Walmart, and if you are lucky, they will have what you need.  If they don't, then call around.  I found it at Walmart, and then they didn't have it.  But Win Co did.  So, just check around.

1 Bar Fels-naptha Soap
1 box Super Washing Soda, by Arm & Hammer
1 box 20 Mule Team Borax

5 gallon bucket, with removable lid.

Here is the good news: The 20 Mule Team Borax cost $2.98 for a box.
                                     Super Washing Soda cost $2.73
                                     Fels-Naptha Soap $1.06

The bar of Fels-naptha soap is wrapped in a paper wrapping.  Unwrap it, and see the yellowish/goldish brick of soap.  For this step I didn't take a picture.  I wasn't thinking about showing you how to make this at that time.  So, continuing on with the recipe.....grate the soap.  Yep, just like you were going to grate cheese.  Just grate it all up.

Get out a pot and put 4 cups of hot tap water in the pot.
Add the grated soap.
Stir until soap is dissolved.  About 5-10 minutes....just keep stirring.

The soap sort of stuck to my wooden spoon, but it eventually all dissolved.  I turned on the heat on low on my stove to get it to dissolve.  Just keep stirring.

I am sorry this picture is blurrrryyyyy.  Does it make you feel car-sick?  A little tippsy....yeah, me too.

So, after the grated soap has dissolved in the hot water you are ready to move on to the next step.

Measure out the 1 cup of Super Washing Soda.

Measure out the 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax.

You have a 5 gallon bucket.  I put my bucket in my utility room sink and turned on the hot water.  Fill the bucket 1/2 full of hot tap water.

Then pour the Super Washing Soda into the 5 gallon bucket half full of hot water.

Yep, just pour it in.

Then add the 1/2 cup of Borax to the bucket which is 1/2 full of hot tap water.

Don't be shy, just pour it in.

That is the way!  You are doing great.

Now add the melted soap from the pot.

Now just stir and stir until you have all the Super Washing Soda and Borax dissolved completely.

Now, fill up the bucket with hot tap water.  Stir it as it fills, but don't burn yourself.

Now you are ready to screw on the lid.
Get a lid you can take off and put on easily....you can thank me later....

I like this container and lid, ALOT!

So, now you wait. 
The soap needs to cool down.
Let is sit over night.

In the morning it will be separated and weird.  Don't worry.  You haven't done anything wrong.  That is just what it does.  So, stir it up.  Stir it up several times throughout the day.  And the coming days.  Stir it up as you measure out you little 1/4 cup of laundry detergent when you do your laundry.

You can add 10-15 drops of essential oils per 2 gallons of soap, if you want it to smell good. 
But I don't mind the way it smells.
So I never add some essential oils.

I don't want to buy oils.
I want to save money and make my own clean smelling soap.
It thrills me.

And yes, you only use 1/4 cup per load for Top Loader washing machines.

If you have a front loader you use 1/8 of a cup per load.

This laundry soap does not suds up.
Don't freak out if you don't see suds and think "oh no, my clothes will not get clean without suds".
They will be clean.  I promise you.  I swear on my Bible they will be just fine.  Don't worry.

So, here is the recipe:

Liquid Laundry Soap

4 cups hot tap water
1 Fels-naptha Bar Soap, grated
1 cup Super Washing Soda
1/2 cup Borax

Grate Fels soap and add to hot water.  Stir over medium-low heat until the soap is dissolved.  Fill one 5 gallon bucket 1/2 full of hot tap water.  Add soap, soda, and borax.  Stir until dissolved.  Add more hot water to fill up 5 gallon bucket.  Let sit over night.  Then when cool you can add 10-15 drops essential oils per 2 gallon of soap.

Stir it before using for the first few loads.

The 20 Mule Team Borax cost $2.98 for a box.
Super Washing Soda cost $2.73
Fels-Naptha Soap $1.06
Total:  $6.77 for the supplies.

I bought the bucket at Walmart and the lid, which I splurged on, because I wanted the easy on and off kind was about $8.00.

Now, remember you only use 1 cup of the soda....the box is BIG.  It will makes lots of soap.
And you only use 1/2 cup of Borax.  That is a BIG box, too.
You only need to buy the Fels-Naptha Soap when you need to make more.

But, I bought 4 bars, so I will have it on hand, and when I need to make more soap, I have everything I need. 

So, you do the math....how much money am I saving?????

I will tell you that this soap is great!  It is better than Tide, or Kirklands, or Gain, or whatever.  So I am not storing big store bought containers.  I am not clipping coupons to buy some laundry soap.  I have clean clothes, that smell good, and for very little money.

I hope you do the same.


About Me

My photo
happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.