Friday, March 28, 2008


Well I did it again. I LOST 12 inches.
Unfortunately, this isn't how many inches I've lost how you'd think.

Yesterday, the girls and I went to Glenwood where we all got haircuts.
Our eldest's is all finally one length (she had to grow out her layers).
Our youngest just got a simple trim.
I lost 12 inches. Yes - my hair was to my waist, and it is now on my shoulders (goes to show how short I am!)

I'd decided it was time for a trim, but every three years I do locks of love. This was my third time, and this was the year to do it again. I decided that since summer is coming, instead of a trim now and then donating the hair at the end of the summer, I'd just do it all at once.

It will definitely take some getting used to - as it always does, but I believe it is for a great cause, and it's nice to know that I could help someone else.

Now we're ready - bring on summertime!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Another officially finished

Well, tonight I spent some time in the Bishop's office where he officially thanked me for teaching seminary thus far this year. I've known that this was happening for some time, but finally tonight he said we could let people know about it - so there's the official announcement.
Honestly, it has been an incredibly tough year for me - things really never got off on the right foot from the beginning, and sort of went downhill from there. Anyways - I got an answer several months ago that I had done all I could. The Bishop recently got a very strong and similar answer. I've handed it off to a parent and wish him well. It's been tough since seminary was SO good in the last place I taught. Anyways, I really did my VERY best and about killed myself in the process. I'll admit I am a little bit sad walking away, but it seems to be time, and I did all I could. I've learned a bunch about people and loads more - even if it wasn't pleasant. I'm looking forward to reading anything I want, and doing lots of sewing, and NOT getting up at 4:30 am. I hope to never have to do that again - ever in my life.
Guess I'm on to a new chapter - and I'm pretty excited about it.

I win!!

I had no contestants in the last contest - oh well - anyways, I finally got the slide show figured out, so I figure I win! Hope you enjoy, and hopefully, I can duplicate this and do some more!

New Contest

Hello everyone. Yes - my blog is currently on the fritz. I was excited to be technical and put a slideshow on my blog. Unfortunately, using picaso, the show didn't work, I just got the first four photos. I tried to get it off and ended up with two!

So- here are the contest rules. The first one to get me some decent directives on removing a picaso thing from my blog wins. I've spent hours. It may just stay this way for a while - at least until we have a contest winner!

Officially finished

So - I know that I walked in the Graduation commencement ceremonies last year. I still had three classes I was finishing during the summer and would have been done. So somehow, they threw the - oh - you are still missing one class ringer at me. I started seminary in the fall, and kept falling asleep on my scriptures every night - thus dragging the entire process way too far out.

I am proud to say that yesterday I took my very last final and should (really officially) be completely done (as long as I passed the final). In a few short weeks (once the exam is graded) I will have all of my credits transfered, and I should receive my diploma. So - it was only 17 years in the making - but I think I'm REALLY done this time. I've been so excited that I can read any book I want now without feeling guilty about needing to study! Woohoo..
We celebrated last night with carne asada and a very long drawn out killer bunnies game.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter and then some

We had some of Jeff's family spend Easter with us. It was great to see and play with cousins - thanks for coming we had a great time.

I have to say - meal wise, we weren't traditional. I was browsing - it was interesting to see that the most popular searches were for ham, scalloped potatoes etc. All I could think of in regards to a traditional Easter Dinner was ham rolls out on Grandma H's lawn with a plethora of other foods.

As a result, we had taquitos. No - not the pre-made mini rolled up kind. The mexican homemade kind that are amazing with their special sauce. We also had black beans (could we not?), fresh pineapple, cantaloupe and veggies. For dessert we crossed genres and had trifle. The kids did an easter egg hunt (more candy?) outside. Later in the evening I made some homemade tomato soup and my nephew Andrew made some of his famous grilled cheese sandwiches. He was a great sous chef this weekend.
We read the resurrection story, and made resurrection cookies last night. The kids had a great time beating the pecans to death. They DID turn out hollow this morning!

Someone asked for my homemade tomato soup recipe. Grandma J, used to have me help her make this, (she always had me stir it) and I recently re-invented it. I think it is now mine - inspired by Grandma J.

2 quarts canned tomatoes (home canned - should have a little sugar and salt)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
1 T. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco)
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste

There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Bring to a boil (stirring constantly - generally 10-15 minutes) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste.

There it is. Better than Campbells, and from the garden. For those of you who try it, let me know how it turns out - if I need to change anything in the written recipe form. It is hard to put down a recipe that I've sort of made up over the years, so I hope this is exact enough.

Okay - enough of this blogging already. It is spring break - we need to go have some fun!

Friday, March 21, 2008

March 21, 2008

Welcome SPRING!!!
I believe it is offically spring - therefore we celebrated in grand fashion - with snow!
I'm too tired of ranting about the weather.
Suffice it to say, spring will hopefully appear by June.

I didn't mention that it has been warmer.
As a result, I had 5 inches of water flooding on the side of the house (only outside at this point) due to the neighbor's poor run-off plan (so what if its an empty lot and they don't have a plan?)
It totally eroded part of our rock retaining wall while a river ran through it.
I have 2-3 inches of mud and silt on my lawn now.

So - I spent Wednesday afternoon digging a trench.
Yes - in the NEIGHBOR'S lot - so that THEIR water can not drain into my yard.
But at least the water goes along the property line now, and not into my basement.

I also cleaned out all of my cupboards on Wednesday. It was quite the productive day.

So - onto the politics.
Yesterday I went to my first town forum.
For those of you who haven't been - it was actually pretty fun. They gave out cookies and bottled water, AND, I get to be on TV!! They televised it last night, and will re-run it on channel 20. Too bad we don't have tv.

It was pretty fascinating. There are a bunch of people running for
office and they got to answer questions on all of the super hot issues.
I even submitted a question, and mine was the first audience questions which they asked the candidates. Too bad the moderators (who have an agenda in regards to my question) edited my question so as to elicit the response they wanted.

(A newspaper reporter sponsored the forum. Her husband is adamantly opposed to the proposal I sent to the Town Board to close the BLM area right near my house to motorized vehicular traffic) so she changed my question before she asked it.

I was surprised to note that the politician who I REALLY didn't like is who I'll be voting for. It was amazing how my mind changed once I took the time to attend, and really listen to the different positions and views these people have on running our town. Everyone has an agenda - it was interesting to see what the different agendas actually are.

Imagine - all of this from the anti-political girl.
There's another meeting next week. I think I'm getting a babysitter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Race Photos

Here are a few photos from our trip to Moab...


So I know I've got a link for my seminary and if you really wanted to hear about it you would link. Anyways today in seminary we studied the book of Ecclesiastes (I know, bonus points just for spelling it right). As we read through chapter 3 and listened to the Byrds (Turn Turn Turn) we saw that it follows chapter three (1-8) almost word for word. We talked about seasons of life and priorities. I think I am in a season (at least today) of gratitude. I'm really grateful for everything I have - my family, my beliefs, health...the list could go on and on. Feel free to link for a more in depth discussion...
I'm just happy to be here.
The coolest thing about Ecclesiastes is the second to last verse of the whole book. The entire book is fairly depressing - we joked about it being pretty emo. Anyways, you can count in each chapter how many times the word 'vanity' is used. In this context, it means 'transitory or fleeting'. The writer talks about how EVERYTHING in life is 'vanity' or 'fleeting'. We waste so much time on stuff that just doesn't matter a bit...
So finally in chapter 12:13 he says..."Let us hear the conclusion of the matter, Fear God and keep his commandments..."
Pretty simple and basic. Don't waste life on what doesn't matter. Love and respect God, and be obedient. Pretty darn good advice for this world. I've been listening to talk radio - everything is apparently going to pot - the economy,the political arena, the war etc etc.. Maybe we should all just take this simple (yet so effective) advice - forget about the petty stuff - focus on God and His counsels, and it will all work out.
Interestingly - there's a pretty strong parallel there... Solomon was the king after David's golden dynasty. After Solomon, everything pretty much fell apart and was on it's way out. Of course - Solomon's actions helped it - but isn't that where we are today too? I think it is that whole hindsight thing.

Anyways - there's a little something to think about - what's REALLY important?
Carpe Diem!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gardening, weather, and freebies

In the few short moments of this blog - I would like to address something very important which has recently come to my attention.

I was very disappointed to notice, that when I offered a fantastic prize for being my 100th blog visitor, I suddenly had 3 comments posted to my blog...
However, when I've mentioned the weather and even posted pictures of my meager beginnings of a garden, or my husband shoveling the tramp in his p.j.s, - all parts of my mundane boring life, all I received was apathy and no responses whatsoever...

So - from here on out I may consider random prizes or freebies to blog visitors...however, to subsidize the costs of shipping and prizes, we'll have to arrange something...maybe a minimal charge to visit the site - payable through paypal?
What do you think?

Oh - by the way, Tisha won the award...please be sure to watch your mail for the amazing prize!! Once you get it - please post a picture to the blog so everyone else can wish that they had been as lucky as you. Thanks to Amy (101) and Mary (102)... it was a pretty stiff race.

By the way -
Q:why did the matador trade in his swords for a gun?
A: He wanted to shoot the bull.
Thank goodness for laffy taffy.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lucky 100 winner!

So - I noticed this morning that I've had 99 visits to my blog...
I can't wait to see who my lucky 100 will be.
Whoever you are - please post a comment with your name and a generous prize will be mailed to you (if I have your address that is)...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Get your garden going!

Here's our first sign of life from our pumpkin plants on March 11th.

2 days later, we now have 13 pumpkin plants -

We love tomatoes - this year we have 3 varieties - Beefsteak, 4th of July (hybrid early) and cherry they are 2 days ago - our first sprouts!

Finally, here are our tomato sprouts as of today - 2 days later...we have 54 little tomato plants growing in our front room.

I really love to garden, and each spring I get so excited as
we start to think about what we want to do in our garden.
Last year we got ALOT of tomatoes. This is great though, because
we use them like crazy all year round, and really love them.
Our pumpkins didn't do so very well last year, so we are trying
again. We decided to only start these right now and next month we'll
start some peppers and some other things.
I just decided what I want for my birthday - a rototiller. Every year
we get our garden in generally on my birthday, using water walls.
Finally, a month and a half later, in June we take some of the water
walls back off. I say, hand turning your soil isn't fun...
Anyways, that's my weekly excitement.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I haven't been exaggerating!!

So - I couldn't resist not posting this photo.
We had so much snow that we were afraid that the tramp would rip - it was so close to the ground anyways.

Not only did we have to shovel the walks, but now we have to shovel the tramp!!
What a good sport.. note I think he's in his slippers and pj's!

March 11, 2008

You know - I started to blog about the weather -
Who cares about the weather?

(Other than me - as I like to gripe about it)

So... we have been getting back into the run of life
We went to Moab last week.
We had some friends join us, and we spent a day
hiking through Arches National park.
I still have to say - Arches is one of my most
favorite spots on the planet.
(Besides Tobago that is)

The kids had a great time playing in the sand
and running around.
My husband ran the Moab half-marathon. He shaved 13 minutes
off of last year's time and finished in 1:36:00
It was a pretty cold day, and he was so excited to finally
start running after standing in the canyon freezing in his
He did a great job though and we are super proud of him!
He has now determined that he wants to run a marathon
and qualify for and run in the Boston. That's something
to look forward to!
Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, so I'll be jerry rigging it
to get any photos on the blog - I'm not sure how to
make it work with a disposable - but never fear I will!~

It seems like everything always goes back to the weather.
I run out of things to ramble about and here I go on the weather

I'm planning on making some caramels for a friend's birthday today
I thought I'd post the best ever caramels recipe.
It's from an old church cookbook, and the recipe is from
the Pabsts. I've made it several times and it always turns out great.


1 Cup Butter
1 1/2 c. white corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 Cups sugar

Combine in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until comes to a boil. Continue stirring and cooking until candy reaches softball stage, 229-231 (depending on degree of hardness desired.) Pour immediately into a buttered 9x9x2 pan. Allow to cool then cut into squares. Wrap individual pieces in waxed paper.

Another awesome recipe from the Pabsts' (for posterity's sake)

Almond Brittle

1 pkg (6 oz) semi sweet or milk chocolate chips
1 c. butterscotch chips
1 c. blanched almonds (or whatever you have - toast them first though)

Put almonds on cookie sheet. Salt and toast at 350* for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put chips in a pan and melt over low. Stir in toasted almonds. Spread on buttered cookie sheet or waxed paper (spread as thinly as possible). Chill until firm, then break into pieces.

Warning - this is addictive.

Oh - I do have something productive to report...
yesterday I spent the day and cleaned out my drawers.
Yes - my so unexciting life - but I finally have organized
drawers - and after 4 years of living here - boy is
it nice! I also cleaned out the study and got it
mostly organized. Soon - we will conquer!
So - there are the ramblings of a busy housewife -
who should be cleaning instead of blogging!
Go make some caramels!

Saturday, March 1, 2008


Did I mention that I have 3?
Anyways - I have one brother - he's very compassionate.
I got an e-mail from him today - (he's a doctor - how
could he not appreciate my 'real life' post?)
Anyways - he didn't want me to look stupid - so
he thought I might change my information about the
whole 7 years and the leap year. Apparently, due
to a gregorian calendar and an algorithm, leap year
happens every 4 years, not every 7.

Now where did that 7 come from?
Boy - am I embarrassed.
By the way, did you know that cicadas hatch and
reproduce every seven years?
My brother did!