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Showing posts from May, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Why Food Storage?

I will use coupons, but I am not extreme.  I believe in being prepared, but I'm not a doomsday-er.  So why do I store food? 

Food storage means peace of mind.  Not just peace of mind in the event of a major natural disaster, but peace of mind in the event of lesser challenges.  The stress that comes with unemployment, illness, or even just "I'm-in-the-middle-of-a-recipe-and-now-realize-I'm-out-of ____" can be decreased or eliminated with food storage.

Food storage embraces the tradition of saving for a rainy day. Though the actual process of preserving food can take time and effort, having food stored harks back to a simpler way of life.

Food storage  provides a creative outlet.  It's validating to realize I can take various ingredients, throw them together (with the help of recipes), and end up with a delicious product. 

Food storage brings people together.  My oldest son's brown-bag lunches piqued the curiosity of one of his friends.  Next thing I knew,…

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: End of May Garden Walk

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the beauty of the earth.

Tuesday: Time to Tackle a Star Blanket

This week, I finished crocheting a baby blanket.  As I have mentioned, several women I know are currently pregnant, so I'm trying to get gifts made in advance. 

I really liked this pattern, found here.  It worked up very quickly.  (Youngest son even commented on how rapidly I finished!) I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn, which is incredibly soft.  I like the unusual star shape of the blanket.


What are your favorite gifts to make? 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for super soft yarns and free patterns!

Monday Morning in the Kitchen: Pasta Salad

While Memorial Day allows us to pay tribute to those who have given their lives to protect our freedoms, Memorial Day also serves as the kick-off to summer.  No longer do I want to cook dinner in the oven; hot weather calls for BBQs and salads. 

Pasta salad is quick, easy, and versatile.  It is one of our "go-to" meals.  Preparation is really quite simple: 

Put a big pot of water on the stove to boil.  Cut up whatever vegetables you want.  I used broccoli, baby carrots, and summer squash this time.  When the water boils, add a box of rotini (corkscrew) noodles, as well as the vegetables, to the boiling water.  Cook for about 10 minutes, or until pasta and veggies are cooked how you like them.  Drain.  You can add chopped fresh tomatoes, olives, fresh basil, cheese, chopped ham, etc.  For a dressing, I use whatever bottled Italian dressing I have on hand.  Toss to combine.  Serve warm or cold. 



Thankful thought: Thanks to those men and women who sacrificed for our country.




Sunday Musings of the Spirit: June Visiting Teaching

The visiting teaching message for June can be found here. The warmth that Eliza R. Snow mentioned invoked images not only of physical warmth, as in quilts, but also emotional warmth, as in a loving, listening ear. 

Jesus Christ often taught about love, and He showed the importance of reaching the individual.  Visiting teaching is a way to serve as the Savior did, and it is a way to assure that no one is overlooked.  What a great program!

Here's the handout I came up with for this month's message.  If you'd like to use it, just right-click to print.


Thankful thought:  Thanks to the many friends I have made through the visiting teaching program.

Friday Fun with Family History: 1940 Census

Perhaps you recall this post about finding my grandpa and grandma on the 1940 census.  Well, this week I found my other set of grandparents!  Before I explain about how I found them, let me show you the pages that show my first discoveries.  (I've left the names out the photos, since one grandma is still living.)


Oh, boy, that is impossibly small for you to read!  Let me walk you through the information I gleaned from the record.  First of all, to the left of where the names are on the census (and not in the photo), written in the margin, I learned that Grandpa lived right next door to the post office.  That was interesting because he met Grandma when she started working for the postmistress.  From the information in the photo, I see that Grandpa was a hired hand in the household he was living in.  Sex: male, color: white, age: 21, marital status: single.  He did not attend school within the past year, and the highest level of education he attained was 8th grade.  (I think that was…

Thursday Thoughts: A Blog Evolves

I tend to be a thinker.   Have a problem that needs solving?  I can mull, study, research, read, and whatever-other-thesaurus-word-you-can-find.  However, I'm not always quick about it.  In fact, sometimes I can be agonizingly slow to reach a decision. 

The longer I have this little blog, the more mental energy I realize I give it.  Recently, in fact, I had a restless-night's sleep, filled with dreams about how I could improve the blog.  Enough! 

While I do enjoy blogging, I also enjoy living, and I needed to come up with a way to spend more time living and less time blogging.  So, I asked myself a few questions, like: "Why do I blog?" ,"What do I want to accomplish with this blog?", and other similar questions.

I blog because I feel like I'm supposed to.  Is this what real writers feel?  I don't know.  I just know that I like having this little corner of blogdom to share photos, thoughts, and ideas.

What do I want to accomplish?   I want to remember…

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Youngest Daughter Continues Crafting

Thankful thought:  Thanks for youngest daughter's example of creativity and motivation.

Tuesday: Time to Tackle. . . Cleaning the Shower

Has anyone else noticed how the same ideas seem to keep popping up on pinterest, blogs, and other social media sites?  The other day, I read about the amazing bathroom cleaner made with vinegar and Dawn dish washing detergent, so I decided to give it a try. 

I don't even know who to credit for the recipe; I found multiple pinterest pins, and multiple blog entries that mentioned it, and I didn't ever find the original post.  Most of the recipes said to add equal parts of warm vinegar (microwave it) and Dawn dish washing detergent (the blue kind) into a spray bottle, spray it on the shower, leave on for some length of time, then rinse off. 

Swallowing all pride, I found the grungiest shower tile I could for a "before" photo:


I sprayed on the mixture.  The scent was extremely strong, and not just a vinegar smell.  More of a "open-the-window, I-need-to-breathe" smell.  

I left the cleaner on for a few hours before rinsing it off.  Some sites said to leave on over…

Monday Morning in the Kitchen: Pineapple Zucchini Muffins

Remember this post about canning "pineapple" from zucchini?  Well, I really need to use all those jars before this year's zucchini starts producing.  Today, I decided to make muffins. 


In case any of you need to use up bottled zucchini, here's the recipe:

"Pineapple" Zucchini Muffins
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine:  2-1/2 cups flour, 1 T non-instant milk powder, 2 T brown sugar (you might want to increase this for a sweeter muffin), 1 T baking powder, 1/2 t salt, 1 t cinnamon, and 1/2 c. chopped walnuts.  In another bowl, combine:  1 pint "pineapple" zucchini, 1/4 c. vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 1/2 c. water. 

(If you prefer, you can use 1/2 cup milk rather than the powdered milk and water.)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine.  Either grease muffin tins, or use paper liners.  Fill muffin tins 3/4 way full, and bake for 18 minutes.  Makes 15 muffins.
Thankful thought:  Thanks for the smell of fresh…

Before Thankful Comes Recognition

This short video provides helpful advice on how to recognize the blessings that come to us daily.  In the hustle and bustle of life, we might miss just how fortunate we are. 





Our Heavenly Father loves each one of us, and he is aware of our needs and desires.  As we look to Him for direction, we will come to understand His interest in our lives. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for a kind, loving Heavenly Father who knows us and wants only the best for us.

"Birdcage" Makeover

Last week, I spent a couple of hours scouring garage sales.  I came home all excited, but as you can see, it doesn't take much to delight me:



After John brought out the wire cutters and we removed yards of chicken wire, this is what we found:


Once stripped of the chicken wire, I realized that the "birdcage" is actually two repurposed [this is the new catch-phrase, right?] store display baskets stacked together. After some cleaning, spray painting, and decorating, this is what we have:






What do you think?  Could we possibly use this as part of wedding reception decor?

Thankful thought:  Thanks for spray paint and possibilities.

I've Been Indexing, But What is a Census?

For the past month or so, I've been indexing, and encouraging you to index, the 1940 census.  However, I don't think I ever really defined what a census is.  The following video does a great job of
explaining:



If you've been bitten by the family history bug, please visit this website to get started with indexing.  If you haven't caught the vision of genealogy, don't worry; there's hope for you yet! 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for family!

Kitchen Towel Tutorial

After making the baby blanket the other day, I got to thinking that I could make kitchen towels using the same technique. 

I found a cute cotton remnant at the fabric store:


I love the vintage look, the colors (which work great with my brick kitchen floor), and the chickens.  John holds the reasonable view that barnyard animals don't belong in the kitchen, but I think he made an exception for chickens when I inherited my grandma's rooster decor.  Oldest son even created a painting for me with Grandma's rooster as inspiration:


Anyway, I decided the fabric remnant would make nice towels.  I found some waffle-weave material in the home decor section of the fabric store, and used it as towel backing.

The technique was the same as the baby blanket.  First, be sure to pre-wash your fabric.  The waffle-weave, in particular, shrank a lot! 

Then, cut your fabric pieces.  I had slightly less than a yard of the remnant, and just cut it so I could get three towels out of the piece.  Then…

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Reno at 8 Months

Thankful thought:  Thanks for soft puppy faces, and picmonkey.com, which helps improve my photos!

Jewelry Tree Handmade by Creative Youngest Daughter

Last night, I heard power tools humming in the garage.  Next thing I know, in walks youngest daughter, carrying a cute jewelry tree.


She made it by taking wire and bending it at the end.  She took a little piece of wood and drilled holes the size of the wire, then inserted the wire into the holes.  Finally, she spray painted it all white.  The whole process took her about 1/2 hour. 




Happy Mother's Day!

My mom called me the other day just to tell me how much she enjoys reading my blog.  She said all the right "Mom" things to say:  I could write a book (if I wanted to), I could be a speaker (again, if I wanted to), I am as enjoyable to listen to as the pros. 
Now, those statements reflect more on my mom than on me. 
She's always been a great support.

She taught me skills and spent time with me.

Above all, I have always known that she loves me.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! 
Thankful thought:  Thanks for my mom, my grandmas, and my mother-in-law, each of whom has been a great support to me.  I'm so lucky to be associated with such wonderful, strong women!

Easy Baby Blanket Tutorial

I recently purchased a new sewing machine.  My old one sewed temperamentally, balking and complaining most of the time.  While I felt a bit bad buying a new one when the old one still had life in it, I'm amazed at the quiet ease with which the new one operates.  Not only does it seem happy to be working, it offers me quite a few different stitching options. 

My fabric stash tends to grow if I'm not careful, but with a new machine, I felt motivated to turn some of the flannel stash into baby blankets.  What an easy project!  Here's what to do:

Start with two different pieces of fabric, 1 yard each.  Flannel shrinks quite a bit, so make sure to wash, dry, and press the fabric first. 

Next, you will need to square up the fabric.  Fabric isn't always cut squarely at the store, and then it shrinks in the wash, so your two 1-yard pieces probably won't be identical.  Here is how much my pieces differed:


If you use a rotary cutter with a mat and ruler, you can easily square …

Patience, Please. Blog Makeover in Progress

You know the feeling you have when its been too long since your last haircut, and you just have to do something about it right now--even if it means wielding the scissors yourself?  Well, my mind has somehow decided I need to update the look of this blog today.  Stat.  So, please be patient.  If you're checking in and think, "I can hardly read the heading," don't worry.  I know.  I'm working on it.  Hopefully the final (ha ha--until next time I change things up) result will be worth it. 

Thankful thought:  Thanks for your patience!

Drying Rose Petals: AKA The Garage Smells Great

With my son's wedding date fast approaching, I'm starting to realize I have a lot to learn about putting on a wedding reception.  (The bride-to-be is from another state, so the wedding and one reception will occur there, and we will hold another reception here.

I scour pinterest for ideas, and try to think of what we have already, and what we might want to pick up for decorations.  My beautiful rose bushes are blooming now.  If only I could capture the fleeting blossoms.  Oh, wait!  Maybe I can.

I gathered a basketful of deadheaded petals. 


Then I removed the sliding screen door from its tracks and balanced it on two sawhorses.  Next, I scattered rose petals all over the screen.  Now I'm just waiting for them to dry. 


I'm not exactly sure if/how we'll use them, but I figure it doesn't hurt to have options!  I'm envisioning some rose petal, vase, battery-operated candle, tulle creation as a centerpiece. I want to discuss this with the bride-to-be, of course. 

E…

Struggling With My Views at Petsmart

You might remember that I recently posted about confident parenting.  We know our children, and we know what skills and knowledge would prove most useful to them.  We should celebrate successes and not worry about what others think.  Well . . . I still struggle with this. 

Yesterday, I stopped at Petsmart to buy dog food for Reno.  I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt.  The T-shirt had on the front:  America 1776.  The cashier looked at me, and asked/said:  "1776.  Is that the date of the Army?  Or was it Navy?"  Even after I explained it meant the birth of our nation, she asked, "the flag?"  I reiterated, then tried not to act surprised when she explained to me that her major in college had nothing to do with history. 

Then I struggled with my feelings.  I do believe what I wrote in my confident parenting post, yet I found myself surprised that the English-speaking, college student/cashier did not know what I considered a fact of general knowledge.  I reminded mys…

Mother's Day is Coming Up: How Are We Doing?

As a child, the second Sunday in May meant it was officially Be Nice to Mom Day.  It wasn't until I was married that I began to understand just how difficult Mother's Day can be for women.  Single women.  Married women.  Women without children.  Women with children. 

What lies at the heart of our sorrow and discontent?  Judgment.  Comparison and contrast.  Mother's Day can stand, for women, not just as a day to honor the hard work and sacrifices of our own mothers, but also as a performance review check.  And let me tell you, I think we are often much too hard on ourselves. 

I attended a conference earlier this year, and one of the speakers really impressed me.  (The fact that I don't remember her name reflects more on the state of my memory than her ability as a speaker.) Anyway, she talked about how she doesn't consider herself a refined woman, but that she admires those women who always have their hair perfectly groomed, and who are poised in all situations.  We…

A Friend Crossed My Path--Again

Sometimes, I have grand ideas of writing a perfectly eloquent blog post--one that exactly expresses the thoughts and feelings I'm having, one that shares universal truths in a way that anyone reading would feel compelled to comment: "I know what you mean!"  Then I stare at the blank screen, with the blinking cursor daring me to attempt to put my heart into the written word. 

Today, I try again. 

At church this afternoon, some individuals mentioned how thankful they were for friends who helped them during difficult times, as well as happy times.  I found myself mentally recollecting the many people I've known throughout my life, and the fond memories I have of them.  Just then, my youngest daughter nudged me and gestured for me to look behind us.  Sitting a few rows back was one of "my" young women, someone I knew from when we lived in another state and I taught the teenage girls in our church ward.  I quickly motioned for her to come sit with us, and I foun…

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: May Flowers

Thankful thought:  Thanks for the sights and smells of spring!