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Monday, September 29, 2008

Shopping Deals

My Saturday shopping spree - I SAVED a total of $109.70 on the items below. I know I didn't get these items for free, but any savings on things I need is worth it to me. Making that dollar stretch as far as possible. It was a good savings day, I try everyday to be frugal and save.

My Great deal from Staples: I had to go by Staples to purchase ink for my Dell printer and Staples now carries the ink cartridges, which saves me from purchasing them directly from Dell. It's a lot quicker and I don't have to pay shipping. While I was there, they had these savings:
HP Photo paper for 1/2 off. For 100 sheets it was only $17.49 . Total savings was $17.50
5 reams of copy paper was $24.99 and I'll receive 1/2 of that back in rewards with my Staples rewards card. Instead of each ream being $5 each, they will only be $2.50 each. Great deal... plus I receive 10% savings on my rewards card for the ink cartridges I purchased.
Total Savings: $30.00

From Walmart, everything purchased above had a manufacturing coupon.
SubTotal: $63.53
Coupons: -$21.02
Total: $42.51

This week at Albertsons, they have their spices for 1/2 off. I dropped by to purchase a couple of spices I was running low on. While I was there, they had a clearance shelf and they had these Glad plug-ins for only $1.00. I just purchased some at Walmart before I went to Albertsons for $2.97 each.. Woo hoo... I couldn't pass purchasing all of them - Qty 12. I love plug ins and vanilla is my favorite!! As a side note, Albertsons price for the snack pack was $3.00 cheaper then Walmart. I like buying the small bags, because when I buy a regular bag of chips - they always go bad before we actually eat them - wasting money.
Total savings: $58.68
Total purchase: $39.99

I am loving my wheat grinder and bread maker!!


As I suspected, Brady wanted to grind the wheat. It sure is a lot of fun. We even talked about Chicken Little making the wheat into flour. It was fun!



Here is my first loaf of bread from my new bread maker. As I discussed in another blog, I have the bread maker mix the dough and then I put it in a regular bread pan, let rise and then bake. It's been a lot of fun.
Here is the bread maker that I purchased from Walmart for $54.88.
We made homemade pizza Friday night using the bread maker to mix the dough. It was alright for the first try. I think I hurried it to much - next time I will wait longer for it to rise. Plus, I made 2 pizza's out of the dough and I should have had it a little thicker and only 1 pizza's. We had a ton of pizza left over. It had the dough had good flavor - but I know the next time I do it, it will be much better and I'll post pictures.
I've also made soup bowls and today I made a loaf of white bread. I tried to get Brady to have a peanut butter and jam sandwich with the wheat bread. He didn't like it too much with pb&j. I think the bread was cut a little too thick and it was quite the sandwich - which I ended up eating because he didn't like it. He wants store bread for pb&j - but I am going to try home made white bread and try to cut it a little thinner. Well see how that goes. Brady did like the wheat bread, with butter at dinner time because it does have a great flavor - it was just a little much for pb&j.
I love making all these different things with my bread maker though. It sure makes life easier mixing the dough for me. It's been a bunch of fun.
I am also adding wheat flour to my cookie recipe and trying to sneak it in other items I use white flour with. I love getting back to basics and I am sure it is giving us better protein and nutrients from grinding our own wheat. It's a good feeling.



Recipe TGI Friday's Broccoli Cheese Soup

T.G.I. Friday's Broccoli Cheese Soup
Ingredients:
4 cups chicken broth (which is two cans of chicken broth)
1 cup water
1 cup half and half
4 or 5 slices Kraft Cheddar Singles
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dried minced onion
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups broccoli florets (bite-size)

Garnish:
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley
Combine chicken broth, water, half and half, cheese, flour, onion and pepper in a large saucepan. Whisk to combine and to break up any lumps of flour. Set heat on medium. Stir constantly. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
Add broccoli to soup and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender, but not soft.
For each serving spoon soup into a bowl and garnish with a tablespoon of shredded cheese and a pinch of parsley. Mmmmmm. It's soooooo good.
With my new bread machine, I made white bread and then put it into custard cups and baked to make soup bowls. I turned out so wonderfully yummy!
Doesn't that look great? I love this recipe.

Another Favorite Broccoli Soup Recipe from Deals to Meals (I make this recipe more often the TGI Broccoli soup - its my new favorite):

 Creamy Broccoli, Potato and Cheese Soup

2 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 cups water

1/2 stick butter
1/3 cup flour
3 cup water
2 Tablespoon Chicken bouillon or base
3 - 4 cups milk (I use whole milk - if you want your soup extra creamy, use half & half or cream - if you only have skim, use 6 cups skim milk instead of any water and you may need a little more flour and butter to thicken your soup)

1 lb. broccoli, chopped -- can use one bag of frozen
1 lb cauliflower chopped (or use another pound of broccoli - which I do) -- can use one bag of frozen
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (recipe says 2 teaspoons - but it way to much for me)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a large soup pot, add 1/2 stick of butter and begin to soften.
Add the diced onions and saute until the onions are slightly golden brown (not totally soft).
Add the flour to the onions and saute until the four begins to stick to the onions.
Add the water and chicken base and the diced potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are slightly tender (simmer on low because the mixture will thicken as the flour cooks down -- if you need more water you can add more as it simmers or add some of the milk).

Once the potatoes are soft, add the milk, seasonings and broccoli/cauliflower. Continue to simmer on low while the soup thickens and the vegetables soften.

When you are about ready to serve the soup, and the shredded cheese and simmer just long enough for the cheese to melt. Serve with extra cheese and warm bread.

Motivational Monday

Most of us have thought about how to prepare for storms. We have seen and felt the suffering of women, men, and children, and of the aged and the weak, caught in hurricanes, tsunamis, wars, and droughts. One reaction is to ask, “How can I be prepared?” And there is a rush to buy and put away whatever people think they might need for the day they might face such calamities.
But there is another even more important preparation we must make for tests that are certain to come to each of us. That preparation must be started far in advance because it takes time. What we will need then can’t be bought. It can’t be borrowed. It doesn’t store well. And it has to have been used regularly and recently.

What we will need in our day of testing is a spiritual preparation. It is to have developed faith in Jesus Christ so powerful that we can pass the test of life upon which everything for us in eternity depends. That test is part of the purpose God had for us in the Creation
Let me suggest to you four settings in which to practice quick and steady obedience. One is the command to feast upon the word of God. A second is to pray always. A third is the commandment to be a full-tithe payer. And the fourth is to escape from sin and its terrible effects. Each takes faith to start and then to persevere. And all can strengthen your capacity to know and obey the Lord’s commands.
Henry B. Eyring, “Spiritual Preparedness: Start Early and Be Steady.”
With General Conference coming this weekend, my niece posted a great idea to make it more meaningful and peaceful with little children. I loved her post on what her family tradition is in preparing her children for this special, spiritual experience as we listen to living Prophets and Apostles living on the earth today. I wanted to share this wonderful idea with all of you. You can read her post at this link:
I am always excited to listen to a Prophets voice and to feel the spirit as it comes into my home as we listen to General Conference. It is a wonderful time we live in when we have the opportunity to get direction in our lives from Heavenly Father, through living Prophets.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flowers, flowers and more flowers!


This is my home and the berm on the left had side of my home. My flowers were beautiful and I thought I'd give you a tour of the beautiful sites at my home.

The brown house next door, caught on fire last year July 2007 and pretty much burned down. They had to complete gut it and rebuild it. It was very scary and my home was in danger of catching on fire too. The firemen, went down the side of my house and broke through the fence to fight it. They made me leave my home and I was really stupid. I didn't take my photo albums, my 72 hour kit, even my purse or keys. I wasn't very smart about being evacuated quickly from my home. It made me really wake up and I've been trying to get prepared and smarter in case an emergency happens again in my neighborhood.

This is my garage and a close up of the flowers and my dwarfs. It's quaint and small. There is an alley in the back of my house where I drive and park my cars. I painted my dwarfs.


These are a couple of shots of my patio or the outside room to my home. I have a TV out there and spend most of my time outside on my patio. It is very cozy. Oh, and I have curtains that I tie up and undo when the sun is beating down in the afternoon. It keeps the patio cooler.


To the back of my property is a cement pad that used to be a dog run. Since I don't have a dog anymore, I would like to put a shed on it someday. In the mean time, I have dressed it up with pots of flowers and more dwarfs. These dwarfs were purchased at the dollar store. They have been fading in the sun and I have been painting them when I have time. Dopey still hasn't been painted and is very pale.
Also, this little patio serves as the fire pit area.


A few other areas in my back yard. Yes, I have lots and lots of flowers this year. It looks awesome!

This is an island in the middle of the back yard with miniature roses, flowers, bird bath and the purple flower is called "obedience".

I hope you have enjoyed some sites of my yard in 2008. I have really enjoyed playing in the dirt this year.

Computer Virus

It's been a crazy week. Tuesday night while I was working, I received an urgent telephone call from Brady. He had accidentally down loaded the Trojan horse virus. Yikes!! Luckily, he was smart enough to pull the telephone line from the outlet. He was very distraught, to say the least. He wanted me to fix it while I was working, tell him what to do with the computer. Of course, I couldn't do anything without being in front of the computer. I told him we would do a computer restore and see if that fixed it. Then he called me again trying to fix it and said that this debugger program told us that we had 85 viruses on the computer and we should activate the Microsoft fix. I told him that I didn't know without being home and on the computer. We discussed it and Brady pushed the 'active' button. Then after thinking about it for a while, I told him that he needed to quit pushing buttons on the keyboard, keep the phone cord unplugged and wait until I got home.

He was so very sad when I returned home. DISTRAUGHT!!! I told him it was OK - nobody got hurt, nobody died, nothing bad happened to something important - it is just a piece of hardware and we would get it fixed. I tried to help him feel better - because it wasn't something he did on purpose, it was an accident.

Anyway, the Microsoft program that was running had me quite curious. I pushed the activate button and it directed me to a "Microsoft" website to activate a fix for the virus for money, the lowest was $39.99 and they wanted my credit card number and the 3 numbers on the back of my credit card. This did not seem right to me and I quickly exited this site. I don't like the computer directing me to different sites that I didn't search for and ask for my credit card.

There were 3 desktop buttons regarding spam protection, virus protection and this Microsoft help. I pulled up the properties of these items and found that they were created the same time the virus came to my computer. It made me think that these had to be part of the Trojan horse, so I deleted them off of my computer.

I tried to do a system restore.... but it didn't do anything. So I decided that I'd better get Norton anti-virus downloaded on my system. I activated it and it seems to have fixed the virus - there were lots and the virus keeps trying to contact my system - but Norton has been protecting me.

It's been scary, but I feel we are protected and things have worked out fine. It was really smart that Brady unplugged the phone line connection - so that it didn't completely download the virus and wipe out my hard drive. Over all, we have been blessed by not having a complete failure. It IS really scary though how quickly a virus can sneak into your computer and take your information. I once again searched my computer to make sure there isn't any personal or financial data on the computer at risk. I believe I am protected and safe - but it was scary.

I haven't blogged much through the week as I have been trying to protect myself on the computer. We've been very blessed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

8 Tag



8 TAG

8 Favorite TV Shows:
1 - Sell this House
2 - John and Kate plus 8
3 - Little People, Big World
4 - Ace of Cakes
5 - Lifetime Movie
6 - Hallmark Movie
7 - News
8 - BYU Channel

8 Favorite Foods
1 - Chocolate
2 - Shrimp
3 - Bread
4 - Chicken
5 - Corn on the Cob
6 - Crab Legs
7 - Lobster
8 - Potatoes

8 Things that happened yesterday
1 - Made waffles for breakfast
2 - Cleaned Mary Kay's House
3 - Cleaned Becky's house
4 - Made Dinner
5 - Made Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 - 3 loads of Landry
7 - Vacuumed the house
8 - Family Prayer and read from the New Testament

8 Things to do tomorrow
1 - Make Breakfast
2 - Take Brady to Cross Country Practise
3 - Mow Lawn
4 - Can Tomatoes
5 - Dead head flowers
6 - Change sheets on beds
7 - Clean bathrooms
8 - Watch the General Relief Society Meeting

8 Things that I LOVE everyday:
1 - Listen to Brady practise the piano
2 - Listen to my Zune (Usually Twilight books)
3 - Read
4 - Talk to Brady
5 - Take Pictures and Blog
6 - Enjoy the peacefulness of my home
7 - Read other blogs or recipes
8 - Light a candle

8 Favorite songs/albums on my Ipod (I have a Zune)
1 - Audio Twilight Book
2 - Audio Breaking Dawn Book
3 - Michael Ball
4 - Andrew Lloyd Webber Music
5 - Josh Groben (So She Dances - love it!)
6 - Wicked Music
7 - Soundtrack from "The Holiday" (Hans Zimmer)
8 - LDS Music (Hillary Weeks, Michael McClain, Tabernacle Choir)

8 Things on my wish list
1- Get out of debt
2 - New Dishwasher / stove
3 - Electrical work (new ceiling fan, new fans in bathrooms etc)
4 - New carpet in bedroom, dining room and bathroom
5 - Fireplace mantel
6 - New Garage Door
7- New driveway
8 - New counter tops

8 Things I am looking forward to...
1 - Halloween
2 - Thanks Giving and being with my family
3 - Twilight Movie
4 - Christmas
5 - Wicked Musical
6 - Being released as a Relief Society Teacher
7 -Getting Out of Debt
8 -Getting Married someday

I tag ANYONE who reads my blog, and wants to do it..


Have a good weekend!!

IPOD and ZUNE

For Brady's 13th birthday he wanted an IPOD. Yes, his 13th birthday over a year ago. Jason and I decided to go in together and purchase a 8 mg IPOD. He was happy to get his very own IPOD. But then it sat by the computer and he never added any songs or wanted to use it. It has sat by the computer for over a year now going un-used. I haven't been very happy to spend $200 and have it sitting there unused day after day for over a year. I'd bug him quite often about it. As he has become a teenager, he is very aware of others opinions and didn't want to add my kind of music because he was afraid he would be teased if anyone ever looked to see what he has loaded. I don't listen to today's music and I have no idea what kind to direct him to and the IPOD sat and sat.

Before Brady's trip to Silverwood, I asked Jason to come over and load up the IPOD with music so he could listen on the bus. We loaded it up with High School Musical, Jonas Brothers, Camp Rock, Chipmunks Movie, and then the regulars we listen to, Michael Ball, Hillary Weeks, The Holiday Sound track, Wicked.... those are the albums I can think of that we added.

Brady took his newly loaded IPOD on the trip to Silverwood. YEAH!!! He finally used it! Now, those ear plugs are constantly in his ears. It's kind of strange that now, he can't live without it. All I can think of is the year it sat by the computer ......

As you can see, I have a Zune which I absolutely love. Several years ago when MP3 players were coming out, I decided if I was going to spend the money - I wanted one with lots of MG's. Zune had the biggest at that time 25MG. I have loaded every CD I have and personal pictures and still have a ton of room. I don't really like to wear the ear plugs - I have a small speaker as shown in the picture. I use my Zune everyday as I clean houses and can't be bothered by the wire and ear plugs. This speaker works out great for my lifestyle. Even when I go walking and strap my Zune to my arm....I still like the speaker vs the ear plugs. I'm glad I have this option.

I absolutely love having every album, song and audio book in such a small compact place that I can take it with me anywhere. It is one of the great pleasures I have and such great technology. I love my Zune!

Food Storage with wheat

Finally I am storing and grinding wheat. I have been following this blog spot: http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/

The focus for this month is "wheat". Getting to know, use and learning the different things we can do with wheat. When she first encouraged us to get wheat this month, I just haven't wanted to do it because I didn't have a wheat grinder. I checked on ebay to see what they had, and I found one for $69.00 which looked like good quality. I didn't want to get a cheaper one, even though they did have some for $19.00 too. I opted for the more expensive one, as my goal is using wheat will be part of a regular part of my life. I don't want to store any food that I don't use. I don't want anything that I will end up throwing away. Before I purchased wheat I needed a grinder. It arrived and was much smaller then I imagined, but great because I don't have a lot of extra storage space.


Today, I made it to the LDS church dry pack cannery to purchase my wheat for $27.00. When I looked at the order form on-line they listed white and red wheat. I didn't know what the difference was, so I did some research on it yesterday. What I found was the red wheat had more nutrients then white wheat. But the white wheat was milder tasting and made your bread look more like white bread. They discussed using 1/2 of each kind and I decided to purchase 50 pounds of each kind. However, when I arrived at the cannery they only had red wheat available because that is what the church grows on their farms. They have to purchase the white wheat and it is pretty expensive to purchase and didn't have any on hand. So, I opted to just get 100 pounds of red wheat.


I have been reading how other bloggers use a bread machine to make the dough and then put it in their regular bread pan and bake in the oven so that it looks like a regular loaf of bread instead of the square weird looking bread from a bread machine. I decided it would be easier for me if I purchased a bread machine which I did and I hope I like it. Other bloggers have been able to find a bread machine for a couple of dollars from a thrift store (I checked out a couple, but didn't see one for sell).


I am using the recipe from:




Her readers give it a high rating of 10 out of 10 and it had great comments. So I ground my wheat, and have put the ingredients in the bread maker. I hope it works out and this can become a regular fun way of making bread for my family (I'm doing it now and will post pictures and comments later of how it worked out).


Here are pictures of my new wheat grinder and the wheat. Oh yeah!! I am excited to become a back to nature real home made momma. (with a bread machine LOL) Oh, and it was easy to grind and worked great. It's a good little grinder that makes me "work" to make the wheat into flour instead of just plugging it in. OK, I know that's the only hard work I have since I have a bread machine to knead it. I need a little pampering now and then. Grinding the wheat was pretty fun. I think Brady will get a kick out of it and it can be his job too. Fun, Fun!

Monday Night, family home evening

Brady having dinner with the family.
Jason and Sharon laughing at me having to take pictures during dinner to share on my blog. I have become a very silly mom. But, I love that I am taking more picture and remember each moment of our times together. Memories that will last, because I am blogging/journaling and I know it will be a blessing to us down the years. I have always been bad at journaling, but good at scrap booking. Then I have to rake my brain to remember the details for the picture. This should make those scrap booking days much easier.
Monday night, Sept 22, 2008 our family actually got together for dinner a short message and a movie. It is always wonderful to be together and enjoy each other's company. For dinner we had the lemon pork chops, baked potato, beans, watermelon, apple sauce, kool aid and biscuits.

Our short message was our discussion about the God head. We believe in God the Eternal Father, his son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We believe they are 3 distinct different people. Brady had this discussion in seminary that morning and he shared this information with our family and we had a nice discussion. Sharon, who is not LDS and was raised Baptist was taught they are 1 person. It was quite the discussion and Jason was really shocked that others believe they are 1 person. It's always fun when Jason gets to know Sharon better with each discussion we have.

Then we crowded into our small TV room and watched Baby Mama which I had rented. All in all it was a wonderful evening. I love it when we are all together - it doesn't happen near enough with Jason being all grown up.

Recipe for Easy Lemon Pork Chops

Easy..... Lemon Pork Chops
4 pork loin or rib chops, about 3/4 inch thick
Salt
4 thin onion slices
4 thin lemon slices
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons catsup
Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with salt. Place pork chops in ungreased shallow baking pan or dish. Top each pork chop with onion slice.
Top each onion slice with a lemon slice.
Top each lemon slice with a tablespoon with packed brown sugar.
Top the brown sugar with a tablespoon of catsup.
Cover and bake in 350 degree oven 30 minutes.
Uncover and bake, spooning sauce onto pork chops occasionally, until done, about 30 minutes longer.
This is a very easy recipe and give the pork chops a very sweet, lemony taste. You will like how easy these are. I serve with bake potatoes, which I bake as the pork chops bake. Easy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Brady's Race at the Bob Firman Invitational

Our Treasure Valley (Boise, Idaho area) hosted the Bob Firman Invitation this past Saturday. More than 100 teams from six states competed in three different divisions for high school girls and boys -- division I, division II and elite. I saw jerseys from Provo, Utah, Preston, Idaho, Idaho Falls, ID. There were lots that I didn't recognize - especially from 6 different states. Saturday morning brought heavy rain that drenched the course and lightning delayed the start of the meet for about 30 minutes. The sun emerged for the start of the elite division at 11:30 a.m., but the course as already a mess from earlier races. It was so muddy and slick. It was hard, but that's cross country.
People were falling on the course due to all of the slick mud. Mostly on the hills, where they eventually put down hay (as you can see) to give the runners traction.
These are all the boys from Brady's race - lots and lots. There were so many boys in his division, that they couldn't all run at the same time. They broke them up with schools from A - J first and K - Z next. 1000's of students. It was crazy. Brady's race started about 2PM.
Here is my runner now. I'm a proud mama..
After the race on a muddy 3.1 mile course at Eagle Island State Park. Brady's time was
22 minutes, 40 seconds. Not the best time he has had, but good due to the muddy track. I told him to do his best, but to watch his footing and try not to fall or break anything. I don't know if you can see the mud that flung up onto his legs during the race - but here is a close up.
You should have seen the kids who fell. It was very muddy. It was also very hard to get all of the mud off his shoes when we returned home.
They rinsed off in the Boise River "Pond" on Eagle Island. Saturday evening and on Sunday, he didn't feel well. I hope he is not getting sick from the weather and being in the pond. Yikes!
And if you want to see the cheer our team does before running - click on the video below. I'm not that great at taking videos, plus it's with my camera so the quality is so - so. However, it is really fun to see the spirit our team has. Our team is the only one who does anything fun like this. All the other teams just stare and I am sure "wish" they were part of this fun team too. I love our coaches. I absolutely love these fun meets, even if the weather is rainy and the course is muddy. I don't know if the kids love it. To me, it's just the fun of being young and involved in something you love. I hope he will always have fond memories of these days in his life. video

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