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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brady Guest Blog - Brady's trip to the Sand Dunes

Brady wrote this and it is pretty long (he's long winded like his Mom). Thanks Brady for being a guest blogger!

Okay, so this spring break, Taylor invited me to go to Bruno Sand Dunes. I'm glad he did, otherwise I would have gone to school, while everyone asked me what I did over my weekend and have my response be something like I was a sad, lazy teenager. Well, apparently, my mother had me trained by middle school, to buck up, and suck in those embarrassing photos with other people in them, so she could... could... scrap book! But now I guess I'm trained and I'm the only one who will be in a picture without any groaning or hesitation. (Unlike Brian, who is bending over in embarrassment, while I made the best of it and made him look even more ridiculous while he wasn't looking ^_^)

Well, after the long wait, it was finally time to head off, after loading all of our camping gear into the truck. We set off, for a nice... long... long-long ride in the truck. So, to entertain ourselves, we did what any group of boys would do, we played Slug Bug. We also added in our personal variations to it, like also counting Hummer Bummers (Hummers), Cruiser Bruisers (PT Cruse rs) and Copper Bobbers (Any cop car that wasn't a motorcycle.) We started to save them up, so we could get back at people twice as hard (oh the joy, oh the pain.) While I was the feared leader! For a while anyway, until I used up all my saved points, and the others passed my by a long shot. (I think I started to develop a small, lite colored bruise when Taylor hit me in the arm seven times in a row.)
I felt sort of bad when we stopped at our campsite, and Taylor's Dad wanted to set up the whole camp while we went off and played at the Sand Dune. I'm not one to leave all the work to one person, but, hey, if he really wanted to, who was I to refuse him. So, Taylor, Brian, TJ, and me all set off on a paroles journey to the bowl. (no pictures because Cherie, Taylor's mom, nor her camera were included on that journey.) Go left to right on the picture above, we have TJ, me, Taylor, and then finally Brian.
This would be me, crawling up the dune. When you go up and down it a few times (mainly up it,) your legs feel tired, because of the uphill slope, so sometimes, its easier to just get down on all fours and crawl! I'm the only one doing it in that picture, and according to a kid that was in my scout troop (until I got out *cheers* = D I mean... ahh dang... = P) he said that I don't have any muscle, that I have a layer of marshmallow under my skin. Its true, I'm not that ripped, I have a 1 pack and I'm proud ^_^.
Anyway, so we play in the sandand then went back, because we are hungry, and ready to snack a little. Then we played in the sand some more, then, exhausted and ran down. Then we went back to the camp and ate some tacos. Although, I wasn't too satisfied with the hard shells, because half way down, they were all broken (oh the sadness,) but, me and my marshmallow managed. After eating our tacos, I was very exhausted, and wanted to take a nap, (like the lazy teenager I am). Then after being awaken by Taylor and Brian, we headed back to the sand dunes to play some more.
At dusk, we headed on over to an observatory. We watched a very (well how else can I put it) semi-boring presentation. Taylor's troop was doing an astronomy merit badge, I had taken astronomy as a class in middle school, and felt like I knew more then some of the information given on the presentation. The other information was about Europeans, and their mission to this moon, and how many light years this was away from this, and blah, blah, blah blah, (I'm sorry if this offends Bro. Bakow, it really wasn't all that of interest to me.)

After the Semi-boring presentation, we went outside to meet, the cold night sky (I'll elaborate on it later). They were charging $3 a person to look through telescopes, and the leaders weren't expecting to buy our way into it, so we found this nice old man back at camp, who had a telescope, and let us look through it, and showed us some of the stars and constellations.

After some hanging around in an even colder night, as the warmth from the sun seemed to totally leave the atmosphere of the Bruno Sand Dune area. I settle in to my small, single layered sleeping bag, on a stiff, styrofoam mattress. I don't like Brain all that much, and him and Taylor know that, so we sat and talked, just the three of us, and when Brian went into his little shell (sleeping bag) and pretended not to hear us, we may have said a little thing about Brian, but he was really listening to us, then he broke out in sort of a violent matter, as me and Taylor tried to tame the beast within... by feeding him a nice bowl of Chef Boy R Dee ravioli. Just kidding, it wasn't that epic, but we did talk a little, told some scary stories, and then went to bed.

I think someone put some dry ice around our tent or something during the night. I WAS FREEZING! It was colder than the Klondike Camp out. I'm usually all nice, warm and toasty on the Klondike, (kudos to my mother) but, this one, my feet were like bricks of ice! I was sitting there thinking about how I could get warm, then I thought I would go in my bag, and pull out a pair of socks. I reach blindly into my bag, and feel something hard and covered in plastic... Hand warmers... I had totally forgotten that I had taken them with me! -.- So, I pull out a nice big hand warmer, but it was a different kind of hand warmer then I was usually familiar with. It took forever to warm up! It didn't really help me, so I suffered through it.

I woke up the next morning, and enjoyed a nice breakfast burrito. Only the tortilla broke, and all the eggs and cheese fell out, so i just ate scrambled eggs, and tore off pieces of tortilla to eat here and there. Then Brian and Taylor told me that I snored in the night! I was soooo embarrassed! They told me that I would snore, then roll over into a different position, then move again, and start snoring again! I felt really bad, but, in the end, I think I would have to blame it on my mother, because she is a snoring machine! (If you watch a few home movies with her, you would understand) -.-

Anyway, we play on the dune some more, and then head on back home. Of course we played Slug Bug again with our same variations, and passed a wreck with a whole bunch of copper boppers, which sadly Taylor got...

And that's my Exciting/Exhausting/Painful/Cold/Semi-Boring/Embarrassing/Fun camp out with Brian, Taylor, some of Taylor's scout troop.

MR. Jason and Status on Seedlings

Just call him, MR. Jason!! I am excited to report, my awesome son received a promotion in his job last week to supervisor!! I am such a proud mama! Jason has worked hard and has excellent customer service skills. He is a fast learner and always puts forth 110% of dedication and effort in every job he has had.

I am thrilled that in this economy he has been able to advance his career. He has a team that he is in charge of, to keep them motivated and on task each day! I know he can do it and succeed. I am really proud of him! Good Job Jason!!
This morning I checked on the seeds I planted Friday. I have a couple that have pushed through the soil and are growing.
To watch those seeds grow into plants is amazing! I'm excited that I was motivated to plant seeds to put in my garden and flower beds.
I know in my last blog, I didn't explain exactly what I did. I purchased some peat pots and filled with dirt and planted the seed. Some seeds were so small that I just put them on top of the soil. The rule is that you plant a seed the depth of the size of the seed it is. (most seeds just have a tiny layer of soil over them - don't plant too deep).
I saved some of the flower pots from last year and used these too. Filled with dirt and planted seeds. Then I placed them in a Ziploc bag to create a greenhouse effect. I have them on a card table in my craft room - which is a sunny room. I have two heating pads under the plants - that I rotate several times through the day to give them all a chance to warm up.

It's working, because some of the seeds are poking through the ground. I planted flowers and vegetables. Hopefully I will not have to purchase any vegetables.

This week is Geranium and Fuchsia week at Fred Meyers. The price is 4 plants for $3.00 - or $.75 each. I always purchase several flats of plants during this week. These are the Geraniums I plant in my berm. By the time it's warm enough, these starts are BIG and actually they seem to grow bigger and better then the bigger pots I sometimes need to purchase because I've ran out. This year, I hope to get enough to fill in all my pots and flower beds without having to get more later.

The rest of the flowers I will use in my flower beds are hopefully going to come from these seeds I just planted. As the weather starts to warm up, I am getting anxious to play in the dirt!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Motivational Monday - If Ye Are Prepared, Ye Shall Not Fear

This coming weekend, April 4th and 5th we have the opportunity to recieve council from living Prophet and Apostles on the earth today. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (The Mormon's) will be holding a General Conference for people of the world to listen to this guidance from our Heavenly Father. You can listen to this council on TV, the Internet and in Church buildings around the world.

I love to listen to this direction from our leaders and you can too. You can watch it at http://www.lds.org/ or watch your local listings for a TV channel near you that will carry this wonderful conference.

Today I decided to share "parts" of a talk President Gordon B Hinckley gave: "If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,” Ensign, Nov 2005."
We can so live that we can call upon the Lord for His protection and guidance. … We cannot expect His help if we are unwilling to keep His commandments.

Now, as all of us are aware, the Gulf States area of the United States has recently suffered terribly from raging winds and waters. Many have lost all they had. The damage has been astronomical. Literally millions have suffered. Fear and worry have gripped the hearts of many. Lives have been lost.

With all of this, there has been a great outpouring of help. Hearts have been softened. Homes have been opened. Critics love to talk about the failures of Christianity. Any such should take a look at what the churches have done in these circumstances.

What we have experienced in the past was all foretold, and the end is not yet. Just as there have been calamities in the past, we expect more in the future. What do we do? Someone has said it was not raining when Noah built the ark. But he built it, and the rains came.
The Lord has said, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (D&C 38:30).

The primary preparation is also set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants, wherein it says, “Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come” (D&C 87:8).

We know, of course, that the rain falls on the just as well as the unjust (Matt. 5:45). But even though the just die they are not lost, but are saved through the Atonement of the Redeemer.

We can heed warnings. We are told by seismologists that the Salt Lake Valley is a potential earthquake zone. This is the primary reason that we are extensively renovating the Tabernacle on Temple Square. This historic and remarkable building must be made to withstand the shaking of the earth.

(by Sondra: California has experience swarms of small earthquakes this past week and have been warned of a larger earthquake possibility. Plus California is experiencing a drought and many farmers will not be planting this year which equals higher food prices. Alaska's volcano has erupted this past week. Flooding in Fargo, ND, severe weather throughout the US, tornados to name just of few disasters going on this week. We also have an economy that is in peril - I hope we are all taking this council to heart and watching the signs)

We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the best storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing” D&C 109:8.

Our people for three-quarters of a century have been counseled and encouraged to make such preparation as will assure survival should a calamity come.

We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us warm. We ought to have a little money laid aside in case of a rainy day.

Now what I have said should not occasion a run on the grocery store or anything of that kind. I am saying nothing that has not been said for a very long time.

Let us never lose sight of the dream of Pharaoh concerning the fat cattle and the lean, the full ears of corn, and the blasted ears; the meaning of which was interpreted by Joseph to indicate years of plenty and years of scarcity (see Gen 41: 1-36).

I have faith, my dear brethren, that the Lord will bless us, and watch over us, and assist us if we walk in obedience to His light, His gospel, and His commandments. He is our Father and our God, and we are His children, and we must be in every way deserving of His love and concern. That we may do so is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Planting a Garden

There is sunshine in my soul today,
More glorious and bright!

Oh, there's sunshine, blessed sunshine,
When the peaceful happy moments roll.....
Aaaah yes, it's the beginning of spring. I love living in an area where we enjoy all four seasons. It makes me extremely joyful when the weather starts to warm up and buds are showing on the trees. I can't wait for Popcorn to be popping outside my window on the apricot tree (if I had an apricot tree outside my window - but... I can enjoy everyone I see).

Last week while I was cleaning, one of my customers had seed starts growing in her kitchen. She told me she has been holding gardening classes for members in her ward and neighborhood. She said that she's had 2 classes with huge turnout. Everyone is planning on growing a garden this year. Me too! I was motivated to start some seeds inside to plant in my garden later.

I headed to Fred Meyers where they have 40% off Lilly Miller seeds this week. The sales ends today 3/28/09. .... so I hope you can get over there and get some seeds for your garden too. Potting soil was also on sale 3 for $9.99 (reg 4.99 each). I did save some pots last year, but also purchased some peep pots (qty 32 pots for $2.99).
These seeds can go into the ground as soon as you can work the dirt. I think I am safe here in Meridian to go ahead and get these seeds in the ground today.
This is a sampling of the seeds I planted in doors. I then put them in a Ziploc bag to create a green house effect. I started tomato seeds too (not shown).
I have them on a card table in my craft room. Luckily the sun shines brightly in that room. You can put a heating pad under the seedlings to keep them warm too.

I've been thinking hard about doing the square foot gardening this year. I'm going to check this out today too and get it going.

I'm happy for spring and to get my garden growing. My bulbs are growing nicely and I have a few spring flowers here and there. Soon my tulips and daffodils will be beautifully bloomed. There is Sunshine in My Soul Today!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Easter Decorations Outside our Home

Have you been waiting for more Easter decorations?? Here are the decorations on the outside of our home.
Our cute bunny Easter flag
A full view of our Easter, fun house on the block - Home. Do you feel the Easter spirit? Are you ready to hunt some Easter Eggs?
My porch has a Bunny Family to welcome you! We also have a bunny wreath and other fun Easter wall hangings.
Easter Eggs adorn the trees. They each have a wire hooked on the regular Easter eggs, that I place on the trees, one by one. I know... I am pretty silly.
Years ago I found these cool Easter yard signs. I found them when I lived in Salt Lake City, UT and I've lived in Meridian for 10+ years... So they are old, but still in great condition and being used each year.

Did you notice an array of spring flowers? Beautiful isn't it?? Are you laughing yet?? They are fake silk spring flowers. It just give it the extra umph of spring fever and Easter spirit.

I'm known as the fun house on the block. People always stop and tell me how much they love it (when I am outside). I'm glad to be the silly decorating lady on the block!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break and Visit From My Neice

Yeah!! It's Spring Break!! Too bad the weather is windy and rainy! Brady has been enjoying time off from school playing on the computer and watching movies. It's a lazy easy life for him this week, no hard work on his brain.

However, for me .... I don't get any time on the computer. That equals to = no blog time.

I piled up most of cleaning my customers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - so now I basically have Thursday and Friday off to spend some fun time with Brady. Even though I worked really hard those three days, it will be soooooo worth the 4 days to relax and enjoy spring break.
Sunday I had a VERY nice visit from my niece, Zoey Michelle and her family. Her husband is Brandon, the oldest daughter is Faith, Middle son is Dawson and baby girl is Kate. They were here over the weekend to see a David Archuletta concert. They stayed with her sister Robyn in Nampa.

Lucky for me, the decided to come and attend church with me, have a quick dinner then return home to Pocatello.

Every time Michelle and I am together, we talk and talk and talk. There is never enough time. They had planned on going home at 2PM, but we talked too much and they left at 3:30PM. It was worth it for me to see them and visit.

I made a roast for dinner, but it wasn't very good - not completely done, fall apart done. Oh well, it always seems like dinner isn't my best when I fix for others. It was OK, but not the best.
I tried to take some more pictures, but my camera doesn't go too fast and I missed a bunch. I did get a good one of Kate inside the expandable ball.
A quick moving one of Faith. Faith came to my primary class and had such a great time. I loved having her there. She loved our binder idea and the hand outs. I had made up two extra binders in case we get anymore kids that move into our ward and class. I decided to send a binder home with her and she loved it.

I told her I was her grandma's sister. She said, "I can tell.... you two act a lot a like". I thought that was cute and sweet, since I think Cindy my sister is fabulous.

It was an awesome visit. I really love my niece and her family. We are great friends and I think she is terrific, talented and a great mother. Thanks for spending the extra time with me. I Love you Michelle!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Motivation Monday - Prepare Ourselves for Easter

Although Easter is a time for family traditions and fun, this holy day is the time we commemorate the most sacred religious event in the world’s history—the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here are some ideas to help you focus your celebration of Easter on the Savior:

• Commit yourself to read the scriptures every day during the month before Easter, particularly the accounts of the Savior’s ministry in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and 3 Nephi.

• Prepare a family home evening lesson on the Atonement and give the lesson the week before Easter.

• With the approval of your bishop or branch president and ward or branch music chairman, prepare an appropriate musical number with a Young Women, Young Men, Primary, or Sunday School class. You could learn a hymn or find music in past issues of the Liahona. Present your musical number in sacrament meeting on Easter Sunday.

• Read conference addresses given by General Authorities on the life, Atonement, and Resurrection of the Savior. You can find these addresses in past issues of the Ensign.

• During each day of the week before Easter, read about what Christ did that day. (See Matt. 21–28; Mark 11–16; Luke 19–24; John 11–21.)

• Do what Christ would do if he were here: spend time serving others.

• Make a list of the ways the Atonement affects your life. Put the list in your journal and review it often.

• Watch the sunrise on Easter morning. Think about the beauty of the earth and the sacrifices of its Creator.

• Hold a special family testimony meeting or program on Easter Sunday.

• On Easter morning give each member of your family a small picture of the Savior. Write a note or your favorite scripture on the back. Use pictures from the Ensign or from a Church distribution center.

• During the sacrament, make a concerted effort to worship the Savior and Heavenly Father.

• Share your testimony of the Savior and his Atonement with your family, your ward or branch, or a nonmember friend. Make sure your actions reflect what you know to be true.

• Memorize a scripture about the Savior’s Atonement. Here are some suggestions: Luke 22:44; John 6:51; John 10:17; Rom. 6:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Ne. 11:33; 2 Ne. 2:7; Mosiah 26:23; Alma 11:42; Morm. 7:5

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Easter Village

St. Patrick's Day has passed and now it's time for Easter decorations! I have a TON of Easter Decorations. It will make you laugh! Instead of doing one HUGE blog on all of the Easter decorations, I am going to shorten it to around 3 blogs to avoid being too overwhelming.

Today is a close up look at our Easter Village. We have 3 different Villages, one for Christmas, one for Halloween and here is the Easter village. If you've missed seeing them, you can click on the label "my home" and find the other 2 villages.
I've take 3 up close picture and one view of the whole village. To start off, I put down translucent Easter grass.
Then I add the houses. Currently I have 8 houses. Add the picket fence and the trees.
Then I add all the accessories and people.
Here it is - Ta da Da! Our cute little Easter village.
Stay tuned for more Easter decorations to come.

Recipe for Homemade Wheat Bread

The recipe I use for my homemade wheat bread came from Tammy's Recipes. I have a link for her site on my side bar and the homemade wheat bread link is here:

I am adding the recipe to my site for my family and my future use. Also I want it printed in my monthly blog book.

I make the bread dough in my Bread Making Machine on the "dough" cycle then take it out and put it in a regular bread pan to bake. (I don't bake it in the bread machine)
First I grind the wheat. Yes, with my hand grinder. It's fast and efficient! Since I have such a small family, and don't want to spend the $200+ for an electric grinder. I purchased a hand grinder for around $70. I love it and it does the job for me.

(This is all natural ground wheat. Any unused wheat needs to be stored in the fridge. I put mine in a zip lock bag with all the air pushed out.)
Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt

Put all the ingredients above in the order listed in the bread machine pan. I stir all the ingredients together before I put in the dry goods.

Next I prepare to put in the dry ingredients. I found that I really like putting Gluten Flour in the dough. It makes the bread bind together like store purchased bread. I didn't know what "gluten" was until my friend Gail H. told me she purchases it in the bulk section at Winco. I thought "gluten" was something like lard or a solid fat product. I was surprised it was a flour.

I hope this enlightens you too in knowing what gluten is. Maybe you already knew and wasn't in the dark about this wonderful thing before. I know people put it in their cinnamon roll recipes too. I'm glad I finally know what it is.
You put 1 tablespoon of gluten in per cup of flour. This recipe has 3 cups of flour so I use 3 tablespoons. I put it in the 1/2 cup first then fill the rest of the cup with white flour. Basically, I am not adding extra flour/gluten.... replace 3 tablespoons of the flour called for in the recipe with gluten.
Dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Then you make a little indentation in the flour to hold the yeast.
2 1/4 teaspoons instant active dry yeast or 1 packet into the "hole" you made in the flour. You don't want the yeast in the water yet in a bread machine.
That is it.... EASY. Then you put the pan in the bread machine.
Put the control on "dough" setting - which is #8 on my machine. Press start and leave (or clean up the mess and leave).
My bread machine take 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the dough cycle. While it is processing, I get my bread pan and grease it good with shortening.
When the machine beeps, it looks like this. Beautiful!
Take it out on to a dusting of flour. I knead down gently and get air bubbles out by kneading a few times - not too much and not too much more flour.
I then form a loaf of bread.
I first place the dough upside down getting shortening on the top side of the dough. Turn up right (shortening on top).
Cover and let rise.
Now it's ready to bake. 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.
When it is done, I spread butter onto the top of the bread and let cool out of the pan on a towel.
Then I have a wonderful slice of warm bread... mmmmmmm so delicious and EASY.

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast or 1 yeast packet

Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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