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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Graduation Cup Cakes

Here is a cute cup cake idea that I did for a graduation party. A lot of my friends are celebrating graduations - from Kindergarten to High School and College graduations. Here is a fun treat idea that I did a couple of years ago and I thought I'd share it again.

For a graduation party with a bunch of friends, I made Chocolate Cup Cakes with graduation caps on them. Blue and Gold are Meridian High School colors and Blue and Florescent Green is Mountain View's school colors.
I used:
 Unwrapped mini peanut butter cups for the base of the hat.
2 sections of a Hershey's candy bar make a square for the top of the hat. With a dab of frosting to secure the top of the hat to the base of the hat.

I used Rainbow Twizzlers for the tassel. I cut them to a good length and cut the Twizzler into ridges that represent the tassel colors.

They turned out really cute!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Cadet Tymber Honoring Veterans

 This year our very own Cadet Tymber participated in the Opening Ceremonies at the Field of Hero's in Idaho to honor fallen soldiers.

Each marker is a soldier lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are over 6000 markers in the field and each one has a name on it. It is very humbling to walk through the field an see all of the soldiers who lost their lives for our freedom. 
 We are so proud of Tymber's service in the Idaho Wing Cadet Program and her willingness to serve in this capacity.
 We are grateful for those who have given their lives for the freedom we enjoy in this country. Memorial Day is a day to remember the sacrifices made by our veterans and an opportunity to pay our respects to those who have served in the armed forces. 

I love this quote: "Land of the free, because of the brave."
Thank you to all who serve or who have served in the US Military. Thank you for your sacrifice and courage which keep us safe and let us have the freedoms we enjoy in this great country.

Cadet Tymber, we couldn't be more proud of you and your service too! 

 The Idaho Field of Heroes Memorial is a one-of -a kind tribute to every service member who has died in Iraq or Afghanistan since 9/11. As of April 20, 2015 that number totals 6,832.

On Memorial Day Weekend, May 23 - 25, the soccer field at Century High School are transformed into a temporary memorial resembling national cemeteries such as Arlington in Washington, D.C. Each marker is handmade, painted and affixed with the name, rank and the date of death of an American Service member who paid the ultimate price.

The markers are carefully placed into the ground, and once the field has been constructed it is dedicated as hallowed ground, and open to the public for those who wish to pay their respects at no charge. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

So Green!

What am I loving about all this spring rain?
Everything is soooooo green!
 A look at my back yard from my patio. 

It smells good too with the Iris'  and roses blooming.
And now the honeysuckle vine is starting to have lots of little white honeysuckle flowers. 

Beautiful and aromatic!

 I love the peacefulness of my back yard and everything that is blooming and smelling so good. Not to mention the birds singing. 


Thursday, May 21, 2015

My Dean's List Son

Once again Brady is on the Dean's List. He has consistently been on the Dean's list throughout his college years! He is such a smart kid. I also have to say that not only does he go to school full time, but he also works full time job too! This is the way to do it and not get yourself in debt for a college education! He inspires me everyday with his ambition! He will certainly go far in life! 

This is what he posted on facebook: I astound myself yet again. It turns out that I do very well at this thing called college. I never push myself to get on the Dean's List, and every semester I feel like I'm doing incredibly average that I'm almost positive that this is the semester I don't make it. Then after everything is finally graded, I'm amazed at how well I did. Looks like I'm still going to be a Dean's List kid. Cheers to another surprisingly successful semester.

This is the official letter from University of Utah!!

Congratulations for making the Dean’s List for Spring Semester, 2015.
Final grade submissions are now in and our records show that you earned at least a 3.5 GPA on at least 12 graded credit hours for this semester.  These are the criteria for Dean’s List designation and this will be shown on your official University transcript.
Best wishes for continued success as you pursue your degree at the University of Utah.

Scholastic Standards Team
University College Advising

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Joel and Conna Dursteler

A request from a relative (Deborah Stegman) who is Donna Lee Dursteler's oldest daughter and oldest granddaughter of Joel and Conna Dursteler. She was looking for photos of Conna because she didn't have one. One of the great things about blogging and posting heritage information, it gives more people access to information I have. I need to get back to posting a Wayback Wednesday post until all the old photos I've scanned in from my mother are on my blog. Once again this blog has been a great tool to journal family information. I've had a lot of relative stumble onto my blog and asked if I had more information or photos which is quite fun! 

Also if you have any photos of Conna Rae or Joel, please email them to me at so that I can share them with the everyone. Thanks!

This information came from a Mapleton History book. 
Back row: Conna, Eugene, Donna Lee, Terry, Joel
Front row: Paul, Larry, Pauline

Parents: Joel Rudolph and Conna Rae Elwell Dursteler

Children: Larry, Jerry, Eugene, Donna Lee, Paul, Pauline and Margie

On the 12 April 1914, Joel Rudolph Dursteler came to the home of Henry and Clemma Long Dursteler home in Whitney, Idaho. It was a rented home of A.C. Hull, as Henry and Clemma were working for the Hulls when they met and married.

Joel went to school in Cub River. One year he lived with the Dursteler's in Whitney to go to school there, but he soon moved back home and worked for Earnest Spatig.

Later in life, he met Conna Rae Elwell and in 1936 they were married in Soda Springs, Idaho. We lieve for a while with Joel's parents on the ranch up in the hills. We then moved to Whitney and then Preston. Three children were born to us at this time: Larry, Jerry and Eugene. When Eugene was three months old, we decided to go to California to work in the Saw Mills with Joel's brother, Ed.

We took our three children with us. There were only 50 members of the church down there, so we fixed a place to hold church on Sundays.

Moving back to Preston, Joel worked as a carpenter. All in all, we lived in Cub River five times. Then we got some ground from Wendell and Afton Long and built a log home on the dugway hill. 

Here we adopted Margie, on or our grandchildren. She added much joy to this family. She always said she had an uncle and aunt that were her adopted brother and sister. 

Children born to this family: Larry (1937), Jerry (1938), Eugene (1941), Donna (1944), twins Paul and Pauline (19145) and Margie.

On 9 October 1975, Joel died in Mapleton. Our third child, Eugen was killed at his work. We have lost a grandchild Lonnie and a great grand child. 

Preston, Idaho Conna Rae Elwell Dursteler passed away peacefully in her sleep in Pocatello Idaho on February 13, 2008 at the great age of 90. She was born July 21, 1917, the fourth child of Ike Issac and Madge Francis Louise Carter Elwell. She was raised in Preston and graduated from Preston High School.

She met Joel R. Dursteler and they were married August 29, 1936 in Soda Springs, Idaho. They lived in Cub River, Idaho; California, Idaho Falls, ID; Soda Springs, ID; and then back to Preston. Joel preceded her in death in 1975 and she moved to Preston until 2004 when she moved to Pocatello. She was a very caring lady and she was always there if anyone needed help in any way. She ran the Del Monte Cafe in Franklin and waited on many people from Preston to Idaho Falls. she cooked at the schools and senior citizen center as well as participated in the Meals on Wheels program. She also worked in the Home Health Care.

She is survived by four children, Larry R. (Tamra) Dursteler, of Hyde Park Utah; Jerry E. (Jill) Dursteler, Idaho Falls, ID, Paulene (David) Stoddard, Georgetown, ID; and Paul H.(LInda) Dursteler, Cub River, ID; 39 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren, siblings Leora Evans, Don Elwell, and Gwen Jordan all of Logan, UT. She was preceded in death by her husband Joel, her parents, a son Joel Eugene Dursteler, a daughter Donna Lee Dursteler, two brothers Jack Carter, and *Bud) Leland Elwell, and a sister Norma Nash McIntire.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 Ways to Overcome Financial Lies

Our children are told that they must get loans and credit cards to obtain a credit rating. They've been told that they must have a credit rating in order to purchase a house.

This thought process gets them in trouble and sometimes ruins their credit score. 

The other day I had a conversation with my children about getting a house and how that is a struggle to achieve because of credit scores or lack there of. 

I told them that the reason the poor always stay poor is because they get into debt and never learn to save money.

To have a future, you have to learn several things:

1. Work hard in your job and live below your means. 

2. Always have a written budget every month and learn how to save money.

3. Don't go into debt! You end up having to pay interest rates - which takes more money out of your pocket. The rich don't pay interest or extra money because they pay everything with cash (that is how they get rich). 

4. Have an emergency fund so that you don't have to go into debt when emergencies DO happen - because they always will. 

5. Learn to pay yourself first every paycheck. Money you put into a savings account for your future dreams. When you have money left over each month because you have lived below your means and saved money - put that into your savings account too and watch it grow. 

I explained to them that the reason their generation is having a much harder time to have what our parents and grandparents had is because they didn't go into debt. They budgeted, saved, and lived below their means. They didn't go into debt to keep up with their neighbors. 

The access we have to credit hurts us! The older generation didn't have access to credit like we do. We go into debt on trivial things that aren't needed or emergencies. We think it's normal, but what really is happening is that you are mortgaging your future dreams by going into debt. 

This financial lie is hurting this generation.

If your savings equal 30% - 50% of the cost of a home, they WILL give you a loan without a credit score. OR ... wouldn't it be better to purchase a home with cash - not giving the bank any interest. (This also applies to cars - it's better to always pay cash for cars).

If our children learn to save when they start earning money and live below their means and learn to never get into debt ... the dream of having a home is within their reach. 

Life is better and easier if they don't believe or learn the financial lies we've been programmed to live today. 

If you reject these financial lies, you can have a better life and achieve your dreams. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My Rainy Day Becomes A Cooking Day

My freezer has been out of cookies for a couple of weeks .... I hate that!

I usually always have cookies in the freezer because when I am out of snacks I feel like I have to go to the store. I know it's silly, but that's me. 

I like having a cookie with a bag of cut up fruit in my work cooler to tide me over between cleaning houses. While I drive to the next house I snack to get energy to clean the next house. I figure a cookie is like having a store purchased granola bar or snack. I don't purchase snacks when I can make cookies and other snacks at a cheaper price than a box of 6 granola bars for a few dollars. I can't justify spending money on snacks when it cheaper to make some homemade snacks.  

I never take a lunch because I'm not hungry for a sandwich and I don't do fast food while I'm out working. Why spend my hard earned money faster then I make it by purchasing fast food ... I can't do it. Fruit doesn't fill me up without a little carbs/cookie for the energy to clean the next house. 

I don't like to arrive home starving or weak. If I do, then I don't have the energy or patience to make a good meal. I'll end up snacking on junk when I'm starving. 

So, my freezer always has cookies in it so I can pull a bag out every few of days and they are fresh. It really saves me money. 
 Since it was a cold blustery rainy day today, I decided to fill my freezer with cookies again. This should last me more than a month.
Today I made 

I split the Mrs. Fields chocolate chip dough and add chocolate chips in one half and butterscotch chips in the other half of the dough. I like having a variety of cookies and not the same old thing day after day. 

Now my freezer is stocked again! Yea! This is also how I have snacks as an empty nester by dividing and freezing a batch of cookies. It keeps them fresher for a longer period of time since it's just me. 

Also, if I have to prepare a meal for someone sick, I can pull out a couple of bags of cookies to send along with the meal. It's a time saver. 
I also made Creamy Potato Broccoli Soup. I try to make a pot of soup on the weekends for easy meals during the week day.

When I do these things ... keep my freezer full of cookies and make a pot of soup, I don't go to the store as often or feel the need to go out to dinner, because I have prepared food available all the time for quick meals. 

Currently in my freezer I have:
Taco meat

All these items are stored in freezer bags that I can pull out and microwave to defrost and have an easy meal. 

It helps me stay frugal on my food budget. I find that is one of the big expense items on my budget that I can reduce by cooking and eating at home. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Planting Flowers Before it Rains!

I have been working really hard in my yard for the past few weeks when I'm not working or reading. 
The forecast for Boise Idaho is rain, rain, rain!
I decided to put as much effort into getting as many flower planted before it rains for the next 7 days. 

I am happy to say that the front of my berm is planted!!!! Yea me!
 My poor berm was just a mess because I've kind of let it go wild with natural seeding for the past few years. Unfortunately I had a ton of grass all over. That meant I had to dig it all by hand to get rid of the weeds and the seedlings that came from the flowers last year. 

The middle is planted with the 75 cent geraniums that I purchase from Fred Meyers during their Fuchsia and Geranium sale about a month ago. They grow so big in just a months time and look wonderful and some are even blooming. 

This week at Fred Meyers is their Founders Day sale and the flats of annuals are only $10.99. These are the sales I always purchase because they are the best deals. 

I'm so happy to have at least the front of my berm planted before the rain comes!! 
The back patio has my pots of peas and they are growing really well. I also have a few pots of flowers planted too. 
 The Fuchsia baskets were also on sale for $19.99 each and I splurged for a Mother's Day gift for myself. I never purchase big plants like this - I usually only plant regular flowers and let them grow all summer long. But I kind of spoiled myself this year. 

I still have 3 flats of geraniums to plant in the rest of my berm after the rain stops.  
I also have planted 4 of my tomato plants I started by seed. I wrap plastic around the cages to protect them until they get a little bigger. I decided to plant them by the patio again this year because the sun shines bright here. 

Last year my tomato plants didn't produce any tomatoes - they had the disease that makes the flowers drop off and never produce any tomatoes. It was so sad. I'm down to 6 quarts of tomatoes in my food storage, so I really really hope they give me lots to can. I love canned tomatoes - they taste so much better than what you can purchase at the store. It makes my spaghetti sauce, soups and chili yummy. I love home grown veggies!!

I also have my zucchini and crookneck squash planted, but not pictured. I'll post one when they get a little bigger and you can actually see the plants in the photo. 

I am really happy I've been able to get as much done as I have in my yard before the rain comes.

I guess I'll be buried in a book for at least 7 days - which I love! 

I hope you are enjoying your springtime weather and getting your flowers and garden planted too!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recipe: Chicken Soup

Recipe: Chicken Soup

This recipe makes Chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice soup. It's yummy!
 About once a month I purchase a roasted chicken from the grocery store. I love it because it makes many meals for me (especially since I am an empty nester). 

After I've salvaged all the meat off the carcass, I use this to make chicken soup. Doing this helps me not waste food and eat on a budget. Plus, I hate canned soup. It's gotten so tasteless. I prefer homemade budget soup. 
 In a crockpot I throw the carcass of chicken, a diced onion, diced celery stalks and carrots. I usually only purchase baby carrots anymore. A rough cut is good enough because all these veggies will be thrown away. 

As another tip, when my produce starts looking sad, I cut it up and put in the freezer. Then I pull it out and make the chicken broth. I try to never throw away produce when it can be put in the freezer and not wasted. 
 Then I fill the crockpot with water. Cook on low for 24 hours. Yup, 24 hours to get all the goodness out of those chicken bones. 
 Look at all the goodness after 24 hours. Yum! I can smell the nutrients. 
 To start the chicken soup after the broth has cooked in the crockpot, I cut up another onion, celery and carrots into bite size chucks. 
 I add the vegetables to a pan with about 1/2 a cube of butter or 1/4 cup. I throw in a teaspoon of parsley and saute the vegetables until they are softened. I like mine with a semi crisp bite, not sauteed until there isn't any texture or bite in the vegetables. That is how I like mine. 
 To add additional flavor to the chicken broth I add a chicken soup and gravy mix that I find in the bulk section of Winco. 
 I love this mix for gravy and for soup. (this is the recipe from Winco that goes with the mix). 
 I add 3 Tablespoons of the mix with 1 tablespoon of flour for my soup after the vegetables have sauteed. 
 Then I saute the flour/chicken mix for about a minute or two. 
 While the vegetables are sauteing for the soup, I start taking out the bones and veggies from the broth in my crockpot. I use a mesh colander/drainer thingy. 
 It's hot so I dump it on a plate and sift through the veggies and bones to get as much meat that was left on the carcass. 
 It is enough to add to my soup. I love that I'm not wasting the meat I can't get off the bones. 
 Then I start adding the broth from the crockpot into the soup pan with the veggies and flour/chicken mix. I sift it through the mesh colander thingy because I don't want any stray bones to make it into my soup. 
 See, just a few stray bones that don't go in the soup. If there is meat to salvage then I add it to the pot of soup. 
Add the rest of the meat to the pot of soup that you salvaged from the crockpot. 
 To brighten the taste of the soup, I squeeze a 1/2 of lemon juice into the soup. 

I let it simmer for about an hour. 

 Then I ladle the chicken soup into freezer bags.  I love the tip to put the bag inside a jar with the bag folded over the edge. It makes it easier to fill freezer bags. 
 Label and throw into the freezer. I lay them flat so they don't take up much room in the freezer. 
 When you want some chicken soup, I cook some noodles (any kind you want) or rice. While that is cooking I take a bag out of the freezer, pop it into the microwave to defrost and then either heat it up in the microwave in a glass bowl or cook on a stove top. 
 I add the noodles into a bowl and then fill with chicken soup. 
 When I eat this homemade chicken soup, I can feel the nutrients fill my body. Such goodness!
I add the rest of the noodles I cooked into the bag of chicken soup I took out of the freezer and put it in the fridge for meals through the rest of the week. I probably cooked a little more noodles here then I usually do -- but it's OK. It was yummy.

That is how I cook homemade chicken soup for 1 person on a budget. Great for family meals too - but this is how I don't purchase canned soup anymore. 


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