Saturday, March 31, 2007

Shopping

I went to the mall today looking for Easter dresses for the girls. I ended up spending more on them than I had hoped to, but the outfits I found are really sweet and nice quality, so I was pleased. (That is, if I can get over feeling guilty for spending too much!)

While I was there I came across a fantastic bargain on winter coats at Sears. They were on clearance for 50% off of the already marked down price. I couldn't pass that up! I got a new coat for everyone in the family for an average price of less than $10 each!! (And everyone but me was really needing a new coat.) Not only that, two of them are Lands End brand, and the others are just as nice. They were more than 90% off of the original price! Cool, huh?

So... my question is... if I bought something that I didn't go shopping for... I spent money that I hadn't intended to spend... Did I really "save" anything? (Can you tell I have issues about messing up the budget? My husband loves that about me... NOT!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Traveling

It was lovely to get away for the weekend, even though it was a business trip (for my husband) and much to short to really do anything. I was quite sick on Friday afternoon and evening... some sort of 12-hour virus, I guess... so I was a little apprehensive about starting out on a road trip through the mountains. I felt much better Saturday morning when it was time to leave, so I was sure I would be fine. About an hour or so down the road I began to feel not-quite-so-fine. I had my husband stop for Dramamine and ginger ale. I am prone to motion sickness, but typically only take a half a tablet because a full dose makes me sleepy, and a half a tablet is usually enough to be effective. This time I took the maximum dose of 2 tablets, and sure enough, soon went to sleep. When I awoke I felt much better! And I was so grateful! Nothing more miserable than traveling when one is ill.

Central Idaho is rolling hills of farmland. This time of year they are brilliant green with sprouting wheat. Fruit trees are also blooming, and the further south we went the more flowers I saw! There were daffodils in full bloom in Boise, so it can't be long until the spring flowers are blooming here! (Still plenty of snow on the mountains, though.)

We met family for supper Sunday evening, and got to see the first sign of spring on their farm... a new baby colt, born just last Tuesday!

Ranch Popcorn

A couple weeks ago we were visiting friends. The kids had been outside playing and came in begging for a snack. The mom suggested they could make popcorn. They asked if we had ever had ranch-flavored popcorn. We never had, so they made some. It was a microwave popcorn, 2 packages in a box. I have bought "specialty" flavors before and they are usually yummy, but also more expensive than the regular microwave popcorn. For some reason ranch-flavor had never appealed to me, so I had never been willing to spend the extra to try it. But that's what they served that day... and I was surprised! I loved it! Bummer that it costs more... But then I happened to think... I had a big bottle of ranch-flavored powder. You know the kind you can get at Costco that you can mix with sour cream and milk or whatever to make ranch dressing? Wonder what that would be like sprinkled dry on popcorn? Next time I was in the mood for popcorn I just tried it! Know what? It was just as good as what came in the box... and a good bit cheaper, I'm sure. That Works for Me!

Garrett

My nephew Garrett is 5 years old. He is one of God's special children. The ones I think God brings into our lives just to remind us of His purity and goodness. I was privileged to help care for Garrett for 2 weeks last fall. He has a very limited vocabulary, so I was thrilled when he learned to say my name. "Kar. Uh." We were so proud of him! He marched around the house chanting it. After I left his mother (my sister) said he continued saying it for several days and then finally let it drop. Five months went by before I saw him again at my grandfather's funeral in February. My sister sent me this picture today of the moment he saw me at the funeral. (She made the digi-scrap layout, too.) We were amazed that he remembered me! There is more going on in that little brain than we think, I betcha!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Shawl

Here's the shawl I finished a couple of weeks ago. I just kept forgetting to take a picture of it. I love the tonal yarn with the subtle shading... and it is the perfect weight for a spring wrap! I made it from a HUGE skein of Rainbow Boucle yarn from Joann's... and it only took about half the skein. Regular price was $7.99 a skein but with a 40% off coupon it was right at $5... and since it only took half of it, the cost for materials was only about $2.50! I was so excited. Usually when you make something you spend as much on materials as it would cost you to buy the thing ready-made.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Time to figure out my menus for the coming week! We'll be gone over the weekend, so I only have to plan for 5 nights... I flipped through my family cookbook for inspiration. Here's what looks good for this week...

Broccoli and Rice with Ham
Chef Salad
Crock Pot Chicken and Potatoes
Grilled Hamburgers
Chicken Quesadillas

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Driving

I'm a girly-girl when it comes to all things automotive. I've been driving for twenty-mumble years and can count on my fingers the number of times I've put gas in a car. My husband, on the other hand, is what you might call an automotive enthusiast... which may explain why he's always been willing to get gas for me.

A little bit ago one of the kids came in to get me. "Dad wants you to ride with him for a test drive in the truck." I do love to ride along with the man, so I followed the child out the door. My husband had been working on the truck most of the day and was literally covered with greasy black smudges. I was appalled! "Aren't you even going to wash your hands?!?"

"Not yet," he said. "Come on." So I went.

We drove out into the country and he explained to me all the various things he had changed... maintenance work mainly... involving literally gallons of fluid! It's a diesel truck, which apparently requires more maintence than a gas engine... or maybe it's the size of the truck (1 ton) that has to do with that. I dunno. Usually I just guess it's the "carburator"! (Even after multiple explanations from my dear husband, I really have no idea what a carburator is. I just like the way it sounds!)

That's the background for the quote I'm going to post. I've been in the mood to read a Grace Livingston Hill book after visiting "Neat and Dainty as a Flower". So I picked Crimson Mountain. The heroine's car breaks down in the first chapter, and this quote fits me to a T:

"The car had always been kept in order for her by the man at the garage and there was no one but herself to depend upon. She hadn't an idea of what she was going to do when she got the hood open, but that was what all men did first when anything was the matter with a car--they opened the hood. So she struggled to open it and throw it back nonchalantly as she had seen the men in the filling stations do...

She cast a troubled glance inside that mysterious engine, but nothing came of it. She had never had experience in machinery of any sort, and none of those pipes and tubes and screws made sense to her. For the first time it occurred to her as strange that anyone could have thought out and made a thing so complicated; and that being made, it could manage to carry people around the country."


Fortunately for the heroine, the hero soon appears on the scene to rescue her... and fortunately for me, my "hero" is usually around when I need rescuing!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Spring is coming

With Daylight Saving time coming early this year, it already seems like spring. Next week the calendar will make it official. No flowers blooming in my neighborhood yet, but it's just around the corner... I know it is!! So I've been in the mood for some spring cleaning/re-decorating. I haven't tackled anything major yet, but I did come across a couple of blogs that have inspired me...

One is Daisy Cottage with great pictures of a lovely "vintage" decorating scheme.

Another is Neat and Dainty as a Flower with "delicious details of vintage life, feminine beauty and accomplishment, as seen in the works of Grace Livingston Hill". I have always enjoyed the detailed descriptions in Grace Livingston Hill's books! Her plots are quaint and oh-so-predictable but the descriptive details are indeed "delicious"!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Overwhelmed

I'm feeling overwhelmed again with all the responsibilities I have and the projects I need to get done. It gets to the point where there are so many things calling my name that I don't know where to start, so I just sit... staring off into space (or aimlessly surfing the internet, which is just as bad!). That, of course, accomplishes nothing, which makes the problem worse, not better. I need to learn to prioritize. There will always be daily responsibilities that get done no matter what... but beyond that I need to work out a methodical way for catching up on long-procrastinated projects. I think the problem is that those things are all major time-consuming things. I don't have huge blocks of time to devote to anything beyond my daily responsbilities, so they just continue to pile up.

I've decided to try to set aside one hour each day to work on "extra projects". When the hour is up, I will set it aside and not worry about it any more until the next day. Yes, it may take me months to get some of these things done... but that's better than continuing to procrastinate. Maybe I won't feel so overwhelmed once I see that I am actually making some progress!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Prizes all around!

The Ultimate Blog Party ended yesterday and prizes were announced last night. I was excited to discover that was a winner! My prize is a Mary Kay skin care set from Liza at "Take a Ride"! I never have paid much attention to skin care before, being blessed with a clear complexion, but now that I have reached... ahem! ...a certain age... I have actually been looking into it more. That's why I listed it as one of my choices for a prize I would like to win. I am looking forward to trying it out. Thanks so much, Liza!

Also, as part of the Ultimate Blog Party I offered a 270-page family cookbook in a drawing to all those who commented on my blog during the party. The winner is Lynne from "And Babies Make Six"! Congratulations, Lynne! Let me know where to send your cookbook!

The party was fun! I didn't make it around to all the sites (there were close to 1000 listed!), but I'm glad they are going to leave the list up for awhile. It was a great way to discover "kindred spirit" bloggers! Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Cute story

I didn't get my menu plan made this week, and I miss having it! Hopefully I can get that going again next week.

We went to visit some friends who live about 2 hours away on Tuesday. The lady was telling me about her little great-granddaughters who are just as cute as buttons. They are 3 and 5, I think she said. Their uncle got married last spring and they were the flower girls. The oldest one went down the aisle first carefully sprinkling rose petals for the bride to walk on. The little one came along behind. She got about half way down the aisle and stopped. She put her little hands on her hips and frowned. She set her basket down and began to gather up all the petals her sister had dropped on that nice clean church floor! She had carried them back to her basket and gone back for more when Grandpa came and got her. My guess is the congregation had forgotten to watch for the bride by this time!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my parent's anniversary. They have been married 42 years. If you ask them they'll tell you that they are more in love now than they've ever been. It's hard to imagine... because they were "oh-so-mushy" when I was a kid and teen. We would walk in on them kissing in the kitchen. "Ewwww..." we would say. But they knew we were only teasing. We loved that they were in love. So how could they possibly be more in love now than they were then? They are, though. I believe them. Know why? Because my marriage is just as great is theirs is... No coincidence at all. I had a perfect example to follow!

It occurs to me that I've been married half as long as they have (I guess this is the only time that will happen!), and I'm more in love with my husband than I was 21 years ago. And guess what? Our kids walk in on us kissing in the kitchen. "Ewwww..." they say. But they are only teasing. They love that we are in love!

I pray the tradition continues to the next generation!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

My Favorite Things

Here's a fun "meme" I picked up at Kimberly's Cup...

These are a Few of My Favorite Things
A Authors
Classic: LM Montgomery, Gene Stratton Porter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Isabella Alden, Grace Livingston Hill
Contemporary: Philip Gulley, Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, John Grisham, Lawana Blackwell
B Books
All my favorites are Classic Childrens' Books:
Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery
The Blue Castle, by LM Montgomery
Rilla of Ingleside, by LM Montgomery
Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster
The Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton Porter
These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
C Coffee
Caramel Machiatto
D Dessert
Cherry Cheesecake
E Elegant Object You Own
China tea-pot that my mother brought me from England. It's white with a cluster of violets on it. Since then a dear friend gave me a coordinating-but-not-matching tea-cup and saucer to go with it, and then later my mother gave me yet a different coordinating-but-not-matching cup-and-saucer. I love my eclectic tea set!
F Flowers
violets, pansies, roses, daisies
G Guests for Tea
my mother, my daughters, my sisters, my nieces... and dear friends
H Home
Wherever my husband and children are! (I don't especially care for the place we live now, but I learned long ago that home is not a place...)
I Inspirational Authors
Thomas Williams, Francine Rivers, Max Lucado
J Jane Austen book
Emma
K Kitchen Gadget
My 3-in-1 coffee/espresso maker.
L Laundry Help
We keep a free-standing hanging-clothes rack in the laundry room. Clothes can be put on hangers and then on the rack right out of the dryer. If they never get put into the cloest, that's okay. We know where to find them!
M Musical
The Sound of Music
N Naptime
Sunday afternoon. It's a tradition!
O Organizing Tip
"A place for everything and everything in it's place." Ha! Wish I could live up to that!
P Pride & Prejudice Character
Hmm... I'm not sure. I never thought about it.
Q Quote
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. . ." Robert Frost
R Recipe
Coffee Cake. It's quick and easy and I almost always have the ingredients.
S Scent
Vanilla.
T Tea
Peppermint with honey.
U Underwater Creature
Goldfish?
V Voyage You’ve Taken
I've never been on a voyage by sea. Lotsa road trips, though! My two favorite road trips have been: from Kansas to Pennsylvania in 1991, and from Idaho to California via the Grand Canyon and historic Route 66 in 2006.
W Water Feature; Lake, Creek, Ocean, etc.
Lake Coeur d'Alene
X X-tra Special Treat for Yourself
A weekend away with my husband.
Y Thing About YOU!
I'm tall! Is that my favorite thing? I dunno. It's just part of who I am.
Z Zoo Animal
I love to watch the otters!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Cheese Log

The ladies over at 5 Minutes for Mom are having so much fun with their Ultimate Blog Party! In the spirit of the party I have decided to offer a copy of my family cookbook as a prize. It is a comb-bound book with hundreds of tried-and-true everyday family recipes. Each party guest who comments on my site during the party will be entered in a drawing. I will contact you through your blog if you win.

I also thought I would share some of my favorite "party" recipes from the cookbook throughout the party. Hope you enjoy!

Cheese Log
This is a recipe I came up with just experimenting with ingredients we like. I like to shape it into a log because then it slices nicely to put on crackers without having to worry about breaking the cracker when you spread it.

2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese
1 package dry Ranch or Italian dressing
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 jar dried beef, finely chopped
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup black olives, finely chopped (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup finely chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients except nuts. Adjust amount of sour cream used depending on how dry the mixture is. You want it to mix thoroughly but still hold together nicely. I mix it with my clean hands. Shape into a log or a ball. Spread the chopped nuts on a sheet of waxed paper and roll the cheese log until coated. Allow to chill several hours before serving.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

We're planning our summer vacation. Fun thing to do on a snowy late-winter day, huh? We finally got the date and place for our family reunion pinned down, so now we can plan our route and any sight-seeing we want to do along the way. We love road-trips!
Last year we made a southerly loop to the west coast and back up, hitting the Grand Canyon and historic Route 66. This year we will be making a northerly loop to the mid-west and back up, hitting a couple of the middle northern states we haven't been in before-- North Dakota and Minnesota.
My husband planned the route and the overnight stops and then handed me the list and asked me to find points of interest. The first thing I did was Google for the state tourism website for each state and request travel brochures. When I got to the Minnesota website, I thought of going to Walnut Grove to see the Laura Ingalls Wilder home there. So I looked it up on the map to see how far out of the way it was from our planned route. It wasn't right on our route, but close enough that I thought we could possibly re-plan the route. I suggested that to my husband, and he was okay with it. (Love that man! Of course he's not interested in Little House on the Prairie, but he's always willing to take me anywhere I want to go!)
So we re-planned the route. We will hit Little Town on the Prairie (De Smet, South Dakota) one afternoon and tour the buildings there. The next morning we will visit The Banks of Plum Creek (Walnut Grove, Minnesota) before we continue on our journey.
Can you tell I'm a life-long fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's books? Now, like the good home-school mom I am, I need to find a unit study we can do between now and then! Any suggestions?