Thursday, June 30, 2011

It Costs How Much?!!!!

     Okay, has everyone noticed the price of groceries going up as much as I have?  It seems every time I go to the store I see a dozen or more items that have had price increases since last week.  Our bacon is almost $5.00 a pound up from $2.49 just a few months ago.  Yogurt has gone from 50 cents to 68 cents in the matter of a few months.  I have to wonder if these increases are justified or if corporations are just being greedy. No, it couldn't possibly be greed. (insert sarcasm here)
     We spend about $1500.00 to $2000.00 a month at the grocery store and we just can't spend any more, which means we will have to stop buying things that are not an absolute necessity.  I already do a lot less impulse shopping and I try to plan meals so that I have what I need at home and don't have to make an inconvenient (expensive) trip to the store. There is nothing worse than running into Walmart for milk, or tortillas and coming out eighty dollars poorer.  I always feel just alittle bit guilty when the checker asks, "did you find every thing?"  I find everything and then some and heaven help me if I have one of the kids with me.  My daughters are always irritated when I sneak of to Walmart without them.  Truth is I can't afford to take them.  Their list of things they have to have gets bigger every week.
     So here is my question for the day, what are you doing to save money on household expenses?  Believe it or not I have been making my own laundry soap.  It's pretty fun and I like the smell of the Fels Naptha soap.  If you have any suggestions pass them on.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Joy Of Gardening

     I'm trying to get over to our garden plot today to do some weeding and see how our tomato plants are growing up, but I can't get anyone out of bed and I suspect there are too many weeds for me alone.  Don't they know that working the earth at dawn is a magical experience that mends your soul and brings joy to your heart.  I'm pretty sure I've told them that more than once. 
     There is a bond with the earth as you watch little plants and seeds that you put into the soil grow and grow and then bring forth fruit to nourish us.  It really is food for the soul. 
     I have been gardening for years now and it still makes me happy to see tomatoes getting red in the sun and to see my raspberry plants full of little tiny berries that are going to be delish in August.  I have peaches on my tree, along with pears, and Asian pears.
     It is an act of faith to plant a garden, just like giving birth to a child, you plant it, nurture it, give it everything it needs to be the best it can be and hope and pray it brings forth good fruit.
     Now I just have to get my potato heads out of bed so we can have this magical and spiritual experience.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You Are What You Eat

    I'm looking for some new and healthy snack ideas for me and the kids for summer time. Does anyone have any?  I saw my son having ice cream for breakfast the other day, not that that is so unusual, but I would like to have a few good things on hand.  Any suggestions?  I'll take them all, even if it's only snacking on grapes which we have been doing lately.  I like simple, especially in the hot summer time.  If you can't comment here please Facebook me with any and all suggestions.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Really Ticks Me Off

     Over the last four months I, for the most part, have been blogging Monday through Friday.  Some day's I'm funny, some days introspective and once or twice I have gone off about things that really tick me off.  Today is one of those days.  What is up with NBC editing the Pledge of Allegiance so that the words "under God," could not be heard, not once, but twice.  This happened at the beginning of the U.S. Open Golf Tournament  this weekend.  I didn't hear it myself because I was at church, did you hear that NBC, I was at church, with my family, all ten of us.  And my two married daughters were at their church's too. So I want to know who you were afraid of offending by changing something as meaningful as the Pledge of Allegiance? Who gave you permission to do that? It seems no one is worried about offending Christians.  Why? When did we become none citizens of this country?
     I want to know who's big idea it was and have him or her fired.  You know why, because I am tired of this era of political correctness, where be bend over back wards for a few people while ignoring the rest.  I am not offended by the use of a deities name in any context.  If you have a menorah in your widow that's great.  If your agnostic that's fine. If your Wiccan more power to you, but don't tell me that in the interest of political correctness we have to ex-sponge any reference to God from our culture.  What about the majority of us that believe in a God?  Despite what President Obama says, we are a christian nation.  You are free to worship as you please here, or not worship at all, but I want the same privilege. We have gone too far.  President Obama cancels the 21 annual National Day of Prayer, "not wanting to offend anyone," but prays with Muslims for three hours a few weeks later.  How about equal treatment for all of us Mr. President?  How about respecting the Christians as much as you respect the Muslims, apparently not.   Strange how this worked out for someone that attended a Christian church for twenty years, even if that church was anti-white and anti-American.
     Are we going to have to come up with our own version of the ACLU  and sue just to be able to be practicing Christians, in our own land, in a few decades?  It's a scary thought isn't it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thirty-one Years Today.

     Thirty-one years ago today, I married a kid named Gary.  We were both babies, I was seventeen and he was nineteen.  Bets were probably being made on how long it would last.  And yet, here we are thirty-one years and ten kids later, we are still going strong.  Has it been easy? NO! Marriage is not easy. You go through bad times and good times, but what makes it worth it is when you come out the other side of those times and you're stronger for them.
     I have been taking notes to write a book about marriage someday, even if it is only for my children.  One of the chapters will be titled, RESPECT.  You can't emphasize it enough.  People tend to treat their spouse so bad these days you see it everywhere.  It is so sad.  If you treat each other without respect in front of your children guess what is going to happen when they grow up.  They won't be treating either of you with respect because you have set up a pattern of behavior. 
     Another chapter will be titled, Your Public Relationship.  Don't tear each other down in front of family and friends.  Build each other up or if your angry, say nothing at all.  The old saying, If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all, are words of wisdom we should all live by.
     Another chapter is, Be Grateful.  We can all think of something more we want in life, that little something that will just make everything perfect.  I discovered many years ago, that that one little thing will become another little thing upon acquisition of that little thing.  I think as human beings we are never satisfied and as American's we are very materialistic.  And I am as guilty as the next person, although the older I get the more I realize, I truly have all that I need with my family, friends, and church.  
     These are a few of my thoughts on marriage as I look back over the years. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Are You Your Parents Daughter?

     My daughter and I were talking the other day about how you become your parents when you grow up.  She pointed out that each of her sisters had taken up at least one of my hobbies.  Kristin loves doing home improvement projects.  She just bought a used framing nail gun so she can start framing her basement.  Katie loves to read.  She and I are reading Tom Sawyer together.  Karly loves to garden, something her father is benefiting from because she has been coming over and mowing our lawn while he is away on business.  Karrah also likes to read and, despite her best efforts at not saying anything out loud, I have heard her commenting on how beautiful it is here in Utah on more than one occasion. This is something I do all the time. Kaelyn is also becoming quite a reader, but she is only thirteen so there is time for her to become even more like me.
     I do see myself in my daughters, for good and bad.  I hope they take my good traits and can overcome the bad ones.  Looking back over all the years I have been mothering there are a few things I wish I had done better at.  I wish I had been more patient when they were little.  I wish I had hugged them more when they were teenagers.  They will probably tell you that I hugged them too much, but sometimes I think of one of my adult children when they were little and I long for an enthusiastic hug from them.  My two boys are ten and seven and are very affectionate still. I know however that isn't going to last so I am trying to enjoy it as much as possible.
     Do you think you have become like your parents?  In what ways?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls

If you love Cinnamon Rolls you have to try these they are so delicious you won't believe it.  I'm making a batch today.  This came from Deals to Meals, the website I use to help me save money on groceries and help get my food storage stocked up. I love it.

Perfect Cinnamon Rolls
1 c. warm milk
1/3 c. melted butter
2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
4 c. flour
1 T. yeast

Put warm milk, sugar and yeast into your mixer and mix for a minute until combined. Let the yeast grow until foamy and bubbly (about 5-10 minutes). Then add the eggs, butter, flour, and salt and combine until smooth and mixted together. Let dough sit in the bowl until it has doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours). When it has doubled, put a small amount of flour on the counter and pour the dough onto the counter. Roll dough out until it measures 16 inches x 21 inches.

1 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1/3 c. melted butter
Melt butter and spread on dough rectangle. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle all over buttered dough. Roll up and cut into 16 equal rolls.

Place rolls on greased cookie sheet 4 across and 4 down. Cover w/ greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cream cheese
1/2 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt

Frost 1-2 minutes after finished baking.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Four Month Anniversary

     Today is my anniversary. Well, techically I think it was yesterday.  No, not my wedding anniversary, that's next week, it's my blogging anniversary.  It was four months ago today that I started sending my thoughts out there into the black hole of the internet.
     I remember when I was so excited that five people had read my blog.  Last week, I hit a new high of 117 in one day.  That was fun.  
     It is kind of an act of faith for me because I'm the, in between generation, and to be honest I really don't understand how this stuff all works.  The generation ahead of me, (my parents age) were heading into retirement, more or less, when computers became so important in the business world.  The generation behind me is much more tech savvy because most of them learned it in school.  Then we have the new generation, my grandkids.  Do you know how scary it is to see my three and four-year-old grandkids get on my PC and start moving the mouse like a Nascar driver handles a steering wheel.  I know someday I'm going to be babysitting and have to say to one of them, "Come and help Monna figure out  how to reset the tabs on this thing.  And they will.
     There is no telling where computer science will be in twenty years, when these whippersnappers hit the working world.  Until then, I will be grateful that I can type something, see it on a screen, press a button and share it with all of you.
     Thanks for all of your support over the last four months.  Thanks for all the kind words and comments.  And most of all thanks for being my friends.  I have heard from so many friends, old and new and it has made me realize how blessed my life has been so far.  I love you guys. :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thinking Is A Project

     I have a project looming over my horizon.  It's something that really needs to be done, but I don't want to do it.  I just want to wake up one morning and find it finished.  I'm talking about cleaning out the garage.  I know it needs to be done desperately.  After a long cold winter the garage becomes a catch all for things like snow pants, snow shoes and Christmas wreaths that no one could manage to put back in the boxes and on the highest shelf we have since we took them down in January.  Now we have my son's bedroom set in there leaning against my other son's weight set. Darn it, I was going to go and work out on that thing, what with the weather being so nice. Really I was!
     We have all these plans, you see to fix up our garage into a wonderful world of organization and beauty.  I can see it in my mind, all the Christmas stuff lined up just so, followed by the Thanksgiving stuff, and the Halloween stuff and all the other stuff.  We have luggage, and wedding vases, my collections of Country Living magazine, paint for the house, tools, strollers, lawn and gardening stuff.  I can't believe how much stuff there is out there.  I want it put away and organized, I just don't want to have to be the one to do it.
     Why is it when you want or need to do one project there is this vicious circle of things that have to be done first that usually cost a fortune?  I have been wanting a garden shed for all of our yard stuff, as that would free up a ton of space in the garage.  I just have to buy one and put it together myself or pay three grand to get one delivered and put together by someone else.  Not happening.  I also need the gates put up on the west side of the yard to hide all the junk we have to take out of our garage so we can paint and coat the garage floor with that shiny stuff that is supposed to be non-slippery in the winter.  Like I said vicious circle.
     I think today I will start by thinking about it some more.  Yes, that is the plan for today.  I'm going to think about it. :)      

Monday, June 13, 2011

Reading, Is It A Lost Art?

     I have heard that reading is a lost hobby.  People don't read anymore, TV, ipods, laptops computer games and all the other tech stuff have taken the place of sitting down and reading a book.  I find that hard to believe.  Almost everyone I know is a reader, so either the people I associate with are really with it, or what I keep hearing is just wrong.  I happen to think it is the latter.
     The first reason I think this is false is because I get Goodreads updates from several of my friends.  In case you didn't know, Goodreads is sort of an online book club where you can list and rate the books you have read and are reading and an update is sent out to your friends and family.  You can also send out whats on your, to-be-read shelf.  Now, as for myself, I am not a member yet, but I have been giving it some thought. I do really enjoy getting the updates from my friends, you can tell a lot about what is going on in someones life by seeing what they are reading.
     The second reason I think this is wrong is two-fold. I read that when the economy is down people turn to reading as an escape.  Think about it, one book can entertain for a week or more if you are a slow reader.  Most of the folks I know can polish off a good book in a day or so, however many times you can go back and reread it later and enjoy it as much or more the second time.  I also have a friend that works at a well known chain book store and she told me that last Christmas they sold more gift cards than ever before.  If reading is becoming a lost art how can that be?
     The third reason I think this is incorrect is because of Amazon.  It is no secret I love Amazon, I even blogged about it a while ago.  Do you know what the best selling item is on Amazon?   It's the Kindle.  That is the Amazon e-reader.  I have one and I really like it, but the point is out of all the hundreds of thousands of items you can get on the Amazon site the Kindle is the number one selling item.  It is not cheap, but it is cheaper than some of the other e-readers.  I think the hubby paid about $150.00 when it was all said and done.  That's a lot of money.  Some e-readers cost more, I don't know of any that cost less, but the point is they are selling.  There are also apps. for e-reading for iphone, computers, tablets, ipads and other tech items.      How many movies are being made from books Twilight, Water for Elephants, all the comic books movies out now days.  Who is reading all this stuff if not us.  I think the way TV is going now days, more and more readers are being born.
     What are you reading right now?  I really want to know.  I am reading Tom Sawyer with my daughter.  And I have The Body Finder on my TBR shelf.  Leave a quick comment and let me know, or Facebook me.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Camping! Me! Really?!

     My husband suddenly has been talking about going camping. Camping?  We don't have a RV, or a trailer, or a tent trailer, or a tent that will hold more than two, so I'm not sure how all of this is going to work out.  I do love the out doors.  I would like to go camping, but my idea of camping and his are at opposite ends of the universe.  When I think of going camping I think of a large RV with a refrigerator, TV with satellite hookup, stove, oven and an absolute must, a bathroom. It's not like I am one of those women who has to be primped and perfect all the time, it's just that there are certain things that I have to do in the morning to be presentable.  Number one is taking a shower. 
     I HAVE to shower every morning.  My hair does this thing at night, it always has, where it comes alive and does this modern art kind of thing on my head.  I never know what I am going to see in the mirror in the morning.  Even on days when we could be lounging around and bumming, as we like to call it, the hubby will say, "don't you think it's time for your shower?"  and then he laughs.  He obviously has no appreciation for modern art.  Oh how I wish I was one of those women who can put her hair in a ponytail and go, but I am not.  I shower for the well being of the public, yes, all of you.  If I was to get up and go right out of bed there is no telling the number of car accidents, or injuries from walking into poles that I would be responsible for.  I can't have that on my conscious.
     If we were to go camping I have to have access to a shower and I don't even care if it is the size of the  coat closet in my house.  As long as it has hot water and a shower head, I'm good. I'll even take a Navy shower, you know, where you get wet, turn off the water, soap up, turn the water back on and rinse.  See, I'm not spoiled, I can rough it.  I just HAVE to have a shower.  And a toilet, but that is a whole other blog. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Me And My Friend Shiba

     It's not a secret that I have a lot on my plate.  I have a husband and ten kids, five of whom are still at home.  My husbands parents live with us, as my father-in-law had a stroke several years ago and is in a wheel chair.  In addition to that, one of my older sons, his wife and two kids moved back in after a job loss.  In case you lost count that's thirteen people living in our house.  Add to that my two married daughters live within ten minutes of our house and come over frequently with their husband and three kids each.  It is not unusual for us to have dinner with between twenty to twenty-five people, give or take a kid or two.  Just the cooking and clean-up is a full time job and add in all the laundry, the cleaning, the shopping, and all the other stuff we do on a day-to-day basis and it's no wonder it is hard to find the time to do the stuff I really want to do.  Namely write.
     I have been trying to spend more time with Shiba lately and everyone actually seems jealous.  If your wondering who Shiba is, it's not a who, it's a what, I have a Toshiba laptop, that my kids nicknamed Shiba.  Now I keep hearing, "you spend more time with Shiba than you do with us." Even the hubster has joined in.  And all I have to say is yup.  Shiba is my friend, she helps me get my thoughts in order and helps me fulfill my need to create something special.
     I am sorry if after thirty-one years of marriage and motherhood not having me at your beck and call is giving you grief, but to bad, it's time for me to do something for me.  I love you all, but most of you are adults and to my credit you're self sufficient and independent.  So if you don't mind Shiba and I would like to be alone for a while.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Summer Reading List

   I decided several months ago that this was going to be my summer of reading the classics.  How many times have you seen something on tv. or in a movie refer to an old book that you have heard of but never read.  I always thought I should read that some day so I know what the heck they're talking about.  I always wanted to be well read, I feel its a way to make a home improvement of the mind.  I might really learn something as a writer also.  Literature has changed a lot over the last few hundred years.  The old stories took much more time in description and sometimes had scenes that really didn't add to the story but the author used them to add flavor.  Today's writer has to compete with movies and tv. and if you don't hook your reader in the first three pages they will move on to another book.  It's all about instant gratification.
So here is my reading list.
1.  The Complete Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer
2.  The Turn of the Screw
3.  White Fang
4.  The Call of the Wild
5.  Emma
6.  The Scarlet Plague
7.  Little Women
8.  A Tale of Two Cities
9.  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 
10. Sense and Sensibility
11. A Journey to the Center of the Earth
12. Uncle Tom's Cabin
13. Wuthering Heights
14. Treasure Island
15. Oliver Twist
16. A Christmas Carol
17. The Secret Garden
18. Moby Dick
19. The Scarlet Letter
20. Pride and Prejudice
     I have already read Sense and Sensibility so it's one down and 19 to go.  Several of these I want to read to my boys and I chose them just for that reason, but I want to be able to say that I am familiar with "It was the best of times it was the worst of times" or "Call me Ishmael."  Wish me luck.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Summertime Goals

     Do you ever make big plans for all the things you're going to do during the summer?  I do.  This year I have a mental list of things.
   1. Exercise more.
   2. Write.
   3. Plan better meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
   4. Do gardening at home and at the community garden our church has.
   5. Do fun things with the kids that don't cost much.
   6. Work with the boys on a few things they are weak on in school.
   7. Try to spend time with the hubby, alone, no kids.
   8. Clean and organize the garage, this includes painting and coating the garage floor with that shiny stuff.
   9. Get a garden shed and move all the yard junk from the garage to the shed.
  10. Read.
     These are in no special order and I would like to do all of them.  These are my goals. I'm putting them out here so that they aren't just in my head.  It seems like when others know your goals you are held a little bit more accountable than if your goals are only in your head. I'm still not quite sure about number one. I may have to think about that one for a while before putting it into practice.  After all, that leads to sweating and I don't care for that much.  I do have a fairly extensive reading list.  I'll blog about that tomorrow.
     What are your big plans for summer?  Is anyone doing anything special or unusual?  I would love to know.

Friday, June 3, 2011

In The Good Old Summer Time

     I always have these high hopes for all the things I want to accomplish during the summer time when the kids aren't in school, things like take the kids to the library every two weeks, go to the park and have picnics, you know the, "I'm a really good mom" kind of stuff.  It never works out that way somehow.  With my two youngest boys, I always feel as if I'm trying to corral ants just getting them to come in for food during the summer.  My kids have always been outside kids.  I think that secretly comes from being afraid I might ask them to do something like clean their rooms so they avoid me for hours at a time.  I'm serious, last summer the boys would take off to a friends house to play at nine in the morning and at about four they would come storming in starving, scarf down what ever was within reach and head back out again the minute my back was turned and we wouldn't see them again until about ten.  And that was usually to see if they could have a late night with their friends.  I know you're probably thinking, so what's the problem with that?    Nothing except to do all the good mom stuff I have to make them come home, hose them off in the yard, make them put on matching clothes and force them to leave their friends to go to the library.  I wonder why I bother, they never read the forty books they check out. I wind up taking them back by myself, four weeks late, feeling like a failure. 
     So this year I'm not doing any of it. This is going to be my summer.  I am going to read, and write, and watch movies that I want to watch.  I may even take a nap if I can arrange it.  And I am going to let my boys run wild all summer long.  I feel better already.  Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here.  I should have lowered my expectations years ago. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Eighth Wonder Of The World

     I have to say that I love Facebook.  It is the eighth wonder of the world.  I have been able to reconnect with so many of my friends and I really, really like that.  Like most people I have had friends come and go in my life and even though we always think we'll stay in touch, life gets busy and things get in the way and before you know it years have gone by and you're not even sure where they live anymore. How does that happen?  Oh yeah, the life thing. 
     I recently have friended about fifteen of my girlfriends that I may never have spoken to again had it not been for Facebook.
     I also have been able to friend about ten friends that are new, but just as special to me.  What a blessing.  I love my friends old and new and now I can keep in touch whenever I want.
     There is also a dark side to Facebook especially with teenagers.  We have seen some bullying online.  For those of you with smaller kids a word of warning, make sure you are your childs friend and check out their posts frequently.  I guess you have to take the good with the bad.
     So to all my friends out there, thanks for being my friend.  Love ya!