Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm Learning Something New

     I have always admired people who could draw or paint. I wish I was gifted in that area, but I'm really not. Despite that fact I have signed up for an art class taught at our local Hobby Lobby. Monday night was our first class. The focus of this section is water colors.
     So last Monday night I got a beef stew in the crock pot early and at 5:30 headed over. Don't you hate those first few minutes of something like that, where you don't know anyone and everyone is checking each other out and you don't know if you're in the right place or doing the right thing. It's nerve racking. I hate it, but I stuck it out and had a great time. We painted magnolia blossoms and the teacher was awesome, so patient with everyone. There were six of us, all women, although the youngest one was a young girl who was 13, not quite a woman. I admire her for sitting with all of us old ladies to learn a new hobby.
     I had to warn the fam that I wouldn't be home on Monday evening and then I had to tell them why. The reaction ran from a confused look and the word, "Why?" to "Really? I'm proud of you, Mom, for trying something new." Shocker there. That came from my 13 year old who hates everything right now.
     I can't say I have been blessed with any gifts, but I had fun and am learning something and that feels good. If I can get up the courage maybe I'll post a painting or two, or not. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Poor Dot!

     Have you ever had a time when every thing went wrong? My poor son, Scot (whom we all call Dot) is having a phase like that. The kid can't seem to buy a break. Last week he was riding on a motorized scooter with a friend and fell. Of course I wasn't home at the time, I was at Ryan's soccer practice, but I got the call. I could hear Dot screaming in the background and my daughter was asking me what she should do.  After finding out if this was going to be an emergency room visit or not, I gave her instructions and came home as soon as I could. Dot was pretty banged up with scraps and bruises from head to toe. We think he may have pulled a groin muscle because of how he fell and limped his way through his soccer game on Saturday.
     And as if that wasn't bad enough the other day he was walking his bike home from school because the tire went flat and while he and his brother were waiting for a friend they decided to hide in some bushes where Dot got stung on the thumb by a wasp. OUCH! I got another call from Ryan asking me to come get him. When I got there the crossing guard had given him a piece of ice from her water bottle and he was holding it on his thumb. He was crying and all the kids were gathered around him. The next morning his hand looked like Mickey Mouse's hand it was so swollen.
     And to add insult to injury I got another call this morning. While the boys were walking to school Dot got hit by a neighbor kid on his bike.  More cuts and bruises, more blood, more tears. I brought them both home,because when Dot gets hurt he needs Ryan, at least that is the story I got from Dot. I wrapped his bleeding elbow in a gauze pad and medical tape, no ordinary bandage was big enough and after about an hour and a half took them both back to school over loud and teary protests.
     So if you think you're having a bad day just remember poor little Dot.


Monday, August 29, 2011

My Pantry Project

      I love projects and I am really proud of how this one turned out, at least so far. I have been adding shelves to my pantry. My pantry had about five feet of wasted space above the top shelf. And I was lacking a good place to store my extra 9x13 pans and my griddle. So I did some serious measuring and went to Home Depot and had them cut particle board shelving to my specifications. When I got home I put together this new shelf. It consisted of just the small section you see in the first pic and it didn't have the top shelf on it. I was pretty pleased with it because it came out just right, that almost never happens. I now had a place to store all those pans and they were so easy to put away and reach. (I keep a step stool in my pantry because I'm only two feet tall.)
     Then I started thinking that I could add more shelf space. So the hubster and I went back to the HD (one of my very favorite places) and bought more wood. I now have more room to store things like chips and paper plates and chicken flavored Top Raman, I'm a bad mom when we run out of chicken flavored Top Raman.
     I still have to paint it. (Guess what I will be doing today?) And of course rearrange the pantry which will take hours of thinking, and studying, and mulling, and stewing over which shelf should hold the instant potatoes, you know because if I get that wrong my kids will turn out to be juvenile delinquents, the stock market will crash and the world will be thrown into turmoil. Ohhh the pressure!

We made another home improvement this week. I'll show you those pics in another blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Love The Old America!

     It's a good thing the economy is getting better. I'm sure all the people losing their jobs in the second round of the recession will be glad to hear that. Do the knuckleheads in Washington really think that we won't notice our friends and family not heading out to work every morning and not getting a paycheck at the end of the week.
     In Utah we are seeing another wave of businesses closing their doors permanently. I can only imagine how many people are losing their jobs.
     I really think the knuckleheads are subscribing to Hitlers "big lie" theory, which is, if you tell a lie often enough and convincingly enough people will start to believe it.  Well, all I have to say to the elitist politicians who have their snouts so deep in the public trough that they can't tell reality from fiction is, out here in the real world prices  are sky rocketing and our wages are shrinking. We can barely pay the utilities, buy food and keep gas in the car.
     People with masters degrees are working at Home Depot until something better comes along. But how can anything better come along when companies are sending our jobs overseas not only for the cheap labor, but because the USA has become a hostile place to do business due to over regulation by the government.  Corporate greed is also a major problem. How much profit do you need to make to be content?
     I had hoped our leaders could come together for the common good of Americans and try to fix this situation, but I think it is too late. I believe that it will take a major economic breakdown for anything to change. I hope I'm wrong.
     The sad part is the next few generations will not be seeing the same lifestyle that their parents saw.  Already people are having to make major changes.  I our home we have four generations living in one house. This is a direct result of the economic policies, mismanagement and greed of the leaders of our country not just now but for the last few decades.
     All I can say about that is it is a good thing we like our family and we all get along so well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Men

     The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.  I am not a mouse or a man, but my plans certainly went astray today. I have been trying to finish chapter 15 for a week now and when I didn't get it finished last night I was going to blog instead, but my plans went astray, so here I am blogging at 8:30 at night.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try to control my day, it spins like a top on ice. Everyone needs something and only I can take care of their needs. It's exhausting, but alas, tomorrow is another day. So good night my friends I will see you on the morrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Thoughts About Food Storage

     I saw another article today on the internet about food shortages that may be coming do to the failure of crops all over the world.  I am seeing them more and more often and it is frightening. Our church has been telling us to get our food storage in order for over 75 years. I wonder how many of us have heeded that advice?
     I just purchased 150 lbs of rice. That's six bags, 25lbs each of long grain rice.  I'm adding it to my supply of flour, sugar, wheat, pasta, beans and canned goods that I have on hand.  I know what some of you are thinking, "What the heck do you do with 150lbs of rice?" We eat it. Not every night, but we make Spanish rice when we have tacos or enchiladas and we have chicken and broccoli casserole over rice. There are other recipes that need rice, so I will have at least a years supply on hand.
     I can only imagine what it would be like to send children to bed hungry and I know it happens all the time, all over the world.  We American's think famine could never happen here because we are so used to going to the store and buying what ever we want. What if one day you went to the store and the shelves were empty?  Have you seen what happens to grocery stores when a big storm is expected? Last winter, back east, the stores were virtually wiped out of everything due to a blizzard that was forecast. That is just one storm. What if the drought in the middle of our country causes food shortages for the long term.  Can you imagine what would happen in the cities when people started getting hungry? I wouldn't want to be there for that. I was in Cali during the riots and I don't ever want to be that close to anything like that again.
     Another reason I believe in food storage is we like to eat around here. It's a bonding experience to sit down with your family and share a meal. I always want to be able to put food on the table for the people I love. So for me and my house we will follow the counsel of our leaders and keep stocking up on the foods that will keep us strong, healthy and alive. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

It's The First Day Of School!

     It's August 22nd and the first day of school here in Utah. My boys are up, ready and bugging me to take them so they can hang out with all the friends they haven't seen all summer.  Thankfully, my boys are always early to school. They seem to enjoy it and it's a quick drop off and I'm on my way. That hasn't always been the case with some of the older kids.  I love this time of year, seeing the kids in their new school clothes and their excitement at going back to school. I love the smell of a new box of crayons and playdough. It feels like anything is possible.
    Here it is August 22nd and we have have finally lost the last little bit of snow in the crevices of the mountain. The ten day forecast on MSN goes to August 31. So tomorrow I will be seeing the September weather forecast. That means I have almost lived through another summer. Yayyy!!! Even if the days are still warm in September they are getting shorter, which means it's dark earlier and cooler at night.  I am looking forward to the time when I can open my windows at night and feel the cool air.  I can't wait for the leaves to start changing to their glorious shades of gold, orange and red. It will be great when folks start decorating for fall by putting out the pumpkins they have grown in their gardens all summer.
     It's a good thing to have all of this to look forward too, because today it is going to be 94 degrees. TOO HOT! Come on Autumn, I'm waiting for you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Few Trip Pics To Share.

      I thought I would share a few of our trip pics so you can see the sights with us.  This was taken on the way to Brian Head Ski Resort. I love the Utah sky. And believe it or not, it was actually cool.  The elevation was between 10,000 and 11,000 feet.
     Of course the kids all forgot jackets so it was back to Walmart for coats. It was a good thing they needed new ones for the upcoming school year anyways.
      We took a hike to a little place called Alpine Pond. There was purple, red, yellow and white flowers everywhere.  They were amazing. The hike was easy and quick, easy is my requirement and quick for the boys. My daughter took these, she seems to have an eye for photography.
      This stream was like a mirror it was so clean,( no we didn't drink it.) Notice the purple flowers growing right on the banks and the boys tossed in a stone and the ripples were so cool. I couldn't believe how quiet it was up there.  All you could hear was the buzzing of insects and a few birds.  The sound of peace and quiet is healing to the soul. 

     This is the same little pond. The pictures could never do it justice. What a great place to take in the natural world.

     As we were leaving a family of deer crossed the road right in front of us. I didn't have the camera ready, but we got out of the car and followed them.  They looked at us like, What the heck do you want.
There were four of them and they are so much bigger than you think they are.

     This is Navajo lake. As you can see the sun was setting and shining off the water.  It is an awesome sight.  The lake is above normal capacity because of all the snow we had this year in the mountains.  We who live on the valley floor didn't see hardly any of it. I know that makes some people happy, but I love the snow. I didn't get nearly enough this past winter. I hope you like these. We had fun and plan to go back soon.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kolob Canyon, Check This Out.

     Here we are at the Comfort Inn in Cedar City, having just had the worst nights sleep ever. (Note to self, don't share a bed with your 13 year old.) The drive down was surprisingly non-combative, after all when you have three siblings within arms distance of each other for four hours things can get dicey.
     The highlight of our trip so far has been going to Kolob Canyon.  We have seen the signs right off Interstate 15 forever and we always say. "We should go there some time and check it out, but not today we're in a hurry."
So we have driven by it, what a mistake. The hubby has a camping and hiking book that suggested visiting the canyon when the sun was shining in the west so last night at about 8 we drove up the canyon.  We were looking at the trees and red rocks and thinking yeah it's nice and then you round the curve and the sun is shining on the upper cliffs and the red rock are just glowing, your jaw drops open and all you can say is WOW!!!  What a sight to behold. It was so worth the time to go into the canyon. We took pictures because we stopped at Walmart and bought a digital camera. And I uploaded the software onto my laptop by myself and uploaded the pics and did my blog, which required me to connect to the hotel internet all by my self.  I'm a big girl today folks. Although I did call my daughter to help me get the pic onto the blog, but now I think I can to it by myself!!! It's a whole new world. I'm a whole new me and the possibilities are endless.
     However, it appears that I am still the only one who can put a new roll of TP onto the holder even at the Comfort Inn in Cedar City. Some things will never change. :) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Road Trip, Again!

     We are going away for a couple of days, me the hubby and our three youngest kids. This time we are going to check out a couple of the National Parks in Utah.  We have lived here for four years and I have only seen one, so this trip should be fun (if you consider being trapped in a car for hours at a time with your children fun, and you parents that have done this know what I mean).
     The best part about this trip is we are staying at a hotel. No pit toilets, hot and cold running water, beds with real mattresses on them and hopefully no mosquitoes. This trip should be very different than last weeks trip.
     The only bad thing about this trip is the timing.  Next Monday is the first day of school and I am totally unprepared for it.  I have done absolutely no school shopping, not a sock or a shirt for anyone, so you can imagine the pressure on Saturday when we get back. 
     Thankfully, the boys don't really care about back to school shopping except for maybe their shoes. My boys can trash a pair of shoes in days, not to mention the smell. I think they may be part skunk, it comes from their father's side, I'm sure.  There is something about boys at this age, 10 and 7 that makes them stink.  I love them and I love the fact that they still like to hug me, but after a day outside playing in the hot sun, hugging them is one of those things that I am sure I'm earning extra points in heaven for and so is taking road trips with my children. I think the next road trip is going to be an adults only event. I feel I have earned it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let's Eat!

     I dread dinnertime.  After thirty-one years of marriage you get sick of cooking the same things week after week.  And no matter how creative you try to be, someone always says, "I'm not eating that."  It is disheartening. That's why I feel like I hit the lottery last week when I found not one, but two new recipes that everyone seemed to like. Yipee!!!
     The first one is a recipe that my daughter told me about forever ago, I just never tried it for some reason.
You take crescent rolls and roll them out on a cookie sheet. Then you take a spoonful of cooked and shredded chicken mixed with cream cheese and put it right in the middle then you fold the crescent roll like a diaper and bake for the required amount of time on the tube of crescent rolls.  As they are baking you make, or as in my case heat up, some chicken gravy. I used the dry envelope kind. I know it's not as good as home made, but the idea here is fast and easy as we are approaching back to school and soccer practices starting next week.  Plate the little dumplings, pour some gravy over them and grub. Delish. Serve with a salad and some lo-fat or skim milk and it's a meal.
     The second meal was discovered by trying to imitate Rico Taco's.  Our local Chevron station (yes, we buy tacos at the gas station. Don't judge.) has a corner dedicated to making real Mexican tacos, something we have missed since leaving So. Cal. I'm not talking Taco Bell or Del Taco here, I'm talking the real deal with meat and Pico De Gallo on a warmed (not fried) corn tortilla. Rico's serves a side of avocado sauce with them so I made that too. I started with homemade Pico. Simple and easy just tomatoes, onions, cilantro,lime juice and garlic salt. I found Carne Asada at Walmart and cooked it up with a little salt and pepper. The avocado sauce was three avocados, lime juice, garlic salt and one package of the guacamole from Cost Co. I added some water to the mix to get the right consistency.  I blended it all in my piece of crap blended that is brand new and won't blend avocado's with water, but that's another blog.  Warm the tortillas, toss on the meat, a little Pico and the avocado sauce and it's like going to heaven without the hassle of dying and everything.
     I share these with you because good recipes are hard to find and everyone loved these. Let me know what you think if you try these.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Just The Way It Is.

     "I always thought it was just the women in this household that were this way, but now I know you are all crazy!"
     This is a quote from my son.  As you can tell he is still learning about the female gender.  His five sisters and I have trained him and his brothers well.  They know that they will never truly understand the workings of the female mind, and they have learned to recognize that they will pretty much never win an argument, even if they happen to be right.  And no matter how psychotic we may seem when we are PMSing there will be no stopping it, so just get out of the way.  I have had outer body experiences during these times when I know I am acting and sounding like I am totally out of control, but it is what it is.
     My daughters have also taught their husbands well.  When one of them is ticked off about something the husbands tend to nod in agreement and keep their mouths shut.
     When a man knows how to handle a woman's moods things run like a well oiled machine.  So don't try to understand us, you never will.   Our minds are complicated, lightening fast and don't always follow the path that would seem logical to you.  So get over it.  It's the way it always has been and always will be. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Camping... Me...Really?

     We're going camping today. (crickets chirping)............How did I get myself into this? I'm such a pushover. I have no spine. I am way too nice and just can't say no. (did I mention the ten kids).
     There are no showers there or flush toilets. It will be like the dark ages. Pit toilets! Pit toilets? Haven't we as a people evolved past pit toilets.  What if a bug bites my butt while I'm going?  What if there are snakes?  What if a snake bites my butt while I'm going?  What if I get bit by a snake on my butt while I'm going and I have to be air-lifted back to civilization and I have to have all the doctors examining my snake bit butt?  They all will be blinded by my butt's whiteness and then I will die because of the snake bite on my butt.  Who will take care of my kids?   
     There should be a law that all campgrounds have to have flush toilets and showers with hot and cold running water. I'm not against camping, I just think it should be done in a RV.  I honestly don't know what the hubster is thinking.  It's like he doesn't know me at all.  He keeps talking about being together as a family and the great memories the boys will have.  Can't we sleep in the tent in the back yard?  They'll remember that.  I'd even be willing to make bear noises at two in the morning just to make it seem more genuine. 
     And if I have to go why don't the teenagers in this family have to go?  There's not even electricity there. What will I do without Shiba?  It's the dark ages I tell you.  A whole twenty-four hours without Shiba.  I hope I can survive it. Pray for me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Goals for Today

     Goals for today.
     1. Change sheets on my bed.
     2. Clean kitchen including microwave, mopping, cleaning out fridges and pantry
     3. Exercise
     4. Finish chapter fourteen
     5. Babysit grandkids
     6. Purge closet and donate old clothes and old TV.
     7. Clean my bathroom and vacuum my room and closet
     8. Clean rearrange and organize the boys room
     9. Decide again what the heck were having for dinner and make it.
    10. Clean up dinner
    Do you think this is too much?  Maybe I should skip the exercising?

Monday, August 8, 2011

To Read Or To Write

     I have been an avid reader most of my life, but now that I am writing I don't have the time to read that I used to and I miss it.  I have a to-be-read pile that just keeps getting bigger and my summer of reading the classics has officially fizzled. I have only made it to chapter 5 of Tom Sawyer(sorry Tom) and I don't know when I will get back to it.
     I have magazines still in the plastic wrappers, including one from last December that I haven't touched.  I keep thinking that as soon as I have time I will get to them, but summer vacation will be over in two weeks and I don't feel like I have accomplished what I wanted to, except for my writing.
     I am pleased that I have gotten so far in my new story.  I have dedicated quite a bit of time to it.  The fam complains sometimes that it is too much time, but the truth is they just resent that I am not at their constant beck and call so I don't feel that bad.
     I do miss spending time reading though.  Every book is like taking an adventure, or meeting new friends.  I know how you can actually feel sad when a great book ends because you are going to miss the characters.  I have cried with them when things went terribly wrong.  And that is one of the best things about writing your own stories, you can control what happens and write it the way you want it to turn out. 
     So you can see that I am totally conflicted.  Should I read or should I write? That is the question.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finding Balance In Your Life

     Have you ever been to the mall and seen one of those games where you put the penny in and it is fed into something that looks like a giant upside down funnel.  The penny goes round and round at just the right angle into smaller and smaller circles until it goes down the hole at the bottom.  That's what time feels like sometimes every year you get older and the time goes by just a little bit faster than it did the year before.  I can't believe that it is August already. 
     Today my niece is getting married. The thing is, I remember when she was born.  Before I know it she will have children of her own. Just like three of my children.  It is the circle of life. I just wish the circle would slow down. 
     I have reached the point in life that we call middle-age.  Your not old, but your not young either.  It's no wonder folks start to re-evaluate the choices they have made up to this point. Over all I am happy with my life. I have spent it taking care of other people and that has kept me grounded and content.  Spending too much time on you brings selfishness and depression.  That being said you do need to have your own interests, goals and hobbies. It is what makes your life rich.  There has to be balance.
     The hard part is finding that balance. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Countdown

     The countdown is on we have less than three weeks until school starts again.  That means school clothes, and notebooks, and boxes of tissues, you know because the school districts can't afford tissues for the classroom.  It also means no more lazy mornings playing on Shiba.  We will be back into the daily grind of taking to school and picking up from school. And once again, it looks as if it may be four different schools.  I don't look forward to that, but there are advantages, such as the kids are in school all day.  That gives me time to run errands and to write without a lot of distractions. 
    This summer has been a good one so far, not too much fighting, (that doesn't include me and the hubster) and the boys are now old enough that I don't really have to worry about where they are.  I figure if they get hungry enough they'll come home.  I can drop them off at the movies or the city pool and they have a good time without me having to watch their every move. 
     All in all I think I could do an extra month of summer this year and be okay.  Of course, two-and-a-half weeks could make a lot of difference. I'll let you know

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Dishes, Dishes Everywhere

     I like having a clean house, but I don't like to clean. Is this an oxymoron?  I ran my dishwasher three times today, three times.  I wish I had a quarter for every dish I have washed in my lifetime because I remember standing on a chair in the kitchen and washing dishes when I was about six. We were a family of five at that time. And we stayed a family of five.
     Then I got married a week after I graduated high school and before I knew it we were a family of five again, and then six, and then seven, and then eight, you get the drift.  Before I knew what happened it was just the twelve of us.  And someone was always hungry and they still are.  I feed them and feed them, but a few hours later these people all want to eat again. I even use paper plates and napkins, but it doesn't make a bit of difference there are still dishes that need to be done at all times.
     Several months ago I blogged about how my hubby has decided to help with the dishes and it has been great.  One of the biggest changes is now he uses paper plates when he had refused to use them for most of our married life. Why do you think that is? Maybe because it makes one more dish to wash.
     Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?   

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Few Things I'd Like To See In America

     As all this political fighting is going on over the budget I am amazed that you can't turn on the news or the internet without hearing about one party calling the other party names, and whose fault it is.  The Republicans are all racist and greedy corporate stooges that don't care about anything but the almighty dollar and the Democrats are all ultra liberals who want to take everything you've worked for and give it away.  I think they all need a time out and a few words about what has made this country great.
     This is what I would like to see in America.  Bring back jobs. Our government has allowed the export of so many of our jobs to foreign countries that I wonder what the next generation will do for work.  Between the unions, corporate taxes and the EPA, many businesses have found the United States an uninviting place to do business.  There has to be a happy medium here where we have the opportunity to work without poisoning our environment while we do it.
     As for welfare, take some of the money that we are using supporting these folks and pay for them to get college educations or to learn a trade.  Education is the key to a countries future.
     Health care.  We do need an overhaul of our countries health care system, but setting up a huge government run program that we can't afford is a mistake.  We should start by helping private insurance companies offer lower cost plans to low-income workers so that everyone has access to health care.  However, there has to be rules for example if someone gets a serious illness you can't cancel their coverage and so on. This has been a problem in the health care system and should have been addressed years ago. And when someone is in need of an extreme medical intervention such as a heart transplant for example there should be some kind of fund available to help families cover costs that insurances don't.  Australia has such a fund. Families shouldn't be driven into permanent poverty because their child has cancer. And good health care shouldn't only be available to an elite group. Are you listening Capitol Hill.
     I realize these are simplistic solutions to complex problems, but the point I am trying to make is we can fix it all with common sense and compassion. We have to stop bickering like children and compromise.