Monday, July 5, 2010

Our little vacation

We are home after a 10 trip to Idaho and Utah. We visit family and mixed in a little fun. AND we paid cash for 90% of our trip!! About 5% went on debit and one hotel night(5%) went on a credit card that will be paid off next payday. Not bad!!!

Where all did we go you ask? Okay maybe you didn't but I will tell you anyway. LOL! We traveled 11 to 12 hours over to Twin Falls. The Hubbies sister lives there. We call her house our favorite hotel. And really it is. She spoils us! We woke up to Swedish pancakes. Then packed a picnic lunch complete with homemade chocolate chip cookies and went to the City of Rocks for a day of hiking and fun. We came home to Fettuccine Alfredo with an amazing homemade sauce. The next day we woke up to scrambled eggs, orange juice, and homemade muffins. Dang she is awesome!

So we left there and moved on down to Utah. We stopped in to the Hubbies brother's house in Tremonten for lunch. Yum! Hot dogs, chips and chocolate cupcakes! After lunch we moved on to Salt Lake City. The Hubby had Shiloh points to use so we got two connecting rooms for 2 nights. NICE!!! We are talking over $600 in hotel for FREE!!! Plus the hotel and free breakfast and a pool! So breakfast was free except the tip. We had the same server both mornings. He was great!! We used no gas traveling around town due to the cool Trax system and everything is really with in walking distance. Saturday night we went over to the Gateway Mall and ate at the food court and I did a little birthday shopping for my self! (So did not save money on that) Them we went and rode the Trax back to the hotel. Off to bed. Sunday we toured Temple Square and the Church History museum (they have a whole floor for kids to play and run free). Then we hit the JB's for a wonderful lunch and a wonderful server who fixed Bubba's sunglasses. Yah she got a nice tip! Then we hit the pool! My little men might be half fish. LOL!! Monday we went to see the front of the Salt Lake Temple and see the Joseph Smith Building. The we packed up and headed south!

We headed down to Richfield and stayed the night in the Comfort Inn there. Very nice plus a pool and a free breakfast. We had to pay for these rooms but they were a great value. Tuesday morning we headed down to Cove Fort (about 45 mins away). This is home to Fort Willden as well. I am a Willden(well my grandma is)!! YUP got me some family history. It was fun.

After we had lunch we headed back up to Richfield (I was born there) for some groceries and then over the mountains to Koosherem to see the famous and well loved Grandma Bonnie. We just played and helped out for a couple days. I said a most teary good-bye on Thursday and we headed off again.

So Thursday we headed up to Manti to see the Manti Temple. It is soooo pretty. Then back up to Twin Falls. Were we were greeted by a BBQ dinner. Told you we were spoiled. Friday we went to Shoshone Falls, and the us adults went to a session at the Twin Falls temple. What an incredible place. WOW!! Such beauty. After that we took the kids to Gertie's pizza place. YUM!! We then took the kids back to see the temple. It is a both a tribute to our Heavenly Father and to the beautiful land around Twin Falls that he created.

Sadly Saturday morning found us packing up and heading on our way back to Washington and to cloudy skies. But oh to sleep in our own bed!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cream of Chicken Soup

OK so I am now hooked on making my own cream of chicken soup. Sorry Campbell soup company but this is by far superior!

Now I got this recipe from a wonderful recipe blog called Our Best Bites. Here is a direct link to Kate's recipe and how to.

I tweaked the recipe to make it more pantry accessible to me.

1 1/2 c.chicken broth (2 cubes chicken bullion and 1 1/2 cups water)
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (more or less; taste to test)
1/4 teaspoon parsley
dash of paprika
1 1/2 cups milk, divided (I used powdered milk)
3/4 cup flour

Then I followed her directions just as they are. Except I add in chicken.

In medium-sized saucepan, bring chicken broth, seasonings, and 1/2 c. of the milk to a boil. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of milk and flour.

Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens. Cook until desired consistency is reached, keeping in mind that it will continue to thicken as it stands.

Makes the equivalent of 2 cans of condensed cream of chicken soup. Read as if in the can no milk or water added.

Now I am ready to make chicken gravy over rice or pasta. I add more milk, a huge dollop of sour cream and there you go. Top with cheese and YUM!

Okay so this isn't a pretty dish BUT it is a family favorite at my house. Oh that looks like a HUGE portion, let's say it was for the Hubby!

For a low carb but still awesome flavor recipe look here.

I also now use this soup for my Green Chile Enchiladas. Look for these in an up coming post!

The best gifts ever...

Ok so my friend Christy over at Thrifty and Thriving (formally known as Bargain Jargon) has a great post about presents. So off you go to read about the best gifts ever!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Apple Trees

Here is the apple tree we got for our birthdays. A columnar tree grows like a column not big and bushy.

One bonus of a columnar tree is that they grow compactly to the trunk. They are great for a small property. However when ever you buy fruit trees remember that you generally need two. You must have a pollinator.

All About Apples Explore this site. It has a list of all apple varieties. You can look up a local apple nursery and so much more.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I want to make my own...

On my right hand side bar you will see a list of several things I want to make my self. As you can see I have accomplished a few of them.

Click here for my DIY laundry soap. I made a second batch this week at used my immersion blender on it the next day. AWESOME! It made it all smooth just like store bought.

I made my own bread!!

I have also made my own cream of chicken soup!!

I will be posting about these in the next few days. What do you want to learn to make on your own? What have you made that did or maybe did not work out?

I still have some items on my list and I am always finding more things to try.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

WOW where have I been!

No where fun or out of the ordinary that is for sure. I have been sick and busy and then sick some more. Oh joy!

So here is the first of a few little updates.


My garden is having a heck of a time getting started. The Washington weather is crappy right now. We have a few days of near 70 sunny days so we plant. Then we have wind, rain, hail and freezes so everything dies. JOY!!!!

However I have 4 squares of snappy peas planted and sprouting. I have one head of lettuce growing and 3 others that will barely send up sprouts. LOL! All three of my tomatoes look good. ALL of the seeds I started indoors have died. I will try again next year. Oh and my strawberries have have blossoms. I can't wait!! Plus I bought and planted 4 more starts.

My Hubby's mom and dad bought us an apple tree for our birthday so now all we need to get is one more so it can pollinate and get them planted!

I feel like I need to go takes pictures for all of this. The weather literally has been changing by the hour this week. So frustrating!! So if we get a suuny spot vs. a hail spot I will run out!

Monday, March 22, 2010

I made a blog list LOL!!

I am #22. TOO COOL!!

Could you do it?

Preparing - One Day at a Time

Follow our family of 10 children through a challenge to make "No trips to the grocery store for three months." What will we improvise, what are we glad we have on hand and what will we wish we had? How will we live without fresh milk?

This is an incredible blog. Crystal shows us that it can be done, but we must prepare. Follow her journey and try her recipes. I love this blog and look forward to learning more from this wonderful woman.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From seeds to starts!

I started with a mini green house ( I accidentally bought the tomato one. You can get smaller ones.), my seeds, and my handy dandy SFG book. This book has all kinds of great information about when to plant and when to start seedlings.

I decided to so cucumbers, beef steak tomatoes, broccoli, and later I added celery.

The green house comes with direction. Thank Goodness!! So I followed them to "pump up" the little planter guys. I did not use the whole tray just a few. Then I planted my seeds.

Next I made a little chart of what I planted. Make sure to add the date!

On the bottom of that same paper I made a very artistic drawing of my outside garden. LOL!! I put what I planted and again made sure to add the date.

As of yet nothing I have planted outside has sprouted. I did how ever find a mystery plant in my other box.

We are pretty sure it may be a bean from last year sad 3 beans from 6 bushes crop. I wish it better luck this year!

Here is my mini green house crop! So stinking cute!!!

Look at those skinny little broccoli plants and those cucumbers.

See those tiny little white flecks in the ones towards the front? Those are my 'mater plants. YEAH!!

No sign of the celery yet....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

DIY Laundry Soap

I finally did it. I had all the stuff and so I made myself do it. I thought it would be really time consuming, but not so.
You will need:

1 five gallon bucket with lid

1 bar of Ivory, Fels Naptha or Zote soap

1 cup Borax

1 cup washing soda
Other tools:

old cheese grater only to be used for soap

a long spoon or paint stirer

sauce pan (comes clean)

First you will grate your bar of soap into your sauce pan.

Then you will fill the sauce pan with water. Heat to a light boil and stir constantly as the soap dissolves. ***DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED*** It can boil over quick. Or so I am told I never left it. When the soap is dissolved set aside.

Fill your bucket with 4 1/2 gallons of HOT tap water. As hot as you can get it. Add you soap soup, your borax and washing soda. Stir until well mixed.

Leave to cool for 24 hours. I finished making mine at about 8:30 PM and it was ready to go around 10 am the next day. I know that is not 24 hours but I needed clean cloths. :) It is supposed to look like this when it is done.

Then I stirred it up well and added it to my left over laundry soap bottle. Leave room to shake it up before you use it. You will need to shake it up before each use as it gells up.

I use 2 to 3 cap fulls for each extra large load I run. This come out to 1 to 1 1/2 cups.

You probably want to know cost, huh? Well I would say probably about $7 to start, with the average 5 gallon bucket full maybe costing $2 to make. Heck I pay around $2.99 for that little bottle of all and that last only two weeks.

Monday, March 8, 2010

50 pounds of Ground Beef

Our ward cooperates with a a co-op that allows us to get some killer deals on bulk purchases through out the year. Our first bulk buy this year was ground beef. 7% fat, no hormones, fresh, YUMMY ground beef for $2.30 a pound! I bought 50 pounds!!! I figure this may last our family of 6 for 3 months. You may think , "What the heck do you do with 50 pounds of ground beef?" Well lucky for you I like to take pictures. LOL!

This is what I started with. Ten 5 pound bags.

This is what I ended with!

Ten pounds were made in to meatloaf mixes (on the right).
Five pounds were made into meatballs. (bottom shelf)
The rest was split between raw (on the left) and pre-cooked (middle).

These are great for quick dinners. Pop in the micro wave for a defrost then cook on HI for about 2 mins. pour into what ever you are making. So fast and easy.
I love my food saver!
***Now I don NOT consider my freezer food storage. It is highly perishable in a power outage or natural disaster. I do not can meat at this time because: 1 I do not know how. and 2 Hubby is not so fond of it. We do store tuna and commercially canned chicken though.***

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Look what I found in my garden!!

Okay so we had a few gorgeous days. I finally had the time to clean out my garden beds. In pulling all the weeds I found this little beauty! A carrot. LOL! I had to run grab my camera to share with you.

SO...I am planning on starting some planting this weekend. I am going to plant peas, carrots and lettuce. Yes you can be sure pictures will be posted. I just can't help myself.

Get out there and start those gardens or if you are still snowed in start planning. Let me know what your doing!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

As an FYI...

I am swamped with life! Aren't we all? So I am just going to post when I can and do my best. I am doing away with the daily themes and will just post what I am working on or what I am inspired to post about.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thrifty Thurday

Just a few quick ideas today.

Before you leave to go out be it shopping or to a friends, check your accounts. Know what money is available. Make a goal not to spend more than you need to.

Think before you leave. Grab a snack for the kids, a soda from the fridge, do you have everything you need. Challenge yourself to stop spending money on silly little things that you already have, and to really think before you buy.

Always have a shopping list. Stick too it. Eat before you go grocery shopping.

Got some tricks of your own, or heaven forbid a problem with one of mine, let me know! ;)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WhatEver Wednesday

Goals Update
So I have been working out 5 days a week for an hour plus. I have lost a little over four pounds and one inch off my waist. GO ME!!
I filed our taxes last night. We will be paying off our Tahoe in February, paying off Lowe's while it is still interest free, and putting a hefty amount into our emergency fund.
We will also be doing some major food storage shopping as well with tax money.
I have made some progress on my spiritual side but not as much as I would like. So I will try to get more focus on that this coming month.
How are your goals doing? Keep at it! :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

Let's Spice it UP!

Okay so I was planning on do a spicy post myself, however I found one that is perfect on on of my favorite sites. So it's off to another blog for you today!

Go check out Our Best Bites. Here is their post on Spices.

Also have you checked out your spice cupboard lately? I know that mine needed a clean out, and a massive restock. Remember to date new products when you open them. It is a great way to calculate your years supply of an item. And yes you will want spices!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


"Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it"
Denzel Washington
Here is wishing you luck!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whatever Wednesday

*During the gardening season I use Wednesday to post updates and ideas and as that season is soon approaching I will again be doing this.*

Garden Planning. YES it is this time again.

Jennifer this post is for you!!!

Spring will be here soon. I hope! This rain is driving me crazy!! So in light (hopefully SUNlight) of that we had better get our gardens planned.

But how you ask? Well for that I will direct you to a nice one stop spot for your general gardening information needs. Be sure to check out the gardening links!!

Want more information? Just look to your left on the sidebar. find the Gardening section and go to town.

You can also take a peek at my past gardening post. Lots of good info. and pictures too! Ignore the first post unless you want to make something using white bean flour. LOL!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tasty Tuesday

Cook Books
If you are like me you collect recipes from every source. Magazines, newspapers, hand written scraps from your friends house, Internet print out, and everywhere else. LOL!

Well here is my solution: Make your own cook book.

First you will need a few things. I had most of these around my house when I made mine.
  • A 3-ring binder - 3" would be great and a clear pocket on the front is handy too.

  • Page protectors - easy to keep clean!

  • Left over craft paper and stickers if you want

  • computer paper
I made a cover for mine to match my kitchen color and added a little title.

Then I made dividers labeling the section. Hints and tips, breakfast, breads, soups and salads, main dishes, kids favorites, pasta, cookies, deserts, and cake decorating ideas.

Next start adding you recipes. I have a mix of magazine cut outs ( I LOVE pictures.),

printed out pages,

and hand written. Some of the are on odd ball scraps so I just glue them to a piece of paper first.

A couple of hints here.

If you are printing from a blog: cut and paste to word or whatever program you use. Also include the name of the blog/site you printed from. This makes for easy referencing if you need help or more information about that recipe.

When dealing with hand written recipes, be sure to write who you got the recipe from or what book you copied from.

Also a binder with an inside pocket is nice. Sometimes you want to try a recipe before you add it or you simply don't have time to add it yet.

Are you lucky enough to have a spot to stand this baby up? Make sure to label the spine.

These make great gifts. I made one for my sister one year. It had red and white checked paper and I found some cute little ant stickers. Very Cute!! You can make it so individualized it's insane!!

Remember to think about Christmas, mother's Day, and birthdays. You could even make a smaller Blank Family Recipes Favorites. Make one for each sibling ! Or you could make one for a missionary, collage student, or newly weds.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts."
President Gordon B. Hinckley

Friday, January 15, 2010

Food Storage Friday

Every Thing Under the Sun

Please take look at this one page blog. Click here NOW!!

Are you still reading this??? Go NOW!!!

Great simple, easy to read and easy to follow blog.

This gal is amazing!

I think I may come up with a prize for those that go read it. So just in case GO READ IT!!!!!! And be sure comment back here if you do!
Now to figure out a prize.........;)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Money Monday

Christmas Cash ( Thank Sharron for putting this in my head.)

I know we just got done with that holiday, however there are less than 365 until it is here agian.  So...we must plan ahead.  A few ideas to help you do so are:

Make a per person budget.  List all those you buy for. Include Giving Trees, church Christmas events and other such carities you participate in.  Divide it out by month or by paycheck and start saving that cash now.

Make a gift wish list.  For example my one and only princess wants an American Girl doll.  Oh joy to my budget.  LOL!!  So we will see, those things are quite spendy, but my kids only get stocking from Santa and one awsome gift from Mom and Dad (this year we got a Wii plus a game per person and one family game).
So knowing this is what Girlie wants I can now keeps my eyes and ears open for any cool deals on these ouch spendy dolls.  Plus I can look at sales, clerance items, internet deals through out the year for all of those on my gift list.

Work towards a goal.  I mean literally work.  My family works at our local fair every year for our house hold that equals Christmas cash and ride money.  What can you do to earn that gift money during the year?

Gift swap. What do you make that you can swap with a friend for something they make?  I have a cousin-in-law who makes beaded jewlery.  Anouther is a scrap book wiz.  I like to make sewing crafts.  We haven't done a swap as of yet but maybe one day we would.  It is an idea.  Think about it.

DIY. Make it a home made Christmas.  Now don't fool yourself this takes planning.  Both time and money.  It can be very rewarding though.  It is also great it you have a great stash of craft supplies, fabric, canning jars and wood.  A great stash of leftovers from other projects can save tons of cash.

Well those are my ideas.  Do you have any you want to share?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Food Storage Friday

Here is a giveaway!  Not from me, sorry.

Emergency Essentials is having a great dairy giveaway.

Here is the link to thier preparedness blog

Good luck and enjoy.  Be sure to post here if you win!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Years Resolutions

rowan said...
Tel us if you have any new years resolutions. Go on - try something outrageous
Okay well hum (these are not in order of importance)....

  1. Lose wieght.  We got a Wii as our Christmas present this year and my game was the Wii fit plus.  LOVE IT!!  I plan to work out an hour a day, 4-5 days a week.  Plus when the weather is nice I plan to walk to pick up the two older kids from school.  My little boys will love it and will get some more exercise.  This is the year I lose the baby wieght!!
  2.  Focus more on spiritual things. Prayer, family home evening, scripture reading, and my calling.  I know my life is so much better when I take advatage of these blessings.
  3. Kick some MAJOR debt butt !!! We will pay of our Tahoe this year thus freeing up some major cash to throw into savings and onto other debts.  Plus we get paid weekly this gives us 4-5 "extra" paychecks a year.  Onto debt they go!!
  4. Visit my Grandma.  This will hamper our debt goal alitlle but it has been 3+ years since I have seen her and we miss her dearly.
  5. Get my 3 month supply up to snuff (again), add to my basic year supply, and finally fill my 50 gal water barrel(that we have had 4 years grrr).
Well I am sure there are more to come as the year progresses.  Those are just the ones that come to me right now.