Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunshine for the Soul...Sunday!

"I love to think of nature
as an unlimited broadcasting station,
through which God speaks to us every hour,
if we will only tune in".

~George Washington Carver

(sunset Lake...Jedidiah Smith Wilderness Area)

Ever since I was a little girl
I have absolutely LOVED nature and beauty!

One of my very favorite songs in Primary was
"My Heavenly Father Loves me".
It makes me happy and cry every time.

We recently witnessed a YouTube video of this song and WOW, this "spoke to my soul".

Amy Gileadi
who sings this has the most gorgeous voice and I have never heard this song sung more beautifully than this version.
The photos in the video are also spectacular!

It made me happy and brought tears to my eyes as well.
Such simple words, yet so powerful!

Click on the link and enjoy a little peace of Heaven that is sure to put you in a happy mood and feel gratitude as well.
(click here to see the video)

"Whenever I hear the song of a bird
or look at the blue, blue sky,
Whenever I feel the rain on my face
or the wind as it rushes by.
Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by a lilac tree…
I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world
Heavenly Father created for me.

He gave me my eyes that I might see the color of butterfly wings.
He gave me my ears that I might hear
the magical sound of things.
He gave me my life my mind my heart;
I thank him reverently, for all his creations,
of which I’m a part.
Yes I know Heavenly Father loves me"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Happiness is...

“This very moment is a seed
from which the flowers
of tomorrow's happiness grow.”

I have been thinking about Happiness
and all of the many little things that bring JOY to my life.
It's usually never "things" that make me happy
as much as people and experiences.

Here are some HAPPY things from our week.

Happiness is...

I sent my sweet hubby off on a business trip this week and was feeling VERY blessed that we could keep in touch so well. We sent countless emails to each other and it made being apart SO much more bearable.
Tracy was commenting about being a kid and having his dad go on a business trip and how it was SO hard having him gone and not being able to talk to him (because it was SO expensive to call home and that was way before cell phones and computers) and the excitement of seeing him get off the plane and getting to hug and talk to him was SO welcomed and enjoyed.

We are very blessed to live in the era that we do.
Tracy has had business trips where there hasn't been good cell phone coverage and we weren't able to keep in touch very much at all, but this trip was awesome for being able to keep in touch with each other.

Happiness is...
getting to enjoy a photo of my Sweetie while he is away on a business trip and getting to see his sweet and handsome face and what his motel room looked like.

Happiness is...
being able to snap a photo and send it to my sweetie while he is away from home.

Happiness is...
getting a photo and text message from my Sweetie sharing his view from his hotel window before he heads off to his Conference.

Happiness is...
having French Toast on a Tuesday morning for breakfast!
(since breakfasts Monday-Friday are always "Steel Cut Oats")
While Tracy was gone I wanted to do some fun and out of the ordinary things for the kids and so I made French Toast for them to enjoy Tuesday morning before I headed off to work and they headed off to school.
They were in heaven!

Happiness is...
the JOY of having my kids home and spending time together in the afternoon.
(we snapped this photo and emailed it to Tracy while he was gone)


Happiness is...
Cookies fresh out of the oven
and a cup of milk to dunk them in!

Happiness is...
finally having time to
give my feet some much needed TLC!!
It's pretty bad when you are snuggled next to your sweetie while soaking in the hot springs and he is caressing your feet and he informs you that you have ugly hairs growing out of your big toes.
Good thing
we both have a good sense of humor and we definitely had a good laugh the rest of the evening.

OOPS...I admit that my feet don't get much TLC at all in the winter. I am always racing in the shower in the morning and then bundling my feet in socks to keep warm that I never even notice how bad my poor feet are.
they are soft, with freshly painted toenails and looking like cute and sexy feet once again.

Happiness is...
coming home from a long day of work and feeling loved and cherished while reading a love note from my Sweetie!

Happiness is...Peace and Serenity.
Even though my home can get pretty chaotic and disorganized with the craziness of life and despite what the rest of the house looks like I can always
go to my bedroom or the living room and sit...
and it is tidy, orderly and a place where I can sit and meditate
and read a book or collect my thoughts for a moment.

In fact, the first thing that always gets done in my home is our bed gets made and the room tidied up in my room and then I tend to the rest of the house.
That way
when Tracy comes home each night, even though the rest of the house might have chaos,
he can find peace and
order in our bedroom.

February 23rd, 2010
YES, Kimmie is pathetic and busy
and she finally
got Christmas taken down and now I have my peaceful and serene living room back.

“Breathe. Let go.
And remind yourself
that this very moment
is the only one you know you have for sure.”

Oprah Winfrey

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ways I save...

Powdered Milk

One of the reasons I started my Blog was to Journal things that my family does to make our meals and money stretch.
With this in mind, for the next month or so I am going to share different"Ways I save"...
little things that make a difference in our family life.

so in 1999 in preparation for "Y2K", we purchased a 50 pound bag of Morning Moos Powdered Milk.

My attitude of NOT wasting anything
meant that I didn't want all of that milk to go to waste.
So, I have always used powdered milk anytime I made up muffins, cornbread, or anything else in baking that called for milk.

A little over 2 years ago,
Tracy was talking with a co-worker and this person said that they mixed their Powdered milk and Regular milk 50/50.
I went kicking and screaming telling Tracy that
Cooking with powdered milk was as good as it got for me.

But, one weekend in 2008,

I realized that it was a week until payday and I wasn't going to have money to get milk until payday and so I took my
half full milk jug,
mixed up 2 quarts of powdered milk,
and funneled it into the milk jug
and low and behold we now had a FULL gallon of milk.
My family couldn't tell the difference and so I was hooked and that is how we make our milk stretch and use up our food storage powdered milk as well.

It makes it so I buy milk half as often as I used to...
and no more running to the store just to get milk, only to find yourself coming home with more groceries than just milk. It really has helped us save.

Obviously, WHOLE MILK
(Vitamin D milk...
milk with the red lids in the store
is the best
(it is hard to pull this off if you use 2%, 1% or skim milk)
and so with half powdered milk/half whole milk,
your family would be hard pressed to suspect the difference.
(After the milk is half gone,
I mix up 2 quarts of Morning Moos and put in the jug and then I make an "X" on the jug so I know that it is half and half and then once that is gone, we rinse out the jug and recycle it at our local recycling bins and then buy another gallon of milk..and then the cycle starts over again.)

Since we don't drink a lot of milk we enjoy Whole Milk, also known as Vitamin D milk although everyone has their own personal preference in this category.
Our milk is used for our morning steel cut oats, various baking and cooking, and to enjoy every once in awhile with homemade cookies,
but as far as
drinking a tall glass of milk everyday, or eating bowl after bowl of cold cereal, this is something we DO NOT do at our house.

SO, next time you notice your gallon of milk half gone...
Mix in 1 cup of Morning Moos powdered milk into
2 quarts of water, shake and mix well,
pour it into your milk jug and see if you family can tell a difference.

Great way to save on your groceries
and to make sure your food storage doesn't go to waste!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Delicious Ham and Bean Chowder

For some crazy reason I have always loved and been intrigued with the thrift of beans.

Even when I was a little girl I loved beans and when my mom asked me what kind of Campbell's soup she should cook up for lunch, I always chose "Bean with Bacon".

I love
taking something that can keep in your storage room for 10-15 years, soaking them overnight and then
them until tender and having a
yummy, economical and nutritious meal
to feed my family.
This makes me happy every time!

This yummy meal is one of Tracy's favorites and if I might add...mine too.

Tracy just quoted on Facebook a few weeks ago the following after we had this for lunch.

"Homemade ham & bean chowder with cornbread... at this moment, all is right with the world"!

Ham and Bean Chowder

1 pound dried great northern beans (2 cups)
1 meaty ham bone (OR, 1 cup chopped ham)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 or 2 chopped onions (depending upon how much onion flavor you like)
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth (OR 2 bouillon cubes in 2 cups water)
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 whole clove

Soak 2 cups of great northern beans overnight—
drain off water and add fresh water and
cook until tender. Drain off water.

Then melt 2 Tbsp. Butter in Sauce pan and add: Onion, celery and garlic---
Sauté until tender…..
Then add beans, ham bone, water, broth, tomatoes, bay leaf, clove and salt/pepper. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours (stirring occasionally).
Remove ham bone, bay leaf and clove. (also remove meat from ham bone, cut into small pieces and add back to soup).

This is a yummy soup
and is great served with corn bread.
You can also garnish with grated cheese, OR,
my family's favorite...COTTAGE CHEESE.

How Frugal is this meal?
Dried beans--.68


Celery/onions and garlic--1.00


broth, bay leaf, clove--.25



We fed
4 people 1 dinner and 3 people 1 lunch for this price.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Beauty & Fun in February!

"The most beautiful view

is the one I share with you"

February 7th, 2010
in Southeast Idaho...
Frosty welcome sign that greeted us as we pulled up to our house after attending church meetings.

The frosty beauty was SO gorgeous
with the white trees and bright blue sky that I had to snap some photos to preserve the moment.
I can truly say that I enjoy each Season of the Year and you can ALWAYS find beauty wherever you are!

PINK cookies with Sprinkles
make any day better!

Twas' the week of Valentine cookie baking.
LOTS of cookie making went on this week,
from sending Tracy to Scouts with treats, treats for visiting teachers, kids teachers, work parties and family and neighbors.
You would have thought it was Christmas!

The printing company
that I work for has a new product line and I decided to have some Valentine cards made to send to Grandparents and family that live out of town.

I am SO proud of Ethan Kip.
He was one the "Academic Achievers"
and got to go and eat lunch with the principal this week.
He sure does an amazing job in school!

Ethan LOVED his Valentine party
he had at school and LOVED coming home and looking through all of his valentines he received.
I really do think that kids have just as much fun on Valentine's Day as they do on Christmas!

Friday February 12th...
My Handsome sons Ethan and Jade!
After making 3 batches of sugar cookie dough and baking over 10 dozen cookies, this is all that was left of the cookies on Friday afternoon!


We try to take a little getaway every year on President's Day weekend. Nothing much, usually just a quick trip to SLC and to spend a little time with my famly.
This year our weekend got off to a late start as I had to work on Saturday and we got a phone call early in the afternoon that Tracy's nephew Robby was home and they were having a going away party for his on Saturday night as he is flying out on 2-16 to serve 4 years in Okinawa Japan, as an air traffic controller for the Air Force.

Since we had already planned to go to Utah,
we dropped by and told Robby and Angel goodbye.
It is going to be sad
to have them so far away, but what a blessing it is to have such great technology that you can email and hear from each other every day.

Turning off the highway
and now we're just one mile away from my parents house.
They live at the top of that hill at the end of this road.
The mountains that they get to enjoy each day are GORGEOUS!!

"Music and the Spoken Word"
has been a part of some of our weekend getaways, although, the last time we went and enjoyed this, it was when they were still performing this in the Conference Center because they were remodeling the Tabernacle.

I always marvel at
the size of the Tabernacle. It is so much bigger on the inside than it looks like it will be. The architecture is amazing to consider it was done over 130 years ago and to the magnitude it was.

It was SO exciting to be there.
The hot pink background color was gorgeous!
This is a photo
taken from our seat where we were sitting. The guy running the camera, kept on doing funny things to people in getting his camera up really close to their faces. Our kids enjoyed this immensely.

We looked at our programs
and enjoyed listening to the choir and orchestra warm up before the program actually started.

Since it was on Valentine's Day
the program was all about Love.

I loved the reading that Lloyd D. Newell did during the program about the true story of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning and how her Love Sonnets touched the world.

"Grow old along with me,
the best is yet to be"!

If we lived in the SLC valley,
I really think I would come and enjoy this every week!

My parents, me and Jade and Ethan after the performance.
SO grateful we could spend some time with my parents as Christmas was a little hectic.
My mom LOVES every moment
she gets to see and spend with her grand kids.

Ethan Kip is enjoying the sunshine!

My sons by the reflection pool
with the Temple reflection

I was enjoying very much
the WARMTH of being without a coat on February 14th.
The weather in Idaho is nothing like this.

My three favorite people!

While we were waiting for our kids
to use the bathroom I noticed this cool reflection of the Temple in the window.

Green bushes, blooming flowers and tulips sprouting up?
We still have 2-3 feet of snow in our yard. Spring won't be coming to our house for a few more months and so what a
joyous thing to see life and beauty
to break up the cold winter for us.
This gives us hope that spring is not far away.

A trip to SLC wouldn't be complete
without eating at Fuddruckers.

and I just absolutely love the decor inside.

Jade noticed this cool art
as we were driving along and wanted his photo taken by it.

I had to snap this photo at it brought back memories.
I can't believe it was 8 years ago that the Olympics were in Salt Lake City and that we were there in March of 2002 with a Preemie baby in the NICU at University of Utah hospital.

My sweet kids are growing up way too fast!

FUN at the Gateway...although we were saddened that they are not allowing people to use the climbing wall in Dick's sporting goods.
Ethan was SO excited to be able to finally climb it as he has been to young the previous times we came here.
I guess with the economy and the liability of insuring this type of a thing, they have had to close it down.


Tracy had to head into a work for a few hours and I was able to get us unpacked from our trip and a little organizing done.
Afternoon delight and lunch with my sweetie were the highlights of my afternoon.

When the kids got off the school bus,
we grabbed some snacks and went and spent the rest of the evening
soaking and swimming at Heise Hot Springs!
We were privileged to be able to sit and watch 2 doe deer eating for over 15 minutes.
It was wonderful to enjoy the warm water, sunset and deer all in the same moment of time.

I just LOVE

every moment of time
that I get to be with my hubby
weekend and daily adventures as a family
are my second favorite thing!

February 18th...
I heard Ethan SCREAMING
"MOM, a heart, Mom a heart"
SO, I ran out to see what he was talking about and low and behold the way the sun was shining in through the window it was casting this heart shape on our carpet.

I just LOVE the excitement of little kids
and how they NOTICE every little thing around them.

and Cherishing
each and every moment of this precious life!