Monday, April 26, 2010

Baskets of Plenty!

Bountiful Baskets!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I kind of
"march to my own drum"
and I don't do every little "trendy" thing that comes around.
I can't believe the wonderful service that we have available to us.
It is called "Bountiful Baskets"
and you get around 30 pounds of fruits/vegetables for $16.50.
Here is a link to the Bountiful Baskets website:
(click here)

You order on Monday nights on the website and then you pick up your produce on Saturdays (at your choice of location).
There are many locations in Arizona, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Washington that have this available.

Our Saturday pick up is just 3 miles away from our house.

I have been thrilled each and every Saturday we have done this.
GREAT produce at a GREAT price!

I have had several friends
that have been a little nervous about doing this as they didn't know if their kids would like everything, or if there would be "scary" things to eat, so I thought I would share some of the yummy things we got and the ways that I put these yummy things to use to feed my family.
Along with us each having apples, bananas, oranges assorted berries or pineapple to eat each day, here are the many things we have made to enjoy our Bountiful Baskets to the fullest.

Since our family LOVES fresh produce
it is has been a treat to have yummy salads to eat each week as there are always yummy things for salad fixins' in the baskets.

This is the first basket we purchased...
the little orange things were "Kumquats" and such a unique and interesting treat.
We had 3 bunches of asparagus that were SO yummy too.
EVERYTHING was yummy that we got!

are a big hit in our family and to have smoothies each week has been a real treat!

We steamed up Asparagus
for dinner, but then decided to steam it up and put it on top of our scrambled eggs with Swiss Cheese...YUMMY!

A delicious lunch...
we took a tortilla and spread cream cheese and mustard on it...
put slices of tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and grilled chicken breasts and rolled it into tortilla wraps.
The kids REALLY loved this!

Need I say more...
We are enjoying mouth watering salads each and every week.
Since we don't have a garden right now, this is VERY much a treat we enjoy!

We got 2 Mangoes our first week
and I finally got to try my hand at cutting a Mango.
Both of my boys foundered on this delicacy!

What kid doesn't love
"Ants on a log"!

Minestrone Soup
(For recipe, click here)

(we got a bunch of "Orange Cauliflower"
and so that is why it is orange)
Broccoli and Cauliflower Soup
(For recipe, click here)

Week 2...
the kids were THRILLED to have corn on the cob to eat in March!

Whatchagot Soup
(For recipe, click here)

Broccoli Soup & Broccoli Salad
(For Salad recipe, click here)

Meat Ball Stew with Winter Vegetables
(For recipe, click here)

Week 3...
Ethan was snitching an apple as I snapped this photo.
I am truly amazed how much children LOVE things that nourish their bodies. If they are given a choice for a piece of fruit, or candy, they always choose fruit.

Wild Rice Soup
(For recipe, click here)

I made up a batch of Poppy Seed Dressing
for Ethan's Baptism dinner and we have been using this yummy dressing on our weekly salads!
Jade is thrilled
when there are salad leftovers and he can take a salad to eat for part of his lunch at school.

Ethan was grabbing chunks
of his steamed Swiss Chard before we even got our pasta dish put on the plate.
He asked for seconds and LOVED it!

This is what we got on April 24th!
Looking forward to putting this to good use this week.

Tracy made up a pancake breakfast
for lunch after church today and I cut up bananas and pineapples and made fruit kabobs to go with our pancakes.
I had to make up a second batch because they begged for more.

In a nutshell,
I am loving Bountiful Baskets and Tracy and I are SO close to getting one of our debts paid off that for the next three months the only shopping we are going to do is to buy a weekly Bountiful Basket and a gallon of milk every other week.
Between living off our food storage and supplementing our diet with "Fresh" produce from our weekly basket we will be able to get a debt paid off in three months instead of six months.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Nutritious week and hopefully you will try and like Bountiful Baskets as much as me and my family do.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The sweetness of little children!

of a priceless moment
we had at the dinner table last night.

Thursday April 22nd...

it pretty much rained all day long and as the afternoon carried on it turned into a mixture of rain and snow.

When Tracy got home
we decided that snow/rain or not, we were going to enjoy a walk around our neighborhood block together before we had dinner. It was a WONDERFUL walk with my sweetie, holding hands, dreaming, talking about how we were going to enjoy our evening and upcoming weekend.

During our walk we looked over and noticed a mother cow just staring at us. I looked down and noticed a lifeless little calf lying on the ground next to the mommy cow. The mom just kept on putting her head down trying to move the baby calf, but it was not alive. I felt SO sad for that poor mommy.

We came home
and took off our wet jackets and dished up bowls of warm soup and sat at our kitchen table and enjoyed dinner and great conversation with our kids.

As we were talking
I looked out our back window and saw that mommy cow staring towards our house. I told the kids what we had seen on our walk.

A few moments later I looked over and Ethan was somber and just kind of picking at his food. I asked him what was wrong and he said the following priceless comment:

"Well, I was just thinking that they had cows in the days of "Little House on the Prairie" and if we lived back in those days, than you and I would have died when I was born and the way that mommy cow is looking down at her baby who died, is how dad would have been looking at us."

(To read Ethan's story of here)

I was overwhelmed
with SO much love for my sweet precious Ethan (teary-eyed as well) and we proceeded to tell him how LUCKY we are to live in such a wonderful time where we had the blessing of modern medicine to save both of our lives. I learned a powerful lesson in that moment that my eight year old son
LOVES being alive and is grateful for life

Feeling VERY grateful
to still be on this precious earth and to have the chance to
be a mom
to my two wonderful sons Jade and Ethan and a wife to my best friend Tracy!

Life is wonderful and each day is a precious gift and should be celebrated and enjoyed to the fullest!

Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hot Springs, Grandma and Cookies!

For the LOVE of Hot Springs!
Even though our family is frugal, we do allow a certain percentage of our money each month to be able to do something FUN as a family. We sit down with the kids and decide what we will do that month. Most months in the summer we save the money away so we can go on a little family trip.
HOWEVER, during the cold Fall, Winter and early Spring months our favorite thing to do is to go and warm up in the Hot Water and at our local Hot Springs (Heise).

(photo circa 1980...
somewhere along the Colorado River
Kimmie is the one in the yellow swim suit)

It's amazing to me

how the smallest event can make such a big difference in your life.
Since I was the oldest of six kids,
I was the lucky one that got to accompany my parents on a seven day River Rafting Trip (with Moki Mac River Expeditions) down the Colorado River in 1980.
You had to be at least eight years old to go.

This one experience was life changing for me in gaining a LOVE and appreciation for nature and someone that thrives on and LOVES the outdoors in all forms.

I LOVED the river, the ever changing scenery and LOVED camping each night along the river bank in tents, hiking to see Native American Ruins and cooking all of our food over a fire or in dutch ovens.

Along the way
we would stop and enjoy Hot Springs and I was just so fascinated that hot water spontaneously came out of the ground that I was hooked on Hot Springs.
We had a local Hot Springs (Crystal Hot Springs) in the town where I grew up and I have such fond memories of going there in the winter with my parents and being so warm in the water, but have a hair full of ice crystals because it was so cold outside.

I'm SO thrilled to be able to pass similar memories on to my own kids.

Here are some photos
showing some of the FUN and beauty that we have had as a family enjoying local Hot Springs...
My Sweet Ethan...
LOVE this photo SO much!

LAVA Hot Springs July 2007
getting ready for the sun to set so we could enjoy watching the Fourth of July Fireworks be launched off the mountain while we enjoyed soaking in the warm water.

One of our favorite natural Hot Springs...
it's a three hour drive to the trailhead, a two mile hike to the hot springs with 1,000 foot elevation gain the last 1/2 mile of the hike in,
but the view and the HOT water is worth it!!
I just wished we lived closer to this wonderful spot!

My Sweet Grandma
Laura Hannah Hunsaker Tolman

January of this year,
while Tracy's brother and family were visiting from Tennessee, they had certain things they wanted to do while they were here and soaking in Hot Water was on the list.
So, we made the Trek to Lava Hot Springs, despite bad weather and enjoyed very much warming up in the hot water on a cold and snowy winter's day.
One of the fun things about soaking at Hot Springs is getting to meet people from many different places and learning more about them through great conversation. Tracy and I very much enjoy talking and getting to know other people.

I'm not sure how the conversation started, but there was a nice man that said he was from Corrine, Utah. I overheard him talking and kind of went up to him and told him that I graduated from Box Elder High School. We then proceeded to make small talk and he asked who my parents were, what year I graduated, etc...

This sweet couple we met was
Delwin "Butch" and Margie Mills
They told me that my Grandma Laura had delivered 4 out of their 5 children and they LOVED her SO much.
Their fourth child was born with a hole in his stomach and when my grandma asked them what they were going to name the baby they said that they didn't have any boy names picked out because they were hoping it would be a girl.
Apparently, since they were transporting the baby to a different hospital they had to have a name for the baby. They asked my grandma what name she liked. My grandma said "I really like the name Dustin". My grandma then looked up the meaning of the name in a book that they had with baby names at the nurses station and the name Dustin meant "Valiant fighter".
The couple LOVED the name (since their son was struggling for his life) and were so grateful for her suggestion and that's what he was named...thanks to my sweet grandma.

October 20, 1970
Proud Grandma...
holding me after I was born

The couple was sad that my grandma had died before their last child was born. They had never dealt with a nicer, more compassionate nurse than my Grandma and they loved her!

What sweet words these were to my ears
to hear this couple speak so highly of my grandma. I had always been told by my parents and aunts and uncles how wonderful my Grandma was, but to hear it from someone else, meant SO much more to me.

My Sweet Grandma, who was a nurse and had never smoked a day in her life had to fight a battle of lung cancer and only lived a few months after being diagnosed.

Living in a small town
, our Elementary school was right across the street from my Grandma's house and I would go there everyday after school when she was sick and take care of her.
For some reason, my grandma loved, enjoyed and needed the companionship of her eight year-old grand-daughter each day and I cherished those moments of walking to her house each afternoon and hearing her voice SO excited I was there and helping her out, although 32 years later they are just "distant memories" as she died 2 weeks before my 9th birthday. (although I still to this day can remember the "Smell" of her house).
I wished I could have had more years to spend with her.

Four things I remember most about going to my grandma's house...
...her dried fruit that she made on her dehydrator,
...cracking open and eating the pits of her apricots
(they reminded me of the taste of almonds)
...her homemade scones
...and her Carrot Cookies.

And now to Cookies...
I'm grateful for recipes that have been passed down from one generation to the next, so I can enjoy making yummy things for my kids that were such a treat to me when I was a young girl going to visit my Sweet Grandma Laura.
Here is her yummy recipe
for Carrot Cookies that are also a favorite at my house as well.

Carrot Cookies (my Grandma Laura's recipe)

¾ cup

¾ cup
REAL butter

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons
baking powder

1 cup
boiled carrots mashed

2 cups flour
1/2 cup
chopped nuts

together sugar and butter.
Then beat in egg, vanilla and baking powder.
Add mashed carrots and then flour and nuts.
Drop by teaspoons onto cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.
Ice with powdered sugar and orange juice.
is also yummy on the top of the icing. This was my grandma's recipe.

Grandmas hold our tiny hands
for just a little while, but our hearts forever.

My heart is full of gratitude
for my rich heritage, my wonderful memories from my youth and my married life, having all five senses to be able to appreciate and enjoy the BEAUTY of nature and being abundantly blessed with all the things that truly give life meaning...
family, friends, nature in all her beauty, laughter and most of all...a home full of an abundance of Love!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Where flowers bloom
so does hope"

It has happened...
Kimmie has finally got her life somewhat put back together.
So many
more things still to do,
so many
things to write about...
I just wish there was more hours in the day!

I have been thinking a lot about JOY

as I have had the most gorgeous Amaryllis flower that has kept me company by kitchen sink these past few weeks! I received this as a gift from a sweet couple in our ward the first week of March and it only had a few leaves...
I watched
it sprout...and the stock grew and grew and blossomed into two of the most gorgeous flowers that have ever graced my kitchen counter tops.

It's amazing how such a small thing
can bring so much Joy and Hope to your life...

When you're trying to survive a home improvement project and your home is in utter chaos and disarray...
When a few days each week we wake up to SNOW...
When 4 out of 5 of Jade's track meets have been canceled because of bad weather...
When I am in such a mess, but I keep cooking meals for my family to eat so we can keep on our budget...
When you don't have a computer to check emails or keep up with friends and family...
When you are surviving on 4 hours of sleep each night trying to get your home in order so it will be somewhat presentable for company on the weekend of your son's Baptism...
When you're wondering how you will ever have time to write your sweetheart a love letter for your 20th wedding anniversary...
AND many other things.

I am SO grateful for the LITTLE things in life that make it so big...

...Hugs and Kisses from my sons
and most of all their patience with Tracy and I as we had to keep working on projects to get things finished and we didn't get to spend as much quality time with our sons as we usually do.

...a wink and a "pat on the butt" from "Mr. Smith", as we scurried around working together
...being married to the most AMAZING man in the world who has done so many things to make our home remodel gorgeous and successful
(I'm still amazed at how much TALENT that Handy "Mr Smith" of mine has...
it truly is awe-inspring!)

and a HOME full of Laughter
and LOTS of Love
(no matter how crazy it gets)!!

I'm still trying to get my thoughts and photos together to share what has happened in my life these past 2 weeks, so bear with me and I'll keep posting as I get the time and energy to do it.
Looking forward
to seeing what all of my friends and family have been up to as well.

Have a wonderful day and
"take time to smell the flowers
and enjoy each stage of this wonderful life"