Wednesday, June 08, 2011


It isn't everyday that someone knocks on your door to tell you there is a snake in your front yard and it almost bit them! Sunday afternoon, the last thing you want to do is snake hunt. Nap interrupted, gun in hand, well in Adams hand, poor snake never had a chance!

Can you see it there along the wall?

Guns are not the typical way we kill snakes here, usually it is a grand shovel, like I said nap interrupted, gun was closer!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Spring Break Hick Style

Our spring break was in March.  We had some cousins come to visit and we decided to head out to a place 20 minutes from my house that I had never been to.  We intended to have a picnic and play near the river. 

(this is Ryder and Navy look like twins but 2 years in age difference)
The kids ended up stripping down to their skivvies and playing in the water.  From 13 years old down to 2.  Everyone swimming in their undies.  We looked like a bunch of hicks come out to play.   

No pictures of this girl in her underwear!  Ranger was the only lucky kid in a swimsuit!

Anyways, farmers can’t go too far in the spring.  There is work to be done to get ready for planting!  My kids said it was more fun than Magic Mountain.  So for  free hick time in the sun take your kids skinny dipping in the river!

Make sure to bring some cute cowboys to supervise!

The Pinto Bean

I said about a month ago I would put up a post about the remarkable pinto bean.  But life and "wits end" keep on bumping into each other and blogging is about as low on the priority list as it gets, although I wish it weren't!

Anyways, when I was a kid my mom would put on a crock pot of beans sometimes.  I am so, so, so lucky } I married a guy who loves his beans!  Beans are cheap, store, well, and are so versatile.  Take the pinto bean pictured below.
I soak my beans the night before for two reasons.  First, it greatly decreases the amount of cooking time needed for them.  Second, it eliminates the gas you could get from them.  You remember that song you sang in elementary school, beans, beans, the magical fruit....

Anyways, soak them.  Put them in a bowl or your crock pot, give them a rinse and cover them with water and let it sit over night.  The next day pour off the water, give them another rinse and then put them in your crock pot and turn them on low for 8 hours, or high for 5.  The amount of cooking time could vary depending on if your beans are old or fresh.  About 45 minutes from where I live is Bonita, AZ.  They farm pinto beans, and boy am I ever grateful.  They are fresh and delicious and cook up quick!

When cooking them, I salt to taste, add some pepper and dehydrated onions to them.  That's about it.  However, don't salt until they are close to being done.  Adding salt at the beginning can slow their cooking.

Okay so now that you have a big bowl of beans what do you do with it?    I would eat them with chopped onions, green chilies, and tomatoes!  My kids would freak out if I tried to serve that to them!  I wrap theirs in a tortilla and sprinkle some cheese on top and broil it for a few minutes.

If you want to be like the restaurants, put some pads of butter on it and then sprinkle the cheese on a broil...melts in your mouth!  And if you want to get really crazy like us southern Arizona folks, have it enchilada style and call it a burro.  My husbands childhood favorite is a bean burro enchilada style.  Simply a bean burrito smothered in red enchilada sauce and melted cheese.  Don't knock it till you've tried it!

Now this is what I {LOVE} most about beans!  Never mind their nutritional content, click here for that info, I can get a bunch of meals out of them!

1. bowl of beans / burritos
2. mash them for tostados
3. taco salad
4. Chili beans
5. Beans and corn bread
6. bean dip
7. Beans on buttered toast (another odd one but SO good - especially with navy beans)
8. I add beans to my enchiladas and my tacos.  Nobody complains!
9. Freeze the extras - they are perfect!

So experiment with some beans.  It's a great way to have a vegetarian night!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday Fixins'

With all the sickness and vacation we got a little lazy around here.   But I mean what can you expect when every single member of your family test positive for strep?  Nobody wanted to do anything but sip motrin from a straw.

We are finally feeling a little caught up.  Spring break has really helped with that.  I haven't had to unload the dishwasher once.  The laundry is caught up and the patry is full.  We've even had time to catch a couple movies, picnic by the river and ride some horses. 

And if that wasn't enough I baked about 5 dozen cookies this morning.

Anyways, the need for organization is still present.  The kids have been wanting to eat breakfast at all different times of the morning and the mess and constant asking for help to pour the milk, is really, quite frankly driving me nuts.  So we sat down and made 2 weeks of menus breakfast and dinner. 

I make a menu of breakfast so that the kids who don't like that particular days food can "prep" for it.  Does that sound mean?  It makes me crazy when my kids don't want to eat the same thing.  So, if one doesn't LOVE oatmeal, she will learn to tolerate it and eat more fruit that morning.  The tears and attitude don't last long once they realize what's on the menu is all they are getting.

Hey, they might even be a better person for it.  Nobody should get their way all the time!

Week 1 - Breakfast
Friday- German Pancakes, fruit
Saturday - Eggs, Toast, fruit
Sunday - Cereal and toast  - we have early church, enough said.
Monday - Pancakes
Tuesday - Oatmeal, toast, fruit
Wednesday- Eggs, toast, bacon
Thursday - Waffles, and green smoothies
Week 2 - Breakfast
Friday - Cereal and toast (kids demanded it)
Saturday - Pancakes
Sunday - Cereal and toast
Monday- French toast, fruit
Tuesday -Oatmeal, toast, fruit
Wednesday- Eggs, bacon, toast
Thursday - Blueberry muffins, fruit, green smoothies

Week 1 - Dinner
Friday- Beef Taquitos, broccoli, beans, pineapple, spanish rice, salad
Saturday - Bean burros enchillada style, salad, leftover fruit and veggies
Sunday - cheesy scalloped potatoes with ham and corn , amazing buttermilk rolls, salad, fruit, banana cream pie
Monday - Taco salad, fruit, FHE treat - mini pizzokies
Tuesday - Spaghetti, french bread, salad, fruit
Wednesday - Chicken stuffing cassarole salad, fruit, rolls with leftover dough from Sunday, vegetable - don't know what yet, waiting to get my bountiful basket.
Thursday - DATE

Week 2- Dinner
Friday - Leftovers from week
Saturday - Homemade pizza, salad fruit
Sunday, Beans, tortillas, salad, fruit (if you think beans are boring, wait for a post later in the week)
Monday - Goulash, salad, fruit, veggie, roll? maybe depends what the scale says! FHE Treat - homemade popsicles
Tuesday - Beef Tacos, mangos, salad, spanish rice
Wednesday - Tostadas with all the fixins, fruit salad
Thursday - DATE NIGHT!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When will it be 100 degrees?

In March I always find myself wishing it would hurry up and get know Arizona hot!  I want it to come and fry every last nasty germ left on the Walmart shopping carts. 

We recently battled strep throat a couple of ear infections and a lot of sleepless nights. 

Things are looking up though....back tomorrow with some great menus!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday Fixins' on Sunday

On Valentines we got home late in the afternoon from a LONG trip to California.  We went to the National Ag Expo (sounds exhilarating right?) in the ever exciting town of Tulare.  I grew up just down the road in Visalia so it makes for a nice trip home to visit family as well.  We hung around town and ended the trip at 6 flags Magic Mountain and Santa Monica! 

We got so lucky with our trip to Santa Monica.  It was gorgeous weather and we stayed in such a luxe hotel.  How could you not have fun with a pier like that?

Anyways, with a 9 day vacation comes 9 days worth of laundry and 5 days of missed school work.  Haven't cooked too much this week.  Hit up some restaurant deals this week just to get back on track.  I'm back though to share!

Friday - beef taquitos (using the same concept from last Friday with the chicken taquitos), guacamole, broccoli, salad.
Saturday - DATE NIGHT - so much fun!
Sunday - Big ol' pot of pinto bean - a family staple.  Burrito bar, tortillas, green chili, onions, tomato's, cheese, sour cream, guacamole.  Green beans, and salad
Monday- Homemade Pizza.  Pepperoni, ham and pineapple, salad, fruit. FHE treat Oatmeal Carmelita's
Tuesday - California Enchiladas, beans, salad, cantaloupe
Wednesday - Using up the pinto beans - Tostadas with all the toppings, pineapple
Thursday - Date night!  (This is traditionally our date night.  We got thrown off last week)

Oatmeal Carmelita's

1 cup flour
1 cup oats
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup of chopped pecans
1 bag of Kraft caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup of milk or whipping cream

Mix flour, oats, sugar, soda, salt, and butter.  Press half of the mixture into a 11X7 pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  While baking melt the unwrapped caramels and 1/2 cup of milk or cream in a sauce pan over medium heat stirring constantly.   Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans on it.  Pour on caramel.  Sprinkle the remaining flour and oat mixture.  Bake an additional 15-20 mins or until light brown.  Allow to cool before cutting into bars.  I usually have to throw this bad boy in the freezer to speed up the cooling process!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

The Plan - Month 1

A while back I mentioned the "Grand Family Plan" that I've been swirling around in my brain.  We started using it in January and I'm really enjoying it. 

Part of the plan is being more purposeful in what we are doing.  We skimmed back everything!  Haven't even missed gymnastics once!  The opportunity to be home and take the time to teach our kids and just be with them and soak in everything about them at this age learning and growing was exactly what we were missing. 

One of the tools that I have been using is this book:

Inside there are 12 values to teach your children.  Month 1 for us was Honesty.  It has teaching tools and ideas inside that made this perfect and easy to add to our family home evenings.  I read a quote during the month from Gordon B. Hinckley from the book Standing for Something, a book I love and have read several times over the last 10 years.  Anyway, it basically said, "where there is honesty other virtues will follow". 

Month 2 (February) will be courage.  I am so excited.  I just felt in our busy lives it wasn't enough to just hope that our children caught our examples of how to live by watching us and hope that primary filled in the missing links.   With all the extracurriculer things families have children spend more time with other adults than their parents. 

The other book I have been supplementing with is the book 52 Weeks of Fun Family Service.  One week honesty, next week service, etc.  The fun thing is I have noticed my kids talk about being honest with eachother as the weeks have progressed.  Something must be sinking in!

You can get these books from Amazon by clicking on the icons on the right hand side of the page! 

Friday, February 04, 2011

Friday Fixins'

Do you ever stumble upon one of those blogs that has a million followers and wonder how in the world you could NEVER have heard of them?

Boy howdy did that ever happen to me!  I was glancing through the most recent copy of my LDS Living magazine when I saw an article for a new cookbook coming out and the girls had a blog.  Well, the taquitos looked awesome,  {I’m a big fan of dipping my food}, so I made a mental note and never even read the article – no time! 

This evening between piles of clean towels and ones still covered in the most recent barfing adventures of my 2 year old, I started to jot down my menus for the next two weeks and {ah, ha hallelujah praises} my brain actually remembered something that I wanted it too!  Chicken taquitos!
[he is not this cute when he is throwing up]
So, I googled the website and found this awesome blog that has like 6 thousand followers, gorgeous content, and thought, “what the crap? How come I’ve never heard of them?”  {Sigh}  I felt so left out?
Perhaps you yourself are feeling left out too.  I’m telling you cute, cute, cute is the word over there at their blog!  Loved it!  Anyway, I now have about 47 new recipes printed out and waiting to try….too bad the majority of them are sweets…like this chcoclate mousse crunch cake.  I will never lose my 10 lbs., so long as there is this and French bread smothered in butter!
So on for this week’s menu:
Friday- Chicken Taquitos , black beans, fruit, salad, chips and guacamole
Saturday – Pizza!  So, so delicious!
Sunday – We haven’t had a roast in forever so we’ll be having crockpot roast beef, rice pilaf, salad, cauliflower, carrots, rolls
Monday -  Cheesy scalloped potatoes w/ ham and corn
Tuesday – 3 cheese manicotti, salad, broccoli, and fruit
Wed – leftovers or breakfast for dinner
Thursday – date night!
I love leftovers and date night next to each other.  Two nights off! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Fixins'

The kids helped me plan out the menu for the upcoming week.  It's a little different....

Friday - Minestrone Soup, salad, breadsticks with alfredo sauce, sparkling cider

Saturday - Pigs in a blanket, salad, broccoli, fruit salad

Sunday - Beans, tortillas, fruit, green salad, make sugar cookies together

Monday- Pizza (no weired kinds, just pepperoni and cheese, thick not thin crust) Salad, fruit

FHE treat - Banana Cream pie

Tuesday - Homemade fired up mac &cheese w/ bacon in it....don't ask  Salad, green beans, fruit w/ bananas

Wednesday - Salad night (got this idea from a good friend)  Basically variety of lettuce w/ every raw veggie I think my kids will eat.  I also get some sliced chicken, cubed ham, cheese cubes, and corn bread

Thursday - DATE NIGHT - kids eat cheese crisp / cereal / fruit / leftovers.

It always feels SO good to have the menu planned.  No wondering for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Walks on the farm

Part of my "grand family plan" has been to slow down some things. 

We rejoiced and shouted praises of hallelujah when soccer season ended last fall!  3 different soccer games every saturday was enough to do me in!

Then in the new year we have taken a break from Gymnastics. 

Quiting Gymanstics was a hard one for me.  I had to do reassuring self talk that my kids would still be valuable and successful human beings without mastering a back flip. 

After 3 weeks into being gymnastics quitters we I (the girls are still emotionally coping) am LOVING it!

They have time for helping at home and just playing with eachother!  It has been the best decision ever. 

It also freed up time for this walk the other day.

I have always loved to take walks.  There is something completely relaxing to me about them unless you add this brood to the plan.

(the farm looks so barren this time of year)

They planned this walk on Tuesday for Saturday and haven't let me forget about it for a second since the lovely plan was constructed.

I tried my best to be patient.... we had fun.  I was glad there was nowhere else I needed to be than here with my kids! 

It seems that when we get out and do things like this it always prompts interesting conversations with my kids.  The favorite of this walk I think was about how their grandma was bit by a rabid cat when she was three.  And she had to get 16 shots in her stomach.  That was certainly the worst pain my kids could EVER imagine!  We are so blessed!

What gets you talking with your kiddos?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dinner can be Painful!

Yesterday I was so excited to be cooking a new recipe!  I get really excited about these things.  The town I live in doesn't have much by the way of a food "experience", so occasionally I like to do really fun stuff at home for my family.  Yesterday on the menu was the Marlboro Mans Steak Sandwich, and Onion Rings both from the Pioneer Woman's cookbook. 

I was so excited to try it!  I looked like something we would order from a menu when out of town.  My husband loves steak sandwiches!  I had also been told by my sister than everything she had been making out of this cookbook was to die for!  This was my first recipe from her book!

However, I should have taken cue from the family.  Everyone who had entered into the kitchen during the final cooking stages kept saying, Ew, gross!  What stinks in here.

The verdict:  Cube Steak is not my thing....or my family's.  Not sure I loved the flavor either....seasoned salt seems more of a poultry thing to me.  Onion strings were fabulous though...added a dip from Paula Deen for those that were delicious!  Confession - I ate the sandwich....the whole thing....pretending to love it in hopes of tantalizing someone to feel the same joy.  My cute 4 year old Ryder, gave me some real attempts.
So what do you do when you painstakingly prepare a meal for your family and nobody eats it?  Tie them to the chair and force feed?  A thought I entertained last night as 2 of the 4 kids were crying about it.  I had everyone try it ... thank goodness for the onion strings, salad, and fruit. 

I have definitely not given up on the Pioneer Woman's cookbook, I will be crossing this one out though (I do that to my cookbooks).  Her lasagna is on the menu for today. 

Hope Grandmas dog likes cube steak.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Fixins'

The #1 thing I do to stay organized is have a menu!  If I don't know what's for dinner I practically function.  Yeah, I love food, LOVE {cooking} food!  Adore eating food....dishes not so much.  I like to create my menus thursday and shop on friday's.  This way I guarantee I have what I need for the weekend.  When my family is home and we can soak up eachother for 2 full days, there is nothing I hate more than spending that precious time in the checkout line at the grocery store!

I recently read a blog post by one of the sisters from The Sisters Cafe blog and it reminded me of all the reasons I love cooking for my family and sitting around a table with them.  You can read Melanies post here.

Also be sure to check out her monday menu ideas here.  All of her ideas look so awesome, I'd love to have a seat at her dinner table!

You will see my menu has some quirks to it.  We have salad and fruit EVERY meal!  I also have themes to my planning, but I will go into that another time.  I also try to only serve meat for dinner once or twice a week.

My menu:

Friday - Date night!  WOO HOO!  Leftovers for kids!
Saturday -  New recipe from Pioneer Woman - steak sandwich and onion rings....sure to be delightfull!
        Salad, and fruit
Sunday - Lasagna, homemade french bread, green beans, salad, fruit
Monday - Homemade Pizza, salad, fruit
Tuesday - Pinto Beans, grilled corn salad, green salad, fruit, corn bread.
Wednesday - Baked potato bar with homemade chili, brocolli, green salad and fruit
Thursday - Use up Pinto beans with bean burros (that's what they call a burrito here in AZ) and tostados,
         Salad, and fruit.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Jeans
This Christmas I bought myself 2 pairs of a size bigger Jeans and a black leather planner, Franklin Covey style.  That’s right, 2010 was a full year, sigh, in more ways than one, hence the new fat jeans.
This last year, I did a lot of things for a lot of people.  It was a good year.  They were good things, very time worthy.  But as I reflect on all the things that didn’t get done for me and my family I am feeling some regret.  There are some things WE are missing out on.  Some “deeper” stuff I wish we had.  I need to find a way back to being the mom I always wanted to be! 

Okay, maybe she isn’t’ exactly it.
RE – organizing life is at number 1,  hence the planner.

Scheming around in my head for the last 6 months or so is the Grand Plan, more on that later.
I begin this year 10 lbs. heavier….yes the holidays were plentiful!  I’ll be staring 30 right in the face in 7 short months.  My oldest daughter turned 8 last Friday and will be baptized on the 22nd.  And the Farmer and I will celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.
I feel happy and old.
My body creaks, 4 kids later my bladder is shot.  Said goodbye to trampolines 3 years ago.  I now Google eye creams and spanx.   Well, at least I think about doing that, haven’t found the time for it yet.
Maybe somewhere in this journey I can get even more organized and finally get all the laundry done!
Let the journey begin!