Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - The Bag

For several years when we lived in Idaho I sold homemade craft items in a store to supplement our income.  While people bought my wares, never in all of my time did people beg me to make them something.

Cali made Ande, Michelle, Grace, herself, and me a bag from a free pinterest pattern:


Michelle's and Cali's



They're darling.  And every time I take mine somewhere people want to know where I got it and if Cali would make them one.  In fact, some have even begged her to make them one and she happily sends them to this link with the promise "They're really easy to make":


I've changed my bag out a couple of times:  first it was going to be my fun bag with a good book and a bag of m&m's, a notebook and a pen (I like to make lists and jot down funny things I hear), then it became my church bag.  I've even imagined it becoming a crochet/knitting bag if I ever get good at it.  What I really want is two or three bags I guess.

How about you?  What would you use your bag for?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Life in Our World - Work, Work, and a Wiener Roast

Ray was gone on business all week so Cali and Levin came to spend some time with us.  From the time she was a little girl, Cali has always been a great help in the yard and garden . . .

Calvin, Cali, and I planting potatoes.
See that little romper she is wearing?  100 % double-knit polyester and I sewed it myself.
It was hot, thick, a wee bit itchy, and virtually indestructible.
I love the old, little, white, orthopedic-looking little shoes babies used to wear.
Like the polyester, they were hard to wear out, but easy to keep sand and dirt out of.

Ty, Cali, and Abe planting the garden.  Ty hates this picture.  He's wearing a girl's hat with sparkly thread in it.
This was back in the days of 2 megapixel cameras.

"When we're helping, we're happy, and we sing as we go."  Ande proves this is a true principle.

This is by the chicken coop.  I still hate cleaning the tumbleweeds out of this corner ever year because of this picture.

. . . And while Cali has always been a great help in the yard and garden, now she's twice the help.

Cali and Levin
We raked and hauled and piled and burned leaves and branches and tumbleweeds . . . 

. . . and planted pots.
Levin helped work the fertilizer into the soil.

Levin manned the hose most of the time . . .

. . . and . . . 

. . . ate cookies some of the time.

We had a wiener roast like we normally do.

And while I bathed Levin and put him to bed, Calvin and Cali made a table.  Just. like. that.
Cali is making a water table for their kids.  When she gets it
finished, I'll show a picture.  It's such a great idea.

And that's pretty much life in our world this week, other than today Calvin helped to take the scouts fishing.  Aye-yi-yi.

How about you? What was your week like?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Homemaking Tip - A Dab of Yellow

Splash of yellow in our kitchen.
The other day we were cooking together and Calvin asked me to grab one of these lemons so he could add
 it to whatever it was he was making.  They'd been there four months and he didn't know they were fake.

Daffodils, sunshine, butter, egg yolks, sunflowers, lemons, baby chicks, corn on the cob, a candle flame. Yellow is a great color. It brightens and gladdens. Adding just a dab of yellow to a meal (a lemon slice to a glass of water, a yellow vegetable or fruit, a burning candle, or a yellow flower for a centerpiece) can brighten the meal. A little bit of yellow in a room (a yellow pot, pillow, book on the table, or a bright lamp) has the same effect.

After reading that studies show that babies prefer yellow, I put a yellow, antique, baby quilt on top of a cedar chest in the living room to see if it made a difference. Cali was a teenager then and when she came into the kitchen where I was fixing breakfast said, "You know, I woke up mad this morning and was going to let _______ have it, but when I saw the quilt you put on the cedar chest I thought, ‘Cali, it’s not that big of a deal, let it go.’ That quilt looks nice, Mom.”

Well I'll be - yellow even fights contention. Even Clorox can't do that. Cali's comment only fortified my friendship with yellow.

And then I found a blog a few months ago called Raising Lemons

Lemons are yellow and this blog is a happy spot with lots of great and useful ideas:

Her post on the over-rewarding of children brought a nod and an amen.

Her post on eating healthier was a quick lesson and I shared her philosophy (when our kids were home) on breakfast at our house

She's got posts on manners, teaching ABC's, how to celebrate and give service, as well as thoughts on motherhood.

Yellow. Just a dab can make a difference.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Memories – Estella, Claudia, Elsie

Estella, Claudia, Elsie

When Calvin and I walked into Nephi and Charlie’s reception, these three immediately came to hug and greet us. I grew up under these great women – first they were my church teachers, leaders, and mothers of friends, but then they became my friends.

Estella was always our nurse at girl’s camp and slept in our cabin. And even though I sneaked out of our cabin one night just to prove I could do something stupid, she never got mad or clucked in disappointment. She was quick to smile and slow to condemn . . . always. Estella sat straight and proper on the church pew with her feet carefully crossed. She never squirmed or moved or whispered during the meeting; she just quietly sat and listened . . . and smiled. Estella canned quarts and quarts and quarts of applesauce.  She taught me which apples make the best sauce.  She was the first woman I ever knew who was a step-mother and her step-children and step-grandchildren respected her. That was a great example to me later in life and she gave me lots of good advice. She also implanted the idea of a cousins’ camp (she and her husband Ken would take all of their grandkids camping each summer for a week) which Calvin and I plan to do with our grandchildren.

Claudia lead the music at church for decades. Nearly a dozen of us girls played the piano through those years – some of us were good, but most of us weren’t. They ran out of players when I was in the eighth grade so I had to start playing. One time my beat was off so badly that Claudia had to stop the congregation so I could start over. She never ever got frustrated with me. She let me pick the songs one Sunday each month and challenged me to learn new songs on the other three weeks.  I'm still benefiting from knowing most of the songs in the hymnbook today.  Claudia makes people feel like they are important to her; no one hugs quite as tight as she does, and she still sends me a birthday card each summer.  I loved to go to her home and spend the night and play with her kids – we rode motorcycles, swam in the canal, slept on the lawn in sleeping bags, and ate sticky caramel corn. I also went camping with them; somewhere in the South Hills is a tree with Jane + Brad carved in it.

Elsie was not only the young women’s president through most of my high school years, but she also babysat me when I was little and Mom went to town or had a new baby. It was at her house I first tried brussel sprouts and her son taught me that it was much easier eating ham and beans if you sprinkle sugar on top. Elsie had three sons and I was good friends with two of them, in fact I went to the prom with one of them; he was shorter than me at the time too. The weekend before Calvin asked me to marry him I’d gone home to speak at a friend’s funeral. I sat by Elsie at church the morning after the funeral and she whispered she’d heard I was dating someone and wondered if it was serious. I whispered back that it was and I suspected he was going to ask me to marry him soon. She asked what my answer would be and I confided that I planned on saying yes. Until that moment, I wasn't sure what I was going to do. She was the first and only person I told, but just saying it out loud helped me to sort things through.

Sleeping Beauty had Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather and I had Estella, Claudia, and Elsie.

Who was one of your good fairies?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

52 Blessings - Mormon Messages

I never watch a Mormon Message without feeling edified and uplifted.  I watch them over and over again.

I love the power of images, music, and truth combined.

If I wanted to destroy all that was good and right in the world, I would try to convince people that they are worthless.  I would try to get them to doubt that they are loved and valuable.  I would try to make them think it's a free-for-all on Earth and nothing but a game of Survivor so either quit early or use your wits and smash everyone else.  If I wanted to destroy all that was good and right, that is what I would do.  

But I don't want to destroy all that is good and right and that is why I like this video.  It reminds us of the grand design.  Life isn't a game, nor is it a brawl; life is not happenstance, nor are we advanced amoebas.  We have a real Father with a real plan that brings real happiness and it is a real blessing to know that.      

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Life in Our World - Charlie's Wedding

Jake, Bruce, Charlie, Nephi, Chris

Calvin and I drove down to Idaho to attend our niece Charlie’s wedding. There is a throng of family from both the bride and groom here to celebrate. My sister Chris and brother-in-law Bruce own the livestock sale in Twin Falls, Idaho and the buyers and workers are family to them as well, so besides aunts, uncles, and cousins, Charlie has scores of sale-yard family to celebrate with her, too.

Charlie and her new husband Nephi got married in the Twin Falls Temple this morning. The sun shines through a beautiful floor-to-ceiling stained glass window in the room where Charlie and Nephi were sealed for eternity. Nephi’s grin never left his face; Bruce was smiling too, but he had tears running down his cheeks as well. It was a sweet and beautiful event.

While Charlie and Nephi stayed behind with the photographer to have pictures taken on the temple grounds, Bruce had to get back home to load more cattle; Jake, Charlie’s brother, had to get back to the sale to auctioneer; and Chris went to our sister Lynn’s house where everyone had gathered to eat. When Charlie and Nephi finished taking pictures, they went looking for family. They first checked the sale yard – she in her flouncy, white dress and with her bouquet and he in his suit, vest, and tie. With goats and pigs filing through the sale ring, the auctioneer (another one besides Jake) announced to the rows of buyers that the newest married couple in Idaho was there. People clapped and opened their wallets. 

It wasn’t such a bad idea after all. 

Jake accepting a bid
After we ate at Lynn’s a couple dozen of us drove to the sale yard to watch Jake auctioneer. Cattle is in the family blood, and Jake has bought and sold cattle for years . . . and he’s only 21 now. He dreams, breathes, and eats cattle, and now he speaks it, too.  He's been auctioneering for over a year.  It was fun to see him do something so well that he loves and knows. 


Later this evening we went to a banquet hall for Nephi and Charlie’s reception. It was a sit-down dinner of tri-tip steak, herbed potatoes, green beans, salad, and rolls. And cake.

It was a fun evening and Calvin and I really enjoyed not only being with family, but seeing so many community people that we haven't seen since we moved to Washington nearly fifteen years ago.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Homemaking Tips - Frugal Living

 1.  Packed Snacks.

We packed kettle corn, carrot and celery sticks, almonds, dried coconut, dried apricots, and a jug of water for our drive to Idaho last week-end.

Kettle Corn

3 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp sugar
shakes of salt
1 cup popcorn kernels

Put oil in stir-crazy popper until it gets very hot.  Add popcorn kernels and sprinkle sugar and salt over all.  Pop until it's done.

2.  File boxes.

Organizing sans Ikea

For the past ten years, I've been keeping my teaching files in two large Rubbermaid containers,  They are bulky and heavy to move around.  I was constantly needing something out of the bottom tub no matter which one I put on top.  One day I saw an empty egg box at the grocery store and brought it home.  It was the perfect size for files, it had handles, and it was deep.  (The first time I saw a box I asked the shelf-restocker for it.  He was glad I took the box and said it helped him out.  Now I check the egg section every now and then and if a box is almost empty, move the eggs to another box and bring it home.)

Each box holds one year's curriculum.  I briefly considered covering them in contact paper, but quickly vetoed the idea and just put a piece of cardstock over the label on the side placing out.  They look orderly stacked in the top of the closet.

Easily accessible is the best part of them, but FREE runs a close second.

3.  Chicks. 

Calvin hatched this year's chicks from eggs our hens laid.  FREE is the best part of them, but cute runs a close second.

First one (by Calvin's hand) is out and you can see several others with cracks.
It never ceases to amaze me a chick can peck its way out.

A few hours later we have a little flock.  Amazing they all hatch within a few hours of each other.  (You save up eggs
for a few days and then put them in the incubator together.)  Calves need their mother to lick them dry, but chicks fluff up on their own in no time.  

A few hours later, and off they grow . . . 

4.  Stayed with family.

I mentioned what great hosts my niece and nephew were this last week when we went to Idaho.  They were better than any motel Calvin and I've ever stayed in.  While it wasn't frugal on their end, it was on ours.

My niece asked me to help her make hamburger buns, so I put an empty baked-beans can (aka bun cutter) and a package of yeast in a cellophane bag and tied it up with baker's twine as a small thank you gift for staying with them.

What is something frugal you did this week?  I'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Wishy Washi

I do love washi tape.  If you like patterned fabric and papers, I imagine you love it too.  For those of you not familiar with washi tape it's basically just pretty masking tape, only it's not as cheap as masking tape though I wish it was.  Wishy washi.

Washi tape magnets and washi tape twist ties are two cute and simple pinterest ideas I used this week.  

Washi tape magnets


our fridge with washi tape magnets

I followed the directions given at the site above.  They were as simple as putting washi tape (or patterned scrap paper) on adhesive magnet strips and then trimming the edges to look like torn tape.  

Washing tape twist ties

pinterest photo

washi tape twist tie

Cut a length of washi tape the length you want the twist tie and put a piece of floral wire (of equal length) down the center of it.  Fold the tape over the wire and meet edges.  Press together.

Both projects were simple and cute and, if you like the little details in life, one more way to post things to your fridge or tie a bag of cookies closed.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

52 Blessings - Reaching a Goal

Our whole week was pointed towards one thing:

 Michelle graduating from Brigham Young University - Idaho!

Calvin and I arrived at my niece and nephew's (Haley and Ryan) home at 12:30 am on Friday morning with  Ty, Michelle, and Afton arriving ten minutes later.  Haley and Ryan had set up their home as a gathering place for everyone coming to celebrate.  They were incredible.  They greeted us with big smiles, a full cookie jar, and water bottles by our beds.  We visited until 2:00 am and then got up a few hours later to visit some more . . . and eat french toast, strawberries, and sausage.

One of our family's favorite past times is to visit.  We spent Friday morning discussing a myriad of topics - the federal budget, sports, education, parenting, politics. Cousin Rachel drove down from Wyoming and joined us.  Before long cousins Charlie and Jesse came along with my sisters Chris and Marcia, and brother-in-law Bruce.  A little bit later Michelle's parents, Brian and Kathy, and brother Dal and sister Jayna came.  Since Afton's birthday was just a few days earlier, Haley and Ryan  fixed a birthday dinner for everyone - bbq pork sandwiches on homemade buns, salad, strawberries, chips, a vegetable tray, and lemonade.  Haley and Ryan are incredible hosts, and we had such a good time visiting and eating and being served by them in their beautiful new home.

Later that evening was Michelle's graduation.  As the organist began to play pomp and circumstance and the professors and graduates marched into the auditorium, my heart swelled bigger and bigger squishing my lungs.  I was so proud of Michelle reaching the goal she set years ago.  It hasn't been easy and the picture below shows it:

Michelle 4 months pregnant with 1 year old Afton reaching up to her

Two years ago Michelle had just been accepted into her program of choice at BYU.  She declined acceptance and put her education on hold so that she and Ty could marry and move to Maryland to finish Ty's education.  In order for Michelle to graduate, she'd not only have to change programs, but also retake classes, switch universities, and go to an on-line program.  However, she and Ty had promised everyone that she would finish.  

Ty has been a great support in helping Michelle to be a successful mother and student the last two years.  

Afton has been a good sport as well . . .

. . . she has even been lab material for some of Michelle's assignments.

Michelle with her folks Kathy and Brian

Kathy was nervous Michelle wouldn't be able to finish her degree.  Ty and Michelle assured her they would do what was needed to finish what she had started.  Michelle called Kathy this last Tuesday night after she'd sent in her last assignment and said, "I told you so, Mom!"  It was a great pay day for both of them.

Plain and simple, goals are a blessing and watching someone achieve their's is exciting and inspiring . . .  

and such a fun and happy thing.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Life in Our World - 13 on the 13th of April 2013

Ray and Levin got their picture in the first thing this morning.

Ty, Michelle, and Afton with the Green Family
(L-R Jake, Colton, Eliza, Whitney, Mike)
The Greens live in Colorado Springs and were Ty's host family while he attended USAFA.
They were also neighbors and friends to Michelle's family.  Whitney set Ty and Michelle up, and
 told Ty he was on his own if he didn't marry Michelle, because she had hand-picked her and he
wouldn't find any better.  We will forever be grateful to the Greens.  They not only took care of
Ty and Michelle, but also Abe and Grace while they lived in Colorado.
Colton is eight and ready to be baptized.  Greens drove to Utah to have Cole baptized
where  they would have lots of family to attend and  where Ty and Michelle,
and Jordan and Nicole (a cadet friend of Ty's who they also sponsored) could attend.
Ty, Michelle, Afton, Calvin, and I left Idaho at 5:15 Saturday morning and drove to Utah.
We made it with 3 minutes to spare.  It was so great to be in attendance. 

Jane - Calvin and I had a few hours after Colton's baptism before we needed to be somewhere.
  I have a great-grandma who immigrated in the 1800's who we've tried to get more information
on for years.  This winter while trying to find more information, our family history consultants
in Moses Lake suggested I go to Salt Lake where there are experts and films on the area that needs
searched.  When we realized we had a couple of extra hours, I asked Calvin if he would take me
to the family history library.  A kind and knowledgeable man helped me look at ports of departure
and passenger lists to find more clues about Grandma Tillie.  We'll need to make a return trip, but
from the information found, there is a possibility her name is Matilda instead of Otillia, and
that could make a difference.   

Calvin - Kiara, Crissa, Calvin, Ethan, Trent, and Brena
Trent is our second son from Calvin's first marriage.  We stopped to see his family while we were in Utah and it was really fun to be with
them.  It's a thrice-blended family, but the kids are remarkable at getting along.  It felt good to see them finding success as a family.   

Calvin and Trevor
Trevor is our oldest son from Calvin's first marriage.  After driving to Utah for a quick afternoon of seeing Trent's family we drove
back to Idaho to spend the night with Trevor's family.  Trevor has one of the funniest laughs and the prettiest blue eyes that sparkle
when he does.  We watched an episode of Duck Dynasty together before we went to bed.  What a funny show.

Grace and Abe visiting the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. After trying different Coca-Cola products from all over the world,
we definitively decided that India has the worst Coke product, "Thums Up".
(Jane speaking here: We were family texting during the day about awkward moments and Abe wrote: Our awkward moment
was when Grace got too close to the vault that holds the secret Coca Cola recipe right after they told us not to and sirens
started going off. Everyone stared at her and she got warned by an employee.)

Abe and Grace visiting the world's largest aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia.
This is the only aquarium outside of Asia that is home to whale sharks.

Joe - Super French Fries

Ande - What a lot of my day looks like: a baby in a milk coma with Netflix on in the background.

Zeph - I gave my best face for my first 13 on 13.

Cali - Here is Levin's 13 on 13. He fell asleep tonight looking at his book of family pictures ... unfortunately you were all upside down.

 Michelle - My immediate family plus my grandparents at Josh and Elizabeth's wedding.

Afton - Ty's amazing photography skills at work.

Michelle - Josh's traditional and obligatory pregnant belly rub
(even though my belly doesn't show well in this picture).