Friday, July 30

Healthy French Fries!

Today I had the privilege of babysitting my granddaughters.  My 2 yr old grand D is a little picky so I thought to myself that all kids like french fries.  But, of course, I can't feed my grand D french fries from a fast food place . . . I don't even know what's in them.  I know they aren't cut and make of real potatos.
So I cut up my own potatos and put them in a bowl of water to keep them from turning brown while I kept cutting more potatos.  My cute little grand D wanted to help so I let her put the cut potatos in the water.

Then I oiled a cookie sheet and a pizza pan with olive oil.  I wanted to see which one would bake the fries the best.  I think the pizza pan won, but really there wasn't much of a difference.  Then I rinsed the potato fries and drained them.  My grand D helped put them on the sheets. 

She had a lot of fun rubbing her hands on the oiled pan.  (Did you notice grandma didn't bother doing grand D's hair very well!)

Then grand D got to shake salt all over the fries!  Boy, that was fun!  Then I baked them for 30 minutes at 350.

I barely had time to grab my camera and take another picture of the baked project before we started consuming and they were gone.  Needless to say, they were good.  So now you know, you don't have to deep fry them in tons of oil to enjoy french fries and you can feel totally good about feeding them to your grandkids (who loved them, btw).

Thursday, July 29

Rose polymer clay bracelet

Okay, I'm back.  My 24th Pioneer vacation lasted longer than I thought it would, but the R & R was great!

Here's the fam watching the parade.  And here's a true "Drill" team!  They did the cutest little routine with their cute big boy drill toys!
On to crafts ----

I made another FIMO (or Sculpey) clay bracelet, and I love wearing them both together and I get lots of compliments on them.  So here's how to make the second bracelet . . . . If you didn't see how to make the first bracelet you might want to click here to see a supply list and more detailed instructions:

Included with the FIMO clay I bought at Walmart were instructions on how to make roses and how to combine clay to make different colors.

What it didn't say, was to make a light pink you use alot more white clay than dark pink.  It's about a 3:1 ratio, 3 parts white to 1 part pink. It also takes more than a minute to knead the 2 colors together.

Shape the clay into a small log, then flatten it. Then, roll the long flattened piece into a rose (I had the middle of the rose stick up a little higher than the last part of the flattened piece and I pinched the bottom part of the rose a bit tighter so the top rose petal part would open up).

Pierce the rose bead with a needle (a wider needle than the cord you will be stringing the beads on), and then flatten out the top of the rose if needed.  I tried using a needle, a toothpick, and my fingers--they all left marks in the clay.  The side of my thumb worked sort of, so good luck with this part!

I also made white round beads and different shades of round pink beads.  

I put the beads on a piece of foil with the sides bent up and bake at 230 degrees for 25-30 minutes (do not overbake or the clay releases toxic fumes).

Then arrange the beads the way you would like them to be on your bracelet and string them on your cord (it takes about 30 beads, more or less depending on the size of the beads).


Tie off the ends with a square knot and weave the ends back into the beads.


Make all different color combo's and color schemes to match any outfit.  They are so much fun to make with kids too.  And they are popular to wear for both kids and adults.

Friday, July 23


We are celebrating Pioneer Day in Utah this weekend.  So in the spirit of pioneering, I tried something new and self sufficient-ish.  I made homemade yogurt for the first time ever in my life and it turned out great!  Wow, I'm so impressed with myself (okay, in the spirit of pioneers I suppose I should be more humble, but wow again, it is sooooooo good!!!).  It was easy to make too. 

Here's what you need:  milk (I used 2%), sugar or honey (I used honey), powdered milk, vanilla, and a container of yogurt (for the "start").

Heat a 1/2 gallon of milk and 3/4 c powdered milk, stir well (I used a whisk).  Heat milk to 180 F, stirring now and then so bottom doesn't burn.  When the temperature hits 180 let the milk cool, add 1/2 cup honey, and 1 Tbsp vanilla, and the yogurt (I used Yoplait-vanilla flavored).  Mix together and let temperature go down to 110 degrees.

To help it cool faster, I put the pan in a sink of cold water. It cools pretty quickly this way so watch the thermometer carefully. Have your container or containers ready before hand to pour the milk into.
Fill containers of your choice and seal (I used 4 pint jars, then put on lids and rings to seal).

I tried to pour the milk from the pan to the funnel and this happened!!! A fun mess (some pans just don't pour very well . . . I then used a scoop to get the milk from the pan to the jars!

I set the jars in the oven on a towel and turned on the oven light.  The temperature needs to stay around 110 degrees, so I kept the thermometer in the oven to check on the temperature every hour or two.  The oven light was enough to keep the temperature at 110 pretty consistently.

The yogurt will be done in about 6 hours, but you can let it incubate or stay in the oven for 12 hours depending on how tart you like it and how much beneficial bacteria you want it to have.  I left mine in the oven for about 8-9 hours after checking the consistency and taste a couple of times.
Then refrigerate and keep refrigerated.

My favorite way to eat yogurt is on top of fruit.  I'm going to go cut up an apple and put some yogurt on it and eat it right now.  Mmmmmm, Mmmmmmm!

~ Happy Pioneer Day ~

Wednesday, July 21

Polymer Clay Bracelet

This project was so much fun!

I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and I will probably do more.

I bought my polymer clay (FIMO) for less than $4.00 and the clear stretch cord for a couple of bucks at Walmart.  To start with I covered my work area (kitchen table) with wax paper because all the areas that the clay comes in contact with must be washed and cleaned thoroughly according to the instructions, so tossing waxed paper in the garbage when done works better for me than scrubbing the table.  I taped the corners of the wax paper down to keep it in place.

I cut a slice of green, yellow, and pink.

Then I piled them on top of each other and rolled them into a log.  Then I cut them into 1/4" to 1/2" lengths.

Roll the little sections into a ball.

Stick a needle through the clay bead.  The needle needs to be wider than the cord, so it will go through easily.  I twirl the eye of the needle around inside the bead to make the hole even.

I also made some solid color beads to go inbetween the tri-color beads.  I made 28 beads for my bracelet.

To bake the beads, I folded up the sides of some aluminum foil (so I could throw it away when I was done, and not have to worry about toxicity on a baking dish) and put the beads on that.  Bake for 25 minutes (absolutely no more than 30 minutes) at 225 degrees (for sure not more than 230 degrees).

Okay, before you string the beads on the clear stretchy cord, you might want to lay them out on the table in the pattern that you want them in.  It will save lots of time from having to take beads off over and over to fix the design.  When you're done stringing, just tie off the ends with a secure knot.  To hide the cord ends, I threaded the ends back into the nearest beads.

Fun, fun, fun to wear a bracelet made completely and totally by you!!!!!

Tuesday, July 20

Provident Living

Here are some money necessities.  I got this info from the website.


Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering.
The Lord has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon those who pay tithes and offerings faithfully (see Malachi 3:10).
Spending less money than you make is essential to your financial security.
Avoid debt, with the exception of buying a modest home or paying for education or other vital needs.
Save money to purchase what you need. If you are in debt, pay it off as quickly as possible.

Keep a record of your expenditures. Record and review monthly income and expenses. Determine how to reduce what you spend for nonessentials.
Use this information to establish a family budget.
Plan what you will give as Church donations, how much you will save, and what you will spend for food, housing, utilities, transportation, clothing, insurance, and so on.
Discipline yourself to live within your budget plan.

Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only.
If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.

Teach family members the principles of financial management.
Involve them in creating a budget and setting family financial goals.
Teach the principles of hard work, frugality, and saving.
Stress the importance of obtaining as much education as possible.

Here are some home preparedness tips:


Build a small supply of food that is part of your normal, daily diet.
One way to do this is to purchase a few extra items each week to build a one-week supply of food.
Then you can gradually increase your supply until it is sufficient for three months.
These items should be rotated regularly to avoid spoilage.

Store drinking water for circumstances in which the water supply may be polluted or disrupted.
If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use.
Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers.
Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices and soda.
Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.

Establish a financial reserve by saving a little money each week and gradually increasing it to a reasonable amount.
For longer-term needs, and where permitted, gradually build a supply of food that will last a long time and that you can use to stay alive, such as wheat, white rice, and beans.
These items can last 30 years or more when properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place.
A portion of these items may be rotated in your three-month supply.

My and my family are working working on all of this.  To me, just having some water, salt, and wheat stored, makes me feel good.  It makes me feel like I'm on a good path toward safety and peace, when the world is going in an opposite direction. 
It's not costly either, I get 25 lb bags of wheat for around $6.00, a pound of salt is less than a dollar, and the water is free from my tap (stored in apple juice jugs).  These things make a good start.  A start that we can all do. 
What do you think, can we get prepared and be financially free someday, starting now???

Monday, July 19

There are some who say the Constitution is obsolete for our 21st century and needs an overhaul.  This is not true.  The Founders saw the Constitution as a charter that would last through time.  They carefully worded it so that the principles of freedom could withstand the test of time.  The only way this wonderful, inspired document and organized government could fail is if we the people don't elect good men to represent us.  These bad or ignorant men make and pass unconstitutional laws and do many, many unconstitutional things.

This quote is so absolutely necessary for every American to read and understand.  It is by patriot Samuel Langdon in 1788:

"On the people, therefore, of these United States, it depends whether wise men, or fools, good or bad men, shall govern . . . .  Therefore, I will now lift up my voice and cry aloud to the people . . . .
From year to year be careful in the choice of your representatives and the higher powers of government.  Fix your eyes upon men of good understanding and known honesty; men of knowledge, improved by experience; men who fear God and hate covetousness; who love truth and righteousness . . . . Let not men openly irreligious and immoral become your legislators . . . . If the legislative body are corrupt, you will soon have bad men for counselors, corrupt judges, unqualified justices, and officers in every department who will dishonor their stations."
Many of the Founders were desirous to have good schools so the American people would be literate and educated so that they would be able to properly govern themselves and make wise choices  for their governmental representatives.  Today our public schools are falling short and it falls on the shoulders of parents to learn the Constitution (because many of us, along with our children, never learned it either).  Learn about the Founding Fathers and their intent for the Constitution, and then teach it to your children. 

Personally, I read the Constitution a few months ago and I didn't understand it.  I didn't understand the implications of all the articles and sections etc.
To help I found a book called "The Making of America--The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution" by W. Cleon Skousen.  It is very readable.  It doesn't talk over my head with a bunch of legal terms and mumbo jumbo.
I have also ordered a book from Amazon that hasn't arrived yet, so I hope it will be another good one.  I've met the author Scott Bradley, who is an authority on the Constitution.  I just don't know if his writing is as easy to understand as his speaking.  I will let you know the verdict.


Friday, July 16

Salsa & Nachos Friday!

Nachos are such great weekend food.  Especially in the summertime!
What makes the experience absolutely heaven (at least to me) is the fresh salsa or pico de gallo.  Just thinking about it makes me crave it!!!  My favorite salsa is my step-daughter's recipe and we've had it a couple of times lately --  YUMMY!

Here it is with some guesses on the amounts of the ingredients, but it's mostly to your own taste anyway, so be creative . . .
First comes lots of chopping: a yellow and orange pepper (and/or red), and a chili or two (either anaheim or for hotter flavor, try a jalapeno).

And then more chopping: lots of tomatos (about 4), a bunch of cilantro--to taste, and an onion.

Then add some more flavor: minced garlic cloves, fresh lime juice (one lime), and rice vinegar (a couple of Tbsp at a time) -- all to taste.  Taste as you go -- that is my favorite way to cook -- I do it so much, I'm full by the time I'm done making the recipe.

Then my step-daughter stirs it all up.

Grate up a pile of cheese, put it on some tortilla chips, then bake at 350 for about 5-8 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese.  We also heat up some canned chili to put on the chips, but that's optional.  The salsa on the other hand is NOT optional :-)

Hmm, it looks good . . . 

Now, let's eat!!!!!!!

We are all okay (really, we are) after we get food.

Happy salsa weekend!

Thursday, July 15

Money, money, money

This post was inspired by my wonderful niece.  Here is what she messaged me on facebook:

"hey so my mom and i were chatting, we both loooove reading your blog, and we know you have always been frugal and stuff, and since im just starting out with this whole family thing and what not, i think you should add some budgeting/frugality tips to your blog:) just sayin! haha. love you aunt lyssa!"

She is right, I am a frugal person.  I used to be extremely frugal, but I think I've loosened up some.  Sometimes being extreme is not so good.

Anyway, I taught some money management classes awhile ago and what stuck with me the most are 2 things.
  • Number 1:  get yourself a little notebook to carry in your purse or pocket and jot down EVERYTHING you spend money on for at least two weeks.  It is best if you do it for a month (for budgeting purposes), but if you do it for a couple of weeks you at least know where your money disappears to.  This was very eye opening for me.  I couldn't believe how much money slips through in little ways.
  • Number 2:  Ask yourself how much you make or earn per hour (or your husband if you are a SAHM) and per day.  Let's say you make $20/hr and you decide to treat your family of 4 to dinner and a movie.  The dinner and movie last 3 hours and cost you  $140  (4 x $8.50 for movie, $26 for movie treats--popcorn/ drinks/candy for 4, 4 x $15 for food, $10 tip, and $10 gas).  Was it worth working a full day?  A day of your life of work at a job -- for 3 hours of R&R?  If it is once in a while the answer may be yes.  If it is every week, may be the answer is no.    This helped me with some of my own money making decisions.

Here is a link my oldest daughter gave me that would be a great money experiment for us all.
Here's the link for week one, week one to conquer money.
Here's the link for week two, week two of conquering your money.

I will post some specific frugality tips and ideas of how to save money next week.  Until then, get a small notepad and have fun tracking all of your spending!!!!

Tuesday, July 13

Crocheting again!?!

Okay, I thought I was done with crocheting for awhile . . . alas, I was wrong!
The last crocheting post  Crocheted hairbands  makes a thinner or narrower hairband/ headband.
The video I did today shows how to crochet a wider band.  My 2nd daughter (the one that has 2 daughters of her own) likes the wider look better.  So here goes -- hope the video works:

Here are some random hairband photos with my grand little munchkins!

The definition of cuteness!

To see how to do the flowers, click here:  Crocheted flower
For written instructions and photos click here: HEADBAND Instructions
These are such great baby shower gifts and birthday gifts --
Have fun!!!

Wanna learn something else? Just click.

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