Saturday, June 27, 2009

Caramel-corn ?

My brother in law makes the best caramel corn in the whole wide world. I thought I had the same recipe and I thought I could make it just like he does. I WAS WRONG! He must have a secret ingredient or a step that I am missing. My husband says his secret is not getting even one unpopped kernel in there but I think it goes beyond that. Don't you think?
I burned half the batch! Believe me it does not taste good burnt. In fact it tastes like medicine. Our popcorn popper, I got at a second hand store a few years back, died on us. Luckily I know how to make popcorn on the stove in a frying pan. (Just another useful thing I picked up while serving abroad.)
Well, maybe I will have to not multitask next time I am attempting to make Caramel Corn. I cleaned the kitchen gave one kid a bath, fed the baby and made dinner while having two or three kids help me. Maybe this is why none of my recipes have been turning out lately. Maybe this is the secret...make it alone in an empty kitchen and clean up afterward! Naaa that couldn't be it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chickens in the Headlights by Matthew Buckley

I haven't read a book where I laughed out loud in a long time! This one had me uncontrollably laughing so hard the baby, which was usually quietly eating next to me, would look at me like I had gone crazy. I really needed a good childrens book to start out summer. This book is written by one our our home school family's dad, he uses a pen name. They live here in Cache Valley. We got to meet him a few times and he is pretty quiet around strangers so I was surprised his book was so good and funny.

It is about a family of boys, they are LDS, they have a wild summer full of adventures and the one little boy telling the story learns a profound lesson for life. Yes there are actual chickens in the story. If you have ever seen the movie The Sandlot, this book has that kind of humor and uses that kind of voice...a little boy's perspective on life. I loved it and recommend it to anyone that wants to laugh while remembering their childhood lazy summers packed with Family vacations, chores, picnics, siblings and good old fashioned memories.

There is a sequel too...Bullies in the Headlights. I can't wait to read that one!

Whole BOOK

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Blue Sword by Robin Mckinley

This book was recommended for RS book group when we had to bump a rotten book off our list. I am glad we added it! I loved it! Lots of adventure and descriptions plus a new world not quite like ours. It is a Fantasy/fiction book but didn't have any aliens or dragons (only mentioned one, but that really doesn't count).
The main heroine is a girl! She starts out just being an orphan and was shipped to an uncles house in the desert. She was kind of restless and bored for a while. THEN she was kidnapped but wasn't afraid...just kind of went with it because the life she was leaving behind was boring and she wanted to see what would happen next. (that was the weird part). Well, there is magic and a war...there is also a lot about these special hunting cats and some pretty amazing large war horses. It was a good read and I especially like a book that doesn't end when you think it is the end but tells a little bit more just to cover all the bases, loose ends and stuff like that. Example: you get to the end of the chapter and think it is the end of the book and all those emotions and maybe a sigh happen but then you turn the page and hooray another chapter!
I think there is a sequel...but I haven't found it yet. Anyone know?

Whole Book, healing book

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dollars and Sense By Daryl Hoole

Meridian Magazine I couldn't let this article pass by without sharing it! Great ideas on how to be thrifty and practical with managing money on a tight budget!

Dollars and Sense

By Daryl Hoole

A clever magazine article was captioned, “How to Help Your Daughter Marry Money.” The answer: “Teach her how to manage money wisely.”

Financial security is more about how you spend than how much money you earn.
– Blaine Harris

Being a good steward in general has been addressed in this column a number of times, but this article is specifically about being a good steward over our financial resources. Regardless of our income, it is prudent to conserve our family's possessions through good financial management. That is the way to get ahead and also be able to share with those less fortunate. Following are a few reminders.

Be a smart consumer . Here are some ways to get the most from your money.

* Shop sales—and remind yourself: It is only a bargain if you need it.
* Shop quality. Quality usually pays off in the long term.
* Shop quantity. It is usually a savings to purchase items in bulk.
* Shop from a list and stick to the list to avoid impulse buying.
* Use coupons.
* Purchase only things you need and have room for.
* Charge no more on a credit card than you can pay off each month. A credit card should be used for convenience, not for credit.

Economize in the kitchen. An old saying asserts, “Some women can throw more out the back door with a teaspoon than their husbands can bring through the front door in a wheelbarrow.” An exaggeration, still the expression may contain a kernel of truth. Here are some thrifty ideas:

* Avoid waste
* Cover leftovers before storing in the refrigerator and use them within three days.
* Serve small portions to children (they can always have a second helping).
* Avoid feeding the garbage disposal.
* Do not tell your children things that are not true such as threatening them that if they do not eat, children in Africa will starve. Your children are smart enough to realize that what they do or do not eat has no direct effect on what children in Africa do or do not eat. However, it is true that there are hungry children in the world. Your children should learn to show thankfulness for their food and respect for those who earned it by not wasting it.
* Bake your own bread. Loaves of bread from your oven cost only about 35 cents each, and are generally enjoyed far more by those who eat them than purchased bread. Once you know how to bake bread and get the process down to a system, it doesn't take much time. (See “Leaning on the Staff of Life” for bread baking tips and recipes.)
* Serve cooked cereal as opposed to packaged cereals. A serving of oatmeal costs only 10 cents, plus the milk and brown sugar. Often the preparation is as easy as adding hot water.
* Can or freeze garden-fresh fruits and vegetables. Shop from produce stands along the road or farmers' markets in your community.

Be good stewards—take care of what you have .

* Keep possessions clean and maintained. If they are broken repair or dispose of them. Neglect can cause accidents. For example, house fires can be caused by accumulated dryer lint.
* After use, return possessions to their rightful places. Most things are broken, crushed, stepped on, run over, or lost because they are not where they belong.
* Avoid sun, rain, and wind damage to possessions by keeping them properly stored.

The old maxim remains true: A stitch in time saves nine.

Learn to do it yourself, depending on whether you want to save money or time. For example:

* Do minor household repairs.
* Maintain a vegetable garden.
* Make your own cleaning solutions.
* Cut family members' hair.
* Restore or refinish furniture.
* Make slipcovers, window treatments, etc.
* Specialize in handcrafted gifts.
* Create your own greeting cards.
* Make eating out a special occasion, not a default dinner.
* Learn to paint and wallpaper and even lay tile.
* Look for clothing that does not need to be dry-cleaned. You might want to consider washing and ironing shirts and blouses rather than sending them to a commercial laundry.
* Exchange services with others, such as baby sitting, in return for hair or nail care.

Many resourceful moms have discovered they can stay home and save more than they can go out and earn. There are no childcare or transportation expenses. There are fewer temptations for “lunching out” and shopping, and your taxes don't go up. Studies have shown that families who have two working parents eat dinner out more often. Both spouses are too tired to cook after a day at work.

Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.

Beware of the power of advertising. There is a reason why advertisers are willing to pay large amounts of money for a brief spot on television, a small feature in a magazine, or an eye-catching display in a store—these ads are cleverly designed to whet consumers' appetites and result in a sale. It requires a strong resolve regarding needs and wants to resist being tempted to buy more than you need or can afford.

The practice of thrift is not outdated. We must discipline ourselves to live within our incomes even if it means going without or making do. The wise person can distinguish. . . between basic needs and extravagant wants. Some find budgeting extremely painful, but I promise you, it is never fatal.”
–Elder Marvin J. Ashton

Learn to be content with what you have. While it is good to be ambitious and industrious and try to improve our lot in life, it is certainly not good to be envious of others and thereby become discontented with what we have. The Tenth Commandment admonishes us, “Thou shalt not covet.” Closely related to coveting is being discontented, desiring more than we can have.

It can bring contentment in life to realize that we do not have to have “everything” to be happy. It can bring even greater contentment to accept the fact that we do not have to give our children everything--not even everything we had as a child. We can instead help them to have happy times through whatever resources are available to us.

Three women—a mother, her married daughter, and the daughter's friend—were chatting. The daughter was lamenting the fact that she wasn't able to provide a swimming pool for her children. Her life as a child had revolved around the family's pool. She loved to swim, and she felt her children were missing out on so much. Her mother said, “Do you know, all the time you were swimming I was feeling bad that you didn't have an orchard and a hollow to play in like I had as a child. My happiest hours were spent climbing trees and hiding in the hollow.” At this point the friend added, “What I enjoyed most as a child was riding my bike up and down the quiet street we lived on. But I've felt disappointed for several years; I can't allow my children to do that because the street running past our house is so busy. But just now I've come to realize how fortunate my children are. We have a wonderful backyard with an orchard and a hollow.”

In conclusion, please consider the following lines:

C B A's of Dollars and Sense

You may think that I have it backwards,
going from C to A,
But let me explain my reasoning
for managing money this way.

CONSECRATE one tenth to the Lord
And a portion to save and invest.
If you make these your priorities—
You'll be blessed to manage the rest.

Draw up a BUDGET and stick to you plan.
Be thrifty, be prudent, and share.
Don't confuse your wants and your needs.
Be grateful, be honest and fair.

AVOID DEBT as you would a plague.
Make interest your friend, not your foe.
Except for a home, education, or car,
Paying cash is the smart way to go.

Consecrate, Budget, and Avoid debt,
C B A—by way of review—
And when you take care of your money,
Your money takes care of you.

By Phyllis White

Daryl will be participating at BYU Education Week, August 18-21. For the time and place, please consult next month's column or the Education Week Program.

Monday, June 01, 2009

HOST by Stephanie Meyer

YIKES! This was a different book from her vampire series! Aliens, science fiction, suspense, romance and moral questions about life and death. It was a little broken but also healing type of book. I liked it and that is weird for me because usually I don't like books that are so twisted and sappy. Maybe I am getting a bit desensitized! So I have to be truthful, would I let my daughter read it? Well not yet, but maybe later and then talk with her about the tough questions raised in the book.
I thought this book was very imaginative and well thought out. It all comes around in the end and tiny pieces from the beginning are brought back up and resolved. Recommend it to late teens and adults by me the over sensitive mother of 5 ! Enjoy!