Sunday, March 29, 2009

Earth Hour and other such ramblings....

I woke up this morning to my daffodils tapping on the window saying, "Can you let us in? We're freezing!" And sure enough, it was snowing and blowing and looking like winter was back. I for one am glad I can go to the internet and see that it will warm up by tomorrow, and continue to do so.
Earth Hour, there was such a hullabaloo over this, and of course it was linked to all sorts of yay or nay or the world is being taken over by Al Gore and friends stuff.
Here's my take, we have been commanded to be wise stewards in all our dealings, especially with the blessings we've been given. For those who read scriptures you should already know that we have enough resources placed here on earth for the benefit of man. Having said that though, we do need to be smart about how we use these resources, and how we care about the planet. So while I don't agree with Al Gore and friends that the sky is falling, I do believe that some of my conservative friends who decided to plug in and turn on every piece of electronic equipment during Earth Hour were not only acting childish, but hurt our cause greatly. The real issue to them is that it appears that there is a push toward a one world economy and monetary system and that was tied into the whole Earth Hour agenda. I wish I could find the article on that, and I will look up and share the link when I do. But here's the deal as Bob Lonsberry likes to say, if we feel that going "one world" with our monetary system and economy is wrong, we need to stand up say so by writing to our elected officials, or calling them or however you can get in touch with them to let them know how concerned you are. Stand up and be counted in the right way!
For those of you who think that there would be nothing wrong with going "one world" you better start studying the founding fathers of this great country and read "The 5000 Year Leap" by Cleon Skousen, or "Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto", by Mark R. Levin.
Hope you have a wonderful Sabbath.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coincidences....are they really?

I recently changed roles at church, I went from being Young Women President in our branch, to Enrichment counselor in our District. That means I will be helping all the Enrichment counselors in each branch set up their programs and gear them towards the needs of our sisters and families. We are planning a Back to Basics inspired program as there are so many of the
new young adult and not so young, that are lacking in basic home making skills and preparedness. So each month as a district we will be hosting classes on food storage and emergency preparation, basic cooking from scratch and using that food storage, basic sewing with an emphasis on saving money through knowing how to mend, alter, or re-purpose a piece of clothing. We will also hopefully inspire women to get back to sewing clothing as it can be so rewarding and if done correctly can be a wise way to save. Gardening is another huge area we need to approach, and what to do with all that extra food such as canning and so forth. We also want to encourage our ladies to develop their talents so we will be offering classes on personal and spiritual development. I was so happy when they called me to this position as it is my passion, besides art.
So where do the coincidences come in? Well, look at the economy and you tell me! I have to give Michelle Obama praise, even though I would love to call her husband on the carpet, but that's another topic for another day. Anyway, Mrs. Obama has planted a vegetable garden and is encouraging all of us to plant one as well. Finally, someone at the White House who has a clue!
So being given this calling gives me a platform to really be able to hopefully inspire others to "get er' done!" as they say. So I was looking for a notebook to keep my handbook and other important stuff in and found my preparedness binder which was put together by the Enterprise, Oregon Ward Relief Society. Yay! I have a myriad of information at my finger tips and its ready to copy. To add to this, I was sent to a NIMS training yesterday as a member of our city council. NIMS stands for National Incident Management System. 3 things I learned were, Hurricane Katrina would have been less devastating if Louisiana and New Orleans had had this system in place. They let their people down! Don't look to the Feds to bail you out when you haven't done all you should to be prepared. That's my opinion by the way, and we were urged to get our communities ready for any disaster by encouraging families to have 72 or 96 hour emergency kits for each member of the family, and having them have in place emergency plans such as re-unification in case of earthquake, fire or flood, and fire drills. They told us the best way for a community to get prepared was to start with the families. So I'm thinking that we need to offer these ideas to such organizations as Holy Cross Ministries, as the Catholic church is most prominent here with our 85% hispanic population, and to contact the other couple of churches and see if they want to participate as well. We could start with the 72 hour kits. We live in an earthquake zone, and if Salt Lake City ever has a big one, we will be like the tail of the blanket or towel that gets flipped, and catch a good portion of the destruction. So, the economy, the calling, and the training are all related in such a way as to let me know we are expected to get going on this.
A lot of local phone books have some info on disaster preparedness, and you can find info on the web, but if you are interested, I can email you what I have and we can go from there. I will be looking for pertinent sites to add to my link list, and if you have one to share please leave a note here. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 things you should save........

I was so excited when I saw that the seeds I planted last Thursday came up yesterday! So I wanted to share, and tell you how easy it is to grow Asian veggies. They grow fast, and are very tasty as well as good for you. I also wanted to share a list of things you should save. Well, I forgot that photos load opposite of what you saved them here, so I will start with the most important things to save......
1. Time for family - We oft times get too busy doing mundane things...
2. Time for spiritual feeding - scripture study should be a daily uplift...
3. Time for prayer - He wants to hear from us, and often....
4. Time for learning - There's so much to learn, whether it's from a person, or book......
5. Time for play - What better way to unwind, and appreciate our blessings than to play....

6. toilet paper rolls - They are wonderful for plant starts or keeping ribbon scraps on.....
7. produce bags - perfect for home made bread, keeping things dry....
8. plastic dairy containers - great for food storage in fridge, and much cheaper than buying new..
9. meat trays - great for plant start trays! paint pallets, glitter projects
10. juice jugs - great for water storage, dry goods such as beans, corn meal, and so on.

Can you add to this list or think of other uses for these items? Feel free to comment.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Planting seeds.......

A little bird serenaded me while I was hanging out the laundry today. She has a nest in the neighbors dryer vent, which is up on the second story of the house. I see the birds out my kitchen window each day as they busily go back and forth with twigs and dried grass, or perhaps a treat or two. She is definitely enjoying the warmer weather and sunshine we are fortunate enough to be having!

Here is part of my herbs planted by our bedroom window. Yes, that is the window on the ground so to speak. We live in a daylight basement apartment. If you look closely you can see where I have little 4 packs and 6 packs of soil with seeds planted. I am also experimenting with toilet paper rolls cut in half to use as starter pots. We shall see how this works. Tomatoes, basil, oriental greens, are all things I planted yesterday. I need to get some peat moss and beef up the soil as it is so alkyline here.

Here are some things I had growing on our bedroom window sill this winter. Baby pak choi that is delicious, finger size carrots that are almost ready to harvest, and other oriental greens I experimented with. They do quite well actually and we enjoyed a nice dinner with ginger pork and veggies from my little harvest. The carrots were an experiment to see how long I could extend the growing season. I'm thinking of building some sort of planter shelf for the window so I can have more than one row stacked.
Speaking of planting seeds, Emmett has really responded to our having magnetic alphabet letters on the fridge. He isn't quite 2 yet, but he can tell you most of the letters and half the numbers. He will flip through the phone book, or bring you the paper to show you the letters he's found. Yesterday he had me sit on the floor with him to throw the ball back and forth. He looked at my sneakers and saw the New Balance "N" on them and said, "N!". Then with his head cocked sideways he looked at the other shoe and said, "Z!" He has figured out that if you turn certain letters or numbers upside down, they are something else, like 5 flipped is 2, 6 is 9, W is M in his mind and he's pretty much right, and N sideways is Z. Smart little guy isn't he? So when thinking of planting seeds there are several ways to do that. Childrens' minds are very fertile soil so consider that before you turn on the TV or take them to a movie, or any event that might plant seeds that you don't want growing there. Just a thought to pass along. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Using What We Have on Hand.....

I have an eclectic collection of cookbooks, mostly older. One was printed in the 1950's and is full of ideas for using leftover items or stuff right off the shelf. Rather than run to the store each time I want to cook something I'm trying to learn to be more resourceful and use what's on hand. I had a bit of leftover bow tie pasta and salmon, but not enough to feed one person, much less a family so here's what I did. I took half a onion chopped, and sauted them in a frying pan with a little oil. I then added 1 15 oz. can of creamed corn and 1/2 cup canned milk. I added 1/3 a cup cheddar cheese powder, the macaroni and cheese kind, and let that get hot. I used to get this online but will have to find a new resource, rats! I heated up a pan of water as this was going on, and when boiling added 2 cups bow tie pasta and cooked that for 15 minutes then drained it. In the cheese sauce mixture I added lemon pepper, Old Bay seasoning and Lawry's seasoning to taste. I also added a dash or 2 of Tabasco. I then added 1 7 oz. can of salmon, Costco has the best I've ever tried. After this heated through, I added about 1/4 cup Parmesan and a little milk to keep the sauce creamy. I added the hot drained pasta and leftovers to the mix. Everyone raved! Our salad consisted of grape tomotoes, drained canned green beans, and chopped onion with a bit of italian dressing. We had a great meal, with what I had on hand!
Okay, back to the cookbook. There was a recipe for Pineapple Bran muffins I tweaked a bit using what I had on hand again, and here's the result. I replaced the bran with cornmeal and oats

Peachy Keen Muffins
2 c. flour
1/2 c. each cornmeal and oats
1T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
1 -8 oz jar peach preserves
1 egg
1/2 c. evap milk
1/4 c. oil

Sift all dry ingredients together. Blend all wet ingredients and gently stir into dry ingredients until just moistened. Grease or line 12 muffin tins and distribute batter evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Yummy!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Reaching our potential......

I read a very uplifting talk from the Spring 2007 Ensign by Elder L. Tom Perry yesterday that inspired me to try and be a little better each day in all I do.
He shared a story about his son, and how this son loved the high jump competition in track. This young man set up a makeshift standard and barin the basement, with the couch as his landing pad. Elder Perry knew that the furniture wouldn't take too much bouncing so he took his son to a sporting goods store and bought him the equipment he needed to set up a standard in the back yard. His son practiced for hours each day, trying one popular method and then another in an attempt to get good. One night after returning home from work Elder Perry asked his son how high the bar was set. "5 feet 8 inches", was the reply. "Why that height?" Elder Perry asked. It was the qualifying height for the state track meet. Asked how he was doing the son replied, "I make it over every time." Elder Perry suggested his son move the bar up and the son protested that he might miss. Elder Perry queried, "If you don't raise the bar, how will you ever know your potential?" So his son tried, and kept on trying higher and higher jumps as he got better. He learned to not be content with just clearing the minimum standard. What a great father, and a greater story. Here is a dad who wasn't afraid to teach his son to reach for higher ground. So how will I impliment this story into my life? Perhaps striving to be better at saying my prayers, get going on getting that garden in, and learning more about organic gardening, and small space gardening. Thinking about alternatives to running to the store for an ingredient, and being even more resourceful in using what is on hand. Practicing sketching every day, so that I can improve not only technique, but gain confidence. There's so many ways to use this story. How would you apply this to your life?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sharing the Good....

Aren't they beautiful? On the left is a lady I've never met.... my great grandmother. I look forward to seeing her someday, when we go back home where our loved ones are waiting.
Her name is Mildred, and she lived in a small town in California, north of Sacramento. I won't mention the name of the community because it relates to the story I'm about to tell.
My husband was talking to his son last night, who happens to live in this same small town of northern California. He's a reporter for the local paper. There was a young man struck by a vehicle while crossing the crosswalk, and critically injured. Now this might not seem too news worthy for the rest of the world, but in this little town there have been numerous deaths of high school students from accidents, cancer, murder, and bizarre rare illnesses. So this is a hard topic for the locals. My stepson called the hospital to check on this young man's condition before the story on him went to press and the young man had been upgraded to good. So my stepson yells over to his editor that he had good news, to which his editor issued a colorful metaphor. An argument ensued between my stepson and the editor because instead of staying front page with the story, the paper relegated the story to the back page and put on the front page a story about a local "Bean" feed. To my stepson's credit, he argued for putting the story on the front page as the town needed good news, as in the past any incident regarding youth seemed to be bad news.
So my thought for this morning is this, are we willing to share the good news each day? Do we focus on the negative we are fed by the media each day or do we look for the good? Are we looking for the good each person we have contact with does each day? I know the tendency is to share the gossip, see the evil around us, and forget the good, but today, I want to look for the good and share it. So, thank you Rob, for standing up for what should have been. And prayers for a speedy recovery for the injured young man.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Aaahhhh, the sweet deliciousness of chocolate! Rather like a good friend, only friends are calorie free. :-)