Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma: New Year's Resolutions

I know it isn’t Monday. I wanted to post this week’s message on New Year’s Eve. This has been a good year. Yes, it’s had its ups and downs like every year, but things are fine.

For my message, I thought I’d mention my take on making New Year’s resolutions. Go for it. Don’t promise the moon, it may take several years before you actually achieve them, but you can never reach goals you don’t set.

One example of a repeated resolution I made several years in a row: To wear makeup every day. For years I would go up to February-May. The years I had temp jobs, I did well when I went to work. Then one New Year’s Eve, I took time out of my day and sat in front of my mirror without makeup pondering how I looked. After awhile, I applied the makeup to see the difference, and sat again. [There is absolutely nothing wrong with the natural look. I know women who look just fine that way. They would look odd wearing it. We all need to decide for ourselves.] But I digress from my message. That day I decided I looked better with it whether just for my husband, myself, or the crowds. I have kept it up since I made that decision with only a few days here and there that I make the choice not to wear it for one reason or the other.

If we would take the time to ponder our resolutions, think about how serious we are. Are we willing to pay the price? Set one or two. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make it. You can re-start the next day, next week, next month, or next year. Keep at it. You can do it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma--Christmas

‘Tis the season to remember Him: The hustle and bustle of the season is energizing, but don’t stress out. Take time each day to think of that tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. In fact, keep that thought in the back of your mind as you pick just the right gift, chose something that will make the receiver smile. Perhaps something they need or maybe a gift that will give them a lift.

If you are busy, Rice Krispy cookies are just as tasty as the fancy cookies you usually make. You don’t have to do everything your mother and/or mother-in-law used to do. Take time for Him.

If you are alone, call someone else that’s alone and have a chat. If capable, visit a senior center and chat with the residents. Pray to know who you can help. Think of some way to brighten the holiday for others rather than sitting around wallowing in self pity. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas is Coming

Christmas is coming. We have simplified Christmas the last few years. We give gift cards to places we know our children and grandchildren will like. For instance the handy man types often get hardware stores, crafty ladies fabric or craft stores. We throw in restaurant certificates and ice cream places for almost everyone. One hour of planning, and another hour or a little more driving around and we are done. The grandchildren love having their own “credit card.”

Sorry I missed last week. Time just ran away from me.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Christmas Tree Goo

The following recipe was given to me by my friend, Merrilee Boyack author. Her most recent book is 12 Gifts for Christ, available on Amazon or Deseret Book. She got it from anchorman Loren Nancarrow.

This helps keep your tree green throughout the season better than anything else I’ve ever tried.

Christmas Tree Goo

1 gallon warm water
2 cup clear Karo syrup
1/2 cup chlorine bleach
1/2 t 20 Mule Team Borax, at grocers by Tide etc. (If you live in the area, I have about a 2,000 year supply, and I’ll be happy to share.)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup woolite
Cut 1/2" off trunk, soak 12-24 hours, rinse put in clear water for rest of
season....REMEMBER when moving tree into house to cover the end with a

plastic bag so the solution (with bleach) doesn't drip on your carpet!

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I am not a poet; however I got stuck in a Creative Writing class and I had to come up with 9 poems. There is one I think came out fine. This is not that one. In keeping with the date November 22, below is one of them honoring the day anyway.

Where do I go?

Mountain tops -- tipped in white
Field trip for geology
Faults, moraine, fossils found
Back to campus,
Crying -- or stunned silence.
Rummors of tragedy --
could they be true?

Rush to Institute Building.
Made of simple white bricks
Near campus where I go for safety
A place for religion classes and friends
Our leader, Brother Peterson, speaks --
He has died

His grin, his wave, stopped.
The convertible, the crowd,
Her pink pill box hat
She cradled him
Speeding to Parkland Memorial

In the library -- screaming, crying.
In the rec room -- Laughter, ping pong.
Where do I go?
Not a disciple, I do not wail
Disgusted with those in the rec room
I cannot go there
I do not belong in the library
I sob on the couch in the foyer between

If you ever want to know what Mount Gorgonio
Looked like on that day,

Ask me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mini Potholders

Mini potholders for microwave dishes.  NOT for use in ovens or hot pans, only for removing items from the microwave!

Hmmm: My paint drawings didn't come out. You can see from the picture what they are supposed to look like, The pattern is folded in half, so the 4 inch side is straight, and the other end curved like in the picture above.

You can use quilted fabric, or like I did, two layers of heavy fabric. You could also use 2 layers of cotton/cotton blend fabric with batting between.

Place 4 inch side of pattern below along fold of fabric and cut 2 for each mini potholder if using heavy fabric, or cotton/cotton blend, with the cotton, also cut 1 layer of batting. You will only need one if using quilted fabric.

Cut 2 pieces ¾ inch shorter using the rounded end for each potholder. Sew as shown below:

3 inches
4 inches

To sew bias tape: unfold, and sew one edge on right side of fabric. Next fold over and sew on wrong side.

Pin shorter pieces on front as shown (larger pieces have wrong sides together).

You may need to trim edges in spots so all layers are the same. Pin Bias tape on right side being sure to fold over end of tape at start.

View from wrong side

Sew like for the short pieces

After sewing tape on, trim fabric before folding over bias tape.



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heads Up

The holiday season is upon us. Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is next. We spend a lot of time shopping and decorating. We don’t need extra trips to the store for an ingredient we “thought” we had when we’re in the middle of a recipe. One way to virtually eliminate those trips is to follow the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared.”

Each month when I shop, I don’t look to see how low the mayonnaise is, I check to be sure I have 1 or 2 extras. Even with just my husband and I, I try to keep at least 1 extra of everything I use regularly on hand. This month I check for items I use seasonally: brown sugar, extra powdered sugar, cinnamon oil (I make a hard candy with this for Christmas), cocoa powder, baking powder/soda, whatever I expect to have on hand that I don’t buy very often.

When we went on our Mission to Thailand, my son and his wife stayed in our house. My daughter-in-law wrote to me, “Whenever I run out of something I check and you nearly always have some in the closet upstairs.” Yes, my kitchen was so small I had to find a different place to store the extras. Until my mother moved from her house into an apartment and gave me her white chest (which I put in the garage) I could always tell when it was time to go grocery shopping because I didn’t have cans on the counters any more. Luckily we had a door to the garage that was near the kitchen so it wasn’t too bad.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Mexican Fried Rice

Monday Morning Grandma

I had this already then forgot to post this morning. It's still Monday anyway.

When we were first married, my husband taught me how to make Mexican fried rice. When we visited his grandmother in San Jose, she provided some refinements. If you need an exact recipe with measurements, I can’t help you. I’m giving you the ingredients and method which is the way I make it.

Ingredients: long grain white rice (other kinds work, but they aren’t the same), tomato sauce (diced tomatoes can be used in a pinch, but it isn’t as good), fresh diced onions, fresh minced garlic, cooking oil (I use olive oil and it works fine), salt, and water. IF you want to you can add diced bell pepper. You can use dried onions and/or garlic powder when out of fresh.

Put oil in the pan, add the rice, onions, garlic, and if you insist bell pepper. (Do you get the idea I don’t care for bell pepper?) Sauté rice and vegetables on medium-high heat in enough oil to coat. Stir almost constantly until the rice turns opaque and browns a little. Add the tomato sauce and water. To speed up the cooking process, I’ve started heating water in the microwave while sautéing. (In fact, I do that for a lot of things these days.) Turn down heat. It takes about a half an hour from start to finish sort of. You’ll need to play with how low; it’s been different on all of my stoves through the years. Stir occasionally, and add water as needed. If you use too much oil, blot the excess that collects on the top with a paper towel as the rice swells and most of moisture is absorbed. I HIGHLY recommend using a non-stick pan. I have serious scorching problems without.

Bonus recipe: Fried beans are a great compliment to polish off a Mexican dinner, or the beans and rice can be a meal in themselves usually with flour tortillas and you can make burritos, some people prefer corn tortillas, that’s fine. Either cook pinto beans, or you can used canned, (not the ones already re-fried). I cook mine in a 22 quart pressure cooker then divide into meal sized portions and freeze. When the children were home it was 4 or 5 containers, now it’s a dozen or so. Heat bacon grease (now we use olive oil, sigh), add the beans and if you like, jalapenos, or diced green chilies (I use canned mild).

After a few years of trying, I gave up on making flour tortillas when I noticed my mother-in-law bought them! (Mine were never round.) I serve the rice with chicken, pork, fish or beef instead of potatoes or white rice along with a vegetable for variety. I sometimes use canned corn (frozen is better for you, but my husband is used to canned) as the vegetable. He likes to mix the corn and rice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma--Miscarriages and Stillbirths

I have had 3 miscarriages and 1 stillbirth. My advice today is for anyone who knows someone going through that type of experience: It’s hard to know what to say, and each experience is individual, but there are some things other people need to understand. “I’m sorry” is never wrong. Bringing up everyone you have ever known that has gone through that experience isn’t always helpful. If you have experienced it yourself, and feel letting them know and telling them you are willing to talk with them will be the right thing. A few such stories will let them know they aren’t alone. Too many, and it becomes overwhelming.

Most important, don’t ever say, “You can always have another one.” They know that. Let them know it’s okay to cry even if they’re only a few weeks along. Realize that seeing babies might be difficult for them.

I had a wonderful, understanding roommate in the maternity ward when I had my stillbirth, Susie. My roommate knew why I turned my back when the baby was brought to her. She also helped me the times when I did look. I even came to her bedside and admired the tiny girl, but it was on my terms. (That was in the late 60’s and we had roommates, and stayed in the hospital 3 days, and babies were brought every 4 hours.)

If you’re the one going through that experience, steel yourself, and look at and hold babies in your own timeline. Know that you’re not alone, and you have the right to grieve. Don’t dwell for an extended time, but it’s okay to be sad.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Grandma

I’m reviving my blog in a different direction. I’m still working on what I’m going to do with the writing post for Wednesdays, but on Mondays I’m going to post things I’ve learned over the years. It will cover raising children, needlework, advice, recipes, or whatever pops into my head. Some will be short, and others a little longer. I live in the Pacific time zone, so what's morning for me might not be for you.

Today’s entry: If your child spills a bottle of cooking oil, squirt lots of dish soap into the mess and that will break down the oil making it easier to clean up.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Changing Focus of Blog

I’m going to change the focus of this blog starting next week. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, but it will include weekly updates to my writing hints page, and a new focus for the main blog post. 

If any of you followers have ideas, please post.