Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thank you

I am sick today, which might prompt me to complain and gripe. Instead, I choose to praise God and give thanks for what I do have in my life.

Click on the link for a cute video.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Fun Family Day

Joe had a weekend off! I know, before you fall out of your chair, keep reading. This was his first weekend off in months. On Saturday, Joe worked his jobs, while I took the boys to the town's 25th anniversary party at the park.

Notice the dark clouds. Summer in the White Mountains. We stayed for the flag raising and the free bbq and playing on the new playground. Then, I just had a feeling that we should eat our picnic in the van. Soooooooooo glad I did. It rained BUCKETSand we just watched the multitudes running for meager shelter from the shelter of our mini-van.

Sunday was a full family day. We had read about some places to visit in the paper and decided to give it a try. What did we have to lose, but some gasoline, right? It was a stellar day.

We drove to the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center. For locals, that's the one right across the highway from the turnoff to Woods Canyon Lake. Their deck has a beautiful view of the rim and the valley below. They told us about Al Fulton Point. We went for a short break for the boys.

I don't know why their faces looked like that. But, if you can look past their funny faces, you can see the rim to the left of Jack.

While they were riding their bikes, Jack spotted a horny toad. He just bent over and picked it up. (This is the boy who can jump out of the boat and scoop up 3 small fish in his bare hands)
Then, Joshua saw a butterfly, walked over to the flower, and caught the butterfly. My boys are amazing. I tried to take a pic, but when he opened his hands, it flew off.

We decided to try the Natural Bridge, just north of Payson. Seven years ago, when we first were married, Joe and I took a 3 week vacation, traveling around the southwest. We had tried to visit Natural Bridge, but they were closed that day and we had just never gotten back there. We read in the paper that the park will be closing after Labor Day due to the budget crisis. So, we had to go this weekend. So glad we did.

For those who have never been, Natural Bridge was formed by a spring flowing throw limestone. The "cave" is 150 feet wide (half a football field), 400 feet long (longer than a football field), and 200 feet high. There are trails all over the park, leading down to the cave and through the cave. There is also a Waterfall trail that leads to, yep, you guessed it, a waterfall.

At the bottom of the trail, you can see into a cave that the water has carved over hundreds of years. You can't see it very well in the picture, but it must have been 30 feet deep. And the trail was covered with wild blackberries.

Here is a pic of the Natural Bridge. I don't think I captured the beauty of it all, but you get the picture (ha ha).
On the way home, we stopped at the Paleo Site. We had read at the Mogollon Rim Visitor Center that the Paleo Site (near Kohl's Ranch) is rich with fossils. We decided to try it.

After about 15 minutes of hunting, we found the motherload of fossils. Many were in boulders, way too big to take home. We were able to find 3 rocks rich with fossils and brought them home. One for us, one for the aquarium, and one for my rock-collecting mother.

All in all, great weekend for not a lot of money. I love living in the White Mountains. So much to do.

Best Biscuit Recipe Ever

How many of you buy biscuits? How many of you buy frozen or canned biscuits? They are so expensive. I have a recipe for homemade buttermilk biscuits. This recipe will make a big batch of dough, but the best part is, you don't have to make it all at once. You can save the dough in the frig for weeks and just make what you want, when you want it. For instance, we only make 4 biscuits at a time. I make up the dough on Sunday afternoons and the dough lasts me all week. You can even have biscuits for breakfast. Yummy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Dissolve: 1 package yeast

1/2 cup VERY warm water

3 teaspoons sugar

Add: 3/4 cup oil

2 cups buttermilk (I use powdered buttermilk and it works just fine)

6 cups flour, add one at a time

in one of the cups of flour, add:

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Mix together. Cover and set in frig overnight or 8 hours.

To make biscuits, don't worry about rolling out the dough and using cutters. Just grab a small handful, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Make as many or as few as you want. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes (on the mountain, I need 12 minutes). I usually use the toaster oven, so I don't heat up the whole house in summer, just for 4 biscuits. They also keep well overnight in the bread box. They make a great running-out-the-door breakfast for busy mornings.


We have been saving Pastor Ernie's sermons and posting them on podcasts. Maybe you couldn't make it on a Saturday night. Maybe you really liked the message and would like to hear it again. Maybe you know someone who needs to hear it. Go to our podcast page. The messages are saved as podcasts on the right hand side. Click there and it will bring up a menu of messages to listen to. PTL for technology!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Awesome Cleaning Recipes

I must admit that my search for these recipes did not stem from a deep-seated desire to save the planet. More like, save my wallet. I had heard of secret recipes for cleaning supplies and I decided to try them.

1. Window (or any glass) Cleaner. This is the easiest. Vinegar and water. I use about 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water. My neighbor uses more like half and half. It's up to you. If you don't like the smell, put two drops of essential oil in the squirt bottle and you have your own personalized window cleaner. And to wipe the surface, nothing, NOTHING works better than newspaper. Seriously. Check it out.

2. Everything Cleaner. Turns out, this formula for cleaning windows, also cleans just about everything else. My neighbor turned me on to this trick. Use the same squirt bottle that you are using for your windows, on your countertops, sinks, faucets, floors. Yes, even floors! This vinegar formula works so well, it even got the mineral buildup around my sinks. (We have hard water here on the mountain).

3. Dishwasher Detergent. I only run the dishwasher once every two days, but the cost of the soap was adding up. And don't forget the JetDry (remember, hard water). The Jet Dry secret recipe is super easy. Vinegar. Just straight vinegar into the holding chamber and viola! Ok, for the detergent. One Tablespoon baking soda (buy the super big box for like $3). One Tablespoon Borax (again, really cheap). Works like a charm.

4. Laundry Detergent. I don't have to tell you how expensive this item can be. And I think I am pretty good at keeping laundry down. We only do about 4-5 loads per week for a family of 4. Still, it adds up. Ok, remember that big box of baking soda I told you to buy, use it here too. Take one 4.5 ounce bar soap and grate it. If you don't want to do it, give this job to your child. They will think it's fun. This should make about 2 cups. Mix this 2 cups of bar soap, with one cup of baking soda, and one cup of Borax. This is now your laundry detergent. Use 2 Tablespoons with every load.

Before you stand up and give me an ovation, I didn't come up with these recipes on my own. I swagged (swagbucks) them and I read the websites on my right hand column. Moms by Heart has some cool, homemaking tips and recipes. Check out these websites as these are my favorites and I check back on them almost daily. Who doesn't love earning free SwagBucks? Who doesn't love getting Freebies in the mail everyday? Who doesn't love new recipes that will save me tons of money per year? Oh yeah, the Moms by Heart creator figured out that the laundry soap recipe costs about 3 cents per load!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Results of Fish Naming Contest

After many comments on Facebook and personal conversations, we have decided on names for our fish.

The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, and Goodness (the list goes on, but we only had 6 fish to name). Darth Vader and Pepe will keep their names.

Thanks for participating. It was fun. I'll have to think of more little contests like this.

where Glory meets my suffering