I just learned to day that you can remove the door to your oven. THIS IS THE BEST NEWS I'VE HEARD IN WEEKS!!!
I was planning on cleaning my oven today as I haven't ever done it in this house. We've been here a good 2 years and it was getting grody. While trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner we were dealing with lots of smoke from burned stuff on the bottom of the oven. Blech.
Before I started I was looking around on the internet to get some ideas for the best way to tackle this project. I ran across someone in the comments of a blog saying you could take the door off for ease in cleaning.
I quickly searched for how to do that and found this awesome YouTube video that explains perfectly!
My oven had the second type of hinge and the doors came off beautifully. Halleluiah!
It was SO MUCH EASIER to clean when the doors were off. Where has this information been all my life?
I had to quickly post and share that tidbit. Hope it helps someone else!
And I'll get to the giveaway when I have a chance this week.
I have been wanting some blocks to use with my girls when teaching them math concepts. A friend at church said she'd give me some, but I didn't ever hear back from her about it, so I went ahead and bought a set. Then a week or two later she showed up with a huge box of blocks!
So, to share the "harvest" of blocks I wanted to give away a complete set of blocks to someone who'd like to use it with their kids.
Here's the set:
You'll get 1 cube representing 1,000
7 bricks representing 100's (3 are solid, 4 have an open back)
50 sticks representing 10's
150 (I think! I didn't bother counting) blocks representing 1's
You don't need to be a homeschooler, but really, I'd like it to go to a family with children who would really put it to use.
So, to enter the giveaway, post a comment and share something you enjoy about teaching your children. (Again, you don't have to be a homeschooler to enjoy teaching your kids!) I'm not brainy enough to figure out those fancy widget things that randomly select a winner. But I'll try to pull names out of a hat or something. Sound good?
Comment away! I'll leave this up for a week and then pick a winner. I'll announce the winner and the you can email me with your address.
Poor blog. I'm just not finding time to do this much. But here goes another quick post!
So, I've mentioned here on my blog several times that I struggle with depression. Lately I've seen a lot of blog posts and quotes and such about how being thankful will make us happy. Can you believe those lovely quotes and such just make feel feel terrible? I just start thinking, " Oh great. I knew it. It's all my fault I feel so unhappy all the time. If I was just more thankful then I wouldn't be miserable! I should just own up and admit my depression is all my fault because I'm just not grateful for everything I DO have."
Now, in REALITY I don't actually think my depression is all my own fault. I think some of it is inherited genetically and some of it is probably deficiencies or imbalances in my brain/body somewhere. Anything beyond that is just me being a whiny, ungrateful little turkey. ( :
But, it's hard not to jump to the worst conclusion- that's it's all my own fault! So, I'm writing this post to show that although I have a lot of negative thoughts rollin' around up there in the gray matter, there's a silver lining! I think I want to write this more for me than anyone, but I decided to share anyway. Maybe there's someone who needs to read it for some reason. Here I am, proving that I'm not a complete whiner:
The Complaint: I hate strongly dislike living in the Mojave Desert. It's just not my thing. I'll spare you the whole complaint list, but it's ugly. I sometimes get into some really negative thinking about having to live here the rest of my life. BUT...
The Silver Lining:
Pomegranates! My back yard neighbors have 2 large bushes of them and let me pick a whole bushel! We ate loads of yummy arils and made 13 pints of jelly. All for free! And there you are paying $2-3 for a single pomegranate. Am I right?
I'm totally grateful to live where there are pomegranates all over and especially that we have some right over the fence! It brings back fond memories of my childhood as we'd get a couple pomegranates each fall from my great-grandmother's bushes in St. George, UT.
The Complaint: Baby Z is such a cry baby! My poor baby who is 10 1/2 months just cries and fusses all day long. I can't figure out what his problem is. He screams so loud and I just can't seem to get anything done! I'm trying to teach the girls a lesson while yelling over his screaming. His tears and snot are getting all over my clothes as I haul his sad little self around while trying to do everything one handed. I think I'm going to lose my mind most days with this poor sweet baby.
The Silver Lining:
He has learned to stand and is so cute when he does it! I just love to see that look of , "I'm so proud of myself!" He's so sweet and funny in those rare moments when he's happy. And he must wear himself out during the day because he's actually been sleeping through the night! Total bliss.
The Complaint: I wanted to freeze some pumpkin puree this fall. But I never saw a good sale on pumpkins here and when I was in UT we didn't have room in the car to fit anything else, so I didn't bring any home. I have some frozen pumpkin in the freezer, but something must have gone wrong with it because it now smells SO GROSS when you thaw it out. I need to throw it away. It was from last year anyway, so it's old.
The Silver Lining:
Looky what I found today at the grocery store! For all of $5 I got all these little pumpkins I'm going to make into puree. I was looking at the 69 cents a lb. sugar pie pumpkins in the produce section and moaning over how expensive they were and that it wasn't worth the effort when it cost that much. (Pumpkins the size of the ones in this picture would have cost over $2 each.) As I walked away from them I heard a man nearby call out, "Up by the front they have 'em for 50 cents!" I didn't have a chance to really acknowledge him or thank him, but he was right. These must have been the last of their little pumpkins and they just wanted to get rid of them. What a blessing! Having some pumpkins to put up really isn't a big deal, but I think the Lord put them in my path as a way of showing his love. It's kind of like getting a little love note from the Lord that just says, "I was thinking of you and I knew this would make you happy."
The Complaint: When we bought this house we thought we were going to have all kinds of lovely fruit in the backyard. Grapes, figs, pears, pomegranates, etc. Turns out the grapes were all so buggy they had to be torn out. The fig trees haven't produced anything edible, the pomegranate bush hasn't made a single fruit and the pear tree is dying. Wah!!!
The Silver Lining:
Although the pear tree may be on its last leg and it only produced a 1/2 bushel of tiny little pears, I was still able to get some use out of them! Last year I could never get the pears to ripen, but this year they finally did and I was able to make a dozen or so jars of pear butter! And even more amazing- the kids actually seem to like it and will eat it on a piece of bread. Woo hoo! It was fun to make as I've never done it before. You know...me and canning...it's like some kind of strange addiction. ( :
The Complaint: I have a love/hate relationship with the community orchestra I play in. Half the time I just want to quit. I get bored, or my reeds are horrible and I can't play well, or I hate the music, or nobody practiced and we sound terrible....blah blah blah. I was not looking forward to the Christmas concert because it seems like we always play the same thing and it's so boring. Also the oboes are just doubling the whole time, and I'm doing 2nd oboe this concert, so I feel like I'm totally unnecessary.
The Silver Lining:
Guess what I get to play instead? Chimes, glockenspiel and xylophone! Yippee! I'm having so much more fun doing that for this concert. I haven't played percussion since 7th grade. After spending 1 year with a whole pile of 7th grade boys back there I quit and went for oboe so I could be all alone. Ha! I've got a steep learning curve with playing these instruments I'm unfamiliar with, but it's a blast. And I've got a mallet playing brother who can give me playing tips. I don't even mind that the conductor has to keep getting after me for holding the mallets wrong, not playing loud enough, missing notes, etc. It's too much fun to care! I'm so glad they needed a spare percussion player this concert.
The Final Complaint: I can't seem to get a handle on my calling as Primary President in my church. I really shouldn't be a big deal, but it is for me! What is my problem? Will I ever figure this out? And why do I have a calling that is so difficult for me right now when I have so much else going on? Whiney, whiney whiney. Sometimes I even get so low as to complain that it's not fair that so and so has a much easier calling or one I'd rather have. Or so and so has a lot going on in their life, so they are given a less time consuming calling or something. What about me? What about my difficult life? Why can't I get a break? The Silver Lining: The Lord is helping me get it through my thick skull that I should actually be grateful for my ability to do this calling at all! Would I rather have health issues, some kind of family crisis, multiple jobs and school things between me and my husband, or whatever to deal with? No of course not! Would I rather not have the education, experience and people skills I DO have that allow me to function as a Primary President at all? (Not that I have a vast amount of education, experience or people skills, but enough to be able to limp along with I guess.) Or course not.
So, the silver lining is just that I'm starting to see more reasons to be thankful that I have the capacity to fill this calling, even if I fall short and feel completely inadequate. Even if I'd rather be teaching Sunbeams or directing the choir. And what a blessing it is to have that. And what a blessing it is to have been raised in the church and have all those years of gospel instruction and experience under my belt. As we've had new converts join our ward recently I've considered how much there is to learn when you suddenly join the church in the middle or later part of your life. That would be so overwhelming to me so I'm grateful I got to take it all a bite at a time throughout my youth.
So, there you have it. A depressed woman's thankful list. Yes, I may go around with this cloud over my head and a load of stuff weighing down my mind, but at the same time- I DO see that little silver lining. I think it's what keeps me going when I just want to give up on life.
What are you thankful for despite your complaints about it?
But no worries! I'm not going to open that can of worms here today. (You can all breathe a sigh of relief!) I'm sure there are very few people that would want to read my opinions on that and even fewer who would agree with them.
But, just because I'm feeling slightly witty today I'm going to share something I came up with a few minutes ago. This is a poem I wrote to go on our door tonight so I don't have to keep answering the door for Trick-or-Treaters.
don't have any candy
tricks are so mean!
have fun in a different way
celebrate Reformation Day.
Bible put in man's native tongue,
what we think of while having our fun.
on to the next house to gather your candy,
sure that your costume was ever so dandy!)
Tyndale and Luther, we will be reading,
we can't wish you a Halloween greeting!
My daughter is working on
illustrating it as I write.
although you and I probably don't agree about this whole Halloween
business, would you feel too put off by that sign if you saw
it on my door? An inquiring mind wants to know!
I know is, that's the most poetry I've written since High School and
I'm pretty pleased with myself. Hee hee hee!
If you don't get the reformation thing I'm talking about in the poem,
here's the gist. October 31st 1517 is the day that Martin Luther
nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. That
is generally considered the "spark" that lit the fire of
reformation. This reformation in the churches is directly connected
to the Bible being translated from Latin into the languages spoken by
common people. (German, English.) That is all directly related to how
we got the King James Bible as we have it today and use in our
church. Definitely an important bunch of history! So, it's fun to
celebrate that on Oct. 31st instead of Halloween if Halloween isn't
your thing. Make sense?
Today we are reading this book for school. I found it last year at
our local thrift store. I felt so blessed to find this book just when
I was trying to figure out how to deviate for the traditions of
Halloween! It's historical fiction about William Tyndale and it's
written for children- probably 10 yrs. and up, but I'm explaining
everything so my younger kids can comprehend it.
tonight we are going to watch some of this movie and eat popcorn. I'm
hoping it's not too scary or boring for my super sensitive kids.
We'll see. I'm sure I'll find it interesting, but it may not
work for the kids.
Nothing too exciting, but interesting nonetheless. And we're getting lots of history in!
For some strange reason a bunch of people happened to come over and SEE all the crazy.
People never come over, so that was weird. Now all sorts of people know what a nut I am!
Here's evidence that I'm totally insane:
That right there is 190 quarts of applesauce. There were 2 other quarts that got eaten at dinner the night before. (Boy, the missionaries can really put away applesauce!)
I canned all of that by myself in one day. That explains the title of my post because I think I need a medal or something after that experience!
Here's the whole story if you're interested:
I spent a week in Utah visiting my family recently. I of course wanted to spend time with my family and some of the Professor's sibling who live out there. But, this trip was strategically timed so that I could purchase fruit to take home and can.
I live in a food desert. Seriously! There's not much of anything out here in the Mojave desert! I did try to travel a couple hours north once to pick apples but they were so ridiculously expensive, full of bugs and yucky.
Anyway, all my growing up years in Utah we would get fruit to can from a local fruit stand where we know the owners. They are such wonderful people. My mom places a huge order with them every year and she cans like crazy along with my grandma, siblings and other assorted friends and relatives. It's so much fun!
I got to spend a day canning "fruit cocktail" (it was just diced peaches and pears mixed) with my mom and grandma and any other assorted family members who were around.
Sure, sure, fresh fruit is best and all that. BUT, there's the practicality of having food stored up for an emergency, and there's something to be said for buying local fruit in season and canning it instead of buying fruit that was shipped half way around the world to your grocery store.
Besides that, we canned a huge amount of stuff for next to nothing! These dear friends at the fruit stand just kept passing off one box of fruit after another to my mom. "Oh, we can't sell these, they're too ripe." or "These are too small, they won't sell well, you just take them."
Anyway, the end result of all this was lots of canned food that my mom put up for me to take back home with me. It's my Christmas present!!! YAY! I've got peaches and pears and the fruit cocktail I helped do. Also, pureed peach, pear, and plum sauce for baby food or smoothies. I even managed to put up a good supply of salsa while I was there. It's SO good.
But back to the applesauce. I won't even tell you what a good deal I got on the apples from these friends, but it was a steal. I got what amounts to about 15 half bushel boxes of apples. Ha ha! The Professor went home earlier than I did to get back to work, so he took a car from my family. We loaded that completely up with boxes of apples as well as some food storage items I stocked up on while in Utah. (And I DID call the border patrol people to find out if I could take the apples into CA.)
A few boxes wouldn't fit, but I wanted those for dried apples, so we just did those up while I was in Utah. This is pretty funny:
Can you spot all FOUR food dehydrators in the picture? (Mom's, grandma's, sister's and one belonging to my brother's mother-in-law.) They are all full of apple slices for me to take home. We filled all of those twice. Seriously, dried apples make the best snack for the kids! I'll definitely use them all eventually.
My mom drove me and the kids (and tons more food) back to CA and then took her car back home after visiting here. Well, when I finally got back home from my trip I filled up my previously almost empty closet with all that lovely canned goodness:
From top to bottom: Peaches, peach puree, pear puree, chicken, black beans, fruit cocktail, salsa, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, pears, grape juice, grape jam, plum puree, peach puree.
After putting all that away I sat and laughed myself silly. I called out to my mom, "What am I thinking! I don't have any room for the applesauce!!" And then as I was giving my mom jars to take back with her (to trade out for the ones she sent my way full of food) I realized I didn't even have enough jars for all my applesauce! Duh. I even panicked and wondered if I had enough canning lids. (Whew. I had a whole case of 'em.)
Well, to FINALLY get to the point about canning all that applesauce...
I waited a week until I had a Friday when my husband didn't have work. He was in charge of the kids all day. I set up all my canning stations the night before so everything was totally ready to go the next day. I did end up sending The Professor on a hunt for an extra camp stove I could borrow so I'd have more burners as I can't use my kitchen stove at all. (Microwave was installed much too close to the stove top.)
I got busy canning first thing in the morning and honestly didn't stop for more than 5 min. at a time all day long! And of course I had to feed the missionaries dinner that day too. Ha ha! I guided the Professor through fixing some dinner and we served up a huge bowl of hot applesauce which was completely devoured.
I was so sore and tired and sick at the end of the day! (I of course had a cold to deal with on top of everything else.) I didn't sleep well that night because I was so sore from carrying huge boxes of apples, pots full of jars of applesauce, and vats of cooked apples. But, the end result was worth it. Ahhhh....
I tell you, it's so good to do it all in one day because then you only have to do the dishes once!
Now, why so much applesauce you ask?
Well, for one, I got a steal of a deal on those apples. Two, I made enough to last us a good 2 years, so I don't have to try to make this same trip to Utah next year. Three, applesauce is the most popular canned item at my house! The kids constantly request it for lunch.
Well, I'm so glad that's over and done with!
And I did have to borrow 4 dozen quarts from a friend. True friends let you borrow all their empty canning jars, right? I even found a place to put them all. I had a spare shelf in the kitchen cupboard for a few, and the rest went into boxes and under our bed. And you better believe that when we bought a bed frame I actually brought a measuring tape and made sure it would be high enough off the floor that I could store jars of food under there. (That must be a sign of a complete canning nut!)
Well, that's the story of my canning adventure this year. It felt so good to can something! It also felt good to spend a day doing something I'm good at. Sometimes I become so troubled by how difficult motherhood, homeschooling and being a Primary president are. It's hard to feel like I'm doing well at any of those things that my life revolves around. But, for one day I got to indulge in a hobby I'm quite good at and feed my love of efficiency. And oh the smell of hot applesauce! Mmmm....
Did you can anything this year? I'd love to hear about it. And don't compare what you did to my insanity.
*Can I get a shout out in the comments from anyone who preserves food on the scale we do? I'd be really interested to know if there are any other wacky food preserves out there like us!*
The Professor had told me there was a talk on the Articles of Faith in the Priesthood session of conference and I was so excited! We've been working really hard this year to help all the kids in our Primary learn from 7 up to all 13 of the Articles of Faith. So, I did a little sharing time on this talk just this past Sunday to take up the rest of the time after we rehearsed our Primary program. Then I re-used my sharing time as a FHE lesson to give my kids some extra review on it.
(Side note- Is being the Primary president ever going to get any easier? It's been almost a year now and I still feel like I'm losing my mind every day over it! Ugggghhhhh.....)
It's really simple- just taken right from his talk. Just type up on 5 papers the 5 sections Elder Perry said the doctrines could be divided into. Then type up smaller the numbers 1-13 or even a small card with the whole article typed up.
To begin the lesson I briefly related the story Elder Perry told about his class learning the Articles of Faith and earning a party with their teacher. It's an amusing story and worth telling- especially the ending about the police being sent to find them because the Primary president got worried and their older teacher was having a hard time getting back down from the hike they'd gone on! To lead into the game I said this quote from his teacher, "...memorizing the Articles of Faith would mean nothing
more than a lot of words unless we understood the doctrines and
principles contained in them." I told the kids I wanted them to understand the doctrines in the the Articles of Faith a little better so we were going to discuss them and divide them into sections the way his teacher had shown him.
Our game went like this:
I say, "Who knows the first Article of Faith?"
I toss a ball to someone raising their hand. They catch it and recite it for me. (I prompted them to get started as it's challenging to remember which is which.)
We sometimes had one person recite or sing it, or we all did it together. It's fun to change it up, or help someone out if they forget how it goes.
Then the child who caught the ball comes up to put the paper with "First" on it underneath the correct section with a magnet or tape.
I explained why it belonged in that section and what the title of that section meant. (Aspirational isn't exactly a word most Primary kids know.)
We went through each Article of Faith this way and put them all where they belonged.
Then if you are really cool you have a fancy-schmancy treat that somehow relates to the Articles of Faith to end your FHE. I'm not cool, so I just tossed some homemade frozen cookie dough in the toaster oven to bake everyone a single cookie while we had our lesson. Easy-peasy. (OK, so there weren't enough for me. Sniff. Sniff. Lucky for me I know where I hide the chocolate chips!)
So, this totally wasn't cute or crafty, but it's a good review of the Articles of Faith and a great way to discuss a conference talk!