Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Resolutions for 2014

New Years came in 2013 and I made resolutions.  But, I really didn't think I'd keep them.  I haven't in the past.  So in 2013 I decided to scale back and make 2.  The first was to work out consistently and the second was to run a 5K.  Shock of shocks, at least to me, I ended up doing them both!  For the last 9 months I've been working out 5-6 times a week, and I ran 3 5K's last year.  I even like working out now.  Who knew?

So here we are racing up on 2014. I'm thinking about resolutions again.  Here are the ones that I'm pretty committed to so far:

1.  Tracking my food intake more consistently on  I'm down around 170lbs and I'd like to lose the remaining 40-50lbs this year.   I think the tracking will help.

2.  Consistently meal planning for my family on a weekly basis.  I really suck at this.  I have a major mental block about it.  But I know it would be better for our health & budget if I did so.  I don't mind cooking, but I hate getting to the end of the day and having no idea what to make. Menu planning would solve this.

3.  Doing a monthly budget and a per paycheck spending plan a la Dave Ramsey.  In our nearly 20 years of marriage we've never consistently done this.   I've been very lucky and blessed to have married a man who is very good with money.  I am also pretty good with money, so we've managed to get and stay debt free without a budget.  But, I think that we could do even better managing our money with a plan than without.  So I'd like to commit to the budget process for a year.

I'm toying some other goals but not sure that I want to give them resolution status.  Here's what else I'm thinking about:

1. Run an obstacle race, mud run or Spartan sprint

2. Do a sprint triathlon (little concerned about the swimming as I haven't done any serious distance swimming in years).

3. Get both of my boys off training wheels on their bikes.

4. Bunches and bunches of household renovation projects (the list here seems endless)

5. Lists and lists of books and projects I'd like to read/do with the boys for school (again the list seems endless)

6. Post more consistently on this blog and build a readership

7. Bake more of our bread products at home.

8. Balance at home school work, housework, and outside of the house school work/trips a bit better this year.

What are you thinking about for 2014?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Superstition Farms Homeschool Field Trip

Last week the boys and I went to Superstition Farms in Mesa for a field trip with our large LDS homeschool group.  Honestly, we almost didn't go.  It was a 50 mile drive one way.  But, I'm so glad that we did.

It was so fun!  Superstition Farms ( ) is a family run dairy farm in east Mesa AZ. 

Upon arrival we all headed into a barn with milk crate seating.  Farmer Jason talked to us about what cows eat & how they take their medicine.  We were all suprised to learn that cows at Superstition Farm eat recycled foods.  They eat the little bits of pasta left over from the pasta factory, cotton seeds, hay & green grass. 

After leaving the barn, we all climbed aboard a trailer lined with hay bales for seating and pulled by a big tractor for a hay ride.  Farmer Jason joined us on our hay ride and told us that each of the cows on the farm produces an average of 9 gallons of milk every day!   We saw around 2500 cows.  We learned that they are showered twice a day & milked twice a day.

The petting zoo of rescue animals was next on the agenda.  It was a HUGE hit with the kids.  The boys fed goats, sheep & a mini donkey.  They got to hold a chicken and look at a very fluffy rabbit.  The farm's black lab was particulary popular as he loved to fetch and the boys love to throw.

Next we were off to the milk bar.  With 14 flavors of milk to chose from I was concerned the decision making process could take all day. But, very quickly, James settled on cherry milk and Daniel opted for blueberry milk.  They both LOVED their choices.  Next up was ice cream, made fresh from the cream collected on the farm.  Again, a big hit.

Totally worth the drive, worth the tour price and we'd do it again in a minute!

I wish I'd have taken pictures!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekly Goals 5.6.2012

Here I am again.  Not the most consistant blogger am I? 

Recently I've been inspired by's Crystal to set some goals.  She is just awesome at this. She posts them on her blog.  It's inspiring!  I'm going to give it a try.

Here goes:


Walk the 2 mile route around my neighborhood at least 4 mornings this week
Swim laps in my pool (at least 500 yards) at least 4 times this week.


Work with Daniel 3 days this week on Hooked on Phoenics Kindergarten
Work with James 3 days this week on Hooked on Phoenics Master reader
Work with boys on Math U See 3 days this week
Have 1:1 time for 1 hour with each boy this week.
Get a babysitter and have a date with my husbandChange Hubby has to work this weekend.
Begin compling list for next year's homeschool plan


Pray individually at night daily
Pray with each boy at night daily
Pray @ meals as a family
Read scriptures with the boys daily at breakfast
Seek to magnify my calling

Personal Goals:

Read the Wonder of Boys by James Dobson
Send 2 handwritten notes to friends


Make freezer pancakes
Make freezer sandwiches
Reorganize one set of shelves in the storage room

Financial Goals:

Get back on track with monthly excel budget
Set savings goals

Check back next week and let's see what I've done.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Frugal Macaroni & Cheese & it's glorious variations

Last night a friend called and asked for my Mac n Cheese recipe. When I sat down and e-mailed it to her, and then made a variation of it for dinner for my family I got to thinking about all the cool things you can do with this recipe....So here's the recipe and a bunch of cool variation:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Spray a cassarole with non-stick spray (the size depends on how much you want to make)

Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings)

1 TBS Butter, Margerine, olive oil or vegitable oil
1 TBS Flour (use white...whole wheat doesn't work as well)
1 cup Milk (fresh or reconstituted powdered is fine)
1-1 1/2 cup dry Macaroni
1- 1 1/2 cup shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt

Start your macaroni boiling. Grate the cheese and set aside. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter on med (watch to make sure it doesn't brown or burn). Once melted add the flour and stir. This should make a paste. Cook the paste for about 1 minute. Then add the milk. Whisk the milk mixture continuously until it comes to a light boil and thickens. Turn off the burner and remove from heat. Add the shedded cheese and salt. Whisk until the cheese is melted.

By now your macaroni should be done. Strain it. Dump the macaroni and sauce into the pre-sprayed casserole and bake for 20-30 min. I usually top this with some parmesean cheese and paprika before it put it into the over (bread crumbs would also work).

To scale the recipe up for a larger crowd, the sauce ratio of ingredients is 1TBS:1TBS:1 CUP - so 3Tbs butter:3 Tbs Flour:2 Cups Milk Etc.

So that's the basic Mac n Cheese.....Now for the fun variations:

Add cooked ham cubes, browned hamburger, or cooked chicken cubes.

Add steamed brocolli or peas.

Sub. Penne for Macaroni and Fontina cheese for Cheddar, add crumbled bacon, slivers of sundried tomato and slivers of red pepper. Sautee 1/4 of a diced onion and 1 tsp minced garlic with the butter before adding the flour.

Sub. Fettucini for Macaroni and parmesean for cheddar for a great Alfredo sauce (omit the salt).

Don't make any pasta and use the sauce as a cheese sauce on Broccoli and Cauliflower, or nachos, or a baked potato.

Make up the sauce as written above except double it, Slice up 3 baking potatoes into rounds, dice an onion. Layer sauce, potatoes and onions into a 9 x 13" baking pan, making sure that the last layer is sauce. Sprinkle with parmesean and paprika and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min or so. This make great scalloped potatoes (also known as potatoes au gratin or funeral potatoes).

You can add 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and use it as a wine/cheese sauce.

Make up the sauce recipe, but don't add any cheese, Add 1 can of minced clams (drained), Saute 1/2 rib of celery (diced) 1/4 diced onion, 1 clove or tsp minced garlic and add it to the already made up sauce. Add 1 cooked, cubed potato. Cook over low heat for 15 -20 min on the stove (stirring frequently)'ve got a decent New England could even add some bacon crumbles if you wanted. Leave out the clams and you've got a cream of potato soup.

Trade out potatoes for corn above and you've got corn chowder.

Really you could make cream of anything soup with this base. If you wanted to make it more soupy and less saucy, replace 1/2 of the milk with chicken stock.

So, there you have very versitile, very frugal and very delicious mac n cheese and a bunch of cool variations.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Looking for June Cleaver

I'm a bit of a pioneer in my family.

I'm a stay at home mom. I'm a stay at home starting to homeschool mom.

My mom worked full-time, as did my Grandmothers on both sides and my maternal Great Grandmother.

I totally respect all that they did. My circumstances are different and thus so are my choices. I worked for many years before having my children.

I've never had a role model to show me what a Stay at Home Mom looks like up close and personal. Where's my mentor? My trainer? When I worked I had those. If I'd been a SAHM in the 1950's I'd have had them.

In the 1950's women's magazines, neighbors, relatives and friends could help the new bride learn to manage a household and raise productive members of society. Then feminism happened......WAIT!!!!! before you flame me in comments, I consider myself a feminist. And while that movement certainly helped me out when I was working......Not so much now.

Now feminism tends to devalue what I have chosed to make my life's work. That really bums me out.

How can I be a feminist and a traditional Stay at home wife and mom you ask? Easy, my definition of feminism means that everybody gets the opportunity to pursue what they want in their life and career, without regard to gender (or frankly race, religion, etc.). This is my choice. I want to be here and do this.

I'm just not sure exactally how.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Financial goal setting

We're pretty good about our finances. We set a goal to be out of debt and we got there including our mortgage. That's a story that I'll share over the next couple of months. It didn't last long. Don't misunderstand, we didn't go an a credit card shopping spree....we moved across country and bought another house. We didn't sell the last one, it's rented. But now we have a mortgage again and our emergency savings are not where they should be.

A mortgage and no other debt you say? What's the problem? I really really really hate owing money. I LOVE the freedom of owing nothing I know that having no mortgage is possible, I've already gotten there once. I want it again.

I love the idea of frugality, I really do. I LOVE living debt free. But honestly, we've gotten sloppy about it. We've let things slide.

In a word....we need a goal.

A compelling, exciting, action galvanizing goal.

So here is phase one of that goal....

Pay off the mortgage

Save 6 months of living expenses

Build up our stock piles of food and household items so that we have as close as we can to a year's supply

Okay maybe this is more than phase one. I tend to bite off more than I can chew and get overwhelmed. I know what I need! I need a plan! Not a goal a plan! No wait, maybe both..........

More on this later........................

Monday, July 26, 2010

Daily progress

Our 1st week in Phoenix was a challenge. We bought a forclosure, with a lot of potential. We thought it needed paint, carpet and 2 light fixtures. A surprise 2nd story water leak taught us otherwise. So, the leak is fixed, the painting is done (thank you Frank Lang) and the floors are done (thanks to Greg Tidwell). Now we can finally get unpacked.

Last night we slept in our own beds for the 1st time since we arrived. Today I am unpacking box after box trying to figure out how we got all this stuff and why we need it.

But the big news is that today is my oldest son's 4th birthday! I feel a bit like the worst mom ever. I can't find the cake pans to make him a homemade birthday cake. I can't put much of a party together today so we're delaying it a week or two.

One thing I can do is tell you all the top 10 things about my oldest:

1. He is super funny
2. He is a great big brother to my youngest
3. He is very well spoken
4. He is no longer afraid to put his face in the water
5. He announced this morning that he ready to get married, and has picked the girl
6. He loves to climb in bed with us at night and cuddle
7. He is learning to read
8. He is a great train track builder
9. He is quite possibly the smartest 4 year old I've ever met
10. He's mine.