Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Curtain answer

I solved at least one problem with my craft room curtains. The curtain rod kept extending and extending as I closed the curtains. (The grommets would push the rod out.) I remembered a trick that my husband had taught me. To make the glass fixtures on ceiling fans stop making noise, you wrap large rubber bands around the neck of the glass. I decided that I could wrap rubber bands around the rod where the rod is held in place by the brackets. I did that and the curtain rod stopped extending. It was an inspired solution!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Favorite Author

My favorite author (no surprise to my husband and children) is a Harlequin Romance author, Essie Summers. She wrote romance novels about strong men and strong women. The novels were based in New Zealand. This was back in the day when romance did not include sex and there would only be 2 or 3 kisses in the book. The women were all great homemakers who loved to work at keeping a house and taking care of children (usually nieces and nephews.) I love reading these stories still.

She wrote her novels many years ago and at this point, her books are no longer in print. If I find them on Ebay, on an on-line used bookstore, etc., I will buy them even if I already have a copy, because as you see mine are in varying states of repair (or do I mean disrepair.)

As I have read these novels many times, I used to wish that my husband was just as romantic. Then I realized maybe I was wrong about his lack of romance, but I'll let you be the judge...

While we were dating, I was also dating another young man. My future husband wanted to know exactly what was happening in my relationship with the other man. So, after a fireside that I attended with the other young man, my future husband rushed to my parents' home, parked his car a very discreet distance away and secreted himself in the neighbor's olive tree. He then waited and watched for our return home. My young friend and I arrived home and sat out in his car for 20 minutes or so. What were we doing? Reading the Book of Mormon. We went into the house for a while and then my friend left.

My future husband was ready to climb down, but the neighbors came out of their house and sat under the tree. He was stuck there for another hour before they went back into the house. By the time it was over, he had limb prints on his body at every point of contact.

The relating of this story after we were engaged was the point at which my mom realized that my future husband really did love me and she never worried again about our upcoming marriage.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Now that the ironing board and sewing machine are stowed away and the fluff and strings vacuumed up, I thought I'd talk a little about my creations of the past week. I have a very hard time visualizing how something is going to turn out. I am the kind of person who would rather make 20 of an item instead of 1. I know that the first item I make will have a multitude of flaws that can be corrected within the first 2 or 3 times I try to make it.

I made these curtains earlier this week. They are hung either a little too high or a little too low. This means I need to figure out something to make them look better. Do I rehang them? Add a valance? Or my latest thought... put a vinyl phrase on the wall between the curtain rod and the window? It's not the only issue. I thought they would be plenty full and the white stripes would be more prevalent than the red. Wrong on all accounts. The curtain rod has its own problems. Every time I close the drapes, the drapes catch on the rod and pull out the rod so it tends to grow longer every time.

This blanket looks OK, but it looks old ladyish to me. It is a soft fur type material on one side and cotton on the other and I suspect that the fur will always be way too slinky for the cotton. I do enjoy machine embroidery and that turned out fairly nice. After purchasing the material for this, I went to Ross and found similar nicer-looking blankets for about 1/2 of what I paid for the materials for this blanket.

These stuffed baseballs turned out fine. I had done a dozen larger size balls in the summer for girls' camp, so had plenty of experience making these. I did try a new type (for me) of embroidery that made the words appear much clearer.

I love creating things, but I can't create them from scratch. I have to see a sample and then I can improve on it or change it so that it is sometimes so different from its original that you would never believe that it came from there.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My childhood home

I was looking through my pictures and found some that I took about 3 years ago of my home from the age of 6 months to 14 years of age. Our family lived in Coolidge at an electrical substation.

The far right of the picture just before the overpass you can see what's left of the original road into the substation. I am taking the picture from the new road into the substation.

Here is the diesel plant. It was across the parking lot from our home. I loved going there, but we weren't allowed to go there by ourselves. It had way too many gadgets that a child could do damage to. I especially liked it when they fired up the diesel engines. They were huge and as I remember on their sides. They didn't run them often.

This is the front door to our side of the duplex. We had a living room, eat-in kitchen, utility room, 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a long hall, and a closed in sun porch that had no heating or cooling (that I remember.) I loved the hall in this house. You could close the doors to the other rooms and have privacy to talk on the phone or you could play ball.

This is the east side of the duplex showing all the bedroom windows. Mom & Dad's room were on the far left, the bathroom was the smallest window, the 2 tall windows were the main kid bedroom, and the windows with the small air conditioning unit were the sun porch. We used to love to lay on the bed in the sun porch (which was always closed in as long as I remember) and watch the summer storms roll by. We could see the storms and hear the thunder, but we rarely got rain.

This is the back of our duplex. The door on the left leads to the sun porch. The door on the right leads to our utility room. The small window between doors was our kitchen.

When we lived at the substation, we were 5 miles from town. In this picture you'll find that if you look to the far left, you can see the overpass that was just a short distance from our house.

Our duplex looks remarkably the way it did when we lived there (at least on the outside), but the surroundings have changed a great deal.

Chicken soup

To me, a whole chicken is the food that keeps on giving.

I roasted a close to 5 lb. whole chicken on Sunday and fed it to 12 people, 8 of which were adults. Here is what was left.

Monday morning, I pulled the chicken out and pulled off all the edible chicken pieces.

I froze the chicken pieces. I can use it in any recipe calling for cooked chicken or save it for chicken soup.

Next, I took the inner stalks of celery and the celery's leafy tops, 3 carrots that I peeled, and an onion and chunked them all. (I don't see any reason to spend much time in preparation because all these vegetables will be tossed out with the bones.) Note: I have no problem using vegetables that are beyond their prime as long as they're not rotten. Limp celery, limp carrots, strong tasting onions are all just fine.

I dump them into a pot with all the skin, bones, etc. of the leftover chicken plus about a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of whole black pepper, and a teaspoon of poultry seasoning. If I want clear broth, I have to leave out the poultry seasoning. It leaves a definite residue in the broth. I then cover the mixture with water.

I then bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 3 hours or so. I know it's ready when virtually everything in the pot is soft and mushy. I have also done this in the crockpot. It will be done in 8 hours or so. Here is the resulting mixture.

I strain out the vegetables and bones and toss them.

This is what is left.

The mixture needs to be cooled and refrigerated. Pull it out of the fridge after it is cold. At this point, you'll notice the hardened fat on top of the gelatinous broth. Carefully spoon it off and toss the fat.

Your broth is ready to use or freeze.

I now have what I need for a variety of recipes, but I usually choose to make chicken noodle soup for someone who is sick.

To make soup, I pull the broth out of the freezer and defrost it just a little in the microwave and stick it in a pot and let the heat thaw it the rest of the way. I put nicely sliced celery, carrots and diced onions in the broth and cook until soft. I will add the thawed, cooked chicken and noodles (about 1/4 of a l lb. package) or rice (perhaps 1/2 cup). I cook the rice or noodles in the soup for the time required to cook the item used. The soup is ready to be delivered. This does not make enough to feed an entire family, but is good for the one or two people who are sick.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Papyrus Game

I usually plan on teaching a song for the first 2 weeks of the month and then playing games the last 2 weeks of the month for Primary Singing Time. This month, I needed a game much sooner than usual because the song was so easy.

Here's my idea...
I took phrases from each of our Sacrament Meeting Songs and printed them on paper.

I then rolled them up into scrolls. (I found that I had to use paper clips to hold one side as I rolled the other.) Then tied some raffia type stuff around them.

I took off the paper clips and there was a cute papyrus.

I placed them in a basket and I was ready for music time.

At singing time, I talked a little about how the Bible was originally written on papyrus. I then divided the children in teams and called one person up from a team and let the team have up to 3 chances to guess the song from the phrase on their papyrus. Their team got a point if they were able to come up with the name of the song. They had few problems guessing the song. We then sang the verse that the song was from.

In order to help the pianist and I, I made a cheat sheet in Excel where I alphabetized the quotes and had the song name, page number and verse, so we could easily find the songs. It worked pretty well.

I love singing time and am amazed at how many different ways there are to review songs. I have been in for a little over 4 months and each month I feature a different game or review. Some are definitely inspired (today's, for example) with no readily apparent source of inspiration, some are knockoffs of what I've seen on the internet, some are inspired by seeing some fun visual aid and running with it. I am definitely appreciative to my Father in Heaven who inspires me each week.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

My blog name

I have started this blog on a whim because I have realized that I want to say more than facebook allows. The name comes from a Bill Cosby routine that I have always loved and epitomizes my view on life. It is a little skewed, but so am I and my children seem to have turned out pretty well, so I'm not too worried. (I just listened to this and realized that what I have always thought was "daddy's great" is actually "dad is great". Like I said, I skew many things.)