Thursday, October 28, 2010


When I was in the 3rd grade, I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up. My teacher loved the planets, loved outer space, and loved the stars. She always talked about them and I could feel that love and I wanted to experience it all as an astronaut.

Unfortunately, when I was in the 4th grade, I became afraid of the night sky. I felt like it was too infinite, too big to understand, too daunting to look at. I'm not sure what caused this change inside of me, but I do remember my mom asking me to come outside one night and watch a meteor shower with her, and I said no because I was already afraid of it.

In one year's time, my dream of becoming an astronaut had completely vanished.

Do you ever feel like the question "what do you want to be when you grow up?" is completely over-rated? Why do we put a label on ourselves, a job title of what we are to become, starting from a young age? I feel like if you work towards something your whole young life, and then don't obtain that 'certain' profession, you feel like a failure of sorts.

I wanted to be an astronaut. Well, now you all know that will never happen.

I wanted to be a hairdresser. That's another profession that I also know I will never be.

I wanted to become a teacher. Some days I still do, so I suppose there's still a possibility it could happen. But it hasn't happened yet, and I graduated from high school almost 14 years ago.

I wanted to be a mother. And I am, but most of the time I feel like I should be fired from this position.

Wouldn't it be better to ask ourselves and our young ones something like "what do you hope to accomplish during your lifetime?" instead? Because then at least we could feel like there would be multiple dreams to fulfill, there would be a constant feel of moving forward, of doing things, of going in the right direction to accomplish those lifetime goals. If I'd asked myself what I wanted to accomplish in my lifetime, instead of what I wanted to be when I grew up, I think the results would've been more positive. I would've felt more successful and less like a failure along the way.
For example, I would've said "I want to fly among the stars" instead of saying "I want to be an astronaut". That task is done--I flew on a plane during the night sky on our way to England in 2008.

I would've said "I want to learn to cut and style hair" instead of saying "I want to be a hairdresser". That task is done--I always cut my boys' hair, I cut my own hair this past summer, and I've helped Josh color and perm his hair

I would've said "I want to be a good influence in someone's life" instead of saying "I want to be a teacher". I'm still working on this task!!!

I would've said "I want to teach my children" and I do, even though I'm not always the best mother.

I think this is one of the reasons I'm making my "Bucket List", why I create yearly goals for myself, why I do a "Top Ten" seasonal activity list. Because even though I haven't turned out the way I imagined, even though I don't have the profession that I used to want to be, even though I'm over 30 and feel like I haven't found my place in life yet, I can still feel good about myself. I feel successful when I put a check by an item on a life list, I feel like I've accomplished something great even if it's just doing something as simple as "jumping in leaves", and I feel like I have many exciting things in life to look forward to, however big or small those things may be! I've turned into a dreamer, a hoper, a wisher. It seems like my head is in the clouds a LOT lately. And I'm okay with that. The music that's currently on my blog is a list of "Wishing and Dreaming" songs. I love listening to the messages in the songs every day. The chorus of Sarah McLachlan's song "One Dream" states: "And you know that you can make it, you've got the whole world in your hands. And you've spent a lifetime working for this moment, and you are shining. You're all that you wanted to be".

What do YOU hope to accomplish during your lifetime?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Food, Glorious Food (chapter 3)

Chapter 3: Apples

We have two apple trees in our backyard, each of a different variety. The larger of the two produces a HUGE crop of yellow/green apples every other year, and the years in between it produces nothing. This year was the "nothing" year since last year was the "huge" year: it produced over 2500 apples last summer, with which I made dehydrated apple slices, lots of applesauce, and lots of apple/pear freezer jam. The other apple tree in the yard produces a small amount of reddish colored apples every single year.

There wasn't very many apples this year at all. I picked the apples from the tree at the beginning of September, and there was only enough to fill one large bowl-full--about 30 apples in all. There wasn't enough apples to make jam or applesauce, and I didn't want to dehydrate them because I wanted to continue my challenge of making something "new and different" with them.

I found another recipe in my Ball Preserving book to make frozen apple pie filling. I'd never done it before, but it was fairly easy and it worked out well, because I barely had enough apples to fulfill the quantity called for in the recipe. The hardest part about processing apples is trying to quickly peel and slice and chop them all before they turn brown. I was worried because I only had a small amount of lemon juice to dip them in to prevent the browning. I worked quickly to get them all done and put them in the pan to cook with the other ingredients before they turned too dark. The recipe made enough for 3 pie fillings.

They're not quite as pretty to look at as the shiny red cherry pie filling, but I think they will be delicious. And although I've eaten lots of apple pie pieces throughout my lifetime, I don't think I've ever made an apple pie in my entire life! It is very fulfilling to know that I am capable of growing food and making new recipes and feeding my family and friends, even if I have no idea what I'm doing and I constantly have to look up in recipe books or research online or seek the help of other people!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Food, Glorious Food (chapter 2)

Chapter 2: Cherries

There is a cherry tree in our backyard that Josh's grandparents planted many years ago. Every summer that we've lived here, the cherry tree has produced a ton of little tart cherries at the end of July. Nobody eats cherries in my family except for me. I'll usually eat a handful, and the birds eat the rest. Within one week of the cherries ripening, the cherries completely disappear because the birds love them! I've always been content with that, because I felt like they haven't truly gone to waste. But this year, I was determined to do something with them!
I looked up cherries in my Ball Preserving Book and found an easy-enough recipe for frozen cherry pie filling. The recipe only has 3 ingredients: 8 cups of tart cherries, some sugar, and a little cornstarch. It takes about approx. 500 tart cherries to make 8 cups. I enjoyed searching the tree for the best-looking cherries and picking the most ripe ones. The boys even liked helping me do it too!
The most tedious process of making the pie filling was pitting every single cherry. To keep my mind focused on the task, I counted the cherries as I was pitting them. For me, pitting 500 cherries takes about 45 minutes. Then the cherries were cooked with the other ingredients, and put into freezable containers. The recipe made enough for 2 pies.

I did the whole process again two more times, so I have 6 containers in my freezer full of beautiful red cherry pie filling! I love opening the freezer and looking at what I produced! This winter, I'm going to invite people over to partake of some of my home-made pies from scratch! I'm looking forward to eating them with people I love, and I hope that the pies will taste as wonderful as the pie filling looks!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Food, Glorious Food (chapter 1)

One of my personal goals for 2010 is to "make something new and different with every food item we grow". This goal has really pushed me to use what produce was grown. This goal also forced me into trying new recipes; getting me to venture out of my comfort zone!

I've actually really enjoyed trying to complete this goal! Rather than posting all about each food on one long post, I've decided to do several blog posts about all the different food items we grew this year. Because each food item was a part of the goal being completed, each food will have its own "chapter" post.

Chapter 1: RHUBARB

I love rhubarb. As in LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!! For years and years, I've wanted to grow it. I talk about it every summer; it's the first thing I wanted to grow when we began planting our garden after moving to Salmon. I've gotten transplants from others, and have tried to grow it myself, but have never been able to grow it successfully! Until THIS year! We got some starts last fall from our neighbors the Harris family. Josh planted them underneath the tree in our garden. I didn't expect them to grow, since I'd never been able to before. But this spring, with all the rain, the two plants not only grew, but they flourished!!!

I was so surprised! And SOOO happy!!! The only problem was, since I'd never actually grew the stuff, I didn't know when I should pick them or how to pick them! I consulted Google, as well as the Harris family, and I finally felt like they were ready to be picked over the July 4th weekend.
I've been given rhubarb in the past, and I've always made pies with them. But, since I had to make something different this time around, I searched for recipes and I found one for a Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble that sounded delicious. I bought some strawberries from the store to complete the recipe, and I made it for a big family luncheon over the 4th. The Harris family was invited, and they came bearing rhubarb desserts as well!!! I thought my crumble turned out really good! Josh hates fruit and Edward doesn't like rhubarb, but they both thought my dessert was spectacular! So, to me that spells success.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Recipe:

1. Mix 2/3 cup yellow cake mix, 2 eggs, and 1 cup sour cream together.

2. Chop 1 2/3 cup rhubarb and 1 2/3 cup strawberries.

3. Combine berries and batter. Pour into greased 9x13 cake pan.

4. Mix rest of yellow cake mix with 2/3 cup packed brown sugar. Cut 2 TB butter into mixture. Stir in 2/3 cup chopped walnut. Pour over cake batter. Bake at 350* for 45 minutes.

I added the recipe to my 'keepers' box and I was excited at the prospect of making it again when more rhubarb had grown.

Unfortunately, that was the only rhubarb food item I ever made this year. I trimmed the shade tree above where the rhubarb plants were, so they started receiving more light than shade. And since it rained all spring, I kept forgetting to water the plants in the summer. Without the shade of the tree and with no water to drink, the parts of the plants that I didn't pick ended up dying within weeks of when I picked the first crop from them.

I'm hoping they'll grow back again next spring. Because I've been dying to have more of that dessert from home-grown rhubarb ever since I first tasted of its sweetness in July!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


When Josh and I were first married, we bought a queen bed complete with a frame, a box spring, and a headboard. After a year or so, we spent the night in a hotel with a king bed. We both loved sleeping in it so much! After that, our queen bed at home didn't feel like it was big enough for the two of us!

After we moved to Salmon, a coworker of mine offered to give us a king bed for free--it was her father-in-law's, and he had recently passed away, and nobody in the family wanted it. We were excited at the prospect and we went and picked it up. The bed came with a frame, a box springs, and a mattress. The mattress wasn't very old, but the box springs were. We gave away our queen bed, and moved the monstrous bed into our home. We liked having the extra space in bed to sleep, but it wasn't the most comfortable bed. After a year of back-aches, we decided maybe the mattress was too soft, so we bought a brand new mattress--a firmer one, and gave the old mattress away. But after a while, the new mattress seemed to be losing its support as well. We finally decided it was the old box springs that were the culprit of our back pain. So, we removed the box springs, and put two sheets of plywood across the slats under the mattress instead. Wha-la! Instant improvement! The mattress was nice and firm again, and the bed felt like new. In our old house, we put some cinder blocks under the frame to raise up the height of the bed after removing the thick box springs. But after we moved into the new house, we didn't want cinder blocks on the carpet. Because of that, the bed was too low: it was only like a foot off the floor! We hated crawling in and out of it every night and morning.

A few weeks ago, Josh had some meetings in Pocatello. He took the truck, because he needed to deliver a few things from the golf course and home to various places in Eastern Idaho. When he came home, the back of the truck was filled. I had no idea that he intended on picking up stuff to bring home as well, but I was shocked at what was in the truck. He surprised me with a new headboard, frame and box springs for our king bed!

I must admit, I was elated at the thought of sleeping in a "real" bed again!! He put it together the next day, and I've been LOVING my new bed ever since! Thanks Josh!

BEFORE--notice how close to the ground the bed is?!:
AFTER--see how complete my room looks now?!:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Frog and Toad Adventures

In June of 2009, we caught a toad while camping. It was the first one I'd ever seen, I thought it was SOOO cute!!!
I just loved holding it for a little while before putting it back by the lake where we found it!
But do you know what's even cuter and funner to hold than a toad? A pond frog! I'd never seen them until this month, when we caught some while we were camping. They were so fun to hold! There's a big size difference between holding a toad and holding a pond frog!

in my hand:
in Kanyon's hand:
in Micah's hand:
We put the frogs that we caught in a plastic cup to help keep them contained.
We took the frogs in the cup with some pond water back to the trailer, and put a little cover on it so they wouldn't escape during the night. The next day, we carried the cup in our hands all the way home!

The boys were so excited to have new pets! I put the frogs in a bigger plastic container after we got home, and put some water and mud and rocks in it. I killed several flies that night and put on the rocks, but the frogs didn't seem interested. After a few days, I was getting worried that they would die of starvation. Thanks to our cousin Jodi's tip, I went to the pet food store and got some little turtle feed pellets. I'm still not sure if they eat them, but we've had them for 3 weeks, and they are still alive!

Unfortunately, we are down to just 4 remaining frogs left of the 9 that we brought home. I didn't snap the lid on tight, because I wanted to make sure they had enough oxygen, and some of them managed to escape. I found two escapees and brought them back, but I have no idea what happened to the remaining five that have disappeared. There is now a screen over the box preventing the last four from leaving!

I'm actually really surprised that they're still around, but I have no idea what to do with them next. Can they survive happily in their box in my home? How long is their life span? Should I keep them? Should I keep feeding them turtle pellets? I change their water each week, is that enough? Would they be better off if I just let them go? If so, should I put them outside in the creek? Will they freeze and die at night because it's so cold? Do you know? What would you do?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Painted Rocks

Our last camping trip this year was the first weekend in October. We went to Painted Rocks, a Montana State Park, near Darby. It took us two hours to get there from Salmon. We'd never been there before, but had driven by the road sign dozens of times and had always wanted to! The place was different than what we expected. We thought Painted Rocks was a lake, but it was actually a reservoir. And because we went camping there in October, the water level was very low.
The campground was by the shallow end of the reservoir, so in the fall, the area is just dirt and mud rather than a body of water. Apparently, lots of locals take their 4-wheelers and motorcycles and dune buggies there in the fall to drive around in the mud. The boys got a kick out of watching all the ATV's!
There were only a few other campers in the campground, so we mostly had the place to ourselves. We had such a wonderful time! The weather was beautiful, the atmosphere was peaceful, and we enjoyed every minute of our short trip!! Josh and Ammon and I read a lot, and the three younger boys explored and rode their bikes and ran around a lot.
That afternoon, we went on a family walk across the dry area of the reservoir to the other side. We had to cross several tributary streams that forged across the ground. One stream was rather wide, and Kanyon was scared to cross it. The boys were ahead of me, and it was the sweetest thing to see as Jonah turned around from half-way across the stream, come back, and grab Kanyon by the hand and slowly lead him across.
When we reached the other side, Josh and the twins climbed up to an old cottage and walked around the abandoned home, while Ammon and Kanyon and I played in the water.
On our way back to the campground, we discovered a little tributary stream that was full of pond frogs, and we all tried to catch some.
I'd never seen frogs so small! They were adorable! We ended up catching 10, but one escaped. So, we took 9 back to the campground with us in a plastic cup.
In addition to collecting frogs, the boys also collected and arranged pinecones, and gathered sticks and pine needles to put in the evening fire.
For dinner, Josh grilled us some delicious steaks! It was lovely to not have to worry about making the meal. Instead, I just sat and watched him, in his cute apron, making the fantastic feast!
As we were waiting for the steaks to get done, the boys all started acting dorky. I laughed so hard watching them be silly. They pulled their pants up too high, they started making faces, and using funny voices! They were so hysterical!!! I truly enjoyed the show they put on just for me!
Before going to bed, we roasted marshmallows over the fire. This was the first time that Jonah and Micah both made perfectly roasted marshmallows, rather than lighting them on fire and burning them! I was SO proud of them!!!
The next morning, we took a drive to the deeper side of the reservoir, where the water was glassy and full. It was then that we started to see the true beauty of Painted Rocks. We drove to the dam, and hiked down a steep trail to the bottom of it, and back up again. It was a hot day, Josh was wearing a long-sleeve black shirt, and he carried Kanyon up most of the steep trail. I was in awe watching him, especially since his airway is only 25% the size of a normal person's. I just love my husband!

After that, we were pretty tuckered out (especially since Kanyon hadn't slept good during the night), so we packed up and headed home. It was a glorious camping trip! I'm grateful that we were able to go--we'd re-scheduled the trip 3 times due to conflicts that came up! I'm sad that was our last camping excursion for the year...I'm already looking forward to going again next April!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

I took this picture at one of Ammon's football games. It was a gorgeous fall day, and I liked the contrast between Josh's bright orange shirt and the beautiful clear blue sky.
But after taking the photo, upon further inspection of it, I found myself staring more at the similarities between Josh and his dad rather than the contrast of the bold orange and blue colors!

--hands in pants pockets
--wearing sunglasses
--wearing hats
--wearing collared, button-up shirts
--top buttons on shirts are un-done
--facial expressions

The similar items in this photo are visible ones, but many times, similarities between parent and child are not always visible. For example, things that Ammon says or certain expressions he displays or ways in which he acts remind me so much of his dad. And Josh has several similar mannerisms to his dad. And Edward (Josh's dad) has a lot of attributes that are like his father's (Josh's grandpa). I like seeing the similarities between each of them. I like having the knowledge of where a specific trait was inherited from. I like how mannerisms are learned and expressions are mirrored as children, ultimately creating a bond that passes down from father to son unaware. I love how each generation is linked with the previous one, regardless of the similarities of the visible appearances.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"No son of mine is gonna play any foos-ball"

I am NOT a fan of football.

I started going to football games when I was in junior high, because my older brother played on the high school team. And when I was in high school, I went to them because it was THE place to be on a Friday night. But after high school, my desire to attend football games ended. Except for the social aspect of them, I had no interest in the actual game. I never even went to see my college team play while I attended SUU; I felt like there were plenty of better activities to do on Friday nights than going to football games!

Of course, as life would have it, I married a man who is a HUGE fan of the sport. I have no idea why people love football so much. I honestly don't get the fascination with it. I feel the same as Mama Boucher from "The Waterboy" when she said that "foosball is a bunch of overgrown monsters man-handling each other". I remember going to a USU game with him once after we were married, and I was bored out of my mind: 1. because I didn't understand the game, 2. because there was nobody in the surrounding crowd that I recognized or knew (other than my husband and siblings, but they were too enthralled in the game to make conversation), and 3. because I froze my butt off.

Two years after that USU game, Josh and I were living in Pocatello for a short time. That fall of 2000, the Salmon high school football team had their state play-offs at the Holt Arena, so we went to those games. Surprisingly, they were exciting and fun and I rather enjoyed myself! I remember a specific game where we were playing Snake River. Snake River has a much bigger school than Salmon, and they had enough football players to fill two teams, whereas we had barely enough players to make one complete team. The Salmon players put up a great fight, a valiant fight, but they were so worn out by the end of the game, that ultimately we lost. I remember thinking how hard those boys worked and how beaten-up they were, like they had just put themselves through 2 1/2 hours of self-induced torture. I remember holding baby Ammon and echoing Mama Boucher's thoughts (again from "The Waterboy"), that "No son of mine is gonna play any foos-ball!".

Football has become a fact of life, and I become a widow to it every fall. If there's a game on TV, it is being watched by Josh. Thursday night=college football, Friday night=high school or college football, Saturday=college football, Sunday: NFL, Monday night: NFL. That leaves only Tuesday and Wednesdays free of the game.

Except not anymore, because this year Ammon started playing football. There have been no days free of the sport since August, when his football practices began. The practices have been every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and his games have been every Wednesday as well as two Saturdays.

That's right, now I have a son who plays the sport. The same son I was holding when I told myself I wouldn't let my boys play football. During one game, Ammon got hurt and my father-in-law said "that's why we never encouraged our kids to do the sport". Not only did I NOT want him to play, but I never encouraged him to play! But, I also never discouraged him from playing the sport that he truly loves. Ammon loves playing football even more than his dad's love for watching the sport on ESPN! And Ammon has joined Josh now in viewing anything football on TV! {insert sigh} Like father, like son...

Football. Foosball. Foolsball. Whatever you call it. It's the highlight of my husband's life and my son's life in the fall! And although I'm still not a fan of the sport, I can truly say that I've enjoyed watching Ammon play it (well, except for that one time when he got hurt). And despite the way I feel about football, I like watching him play because it's important to him and he loves it and it makes him happy.
Ammon played positions on the defensive line and on special teams. There were two teams comprised of 5th and 6th graders: the orange team and the black team. He was #2 on the black team. Both teams practiced for an hour and a half each day on the field adjacent to the high school. The first few weeks, all the kids practiced together until they could get a feel for the boys' abilities and then they split them up into two equally-sized teams. Each Wednesday, the orange and black teams played against each other. Sometimes they played on the practice field next to the high school.And sometimes they played on the high school football field!
The black team won their first scrimmage against the orange team. They continued to have a great winning record, beating the orange team 4 more times out of 6 games!
In addition to playing against the other Salmon team, there was two Saturdays that we played against a team from Anaconda, Montana. One time they played here, and the next time we played there. We hated playing against them. They were mean and they played dirty and rough. Unfortunately, neither of our teams ever beat theirs. The ONE time that Ammon got injured during a game, it was because an Anaconda player grabbed him by the face mask and threw him on the ground. He had whiplash and a neck-ache and a headache, but after sitting out of the game for a quarter getting his neck iced, and drinking some cold water, and voicing his frustrations about the unsportsmanlike behavior from the other team, he felt better. (Because Anaconda always wore black jerseys, our black team had to borrow the orange jerseys for the game. Ammon wore the #16 orange jersey.) I learned a lot about football just by watching my son play. Having Ammon on the field forced me to actually watch the football game rather than just socialize with the people around me (although there was still a lot of that too!). Ammon had lots of good tackles and I was quite proud of him! Their final game was last Wednesday on the high school football field. It was a special game--the Jr. High cheerleaders came to cheer, an announcer did the play-by-play over the loudspeaker from the booth, the big field lights were lit-up, and the scoreboard was used. It was really cool, and the boys all thought so too! They were all pumped and excited and it was just a spectacular game to watch! Even though they didn't win their final game, both teams played very well! I was very proud of all the kids, especially Ammon!!
I'm glad that Ammon had the fun opportunity to play football for the first time this year. He was worried that he wouldn't be able to play because football started just 3 days after his finger accident with the lawnmower. Thankfully, his finger healed nicely and he was able to participate. He had great coaches and an awesome team! I'm looking forward to many years ahead of watching him play the "foosball" game in the fall!!! But for now, I'm glad that his first season is over, and that at least Tuesdays and Wednesdays are free from football once again!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

1 or 2 ???

I love taking photos.
I love editing photos.

Sometimes while I'm editing, I have a hard time choosing between similar photos which one is the best to keep (there's no point in keeping thousands of similar photos on my hard-drive).

So, I play a little "game" with my family.

It's called "CHOOSE Which One You Like Best".

Then I'll show them the two photos I'm undecided on at the time and make them pick. I'll say "One (show them the picture) OR Two (and show them the next picture)". I'll go back and forth, showing the two photos over and over, and repeating "One or Two" until they make a choice!

I've asked them to play it so much, that they all cringe when I ask them now to play the game with me, but I must admit they're all getting faster and better at making photo choices! I think it's fun, but unfortunately I don't think any of them are very fond of it!

Sooooo, I was wondering... Could you do me a favor and play along with me?

I took some photos of our family at the first of October (set the camera on a tripod, arranged the family, set the timer, and ran to get in the photo). I have a few favorites from the session, but because of some different editing choices, I'm having a hard time picking which ones are the best. Would you please tell me which of the following you like better?!!!


1 (green tones) : or 2 (red tones) :


1 (vertical crop) : or 2 (horizontal crop) :


1 (eyes down) :
or 2 (eyes up) :

Thank You for helping me!!!! :)