Friday, November 2, 2012

My Rant

I am going to rant here for a few minutes, so if you do not want to hear it then stop reading now! But if your curiosity gets the better of you & you want to know what I am ranting about, then, by all means, read on.
I heard a story this morning of a family in need of some compassionate service (in the way of meals brought in) for a few weeks. In the midst of this story a statement was made that the teenage child in the home did not even know how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Are ya kidding me?!?! Seriously??? That made me think back and have cause to be thankful.
Growing up on a ranch, I was an outside girl. Every moment of every day, when I had the chance, I was outside; playing trucks on the hillside, building forts along the creek (hiding from the pigs that roamed out there), making a playhouse in the loft of the old barn or riding my horse or the motorbike out thru the fields. Every chance I got I was out 'helping' my dad irrigate, drive tractor or just tagging along. Even when we had 'work day' for school I would gladly work out in the yard cleaning up the bushes and flower beds. Then when I was 11 my world changed a bit. My big brother, who was on his mission, was diagnosed with cancer. My parents were gone for quite a while. When that happened, I got to go stay with neighbors or friends (that was FUN!). But once Mike was brought back to Salt Lake for treatments my dad came back home and Mom stayed down in Salt Lake with Mike. Since Dad was home, I could stay back at home, but then I needed to learn how to do some of the basics around the house, like laundry and cooking. Mom would write me letters in detail, explaining how to sort the clothes (I pretty much already knew how to do that from just watching her) and how much soap to put in and what settings to wash and dry them on. Sometimes my Grandmother was there to do it for us, but most of the time she was up in Hat Creek with Grandpa. Life had to go on, you know.
When it came to cooking, I cringe now to think of the things my poor dad had to eat. I knew how much he loved meat, potatoes, and gravy. I so wanted to cook that meal for him to show him how grown up I was. Now, we made our gravy a little different than most people. It was a white gravy made from bacon grease, flour and milk. I called a neighbor/cousin to ask her how to do it, but she was a little unsure also so....I made the attempt. I knew you melted the bacon grease in the fry pan, stirred in the flour, then added the milk. What I didn't know was you needed to let the bacon grease and flour brown for a few minutes to break down the flour and make a paste. Then add the milk, stirring as you go. I just  pretty much did it all together at once. The gravy was horribly lumpy! The meat didn't turn out too bad, but I'm sure it was very dry and lacked any seasoning at all. Bless my sweet dad's heart, he still raved over it, how great it was going to taste. As we sat down to the table to eat, a knock came at the door. In walked our neighbor, my dad's best friend. "We were just sitting down to eat. Would you like to join us?" said my dad. All the while I was trying to catch his eye to tell him NO! I knew the meal was not fit to feed a friend. Of course he eagerly said yes and sat down with us. I was mortified! Nothing was ever said about that meal being awful, or horrible or inedible, but right then I decided I was going to make sure I knew how to cook better to make it up to my dad!
Now for my rant....when I got to college I was shocked at how many girls I met who had no clue how to do ANYTHING for themselves. They did not even know how to go to the store to buy personal items for themselves, let alone turn on the stove, make ramen noodles or wash their clothes. The dorm mother had to teach them. I must say, they were extremely excited to be learning these things, but at the age of 18 they didn't know how???!!! Really??? How sad. I made another vow to myself that my children would not be in that boat! They would leave home at least knowing the basics, if nothing else.
By the age of 5, Brittany at least knew how to turn off the stove if I was outside & couldn't get in right then. She also was skilled at vacuuming! By the age of 9 Mataya could follow a cookie recipe and make cookies all on her own when I was too tired after a day of teaching at school and was pretty much passed out on the couch. BTW-I would use that on my Foods students, who were 7th and 8th graders. I told them it was pretty sad my 9 year-old could show them up when it came to making cookies.
On her mission, Kim is very knowledgeable about how to live on a budget and know how to prepare simple, but good foods that don't cost a lot. At college, KC is the apartment chef and doing an excellent job at it.
So...Mothers....teach your children the basics! Teach them how to be independent while you are there to watch them so, heaven forbid, you don't have to do it thru a letter and let them have to learn it on their own. Granted, trial and error are great tools, but it sure is nice to have mom stand alongside you, helping and giving pointers. Mission presidents, future spouses, mission companions, roommates and your own children will thank you many times over if you do. I promise!
End of rant. Now you can return to your regular programming.  :) Have a great, teaching day!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Homemade Onion Rings

John & I are getting more & more where we find something at a restaurant that we really like, then come home and try to fix it here at home. Sometimes we get it spot on the first time and sometimes it takes a few tries. That is the case with onion rings. We LOVE onion rings, but I like the ones, like at Rupes, that have a crunchy, corn meal-type breading on them, not the smooth breading. We have tried several different recipes. FINALLY yesterday, as I searched the internet, I found a couple of different recipes that looked good. I got the supplies, combined the recipes, and made the best onion rings yet! I think they are even better than Rupes! BTW, Rupes is our local fast food joint that is very similar to A&W. Great food but rather expensive. SO----here is the recipe.

Onion Rings

1 lg onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. dry bread crumbs
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. dry bread crumbs

Heat oil in deep fryer.
Separate onion slices into rings & set aside. In a small bowl mix together flour, 1/2 c. bread crumbs, baking powder, and salt.
Dip the onion slices into the flour mixture until they are all coated (this dries the rings out so the batter will stick); set aside. Whisk the egg, milk and buttermilk together and add enough of the flour mixture to it to make a batter, not too runny but not too thick. May need to add more milk during the process.
Dip the floured rings into the batter to coat & shake off excess batter. Then dip in bread crumbs & coat well.
Fry in oil 2-3 minutes or until brown. Drain on paper towels.
Can sprinkle with season salt after frying, if desired.
Makes about 3 servings

I promise you these will be devoured in no time at all. You will hardly be able to wait until they have cooled enough to put in your mouth.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Am So Blessed!

While Kimberlee was living at home we would be having a conversation and the words to a song would pop into my head that were related to the topic we were talking about. It would almost always be a country music song. She often made fun of me for comparing my life, or hers, to a country song. Well, guess we go again.
All last summer and fall I could not get a particular song out of my mind. I really felt (and still do) that it applies to me. You may have heard it. It is Martina McBride's "Blessed." These are the words:

I get kissed by the sun each morning,
Put my feet on the hardwood floor.
I get to hear my children laughing
Down the hall through the bedroom door.
Sometimes I sit on my front porch swing,
Just soaking up the day.
I think to myself, I think to myself,
This world is a beautiful place.

I have been blessed.
And I feel like I found my way.
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day.
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve,
To be here with the ones who love me,
To love them so much it hurts.
I have been blessed.

Across the crowded room
I know you know what I'm thinking'
By the way I look at you.
And when we're lying in the quiet
And no words need to be said,
I think to myself, I think to myself,
"This love is a beautiful gift."


When I, when I'm singing my kids to sleep,
When I feel you holding me,
I know.....I am so blessed.
And I feel like I've found my way.
I thank God for all I've been given
At the end of every day.
I have been blessed
With so much more than I deserve.
To be here with the ones who love me.
To love them so much it hurts.
I have been blessed.

Anyway, the chorus is probably my favorite part because of the words. I do thank my Heavenly Father every day for all He has blessed me with. For a time, last fall, I was having difficulty falling asleep at night. My mind would get racing with all the things I needed to be doing the next day or upcoming week and I could not relax. One night these words came into my mind so I started thinking of all the things I was blessed with. It didn't take long to relax and fall asleep. That became my habit each night.
Today in Relief Society our lesson was on how much we really mattered to our Heavenly Father, and how important each one of us is to Him. The sweet sister giving the lesson commented on how her life had become somewhat stalemate and how she didn't think she really mattered to the Lord. This last year she has had some profound things happen to her that made her realize how important she was to Heavenly Father and how he had been carrying her thru her life. I thought of that and also of how I get trolling along, so super busy and caught up in my every day things that I forget to continually communicate with Heavenly Father each day. After a time things will get so bad (in my mind) that I do not think I can go on another minute or I just don't know how to handle a certain situation at home and I am reminded...I just need to ask for help. He is always there waiting to help me if I will just ask. And help He does!!! Invariably, things will turn around and be better. Or I am just at peace enough that it helps the situation.
I am just truly blessed! My last blog post here was about our busy year last year. What a year it was! But soooo many blessings! It was a year filled with such wonderful and positive things. Even my mother's passing was such a blessing. She is now free of her earthly body and reunited with her eternal companion and many other loved ones. My brothers and sisters and I had the opportunity to work together to help her just before she passed and to also plan her funeral and spend time together. For me, the time was not long enough. I so enjoyed being in Edward & Kathy's home, (the house I grew up in) visiting with them and getting to go see where Tim and Barb live and visit with them. That visit definitely wasn't long enough! I don't get to do the visiting I would like to very much because Jud keeps me quite busy, but this time was great. I hadn't been up to my hometown of Salmon for a number of years, so going up there was so good. I realized I need to take the kids and go more often. Of course, now it is really only Jud at home. KC is here too, but he is hardly home and will be jumping ship soon. Still, I hope we can make more trips up there and maybe even have the older kids and their spouses tag along to come see the beautiful place I grew up and all there is to enjoy up there!
Just so many blessings! I love where we live here in Blackfoot. I remember when John was transferred over here. I cried. I loved living in Magic Valley, in Rupert. I really didn't want to leave there. And to live in BlackfooT?! Who wants to live there??? I mean, really! But, boy was I ever wrong! We were so blessed to move into a fabulous neighborhood and an even better ward. The friends we have made over the years have been so great! I hope I never have to leave here. Many times I have expressed the desire to live farther out in the country and not so close to town, but now I realize how blessed I am to live close to town, mostly because it is close to the hospital when we have needed to be when Jud has his seizures.
I am blessed to have really really good kids! And now I am blessed to have two fine sons-in-law. I am blessed to be able to do foster care for the state of Idaho. Especially to be able to care for these sweet little ones who come into our home. We have a sweet little almost 3-year old in our home right now. I hear about the home he came from, and I think of the homes and situations of all the other little ones we've had in our home, and I think how blessed I am to have grown up in the family I had. No home is ever completely perfect, but my home was close. Sometime I will have to blog about my home life growing up. It was great!
And now, I look back at my writings here and think...Life is just great! I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and am blessed to have the knowledge I have of a loving Heavenly Father who helps me every day in all I do. Isn't it awesome? I also am blessed, because of this membership in this church, to be married to my best friend, not just 'until death do us part,' but for all eternity! So cool!
These are just a tiny portion of some of the blessings in my life. What about you? What are some of your blessings? I think, for this year, we should all concentrate mightily on the positive things in our lives. Even when something bad or tragic happens, let's try to find the blessings from it. I learned from my father how good life can be when you concentrate on the positive. I challenge you to do just that.
As my beautiful missionary daughter says..."Have an action-packed day (week, or year!)!"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Year in Review

I didn't get Christmas cards & letters out this year. I think it was because I was busy getting wedding announcements out and used the postage for that. Instead I have opted to post a year-in-review here on my blog. I must say, it has been a rather eventful year for us.
January--not too much happened this month aside from John doing his traveling for work and also his birthday.
February--another month of travel for John, but also finally received the much anticipated mission call Kim had been waiting for. On the 25th, at 4 p.m. she found out she had been called to the Tennessee Nashville Mission and was asked to report to the Mission Training Center in Provo on May 25th. John and Brittany were on the phones listening as she read the letter. Her Franson Grandparents and her Grandma Tolman were here with us as we opened the letter. Two days later we celebrated Kim's 21st birthday.
March--spent making plans getting ready for the garden, making the new 'hoop house' greenhouse for the garden and also traveling to Utah for the start of several of Brittany's baby showers.
April--another baby shower for Brittany, here in Blackfoot, more getting geared up for the garden and attending the Logan Temple with Kimberlee as she goes for the first time. Our dear friend, Lis, rode down with us and Brittany & Scott and Scott's parents, Richard and Connie, met us there from Salt Lake. We sure do appreciate how supportive Richard and Connie are with all our children and not just Brittany. Kim also had a close friend and her husband travel down from Blackfoot to attend with her. Grandpa & Grandma Franson were also there.
May--starting the countdown to a busy month. Kim gave her 'farewell' talk in church on the 15th. She did fabulous! After church we had a get-together at our house to celebrate Kim's new chapter she was embarking on and to celebrate Mataya's upcoming graduation. We had a wonderful turnout of family and friends and really appreciate all the support they give our family. That was also the last family gathering my mother attended. She was admitted to the hospital 4 days later with an unidentifiable infection.
The 17th was Jud's 8th birthday so, of course, we had to have a party and celebrate that!
On the 24th John, Kim and I headed down to Salt Lake to stay overnight with Scott & Brittany prior to taking Kim to the MTC. Brittany rode down to Provo with us the next day. The drop off was quite funny, actually. All along the street there are pairs of 'Elders' (young men attending the MTC for training prior to serving in their assigned countries or states). These young men are there to help the new missionaries unload their luggage and direct them where they need to go. As we pulled up to the curb and I got out and opened Kim's door, one of the Elders greeted me then saw Kim and said, "Oh. A Sister Missionary." Within seconds there were a half dozen Elders gathering at our car. All were eager to greet her and 'help' her unload her luggage. Once our hugs were given and goodbyes said, John, Britt & I got back in the car and headed out of the parking lot. Brittany kept chattering away, which I was grateful for, but then just stopped talking all together. That is when I lost it and started to cry. 18 months seemed like a really long time at that point.
John & I traveled home that afternoon and the next day I was in Pocatello talking with the Hospice nurse, trying to work out the details of Mom's release from the hospital to go back to her apartment at the assisted living center where she had been living. She was unable to take care of herself, even to the point of feeding herself or sitting up in bed on her own.
Friday, the 27th, was spent in preparation of Mataya's High School graduation that evening. It was a really nice evening. She got all graduated and spent the night at the school at her 'all night party.'
June--The last few days of May and the beginning of June were spent on the phone a lot talking with the Hospice nurse and family keeping updated on Mom's condition. The first weekend she was back home from the hospital she rallied and did very well. We thought she was on the mend. By tuesday of the next week she quit feeding herself and pretty much quit eating all together. By that weekend she couldn't be left alone so my sister, Jane, brother, Edward, took time from their busy lives to come stay with her 24 hours. I was able to go down a couple of times to relieve them so they could go home to take care of things there. Finally, on the 9th she gave up the fight and returned home to Heavenly Father. During the time Jane & Edward stayed with her and the rest of us came to visit her there were some precious moments we were able to experience and share with her.
We had Mom's funeral in Salmon on the 17th. We left Jud in Rigby with Grandma & Grandpa Franson. We knew it would be too hard for him to understand all that was going on and it would just be too much stimulation for him with all the events that had been unfolding up to this point. He did fabulous with Grandpa & Grandma and we were able to relax and enjoy our time in Salmon.
After all this, we were on the wait for our first grandchild to make his appearance. Finally, on the 23rd he decided it was time and Stockton Heinz Sawatzki made his appearance in this big, wide world. Brittany did great through the entire labor and delivery process. I think Scott even made it through with minimal stress. :)
June is the month of mine & Scott's birthdays and Brittany & Scott's anniversary.
July--another month filled with activities. The weaken of the 4th started off with Judson's baptism on saturday. He's such a funny kid. It was so great to see him be so excited for his baptism. We were unsure of how much he understood about it all but so happy to see that he knew this was part of what he needs to do and to be so excited about it. After the baptism, before he & John got out of the font, he turned to the crowd, gave a big grin and two thumbs up.
On the 4th we had a barbecue with some of the Franson cousins. Then, later that week we celebrated KC's 17th birthday on the 8th. On the 9th John, Taya, Judson and I went over to Raft River and Burley for the annual Tolman Family Reunion. There is a family in Raft River that has turned their yard into a big play area with two giant slip-n-slide water slides, a mud/volleyball pit, a couple of pavilions, a huge zip line and a candy cannon made from an air compressor. We were there for about 3 1/2 hours and not one time had to worry about where Jud was or if he was getting into trouble or mischief. He LOVED the water slides and spent the entire time running up to the top, sliding down, and going back up again. We could hardly get him to stop long enough to eat.
This month Mataya moved down to Salt Lake to live with Brittany & Scott so she could babysit Stockton for Brittany when she had to go back to work. We also attended our Corbett Family Reunion in Riverton and had Stockton's baby blessing in church the next day.
August--we hosted the John & Kathy Franson family reunion here at our house on saturday the 13th. That was a fun time having family here and letting the cousins just run around and play.
The rest of the month was spent enjoying the garden and getting ready for school to start. It is also the month of Brittany's birthday and John & I celebrated our 24th anniversary. We also make another trip to Salt Lake to help Mataya move into her apartment for school.
September--started off the month with the Eastern Idaho State Fair and Mataya's birthday. Brittany, Scott & Stockton came up for the weekend and Mataya and her new boyfriend, Kaleb also came up from Salt Lake. Mataya was getting ready to start school at the LDS Business College.
I decided to enter some things in the fair this year and got 2 blue ribbons and one red. I made a crocheted baby blessing outfit with the dress, bonnet and booties, plus a little girl's sundress & hat and another little girl's dress with a white pinafore over top. That was pretty fun to see those ribbons on what I had done. Made me start thinking of what I can do for next year.
After the fair it is time to concentrate on all the canning and cleaning up of the garden. That is quite a chore in itself.
October--I think the most exciting thing that happened this month was Mataya getting engaged to Kaleb Klingler. We have been so happy for her that she has found such a wonderful young man who loves her and treats her so well. They are so perfect for each other and very cute together.
KC has managed to keep quite busy with school and work. He is on the Student Body Student Council at school and works at a local restaurant. If he isn't working he is busy going to the ball games.
We also did really well with our pumpkin patch and had a lot of fun letting people come and wander through and pick their own pumpkins for Halloween.
November--worked on wedding preparations, dress shopping and the start of bridal showers. We also enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner at our house with John & I, Mataya, KC, Jud and Grandpa & Grandma Franson.
December--More bridal showers and wedding preparations, along with Christmas shopping. John, Jud and I went up to the hills to find a Christmas tree and had such a fun time. It was good to let Jud play in the snow. Wish we could get some here so he could have more fun in the white stuff. He sure does love playing in it.
Christmas was great. We had Mataya & Kaleb here with us. Jud was so excited he hardly slept all night long. Finally at 5:30 KC came up and asked if we could get up because he didn't think he & Taya could keep Jud down there any longer. By 6 a.m. all the gifts were opened. We went to church that morning, then came home and cooked dinner and waited for Kimberlee to call so we could Skype with her. Oh it was so fun to get to see her and talk to her. She is doing so good and looked awesome. How grateful we are that she chose to serve a mission and teach people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have seen so many blessings come to our family because of her service. She is such a beautiful young woman, trying so hard to do what is right. We are quite proud of her.
Mataya and Kaleb were married on the 29th in the Salt Lake Temple. The night before we attended the Jordan River Temple with her for her first time going to the temple. Both days were just wonderful and beautiful. Their wedding was so awesome! We had such great support from our family and Kaleb's family. The reception that night was very well attended. It was a steady line of guests greeting the bride and groom for almost 2 hours.
Now we are looking forward to 2012 and all the fun and blessings it will bring. John & I are already thinking ahead to the yard and garden and what we are going to do. We had such success with our first greenhouse that we are going to build another. One we will fill with tomatoes again and the other we hope to fill with watermelons. Our watermelons did well and were sooooo yummy. We hope to figure out to grow a bumper crop so we can sell them and share the goodness with others. We are also excited to keep the pumpkin patch going again this year with maybe some more improvements to make it a little more fun for people to come pick out pumpkins.
Happy New Year Everyone!!! Make it a year full of purpose and service and positivity.