Monthly Archives: April 2012

Vista Print: 6 FREE Items For You 2 comments

Vistaprint is currently offering SIX different items free.    Love these sales!


The free items include:

  • 250 FREE business cards
  • FREE rubber stamps
  • FREE personalized T-shirt
  • FREE tote bags
  • FREE sticky notes
  • FREE photo flip book

Shipping and handling fees do apply.  Last year my kids and I designed a T-shirt for Father’s Day…and the free price was pretty sweet!


Head on over to check it out.:-)

5 Things 4/29

Wow, I can’t believe how quickly the week has gone by!  The school year is quickly coming to a close, and that means a lot of testing…and that means it’s been crazy busy at work!!  The next few weeks will likely be filled with extra “hours” at work (in quotes cause it’ll be volunteer hours) getting all the testing and scoring done!  I’m hoping it won’t affect my productivity at home though, because I’m feeling so antsy and excited to get going on projects!  Maybe it’s the promise of sunnier, warmer weather.  Maybe it’s that I’m finally done with the flu.  Maybe it’s simply me being antsy.  Either way, I’m excited to channel the energy to something productive…hopefully!


First though, here’s how I did last week:


  1. Plant another batch of peas.  – YES…also got some more strawberries planted!
  2. Finish rearranging the food storage room. – Um…almost done
  3. Make another batch of homemade beef jerky.  – YES
  4. Walk to work every day.  – YES
  5. Clean out/Declutter the filing cabinet and computer desk. – YES
Saturday my family did a little local hike, and it was the funnest way to end the week!
The plan for this week:
  1. Make a few freezer meals.
  2. Research and plan more hikes for the kids this summer.
  3. Clean out/declutter/reorganize the kitchen pantry.
  4. Declutter/reorganize hall closet #1.  Feeling a spring cleaning itch!
  5. Start working on May’s menu plan.


Have a great week, friends!

Thoughtful Thursday – God’s Positive Answers 3 comments

From Bricks of Life:

For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has positive answers.

You say: “It’s impossible.”
God says: All things are possible. (Luke 18:27)

You say: “I’m too tired.”
God says: I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28-30)

You say: “Nobody really loves me.”
God says: I love you. (John 3:16 & 13:34)

You say: “I can’t go on.”
God says: My grace is sufficient. (II Cor 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You say: “I can’t figure things out.”
God says: I will direct your steps. (Prov 3:5-6)

You say: “I can’t do it.”
God says: You can do all things. (Phil 4:13)

You say: “I’m not able.”
God says: I am able. (II Cor 9:8)

You say: “It’s not worth it.”
God says: It will be worth it. (Rom 8:28)

You say: “I can’t forgive myself.”
God says: I FORGIVE YOU. (I John 1:9 & Rom 8:1)

You say: “I can’t manage.”
God says: I will supply all your needs. (Phil 4:19)

You say: “I’m afraid.”
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear. (2 Tim 1:7)

You say: “I’m always worried and frustrated.”
God says: Cast all your cares on ME. (I Peter 5:7)

You say: “I don’t have enough faith.”
God says: I’ve given everyone a measure of faith. (Rom 12:3)

You say: “I’m not smart enough.”
God says: I give you wisdom. (I Cor 1:30)

You say: “I feel all alone.”
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

Make Your Own Beef Jerky – Self Reliance Journey 12 comments

So, as part of my self-reliant journey, I’m making an effort to learn how to do new things.  Last month I learned to make my own chap stick, and it was a huge success!!


For April, I decided to try to make beef jerky with ground beef.  And all I got to say about that is:


WHY?  Why did I not try this sooner?  It was SO easy, and so good!


I used the recipe from HERE, and made a couple of adaptations for my family.  The kids and I ate it all in 2 days.  Oops…

This will be great stuff to have on hand…especially for any hiking/road trips we do.  And man, it’s so much more affordable than the pre-made stuff at the store!


Homemade Ground Beef Jerky (adapted from

2 lbs. extra lean ground beef –
1/3 c. gluten free soy sauce ( I use La Choy brand)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together in a good sized mixing bowl. Use your hands to make sure the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the meat.
Refrigerate the mixture for 24 hours. Roll the meat out in strips or patties and dry in your food dehydrator according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Drying time will vary depending on humidity and the fat content of the meat. Once removed from the oven jerky is cooled and stored in an open
container to allow drying to continue. Seal the container to prevent further drying. Store in refrigerator or freezer.


*If you don’t have a food dehydrator, don’t despair!  According to the original recipe, you can dry it in your oven at 150 degrees with the door ajar (to ensure actual DRYING, not just slow cooking) for 4-8 hours, depending on how thick you cut it.


*Linked up at Gluten Free Wednesdays!

Baby Garden Plants

Man, I’m getting too excited for gardening!  Although I didn’t plant my peas as early as I would have liked, I’m still thrilled to see some of those babies popping up.


My spinach is coming in as well, and I have to admit, I didn’t realize what it was at first.  It’s hard to believe that it’ll actually be big enough to eat eventually!


My camera isn’t great at close up shots, but man, I had fun anyway.


It made our day to see the honeybees out and busy pollinating our apple tree.  The whole Colony Collapse Disorder and disappearing bees is a topic that has me emotionally attached, and I’m SO ticked about all the loss of beehives that we’re seeing world-wide…and so to see these little guys hard at work makes me so happy!


My bush cherry plants have been pollinated, and I’m a little bummed out.  With dozens of blossoms on them, I was feeling overly confident, but we’ve only got about 5-6 actual cherries…ah well, those very few will taste good, right?


5 Things 4/22

Yikes…it’s one of those days that I don’t want to post the 5 Things, because I didn’t get a thing on my list done.  I blame it on the rain…cause I’m Milli Vanilli like that:


  • Finish making menu plans for April. – NO
  • Rearrange food storage room– NO, but I started
  • Go over the new budget– YES
  • Walk to work every day. – NO…and this one I really am blaming on the rain.
  • Plant another batch of spinach and peas. – NO


My family did have a good weekend, though.  I got invited to be a part of a photo shoot for a Deseret Industries promo, and that was fun.  My husband took the kids on a cool hike while I was gone, and later that night my daughter went to a sleepover.  Saturday we went to the school playground for some basketball and swings, we mowed my mom’s and our lawn, we hung with cousins, Munchkin had a b-day party to attend, and we did some “shopping” at the library and elsewhere.  This morning I went on my first run in who knows how long…years.  Yay for sunny weekends!


Anyway, the plan for this week is basically to redeem myself from last week:


  1. Plant another batch of peas.  I don’t think I need to plant another batch of spinach anymore, since I’m the only one in the family who eats it, and we’ve had a lot of plants sprout up this last weeek.
  2. Finish rearranging the food storage room.
  3. Make another batch of homemade beef jerky.  I made my very first batch of the stuff 10 days ago, and it was really good!!  I’ll have to post about it.
  4. Walk to work every day.  The weather should cooperate and everything!
  5. Clean out/Declutter the filing cabinet and computer desk.

Delectable Dozen – Black Beans

So, y’all have heard me complain about mention the financial changes my family will be soon experiencing.  Part of the plan to adjust is to start eating more beans!!  Lucky for me, I really like beans.  My family doesn’t all agree, so I decided to go on a hunt for some new recipes for beans, specifically black beans, since they’re my favorite kind.  I found a bunch of recipes online.  Some I’ve tried, some I haven’t, but I am intrigued by every one, and so I thought I’d share!  Enjoy this week’s Delectable Dozen recipes with black beans!




#1 Black Bean Salad




#2 Spicy Black Bean Burgers – these are very next on my list to try!

#3 Black Bean Soup

#4 Homemade Refried Beans (can do these with black or pinto beans)

#5  “Gallo Pinto” Beans and Rice

#6 Black Bean Enchiladas

#7 Black Bean and Mango Tostadas

#8 Southwestern Pizza with Black Beans and Corn

#9 Deep Dish Brownies (w/black beans)

#10 Fake ‘Em Out Fudge

#11 Black Bean Hummus

#12 Black Bean Quesadillas

Thoughtful Thursday – More Service

Here are a few more quotes about service…although they’re a little more “lighthearted”:


“Service is like wetting your pants; everyone can see what you’ve done, but only you can feel the warmth.”


Top Ten Failed Slogans for our Volunteer Program

  1. You said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Well, it’s starting to get tough, so we’re going.
  2. Volunteers are good……for nothing! (& AmeriCorps Volunteers are good for practically nothing!)
  3. Community service….. It’s not just for hardened criminals on parole, anymore.
  4. Volunteer!…..What else are you going to do with a liberal arts degree?
  5. Volunteerism…..the other white meat. (Submitted by the Council for the Radical Advancement of Pork).
  6. The Golden Rule Still Applies, Unless You’re A Sado-Masochist
  7. Project SERV volunteers do it for free.
  8. Volunteer, cause you’d like your resume to be at least of a page.
  9. Altruism is not a disease.
  10. Please help us by submitting your slogan proposal. The winner gets a free cup of coffee.
    Submitted by Brandon Rogers, Director, Project SERV, KS from local newsletter

5 Things 4/15

So, how did everyone’s week go?  Mine didn’t go as planned…maybe THAT’s why I had stopped doing 5 Things!  I still think I was a little more productive than I would have been had I not posted the list, however.  My daughter started the week with a weird virus and had to miss the first 2 days of school for the week, and then on Wednesday I got myself the flu.  Ah, well…sick season is almost over!


Here’s how my goals played out:

  1. Take the kids to the last night of U-FIT. – YES
  2. Get the thank-you gift baskets finished for the U-FIT volunteers. – YES
  3. Vacuum the stairs – YES
  4. Make a menu plan for the rest of April – NO, but I did plan next week’s worth.
  5. Walk to work every day. – YES, except I didn’t actually work every day, being sick.



Okay, so the plan for this week:

  1. Finish making menu plans for April.
  2. Rearrange food storage room – It’s time to rotate everything, and to reorganize the place!
  3. Go over the new budget – when school gets out I won’t be working, and that is also when my husband’s company change is happening, which will result in 10% less pay for him as well…I’d like to have as much planned out as possible so that we’re ready when the change comes.
  4. Walk to work every day.
  5. Plant another batch of spinach and peas.
I hope everyone has a great week!

Baby Carrot Plants 2 comments

If you’ve started your carrots outdoors and are anxiously awaiting for their arrival, first of all, don’t panic.  I don’t know why, but carrot plants seem to take forever to start popping up!  (At least they do for me.)


Anyway, I wanted to post this cute picture I found of baby carrot plants for you, so that when they finally do arrive, you won’t think they’re weeds and pull them.  I mean, man, who would pull a carrot thinking it’s a weed?  (Surely not me the last 3 years…)


Photo – check it out, she’s got a lot of other baby plant pictures too!