Funny Kids!

Okay, so I wasn’t going to post anymore before my trip, but a couple of funny things with the kids happened today.  First this morning, the girls and I went to Payson to pick up the half of a cow that we had ordered.  On the way there, Kayla fell asleep and on the way home she told me that her dream was that she was upside down and her pee came out her nose!  Gross!  I had to laugh though.  It was original and caught me completely off guard.  The next funny thing was at dinner, Garion spontaneously broke out into song.  Only it was him counting by 2’s to 100 to the tune of Yankee Doodle.  I videoed him and wanted to post the video, but I couldn’t get it to work.  Sorry.  The last funny thing of the evening was a couple minutes ago.  The kids and I were playing in the living room and I saw Brynn go into the bathroom.  She has this nasty habit of drinking water from the dog bowl.  I finally got her on film.  Here is the picture!  Crazy kids!  ~Kelly

It’s Cold!!

Hello out there!

This week has brought the winter weather.  I am so glad Halloween was so beautiful!  At least we were able to enjoy fall weather before it turned bitter.  But now it is cold.  I went running this morning in 20 degree weather.  Burr!!  It is a little bit annoying because some people have npot turned off their sprinklers yet, so there were quite a few icy patches on the sidewalks.  Garion tried to ride his bike to school this morning and dids a nice little slide on a patch of ice.  His bike fell over and he hurt his leg.  🙁  He will be fine, but I ended up driving him the short distance because he was afraid to ride his bike anymore.  Can’t say that I blame him.  Guess we will have to have a little lesson on what ice looks like and how to avoid it!

The week has been pretty uneventful, with Tuesday being the HUGE exception.  Election day.  It was rainy and cold here.  I was glad that I voted early so I didn’t have to brave the lines or the weather.  Personally, I am not happy about the election results.  I am glad that our country has gotten over it’s prejudices enough to elect a man not of caucasion descent.  However, I do not like Obama’s policies or plans for our country.  With that being said, we spent Tuesday night at our friends house watching the results and eating brownies.  It was a fun evening, though it ended earlier then I thought it would with the electoral votes coming so soon.  It was a really satisfying day with Garion.  He is old enough now that Jason and I were able to really explain to him the election process and he understood it.  He asked questions all day and we were able to talk about a couple of the issues in general.  He was really interested in all that was happening.  The voting location for our district was at his school, so he was further able to see the election process in action throughout the day.  While at our friends house, he wasn’t too keen on sitting and watching the tv, but his last question of the day was “Who won the election?  Who is our new president?”  I was really happy that he was able to somewhat understand the signifigance of the day.  He is a smart cookie!

Kayla and Brynn got new dresses at Costco.  So Cute!!

Kayla and Brynn got new dresses at Costco. So Cute!!

Monday night we went to costco and they had the most delicious looking strawberries!  We bought some and yesterday I made jam with them.  It turned out fabulously!  Other then that, it has been a slow week.  I am really excited because tomorrow morning the girls and I leave to go to Colorado for my brothers wedding reception!  It is a cocktail party and is going to be fabulous!  My parents, grandmother, and hopefully brother and sister, Byron and Megan, will be there.  I love family time and I am gratefull that we have been able to work it out for us to go.  Garion is staying home with Jason for a “guys” weekend! 🙂  They will be helping Jason’s mom, Lauri, move from the room she is currently in to a new room outside the enhanced care unit at Jamestown.  That is a long story, but to make it short, her room was given to someone else at the last minute, accidentally.  To make up for it, Jamestown gave her a room in the enhanced care unit for the same cost as the studio she would have had.  Now a new studio has opened and she gets it!  It will be wonderful for her to finally be in her permanent place.  Without the midnight visits from people who aren’t exactly there! 🙂  Well, I probably won’t be posting again until Monday, since I will be in beautiful Colorado!  Have a great weekend!      ~ Kelly

Pumpkin Land!

Today, Kayla, Brynn and I went with Kayla’s pre-school class to Pumpkin Land!  It was so much fun!  We walked though the pumpkin patch and then got lost in the maze.  We had fun looking at the goats and the bunnies,  there were even a bunch of baby bunnies.  The girls loved those!  Then they played on the play set and we had a picnic!  At the very end we walked through the spooky alley and saw Cinderella’s flying coach!  🙂  The last thing we did was pick out a pumpkin to bring home.  The weather was perfect and warm and I am thinking it might be a Halloween tradition to go there.  I found the coolest swan gourd that I am going to hollow out and make into a bird feeder!  I can’t the credit for the idea though, it was my neighbor, Julie’s.  I am hoping she will show me how to do it.  But it is the neatest looking thing and as a bird house in my garden it will be awesome!

Just an update about last night.  We didn’t quite get the pumpkins carved.  We got them cleaned out, but then it got too late and the kids needed to go to bed.  Tonight I am having a Scentsy Party and so the carving will commence again tomorrow. 🙂  I will take pictures when we are done.  The kids are very excited.  This is good though because now I can really give the seeds the 24 hour salt water bath they are suppose to have before roasting. 🙂

Then we really will eat the seeds the night we carve the pumpkins.  Kayla has told us she wants “scarrry face!”  I just told Jason that we are going to stick to pretty simple designs this year so we don’t have to spend 2 hours on one pumpkin.  He is wondering why I am taking all the fun out if it!

I just have to take a moment to encourage everyone to really look at the issues and make informed votes on the 4th.  I am not going to get too into it here because I am becoming extraordinarily opinionated on the isse of the next president and I could really spend the rest of the day playing my case here.  This is not the time.  But I have been forwarded a video in my email from Jason of Pres. Ezra Taft Benson in 1977 giving a talk on Socialism and standardized government.  He speaks plainly and I think everyone should listen to it.  There is one other video of Pres. Benson where he discusses the proper role of Government (Link at the bottom) I also highly recommend you watch this as well.  I have several friends who are not informed or are just voting a certain way because they know other people are voting that way.  I strongly encourage everyone! to research and study the issues at hand and make informed decisions.  Remember that the Lord has given us the Bible and the prophets as guides in these last and confusing days.  Don’t let the media and fancy speeches confuse you, persuade you and deceive you into voting for things that we should be against as designed by God!  Anyway, that is my little piece.  As I said I am going to try not to get into it too much here.  If you want to talk about it or argue about it, whatever the case may be, you can email me. 🙂

Ezra Taft Benson on Socialism

The Proper Role of Government

It’s Monday Again!

The week has started!  I am excited about this week because it is Halloween on Friday!  We don’t have any huge plans but the kids have such a great time dressing up!  We are carving our pumpkins tonight and roasting the seeds.  Yummy!
Last night we went to our friends house in Mapleton, for dinner.  It was really fun.  They have a goat, 2 dogs, some chickens, and some little rodent that is related to squirrels….can’t remember what it is called. 🙂  But my kids loved the animals.  Brynn would stand at the door and try to call out to the goat and Kayla loved hearing the rooster crow.  Garion tried to catch the goat, but the goat was a lot faster.  Our friends are tyring to get us to buy a house that is right around the corner from them.  It is a great deal.  1/3 acre, 3100 sq ft., 6 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fully landscaped, etc.  $269,999.  Crazy.  I just don’t think I want to move.  I love it here.  My best friends are here.  That is hard to let go of.  But it is such a good deal that it is worth thinking about.  We walked around the yard last night and Kayla said she wanted to live there and when we tld her she wouldn’t be near her 2 best friends anymore, she said she wanted to make new friends and that she didn’t want to play with her old friends anymore.  Sad!  But she is playing with Grace right now and I think that if I asked her again right now, she would change her mind.  🙂

Today is going to be an exciting day.  I have a ton of tomatos that I am going to be making tomato sauce and canned tomatos with.  Then I have a bunch of apples that I want to make apple sauce and apple butter with!  We will see how it goes!  Wish me luck!

I wanted to thank Scott for his input on the gum on Garions cloak.  I didn’t have any compressed air, so I used vinegar, baking soda and ice.  It took a while, but I did manage to get all the gum out.  It is washed and dried and you can’t ven tell.  Thank goodness!  Both Garion and I would have been really upset if the cape, whoops cloak was ruined.  Side note:  I called the cloak a cape and Garion very formally informed me that it is NOT a “cape” it is a “cloak.”  🙂
Kelly

Food Storage Commentary

This message is actually some commentary to reply to a recent posting by a “Hoser That’s Not My Brother“.  Since he decided to take his food-snobbery into an area that I care more than a little about, I thought I’d give a few opinions.  Please go read his bit first, and then come back here and this will make a lot more sense.  Actually, from other discussions, much of what I have to say is in agreement with the hoser, but I do hope to clarify some points, and give my opinion on others.

Starting off, there is much confusion in the food storage world, and he’s right, what to store must come from you.  “Store what you eat, and eat what you store,” is an oft-repeated mantra that is very correct. Just blindly following some list will get you in big trouble if you ever need that food.  You probably won’t know how to use it, and it will likely give you serious problems shortly after eating.  The provident living website is a great resource for very basic elements of storage, but it is just a starting point.  Along with that, it’s a good starting point for the information you need in actually using your storage in an efficient manner.

For me, I think one of the most important things to start out with though is by asking yourself the question, “Why food storage?”.  I too have gone through some inter-job difficulties before where the bit of storage we had was a lifesaver for us, but there could be more.  Maybe you want to be ready for WTSHTF aka TEOTWAWKI, maybe you just know that food bought now (well, better last fall) was a great way to beat inflation, and the stock market (often by double digit percentages).  Whatever the case, how much, and what you need to store will change with that definition.  Me, I figure if I’m prepared for the absolute worst case that I don’t think will ever happen, then I’ll feel pretty good if I just get laid off without job prospects again.  Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Now, to review by category:

Grains
Yes, it is a lot of wheat to keep around, but then again, they don’t call it the staff of life for nothing.  Try going without bread for a week or so, and see how you feel.  Sure you can say you did the atkins things before, but let’s also look at some other factors.  First, given a situation where you really *need* to use your storage.  There is a good chance that your physical activity level is going to be changing a bit.  Be it heavy stress, to just plain walking a lot more, your body will be needing those carbs quick.  Also the fiber content will be very helpful in combating bad side effects of your stress levels, and other dietary changes.  One word of caution though, do ease into using real whole-wheat (even from store-bought whole wheat flour), or you will have some serious issues to contend with.  Wheat itself can also be used to cultivate simple meat-substitutes (hey, if you’re really starving), and as stated, its protein content is necessary for making breads from other cereals.  Besides all of the above stated, your grains are some of your absolute *cheapest* ways to augment just how much food you have stored, heck even at today’s way inflated prices you can get sealed buckets of hard wheat for $23 or so for 45#.  Add to that the fact that stored properly it has the longest stable shelf life of any food storage item, you should make sure you have a good amount of wheat and cereals in stock.

But it is smart to mix up your cereals some.  Get a couple of types of rice, maybe some softer wheat (cake flour, etc), Rye, Corn, Oats, and others.  you’ll always want some variety in your diet, and hey, you can always just experiment with new breads too.

Oh, and do get a mill/wheat grinder.   Get a powered one first, and a hand mill second. It’s amazing how much better bread is with fresh flour.  With a powered one you’re more likely to use your wheat right now, saving yourself money, getting much better breads, and just getting healthier.  Added bonus, your house smells much nicer.

Fats and Oils

Yes embrace the necessity of Fats.  Well, I know I’ve never needed to tell a chef that, but I’ll just back you up on that one.  For basic storage of oils, I can answer one good reason for shortening over standard vegetable oil.  Shelf life.  Based on it’s nature, it tends to have a longer time before it goes rancid.  You have to be careful about how long you keep your oil around, which is one reason it doesn’t tell you to keep too much.  Most people would buy some Costco sized mega-container, and it would all spoil before it was even opened, much less the problems it would have if opened.  I’ll agree on the PB too, it’s something we can’t have enough of, and have no trouble rotating through (in fact tend to over do that 🙂 )

Legumes

Dry beans are important for food storage, because as any Brasilian (and really any Latin American) will tell you, it’s food.  It’s cheap food, and combined, beans and rice bring out some wonder-twin powers in each other.  They combine to form more complete proteins which most of us will be lacking in a crappy situation because we won’t have nearly the amount of meat we’re used to.  With he dry beans, yes, choose most any you like, and get some variety (and learn how to use them).  Get the other dry or canned, as you would use them, but variety is good.  Dried soup mix can be the basic soups you see, largely for spices, but more often refers to a Soup Base, that the canneries used to have.  Was a simple soup/stock that was designed for mixing things in.  Stock has great nutrition, even dried, and makes it much easier to use so much of this dried food.

Sugars

Actually, I wouldn’t lower it at all.  Now part of why this seems so high is based on the targeted usages for your food storage.  It’s expected that if you’re smart enough to be storing food, you’ll probably have a garden too.  You’ll see that sugar disappear the first time you make jam.  Don’t forget your body will likely be craving some things that can sooth a sweet tooth while you change diets, and adding to that, most people can really do with the stress relief of their favorite desert.

As for the kool-aid, if you’ve read this far I’d think you’re drinking some 🙂 .  Actually one of the biggest reasons for the powdered drink mix is for water storage.  Depending on how much, and how you’ve stored it, or what your filtration method and storage is, you can wind up with some funky flavors.  It may be clean, but might taste quite off, and a little flavor will help you keep hydrated, which is pretty key in this area.  Same thing camping, that mountain stream water aint always that refreshingly crisp 🙂

I actually think I’d want more of the honey and molasses though.  We have a lot of good recipes using them.

Milk

How could you even question “other”.  As a chef this should be seen as too little, without even trying.  Sweetened condensed milk is a good one, along with evaporated milk.  But let’s be even more obvious:

  • Cheese – Serious comfort food, excellent enzyms and good storage.  Freeze dried, Canned “queso”, or *real* canned cheese (that stuff is quite good, and amazing storage).  Or if you have “wine cellar” type qualities, keep some cheese wheels around, they’ll just get better tasting, and you know you’ll rotate through them.
  • Yogurt – Important dairy, will work wonders for your digestion, especially if not feeling well.  But how do you store it? Well, you can get cultures that will store well, and learn to make your own!
  • Soy Milk – yeah, it’s worthwhile to have 🙂
  • UHT milk – Boxed milk, stores for a year or so.  Parmalat is famous for this.

As for powdered milk, I have a strong aversion to it from having to drink it too often when we lived overseas.  The texture is too different for my main staple food 🙂  However, the morning-moos variety is better than others, and I have recently found Nido which is dried whole milk!  yes, that helps the texture a ton.  You can find it in small cans in the latin foods section of Wally World to try it out, just don’t buy the Nido Kinder (compare ingredients between the two to get a good idea).

There are some good ideas on how you can use powdered milk too, for making things like cheese/yogurt and more.  Those could help you out.

Cooking Essentials

Seasonings Seasonings Seasonings!  You’ve got a lot of ‘basic foods’, you’ll want to spice them up.  Dried, whole, etc, and get your herb garden running.

Oh, and as for the salt, as mentioned with the sugars, just think of having to do some pickling.  Oh, and tanning, since I’m sure *everybody* will be running out trying to do some of that 🙂

Water

This is of course something that we can’t be without, but always think is the last thing that we will not have.  Possibly, but I’d rather be prepared.  I go with the 2gal per person, since I think if I ever really need it, it’ll be in the summer here, and I know I’ll need more.  Plus I like to be clean, meaning more than the minimum.

As for bleach, it loses its real potency starting after about 6 months, so check as to how much you store.  You can get good dried chlorine too, good to keep around, and lasts longer.

Summary

There are great books that can help with this subject, and plenty of crappy ones too.  I can suggest a few, and love to help friend get ready for the best or worst of times.

Weekend Storage Project

The past couple of months have had me running around forever busy, and especially in regards to work, unable to *do* things.  With the change in employment I’ve been kept out of being able to do any development work, which as most of my friend will probably agree with is something that begins to drive me batty.
Can_roller_shelf.jpg

So this weekend turns into the first time in a while that I am home with no outside commitments, so I had to do *something*.  My wife is out in Colorado for a baby shower, so I’ve been a bit constrained watching my 3 kids, but still managed to get phase one of some new shelving done.

My basic premise was this wall in my garage.  Previously here was some old thin metal shelving, totally overloaded with assorted cruft.  It also made the “outside” fridge sit in front of other shelving, and was about “Windows ME” in terms of stability.  It also made access to my kayaks a bit difficult (you can see the end of one there in the top corner).  With my growing food storage, I had run out of other areas to put in cans, and wanted to improve the ability to rotate commonly used staples.  Systems such as the “Shelf Reliance” products are very nice, but were quite out of my budget.  Especially considering my needs in this situation.  I wanted the can rotation, but I needed the ability to have standard shelving also.  This would be much more apparent if you looked at the rest of my garage, which is stuffed, much of it the contents of the shelving I just pulled out.

Now I say Phase 1 with this project because this is not complete, in fact I plan on doing more tonight as my children hit the actual “sleeping” stage.  Right now they are *going* to sleep which means I have to stay in earshot to refill water and the like.  The next phase will be building out standard shelving from the wall I have just built, encaging the fridge, and providing storage on its side.  The beauty of this project is the can rollers take up so little space, and then provide a wall in which I can do something like this.  Heck, I could have surfaced it and just had it look like another wall.

can_roller_face.jpg

The build is really simple, I simply took some 1×1/2 slats, and cut them to fit my 70″ wall, giving a 4″ height difference at the end, what seemed like a good incline.  8″ between rows, then build the opposing wall to match.  1/4″ particle board was laid in my 8″ width.  This size fits your #10 can perfectly, with 1/2″ in each side for wiggle room, and just under 2″ on top.

With my wall size, this will accommodate 96 cans (I could add one more row at the top, but it’s a little to tall for anybody in the family except me).  That’s a lot of food I’m able to move out of my basement, under-the-stairs closet, which I can’t get to most of the time anyways.  Given that this is just outside the kitchen <-> garage door, it makes it a nice accessory to the pantry.  And since my garage is well insulated, and I know the temperature ranges in it, I can put in a pretty wide range of foods without them being affected adversely.

All told, the materials were $61 for this project, including the wood to frame out the front end shelves which aren’t done yet.  Not a bad price for largely increased storage, with can rotation.

Google rescues the TV

At home we have a pretty nice Mistubishi TV that we’ve had for a few years now.  All of the sudden my wife starts complaining about getting a V-Chip block on random shows, and it won’t go away.  Our standard passcode for that type of device wouldn’t work.  Another opportunity for google to the rescue (and making this geek look better for the wife).

For anybody that cares, if you get the V-Chip code prompt on a Mitsubishi TV, pressing ‘9 + QV’ will allow you to enter a replacement code.  Nothing like wonderful security.  At least in this case it allowed us to watch “PG” rated tv again.

Brynn is Born

After a long day, Brynn has finally joined us.

* 7lb 10oz
* 19″ long
* 5:44 pm
* lot’s of hair

Kelly and Brynn are doing very well, and are at UVRMC until Wednesday.

!

Tapas

So I guess I should follow up “Joe’s Post”:http://blog.josephhall.com about our party with my contributions. The food was good, the style of party was great. I agree about how nice it was to be able to taste everything without stuffing up on one food. My family came with 2 dishes, and one cheese. I’ll relate here my part, and leave “Kelly”:http://halls.lug-nut.com/kelly to discuss her part.

My main appetizer was some tasty chicken quesadillas, with (according to Alton’s Rules) a sauce and a dip. The quesadillas were straightforward flour tortillas with cheese and grilled chicken. The chicken was rubbed before cooking so it was well seasoned, but the quesadilla’s purpose was to be a tool to try out the dip and sauce.

The ‘sauce’ was actually just a store bought salsa. I can’t find a link for it, but “Meza” brand fire-roasted garlic salsa, which occasionally is available at “Costco”:http://www.costco.com has quickly become my favorite store-bought salsa. It’s not all that hot (although a hit of sauce can help that), but it has this amazing garlic flavor that really makes it stand out on it’s own, more than well worth it.

The Dip was the part I made that really stood out (imho). I started my caramelizing an onion with some fresh garlic (out of my garden). After I had gotten almost the color and crust I wanted, I hit it with some sherry cooking wine, and recaramelize some of the nice crusties back. I then mixed this with a basic cream dip base (mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, salt, pepper), and some crusties from cooking the chicken. Tasty.

As for our weird cheese, we actually just picked up a bit of Jarlsburg, because my wife claimed she had never heard of it.

Now Kelly can blog about her customized fresh raspberry/blueberry/strawberry cobbler!

Desligado

It’s that time of year again folks. Time to shed my geeky shell and go back to nature. Yes I’ll be doing what few geeks can comprehend, going back country Montana for a week. Yes, Power stops miles from “where I’ll be”:http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=47.404972,-112.732413&spn=0.003184,0.008352&t=k&om=1 and cell phones stopped a long ways away. Oh it will feel so good to get back into the woods.

For any geek, if you haven’t gone without any form of net connection, power, etc for an extended period, you really need to try taking a week off. It’s quite the refreshing experience.

Oh, and it’s kinda cool, I can see my “granny deannie’s truck outside her house”:http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&ie=UTF8&t=k&om=1&ll=46.55433,-112.173629&spn=0.001112,0.002516