My Food Storage

As many of you know,
Mormons are huge on preparedeness.
We are counseled to have a three month supply of food on hand
in case of emergency.
I love this counsel.
I save a load of money and time on grocery shopping
by heading this counsel.
Not to mention, that in really hard months,
it saves me from worry about what I am going to feed my kids.
I am so excited for the great food storage room in our new place.
And I am so grateful for Stacey,
who came last Wednesday night
and helped me pack up my own personal grocery store.

French Toast for the Masses

I hate cooking. No, I should say I really don’t enjoy cooking. I do it. I do it all the time. I’m even good at it. I would call myself a good cook. I am a cook who hates to cook, but I am also a cook who can put a smile on your face. Still I think it is safe to say cooking is just not my thing; it just happens to be a resume builder I have gained while living in survival mode for the past 13 years.
When LG and I got married, I cried when I realized that it was my responsibility to feed my husband and future children and it would be for THE REST OF MY LIFE. Cried would not be a totally fair assessment. I bawled one night while cooking, and I continue to cry inside every time I am magnetically stuck in the room of my house that sports a fridge, sink, and stove. Now I know I am gonna hear it from my naysayer our there who believes in women’s rights, but from the get-go, I embraced my control over things inside the home. I more than embraced it. I, for lack of better words, peed over the threshold between family room and teeny tiny studio apartment kitchen, as my way of saying, “hands off man, this is my territory”. The kitchen would be my domain. 
Man, I was such a fool. LG was more than happy to step aside for food duty, even though we were both working and going to school full-time. And not to my surprise and even to my blame, today the guy only has a handful of choices that he can pull off that involve a wooden spoon and pan, and most of them are in the breakfast category, come frozen, or out of a box. And I am smacking my forehead against my keyboard as I realize how totally stupid I was back then.
So, I live with the stubborn hell I have created. I cook. Even when I don’t want to. In the past few years, while there hasn’t been wiggle room in the budget for enough pizza and hamburgers ordered from other people’s kitchens, I have learned many tricks.
I have very reliable go-to’s. I keep staples in the house for each recipe. One happens to be french toast. It only takes six ingredients that I usually have on hand. My kids love it and so do I. My husband tolerates it, but if he was more worried about eating his favorites, he might ask me to teach him how to cook them. hint hint.
Before I share the flawless recipe, let me tell you two tricks that will make this easy peezy meal turn into 10 easy peezy meals.

One, make a TON at a time.

Stick them all in a gallon size ziplock.
They have lasted for at least a week at my house.
Reheat them as needed in a toaster.
(Note: the toaster trick was discovered by my hubby, 
who is a saint, 
and takes on breakfast duty at our house 
while I am trying to pry my eyelids open)
The other trick is a little easier.
Buy the kind of syrup shown above.
It’s short enough to be heated in the microwave.
French toast are so much better with hot syrup.
I just refill this container with the cheapest syrup I can find, 
saving myself $2 a pop.
Once in a while I will make my own syrup, which is also very tasty.
You can add one last trick if you want. It would be the one where you teach the kids how to wash the griddle. We are still trying to get this one down at our house.

Guess what is the best feature of french toast: LG knows how to make it!!

Here are my recipes for the sharing. Do any of you have any tips on how you keep your french toast from getting soggy? I am usually 80% successful but not sure how.
French Toast
4 eggs
1 + 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 pinches of salt
12 slices bread
Beat together egg, milk, nutmeg, vanilla and salt.
Heat butter on a griddle heated to medium.
Quickly dip bread in egg mixture and transfer to hot buttered griddle. Cook both sides until lightly browned and crisp.
Homemade syrup
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup karo syrup
1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp maple flavor extract
Boil together until sugar is completely dissolved.


I have always loved this old pioneer motto:
Fix it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
Who knew that life would take me on paths
where I got to master the skill of thrift?
I thought that once law school was over,
life would be peaches.
Boy, was I wrong.
I’m not complaining though.
Really thrifty is my newest resume builder.
It makes me a better wife and mother.
I am grateful to God for the trials that teach me.
I wouldn’t have learned without them.
Here are three examples of ways I have learned thrift.
I plan to post some from time to time.
I hope you will enjoy.
I am not one to throw handicraft out as a way of bragging.
I can’t stand braggy.
I just thought that you may get some ideas of your own
on how to be more thrifty,
and we can all use ideas like that
in today’s economy.

1. Make your own gifts.
(this is so much cuter on my wall
I couldn’t get the picture of the picture to work well,
but trust me when I say that LeGrand
loved this for Father’s Day
almost as much as the Beef Jerky.)

2. Recreate your curtains.
(My old plan panels have a new look
And the material only cost me $5 on clearance at Wal-Mart)

3. Create, create, create.
(Here is my refinished dresser
It started out dark and ugly
I bought the dresser for $35 at the thrift store,
paid about $15 for paint and new hardware.
Wha-la – A new baby dresser / changing table
I wouldn’t be as in love with it
if I had bought it at Pottery Barn.)


Look, Sophia got baptized.
We are so proud of her decision to take upon the name of Christ.
And, she is gorgeous.
Can you believe she picked this dress
at the thrift store for $3.
She HAD to have it.
It’s so Sophia.

“When was the big day”, you ask?
“In October 2009, on her 8th birthday.”
Oh, it’s August 2010; I must be late posting.

No, I just took this picture 2 weeks ago.
Because I realized that I had forgot.

Lucky for me, Sophia is really easy going.
And she can’t be mad at me for forgetting.
Because she covenanted to be Christ-like.

I wonder how long it will take for me to
remember child #3’s baptism picture?

Have I ever told you that mothers lose
brain cells with every pregnancy?
I am pretty sure that this old wives’ tale is true

(I have to say that my stone house makes a perfect backdrop.)

It’s too bad that Caroline was only 4 months old back then.
I may have gotten away with it.

Tar jay

Where is your favorite place to shop?
The kids were so excited to receive these flashing reflectors from the Target workers at a local National Night Out dinner.
The kids thought that the Target workers were more exciting than the chief of police, a local politician, the mayor, and the head of the FBI.
Who am I to argue?
We know which employees offer a 75% off discount of the dollar spot from time to time.

Free Entertainment

Here is a photo of one source of free entertainment…a tree swing. This one just happens to be in our yard.

Another source of free entertainment is the American mall. The mall, free? What? How is that? Keep reading. I shop at the mall about once a year. I just think everything is so OVERPRICED! I can’t even afford the underwear that they sell at the mall. But I’ve learned to be a smart mother and I now can use every lack of funds moment to my advantage.

A few months ago, we stopped in at the mall just to eat at the food court.) O.k. so I go to the mall more than once a year, but going to the food court doesn’t count.) About twice a year, we like to go as a family and let everyone get whatever kind of food they want.

After all 5 of us have ordered food from different establishments we give our kids a lesson in sharing and divide the smor·gas·bord around the table. When we have each eaten every possible food group and we can feel them sloshing around in our digestive systems, we can’t help but feel like we’ve made it in life! The food court is a true symbol of American life. When your whole family can get their favorite mass produced food and enjoy it at the same table, you know you live in America. Or Japan, but we aren’t counting the fact that everyone in Japan has rice as their same favorite food.

Well, how do we top a night off when we have all just gorged ourselves on MSG? After forking out $20 for food, we are then ready for some free entertainment. First, we stop at the little kiddie quarter rides. The kids know we won’t pay the quarter, but they think it is fun to climb in anyways. It is the same concept for LG. As I watch the kids on the kiddie rides, he goes inside the video game store. LG knows that I won’t give him the quarter, but he likes to climb anyway.

And, then, before we leave the mall, I get my entertainment….no, not the IceCream Dots, but watching the family take bottomless rides on the….you’ve got it.. the escalators. Even though the girls have graduated from calling the escalators “alligators”, they still always love to ride. Now, as Mormons, you know we don’t believe in excess, (so we try not to go overboard on the riding) but we ride just enough to properly bother every possible mall-goer who believes the escalator was made only for floor transition. My daughters are 8, 6, and 4 and still think it is the escalator is the greatest invention in the whole wide world. LG usually putters out after 2 ups and 2 downs, but I like to keep on riding, so that I can keep getting a good glance at the girls smiling from ear to ear.

So, see, ladies, there are advantages (besides appeasing your budget nazi husbands) to only going to the mall three times a year….all kinds of free entertainment right under your nose.

And the quote of the day:

“I like an escalator because an escalator can never break, it can only
become stairs. There would never be an escalator temporarily out of order sign,
only an escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.” ~ Mitch


My husband, LeGrand, and I recently made a huge change in our control of finances. He took over the bills and the budget. I have done such a fabulous job for the past ten years, that we decided he should take a turn. Or, I needed to reign myself in more efficiently. But, hey, I am proud that he has never tried to control me, it was all my idea!

I really have done a great job giving us a fairly normal life for the past four years of grad school. Being a stay home mom with three kids and a partially working husband has not been easy, to say the least. But, having LG take over has been an even more exciting challenge. Let’s just say that my eyes have been opened to a whole new penny pinching world. And, so have his. It’s supposed to get better after school, not worse.

These are just a few of the law books

that the money from our budget

paid for in the past four years.

The total amount paid for law school:

trust me, when I say,

you don’t want to know.

(Besides, we really haven’t
paid for anything but the books –
we have the next 30 years for that)

This is the milk dripping off the car last Saturday.
We had gone to Sam’s Club
and I dropped the milk in route from the cart to the van.

To salvage the rest of the gallon,
I placed the upside down container (hole on top)
inside a shopping bag.

I had LG hold it just at the right angle,
out the window of the car, all the way home.

By the time we got home,
there was only a remaining half gallon
(but hey, in today’s world that adds up to $2.25)

Did I mention that it was cold and raining outside?
It took LG’s arm a good 1/2 hour to defrost.

And, even though he wouldn’t admit it,
he was laughing inside when after he complained
I purposefully ran through that mud puddle .
(The kids and I didn’t even try to hide our amusement)

This is the vanilla that I wish I would have known about.

My self proclaimed budget at Sam’s was $100, and when I reached my limit, I left the desired vanilla behind.

The next day, when I reached my desired $80 budget at the grocery store, I again left the vanilla on the shelf.

Two hours later, I had to borrow some from the neighbor.

Sixteen hours after I borrowed, I found this little culprit in the back of my shelf, hiding behind all my spices.

This is the brand new bottle of Clorox wipes.

When we got it out of it’s package, there were no wipes inside, just suds. The estimated worth of the missing wipes…$3.

I think that Sam’s Club is out to get me.

This is me at the bank trying to redeem a twelve dollar service charge.

The bank closed out our overdraft credit card last year without telling us. (Good for us, we never used it)

Now, the bank it trying to penalize us for not having the correct kind of checking. (it needs to be linked to a line of credit)

I have no idea why it took the bank eight months to finally give us a service charge. I think they waited just long enough so that they could make us reapply for the credit. Is there a conspiracy?

LG told me that if I could get the $12 back it was ALL MINE! So, after getting nowhere with customer service on the phone, I carted a couple of kids into the local branch. Sophia took my picture.

So, on to the Karma. Since January when LG took over the finances, he has become notorious for leaving all of our money in savings, except for what we absolutely HAVE to have. Whenever I go to the store, I have discovered that I better call and make sure that we have money in checking. I cannot tell you how many times my card has not gone through. I have gotten onto LG about this several times. It is so embarrassing! And especially frustrating when you have just wrestled your way all the way through the vastness Wal-Mart with three kids in tow.

Friday night we stopped to rent some movies. Food City has a great deal: 5 catalog movies for five nights for $5. LG was standing with the girls as I went to check out. What happened? Do you have to ask? My debit card was declined for the third time of the week. I paid with my credit card, while shooting LG a look and explaining to the clerk that we really do have money. Let’s just say LG and I didn’t do much talking the rest of the night. He thought that I had spent too much money, and I knew he just didn’t transfer enough money. He went to his laptop to crank out the numbers and I came to my refuge that we call the blog. One hour later, he came out and apologized. He said it would never happen again. We made up.

Fast forward. It is Saturday night at 11:30 PM; LG has not arrived home from the church yet. I begin to worry. He comes running in the door, asking me where his Discover Card is. “I don’t know, it was laying out on the table last I saw it”, I reply. I had washed LG’s wallet the week before, when it was “misplaced” for the thousandth time. (Everything is misplaced to LG, not lost, because he always finds it eventually – he is still searching for his first three wedding bands) LG had transferred the contents of his wallet to his new wallet that was gifted to him by Abigail at Christmastime, and he couldn’t find his credit card.

I inquired, “What do you need it for?” LG shrugged, “I just went and got gas and my debit card was declined. I couldn’t find my credit card either, and the clerk said she was going to call the authorities. I tried to go to the ATM and take it out, but even though I transferred the money last night, it wasn’t in there. I tried to take it out of savings, but the bank said that service wasn’t provided with our account.” I promptly ran to pay for his gas. When I got home we did a thorough search for the missing Discover Card… was right in his wallet the whole time.

It’s a good thing the man has a sense of humor…because you know I was laughing AT him the whole time. It made me feel better that he was laughing too.

Hey, you’re scary.
That’s better.
Your eyes are closed.
Thank you.
You’re welcome.


Abigail, Bella, and Sophia
Sophia is wearing one of her new nightgownsPosted by Hello

All little girls love nightgowns. Why didn’t I know this before I bought so many pairs of cotton pants and tops? Between my three daughters, we probably own 50 pairs of pajamas. [25 are being stored waiting for someone to fit into them] I rotate according to size and yes, the poor younger two get mostly hand-be-downs.

Well, about two months ago Sophia decided that she would wear nothing to bed but the one nightgown that she owned. After about three weeks of “Mommy torture”. Sophia would beg for her nightgown every night. I would explain it was dirty. It would have to be washed sometime. Sophia would cry and cry and sometimes throw temper tantrums (she is 3). I would try and convince her to wear one of dad’s cool T-shirts or her pretty p’j’s with the flowers or, better yet, her new ones from Christmas. Usually, nothing would work.

After dad witnessed this enough times, he gave me permission to buy her another nightgown. I was elated. We went to Wal-Mart that day to see what we could find. I tried to sell Sophia on the $5 after -Chrismas-specials, but she wanted nothing but the pretty Princess and the Pauper one. I told her that she could have the P&P nightgown or 2 TWO 2 of the other ones that were on sale. She only wanted the P&P. So, I let her get it. Well, now Abigail was jealous and she wanted a P&P. I caved and let her have one of the $5 deals, thinking I was pretty nice, since she already had three nightgowns at home and we weren’t even shopping for her.

Well, on with the saga, that night, Abigail starts having a coniption fit because she doesn’t have the nightgown. We sat her down and explained that she was lucky to have a new nightgown at all and that it was Sophia’s turn to have something new. We can’t afford to buy all the girls a nightgown. [this may sound mean, but trust me when I say that our girls have plenty]. We told Abigail that she could do extra chores around the house and buy herself a nightgown. Did she ever pick up one toy, NO! And to this day, I am still reminding her that if she will pick up some toys she could get a nightgown.

The saga continues….LG has been encouraging me for quite some time to become familiar with E-bay. He wants us to start a business there. I thought that this was a perfect oppportunity. I bought Sophia a few more gowns, and when they started coming in the mail, Abigail was crushed. Then I bought Abigail a few and when they were delivered Sophia was crushed. Maybe I am doing something wrong, but I think that kids will be kids.

When it comes to nightgowns….we just can’t WIN!