Some Like It Hot

Jalapeno Jelly

Hubby calls it ‘Crack in a Jar’. Jalapeno Jelly. Spicy and sweet? Or is it sweet and spicy? Either way, the stuff is addictive. Ritz cracker, cream cheese and a dollop of green goodness. Before you know it, all the crackers are gone and you’re licking it off your finger you just used as a squeegee. Thus, crack in a jar. I canned yesterday, jelly and tomatoes. I’ll be canning again today, more tomatoes and more jelly.

Just in case you’ve picked a peck of peppers and have nothing else to do with them, here’s the recipe I used.

Jalapeno Jelly

3/4 – 1 lb. ground jalapeno peppers, seeded and membranes removed (I left some in)

2 cps apple cider vinegar

6 cps sugar

3 packets fruit pectin

Hard boil the peppers, vinegar and sugar for ten minutes. Then add pectin and hard boil again for one minute. Fill jars and process. (I cheated, heated my jars in the oven and inverted mine.)

Treasure Hunt Tuesday

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes! That was the theme for Treasure Hunt Tuesdays. I have to say, this one was hard! Nothing seemed to happen for me. Grainy, blurry, missed opportunities left, right and center. Don’t hold your breath, not that you were or anything but this is the best I got.

DJ Doing Homework

DJ Homework Hands

D.J. and his homework. He was supposed to write all his spelling words in complete sentences. I personally like the “My zipper is stuck.”


Maddy Slide

Miss Is on the slide. She wasn’t very cooperative as usual and neither were my photography skills, or lack thereof.

I used a family as guinea pigs and pretended to know what I was doing. I even had notes scribbled in blue ink on my forearm.





Thank-you for putting up with me. I do like the new header for EvansEssence, I think it pretty darn cool, but I don’t want to toot my own horn!


Cub Scout pack meeting; lots and lots of feet to meet. Enough to make you go cross-eyed.

Kaiya Crosseyed

My younger Farmers where taking their own sweet time in the shower this morning, enough that I started to wonder what was going on in there as the shower vapor rolled into the bedroom. Apparently they wanted a bath instead and had plugged up the drain with a pile of washcloths. When they were caught, it was time to get rid of the evidence and swish the water around, blaming it on a slow drain and being cold. Notice the sopping pile behind the biscuits? Nice try.

*Note: nobody can see what the stork brought, so don’t send me hate mail.

Hands Knees in Shower copy

Spike was less than enthused this morning. Sadly, I can relate. I saw that the local Rec. is offering photography classes, after this post I think I need to sign up.

Spike Closeup

Get Crafty

It’s the Super-Saturday time of year again, only it’s Tuesday evening three weeks from now. I’ve come up with a few homey things for the sisters to do if I can survive the project demos.

First on the list, a cheap twist on the F.H.E. board and a message board.


Paint. Not the whole thing but just the sides and the edges.


Goop your metal into place.


Just eyeball it. Okay, it’s actually 2 1/2 cm on all sides.


Get jiggy. Find a fun 12 x 12 scrapbook paper and a can of adhesive. Don’t worry about the skull and crossbones, use it like a can of Rave and stick it to the metal.


Glued to Go.

Then I kidnapped a family used them as guinea pigs, printed what pictures turned out in black and white. Bought a bunch of magic stones (glass pebbles) and slapped on random words my printer tossed out like Song, Prayer, Lesson etc. etc. Next I painted the equally random letters of F, H, and E then took another hit off the goop, applying them willy-nilly to the side. If that wasn’t enough, I eased the edge off by sanding and tied the whole thing up in a big, black bow. Do I have photos showing all these steps? Nope, too busy trying to be “crafty and trendy” all at the same time. But the end result is this.

Evans FHE Board 2

I followed the basic steps over again, switched it up a bit and now I have a message board.

Memo Board

It’s crooked I know, but no matter how much I nudge the thing on my monitor, it just won’t move. This time the glass stones say Live, Laugh, Love printed on red paper, framed and tied in dark chocolate and a groovy, botanical paper backing. Less crafty but it works since my fridge doesn’t do magnets.

Next up is a recipe holder for those pesky 3 x 5 cards.

Recipes Board 2

Distressed black, boring beige vinyl. I did frouf it up a bit with some Dollar Store flowers. The smaller two are magnets and the stems/main flower are just for looks cause it needed something else and I was too tired to think of what that else could be. I’m trying to Live Beautifully here in my own “special” way.

Now for the kicker. I don’t think I’ll be offering this as a class, but thought I’d mention my day long exercise in artistic patience.


Not quite the Mona Lisa, more like the Mad Maddy. What your looking at is a 11 x 14” canvas that has had a black and white print of Maddy E. decoupage print side down. At this point, the glue has dried and we’ve rubbed off multiple layers of paper with our fingertips and a spray bottle of water. It doesn’t look like much now but it is promising in a very antiquated sort of way. Don’t worry E’s, this is one of many, many renditions. If all goes well – or doesn’t for that matter – I’ll show the results as either a great accomplishment or a great example of what not to do.

Super-de-duper Tuesday is on the way.

People ARE Strange…

… and I may be stranger.

Saturday our Stake put on an Emergency Preparedness and Food Storage Fair that was open to the public and members alike. Somehow I ended up with holding the ball for what our ward was responsible for a had to drag my sorry, lazy biscuits out of bed at 7:00 am (there was a thunderstorm that morning so I really, really wanted to stay in bed and listen to the rain beating down on the rooftop and cracks of pane-rattling thunder). Communication was amiss, what I had been told didn’t match what was asked and expected of “us”. Usually I would freak-out and make the best of it no matter how horrible the outcome or inflamed my ulcers would get, but this time I coughed up some courage and said - are you ready for it - “No, I’m not doing that.” Mind you lightening was striking all around, yet I was not turned into a pile of ash for such blasphemy.

Our ward was assigned to make whole, hard white wheat bread for a tasters table and giving a 15 min. presentation on 72hr. kits every hour on the hour for the entire fair. That would be the part that I said no to. I baked some bread that didn’t turn out so yummy but people at it anyway; lots of butter and jam can hide almost all bread-making sins.

So the fair has started and people are milling around the different booths and trickling to the tasters table. Most were very nice, got their slice and left. Others well…

One lady was quite irate, accusing me of not using the jam from the cannery because cannery jam is gross and does not look like the jam I had out on the table.

“I took it straight from the can here and just stirred it up a bit.” Apparently she wasn’t a rocket scientist and putting two and two together was beyond her scope of mental capabilities.

“I bought an entire case of strawberry jam from the cannery and it was all bad. Can you give me a refund for those cans? It’s not good and I want my money back.”

Was I wearing a badge that read Church Cannery Refund Officer? Did I look like I was solely responsible for all jam ever canned by the Church? “I’m sorry you got bad jam, maybe you should talk with the cannery.”

She continued to go on and on about it and I continued to ignore her by answering or thanking tasters that were behind her. Finally she got the hint, tossed one more jamming insult and left. Heaven help the water storage station, she probably had funny tasting water at some point in her life and they were responsible for that too.

Then there were the people who asked if this was stone ground wheat and then proceed to tell me how stone ground is much better than any other type of grinding besides getting a mortar and pistil and doing it yourself one handful at a time before I could utter a pathetic “I don’t know.”

There were those who asked for the nutritional value of the bread, how many loaves would a can of wheat make and other good questions that I had no clue how to answer. Just bake bread, bring it, smile and point out that it was made with food storage wheat – that was my job, nothing less and definitely nothing more.

Anyway, the experience at the fair and my peach canning frenzy has reserved my hard, wood planked seat on the food storage bandwagon. My lesson for family home evening was about being like squirrels, gathering nuts for the winter, to which Miss Is replied, “That would hurt our hands and our knees if we acted like squirrels all the time.” And D.J. asked, “Won’t we be fat and sleep all the day long?” My analogy didn’t stick quite like I had wanted it to.

I’m learning that Wal-mart price matches and that if you’re watchful enough and have the competitors ad in hand, you can save just as much as clipping coupons and pillaging Albertsons. That might be a good thing for me since I don’t get the paper anymore. Wish me luck, I just might be ranked right up there with the bad jam lady.

Treasure Hunt Tuesdays

This last weeks theme for Treasure Hunt Tuesdays was Buildings. Great!!! I love architecture in almost all forms. Not a big fan of modern, but I’ve grown to like certain aspects of hard, clean lines heavily based in geometric design.

I needed to go to the post office to mail off a batch of Netflix movies and remembering the classic, neo-Grecian columns and pediments of the downtown building facade, I made sure to grab the camera.

It felt a little weird, standing on the sidewalk snapping pictures while cars zoomed by and patrons went about their business after giving me a sideways glance complete with arched eyebrows and wrinkled noses. I tried to be fast. I’m not a terrorist, I’m not terrorist…

Postoffice Columns 1

Post Office Moulding

Don’t know how I lucked out. This section of crown is at the very top of the building. I’m constantly impressed with how much detail came out in the egg and darts, fluting and the Anthacus leaves. Can I just say I love zoom!

Postoffice Window

After feeling like a big dork, I figured I might as well make a day of it and traveled a few blocks northeast to the train depot. I had seen it once before last summer when we took the Farmers to the Farmers’ Market. No, it wasn’t to buy, sell, or trade farmers – darn it.

Maddy needed to use the potty, so we ventured inside where a nice, elderly man was eager to give us the tour. Is, the camera and I were the only people there and he needed something to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my purse on me and couldn’t pay the $4.o0 museum fee for the tour, but chatted with him for a few minutes anyhow. DSCF0009

The depot was built in 1906 by Northern Pacific, closed and renovated in 1925 to become office space for Union Pacific. The original ticket counter, right, was found in the basement relatively intact. The moldings, wainscoting, and hardware give the building a very nostalgic, decadent feel; when things were done not only for functionality but craftsmanship and pride. See, Treasure Hunt Tuesdays can be educational too.

TrainDepot BlkWhite

Train Depot Upper Window

Train Depot Lion

Is and I then hit the pavement around old town and snapped what looked interesting, the horse sculpture on the entire side of a building was her idea.


Then we found an alley with a wrought iron gate. Very cool, especially in black and white.

Alley Gate

Alley Gate Tunnel

Old Town Sidewalk

Torches, Pitchforks, and Mobs


Okay, I don’t own either of those and I’m not one to run with a mob no matter how mad or frustrated I get. Obviously, I just talk big.

Adding to my crazy week(s) I’ve been co-heading a homeowners rebellion. Our management company is failing to provide the homeowners with services WE have requested with OUR money. Weeds ten feet tall, dead trees, broken locks, and other things that make our nice neighborhood not-so-nice.

We’ve been in contact with a lawyer to make sure we have at least a leg to stand on than merely gripes about poor decisions and bad service. Then we find out the the management company, the supposed mediary, is owned by the developer and has never once been impartial.

So I’ll be cinching down my scabbard, going au natural on the hair, raiding Revlon’s H*I*P line of highly pigmented eye shadow in Blaz’n Blue and bearing my family’s coat-of-arms, for tonight we have a private homeowners meeting to lead the charge and officially begin the battle for our freedom.

What’s It To You?

Phoenix Rising

What the heck is that? Okay, so I know what it is in the boring, technical sense. It’s the moon rising, of course. I took this picture last night out on the back patio. No Photoshop other than to crop out the rest of the blackness.

I though we could play a little naming game. You know, the kind we used to play as kids, making hippopotami out of bulging cumulus clouds or a bizillion bunnies made of altocumulus formations.

I already have my guess… let’s see what you got.

My Tower of Babel

Peach Pretty

Peaches. Lots and lots of peaches. The girls and I got together and canned peaches, peach pie filling and freezer jam. Six hours one day, ten hours, and six hours another. I've burnt myself, sliced my fingers, and "Oh fart, I'm on fire."

Helping everyone out has been a blast. It's so much better to can with friends than can all by yourself. If doing what our Stake President asks will get me into heaven, then I've been building my own peach jar Tower of Babel. Unfortunately for me, I'm standing in a bit of a ditch - more like a wide, vast abyss if you know what I mean - so I'm probably somewhere around even with the rest of the good people of the earth thanks to my precarious, peachy perch.

I happen to find a water bath, a nine jar tankard with rack, at Savers in Boise for seven clamshells. So now I don't have to beg, borrow and plead to get my hands on one!

Not Worth The Paper Its Printed On


Unable to sleep due to an aching back, I cracked open my laptop somewhere around 1:00 am and started venting about a local "hot topic" concerning a couple of particularly adult books in our library and the Boards decision to rescind its prior ruling. Whether it was the lack of sleep that swayed my common sense or pure orneriness, I sent it off as a Letter to the Editor. Later that morning, I received an email stating that my name would be used and that my article would be published. And so it was, the very next day, Patriots Day.

For better or worse, I think I'm okay with it. Sticking your nose in the ridiculous business of recycling pros and con's is a whole lot different than sticking it into the cause of a national union of sorts that is known for having the saccharine, yet vicious tenacity of a rabid Ol'Yeller. Good but mostly not. Anyway... I'm not sure that its worth the paper it was printed on, but there you have it, one of the many hair-brained things I did last week during blog-post limbo.

By Dawns Early Light

On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was cleaning the kitchen before I had to get Devin up and ready for his first day of Kindergarten. We were living near Portland, OR at the time and when I got a call from David saying that I needed to turn on the T.V., I could tell from the sound of his voice that something was happening. My first thought was that of large, hot-ash mushroom clouds looming towards our home. I had witnessed the massive eruption of Mt. Saint Helens on May 18th, 1980 and my six-year old self thought that it was the end of the world. Obviously, it was not the mountain spewing ash and dust, though in a grown-up sort of way, it was the end of the world as I have known it. As the towers fell, Devin asked what movie I was watching. “It isn't a movie, Buddy."

Seven years later and 9/11 is now called Patriots Day. As part of Devin’s Scout Troop fundraiser, we were up at the crack of dawn to place flags in the yards of those who signed up for the service. Every national holiday is import; this just happens to be the first that I can say “I remember” and he can too.

Devin Flag

Treasure Hunt Tuesdays

Just for fun, which is the main reason I do what I do with the exception of housework, I decided to join the hunt. Smiling, It's My Favorite via Raspberry Kisses offers up a challenge each week. Last weeks theme Plants, Flowers, and Trees, Oh My! Anyway, this is what I’ve had time to shoot in my extremely busy schedule I survived through last week. More on that later…

All shot on Fuji FinePix S700. Hubby’s play camera we picked up at a pawn shop for $80.00! Yahoo!!

My Yellow Roses

My shrub roses in the backyard. It’s quite by accident that I caught the dew drops. I didn’t notice them until I pulled the picture up on the computer.

Mallow extreme closeup

Seeing stars? A very, too close close-up of what’s left of my mallow.

Mallow Flower behind

Mallow again from the bottom up. It was a crystal clear afternoon.


Feeling crabby. Backyard crabapple tree. The lighting is all wrong… bummer.

Leafy Business

Leafy Business. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the colors. That crisp, musky smell in the morning and sweater afternoons.

The Bank of Dad


Our Farmers are finally earning an income now, an allowance that is. Every payday, we all sit down at the table and dole out the funds, if they’ve earned it, to the kids. Then they have a choice of paying tithing, making a missionary donation, or depositing money into the 25% bi-weekly Bank of Dad to encourage saving. Every week since we’ve started, ALL of their monies, minus the Lord’s and Missionary, goes into the high yielding bank.

Now we’ve had a problem with yelling and general mean, bull-headedness in the family, so last nights F.H.E. lesson, we came up with a potential solution. Mandatory withdrawals from the Bank of Dad per yelling, sharp-tongued occurrence. The rate of exchange is an equal percent of their deposits. Maddy is knocked off a quarter, D.J.’s down 50 cents, Devin a dollar and Mom and Dad two dollars each.

I.O.U. slips will go into a jar for each offence and on banking day, the money is removed and put into a holding jar. The funds of which will be used for something to remind us of our bad behavior by looking up to whom we should all emulate, Jesus Christ.

Sounds a little backwards, I know, but the kids have finally realized the value of money, how long it takes to earn enough to buy what you really, really want and that consequences matter more than just taking away video games. If the money was used as a “treat” instead of a picture or statue of the Savior, there would be a lot of wickedness and more gray hairs upon my head. I hope that in the end, when we finally purchase the “goal” the kids will be more mindful of their words and attitudes. We keep telling them that our home - our family - is a refuge from the rest of the world who will be more than happy to belittle, tear down and destroy them for the fun of it. Not in our house!

Any suggestions or tips? This is the best we got at the moment!

Why It’s Called Labor Day Weekend

Ten yards of two and a quarter inch river rock, eighty-eight feet of driveway, three shovels, a lawn tractor/trailer and three slaves I gave just happened to give birth to.

My Farmers know how to work a shovel.




And drive the "tractor" around the yard.


They even got to practice backing the trailer to deliver the load.


Then it was time to shovel even more rocks! What strength...


What technique...DSCF0020


What determination!


And more rocks to haul. Devin is teaching his brother how to drive. Something about that sentence strikes fear in this mother's heart. He told me earlier today that he wants a blue and white striped Mini-Cooper when he gets his license. "Good luck with that, Son."


Miss Is wasn't too thrilled to learn that she was not allowed to drive the tractor by herself so she wore her patented, 99.8% result-producing pout and hoped Dad would cave, unable to resist such a pathetically sad face.


Back to the rock pile that never ends.




Completing - and passing - Big Brother's Drivers Ed. class, D.J. took the 'wheel' and the attitude of a bad-biscuit, street racing, farmer brat.



Full-throttle, the wind in his hair. I can faintly hear Steppenwolfe in the background, D.J. was born to be wild. His shirt is rather fitting, it says This is what trouble looks like in the shape of a large, yellow arrow just in case the average reader is a little slow on the uptake.DSCF0031

Apparently, D.J. aced the lesson on shifting gears and driving in reverse with a trailer no less.


So you might be asking yourselves, "Why so much rock?" and honestly, I asked myself the same question, then a knot twisted in my gut, my fingers curled inward and my back 'went spastic' remembering how much time was spent this summer bent over and pulling noxious, tree-like weeds from the eastside of the house and the garden spot to the west.


We dug out the dead sod and virulent weeds, lined the edge with brick, added the extra protection of landscaping fabric and dumped somewhere around fifteen loads of rock. It was F-U-N FUN!! But it was the garden that nearly killed me.

My job, besides running around and taking pictures, was to spread all the garden rock between deliveries. It doesn't sound so terrible, really... until you do it. I wore holes through the fingertips of my work gloves from gathering and pushing rock, filling buckets to dump behind the raised boxes and pulling - for one last time - God's "other" plants that we decided not to like. Can you see me?


staceys bum

Oh, look. There I am. Just so you know, this prize-winning photo taken by my dear, darling husband, has been severely cropped for the good of all who innocently happen upon it.

My back is aching again, finger's gnarled.... I'm not sure if I like Labor Day Weekends any more.