Monday, February 20, 2012

Interesting Presidential Facts in Honor of Presidents' Day

In honor of Presidents' Day, here are some interesting facts about Presidents, that you may or may not already know:

  • Bushu-Suru (literally translated 'to do the Bush thing') is a Japanese word for public vomiting due to the 1992 incident where George W. Bush vomited at a dinner party held at the Japanese Prime Ministers home.

  • In 1967, Ronald Reagan began eating jelly beans to help him give up a pipe smoking habit. Three-and-a-half tons of Jelly Bellies were shipped to the White House for the 1981 Inaugural festivities. Blueberry, one of the most popular current flavors, was developed for President Reagan’s inauguration so that there would be red, white and blue jelly beans at the festivities.

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans

  • George Washington only received the equivalent of an elementary school education.

George Washington

  • Jimmy Carter was the first President to be born in a hospital.

Jimmy Carter

  • James Madison was the shortest President of the United States, standing at only 5'4".  He never weighed more than 100 pounds.

James Madison

  • Three presidents died on July 4th: Thomas Jefferson (1826), John Adams (1826), and James Monroe (1831).
  • James Garfield could write Latin with one hand and Greek with the other hand, simultaneously.
  • The three best known Western names in China are Jesus Christ, Elvis Presley, and Richard Nixon.

Elvis Presley
Richard Nixon
Jesus Christ

  • Abraham Lincoln was the first president to ever be photographed at his inauguration. In the photo, he is standing near John Wilkes Booth, his future assassin.

Abraham Lincoln's Inauguration

  • No president has ever been an only child.
  • Every so often, Calvin Coolidge would press all the buttons on the President’s desk and hide and watch his staff run in. He would then pop out from behind the door and say that he was just seeing if everyone was working.

Calvin Coolidge

  • Gerald Ford was the first person to be both vice president and president without being elected by the people. He was appointed vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned and he succeeded to the presidency when Nixon resigned.

Gerald Ford

Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting Crafty for Valentine's Day - Bird Feeders

As if my initial Valentine's project wasn't enough, I decide to make something for the kids' teachers too!  I stumbled upon the idea on Pinterest.  The original project was supposed to be an idea for wedding favors, but I thought they would make cute teacher gifts for Valentine's Day.

First we assembled all of the supplies.......

Corn Syrup, Gelatine, Flour, Bird Seed and Jute
We mixed up all of the ingredients and pressed some of the mixture into a greased cookie cutter.  Then we poked a hole in it with a chopstick and removed the cookie cutter.  We did this over and over until all the mixture was used.  We let them dry over night on wax paper and then tied a  length of jute on them for a hanger.

We packaged them in a plastic bag and decorated it with more jute and a tag.

We made enough to give 2 bird feeders to all three of Connor's teachers, Madison's teacher, the school nurse and the principal.  Hopefully, they all enjoy birds in their yard!

Original recipe by Intimate Weddings.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Chicken Mole, 2 shots of tequila and 3 Coronas.....weeeeeeeee!  It's amazing I can still type!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Poo Bags, Worth Every Penny!

Source: Michael McConnell

As you may or may not already know, I make my own dog food.  Not just occasionally, but all of it.  The only time I ever step into a pet store, is for poo bags.  I know, I know, I could reuse grocery bags, but there is nothing worse than picking up a steaming pile of dog poo only to find out that there is a hole in the bag and you just stuck your finger in it.  Meanwhile, you are 2 miles away from home with nothing to wipe the poo you walk all the way home with your fingers outstretched making sure that you don't touch anything, trying not to think about the poo on your fingers (not to mention the hole in the bag, from which the poo could rub up against your pants).  Store bought poo bags.......WORTH.......EVERY......PENNY......enough said!

Anyway, dog food. I make my own.  From human grade food.  My dog eats better than a lot of humans.  I do not, however spend a lot of money on said homemade dog food.  I buy whole chickens when they are around 69 cents per pound and I keep them in my freezer.  I have various recipes, some use rice, some use barley and oats others use potatoes.  A while ago, I read that if you cook a whole chicken in a pressure cooker, the bones turn to mush and the dog can eat them.  This is a great source of nutrients and calcium.  I had been wanting to try it for a while but I didn't have a pressure cooker.

Last weekend, we were out shopping and my Mum decided to buy me a pressure cooker.  I got it home and decided to go online to do more research about making dog food in a pressure cooker.  While looking, I stumbled upon a video on YouTube by a veterinarian who has written a book about cooking for dogs.  I watched the video and to my surprise, you can can cook a dog food stew in your slow cooker, using a whole chicken and the bones break down.  I couldn't wait to try it out, after all, I love my slow cooker.  And, I didn't have to learn how to use a new piece of equipment.

This is what I put in my slow cooker:

1 Whole Chicken
Giblets from Whole Chicken
1 Large Sweet Potato, Scrubbed and Cut into Large Chunks
1 Large Russet Potato, Scrubbed and Cut into Large Chunks
1 Can of Green Beans with Liquid
2 Large Carrots Scrubbed and Cut into Chunks
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Corn
1 1/2 Cups Frozen Peas
1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
Water to Cover Ingredients

I put the slow cooker on low for 20 hours (that's not a typo, you need to cook for 12 -24 hours to break down the bones) and then I mashed the stew with a potato masher and voila.......

Healthy chicken stew packed with nutrients.  I tested the bones just to make sure they were safe.  The small bones just disintegrated into the stew and the larger bones are the consistency of a dog biscuit.

I switched up the recipe a bit based on what I have learned about the health benefits of various vegetables for dogs.  Here is the original recipe by Dr. Greg:

I guess we will be returning that pressure cooker!  View my other dog food recipes here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Getting Crafty for Valentine's Day

First of all, I have to say that I hate those cheesy little Valentine's that you buy for the kids to exchange at school.  They are lame.  They are overpriced.  I mean, they don't even come with envelopes anymore.  Why bother?  Because the kids love to exchange Valentine's!

This year, we decided to make Valentine's for the kids to exchange at school.  We had to make use of what craft supplies we already had on hand.  After all, we still aren't in a position to be throwing money around!  So I began to scour the internet for inspiration.  I stumbled upon an idea for crayon hearts that looked cute and we just happened to have a shoe box full of old crayons.

So we began to remove the paper from all of the crayons in preparation for the melting phase.  This was the least fun part, especially when we got to the crayons with extra strong glue.  We ended up soaking some in warm water in order to get the paper off.  Then we broke all the crayons into pieces and put them into heart shaped silicone muffin molds.  We then melted them in the oven.

After they were cooled, we popped them out of the molds and voila, swirly crayon hearts.

Source: Michael McConnell

We printed a message on card stock and mounted it on a square of decorative scrapbook paper with glue dots.  We attached some double sided foam tape to the back of each crayon heart and then stuck it to the card stock.  We made a total of 44.  We had enough supplies to make them all without having to buy anything.

Source: Michael McConnell

Click here for the original directions for crayon hearts.  For more Valentine's Day ideas, click here.

Source: Michael McConnell

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pinterestingly Enough, I Was Right

I have been aware of Pinterest for a while now but have been avoiding it due to the fact that I DO NOT need another time waster in my life.  My fear was that it would be addictive like Facebook.  But, I kept thinking that it would be a great venue to gain exposure to my Hubpages articles and my blog.

Well, I finally did it and the verdict is............I was right!  What a time waster.  The minute I signed up, I was hooked.  I can't believe the over pouring of interesting "stuff" on there.

Here are some cool things that I found:

DIY Dishwasher Detergent courtesy of Lady with the Red Rocker.  I'm pretty sure my friend Dwija over at House Unseen, Life Unscripted might like to try it!

Source: Lady with the Red Rocker

Cupcakes Baked in a Jar courtesy of Running with Glitter
Source: Running with Glitter
And, this was just funny

Chocolate covered sugar cubes courtesy of Cute Food for Kids.  These would be perfect with a Valentine's Day Tea Party.

So that's it!  I'm hooked.  Unless you have lots of spare time on your hands, I do not recommend joining Pinterest!  It is way too pinteresting!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Underwear Made of Gold

Sliding into a pair of underwear earlier this week, I put my finger through yet another hole in the lace.  Scouring through my underwear drawer, one morning, for a stretch thong to wear under my workout Capri's, I was forced to wear a fancy lacy thong instead.   I couldn't take it anymore, it was time to break down and buy some new underwear!

You see, I haven't purchased any underwear since early 2010.  Mommy's underwear just isn't a priority when you are trying to cut expenses.  I had a gift from Christmas that I was planning on returning and it came from Kohl's.  So I set off with return in hand (alone, yay!) to Kohl's on a mission to find some new underwear.  I went straight to customer service and received a $10 credit to be used in the store.  I walked away from the counter thinking, "Cool, I should be able to get three pairs with this, give or take a dollar!"

I began to walk up and down the underwear aisles for the perfect pair.  I wanted something that can be worn everyday and can also be worn under my workout pants without creating lines (no one wants to see that!).  The only underwear that could handle that responsibility would be a microfiber or cotton thong.  I thought to myself, "No problem, 3 tiny little pieces of fabric..........I can find that for $10."  Within a very short period of time I found the perfect pair, they were a thin microfiber with no decoration.  I picked them up with a smile on my face, but suddenly my expression turned to horror.  You see, these perfect little panties were $9 per pair!  One tiny little piece of fabric with a little bit of elastic was $9.......WTF!!!  Since when did they start weaving gold into underwear?  I quickly put them down and decided to keep looking; every pair I found was the same story.  I was beside myself.

I decided to give up on the underwear, thinking that I might be able to find a better deal at Target.  With my $10 credit in hand,  I wandered off to see if I could find a bargain to take my mind off my underwear disappointment.  When I rounded the first corner, I stumbled on a rack with a big sign that read, "Discontinued, 3 for $9.99".  My heart leaped with excitement!  Was it true, was this really a rack full of underwear?  Well folks, it was AND there were lots and lots of thongs.  I was so excited!

Realizing I had stumbled upon an amazing deal (now that underwear is more expensive than gold) I decided to buy 6 pairs (3 cotton, 3 lace).  And, I no longer have to wear holey underwear!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Catching up......

It is time to get caught up on my blog since I have been a little lazy distracted lately.  It isn't that I don't want to write, it's more like I have been lounging around too much I haven't felt like sitting at my desk.  I haven't been on e-mail, Facebook and the rest of the Internet as much as usual.  So here is what I have been up to since my last post.

  • I used my Christmas money to join the Gym at Freestone Community Center.  I have been without a gym membership since we left Las Vegas.  Honestly, I made an effort to exercise without a gym but I love the classes too much.  I just couldn't do it.  So, I broke down and joined.......I couldn't be happier about it!
  • My brother and his wife had a baby on January 12th.  I am finally an Auntie and my kids finally have a cousin.  His name is Jaxon Nicolas and he is so sweet!

  • I made some food to put in the freezer for my brother and his family.  I made two chicken pot pies and some baked rigatoni with Italian sausage.  I also made some plum and almond cookie bars and some cranberry bread.

  • We have a new visitor staying with us, his name is Flat Stanley.  He was sent to us in an envelope from Madison's friend Matthew who lives in California.  We are documenting his visit with us through photographs and Madison will be writing to Matthew to tell him all about his adventures.  We will be sending Flat Stanley home in March.

  • I should give myself a pat on the back some credit, I have actually published a few articles on lately.  I am hoping to get back into writing more frequently again.  I would like to publish at least two articles per week and write my blog at least four times a week.






  • For Christmas, Michael and I received a check from his Mom to be used for a night out.  Since my Mum is still here, we left the kids at home and went out for dinner and a movie last night.  We saw "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  I highly recommend it and now I think I may have to read the book.  We only used half of the money so we have another date night in our future.  Can I get a "Yay" for date night?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quick Update....Money Earned/Money Saved

I did another mystery shop on Friday and got a $12.00 haircut for Connor and got paid $10.00 at the same time.  Total money earned/saved..........$22.00!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

That Guy That Lives Here

First of all, Happy New Year!

I have high hopes for 2012.  2010 and 2011 brought much turmoil and now I feel, as though the dust may be settling for good this time.  Third time's a charm, right?

I have been putting off writing this post because I didn't want to jinks things, but now, I think the time is right.  I have been telling you my story for about 4 months and occasionally I mention Michael, my husband.  I realize that you all know of his existence, but I rarely write about him.  He may occasionally get a quick mention, but that is it.  I'm not sure why, maybe because he doesn't say much?

While I have been telling you our story, he has been busy in the background trying to find a new way to support his family and enjoy life at the same time.  We did toss around the idea of me going back to work, but we all agreed that life is better and things run smoother if I am here to take care of everyone.  So that decision is final, I will remain CEO and CFO of The McConnell Household.

Michael has been studying for A+ Certification which could get him an entry level job as a computer technician.  His plan was to have a simple way to get into a field in which he enjoys and hopefully work his way up.  He had planned to take the test after the holidays.

Flash back to California, Michael was doing some freelance photography (self taught) for Southern California hotels.  He photographed the interior and exterior of hotels for their brochures and websites.  In June of 2010, he was published on the cover of AAA's Westways Magazine.  He has also done a great job of photographing our family.  Photography is some thing he really enjoys.

Flash forward to the middle of December 2011, he responded to an ad on Craigslist for a photography assistant.  He realized that it wouldn't pay much but thought that it may be a good opportunity to expand his portfolio and learn some skills from a professional photographer.  He got a response immediately and was asked to assist on a wedding the next day.  This was a "try out" or an audition to see how he did.  It turns out that the photographer is well known and a favorite in the LDS community here.  He was actually looking for someone to take over all of his overflow business.  He has been having Michael apprentice with him and plans to hand over as many as 60 weddings a year.  Michael already has two weddings on the books.

He has given Michael his own page on his website.  If you click on "Galleries" and scroll over to "Michael McConnell"  you can see some of the shots he has already taken.

I am so happy for him.  He worked so hard as a Hotel Manager, for many years, to support his family.  He never really enjoyed it.  But, he did it anyway, so he could provide a comfortable life for his family and afford us the luxury of me staying home.  We realize that it may take a while before this provides a steady income but we feel like we are finally on the right track.  We have the luxury of a free home to live in while we rebuild our life.  He may still take the A + Certification test and try to get a part time job as a computer technician.  We are waiting to see just how busy he will be with his photography.

He has tons of photography equipment but he needed one last thing to make that jump to a "real" professional.  So this week we made an investment in our future....hopefully it's a good one!

That's right, a $2,000 camera lens!

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