Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Great Balancing Act and Outsourcing

Photo Via
As I walked through my bedroom to get Huggles ready for bed, I sighed.  Here is our dirty little secret... some of you won't be surprised...  The piles of clean clothes are getting larger each day.  The one thing that I have learned the hard way with homeschooling, is that I do not have time to keep up with everything.  There is a choice to be made daily, and with our many obligations, some things have to take a back seat.

I have a hard time fathoming the soccer mom who drives 2-6 kids (or more) to different activities each day, all while checking homework (or teaching daily lessons in homeschool), keeping up with the cleaning, laundry, and fixing breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Maybe those mothers have a maid or a house keeper.  All I know is that staying organized is the key to everything.  I'm still learning that lesson.

I have recently added on a new thing as well.  College for me.  It had been weighing on my mind, and Hoss and I made the decision that it was the right time for me to start back up.

So now, I am finding the balance... balancing the many hats that I have to wear in one day.  In all honesty, I can't think of a better way to keep myself progressing than to keep busy, doing great things.

So, I pray that my family (Hoss and the kids) bear with me as I find my balance in this circus!  The girls will definitely be taking on more chores... laundry, dishes, bathroom cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, and even cooking.  These are the life lessons that will help them become wonderful mothers anyway, I do know that!

New Mexico sunsets are the best!
Today we had an extended P.E. day.  We haven't done a whole lot of P.E., but I'm working on coming up with some health lessons for them, and getting out more than we have.  Its easy to stay in the house the whole day getting all the things done we need to.  Anyway, today we tried a new park.  It was so much fun!  There are large trees there, perfect for climbing, large open spaces, with a few different sets of play equipment.  My favorite part of the park was the obstacle course section.  There were bars, and twisty seats, and steps with springs under them that keep you working to stay on them.  I can imagine us burning a lot of energy there!  It was a fun day... a much needed outdoor day.

One of my brothers asked me if he and possibly the rest of my siblings could help teach certain lessons via video chat, skype, or google hangout.  I think it is an amazing idea!  Do any of you have a talent in any areas of the 3 R's (reading, writing, arithmetic?... maybe even science)?  It would be fun to test it out!

We have finished our lessons on The Creation.  However, there are more topics to cover in the hugeness of the subject.  We are beginning the Plan of Salvation, then we will cover the solar system more in depth.  We have already learned a lot of fun things with it, but I know there are more.  We are going to be making a sun dial, and it would be fun to learn how to make a barometer.  If you have any suggestions, or would like to help us in our studies, then please, let me know!  I know the kids would LOVE to see/hear from you!  I'll post more lesson ideas that any of you might like to teach as we move on in our curriculum.


Evelyn Curtis
Morning prayer

Monday, November 26, 2012


I can always tell when my girls' hair needs a trim... maybe you've experienced this too.  It is evident when just brushing it after it has been cleaned and conditioned is a painful experience.  Those darn tangles!  Bug has been asking me when she gets to have a haircut.  I was thinking about taking her to a salon, but when I found out how much they charge, I began to reconsider.  I've become cheap... much to Hoss's pleasant surprise, I'm sure.

So, finally, after our last fight with the hair brush, I determined to make the haircut official.  I got out the scissors, clips, sheets, combs, and spray bottle, sat Bug on a tall stool, and began the process.  Now, if you know me, you know that I'm no professional.  No no, I'm a close one eye and hope for the best kind of gal.  Ha ha ha.. just ask Huggles about his last haircut (in my defense, he was so squirmy, that it was hard to get it just right).

So my two dear friends Sariah and Sandi, please don't look too closely at these pictures.  I'm sure you will find much to snicker about.  

I'll tell you though, I did some homework before I began.  I watched the following video tutorial on cutting curly hair.  I found it very informative, and helpful!  I followed the lady's directions as best as a novice can, and I honestly feel like Bug's haircut turned out pretty cute!... and just the length I was looking for!  

So if you need some help doing a haircut with layers... go ahead and watch this tutorial.  It helps.  Trust me!  I am thinking about cutting Bunny's hair again in the next few months... with this new information under my belt!

Oh the things we can learn...if we just try!

Here are Bug's before and after pictures!

Before: She was excited!

She's cute!
Not perfectly even, but I think it is cute!
Bunny had to get in there!  She's beautiful too!


Evelyn Curtis

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The bird was so tender and juicy!
I used the Citrus Rubbed Turkey I blogged about.
No bags this year!  Straight roasting and basting!

 I really wanted to post yesterday saying a Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  I just was so busy trying get dinner ready that I just didn't have time!  Then afterward, that turkey kicked in, and I was falling asleep!

Our dinner turned out delicious!  Beautiful turkey, potatoes, stuffing, veggies, cranberry sauce, and brown sugar muffins!  It was quite the spread for our little family of 5!  We definitely have leftovers!... I don't complain about that, because we have meals made for a day or 2 more!  Ha!

Some of our Thanksgiving traditions are getting a newspaper to look through ads (I never get up with the crazies... I like my sleep too much!).  Then we take a family picture somewhere with hopes of using it in a Christmas card that year.  They we usually end the day with watching a movie.  Whether that is in the theater or at home.

Our table is so tiny that we had to put a fold up next to it to double the size.

This year we planned on watching A Christmas Story here at home.  We ate dinner at about 7pm.  So like I mentioned above, after that turkey kicked in, and we were pretty much done cleaning up, we sat down to watch the movie, and Hoss and I were both out.  We ended up turning it off early and heading for bed.  We didn't even have pie we were so stuffed!  It made a pretty decent breakfast though!

My best apple pie yet! 

We certainly had a wonderful day though!

Things I am thankful for:
My God and Jesus Christ
My family (extended and my own)
Christmas music
A house that stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter (our last house didn't do well with that)
My calling in church (the service I've been asked to do)
Good friends
No car payment
Crisp cool air (at least it is today)
My dog
Refrigerator to keep things cold and help preserve food
The ease of life we have with technology
Grass (I miss grass)
Mountains (I really Really miss mountains)
Dirt roads
Smell of pine trees in the forest

And so many more.

Here's one family pic!  We'll be sending out Christmas cards this year!
Yesterday morning, after we got ready for the day, I took the kids to Home Depot where we bought our very first-brand-new-fake-pre-lit-Christmas-tree!  We have always had a hand me down...its nice to have a new one.. and we only paid $40!  Not so bad I think... especially for only going to one store!  First try... I'm thankful for that!

What are you thankful for?  How did you celebrate this year?  What is your favorite part of the meal?  Did you head out to catch any sales?


Evelyn Curtis

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gangnam/Mormon/or whatever your Style

I think I should have blogged about this a long time ago!  Here is something that makes me laugh no matter how many times I see it!

Gangnam Style is a song performed by Korean rapper PSY.  From my research, he is classically a comedic favorite kind, since I generally don't enjoy rap music.  If I have shared this particular video with you before, the please forgive me for sharing it again... but the second video might be new to it was new to me today!

photo via
 I personally believe you can't go wrong with watching this video.  Its hilarious, and my whole family loves it.  Bunny and Bug have perfected the dance (if you haven't seen it, watch to understand).  Huggles tries to do the dance, and Hoss can be found randomly trotting to the silent beat in his head down the isles of Albertson's.  Which is pretty hilarious in its own right... not because he is doing a goofy dance, but because he does it for all to see.  Last week, one lady gave him quite the look.  It was a priceless moment.  One that I wish I could have captured on camera!  Seriously!  Ah, but its fun...especially since grocery shopping can be so hard on a child....or their daddy for that matter.  Sometimes they need a little entertainment/distracting in order for me to get it done quickly!

So watch the video to get the full visual... its quite entertaining!

Second, Hoss played me this video early this morning.  I had to laugh. Its a spin off/spoof of the original video.

Mormon Daddy Style!

Ah, good times, and great references toward the Mormon culture!

I hope you have had a fabulous day!


Evelyn Curtis

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Bug and the Tooth Fairy

We have breaking news here in Hobbs, NM!  Bug has had a very very loose tooth for quite a while.  She had already lost 3 teeth, and frankly those were traumatic experiences for her.  So last night, I told her to show me her tooth, which I promptly said, "We need to pull it.  Its ready."

Bug absolutely refused to let Hoss or I pull it.  She was insistent about pulling it herself.  I think it took her nearly an hour to get it done... 

in fact, at one point as I was heading out the door to check the mail and take some trash to the dumpster, I said,  "Bug... if you don't have that pulled by the time I get back, daddy is holding you down, and I'm going to pull it myself!"

The color drained from her face... she has a sincere fear of having her teeth pulled.  I remember pulling all of my teeth on my own... I pulled most of Bunny's teeth.  I was ready and up to the was Hoss, should she choose to let him try.

Anyway, I went and came back, and Hoss told me that when I drove up, she started kind of panicking. Then right as I opened the door, she popped it out!  I think she was relieved!

The tooth fairy usually gives our kids $1 per tooth... but on Bug's little baggy, she wrote, "Pulled your own tooth!"  Inside was $2!  I guess it pays to be brave and pull it on your own!

What's more...I was about to take a picture of Bug sleeping, so I could blog about her pulling her own tooth (My post was going to be about how she was sleeping and waiting for the tooth fairy to come), when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.  I snapped the picture, and went to bed myself.

What I didn't know was that I caught a glimpse of the tooth fairy in the picture!  It is a bit blurry, due to the fact that I think I surprised her, and she was in the process of slipping away.

Here!  Have a look!

Bug and Bunny are so excited that there is actual proof of the tooth fairy!


Evelyn Curtis

PS  I'm excited that Bug now gets to sing the song, 

"All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth!"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving Menu

Approximately 5 or 6 years ago, I cooked Thanksgiving all by myself.  This was in Idaho, and Hoss and I thought that we needed to do it and invite a few friends who we knew didn't have anyone to have Thanksgiving dinner with.  So, I embarked on my very first turkey, my very first...everything on my own!  I had made pies before (thanks to Mrs. Hogan in homec)!

Back then--and ever since, I have used one of those roasting bags to roast the turkey, along with a disposable roasting pan.  Its an easy way to never have to baste the bird, and it has always come out juicy and delicious.  In my opinion, its a fail safe way to make a successful turkey.

I believe I should be able to get it at Kmart!
This year, we were invited to a family's house in our ward here in Hobbs.  After discussing it, Hoss and I decided that we would remain in our own house, and do our own Thanksgiving dinner.  I think I'm so into the spirit of the season, that I'm going to make it formal and make everyone dress up!  Shhh!  Don't tell Hoss... he might not like it at first!... but the girls will love it!

Since it will just be my own family, I thought it would be a great time to experiment on roasting the bird for real!  No bags!  I'm even going to get a nice roasting pan with a wrack in order to be successful!  Want to see the one I'm going to get?

There is also one tool that I really REALLY want to get... so I'm hoping I can find one (I don't think we'll be able to order it in time after payday.  But I make gravy enough, that I'm sure it will be very useful!  Have you ever used a fat separator?  It lets you drain the meat drippings from the bottom of the container, leaving the fat on top.  Its amazing, seeing it in action.  You can see one in the video linked below.  This is the one I have my eyes on.  Nice, right?
Here is my tentative menu:

Turkey (of course)
Mashed potatoes and turkey gravy
Romain salad
My sister-in-law's very delicious recipe for sweet potatoes (I'll eat no other)
Asado:Photo via
Asado, a Mexican dish of pork cooked in a spicy red chile sauce.  Most people who have amazing family recipes will not share every ingredient.  They'll usually leave something out.  (If we can find the coveted recipe--The Mexicans around here don't share their recipes)!  This is what it can look like.  You eat it with tortillas, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and tomato... or you can just put it on your plate or in a bowl on the side.  It is delicious, and Hoss really wants to add it to our traditional Thanksgiving!

Veggie tray for an appetizer and to keep the kids from withering in hunger

Dessert will consist of pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pumpkin cake.  Its a lot... but we love leftovers here!  especially after slaving away for so long to make an amazing meal!

I also plan on making a little snack of roasted cinnamon almonds!  Yum!  I've never made them, and face it... some things we find on pinterest just don't work out.  This one... I'm hoping does!

This is the method of cooking the turkey that I plan on using!  It looks so delicious!  I can't wait!

I am hoping to start a new Thanksgiving tradition.... what exactly... I don't know yet.  That will have to be another post I think!

What is your tentative Thanksgiving menu?

I'm so Thankful for my little family!  I so thankful for my extended family!  I am so blessed!

What is on your Thanksgiving menu?



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FHE: Surprise Party!

Last week, I read this blog post.  I loved the idea of throwing my family a surprise party with a meaning or theme behind it.  And for this particular topic, I thought the timing was impecible!  The topic being, "See What God Hath Done." Its a surprise party about recognizing all of the blessings in your life.  Totally timely, since Thanksgiving is only 1 week and 2 days away!  Seriously, see the post for details.  It is an amazing idea for a family night!

Our banner and Gratitude lists

So, after I read the blog post, I told Hoss that I was doing the lesson for Family Home Evening.  He said... "Okay."  Exciting right?  He was thrilled... I'm sure!

I followed all of the steps mentioned.  I printed off the banner, and strung it on some pretty white ribbon.  Its still hanging there... above my head right now!  I cheated though, instead of using up all of my printer ink for this project, I decided to go to Staples and have it printed off!  I love staples!  I hadn't been to one in around 3 years.... there is not an Office Max here, and that was kind of my "go-to."  But Staples is awesome, ssshh, I don't even miss Office Max!  Man... Staples should give me a free computer for this wonderful review!

Back on task...
equal parts white grape
juice and fresca
with frozen fruit

The Bunny and Bug knew nothing about it.. I mean, what is a surprise party without the surprise?  I purchased some ingredients to make this delicious punch!  ----------------------------------------------------->
I also purchased ingredients to make cinnamon rolls.... Easiest rolls I've ever made!  I just peeled the paper, broke the roll, and place them in my pan!

I made our most favorite meal... beans and rice de la Republica Dominicana (Dominican Republic).  {You can see my recipe here.}  I chose this meal, not just because it is one of our favorites, but because it is one meal that I am very grateful for.  Beans and rice are a fairly humble meal.  Its one that got us through some times where money was very scarce.  I'm so glad that I had all of the ingredients well stocked in our food storage.  What a blessing!

Once Hoss got home from work, I told him to quickly get cleaned up and dressed up for our party.  We all dressed up... for us, dressing up is pretty simple.

I even set the table in a pretty formal matter!  I never use a table cloth and napkins.  But yesterday, I even used hand stamped napkins, and set the table with all of the utensils.  Be impressed!

We sat down and ate our meal, all the while, Bunny and Bug asking why we were celebrating Thanksgiving now.  :)  I promise our Thanksgiving meals are fancier than beans and least, I try to have them be!

After dinner, we migrated to the couch and we proceeded with our FHE meeting, (which I followed the suggested party plan as listed in the blog post.  It was great!  And I think the family really enjoyed it!  It is a fairly easy idea, and it wasn't too hard for me to put it together.

We enjoyed our cinnamon rolls, and since Hoss got home kind of late, it was way past bedtime.  All the kids were shuffled off to bed to get their beauty sleep!

I hope you consider throwing a surprise party of your own, since Thanksgiving in just around the bend!


Evelyn Curtis

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cowboy Festival

Huggles was asleep
A few months ago, a friend of mine told me about this fun festival that all of the elementary schools go to.  I believe it is call the Cowboy Festival.  They do it every year, and it was, indeed lots of fun!  The kids really loved it!

Here in Hobbs, there is a museum called The Western Heritage Museum.  It is pretty neat!  We love going to museums, because there are so many fascinating things to look at!  This museum even has a Lea County Cowboy hall of fame!  Fun!  I know!

As I was going through pictures on my cell phone, I came across the photos that I took that day.

They had Native American dancing, folk art exhibits (quilting, weaving, and spinning yarn).  Bunny and Bug were very enthralled with it all.  They also had a local beekeeper there to show us what goes into bee keeping.  I have always been interested in beekeeping, and when we have a little homestead, I think we might start keeping bees! least, I want to!

Huggles fell asleep, so he missed out on some of the fun.  But Bunny, and Bug both got their faces painted, they both got to try roping, and the crowning show was a cowboy doing some roping tricks!  He was amazing!  He walked his horse in circles while he lassoed around the both..among many other tricks!  It was so much fun!

All in all, it was a great day! 


Evelyn Curtis

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Reflections: Children

don't mind Huggle's yogurt mouth
I read a blog post yesterday evening that was very memorable for me.  I pinned it in Pinterest... that's how inspired I felt it was.  Its a message I feel needs to be spread.

This particular blog is written by a fellow homeschooling mamma.  I don't know her personally, but I find her posts to be very insightful and inspiring.  She really takes time out of her day to focus on how precious her children are.  This is something I need to do every day as well.

The blog is Finding Joy: beautiful, connected, life

This particular blog post titled, 51 Things You Can Do That Will Bless Your Kids.

I loved the list she laid out, many of these things I do, but more than half of these things I don't do well...or at all.

I decided that I needed to focus on one for now.  Start somewhere making better habits and memories.

The list talks about letting your children try, let them fail, let them succeed on their own...and with your help, love them, and tell them that you love them every day...and so on and so forth.  You should really read it, because maybe you will find something to focus on too.

I chose # 36 "Let them end the hug."

My family didn't hug a ton while I was growing up.  We still don't hug much.  When we see each other, we do a little side hug.  Hoss's family are "huggers"... always hugging.  It was a lot to adjust to when I first married into his family.  It was a good adjustment though.  My family had other ways of showing affection.. like punching each other in the arm, giving a dead leg, a noogie, or playing sports and games together.  (Family::  Do I remember wrong?)

When we moved to the south, I had to learn a new appreciation for hugs.  I hug my kids, and Hoss plenty, but friends and acquaintances?... not likely.  Just ask my good friend Chris...when we parted ways upon my moving to New Mexico, I went and said goodbye to her.  We both stood there looking at each other saying, "Well.... see ya later."  I had thought about giving her a friendly thump on the arm, but I refrained.

The culture here in Southern New Mexico seems to be of the kind to hug upon greeting, and usually upon parting.  "Huggers" were everywhere!  But, I think I have adjusted, because hugs are wonderful, and I'm not quite as taken off guard when someone offers a hug!

So why do I choose to focus on letting my kids end the hug?  Because, I felt inspired that it is what my children need.  I put it in practice immediately.  Last night, after family prayers and before bed, I gave Bug a hug first.  I smile as I write her reaction.  We hug often, but never like this.  I just held onto her, and you know what?  She just hugged me back.  I think we hugged for around five minutes.  And when she finally pulled away, she was beaming, and so was I.  When I hugged Bunny, she saw Bug's hug, so she was prepared.  She too just let me hold her in my arms as we hugged.  When she finally ended the hug, she too was beaming, and I was positively joyful!  Such wonderful things a hug can do!

Today, I have been thinking about how blessed I am to have such sweet, lovely, funny, and wonderful children.  My heart cries out for them, and I only want to help them along in their lives to be the most successful in whatever they choose to do.  I only want to arm them with faith in God, a testimony in Jesus Christ, and a hunger for the scriptures, or the word of God.

Give your children a hug from me....or from you!


Evelyn Curtis

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Unlike my last post on making pumpkin puree, roasting pumpkin seeds has been a tradition for so many years in my family.  We all love them, and they are fun to make!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (rinsed)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Any other seasoning

When you are carving your pumpkins, make sure to not throw out those seeds!  I like to separate them from the pulp and immediately put them in a colander.  I then rinse them well.  While they are still in the colander, but drained, I will salt them really well.  This year, I used some garlic powder too!  I have heard of using cajun, or cayan pepper... but since my girls like to eat them, I like to make sure I use seasonings that they enjoy too!

Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees.  I've read many different temperatures.. but 200 is my favorite.

I usually spread some olive oil all over the cookie sheet, to help prevent sticking.  I also drizzle about 1 TBS olive oil and mix it into the seeds with the seasoning.  Pour on the cookie sheet, and try to spread evenly.  Place in oven and let roast.  I usually stir them around every 20 minutes.  Cook them until they are white with a little golden around the edges.  It usually takes around 40-60 minutes.  If they aren't cooking fast enough, just turn up the heat to around 250.




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Roasted Pureed Pumpkins

I have been wanting to blog about this for a while.  We have had other busy projects going on.  I am desperately doing a house purge...again.  I think this is something that needs to happen every 3-4 months in such a tiny house.  But, we are nearly done with that... then back to business as usual!

I have a guilty pang when I have thrown out jack-o-lanterns (and their seeds) in the past.  It is just easier to get rid of them...instead of cooking them, pureeing them, and preserving them.  I've always loved having the pumpkin puree...but this is my second annual...consistent pumpkin puree party!

I think it has actually become a tradition in the home!  Its always fun to realize you have a new tradition!

Here's what you need:

Large Cookie Sheet with ridges or sides
Food Processor, or amazing blender
Pumpkins (Maybe that should be #1 on the list)
Measuring Bowl
Zip Lock Freezer bags (1 qt or smaller if available)

Here's your how-to:

Roasting Pumpkins

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash your pumpkin/s well, ensuring that you have removed any and all dirt from the skin.  But it into quarters if it is large, or just in half for a small pumpkin.  I place my pumpkin skin side down on the cookie sheet.  Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan.  Place in the heated oven, and let roast.

The time depends on the size of the pumpkin.  My pumpkins were about the size of basketballs.  They roasted for approximately 75 minutes.  Naturally, the smaller they are, the less time it takes.  I typically check the pumpkins every 30 minutes.  They pumpkins will be done when you can pierce them easily with a knife or fork (they are tender).

When done, remove them from the oven and let cool.

Note:  I use my pumpkin for a wide variety of recipes...from soups to cakes, so I do not like to season them at all.  If you are using your pumpkin for something specific, then feel free to season it how you wish.  

Pumpkin Puree

After the pumpkin has cooled enough to handle, I will peel the pumpkin to separate the meat from the skin, and then chop the meat into chunks.  I then fill my food processor with the tender chunks, add about 1 Tbs purified water and puree.  I puree until smooth, then transfer into a bowl to measure as I go.  Repeat process...

My food processor is quite small.  It only holds 3 cups at a time.  Oh how I wish I could have a 10 cup food processor.  Maybe I should put it on my Christmas list.  It would get some good use here!.... or better yet..... A Vitamix!  Now THAT would get a lot of good use here in the Curtis household!  Oh the things a Vitamix can do!  Hint Hint -to Hoss! He he he

My dream Vitamix

Once all of the pumpkin has been pureed, I begin the separation process.  I usually use a 1 cup measuring cup.  I scoop and level 1 cup (or 2 cups) into each freezer bag.  Be sure to label and date your bags, and place in your freezer!

One day, I will venture to the actual bottling of the pumpkin puree...but I don't have the necessary tools yet!

After all three of my pumpkins were roasted, diced and pureed, I had 24 cups!  That will last a while!
Now you have "ready to go pumpkin puree" to add to your breads, cakes, soups, stews, spaghetti.... or whatever you can think up!  I just pull out a bag a few hours before I need it, or place it in warm water to thaw when pressed for time!

Alternate method:

Boiling Pumpkins

To boil your pumpkins, quarter your pumpkin (or 8th it if it is large), and place in a large pot with water.  Set on the stove and heat to medium high.  Let the water slowly come to a boil, and boil until the pumpkins are tender.  It has been a few years since I have done it this way, but it should take around 40-60 minutes.. ISH.  I do not know for sure.  You'll just have to check it often with a fork or knife.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Activity Day: Service Project

This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but I couldn't handle sitting in front of the computer with the horrible migraine that erupted shortly after sitting down to edit the pictures.  It was a bad one... that's what I get for not wearing my reading glasses while on the computer.

So here it is... written two days ago (Wednesday).


My camera's battery died, so my cell
phone camera had to work.
I walked into my calling with the rest of the year mostly planned out, which is nice.  It gives me an idea for what the girls have done, and what they like.  For yesterday's activity, the plan was for the girls to make Thanksgiving cards to give to the families who will be receiving food baskets from the youth.  Great idea!  Right?  No need to change it in my opinion!

Why not add to it though?  These girls have a tendency to run around, and skip out of the activity before we are officially closed.  I have to say, this is a really hard habit to break!  I have my work cut out for me...but I'll be darned if those girls keep it up!  So, to add more to their plate, a sister from the ward asked me if the activity day girls could make birthday cards for an older widow who does not have anymore family alive.  She is in a nursing home, and I guess, that is one of the things she really, letters... you know, receiving something...anything in the mail.  I can feel for her.  I always walk to the mailbox with a hopeful feeling that just maybe I'll have a card or a letter instead of bills.  Alas, it is usually bills.  Sometimes I day dream that there is a check in the mail for a cagillion dollars....

But I digress.

I have a firm belief that these kids need to grow up learning how to help other people.  They need to learn how to set aside time to think of other people.  I am afraid that this coming generation is not getting enough of that.  I am afraid that they are left too much on their own, and they are missing out on valuable lessons in work, service, and studying.

My goal is to have an underlying point to everything we do.  The girls are working to earn their Faith in God, these activities are mainly to help them get there.

After our opening exercises, I explained what we were doing.  They were all very excited to be doing something crafty.  They got right to work.  But it wasn't just about making cards with no thought... so I began to explain to them about this older woman who was all alone, and missing on the sweet little things in life.

I asked, "Why do you think it is service...making these birthday cards for this woman?"

They all answered so wonderfully.  One thing that I am not surprised by.  This upcoming generation is very intuitive... or at least, they can be.  They understood that this woman needs to feel loved, and to look at those fun little cards that used to come in the mail from family.  It is an opportunity to bring a smile to her face, and help her feel loved.

The same with the Thanksgiving cards.  Each family will not only get an outpouring of blessings, in the form of food, but they will get a card that shows that someone was thinking of them!

Happiness is in the little things...and if I can help my kids, and any other kids I am fortunate to mentor, I hope they learn that too.  I am sure thankful for this calling!  It is so much fun, and I can feel it preparing me for other adventures!

Happy Thanksgiving... a little early!


Evelyn Curtis

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

New Neighbors

Remember my neighbor who got robbed?  Well, he moved out two weekends ago, and this last weekend, we got new neighbors.  These places are never vacant for long.  In fact, a few weeks before that, we got new neighbors on the other side of us!  They are fairly quiet this time around.  We have yet to get to know them.

But our New new neighbors, we met Friday afternoon, while we were cleaning the house.  Well, we met the 12 year old daughter.  She came to our door a few times asking to borrow our phone.  Here was the first encounter.

Her:  "Hi, we just moved in, and we don't have a phone yet.  Can I borrow yours?"
Me:   "Sure.  Its charging in the back.  Let me go get it."

I shut the door, leaving her on the front porch and went to retrieve my phone.  As I opened the door and handed her the phone....

Her:  "This is a private phone call."

Stunned, I looked at her:

Me:   "Oookay!" Thinking, whose the one doing the favor here?  I wanted to say, I'll listen if I want to!

I left her to use my phone in privacy.  She knocked on the door when she was done.

Her:  "Thanks."

She then turns around and walks back to her house before I could get a "You're welcome" out.  I was a little puzzled.  It was a really odd way to behave toward complete strangers.  But I understand not having a phone, and feeling slightly desperate to get in contact with someone.  She asked to use my phone another time before the day was done.  

Toward evening, Hoss came home, and Bunny, Bug, and Puppy Huggles (trying on another name for the baby.  Maybe I'll explain sometime), and myself all went out to greet him.  Our new neighbor (the daughter) happened to be outside, and we got to know her a little bit better.  It turns out that her name is "Bug" too... and her middle name is also Mine.  Which makes our #2's full name.  We have 2 girls within 50 feet having the name "Bug Mine."  What are the odds?  That was really fun to find out.  I'm sorry if that got confusing, if you know #2's full name, you'll understand completely).

She was very personable, and spoke with us for quite a while.  Hoss just happens to be good at asking questions to get a person talking.  She shared a lot with us.  I mean A LOT.  I would be concerned as a mother with how much she was willing to share.  From how her mom died from an overdose, to how she gets in fights at school.  She is only 12 years old.  To be honest, I thought she was much older when she first came to the door.  Her dad then came home and we met him briefly before we headed back into the house to get ready for dinner.

The next day, Saturday, I was going into the house after attending a funeral, and the young girl approached me.

Her:  "Can we have your wep key password to your internet?  We won't have any internet for another week."

Me:   "Uh... Hold on.  Ask my husband."

Yes, I totally passed it off on him.  We wouldn't even ask a neighbor we new really well if we could have their internet password.  Now if they offer it, that's a different story.

She then asked Hoss, and he told her that we don't give out that information.  She seemed to press for it, but he refused.  Again, I was floored.

Last night (Sunday night), Bunny and Bug had been asleep for about an hour, and Huggles had fallen asleep on the floor when there came a knock on the door.  I answered it, curious as to who would knock on our door at 10pm.  It was the father of our little friend from next door.  He was dragging on a cigarette, blowing the smoke in my face all while we talked.  Apparently, his daughter had asked our other new neighbors for a ride somewhere.  He asked if she had asked us too.  I told him no.  I then proceeded to tell him that we wouldn't ever give her a ride anywhere....especially without parental consent (an actual conversation with her dad).  Even then, it would not be very likely.  I'm all for doing service for other people... but there are some things that are just innapropriate with people you don't really know.

Huggles asleep on the floor.
It gets worse.  He shared a lot with me last night, more than I'm sure I needed to know.  His daughter is in desperate need of a good role model.  She is getting involved in drugs and other things that are going to wind her up in juvi, or who knows where else.  

As he was walking down the porch, he mentioned how the internet company that they are using won't be there for another week (I think that was the 3rd mention of it or so). 
 I got pulled into that trap.  I mentioned how we were going to use that internet company, but they took too long, so we cancelled.  We ended up using a different company.  
He saw that I took the bate and mentioned that in his last neighborhood, he let his neighbors have his internet router password all the time.  His words were, "It doesn't cost anything."  I then realized that I fell for his trap, and I chose to ignore all of what he said.  He doddled on the porch for a few minutes talking in round-about ways... basically saying that I should give him our password for a week.  I continued to ignore him, appologized for his daughter's running off, and said good luck... then went in and shut the door to find Hoss raising his eyebrows curiously (he was in the bedroom during most of it).

Ask me for a cup of sugar, some eggs, or even some butter!  I might even lend our rake!  But when it comes to the neighbors requesting information that we have to pay hard earned money for the services....that's a little much, no?

What would you do in my situation?  I was once a troubled young girl looking for attention in all the wrong places...but she is much younger than I was, and she is already asking people for more than she should.  I'm worried about the possibility of being robbed, manipulated, and used.  What do you think the boundaries should be?
Have you ever had any neighbors be that familiar with you?  Like I said, I want to be more of a missionary, but I have also experienced what it is like to try to help someone who is just trying to get more out of you.  Those types of people will take and take and take with no remorse or proper gratitude.  Where do you draw the line?  Seriously?  Advice asked!


Evelyn Curtis

Monday, November 5, 2012

Miracle Workout

Dear readers,

Over the weekend, I found this 15 minute workout.  Truth be told, I haven't worked out for about...oh...say... a month....or more.  I've been wanting to get started again.  But let's be honest.  Unless you make the time, it just doesn't get done.  With all of the other important things I have to get done, this is just the one that seems to be the easiest to push aside for another time.

So, today I tried out this workout that was done on Dr. Oz's show.  They made it look so easy!  I was sure I could do it!.... and I did.... with a few extra rests.

It was a lot of fun though.  Bug did it with me, while Puppy watched intrigued.  I asked Hoss if he wanted to do it with me too...he response was. "No, thanks."  He actually has an amazing weight-loss story, and maybe he'll let me share it.  I'll ask him! 

The workout is called, Shawn T's Miracle 15 Minute Workout.  While it is only 15 minutes, it is pretty intense!  The goal is to do it everyday for 30 days.  So, I'm going to do it.  30 days... excluding Sundays, since I don't work out on Sundays.

Do you want to do it with me?  Email me your experiences with it.  I'm pooped.  I haven't done anything that intense for a very long time...but I've been missing it, and I'm ready to start again!


Evelyn Curtis

Moving On....Finally

Like I mentioned in the last post, I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween.  I hate being scared, but I always trick myself into watching some kind of scary movie that I later regret.  My active imagination has me up in the middle of the night scared!  Its ridiculous really!  I know better!


As Halloween draws closer, I usually start feeling anxious.  No, not because I'm scared..but because I'm ready for it to be over.  I think I feel like Halloween is the official barrier between summer and the holidays.  I LoVe the holidays!  Thanksgiving, Christmas, my anniversary and birthday...its the best time of year!  It is the time of year that I get to focus on some of the most momentous things in my life.  Christ, my wonderful soulmate/best friend/husband, my blessings, and I get to do it while thinking of extra ways to serve others.

To me, it feels like the months drag on, and as soon as fall comes around the corner...they speed up.  I wish they could slow down just a bit, so we can enjoy them more!

Something that I am missing from Idaho:

I found this gorgeous pic of the
Idaho Falls, Idaho LDS Temple with the fall leaves!
Photo Via
-The beautiful golds, reds, browns, and orange colors that you find at this time of year.  Here in South Easter New Mexico, you tend to see a variation of two colors.  Green and brown.  It holds its own beauty...but nothing makes me yearn for the Holidays like the changing of the leaves.  Right now the leaves are still green...but starting to yellow.  (Family---I wouldn't mind a beautiful picture of say...fishcreek? :)  I'll post it here on the blog!).  The first fall that I was here in SW NM, I had a hard time getting into the Holidays because the colors didn't drastically change.

Something I am loving here in New Mexico:

This photo was taken outside of Albuquerque, NM
So gorgeous.  I LOVE Albuquerque!
It might not be red, and golden, but it is beautiful!
Photo Via
-The weather is getting chilly, but it is bearable.  We might see some snow, we might now (I won't mind either way).  The weather is cool enough to get me in the mood for the Holidays!  I wish I could send you (my family in Idaho) a bit of this 20 degree warmer weather to you!

I think this is the first year that I have become so VeRy excited about Christmas!  Our teeny tiny house is going to be decorated!  We get to buy a new tree this year... and there are so many ideas I have for decorations and traditions!  This year, my friends.. we are upping our game on the tradition front!

Today, I made a very tasty cake to share with some friends who invited us over for dinner.  I made it last year, and Hoss took some to work the next day.  Some of his co-workers had a taste, and one of the contracted me to make 3 cakes for him!  It has become a Thanksgiving staple for I HaVe to share it with you!  The lovely thing?  It has some healthy ingredients in it...yet it is sweet enough to be tantalizing!  I got my pumpkins roasted and pureed just in time to have fresh pumpkin in it!

Pumpkin Cake

1/2 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tbsp flaxseed meal (I have never added this...just because I didn't have it on hand)
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

In a medium bowl, combine oil, vanilla, honey, sugar, eggs and pumpkin. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients, mix well, then combine with wet ingredients. Mix until blended. Bake at 350F in a greased round cake pan for 25-30 minutes. Top with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, below.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 ounces cream cheese
6 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine ingredients and beat until smooth.

Make it!  You won't be sorry!  I promise!  

Happy fall!  Happy November!  And Happy Holidays?!  Is it too early to say that? 


Evelyn Curtis