Saturday, October 31, 2009

My "Happy Halloween" Movie list...

I LOVE Halloween!!!  We have the tradition of making homemade root beer and homemade doughnuts for any friends and family that come by.  But while I am preparing for the nights fun, here are a list of my favorite Halloween movies.

The first on the list each year is of course a Cary Grant movie.  "Arsenic and Old Lace" is such a classic and it has comedy, suspense, murder, romance... it has it all!

Then we have to go to "Meet me in St Louis".  I know it covers a whole year in the lives of the Smith family but the scene at Halloween when Agnus and Tootie go to do tricks is a classic and takes you back to how the holiday used to be spent. 

By now I am ready for a little Hugh Jackman... in "Van Helsing".  It is just a fun movie!

Then for something even sillier, "Hocus Pocus". 

By now the dough is ready, the glaze is ready, the rootbeer is ready for the dry ice to be added and I put in a movie the older grandkids may be able to watch this year.  It is not one for young kids but it is a good one;  "Monster House".

Then if I haven't watched it too many times, I will always have to fit in
"It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown"

Have a great Halloween and if you are in the area, stop by for doughnuts and root beer!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Goodbye to the Grand Old Party!

UGH!!!! I can officially say I am no longer a Republican. I have had it with both Political parties and I am now a Conservative.

I will support Conservatives no matter what party they belong to. I will no longer donate to the Republican Party but will donate to candidates or causes that support the Conservative values. If an election is held and there is no Conservative alternative, I suppose I will vote for the lesser of two evils but I am tired of compromising my ideals for political parties that don’t represent me. If there is a third choice of a Conservative I will do all I can to help that candidate. I am not a 1 issue voter but I will weigh all the issues and then decide who is the most Conservative. I think the Republican Party should be re-made as the Conservative party and all the “moderates” can move to the other party since the liberals have taken it over. There needs to be a clear distinction between the two, and as of right now, the line is too fuzzy. Until that happens, I will not be labled a "Republican".

Thank you ….the rant is now over!

Monday, October 26, 2009

It Is A Mystery--Where Did This CS Lewis Quote Come From?

I recently saw a quote that was credited to CS Lewis and being a HUGE admirer of his work I wanted to find the context of the quote and read more of his thoughts on the subject.  Here is the quote I saw:

The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only - and that is to support the ultimate career. " — C.S. Lewis

Great quote right????  Now don't you want to also know the context of the quote?  Well, I searched on line everyway I could think of for several days to find the source of the quote but I just kept being sent to several "Lewis" and "Narnia" fan type blogs and web-sites where they sited this great quote.  I eventually got frustrated and did what I always do when I give up and I told my husband the problem of finding the source to this quote. 

He is THE ultimate internet detective and I woke up the next morning with an email from him (yes, he informed through an email instead of telling me when he came to bed later that night), that he had found a talk from the early "80's" where the quote was very similar, but not exact, but there was a source listed.  Here is the quote he found:
As C. S. Lewis said, "A housewife's work . . . is the one for which all others exist."   The source listed for this quote was page 262 of "Letter of CS Lewis"  1966 edition. 

I thought, GREAT!, I have this book, and so the mystery may be solved!  However, I had the revised and enlarged edition printed in 1988, so of course, it would be on a differnet page.  So I read the book, which is an AMAZING read if you are a Lewis fan.  The letters written during and after his wifes' illness and death are gut-wrenching, tender and romantic!  Anyway, back to the quote search. I finally found the correct letter, written on 16 March 1955 to a "Mrs Ashton" from Magdalene College, Oxford.  Here is the quote in its entirety:

“I think I can understand that feeling about a housewife’s work being like that of Sisyphus (who was the stone rolling gentleman). But it is surely in reality the most important work in the world. What do ships, railways, miners, cars, government etc exist for except that people may be fed, warmed, and safe in their own homes? As Dr. Johnson said, “To be happy at home is the end of all human endeavour”. (1st to be happy to prepare for being happy in our own real home hereafter: 2nd in the meantime to be happy in our houses.) We wage war in order to have peace, we work in order to have leisure, we produce food in order to eat it. So your job is the one for which all others exist…” (pg 447-Letter of CS Lewis 1988 ed.)

So, I think what has happened with the original quote, is that someone put Lewis' quote into their own words and cited Lewis as the original author and it was put forth from then on as what Lewis himself had said. 

If anyone has any different information on the original quote listed, please let me know, but until I find a source, I will not use the quote because I have been burned in the past using a quote with an incorrect source and it was embarrassing. 

I am so glad I kept searching because I don't know when I would have ever read the book "Letters of CS Lewis".  There is a very touching tribute and biography, from his brother, Warren, in the '88 edition that is really good also.  I reccommend this book to everyone!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Great Screen Legend!

I just realized that today is the 92nd birthday of one of the most beautiful actreeses ever, Joan Fontaine.  I realize that unless you love old movies you proably don't know who she is so I wanted to list my favorite Joan Fontaine movies for you to find and watch to be introduced to this amazing actress. 

First a little history about her.  She was born, Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland, in Tokyo Japan in 1917 where her father was a successful British patent attorney.  Due to recurring illnesses of Joan and her older sister, Olivia de Havilland (yes, her sister is the actress that played Melanie from "Gone With the Wind"), her parents moved them to Califonia.  Her parents divorced and her father remained in Japan to work and Joan later went back there to school.  When she came back to California, her sister had already made a name for herself on the stage and Joan also joined an acting group there.  She originally chose the name "Joan Burfield" as to not infringe on her sisters stage name.  She changed her name to "Fontaine" in '37 when she was in (uncredited) one of my favorite Katherine Hepburn movies, "Quality Street". 

She was nominated for two Acadamy Awards, first for "Rebecca" (1940) and then for "Suspicion" (1941) and she won the second time for "Suspicion" which she starred in with Cary Grant. 

She made several other movies after that, some that are classics, and then her final movie was in 1994 in a TV movie called "Good King Wenceslas" 

Now for my 6 ALL TIME favorite Joan Fontaine movies:
6-Quality Street (1937-she is uncredited in this but it is one of my fav Katherine Hepburn movies so I am listing it!)
5-A Damsel in Distress(1927-with Fred Astair)
4-Jane Eyre (1944 with Orson Wells)
3-Suspicion (1941 with Cary Grant)
2-Rebecca (1940 with Laurence Olivier)
1-The Women(pictured above/1939-with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell)

The Women was an amazing movie, don't even think of watching the remake that came out last year!  YUCK!!!  There should be a law against re-making the classics!  You can see my review of this movie in my blog archives (August 31 2008).

If you don't know who Joan Fontaine is, I highly recommend you watch some of these movies and you will agree with me that she is one classy and beautiful actress.

Happy Birthday Ms. Fontaine!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Have the Ingredients for Extra Meals on Hand for Emergencies

In Arizona we don't have to deal with emergencies too often...well never since I have lived here.  But I was surprised on a trip to NC to see billboards urgeing residents to have emergency supplies on hand.  One of these supplies should be food.

At first we stored items that would keep for a long time, but during a time when my husband was looking for work after graduating, we had to live on this food storage and it was not fun eating only tuna, rice, pasta,

oatmeal and wheat for 1 month.  Since that experience over 27 years ago, I have tried to keep food we normally eat on hand, in case of emergencies. I still have a hard time with tuna in anything but a sandwich to this day! This is how I have organized it in my home.

We spent one evening as a family and listed all of our favorite dinner meals.  I tried to have at least 30 different meals for variety.  For breakfast we just planned on cereals, (boxed or like cracked wheat, and oatmeal), and lunches were peanut butter and jam or tuna sandwiches.  I have enough flour and wheat on hand to make bread if I really need to.

After coming up with everyones favorite meals, we picked the ones that had ingredients that could be stored on a shelf for at least 2-3 years, and we ended up with a list of about 20 dinner meals. I took this list and broke down how many of each ingrdient we needed for each recipe.  I then figured how many weeks worth of meals we wanted or had room to store(we have food under beds, in closets, etc.), and multiplied the list of ingridients by how many weeks we wanted to have stored.  If you don't like to cook, there are plenty of healthy soups available that you could just store enough of the ones you like for your emergencies. 

This gave me a list of what I needed and I  slowly watched the grocery ads and bought the ingredients as the came on sale and as many as the budget would allow.  I also learned how to can meat so we have a variety instead of just tuna.  It took several months but we eventually built up what we needed. 

I try to plan at least 1 "storage" meal a week.  This way, all the grocery items get rotated within 2 years and not much is wasted due to spoilage. 
I recommend everyone put some food away for emergencies, whether they be natural disasters, loss of employment, or whatever.  Here are the recipes for a couple of our storage meals. 
Spaghetti, veges, homemade bread (if you want)
Spaghetti ingredients
2 pint jars of Spaghetti sauce (my homemade recipe is on a post dated 9/14/09)
Pasta (this stores great in air tight containers but freeze for 2 days after buying it to kill any bugs that are in them from the stores.)
Parmesean cheese- if desired (not the fresh stuff this time)
Some kind of canned or frozen vegetable to go with the meal.

 Meal: Chicken with Black Beans and Corn
 1 16 oz can black beans
1 16 oz can great northern beans
1 jar salsa- divided in half
1 16 oz can of corn- drained
1-1 1/2 lbs chicken (frozen or canned)
 Combine both cans of beans, corn and ½ of a jar of salsa in the bottom of a crock pot. Place chicken on top of mixture and cover with remainder of salsa. Cook on high for 3 hours. Shred chicken with a fork, and stir. Serve with tortillas or over rice.
*note-if using canned chicken, you won't need to cook it as long.  Rice stores well in air-tight containers but again, freeze for 2 days to kill any bugs that come home in it from the store.  If you want to use tortillas, you have 2 options, 1-have a recipe and ingredients for homemade tortillas, or have fresh tortillas stored in your freezer to thaw, cook and eat when having this recipe. 
This is a complete meal all by itself!
I will occasionally add other storage meals and recipes to the blog.  If you have any recipes that may work, email them to me and I will post them also ( 

You will feel so secure if you try to be self-reliant.  You shouldn't rely on anyone else to take care of your family!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Where were you 943 years ago on this impotant day in history?

Yes, it was 943 years ago today that the Battle of Hastings took place in England and William the Conqueror defeated Harold Godwinson to become the new King of England.  He claims he was the rightful heir to the throne upon the death of Edward the Confessor through his mother's line and that Edward had promised him the crown when he died.  Now, whether this was true or not, his winning at the Battle of Hastings on October 14th 1066, changed the course of history. 

William landing in England on September 27th 1066

William, Duke of Normandy was officially crowned king of England, and became William the I on Christmas day 1066 in Westminster Abbey.  He ruled for almost 20 years, dying in France on September 9th 1087. 
Bayeux Tapestry showing the death of Harold Godwinson

Although William spent a lot of his time in France, he established many reforms and built many castles, keeps and mottes throughout England including the White Tower at the Tower of London.  He also commisioned a census to be taken of all of England's productive capacity that was similar to a modern-day census.  The "Doomsday Book" was published in 1086.  He eventually replaced all Anglo-Saxon nobles with Norman nobles that supported him. 

Whether you are for, or against William the I, and his claim to the throne, it was a day that really changed the history of England up to this day. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have your Family Prepared for any Disaster!

Preparing your children and family for emergencies is very important. We see on the news every week about how children have called 911 and saved lives. They can handle these emergencies if they know what to do. The same is true with preparing for natural disasters. If you as a family have an emergency plan for different situations, depending on where you live, your children will not be as afraid when situations arise.

Three great web-sites to check out are:
The Sesame Street site has activities, videos, and games to help take the scariness out of it but still teaches important preparedness lessons. The “” site is divided into 3 sections on explaining readiness and the kids section is really good. It also has a section for how to prepare your business also, and the last section is full of information on preparing for emergencies for all areas of our lives. This is my favorite preparedness site.

The last website is the Red Cross site. They have a great campaign going called “do more than cross your fingers”. It has directions for getting an emergency kit ready in case you need to evacuate your home quickly, and what you should take.

Check out these 3 sites and if you have kids, start having drills, let them get involved in making the kits and making a family emergency plan, then if the worst happens, it will take some of the fear out if the experience because they will be prepared.

One of my favorite scriptures from the Doctrine and Covenants is: “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear”. (D&C 38:30-If you are not LDS, look up the verse in the “Scripture” section on )

If you know of other sites, leave a comment and let us know about them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Really…Are You Serious????

I just heard the funniest thing on the radio. It was a news story about a skit that was on Saturday Night Live last week (Oct. 3rd). The opening skit was Fred Armisen portraying Pres. Obama where he was giving a report on what he had accomplished so far in his Presidency. Well, apparently CNN doesn’t know how laugh at “their guy”. Wolf Blitzer, in the “Situation Room”, had a team of reporters doing a fact finding report on the things mentioned in the skit.

YES! A fact finding report on a SKIT!!! I couldn’t believe it. Then I started to wonder… did they send out a team of reporters to check on the “facts” when Sarah Palin skits were performed on the show??? What about Pres. Bush skits???? Or Vice President Cheney skits???? I don’t know because I refuse to watch CNN unless it is forced upon me in airports YUCK! It is just another example of how in the tank the mainstream media is for this President. I don’t blame Pres. Obama at all but I would think he would tell them to calm it down some because they (the media outlets) are losing all credibility when it comes to reporting the truth.

Watch the skit, it is a good laugh no matter what side you are on…just as the Sarah Palin, and most of the Pres. Bush skits were funny.

CNN, maybe you should send some investigative reports to try to find your funny bone!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

No Electricity? Make this Box Oven for Use in Emergencies ...

Make a Cardboard Box Oven for Baking without Electricity or Gas

This box oven is great to have on hand for emergencies.  I have a large bin that is filled with charcoal briquettes to use in case we are ever without power and I need to make a meal.  This is a very inexpensive and easy way to have an alternative fuel source for your self-reliance. 

Needed to Make a Simple Box Oven:

• One cardboard box with fitted lid (such as a standard “file” or citrus box)
• Heavy duty aluminum foil
• Hanger wire or metal cookie rack (a cookie rack can be more stable)
• Duct tape
• Optional: small cans (e.g., tomato paste cans) holding up a cookie rack

Begin by completely lining the inside of the box and top of lid with foil. Secure the foil to the outside of the box with duct tape. To allow air circulation, cut 4, 1 inch holes on sides of the box (at the base of the box and through the foil). If using hanger wire for the baking shelf, follow diagram below (however, it is much easier to get a metal cookie sheet and place it on empty cans above the charcoal).

Diagram if using hanger wires for the oven rack:

To Use the Box Oven (Use Outdoors Only!):

In an empty #10 can or in a fire pit, light your charcoal briquettes (use lighter fluid).
  1. When charcoal turns gray and is ready, move it with long handled tongs into the bottom of the box oven, spaced evenly.
  2. Place rack (or hanger wires) into the box.
  3. Cover with the foil-coated lid to pre-heat the oven for 5 minutes.
  4. To make a 350 degree oven you will need approximately 7-8 briquettes. To make oven hotter, add additional briquettes. The temperature will not be exact; experiment with it.
  5. I usually only need 8-9 briquettes when I bake cookies (6), muffins (6), cupcakes (6), or 9” square or round cakes, etc. I have also made mini pizzas using dough from refrigerator biscuits and a frozen lasagna.
  6. Empty box when cool, store for re-use later. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Try to find this Treasure!

I am going to let you know about a movie that you have probably never heard of, or seen, but it is one of my favorites. It was originally run as a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" movie in 1997 and entitled, "What the Deaf Man Heard". It takes place in the South and Sammy is a young boy going on a bus trip with his mother. Somewhere along the way, they get separated (a mystery)and Sammy is left alone on the bus to the end of the line where he is discovered sleeping.

He doesn't know what has happened to his mother, but is taken in by the Sheriff and looked after by the local cafe owner. He pretends (to hard to explain why, but you will understand when you see it) to be deaf, deciding that silence offered some power and protection, and realizes that he can learn a lot by continuing to be "deaf". He continues this way into his 20"s and along the way he is learning many things and secrets about the towns people. One day when the local "spoiled bad-boy" is on trial, what a shock to the whole town when Sammy goes on the stand and tells all that he knows, which is quite a bit since everyone talked to him, thinking he couldn't hear or understand. Matthew Modine is really good and the older Sammy, and James Earl Jones is, as always, terrific as the man who also has a secret that he wants to keep to himself.

This movie is worth trying to find it. As with most Hallmark movies it is very entertaining.