Friday, December 20, 2013

Are They All Crazy?

Sarah was here with the boys today.

Teddy likes fruit, so I cut an apple into small pieces for him and put it in a little silver bowl he likes.  He started munching on the tidbits, walked over and gave me some, went over to his mother and gave her some and went over to the walker where his brother, Huck, was sitting and put some in the little tray of the walker.

We smiled and said, "Thank you, Teddy" when he gave us our apples but as soon as he shared with his brother, he was told "No."  Sarah grabbed the morsels out of Huck's reach, so what did Teddy do?  He just got some more pieces out of his bowl and put more in the little tray of the walker. It was such a sweet thing to do, but I wondered how many times he must think we're all crazy.

He's such a good little worker, loves to help put the soap in the dishwasher and close the door, helps move clothes from the washer to the dryer and learned that we push those buttons.  That's where he runs into the "No" word.  I can see him wondering why it's ok sometimes and not others and why would we try to curtail him when he's only doing what we do.

Kids are so neat!

Friday, December 6, 2013

What Was That Stuff?

Grandma Rice always made some raisin-like cake for Christmas and she topped it with some truly disgusting white sugary syrup.  Maybe the raisins were actually figs.  Maybe what she made was actually Figgie Pudding.  It wasn't the kind made with flaming brandy as one Wiki article says.  At least I never saw any flames or brandy.  All I knew is that I wouldn't even be in the same room with the stuff.

Also, you wouldn't believe the effort that goes into making real figgie pudding:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons rum extract (or flavored extract of your choice)
  • 2 apples, peeled and cored and finely chopped
  • 2 pounds dried figs, ground or finely chopped
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon and 1 orange
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups dried bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 large egg whites, stiffly beaten
  • 1 strip of bacon, finely crushed (optional - New England variant)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce, for drizzling


  1. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Generously grease an oven-proof 2-quart bowl or mold; set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and shortening.
  3. Gradually add sugar, egg yolks, milk, extract, apple, figs, lemon and orange peel.
  4. Add next 6 ingredients, mixing well. Fold stiffly beaten egg whites into mixture.
  5. Pour into prepared bowl or mold and place into large shallow pan and place on middle rack in oven.
  6. Fill the shallow pan half-full with boiling water and slowly steam pudding in oven at 325 °F for 4 hours, replacing water as needed.

Feel free to try it if you like to cook and have all the time in the world. Please don't worry about me.  I'll be fine without any.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Know Your Veggies, Etc.

If any of these aren't right, it's my fault rather than Teelay's.  When she got hired at a local grocery store, she was surprised that many of the vegetable/fruit codes were the same as they are in Canadian grocery stores.

She was telling me one day about things they say, like:

1-"You drive me 4011!"  (bananas) though it could be 4386 (nuts)
2-How do they remember the code for cantaloupe, 4050?  "You can't elope til you're 40 or 50."
3-You are the 4133 of my eye.
4-3107 you glad this isn't a knock knock joke?
5-"4816 pie and shut my eye"
6-Doesn't that 4081 all?
7-Do you 4576 all about me?
8-4062 pray
9-I had to call the 4040-er about my backed-up sink
10-Where ya 4066?
11-She's a hot 4664!
12-Who lives in a 4032 under the sea?  Sponge Bob Square Pants!
13-Someone from Australia is called a 4030.
14-Key 4048 pie
15-That car I bought is a real 4053!
16-They're a cute 4409.

How fun :o)

p.s.  If a code begins with the number 9, you know it's organic.Also, an 8 at the front means it's been genetically-modified.  Interestingly enough, berries are sold per unit rather than by code.  The stuff you didn't know you didn't know, eh?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I'm not making any suggestions but this article had some interesting things about funerals in  it that I had never heard about and decided to pass it along just for the heck of it:

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Go Go, Grandma

That's the name of the family activity I've planned for ages that never quite came to fruition until today.

At 4:30 p.m. people should be arriving.  We are going to check all the fluid levels and tire pressure, plus clean out the cars (original plan was to wash all the cars but that became a little too intimidating).  That way we aren't all calling Jason when the first cold snap hits and our cars have issues.

After that we are going to have a wiener roast in the portable fire pit by the back door that sends smoke into the house, but there's no place to put it that's any better.  What's for dinner, you ask? the "Pit Stop" we have:

1-Hot Rods (hot dogs)
2-Garages (buns)
3-Wheels (cookies)
4-Dip sticks (fruit, etc on a skewer)
5-Waving flag (wavy potato chips
6-gas (pork and beans, what else)
7-stick shifts (carrots)
8-Turtle Wax (Ranch dip)
9-Steering wheels (pickles)
10-Pick your fluid (oil/root beer float, anti freeze/orange float, tranny/grape float)  Last party we had the same floats but named them after animals.  (What can I say, we have good parties!)

After dinner we will have a couple of games.  One is a version of Pictionary where we draw and guess models of cars ie. Mustang Cobra, Jetta, Dodge Ram, Elantra, Pontiac, Ford Taurus, etc.  The other game I've come up with is sort of like Mad Gab, one of our favorite games, only this will be guess what those personalized license plates are; for instance:

1BUG2COn a 1967 Volkswagen Bug
2N2R4On the car of a math teacher
B4DKCMEBefore decay, see me, on a dentist's truck.
EIEIOOn the old Ford FARM pick-up truck. 
HIHO AGHi ho silver!
I12BNZCI want to be in zee Sea, a diver.

After that, we'll watch cars and chill.  Sounds fun, huh?

Vroom! Vroom!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Betty Lou

I remember the year my parents brought her home, the white Apache Chevy truck.  It was the spring of 1965.  On a frugal farm budget, this was a momentous event, so momentous in fact that my dad almost let me go with them to pick her up.  At the last minute, he couldn't quite justify letting a kid sluff school, even if grades were excellent and morale was high. It was quite a let-down, but I didn't question it.  No doubt he thought if he started coming up with reasons to miss class, it might get out of hand.

They did, however, time their return to coincide with the closing bell of school so I could ride the rest of the way home with them.  It's one of those moments when you imagine angels singing as you lead the parade.

Betty Lou was a good worker.  She hauled those dams I mentioned yesterday, along with countless tons of hay.  She also took us up the canyon for cookouts.  Her long bed accommodated someone lying down, whereas Old Blue, her predecessor was too short for that.  I remember that because once I rode that way on a rare trip to SLC.  The thought of letting a kid lie in the back of an open truck now boggles the mind, but back then it wasn't a concern.  There weren't any freeways back then so maybe the speeds didn't get so high.  Ten years ago, Dad gave his old Chevy to my son, Nik.  The only caveat he made to Nik was that if he ever fixed it up to sell, he would have to give his grandpa half the money.

My recollection is that my dad told me he named the truck Betty, after Betty Boop.  It was after it came into Nik's hands that it became Betty Lou.  He even has her name stenciled in white across the windshield. Betty Lou is still a good worker.  She saved the day when Nik didn't have another transportation.  It's hauled household goods during many moves and made endless trips to the dump.  Her doors don't lock automatically and you have to lock the driver's door or it will come open on a turn and almost literally throw you out.  Nik found this out the hard way.

Betty Lou doesn't have air conditioning, other than those little windows you can tip towards yourself to divert any breeze caused as you drive along. The front seat is big enough to accommodate four people easily.  She doesn't have seat belts, which I find quite unnerving.

All this came to mind as Nik and I went to SLC Saturday to pick up some bed toppers.  We had been working and painting and looked rather disheveled I'm sure.  He had a handkerchief wrapped around his head, do-rag fashion and with his goatee and growing mustache, looked a bit like a biker in an old truck. Windows down, tearing along at freeway speeds with both windows open, I looked a bit like the spawn of Richard Simmons and Winonna Judd. He turned up the radio and sang along.  I don't know what he was singing because the noise was unbelievable.  I had no idea cars flying along on the freeway could be so noisy.  He kept saying stuff but I couldn't catch the words so finally said, "Now I know why Dad lost his hearing!"

I'll admit that there was about 10% of me (the part that wasn't terrified) that could appreciate what a good time we were having, creatures from a current time pretending we lived in a kinder world.

Miss Betty Loud, you keep on truckin, Girl!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Scoutmaster

One summer when we lived in Vernal (and we lived there many summers), Jared went camping with the scouts.  There were two leaders and several scouts.  
Everyone was sitting around the campfire chatting when the discussion lead to bears and the scoutmaster reminded the boys to make sure they didn't leave any food out to tempt the wildlife in the night.  After all, they were in the High Uintas.   The scouts turned in and were soon asleep.

Sometime later, Jared was wakened by a noise, something brushing against the tent, making a rustling sound.  He waited, and it happened again.  He poked and prodded the other boys awake, speaking in a soft whisper.  Then they heard a growl and really started to panic...inwards.  

The bear brushed the tent again, harder this time.  The scouts were frantically trying to remember if they had left any food out or, worse yet, had any food in the tent with them.  

Just when they were ab0ut to blow, they heard laughing, the muffled laughing of the scoutmasters.  It was a camp they will always remember :o)  

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Gift

A few Sundays ago, I said hello to a little girl who just happens to be the daughter of one of Kyle's friends.  She's a pretty little thing, probably about 4 years old.  Her name is Maya and her family came from Central America.

Maya was carrying a dandelion and I told her what a pretty flower she had.  She smiled and reached out to hand it to me.  For about two seconds I was in a quandary.  Take her only flower or politely try to refuse it? When you're dealing with a child who willing shares, you are dealing with a very tender thing so I thanked her sincerely and held it properly for the hour and a half. Maya just happened to walk by after the meeting and checked to see if I was still holding it.  Which I was.

We are now friends :o)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2 x 4

We walked to the parade the other day and I didn't think to take a chair, but will next time.

I could have used one of my dad's milking stools.  Those were easier than pie to make (trust me) and extremely useful. I have made more than one in my day and could do it again.  Of course, I'd have to make it about two feet higher in order to get up off it and I'd probably want to install some of that gel topper foam, too, maybe a little spring on the bottom, handles on the sides...  

Dad used his stool probably 50 times a day while milking the cows.  I do wonder what people did before buckets and stools came along.  Rocks come to mind, but that doesn't sound portable enough and kinda dangerous as well.  Dad's stool was simply one 12-inch 2x4 nailed to the middle of another one, making a T.    It took some body-balancing and some caution to avoid slivers, but farmers are tough enough to work with that...and so are farmer's daughters.

It resembled this one, but the pieces were equal in dimension and more rustic.   
I did on rare occasion see him pop a reluctant-to-move cow with one.  She tended to become less reluctant.
Necessity being the Mother of invention, Dad was a good Mother.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

To Do

I'm not sure if there is a member of the Rice family who doesn't make lists.  Perhaps it's genetic.

Mother and Dad were always making lists on those punch cards Pauline gave them ages ago.  There must have been thousands of those cards which they cut neatly in half to last twice as long, and to my knowledge they never used them all up.  There was a little paper/pen holder attached to the kitchen wall where the half-cards and a pen lived. Nik would call that a stationary stationery condo.

Grandma Rice would call me over to her house to show me her grocery list.  She would carefully explain each item to me in extreme detail then tuck the list and her cash inside her little snap purse.  By the time I walked back to our house 50 feet away, she was calling to go over it again to make sure it was right.  I understand why now but at the time, it drove me nuts.  When we brought the groceries to her house after shopping, we had to go through each item to make sure it was exactly as she had ordered it.

At any given time, I have probably four or five lists going.  There is a to do list that breaks down day to day for a week or more plus a category called "other" for upcoming projects.  I have a list going for ideas for lessons to teach every few months at church.  I made up a master list of monthly family activities concentrating on such things as:  recycling, what to do in different emergencies, collecting medical and insurance items, ways to save $, ideas to protect ourselves, staying positive, time saving ideas, homemade cleaning recipes, how to assembly a 72-hr emergency kit, family phone numbers and contact information, fun activities, service projects, getting people registered to vote, investments and having everybody over in Sept. for a day where we clean all the vehicles, make sure everybody checks out the fluid levels and tire pressure.  I make up grocery lists, blog idea lists, things I want to remember if I ever start dating again.

The problem with lists is that you can never keep up with all the stuff listed.  Also, making a list doesn't tell you the steps to preparing for activities.  There's probably a list for listing that list somewhere.

I remember my dad once telling me that a person needs something to look forward to each day, some project that gets you up.  I can't seem to incorporate something that gets me up early, but I do lie in bed in the mornings mind-walking through things I want to do or need to do that day.  A good therapist would say that's "being in the now", not wasting energy on the past or the future.  Not a bad idea, plus it works.

My dad was a wise wise man...

Saturday, April 13, 2013


My dad was the only one to call me Katy, and he did so only occasionally. He always pronounced it in a soft tone, so I paid attention.

One particular morning, he came in and woke me up, much much earlier than normal.  He said, "Katy, I need your help, the bull is loose in the yard."  Now, I knew right away this was a crisis because he never would have asked a daughter for help with such a dangerous thing if he hadn't truly needed it.  I was up and ready in less than 30 seconds.  I followed him outside and it was almost pitch dark, probably around 4:30 a.m. with just enough pre-dawn light to see the big white bull moving around in the yard.

He didn't have a Ferdinand-like disposition and as far as I know, we had never had a bull on the loose in the yard and no instruction booklet on the subject either. I didn't know how we could ever get him corralled again, but Dad had a rope, and Dad could do anything. We gently tried to coax him into the corral, my dad no doubt using the cow herd as temporary bait.  Mother was probably somewhere close but I don't recall seeing her.

I had never seen my dad scared before in my entire life, but this day he was shaking.  What courage it took for him to get near the bull and slip the rope through its nose ring, I cannot imagine, but it was impressive.  We just kept encouraging Mr. Bull to return to his pen and eventually he did.

It was a pretty somber morning and I've never forgotten it.  Things could have turned out a whole lot worse.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Ravine

I was watching American Pickers again the other day but can't tell you just why.  It's the show where two guys drive across the country in their van looking for old junk to sell in their stores.  In the many hours I've watched that show, there is not one thing I'd ever want to buy or frankly, for that matter, own.  I have enough junk of my own.

My parents had a barrel that was used for burning paper, cardboard and the like.  What discarded stuff couldn't be fed to the cows or at least the pigs, had to either be burned or put into a big metal water trough that got hauled to the dump from time to time.   When the metal trough got high enough (nowhere near full), Dad would load it up and haul it to the dump.  This is not the city dump I'm talking about here.  My Dad had his own dump.

Up on the dry farm, there is a ravine.  As a child, the ravine seemed almost as big as the Grand Canyon actually is.  Up, up, up the road he would go to the dry farm.  Back, back, back the truck would go towards the ravine.  I always got out first because there was little doubt in my mind that one day we might, might, might just go a little too far and end up  in there ourselves.

You didn't just drag the stuff out with a rake and leave it there, either.  It had to be hand-thrown into the ravine.  There's stuff in there from tin cans to a wonderful old cabinet radio that quit working.  It was a sorry day when that thing went over into the ravine.  I'm sure these pickers would have a hay-day if they got a chance to rifle through all that discarded stuff.  My recollection is that Dad filled in the ravine though after a county dump came to Dayton.

You knew better than to take anything out of the junk ravine.  It was just a given, and besides, Grandma Rice always told us that if we didn't wear gloves when touching junk, we would get polio.  Grandma was believable.

The only thing that ever left the dry farm ravine alive was Old Blue, my dad's Chevrolet truck that he later gave to Johnny Gailey.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

No Mixing

Some people will think I'm making this up, but I never tasted a casserole until I went to college.  No mixing the food before eating. It didn't seem unusual; that's just how it was.  My dad didn't believe in them.  In fact, he referred to them as "damn" casseroles, using the same tone of voice as describing Utah Fishermen.  His thoughts were that a good cook didn't have to throw stuff in a pot and mix it all together.

There were a few more eating rules, such as:

1-Meat, potatoes and vegetables for the meal, but they needed to be spaced so as not to touch each other.
2-Gravy could go on the mashed potatoes but not usually on the meat, except at Thanksgiving.
3-One should apologize if one should accidentally get a drop of gravy on the edge of the gravy bowl.
4-Anyone who actually put the gravy spoon to rest IN the accidental drop of gravy on the edge of the gravy bowl was considered so insensitive as to probably not be invited back.  The rest of us knew better.
5-Cheese was not put on the dinner plate.  It was pre-cut in a plastic Tupperware container and was put on a smaller saucer that was also used for the bread, which also was not put on the dinner plate.
6-Jam had to be so thick as to rival the consistency of half-setup cement, and the more sour the better.
7-Place settings were done quite properly, forks on the left, etc.
8-A separate plate or dish was used for dessert.
9-Whipped cream had to be handmade, none of that Cool Whip stuff or Spray Cream.
10-Food was passed from right to left.
11-Baked potatoes were to be scooped out with a spoon before eating and the shells were not to be put back with the uneaten baked potatoes.
12-Nothing was served from a pot on the table.

The mid-day meal began at noon.  The table was cleaned up, leftovers put away and dishes washed, dried and reshelved by 12:15.  If you missed that window, you wouldn't have known we had eaten.

I gave up trying to maintain all the rules when I was raising my family.  If they got Campbell's soup warmed in a microwave and served in a paper bowl with some toast, they considered it a warm home-cooked meal.  One can live indefinitely while still using paper plates, paper cups and plastic utensils.  I'm not proud of it, but can tell you it's possible.

When I went to college, a roommate made a casserole.  I was hesitant and felt just a tad disloyal as I tried my first bite. Wasn't good, wasn't too bad. That's still my take on casseroles.