Sunday, October 20, 2013

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Pizza and Movie Night!

I've discovered some websites that help with menu/recipe ideas when you are getting help from the Bishop's Storehouse. This is one I got for Saturday night: Tortilla Pizza! Using flour tortillas, you spread spaghetti sauce on a tortilla, put grated cheese, diced ham, pineapple bits, diced onion, cooked ground beef (we seasoned ours with garlic and Italian seasoning) and any other toppings you want.

We had the bowls of toppings and the spaghetti sauce out and we each made our own pizza just the way we wanted it. Kevin said it was like taco night, only with pizzas!

Bake them up at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes and it's yumm-a-palooza!

Got a Redbox coupon for a free movie rental for the boys, and Stan picked us up "Touch of Evil" at the library for us to watch. Let Pizza and Movie Night begin!!

The Twenty Dollar Date

When you’re out of work, there isn’t any money for extras. You’re constantly counting the pennies and working on your budget to make sure you can take care of your family’s needs. It is stressful, exhausting and it can takes it toll. We’ve found that we need to make sure we find ways to still have some fun so that our days are not filled with the pressure of keeping our heads above water. We find coupons for free movies from Redbox or check out films from the library and save out $10 and get a pizza from Costco so we can have a pizza and movie night, or we make a batch of popcorn and watch comedians on Netflix that have us laughing and forgetting our problems.

And we certainly have a lot on our plate these days. Since January we took in my son’s girlfriend, my father died and we moved my mother in to live with us, and we’ve struggled with the problems of going from a family of four to one of six. Hasn’t been easy, let me tell you!

One thing that we haven’t been able to do, Stan and I, is have a date night in the past seven months. It’s important that with all we’re going through that we try to keep positive and make sure that the situation doesn’t take a hit on our marriage. Any time that we have alone seems to be busy time -- running errands, taking care of business, seeing to everyone’s needs. A Date??! There just didn’t seem to be any money for something so extravagant. At least, I thought that until I started to think about it.

I started to think that if I could hold out $20 from our funds perhaps we could do something for us. And I’ve thought of a few things. Last night we had our first $20 date and it was SO MUCH FUN!

We went to Gunther Toody’s Diner here in town. Now granted, a sit down restaurant was a stretch, but we shared an order of fish n’ chips. It came with a bottomless cup of soup. Our waiter brought us each our own cup, and then split the order onto two plates. It was perfect!

We sat there for two hours, eating, talking, and just being together. Out of the house,
away from everything and focusing on us and our relationship. It was wonderful! After dinner we took a long drive. It had rained earlier and the air was soft, cool and smelled so sweet. Again we talked as we drove ... no radio, no distractions. We finally wound up at BJ’s Velvet Freeze and had ice cream cones.

All in all, it was a lovely evening and it did us both a world of good. Our final cost for the night was $20.25!! How great is that?

We’ve decided we’re going to try to do a $20 date night a couple of times a month, and thought of other things we could do: tacos at Taco Bell and catching a movie at the second run theater; attending one of the free summer concerts around town; picking up sandwiches and driving to the mountains for a picnic .... when you think about it there are many things to do.

I am really looking forward to thinking of creative things we can come up with. But mostly, I’m looking forward to spending time with the man I love most in the world. Can’t think of a better way to spend twenty bucks!

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Summer Recipe

Three Bean Salad

1 can green beans
1 can wax beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup diced sweet, white onion
3 or 4 Tablespoons diced green pepper
1/2 cup salad oil
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar

Combine drained beans, onion and pepper in bowl.

Combine oil, vinegar and sugar in saucepan. Boil ingredients for two minutes. Pour over bean mixture, and combine well.

Chill, covered, overnight. Perfect for summer cookouts and picnics. Keeps well and serves a lot of people!
Recipe dated May 1983

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Weekend E-Book Giveaway

5 Star Review on Amazon: “I don't think there is a book that I like better than In the Company of Women!”

If you haven’t read it, pick up a FREE copy for your Kindle and Kindle apps this weekend on Amazon, Saturday May 25 thru Monday May 27.



Saturday, April 20, 2013

Another Recipe to Try!

I love easy and inexpensive meals to feed my family. I pulled this one out of my recipe box (it's from the early 1980s) and made it for the first time in years. We had a box of taco shells that had gotten broken and I remembered this casserole. I used to make it a lot when my kids were little because it was easy, didn’t cost much and was very tasty. I’m sharing it here in case any of you would like to try it too!

Festive Tostada Bake

1-1/2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
15 oz can hot chili beans
1 cup tortilla chips (or taco shells), slightly crushed
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 350°.

Brown beef with pepper and onion. Drain well, then add seasonings.

Place in shallow casserole dish (13”x 9”). Spoon beans over meat, then spread chips over beans evenly.

Spread sour cream on top, sprinkle with cheese.

Bake 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Obituary: Arland D. Hillyard

Arland Duce Hillyard
March 3, 1932 - March 9, 2013

Arland Duce Hillyard, 81, died Saturday, March 9, 2013, in Modesto, California. Arland was born March 3, 1932 in Richmond, Utah to Lucile Duce and Neal Jacobsen Hillyard.

Arland joined the Air Force during the Korean War. While stationed in Texas he met his bride, Mary Louise Smith. They were married September 22, 1953, and would have been married 60 years this fall.

He worked for Lockheed for thirty years and retired as a satellite engineer from Sunnyvale, California. They moved from San Jose, California to Los Banos, California in 1991 where they lived until recently.

He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was the former director of the Los Banos Family History Center. He knowledge of and love for genealogy made him a popular lecturer at various venues in the county.

Arland and his wife have lived all over the world, from Texas to Japan, to Maryland and California. His love of people and curiosity about life took him all over the United States and to Norway and England as well. He was a loving husband, father and friend and will be missed by all who knew him.

Arland is survived by his loving wife, Mary Louise Hillyard; daughter Maureen Lee Mullis (Stanley) and sons Arland and Kevin; daughter Cheryl Anne Stejskal (Don) and children Neal Christiansen Meldrim (Linsey), Eric Christiansen (Amber, daughter Cassie), Andrew Stejskal (Dayna) and Natalie Smith (Damien, children Jacob and Angelina).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Dad

This is the talk I gave at my father's Memorial Service, March 14, 2013:

Arland Duce Hillyard
March 3, 1932 - March 9, 2013

My dad, Arland Duce Hillyard, was a good father. He was an especially good dad for little girls. He was sweet and gentle and he had a playful heart. He always said I was his favorite oldest daughter. He would introduce me like that to people, and said that out of all his oldest daughters I was his favorite.

I have many, many happy memories of my dad. They bring me comfort as I say goodbye to him for now. It makes me happy to know I’ll see him again and to know he’s watching over my mom from the other side.

One of my earliest memories of my dad shows how he was. I was little and we were off doing errands, just the two of us. This was before seatbelts, and I had this idea that if I knelt on the seat than everyone would think I was a grownup. I told my dad this. He didn’t laugh, but very seriously agreed with me. Said I did look grownup. I was so proud of myself. Of course I didn’t, but Dad didn’t burst my bubble.

When I was little and my parents would go out, we always knew. They would buy us TV dinners, get a babysitter, and they would dress up. My mom would wear a dress and heels that would click on the floor as she walked, and my dad would wear a suit and tie.

So when I was little and a Blue Bird and Camp Fire Girl they would hold an annual Father-Daughter Dinner. When I was about 7 and going to my first one, my dad dressed up in a suit and tie. For me! For a little 7-year-old girl. I don’t remember anything about that dinner but I do recall quite clearly how that made me feel. To show such respect and love to a small child is, I think, a reflection of Christ’s love. The Lord loves children and so does my dad.

He was good about playing along. When Cheryl and I were little if we wanted to pretend we were horses, then okay -- we were horses. Of if we were in the pool and playing we were dolphins, okay -- we were dolphins! As long as we were having fun Dad played along too.

He liked to get involved in things with us. One time he and my sister Cheryl got into candle making. They had a great time, got very creative and made candles every free moment they could. And we had candles everywhere! Everyone got candles for Christmas that year, and anyone who wanted one got one.

Dad encouraged me to study music. He bought me a flute which was a great expense. He never complained, never threw it in my face when I didn’t practice. He and mom went to every concert. When I was scared about going into high school and joining the marching band, he made a deal with me: just try it for a year and see. My parents were super band boosters and attended every single football game my entire high school career ... every parade and event they were there. And he was right. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Dad loved music. I grew up hearing show tunes, Doris Day, Harry Belafonte, Scheherazade, and so forth. And he loved to sing and had a lovely voice. One year he was asked to perform the song Let There Be Peace On Earth at a Camp Fire Girl Council Meeting, and he was fantastic!

His love of singing often had him bursting into song. One time he had us all learn the lyrics to a song from the Walt Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. After we learned it he would lead us in singing it when we were out in the car, camping, playing games, whatever. To this day I can remember most of those lyrics.

He also liked to make up his own song and sing popular songs of the day. One distinct characteristic about Dad is that he mixed up words and names.

For example, there was a store in San Jose that had an amazing Christmas display in their front window every year. Everyone would go to Brueners to see it, but we went to Beeners. He and Mom went to see a play. While everyone else watched Joseph and His Technicolor Dream Coat, my dad saw Joseph and His Multi-Colored Smoking Jacket.

I want to share a story of my dad’s mixing up words that I love, and it is so him! He and Mom were living in Maryland and Christmas was approaching. My mother was into Estee Lauder then, and liked to wear the perfume White Linen and the dusting powder Private Collection. Dad called me to find out about them because he wanted to get her some. He decided on the powder. I told him to go to a high end department store and find the Estee Lauder counter, letting him know the clerk could get it for him.

A few days later he called to tell me that the store didn’t have the powder.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I did what you said, and asked the woman for Command Performance and she said they didn’t sell that product,” he told me. “She said it was a hair salon.”

“Command Performance is a hair salon,” I agreed. “The powder is called Private Collection.”

He was very upset, and I suggested he write it down to help him remember the name.

“I don’t need to write it down!” he said.

But a few days later I got another call. Again he’d been told that Estee Lauder didn’t sell a product called Command Performance, which was a hair salon.

“Do you want me to buy it and mail it to you?” I asked.

“No!” he cried. “I can do this. What’s it called again?”

Well a few days later I got a call from my mother. We were talking about this and that when she said, “The strangest thing happened with your father the other night.”

She told me they’d been watching television and a commercial for Estee Lauder’s perfume White Linen came on.

“Oh!” she said, “that’s my perfume.”

“What?!” my dad cried. “I thought it was Command Performance!”

“That’s a hair salon,” my mom told him, at which point my father leapt to his feet, pointed at her and cried out:

“Why does everyone keep telling me that?!” and turning on his heel left the room.

At that point I had to ruin my father’s Christmas surprise and tell my mother the story of my poor dad trying to get her powder. Funny man.

My dad, as I said, loved music and loved to sing. One of his favorite hymns was Master, the Tempest is Raging and I remember him singing it many times. The melody has been running through my head. This is a lyric that has me thinking of my dad:

Linger O Blessed Redeemer
Leave me alone no more
And with joy I shall make the blest harbor
And rest on the blissful shore

I know my father is on that blissful shore. And -- he’s probably singing. He may not have the right words, but you can be sure he’s singing his own song there just as he did here.