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Friday, March 27, 2009

Canning hamburger and chicken




Worrying about the economic situation, we have been interested in canning meat that will outlast any power outages! I had done turkey for years at Thanksgiving when you can get turkeys cheap for about $6-7. One large turkey will yield 14 pints of turkey meat! Lately I have read about doing other meats and so we have tried it out.

Since it was rainy these past few days and we’re not able to work in the garden, I bought a case of hamburger meat at Sam’s. It’s 90% lean and 80 pounds for the case and it was $126.50 or $1.58 a pound. I raw packed all of it into either pint or quart jars and put some in the freezer. It went well and was so easy.

For the 80 lbs:

I put 25 quart bags in the freezer (about a pound each).
I got 18 quarts and 24 pints canned and stored on shelves.

You basically pressure all meat at 10 pounds for 70 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts). It cooks the meat while it cans it. We opened one of the raw packed hamburger and chicken meat we did earlier to try out and it was so moist you could just eat it out of the jar. It’s not the prettiest canned but it’s good quality stuff.

If it was all pints it would be about 85 pints so it’s probably a little under a pound. The regular mouth jars were harder to fill without pockets. The wide mouth jars got more in them since I could put my fist in it to push it down better.

I already had 9 pints and 7 quart bags in the freezer so I figure that’s beef twice a week for a year and that’s if I only have it for one meal! Many times I can stretch them to two meals depending on what I’m fixing.

I’d love to do chicken next week! You can raw pack can that as well. Sam’s also sell it by the case and it’s 40 pounds for $1.54 for boneless chicken breasts so it costs about $61.60. I’m sure Costco has something similar.

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Harper Baby!




Boy am I feeling old, my baby just had a baby and became a dad! I know he will be a great dad and Amanda a great mom to this cute little guy but what happened to my baby!!! Little Caleb Michael Harper was born Saturday Morning, March 21, 2009 in Orem, Utah. Mom and baby (and dad) are sleepy but doing well.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baby Stella and new Grandma's

What a wonderful way to spend a Saturday than with a lot of ladies that you love! That's what I as able to do today at the baby shower for Christina Eichhorn and an added bonus of a new grandma for Carol Justice! We had a great turn out, great food, great visiting and just a wonderful afternoon. Watch the video for not only some gifts but also the beautiful smiles and hugs all around!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

RS Birthday Social

We had a great RS Birthday social called the Season of Women. Look at this video of sisters in various seasons of life enjoying each other's company! The program was very special with a lot of laughter and tears as sisters shared their times of live with us. We have such wonderful women to associate with. I think we all felt glad we were there and were spiritually and socially filled!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Desert versus Glitz

My last day in Nevada I went through the desert to Pahrump, Nevada to see my cousins. It was about 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas and into the desert. It was a beautiful trip to see so much nothingness. I saw three signs, one for a donkey crossing, one for cows and one for mountain goats. These are Mesquite trees.

Immediately north of the Red Rock Casino resort was Red Rock canyon. I caught the mountains with the sun at a good time of day.
It was so pretty that when I got back and Michael was done I took him about 8 miles out to see the canyon.
Here are the lights of Las Vegas at night. Just to the right of the moon is the light beam from the pyramid casino that can be seen from space. It's quite a sight from our motel room.
This was the motel. But you know what, I think I like the beauty of the desert than the glitzy lights of amazing buildings built on the gambling losses of thousands of people!

Cirque du Soleil


Wow, the highlight activity of the trip for entertainment was to the Mirage Casino resort on the strip to see Cirque du Soleil do Beatles Love! Probably a once in a lifetime activity!

At the Mirage Casino front desk is the aquarium which is a 20,000-gallon saltwater aquarium. We had a lot of fun watching all of the angelfish, puffer fish, tangs and other exotic sea creatures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The motel room!

Here's our luxurious motel room. I'm glad we don't have to pay for it! This is the deep bathtub with the flat screen TV in the wall.

The whole bathroom is done in marble and leather on the walls. If you look in the mirror you can see the shower.



Of course the room also has a big flat screen TV in there. They have food and drinks on the drawers and it says if you pick it up for more than 45 seconds they will charge the item to your tab!
The bed and lighting are wonderful. There is even a bose acoustic wave radio to use! Getting on the internet is a little weird. You'd think they would make it easy but they don't and you have to go through their own website and ads!
Here's Michael at our door. After the long hall, every room entrance is in a little hall for more privacy.

Quite a resort!

Here's what we came to Las Vegas for . . . Michael's conference at the Red Rock Resort in the northern rim of the valley. It's fairly new and quite ritzy.


Our room is on the 8th floor and almost to the end. All of the elevators are at one end near the casinos and restaurants. The hallway and building curves! Michael measured it and it is 1/10th of a mile from the elevator to our room!
Here's a quick view of the casino. I didn't realize it but I took a couple of pictures and someone came up to me and said you are not allowed to take pictures there! Oops! I wonder how you could cheat by taking pictures? I'm very gambling challenged and don't care to change that status!
This chandelier is at the entrance and is about three stories high.
Here's the outside of the resort so you can get an idea of the curved building. We are send from the end on the 8th floor on the left!

A trip to a Cemetery


On the way back to Las Vegas, we took time to make a quick stop back in St. George. When I was there on Saturday, my aunts told me where my grandfather was buried. He died in 1964 when I was 9 about the same time JFK was assassinated. I had never been to see his grave. His son, Walter Rice, Junior as well as his two wives, Mary Rasmussen Rice and Bonita Rice were buried nearby.

A Utah Harper Gathering!

Sunday night, about 38 of the Harper Clan that is in Utah met at Pat and Jim Patton's in American Fork, Utah. Here is a picture of Michael with (l-r) his brother Leland, his sister Faye, his brother Richard, and his sister Pat. We also were able to see his brother Gary while in Las Vegas. He's the youngest of 12 children and there are 10 surviving siblings.

Here's Leland with his wife, Mary Kay in the background coming in to the gathering!

Here is Richard's family greeted by Jim Patton on the left. His wife is Clarnell and Isaac is their youngest, who graduates this year!

Here's the living room with one view showing people there. We visited and later Jim got out his guitar and we had a little bit of music! I hadn't heard some of those West Virginia songs before but boy were they funny!

Amanda's baby shower!

Michael and I made it to Provo just in time for me to get there for Amanda's baby shower. One of her friends had it for her in her little basement apartment. It was fun and we even played a few games! Amanda is in the white blouse and Caprise (Adam's wife) is in the green.



Amanda's family, the Lundy's had a great idea! They each picked out a children's book, wrote a note to baby Harper in the front and then separately wrapped them up in a box for her. They even had one or two books in Spanish with the English version . . . maybe a bilingual baby boy?!

Caprise used her talents to crochet a baby blanket that is darling! Adam helped her pick out the colors and so they chose Cougar Blue! She tried to surprise Amanda but I think Amanda came into their apartment when she was working on it (they live next door to each other).

Of course baby harper had to try on some of his new outfits that he got! I think they will fit!
Beth came to the shower!!! For those who do not know Beth, she is from Duncan, my partner Rachel's daughter and I have known her since birth. She made a darling diaper cake that was the hit of the shower. After the shower while Caprise and the guys went to a basketball game, Amanda and I went to visit Beth and see her apartment and meet her roommate.

Long Lost Aunts in St. George

We flew to Las Vegas Friday night late and visited with Michael's brother Gray and Judi until late that night. It was part one of more to come! We got up early because I wanted to get up to Utah. A couple of years ago, I reunited with two aunts, Marie Rice and Dorothy Thompson. Dorothy is a half sister of my mother and Marie is a daugther-in-law of her half brother, Walter. I wanted to be able to see them and they were having a baptism Saturday morning in the stake center next to the St. George Temple. We stopped in St. George and saw them for a few minutes and made reaquaintences! I would love to have had more time to visit but we will make that happen in the future. Here's a picture of all of the family that was there, including several children of both of these wonderful women.



We figured that I was probably 12-13 the last time I had seen them, maybe 1968! Anyway, here is a picture of me with Dorothy Thompson and Marie Rice. They are wonderful women!



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What do you do on a snow day?


I've wanted to try this for a long time to add to my food storage. You can can butter and it turned out wonderful! It's very easy and really doesn't take a long time. I bought some butter at Sams and 4 pounds will make 5 pints of butter. You warm the jars in the oven for 20 minutes while you melt the butter. You also boil the lids to get them hot. You then pour the butter into the jars and put the lids on them. After they seal, you may want to turn the butter a little to bring any air to the top. It's that simple! I figure it cost about $1.35 a jar.

Monday, March 2, 2009

March came in like a lion!












Here I thought we may have spring on its way, but instead March 1 was a lion of a day! After three days of heavy rain (a lot like the Oregon winter storms) it all turned to snow last night. It was so strange because we had thunder and lightening while it was snowing. I've heard that is a very unusual phenomenon.
We ended up with over 4" of snow which is our biggest snow in years. We lost power for a couple of hours about 9:45 but it was so bright outside from the snow we could still see out. It's beautiful this morning and I'm so glad I have a job that I
can stay and work from home
!