Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rediscovering - Unsolved Mysteries

I don't know how many of you guys watched this show when you were younger, but it was certainly one of my favorites. Just scary enough to make it fun but not give me nightmares. And when you hear the hosts voice it will immediately bring you back.

I just found out that the original series are available on Amazon, if anyone is interested in reliving this past excitement! And who knows. Maybe YOU will be able to help solve a mystery!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Tool Recommendation - Tools for Life

So I've been wanting to post a blog post about tools, but I haven't found the time. But I wanted to share a recent discovery (yes, regarding power tools) that I think anyone who plans to buy any power tools in the future should know.

I spent the first five or six years after college investing in power tools. Nothing fancy. A drill, router, saws, etc. etc. Unfortunately I was enticed by low prices to buy at them at Harbor Freight. After three or fours years, all of these tools have died. Depressing. I had to buy new tools. (Great for new tools, but not for the wallet....) Now don't get me wrong, Harbor Freight tools are better than nothing. But they don't last. But is it worth it to save and buy more expensive brands? Usually I'd say no, except for two words: "Lifetime Warranty."

I recently discovered that Ridgid brand power tools bought at Home Depot qualify for what's called a "Lifetime Service Agreement." Which means if it breaks, they fix it. If the battery dies, they replace it. Until you YOU die. Which means that new drill that I bought may be a bit more expensive than Harbor Freight, but it's still cheaper than many other brands and I never have to buy another one. They have drills, routers, sanders, saws, and pretty much everything one might need.

So next time you need to buy a power tool, consider buying the last one you'll ever have to buy. It may be a bit more now, but it'll save you in the long run!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Hot Chocolate

Liz and I love to eat. Part of our love affair with food includes a nightly snack before bed. One of our favorite snacks is hot chocolate. We think it's wonderful so I thought I'd share some tips in case anyone loves hot chocolate like we do!

Pro Tip #1 - What you make it with makes it

(I call it a Pro Tip not because I'm a pro, but because that's what Home Depot calls their tips and putting Pro before Tip makes it sound much more official.)

Back to the tip. What you make hot chocolate with really makes that hot chocolate. As a kid I would warm up water in the microwave (or just pull it tepid from the faucet!), and that worked fine. But when I discovered (much too late in life) making hot chocolate with milk makes things so much better. So replace that water with milk and enjoy! Make sure not to warm it up too long, however, or it develops a strange film.

If you want to step it up one more notch, use evaporated milk. Make the serving smaller, however, because it is RICH! (Not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk, like Liz's brother....)

Pro Tip #2 - Make your own mix

We've discovered that making our own hot chocolate mix makes it much better. It's more natural (store mixes sometimes have weird stuff in them) and it tastes more fresh. Look at the end for the two recipes that Liz and I use.

Pro Tip #3 - Top it and mix it

You can spice things up by adding extras. We always like to add whipped cream. We make our own whipped cream by whipping (duh) heavy whipping cream with a small amount of sugar, using a hand mixer and pre-cooled beaters and bowl.

It gets even better when you add a bit of spice on top of the whipped cream. Cinnamon is always a classic and a safe bet.  Nutmeg adds a spicy (not hot) sweet side. I sometimes like to add a touch of Cayenne Pepper to give it just the tiniest kick (sometimes referred to as Mexican hot chocolate).

You can experiment and discover what you like.

Pro Tip #4 - Tiny cups somehow mean more

I've recently discovered that sipping hot chocolate from a tiny little tea cup makes it even better. Savor every little sip and imagine you're wearing a monocle and discussing British politics.

That's how Liz and I like to do it! I'd love to hear if anyone likes to do it differently or if anyone has favorite desserts they love to eat!


Stovetop Hot Chocolate:
2 - 2.5 cups milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup sugar (more or less to taste)
1 oz. chocolate, chopped (we often use chocolate chips, because we always have them on hand, but keep in mind that chocolate chips aren't great for melting, because they usually contain anti-clumping ingredients that don't emulsify well (as an aside, the same is true for pre-shredded cheese), so if you have regular chocolate (i.e. baking chocolate - we recommend Ghirardelli 60% cacao), that's ideal)

Heat the  milk over medium heat in a saucepan. Do not let it boil. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl. When the milk is heated to your liking, add the cocoa mixture and mix well. Serve with desired toppings and mix-ins. Serves 2-3.

Instant Hot Cocoa Mix
1/2 cup powdered milk, sifted
2-3 cups (to taste) cocoa powder, sifted
3-4 cups (to taste) powdered sugar

Combine ingredients in a bowl with a lid and mix well.  Store in airtight container at room temperature. When ready to make hot chocolate, mix 3-4 Tbsp. (to taste) of powdered mix into 1 cup warm/hot milk.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

People Are Starving

In downtown Las Vegas, between the Federal Courthouse and the State Courthouse, there is a courtyard home to leafy trees in the summer and ambient lighting set into park benches; a few palm trees skirt the edge of the park.  There is only street parking around the Courthouses, so I often found myself walking through this park, often at a nice clip to make sure I got to Court on time.  At first, I would notice the homeless, sleeping if it was early, sitting next to their earthly belongings if later in the day, and, if in the dead heat of summer, crouching behind whatever sliver of shade to which they could retreat.  After a while, they became a part of the setting, just another addition to the park.  I forgot that they were people, and I worried more about how I would be able to convince the judge that morning that the bank's foreclosure was legal.

Just before our move to Virginia, I had been really focusing on trying to develop Christlike attributes.  I wish I could say that it was out of a pure desire to be more Christlike, but in reality it was because I wanted direction in my temporal life and felt like I could be a better receptacle for personal inspiration by focusing more on Christ.  Whatever the reason, as I learned more about the Savior and his deep love for me, I began to feel a stronger love toward those around me, even strangers.  I remember one pivotal moment, returning from an oral argument at Court, as I passed by a gentleman asleep on the sidewalk, a crumpled wad of clothes under his head.  Though I could barely see his face poking out from under a tattered blanket, I could sense profound suffering.  My heart groaned and I audibly sighed.  I raised my eyes upward, wondering at the ache I was feeling for the individual despite us being complete strangers.

What made it even more poignant for me, as I walked by with plenty of food in my stomach and a jacket on my back, is that I felt helpless.  He was asleep so I could not offer him money or food.  I felt ashamed and disheartened and lonely, and as I got to my car, I sat and thought about Christ and his empathy for his children here on Earth.  I felt like I had connected somehow on a deeper level with this man, somehow my Spirit had felt his and the matter between us connected for a moment.

Now, tonight I read an article about how 20 million people are starving in the Middle East and East Africa.  And I thought, "How is this possible?"  How is it possible that so many people can't even find enough to eat to sustain themselves.  And my heart broke again at the suffering of humanity.  I searched the article for some "How You Can Help" link to see if there was anything I could do, but there was nothing.  No donate here.  No adopt a starving human being.  And I felt helpless again.  And I felt selfish that I was worrying about the faint smell of smoke in my new car or that I actually had to cook breakfast for the kids because we are out of cold cereal.  And I wished that I would be sensitive enough to suffering more of the time that I would actually work to reach out and help those in such unfortunate circumstances. 

With 20 mn people starving, world faces greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945: UN: Unicef has already warned that 1.4 million children could starve to death this year

Friday, March 10, 2017

Bean Blog Ressurection

Fine. I admit it. I miss the Bean Blog. I miss people sharing fun things and there's much I want to share. And there are some things that are just better shared in a blog post than a text.

As such, I'm resurrecting the Bean Blog. Even if no one reads or comments or contributes (except me), I'm resurrecting it. Hopefully we can get this thing back up and running! Please post whatever you want. I especially liked the suggestions/recommendations posts.

As my first post, I wanted to share a music video I watched a while back but touches me when I watch it. It's a good song but the video is better. Life is tough. For everyone. But no matter what, the tough times will pass!

Love you all!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Friday, May 13, 2016

FINALLY_ really, information is so important when planning the family reunion- right?  SO SO Sorry that I haven't passed on info as well as I should.  I know that I have talked with each of you individually about many things.  In an effort to get all the information in to one spot, here's the plan so far... subject to change. Sort of.  Kind of.  Maybe

Thursday July 21- Saturday 24
**We know that not everyone can make it on Thursday- it just seems so short to see you Friday night and so I am trying to squeeze the most time out of you as possible**
Location- Chateau d'Piippo   
3858 Marlene, Idaho Falls, ID 83401

We have reserved the ENTIRE bed and breakfast.  This home boasts a "family feel", sure to make you feel like you are coming to your childhood home.   All amenities are provided- clean bedding, towels, etc.  Comes with a fully stocked kitchen and family pets to truly give you that "homey" feel.  Each family will have their own room.  We will have two tents for "child" over flow- one for boys and one for girls.  There is also room in the family room for kids to sleep in, or on the trampoline!

Schedule-- Subject to interpretation, nap times and tornadoes

Thursday-  Visit the beautiful Yellowstone National Park.  We would like to leave Idaho Falls around 9:00, drive to Yellowstone and watch Old Faithful.  Visit the Black Sands geyser basin and other favorites.  We will picnic around Old Faithful, then have a hot dog BBQ in the evening.  Head home around 7:30.  Some families have Park's passes to get in free, so we will try to combine cars to cut down on costs.   

Friday-  Visit as families and let kids play through the day.  Possibly go to Rigby Lake. Wait for everyone else to arrive.   Yard Games and the candy guessing game that night... always a favorite.   

Saturday-  The traditional Grandpa's Bingo will be the first activity of the day, followed by some Family Feud, Let's Make a Deal and other wonderful family games.  Water Slide/Bounce house- Fun for ALL ages.   This will take the place of the make shift slip and slide... and hopefully keep Uncle Mike's teeth intact.  

*Maybe not this exact one.. don't hold me to it*

** WE WILL Be taking family pictures (loud groans from the men and excited hand clapping from the wives).   Not sure on day/time- kind of waiting to hear when everyone will be here and how naps go.  It ALMOST seems like the evening might be better since we will have so many small babies with morning naps to work around?  I would LOVE to do Friday evening, but will keep everyone posted.  If you have thoughts- please share!!  The first thought that all the women had was WHAT DO WE WEAR?   Clothes.  Preferred.  Colors- Navy Blue, Gray, Coral, Mint and Mint Green.  Of course white also is nice.  We won't go with exact shades, it will be nice to have a variety!  I am kind of leaning towards having this more of a "dressy" picture.  Thoughts?  Collared shirts for boys (doesn't have to be button up, but nicer?)  OR is this just TOO MUCH.  Cuz I am okay with what ever.  

Now to all the fine points and what we are hoping you can contribute.  

A) Can we ask each family to do a meal as we have in the past?  Please text me with what meal you would like to do

B) Can everyone look around for stuff to bring for Grandpa's Bingo?  ALSO- if this doesn't break your budget- PLEASE bring 2 gift cards of your choosing.  Preferable one is a $20 card and the other a $5 card.  

C) We didn't rent a house hoping to keep costs down, but we do want to pay for someone to come and take the HUGE family picture (I figure we have enough photographers to handle the smaller family and individual groups).  If everyone can please chip in $50 for the photographer, bounce house, prizes, etc for the weekend that would be great.  We know that budgets and traveling might not allow that.  

This makes our total "input" cost from each family $80 + food...   Hopefully This is okay for everyone.   

D) We would like for everyone to go home with all the pictures taken, so I am hoping that on Saturday night we can steal everyone's camera card and put all pictures on DVD's for everyone.

Anything else I missed that you really wished I had put in here?

Love you all- can't wait to see you!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Zelda Fans - Essential Information

I know there are some Zelda Fans in the family. As I was reading through a newly acquired book, Hyrule Historia, I was made aware of the fact that there is a very specific timeline to these games. They are not all the same Link, or Zelda, but they have a chronological order and history that run very closely together. The picture below is a quick illustration, but much more, interesting information, can be found here:

Fascinating eh? 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Plans for this weekend

Happy Monday Bean Family!

I thought I'd write a quick blog post with some important information for this week. We are so excited for Jeff and Cailey and excited that so much of the family gets to be together!

First, and most significant, is the sealing! The sealing will take place at 11:20 am Mountain Daylight Time. Anyone attending the sealing needs to be there at least 30 minutes early. 

After the sealing, Jeff and Cailey had the great idea of all going out to lunch together. We will be doing lunch at 1:00 pm at the Black Bear Diner in St. George. We have reserved a group room for all of us, so it should be a good time! With large groups, however, they will only give us one check. As such, we all need to bring cash to reimburse Mom and Dad, who will initially cover the check and then take our lunch payments individually.  Please click on the Black Bear Diner Logo to access a copy of their menu. Please take a look, decide in advance what you and your family would like, and bring enough cash to cover the cost of the meal, tax, and 20% gratuity that they automatically add on. I apologize if this is a hassle, but it's the option that involves the least hassle, so I appreciate all you guys' help!

For those of you who are able to go down to Vegas on Friday night, we will be doing a fun dinner/pool party at Greg's house. Greg has graciously offered up his pool and grill, but we are in charge of bringing our own grilling meat, buns, salads, etc. I haven't asked, but think Greg will be willing to offer water to us as well.

As far as I know, there are no other formal plans. Liz and I have to leave early Saturday afternoon, but everyone else is free to plan whatever they'd like while they are there. We look forward to seeing everyone and most especially to celebrating Jeff and Cailey.

Love you all!

Mike and Liz

Sunday, July 12, 2015

St. George Plans

Hey Bean Family! Since most are working on plans for St. George, Liz and I thought it might be helpful for us to post what we have planned (as far as lodging and timing) so if anyone wants to stay where we stay or hang out, it can be done!

Here is our plan:

Thursday: Arrive in the evening some time. Get dinner, hang out with anyone who is there that night. We are staying in the Hilton Garden Hotel. We got a room for $80/night, so worth checking out if anyone wants to stay there with us!

Friday: Breakfast. Jeff and Cailey's sealing! (WOO HOO!) Drive to Vegas after the ceremony. Hang out at Greg's house (pool/grill party) for most of the night. Retire. Liz and I are staying at the Homewood Suites in Henderson that Friday night. It's about 9 minutes from Greg's house and rooms are $88 through Mom and Dad's travel site thingamajigger.

Saturday: Breakfast. Hang out with the family. Either at Greg's house or if we plan some sort of outing or activity that morning. We have to head out that afternoon to start heading home, as it's eleven hours and don't want to pull that in one day on the way home.

Those are our plans. If anyone wants to coordinate, please let me know. We are so excited for Jeff and Cailey and to see an family who can make it.

Love you all!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

New Family History Project

Interested in finding names for the temple?  This could be your chance!!!!

New Family History Project

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Family Reunion Picture Swap!!

We had a really great time at the family reunion- thanks to everyone for making it a great time! We wanted to give everybody an opportunity to share pictures, so we created a family dropbox account where we can all load and view pictures.

Steps to sharing pictures:

1. Go to (click here)
2. Enter in email and password (this is a family account so we created a login and password just for this. The login email is and the password is
3. Click on the folder "Family Reunion 2015"
4. Once inside the folder, there are 5 icons to the right of the folder title. The furthest left of these is "upload...". From here you can choose the pictures that you would like to upload.

Once pictures are shared, we will be able to view them and download if desired.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A History of Great Men

A history of great men.

William Bean - Great Grandpa

 William Bean - Grandpa

Harold Bean - Dad

Lee Bean

Happy Father's Day Dad! Your greatness as a father shines through as your greatness as a grandfather!