Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week of April 7-13, 2014

Monday-I cleaned. Dad had the car at meetings, but it was all good, since I got most of my dusting done too. I worked outside in the yard: weeds…and I worked on the grapevine gazebo, trimming and threading vines. It's a really nice shady place now. Poor Nate came home from work with a doozy of a headache. I cannot even fathom how awful it is to have constant pain, especially head pain. It just makes Dad and I so sad…and it hurts him so much that everything is awful. Poor Jessica was home sick with a cold on top of it all. Dad did get some work done on a project, I got all the sunflower hair/collar pieces done and packed up for the wedding, and the pearlized leafy cupcake wrappers arrived from China.

Tuesday-Dee was off to meetings, so I planted sunflowers in the flower bed for the wedding. I am still gonna surround the bed with marigolds and other yellow flowers, but it's gonna be so hot this week, so not today. I got to use the Jeep! I went and got the pecans for Dee's birthday cake frosting, that Germann Chocolate Coconut Pecan frosting.

Recipe for Coconut Pecan Filling and Frosting from Kraft

4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 pkg (7 oz) Bakers Angel Flake Coconut (2 2/3 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Beat egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter. Cook on medium heat. When it begins to boil, set timer for 12 minutes, stilling constantly. It will thicken and become a golden brown. Remove from heat.

Add coconut and nuts; Mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.

NOTE: I always double this recipe, so there is plenty for the cake, and for Dad's snitching! He only gets this once a year (and once when Cameo and I make Ethan's). I have frozen this for months ahead in a rubbermaid container and slowly thawed for use and it has come out perfectly.



I went to Sprouts, but the nuts were crazy expensive, so I went to Winco and got them. I also went to Michaels and got the royal blue ribbon. The afternoon was spent making and hiding the cake icing (no cake till next Saturday), making two pretty awesome wreaths for the wedding,

and then I crawled under the Jeep with Dee and helped change the front differential gasket and fill the front differential with gear lube. Dinner was healthy baked chicken and asparagus. Nate came home headachy and exhausted and fell asleep before he could even eat. Missionaries came for a scheduled visit. Kayty worked the afternoon and then went on a date to a movie.

Wednesday - More weeding, watering...and an awesome lunch salad for Dee.

 I noticed a crack in Kayty's windshield, so she was sent off with paperwork and made an appointment to get the windshield fixed tomorrow. Dad's Webelos went well again.

Thursday- I have been working more on the back yard. Dee mowed and I found more and more grass type weeds. I need a knife to get them out. It's kind of like a cut/dig thing. My watering is paying off in the flower bed. Nate and Jessica's sunflowers are growing and mine should come up soon. I worked on more wreaths. Jess has been sick but briefly came by and gave an ok to them. I am just decorating doors and porch posts with them. Kayty got her windshield fixed...and loves it.


Friday - I cleaned and got the kitchen floor mopped. Then, I headed out. Target dollar spot was not interesting at all, and I looked for a khaki or navy skirt...which they had NONE of. I went to Michael's and hit the jackpot. Both the grapevine wreaths and the royal blue ribbon were on sale! I bought 7 wreaths and all the ribbon they had...which was not enough...but I got it.

 I headed to Costco and got water bottles, and just basics. I wanted more, but the cart was so doggone heavy and my hip was hurting...perhaps still from my fall last week. I worked in the garden after the sun went lower in the sky...I wind grapevines on the gazebo constantly. It's a really nice place to sit and reflect now! Love it in there.

Saturday-We yard saled with Nathan for a while and then headed out to Prescott to spend some time with Dee's Tech Lead, Klemens Raab, and his wife, Gloria. While Dee got to get some more red dirt for the garden, I got to read some Conference talks...I got the Saturday Morning session all read and the scriptures looked up. We found our way there...finally. They call it a cabin, but it looked like and awful nice house to me. We ate German sausage and potato salad and had a good visit.


It is always amazing to me that I can actually carry on an adult conversation. While Gloria didn't think much of stay at home moms (her daughter in law) she and I could get along. And...I think she was a bit jealous when I was getting texts from Adam and Grace. I love my grandkids texts so much!!! It was a nice trip in the new jeep and we enjoyed visiting. Best part was stopping at a Michael's in Prescott Valley and scoring the rest of the on sale ribbon I needed!  The evening ended with a trip to Winco.

Sunday-IT was a lovely Sabbath morning. I watered the flowerbed...and my flowers are coming up too!



 I was surprised when we got to church...it was Fast Sunday. I guess the message didn't get around well, because many were not aware. We had an awesome lesson in Sunday School about Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel. I learned so much. My nursery kids were great singing today. The rest of the day was spent in scout meetings, figuring out our Stake Baptism Coordinator Callings, home teaching, and I made potato salad to go with the chicken Dee grilled. Nate and Jess and Kayty had singles stake conference, but Jess was sick from her meds, and Kayty slept in, so Nate and Jess went late...and were really tired all afternoon. Kayty and I visited and laughed...and threatened to run away to a hotel with two king sized beds...but we grew up and stayed home.

My week was busy, but next week will be moreso. I am watching Kaylee for more hours Tuesday, and Wednesday I have both Kaylee and Kooper. Should be interesting...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Week of March 31-April 6

Driving to Las Vegas on Saturday, and then driving back on Sunday, is exhausting...and I didn't even get much playtime with my sweet grandkiddos! I was so thankful, though, that Cameo had wisely taken Monday off work for her and Kaylee to "recover" from the trip...so I could recover from the trip.

So Monday: I laundered...I weeded...and we hit Craigslist hard to find a vehicle. Nate needed to get to work, and Dee had a busy week ahead, so we were up against a wall...a place we often find ourselves. We had two scheduled to look at...and after the first was from a "less than truthful" source (as in, the guy said it was single owner, though it had dealer plates and he was a dealer, he said it was garage kept and there was no garage space for said vehicle, he said the seats were leather...umm pleather!, and the new tires were almost thread-bare) So we headed to the center of Phoenix, to a guy who was honest: yep, it was restored salvage, yep-the side rear window sticks...but it was all he said it was, and it was totally a fourth of the price of one less than this nice new car...so no debt and mission for us still in the future. So, we bought it!

Worst part...standing in line at the Title Loan place for him to get the title notarized and transferred. I just felt bad for people who had no credit and had to get one of those high interest loans.

It took forever...but it's ours. It has had a couple of quirks (we thought the ignition switch had died, but Ethan, thankfully told us it was an alarm system thing)...and I love it. Can't wait to get some stuff done in it next week.


2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee...132,000 miles...leather seats...moon roof...a/c that you can adjust so HE can freeze and I can be warmer...a stereo we have no idea how to use...a speaker and amp in back that we, again, have no use for...nice tires...and it's ours!

I also worked on the pool. Mr. Sucky, as we call our vacuuming unit, is not working well. I brushed. I skimmed. I cleaned out filters. And yet, he still moves ever so slowly. We will call our friend and get some parts to fix him.
I started pulling out the snow pea vines that were dying, since 95 degree weather is in the forecast for next week. I also saved the seeds from the pods on the vines that had dried. We now have lots of seeds for next year's snow peas...plus many for anyone else who desires any!

Also...final wedding plans for me were given...

Colors for all family members are yellow and dark blue...not separate...

I am responsible for 200 wedding cupcakes and 2 sheet cakes.

For the ring ceremony meal, I am responsible for cabbage salad, chips, and a fruit and vegetable tray. 

I am responsible for 10 sunflower hairpieces and 10 sunflower clips for lapels.

I already have the blue traditional Hershey kisses ordered (see Doran and Amber's wedding on 10-11-12), flowers for wreaths for the back yard patio cover - I am trying this out, just to add color to the yard, and I ordered sunflower seeds for the flower beds. I ordered the sunflowers and the rest of the cupcake papers and decor.)

Tuesday...I am much more ready for Miss Kaylee, though she had a lung and cold thing going on. We did go on a walk and feed our goat friend...he runs every time he sees us! Sleeping is hard for her, with a clogged up nose, so she napped on Grammy in the chair. She isn't too interested in eating or drinking, but we did our best. 

I weeded before she came in the morning. I try to do at least 100 at each session on an Kaylee week, 200 on a non Kaylee week. 
I usually fill a bucket each time. I really dislike weeds. 

April Fools Day...no tricks...though I wish the dentist was tricking me when he said I have a cavity right by a crown that needs to be filled. He hopes to save the crown. 

So do I! 

Wednesday was a cooler day...windy...so we stayed inside, which Kaylee is NOT a fan of. I just keep her from looking out the window to see what she isn't doing. 

We even had a rainfall...which is happy, unless you are viewing said rain as not precipitation but a watering for yet more weeds to come. 

Nate's final box, packed with treasures from his mission and shipped by boat from Korea, arrived today. We watched a recording of a ward party, and of a Christmas party...with Elder Rice and his other missionaries. It was a precious final treasure. 

Even had a love note for Kayty!


I put everything away as Dee and his webelos met and built bug houses on the back porch. 

Thursday was beautiful...cool and nice. Kaylee could go outside and swing, a favorite activity of hers. She likes it when I sit on the swing next to her and just push her every so often. We sing songs, like the ABC's, and later, we sang "The Wheels On The Bus" and she is making some motions to it. 

Best thing of all: Nathan went to the chiropractor...and was HELPED!!!!!! This chiropractor explained what was going on...headaches stem from that ol' wisdom tooth extractions over two years ago!!!...and Nate had relief! So so very very thankful!!!!!

Friday...More weeds before Kaylee came. I have actually worn a hole in my glove!
Kaylee and I played in the sand...and walked around the garden. I wound the growing grapevines on the gazebo. 

I trim and tie up vines.

Grapes are already starting to come on.

Ethan picked up Kaylee...the third time this week!...which she is just absolutely in Heaven when Daddy is at the doorbell ring...

Dad and Doran went fishing (Nate was busy with Jessica and Ethan had a scheduling conflict). I worked in the garden...Finished cleaning out the snow peas, wound up the cord that the vines climbed on, hauled wheelbarrow loads out to the chicken pen....tripped on the rocks by our window and scraped my knee and hurt my hip...(still sore today, Sunday)
Saturday - Too sore to run or exercise. There were many yard sales today, so we speedily set out. 
We found this, which is Nathan's new best friend, next to Jessica, that is...
We watched two sessions of LDS General Conference, listening to Apostles and the Prophet, as well as other inspired church leaders, helping us improve our lives...

I also got texts from an amazing basketball player in Las Vegas...who had scored 10 points in a game that his school won!!! Hooray for Adam!

The third session of General Conference if called Priesthood Session. Men and young men 12 and over attend and receive instruction on how to be better servants of the Lord. We can watch on LDS.org, and I watched after I worked more in the garden. Much is growing and readying to be picked...
Korean Peppers...a staple of all Korean food...and the powder added to food makes it taste spicy awesome!


These are striped tiger heirloom tomatoes...almost ripe. 
The men returned home, full of happy tummies, as the tradition is to go to New Asia Kitchen after they watch Priesthood. Dad was so happy to be able to have Nathan with him, as well as friend, Jeff Huesing.

Jessica joined us for the evening and I ached and groaned, since I still hurt from my fall, and the work I did all day. I absolutely fell fast asleep that night. 

Sunday...sleep in! Nice thing about General Conference is that you can watch at home...in your jammies! 

I was blessed to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir weekly broadcast, something I usually miss because I am at church already. Their closing hymn brought back such memories. 

The hymn they sang was "I Believe In Christ". The words came from the final conference talk given by Bruce R. McConkie, many years ago. I was walking baby Doran in the hallway at church (used to have to go to church and get a satellite feed before the internet) when Elder McConkie gave this talk. I remember hearing these words as I walked...and I stopped by a doorway and looked and watched him, since his words spoke to my heart, and I have never ever forgotten that feeling, because his testimony of Jesus Christ helped my testimony that very moment of that very day. 

He died soon after this testimony. A hymn was composed, based on his testimony:

I Believe In Christ. He is my King. With all my heart, to Him I'll Sing.
I'll raise my voice in praise and joy; in grand amens my tongue employ.
I Believe in Christ. He is my God. My feet He plants on Gospel sod. 

Every word...every verse...I don't have space to include it all. It brings me to tears every time I hear it. 

Right before Nate left on his mission, we attended General Conference...October 2011. We heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing it. 

It was amazing. It spoke to my heart. I felt a strong witness of the Savior, Jesus Christ, of His love for me. 

And I heard it today, as the broadcast concluded. It brought back every feeling...every memory...every emotion. Music can do that. I remember being in that balcony in the Conference Center. I remember the sound of the organ. I remember the beautiful soprano voices achieve the highest notes.

I remember the burning in my heart. 


Great way to begin watching the Sunday sessions of General Conference on this special day: April 6, the day revealed as the true day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the day the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was officially organized. 

Sunday Morning Session of Conference spoke to me.  Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Elder David A. Bednar. And our Beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. They all spoke to my heart. 

I read each and every talk as they are published on LDS.org as soon as they come online, usually the Thursday following. The ones that guide my course for the next six months I print, and keep in my scriptures, to refer to again. These three will be printed and referred to. Thankful in all things. The atonement. Kindness. 

I am so thankful for messages that give us new beginnings to strive for. 


It truly was a week to be thankful for: many prayers answered. Many opportunities to offer prayer: for Kelsie and her strep throat. For Kaylee and her lungs. For each and every one of my children. I am so thankful for Dee...he has been my patient rock: my strength and my pillar. I am so blessed!


Monday, March 31, 2014

March 24-30, 2014

It was a "W" Kind of week…

Monday:
Weeding- I do LOTS of work on my 'week off' and weeds were the order of business, starting today. Me and my trusty screwdriver dug and dug and dug.
Weeding can also refer to cleaning up, especially when you are weeding out a returned missionary's suitcases that have been sitting on his bedroom floor for three weeks now. I just put papers in plastic sleeves, put them in a notebook and got those cases up in the attic. Nate is really having lots of headache pain, and between that and being with Jessica, I thought this might help clear clutter out of his living space.
Work-Nate started a new job, which was his old job plumbing for Perkins Plumbing…and he loved it!
Work also refers to the pizza party Dee and I attended with his work associates. They have a week long seminar here in Tempe and so all the Supplier Development Engineers flew in from all over the U.S. Dee brought his keg of root beer, and I got to finally put faces with the voices I hear on his computer. I actually was able to carry on a conversation as well. At this place, bragging about your grandkids was welcome…and I have 7 awesome ones, so it was easy.
Wedding-Engagement Photos were taken. Jess's future sister in law is the ONLY person that can make Nate look good...and not like a used car salesman...








Tuesday:
Weeding- I dug. Then, I got to BURN. Mike, my sweet son in law, uses a torch thing. My husband and sons have as well. And I finally got to use it. One word: POWER! I loved burning the small grasses…and accidentally set the dead and small date palm ablaze. It went out quickly.
Wifing- I was a good wife. I helped thin slice the deer meat, clean the slicer, put the meat in the marinade, put the marinated meat on the dehydrator, and then bag up the deer jerky for Doran's work buddies who wanted a taste...tomorrow.
Wedding-I need to get the cupcake stuff ordered this week, and Jess sent me some pics and I found the lacy wrappers online. I hope to finalize this week and get the order off. I also ordered Nate's blue camouflage fabric for his wedding vest. I couldn't find it at JoAnn's on Monday night, returning from Tempe, so I ordered. I don't have a car, and only have half the time to do stuff.
Waffles- It was International Waffle Day, so Kayty took me to Costco to restock, and I got some strawberries, whipped cream, real maple syrup, and pecans…plus some bacon. Everyone enjoyed our celebration…at one time or another.
Weep-I really want to cry when I see how Nathan suffers with constant headaches, so I got online and got some other methods. We are trying a liver cleanse…just juice from half a lemon, a drop of peppermint oil, and a drop of lemon oil, a quick shot 30 minutes before a meal. Dee also stopped and got some Feverfew, which is supposed to be a help with headaches.

Wednesday
Weeds-more weeding.
Work-more working. Got trash cans emptied. Made meatballs...for tonight and for the future.
Wedding-got some sunflowers for wreaths on the back porch.

Thursday
Weeds-I sense a theme/torture for the week. I count up at least 200 weeds dug and pulled each session. These weeds on the west side of the property are obnoxious...and noxious! The stench is horrible. I have created an imaginary line between our property and the next one (covered with these weeds, the seeds of which will blow into my yard and create another crop of future torture in 2015)
WeBeLos-Dad is one of the Webelos leaders and tonight was Blue and Gold Banquet...for them. I declined, since I have waaaay done that, both as a mom of 4 cubbies, and a leader on 3 occasions.

Friday
Weeds-you get the picture
Wilkins'-pack for the trip, which means just clothes and treats...and all the periphernalia that Dee collects to haul up. We are staying in a hotel this time, so blankets and pillows don't need to go.
Wondering-yes, we have been looking for a Jeep all week and I am wondering if we will EVER find one!

Saturday- Wilkins Day
Wife packs Jeep
Wife wakes everyone.
Wife nags till we finally cram everything in, set out, readjust stuff, and finally get Jessica.
Nate and Jess were packed in like sardines...

No complaints there.
 Less than five hours
...and four precious buckets of green dirt later...

 later, we are there!

Nathan and Grace are re-united: Best Buddies Forever!



Papa FINALLY got to meet Samuel Ethan Wilkins...

He was smitten,

as we all are!

Nate handed out Korean candy...he packed a suitcase full of it to share with all of us!
Family chatted...

And smiled...




And had splits competitions...


And I got to have a piece of heaven...
Seven grandkids
In one state
And in hugging and snuggling distance
The only thing better...
And my dream...
Is all six kids (sure missed you, Morgan and Kayty)
The ones they love
These precious seven grandbabies...
And Dee and I...
In one photo.
Truly...my heaven (hopefully, May 27th, my dream will come true!

We got to see Gracie, riding without training wheels, for the first time!


Daddies...what WOULD we do without someone
Who lets us go...
and then runs right beside us...
to catch us if we fall...
and send us back on our way,

right beside us.

The rest of the evening was random: relatives coming and going to their hotels, pokeymon, pizza, the movie "Frozen", and sleep.
Sunday Morning:
Those of us at the hotels ate breakfast...
Dad and I went to get Nate and Jess at Allison's house, and to finish packing up.





Attending the Vegas Manor Ward Sacrament Meeting were:
Great Grandma Dorrie Sullivan,
 Papa Doran Rice, Grammy Suzzy Rice,
Grampa Gary Wilkins, Grandma Kathy Wilkins,
Uncles and Aunts...
Ethan and Cameo
Doran and Amber
Nathan and Jessica
Mike and Kristi (Wilkins) West
and cousins
Kelsie
Kaylee
Kooper
Hayden West
Noah West

Beautiful, heartfelt testimonies born by Adam and Grace are still treasured deep in my heart.

Quick photos...



And Sam...the 12th one to use the Blessing Blanket...



And off we went, back home.


Great trip...and thus ends a month of sacred and special events.
I am so grateful to see just how much my children do their best to support each other...through the good times...and even the not so good times.
I love you all, Allison, Mike, Ethan, Cameo, Doran, Amber, Morgan, Kayty, Nathan and Jessica.
I love the grandkids you have...and will? give me...even more, if you can imagine that!