Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crazy Without My Vacuum

I once told Dee that I could handle ANYTHING, as long as I have my washing machine and my vacuum. I have six kids...four of them are boys...very active boys. My life revolved around either sucking it up, or putting it in the washer. I have sucked up many a scorpion, dirt, sand, dish soap (do not ask...It was when Ethan was very young, and it seemed like a good idea to use our old central vacuum to clean up a mess...it was a good idea until soap bubbles came pouring out all the wall sockets!), beads, jelly beans, hard boiled eggs (there again, the boys were having too much fun, and when I checked, they were putting hard boiled eggs in their oscillating fan and shooting them all over their bedroom.) As long as I can vacuum it up, nothing was to tough to face.
Move forward to this morning. I was happily vacuuming, when I smelled that awful "the belt is burning" smell, and my beater bar in my old kirby vacuum has bitten the dust, so to speak. I feel a bit lost, but my knight in shining armor is stopping at the vacuum store on the way home to replace my old beater bar with a shiny new one! I feel so...well, how do I spell relief? V A C U U M!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Meal To Remember

I have a husband that is soooo talented!! He can do just about everything (except nurse a baby...and I did, at one point when I was so exhausted from many sleepless nights, think that the Lord couldn't possibly have placed the appropriate items on a man's chest just for looks!!)One of his many talents is cooking Chinese Food. He can make just about anything...Kung Pao is something he has become very proficient at. I just love his Hunan Chicken! And, yesterday, he took our snow pea garden bounty (yes, we actually have grown snow peas, and are picking quite a few of them each day, and when you plant something in your garden that costs a lot in the stores, it sure seems like you save money!)and made Beef and Snow Peas. Now, I am not a beef eater, but I did sneak some snow peas, and they tasted just fantastic...fresh from the garden and then stir fried to perfection with the best sauce...I am so lucky!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's Something That We Do

I have always felt that when we are given the opportunity to speak in Sacrament Meeting, we are not speaking "for a good performance" or "for praise of the world", but we are being a tool in our Heavenly Father's hands to answer the needs of someone listening. I have been wondering what "changes" in a marriage, why the "more experienced" couples that I see photos of don't look the same way that engagement and wedding photos with new young couples look. Now, I know we change as we age, but the love grows...so why doesn't it always show? I have heard wonderful reasons, great explanations, and have come to many conclusions myself, but not until today, as Dave Simonson spoke of Pure Testimony - the doing part of living the Gospel - and shared the lyrics of this Clint Black song did I see what that love, while not always in the eyes, in the smiles, shows, but in another place...deeply in the hearts of those who are blessed to share eternity with someone. Here are the lyrics to "Something That We Do".

I remember well the day we wed
I can see that picture in my head
I still believe the words we said
Forever will ring true
Love is certain, love is kind
Love is yours and love is mine
But it isn't something that we find
It's something that we do
It's holding tight, lettin' go
It's flying high and laying low
Let your strongest feelings show
And your weakness, too
It's a little and a lot to ask
An endless and a welcome task
Love isn't something that we have
It's something that we do
We help to make each other all that we can be
Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently
The way we work together is what sets our love apart
So closely that you can't tell where I end and where you start
It gives me heart remembering how
We started with a simple vow
There's so much to look back on now
Still it feels brand-new
We're on a road that has no end
And each day we begin again
Love's not just something that we're in
It's something that we do
We help to make each other all that we can be
Though we can find our strength and inspiration independently
The way we work together is what sets our love apart
So closely that you can't tell where I end and where you start
Love is wide, love is long
Love is deep and love is strong
Love is why I love this song
And I hope you love it too
I remember well the day we wed
I can see that picture in my head
Love isn't just those words we said
It's something that we do
There's no request too big or small
We give ourselves, we give our all
Love isn't someplace that we fall
It's something that we do

Weekly Update for Jan 18-24

Another week under our belts, so to speak. Whether we progressed or not is up to you. Here's what went on...
Dee - At work, good progress made on all projects. His presentation on the Belgium transition went very well, and he endured another week of an "echo-ey" India meeting (he's asked for a rug to be put in the room - to decrease the echo- for months...Can't anyone find a rug in India?)It was his turn to feed the engineers for the weekly engineering breakfast. I made banana muffins and cranberry muffins, we had fresh eggs (go chickens!), tortillas and fresh salsa (it wasn't too hot after all!),fresh sqeezed orange and grapefruit (go trees!) and then he also brought some of his famous pulled pork (go...well, we don't have a pig, but we have a good smoker and I have a good rub recipe!)On our projects, he finished setting the granite for the outdoor kitchen...next week begins the polishing!He is still searching for engine parts...not many on the market this week! Did a quick hike on Saturday to prep for the 11 year old scouts map and compass hike.

Suzzy-I drove, and drove, and drove...to North Pointe, to Glendale College and back again over and over and over. As earlier posted,I made salsa, molten at first, but toned down just fine...for some anyway. I also got this boatload of bananas for four bucks, so I made banana muffins, banana bread, and worked to freeze the rest for future treats. Did more pantry organizaion - more containers for herbs, spices, etc. and some gluten for bread making (now I have to become proficient at it, as I have all the ingredients,etc. but lack the skill!!) On projects, I completed painting the stucco on the outside of the lower courtyard and now am working on the inner courtyard. I also finished the sixth Harry Potter...soooo good!

Kayty-started second sememster at Glendale Community College. Loved ALL her classes! Especially likes her hour long private voice lesson and her piano class, though she was not too happy that her first solo piece for her diction class is in French. Got to party at Party City an extra few days -coworker has pneumonia. Went to Friday forum at the Institute, and went to a Single Adult Skating Party last night.

Nathan-busy week. Football weight workouts, school - good grades still (still on principals list), speech team practice- memorize and memorize speech-for tournament yesterday. It was his first time to compete. Didn't win or anything, forgot part of his speech once, but did better each time, so we were just so pleased he got to compete! Also went with church young men to "Speed Street" and had a great time. Worked on truck engine...deliveries of racing cam and gaskets were a real hit!

That's it...Next week, more granite, more painting, more motor work, maybe some welding, Kayty's first women's choir practice...the fun never stops!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Salsa-ed Out!

I don't know what happens to me. Maybe it's all the blogs I read from many talented men and women who grow, can, dehydrate, store, etc. food. Maybe it's the "Molly Mormon" in me...trying to use resources and make better than the store can. Anyway, when my Bountiful Basket order came, tomatoes were offered, as well as extra veggies especially used for salsa. I was inspired, so I ordered. I picked up the food Saturday, and figured to start yesterday. First, I was going to can the salsa, but I decided that I really needed to have a "safe" recipe to use, so I just found a recipe and set out on my quest: homemade salsa.

I first stopped at Food City after Nate's school non-football workout, and got roasted chilis, jalapenos, cilantro, etc. Great price and chilis were still warm! I then spent hours peeling and chopping tomatoes, chilis, cilantro (thank goodness I didn't have to chop onions...with my hubby and his severe onion allergy, that made it easier, though recipe finding was hard!) I mixed the first batch. I wanted Nate's full critique (I can't eat ANYTHING hot anymore...too bad.) He said it was great, but too chunky, so I put it in the food processor. He loved it. I made another batch, and another batch. (I neglected to notice that he was downing milk like a baby!) Finally, he thought it was too hot. I decreased chilis, omitted jalapeno. Dee got home and tried it. Loved it, but later again, he was taking anti-acids. Still too hot! (And Dee loves hot things!!)I stirred in crushed tomatoes before jarring it and putting it in the fridge outside. I have many large jars of molten salsa! I don't think I am going to try that again... A full day of work, and nothing too eat. Looks great, smells great, but fries your tongue to smithereens!! So much for "Molly Mormon", or should I say, "Senora Molita Mormona"!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What's Been Up

I love Google Reader...I get updates from all the wonderful people whose blogs I follow. I eagerly look, especially, for word from my dear Las Vegas family. I check and check, and sometimes wonder what they are doing when I don't hear! Silly me...with two busy, sweet wonderful kiddos, I just can't figure why Mommy doesn't just stop and write!!(I am truly being facetious). Anyway, then I look and I just go over the big things, not the everyday things (plus, I want to include pics and sometimes that just isn't possible!)...So, since Dee is at meetings before Church on Sunday, maybe this is my chance for a quick update.

Dee: Busy week at work. Given two new projects on top of the many others he is doing. Transition from Belgium is finally working on its own. Meeting with India uneventful. Progress on back yard - cut most of the granite for the counter top on outdoor kitchen. Also found exterior paint (hooray for Craigslist!) so I can paint the stucco in lower courtyard.Progress on 1960 Panel Truck-still looking for engine parts, i.e. aluminum heads, and desperately trying to spend very little more money. Starter in the Jeep went out on Thursday (I had to cancel my cub scout meeting 10 minutes before so I could help him.) So very glad Dee can fix ANYTHING, and so we got the part at AutoZone - still under warranty, so saved over 150 dollars - and got it all put together tht night. Went with Nathan on church scout trip in Flagstaff.

Suzzy: Got back to regular cleaning schedule (hopelessly OCD!)Cooked up various meals with the round steak that was on sale that Dee overbought (Never send him to Safeway with round steak on sale and ask for just three...thought that meant three packages=7 round steaks!)Exercised, ran, hiked with friends from Church on Wednesday, got my haircut (first since September), got Nathan to weightlifting on Thursday and Friday at school at 6 a.m. Organized my family photos, ordered missing ones, put in files and am now ready to catch up family scrapbook (I am at the end of May now!),continued work organizing pantry, got more seasonings, etc. ordered for years supply. Finally decided that I should get that plaid red, tan and navy plaid fabric on ebay...playroom gets my patriotic touch, and our bedroom will get repainted (I never finished the red anyway)and will now be my favorite sage green. SOMEDAY, our bathroom with get the same green paint, and will have slate floors and a snail shower!Cubbies had to cancel, but excited for next week: Pack Meeting.

Kayty: Last week of rest before college starts next week, sooooo that means she slept and slept and slept. It doesnt really bother me...I can work and she just sleeps right through, but her room....let's just say, it has a lovely ceiling! Boy, what is going to happen in there next week if she doesn't clean it on MOnday...listen for piercing screams. Worked at Party City...bought stuff on sale at Party City (I swear, the executives have figured out that the more she works, the more she spends!!!Keeps that corporation in business, I dare say!)Planned a birthday party for herself (she loves to have her friends and family over for a party)Got her few college books picked up (over $200 for 3 books...can you believe it!)Slept and watched movies and texted in her spare time.

Nathan: Turned 16...so, talked on the phone, and talked on the phone, and talked on the phone!!! Went to football training on Thurs and Fri, went to speech team practice every day after school. Progress on 1960 Ford Pickup-worked on engine, got on Craigslist, asked tons and tons of questions. Built "sled" with guys at church and attended the three stake Ididarod in Flagstaff. Though they took no first place in any individual event, they ended up doing so well in all events that they won! So very exciting!! Our ward gets to keep the trophy for a year! Will be interviewed by bishop today so that he can be advanced in the Aaronic Priesthood to the office of a Priest (he will be able to bless the Sacrament then)

Not so happy things this week: Kayty's A1C - 7.3...so hard with Halloween, Christmas, and sales...better luck in March!; Adam and his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day - so glad that your Mommy and Daddy are there to take the sad away and make a happy picnic and bike ride!; Nathan truck parts-sometimes people are so eager to sell that they neglect to give all the info. needed - so we sell the rockers to a fully informed buyer, and then get the right ones!

Miracles this week: Jocylyn, born to Kelli and Patrick - welcome to the world and to the wonderful Wilkins family; Gracie and no cast - no break, just a sprain...prayers are answered!; flight 1549 - landed with No deaths!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Laura Bush Wannabe

I just love Laura Bush's hairdo. To me, it is what I want my hair to look like. It looks well groomed, yet not time consuming, and it will work with my very thin, very fine, stock straight hair. Every time I go to get my hair cut, I pull out my picture of Laura Bush that I carry in a baggie in my wallet. Now, mind you, I do not carry a picture of ANYONE else in my purse/wallet...not even my sweet grandbabies. Well, my hair is too long, and driving me nuts, so I called and made an appointment with Terri at Mario's (she has cut my hair for a long time). She doesn't know me by name, but when I said I was the Laura Bush lady, she laughed, and said she would put down "Laura Bush" in the appointment book for tomorrow. So, I will be Laura Bush...I guess I have finally made it!

He Made It!

January 14th is a special day in our house...though the person who makes it special wants very little said or done about it. Sixteen years ago today, Nathan Micheal Rice was born. Now, baby number six may seem to some as just another kid, but each Rice child has been very unique, in talents, in feelings, and in gifts, and Nathan is no different. He came home from the hospital, and just fit right in, and became the apple of his brother, Ethan's, eye. Though 10 years separate them, Nathan always was part of things, never a bother! And now I watch as Nathan lives to spend the night at Ethan and Cameo's to play games, works side by side with Doran on a go cart, and even takes time to help Morgan work on a bike when he flits into our lives.
Nathan is quiet around others, but when you get to know him, and around home, he just never shuts up!! He is always asking, always seeking. He is restoring a 1960 Ford pick up truck, from the body to rebuilding the engine. He is always asking questions, which sometimes leaves Dad, and his Church leader, Brother Perkins, going bonkers. But he just won't give up until he finds the answer to his searching. He is so helpful too. Again, being the youngest, and the last boy at home, he gets to lift, pull, drag, trim, and he even has proven to be a master at cement mixing and stuccoing.
With Nathan, life is not boring. He likes his school and the things he gets to do there: STUGO, NHS, and he especially loves playing varsity football. He has taught me new things...we are baseball people...Ethan was a super catcher...Doran could hit a ball a mile without even trying, and Morgan had endless energy on the baseball field. This football thing is just new to me. And you'd think Nate would have just followed in the path of his brothers, but not him!
One of Nathan's best qualities is his faith. He has been blessed to see the Lord's hand in all things. Nathan found the gas tank on Craigslist last week that Dee had searched many months for. Nathan said that we were blessed, that the Lord rebuked the devourer, because we pay our tithing. He stays up late to read his scriptures every night. He presses us to get to church so he can do his duties.
Finally, He made it. Now, this may mean something only to the other Rice kids. We have set a standard that there is no dating until you turn 16. This also means no social phone calls, etc. with members of the opposite sex until then, too. (Bishop Black once said that there wasn't much difference between a 3 hour phone call, and a date!)Allison was the first who had to follow, and the rule was made because some young man kept calling her for long conversations. Ethan tried, but didn't make it. Doran tried, but didn't make it. Morgan tried, but didn't make it. Kayty made it. and now Nathan made it. So, please understand if you cannot reach us by phone for the next little while. He has talk time stored up.
Well, this is just a little about our fantastic son, the youngest of a line of fantastic kids. Thank you Nathan, for adding another bit of color to our lives. And happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

In Honor of Those Who Came Before

We had a lesson in Relief Society yesterday on Zion's Camp.We learned about the trials that those who volunteered for this effort faced, and the blessings they received for their sacrifices, and about leading our homes. It was brought to our mind about the long journey they faced, and what they were forced to eat and drink...spoiled milk and meat, and water that they strained "the wigglers" out of. Those who participated in Zion's Camp ended up being the leaders of the Church and brought those often unready pioneers across the plains and established the Church in Salt Lake City, so it could grow to be the worldwide Church we enjoy being a member of today. What trying times they endured so that my husband and I can be sealed for time and all eternity, and for us to be able to attend church each Sunday.
Then, this morning, I read Allison's blog and learned about our sweet little Grace being so very ill, and how thankful we are for doctors, for hospitals, for medicines that can ease our pain and cure our ills. So many had to sacrifice so much. I also thought about how difficult it must have been for the pioneers to leave their lives to establish themselves in the West. They often left those they loved, knowing they probably would never see them again. Even letters took forever to be received. Here, we can know about Grace right away, pray for her, and within a few hours know that she is well because Allison can email us. And, if we need to, we can fly there in a few hours, drive there in five hours. So much to be thankful for, and so much to thank those that sacrificed so we all can have what we have!

Happy Birthday Cameo and Nathan!

We celebrated Cam and Nate's birthdays on Sunday night (Cameo turned 26 on Jan 7, and Nate will be a big ol' 16 on Jan 14th). Cameo brought her favorite treat: no bake jello cherry cheesecakes, and Nate had his fav...Mississippi Mud cake. Great fun, great family (though we surely missed all who couldn't be here!). Nate even got his favorite dish Cameo makes: Macaroni and cheese (though he cooked it last night, but complained that it just didn't taste as good as the stuff Cameo makes!!)

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Box of 64 Colors = Love

As part of my morning "routine", I check out the email, answer what is needed, and then go to my favorite blogs. I love to get new recipes to try. I love to see others's homes and the way they decorate them. I love to hear the wonderful trials and triumphs of my dear family and friends and their children from young to not so young. I love to look at pictures other photographers have captured...I only can hope to be as good some day! Those pictures are what come to mind now. I was talking with Danyel the other day about taking pictures. I looked at Krisi's blog (that's Allison's sister in law, due to be married in 35 days). Their engagement photos, and those taken of other soon to be married couples, look so fresh. The love they have in their eyes...it's just so fresh and new, like a new box of crayola crayons on the first day of school. Then, when I was looking for poses of "more experienced" couples - trying to find one for Dee and I - they just looked different...that sparkle was gone. Now, mind you, these people are in love. It's just that the look is just...well different. They seemed rather comfortable, rather eased. Just like that Magenta Crayon that I always pick first out of the box when it is new. First, that crayon makes clean, wonderful, perfect lines. But, as time goes on, as I pick it first, over and over, the sharp edges wear. The perfect point is gone. It mixes well with th other colors I use. It is more easy to fill in the blank spaces, because it is worn. It is comfortable. Sometimes the paper has to be torn to reveal more that was hidden, and then use that. It still is the favorite crayon, though worn, and often the shortest in the box. Maybe, after you are married, you both become softer on the edges. You have been through things: babies, jobs, moves, family challenges. Your edges are worn, and then you need to tear off the paper, and reveal even more of yourself to that person that now knows you better than anyone, and loves you just the same. Danyel said that photos of older love are quite the same, too. They show a deeper love, because of all that they have been through together. Though I sometimes wish for that fresh faced look of young love, I will take the seasoned face of eternal love. Dee is my Magenta crayon!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

All Done for This Year

Whew...three days after I began, I have finished taking down all the Christmas decorations, including the Dept 56 North Pole Village. I had to miss a Relief Society Enrichment Night last night, but I did take a break and go on a hike with Joy Black and Liz Geis. Gone are the decorations, the trees, the nativities, the ornaments, the animated animals (animated animals...sounds kind of odd. They move. And, all are put away, except for the one I will get tomorrow at Party City...again, perks of having a daughter work for them.)It is sad to take down the memories, but the memories of a wonderful holiday with the people you love most in the world are priceless. And, since I am kind of anti-clutter, it just looks so nice to have everything de-cluttered. I am sad Christmas is over, but I'm also so glad the decorations are all over too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Finished Products

Grandma and Curtis
Kayty and Stephanie
Nathan (He had designed and baked this all himself, with a patient sister in law...thanks Danyel! It is a Civil War scene, with gingerbread men vs. bunnies and bears. The weapons, lifesaver cannons and pretzel sticks!)
Ethan and Cameo
Doran and Danyel (they designed their own house too.)
Adam (sorry for the lack of focus on the most important person in the picture...I am still learning about this camera!)
Grace's Pink Palace

Now, for some reason, there is not a finished picture of the casa de Wilkins. Mike had worked on it while Allison was helping Grace, but he got tired, so it became a "sign of our times"...boarded up with gingerbread, with a notice that said "Bank Owned".

Grammy Day!!

Eating Goulash, Green Salad, Grapes (note to self...never freeze grapes in food saver...tasty, but mushy!), golfish crackers
Part of the building materials...there was a great selection, thanks to months of sales, and a daughter who works at Party City!

This is a picture of Ethan and Cameo...now, Ethan did really well for the picture, but then disappeared when the real work began. That's okay. Cameo and I did the side walls, and then Ethan returned for the big finish! (Sounds like a 5th grade science project, doesn't it?)
Kayty and her friend Stephanie worked on Halloween themed houses.

New Checker Board

Dee has worked tirelessly on this lowered courtyard for more than a year. He built the walls, poured the cement, put rock facia on it, built the fireplace, landscaped, (Nathan is now stuccoing, and I will paint later this month). His final project was a game table. He found the perfect piece of stone at a stone yard, polished it, built the table, and then Nate stuccoed it. And, to make it just the best ever, he got to "break it in" with Adam!

New Years...uhhh Christmas for the Wilkins

We got to see our wonderful Las Vegas Family a little after Christmas. We just pretended like they were here in December instead of January.Eating "Christmas" Monkey Bread
The Line Up, a la Wilkins
Adam's Stocking
Poor, tired Papa!
Grace shows Papa some of her goodies.
Adam's KNex
Grace's puppets and butterfly wings.(Little did I know that the hot pink would match her little cast when I got these so many months ago!)
Mike gets MORE Cast Iron...sorry Allison, I just can't stop Dad, either!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

For Adam, From Papa and Grammy

Guess who we saw at the parade today?

Fiesta Bowl Parade

I will catch up later on the wonderful time we had with our kids and grandbabies. This morning, we again were members of the "Play It Again Band" and marched in the Fiesta Bowl Parade. I thought it would be a bummer...got to practice last night later than usual, so I lost my usual spot, and then late comers kept scrunching in my row and I moved twice. I swore if someone came and scrunched me one more time ... but, I digress... I was not exactly looking forward to the festivities, but, even though I was miserable that Adam and Grace were on their way home, we walked around, watched many other bands,
got our pic with the Ohio State University Mascot, and just snooped. The parade was great, lots more people (now, I don't exactly know if there were lots more, or I just saw them because I had memorized my music and could watch!) and we had the best time, and ... endured to the end.