Friday, April 30, 2010


When we were married, 30 years ago on April 24th, the sweet gentleman, Marion Vance, spoke to us as we knelt across the altar in the Mesa Temple. He had us stop and look at each others hand. Oh, way back then, my hands were soft and sweet...not much wear on them, other than that of writing and typing at work, and a minimum of other duties. . His were calloused...those of a machinist, with dark streaks of grease stain from cars and lathes, that emphasized the things a young man does: rebuild engines, change tires, swim across entire lakes, repair and redesign aerospace hardware. Elder Vance gave us each a vision of what those hands would do in the ensuing years as we went through our life together: opening doors, holding my hand as I gave birth, carrying our babies. We were so very young then, and I had absolutely NO idea how much those hands I was admiring would do. Those hands have driven to work...three jobs...making intricate parts for private jets, tools to facilitate those parts being made, spinning records, and cd's for a dj business he began on his own, showing homes and writing contracts as a I could stay home, holding our babies, being able to walk them to the bus, be a homeroom parent, go to performances and plays and DARE graduations, and helping in their classrooms. Those hands have built, rebuilt, repaired, replaced, mixed and poured, layed and tore up, puttied, spackled, changed, altered, designed, nailed, bondoed...oh, the list: from pinewood derby cars, to our cars, from playground equipment to pizza ovens. Those hands have tickled my nose...something I absolutely hate...when labor progressed to the nasty part. Those hands have cooked and grilled, and cleaned up messes. Those hands held my babies, cut cords, wiped noses, threw baseballs, created science projects, painted fences and placed bricks and created faucet after faucet after faucet and wood worked easels so that four sons could become four Eagle Scouts, painted tap shoes, repaired flutes and french horns and guitars and clarinets and saxophones, buttoned dresses, polished shoes, tied ties, carried to the emergency room, held as stitches were applied to a cut head, blessed, set apart, wrote to, hugged, typed letters, embraced, and accompanied to witness the highest Heavenly Father has to offer. Those hands have applied compresses, rubbed feet, taken temperature, steri-stripped, splinted. Those hands have held me up when I didn't think I had one ounce left in me to give. And, those hands still give. Oh, how little I knew then...and how much I thank the Lord for...those hands!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

First Pizza Oven Party

My sweet, talented and wonderful son is still editing my pics from our special Saturday, but I wanted to blog of the wonderful things that happened, and so, here we go.

We invited the whole family to celebrate Doran and Danyel's special day. I went back and forth on what we would eat, and decided that it was a perfect chance to try out our pizza oven on a large scale. So, Friday night, I began, KitchenAid Mixer a mixin'. I used the following recipe for my whole wheat pizza dough (remember, three of my dearest treasures, Adam, Grace, and Joshua, were here, so I have to maintain some semblance of health!)

Pizza Dough

5 cups whole wheat flour (my son, Morgan, spent a long time grinding my wheat into the best flour, and I store it in our fridge for such an occasion. So, though job kept Morgan away from us today, his spirit lives on in our pizza crust!)
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 Tablespoons olive oil...good ol' Costco stuff
2 1/2 cups tap water

Put the honey and yeast, with 1 cup of the water in the mixer bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Then, turn on the mixer and add the oil, salt, and flour-1 cup at a time. Then add the water. Start with 1 additional cup, and then add till your dough pulls from the side of the bowl, but still is moist. Then, stop the mixer and let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Start the mixer again for about 5 minutes, adding water or flour as needed to make a nice dough. It needs to be a little wetter than bread dough usually is. It should be able to come out of the bowl, but be a little sticky.

The recipe said to divide in four portions, I divided into five, and, I think next time, I will make it into six or seven. I put each portion into a zipper sandwich bag that had a little olive oil in it. Put the bags into the refrigerator (or if baking later, the freezer- they should be good for almost a month)

Remove them from the refrigerator about an hour or two before you need them, to let them come to room temperature. Then, let everyone have their own bag and have at it. Some rolled their dough with a rolling pin. Most added flour. Then top as you like. Grace wanted a macaroni and cheese pizza, so the dough was pressed by a kind Aunt Danyel, and then covered with Velveeta Shells and Cheese. Otherwise, top with your favorite sauce, cheese, etc. These were baked in our wood pizza oven for about 20 minutes.

There you have it...and all seemed to like them, though, as I said, next time, less dough per bag!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Taking a Moment...To Thank My Heavenly Father

Today...this week...what a whirlwind of activity, culminating with today. I will post pictures, and give details in the days ahead, but I would be so very ungrateful if I did not take this blessed opportunity to offer thanks to my Heavenly Father...for days like today. We were able to go to the temple, to witness the sealing, for time and all eternity, of our dear Doran, and his precious Danyel. Outside, a son, who had come from working a very early shift, his dear sweet wife, my daughter and son, kept my sweet grandbabies safe, well cared for, and very, very happy, so we never had to think twice. I was there with my sweetheart of 30 years, in the same place, and at the same time, we had been exactly 30 years ago. Today, I got to snuggle, to hug, to dress, to build in the sand, to play sing "There Was A Grammy Had A Girl and Gracie Was Her Name-o..." while I was chewing on sweet baby feet and making the absolutely most adorable 4 month old smile and giggle. I watched one son prepare for his first prom, with the tuxedo from one brother, while another brother spent over an hour polishing and polishing old black dress shoes. That tuxedo lending brother and his wife will chauffeur that sweet couple to and from their first prom tonight, and then that ever so tired brother, who got so little sleep, will go home...and hopefully rest. You know, my sweet wonderful kids...ALL OF matter what the do, no matter what choices they make, no matter where they are on the continuum of choices...I love them with all of my heart...with every single fiber of my being. They talked, they laughed, they loved! I just want to thank my dear sweet and very loving Heavenly Father, for wonderful, special, and always remembered today...They make all the other not so great days just a forgotten happenstance. Today, I witnessed what every mom dreams of...Thank you, Thank you! Thank you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Happy Birthday

I started to write something wonderful about the most wonderful man in the world, who is celebrating his birthday today...but I kept crying and couldn't see the computer screen through my tears. So, just know that my feelings for this guy can't be shared. There is so much to say about someone who means everything to you, who makes everything...and I mean do better when you are together, who has made you more than you ever would have been on your own. Oops, there I go again!

Anyway, Happy Birthday to my sweet Dee. I love you!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Random Fun

1. Ever had any run-ins with the "library police?"
Never. When we first moved here, and for many years, the library was just too far away to even think about going, checking out, and then thinking about returning, so we just didn't. We just got a close library last year...and my kiddos are too old for it.

2. Do you have a special organizational plan and place for wrapping paper, gift bags, etc., or do you just purchase whatever you need as you give gifts?
I have a theme every Christmas, and I look for wrapping paper that follows that theme. I save it ahead, in the back of my closet, since all my wrapping is done in my room as I get the gifts. I do keep gift bags up in our pantry...I am blessed to have a daughter that works for "Party City" and tells me when there are clearance deals. I always have a selection to pick from.

3. Have you ever been in (first-hand witness) a natural disaster?
Thankfully, I cannot remember being first-hand witness to any natural disaster. Watching on television is just terrible enough. I admire those who have witnessed, and have had the clear head to act, and to help.

4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?
"When Will I See You Again"is my favorite to sing, and "Could This Be The Magic" was my favorite one to play on the piano...remember, the one that began with Chopin's Prelude 20 In C Minor. I just loved Barry Manilow...had all his albums...even had the sheet music to his songs.

5. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
My mom made Halloween magical. I was a bride. I was a gypsy. My favorite, though, was when she made me a black and orange cheerleader outfit, with homemade crepe paper pom poms.

6. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
I think I use the thesaurus more. I love words and really try to make my writing interesting by using different words, so I head to my thesaurus.

7. What's your favorite breakfast food?
Now...when we are talking breakfast food, I am perpetually watching everything that I eat, so I never eat what I want. My favorite breakfast food, right now, is a banana. I bought a boatload on sale, and that is what I eat every morning. However, if I could eat anything I wanted for breakfast, it would be a toss up between a) the heavenly omelet I had the morning after I got married...30 years ago this Garland's Lodge in Sedona, was just the most tasty, most wonderful. I don't even remember what kind it was, but I remember just how yummy it was; b)strawberry pancakes topped with tons of whipped cream; and c) chocolate pancakes with whipped cream and mini chocolate chips.

8. Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial?
Nope. We have had a great policy, since early in our marriage. We have lost good deals on a couple of things, but most of the time, we saved a ton. That policy was never to buy anything that night. Sleep on it. It has worked, and I have never regretted it!

9. Have you ever crawled through a window?
Not a window, but one time, when I was visiting the Planetarium at Arizona State University with the youth from church, the elevator became stuck between floors, and they actually had to lift each one of us out. I was so embarrassed, for I was not a thin person and they had to have a couple of guys get me out!

10. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Well, I will tell you something...the man I am madly in love with, have been married to for 30 years, and hope to be together with forever and ever...well, I first heard his voice in a college religion class. That voice...something about it sent shivers up my spine. I knew, but ignored, that this guy was something special. We dated three times, ended up getting engaged to different people, and, when my engagement ended on January 9, I called him and we went out on January 15 and were engaged on January 21, and then married April 24th...all in 1980! Now, it wasn't easy, and there was prayer involved from the get go, but I have never ever doubted that, though it wasn't magic, Heavenly Father brought us together, and I knew, at first voice...that he was the one who would be the father of my children (six of them), the one who would hold me up when I could no longer bear it, would be my encouragement, would make me strive to be better than I ever would have been on my own. I have never, ever, ever regretted any of it!!!

11. How man pairs of jeans do you own?
I am a jeans kinda girl...I have 10 pairs of jeans, and 3 pairs of jeans shorts.

12. If someone were going to bake a cake to honor/represent you, what would it be?
(Think creatively, like Duff and Crew on "Ace of Cakes.")
Hmmmmm Very Interesting...I think it would be a big white 15 passenger van, with all the heads of my kids, kids in law, and my grandbabies hanging out the window. I loved that sits outside, though I can't afford to drive it...10 mpg...but that van was me...and I even had my oldest grandson in it when he was tiny and I got to watch him.

When Life Gives You Bananas...

I can be a nut when it comes to finding a bargain, and I found a bargain on bananas the other day...only, it was a case of bananas. So, I have been eating, freezing, and drinking bananas, and now I used the bounty to guessed it: banana bread. I tried to make it a bit more healthy, so Nate and Dad would eat it (yes, Ethan, dangerous healthy bread in our house!)

Here's the recipe, with my twist:

Favorite Banana Bread

4 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
8 bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
6 Tablespoons almond milk (the recipe says milk, but I only had almond milk!)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Beat together remaining ingredients and then add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Blend till just combined. Pour into greased mini loaf pans (I filled 6 mini pans 2/3 full). Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

My son, Morgan, loved it. Nathan, well, we shall see, but he should be happy: almond milk, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, oats, nuts.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

To Starleen

I was blessed today, to share a very special, sacred experience today, and while the experience is too personal and holy to share, I just want to recognize a wonderful woman, the mother of one of my angel daughters-in-law, Starleen Bennett. You, dear Starleen, could not be here today, for one of those "mom moments". I was so honored to sit next to Danyel, to watch, to lend a hand here, and there. This is to honor you for your many sacrifices to raise this beautiful daughter. You truly have done an amazing job. She has your knowledge, your confidence, and has a deep spiritual understanding of what she experienced today. She was taught well, by a mother who valued the right things, who always tried her best. Today, Starleen, you would have been "well pleased". I sat next to another mother, experiencing the same thing. As the end of the experience neared, and escorts were seated on one side of the room, I leaned over and whispered to this mother, "You did it!" And so, Starleen, I want to say, though I was blessed to be in that seat next to Danyel, I was only a proxy for you. So smile, shed a tear or two, and know that "you did it!" She is now endowed from On High, and eagerly waits for you to share her next step towards eternity on April 24th.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why So Many Blog Entries Today???

What do these
And this
And this
And these mean?


And, just in case, in the whirlwind of activity when they visit, there is a chance to go outside, to the playground, and to the sand pile, I want them to have fresh, new sand to play in, build sandcastles, roadways, find seashells in. Why the pain meds, you may ask? Because, I am in my 50th year on earth, and, though I run and exercise everyday, except for Sunday, I apparently do not use my back muscles enough, so when I shovel 30 shovelfulls of sand into wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, and wait till Dee, and Nathan, and Morgan haul them, dump them, and then return them, all to be filled me, and now, I wait, for four hours to go by, so I can take some pain relief, so I can breathe again.

Thus, every bend into the washing machine (though I love my front load washer and dryer almost more than anything-except for hubby, kids, and grandbabies), every make of a bed, every anything is a new experience in ache...except for blogging...because there is just a spot, or two, that doesn't being my fingers!

I Did It!

I love to make, to create, to organize, to fix up...and I do get to...every once in awhile. However, I never put anything about it on my blog, due to the fact that I never have my camera ready. So, after Easter, I decided to leave my camera out (I have just made my photographer son, Doran, faint. Yep, my camera is out, Arizona dust and all. Doran, I DO have the lens cap on, if that makes it any easier!) So, thanks to Manuela over at The Pleasures Of Homemaking, I did it! The hardest part: the coffee filters! Me, a Mormon, non-coffee drinker, had no idea WHERE to look for coffee filters in WalMart. I did have white ones from the dollar store, but white doesn't really "go" with anything here. I asked Manuela how to dye coffee filters...great idea, but didn't make it sound like a quick option, and I need quick right now...too many duties pull me away from fun things! So, here she is...and I think I might do another one...smaller though...this one ended up taking over 360 filters. I guess it's one of those "mom of 6" issues...if a little cardboard circle wreath base is good, a bigger one is even better! Next time, minimalist!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fifty Things To Do WHEN I am 50

Saw a blog, awhile back...a list of 30 things some young whipper-snapper wanted to accomplish/do before she turned the ripe old age of 30. It sure caused me a lot of thought...days of thought: while driving, while running (45 minutes means a lot of thought), while laundering...I really thought a lot! Now, I am really not the kind of person with a list of unrealized dreams. Till last Winter, I wanted to see the Christmas Tree in front of Rockefeller Center, see the lovely store windows in New Yok City at Christmas time... You see, I said "till last Winter". I watched the weather reports, I checked, and saw the actual temperatures there, in the Winter...Oh, my heck...they were absolutely klondike-ish. One thing about me...I absolutely, totally HATE to be cold! So, that trip, in those awful, cold, non-Arizona totally NOT a desire at all, any more,ever! I couldn't even come up with a list of 10 things I want to do before I turn 50. The other issue is that I turn 50 on July 4th...not much time to do anything by then.

Then, another issue came up...and I got an idea. First, the issue. I love hearing teenagers say that they cannot wait to be an adult, for then they will be able to do whatever they want to, whenever they want to. Huh? Hey, wait, I thought I was an adult, but I certainly can almost NEVER do whatever I want to, whenever I want to!!! Then, the self realization that, hey I have been on this earth 50 years...a half a century...and I still am NOT what a 16 year old sees as "an adult". idea...for my 50th birthday, and the year that begins on July 4th, 2010 (now, I do know it will be my 51st year on the earth, but, hey it's my idea, my birthday!) I get to be an ADULT! And here, I will compile a list of what things I will...or won't do... since I get to do/not do what I want/don't want to do...this I turn first year of being an adult. So, as things come to me, you get my it be, hopefully, 50...and, also hopefully, not 500!

Fifty Things to Do When I am 50

1. I am not going to go out to lunch with anyone, anytime, anywhere. (Silly to many, but I hate to go out to lunch! I get "guilt-ed" by kind and well meaning people...they make me feel like I am some inferior person because I don't like to go out to lunch. I have a fault that must be "fixed" so they make me go...I eat a few pieces of lettuce that cost that poor person waaaaay to much. They feel they have taken a step in correcting my personality flaw...and I go home, day shot, not happy, and often hungry cuz I didn't get to eat what I wanted to.) So, my first step to being an adult, the first of 50...As an adult, I will not eat lunch out, because I don't like to!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grandma Dorrie: Always Easter

Right before Dee and I got married, he invited me to his mom's house: dinner, egg hunt. Sounded simple enough. My brother, sister and I had participated in many a fun, civil Easter egg would hide, two would search. We would then switch, with another hiding, two seeking. Civilized, and fun. Dinner was great at my future mother in laws, and then we were escorted to the front door. And outdoor egg hunt was the plan. Sounded great to me...memories of childhood will repeat, with Dee, his younger sister-Susan, and I...three fun! Dorrie opened the door, I began to step out, and was literally plowed over by the likes of two Tasmanian she-devils. I had no clue what had just hit me, but I glanced outdoors to see objects-later found to be people-zipping from one side to the other...grabbing rotten fruit, ripping up dead leaves from holes, groping the chain link fence through grapevines...It was my future husband and his sister tearing with reckless abandon through the yard. I had NO chance! All the "easy" spots had been taken (Dorrie is no slouch when it comes to hiding eggs...I swear the Easter Bunny could learn a thing or two from her!) I got NONE...those two had scoured high and low, in, out up and down in moments! I still married that sweet guy, though the dark egg hunting side always concerned me! In future years, there was an egg for ME...hidden in the one else could touch...I would go out, get a picture taken with MY egg, and then get out of the way!

Egg hunting at Grandma Dorrie's continues, though the heated competition has cooled...I guess it took putting that brother and sister in separate states to calm things. Anyway, Easter at Grandma Dorrie's involves a big potluck dinner, including Dorrie's meatballs and chicken strips, Sherri's funeral potatoes, Marina's Rolls, my cabbage salad, Nano carrots, Eric's layered bean dip, Cameo's mac and cheese, Danyel's deviled eggs, and lots and lots of other great stuff!
After the food has settled, Dorrie hands out the pastel plastic baskets, instructs that "the obvious eggs are for the kids" and opens the door.
It's a lot of fun, finding eggs in shoes, mailing boxes, tall grass, fences, and just about everywhere you could...or couldn't think of.

Then, the best part: the eating...Tootsie rolls, licorice, Sweet Tarts, to name a few.

Then everyone sits in a big circle, eating, talking, counting, and just enjoying one of the few nice days before the short Arizona Spring ends.

Easter at Grandma Dorrie's....always!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Most Eggsellent Tradition!

Traditions are often born of necessity. The Easter Bunny that visited our home would come looking for the boxes of colored eggs, stacked neatly on our front porch, and those were the ones he would hide! It was so fun to look, and possibly find one that you yourself had made! But, the dilemma: six children makes for 6 dozen eggs...72 eggs that need to be eaten. Egg salad is absolutely out of the question! (Allison's pregnancy, morning-noon-and-night sickness, eggs salad on the repeat sighting...not a pretty picture, and never has been repeated-Allison is now 28) Anyway, dear sweet hubby makes fantastic deviled eggs! So, early on Easter - depending on what time our church meetings are, we have his yummy eggs to devour! And, do you know, 72 eggs disappear in an instant when they are turned into 144 deviled eggs!

Drop By And Dye

My kids are the best! No matter how old they get, they still humor me when it comes to dying our Easter eggs. It was more of a challenge to get the eggs this year...I kept making trips to Fresh and Easy...that ol' two box limit thing. Still, all had fun. The dying came in shifts...the first wave came at 2pm, Nate breezed in...and 4:15...and Kayty and her friend, Menday, spent hours in the evening. Great eggs, great people...and great fun. Plus, Dee's deviled eggs on Easter were a real hit!

Dee has ALWAYS been a good sport and really takes time to make the best looking eggs!
Ethan even took great care (Cameo always makes the prettiest eggs!)
Doran and Danyel worked hard too.
The best part is the talkin' that goes with the dyin'.

Cameo's egg...or so I thought...It matched her shirt! But, I later found out she was just moving Ethan's egg! Hers were great, when she got them done!

Ethan truly did a great job...and a green fave!

Somehow, I didn't get Danyel with a finished egg!

Doran's finished product!

Nathan ran in the front door, threw all 18 eggs in various cups, ran down the hall, took a shower, dressed to go to Priesthood Session, and stopped for a finished egg, time!

Kayty invited a friend from GCC Choir, Menday, to the fun, though he had to work late, so they took the evening shift. Menday took great care to create specific dye colors...he is a football fan, and made a couple that looked like footballs!
Morgan had other plans, so we had 18 eggs left...kinda hard to eat just white ones with all the great ones we had here!
And all was watched over by our family "mascot"-Mr. Punkinhead Man.
Thank you to all who made this year so much fun! And, just in case you kids were wondering...the sales provided dye for me...for 3 more years!!